Review: Primus still sux :)

So they, Primus, may be supposedly tired of their fans yelling “Primus sucks!”, but the fans aren’t — well the ones at the show Tue 5-Dec-2006 at San Jose Civic Auditorium weren’t.

In fact, during several extended low-key “mumbling” jam sections, a few in the audience got way ticked off and were yelling more than “sucks” and demanding that they “play f**king primus music, you f**king pussies!!!”.

I thought the show was great, and I had a blast introducing one of my sons to the fine art of survival and entertainment in the mosh pit. I returned to the IIW2006b conference the next day with a big grin and no visible bruises. John Kemp commented that “you like to live dangerously don’t you?” in his inimitable British way.

Warning: Moshing May Occur

I really liked the opening act, Gogol Bordello — I’d not heard of them before. They put on a fairly wild show. Likely even more so if they were headlining. My comment after their set was “that was a very Primus opening act”.

JeffH sez check ’em both out ifn ya get the chance. — Electronica to move you

Geoff Goodfellow (Geoff’s blog), an Internet pioneer, having returned from his Praha (Prague) sojourn a year or so ago, is now KZSU‘s “rpm/electronica department director”, and produces his show in the guise of his persona. Check it out!

Solid State Logic’s “Disarray” and GAMH headline gig!

Solid State Logic (SSL), a strong up-and-coming post-nu-metal (or however you wanna label ’em) SFBay Area-based band, which I have written about before (in the context of Born Naked) has their debut album, Disarray, available on CDBaby. I like it, and so does at least one of my sons :) . It’s great to have met the drummer, Jay Michaelis, and to have seen them live.

I was looking at upcoming club listings and note that SSL are going to headline the Great American Music Hall (GAMH) on Friday 14-Jul-2006. I’m bummed that I have a conflict and can’t go — however maybe my boys will be able to catch it. Turns out one of them is taking bass lessons from the same instructor as SSL’s bass player — small world!

Music Blurb: Born Naked

Did a bit of a road trip this weekend and got some uninterrupted music listening time. I’d stumbled across Born Naked a couple of years ago when surfing the web — the drummer, Jay Michaelis, teaches around the Bay Area Peninsula and advertises on Craigslist (where’d I run across him), and in following various links, I’d come to Born Naked’s site where they had a small sampling of their tunes, which I liked. In exchanging subsequent email with Jay, I discovered he had just one more (ie The Last Available) copy of their third CD, the so-called “black cd“, and it came with a long-sleeved T-shirt and I could have it for $10! Well, anyway, after a fun little drive in Der Heap over to Pacifica, and meeting him face-to-face (nice guy), I had my CD and T-shirt. After listing to it (the CD), I bugged him about putting all the rest of their prior two CDs on the Web since the band is (unfortunately) defunct and Jay is on to bigger and better things. Turns out that over the next year or so they did just that, and we all can obtain the full catalog of Born Naked CDs in reasonably high-quality MP3s RIGHT HERE.

So back to my listening sojurn — man, that’s a good band and those are good albums. You need to be open to neo-metal alt-rock or whatever you want to try to call it.

See also: Born Naked’s MySpace page.

I’ve also managed to get out to catch Jay’s new, current project, Solid State Logic at Slim’s, and they are also a good, tight, innovative band. I hope they find a sustaning audience! Their debut CD is now available (Jay’s 3d from left in the picture) ! I need to get it….

I don’t need no stinkin’ iPod nor iTunes

I listen to a fair amount of music on a daily basis — being a geek, I’m stuck at the keyboard most of every workday, and I learned way back in high school that I work best with some music on, one way or another. So I joined the digital music revolution a few recent years back (other than starting to use CDs rather than vinyl LPs back in 1986) when I was having trouble getting streaming FM-stations to consistently work properly at the various odd locations I was finding myself working from at the time. I began ripping my CDs to .mp3 files and storing them on my lapstation’s hard disk, and playing them through my noise-cancelling headphones while working, whereever I was (as long as I wasn’t in a face-to-face meeting). Soon, I’d filled up my lapstation’s disk and was buying a second hard disk drive (modular bays are wonderful).

So, over time, I’ve evolved this approach to digital music:

  • I’ve ripped my entire CD collection onto my lapstation’s “music-only” (secondary) hard disk (~10,000 tunes presently). This consumed about 60GB of disk (I’ve recently upgraded my “music-only” disk to a 120GB one, so I have room to grow).
  • I don’t “buy” individual tracks or collections of tracks online. Rather, I buy secondhand/used CDs almost exclusively and rip them to .mp3 files. I do this because..
    • I want the entire package of artwork, liner notes, credits, etc.
    • The CDs themselves serve as my ultimate backup media.
    • My ripped .mp3 tracks are unencumbered with DRM nonsense.
    • I can easily burn .mp3 CDs for my in-dash auto CD player which can play them. I can get 100+ tracks (of “fat” high-quality .mp3 files) on average onto a 700mb CD. That’s 8..10 albums per disk, roughly. Way better than dealing with a CD changer and those huge cartridges IMHO. Plus my source CDs are safe at home.
  • I conveniently obtain used CDs at and have been very satisfied doing so. When I have the time (it’s all too seldom, sigh), I make a physical pilgrimage to San Fransco’s Amoeba Music. Overall, I try to pay less than $8 per CD, and often pay much less using either source (tax, license, delivery and dealer prep included; YMMV, however 😉 ).
  • The souce files on the CDs are in an uncompressed, lossless format (.wav). When hard disk prices come down far enough (and capacity goes up far enough, or a cheaper & better alternative emerges), I expect to someday rip them all once again in native .wav format. This isn’t in the distant future, but about years I figure offhand.
  • Rather than an iPod, I have a Treo 650 running PocketTunes and a 2GB SD card, onto which I can fit 300+ “fat” .mp3s (ripped at at least 192kbps), or probably ~500 .ogg files (“resampled” from .mp3s, still with quite good sound quality). The T650’s sound quality is perfectly fine, and having my phone converged with my PDA and my pocket .mp3 player means I need to carry around only one device for those three functions. And I’m not too worried by the relatively low capacity of the T650’s 2GB limit because I find I use it almost exclusively on airplanes, and luckily I’m not “living” on planes, although I do travel a fair bit, and I typically have my lapstation with me anyway.
  • Also, I’m expecting that solid-state memory capacities are going to rise significantly, and more devices are going to support them. Thus I don’t want to go unnecessarily introducing more hard disks with moving parts into my life. Note that one can now get in-dash auto receivers that support SD Cards. This is a way-cool development, IMHO.

In terms of overall benefits, I have nearly my entire music collection with me whenever I have my lapstation along, I can deploy my tracks to all my environments (home, car, office, mobile) simultaneously with no DRM interference, most everything is ultimately backed up on non-volatile, long-lasting media, my costs per track are relatively low, and I have the artist’s complete overall packages (artwork, notes, etc).

Eric’s 3-part suite: Manju

One of my brothers, Eric, is formally trained as a composer. He wrote, produced, performed, and recorded this 3-part suite, called “Manju”, in the 1990’s. It was originally intended as the “sound track” to a solo dance piece, but I find it stands well on its own as a listening experience. Manju is available here…

Eric Hodges’ Manju