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Music Play

Straight Outta Fountain

Titled as found:

Soda dispensing machine with a picture of Ice Cube on the ice dispenser

“It was a good day / Nobody watered down my Minute Maid…”

(Don’t get it? This might help.)

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Accordion, Instrument of the Gods Geek It Happened to Me Music Play Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

Joey deVilla playing "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" on accordion at Loser Karaoke

One of the songs in my MP3 collection that’s on heavy rotation is Cage the Elephant’s Beck-ish, slide-guitar southern-rock-y ode to “doin’ what you gotta”, Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. It practically begs for an accordion version, so I’m learning it in order to add it to my repertoire, which could stand a little refreshing.

Joey deVilla playing "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" on accordion at Loser Karaoke with Jason Rolland in the background

While I haven’t learned the song well enough to perform it unaccompanied, I’ve had just enough practice to do it as an accordion karaoke number, which I did at last week’s Loser Karaoke. Loser Karaoke is a regular Thursday night event at Tequila Sunrise where having a good time trumps singing ability. It helps that Jason Rolland is an entertaining karaoke host. As an added bonus, it’s where a lot of the people from Accordion City’s high-tech, startup, social media entrepreneur scene come to cut loose. For more on Loser Karaoke, check out their Facebook page.

I should feel ashamed to say this, but a decade’s worth of public accordion playing has attenuated my ability to feel shame: the reason I know about Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked isn’t because I’m dialed into the alt-rock music scene. Thanks to middle age, I used to be with it, but they’ve since changed what “it” was. I know about the song because of…well, a video game. Namely, Borderlands, which uses the song in its intro sequence:

For the curious (and the fans), here’s Cage the Elephant’s official video for Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. Enjoy!

Categories
Accordion, Instrument of the Gods Music

Inside a Russian Accordion Factory

Close-up of accordion bellows and a detailed paint job featuring the image of a well-dressed bearded man.

John Bristowe pointed me to an article in English Russia featuring photos from a visit to a Russian accordion factory in Tula, a city known for a type of bisonoric button accordion (with bisonoric accordions, the buttons play different notes depending on whether you’re expanding or contracting the bellows) named after the city.

Woman assembling an accordion in a room full of them

“This musical instrument is undoubtedly one of the most popular nowadays,” goes the article. “First accordions appeared in Russia in the beginning of the 19th century, and thanks to original sounding and visual appeal, they soon became rather popular. Number of accordion masters has grown so much that their making became number two in Tula.”

Close-up of the treble buttons and grill on a red Tula accordion

The accordions that this factory makes are gorgeous, as are the photos in the article. If you’ve ever wondered how accordions are made, check out the article!

Woman applying glue to an accordion's bellows

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Music Play

Everybody Sing!

When the moon / Hits your eye / Like a big pizza pie / That's **A MORAY**

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Life Music

Michael and Stevie, Lookin’ Very Cool

micheal jackson and stevie wonder

This is a great pic of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder in the studio, presumably sometime around when the Jackson 5 sang backup on Stevie’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’, an underappreciated tune these days (it’s also an angry criticism of Richard Nixon, as well as one that the Teabaggers are trying to co-opt in their insane anti-Obama campaign) despite the fact that it’s quite good and his tenth number one hit on the Billboard Top 100.

It’s a testament to fashion’s cyclical nature that both their outfits wouldn’t look terribly out of place in 2010. I’ve worn something a lot like Michael’s outfit recently – at a Microsoft conference, no less! – and Stevie’s rockin’ a look that Snoop Dogg would feel at home in.

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Life Music

Also Known as the Ten Commandments of High School

Photocopied list: "The Ten Commandments of Rock and Roll - 1. Suck up to the top cats / 2. Do not express independent opinions / 3. Do not work for common interest, only factional interests / 4. If there's nothing to complain about, dig up some old gripe / 5. Do not respect property or persons other than band property or persons / 6. Make devastating judgements on persons and situations without adequate information / 7. Discourage and confound personal, technical or creative projects / 8. Single out absent persons for intense criticism / 9. Remember that anything you don't understand is trying to fuck with you / 10. Destroy yourself physically and morally and insist that all true brothers do likewise as an expression of unity"

A reader named Simon sent this photo to Boing Boing, saying that he took this picture of the Ten Commandments of Rock and Roll while visiting an old roadie’s house, as he regaled him with stories of working with The Who and Iron Maiden.

They could just as easily be the Ten Commandments of High School. Or the Ten Commandments of the Working World, since the working world is often like high school, just with more money.

I much prefer Henry Rollins’ rules for live rock musicians:

"Listen to the stage manager and get onstage when they tell you to. No one has the time for your rock star bullshit. None of the techs backstage care if you're David Bowie or the milkman. / When you act like a jerk, they are completely unimpressed with the infantile display that you might think comes with your dubious status. / They were there hours before you, building the stage, and they will be there hours after you leave, tearing it down. They should get your salary, and you should get theirs. -- Henry Rollins"

Categories
Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music

Las Vegas Travel Diary: Playing Accordion at Cabo Wabo

Once upon a time, the great Van Halen were known for producing some really fun rock and roll. As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t been the same band since David Lee Roth left and Sammy Hagar took over as lead vocalist, and since Eddie Van Halen’s transformation from gifted guitarist and synth player into incoherent alcoholic with a penchant for Smoking Loon wine (which is pretty decent, if consumed in moderation).

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

These days, the Van Halen guys are probably better known for their food-related side projects. Michael Anthony has a line of hot sauces and Sammy Hagar has a couple of nightclub/restaurants bearing the name Cabo Wabo, the newest one of which opened in Las Vegas in November.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

While in Vegas last week to attend the MIX10 conference, my coworkers and I dropped last Sunday to get some food and tequila:

Jamie Wakeam, Paul Laberga and Mark Arteaga

We ended up catching (and joining) the band 3 Digit IQ, who do a weekly live karaoke night there.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

Naturally, I had my accordion with me, and you’ve probably already guessed what happened.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

The video at the top of this article shows me doing a couple of numbers with them – I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones and Ritchie Valens’ hit, La Bamba – and the photos show some of the fun we had.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna and Jason from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

I wasn’t the only one with an accordion; their keyboard player, Botielus, had his accordion with him, and we had a great time jamming.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Jason and Botielus from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

We stayed a bit longer than we’d planned to because people who join the band get free tequila (Sammy Hagar’s own brand, Cabo Wabo, which is pretty smooth stuff). Apparently people who bring accordions get free tequila for their whole table, and well, the night gets a little bit fuzzy from there. Rest assured, the local constabulary did not get involved.

Joey deVilla playing accordion with Dayna, Jason and Botielus from 3 Digit IQ at Cabo Wabo Vegas

My thanks to 3 Digit IQ and Cabo Wabo for the fun!