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"

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!

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

Squeezin’ at the Society of the Secret Pickle

Photo by Jennifer Brown.

I did a fair bit of work massaging some presentations and software demos into shape last weekend, but there was also some downtime. The Ginger Ninja and I enjoyed dinner with the Accordion City foodie group/dinner club known as the Society of the Secret Pickle. The photo above shows me playing Happy Birthday to Pat, one of the guests at the event.

imagePhoto by Pat.

I’ll write more about the Society of the Secret Pickle and the lovely food we had later, but in the meantime, you might want to check out:

imagePhoto by Pat.

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Skates Like Teen Spirit

For your Monday entertainment: Scott Williams figure skating to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. This guy would’ve been a hero at Clark Hall Pub during my DJ years.

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Dolph Lundgren Performing “A Little Less Conversation”

Yes, that Dolph Lundgren – the guy who played “Ivan Drago” in Rocky IV and the cyborg preacher in Johnny Mnemonic. Here he is, bringing the house down with the long-underappreciated Elvis single as part of his co-hosting duties for Melodifestivalen, the event where the Swedish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest is chosen. He doesn’t just sing, he also dances, plays the drums, does some martial arts and rocks the black tie look:


R.I.P. Pauly Fuemana

pauly fuemana

How could I not like OMC’s one hit, How Bizarre? It’s a catchy little pop tune penned by a Pacific Islander that features the accordion (the credits say that Hershal Herscher played it) prominently. Although it has a happy “Pacific Rim pop” sound with its C-G-F chord progression, its bounciness belies its subject matter: gang life and trouble with the cops, New Zealand style. It’s a gangsta campfire song!

Released in New Zealand in 1995, it went triple platinum there, an achievement that Wikipedia says had not been surpassed as of 2005. In 1996 it found its way into the Australian, British and Canadian charts and even did well in the U.S., despite its being released for radio airplay only and not as a commercially-available single. How Bizarre sold nearly 4 million records between 1995 and 2000, making it the best-selling one ever to be recorded and released by a Kiwi band. (Somewhere, the guys from Split Enz are fuming.)

Pauly Fuemana, the lead singer of OMC, died on Sunday shortly before his 41st birthday. For making an infectious tune with accordion that was a party standard during some of my partiest years, I pay tribute to him. Requiescat in pace, Pauly.

Here’s the video for How Bizarre:

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

“Born to Be Wild”: Jammin’ with the Band at The Lower Deck, Halifax

No visit to Halifax is complete without a stop to the Lower Deck pub for a pint (or five), and no rock band is complete without an accordion. A fortunate combination of the two came about when I went to Halifax to help run TechDays there in early November, and it resulted in the performance recorded in the video above, in which I joined the band for a rousing and drunken version of Steppenwolf’s classic, Born to Be Wild. Let this be a reminder to you: the accordion is not just a machine that creates music; it also creates serendipity.

Oddly enough, the band had never played the number before, but that never deterred them from doing so in front of an audience, and they played it as if it were a well-established part of their repertoire. This is not the first time that this has happened either – the Zaitchik Brothers, the band at our wedding reception, had also never played Born to Be Wild before, but we brought the house down. I’ll have to post a video of that one sometime.

I think that there’s something so basic, so primal, so inherently rock-and-roll-y in Born to Be Wild that it’s encoded into the genetic memory of rock musicians and hence they can play it on command without having rehearsed it.