On Matters Rock and Roll

Yes, Lindi, I’m excited about tonight’s gig

It may not be the release party of my debut CD, but I’m still excited.

If you’re in the Toronto area and you’re looking to hear some really good live music tonight, drop by B-Side (corner of Peter and Richmond Streets, above Fez Batik) and check out Lindi. She’s got beautiful and unusual songs, and one hell of an accordion player backing her up to boot! Neil Leyton will be the opening act, after which he’ll join Lindi and the rest of us as we play songs off her new album, The Taste of Forbidden Fruit. Tickets are $10; if you pay $15, they’ll throw in the CD (the CD sells for $15, so think of it as buying the CD and then getting into the show for free).

Turn the other cheek, you second-rate Pearl Jam-wannabe Bible-thumping poseurs

Last Sunday, at their concert in Cleveland, lame-o Jesus rock band Creed barred Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic John Soeder from reviewing the show. Apparently the band’s publicist was so miffed at a bad review that another Plain Dealer critic wrote for Weathered, their latest album the band has attempted to inflict upon the public. I doubt that the review did them much harm; after all, it spent eight weeks at the number one position on the American rock charts.

Soeder tried to review the show by listening against one of the stadium doors using a plastic cup. In spite of the inconvenience, he still manages to find a silver lining:

I will say Creed was easier to stomach with several muffling layers of steel and stone between us. At least I didn’t suffer from direct exposure to the plodding rhythms of drummer Scott Phillips, the hand-me-down grunge riffs of guitarist Mark Tremonti or Stapp’s prosaic lyrics, often steeped in us-against-them paranoia.

Proof again that the problem isn’t God; it’s Her fans.

Just as bad as the scum at the record companies and the RIAA

A twerpish company with a twerpish product. I don’t feel like expending energy on writing about them (besides, I have Peek-A-Booty stuff to work on), so check out this (a summary in bOINGbOING) and this (a message from one of the coolest lawyers in the world, Fred von Lohmann).

“Unfinished Business” Week, Part 6

Any requests?

I’ve been meanng to expand my accordion repertoire for some time. If you think there are some songs that I should learn how to play on the accordion — and remember that I specilaize in the rock/pop genres — please let me know! The folks at Threadz want me to learn some Sublime, Ollie wants me to learn Guns of Brixton by The Clash and I’m thinking of learning Cake’s Short Skirt Long Jacket and their cover of I Will Survive.

Any other suggestions?


“Unfinished Business” Week, Part 5

Updated “About” Page

The first of many updates to this site. I’ve added a photo gallery sidebar to the “about” page so you can see what a naked man playing accordion looks like.

Go ahead. Click the link. You know you want to…


Here are some things that I’ve been meaning to say to various people in my life. I will, for the sake of their privacy, not say which thing is for which person. You (and they) will have to figure out that part.

  • Bitch, where’s my money?

  • It was good seeing you again. It’s been too long.

  • Wear looser underwear, man. You’ll feel better.

  • Have you ever been serenaded before? Would you like to be?

  • You fucked up again. Three strikes – you’re out. And judging by what you’re up to, the remainder of your life will be a series of fuck-ups. Stay the hell away from me.

  • Looking forward to the big event, and thanks for mentioning me!

  • Your greatest contribution to the world is providing plants with valuable carbon dioxide.

  • You don’t know what you’re missing…

  • That stuff will eventually melt your brain.

  • Stop being such a doormat!

  • I believe in you. Why don’t you?

  • I know you fear it, but it’s coming for you. And I’m going to watch and laugh.

  • You’re a backstabbing weasel, and I’ve seen your stuff. It’s crap.

  • I should’ve lured you away from your loser boyfriend.

  • No matter what happened, we’ve always persevered, haven’t we? Oh yeah: fuck the new ending.

  • Thanks for all the great opportunities. Here’s to your newest one!

  • I’ll call soon.

  • And you thought I’d never amount to anything. Drop dead, bitch.

  • Wait. Just wait. And watch.

  • You’re going to grow up to be a fine young man if I have anything to do with it.

  • Undressing in front of me was just plain cruel.

  • She had more fun with me.

  • Yeah, I think I look better with blond hair than purple, too.

  • Glad to see you’re back on the meds.

  • I know, I should’ve said something.

  • How ’bout I go interrupt your work and slap the dick out of your mouth?

  • Did I happen to mention that I can cook, too?

  • Thank you. For everything.

Soon to be off the list

Just checked the Blogger page, and saw this:

With the next addition to the list, The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century gets pushed off. It’s been a nice stay month-and-a-half stay on the “Blogs of Note” list, and I’d like to thank Evan for putting me there as well as everyone who’s been reading (and I know you’ve been reading; I’ve been checking the stats on my web server!).


“Unfinished Business” Week, Part 4

Square Footage, Part 3

(This is a continuation of the story covered in Square Footage, parts one and two.)

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I referred to four places as “the office” in 2001. The best of these offices was 81 Langton, in San Francisco’s SOMA area.

The company for whom I used to work leased half of the thrid floor of a warehouse in the grungy area near 16th and Potrero. Aside from the expense of paying for a space large enough to hold two simultaneous basketball games and still have enough room for the four of us to work in, the building had other downsides. First, the company off whom we were subletting the space refused to let us share their network closet; their webmaster said that it was a security risk. We ended up spending thousands of dollars building our own network closet because some idiot dot-com was too greedy to share. We also had problems that came up because of the construction that was being done to bring the building up to San Francisco’s earthquake code. There was continuous drilling and jackhammering noise, as well as great clouds of dust. We had to leave the office unlocked to allow the construction workers to enter the office; this resulted in someone sneaking in one night and helping themselves to a couple of new laptop computers. When the landlord announced that they were going to install a brand new set of stairs for the building, we decided that it was time to leave; we didn’t want to have to put up with another six months of construction.

Michelle. our tireless general manager, found a new office in very short order. Two weeks after moving to San Francisco and getting settled into the new office, my stuff was packed and I was getting settled in a newer, nicer office. Check out these photos:

This is a view from the loft, which acted as our meeting room. Below, you can see my desk near the left, Cory’s desk near the window, Michelle’s desk to the right, and the gas heater disguised as a wood-burning stove between Cory’s and Michelle’s desks.

Another view from the loft, showing the staircase, meeting room area and front door.

The work area as seen from office manager Amy’s desk. That’s my desk peeking out from the left, Cory’s semi-deflated Mickey Mouse chair by the pillar, Cory’s desk by the window and Michelle’s deskt to the right.

Ahhh, the kitchen. Stainless steel appliances, glazed concrete counters, and stocked by Webvan. That’s a gas stove, too! Nigella would’ve been impressed.

My desk and Leap chair. I later covered up the wall behind me with posters, photos and postcards in a giant collage. The window offered a view right into the downstairs neighbour’s shower.

This was a much better office than the warehouse; in fact, it was the best office I’d ever worked in. It was a mere 15-minute bike ride from home, close to a couple of good places to eat and a bright sunny place in which to work. I was having a blast working there and tore into my work, a good chunk of which was getting ready to represent the company at the O’Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference in February of that year.

I remember settling into my chair and saying “Yup, I’m really going to like it here.”

Four months later, I was relocated back to Toronto.

Next: San Francisco, you and I have some unfinished business.


What Video Game Character Are You? I am Pacman.I am Pacman.

I am an aggressive sort of personality, out to get what I can, when I can. I prefer to avoid confrontation, but sometimes when it’s called for, I can be a powerful character. I tend to be afflicted with munchies constantly. What Video Game Character Are You?

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me


The VH-1 Photo Shoot

Last Sunday was sunny with spring-like temperatures, so I decided to do go out for a walk. I took the accordion with me and slung it on my back, just in case I decided to do some busking.

I was listening to CDs at the Queen Street HMV, when I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see two guys with large camera bags.

“I’m Mike, and this is Krush,” said one of them, holding up a VH-1 ID card. “We’re here taking stills for a documentary of people who are really into their music, and you look like one of them. Mind if we take some photos?”

“Not at all,” I replied, “but the clothes stay on.”

They got a picture or two of me at the CD listening bar checking out the new Nine Inch Nails live album. About five minutes later, I was busking on Queen Street, with Mike and Krush taking pictures of me. The commotion attracted a couple of curious onlookers as well as my friends Dera and Marshall, who were out shopping, heard the accordion and knew that only one person could be behind the noise. Once the shoot was done, I signed the release forms (pointing to Dera, I told the VH-1 guys “be careful, I have a lawyer here…”). Mike threw a fiver into my hat.

I decided to join Dera and Marshall on their stroll westward down Queen Street, chatting and checking out the many new places that had popped up over the past year. After the stroll, I returned to Threadz (a skater clothing shop) to play a couple of numbers that the staff had requested. On my way out, I gave the fiver Mike had given me to a high-school age girl huddled in sleeping blankets in an alcove.

The B-Side Gig (Thursday, January 31st)

It would be very uncharacteristic of this blog (and of me) not to include the gratuitous “cute girl” shot. So here it is:

That’s Lindi, whose party celebrating the release of her debut CD, The Taste of Forbidden Fruit, takes place this Thursday at B-Side in Toronto (Richmond and Peter Streets, above Fez Batik). Her music style is folksy, with Spanish chord stylings and an Edith Piaf feel. Unlike most people writing songs in the pop idiom, she tends towards waltzes with a French feel to them, which tend to set her songs apart from what you’ll hear from your garden variety singer-songwriter. I’ll be there playing my not-often-seen “club” accordion (as opposed to my very-often-seen “street” accordion); the “club” accordion has nicer reeds and a very Parisian sound.

If you’re in the Toronto area, please come and see the show. Tickets are $10, but if you pay $15, they’ll throw in the CD. Since the CD sells for $15, the cost of admission to the party is effectively free if you buy it. Neil Leyton will be the opening act, after which he will play guitar with Lindi, me, and the rest of her band.

Eclipse (Groundhog Day)

Last Saturday I got a phone call that started with the other person saying:

“Uh…is this the accordion guy?”

(Maybe I should get my phone number listed as “Accordion Guy”.)

It turned out to be a woman I met at the last Kick Ass Karaoke at the Bovine Sex Club. She organizes a night at Eclipse (College and Dovercourt) where musicians get together to jam and improvise. “Think of it as a licensed living room, she said, which I liked. “Musicians get free drinks and food,” she followed, which I liked even more. So I’m going to be there this Saturday, after which I think I’ll do some busking outside Amato’s, if it’s not too cold out.

Hangin’ with the neighbours

I was getting something from the car last Saturday night when I passed by the house two doors down from mine. Its occupants were smoking on the porch, and one of them called to me.

“Hey, Accordion Guy. Got a moment?”

It was Darren, whom I’d met after the second Chicks Dig It night. He asked if I had a little time to spare, which I did, so he invited in to check out the rehearsal space he’d made in his basement. I brought my accordion over and we jammed, playing some Beatles, Zappa, Captain Beefheart, twelve-bar blues, Clash, Presidents of the United States of America and I forget what else. His roommate — I forget her name — asked me if I could give her accordion lessons, and I told her she should come over for one of our movie nights, during which I could give her some pointers.

I mentioned the Lindi and Eclipse gigs to Darren and his housemate, and they sounded interested. Darren told me that any time I wanted someone to jam with, I should come over.

Neighbours to jam with. Cool.

More Lindi gigs (February and June)

I got a phone call from Lindi today, asking me if I would like to back her up on Wednesday, February 20th at Healey’s (blues guitarist Jeff Healey’s bar, Bathurst and Queen, right beside the Paddock). I said “yes,” after which she asked if I would like to back her up for her North By Northeast gig in June, to which I also replied “yes”. She then asked if I would come into the studio with her and lay down some accordion tracks for her new songs, to which I again replied “yes.”

I’m such a skanky accordion slut.

Recommended viewing/listening

There’s a Lindi/Neil Leyton video interview at Umbrella Music’s site (they promote Canadian music). You’ll need Windows Media Player to view it, and you can see it in either high-bandwidth or low-bandwidth format. She makes special mention that she’s got an accordion player!

You can hear samples MP3s of Lindi’s songs. Check out Misery My Love, Nothing At All and Sweet Jezebel.

Ann Gunkel’s Accordion Page. Check out how she got into accordion playing and her essay on the radical political history of the accordion.


“Unfinished Business” Week, Part 3

Busy, busy, busy (or, More recommended reading)

…which means I can’t get some proper blogging done until later. However, there are a number of links I haven’t gotten around to posting. Unlike my usual practice, which is to provide a set of links that match the theme of a posting, these links have nothing to do with each other or some larger topic of discussion. Unless you count the fact that I’ve been sitting on these links.