Disco-Skiffle this Saturday at the Eagle Rock Music Festival--Pehriscope Collaborative
Although the Monolators are not playing this year's Eagle Rock Music Festival as such, Mary and I are involved in a little collaborative project for the night: Pehrspace has a stage at Swork Coffee (called the "Pehriscope Collaborative") and we were asked to put together a one-off ensemble for the night with members of other bands from the community. Our concept for the occasion: Disco-Skiffle.
Disco, well, you know what disco is. Skiffle, if you haven't heard, was the big pop music style in the UK circa the 1950's--prior to the arrival of the Beatles. The main skiffle hero was Lonnie Donegan and he took American folk songs (Woodie Guthrie, Leadbelly etc.) and did rock and roll versions of them with (mostly) acoustic instruments.
I don't think we have a name for this band--the Los Angeles Disco-Skiffle Ensemble? Kinda literal, but I can't think of anything better yet. Anyway--the idea is that we're playing disco songs and skiffle songs with instruments and arrangement styles from both genres smooshed together. Mary plays sax; I play banjo; Adam and Johnny from Seasons play standup bass and synth drums respectively; Pauline from Divisadero/Cobra Lilies plays violin; and Matthew Teardrop from Manhattan Murder Mystery plays guitar. So far we're doing "Cumberland Gap," "Jack Of Diamonds" (both skiffle standards) and, on the disco side, "Yes Sir I Can Boogie," which I gather was the highest-selling single of the entire 1970's in Europe. It is indeed a gem. If you're going to be at the ERMF please stop by Swork at around 8:30 to witness our concoction!
Last Saturday I (Eli Monolator) went down to Echo Curio to catch Karabal Nightlife and Shirley Rolls at the Echo Curio. I did not know until the end of their set that it was Lindsey's last show with KN--a sad occasion, but they put on a good show. My understanding is that Lindsey is joining C-Horse and the Karabals will continue on with a new bassist--I know we're playing with them at the Echo next month, for instance.
Anyway--when I got to the Echo Curio there was Tom and Sean (of Shirley Rolls) out on the sidewalk with Jonathan Hylander from the Voyeurs. Tom sees me and says "oh good, Eli, you're here. You're playing bass tonight." And naturally I said "I am?"
See, Jonathan Price, SR's bassist, is on tour with the Henry Clays, and neither Che (rhythm guitar) nor Ethan (keyboards) could make it that night for various reasons, so Tom and Sean were all alone, just guitar and drums. That is how I found myself picking up Lindsey's (borrowed) bass and plowing through a set of songs I have listened to and loved but never practiced or played before in my life. It was terrifying but also COMPLETELY AWESOME.
THANK GOD both Don from Don's Music and Johnny from Seasons were there to play percussion--but the real star was Tom's pal Randy, who brought along his insane homemade gigantic synthesizer, full of weird patch cords and knobs and switches and paint and about six feet long. Randy played squalling bursts of rhythmic white noise throughout, in sync with the drums, and basically covered up my endless screwups. Sometimes Tom would come over and tell me the changes before the song started, sometimes I tried to follow him by watching where he was on his guitar neck, and other times when I got lost (which was often) I just played a bunch of oddball scales under the theory that at least SOME of the notes would be on key. Still--Jonathan Hylander said I was probably on key about 80-85% of the time, and I'll certainly count that as a success. It was one of the best times I've ever had playing music and generally completely glorious. I hope I can sit in with the Rolls sometime again, maybe I'll even get to the point of learning the songs beforehand.
Any pictures from the show? I'd love to see them. This one showed up on LA Underground--that's Johnny Season's bleeding hand from the set:
I was just poking around Mike Watt's site and saw a picture of him with John Talley-Jones of the Urinals at Mr. T's circa 2006. It must have been taken right by Arlo's board--if you look in the upper left-hand corner of the photo you can see an old Monolators sticker on the wall. Of course that wall is gone now. Dammit.
Our last show for September and, likely, the last "normal" Monolators show here in-town for a few months. We will play a couple of shows in October but, for various strange reasons, they are all cover shows. We are concentrating our energies on out-of-town shows for the time being so if any Los Angelinos want to see us play our own material, this is it. Plus, good lineup! L'Keg, if you've never been there, is on the same block as Pehrspace, just around the corner. $5 and all ages. Map here.
LA Underground just posted this video--it's our cover of "Perfume" by Birth! from Monday's duos night at Pehrspace. A thousand pardons to Doug for screwing up his lyrics, but there you are--it was still super fun:
A long long time ago (circa 2005-2006) the Monolators was just a duo, Mary and Eli. Since then we've gone through a lot of changes and expanded to a trio, then a quartet, and finally a quintet. We haven't revisited the duo format--UNTIL TONIGHT. Tooooniiiiigggghhhhttttt!
Tonight we play Sean Carnage presents at Pehrspace, roughly at 11-ish. ALL of the bands on the bill are duos! All are MIND-BLOWINGLY AWESOME. I am super excited about this show! We are going to attempt a cover version of one of our fellow Sean Carnage bands' songs and I promise it will be unlike anything we have previously attempted.
$5! All ages! Not sure when we're going to do a duo set again, so this might be yer only chance!
Cobra Lilies on Demolisten--Monolators at HLP Legion Hall
A little reminder that Cobra Lilies will invade KXLU Demolisten tonight to play a live set--show starts at 6pm and we will most likely play at around 7-ish. Probably the best way to witness this is via live video at Demolisten's Stickam stream.
Then tonight at 9pm Monolators play the Highland Park American Legion Hall with Seasons and Wait. Think. Fast. We play at 11pm, NOT MIDNIGHT. There is NO Midnight band tonight, so if you come at Midnight you will out of luck buster! $5! A map to the legion hall is here, it's just a couple of blocks down from Mr. T's Bowl.
And then of course tomorrow night is the Cobra Lilies record release and fashion show at the very same venue, also $5, and you best be there sweetlips! Or else you're gonna miss a spectacle and a half. Of some kind.
We have an overloaded weekend of sheer madness coming up--take a look at this:
1. This Friday (the 18th) Cobra Lilies play a live set on Demolisten. You should listen!
2. Immediately after that Mary and I are heading over to the Highland Park American Legion Hall to play a Monolators show with Seasons and Wait. Think. Fast! Only three bands, so not too late! Order is:
9PM Seasons 10PM W.T.F. 11PM Monolators!
3. The very next night, that is, Saturday, it's the Cobra Lilies EP release show and Fashion Show at the...you guessed it, Highland Park American Legion Hall! This one is with Amanda Jo Williams, Tommy Santee Klaws, and Moses Campbell! I repeat, there is a FASHION SHOW as part of the bill with all the outfits made by hand by Cobra Lilies! Again, starts at 9, Cobra Lilies goes on at 11!
4. And then on Monday Mary and I are playing Sean Carnage's night at Pehrspace...as a duo! Just the two of us, we can make it if we try. It's been a long long time since we've played in duo format and we are excited. We have surprises! We are going to play the song this blog is named for--which we haven't played for, what? 5 years? 6? Not sure. We have other surprises too! All of the bands playing that night are duos: Captain Ahab, Odd Modern, Basses Loaded (a Kyle Mabson production) and ourselves.
Last Thursday took us up to Fresno and back in the same night. Played a good set with Rademacher, which is down to a three-piece. It is distressing to see one of my favorite bands lose members--I miss Greer and (especially) Brad. BUT--Mike is an excellent bassist, he can do a fine job of singing and playing bass at the same time, not always an easy feat, and their new guitarist, Jonathan (I think?) is superb. Eli (not me, Eli Rademacher) is the key. I repeat, he is the key. He is one of my favorite drummers and human beings on Earth, and he is back, which I am thankful for. Seeing this version of Rademacher--it's different, feels quite different, but they will be fine. I was gonna say something stupid like: Rademacher is a bird with a broken wing, but still flies, flies, flies, but that's (a) sappy gross and (b) not really what I was trying to say, so forget it. Rademacher is still great. Mary and I agree how much we miss going out of town and we think we are going to try to play more out-of-town shows per month than in if we can manage it.
Sunday--Little Radio Summer Camp. We've never done this before. The lineup with Happy Hollows and Henry Clay People was wonderful. Happy Hollows was a joy to see again! A joy! I love them. Henry Clay People--can I say this? I love HCP. I love their songs. I wanted to hear more of their songs, I just heard three (?) among the covers. I hope I do offend when I say, Henry Clay People, please: I don't get to hear your songs much any more since you go on tour so much! Please play them!
Another thought: uncovered black stage in middle of parking lot at 2pm on a cloudless Los Angeles summer day. It was 8 billion degrees and I thought I was going to die. Die. Die. I have no idea what the show was like because I was barely able to move, sing, or play. I had a moment during "Train" where I got the tunnel-closing-in-on-me, I-am-about-to-pass-out sensation. I turned around to Mary and said "I'm gonna fall down!" and she just laughed. LAUGHED! These drummers, I tell ya.
We are taking a little jaunt up to Fresno to play with our dear pals Rademacher at ye olde Tokyo Gardens. Ah, Tokyo Gardens. According to this blog it is the oldest Japanese restaurant in the United States. Is this possibly true? In Fresno? I have no idea. I think it IS probably safe to say that it is the Fresno equivalent of Mr. T's, and that's good enough for us. ANYWAY--this should be a great show. It starts at 9-ish and I'm afraid I don't know when we go on yet--in front of Rademacher I hope? We'll see. We've got to drive back to LA the same night...THAT'S always fun fun fun.
Le Rademacher in an older guise/incarnation.
We have been asked to play Little Radio Summer Camp this Sunday with The Henry Clays. It's been a long time since we've played with those People and we've never played the Summer Camp, so that would be kinda neat. I have neither details nor confirmation at this point, but yea, if it should so pan out, I shall let you all know.
Wonderful pictures from our last Spaceland gig via Charlie Chu. Sadly they are not repostable (that "spaceball" thing again) so you will have to take my word for it and visit them in their natural setting here.