Tuesday, September 28, 2010


At UT today, apparently a local 19 year old who attends classes went berserko and stormed campus wearing all black with an AK-47. CHL holders who work, attend college or teach should be allowed to carry on campus. It's happened other places, and now at "THE" University in Texas.

Here's some links if you live in a cave:


Here's the front page to the Statesman with some links (today) to articles about this horrible event.


Discussing this with a co-worker today, she felt it's an epidemic and that once such an event like Columbine occurred, it'll never stop happening. And she's right. It's happened all over the nation, in colleges and workplaces.

You are responsible for your own safety. You will not have a warning when you may need to defend your life against someone like this shooter. When it's you or him, are you gonna let him make the decision as to who lives and dies, or do you want some input in that decision?

Monday, September 27, 2010


I believe in both concepts of buying local products (including food) and eating local food whenever possible. In my community, and probably in yours, there are co-ops and other type deals where you can get local fresh produce delivered to your home regularly for a reasonable price. You get whatever is in season, so it's pot luck in that regard, but some of the co-ops in my area offer some pretty nice produce most of the year.

And yes, it generally beats the hell outta even the good produce at high end grocery stores like Whole Foods in both better taste and lower prices.

My good friends Bradley and Ellen have begun farming and making various farm supplies and produces and I suspect some publications and writings will be coming forth soon. They're up in Washington state, although Bradley's a native Texan.

Here's their website right 'chere and I suspect it will do some growing as they get it going.


On these web pages, they have the beginnings of their store and some other products that they sell. The produce they sell locally. I already tried to buy some produce from them, and dear friend Bradley told me that the whole idea behind his operation was grow local, sell local and eat local, and shipping food sort of defeated the whole process.



I don't know exactly what will be developing on their site, but perhaps Bradley or Ellen or even Ray the cat could leave a comment about what they'll be doing on their site. I plan to extend the opportunity to Ray to guest blog post here sometime in the future, and I have no doubt that something profound will come from his musings.
Ray already has an online presence, and here's a sample of his early efforts:
In any event, I'll be buying me a Samish shirt and a hat, just because Bradley has always been such a mentor and friend to me and because those items will help me vibe on getting my own setup like he and Ellen have up yonder in Washington.

I've known Bradley for the better part of two decades. Know him well, and got to know his lovely wife Ellen as well. They are both as good as gold. They're the kind of people you want as neighbors, as co-workers, as friends and as the people you do business with.

Since I know them both personally and very well, I can say that they are absolutely trustworthy folks and folks that are worthy of your business. I can tell you that you won't have any problems dealing with them and that whatever product or information you may receive will be top quality.

A friend of mine named Cowboy has a theory that goes like this. Cowboy says that in order for someone to be his friend, his truly dear friend, they have to be the kind of people that if you were hanging by a rope off of a cliff, dangling with your life in danger, that they'd be the folks you'd want on the other end of that rope, trying to save your life, that wouldn't give up no matter what.

That's the kind of folks Bradley and Ellen are, and I don't render such opinions lightly. In fact, they both deserve the great life they are living right now that it's just blessed to see them having the opportunity to do so.

So for what it's worth, if you're into growing your own food or thinking about it, their website will be a great place to go and source of information. Bradley doesn't do anything half-ass, trust me on that. I know he'll have some great opinions and educational information about growing different types of God's gift to us. He's a smart man, and like every smart man, he's got a smarter woman behind him.

I'm very interested with the life that he and Ellen are living and Mrs. El Fishing Musician and I are quite envious of them. It gives us hope that one day we can escape the rat race and do things a bit differently and be a lot more in touch with nature. We've escaped the rat race a bit the past few years, but yearn for living in a truly wonderous and beautiful place like the area where Bradley and Ellen are now. Good for you, B&E!
Oh, and I snarfed both images from various Samish Heirlooms Farm pages I found googling, so I hope Bradley and Ellen are not offended that I lifted some images to promote their site. And yes, in the top photo that is Ray hisself leaping over lettuce in his Jack Bauer imitation, making sure that quality control is being upheld. And making sure that our government and way of life are not threatened by any evildoers, both foreign and domestic. The other photo is of some rare variety of tomato Bradley grows.
I'm not a big cat person, but even a fool can tell you that Ray is cool.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Back in the eighties, I was constantly on the quest for new music, new sounds, new ways of playing rock and other genres.

One great band I stumbled across was Royal Crescent Mob, at a gig at a long gone Houston club called Chelsea's 804. It was on Chelsea St, and the address was 804. Worked well as a name, and they had a lot of local and regional original acts as well as touring acts on their way up like the RCM, working the circuit.

The RCM just rocked, and their cover of the Ohio Players "Fire" was both entertaining and rocking. Chealsea's was a small space, a converted large house really, so I got to see them up close and personal. When playing "FIRE", instead of using recorded or synth made sirens, the band simply made exaggerated siren sounds vocally. It was a hoot and it rocked as well.

I couldn't find their album to buy in Houston and I recall having to buy it in LA and bring it home.

Here's a short wiki page on them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Crescent_Mob

Royal Crescent Mob was a four-person punk-funk band from Columbus, Ohio formed in 1985. Also known to their fans as the R.C. Mob the band members included "Brian (B)Emch" (guitar), David Ellison (vocals, harmonica), Harold "Happy" Chichester (bass, vocals) and Carlton Smith (drums). The band released five albums of material and one ep in their nine year career. Two of these albums were released on Sire, a Warner Brothers Records subsidiary. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the band gained some national exposure by opening up for other major artists such as The Replacements, The B-52's, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Smith would also record several tracks with
24-7 Spyz for their 1996 Heavy Metal Soul By The Pound album. Chichester went on to form Howlin' Maggie, worked with the Afghan Whigs, was a founding member of the Twilight Singers and is currently pursuing a solo career. Ellison has gone on to tour managing such artists as Alanis Morissette, Indigo Girls, Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne, and Panic at the Disco.

Like a lot of original music clubs in Houston, Chelsea's had been "retro-fitted" with A/C, and decent air conditioning was always an iffy deal in these clubs in lower rent buildings. So it was hot as always, but the band was definately a crowd pleaser in Houston that night.

Anyway, I suspect you can find this album somewheres on CD or some itunes deal. I never heard the bands other albums, but this one was one of the "every song is good" albums. They are somewhere between a combination of Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other funk groups that have some sort of occasionally punky edge to them with some ska thrown in for good measure.

Some of my favorite cuts include the aforementioned FIRE and the tune TWO SISTERS.



I've always been a fan of Santana. From the first time I heard him on the radio as a single digit aged child, there was something about his music that captivated and really moved me. There is a lot of soul in the guitar playing of Carlos Santana as well as the soul in his bandmates.

I was already a rock and roll junkie at a single digit age, and when Santana came onto the scene about the time of Woodstock, there was lots of radio play. Iwas about to start taking drum lessons, and already had sticks and a practice pad and was doing the basic beginning exercises. So the percussion heavy music of Santana was of big interest to me.

I remember buying the first album. My mom didn't mind it so much. But soon the second album Abraxas came out, my mom wasn't crazy about the lyrics to Black Magic Woman on Santana's second album, but let me buy it nonetheless. I had gotten my first drum kit by this time, and was working hard to emulate Michael Shrieve on the drums, particularly on Soul Sacrifice and the many rock and latin rhythms contained in these albums. It was far easier at that stage of my abilities to comp with Ringo and Charlie Watts and other groove drummers.

The Woodstock performance of Santana is alone enough reason to buy the DVD. As a drummer, watching Shrieve's solo on Soul Sacrifice is at once motiviating as it is intimidating. Dang, he and the rest of the band were on FI-YA at that gig. What a gig to have on video from your early career. Just tell the grandkids and great-grandkids "Don't be thinking your grampa was some kind of old man always. I'm a cool dude." and them show them that video. They'll stfu, Carlos, and just sit in admiration of your artistry. No doubt, they'll adore you as you will them. But what an incredible legacy for them to have.

So here, in sort of chronological order, are the CD's I'm aware of from the early career of Santana. Three of these were official releases and the others have been available on the internet for some years from reputable cd companies. I might have found one or two of them on ebay, but I got them 10 or so years ago. There might even be more out now, as I bought the Legacy edition of Santana III back in 2005 and I have not looked much since then.

But if you're a Santana fan, or like me an early Santana fan, or perhaps you're discovering Santana and checking out his early stuff, then this is for you if you want to expand your ipod/cd library/etc.


This early group backing Santana delivers a great performance, recorded December of 1968. The band is composed of Carlos, Greg Rolie on Keys, David Brown on bass, Bob "Doc" Livingston on drums and Marcus Malone on congos, a smaller version of the Santana band that's about to overwhelm America. They nonetheless rock, and it's a good CD that captures a lively performance.


The double CD recording I have lists no label for these discs, but I don't think they are bootlegs. They list people's names and music publication firms as do legit albums. In any event, it's from 1969 from the same studio where the first Santana album was recorded. The insert says it is rumored to be the demo tapes that landed them the deal with their label. It rocks. They do more jamming on these two discs than they do on their commercial first release. If you are a fan of early Santana you must get this disc.

If I'm not mistaken, Neil Schon guests for a tune or two on this disc, and possibly other albums or gigs. Schon and Rollie later formed Journey. At some point in the 80's, there was a great band called HSAS, meaning Sammy Hagar, Neil Schon, Kenny Aaronson and Michael Shrieve.

SANTANA: FIRST ALBUM (1969) This 30th anny version on Columbia

Get the 30th Anniversary version with extra tunes, including 3 bonus Woodstock tracks, including Soul Sacrifice. This album captivated me with it's soul and feeling and just plain incredible playing from the first time I heard it, and it still does today. This is the version of Santana bands that I became a big fan of. The members had changed since 1968, and everyone except for Brown on bass and Rolie on organ were gone.

In their place was what I consider the "classic" lineup. Michael Shrieve on drums, Mike Carabello on congos and percussion and the INCREDIBLE Jose Chepito Areas on timbales, congos and percussion. The increased energy level is just amazing. They are young and hon-gray and jonesing to play. And their playing and the soul of their playing merging latin music and rock music is not only intense but just plain rocking.


ABRAXAS (1970)

The second commercial release from Santana, it features the same personnel as the first album, and rocks just as hard. My personal favorite tunes are And I hope you're feeling better and Incident at Neshabur, although Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Vay were solid commercial hits and quite good as well.

SANTANA III (LEGACY EDITION RE-RELEASE 2005 Original Release Date 1971)

This is the last album with the original Woodstock lineup. It's a primal album, a great album, and the Legacy re-release has two discs instead of the original's one. Some extra live and previously unreleased tunes and tracks are on this re-release, and I actually like the extra disc better than the original.

Again, the band has played together for several years at this point. After this album, some of the members are soon to all go in vastly different directions and for a time, a bunch of other excellent musicians do some albums with Santana, until Santana begins a project with John McLaughlin. But's thats another post and an excellent album as well.

I've taken many a roadtrip over the past years where I listened to the first three commercial releases of Santana in sequence, but start that trilogy off with the double cd San Mateo sessions. Heading to West or deep East Texas from Houston, it's easy to do.

It's quite a musical experience, and if you've ever got long road trip to make with a good friend who likes Santana or just by yourself, there's a certain freedom that comes with listening to what I call the Trilogy of the original band. For shorter roadtrips, I listen to the first two commercial recordings.


I thought I might have posted something about this band, and their most excellent first album from back in the seventies. I did a search and found I had not done anything about them, despite listening to their first album for over thirty years. If you like good original hard yet on the pop side of hard rock, like Bad Co., chances are that you'll like the first album of Boxer called BELOW THE BELT.

I well remember where I got my first Boxer album BELOW THE BELT. I was in Austin for a high school UIL competition and during our eating break we were browsing Dobie Mall at UT. The record store had a cut out bin, AND I found this album by Boxer, of which I had read a brief mention about in Rolling Stone, and got it for a dollar. One of the best dollars I ever spent.

Funny because at the time, the band students I was with were big jazz fusion fans, seeing themselves with far more highly developed taste and class than a mere mortal like me buying an album of some Brit band I had never heard, albeit for a buck. Might have been less than a buck back then. My drummer friends couldn't understand why the drummer in me wanted to listen to some groove drumming on a blues rock band they had never heard of.

After all, they reasoned, if THEY had not heard of a band, then undoubtedly that band was not worth listening to. In any event, I took some chiding over buying that album for some time, but I was pretty happy once it hit my turntable. I did a lot of playing my drums along with that album during high school, as their drummer had a great groove.

Some years later, in a Half Priced Book Store, I came across another LP copy of BELOW THE BELT in great shape, and snapped it up. So now I have two copies of this most excellent album, with it transferred to CD as well.

At some point in the seventies, also in a cut out bin as I recall, I bought their sophmore effort, which I didn't care for. I I think I ebay'd that second album about 10 years ago, when such things would actually sell on ebay. As I recall, it fetched a decent price, for what it was.

But back to Boxer. First of all, they were of that same Brit era of great rock and roll legend stars, just these level of guys never could hit that top tier of success it seemed. Shame, because this first album really rocked. I didn't see them live during their short tenure, but know someone credible who did, who maintains they rocked hard live and had great live chops.

Here's what Wiki says about the band...not much really...

Boxer was a rock band formed by keyboardist Mike Patto and guitarist Ollie Halsall in 1975. They signed to Virgin and three albums followed , Below the Belt (1975), Absolutely (1977) and Bloodletting (1979), which also featured Bobby Tench and Boz Burrell[1]. The band dissolved after Absolutely when Patto became ill.
The band was managed by Nigel Thomas who secured a five album deal over five years with
CBS, said to have been worth £1.2million.[2], which was never fully executed due to Patto's death on 4 March 1979. During a six year period Boxer also toured the US and Europe.

So I'd describe the music of Boxer as being in that same hard rocking yet still pop vein of Bad Company, with keyboards and often keyboard driven riffs. I had a lot of favorites on BELOW THE BELT, yet in more than 30 years of rock and blues band playing both with friends and pros, I've never been able to interest any of them in playing one meager selection from this album.

My favorites are the first four songs as listed below on the track list, with Hip Kiss being a very funky that reminds of the Red Hot Chili Pepper, but predating the Red Hots with this funky rock band tune by about 15 years or so. The Red Hots ought to do this tune.

Mike Patto, the founder and singer of the band, had a fire in his singing, at least on their first Boxer album

Here's what Wiki says about the BELOW THE BELT album and the members of Boxer:

Below the Belt (Boxer album)

Studio album by Boxer
Virgin Records, EMI
Boxer, Richard Digby-Smith
Boxer chronology
Below the Belt(1975)

Below the Belt was the debut album by Boxer, released on the Virgin label in January 1976. The album attracted less attention for its music than for its cover art.

Photographed by Alex Henderson with graphics by Richard Evans, the cover featured model Stephanie Marrian spreadeagled and naked but for a pair of shoes, with a man's arm reaching up between her legs and his boxing-gloved hand hiding her genitalia.

The back cover at first showed Stephanie in complete full-frontal nudity, but later pressings covered her up with the band's belt-styled logo. The cover was completely re-designed for the US market using the band photo from the inside of the UK gatefold cover.[1]

The lineup of this album is based around a live show quartet with keyboardist Chris Stainton brought in during the recording sessions.

Track listing, with my favorites in bold:

"Shooting Star" (Patto/Halsall)
"All the Time in the World" (Halsall)
"California Calling" (Patto/Halsall)
"Hip Kiss" (Patto/Halsall/Ellis/Newman)

"More Than Meets the Eye" (Patto)
"Waiting for a Miracle"(Halsall)
"Loony Ali" (Patto/Halsall)
"Save Me" (Patto)
"Gonna Work Out Fin" (Patto/Halsall)
"Town Drunk"(Stamp/Avery)

Keith Ellis - Bass
Ollie Halsall - Guitar and Keyboards
Tony Newman - Drums
Mike Patto - Keyboards and Vocals
Chris Stainton - Keyboards

So if you're like me, and you think that there is Blues Rock original music out there that you've never heard that could be pretty rocking, then check out Boxer's first album. You'll be glad you did.
You can go to the wiki link and see the racy UK cover. The cover of my US release albums is as shown in the picture above.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


One of my friends who is a firearms enthusiast with whom I have discussed the pimp gun concept suggests that I consider the venerable Smith and Wesson Model 42, now a "Classic".

As I wrote here at PIMP GUN, I'd like to create a nice but not gaudy snubnose to hand down the line. My friend showed me a picture of a richly blued Model 42 with gold plated grip safety, trigger, ejector rod, screws and cylinder release button. I had to admit, it did look classy and not gaudy. The only way that gun could look mo' better would be with some Ivory grips. Real Ivory grips. Preferably, well made vintage Ivory grips. And perhaps a nice grip adapter, since you have to use the standard size J frame grips with this model due to the grip safety.

The Model 42 is still being made, albeit now marketed as a classic. http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_766243_-1_757903_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y


If I could have but one fishing rig only, with which to catch some fish to eat, say in an emergency, what would it be? Of course, the fishing rig selection would vary greatly by region, depending on the type of fish being sought and the type of area being fished in, but in general a good spinning reel is going to be at or near the top of the list for most locales.

There are a few places where a fly rod might be more consistently productive than a spinning rod in the right hands, but you can use various fly fishing lures and flies with a spinning rod with the right accessories (lead shot weights and bobbers that can be filled with some water to add casting weight. Of course, a spinning rig would have no problems with downstream fishing with fly gear.

I'd probably choose the venerable Mitchell 300 spinning reel rigged with 10 lb test, if possible with a couple of extra spools, one rigged with 4 lb test and another with some 15 or 20 lb test line. I choose this reel becaue I've owned several of them for a long time, they are readily available on the used market for very reasonable prices, they are a very sturdy and reliable reel that was very well constructed when they were made in Sweden and were made of all metal.

I know how to take them apart and put them back together and fix the rare problems that have arisen with them. The only reel that has performed as well for me as the Mitchell 300 is the Shakespeare 2052, a ultra light spinning reel, and I've owned (and sold/traded) lots of reels over the years. These are two reels that I always keep coming back to. When it's fish on, you can count on these reels just like they were made by Glock.

My rod would be an American Rodsmith two piece, with a blank through grip design. It's a medium rod all the way around and is 7 and a half feet long.

This American Rodsmith spinning rod of which I speak works for everything from smallish creek and river bass and panfish to lake bass and catfish to all kinds of saltwater fishing up to and including light surf fishing. American Rodsmith rods are HQ'd in Houston, my hometown, so I like buying things made in Texas and particularly in Houston. I won my rod in an auction at a medical benefit, and it's not one of their higher end rods. But it's a great rod and very responsive in a wide variety of fishing situations.

Now, if I was able to have a second fishing rig, that'd be easy to pick too. It'd be a fly fishing rod, a number six. With a number six, you could fish everything in Texas. You could fish clear streams and creeks and rivers as well as with bass bugs and such on lakes and even all kinds of bay fishing for reds and specks. I have fished the surf with a number six fly rod, and caught fish, but trust me on this, a number nine fly rod and the heavier duty flex action it brings with it on a thicker rod is very useful in the wind and surf.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


For those of you that own the old FEG P9R (or Interarms R9 or Mauser P90), you might find this post of some use regarding replacement grips (and magazines) for the P9R.

This post is especially intended for those of you looking for some Pachmayr type grip for your P9R. Guess what? There ain't one I can find of any manufacture. I'll write more about that later, but to cut to the chase, I ended up using a rubber slip on grip, the Hogue Handall. Much coaxing and pulling was required, but after about 20 minutes it was positioned to my liking.

So the rubber slip on grip is the thing that makes the gun much more friendly to hold. It's a wide grip, holding 14 nine mm cartridges, so it was a big stretch to get the Handall onto the gun, but it does fit well.

Like when I put a slip-on rubber handgrip on my Glock Model 21, it made a thick gripped gun much more tolerable to handle, even though it was adding a wee bit of width all the way round the gun. So as with the Glock, the P9R is much more "grippy" and nice to hold. The stock walnut grips are nicely made and checkered, but are WAYYYY thick on an already thick gun frame.

I have seen some aftermarket privately made wooden grips for the P9R on various gun auction sites for very reasonable prices but I don't know if they are as thick, thicker or thinner than the stock grips, nor do I know how well made they are. But I may be ordering a pair of the ebony ones I have seen, or contacting the maker and seeing if he can make a pair of grips with some sort of rubber inlay.

My P9R was a hand me down, and looks as if someone removed the blueing from the slide, leaving about 5% of the blueing still on the slide in spots, particularly in the cracks of the slide cocking ridges. The slide is sort of a "natural" finish, for lack of a better word. Like a bare metal, but coated with some sort of clear finish. The frame is blue, and with exception of part of the mysteriously black plated backstrap insert, is in about 95%, showing average wear for a
20 + year old gun.

It resembles a Browning Hi Power, but the grip part of the frame itself is far larger as are the wood grips themselves. Thus, although the grip screw hole is in the same place on each gun, the Browning Hi Power grip is substantially smaller than the P9R, and will leave many areas uncovered. It is said by learned minds both on the internets and in various handgun articles I've stumbled across that the action of the P9R closely resembles that of the venerable S&W Model 59.

I have not been able to locate any Model 59 grips to see if they would fit, but based upon eyeballing it in pictures, I don't think they would fit.

The closest fit to the P9R in a Pachmayr was for the CZ-75, but there are a couple of hinks.

First, the magazines won't go in or out of the gun wiht the CZ-75 grips, as altered, are on the gun. I shaved a portion of the upper part of the back of the inside grip panel and it fit the gun perfectly. There is a very slight inset of rubber running down the length of the middle of the grip, which is in turn backed by a thin aluminum? metal? plate.

I was able to make the grips fit well EXTERNALLY (before discovering the magazine problem) with some shaving here and there with an hobby razor knife. But at the underside of the beavertail of the frame, on both sides there is a sharp cover of part of the backstrap. Meaning that with a hastily made grip or slippage in the hand, a very good cut could result on either or both sides of the web between the thumb and first finger.

I THINK there is a way to solve this, involving cutting a very thin piece of metal with rounded smooth edges to fit, which would cover this "sharp area" under the backstrap/beavertail area. This small piece of metal could be inserted in a groove cut into the side of the grip, and secured to the grip via glue.

The other problem, being the depth of the inset rubber portion, is best not solved from trying to uniforming shave the rubber surface (trust me on this) but using a Dremel Moto Tool grinder or some such wheel. I've got to raid mine in the garage this weekend, tucked away in one of several possible toolboxes. I have several grinders that would no doubt remove enough rubber to let the mags function.

So the grips for the CZ-75 hold the best potential for ultimately having some kind of nice rubber grips for the FEG P9R. The Pachmayrs I found and used were two single panel grips. I don't think any of the wraparound grips will work, as the P9R is so thick, but I did not try any wrap around grips, nor did I try any other brands of rubber grips new or old. I did go to a gun shop that had a varied selection of grips going back 30 years for lots of guns, and the Browning Hi Power grips don't come close to working, with the same areas uncovered that plague the CZ-75 grips.

For those who want some better grip surface but who not wanting to do any work on grips, I'd suggest checking out the grips on the gun auction sites to see if they are thinner than the stock grips, then going with a rubber slip on grip on top of some thinner grips.

I found a piece of metal just the right thickness that might work with the Pachmayr CZ-75 grips to cover the sharp piece left exposed on the P9R withe the Pachmayr grips in place, and the edges are already smooth and rounded. There might be enough metal in that one piece to do both sides of the grip.

Likewise, I'll be doing some grinding on the grip interior to see if I can make the mags work with the Pachmayr grips on it. I'll update this post if any of thise other stuff works out.

Otherwise, the Hogue Handall and similar products remain the best option for adding some traction and comfort to a wood gripped P9R.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


These knives are centuries old and literally the survival of the people of Alaska for centuries was dependant upon these knives to prepare food, dress the prize of the hunt (i.e. dinner), clean fish and even chop baitfish when fishing. And a multitude of other chores both around the house and in the field.

Depending on the design you get, it's also a heckuva defensive weapon. Note the points on both ends of the Ulu pictured at the top. Puncturing and ripping and attacker. Note the large circular blade. It's the analog version of using a circular saw blade as a weapon, at least cinematically. It might not be the best knife for self defense, but it's effective enough that some states have outlawed it calling it a "push dagger", because the blade is parallel to the handle.

I got mine from my dear Mrs. El Fisho on one of her many trips to Alaska and The Yukon Territory over the past 2 decades. Mine came from a shop in Juneau, made by a fellow named Randy Smith. I believe it is the model picture above at top, as made by Ulu Maker, http://ulumaker.com/aboutus.html.

As their info page says, they bought the company from Randy Smith back in 1998, so I guess she bought it before or around that time. The second photo above shows the kind of handle and desk rest I have for my Ulu. The desk rest is made from the same kind of antler as the handle, and it appears to be Caribou bone handle and rest.

The blade is REALLY sharp and I have used it several times on fishing trips cutting frozen mullet. It really puts the pressure directly on the cutting portion because your hand is right above it, instead of pushing from the back of the blade as with a traditional knife.

I'd like to have some of these from the kitchen. Of course, we don't use our fishing/huntings knives in the kitchen, UNLESS preparing raw wild game or fish. That's a rule going back to my grandmother's house. It's just not going to be sanitary for anything else.

So get one with a different handle for chopping onions and other foods and veggies or for cutting portions of meat. It's a great kitchen knife with some tremendous power for cutting through bone and tough meat or skin.

And I think when carried in a belt Ulu holster, the Ulu is a formitable weapon. If only the back side opposite the blade at each tip had a serrated surface for about an inch or two, then it would be a really good defense knife and far more formitable.
Many years ago, I got to do a substitute gig on drums in one of my favorite Houston bands playing around town back then, THE SLASHERS. They called themselves that not because they were sociopaths with knives, but because they SLASHED the songs they played and put their mark on them, so to speak.
In any event, their three regular drummers were far better players than I, but I did get to do a gig with them at the Orange Show in Houston back in the late 80's. John Zeigler on smoking guitar and David Foster on bass could both totally play their axes and were highly skilled technical players as well as having soul. They played stuff like Joe Satriani, Tower of Power, Jeff Beck and tons of highly complex jazz rock.
At the end of the gig, I was like WHEW! I made it!.
And for some reason, this knife has always been called THE SLASHER by my friends and I. Because it looks like it could do some slashing in a defensive situation if need be. Plenty of legend abounds about wolf and bear attacks being beaten off by Eskimos using only an Ulu. Yes, that's studly and yes, I could see how this knife could open up some large areas of flesh on a bear or wolf.
Although I'd rather have a rather large caliber lever action and a .44 magnum revover or a .44 Automag on my hip than an Ulu with bears attacking. But maybe that's just me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The top two holsters are Bell Charter Oak Holsters and the bottom holsters are custom made and very cool with very cool matching 1911's.

It's a cool holster. I don't know if the late NYC holster maker Chic Gaylord invented it, but I know that he certainly perfected "his" version of the holster. They were very popular with officers in NYC and raid teams and the like.

The New York Reload involves basically two pistols being carried in one holster across your back area. Sort of like a small of back holster, but bigger.
When your main pistol runs empty, instead of reloading the first, you draw with your empty hand and begin firing with your second pistol. Handgun writer Wiley Clapp briefly talks about it here:

I haven't done a lot of research on these, but I'm thinking seriously about making a set, just for taking out fishing or shooting on friends ranches, farms and places. I could cary a .22 snubbie on one side loaded with bullets, and a .38 snubbie on the other side with snake shot.

I think you could sew two decent thumb break cordura or stiff nylon holsters together, perhaps with a joining piece sewed and glued with the belt clips on them. I think I want to make one that could be put on outside the pants, basically the inverse of an IWB holster. Some belt clips (3, instead of two like Chic used) that clip on to a stiff 1 1/2" gunbelt would work fine if the holsters were stiff enough. Maybe one of the belt loop snap straps on each end. It's take a minute to get on and off, but it'd be secure.

Only problem for me with these back holsters is that they are not comfortable if sitting. Which of course, means that there is very limited usage for these holsters for folks like me. I know there are folks who like SOB holsters (small of back) and I think they'd be cool if I were a cop out there.

Back in the day, if one were on some sort of raid team and you wanted to quickly slip a couple of S&W j frames as your double backup guns into a New York Reload, to augment your service weapon and long gun, you could do it in a matter of seconds.

Chic Gaylord spent a lot of time designing holsters to help detectives alive on the streets, and also sold holsters to various federal agents, CIA and State Department folks, as did other custom NYC holster and weapon makers in the 50's and 60's especially. Apparently, his shop was where the well dressed spies and agents went back in those days.

His holster designs are carried on at Bell Charter Oak Holsters.

Go to this link and scroll down until you see the Gaylord Holdout, and take some time and look at some of the other old school designs at this site. Go to the homepage and see what kind of belt holsters they have. Most holsters are for revolvers and are what the cops and feds and spooks carried from the 50's to the 70's. But there are a few for autos, but they are all old school. And sometimes, old school is cool.


I have the Gaylord Holdout IWB for a Colt Cobra, and it keeps the hammer covered so it doesn't dig into me. It is an excellent holster, well made and very comfortable yet sturdy. I'm going to stitch the back part of the strap to the holster body for a little better stability, but it works well as is and I just think I can make it better for my body type and clothing I wear. Very high quality with that fine leather smell.

It can easily be seen by any student of police tactics and equipment over the past 50 years that back in the old days, a rig like the New York Reload would be handy for some detectives or old time (pre-swat days) raid teams to have under the seat or in the glovebox, ready to augment their normal weapons.

There are other makers of this holster, either past or present, including those that hold a pair of 1911's or Hi Powers in it. Or even Glock subcompacts. Two hi capacity lightweight guns would indeed be a helluva backup plan.

The j frame holster package would fit well into a large purse or briefcase/messenger bag, ready to throw 10 for sure rounds at any assailants.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Ever since I saw the movie SHAFT in my youth, I wanted a nickle plated revolver with some Pearl Handled Grips on them. In the movie SHAFT, per one of the the coolest websites in the world, http://www.imfdb.org/index.php/Shaft_%281971%29, Actor Richard Roundtree used two different first generation Detective Specials. One blue with wood grips, one nickel with Mother of Pearl grips.

The First Generation Detective Specials were all steel but without an ejector rod shroud. I prefer the Third Generation Detective Special and Cobra because they have a shrouded ejector rod.

So I've always wanted a pimp gun. Back about 25 years ago, a grateful client gave my father a very nice and new Browning Hi Power blued with some highly ornate gold and silver handgrips. I'm guessing at the time that those grips cost about $3k, as there was ALOT of gold in those grips and very intricate inlays.

My father loathed autoloaders and traded his law partner and longtime best friend for some slew of guns. This was despite my begging and pleading that THIS weapon needed to be the male family firearm passed from generation to generation. It was heavy has hell, probably 50 to 60 ounces loaded due to the heavy duty solid siliver and gold grips, which were quite heavy. But it was also cool as hell.

Despite my pleas and even my offers to purchase it from him, he was dead set and determined to give it to Big John, his buddy since college. Big John was as big a firearms freak as I was, even more I think. He probably had 150 or 200 guns of various types, and hunted extensively for deer and dove and ducks and quail and geese and turkey and whatever else was in season. Being frugal as hell, of course he ate what he killed, as both my father and he had been raised to do. In fact, as kids they both had no choice but to do that, or go without food at times during the depression.

But Big John was my friend too and I could see how much he lusted for that gun. After all, being the great white hunter that he was, an ornate pistol like that in a flashy El Paso Saddlery Texas Ranger 1920's rig with a fancy stamped holster, belt, underbelt and magazine holder would sure impress all Big John's friends who he had hunted with since they were kids.

I knew Big John had a Colt .45 that had been gold plated in parts and he had an ornate vintage rig for it as well. That was his gun to take hunting with his long gun and he and all of his buddies had sorta running contests as to who could have the coolest rig. Same with their rifles and shotguns and fishing gear and boats.

And Big John had given me a gun or two over the years, and always loaned me hunting guns when I wanted them, albeit from his "B" stock of used guns. He had his "A" stock, as do I, which doesn't get loaned out. So I felt no great pain in having the gun gifted to Big John, and he was cool enough to let me carry it and shoot it for a few months before he took possession of it.

But by the time he got it, he already had the fancy Texas Ranger Border Patrol 1920's rig and was ready to take it on his hunting trips. I had underestimated him, as he also got a matching bullet loop carrier for his belt as well as a fancy Bowie Knife holster. He had quite a fancy rig, with intricate floral stamping that kinda matched the highly inlaid handgrips.

So I'd like to Pimp-i-fy some sort of nickle or chrome plated revolver. Actually, I'd like to do several, as I have several kids and me. El Fisho Jr. is the only child with an interest in guns. The wife won't want one, but I'll ask anyway. Maybe when she sees how cool they'll be.

I'd like some large real Mother of Pearl grips, and I realize those are gonna cost me. I'd like them to be large, the size of Pachmayr Presentation grips or the Colt Diamondback D frame wood grips. Bigger than most concealable grips.

I want to gold plate some parts. At the least, the hammer, trigger, cylinder release and ejector rod. I'm not sure if gold plating the cylinder itself might not be too gaudy. OTOH, gaudy could be cool.

I want to have the cylinder engraved with my the name and time frames of public service in law enforcement, and I suppose with laser engraving, I might be able to fit in a teeny tiny badge of each agency. But I'd want as much as possible to be hand engraved because it's classier and "more real".

Engraving is expensive, which is why the cylinder engraving may be laser, which is far cheaper. The engraving may be limited to a butt plate, as detailed below, but it would be nice to have something cool, maybe about Texas, somewhere on the frame or cylinder of the gun.


The gun I plan to use has a nickel finish.


Youngsters probably don't know what a butt plate is. On a revolver with wood, pearl, ivory, stag or other non-rubber grips, companies still make ornate silver and gold plates that screw to the butt of the gun. These are often engraved with years of service or names or perhaps the names and dates the gun was acquired and then handed down father to son. You could definately design a butt plate with gold banners to engrave the names of 3 or 4 generations, thus there would be room for the next El Fisho family members to have their names and date engraved.

Butt Plates also look awesome on autoloaders, but I think they look coolest on revolvers. You could do them for any magazine bottom I would think, as long as the base plate was replaceable or if there was room to attach the butt plate to the magazine base plate.


So that's the plan. I'm tentatively planning to use my Colt Cobra, since I've owned it many years and carried it many years. A faithful companion from the legacy of Sam Colt. The Peacemaker for the modern man, or at least it was 30 years ago. I also have a holter of my father's that fits this gun, making it all the more a special gun.

My dad helped me pick this gun out and buy it as a graduation present from the police academy, for an off duty and backup gun, so his aura is all over it too. He shot it often, and liked it's low recoil and the way it felt in his hand.

I need to find a good plating company. I've looked at different companies making butt plates for grips already. And I need to find some nice big MOP grips.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Top: Bad Co.'s first effort.
This is one of two identical Ludwig drum sets used by Simon Kirke of Bad Company on albums and tours during the early 1970ís.
Courtesy of Donn Bennett Drum StudioAlbums courtesy of Epilouge Productions. From: http://www.htsaudio.com/exhibit/badco.htm
Bottom: Chuck Ruff in more recent times. Still playing Gretsch, although that looks like a convenient to move Bop Kit.

As I posted here last year, ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BAD CO., I was a big fan of this first album from Bad Co. and of their drummer Simon Kirke, It was pop for sure, but it was hard rocking pop. It wasn't Led Zeppelin, but Zeppelin did think Bad Co. was cool enough to put on their Swan Song label and hooked them up bigtime as they started out.

At the time, whenever you saw Bad Co. playing on a TV show or televised concert, Simon was playing a Ludwig kit in black covering. With a 26" bass drum, a 14" wing tom, a 6 1/2" Supraphonic and a 18" floor tom (as pictured above), he was a mountain of groove. Simon's fills and grooves were not complex, but were highly memorable and often are an integral part of recalling how the song goes. With a set that would do his friend John Henry Bonham proud.

Of course, most of us kids assumed that Kirke played Ludwigs on the album. Just as we did with other artists and their instruments.

The internet is now awash with stories of endorsers who used other companies products to record but were silent or misrepresented what brand and gear they actually used behind closed doors. One such rumor is Buddy Rich using a Fibes fiberglass snare for a time when he was endorsing one brand or another. Don't know if it's true personally but there are plenty of books and blog posts and information on the internets about the drums of Buddy Rich.

So when Bad Company's first album came out, I was in my first real rock and roll band at the time. I say "first real" because we actually had a guitar player and bassist who could play a song THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH and because IT ACTUALLY SOUNDED LIKE THE SONG. We were playing both old rock classics (most less than 10 years old) and the newer stuff.

The first song we played was the then constant radio rotation "Can't Get Enough". And it didn't sound half bad. It sounded decent enough that the folks came running out of the house to our garage stage now that some evidence of talent had surfaced in the rock bands I had been trying to put together the previous year.

My Dad had been forced to endure me cranking up the stereo in his car and listening to the songs of Bad Company, which were in constant rotation. I tried to explain to him the previous bands the fellas had been in, and why that was cool, and the Led Zep connection, but this was lost on dear old Dad. But he had heard Can't Get Enough ENOUGH times to recognize us playing it.

We were just a standard guitar, bass, drums and vocalist setup, but that song always brings back that memory of that Sunday afternoon in the fall in my parent's garage playing our first real tune. All the way through.

I'd been playing drums for about 4 years at this point, and taking lessons on set from the legendary late Joe Raynor and playing in all of the school bands, so I knew how to play the kit fairly well, particularly within a pop rock and hard rock context.

So I played Ludwig and Rogers drums back then at my house (my aunt was in the music biz and got deals on new stuff for us). I'll have to admit, part of the reason I played those brands was because the drummers I liked who sounded great on recordings were playing those instruments. Or so I thought.

I can't say I played Ludwigs at that time because Simon Kirke did, but artists of the day like Bonham and Ringo and so many others certainly did. We know Bonham was a man of his bond using the drum brand that he endorsed to record. But I did play Ludwigs and part of the deal was that I liked their sound on recordings that I thought featured Ludwig drums.

My first drum, a snare, was a Rogers, and although I greatly enjoyed the sound and solid construction of Rogers drum kits, I really liked the louder sound and increased sustain I was able to get from the Ludwigs for some reason. I pretty much always used either a Rogers Powertone and Dynasonic snare in those days, and never owned a Ludwig snare until my twenties when I had been playing for over 10 years.

I'll note that, however, some of the most awesome drums I ever heard were by Eric Johnson's drummer Tommy Taylor on the 1986 album TONES. I saw them live several times then, and know people who know his drummer, and he did use the vintage 70's Rogers kit he had on stage every night and in the studio. The sound processing for their live shows supporting TONES was excellent, and the Rogers kit sounded huge and thick and the soundman really knew what he was doing at the Rockefellers shows I saw back then.

But back to Kirke.

I read in an interview several years ago that the first Bad Co. album was recorded on a Gretsch bop kit, meaning a tiny 14" x 18" bass (vs. his Ludwig 14" x 26" "on stage" kit) and smaller toms and snare. This interview occurred after he had quit endorsing Ludwig and moved to DW (I think).

Other internet rumors and maybe written interviews have surfaced over the years about Jeff Porcaro using Gretsch drums in live and in the studio with Toto and in his many studio recording gigs. Problem is, he was a longtime and quite high profile Pearl Drum endorser during these times. All of his live gigs were with Pearl kits.

Maybe it was written in their contracts that they could use other drums in recordings, as long as they didn't reveal it. Or maybe they just did what they wanted, damn the contract. Simon Kirke didn't say in the interview I read, and the late Mr. Porcaro is in no position to comment.

Porcaro's loss to the drumming community is immense and irreplaceable. I can't imagine the beauty and great playing that would've come from that young man in all the years since he passed on.

I've read over the years that many drummers used Gretsch drums on their recordings. You can do the googling with all this info and read the stuff for yourself and see what you think.

At the time, I wouldn't have believed that Simon could get the immense SOUND from a tiny bop kit that fills Bad. Co's first album. But now that I somewhat understand recording and mic placement and effects and such, I see how they could get a SOLID and BIG sound from a quality tiny drumset. GIGO. Garbage in means Garbage out. But obviously the Gretsch were gold and not garbage, because they sound awesome in recordings from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

Gretsch drums were unique in their shell compostion. Their shells came from Jasper Wood Products, and were composed of a unique blend of 3 plys: Maple, Gumwood, Maple.

That's it, the actual drumshell, I think, that made what the ads called "That Great Gretsch Sound".

Oh, the bearing edges certainly had a great deal to do with the sound, and I believe that the sizes of the drums and the bearing edges and so forth are slightly larger than other drums of their era, and that sometimes this makes fitting certain brands of drumheads difficult. I think there are specific drum heads made to take into account the variance in shell size or whatever it is that causes the problem.

Fibes used the Jasper shells in their Austin era reinacarnation, lasting from the mid-90's to the mid-2ooo's. After Jasper went out of business and closed, Fibes got some shell making machines and were making shells out of the same 3 ply maple/gum/maple setup and I couldn't tell the difference in the Jasper Fibes or the Austin Fibes drums.

I don't follow the drum product market enough anymore to know who is making what kind of shells and of what material. But the wood type, shell integrity, the shell thickness, the bearing edges, hardware placement and other factors all effect how a drum sounds, and more importantly, how a kit of drums sounds when played together.

Now I don't know if the Gretsch rumors are true about Porcaro or even if Simon Kirke is being righteous. I don't know them or their lives or anything about them. I simply throw this topic up for discussion. It's been covered in many threads on many different drum forums past and present, ad nauseum, and maybe I'll post some links to some of the longer if not passionate discussions regarding this issue in the future if anyone is interested.

I do know I played several Gretsch kits, one of them being exceptional. It was a 70's kit, covered in black nitron, with a 14" x 24" bass, 9" x 13" tom and 16" x 16" floor with a non-matching natural finish 14" x 6 1/2" Gretsch snare. It had three really really really old "K" Zildjian crash/ride cymbals and was infinitely playable. I made several very serious offers to buy that kit, all rejected.

So I'll never forget how great that kit I played sounded. Resonance with a classic tone. Sonors come close, but really only Fibes Jasper, Dunnett and Tempus drums have either equaled or surpassed That Great Gretsch Sound.

Gretsch apparently also makes their own shells now, of the same time honored Jasper formula. I have not played any of the non-jasper Gretsch, but by all reports they sound good and look great. Some claim they don't have the same pizzaz as the Jaspers, but then again these people seem to have the ears of a dog when talking about drum tone, a individualized perception at best.

I'd love to have a classic or modern Gretsch kit made like the one that
Chuck Ruff played with The Edgar Winter Group on the classic Frankenstein from 1972. Visions in my mind of this band appearing on Midnight Special or ABC's In Concert recalled his nice white nitron Gretsch kit, and how he played the heck outta it during the drum solo phase of Frankenstein. I thought it a classy kit.

Ruff's kit was a 14" x 24", 9" x 13" and 16" x 16" and some kind of snare, also using the three crash/ride cymbal formula that the kit I played used.

I've since seen videos of The Edgar Winter Band performing way back then, and my memories of Ruff's kit has been correct all of these years.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I'm a big Plant fan. Starting of course with Led Zeppelin, and I bought his solo records throughout the 80's and 90's. I enjoyed his post Zeppelin work with Page and like most LZ fans, I yearned for the day that Zepplin might have a reunion. Although I registered for tickets for their British reunion concerts, lady luck was not on my side. I like many others anxiously await the DVD from that concert.

I didn't care so much for his work recently with Allison Krause, only because of the band he abandoned to take up that new project. Strange Sensation was an excellent band with fantastic musicians and great tunes. I followed them with vigor, listening and watching both DVD and concert bootlegs of some really great Strange Sensation gigs. Later, their Austin City Limits gig came out on DVD as did another show they did (I found it at Wal Mart...couldn't believe it!).

When I look at the line up of Band of Joy, I don't see a drummer, just a percussionist. Now there is music without drummers that rocks plenty, and if anyone can pull that off it's Plant, but I like my Plant with drummers, please. I'd grown quite fond of his SS drummer Clive Deamer.

While reading about and listening to the live show recordings of SS, I came across several concerts that Plant did with his old pre-Zeppelin Band of Joy bandmate Kevyn Gammond called Priory of Brion. They did a lot of cover tunes and most of their gigs were small club gigs. The guitarist for the original Band of Joy and for Priory was the same dude, who instead of being a rock star had become a college music professor and had retired sometime before the late 90's when the Priory project occurred. It lasted from 1999 to 2000, then SS took off in the early 2ooo's.

I loved the three guitarists that SS had, along with their drummer and keyboard player. They were all pros, and could boogie and rock like nobody's business. Charlie Jones, the first bassist of SS, is Plant's son in law although he stands on his own as a stellar bassist. He later moved on to other projects.

So unlike the 2 commercial releases that SS had, Priory of Brion had none. Boots were the only way to discover the band, and I never came across any dvd boots, just audio cd boots. Most of these were available on the internet.

So I read in Rolling Stone recently that Plant has "leaked" an advance cut from his latest project, apparently called Band of Joy and it's with singer Patti Griffith and producer T-Bone Burnett.

Here's a review from Rolling Stone about the new disc.


Here's the lineups over the years per a wiki page on Band of Joy:

Robert Plant — lead vocals
Kevyn Gammond — guitar, vocals
Chris Brown — organ
Paul Lockey — bass guitar, guitar, vocals
John Bonhamdrums

1968 lineup
Robert Plant - lead vocals
John Bonham - drums
John Hill - bass guitar
Mick Strode - lead guitar
John Kelsey - keyboards

1977 lineup
Kevin Gammond - guitar, vocals
Paul Lockey - guitar, vocals
John Pasternak - bass, vocals
Peter Robinson - drums
Michael Chetwood - keyboards, vocals

2010 lineup
Robert Plant - lead vocals
Patty Griffin - vocals and guitar
Buddy Miller - guitar and vocals
Darrell Scott - vocals, mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedal, lap steel and banjo
Byron House - bass
Marco Giovino - percussion[7]


I have a 2 CD compilation of "some" of the greatest hits of War. Back in the day, in my mispent yout, much of it was spent listening to rock bands with a latin flavor. I took lessons in how to play the timbales and conga and various hand and stick played percussion items in junior high school, and listened to records with various latin rhythms. Santana's music, particularly that of his first three albums, has always been a tremendous influence to me and a very enjoyable listen.

War was another band that fused rock and funk and blues and latin and soul rhythms into a bunch of hip shaking tunes.

Cisco Kid

Gypsy Man


Low Rider

Spill The Wine

Slipping Into Darkness

The World Is a Ghetto

Why Can't We Be Friends

and many more.

Our drum corps in high school always incorportated latin elements into our playing whenever possible. Our cadences often had latin elements to them, and when we did pep rallys and football game playing we were allowed to go hog wild and bring all sorts of drums and cowbells and timbales into the stands with us.

But all of us junior high and high school drummers had been schooled to a large extent by the playing of the bands War and Santana on their albums. We learned licks and rhythms and sub-rhythms and how to play together as one with different drummers playing different parts of the beat.

One of Wars founders was Eric Burden, ex-lead singer of the British group The Animals. He gathered a multi-ethnic line up of Californians to form his funky rock band. And funky they are, if you don't move to some of their music there is something wrong with you. You ain't got no bumpus in your frumpus.

All throughout my pre-teen and teen years, I enjoyed War. I think the only vinyl album I bought was a double greatest hits deal, but I had several 8 track tapes of their music back in the day. Once CD's came out, I bought a 2 CD compilation that I'm enjoying still today, at least 20 years later.
Unfortunately, War has sort of dissolved into two bands, with one owning the name WAR. Wiki has more about the recent history of the band.

The world is a ghetto.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


This picture from a Paiste cymbal ad in the 1980's was a picture of the kit that Steve Jordan used when he was drummer on David Letterman's Late Night Band. Steve was the original drummer, then left to pursue many other opportunities. Certainly, he's done well for himself, but it seems like that was sure a cool gig to have with Late Night. His replacement, Anton Fig, has kept the gig ever since, as has original bassist Will Lee and the band's second guitarist for the band Sid Ginnis (who followed original guitarist Hiram Bullock into that band).

So back then Jordan was playing with his crash cymbals WAY HIGH UP THERE. Of course, part of that is so that the TV camera can see your face and you drumming, as Steve is nothing if not an expressive drummer. I notice now that he like me plays with his cymbals far, far lower. Age has it's costs. Back then though, we were all made of rubber in our early 20's, and reaching way high up there for a crash was no big deal.

Today, I'd need the heating pad and some kind of painkiller if I tried to play cymbals mounted that high. But back in the day of the early to mid 80's, lots of us normal guys used to do that too playing locally, and there was a certain value to being able to see the other members of the band and the audience under the cymbals, whereas "normal" cymbal positioning might block lateral views of the band.

But I'd love to have a pair of red 16" and 18" crash Paiste Colorsounds, a black 20" or 22" ride and a pair of green or red high hats for a quasi reasonable price. Paiste is making some kind of ride currently in a black finish, but the days of the Colorsounds are long gone. Back then, although I noted they sounded good and more Zildjian-ey than traditional Paiste cymbals, I never bought a set, even though they were reasonably priced.

So if you see any out there, give me a holla.


Syd Straw on the two pics on top with Anton Fier down below gettin' after those skins!

Back in the old days, before the internets, if you wanted to find out or hear new music it was sometimes kinda hard. I remember I had read in some music publication talking about alternative bands that were on the scenes in NYC and LA about The Golden Palominos, and then heard one of their tunes off of their first full length album on KTRU (Rice University radio in Houston) and raced on down to the sorta weirdo hangout of a record store in Montrose that had all kinds of cool music I'd never heard before.

Their first album came out in 1983, and I thought it was cool as hell. I later got it on cd in the late 80's, along with the two following Palomino CD's.

So when I discovered the Palaminos, I just knew that they'd acheive some sort of commercial success, particularly after their sophmore effort VISIONS OF EXCESS came out, with Syd Straw singing some great country and western rock tunes. BLAST OF SILENCE was their third album and was much like the second.

After these albums, I more or less lost interest in new works of the band and stuck to listening to particularly the first two albums. They lasted a lot longer then I realized, when I looked them up on Wiki to get some personnel names http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Palominos, but the more advant garde they got the less they interested me. I'd love to have a live video with a good audio track of one of their gigs between 1984 and 1987.

But alas, fame never came, and I don't think any of these folks expected to become the next Fab Four in this band. The band itself had a solid core of well known alternative and NYC musicians in it: Anton Fier on drums, Bill Laswell on bass and Nicky Skopelitis on guitar. They had various regulars and singers and generally every album had more or less some of the same supporting musicians joining the Fier/Laswell/Skopelitis core of the first album.

They had some very noteworthy musicians who played with them, some a few times and some for years. Airto Lindsey and John Zorn were long timers of the band as well, appearing on the first album. There were guests and/or members in the band like Jack Bruce, Matthew Sweet, Johnny Lydon, Richard Thompson, Michael Stipe, Don Dixon, Peter Holsapple, Fred Frith, T-Bone Burnett, Amanda Kramer, Bob Mould, Lori Carson, Knox Chandler and many others.

Wiki says they held a couple of reunion shows this past May. I wish they could get on Austin City Limits, which would be the perfect venue for them and give us long time fans some kind of dvd reminder of that gig. Anton Fier is a relative unknown outside of really hardcore drumming fans like myself, and he's been playing on the New York City scene for decades, blazing new trails.

But the first three albums of the GP's are more commercial efforts than most would have expected from this experimental and avante garde bunch. The songs have clear lyrics and structure and verses and choruses and proper solos. Some are slower, including a few excellent ballads, and several of my favorites are driving hard rocking tunes. "I've been the one" sung by Syd Straw is a classic as is her version of "(Kind of) True". Classics.

Here's a write up I found at this site about the reunion they had in May of this year:

The 1985-’87 Syd Straw-fronted lineup of Anton Fier’s experimental and ever-shifting Golden Palominos will perform live in New York next month for the first time in more than 20 years in what the drummer calls “an experiment” that may be a precursor to a full-time reunion of the band beginning this fall.
The Palominos — Fier and Straw, plus
Jody Harris and Jim Campilongo on guitar, Tony Maimone on bass and special guest Robert Kidney on vocals and guitar — will perform with The Walking Hellos and The Wingdale Community Singers at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on May 7 as part of the unveiling of Electric Literature’s fourth fiction anthology.

In a
note posted on the venue’s website, Fier writes that there were five different Golden Palominos lineups, but the Straw-era edition of the band — which recorded 1985’s Visions of Excess and 1986’s Blast of Silence — was the only one “that attempted to be a live, touring rock band.”

He adds:
“I am generally not the nostalgic type or one to look back… and in the past 23 years since the last Golden Palominos live gig, I have never before considered reviving a past version. But recently I heard Syd sing and I was struck by the beauty of it… and wanted to work with her again… so we’re giving this a try here and if it’s fun and exciting for us we might consider doing it again on a more full-time basis in the fall… so this is an experiment… to see if it is possible to go back in order to go forward.”

Fier formed the Golden Palominos in 1983 with
Arto Lindsay, John Zorn and Bill Laswell, and recorded through the ’80s and ’90s with a revolving cast of musicians (including Michael Stipe, Richard Thompson, Bob Mould and John Lydon) and developed a sound that touched on No Wave, free jazz, Americana and even featured some electronic flourishes. The band, which sputtered out in the late ’90s, probably is best remembered for its 1991 single “Alive and Living Now,” featuring Stipe on lead vocals.