Thursday, January 25, 2007

last weekend, belle and i went to see a performance by the kronos quartet at ucla. the show has been resonating with me all week. really inspiring show. the most fascinating piece of music was the first one of the night written by j.g. thirlwell (better known to most of us as 'foetus'). it hasnt been recorded yet but it is one i am going to keep my ears open for. its called 'nomatophobis'. really difficult listening music. i told my wife that i thought kronos were smart to begin the evening with it because it took full concentration to get anything out of it. if it had been later in the evening it would have been difficult to give it the full attention it deserved. which made me think again about the role of music in our lives currently. it was such a rewarding evening of music because the quality was so high and it had my full focus for almost two hours. that combination is increasingly rare in our world. i so rarely listen to music like i did some years ago. it is the background sound while i check for emailsmstextgooglesearchpornimwikidvdhdvoicemails (ha that just made me check my phone for new email). at some point i learned, and this applies to everything, good food, film, etc. that the things in my life that have enduring power, took some time for me to initially appreciate. things that are catchy are generally ephemeral. i have come to believe this so completely that i have begun to recognize things that i 'like' differently. i have begun to get better at recognizing that something, here its music, has a quality that is initially intriguing and not necessarily overwhelmingly seductive to me. that recognition is subtle and not always reliable but i have found it to be a much more interesting compass. i have called that more subtle lingering charm the 'resonance factor'. will the movie i saw come to mind in a daydream a week later, for example. not everything has to have this deep significance, of course. fun and sparkling charms are great to litter ones day with as well but that is easy and they take care of themselves. i have to put a little effort and focus into something that i might find initially difficult, weird or, heaven forbid, boring. instead of a constant cycle of sugar high and a sugar crash i need some things to endure. at least a little.

the rest of the evening was michael gordons 'potassium' also beautiful and unrecorded. two traditional songs from iran and iraq that were good too. clint mansells music from 'requiem for a dream'. i almost always like clints movie music. a piece by matmos who i always find have a very clever process for producing music that i found ultimately unsatisfying. and the show, pre encore, ended with a piece by einsturzende neubauten who, among flipper and others, was some of the music i listened to as a boy. i liked being contrarian then but i can see now that was also the beginning of being able to recognize that there might be something beautiful in something initially repulsive.

49 comments:

J.D. said...

I bought the new Army Of Anyone cd at their show last weekend and was surprised to see singer Richard Patrick's "thank you's" in the liner notes thanks Eric Avery.
Check them out. They were very entertaining.
Love reading your blogs.
Thanks.
JD

-ea. said...

j.d. - thanks for the heads up. met richie when he was playing guuitar for trent on the first lollapalooza.

i went out to give him a bass line a while ago. he may not have used the bass line but he might have gotten something from the song so that might be where the thank you comes from. havent spoken to him about it.

Anonymous said...

As a youngster I had a very bad evening when my father dragged me to a Frank Sinatra concert at The Spectum in Philadelphia , 1983 or 1984 I think...That was the last place I wanted to be as a 13 yr old boy,and I was determined to ruin the evening for him...Funny how 24 years later I cringe at my behavior that evening and nowadays I don't think a month goes by that i don't pop a sinatra CD in the player as my appreciation for all types of music has grown over the years and ulimately led me to my main source of income...By the way Eric, Wait For History has now become my favorite song on the deconstruction CD .. Fucking genius song....How is your sister doing ? I have a friend who knew her many years ago...

Scott

-ea. said...

scott- tell your friend my sister is good but exhausted. she queezed out a beautiful baby boy three months ago.

Anonymous said...

"i liked being contrarian then but i can see now that was also the beginning of being able to recognize that there might be something beautiful in something initially repulsive."

This is a challenging and thought provoking declaration when applied to art, culture, politics,and science, and maybe, just maybe.....religion. lol

Anonymous said...

Eric- Speaking of bass lines, I think one of the reasons I really enjoy your bass playing is because of a song from Gary Numan way back in 1980 ( not that Cars crap ) .. The song is called " Films " . The groove reminds me of some JA stuff,just in the fact that the same melody is played over and over..Take a listen if you can...

S

Anonymous said...

Eric, I thought you would get a kick out of this:

from a posting on the Janes fansite this morning:

"So today marks 20 YEARS since JA played at the Roxy for XXX."


happy friday

Chris (C. Brian) said...

Eric,

I remember reading a while back that Flipper was a huge influence on you. Did you have a chance to talk w/ one of the band members on Dave Navarro's Internet radio show? If I recall, Nirvana's Kurdt Cobain was way into Flipper as well. I think he would create his own Flipper t-shirts. Interestingly enough, Nirvana's former bassist, Krist Noveselic, has been playing w/ Flipper since 2006. Your take on the Nirvana/grunge movement and Jane's relationship to it?

esqfool said...

My take is Jane's and others opened the door. Nirvana walked thru the door and got all the credit.

-mcv said...

what a fantastic post...i could not relate more to this.

when I was 13...10 years ago, my older bother blasted jane's...over and over, i had no clue what he was on about, i didnt get it at all. it sounded like 4 guys kicking the shit out the instruments to get attention.

obviously, i liked "jane says", but i kinda felt like that was the 'ephemeral' song. About 2 years ago, bored off my ass, i went through his old collection of bootlegs...I found a jane's cassette with a loureed cover. honestly, that was the only reason I was going to go down the "jane's" road again. But, knowing well about jane's mystic, I decided to give the whole show a chance....for some reason, I became intrigued and went through his whole collection of jane's. eventually, i became enlightened, hearing things beyond my imagination. I actually took the time to listen to something that "wasnt me". I realized, this was no band, it was 4 solo artists competing with one another. 4 incredible musicians who grouped together simply by luck of the draw. to this day, 2 years later, nothing sounds right when compared to your jane's. I skipped out on "strays" and was happy to find out you blew off 97. The funny part is, Im probably the last guy you'd think would listens to your jane's with such passion.

matt volpe said...

Eric,

I think there so much truth in giving something one is not entirely enthralled by at first, a chance. I especially have experienced this with music and fine art. Music because a long time ago a friend played me some bebop jazz when I was in my young DC punk, tripped out metal days and I was at first not entirely liking it at all. Then after giving a try sometime later, I realized that the bebop greats, Charlie Parker, Dizzy, Hank Mobley, Mingus, Monk, etc (I'm sure I've missed many)were hugely inspirational to my mind set as a musician and as a person period. I also came to a revelation that these artists paved the way for many things later known as"alternative" in the coming future. I have since become a tremendous fan of that period of jazz. By embracing what is unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first, one can make a huge breakthrough for the better. Embracing art (mainly classic paintings) was a similar experiecne for me in that I learned from what I once did not give full attention to. I think your post is genious in explaining this human experience. Good job. Sounds like you had an awesome experiecne at the show you went to. Glad to hear it. All the best, Matt

Anonymous said...

I am completely on the same page as -mcv. 4 years ago, out of utter boredom, I was surfing the internet looking for some new music to listen to. I came across Jane's and thought it sounded like noise, not music. I didn't understand it all; the music made no sense to me. A few months later I decided to give it another listen, but this time I really gave it a chance, and I was blown away. In my mind now, nothing compares or comes close to Jane's. The rest is history.

tikkuria said...

It's funny how prepared we are to reject something new (new to us, at least). How conditioned we are by the past.

And then, most of the music I listened to when I was young was considered weird or noisy or whatever, and now you can listen to it (or similar stuff) in your every-day TV commercials and shows, and it is accepted widely. Time is a road roller...

You always have to give things a second chance to make a good first impression.

avrum68 said...

Eric...a couple of questions:

1) It's quite clear the music has lost it's allure/mystery now that anyone can create decent sounding (though not often good songs) songs using garage band. Do you feel this inhibits your motivation to put out new stuff?

2) There's only one pop album that I still play from time to time, and it's Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. Curious what you think of MBV?

3) Regardless of video, you appear to be in pretty good shape. Do you do weights/cardio/diet regularly or are you blesses with a productive metabolism?

avrum68 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-ea. said...

s - i see what you mean on numans 'films'. does have an early janes groove movement to it. there is a repitition to his songs that i have always felt a kinship to.

-ea. said...

anonymous - i remember standing, with bass on looking out between the curtains before we started playing that night at the roxy. yes, there were curtains then. i couldnt believe how many people were there to see us.

-ea. said...

chris c. brian - loved flipper. dont know how much of an influence they could be musically. but loved them dearly.

i think there is something to what esqfool said. janes was a bridge from one era to another. people were shocked that a band that were as odd as we four could be signed to a major label. warners made a bold bet on us. that being said though, i am certain we would never have been as huge a force as nirvana went on to be. i just dont think that we made, or ever would have made, music as charming to as many people as nirvana.

-ea. said...

mcv - interesting you mention the 4 solo artists thing. i think that is often true of special bands. they often have at least two or three players who are sort of overqualified for their role in the band.

-ea. said...

matt - you know one of my personal shames is that i dont like jazz. i know that i should. people have told me that i should try this piece or that guy but billie holiday, aside, i just dont. maybe when i grow up.

-ea. said...

tikkuria - yes. had one of those weird moments in a starbucks yesterday. standing at the register listening to "all we ever wanted was everything, all we ever got was cold. wake up eat jelly, sandwich bars and barbed wire. squash every week into a day." one of my favorite bauhaus songs. in starbucks. i guess it isnt any weirder than the previous generation hearing joplin or hendrix, the music of protest from their youth, under similar circumstances.

drawing the fringe of culture toward the center. definitely a predictable progression of our world.

-ea. said...

avrum68-

1) not that so much. but i will say, having been a part of a really energetic and creative music/art scene, i have found the current clear channel, best buy, product placement rock world considerably less interesting. a rung down from that, though, from where im now looking it looks more interesting; with all the new technologies, internet, the music biz getting an enema, etc.

2) loveless is one for the pantheon of great records that transcend the cycles of trendy tastes. nice call.

3) i do try to do something physical most days (weights/gym surf hike) and i do try to eat reasonably well. i incorporate it all into my life. it interests me. anything that improves the quality of my life interests me. but its not a religion for me.

matt volpe said...

EA,

No need to feel shame, jazz isn't for everyone...and the by the way, don't grow up! I'm 36, married, have child, have house, have car, have a full time job-BUT I still have my favorite movie JAWS plastered everywhere (toys, lunch boxes, including two tattoos of it on me), basses flying out of every corner, star wars toys on display etc. It's all in the fine art of balance I guess...one of the toughest things I think there ever is in adulthood. It sounds to me like you're doing great at it!

Anonymous said...

Eric- I never really listened to Bauhaus, but the song " Roll Call " from Peter Murphys solo record is one of my all time favorite songs...The lyrics in Roll Call actually influenced me to quit my job and start my own company way back in 1990...Nevertheless, the DEEP album will always be one of my all time favs..I am going to start listening to all the Bauhaus albums now..Make up for lost time....

S

juan from ba said...

loveless is a great album i love mbv, good to heard that you like it guys.
eric you sould listen to john coltrane A love supreme record. Its so fresh and intense. Out off genre.

a.t. said...

Eric, feel free to ignore this is it's too personal, but you've got me curious. Are you anti-religious or is there just no religion out there that appeals to you?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Eric,

These are a few jazz albums you could try to start with:

Grant Green - Idle Moments

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue & In a Silent Way

John Coltrane - A Love Supreme and Ballads

Jimmy Smith & Kenny Burell - Blue Bash

Marcus Miller - Live Ozell Tapes


Also, I know you played with a pic in Jane's. When you played wtih Alanis & Garbage, did anyone ever request that you play with your fingers or a pic? Or, did they let you make the call on that.



Curt

Anonymous said...

Hey Eric, I know you have a solo album coming out, but do you have any aspirations to start a 'band'? My dream would be for you play along side John Frusciante, with the 2 of you trading off on vocals. I know you've done some improve jams with him, but have you guys ever wrote music together? He's mentioned in interviews that a lot of his guitar work on Blood Sugar Sex Magik was influenced by you. How do you feel about that and about him as an artist/musician? have you heard any of his solo work, like Ataxia? I would love to hear what the 2 of you could come up with. I'm just rambling here, Sorry. By the way, this is so cool that you allow your fans to interact with you in such a forum. I'll admit, as a long time Jane's fan, you always seemed the least likely to do such a thing but now that I think about it, it all makes sense because you were always the 'anti-rockstar' of Jane's. As much as I respect the other guys from the band, they all seem like they are too important or too 'busy' to share their personal thoughts on life, etc. unless they want to talk about being a celebrity. Thank you for being real for all these years and doing things on your own terms. Okay, I'm done here

J.

matt volpe said...

I strongly agree with the last comment posted by 'anonymous'- thanks Eric for conducting a forum like this in such a humble and friendly manor, it is most refreshing compared to all the self hyping crap that a lot of other people put out over the internet. Just thought I'd back that person up...Matt

a.t. said...

I'd also like to back up anonymous. Thank you for doing this blog and chatting with us. It's much appreciated! I really do love to hear your thoughts on things. And thank you for being you for all these years and not changing.

Anonymous said...

Great site, I am bookmarking it!Keep it up!
With the best regards!
Frank

Rob said...

kronos quartet are indeed truly inspiring - some months ago i was watching an unfinished cut of a film i had composed some music for. for guide tracks, they had used 'requiem for a dream' quite predominantly. it worked so well and i thought, how can anyone replace that?! it almost just seeps into your pores and you cannot not give it a significant degree of your attention. anyhow, i ended up 'dreaming music' that night and when i awoke i felt compelled to get the track down and ended up finishing it there and then. i wish that would happen more often. the song ended up on a trailer for another film.

glad someone raised MBV. 'loveless' and deconstruction are on total par in my universe. both utterly new explorations. they still sound way ahead of their time. our ours for that matter.

-ea. said...

s - peter murphy. playing bass for him was my first experience as a 'hired gun'. i was thrilled that it was peter and i had a very rare case of starstuckness meeting him. he turned out to be great. he reminded me of the theater people i grew up around during my fathers shows.

-ea. said...

a.t. - my personal feelings are that religions are generally fairy tales. i enjoy fairy tales told well. do i think they tell me anything about any sort of secret truth about the universe? no. buddhism is my personal favorite. it seems to make people pretty happy, tolerant, and at least its a little like a formal system in that it has an internal logic to it that makes a qualified sort of 'sense'.

-ea. said...

curt - i have always been given the choice, finger or pick. i generally choose, with rare exception, pick and my tone button. if i need that soft fingered sound i play in front of the pickups with the treble turned down.

-ea. said...

j. - love frusciantes solo work. especially loved the "..nothing but water.." cd. i told him that i thought it had a certain pure quality to it. he told me that was exactly what he was trying to do. that is why he titled the cd the way he did. i would love to work with him on anything. hes never asked.

-ea. said...

j. & matt volpe & a.t. & frank - kind words, much appreciated. inspires me to continue.

Anonymous said...

Pete D plays often plays for the asking at peoples homes for what has come to be known as the "the East Coast BBQ's or the West Coast BBB's. These are get togethers with live and acoustic sets with no real design. The parties are simply a spirited time set aside for art and music and discussion. Mine was a benign event with kids and grown ups alike enjoying good food and company. I hosted one of them and I was honored to do so. If another comes to pass, please feel free to join us. Yours would be a welcome addition as I must agree with the above who consider your insights thought provoking, illuminating, and provocative.....and refreshingly well considered.

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...

I was just doing some research on writing styles and it appears that Rebecca Pidgeon has long been friends with Shirley Manson. Has the opportunity ever been presented itself where you had a chance to chat with Mamet? I have tickets to the Geffen and the season before last the company closed with "Boston Marriage" with Pidgeon in the lead (I wish it had been "Oleanna") There was a q & a after the show and it was very interesting to hear her interpret the iconoclastic Mamet as only a bride can do.

K, my question quota is up.

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
-ea. said...

sr - thank you for the invite but i am generally worthless at such gatherings. i tend to intently watch my shoes. i am not nearly as gregarious as peter d. he has always been that way. ive known him since we were sixteen.

no. ive never met mamet. shirley went to school with rebecca but i dont think they hang much as adults.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't hurt to ask, and consider the door is always open.

Rebecca P seems to be a bit of a renaissance woman; she gave out copies of her music that evening. I enjoyed it.

Be well,

SR

Anonymous said...

hey eric-

i've been reading your blog for a few weeks and i'm really impressed with your scope on the world, art and music. it's nice to find out that there is more to the musicians you admire than just the music.

SR is a friend of mine and is a great host. the BBQ he and his lovely wife hosted with peter was a wonderful experience full of like minded souls, good food, good music and most importantly, good company. believe me, i also tend to be a shoegazer at these things, but i found myself with a twelve string playing zeppelin tunes with peter and a few others. now granted, i know that you're not the biggest fan of the zep, but it was more the entire spirit of the gathering and the people involved than the actual choice of music played.

anyway, i just wanted to share that with you and extend an invite out as well. who knows, you may be surprised what lies in the backyard of a random westside suburban house.

have a great sunday.

-ST

Anonymous said...

p.s. - can't wait to hear the new solo album. -ST

Anonymous said...
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