March 6, 2010
The Silos are headed to SXSW in Austin, Texas again for the 20th consecutive year!! The line-up this year will be Konrad on drums and Walter on guitar, with Steve McAllister on bass, Michelle Anthony on piano, and Randy Franklin on mandolin. Michael Hall and Walter will be hosting the Swollen Circus XVI on Tuesday night and The Silos will be playing several more shows. The details are on the tour page. We hope to see you there.
January 26, 2009
It's been over twelve months since Drew passed away. It still seems impossible. The Silos have had many true members and many. many honorary members, yet I feel that Drew's passing has been the biggest change in the history of the band. I know he would have wanted us to continue, and we will, but with whom and in what direction? Konrad and I have been fortunate and honored to have had Rod Hohl with us for almost two years as our bassist and most of all as our brother. He joined when Drew moved from bass to guitar and made The Silos his comfortable home. We've also had many NYC friends join us at all the Drew tribute shows - Bruce Martin, Jason Victor, Russ Meissner, Dennis Kronen, Mary Lee Kortes, Eric Ambel.........our NC buddies Caitlin Cary, Lynn Blakey, and the whole Pour House crew.......and our Austin contingent - Jon Dee Graham, Kyle Schneider, Steve McAllister, and Michelle Anthony have all benefitted from Drew's eternal glow.
I wrote a bunch of songs - alone and with my songwriter buddies - and Konrad and Rod have been laying down tracks with Jason Victor contributing guitar, Michelle Anthony on piano, our old friend from Milwaukee Mike Hoffmann also on guitar. We're planning on Bruce Martin to contribute his extraordinary keyboard skills as well as his superb singing and bubbly good humor. So far it's been going really well. I've been taking a back seat and Rod has been the conductor of this train and ruling the rails with an iron fist. He's been doing an awesome job and I'm happy to sit back and enjoy the ride. Who knows how many Silos will be on this album or what direction it will take?
We'll be going to SXSW like always. We'll also be taking our time with the new album. It'll come out when it's good and ready. We're not going to rush it. All the folks at Bloodshot Records have been amazing and supportive. It's a new year. There's a black man in the White House offering us new hope. We're in the final stretch of the first decade of the new millennium and looking for a new path, a new way of thinking, a new piece of mind, a new way to contribute to the global community. We'll all be doing our part in our own ways.
Peace and Love,
January 18, 2008
(Review from Lucid Culture, Drew Glackin Memorial Concert at Rodeo Bar NYC 1/17/08)
Drew Glackin, who died unexpectedly earlier this month was honored tonight by a small handful of the literally hundreds who had the good fortune to share a stage or record with him. Like anyone else, musicians have different ways of coping with loss: usually, this boils down to disguising the pain with humor, drinking heavily or turning up really loud. Tonight there was plenty of all of the above. "This band will never be the same," Jack Grace told the packed house, and he was right. Glackin was his lead player, on steel, and pretty much defined the sound of the band with his soaring, ringing washes of country soul and his fiery, terse, incisively bluesy solos. Glackin may not have been a nasty person, but his solos were. In country music, it's so easy to fall into cliches, playing the same licks that have been Nashville staples for decades, but Glackin always avoided that trap. Taking his spot tonight on steel was Mike Neer, who to his credit didn't try to hit the same highs Glackin would typically reach on a given night. The ex-Moonlighter is a purist and knew to hang back when necessary. Bill Malchow played honkytonk piano, and Grace's wife Daria was at the top of her game, groovewise: it's hard to think of a more fluid, spot-on country bass player. And she's basically a rocker.
For some reason (a Glackin idea come to life?) the band also featured two drummers, Bruce Martin and Russ Meissner sharing what looked like a kit and a half. Grace is a great showman, and to his credit he played to the crowd as if this was a typical weekend at the Rodeo. The high points of his all-too-brief set came at the end where he went from absolutely white-knuckle intense, singing "angels, take him away" on an old country gospel number, then bringing back the levity with his big audience hit Worm Farm. Grace explained that he'd written it during a period when pretty much all he could write was sad songs, and considering what the evening was all about, it hit the spot. In the middle of the song, Grace segued into a Joni Mitchell song for a couple of bars, complete with falsetto, just to prove that he hadn't lost his sensitivity, and this was predictably amusing.
From the first scream from Walter Salas-Humara's Telecaster, the Silos came out wailing, hard. Glackin's replacement was Rod Hohl, best known for his sizzling guitar work, but as he proved tonight he's also an excellent bassist. The band played a tantalizingly brief set of bristling indie rock, with Eric Ambel from Steve Earle's band sitting in on second guitar. The high point was a thirteen-minute cover of a Glackin favorite, the Jonathan Richman chestnut I'm Straight, wherein the two guitarists faced off, trading licks throughout a blisteringly noisy duel every bit as good as anything Steve Wynn ever did. Nice to see Roscoe playing noise-rock again, something he's very good at but hardly ever does anymore. His wife Mary Lee Kortes provided searing high harmonies on one tune with a recurrent chorus motif of (if memory serves right) "Keep your heart innocent of your world." The band didn't dedicate it to Glackin, but they might as well have: the guy never sold out. Which probably did him in. Very sad to say that if he'd been Canadian (or British, or Dutch, or French, or Cuban, for that matter), he would have had health insurance and the doctors would have detected the thyroid condition that went undiagnosed for too long.
December 13, 2007
Another year is coming to a close. Again we realize we are some lucky motherf*ckers. We get to travel around and play music. We owe it all to you folks. Thank you, thank you, thank each and every one of you. We would like to reach out to all of you and give you a big wet kiss, but since that's not possible, we recorded a Christmas song for you (Christmas will have to stand in for all the year end holidays in this case). Please download it and enjoy.
Drew, Konrad, Rod and Walter
March 18, 2007
The Fast Lane tour started in Gainesville, Florida. Our host for the evening was the beloved Satchel Raye, owner and chief instigator of Satchel's Pizza and Lightning Salvage Junk Museum. We gorged on the delicious pizza and huge salad doused with their secret dessing. The stage was in the museum next to the Einstein and Freud action figures. This is truly an amazing locale and we played long and hard for the fine folks. We lodged at the expansive Satchel lake compound and breakfasted on the best waffles we've ever tasted. Many thanks to Satchel and his beautiful family.
Next came Athen, Georgia. Dewitt Burton, our pal from last year's Minus 5 tour hooked up the gig at Kingpin's, a boutique bowling and music establishment. Nutria opened with their unique brand of eccentric pop music. Various and sundry Athens celebs and miscreants were in attendance. The next morning another delicious breakfast was provided by Dewitt's lovely wife Jackie.
Could the Bobby character in "King Of The Hill" be based on Bob Mould? Watch carefully with this in mind. Polls are being conducted.
Onward to Atlanta. We were joined there by our old friend the gifted singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire, Jon Dee Graham. Our plan is to be two bands in one. The Silos become Jon's band and Jon plays lead guitar in the Silos. The debut at Smith's Olde Bar went better than if we had rehearsed for weeks. Ed and Linda Bair were our hosts for the evening at stately Bair manor.
The gig in Birmingham was at the infamous Nick. It's known for having more staples covering all surfaces than any other building in history. A skyscraper could be constructed form the steel if they were all melted down. The set was even better than Atlanta. It's really starting to gel. We had a really good time before and after the show with our new friends Jeannie, Sook, Shareef and our old pal John P. Strohm. Here's a story Jon Dee told from the stage about a conversation he had with his 14 year old son Willie while driving in Austin past a billboard for a tatoo/piercing parlor. Willie: "Dad, I understand some guys get their penises pierced" Jon Dee: (wincing) "Yeah, well, what do you think about that?" Willie: "I think it must hurt an awful lot for something you don't get to show everybody."
The Pensacola show was fantastic at The Handle Bar. The Handle Bar was the site of the original Sluggo's and place of many great past shows. In fact we've done Sluggo's shows in all three of it's locations. Our old buddy Gus Brandt and his crew hooked up the show and took really good care of us.
Onward to Baton Rouge where many drunk LSU girls were witnessed wandering around the streets aimlessly and Oyster and Shrimp Po Boys were consumed.
We were victorious in Houston as the Jon Dee factor kicked into full swing. We were up against the Rodeo (it's always sdomething), but held our heads high registering the best attendance at the Continental Club for the week.
We ate amazing hamburgers at Casbeer's in San Antonio. They are famous for their enchiladas but the burgers are the secret weapon. Again the Jon Dee factor was in full effect. The 16 year old phenom Markus Rubio got up and sang "Big Sweet Life."
Quote from the producer Jim Dikinson, "Giving synthesizers to the British was like giving whiskey to the Indians. Their culture never recovered."
We rolled into Austin on Monday to start our SXSW week early. We played a very late set at the Saxon and even though we are playing 9 times in Austin this week, we had a good crowd of stalwart fans who had their schedules so full they had to show up past Midnight on Monday to catch the Silos. The next morning we rolled into the fabulous studios of KUT to play a Live-on-air set moderated by Jay Trachtenberg. They have a sumptous set-up there and it sounded great. Konrad wants to record our next album there. Props to program director Jeff McCord for getting right behind the new record. Tuesday night was the 12th Annual Swollen Circus at the Hole In The Wall. Great sets were turned in by Markus Rill, Dumptruck (who are recording a new album), The Gore Gore Girls (who looked and sounded great in short plastic), The Teenage Prayers (a cool new group our buddy Steve Wynn just produced), PreNup, Michael Zapruder, Michael Hall and the Wall of Stinkbugs, Jud Newcomb, The Silos (joined by the inimitable Chuck Prophet on guitar and Orange blazer), Carrie Rodriguez, Patty Hurst Shifter, Emily Zusik, Mark Pickerell, and The Meshbanes. Wednesday we did a set on 6th Street for the HD Radio Alliance party, recorded video interviews with Current TV and Cnet, then headed over to the Guitartown/Conqueroo Party. We played immediately after Tommy Ramone's bluegrass set (extremely surreal yet completely heartfelt). The Guitartown set was the best so far - big stage, very loud guitars, Jon Dee really tearing it up. We had a ball. Friday was the Bloodshot party at Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery. They set up a tent and stage in the back of the lot and it's always the best and most crowded of all the SXSW parties. We were honored to be following our esteemed labelmate Graham Parker. Then we shot over to the studios of KGSR where we did another Live-on-air set moderated by our favorite celebrity DJ Jody Denberg. Our final SXSW show was Saturday night's Bloodshot Showcase at Red Eyed Fly, a very cool indoor/outdoor kind of venue Austin is famous for. We are so psyched to be on Bloodshot and getting to perform with such cool artists. On the show with us that night were Jon Rauhouse, The Deadstring Brothers, The Detroit Cobras, and The Waco Brothers. It was a frenzied week. Highlight shows we saw were The Reigning Sound, 31 Knots, Perry Farrell, Panther, Goldrush, Graham Parker, The Summer Wardrobe, Bloc Party.
February 1, 2007
We're gearing up
again. Our new album, Come On Like The Fast Lane,
will be released by our new label Bloodshot Records on February 20.
We're psyched to be part of the Bloodshot scene. Besides being very
solid people, they've put out a lot of great music over the years. The
US tour starts March 3 in Gainesville, Florida. G’ville is where
I first played guitar in a band, The Vulgar Boatmen. It's where I
spent my college years learning a lot and drinking a lot. It's a
special place - a crossroads of Marxist dialectic and simple values and
realities. I'm looking forward to the G”ville show and the
kick-off of a tour that will take us through many of our old haunts and
some fresh ground. We're super proud of the new album and thank our
lucky stars it happened the way it did.
We thought we had a bunch of money to work with. We hired Steve Earle to produce. Thanks to Christian Rutledge we hooked up an excellent studio, Looking Glass, an amazing place filled with the best analogue recording gear money can buy coupled with state of the art digital machinery. Even better we were slated to work with Mario McNulty (known for recording Bowie, Ziggy Marley, Laurie Anderson, etc, etc) behind the board. We booked the first four days of a projected twenty to record basics and began rehearsing in our practice space to work out the arrangements. Then we were dealt a heavy blow. Our funding was completely pulled. Our old record label was completely clueless. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.
We were left with just enough money for four days. The entire album would have to be realized in that time. We would have to institute strategies to make it happen. Strategy number one - produce it ourselves and record all the parts ourselves. Strategy number two - no listening to playback. Strategy number three - multiple overdubs. We set up the drums, bass and guitar amps. Mario set up the microphones and we went at it. If the take felt good, Mario would roll it again and all three of us would begin overdubbing simultaneously, me - a lead vocal, Konrad - a percussion instrument, and Drew - another pass on bass. If that felt good, we repeated - another three overdubs simultaneously. If that felt good, on to the next song. On most songs we were able to get a drum track, rhythm guitar, bass, lead vocal, and two percussion parts in an hour. We had all the basics finished by the end of day two.
Days three and four were all Drew all the time. I played a solo on one song, but it was Drew working his ass off for hours on end. His guitar parts and solos are pure magic. I don't know where they came from; I don't think he does either. Drew's vocal pitch is uncanny and his vocal parts are superlative. By the middle of day four we were finally listening to rough mixes while we made safety clones of the material. This album is by far the most fluid, most exciting, and best sounding work we have ever created. We couldn't have done it without the stellar engineering job done by Mario.
Our old pal Dave McNair mixed the album at his home studio. He's been mixing our albums since 1994's Susan Across The Ocean. Our trust in him is so complete that we never attended the sessions. In all the time I've been making music, I've never accomplished such a high quality result with so much ease, good humor, and professionalism as with this album. Enter Scott Schaefer at Bloodshot Records, one of the hippest labels out there. Scott managed to convince the powers that be, and everyone else at Bloodshot, that this was a project they needed to be a part of.
I want to personally thank Drew and Konrad for being the best rhythm section in the business and a joy to be in a band with, Mario and Dave for their tremendous creative and technical talent, and everyone at Bloodshot Records for making Come On Like The Fast Lane a reality. Together we want to express our thanks to all the folks who have supported us by listening to our music all these years. We hope you will listen with pleasure to this our latest effort and we hope to see each and every one of you out on the road.