I’m surprised nobody has anything to say about Paul Anka / Nirvana – I called the most hallowed album of the alt-rock era unlistenable! I also can’t believe we’re still in that era (stuck in the doldrums, it seems… Save us, M.I.A.!)

Playing first was all for the best last night; Lincoln’s only world-famous nightspot, the Zoo Bar, was full for Axeface’s set. Playing with Axeface was so good, I was on stage for all but the first two songs. We were halfway through practice earlier that evening when I realized that the four of us (Cory, Annie, Tucci, Howie) were Shacker-redux.

I told James something that only crystallized in my mind in the telling; the longer I make music, the more important it is to me to be at least a little entertaining for the gathered audience. When h&s started writing, our songs were intended as art/expression, without much thought to the listener’s experience. Now, I actively work with that experience (live and through recordings) and try to frame art/expression as something a person might like to listen to. Novel!

Credit goes to the second band, with an incredibly long name (includes “Vs.”), for making this clear to me. They were not entertaining, or expressive in a meaningful way, or even listenable. Props – you taught me something!


MFR in Lincoln Journal-Star

On Sunday (July 24) the Lincoln Journal-Star published a story on Mr. Furious Records and our BL/R-OCK PARTY on page 3 of the Hometown (H) section. We are not able to link you to the story, as this seems to be the only section of the LJS that is not published online; a transcript was sent to FuriousMail list members, posted for you here.


The golden drum kit (Shacker, echoes) is functional again, after a trip to the instrument-consignment shop in Uptown a couple weeks ago. The old hi-hats were shredded (they were old and corroded when I got the set) and it’s never had a ride cymbal, just my thin crash.

I found a new (to me) vintage Zildjian cymbal, exactly like Scottie’s that I had on loan for Knowing Her Best…, …Blackbeard’s Birthday, nickel, and all the gigs surrounding those albums. Beautiful, and an incredible find, both in terms of the deal I got and that I already know how it plays and responds. The hats are Sabian AAs, 14″ – I spent a long time testing different sounds, but these were definitely the best bang-for-your-buck. I’m really picky about hi-hat sounds, but I love these to death.

It wasn’t easy to cough up the change for decent cymbals, but the mission for these couple weeks in Nebraska has been to track drums for upciming signs in winter, Be A Ska Rat, and the XMAS tunes I’m working on. If I’m going to be playing drums again, I need a full kit (even if not quite full-sized!).

Doing 2 1/2 records at once is a logistics thing; I can probably play guitars in a Kansas City apartment, but not kit, yeah?

Benjamin Axeface Show Tuesday at the Zoo Bar, Lincoln

Tuesday night, July 26, our very own Axeface* will perform at Lincoln’s world-famous Zoo Bar. The details:

26 July, Tuesday, Zoo Bar, Lincoln, NE
Church Photo Directory Starring; Benjamin Axeface
Producers of the World
Princess Dragon Mom vs. White White Boy
Doors at 9pm, music at 9:30 – we don’t know the order of the lineup, so come early!

*Benjamin Axeface plays Beach-Puppy and Shacker songs, plus some others.

New Beach-Puppy Tracks on "Furious Instance"

Mr. Furious Records posted two (2) new Beach-Puppy tracks to the emerging Furious Instance compilation today. There’s a brand-new song, “Try Harder Or Not At All,” and an alternate version of “There’s Something To Be Said” from Creepy Eepy, with different lyrics and a sweet ending.

Download them from the ever-present Furious Instance (to your left – PINK!).

Mr. Furious Records; Rock Harder (or Not At All)


More of a storytelling than a review, here’s a few snapshots of the sets last night from MFR bands at the BL/ROCK PARTY.

echoes / My set was kicked-up acoustic versions of songs from nickel, the upcoming Be A Ska Rat, and some other projects that aren’t albums yet (“Market Stress”, “We Are 1nes”). Closed with the “My Time” Blacklight Sunshine cover. It feels good to have all fast songs to choose from, and I really like playing sans mics/PA/all that stuff – just voice and guitar, raw.

Shacker / Cory and I did the duo thing on a few songs from The Dimly Lit Room. We didn’t practice, and it didn’t matter; I play Cory’s songs all the time, even just hanging out at home by myself, so we probably sounded like auditory gold dipped in LL Cool J’s private chocolate supply.

12:00 Fence / Like Shacker (short a bassist – Jake in this case), Justin and Jeremy brought the rock. The Fence’s songs range over some broad territory, from melodic hardcore to strummy pop, with some punk edges from time to time.

GILMO / Scott and Allen’s free jazz manages to bring together their considerable technical chops with a non-verbal lyricism that makes their music colorful, beautiful, expressive, and highly entertaining. Their set was my favorite listen of the night, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Beach-Puppy / Though I’ve worked a ton with Cory and with BP, I’d never seen him perform before. It was something different, and I loved it. He improvises changes in the lyrics, which is very cool if you know the words from Creepy Eepy (MFR listeners will get a taste of that in a week or two, when an alternate version of “There’s Something To Be Said” is posted to the Furious Instance.

“Sally Ride” / Last night Cory and I announced that we’ve finished editing uncle Charlie’s tapes from his old band, and we played a couple Sally Ride songs. It consistently surprises me that they work acoustic, but somehow they seem to (at least to us… the reaction among the gathered was minimal).

howie&scott / Covered by the Nebraska night and barely backlit in red and blue, we played a couple hits (“Major & Minor”), broke our own hearts (“Stop Walking”), and closed, as promised, with a finale worth the wait; the live acoustic version of “Was I In Bon Jovi For A Second?”

Now I’m drinking leftover Lemon-Lime and thinking about getting back behind the drums for the afternoon. We’ll have to do it again sometime. See you… -h

MFR BL/R-ock Party Saturday

Mr. Furious wants YOU!!!111

to enjoy a night of music at howie’s house in Crete. THIS Saturday night, be there or be [].

Sets from:
12:00 Fence
and Shacker

Saturday, July 16 – 7:00 pm until the music stops
The Howards’ back yard (Mapquest map here)
709 Linden Ave.
Crete, NE

Bring lawn chairs, bring friends.

-Mr. Furious


Last night’s Late Show was probably a repeat; Gladiator was on the couch, not talking about “Cinderella Man” but some trouble he’d gotten into. I’m sure I missed most of it, but apparently he hit somebody? at a hotel? and went to jail.

But Paul Anka was on to promote a new disc, Rock Swings, and he’s been singing for five decades. Nobody told him about The Bad Plus; he covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” with his big band in a fast lounge style, playing up the “My libido…” line and linking it to the “Hello, hello…” parts by his stage moves. Your opinion how successful he was (or was not) at making the song sexy is probably proportional to your age.

I know most of us kids-to-30-somethings still get into “Teen Spirit,” but hearing the original track makes me a little sick. Watching Anka perform, I realized that Kurt’s suicide really shouldn’t have been a surprise. He saw what the world was doing with his music (on which hung serious ideological weight), co-opting Nirvana’s operating ethos for the sake of greed. And it hasn’t stopped. Why else would Paul Anka be covering it? Don’t tell me it spoke to him on a deep level, and he had to pay tribute. More like get paid, in order to cover the bill from his plastic surgeon.

Nevermind was a good album, and it has had some impact on the course of pop/indie music, but I can’t listen to it. Breaks my heart, like Orwell’s 1984. To be confronted with such idealism and striving, corrupted and turned towards profit/power, is unbearable. If anyone did that to signs, I would be broken.

All this is not Paul Anka’s fault. He’s just a face to put on a larger trouble.


Cody runs sound at WCC on Sunday mornings. That’s what he does; he’s a renegade professional sound-man, for hire to local/touring acts and venues around town. He’s great, he likes round, warm sound (like I do), and he did the gig Monday night at Bunker’s in the warehouse district. I went along, as a friend, and as a techie’s techie; a sort of informal job-shadow. All through my recent job search, Cody was after me to work for a sound company he has connections with. The show was; “Am I able to do this? Would I enjoy this? What would it take to turn sound into a viable career?”

Because my sound education is entirely informal, there are gaps. Example; I had to ask what the crossover processor does (it takes a mono signal, and splits it into multiple outputs based on different frequency ranges – these separate signals are sent to different PA speakers, so you get low tones headed for the subs and higher tones for the smaller speakers). But I understand what is happening to the sound pretty intuitively, once it’s explained. Everything Cody did I could hear or see. He’s fast with making connections between what we hear and the right frequencies to cut to make it better, but that comes with experience. I haven’t worked much with the 31-band EQs that are used at this kind of show; I’m used to the high/mid/low EQs on mixing consoles, and (on the other end of the spectrum) the paragraphic EQ in the Ozone mastering suite I use in the studio.

The Combo featured a couple notable players; Jellybean on guitar (he played drums for Morris Day & The Time – remember, at the end of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” ???), Mike on drums (Prince, Paul Westerberg – both of whom Cody has worked for too), and a Grammy-winning guitarist (wrote the song for J. Vaughn). They played funk/R&B which was fun, and sounded alright; a case of obviously talented players, but no quarterback. Songs meandered (tightly), even going on for considerable periods without a soloist, everone just vamping on their rhythm parts. Still, I thought of all the bands I’ve seen at Knickerbocker’s, and The Combo seemed like an alright Monday night.

Bottom line, I learned something important; if I ever mustered up the courage/machismo/desire/fortitude to do it, I could be a sound guy. Cody’s pretty happy with it, even if it can be crazy work. My concern about this potential path is more the bar/tour scene than anything; everyone’s got a tragic story (which tend to come out, verbalized or not) and for the most part they’re so predictable. I don’t insulate myself from that very well, which could be hurtful/dangerous. At least it’s out there and I’m aware.

I even wore my pure black t-shirt. -h