Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Last Centro-matic Show

The first album I heard by Centro-matic was Distance and Clime. My purchase of this particular album was influenced by hearing the song “To Unleash the Horses Now” on a compilation CD included with an issue of Uncut magazine. As with certain other records, such as Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand, Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See from Okkervil River, Destroyer’s This Night, The Wedding Present’s Bizarro, among others, Distance and Clime infected me in a way that I found impossible to resist. It got into my blood and prompted me to think, “What is this Centro-matic?” It also put me on the path of collecting everything they had done up to that point, and continuing to buy all they felt inclined to bestow upon the listening public. I special ordered those albums that were still available through my local record shop and scoured used record stores in every city I happened to visit to fill the holes in my collection. Each record I found was another piece to see the whole puzzle of Centro-matic. They worked well on their own, but also I could see the flow of each release to the next. I chanced upon a copy of the Tympanum 7” in an Atlanta store called Wax N Facts. I seem to remember it was at some ridiculously cheap price, at least to my fever-addled fanatic’s mind. The Transistor EP was unearthed at some other store, the name and place escapes me now, but it was another swatch of the tapestry that was Centro-matic’s discography, each record sounding different than the last but with the same throughput of great songs. I ordered direct from their website whenever I could or purchased singles and LPs from the merchandise tables when I went to see their shows. Ah, the shows, one of their shows is really what inspired me to write this ode to this great band from Denton, Texas.
They are a rarity in the music world, a band with all the original members that still manage to write great songs and put better and better albums. Often times when a group is around a long time, members will tend to crumble away, to be replaced by others, or their previous fire will be watered down by the years and in some cases both of these happen. Centro-matic managed to avoid going down either of these roads, a remarkable feat in any era, but especially these days.
They made an announcement earlier this year that Centro-matic was soon to be no more. Coupled with this announcement was news of their final tour, the “All Their Farewells Tour”. As a way to celebrate their career, they decided to do one last tour and play for some of the cities and places that they loved playing and had shown them support over the years. There was no way I was going to let one of the last possible chances to see one of my all-time favorite bands pass by without my being there. On December 5th, 2014, my wife and I drove to Athens, GA, to watch them play their songs for one of the last times. It wasn’t a perfect show; there are after all no such things as perfect shows. Of course, they didn’t play all the songs that I wished they had, that would not have been possible due to time constraints. The version of “Calling Thermatico” didn’t compare to the first time I heard them play that song at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC, shortly after Fort Recovery was released. I don’t think I’ll ever hear a better version of that song than I heard them play that night. That may have something to do with that being the first time I heard that song.
More than once, at this last Athens show, goosebumps sprouted on my arms, the back of my neck, and almost every other part of my skin, no time more so than when they played “Innocence Kindly Waits” during the encore. Also during the encore they played “Without You” from Love You Just the Same, and when Will sang these lyrics, I truly felt the finality in their goodbye.
               As you can plainly see 
              Need you here tonight
              The battle is quite long
              And we just can’t go on
              Without You
It is bittersweet, and something akin to losing a dear friend. I’ve still got the LPs, the singles, the T-shirts, and the posters, but they are images in a scrapbook. They sit upon the shelf like pictures of lost loved ones and like those all we have are the memories that they evoke to carry us on. I will always love their songs and I look forward to the music they will make together and separately in the future, but I will likely never see Centro-matic play again and never buy another Centro-matic record and I feel a certain amount of sadness at that fact.
All that’s left now is for me to say goodbye to you, Centro-matic, and also thank you for all the wonderful songs.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Best Show You Never Saw

The Best Show You Never Saw ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This is a non-fiction story I wrote a number of years ago about seeing the band Buffalo Tom at a little club in my hometown of Charleston, SC. I was knocked out by them because of the simple fact that even though almost the whole crowd left after the opening band played, they put on a show like the place was filled for basically my two friends, myself and one other guy. As I said, I wrote this a long time ago and it is an excerpt from my collection, Bricks and Mortar. So though I cringe at the clunky language, I make no apologies for the snotty tone. I meant it then to be a lambasting of those who were foolish enough to walk out and miss the best show I had ever seen, and that is still how I feel about it today. I hope you like this, and I hope it makes you think of the best show of your life.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Talk-To-Text-To-Poetry (TTTTP)

I have discovered a new poetry design, new to me anyway. Like many others, I have been vexed many times by the lack of accuracy in the talk-to-text function of my smartphone. Let's just say, it's hardly ever functional. So in an effort to get some use out of the talk-to-text, I am now going to use it almost exclusively to create misheard poetry. I plan to try to document both what I say and what the phone hears. This may prove to be impossible if I continue in the stream of consciousness talking mode that I used for this initial foray. Here is the first of many talk-to-text-to-poems, hopefully.

Solid Thousand In the Morning 

So I'm down to the turnover, 
Solid thousand in the morning 
and the one wired around everything, 
so you compass encompassing 
you really party

The only word of that that I remember saying was 'encompassing'.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lou Reed, Berlin and New York

Listening to Berlin by Lou Reed and realized that if I decided to make a list of classic albums with city names as titles, Lou would have at least two on the list.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No blog love!

Tried to bring up the blog today and it was removed. Tried to sign in to the g-mail account and it was suspended due to "unusual activity". Google had to send me an activation code text message so I could re-activate my account. Checked the blog history and no activity appears since May of this year. Hmmm?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rock City! Not Detroit Rock City though.

On vacation, we stopped at Rock City in Tennessee and took a whole lot of photos, here are a few:

Amy and I at the start of the trail.

Amy in blue.

Ah, there's the bridge.

Lover's Leap

1000 ton lift and my arms didn't get tired a bit!

Amy in light.

The path.


Amy on our swing.

Full-on waterfall.

Light and Amy.

Indianapolis and the 5K

Some photos from Indianapolis and the half marathon/5K - May 5, 2012

Indianapolis Arts Garden

Angeline finishing the half marathon.

Ange and Emily post-half.

Part of the Indianapolis Canal and Tom and Ange.

Fireman finishing the half-marathon. 13.1 miles in full fire gear!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Amping up the blogging

I have neglected this blog far too long. I'm going to make a concerted effort to blog much more in 2012, yo. Also going to be using "yo" a lot more as well, yo.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cemetery Dance Magazine

You like horror? Check out:

I've been spending quite a bit of time in the forum the past few months. It's been a heck of a lot of fun.

Slackness Abounds

I had no idea how neglected this blog was. I need to update this sucker.