Paddleball, poetry, finding a prom date

name: Mimi
query: What is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake?
A muffin has a fish center. A cupcake has icing on top, and has a center of pork or boar. Muffins originated in France and are still considered a top-shelf delicacy in that country; meanwhile, Italians, who invented cupcakes, regard them as acceptable nourishment only for prisoners and cattle.
name: blake
query: how can you understand poetry?
Ah, but that is the point of poetry: to narrowly skirt the line on whose other side lies total gibberish. A poem should suggest meaning, but you should never be sure of what it’s saying. A poem that you fully understand is a terrible poem that fails in poetry’s one objective: to mystify the reader.
Here is an example of a perfectly good poem:

I raked leaves today
off the roof onto
your job interview came in the mail?

Powerfully suggestive, endlessly evocative, but ultimately impossible to parse.
Here, by contrast, is a shitty poem:
Mark lent me his ruler this morning

What makes it bad? The lack of mystery, of the suspense of un-knowing, or antiknowing, or “knowing without knowledge”.
Let’s take a look at another great classic that you’ll probably recognize from school:
Running my hand through your hair
my finger caught a knot.
I pushed gently
but the knot wouldn’t not not not not yield.

Did the knot come untangled, did it “yield”? Did the speaker get his hand out of the other person’s hair, or is it still stuck in there on that knot? The poem leaves this question open, with the possibility of several alternatives. “Not” is repeated so many times that the reader would have a tremendously difficult time figuring out exactly how “yield” is being is modified. The puzzle is rendered utterly insoluble by the addition of the homophone “knot”, which multiplies our confusion to an irreducible degree.
Is that guy’s hand stuck in that girl’s hair? Great fucking poem.
name: Rachel
query: How skilled are each of you at paddle ball?
Glad you asked.

Here’s how we stack up against one another:

name: Brandi
query: Ok i’m A girl and i need to find a prom date but I think it would be very akward to ask a guy what should I do?
There are a couple of reliable ways to get a guy to ask you to prom.
1) Go up to a guy and go, “Hey, will you read this out loud? Don’t fucking think about it just read it right now!!” And you show him a piece of paper that has “Want to go to prom” written on it. And so when he reads that you go, “You’re asking me? Oh my god, you’re asking me to prom? Yes, sure, yes! I’ll go! I will! I’d love to go with you!”
2) Come up behind a guy and grab his hair and hold a big hunting knife against his neck (hold it hard! It’s better to cut him a little than to hold it limply and not sell the stunt) and whisper into his ear, all threatening, “REPEAT AFTER ME. DO YOU.” And then wait for him to say “do you.” Then go, “WANT TO.” Let him say “want to.” Go, “GO TO PROM.” He’s all, “go to prom.” Then, “WITH ME.” He says, “with me.” “BRANDI.” Let him go, “Brandi.” Then get a kind of surprised, kind of embarrassed, but definitely pleased tone in your voice and be all, “Um… yeah. Yeah, sure, I’d love to.” Then knock him out with the butt of the knife, blindfold him, tie him up, put him in your car, and squirrel him away in your basement till prom rolls around, then get him out and take him to prom. This last step prevents him from welching on his offer.
3) Get a guy’s number and call him up — make it night, like around 4 in the morning. When he gets on the phone be like, “We have your sister.” Disguise your voice with one of those voice disguisers (you can get them at any supermarket). Have the thing make your voice super-deep. Be all, “Unless you do exactly as we say, we will begin cutting off parts and stop when there’s nothing big enough to cut off without the risk of cutting our finger by trying to hold the part that we’re trying to cut the other part off of.” Then put his sister on the phone and electrocute her or stomp her or something to make her cry out in pain. At this point the guy will probably yell something like “OKAY OKAY!! I’LL DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!! OH GOD!! OH JESUS JUST PLEASE DON’T HURT HER!!” When you hear those words, that means you’re going to prom. Take a second to congratulate yourself in your head. Job’s not done yet, though. Now go, “Tomorrow you will go to school. You will find Brandi. You will ask her a question. The question will be, do you want to go to prom. If she says yes, you will take her to prom next month. You will rent a limo, and you will get [name of cool friend of guy] and his date to share the limo with you and Brandi. You will make alcohol available to everyone. After prom is over, you will take Brandi to a good hotel and let her fuck you. You will stay over at the hotel with Brandi and let her fuck you again in the morning.” He may need you to go over the details a few times — remember, it’s late at night, you’ve just woken him up, and he’s scared. Tell him his sister will be returned at lunch time on the day after prom. Et, voila! You have a wonderful prom in store! Get rid of the sister as soon as you’ve made the call because she now represents a major liability rather than an important bargaining chip.
4) Create an email account the name of which has absolutely nothing to do with your appearance or name or anything else about you that this guy would know about. Then email the guy from your new account, and write “Dear [whoever], I have it on good authority that if you were to ask Brandi to prom, she would say yes. You should totally do it, as all us guys[!] agree that she’s the sexiest girl in school. She doesn’t know anything about this. How, you ask, do I know that she’ll say yes then? For many years, I have observed human behavior, making a careful study of what makes people want certain things but not others. I can now tell with a high degree of accuracy how a person will behave in a given situation, even if they don’t really know themselves. The reality is that Brandi probably doesn’t even know your name, much less actively yearn to go to prom with you. However, by watching her for several weeks, I’ve determined that if you ask her, she would say yes, and even go to bed with you after prom. Therefore, it is my professional opinion that you should ask her. Sincerely, an anonymous friend”
Have a great time at prom! Remember to wipe down your room for any kind of evidence that his sister was ever there, as you’re likely to receive a cursory visit from the cops after the call, and you can never be too careful!
name: jostein
query: I smell bad under my knees. How come? Do i eat too much turkey? ehh? ehhhhh? eh?
You don’t eat enough turkey. If you ate too much turkey, you’d smell bad on top of your knees. Only by eating the exact right amount of turkey will you eliminate odor from your knees, though eating that exact right amount of turkey can actually cause your cell phone to smell… bad isn’t the word, but intense, somewhere between pine and freshly laid blacktop.
name: Amaar
query: ok guys, so on a scale of one to ten, how hard do you think it would be for someone to put on pants if they had no arms?
It would be a good 6 or 7 to put pants on themselves, but only a 2 to put pants on someone else, as they would be able to use their mouth.
name: Jon
query: K this question si really important. if i put on a godzilla mask riht now, would i scare all of tokyo?
Are you the mayor of Tokyo? If so then yes, if you leave the mask on for a few months.

Broken Amp, But All Is Not Lost

You bastard scions:
Two nights ago tragedy struck in the form of a misbehaving Vox AC30 guitar amplifier. Tracking, like a freight train grinding to a halt, ground to a halt. And while at least one unknown dude’s Sunday was spent performing a tedious and delicate amp repair, at least two dudes hit the freakin beach! It was sunny hike weather, so Keith and Chris slathered on sun tan oil, pulled up their pants, and drove straight at the ocean. Once they arrived, the beauty was so overwhelming that Chris couldn’t stop taking pictures and Keith couldn’t stop texting friends his impressions.

Keith to one friend: “can’t. in bay area recording for few weeks. drink a pitcher for me. i will drink one for me, too, here.”

And to another: “what say you to a 3 o’clock knocked up? i’m cougar hunting but will be back in hour or 2”

“you know you want to see it again. i’ve actually seen it TWICE, but i feel 3 more viewings in me”

“that has angelina jolie. i would rather actually be beheaded”

“why risk another cusack failure when knocked up is a slam dunk”

Ariel made the resumption of recording today feel tremendously special by hauling out some ceremonial garb.

Let’s get a closer look at those shoes…

Ariel calls these “huraches”, but admits that’s probably the wrong term. Please email us if you know the correct one so that again he might walk the righteous path.

Coming up in the next couple of days: a comprehensive guide to the guitar pedals that will color and shade the new album (tentatively titled Mermaid Stewwwww (Yuck!)). A little closer to home, you will lose your job.

Neck Deep In Recording

You long-suffering succotash:
It is on. The record (tentatively titled “Do Smoke Detectors Detect The Smell Of Smoke?”) is beginning to look like an H-Bomb. Here’s how it’s gone down so far.

On Sunday we drove up to Sausalito (from Los Angeles) to start recording at The Plant. Along the way, somewhere near Fresno, we hit In-n-Out for some burgers-n-fries-n-370-degree-heat — we found all three in abundance, as well as tons (literally!) of fat road warriors!

Once we got to The Plant in our cars, the natural thing to do was to walk inside.

The Plant’s interior has some quirky details, such as this curvy hallway …

… and this wobbly mirror, which makes things look all curvy! (Check out the camera’s reflection: SOMETHING’S NOT QUITE RIGHT!!)

Time to record! We assembled our instruments (pictured here: two violins) …

… and we assembled our mics and amps (pictured here: a green amp and a silver-and-grey mic) …

… and our various pedals (pictured: a wonderful distortion pedal) …

… and we got down to fucking business!

Plenty of time is spent working out the perfect parts for each song. (Get a load of Ariel working out the perfect part for that piano.)

And a shit-ton of time is spent by Ariel editing stuff on his thinking machine.

Everybody mostly stands around and watches while he does the editing.

Sometimes we’ll hit the hoop to kill time while he edits. This has been fruitful. All of us can now slam, stuff, do hook shots from up to a mile away, bounce the ball and then grab it and slam it, do a lay-up, shoot three pointers, and dribble. The basket features a breakaway rim and a regulation 4-ft. pole, and a leaf mat for tough landings.

Sometimes you’ll come back inside from a long, tough game of hoops and find Ariel tooling around in the hallways on his razor scooter, shooting the shit with an old friend over the phone.

We’re all very excited about the songs, though Ariel insists that it’s not great musicianship but his razor scooter that’s going to put this record over the top. Who knows, maybe he’s right, at least about the fact that it won’t be great musicianship that makes this album, because there won’t be any (would maybe be Ariel’s implication)!

More along these lines very shortly! Too long to hold your breath, but too short to take a vacation and hope not to fall behind while you’re away! Anyway, vacations are mainly for assholes, probably!

Beat Up Old Fellas

You soothsaying assassins:
It’s true, what you probably didn’t hear: We played three shows in New York last week under the nom de guerre “Beat Up Old Fellas”. Why the (sort of) secrecy? There was a little deliberate leaking, we admit. But everyone from some guy who wrote a comment on Brooklyn Vegan, to some other dude who has a blog, to this guy who’s a fictitious character in this one dude’s unpublished fan fiction, accused us of Intent To Manufacture Hype By Means Of Non-Secret “Secret” Show. And that was definitely part of it, and we are enjoying the lavish lifestyle that the recently gained fame has afforded us, but mainly, we didn’t want to play any of the stuff from With Love & Squalor because we had a bunch of new songs we wanted to try out before going into the studio to record them. So we didn’t want any big With Love & Squalor fans showing up and being disappointed by an unrecognizable set. Thankfully, it worked. The kids didn’t know what they were in for, didn’t know who the hell we were, and they loved what they heard. Here’s a picture from Friday night at Maxwell’s of a dude whose expression can serve as a handy mean of all audience expressions taken as a group:

Hey, just kidding. Members of the audience were generally very receptive and outspoken with their praise. Here’s just one of the friendly faces that kept the mood buoyant and fun throughout the three shows:

How bout a few more pics from Saturday night’s gig at Mercury Lounge, featuring The Teeth, Spinto Band, and Bling Kong?

Michael made a t-shirt for us to sell, and sell it we did, at a premium: twenty bucks just to take part in bidding! Over a hundred people paid to bid! Some chick ended up paying over a grand!

Nick Spinto weathers the Spinto-merch sales slump brought on by the presence of a single Beat Up Old Fellas tee.

Joe Spinto may be tired of running from the cops, but Jon Spinto will never tire of mocking Joe’s predicament (Joe stands accused of fucking rabbits). (Fucking them hard guys.*)
* The rabbits die.

Master engineer Chris Coady, slated to man the mics on our upcoming album, breaks his one big rule by showing up and familiarizing himself with the music before deciding with absolute finality how it will sound on the record.

Karen Ruttner and Matt Rubano perfectly showcase the two possible responses Chris can get to his line, “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere?”

Our new drum tech can barely talk and he shits his pants every day, but he knows drums like a horse-whisperer knows horses and whispering to them, and how to convince the horse of things using whispers poured into the horse-ear, as well as, presumably, how to saddle and otherwise care for a horse, all while keeping his voice low; whispering, if you will.

Chris accomplishes using just one foot-pedal what takes Keith nearly a dozen: having more than one sound come from his instrument. Greater than or equal to two sounds, let’s say.

Keith gets it done.

Chris gets it done.

Michael gets it done while following the game on his headset.

Above show photos taken by Justin Rice, co-director of the Textbook and Lousy Reputation videos, member of the magnificent Bishop Allen band, cat owner, fiancé, man. Guy. Fella.

Post performance, Shawn Lobb slaps it, snaps it, and wraps it, as we say in the live music business. Then he whaps it, baps it, and takes a crap on it, which is what separates him from even the best stage techs.

The photographer corners a tiger.

Four fans made it out to see W.A.S. after their laser vision penetrated the “Beat Up Old Fellas” disinformation campaign. Interestingly, the guy is from Stoke-on-Trent, but he was the only one of them who didn’t seem to know who the hell we were. Suspicious, we thought, given how much time we’ve spent in that town! His authenticity was redeemed when, after we quizzed him on The Underground and The Sugarmill, Stoke’s two finest venues, he shrugged and asked, “Yeah, but would you want to live there?” No sir! Death first! Death by fill-in-the-blank first!

Then there were these guys, who so aggressively pimped their buddies’ band New York Howl (you see the t-shirt, but can you see the business card slipped into a back pocket? the persistent conversational refrain?) that it would surely damage our karma not to include a link here.

Jay Belin, booker for the Mercury Lounge, and Mike Mori, guy who books W.A.S. at the Mercury Lounge.

Three-sixths of The Spinto Band play a jazzed-up cover of Happy Birthday to a crowd only too happy to finally hear something they vaguely recognize.

Kendell walks away with the world’s only Beat Up Old Fellas t-shirt, plus a $1200 hole in her pocket.

An irrepressible lady’s man and director of mainstays in the W.A.S. videography like The Great Escape (version 1) and the Gilbert & George studies, Mathieu Shrontz knows where the major girl-crossings are in most clubs.

Michael seals the deal. Four hundred plastic combs to be delivered to the pier at midnight exactly. In exchange, the congressman dies, but in a way that makes it look like a gun and knife accident.

Keith kisses a vicious little anthill of grape Pixie Stick sugar off of Joe Spinto’s baseball-shaped bicep.

Keith confronts Brian Teeth about having a mustache while playing in a band, calling it a “shameless, transparent stab at distractive marketing that can’t begin to stand in for good music.” Brian: not catching much of it; too drunk on free rounds for guy with mustache.

Guy has got his dick out, is why everybody else is so upset. (Good eye! That is indeed Mark from The King Left with his dick out!)

And that’s about it guys… well, maybe there was one other teeny little thing. Okay, we’re being coy! The fact is that yes, we did start a blog called Tits, Pits & Bits on Saturday night, and yes it did, virtually overnight, become the most important information thing ever. Please head on over for a look right now — this thing is bigger than all of us, and is bound to outlast our grandchildren’s very molecules!

Summer is heating up

You rumpled old octopi:
It’s been some time since we checked in with you all in any formal capacity. Sure, we’ve paid visits to most of you at your homes, bringing with us either a nice fruit tray or a nice-enough bottle of wine or some unexpired warm milk, depending on the time of day. And we wiled away the evening hours in the cozy confines of your living rooms, dens, bedrooms, bathtubs. And it was pleasant — much was discussed — and you got to know us better as people, and we you, and 99% of the time it was a thing to remember fondly. And occasionally the street out front would end up swimming in the red and blue light of all manner of emergency vehicles, and we’d have to get our friend the Senator on the horn just to avoid jail time, and this was all of a piece.
But it’s been a while, has it not, since we addressed you in bulk? Since we went on the record in a way that would make it impossible to deny having said what we said? Since the facts were spelled out in plain English??
Well it’s time to do just that. Here, for the record, is most of what we’ve been doing lately:
(1) Working on songs for the new album (tentatively titled “YOU ASK YOU FIND OUT FUCKED UP SECRET”).
(2) Chilling out in the manner popularized by the islands.
(3) Smoking various doobs.
(4) Kicking it irie with fellow members of our same gang.
(5) Urgently nailing down a marg recipe.
(6) Maxing.
(7) Just like thinking about stuff.
But it’s been primarily (1), rest assured. Let us be the first of many revered critics to assert that the songs on our next album are top balls. They are fuggin, like, yep. Kay guys? Stop worrying about the new songs. Don’t care what anybody told you, no matter how much of an insider he was, no matter even if it was one of us individually: these songs are tip top, mountain top balls, believe it.
Couple of additional facts:
(1) Michael is living in LA, killing it, murdering the scene. Why’d he go? He heard they had great pizza. The irony is that the person who told him that was actually thinking of New York — it’s New York that has great pizza, not LA. And get this, full circle: New York is exactly where Michael moved from, guys. New York, where the good pizza actually is, as opposed to LA. LA, where Michael moved looking for good pizza, ironically.
(2) The new album (tentatively titled “Collective Soul”) is being produced by Ariel Rechtsaid ( DJ name: “Server Wars”; not “DJ Server Wars”; “Server Wars”). Ariel is the total same dude who recorded our last album, so don’t worry, if you enjoyed our last album, this new one should be very much to your liking indeed! Of course, if you thought the last album was only okay, bear in mind that Ariel has made big changes to his producing approach. And if you hated the last album, realize that with this new album, both we and Ariel have aimed to do every last thing completely differently, right down to recording on cotton fabric instead of onto a computer. T-shirt material. It sounds real good, trust us, or we wouldn’t do it. And if you didn’t even know we released an album, or that we’re a band, then you’re going to love this next album.
(3) We’ll be recording the new album, tentatively called “DJ Server Wars”, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Complete with sailing and land, this area has all to offer.
(4) Chris’s boy Dashiell continues to flourish and grow on a steady diet OF DOG BRAINS, believe it or not:

(5) We’re playing the Siren Festival in New York later this summer, and then the [Carling Brand Of Canned Beer] Reading & Leeds Festival later on in August. If that isn’t a full live schedule, we simply do not know what is.