Unexpected harvests from long-fallow fields
Well, there has certainly been some unexpected news of late. Here, at age sixty +—and male, to boot—I’ve discovered that I’m pregnant! Who could have ever foreseen this? Truly the gift of life is a miracle…
But seriously, there are suddenly plans for possibly three albums of vintage songs to be taken from the song-cellars, where they have been so callously disregarded by the song-steward for all these decades, and turned into albums.
I was one of three principals in a combo in the 90’s in Marin called The Bulls. I originally had a concept for an older band called “Aging Bull”. I thought of this name one day when I ran into my old pal Greg Kihn. He and I looked at each other, having not seen each other for a few years. and I said,”Hey, we’re aging bulls!” Ha-Ha. So when long-time music buddies Dave Jenkins (lead singer and guitarist of Pablo Cruise) and Lorin Rowan (The Rowan Brothers, The Edge) and I got together to do something fun, we called it Aging Bull.
Once we found how good it sounded and had enlisted drummer Billy Lee Lewis, pedal steel Player Larry Cragg (Neil Young), and a fine bass player whose name slips from my aging bull brain right now (I’ll amend this info later today with help from Lorin or Dave, unless they are also too brain-damaged to recall the lovely and talented gent), we changed the name to the Bulls.
Bulls we were. Our rehearsals were brilliant. Three singers, all of different ranges (I’m the baritone), a bunch of fun songs, great playing: it all added up to a swellegant package. We played a couple of times at the Sweetwater and got a bit encouraged to pursue the project. We even opened for Merle Haggard at a big show in San Francisco and did well with the crowd. Haggard was brilliant, of course.
But there was a strange problem. It seemed that when we got onstage, we tended to get oddly competitive or something. We failed to do backup vocal parts, growled and groused under our breath, shot dagger glances, and the like. Very minor stuff, no guitar tossing or anything like that, though I think at times various of us might have felt like doing something along those lines. Someone said, “You guys are really like Bulls up there — pawing the earth and snorting.”
Well, The Bulls had some great moments. Certainly there was no lack of talent. We recorded a bunch of songs. I haven’t listened to them in quite a while. I guess it’s another treasure trove to unearth, as Lorin called me yesterday and said that there was a small American label that wanted to put out a Bulls’ CD! Perhaps the Bulls can reunite for few gigs. I think at this age we’d have to call ourselves, “Aged Beef”.
My work on my 80’s hits-that-weren’t-quite album, which I am calling Rokzapoppen, at this point is done. I’m sending it off to see if the European deal is actually available. I love this collection of meaningless, poppy, hooky songs. It’s from a golden age of freedom ushered in by the sudden availability of multi-track home tape machines and MIDI sequencing, drum machines, and all that. I was in my late thirties when I recorded these tunes. I was singing my ass off in that higher register that I now reserve for the studio and which I lower a few steps for the stage. Like relaxed fit jeans, why apply the testicle capo if you don’t need to? LOL!
The third album is one I am going to put together for the book: songs from early Clover, late Clover, the 867-5309 era, and my hits of the late 80’s. I’m going to make this CD available at my book events later this fall. The flagship song will be my demo of 867-5309, which I discovered the other day. I love it. The rest of the record will be demos of my hits and early Clover songs, which I hope will feature some redo’s with John McFee of very early songs like Mr. Moon and Lizard Rock’n’roll band.
I have two other albums I’d very much like to make. One is a collection of songs I have written about nature. The other is a video album of current songs. You can see the genesis of this album by going to my Facebook-my videos or thealex8675309 at YouTube.
I do have two albums available on iTunes and /or Amazon: Incredibly Thick Songs with complicated chord progressions, vague lyrics, and melodies only I can sing, from about six years ago, and Passion & Purpose, the fine record with Lisa Carrie and the Firestarters, on Amazon or at www,studergroup.com.
If had the dough-re-mi, I’d have about six more records out. I write a lot of songs!