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Tag Archives: music

Do These Glasses Make My Brain Look Big?

Man, I think the lenses are in backwards or something.

“What are you doing?” Barb asked. We were lying in bed together after the kids were asleep. Neither one of us was in the mood for sex, so we were reading. Actually, that’s a lie—I’m almost always in the mood for sex. There are some nights where I pester her so much the poor woman wakes up looking like a golf ball. But this night I was grasping a pair of kitchen tongs in each hand, holding a copy of “Country Music For Dummies” at arm’s length. “It’s easier to see this way,” I explained. Barb shook her head, made a dismissive motorboat sound with her lips, and rolled over to turn her light out. “You’re getting old, Bob, you need to deal with it.”

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Five Grammys for the Chicks. Suck On That, Toby Keith

Hooray for the Dixie Chicks. Or as I affectionately call them, the Chixie Dicks. Five for five in this year’s Grammys, capping a mighty three-year comeback since being banished by country radio for The Comment. During a 2003 concert in London, singer Natalie Maines told the audience that the Chicks were “ashamed that the President (of the U.S.) is from Texas.” Confused Londoners, who had assumed that everyone from Texas was a dickweed, applauded. Here was a girl from the Lone Start state, who did not exhibit the blind loyalty expected by the arrogant knucklehead frat boy who was now the leader of the free world. [At the time, President Bush was ramping up his pet science project, the invasion of Iraq. Even then, millions of Americans were scratching their heads at this plan. Iraq? But, weren’t all the 9-11 hijackers from Saudi Arabia? The same Saudi Arabia to which we owe a big chunk of our national debt? The same Saudi Arabia which has purchased the fealty of the entire Bush family? Oh…]

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Drummers I Have Known


[Editor's Note: While Bob finishes another stint in rehab, we're publishing this blog entry from his music website. He originally posted this in May of 2006. For those of you who may have already read it at, we apologize for the redundancy. And we're sorry for repeating it. We wish Bob all the best in his battle with NyQuil addiction, and his handlers insist that he'll be back soon.] Know why drummers like to keep a pair of drumsticks on their dashboard? So they can use handicap parking spaces. Like all wild exaggerations, this one is based on a kernel of truth. Drummers have a reputation for being somewhat unhinged, bent, twisted, addled, loony, antisocial, goofy, unpredictable, and downright dangerous. Keith Moon. John Bonham. Dick Ostheimer. Travis Yost. Tim Martin. Need I go on? I will. I played in an oldies band in Seattle in the early 90's with a drummer named Kelly. The name of the band was Pedestrian Polo, and I was replacing a guitar player who'd committed suicide. (No, not that guy) Only no one called the drummer Kelly. He insisted on being called "Face." He refused to explain where that moniker came from, but we complied. I always felt a little silly calling him that ("Hey, Face, maybe you should wear some underwear with those bicycle shorts.")

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Anatomy of a Gig, II: The Load Out

Ron Setzer, proud owner of the Jesus Spatula, courtesy of Dave W. Thanks, Dave!

Schlepping the gear, I like to tell bar owners and employers, is what we get paid for. We love playing music so much that we’d do it for free (not really), but moving, maintaining and upgrading all this gear is what costs money. More than once this has shut down some cheap screw who cut our set short, and sought a discount in our fee. Oh, HAIL no, I said. “Moose, Rocco, help the judge find his checkbook.” So when you’re there for the last song and the band finally finishes playing, our work is far from over. There are instruments to wipe down and put in cases, mics to stow, speakers and monitors to move, drunken admirers to fend off, and cords to wrap. God, the cords to wrap. Guitar cords. Microphone cables. Speaker cables. Power cords and extension cords. Power strips. Much of it has been taped down to the stage with duct tape, also known as strap-lock: “Hey, Slash, toss me that roll of strap-lock. I’m going to make a guitar case.”

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Anatomy of a Gig

Now that was one amazing guitar solo. (Thanks for the photo, Willie!)

Historically, we’ve always played Saturday nights at the Union Club, and we usually hear about the great crowd they had the night before. Well, I finally convinced Maggie to book us for a few Friday nights this year, and I was looking forward to a big, rowdy bunch of happy hour holdovers and payday drunks spurring us on. We kicked off the first set with “Laundromat,” a pulsing rocker from last year’s CD. Bruce beat on the drum kit like it owed him money, Ron immediately became one with the ’59 Fender bass he was playing, and David began to unleash his pent up aggression on the lead guitar. I was banging away on my acoustic, treating it as half drum, half guitar. We locked into the rhythm, slammed it into fourth gear, and played the living shit out of that song. Got to the end and hit our big finish right on the money. I opened my eyes and looked out into the crowd. The dance floor was empty. Eighty pairs of eyes were staring at us. I think I heard crickets. Wait, there was one person clapping. It was a bartender. Some asshole called out, “Play some Skynyrd!” I looked at the boys, and knew right away what we had to do. “Merle.”

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Resolutions Are For Suckers

It's a sad fact that many of us will never fully realize the lofty goals we continue to set for ourselves with the coming of each new year. Cheers.

In the harsh light (barely eight hours of it, that is) of a new year, it seems to be human nature to make a list of ways you’ll improve yourself in the coming 12 months. Most New Year’s resolutions are as predictable and hackneyed as any recent Tim Allen movie. Losing weight. Quitting smoking. No more public nose picking. Things like that. For those of us who are completely happy with who we are (requests for change from friends and family notwithstanding), it can be difficult to make up a list of desired improvements. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say there ARE some ways in which I can be a better person.

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I’m Still Writing 2003 On My Checks

"Must be almost midnight—I can feel the ball dropping!"

In years past, if I wasn’t playing a gig, Barb and I would likely be in bed New Year's Eve by 10:30, like most haggard, middle-aged parents of young kids. I’d wake up New Year’s Day and set all the clocks back one hour. “Wrong holiday,” Barb would say. Hell, I just wanted the extra sleep. But this year, the kids were determined to ride this wave all the way to the shore, and dragged us from band to band at the University Center, until we finally ended up in the ballroom, dancing like seizure victims to the big band. We lasted till about 11:30, then decided to ring in the New Year at home, in comfort, in our underwear.

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Welcome to Missoula (NO LEFT TURN)

Professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt.

Wherever I’ve lived out West—especially the larger cities like Seattle and Denver—people love to bitch about traffic, and how they have the worst drivers in the world. Hey, Missoulians, those big ol’ towns ain’t got nothing on us, right? I’m talking to you, little old blue-haired lady driving the cherry 1967 Dodge Dart, looking like a life-size bobble-head. I see you rolling down Higgins Avenue at a prudent 14 mph, staring intently through the steering wheel, right turn signal blinking endlessly, seat belt dragging on the road. I can practically hear Paul Harvey blaring on your AM set. Come on, Nana, choose a lane and stick to it. Not that all seniors are bad drivers, nor are all bad drivers seniors. But it’s called a stereotype because it’s so goddamn true. My own grandmother, Byrdona Wire, finally gave up her driver’s license when, at age 88, she lost control of her cherry 1974 Datsun and created a three-car pileup, causing several injuries and one fatality. And she was just pulling into her garage.

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Prawns the Size of Your Fist

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Solstice, and general "happiest time of the year" (especially if you're Wal-Mart)" huzzahs to all you NewWest readers. Your ol' buddy Bob is sequestered at an undisclosed locations, knocking back tumblers of Wild Turkey in honor of my personal physician, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and watching reruns of Super Bowl III on the NFL Channel. Tomorrow is the Big Day for the Wire household, so I've been busy wrapping up jugs of wine, cartons of cigarettes, porn DVDs and firecrackers for the kids. Haven't had time to do much bloggin', so I thought I'd share an entry from from early September. This is when the Magnificent Bastards and I played the Best Wedding Ever. I hope you enjoy it, and I'll see you on the other side. Now git!

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The Story of Hairy Houdini

"Are you gonna eat your fat?"

He was a mess when I found him three years ago. Scraggly, skinny, filthy—looked like he’s been eating out of garbage cans. He was up on the rez, darting in and out of traffic on Highway 93. He was definitely lost, no ID, and looked scared. I pulled the truck over, said “Come on, boy,” and made some kissing noises. He trotted over and accepted the piece of buffalo jerky I held out. I picked him up —Whoa! You stink!—and put him in the back of the truck. Brought him home, cleaned him up and gave him a name. He’s been playing lead guitar for us ever since, that David Colledge.

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