Posts Tagged ‘Technology Vs. Horse’

A Safe Space To Remember

May 1st, 2017

I survived Technology Vs. Horse. We played our last show Saturday. It was a nice day, warm and bright. I don’t want to live in the past but I do want to take some time to remember this moment. It was the end of something, the beginning of another thing entirely.

 

The band actually broke up last year but didn’t tell anybody. Our previous show was over a year ago at a bar in Bowling Green and I walked off stage after two songs because I had a sudden attack of diarrhea. This time I made it without incident. Goddamn it. We played an alright show and my bowels didn’t get nervous.

 

I looked into the crowd and saw so many familiar faces. All of these people had been to so many TVH shows in Bowling Green. They weren’t fans. Before our last song, I went to say something and I got choked up. . .

 

“I’ve seen a lot of you at our shows.” I stopped and corrected myself. “WE’VE seen you at our shows. . . you’re our friends.” I was choked up in that moment. I wanted to say more but couldn’t.

 

Then we played “Termite Art” for the last time and it hit me that we were another link in Bowling Green music history. We’ve been part of it longer than most bands, and different musically than practically any other band in this area, but still we’re a part of the chain. Bands came before us and will come long after us. But here we were, playing on Morning Teleportation’s drum kit, borrowing a guitar from Heron And Crane because our guitarist broke his high E string at a show hosted by the local college radio station. . . in front of the people who had seen us more than anybody else. People came far and wide to see us one last time.

 

We could never break the chain, even if we wanted to.

 

I was hugged by children, took pictures with teenagers, signed CDs for a Juggalo. One of the college radio kids said that our set was “psychotic”. I told him that wasn’t even one of the twenty most psychotic sets we ever played. I watched the newer bands that came on after us. I ate a hot dog. I cried a little bit because I didn’t realize how many friends we had.

Technology Vs. Horse Farewell Show

April 17th, 2017

Greetings, sports fans.

 

My band, Technology Vs. Horse, formed in 2004. In that time, we played many shows. We released six of our own albums (and you can still get them). We tried our best. And on April 29th, we’re playing our final show.

 

There’s a lot to say, right? You may wonder why we are breaking up. The five of us are still friends, so that’s not it. We’re all bogged down by middle-age concerns like families, careers, and responsibilities. That makes it hard for us to get together on a regular basis. The band actually broke up last summer but we didn’t say anything.

 

 

We started practicing for the April 29th show a few weeks ago and that was the first time we’d all been in the room together since last June. The people at Revolution 91.7 who are putting together Mayhem 2017 have played our songs on their station for years and asked us to be on this upcoming show. We felt it would be a great way to say goodbye, seeing as how we’d played numerous Revolution events over the years. A nice free show on a late Saturday afternoon in the park on Center Street in Bowling Green.

 

 

What Happened Here?

March 19th, 2017

You are wreckage. What happened here? How did you get here?

 

 

You had a thing that you loved doing. You had your passion. You did it because you HAD to do it. And when somebody has to do something, that’s all the reason they need. They don’t stress too hard on what other people think.

 

You said to yourself, “no one will miss me if I stop doing this, the world will continue”. Which is true. But did you stop to think whether or not YOU would continue.

 

More importantly, you took this major plank out of your life. What did you replace it with? You didn’t. That’s just it. You don’t play shows anymore. You don’t have a band anymore. You don’t stand on stage and sing anymore. What happened here? Why did you stop? Who cared what they thought? Why do you care so much about “them” anyway?

 

 

The closer I got to exposing my true self, the more I felt out of step with the world around me. I was a great jester. I am a funny guy when I want to be. You ever hear that song “Tears of a clown”? There you go. I don’t want to put myself out there in bars and clubs while people are trying to have a good time and have a few drinks, pick up somebody to have sex with, shoot pool with, talk trash with, take selfies with. I am not the good time entertainer for them anymore and I don’t want to be. They’re not wrong for wanting to have a good time, just as I am not wrong for not wanting to not play for them. When our paths have crossed it has not gone well. They talk to me, they always want to have a dialogue with me. They puncture the atmosphere that I try to create. It’s too uncomfortable for them. 

 

I’m not an entertainer anymore. What I want to do isn’t feasible. Anything can stop me now. 

 

Diminishing Returns

February 24th, 2016

It’s time.

 

It’s time for Technology Vs. Horse.

 

The band is playing a show on Friday, “celebrating” the sixth album we’ve released. The name of the album is Diminishing Returns. I have a lot to say about the album but first a little background.

 

A few years ago, we put out an album called Sorry That I Knocked You Up. At that time, we were already working on the music for the next album. That was way back in 2013. And then. . . all hell seemed to break loose.

 

In the span of three years, life got in the way of being a band. Careers, family, the slow crawl into middle age. Everyone in the band is in their 30’s now. I’ll be 38 next month. David will be 40 later this year. The older you get, the harder it is to maintain art activity. You have a lot of weddings and funerals to attend. Which we have. More funerals than we would like to have attended at our age.

 

We stayed a band, but getting together became much more difficult. We probably played less than a half-dozen shows in 2014-15 total. We were lucky to have practice monthly. We were lucky if all five of us showed up for practice. Life got in the way.

 

So here we are. Five people approaching middle age trying to maintain the creativity they had in their twenties. Not the quality of the work, but the energy and time put in. Life before and after responsibility are two different things.

 

We make the music we make for ourselves and those who want to hear something like it. We dabble and experiment and push ourselves. You can definitely here me pushing myself on some of these songs, the amount of straining and screaming I do.

 

It’s a good album. It’s not the happiest, funniest, jokiest album. But it is pretty good. Some of my most personal lyrics are on this album. “Night On Hobo Blood Mountain” is NOT one of those lyrics.

 

Some song information now.

 

“Dark Logics” precedes the release of Sorry That I Knocked You Up. The title is a reference to the David Foster Wallace book Infinite Jest. I didn’t tell the others in TVH but for a moment I wanted to fill the entire album with IJ references.

 

“A Night On Hobo Blood Mountain” is the other song that references IJ. Specifically, the animal-stalking halfway-house resident character of Randy Lenz. The title has nothing to do with the book or the lyrics. It’s a long, annoying story.

 

“Player One Has Entered The Game” is extremely strange. The lyrics are from the perspective of a croupier, someone who runs a roulette table.

 

“Handsome Mike” is from the perspective of a barfly who admires another guy who seems to be a ladies’ man. There’s a twist on the breakdown as the ladies’ man is not what he seems to be. Put another way, we started writing this song before the tsunami of allegations against Bill Cosby. Timely by accident.

 

There are six other songs on the album and I’ll write about them on the next post because I’ve gone on too long on this post.

 

 

 

TVH Live at SeaWorld?

December 18th, 2013

Public relations crisis at SeaWorld is growing as some of the biggest names in music are canceling planned appearances at the aquatic theme park in Orlando, Fla. It all centers on the backlash over alleged mistreatment of whales.

 

SeaWorld Orlando entertains thousands of visitors with its annual Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival, but less than two months before the series resumes, the park is running into a bit of trouble. Several of the major music acts, including Willie Nelson, R.E.O Speedwagon, Heart, and Martina McBride, are backing out.

 

Some of the performers citing concerns addressed in a new documentary film, Blackfish. The movie documents the 2010 killing of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca whale, and asks serious questions about keeping whales in captivity for entertainment. It aired on CNN in October.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/seaworld-petitions-aimed-at-musical-acts-are-harassment/

 

I get a call the other night from Josh Hines, the drummer for Technology Vs. Horse. He never calls me, usually texts. So this is a bit of a surprise for me.

 

Josh Hines (according to Google images)

Josh Hines (according to Google images)

 

“Did you see the news about these bands cancelling their SeaWorld gigs?”, he asks me.

 

Of course I did. “Martina McBride” is one of my Google News Alerts.

 

Josh says, “I think we oughta go down there and offer to play a gig. At SeaWorld.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes I’m serious!”

 

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Josh Hines is one of the biggest reasons why TVH doesn’t have band dinners, what with his I-don’t-eat-meat-or-fish deal that we respect even though God hates it. Also, he’s a super atheist and the rest of the band happen to believe Jesus Christ is the son of God put on earth to cleanse us of our sins. The band never really hangs out anymore and most of the fault lies with Josh’s militant atheism and snobbery towards eating animal products coupled with our discrimination towards him.

 

I tell him, “You’re gonna be really depressed when you get to SeaWorld and you realize you can’t save all those whales and dolphins.”

“Bullshit! I hate dolphins and whales and sharks. I want to torment them with sound. I’m not even taking my drumkit. I’m gonna take a guitar and amp and plug in and press the amp against the glass and make all the sea creatures weep to death.”

“Wait a minnit, I thought you were against the torture of animals for food or entertainment.”

“This isn’t about food or entertainment, Mike. This is about vengeance.” With that, Josh hung up.

 

This morning at four o’clock, I get a text from him saying “I WANT TO PET A DOLPHIN WIF B BRASS KNUXLES”.

Enjoy Feeling Bad

December 17th, 2013

Music can do so many things to us, no matter what stage of life we are at. Music can really soothe us when we are feeling cold, unloved and rabid. Alternately, sometimes people listen to music that drives them crazy. Music that makes them feel cold, unloved, rabid and vicious. You can’t get lost in a movie like you can good music (or even bad music if you are susceptible to it. . . as proof of this, Kiss have just been nominated to the R’N’R Hall of Fame today). Even the music that you listen to for the purpose of feeling bad must have a good purpose the way you use it. Something inside you trying to get out. You find just the right thing to pull it out of you and FEEL it and maybe even enjoy it a bit.

 

This is where Technology Vs. Horse comes in right now. We are in the gradual process of putting together music for our sixth(!) studio album. Since 2008, we have released three albums with our current lineup. We have tried to make each one better than the one before it. Whether we have succeeded or not is for each listener to decide (and I encourage to you listen for yourselves at http://technologyvshorse.bandcamp.com/ and maybe even kick in a few shekels for the mp3s or a CD or something).

 

Would these men lie to you?

Would these men lie to you?

 

I don’t know how many songs will end up on album six. I don’t know what the name of it will be or what the cover will look like. The five of us have an idea or two but we’re not committed to anything except really making the most WTF experimental heavy music you’ve ever heard from us. There will not be a “White Girls” moment on album six. . . I assume. We haven’t written one yet. Probably won’t either. If you liked our song “Electric Eels”, there might be some more stuff in that vein only way more depressing and horrifying. Are you ready for a whole album of dark, angry experimental rock? That’s what you’re gonna get.

 

Enjoy feeling bad.

 

 

 

 

Why Can’t We Be More Like Kiss?

June 27th, 2013

You know what I liked about Kiss when I was kid?
Their music? Not really.

 

Clockwise from bottom: Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley

 

I liked that when they wore the makeup, they each had distinct personas. The loverboy with a star in his eyes, the fire-breathing demon, the wobbly-kneed spaceman, and the stupid cat. Even their replacements had their personas, Eric Carr was the fox and Vinnie Vincent was the wobbly-kneed Egyptian warrior who looked like the spaceman if you squinted just right.

 

I have a band called Technology Vs. Horse, and if you’ve seen us perform you can see that we are five men in street clothes (in my case, often pajamas). Recently, the Horse had a gig in Madisonville, Kentucky and I took to giving each of the band members nicknames, live on the mic in between songs. They didn’t know I was going to do it. They didn’t ask for it. But I gave it to them.

 

I nicknamed our drummer the Estonian Thunderfrog. Our guitarist became the Lithuanian Snow Troll, and our keyboardist became the Latvian Proud Oak. I gave myself the moniker of the Proletariat Boar of Moldova while I nicknamed our bassist Mr. Azerbaijian. This is among the stupidest and most confusing things I’ve ever said onstage, and that covers a lot of ground.

 

Unfortunately, I didn’t even come up with any of those names. All of the names I mentioned, without exception, are the names of pro wrestlers performing in and around Pennsylvania and New England. I wish I had come up with them. So irresistibly surreal names that I wanted to use them. But I can’t. They don’t belong to me anymore than Carlos Mencia’s jokes belong to him.

 

But why not be more like Kiss? I’m not saying we have to put on makeup and spandex costumes and vomit blood (although vomiting blood would be fun). But having personas. . . like Kiss.

 

You know what? I’m officially out of good ideas, folks. I have jumped the shark. I’m sorry for everything. I watch pro wrestling a lot. Too much for some people. What can I say? Wrestling is Fun!

The Five Oddest Songs I’ve Ever Released

March 11th, 2013

“Holland” (2002). Over a lazy hip-hop beat, I spin a tale of a quadriplegic shut-in bird watcher. The song’s chorus consists of many overdubbed cuckoos.

 

“Tears In Heaven” (2005). In ninety-seven seconds, TvH mangled an award-winning song while I made fun of Eric Clapton’s dead kid for falling out of a window. That was the first song on the first Technology Vs. Horse album.

 

“I Sell Drugs To Celebrities” (2007). Sampled Donovan, the first major British rock star to be busted for drugs. Alliteration. Celebrities. A CIA conspiracy. An outro scat tribute to outsider artist Shooby “The Human Horn” Taylor.

 

“Hold The Bear Close To The Lightning” (2007). Odd for the way it was composed. I had a dream that TvH and I were making up song titles and this was one of them. Then I wrote a set of lyrics for this song and took it to the band, who had no idea what I was talking about.

 

“Teenage Funk” (2011). TvH plays a RATM-like funk-metal thing while I mutter incoherently like a Monty Python caricature of an old English blueblood stumbling through an evening newscast. Are there lyrics? You decide.

The End Of An Ear

March 7th, 2013

Tech Vs. Horse lost its’ practice space officially today. The last of our gear (and most of David’s possessions) were pushed outside like orphans when the home is shut down for lack of payment to the city tax collector. Now it’s up to me and Joliet Jake to raise the $5000 to save the orphans and the best way we know how to do that is to get the band back together and play a show to raise the money.

endofanera

 

As you can see, it’s a sad day. Look at all that stuff. That’s just some of it. Most of that stuff wasn’t even band gear. Life is shit, folks.

Space Babies

February 25th, 2013

Technology Vs. Horse, the musical combo in which I am the singer, is in some ways in a good place.

 

We all like each other. Not every band does. Like the Kinks. They hated each other and the two lead guys were brothers. Same with Oasis. And both times, the brothers fought the most. We generally get along, which means that our band is a better group than either Oasis or The Kinks. Whatever, Ray Davies. How many times can you re-write “You Really Got Me”? I’ll tell you. Once, for “All Day And All Of The Night”.

 

We are in a tough pickle at the moment, one that Oasis or the Kinks wouldn’t have to deal with. Next month, we will be losing our practice space. I won’t get into the particulars of this situation but we’ll have to move our gear out of the magic ballroom where we rehearse the embalming fluid-laced joints that you put in your earholes in live performance and on disc.

 

Many people tell us that they find TvH to be “tight”. Even if they don’t care for the material, fans and fellow musicians respect the high-wire act that we manage to pull off show after show. I hate to blow my own horn, but toot-toot bitches. Anybody can play in 5/8, but can they make it swing? Better yet, can they go 5/8 into 7/8 into 5/8 again into 9/8 in thirty seconds and have boppers boppin’ like it’s four-to-the-floor, daddy-o sugar pop jelly roll gum drop?

 

Look, I don’t know how the other four band members do it. I just sing over top and sell the material like a boss. Do you think TvH got tight by hanging out in the practice space and trying on each other’s Spanx like a bunch of Avon ladies? NO WE DIDN’T (well, once). And the safety of our creative routine is endangered.

 

This is going to give you the wrong idea. The band is good and is gonna stay together. We might be able to find a place in the summer but that’s a lot of time to go by. We’ll lose momentum, muscle memory. . . and six songs have been composed for the next TvH album that haven’t been recorded. Two of them haven’t been performed live. We must refine our works and develop new works and maintain playability on songs that are already on the setlist.