benez electric

The Long ARM (August Recording Marathon) of the Lloyd

Posted on September 27th, 2015   Comments

In July 2015, I discovered two things: (1) About a third of the songs I had laid down during My April Recording Blitz were not good enough and (2), my electric lead guitar style has not, as I had expected, mellowed over decades of acoustic playing.

Instead, it has gotten big and crass. For example:

“The Priestess of Love” (DNL) from Nobody of Venus by WatThe? [in production]


From such humble inklings grew My August Recording Marathon. (How wonderful that it should take place during a month with the same name.)

ARM 4 LROur apartment in Yreka faces a somewhat busy street. My home studio needed sound proofing. This, gita accomplished by hanging an Oriental [Asian?] rug over the window. It blocks out the sound of all but the biggest trucks and the largest biker gangs. By no means perfect, but very manageable. It is now a very cosy place in which to make music.

Working at not such a breakneck speed as I had in April, I rerecorded the songs that had not passed muster and by mid month I had completed production on both Ballads and Blues and Star Thistle. Twelve songs each.

ARM 3 LRPost production (overdubs of other instruments and singers, mixing, mastering, graphic design and manufacturing) will probably begin in late October [it did] and will be kept to a minimum. Quite a few of the songs are fine as they are with just a voice and an instrument. I don’t anticipate a full production on anything.

Some cross-pollination from one project to another was inevitable. An acoustic version of one of the rockers from Nobody of Venus has settled into Star Thistle, for example.

“How First I Saw Venus” (DNL) from Star Thistle [in production]


ARM 6 LRNext, me and my big and crass electric guitar had to go back 40 years to my proto-new wave project [explained in: My April Recording Blitz]. I had thought the tracks needed only vocals and bass guitar. Quite a few, however, needed extra guitar parts. And that’s when I discovered that my natural inclination in electric guitar playing is towards fat distortion and what we used to derisively call: screaming lead guitar. Mea culpa. Go figure.

Richard d'Andrea (presently)

Richard d’Andrea (presently)

The astonishing trio of Patrick Meehan (drums from the past), myself (guitars and vocals spanning both the past and the present) and Richard d’Andrea (remembered from the past but playing bass in the very near future) is called Wat The? The project has broken into two distinct albums.

The first consists of twelve songs that are, you may be happy to know, a lot more folkier than I recall. Think of the not-so-traditional songs I do nowadays and imagine them on electric guitar with drums. It’s working title is Wat On Earth because the working title of the second album is Wat On Venus. It’s more formal title is Nobody of Venus: a meta-sci fi op rockaretta. [The working mix of “The Priestess of Love” can be heard near the top of this blog-post.]

P Act2More akin to Preservation Act Two by the Kinks than to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by Bowie, Nobody of Venus includes a host of peripheral characters who reside in Los Angeles in the mid 1970s and . . . uh . . . on . . . Venus; and all of whom speak in iambic pentameter. Bear in mind that if meta-blues is blues about the blues, then meta-science fiction is science fiction about science fiction.

In my My ARB-itration: April Recording Blitz blog, I had mentioned five projects. Those of you with expertise in higher mathematics counted only four, however. The fifth is only 20 years old and assembles various live, home and garage recordings of My Mojave Desert Ceilidh Band v2.0 and v2.1. Some of you may recall the critically acclaimed album An Age of Fable by me and my MDCB V1.0. As DNL & His MDCB V2.0 [Brandon “Straitjacket” Curtis (1953- 2011) —fiddle, Dave “Ashley Planxty” Beltanovich III —bass, and John “Jughead” MacAdams —drums], we became LA’s only Celtic folk rock band. Or as the LA Weekly put it, “Some serious traditional fun.” Our last performance was at the Lord Buckley Memorial Celebration III in the mountains of Santa Barbara County. Joined by Nancy MacAdams —vocals, and Jerry Strull —lead guitar, we became V2.1.

How’s this for a title: The Ghost of Old Lord August?

My Mojave Desert Ceilidh Band v2.0: [L to R] John "Jughead" MacAdams, DNL, Dave Soyars née Beltanovich, Brandon "Straitjacket" Curtis

My Mojave Desert Ceilidh Band v2.0: [L to R] John “Jughead” MacAdams, DNL, Dave Soyars née Beltanovich, Brandon “Straitjacket” Curtis

Additional recording for this project was quite minimal: one octar, one lead vocal and one screaming lead guitar (but only one). The rest is a matter of mixing, sequencing etc. etc. Dave Soyars, (née Beltanovich) bassist of all versions of the MDCB, is working on this with me. Here’s a rough mix of our version of Sir Walter Scott’s “Jock of Hazeldean:”

“Jock of Hazeldean” (trad/Scott) from the Ghost of Old Lord August in production]


I like to keep costs way down, but I’m thinking there might have be some crowd-funding coming up. What do you, Dear Reader, think?

While I was flexing my ARM, somebody from England introduced himself via Facebook. He wrote, “If I’m not mistaken, you are the only artist to bridge both the New Wave and Robin Williamson. “Very much so,” I commented. “Like,” he clicked.



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Hip Ecstatic Frown tour: Prelude of a Clown

Posted on September 17th, 2015   Comments

HEF 1: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER’S CLOTHES GET LOCKED in the LAUNDRY ROOM, the TOUR is ALMOST RUINED and HE MUST REHEARSE on the ROAD IN THE RAIN — March 14, 2015: Not everybody loves touring. I love its simplicity and its intimacy. You go from one place to the next, eat, look at passing scenery, perform, interact, sleep […]

contemporary folk Uncategorized

Misty Mountains and Used Tsunami: Eugene

Posted on September 17th, 2015   Comments

HEF 2: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER EXTOLLS the VIRTUES OF SCOTCH, SHAVES off HALF an EYEBROW and PERFORMS WITH TWO MARVELOUS MUSICIANS. March 14, 2015: After Medford, Oregon, I-5, began to wind up over the dark and green Klamath and Calapooya Mountains. It began to rain, sometimes heavily. This actually did much to calm my […]

wrong date LR

Summit Summit

Posted on September 8th, 2015   Comments

HEF 3: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER ENTERS EDEN WHERE the AUDIENCE BAKES HIM A BIRTHDAY CAKE — March 16, 2015: Forty years ago in Toronto, my friends all seemed to be departing for an Eden they called BC: British Columbia. For me, however, it was California and by June, I was on my way back, […]

Sues House

Capitol Ideas: Salem & Olympia

Posted on September 8th, 2015   Comments

HEF 4: IN WHICH  the FOLKSINGER HONORS ST. PATRICK BY GETTING RIP-ROARING DRUNK on NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO and DRIVES FROM SALEM OR to OLYMPIA WA in UNDER TWO HOURS [Blarney!] — March 17, 2015: My St. Patrick’s Day gig was an on-air interview and performance on Mashup With Marc —— on KMUZ, Salem’s NPR station. […]

DNL Backyard CU

Backyard House Concerts: The Inside Story

Posted on September 5th, 2015   Comments

HEF 5: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER GETS LOST in SEATTLE, IMPRESSES YOUNG PEOPLE and is REWARDED WITH A GPS MACHINE — It took me an hour to find Backyard House Concerts in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland. Seattle’s East to West streets are numbered. And so are its North to South streets. With no forewarning, […]

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Falling Englishman at McMillan Art Centre

Posted on September 5th, 2015   Comments

HEF 6: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER CROSSES the BORDER, GOES to SEA, HAS PLANS MADE for HIM and WATCHES an AUDIENCE GROW BEFORE HIS VERY EYES — March 20, 2015: I am usually wide-awake at 3:00 AM so an early departure for Nanaimo, British Columbia was not problematic. My newly acquired GPS machine got me out of […]


Fine Folk at Sooke Folk

Posted on September 4th, 2015   Comments

HEF 7: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER MISSES the BOAT and ENCOUNTERS an AUDIENCE THAT UNDERSTANDS WHAT the HELL HE’S SINGING ABOUT. OH CANADA — March 21, 2015: Next morning I missed the boat. I found myself behind a chain link fence waving to Nick and Linda who were waving back from the stern of a departing […]


Victoria Folk (We ARE a Muse)

Posted on September 2nd, 2015   Comments

HEF 8: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER GETS NOSTALGIC, TALKS TO TOTEM POLES and ENCOUNTERS an AUDIENCE THAT NOT ONLY UNDERSTANDS WHAT HE’S SINGING ABOUT BUT SINGS ALONG — March 22, 2015: Next day, Sunday, was the last gig of Hip Ecstatic Frown. I drove downtown to see if I could recognize anything from my last […]


What Did I Buy In Canada & Other Home Thoughts

Posted on September 2nd, 2015   Comments

HEF 9: IN WHICH the FOLKSINGER WORRIES ABOUT HIS WIFE and IS WELCOMED HOME OFFICIALLY and by TWO TULINS— March 23, 2015: Early next morning, I checked out of the Howard Johnson’s Inn, which for reasons unknown to any of the staff I questioned, had been decorated with several large handsome prints of William Blake’s […]

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