#Full Moon On A Hot November Night (November 14, 2011)
During out longstanding relationship with the Friendly, we've seen our share of meteorological eruptions (ice storms, biblical flooding, etc.) slamming the flatlands while we grind away oblivious onstage. But, on this November night, it was that perfect alignment of celestial elements ... balmy temps (short sleeves, anyone?), fluffy cloud puffs scuttling across the sky powered by a big SW wind, a glowing eye high above it all (otherwise known as the full moon) ... and Miguel's birthday.
This would also prove to be a night of friends, families, idle onlookers, onlooking idlers, friendly barkeeps, and the usual assortment of late night thrill seekers. To their amazement and amusement, we unveiled our new Trailer Trash Video light show, which worked in perfect tandem with the psychedelic food dye extravaganza. (Miguel provided impromptu voice over dialog for a particularly poignant scene involving a boy and a priest). There was plenty of "A List" new material, assorted breakdowns and broken strings, to go with the standard riff'n'rhythm excitement ... and cupcakes. As a musical extra, Miguel's son, August, joined his father in a cool-but-hot jazz duet, blowing his trumpet like Dizzy. We finished the evening sometime around 1:00 with a complimentary shot of Don Pedro to toast Miguel having made it thru another year on Planet Earth. (for complete set list)
#This One's For You, Daddy-O! (June 9, 2011)
Last night we took part in a "Beneficio por Daddy-O Grande" @Fitzgerald's, thanks to the farsighted munificence of head tikimeister, Dave (who is a confirmed fan of Alewife), from the Chef Shangri La Galaxy of Weirdness. We were #3 in the line up of ten (10!) bands, each saddled with honing their act down to an unseemly 20 minutes. You're in. You're out! The $$ from the gate would be then poured into the stricken Los Straitjackets guitarist's medical fund. Good cause fer sure. There were similar events in his honor being staged around the country. They are a beloved musical entity.
Somehow the prospect of playing 20 minutes on that hallowed stage, in front of a veritable "Who's Who" of psychobilly/surf/trashrock bands (and let it be noted that I was the only guitarist sporting a Gibson amid an orgy of Fenders) had me hyperventilating just a little. No feeling your way into the music. You gotta hit it - and hard - out of the gate. (read complete post/complete set list)
#Warm globally/rock locally: WLYC Aug.7 (August 17, 2010)
It was the annual migration; various and far-flung Alewife musical tribes converged on the windswept+sundrenched shores of the sweetwater sea for the 2010 installment of The Big Summer Party at the WLYC. Mirroring the steamy island conditions, the sets, once past early SF/London garage rave ups, often had a grinding dub style that was infectious. Highlights? Pre-pubescent SURFACE TENSION front men James & Jack, aided by grizzled Alewife rhythm section, laid out an energetic 3 song mini-set that definitely upped the ante. (read complete post/complete set list)
#Le Deluge - Fried Fish On A Friday (July 26, 2010)
In a night that would climax in a frenzy of flooded basements and caved-in roofs (for musicians and audience alike), we innocently planned another party. For many, the music was just a prelude to the startling events that followed. It was one of the hottest days of the summer/year/decade. With Doppler-induced hysteria threatening, we took the stage at Friendly Tap ... (read complete post/complete set list)
#Friendly Tap Will Be The Setting 3/6 (February 11, 2010)
Alewife will join the esteemed ranks of musical talent recruited to jump start the fledgling scene at THE FRIENDLY TAP on Roosevelt in Berwyn, just a few doors E. of Oak Park Ave. Saturday, March 6, for those who want to mark their calendar. It's a cool place where we enjoy a pint and conversation any night, plus I can stand on my front porch and almost see the neon glowing in the dark, beckoning me to come hither. See ya there!
#Temperature's Rising On A Frigid December's Eve (December 14, 2009)
4th Annual Brooks Party? Wow. Faced with the prospects of playing what had historically been a Dad Boys-style rock-n-soul revue for the crowd without lead guitarist/vocalist Kris K. OR drummer/vocalist Miguel G., those left standing had to reinvent themselves on the fly. Hmmm ... Spinal Tap jazz fusion experiment? Naw. Instrumental quartet anyone? So be it. Make mine Alewife With A Twist (in the form of Mark J. adding keyboard stylings). It's not what that crowd was accustomed to, or expecting ... but we would help them learn to love it. (read complete post/complete set list)
#Veterans Of Foreign Encounters - The 1963 Party (November 14, 2009)
In weather that can only be described as balmy for November, Alewife donned cabana/tiki attire and barefooted it over to N. Riverside for the gala twin-barreled 60th birthday party of Chris & Jan. Or was it Jan & Dean? The nicotine patina, Eisenhower-era VFW bunker was pimped out in simulated '63 party regalia; cut outs of James Dean, streamers, wall graphics of hamburgers & malts, period food (fluorescent jello, little weeners, rice krispie treats, etc), and a crowd sporting mid-century, middle school duds. (read complete post/complete set list)
#Tiki Oktoberfest Bacchanalia (October 21, 2009)
Beloved drummer hospitalized with viral meningitis? No problem. Waves of unrelenting wintry, damp weather? Who cares? Challenges? Bring em on. With Jennifer W. hosting in her magical habitat, and Colin applying full force to the party garnishments, we knew the al fresco Alewife Oct. 17 CD Release Party would be epic ... no matter what. So, we fixed our determined gaze on what was to be, and felt strangely optimistic. (read complete post)
#Finally ... Alewive V arrives (October 6, 2009)
We'll spare everyone tales of electronic gremlins and epidemics of life-threatening disk scratches and just report that it's a done deal. Disk is here and it's all good. Real good. And for a princely sum of $10 I'll mail it to you. Just track me down here. Plus, we'll be hosting an Alewife CD release party at our photographer Jennifer's backyard tiki grotto (!!) ... Saturday Oct 17th. It will be a late afternoon/evening affair with food/drink, $10 donation to help cover costs, and the CD will be available there as well. More details to come. Mark your calendar. (read complete post)
#Smiles of a summer night; The WLYC gig (August 17, 2009)
Set amid a backdrop of white sand/hot winds/warm water+big waves, ALEWIFE: White Lake Touring Ensemble was a gas ... but getting to saturday night was a bit of a trial. Lots of details and stress and wondering and phone calls and stress and set lists and small group rehearsing and more concern about gear. Heavy sits the crown. ... (read complete post)
#Alewife / Dad Boys double duty huff puff (July 27, 2009)
It was a late afternoon start time on a day so picture-perfect we could almost forgive the rainy chill that had characterized the preceding months. Summer had arrived, and so had our third annual appearance at the S. Grove Block Party Extravaganza ... (read complete post)
#El Cubano power trio (July 24, 2009)
Sporting a new, trimmed-down version of the band, we ventured into the Pilsen neighborhood on a thursday evening at rush hour to provide some musical diversion for FIG Catering's Un Gusto de la Habana event at their industrial kitchen storefront. With Miguel not available, we took the stage as a trio, Alex supplying ample rhythmic muscle on his congas ... (read complete post)
#Alewife's steamy friday night (July 10, 2009)
Our mission: fit the band AND gear into one vehicle and head into the city. The event was an opening for artist Tom Torluemke (cool stuff), hosted by photog Jennifer Wolfe at her great shooting gallery on W. Fulton. Luckily the vehicle in question was Colin's Suburban ... a hard working pile of metal on rubber wheels ... (read complete post)
#Colin's production ephemera from the Great Project (June 19, 2009)
The latest Alewife "Muzzled in Babylon" assemblage was the catalyst and proving ground for our new recording studio & rehearsal space expansion over the last 2+ years. The music actually drove the testing & the weaving together of all the vintage components that were utilized for the album into a working system = the studio. The trained ear can almost identify the earlier recorded tracks vs. the later in terms of sound quality and feel as the project progresses and the equipment was "dialed in."
This effort was not without the usual, assorted, troublesome gremlins, technical setbacks, heartaches and epiphanies that I (we) all suffered and enjoyed together. Probably more than usual actually, working with the quirks of putting to use some of the unfamiliar vintage equipment - including a Jaegermeister shot spilled onto/into the console. My bad!! (read complete post)
#The new album is ready (June 16, 2009)
The instrumental tour de force, MUZZLED IN BABYLON, Alewife's 5th full length, 16 righteous cuts strong, is now part of the web music release landscape as the Alewife dedicated server is cranking out freshly-minted, sparkly folders of MP3's and shooting them into cyberspace in all directions. Over two years in the making, owing to the simultaneous creation of Final Cut Recording Studio and its attendant multi-tracking/multi-tasking technical hurdles to surmount, the final mix and mastering was completed in May. A physical CD will be released in the near future as well, at a date TBD.
#Aug 15 date set for touring ensemble (April 25, 2009)
Like that annual spawning run to the big water, the late summer date for the karaoke version of Alewife has been set for Aug 15 at the WLYC on White Lake, MI. To placate a crazed crowd of hedonists, a specially-selected line up will be sent into action. Miguel G will make his beach party debut, giving the two Bens a badly needed break on the drum throne, while Duff/Colin/Mitch will round out the front line. (Would that be the 15th line up in the last 16 years?) Surprise guests are always a threat too. The event is being described as a "Black Lite Party," but other than that, it will most definitely be business as usual, including the 2am al fresco swim in the Lake. Au naturel? Al dente? Al Smith?
#Final Cut Recording Studio opens doors! (March 5, 2009)
What started as a glorified storage space solution in '06 for prized vintage music gear, then evolved into a more thought-out use of a great room, and finally build-out of an adjacent "control" room, has come full circle with the official status of Final Cut Recording/TreeHouse Records as a working studio, open to the public for rehearsal and recording. Masterminded by Colin T and Richie I (each bringing their particular talent/acumen to the mix) the effort began over a year ago as Colin began gradually feathering the studio nest with an endless supply of gear: amps, keyboards, pedals, mixing board, tape deck, drums - you get the idea. If the place can operate half as well making a little income as it does providing a space to have a helluva great time, it'll be a success.