Updates from the Unpaid HGN Intern (not a blog)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
In a bizarre twist that rivals the Flaming Lips' appearance on Britsh television with Justin Timberlake, tonight marks the debut of a TV Guide Channel special about some fallen American Idol contestant which will feature, tucked somewhere in the background, at least 30 seconds of a song from More Shit From the Bogus Captain that's been whored out to some LA-based production company.
Here's how it happened:
Last week I flew into Detroit to meet with Quinn and Floydd about a recording session they wanted to plan.  Of course it never happened and we just ended up sitting around at Floydd's house eating cashews while those two played songs until way past bedtime.  Floydd hasn't recorded anything in a long while but he's gotten really good at stuff like laying tile and installing sinks and has a backlog of tunes that he'll hopefully get around to soon. 
Any case, things got kind of ugly just before dawn when the poker game that'd erupted took a turn for the meaner and Quinn found himself backed into a corner with a dwindling pile of chips.  An old filmmaker pal of the Shagbarks' from LA was in town and those two ended up going head to head for the whole shebang.  When Quinn ran out of money he started throwing songs into the pot, but in the end his three aces weren't enough to beat The Filmmaker's low straight.  It was all pretty nasty, and as it turns out The Filmmaker immediately turned around and sold off "Forgot the Milk" to the TV Guide Channel. 
Anyway, heading home to watch the special right now to see whether they actually use the tune.  Weird.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I can't (and so won't even try to) begin to explain the magic that was Jon Brion's show at the Crocodile on Saturday.  Nothing looks the same anymore.  I've been using silverware differently.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Holy Moses.  Saw a righteous show last night by Seattle person called Levator, which apparently is pronounced more like Debater than Semaphore.  Either way, like I said, absolutely righteous.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I owe the general concept of music an apology for my behavior last night. It all started at Tost where we went to see a guy named Vrba play. The opening band had a huge amount of equipment onstage and I was cranky from a long week of work and kept making wisecracks about how many guitars they had and the names of the songs on the 7 setlists they had posted around the stage and the amount of time they were taking to set up. Every time I said something, I would immediately turn around to see a member of the band standing right there. I'm going to hell for sure. Acting like a jerk because I was in a piss mood.  If either of the people who read this website know any of the guys in Driving the Eights, please pass on my apologies. They were actually a really sincere and accomplished band and did nothing to deserve anyone's ire, especially mine.  What a jackass. 

Any case, the grumpiness passed and we checked out Vrba's set which was really good and then immediately stuffed ourselves into the 1982 Mercedes Benz that Simmons recently bought cheap for the express purpose of running it on biodiesel. Rad. Headed way up north to some bizarre Irish place I'd never even heard of to see a guy named Blue Meadows who Crutcher knew from a Jimi Hendrix tribute he produced with him on Nantucket last summer. During the set break, the enormous old black man who'd been wailing the shit out of the drum set grabbed me after I'd swapped him a ballpoint pen from my real job for a cigarette that Quinn was begging for. He was sweating like a madman and panting a bit.

"Your friend told me you're a drummer," he said.

"That's a lie," I said. "I'm not a drummer."

He said, "Well, you're about to become one, because I need a break."

Quinn grinned at me and I wanted to kill him.

Next thing I knew I was onstage behind this enormous kit and some other guy took over Blue Meadows' guitar and looked at me and the bass player and said, "Voodoo Chile."

I promptly set down the sticks, walked offstage, and sat down next to the enormous real drummer, who'd I'd come to believe was very wise.

"I got no problem fooling around with these guys," I told him. "But I refuse to desecrate a religious piece of music like Voodoo Chile on Jimi Hendrix's own home turf. Forget it."

"OK," he said. "Blue Meadows, go play drums!"

So Blue Meadows played slap-tap drums over Voodoo Chile.

Then the Enormous Wise Drummer turned to me and said, "OK. You proved your point, and I respect that. You have respect for the classics. That's good. You didn't go up there and fuck up Voodoo Chile. I appreciate where you're coming from."

I said, "Thanksman."

Then he said, "But I'm still tired, and now you have to go up there and play."

So I sat in for three or four tunes while Quinn laughed his ass off and Mcfeely took off with my cab after promising not to leave me and the bass player kept yelling things at me I didn't understand. All told, it wasn't too bad and I had a blast but it was a little unnerving.

Twenty minutes later I was standing inside of Beth's Cafe with Simmons and Crutcher and the woman at the door said, "There's nowhere for you to sit." Simmons pointed at the counter, which was empty, and the woman said, "You can't sit there." Simmons followed his finger like a zombie and Crutcher followed him and they both sat down at the counter and opened menus.

"Your friends can't sit there," said the lady.

"I know," I said. "That's what you said."

"But they're sitting there anyway."

"I know," I said. I was just as dumbfounded as she was.

"You have to tell them to leave," she said.

"OK," I said.

I walked over and told Simmons and Crutcher they couldn't sit there. Simmons asked why not. I said I didn't know. I walked back to the woman at the door and asked her.

"Because they just can't!" she screamed.

"OK," I said.

Then I turned around and walked out the door and flagged a cab and went home by myself.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Quinn finally showed up in town last night and a bunch of us went to see Shaun of the Dead, which was pretty damn hilarious. Then we went back to HGN and talked about the shows last weekend and listened to the tape from Saturday. Quinn gave me a little crap about flubbing some notes but for the most part seemed pleased with the results, which was nice. He asked why there was no tape from Friday and we explained about the whole nightmare with the sound guy. I hope to god I'm just being paranoid, but I swear he started smiling when we told him what a fiasco it had been, and there's a part of me that thinks he might have been in on it somehow. It would be just like him to pay some guy fifty bucks to pour whiskey all over himself and ruin our night just for shits and giggles. If I ever find out that was the case I'm outta here for good, and that's a promise.

It was good to see him, though, and we all had fun hanging out pretty late and catching up, which made it hard to get to my real job today. Looks like we've got things set for a show with the Sleepy Workers on January 21st, which is great because they're hands-down the coolest band in Seattle that nobody's heard of. Closet thing I could compare them to is Sonic Youth, but they really don't sound like that at all. Quinn loves them, too, and insists that he'll be around all January to rehearse and play, but we'll see.

Going down to see acoustic Zony Mash today. Since they pulled the plug on their electric lineup last year, these acoustic shows are all we have to tide over our avant-jazz cravings. Actual conversation overheard at their farewell show at the Rainbow, which wasn't that well attended:

  • Wayne Horvitz: "I guess it would have been nice if *somebody* had shown up to see us off."
  • Some Guy: "I think we lost a lot of the crowd to the String Cheese Incident show downtown."
  • (Wayne makes disgusted face like someone just farted in his cereal)
  • Wayne Horvitz: "Well, if we're losing fans to String Cheese then it's definitely time for this band to be over."

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

I hate the Seahawks.  I should never have started caring about sports again.  This is even worse than being a Lions fan. 

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Wow. Talk about extremes. Hot on the heels of the Friday Night Fiasco, last night's performance of the Wear White and Come When I Call Orchestra was nothing short of sublime for me. I've never had such a good feeling playing music.

Yep, that's right, *playing* music. Quinn apparently got stuck in traffic somewhere down in Portland and spent the night with some friends at an animal shelter when he realized he wouldn't be able to make it. The bartender at the Beacon had a note from him describing the ordeal when we arrived, so The General picked me up a tube of superglue from 7-11 and I set about reconstructing my finger to get it in some kind of condition to at least try to play guitar.

But rewind just a bit:

The day begain around 4:00 when members of the Orchestra started straggling into the studio at HGN headquarters. Rehearsal was actually more of a party, with everyone lounging around, banging on tambourines, swapping jokes, telling stories, and gradually realizing that, given the framework of our performance, we could absolutely do no wrong. Spirits were high right from the start.

Our official chef Dave McFeely provided a wonderful spaghetti dinner around 6:00 and videographer Ben Crutcher prowled around collecting footage. We sat on the floor of the studio eating off of paper plates and drinking Kool-Aid while I spun yarns about the old days of hanging out with Quinn back in Ohio, before things got so crazy with him. It really was a warm feeling, and looking back on it now I remember it more as taking place near a cozy fireplace with a bunch of family than on the floor of a recording studio.

The set went beautifully. Eight of us onstage, and everytime I looked over my shoulder it was almost painful to see how much fun everyone seemed to be having and how great everyone looked. Even when I snapped a string and had to replace a G with a D, the group powered on valiantly, backing a random audience member on versions of "O Holy Night" and that favorite spiritual of Supergroup, "I'm a Soldier in the Army of the Lord," which had the whole crowd on it's feet clapping. I got so caught up that I jumped up and joined in for a while before remembering that I needed to get my string changed.

We closed with "Rooms We Wouldn't Leave," one of Quinn's lower-key and more uplifting tunes, and the effect was perfect. Just a great night. I can only hope everyone else had as much fun as I did.

Fighting Shy played next, and if I didn't know any better I would have bet hundreds of dollars against anyone who told me this was their first show. I've known and played and been great friends with Jon Simmons and Drew Dillhunt for a long time and their drummer Janelle complimented them amazingly. They were perfect, and I beamed with pride just knowing they were my friends.

Next up was Awnings For Eyelids, which includes Jonathan Epstein and Shawn Oram, both members of the WWACWIC Orchestra. AFE is always a treat but they were looser and more relaxed than I've ever seen them. They blew the doors off the place, improvising a bunch of stuff right on the spot that spun my brain in circles. Again with the beaming and the pride.

Manythanks and muchlove to all who participated, and especially to "The General" John Cocci, Dave McFeely, and Ben Crutcher, who provided extra support and made sure everything went smoothly.  And manythanks to Quinn for dreaming the whole thing up, even if he didn't get to enjoy his own party.

Now off to grab some breakfast and head to the mountains for a romp in the snow before catching Dylan on 60 minutes tonight. Everybody be good.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Good Lord. Last night basically turned out to be your textbook, run-of-the-mill, fork-in-the-eyeball unmitigated catastrophe. I'm not sure I can even really lay out everything that happened, because it seems so unlikely in that nightmarish kind of way where you wake up feverish, knowing you've been through something horrifying, but uncertain as to what the actual details were.

(First off, as you can probably guess, Quinn wasn't there at the bus station when I went to pick him up. The driver, however, did present me with a rather nice basket of hotel room goodies which the big man had sent along for me. Shampoo, conditioner, shower cap, sewing kit, etc. I was prepared to trash the whole thing and quit for good until I saw the yellow Wyoming refrigerator magnet he'd included. Still pretty bitter, but the Unpaid HGN Intern sighed and conceded and agreed to bail the Bogus Captain out yet again)

I should have known we were in trouble when the first thing I noticed about the sound guy (when I arrived at 9:00, no less) was that he reeked of booze. Being the idiot that I am, though, it didn't really hit home for me until our third song when I heard a crazed, psychotic voice heckling us through the monitors. "Are you guys gonna fool around or are you guys gonna play some rock and roll? You're playing too loud!"

So we were being accused by this exile from some Twin Peaksian dimension (I swear I'm not exaggerating here) of simultaneously being a bunch of wimps and playing too loud. Not long after that, we looked up to see the entire crowd pointing to their ears and shaking their heads in a kind of variation on the universal choking sign which we took to mean that nobody could hear us. But we were too loud. And a bunch of wimps. And, by this point, entirely confused.

Come to find out the sound guy had finally thrown up his hands, pulled down all the faders, and stormed off to shoot pool, but not before threatening to ritually disembowel anyone who touched his soundboard. The presence of our trusty road-manager/soundman/all-around-mr.-fixit "The General," (John Cocci) has never been so sorely missed. He unfortunately had a long week of work and wasn't there to bail us out. I now know it was foolish for us to venture out into the world without his supervision, and I'll be a monkey with no face if I ever make that mistake again.

At this point, all hope was lost, and there was nothing for us to do but mime our way through the rest of our set, pretending we could hear each other, and pretending even harder that anyone who'd paid five bucks to witness this debacle could find a way to enjoy this music, which they couldn't even hear, and which we couldn't hear, even though we were the ones responsible for it.

That phrase, again, which was originally used by Ian, is "unmitigated catastrophe." I screamed myself hoarse, actually believing (again, the idiot factor comes into play) that maybe the sound was just turned *down* and if I was loud enough some vocals might sneak through. Little did I know the entire PA rig was full-on disabled. Silent. Mute.

Anyway, the fellas in the band were amazingly professional and graceful in the way they handled things. We cut our set a little short, and during some of the instrumental passages we actually approached some moments of relative calm. A couple times it even sounded like music to me and once or twice (usually in the middle of one of Ian's searing solos) I forgot how bad things were and felt a kind of temporary delivery.

To add insult to injury, I spazzed out during our set-closing version of OEO Bleus and sawed off half of my right index finger. Blood everywhere. Thank God Quinn's due back to play with the "Wear White and Come When I Call Orchestra" tonight because I'm looking at this thing as I type (obviously not using it) and just seeing it there, throbbing and crusty and discolored, knowing it's attached to the rest of my body, is making me queasy. There's no way in hell I could play guitar tonight.

Got some stuff to do to prepare for this evening, so off to the medicine cabinet for some more disinfectant and then off to get things in order for the 4:00 rehearsal.

Friday, December 3, 2004

Supposed to pick Quinn up from the bus station in Tacoma tonight. He stopped off somewhere in Wyoming on his way back from Michigan to check out a play that was being directed by an old friend of his. I asked him to bring me back a refrigerator magnet from Wyoming, because I collect them, but he'll probably forget.

Been rehearsing the band for tonight and hopefully all will go well. Sounds like Quinn's actually going to show up for the gigs this weekend, which will be nice. I usually don't mind filling in for him, but I've been feeling a little under the weather and am not really up to it tonight. He actually sounded relatively upbeat and excited when I talked to him on the phone, so hopefully he won't ditch out like he usually does.

Need to take care of some final business for the Wear White and Come When I Call Orchestra, but aside from that this hectic week appears to be under control.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Found this review of More Shit from the Bogus Captain in The Tablet (third wheel of Seattle's weekly alternative rag community):

this album is about...a nervous 12-year-old...girl...amusing...a lobotomized...grocery store ...grandmother...(w)ith a...tattooed ...but(t).  (U)npleasant. -BG

They gave it the esteemed rating of "4," which we're all quite proud of. 

Spent the weekend in Michigan with Quinn and Floydd and a bunch of their friends and family.  Way, way, way too much to tell. 

Friday, November 18, 2004

Quinn didn't show up for rehearsal last night so I had to sit in with the band. Have a feeling I might get stuck playing the show for him, too. Whatever. Also having a hard time tracking down an oud player for the Wear White and Come When I Call Orchestra, but I'm relatively certain we found a guy who can make those weird noises with a handsaw. Need to find a store closer to home that sells Vernors.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Bob Pollard threw a beer on me last night. I think he might secretly actually be Lee K. Abbott, the great short story writer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wow. Between the Magnetic Fields show (which was unrealistically unbelievable) and the Wilco show (which was predictably unbelievable) last week was a great one for softening the blow of the election and the 22 hours of daily winter darkness that have descended on Seattle. Also got to see our good friends Awnings for Eyelids play, which is always exciting.

Quinn's got shows planned for Dec. 3 & 4 now, with the 3rd being a full-band performance at The Dubliner and the 4th being a solo show. Leave it to Quinn, though, to show up in town, make a bunch of ridiculous demands, and then go hop on the Amtrack headed for god-knows-where.

Instead of a solo show, he's left me in charge of assembling the "Wear White and Come When I Call Orchestra," to back him up on the 4th. He scribbled down a bunch of half-cocked requirements and demanded that the group be assembled for a single practice about 4 hours before the show. So that's what I'm up to now. If anyone plays a bizarre instrument and wants to help bail me out, please write in care of the site with a subject line of "WWACWIC."  unpaidintern@quinnwshagbark.com

At the very least, this'll probably be worth a laugh.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wilco = medicine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

No brawls last night.  Apparently all I want out of a rock show anymore is violence.  Staying home tonight to rethink things.

Monday, November 8, 2004

Holy Moly. Went to check out the Beacon Pub on Saturday where Quinn's supposed to play a solo show sometime in December and what a madhouse that turned out to be.  Caught a guy drinking PBR out of a human skull in the bathroom and a fistfight nearly broke out between a bunch of teachers who were arguing about the best way to deal with autistic kids. Looking forward to getting back there.

Sun City Girls were obnoxious but not obnoxious enough to satisfy my desire to see some truly inspired class-warfare mischief at the swanky-panky Triple Door. My friend got walloped in the head with a hypodermic needle, but that was about the extent of it, aside from the comedy of watching our waittress duck behind a booth to avoid getting hit by one of the wiffle balls the bass player was launching into the crowd with a 7-iron.

Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Crocodile tonight. Matt Hollywood's new band at Graceland tomorrow. Wonder if Hollywood still dresses like John Lennon, and whether we'll see him jousting with that egomaniacal creep from BJM in the middle of Pine Street sometime in the next 24 hours. Wilco Wednesday. Meeting with Quinn Thursday to discuss plans for December shows. Magnetic Fields Friday. What a week.

Friday, November 5, 2004

First off, this isn't Quinn. I'm just a grovelling unpaid employee at HomeGrownNoodles . I've bailed that ungrateful bastard out of more jams than you can paint a piece of toast with. Now that HGN is getting on his case about posting more information on his website he's tapping me again because he's too shy (read: lazy) to do the stuff himself. I can hardly blame him. This blogging phenomenon has gotten way out of control and he's made me promise not to refer to this section of drivel as a "blog," to which I say, "no problem, my soda-swilling compadre."

I'll try to keep this geared towards Quinn-related information but the truth is we don't even know where he is most of the time, and even though he's supposedly going to be playing out a lot over the next couple months my money is resting squarely on the "Quinn'll most likely be paying other people to play his gigs for him while he kicks it in Baja" side of things.

Take today, for instance. I haven't seen him. No idea where he is. He skipped town after watching from the back of the room while his "band" played it's first show at the Lo-Fi last month and all we've heard from him is that we should all go see Team America.

Instead, I'll say this: I want to apologize to Broken Social Scene. I say them play in Texas a couple months ago and they begged us to do what we could in the election (they're Candadien). Well y'all, we gave it hell, but came up a little short. Also, Neal Pollack seems really down on himself. Saw him read at the University Bookstore a while back and the crowd screwed him over because they were all there to see the opening act author (granted, the opening act was a very charismatic and likeable fellow who apparently wrote a great book, but I really felt like Pollack got slighted). Gave him one of Quinn's albums to try to cheer him up (see, I'm constantly on the Q's side, no matter how bad he treats us) and he just kind of looked at it and said, "oh great, you've got a band..." Not very Pollack. He signed my book kind of half-assedly and gazed blankly into the distance when I shook his hand. Perk up, Pollack -- we need you, man.

Loudon Wainwright III is a hero. Sun City Girls are playing in this lush theater downtown tonight and I'm going solely because there's a chance they might set fire to the place. Most likely we'll all just get yelled at.

-The Unpaid Intern

(click here to read 2005 updates)