UP-Fest in Berkeley, Friday, August 9th!

The UPTONES are doing a one-night-only midsummer show at Ashkenaz on August 9th, with The TITAN-UPS (the best Jamaican Rocksteady style band in San Francisco) and The RAVEUPS – an awesome band with guys from The Rubinoos, Santana, Psycotic Pineapple, and other bay area rock champs. It wasn’t until we had the show confirmed and the bands booked, that I realized all three bands have “UP” in their names. So I’m calling it an “UP-Fest.” ‘Cos I can.

The Rev. Paul Jackson whipped up this cool poster and we have a FB Event Page where you are invited to RSVP and invite your friends! If ya don’t know already, Ashkenaz is ALWAYS All-Ages, and they serve beer, wine and excellent food, AND they have a fantastic wooden dance floor AND a great sound system! Fact is, you can count the number of remaining venues in the east bay that can say ALL that, on one finger. I’m proud to bring The UPTONES show, with all my skankin’ foolz, to our stalwart hometown dance hall again, and I hope you will join us!

Advance tickets available here!

Many skanks,


Punkin’ Out At The Ol’ Blues Club

Fashion Slaves joined The Plurals, The Blast!, One After Another at Eli’s Mile High Club on Friday and it was a blast.

Eli’s – the famous Oakland tour stop for every blues band that ever toured the left coast – has been doing punk and other eclectic rock shows for a while now, establishing itself as a fave over-21 punk spot. Gone is the upstairs band room – replaced by a tattoo parlor, naturally. Around 6PM bands from near and far started arriving, plopping their gear and bags on the main floor in front of the stage. I thought, this can go any number of ways! Then the self-organizing chaos of punk took form, and somehow, without a stage manager or other discernible authority, a great fun 4-band show started on time at 9PM, and went smoothly to the end. The bands helped each other on and off the stage, no one played too long or too short, it was just punk rock poetry in motion. I liked all the bands and made a few mental notes – decided to start bloggin my shows again. So here’s wha’appen:

One After Another went on first with a set of beer-fueled punky anthems which set the tone for the night. These guys were tight, and their fiery 2-guitar blend reminded me of the Stooges-worshipping West Hollywood band, the Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs. Just as I made that connection, as if on cue, they played a great cover of “Search And Destroy” – the very Stooges song which gave the aforementioned ‘Cheetahs their name.

The Blast! came out next and true to their name they were LOUD! Just loud enough to please the We Like It Loud crowd, but not soooo loud as to scare away the rest of us. Their bass player Dominic – veteran of North Bay heroes Tsunami Bomb – put the show together and was a joy to hang out with. He’s also a superb bass player and their band is a hoot onstage. They have one of these lunatic animated drummers who uses maximum body effort for every single hit. I mean he is flailing, and when he isn’t falling out of his seat he’s leaping out of it, standing on the kit and bashing all the cymbals at once. Miraculously he didn’t miss a beat, and survived the performance with minor injuries. I need to get a hold of their recorded music so I can find this one tune they did near the end, which earwormed me for the rest of the weekend.

The Plurals – oh my gawd. Bless these lovely indie punky kids from Lansing, MI, touring DIY-style in 2013 with their wits and talent. They have great songs, hilarious and deep (yep, that’s the word) lyrics, and look, they are crazy enough to tour the country in a van in 2013 with today’s gas prices and widespread public apathy about new original bands. They get a medal, from me, right now, for courage and excessive coolness. You can listen to their music here.  The Plurals remind me of The Replacements and other midwest champs of a certain brew of sincerity, bleakness and humor, delivered unfiltered and raw. Did I mention they were absolute sweethearts to meet and hang out with? I’m a fan.

The Fashion Slaves – my band with Emily Jayne, Eric Knight and Pete D’Amato – played tunes from our new EP, “GO INSANE” live for the first time, plus songs from our live album. It was crazy fun, and I look forward to goin’ nuts at our next show, August 3rd at the Starry Plough.

Thanks to The Blast! for loaning us a guitar amp! Thanks to everyone who came out for making it a happening show! Til next time, you don’t have to be crazy, to GO INSANE!!

Twelve Tones, Laser Bats, Music Theory, and Inspired Fabulous Genius Fun

An absolutely wonderful study of tonality, composition, music history and theory, copyright issues and bats. It’s a half hour long and it just gets better and better every minute. The finale is as apocalyptically beautiful as it is informative. An inspired, complete, hilarious, mind-boggling bit of delightful genius. I could gush some more but it would be gushing. Have a look and a listen. Damn fine work.

Jimi’s Version Is Still My Fave. Happy 4th!

Jimi Hendrix performs Star Spangled Banner Live at Woodstock. Who needs fireworks? I love how this just melts down every which way. A gorgeous display of chaos, great use of melody and just a monumental statement. This is about as much sound as you can get out of a guitar and amp! And about as much as you can say with an instrumental interpretation of this song. Thanks, whomever posted this on the YouTubes!

The Fashion Slaves “GO INSANE” EP

This 4-song studio recording is the latest from The FASHION SLAVES. The band name was originally inspired by the song “Suffer For Fashion” which I co-wrote with young singer Emily Jayne. Recorded “live in the studio” old school style at East Bay Recorders, produced by Matthew King Kaufman and Michael Rosen, this also includes a cover of “Goin’ Down!” Written by Emily and Paul Jackson and myself, this straight-ahead rocker was originally recorded by The UPTONES for our East Bay Orbits album. Eric Knight on bass and Pete D’Amato on drums, with Emily on rhythm guitar myself on lead, made for a pretty monstrous little combo. We played a bunch of shows and made a couple of CD’s in two years or so and then, we went insane. This EP tells the story.


Available at iTunes and all the other digital gizmos.

(Don’t Wanna Be) Your Toy! New Video From The Fashion Slaves

Here’s a vid of “Your Toy” – a song off the new Fashion Slaves EP called “GO INSANE.”

You can pick up the EP at iTunes store.

The Fashion Slaves are playing live at the Starry Plough on August 3rd, 2013. Tickets are available here!

Everyone Is Dirty Makes Good Clean Grunge Pop Fun

Everyone Is Dirty is a new local band that I like a lot. Their FB page describes their music as Psychedelic Grunge Pop. I’d say that’s accurate, but with a dab of Art Rock sexy and a whole bottle o’ Cool sauce. They’re playing the Starry Plough and the Bottom Of The Hill soon. It’ll be so cool your mustachio will fall off into your bacon beer. Here’s an excellent tune. I love the video, too.

“Meltyface Maloney”

Jesse Michaels’ Punk Blog Settles Everything

There is a lot of bad information out there about punk rock. What is punk rock? Who started it? Is it dead, when did it die, is this band or that person truly punk, or a sellout, etc. Important stuff, and here to clear it all up once and for all, is renowned punk expert Jesse Michaels. Impressively, he covers it all in less than two minutes.

The Fashion Slaves Go Insane (And So Can You!!)

I’m thrilled to announce The Fashion Slaves new EP, “GO INSANE” is coming out soon.
Here’s one track on SoundCloud:

The story behind that song is fun. Fashion Slaves’ singer-guitarist Emily Jayne brought in a great tune called “Your Toy” to rehearsal one day and we learned it. It was by a ’77 punk-pop band called Chelsea, with some guys who went on to play with Billy Idol and other new wave era greats. Emily changed up the lyrics a bit, and the original writer James Stevenson (from Chelsea, Generation X, The Alarm and Gene Loves Jezebel), shared credit with her on the new version! Then the strangest coincidence, Stevenson’s current band The International Swingers played in San Francisco a week after we uploaded the EP for release. So of course Emily burned a CD of our version, went to the show and gave it to him. Here’s a pic of them backstage at the Red Devil Lounge. Small world and who woulda thunkit!

The EP is available at iTunes Store or Amazon.

Old School Dixieland Jazz Blues Fun

This track is gorgeous. I love the major – minor shifts and the extraordinary interplay between these crack players. This piece covers a lot of emotional ground in a short span of time. Another gem from when there were no overdubs and you had to actually play! It’s amazing how much each musician can pile on here without it ever sounding cluttered. Superb. Today’s guitar lesson and music appreciation post is..

Original Dixieland Jazz Band with Al Bernard – “St. Louis Blues”

Originally posted this at PublicDomain4U.