Pretty much everybody in the Milwaukee Music Community has heard of the passing of Geoff "Stinky" Worman last week. It was sudden to many of us (last Brian heard anything a coupla weeks ago, he was in Flipville and Stinky had told Brian, "Well, I'm gonna have to cut down my hours, so it's probably best to call and make sure I'm here and open") and the next thing we knew, I log into face book and get the awful news. And in the spirit of what everybody has to say about him, he knew his people. Brian walked in that day and Stinky had some terrific Blatz memorabilia waiting for him, as he knew Brian was a Blatz collector. He was the original "I saw this and thought of you" guy.
I'm not going to be nearly as eloquent as Lars Kvan is in this week's Shepherd so I'm not even going to try. I'm the wrong person to write an eulogy or obit for him. I don't go as far back as my native Milwaukee music community friends. All I can offer is a wonderful memory of first moving to Milwaukee and stumbling into The Landing on a snowy wintry night, where three musicians (one of them who turned out to be Stinky) were playing lonely Christmas songs in a surf style, loving the season but musicially wishing it were summer (and that aesthetic was absolutely perfectly rendered in the music), and realizing I'd picked a great town to lay down some roots. Oh, and I'm grateful that -- some 20 years, a wedding and two babies later -- my kids don't seem to realize the difference in "toys" when we would go visit Flipville (as opposed to the stuff you can get at ToysRUs) and the kids called it "the Toy Store." They don't fully get the aesthetic and $$$ value of all those vintage toys (and vinyl, don't forget vinyl) that were collected there. They just appreciated them for what they were ("Hey, look it's a Barbie with short hair"), and I'd like to think Stinky got a kick out of that.
Anyway, go read Lars' eulogy. As he was tighter than me with the man, he captures his spirit better than I -- or I suspect anybody at this point -- could. In the meantime, as as his "official newspaper obit" asks I'm going to go spin some vinyl. Surf music, to be exact. Rest in peace, Geoff. Saying you will be missed is the understatement of the century.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Last night's Bucks game was (where the hell is my thesaurus) disappointing, even though you can say to yourself, "Look, with two guys on the DL, we weren't supposed to even be here tonight. We were supposed to be out of it after four," it was still Gotta Believe time, so much so that I splurged and got myself and the kids some seats in the corner of the 400 section (these days, that's splurging!) and we had ourselves a time. The party outside was fun, the kids made their own signs, and learned to twirl a basketball a la Meadowlark Lemon. We get inside and the place is RED. Every seat has a towel on it, ready to wave.
So we settle into our seats, grabbing our towels (that EVERY seat had) and took it all in. Anthem from -- wait for it -- Jerry Stackhouse! And he can sing! And going into half time.... oh, I'm not even going to talk about this game. You can read enough about it from the rest of the internet. That third quarter was ugly. (People, it's not like Atlanta was exactly hitting their shots, either. They just hit a few more in that quarter, but both teams had a butt ugly percentage). Ugly, ugly, ugly. And not to sound like a sorehead, but the officiating was butt-ugly. Not that that would have won the game (what happened to Jennings anways?) but it seemed like somebody in the NBA front office decided more money could be made if this series went to 7. And, again, what happened to Brandon Jennings? Who was that guy who suited up and took the court last night? It was like the real Brandon Jennings changed his game as quickly as halftime act "Quick Change" (remember them from America's Got Talent two seasons ago? Still doing the same -- albeit amazing -- schtick.)
A couple of things I noticed: Here's Bogut, looking like Elvis '68, sittin' next to Skiles, and cheering on the team. Yes, conspicuous in that cream colored suit, but very visibly there and with his team. We want conspicuous. Where's the other guy who's on the DL? Was he even there? He was conspicuous by his absence. And the crowd. On a micro level, we were all grousing during the third quarter. (I handed Stella some money and told her to get us all some ice cream or fries or some other kind of comfort food because I was getting some indigestion. But on a macro scale, this crowd did NOT give up on the Bucks, which two seasons ago they would have. Every shot the Bucks did make opened up a glimmer of hope, that they could pull off a repeat of Wednesday, punctuated with waving of towels and an on-our-feet encouraging roar. We didn't give up on the Bucks, but it seemed like they did. By the fourth quarter, they just ran out of gas. But this crowd is the difference between us and Atlanta. Yeah, we pissed and moaned about it on the way out, and the blogs and radio talk are pissing and moaning about the game (and rightfully so) but at least we didn't boo the team off the court at the end and in fact, a LOT of the crowd stayed until the bitter end. Oh well. As I explained to my two heartbroken kids, "Look, we weren't supposed to get this far, this game wasn't even supposed to exist, so let's go home and watch some cartoons."
OK, a quick music roundup:
- On the classical side, or the neo-classical side, the Milwaukee Spectral Chamber Orchestra debuted at Woodland Pattern a couple of weeks back. Last time I was at Woodland Pattern, I must admit, it was to see equally experimental music from Fred Frith and Hans Reichel, and this kind of reminded me of that. The composition was sort of an exercise in taking somthing very basic (in this case, the notes D, D#, and E) and stretching, bending, and taking them as far as it could go. Truly an experiment, using both classical instruments, and made up ones (such as and old piano turned on its side to use as a percussion), and electric instruments (a computer, and a plugged in bass guitar). I brought Stella, who admitted, "Mom, this isn't my kind of music," and I could understand that. At the same time, the musicians in this group come from a waide variety of musical backgrounds -- you had Danglers and Femmes, and everything in between, all trying to see, really, what they could do with three notes. It's stuff like this that makes me happy to live in a town that doesn't really require THAT MUCH EFFORT to dig to get to a very interesting underground. Really, folks, it's not that hard to find good, non-mainstream stuff here.
- Abstract Artemis which, unbeknownst to me, were actually members of the band I would see later that night, Daikaiju. Abstract Artemis was wack enough: they jut hit the stage and played the lifing daylights out of their instruments, in a surf-meets-psychedelic metal kind of thing.
- Back to earth with the debut of The Dick Satan Trio an act I've been anticipating for months and they delivered. Eric Knitter likes the same kind of surf music -- dangerous, yet elegant -- that I do and he plays it well. Never saw Ted Jorin playing the bass before, and I'm glad I did. After he broke a string (who the hell breaks a bass string?) the guys from Abstract Artemis helped with their bass, they seemed to hit their stride and played a wonderful mix of classic surf tunes and wicked originals.
- But the headliner was Daikaiju, a surf band from Alabama (what's in the water down there?) that dresses -- and plays the surf -- like a bunch of Japanese Kabuki actors, with song titles to match. Wow. Two, count em, two drummers who kept an almost aboriginal tribal beat going. I grabbed their CD and and twittered all night about them. They had precision down, they borrowed bits of metal from their earlier band, yet retained the surf feel (and slipped in plenty of psychedelia). Remembering them made up for last night's disappointment at the Bradley Center.