The Ball Starts Rolling.

Friday was a great, great day.

On Thursday, out of the blue, I got a message from Martin Tibbetts, our old agent. The timing was impeccable, since I’d been trying to track him down. How’d he find me? MySpace, of course. This inter-web thing sure is handy.

Anyhow, I filled him in on the rough plan, and he said he knew just the man we needed to be talking to. (Martin’s not in the booking biz anymore.) Brilliant. Hook us up, Martin!

Friday morning, I wake up to find an email waiting for me from the South by Southwest conference – they’ve accepted our application and have offered us a slot! B R I L L I A N T ! ! ! 1 1 1 ONE ONE ONE !!! For those of you who haven’t been to SxSW, imagine over a thousand bands playing in a small town over the course of four days. Almost every local club is involved, and thousands of people invade the town for the week. They close down some of the streets after dark, so it turns into one huge party. And all your musician friends are there!

Needless to say, I immediately do a jig with my fiancee, then swap partners and do a jig with my dog. The cat hides under a chair, otherwise I’d try to dance with her as well. Ah well, her loss.

I go to work, and about an hour later, the phone rings. It’s Neil O’Brien, a blast from the past, who used to work for the Mean Fiddler back in the day, and he wants to put together the UK/Europe dates together. We talk for about forty minutes, and it’s absolutely clear that he’s the man for us. He knows the band, remembers the gigs, and he just put together the Only Ones reunion tour. Hell, he put together a reunion tour for the Long Ryders! He’s *totally* psyched about the SxSW gig, and not only that, but he’s just about to send out his summer festival list, so the timing couldn’t be any better.

There’s no one to do a jig with, so I just stomp around the room awhile, acting the loon.

Damn it feels good.

It’s on.

Control

Just saw Control the other night.

I loved it.

Not only was it beautiful to look at, (did we expect any less from Anton Corbijn?) but it was also a great portrayal of what it’s like to be in a band when you’re first starting out. And it was also great that they didn’t glamorize it at all – it was quite bleak, to be honest. And the pacing was quite slow. Some of the folks I went with thought it could have moved along a little quicker, but I thought it was perfect. And the fact that they played all the versions of the songs used in the film was even more impressive.

Definitely worth seeing.

Talk about Synchronicity

So I’m sure my brain was engaged, but not fully connected.

I wrote the first blog post talking about the things that have inspired me the past few years, including the Gang of Four, and then of course I spend the next two days hanging out with Dave Allen. How cool is that?

Dave and I are sort of on eerily parallel courses right now. I’m in Seattle, he’s in Portland. We’ve both got design/consulting/new media companies. We’re both trying to rally our band mates into taking this new internet/social network/music/community thing head on.

What a great guy, and he’s got a great blog (now in the blog roll of course): pampelmoose.com. You should check it out.

Why were Dave and I hanging out, you might ask? We’re both members of the Recording Academy (the folks who bring you the Grammys), and we just had a two day Music Tech conference about the intersection of technology and the music industry. It was two days of really great information. We’re posting video of all the panels. I gave the first workshop and moderated the panel on digital distribution. Dave moderated the panel on social networking. Pretty critical stuff, if you’re a musician.

You can check out the video archives here.

Watch Out World, Here We Come.

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It’s taken awhile, but we here at Petrols central are finally serious about dusting off the rock tools and treading the boards once again. Why? Well why the hell not is what I say. There have been a number of things over the past few years in particular that have spurred this on.

1) Gang of Four reunion – these guys changed my life back in the day. No, seriously. I listened to the records incessantly, and they were without a doubt the best live band I ever saw. Twenty-odd years later, they came back, and they slayed. They were astounding. They were monumental.

2) Killing Joke reunion – (Raven – RIP). Similar to Go4, in that they came, they saw, they totally destroyed. Interestingly enough this was a week after a much-touted up and coming band (the Rapture, cough-cough) came to town and just blew. I mean totally blew. I’m so sick to death of the post-modern, ironic, “I’m in a band but not really” stance so many bands seem to adopt these days. Seeing the ‘Joke a week after these turds was the perfect antidote. It made me realize why I got into music in the first place.

3) The death of the old music industry – Seriously folks, wave goodbye to the record biz of lore. What’s going to replace it we don’t quite know, but I derive an enormous amount of pleasure watching the death rattle of the current mess. I’ve been evangelizing and expostulating about this for years now, and voila. It’s not like it was a big secret.

4) The rise of social networking and a new musical landscape – Without wanting to sound too pollyanna about this, I’m incredibly excited about the potential of the Internet as a distribution and social/community platform. Even though things are very confusing right now, I think it’s probably the best time ever to be a musician. Well, perhaps with the exception of the 60s, but that’s only because the drugs were far better. I’ve been talking about this for years now – it’s time to put up or shut up.

So here we go – TPE are going to rise from the ashes, and rock your sweet tootsies off. We will crush. We will destroy. We will have a very good time doing so. And with any luck, we’ll be in a town near you soon.

s.