Monday, July 30, 2007

my weekend, which I know you care about, tremendously

On saturday, I went with some friends to a river house out on the black warrior river. the weekend consisted of eating way too much, playing some games on the floor, shooting guns at fist-thrown-fruit, driving my human and dingo loaded truck down country dirt roads, listening to superfluous amounts of cootie stark piedmont blues, and watching hans christian anderson films as we had intense conversations and drifted off to sleep. (this photo of brooke, above, taken by my friend t. scott)

For the record: I do not generally enjoy games. I do not know why this is. but for some reason this weekend, I enjoyed them. also for the record: hans christian anderson sucks. thirdly for the record: I am quite good at obliterating airborne fruit with a shotgun.

This weekend, I also enjoyed a visit from my friend paul scodova, also known as theguywhomakesredmountainsoundgood. in this photo, paul is about to miss the pear that I am throwing into the air. paul was in town to help figure out what in the world we are going to do with the audio situation in the new rmc building. paul says we need about $30-50k to really get the room sounding good. I said, “sounds fantastic! what can we do with, maybe, twelve dollars?” and he laughed at me and pointed at me and then did what paul does best – takes my crass, limited sound engineering ideas and makes them sound 4thousand times better. thanks again, paul. always good to see you. and you really are so good at what you do.

Lastly, it is worth mentioning that clint wells is a rock and roll star. he is too cool to tell you this on his own blog, so I will tell you here. I have been repeatedly saying for some time now that clint wells is the best guitar player in birmingham, and pretty soon we will need to say that he is also one of the best guitar players in nashville. last thursday night, while the rest of us were eating peaches and swatting mosquitoes in the alabama evening, clint quietly drove to nashville to play guitar with griffin house. griffin house, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a truly fantastic songwriter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

abortion, mean angry people, and human life

clint has a nice post up. you should read it. it's about people who drive through our city with billboard trucks advertising the gruesomeness and cruelty of abortion. and then these people compliment their trucks with poorly informed messages of hate. just a few days ago clint called me, outraged, describing the scene just outside where he works. he held up his phone so I could hear all the yelling.

reminds me of a certain preacher who, when I was in college, would stand out on the concourse and yell at the students. he would call us drug addicts, whores, rapists and fornicators. all of us. we were all fornicators. I remember how amazing I thought he was, how amazing that he felt confident that everybody walking by fornicated. I went up to him once to talk to him, and asked, "how do you know that I use drugs?" and he replied, "well do you?" and I answered "no" and he yelled "LIIAAR!!! FORNICATOR!!!" as he pointed at me.

about a year ago, on the corner outside my office, there was I guess a traveling street missionary. he wore a lot of flannel and read the bible loudly. he seemed angry that he was having to read the bible, and he read it to us for hours, days at a time. and then one day, there was a guy dressed like jesus. another guy who didn't shave or bathe, and he was dressed in a white robe, and carrying a cross up and down 20th street. and just as I was walking by, he started yelling at the missionary.

It was too perfect. jesus fighting with the missionary. they were really getting into it too. fingers pointing and shoving and yelling. I happened to be walking by with jamika my co-worker, and I told her I had to go and talk to them, I wanted to see the fight up close, and she said "no brian, just keep walking, you are angry enough as it is." and I shrugged, and I smiled because in that moment I felt known, and then I went to eat a chicken sandwich with jamika.

back to abortion.

a few years ago, I was asked to play some music for a sav-a-life conference. at the time I was playing every sunday morning at faith presbyterian - a very conservative, somewhat stuffy church in the suburbs (a conservative, stuffy church that was surprisingly kind, warm, gentle, and encouraging to me). I remember one day sitting in a staff meeting and people were praying, and I never participated because prayer meetings really do freak me out, but I remember thinking, or feeling "jesus is after me at this exact moment" and the thought really scared me so I started thinking about something else, like how much I am uncomfortable in prayer meetings). (have you ever felt like jesus was after you? like, really after you? it's a very crazy feeling.)

anyway - a very kind lady from this church asked me to play for the sav-a-life conference. I think she ran the sav-a-life thing. I have mixed feelings about abortion (mostly with how the issue is handled), but I decided to play anyway. when I got to the event, there was some keynote speaker, I have no idea what his name was, but he was a big guy with a loud voice and an even louder ego and too much social know - the kind of guy you immediately know that you don't like. and he started chatting me up about music and I started faking like I had a call on my cell phone.

so at this event, he showed I think a video of an actual abortion. and then he started talking about the post-moderns. I hate the term post-modern, mostly because I think the term actually applies to people who are currently in their 50's, but is used to describe people in their 20's (I also hate the term "emergent", but that's another issue). but I also hate the term post modern because it is used to characterize, well, me. and at this event this guy was describing the "post moderns" and I couldn't help but feel like he was actually pretty accurately describing me. and then he talked about how the post-moderns are the enemy of the church, and how they are destroying everything. and I was thinking "hold have these people, post modern or whatever you want to call them...and they are IN your church. they are not hateful, jesus destroying people. they are believing people...I thought this was about abortion?"

to me, the issue is not about abortion or about post moderns or about hateful, angry christians. I mean, if jesus and the missionary can't get along, it definitely gives me hope that it's okay for me to not get along with the angry hateful preachers.

the issue is that human life is not sacred. my life is not sacred. your life is not sacred. it's just an unavoidable fact. iraqi lives are clearly not sacred. african lives, probably the least sacred of all. the poor in our own country, not sacred. the old - pushed aside. the homeless people who I walk by every day - hoping they don't talk to me - not sacred. I took this photo of 16th street baptist a few months ago, a constant, saddening reminder of how not-sacred human life has been in the city I love and call home.

and something I have a lot of trouble with is how many human lives god destroyed in the bible. does god think human life is sacred? I'm not making a statement about god, I'm just asking a question to which you don't have an answer.

maybe if human life was sacred abortion wouldn't exist.

maybe the fact that human life isn't sacred is darker and scarier than any of us want to admit.

maybe some day we'll learn to love the humans that have already emerged from the womb. or perhaps we'll just continue to pretend to love the unborn.

sure is easier.

Monday, July 23, 2007

happy birthday to brooke

today my wife turns 27, thirty-three years shy of my ideal age. happy birthday, brooke. I wish you many more moons and many more smiling days. maybe next year I will deposit more candles into your cake.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

some photos

first one taken two months ago with t.scott; we were out taking shots of downtown. last three all taken within the last two weeks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

BTM = parallel parking enthusiast

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I love to park. When I was a child, I used to visualize taking a car and parking it, perfectly, between two precariously placed vehicles. And at other times, often as I aged towards my twenties, I would visualize the same thing, only instead of parking between cars, I would park between two heaping columns of fire, and if I miscalculated my park job I would of course be penalized and immediately catch fire and burn to death, while simultaneously being shot by army men holding machine guns.

Machine guns are like regular guns, except they are operated by machines, whereas regular guns are often operated humans, or Dick Cheney.

People said I was an odd child because of my parking dreams, but really, I was an odd child for much better reasons, like because I drank out of the toilet and scraped bark off trees for snacking. And when all the other little boys were pretending to be in the army, I was pretending like I was eating other little boys with a fork, and wondering what they would taste like with parmesan cheese, or mozzarella.

Sometimes I would just stand there, holding a fork in my hand while I stared at the other little boys with this sort of dreamy, longing, hungry gaze, and people would say “look – there’s that weird kid with the parallel parking dreams!” and I would snarl at them and say in flat-monotone “I bet you are delicious with a light raspberry-chipotle glaze” as I scraped with my other hand at a nearby magnolia for bark.

People think that parallel parking is easy. people think anyone can do it. that is wrong. Tanks, for example, are really hard to parallel park because they don’t have tires, and they are made of metal.

One time I was eating a sandwich, and this lady drove up in a massive SUV and I said to my friend – “look at that lady in that massive SUV – I bet you that she will parallel park this like a total champion.” And my friend and I watched as this lady, with the precision of a laser-guided missile, perfectly angled her ford excursion into the parallel parking space. and then this lady got out - a beautiful young lady in a dark dress, with golden, flowing hair and a blue-tooth-enabled cell phone attached directly to her left ear hole – and my friend and I had sandwich falling out of our dropped-open mouths as we stared at her, and she walked by and said to us, “nice park job, huh?” and then she winked at me and I said “raspberry-chipotle” and then my friend punched me in the eyebrow because the moment was so perfect somebody just had to be punched.

Some day I want to jump out of a car while it is being parallel parked, into another car that is driving by, and then parallel park that car. That would be incredible. It would probably be a dream come true.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

successful cd release

thanks to everyone who made it out last night. I'd guess there were over 200 people crammed into the speakeasy. great night, lot's of energy, friendly people, good drinks, shane playing drums on the wall, and it's always nice when the news shows up to shoot your gigs. looking forward to seeing everyone again at the next one.

this is such a fun band. these three photos taken by my good friend frank price. more photos by liz west-wells found here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

okay people.

seriously, saturday night at the speakeasy is going to be huge. the spots are blowing up and we all know it. the tv people are going to be there to film us, and basically help us blow up. and by blow up, I mean explode. with music. picture a bomb filled with musical notes and it just blowing up. it's going to be awesome. and I'm not even joking about the tv people.

so. see you saturday night. music starts 9:30. it's going to be fantastic. oh, and bring $5 and we'll give you a brand new spots compact disc which can be read by laser beams. that's a really good value and you can't deny it. $5 for laser technology and music that makes you punch your sister in the armpit.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

only 11even days away...

artwork by shawn avery

Sunday, July 1, 2007

BTM circa 1996