Monday, March 2, 2009

Bootblogging #12: The May Day Orchestra

I have been carrying on about The May Day Orchestra. With no disrespect to the other musicians, this could be described as "Tim Rakel's new project," though he certainly couldn't do it without the other players and it doesn't seem to be his only new musical endeavor.

I think anyone who has been through the breakup of a long-standing band, like Bad Folk was, knows the almost obscene freedom one feels in trying on new collaborations, rather like sexual flings - lets have fun tonight and not hold it against one another in the morning.

One of the other players in The May Day Orchestra described the project to me in roughly those terms. "It's nothing I am putting all of myself into or anything," Brien Seyle said to me, or at least he said something like that - he was drinking whiskey and I was drinking beer and he had that goony gig energy that afflicts us all after a performance.

The performance was at City Art Supply on Cherokee Street, a remarkably apt venue for a focussed acoustic performance. I was blown away by the set, and had been saying as much to Brien in extravagant terms. His rejoinder was an attempt to distance himself from the extravagance of my praise, not insult his collaboraters.

Here is something like what I had been saying to Brien:

"I remember when I first heard those King Missile records on Shimmy Disc. This sexy half-Chinese girl gave them to me on a mixed tape. I was blown away! I imagined all of these talented multi-instrumentalists trading instruments throughout a set, even throughout a song; I had extended fantasies of this as a sort of idealized way to be in a band.

"Then," I continued, "we played New York, CBGB, and John S. Hall was there because I had invited him to be there. He said he loved our band, Enormous Richard, and he wanted us on King Missile's West Coast tour. And in fact, we did do a bunch of dates with them [deleting old inside baseball on getting gig-blocked by a fiendish rival band that stole half the tour from us].

"We meet them in Columbus for the first show," I went on and on - "and it's nothing like I had imagined! The Shimmy Disc records had all been studio experiments, with John and Dogbowl and Kramer. That band never existed as a band. Now Hall was touring with an art speed metal band backing him up. Really nice guys, but I hated it. It was so disappointing. But, when I saw your band tonight, with you guys trading instruments throughout the set, even throughout a song, I was like, 'That is it! That's the way to do it!'"

"It's nothing I am putting all of myself into or anything," Brien said, or something like that - and then he began to rap King Missile lyrics from memory at the speed of speed art metal.

Free mp3

"Cause for alarm /
Center of the storm /
The strike & Haymarket /
The trial
(Tim Rakel)
The Mayday Orchestra

This medley is part 1 of two parts, intended for sides one and two of a vinyl e.p., I am told. Tim approved of the posting of part one - you'll have to buy the record to hear the rest of the story! Bad sketch of Tim Rakel performing at City Art Supply by me.

Also in this series

Bootblogging #1: Three by The Lettuce Heads
Bootblogging #2: Three elegies for local musicians
Bootblogging #3: Michael Shannon Friedman
Bootblogging #4: Three more by The Lettuce Heads
Bootblogging #5: Chuck Reinhart's guitar circle hits
Bootblogging #6: The silly side of The Lettuce Heads
Bootblogging #7: Songs for "Divorcing God"
Bootblogging #8: More songs for "Divorcing God"
Bootblogging #9: Adam Long presents The Imps!
Bootblogging #10: More Michael Shannon Friedman
Bootblogging #11: The Adversary Workers

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