PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

This text is currently hidden by a css change. Alow's me to go directly to the category description because it is editable in the front end,

Not Joe Strummer

Back when I was almost still Catholic, I met a man who, I was told, would be the music leader for the kids in the parish CCD program I somehow found myself teaching in. This man came with his wife from Mexico – they were a lovely couple – and he was studying at Berklee College of Music.

It sounded perfect.

My then-wife was Costa Rican and she and I struck up a friendship with the couple, inviting them over for dinner one night. I had just finished working on a radio play and was using a new sound tool that was software-based, and I really couldn’t sort out how to use it. I showed it to my Mexican friend and asked him to explain what the tool was doing to the sound. All I knew how to do was use the mouse and keyboard to bend the sounds and make funny noises and so forth, but not what each effect tool was actually doing.

My new musical friend, who was going to Berklee because he was a highly skilled musician, played around with the software too, but his silence and bemusement indicated he didn’t know much more about the tools than I did.

One Sunday, the couple stayed after mass and came into the parish hall, where this new musical genius from Mexico would play songs for the kids – Catholic singalongs – while his lovely wife sat beside him or next to my wife and me (can't recall those exact details). He had a guitar on a strap and a pony tail, as you might imagine a Mexican Catholic troubadour would have, so we were all waiting in anticipation for him to sing Jesus-themed songs of freedom to us. He strummed a little, started, stopped, strummed again. We all waited for him to stop strumming aimlessly and start playing songs we could all sing to.

It never happened.

If he actually was a musician, he was under some kind of temporary spell that rendered him incapable of playing music, but I began to think that he was not a real musician after all, just a guy who had gotten into Berklee.

You might imagine that I often think back to those days and reminisce, as I just did here in a publicly available and highly-read blog, but the truth is that if I hadn’t just now remembered this series of events , I perhps would never have recalled that memory , and it would have been lost to history.

Imagine that.

Continue reading
  14 Hits
  0 Comments
14 Hits
0 Comments

Why Didn't You Tell Me?

How is it that it’s 2019 and I’m just hearing about the Mountain Goats? You’d think this essential information would have been in one of the email loops I’m included in. “Maybe you missed it in a debriefing.”

OK, first of all my debriefings have been a little thin on content lately. Sorry to have to air that dirty laundry in such a widely-read forum as this blog, but eventually you get fed up with not being told about things, like really clever rock bands you probably should see, such as the Mountain Goats, or the nuclear launch codes. What if the Mountain Goats came to town, or someone said launch the nukes? How could I know to see the show and/or destroy the planet?

I shouldn’t have to rely on WMBR’s Breakfast of Champions for all my rock and roll information. Shouldn’t my government have a Rock Czar? And for that matter, why should I have to contact the Russians to find out what numbers to punch in such that we can finally have our long awaited Armageddeon?

From my informal survey of people around me, I’ve come to learn that others in my midst have not been adequately informed about the Mountain Goats either. Seems to be an epidemic of poor communication.

From what I can gather (via their tour schedule), it's clear to me that hey have something against Massachusetts. On the other hand, I'll bet they're going to Georgia.

Continue reading
  126 Hits
  0 Comments
126 Hits
0 Comments

Before It's Too Late

I’ve received word from my publicist that you’re wondering what my rock and roll experience was like way back in the 1990s. I’d rather not talk about it. 

OK, but just this once. The decade was progressing more or less like most decades, in fits and starts without a strong sense of how to distinguish itself from other decades in the history books, when my acerbic high school principal friend Bob reemerged into the US from Colombia, where he’d been teaching. Bedraggled and looking for work, he nevertheless came armed with word of the band Soul Coughing. I was made to pay heed – probably via a cd he had illegally smuggled through customs undeclared, that sneaky bastard! Which he then ripped so we could listen to it endlessly on our smartphones (which we had purchased on Amazon).

Anyway, I listened to the first album, Ruby Vroom, on my smartphone on and on and on in the early-mid 1990s, while driving and texting, and right around when the second album was coming out, the band played a fundraiser gig at the Middle East Club in Cambridge (that be in MA). The lineup, by order of appearance, was Dan Zanes (of Del Fuegos), the incredible Groovasaurus, now lost to history (but with videos on youtube!), Morphine Jr. (Morphine sans their injured drummer, whom the show was benefitting, but with the legendary Mark Sandman at the helm), and headlined by Soul Coughing, doing a short and spot-on set (with Doughty getting pissed at one or two choice mosh-pit bullies).

I saw Soul Coughing probably 4 or 5 times after that first show, and then they too were gone forever, living on only as a band-that-was, as front man Mike Doughty wanted nothing to do with the music or the bandmates.

Until this winter, when Doughty launched a tour in which he reprised Ruby Vroom, playing it beginning to end with the band Wheatus backing him up. To my great pleasure, he played the music with faithfulness to the original hip groove, even if his band (with little pepper on the drums!) didn’t quite manage to recreate the energy of those early years.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it, from some early iteration of the band, doing Moon Sammy. (As always, I don’t own these videos and can’t count on them sticking around forever, so watch them now).

Continue reading
  220 Hits
  0 Comments
220 Hits
0 Comments

It's Got A Punky Sorta Feel

Have you ever been to a rock show where the front person spent the first ten minutes explaining, in an oddly strummy fashion, how to behave during the concert? Be courteous. Be kind. Be forgiving. And so forth.

And you’re thinking, wait, did I make a wrong turn and end up a spectator in a golf tournament? 

You’re still digesting the bacon grenades you ate at Kaiser Tiger a few minutes earlier, thinking to yourself, when the heck is the music going to start? And at the same time, something tells you to let the monologue continue, as you’re not feeling so well post-grenades and a Polish kielbasa sandwich. No one wants to find his fellow rock show patron planting elbows in random eye sockets when he’s feeling ill from too much midwestern pork indulgence. And anyway, elbows in eye sockets are usually delivered courtesy large males, who have been confounding America with their girth and height for years, requiring patriots like you to wear big shoes so you can see the band.

More specifics: Patrick Stickles’ long and relatively boring diatribe to start the set of his band Titus Andronicus fell largely on deaf (large male) ears at The Bottom Lounge, a short walk from where my friends and I had overindulged on Belgian Fries, German Beer and the aforementioned pork products, such that once the band got revved up, the elbows where flying and craniums were getting flung back and forth in total disregard for my personal safety. I kept my distance from the senseless violence, lest I find myself with a case of CTE.

Despite the lecture and subsequent disregard for proper behavior, I would call this one of the best punk rock shows I’ve ever seen. Knowing almost none of the music except what I had crammed in during my long commute from the outer edges of southwestern Boston to Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, I can assure you that it mattered not, as the band’s penchant for loud and boisterous rock made knowledge of the music secondary, if not entirely irrelevant.

20181019 234629r

The show wasn't without casualties. A fellow to my left, thoroughly meaning to stay out of the mosh pit, caught a roundhouse skull to the nose and left bleeding. Poor guy.

If Mike Doughty had been on stage the music would have ended right then and there, as Doughty means it when he says no slam dancing. But this was no M. Doughty, so despite the nosebleed, Titus Andronicus played on.

Continue reading
  478 Hits
  0 Comments
478 Hits
0 Comments

Trumpian Tweetage Haiku Continuum

 

 

It's unlimited
Presidential harrassment
Dems are going nuts!

 

Isn't it nice when
Countries help rebuild neighbors?
Thanks to Saudi A!

 

NBC FAKE NEWS
The Harvey Weinstein Story
Look at their license?

 

Investigations
Republican Congressmen
Two wins now in doubt.

 

Dems love Sessions now
Same thing: lyin' James Comey
Saint-like. Really sick.

 

Russia: "nothing to
do with meddling." Why isn't
Hillary looked at?

 

The Special Counsel
Is UNCONSTITUTIONAL
I’ve done nothing wrong

 

 

The phony witch hunt

The soon to be released book
Looks like a big hit

 

Fake News Media

Together with the witch hunt:

My best poll numbers

 

“Caravans” coming

Must go nuclear option.

NO MORE DACA DEAL!

 

We don’t have a wall

Not going to have a country

FUND THE BORDER WALL

 

Trade Wars are good and

Easy to win. They get cute?

Don't trade; we win big!

 

Gun-adept coaches

Weapons-talented teachers

Instantly Shooting

 

Promote the Fake Book

Mentally Deranged Author

False Information

 

Now that collusion

With Russia: a total hoax

FBI/Russia

 

Kim Jong Un, I too

Have a nuclear button.

And my button works.

 

 

Tax cut/Reform bill

Massive Alaska Drilling

Incredible Year

 

 

United Nations

Sanctions on North Korea

World wants Peace, not Death

 

 

False Accusations.

Women I don't know. FAKE NEWS!

Collusion. Russia.

 

Army Navy Game

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY

Congratulations

 

Pelosi/Schumer

He's bad on Crime, Life, Border.

Vets. Guns. VOTE ROY MOORE!

 

 

Time Magazine Called

Prob'ly "Person of the Year"

I took a pass. Thanks!

 

The Christmas Story

Mother, Father, Baby Son

Jesus Christ. Bahrain.

 

Matt Lauer just fired

When will top executives

Be fired for Fake News? 

Subscribe To The Blog

Produce This Audio Play!

Ever wanted to produce a radio play?  Think you have the mettle?  Read on!