So close I could smell the fancy red wine on his breath.
(Editor's note: As I was about to leave for this show, my youngest approached me telling me she needed a manatee costume for a church play the next morning. Desperate, I called up our foreign correspondent (he's from Perris) Cletus R. Dungleberry to see if he could cover the show for me. As it happens, Cletus is the Shits' mother's uncle's daughter's [out of wedlock] Pastor's son, so he knows the boys in Jackshit well, and hadn't got up with them since last week, so he was happy to go – Eric Sandberg)
Concert review by Cletus R. Dungleberry
Saturday afternoon, I was out splittin' logs when mama called me in for a phone call. My editor needed me to drop my axe and get on over to Jack Nicholson Canyon in Hollywood to report on a rock and roll show at a house. Now, that didn't seem too appealing to me. I hadn't been to Hollywood since the roads were dirt, and I was about to tell him my truck was broke, when he told me the band was Jackshit.
Now I've knowed those boys in Jackshit since we was knee high to a gopher, and I don't really like them much personally, but I lent Shorty Shit $20 last Thursday and he said he would come by the house and pay me back that night after his horse come in but he never showed. So I told my editor I would go, if only to knock that glistening cock off Shorty's head.
Well, my truck really was busted, but I knew Jackshit's drummer Pete Shit would be passin' right by my house on the way to the gig, and Pete is the only guy in Cochtotan who has a horse with a side carriage. I also could have asked Beau for a ride but I was afraid he would make me late for the show because he likes to stop and take a drink on the way. Pete don't drink nothin' but Lemon-lime Spindrift so I knew I was safer ridin' with him.
Pete woke me up when we got to the house, and it was a big house, with lot's a city folk standin' round eatin' fancy crackers with cheese and drinkin' Stella Artooey beer, so I hung out with the pretty dog in the foy-ee-ay [that's French].
This here's that pretty dog I was tellin' you about.
Anyways, I had heard a rumor that Jackshit had added a second guitarist because Beau was startin' to like his wine a bit too much and was gettin' to be unreliable, kinda like when Pink Floyd brung in Dave Gilmour when Syd Barrett was actin' goofy [I know my shit – I got this job for a reason].
Well, It's time for the show to start and Beau, Shorty and Pete are all still in the kitchen eatin' crackers and this new guy Hasty Shit [the oldest brother who recently got released from Chino] likes to get to bed on time so he goes and starts the show by hisself. He gets up there and starts singin' the Dylan Brothers' "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight." He ain't bad, so the boys figure they better get up there. I was sittin' right up front, 'cause I was the press and all, and I heard Beau and Hasty have a few words. Hasty kept calling Beau "Val" and I was like, damn, because I knew that Val was the name of the guy in middle school who looked just like Beau and stoled his girlfriend.
Next thing I know, Hasty sets his guitar down and stomps off the stage leaving the Shit's to muddle through with Beau who was knocking back some fancy red wine like it was pickle juice. Well, they set to fallin' into their old routine, startin' things off with "Hi, How Are Ya?" from their second shitty album and went right into "Devil In Disguise (AKA: Christine's Tune)" what another group of brothers named Burrito covered first.
New member Hasty Shit starts the show. I suspect their mama might have been steppin' out.
Then they set to chattin' amongst themselves like there wasn't a room full of people settin' in front of them. Shorty said the place looked like Canigli Hall but I know for a fact he ain't never been there 'cause he don't practice. Finally they started playin' "Tiger By The Tail" which was first covered by the Buckaroo Brothers.
Then they just start jawin' again about their favorite subject which is the glistening cock on Shorty's chapeau [that's French]. I learned a lot of French from the Shits 'cause they grew up on a Indian reservation in Cochtotan, California. Pete Shit reminded everybody that it was the Croissant Tribe of Indians with that funny way of talkin' he has.
Well, they kept on like that – runnin' their mouths and playin' one great song after another. One thing I'll say about those boys, they can play. When Beau takes it easy on the red wine, no one can touch him on the guitar. The boy can flat out rip it and he had the folks gaspin' and droppin' the cheese off their crackers.
I truly believe Beau thinks he may have sharted here and Pete is pretty sure he did.
Now Shorty is right good on that bass, practice or no. He done played this really hard bass part on a song The Bowie Brothers covered called "Ashes To Ashes," and sang it great, too – even though he had a Ricola in his mouth [that's just talent, son]. Shorty never made eye contact with me once so I knowed he didn't have my $20. Pete? He's just back there by hisself with a blank look on his face, keepin' time like a Swiss watch.
Jackshit ran through their "five song trilogy' [Beau was always math-challenged] of darkness and gloom before bringing down the house with "Ugly and Slouchy" their famous medley of all the other songs they wrote that got covered by more famous folks like The Brothers Who, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sugarloaf, Jeff Beck, Chicago, The Creamy Triplets and many, many more. It went on so long, my titanium lower back started fussin' in the chair, but boy howdy, you ain't seen nothin' like it, and if you ever get the chance, you gotta go see Jackshit play.
During "Ashes to ashes" Pete really had to concentrate to keep the Shits on track.
Meanwhile, he don't think nobody can notice, but Hasty Shit keeps sneakin' up behind Beau with a bottle and fillin' up Beau's wine glass hopin' Beau might do somethin' to get hisself fired. Beau did get a little loopy. At one point he called Pete "Thomas" which was the name of their real brother who fell down a well. Pete ain't blood kin to Beau and Shorty. They said he got left on the porch in a basket which might be why he talks so funny.
Anyways, it was a great show, good crackers and a pretty dog, but Pete Shit took off with the pretty dog in his side carriage so I had to walk home to Perris. I wasn't gettin' in the car with Beau 'cause he either needs to quit drinkin' or quit drivin' and there's a FOR SALE sign on his windshield.
Photos by Michael Berman and Cletus R. Dungleberry.
Shorty tryin' not to get outsharted.
During the show, Beau came over and asked me to pass his regards to my mama.
Press On album cover art by Isaac Himmelman
Album Review by Eric Sandberg – Press On by Peter Himmelman
After two major label stints and many releases through various indie distributors on his own Frinny Records imprint, Press On is Peter Himmelman's third straight album made under the aegis of his own fans via Kickstarter. Over this period his supporters have been rewarded with early access to three of his finest albums to date, each one better than the last.
These releases are likely break-even affairs for Himmelman, if not losses considering how the most carefully planned project budgets can go awry. Himmelman's primary means of support is his company Big Muse, a consulting firm that assists corporations and businesses to grow by helping personnel remove mental barriers and unlock their creativity. Himmelman published his self-help process in book form Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas To Life in 2016.
So why does Peter Himmelman still regularly go through the tremendous bother to seek funding, assemble musicians, rent expensive studio time, pay a producer, engineer and a mastering technician, etc? To paraphrase one of his best songs 'the songs keep ticking out and the songs must keep him sane.'
Himmelman is a prolific songwriter who has released fourteen solo rock albums, five albums of music for hip children and ten collections of songs that didn't quite make the cut in the Himmevaults series. These songs ultimately serve as his best and only public outlet for all his rage, sadness, love and hope for humanity as it faces whatever is going on in the world when these songs come to him.
Himmelman is one America's greatest and most under-appreciated lyric songwriters. Why isn't he more famous? It's most likely because he has stayed steadfastly true to himself and never succumbed to the pressures of major label marketing. He didn't change his last name to Byron or Keats, and he recorded a concept album [the excellent Skin which Sony struggled to promote] just as he was poised to break through with major label support.
Peter Himmelman in studio recording Press On
Himmelman also has the tendency to come off as overly serious, if not pedantic. The first time I heard his music was in the buying office of Show Industries [parent company of the nearly forgotten LA-based record chain Music +]. I went over to the Sony buyer and asked "Who is this guy and what on Earth is he whining about?" But a few weeks later, at party to kick off a joint promotion with Sony, I got to see Himmelman perform live and I immediately understood. In person, Himmelman is as funny and engaging as his songs are serious and profound.
After performing a few songs, Himmelman felt isolated on stage with only his acoustic guitar. He tested the length of his cables and moved to the floor and continued to sing with such unbridled passion that the only barrier between him and his audience was the distance the spittle flew from his mouth as he tore through his repertoire.
It is Peter Himmelman live that has garnered him a small but fiercely loyal audience that is willing to pay in advance in anticipation of new music. Not enough to sustain him and his family, but enough to make it worthwhile to make an album such as Press On.
On social media, Himmelman is circumspect, offering positive philosophical platitudes aimed at promoting spiritual growth. On record, Peter Himmelman is a snarling groove monster, delivering his ever-insightful and poetic takes on the current state of the world.
"This is the sound of guns and silence
After a year of blood and violence
These are the men grey with ash
Rolling their barrels of useless cash
The clocks have frozen on a night so cold
The sun has dropped the jokes growing old
And wouldn’t you know the joke’s on us my friends
The dam has burst the bubble’s popped
We dove headfirst, we belly flopped
Inhaling whatever providence sends
This is how it ends
This is how it ends,"
Himmelman sings to an ironically hopeful ascending piano line draped over a pulsating rhythm which recalls Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes." "This Is How It Ends" is followed by "The Wail of the Trumpets, The Clatter of the Hoof Beats" with a finger picked treble-y guitar riff so wicked that Himmelman lets it go on for two extra bars before singing,
"Plugged in full time, turned on high crime
Can’t take your eyes off your tiny little screen
Nothing’s worth a damn if it ain’t the color green
Lift off back down what’s your background
Safe inside your home while it storms and sleets
People walkin ‘round with crosses and sheets
Listen so close for the wail of trumpets and the clatter of the hoof beats"
The album's thirteen tracks each instantly grab you with their urgency and poignancy, all driven by a crisp acoustic guitar groove and adorned with just the right amount of drums, piano, organ and electric guitar. The album closer "This Is My Offering" brings it all back home with a pledge,
"This is my offering, it don’t dance or sing —it ain’t no diamond ring
You can’t buy it at the five and dime, it’s beyond logic, money or time
It’s not a place or thing —this is my offering
This is my sacred vow, it ain’t no horse or plow, it ain’t no milkin cow
It won’t protect you from the drivin rain, it won’t relieve your muscle pain
It’s in the past, it’s here right now —this is my sacred vow."
Press On is a groove, a thrill ride, a signal of hope in desperate times, and a promise to continue. More people need to hear it.
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.