Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, Ep. 1.10 - Global Psychedelic Funk

Download or stream it here!

Thursday night, August 21st at 8:00 pm, I will be recording a long set at Tao Comedy Studio, along with my buddy John Fontaine.  Bobbie is going to host the show, I'm going to try to do an hour.  It's free, free parking in back, and I could really use some people in the audience.  Going to be a VERY fun night of comedy.

Over the last, oh, 5 years I guess, the biggest part of my musical diet has been these compilations of funky, psychedelic records from the 60's and 70's from Africa, Latin America, The Caribbean and elsewhere, so I'm dedicating this entire show to that shit.  Far out music from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Texas, Sweden and who knows where else.  Please forgive me stumbling over so many of the foreign names and titles. Below is the track listing, I also included Amazon links to the featured compilations.  Plus, a few minutes of new comedy bits at the beginning.

Ofo the Black Company - Allah Wakbar (from Nigeria 70, Vol. 1)
The Mebusas - Mr. Bull Dog (from The World Ends: Afro Rock and Psychedelia in 1970's Nigeria)
Hasabe - Aayalew Mesfin (from Ethiopiques Vol. 8: Swinging Addis)
El Rego et ses Commandos - Se Na Min (from African Scream Contest)
Asiko Rock Group - Lagos City (from Nigeria Disco Funk Special)

Irakere - Baccalao Con Pan (from Si, Para Usted: Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba)
Santander Flores - Capital Cebuista (from The Original Sound of Cumbia)
Marius Cutler - Guanavaco (from Calypsoul 70)
Cassimbas Negras - Bumburumbumbum (from Palenque Palenque)
Balanca Povo - Novo Dia (from Black Rio Vol. 2)

The Hygrades - In the Jungle (from Nigeria Rock Special)
The Fabulous Mark III - Psycho (from Texas Funk)
Sir Victor Uwaifo & his Melody Makers - Dododo (Ekassa No 1) (from Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump)
Number One de Dakar - Yonoudaraji

Baby Grandmothers - Somebody Keeps Calling My Name (from Forge Your Own Chains)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, Ep. 1.9 - All Night Long

Download or stream it here!

I haven't made one of these in a while, but this is a pretty nice summertime mix.  Starts off mellow, builds into a dance party.

Donald Byrd - Cristo Redemptor
Digable Planets - Black Ego
De La Soul - Dininit
The People Under the Stairs - Suite for Beaver, Part 1

Bongos Ikwue - All Night Long
Paul Simon - Late in the Evening
Los Van Van - Y No Le Conviene
Joe Cuba - Bang! Bang!

Clarence Curvan & his Mod Sounds - Calypsoul
Baby Huey - Mighty Mighty
The Minutemen - I Felt Like a Gringo
Public Enemy w/Brandford Marsalis - Fight the Power (Sax Mix)

Lee Perry & the Upsetters - City Too Hot

Monday, July 07, 2014

Psychedelicatessen Radio, Ep. 4.1: Eagle Rock Comedy Festival Wrap Party, Live from Tao Comedy Studio

You can download or stream it here.

This was the first time we recorded a podcast at Tao Comedy Studio.  It's basically the wrap party for the 2014 Eagle Rock Comedy Festival.  Guests include Dylan Brody, Faith Choyce, Sal Rodriguez, Sally Mullins, LeeAnn Tooker, Vivicca Whitsett, Raja Michael, Mike McClenahan, Jonathan Zadok, Tommy Natoli, Q Mobley, and probably some others.  It was live, so it's a bit messy, but lots of fun stuff in there.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, ep. 1.9 - ROCK ACTION!!!

Download or stream that sumbitch HERE!

A few things first: I actually had the idea for the Funhouse set before Scott Ashton died, but the justification of it as a Scott Ashton tribute just seemed kinda perfect.  You can probably tell the Baby Metal mp3 is ripped from YouTube, cuz it sounds kinda shitty.  And I fucked up a few things during the back announcing, but I'm devoted to just doing one take (unless I completely fuck up in an unrecoverable way).  Here's the track list:

Baby Metal - Gimme Choco
BiS - Stupig

The Stooges - Loose
John Zorn - TV Eye
Neneh Cherry & the Thing - Dirt
Sheena & the Rokkets - Omae Ga Hoshii (One More Time)
Let's Active - Leader of Men

De La Soul - No More No Less
Drive-By Truckers - Natural Light
Patterson Hood - It's 12:01
Redd Kross - Anne

Kronos Quartet - Marquee Moon

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, ep. 8 - Old Timey Medicine Show

Download or stream it HERE!

This one isn't really thematic.  I mean, from the vantage point of 2014, it's all "old-timey" music, but the recordings range from the 1920's through the 1950's.  I didn't feel like back-announcing, since I'm getting over a cold, instead I stuck some bits from the Okeh Medicine Show in there to mix it up.  You can find the whole Okeh Medicine Show at  Also, the track "Night Owl" comes from a compilation called Dark Sweets, originally posted on the long-defunct Holy Warbles blog.  You can find that excellent comp here.  I know it's been a while, so I'm gonna try to get another one of these up as quickly as I can.  The tunes:

Okeh Medicine Show - Act 1
Champion Jack Dupree - Junker Blues
Phil Harris - That's What I Like About the South
Ella Mae Morse - Cow Cow Boogie
Slim Galliard - Soony Roony (Song of Yxabat)
Cliff Edwards - Night Owl 1933
Okeh Medicine Show - Act 2
The Nite Owls - Memphis Blues
Billy Gray & Mimi Roman - Mr. Opportunity
The Harlem Hamfats - My Garbage Man
The Andrews Sisters - Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood, Mama)
Okeh Medicine Show - Act 3
Will Bradley - Down the Road A Piece
Louis Jordan - Saturday Night Fish Fry
Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie
Slim Galliard - The Bartender's Just Like a Mother
Memphis Seven - Grunt Meat Blues
Okeh Medicine Show - Act 6
Luis Russell & his Orchestra - New Call of the Freaks

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sleestak Lightnin!!!, Ep. 7 - Shit Talkin' Blues

Download or stream it right here!

On this episode:

Moonshine Willy - Complicated Game
Goldie Hill - I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes
The Drive-By Truckers - Lisa's Birthday
James Luthor Dickinson - Out of Blue
Charlie Rich - Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Make Time, Take Time (w/Cochemea Gastelum)

Big Maybelle - Gabbin' Blues
Big Son Tillis - When I Come in This House, Woman
Lawanda Page - 450 lb. Version/Cadillacs and Diamond Rings/Cock-Suckin' Bill/Pipe Layin' Dan
Frank Zappa - What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?
De La Soul - My Brother is a Basehead

Horace Parlan - Other Side of Town

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause, by Bobbie Oliver

DISCLAIMER: This is a review of a book that my wife wrote, so it can't really be "objective" in any meaningful way.  It's just that a few people have written about the book so far, and I don't think any of them have really explained what makes this book unique.

There is a school of thought that says that there's no real reason for comedy classes or books on comedy, that stand up comedy is not really a teachable skill: you're either funny, or you're not.  This is especially odd in a town where everyone is taking acting, improv and voiceover classes, but it's worth addressing.  Let's accept the idea that someone is either talented or not.  That doesn't preclude the idea of learnable skills.  You can't teach someone to be Michael Jordan, but that doesn't mean you can't teach someone to play basketball.

Having said that, the books on stand up comedy that are out there (and many of the classes being taught) don't do much to dispel these criticisms.  For one thing, many of them devote most of their space to the one aspect of comedy that CAN'T be taught: generating material. In several of the big books, there are pages and pages of Madlib-style "exercises" where you are instructed to write about what makes you angry, what confuses you, how you feel about your parents, etc.  There are formulas for then taking this material and shaping it into jokes.  As you can imagine, if you were to complete these exercises, you would generate a large volume of obvious, formulaic jokes.  You could, I suppose, then go perform these on stage, and there is probably a small market of people who would like to just try doing stand up comedy a few times but have no idea how to go about it, that would find this useful.

But for most people, and especially most people that aspire to do stand up comedy, figuring out what you want to say is not really an issue.  Have you ever had nothing you wanted to express?  It's not a problem that I see much in regular life.  Most people are overflowing with shit that they can't wait to say.  It's why people are so fucking annoying to talk to.

Now, I'm not saying nobody struggles to generate material, and Bobbie's book does address that, just not with such obvious and flawed methods.  Generating material is a matter of simply expressing what you want to say.  The Madlibs can get you there, I guess, but only in the most shallow and obvious way.  That is, it can help you produce the same jokes, or the same kinds of jokes, that everyone else produces.  A better way is to simply listen to yourself.  Thus, The Tao of Comedy focuses on a combination of meditation, journaling and being present to uncover material.  And that leaves plenty of space to concentrate on the skills that are learnable: stagecraft, joke structure, and most importantly, THE PAUSE.

The book is subtitled Embrace the Pause for a reason.  This is the key skill for delivering comedy.  It's what, more than any other element, turns raw material into killer jokes.  This is the center of the teaching.  But the subtitle also has an alternate meaning.  Pausing in life--meditation, mindfulness, creating space--is what allows creativity to happen.  And this is where this book is really different from all the other comedy books out there.  It's not just an instructional manual for how to perform stand up, it's also a guide to pursuing comedy as a spiritual path.  In fact, the lessons of the book can be applied to any form of creativity (I've heard people who have no intention of doing comedy say that the book has helped them), and can make your life more fulfilling and less anxious even if you're not pursuing any kind of "creative art" (again, this is something I have heard people directly say).

So many of the people who write about or teach classes in stand up comedy are obsessed with the idea of making your act "marketable," which means having a simple, one-sentence explanation for what your comedy is like, and NEVER telling any joke that doesn't fit that style.  This is something that NONE of the great comedians do.  There are many successful, horrible comics who do do it, but the people who are actually performing decent stand up comedy are as multifaceted onstage as they are offstage.  And there's really no  reason why there should be an entire body of work on a subject that gives everyone the wrong advice on so many things!  Thus, The Tao of Comedy, an effort to correct everything that's wrong with comedy classes, comedy books and ultimately, comedy performance.

The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause is available on Amazon and Kindle, or better yet, you can order a signed copy directly from Bobbie's website.  While you're at it, order a download of Bobbie's excellent new album Women Are Crazy.  It's an hour of hilarious and honest comedy