We haven't talked much about classical music, but today I went to a cello masterclass at Marymount College, given by Matt Haimovitz. Four students played works by Lalo, Kodaly, Schumann, and Bach. Matt gave them perfect pointers and understood the sublteties of each style. I was very impressed. The times he played were just beautiful.
And here's the best news, I spoke to him about performing "Dead Cello" and he was interested. He even pointed out that he was on Jerry Garcia's last recording. So, Dead Cello may live after all!
| Quiet Snowfalls
Ahhh...the quiet after a snowfall. Believe it or not, the same thing happens even in the middle of New York City. That is the great thing about nature, it is the great equalizer. After really big blizaards, Manhattan would go dead....no cars, no buses, no ambulances, no motorcycles, no trucks, no people milling about. I can rememeber some of those late nights, like 2 in the morning, with the snow falling, falling, falling. And you could see it because of the street lights. The red, yellow and green played on the mounting snow, and the hours went by in smoky dream-like calm.
Wow, what a think to be thinking about at the height of summer. Tonight is a muggy, warm, breezeless night. I can hear nothing but crickets and more crickets. How cool!
I hope someone besides the two of us are reading these posts. They have gotten really interesting. I wonder why more people don't get into the act and post memories and reflections day by day. Anyway, they will be here in the guestbook if ever anyone wants to look them up in the future.
| Over the Sea to Skye........
Vermonters like to pick on their own home towns as well. I used to say Jericho had more pick-up trucks or cows then people. We certainly didn't have a movie theater or a strip mall, nor anything like Church Street, with dozens of in-expensive sidewalk cafes, a lake-front, and a busker on every corner playing his or her guitar or violin trying to eek out a living from pedestrian pocket change. (Recently I've stopped to see buskers playing everything from concert flute, to bagpipes, to simultaneous guitar and panpipes. These guys are the real "American Idols" and don't anyone forget it)!
Yes, Jericho was out in the sticks, and most of people had an abundance of sticks in their yards, but it was a nice, quiet place for a child like me to think,and Jericho snowfalls were so beautiful; the countryside is so different during winter: what was quiet becomes even more quiet, and the sky has the blue-ish/gray tint to it. God is a fantastic artist, and Vermont is his palate.
| Cello humor
You know I meant that joke in good fun! My dad used to call Canarsie, "Canarsie by the Sea", when he met people, like in England, who said they lived in places like "Avon on Thames". So I grew up around people who even poked fun at our own neighborhood.
How many cellist does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Probably three. One to screw it in, one to insult his technique, and another to try to figure out how he did it!
| Moonlight in Vermont and visit NYC with cowbells
Von Cello wrote:
"How many Vermonters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Who cares? As long as it's made in Vermont"!
Thanks for the kind words, Aaron. Perhaps there are other out-of-staters (AKA Flatlanders) out there who would have taken the above joke in not-so-nice directions towards my home state. You,on the other hand, have the dubious distinction of being one a the few flatlanders to be able to locate Vermont on a map!
I can, in turn, say good things about New York. The city itself is a big melting pot, and a hotbed of activity; my favorite activities perhaps taking place in the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village...I visited that part of the City last year with the SMC Liturgical choir. New York City also has the World-famous Chrysler building, which seems to be blown up in every good action movie ever made. NYC also has Canarsie....from what you've told me of the place, need I really say more?
Upstate New York has it's gems too....Lake George and The Saratoga Horse Racing Track....I once won $5 on a horse, and I'm not the type of guy who typically wins games of chance like that.
Far up north close to Burlington, VT is Plattsburgh. There's a great lake-side pub known as The Naked Turtle up there, and my mom and I have some friends in Plattsburgh as well.
I do not know enough about New York, thought, to make up a joke about it or the people or culture.
How about this then?
How many cowbell players does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
As many as are able! I need more cowbell!
But just how many cellists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
| Vermont Maple Syrup...
How many Vermonters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Who cares? As long as it's made in Vermont!
| F-in' Vermont!
Von Cello Wrote:
"I say, F the king, and let's speak original English again"!
F yeah! F'in' great! The English language is the best F-in' languge in the whole, f-in' world, motherf-er! Fun for the whole, F-in' family! F! F! F! F!
Sometimes I, like most people, substitute "fudge!" for "F---". Mmm....fudge. Hear I go talking about food again on the guestbook. I could go for some fudge now....some handmade, maple fudge as made at Jericho, VT's Snowflake Chocolates factory store (A definate "must stop" for those touristing in our fair state). A few miles down the road from Snowflake Chocolates is fasmous fast food joint Joe's Snack Bar. No bialys here I'm afraid, but you can order the best chicken nuggets, fried shrimp, scallops, and zuchini this side of the East coast! They used to serve black raspberry creemees (the VT version of soft-serve ice cream).....don't know if they do any more but man were they good.
This has been an un-official, shameless Vermont plug.
| F Bombs Away!
I have been accused of being too open about things, but I happen to like the F word. As I said, it is part of original English and only became taboo because a Frenchman took over England and forbid the people from speaking their original language. Now here we are centuries later, convinced still that this word is somehow bad, or ugly, or not polite. I say, F the king, and let's speak original English again!
I know it's not appropriate to say all the time, and kids should be taught not to say it, especially around people who object, but I get a kick out of people who curse with abandon.
As for recordings, my pianist, Scott, said that there is no law that forces you to censor curses on recordings. In speach, yes, but in records it is considered artistic expression and is protected. He may be wrong, but his father is a lawyer and he seems to be up on certain legal issues. I asked why so many rap records have the curses taken out, and he said they do that voluntarily because a lot of stations do not want to play music with curses. On the other hand, there are a few records that you hear with curses, like "Who Are You" by the Who, and "We Should Be Together" by the Jefferson Airplane. I always thought the curses were so subtle that they just got past the censors, but Scott said, no, those stations just choose for artistic reasons to play those tunes anyway.
| F is for Friendship
Hmmm...."John Crapper". Who were his parents to name him that? And people thought Zappa was nuts for naming his kids Dweezil, Ahmet, Diva and Moon Unit....if you ask me, John Crapper is much worse.
I hear the f word used in normal conversation at the Bus station i Burlington and I cringe everytime...it's such an ugly word, isn't it? I do not begrudge anyone form saying it, but bus stations are public facilities....if somebody wants to "drop the F bomb", I say they should do it in the privacy of their own home, or on a rock record, or in a rated-R movie. The radio station, however, is another place where the F word is a strict no-no. As a DJ, playing "Billy the Mountain" has exersiced my dump-button-pressing prowess...especially at the end: "Dont F around, don't F around, don't F around with Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy".
| Hair Spray
Just saw Hair Spray tonight. It was very entertaining. The acting was first rate, as was the dancing. The script was engaging and relevent. Overall it was a lot of fun. Kind of brings you back to those early days of the sixties.
Steve, if you read this before Sunday night, I have a gig in Manhattan Sunday night at the Pierre Hotel. We could meet afterwards in midtown. Let me know.
| Gee wilikers!
Wow, where to begin? For one thing, it wasn't me using the F word, it was me repeating a joke that uses the F word. And if you write it with a substitute, it looses all its impact. Here, let's try it...
"How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a llight bulb?
See what I mean?
I have noticed from living in a few parts of the country that there are different tolerances for using curse words, or as they say in some places, cussin'. For instance, when I lived in Ithaca I once said "hell" and people were shocked. Apparently in parts upstate hell is considered a curse. But in New York it is not. Now when you get to the F word, that is a curse in New York too, but many people use it all the time and actually feel a certain sense of identity because of that. It's kind of a New York thing to say, like "kiss my ass", "fuggetaboutit", and the ever popular, "bite me"! I guess there are parts of the city, like where I grew up, where cursing is seen as being "tuff", and being tuff is important to survive in the jungle of the street. So I have mixed feelings about the word.
Anyway, do you know why fuck is considered a curse? Actually that was the original word for that function in the English language, but when England was conquered by the Norman (French) king, he banned the use of original English words for bodily funcitons, replacing them with the French (or Latin), so ass became derriere, fuck became fornicate, shit became feces, dick became penis...I could go on but I feel like I'm getting knee deep in crap.
By the way, do you know where the word "crap" comes from? It comes from the toilets that U.S. servicemen used in England during the world wars. The toilets there often had the name John Crapper on them, so, using that good ol' American humor, the soldiers started saying, "I have to use the crapper", and then it followed that what you put in the crapper was "crap"!
So you see curses can be fun!
(But, or course, there is a time and a place.)
As for the guestbook, I have never censored it. There are even anti Semitic posts that one can find in the archives. I even got threatened once. I did report it to the police, but I kept the post in the archives just the same.
Von Cello wrote un-apologetically:
"(And just as the other person begins his answer, you yell) Fuck you!"
Whoa! Aaron, I have to admit that's the last word I would ever expect hearing you say. This is just the internet and all, but as moderator do you allow words like that from other people on the guestbook?
I'm not saying the f-word is neccesarily bad, it's just that I personally don't use it very often, so I'm shocked when I hear other people using it.
Before I continue I should say that I'm against censorship in music, movies and TV, and I agree with Zappa's thoughts on the issue. If the parents have a problem with a rock star, then as Zappa said, "why not expose them to classical or jazz music? Great music with no words at all are avaliable if one chooses to look beyond today's million dollar fashion plate....". Zappa goes on to say ".....but the record store manager? He doesn't give a SH--t. He has to move as many Michael Jackson albums off the shelf as he can".
I am not against censorship, i am not really against the f-word if other people use it. Hell, that theme song from the puppeteering movie "Team America: World Police" was politically satirical and a great use of the word: "Americaaaa! F-Yeah"!
Then there's comedy rock folk metal duo Tenacious D....how large of a legend would they loom in the minds of their college-aged fans without their many uses of the F word?
"...Then I'm gonna f--- yooouuu haaaard" from "F you Gently"
Though possibly Tenacious D still has a sense of decency because Jack Black will often replace the F word in his songs with "Flippin'" or "Freakin'"....I think mainly 'cause he has to do so in a major motion picture, but he really seems to enjoy saying "Flippin'"
Now what was I talking about again! Aw crap!
| Light Bulb
I just rememberd, the real joke is:
How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
(And just as the other person begins his answer, you yell)
| New Yawk, New Yawk
New Yorker who?
| And another thing.....what was I saying?
Isn't it funny that a different topic seems to come to mind while we're talking about something else entirely? For example: fish when talking about controversial authors, french fries when talking about the Allman Bros, familial regrets when talking about grungy, old rock and roll t-shirts, and fictional characters when talking about certain modes of vehicular transport. Is there no limit to how many wonderful ways the human brain can both delight and confuse us?
All this brings me to a classic joke, which you have to imagine is being told by a person with Attention-Deficit Disorder in order to get it:
"Let's ride bikes!"
How many people with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, they're already on their bikes. (I made this one up).
(My apologies to everyone with ADD)
How many George W. Bush's does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3. One to ignore the electric bill, one to order a pre-emptive search for step-ladders of mass distruction, and one to refuse to come down off the ladder untill the job is done.
(Can you make up jokes and still be funny)?
| Satanic Verses
Oh no, not Harry Potter, that satanic children's book! It's almost as bad as Satanic Verses by Salmun Rushdie. (Ha, I finally got to mention him in the guestbook!) Salmun Rushdie, Salmun Rushdie, Salmun Rushdie...he he! Sounds a bit like Salmon. Actually I could go for some salmon right now. Mmmmm...a salmon sushi roll! Yes, I have had them at the Sushi Lounge in Morristown, the town of Morris...whoever he was. Maybe an ancestor of Salmun Rushdie! Ha, said it again!
BTW, don't feel bad...my falther never took me to a Grateful Dead concert either! The closest he ever came was when he somehow managed to get into the New York Collesium (I think that was the name of the place) and dragged me out of an Allman Brothers concert where he came to pick me up, but the concert went way overtime. Wow, I can't believe I remembered that. I think I'll get in a helicpoter right now. Bye......................
That should be "Highgate, VT", not "highate"...unless I make that my word of thew day, which I belive I will:
"Highate"...a child's expression of disgust for parental neglect.
My father never took me to see the Grateful Dead. I highate that with a passion! Hm, a funny thought....highate kinda sounds like Pigpen....wasn't he one of the Dead's early keyboardists?
I seem to recal I misspeled another word a while ago on the guestbook:
"helicpoter" instead of "helecopter". I think it would be fun to make us your own language, beacue Lord knows the English language has become so darned confusing.
"helicpoter"...a term for a paranoid movie-goer and media consumer who believes the Harry Potter saga is the work of the Devil or the Dark Arts. (You know, I think this is first time Harry Potter has been mentioned on the guestbook).
| Von Merchandising
A favorite t-shirt of mine was one my Dad gave me from the Dead's "Summer Tour '94". They played in Highate, VT, a few miles from West Swanton on Lake Champlain by the Canadian border. West Swanton was where my dad was living those days. I believe I was 13 at the time. Needless to say he didn't take me to see Jerry! Don't get me started on other places my Dad has been and didn't take me as well.
| Get yer T shirts here!
Who would know this better than me? I used to sell rock T shirts outside of Madison Square Garden! I only did it a few times for some extra cash, but I did have a friend, Craig Weiss, who made it into a career. I don't know what he is doing now, but for a while there he was following groups like the Dead and U2 all over the country selling T shirts. He told me that he was netting about $100,000 cash. He figured if he could do it for ten years he would become a millionare!
I'm glad you like the Von Cello trademark. Karen and I brainstormed over a dinner and that trademark first appeared as a drawing on a napkin! I did it so that in the future I could sell stuff, or at least sue someone else who was trying to cash in on my name. If we get a tour at some point, that would be the time to make the shirts, etc. I don't know, maybe I should do it now and sell stuff over the internet, but it seems that kind of thing sells best at shows.
No T shirts on sale tonight at the Atlantic Beach Club where I played, but we did have some fun. I was doing crazy things like turning Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera, into a tango!
| burgers and cellos
It's too bad that there are "musical stereotypes". Good God, people get labeled "geeks' and "jocks" and "hippies" every day. Do we really need ot make fun of somebody for the instrument they play. Really, this is the 21st Century....don't you think the human race would have evolved morally by now?
On a different topic, I was just looking at the "Trademarck" page on your website. I've got to say, this sign is really cool. Have you ever thought about putting it on t-shirts or baseball caps, (or coffee mugs even) to sell at your gigs?
of course, Von cello may not be the person who "sells out", but I've heard rock t-shirts have become well sought-after by music collectors. By purchasing a Von cello wearable at a gig, one lucky fan could not only promote his favorite artist, but the whople playing a cello like a guitar movement!
| Cello Nerds
I saw that commercial about the cello player kid. Karen said, "Why do they always portray cellists as nerds? Why not have a really cool kid playing the cello?" And I said, "That's the point of Von Cello".
Burger King did something similar a few years ago. They had a nerdy kid playing a cello and suddenly he eats a burger and his cello turns into a guitar and his clothes and hair style change and he becomes "cool". I wrote to Burger King and told them that that type of prejudice hurts string programs in schools throughout the country and keeps young Americans from expanding their horizons in music. I offered to do a commercial with just the opposite: a nerdy guitar player eats a burger and the guitar turns into a cello and the guy becomes cool!
They never even responded! (@#$^$)
P.S. Steve I"ll give you a call.
| Dogs that are hot
MMMM...I love hot dogs! Grilled to perfection in a New-England-style bun (you know, the kind that look like little loaves of bread cut in half length-wise), with chunky, pub-style mustard and crisp, juicy, raw onion slices. That and a beer (preferably a VT microbrew).....Nothin' better....I haven't had a hot dog yet this summer....what's wrong with me?
This guestbook always succecsed in making me hungary....and I've have my lunch already!
| 3 weeks more
17184491125 im here till 20 auggy
ive been believe it or not diving in coney island waters...wanna hotdog at nathans anybody? see me at
my new domain....googles givin away domains at 10 buks a year a bargain////
| Bach to basics.....
Speaking of Bach, there is a Fed Ex commercial on TV these days featuring the Bach suite you used as the basis for "It Comes Around". The plot of the commercial even features a young kid going to a summer music camp but his cello get's lost among the airport luggage. I believe his mom uses Fed Ex to find the lost cello and deliver it safe and sound to her boy.
And right now, I'm hearing a Von Cello request I made on a student DJ radio show....guess which song from "Excalibur" I chose!
| Recorder Recordings
Perhaps the most sublime use of the recorder ever is in Bach's Shepherd Cantata. There is a movement which has words about singing the sheep to sleep. The music is for strings and two recorders. It is one of my favorite pieces of music!