ALEX MCMURRAY

Diary

07.08.2009

Well golly it has been a while, hasn't it? Which is a good thing because so much has been happening, there's just no time to write it down. I've been working just about every night throughout the spring with all the various projects--Tin Men every Wednesday at the DBA, Tom Paines every Tuesday at the Circle Bar. Matt Perrine's Sunflower City has been playing here and there, as have the Happy Talk Band. I hear Schatzy is thinking about making another CD, and the Geraniums have gigs coming up real soon. Ingrid Lucia and Paul Sanchez both keep me pretty busy, and even 007 rears its head once in a while. We just did an "Alex McMurray" show last weekend where I was joined by Carlo, Matt and Bob, so we did a lot of the old stuff as well as stuff from my new CD and it was a hell of a time. That band (what to call it? the Retired Bowlers League? Fingerpuppet?) will be returning to the DBA Friday Aug 28.

DUBAI

Probably the strangest highlight of the year was a trip to Dubai I made with Susan Cowsill and Russ Broussard back in late March. They had been asked to play and speak at an international conference on education called "Education Without Borders". From what I could gather from the literature, students and presenters from over 200 countries participated in this series of lectures and entertainment events over three days. They wanted Susan to speak about their Katrina experiences, plus she's a Cowsill...The most surreal scene was the opening night gala at the Atlantis Hotel, where we were on a bill with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Riverdance. Ladysmith were amazing and could probably kick any band's ass in the world (literally--they do a lot of kicking) and the band that backed up Riverdance was quite good. And it's true-they don't move their arms. It was like a CYO awards banquet, with 12-top tables set up in a massive ballroom. One of the emirs came out first to speak. He led with a joke, something about thanking the Westerners for bringing the weather with us (there was supposed to be a closing night gala as well out in the desert with feasting, tents and camels, but had to be cancelled due to weather. It rained almost the whole time we were there with strong winds as well. Very unusual for that part of the world).

The best part probably was the time spent in the air and in airports. They flew us business class, where they do nothing but feed you and ply you with drink. In the airports as well we could go to those first-class club rooms where there's always food, internet, coffee, free booze and CNN. I am always reminded of Withnail's line about the perks of the upper classes, "free for those who can afford it, very expensive for those who can't".

We didn't really see anything in Dubai other than what one could glimpse from one's ultra-deluxe suite, or from the hotel restaurant. The bar had few windows, as I recall. I did get the chance to go to the "Mall of the Emirates" and take a look at their indoor ski slope, but it was a mall like any other, except the men and women mostly wore the dishdash or abayah, respectively. From the highway you can see those construction projects that are still ongoing with the global economic shitfight. Teeming throngs of subcontinentals in blue jumpsuits and orange helmets digging holes and pouring concrete. They say that 25% of the worlds cranes are in Dubai and for once I say they may be right.

NEW CD/THREADHEADS

Reaction to the new CD "How to be a Cannonball" has been very positive. I'd like to once again thank the Threadheads, as well as the other investors, for helping to make it happen. Also all the musicians, the gang at Piety and especially my fabulous wife Kourtney Keller who did the bomb artwork. There should be some reviews coming out in the next few months and hopefully they will be favorable. So far no one has come up to me and said "This is shit" to my face, but hope for the best and expect the worst, as they say.

Most of the band from the CD played with me on my set at the fairgrounds the second weekend of Jazzfest and they all kicked ass on the new shit, especially "Where K-Doe Lives", which people seem to like. By some miracle I actually remembered all the words and in the correct order. The comments I've heard have been quite lovely and are certainly humbling. It's great to see one's name on the Jazzfest lineup along with some real legends.

CHAZFEST/JAZZFEST

Chazfest 2009 was, it is believed, an unmitigated success. Outside of a few power problems, everything went off without a hitch. No major schedule snafus or serious problems with neighbors or police. I don't even think they ticketed for parking on the neutral ground. All the food was dee-lish and we had perfect weather. What more could you ask for? I ate half a valium at about 10:30 in the morning and was able to take things much more in stride than in past years. There were even several moments when I enjoyed myself. Kourtney had to go for final critiques for several hours in the middle of it, but by the time she got back the thing was running on its own momentum and we could kick back and hang with the people. Thanks to all who helped out especially Karley Frankic our permitatrix, Dannal Perry our MajorDomo, Perter Horjus and Robin Pennell our crack security squad, and all the Farmers. 

OSHKOSH

Once again this year I'll be joining the Paul Sanchez Rolling Road Show at the Riverfest in Oshkosh, WI, only this time I'll have some gigs of my own as well. The shows will all be at a place called O'Marros in Oshkosh www.omarrospublichouse.com Friday it'll be with Paul Snchez and Saturday it'll be a sea shanty thing. That's July 9, 10 & 11.

OGDEN

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art www.ogdenmuseum.org has been kind enough to invite me to play at its "Ogden After Hours" series. It's a nice civilized thing where the band sets up in the lobby of the museum and plays for 2 hours. George Ingmire, the filmmaker and WWOZ radio DJ will host the event and will interview me for around 20 minutes in his inimitable avuncular style. I'll be joined by Brian Coogan, a damned fine piano player and solid citizen. I'm hoping the museum setting will provide some much-needed gravitas for the program of music I plan to present. In my mind I am referring to it as "Alex McMurray...A Retrospective". Having received no grants of any kind for this work I will be free to poop on my guitar. Don't miss this one!

NORTHEAST TRIP

The dates are still being filled in, but at this time the Great Northeast Summer Trip is a Go. The first date is July 24 in NYC at some pizza joint called Two Boots in, I think, Brooklyn. There is a DBA Williamsburg show on the 25th, followed later that night by the Go Cups at the Rodeo Bar. All the dates are on the "Shows" page, so I'm not going to list them here. We're going to go as far as Portland, ME and will be back in New Orleans by the 20th of August.

I think that's it. No quasi-fictional humor piece this time. Sorry. Maybe if the lightning strikes in Oshkosh...