ALEX MCMURRAY

Diary

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02.06.2007

I suppose I must admit I've fallen down the rabbit hole. Things have been Strange and Paradoxical of late, due to a little mission I agreed to take care of for a friend. I'm not sure I have the time, space or even the inclination to go into it right now, but I offer it as a lame excuse for why there hasn't been a diary entry since last summer. This thing has been chewing up my days and gorging on my psyche. I noticed only yesterday that I had not a single gig booked for Mardi Gras; that the entire spring was a blank. Usually these things happen as a result of six weeks of acting like a nineteen-year-old. Not so this time. At any rate, after two days on the phone and several hours in front of the computer I think the ship is listing a little less. If you know me you know what the thing is that has become my albatross, my Vietnam. Perhaps I'll get into it later, but the thought of telling this story properly--doing the kind of thorough job it deserves causes the bile to rise in the throat. I'll just keep this one light and news-y, so I can get back to bailing the pus out from below decks.

First off, there will be another Chazfest. It will be on Thursday May 3 at the Truck Farm. Same place as last year. Rain or shine. We haven't picked any bands yet, except the Tin Men. We'll have the website and all that good stuff. Stay tuned for details.

I swear by all that is holy the shanty cd release party is going to happen. The thing has been mastered. We just need to manufacture...

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08.29.2006

Today’s a fine bright day and my thermometer reads ninety-six degrees. The grass is running riot and needs cutting, but I’m going to blow it off for another day. The lawn guy* is off somewhere in the Northern Midwest and has left the task to me and our landlord. Yet the sun shines on him still, as well as my overheated car and the president downtown making speeches, allegedly admitting that mistakes were made. Good for him. Later he’ll come by the truck farm for a beer and he’s going to offer me some coke. But I’m going to just say “no”. “No, George,” I’ll say. “I’m just enjoying the luxury of this fine day and my overheated car. Now take that stuff inside and do it in the bathroom like normal folks do. I’m a public figure—a minor entertainment personality—and I’ve gotta watch what I do and say, because it always comes back to haunt me sooner or later. I don’t enjoy the same luxuries as you, George.” The cool thing about George is he usually takes this kind of talk in stride. Unlike my other friends, he doesn’t mind being told what to do. He fools people with that Texas “swagger” thing, but all you have to do is bark at him a bit and he steps back into line. Knowing that you can count on things like that makes it easier to deal with this uncertain world.

     People today are asking where you were a year ago today and what you were doing. The first time this question was put to me last night I couldn’t help but wonder at our species that has figured out how to...

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06.16.2006

I was thinking about the president a lot about a month ago. You see, I was clearing a lot of brush from out the back of our house in preparation for Chazfest, and since that’s what W. does for kicks out at his ranch in Crawford TX, I felt that I was perhaps getting on a parallel vibe with The Decider. And what’s more, I had Spinal Tap’s “Heavy Duty Rock and Roll” going through my head almost all day every day. Probably because the tool I was using is a Milwaukee brand Heavy Duty Orbital Super Sawzall (there is no substitute), with the words HEAVY DUTY emblazoned across the chassis and the carrying case. So I was in a good frame of mind most of the time as I ripped through dead trees like a laser with this vicious piece of hardware, while imagining my old pal The Decider pedaling by on his mountain bike. “Heavy! HEAVY! Duty! DUTY!!! Heavy Duty a-ROCK AND ROLL!!!” I happily sang to myself while my fine machine chewed through dead tree-flesh. I’ve got to hand it to the President of the United States—he sure hit the main nerve when he came up with that wacky pastime. There is no more mindless and satisfying pursuit than clearing brush. There’s the noise of the machine and the sting in your muscles, easily measured progress and a clear path before you of what still needs to be done. The knowledge that the brush and the trees are going to keep growing and dying brings a little Zen flavor to the whole enterprise. Never is there a need for careful analysis or...

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04.14.2006

And balls to this internet thing.

Yes. That sounds good. . It has been a while since we’ve cranked up this website, but now’s the time, children. Now’s the time, indeed. And since the interweb is working, and I feel something resembling gin-lust, it’s probably time to get something down, for whatever reason.

 A good place to start might be that my wife (an incredible woman, mind you. Staunch is the word that comes to mind. She could bend roofing nails with her gaze while coaxing sunflowers out of poisoned soil. She could re-create the world from memory and bring dead dogs back to life. Don’t cross her) and I moved from the sylvan climes of Williamsburg Brooklyn back home to the land of our meeting New Orleans. The move was kind of sudden—we’d been talking about it pre-k, but decided after we’d secured a Bunyonesque space in the nine that it was put up or shut up time. Compared to NOLA New York just doesn’t seem that interesting. But what the hell? We had a blast up there and for me it was great to play with some new people and in some new places. Bill Malchow and Brad Gunyon are total motherfuckers. But to wash dishes to finance your music fix just don’t seem right.

 I won’t go into the saga of our journey South. Suffice it to say that cats can get out of those cages, if they’re ornery enough. Along the way it changed from winter to spring and when WWOZ started to come through on the radio of the Penske truck, and the glow of the city became visible in the sky at about...

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12.31.2005

It was the Chinese, I think, who came up with the proverb "may you live in interesting times". Well, maybe it wasn’t a proverb at all, but a curse. Something one might say to a rival or an adversary. Nonetheless, it was this phrase that stuck in my mind when Kourtney and I took our first look at post-Katrina New Orleans a few weeks ago. A very interesting place. You should go take a look. Another thing that got into my head was those Hindu guys and their notion that the Gods created us for their own amusement. I’m sure I’m mistaken, but somewhere down the line I heard that Krishna or Vishnu or whoever set up this proscenium one day and peopled it with people, wound them up and let it rip and now they’ve got a never ending Laverne and Shirley going on while they loll around the universe and eat papaya salad or whatever it is they eat up there. Now that I think about it, I find that it’s a shame that this hurricane/deluge didn’t happen to the Chinese or the Indians, who are much better equipped to deal with it. Here in America our homegrown ecclesiastical mechanism is capable only of imagining a vengeful God who’s only delight is visiting His wrath upon the sinful. This idea is so hilarious that it gives me faith in this great nation. If Jesus could come back and see what people are doing in His name, he would never stop throwing up. Max Von Sydow said that. We live in a state of Irony. Ho ho…Big Ideas here. I know what you’re thinking…He’s drunk—he’s inhaling something…but...

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11.06.2005

Hello everyone. I finally have a little free time to piss away on the diary. Obviously there’s a lot going on. I have been running the two nights of New Orleans Band Hangs every Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’s a different lineup every night. Also working the job washing the glasses and taking out the trash. But I am fed and the bills are paid and there are new tires on the car.

Standard Time has been in effect for a week now and with it comes the old familiar gloomy feeling. Like when you put on the winter coat for the first time. Everyone seems to love the fall (some would say Autumn) but I don’t. All around me I see only Death and Football. Both are inevitabilities, but it is probably the NFL that depresses me the most. It’s a sad and weary spectacle of pure boredom punctuated occasionally with hypercharged pituitary cases flinging themselves about to the tune of that stupid Gary Glitter song. And if Freddie Mercury were alive today to witness the whorish gang-fuck his song has become the soundtrack to, he would never stop throwing up. At least when I had season tickets to the Saints we were all in the front row and didn’t have to watch the game. Just drink enough to forget that it was noon on a Sunday (!!!) and you just paid eight dollars for a slice of cold pizza. Every once in a while Fish would let you know that it was third down and it was time to shriek, then you could go right back to socializing and screaming obscenities at the place-kicker, who had the...

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09.23.2005

Well they say there’s a hurricane going on in New Orleans today. All my television offers is The People’s Court. My phone gets no incoming calls. For some reason I can’t get online. I seem to have drifted into a paradise of ignorance. All I know is that my friend Yvette has assured me that my 1960 Fender Concert amplifier is safe on the second story of her house. All in all, I’d say the situation is excellent.

We had some tours lately, one with 007 and another with the Tin Men immediately afterwards. Before I say anything else I’d like to talk a little about a place called Grape Street in Philadelphia.

If you read my last diary entry, you will recall a little rant about a certain club that stiffed the Tin Men last spring. I didn’t use the name of the club because I had to play there again with 007. You will also recall that in that rant of several months ago that I had in mind some actions that I was going to take with their representative, should I have the ill fortune to cross paths with him this time around. In all the hubbub leading up to these tours, I forgot to get a copy of the Pennsylvania State Civil Service exam, which I meant to give to their factotum, as a small gesture of my esteem. I think my purpose was to shove it up his ass or somesuch.

It’s too bad that I didn’t have the document, but it makes no difference as I made it clear to the band that I would have do dealings with the...

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06.29.2005

Alex - Video Diary Entry - Play (1.4Mb QuickTime)

It’s nice to finally be able to get a moment to do a diary entry. I’ve been busy as hell, and nothing sticks in my head right now, so I’m just going to try to catch up. There have been a lot of things in the past few months that have happened where I said to myself, “gee, there’s something for the diary”, but for the most part it’s good that I didn’t put them down as they were at least in one case a totally vitriolic rant about the scumsucking, lying, venal cunt who screwed one of my bands out of some money at a certain club that, unfortunately, I’ll have to play at again. Suffice it to say, this piece of dogshit will get a large piece of my opinion shoved very far up his ass as soon as this certain gig is over and whatever pittance this slimeball deems fit to hand over is duly delivered. Take it from me—Showbiz is an ugly trade. Sometimes I wish I had taken my father’s advice and taken the civil service exam right straight out of college. But I am not a Morning Person and would probably never last at, say, the Parks Department, or the County Assessor’s Office. I have never had the knack of running a fiefdom and coming down on hardworking honest folks like you and me. This fuckhead I’m talking about has all the qualities you’d find in a meter maid or a loan officer, so perhaps he’s really found his niche booking a club. But...

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02.18.2005

WANTED: FLAMETHROWERS

I suppose I should make an entry into this web-deal. Nothing really in the way of news. Just waiting around for some lady at the hospital to call and interview me about getting into Medicaid. Its 10:15 in the morning and I've been up for an hour. I think I would give my right eye for a cigarette.

Its Mardi Gras time again. Balls to this. Neck deep in assholes from Teaneck to Tacoma, all parking themselves between me and where I have to go, and not a red cent in their fanny-packs. Yessir, it's a one hour commute between Gallier and Canal streets these days. Does anyone out there know anything about flamethrowers? Send any and all info/schematics/prototypes to 615 Gallier st. nola 70117. What I've been craving is a big, mean-looking fire-spitter. Jellied gasoline flying across Bourbon St. Pale, waxy tourist-legs soaked with burning liquid fire. Shazam!

Perhaps I should do this a little later in the day.
02.14.2005

Well kids. If you tried to come see me play in January 2004 you were shit out of luck for the most part because i caught pneumonia in NYC and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. All manner of fucking tubes and wires coming out of me. I looked and felt like something out of science fiction. But I'm out now and they say I am going to live. Managed to get one in at the Lakeside Lounge Tues 1/20 (thanks everyone for coming out), which went well, although my voice sounded a bit like Peter Brady's. The big story is that they put me on The Patch, so no smoking. The tradeoff isn't as bad as it could have been, for The Patch gives you the most vivid dreams about mathematics you can imagine. As i was warned by Jim Merrill up in Maine. I'll be back in New Orleans Feb. 4 to go back to the Old Grind at the Circle Bar. Where i shall share all the news of my trip with the stalwarts. As always, no cover charge. 11 pm sharp.

This Just In. Stay tuned for possible dates 1/29 and 2/3 at Mickey's Blue Room in the East Village. D.B.A. in NYC would have the number.