Tag: luna

The Resurrection of Uncle

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That Old Guitar on That Old Guitar

Uncle, a 1934 Gibson L-1 flat-top acoustic, came to me via my wife Cat’s father, Steve, a stellar pianist and big band leader in Chicago. Cat’s great Uncle Ernest, Uncle’s original owner, bequeathed the guitar to Steve.

Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021
Uncle guarding Luna, May 2021

Cat & I found Uncle (in his original case) in Steve’s basement on a trip to her Chicago home. I tuned him up best he would, and strummed an open G major (the strings were a dozen years old, at least). He rang for less than a second before the bridge popped off. The sound of the chord was brilliant, however, and I took him back to New York, where the luthier of legend Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Custom Guitars worked his magic (he is “The Moose” in the lyrics).

Paul has modded all my guitars, and also built me Fabien, an extraterrestrial Peekamoose M2 that’s the only electric guitar I’ll ever need if I ever need to have only 1. Definitely the one I’m grabbing, running from a house fire.

Fabien et moi
Fabien et moi

Uncle’s restoration process at Peekamoose involved a lot of micro-movements, acclimation periods, and clamps. And took almost 2 years.

The original bridge and half of the top’s bracing were not salvageable, and got replaced. Everything else is a time capsule, a literal message in box. The fretboard is still worn where Ernest spent most of his time playing (lower frets in open G tuning from what I can trace), and the flat-top’s 87-year-old finish reveals the most gorgeous cracks when the light hits it just right.…

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[img] Garçon!

“Garçon!” Luna clapped. “Garçon!”
“Me?” I asked.
“Do you see any other waiters here?”
“No.”
“Well then. This La Boutanche Gamay is NOT at cellar temperature.”
“May I offer you a free snausage?”
“Sure. But I won’t forget this egregious oenophillic infraction!”
“Right away, Madam.”
May 06, 2020 at 05:36PM
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[words] rip, ric

under the cold and darkly sky / you trip the light and go…

[medium mirror]

the cars were my fav growing up. their records and lateral solo projects not only will come with me to any desert island, they are my desert island — if i had to choose an island.

ric ocasek catalysed my adolescent desire and urgency to play the electric guitar and to write songs. all-lowercase, overdriven-jangle, and quirky-jerk, ocasek was also endearing, intelligent, and accessible. the cars became my crash course in how to bring depth to “disposable” music; that is, how melody married to meaning could still court the coolest girl in class.

more importantly over the long-arc of my teenage daydreams, some of which linger to this day, their music spoked out innumerable adventures in sonic discovery. riding with the cars, in the backseat i found (among many more) roxy music, david bowie, and t-rex; in the side-view there was robert fripp, steve reich, and john cage; passenger side would find buddy holly, the byrds, and tom petty; and in the way-way-back, crouched flat out of sight of the driver, there were new order, blondie, suicide, the cure, and eventually the ramones, the replacements, and much of what i’ve loved since.

the early 80s was still a world where intelligence and cool were a tough tightrope walk. ocasek and the cars hovered over it all, saying, “c’mon, man, the fringe is the cool. one foot in, one foot out — that fine line — that’s the place to be.”…

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[img] 20190928.1042

“It’s weirdo,” Luna fronted.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“You’re Westy.”
“Yeah?”
“And I’m a Westie.”
“Yeah?”
“That’s like if you’re Fern and your one plant is a fern.”
“First, I was Westy way before you got here. Also, they’re not even spelled the same.”
“Excuses, excuses. Still weirdo.”
September 28, 2019 at 10:42AM
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[img] “Hey look I’m Aqualung!”

“Hey look I’m Aqualung!” Luna piped up, & sang, “🎵Sitting on a park bench!”
“You’re kinda the anti-Aqualung,” I said. “You couldn’t eye anyone with bad intent if you tried.”
“But my paws are greasy! And watch!” She blew a loogie out her nose.
“Ok, you’re Aqualung. Can we go?”
August 06, 2019 at 05:36PM
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[img] Upcycled

“It’s a TinyKit,” Luna exclaimed, “for teenies like me!”
“Some things really shouldn’t be recycled, Luna,” I intoned.
“But it’s more of an upcycle, not a recycle,” she cocked her head.
“Upcycle, eh?”
“Yeah! Upcycled in your-”
“Enough. Let’s go.”
August 03, 2019 at 07:17PM
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