Mike Culhane, an old friend, recently resurfaced. A great musician who played on “Rain Forest” and inspired me with his wonderful devotion to Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Culhane is still going strong in the music world after relocating to Northhampton, Mass., the well known Republican bastion. (I’m kidding about the GOP part.) Here’s a note he dropped me recently after I asked him if his old band from 1980s Boston, Circle Sky, will re-unite:
Mike: “Reunion I wish. Life is very short and goes fast. Maybe a couple of us at my solo show this Saturday here in the BAY STATE.”
So his answer was a partial yes about the reunion. I’ve observed over the years that folks who play music together stay together. I reunited with Kol Marshall after 20 years of collaborations, as well as a recent effort with some of my old buddies from Florida in a project called the RIPE. Work friends tend to drift off, but music friends are forever. I also contacted an old friend from Florida, Debbie Rider, who is still singing her heart out on cruise lines.
Mike was also pleased that “Rain Forest” still kicks around on Greasy Kids Stuff:
Mike: “Glad “Rain Forest” is still in play, that was fun.”
I’m heading out to work on Javalicious, my new CD, with Kanduco Industries, an entrepreneurial computer services and graphics firm. My concept is to honor the first Velvet Underground album. Instead of a giant banana, I’ll have a giant coffee bean, maybe in an electric color of some kind. It’ll be stamped with an official JAVALICOUS logo. Coolio. Anyway, here’s a comment from Belinda Miller of Greasy Kids Stuff fame. They totally rock. What a fun show.
From: Belinda Miller [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 1:13 PM To: Gelsi, Steven Subject: Re: Rain Forest by Java Jel
How nice to hear from you, we look forward to whatever you’ve got! We pull Rain Forest out from time to time – I think it’s time now!
As for the link in my previous post oo the NY Times Song — sorry but it doesnt’ work. I’m still working on figuring out how to do this stuff.
Instead, here’s a really really really really really groovy song from George Harrison called Wah Wah. Anything by George is famous of course, but I hadn’t been familiar with this song until stumbling over it on YouTube. I admire its layered vocals and spiritual vibe. It’s a joy. Enjoy!
Here’s a tune called NY Times — about the decline of newspapers and how everyone is too busy spewing anger and celeb gossip to bother with yesterday’s news in the newspaper. Why is everyone on the Internet so angry? I guess bbecausethey spend too much time on the computer and not enough time outside. Joe and Dominic played up the song as a 60s Motown girl group mash-up with a nice back beat and doo wop groove. The version coming out on the upcoming Javalicious CD channeled the song, “You’re so Good to Me” by the Beach Boys with a la la la la thing going on. Anyway, now that I’m going digital I think it’s a big deal, but I’m just an old dad now and no one cares about guys my age putting out new music. It doesn’t matter because sooner or later I’ll start to figure this out and get maybe like at least five hits. I think you need I-Tunes software to listen to this.
Hey, I’m finally starting to go digital. I guess it’s easier than copying tapes on my old cassette and hand-lettering all the labels. Anyway, I’m trying to get my new record, Javalicious out in digital formats before wrapping it up. Cover art is needed as well, naturally. The fun part — making the music — is pretty much done.
Anyway, Java Jel is moving toward the digital age whether he wants to or not. Here’s a rehearsal that Denver area DJ Toby Houser posted a few days ago. It’s a session I did with him back in 1988 or so when he played bass in the combo, Java Jel & Big Bambu. It featured JD Wood on drums — (JD WHERE ARE YOU NOW?) and Lee Sled on keys. The tune, Start Something New is really groovey with super funky guitar and bass, and a long vocal break. Here’s the link:
Hey man, it’s Java Jel. Here’s a great gig I did playing Johnny Cash, Elvis and Uncle Sam at the 2008 NY Financial Follies event at the Marriott Marquis. I usually try to do original tunes, but the gig called for spoofs of cover songs, so that’s what I attempted to do. Chris Morino at MarketWatch producer and engineered the video.
Meanwhile, work continues on my new album of original tunes with producer KOL MARSHALL under two working titles, Java Jel Jellin, or Java Jel Hey Man! As of late December 2008, I’ve pretty much wrapped it up by adding stacks of Java vocals to tap into my Beach Boys obsession. What the songs lack in flashy lead guitar, they make up with great drums, bass and lots of vocals — plus plenty of hooks I hope. The album marks the 20th anniversary of my very first studio recording, Java’s Jesus Jam. It sounds pretty good. We’ll finish up mixing soon and get it out on I-Tunes.
After this, I’m done for the time being and will try to write a book instead or something.