I gotta give a shout out to Jeffrey, the man who coined the phrase javalicious. He’s just an all-round international guy living in Berlin or on a yacht somewhere in the Caribbean with his lovely wife. He’s a genius when it comes to the spoken word. He can pull your leg in at least five languages — English, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin, German, whatever. The guy can talk a dog off a meat truck. Anyway, at least one of the songs on Javalicious — The SunShine Song and others — were written with him around. He just sent me this cool picture of a car to remind me of my weird history with motorized vehicles. As a 20-year-old, I shunned them, then I started writing about them and then I even cracked one up while I was trying to swat a mosquito. For a while, I was going through cars like razor blades and have owned about 10 of them over the years — Pontiac Catalina, Renault Alliance, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Toyota Pickup, Honda Accord, two Volvo wagons, a Toyota Starlet and now a Siena Minivan. I wish I could have owned this one that Jeffrey sent me. I love retro cars as much as retro diners.
It’s a tribute to the 3,000 people killed on that fateful day, with a focus on the Stars & Stripes as a symbol of the time. I came up with the chorus first, and then wrote a few verses about it. Just a few weeks after it happened, Jennifer traveled to China where she saw a trinket of the World Trade Center with flames coming out – some kind of combination souvenir and cigarette lighter decorated with Osama Bin Laden. I hope they didn’t sell. Can you believe that? What a horrible thing. Nearly all of the Sept. 11 hijackers and Osama Bin Laden all came from Saudi Arabia.
I’m so obscure as a singer songwriter I don’t even think I exist. Despite my failed attempts to grow more digitial via a slick myspace page or even a bare bones I-Tunes page, JavaJel nevertheless lives in the overlooked corners of the Internet. While I struggle to get my dumb songs out on the Web, my JAVA JEL FLAVORS CD somehow made it onto some used-CD Web site. I guess there must be at least 500 of the 1998 CD floating around out there after I’ve given them out to friends and not so friends over the years.
I had 1,000 made, and still hold onto about 50 or 100 of them at the most. I think I trashed a box or two of them — sorry.
Anyway, I was thinking about my song, SuperModel Tyranny and did a google search on the term just for fun. The first thing that came up was a Web site called Poetry Connection, which was somehow selling Flavors for $4.52.
I was kind of flabbergasted to see this, since I had nothing to do with it. Someone even wrote a really nice comment and gave me five stars! A secret fan! I have no idea who this person is!
JAVA JAMMIN JEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hey, who is this guy? He is great! Where can I get more? I love it, my wife love’s it , IGUANA LOVE RULES!!!! And how can you beat track 12-say’s it all about going home! Fresh, New, Sweet, Hip, Just Drive, Keep up the good work, Java!!!
That’s excellent! Well to satisfy you, oh secret fan. I’m a mild mannered financial reporter by day who’s been writing songs on the side for about 30 years, making me about 46 now. Dude I’m old yet I’m fresh and sweet. Excellent!
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.
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!
I can’t believe it, but my song, Rain Forest, was played again on the cool radio show Greasy Kids Stuff Back in November of last year. Dude the song is 10 years old already. It’s got legs!
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.