Road Journal

Thursday 10.21.04  11:39 a.m.
 San Francisco, CA

Ilya's Road Purchases (Fall 2004)

 
On CD:
 
John Zorn's Masada Live at Tonic, NYC, 9.18.03
Medeski Martin & Wood End of the World Party (just in case)
Talking Heads  The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads (remastered 2CD)
Megadeth The System Has Failed
Journey Departure
Chevelle This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)
All Allroy Sez
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (remastered Deluxe Edition 2 CD)
Fugazi Steady Diet of Nothing (remastered)
Pan Sonic Kesto (4 CD)
Jeff "Tain" Watts Detained at the Blue Note
Astor Piazzolla & Quinteto Tango Nuevo Live in Colonia 1984 (2 CD)
Bob Marley & the Wailers Burnin' (2 CD Deluxe Edition)
Marvin Gaye Live! (1974)
No Doubt Tragic Kingdom
Bob Berg Enter The Spirit
Bob Mintzer Art of the Big Band
 
DVD (Films):
 
Star Wars Trilogy Episodes IV, V, & VI (director: George Lucas, others)
THX 1138 Director's Cut (dir: George Lucas)
Rounders Special Edition (dir: John Dahl)
S1MONE (dir: Andrew Niccol)
Videodrome Criterion Collection (dir: David Cronenberg)
Slacker Criterion Collection (dir: Richard Linklater)
 
DVD (Music):
 
Dream Theater Live At Budokan (2004)
John Abercrombie Quartet Live at the Village Vanguard
Abercrombie/Erskine/Mintzer/Patitucci Band Live in NYC
Chevelle Live From the Norva
Wattstax 30th Anniversary Special Edition
Phish IT
David Bowie Best of Bowie
Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985
King Crimson Neal and Jack and Me (Frejus 1982 and Japan 1984)
Van Halen Live Without A Net (1986)
 

 

Sunday 10.04.04  6:66 p.m.
 Casa de Glick  Oakland, CA

To commemorate the upcoming 4 Year Anniversary of OM Trio, the members have decided to conduct interviews of each other to enlighten our eager audience. This is the third of three interviews and will have keyboardist Brian Felix interviewing drummer Ilya Stemkovsky.

Interview #3


Brian: About 5 years ago, I recall you telling me that you'd never have long hair again after having it for several years. What was involved in your decision to grow your hair long again? 

Ilya: Well, I specifically didn't want it to be pony-tail length and it hasn't been since I was about 22. I did grow it out though because I think our bassist Pete and I have steadily grown more "metal" with each passing year. The sound of the band is progressively more "metal" nowadays and even though you, yourself don't really look too "metal," you are inside a bona-fide, New Jersey metal-head. Pete's look is inspiring and I just gave in to that. Oh, that and the fact that I can't afford a haircut.

Brian: Are there any "long-hairs" that you model your lifestyle after?

Ilya: Michael Jackson has actually had long hair for a while now. That takes some commitment to keep your hair that length for that long. And his is so straight and polished. So he's a role model for cool long hair and beyond that for personal morals, recreational activities, and lyrical invention for that matter.

Brian: Good choice! You often refer to the "triumvirate" of technical drumming wizards: Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Of the three, whose style speaks to you the most? 

Ilya: Hmmm.... I love all three of those guys -- each so unique in his own way. But I've got to lean towards Vinnie. There's a "sauce" in his playing that's so special. Obviously his chops are amazing, and his groove undeniable, but he also can just annihilate the music with sheer physical force which is something I love to do in the OM Trio but I can't really touch Vinnie's level of absurdity and outrageousness. But at the same time, he's such a great accompanist and supporter, able to do the simplest, tastiest shit. That's him on Madonna's "This Used to Be My Playground" and Sting's "Fields of Gold." Just locking in and being a drummer. I try to always think about that in our music as well. Just being this steel pillow the music can rest on.

Brian: Steel pillow -- interesting. Who's your favorite "hair metal" guitarist and why?


Ilya: Vitto Bratta from White Lion. That band kind of lived in Bon Jovi's shadow but they wrote some great songs too. Bratta's solos were always so orchestrated like they took him months to compose. And they are so awesome. Those beautiful lines and all that 80s extended guitar technique with the pinched harmonics and sweeps - yeah!!! The solo from "Little Fighter" is a personal fave. Also his look was sick. That Brooklyn shaggy long hair, under the rimmed hat and the boots and tight pants. His look was kind of more "countrified" than Poison glam, even though I loved CC's look as well.

Brian: If you were forced to watch one part of any movie directly before every gig you played for an entire year, what would it be?


Ilya: The first thing that comes to mind is that scene from A Clockwork Orange when Alex and his droogs go to that lady's house and they have masks on and they basically rape and kill her. Alex has that huge porcelain penis he attacks her with and cuts holes in "special" places in her clothes. You know that scene? "Singing In The Rain" and all that? I think a little ultra-violence before every gig would nudge my playing into an interesting direction. Oh, and maybe any scene from The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Brian: You know when celebrities sport all kinds of fashion at their gigs? If you could have one person go onstage wearing an OM Trio t-shirt at his or her concert, who would it be?

Ilya: Liza Minelli. No question. She looks totally insane these days. She would have to rock the old "instru-metal beefcake" edition and just be onstage with that crazy smile after she'd downed a bottle of Absolut and she's revved up. 

Brian: What's your favorite time of year for watching sports? 

Ilya: Probably December. That's when the NFL playoffs are going strong and the NBA season is hitting its stride. The occasional hockey game is cool as well.

Brian: Least favorite time?

Ilya: Summer. Tennis and golf are intermittently fun, but baseball has so many games that don't seem to matter. In June, the NBA finals are great, but right after that, a huge dry spell begins until NFL training camp. SportsCenter usually blows in the summer.

Brian: What's the biggest thing you've ever seen in person?

Ilya: When I visited Russia with my family in 2001, there was a diamond fund in the Kremlin that housed some of the biggest jewels in the world. There was this black diamond that was the size of a grapefruit - it was like 200 carats or something ridiculous like that. It was behind this missile-proof glass and there was also an armed guard with a loaded AK-47 standing near it, watching me with suspicion. It's a goddamned shame that Russia could sell one of these "priceless" rocks to some oil sheik in Saudi Arabia - this diamond "museum" had many stones like this - and revive Russia's economy. But they don't, of course, and the masses starve. That was the biggest thing I've ever seen.

Brian: That leads me to my next question. You're a Russian immigrant. Are there any personality traits that all Russian immigrants have in common? 

Ilya: You ever see Rocky IV? 

Brian: Of course.

Ilya: Well actually, every single Russian immigrant is like Drago when they first come off the boat. Completely stoic, perfectly spiked blonde hair, and an awesome killing/boxing machine. Most of my parents' friends fit this description. Over time, they just sort of evolve to be just like Yakov Smirnoff.

Brian: Growing up a Russian immigrant in America during the Cold War must have been difficult. Do you remember anyone giving you a particularly hard time because of your racial background? Name one experience and tell me what you'd imagine that person is doing today. 

Ilya: Yeah, I was called a "Commie" my whole adolescence - I didn't even know what a Communist was. I remember there was this one guy who didn't like Russians. I think he was still mad about the 1980 Olympic hockey loss. I recall he punched me one day in my head and broke his finger. That's what you get. I'm hardheaded in several ways. I can't even imagine what he is doing today. There were a few people back then that were "taken care of" by my Russian mafia friends, so he could have gone "that route."

Brian: Remind me not to call you a "Commie" anymore. You're widely noted for your extensive CD collection. If your house was on fire and you had to save the entire catalog of only ONE artist in your collection and give the rest to me, who would it be?

Ilya: Wow. Tough question. Well, first of all, I would have to Stop, Drop, and Roll. Then, after realizing that 75% of my body was burned due to the Stop, Drop, and Roll method, I would think frantically about which artist to save. I could go with quantity and say Zappa or John Zorn just so I could have more CDs. I have over 50 Zappa and over 60 Zorn discs. But if it came down to it, I'd have to save my Bruce Springsteen collection. His is the most passionate and intense music I've ever heard. It would be tough to let that burn. Speaking of which, you wouldn't be able to inherit the rest of my CD collection cause it would all go up in a blaze of glory.

Brian: That sucks. I didn't think about that. Cool Young Guns 2 reference, though. Anyway, to move on - what rock record has the best-recorded drum sound? 

Ilya: I love a lot of the 70s recordings like "Smoke on the Water" and any of that Boston shit. Of course Bonham's drums on Presence sound incredible. Also, the cymbals sound great on Billy Joel's 52nd Street and Rush's Hemispheres, both of which came out in 1978, which is interesting. But you can't deny newer records, either. I really dig a bunch of records mixed by Andy Wallace. He's done everything from Shudder To Think's Pony Express Record to Phish's Story of the Ghost and all those records have great drum sounds. I also love the Screaming Headless Torsos debut disc for its kit sound. Man, there are so many. Usually, any of the great drummers are going to have some record where their kit sounds great.

Brian: How about a drum sound on a jazz record?

Ilya: Again, so many. Tony Williams' ride on Miles' Four & More is rightly famous. Joe Chambers has some lively, open kit sounds on all those Wayne Shorter records. But I love newer records. I know Rudy Van Gelder did a great job for the 60s, but today's albums sound phenomenal. Brian Blade's cymbals are just beautiful and can be heard recorded exceptionally well on Joshua Redman's Timeless Tales (For Changing Times) and many other records. Peter Erskine's mid-90s solo albums for ECM are killer. Really any ECM drum sounds are amazing - DeJohnette and all those guys. Joey Baron's kit on all those John Zorn's Masada records sounds splendid, too. We'll be here forever. Just too many to name.

Brian: What makes the drum sound superior on those albums?

Ilya: Honestly, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I just made all that shit up.

Brian: Very well, then. Thanks for the insights. Last one. If you had unlimited funds, what would you add to your drum kit?

Ilya: Someone who could actually play them, instead of my sorry ass always beating on them unmercifully. Oh, and maybe a DVD player so I could watch porn from time to time.

(Brian laughs)

Saturday 9.25.04  12:34 p.m.
 The Van  Eureka, CA

To commemorate the upcoming 4 Year Anniversary of OM Trio, the members have decided to conduct interviews of each other to enlighten our eager audience. This is the second of three interviews and will have Pete interviewing Brian Felix (the third will have Brian interviewing Ilya.)

Interview #2 

PeteA number of prominent historical/artistic figures have been identified with a specific anatomical feature - for example, Dali's moustache, Einstein's hair....what's your prominent anatomical feature, and how does it color your world view?

Brian: I could dodge that question by saying it's something besides my nose, but that wouldn't be fair, now...would it? So, I'd say my nose is the feature I'd be identified with. It is fairly large, although it isn't the largest one in my family. Not even close. It allows me an extremely keen sense of smell, due to the maximal nasal cavity circumference per square inch of face. It allows me to smell trouble from a mile away.

Pete: O.K. Who's your favorite tennis player, past or present and why?

Brian: When I was younger, Stefan Edberg was my favorite player. In retrospect, I liked him because of his smoothness. He had a certain grace that you want see anyone display in any sport or really anything in life. He was also a serve and volley-er, and I always liked volleying the best of any aspect in tennis. 

Pete: What instrument would Edberg play? 

Brian: He would definitely be a bass player, because he rarely ever talked in public, like other bassists I know. I could also see him kicking out the deep Swedish funk jams.

Pete: Speaking of deep Swedish funk jams, what's your most cherished chord? Describe it's inherent emotional characteristics.

Brian: I'm a sucker for a nice fat E flat Major 6/9 chord, possibly with the Sharp 11 thrown in here and there for good measure. This is the chord that can be found in any "Romeo" solo that I play. The emotional characteristics are of pure, unbridled, unabashed joy.

Pete:  Because I'm still so confused, describe what all those colored effects boxes on top of your keyboard do?

Brian:  Funny, because I'm still confused about what they do as well. If there's anything that I've realized it's that they truly have a mind of their own, and I just nudge them in the right direction. Someday they'll rebel against me and explode in a fiery climax on stage. Actually, the only important thing they do is allow me to do is to loop a sound so that I can reach down and have the occasional sip of whiskey while on stage.

Pete: Ahhhhh..... whiskey. What classical composers would have employed said pedals on their respective instruments? What quality in their music makes you believe they'd use those pedals? What piece of theirs would benefit the most?

Brian:
The first one that comes to mind is Mahler, mostly because of his desire to create huge soundscapes, usually involving orchestras of record size. The pedals I have would allow him to create multiple layers from a single source, and thus satisfy his need for a huge sound without  the need for an orchestra. Then there's Berg, a composer who would really enjoy having a ring modulator or other effects that are so common these days. I listened to Wozzeck recently, which is really an exceptionally frightening piece of music at times. Berg would have been able to take it to different heights if he could put a nice ring modulator on the first violin. That would be nuts! 

Pete: That would be nuts.

Brian: Also, Mozart I think would be into sonic manipulation. I sometimes wonder what Mozart would have been like if he was born 300 years later. What if he had the chance to be a live improvising musician in the modern era? From all documentation, he was a sensational improviser. That shit would be sick... if I could watch him mess around on my gear for an hour or so... that would be educational. 

Pete: I hope James Lipton and Bernard Kivot or whatever his name is don't mind, but what sound do you love? 

Brian: Actually, I really love the sound of nothing. Like if we're driving through Utah or something and we get out of the van and there's actually audible nothing. That sound to me is more striking than anything else. It's a sound that I didn't hear until I was 22 and driving cross-country with my Dad. 

Pete: What sound do you hate? 

Brian: A crackling amplifier, signifying that I have to fix it, or get it fixed.

Pete: In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, tennis, drugs, and phonics are revealed to be expansively intertwined. Can you relate to the protagonist's experiences, and can you relate it to your musical coming of age?

Brian
: Well, I read that book about 4 years ago and I only understood about 60% of the words inside it as it was, but I'll do my best on this one. I can't personally relate to Hal's experience, but I can relate it to things that I've observed throughout my life. Really, Hal and others involved in the Tennis Academy suffered from an over-intensity and extreme focus that's associated with becoming a prodigy at a young age. In his case, he was a tennis prodigy, and he just was so burnt that he had to escape through drugs and other means. The intensity was so much that he hated it. I've noticed that sort of attitude in the music world. Truly, in order to become a top notch, world class classical piano player, you have to practice 8 hours a day from the time you're 5 years old, which is enough to make a lot of people crazy. This would create a Hal-like syndrome. The way that I've found is to work at music, practicing hard and so on. But maintaining a balance so that it doesn't make you crazy. It's really important to get out of your house and do other things that you enjoy. I feel like that way you progress at your passion, but still maintain the joy because you're not overloading yourself. At least that's what I've found works for me, and that's one of the morals I got from Infinite Jest.

Pete: What's your favorite beverage?

Brian: I've always loved tomato juice and V8. Actually my friends used to make fun of me when I was younger for liking V8, but I stood my ground. My bones are thicker because of it.

Pete: Does humor belong in music?

Brian
: Absolutely. There's humor everywhere in music, and not just in the lyrics. I find myself laughing a lot listening to all kinds of music. It's like a different language, complete with jokes and I don't think you have to be a musician to understand it, you just have to listen carefully. 

Pete: Thank you Brian. One final question. In traveling across this great nation of ours, you are inevitably faced with the challenge of eating. Which fine dining establishments do you prefer, and how does it affect your performance later on?

Brian: At this point, I detest Subway. Even walking past it on the street makes me want to throw up. Otherwise, Taco Bell, Burger King and Mickey D's are all fine with me. I really do appreciate when we get some good food on the road. And the occasional club that feeds us sushi....needless to say that's top notch, although it may make me want to end the set early so that I can get back to the sushi bar before it closes.

(Pete laughs)


Thursday 9.16.04  2:09 pm
 La Quinta Inn  Denver, CO

To commemorate the upcoming 4 Year Anniversary of OM Trio, the members have decided to conduct interviews of each other to enlighten our eager audience. The first will involve Ilya Stemkovsky interviewing Pete Novembre. The second will have Pete interviewing Brian Felix -- and the third will have Brian interviewing Ilya. 

La Quinta Inn. Denver, Colorado. September 16, 2004. 2:09 p.m.

Stenographer in training: Brian Felix.
Allpurposejackofalltrades: Brian Glick

IlyaHello, friends. Today we shall be doing....

Pete:  (interrupting) Whoa, Whoa, Whoa (reaches for a pot of coffee) you know I have a rider, I have a fucking rider that says I have to have some creamer here. How am I supposed to talk about this when...

Ilya: I'm so sorry, Pete. Does anyone have any creamer? 

(Glick brings creamer and apologizes to Pete.) 

Ilya:  Meet Mr. Pete Novembre, bass player for the world-renowned electric jazz group, OM Trio. We shall be conducting a 10 question interview with Pete on all things life, music and beyond. Let's begin. If your bass had super powers, would you use it for good, such as to feed the children, or for evil, such as to destroy industrialized cities?

Pete: (Sighs) Now what makes feeding children good? Sometimes people need to go their separate ways. Sometimes evil might be good. When you ask a question about good or evil, the parameters, the existential parameters go on..... forever. But to answer your question, for good, of course.

Ilya: Very enlightening.

Ilya: You're a metal head long-haired freak now, but in the 7th grade you surely used hair products. Mousse, gel, or spray... and why?

Pete: The true answer to that question is none, but philosophically, mousse because it reminds me of Judd Nelson.

Ilya: Wow, a brat pack reference. In the jamband world, the two most famous bands have 2 unique and eccentric bass players, who respectively have a certain place that they bring themselves and the music. With the Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh, it's known as the "Phil Zone," and with Phish's Mike Gordon it's known as the "Mike Zone." Tell me what it's like to be in the "Pete Zone."

Pete: The space known as the "Phil Zone" or the "Mike Zone" is punctuated by crowdedness of tones, chords, ideas. That which you would call the "Pete Zone" is punctuated by nothingness, blessed nothingness, like the sweet release of death. 

Ilya: What is the strangest thing that has ever crossed your mind while on stage with the OM Trio, mid gig.

Pete: I often think about pinball games, coffee shops, that crossword puzzle that I just couldn't finish. The strangest thing, actually,  would have to be Spinoza's theories on the confluences of energies that cause war-like societies. But sometimes it's just Nikki Sixx's boots.

Ilya: You used to be a track and field athlete. Is there any correlation between running and music?

Pete: Yes. Athletes have a certain rhythm. Basketball players get hot, get on a roll and score 30 points. Runners have a certain cadence that they breathe and step with. It's also endurance. I'm often playing the same thing ad infinitum.

Ilya: Historically, you tend to disappear before the gigs, often making a triumphant, "Phoenix-rising-like" return to the scene, energized and ready to rock. What the hell do you on your sojourns about the great and small metropolises of the United States?

Pete: There's really no way I can divulge that kind of information to such a large audience, but I can tell you that it involves a special kind of meditation that can only be performed in settings that allow me complete isolation; it involves finding very specific areas...a very personal experience.

Ilya: A sort of meditative journey?

Pete: Yes. A meditative journey that involves lots of caffeine and small metal balls.

Ilya: You've been known to enjoy some leisure time with crossword puzzles now and again -- are crosswords really better than sex?

Pete: No, next question.

Ilya: Briefly describe your thoughts on Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Pete: The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner is one of the greatest epic poems ever put to metal music. Iron Maiden took a rather plebian poem and made it into an epic journey of a man's redemption from the horrors of eco-terrorism.

Ilya: Interesting that you mention Iron Maiden, because the band Rush also took a Coleridge poem...

Pete: Yes, Xanadu, decreed by Kublai Kahn.

Ilya: Why do you think rock bands are so into the Coleridge?

Pete: Coleridge is from the Romantic Period, a time when people didn't worry about everyday problems like their bills and reality TV -- all they worried about was fantasy, worlds of wonder, shadows and light. Honestly, when I think about Geddy Lee, I think about the Pleasure Dome.

Ilya: Name 3 pieces of music that have recently affected you.

Pete:  I'm sorry, I don't listen to music.

Ilya: Name the 5 key secret special ingredients for Pete Novembre's secret special blend of coffee.

Pete: First is the finest Guatemalen  bean grown  in a very specific part of  the Andes mountains: Latitude 65, Longitude 82. The bean then has to be roasted for 25 minutes, not a minute less. The second ingredient, I can't tell you about. The third ingredient is Love.

Ilya: How would you can love? How does one package that?

Pete:  Little bottles. I carry them with me. To move on, the fourth ingredient is a very specific type of cane sugar from the Dominican Republic that's been dried for 2 years and buried in an Alabaman smokehouse with bacon on the walls. 

Ilya: Wow!!!

Pete: The final and most important ingredient is a specially imported spring water from the Antarctic Glacial Ridge that's never been touched by man

Ilya: How do you get it then?

Pete: You send a mug to local sherpas and they get it for you.

Ilya: Pete, thank you for an extremely insightful look into your psyche. One last question, though. Nigel Tufnel's epitaph fittingly says "Here lies Nigel Tufnel, and why not?" What words grace your gravestone?

Pete: A two word epitaph: super tanker.

(Ilya laughs)


Thursday 4.15.04  10:59 a.m.
   Binghamton, NY
Super 8 Motel

We were riding in the van, something we do often, intently fishing through "The Book."  For those not in the know, The Book is a soft, leatherbound CD case that contains 200 homemade burns made for the purpose of not having to listen to the radio. Inside this "Ark," are OM Trio favorites such as the Power Ballads Lives compilations (Bon Jovi, Aeromith, Bonnie Tyler) and every album by Weezer, Bob Marley, and Tori Amos. This is a lot of music. We need this because trying to find a radio station that comes in clear is marred by three facts: 1) radio stations usually suck and 2) reception is shitty in the Great Open Plains of America, and 3) someone mercilessly stole our antenna a few weeks ago. This is the second time this has happened. If anyone sees a long, metal, antenna anywhere, please contact your local police department immediately. When we get the antenna back, we won't so much as "refasten" it to get these shitty stations, as we will beat the living hell out of the culprit. 

The reason we are slightly upset about the loss of our slender metal friend, is because we do enjoy quality classic rock radio from time to time. Miraculously, the reception in the Chicago was good enough where we were able to receive the faint strains of a clear signal. The familiar tones of Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do" came through loud and clear. Actually, it sounded like they were playing in the middle of a snow storm, or at least a heavy static storm, but we could not bear to turn it off. This got thinking.......

What Classic Rock tunes are physically impossible to turn off the radio once they begin? 

This doesn't mean these are the greatest songs of all time, or even your favorites. What it does mean is that you can't resist them, and can't search for another station. Each of the Trio came up with their list of 10. 

Top Ten Rock Classics You Can't Turn Off
(In No Particular Order)

Pete

Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
More Than a Feeling (Boston)
Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealer's Wheel)
She's So Heavy (The Beatles)
Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones)
Rosalita (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band)
That Smell (Lynard Skynard)
Old Man (Neil Young)
Born on the Bayou (Credence Clearwater Revival)
Frankenstein (Edgar Winter Group)

Brian

Stairway to Heaven
(Led Zeppelin)
Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who)
China Grove (Doobie Brothers)
Jessica (Allman Brothers Band)
Brown Suger (Rolling Stones)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple)
Panama (Van Halen)
Sultans of Swing (Dire Strats)
Badge (Cream)


Ilya

 Hotel California (The Eagles)
Don't Stand So Close To Me (The Police)
Movin' Out (Billy Joel)
White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
Let's Dance (David Bowie)
Bell Bottom Blues (Derek and the Dominoes)
The Chain (Fleetwood Mac)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
Killer Queen (Queen)

 

Please continue this discussion on our discussion board. We'd love to know your top ten. And Antenna Thief: We're coming after you.


Saturday 2.28.04  6:66 p.m.
   Old Bridge
Casa Stemkovsky

Had you been fortunate enough to be in attendance for the OM Trio/Umphrey’s McGee musical extravaganza at the Crow Bar in State College, PA on February 23, you might have asked yourself just one question: “What is Ilya doing at the front of the stage with a microphone in his hand?”

Well, you see, first we played our set of patented Kris Kristofferson meets Bread meets softer, ballad-y Kenny G – infused jams. Towards the end, every member of Umphrey’s McGee joined us for a rocking version of Demarcation (including Pony playing the bassline and then all of us improvising through some uncharted territory). That was swell and all – but then the real fun started.

 Towards the end of UM’s second set, they called us up to “jam” with them as “jambands” like OM Trio and Umphrey’s McGee are apt to do. Brian played keys, Ilya played various percussion, and Pete played video games. At the end of the “jam,” Ilya made his way to the front of the stage while the UM boys dropped-D their axes for the musical mayhem that was to follow. The brutally heavy riff which arose out of  the cold Pennsylvania night was just the ticket to inspire the debut world premiere performance of……… “Sludge and Death.”

 The truly inventive lyrics Ilya came up with for said number were, “Sludge!!!! Sludge and Death!!!.” We know some of you at home can’t believe how three such talented musicians such as ourselves can display such formidable prowess as lyricists as well, but we’ve been telling you for months now – the OM Trio has its finger on the collective pulse of the nation. Ilya was really screaming his head off much to the simultaneous shock and enthusiasm of the Penn State folks staring at the stage. Here are some accounts from the Umphrey’s McGee discussion board:

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From my friend Tom who made the drive from Pittsburgh:

I went to State College and saw Umphrey's. I'm aboot to head into a large dept. meeting, but lemme just say it was a real, real, loose show. It was their last night of the east coast run, so maybe that added to some of the shenanigans. Anyway, I hadn't ever seen the band as chatty as this.

Tons of laughs from the comedy on stage and some great collaboration w/ OM Trio; including the theme song to the movie "Fletch" and some ridiculous heavy-metal. I think a new song was formed on stage before our very eyes, titled "Sludge and Death". I sh!t you not.

--Tom

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More thoughts on last night:

The show was awesome. For the last song of OM's set OM's bass player gave up his bass for Pony. And then it was Joel and OM's keyboardist, Jake, Ryan, Brendan, OM's drummer, and Kris on percussion. I don't know if Andy was also playing percussion or not, but I didn't see him on stage. It was a pretty groovin' tune.

--Steve Bond

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Made the drive from Bucknell. Yes, it was a very loose show, and very heavy. Definitely the heaviest of the three I've seen. I would have preferred if the OM Stew was similar to the jam they all played together at the end of he OM set, but instead we got Sludge and Death. One of the OM Trio took center stage and we got some heavy, HEAVY metal thrown at us with yells of SLUDGE!! DEATH!! The band was losing their shit during this it was so random. KB was using some really cool effects on the voice of the singer, creating scary noises like we hear in Resolution and Nopener. When the beginning of Kat's tune started up, we got some scat jazz singing of Sludge and Death before falling into GITV. This metal part of the set was definitely interesting, but I didn't dig it all that much. When the Sludge and Death song was over, the OM singer siad, "We're a motherfuckin' JAM BAND up here." It was funny.

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This show was very good, obviously it was a very different experience for me personally, not just with the lack of horns. It was definitely a good, loose, rock show, the guys were having a great time up there. It was sweet to watch the jam come together at the end of the Om set, Pony Jake Joel Kris and Brendan knew just enough to get themselves into the song and then it turned into a great freestyle jam. Pony was very in tune with Ilya (Om drummer) and Brian and Joel worked well together on the keys while Jake, Brendan, and Kris seemed to have a great time just jamming.  

I think the Sludge and Death tune was more of just a great release for the guys than some sort of musical phenomenon. I think they've all been waiting to cut loose together and just have some silly fun, and let's face it, Joshua Redman takes their game to a new level of sophistication but these doods are still all about the good time. So I think they were glad to just pile on stage together and rock out. And I am NOT a fan of UM death metal, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

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Anyway, you guys get the idea. Should have been there. By the way, we can’t say it enough: we love the Umphrey’s McGee guys. If you haven’t heard them, seek it out. They are a great band and deserve your attention. We’ll be playing with them more in the future so hopefully you can catch a show soon.

In other news: we played our first gig in Canada. The Canadians (Hamilton, Ontario) raged hard. We’ll surely return to rock for our friendly neighbors to the North.

In other, other news: check out our ripping sets from Colorado. They are cheap and sound excellent (recorded by Umphrey’s McGee front-of-house engineer, Kevin Browning). Please, please do not operate heavy machinery while listening to these sets.

In other, other, other news: we are driving back to California and packing up our CDs and clothes and stereo equipment and then driving back to New Jersey. Long live New Jersey. California was fun. The sun, the early start for live sports, the Guvernator. The West Side was fun for a few years but now one must return to one’s roots and assume the position to bring the real deal shit to the East Coast peeps. And to eat real food again. California and the surrounding areas will now be just stops on a tour, but undoubtedly special ones at that. Thank you Bay Area.

In other, other, other, other news: What?? You thought Ilya wasn’t buying anything?? Shame on you.

ILYA'S TOUR PURCHASES

TWISTA Kamikaze
DAVID BOWIE The Man Who Sold The World (remastered)
DAVID BOWIE Hunky Dory (remastered)
VAN HALEN Van Halen (remastered)
VAN HALEN Van Halen II (remastered)
VAN HALEN Women And Children First (remastered)
VAN HALEN Fair Warning (remastered)
VAN HALEN 1984 (remastered)
THE WHO Tommy (remastered deluxe edition 2-CD)
THE WHO Who’s Next (remastered deluxe edition 2-CD)
FUGAZI 13 Songs (remastered)
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND The Central Park Concert
ELVIS PRESLEY Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite (remastered)
DAVE DOUGLAS Strange Liberation
MIKE STERN These Times

On DVD:
UMPHREY’S MCGEE Live From The Lake Coast
THE BEATLES The First U.S. Visit
ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO (Dir. Robert Rodriguez)
RAIN MAN (Special Edition) (dir. Barry Levinson)
SPELLBOUND (documentary) (dir. Jeffrey Blitz)
BUDDY RICH (AT THE TOP) (Live – 2/6/73)
CLASSIC JAZZ DRUMMERS  (Hudson Music)
CLASSIC DRUM SOLOS Volume II (Hudson Music)
ALIEN (2 disc special edition) (dir. Ridley Scott)
ALIENS (2 disc special edition) (dir. James Cameron)
PLANET OF THE APES (2 disc special edition) (dir. Franklin Schaffner)
SWINGERS (dir. Doug Liman)
FIRST BLOOD (2 disc special edition)  (dir. Ted Kotcheff)
COMPLETE MONTEREY POP FESTIVAL (3 Disc Criterion Collection) (dir. D. A. Pennebaker)


Thursday 2.19.04  11:51 a.m.
   Mass Pike
The Van

THINGS NOBODY EXPECTS:

THING #1: Snow in Lubbock, Texas. Lots of snow. The kind of snow that prevents people from doing anything. but not the Lubbock crew. They go out and throw down. We love Lubbock.

THING #2: 35 Degrees in Austin, Texas. Outdoor show. 35 degrees. Outdoors. Cold. Outside of doors. 35 degrees. Not inside with the heat on. Texans are great. The Austin crowd "braved the elements" and danced their asses off. Did we mention it was cold as hell outside? Snot was running down Ilya's nose the whole night. He's still sexy, though.

THING #3: Brian Glick going insane when a hotel reservation he made was not met. He had the lobby clerk cleaning a room at 3:00 a.m. so it would "up to snuff." Don't mess with the Glick. Peter Grant is a soft little bunny rabbit compared to this guy.

THING #4: Driving to Lexington, Kentucky from Austin, Texas for 10 hours and hearing the van make strange noises somewhere around Memphis, Tennessee at 2:00 a.m. and getting the van towed to the Ford dealership at 7:00 a.m. and being told we have to pay $1,800 for the repairs which of course aren't covered by the warranty and waiting all day for someone to screw in some bolts and shit and eventually having to cancel our Lexington gig and then driving 15 hours to New Jersey starting at 6:00 p.m. and finally arriving in the Garden State at noon of the next day. Nobody fucking expects that. Also, nobody expects three guys who graduated with honors from college to write in totally ridiculous run-on sentences just to get their point across with a certain level of panache which they feel their fan base is entitled to and has come to enjoy and rely on for all the latest OM Trio dirt and did we mention we owe $1,800 dollars for some lugnuts or wheel bearings that aren't supposed to fall off but of course did. 
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This week we continue our tour with Umphrey's McGee, our favorite band next to Spandau Ballet. Joshua Redman will be sitting in with the UM and it should be a rocking good time. The Colorado sets we played with UM will be up soon, we promise. If we may say so ourselves, they are some of the best live recordings/playing of OM Trio ever.


Monday 2.9.04  7:22 p.m.
Somewhere, AZ
The Van

Medical alert: make sure to wear goggles when playing reggae drums. Ilya's high hat work was so deep on our reggae jam in Colorado Springs, he accidentally poked himself in the eye. After a short interlude, during which he announced to the audience that he did, in fact, poke himself in the eye with his drumstick, we continued our reggae which is now dubbed "Eye and Eye/ Eye Minus Eye". Ilya actually did injure himself and is sporting a fashionable red spot on the white of his left eye, which is sure to last for a couple of weeks. He is still totally sexy.

Colorado Springs was also the venue of choice for Brian to break out his new Rhodes that he purchased in Denver. This new addition to the Keyboard arsenal adds all the grit and dirt you can imagine it would. The Rhodes is, however, very heavy. Thankfully, Pete came in 4th at the World's Strongest Man Competition. (He actually won his "Rhodes Lift" heat by 35 seconds, defeating defending "Rhodes Lift" champion Stiptik Vangegegaard of the Norway/Sweden/Finland/Netherlands faction who retired because of the emotional humiliation.) 

During the drive from CO to AZ, Brian's Dad called, saying "Where we're going, we don't need Rhodes." (Back to the Future dorks unite!) About 5 minutes after that, we got pulled over by a New Mexico cop, doing 88 MPH. Unfortunately, we didn't time travel to the alternate 1985 and instead were issued an $80 ticket. 

Our weekend with Umphrey's McGee was totally rockin'. There were many sit-ins, with all three Trio members joining the Umph onstage throughout the weekend. Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger also joined the Trio for some smoking renditions of Bulbous, Cherub Rock, Phobophobe and Paradise City. These 4 shows will be available for download soon directly off the website. The recordings are excellent, so stay tuned.


Wednesday 2.4.04  3:04 a.m.
 Fort Collins, CO  Sleep Inn  

We've already driven 3800 miles on this tour, which started a week and a half ago. Thus, we've been developing  new ways to entertain ourselves in the van, such as the "window jam", which involves lowering and raising the windows in time with the music. This may not sound like fun, and we assure you, it isn't. 

As you fine folks (or OMbres - as the fanbase is want to refer to itself) may guess, there hasn't been all too much time for doing anything other than driving, sleeping and playing the shows. However, the early stretch of the tour has already yielded some fine nutritional exposition. We've been living on a steady "Atkins Diet" of Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonald's, and and select items from the "non-Atkins" menu from Subway. See, we know Jared is back there in the Subway kitchen stuffing his fat ass with pizza and apple pie. They don't fool us. The three of us, in turn, are also getting overweight. Ilya is pushing 155, Felix hovering around 150, and Pete tipping the scales at 170 (cause he's so phat and fat and has doom metal long hair straight out of hell). 

"Hippo" and "Romeo" have taken on peculiar costumes springing from improvs that caused them to be played, well.... you'll all just have to see. The setlists have been revolving and tunes are opening shows which never have, encores include different ways of playing our covers, and we've actually not repeated certain warhorse tunes on consecutive days or more. It is not uncommon to experience three shows in a row without "Clydedogg", "24 Hours to New Orleans," or "Discrepancy." 

We've even recently played two consecutive shows without playing "Bulbous."" For those intimately familiar with our sets, you'd know that "Bulbous" has been played at every OM Trio concert since we released our album in February. That's about a year straight. We consciously wanted to play it every show -- almost as a centerpiece that the concert could revolve around and as a direct challenge to ourselves to improvise creatively within the seemingly strict confines of the tune and its adjoining jam. (On Globalpositioningrecord, "Bulbous" and "Hedd" are given separate track markings, but they are actually always played together). With the addition of a new song, "Mesh," settling in to the sets nudged safely in a "Bulbous - Mesh - Bulbous" sandwich, "B-M-B" (as we write it on setlists) became the real showstopper of sorts we wanted it to be -- able to close out first sets, open second sets, or provide the occasional encore bomb -- possibly sandwiched by "Peaches En Regalia" or "Bullet in the Head."

Ex: "Paradise City -- Bulbous -- Mesh -- Bulbous -- Paradise City."  --pass out.

And although we surely won't stop playing the tune (it is our most played number), every tour develops some surprises where tunes get new life and get back into the rotation. This tour has seen a re-emergence of "Broken Glass," a number almost shelved a year ago and now a flat out funk rock explosion. And of the new tunes, "Business End" has been providing and almost nightly opportunity for Brian to showcase his layering and keyboard textures, while Pete and Ilya support with almost machine-like metronomic rhythm. And "Privy" is in that exciting early stage where we love playing it but is so open-ended that it can sound completely different by the end of the tour (or of the week at the rate we're going).

Check out the setlists (maintained by our good friend Brian Glick) on our discussion board for a closer examination of some of the juggling. We will add a "setlists" link and a general "news" section to the front page very soon. But for now, the news is: 

WE ARE ON THE ROAD. HIDE THE CHILDREN.

This week we convene in Colorado with our good friends Umphrey's McGee to once-and-for-all destroy the mountain folks. See you there.


Wednesday 1.7.03  4:07 p.m.
 Old Bridge, New Jersey  Casa Stemkovsky  

Ilya's Holiday/Winter Break Vacation Purchases

SIMON & GARFUNKEL  The Columbia Studio Recordings 1964-1970  (5 Disc Box)
SIMON & GARFUNKEL  Live From New York City, 1967
THE DOORS  Legacy: The Absolute Best  (2 CD)
THE DOORS  Absolutely Live
THE DOORS  Live In Hollywood
MADONNA  (self-titled)  (remastered)
MADONNA  Like A Virgin  (remastered)
MADONNA  True Blue  (remastered)
VAN MORRISON   "...It's Too Late To Stop Now..."  (2 CD Live 1973 remastered)
STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN & DOUBLE TROUBLE  Live at Montreux 1982 & 1985  (2 CD)
THE ROLLING STONES  Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out  (Live 1969 remastered) 
DREAM THEATER  Live Scenes From New York  (3 CD Live 2000)
BOBBY McFERRIN  Simple Pleasures
 
and on DVD:
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: 25 Years of Music (Performances and Sketches)  (5 DVD Box)
KING CRIMSON  Eyes Wide Open  (2 DVD)
THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST
MARVIN GAYE  Live in Montreux 1980 
NEIL DIAMOND Greatest Hits Live 
EDWARD SCISSORHANDS  (10th Anniversary Edition)  (director: Tim Burton)
GROSSE POINT BLANK (dir: George Armitage)
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER (dir: David O. Russell)
BEVERLY HILLS COP  (Collector's Edition)  (dir: Martin Brest)
NAQOYQATSI  (dir: Godfrey Reggio)
AIRPLANE!  (dir: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker)

Journal Archives
Winter 2003
Spring 2003
Fall 2002

Summer 2002
Spring 2002