Archive for June, 2009

S.K. Toth Definately Something.

Posted in music on June 19, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

My friend Bunny turned me on to this guy’s work & music 5 or 6 years ago but he’s worth a mention.  He is a singer with an accurate 5 octave (that’s right 5 frickin’ octaves, hell, I don’t have the vocal range of a Mattell “Speak & Say”) he is an ambidextrous violinist & a dancer/percussionist.  S.K. Toth sings in a language he created for his style called “Solopera”, which is what it sounds like completely self accompanied operatic performances & was the subject of an oscar winning documentary.   He is also someone you might mistakenly write off as batshit crazy.   I personally see a fantasticly talented and fearless performer who I dare say is 100% original.  Appreciate or dismiss him I firmly encourage checking him out if nothing else it will be an experience so let me know what you think.

 Here is my favorite of his youtube clips (there are oodles of them online):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdOj9ad-TPI&feature=related

and this is his website:

http://www.skthoth.com/news/

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Other than everything that’s not OK; everything is OK

Posted in rants on June 18, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

Forgive the lack of posts,  Shu is fine but just got out of the hospital for appendicitis, and my 17 year old just wrecked his car, he’s OK (as well as all the rest of the kids who were in the car)   & luckily the other driver was at fault so I’ve been jumping through hoops  trying to get the insurance all sussed out & worst of all I had to take Logan (the 10 year old) to the store to buy new pants.  Those who know me know that taking Logan clothes shopping is the worst of the 3 for me.  Things will settle rather soon and I’ll be back to posting the random, food & bass obsessed rambling that you have come to rely upon for your very survival. 

Thanks Dom

Shu’s Paella

Posted in Food on June 10, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

When cooking for a large family on a budget you have to stay creative in order to both meet bills & keep dinner interesting. This being said, when you hear of ingredients that include the somewhat cryptic phrase “20 ounces of frozen mixed seafood” one might be a touch apprehensive, but not to worry; the aforementioned item is a commonly available mix of scallops, squid, mussels and octopus which you can get in most markets that cater to the Latin American community. So if you enjoy the said cephalopods try the frozen mix it’s a good deal and tastes quite fresh, in fact I intend to try my hand a t a bouillabaisse using the same in the near future.

Ingredients:

a few tablespoons of olive oil

1 minced onion

5 cloves of minced garlic

2 cups jasmine rice

4 cups water

20 ounces of frozen mixed seafood

1 ½ pounds mixed frozen vegetables

24 ounces canned diced tomatoes

1 whole chicken cut into parts or 3-4 pounds of chicken parts (depends on what is on sale)

saffron

salt

pepper

cumin

ginger

paprika (heavy)

rosemary

basil, all spices to taste but I recommend spicing heavily

1 diced Chorizo (optional)

Start by heating up the olive oil & sweat the onions & garlic (and Chorizo if you are using it), add the chicken and seasonings and sautee for around 5 minutes. Add the rice, tomatoes & water and stir vigorously until it gets to a rolling boil & reduce the heat to medium. When the chicken is just shy of being done add the fish & the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes adjusting seasonings if need be.

13 Bass Players

Posted in music, rants on June 9, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

As a part of a project that Gregg challenged me to I needed to choose the 13 bass players who have had the biggest impact on my playing, taking advantage of my chronic, neurotic insomnia these are the ones I have chosen & of course I thought this vital enough information to the survival of mankind that it simply had to be shared with “teh intarweb”.  As always in no particular order:

Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, no shocker here he is the guy that inspired me to start playing bass in my early teens.  He is a monster of a player, an accomplished songwriter and obviously has super powers.  This is from a song from their first album, one I am proud to say I have actually learned to play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjAQSlTVcYI

Mike Watt is a guy I’m proud to say I’ve actually met and hung out with for a few hours.  He is the only virtuoso musician produced by the California punk scene, possibly best known for being one of the members of “The MINUTEMEN” and “fIREHOSE”, & more recently for touring with Iggy & the Stooges; my introduction to him was on the “Porno for Pyros” album “Good Gods Urge” attatched is a performance of the song of the same name which is my favorite bass part ever, check his stuff out.  He is adored among musicians despinte the fact that he is far from a household name; in fact the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” dedicated their album “BloodSugarSexMagic” to him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1Y0_T0ou04&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fxiola.org%2Fbored%2Fviewtopic.php%3Ff%3D43%26t%3D13676&feature=player_embedded

John Entwistle of “The Who”.  Wow what hasn’t been said of this guy?  This player reinvented the instrument completely, with his skill, his confidence and his (well justified) ego, he is also hero worshipped by the 2 gentlemen mentioned before him as well as a 3rd (Billy Sheehan) who will be mentioned later on this list.  I found a video of the isolated bass track from “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PZkYxVkFVA

and “The Real Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQk0av8L0oY&feature=related  it’s the John Entwistle band instead of the who unfortunately but it was the best sounding bass in the mix not surprisingly, and since this is about the bass players & everybody knows how great “The Who” is we can move along.

John Deacon of “Queen”.  Why  does everybody forget this guy; he’s fantastic?  Admittedly, being noticed with Freddy Mercury on stage is a challenge to say the least but he is an underrated great bass player and songwriter with fantastic chops.  He is the quintessential tasteful, thoughtful bass player.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxbFLYa0_bw

Victor Wooten.  One of the very few bass players who can make bass a viable solo instrument, just go out and buy “A Show of Hands” the entire album is him & a bass no overdubs, let me say that so it can sink in…   NO OVERDUBS!!! This guy is so good it’s wrong; I’ve also met him once and he is very nice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz7flss0w9Y  That is him playing “Norweigian Wood”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGsW4qtPA2w&feature=PlayList&p=788C6F85745F560D&index=0  My personal favorite Victor playing Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed”, wow.

James Jamerson.  One of Mowtown’s original “Funk Brothers”, is there a Motown song you like? chances are he helped make it a classic; the late great James Jamerson.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KC7uhMY9s  This is my favorite of his bass lines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqtELR5GyfI  here is the part isolated for a closer look.

Jaco Pastorious.  Not only is he the guy who made me (and everybody else) get into fretless bass, the album “Bright Side Life” was the first jazz album I ever owned.  Jaco & I also came from the same part of  South Florida so I can relate to the guy a bit more because of that as he’s the “hometown hero” so to speak.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDQlSSOXU6A  I had to post “Teen Town” and I don’t care what anybody says jazz fusion (least fashionable genre ever according to some) is great.

Rocco Prestia.  When I was about 21 I was drafted into a “Tower of Power” tribute band/ soul review; it was brutal (especially since I was the only guy in the band who wasn’t a retired special forces member–no joke they ran it like boot camp; I’m also fairly certain that I was the only member of the band who hadn’t killed someone with their bare hands but I digress) but it utterly transformed my playing.  Rocco was the Steve Harris of funk with his relentless 16th note grooves.  “What is hip?” says it all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t2g28y7_gM

Paul Mcartney.  Duh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDTi_La94Uo

Billy Sheehan is best known for the “Mr. Big” hit “Be with you” (which has a great bass line by the way) but he’s a great sideman and solo artist.  When I first started playing I would read his column in bass player magazine and through it both got into his work and had my mind opened in several ways.  I’m putting a video of his playing with Steve Vai & david lee roth because I love the interplay and counterpoint between him and Steve in what would otherwise be a pretty goofy song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il4KVUhSdTA 

and this video has smaller hair http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StMtNQkCqUU

Stanley Clarke.  Composer, player, soundtrack artist, ferocious I love his attack and his stuff in general.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0YNehAz7FY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLIUj98rdXc

Flea.  Here again I’m tempted to just say “Duh” and link a clip but I love the way the guy’s playing has grown and matured through the years.  I just love his stuff and it keeps getting better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os3g6ltG_-c

Last but certainly not least the bass world’s resident kook in ameritus the inimitable Les Claypool.  More than a goof he is another player who really opened up my mind to the instrument’s possibilities and brought a little more fun to the plate.  His recent work with Buckethead is also great to hear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npBhCo5KzCI

So there you go, my lucky 13, again they were picked by the amount of direct influence they had on my actual playing.   Some honorable mentions include Bootsy Collins, Andy Rourke of  “the Smiths”, Norwood Fisher,of “Fishbone”, Nathan Watts, Phil Lynott of  “Thin Lizzy”, Cliff Burton, Chuck Rainey, who is a top session player best known for his work with “Steely Dan”, Peter White who is a local musician who I have acres of respect for (also a nod to Scott Avery his guitar playing partner in arms) & Peter Cook of  “New Order“.

Iron Chef Nightmare

Posted in rants on June 6, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

Weirdest dream ever, I dreampt that somehow I was on Iron Chefs and failed so horribly that I wasn’t even able to get out a single dish to the judges.  It started to go downhill when I couldn’t find a steamer tray and got horriffic from there.  It was a shockingly realistic slapstick nightmare of suicidally incompetent cooking on my part; if that had actually been on air I wouldn’t be able to get a job as a busboy.   Luckily it was just a crazy dream; lord knows if it happened to Steve Harris it would end up being the basis for the lyrics of the next big Iron Maiden single (their hit “Number of the Beast was based upon a nightmare that Steve had).    When I told the long suffering friend  Gregg the details of this latest glimpse into the malfunctionings of my psyche, he succinctly stated, “Well, you are a mess Dom, but you knew that.”  Actually I’m not sure if he said mess or train wreck exactly but you get the gist.

Dom’s “Less Trouble than You’d Think”, Stromboli

Posted in Food on June 3, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

The very existence of this dish is in certain ways a perfect glimpse into what is wrong with the basic functioning of my mind. Allow me to explain: since I was unexpectedly off work on Monday, I chivalrously offered to take Charles (the 17 year old who is incapable of noticing ferret shit unless it is vociferously pointed out to him) to school as well as Logan and Kira. The reason that this was such a nice gesture is that it requires getting up at 5 am and driving him to where he is doing the college portion of his dual enrollment, when you factor in the fact that I am far more used to going to bed at 5am then waking at that moment (working nights & all) my body was less than pleased with me.   So as I set my alarm went to take a justly earned nap, you could only imagine my chagrin when I finally woke with the alarm blaring next to me at 1pm I was understandably panicky as I knew I had to shop, prepare dinner, pick up the kids from school, eat & leave for work by 430 pm. For some reason as I was franticly doing my morning routine and racking my brain for dinner ideas some portion of my brain yelled “Stromboli!” and the rest of my brain was too tired/confused to argue. I unapologetically used bagged pizza dough from my local Publix to save time & mess, feel free to make your own dough as there are plenty of recipes available.. This recipe makes 2 large Stromboli and my family made very short work of them; the recipe for the dipping sauce preceded this post so here is the link,

https://kingbiscuitpants.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/doms-%e2%80%9cim-very-ashamed-%e2%80%9d-pizza-sauce/

so let’s get going here.

Ingredients:

2 pounds of risen pizza dough

1 pound ground chuck

16 ounces shredded mozzarella

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces diced ham

one large onion sliced & quartered

2 teaspoons diced garlic

1 diced bell pepper (I prefer the orange ones myself)

salt and black pepper to taste

a dash of cayenne

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried basil

a hefty shake of parsley if you have any lying around

half a pound of frozen chopped turnip greens with bits of diced turnips (you can use spinach or collards as well, I freely admit I intended to get just the turnip greens alone but in my haste I had a happy accident that I thought greatly improved the dish)

Take a large frying pan and sautee the onions, garlic and peppers for a minute or two before tossing in the ground chuck, ham & the spices. When the beef is almost browned toss in the shredded mozzarella & stir vigorously to mix, then add the greens and pre-heat your oven to 450 as you stir the greens into the beef mixture. As soon as the the greens have defrosted and begun to warm turn off the stove and allow it to cool somewhat as you attack the dough. Liberally dose a large baking pan covered with foil with cooking spray, then take your first dough ball and pound and stretch into a crude & ugly looking 10-12 inch disc, then spoon a nice heaping amount of the filling into said disk then fold over the dough and do your best to crimp it closed. If it isn’t hermetically sealed it is no great disaster, repeat the progress with the other dough ball & the remaining mix and toss into the oven for 15 minutes. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your Stromboli in the oven, however, as my oven is electric and behaves like a cranky old man with severe ADD. After you 15 minutes remove from the oven and serve with the aforementioned pizza sauce on the side. Here is a bonus dish, if you have any leftover filling or sauce (I had about 3 or so ounces of filling and an ounce or so of the sauce) take a baguette & split, coat with a touch of olive oil, a spoonful or so of the sauce & spread the filling on top, throwing it into a 3oo degree oven for 5 minutes or so for a nice lunch.

Dom’s “I’m Very Ashamed.” Pizza Sauce

Posted in Food on June 1, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

For those who read my blog regularly (and thanks to both of  you) know that being a fat Italian guy it is required by international law for me to take tomato sauces entirely too seriously, I also have even gone so far as to pen a rambling dissertation, a crazed unified field theory of sauce that I called the “Marinara Manifesto” (if willing to examine my hypocrisy click the following, https://kingbiscuitpants.wordpress.com/2009/02/22/marinara-manifesto/ ) so I am now posting this near antithesis of the rambling sentiments expressed in my earlier post for 3 simple reasons, it used up an open can of tomato paste that I had in the fridge, I needed a sauce to serve with the stromboli I made today (I’ll be posting that soon) & I was in a hurry.  Now I would never serve this over pasta but it is a decent pizza sauce & again it’s quick, cheap & easy.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of olive oil,

½ a can of tomato paste (an ounce or so, doesn’t have to be exact)

2 tablespoons minced garlic,

3 tablespoons of dried basil,

2 tablespoons of dried oregano,

pepper to taste.

1 can of regular condensed tomato soup (hence all the apologies)

Okay, you can teach a chimpanzee to make this.  Grab a small saucepan and toss in the oil & garlic & set to high heat as you open the can of soup. Dump in the soup, paste, spices and give a vigorous stir. When it’s hot you’re done. This certainly takes less than 10 minutes to make and I’m including the time spent rummaging through the cup board muttering obscenities to yourself.. But remember this is only good for pizza; for pasta read that rambling other thing that I have the link to.