Archive for August, 2010

The Story of the Guitar Case

Hello Fez Monkey fans! Uh…Clem (AKA Jim) has a most entertaining story to share with you all. Check it out.

The Webmistress,
~Ima Twisted Snag~

*******************************

Here’s my story, told in mostly email exchanges between me and  John L, from the Houston, TX area.   I wanted a good, sturdy guitar case for one of my guitars.  I found one on Ebay.  The price was really good, and won the auction.

The seller sent me a tracking number that was supposed to be for UPS.  I checked the UPS site a few time, but they had no record of it.  After two days I emailed the seller to see what happened.  He checked on it and found that his shipper had actually used Fedex instead of UPS.  He gave me the actual shipping charges, and offered to pay me for any excess that I had paid.

OK.  This is a pretty boring story so far, but stay with me here.

I emailed him back, telling him that his cost was more than I had paid, and offered to send him the difference ($1.27 by the way).  This is where it starts to get interesting.

John L:  “Then I demand you play a song for me, at your leisure, as repayment. Make it something snappy, maybe ragtime.”
Jim:  “… since you asked, here  it is –>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyNhcEjSoLE

Hope you like it.  I’m not playing guitar here, but the guitar being played is one of mine.  I’m the guy with the upright bass.”  (The youtube link is a video from last year’s Jugband Jubilee in Louisville.)

John L:  “OK, now this is just getting weird. I had no idea you were THAT Jim Stone. I love your band – I must admit I bought it for the cover art alone and the fact that the CD is great is just a huge bonus.
…I am a big jug band, ragtime, etc fan, being a big fan of Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys, R Crumb of course, the Juggernauts, the recently departed (or still departing) Asylum Street Spankers, and, well, those dang Smokin Fez Monkeys! It was through this side of things that I found my mandolin of choice – a wood bodied National RM1, which with Jazzmando strings and a thickish Blue Chip pick, loses the metallic sound, gives a warm wooden tone, and it becomes the ultimate instrument for playing Irish dance music on – mandolin sound that can stand up to a bunch of other loud instruments. And as we speak, Keith Cary is making me a commodium mandolin (bed pan for the body). I know your mandolin player uses a National steel bodied mando (I think anyway).

So you may not have known you were buying this case from a fan, an instrument builder, and all that. Small world indeed. Go Monkeys!!!
PS, I am also weird enough to understand the “Uh, Clem” thing. Now I have to dig out some Firesign LPs when I get home!”
Jim:  “Weird doesn’t even begin to describe this coincidence.  How did you hear about us?”

John L:  “Not sure how I heard of you guys. When you like oddball music, google is your friend for sure. (When I took up these pipes, it took months to get any info and that was from an English record label, but now, it takes one google and you get all you could ask for.) I may have been looking around at CD Baby or somewhere. It may have been finding a festival that someone I like was playing at and seeing who else was there.”
So, at this point I HAD to send him the new cd.  John, I hope you like it.
Jim

Advertisements

CD Release Party Afterthoughts

Our CD release party Saturday, August 7th at the Kent Stage was a phenomenal success! We hand lettered gift bags of monkey junk for a hundred people, and about half of them showed up to claim their prizes of peanuts, pretzels, buttons, stickers, party squawkers, and certified official genuine authentic Smokin’ Fez Monkeys kazoos. We can only assume that the other half got their information from the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s delightful pictorial on us that announced we’d be there on Sunday.

Unprompted, the audience began blowing the party squawkers after each number to enhance their applause, and the ensuing racket was so beautiful that uh, Clem sprang for a gross of them to pass out at future gigs. His financial sense is often called into question.

When Princess Petunia noted that to play the kazoo and the squawker at the same time, you’d have to use both nostrils, Rattletrap Jack retorted, “That’s how we tested ’em. Every single one.” Everybody drew a breath to say “ewww” and then realized he was joking.

The new monkey cannon, sorry to say, was a complete failure. Bullfrog Plunket did manage to get it designed, built, broken and repaired in time for the show, but the stuffed monkeys were a tiny bit wider than the cardboard tube and flew only a few inches, if they made it out of the barrel. No problem, thought we, the monkeys have stretch tubing arms and are designed for flinging – just have Gnarly Snag stick their hands together with the velcro tabs, pull back on the feet and let fly like a big rubber band. Except when he tried that, the velcro failed and the monkeys just snapped backwards. So he just ended up tossing them into the crowd in exasperation. Better comedy than we could ever have planned, but maybe we should stop buying promotional items at garage sales.

Hey, maybe we can modify the cannon to shoot all those squawkers uh, Clem bought.

At the break, we all went to the lobby for free hot dogs and raw veggies, signed autographs, gabbed with friends, and sold out our entire order of 1,000 CD’s, except for about 968 of them.

In the back half of the show, we were joined by Jackelope John on mandolin and Old Man Fred, World’s Nicest Man on acoustic jug, and Silly Bill on the electric jug, after convincing him it was perfectly safe, even though it dribbled. Backwards Darb Notlob joined us for a number on the turkey baster, which he plays with astonishing tone and accuracy. Freestyle jamming was the order of the day, and it sounded almost like music.

Then as Bullfrog demonstrated how the cannon didn’t work, Rattletrap Jack disappeared for the second time, presumably to take another phone call, and reappeared in the guise of a giant chicken.

We noticed most of the members of Rio Neon were in the audience, so we insulted them. Then we thanked Chris the sound man for his fine work and insulted him for making Bullfrog’s instrument sound like a banjo.

We closed out the evening with our favorite polka, for which Rattletrap Jack, now out of the chicken costume except for the feet, debuted the catastrophonium which appeared to be the aftermath of a terrible accident in a second hand store.

Great fun was had by all on stage and in the seats.