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At last you can get your Jazzed Desserts!

After much fumbling about and a truly hideous number of hours editing, I’ve finally put together a show based on an idea I got from Fran Snyder of ConcertsInYourHome.com.

They’re essentially a “mini house concert.” A brief gathering of friends for food, conversation and live music in an intimate and approachable setting. They’re easy and inexpensive to host. They’re strictly acoustic so you won’t upset the neighbors. (But you should invite them, they’re a great way to strengthen existing friendships and forge new ones.)

I’m available solo for these shows and with my duo, Hobbit & Hare. Currently we’re limiting this to the greater Seattle area, but we could be convinced to roam a bit farther in the future.

Find out all the details here.

The Moisture Festival: Outliers and Oddities

This is a great article about Seattle’s most excellent Moisture Festival and what makes it tick. It was written by Susan W. Kemp for HowlRound, “…a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision—in an effort to enliven the fields of theatre and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike.”

In paragraph 4 she gives a nice shoutout to the Snakez, recalls Say Hello To Mr. Snake (our “theme song”), and even says something nice about me.


the mighty Snakez

Check out the article and let me know what you think. And for goodness sake, if you’re in Seattle for any part of its run this spring, check out the Moisture Festival!

High Tech vs Music

Many net wonks praise high tech for all the benefits it has given to indie musicians, and lots of times that’s true. Other times it’s more like a drain of energy that should be put into, you know, making music. It shouldn’t be this way, but there you have it.

Two quick examples:
1. I’ve been trying for months now to move all of the “music biz related” computer things I do (social networks, blogging, calendar, etc.) over to my tablet. I spend a lot of time away from home, waiting to play. I’d like to be able to make good use of that time.

This should not only be simple, it should be a done thing by now. But nope. Still can’t do my newsletter from the tablet, despite having the app for it. And it’s one of the big time eaters which leads to it being one of the things I’m worst at keeping up with. Other things are possible, but finicky.

I will say it’s better than when I started, but it’s eaten a big chunk of time just getting to the OK stage.

2. Bugs and upgrades. The former cause things like having to release my most recent video again this morning. This includes traipsing around to all the places I talked about it so I can edit the new link in. Ah! but those places have their own bugs, making me just delete and redo the posts.

Upgrades are all groovy, as long as you don’t mind (or in my case, can afford) buying new hardware on their schedule.

Yep, I’m whining because I just wanna bang on my ukulele all day.

Seriously though, I don’t mind doing the other stuff. It’s part of the brave new music world. But I’ve got to get the ratio of “actual music making” to “other biz chores” to favor the music part a bit whole lots more.

Another Fresh Video

And so soon! I tell you, we live in the age of miracles.

This is a song I wrote about 8 years ago. It’s been recorded a couple times but the only video of it — Snake Suspenderz playing the tune at a little jazz club in Ballard — is a mess. Not only was it shot with an extremely cheap camera (making the whole band look orange), but I managed to completely vapor lock on the lyrics. Brain just froze right up.

This caused me to call for lots of solos. In fact, the only reason I’ve left it online is because one of them was a great mouth trumpet solo by our then bass player, Dean Hedges.

(There’s more info below the video.)

Daisy Fraser

(If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, you can click on the song title to view it on YouTube.) EDIT 9-10-2015: I accidentally deleted the video so this is a re-upload. I’ll be editing the songsheet to reflect the new link as well.

About The Humbone
Some years back my friend Captain Swing was putting a band together to play at a festival in Bonney Lake and he asked me to play washboard in it. At our first (and possibly only… the mind fades) rehearsal I noticed this two-ish foot length of brass horn with a kazoo jammed into the small end. I pointed at it and cleverly quipped, “dafuq?” He demonstrated it and I had to have one.

I asked around on the interwebs and it turns out I knew a school music teacher who had access to “a whole closet fully of trashed instruments.” For the mere price of postage he sent me a chunk of dead trombone. I hacksawed off the piece I needed, faked a stand for it from a cheap folding music stand (duct tape, the handyman’s friend), and jammed the requisite kazoo into it. It was all mine!

Then, over the next decade or thereabouts, it was used at maybe 2 or 3 gigs. The rest of the time it just took up space and collected dust. So I am very happy to unleash it on the world. All hail the Infamous Humbone, Overlord of Kazoo Excess!

Speaking Of Kazoos
A while back I wanted a wazoo. I couldn’t find one locally so I went to order it online. The price was right, but the shipping was more than the price of the wazoo!


the great wazoo

Heck of a lot smaller and lighter than the humbone, eh? I ended up adding two basic metal kazoos to the order and the shipping felt a bit more reasonable. Can’t have too many kazoos, amirite?

When it came time to make the video I dug one of the (still brand new) metal kazoos and used it in the humbone. I screwed up the first couple takes but the third take was just bombing along. Until about halfway through the solo when the cheapo diaphragm blew out. Took the pizazz right out of the sound.

There’s a serious problem in Kazoo Kwality Kontrol.

Luckily I had bought two. The second one held up all the way through the 4th (and final) take.

Now It’s Your Turn
If you want to try the tune yourself, you can download a free pdf of the arrangement. It’s arranged for C-tuned ukulele, but other instruments will work too. Just ignore the ukulele chord diagrams and play the proper fingering for your instrument.

Hope you enjoy the video. Share it around, please!

Just Posted A New Video

But first, a few words about sub-tasks
They’re killing me.

I don’t know what kind of “spectrum” OCD has, but I’m certainly on it somewhere. This leads to the situation where I’m wanting to make a video but first I gotta do this and then I gotta do that and oh! I should see if so-and-so can play a lead on it and and and… ad nauseum. It’s the old saw “perfect is the enemy of good” beautifully illustrated. I end up not getting anything done.

So this time I decided not to bother with multi-camera shoots, guest stars, locations, etc. I simply went back to how I did my early videos, except for with a better camera and software.

So I present for your delectation, a “naughty” ditty from the early 1930s, written by a popular British band leader named Harry Roy and his friend Anthony Fanzo. It’s called…

My Girl’s Pussy

(If the embedded video doesn’t work for you click on the linkified title to view it on YouTube.)

I learned this tune a number of years back when Paul Moore (of Ukuleles For Peace fame) visited me in Seattle. He had flown in from Israel for reasons that escape me now and we had a nice strum and beer fest in me and my sweetie’s tiny downtown studio apartment.

For some reason I got it in my head that it was a relatively modern tune penned by R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders. It took me the longest time to get that one straightened out. But they did do a killer version.

The sudden glances down at the ukulele near the end of the video are because, despite 50-odd hours of practice on it lately, I still haven’t quite adjusted to the smaller scale length on the sopranino ukulele. Some of the chords towards the dusty end of the fretboard are still hard to grab with my big, square paws.

I hope you like the vid! Please share it around and/or say nice things about it if you do. That’s more helpful than I can tell you and I sure appreciate it.

And BTW… the tiger’s name is Blake, he really does belong to my girl, he just lives in my room.

All About That Bee

I was waiting to play my first set this morning and chatting with my friend (and fellow uke freak) Dan, when something hit the side of my face. And stuck. So I flicked it off.

Turns out it’s a bee. And it stung me, smack on the tip of my right index finger. This digit is also known as the main ukulele strumming finger.

Now, I don’t think it had time to get the complete plunger action going. There was no stinger stuck in me and it didn’t swell up nor even redden the skin. But it did burn like a son of a bitch for five or so minutes.

By the time we (as in “me and Hare”) started playing it had pretty much completely calmed down. As it happens, it turned out to be a good set. Now I’m waiting to play another hour.

And watching out for bees.