SpaceCat Blog: Happy Late New Year!

Planet 9 Film Fest 2019 @ Ant Hall in Hamtramck, Michigan

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m late again. What else is new? It has been a LONG time since my last original post. I will summarize a bit.

Planet 9 Film Fest went well in October. Got to meet up with friends I haven’t seen in awhile. Saw some creative movies and great bands again.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all went well. Mostly, it was dinner with family at my grandmother’s house.

Unfortunately, there was a death in my family, my great aunt. Shortly afterward, a friend of twenty years also died. I’m getting older. Everybody is dying.

There have been very few mechanical problems with my car during the past year, thank god. I’ve managed to stay on top of things like that. Thankfully, I don’t have to commute every day to a shitty job I hate, anymore, with little time or energy left to work on music & art. So, it turned out, disability was a blessing in disguise.

For me, creativity is how I keep my sanity. It is more of a compulsion than a hobby. Gotta get the demons out of my head, somehow. Trouble is, it is easier to get started than to finish anything. Distractions and mental instability are frequent problems. Then, I get upset at myself for not meeting my own self-imposed expectations and deadlines. I have to figure out how I can get out of my own way. Occasionally, I’ll try different things I’ve discovered that seem to work, temporarily, until I backslide again. This usually happens when I forget my meds and don’t get enough sleep. Then, I struggle to get back on track with everything again. It is very hard to focus when this happens. Maybe there isn’t a permanent fix to this.

I’ve had many projects partially completed for a long time now. Most of the work is already done. But, to get things finished I have had to learn (the hard way) to slow down and just do one thing at a time, instead of piling on everything at once. I’m terrible at multi-tasking.

One positive thing to come from all these delays is that I have gone back to some things I’ve done and made improvements. So, Theee Urban Spacecat #3 looks a lot better than it did before. There still isn’t enough completed music to go with it, though. Same goes for issues #4, 5, 6, and 7.

With the next cassette-zine issue being recorded, I am working on more material that I can perform live by myself. I would like to prepare my car to travel a lot in the next couple of months, play some local shows, and eventually go on a mini-tour to New York and back. I HATE booking venues, though. It is not something that I look forward to. Bottom line, I want to insure that everything goes smoothly and I, at least, don’t lose any money or kill my car in the process. If it is just me and one other person coming along, that should keep the overhead low.

I have been making some neato t-shirts & stuff. So, that has been a nice creative outlet, for me. If it can also generate a little revenue that would be pretty awesome. I had hoped that YouTube could be a viable source of income. But, all the policy and algorithm changes they’ve made makes that feel very unlikely. The FTC COPPAcolypse is approaching, too. So, many content creators may be forced out. Who knows? I’m watching to see how this fiasco plays out.

I’m just gonna keep doing what I do, in my little corner. I’ll put some of it out there somehow, eventually.

2019… So Far, So Good… I Guess.

Almost done........................
Almost done…………………….

Time still flies when you aren’t having any fun. I am absolutely certain that time speeds up as you age. That is why old people wear clothes that are out of style. It was still in fashion just a minute ago, for them.

I was planning to include a vlog today, since vlogging is meant to be half of these posts. But, honestly, I don’t have anything worth videotaping right now. I also don’t have any new paintings to show.

2019 is speeding by, just like the past few years have. WTF is wrong with me? Besides the usual shit? Things actually are going pretty okay right now. I had a few rough months between December and February. That mess is finally settled, notwithstanding my growing piles of debt.

I have a list of folks waiting for Theee Urban SpaceCat cassette-zine. I have been digging through stacks of demo tapes and gigabytes of incomplete data trying to finish it. I have enough material already done for a complete issue or two… or three. But, I have spread it out over several zines. I didn’t like the way it was when I compiled it all together. So, I am filling each issue, finishing each song, one-at-a-time. A friend suggested that I do this to get myself focused, instead of hopping all over the place like I usually do. Get one thing done. Then, move on to the next thing. This approach seems to be pushing the process along, I suppose. Creating the equivalent of two double albums every few months is kinda hard when doing it all alone and you keep shooting yourself in the foot. Everything is absurdly late getting it out.

I asked around about getting my mixes mastered. But, I cannot afford to do it, not entire albums anyway. I might have one or two singles mastered for radio… maybe. The rest will just have to be a raw mix.

I am waiting for the government to process some of my tax shit, so I can finish setting up the business side of things. They’re still catching up from the Trumptard shutdown a few weeks ago. It has delayed everything. I’m never happy dealing with that sort of stuff. But, I anxiously want to get it done and out of the way.

Here is a Daniel Johnston song from my record collection for you. I get the same feeling myself sometimes. I am always starting my life over again… and again… and again… and again….

Hardhead

never-give-up-cbfb

One of my biggest strengths (and weaknesses) is persistence. I have been told several times that I “don’t know when to quit.” That can be either a good thing or a bad thing, I guess, depending on the circumstances. I may have setbacks, which slow me down, change how I do things, or have to fight with my own brain, sometimes. But, I still keep trying.

A really cool drummer guy has unfriended me on FB and dropped out of our FB group. Admittedly, it is entirely my fault. I have been lost in my own headspace again, losing touch with everybody for too long. He feels like I have used and neglected him, which wasn’t my intention at all. I honestly get fixated on one thing or another and lose track of everything else. It happens to me all of the time. Does that make me a bad person or just a bad friend?

My social skills are shit and my behavior can sometimes be erratic.
So, I don’t think being in bands long-term are ever gonna work out for me.
It never does. But, the music scene is just about the only social life that I have, playing with other musicians, performing at gigs, etc. So, I guess doing short-term projects with other people is the only way I’m going to remain active in that community. I mean, I’m stubborn. I know this shit isn’t going to work out. But, I keep doing it anyway. Maybe admitting that, to myself, is the only way for me to move forward with anything.

 

New Comic Book Available!

timanderic_cc_402_pt2-02

Hello, I received a message from David Liebe Hart, from the Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! He finally raised enough funds to publish the comic book that I and others contributed to several months ago. The text is below, if you are interested.


Hello friends of David.  We are excited to announce the Kickstarter campaign for our comic book, Heartman, starring David as the superhero who, along with his sidekick Chip, must save the universe from his evil nemesis Dr. Pain.  Each of the beautiful 44 pages is illustrated by a different artist including DLH himself.  With about 5 days to go we’ve reached our goal to raise enough money to order 250 full-color, finely crafted copies for $1500.  You can order your David-signed copy now.  There are also some exclusive rewards for donating extra $.  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/884844058/david-liebe-hart-of-tim-and-eric-in-heartman-comic

August’s west coast tour will go from San Diego CA to Bellingham WA, and will have David joined by a 3-piece space-rock band led by Mo Troper.  September-October’s tour, ranging from Las Vegas to Detroit to Boise, will feature me, Jonah, playing David’s backing music and video projection, along with support acts Chip The Black Boy and Whatever Your Heart Desires.  Details and tickets for all the shows will gradually be updated at http://ArtByLiebeHart.com/shows in the coming weeks, but at the bottom of this I’ll paste complete details for the August shows.
And your subscriber’s exclusive this month is an alternate version of the song “Martin Lawrence Show Dream” from the forthcoming David & Jad Fair album – http://hartandhartmann.com/martin%20lawrence%20show%20dream%20-%20draft2.mp3
❤ Jonah
for David Liebe Hart

LOS ANGELES CA 8/5
The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm (7pm doors), 21+
Support: Adult Karate, Martin Martins, R. Clown
 
SAN DIEGO CA 8/6
Queen Bee’s, 3925 Ohio St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), all ages
Support: Legion X, The Gay Agenda
 
PALM SPRINGS CA 8/7
Ace Hotel, 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, FREE, 9pm, 21+
 
SANTA CRUZ CA 8/8
Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave, $8 advance, $10 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Support: TBA
 
SAN FRANCISCO CA 8/9
Knockout, 3223 Mission St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Support: Chaki, Tabor Mountain, Eric Cash
 
SACRAMENTO CA 8/10
Highwater, 1910 Q St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm (8pm doors), 21+
Support: Skrrt, Vandalaze, Awkward Cougar, Mike Calvin, Mars Parker
 
ARCATA CA 8/11
The Miniplex @ Richard’s Goat, 401 I St, $10 advance, $12 door, 9pm, 21+
Support: Dr. Foxmeat, TBA
 
MEDFORD OR 8/12
Johnny B’s, 120 E 6th St, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm (7pm doors), 21+
Support: Iconoplasty, The Juniper Berries, Sound Of The Skeptic
 
EUGENE OR 8/14
Secret location TBA, $8 advance, $10 door, 
Support: Steak Richardson, Turtlenecked
 
SALEM OR 8/15
The Space, 1128 Edgewater St NW, $10 advance, $12 door, 6:30pm (6pm doors), all ages
Support: Chief Crow & The Flat Earthworms, Percy Lounge, Vortex Remover
 
PORTLAND OR 8/16
Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave, $10 advance, $12 door, 8pm, 21+
Support: Nasalrod, Dim Wit, Tig Bitty, Jay Shingle
 
OLYMPIA WA 8/17
Le Voyeur, 404 4th Ave E, $8 advance, $10 door, 7:55pm (7:30 doors), all ages
Support: The Deceptives, Sunstang, Skrill Meadow, Bananas Foster
 
SEATTLE WA 8/18
Highline Bar, 210 Broadway E, $12 advance, $14 door, 9pm, 21+
Support: Hangry Hayrabs, Porn Bloopers
 
BELLINGHAM WA 8/19
Bellingham Alternative Library, 519 E Maple St, $10 advance, $12 door, 8:30pm (7:30 doors), all ages
Support: TBA
 
SPOKANE WA 8/20
Big Dipper, 171 S Washington St, $8 advance, $10 door, 7:30pm (7pm doors), 18+
Support: Itchy Kitty, Bandit Train, The Midnight Goats

Making Movies, For the Hell of It

horror

I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.

As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.

The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.

I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.

The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way,  it shares some similarities to The Banana SplitsThe Archies, or Green Jellö. Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.

I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.

My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.

Bad Car Mojo

bad car mojo

Vehicle repair has been the bane of my existence, for decades. I can usually only afford cheap transportation. So, I get nickel-and-dimed to death keeping them running. On the rare occasions that I have had decent quality cars, they always got totalled within a year. My current ride, a 1994 Chevy Astro Van, has been with me for four years. That is a pretty long time compared to most of the others I have owned, which were replaced very frequently. I’ve made a few modifications, like taking out the rear seats and discarding some panels. But, that is an ongoing process. I had hoped to prepare it for full-time living, for extended periods of time, should I suddenly become homeless. I’m paranoid like that.

I bought it in 2014, from an aunt’s neighbor, for $700. It had been dormantly parked in her driveway, untouched, for several years. I knew it would cost me a lot more, over time. When I bought it, it already had a bent frame, oil leaks, radiator problems, and a thousand other things wrong with it. Most of those I STILL haven’t fixed. Then, there are more pieces falling apart all of the time.

A few days ago I had a flat tire, again. The same wheel keeps going flat. I have replaced that tire at least five times, by now. The rim was inspected and I was told that it was okay. So, I just kept replacing tires when the old ones gave out. This tire kept getting low every couple of days and I would air it up at a nearby Belle Tire before it went completely flat. But, this last time, I tried to inflate the tire and it was totally shredded! I had no way to get the van home without bending the holy fuck out of the wheel. So, I went inside and told them my problem. I also told them about the wheel wobbling all of the time, possibly due to a bad tie rod or ball joint. So, maybe they will look at that, too. It could cost a few hundred dollars. But, either way, I have no money… AT ALL, to pay for it. I applied for credit there, hoping to make payment arrangements. Haven’t heard back from them, yet, about the van or the credit. I’m not very optimistic.

I asked if they would check my transmission. But, they don’t do transmissions. I’m still hoping that it is something minor I can fix by myself.

Things like this keep me perpetually in a bad mood. As negative as I always am, I don’t need much to already be in one and this doesn’t help. I’m trying to take my mind off of it with music & art. I opened a Ko-Fi account online, specifically for such repairs, if anybody wants to chip in a few bucks. There are no obligations. It isn’t a monthly pledge service, like Patreon. I’m only using it for specific goals – in this case, fixing the van.

Guess I will get back to work and leave you alone. Later.

download

Gear Geeked

Mike Nobody Bass 02 - Jaguar Urge Bass

I was going through my hard drive, looking at designs for new guitars and custom instruments. I didn’t know if anybody would care about this sort of thing, except other musicians… maybe. Of course, lacking any money, I build these things as opportunities come along. I can probably work on the cheaper ones for awhile.

I always liked the customized design of Jimmy Page’s Les Paul Guitars, with push-pull knobs enabling coil-tapping and phase-shifting. But, I like baritone guitars a lot, too. The first draft at my version went something like this:

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jimmy Page Les Paul Baritone Guitar

I kept making further refinements. Although Les Pauls have a nice tone, the original construction needs work. The headstocks are notorious for breaking easily. So, I changed it to a Zachary Guitars “samurai sword” style headstock. Also, I prefer guitar bodies with an offset waist, for comfort. So, I would keep the maple top mahogany body, just shape it more comfortably like a Fender Jazzmaster or Jaguar.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar Baritone GuitarNegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar Baritone Guitar 2NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Jazzguar 3 Baritone Guitar

I played around with different pickup configurations, different woods, a graphite reinforced neck, etc.. I gave a Fender Bass VI style body a try.

MIKE NOBODY GUITAR 3

Mike Nobody Bass - Bass VIMike Nobody Bass 02 - Bass VI

Then, I moved on to basses. I want to combine a Fender Jazz, Precision, and Rickenbacker style tones together. Maybe a Gibson Thunderbird. Maybe not. But, I know it would not sound like any of them if I tried to do that. A close approximation would be nice, though.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Mike Nobody Jaguar bassMike Nobody Bass 01 - Jaguar Urge Bass

It is possible that the only way around this is to build a different one for each specific tone. But, I thought about including Line 6 Variax Bass wiring hooked to a piezo pickup for variety. Not sure if it would work.

This is all out of my price range, for now. I considered having the body made, then adding parts as I go along. The neck is the most expensive piece. I don’t know to what degree solid graphite necks can be customized. Having a comfortable neck is very important. I think a “Soft V” contour is the right shape for me. But, I’m not sure. If a pro shop could work out details like that with me it would be extremely helpful.

Making experimental “noise machines” is a lot easier for me to put together on a low budget. The most common that I like making are basically stringed instruments built from scrap wood and junk.

NEGATIVEM ELECTRIC HARP

Anything that makes a sound is fair game, though.

NegativeM Smash TableNegativem Rattle of DOOM!NegativeM Penny JarNegativeM Grinding PipeNegativeM Grinding MicNegativeM The WheelNegativeM Devil's DJ Turntable redNegativem CIRCUIT-BENT MYSTERY BOX

One thing that I thought about getting, for a long time, is a DJ rack case & table. It could store all sorts of effects, make room to operate small devices, and give me something to stand behind. But, they aren’t cheap. This is at the very bottom of my wishlist.

NegativeM+ Mike Nobody Rack

So, there it is. That is just some of the things I’ve been working on, for a long time. I’ll probably build the noise machines sooner than the rest. It would great if I could scrape together enough money to do the basses / guitars, though. I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing until then.