01 October 2011


Working my way through revisions on HELLBENDER, the follow-up to THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK and came across one of my favorite passages. To me, this passage embodies the spirit of the book, which is to West Virginia and wilderness as THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK is to music. I'm very excited to be posting it here.

And what're the thistles for?

You'll see. Trust me.

Hellbender Excerpt

THE MUSIC AND PRESTON BLACK, Weird Saturday Edition, UNCLE TUPELO, WMBR, Boston, MA, February 24, 1991

Download the show at Sugarmegs.

Uncle Tupelo
WMBR, Boston, MA
February 24, 1991
Acoustic in-studio appearance

Lineage: FM>Cassette Master>Cassette>DAT (obtained in trade August, 1996)
DAT-> PC (vi Lynx One digital I/O) -> SHN (transfer in 2004)

Size of SHN: 196MB

Total Length: 34:30

1. True To Life
2. D. Boon
3. Whiskey Bottle
4. Screen Door
5. Punch Drunk
6. Watch Me Fall
7. Looking For A Way Out
8. Graveyard Shift
9. Flatness
10. I Wanna Be Your Dog

Note: I just finished reading Greg Kots new book "Wilco: Learning How
to Die". Quite a lot of fun and interesting reading too. In the book,
the band's (to become) manager Toni Margherita is desribed as saying
he didn't think all that much of Uncle Tupelo at first. They were
"OK", for a local band. Tweedy begged him to come see them, but even
after seeing them, he wasn't all that impressed. But, an acoustic
performance in 1988 was different. Margherita is quoted as saying: "Up
till then it had just been a bunch of kids playing with a lot of
energy and volume. But I walked out of there that night thinking that
I should do everything I could to help these guys. I could finally
hear the songs."

That comment resonated with me in that this recording was what first
really got me hooked on UT. Although short, it's wonderful and the
magic is there.


29 September 2011

Notification from: Uniontown Area Education Association

Notification from: Uniontown Area Education Association

This is the email I received yesterday...

Please call your State House Representative immediately and ask them to oppose the Boyd amendment to Senate Bill 389. This amendment would allow school districts to furlough employees without any regard for seniority. Rather, the school boards would be permitted to furlough employees on the basis of test scores or other factors they deem relevant. Further, the legislation would prohibit bargaining over the issue of seniority in future years.

PSEA strongly opposes this language. PSEA, in good faith, negotiated with House and Senate leaders to find compromise language that permitted economic furloughs but maintained seniority rights for professional employees. The Boyd amendment walks is a significant departure from this agreement.

Allowing furloughs to be based on factors other than seniority creates a subjective and arbitrary process that could open the door to abusive employer practices that undermine educational quality. While furloughing the most experienced and educated school employees could result in the greatest cost savings, it also hurts the educational environment. Research tells us educator experience matters for student achievement. Please urge your State House Representative to vote no on the Boyd amendment to Senate Bill 389

The amendment could be voted on as soon as tomorrow, September 28th, so your prompt action to make the call is essential.

Once you’ve made contact with your State Representative, don’t forget to email me or fill out the ACE feedback form at

Thank you, again, for all you do.

27 September 2011

WHAT NOT TO WEAR (to a Social D concert) Guest Commentary by Mikey Rega

Since Jeremy Piven didn't really get into great detail, I had to bring in an expert to sort this concert t-shirt mess out. Mike Rega's statement stands as the final rule regarding all future concert t-shirt disputes.

Here's the question that got the ball rolling:

Heidi wants to know the rule on wearing t-shirts to concerts within genres--specifically, wearing a Dropkick Murphys shirt to a Flogging Molly concert. Both Irish--what's the rule?

Sam and I had an argument over if it was okay to wear a Beatles shirt to the Beatles fest. . . I went with 'yes' because you weren't seeing the Beatles and it was an overall celebration of the Beatles. However, a solo Beatle shirt would be preferred. Also, you couldn't wear any of the Beatles' tribute band's t-shirts if they did indeed have a shirt. You could however wear a shirt of a Beatles tribute band that had appeared at a previous years festival, or a non-festival participating tribute band such as Rain.

There are of course caveats and exceptions to the "don't wear the shirt of the band you are going to see" rule. I believe it is acceptable to wear the shirt of the band you came to support if the band is one of many in a festival lineup. Example, a Rage shirt at Coachella, a Blues Traveler shirt at HOARD, or a Jane's Addiction shirt at Lollapalooza.

I think wearing a DKM shirt to Molly would be acceptable, unless the bands have some sort of rivalry that I'm not aware of (WILCO shirt at a Son Volt show). Might be a little obvious though. I think a Pogues shirt, a 101ers shirt, or a Street Dogs would impress more. Kind of like wearing a Styx shirt to a Kansas concert but overall same musical families.

My whole logic about bands and T-shirts comes from a scene in the movie PCU. My friend Tony violated the rule and we let him have it for like 10 years.


Also, I found this:


The comments are pretty funny.

Q: When, besides festivals, is it okay to wear a band's shirt to their concert? What if it's a vintage T? what if it is a tour shirt purchased on an older tour?

A: I believe wearing a vintage T of the band or an older tour shirt is still being "that guy" . . . It's being "that guy" to a lesser degree, but still counts. There are plenty of other T-shirt options out there and no matter how tattered with credibility your original appears, you would still be a form of "that guy".
At festivals I would have to say 5 bands or more have to be in the lineup. If you went to see Mastodon, Alice N Chains, and the Deftones (who toured together last year), it’s not appropriate to wear any of their shirts. You would wear a related Tee of the band you were there to see. If 5 or more bands with multiple/rotational headliners (outdoor venues only) are in place, go ahead and rock your Tee.

Q: Also, are there any bands that are the exception to this rule (thinking Grateful Dead for some reason) and, if yes, why?

A: I think the exceptions to this rule would be on the small scale show circuit. If you bought a shirt at a concert from a member of the band, an obvious gf or wife of a band member, or a member of the crew who has additional duties within the show, it would be appropriate to wear that t shirt to a show at a later date (you can NEVER put on the shirt you just bought . . . that’s why there are cargo pockets).

EXAMPLE: I saw the Buzz Poets at Pitt-Johnstown in the late 90’s and I bought a shirt before the show. The guy who was selling the shirts was also running sound (from the same location). It would be a judgment call to wear that shirt if you ever saw the Buzz Poets again.

Also, Back In Time Band is a perfect example. Their shirts are made in such a limited number that wearing one is showing membership to an exclusive inner circle.

Q: Also, and this the last one, what about movies or TV shows associated with a band--YELLOW SUBMARINE(supposing the Beatles were still around), THE WALL, etc? Is this a loophole?

A: I think THE WALL is too obvious, YELLOW SUBMARINE is a non-applicable perfect world scenario that would mean the Beatles are still together, and movie shirts in general are hard to find. A proper band related film could be acceptable though. If the film Tee is a concert DVD, such as PJ’s IMMAGINE IN CORNICE or Dave’s LISTENER SUPPORTED, then I’d have to go with no. If you were to wear a SINGLES shirt to PJ, or a BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE shirt to Dave, you would get mad props from the crowd for your amazingly obscure Tee. John Howard has a Citizen Dick shirt he has worn to see PJ and he always gets big ups and fist bumps from strangers.
A related record label or a geographically relevant to the band record store or bar would be a better choice of attire. One of my old neighbors in Pittsburgh was able to meet Mike McCready because he was wearing an Easy Street Records t-shirt.

Some random thoughts and specific examples:

-The T shirt rule does not apply to opening acts. It’s acceptable to wear the T shirt of the opening act if the opening act is considered obscure. You can wear a Band of Horses Tee if they are opening up for someone much larger, but not a Band of Horses Tee if they are the main act.

-It is completely acceptable to wear a Joe Grushecky shirt to see the Boss, but would be considered a slap in the face if you wore a Boss shirt to go see Grushecky.

-It is also considered acceptable to wear a Donnie Iris shirt at anytime including a Donnie Iris show; bonus points if you pull it off on the Gateway Clipper.

-I think Jay Farrar would get mad at you if you wore a WILCO shirt to see him, but Tweedy would think it’s funny if you wore a Son Volt shirt to see him. He might even rant about it.

After some research, I may have 2 exceptions to concerts where you are supposed to wear the T shirt of the band. Kiss and Iron Maiden see to be the exceptions. Unwritten rule is you are supposed to wear your oldest, most obscure, vintage band shirt to see Kiss or Maiden. Old tour shirts will gain you crowd cred while a shirt you got a Hot Topic last week will have people calling you a fag in no time.

I guess you do wear you Steeler jersey to Heinz Field . . .

Why Indies (and WILCO) Rule!

Tony Margherita, Manager of Wilco & dBpm Records sent this to Wilco's mailing list regarding the release of the band's new album, THE WHOLE LOVE. One of the coolest things about the record, to me, at least, is they they released it themselves on their own label. I love what this world's coming to.

Greetings everyone,

Well, we made it. Wilco's The Whole Love is officially out and available in the U.S., Canada, Europe & U.K., Australia, NZ and beyond. Soon we'll be popping a cork here at HQ because that alone feels like a hell of an accomplishment.

That celebratory feeling brings with it a moment of introspection, because really, what would accomplishment be without it? We were talking this morning and thinking back a few years to the first discussions of starting our own label. It took a while for circumstances to line up in a way that let us pull it off, but today, as we release our first full-length recording on dBpm, I remembered a list of reasons, both pro and con, that I'd written in a notebook when we were debating it. There were a lot of obvious pros and some pretty heavy cons, but the one "pro" that was in big BOLD letters at the top of my list was our confidence in you, the band's fans or the "community," as they call it now. Just like when all that stuff went down way back when (you've probably seen the movie) -- the reason we felt confident that we could persevere, stream YHF, and keep on touring was because we had faith in you. We believed that you'd understand that we needed you to participate when the record finally did come out, and vote with your feet and, yeah, with your dollars. We needed you to buy that record despite the fact that it had been kicking around for a while and to support the band, regardless of what label appeared on the back of the album cover. And of course, you did, in droves.

Things are obviously a lot different now, but it's still because of your support (yeah, we're blaming you) that we felt confident enough to go out and try to prove something yet again (as much to ourselves as to the world outside) -- that we can pull this off on our own terms. In an era where the corporate giant seems to reign supreme pretty much across the board, thanks for enabling us to give this a shot.

So, to summarize: we need you to get out there today, tomorrow or soon and support Wilco, support the new label venture, and support music retail. You can do it all in one fell swoop, here. We promise we'll be pretty much back to normal correspondence -- gig announcements, free streams, etc. very soon.

In the meantime, thanks to all of you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting the band for the 15-plus years you have. Here's to many more.

Cheers & happy Wilco release day.


Tony Margherita, Manager
Wilco & dBpm Records

Check out Wilco at wilcoworld.net.