Ask Dr. Gretz







January 2010

2010 - The Year We Make Contact

2009 was relatively satisfying as it saw the release of the latest ZAO album and a handful of shows, and the Emanuel and the Fear EP, an album by a great band I played with here in NY called Private Income, and more of the covers I recorded with Austrian Death Machine. I did a bunch of other recordings/session work that have not seen the light of day (soon though, E&TF full length being one of them).

On the live front I did some fun one-off gigs this year: A live improvised soundtrack to Kenneth Anger's "Lucifer Rising" with James Plotkin. A drum/clarinet improv duo with Jeremiah Cymerman, some beatnick/poetry jazz with Lee Todd Lacks, played a handful of shows with the lo-fi weirdness of Landofthesilverjets, a Hallowe'en gig with NY metal-proggers HUNG and even helped out as musical director on a DVD with Marky Ramone.

It must be noted I also played two of the strangest gigs of my life this year. The first was me taking part in a 25 person choir with Stars Like Fleas at the Museum of Modern Art. The other gig involved me playing on a rooftop in the rain, eating a tarantula and getting kicked out of the building by the Department of Homeland Security. An all around success.

I am, however, growing consistently frustrated with the current state of recorded music. While I myself appreciate the ease and convenience of digital music (both in terms of finding out about new bands and having it be somewhat portable) I am extremely frustrated with the fact that the physical age seems to be dying. I've often said that as a musician, when my "life's work" is reduced to a series of nothing but format dependent 1s and 0s I would be out. That's not true, but the thought of spending, time, blood, sweat and tears (and money) on something that will just be thrust into a crappy sounding digital format is not exactly making me rush around to make recordings of my own music. The upswing of vinyl is a push in the right direction though and makes me think there are still old curmudgeons out there like me that still like to sit down, with no distractions, and LISTEN to music, and take in the cover art, obsess over the liner notes and actually feel like I INVESTED in something. I still own the first record I ever bought. I had a hard drive go somewhat wonky and lose a bunch of music (but I still have the cds I bought as backup). Oh well, come back in 5 years and I'll tell you all about the good old days of going to the record store.

As of this writing, I'm being disappointed with NFL football, smelling the home made bread baking in the kitchen and being very optimistic about this even numbered year. More gigs and recordings from Emanuel and the Fear on the horizon for this year and ZAO is in writing mode again, but we're in no hurry. Maybe even some new music from ME. Still wrapping up/recording a solo-percussion album and working on some more jazzy type stuff.

Onwards and upwards!