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Mike and the Moosecanics

Mike and the Moosecanics In the 80's I was roommates with a guy who was a VW mechanic named Mike.

Mike was a great guy, really, and he was really interested in the fact I could play music and write songs. We shared a house, and I took over the living room as my studio. Eventually, Mike started buying equipment for me, like an electric guitar and keyboards. I said, great, you should go take lessons like I did and learn how to play. He didn't really want to do that, he said, he just wanted me to be able to use the stuff to record my tunes, and could I find a way to let him participate?

Why, sure I could, and thus you have Mike and the Moosecanics, named after Mike and the Mechanics.

Glorious, No-Fi Recording Fidelity

I didn't have a four-track or anything fancy like that to work with. What I had was two cassette decks, a Radio Shack two-channel mixer, a Radio Shack reverb unit, my darling solid Maple American-made Fender Precision Bass, an amp, my Casio SK-1, a microphone, and Mike's electric guitar and Casio keyboard (with PCM drums). And a lot of patience. This was the same time period where I recorded my Primitive Moose material, and as I note there, basically you had to do a take from start to finish. No punch-in, get it right or do it over. Still, it worked and I found ways to let Mike contribute to these recordings.

All Right, Everybody, All Right!

One time, Mike had some friends of his (or friends of friends, I don't remember) come over to the house for a jam session. It was nothing very memorable, except the drummer was this wild man. He asked to sing at one point, and we got a mic hooked up to him. He just started yelling, in a high-pitched voice, All Right! Everybody! ALL RIGHT! over and over. It was bizarre. After they left, Mike and I were laughing about the guy and started imitating him. So his inspiration makes it into these recordings.

G*d-Da**ed-Ti**y-S*cking-Blue-Ball-B*tch (so many *'s you know it's NSFW)

For my first collaboration with Mike, I had a Ramones-esque rocker in mind. I asked Mike if he could come up with song lyrics. He said he didn't think so, but I said "just come up with some rhymes". He recalled this dirty poem from when he was a kid, so we started with that. I wrote the lyrics to the bridge, did my best Johnny Ramone impersonation, and we were off. I taught Mike how to play the bass part on keyboard, so you'll hear him there and performing the vocals.

The intro is Ted Nugent, whom Mike dearly loved. I felt it was a perfect example of what we were trying to accomplish, so I dubbed it "The Master's Touch" and made it part of the whole song. It is literally 2:37 of ending a song. Our effort follows right after.

GDTSBBB <--Click here to listen

It's Alright (Everybody)

Mike really liked doing GDTSBBB. He would go into the studio and play the bass part on keyboard by himself, he would go around saying "All right! Everybody!" I don't think he realized he had kinda turned into the drummer we were making fun of. Still, he was having fun, I was able to pursue my other songs, and he could be really cool about finances which was a great help to me as I made very little in those days working for ACB (see Primitive Moose's "A Small Sample").

For our next collaboration, Mike asked if I could find a way for him to play guitar. Keep in mind Mike didn't know how to play and had no interest in taking formal lessons. I said, sure I can, go pick us up a 12-pack and I'll get started. So I wrote this as a sort of Sam and Dave number, with us both doing singing duties. I recorded all the parts except the lead guitar part. When it came time for that, I had Mike take the guitar and I instructed him to "just wail". He asked if I was sure, and I said I was. While he flailed around the fretboard, I ran him through the Radio Shack reverb unit and wiggled the faders all around to fudge his sound and make it more akin to the mind-numbing feedback that is Mr. Ted Nugent. This was the pinacle of the "alright, everybody, alright" scene. Thankfully.

It's Alright (Everybody) <--Click here to listen