Interview with Pirooz Kalayeh on I Y Sliplshod Swingers: The Love Record.*
What will be on the record?
It will be 14 love songs. Some have been streamed on Shikow and Myspace. Some haven't.
Why love songs? Isn't that a taboo place to go musically? Why go Richard Marx on us?
First of all, I love Richard Marx. I got to slow dance the girl of my dreams, because I'll Be Right Here Waiting for You was rocking the middle school cafeteria. And second, I am drawn to love songs. They are my favorite stories, and I wasn't inspired to write about anything else. I love the push and pull of it, the not knowing. It's what I go through everyday. It's about me, really. Love is. And that's what makes the story so universal. Everyone loves a good story, and I don't know any story that doesn't have to do with love. Not for me, at least.
Now the songs on this record were not done track to track. Why not? Were you trying to make a particular sound? A feel?
Well, part of the beauty of things is limitations. I love trying to create with what I have available. When I started this record, it was just me and my brother and one microphone. By the time the record was done, it had gone from just me to a gang of 7 and better recording equipment. It was natural to keep the rawer made tracks together, and the more streamlined gems on the other. I also liked the challenge of making a live record sound like it wasn't live or that it was. That was a cool place to play, and it definitely made me step up on my abilities as a songwriter, since most songs were done on the spot.
On the spot?
We had one microphone. That meant doing a great performance or not. In most cases, we did well. Sometimes we rehearsed certain songs. Other times we wrote them right on the spot, or I had a chorus written and then we would start with that, and make up the rest.
Do you like working like that? Was it hard?
Not for me. I enjoy it. It's like theater.
Will there be another record?
I am sure there will be many records from The Slipshod Swingers.
How long do we have to wait for the next one?
Well, the Love Record will be out on Feb 14th. And the next one, will be out pretty soon. That's going to be an interesting record. Currently, we are playing with tracks in Italian and strange techno type beats reminiscent of space rock. I have no idea what the finished concept will be. There is some talk of a detective story, like Bowie's Outsider back in '95. Except our protaganist is not a serial killer. He is an man in Venice looking for his missing wife.
Sounds interesting. Is that what the track playing with the latest video is about?
Yeah, that's a special bonus for fans. It's a great track. We had Franky Ewing on guitar, myself on Bass, and John Posatko on Djembe. Panauh Kalayeh engineered the piece. He will be doing most of the record. So, yeah, that will be coming out by March 21st.
Now everybody's talking about how you're doing music, but no writing? What about books? When's the next comic book?
I don't know. I am still drawing comics, when I can squeeze it in. Right now I am looking for a theme that will excite me. As far as fiction, The Whopper Strategies is still coming out for eight more issues in Ellipses Magazine, and then I have to spend the next month coming up with a publisher. Hopefully, this will resolve itself, with a publisher calling me. I have no idea.
What about publishing it yourself?
I have thought about it. That may be the case. I would rather have strong distribution and a nice marketing team behind the novel. There are three in the series, and I don't want to rush into anything. I spent a while writing those novels, and they mean a lot to me, but then again, who knows? If push comes to shove and I have to create a marketing platform on my own, and get some books pressed, I am not going to think twice about it. Lets just say the decision will make itself when I am ready to make it.
What do you like about this record?
I like that it's reality music; the equivalent of reality tv. I also like that it feels like reading a book. I don't get that off of records too much, but when I finish listening to this one, it's like something's changing. I am guessing this must be because the album was recorded over so much time, with so many different Swingers, and that we did it live and improv. It is kind of subject to Los Angeles that way. This city is constantly changing. One day you are working a job, and the next your sitting on your ass wondering what to do with all your free time.
I hear you on that. Hollywood does seem to have that feel.
Yeah, that's what I like about this city. The weather stays the same, but everyday is different. And when you walk down the street or head up the 101, you get to hear it buzzing your eyes like crazy. It's all that dreaming. Everyone! Everyone is just dreaming of something, and you know that from the moment you get coffee from a barrista or even talk to a homeless guy on the corner. Everyone has a dream in this town, and not a single person has stopped living it. I love that.
So does that mean you're an L.A. Boy now?
Oh, well, that's what some friends say. I know some people would rather see me in a different story, but this one agrees with my personality. It works like me. It's the only place where I can have an idea, and see it come to fruition with such a great turnaround. I think that's a testament to the incredible community I have around me, the fact that everyone is so versatile and willing to explore, and that, oh, I don't know. It's good. [laughs] Yes, I am an L.A. Boy for now.
*Excerpt taken from Rock Beat.
If anyone would like to receive a pre-released copy of I Y Slipshod Swingers to review on your blogs, for radio play, or to schedule an interview, etc., e-mail with specifications here.
Okay, I am casting for a TV show. I need people who have done a do-it-yourself approach to home design. In other words, they've made a kitchen out of surf boards, or a 50's themed basement, etc. If any of you bloggers, know of anyone let me know, or pass on the information.
Does your house have a WOW FACTOR that you created yourself? If you're a creative, out of the box do-it-yourselfer who has completed a unique home project HGTV is looking for you!
HGTV (Home and Garden Television) and Weller/Grossman Productions are looking for unique, cool and creative projects designed and done by real people without the help of contractors or experts. We're searching for individuals across the country that would like to share their fun stories and incredible results.
This fun and inspirational new program chronicles everyday people and their amazing "did it myself" design endeavors. From unbelievable room reinventions, to cool outdoor creations, innovative kids rooms, wild wall treatments, playful pet projects, and more, we're looking for ideas that break the design mold and make people say wow!
So, if you've transformed your garage into a wine room, built Fido his own futuristic pad, designed the most fabulous fireplace ever, recreated your kids room and built a headboard out of hockey sticks -- or done something else spectacular and uniquely special to your home, HGTV is looking for you!
To apply, e-mail a description of the project (with pictures) of the area you've improved, and your contact info to Pirooz Kalayeh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is 3:06 AM. I cannot sleep at all. Why? Matte Latte. Everytime. They kill me. I had one at 4 PM yesterday. I only drank half of it. Now it's 3 AM. Damn you, Matte.
I am also filled with a bit of stress. It is tough balancing 2 jobs. I may have to make a decision to cut some ends at one of them. I am pretty sure what I need to do. It is difficult to see past the confusion though.
I am sure things will right themselves when the time is ripe. In the meantime, I didn't get to go to Melrose, and I didn't go to the Well (sorry N.) Instead I spent Friday night recording with Franky, and when we were getting ready to actually have an outing, he played me the DTH recordings, and then we had to talk about that. Of course, right? Naturally.
Well, I think it was about 11pm, when I just conked out. I slept until 12 noon, and then finally made it to the Sabe. When I got there, I got no writing done, because I ran into Gabriel, and shot the shit about the past month.
"You acted in a movie?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said.
"Man, by the time I see you next, you'll have some book done and published."
That got me laughing. Gabe cracks me up. I could talk to him for hours. I didn't though. I drew some comics about a pig and a bird, and then I took my brother and his girlfriend to a movie at the Grove. That was good fun. I finally got to see Glory Road, and yes, you guessed it. I was moved.
I just love sports films. I love them so much, that when I got home, I went out and rented Bad News Bears and watched that too.
That is the most television watching I have done in 7 months. Man, it felt good.
I even watched Annie Hall today after the Swingers got together.
"This is the best movie ever," I said.
"Genius," JP said.
Now I am not thinking about Annie Hall. I am simply trying to create methods for getting to bed. I am drinking water to flush my system. I ate a bowl of rice to make my eyes heavy. And now I am thinking about drinking a bowl of rice. Something will get this matte out of my system.
Yeah, you better believe it. Matte is the devil. It is now 3:19AM, and I have to get up in 4 hours.
Oh, well...this could be fun. I got this book at the bookstore the other day. IT's called Wonderland by Danny Sugarman. The girl at the store recommended it.
"What's your favorite book of all time?" I asked.
"Wonderland -----," she said. "By Danny Sugarman."
"The guy who managed the Doors?"
"So is it about drugs?"
"Oh, it's the greatest book ever. I took it with me everywhere. I went backpacking and it came with me. I lost the cover, and it's all worn, but it goes with me everywhere."
It wasa helluva plug. I don't usually go for that type of book, but there was something about her love for it. I wanted to taste what was there.
So I got 3 hours to kill. I will tell you how it is in the morning.
I have just returned from buying a dozen mixed rosas at JOSIE'S FLOWERS on Lankershim.
"I put extra packs of Floralife in here for you," Josie says, and points to my vase. "And next time you get flowers--"
Josie pulls out a tape measure. She measures the mouth of the vase. Then its length. She scrunches her lips together. She eyes the pre-cut flowers. "Yes," she says. "Now the next time you get flowers, I know what to get you."
I like that idea, I think. The next time.
I cradle the flowers and vase in one hand and walk up Lankershim.
Tonight I will go shopping on Melrose. Then it's off to the Well on Vine and Sunset. N. and Frank are my dates.
It is 1:39pm. I got offered the producer position. This means a new TV show. I will let you know about it later.
It's very strange. Television is the only thing I could see myself doing besides writing. Well, maybe, directing an indie film, but that time is coming soon enough. I am reading screenplays, and will be making Strategies into a screenplay, and then play with some film ideas I have had for a long time. These have been hidden for a while, but I can see it now.
A man. A woman. A...[katherine just interrupted me. have to go rehearse in the vocal booth...]
Swingers meet at 1pm at the Fortress of Solitude (1807 Taft Avenue)
I will be writing at the Sabe from 9am-1pm Saturday and Sunday.
Pirooz: How long did it take to get this record together?
Beto Hale: About a year and a half. Some songs were written back in 2000-2001, though.
PK: Where did you record?
Beto Hale: A good part of it in my home studio in Colorado; about half the drum tracks were done in Dallas, the other half at Denver University?s Lamont School of Music Studio. I also used two other great studios in the Denver area, Level 14 and Summit Road. Mixing and vocal sessions were done in Colorado and LA.
PK: What would you say is the overall theme? The record is called, American Mythology, was this a tongue in cheek response to your immigrant experience, or rather a celebration of what America has come to mean for you?
Beto Hale: One thread that goes through the whole CD is love. It sounds cliché, but all aspects are covered: loss, birth, hope, desperation, doubt. All are related in one way or another to love.
In terms of the title, in can be tongue in cheek, but also dead serious. I have mixed feelings about my U.S. experience. I have met amazingly cool people, and learned a great deal about music. I appreciate the efficiency, the honesty and the ethics of most of the people I've worked with. But I am also concerned about the growing xenophobia and the ignorance I have encountered about Latin America.
On the one hand, some people want to build a wall between the States and Mexico; are they out of their minds? I hope this trend does not get out of hand. Most of the arguments against immigrants make no sense to me. Here is the most powerful nation in the world, worried that they might lose their jobs to the poorest, least educated citizens of Mexico. And it really blows my mind how many Americans tend to forget they are all descendants of immigrants, except the Native Americans, of course, who seem totally ostracized from society.
On the ignorance side, I am really tired of people saying things like 'Are there really any white people in Mexico?' I mean, President Vicente Fox. Fox! It's an Irish last name. He is white! He is taller than Bush.
And, the other a cop asked me whether I was White or Hispanic, after writing me a ticket. I said, 'I don't know; you tell me!' She said: 'I am asking you.' And I answered, 'I really don't know; I guess I'm both,' which, of course, I am.
I am half Polish Jew, half 'WASP', born and raised in Mexico. Big deal; there are millions of people like me in Latin America. The new president of Chile is White, so is Argentina's President, who is of German background, I believe. And look at the royal Spanish family! Yes, America, millions of Spanish people are White!
Hispanic is not a race; if anything it is an ethnic or cultural category. Hispanics are White, Black, Mestizo, Mulato, Japanese, Jewish... All races and cultures. The U.S. is not the only melting pot, sorry!
That, my friend, is one American Mythology, right there: The endless categorization of people into comfortable stereotypes.
PK: I hear you. So how has having a child changed your experience of songwriting?
Beto Hale: My son was born in the last stages of production, but I did write a song, Te voy a guiar (I Will Guide You) during my wife?s pregnancy. It basically promises him that I will guide him through the path of love, no mater how screwed up the world is.
PK: When will you be in L.A. next?
Beto Hale: Very soon. I've been offered help in setting up gigs, so I'll let you know as soon as I have some definite dates!
For those of you that do not know Beto, his music has its roots from his homeland of Mexico City, and branches to grassroots American folk, Liverpudlian dreams, and jazz in all its glory. As Hale says in a recent interview with CNN Radio:
The songs are in Spanish and English, and the influences are very British, and, but obviously also Latin American, I was born in Mexico City, so, I think it's an eclectic mix of music, that I think a lot of different people can identify with..."
ps. my dad told me my blog needed more focus too. it almost got me for a second. then i thought about it. not focused? "Oh, that's not true."
i am the focus. then i realized he just loved me, and gets excited everytime i am passionate about something, because he likes seeing me happy, and he wants me to make a million dollars doing what i love.
that's cool of him, so i don't say anything. i understand. we talk about the digi 101. we talk about love. we say goodbye, until next time.
i love you, my dad. i love you too, sprigs. whatever you decide will be just right. they are good questions though. does my blog have to be one way or another. who knows? i hear that you want it to not be like a job.
would my blog be like a job, if I made it have a focus other than my own? my choices, my decisions?
for me, yes. of course. blogs are novels. they are books. they are paintings. no one can fuck with it. nobody. you put out whatever you want. make it appeal or not appeal.
personally, i have yet to find how to make something appeal to everyone. does anyone know how to do that?
i do have ideas about focus, which is just more blogs, myspace, etc...
i make more blogs. if i have things that need to go up, and i feel like they stand outside of journaling, etc. for example, shikow has become inundated with music links to the slipshod swingers. this is to let people know about the record, but now i've got the myspace site. this is where this stuff will go once the record is done, but for now, shikow is where i play with initial ideas that become a touring band or a television show, or talking about sex (soon), whatever. once it breathes on its own. i put it somewhere else for my own sanity. i like that.
i have no idea who this person was that e-mailed you to tell you what to do.
for me. my story. it sounds like my ex-wife.
when we were married she said, she wasn't attracted to me anymore. when i told this to my friends, they said, "Sounds like someone who is angry."
was this true? i have no idea. but i do know that when someone is telling me what to do, that's a clear sign for me to be like, "uh, self-projection...misguided love...confusion"
it doesn't really matter. i just know when something is my story or not.
i wish you the best with whatever you decide. you are my homegirl, my ambassador of kwan.
"I didn't even know they had real....well, not real, but writers here, you know, outside of screenwriters," I said.
"Oh, there's a great writing scene in L.A.," they told me.
"Really?" I asked.
I paused to reflect...
Ran into Todd from Kobayashi Maru, a band from Delaware.
"Hey," he said.
"Hey," I said.
"Yeah, you're Todd right?"
"That's crazy. How long you been in L.A.?"
"About 6 months."
Todd looks at Michelle, "This is the best frontman I have ever seen."
I laugh, "Tell that to Frank."
He does. I smile again. I am okay with compliments. Best frontman? Sounds good to me.
Good to see Todd too. Hopefully, he'll bring his talents to a Swingers session.
Now I will buy a journal. I will buy a sweater. I will go to work for a couple hourse. I will dance to 80's jams. I will hang with The SLipshod SWingers. Life couldn't be better, or as the Kid says, LIFE IS GOOD/LIFE IS GREAT/ GIVE ME ANOTHER PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE.
Doorman at the club last night had a great name. Bolo.
"So you're a boxer?"
I look down at the flier. There are two belts over his shoulder.
"Where'd you get the name?"
"I gave it to him," B's Latina mamma pops.
"What's it mean?"
"Little brother," another guy belts.
I sway left and pull the handle to the club, "Good luck at the fight, B-dog."
"Yeah, man," he nods. Thanks."
I step into the club. It's dark again. I see N on a barstool. I roll up. I put my arm around her, "I'm going to dance."
Dacheaux has tagged me to write 5 weird habits. This is a difficlt proposition. I have only one habit and that's smoking. I don't consider that strange and bizarre though. Well, I do like
1. mustard on anything. I could even eat mustard sandwiches. Very strange, but it's true. Besides that, there isn't too much else. I don't notice weird things about my fridge. I do like to lay all my books on my bed though. I won't move them or anything when I go to bed either, so it looks like
2. I literally sleep with books. Right now I have Sherlock Holmes (I really dislike this book, but someone was raving about it, so I was open) ; Famous Americans by Loren Goodman, Allison Stine's Lot of My Sister, some Brautigan book about a sombrero, and that's about all I can remember. Most of them have fallen off the bed, because I have the tendency to kick my sheets out from under me. I don't know how this is possible, but it does happen. By the time I wake up in the morning, I have undressed my bed. So, yes, I would consider that another oddity worth mentioning.
3. I undress my bed avery night. It's just me and a mattress by 715 am. Now when the alram rings. I let it go. (I use my cell phone.) I will let it keep ringing, until about 815 am. Then I will DISABLE it, and lie there. I go in and out of dream states. I think about the shower. I think about water. Then I usually doze off again, until 830 am, when my body suddenly springs awake, and I shoot out of bed and straight to my bowl of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
4. Of course, now I am out of Cheerios as of this morning, and I haven't had mustard for quite sometime. This means I am very much the scavenger of vending machines at work. I usually can live off the Easy Mac in the corporate machines for a week. More than this, and you start feeling like those three-eyed fish from the Simpsons.
Ah, yes. The Simpsons. I don't watch TV. I have no weird habits with television watching. I just don't watch it. I don't like watching movies either, unless it's at the theater.
Tonight I am going to go see Glory Road, which brings me to my fifth weirdness, and I guess this could continue to eternity. I like to watch uplifting sports movies. I prefer these movies to any other. I also like to watch cartoons or films that have animation in them.
Overall, I would say I am thought of initially as a bit strange, but it only takes one afternoon with me to know that I am not all that different. I write this for all the women of Los Angeles, who say 'hi' to me, while I am too busy being clueless and usually respond with, 'Are you in trouble? Your car breakdown?'
I also tag not 5 bloggers, but 5 women who like cucumbers, bologna, riggatoni, olives, and Sunset Boulevard to give me a call. 310-279-8994. I will politely tell you that, "I don't have jumper cables. I sleep with books."
"Books?" you'll say.
"Yeah," I'll say. "We'll have to go to your place, or we could go to my place, but I like to dance to 80's Jams, so you better get up and dance with me. No clothes. That's the only way."
Yeah, I gues there are a lot of other things that could be considered odd. Yup, that's true. Dancing to 80's jams naked. That is number 6, and now I am going to get to work.
I always say a kiss on the hand feels very good, but a diamond tiara lasts forever.
I think about you as I drive around Beverly Hills. I wonder if being rich is like being pretty. I wonder why Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was the hit of 1956. I wonder why I am drawn to you. I continue to struggle. It is 3:15
This is the latest hit from The Slipshod Swingers. We record fast. Catherine pulled out some lyrics. I had some surf chords. J.P. kicked some Espanol. Life is good. It's that Slipshod sound. It don't ever stop.
Click here or on Music Bar to hear No Me Molesta...
Vocals: Catherine Guitar: P. M. Kalayeh Bass: Michaelangelo Djembe: John Posatko Backing Vocals: J.P., P.M.
The Slipshod Swingers No Me Molesta
No Me Molesta
Lyrics by Catherine and J.P.
She walks like a supermodel Talks like a role model All the guys want her Even Jerry next door...
Don't let it get you down Take off that funny frown She might see you tomorrow And keep on walking
So don't forget to talk When she answers your knock And don't forget your cup She kicks and screams...
No me molesta Tus pantolones son sucios El coche rojo viaja rapido...
I am at work. Everyone is leaving. I don't really want to post anything. Not because I don't have anything to yap about, but because I really love looking at the last post--all those paintings and the pink border.
I will let it go like a good Buddhist though. Not that I'm a Buddhist, but I guess that's what they do. Let go and all.
I read the Bukowski book. Very good. He has a sour perspective, but underneath is this incredible light. It reminded me of Haulden Caulfield. Same thing. Pathetic, pathetic, I hate the world, and then I love my sister, or I love the world. Oh, wait, maybe, that's me.
Tonight I play tennis with paiman. I told him I would kick his ass. He said he would kick mine. I'll film the winning point; just to be clear about reality.
Slipshod Swingers is meeting on Sunday at 5 pm. An all star cast. We'll have Frankie-boy back from his tour in NYC; Michaelangelo back from Philly; and a whole slew of other Swingers, including Sheepman. Oh, yes. It will be might fine.
I am glad to be doing this record for Valentine's Day.
This is the first time I will be writing the soundtrack for a book, before I write the book, but that's the way it came out, so that's the way it goes.
And that's the way I talk, so here is a big old rose.
Talk to it. Sroke it. Tell it what you want.
I don't want nothing, rose. I just want to look at you. Is that--
Look all you want, big boy.
You want to go out later?
Yeah, you can call me your girl from Orange County.
Oh, shit, right. Orange County!
Yeah, that's where it's at, you know?
I hear that.
Well, sing it to me, Daddy.
I GOT A DATE WITH A GIRL FROM ORANGE COUNTY...
Okay, I don't really have a date. We'll see where this goes tonight, when I'm alone in the Fortress of Solitude.
I can't wait to sleep.
Tennis, first. Then sleep.
Who are you?
Bob. Your mind.
I love you, Bob, but I don't want to have other people talking in my head right now. I want to eat a pepperoni pizza.
I thought you were a vegan. How can you eat animals?
No, I'm human. That's what we do. We eat things.
What about kiss?
I'll kiss you, Bob. But then I have to go.
Do you know it's Friday, the 13th?
I'll kiss you anyway.
I said goodnight.
So did I.
Oh, I see. This is like that play with the bums.
Yeah. Why don't you make a balloon carry us away, or a tidal wave.
I've got a surfboard.
Okay. Hop on.
I'm right here.
This is cool.
Don't we need a picture of us surfing away?
Nah, let them imagine it.
You look good on a surfboard, Pirooz.
I thought I was Bob.
Oh, yeah. You look good on a surfboard, Bob.
You too, Pirooz.
Let's surf forever.
Like Rick Moranis in Club Paradise.
That's the ticket.
Well, I love everyone who was anyone, who was anyone again.
Alda and Keaton are okay. That's right. You heard it here first. The real star is Dacheux. She amazes. Really marvelous. I particularly like the way she lets her head shake in the final scene. Tremendous. Dazzling!
_________________________ Dream Don't Make Me / Mars or Bust, the Soundtrack (Febraury 14th Release).
Jose and I haven't ever played music together. He, in fact, told me he couldn't do anything. That made me want to make him a new member of Slipshod right away. As you will see, he has a beautiful voice. He makes a wonderful addition.
This song goes out to Jimbo. You were the one who needed more.
Click here or on Music Bar to hear Dream Don't Make Me...
Bass Guitar and Vocals: P. M. Kalayeh Backing Vocals: Jose