namaste, lummis day

Posted by on Jun 2, 2008

blogs: a place for rabble rousers and babble browsers to meet. so howdy! on this blogging occasion, i want to share a good feeling with you.

quite a while back, artichoke was asked to play lummis day here in highland park, in the place we live, with many people we know and care about around us. so that’s obviously cool. so i wrote a song about charles lummis, which is the sort of thing i’ve done about scientists on some other records. then artichoke accumulated a bunch of great musicians, starting from a “population bottleneck,” if you will, of just steve and me. pretty rapidly, the band could rock again, with cool melodies, harmonies, lyrical guitar parts, great drums. it was all bee songs, plus “charles lummis.” “woohoo!” i thought.

then a few months ago, while working on recording the bee songs with these musicians, i got motivated to write and record some more songs about highland park to go with old chuck lummis. the idea was to get something presentable on a cd in time for lummis day. so i got to work. i employed a potent combination of coffee, yoga, and scarce employment to get 7 more songs written and recorded. drummer david hurlin is officially an amazing dude. he was creative and focused enough to get drums on 6 of the new songs, and tabla on “highland park,” in a very short time. guitarist daniel leyson contributed wonderful stuff on “highland park” and “trash day,” and voila! we had something in time for lummis day.

and today was the culmination of all that. lummis day! genuine local culcha. it was sunny and hot, but not roasting, a little breeze. the crowds were even bigger than last year. things seemed to be well-organized. there were cute kids with chocolate-sticky mouths. we ran into a lot of artists, musicians, and neighbors of all stripes.

and then we were up. the sound was terrific — thanks, xavier and the other lummis techies! our new bass player wolfe was fully on board with the new material. he had learned it in 3 days! juli and lisa were singing mighty nice. steve’s theremin was the amusing diversion that it always is on artichoke songs. our guitars were solid and well-mixed. dave was somehow amusing and amused while playing his kit. i’m not quite sure how he does all that at once. i could see dave’s family dancing around on the grass, and some of my friends out there in the crowd.

near the end of our set, i broke a string, which i usually do when we play, probably because i’m so manly. then in our last song — “charles lummis”, of course, i broke another, to really prove the point. so i just danced and sang around with everybody and suddenly it was over.

all the other bands were great, including jackson brown of course. if i may summarily pontificate, we live in a good place with good people. we had an ambitious little goal, and today we achieved it. namaste, lummis day.

photographs by art villanueva

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