J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)

Braille “I”

They know how to rock, our Icelandic brothers and sisters. Bjork, of course. But Sigur Rios?Awesome. And Emiliana Torrini? Neato! And the rap group Quarashi? Honestly, tell me a better Icelandic rap group. Seriously. Come on! You can’t even think of one. That’s because Quarashi is the end all and be all of Icelandic rap. God bless them. God bless them all!

Interpol started, for the most part, at NYU. Vocalist and guitarist Daniel Kessler met drummer Greg Drudy and then they met bass and keyboardist Carlos Dengler, also from NYU and then they met a guy from France and before too long they were a band making some neat music, ala Joy Division and the Chameleons. I didn’t go to NYU. I went to WSU (Washington State University). It was there that I formed a band of my own. With Ken Michie and twin brothers Brian and Randy Litzenberger we created a band of compete idiots with no prospects for romance who were also socially retarded. We were also, proudly, in the marching band. Yeah, we were awesome.

Interesting, this…Sometimes the term Irish flute is used to distinguish keyless, diatonic, simple system flutes from 19th century flutes which played a diatonic scale by successively uncovering the toneholes but were made chromatic by the addition of metal keys! I once, at an Irish dance at a grange hall with live music, uncovered my “tonehole.” I was immediately arrested by a plain-clothed officer and I’m now under house arrest.

Other names Floridian and damn talented Samuel Beam came up with before he decided on the band name Iron & Wine includes Steel & Soda Pop, Copper & Martini, Silver & Boilermaker, Bronze & Yoo-Hoo. He also decided to grow a beard because that’s cool. I think bearded musicians are pretty damn cool. The beard on my mom, not so much. You should have seen the looks we got at student/parent conferences at Garfield Elementary School. The teachers actually called her President Garfield, pointing to the dead president’s picture in the cafeteria and snickering. It kind of made me mad and a little sad too so once I took a sloppy joe and a carton of milk from lunch and put them in Mrs. Berdeen’s desk, smooshing them all up. Stupid Mrs. Berdeen.

The earliest printed version of “I Saw Three Ships” is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire in England. The 17th century was a LONG time ago. It was around that time that WWI happened.

I love The Eels. I have all the CDs in my car and when I drive my daughter around she always asked for Eels tunes. But, there’s this one. It’s a beautiful song, really, short and melacholic and quiet and affecting. It’s called “It’s a Motherfucker.” So, I played that a couple of times in the car when Gracie was in her car seat. Soon, though, she started to pick up a bit on the lyrics. “Daddy,” she said, “play the flicker song.” “What?” “The flicker song? Mommy flicker,” she starts to sing. “Oh, uh…I lost it.” Damn, no more of that song.

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