Cat heaven just got cooler.

McGuinn the cat was a feral fellow that lived outside of the apartment I just moved into recently. I’ve only known him for a few weeks, but the neighbors have known him for twenty years. He was the coolest cat I’ve ever known. Tremolo guitar played in the background when he’d cruise onto the scene.

The story goes that his mother had a litter of kittens two decades ago of whom McGuinn and his sister were the only survivors. After they’d grown to be adolescent and able to fend for themselves the mother was hit by a car. McGuinn and his sister then came under the watchful eye and care of the neighborhood. Many of the neighbors just left water, food and cream out in bowls and in an almost Disney movie fashion, McGuinn and his sister just bopped from house to house on the block being cats, being cool and hanging out.

At some point McGuinn’s sister disappeared. No one is really sure what happened, but evidently some family down the street moved away right around the time McGuinn’s sister disappeared; so while that is sort of a bad move in terms of being neighborly, at least she had a home to live in.

McGuinn seemed unencumbered by this, by all accounts, as he was a feral cat and feral cats are predominantly solitary animals (aside from lions who, as we know, live in prides). He was then the king of the neighborhood. He then became the center of attention.

This is the era in which I met McGuinn. The first time I ever saw him was one day when I was painting the bedroom. I heard a rustling in the back yard and thought that I would look out back and say hello to whomever was there. What I saw, was a young skunk and an opossum (yeah I spelled it that way) sharing some cat food from a bowl. Which I thought was puzzling; because where I’m from people don’t keep skunks as pets. So I looked around to see what was the what. There was a giant water bowl and some other cat toys laying around in the trailing vines of the arbor. Then over in the distance was Mcguinn. He was watching from the shade of one of the cars parked on the asphalt slab as if to be lord of the situation. He wasn’t bothered either. He seemed to be giving these animals permission to share in his food that the two-leggers were providing. I swear those animals were looking up every once in a while as if to make sure that his lordship was still deigning to allow them to continue.

Turns out that the other night the perennial scourge of the animal gang world, the coyote, came down out of the hills and scooped old man McGuinn up after his twentieth year of being the most bad-ass feral cat anywhere. By all accounts it was quick and painless. McGuinn has been totally deaf for the last few years so he probably never even knew what happened.

He had that fantastic tomcat coloring. It was a patched tabby coloring with black, orange, grey, white and a brownish-grey. He had super-cool eyes that seemed to give the appearance of conveying human emotion. He also had really long cat fangs. Not freakishly long, but they looked like serious, don’t-mess-with-me fangs. I know from experience as one day, while taking out the garbage, walked in a manor which his majesty did not approve of; whatever my transgression I quickly amended.

So today, cat heaven is an order or magnitude cooler with the addition of McGuinn. We celebrate your life as a bad-ass, as a guardian of the back yard and as a cat who lived semi-wild whilst deaf. You made it old man. May your eternity be spend 2/3rds in heavenly cat slumber, may you constantly feel the eternal skritches behind your cat spirit ears and may your Cat-Heaven saucer always be filled with cat ambrosia (I imagine it to be a heavenly mix of cream, catnip and some other ingredient we can’t even begin to understand) and may your watchful gaze, from your cloud pillow in Cat Heaven, keep the mice away until your worth successor can be found.

When Bastet weights your cat heart against a feather I know that each of your days, spent in austere vigilance, will not only usher you into the pearly flap, but will tell of a life well-lived.

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The 78 Project and new videos

A while ago we were in New York City, U.S.A. and were invited to do this thing called The 78 Project where they film you singing into a genuine lacquer cutter from the olden days. It was magical.

The official videos are up. Check them out on the “sights and sounds” portion of this here website.

So much videos and audios to check out. I won’t waste any more of your time so you can go and do it.

Go…

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Spent a day on the internet.

It has been a while since I’ve put something here. I am so sorry for the lax treatment of this here page. The last few months have been pretty crazy. There have been many tours and lots going on.

Today we spent some time live streaming from a studio in Hollywood for the guys over at MyMusicShow on the YouTube. It was a ton of fun. People from around the world were writing in questions and we got to perform some songs.

The European tour was fantastic. Fabian and Jakob were an amazingly tight crew and were a joy to travel with. We even got to hunt for our own fossils and visit a castle. One of the highlights for me was getting to play on the island of Mallorca and visit the home of Robert Graves. He is one of poetry’s finest sons.

I promise i will stay on top of this more.

Tour dates for the west coast tour in August are so far:

Bremerton, WA: August 26th The Hi-Fidelity Lounge
Seattle, WA: August 27th The Crocodile
Portland, OR: August 28th Mississippi Studios
San Francisco, CA: August 29th Hotel Utah Saloon
Los Angeles, CA – August 30 The Hotel Cafe
San Diego, CA – August 31st The Tin Can

…more to follow.

Adam

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Free the Austin 100

All they want to do is rock.

After the initial release tour we have taken a sweet break and realigned our spines. It is time, once again, to head out and play a bunch of shows.

Between a chance to hit Robin’s Restaurant in Louisiana and our very first show in Santa Fe this trip is stacking up to be one heck of a good time. Even NPR wanted to get everyone hipped to what’s happening:
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/01/147637518/the-austin-100-a-sxsw-mix

So come on out and see the sights and hear the new sounds (we have a secret weapon this time) and get into the deep, deep groove.

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The night you don’t give your body the jolt.

There is a moment after a tour or otherwise sustained campaign where you body doesn’t get the dose of adrenaline it is used to getting on a daily basis; in that moment your body is very unhappy. Your body gets used to a daily shot of sustained adrenal rush which it then begins to adapt to and accept as a normal course of action. That is really why musicians look haggard. It is not any kind of elicit substance; it is the extra strain that it takes to be able to go out and perform in front of a crowd without any substantial break.

I got it last night. Terrible headache coupled with scalp pain and sore everything became my shroud. But I couldn’t have been happier. I smiled through the whole sleepless night. The reason for my joy-despite-the-pain was this last trip. None of us in the band can ever remember going out on a tour with so much good feelings and positive light. It was really cool to see all the guys in the band smile and content at the end of the trip.

So to everyone that came out to a show: thank you.
Everyone that bought records: thank you.
You all gave us such a magnificent lift.

We’re now resting and getting prepared for the next leg of the tour which will start in a few weeks. I’m off to bed; for a few days. My body has now stopped being angry with me and I am going to try and sleep as a small thank you to it for carrying me through an intense time.

Love, peace and Death Gospel to y’all

Adam

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Stuart said there was too much love.

But he was wrong. I’m sorry to cross the Poet Laureate of Glasgow but right now I am feeling awash and a-wrapped in it and it isn’t too much.

First let us discuss the video. A bunch of people came together to have a good time and try a little experiment. Alex and Kristian did an amazing job of filming and directing and capturing moments. The people who are in the video did an amazing job of keeping smiling faces and being amenable to drinking and having a party for about 10 hours straight. Then you factor in the good people that let us invade their house for an entire day and night; we cannot thank you all enough. Because now we have a video and it is lovely…oh and it is premiering on PASTE Magazine’s website. Here it is, go take a gander and then share it via the tube system:
http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/av/2012/01/adam-arcuragis-hypnotic-melodies-and.html

Next there is the interview with The Huffington Post. It is a sweet piece wherein I get to talk about the new album Like a fire that consumes all before it… (which hit the streets yesterday…go buy it) and you can read it for yourself right here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ragogna/hell-no-im-not-alright-a_b_1245938.html

Then we’ve got the Spotify playlist. It is the first volume of a series wherein we discover and enjoy the progenitors of Death Gospel. It is the song we’ve been singing since the beginning so it is only fitting that we celebrate it right. Three hours of fantastic songs…organize it by track time length in order from longest to shortest run time. Let it wash all over you:
http://open.spotify.com/user/brieracket/playlist/54OXF17uo2ORLzBAmSlcW3

That’s all for now. Will check in the next time there’s some Wifi.

Kisses,

Adam

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When you find yourself in warp-drive snow.

There is something to be said for the abandoned sense of glee that you can get from falling asleep in hot sunshine and wake up from your nap in a snow storm that makes the front window look like the view from the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. Sure it is one of those things your daddy taught you to not be afraid of; that it is something to beat not something to beat you, but it is genuinely a-feared to be blown about in a five ton vehicle by a wind that doesn’t seem to want to agree with you and your sense of ‘what is and is not heavy’. Snow, I learned, also acts like a sort of disco ball in that it sends the lights from the headlamps off in so many directions (including your eye) that it lowers your visibility quite a bit.

But then when you are driving through country like that you are also getting great breaths full of might Douglas Fir trees, Lodge Pole Pines and Spruce trees that dwarf the nearest town’s tallest buildings. When you’re in that kind of mountain country you’re near MSG-free, home made jerky and places that put bacon on doughnuts. You give a little, you get a little.

But the first few days of this trip have been so nice. Great shows and a chance to play a bit for a music video outside in the forest. No Bob, no owls…but then again we were there in the day time. Aside from the snow storm, it has been smooth sailing.

So much is going on and we are all so excited. Right now though we just got the word that the pre-sales on iTunes for the new album Like a fire that consumes all before it… are up on the iTunes site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/preorder/like-fire-that-consumes-all/id496396728

Point your browser and head on over to pick yourself up a copy. If you pre-sale the album as a whole, you get a pre-sale discount.

We really appreciate all the pre-sale orders already. We all here want you to know your support means a lot to us. Thank you.

Washington, we’ll see you soon. There are so many places we are going to be headed to; I just can’t wait.

Oh, if anyone sees a cheap copy of Crazy From The Heat(Diamond Dave’s autobiography) then let us know when we’re in your town.

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Be it sad or not, radio is still a variety of salvation.

I’m sorry that we have fallen two days behind in the ‘Get to know the band’ series. We spent the weekend getting into the groove at a lovely secluded hideaway in beautiful Santa Monica by the pier.

It worked. We are through the woods of ‘getting to know you’ and diving head-first into the swirling joy vortex of playing together like humans. The drums are stunning and simple. They are, in fact, perfect drums for what we’re doing; that thing being seven-part harmony. It is something else.

So there will be a new profile soon. Just need to get it together.

Today we wanted to pass along this fun bit of doing: http://www.kgsr.com/discovery/index.aspx

KGSR in Austin Texas wants to know what people think of us and our work so as to deign wither or thither they will put us in their regular rotation. It sure would be something else if you could head over there and let them know what you think. It is a “pass/fail” situation so just hit the tab that you agree with.

More soon.

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The Bo$$

It happened one day in a text. We’d all referred to her as “the boss” for a while because, well, she’s the boss. She is the one that does what we can’t do. From the subtle to the sublime we each owe our individual and collective states, at present, to the managerial skills of one Brienne Rose. So, in calling her the boss, we hope to keep a reverence for the lady that tends the fire high on the mountain side. But on this particular day I saw it spelled out and it all made sense.

As a musician you always look at your heroes and marvel at their talent as well as the people that believed in them and did for them the kind of advocating that one just can’t do for themselves. If I tell you I am something, your brain will immediately wonder what I have to gain by telling you this. That’s not the only thing your brain thinks, but it might be one of the more ancient and hard-wired bits. But if someone else tells you I’m something then that intensity of biological suspicion is lessened by degrees.

Were it not for Hammond and Grossman we wouldn’t have Bob Dylan. Without Epstein we’d have no Beatles. Without Harriet Weaver there is no Ulysses nor any Finneganns Wake. Sure there might still be that brilliance burning brightly, but maybe it goes unnoticed in a quiet room somewhere or at the amnesiac hearth of a rural family and none further to be known. Advocates attempt to impress the work upon the common understanding by means of showing a greater number of people that the work exists and, they believe, it is worth being shared en masse.

Brienne does this and so much more. Not only is she our champion, she is also an accomplished pianist, an amateur paleontologist, a seeker of mild to wild adventure and a staunch supporter of the effort to drive spiders completely from human habitation (The DSCHH).

Those dollar signs are there for a reason. You cannot encapsulate what she does with mere letters. No sir, extra characters are needed to stretch your mind around the magnitude of what she does, the near Dianian-Herculean tasks she undertakes each day. That she relishes these challenges every day with the wide smile of a lioness makes our reverence for her all the more substantial because it is one thing to watch a person do great work, it is another to watch them jump head first into the shark-infested waters with a knife between their teeth and a smile on their lips as they sing of their opponents doom like some character from Greek myth.

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That slow groove.

Good drummers are like grandma’s cooking; you won’t find it just anywhere, they are superior to any other meal, they make you feel loved and they roll the groove backward like a bounce bomb used by The Dam Busters.

At the risk of sounding like a late nineties dance remix: the groove is eternal. It is the long-heart-beat that has been beating since we first realized that we could realize. So to tap into that and translate it into something tangible and recognizable is a skill that is on par with cooking a meal that wraps you in sublimity and helps you forget the weariness of the work-a-day. The drummer is a pillar and his drum a divining tool. We should regard them the way we do a doctor.

If you think of the beat as a spinning wheel there are specific permutations to wit the spinning might occur and affect the song. For our purposes we will focus on the most simple, subtle and important direction: backward. Spinning the wheel backward allows for all of the hits to land just behind the beat. This is important because it is…think of it this way; is it easier to push a length of rope or pull it? If you spin the wheel backward it is like pulling that length of rope. You don’t try to control the beat, you allow the beat to respire like the chest. Pull the length of rope, entice it to lead its own way to you rather than chasing after it; the relationship needs to be peaceful, even in its most seemingly tumultuous.

Think of the live recordings of Otis Redding where he is backed up by the great Al Jackson Jr. Especially in songs like ‘These Arms of Mine’ or ‘Pain in my Heart’, there is no degree of imprecision or sloppiness; instead there is a supreme feeling of ease and locking in to that long-heart-beat that pounds in the chest of every human. Good drums should almost be invisible like the hypnotizing sway of a praying mantis, only to strike your vitals right at the correct moment, ensuring a hurrying to ecstasy.

Too often drummers these days think of themselves as loud metronomes. They forget the divine place drums and percussion have in the human experience. It is the percussive elements that drive into the deep brain and seduce the centers that are responsible for joy and procreation (the ultimate creation forces). So, with that in mind, the drummer should stroke those skins with such aplomb and delicacy as to think of themselves as a shaman enchanting the air with the magic that lifts and transforms. I’ve heard too many drummers say “I can’t get the sound I want if I don’t hit the drums hard” or “Dude, I can’t play right if I don’t hit the drums hard”. I propose a counter point: let us all live by the maxim that was taught to me by a wizened jazz man one night in New Orleans. He taught this saying to me in response to our discussion of how he was able to drum behind acoustic guitars and singing with so much power yet so little volume. According to him this is an almost secret password that, those who know, trade in wordlessly as they work together: “If you can’t hear what I’m playing, then you are playing too loud.”.

Music is just a language. It is there for the purposes of agreement and communication. Granted it is divine communication and supreme, time-transcending agreement, but it still must fulfill its function. If you aren’t communicating anything or worse not even trying to communicate anything, then I’d ask you, on the behalf of the rest of us, stop wasting resources and energy that could be going to making something great. Listening is so important for musicians. The ability to listen comes first before any other practice.

If you’re like me, you wish for specific things in a drummer. Ideally they would:
-spin the wheel backward (for reasons discussed above)
-have a sweet, but small kit
-listen (for the reasons discussed above)
-be about 6′ 9″
-be able to sing harmony
-find my jokes funny

Well we’ve found all those things in a feller from Hickory named Brandon. Brandon is another of our miraculous North Carolina acquisitions. There’s something in the soil there; perhaps it is the two naturally-occurring radioactive isotopes tobacco plants produce? Well whatever it is we like it. Maybe the good lord just wants us southern boys to continue to keep the sweet magnolia-scented traditions wafting on the breeze. Regardless we are all happier than a whole mess of hound dogs with a basket full of chicken-fried steaks

Brandon does all the things above (including the being 6′ 9″) and he does them with the supreme preternatural delicacy of a master woodworker. This is our third or fourth time playing with Brandon but our first time really going the distance around the horn. I’m sure it will be fine. He is a listener, he rolls that wheel backward and (even if he’s pretending) laughs at my jokes.

He loves to hear about weird books that either are out of print or out of cultural relevance. He loves a good documentary film and speaks three languages…that we know of; you see Brandon is a bit of an enigma. Just when you think you’ve nailed down something about his personality and say to yourself “Damn, it’s almost like I made most of this up…there’s no way he’s all these things and more” Brandon throws you a curve ball and you feel like you need to go back and re-frame your picture of him that you have in your head. The kicker is that it’s all good stuff that you find out about him. He is the wine that only gets better.

Brandon’s a beer man, so in Portland we are going to rely heavily on the collective fine beer knowledge of the populace to treat our boy to the finest and wine-est. For the rest of the USA let’s make sure he has a man’s-man’s frosty one.

Raise one for the drummer and his elemental drum
It is his ecstatic pulse, for which we all will come

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