In stand-up comedy the expression “to kill” means to bring down the house. I was thinking of that when I formed Milo & The Assassins as a temporary band to play a couple of album release shows. Some appreciation is now due these adorable mercenaries.
Erik Ian Walker
I could easily devote a whole blog to Erik-- everything he brought to the album and taught me in the band. When I began the album five years ago I came to him needing an instrumental track of one song, Look Away, so I could practice singing it. I had tried 3 different piano players and none of them could play it right. I was starting to think something was wrong with the song. Erik sat down and played exactly what I’d been hearing in my head. When I expressed my pleased astonishment, he said suavely, “I’m a rock guy.” He is so much more than a rock guy. Erik and his ensemble will perform his experimental composition evoking climate change at the multimedia Climate Music Project on Nov. 12th at the Green Fest at 5 p.m. on Pier 35. Click here to learn more about Green Fest.
Decades ago, when I was going to SF State, I dated a bass player in a punk band. I can still hear the reverence in his voice when he spoke of “Gary Hobish of The Jars.” Flash forward to Erik and my engineer both recommending the one and same Gary Hobish to master The Perambulator in his professional capacity at A. Hammer Mastering. During our session Gary said he really liked the album. When I asked him later if he knew of a bass player for the release shows, I secretly hoped he would volunteer himself. Never mind my middle name, Gary brought considerable star power to The Assassins. While he continues to work at A. Hammer Mastering, his band True Margrit is finishing their next album, Comforting The Castaways, plus Gary is starting to play gigs with The Luminous Newts, with a double gig with True Margrit and The Luminous Newts at Ohmega Salvage on November 13th.
I wanted to do a few open mics prior to the release show and Sean cheerfully agreed to accompany me. Alas, we did not prepare very well and got into trouble, making not only your average run-of-the-mill mistakes but also some really strange mistakes. However, I must confess that after being so precise and hyper-vigilant throughout the entire album production process it was kind of fun to let go and screw up a little. Isn’t that part of rock ‘n’ roll? We then rehearsed like fiends and killed at the next open mic. Sean continues to work on original material and play guitar with his band Dead Snake Revival.
Janet is what is known in show biz as a “triple threat”— an accomplished singer, actor, and dancer. She can out-sing me any day! I loved having a female Assassin. Only Janet was going to yak about costumes and make-up with me. As a result of her blogs and videos on her site Fabulous Film Songs, Janet was recently honored with a commission by the family of Warner Brothers staff songwriter M.K. Jerome to record new arrangements of several of his songs originally featured in classic films. She also continues to record as part of the duo Tumble & Ruff for Pop Song of the Month Club-- which can be found here on YouTube.
Such an accomplished drummer that on a couple of songs I actually had to say, “Play stupider, you’re overthinking this.” Chris can’t help being smart. Music links up both sides of your brain and he plays in 5 bands. A sampling of genres: Alt rock with Cure For Gravity, having their CD Release event on 11.25 at The Ivy Room. Groove/funk/jazz with Hop Sauce, now playing the fourth Sunday of every month at Cato's Alehouse in Oakland. Jazz with The Fourtet playing second Friday of every month at Caffe Trieste, Berkeley.
Farewell Assassins! See ya 'round town!
Photos by L. Herrada-Rios.