Thursday, December 10, 2009

Merry Crimble! Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Crimble and say a quick thanks to all the kind folks who came out to the Pete's gig on 12/8. As always, 'twas a joy and honor to bring the jams your way.

Hope everyone has an awesome holiday season and thank you for all your support in 2009. I'll see you in 2010 with more live shows and the new album release (more on that soon).

Here's hoping Santa brings that cowbell you wanted. Cheers!

XO -mb

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Licks: Final Rock Show of 2009!

The band and I will be kicking out the jams (and downing awesome grilled sandwiches) at the world famous Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday Dec 8th, 2009. Admission is free so come on down, get your holiday buzz on and join us for our last rock show of the year. See below for details and more info. Happy Holidays! -XO, mb

Mark Bacino

Tues. Dec. 8, 2009 - 8pm
Pete's Candy Store
709 Lorimer Street
Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 302-3770

www.petescandystore.com
Click
here for directions
*No Cover*


The Band -
Cheri Leone, Matty Karas, John Lee, Jay Sherman-Godfrey and Bob Byrne

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Welcome Back...

Hey everybody, welcome back. Sorry I've been a little negligent on the Blog front of late. Thought I'd check in quick and say thanks again to all who braved the nasty weather and came out to The Living Room in NYC last month. 'Twas a blast kickin' and screamin' for you guys. I'm hoping to possibly sneak another show in before the holiday season descends upon us in all its egg nog-spiked fury so stay tuned for info on that gig.

In other news, I'm real, real close to settling the fine-print regarding the release of my new album, "Queens English". Will definitely let everyone know the street date, details, etc. as soon as they become available. Looking forward to finally getting this project out into the world. I truly appreciate all the words of encouragement and support I received from you fine folks during the making of and beyond; it's been a long road indeed.

Well, guess that about does it for now. Thought I might leave you with this mellow little jam
(below) from the last show that seems oddly apropos. This lo-fi talkie and others from that night can also be found here.

And oh yeah Julie, did I ever tell you about?... ah, never mind.

XO -mb

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rock Show - Part II

Just wanted to remind all about the big rock show next week (details below). The band and I intend to play a mix of old and new jams for you fine people so please join us if you can.

In preparation I’ve been listening to “Kiss - Double Platinum” and my Paul Stanley stage-patter CD. Damn. Made me realize as a songwriter I’ll probably never be able to come up with a lyric as rich and inspired as, say, “Hot, hot, hotter than hell, you know she's gonna leave you well done” but all I can do is promise you I’ll never stop trying.


Mark Bacino

Thurs. Oct 15, 2009
- 7pm
The
Living Room, NYC
154 Ludlow St

New York
, NY 10002

(212) 533-7235
www.livingroomny.com

*No Cover*

The Band -
Cheri Leone

Matty Karas

Ed Klinger

John Lee

Jay Sherman-Godfrey

Bob Byrne


with...

The "Who Are Yous" Horns -
Rob Jost
Jesse Neuman

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Love Shack

Quickly becoming a NY institution, Manhattan's "Shake Shack" is a carnivore's dream. With its slightly highbrow take on the all-American lowbrow classic: the hamburger, Shake Shack has become quite the gastronomic destination. Located within a city park (Madison Square Park, right off 23rd St. & Madison Ave.), the Shack is a great place to sneak a break from the rigors of the urban jungle and indulge in the pleasures of the flesh.

Typical to the menu at Shake Shack is, of course, a very juicy, semi high-style hamburger, fries, hot dogs, shakes, dessert custards and a pretty amazing mushroom burger for those vegetarians among us. But of course like many things in NYC, all this goodness comes with a price...as you can kind of see from the picture above, there is the not so little matter of a line. In order to secure your cow-crafted goodies you must wait... and wait... and wait some more. However, for a town and its inhabitants both known for their breakneck pace, there's a surprising amount of zen-like patience permeating the mood of the Shake Shack line. It's odd. Like folks queuing at the gates of heaven to have a chat with St. Peter in a ketchup stained robe. I suppose
even New Yorkers don't mind waiting if they know in the end they'll eventually get their just deserts (or desserts). Wouldn't it be great if some of that mantra muttering calm could be exported to the unnerving line at the Post Office just a few blocks east of the Shack? Maybe Uncle Sam should start serving a side-order of fries with every parcel sent.

Visit the Shake Shack for some gooey, heavenly love; allow 30 to 40 minutes for delivery.

PS - Before you go, check the "Shack Cam" on Shake Shack's site to get a real-time view of the "shack-mosphere" aka - the line (or lack thereof).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rock Show

Every so often there comes a time in a man's life when he must put aside foolish pursuits and turn his mind toward more important endeavors... Such as creating quality, live rock for all the good babies out there. Once again, I find myself at that crossroads...Shall I rock? Rock I shall (or at least I'll try, ya know my back's been killing me lately...). Please join me, won't you?


Mark Bacino
Thurs. Oct 15, 2009 - 7pm
The Living Room, NYC
154 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 533-7235
*No Cover*

The Band -

Cheri Leone
Matty Karas
Ed Klinger
John Lee
Jay Sherman-Godfrey
Bob Byrne

with...

The "Who Are Yous" Horns -
Rob Jost
Jesse Neuman

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Tree Grew in Brooklyn

Well, Queens actually... and just beyond my backyard to be exact.

(Warning: navel-gazing post ahead)


When people die we morn their loss. Roman Catholics organize wakes and funeral masses to mark a passing; the Jews sit Shiva to similarly pay their respects. Even when an animal or a pet passes on folks sometimes pay tribute in various ways but when something like a tree
- arguably just as much a miraculous, living entity - meets its demise no one really takes much notice, do they?

One morning bright and early this week my wife and I were woken by the dulcet tones of buzzing chainsaws. Lifting the blinds and shaking off my sleepy fog, I realized that my neighbors across the way (whom I don't know) had hired a very adept team of tree killers who were unceremoniously chopping down the beautiful, healthy tree that sat at the edge of my neighbors' property. The Mrs. and I were shocked and saddened as we watched this example of nature's exquisite and patiently crafted handiwork decapitated and extinguished within a matter of minutes. Although this technically
wasn't "our" tree we had both grown accustom to its stately presence; it masked a majority of our concrete surroundings, bloomed with the most amazingly vibrant white-pink flowers in the spring (a cherry blossom tree?) and could be seen from our bedroom and kitchen windows in a flurry of said white-pink, green or red depending upon the season.

A few hours after the execution
I couldn't help but assess the damage up close, paying my respects to what little remained of this silently beautiful old giant. As I stepped into the alleyway behind my yard, I was surprisingly met with my lurking neighbor's unprompted, almost guilty explanation - "We had no choice, it was pushing on the fence". I said nothing and walked back inside after taking a quick look at the dilapidated, ancient and weathered-beyond-repair fence in question. A decrepit, inanimate possession obviously invaluable to this pavement loving patron of urban decay.

As those personally acquainted with me know, I'm not much of a nature lover; pretty much a city boy born and bred and maybe I'm becoming lamely sentimental in my old age (having a kid will do that to you) but today as I stare out my window at a paint-peeled, worn fence starkly illuminated by the late-afternoon sun, I can't help but notice the void and morn the loss of our pink and white homeB.

Godspeed the tree.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Snap it, Pal

It was like a secret society growing up in NY/NJ mid to late 70's; either you knew who Uncle Floyd was or you didn't.

Coming in like a snowy, UHF blast of bizarro sketch-comedy, celebrity impressions, oddball puppetry, punk rock musical guests and Stride-piano, "The Uncle Floyd Show" circa 1977 sneakily beamed its way into thousands of rabbit-eared TVs (and the hearts of their mostly pubescent/teen owners) all across the tri-state area virtually undetected by the Ford-era mainstream. To my young, untrained eye this beautiful, low budget, Vaudevillian freak-show might as well have been broadcasting directly from outer-space. It was like nothing I'd ever seen on TV before. Little did I know this strange world was, in reality, not very far, emanating form a broken down New Jersey television studio, two rivers
across from where I watched cross-legged every afternoon in my Queens bedroom. And speaking to me from the center of this insane, fuzzy universe? A man in a plaid jacket and a funny hat known simply as "Uncle Floyd" Vivino.

Vivino, the friendly host,
comedic straight-man, piano virtuoso and creator of this home-spun, television circus served as our daily ring-master of sorts, inviting us to join his weirdo parade each and every weekday afternoon. I, of course, was very eager to comply. With its off-camera laughter, its unstable cast, its failed, disintegrating sketches, it's cutting-edge musical guests (The Ramones appeared several times) and Floyd's episode-closing, Ragtime serenades, "The Uncle Floyd Show" was just what the doctor ordered for every local, TV addicted misfit.

Uncle Floyd, indeed, wasn't for everybody; you had to be that special kind of person - a seeker, someone who's sensibilities deviated from the mainstream, VHF path of Brady Bunch re-runs, urging them to comb the
interference-laden frequencies of the UHF band in search of something different. In between the static and ghosting the initiated found their "different" in "The Uncle Floyd Show".

And as history has since proved, it wasn't all suburban freaks and geeks watching either; A missive penned by none other than David Bowie testifies to that end (courtesy of davidbowie.com) -

"Back in the late '70s, everyone that I knew would rush home at a certain point in the afternoon to catch the Uncle Floyd show. He was on UHF Channel 68 and the show looked like it was done out of his living room in New Jersey. All his pals were involved and it was a hoot. It had that Soupy Sales kind of appeal and though ostensibly aimed at kids, I knew so many people of my age who just wouldn't miss it. We would be on the floor it was so funny. Two of the regulars on the show were Oogie and Bones Boy, ridiculous puppets made out of ping-pong balls or some such. I just loved that show."


Apparently Bowie
had learned of Floyd from another fellow musician and loyal Uncle Floyd viewer by the name of John Lennon. Pretty awesome, no?

These days in an era where left-of-center, late night television is pretty common place (if not cliche) and the Uncle Floyd Show is but a heady, childhood memory for me and my aging misfit compatriots, I can't help but wonder if folks like Letterman, O'Brien, etc don't owe at least a small debt of gratitude to the "irreverent late-afternoon TV before irreverent late-night TV" of "The Uncle Floyd Show".

In the immortal words of Bones Boy - "Hey, Dave...snap it, pal !"

A clip of Uncle Floyd at the piano in 2009 -

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Family Affair

After two years in production, Blue Sky Studios' new animated feature, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (Fox) is ready for release and is scheduled to hit theaters worldwide, July 1. In the interest of full disclosure, this new family feature has also been a bit of a family affair around these parts as my lovely and talented wife Lynn served as a Senior Lighting Technical Director on the film. As such, the Mrs. and I are excitedly looking forward to watching this long-crafted creation finally make its way to the big screen this summer in hopefully a big way.

It's certainly been a long and winding road over the past two aforementioned years, with my baby's mama putting in her share of 12 hour days and 6-day work weeks in efforts to make these beloved, frozen characters come to life. After attending an advanced screening last week at the Ziegfeld Theater here in NY, it was evident that my wife and her colleagues' tireless efforts had indeed paid off. The movie looks great and is most definitely a fun, playful ride with all the original Ice Age characters returning - Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary) along with the addition of some rather big reptiles; The latter being especially awesome in 3-D (which, by the way, is pretty cool in its current incarnation - gone are the days of cardboard, multi-colored glasses and their accompanying headaches).

If you're looking for Fellini this 4th of July weekend, forget it, obviously read no further but if you're searching for a fun, summertime diversion that the kids (and probably you yourself) will enjoy, than load up the family Winnebago, make your way to the Ice Age...i.e. a theater with really good air conditioning and check out "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (view trailer).

ps- Look for Lynn's name in the credits next to a little green dinosaur sketched by our obviously talented 4 year old son (I mention this purely without bias of course).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Past Tense

In the early morning hours of June 25, 1994 my father, Lee Bacino, died, unexpectedly, in his sleep; he was 62.

My dad passed away while on vacation visiting the tiny, eastern Long Island, summer cottage he and my mother bought with their hard-earned money back in the winter of 1982. A small, country dream realized for this born and bred Bensonhurst boy who, contrary to the urban surroundings from which he came, loved the outdoors, the water, fishing, hunting and working with his hands.


By trade my father was a sales and distribution manager for a local NYC milk company; spending his days behind a desk assigning delivery routes/drivers and accommodating store owners although, as he often said - perhaps revealing more than I ever realized - he much preferred the freedom he once enjoyed as a scrapper road salesman, visiting potential customers and landing accounts back in his earlier days within the food service industry.

A smart, charming guy who knew what to say and when to say it (vestiges of his salesman days, no doubt) but one who also did not suffer fools gladly. Cross him and you'd soon know it; possessing equal and imposing amounts physical strength and Sicilian/Brooklyn temper, LB was a force to be reckoned with. Finding myself on the wrong end of that wrath from time to time growing up I can most definitely attest to that notion.


That said, my father also had a softer side - he was generous, loving, had a good sense of humor and was a pretty devoted family man. When not working long hours he could generally be found at home with my mom and I as opposed to the bars and bowling alleys many of my friend's dads seemed to permanently inhabit at the time. Surprisingly too for a 'man's-man' born in the 1930's, my dad loved to cook, taught himself how to play harmonica and ukulele as a boy and even merged his love of music and craftsmanship as a kid by hand-making a respectable ukulele out of wood from scratch. An instrument that no doubt later provided my father with a welcome diversion from the harsh realities of the role he willingly assumed in his 20's as 'man of the house' when his father became ill and passed away. Working various jobs, my father helped make ends meet and looked after his mother and younger sister.

Isn't it funny (and odd) how little we truly know about our parents? Although he never said, sometimes I sensed my dad might have given up a good deal of what he may have wanted for himself in terms of a career, aspirations, etc to do what he felt was the right thing to do; whether that was helping his mom and sister or later providing for his wife and child via a desk-job yielding better pay if not necessarily personal satisfaction. I'm not sure but I believe he carried that sadness or disappointment (but never regret) with him throughout the years, torn as many of us are between our dreams and our responsibilities, with both being of equal importance to us.


In the last days of his life I was lucky enough to hang with my dad out at the summer house and oddly have, what I felt to be, some of the most interesting/honest conversations we ever had together. He seemed to be in pretty good spirits, reminiscing with me about his past while looking ahead to the future, retirement and a building project he soon planned to undertake wherein he would expand the country cottage to a more roomier retirement home for he and my mom.

Sadly this was never to be.

When I recorded my debut album in 1998 I included a simple song I wrote for my dad culled in part from some favorite chord changes he used to play for me on his uke when I was a kid. Fifteen Father's Days from his passing I thought I'd once again revisit/offer this song and its lyrics in tribute to my dad.

I suppose I'll never get used to talking about him in the past tense...


PAST TENSE (click to listen)


I'd like to thank you today

For all the love you sent my way
Yet I'd give it up, it’s true
For one more chance to speak with you

Just as if you were here, plus a year...

‘Cause I will never get used to
Talking about you in the past tense...

Oh, now that you’re gone
I hope you've moved on
To a better place,
just a smile on your face

No more worries, no more cares, just time to spare...

Time I will need to get used to
Talking about you
Time I will need to get used to
Talking about you

In the past tense
Talking about you...

In the past tense


Monday, June 15, 2009

Late In The Evening

Hmm...

So what's your take on "
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"?

For me, Fallon's foray into late night talk is more interesting a story than the current Conan/Letterman ratings war. I suppose I watched the new "Late Night" at its beginnings partly out of curiosity and mainly because as a musician/creative person I always enjoy witnessing the genesis of pretty much anything, warts and all. Predictably, the show was pretty rough at the start and still is three months in, but for my money, that roughness, that 'we're-just-working-this-thing-out' vibe, that's the charm. As such, I have to admit I'm enjoying the current incarnation of this continuing NBC franchise (shout out to
The Roots too; interesting house-band choice and very cool).

Sure it could be said that Fallon comes across as affable almost to a fault - the fumbling underdog, the super nice "dude" who's eager to please and make everyone happy but, yet again, that's the charm of it. Maybe it's part of the act and I'm naive, but I'm starting to believe Fallon genuinely is the person, like him or not, you see on camera - A nice guy who's been handed a job we think he can do but one that's just slightly above his skill set right now. He will, of course, grow into the assignment and really that's part of the fun; we all get to see that happen real-time. In my opinion, Conan's "
Tonight Show" debut was fairly uninteresting for all the opposite reasons; sure he too faces a new version of a show with a daunting, hallowed legacy but truth be told, Conan's already a seasoned pro, (& as astutely noted in a recent Blog by Bob Lefsetz) just as emotionally guarded as his counterpart, Dave. With nary a glimpse of true internal trepidation in sight regarding his "new" gig, O'Brien's big night fell a little flat.

Fallon may not be able to outshine his two slick, seasoned mentors but at present time, in all his freshman roughness, Jimmy seems a whole lot better than both at just being real.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Writer's Life

Truth be told, I'm a total junkie for works that reveal glimpses into the creative process whether it be books, documentaries, etc. I'm currently reading "A Writer's Life" by Gay Talese (left). Primarily best known as author/journalist and one of the founding fathers of the "new journalism" school of reporting, Talese helped mold a style during the mid-sixties wherein the writer's almost fiction-esque, imaginative, descriptive slant became an integral part of the reporting without ever compromising the integrity of the facts.

Part autobiography, part window into the process of his craft, "A Writer's Life" finds Talese talking candidly about his hits and, interestingly much more so, about his misses - the stories that got away; the pieces that, sometimes despite Talese's strong efforts/interests, could never quite make it to print. A fascinating and refreshing approach amid the current 'American Idol' zeitgeist which seems so steadfastly focused on "winners" and one's successes.

On a totally biased note, the thing I love most about Gay Talese (aside from his obvious writer's prowess) is that he personally embodies - at least for me - the literary sensibilities that have made him famous; the quintessential, impeccably dressed, thorough, typewriter at 8, martinis at 6, dinner at Elaine's,
old-school New York, creative dandy. High on style but with all the substance to match. At 77, a precious and rarefied animal in this ephemeral age of skinny jeans and Twitter fiends.

If you'd like to read the opening chapter of "A Writer's Life" it can be found here courtesy of Random House. If you're also so inclined, check out the seminal article Talese penned for Esquire Magazine, circa 1966,
on Frank Sinatra; considered by many to be one of the first "new journalism" pieces committed to print. Enjoy but be forewarned, if you're looking for 140 character, ADD fare you won't find it here. Thankfully the man beneath the Panama hat is a master of the artfully constructed run-on sentence.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thank Yous

After being sequestered in a recording studio working on a new album for a fair amount of time you begin to slowly forget the buzz you get from playing music for a living/breathing audience. I was reminded of said buzz this week when my band and I hit the stage at Living Room Wednesday night in NYC.

To be honest it's always a little nerve-wracking mounting a live show with a fairly large band, whether you're doing it for the first time or the thousandth; lots of stuff to work out and numerous things that can go awry. Deciding to premier all the songs from my new record, "Queens English", before the album's release, to a room of folks totally unfamiliar with the material probably only served to add to the anxiety but at the same time it also seemed like a fun thing to do. Hey, let's add a horn section too!

Finally gig night arrives and as the band launches into the opening notes of "QE's" lead-off instrumental, "Who Are Yous?", all pre-show trepidations
slowly begin to melt away. Like the safety bar coming down on the roller coaster seat - we're off...might as well enjoy the ride.

And enjoy the ride we did; like any good spin on the Cyclone there were some frightening turns (Jay's amp momentarily possessed by demons), pockets of serene clarity (the generous quite that filled the room during the ballad, "Blue Suit") and a few surprise twists (audience member Delbert McClinton, aka Steven's awesomely funny, straight-faced, cowbell freak out on "Inside"). Inevitably, like every great ride the minute it's over, filled with relief and excitement, you want to jump right back on and do it all over again.

And do it again we shall but first before we do, a huge thank you must go out to my wonderful band; awesome musicians and more importantly great friends - Cheri Leone, Matty Karas, Ed Klinger, John Lee, Jay Sherman-Godfrey, Bob Byrne, Rob Jost and Jesse Neuman. Followed, of course, by a tremendous and no less sincere thank you to all the excellent folks who came out, packed the room, sent love to the stage and generously went along for the ride without really knowing where we were headed. As they say in show biz (
tipping hat & adopting cheesy Jimmy Durante voice), "There'd be no us without yous".

'Till next time.

Yours in Rock,
-mb

ps - Some photos of the evening, like the one above, can be found on my site (see 'Gallery' page) courtesy of Jason Hare.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rock Show (cont.)

As promised, I'm back to invite (pester) everyone to the gig this coming Wednesday 5/13, 7pm at The Living Room in NYC. If you're in the area please come on down, join us and free your mind of swine flues and economic blues.

I'll be premiering songs from my recently completed album, "Queens English", playing the record in its entirety plus some older tunes from albums past. If you'd like to sample some of the music from "QE" ahead of time (so you can memorize the lyrics and sing along of course), please visit my site where 5 tunes are currently streaming.

Generously lending their talents and joining me on stage Wed evening will be Cheri Leone (vocals/perc), Matty Karas (guitar/vocals), Jay Sherman-Godfrey (guitar/vocals), John Lee (bass), Bob Byrne (piano/keys), Ed Klinger (drums) and the 'Who Are Yous Horns' feat. Rob Jost (french horn) & Jesse Neuman (trumpet).

And oh yeah, I almost forgot, it's BYOC (bring your own cowbell).

Hope to see you (details below)!

XO,
-mb


Wednesday May 13, 2009 -
7pm
Cost: FREE

The Living Room

154 Ludlow St

New York, NY 10002
(212) 533-7235
www.livingroomny.com

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Rite of Softee

"There's no shiny towers here,
we built them in the city town
Just some kids and they're
runnin' round, chasing Softee down"


How could I possibly write an albums worth of material centering around life in the outer-boroughs of New York City without mentioning Mr. Softee? As such, I felt compelled to work it (him?) into the lyric of a tune called "Middle Town" (above) from my new record, "Queens English".

For those not from these here parts, Mr. Softee is a somewhat low-key, iconic fixture of NY street life in the summertime. Basically a fleet of bare-bones, soft-serve ice cream parlors on wheels, Softee brings both smiles to kids and looks of "crap, there goes dinner" to pre-meal time parents alike. With his sickly sweet concoctions and annoying yet beautiful music box jingle (usually played on some terribly distorted truck-mounted sound system), Mr. Softee is the taste and sound of the baked apple incarnate.

As my son and I hit the park today, heard that familiar jangly tune and smelled that familiar smell (idling truck fumes), we knew spring had definitely made its way back to NYC
...on a waffle cone and four sticky tires.

"That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won't be long
Won't be long 'till summer comes
now that the boys are here again
"*

*From "The Boys Are Back in Town" - Thin Lizzy

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tar Wars

Taste...the final frontier.

So what do you do when a UFO lands in your backyard? I'm pretty sure that chubby dude with the sled fetish bombed on
Paul Masson would know but he's dead, right? Now what? These and other poignant questions were suddenly posed as this sparkling silver beauty appeared behind my home last week (left).

After a small leak in my ceiling prompted a visit from a local roofer, it got me thinking, hey, I should have this guy put a new roof on my garage while he's at it (exciting, right?). I've never attended to these old, car-park rafters since I've owned the property and probably should. Wouldn't want any of that utterly useless crap I'm storing in there for no apparent reason to get water damaged. I tell the roofer it's his lucky day and we're off to the races.


When the roofers finish, shockingly I'm left with something pretty garish that resembles the
Jupiter 2. Apparently, as my roofer explains it, these days tar is passe' and rubber roofs are all the rage. Once these flubber-esque sheets are rolled out and heated to stick to your roof (technical, I know, stay with me people) they must then be coated with a Warhol-like silver paint to reflect the sun and prevent said flubber from drying out, cracking and letting the water in. Makes sense. Of course. Awesome.

So, after a few days of living with this garage-sized suntan reflector beaming retina-burning rays through my kitchen window, my wife and I are pretty freaked. I'm back on the phone with the roofer -

Me: Can we cover the roof with something, maybe black?

Roofer: Nope. Not recommended, absorbs the heat, not good for the roof.

Me: Yeah, I know but the silver's pretty tough on the eyes; besides I burn easily.
Roofer: No, that's how it's done.
Me: I got to be honest,
my wife really hates the way it looks.
Roofer: She'll get used to it, give it some time.


What? She'll get used to it?! Wow, I'm getting pissed, offended and obviously nowhere. I hang up. After some Yellow Pages finger-walking and numerous calls, I finally find a dude willing to take my money and coat the spacecraft black. Seems no one wants the job. Like the others I've spoken to, Roofer #2, claims the stealth coating's not so great for the roof but it'll be "okay".


In the end order is restored to the known universe and despite all my troubles I suppose it's comforting to learn a deep moral code apparently exists amongst roofers today; it seems not many are willing to eschew the force and cross over to the dark side.




Editors Note - Roofer #2 has yet to return for his check
. Laziness? Cosmic existential dilemma? You decide.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The View From Inside

"Dude!.... are you that guy that made "Inside, everything is really nice ohhhhhh inside"???! Seriously if you are him I want to thank you so much for making that song. I haven't heard it in years but it's still on my old computer because it came with Musicmatch Jukebox as a sample song. That's one of my favorite songs EVER! I still sing it all the time even though I haven't heard it. Anyway I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you for making such a beautiful song. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it because of the memories I get. Believe it or not that song had an impact on my life when I was going through some hard times and it always made me feel the future will be better...And it is! Anyway thank you so much! Much love! :D "

Thought I'd put my usual snarky, cornball antics aside this week and share a cool note (above) I received yesterday re: a tune I wrote. It's weird, making records is like having children in a way; usually a painful birth, followed by unconditional investments of love and nurturing, yielding bi-polar mixtures of both sadness and great joy. You might make 'em but you don't own 'em and when they're ready, they go off into the world and take on a life of their own. Finding friends, making enemies, causing ruckuses or quietly keeping to themselves. They might phone home once and a while but you're never quite sure what they're really doing out there.

My memory's a bit foggy but back in '99 when my first record, "Pop Job", quietly hit the streets I kind of remember my label, Parasol, making a deal with some entity connected to Microsoft or Musicmatch that allowed for the inclusion of my tune, "Inside", within an early mp3 player Bill & Co. were bundling with their operating systems. Chances are if you bought a PC with Windows around this time you probably received "Inside" hidden, er, inside your computer.

Cut to ten years later when I receive this amazing, flattering and touching note from a total stranger thanking me for giving them a little joy and helping them navigate some rough emotional terrain in their life. Heavy and humbling, it briefly washes away all the negatives I've accumulated and associated with the music 'business' over the years. Whenever I'm lucky enough to receive one of these appreciative messages it also serves to remind me why I do what I do - because I love it and hope to make that personal connection with folks at some level via the music I create.
They say the true artist creates for himself and no one else. I'm not so sure I'd agree; seems a little selfish even to a narcissistic-artistic type such as myself. Alternately, it might smack of self-importance to think a tune I wrote (sitting on a broken futon in my apartment) could affect someone's life in a positive way but amazingly, the reality is, it seems one has and for that I'm honored and grateful.

"Hey, Honey! The kid just called, he got a promotion at work today!"

Much Love Indeed,
-mb

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Cult of the Snuggie



Is it me or is this sort of creepy (see above)?

(
Announcer's voice bursts in) "It's not creepy! It's the Snuggie! The blanket with sleeves!..."

If you're anything like me (& I hope to God you're not), one-part insomniac/one-part hard-core night person, you probably often find yourself wandering this earth or puttering around your dwelling in the wee hours when more sensible folks are dead to the world. Subconsciously I think I probably feel sleep is over-rated and a waste of precious free time; Time better spent creating music, reading or watching crap TV.

If you're one of my late-night, channel-surfing brethren you've probably come across this rhymin' Snuggie commercial. For the uninitiated, the Snuggie is this kind of blanket with sleeves that you can put your arms through so you can continue to use your appendages as they stay snug as a bug in a...well, Snuggie. Sounds good in theory (although I think they already invented this a thousand years ago, it's called a sweater) and it probably indeed works in practice but the downside, as you've undoubtedly seen from the video, is the aesthetic of the Snuggie; It's, well, just plain F'in kooky at best. Chances are unless you're some kind of medieval monk or "of one with the body of Landru" (a totally nerdy Star Trek reference) then you're gonna look pretty insane wearing a Snuggie. I love the pitch in the commercial - Read a book, use your laptop, enjoy a snack, worship false Gods! But wait, there's more! Comes in not one but 3 totally strange choices of color! Great for drafty dorm rooms, great for the outdoors, great for burning people at the stake, machine washable! Check out the old dude in the Snuggie spot who looks like Paulie Walnuts sitting in his recliner eating popcorn. Pure awesome Snuggie-ness.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any freakier, it seems the good folks at Snuggie have outdone themselves - Introducing the
Snugglette! It's the mini-Snuggie for kids! Wow...I kind of don't know what to say. Even I'm a little weirded out at this point. What's next? Jim Jones flavored Kool-Aid?

Supposedly they've sold millions of Snuggies (including designer versions) and even
Oprah wears one (so you know it must be good). Apparently people go on organized pub-crawls wearing Snuggies these days. Who knew? And really who am I to scoff at progress or the seemingly unbridled insanity of the 21st century? Rave on Snuggie children, I'm with ya.

I do look pretty cool in burgundy.


Of one with the Snuggie,
-mb

Editor's Note - I just heard the ShamWow guy got busted for beating down a hooker. Wow, what a sham(e).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Like Wearing Clothes


Mark Bacino - "I Like Wearing Clothes"

After completing my new album, feeling fairly burnt out and feeling as though there was nothing left to squeeze from the creative ether, surprisingly new tunes began to appear.

There must be 5 million songs in the history of pop music that encourage people to take their clothes off. For some reason I thought it was time to write one about keeping them on. See above lo-fi, web-cam jam; lyrics below if you'd like to follow the bouncing Blog and sing along.

Sorry for the substandard audio, apparently my laptop mic came with a sweet, built-in phaser effect.
I like to pretend it's 1976, Phil Ramone's producing and after a bottle of red and a few bottles of white we've decided to throw a Small Stone across the whole mix.

Guess I am still crazy after all these years.


Don't go changin',

-mb

I Like Wearing Clothes


Ever since I was a little lad,

I hated strippin' down it made me sad
Bath time terrors, watch the teardrops flow

I'm sorry Momma, I like wearing clothes.


Now I'm grown, I'm not that little man

And my baby she just cant understand

Why she's never ever seen my toes

I'm sorry baby, I like wearing clothes

Don't take me for a seaside holiday

Shorts and sandals, ah keep them away

No, skinny-dippins' never in my plans

Cause I only burn, I never tan...


Not comfortable inside my birthday suit

Rather have a jacket and a nice pair of boots

Now I'm no crazy semi-kind of prude

It's just a lifestyle not an attitude


Styles may come and styles may go

Muffin tops and bellies hanging low

Not everybody's body's built for show

I'm sorry people, I like wearing clothes


I'm sorry Momma, I like wearing clothes

I'm sorry baby, I like wearing clothes


Copyright MB 2009/BMI

Friday, March 13, 2009

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Gas Leak...

When the Greek historian Herodotus first committed this famous phrase to paper (parchment?) 2500 years ago, words now commonly attributed to the work ethic of our fine US postal service, I guess he didn't take into account a strong postal workers union or NYC's crumbling infrastructure. Back then I suspect a gas leak meant nothing more than the result of one's late-night Hummus binge.

Anyway, the other day I look at the clock, damn it's 2:30, I want to get to the post office; I have a half hour. Now normally I avoid the post office as much as humanly possible but not unlike a post-Hummus Herodotus, sometimes you just have to go. The mundane occasion? Having just finished my taxes, my accountant suggests I mail the paperwork off to the various governmental PO Boxes via Certified Mail to prove to Uncle Sam I actually submitted my tax forms in the event Uncle Sam looses my tax forms en route to Recessionville, USA. Sounds reasonable. I suppose I'd rather visit the post office now than the IRS later. With that thought in mind, I grab the forms and the 3 year old and we're off.

Five minutes later the boy and I score a cherry parking spot in front of the place. With the kid in one arm, the forms in the other and 3 quarters in the meter, we weave through the traffic as we cross the street and land at the door. Looking up we're greeted with a very official looking sign (
pic above) written in gov. issued Sharpie. Gas leak?! In a post office?! Did the postal union lobby for gas powered stamp machines? Were gas fueled, Rumsfeld issued, Anthrax eradicators installed? And don't you just love the use of the word, "possible"? So committal these government types. Like there may or may not be a gas leak but either way Uncle Sam's not sticking around to find out. Mail? What mail? Herodotus who? You're out of luck, Jack; go to the main branch if you have any quarters left. Right away I'm pissed; this is exactly why I hate going to the post office - the almost inevitable clusterfu*k; the very embodiment of the term "going postal". C'mon, I just want to mail my F'in taxes but once again the fear of the unknown, the fear of the "possible" has hindered the progress of this great nation. Back in the car I wonder if there's a color-code for "possible gas leak" over at the Dept. of Homeland Insecurity.

With the clock hands dangerously close to the 3pm hour, we arrive at post office #2 the next neighborhood over. No gas leak here (although it smells as if someone might have taken a leak). We fill out the little green forms, hand over the envelopes, pay the Sam...mission accomplished.


On the way home I reward my son's postal patience with a doughnut from Dunkin' Ds. Now there's an organization with a solid work ethic. I guaranty if they ever had a "possible" gas leak or the roof had blown off that mo' fo' you'd still be able to get a cup of coffee and a plain stick.


Winding the car back home I feel mildly triumphant but the smell of victory is quickly snuffed with an all too familiar fragrance wafting from the 21st century,
back-seat historian with half-eaten doughnut in hand and that relieved look on his face.

Possible gas leak indeed.

Rock Show

It's a way off but just wanted to let everyone know that the band and I will be playing Wednesday, May 13th, 7pm at The Living Room in NYC. Should be fun; we'll be playing the new record in its entirety (with a horn section), in running order and we'll probably kick out some old school jams as well, time permitting. Of course I'll harp on this again as the date gets closer but just figured I'd throw it out there now so you can mark your calendars, reschedule your vacations, weddings, etc.

XO
-mb

Saturday, February 28, 2009

...And Your Momma Don't Rock 'n Roll

So before my Mom went off to serve her annual tour of duty as snowbird first-class in Florida's National Yard, I gave her a copy of my new record to take along. Now it's always odd when I give something like this to my folks; a) it's not very R 'n R, b) it makes me feel like I'm 8 again presenting that lumpy clay ashtray made in art class and c) I know they probably won't get it, leading to eventual emotional distress. Yet knowing all this, I still hand over my latest creations. Weird. Like no matter how old you get, you're still looking for parental approval even if it's via the deepest caverns of your subconscious.

Fast-forward. Weeks go by and...nothing. Radio silence. Now my Mom's a talker, a "people person", she's never at a loss for words; we speak often. I'm pretty sure Ma Bell installed their whole fiber network off the revenue from my Mother's phone bills back in the 70's. I mean put her in a room with Kim Jong-il and an hour later they'll gleefully be sharing hairspray tips. Anyway, one day we're speaking and finally I just come out with it - "So, did you ever listen to the album?" Nervous pause. My Mom tells me yes, but she's been waiting to talk to me about it because there's a bit of a problem. You see the album's great, my best yet, but unfortunately unlike my other records, she can't hear any of the words on this one. My step-dad (in his 80s) thinks there must be something technically wrong with the disc or the way the album was put together; all the music is much louder than my voice. My Mom (78) concurs but before they laid the bad news on me they wanted to run it by my Aunt (in her 60s) to see what she thought
. Now I'm pretty sure my Aunt never did a stint at The Hit Factory but I resist the urge to ask (ya never know, the 80's were pretty crazy, yo). Turns out my Aunt "played the record on her computer" then passed along her take. Seems she can understand some of the words but not all; she agrees something's amiss.

Now I'd like to tell you I took the high-road and maintained my composure. I'd like to say I calmly reminded myself that the people feeding me this info watch "The O'Reilly Factor" on the flat-screen at my place with the volume at 75 (Literally. I don't think I've ever taken her above 20). I'd like to say all these things but I can't... I lost it.

I suppose the two years worth of work and money invested in this album have taken their toll
. I know the mixes are fine. I guess there's just something about that ability your parents have to (unintentionally) get under your skin and play upon your insecurities that can somehow rattle the most stalwart of emotional cages.

Now back off townsfolk, put down your torches, ok? I know I should have been cooler but you'll be relieved to hear all's well on the domestic front. Like most good, totally dysfunctional Mother and son relationships, my Mom and I have successfully come to disavow the existence of any such altercation.


What have I learned? Well, going forward I've promised myself that I'll be a little more patient with the folks. Anything less than that is just a character flaw on my part.
I've also promised myself that I'm going to work on the self-doubt thing. I'm an adult now, just because my Mom says something, that doesn't mean it's so. Matter of fact I'm gonna put all of this into practice just as soon as I get back from the studio...

...I'm going in to check my mixes (sigh).

-Sigmund

Editor's Note - Apparently these crazy interwebs reach Florida and all parties mentioned above have now read this silly missive. As a life-long Democrat my Aunt would like to go on record as saying she does NOT watch "The O'Reilly Factor". My Mom would like to go on record as saying this Blog reminds her of Erma Bombeck and I would like to go on record as saying - awesome.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In the Air Tonight

I'd be lying if I said it's been a boring week...

The excitable optimist in me would love to elaborate but unfortunately he's been put in a full-body cast (as usual) by his evil twin, the eternal pessimist. Hopefully one of these days "Mr. Sunshine" will get his day in court but for now he has to settle for his usual dreams of revenge and a wire hanger to scratch those nagging itches
.

Between you and I (whispers), Sunny did manage to rattle off a few choice tidbits I'd like to share as he was wheeled off to x-ray -

I'm happy and honored to report that the unlikely premise of a songwriting collaboration between your humble corespondent and legendary British producer Hugh Padgham (The Police, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, etc) has become a reality
. A track of ours will be included on a special project that Hugh will be producing. Pretty heady stuff for a kid who used to take the bus to the record store back in the day to snatch up cassettes of (unknowingly at the time) Padgham produced albums like The Police's "Ghost in the Machine", Split Enz's "Time and Tide" or XTC's "English Settlement". If you were alive in the 80's/90's chances are any time you flipped on your radio or watched MTV you were hearing a lot of music that passed through the very capable hands of Mr. Padgham. Even you snickering hipsters reading this right now (I hear you, btw) have to admit that at one point or another you've secretly air-drummed to the gated tom fills of "In the Air Tonight". You have Mr. Padgham to thank for that bedroom rockstar moment, beard-boy.

In addition to his numerous past accomplishments, Hugh is just as active these days having recently produced Brit-pop wunderkinds McFly amongst others.

Anyway, I'll pass more info along on this and the other potential good happenings when I can; Mr. Pessimist is giving me dirty looks and Sunny's calling me to hold that bent straw up to his blow hole.


You can't hurry love,
-mb

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love American Style

So being the good little calendar observant zombie Hallmark wants me to be, I set out with my little man, LJ, yesterday to buy a few Valentine's Day cards for my wife. Honestly, I'm not big on these kinds of faux holidays; like I need a national reminder that prompts me to tell a person I care for that I love them via a horribly written card and some bad chocolates with that white haze over them.

Anyway, there we stood in the stationary store, shoulder to shoulder with our zombie brethren, eyes wide and glassy trying to visually navigate all the touching cards and sentiments that the shopkeepers were so gracious to lay out for us in precise detail - "for wife from husband", "from Granddaughter to Grandmother", "from left-wing radical to Nazi sympathizer sweetie". It's all there, the Long Tail greeting card style, frilly and frothy.

Now if all this sensory overload wasn't enough, down the isle stood this awesome, 50-something gentleman reading each card one by one and muttering some sort of comment to himself afterward under his breath like, "nope", "crap". Distracted by the floor show, I didn't realize my son was systematically rearranging a bunch of cards as only a 3 yr. old can, pulling them from their appointed cubbies and moving them to foreign categories. For a moment I thought of stopping him but honestly the glorious prospect of the
Nazi sympathizer getting an "I love you Grandma" card was just too great a concept for me to interfere with... "Enjoy, my boy, enjoy!"

As a reward for exceedingly good stationary store behavior, LJ and I stopped by the bakery on the way home to get the big boy a cookie. It seems even the neighborhood bakerman is in on the Valentine's Day action and of course after the marketing dose he just received, my son selects the biggest heart-shaped cookie
(see above pic) this side of a Mount Airy Lodge Jacuzzi.

A half an hour and a half a cookie later my son, looks up at me, cringes and says, "Daddy, my stomach feels funny".

Love hurts my grievous angel, love hurts...

Happy Valentine's Day.

XO,
Gram

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Doin' the Body Rock

"C'mon on and get that rock 'n roll in your feet, in your feet, in your feet. C'mon and get that rock 'n roll in your feet, doin' the Body Rock..."

So two days a week my son and I go to Nursery school; we play games with the other kids and their parents, we make construction paper Snowmen, we read stories, we learn how to share everything from snacks and toys to the occasional Strep Throat virus (a personal fave) but best of all we do, "The Body Rock".

A highlight of 'circle time' (at least for me)
along with the other awesome jams we kick out like "Copycat" and "Animal Action", "The Body Rock" sounds kind of like it was cut by The Georgia Satellites after a Frosted Flakes bender and encourages everyone to employ various parts of their anatomy and "shake it up to the beat". Good times.

Now of course I'm probably supposed to insert some more snobby-ass, hipster musician comments here or lament the corporate co-opting of my sacred Rock 'n Roll for the day-care set and beyond but nay, I won't; we can save that for the Grammys (do they still have those, btw?), instead what I shall humbly leave you with are simply the wise words of Body Rockers, Greg & Steve...

"When you get your body rockin' to that rockin' beat, the feelin' is oh, so sweet..."

XO,
Moby

Listen to The Body Rock and other faves

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New Year, New Blog, New Album, New Band

As '09 begins to make its own way, no longer that sorry, after-thought of a year that sits next to the scribbled out '08 in your checkbook, I thought I'd tell you good folks a bit about what's happening here at self-indulgence headquarters.

So obviously the Blog is new but I'm also proud to announce the birth of a new record, appropriately titled for this space, "Queens English". The record's basically a melancholy love letter to NYC and life in its outer-boroughs. I'm not going to lie and say it was an easy birth; two years in utero, I'm happy to report album and father are doing well. A bit of a departure from albums past but I think there's still enough in the sauce as to not disappoint those who like their MB 'old school'.

I produced, recorded and mixed a lot of the album myself although that said, I also got by with a little help from my friends; well, a good deal of help actually. Many cool folks kindly lent their time and talents to the effort and for that I'm eternally grateful. One album track of which I'm particularly proud, "Bridge & Tunnel", finds yours-truly crooning over an orchestral background and features the upright bass stylings of Norah Jones' producer/bassist, Lee Alexander. Famed engineer George Marino also lent his talents and mastered the record at Sterling Sound.

If anyone would like to join my mailing list and receive an advance mp3 from the album just drop a note to - mark@popjob.com with "free track" in the subject heading.

Going forward, as I look for a release home for the album and prepare for the record to 'drop' as they say, I've also assembled a live band with some old friends - Cheri, Matty, John - and some new - Jay-Sherman Godfrey (Laura Cantrell) and Bob Byrne (The Sharp Things) - coming on board. Hopefully we'll be hitting the stage soon (once we get our sh*t together).

As always, thanks for your support,
Bartles & Jaymes

Crazy Little Thing Called Blog

Welcome to the first post of my Blog, "Queens English". Who am I? Well, my name's Mark Bacino - I'm a singer of songs, a writer of songs and a producer of songs (is that too many 'songs' for one sentence?) based in the NYC borough of Queens, aka 'the new Brooklyn'.

When I'm not making noise in the studio or on the stage you'll most likely find me annoying my lovely and talented artist wife, "P" or hanging with my (sings
Liverpudlian-like) "beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...beautiful boy", Lee Joseph (he's 3).

I suspect all of the aforementioned will spill into these virtual pages as things progress.

Why should you read this? No idea, really. I suppose if you like my music and you're bored you might enjoy reading about what kind of peanut butter is in my fridge (Skippy = safe?), what kind of microphones I favor (Neumann) or who's music I'm currently listening to (Ryan Adams "Heartbreaker"). I am only here but to humbly, yet narcissistically, lay it all at your feet for your perusal, enjoyment, involuntary eye-rolling, etc.

Stay tuned...

XO,
-mb