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).


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,

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.


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..."


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 - 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...