icons, talismans, trinkets and rings....

August 14, 2010 7:43 AM

Bit of fun, prompted by my mentioning in a comment recently that I have a photo of John Lennon in my home studio (The Gin Palace) in which his sceptical sideways gaze observes my creative efforts with appropriate disdain. Of course, there's other stuff on the walls too. So......c'mon.....what talismans, icons etc do you have in your musical workspace and what's the special thing about them??

Doesn't have to be your studio. Could be stuff you carry round in your instrument case or whatever. Oh and "icons, talismans, trinkets and rings" is actually quite a good title for an album........imho
posted by MajorDundee (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I've got a rejection letter from Yale's school of Music hanging on the wall.
posted by man vs sun at 10:26 AM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ha! The only thing I have that's kind of close is a royalty cheque for........£0.03. Which is, I guess, about 2 cents in dollars.
posted by MajorDundee at 1:37 PM on August 14, 2010

I can't actually think of anything I keep around like this for musical reasons. But I'm not a big physical-memento person in general, I guess. I keep lots of stuff around in an I-know-where-to-find-it sense on the internet, but that's hardly the same thing.

Closest thing I guess would be the random stuff on my acoustic that has been there since high school and college: taped-on printouts of a watercolor painting I'd done and of a photo I took of me and my high school girlfriend, a "Schools Matter" sticker right about the bridge, local used-car tycoon Scott Thomason's turbaned (I don't remember why) head on the headstock, a strip of old-school label maker tape next to the top few frets that reads "DON'T LABEL ME", and the two signatures (Leo Kottke, Duke Robillard) that I impulsively collected in or circa 1999 before realizing I wasn't sure I really liked the idea of making people I don't really know write their names on my stuff.
posted by cortex at 3:19 PM on August 14, 2010

Cortex, that guitar sounds bitchen! (Do you have a pic of it posted somewhere?)

Good question Major. I have a couple of things that are slightly interesting. One is a pretty excellent drawing for a tattoo that I'll never get. It's a "sugar skull/dia de los muertos" style guitar player with a sombrero and pancho standing in front of a cloud burst with the suns rays shining out from behind. Over the top of it there is a scroll that reads, "Death do not betray me or let me die badly." It's pretty awesome.

The only other thing worth mentioning is a little wallet filled with old worn out and broken guitar picks that are from as far back as 1978 when I first started playing... crap like "Puff the Magic Dragon". The prize of that silly little collection is a "Cheap Trick" guitar pick from when they were doing a USO tour around 1983. My military-brat friends and I, stationed in Italy, had a little punk band going on and we tried to get an opening spot before Cheap Trick.

I wasn't able to go because my Grand Pa passed away that same day, but all of my band mates visited Cheap Trick at their hotel, they all got loaded for free, had a blast and all I got was that lousy pick! Still kinda cool though.
posted by snsranch at 4:26 PM on August 14, 2010

Like Cortex I'm not a big physical memento guy (in fact I have an allergy to all kinds of nostalgia) BUT there are a couple of things I won't part with. One is my humungous box of cassette, reel-to-reel and other-media demos, plus a few singles and other things we released, radio interviews, live recordings, radio play, literally everything I'ver ever recorded since I took playing music seriously, about 1990 I guess. Second is my songbook and looseleaf file of music and tab that documents pretty much the same thing in another form.

I should post some more of the audio stuff. Some of it is quite funny, including the worst guitar solo in the history of rock'n'roll. I can still remember playing it, thinking 'fuck, that was fucking terrible, even for me', then looking up and seeing that the control room -- where the engineer and the rest of the band had been standing moments before -- was inexplicably empty.

They were all *literally* lying on the floor laughing, and insisted that was the take we kept.
posted by unSane at 6:59 PM on August 14, 2010

Since storage space is at a premium in Tokyo apartments, most of the things I have hanging about in my studio are instruments, since there's nowhere else to keep them but on the walls. You can get an idea of that in this video interview I did a little while back for a website about foreigners living in Tokyo:

But aside from the instruments, you'll note the big Balinese sculpture above the work desk, between the monitor speakers. That's a Garuda, which is the Official Studio God here at Polarity. Bought him at a flea market in Amsterdam about 27 years ago.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:43 PM on August 14, 2010

The prize of that silly little collection is a "Cheap Trick" guitar pick from when they were doing a USO tour around 1983. My military-brat friends and I, stationed in Italy, had a little punk band going on and we tried to get an opening spot before Cheap Trick.

That made me smile. Way back in 1980 (or '81 maybe...) I was in a band that supported Cheap Trick when they played Liverpool University. There were two or three other bands on the bill too. I think we had about 30 minutes apiece. Can't remember much now except (a) when they soundchecked I'd never heard anything so loud in my life - it was just like white noise and (b) I only had one guitar (a 1963 Gibson SG Standard - later stolen) and Rick Neilsen had dozens. I remember thinking "C'mon Rick....you wouldn't miss one or two of them would you??". The only member of Cheap Trick I spoke with was the drummer - Bun E Carlos (??). And that was only because we had a good drummer and he came over after we soundchecked and just kind of hung out for 10 minutes or whatever. Those were the days......
posted by MajorDundee at 3:36 AM on August 15, 2010

That's a cool story Major. You should start a "Brushes with Greatness/Famous" thread.

Regarding incredible loudness, I think that was a big thing at the time. Lots of decent bands played in Naples in the early '80s like UFO, the Stones, AC/DC, Michael Schenker Group...but the only band that really seemed to appreciate the loudness aspect was Frank Zappa.

But he and the band were all dressed in tuxedos and he was just orchestrating. Weird shit right there. But it was good.
posted by snsranch at 7:22 PM on August 16, 2010

And in my home studio, I have a still-shrinkwrapped vinyl 12" single of the first song I played on that actually charted on the Billboard charts.

Oh, c'mon! Is its identity a secret?
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 5:13 PM on August 23, 2010

Oh, NOW I want to see the discography of music mefites. Separate thread?
posted by unSane at 6:33 PM on August 23, 2010

other than some very, very small type on the back of the sleeve, the fact that I played on it is a secret, too.

Well, as Tom Jones said, it's not unusual. many session players, of course, get no credit at all.

Separate thread?

unSane, good idea! Why don'tcha start that thread here at MusicTalk?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:04 PM on August 23, 2010

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