Matty Luv and a Mouthful of Beer

matty1.jpg.resizedBringing together a number of recent non-beer related themes in Brewz Newz… the other day, after I brought up my shift towards acoustic music, my friend Dover mentioned how much he liked the Matty Luv/Max split record from many years ago. My first thought was, “Maybe it’s on youtube?” It’s not. However, the songs can be found on the Matty Luv memorial website mattyluv.com

The featured beer this post is Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Generally I don’t get too worked up about pale ales. However, just out of curiosity I’ve done a great deal of comparison tasting. Most of the good ones taste similar to the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with various hop characteristics to distinguish them. What I like about Mirror Pond is that it has a light but detectable malt backbone that is absent from most other pale ales. At the same time the initial hop taste is just as strong and pleasant.

The featured beer this post is Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Generally I don’t get too worked up about pale ales. However, just out of curiosity I’ve done a great deal of comparison tasting. Most of the good ones taste similar to the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with various hop characteristics to distinguish them. What I like about Mirror Pond is that it has a light but detectable malt backbone that is absent from most other pale ales. At the same time the initial hop taste is just as strong and pleasant.

Matty wrote those songs to play a few solo shows while he was between bands (Fuckboyz and Hickey). At first he didn’t want to do an acoustic record, but he said I could use a live recording that my roommate Todd had made at one of our house parties. When I was searching for that record on youtube I found another song from that same night. It was one that we didn’t have room for on the record.
The Spit Muffins were also playing and as soon as she walked in Matty dragged their singer Kimball to a corner to work on a song he had written to sing with her. I think that was the only time this song was ever performed and that’s kind of a big deal when you realize that Matty was the best songwriter of his generation. It sounds like someone really cleaned up the recording too. Thanks to the person who did this!

I’ve watched and listened to more youtube in the last month than I have in my life previously. My son Henry made me my own channel just so I could use it to post a little video clip of the Bananas on this site. Then on my next brewznewz post I was adding a link to the end of the post when I found that the entire Ringwurm CD was on youtube. I decided I would use my u-tube channel to post all of the old Probe Records releases, but then I realized that I don’t know how.

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Last month I also decided that I’d like to start going out to shows again, but just the small ones. I almost never go to bed before 1 or 2 AM but I only want to go out during the day. It just feels wrong for me to be out late at night. Plus, I have to wear the double ear protection… on second thought – I’ll just stick to going to breweries.

A few years ago Main Street Brewery was having a beer pairing dinner, but when we got there they had a Mayan flute player cranking at Black Sabbath level volume. A fucking flute! I had to leave, left the wife alone once again. Luckily some really cool parents I knew from daycare spotted me from their car as I was walking out, I jumped in, and they quickly drove me to a drugstore to buy some earplugs. These days I always have some earplugs with me. Noise happens everywhere!

Hop Dogma Brewery

Hop Dogma Brewery

The wife is different. She’s not giving into old age as readily as I am. She still enjoys a good crowd and loud places.
Late last year I planned a half-day off work to drive out to the coast and visit Hop Dogma brewery, a beautiful brewery that overlooks the ocean, AND IT’S FUCKING QUIET THERE and also to see Joe’s new acoustic band play up the road at a place called Winter’s Tavern. It was on a weekday. The wife wasn’t thrilled at the idea and correctly guessed that I was just using the show as an excuse to go to another brewery. She mentioned that they often have shows at 1234 Go! Records in Oakland, the city where she works. “Why don’t we go to a show there? “ She then warned me, “You do know that Joe’s band is also playing this weekend in San Jose. Nobody is going to be at the show out in the middle of nowhere on a weekday.” I said, “Exactly!”

Brewer Dan

Brewer Dan

The Hop Dogma Brewery was wonderful. The brewer had just returned from the Great American Beer Festival and I didn’t have to ask many questions before he started telling stories.
The show was nice and small as I expected, with good beer on tap. I hung out with Joe and played pool with his new band -who had never even heard of his old band Ringwurm. It was a good night. However, I have to admit that my wife was right.
When we finally did go to a show at 1234 Go! Records it was… nice. Despite being in the city I didn’t stress at all. There was great beer on tap at two different places on the same street as the record store. Nice places with big windows! I barely looked through the records because these days I don’t know what records to look for. I bought a book about ACDC instead. Only two bands played and it was over by 10pm!

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The Hickey LP/CD originally came out on Probe Records but Steve of 1234 Go! took over the repressing of the Hickey CD many years ago. At the time he didn’t have a record store. I learned about that when I read about it in the newspaper. I met him (10-12 years ago?) at some place in Oakland to give him the remaining Hickey CDs and I remember he downed three pints of heavy beers in the first 10 minutes that we were talking. I was a little surprised and told him that I couldn’t remember the last time I had met someone I didn’t keep up with. I felt the Hickey CD was in good hands.

Anyway, of course you should track down the real thing but here is a u-tube version of the greatest LP, punk rock or otherwise, to come out in the decade before the Internet. Any other opinion on the matter is due to ignorance or poor taste.

Hickey in Probe #6

Hickey in Probe #6

I keep posting photos of the art on my walls. That is a theme on Brewz Newz that will continue. The two Matty Luv screen prints in this post were done by Bradley Roberts and have been hanging on our wall for almost 13 years. Judging from his instagram Bradley is a brewery patron, and an attendee of the vegan beer fest each year. He was the drummer for Your Mother and now Love Songs.

Matty at Hap's with The Fuckboyz

Matty at Hap’s with The Fuckboyz

To keep with another theme of Brewz Newz, getting old, I bought my first pair of reading glasses. I have been telling everybody. “Check out Brewz Newz, but don’t do it on your phone! It looks crappy on a phone.” However, now that I have glasses the idea of checking out stuff on a phone makes more sense now that I can see it. I have been trying to type text messages  at arms distance for too long. However, I won’t be wearing glasses full time quite yet so I still prefer the home computer and good old email if you want to send a message, complaint, or pass on a link or something theprobeguy@comcast.net Actually, only one of my eyes is bad so I think I’m going to get a monocle to carry around with me on a little chain.

Matty Luv didn’t have plans for getting old. He delighted in his plan to be the 1,000th person to jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, that was foiled when Bridge officials stopped keeping count at 975. I should have felt worse when Matty died. Despite the fact that I considered him the most important element of what made Hickey who they were and the entire cult that they created around them. I would have felt more heartsick if it had been someone else. Matty cared deeply, but he was also fearless. When I heard that he was gone I just nodded my head as if it made sense.  He was an amazingly sweet and conscientious badass and he never wasted anybody’s time while he was on this planet.

 

Aesop and Matty =, Fuckboyz/Hickey/Yogurt and the classic impossible to find Dr Dre Del “Mic of Defiance!” cassette tape can now be found on youtube https://youtu.be/PJ0LLAT-7v8

Aesop and Matty =, Fuckboyz/Hickey/Yogurt and the glorious long gone Dr Dre Del “Mic of Defiance!” cassette tape can now be found on youtube https://youtu.be/PJ0LLAT-7v8

King of the Awkward Silence

IMG_1745A few weeks ago I was momentarily befuddled when I saw Laura Jane Grace singing with Miley Cyrus on youtube. I knew that I KNEW the voice but had to google the name to place it. Somehow I lost track of the punk rock scene for about 10 years so I was more thrown off that she was playing with Miley Cyrus than I was over the fact that the guy from Against Me! is a woman now. Yesterday on the Marc Maron podcast I heard the story of her transformation from champion of DIY punk rock to a big label recording artist. It was the same old story I expected to hear and altogether understandable. However, I was thrown for a loop when she said, “people in the punk scene are kind of homophobic in general.” Really??!  I guess I wouldn’t know first hand but from my memory the punk scene was almost militantly pro gay.  Punks made fun of Green Day for wearing eyeliner??  That would have been so absurd and stupid that I think I would have remembered the halfwit who uttered such an inanity. Of course, I was living in the Bay Area, things may have been different in Florida.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 12.52.55 AM

The wife told me today that instead of writing about beer I should start a blog called “This interview is over!” Where I interview people until they don’t want to talk to me anymore. I thought it was a bizarre suggestion to make. (???) She explained that whenever I talk to people I ask very awkward and inappropriate questions and that I tend to make most people uncomfortable. Then she mentioned a few times where I did this in front of her recently.
Although troubling, I liked her explanation because my previous interpretation was that people had stopped talking to me because I was boring. I know that my ability to socialize is stilted. Most of the time when I talk to people I get the feeling that in the back of their mind they are thinking, “please stop talking!” Conversations come to a halt quickly. I just don’t have the gift of amiability. I could never be a salesman.
As a hetero white male I know the problem is my own fault. If things were different I could believe that people just didn’t respect my opinion as a women or my transgenderness was disconcerting to them. Lucky for me, I don’t have any guilt over the issue because I have been a hardcore libertarian from birth. I never had to evolve towards my belief in the personal freedom of others, sexually or otherwise.
It is compelling to know that there are many individuals who are willing to endure public humiliation, hormone therapy, and sometimes even have their bodies surgically altered simply because they have a need to express their true selves sexually. What I do find maddening is that often the same group of understanding people that are now embracing transgenders, men and women, are still able to roll their eyes and be completely dismissive of talented and accomplished women simply because they have the the courage to distinguish themselves sexually.
With all due respect to Laura Jane Grace and the homophobia or transphobia that she experienced in the punk scene, no person in present day America, has been the subject of more cruel vitriol for expressing his or her sexuality than Miley Cyrus.

Thankfully, the dimwitted herd will eventually fall in line, as they did with Lady Gaga and the exceptional women who came before her.

11262566_901859176501478_1356241421_nI read in Zymurgy Magazine this week that 17 new breweries open up everyday in the United States. Last weekend I was able to visit two that have been at the top of my list for a long while. Mraz in El Dorado and Berryessa in Winters. It turns out that Mraz is just up the road from where my family celebrates Christmas every year at our Uncle Dan and Aunt Bev’s House. Berryessa is much further off the beaten path 62 miles to the East of Mraz, but I really like the picnic table set up and wide space surrounding the brewery. If you’re not a Hop Head you’ll like these breweries as they combine many European and West Coast styles. My best move was that I bought many bottles of the Mraz beers. I’m not a cicerone but it’s obvious that their bottle conditioned ales are about as good as you’ll ever find.

Brewznewz tracked down Mraz brewer Mike and Justin from Mraz at Berryessa Brewing 24 hours after our visit to their brewery.

Brewznewz spotted Mraz brewer Mike and Justin from Mraz at Berryessa Brewing just 24 hours after our visit to their brewery.

NO PEACE IN DEAF!!

IMG_0216Last year I joined social media for the first time and this year our house is falling apart bit by bit. Coincidence?
Our kitchen has been torn out. I brewed a beer five weeks ago and it’s still fermenting in my closet. I have an electric skillet and the toaster oven out on the patio, but everything is out of sorts.
Now that our kitchen is gone we decided to try out some new restaurants in town. What we have learned is that the Main Street Brewery is still our favorite place.
Last week I was listening to the Adam Carolla podcast and he had on Jon Taffer from the Bar Rescue show. He explained that restaurants like quick turnover where as bars want people to stay longer and order drinks. All of the profit comes from serving drinks but it is still important for bars to serve good food because people who order food stay an average of 52 minutes longer than people who don’t. That probably also explains why brewpubs always have great food.

HOPPY BREWING COMPANY

HOPPY BREWING COMPANY

Last Sunday we showed up at Hoppy Brewing Company in Sacramento with a party of fifteen and we were seated and had beer in less than ten minutes. Do you think that would have happened at some jackass Applebee’s? Try doing that at a big dumb IHOP! Brewpubs rule.IMG_1678                                                           Each year for Father’s day I plan some sort of low stress family outing coupled with a nearby brewery. The tradition started several years ago by going to Half Moon Bay Brewing and the Beach. Last year was HWY 1 Brewing on the way back from Manresa and the year before that we went to the Black Diamond Mines followed by EJ Phair Brewing in Pittsburgh, Ca. (I actually learned about the mines by reading Black Diamond Brewery’s old web sight.)

This year for Father’s day Mount Tam came to my mind as a destination because of my last post on brewznewz. We drove to the top of North Peak, walked around the top a couple of times, and followed that up with a visit to Iron Springs Brewery in Fairfax. The town of Fairfax is a little ways off of the highway so it’s not a brewery you’re likely to run into by accident. I also went to Iron Springs a couple of years ago with my friend Hal so I knew it was a place the whole family would like. It was good to see that the super nice lady who does the fantastic chalk drawings is still working there! She brought me my second beer. I took a picture of her latest creation.

IMG_1683Last week I had a hearing test at Kaiser. They recommended I get a hearing aid, but it would be $1,500 an ear so that’s not going to happen. My bigger concern is the tinnitus anyway. My ears never stopped ringing after an ACDC concert 30 years ago. I got used to it, but about six years ago the noises in my head got worse. Sometimes I listen to the sounds in my head and I honestly wonder how (if?) I am still sane. I don’t want to complain though because I have two different musician friends who not only have tinnitus, but they have both gone completely deaf in one of their ears. Not only that, the deaf ears still ring! NO PEACE IN DEAF!! That sounds horrible, but both of those guys lead productive lives that are far from miserable. I admire them for that.

Thankfully breweries are usually pretty laid back and quiet. Altamont’s Tap Room being the one big exception, but that’s my own problem. I have ISSUES. It’s not Altamont’s fault that I’m a grouchy anxiety riddled old dude who pees his pants when the music is too loud. Plus, when Altamont first opened the owner took the wife and I aside at a sparsely attended Pleasanton brew fest and gave us an impromptu lesson in lager tasting. He was a really nice guy and the beer is great. I had a fantastic Smoke n’ Dank in Oakland recently, nice to find the local beer in the big city.

And now the music for this post, I love them, but I can’t listen to ACDC any more. I would also love to drive around blasting heavy bands like Ringwurm, Led Zeppelin, and Brainoil, but when I do that now, when I step out of the car the effect is as if a bomb has gone off. Not only is the ringing louder but all sound is deadened, and the effect of one transgression can lasts for weeks. That’s why I started listening to what the wife unaffectionately refers to as “your whiney voice music.” Neutral Milk Hotel and The Mountain Goats mostly. It has the raw energy and emotion of punk rock, but they are easy on the ears.

I am going to add another link to this post because I just realized that the Ringwurm CD I put out on my record label in 1996 is available in it’s entirety on youtube. Plus, the singer, cover artist, Joe is one of the half deaf dudes I was talking about above. I lost a good bit of my hearing blasting this CD 16 hours a day in my Freightliner truck, hauling tomatoes up and down HWY 5 back in the ’90’s. These days you can find Joe and his artwork at Idiomism Records on twitter. I also want to mention that this was an unmastered bare bones recording before the age of digital tweeking. There are no effects at all on the vocals, Joe was just born with some crazy ass vocal chords.

I got this at one of Joe's showings many years ago because I love the concept. I have four or five friends that are serious artists and I'd like to support them but all of them are into the dark and weird. I like paintings of bucolic hillsides, colorful birds, and pretty ladies in fancy hats like my Grandma Lydia used to draw.

I got this at one of Joe’s showings many years ago because I love the concept. I have four or five friends that are serious artists and I’d like to support them but all of them are into the dark and weird. I like paintings of bucolic hillsides, colorful birds, and pretty ladies in fancy hats like my Grandma Lydia used to draw.