I know a lot of people who make music as something more than a hobby, as a dedicated pursuit alongside what has become “normal life.”
And I’m one of them. A lifer, for better or worse.
Mint Mile is my group.
For nine years, I was in a band called Bottomless Pit.
For eighteen years, I was in a band called Silkworm.
The first substantial band of which I was part was called Ein Heit. There’s no Ein Heit website, but you can order the recording we made from the Silkworm site.
Silkworm was the best rock band to which I ever listened. Not fucking “indie rock,” whatever the fuck that is/was – to me, you guys were the smartest classic rock band playing. The musical moves were recognizable though slightly fucked up (in the best way possible), and the lyrics were always so goddamned compelling – they never felt tossed off, even if they were. A smarter version of the bands I grew Up listening to in the ’70s. I never had the pleasure of seeing Silkworm live, to my everlasting chagrin – for a lot of reasons, but I always thought there would be time. The power that radiates from the video I’ve seen – my goodness, it must have been something to experience in person. I just finished watching “Couldn’t You Wait” and it felt like more than just a movie about a band whose music I enjoyed. It felt like listening to friends – friends of mine – reminiscing. I have never met any members of Silkworm, but I wish I had. They seem like wonderful people who just happened to make some timeless music. It’s impossible to describe what it feels like when people you don’t know have the capacity to somehow connect with/engage you through their art, but maybe that’s what we listeners bring to it. Chicken or egg? Who knows, but I really just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) Silkworm’s music, and how much the film deepened that enjoyment. If it’s possible to feel genuine affection for people you’ve never met as a result of the art they’ve made, then by God, I love Tim Midgett, Andy Cohen Joel Phelps and most of all Michael Dahlquist. Man, do I wish I could have met him – you have all done a wonderful job conveying how enriching it was to know him. Bless you all, and thank you. I swear I’ll see Bottomless Pit one of these days, I mean it too.
Fill the humidifier with water, 6-7 drops tea tree oil and 2-3 drops eucalyptus oil. A hot shower or bath can soothe ones soul as well as help you relax break up the phlegm.
I’m trying to find your “End of Subjectivity” music formula and related article. I tried to find it in the Matador archives, but no luck. If you still have it on record, I’d love to get a link/doc.
How did I never reply to this? Bleh! Yeah, I dunno where it went on the Matador site. Hmmm. I may have it someplace. The formula is like this:
(c@ + e) x (rP – iP + T) = mc
c@ = coherent aesthetic
e = execution
rP = real power
iP = imagined power
T = power adjustment, which is always negative. T is 2 x (rP – iP) if iP > rP or -1/2 x (rP – iP) if rP < iP. Meaning...subjects are docked a little if they don't think they're as good as they actually are and docked quite a bit if they think they're better than they are. No adjustment here if they think they are as good as they actually are. All terms positive from 1 to 10.
My name is Ray Deng and I’m a med student / hobbyist fingerstyle guitarist who lives in San Francisco.
I saw on your Amazon reviews that you play the Goldtone GBG baritone acoustic and I had a few questions about your experience with it. I’m considering buying this vs the Walden B-1 vs merely keeping the Alvarez ABT-60, which I already own. I find that the Alvarez has great tone, but because I play fingerstyle, I’d like to have a slightly wider fretboard.
What has been your experience with the Gold Tone? I am afraid that the super long scale might be hard to play: it’s length is almost 3 inches longer than the Alvarez and almost 4 inches longer than the Walden. Also, what is the tone like?
Which other baritones have you tried? Do you recommend anything else?
All information would be useful. Thanks for your time and fantastic music!
The Gold Tone is fine. It sounds good. Slightly boxy but good. I like the long scale length, but I’m a bass player. I had an issue with the bridge and had to have it redone locally. I was just playing it today–it’s fun to play.
I have (gulp) three bari acoustics. The Gold Tone was the “gateway” guitar. I have two great ones: a Goodall and a Martin J12SO 12-string. They’re both really wonderful, but they were also expensive. You’ll get sticker shock looking online, though you can get them for much cheaper if you’re willing to wait…I say that from experience! Still…maybe not worth it unless you are a dedicated baritone player (like me) or you have significant disposable income. The Goodall is mahogany body with a spruce top and the Martin is rosewood back and sides with a spruce top.
I haven’t played the Alvarez, but I like their guitars. They’re one of the best options in their price range, usually.
Larrivee makes a bari as well. Very likely worth playing if so–class brand among less expensive guitars.
I’ve been trying to track down a vinyl copy of Silkworm’s “Firewater” but am only finding $100 price tags. Before I drop the cash to someone who is probably a non fan, I was wondering if there any plans to do a vinyl re release with comedy minus one, ala Libertine/Developer?
Hi…I just checked this thing for the first time in forever, and I saw your note, so good timing. There’s been rumbling from Matador about doing a reissue, but no movement as of now at all. So who knows. In the West will be out soon, and It’ll Be Cool and Lifestyle got reissued by TnG, so that’s nice! Thanks for asking xo tm
hey this might seem dumb I don’t know, but I was wondering if there was anyway to learn any of the silkworm songs. and I hear your used the aluminium neck bass. what difference does that make
Hmmm, I dunno if there are any tabs or chord charts of any SKWM tunes online. The stuff isn’t necessarily hard…but there’s usually weirdo bits that may or may not be hard to figure out. I played Travis Bean basses on everything after In the West and a Travis Bean guitar fudged into a baritone on Blueblood through It’ll Be Cool. Chokes has an EGC baritone on it. The TB basses sound wonderous and unlike any other bass. They can do everything except a real deep, boomy, “heartbeat” type of bass sound. The TB/EGC bari, same thing, sound totally boss. You have to play one to really know what I’m talkin’ about. BEST TM
Hey, you have that song “Shot Down” on MES #4 White, right? Do you know of anywhere on the internet I can hear a recording of that song, or any of the other songs on that record? There was one archive that had recordings but it recently went down and now I can’t find it anywhere.
I actually OWN that record, but I don’t have a turntable and I’ve really been wanting to hear your song again.
Oh gosh, I really do not know. I don’t think the guy ever made any other format of that thing. If I can find it somewhere, I’ll put it up!
okay, thanks so much! I’ll keep checking back here
You are my favorite musician. (Insert hours of adoring fan talk here) I bought a four string baritone guitar, and I was hoping you could tell me some of your preferred tunings (currently tuned CGDA) and general advice to a kid who is just starting out. Thank you for being so great at what you do.
Ellis, thanks for your kindness. I only ever have played six-string baritones. In Silkworm, I tuned to A, standard intervals betw strings. In B Pit, I started out tuning to E-flat (more six-string bass than bari), but I soon moved to A-flat and kept it that way. In Mint Mile, I tune to B–it’s a little more sprightly and sounds better with full chords…I also knock down the top string (or two strings on 12-string bari) to A. So it starts on low B, standard intervals until the top, which is knocked down a whole step. That’s an example of me just sensing that I would be better served on the whole by having that tuning in place…and I guess I would just suggest messing around with stuff to see what you like. I always have a guitar around in open G or open D, which is fun to play in…
Thank you for all of the information. It will help a lot! You have a well put together website so thank you for that. You’re the best!