Geoff Geis

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Solo show

On Friday, April 1, I’ve got a solo show at Pehrspace – only my second show of the year! This is a brief breach of a  performance hiatus that will resume after the show is complete.

I’m excited, because I’ve got some new material to show and because it’s the first time I’ve played a show put on by Lord Growing’s 704 Blog. I’ve been following that blog since it emerged about a year ago, and I’m honored that Mr. Growing has chosen me to represent his enterprise. I’m also stoked because I’ll be playing with Pulse Out! I haven’t heard Pulse Out! yet, but my buddies Nima and Erik (of So Many Wizards) are part of it and I just love those dudes.

So anyway, RSVP on Facebook and visit us at Pehrspace on April 1. If I see you there, I’ll personally smile in your direction.

Filed under: Events

Saturday: LA Lottery League

Oh, so this is happening…

LA Lottery League – THE BIG SHOW (RSVP on Facebook) Saturday, February 26 at Project Infest, 3201 Maple Ave. 90011. $5.

Modeling themselves after the original Lottery League in Cleveland, a “Council of Chiefs” has randomly created 12 new bands from a pool of Los Angeles musicians. I’m involved, as are Tyler and Duncan from Pizza!.

On January 29, we were split into our new bands. Mine is called Magii, and it features Bizzart and members of Masks and M31. For a month, we’ve been writing and rehearsing our set. It’s been rewarding to work with these people, none of whom I knew very well before this adventure. I’m stoked about the results. I’m also excited about all of the other bands – the show is sure to be eclectic and entertaining.

Here’s the logo for Magii. It was created by bandmember Matteo Himes:

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Toe Jam

I’m in a new band called Toe Jam. We had our first practice last night, and it was pretty killer. Check it out:

Saturday, October 2
Sean Carnage and Kyle Mabson present:

High Castle
Zulus
NASA Space Universe
Toe Jam

Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages

Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown

Toe Jam, the world’s first Free Grunge band, features members of Pizza!, XBXRX, Big Whup, Violence and Negativity, Foot Village, Cockwind and Essay.

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Uli and the Gringos live album recording

Download mp3: Uli and the Gringos: Parara
Uli and the Gringos on Myspace.

Sunny dance pop, with lyrics I can’t understand and sick synthesizers– I love Uli & the Gringos! I got lucky to meet them when, a few years ago, they moved from New York to the house next door to where I was living with Tyler and Rand. Uli and Eugene were some of the best neighbors I’ve ever had, and they remain valued friends even though we no longer live next door to each other. I’m excited that they asked me to make the flyer for their show on Wednesday, June 23 at La Cita:

They’ll be recording a live album during their set. You should come and be boisterous, for posterity’s sake! Here is a link to the Facebook event.

Last year, I interviewed band member Eugene (synths, saxophones) for the “…What is Happening” magazine released by Big Whup Industries. In honor of their show, I’ve printed it here. I took a liberty by removing myself from the interview, and it’s like a monologue because of that. That’s not how it really was.

—–

Eugene Toale, September 2009:

The core of the way that I write music, that I do music, is improvisation. Like, I was a jazz guy, right? So I went to jazz school, played sax – and part of the saxophone lifestyle is to learn how to improvise and play over chord changes and invent on your feet and all that. When I write music for the band I’m usually improvising my parts, or I was improvising them in the studio and I got to know them and played them again… Boxing makes you think on your feet. That’s where the phrase comes from; that’s where a lot of phrases come from: “thinking on your feet,” “down for the count,” you know, “had him on Queer Street!” Being in the moment and in the fight and having no way out has probably put the capstone on my improvising as a saxophone player. Not that’s not the core of who I am as a musician and all that shit, but it kind of informs all of my writing, all of my everything. The ability to pick up an instrument and just blow has gotten easier as a result of being able to jump in the ring and just fight… Do I understand everything my wife sings about? No. I understand what they’re about, I mean, I was with her when she wrote them, she tells me what they’re about. But words and lyrics and stuff? No, of course not. I can’t sing, like “te quiro puesum da, dumbumbum parara.” I don’t know any of those fucking words, I just know the sounds of them. But then again, in Uli and the Gringos we’ve got that kind of split partnership where we can kind of give each other jobs. I know it sounds crazy, but she writes all the words and I obsess over the bass lines. We both work on the beats. She usually comes up with the chords, I like to do the arrangement of the tune, the sounds, the production, and really get into which players I want to use and stuff. So the lyrics are purely Uli, and the music is, you know, Uli and the Gringos… But I understand what she’s singing about in all these songs because I was there. One song, “No Quiero,” was about quitting her day job. I went to that job everyday after my job, which I hated. I mean, I was there when we quit. I was there when she wrote the song, I mean we live together. We play together. I mean, I don’t know the words because my Spanish isn’t all that good. But I know which bird she’s singing about in the bird song, you know?
…We never wanted to be labeled as a jazz group. We’re not a jazz group. Uli went to a jazz school, she understands that type of harmony. But her philosophy is very independent, it’s very rock n roll… We got a bass player in New York, we got a bass player in Mexico, we got a bass player here and they all play so drastically different. They look different, they act different, they are different. So we let them play those notes however they want. We don’t play them a record and say “play this.” The guys are generally strong enough players that they can just jump in and play something. Then when it comes time to make an album, we usually go to all the cities we work in just so we can use all those guys. And it makes sense to use this guy on this, this guy on that. Jamie is the nastiest funk guy in the world. When he plays, he plays the gig all funky. I play more straight up on the sax, Uli plays a little bit rockier on the guitar. We play with Oliver, I play real sweet. She starts doing the upbeat skank thing a little bit more, lays down on the beat. We go to Mexico and that’s a totally different thing. Eddie is more of an improviser, do you get something different with Eddie. Give him some space, come up with some lines, whatever… I mean, it wasn’t fun at the time, but practicing our instruments as little kids, not knowing that we were going to be a musicians as a job…  now, around this age it’s like the instruments kind of disappear. There’s no reason a saxophone should be in a Latin/Rock/Indie group, but I play it in a way that fits in. Fuck it. That’s the instrument I play. We make it work. I don’t play jazz, I don’t impose my will on it… The saxophone has got many traditions, and I try not to pick one. With the jazz tradition, you really learn to play be-bop. That’s what’s up for guys in that. And then there’s some rock n roll guys, like Clarence Clemons. Michael Brecker can really play, but he sounds a little cheesy. Whatever. What I tried to do was play “pop saxophone,” you know? This is just my instrument. I’m not trying to be cool, I’m not trying to be indie on it, I’m not trying to drag my bassoon out to the rock n roll show. I’m just trying to say “this is what I do.” I can improvise. I can find a spot. I can play like, one note lines behind her. I can play a complementary counter-melody and then I can back off and all that. I can have maybe a new identity as a saxophone in a band… And Uli put the PhD on my improvising, just by having to play with someone who can really compose. Someone who knows how to write classical music,  really knows melodies and stuff. She tells you to “do this, to this.” Most of it was “you’re playing too much, you’re playing too much.” In reverse, though, a saxophonist works years and years and years on his tone. His support. His air. The size of the sound. And she as a singer has been singing against a tenor saxophone with a big sound for the past five years. And her voice sounds bigger and bigger and bigger. She’s got a big strong voice for a little girl… We figured out a register that we can both live in together, we both blast our asses off, and we blaze nice.

There is also this thing going on tomorrow, in West Hollywood at the Standard Hotel. It’s free, and I play at 8 PM:

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Here they come, the Part Time Punks

Our second PTP, March 2007

Part Time Punks has a storied history, one that has been significant to me. The club started operating, every Sunday night at the Echo, right around the time that the New Motherfuckers (who became Pizza!) moved into a house on Alvarado Street in Echo Park together. In the early stages of being a band, we would see the club’s ubiquitous black-and-white posters around the neighborhood and talk about how much we wanted to play it. Eventually we worked up the nerve to bring DJs Michael Stock and Benny Shambles a copy of a 5-song demo we’d made, and they invited us to play. When we performed at Part Time Punks for the first time, in October of 2006, we felt like we were beginning to actually do something as a band.

Even though I don’t go to PTP as frequently now as I did in the past, I’ve continued to cherish it. Last year, I got to see the Raincoats thanks to Michael’s excellently curated PTP fest, and I ended up getting to write a review of my heroes as my first published work in LA Record. I’ve also had the honor of playing with Pizza! on Michael’s radio show, and have fond memories of spending long hours hanging out with Ben (who now lives away from Los Angeles, unfortunately) in the kitchen of Tiny Creatures and talking about our mutual love of James’ mid-eighties Village Fire EP. Part Time Punks was also the location of my very worst episode of bad gas: while attending a (terrible) Ariel Pink show in commemoration of PTP’s second anniversary, I was struck by sulfuric farts that rumbled in my belly and pushed out with a vengeance that completely disgusted everyone around me. I fart a lot, so the fact that those farts still stand out in my mind suggests that they were, indeed, epic.

On Sunday, Part Time Punks celebrates its fifth anniversary.

In 2007, Drew and I conducted interviews with Michael and Ben for Tiny Creatures Magazine. Print copies of that thing are probably long gone by now, but I dug up the interviews on my computer and I’m publishing them here:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Let the good times roll?

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Haiti Benefit @ the Echoplex on Friday

Pizza! just added a very special show to our schedule for this Friday. Presented by Manimal Records, it is a fundraiser to provide relief to victims of the Haitian earthquake. It takes place at the Echoplex, and it features a very impressive lineup of musicians including Nico Vega, Adanowsky, Jenny O., Soko, Corridor, and the LA Ladies’ Choir. Pizza!’s performance will also feature guest appearances by Uli and Morgan Gee of Big Whup . Cost of admission is $10.

We are scheduled to appear at 7:15. Doors at 7:00.

Help us spread the word – RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends.

We’re still playing the Smell on Sunday, and it’s still going to be awesome!

Filed under: Events, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upcoming shows: Pizza! and Big Whup

Today I will play my first show of the new year, a solo joint at Tribal Cafe in Echo Park. It’s free, so long as you buy something from the cafe. Here is the flier:

This show marks the beginning of a new string of shows, one that will probably be pretty consistent until Christmas. That’s how I like it (I suppose). Here are the upcoming shows for Pizza! and Big Whup. There will certainly be more shows added to these lists (there are a couple of pending dates for Big Whup already):

Pizza!

Big Whup:

Filed under: Events, , , , , , ,

This ought to be fun.

I’m playing a solo show in LA at the FMLY Fest, which is taking place over two days (December 27 and 28) at 5011 West Adams Blvd. It seems like it’s going to be a fun time! Also playing will be friends Evan Voytas, Dnonkong (of Pizza!), Kid Infinity, Kevin Greenspon, and Things.

I’m playing the second day of the festival. Click here for the details. Click here to RSVP to the Facebook event.

Filed under: Events

This show will happen soon

Yay for hometown shows! Hooray for Vertical House Records! If you are in Huntsville, Alabama this Christmas, then this is the show for you. Free with Potluck item, 8 PM. The store is located on the Second Floor of Lowe Mill (Flying Monkey Arts Center) at 2211 Seminole Drive.

Links: Vertical House Records, Thomas Function, Puppy Hearts.

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About


I'm a musician and writer from Los Angeles. When I feel motivated, I use this website to share my creative output and give my thoughts on the world around me.

Vanity Projects

I release cassettes and zines under the Vanity Projects label; I've done things by myself and also things by friends. Visit Vanity Projects on Tumblr.

@GeoffGeis on Twitter

Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:


Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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