Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

The McDaniel Bros. Band @ Carries (Spring, ’78)

12 Mar

The playlist below is four songs by The McDaniel Brothers Band, recorded Spring of 1978, at Carries, a late night roadhouse located out in the county between Carbondale and Murphysboro. Carries closed at 4 AM and the bands played from something like 11:30 PM to 3:30 AM. The songs were recorded live on a two track reel to reel. Considering, the tape’s sound quality was okay. Only, starting with the fourth song, the vocal level got drastically lower. So I’m including the first three songs, and one of the later songs. The vocals on it are pretty low, but we liked to jam out on a song sometimes, and I wanted an example included.

I got the tape from Tawl Paul a little after my wife Dorothy and I moved back to Carbondale from Chicago. We saw him at PKs, and he said, “Hey, man, I been meaning to tell you. I got this old tape. I don’t how I ended up with it, but I think it’s The McDaniel Brothers Band.”

I was pretty sure which tape he meant, cause I only I remember us taping one gig. Turned out it was the tape I was thinking of. Tawl Paul only had one tape, but two reel to reel tapes were recorded that night. I’d sure like to get my hands on the other one.

The guys in the band were John Zurek on drums, Rick Stoncious on bass, Doug McDaniel on rhythm guitar and vocals, Kent Mcdaniel (me) on lead guitar, and Gary Victorene on pedal steel. Here’s the songs.



mcdaniel bros band

L-R  John Zurek, Rick Stoncious, Doug McDaniel, Kent McDaniel, Gary Victorene


Good Rockin: The McDaniels on DBX

19 Feb



Dorothy and I returned to our favorite radio station WDBX for an hour set back in December. It was just the two of us, playinga mix of blues, country, jazz, and folk, but I’m gonna tell you, we were rocking pretty nice. There’s a recording of the set, below. I hope you give it a listen and use some headphones when you do. It’ll be worth it.


loy addington

Loy Addington

We want to thank WDBX for having us on. And especially Loy Addington, host of Lonesome Roy’s Country Hoedown. Every time  we get together with him, it feels like a
party to us.



IMG_0204 (1)

WDBX in Carbondale, IL





Ghost SFPAns in The Sky

15 Feb

I’m posting audio below of a filk song Toni Weisskopf wrote to be sung to the tune of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” The lyrics are below the audio icon, and below them a glossary to the various jargon from sci-fi fandom contained in the song.

I told Toni that I’d have it recorded by last May. The good news is that I’m not quite a year behind schedule.

Ghost SFPAns in the Sky

By T.K.F. Weisskopf Reinhardt

(after Stan Jones, 1948)


At DSC a fine young fan got on
the waitlist today
Upon a couch he rested as
He went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd
Of old SFPAns he saw
Plowing through the lobby
And some of them could draw.

[Verse 2]
Their hands were still on fire and
Their stencils made of steel
Their glasses black and shiny and
Their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as
Their comments made him sigh
For he saw the SFPAns drinking hard
And he heard their mournful cry

Minac I owe! Minac aiee!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky

[Verse 3]
Their eyes were blurred, their faces gaunt
Their shirts all soaked with sweat
They’re writing hard to match page count
But they ain’t caught Lon yet
Cause they’ve got to write forever at
That con up in the sky
Al’s typer snorting fire
As they write on, hear their cry

Minac I owe! Minac aiee!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky

[Verse 4]
As the SFPAns rumbled by him
He heard Ned call his name
If you want to save your soul from hell
From page counts in our range
Then Jophan change your ways today
Or with us you will write
Trying to match Hank’s golden wit!
And with Dolbear an Ignite!

Minac I owe! Don’t make me OE!
Ghost SFPAns in the sky
Ghost SFPAns in the sky




DSC – Deep South Con. One of the oldest science fiction conventions that happens in the southern U.S. Been going fifty-four years now.

SFPA – Southern Fandom Press Alliance. SFPA is a science-fiction apa (amateur press alliance) founded circa 1962. Members all send fanzines into the Official Editor (OE), who assembles them into packages called “mailings” containing one copy of every zine and sends them out to each member. Apas used to be the heart of much of the most exciting activity in sci-fi fandom. Mailings could run close to a thousand pages. Membership rosters were limited, and fans often spent years and years on a waitlist before gaining entrance into to the more respected apas. With the advent of the internet, apas have generally experienced dwindling memberships. And though most of the great apas continue, few if any have a full roster these days. In its day SFPA was one of the great ones, and many sci-fi professionals and well-known fans got their start in SFPA.

SFPAn – A member of SFPA. Pronounced Seffpan.

stencils– Mimeograph stencils. Before photocopiers and home computers, most fanzines were printed on mimeographs. The text would be cut into a stencil using a typewriter with the ribbon removed. The stencils would them be attached to a large curved ink pad, which could be turned by hand to print the individual letter sized pages that were fed one by one into an open ended tray that the ink pad would run over.

Minac – Minimum activity. In order to stay in good standing, apa members have to contribute a certain amount of pages. (Often six pages every other time a mailing is sent out.)

page count– the number of pages in an entire mailing or the number of pages contributed by a member to a mailing or over a period of time.

Lon – Lon Atkins, a long time member and OE of SFPA, who contributed prolifically, perhaps more so than any other member in SFPA’s history.

Con – Convention, in particular a sci-fi convention.

Al  – Al Andrews, a founding member of SFPA, good guy, and co-editor of a respected fanzine called Iscariot. Late in life he was gifted an electric typewriter by some of his fellow SFPAns.

Ned–  Ned Brooks, a SFPA member for over forty years, who was also SFPA’s official archivist. Over the course of his fannish life, Ned assemble a collection of tens of thousands of fanzines, which included a complete run of SFPA’s mailings. The collection is now housed at the University of Georgia.

Hank – Legendary sci-fi Fan Hank Reinhardt, a collector, editor, writer, active member of SFPA and The Society for Creative Anachronisms, and all around wild man.

Dolbear –  Dennis Dolbear, a fan whom I never knew, but who I know was loved throughout sci-fi fandom.

OE – Official Editor. See SFPA, above.



Hash’s Faves” Frank Kelly Freas

25 Jan

This week’s General Fave is the science-fiction artist Frank Kelly Freas, more commonlyFreas 1
known as Kelly Freas. He was an incredibly prolific artist; I’m guessing his science-fiction work alone numbers well into the thousands, of book and magazine covers as well as interior illustrations. He also painted the official insignia for Skylab I, more than 500 portraits of saints for the Franciscans, and numerous cover paintings for Mad Magazine (although Norman Mingo was the more-or-less official artist for Alfred E. Neuman’s likeness, Freas did quite a lot of Neuman covers, and they’re every bit as good as Mingo’s).

Although I’m guessing I saw many of those Mad covers, I didn’t really Freas_2become aware of Freas’ work until I saw his cover for Analog Magazine in May of 1967. I had been a science-fiction reader (hardcore fans almost NEVER call it “sci-fi”) since I was very young; I think Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time was my first, checked out from my grammar school’s reading room in 1962, followed by *Andre Norton’s Daybreak 2250 A.D.,* purchased from a mail-order book club. I wasn’t into the magazines so much, but some thing about Freas’ cover painting compelled me to buy this one; I have no memory whatsoever of the story that it illustrated.

Born in 1922, he sold his first magazine cover painting to the venerable Weird Tales in 1950. Gnome Press published Freas_3three book covers in 1952, and he started working for Astounding Science Fiction magazine in 1953; Astounding changed its name to Analog and Freas worked for them until 2003. He started working for Mad in 1957, and painted most of their covers until 1962, which would have been right around the time that I started reading the magazine. He also painted hundreds of covers for the paperback publishers Ace, DAW, Signet, Avon, Ballantine and Lancer.

His style is instantly recognizable. His draftsmanship is clean, and his color palette really made some of his book covers (more so than the magazine covers) literally jump off the racks. His black-and-white work was always beautiful as well; he had a technique that I especially
Freas_4jpgloved, pen and ink on a textured illustration board that used to be called either Ross board or coquille board; sports cartoonists used to use the technique a lot. After the
main illustration was done with the brush, he’s go over it and add shade values with a lithographic crayon. He also did a lot of scratchboard work, as well as straight-ahead pen and ink.

Like all artists, he had some visual tropes – the Kelly Freas spaceship, which owed a lot to the kind of streamlined spaceships drawn by Flash Gordon artist Mac Raboy; futuristic cities and space stations; robots; and of course, sexy (and usually scantily clad) women. Good lord, those Kelly Freas women! But like all artists, great and not-so, every once in a while he painted something that was completely uncharacteristic, like these cute lil’ creatures:


He was nominated for the annual Hugo Award for best science-fiction artist a remarkable 20 times, and won the award 11 times, an unbroken record. He died in 2005, and by all accounts he was a warm, humorous guy, a frequent guest of honor or simple attendee at many science-fiction conventions. He dominated the field in a way that I think no one before or since has.



















–Steve Hashimoto

This post is reprinted from News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at


Steve Hashimoto

Hash’s Faves: Frank Frazetta

27 Nov
Frazetta_CappThis week’s General Fave is the artist Frank Frazetta. I was going to describe him as “the fantasy artist,” but that’s only what he was best-known for; he also worked in the comics field, advertising, commercial illustration, and science fiction. He was part of the legendary EC Comics stable, and of what was known as the Fleagles, a loose-knit crew of young artists who evolved out of the EC stable to work on Mad Magazine. He drew what’s known in the comics world as ”funny animal” stories, as well as westerns, romance and science-fiction (one of his covers for the Buck Rogers comic book is iconic, much as I hate to use that word, but it applies); he was Al Capp’s assistant for 9 years, drawing mostly the sexy women in the Lil’ Abner comic strip. He also occasionally assisted on the Playboy comic feature Little Annie Fanny, mostly drawing Annie (Frazetta’s women were scandalously sexy; he always claimed that his wife Ellie was his principal model).
He did a lot of work for Hollywood; although many of you probably aren’t aware of
this, if you’re of a certain age you’ve seen his work. He did the artwork for the posters, one-sheets and ad campaigns for movies like What’s New, Pussycat?, The Night They Raided Minsky’s, After The Fox, Fitzwilly, The Busy Body and many others.
Tarzan_Lost_EmpireThe work that catapulted him to pop-culture fame and recognition was probably the paperback cover work he did in the 60’s and 70’s, for Ace books’ Edgar Rice Burroughs editions (Tarzan, John Carter, etc.) and the Lancer books Conan series.

In the opinion of many, myself included, the Conan covers were his best work, especially the very first one in the series, Conan The Adventurer.

He also did some very good work for Warren Magazines’ _Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella._
By all accounts he was a real mensch. He dominated the field for at least two decades. His philosophy and style fell out of favor in the 90’s and early ‘aughts, a period in which, in my humble opinion, typography went to hell in a handbasket. But I’ve tried to carry the torch in my own humble way…

The recognition he got for this work resulted in some high-visibility advertising and album cover work in the 80’s and 90’s, but he had some health problems as a result of long-term poisoning by the fumes from the kind of turpentine he used in his studio, and unfortunately some of his work during the 90’s especially had lost the indefinable magic that his mid-period paintings had. He also suffered a stroke that left his right arm almost completely paralyzed; he taught himself to paint with his left hand, but I don’t know how that worked out, since I don’t believe I’ve seen any of his work from this period. The last years of his life were fairly tragic. Along with his health problems (he had always been a rugged, active athlete, once having actually been scouted by the New York Giants), his lifelong companion Ellie died in 2009. Later that year his son, Frank Jr., was arrested for attempting to steal 90 of Frazetta’s paintings from the Frazetta Museum in Pennsylvania (charges were eventually dropped). And finally, on May 10,2010, Frazetta died.


Frazetta was the Charlie Parker/Coltrane/Bill Evans/Jaco of the fantasy art field; after his Conan covers appeared, his influence could be seen everywhere. Some of the young artists whose work closely resembled Frazetta, like Jeff Jones and Berni Wrightson, were eventually able to break free and find their own styles, while others like Boris Vallejo and Mike Hoffman became almost exact clones (not the worst thing to be, I guess). I must admit that when I thought I’d like to be a comics artist, the two stories that I actually had published (in a fanzine that I was the art director of; yeah, nepotism at its finest) bear Frazetta’s stamp to an embarrassing degree (I even styled my signature from those days after his). Thankfully, the only copies of those magazines that now exist are buried here in Hashimotoville, never to be seen by prying eyes.

Frank’s work isn’t perfect; it pains me to say that, but it’s true. Sometimes his anatomy gets a little wonky; I don’t think he ever formally studied anatomy, as in dissecting cadavers (just as he used Ellie as his primary female model, Ellie said that he used himself as his male model). His mentor, Roy G. Krenkel, did, I think; Roy’s figures always look alive and fluid, whereas sometimes Frank’s can be stiff, and sometimes if you really look carefully, limbs can look out of place, and there are funny lumps. But that’s only occasionally (Wally Wood, another of my favorite artists, also sometimes had weird anatomy). Frank was a child prodigy, the story being that he attended the Brooklyn Academy of Arts at age 8, which was run by an instructor named Michael Falanga. I think Falanga was so bowled over by the kid’s precocity that he let Frank get away with murder, and even Frazetta admits that he didn’t learn much there.

As with a lot of people with incredible natural talent, I think Frank sometimes coasted. But Frank’s coasting was usually better than anybody else’s flat-out running. At his best, his figures burst with life and have a tangible weight, but the thing that I think I love the most in his best work is the sense of mystery. He doesn’t feel compelled to paint every detail, often merely suggesting stuff going on in the background. The work of his that I find the least interesting, from his “turpentine” period, seems over-painted and over-rendered. But that’s just nit-picking and sour grapes; if I could draw and paint like him, I’d be one happy (and wealthier) camper.

This post is reprinted from News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at



Steve Hashimoto


The McDaniels on WDBX

18 Oct

Dorothy and I appeared live recently on WDBX radio in Carbondale during Lonesome Roy’s Country Hoedown. And a fun hour it was. Loy Addington, who hosts the show, is a smooth interviewer and a funny guy. Talking with him was a kick, and in between conversations Dorothy and I played songs. Several originals, along with some Hank, Merle, Prine, Carter Family, and a little jazz we snuck in, too. (Loy forgave us.)

22135317_1708095622580753_703388590419928748_o (1)

The talk  ranged from Carbondale’s music scene, to growing tomatoes, to songwriting, to my new album, to the relationship between Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and Bonnie Owens as it related to “Swinging Doors.” Concerning that last topic, I got disabused of a long held misconception of mine. You can check it all out by clicking the link below. I hope you’ll use headphones. On my laptop you can’t hear Dorothy’s bass at all, and the overall sound’s a little tinny. With phones the bass comes through nice and clear and the whole mix sounds fuller.



As I said, we talked some about my new album.  It’s called He Flies, and if  you want to check it out, it’s streaming free at Band Camp.

WDBX, where the show aired, is a gem of a station. It’s line-up rocks, and no program director or AI algorithm sets the playlist. The DJs are are volunteers who just share IMG_0204 (1)the type of music  they know and love best. A pretty refreshing mix results: blues, metal, country, jazz, hip-hop, punk, world music, electronic, classical, and various points in between. And whoever chooses the DJ volunteers does a good job. Overall, they sound pretty damn professional. I hear it’s unusual for a town of Carbondale’s size (27,000) to have a community radio station. Carbondale’s fortunate to have it.

I got started listening to it while I was vacationing down here from Chicago, and I streamed the station for years back home in Chicago. Now that I’m back in Carbondale, I’m glad to get a chance to play for the station. It’s broadcasts are fresh, high energy, and highly recommended. The station streams on the net. Check it out: WDBX


More Action Shots


22137071_1708095432580772_1646833464449273652_o (1)


22135354_1708095479247434_2270550342859855878_o (1)


22095893_1708095532580762_6911397929357877952_o (1)

Hash’s Faves: “Deserted Cities of the Heart”

14 May

Wheels_Of_FireThis week’s pick is more goddam hippie music; it’s the song “Deserted Cities of the Heart”performed by Cream, written by Jack Bruce and Pete Brown, from the band’s 1968 album Wheels Of Fire. The basic band of Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker were augmented on the studio disc (it was a double album, one disc recorded in the studio and the other live) by producer/multi-instrumentalist Felix Pappalardi. On this particular song Bruce plays bass, acoustic guitar, cello and sings; Clapton plays electric guitar; Baker plays drums and tambourine; and Pappalardi plays the viola.

I’ve been keeping this under my hat for awhile, but for the last year I’ve been rehearsing with a new band (our maiden voyage will be on July 21) called Medicated Goo. It’s led by guitarist/vocalist John Kimsey, and is kind of an offshoot project of his Art Thieves and Twisted Roots Ensemble bands, both of which I’ve been a part of. We’re joined by John’s longtime musical partner-in-crime Dr. Brad Newton on drums; I’m playing bass and a little bit of guitar (!). The band is a cover band, with our repertoire limited (kind of) to the music of Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Traffic, although that allows us a certain amount of leeway (we play a couple of Blind Faith tunes and various other miscellanea). So what I’m trying to say here is that I’ve been immersing myself in the music of Cream.

This is the music that I grew up with, and with rare exceptions I’ve been finding that every song we add to the repertoire, I know in my bones. Maybe I’ve never played it before, on either instrument, but in my head I know how the song goes. But the really cool thing is that now that I’m way older and hopefully have a little more knowledge, I can really appreciate what made this group so special. The particular combination of personalities and musical backgrounds combined perfectly, as far as I’m concerned. In the great John McLaughlin biography Bathed In Lightning there’s talk that he was approached to be part of the band that Bruce and Baker were forming, but for whatever reason he declined. As much as I love McLaughlin, and as intriguing a band that that would have been, it wouldn’t have been the same; John was too much of a jazz player, and would have tipped the scales of the band’s chemistry too far in that direction, I think. Clapton’s background, personality, and his love for the blues helped to ground the band; Clapton himself would never describe himself as a jazz player, but he was sufficiently open-minded to be able to fit in with what the other two guys brought to the table. Baker really was a jazz drummer, while Bruce brought this whole other thing. Besides being a pretty good, and experienced jazz musician, he also had some folky leanings, and had some classical aspirations as well.

This song highlights all of these things; it has a rockin’, bluesy solo by Clapton, and the instrumental interludes sound like a combination of Baker’s jazz background and Bruce’s classicism. I wonder who came up with those bars of 3/4 in the verses, Baker or Bruce? And Jack’s bass playing is just beautiful, driving yet lyrical. The lyrics, by poet Pete Brown, are sufficiently surrealistic to accompany whatever trip you might have been on (I always pictured this song accompanying a painting by de Chirico).

Much like the Beatles, the personalities had quite a lot to do with the band’s creativity. Say what you will about Ringo’s drumming (personally, I think he’s a great drummer), but the Beatles simply would not have been as great with any other drummer. And although they started out as chums, I think that their last few albums, when personalities started to clash, were arguably their finest. And so it was with Cream; Baker and Bruce cordially (and sometimes not-so-cordially) hated each other, and I think that accounts for quite a bit of the fire, and certainly the tension, in their music. Clapton would eventually opt out of the drama, choosing the laid-back vibe of Bonnie and Delaney Bramlett’s band, and a long period of heroin and alcohol addiction. Cream’s career only lasted 2 years, with 4 studio albums, but they helped to change the face of rock music. I’d be willing to bet that quite a few rock musicians of my generation had their eyes and ears opened to the possibilities of jazz by their extended jamming, and for better or for worse the long, extended jam became a staple of rock music; punk and grunge music (again, for better or for worse) arose as a reaction against those excesses.

You can listen to it here:

This post is reprinted from News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at


Steve Hashimoto