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Gary's Message to the Web 7/21/98

This is my first communique to the list in a while and I just wanted to say thanks for hanging in there—"Busy Being Born" is doing great, better than my other records to date in fact (check the cool reviews!). Also—check out Bill Bamberger's incredible exegesis on my work in the Raves & Reviews section of the site—he did this for an online magazine called Hi Fi Mundo—I feel it's the deepest, most serious analysis of my work ever written (and I agree with most of his points, particularly on the new album). Those guys from Flint Michigan really have things sussed (Michael Moore take a bow)...(that's where Bill hails from).

Did a great show at Irving Plaza last Saturday night opening for the Plastic People of the Universe, the dissident Czech band who were imprisoned for their music making in the 70's and now have reformed with the blessings of Vaclav Havel, who is one of their biggest supporters. I've always loved their music and in fact, participated in a tribute to them while they were still fragmented in 1989 I believe at the Kitchen here under the aegis of Giorgio Gomelsky, the legendary Yardbirds producer.

Anyway I was honoured to open for them—did a blistering set solo which touched on Zappa (a major influence on them and a hero in the Czech republic—as you know I have toured extensively there and the Beefheart connection—another influence on them—was always acknowledged eagerly—in fact, I am of Bohemian descent—my father's father was named Lichtenstein—when I mentined this on Czech National Television, on their equivalent of the TODAY Show, the interviewer said "you know Gary, we have a Lichtenstein palace here in Prague—so you must be a blueblood!" I smiled and replied, "Well, I don't know about that, because whenever I cut myself, it's red, believe me!"), my own music from BBB, some of original Grace music I gave to Jeff Buckley ("Rise Up to Be") and concluded with a piece I wrote the night I learned Jeff had died, which I call "One Man's Meat", featuring a lengthy improv guitar solo—well, it killed 'em, I have to admit!

I then split home with my fabulous roadie/guitar tech Craig Chalone, a rabid fan who drove 6 and a half hours down from Burlington Vermont to assist me, and we returned at midnight for the Plastic People's set—they were phenomenal! (Sorry but I missed John S. Hall and co., Elliot Sharp and friends, and Jim O'Rourke—nice guys and deserving musicians—also Tuli Kupferberg, original Fug, plus an internet greeting from Havel). Anyway I was doubly honoured as I was the only musician present who was asked to jam with them onstage at the end of their set, on "Magic Night", which I remember doing all those years ago at the brought the house down, as they say—I was so buzzed and happy to be playing again (did I mention I had surgery recently) and in the company of these stellar souls!!

God bless the Plastic People—I hope to play with them again soon—Brabanec the sax player who I had met before (in fact I met 'em all before in one incarnation or another, including Pulnoc, who I jammed with at PS 122 in 1989—there's a record available in the CZ of the gig) asked me to cut a record with him in Prague and play concerts there, and as I'm heading there in October I hope it happens...special thanks to Pavel of DG 307 who also sat in on "Magic Night"—off now, soon I'm playing in Sicilly (again), will report on that when I'm back, also ready to fire up The Du-Tels again with Peter Stampfel, and maybe just maybe Gods and Monsters again this fall—keep watching the skies...