Jim Guittard’s Place

The Ragas Press Packet

Posted in Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on March 17, 2007

I am putting in a bit of my history.  It’s been about five years since I was living in Los Angeles.  Today, I can only think that I am really fortunate to have experienced, firsthand, the 1960’s music revival in its re-birth.  The following is the letter Henry and I used when contacting clubs. 

May 24, 2000

Booking
Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA  90046

RE:  Booking

Dear Club:

The Ragas duo was formed in mid-March 2000 after discovering a major musical chemistry between us.  I moved to Los Angeles from Texas to pursue my musical passion.  Henry was born here in L.A.  Henry is the son of 60’s icon, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.

We are influenced by the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and incorporate 12-String guitars, and vocal harmonies in our songs.  We play both cover songs and original songs.  We focus on musicianship rather than cool grooves or beats.  The old school sounds are what we are focused on.  Our songs range from jazz rock, country- rock, folk-rock, psychedelic, and raga-rock to name a few.

At present, we are searching for a bassist and drummer to complete our band.  In mid-June, we will have two English fellows visit us to most likely join the band.  We switch off with lead guitar.

We are so excited to be involved in the music scene in Los Angeles.  We can be reached at 323-###-#### and at our address in Hollywood, California.

Please find our demo tape included.

Thanks For Your Consideration,
Jim Guittard and Henry McGuinn

Here’s one of our setlists that I scanned.

The Ragas - Setlist
*The starred songs are the ones we played.

We did not play too many shows back then but we sure went to see a lot of shows by the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Quarter After, Sunstorm, smallstone, the Tyde, the Belle Isle, Whiskey Biscuit, the Snakes, and the Warlocks. Many of these bands are still around today.

Smallstone evolved into the Electromagnetic led by James Ambrose. The Belle Isle disbanded and Cliff Magreta now leads Minutes Til Midnight. Beachwood Sparks unofficially disbanded in 2003 and other groups were formed in its wake such as All Night Radio with sometimes BWS drummer Jimi Hey and BWS lap steel and organist Farmer Dave. Mystic Chords of Memory was formed by BWS leader Chris Gunst and Frausdots was BWS bassist Brent Rademaker’s. Brent continued to play in the Tyde with his brother Darren.

I am hopeful in seeing the Beachwood Sparks get back together. We’ll see.

The Ragas – June 2000 Los Angeles, California
The Ragas - June 2000

You can listen to the show here:

The Ragas Live 2000

The BJM Philosophy: Not Giving Up

Posted in Change, Family, Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic, Society by guittard on March 16, 2007

I got into the BJM in late 1999. It was well before Dig but after the Viper Room and other events made “famous” in the movie. Put aside all the fistfights, verbal attacks or whatever, the music of the Brian Jonestown Massacre stands the test of time. Forget all the hype of Anton Newcombe being some crazy guy. Who cares? It’s about music right?

Starting in late 1999, I was lucky enough to see the band in person while living in Los Angeles. Anton was a cool dude to me. I never saw any of the abuse the movie is so based upon. In fact, he’s quite intelligent and courteous.

But the mark left with me from experiencing the BJM firsthand is tremendous. If I could sum up what I have gotten out of it. For me it left me with the feeling that I can have numerous chances to do “my thing.”

It’s about going for it no matter what, not giving up. Striving through all the hype. One does not have to be near famous to have hype about them. It seems that most families have hype. They have opinions on how one’s career should be or when they should marry, etc.

With the BJM, it’s about showing the press or mainstream or others that they are wrong with their close-minded routine thinking. It is a wake up call to society to think more positively and courageously with vision. A Beatles’ song comes to mind: “Think For Yourself.” Words are “Do what you want to do and go where you’re going to. Think for yourself ‘Cause I won’t be there with you.” It’s about standing on you own feet. Making your own history.

It is funny how when I read news stories about this famous person or that. The articles always bring up the past. Writers say nothing new. They write about what they’ve been told and don’t give people the chance to better themselves. Writers go along with the status quo, maybe for what is entertaining or controversial. I think the BJM evokes courage.

In America, we talk about free speech and everything but I think, in general, it is slanted toward the controversial, trashy, and rubbish category. Why do Americans like to read about controversy? I don’t but maybe most people do. I’m 33. Not that old. I’m among the Generation X, which have been written about to be cynical or the children of divorce families. I am from a divorced family and some of my family’s past is chaotic with fistfights and verbal attacks.

Here’s an excerpt from a news article I was mentioned in concerning “Generation X” finding their place in the world.1

Jim Guittard of Dallas, who will be 32 in October, lives with his grandparents, shelves books part-time at a branch of the Dallas Public Library and hopes to head to Eastern Europe or Central Asia for the Peace Corps this fall.

Armed with a degree in American history from Colorado’s Western State College, Guittard started out working as an automobile-insurance-claims adjuster but grew tired of the constant bickering over money.

To pursue his passion for playing the guitar, he moved to Hollywood, Calif., where he found gigs playing in clubs. But the money wasn’t enough to provide a steady living. To survive, he worked a series of low-paying jobs at a talent agency, a rental-car office and an apartment-locator firm.

The experiences left him disillusioned about working in corporate America, and he moved back to Dallas a little more than two years ago.

“I don’t want to settle,” he says of his decision to seek happiness rather than money. “Do what your heart says.”

That’s why I take comfort in the BJM. The BJM, I think, looks past the obvious. The obvious is, yes, you may have a disfunctional past but you can be somebody. It’s about not labelling others. Labels can be bad.

So what else can I say? Well, if you’ve read this far then, thank you. The BJM is cool.

Back in 2001, I recorded an instrumental in tribute to the BJM.

BJM-Like Song by Jim Guittard


up1Katherine Yung, “As Generation X begins to hit 40, it’s finding its place in the world,” The Dallas Morning News, 8 July 2005.

When Jokers Attack

Posted in Life, Music by guittard on March 13, 2007

The other day I got a little pissed off. I joined some yahoo songwriter group and gave links to my songs and just briefly wrote who I am influenced by: Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Tom Petty and so on. This girl posted the following on the group:

I know you need the feedback of something good but honestly you need really feedback. You are not Bob Dylan and if you think that was good enough to even get near his dick then I want the weed that your smoking. That shit was off-key, uncordinated, and just plain wack. The singing was not even that great. Stick to your day job and if this is it get a real one. People boost people’s hopes up all the time and when they try to make it big they don’t and they hear the same stuff I’m telling you, maybe even worst. Much love for whatever else you try to do man!!!!

(I don’t claim to be Bob Dylan.  He is untouchable in my opinion.  No one comes close.  Maybe this woman had a bad day.  I do but I don’t take it out on someone else.  She also made several English grammar mistakes.)

Here she is:

My Bad Reviewer

Continued:

Her Apology

Sorry about such a harsh review, but it was late night so maybe that was y it was so mean. Life is hard trying to support yourself let alone two more kids for the next year. I don’t think that I could leave here and go to another country to teach because first I don’t have the patience, second I don’t speak anything other than French and that’s only semi-good. I think I didn’t like that song cause some of your other stuff is pretty entertaining.

Guess I’ll just get reviews from those that are turned on. I seriously doubt she listens to Bob Dylan. I’ve been listening to him for years and his carefree attitude and philosophy have sunk into my inner core and I would never think to attack someone like that.
*title is BJM song

Truck Explosion Shatters Windows in Pernik

Posted in Bulgaria, News, Pernik by guittard on March 6, 2007

PERNIK, Bulgaria (News.bg) — A truck with 3.2 tons of amonium has exploded in Pernik.

Three people have been injured. So far there are no reports of fatalities.

One man has pieces of glass in his eyes. Another man is in hospital with a serious head trauma, officials announced.

The emergency management unit in Pernik said a truck loaded with ammunitions has exploded

Pernik. Three people were injured in explosion in the residential area of Iztok in Pernik, the National medical coordination center reported. One of the men, aged 49, has a trauma on his head, and was received in the hospital of Pernik without danger for his life. The second man, aged 49, was received in the eye department of the hospital with pieces of broken glass in his eyes. The third person has cut wounds. So far there is no information for other injured people.

(Everything is cool here. I heard the explosion just before noon and my windows sorta shook but nothing shattered. All is intact. Students of mine were concerned about checking their blocks. I let them go. Oh well. Jim Guittard)

Source: (http://international.ibox.bg/news/id_1045889789)

Guittard Destiny and Shadows

Posted in Change, Family, Risk and the Unknown by guittard on March 5, 2007

I’ve figured everything out!  I think destinies are a bit demanding and take so much thought.  But maybe if things were spelled out more.  Here are the obvious choices for the rest of my life.   

1. I could move to California and go sell chocolates for a little company called Guittard Chocolate Company. However, I despised sales when I worked for a car rental company.  My last name may get me into this company.  I’ll show up at the front door and say, “I’m here for my job.  Give it!” 

Currently, my uncle is feverishly working on linking the Texas Guittards to the California ones by way of DNA testing.  As soon as the results come in with a positive match, I’ll fly to California and make my demands.  This will work I know it. 🙂

2. I can be a song and dance man.  My Guittard last name must have some meaning.  Maybe it was back in France that my ancestors took up the guitar because they got sick of hauling around the Hurdy Gurdy or the French Horn.

3. I could go to Waco, Texas and hang out on Guittard Avenue on the campus of Baylor University.  I could start yelling and hold up a sign about how my Great Grandfather was a History Professor at the University for fifty years. 

4. Or I can do what I do and make my own destiny without reference to the shadows of the past. 

I think that I will choose number four and I’ll make my own shadow.

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