Bradley's Almanac

[Live MP3s] James Kochalka Superstar in Cambridge – October 2006

Posted on January 8, 2008 at 11:41 am | 1 Comment

I believe it’s safe to say that there’s no creative career out there quite like the one that James Kochalka has fashioned for himself. I can’t think of another artist/writer who jumps back and forth so easily between vulgarity and innocence, between the mundane and magical. For isntance, his 2007 brought us not only the charming children’s story “Squirrelly Gray” from Random House, but the 4th issue of the curse-laden, oversexed Top Shelf comic “Super F*ckers”. Even within his daily drawn diary, online at American Elf, (which also gets collected every couple years by Top Shelf), he jumps between strips that make you go “hmmm” to ones that make you go “wow”. And the occasional one that makes you go “ouch.” But for James, it’s just his life, all part of what makes up his Burlington, Vermont-based world.

And even if you did find another creator who expresses both the grand and the gross so easily, you’d have to ask yourself: “Do they rock?” Because, every once in awhile, James Kochalka does. When not in front of his drawing board, or being a husband and dad, you’ll find him fronting his band James Kochalka Superstar, which he’s been doing for well over a decade. And for years before that, he lead the University of VT-spawned casio/sax combo Jazzin’ Hell. The guy was probably doing leg-kicks before Robert Pollard was, and at any James show, there’s always a chance you’ll get some full frontal. Like it or not. While he’s singing about rainbows, out-of-control ballerinas, or pee.

So in honor of the fresh redesign of his American Elf diary site, which now freely offers every single daily strip he’s done since 2002, I’ve decided to finally share up a rockin’ set that he played with his band here in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2006. This particular version of James Kochalka Superstar was a little different, as regular members Jason Cooley and Creston Lea were joined by the ace fill-in rhythm section of drummer Neil Cleary (of, um, Neil Cleary) and bassist Herb van der Poll (from the Jazz Guys), and for a couple songs, totally unprepared guests. So feel free to blame any looseness on them.

Here’s the set, with some info on James’ future musical and artistic plans below…

James Kochalka Superstar

Live at the Middle East Upstairs
in Cambridge, MA
on Saturday, October 28th, 2006

01. Smell Ya Later / Magic Finger
02. Cocaine
03. Fascist Bikes
04. God / Wash Your Ass
05. Why Is The Sky Blue?
06. Rainbow Love
07. Britney’s Silver Can
08. Breaking Stuff
09. Open Mic Night Improv
10. Hockey Monkey
11. Albert’s My Friend
12. Ben the Stupid Brontosaurus
13. Twinkle Twinkle Ringo Starr
14. Monkey Vs. Robot


(yes, this guest drummer may look familiar. there goes my objectivity.)

Record label Rykodisc wasn’t up to the challenge of making money off of James’ music, despite “Hockey Monkey” becoming the theme of Fox TV show “The Loop”, and the song “Britney’s Silver Can” being one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of 2006, so they ended up dropping JKS after releasing the “Our Most Beloved” compilation in ’05 and the “Spread Your Evil Wings and Fly” full-lengther in ’06.

Ryko’s marketing of JKS was likely made more difficult given the fact the band isn’t able to tour all that much, but James will still be making much more music in 2008. He says…

“I’m hoping to record two new albums. One rock, and the other gameboy style. It’s just a dream at this point though, and they will probably be self-released.”

Until that dream becomes reality, subscribers to the American Elf site can listen to in-progress and unreleased songs that James shares up, and those subscribers also get bonus strips and other random goodness. Well worth a measly couple bucks a month.

Speaking measly dollars, Top Shelf is having a ridiculous sale on some of James’ finest work: Those big collected editions of American Elf strips. The price of Book 1 (which gathers 5 full years of strips) has been cut in half, and so has Book 2 (2 more years worth). Me, I sprung for the deluxe hardcover of Book 1 awhile back (and there are still some of that swanky limited edition available), and used this sale to put Book 2 alongside it on my shelves. Book 3 will appear on shelves this year, and can be pre-ordered here.

Also ahead for James in 2008 is the release of the first two books of his new Johnny Boo series of all ages graphic novels, which can both be pre-ordered as well. Volume 1 ships in June from Top Shelf, with Volume 2 later in the year. Head here for a preview.

Some Kochalka-quality links…

  • American Elf, his Wikipedia entry, his Top Shelf Comix page, the American Elf forum, the JKS band page, Rykodisc page, and the Kochalkaholic fan site.
  • Additional Audio: Apart from subscribing to American Elf and getting some Mp3s, you can still order JKS discs from Ryko here. Stream “Hockey Monkeyhere, where you can also find iTunes links, or at a fan-created MySpace page.

    And here’s a little somethin’ extra that would’ve been more timely if I’d actually gotten this post finished in December like I planned, but what the hell, you can save it for next Christmas. It’s a holiday classic from James’ old band, Jazzin’ Hell

    Mp3: Jazzin’ Hell – “Sleigh Ride To Heck

    I’d offer you even more pointers to some Jazzin’ Hell songs, but someone needs to fix a few broken links (considering this a little poke).

  • Video: A Kochlka YouTube search turns up plenty of James videos, live footage, and interviews. I shared up a very old clip of the JKS experience performing live in 1994 during my short time behind the kit, and hopefully will share more songs from that tape eventually.
  • Photos: Check out the full Kochalka Flickr tag search, which will turn up lots of James’ artwork along with some live shots.
  • In honor of the American Elf strip archives being made freely available for all last month as part of the site redesign, Wizard Magazine interviewed James about it, and they also talked about his unreleased “Dragon Puncher” book, which lacks a publisher. I need to see that sucker just based on the title alone.
  • Listen to any and all ‘Nac-hosted Mp3s at the Hype Machine.
  • the fine print… If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the ‘nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.

    Comments

    One Response to “[Live MP3s] James Kochalka Superstar in Cambridge – October 2006”

    1. Josel Nicolas
      February 25th, 2016 @ 3:07 pm

      OH MY GOD. Thanks for putting this set back up online. It’s my favorite live thing ever. 🙂

    Leave a Reply





  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Tuesday, June 19th
    “Red Set: A History of Gang of Four”
    book launch with author Jim Dooley,
    Boston music journalist Jim Sullivan,
    & Go4  drummer Hugo Burnham (!)
    7pm @ Brookline Booksmith


    Wednesday, June 20th
    Blk Squirrl (Record Release)
    w/special guests Sundog
    and Andy California
    @ the Midway in JP


    Thursday, June 21st
    Tracyanne & Danny
    (of Camera Obscura/Crybaby)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 23rd
    The English Beat
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday & Sunday
    June 23rd & June 24th
    Ray LaMontagne
    Neko Case
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 24th
    Body/Head
    Gunn-Truscinski Duo
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, June 25th
    Jeremy Enigk (full band)
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Mal Blum
    Heavy Pockets
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Speedy Ortiz
    The Homeless Gospel Choir
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 27th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Jeff Rosenstock
    Restorations
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 27th
    Styx
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Tesla
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, June 29th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Tim Barry
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, June 30th
    Kal Marks
    Baerd
    Edge Petal Burn
    Pink Navel
    Prior Panic
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 30th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Dave Hause & The Mermaids
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, July 1st
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    The Hotelier
    War on Women
    @ the Royale


    Monday, July 2nd
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band
    Trapper Schoepp
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 3rd
    Phoenix
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, July 6th
    Steve Miller Band
    Peter Frampton
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 10th
    Adult Swim presents…
    The Pillows featuring FLCL
    with Noodle & Cullen Omari
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 10th
    Fable Grazer
    Grex
    The Modern Voice
    Brown Lasers
    @ the Midway in JP


    Wednesday, July 11th
    The Get Up Kids
    Raquet Club
    Ageist
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, July 11th
    Quiet Slang (solo Beach Slang)
    Abi Reimold
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday & Thursday
    July 11th & 12th
    Neil Young
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Thursday, July 12th
    Snail Mail
    Bonny Doon
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, July 13th
    Immersion
    (featuring Colin from Wire)
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, July 14th
    Freezepop
    Party Bois
    Photocomfort
    Symbion Project
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 15th
    Snail Mail
    Bonny Doon
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 15th
    Beck
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Erasure
    Reed & Caroline
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Coheed and Cambria
    Taking Back Sunday
    The Story So Far
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Weezer
    Pixies
    Sleigh Bells
    @ Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, July 18th
    Arcade Fire
    Hamilton Leithauser
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, July 18th
    Faust
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, July 19th
    Bent Knee
    Gatherers
    Animal Flag
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, July 20th
    Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls
    @ Atwood’s


    Friday, July 20th
    Hallelujah The Hills
    Adam Remnant
    Planet of Adventure
    @ the Midway in JP


    Saturday, July 21st
    The Magic Numbers
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, July 21st
    Camp Cope
    Petal
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    The Struts & Monsieurs (21st)
    Dinosaur Jr. & Speedy Ortiz (22nd)
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, July 23rd
    Greta Van Fleet
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, July 27th
    Arctic Monkeys
    Mini Mansions
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, July 27th
    Boy George & Culture Club
    The B-52s
    Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins)
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, July 28th
    Sleep
    Heavy Blanket
    Dylan Carson
    @ the Royale


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 28th & 29th
    Radiohead
    @ TD Garden


    Monday, July 30th
    The Cult
    Stone Temple Pilots
    Bush
    Big Jesus
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    Quicksand
    Glassjaw
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 31st &
    Wednesday, August 1st
    David Byrne
    Benjamin Clementine
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    The Smashing Pumpkins
    Metric
    @ TD Garden


    Thursday, August 2nd
    Alex Cameron
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 3rd
    The Essex Green
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, August 3rd
    Jeff Beck
    & Paul Rodgers
    + Ann Wilson (Heart)
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Monday, August 6th
    Free Cake For Every Creature
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Puppy Problems
    Tuft
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    H.C. McEntire
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, August 10th
    Billy Joel
    @ Fenway Park


    Saturday, August 11th
    Mourn
    Chastity
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, August 11th
    Wussy
    Sleepyhead
    @ Sonia


    Saturday, August 11th
    Joan of Arc
    @ the Middle East


    Saturday, August 11th
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, August 11th
    Journey & Def Leppard
    with Cheap Trick
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, August 13th
    Cake
    Ben Folds
    Tall Heights
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Monday & Tuesday
    August 13th & 14th
    The Gaslight Anthem
    Matt Mays
    Worriers
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, August 15th
    Agent Orange
    Silver Screams
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, August 15th
    Sparta
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, August 16th
    Ra Ra Riot
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 17th
    Counting Crows
    Live
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Saturday, August 18th
    Alkaline Trio
    Together Pangea
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, August 18th
    Calpurnia
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 23rd
    Belly
    @ the Royale


    Friday, August 24th
    Hellrazor
    Halfsour
    Freak Heat Waves
    Kristian North
    @ O’Brien’s


    Friday, August 24th
    Beach House
    Papercuts
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, August 25th
    Luna
    Old Yolk
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, August 26th
    Amen Dunes
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, August 27th
    LVL UP (final tour)
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday & Tuesday
    September 2nd & 4th
    Pearl Jam
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, September 3rd
    The Fixx (playing “Reach
    the Beach” and more)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, September 7th
    The Jesus Lizard
    All Souls
    @ the Royale


    Friday, September 7th
    First Aid Kit
    Julia Jacklin
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 8th
    Ex Hex
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, September 9th
    Saint Etienne
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, September 10th
    Let’s Eat Grandma
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Killing Joke
    <PIG>
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Van Morrison
    Shana Morrison
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Interpol
    with Sunflower Bean
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, September 13th
    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, September 13th
    Car Seat Headrest
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, September 13th
    MC5
    “MC50: Kick Out the Jams –
    the 50th Anniversary Tour.”
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 14th
    The The
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, September 14th
    Remo Drive
    Field Medic
    Prince Daddy & the Hyena
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, September 14th
    Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, September 15th
    Ash
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, September 19th
    Mothers
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, September 19th
    The Growlers
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 19th
    Arthur Buck
    (Joseph Arthur & Peter Buck)
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, September 19th
    Michael Nesmith &
    The First National Band
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Thursday, September 20th
    Gary Numan
    Nightmare Air
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 21st
    Outlaw Music Festival with
    Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson,
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The
    Night Sweats, Margo Price,
    Lukas Nelson & Promise of the
    Real, Particle Kid
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, September 21st
    Rooney
    Mating Ritual
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, September 25th
    Alvvays
    Hatchie
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 26th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Friday, September 28th
    Bully
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, October 1st
    Blizten Trapper
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, October 1st
    The Charlatans
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, October 2nd
    Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem)
    Craig Finn (the Hold Steady)
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, October 3rd
    Simple Minds
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, October 5th
    Great Lake Swimmers
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 6th
    Active Bird Community
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, October 6th
    Social Distortion
    Will Hoge
    Pony Bradshaw
    @ the House of Blues


    Sunday, October 7th
    Nothing
    Swirlies
    Big Bite
    Smut
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 7th
    Ben Howard
    Wye Oak
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Monday, October 8th
    Liz Phair
    Speedy Ortiz
    @ the Royale


    Monday, October 8th
    Gruff Rhys
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, October 9th
    White Denim
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, October 11th
    Swearin’
    Empath
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, October 12th
    Florence & the Machine
    @ the TD Garden


    Saturday, October 13th
    The Jayhawks
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Sunday, October 14th
    The Vaccines
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 14th
    Gorillaz
    Little Dragon
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, October 14th
    Death Cab for Cutie
    Charly Bliss
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Wednesday, October 17th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    “Dizzy Up The Girl
    20th Anniversary Tour”
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, October 18th
    Big Thief
    The Range of Light Wilderness
    michael
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 18th
    The Proletariat
    Savageheads
    Silver Screams
    @ Sonia


    October 19th & 20th
    Nine Inch Nails
    The Jesus & Mary Chain
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, October 20th
    Mitski
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, October 20th
    Chvrches
    @ the Orpheum


    Sunday, October 21st
    Johnny Marr
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 21st
    Courtney Barnett
    Waxahatchee
    @ House of Blues


    Tuesday, October 23rd
    The Church
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, October 23rd
    Garbage
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 24th
    Lily Allen
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 28th
    Monster Magnet
    Electric Citizen
    Dark Sky Choir
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, November 1st
    Tune-Yards
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, November 2nd
    Roky Erickson
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Monday, November 5th
    Shannon & the Clams
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 5th
    Tenacious D
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, November 6th
    The Joy Formidable
    Tancred
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 9th
    Low
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, November 13th
    Pale Waves
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 14th
    Wild Nothing
    @ the Royale


    Friday, November 16th
    Jim James (from MMJ – solo)
    Alynda Segarra
    (from Hurray for the Riff Raff)
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Saturday, November 24th
    Kurt Vile
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, December 5th
    Reverend Horton Heat
    & Junior Brown with
    The Blasters
    Big Sandy
    @ the Royale