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

    Wednesday, July 19th
    RIDE
    Froth
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, July 20th
    Thurston Moore Group
    Taiwan Housing Project
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, July 20th
    Tom Petty &
    the Heartbreakers
    Peter Wolf
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, July 21st
    Tristen
    @ The Rockwell


    Friday, July 21st
    The Alarm
    Goddamn Draculas
    Big City Rockers
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Friday, July 21st
    Ultimate Painting
    @ Sonia


    Friday, July 21st
    Spoon
    The New Pornographers
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, July 21st
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Wilbur


    Friday, July 21st
    Conor Oberst
    Hop Along
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, July 22nd
    Ghost Box Orchestra (final show)
    Somewhere in Somerville


    Saturday, July 22nd
    Thalia Zedek Band
    Mr. Airplane Man
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, July 22nd
    Out of the Blue Too benefit
    with The Spookfish, Petridisch
    Cryostasium, Skyjelly
    And Then There Was One
    Lightning Pill, & Idle Threat
    6pm @ OotB Too


    Sunday, July 23rd
    Primus
    Clutch
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 25th
    Slayer
    Lamb of God
    Behemoth
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, July 28th
    Alt-J
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, July 29th
    The Head and the Heart
    Big Thief
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Sunday, July 30th
    Blondie
    Garbage
    Deap Vally
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion


    Wednesday, August 2nd
    The Shins
    Tennis
    @ House of Blues Boston


    Wednesday, August 2nd
    Melvins
    Spotlights
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, August 2nd
    Belle & Sebastian
    Andrew Bird
    Porches
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion


    Thursday, August 3rd
    The Rationales,
    The Curtis Mayflower,
    Oldjack,
    Red Red Rockit,
    Nate Rogers &
    the Unreliable Narrators
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Friday, August 4th
    Alabama Shakes
    Emily King
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, August 8th
    Mew
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, August 8th
    Poptone
    (mems of Bauhaus, Tones
    on Tail, Love & Rockets)
    with Pow!
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, August 11th
    LO TOM
    (Bazan, Walsh, Many, & Martin)
    TW Walsh
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, August 13th
    Slothrust
    Tancred
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, August 13th
    BC65!
    Bob Colby’s 65th Birthday Bash
    (and *final* BCP show!)
    with Thalia Zedek Band, Viva Gina,
    Dyr Faser, Land of Enchantment,
    Kingdom of Love, Carissa Johnson,
    The Very, Cold Expectations,
    Randy Black & the Heathcroppers,
    and The Wrong Shapes
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, August 15th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    Phillip Phillips
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, August 17th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    @ Charles Hayden Planetarium
    @ Museum of Science, Boston


    Saturday, August 19th
    Waxahatchee (full band!)
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, August 19th
    Mark Lanegan Band
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, August 28th
    Green Day
    Catfish & the Bottlemen
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Monday, August 28th
    Washed Out
    @ the Royale


    Friday, September 1st
    Duck & Cover
    Silver Screams
    The Runouts
    @ Koto in Salem


    Tuesday, September 5th
    Pallbearer
    @
    Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, September 5th
    Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble
    (of Stereolab)
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, September 6th
    Warpaint
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, September 6th
    Kevin Morby
    Shannon Lay
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, September 7th
    The Novel Ideas
    @ Red Room at Cafe 939


    Friday, September 8th
    Widowspeak
    Clearance
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, September 8th
    Weakened Friends
    @ O’Brien’s


    Saturday, September 9th
    Swervedriver
    playing “Raise” & “Mezcal Head”
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 9th
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, September 9th
    Buffalo Tom
    “Let Me Come Over”
    25th Anniversary
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 10th
    GBH
    The Casualties
    Down With Rent
    Panzerbastard
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, September 11th
    Roky Erickson
    Death Valley Girls
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Father John Misty
    Phosphorescent
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Thee Oh Sees
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Mount Eerie
    @ Arts at the Armory


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Alison Moyet
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, September 14th
    The Afghan Whigs
    Har Mar Superstar
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, September 14th
    Bob Seger & The
    Silver Bullet Band with
    Nancy Wilson (Heart)
    @ the TD Garden


    Friday, September 15th
    Arcade Fire
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, September 15th
    Wild Belle
    Fred Thomas
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, September 15th
    Middle Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 16th
    Matthew Sweet
    Tommy Keene
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 16th
    Kasabian
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, September 16th
    Sturgill Simpson
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion


    Saturday, September 16th
    Chameleons Vox (featuring
    Mark Burgess of Chameleons UK)
    with Soft Kill & Way Out
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Monday, September 18th
    Liars
    @ The Sinclair


    Wednesday & Thursday
    September 20th & 21st
    Gogol Bordello
    Lucky Chops
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 20th
    The Cribs
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Wednesday, September 20th
    X (40th anniversary tour)
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, September 21st
    The Cranberries
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, September 22nd
    Brian Wilson does “Pet Sounds”
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, September 22nd
    Alison Krauss
    David Gray
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, September 22nd
    The Ataris
    The Queers
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Saturday, September 23rd
    The War On Drugs
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 23rd
    Wire
    @ The Sinclair


    Sunday, September 24th
    Saint Etienne
    @ the Once Ballroom


    Thursday, September 28th
    Stiff Little Fingers
    Death By Unga Bunga
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, September 29th
    The Church
    The Helio Sequence
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, October 2nd
    METZ
    Uniform
    @ The Sinclair


    Monday & Tuesday
    October 2nd & 3rd
    Pinback
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, October 3rd
    Alvvays
    Birthing Hips
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday & Thursday
    October 4th & 5th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Easy Action
    @ The Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 4th
    Yes
    (including Jon Anderson,
    Trevor Rabin, & Rick Wakeman)
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, October 5th
    The National
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Thursday, October 5th
    Hundred Waters
    Kelsey Lu
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, October 6th
    Paul Weller
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, October 7th
    Sun Kil Moon
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 7th
    Paramore
    Best Coast
    @ Boston Opera House


    Saturday, October 7th
    Broken Social Scene
    Frightened Rabbit
    @ House Of Blues


    Saturday, October 7th
    Front 242
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, October 8th
    KMFDM
    OHGR
    Lord of the Lost
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, October 9th
    Future Islands
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, October 10th
    Against Me!
    Bleached
    The Dirty Nil
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 11th
    Japanese Breakfast
    Mannequin Pussy
    The Spirit Of The Beehive
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, October 12th
    Beach Fossils
    Snail Mail
    Raener
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 14th
    Andrew W.K.
    @
    Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, October 14th
    The Psychedelic Furs
    “The Singles Tour”
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, October 17th
    Pickwick
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, October 20th
    Janeane Garofalo
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Saturday, October 21st
    Queens of the Stone Age
    Royal Blood
    @ Agganis Arena


    Wednesday, November 1st
    Grizzly Bear
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, November 1st
    Elbow
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, November 2nd
    The Dears
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, November 3rd
    The Breeders
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 3rd
    Human Sexual Response
    Unnatural Axe
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, November 4th
    Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile
    and the Sea Lice
    @ the Orpheum Theatre


    Saturday, November 4th
    Shout Out Louds
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, November 9th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur


    Thursday, November 9th
    Tegan and Sara
    The Con X: Tour
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, November 11th
    Iron & Wine
    @ Berklee Performance Center


    Monday, November 13th
    The Mountain Goats
    Mothers
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, November 14th
    Slowdive
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, November 14th
    The Black Heart Procession
    Sam Coomes
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, November 14th
    The Drums
    @
    the Sinclair


    Friday, November 17th
    Hot Water Music
    Big Jesus
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 21st
    American Football
    Pure Bathing Culture
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, November 30th
    St. Vincent
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, December 1st
    Maximo Park
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, December 7th
    Mogwai
    @ the Royale


    Friday, December 8th
    LCD Soundsystem
    @ Agganis Arena


    Saturday, April 28th, 2018
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    “Substance” collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise