March 2006

Greetings, fans, friends, and radio listeners!

Our brand new CD “California Country” is officially out MAY 9, but “California Country” is available now on this website for friends and fans. Be the first one on your block to have you own legitimate copy of the Hawks’ brand new record.Order the CD
The Hawks

A few weeks ago, I See Hawks in L.A. filmed their first beer commercial. In a strange twist of fate, the band signed on to appear in a San Miguel Beer commercial for the Spanish market. Cast as a burnt-out cowboy band, the Hawks play for a roomfull of bored line dancers. Then the beer arrives, the Spanish disco music kicks in, everyone chants “Hey!” and goes crazy. Rob fires two pistols in the air and whispers ‘Paquito’ to Brantley for no known reason. Yes, these are strange times we’re living in.

See this commercial
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March 17

We lavished hasty praise indeed on the Pontiac Montana mini-van–it’s time for a retraction.This little beast makes a good impression on those (us) easily awed by bells and whistles, but it’s really the typical junk made by a culture out of ideas and purpose. Like the modern action film that exists to dazzle, this vehicle is a rolling sensory overload–and too smart for its audience. Lights go on and off, many options for locking and unlocking the vehicle clamor for your attention, chimes sound for no apparent reason once you’re driving. The owner’s manual (do people buy this beast or are rent-a-car drivers the only victims?) must be thicker than a Microsoft for Dummies. And a major class action injury lawsuit is in the making for Pontiac, which might drive the company to its merciful end: it’s possible to sever a finger in the rear hatch handle, and a scientific test confirmed that the motorized side door will crush a 400 page Vanity Fair magazine, happily oblivious to any obstacle in its path. Good luck, Detroit.

But we digress. Our last day in Austin during the days of SXSW was a fine one, with kind rain from gray firmament. We drove into Austin in the morning, a beautiful drive through hill country from the Klines in Dripping Springs-adjacent. We found 6th Street right where we left it in downtown Austin, arrived at B.D. Rileys, parked illegally, hugfest reunion with our pal Jonny Fargo, host of the pub’s afternoon shows. More hugs for the Bellyachers, San Francisco’s finest, and sweethearts they are.B.D. Rileys is in the midst of 6th Street madness, and badge and non-badge wearing revelers pass under its open window all day. It’s happening. Rick Shea joined us on the packed and tiny stage, another well received Hawks show. Jonny and the waitresses most kindly plied us with food and drink as we watched a modest building to devastating show from Stinson/Gilkyson/Weeks, as the crowd went wild, and Hawks were dragged into two step dancing by very drunk Houstonian divorcees. We met Chris Morris, who was in ecstasy over his boys onstage.

We lingered into late afternoon, then borrowed Stinson’s drums yet again and drove off to Opal Divines on Congress, where we parked the ill-fated Pontiac and fell asleep in the parking lot. We awoke to brooding clouds over sunset on the distant hills, and set up on the Opal Divine outdoor stage. Soundman Stony knows what he’s doing (he and Paul L. reminisced about a Burning Spear tour they were both on in the early 90s, Paul in the Bonedaddys, Stony doing sound for Spear, both touched by Jah divinity from the great and dreadlocked prophet). The Hawks sounded great, crisp clear sound, once again Rick Shea giving us the stadium touch.We used up our $100 bar tab on single malt scotches, including a quaffing of a 1978 Ardbeg that was a bit religious, watched our country rock mates Stinson/Weeks/Gilkyson for the fourth time, liked it even more. We were spent. We vanished into the night and the hills of Hill Country.

Next day was interesting, interesting indeed. We bade farewell to the gracious Klines, left Dripping Springs for the Interstate back to Houston airport. We utilized the Pontiac’s one redeeming feature, the DVD player, and listened to or watched Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (front seats/back seats), which is an enlightening soundtrack for a drive across Texas. We became part of the film, and the world became Waking Life, as the cinema hero tried to escape his dream that we were now a part of. Waking Life is a powerful movie. We stopped at Waffle House just as we were despairing of encountering this taste sensation on this Texas odyssey; ordered everything covered, scrambled and smothered. Supercharged and complete, we floated out into the parking lot, fired up the Pontiac, back onto the highway to Houston.
Official Sponsor of Hawks Downfall

Paul L was driving, and uncharacteristically fast, and in vain. We were late for our plane out of Houston. We dumped the Pontiac at the remote rent-a-car lot and grabbed a shuttle into the airport, missed several mini-train connections, and stood in a massive line as our departure time loomed 20 minutes away on the airport clock. This is how optimistic Paul M is: “Call me an optimist, but I think we’re going to make our flight.” An hour later, we were struggling to make a second flight, but we made it, arriving in L.A. a mere two hours later than planned.

At this point Shawn has done about 12 shows in 4 days. He’s superhuman. He could drum a hole in a steel plate if he had to. shawn.jpg

Somewhere between Houston and L.A. a Continental Airlines baggage handler and defender of America removed the “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker from Paul L’s guitar case. Paul was mortified, as only Paul can be, asked a flight attendant about how to register a complaint. She began chanting “Bush! Bush! Bush!” Sleep-deprived Paul, surrounded by blank stares from the Continental flight crew, beat a hasty retreat up the ramp. We are not making this up. Meanwhile, a defender of America TSA baggage inspector stole a “Kinky Friedman for Governor” sticker out of Paul L’s pedalboard case, putting a tiny TSA sticker on pedalboard case as a trade of some sort. We didn’t realize Kinky was an enemy of the state. The next day Paul L pulled into a Catholic girl’s high school parking lot in Alhambra to do a noon assembly show with his acoustic band Goin’ South (with Rick Shea and Cody Bryant). The security guard spotted the “Impeach Bush” sticker on Paul L’s car and walked up Paul as he got out of his car. “You don’t like Bush?” the guard asked.

Paul, still sleep deprived, made a vow to remove all political content from his possessions. “No, I don’t,” he warily replied.”Good!” said the security guard. “He’s ruining the country!”
Relief at last. Paul was feeling proud of his Angeleno homeland. A good place to enjoy the decline of empire.


March 23, 2006

March 17, Dripping Springs to Austin

Meet Geoff Cline and his lovely and genius wife Sally. They are our hosts in the hill country, with an ultra modern eco house on a bluff over the Pedernales river an hour southwest of Austin in the rolling juniper and oak cattle ranch country. After our first night in town, Geoff leads us on dark highways through and past Dripping springs, down 2 lane semi-paved and dirt roads across flash flood channels, past the 1971 site of Willie Nelson’s first 28,000 strong hippie Picnic, as bunnies and herds of deer flee our headlights into the brush. A final left on Rabbit Run and Turkey, and we reach the compound.Geoff and Sally show us around the house, designed from scratch by Sally, who also made the iron beam front gate, all the fixtures, much of the textile work, and laid all the tile. She also has an advanced political science degree in Nuclear Strategy and was courted by the NSA. Geoff is a slacker underachiever by comparison, a singer/songwriter guitarist who was chief counsel for Patagonia for eight years (before launching Sovereign Records, who financed the Hawks new CD before entering financial limbo). Where do these people find the time?

The Cline house is three stories of intriguing irregularly angled rooms, has a rainwater system for collecting drinking water, will have solar panels, and has many cozy areas for viewing Lance Armstrong’s distant mansion carved ostentatiously into the trees, or contemplating the undisturbed river bluffs below. Sally may have gone too far when she placed a 25 foot high bookshelf shaft in the middle of the house, accessible only by a mechanical hoists that lifts the seeker of knowledge in a harness to the dizzying heights of the library shaft. Next morning we woke in our usual order (Paul M, Paul L, last two not named for privacy reasons), had a Cline breakfast, and checked out the nearby pointing tree, shaped by Indians so that it points out to the river below.

pointing tree dripping springs.jpg The Hawks wandered down the bluff with Geoff to the Pedernales, an ever changing flow now at low ebb from a long drought, with twigs in the trees 15 feet above showing the high water mark. It was easy to imagine cowboys chasing stray calves out of the river sand, and Indians hunting antelopes.

After much wandering through the brush, it was somehow time to head into Austin for our next show. We hit heavy traffic and badge wearing revelers on 6th Street arrived just in time, of course, under brooding late afternoon skies, at Opal Divine’s Treehouse, where an official SXSW Irish band played at one side, Kinky Friedman for Governor tables sat in the middle, and unofficial country rock entertained on the street side patio. This was full immersion in SXSW hoopla. We set up on the patio, greeting our publicist and bon vivant Susan Clary, and our record promotion man David Avery from Powderfinger. Now this is the way to do biz, with everyone lubricated on Shiner Beer and who knows what else. Our good pal Rick Shea played guitar with us and bumped up our sound to the stadium country rock we so crave for outdoor shows. (Paul L and Rick look like stereo images on stage, left and right handed battered telecasters or Martin D-18’s and long gray hair. We didn’t plan this.) The crowd gathered from the teeming masses on 6th street below, and we had a real good time.

Shawn and Rick Shea dashed off with Paul M and Rob and Paul L had burritos on the river with L.A. friends Doran and Cisco and friends, then drove off to the funkiest honky tonk we’d ever seen, Jenny’s Little Longhorn, on a street so ugly it could have been West L.A. Inside James Intveld had put together a honky tonk super group, with Rick Shea, Shawn, and a rock solid superfunky bass player and virtuoso steel player. This was a new level for James’s music, as good a country unit as ever played. No exaggeration. The crowd, which included some serious country swing dancers, was transfixed for 2 hours. James did his effortless crooning and introduced all waitresses by name. This is what music used to be all about, and occasionally still is: making people feel good.

How did we get home to Chez Cline, down highways and biways into the dark hills? That is a bit of a mystery, but we did. It was not long before Texas dawn, which we missed.

Southwest of SouthBySouthwest

March 22, 2006

March 16, Houston to Austin The Hawks do not like to arrive hours before any event. We like to pull up to the club, heave the amps and drums out of the car, and rush on stage. This eliminates time for making set lists (although it might be possible to concoct one on a three […]

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March 16, 2006

ISHILA is in Houston for the first time. The city is gray. A smooth and uneventful plane flight (Paul L prevents crashes by purchasing Vanity Fair at the airport, a ritual that’s worked for years), unsettling but ultimately useful directions from Mapquest through empty freeways and vast wild urban green space, and we’ve arrived at […]

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March 16, 2006

You know, you can read newspapers and listen to NPR and you get a picture of the world, but it’s always busted by a venture out of your regular surroundings. Take Pontiac: the American car industry is in freefall, with products that are outdated and made much better by Japan. That comfy view is given […]

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First Reviews of “California Country,” from Houston, Germany, England & L.A.

March 9, 2006

HOUSTON PRESS March 9, 2006 Try as you might to avoid the heinous hippie-cliché “cosmic” when describing the music of I See Hawks in LA, when the melodies, lyrics, harmonies and licks take over, you’ll find yourself lost in some greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts moment. The Hawks’ new disc, California Country, would make an appropriate score for Thomas […]

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Golf Is Too Darn Slow For Buzzy Krongard, Princeton Class of ’58 — Bankers Trust’s former vice-chairman joins the CIA

March 7, 2006

Friends of Hawks, here’s a fascinating profile of a fascinating man in a fascinating historical period of a fascinating system of government and business: A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard ’58 once punched a great white shark in the head on a bet. He practices lethal martial arts with an intensity that is frightening. And the only guns […]

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March 5, 2006

by Gary Snyder By civilized times, hunting was a sport of kings. The early Chinese emporers had vast fenced hunting reserves: peasants were not allowed to shoot deer. Millenia of experience, the proud knowledge of hunting magic–animal habits–and the skills of wild plants and herb gathering were all but scrubbed away. Much has been said […]

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