FRENCH TV

BAND OF DESTINY

DECEMBER 2003
Jeff does a percussion session for "Mexico" and the French Medley. I especially like the tympani at the end of "Mexico".

We also mix "Mexico" and discover to our horror a click track tic-tocking away during Chris' acoustic guitar section, probably leaked thru his headphones while recording. No way we can remove it without affecting the guitar, so we look for new approaches.

A really great improv errupts during a rehearsal-INSTANT TUNE! Juz luuuuvs dem ol' improvs that don't need much tweeking to become new compositions!

NOVEMBER 2003
Warren and Chris finish their tracks for "Mexico", and apparently this time they REALLY MEAN IT! NO MORE NEW IDEAS! They also finish mixing Chris' tune "TANNAM"; it therefore receives the honor of being the FIRST TUNE MIXED for FTV8.

I decide to re-cut bass tracks for "TEARS OF A VELVET CLOWN" using the Steinberger I knocked the frets out of recently [a consequence of having Percy Jones & Tunnels stay at my house last month]. There were always a couple of sections that seemed to call for a fretless, but I end up using it on 90% of the tune! Warren seems pleased at the results.

In other boring equipment news, I trade in the ol' Ibanez 5-string for an electric blue Cort 6-string. I subsequently have to remind myself there are, in fact, lower frequencies that can be utilized from time to time.

More twice weekly rehearsals with Jeff, more refinement of new tunes.

OCTOBER 2003
Another improv session yields 2 more gems: One is fantastic and will require very little in the way of re-writes and could essentially be played verbatim, at least until the proverbial "better ideas" emerge. The 2nd has quite a few good sections but will need further drafts. FTV9 may arrive sooner than we think [ohhh, God....].

I junk the "ARACHNOID" section of the French medley [couldn't fake my way thru the fancy piano runs-sorry guys] in favor of a 2 minute clip from an ANGE tune. Originally, I wanted to avoid covering anything by any French bands still in existance, but it seemed bizarre to NOT cover Mr DeCamps & co. Blame the harpsichord...

I record them keyboards Oct 20th. As of this writing [Oct 23], cringing is at a minimum. The PULSAR section is quite a bear to record, due to the loooooong gaps between the heavy accents [and no, a click track doesn't help]. Not to mention my having learned one of the sections incorrectly. However, Howie's exquisite sense of pitch saves the day.

Preliminary mixes of "Tannam" and "Everything Works..." are due on the last weekend in October.

SEPTEMBER 2003
Still more tweeking on "Tannam" and "Everything Works in Mexico", delaying mixing until October. The results are certainly worth it, judging from the working tracks I've heard.

Jeff and I finally record our rhythmn tracks for Warren's tune "Tears of a Velvet Clown". Nice to not have THAT hanging over our heads anymore.

To save time on finishing the cd, Warren opts out of contributing to the French medley. After weighing several options [including guest keyboardists], I decide to learn the keyboard parts myself, and rent a Quadraverb for a month. This is the 1st time I've played extensive keys on a French TV record [aside from a stray chord here and there].

Once Jeff & I finish with "Tears...", we begin recording a series of improvs during rehearsals. One looks very promising.

AUGUST 2003

Chris comes to Louisville to help record the French medley and his tune "Tannam". The session is a bit of a mess; by and large we are under-rehearsed and it takes more run-throughs than usual to come up with something usable. I visit the studio for an extra session to edit the various takes together and to patch up the sounds of fingers not going where they were supposed to go. At least the final results are good!

Warren meets Chris & I at ProgDay in Raleigh, NC and we enjoy ourselves immensely. Samla Mammas Manna put on an INCREDIBLE show, and on Sunday have inner with us at good pals Michael & Stephanie Medley's house, along with a handful of ProgDay staffers [who deserve much more than booze & barbeque for their valiant efforts to organize such a great show]. "Tannam" even makes its debut over the festival sound system between sets-most of the people I meet are surprised to hear it was us!

My son Aaron makes his stage debut during the Samla set at ProgDay, much to the consternation of Mommie. Thanks to Geoff Logsdon!

Warren and Chris finish their tracks for "Everything Works in Mexico". Mixing to begin in September.

Nice to not have to work on "RTCPs" anymore! Now it's Warren & Chris's problem. Funny; Warren & Chris haven't laid anything down for this yet, and it already appears to be a given as part of our live show next year-it's THAT popular...

Warren's solo cd nearly finished; artwork remains the final obstacle.

JULY 2003
New update on the French medley: We've added a short 20 second tune from Etron Fou to close the medley out. Also further refinement overall. Jeff and I begin spirited rehearsals on this, fortified by outbursts of "COFFEE! DONUTS!"

I finally visit Howie Gano's new studio in the Butchertown area of Louisville-considerably less claustrophobic than the old digs, plus lots of new recording gear & software. I recommend it highly to all area musicians. We schedule 2 sessions: July 28th [more on that below] and August 25th [to record the French medley, "Velvet Clown", and "Tannam"].

For the August 25th session, a plan is concocted in which Chris Smith will journey to Louisville and record LIVE with us on the French medley.

On the 28th, Jeff and I record bass, drums, finger-snapping, and vocal outbursts for "The Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs Take Charge". We score on the 3rd take [surprising we didn't nail it on the 1st try, considering we've worked on it for so long]. This is the 1st time in ages we have recorded an FTV tune not using Howie's studio kit [this kit is despised by nearly all FTV drummers in modern history], and we even use some of our own drum mics. Good results!


JUNE 2003

About the French thing mentioned last month: I've put together a roughly 16 minute medley of snippets of French symphonic progressive bands. We plan to record in lieu of "Demo Two". Segments include bits from Arachnoid, Pulsar, Shylock, Carpe Diem, and Atoll. It sort of works at the moment, but I expect it will receive further modifications. Not to get too political [Moi?], but I find myself getting disgusted at the cheap French bashing due to France's unwillingness to go along with Bush's foolish invasion of Iraq [one turning point is a NYTimes article on the decision of many American host families to NOT accept young French exchange students this year]. Considering our band's nom de plume, we have something of a vested interest in this topic.

Nothing in particular to report on FTV 8: the usual rehearsing on "Ruff Tough Cream Puffs" and Warren's "Tears of a Velvet Clown". At least the French medley will eventully give us something new to do.

MAY 2003

Work, work, work. FTV8 continues to evolve and take shape. We decide to scrap "Demo 2" [don't worry, it'll end up on the next studio cd along with the National Health tune] and replace it with something ....french. I don't want to give any more details than that, as we have 2-3 options we're juggling as of this writing.

Chances are FTV8 won't be out in time for the tour this summer. Which unfortunately raises the question of whether the tour should be postponed or not.

Apparently Chris Smith has finished his tracks on Demo 1 [now titled "Everything Works in Mexico". We played this live for the 1st time at the San Diego & Baja shows, and when I told the crowd at Baja the song no tiene un nombre ahora, somebody yelled this. Thanks, whoever you are]. Also, Chris and Warren have finished their tracks on "Tannam", except for a bit of percussion some friends at Cal Arts will be adding.

The arrangement for "The Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs Take Charge" is settled, and Jeff & I should be recording our tracks for it in June.

Finally a title ["PARDON OUR FRENCH!"], cover design, & liner notes approach for FTV8 are decided upon!

APRIL 2003

Back to work on FTV8. Jeff & I make inroads on Warren's tune "Tears of a Velvet Clown" [probably the 1st FTV tune to actually follow a conscious narrative]. This also is a ground-breaker [for us, anyway], in that Jeff & I have to come up with our rhythm tracks on TOP of Warren's previously-recorded tracks. We haven't decided if the canned drums/clicktrack is a hindrance or a help yet.

Jeff discovers Wal-Mart is an excellent source for bike horns and various birdcalls.

I discover old chum Jeff Jones [sax on FTV1 and former komrade in pre-FTV band Festung Amerika] has moved back to Louisville from Boston when I bump into him at a Sun Ra Arkestra gig. Hmmmm....


MARCH 2003

The BajaProg festival is a roaring success! We sell tons of cds & T-shirts [oh yeah, I've created some pretty fab FTV shirts-see elsewhere in the site for pics & ordering info], and our show seems to go down a storm. Lots of interesting contacts are made; many nice possibilities await us [more details announced once they're confirmed].

[it was kind of odd to look out the picture window behind us during the afternoon soundcheck and see a gorgeous waterfall, ducks, and various golf carts motoring about]. Good turnout, and also got to play with my old chum Gary Parra for our version of the TRAP song "Presage".

A decision is made to drop "Zabaglione" from FTV8-Chris has contributed a new tune, "Tannam" [sort of a gamelon piece], which we all are taken with and prefer to include instead. Ah well, maybe FTV9...



FEBRUARY 2003

Mostly a flurry of rehearsing with Jeff all the old tunes we played on tour last year, although we drop "Real Executives" in favor of the new stuff. Warren also books a date in San Diego to go along with the Baja concert.

We also manage to squeeze in work on "...Cream Puffs..." Developing into quite a fun piece!

JANUARY 2003

We record [as it turns out, for the final time] at MOM'S MUSIC [Howie Gano takes the plunge and will be moving his studio to a new location]. The recording goes well, with both tunes being 1st takes [with a bit of digital editing]!

We also begin seriously working on the 3rd FTV8 tune, which we christen "The Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs Take Charge" [I'm shocked to learn that one of the sections reminds Jeff of a particular R.
Crumb cartoon I've always had a soft spot for]. We come up with tons of new ideas and variations, most of which cause us to giggle like maniacs.

We have decided to include a Warren Dale composition called "Tears of a Velvet Clown" on FTV8. This is a track intended for the last TRAP cd but yanked at the last minute. Nice to see it has a home at last, as Warren had played it for me a couple of years ago.

We also are finally confirmed for the BajaProg festival in March! I don't expect this one getting screwed up, as it is pretty established and has a history of being well-organized. The decision is made to have Jeff provide the drumwork for this show, as we want to present the 2 new tunes in public for the 1st time.

Aaron Isaac Ordover Sary turns 3 years old

DECEMBER 2002
Still not much to report. Work continues on FTV8. Final song arrangements more or less locked into place. We schedule a session in January to record basic [bass & drum] tracks.

NOVEMBER 2002
Mexico festival appearance falls through. We're given some people to contact for expenses, who turn out not to know anything about the festival or its promoters. BAH! At least we don't get sidetracked from our work on FTV8.

OCTOBER 2002
Not much to report. Jeff Gard & I continue to plug away at the 2 main tunes for FTV8. The Mexico City festival looks flaky-all correspondence from us seems to be ignored.

SEPTEMBER 2002
September 15-My father, Michael Sary, Sr. passes away not long after turning 90 years old. I don't know what else to write.

Plans for an official live cd from the Louisville concert are scrapped due to inept planning by Joeey Conroy. If you want something done right....

AUGUST 2002
We go on tour following the schedule listed below for July [except that the Chattanooga date falls thru]. At some point we'll provide some fun reminencing elsewhere on the site. Needless to say, it was quite an adventure that continues to be looked back upon fondly, and despite whatever problems occured, we are excited about and commited to doing it again.

JULY 2002
Finally, confirmation and method for covering expenses on the Mexico City festival, to be held November 15-24. We'll be playing on the 20th. YES!

Tour dates gradually trickle in. So far:

8/27th: CHATTANOOGA @ THE ATTIC
413 Tremont St. (423) 267-0384
w/Hygopian

8/28th: ATLANTA @ THE SOMBER REPTILE
842 Marietta St; (404)-881-9701
w/ Z-Axis

8/29th: ATHENS, GA @ THE ENGINE ROOM
235 W. Washington Street (706) 353-3800
w/Garbage Island

8/30th: CHAPEL HILL, NC @ LOCAL 506 [PROGDAY PRESHOW]
506 W. Franklin St--(919) 942-5506
w/Smokin' Granny + Dark Aether Project

9/3rd: PHILADELPHIA @ THE TRITONE (early 8pm show)
1508 South St (215)-545-0475

9/5th: WASHINGTON, DC @ JAXX NITE CLUB
6355 Rolling Rd. West Springfield, VA 703-327-3505
w/Stan Whittaker, Paranoise, & Land of Chocolate

9/6th: PITTSBURGH @ BACKWARDS ON FORWARD
5840 Forward Ave. (412) 421-4117
w/Espinaca

9/7th: LEXINGTON, KY @ HIGH ON ROSE
301 East High St. 859-338-9999

9/9th: MILWAUKEE @ CLUB GARIBALDI
2501 S. Superior (414) 747-1007
w/Sounds Like Braille

9/10th: CHICAGO @ SCHUBAS1 [also live radio show
@WNUR]
3159 N. Southport (773) 525-2508
w/ Argon Evolution

9/12th: LOUISVILLE @ THE KENTUCKY THEATER
[This show will be recorded and released on cd]

JUNE 2002

After much debate and wringing of hands, the tour is pushed back to 8/27-9/13. Many sighs of relief from various promoters, particularly one Brian Preston [bassist/leader/squeaky wheel for Smokin' Granny], who cajols me into accepting the ProgDay pre-show gig.

Jeff rolls up his sleeves, puts on support hose, and gets back to work.

I purchase a fabulous used Trace-Elliot 4x10 bass cabinet-hope our venues for this tour have firm foundations!

Frank Wyatt of Happy the Man e-mails to pat our collective backs for the "Partly the State" cover on FTV7. Much strutting and preening ensue.

MAY 2002

Everyone [Chris Vincent, Warren Dale, and Chris Smith] agree to a 2 week tour this summer beginning July 23. Let the unreturned phone calls and e-mails commence!

Drummer Jeff Gard has surgery on a herniated disc and takes a few weeks off.

According to East Side Digital, Dirk "Mont" Campbell, when informed we were planning to record his tune "Zabaglione" replied "They must be MAD!" He also apologized for not having any sheet music for it [stolen/misplaced during a tour years ago] and wished us well.

APRIL 2002


Bass/drum rehersals continue for FTV8. The 2 new tunes are coming along nicely, but so far the plan is to wait til after summer to record, as a tour is being planned. The new pieces will be played on the tour, so it would probably be best to wait til after the tour, as Warren & Chris might have some new ideas we can incorporate.

After listening to a batch of boots by National Health [thanx Dave!], it is decided that their tune "Zabaglione" will be covered by FTV on #8. The version we have is a later, more trickier version than what appeared on National Health's "Missing Pieces". What were we thinking?

Shawn Persinger comes to Louisville to play at ARTSWATCH. While in town, he, drummer Chris Vincent, and myself spend an evening at Mom's Music recording a series of improvs which we plan on releasing together sometime in the future. Overall the pieces are a bit more heavier and uh, rockin' than our usual fare.

An appearance at a festival in Mexico City in November is finally approved by the organizers.

MARCH 2002

Weekly rehersals with drummer Jeff Gard begin. Two lengthy compositions are vigorously rehearsed, and basement recording gear is gradually amassed as we attempt to achieve the perfect drum sound. Tape hiss is a thing of the past, thanks to our wonderful new Phillips CDR recorder.

Negotiations for a short Japanese tour fall through-CURSES! FOILED AGAIN! Could still happen eventually.

Evil Son Nathaniel Elliot Sary turns 20. BEWARE!

FEBRUARY 2002


Warren Dale came to Louisville for a few days to help with the arrangements for about 40 minutes of material for FTV 8. I also have begun working on these new tunes with our new drummer Jeff Gard. Suggestions for a possible cover tune for FTV8 were discussed during Warren's visit. So far, we're leaning towards an unreleased National Health tune [which is as detailed as we care to get at the moment].

French TV 7 is showcased on the "Delicious Agony" net radio show 2/19 & repeated 2/20.

JANUARY 2002

Obviously, the big news is that Frenh TV 7, "THE CASE AGAINST ART" is released 1/25.

The next day, I appear on WRFL Lexington radio show "The Trip with Clay Gaunce" to preview the cd, as well as play a few favorite and influencial tunes.

Chris Vincent resigns from FTV again, being unsatisfied with direction of new tunes & recording arrangements. The honeymoon is over 10 days after 1st rehearsal since re-joining.

Son Aaron Isaac Ordover Sary turns 2 years old 1/22.

DECEMBER 2001

FTV 7 is sent to One Off Media in Salt Lake City for manufacturing. Mike Sary soon afterwards begins crash course in Adobe PDF file creation.

The TRAP cd "INSURRECTION" is released. This features Warren Dale [co-producer/keys/woodwinds for FTV7], Chris Smith [guitar & violin on 3 cuts on FTV7] and renown drummer Gary Parra [CARTOON, PFS]. I play bass on 4 tracks.

"Under the Big W " reprise mixed and spliced to "Under the Big W"; "Partly the State" re-mixed [sorry Cliff].

Permission to reprint excerpts from Chicago magazine "The Baffler" in liner notes for FTV7 finally secured.

NOVEMBER 2001

"Partly the State" mixed with Cliff Fortney.

"One Humiliating Incident After Another", "Under the Big W" mixed. "UtBW" guitar tracks by Dean Zigoris repaired.

Greg Acker adds flute to "One Humiliating Incident After Another" track.

OCTOBER 2001

"Viable Tissue Matter", "That Thing on the Wall" mixed.

SEPTEMBER 2001

French TV opens for The Flower Kings 9/12 in Cincinnati at The Barrel House. Polite applause occurs.


Chris Vincent resigns from French TV shortly after th gig to concentrate on painting & family.


AUGUST 2001

A French TV line-up consisting of Mike Sary [bass], Chris Vincent [drums], & John Robinson [keyboards, picnic basket o' tricks] makes its debut in Louisville at Twice Told Coffehouse for a pair of enthusiastically-received gigs. MS & JR drink "grasshoppers" at the Bristol afterwards and plot.

JULY 2001

Mike Sary travels to San Diego to help oversee Warren Dale & Chris Smith's monumental contributions to FTV7.