Friday, April 19, 2013


Spendid news for all Our Ocular Occupants Of Outerspacial Orbs (O.O.O.O.O.): The Entire NATIONAL EYE CATALOG OF MUSIC is now available in one convenient location. Listen for free or buy for cheeeeeep at:

Sunday, May 15, 2011


For more recent/frequent musical updates, please visit the Facebook thing I made:

This will feature stuff I've done on my own, but also many neat things from National Eye's vaults and caverns.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasonal Cheer From NEHQ

Available here is a pretty little rendition of "When The River Meets The Sea," with apologies to Jerry Nelson, John Denver, and adorable otters everywhere. I've made it downloadable because I imagine it will be taken down once the holiday mood has passed. In the meantime, enjoy. It's not really about Christmas -- heck, it doesn't even mention snow! -- but everybody who knows it associates it with this time of year anyway.

Have a great one, all!


Friday, December 4, 2009

One Last Show For the 00's

National Eye has been active in some way for MOST of this decade that's about to end. Not all of it. But a lot of it. And now we're putting the 00's behind us with a final zerozero performance at Johnny Brenda's. Since the blog is kind of a secret fraternity, I'll share the probable setlist with you right here, right now. I think we're gonna do: "Millun Years," "The Attic," "Bless the Brigade," "Long Ago A-Go-Go," "Hum Along, Please," "Dread Flight of the Crimson Bee," "Silver Agers" and "Man with an Aim."

It should be pretty great. Writing out those songs makes me wish we had more of an opportunity to play them (and other songs) with this setup (Will, Gretchen, Gianmarco, Kyle, and Myself) to more people in more places -- and maybe at some point we'll be able to. In the meantime, it's a blast and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.
No news on the release of Ramparts but it will appear eventually. And music marches on: Gianmarco continues to thrill with his covers project, Gretchen's group Yellow Humphrey has some unstoppable recordings in the can, and stay tuned in the new year for more NE news, plus new sensations like The Human Torch Song Endeavor and OHOTMU. Can't say much about either right now, but since I've made them both public, at least now I HAVE TO DO THEM.
Until then,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Make It A Date To Come See NATIONAL EYE at the North Star Bar, Thursday 10/22 because DOUG KIRBY WILL BE THERE PLAYING

That's a picture Will took of Gretchen.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell everybody on the blog that National Eye will be performing a whole bunch of classics from our future album Ramparts (along with at least one classic from previous albums, though definitely not all of them because who has that kind of time?) at the North Star Barpub on Thursday, October 22.

And in a special surprise appearance that only you and he (and I) know about, playing up on stage with us will be Doug Kirby, whose last live appearance with NE was November 2006! That's longer ago than heck by most calendars!

Doug has of course been a huge part of recording the past two albums (or the past one [The Farthest Shore] and the future one [Ramparts]), but due to the size of our continent, he has not been able to perform with the group.

Also playing will be The High Strung, Floating Action, and Giant Cloud!

So please join us for this fun, wild, and completely accurate night of pleasures past, present and future!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Here's a contest you might win if you just enter it and cross your fingers and don't let any broken mirrors cross your path or get cursed:

The show they're talking about is going to happen on October 22 at the North Star Bar and it's going to be a banner night for several reasons, which I'll explain in further detail in an upcoming post to the blog. Until then, go buy something from this store and cast your will to fate!

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Arrivals On Planet Earth!

It is with great excitement and wonderfulness to report that Founding Member of our band National Eye just became a big old proud DAD. He and (non-founding member but where would we be without her?) wife Nancy just welcomed a little lady called Vivienne into this vale of tears. But don't worry: tears are OK if you're a baby, and so are vales.

So warm and hearty congratulations to them. Another non-founding member (but where would he be without us?) Kyle Lloyd had his very own child recently, so we might as well use this moment to celebrate all these young families.

IN SUM: best wishes to Will, Nance, Viv, Kyle, Jes, and Moll. May your enemies forever perish!

While we're talking extracurriculars (or, really, curriculars; THIS is extracurricular, no matter how much we love it, right?) (at least until those big royalty checks roll in) (next August), Gianmarco has posted two more terrific renditions of selections from the Great American/English/Canadian Songbook with a piano-ized take of "Bastards of Young" -- which is by the Replacements AKA the 'Mats which you should not confuse with "The Matz" who is the guy who shows up to Silver Ages practice less often than Bob Stinson showed up for 'Mats practice* -- and a de-piano'd take on "Love In Mind" by Neil Young.

I got an email from Neil yesterday and he said he hadn't heard it yet but he is "looking forward to it." This from the guy who still owes me a birthday present from like two years ago!

Here both hear:

Sorry. I meant, Hear both here:

More events on the horizon, but for the time being I'll be visiting babies.

All the best,

* Give him a break! He's got a kid!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GM Tackles British Balladry, Everybody Wins

Perhaps fearing people have forgotten all about the Beatles today, Gianmarco has recorded a really enchanting version of that band's monster smash hit "She Loves You." And the song suddenly makes perfect sense!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Special Journey Through The Future Into The New Music Of The RAMPARTS Album Via Another Website

If you'd like to hear a couple songs from Ramparts, the album that National Eye recently completed, simply go to our beloved (and expensive!) (and totally sanitary) myspace page.

There you'll be able to listen to "Long Ago A-Go-Go" and "Hum Along, Please."

Also up there now is a song from the last album called "Dread Flight of the Crimson Bee" but you already know that one because you saw the Ben Stiller movie in which it was featured so prominently (can't remember what it was called).


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brief Update!

Mixing is complete on forthcoming NE album entitled (no longer provisionally) Ramparts.

Just like last time, the mix was done by none other than Mr. Nick Krill, and he has done a bang-up job.

I'm excited about this one because about 90% was recorded since the release of The Farthest Shore which, for slow-motioners National Eye, is pretty quick work! Especially when one considers that most of Mr. Kirby's contributions were done via transcontinental mail (he lives in the desert in California -- I can't be any more specific than that -- and the rest of us live in Philadelphia).

Anyway, enough pattting of one's own back. Especially since it's not even available yet for listening and loving. But my hope is it will be before too terribly long. And some advance songs will be available even before too terribly longer. Or less long.

In the meanwhile, check out this nifty compilation Park the Van whipped out semi-recently:

Enjoy that and check back in soon about Ramparts details.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Old Heroes

My searing guitar work on the new National Eye record is sure to go down in the annals of rock Christendom, prolly right next to whatever the analogue of Titus or 3 Colossians is....

in the meanwhile take a look at these old pics!

Here we have a nubile and lithe Rick posing with his brand new Telecaster!  He was a surly 22 years old in this picture and had just penned All The Money In The World, like that week.  Wait, maybe I can even find that and post it...this shit is hard...maybe next time.

Oh, Will!  With recently shorn hair...ascending the stairs TEN YEARS AGO.  Will's bass on the new record is going to kill you.

This picture of Jeff circa '98 is legendary.  

And that's me, making my keyboard work by touching it and what is that stupid piano exercise book on the music stand?   Please ignore that.  

I'm gonna look real hard for pictures of Gianmarco.  Maybe if you have some you can send 'em in?   

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Guest From The West, Performing Music Without Being Asked, and a Charming Story From the Annals of C&W

The other day I was seated on our virtual veranda (The Aqmatsi Virtuanda from Dorn Furnishings in San Arbetos) and there were some bees and I was reading a book of showbiz tales and I came across a story about how one cold, cold night in east West Texas a man wandered into a watering hole when his tour bus broke down because he was thirsty and hoped for a jukebox. Upon the stage that night was a young girl strumming a 1956 Falcohoner "steel" string box and out of her mouth came the prettiest sounds you ever heard not from a bird. It was open mic night at the Los L'Argonnes in Pente, TX and though they didn't know it then, this chance meeting would lead to decades of beautiful music made by these two lost souls and millions of records sold. The girl on the stage? Prenty Fulliweather. The guy whose tour bus broke down? Gus Bernzt.

Anecdotes like this enrich the millienial narrative of our musical culture, but they also remind us that some nights it's worthwhile to wander into an open mic. Which is what some members of National Eye did the other night because Douglas Kirby's in town and we needed something fun to do.

First Gretchen played some songs (in a dazzling sneak preview of her own group YELLOW HUMPHREY's debut performance this Friday at Blinkin' Lincoln), assisted by Steve Quaranta from Paper Masques:

Followed by Doug who sang some beautiful songs including his own "Milky Mile" and his radical re-imagining of basement tune "Lo & Behold" and he also wore this hat:

And then (I) Rick (me) sang some songs dressed like Dr. Who!

As you can see (if you're a slyboots-observant-type) these moments happened at the famous Philadelphia place The Fire. Open mics are fascinating for a million reasons and I always learn a lot when I go to them. The music, of course, ranges from the bad to terrible to good to mental hospital, but I've never walked away without some new piece of information to put in the great book o' life.

Incidentally, all these photos were taken by main man R. Connell who didn't sign up to play any music. Neither did Will Baggott (who was there) but that's because his banjo fell out of an airplane. But worry not: it should hit the ground in time for Friday's show! (Will plays banjo and bass in Yellow Humphrey.

More soon news. I mean, soon new mores. More news soon more news. Including a review of how Doug's week in Philadelphia went and if he managed to record anything for the upcoming new album!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009


In-progress portrait of Gianmarco.

Friday, March 6, 2009

National Eye Is Not The Only Band On Earth To Have Its Very Own Blog

Well, now there's some competition out there in the world of blogging about your band because I only just this morning found out from my third cousin (never removed!) Shai of the Capitol Years that he has started blogging and already there is a whole magical heap of totally great recordings and pictures posted on it.

Of course anybody reading this blog surely already knows about The Capitol Years. We've played 40 million shows with them and members of their band have been contributing to our albums since 2008 (which is a long, long time if you think of 2008 as more like 2006 which might be more accurate and time is unfixable anyway) and we even went on that tour where they were us and we were them.

And maybe Shai will post audio from that tour, who knows. Or maybe we will on this blog. Because it's history and history isn't going to repeat itself, you have to do the repeating for it if repeating is what you want.

Already up on the blog is a recording of a live performance where members of NE joined TCY (for the first time, I guess!) to play songs from TCY's country & western album Pussyfootin'. Check it out, but leave any comments you might have on this page not that one because I want to win the blog war. BAD.

More NEws on the way!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Quarterly Report: On the Horizon Are a Number of Things and Not a One of Them is in the Least Bit Bad

The weather here on the eastern coast of the United States has been teasing us lately with spring-like bursts of warmth and light but let's not get ahead of ourselves: we'll spend a few more months shivering and may even get another blanket of snow or two before it's time to really take down the storm windows and dust off the patio furniture.

Similarly, I don't want to feel too close to the finish line with National Eye's work on our (provisionally but confidently titled) next collection of music Ramparts. But I'm sufficiently pleased with the progress made so far to mention it here. I'd say the thing is halfway to being three quarters done but by that I don't mean it's three eighths because it's way more than that and math doesn't mean anything in music unless you've been brainwashed by Donald Duck in Mathmagicland which, while totally entertaining, is an unreliable teacher (at best).

The heavy-lifting (writing the songs, convincing drummers to come over and learn them, buying new curtains) has been accomplished. Future Favorites will include: "Eat the Birds;" "Man with an Aim;" "Millun Years Or More;" "Drag the Lake;" "Sticky Murderer;" "Hum Along;" "All-Black Bloom;" "One Sad Volunteer" (I think); "Down the Volcano" (maybe); "Long Ago A Go-Go" (still need to get that one up on its feet); "Mama Shipwreck"; "Introducing Dr. War"; and maybe a few others with equally promising titles.

And I offer up those promising titles now for reasons obscure even to me. But there they are, for all to see. I suppose a fun game could be to try and guess which ones will be supergood and which ones will totally stink. Then again, you would lose that game because they're all gonna be totally good.

Meanwhile, looking backward instead of forward, previous album TFS didn't get any BAD reviews and even reared its hairy head on some Greatest Albums of the Whole Heaping Year lists, though not the big famous ones like F. Scott Fitzgerald's or L. Ron Hubbard's or H. Jon Benjamin's. But we appreciate that some people are listening and hope it continues to bring joy and prosperity to the world.

And looking forward again: keep an eye out for some outtake-y type songs from National Eye on an upcoming compilation from the Coalition of Independent Music Stores and Park the Van, alongside similarly rare tracks from the Spintos, Dr. Dog and the Capitol Years. We dug deep in the vault and it wasn't empty like Al Capone's at all in fact it was full of great songs.

I will mention that on this blog when it appears. In the meantime, please fill the comments with lavish praise.

Best of luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Hearty And Fulsome Thank You, Plus A Dose of Optimism For The Upcoming Year

First of all, I want to thank everyone who joined us last evening for a stupendously enjoyable performance at Johnny Brenda's. Everything went pretty well music-wise (there was a hilarious and dangerous free-jazz passage caused by a faultily fired neuron somewhere, but fans of the cosmic-comic found it added a breath of new life into a wrinkled old pony of a song) (still, others thought the musicians forgot what they were supposed to be doing for a hot and panicky thirty seconds or so, but that's the thrill of live theater) and I can't say enough about the friendliness and musical power we found in our co-entertainers The Love Language and The Rosebuds. Both troops hail from North Carolina, a place seemingly incapable of spawning jerks, half-jerks, or anybody not lovable and full of music.

While I'm waxing grateful, might as well say thanks to Sean of Daytrotter who graciously welcomed us (and others) into Miner St. Studio in the wee small hours of Thursday to perform a few songs for his fascinating and important website. He's doing a truly valuable service, capturing all of the music he does -- he should get some kind of medal (or cake). And it was our good luck that he came to Philadelphia for some extracurricular documenting. Our eternal brother Nick Krill was there performing yeoman's work as sound engineer (along with a verynice gent named John). More thanks than I've got at my disposal are due to them all. Keep an eye out on the DT site: hopefully it ends up sounding ok...

And that ellipsis seems like a nice way to move into the future. The blogging was slow and intermittent during the holiday-nonsense season, but I'm making a solemn oath to you and the breeze that we'll get back to it in earnest. The trick, of course, is finding interesting NE-related things to show and tell about. Should they get scarce, we'll make 'em up.

And 2009, fingers crossed tight, should also be the first annum where NE puts out some kind of album within a single 12 month period. We will be striving to move faster than the earth does round the sun. Work is moving rapdily, and excitedly, and I look forward to doumenting a few moments of the recording process here on the blog. I feel reasonably confident the album will carry the title "Ramparts" (as hinted at in Jeff's post below) and will be known down the ages as the NE "rock" album. Or maybe just the one that will bum people out least at parties.

So, stay with us. And have a wonderful year. I have this crazy feeling it will be a really really good one.