I tell you now: there are no epiphanies.

Category: tour

Agent Deathmarch

Looking for an agent for the new book, which is like throwing your child off a cliff and hoping someone will catch it.  I ended with 24 drafts total–11,000 draft manuscript pages altogether.  That’s alot of manuscript drafts.  Final draft is a few pages under 500, which means it’s thick.  Not William Vollmann thick but thick nonetheless.

Working on a novella now about Napoleonic-era cartographers.  It’s weirder than the novel and fun when I have time to work on it.

Also thinking of revisiting my dissertation with a mind toward turning it (at last) into a proper book manuscript.  It’s probably time I did so, although knowing me it will end up too weird for any publisher.

For those who ask me from time to time when I’m playing next, I have no great desire to do so and don’t see that changing in the immediate future.  No one actually comes to the shows so it feels fruitless to spend the time and effort to present something to the public only to have 4 or 5 people show up.  It likely wouldn’t matter to me much if I really loved playing live but alas I don’t and never have.  I’d rather just play in my studio at home so that’s what I’ll do when it’s time to work on the music again.

House show!

House of David

If you’re in Sacramento and/or the Bay Area we hope you’ll join us
for a special house concert at David’s in Davis, CA featuring
Christian Kiefer, Stephen Yerkey, and Richard March. We’ll be trading
songs, telling stories, and doing alot of harmonizing. Friendly for
the kids but music for the grown-ups.

The model at David’s is kid-friendly so bring them. We start early.
Food (great Indian food) at 6pm (for FREE!), we start playing at 7pm
and are done at 9pm or so. Don’t have kids and want to stay late and
get hammered? Feel free. David is just that friendly. Last time a
contingency of fine drunkards camped in the backyard for the evening.

But that was all after the kids had gone home. Speaking of which:
Babysitters will be around to take your kids to the park and entertain
them. How’s that?

Here’s the address:

718 Hacienda Ave, Davis 95616

If you’re coming, please RVSP to so we can
keep some kind of head count happening.


By way of keeping you informed of other goings on, the band just
returned from Chicago where we played our Presidents songs at the
Hideout and at the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park with help from Tim
Rutili (Califone), Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc), The Gunshy, The Bitter
Tears, Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), and so many others I
can’t even remember.

More shows like this in the works but likely not until next year.
Keep your ear to the rail.

Coming Up

Vinyl release by the Tetuzi Akiyama / Tom Carter / Christian Kiefer
trio is on the way, also from Digitalis. It’s called THE DARKENED
MIRROR and features some guest work by percussionist Chip Conrad and
bassist Scott Leftridge.

Other stuff in the works too, which I’ll let you all know about as
it comes up, including a double batch of new songs, some of a more
rockist vein than I’ve done in the past.

Presidents to Chicago

We’ll be bringing the Songs for Presidents show to Chicago for July 3 (the Hideout) and 4 (Grant Park for Taste of Chicago) with a horde of special guests.  E-mail for more information.


My first serious attempt at doing my music live came with a trio format we called Men with Guns.  Me on guitar and banjo; Chip Conrad on drums; Scott Lefridge on bass.  It was a good format–loud, weird, clanky, junky, too loose.  That’s us below, playing at a dive bar called Kimo’s in San Francisco. 
We’ll be bringing that trio format back to Sacramento this Friday (May 1) at Luna’s (1414 16th Street).  Stephen Yerkey and James Finch, Jr. are opening.  Should be a good, loud, weird, clanky, junky, too loose night, particularly since we’ve made a concious decision not to rehearse ahead of time.  Keepin’ it real since 1849.  That’s us.
Kimos, San Francisco, way back when...

Kimos, San Francisco, way back when...

N. Cal shows

Lots of local (to us) shows up and coming…

April 15, 7:00AM
Rotary Club, Rocklin, CA
Lecture on Presidents project



April 18, 7:00PM
House Show, Davis, CA
E-mail for location and information



April 22, 12:00PM
Sierra College, Rocklin, CA
Live daytime, outside show for whoever wanders by




April 25, 3:30pm
House show, Sacramento, CA
Benefits the American Cancer Society
E-mail for location and information




April 25, sometime in the evening…
House show, Marysville, CA
E-mail for location and information



May 1, 9:00PM
Luna’s Cafe, Sacramento, CA


June 6, 9:00PM
Luigi’s Fun Garden, Sacramento, CA

American River College

American River College
Sacramento, CA
Tuesday, November 18, 12:15pm – 1:15pm
Location: Raef 160

Facilitator: Michael Spurgeon

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies

Hosted by ARC English Professor Michael Spurgeon, Christian Kiefer and J. Matthew Gerken will discuss their new triple CD project: Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies, an indie rock romp through American history. They’ll also perform a few of songs from this project live with help from drummer (and Presidential trivia maniac) Chip Conrad. Nick Miller, in a feature article on the group in the September 4, 2008, Sacramento News and Review writes the project is “dynamic, both stylistically and thematically, exploring ambient, prog and funk while portending a darker view of U.S. history.”

This activity meets ARC goals 1, 4 and state PD guideline B.

9/13 in Sacramento…

What’s this?  There’s actually a tour date?  Indeed, and what a tour date:

For one night only in the wee town of Sacramento, CA, I’ll be joined by Jefferson Pitcher (all the way from NY via Ontario) and J. Matthew Gerken for an evening of songs from Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies.  & we’ll have copies of the thing for sale.  FINALLY.

September 13, 2008 + 9:00pm + $3 (but bring $33 so you can buy the thing too)
Fox & Goose Pub + 1001 R Street + Sacramento, CA 95811
Christian Kiefer + Jefferson Pitcher + J. Matthew Gerken

I’m on first (on account of Chip, my drummer, having a double booking), then Jefferson (who you may never see again in Sacramento as he’s moved to Flesherton, Ontario, where he will likely live forever), and then Matthew with his crack team of sonic beasts Nice Monster.  Oh!  Hell yes!  Get there at 9pm if you want to hear the CK experience.  I’m starting with Washington and moving on from there.

Pretentious, Pseudo-Intellectual, and Banal

Awesome angry rant from someone on the Phoenix New Times website in response to a column on the worst band names at SXSW this year (including 43 Songs for 43 Presidents):

Terrance Becker says:

Your column is spot-on. Niki D’Andrea’s column is great and accurate!! 43 songs about 43 presidents was boring as hell and was the low point of this year’s SXSW! Spot on Nikki!! Christian Kiefer has an oeuvre that includes such pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, and banal works as an instrumental album about Russia’s Czar Nicholas and other CD’s that include some of the most pretentious song writing I’ve ever heard. This guy seems obsessed with acting superior to others, mentioning that he has a PhD and slamming the other bands at SXSW. I’m sorry I wasted my time, when I could have seen so many other great bands. The guests were much better than Kiefer, but it would have taken at least 43 guests to save this guys set! Nikki, you rock!!! By the way the band Kiefer kept slamming from the UK plays circles around him!!

Funny thing is that I think this guy is likely talking about some other set he saw.  We didn’t have any guests at SXSW and I don’t recall talking about any UK band, nor did I slam any other bands at SXSW.  It would be awesome anyway but now it’s extra awesome.


Just got word that I’ll be playing Twangfest at SXSW on Saturday at 2:30. Check out the line-up! Woo hoo!

Kevin Gordon
Chuck Prophet
Waco Brothers
Blue Mountain
Christian Kiefer
Steve Poltz
Whipsaws with Tim Easton
Jon Hardy and the Public
Sarah Borges


Tokyo-based guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama recorded with me a bunch last week.  He also did a show at Time Tested Books in Sacramento with a solo set by amazing local percussionist Kevin Corcoran.  At the end of the evening, we three played as a trio and our friend Brian Faulkner was kind enough to video and YouTube it.  Go team!



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