BRAHMS' THIRD RACKET

DISCOGRAPHY

2015 - Fantastic Shadows

2014 - Out of Order

2013 - Strings Attached

2013 - All of the Above

Brahms' Third Racket is the latest vehicle for Wishnefsky’s music.  This time around, it is his great fortune to be joined by R. Matthew Carroll on bass and David Rodgers on drums. 

In case you’re wondering where in the world Brahms' Third Racket originated, kindly direct your browser to this brilliant clip from John Cleese’s genius comedy Fawlty Towers: LOOK HERE.  

Wish, R. Matthew, and Dave have been performing Wishnefsky music at various clubs in the LA area.  From early on, R. Matt started relentlessly bugging Wishnefsky to conjure up and utilize a new band name.  Though Wish’s first instinct is to always do the opposite of what anyone relentlessly bugs him to do, he immediately recognized R. Matt was on to something (as opposed to being on something, though that may have very well been the case as well). 

Indeed.  And so the search for a band name commenced. 

After a number of head-scratching sessions developed a towering trash heap of supremely unusable band names and some really great ones which turned out to be taken by other bands (no two bands will ever share the same name again thanks to google), Wishnefsky found himself being seductively enticed and enticingly seduced by the band name Mucho Burro: another hilarious line derived from Fawlty Towers.  R. Matt suggested that while Mucho Burro was certainly funny (especially when Wish screamed it at the top of his lungs and rolled the r’s in Burro like a speed boat with a stuck accelerator), he firmly believed it was pretty fucking stupid as a band name and if Wish insisted on pulling a name from Fawlty Towers, he might as well call the band Brahms’ Third Racket.

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!

And so history was made.

Dearest Ladies and Gentlemen, it our distinct honor and privilege at Lost Dog Records to proudly bring you Brahms' Third Racket. 

BTR’s first release was entitled Strings Attached and it consists of a group of songs Wish wrote on acoustic guitar.  Thus, Strings Attached is a bit warmer and more organic than Wish’s usual fare.  Yet, despite the absence of the usual electronica, these songs feature the usual Wish recipe of lyrical bite, melodic taste, and harmonic sweetener. 

Wishnefsky once again conned, connived, and convinced the supremely talented Michael James into mixing and mastering Strings Attached.  That’s why it sounds so fucking awesome.  If you reach the conclusion, in your considered opinion, that any particular parts do not sound fucking awesome, please blame and assign culpability to Wish, who, in all likelihood, stupidity refused to follow Michaels’ sage advice and instead conned, connived, and convinced Michael, ruthlessly, to ramble down the ruinous road of redundantly rotten reverberation.  Really!

Photographer extraordinaire Ed Nahin took the cover photo of a strange bird above me. 

Former Jabberwock bandmate and artiste incroyable Todd Jameson created the lettering and graphics on the cover.

Wish wrote and recorded a large number of songs for Strings Attached, yet only nine of them have made the final cut.  If you clamor and grovel with enough enthusiasm, we may make some of the unreleased tracks available at the Lost Dog website.

In late 2013, BTR released All of the Above - a compilation of many of the songs B3R plays live.

These songs are culled from BTR’s first record Strings Attached and a number of Wishnefsky solo records (Sunlight Disinfectant, Fiasco – Book One, Nightwalker, Idiot Proof). This is not the complete collection of songs B3R might play live. They have been known to play new unreleased material, older Wishnefsky material, and even a few songs from Wish and Dave’s old band Jabberwock. BTR does not repeat the same set. They keep it fresh, kind of like the mints in the bowl at the reception desk of a nice hotel.

The idea here is to make it easier for you (listener, fan, music enthusiast, glutton for punishment) to become familiar with some of the material BTR might play for you at one of their performances.

In 2014, BTR released Out of Order, an album of brand new Wish songs roughly based on his favorite guilty pleasure Dr. Who.  The album, like Dr. Who, is an enticing mixture of hi technology and organic instruments. 

in 2015, BTR followed up with the album Fantastic Shadows.

BTR is currently deep into production of a double album entitled Water Hammer, a collection of songs concerning water in California. 

WISHNEFSKY

DISCOGRAPHY

2012 – Sunlight Disinfectant

2011 - Padded Sell Collection  

2011 - Fiasco (Book Two)

2010 - Fiasco (Book One)

2010 - Nightwalker

2009 - Idiot Proof

2008 - SinTax

2007 - Use Your Words


WHO IS WISHNEFSKY?  

Wishnefsky is the composer/musician/singer who founded the alternative band Jabberwock in the early 90s. He sings and plays many instruments, including guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and, when the mood strikes him, an assortment of percussion instruments. After Jabberwock broke up in the late 90s, Wishnefsky took a break from the rigors of the music business in order to focus on the rigors of parenthood and recapturing what was left of his sanity. Despite making a prodigious effort to behave like a normal person, Wishnefsky eventually concluded that he must go back to writing music or live the rest of his days in a padded cell. So, he locked himself in, ironically, a padded cell (i.e. his studio) and began writing music again – this time as a solo artist.

After a long hiatus during which Wishnefsky refused to venture forth from his studio/bat-cave/padded cell, he is now performing live with the more-than-able assistance of ex-Jabberwock drummer extraordinaire Dave Rodgers and brilliant bassist R. Matthew Carroll.

Wishnefsky has released eight solo records to date.  Seven feature original material and one is a compilation.  The following describes Wishnefsky’s records starting with the first release.

USE YOUR WORDS  

After recording all of the Jabberwock records on old-fashioned tape, Wishnefsky moved his home studio from the world of analog to the universe of digital. The enormous power of the computer opened up a multitude of possibilities. That culminated in the 2007 solo release, Use Your Words. Use Your Words picks up where Jabberwock left off and heads in a more electronic based direction: alternative rock with intelligent and poetic lyrics, inventive arrangements, passionate and powerful performances, and a creative spark or two.   Wish wrote the majority of songs using a technique that involves layering loops in order to create a rhythmic and atmospheric foundation that suggested a particular harmonic and melodic structure.  A number of songs feature novel electronic manipulations of various samples of an unknown female Romanian singer.  The end result is music that has a unique, ethereal character but still feels like a song with great melodies and lyrics. 

Wishnefsky composed, recorded, and produced Use Your Words.  Sophie Wellen added vocals to Deceiver and Christmas Goose. 

A student at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design created the semi-iconic cover painting of the red fish with, to paraphrase John Cleese, big, sharp, pointy teeth.  Wish’s wife purchased the painting years ago and, unfortunately, did not obtain the student’s name. 

SINTAX  

Wishnefsky’s second album SinTax was released in 2008. SinTax continues down the path of Use Your Words.  It combines alternative rock with electronica and conjures unique, ethereal soundscapes over powerful grooves; humanity floating in a sea of technology.

Lyrically, the songs on SinTax address one of the seven deadly sins: avarice. Wishnefsky spins tales about the participants on both sides of the table: the givers and the takers, and the dichotomy we all feel when confronted with equations containing both happiness and materialism. Wishnefsky takes us for a ride through places where greed governs and the characters struggle to overcome, or finally succumb to, their lust for riches.

Renowned producer Michael James (Hole, Jane’s Addiction, Too Much Joy, New Radicals) mixed SinTax. Guest artists Eric Sands (Man on Fire) and Sophie Wellen contributed fretless bass and backing vocals, respectively.

The artwork for SinTax features the work of two talented, award-winning photographers: Serena Wellen and Ed Nahin.  

IDIOT PROOF  

On his third solo record Idiot Proof, Wishnefsky revisits the alternative rock style of his old band Jabberwock. Less electronic and more guitar oriented than his previous two solo efforts, Idiot Proof brims with a creative energy and continues Wishnefsky’s long tradition of musicality and thought-provoking lyrics.

Michael James not only mixed Idiot Proof, but also contributed several magnificent guitar solos on What Will It Take, All Alone, Tompkins, The Bible And The Bigot, Don't Open The Curtains, and Squid Pro Quo. Michael made many significant contributions to the production of Idiot Proof. (There is no "I" in team, but there are two in "Idiot.")

The multi-talented Sophie Wellen took the wonderful photographs that grace the CD artwork.

NIGHTWALKER  

Nightwalker is Wishnefsky’s fourth solo album and marks a return to his unique style of electronica rock. Nightwalker is not an album about prostitutes, though it does concern certain things that go bump in the night. Waking at dusk and sleeping at dawn, this album embarks on a moonlight boondoggle that beckons the monsters hiding under the bed and haunting your dreams. The night makes a convenient metaphor for the dark reaches of the mind and the primordial fears that rise like luminous stinging jellyfish from the murky depths of the subconscious. Or so it seems.

Wishnefsky wrote, performed, and produced Nightwalker at his home studio in lovely South Pasadena, California.

The supremely talented Michael James mixed and mastered the record. And, being a warm, shining, illuminating person, he also contributed electric guitar parts to all songs on the record that contain the word "sun" in the title.

Award winning photographer Ed Nahin took and manipulated the cover photograph.

FIASCO 

Fiasco is a double album released in two “books.” 

Fiasco is an intensely personal and philosophical album.  It explores the chasm between perception and reality and how that irresolvable gap parallels the gulf between life and death.  Notwithstanding the heavy-duty nature of the subject matter, it has a sense of passion and majesty.  Just when things appear to be spiraling into misty-eyed gloom and permanent residency in a padded cell, Wishnefsky injects a sense of humor and playfulness.  “We’re all going to die,” he says with a wink.  “Might as well live a little before we do.”

Musically, Fiasco honors the theme of gap-bridging by combining electronica and alternative rock.  Consistent with Wishnefsky’s past work, it managed to be synthetic in an organic and human way.  Synths co-mingle with acoustic guitars and pianos; electronic percussion dances with acoustic drums and percussion.   At times, Wishnefsky’s voice is processed and distorted; at other times, clear and intimate.

Wishnefsky wrote all the songs and played all the instruments.  Rabbit Hole, on Fiasco (Book Two), features vocals by the lovely, talented, and serious Sophie Wellen.  Producer/mixer Michael James helped mix and master the songs.

Award-winning and globe-trotting photographer Ed Nahin took the cover photographs in Antarctica and the Arctic.  He manipulated the photograph at home in Bishop, California.

PADDED SELL COLLECTION 

This album is a compilation of songs from Nightwalker and Fiasco Books One and Two.

Some of the songs were remastered.  The ending section off In Your Head was cropped (i.e. gave Your Head a haircut).

Sophie Wellen, in addition to contributing her lovely vocals on Rabbit Hole, also took the cover photograph of Wishnefsky on an old Polaroid camera.


SUNLIGHT DISINFECTANT


Sunlight Disinfectant is Wishnefsky’s 8th solo record.

Inspired by Louis Brandeis’ timeless observation that sunlight is the best disinfectant, Wishnefsky powers up his songwriting searchlight and illuminates the dark corners of our collective imaginations wherein reside the smallest glimmers and flickers of truth.

Lyrically, SD tackles the vicious propensity for flimflam of some among us who would describe day as night and feign marvel at our disbelief.

Musically, SD features Wishnefsky’s trademark blend of electronica and indie rock. Synths mingle with electric guitars while digital textures mesh with organic elements.

Wishnefsky composed, performed, and produced SD.

Ruby Wellen played cello on Arbitrage For Dummies.

Michael James and Wishnefsky mixed SD. So as to set the record straight, Michael may rightly claim responsibility for anything that sounds good in the mixes, whereas Wishnefsky bears full culpability for anything that offends your good ears.

Ed Nahin took and manipulated the cover photograph.


VENEER  

Wishnefsky also plays in a band called Veneer, which serves as the vehicle for his piano based material. Please see the Veneer biographical section for more information.


LET'S GET PERSONAL  

Wishnefsky lives in South Pasadena, California, with his lovely wife Tina and their two lovely (and musical) daughters Sophie and Ruby. He has green eyes and black hair (which is gradually committing suicide by way of jumping out of his skull a strand at a time). He stands erect on two limbs and makes ample use of two opposable thumbs. When not making music or spending time with his family, Wishnefsky practices law in Los Angeles where he encounters all sorts of people on a daily basis who slide up and down the continuum of human sentiment and provide abundant fodder for lyrics and the like.

When he grows up, Wishnefsky would like to act childish.

VENEER

DISCOGRAPHY

1998 – Sandbag

2008 – On That Note

2011 – Songs About Gardening

 

What would happen if Ben Folds had a sex change operation and mated with Elvis Costello - only to have their orphan love child raised by Elton John?

Veneer.

Veneer is the brainchild of ex-Jabberwock member Wishnefsky as a vehicle for his piano based music. Veneer is melodic and musically sophisticated, at times bordering on what could be described as progressive rock. Yet, Veneer doesn't rely on virtuosity or cheap cinematic tricks (I'm quoting Woody Allen here) to make its point. Rather, Veneer banks on good old fashioned songwriting and arranging. Wishnefsky's writing takes on a whole new dimension when he puts down the guitar and sits down at his first musical love, the piano.

Veneer's pioneer effort was Sandbag, a song cycle about the perils of religion and false idols.  Recorded in 1998, shortly after the breakup of Jabberwock, Wishnefsky enlisted the assistance of engineer Keith Weschler (Emerson Lake & Palmer, Beach Boys), mixing engineer Michael James, drummer Dave Rodgers, guitarist/vocalist Stephen Bock, and bassist Archie Frugone. Most of the songs were written (and some performed) during Jabberwock days.  Two of the songs are alternative versions of songs on Jabberwock records (Oblivious and Depleted Plutonium Rod). 

After writing Sandbag, Wishnefsky composed an extremely personal song cycle entitled On That Note, which chronicles the battles of himself and those close to him with their own personal demons and ghosts of memories past, respectively.  For reasons that only Wishnefsky can explain, he banished all guitars with more than four strings from On That Note and insisted that the instrumentation be limited to whatever was available as of 1978.   On That Note was released in 2008.  It was mixed by Michael James.  Wishnefsky played all the instruments.  Sophie Wellen sang a lovely back up vocal on Beautiful Prison.  The cover art is a painting by acclaimed artist Suzanne Mendelson, who at the time of writing this, approaches her 100th birthday.

In 2011, Veneer released Songs About Gardening.  His finest group of songs ever, Wishnefsky finally relented and allowed six string guitar along with the usual battery of instruments.  Michael James did the mixing and contributed a few glorious guitar solos on Down The Garden Path, I Am Watching, and We Are the Bitch Brigade.   Sophie Wellen contributed lyrics to I Am Watching and back up vocals on Handbasket and So Long.  Ruby Wellen helped write the music to So Long.  Ed Nahin took the cover photograph at the ghost town in Bodie, California.

JABBERWOCK

DISCOGRAPHY

1994 - SOUTHLAND

1996 - WISHFUL SINKING (EP)

1997 - LETTERBOMB

2007 - HER FAITHFUL BATTALIONS (Unreleased Songs - 1994 to 1997)

"The best band to come out of the Southland in years." Bob Ezrin, Legendary Producer (Pink Floyd - The Wall, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, Nine Inch Nails)

What does Jabberwock sound like? Well, Jabberwock. Traces of influences turn up, from the obvious (Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Midnight Oil, U2) to the obscure (Julian Cope, Mark Eitzel). Jabberwock was the original flagship band on Lost Dog Records. Formed in the early 1990s in the Los Angeles area, the original members were Wishnefsky (guitar, keys, vocals), Dave Rodgers (drums), Todd Jameson (keys, vocals), and Rod Clark (bass, vocals). Rod exited after a few years of experimentation (not on live animals or humans, thankfully) and songwriting. The remaining three carried on.

In 1994, Jabberwock released their debut record Southland. Noted alternative producer/engineer Michael James (Alternator Records, Hole, Jane's Addiction, Too Much Joy, New Radicals) co-produced and mixed Southland. Chris Bellman of Bernie Grundman's (Alanis Morisette, Ani DeFranco, Dr. Dre, Ry Cooder, Joni Mitchell, Heavy D, etc.) mastered the CD.

Lost Dog Records announced: "Southland is the debut album from the alternative band Jabberwock, a trio of savage miscreants based in Pasadena, California. Resonant images of physical and psychological deterioration sing from this conceptual tour guide of post-modern Los Angeles. These excursions into the darker aspects of urban hysteria and suburban neurosis prove to be wickedly replete with powerful grooves, vibrant lyrics and melodic sensibilities."

Michael James described Southland as: ". . . a fatal attraction to the City of Angels, filtered through not-so-rose-colored glasses. Musically, this band has all the angst of the current breed of new-rock (i.e., alternative), but also has a far more sophisticated approach to arrangement and harmony."

Southland was a moderate success, which the band defined as selling enough copies to pay back Wishnefsky's dad for the cost of making the CD and then some. A few songs made their way to the college radio charts, notably Oblivious, Year of the Rat, and Fire Has Sparks. Freezing and Big Green W were used for a long time as bumper music on the infamous Mr. KFI radio show.

In support of Southland, the band played a slew of shows in Southern California in 1994. To fill out the sound, they were joined by guest musicians Stephen Bock (guitar, backing vocals) and Chris LaCagnina (bass).

Southland garnered the attention of uber-superstar producer Bob Ezrin. Bob told Wishnefsky that Southland reminded him of Roger Waters' demos for The Wall! We asked Bob for a quote to use in our PR and he said Southland was "as angst ridden, bleak and dangerous as the L.A. landscape." Bob wanted to work with the band and started pushing a major label deal. Unfortunately, at the same time, he also fell in love with his computer start up company, 7th Level, and temporarily left the music biz. Hence, no major label deal, only major bummer deal.

The band forged on.

They spent 1995 in the studio, writing and recording.

In 1996, they released a three song cassette EP entitled Wishful Sinking.

In 1997, Jabberwock completed its second album Letterbomb. Producer extraordinaire Michael James again mixed and co-produced with Wishnefsky. Chris Bellman again applied his mastering mastery.

Letterbomb headed in darker direction than Southland, as Wishnefsky continued his conceptual tour of Los Angeles. The lyrics address, among other things, the beckoning enticements and creeping danger of the City of Angels; the bleak disparities between the haves and have-nots; and the confusion and anger that lie beneath the surface of the beautiful faces sailing over the freeways like glamorous wraiths. Musically, Letterbomb is more guitar driven and a bit more raw than Southland. Yet, clever melodies and chord progressions still abound as Jabberwock is far more sophisticated than your basic rock band. This is music for your brain as much as for your soul.

In 1996 and 1997, Jabberwock played a number of shows and showcases in the So Cal region for which they were joined by Archie Frugone (bass) and Stephen Bock (guitar and backing vocals).

In 1997, however, tragically, the band split up.

Alas, Jabberwock recorded many brilliant songs that never saw the light of day.  This website makes much of that material available to the general public for the first time. 

We will release Her Faithful Battalions (The Unreleased Songs - 1994 to 1997).  You can listen to MP3s of Her Faithful Battalions in the Music Section. Her Faithful Battalions presents a cross-section of songs co-produced by Michael James and Wishnefsky that were slated for later release or simply did not fit on Southland or Letterbomb. Some of the songs were staples at Jabberwock live shows (Our Blessed Isabella, (I Want to) Disappear, Beginning of the End). Some of the songs constitute the clever results of the band's experiments with sound and writing (Untitled, It Must Feel Good, Wigged and Spun, With a Bullet). Lyrically, the songs reflect Wishnefsky's inner turmoil and his longing to connect with something besides the anger and emptiness hiding behind the pretty visages populating Los Angeles.

Back in the day, many fans were a tad disappointed that they could not get their hands on these songs. At long last, here you go!

Jabberwock may not be together, but their music lives on. We hope you enjoy it.

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