Friday, September 29, 2006
This weeks count is personal. I'm glad for my problems and struggles. They define me. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. In opposition we find the strength to push on through. Many of my blogger friends are going through drama and trauma (much of which they blog about) and to them I say have faith and be strong. You are loved. I'm grateful for them and the perspective they provide me on my own problems and the love and support the offer. Y'all rock my socks. C'est ca tout. Allez. Peche-toi non plus.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Better than any rant I could ever have possibly come up with. OK, so you're all here for HNT.
Since I use this as an opportunity to plug my various projects to people too far away to enjoy them (except Susie and Bougie who both bought CDs!) I will tell you that the next two gigs are Oct 13th and Oct 28th. Also a private party I don't know the date of. If the IRS didn't stalk my blog I'd tell you how much money we were making but since they are we aren't making one red cent. Really. And now without further ado I present you this week's HNT offering. Enjoy!
Me and my beloved Fender Stratocaster guitar "Ursula". Don't ask me where the name came from. It came to me last night as I was practicing. "What's your name beautiful?" I asked. I was surprised when she said Ursula. The only other one I know is Ursula K LeGuin an author famous for her fantasy series of The Dragon Riders of Pern. I enjoyed her books but haven't read them in years. So I gather my guitar has just been being cagey about her name all these years. She's a 1986 re-issue of the 1956 model. At 30 years old she's starting to show her age but aren't we all? I still find her beautiful though and I'm at my most naked when I let her talk for me. She communicates in ways that I can't with words. Look at how she lets me spread her strings for you! The brazenly wonton harlot! How I love her. So there you have it. HHNT!
Well today is the last race of the season. We clinched first place for the season a couple races ago but we still go at it like it's do or die. That's just how we roll. I'm going to miss it but in a way it'll be nice to have my Wednesday nights back. I haven't had a Wednesday night free since March. Lots going on IRL and in bloggy land. Several bloggy friends and I are all going through some tough stuff but we're holding each other up pretty well. The band seems to be going well. We're enjoying playing together. We're all Super A-type personalities and we get hot under the collar sometimes but since there's three of us there's always 1 guy to break up any heated arguments between the other two. I'm trying hard to let go and be open to their input in every area. Being a total control freak makes that difficult sometimes but I'm learning and I think we're becoming a much better band because of it. If we can keep it together I can't imagine how scary good we'll be in a year from now. I'm looking forward to my trip to Tejas next week. Lots to see and do. I know I'm going to feel like staying. I hate the winter so much and I'm just burnt out on NY. Well, I guess we'll see. I was thinking of booking some studio time while I'm there but that might be too much. I want to go here and pay my respects while in Dallas. Here for BBQ. All of these places for Tecates and Blues Jams. Me an my strat are a-gwine t'Austin baybee! Woot! I might have to visit my buds in Nashville next!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
I'm feeling my oats today. I realized this morning as I got ready for work that's I've played my guitar everyday for at least an hour everyday for the past 6 weeks. Now that may not sound like much to you but, as I pointed out in my guitar lesson on this blog, a little practice everyday is much better than a lot once a week. A fan who had seen my acoustic singer/songwriter schtick but had never seen me play electric approached me after the gig with wide eyes and said "Dude! You can fuckin' PLAY man!" My mind reeled with sarcastic replies. Those who know me well know that I'm extremely self-effacing when it comes to my talents. It took me a long time to learn to say "Thanks very much." instead of decrying to all and sundry how much I suck. So that's progress. I'm no longer afraid. In fact I'm not sure what the hell it was I was so afraid of to begin with. I'm looking forward to going home and playing some more in prep for tomorrow's rehearsal. This week I'm taking demos everywhere. Get. More. Gigs. Anyone want to hire a blues band?
Sunday, September 24, 2006
It is 3:24 AM Sunday morning. I have just returned from the Gearjammers 1st gig. Woot! The results were good. We arrived early and set up. We were ready to play an hour before show time. When the hell does THAT ever happen? It was DEAD at first and I had my usual freakout. Will anyone show? Will we play to an empty room? Nothing sucks worse. I can't wait until we're playing festivals where I KNOW there will be a shitload of people. THEN I can relax! How funny is that?
People were trickling in steadily and we started at 10 for about 20 people. Thank God. They dug it. We had the volume, speed and pacing down completely under control. The mix was awesome onstage. The drums were a little loud at first but I came up and we hit a balance. I can tell we're quiet enough when I can hear people talking at the bar while we play. If not; too loud. Every single person there went out of their way to praise us effusively during the three short breaks. We played a solid three hours. I'm psyched. Boz, the owner, was more than happy to offer us another gig and two people hired us on the spot for private parties. O stinkin' K!
Highlights of the show: Tin Pan Alley, Leave Your Hat On/Voodoo Chile, You Got Lucky and Breakdown. TPA is a REALLY slow blues that's very hard to pull off. We hit that fucker hard. People were SCREAMING. During a slow blues! Amazing! Props to drummer Mudcat for having that right. LYHO spontaneously developed into a ROCKIN version of Voodoo Chile. I love it when I feel I am outside of myself watching this happen. I'm watching the band and we're fucking killing it. Every woman in the bar was dancing. This is a VERY good sign.
You Got Lucky (Tom Petty) we do as a reggae tune with long solos. I was hitting it and the sing-along section went well. When we ran short of tunes G-Spot pulled a BUNCH out of the hat that were pretty slammin. It's nice to play and not have to think about singing although I prefer lead the band. Buddy Holly's 'Not Fade Away' came out strong. We repeated the lyrics too many times. I'd like to take that groove for a new tune. Ha! New. Ya Right. He did a sing along song that the whole bar liked and I hated. Ooga booga badda badda I dunno what the fuck. However it reminded me in a way of John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Boom. Funny sentence. We should do THAT tune instead. Whatever.
We had a nice jam on Breakdown (also TP) we sped up through several different feels ending with a realy fast ska thing. I got people to pogo! Woot! I'd say there were 40 or 50 people throughout the night. Not a bad crowd. I've seen lots worse.
A drunken hippie girl named Miracle (no, not kidding) was all up in my grille onstage. Talking to me while I'm trying to remeber 8000 words in the right order. She was really pissing me off. 1st gig and already I need fuckin security. OK I forgive her. I was just mad when she slammed the micstand and mic into my mouth. Nice 'dancing' sugaree.
So all in all a complete success. Woot!
OK. Now 4:45 AM. Time 4 sleep.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Normally I do Fuck You Friday (or Fuck Off And Die Friday if you prefer) but not today. Today I am counting the good stuff. You, my bloggy peeps, have helped me through some truly horrific shit. I am grateful to and for each and every one of you. Also very thankful that I have a job, my health, my talent, my band, gigs and a whole host of wonderful friends and family who support me in my endeavors. This Tecate's for you my dahlinks! Hopefully I'll get to hoist a bunch with my blogger buds down in Texas when I visit in two weeks. Lone Star State baby!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
OK, my band The Gearjammers are playing our first gig this Saturday Sept 23d 10 PM at The Grandstand located at197 Grand Street Croton-On-Hudson NY 10520 914-271-8033.
The HNT challenge is this: if any of you bloggers show up I'll get at least half naked for you. My regular readers know I'll do it! Go here for MP3 samples but basically we're doing Stevie Ray Vaughn, Hendrix, blues and a little reggae and latin for good measure. Be there or be strictly non-round. Also, please, please, please, please! If you know anyone in the area let them know. I'd be EVER so thankful! HHNT!
When I first heard Jimi Hendrix I was expecting a life altering experience. I didn't really get it at first. I mean, I liked the music, but I didn't really understand it. It took me years to fully appreciate what a true genius the guy was. Besides being a peerless guitarist he was also a master songwriter and lyricist, a recording studio wizard, and he reportedly had a huge cock. The price for these gifts was apparently a very short and troubled life. Reports of alcoholic rages, rampant drug abuse and sexual conquest are doubtless understated. I once got to smoke a joint with Noel Redding (bassist of The Experience) who said that Hendrix was the nicest most humble and laid back guy he'd ever met. That doesn't surprise me a bit. At any rate eventually the guy changed my life. Everything I need to know about playing the guitar I learned from Jimi Hendrix or guys that he taught. So Jimi, wherever you are, here's to you man.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Mutterings courtesy of Lunanina.
True Love :: Never Dies
Age :: Before Beauty
Stern :: Glances
Elastic :: Band
Rustic :: Setting
Enhance :: your penis
Jackson :: Five
Inherit :: Millions
Devious :: Machinations
Scapegoat :: Surrender
Running :: Water
Alternative :: Music
Cope :: Aesthetic (yes I know that's wrong)
Lots :: of money
Sympathetic :: Position
Barn :: Yard
Totally :: Fucked
Baby :: Alien
Undeniable :: Vision
Watermelon :: Man
Monday, September 18, 2006
We got hosed by cheaters. If the only way you can win is by cheating then you really need a life. Really. First we had Saturday's rule breaker and then on Sunday another boat intentionally hit us. They endangered both crews and both boats. To win. The prize? Towels. Yes, towels. Towels with "_ _ _ yacht club regatta 1st place" on them. Not even enough towels for the whole crew. So many rules were broken I can't even count but they got someone else to back up their bullshit story of what happened and thus they protested and got us disqualified.
We went from a certain 2nd place or a possible first place to "also ran". I've never seen such bad behavior on a race course. It's supposed to be a gentleman's sport. If you break a rule and no one sees you're supposed to do your penalty turn anyway. It's like cheating at golf or solitaire. How stupid and pathetic is that? They are deserving only of pity. How sad.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Today's racing went OK. The competition is much stiffer on riverwide weekend regattas. We took 3d and 2nd in today's two races. In our defense in race 1 we got screwed by a dirty bit of cheating. A boat in flagrat violation of at least two rules wrecked our start and our captain was too good of a sport to protest though he was well within his rights to do so (and was lobbied mightily by the crew to do so). That was the wrong choice for competition but the right choice for integrity and I love our captain the more for it. In the 2nd race we were clearly favored to win and had a disasterous equipment failure mid race that cost us our lead by the time we repaired it. We could theoretically still eek out a 1st place for the weekend regatta but it's a hail Mary at best. Wish us luck. No one is perfect.
Friday, September 15, 2006
MP3's of my band The Gearjammers for Your Listening Pleasure: Come On - Boot Hill - Texas Flood - Brennie - Goin' down - Feel So Sorry - Lookin Back At Me - Leave Your Hat On - Seventh Son - Chitlins Con Carne - Empty Arms - Sky Is Cryin - Willie The Wimp - All On You - That ain't right
My drummer wanted a pic of me with this old mic. I was soaked in sweat from playing and generally wiped out so I wasn't too hopeful but actually it looks pretty good if I say so myself!
Now for FOAD Friday - Girls claim they want this:
But you know what? When they get it they aren't happy. I see it all the time: Beautiful women with abusive guys. Men who lie, cheat, treat their women like shit get the hottest girls. What's up with that?
Thursday, September 14, 2006
My good friend Mike recently described me as "A Controversial Character". I think that's a riot.
I've never posted anything I wouldn't want my mom or my boss to see. What's the fuss? HHNT!
MP3's of my band The Gearjammers for Your Listening Pleasure: Come On - Boot Hill - Texas Flood - Brennie - Goin' down - Feel So Sorry - Lookin Back At Me - That ain't right - Leave Your Hat On - Seventh Son - Chitlins Con Carne - Empty Arms - Sky Is Cryin - Willie The Wimp
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
For Your Listening Pleasure: Come On - Boot Hill - Texas Flood - Brennie - Goin' down - Feel So Sorry - Lookin Back At Me - That ain't right - Leave Your Hat On - Seventh Son - Chitlins Con Carne - Empty Arms - Sky Is Cryin - Willie The Wimp
Ah, me public... I love you my loyal readers and listeners.
Especially YOU! You know who you are...
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Completely random Tuesday shit. We were playing Seventh Son when our bass player Rob "The G-Spot" Michael said "I'm a Seventh Son." We were amazed. Props to his dad. Seven sons? Yeesh! I posted some tracks from our last session below. The overall sound quality is better but the playing isn't as inspired as last week. Mostly it was me. We had some tempo issues but my soloing was inexcusably bad in spots. Some judicious editing made it less painful but I can't help but make a face. It was very humid and my guitar wasn't staying in tune very well. Meh. We've recorded 21 tunes so far. Surely 3 or 4 of them will make a suitable demo? Oh yeah! The drummer had his way with the cover photo up above. What do you think of the results?
Goin' down - Feel So Sorry - Lookin Back At Me - That ain't right - Leave Your Hat On - Seventh Son That's Rob singing on Goin' Down and Lookin' Back. Ciao bellas y bellos.
Monday, September 11, 2006
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. "
Now we have the military-industrial-entertainment complex. When the jack booted thugs come to put a black bag over my head and throw me in the back of a van never to be heard from again I'll have the bastards at Fox News and CNN to thank. They are lying to you. Resist.
BTW, if you think I'm some nut job left wing commie pinko fag you're mistaken. I merely value my freedom and I see it being eroded in favor of a facist police state every day. Read the constitution. Are you prepared to defend it against your own government by force of arms if need be? If not you might be called a coward (or worse a sheep) in some quarters. Just saying...
Friday, September 08, 2006
Mutterings courtesey of http://subliminal.lunanina.com/
Cruel :: Shoes
Jive :: Turkey
Weak :: Willed
Understand :: Overstate
Bum :: Steer
Stairs :: Fall
Tone :: Down
Quickly :: Strike
Moment :: Hours
Beating :: Up
Wiggle :: Room
Face :: Value
Adjustable :: Back
Room :: Volume
Easy :: Living
Store :: Bought
Maid :: Marion
9 pm :: Drunk
Challenge :: Met
Debt :: Consolidation
Thursday, September 07, 2006
In spite of myself and my cynicism about such things I'm really excited about the band. I always wanted to make a blues record and this is a nice start. It's weird listening back to this stuff. I'm thinking "That's me? How the hell am I doing that? What the hell am I doing?" It's all first take improvisation. I'm scared I'll freeze next time we play, or worse, live. In spite of the flaws I think this makes for a decent demo. I really like the instrumental "Brennie". Listen:
Boot Hill - Texas Flood - Come On - Chitlins Con Carne - Empty Arms - Sky Is Cryin - Willie The Wimp - Brennie - Me and The Gearjammers thank you. BTW they are in no way affiliated with my lily white Irish ass. We're on our own recognizance here.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
F U Friday (also known as FOAD Friday) is the weekly rant that MG, Tequila Girl, EB, Tragic and I engage in. I can think of many other things I'd like to engage in with all 4 of them (at once!) but I digress. Today's FU goes to the weather. It's labor-dabor day weekend and it's going to f*cking RAIN all weekend. That means no fun sailing, all outdoor partying and playing has to be moved indoors. FU Ernesto. I liked you better when you were a tropical depression out at sea.
I bet there are some sailors out ther who would disagree but anyway thanks a lot for f*cking up my weekend. On the upside I'll probably spend the weekend 7 deep in a beautiful woman of my acquaintance since we can't go outside. So...um...thanks Ernesto! Some random FU's: FU to the husband of my good friend who wouldn't support her through her cancer treatment. That's why she's leaving you asshole. FU to the annoying cow-orker with the lisp who never shuts up and never stops asking me stupid questions. I don't know and I don't care.
All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not. -T.Durden
I got a set and drum lessons were procured. I quickly learned to read rhythm and play the drums very well. Upon entering high school I was appointed lead snare drummer to the chagrin of the seniors because I could read better than anyone. I got my ass kicked for that but it was worth it to show them all up in front of the class at the audition. The teacher, a jew named Itamar Lubetsky said "He's got balls!" I was so proud. Anyway, it turned out that while I was memorizing Neil Peart and John Bonham drum solos no one else was keeping up on guitar or bass; at least no one I knew! So Ron "lent" me his cheap acoustic which I don't recall ever giving back. Maybe I did, I dunno. Thus I began learning all the guitar parts to Rush's 2112. At this point I discovered several things. Playing guitar is kind of hard. It takes a lot of practice to achieve even the most basic proficiency. Wow! Several years of diligent practice later I was passable enough, though I'd had no formal guitar lessons yet. Since I had dropped out of high school after freshman year I had lots of time to practice. Alas, since this was long before the internet, finding good learning materials was difficult in the extreme. I went to a party at SMU (now UMASS Dartmouth) with my friend Lyle and decided to try to get into the music college. When they asked what I could play I said drums and guitar. I'd also been playing bass for about a year but I wasn't counting that. As it turned out the drum teacher wasn't there but the guitar teacher was so I auditioned with him. I played Rush's "Broon's Bane" and the intro to "The Trees", the only finger style stuff I knew. Mark Davis, the teacher, gave me Marianne (??'s) # and said "Get lessons for the summer with this chick and I'll take you as a student in the fall." This is how I ended up studying classical guitar for four years. Had anyone thought to say "Let's hear you play drums too." there would have been an instant flag on the play since I was about 500 times better of a drummer than guitarist at that point. It's funny how things work out sometimes. Had I stuck with drums I'd certainly have become a professional musician instead of the semi-pro hacker that I am now but them's the breaks. I have no regrets. As it turned out I became more interested in composition anyway and pursued a double major earning a BFA and graduating Cum Laude, Dean's list, President's list, yadda yadda. I was a good student. Anyway my second summer I was frustrated with my playing. I was playing classical OK but I couldn't do what I wanted to, which was wail like Stevie Ray, Hendrix, Malmsteen, Satriani, etc...
So Dannny Durso. a drummer in my home town, hipped me a teacher named Mike O'Brien. He was a monster. He said "Look, how long do you spend at your day job every day? Eight hours? And you hate it right?" When I said "Yes." he said "And how long every day do you spend practicing your guitar?" The light came on. He taught me how to practice more productively and showed me a bunch of tricks that really helped my speed and fluidity. Suddenly I could play! Wow! Practically over night I went from being so-so to being pretty damned good. So thanks Mike, where ever you are. He freed me from the box I was literally stuck in. I mentioned study materials being difficult to acquire. Around that time I started getting Guitar player magazine and Guitar For The Practicing Musician for the lessons published therein. I would read every page and master every lesson. Nowadays we have the internet for that. Go! Study! Play!