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My Farewell to Prince:
Celebrity without the money to protect myself or property.
The Voice is either rigged,
I always thought she had missed the boat. She should have been born a decade or two earlier so she would have been part of the Motown scene and hanging out in with the likes of Aretha Franklin. I feel that it would have been much better for her than being stuck in the middle of the disco period.
Bo Diddley and his Gretsch
Born Ellas Bates McDaniel in McComb, Miss., on Dec. 30, 1928, Diddley played violin as a child. His family moved to Chicago when Diddley was 7 years old; he is said to have started playing guitar after hearing 1949 John Lee Hooker R&B hit "Boogie Chillen."
March 15,'08 I'm not much of an American Idol fan, but the best one going this time around isn't even an amateur as they are suppose to be.
Excerpt taken from Burning Down the House
I became a musician when I was in the second grade. Santa Claus left me a drum set for Christmas. The thing that Santa never thought about was what was going to happen at seven o'clock in the morning. With the drum set and a new Monkeys album, my mom said I was playing the hell out of, "Mary, Mary." (Where you going to?)
We moved into the new house on Spanaway Lake before I entered the fourth grade. The neighbours right next to us had three boys and two of them played guitar. This sparked my desire to take up the guitar too. I began taking lessons from Niles, the oldest one. I started out using my dad's Harmony acoustic guitar, but for Christmas I got a twenty dollar Tesco Del Rey electric guitar. Every morning before school my mom would suggest I practice while my sisters got ready for school.
Niles had taught me how to play melodies so he could play the rhythm cords along with me. Although I was playing pretty well, I had two problems: One was that I depended on the sheet music too much. When I would make a mistake, I would have to start all over again. Another thing was that the electric guitar I had was flat fretted and was hard to do bar cords on it, therefore I never got very good at playing rhythm. I enjoyed playing it and kept at it for a few years until I fell on my motorcycle and tore the meat off the tip of my left index finger. I had to get a butterfly clamp on it and by the time it healed I was way out of practice. By the time I got motivated to practice again and went next door for my Thursday guitar lesson; Niles said he didn't want to give me lessons any more. I couldn't blame him because he was older than I and you know how teenagers are, they have other things to do. Since I had no other friends to play with, I more or less dropped interest in it.
One time I was at a party in a small rundown grange hall called, Clover Creek Grange. The hardwood floor had a crown to it because the building had settled and the floor sloped down towards the walls. The ceiling had a height of only about ten feet and the hall was long and narrow. The main room was about 60 by 24 with a kitchen area partitioned off by a wide doorway at the rear portion of the hall.
The thing that got me thinking at this party one night was that somebody with one of the bands had mounted an assortment of colored flood lights in wooden boxes with the use porcelain sockets for a light show. The boxes were placed on the floor in front of the band and were hooked up to a few switched and dimmers on a piece of plywood for a control board. I knew I could build a better lighting system and more importantly felt I could play the lights better than the guys who were operating them at the time.
Over time I got rid of the coffee can lights with color flood lights and built lights out of five inch stove pipes with the base made out of the bottom of two pound coffee cans with porcelain sockets. I began to use true spot lights with gel coat frames which provided brighter light and sharper edged light beams for better precession when sorting positions on stage. The better lights allowed for a wider verity of colors and beams much more pronounced.
Eventually I built a 24 channel board with a 12 sub-masters and worked with 6 colors in four positions. The board has a six color (or channeled) keyboard for each of the four positions. Two of the six channel keyboards connect directly to their own sub-masters and the other two six channel keyboards can connect to either of six sub master/keyboards. If that isn't confusing you, just try writing it out.
Basically I used six sub masters (With sliding dimmers) for solo sort outs. Then I grouped any of the other three six colored keyboard positions together on the second set of sub-masters. Believe me the possibilities are endless. It works more like an instrument than any of the dual scene theatrical boards the other bands I see use. It has no auto-sequencers; therefore I have to play the sequences manually, so this means I play with the beat. No fake shit allowed.
I never could understand why these lighting companies manufacture dual scene boards which are only practical for two cord songs. What the hell are you suppose to do when you have to play a three cord song? I know you will probably blow your mind because they are based on two sub-masters for all the channels.
The think the thing that differs myself from the rest of the lightmen I see is that I think of colors as different pitches. I use red for the lowest sound and purple for next to the lowest. Then blue, then green, then orange, then yellow for the highest and of course you've got clear for the very highest. I also use two different shades of blue. I use a darker shade of blue for deeper tones and a lighter shade of blue for higher tones. Get the picture? As for purple, I'll raise the pitch with a pink for a higher sounding purple. Greens have two shades too.
Then I'd split the shades of colors up by doubling up on some channel circuits so I can run two shades of the blue, purple and yellow with clear. I'd split up the channels on the secondary keyboard so I have yellow on some and clear on one or two of the other sixth keyboard channels. All in all I was covering a scale of nine or ten colors. With certain combinations I can create what looks like the sound of musical cords. For instance; if green and blue set up and aimed right; they can make the musicians on stage look like they are made of steel.
If the room I was playing allowed me to; the technique I'd usually use in setting up my lights was inspired and more or less based on the technique Jeff Beck's light man used. From behind the stage I would use incoming rays in red and yellow I use yellow. I used purple and green in sunburst patterns and clear in a strait out projection pattern. I could go on and on of course, but I have to stick to getting this book out so, maybe the next time around I'll make a chapter for lighting rock bands in my book of Good Things to know.
The World's Greatist Guitar Player
I've known Leon since he was about thirteen years old. The half black, half Asian kid
who was adopted and brought up in the part of town where there was low income housing projects where many who lived there were on a fixed income.
I first met JR when he was thirteen and I thought it was unordinary for a young black kid to have every Beatles album there was, import and domestic. His dad had sent him to a private school where he learned to play about forty different instruments.
Someone turned JR onto a Vanhalen album and after listening to Eddie Vanhalen play guitar, JR decided that playing lead guitar was the thing he wanted to do. Darelic, a drummer friend of mine told me about JR after I'd left the X-band for good. He said, "He's always playing in the little shack next to his house; whoever shows up to watch him play, sure gets to see one hell of a show. You gotta go check him out."
I stopped by one day and I was totally impressed. JR. He could play anything and make it seem like it was just second nature to make it sound even more alive than on the album.
At the time I was working for a blues band out of Lakewood called SAE. We had a practice room set-up in their basement and the band was on the hustle for an agent or promoter. The band decided to throw a party to coerce a few over and promote their band. They bought a keg and invited people over. The only person I invited was JR and he brought the drummer he had at the time. People seemed to enjoy the party, but I think the thing they enjoyed most was either the free beer or the light show. Which one the most I'm not one to say. The thing they did like most of all was the time JR got on the guitar and he taught the bands bassplayer a few lines to play. The crowd went nuts, they were hooting and hollering. JR truly up-staged the band, wore out their bassplayer and ruined what was left of their party because when their bassplayer said that he had to save his hands for his own band later on that night, it was apparent JR wasn't going to play any more, so the people left. The party ended up being deader than a doornail. From that point on, I don't think the band liked me too well.
One night I met up with a couple of the guys from SAE at the tavern we'd played at the night before. It was a Thursday night and it was the night before my twenty-first birthday. I was sitting at the bar with the guitar player and friends, having a few beers. Just after midnight my parents walked through the door. I couldn't understand why they would happen to be at the dive we more or less considered our local hang out, but soon it was quite clear. My dad looked at the bartender and said, "I want to buy my son his first legal drink." There is no describing the look on the bartenders face, because I'd drank pitcher after pitcher of free beer over the years when ever I'd worked there with bands. All she could say was: "Well you have an honest face."
Foot Loose hired me not only to operate lights but to work as a soundman too. They had the sound system and some rented lights. At first they thought I would be able to set up the sound system and the light system, but once they found out how
packed into the place, they realized I already had my hands full. Once they
saw the double amount in smaller lights they realized they did a better job that the rented lights were a waist of money.
I gained more respect and insight for the things that sound-men do. One of the first things I learned to do was set the equalizer to the room, and the best way I found to do that was by using a quality prerecorded tape I had made for the band breaks between sets. It was a tape I'd made of a large variety of music I had in my music collection. I'd set the EQ to the tape so the PA would be set to the conditions of the room. Then the controls on the sound board were set to make the individual channels handling the instrument or vocal microphone sound right for the acoustics of the room or song.
The thing about doing sound is that there are several different approaches to accomplish certain things to achieve the same goal, but if you take the wrong approach – the trouble starts on the following song. That's when you find out how out of whack you've adjusted the soundboard for the prior song and you'll have to readjust things back to ground zero. After a while one will learn what needs to be done for each song. After I had it down to a routine, I'd get to operate my lights that much sooner lights. That's when a set list would come in handy, because it enabled me to be more efficient and I'd pick up the lights that much sooner.
The next winter was 1986, I think.
Once the winter weather set in and the waves would get too big and out of control from the storms so surfing became a sport of getting skunked after a long drive out to the coast, I decided to take up playing the bass guitar because I thought that if I learned to play the bass it would make me a better lightman because the bass-line was the thing I fallowed for the color mode of my lightshow. I figured it would be more fun to actively play an instrument to the stereo than just to sit there listening to it for a past time like most people.
Dean volunteered to teach me how to play bass. My first lesson,
Dean taught me the major and minor scales; the twelve bar one, four, five
blues progression; and I was up and running.
Within a month or so he told me that I was ranked right up there with the top five of the fifty or so students that he had taught. It was because I actually practiced and learned the material between lessons. Three months later, I was hitting the jam sessions. I was playing the hell out of Louie Louie, Taking Care of Business, and Johnny B. Good. To say the least – they hated me.
I became a regular at weekly jam sessions around the area. At first many of the musicians disliked the sight of beginner bassplayer walking through the door because they'd assume I didn't know how to play since I wasn't amongst the many clicks of local professional musicians. While attending the jam session I'd learn which standard songs, (usually classic rock I had on CD's at home) that most of the musicians knew and during the week I'd practice the songs so I'd go back to the jam session knowing them. After a while the musicians gained more confidence with my playing and they began to treat me more like one of the gang. It was kind of neat I because I could go out and be a musician for a few hours every week without having to sacrifice the style of living I had as an independent self-employed contractor.
June 27, 2002:
Ox died today. John Edwisal was 57 and died of a heart attack in his Hotel room at the Hard rock in Los Vagas. Apparently he had a dancer from across the way with him when he died. I guess that's better than dying alone.
the Rolling Stone Mag, it said that John wrote Boris the Spider after a drunk
night out with bassist Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. I've read somewhere
else earlier that the song was influenced by his son who dropped a book on a spider.
December 25, 2006: We lost James Brown. Made me think of the jam session on 4th Ave. in Santa Monica. There was this impersonater who was suited up and did flips and splits like the real James Brown. It was one of the better jams I've been to since leaving Washington.
San Diego music scene kinna sucks. You're not going to be able to make a living playing the kind of music that's played in the Puget Sound area. You'd have to settle for classic rock. Gee, wippy.
Like the other night; Dec. 27th in Carlsbad. This Biff guy who plays his same originals every time he shows up. He's always avoided playing with me, but I'd played twice with him and the second time he even said I did a good job. But the third time the moron acted as if I didn't know his shitty songs and asked to have this other asian guy play his
for him. I wouldn't have give
a shit, but I was pretty sure there was people in the audience who where there to watch me play.
Up date: I'd wrote about the Asian guy before, stating that he had no groove, Well this week Feb. 28th, the Asian guy came in with his six string. to play on my set. Boy, it was like messing around with a dark spirit. He defiantly has no groove. I couldn't play worth a shit with him. I don't see how others can. I was exhausted. Ever since I got this web-site up and running, I expected the same kind of things that would go down in Washington. It appears that "they" are able to pay musicians to dog me one way or another. That's why I've stayed away from the jam session, because it turns out to be bad personal relations.
It's unfortunate that you don't have to be very smart to be a musician or a surfer.
I called it stirring the pot or something, This bit was something I was inspires to write in response to some reply I got in the craigslist musician adds. I guess there may be a few musicians that don't like musicians from Seattle too much. But it inspired me to ramble off some shit and figure it was better suited for a web-site. It's just some junk and saved it for this site until I replace it with something better.
Believe me I've heard many people pitch their bands to me, but bottom line is that all I need is a time and place. Most of the musicians I hung out with have gotten a gig as they were handed a tape of the material they had to learn in a week or so. (Cheat sheets have saved many of them. Some gigs are on the spot and if the bassist is good, most people in the audience (bar owners) don't even realize the musician didn't even know half the songs.
There is nothing worse than hanging out in a garage week after week and having someone not show up because of some problem with a girlfriend or something. We all know about the marriage we enter into when we join a band and the little projects often turn out living someone else's problems.
Stupid Rule # 4 -- Been there, done that
I've had a drummer in Lennox Head Australia put drum fills in every three measures in the Hendrix song All Along the Watch Tower. When the song is mostly a straight 123-12-123
He goes: "But that's the way I play it. You have to respect the way I play it."
I said, "But that's not the way song goes and you should respect the fact that we're trying to play that certain song and that song has a particular signature. And you have to respect that I can play the song upside down and sideways, but without the right rhythm I really can't play it at all." (At least none other than how he was making me play it; which pretty much sucked.) He eventually agreed that I was right.
Like my stupid rule #5 that was influence by a country western bass player I knew. "Just remember KISS, keep it simple stupid," he said.
Like the drummer who was practically soloing though a Clarence Clearwater Revival song. (During a gig) I played the song anyway, but later I told him that it was a strait forward county beat. He listened to it again and at the next gig he calmed his ass down and said, "You're right, it did go down better." (Just straight kick and slam.)
A heavy metal drummer from Montana once said, "The dumber the drummer, the better the beat."
You know "Animal" of the Muppets? That's him.
You should try playing a blues song with him. It ROCKS!!!
Too many musicians take perfection too seriously also. They want to play it exactly they way they’ve "rehearsed" it over and over.
And where did this "rehearse" bit come from? I noticed that these so called musicians in California use the word. Like gag me with a spoon. Hell, people like Madonna and Paula Abdul rehearse because they have dancers. Musicians are suppose to practice as far as I'm concerned. When they use the rehearse word, I think: my god, what the fuck do you think; you're on Broadway?
One time my friends were jamming with the eight track recording, and this guitar player who just happened to show up was discussing about how they could send the tape back and forth to work on the made up jazz songs. My friend Dean, friend who was playing bass said, "Hell I liked it just the way it was." (The guitar player dude was just scribbling.)
Like this one guy said to me: Oh that's ok, if you fuck something up, it's only music. The bad notes are gone forever.
Well thanks for your time. You've all inspired me to write something tonight. I hope some of you can find something about me to bitch about because I'm sure I can come up with something else to say. It’s only words.
And for those who might say I'm full of myself:
At least I know how to make people dance. It's because' with a good drummer and a good groove on, there is this thing called a pocket, and most guitar players, and guitar player who play bass, don't know what its all about.
As for my taste in music:
Motown or Rap?
Jessica Simpson or Ashley Simpson
Christina Agulara, or Briteny Spears
Merya Cary or Christina Agulara
Michelle Branch or Kelly Clarkson
Michelle Branch or Avril Lavine
Michel Jackson or Justin Timberlake
Soundgarden or Metalica
Perl Jam or Alice in Chains
Alman Bothers or Little River Band
AC/DC or Quite Riot
Airosmith or Bad Comany
The who or the stones
Shyral Crow or Alanis Morissette
Have you seen the otherBook Excerpts?
My Synchro-link truck
June 14th, for those musicians who think moving to the central coast of California may be a good idea; I'd say don't. Though there are people like John Anderson from the group Yes and Ian Anderson from the group Jethro Tull living around here, odds are you will never see them because most of these musicians come here to retire and it's not like they are worried about
a band together.
I thought since Ernie Ball/Musicman is right here in SLO, I figured I'd get a good deal on one of their basses. But after I applied for a sanders position and having the good word, (yeah right,) put in by this local musician F___ky - and not even getting entry level job - I've decided that I don't want one anymore, because they put a bad taste in my mouth now. Bulky feeling things anyway. Everything is integrated on a stupid pick guard anyway
At least I can say I painted a few Boogie Body Guitars. Much cooler than any Musicman.
I always thought -
We lost Jeff Healey in the morning of March 2nd? 2008:
Canadian jazz guitarist, Jeff Healey, dies at 41
Healey, stricken with retino blastoma, a rare form of cancer that robbed him of his eyesight as a baby, first picked up the guitar when he was three years old.
With his trademark style of holding the instrument across his lap, Healey formed his first band at 17 and later gained fame for his trio, The Jeff Healey Band.
Discovered by the legendary jazz guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan in a Toronto bar in 1982, Healey released a string of albums over the next 20 years, including the 1988 Grammy-nominated "See the light," with the hit single "Angel Eyes."
He performed with a host of legends over his three-decade career, including B.B. King, George Harrison and Vaughan.
Healey was also the host of a long-running jazz radio show and owned the funky "Jeff Healey's Roadhouse," a Toronto-based bar in which he frequently recorded.
At the time of his death, he was about to release his first rock and blues recording in eight years, "Mess of Blues."
Healey leaves his wife Cristie and two children.
In memory of
Jaco Pastorius was probably the greatist bass player who ever lived. Weather Report was one of the well known bands he played in.
The Avril Lavigne many of us know
From Napanee, Ontario, Canada
I found some old songs lists I used to know back in 1997.
Since the big list was a bit overwhelming at jam sessions, I came up with one that had ones I'd prefer to play and more likely to practice.
A list I made for the music store buliten board in Santa Cruz
I never got a call
My Synchro-link truck
JR built this guitar himself from parts.
October 4th, 2007: Rule No. 77; I managed to stop a saw blade with my left hand yesterday. Looks as though I won't be surfing or playing my bass for a while. Anyhow, I've been doing extensive work on my web-sites. One major task I have at hand is that I'll be putting together a site map for all the links available on this site. Quite the chore to say the least. However, I've been posting a lot of new things in too many places to list. Please have a look around.
The Hollywood Avril Lavigne
Gotta admit, she's hot.
She also has that cute side to her
January 1,2008: I just got back to playing again after about three months. I'm going to start a list of songs I've been working on lately.
Shine by Collective Soul
I'm also going to start a journal entry featuring the music scene here on the central coast.
On Monday the 7th of Jan, I got the opportunity to play with the drummer from the local band called Jammies.
January 9, 2008: Had this doctor who works at an Urgent Care (Because of disability claim.) Do his final exam yesterday. At first he looked at the index finger and thought it had healed alright. One I pointed out to him that it was the middle one with the big blister on it. The pinched it read hard to see if it would hurt me. The son of a bitch made it swell up to where I was more than three weeks ago. He made it all numb and shit. I don't even feel like trying to play bass with it. Then he says while jotting something down, " Here this will release you."
January 23, 2008:
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