Friday, September 30, 2005

Shut up...........

Ya I know I haven't posted a blog for a week or so. Sometimes life isn't quite the Ozzie and Harriet, but more like Ozzie and Sharon. My life is hell these days. Much is going on, and not much of it is good. The good thing is that I love having a good time.

As a matter of fact, I'm gonna hit Santa Cruz tomorrow. So if you're in Santa Cruz, Aptos or Capitola, call me or email me and let's have a killer time tomorrow.



Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Irony of Life..................

Why is it, that opposites attract, yet birds of a feather stick together? This ultimately leads to 2 possible conclusions. Opposites end up splitting because of conflict; and Birds of a feather end up splitting because of boredom.

Why is it that males reach their sexual peak at 18, and females at 40?

Why is it that when you're mentally ready to raise children (40 - 50?) you're physically past your child bearing years?

Why is it that when you live your life right (excercise, diet, good conservative attitude) the extra years you live aren't really worth living?

Why do the good die young?

Why is it when the president or a Rock star dies, a nation mourns. But when thousands die of starvation in Africa, it's a "political concern"?

Why is it, that it takes 12 years of school to become a pediatrician, but any teenage girl with an functional vagina and uterus can concieve a baby?

Why does it take 6 months for a divorce to become final, but you can get married as quickly as you can find a J.O.P or a Chappel?

Why do women want all things from one man, and Men want one thing from All women?????

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Influence 11........

When y0u connect with the greatest lyricist in the world, you can call the dogs off. This guy is the greatest sonqwriter in the universe. Listen to my song A TA Song. Then buy T's new album. (after you buy American Infidel)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Influence Part 10............

This almost brings us current. Having been tagged with the Shred moniker by people like Dick Dale. I began to feel like more of a "novelty". It's nice to be able to play fast like Dick Dale, Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Rick Derringer, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eddie Van Halen, but I wanted a much deeper sound that incorperated those shred riffs.

So I recalled back in my formative years, the sound of one "Robin Trower". Now many will claim that Trower was no more than the 1st white Jimi Hendrix, (Which I guess would make SRV the 2nd) But if you study the tone and sustains on "Bridge of Sighs" the album, you'll hear a fabulous sound that goes beyond technique. I bought Robin's video and he said, that he was trying to emulate the sounds that he had heard from James Brown's band. etc......... But the deep reverb and stereo chorus effects he used on that strat literally made me go out and buy my first strat. So if you listen to the new album "American Infidel" check out the solo on "Polk Salad Annie" .

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Influence Part 9.........

Well, after molding my style after Rick Derringer; I had to see who influenced Rick. Of course before he had his solo career, and after he left the "McCoys", Rick was a sideman for Johnny Winter. I can only imagine that Rick learned many of his riffs from watching Johnny. As tough as it must have been being Johnny's "Bitch" , Rick absorbed all of Johnny's stuff like a sponge.

Johnny (brother of Edgar whom I had the chance to party with back stage) was really one of the first white boys to play a black man's Blues (better than a black man) . And he's albino. (how Ironic) Just goes to show that music is indeed color blind. Johnny also played with Tommy Shannon way back in the day before Tommy became part of Stevie Ray Vaughan's double trouble. Tommy saw the Ace Live video and said that I was pretty cool. Coming from a guy that stood next to both SRV and Johnny Winter, I take that as an extreme compliment.

After learning Johnny's riffs lick for lick, I found my self being stereo typed as a "Shredder" ie, someone that plays guitar for speed more than melody and tone. In Los Angeles, I got nicked named the "Shreddasaurus Monster" . Although affectionately meant, I started to refine my sound at that point. Stay tuned in tomorrow for the anti-dote to Shreddasaria.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Influence Part 8.......

No that's not me. Looks like me but it aint. I remember at the age of 16 being in a band and the other guitarist came home from a Johnny Winter concert and was just on fire about this kid named Rick Derringer. I had no clue. Then in 1973 an album came out called "All American Boy" that just kicked about every guitarist's ass at the time. Rick hit the TOP of the charts with Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo, (which I got to sing with Rick on stage) and had a number of follow up albums straight thru the 80's. Rick has gone thru several re-inventions which I feel is a mistake. He tried to be Stevie Ray in the late 80's early 90's. He went thru a buddy Holly thing at the turn of the millenium. And now he's sporting a Gretsch 6120 ala Brian Setzer. I wish Rick would stay the power pop shredder that influensed me 32 years ago. Rick and I have met several times since the early 70's. He's gone thru some very rough times and has finally found happiness. He's genuinely in love with his new wife. His new album Derringer X 2 can be bought at his website .

Monday, September 12, 2005

Influence Part 7........

Forget Jimi Hendrix, he didn't really have an influence on my music until I was established. But back in my teethcutting days, the first guitarist that truly got my attention as a cut throat, take no prisoner, no holds barred guitarist was "Alvin Lee". I played everything I heard from Ten Years After. Over and Over again until I could play it note for note. I think I started with Slow Blues in a C. Compare that song to "Powell Street Blues". Of course the first thing you think of when you hear the name Alvin Lee is Woodstock and Unbeleivable speed on the Fret board. I guess that's how I got the nick name shredder. It makes perfect sense that Leo Lyons (Ten Years After Bassist) would say that he always enjoys my music. (God bless him)

Alvin was my role model during my formative years. (ages 15 - 19) So if you reach into the heart of the guitarist that I've become, you'll find Alvin Lee. This is both a gift and a curse though. It wasn't until I broke away from the Alvin Lee Influence, that I really became the guitarist I am. Yet even today, people that know Ten Years After can hear the deep rooted influence of Alvin Lee in my guitarmanship.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Influence Part 6.............

This guy wasn't Elvis. But Elvis said he was the greatest singer in the world. I always felt he was just cool. I still enjoy playing "Oh Pretty Woman" in my sets.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Influence Part 5.........

As much as the Beatles influenced me, another English group just rocked my head off my shoulders. The DAVE CLARK FIVE. It was an English R & B group that was started and produced by a "Drummer" . (Dave Clark) . And the drums were a main driving force in the sound of the DC5. Take a listen to "Glad all over", "Bits and Pieces", "Do you Love Me" and "I like it Like That". They also scored huge with the Ballad "Because".

Now they were never anywhere near as prolific as the Beatles. And from a creative stand point they couldn't hold a flame to the Beatles. But then they were known as Rockers. Not poets or pretty boys. It would be like comparing AC/DC to the Eagles. There careers were shortened much like the Beatles and many people alive today have no clue who or what they were. But if you were a kid during the English invasion, you got your butt kicked for sure by this quintet.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Influence Part 4................

My sister had a pen pal in England that use to send her these cool records by a group called the Beatles. She was probably one of the first teens in the US to have a copy of She Loves You, or I Wanna Hold Your Hand. I was incredibly impressed by this Idea of a "Band" with Long Hair, making such a presence. And although I was still a die hard Elvis fan, I was being drawn more and more into this "Band" Idea. You didn't have to be John Lennon to be cool. You could be George or Ringo. In those days, The Beatles were Rocking. Covering lil Richard songs like long tall sally, Lucille, even twist and shout was an old rhythm and blues number. I must have seen a hard days night 5 times and HELP, even more. Then somewhere around 67 they started getting wierd. True their musical maturation was intense. But what happened to the Rock and Roll? I think the drug use caused the Beatles to spawn the "counter culture" revolution. I never really cared for Sgt. Pepper's. It wasn't rock. The Beatles never really "Rocked" again until The White Album. And only then just a few bones. I actually got stolen away from the Beatles by certain American Artists like Tommy James and the Shondells and another certain English invasion band that I'll talk about tomorrow that actually influenced me 10 times more than the fab four.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Influence Part 3............

Coincidentally, Today is the Birthday of one of my biggest influences, Charles Hardin Holley. Buddy Holly. What's there to say? Pure guitar rock and roll in the key of A. He influenced the Beatles. He influenced Elvis and visa versa. He's the eternal link between the Beatles and Elvis. He would have been 69 today.

Happy Birthday Buddy

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Influence Part 2...........

1961, I'm 5 years old and I remember going to see "Follow that Dream" . Then my sister turned me on to this guy named Elvis. I vividly remember in "kindergarten" , when it was time to stand up and say what you wanted to be when you grew up, when all the other boys were saying they wanted to be policemen, firemen, doctors or Astronauts, and the girls all wanted to be nurses, I proudly stood up and proclaimed that I wanted to be like Elvis Presley.

The teacher thought for sure there was something seriously wrong with me.

Monday, September 05, 2005

My Influences Part 1.......

Probably the first exposure I ever had to music was at the age of about 4. I remember loving the sound of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. My first choice of an instrument in the school band was the Trombone "Glenn's instrument". But I had settle for alto sax. This was all pre-Beatles/Elvis English invasion. But Glenn Miller is still one of my favorite all-time musicians.

Alton Glenn Miller was born in Clarinda, Iowa on March 1, 1904. But it was in North Platte, Nebraska, several years later that Glenn actually got his musical start when, one day, his father brought home a mandolin. Glenn promptly traded it for an old battered horn, which he practiced every chance he got. In fact his mother worried, "It got to where Pop and I used to wonder if he'd ever amount to anything."In 1923, Miller entered the University of Colorado, although he spent more time traveling to auditions and playing where and whenever he could. After flunking three of his five courses one semester, Glenn dropped out to concentrate on his career as a professional musician.He toured with several orchestras and ended up in Los Angeles where he landed a spot in Ben Pollack's group, a band that included a guy named Benny Goodman. Here, Miller also got the chance to write some arrangements. Arriving in New York City, he soon sent for, and married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger in 1928, and for the next three years, earned his living as a free-lance trombonist and arranger.Miller played and recorded with the likes of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey (who on several of their records, featured an up-and-coming singer by the name of Bing Crosby), Gene Krupa, Eddie Condon and Coleman Hawkins. In addition, during that time, Glenn cut 18 sides for Goodman, and also workedfor radio studio conductors like Victor Young, Carl Fenton and Jacques Renard. In 1934, Miller became the musical director of the Dorsey Band, and later went on to organize The Ray Noble Orchestra, which included such players as Charlie Spivak, Peewee Erwin, Bud Freeman, Johnny Mince,George Van Eps and Delmar Kaplan, among others.In April 1935, Glenn Miller recorded, for the first time, under his own name. Using six horns, a rhythm section and a string quartet, he recorded "Moonlight on the Ganges" and "A Blues Serenade" for Columbia. But selling only a few hundred records, he continued his position with the Noble Orchestra.In 1937, Glenn Miller stepped out to form his own band. There were a few recordings -- one for Decca and one for Brunswick -- a couple of week-long stints in New Orleans and Dallas, and many one-nighters, but it was not to be. Though the group would play one more date several days later in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Glenn gave his men their final notice on New Year's Eve at the Valencia Ballroom in York, Pennsylvania. Broke, depressed and having no idea what he was going to do, he returned to New York City.It is said that Miller could never remember precisely the moment he decided to emphasize his new reed section sound. But it was during this disheartening interim, that he realized the unique sound -- produced by the clarinet holding the melodic line while the tenor sax plays the same note, and supported harmonically by three other saxophones -- just might be the individual and easily recognizable style that would set his band apart from all the rest.Formed in March 1938, the second Glenn Miller Orchestra -- which would later include the likes of Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton, Ray Eberle, Paul Tanner, Johnny Best, Hal McIntyre, and Al Klinck -- soon began breaking attendance records all up and down the East Coast. At the New York State Fair in Syracuse it attracted the largest dancing crowd in the city's history. The next night it topped Guy Lombardo's all-time record at the Hershey Park Ballroom in Pennsylvania. The Orchestra was invited by ASCAP to perform at Carnegie Hall with three of the greatest bands ever -- Paul Whiteman, Fred Waring and Benny Goodman -- and created more of a stir than any of them.There were record-breaking recordings, as well, such as "Tuxedo Junction", which sold 115,000 copies in the first week. "In the Mood", and "Pennsylvania 6-5000", all appearing on the RCA Victor Bluebird label. In early 1940, Down Beat Magazine announced that Miller had topped all other bands in its Sweet Band Poll, and capping off this seemingly sudden rise to the top, there was, of course, Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" radio series for Chesterfield cigarettes which aired three times a week over CBS. In 1941, it was off to Hollywood where the band worked on its first movie, "Sun Valley Serenade", which introduced the song -- and soon-to-be million selling record --"Chattanooga Choo Choo", and featured the Modernaires and the Nicholas Brothers. Then came "Orchestra Wives". But the war was starting to take its toll on many of the big bands as musicians, and the rest ofcountry's young men, began receiving draft notices.On October 7, 1942, Alton Glenn Miller reported for induction into the Army and was immediately assigned to the Army Specialist Corps. His appointment as a Captain came after many months of convincing the military higher-ups that he could modernize the army band and ultimately improve the morale of the men. His training complete, he was transferred into the Army Air Corps, where he ultimately organized the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band. Miller's goal of entertaining the fighting troops took another year to be realized, but in late 1943 he and the band were shipped out to England.There, in less than one year, the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band engaged in over 800 performances. Of these, 500 were broadcasts heard by millions. There were more than 300 personal appearances including concerts and dances, with a gross attendance of over 600,000. But Glenn was not to participate in the final six months of these activities.In the Fall of 1944, the band was scheduled to be sent on a six-week tour of Europe and would be stationed in Paris during that time. Miller decided to go ahead, in order to make the proper arrangements for the group's arrival. And so, on December 15th, Glenn Miller boarded a transport plane to Paris, never to be seen again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Prayers and Thoughts...................

Go out to everyone that was effected by Hurricane Katrina. May God be with you.