Bowie, Part 2

Fell asleep last night with my 5.1 headphones on listening to the surround mix of Bowie’s Reality (one of my favorites of the recent batch of his albums). Stirred long enough to take them off and switch off the player, then sleep took me.

The alarm clock went off with a familiar voice from NPR News saying 4 words that immediately shocked me awake: “David Bowie has died.”

A day of disbelief and sadness but also an invitation to assess David Bowie and his influence on me.

Some other day soon.

 


Bowie, Part 1

The pre-ordered new Bowie disc appeared Friday but I didn’t have a chance to give it a spin until today. Listened to it once on the way to rehearsal and then once on the way home, then one more time as I ran other errands.  This is a remarkable piece of work that’s going to take a while to digest but I love it already.

 


We Begin Again… Constantly

With the exception of a couple days of feeble attempts at playing in the studio a few weeks ago I haven’t touched an instrument in months.  Another need-to-pay-the-bills-induced hiatus.  When this has happened in the past I have noticed an exponential decrease in my abilities the longer I am away from playing and the harder it is to begin again.  I had the realization recently that I haven’t been a musician for a long while; I’ve just been a guy who gets to play guitar once in a while when he’s not too busy making money. This was coupled with the realization that if I never picked up a guitar again, no one would notice much less care.

Now, I’ve played to more empty bars and small apathetic crowds than I care to acknowledge, but fortunately the packed-house and crowd-of-thousands gigs still reign in my memory (maybe haunt is a better term). But let’s face it – it’s highly unlikely anyone but myself will even read this. So, hiatus was gently sliding into retirement (surrender? abandonment?).

Then came the pity party crasher.  Listening to the radio on the drive home from the day job last night NPR used the California Guitar Trio’s Asturias as a bumper between stories. I was instantly reminded of times I have played that piece (mostly with the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists), and how wonderful that experience was.  Transformational moments.  I realized a huge part of why those experiences resonated  was not because of who I was playing for but who I was playing with.  Then came the epiphany – one of the greatest rewards I get from playing music is the connection I have with other musicians, a.k.a. my closest friends. [Okay, who am I kidding?  My only friends.] Yeah, I probably actually suck and struggle to reach mediocrity. So. Fucking. What.

My happiest times are when I am present and playing and connecting and working with someone on a common theme. I realized that’s what I need to get back to, even if it’s just rehearsing for the next gig that may never come.  I’m not playing to an empty room – I’m there with my team (or partner in the case of Stone Document). And once in a while someone does hear and listen and like what we do, but that’s just the proverbial gravy. If this tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it, at least I will enjoy the fall.

 


Back Again

Knocking the dust off and trying to get back to it. I know, it’s been a while.  You really haven’t missed much – occasional gigging/recording with Radio Underground and the odd (in every way) studio session with Stone Document 2B. Mostly it’s just been practice/maintenance/dealing-with-life. Here’s the low-down:

Solo Stick performances: Putting my rig back together and planning a practice regimen.

Radio Underground: Mixing a couple new tunes that should be the beginning of series of single releases.

Stone Document 2B: Spent a couple days in the studio with Dennis throwing ideas at the computer and refining the approach of the duo version of this project.

Ghost Ghost: Cautiously optimistic.

So, what now? We’ll see…

 


SXSW 2014

This is the annual “I’m leaving for South by Southwest so I’d better make sure my web info is current” post.  We aren’t playing this year but Kevin and I will be there focusing on the “business” side of Music Business. I’ll try and update from the road.  That will all be followed by the obligatory rush to update EVERYTHING. Until then…

 


March Onward

And we’re back.  March has the potential to be pretty amazing. Starting in Vermont seeing shows by The Security Project (playing old Peter Gabriel tunes) and then Richard Thompson.  Then its off to Texas for South by Southwest with a list of gigs too long to go into here. Then its back to Vermont to play a couple shows with the Radio Underground. After that its back to prep for the May shows with the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists.  Not a bad month.

 


The Evolution of the Board, part 7

Here we have an example of the technological excess that I rely on to make the noise I make. This is my Radio Underground/general rock pedalboard. Yes, it’s heavy and a pain to load in. Yes, it is worth it.

The signal path goes along as such:

guitar input -> Line 6 M5 with expression pedal for whammy and wah presets -> MXR Dynacomp -> Ernie Ball volume pedal – Korg Pitchblack tuner -> B.C. Rich programable swithcher (that swithches between my preamp and distortion/fuzz sounds: a DOD EQ, an early ’80s Ibanez TS9, a Sovtek Big Muff and an Electro Harmonix Tube Zipper) -> ART Tube preamp -> Electro Harmonix Freeze -> Line 6 M9 for delays/modulation/basic looping -> off to the amps!

 


Radio Underground @ Das Bierhaus, 9/28/13

RU did Das Bierhaus in Burlington last Saturday nite.  We played outside which was wonderful.  During the second set we had a special guest, Dice Raw of the Roots rapped during the instrumental break-down.  Given the number of cameras and smiles I think it was well-received.  He had so much fun he joined us again later on Trace.  It was a pleasant surprise to see and hear us successfully collide with Hip-hop.  Hopefully I will get my hands on some of the video/audio recording.

 


So We Begin Again

Summer has ended and I’m trying to organize/prioritize/categorize my projects. Currently at hand are the following: Stick practice (ongoing), NST practice/repertoire (ongoing) – in anticipation of next Spring’s Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists Northeast USA appearances, mixing the live Radio Underground EP, rehearsing for some forthcoming RU shows, demoing for the next Ghost Ghost recording, exploring booking opportunities for both RU and solo gigs, knocking the dust off of the Pantet repertoire and restarting that behemoth.  This is all in addition to the usual ongoing rig construction/deconstruction/reconstruction, instrument maintenance, web meandering  and occasionally pondering returning to my two solo recording projects. One of these days…

 


Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists VII Northeast Tour

Here‘s a tidbit from The Boston Globe that does a pretty good job describing the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists.

 


 

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