Did some tracking of guitar solos for Arty’s other band, Bardela.  They are usually a trio of 2 guitars plus a bassist but for these recordings they are adding a drummer (my little brother from another mother, Zack LaVigne) and me on guitar.  They are working at Lovetown Studio (, which has since become one of my favorite places to work.  It’s run by owner/engineer Bennett Shapiro who I found really easy to work with and a quick hand with the faders.  On top of all that, here’s one of his ridiculous collection of vintage amps that I used on most of the solos:




Through an amazing stroke of luck and an act of kindness, I got a pass to the annual N.A.M.M.  (the National Association of Music Merchants) show in Anaheim, CA.  This is where/when all of the musical instrument manufacturers roll out their new products for the folks who sell them to schmucks like me.  One of the things that makes it fun is the sheer number of semi-to-very famous musicians you run into (more on that later).  Outnumbering them are the wanna-be rock stars who are always fun to watch.  It is a Dionysian Bacchanal of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) and I was under strict instruction to NOT BUY ANYTHING.  This was easy as I am not a music store.  The real danger is in the weeks that follow but I reminded myself periodically that I pretty much have all that I need/can use and no disposable income.   As I was still having a lot of spine-related leg pain, and I knew this was going to involve a LOT of walking, I brought along some painkillers (to aid in mobility and legitimately prescribed!).  So, here I was in Southern California, feeling poor, surrounded by wanna-be rock stars and relying on narcotics to get through the day.  It was like I’d never left.

There were lots of neat toys to drool over but nothing I really needed (well , there was ONE guitar that would be very useful).  Years ago I adopted the process, when tempted by this or that new noise-maker, of taking a moment and asking myself: “Do I already own something that does whatever makes this new thing attractive?”  I was continually surprised how often this served me well.  So, it was really just a sight-seeing tour, wandering about, shooting pictures of the vistas, artifacts and (occasionally) the odd celebrity.  Now I am not a big believer in the “hey can I get a picture with you, Mister Rock-Star?”  For the most part, famous folks that I have met or spent any time with have turned out to be just like your average citizen – and I don’t really need my picture with the average citizen.  There are exceptions; extenuating circumstances that warrant some sort of documentation so the following shots are accompanied by the excus- er, I mean reasoning behind their being taken.  So without any more rambling…

Finally, being back on the streets of SoCal made me wonder two things: (1) did everybody here learn to drive playing Mario Kart? and (2) how long have turn signals been optional equipment in California?



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