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?



Been a bit quiet, hasn’t it?  Good reason; I seem to have ruptured a disk in my lower back (between L5 and S1 for you medical types).  The bulging portion of the disk is pressing on my sciatic nerves (on both sides now).  The result is constant leg pain and neuropathy in my feet.  In other words, what doesn’t hurt is numb.  One of the strictest prohibitions is lifting of any sort.  Nothing heavier than a pencil.  This does not bode well for musicking in the near future.


Speer Street Sessions

Before bidding an final farewell to our Spear Street rehearsal space (formerly a.k.a. “Arty’s Mom’s Place”), we did a mad dash of demo recording.  While not really releasable, a song or two might get leaked in the coming months.



Political Revolution Party


Radio Underground played as part of a fundraiser/unveiling of the Vermont Rights and Democracy organization.  A super-fun night sharing the stage with Chad Hollister, Dwight and Nicole and a host of other Vermont artists and Left-leaning politicians (and Ben and Jerry). It was also really nice to be back onstage at Higher Ground.  Been too long.
























THE Stone Document















Tracking continues for whatever this projectile with Doc is.  Significant are the facts that:

(1) We are now a duo

(2) We are sharing all the instrumental duties – there are even some guitar solos that are comps of both of us playing the same instrument, and

(3) It is another step in our evolution as a working unit.

The only thing we are sure of is “Stone Document” now has a “The” at the beginning.


Bowie, Part 2

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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

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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…



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