JTG @ The Matterhorn, Stowe, VT

So the trio of LaVigne, Colbourn and Christensen participated in a fundraiser for s Stowe local (and close friend if Mike’s) who has been in treatment for cancer and is in need of help paying for it. Firstly, let me say it’s nice to actually be able to help someone by playing a gig. Usually it’s just an exercise in self-indulgence.

The gig was at the Matterhorn in Stowe, a place we used to play back in the day (when we had a drummer) and so it feels like being home. That is if your home is filled with a few hundred people. We played fairly early in the festivities and because it was an all ages event and because my family was conveniently on vacation about 20 minutes away my kids got to see the show. They are all huge fans of the band and were very excited. I was happy to have a road crew.

The setlist was pretty similar to the Higher Ground show with a couple covers thrown in. The venue was hot (all that humanity and humidity) and I sweated off a couple pounds by the end.

In the Presence of the Rhino King

So I schlepped down to Troy, NY to Revolution Hall to see Adrian Belew and his power trio Sunday night. Ade is a huge musical influence – his amazing sonic mayhem has graced albums by everyone from Zappa and Bowie to Nine Inch Nails. He’s also a bandmate of that other guy who’s had such an impact on my playing (Dear Old Uncle Bobby).

What made this gig particularly special is the fact that my friend Andre (whom you already know from previous pages on this blog) is working as his guitar tech/tour manager. This meant not only did I get to see an amazing gig (more on that in a minute) but also some hang time with Andre.

So I’m standing there before the show and Andre walks up and says, “I’ve got something for you. Here’s proof of just how well-connected I am.” Then he hands me a CD. Something familliar about this artwork. I look at it and it takes my brain a full 10 seconds to grasp what I’m looking at. It’s the brand new Stone Document CD! Slowly I am realizing he has a copy of my band’s new CD even before I have it! This of course make me ask the obvious: “Wha-, er, um… how? How? WTF? HOW?!”

It seems the previous night Adrian and company played in New Jersey and Doc was in attendance. He saw Andre and remembered being introduced to him by me at the David Torn CD release party in NYC last year. A conversation ensues, Doc gives him a couple of CDs (that had just arrived from the replication plant), and then a mere 24 hours later my mind is being blown. “Did you get one for you?” I asked. “Yes.” I handed the disc back to him. “Good. Please make sure Adrian gets this one.” The self-promotion muscle, while a bit stiff, still has reflexes.

So the band plays. Wow! I’ve seen Adrian many times over the years but this trio is a step above every other band he’s had. The drummer is a kid named Eric Slick and he’s monsterously good. I was already familliar with his playing because he also plays with the bands Project/Object and Delicious (both of which also feature Andre on guitar). The revelation about this band was on the other side of the stage. Eric’s sister Julie on Bass. This was the first time I’d had a chance to hear her. Awe-inspiring. And of course the musical connection between her and her brother was both audible and visible. For a full review look here: http://timesunion.com/ASPStories/storyprint.asp?StoryID=694620
or better yet head over to Adrian’s site (see my links) and pick up their new disc “Side Four (Live)”.

Afterwords I got a guided tour of Adrian’s rig (it’s nice to know the guy in charge of setting it all up!) and at the very end of the night a few words with the man himself. A couple of years ago I bought a guitar from Adrian (a Fernandes Les Paul with all the bells and whistles). He mentioned Fripp wants to buy the other one he has. When will he stop trying to emulate me?! 8^{/}

What’s next?

Well…

The Stone Document discs will be arriving soon so the promotional machinery is getting cranked up.  Wanna buy a copy?  Head over to StoneDocumentMusic.com.  It’ll also be up on iTunes very soon.

I’m getting back to tracking on my own disc as well as writing for the next SD project.

Trying to clear the path for the upcoming musical adventures with SD, the John Tower Whatever and a new collective of improvisers that is readying for a Middlebury debut.  Watch these pages for more details on all of these (and more).

JTG Experience at Higher Ground

What remains of the John Tower Group reunited Friday night at Higher Ground in Burlington, VT to play a set opening for The Johnny Devil Band.  Arty LaVigne, Mike Colbourn and myself did a set of some new tunes and some old favourites (Arty and Mike on acoustic guitars and me with a scaled-down electric rig).  It was immense fun and the crowd seemed to get into it… mostly.  The mostly-acoustic versions of the songs worked well and the sound was good – the onstage monitor mix was great so we could hear each other clearly.  It was also very nice to be back at Higher Ground.  Alex and everybody who works there are great. 

We’ll be doing a benefit at the end of June in Stowe (more details to follow) and I’m hoping this can evolve into a semi-regular thing.