Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Open Thread

Since I got my laptop stolen, I've been doing some soul searching. I looked at the theft as almost the universe tell me "You need a clean slate, you need to re-evaluate your processes, you need a reboot & rebirth."

This rethinking is manifesting itself in my bass playing. Last night was the 1st rehearsal for The Good Foot, A Live Funk Mashup. This is a wonderful project set up by my man Rick McNulty (I will link to his great radio shows later, I'm blogging from my iPhone now). I brought Clyde ('78 Jazz) & the new kid on the block my '09 P Bass ( I want to call him Paul). We are doing live mashups of Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, The Skulls, James Brown, Bobby Bird and a bunch of other folks.

As much as I love Clyde, I think Paul will be on the gig. I will be breaking out the vintage Roland Jet Phaser and the MuTron. Paul's thicker sound works better. It's the first time I will be using Paul primarily for a gig.

Going foward, I think I'll be using both on gigs a lot. This requires me buying a double bass gig bag (M Case) and a 2 channel bass amp. I've been shopping around and the amp I'm drooling over is the Mesa Boogie Titan 12. It has 2 separate channels, a lot of power, versitlity and made in the USA.
As far as cabinets, I love the way Bertelinis(sp) sound. I love 4x10 cabinets because I like precise, yet deep sound of 4 10" speakers. I like my bass sound to have definition. Actually, the sound I go for is more of a philsophical sound, than physical.

The sound is bold, strong yet flexible. The color for the sound I see is forest green. Don't ask me why, it the color I see when I close my eyes in the groove and the sound is trancending my fingers, my heart, my body.

My favorite music sounds are:

1. Cannonball Adderley's Alto Sax
2. John Lennon & Paul McCartney singing together-harmony & unison.
3. Jimi Hendrix's guitar sound.
4. Vernon Reid's guitar sound.
5. Stevie Wonder's voice.
6. Aretha Franklin's voice.
7. Marcus Miller's bass sound
8. Larry Graham's bass sound
9. James Jameeson's bass sound
10. Paul McCartney's voice.

In future post, I will write more extensively and provide examples of these sounds.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Well today was an interesting day.

It started with perhaps a great opportunity. It came so quickly, it threw me for a loop. Basically, contact made early Tuesday morning, reply Tuesday afternoon & meeting today. More on this later. This was the good (will hopefully turn into GREAT!)

A band I auditioned for picked someone over me to join the band. The band Boy+Kite is a melodic guitar texture band. I really enjoy their music and think they have something special. I will support them. It wasn't a natural fit. We all got along, I could play the music, but it wasn't perfect. I audition twice, so at least I made it a hard decision. It will hurt if they blow up. I've hit a real dry spell for gigs. I haven't played out since March. This was the bad, but it wasn't that bad.

The Funk Wagon, my ride, was a victim of a smash and grab. The passenger side window was broken and my laptop was stolen. And it was raining. This is ugly, but I can handle it. All the files are backed up, my demos, my music collection, my writing, etc. Of course I'm worried about my personal stuff. I will be vigilant about protecting my passwords, ID and whatnot.

I always get philosophical in June. I look at today as all opportunities-the contact, the rejection from the band (I find the right musicians for QOBT?, produce a friend? Get a big name gig?) and the loss of the laptop (clean slate, a sign from the universe to streamline my digital life, a new laptop!?)

Who knows? This guy always knew. I take my cue for Jimi Hendrix "They don't know, like I know.."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Just Can't Quit You! I'm Back! & New Music (To Me) Tuesday.

Back to the Blog.

Back to writing about my love, frustration, obsession with everything music and being a musician. Where have I been? Well...

I auditioned for Honeybrowne and didn't get the gig.

Getting gigs are not just based on talent. Like any other job, there are a multitude of issues why a person is chosen. This process was not the most professional. Fred Andrews emailed me tracks to learn, then didn't contact me for a for a week. Then he called me on a Sunday afternoon as he and the band were driving back from a road gig. It was around 12:30pm and he wanted to met for the audition at 2pm. I asked him if 2:30 was ok. I got there, played the 3 tunes he sent and had the audition cut early because Mike (a drummer I played with in Wendy Colonna's band in the early aughts) had to leave. Fred then ask me some questions about my working situation. He had to leave and so did the guitarist Cale. Derek, keys & accordion player, was left and I had a great conversation about his main project Alpha Rev featuring Casey McPherson. I knew Casey when I first moved to Austin and was a fan of his band Endochine.

I felt comfortable with everyone personally and musically. The vibe I picked up from Fred was that he was concerned about my day gig getting in the way of the touring. But you know what? I don't know because

I never heard from Fred again.

I understand I wasn't the right fit, but to not call or email or anything left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I had to email my man Mike to find out they got some young guy with no attachments. Mike was disappointed in Fred because Fred told him he was gonna call everyone. Oh well...

I'm still trying to get the Quart of Blood Technique of the ground.

Finding musicians is hard. I was pretty detailed in what I was looking for. I had a few emails, but nothing panned out. My man, Chris Trafton is eager to play drums. I was trying to schedule rehearsals with him and Sam Powell, keys player of Soul Track Mind, but since they have other gigs we couldn't get together. I did get offered a demo gig at Yellow Dog Studios for SXSW. I played it with Sam and Raymond Johnson from Soul Track Mind. We were the demo band for the CLASP system. since we didn't have a drummer Chris Estes, the inventor of CLASP. Filled in on drums. Not bad for 1 take of each tune-All Blues & Mercy Mercy Mercy

Endless Analog's Chris Estes demonstrates CLASP from Kelly Kerr on Vimeo.

While putting the band together, I've got a logo designed:

I started a myspace, reverbnation, twitter and facebook fan page. They are still in "beta" so I haven't gotten them to where I'm ready to release them. By the end of the month, I promise.

Mostly, I've been writing and arranging. That takes a lot of time. I have a meager studio at best and I'm a a meager engineer at best. Plus, I have hundreds of cassette demos I'm going through and digitizing. (Don't get me started on digitizing my media-I got my old radio show Crosstown Traffic, reel to reel interviews, VHS, pictures... ugh) I promise to have my 1st batch of demos ready for the public by the end of the month. I was offered a weekly gig at TC's Lounge, but it got booked because of my line-up issues. Trafton will be back from touring with Guy Forsythe and Carolyn Wonderland. Sam is ready and he suggested a saxophone player for the project. I'm still looking for a guitarist, though Sam is working on his left hand. I might play guitar while he covers the bass.

I've been auditioning for bands & got offered a project that is hitting in the fall. More on that later this week.
Everyone needs a bass player, but quality gigs are hard to find. I'm putting together my music resume, starting a myspace and facebook fanpage about me. Same as the band, I will have stuff done at the end of the month.

My Clark Kent got switch to a different department-not of my choosing.

The transition has been interesting and different. No pay raise. To be honest, I liked my old Clark Kent in marketing-I was the competitive media analyst. Now I'm in advertising as the business development analyst. Jury still out as I feel my way around. Plus, I'm trying to get consulting work and working on my Clark Kent business plan. Like everyone else, it's about the dolla, dolla bills ya'll...

Catching up on TV shows

I rewatched The Wire, got heavily into The Pacific, Treme, Justified, 24, Law & Order, Life & Times of Tim, Archer, Damages,..no I never watched a single episode of Lost. The great work on TV has really inspired me creative juices, a reason I've been writing so much music. Oh, this little thing called the NBA playoffs as well.

If you see the left hand column, you know I'm a twitoholic

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of stuff (I have a ton of pics from SXSW, I bought a lot of music, attended dozens of shows, been reading a lot of music, social media, TV, economic, tech blogs, streamed the San Francisco Music Tech conference and made new twitter friends, world events, national events, etc). I will get to it. I have a lot on my mind. My birthday is June 30 and this month I always reassess my life & goals.

Now, let's back to my favorite thing to write about on Tuesdays-new music I bought. This week I went to Waterloo Records and Cheapo Discs.

From Cheapo Discs:
Mojo Presents: The Score Compilation-$3.95

I've been listening to a lot of soundtracks lately. This disc has some classic themes on it. Favs-Get Carter, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Truck Turner, A Fistfull of Dollars, Johnny Too Bad.

From Waterloo Records:

Booker T & the MGs-The Definitive Soul Collection-$10.99

You can never have too much soul. 2 Discs for the price of 1.

Frank Zappa-Strictly Commercial-The Best of Frank Zappa-$6.99

Great primer if you are new to Zappa. I was never that heavy into him, but always admired his musical vision. When I was in Rock Stardom & the Fashion Jerks, we played a killer cover of "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ocean Size: The Search Begins...

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar
Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more!

"The Ocean"-Led Zeppelin

It's time I tread into the wild wild sea of Craigslist. I need to find musicians in Austin Texas.

If I was a rich guy, I would hire the best available. But really bands are like any other group activity, chemistry is key. Usually a controlled volatility. No matter how much money is paid or how great the musicians are individually, they have to play and sound good together. They all gotta have the groove/philosophy of the music of the band-a collective vision. The band leader has to be able to communicate the musical and business agenda, plus manage expectations on both fronts. It's hard, a pain in the ass and when successful, better than sex.

I know some great players here in Austin, but they are busy because they are great players. I have a dream line-up of players I would love to have, but I need to keep it flexible. I want to have a couple of core people. Since I want great players, I know I will probably have some people in and out of the project. Hell, I'll hopefully be playing in more projects since I'm a music whore. The goal is to get album released by the end of the year. Since I'm the leader, I will handle the promotion and marketing, the booking, writing & arranging, incur the cost of rehearsals and try to pay the musicians in the band. I'll manage the Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, Bandize, Twitter, etc.. It's a lot of work. But the hardest thing might be writing the Craigslist ad. I wrote about one I liked here.

I've actually been thinking about this a long time. I wrote a lot of drafts and was not happy. I might have to rewrite this one. Here it goes:

The Quart of Blood Technique seeks a drummer & guitarist.

The Quart of Blood Technique is an instrumental band-live, experimental jazz, funk/R&B, rock, sound texture music. Original music, arrangements of music from movie soundtracks-TV Themes and riff heavy music (reworking hard rock and jazz tunes). Basically danceable out-there in the pocket stuff…

Music influences: Medeski Martin & Wood, The Meters, The Funk Brothers, James Brown, Booker T & the MGs, Herbie Mann, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis (Late 60s/Early 70s), Headhunters, the Screaming Headless Torsos & Vernon Reid’s Masque, T.J. Kirk

I’m a professional electric bassist. I’m in my 30’s, stable and my main bass influences are Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham, James Jamerson, Tony Levin, Paul McCartney, Doug Wimbish. I also sing, play guitar and alto sax.

Ideally the drummer for this project will be in the vein of Clyde Stubblefield, Bernard Purdie, Tony Williams, Zygabo Modeliste, Stewart Copeland, Billy Martin, Gene Lake. Somebody the lives in the pocket, but can explore in the world of beats.

Ideally the guitarist will be in the vein of John Scofield, Vernon Reid, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, David Fiuczynski.

I have a day gig. I will play at least $50 a gig, pay for rehearsals, handle the booking, marketing, etc. I tentatively have a weekly gig starting in April, depending on how soon I get the group together. I am looking for experienced professional, career minded musicians. I’m working on the web presence (FB fanpage, twitter, Reverbnation, Myspace..) and none of them are quite ready yet. I have demos of originals.

Thanks for reading the ad.



Monday, March 1, 2010

It's All Too Much...

February was a BUSY month. My goal is to post everyday and I have a bunch of half-written posts. For example,

My Saturday posts: The Week That Was... would have included the following:

February 1: Don Everly Birthday
February 2: Tom Smothers, Graham Nash, Birthdays
February 3: Johnny Guitar Watson, Dave Davies, Birthdays. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper & Ritchie Valens die in a plane crash (The Day the Music Died)
February 4: Alice Cooper Birthday
February 5: Al Kooper Birthday
February 6: Fabian, Bob Marley Birthdays
February 9: Carole King Birthday. The Beatles play Ed Sullivan & make their American TV Debut
February 11: In 1963 The Beatles record all the tracks for Please Please Me in 12 hours at Abbey Road. In 1964, The Beatles play their first live gig in the America at the Washington D.C. Coliseum. Gene Vincent (Beatle contemporary) Birthday.
February 12: Ray Manzarek Birthday
February 13: Peter Tork Birthday
February 14: Tim Buckley Birthday
February 16: Sonny Bono Birthday
February 17: Gene Pitney Birthday
February 19: Smokey Robinson Birthday
February 23: Johnny Winter Birthday
February 24: David Fathead Newman Birthday
February 25: George Harrison Birthday
February 26: Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Mitch Ryder Birthdays
February 28: Joe South, Brian Jones Birthdays

Plus, I bought a lot of music and saw a lot of shows. I was also writing music for my instrumental band The Quart of Blood Technique & my solo project (Greg & the Get Downs) looking for musicians, hanging out & drinking with my wife and friends, going to Dallas for All Star Weekend, watching the Saints win the Superbowl, working my Clark Kent job as a media analyst, recording LEOGS, getting my black ass back in shape for my boy's wedding in August, trying out for Honeybrowne....

A lot of stuff. Now it's March and it's just gonna get worse with SXSW. I will post a collective New Music (to Me) Tuesday tomorrow. Thanks for reading and being part of the conversation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Music (To Me) Tuesday

This week's shopping spree was at Waterloo Records. The goal is to always keep the price-point to $10.00 a disc.

Lady Ga Ga-The Fame & The Fame Monster-$19.99

Every since here Grammy performance, I thought I should listen to her music and see what all the hullabaloo is all about. To me, her music is well constructed pop/dance music. It's catchy. My favorite tune from these discs is "Teeth". The groove is hard & deep. I think The Quart of Blood Technique is going to do a cover of this tune.

Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble-The Real Deal Greatest Hits 2-$6.99

On August 27, 1990 I was driving either from or to work at a New Jersey mall when I heard the news about Stevie Ray's death. I pulled over and sat in disbelief. I just missed his tour with Jeff Beck the previous fall. Can't believe he's been gone 20 years. One of my best MTV moments is the video for "Couldn't Stand the Weather". I thought it was cool that he and Double Trouble played with swim googles on.

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross-The Hottest New Group in Jazz-$10.99

This is a great 2 disc set that contains 3 albums: The Hottest New Group in Jazz, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington and HIgh Flying with Ike Isaacs Trio

Karl Denson-Dance Lesson #2-$5.99

Since I'm in the head with my new project The Quart of Blood Technique, I have funk groove soul jazz on my mind. I've been into Karl since his Lenny Kravitz days.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Name is The Game: Band Names

"There's a thin line between clever and stupid." Nigel Tufnel

Band names.

The right one is iconic. The wrong one is stupid. Band names brand your tribe. Your fans will paste it on their cars, windows, bar bathrooms, clubs, telephone poles, guitar cases, Trapper Keepers, wear it on panties, t-shirts, hats, etc. There are many types of band names:

1. The (Your Name Here) Band, Group or Duo,Trio, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Octet or Explosion or Experience or Unit or what have you.

The easiest, most direct way to name a band. Jazz groups love this. It's also because jazz groups usually have leaders or feature players-those leaders are the band. The leader of the group could be dead, but it's still his or hers band. Rock bands that use this type of moniker like to, dare I say, jazz it up with funky adjectives for "band".
Ex: The Miles Davis Quintet, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Sonny Rollins Trio, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Jazz/Funk Unit, The Charles Mingus Big Band. James Brown & the Famous Flames, Hootie & the Blowfish. A personal favorite of mine-Rock Stardom & the Fashion Jerks. I was a Fashion Jerk

By the way, I actually like the name-The (Your Name Here) Band. Your welcome, use it.

Here is a list of eponymous band names

2. The name that defines your primary influence. Sometimes the name is spelled different, sometimes it's a combination of things boiled down to a couple of words or phase. Something that is important to the band or the leader of the band. A style of music or philosophical world view or a song or another band.

Ex; The Rolling Stones, Soul Track Mind, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Doors

3. The made-up name or phrase

Pretty simple in concept, whether it's intentional or found in a dream. Sometimes words are just cool together

Ex: Aerosmith, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Audioslave, Air Supply, Nine Inch Nails.

4. The obvious name.

A common word or phrase, sometimes in a different language.

Ex: The Eagles, The Police, The Band, The Cure, Helmet, No Doubt, Yo La Tengo, Pantera, The Time

These are just a few types of band names. There are some many reasons and choices bands make about their names. I keep a list of band names, song titles with me all the time. Ever time I think of one, I write it down.

Here is a list of band names and their origins from Wikipedia.

My favorite band names: Radiohead, Soundgarden, Living Colour, Sly & The Family Stone, The Jam, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Bad Brains, Public Enemy, Pearl Jam, Screaming Headless Torsos, Massive Attack, Led Zeppelin, Funkadelic.

The name I choose for my new instrument group is The Quart of Blood Technique. Here are the reasons:

1. I like a name that can be shorten by a fanbase-perhaps the QoBT, The Technique, etc. Like the The Rolling Stones go by the Stones a lot.

2. The music of the group will be live, experimental jazz, funk/R&B, rock, sound texture stuff. Original music, arrangements of music from movie soundtracks-TV Themes and riff heavy music (reworking hard rock and jazz tunes). I ultimately want some of the original music used with film. I wanted a name to reflect film, so I wanted something from a film.

3. I wanted a name to reflect my mindset. I have an absurdist, subversive sense of humor. It's why I love the human condition. The absurdity of situations, even the tragic ones. It's how I deal with stress,

4. One of my favorite movie scenes ever is from Trading Places. The first time I saw this scene I was hyperventilating. I was a kid, but the fact the Billy Ray Valentine could bullshit so much just tickled me to no end. What he says is so absurd, yet his jailbird minions hang on ever word of his heist story.

So be on the lookout for updates on my group The Quart of Blood Technique. The next step will be filling out the line-up.....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thin Line Between Love & Hate: 52nd Annual Grammy Awards

I attended the 40th Annual Grammy Awards February 25th, 1998. I was a head seat filler, so I had a lot of friends come and hang being seat fillers. It was a great experience. It was hosted by Kelsey Grammer and had these famous/infamous moments:

1. Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard interrupts Shawn Colvin's Song of the Year acceptance speech to protest the Clan's loss in the Best Rap Album category.

2. Immediately after performing "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes loses Best Female Country Vocal Performance to Trisha Yearwood's cover version of the exact same song.

3. Aretha Franklin performs the aria "Nessun Dorma" after standing in for Luciano Pavarotti at the last minute.

4. During a Bob Dylan performance, a shirtless backup dancer named Michael Portnoy rushes to the front of the stage with the words "Soy Bomb" written on his chest.

I had a lot of great interactions with famous musicians. I'll have to check my journal for specific stories (one day...). It was the closest I've ever gotten to a Grammy stage. It was maddening, intoxicating and yes a little depressing. I always felt kinda torn about the Grammys. It's like when I lived in New York City. I lived in Brooklyn (Park Slope, Flatbush, Bed-Stuy, Midwood), Queens (Briarwood) and Manhattan (Washington Heights & Soho). A lot of my friends lived in Brooklyn and Queens and made it "cool". All the "hipper than thou"crowd bemoaned how uncool Manhattan was. They loved scraping cash for long ass cab rides, taking the L, G, E, F to outer Mongolia late at night. Yeah, real cool. You know what was cool? Walking home from work, gigs, clubs. You know what was cool? Telling women "We can go back to my place on Sullivan Street, between Prince & Houston.." (Ok what wasn't cool was the rent-$850 for my share of a 4 bedroom joint that was tiered to what each person could pay. My share wasn't the highest and this was 1997-1998.) Most of my friends that liked living in the boroughs couldn't afford to live in Manhattan. They had to make it "cool" to put up with the P.I.TA. factor (pain in the ass...) If they had the bread, 99% would've lived in Manhattan.

It's the same thing with the Grammys. Most of my musicians friends haven't been to the Grammys, been nominated or won. I know a few that have won or were nominated, but they are established acts-nobody I came through the trenches with. It's easy for us independent musicians without deals, press or hits to bag on the Grammys (there's plenty to bag on). The truth is the worst thing about the starving artist thing is the starving. I never pretended that I didn't want more exposure for my work. I believe my role as an artist is to be a reflection of the human condition. I want that reflection to shine on as many people as possible. I want the opportunity to have someone blog about my musical expressions, criticize me, cut me down or love what I do and praise my music. Do I wish I was nominated? Do I wish to win a Grammy one day? Of course I do. Acceptance is not overrated. If just one day or week or year I could have an album that grabs people, it would be cool.

Another aspect of the Grammys plays into the ego. We artists/musicians believe we have something to say. To be honest, must of us think people should listen to us. And hey, we all think we're pretty good or great. We on the outside who think we have talent look at some of the performers and question everything:

Can't I sing better than that? I know I'm a better bassist/guitarist/vocalist/songwriter than these people...Why are they getting Grammys while I've been work Clark Kent jobs for 20 years? Why didn't any of the music projects I was involved with get popular or signed? Why am I still trying to do this?

So is there jealousy involved in watching the Grammys? Absolutely. The elephant in the room when I watch the Grammys with friends or family. I'm just trying to be honest with myself. To admit that my ego doesn't exist is ridiculous.

In the end, I like a celebration of music. I hadn't watched a whole Grammys Show since I moved to Austin. In my music sabbatical, I really checked out on pop music. My friend Megan decided to have a Grammy party and I decided to attend and watch the show with some Gen Yers. They schooled me and caught me up on the stuff I missed. I did tweet the show then watched it again on DVR These are my observations (some of them are tweets I posted)

I should note that I watched a lot of the streaming pre-telecast stuff and liked it very much. Kurt Elling should host more stuff and he has one of the best voices around. His co-host featured a Tia Carrere sighting. The backing band was great and the perfomances were grittier. It probably had to do to the fact that it was a smaller theatre.

The opening performance with Lady Gaga and Elton John

This was the 1st time I saw Lady Gaga. She is what pop stars should be though I wasn't particularly moved by her music. Maybe I'll pick up her record and listen to it, just to see if the kids are all screaming about. I do like the fact that she can sing and play piano. Elton was Elton.

Stephen Colbert made a great point about Susan Boyle. "Remember-you may be the coolest people in the world, but this year your industry was saved by a 48 year old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes."

Man I'm old, I had no idea Green Day is a musical now.
7:32 PM Jan 31st from Tweetie

I guess they are the Gen X version of the Who. Is American Idiot Tommy? I'm not a big fan of musicials, but this performance was aiiight.

Beyonce does Alanis M. Not bad.
7:35 PM Jan 31st from Tweetie

Beyonce was good. I think she outdid Lady Gaga, but Beyonce to me has no personality. She seems like a nice person, she's like a robot. She can sing, but there isn't a lot of there, there. That's why she's such a terrible actress. She can sing her ass off. And she had an all female band. I thing they were all females of color, which is nice to see. I wish Beyonce and the recorded industry would recognize more black rock/alt music (There are books written about the struggle of black rock musicians) By recognize I mean support with albums, marketing, touring, promotion, etc...

People in the audience are like "yo Pink, u know how much my hair cost, this suit and you are pullin' this flash dance sh*t?"
7:47 PM Jan 31st from Tweetie

She was ok, but the song bored me to death.

When did country dudes start dressing like dressed up frat guys? The Best New Artist Zak Brown Band looks like guys that hang out on 6th Street. Good for them, hopefully this doesn't kill their career.

I will never, ever ever ever ever EVER understand the appeal of the Black Eyed Peas. They dress like freaks, their music is like cotton candy-all suger and air. I heard they actually rapped back in the day:

Wha' happen?

Of course Colbert was going to win a Grammy. It's the only reason he showed up to start the show.

Kings of Leon- I know nothing about this band. I guess they are the kings of arena rock now. They music is a was to me. Maybe I need to buy the album the see what kids are all a flutter about. Congrats on the Grammy.

November Rain? With Jamie Fox , Timberland, TI, Slash.... man pop music is weird
8:33 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

WTF was this? I forgot to mention Doug E. Fresh and T-Pain. This performance made me feel so old. I stopped listening to new hip hop after Biggie died. That autotune, dirty south stuff was never my cup of tea. Strong Island, Brooklyn Took It, Boogie Down Bronx-that's me stuff.

Jamie Foxx is a talented dude, though. This guy's an Oscar winner, too.

Leon Russell looks like he's been hanging wth JD Salinger...
8:41 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

Hey Grammy Soundguys, please improve the mix in Taylor Swift's monitor. She is singing kinda flat....
8:50 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

She's sweet. She's cute. She's young. She's tall. And she was not good. I don't know if she sings flat all the time, but with Stevie Nicks (Not exactly the most accurate singer herself) She won big tonight. (Four wins including Album of the Year)

Hudson, Usher, Smokey, Underwood and Dion and a trippy booby Beyonce in the audience... Who needs 3D?
8:58 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

The Michael Jackson tribute was ok. I just wished they picked a better song. Earth Song is kinda a durge of a tune. I didn't have 3D glasses so I couldn't get the full effect. Smoke Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, User, Carrie Underwood and Celion Dion were all adequate enough, I guess. When his kids came out and Prince had the speech down, it was sweet. I guess Michael was a good dad to them. The crowd in 3D glasses was very 50's. Beyonce rocked them....

How did Bon Jovi go from hair metal to country pop? #grammys
9:11 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

RT @thecultureofme: richie sambora looks like an old lesbian these days. #grammys
9:12 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

So can Jon Bon Jovi not hit the high note anymore in Living on a Prayer? He let her take it...
9:16 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

Amen on people paying for music. It costs real money to make music. When recording, mkting & touring r free, music should be free. #grammys
9:46 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

I total agree with Neil Portnow

"Now, what if someone told you they really appreciated your work but didn't think they should have to pay you for it anymore. What would you do? How would you pay your bills, support your family? How would you survive?

This evening, you've seen performances by the most successful artists today. And you know about their generosity and giving back. But standing right behind them are thousands of unknown and up-and-coming music makers who face the question of survival every day (THAT'S ME!!!). In the coming decade, unless they can make a living at their craft, the quality and creativity of the music will be at risk.

Well tonight, we're all fans and music lovers who want to ensure that the future of music is a bright one. New technologies will bring music whenever and wherever you want it.

But as fans, let's all truly value the music and the songs that change our lives by supporting and compensating these gifted creators of the music we treasure. And together, let's make this next decade a time of renaissance for the music that plays as the soundtrack of our lives."

Dave Matthews band has always been a snoozefest for me and their Grammy performance did nothing to wake me up to their music.

Nice to see Maxwell and Roberta Flack together.

Man that Les Paul tribute was weak. They couldn't put a real band with Jeff Beck? Why not Al DiMeola who actually plays jazz on a Les Paul?
10:07 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

Tarantino is in his fat Elvis phrase doing a terrible Samual L Jackson.
10:13 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

I see Little Wayne & I hear "Pants on the Ground.."
10:15 PM Jan 31st from TweetDeck

The should've live twittered it with the lyrics since most of them were muted.

The complete list of winners are here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Week That Was: Birthdays & History

January 24
Aaron Neville

Neil Diamond

(I always loved the melody of this tune)

January 25
Etta James

(Get well soon...)

January 26
Eartha Kitt

Huey "Piano" Smith

(Used in the ending credits of Snatch)

January 27
Elmore James

Bobby "Blue" Bland

Kate Wolf

January 28
Elvis makes debut on national TV on The Dorsey Show

Roy Eldridge

Ruth Brown

January 30
Rooftop Concert for Let It Be marks the Beatles last public performance as a group.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Show Report: Digital Antique at Pie Guys Pizza-Fri. 1-22-2010

Digital Antique is a great instrumental soundscape band. In the small room above the University of Texas campus pizzeria, the band had command of the room.

It wasn't the best sounding room (the bass could've been louder), yet the crowd listened intently.

Here are the guys:

Payton Holekamp-Drums

Joey Reyes-Cello

Parker Randolph-Bass

Travis Kennedy-Guitar

The next show is Thursday February 11 at the Ghost Room in Austin, Texas.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Show Report: Bruce James Soultet at The Continental Gallery-Mon. 1-25-2010

In January 2010 Mondays at the Continental Club Gallery were the home of The Bruce James Soultet. It's always cool for a band to have a residency, it builds fans plus the band gets a chance to stretch and perhaps try new material. This show was the last Monday (January 25) of their residency. A really cool thing about a residency on a non-weekend night with a great band is that brings out the cats to jam and to hang. I love that about a being musician, I love hanging with cats. All of my life I always wanted to be one, a musician respected by my peers. I was hanging with my man Sam a good young keyboard cat.

The lineup of the band:

Bruce James -- Keys and Vocals
Tim Spivey -- Bass
Chris Trafton -- Drums
David Jimenez -- Guitar
Fumi Sugawara -- Guitar
Dave Carrol - Percussion

During the break, I chatted up Chris, found out he saw me play with STM and liked my playing. I introduced him to Sam (Sam was rapping with Bruce about keys and Bruce invited him to come hang and learn with him at one of his solo piano gigs.) I mentioned my jazz/funk project and he was really interested in being a part of it. Very cool...

The band was hot, heavy in the pocket and drenched in soul. I love the 2 guitar line-up of the group. It's a testament to me that a group with 3 chordal instruments never get in each others way. David Jimenez is such a sick soloist. He tells a story all the time, he bends , prods and quotes in his solos (he quoted Blue Monk in one his solo.) Plus Chris and Dave had good rhythmic chemistry. Tim has that great finger-funk style of playing, dancing with the beat and chords. Fumi's guitar tone is nice deep sound texture. Overall this band just kicks ass.

After the show, Sam and I talked with the whole band and 2 other drummers about the biz, music and feel. Everyone changed information and had a good time. The show prompted me to buy one of Bruce's CDs. Some pictures of the show:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Music (To Me) Tuesday-Again!

This little tiny spree was done today. The location was Cheapo Records.

Branford Marsalis-I Heard You Twice the First Time-$7.95

Branford plays the blues with a cast of greats including, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and his brother Wynton.
Branford really covers the history of blues in the music. After thinking about Branford's influence on me, I decide he is on The Completion List. This album was also a cassette casualty, music that need replacement.

Ron Carter Sextet-Orfeu-$7.95

One night last week I was up brain noodling with band names, lyric writing what have you and I some how ended up on Ron's website listening to his streaming music. I heard tracks of this killa album and reminded myself about how much I love his playing and compositions. When I buy that acoustic bass this year and take lessons on it, his Building Jazz Bass Lines will be parked on my music stand.

Bruce James-The Wayside Drive Sessions-$9.99

This is a GREAT local Austin artist. I went to hear him and his Soultet at the Continental Gallery on Monday January 25, 2010. I was with my man Sam who is a good young keyboard player. Sam loves him and is going to start hanging with him to pick up some pointers. It was a night of hanging with cats. I knew Bruce just put out a new record, but he didn't have any on him that night. So I figure I'd go and pick up one at Cheapo. This disc is an early one, still slammin' though.

Here is a taste of The Bruce James Soultet:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Music (To Me) Tuesday

This is shopping spree is from Tuesday January 19. Some times I'm in completion mode-I buy music to replace stuff I have on cassette (yes I still have cassettes) or top off collections of my favorite artists (I have about 20 artists I gotta have every sound they've ever made on record...more on that list later). Like last week, I went to Waterloo Records.

The Police-Every Breath You Take-The Classics-$5.99

I'm not sure why I bought this. I have all the Police albums and can easily make a Police play list. I didn't have "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86". I know must people think it stinks and for the most part I agree with them. But this is a case of my music addiction. At the 4:12 mark in this track Sting's vocals sound so sweet. I wish they extended it more. Plus Stewart Copeland is in my top 10 for drum influences. To me, he plays drums like Thelonius Monk played piano. Rhythmic obtuse thought, plays the space. Some favorite moments from this collection-

At the 2:11 mark in "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" he drives into the chorus of the tune with 16th notes on the kick drum.

His crashing on the 4 or the and of 4 of measures and leaving space on the 1 of measures. It's everywhere in "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (original). Listen to the outro chorus that starts at the 3:15 mark, especially check his fills at 3:35 and 3:42 very Bernard Purdie

Stewart Copeland is awesome...

Paco de Lucia-John McLaughlin-Al Di Meola-Friday Night in San Francisco-$9.99

This is an album I wore out on cassette. I first heard this hanging out with some guitar players while I was at Berklee, a random dorm night where we dreamed and just got into the majestic, soaring music. This was my introduction to Paco De Lucia.

Isaac Hayes-Black Moses-$10.99

One of the best nicknames ever. This album is epic soul. The string arrangements are grand, his voice was strong. This album marks the man at the pinnacle of his powers. My favorite version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Part-Time Love" is just so epic.

Paul McCartney-Good Evening New York City-$14.99

2 CDs & a DVD of the show. Great value here. I think this live collection is very good. Love the song choices. His voice is strong and I always love watching him play and sing. He makes it look so easy. Plus, I love when he "covers" Beatle songs by John and George. His band is great, especially Abe Laboriel, Jr. He was at Berklee College of Music when I was there. I hung with him a few times, though I doubt he'd remember. Nice guy and great drummer.

Fela Kuti-Music is the Weapon-$9.99

This is another cassette that got a workout. Almost all of the text was worn off the plastic. I lost the jacket. All I knew was the title of the album. I got hip to Fela Kuti after he died. It was a case of his death moving to investigate the awesome influence of his music. I need to learn about him and his music. I have a general idea of the scope of him and his influence, but I need to dig deeper.

And the addiction grows....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gig Notes: Soul Track Mind-The Hole in the Wall Sat. 1-23-10

It was a wild one. The place was so packed the fire marshalls had to shut it down.

Both bands packed them in. T-Bird had never played the Hole in the Wall before, which was kinda surprising to me. The fire marshall cut about 20-30 minutes into their set. They fire marshalls were just doing their jobs and seemed cool about it. It was crowed in there, I was hanging in back or the front, not the performing room. While it was shut down, anyone leaving the club wasn't allowed back in and there was a line waiting to get in. I could see friends out side through the storefront like window. We called each other while looking through the glass, like prisoners of music.

After T-Bird performed a smokin' abbreviated set, we went on. The crowd was hyped and ready. We started with a couple of originals, then the set got bogged down because of the shortened time slot. That happens when a band is thrown a monkey wrench in the middle of a gig. All-in-all I thought the gig went well. Still, I had a hard time getting excited about it. The innate problems still exist-the drummer dropping beats, the singer focusing on cover tunes instead of originals, lack of CDs to sell in the club. The core TC's fans were there, which is mainly made of close band friends and they sing the covers. I was looking at the crowd and potential new fans were more into the covers, which is a problem in my opinion. When given the chance to play for such a crowd, the band should've been better prepared-musically focus on originals, have CDs with some stickers or T-shirts to sell, have a person roam/work the crowd and not just dance with friends. Opportunities work best when one is prepared. It's a drum I tried to beat but fell to deaf ears. Oh well, I took my $60 at the end of the night and ate a nice late-night meal at 24 Diner.

I guess it all comes full circle-STM is replacing me temporarily with the guy I replaced last year. He's a nice guy, but kinda a gunslinger on bass-he plays a six string bass, which is cool but his sense of pocket wavers like the drummer's. Like I said, Beat Don't Lie. A whack beat can't fool dancing feet and swinging hips & asses. Pocket & groove sticks and moves the crowd. Good luck to them...

Gig notes:
1. Cody Furr, bassist for T-Bird let me use his rig-Ampeg B-2RE head with a 4 x 10 cab (don't remember what it was...). The sound was good. It was nice not have to lug my Harkte 3500 with my ported Genz Benz XB4 cab. I gotta get a new amp/cabinet combo this year...
2. Played Clyde on the gig-my '78 Fender Jazz.
3. By the way, it irritated me to no end that we never documented the tunes we play or had solid set lists. It's like the key part of the show gets lost in time. Plus STM had a recorder so there was never a reason not to have recordings of the shows to listen to to get better & tighter.
4. It's always weird playing your last gig with a band you got fired from when it slow dawns on people that never really thought of it. "You must so excited about this year! What a gig to start the year off with!" Actually, not with this band....

Page turned.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

Cheers to the Saints, the football team for best music city in the United States-New Orleans, Louisiana- for the winning the NFC Championship and making it to the SuperBowl 44

American music really started in New Orleans. Congo Square was the seed of just about all original American music.

I had the great fortune to play in New Orleans a few times with Jim Lampos. I always loved the vibe & spirit of the people of New Orleans.

Some great musicians from New Orleans:

Louis Armstrong:

Professor Longhair:

The Meters:
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Fats Domino:

Branford Marsalis:

I know there are a ton of great musicians from New Orleans, but these 5 came to my mind instantly:

Louis Armstrong-The King of American Music. He is the root from where we all grow.

Professor Longhair-King of News Orleans Piano

The Meters-Cissy Strut changed my concept of rhythm when I was younger.

Fats Domino-Always loved his music and he was a prominent face of Katrina survivors.

Branford Marsalis-The concert that changed my life was in 1986. I saw Sting on his Dream of the Blue Turtles Tour. I was a sax player at the time. I saw Branford Marsalis and I thought he was the coolest musician I'd ever seen. The next day I went out and bought Scenes in the City & Royal Garden Blues. It was in the liner notes where I read that he attended Berklee College of Music. He is the reason I attended Berklee and continue to pursue music as a career.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aftermath in 4 Parts: Part 4-The Finale?

"This is the end, beautiful friend..."

Tonight I play with Soul Track Mind for the last time, I think. I never say never, especially when it comes to playing with people. We musicians are loyal to music and money. Yeah I said it. Actually, playing on stage is pretty easy. It's the issues with personalities, the music business and all the prep work for the stage performance (writing, arranging, rehearsing music, etc..). All the stuff that puts us on stage to make the performance great. So when you see bands get back together, its for the love of the music and performing on stage. Or it's all that and the fact that a band can make a shit load of money-see The Eagles or The Police. The battles within those bands are legendary, but in the end-music and money can salve a lot of wounds.

The tonight's show at the Hole in the Wall with T-Bird & the Breaks was going to be a nice launching pad for a big 2010. Now, I think it will show the tale of 2 bands-one going up and one going down. There is a very interesting subtext that came to light recently. A little tidbit I got from Sam, the keys man. I'll see how it plays out and report back.

Just cause I'm a sentimental guy, here is a video of Soul Track Mind at Antone's September 7, 2009. The band had some promise and a bright future...Sorry Sam, this is before you got in the band...

The Week That Was: Birthdays

The Week In Birthdays:

January 17
Mick Taylor

(This is a great interview, a lot of relevant stuff even for musicians of today.)

January 18
David Ruffin

(The note he hits at the 57 sec mark is almost holy.)

January 19
Phil Everly

(This song was written by Paul McCartney)

Janis Joplin

Dolly Parton

January 20
Paul Stanley

(Can you take a threat from Paul Stanley seriously dressed like that?)


(Love this tune-Note how he name drops Alan Lomax)

January 21
Richie Havens

(Singing my favorite song of all time.)

Edwin Starr

( Love the line "Now when I kiss her lips, I turna back over flip" classic Motown lyric writing, turning a regular phrase into pop poetry.)

Billy Ocean

(Gotta love the background singers.)

January 22
Sam Cooke

(Love everything about this man's music)

January 23
Anita Pointer

Django Reinhardt

Friday, January 22, 2010

Open Thread

As I walk to the see Digital Antique's gig (it's on/by the UT campus-
the streets are a Myan maze. Impossible to find parking...Headed
toward Pie Guys Pizza... ) I'm thinking about the benefit for Haiti. I
love these kind of shows though I hate the reason for them. I recorded
on cassette the whole 9/11 concert. At least I'll be able to catch the
rerun on YouTube.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gig Notes: Soul Track Mind-TC's Lounge Wed 1-20-10

Well, last night was my last gig at TC's Lounge for awhile at least. I won't say ever because I would love to get back here with the instrumental group i want to do. Our performance was better than last week's, but like B.B. King sings "The Thrill is Gone"

The power of the band at our peak is not there. We're like a married couple going through the motions, passing each other like ships in the night. It's such a shame. I think the crowd felt it tonight. The singer was not connecting with the audience like he's capable of doing. The stories between songs were falling flat. I tried to play as excited as I could. It's hard when the crowd is not hyped up. When that happens, the band would usually feed off of each other's energy, but the energy was sapped. It was a "dead bassist/horn section walking situation". Our gig on Saturday with T-Bird & the Breaks should be energizing since it's my last gig and we want to perform well for T-Bird's crowd.

Random Gig Notes:

1. Played both basses tonight. The P-Bass was thick and gorgeous. Thanks to Chuck at the Bass Emporium for the great set-up.
2. When STM was on it's break from TC's, Mudbone Hustler filled in for us. Jenni Jones (singer) & Mike Steel (Drummer) from the band came out to hang. During the break, they ask me to help with some arranging for the band. They're looking for an experienced outside ear to help them out. I told them I would. It's an honor for me to help musicians out. The opportunity to try some ideas out gets me excited. Kinda like a very very very small time Gil Evans.

That's why the STM break-up sticks in my craw. We were doing pre-production rehearsals for the album. I was going to produce the album because I've done it before. I was the only member of the band that recorded on commercially released material. It was a chance to try some of my ideas out. Oh well, I'll get the chance on more positive projects.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aftermath in 4 Parts: Part 3

Tonight is my last gig at TC's Lounge with Soul Track Mind.

Weekly gigs can be a grind, especially when you have a Clark Kent to be at in the morning. I was always proud to be part of band with a residency. It is a special thing and not common. People depend on you to provide the soundtrack to their night. Their night could be trying to forget a shitty day, trying to find a spark to light their way to a better place. People dancing, feeling free to find what they want or what they need. Booze, babes whatever. That's thing about being a musician that's so powerful-the chance to matter to somebody. Musicians are stewards of spiritual renewal. It's a responsibility I take seriously. "With great power, comes great responsibility"

It's a topic of one of my songs called "Song" (I tried to think of another title, really)

"Song" (c) GJAS 1997

You come to my world to cleanse your soul.
You come to seek me, to seek my control.
Tears, blood, visions, drugs are mixed in the stew.
Handle with the care of a child as I give it to you.

I carve a great stone.
I paint a thick wood.
My Song is in them.
My Song is in them. 2x's

When you crave a release, a release from a truth.
You come to me, the magic man-your spiritual sleuth.
I twist and churn, freeze and burn so you can be free.
All I need for my hunger feed is some love from you to me.

I carve a great stone.
I paint a thick wood.
My Song is in them.
My Song is in them. 2x's

Freedom from your soul.
Freedom for your pain.

I turn off the valve now, the cipher is drained.
The color schemes from the other world, the other world are gained.
Dreams and fears, standing near the omnipresent gate.
I'm in the constant state-a tour guide for fate.

I carve a great stone.
I paint a thick wood.
My Song is in them.
My Song is in them.

It's why we get into this stupid business. It's why bands get together and break up and marginal players want a piece of it. Every other profession wants to a piece of it (politicians, athletes, CEOs are want to be describe this way). The ultimate description of cool, control, style, culture king or queen, tastemaker, zeitgeist zinger, meme manipulator is


I'm off to lay down rockstar bass....