Archive for Music/Art

Master of his instrument

It’s no secret that I am very fond of music, all types of music. What I really admire is people that have truly ‘mastered’ their instrument. I thought about it and realized I feel this way just about all instruments, even ones I don’t really care for. Just about the only one I don’t really care to hear played is the harp. I just can’t get excited about the harp. It’s too flowy and I think I speak for all people when I say ‘fairly boring’. You’ll never hear a good rock song played on a harp. I’m not being mean, I’m just stating facts. You can breathe easy that the video below is not about a harp.

Rather it is a duet of Paganini’s ‘Carnival of Venice’ performed with a classical guitar and the lead instrument being a Russian made Domra. If you don’t know what a Domra is watch the video and you’ll see it’s a small 4-stringed instrument similar in size to a mandolin.

What I love about this video is the setting and the Domra player. I get the feeling it’s in someone’s dorm room and they decided on an impromptu jam session. Relaxed and informal, but the music is brilliant. The Domra player is amazing and quirky with incredible skill and dynamics to his playing. I love it, it appears as if he’s not even trying which in my mind makes him all the more a master.

Enjoy.

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Top Five Bands…..you would eliminate

I saw this question on Fark the other day so I was curious what my readers would say. What are the top 5 bands you would completely wipe off the face of the Earth, as if they never had existed? Try to avoid whole genres as I’m sure some people would completely wipe out all rap and others would completely wipe out all country…etc. What are five bands that you can’t stand and why?

Oh…I just realized I should put up my top 5. I’m going to have to think about it, but I know U2 is one of them. Four more to go.

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I smiled

Since everyone says I don’t smile when I play the guitar I wanted to share this video. I’m working on Brian Setzer’s ridiculously hard ‘8-track’ and about 1:05 I screwed up. I just couldn’t get my fingers to find the correct chord and found it funny for some reason which generated a smile. One of these days I’ll figure out this whole song with solo and all, it is incredibly impressive and what’s even more amazing is that Setzer sings the whole time he’s playing this crazy stuff!

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All Rocked Out

This is what happens when I play my brand new guitar into the wee hours of the morning. I fall asleep with her in my arms but my fingers still know what to do.

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Denied no longer

If you know anything about me you know that I love steak, fine women, casseroles and definitely guitar. If you locked me in a room with those four things I would never leave to see the light of day again. I’ve been playing guitar for 16 years and during that time I’ve never really splurged or invested in a nice instrument for myself. There have been plenty that I have wanted, but I always had this mental block that said “you don’t need that” or “when you’re good in like 20 years, then you can buy that”. I’m not sure where this internal dialogue came from but it sucks and I could never shake it. Then I noticed different friends that had been playing for only a little while buying kick ass instruments, when this happened I realized that I could do that too! I realize this is all ridiculous, but this is what was going on in my head. For the past 8 years I have had my eye on a few different guitars. I love Gibsons and Gretschs especially the semi-hollow body variety. They’re big, beautiful and have lots of knobs. Of the semi-hollow bodies I always wanted a guitar like Chet Atkins used to play. He’s one of my favorite guitar players and I dreamed of owning a replica. Yesterday I made that dream come true.

Phil told me earlier this week, “Um…you should go to Showcase Music, I’m pretty sure they have that guitar you’ve been obsessing about for the past month”. I went there yesterday to see if he was full of it and for once he was telling the truth. I made a beeline directly for the Chet Atkins model and I heard someone say “Lookout! He’s going for the expensive ones!” They brought the beauty down and set me up to play. And play I did. Before I was gonna throw down a huge fistful of cash I wanted to make sure she was the one and she felt alright. I played and played, played past the guy trying to bang out some blues on a strat, played past the death metal head next to me sounding like a chainsaw buzzing, played through the salesman’s break, played past the afternoon snack time, played until the salesman came back and said “Can I put the guitar back now?” And to that I responded “Not today my good man, I’m feeling saucey. I think I’m gonna buy it, do you accept cash?” Maybe that last part didn’t happen but if it did that’s what I would’ve said (Kudos to whoever can tell me what movie that’s from).

I brought the beauty home (I don’t have a name yet…suggestions?) and played for a bit and thought it was nice. It wasn’t until I got motivated and changed the strings that she rocked my world. Seriously. I can’t put her down as she just sings and sings. The most amazing thing since changing the strings is that she hasn’t gone out of tune at all! I am thrilled. If you know anything about guitars you know that after you put new strings on it takes awhile for them to stretch and adjust, so they’re constantly going out of tune until they’re broken in. I don’t know if it’s the Grover tuners, the bigsby or Chet Atkins, but she just stays in tune no matter how I bend her.

This past day has really been surreal, it has been so many years in the making that I’m in a daze, a happy guitar fueled daze.

Please take a look at the videos below. The first one is a lil’ tribute to Chet. Playing a song like he would and the second one is a Stray Cats song, since Brian Setzer Plays a guitar very similar to mine, I thought it was appropriate…now if I could only play like Setzer.

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I fought the foos and the foos rocked…..me

Last night I went out and saw one of my all time favorite bands, The Foo Fighters. I’ve been so busy lately that the day snuck up on me and I hardly had time to get myself pumped up for the concert. I say that the Foos are one of my favorite bands but really in the past year or so I’ve forgotten this fact since I’ve hardly listened to them. I don’t have their new cd and with all the other great music I’ve been loading on my plate, sometimes awesome bands get pushed to the edge.

Last night made it all clear again why they rock. Dave Grohl is really an awesome performer, sweet songwriter and in my opinion has one of the best screams in rock n’ roll. Bundle all those things inside of a 2 hour and 20 minutes show and it makes for a great night.
Since the show was at the Rose Garden and we had actual seat tickets, Phil and I tried to time our entry into the place so that we would miss the opening bands. As if one isn’t enough there were two scheduled before the Foos were supposed to come on. We arrived about an hour and a half after the show started, found our seats but were unsure if they were between opening bands or if the main event was about to start. About 10 minutes later the lights went down, the crowd wailed and Dave Grohl came out on stage. Awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever timed a concert start that well.

The stage was to our right but they had built the stage so that a long runway extended directly out into the crowd that connected to this strange circular thing. Dave made use of the runway all throughout the show, running, jumping and skipping his way down and back. The band came out guitars blazing and for nearly 30 minutes played song after song before they stopped to actually talk to the crowd. Even though I’m all about the music, I don’t like it when a band plays a show and hardly ever acknowledges the crowd, there has to be some interaction since we’re the reason they are there. Crowd interaction is where Dave Grohl is king. He is a goofy, nerdy, funny guy that likes to play around and have fun with all his fans. I sensed some people behind us were annoyed when he’d get to talkin’ too much, but I figure it’s all part of the experience, sit back and enjoy it.

About an hour into the show the band disappeared and Dave walked out with a big black acoustic. He slowly walked down the runway strumming a chord, just taking his time. It wasn’t until Phil nudged me that I looked up and saw a huge circular stage slowly descending from the ceiling that would fit perfectly into the strange circular thing at the end of the runway. His band mates soon came out and followed him to the circular stage and they began their acoustic set. So cool. They effectively turned the sucky seats at the back of the arena into front row seats. It was a great idea.

They played on for another hour before leaving the stage and waiting for us, the crowd, to stomp and chant them back for more. Their first encore song ‘Big Me’ is close to my all time fav song. Dave played it very slow with just him, the guitar and one female backup singer. Loved it.

If you haven’t listened to much Foo Fighters, I implore you to do so. Some songs are screamy, some songs are softy, but most of them make for a rockin’ good timey. I had such a good time at the show, it was nice to get a mix of acoustic/electric and Dave Grohl’s humor and crowd massaging made it all that more entertaining. Definitely go see them live if you ever get the chance.

For a little taste of Dave’s cheesiness and to hear Big Me, click this link.

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Recording me

Pulling out my mini digital recording studio the other day I came across a gem (to me). I was in the mood to lay down some tasty grooves on this particular day but before I started I noticed that the memory of the recording unit was half full. I flipped through the tracks and most of them were funky rhythms and different sound checks, nothing spectacular. Then I clicked on song number three and was surprised to hear a complete finger style version of “Love Me Tender” that I had recorded. In addition there was also a mediocre freestyle solo that I recorded over top of the classic Elvis tune. I listened in amazement, not at my skillz but that I had no recollection of ever doing this! It is obviously my style of playing, but it was such a nice surprise. I came to the conclusion I must’ve been recording and practicing the song for Dave’s wedding which was over a year and a half ago. I was commissioned to play Love Me Tender during his communion and I needed to see how many times I would need to play it through in order to last through the bread breaking and wine drinking. Anyways it was a nice time capsule to dig up and to hear where I need improvement. If you want to hear the song listen to this. You should probably only listen to the first 45 seconds because after that I get a little off track and try to throw in a blues riff and some wrong notes that don’t really add to the sweet serene sounds. Regardless, it was a fun find.

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5 year old drummer

This is truly amazing. You need to watch the video below of a five year old drummer. While you’re watching it don’t forget that this kid is only 5 years of age. It’s amazing what can happen when a child finds his talent early on. Tony recently posted a video of his 3 year old son playing the drums, and that too was very impressive. If Tony’s kid sticks with it, he could easily be this good by 5.

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The leader of the band is dead

So sad, he was only 56.

Dan Fogelberg 

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So you think I’m a nerd?

At least Phil does.

Dave, Kayle and I just returned from the Rose Garden after seeing the ‘SoYou Think You Can Dance’ tour. Honestly it was brilliant. Loads of fun and just as impressive as the tv show. I love to watch good dancing. This show brings out all the teeny boppers and tweens but I think it is still a better fit for someone my age than ‘Dancing w/the Stars’. They had all of the top ten finalists plus a few extras. And they performed most every awesome routine that I would have liked to see. It was a great two and a half hours. If you like good dancing you should tune in when the next season starts.

Tonight they performed my favorite routine from the season, a spectacular performance between Hok and Jaimie of a hummingbird and a flower. The video is a little dark but you’ll get most of it.

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