Gigs Musicians

Looks like a killer gig…

NEXT BLOG>> Black River Road

Gigs Musicians

Opening for Kansas

On the subject of opening acts… My band opened for Kansas a couple of times. I’m sure you prog-rockers would think that was cool.

When I was a kid and young teen learning how to play the drums I had a few “idol” drummers. They were (in no particular order) Niel Peart (Rush), Phil Ehart (Kansas), Billy Cobham, Buddy Rich etc. I really went through the Rush and Kansas stages very heavily. I studied the odd time signatures of Kansas’ Phil Ehart and considered him a drum genius.

Years later the premier live music venue in town had Kansas playing a couple of shows and they invited my band to open for them. Wow, what an honor. The other two guys in my band hate Kansas so they didn’t really care but I was excited.

3 interesting things happened during the two nights we opened for Kansas.

The first was kind of a bummer. At that time I had a Ludwig 18″ vistalite clear plastic floor tom that I had converted to a kick drum. When I was loading my kit onto the stage the first night I dropped my kick drum. When it hit the ground the plastic cracked and the damn drum basically broke in half. The sound guy gave me some duct tape and I taped the damn thing together for the show.

The 2nd thing that really stuck into my mind was something the owner of the club said to me. I told him how I remembered seeing Kansas sell out a 12,000 seat arena. He told me “we get them on their way up, and their way down.” I thought that was kind of a sad because he obviously was implying that Kansas was “on their way down.”

The 3rd and most rewarding thing was something Phil the drummer asked/told me. When we finished our first set on the first of the two nights Phil came up and told me that I’d played a great set. He said he really liked my technique. I was quite blown away and didn’t even know what to say. Then he asked me if it would be ok if he videotaped my set the next night! This was an awesome experience to have one of my drum “idols” asking to videotape me to see what I was doing! WOW.

After the gigs the Kansas guys were all really cool and I got to meet them all (Yes Steve Walsh too) and they all autographed my snare drum head.

Gigs Musicians

Junior Brown

JuniorBrown, originally uploaded by mediaguru.

A couple of weeks ago my band had the honor of opening for Junior Brown. Sadly I hadn’t really heard of him before but I would soon learn I had heard him and I just didn’t know it. I would also soon learn that Junior Brown is on such a high guitar level that I’d put him in the class of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Hendrix.

When I set up my drum kit the stage manager made it very clear to stay away from “the twins.” Don’t go near “the twins.” Don’t bump into “the twins.” I almost expeceted him to say “don’t even look at the twins.” The twins were his two fender twin amps. As you can see from the picture his guitar is not your normal guitar. The top is basically a Fender Tele and the bottom is a slide steel guitar.

His band consisted of a solid “role player” bassist and a drummer whose kit consisted of a snare drum and 1 cymbal. What a great load in!

The “twins” were loud as hell. Not in a heavy metal kind of way but in a clean, Nashville country kind of way. He attacked that guitar with a vengeance. He absolutely pounded the thing and made that instrument sing. Every time he played a note I thought he was going to break a string. Those strings must have been very heavy. He’d then quickly grab his slide and jump down to the slide and pull off insane slide lix like you’ve never heard. He could switch back & forth in a fraction of a second. When he would play a decending lick and run out of frets, he’d just grab his tuning pegs and just crank them down, down down. Amazing. No wonder guitar player ragazine voted him #1 a few years ago.

Though he’s known for his guitar playing, his voice was incredible. When he’d grab those pegs and go down, down, down…his voice was right there. He could belt out some of the lowest of the low vocals. I’d classify his music as half country, half blues, half “Nashville.” Yes that’s 3 halves because his stuff is SO good.

Gigs Musicians

Dueling piano bar

Went out with some friends tonight to a place I haven’t been to before: The Tavernacle in Salt Lake. It was quite cool. There was a small stage with two pianos. The two piano player/singers had laptops on top of each of their pianos with some kind of huge song database in them. The audience had little request papers on their table and would write their request and bring it up to the stage (along with a couple of bucks). The performers would then perform the requested songs. The cool thing is that if someone in the audience hated the song they could send up a “donation” $1 higher than the request was to stop it. Sometimes people would go back and forth several times to where it cost one guy $10 for them to finish his song.

The bar was packed and all were having a good time. On the way out of the bar they had a dish with some silver items in it that looked like mints or something you’d see on your way out of the restaraunt. Upon closer examination I found that these mints were condoms! When I asked the door man what they were he said they were “after dinner mints.” My wife thought they really were mints and she grabbed a couple…

Boneheads Gigs Musicians Recording

The Rules Of Rock & Roll Vol. I

I’ve come up with some rules for the “rock & roll handbook” in all these years dealing with flaky musicians…. Here are a few:

1. Recording always takes longer than you expect.
2. Don’t schedule your CD release party before you have your CD’s in hand!
3. Don’t tell your significant other when you will be home from the studio.
4. Don’t bring your significant other to the studio.
5. Don’t name your band something that is too hard to spell or pronounce
6. Don’t spell your band name wrong
7. Don’t make your logo so complex that nobody can decipher what it is.