Master Guitar News - 2013
December 7th, 2013: There are several things going on website-wise:
I have a new book in mind. I built a website as an exercise in trying to codify material. I'm not paying for server space so there are pop-up ads and other distractions: http://jay-eudaly.angelfire.com/
I've decided to redesign MasterGuitar.com. I'm going to split it up. All the teaching stuff will be on a separate site called something like MasterGuitarLessons.com. There will be all the info on my books, sign up for lessons, stuff for teachers who want to use my books, free video lessons - all things having to do with my teaching activities. I've got a good start on building that site. I haven't upgraded the account to get the domain name yet so for now it's here: http://hobbes15.wix.com/masterguitarlessons
The redesigned MasterGuitar.com will become the official site of Jay EuDaly. It will have the stuff from MasterGuitar - gig schedule, news/blog, photos, etc. I'm just now starting on that, it's going to be a long process - several months at least. The site is 15 years old, it looks it, and what was originally designed as a promotional tool for my books has turned into a Frankenstein of a website with hundreds of pages, many of which are buried, and it's nobody's fault but mine. I've constantly added to it over the years with whatever my idea at the time was. So there's a lot to go through, and decisions will have to be made about whether or not I want to keep such and so, and if I do, how do I want to redesign it so that it looks more contemporary and functions in an up-to-date fashion etc.
The stuff on the free angelfire site (see above) will eventually be folded into MasterGuitarLessons.com and the angelfire site will be deleted. So I will be left with two different but interlocking sites: MasterGuitar.com - all things having to do with Jay EuDaly, guitarist, performer, writer, recording artist, etc. Then there will be MasterGuitarLessons.com - all things having to do with my teaching activities and products.
The current MasterGuitar.com will remain online until the new one is finished enough to be published. Then I'll switch the domain name over and the old MasterGuitar.com will be history. It'll be a while.
October 29th, 2013: So tonight I gave my first guitar lesson via Skype. First of all, there is no substitute for one-on-one, face-to-face, real-time interaction. There just isn't. Even if there was no time lag (there is), no glitches in the audio (there is), and crystal clear sound (there isn't), it would STILL be no substitute for the real thing, which is two people sitting across from one another with all the eye contact, facial expression, body language, and the sense of a person's spirit that occurs in that situation. Skype-ing a guitar lesson is deficient in all those things.
Having said that, I can see that it could be a less-than-optimum substitute for a real lesson and plan to continue experimenting with it. Tonight's lesson was with a current student who is on the road for three weeks and didn't want to miss lessons for that long (besides the fact that he paid for them - see policy #3).
Here are the negatives:
1) Playing together is out of the question - it's just not possible. There were time lags and glitches in the audio and video.
2) It's very frustrating dealing with technique and fingering issues. I can't touch the student's hand. It's difficult to model proper hand position and economical movement on a two-dimensional screen. I can't point to a note on his fretboard, I have to tell him string and fret numbers. This could be turned to an advantage because I generally don't do that, I spell. By spelling instead of using "tab-speak" the student is forced to learn to spell - but I do that with students anyway as a matter of course. The advantage of it just becomes more obvious because of the limitations of doing it via Skype.
3) If the student is using typical computer speakers the subtle nuances of different voicings, alterations and extensions are pretty much lost. I had my computer hooked up to the monitor system in my studio so I could hear fairly well - better than I expected, actually - but on his end the student could barely hear the difference between an unaltered dominant 9 chord and the same chord with a flat 9. That's a pretty big difference in texture and feeling that gets lost if audio quality is poor.
On the positive side, I can see that Skype-ing lessons would be best used for communicating the conceptual stuff and listening to the student drill everything in every key. We don't need to play together for that and that's a big part of the lesson anyway - making sure the student has correctly drilled in every key, every position.
The problem is, it just so happens that with most students and especially beginners, technique issues are one of the main things I deal with. The physical aspect of playing any instrument is 90% of it, if not more. And it is precisely that aspect of teaching guitar wherein I find video-conferencing to be deficient. That's 90%. So for Skype to really work for this, the student needs to already have the technique stuff together, they need to already be able to play. They need to already know the neck and be able to spell. In other words, no beginners - only intermediate to advanced students. Students who need the conceptual stuff and require little to no guidance on technique and spelling.
I had this idea decades ago, when everybody was still on dial-up. I actually tried it with a student who moved to Birmingham and wanted to continue the lessons via video conferencing. He actually bought me the camera and the software. We tried a couple of times and it just wouldn't work - imagine, dial-up! I've been waiting a long time, I thought we would be there long before this, but we're not. It's closer but not there yet. And even when it gets there - no lag, no glitches, real-time - it will still be no substitute for the real thing.
October 13th, 2013: Posted a radio interview I did on June 27th to my You Tube channel.
The gig opening for Peabo Bryson was cool. Peabo's band kind of hogged the stage at the sound check. We only had 20 minutes to set up and do a quick sound check. Stuff like that always happens at these kinds of gigs in my experience. You just get up and do the best you can with what you've got. Ron Gutierrez (the singer I was backing) was pretty amazing. He pretty much had the crowd from the very beginning. Peabo was hanging around backstage smoking when we got off the stage. He was very nice and approachable - not a lot of obvious security although there was a couple of very large guys hanging around - he was very accommodating with a photo op.
August 1st, 2013: I've got another Sunday night booked at the 75th Street Brewery. Hopefully this one will happen (see entry for April 13th and May 13th below). The gig is on August the 25th. August is looking pretty good for gigs but a lot of them are private parties. Those usually pay well but generally they're not as fun. This Saturday is a concert venue in St Joseph, MO. That might be cool. Big stages and big sound are always fun.
I have created a page about the very first working band I was in - Open Road Conspiracy - roughly 1970 to '73. It's been very nostalgic trying to remember stories and people. I've been on a hunt to find pictures. I've done pretty well but I can't find any pictures of our original lead singer, Dave Dayringer. That has been disappointing. We were very good friends and he had a great deal to do with the formation of the band. The page is the result of recently meeting up with several people from that era after not having had any contact with them for decades, plus some stuff floating around on Face Book about the scene at Kansas City's Volker Fountain in the late '60's and early '70's that triggered some long-forgotten memories.
June 27th, 2013: Recorded a radio interview this morning on Jeff Todd's radio show (Music Makes Sense with Jeff Todd on AM 1660 KMBZ Business Channel). The subject was my method book and related things - my teaching activities, education, background, experience, etc. But at the end Jeff put me on the spot and asked for an in-studio performance of "This Masquerade", the Leon Russell song made famous by George Benson. I didn't know I was going to have to sing. It was too early in the morning to do it in my normal key plus I haven't done the song in YEARS. I decided to knock it down a step and hope for the best. I pulled it off. No mistakes - 1st take at 11:30 in the morning, in an unfamiliar key, with no preparation. Every once in a great while I impress myself! Tentatively scheduled to air July the 4th, 9am.
June 9th, 2013: My friend John Hobbes shared this article on Facebook. It's called Open Letter From a Bar Owner to Musicians. Any musician that wants to gig in clubs should read this and take it to heart. It is the reality of the situation. In 2008 I wrote a column that got published in Jazz Ambassadors Magazine. One of the things I said in that article was this:
"And ladies and gentlemen, when you are playing in a nightclub, (I hate to disillusion y'all) it's not about the music; it's about the drink sales. When a musician is performing in a club, his “real” job is alcohol salesman. The quicker one comes to terms with that, and adjusts his attitude accordingly, the happier he'll be, and the less likely he'll be to wind up an angry-depressed-alcoholic-heroin-addict-full-of-angst-musician."
May 29th, 2013: Going to play Chaz on the Plaza this Saturday night (June 1st) with Terry Hancock and an as-yet-unknown third person, probably a bass player. Playing with Terry is always fun and I'm looking forward to it. My first gig with the Brew Devils (see April 13th and May 13th below) will be June 8th. It's a private function so it's not open to the public. That's unfortunate for y'all. However, private functions pay fatter bank - that's fortunate for me. I'm taking a jazz trio into the Kill Devil Club on June 11th. However, that's a private function as well. I decided to cancel students and do it because it will introduce me to the Kill Devil Club. Maybe some more giggage will come of it. The trio is myself, Phil Brenner on sax, and James Albright on upright bass. Should be really good, and a good time as well.
The 29th of June marks the first gig of several over a two week period with Funk Syndicate. And that's what's happening for June in addition to the regular stuff: every Saturday afternoon at BB's with Mama Ray, one Sunday a month solo at Jazz Legends, and one Friday night a month with the Ticklers at Jazz Legends. You can always go to the Gig Schedule for details.
May 13th, 2013: Apparently there was a communication breakdown between Mark and Terry Swope that resulted in Mark calling me but Terry is doing the gig at the 75th Street Brewery this Sunday after all. My disappointment is mitigated somewhat by the fact that I've still got some "Brew Devils" gigs for later in the summer. Also, the Ticklers are going into Jazz Midtown this Saturday. That's good.
April 13th, 2013: Mark Valentine called and we're doing a one-off at the 75th Street Brewery on May 19th. This could turn into something. As you may or may not know, Mark had a gig there every Sunday night for many years (like 15 years) called "the Brewjam". I played it many times, subbing for the original guitarist, Greg Camp, and then later for Terry Swope. This latest version will be Mark, myself, Ray DeMarchi on percussion and James Albright on bass. Mark wants to call the band "the Brew Devils" or the "Kansas City Brew Devils". I love it! The name is a word-play on a traveling band from Oklahoma City that wound up in KC in the 1930's called "the Oklahoma City Blue Devils". Most of the Blue Devils became the Bennie Moten Band. It was Bennie Moten's band that morphed into the Count Basie Band after Bennie Moten died in 1935. So most of the Count Basie Band was originally the Blue Devils. I suggested "the Last of the Brew Devils" after the famous documentary film of that name. At any rate it will be some form of "Brew Devils".
Speaking of James Albright, I played a wonderful gig last Saturday at Chaz on the Plaza with James and Terry Hancock. My opinion of Terry's skills are well-known (see entry below for Feb 11th). With James it was even better! Chaz is an extremely low-volume situation. Terry played nothing but a snare drum with brushes. No kit, no cymbals - nothing but brushes on a snare drum. Did I mention he sings like a bird? Well he does. James also sings so we instantly had 3-part vocals going. James played upright and I played my Crafter acoustic-electric with no amp straight into the house PA. It was a magic night.
A week ago Tuesday I played a live TV show called "Kansas City Live" with Mama Ray, Alan Monroe, and Don Glaza. The performances and interview went well, you can see it here. I don't really enjoy doing these kinds of shows, it's a whole lot of "hurry up and wait". To get a few minutes of live on-air time at 10:45am you have to get there at 7:30. Every time I do one of these shows I seriously consider staying up all night. I don't normally go to bed until 2 or 3am anyway. It's always a trauma to get up that early. Wah!
March 18th, 2013: The owner of the West Chase Grill, John Westerhaus, called me this morning and informed me that he had closed the restaurant as of Saturday night. So the gig on the 31st is cancelled. I am disappointed. I was looking forward to playing with Ray DeMarchi on that gig. John said he'll reopen at another location but he doesn't know where yet. He's keeping all his musician contacts and said we'll be doing business in the future. Here's hoping.
Put up a traditional Irish tune from my gig on St Patrick's Day on You Tube.
March 4th, 2013: Gig news: Booked March 31st at the West Chase Grill as a duo with Ray DeMarchi. That should be fun and hopefully will turn into something steady. It's a Sunday so it's gravy for me. Booked some dates this summer with Funk Syndicate. If everything happens that's in the oven I'll play at least 4 dates with them over two weeks the last of June and the first of July, including playing for 10,000 plus in Springfield, Mo. on Thursday the 4th of July, and opening for the Little River Band in Junction City, Ks. on Friday the 5th, then back in Kansas City on Saturday the 6th. Going to play the Liberty Theater again on March 23rd with Ron Gutierrez. He's a great singer and a good guy. That will be with the Knights + Alan Monroe on keyboard. Also, when meeting with Marty, the assistant manager at Jazz Midtown about booking my son Evan's wedding rehearsal dinner there, I got put on the list to play there as well. I've known Marty since the Jazz North days when he was a humble server who sat in and sang "A Boy Named Sue" with Valentine and the Ticklers. Now he's responsible for booking Jazz Midtown. Just goes to show that you should treat everyone with kindness and respect. You never know when someone who wants to sit in will reciprocate your willingness to take a chance on them, maybe years later.
A couple of weeks ago the Knights played the Liberty Theater in Fort Scott. I took a tripod and set up my camera behind the curtain just offstage. Shot a bunch of video. Because the camera was behind the mains, you can't hear the vocals very well but the band sounded good, I thought. I put up an instrumental version of "Play That Funky Music White Boy" on You Tube. The more I play that '72 Tele I bought a couple of years ago the better I like it.
February 11th, 2013: Last Friday I played with Terry Hancock and Oscar Polk at the West Chase Grille. It was short notice; Terry called me Thursday looking for someone to sub for Jimmy Gallagher, his keyboard player. I went in with my acoustic guitar and a Boss Loop Station. Terry had no trouble playing with the machine. But I knew that would be the case. Terry is one of the few drummers I know that can play the drums, sing the song, AND cue the chord changes to the song - all at the same time. Yeah - a drummer that's musically literate and harmonically knowledgeable. Pretty rare. I decided to do it because 1) I like playing with Terry and 2) I'd never played West Chase Grille. Turns out the night went awesomely. The owner was so impressed he's going to book me back on some Sundays in the near future. Stay posted.
Alan Monroe is going to be out of commission for a couple of weeks due to hernia surgery and Everette DeVan will be playing with us at BB's for the next 2 weeks. I always enjoy playing with Everette. No matter what we wind up playing, with Everette it ALWAYS swings!
January 8th, 2013: Ok, I am officially flabbergasted. In the middle '90's I got involved with a music website called IUMA - Internet Underground Music Archives. You could encode your music as a .wave file and upload it to IUMA. People could download the files for free. They had a section where the artist could see how many downloads were happening for each song. It was the first website of its kind that I knew of. Anyway, I uploaded a bunch of tunes just to see what would happen. Most of them were from the only CD I had out at the time, Sound Tracks, but I uploaded a few random singles. I was getting quite a bit of activity. One tune in particular, The Jewel, got pretty massive downloads - at one point it was getting 400 or 500 downloads a month, sometimes more. In December of 2000, The Jewel cracked the top 10 of the websites' New Age category. I don't know how high it actually got into the top 10 because the website didn't notify me, I just happened to stumble across the information. I started monitoring the charts and it stayed in the top 10 for several months. I started getting email from all over the world from people who had heard my music. I thought to myself, "There's got to be a way to capitalize on this!" I couldn't find any way on the website to get it to tell me anything about who was downloading my music or where they were. I called the website and talked to one of the guys that ran the thing, asking if they harvested the addresses of the people who downloaded from the site. He said, "No, we don't have anything in place to do that, and we have no plans to do anything like that." I'm like, "How am I supposed to capitalize on these downloads if I don't know who or where they are? You don't pay the artists for the downloads, you don't charge the people who are downloading, it's all free. I'm getting hundreds of downloads a month and I can't even compile a mailing list!" It kind of pissed me off, so I quit dealing with IUMA and later went Guitar Nine Records. At least they stocked and sold my CD's and actually mailed checks to me. I eventually settled on CD Baby. In my experience CD Baby is the best site of its kind from my perspective as an artist. I get several checks a year from CD Baby, and they give me names, locations, and email addresses of anyone who purchases a CD or downloads a song. Anyway, in 2006, IUMA went away - gone, vanished into the ether. "Good riddance" I thought. I was still irritated (still am) by my inability to take any kind of advantage of those thousands of downloads. Guess what? It's back! What the....?!?!!? Some kind of website that archives old websites - jeez! They've archived IUMA - and there's my page, still up, or rather, up again. At least the music is streamed instead of downloaded, but there it is, all for free - AGAIN! The Bio ends at 2001, which is about the time I quit dealing with them. The studio phone is my old number at Guitar Source which is no longer any good. This internet thing is ridiculous sometimes.
January 7th, 1013: The Knights doing John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" at Quail Creek Park on June 8th, 2012: