Master Guitar News - 2006
Aug 13, 2006: The 20th anniversary jam at Harling's yesterday was hot, sweaty, crowded, and loud. Yeah baby! My brother Kevin, who among other things is a documentary film-maker, had a camera crew there filming the whole day. It appeared to me that the BRC Audio people had no major problems. Sooo - later this year there should be a CD and a DVD of this historic occasion. BTW - we made the Fox-4 News at 10. Whoopie!
Ok - here's my take on the Roland GR-20 guitar synth. Bottom line - tracking problems. It's STILL not there yet. I can see positive functions for it in my studio work but I can't see playing it live. I've spent 30+ years training myself to play with as light a touch as possible - this is not only beneficial from a musical point of view, but absolutely necessary in order to avoid tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, and a host of other physical problems that result from more-than-necessary hand pressure being applied, extreme repetition of movement etc. And a light touch is precisely what this guitar synth CANNOT accommodate. A good friend of mine who recommended this synth to me said, "All you have to do is make a little adjustment..." Sorry, but I'm not interested in changing my hard-won technique - such as it is - to accommodate a technology that's not there yet. Frankly, I was disappointed. It didn't feel any different than the version I tried 5 or 6 years ago. I assumed some progress had been made since then. Apparently I was wrong.
Playing the guitar - really expressing yourself with it - is a very visceral, emotional, and sensual experience. Kind of like really good sex. Playing this synth was like wearing a rubber. I can do it, but it degrades the intensity of the experience.
I'm gonna keep it and use it in the studio, but that's about it.
Aug 8, 2006: This Saturday is Mama Ray's 20th anniversary jam at Harlings. It will be one big freakin' big whoop-dee-do! Even my wife will be there! :-o We are recording live and will release a CD later in the year. Bill Crain will do the recording. Good luck, Bill, you'll need it! I know for sure that Rick Hendricks is coming in from Nashville to play with us - because he has a gig here Friday night and wants to use my amp!
The Wed gig at Barleys on Midland Drive went away. However, Valentine has salvaged Thursdays in that the Old School Knights are playing Barley's at 119th and Quivera every Thursday from 10 to 1am - at least through August. The gig story over the last month is a perfect example of the undependability of giggage. It just comes and goes. There was several months there where I was playing 5 gigs in 4 days every week. And then, all in about 10 day's time, I lost over $800 a month worth of gigs. And that happened at the very same time I have to put out the money to finish the CD project! Daaaang! If I didn't teach I'd be scrambling big-time right now. I remember those days! :-) Life is good. I don't have to scramble. I admit I'm just a wee bit "concerned" - but not enough to go runnin' around trying to find more work!
Discmakers tells me they'll ship product by Aug 15th. I added a big section to masterguitar to help promote this CD - My Ship - but I'm not going to link it up until I have a page up at CD Baby, so people can actually buy it!
The Jazz and Blues festival is getting close - Valentine hasn't slept for weeks! We'll be warming up for Bo Diddley.
July 7, 2006: Sorry to say the gig at the 810 Zone is history. That's show biz. That's why I teach :-) But....it was a pretty good run (5 months) for something I was hoping to get 1 month out of. You may also notice that Friday night at the Woodlands is off the calendar. That may be temporary, it might start back up again. Mycalendar page gets changed as soon as I know, so keep checking if you're interested.
My new CD was mastered today by Bill Crain. A mastering session is the MOMENT OF TRUTH. It's the point of no return. There is no "undo" menu. It's the point at which a better set of ears than mine judges what has taken me hours and hours and hours to accomplish. And Bill is brutally honest - that's why I use him. (He's really a good guy - it's just that he knows what he's talking about!) I'm happy and relieved to report that things went well. My mixes didn't have anything that Bill couldn't deal with - no fatal flaw. Whew! Bill did the mastering ju-ju that mastering engineers do and made it sound even better!
June 26, 2006: Check out these photos from Andy DeWitt's site. They're from KC Power and Light's first gig at the Woodlands.
May 22, 2006: Andy DeWitt and Terry Swope will be merging with The Old School Knights to play the Woodlands on Fridays through the summer. That band will be called Kansas City Power and Light. I have purchased a guitar synth and will be playing keyboard, string, and horn parts (as well as some guitar). Terry is a fine guitar player as well as a singer. I'm looking forward to this deal. No tellin' what might happen! It should be a very strong band. I now come full circle. One of the first full-time bands I played in back in the '70's hired me to replace a keyboard player. It happened because I was a jazz guy and knew all the chords. I split my guitar signal to 2 different amps and was using all kinds of effects to create texture. I liked it because I didn't have to play those stupid disco guitar parts! Here I am again functioning as a keyboard player - only this time the technology is more to the level of what I'm trying to do. We'll see. I haven't actually received the synth yet, I won't have very long to get it under control before I have to start using it.
I'm getting close (again!) on the CD. Having to record everything all over again has been rough. But I'm hoping to be done with the tracking and mixing in the next few days. I have most of next week off from teaching so I'm planning on mastering it next week. Then I have to send it off to Discmakers in NY. I also have to get the artwork together etc etc etc.
Feb 12, 2006: So John Bukaty calls me this afternoon and wants me to play tonight! Short notice. It's for his Dad's 70th birthday party at a local country club. He says Mike Harvey will play too. There will also be a duo from Denver there, two girls who call themselves Honeysuckle Rose. I like John, I'm comfortable with Mike (Mike and me go way back) so I say ok (the money is cool too!). So I get there and I hear Honeysuckle Rose going over some tunes. Guitar and fiddle. I decided to seize the day. I need a fiddle solo on one of the tunes (James and Grace) I'm doing on my next CD. I also need a female vocalist for some harmony parts on another song (and they looked hungry!). So Honeysuckle Rose came over after the gig to do some recording. It was serendipity. Thanks John. Honeysuckle Rose is Bridget Law and Bonnie Paine. Check 'em out. The session was a success.
Jan 28, 2006: I ran into Danny Embrey tonight. He came into my gig at Plaza III and stayed for a couple of hours. He is an awesome jazz guitarist - totally world-wide. I took the opportunity to talk to him about playing some on the CD I'm working on. He was up for it! I've got to make that happen somehow!
The gig situation is cranking! In Feb I will be playing 5 gigs in 4 days every week. The last week in Feb. will be 7 gigs in 6 days. Ouch! That's almost like the old days when I played 8 gigs a week without a night off for months at a time. But back then I wasn't teaching. And the money is better now than it was then. And I sleep in my own bed every night now. Back then I was on the road a lot. Things are way better now.
In spite of what I said earlier the gig at Barley's on Wednesdays is continuing. Apparently the management gets it. If you are going to have a house band, you have to give it some time so that people figure out that they can count on the same band being there every Wed. That takes time, several months at least. I think each week is a little better than the last one. I'm starting to see "regulars" there - people who like the band and are showing up every Wednesday.
Jan 5, 2006: Check this out:
Subject: HELLO MUSICIAN
From:"Nancy Williams" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, December 29, 2005 12:35 pm
HELLO,THIS IS NANCY WILLIAMS FROM GERMANY,I HAVE INTREST IN MY SON LEARNING MUSICAL INSTRULMENTS , ABOUT 3 MUSICAL INSTRULMENTS , WE ARE PRESENTLY IN AUSTRALIA BUT WE ARE RELOCATING TO USA BY JANUARY 28, SO WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED SO I CAN KNOW HOW TO ARRANGE FOR YOU AND MY SON, I WANT MY SON TO LEARN THESE THINGS TO THE PROFESSONAL LEVEL, AND I WANT HIM TO HAVE HIS PERSONAL INSTRULMENT AFTER LEANING IT FROM YOU SO , TELL ME THE ACTUAL INSTRULMENT YOU TEACH AND HOW MUCH YOU CHARGE PER HOUR TO TEACH ,I WANT YOU TO TEACH HIM FOR 1 HOUR A DAY, AND 3 DAYS A WEEK, AND FOR 3 MONTHS SO I WANT YOU TO give me your sheldue for this time and CACULATE THE TOTAL AMOUNT AND LET ME HAVE THEM IN YOUR REPLY AND PLS HELP ME PRICE A PERSONAL INTRULMENT FOR MY SON , SO TELL ME THE TOTAL PRICE OF OF YOUR SEVICE AS WELL .PLS TELL ME YOU CITY NAME AND CODE TO LET ME KNOW YOUR DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND TO OUR NEW HOUSETHANKS
What do you wanna bet that Nancy WILLIAMS and WILLIAMS Nojeto are the same person? (See the Scam Page).