Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hollywood Nights

Last night we played the Hollywood Bowl. One of the first ten albums I bought with my own money was "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl", a live LP on Capitol. It's a legendary venue and it was cool to be there. The gig went fine. David Spade was hanging out in the catering tent.

The small world gets smaller, as it turns out that Stoll Vaughan knows and has written songs with Tim Carroll.

The artist relations rep from M-Audio came to the show to visit the Mellencamp guys and Bob Britt. I ended up with a pair of DX4 desktop monitors and am getting a Black Box USB guitar/mic pre interface tomorrow. I plan on setting this laptop up to be able to edit and mix my fiancee's record during my down time. The monitors make that a real possibility, and if I can score a copy of the M-Audio ProTools software, I can dig in soon.

The designer of 65 Amps came by, too, and tweaked Britt's amp a little. What a great piece of gear that is...

One of the neat things about playing in New York and Los Angeles - besides the famous venues - is that the reps usually come by the gig. I met the M-Audio guy, Kevin, at a Sheryl Crow concert in NYC. Peter Stroud, guitarist with Sheryl is the other guy involved in 65 Amps, and he was at our Atlanta show, too. This has been a rewarding tour to make new contacts, for sure.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

When Sunnyvale Gets Blue

Day off in Sunnyvale, California. Perfect weather -about 80 degrees all day - but not too much to do within walking distance. El Camino Real Blvd had the most stuff on it, but even that was restaurants and car dealships. Lunch at Wendy's, which appeared to be trying to launch a healthy looking sandwich line. I bought the classic single combo with Diet Coke, even so. I want junk food to taste like junk food.

The Hotel is pretty nice. It's called the Wild Palms Hotel, situated on the corner of Wolfe and El Camino Real. My Fluevogs would feel right at home in the entryway lounge.

Lounge When Facing Carport

They have a comfy outdoor lounge that oddly enough incorporates all of the colors (albeit in varying shades) that we are painting the house.

Wicker and Bamboo

Nice combo of textures, too. I've been reading up on this stuff. Ty would approve.


Rather zen-like candle placement. The candles were lit and the place smelled great...

Facing the pool

A short walk from the front desk to the pool, which is right through the curtained doorways in the back of the above photo.

Open Air Seating

Another view of the same. Jerry and I sat here talking for 30 minutes until we finally got up and went walking. We ended up at a used CD store and I found a ton of things I wanted but I bought only a few: Best Ofs from Billy Squire, Joe Jackson, Cheap Trick and Dave Edmunds, a Tim Carroll CD (I play guitar with him in the Model Prisoners, the backing band for his wife, Elizabeth Cook) , a Crowded House disc and the real find, a Billy Bremner CD called "A Good Week's Work". Bremner is an underrated and too-seldom heard from guitarist best known for his solos on The Pretender's "Back On the Chain Gang" and "My City Was Gone". Brilliant stuff, very cool jangly/twangy roots pop.

Oh, yeah. The gig in Lake Tahoe was prettty good, the scenery excellent and the high point was meeting John Eddie and his fabulous band, featuring legendary rock bassist Kenny Aaronson, drummer Gary Gold, and guitar whiz P.K. Lavengood.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


A short trip to Calgary and Vancouver for two indoor shows in arenas. Great weather and great shows. I guess the layoff did everybody some good.

Calgary, Alberta

Lunch With Jerry

The hotel in Vancouver had a nice beer pub attached, the Beatty Street Grill, so we did not have to venture too far to find some lunch.

Local Beer at Beatty Street Grill

I liked the IPA the best, Jerry had the lager. Gorgeous day, no mosquitos.

Vancouver Public Library

An amazing public library was on the path to the shopping district. We walked through it on the way back to the hotel.

Andy and his Nicorette

Ace Mellencamp guitarist Andy York has been cutting down on his smoking, which is extra tough sitting around after dinner with both crews and the Mellencamp band.

Michael Ramos

Mellencamp's keyboardist. Michael is a great player and sweetheart of a guy.

Dane Clark

Dane is Mellencamp's excellent drummer. He was having a very good time at the pub.

Tony and Julie

Tony and Julie are Mel's behind-the-scenes folks who get things done and make every gig smooth and enjoyable. Great fun to hang with, too.

John Fluevog Shoes

Some pretty funky shoes I found in Vancouver. Apparently, Jerry and his hipster buds have been aware of them for years, but I had not heard of them. I wear hiking boots/shoes and moccasins/sandals pretty much all of the time so these are a departure for me. I think they'll look great at gigs...I hope.

Friday, August 19, 2005

We are Family

I've been fortunate to find some very nice guitars over the years. Here's a look at the Gibson family. The Sunburst ES-350T on the left I bought from Gibson when I worked there...it had been sitting in the repair department for a few years when the intrepid Jeff Senn rescued it and built it out. Everybody who plays it wants to buy it.

The Vintage Cherry L-5 Gobel in the center was a parting gift from Rick Gembar at the Custom Shop. I worked for him for a year or two, he's the best.

The ES-125 is another Jeff Senn discovery, the latest in my collection and the only P-90 equipped guitar I have.

The Archtops

The acoustics are an Epiphone El Dorado, a J-200 and a J-45. All great, all different

The Acoustics

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

He's Leaving Home

Well, I stashed my main suitcase and my Telecaster on the crew bus this morning. It's a beautiful, brand-new bus, fresh from the factory. It's amazing how far tour buses have come since I have been in the business.

I started out riding in Silver Eagles and now it's pretty much all Prevost. Flat screen TVs in every lounge. DVD players in every bunk. Home-sized refrigerators. Espresso machines. We have three "junk bunks" to store gear, so nearly everything you might need can be stored inside the bus, as opposed to in the bays below.

As much as I love being home and meeting with electricians, alarm guys, trying to be a DIY plumber and tree trimmer, I'm anxious to get back out again, probably because it's only a 3.5 week trip. The first leg was a 9 week run and that was pretty taxing. This leg looks fairly easy except for one long haul to a gig in Aspen. Besides, when I get home, I'll be just two weeks away from being married...I can't wait.

Billy got a new guitar during the break, a Gibson Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. That should be a nice complement to his Gretsch Hot Rod. Bob bought a new pedalboard, and once we transfer his pedals on to it, it will make setup and tear down easier since they will all actually fit. Right now I am dealing with a dangling appendage of a Boss EQ pedal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Change of Scenery

The second leg of the tour takes us to Canada and the west coast. The crew bus is stopping by Soundcheck (a Nashville storage/rehearsal hall) tomorrow morning to pick up our luggage and personal effects. That makes the flight to Canada a bit easier - no checked baggage.

I'm going to take my Tele along to play...

1966 Gibson ES-125









Bought this beauty from a friend a couple of days ago. It was originally a single pickup (neck only). When he bought it someone had replaced the original P-90 with a P-100, perhaps due to buzz or hum issues.

The original pickup was in the case, and, being a skilled luthier, he sourced some '60's pots, a Gibson spacer to raise the P-90 and a period-correct ES-335 pickguard, which I think looks great, and converted it into a very usable guitar.

This thing goes from Grant Green to Malcolm Young...love it!!!