Friday, October 27, 2006

Blonde Ambition

When a local Power Pop God decided to sell a few things before moving to New York City, he sent out an e-mail out listing the gear he was willing to part with. I noticed a Sennheiser e609 mic on the list, and grabbed it (turns out he had two, I bought both).

I also snagged a Roland VS-880 multi-track digital recorder for $100. Or I thought I did, until the seller realized he had several long-forgotten tunes on there. I offered to convert the Roland files to .wav files and he knocked $50 off the Roland price. Nice!

When I got there this morning to pick up the stuff, I saw this blonde beauty for sale, too. I have always considered Guild to be the leader in acoustic 12-strings, and I have never owned one before. The price was right, and I adopted this 1995 JF30-12.

Friday, October 20, 2006


In 1974, when I was about 13 or 14 years old, I started goofing around on my brother's Teisco Del Ray guitar. He had the standard Mel Bay chord book and I learned a few grips and tried to play a few tunes.

My sister's boyfriend at the time was a big Aerosmith fan and he convinced me to buy the first two LPs "Get Your Wings" and "Dream On". I was hooked. The songs were cool, the guitar playing was clean and easy to hear, but difficult for a beginner to play. Somewhere, on a trip to Madison, I found the matching songbook for the first two albums. This was in the days before tablature was common, and whoever transcribed the music used standard notation to write the melodies. No solos or guitar parts were notated - but - instead of the usual barre chord diagram, they showed a 'power chord". That changed my life. Now I could play the correct voicing for rock songs and it was even easier to finger than the Mel Bay versions.

Joe Perry and Brad Whitford were my first two guitar inspirations. They played here in Nashville last night, and my friend Jerry Sabatino, who is Tom Hamilton's bass tech, invited me to the soundcheck and the show. Greg Howard, Brad's tech and McGee (Joey Kramer) and Bruce (Keyboards) were kind enough to let me hang out in their world for a few hours. Thanks, guys!

Here's a shot of Brad's Gibsons...including a few '59 Reissues. Very nice.

Brad's Gibsons

Brad has a bunch of other cool guitars, including Fender, Floyd Rose, Gretsch, Collings and Melancon.

Brad 2

Greg Howard with the Melancon Tele with Grestch electronics.


Tom Hamilton's bass rig. Tom is sitting out this leg of the tour, recovering from throat cancer. David Hull is playing bass.

TH Rack

Guitar World

Jerry and Greg's work stations

Tom and David's basses


Steven and Joe went out front to play "Seasons of Wither"


Joe Perry

Joe Perry, consummate Rock Star

Joe with his signature Les Paul

Rattlesnake Shake

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Addition

A new arrival in the stable as of yesterday - a Gibson Custom Shop 1960 Reissue Les Paul!

Father and newborn are doing fine, to say the least. The last Les Paul I owned was a '74 tobacco sunburst trashed by a careless lighting guy who pulled on a cable - that was beneath the guitar stand placed by an equally careless owner. Though I had it repaired, it was never the same guitar to me, pyschologically that is.

I had the opportunity to visit my old friends at the Custom Shop yesterday, and this guitar - sitting in a repair rack due to a small ding in the headstock - caught my eye. I had flashbacks of Thin Lizzy album covers and pickguard-less ice tea sunburst LPs in my head. I had to have it, and here it is.



Ding in Neck

Full Frontal 'Tudity

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Nashville Zoo

A month or so ago, we took a day to visit the Nashville Zoo. I had never been before, and after seeing the fabled Columbus Zoo (lots of animals in a semi-shabby environment), I was interested to see what it had to offer. It's a beautiful park, and the habitats are much more natural looking and spacious. It is also a work in progress, with more exhibits planned and a lot of community support.

Elephant Trio


There is a bird sanctuary that you can walk into and feed the birds. The colorful larakeets are eager to eat and drink from your hand.


"The Lion King" put meerkats on the map, and the Nashville Zoo has a bunch of them.


The big cats were difficult to get decent photos of, but this tiger and the leopard below eventually came out and posed for us.

White Tiger

Spotted Leopard

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Way Down, Below The Ocean...

I had the opportunity to do a couple of shows as a guitar tech for legendary Pop masters Hall and Oates a couple of weeks ago. The first show was at the Hard Rock Live in Ft. Lauderdale for a room full of die-hard fans. Walking into the gig cold, having never seen the band, I was blown away with how great they sound. Classic songs, great performances.

The next gig was in Nassau, Bahamas. We arrived early enough after the Ft. Lauderdale show to spend half of the travel day off, and had the following day off, too. The gig was at Atlantis, a resort hotel and casino. The Atlantis theme is carried throughout the grounds and it is a very impressive place.

Beach Tower

"The Dig" is an underground (and underwater) aquarium with huge tanks of water forming the walls of the tunnel that leads from the hotel lobby to the rear of the hotel. I got a pretty good shot of a Jellyfish.


The grounds outside have various pools filled with fish, turtles, sharks and stingrays.

Sea Turtle

The restaurants were all excellent and the food delicious. Even though the forecast called for thunderstorms all week, it was mostly sunny and only sprinkled for a few minutes.

Atlantis Exterior

Lazy River


Flower Bed



Two Towers

At Atlantis

Rear of Hotel

Stingray Pool

Flying Fish Sculpture

Glass Sculpture

From The Hotel Room Window

On the second day there, the first full day off, my wife Donna and I went snorkeling. Our first anniversary was October 1st, and I had bought her a ticket to Nassau to see the show and celebrate - we got to spend the "working vacation" together.

On The Seahorse Snorkeling Trip

We rented passage on The Seahorse, a catamaran that sailed out to a diving spot. We snorkled for an hour and saw some great fish and coral. On the trip back to the hotel, the captain broke out the rum punch. Delicious... and potent.

Rum Punch

First Mate Raises the Sails

The Seahorse

It was a fabulous trip and I really enjoyed the gig with Hall and Oates. I definitely would go back to Atlantis for a longer vacation.