Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

Well, that was fun! 13 plus hours in a plane and I could not get any sleep. I nodded off for 5 or 10 minutes at a time, I guess, and watched the day turn into night, turn into day again. We were expecting a bout with "moderate to severe turbulence", but other than a few bumps and swoops, not much excitement on that front. Saw a few movies, one by myself since everyone else was sleeping. Our stop in Germany was a small airfield, no chance to get off and walk around so we just stood at the foot of the stairs and cooled off a little, then back on for the 6 hour trip to Dubai.

Dubai is hot. Very hot. It was 118 degrees yesterday. I slept until noon local time today (+9 hours from Nashville) and headed down to the buffet, which was chock full of food I could not pronounce or identify. I had some cold pasta and a beefsteak. $40.

We leave for the gig in an hour or so. Load in at 5:00 p.m. when it should only be in the high 90's. The band visited the USS Nimitz this morning, I ran into Brad, Joey and Tom in the lobby. Brad said he wanted to sign up...apparently it was an amazing thing to experience.

Once these two shows are under our belts, and we get to Europe, I'm sure I'll settle into a groove. For now, I'm just showing up at the scheduled time and doing the job, no desire to explore the city in this heat I'm afraid. That may change, but I'm still pretty tired.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Get Your Wings

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for the Aerosmith World Tour 2007, some 30 years after I taped their poster to my bedroom wall and wore out the grooves on their first two albums learning to play guitar. We'll be going to Dubai, India, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, U.K., Latvia, Estonia, Russia, France, Finland,Belgium, Sweden. All in 43 days, doing festivals, arenas, and outdoor sheds. Other artists on the various bills include the Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, INXS, Chris Cornell, Smashing Pumpkins, Government Mule, Jet, Toto and a host of other local support acts. Lots of great guitar players to check out, lots of blog fodder for this space.

On one hand, it's a job that requires long days of travel, hot, sticky load-ins onto crowded festival stages, concrete toilets and precious little rest. On the other, it's a paid vacation through the capitols of Europe with just enough time of - if you can get out of your bed or bunk - to visit museums, churches, city centers, cafes and clubs. I'm hoping to find a like-minded soul to hit the streets with me since my former running buddy Greg Howard has left the tour to concentrate on getting his amplifier company started.

At 46 years old, I probably don't have too many more opportunities to travel overseas as part of my job, and Aerosmith does not tour Europe regularly. I think it has been 10 years or so since their last round of shows. So, if this is my last hurrah in Europe, I plan to make the best of it.

I'm typing this blog on a Mac for the very first time. A refurbished MacBook Pro arrived at my door two days ago, and I have been getting used to the Mac Method of computing ever since. No luck yet transferring my PC files over, despite following the "plug in an ethernet cable and go" instructions found everywhere on the Web. I suspect that a purchase of Move2Mac is in my immediate future, but until then, I wil be taking both computers with me in hopes that IT guru Joe Sagara can help. Hey, his stock answer to all of my PC problem questions was "Buy a Mac" I did.

I never had too many issues with my Dell laptops, but the simple elegance of a Mac, and the intuitive method of getting things done on it...and the anoying-up-until-now coolness of the machine have won me over. Not to mention that this laptop has 2gig of RAM and a 100gig, 7200rpm superdrive that wil allow me to work on any audio projects I may have started on my home computer.

Keep checking back for updates, including what I am sure will be a riveting report on the 13-hour plane ride to Dubai.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Bass In the Crowd

Country chanteuse Elizabeth Cook has a long list of bassists that perform as part of her Model Prisoners band. Paul Slivka, Dave Jacques, Tim Marx, etc. are all seasoned players. Apparently, none are available for her gig at The Mint in Los Angeles on May 18th, so I'm going to fill in.

I know all of the songs on her new album "Balls" , having added a few guitar parts to her demos. I've also done the FOH sound on a gig or two, and have listened to her records and seen her show many times. I even played guitar on a dozen gigs or so back in the day.

Now I'm dusting off my trusty Danelectro Longhorn bass and re-learning the songs from the low-end perspective. Should be big fun!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Get A Job

During my trip to New York with Aerosmith to play a benefit concert for the Robin Hood Foundation, I had the opportunity to take the train to Long Island for a job interview with legendary string and accessory company D'Addario. Those of you who have seen the video I did for them during the John Fogerty tour last year are aware of my long-time preference for their products, both for the artists I work with and my own gear.

They are a wonderful family-owned business, and simply offer the finest quality and selection of musical instrument strings and accessories available. That's been my opinion since my days working at Ward-Brodt Music in Madison, Wisconsin and it still is today.

Of course, since the interview went well, it's now also my job to say that! I am officially the Nashville Artist Relations liaison for D'Addario. Nashville is a prominent market for us, not only for the sheer number of musicians/customers here, but for the invaluable input we can get from players, techs, studios and retailers.

The big bonus is that it's part-time, so I can continue - and am encouraged - to travel around the world with famous people tuning their guitars and basses. Hard to beat that deal.

This is a goal I've had for a few years now, and I am thrilled to see it coming to fruition. Check back regularly on the D'Addario link for upcoming articles and videos that I will be posting covering the gamut of guitar tech tips, lessons, news and general music interest stuff.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote about "following your bliss", and I am grateful to everyone who have helped me do just that. With a major Aerosmith tour coming up, (my wife) Donna Beasley's album being sent to press for reviews, the great gig with D'Addario, and a few weeks home with my is good.

Thanks to all.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

After the Mexico City show, we had five days off at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. My wife flew in on the 24th and we did our best to experience all that Vegas had to offer.

This is my old college roommate, Matt Saltzman. He lives in Las Vegas these days, and is a lawyer. Matt was the drummer in my college band, "The Quilty" and we had many great times playing gigs. I had not seen him in 17 years, and we had a lot of catching up to do. He delivered a manila envelope full of my hand-written lyrics to songs I barely remember and opened up a lot of memories of my younger days.

He also scored a pair of choice tickets to the Cirque De Soleil production of "Love", based on the music of The Beatles. I can't really thank him enough for that. The show is amazing, the music is even more magical, now that it has been re-mastered and it simply proves once again that the Beatles were the greatest musicians of their generation and most any other generation, in terms of impact on future musicians and society in general. I recommend the album "Love" if you want to hear what talented folks can do to impeccable source material.

We wanted to rent a car to go hiking in the nearby mountains, and they had only two models left - a Town Car and a Lime Green Charger. The choice was obvious. Quite a ride.

We drove the Charger out to the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area and hiked into Fletcher Canyon.

This is the wilderness area as viewed from the trail.

The trail narrows into a canyon with a stream running through it.