Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We All Will Be Received...

Back home from Memphis and a 5-hour Elvis/Graceland experience. It was my fabulous wife's birthday and she wanted to see Graceland. We rented a nice Dodge Nitro from Budget and drove the 3.5 hours to Memphis, checked into the Grand Dame of Memphis Hotels, The Peabody, caught the ducks and planned on hitting the Rendezvous for some famous ribs for dinner.

For whatever reason the Rendezvous was closed, so we walked back across the street and into Texas de Brazil, a Brazilian-style steakhouse. For the uninitiated, that means you pay $43 and get an all-you-can-eat salad bar and your choice of large skewers of meat brought to your table by swarthy men with knives. As long as your supplied hunger button is green side up, they keep stopping by and slicing off chunks of chicken, garlic-encrusted sirloin, bacon-wrapped fillet, rack of lamb, etc. Once you are stuffed, you turn the button red-side up and they leave you alone. Awesome.

Woke up, checked out of the Peabody, saw the ducks and had breakfast at Denny's 'cause breakfast at Denny's is usually pretty good. Not too hungry from the previous night's gorging, but we knew that we'd be spending some time at the Graceland exhibits, so we got the day started out right.

Graceland was a 10-minute drive and after paying $10.00 to park, we walked into the ticket pavilion where, much to our delight, two platinum tickets were waiting, courtesy of a Facebook musician friend who heard about our trip. Excellent. Now we could see the mansion, '68 special exhibit, airplanes, Elvis in Hollywood, Elvis Fashion, and his car collection. Graceland is celebrating what would have been Elvis' 75th birthday this year.

Mansion first, of course. It's smaller than I thought, even though I'd heard it was going to be smaller than I'd think. It was, though. Decorated in mid-'70's hipbilly chic, it's a study in avocado (the kitchen), orange, blue and gold. Tapestries and draperies and shag carpet and push-button TVs. All of it cool, all of it Elvis.

There are horses on the grounds and a Trophy Room and a racquetball court that is now a display room. Golf carts, Cadillacs, motorcycles, tractors, airplanes. Jumpsuits. Lots of jumpsuits. Guitars, movie scripts, posters, many gift shops.

In all, a fantastic experience. Here are some photos:

Living Room

T.V. Room

Jungle Room


Dining Room

Gold Records

'70's Jumpsuits

'68 Comeback Special Leather Suit

Rare Gibson 6-string Bass, 6-string guitar doubleneck

Friday, April 23, 2010

In The Desert, You Can Remember Your Name

Las Vegas, again. It rained here all morning, so when we finally landed at 3:30, it was cool and damp enough to turn your collar to...for Las Vegas, at least.

We're here to play The Joint in the Hard Rock Casino. Never been in that venue before, it could get crazy. Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick are going to be hanging in my world all night. They're a local band for us Wisconsinites, and I had many a good time (and still do) listening to "In Color", "Heaven Tonight" and "The Dream Police". Of course, "Live at Budokan" is as good as any band can get, Leeds and Albert Hall included.

Should be fun.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

L.A. Times

Wow. A month between posts. Might be a new record, I'm not sure. Not that nothing's been going on, though...in fact too busy to blog is more like it. The new Donna Beasley record is done, mastered and getting ready for duplication. Pretty excited about it..it's definitely different than the last one and a step forward for me as a producer/engineer/guitar player/ songwriter/husband.

I'm in Los Angeles at the moment, rehearsing for the upcoming Keith Urban show in Phoenix and the ACM awards. Everything seems to be moving along nicely, the band sounds great and I've got a bunch of new guitars to look after.

My work on behalf of D'Addario is increasing as well. Look for a new and improved Guitar.com website soon. Lots of cool things happening there and more to tell once we launch.