Friday, August 20, 2010

Southwest tour underway

Greetings from Amarillo. We are readying for our third night out in the southwest playing American Rock & Roll shows to lively crowds in New Mexico and Texas. You'll see some of the guys from Fortunate Son ( tribute to CCR) below at the Texas border. As we drove in to town, we caught some rather well done ads for our show on the radio and listened to callers winning tickets for the concert. So far both theaters we played in were nice. In Carlsbad, the hall was like a mini Gibson Amphitheater. And yesterday in Lubbock, the Civic Center felt like the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

We stopped in to the Buddy Holly Museum this morning, and I got chills looking at a pair of his iconic glasses that they recovered from the plane wreckage that he was likely wearing. What a tragic loss...

It's a privilege to be out here making music in these great cities.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

summer is on

Our schedule is starting to heat up with the summer weather... After three gigs this week, we are ringing in the solstice a bit early. First it was Palos Verdes Street Festival, to check in on our south bay fans. Then up to Thousand Oaks for a homecoming of sorts (we play a LOT in the west valley). And I think we made some new friends out in Simi Valley yesterday (check out GR's panorama of it). We're looking forward to rocking with our friends in Big Bear next weekend.

We're still riding high from playing an acoustic set with the legendary Jack Tempchin in Alta Dena. It was the coolest thing ever to be able to introduce him. I've seen 3 shows of his now, and every time he plays songs that I say to myself, "Damn, he wrote that one too?" He's a great storyteller, with words and music alike. Man, if I wrote Peaceful Easy Feeling, I'd probably be a cocky jackass. Not Mr. Tempchin. He's as cool and humble as my neighbor, yet probably billions of people have heard his songs. That's real rock and roll... If only for a moment, we were more than a tribute band, when Jack sat in with us to sing Already Gone and Peaceful Easy Feeling. The sold out Coffee Gallery got a treat hearing the songs performed straight from the original author. Right before the show, he told us how he never switches keys near the end of Already Gone like the Eagles do. So we rolled it that way not quite knowing what to expect. But we've all done enough non-tribute work that we enjoy the spontaneous experiment.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Backstage at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

This past weekend, we had the privilege of bringing our music to the fully rigged stage in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. Click on the photo at right to see my little backstage chronology of the setup. We brought in a powerful video projector to try out our new video intros for each of two sets, which you can see a little pinch of the screen in the upper right of the 4th shot. Our friend Jim Hardiman sat in on percussion, and our other crony Julian came to operate the smoke machines. Not that our setup is ever simple, but this was a full-on production! And judging by the reviews we got, the extra effort paid off for the audience.

Our next gig takes it to the other extreme, and will be an intimate acoustic concert at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Alta Dena. It will be an interesting contrast to approach these songs we love in such a different way back-to-back. For me, playing on a huge stage with full volume instruments and thousands of people is like this intense energy vortex, where the power of the sound, the audience and the musicians on stage feed each other in a cumulative and collective swell, whereas an acoustic session is like having a one-on-one conversation with each person watching. Each experience is moving in a different way. It makes me wonder if musicians who get so famous that they can't do intimate shows end up missing the latter. Well, for now, we get to enjoy both, and I'll take 'em!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jackpot for The Long Run

This room was full of energy and people at each of our 3 sold out American Rock & Roll shows at Cactus Pete's in Jackpot, Nevada. We were surprised that this remote casino could be such a high quality music venue and attract so many avid music fans. The sound was great, the rooms were nice and the surrounding mountains and landscapes were beautiful. Most of the people came in from Idaho, and we met a lot of cool people. This was definitely more of a rock crowd who liked the loud tunes. One young lady was even asked by security to refrain from dancing on the table, but to her defense, there wasn't a whole lot of floor space.

I was laughing when we landed in Burbank airport back home at how many musicians were flying in from gigs and picking up music gear at the baggage claim. If ever I forget, we live in a showbiz town here. But that's a good sign for the economy that people are getting out to shows and rocking out. So thank you Jackpot for doing just that with us.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The rain did not stop San Diego

Our first show of 2010 landed us at the beautiful Anthology jazz club in downtown San Diego. I took the above photo of the stage during setup, which was loaded with technology. The whole set was captured on video and audio, and it was our first public performance with our new monitoring system. And they treated us well... the food was outstanding, and we felt right at home upstairs in the "Taylor Room," as a couple of us own Taylor guitars. I guess since Taylor is a local company, they sponsored a VIP room and put up some showcase guitars.

The staff set up the club in anticipation of a busy
night. Just about every table was reserved.
A couple friend's of Gig arrived just as we were
finishing dinner. When we came out of the Taylor
room (on the 3rd floor) Gig saw his friend Geneen
waving at him. He went over to say hello and
asked, "What the hell are you doing way up here
instead of down at floor level?" She replied,
"Cause everything else is friggin' sold out!"

Here's a grab shot of GH singing
Desperado, pictured on the big
screen. The photo was snapped by
our own GR, early in the song when
we has time to take pictures. He almost always does during Desperado.

The turnout was pretty awesome considering the heavy rain... By the end of the set, people were dancing in a tiny sliver of space in front of the stage.

Thanks for braving the weather to all who made it out! We definitely hope to make it back to Anthology soon...

Next stop: Jackpot, Nevada!

Monday, October 19, 2009

That's some good Schmit !

photo by Chris Farmer

I was fortunate to spend several hours in a relaxed,
warm and friendly rehearsal environment with Eagles
bass player Timothy B. Schmit, just last week. Our
friend and TLR family member Chris Farmer, who
sometimes fills in for Jim, is working with Timothy
as keyboardist, bassist and back-up vocalist on the
tour for his brand new solo album "Expando".

Timothy was immediately gracious, welcoming and glad
to have a few friendly folks in the room to watch and
listen as he prepared for the upcoming string of shows.
After that day's rehearsal hang, which included such
humble icons as Dewey Bunnell & Gerry Beckley of America,
a few of us attended the kick-off show here in Los Angeles
the next night. It was unique to hear Timothy sing a
couple of his signature songs, like I Can't Tell You Why
and Love Will Keep Us Alive, in this intimate setting.
But it's even more satisfying to be part of the unveiling
of some of his new and very personal material.

Seeing the Eagles in concert is a bigger-than-life kind
of experience. But being with any Eagles member in a
much smaller room (or theatre) as he shares his music
reminds me of just how tightly stitched the community
of musicians can be and that, at the end of the day,
it's still about telling a story.

(Pictured in the background is Herman Matthews,
a really nice cat and drummer who's worked I've
admired for years)

Oklahoma is OK!

photo by Gary Grantham

Hey everyone, it's Gig.
Pictured above is the stage at the Oklahoma State Fair.
When we got to the site at about 10 AM on show day the
pro touring crew was all set up and commencing their line check.

By contrast, and as Chris said (in the Hermosillo post), it was pretty
novel to arrive at the site (in Mexico) to find an impressive show rig
being built over a stage that was still just a large piece of dirt.
But, when we returned a couple of hours later a nice stage, 8 feet off
the ground awaited us. It was loaded with a full lighting package,
smoke machines, video projection and even pyrotechnics.
And to be fair, that stage was erected specifically for our show while
the Oklahoma rig had already enjoyed 9 days worth of entertainment.
The sound in Hermosillo was big and bombastic and we were able to
open the show with our intro video, something only a handful of you
have seen at select venues.