Tuesday, May 23, 2006

spectrum

Early in the afternoon yesterday, I found out that Billy Cobham was going to be in BR for a clinic later in the evening. I grabbed my tickets and the wife and headed on over. I didn't really know what to expect but it seemed that it would be somewhat interesting. I am not a huge fan of his most famous work (Mahavishnu Orchestra, lots and lots of 70s fusion) but he is a living legend in the drum community, so I went.

It's interesting how many faces I recognized in the crowd, even if I don't know many local musicians. BR is a small world musically, and drummers even more so it seems. There were many difficulties for Cobham on this one. Flight delayed, technical difficulties which compromised a large portion of his planned show, etc. So the show was about an hour behind before it even started. A good size crowd had shown up by then, though, probably a couple hundred people, which for a solo drum performance is not bad.

He came out and played a very musical solo to "introduce himself." It was a nice piece of music, but he was dropping sticks here and there, and admitted in his remarks after that he was exhausted. He must have been, because with the exception of two very short solos at the end of the evening, that was all the playing we got to hear. He opened the floor to questions and spoke to the audience for around 90 minutes. It was interesting, and he seemed a very nice and personable man, but I would have liked to hear him play a bit more. Especially since he seems to have evolved so far beyond his wanking 70s persona. When he played I could literally feel the pulse of his solo, no matter what he was actually playing. This pulse just seemed to move through me, and I hate that I didn't get to experience more of it.

All in all, I am glad I went (though I'm sure Lori isn't) and it was an interesting conversation with the man who has influenced countless others in his field. My favorite moment of the night was when someone asked him one of those bullshit drummer questions: what kind of heads do you use on the tops and bottoms of your drums? He started to speak and then admitted that he didn't know! He looked at his kit and read the names of them back to the audience. For the guys who get caught up in equipment and other meaningless nonsense, I thought that was a priceless lesson, and Lori laughed out loud with me at that one.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Chi-town

Wednesday I flew up to Chicago for the Dolby show at Martyr's. The trip to Houston was uneventful, but the trip to the windy city proves my contention yet again that God hates me. On a normal day, it is around a two hour flight, which would have left me plenty of time to meet up with my friend Jess, grab some dinner, and make the show. Fate had other plans for me, though. We were in the air for a long time. Seven hours total. Turns out we were circling O'Hare because of horrendous weather. We continued to do so until we had to divert to St. Louis to refuel. Showtime was 8pm, and a glance at my watch revealed that the best I could hope for was to miss the opener but still make the main show. Maybe. If he didn't go on until 9 pm. And I was on the ground in St. Louis. Unhappiness. Despair. Ultimately, I made it to the show about fifteen minutes after he started playing, so I missed Liepzig and, regrettably, One of Our Submarines. I also had to settle for the last half of I Live in a Suitcase, one of the two songs I came to hear. Budapest By Blimp, however, I heard in its wondrous entirety and it made the trip worthwhile. But I won't be getting on a plane again anytime soon.

The rest of the evening was more successful. Jess took me from one kick ass bar to another until around 3 AM or so. We had a great time. Needless to say, I missed my return flight at 8 AM, but managed to score a seat on a 9:15 and made my original connection back to BR. I was home a little after 1 PM, so it was a quick trip. But I'm glad I went.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

uh huh

Our last two shows have been interesting. April 28 we played a local pizza joint, Rotolo's, and I thought it was a horrible gig. Listening back to the tape, we were OK, but none of us could hear anything and the sound guys were uh, yep. Anyway, lots of people who said they were coming didn't, which turned out to be a blessing for me. Lori's brother came down and said he enjoyed it, but I really didn't think we were at 100 %, and I'm being charitable. We did make it into the paper, with a nice picture taken in my practice space, Ol' Doc Jenkins' Woodshed, so some good came of it in the end, I suppose.

Last night, May 5, Cinco de Mayo, however, was a different story altogether. We were playing a little joint called Artmosphere in downtown Lafayette which is basically a house with a bar in it. Great atmosphere and very cozy. I have a ton of family in Lafayette, and they pretty much were all there, with the exception of a cousin or two. My friend Danny was there, which was great, and we rocked the house. We were dead on, and it felt spectacular. Once again, I was in that totally relaxed state and whatever I wanted to play I played effortlessly. My hands were bleeding when it was over, which is always a good sign.

Afterwards, we walked down the street to the Blue Moon, which is some kind of hostel/bar, where a great band was playing, the Weary Boys. Great crowd there, with lots of dancing, and hootin' and hollerin'. Lori was called the hottest woman on the planet by the most weaselly looking drunk guy I've ever seen. He was barely 5 feet tall, if that, and made Steve Buscemi look great by comparison. Good times.