Mesa Cab Clone Yum!

This is an integral piece of studio gear that I have a tremendous need for. Palmer does a bloody brilliant job in this arena, but their products are very pricy. However, this item manufactured by a great well known”tried and true” amplifier company (Mesa Boogie) has me very intrigued and excited.

This is on the top of my “Musician Radar” at the moment to demo.

$299 US street price FTW! Nooice!

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Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

Rolling Stone

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. “One chord is fine,” he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

louLewis Allan “Lou” Reed was born in Brooklyn, in 1942. A fan of doo-wop and early rock & roll (he movingly inducted Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989), Reed also took formative inspiration during his studies at Syracuse University with the poet Delmore Schwartz. After college, he worked as a staff songwriter for the novelty label Pickwick Records (where he had a minor hit in 1964 with a dance-song parody called “The Ostrich”). In the mid-Sixties, Reed befriended Welsh musician John Cale, a classically trained violist who had performed with groundbreaking minimalist composer La Monte Young. Reed and Cale formed a band called the Primitives, then changed their name to the Warlocks. After meeting guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, they became the Velvet Underground. With a stark sound and ominous look, the band caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who incorporated the Velvets into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. “Andy would show his movies on us,” Reed said. “We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway.”

“Produced” by Warhol and met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, VU’s debut The Velvet Underground & Nico stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. Reed’s matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums – 1968’s even more corrosive sounding White Light/White Heat, 1969’s fragile, folk-toned The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, which despite being recorded while he was leaving the group, contained two Reed standards, “Rock & Roll” and “Sweet Jane,” were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time.

After splitting with the Velvets in 1970, Reed traveled to England and, in characteristically paradoxical fashion, recorded a solo debut backed by members of the progressive-rock band Yes. But it was his next album, 1972’s Transformer, produced by Reed-disciple David Bowie, that pushed him beyond cult status into genuine rock stardom. “Walk On the Wild Side,” a loving yet unsentimental evocation of Warhol’s Factory scene, became a radio hit (despite its allusions to oral sex) and “Satellite of Love” was covered by U2 and others. Reed spent the Seventies defying expectations almost as a kind of sport. 1973’s Berlin was brutal literary bombast while 1974’s Sally Can’t Dance had soul horns and flashy guitar. In 1975 he released Metal Machine Music, a seething all-noise experiment his label RCA marketed as a avant-garde classic music, while 1978’s banter-heavy live album Take No Prisoners was a kind of comedy record in which Reed went on wild tangents and savaged rock critics by name (“Lou sure is adept at figuring out new ways to shit on people,” one of those critics, Robert Christgau, wrote at the time). Explaining his less-than-accommodating career trajectory, Reed told journalist Lester Bangs, “My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds.”

Reed’s ambiguous sexual persona and excessive drug use throughout the Seventies was the stuff of underground rock myth. But in the Eighties, he began to mellow. He married Sylvia Morales and opened a window into his new married life on 1982’s excellent The Blue Mask, his best work since Transformer. His 1984 album New Sensations took a more commercial turn and 1989’s New York ended the decade with a set of funny, politically cutting songs that received universal critical praise. In 1991, he collaborated with Cale on Songs For Drella, a tribute to Warhol. Three years later, the Velvet Underground reunited for a series of successful European gigs.

Reed and Morales divorced in the early Nineties. Within a few years, Reed began a relationship with musician-performance artist Laurie Anderson. The two became an inseparable New York fixture, collaborating and performing live together, while also engaging in civic and environmental activism. They were married in 2008.

Reed continued to follow his own idiosyncratic artistic impulses throughout the ‘00s. The once-decadent rocker became an avid student of T’ai Chi, even bringing his instructor onstage during concerts in 2003. In 2005 he released a double CD called The Raven, based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe. In 2007, he released an ambient album titled Hudson River Wind Meditations. Reed returned to mainstream rock with 2011’s Lulu, a collaboration with Metallica.

“All through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987. “They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel.”

My Friend Leo’s Gas!

My Friend Leo has been having serious G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) to the nth degree. I haven’t seen him in 4 weeks now that our old gig is no more for the time being so I had him over to hang out on Saturday. He came bearing his latest decadent ebay purchases, it was so awesome to play these Jems all afternoon. They are as follows:

  • 1958 Silvertone U1
  • 1960 Silvertone U1 bass
  • 1965 Straotone by Harmony
  • 1939 Vega Vitar Lap steel
  • Dan Electro Eric Clapton Reissue

When I picked up the Vega Vitar it rang like an acoustic. I kept telling Leo “dude this has to be hollow or have a major chamber inside.” He popped the bottom off, one big hunk of of Mahogany. Amazing! The bass is really something, totally Paul McCartney Hoffner Beatle tone, really something special. The 1958 Silvertone (Dan Electro) plays really well for a non truss rod piece and sounds brilliant. The Clapton reissue sounds KILLER! It doesn’t play as well as the 1958 U1 but if my buddy, who’s also incidentally a Luther in training in his third year with a builder here in town, can get it playing nice it will be something very special. The 1965 Stratotone is really unique, it sounds like the perfect slide guitar and much of my fretboard time on it Saturday was utilized playing just that.

All in all pretty exciting guitar geek stuff! If you’re a guitar nerd that is….. I snapped a couple of pictures just to make you all out in WordPress land Jealous :P I’m hoping to get some more time playing on them and maybe cutting some tracks with that sweet sounding Bass.

Enjoy!

 

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Poison ft Chriss Yell

This is a Tune my close friend and Musical partner and I recorded last summer. I played the drums, bass and guitars, he sang and played some acoustic guitars as well as penned the tune. For contractual reasons I wasn’t allowed to play it publicly until Today. He has this fantastic sounding U87 Microphone clone from JJ audio that sounds so sweet and full, I love using that microphone! Enjoy!

Spock’s Beard New CD Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep

 

Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep has proved to be the Spock’s Beard Record s a fan I’ve always wanted to hear. My love and admiration of Progressive music is no secret to those closest to me. I’m a prog fool as much as I’m a blues fan, rocker and smooth jazz lover. As a long time fan of Spock’s Beard I’ve always felt a little robbed in the guitar department when it comes to Alan Morse in a light beer kind of way. Alan is such an amazing player but he’s always really laid back in the pocket on Spock’s Beard recordings, not so on Brief Nocturnes. Alan Morse is all over this record and it’s really put a smile on my face and a joyful step in my heart.

As a fan Brief Nocturnes is the album I’ve always craved from Spock’s Beard in the guitar department, I’m so enthralled. Alan doesn’t shred all over the CD, that would not be Spock’s Beard, but the spots he does are epic! His note choices and melodies are sublime on the record and he shows that as a guitarist he’s a force to be adored and reckoned with. I’ve always known what a true virtuoso Alan Morse is by default demographically. Living two towns over from Alan in California for over 20 years I’ve had the opportunity to see him play live and he’s something else boy!

With the departure of Nick D’Virgilio one of Musics most talented drummers / vocalists touring drummer Jimmy Keegan has really stepped up and filled his shoes well as has vocalist Ted Lenard. So many times when bands go through line up changes they lose the magick, I would have to say, at least for myself, this is not the case for this SB fan. If you’re a fan of progressive music go out and listen to Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep on the interwebs, you just may find something worth paying for. I certainly have.

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Slate Pro Audio RAVEN MTX

Today Steven Slate released a new video of his new Raven Touch Studio Console. The Raven MTX is now available at gcpro.com in the US and MEDIAPROS.co.uk in the EU. No word on availability of the smaller Raven MTi shown at NAMM. I also might add the Price point is 16.5k US Stereo and $17.5k surround, a lot higher than SS marketing people have said in the past pre release. Also a note of interest it is “Macintosh only” at this time however a windows capable unit is in the works. I think it’s an amazing Desk and, if it works properly, a huge game changer for DAW.

Gratitude: Searching for Sugar Man #inspired

I had the most amazing experience at the The David Minor Theater tonight that was so powerful and surreal, I would have to classify it as spiritual. I saw this amazing film titled “Searching for Sugar Man” about a folk rock / pop star from the early 70’s who’s career bombed after his second album release. Unbeknownst to the films protagonist Sixto Rodriguez he had become a huge Platinum selling icon in South Africa with Anglo protestors of apartheid subsequently starting a musical protest movement commonly known as the “afrikaans music revolution.” Soon after his popularity came into focus the sick twisted apartheid government planted a false propagandist story country-wide that “Rodriguez” has committed suicide on stage to squash the love of his music. As all history teaches us humans over and over it vaulted him to martyr status amongst South African youth. When will these d-bags ever learn?

Rodriguez so inspired music executives at the time of his budding recording Career no expense was spared in the production of his compositions for vinyl release. His first album “Cold Fact” was produced by Dennis Coffee of the infamous Funk Brothers responsible for hundreds of hits for Motown. Dennis Coffey is so iconic he introduced the world to the Wah Wah pedal on the Temptations Psychedelic Soul hit Cloud Nine forever changing the landscape of popular music and electric guitar. This amazing record was also co-produced by industry heavyweight Mike Theodore (NelsonWu-Tang Clan) who’s musical pedigree is near untouchable in the artist realm. Lastly, Bob Babbit the iconic amazing Elvis of funk played Bass and arranged this record. Names such as these are unheard of working on a sophomore release let alone a debut album, however record executives know the goods when they hear it. This was something they clearly believed in simply assesed by the talent they brought forth into the sessions.

Although Cold Facts failed to break into the main stream his label Sussex Music appointed Steve Rowland to produce Rodriguez’s next album. Who is Steve Rowland you ask? He signed Peter Frampton, The Cure and the Thompson Twins and was involved in production and management of these amazing artists, that’s who Steve Rowland is. Clearly the powers at be in the executive branch of record company-ville saw dollar signs in their eyes. In listening to this album you can see why this is and what it is in an artistic sense. I’ve listened to few singer song writers in my estimation that can compose on the level of Dylan, Woody and Jimi but Rodriguez does it for me. I’m hair on the back of my neck standing up straight inspired by this amazing singer songwriter.

As for myself I retired from this film to absorb the knowledge of the entire interwebz for simple reason. The film’s soundtrack was brilliant but… OH MY FUCKING GODS this man is amazing. One listen is all it will take most humans IMHO.

Anything I could share beyond this can be found @ Sixto Rodriguez website: http://sugarman.org

Keywords: Gratitude, inspired, talent