October 13, 2008

alison krauss & robert plant


What does she mean when she sings "Oh oh child, the way you shake that thing, gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting"?

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2008, San Francisco CA

Posted by Gene at 8:43 PM | TrackBack

July 29, 2007

dream theater @ berkeley


I think I'm going to quit my job and go on the road, following Dream Theater from show to show. Flickr set here.

Posted by Gene at 8:56 AM

July 19, 2007

a cold dark night with margo timmins


Despite the ill-tempered chill wind, it was good to see the Cowboy Junkies last night in Saratoga. They have a new record, and they played a generous, soulful show drawn from new and classic material. Never a band to dwell on the happier moments, they segued a very pretty Anniversary Song into the lilting but dark To Love Is To Bury. Their cover of Neil Young's Powderfinger was a highlight of the evening. I wished for 200 More Miles, but alas. Margo Timmins wandered offstage several times to attend to her 4 year old son Ed, who had banged his head and needed motherly ministrations. Michael Timmins seemed a bit distracted on guitar, but his presence was nonetheless deeply resonant in the lyrics of his songs. Peter and I had hot dogs and beer, not necessarily in that order. It was a good night.

[more pics in my Flickr set]

Posted by Gene at 11:34 PM | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

gabriela y rodrigo, guitars on fire


O. M. F. G. Beautiful, savage, astonishing, unbelievable.

Posted by Gene at 11:22 PM | TrackBack

June 20, 2007

so you thought you might like to...


...go to the show...to feel the warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow...I've got some bad news for you sunshine, Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel, and they sent us along as a surrogate band...we're going to find out where you fans really stand!

Update: see more pix in my Roger Waters flickr set

Posted by Gene at 12:22 AM | TrackBack

May 19, 2007

some of today's finest guitar heroes


Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci during the G3 '07 show in Berkeley. We were in the front row of the pit, almost dead center. It was St. Patrick's Day, thus the weird headgear. Freakishly stunning concert.

Posted by Gene at 11:03 PM | TrackBack

john petrucci @ G3 2007


The devastatingly amazing John Petrucci at the Berzerkely Community during G3 '07, not too bad for a cameraphone shot I guess.

Posted by Gene at 10:59 PM | TrackBack

April 28, 2007

black sabbath and megadeth ripped the night open

Okay, not Sabbath exactly; it was the Ronnie James Dio edition touring as "Heaven and Hell" that played the HP Pavilion this past Tuesday night, their second stop on the US tour. But when you look down at the stage and there's Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler tearing it up, well you know who it is. I'm not sure why they aren't using the Sabbath name nor playing any pre-Dio songs, whether it is a legal thing or out of genuine respect for Ozzy and Bill. Probably because the original band still plays together I guess. In any case, an amazing show especially considering those guys are well into middle age. I'm just stunned at how Dio's voice has held up, that dude can really shriek.

Although H&H were the headliners, I'm sure they must hate having to follow Megadeth. Mustaine and company continue to pump out tremendously heavy rock, and their chops are ferocious. Their stage show was toned way down compared to their headlining performance at last year's Gigantour -- no pyro stuff and a lot less gear -- but they kicked serious ass musically. The mix could have been better, but overall the sound was pretty decent for a big barn like the Shark tank. BTW, Megadeth have a new record coming out soon, for which we are waiting impatiently.

Talk about getting hit with a Tuesday night music club...wham!

Posted by Gene at 10:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 24, 2007

videos of 20 greatest guitar solos

Via BB, you guitar types should check out CityRag's compilation of links to videos of some of the best rock & roll guitar solos of all time. Just superb.

Posted by Gene at 1:09 PM | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

alison krauss & union station in san francisco


Fig. 1 AKUS (Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Barry Bales & Ron Block)

Awesome show by Alison Krauss & Union Station in San Francisco last night. Voice like honey, strings of fire, and one very shiny dobro. My spirit is refreshed.

Posted by Gene at 7:50 PM | TrackBack

November 3, 2006

a fur peace from my home


What a fabulous time we had at Fur Peace a couple of weeks ago! There's a lot to say, but for now I'll just let the pictures do the talking. As you will see, we had some fun. Okay, just to be clear, those first few shots aren't the actual Ranch, it's an abandoned house and barn along Rt 33 on the way ;-) But the rest are pure, sweet guitar (and mando and banjo) heaven!

For true afficionados, there are some recent Hot Tuna pictures and Fur Peace pix from 2004 & 2005 as well.

Posted by Gene at 11:53 PM | TrackBack

ed johnson plays nokia research gig


Wonderful local guitarist Ed Johnson fronted the band (presumably his usual cohort, Novo Tempo) at the big Nokia Research party in Palo Alto last night. I used to take guitar lessons from Ed several years ago, so it was a nice surprise to see him. I'm beaming out thanks to MC Joe McCarthy for the invite, it was a ton of fun. Lots of local research luminaries in attendance, especially from the mobility, media & ubicomp corps. Oh, and Mirjana & Nina, you are here ;-)

Posted by Gene at 3:27 PM | TrackBack

October 8, 2006

emmylou harris at hardly strictly bluegrass 2006


The exquisite Emmylou Harris. More from this set.

Posted by Gene at 11:11 PM | TrackBack

james nash & bobby weir at hardly strictly bluegrass 2006


James Nash of The Waybacks, with special guest Bob Weir. More from this set.

Posted by Gene at 11:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

t-bone burnett, emmylou harris & elvis costello at hardly strictly bluegrass 2006


T-Bone Burnett, Emmylou Harris & Elvis Costello (The Coward Brothers). More from this set.

Posted by Gene at 11:06 PM | TrackBack

jack casady & jorma kaukonen at hardly strictly bluegrass festival 2006


Jack Casady & Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna. More from this set.

Posted by Gene at 11:04 PM | TrackBack

t-bone burnett & g.e. smith at hardly strictly bluegrass 2006


T-Bone Burnett and G.E. Smith sitting in with the Flying Other Brothers. More from this set.

Posted by Gene at 10:26 PM | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

jail time for publishing tabs & lyrics

The NY Times has an article up, Now the Music Industry Wants Guitarists to Stop Sharing, covering efforts by the publishing arm of the music industry to shut down free guitar tab & lyrics sites. I wrote about this with some ire last year (Jail Time for Publishing Lyrics and Tab) when the Beeb reported on the Music Publishers Association's plans to go after such websites; the MPA is pretty much the equivalent of the RIAA for sheet music companies.

MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed. He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal". Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective". [emphasis mine]

This makes me angry in so many ways. As a music lover, I hate this because it is yet another demonstration of the music industry suits' lust for money and power overshadowing musicians' and fans' love for the music. As a guitar player, I hate this for what it tries to take away from me -- the opportunity to learn and grow and share music with family and friends. And from a business perspective, I hate this because it is a drop dead stupid business strategy. The publishers are looking at a huge, passionate and motivated community that has created an enormous amount of value and goodwill that extends far out on the long tail of musical interest, and they are trying to kill this in favor of what, exactly? Piano chord books? Some imagined iTunes-like online store for the Top 100 tabs? And their buzz marketing campaign launches with the idea of sending the current aggregators to jail? They can't be serious.

It appears that the music publishing industry has leaders that hate fans and hate music. It also looks like they are getting very bad advice about business. What a sellout.

Elsewhere, the viral marketing campaign is taking hold:

At USA Today, Kevin Maney learns that Moby loves the tab sites.

Thomas Vander Wal has and extended riff on the topic.

Fellow guitarist Karl Martino says it well: "Why do folks contribute so much of their time and effort transcribing these songs so that others may learn them? Love. The free exchange of knowledge - driven by love of subject matter and the desire to share. As purest an expression of that human need as any else online."

Posted by Gene at 7:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 14, 2006

a few blogs from well-known musicians

I only know of a few "famous" musicians that blog:

David Byrne, solo artist and Talking Heads
Adam Duritz, Counting Crows
Robert Fripp, King Crimson
Jorma Kaukonen, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane
Brian May, Queen
Jill Sobule, folk artist (she did that quirky "I Kissed a Girl" thing a long while back, she is quite talented and funny).

You would think there would be more. Am I looking in the wrong places?

Update 2006-08-16: Since my amigo Dwight over at Ideoplex linked here and posted on Jill Sobule, let me take the opportunity to point you to a very funny thing on Jill's blog. It's the post titled "The Story Behind the Song - 10/24/04".

I was at SXSW (a music industry showcase in Austin). I had just been signed to Atlantic Records and was about to play one of those horrible shows for chatty catty record company posers -- I did not have this attitude fully developed back then. Anyway, it was a double bill with an unknown female singer/songwriter also debuting on Atlantic named… Jewel.

Jewel, at that time, was this cute, slightly chubby hippie girl who sang folk songs and lived in a van (that was the story). She performed before me, as I had put out a CD on another label earlier and had more of a name (which was not saying much). As she got on stage, the jaded audience maybe looked up once, and then talked through her entire set. After her 5th song, she left in tears.

I felt so bad for her, and knew exactly how she felt. I went backstage, gave her a hug, and gave her some big sisterly advice: "It wasn’t you. You were great, and they are just big assholes." I thought to myself, this poor girl is going to be so eaten up by this world of broken promises and heartache (something like that).

As bad as I felt for her, I was determined to kick some ass. I opened up with my "when it’s a hostile crowd" opening number, Don’t Fuck With Me. It has worked opening up Paul Weller’s lager-swilling fans, Don Henley’s ex hippie now Republican crowd, and even did magic with the semi-goth frat boy Godsmack show. And yes, this cheap trick worked in Austin. They shut up. I knew right then and there that I was going to be Atlantic Record’s new diva. "I was gonna be a star" (said in a kind of 1930’s NY Broadway manager way).

Read the rest, it's just high-larious and conveys her sense of humor perfectly ;-)

Posted by Gene at 7:39 PM | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

hot tuna & friends autographed guitar on ebay


Jorma Kaukonen and several of his close musical friends are auctioning a signed guitar on ebay, to benefit the local elementary school in West Athens, OH near Fur Peace. Signers include Jorma, Jack Casady, Barry Mitterhof, Michael Falzarano, Roy Book Binder, and more. They are trying to get more, possibly including Roger McGuinn. Seems like a pretty amazing opportunity, fretboard fans, so get bidding!

Posted by Gene at 9:22 AM