Saturday, 19 July 2014

Chopped Salad (random saturday notes)

had a great chat with a cat
who informed me that back in the 20s
singers would show up to sing at gigs
and the audience would be dissatisfied
because they didn't sound like the record
so the singers started changing their voices
to make it sound more twangy and nasally
to affect the sound of the record players of the time
clearly what CAL is doing is nothing new
people want note for note - cut for cut
and tone for tone

welcome aboard nick walsh
a few weeks ago i was out at a scarborough jam night
and nick got up and sang
i couldn't move
his voice was riveting
i was so taken with him that i couldn't even speak to him after he got off stage
so i asked michale vassos for an introduction
and two weeks later nick is on stage in owen sound wailing led zep 2
wailing it!
we spent some time together and he's a warm hearted soul
with a ton of good stories
including one nefarious one about yours truly
chastising him years ago for postering at one of the CAL phoenix gigs
i said that he must have been postering over our posters
he said he wasn't and that i was quite vocal
we had a laugh about it
look for nick to be a mainstay in the CAL line up
i believe that he is capable of pure absolute greatness

here's a look behind the scenes on what it means to be a CAL alumni
first - you have to be a stand up individual
you have to pack up your ego and your dogma
and mail them to your local tribute band where they will fester
underneath feathers and wigs
second - you have to know how good you are
we don't suffer fools or sycophants
we want a bit of bravado in the mix
third - you have to know when someone is better than you
i've learned this lesson every day of my life
i'm humbled by how hard it is to do what we do
case in point: des leahy and rob phillips

on the very first show
des leahy was the dark side of the moon guitarist
perfect tone
perfect execution
cool stage presence
and for a couple years - des was our go to first guitarist for floyd
crowds loved him
girls brought him soup
then des did a gig
and rob phillips was in the opening band
des called me and said that he had the right guy for the floyd band
i said 'you're the right guy'
des said 'this guy is the guy'
that's the barometer of cool
so in comes rob phillips
and life is escalated to a new level
rob phillips is the musician's musician
a good man with talent to explode with
and des is on stage with him
backing him up - playing 2nd guitar
i can't tell you how emotional this makes me
this is the mindset
this is greatness
this is a template for life
now and then i offer a musician a gig
and they tell me that they're not right for the show
that another musician would be better
i love that
there's lots of work for everyone
my favourite day is when i go online
and order new cheques

i think that CCR is america's greatest band
they had the most hits
they got people boogieing the most
you can't listen to their music
and not sing along or toe tap
i was talking with russell gray a while back
and he was telling me that he's trying to break the habit
of putting a little flourish on his rhythm guitar playing
- a little 'tick chaw' in between every chord
i told him that i'm trying to break the habit of suspending every chord
- adding or removing a finger to make the chord bounce a bit
well - let me tell ya
CCR has no little 'tick chaws' or suspending chords
CCR is a mack truck of rhythm
straight ahead
clean and strong
flourish free
and steady as a rock
i love this band more than i realized
every song is perfect
every song is engrained in us
make sure to make a point of catching the CCR shows
they're going to be events
i picture full houses all up dancing

and finally some great news
as many of you know
my family - like so many other families
has been affected by cancer
so i volunteer
spending every monday driving cancer patients to and from their appointments
and at the shows - in toronto
we set up a booth with the canadian cancer society
and try and recruit some new volunteers to help drive
so far we have recruited 9 drivers
i know that doesn't sound like very much
but when you do the math - it's fantastic:
once a week - one driver picks up 5 people
and drives them to and from their appointments
times that by 40 weeks
that's two hundred drives
now times that by nine other people
that's 1800 patients that won't be getting on a bus after chemotherapy
and that's a beautiful thing
we're making a difference
we're doing something that counts and helps other people
all under the umbrella of music
man - that's the good stuff

july 19, 2014
coke and salt and vinegar chips