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Showing posts from August, 2009

Double Dippin'

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Last night I double dipped.
First off was the Platnumb gig. I'm already a bit foggy on the details. We played a wedding at the St. Regis Hotel, a room in which I'd never played before. It was pretty. The whole place looked and smelled like a Restoration Hardware Hotel. Lots of Bentleys, Ferraris, and a Lamborghini out front. As far as the band went, our bassist John bought a new pedal and it sounded awesome! Lots of crazy, funky noises coming from over there. I loved it. At one point, the stage was flooded with people from the crowd, and some idiot lady came up between me and my music stand, squeezed through, took the neck of my tenor in her left hand and the music stand in her right, and pushed them apart so she could pass through. Not cool. Not cool at all. That was about the spot where I almost lost it. Once I finished that one, I jumped in the car and raced down to East Atlanta to The Earl or the CD release of Attractive Eighties Women. I walked in, pulled o…

Good Luck Ganesh

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Last night we had Ganesh Giri Jaya subbing on drums for Mark Cobb. Ganesh is our good luck charm--he has subbed with us on multiple occasions, and we always do better than usual on the money side. He never fails! Things were pretty smooth. I'm trying to thing of something interesting to say, but nothing really happened. No tragic gear failures, no weird crowd stuff, no nothing. The only distaster I can think of is that in Africa I missed the pedal and messed up the second half of the solo. So that was a bad four measures. That was about it. We did have a near disaster--on the second tune, I slid out into the center of the stage for a solo. At that same moment, Nick pointed in my direction by punching his fist to his right (with the microphone in his hand!). I narrowly avoided getting slugged in the temple! His hand grazed my hat. Woah! That was close.

Practice=Comfort

I practiced alot yesterday. The best day of my life? I wouldn't go that far, but the best day I've had in a long time. I got my clarinet stuff out of the way before my first student showed up. Then I knocked out my flute stuff in the gap between him and the rest of my students. Then I did my sax stuff after supper. In little bits and pieces I played some piano (ok, really I just played Lonely Boy some more, but my hands hit the keys, so it counts).Practicing for me is all about staying comfortable on the instrument. I want to be able to execute any idea I hear in my head, and I want to make sure that I'm getting a good sound. Practice is a major part of my job, and when I don't get a chance to practice, I'm not doing my job.

Lonely Boy

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Let's see...

Sunday night I had my usual church gig. I wore a new suit and got lots of comments about it. Nothing more to report there. I got the suit on sale.

After that I ran over to Tucker for a quick recording session for Nathan Beaver's next record. I nice tune--something about was sort of Lyle Lovett-ish to me. Anyway, Mike Barry (trumpet) and I cranked it out. In an hour we'd triple tracked it (including me going back and laying alto in with the tenor), so yeah, it was a super easy session. Have I mentioned that there were charts, and how grateful I am when there are charts at a recording session? It's almost like you had a plan before we got there!

Two people from my Sunday church gig played a wedding Saturday morning and used my iRiver to record their efforts. I partially edited the audio--I gave up at 4 AM. A couple of more hours during the day on Monday and it was done. It took that long because I was messing around with reverbs, EQ, compression, and…

Yachts are for Rich People

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Yacht Rock played some guy's 40th birthday party last night at his neighborhood pool clubhouse. Very impressive. A significant upgrade over my neighborhood, my pool, and my pool's clubhouse! If I had the money to throw myself a birthday party like that, I would not spend the money on stuff like that. That's how rich these people must be.

The band purchased a pair of amplifiers for the main PA, and last night was their first test. Passed with flying colors! We were upstairs in a room with a wood floor, lots of windows, and a high ceiling. Loud would be an understatement. One of those nights when I could feel my hearing getting crushed...in twenty years when my ears are totally shot, I'll look back on a night like this when I raped my ears and my plugs were in a bag not six feet away. Nice going, Freeman.

Anyway, we were loud. It was fun, and the sound was actually pretty clear. It was a smooth sonic boom. Mark Bencuya (our keyboardist) said he could hear every…

Ahh...Thursday

I've woken up really early today, and I'm alone in a dimly lit room watching a SportsCenter rerun...it's like being in a hotel room, except I'm at home.
I was really excited about Thursday's Yacht Rock because I was borrowing a Nord Electro for the tunes where I played organ, piano, or rhodes. Very cool. I usually mix my sax, EWI, and keyboard with a small Mackie mixer, and I thought I'd be able to add the Nord in there too. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to put both keyboards into the stereo channel like I thought I could. Bummer. Therefore, the Nord went to the house and was heard through a nearby (but mostly inaudible) monitor. It was a major disappointment...I only heard a handful of notes that I played. Mostly I just watched my hands. Even worse, when I jumped from the Nord to my Triton, the latter was super loud because it was jacked up in my personal amp.
One funny thing...during the fourth song of the night, some drunk guy in the front row, fe…

Tuesday

Not much to report on yesterday's activities. I purchased a suit on eBay and it arrived yesterday (and it fits, except that the pants are a little long).
Teaching is coming back around. I did five or six in a row yesterday, which is good news. The store (Music and Arts) keeps telling me that when my Mondays and Tuesdays get full, they'd like me to add an extra day. That sounds good in theory, but since that hasn't happened (all available slots full) once in the past three years, I'm not holding my breath. Plus, I'm not sure about which day would work. They asked about Saturdays, but I've almost always got a gig Saturday night, and now Jack's getting to the age where he has sports stuff happening Saturday mornings. Sundays could work, but I don't think the store has an open room that day. The other day they asked about was Friday, which seems like it could happen. Just like Saturdays, I seriously wonder what kid is interested in killing part of…

Wasting Time

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When I got home from teaching last night, I ate and watched the football game. Good stuff! Too bad I passed out on the couch trying to get to the end of the third quarter! Not only did I miss the last play, and not only did I not get anything else done last night, but I woke up refreshed and ready to go at 2:30 AM! Ugh! I could not get back to sleep. I ended up watching St. Elmo's Fire for about the 188th time. It never gets old. I don't know why. It's a cliche, I know, but this movie takes me back, and the associations I used to make with the different characters still rings true. Ahh...I'm getting sentimental!

Since this a music blog, I will point out that the love theme (on saxophone) is great, and I think I played it on saxophone about a million times when I was in middle school. I would also point out that the weird luggage strap idea on Rob Lowe's saxophone is a total Clarence Clemmons rip-off, and probably not practical--I would think that the horn…

Yachting in Young Harris

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Actually, we were a bit north of Young Harris at the Brasstown Valley Resort. Almost exactly a two hour drive one way.
Nick (acoustic guitar), Mark Bencuya (piano), and I (flute, clarinet) played the wedding ceremony. Pretty cool that they chose ALL Beatles stuff, so I think we played a dozen songs (including the prelude music). Very cool, except for the fact that we were outside the entire time.
We got there and sort of half set up for the reception in direct sunlight, then ran up the hill, got dressed, and played the ceremony outside (we scooted out of direct sunlight). Then we boogied down the hill and finished setting up, and played a three hour reception outside. Did I mention it was outside and I had on a polyester shirt, a suede blazer, and a wig? Yeah, it was hot.
This is a rant for another time, but it really bugs me when I'm sweating and I go to bar for water, and they fill a glass with ice and then pour water in it. I need water, not ice!
Other than the heat and t…

The Who's on the Boat

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Let me begin with the end of the gig...a big thank you to the two super hot lesbians who were dancing right in front of me through the encore. I enjoyed that.

The encore was Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who). It was very well played, but I wish we had done something where I actually had a part to play. This song choice was a flip of the bird to our audience...we're always seesawing back and forth between giving the people what they came for and trying to annoy everyone in the room. Even though it went over well, this was more of the latter--we will not give you more Yacht Rock! Anyway, it was cool to hear it, but not much fun for me because I swung a tambourine until it ended.

I had a great night playing. It was easily the best Yacht Rock gig I've played in the past five or six dates. That was a relief. If you were betting on what would go wrong with the EWI last night, I'm here to inform you that I think the USB cable might have been the thing. I had no issues w…

Hijacking the Hora

The cantor from last night's wedding evidently regards himself as the Jewish Pavoratti...he hijacked our Hora Medley last night. I love the way the guy refused to follow what we intended to do, and then looked at us like we were crazy because we couldn't read his mind. How do you say egomaniac in Yiddish?
I thought I had finally solved all my EWI woes with the changing of a MIDI cable, but yesterday at soundcheck I had the same sort of hiccup/loss of sound that I'd been experiencing at random moments for the past few weeks. I realized that the MIDI signal is getting to the box that converts the MIDI to USB, so my hope is that my USB cable has had enough; I've replaced it, and I hope that does the trick. I guess I'll know Thursday. If I have another hang up, my final step will be to try replacing the MIDI to USB box.
I wonder when I am toothless and arthritic--how many wedding receptions will I have played by then? In other words, how many more do I have to d…

Saturday Night in Athens

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Platnumb played a wedding reception in Athens last night. If my memory is correct, I have subbed out six of the last seven Platnumb gigs due to other events that I had booked (lately it's been a lot of Yacht Rock). It was kind of fun. They're all fine friends and it was cool to play with them again.Since I've spent the summer dealing with a long string of EWI issues, I should fill you in on my latest discovery. Part of the most complicated set up in the world is wireless MIDI, which has worked great for years...never had any kind of signal interruption. Thursday night my EWI had some sort of issue where the MIDI signal ceased to exist. After a reboot and lots of twitching different connections, it came back. Same sort of thing happened Friday night. Last night in Athens, it started happening in soundcheck. This time I happened to bump the MIDI cable connecting the wireless to the EWI, and it came back. Aha! A bad MIDI cable! I swapped it out, and there were no …

Andrews Upstairs

We played Andrews Upstairs last night. It was PACKED! We did well.
In general things went better than the night before (when I sucked real bad). The only song that really bit me in the butt was I Just Wanna Stop. The song started before I got to the keyboard, and so I chased the chords for most of it. I think I played alot of A Maj 11. A big mush of tonality! The other thing that was kind of funny (to me): on Love Will Keep Us Together, I had the idea on the way over that I would play the clav part on the keyboard so I wouldn't have to dance between sounds quite so much--the idea being that I could play the EWI stuff one handed and the clav part one handed. First time I tried it, I had the wrong hand on the keyboard, so I couldn't play the right note on the EWI. Second time I tried it, when I played the note on the keyboard, I instictively blew air into the EWI! Ahh! Next time, I'll have it down. It did solve a problem I was having--I just have to get the kinks…

Seasickness

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Last night was a strange one, and not in a particularly good way.

From about Tuesday night on, I've been dealing with a cold, giving me some snot, some body ache, and sinus headaches for a few days. Because of that, I've been laying low, trying to sleep and let my body do it's thing in destroying whatever this is.
My problem with this (other than feeling run down), is that I did not devote the time to practicing for the gig--going over and over my parts so I get them right the first time. Therefore, I had lots of strange little mistakes all night. Nothing major, but I was permanently a couple of seconds behind where I needed to be, so I wasn't able to anticipate things well. I was groggy.
This is also why I will be building my setup in the garage in an hour and playing through everything.

Special thanks to the group of women who showered me with attention, even though I denied their repeated requests to take my shirt off.

At some point in the first set, whatever Nick at…

My Arms Hurt

My arms are sore from lots of playing/practicing. The same sort of stuff I used to encounter in college from time to time--tender forearms and elbows. That's never a good feeling, and it's especially bad considering the amount of stuff I need to play before the end of the week.
Speaking of pains in my arms, my left arm has hurt right in the spot where you'd have a patch on your shoulder. It's been that way for a few days. My bet is because I was practicing me tennis serve. It feels like somebody drove a nail into the top of my bicep. It didn't get any better with me swimming back and forth the length of the pool today. Something in that over the top motion is not happy.

Late Night Yacht Rock

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Last night was a late one...
We (Yacht Rock) played some sort of benefit last night--connected some way to the DJ named Bert on V-103...I don't know either.
So, we loaded onto an uncovered stage in the parking lot of the Northern Tool Rental around 5:30 PM. No cover means that if it rains, we're dead; if it's sunny the next three hours or so will fry our gear. There was no way to put a cover over the stage due to some electrical wiring directly overhead.
We ended up dragging it out and didn't leave until around 7:30 or so. Each set up (keyboards, drums, etc) got a tarp over it. We went to Mark Bencuya's to change and eat. We rolled back over to the gig around 9:45 PM.
As we began to do the final prep for our gig, somebody checked the weather and noticed a stripe of rain headed our way. So...we waited in a tent next to the stage (and we started drinking). After about an hour and a half of hanging out, it still hadn't rained, so we got up on stage and started…