Sunday, May 29, 2016

chuck berry collectors blog

tried to add this to my blog feed, but blogger won't accept it. this is fascinating stuff: Chuck Berry Collectors Blog ... of course, it is maintained by a german: europeans value & preserve our american music better than we (nation of swine) do, as they proudly will tell you themselves. implicit in their pride is a disdain (justified) for us, talented yet ignorant & spoiled children who don't deserve their own historical musical output, who crap where they eat: this is the feeling i've gotten after talking to european american music fanatics! we should be slapped!
i've got a homespun instructional video of johnnie johnson that i rarely have watched because he doesn't instruct at all, just says things like, "how i play that? just like this," then launches into something without explanation. :D it's kinda funny. from all i've seen in video & read, he was a simple man in temperament, tho a lovely, ferocious master of his musical instrument (i think of  dear manuel, aka, big manny)... but one of the entries on the blog, about the controversy over which pianist was on "johnny b. goode," describes mr johnson as being "forrest gump-like." hmmm.... in my opinion, someone so innately genius on the piano shouldn't be characterized that way.
btw, yesterday was so much enormous fun. the redwood room people are as great as the people in taft: generous, friendly, enthusiastic about the music... and they always serve a terrific feed for all, free! they showed up in droves, the place was packed, they cheered wildly, we played our hearts out, we couldn't've been happier, we kicked butt.
watch out, cirivellos! we will be there thursday in LBC. one member of the blues express says we will "blow their a**es off." (big grin)

Saturday, May 28, 2016


can't stop thinking about the piano. a wonderful obsession again has been unleashed, different than when i was a child because now i can improvise, & that just makes playing a whole league more absorbing. gene taylor was right: the piano can be the answer to all of life's problems.
my first best friend, i love you so much, wooden, ivory, plastic, console, upright, spinet, grand, baby grand, stage, keyboard, electric, all 88 keys of you (even if some no longer work...)
here is a pic from last night at sammy's. we kicked major butt. it was so so so so fun.
i love playing music more than nearly anything. hope you have an absorbing healthy passion, as well!
thank you, great spirit, creator of the universe, god in the atoms.
we have lots of shows upcoming. here is the website: james's website (i'm in there, too)

Monday, May 16, 2016

life is but a dream.

photo: unknown
i truly have no idea at all what will happen from moment to moment in this chapter of my life.
just read a post from 2013 that -- according to this site's stats -- someone had pulled up & was reminded that this life is short, so i must remember to enjoy what is left of it, however that can be possible... whiteboy james & the blues express will play at shenanigans in shoreline village, long beach ca this upcoming saturday, an early show, 1-5 pm, i think... be there early or we won't be there.
photo by sandra thomas

Friday, May 13, 2016

fueling up

on each set break, our knife-lean drummer & friend steve kida snacks. steve, who says "i have my grandfather's build," has a regimen i'd do well to imitate: pasta before every show, & on breaks, a sandwich or apple followed by a bit of chocolate or a muffin. and no drinking, no sodas, just water.  following this nutrition plan, he has the steady energy & strength to sustain high-voltage playing for a four-hour night! steve never bonks, which is important in james's intense band.
i started back up working at the library yesterday, so by nighttime i was pretty tired & bonked at the top of the last set, but weirdly, after fumbling the opening instrumental, i went into a flow state where my brain switched off & i just played, really dug in, went into another dimension mentally... it was quite nice. today, my hands, forearms & biceps are sore due to the way i play. however, i'm inspired to become stronger; i am rising to this challenge!
wonderful to've seen friends old & new last night, too. nice chatting with krystal/karen & seeing the elliots, monique & john, the greek, sean & shannon & several couples i don't know but should because they come out each month to see our combo!
well, here's some news: james has taken me on to be his fourth band member in the blues express. last night when we announced it, the audience cheered. what a nice thing! james says to be ready for the dirtbags & what one of our band members has called "nasty a*s no-talents" who will try to break us down, but james & i've been facing such people since we got together as a couple, so it'll be nothing new. plus,  in this realm, playing music, i can be confident. james says i might even become "cocky," which would be kind of fun, i think... sunday at the OC marketplace (see poster) we will kick major major butt!!!!!!
after last night's show, while cruising up the 5 back to the mountain, we glanced over to admire the nighttime LA skyline & decided to step off the fwy to eat at the original pantry cafe, the place that's been open non-stop since 1947. what a great meal! the meat tasted like real meat, not filler (many cheap eateries have a certain amount of cellulose [basically sawdust] in their "meat"). i had the spaghetti & meatballs, the best i've ever had, really! james enjoyed his burger & we both dug sitting right by the cook's window, watching a hard-working mexican dude rapidly slapping together omelettes, fried potatoes, french toast, & more on the giant sizzling grill.
you can see by our faces what kind of night it was: tho we live with ups & downs, last night was a solid up.
please come out to the show sunday, if you can, & if you can't, visit to see where we'll be upcoming.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This Week & Weekend... and Rest in Peace, Dear Candye Louise

- mother's day & dad's 75th birthday were really nice, even w/a head that would not cooperate. i got to help my folks quite a bit, & today, the day after, james & dad palled around a lot, which always makes me happy... i was so encouraged to talk w/my stable sweet saintly mischievous pretty little cousin mary frances, who has had thyroid cancer & now, out of its shadows & receiving appropriate medications, could share with me how much better life will be once i get this health issue properly addressed... i have hope! i'm not crazy! (well, i am, but there's an extenuating factor.) whee!  hallelujiah! relief may be in sight!
- if you're in the area (or not -- heck, who doesn't like a road trip?) come see us this thursday at shenanigans in long beach and sunday at the oc marketplace... posters & details are below.
- i am sitting here trying not to freak out as james & dad work on my car alarm, which went haywire just as we were about to leave for home. so will just write & write til calm comes back... just watched a video of my former bandleader karling abbeygate. she & her love johnny do a magic/psychic act called ling ling & tong down in LALAland, focusing on shows for children, which is really cool. i've always loved being a sort-of eccentric person, yet always focused on complete appropriateness around kids & young people. i approve of their vision. they are a beautiful & lively & strange couple, & it's good for a young person to know he/she can fly his/her freak flag & yet know him/herself to be a good human worthy of respect & able to act for the Greater Good. around the time i fell in love & ran off with james, karling fell in love & ran off with johnny & she seems to be happier than when i was playing music in her band, so i'm glad for her. she never seemed totally comfortable as a scenester, i didn't think. she was too smart & too much of an individual! just another addendum: i've always thought karling has a pretty heart to match her pretty, heart-shaped face.
- on a very very sad note, karling's, my, & thousands of others' friend, mentor & hero candye kane passed away the other eve. she had been fighting pancreatic cancer for eight years. i mean, fighting!! she did not at all go gentle into that good night!!
- candye played shows up to the last minutes of life that her ailing body would allow.  as her plus-sized voluptuousness sloughed away to the tiny slip of woman she was at the end, candye kept belting out the blues on stages around the world, traveling & touring through terrible pain, refusing to give up. her beautiful smile never changed; nor did her courage & desire to inspire. she was widely, appropriately acknowledged to be a superhero (the name of one of her best records: not alone in my reaction, i projectile-blubbered when 1st i heard that song!)
- the only relief is that, now gone, candye's no longer suffering. thousands of fans, friends, loved ones, we all are so especially sad also for her dearest friend, adopted daughter & guitar player, the prodigious laura chavez, who cared for candye in her last five years & has written in past days, "how can i imagine life without you?" oh death, heartbreak, devastation... may her grieving process have eventual end, is all i can say. :( candye's talented musician sons evan & thomas, too, are deserving of extra wishes for comfort today. so if you're the type, please send them all a prayer. /// - this week has been weird & up & down & all around & inside out & upside down... time to go play the piano for a bit.

Friday, May 06, 2016

random sh*t & blablablabalbla

we just got a flash flood warning. it's been raining like crazy, hailing yesterday. we're having an intermission right now, but the clouds are booking along, the sky greying again as i type, & we're sure for another deluge. when i walked out of the local pizza parlor earlier, the air smelled like christmas, so clean it revivifies, excites, shocks the senses in a stirring way that makes a person remember: i am ALIVE! such moments make me shiver & go, oh sh*t! i have to jump posthaste into the next duty so i don't go hog mad. hedonism & wildness lurk around each next corner, you know... or crippling depression... so best to chop wood, carry water, stay busy, let the wildness explode in controlled places, in musical &/or other passionate moments...
postings say the san andreas fault is about to pop. if it does, i don't believe we'll perish (knock wood) cause we're not in a decrepit 100 year old dwelling or multi-floored poverty complex, like too many who've unnecessarily perished in past super-quakes nearer the equator.... however, a whole lot of our antiquey sh*t will be destroyed, & maybe that will be for the best, long as james, cat & i make it through (& the dog next door)... there's no chance of a tsunami rolling thru & overtaking us, as horrifyingly happened in japan, you know... back in OC when i had my time there, they had green metal tsunami warning signs posted here & there. james told me he'd picked the apartment dwelling he did because it was at a local "high point" -- at least 80 feet above sea level, i'd guess. if a quake hits down there, coastal OC is gone, wiped out, history, a sludge patch, nothing left, bye-bye, you get my drift. i was happy when i read if the san andreas collides w/the cascadia plate, which might happen, the northwest corner of the U.S. also might go under, but my favorite uncle ralphy will be saved cause he & aunt pam are on the eastern side of this possible crash...
ah, this all rears its head to be quite selfish talk, now that i review... really, i hope nobody is killed in any upcoming earthquake or tsunami. however, if coastal OC falls to the ocean floor to be discovered in future millenia, mu or atlantis-style, i will not cry at all. again, that is if somehow, impossibly, nobody is killed. even people i don't like -- don't want them to be toasted by mother nature.
oh, maybe west-smellay will go under, too. so sad that would be. again, no deaths -- just get rid of the whole impacted snotty privileged area...
i love my family. i love my sponsor. i love my friends. peewee the cat is mercurial but quite a beautiful little creature, all big intoxicating eyes & soft fur & claws of death... i love him, too. my finger hurts. i love playing the piano. i just blew out another key on the left hand side of my console yamaha. damned stomping left hand. i think my favorite pianist right now is meade lux lewis. i need to get better. i need to practice, practice, practice. the music thrums thru me all the time; i know my love & passion for it will mean that now is the time finally for me to become more than merely a good pianist. my changing role vis-a-vis james & his music ensures i will be playing A LOT more: all this is great! what an opportunity. what a life.
next week we play with stephen at shenanigan's. next weekend we all practice at a cool-looking rehearsal space near union station LA. i hope we get to go to the last bookstore after or before, or philippe's, or both. last time i took the train that way to meet james in long beach, i missed the train, had to take the bus, then didn't get to explore downtown at all, tho i ran like hell once i got off the bus to union station & thus was able to grab a cheese sandwich & some pickles & some coffee from strawdusted-floored philippe's... our local pizza parlor's best pie is a cheese. it is salty-yummy with a delicious crust. just started finally on jeffrey eugenides' book in the pizza joint, eating a nice scrumptious salad, watching the stormy sky roll past, marveling at the pulitzer prose of the book. some people can really, really, really, really write. and the rest of us can place words on paper.
afterward worked on books at the thrift shop. the gal who volunteers today always brings her darling pink-cheeked baby, who one day will have memories of scooting around the store's dirty cement floor in her walker, her baby bare feet cool & filthy, & probably she will have few allergies because of all the sh*t wafting thru the atmosphere of that store. james just walked in with hair sticking up & belly full of pizza & asked, "watcha doin'?" now he is chuckling on the phone in the other room while kitty makes gentle crunching noises while scarfing at his fat-inducing kitty junk food...
sunday we play the OC marketplace. we will blow the place to pieces, i say. whiteboy james rules.