Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Studies of a Fretless Bass

Friday, October 29th, 2010

All shot with a Canon Rebel XS and a 50mm 1.8 prime lens



Study of a Fretless Bass

Blue Duotone





Study of a Fretless Bass

Black and White





Study of a Fretless Bass

Strings in Blue Duotone





Study of a Fretless Bass

Brown Duotone


Photos from The Other Halftime Show

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Here’s some shots from The Other Half Time Show.


The Other Half Time Show

The Band



The Other Half Time Show

The Band



The Other Half Time Show

The Band



The Other Half Time Show

Doug and John



The Other Half Time Show

The Band



The Other Half Time Show

The Band



The Other Half Time Show

John Navarrete on the drums, folks!



The Other Half Time Show

Fred Gretsch autograph on the headstock



The Other Half Time Show

Danelectro



The Other Half Time Show

Guitars



The Other Half Time Show

Amps



The Other Half Time Show

Steve Julian on the Black Paul, ladies and gentlemen!



The Other Half Time Show

American Tele



The Other Half Time Show

Alan's Drums



The Other Half Time Show

All Geared Up



The Other Half Time Show

Steve Jammin' Solo


theotherhalftimeshow.org

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Today I’ll be performing at theotherhalftimeshow.org, a benefit concert in association with Hugs4Holly.org to help a woman waiting on the lung transplant list.  Holly will even be making an appearance singing.  Here’s a sneak preview:

We will be performing 5 minutes after The Who performs at the Superbowl halftime show.  Tune in to theotherhalftimeshow.org for the show, and I will be tweeting and posting on the blog throughout the preparation and aftermath of the show.

Now you know I can’t go any place without my camera so I took some pics at the limited rehearsals we’ve had (mostly of Alan Weinkrantz’ and my guitars because I am a guitar nut)


Seafoam Danelectro - 242/365 - 6 February 2010

Seafoam Green Danelectro


 


Guitar Collection

My Paul, Tele and Black Danelectro


 


My main ax for this gig

My Main Ax For The Gig


 


Alan Weinkrantz rocking out!

Alan Ramone Rocks Out On The Gretsch


Cleaning Up The Old Blues DeVille

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I don’t play music much any more,  but every once in a while, I get invited to jam, and this weekend is one such occasion.  I started digging around to get some equipment out and decided I really needed my bigger amp for this (our goal is to get the cops called on us).  So here is my Fender Blues Deville.  The problem is it wasn’t in playable shape.  It had to have it’s power tubes replaced, a LOT of cleaning  and dusting, pots and switches had to be cleaned and a fuse replaced…and this was just cleaning of the internals.  This amp has seen gigs in Louisiana, Vegas and here in Texas and has been manhandled, bumped, dropped, had drinks spilled on it and in it and it still plays great.  It’s pretty much a tank.

I’ve been feeling pretty sick today, so hopefully I’ll be good to go by tomorrow night.  If it’s anything like the last time, there will probably be some video of the jam up on youtube so as soon as I know, I’ll post a link.  Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the amp after it’s ‘makeover’.

GrooveTube - 102/365 - 18 September 2009

Groove Tube 6L6

 

Blues DeVille-3

Tweed

Blues DeVille-4

Controls and Stains

Blues DeVille

The Guts

Les Paul – 1915 – 2009

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

The music biz lost one of the true greats today. Michael Jackson was a great singer/performer, but Les Paul probably had more impact on the music industry than anyone this century. He was a great guitarist and had a great recording career, yes. But he also invented multi-track recording, tape echo, and the ELECTRIC FREAKIN’ GUITAR!The man originated the concept of ‘think outside the box.’ He also created what is arguably the greatest guitar of all time, the one that bears his name, the Gibson Les Paul.

Les Paul - 67/365 - 13 Aug 2009

In Memory Of Les Paul

So without Les, there would be no sophistication in modern recording, or the echo sounds that have become such an integral part of what we hear in music. Yea, maybe that’s the geek in me coming out, but what you may not realize is that, without Les Paul. There would be no Rock and Roll. Period. With Les in mind, I decided to try to think outside the box with today’s photograph and use some of the tools at my disposal that I rarely play with. Les, keep rockin’ on!

Another trip down musical memory lane

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

A while back, I posted about ‘My Musical Past‘ and threw up some audio of some jams I did with Frank and Damon.  Well, I’ve been digging through the musical treasure trunk and decided to let you in on some tunes from a jazz/blues project Damon and I did called ‘Natural Progressions’.  It produced a little 5 song CD of songs we recorded by The Allman Brothers, Miles Davis and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  It was really an exercise in trying to learn to use digital recording gear, but I thought I’d throw out a tune we did on that project called ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’, which was originally recorded by The Allman Brothers Band.  Enjoy!


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My Musical Past

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I got an email (several actually) from my friend Damon who I used to play music with back in the day. We were in and out of different bands together from about 1998 until he moved and he is, without a doubt the best drummer I have ever played with and probably the best all around musician I know. He moved away several years ago and, though we’ve talked sporadically, I haven’t heard from him in a while, until today.

Lans and Damon 1

At any rate, we did quite a bit of recording and he ran across some old jams we had done in his studio with his friend Frank Cabrera on drums, Damon on bass and me on guitar. These were instrumental recordings I had completely forgotten existed. I asked him if I could share them and he was cool with it, so here we go.

The first is just a loose blues jam

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The other is the very beginnings of a melody that I had gotten in my head and I had showed Damon about an hour before this recording was made. Frank added the mad 6/8 drums and this is the only recording of it that exists (that I am aware of). In fact, I don’t even think we ever named the song.

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My Conundrum…and other news

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

So what is my conundrum, you ask?  What to do with my November, of course.  Other than the obvious enjoying the cool off in the weather and getting to cook some Thanksgiving goodness, what should I do?  There are a couple of things on the horizon that pique my interest.

First there is National Podcast Post Month, a wonderful little event that was founded last year by my podcast guru, Jennifer Navarette.  What is National Podcast Post Month?  Basically, you attempt to publish a podcast every day for the month of November.  I did it last year, successfully I am proud to say and had a blast.  Many of you may know that I produce a (approximately) weekly podcast called ‘Enlighten Up’ over at enlighten-up.org.  Basically I talk about Buddhism and how classical Buddhist ideas are relevant here in the 21st Century (nice tag line, huh?).  Well, this is not a quick process, so for NaPodPoMo, I changed the format completely.  For those 30 days, I simply read a short thought from one of my Buddhist Books, sent out a little podcast love to some of the new podcasts I was listening to and that was about it.  Sounds simple, but with finding the reading, gathering info for podcast love, recording, editing and posting show notes, it was about a 2 hour a night process.  What I hadn’t thought about was how my listeners at the time would react to thirty days of being bombarded with podcasts that were a completely different format than what they were used to.  Just to clarify, much of it was not positive.  I lost a number of listeners because it was too much ME and not the information they had been tuning in for.  I decided that if I did it again, I would do a completely new show on a different feed that would not interfere with the Enlighten Up Podcast.  I also had decided I would do it on something other than Buddhism.

NaPodPoMo was actaully inspired by National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo) which was inspired by the long running National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo).  National Blog Post Month is simply posting a blog post a day for the month of November.  I had done National Blog Post Month a couple of years back and really wished I had signed up for it last year too.  Why, you ask?  How on earth could I do a daily podcast AND blog post.  Ahhh…there is a method to this madness, young grasshopper.  When I was posting the podcast, I was meticulously posting show notes and comments on the whole NaPodPoMo process in my blog.  Hence, there was a blog post every day.  I did it, I just didn’t sign up for it!!!

Therefore, I have successfully completed NaBloPoMo and NaPodPoMo.  The one thing I haven’t tried is NaNoWriMo.  To me, National Novel Writing Month would be a big challenge.  Hold on, hold on.  Let me lay it out for you.  At 12:01 a.m.  on November 1, you begin writing a novel.  The goal is a 50,000 word novel before midnight of November 30.  Now, I have produced dozens of podcasts and I have made hundreds, maybe thousands of blog posts, but I have NEVER written a novel.  NaBloPoMo and NaPodPoMo were simply things I already did, but I just had to do them alot and fairly quickly.  NaNoWriMo is a whole different animal.  Needless to say, this program not only intrigues me, but scares the hell out of me.

So there lies the conundrum.  Do I go for the NaPodPoMo again, whose challenge would be to try to do something new and creative in a format that I know I can complete?  Or do I really go for broke and try NaNoWriMo and take on a challenge that I have never tried before and am not sure I can even get to the finish line on.

I’ve been weighing these against each other and discovered that, while they sound remarkably similar, they are really different.  With the podcast, I am producing something every day, that is distributed every day, that I get feedback on the other people doing the same thing every day.  There is a lot of natural interaction just from participation.  But with NaNoWriMo, it’s really me vs me.  Yes, there is a wordcount that’s publically visible that I update so that anyone interested can see how far along I am, and there are forums that allow some communication, but no one else is really reading your novel day by day.  There isn’t that sence of closure at the end of each day.  With NaPodPoMo, there had to be a new podcast out every day and it’s really obvious when you miss one.  With NaNoWriMo, if I skip today, no one knows or cares.  It would kinda feel like any ecouragement was artifically generated where NaPodPoMo is more natural.  You really feel part of the podcasts that others are doing and you feel they are a part of yours.  But, again with the novel, it’s just me vs me.

Now all this might sound like I am really leaning toward doing the podcast again.  Oddly though, I am tending to lean to the novel.  I think I want that challenge of something that I have never done and am not real sure I can do.

If you have experience with either of these, or you just have an opinion of what I should try, leave a comment.  Like I said, I have not firmly decided one way or the other.  I’m still not firm on it though, but I think I better get firm pretty quick because, no matter which one I pick, there is going to be a bit of planning involved that I need to get done before 12:01 on 1 November.

On a lighter and wonderfully fun note, I will be heading to the Social Media Club of San Antonio meet up at San Antonio College tonight.  It’s from 6-8, food is going to be provided, there’s door prizes and the college paper, The Ranger,  is coming with a reporter and a photographer to cover the event.  That reminds me, I better avoid the ripped jeans and t-shirt.

Greatest Guitarists Ever?

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I ran across a Rolling Stone article called “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” yesterday and, being a musician myself, poured over the list.  I’m sure no one can put out a list like this without expecting criticism and disagreement over who they picked and what order they placed  them in.  I am here to fill this niche.  So lets get started, shall we?

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Duane Allman
  3. B.B. King
  4. Eric Clapton
  5. Robert Johnson
  6. Chuck Berry
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughn
  8. Ry Cooder
  9. Jimmy Page
  10. Keith Richards
  11. I don’t have any major problems with the top 10, at least nothing that screams at me.  I think this may be a little high on the list for Ry Cooder and Keith Richards, but this is still the neck of the woods they need to be in.

  12. Kirk Hammett
  13. Kurt Cobain
  14. Jerry Garcia
  15. Jeff Beck
  16. Carlos Santana
  17. Johnny Ramone
  18. Jack White
  19. John Frusciante
  20. Richard Thompson
  21. James Burton
  22. Ok folks, here’s where my problems begin.  Kurt Cobain?  Great guitarist?  I just can’t buy it.  Influential songwriter, maybe.  But in my opinion, he was not a particularly accomplished guitarist.  So he definitely doesn’t go here.  I also can’t believe he is listed ABOVE the likes of Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana!

    My next problem:  Johnny Ramone.  Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THE RAMONES.  They kick major ass.  But their ass kicking is done with attitude, not with chops.  I can teach a 10 year old to play Johnny Ramone songs.  He shouldn’t be on the list.  Sorry.

    Now to one of my biggest problems with this list.  Jack White of the White Stripes?  Who did this guys manager pay off?  He shouldn’t even be on the radar.  Not even in the cut.  How did this guy make the list and Albert King didn’t?  I am assuming this was a joke that someone put in when they were stoned that they forgot to take out before publication.

  23. George Harrison
  24. Mike Bloomfield
  25. Warren Haynes
  26. The Edge
  27. Freddy King
  28. Tom Morello
  29. Mark Knophler
  30. Steven Stills
  31. Ron Ashton
  32. Buddy Guy
  33. This 10 is not QUITE as bad.  I am a little torn with The Edge.  As a straight player, I don’t think he’s that great, but he is a master of using effects well to make astonishingly full walls of sound.  That being said, I think that makes him the less talented version of Robert Fripp.  Fripp was doing this stuff in analog before The Edge ever picked up a guitar and Fripp is a straight up monster player.  This is one of those guys that’s good, but when you look at who didn’t make the list, I think he should be dropped to make room.  That’s really my main problem with this 10.  There are several who are good but there are many that deserved these slots more.  For this reason and this reason alone, I’d have to take out Tom Morello, Ron Ashton and Steven Still.  These are very tough choices, but when you put them next to Django Reinhardt or Steve Vai, who didn’t make the list, I would have to bump them, or at least bump them lower and get rid of some of the riff raff that shouldn’t be here in the first place.

    I do think Buddy Guy needs to be higher.  Hendrix is number one and Guy is the man who influenced what you see in Hendrix more than anyone else.  He needs to at least be to 20.

  34. Dick Dale
  35. John Cipollina
  36. Thurston Moore
  37. Lee Ranaldo
  38. John Fahey
  39. Steve Cropper
  40. Bo Diddly
  41. Peter Green
  42. Brian May
  43. John Fogerty
  44. Now here’s an interesting 10.  Dick Dale, the king of surf guitar may be a little high, but I definitely think he needs to be in the list.  There was no surf style before him.  John Cippolina of Quicksilver Messenger Service was a great player as well, but I go back to the ‘who’s NOT on the list’ argument before I put him on.

    The next two are the guys from Sonic Youth.  They are ok players, but not even approaching the level of what should be on this list.  You have some incredible players UNDER them.  In excusable choice.  Not as bad as Jack White, but approaching it.

    The rest of this 10 are fine with the exception of Bo Diddly.  As a guitar player, I think he is better than Chuck Berry, so if Berry is at number 6, Bo Diddly at least needs to be in the top 10.  (Although top 20 for both of them, I think would be more appropriate.)

  45. Clarence White
  46. Robert Fripp
  47. Eddie Hazel
  48. Scotty Moore
  49. Frank Zappa
  50. Les Paul
  51. TBone Walker
  52. Joe Perry
  53. John McLaughlin
  54. Pete Townsend
  55. Not since the top 10 have we listed 10 I can’t argue with.  All are great.  All deserve to be here.  All are in about the right spot, although some arguments could be made for moving a little.  Still, all and all, this one is pretty spot on.

  56. Paul Kossoff
  57. Lou Reed
  58. Mickey Baker
  59. Jorma Kaukonen
  60. Ritchie Blackmore
  61. Tom Veriane
  62. Roy Buchanan
  63. Dicky Betts
  64. Ed O’brien
  65. Johnny Greenwood
  66. …and we are right back to the problems.  Paul Kossoff of Free I can go with.  By looking at who isn’t on here, maybe he should open up a spot, but you could open the Grand Canyon in this 10 so let’s move on.

    Lou Reed?  Are you serious?  Lou Reed?  C’mon folks.  I love the music but Lou can’t really sing or play.  It’s about the cool, the vibe, the attitude of the Velvet Underground, not musical ability.  Sorry Lou, I love ya, but you got to go.

    Mickey Baker is probably one of the best guitarists you never heard of.  I say he stays.

    Jorma has at least got to move down the list.  The Airplane and Hot Tuna are great, but I just don’t think he goes here.

    Tom Veriane of Television, I must say, is one of the few I have never heard play, so I can’t really say if he goes here or not.

    Now let me get to Dickey Betts.  Dickey is WAAAY too low in this poll.  Dickey is one of the best all around players there is.  Just listen to ‘Live at the FIllmore West’.  The problem is that Dickey was in a band with Duane Allman.  So you compare him to the number 2 guitarist EVER and he will pale a little.  When the Allmans reformed, he played next to Warren Haynes, who, BTW, I think is also WAAAAY to low on this list.  He pales a little.  But he is by no means a bottom 50 player.  This guy is definitely top 20 if not top 10.

    Ed O’Brien and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead?  Shouldn’t even be in the list.  Nuff said.

  67. Ike Turner
  68. Zoot Horn Rollo
  69. Danny Gatton
  70. Mick Ronson
  71. Hubert Sumlin
  72. Vernon Reid
  73. Link Wray
  74. Jerry Miller
  75. Steve Howe
  76. Eddie Van Halen
  77. So lets start at the top here with Ike Turner.  Great guitar player and song writer?  Agreed.  Belongs in the top 100 guitarists ever?  Sorry,  no.

    Zoot Horn Rollo from the Magic band, same as Ike.  Great player, absolutely.  Top 100, nope.

    Danny Gatton was a monster.  This guy is too low in the list.  Needs to be 10 to 20 spots higher, at least.

    Hubert Sumlin is a real favorite of mine, but I’m not sure he belongs in this list.  He backed up Howlin’ Wolf forever and was great, but in a list that is missing Albert King, I think we have to make some room.  I am truly sorry, Hubert.

    Link Wray is a tough one.  Very influential in incorporating distortion, but just not sure if that would be enough to do it for my list.

    Jerry Miller of Moby Grape.  I really love this band and Jerry’s playing, but c’mon guys.  You have him on the list ABOVE Eddie Van Halen.  Eddie definitely needs to move up the list.  This guy has done more on a guitar than most of us can even dream up.  He’s top 10.  This is a truly boneheaded oversight.

  78. Lightin’ Hopkins
  79. Joni Mitchell
  80. Trey Anastasio
  81. Johnny Winter
  82. Adam Jones
  83. Ali Farka Toure
  84. Henry Vestine
  85. Robbie Robertson
  86. Cliff Gallup
  87. Robert Quine
  88. This 10 is quite diverse and interesting.  Lightnin’ Hopkins is in at 71 which I think is about right.  Glad to see a folk player made the list in Joni Mitchell, who is a great fingerstyle, non-standard tuning player, but I think there were a couple of those who should have made the list and didn’t.

    Trey Anastasio is a great player and probably goes in the top 100.  I think his position here is about right, maybe even a little high, but he definitely makes the list.

    Johnny Winter is too low.  This guy is a monster.  He started out a monster and is a monster to this day.  Should be at least in the top 30 – 40.

    Adam Jones of Tool would never make my list.  I don’t listen to Tool all that much so I don’t want to be too critical, but I think I can easily fill a top 100 list with valid entries and never even think of this name or band.

    The rest of this 10 gets no real complaint.  I think Robbie Robertson’s contributions to music totally overshadow any contribution to guitar he may have had, but hell.  I love the guy.  I’ll watch ‘The Last Waltz’ and listen to ‘Music From Big Pink’ till they cremate me.

  89. Derek Trucks
  90. David Gilmore
  91. Neil Young
  92. Eddie Cochrane
  93. Randi Rhodes
  94. Toni Iommi
  95. Joan Jett
  96. Dave Davies
  97. D. Boon
  98. Glenn Buxton
  99. First let me say, Derek Trucks is too low.  Go listen to this guy.  He can pretty much outplay any living guitarist.  His playing is simply on another level.  If you haven’t listened to him do.  Easy top 20.

    David Gilmore is too low also.  His contributions to music in general and the guitar in particular are without question.  Top 30

    Neil Young is probably in the right place, as is Eddie Cochrane, but Randi Rhodes is definitely too low.  40s to 50s.

    Toni Iommi may be a little low, but I won’t argue it too much.  He’s on the list and deserves to be.  He’s not top 50 and shouldn’t be.

    Joan Jett??  Huh???  Great showman?  Hell Yes!  Great singer?  Hell yes!  Would I go see her live and buy the records?!  Have and will continue to do so.  Great guitarist?   Get real.  I’ll bet even Joan would say she doesn’t belong on this list.

    Dave Davies is ok.  The Kinks are ok and have been doing this forever.  But he is just not that great of a guitarist.  Off my list.

    D. Boon probably belongs on this list, right about here, but I would easily entertain arguments for elimination.

    Glenn Buxton is a good guitarist.  Love the Alice Cooper stuff.  Top 100 of all time, especially with the names that are missing.  No way.  Sorry Glenn.

  100. Robbie Krieger
  101. Wayne Kramer
  102. Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith
  103. Burt Jansch
  104. Kevin Shields
  105. Angus Young
  106. Robert Randolph
  107. Leigh Stevens
  108. Gregg Ginn
  109. Kim Thayil

Here we are at the end of Rolling Stones list.  Lets see if they go out with a bang or a whimper.  They seem to start out well.  Robbie Krieger definitely belongs on here, and maybe even a bit higher.  Wayne Kramer and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith did some great stuff and probably deserve to be here as well.

Burt Jansch is a great player for the same reasons that Leo Kottke does and I probably would have given Leo the nod, but no real argument.

Kevin Shields?  Not on MY list, folks.

Now this brings us to Angus Young, one of the most copied blues rock players of the last 30 years and he rates 96?  Give me a break.  This guy is at least top 50, bare minimum.  Big drop of the ball here.

Robert Randolph is interesting.  Since it said guitarists, not stringed instrument players, I had not thought of him, although this inclusion would mean that Jerry Douglas MUST be added to the list.

Leigh Stevens, Gregg Ginn and Kim Thayil just don’t make my list.

Notable Omissions

We see who has been included, but who got snubbed?  There are some great, great names conspicuously absent from the list.  Here are just a few that I thought of:

  • Albert King
  • Django Reinhardt
  • Brian Setzer
  • Steve Vai
  • Eric Johnson
  • Joe Satriani
  • Yngvie Malmsteen
  • Sonny Landreth
  • Keb Mo
  • Leo Kottke
  • Charlie Christian
  • Chet Atkins
  • Jerry Douglas

There are numerous others but these guys definitely should have been on the list somewhere.

So there you have my take on it.  Let me know what you think.  Did I miss somebody? (I’m sure I did)  Is there somebody I under rated?  Leave a comment and let me know.

‘Jump’ Off!

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

i’m watching the ‘Rock Band Countdown – The Greatest Guitarist’.? At #4 is Eddie Van Halen.? This makes perfect sense.? What doesn’t?? The video they play to showcase the #4 guitarist is ‘Jump’.? This song show cases Ed’s keyboard skills with a somewhat lackluster guitar solo.? There are SOOO many phenominal examples of Ed as a guitarist, but this isn’t one of them.? Who writes this stuff?

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