Last week was really great fun, all of it. Started with the Waybacks recording session at KPFA (to be broadcast April 19 on KPFA), then continued through the Hotel Utah gig w/ Henry Kaiser et al., and then two nights at the Freight w/ the Waybacks. And just to put a cherry on top, on my drive home from the Freight Saturday night I finally solved a problem I’ve been cogitating on for months: a couple of lines in “Shove” have been bothering me, and I sorta knew what I wanted to do but hadn’t come up with the right replacement til now.
So many things I’m glad to know
Are contained within those pages
All our bonds are self-imposed
It’s the wisdom of the ages
So many things I’m glad to know
Are contained within that text
If you deal with what you’ve been through
You can deal with what comes next
My opening sets at the Freight were ludicrously short: the house manager told me I could have 15 minutes – 18 tops. So I did three songs on the first night, and managed to squeeze four in on the second. I also sat in with the Waybacks – “That’s Real Love” (Stevie Coyle loves this song!) on Friday, “Jackaroe” on Saturday. Got a great reaction to my solo sets and my sit-ins, sold more than $100 worth of CDs, got two pages of new names for the mailing list.
The Utah sets were underrehearsed, but everyone had a fine time anyway. And all these players – Josh Zucker (bass), Josh Kaye (keys), and David Phillips (pedal steel) – are interested in playing more gigs together. I’m hoping to keep Adam Perry in the loop on drums, but he’s committed to The Love X Nowhere and may not be able to make the time. I love Adam’s playing, but I’m starting to like the idea of having a band that plays around here regularly and that might entail having a drummer who isn’t so tightly bound to another project (and let’s assume things are going to get busier and better for Adam’s main squeeze). He’s my first-call drummer until he says otherwise.
There’s a new club in Oakland called The Uptown. Dan McGonagle is working there, and he wants me to play. Might do another night with Henry there in April.
I’ve also confirmed May 13 at the Larkspur Theatre Cafe, with the Rowan Brothers. We’ll share a band – Josh, Josh, and David, plus Jimmy Sanchez on drums – and we’ll all be together in the middle for a Rubber Souldiers set of Beatle songs. We’re going to make a big deal out of this, pushing for coverage in the Chron etc., so I hope some of you will come out and help make it a success.
Last night I went to Kathi’s All-Star Jam at the El Rio in San Francisco. David Phillips is in the band, Train Wreck. The rest of the band are not people I’ve heard before, but they hold it together pretty well behind a parade of mostly amateur musicians. Ben Fong-Torres was there, singing two parody songs he wrote for the occasion (I gather he does new ones every month). I followed Ben, and I took maximum advantage of the band and my own skills by choosing the very familiar “Willin'” and “Pancho and Lefty” – both of which I have made my own over the years. I got a lot of good feedback after my performance, and I wound up singing harmony and playing acoustic guitar behind several other players, too. Kathi has a great posse of regulars, and she runs a very welcoming jam.
Also of note this week: I, along with Angie Coiro and her producer Lisa Lindelef, took a Pro Tools lesson from Gregg McVicar on Monday. Thus inspired, I finally got my Pro Tools system updated and configured, and I started playing with it in my studio. I’ve recently rearranged things in the house so I can rehearse, compose and record in the office, and now I need to do some more rearranging so I can connect the Pro Tools rig, the guitar rack, and the studio monitors and all the outboard gear I’ve got in the closet.