Saturday, June 30, 2007

happy birthday mommie...

today, june 30 is my mother's birthday.
Louise would be 77 years old today.
my father Chester passed away
from lung cancer (smoking)
on april 12, 1970.
I was nineteen.
she passed away 10 years later in 1980,
never having even tried to re-marry.

my mother said, "after you've had the best,
nothing else will do".

my memory of their marriage is one
of laughter and happiness through
the struggle of lean times.
we didn't have much money,
but I never knew.
they gave me a happy childhood.

my memory of my mother
is of her sparkling laughing eyes
and quietly worried nature.

Friday, June 29, 2007

News From The Future...

three monumental pieces of news:
side four
is now mixed and ready to be mastered. my trip to saul's zonana's westchester studio was perfect. saul has done a fabulous job of making it seem as though you are four feet away from a scorching power trio. I have the artwork under control and will be finishing it as soon as possible.
side four is on its way!

as you may know, robert and I have a frequent phone dialogue most of which deals with our future together. recently I told robert "you have my full support in whatever you want to do, even if it's nothing". I went on to request that he simply let me know when he had decided on a course of action. yesterday robert called to say he'd at last figured out a way for krimson to tour. king crimson is coming back sometime in 2009!

I've begun talks with a well-known manufacturer of beautiful acoustic guitars about the prospect of creating an Adrian Signature Model acoustic guitar. The Parker Fly Adrian Signature Model is moving ahead ever closer and it would be so nice to compliment the
greatest electric guitar in the world with the greatest acoustic.

more on all of this later.

In A Whirlwind Of Ketchup

that's where we are today. answering dozens of e-mails, back orders from the e-store, further emergency paperwork for the eminent quebec/japan run, unpacking tour gear and setting it up in the studio, taking calls from everywhere, interviews, playbacks of the new side 4 mixes, laundry, you name it, we're busy doing it.

but I stopped long enough this morning to read through the reviews on robin slick's website (which is where I get most of my information) and was pleasantly shocked to find that most of the small world I inhabit seems to get it at last:

the power trio is phenomenal!

there is something which transcends beyond my experience when we play together. it's a mystery I don't intend to solve. chemistry. synergy. happiness. joy. all the things music can and should be. truly eric and julie make me better and I make them better. the music I have worked for all my life has reached a fresh plateau I've never felt or heard before. and I am so happy to share it with the ears and hearts of others. I wish we could play for everyone on the planet.

in fact, I'll go one step further to say:
this may be the happiest time of my life.

Monday, June 25, 2007

She Left Me

she left me
volume 3 no. 7
left and right right and wrong wrong and left and left and gone, she left me she left me

there was talk of an extended play of 4 new bears songs.
a 4-song EP.
this came on the heels of the bears'
second record rise and shine.
we were happy to oblige.
the bears went into the studio on an off day to record a quick throw-together called she left me.
with an intended stones vibe,
and minimal lyrics.
some friends were there in the studio area and they wanted to come in and listen, so we decided to make it a live in the studio cut. vocals and guitars, bass, and drums all at once.
engineers lose sleep over these kind of requests, but rich and newbie assistant Dave Kent were un-phased. it was easy and fun, done in a couple of takes.

then of course, the record label folded.
so this song was never released.

guitar and vocal: rob fetters
bass guitar: bob nyswonger

drums: chris arduser

guitar and vocal: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
assistant: dave kent
recorded live at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wis. on august 18, 1987
length: 4:52

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

sweaty success...

last night was our first show in months.
the mercy lounge, where we showed no mercy.
the place was steaming and so was the power trio.
rarely do you hear such enthusiasm pouring
from a nashville audience; they've seen it all.
but this audience was loud and excited.
and on a tuesday night no less.

the new songs went off without a hitch.
what more can I say about eric and julie?
they are awesome.

tonight at 8:00 we board a plane for vienna.
vienna, virginia that is.
let the joy begin!

Monday, June 18, 2007


5:22 volume 1 no. 4
straightaway I'll make apologies for the lo-fi sound of this one,
but it is one of the few offerings which was actually recorded
to a cassette tape which christy bley accidentally left running
while the GaGa band jammed together one night.
not even Flac could improve this one.

just so you know, a large amount of effort was put into
making all these downloads* sound as hi fidelity as possible
by using an extremely expensive computer system called
Sonic Solutions.
the cost is normally something like $300 a minute!
to correct sound flaws like hiss, hum, tape noise, etc.
thankfully our dear friend Bruce Marshall did it for free!
a lot of after-hours work and time spent by Bruce,
otherwise it would never have been affordable.
can you imagine what these hundreds of minutes
of music would have cost?!
bless you, Bruce.

as to the performance of 5:22 as mentioned
it was a late night jam at cwazy wabbit.
christy just happened to have her cassette deck running.
through the first half bill janssen plays sax,
switching in the middle to vocal and whistling guitar.
the second half also includes what must surely be
the first tape loop I ever made.
rich and I looped one little section (the last two minutes)
and then I recorded drums, moving a little off time on purpose
to change the loop slightly as it plays out.

the only thing left a mystery is how this piece
which was titled 5:22 at the time because
that was the length of the song
when we recorded it back in 1979,
has over the years become 5:33 in length!

* keep in mind these downloads range
from all manner of humble beginnings

such as 4-track recorder, cassette tape,
8-track, DAT or ADAT

all the way to full glorious digital sound.

saxophone, guitar, vocal: bill janssen
organ: christy bley

bass guitar: rich denhart

guitar and drums: adrian
recorded at Cwazy Wabbit Studio Springfield, Illinois in 1979
length: 5:22

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Anecdote # 828

Mr. Clean.
frank called him bald-headed John.
John Smothers was frank's body guard
ever since mr. zappa was tossed into
the orchestra pit by an irate fan.
(resulting in broken bones,
a lost year, lawsuits, the end of a band, etc.)

John looked like a black Mr. Clean.
tall, big build, smiling, bald, black man.
at a time when bald was weird.
john had a tight protruding belly
like Buddha.
he tried to seem ominous but he was
really a very sweet person.
a pussycat.

it was john's conversational skills
which defined him.
frank once told me he loved having
john around for the things he said.
john completely man-handled the english language.

I heared the equipment's being shipped out of chorus crispy, he said.
sitting down to breakfast he rejected coffee
ordering water instead,
I'll have a glass of HpO.

along with frank and our tour manager
(who deserves his own chapter)
john was the person I hung out with most.
sitting next to him on a plane
he would show me pictures of his girlfriend
boy she had 'em.
he would pull out his wallet stuffed with large bills,
look at this, abe, mister zappa pays me well,
he would say.

I loved john.

onstage he tried to be stone cold.
crossing his arms over one another
like the famous mussolini shots.

moving mr. zappa through a crowd
he held a threatening stick
that looked like a slender telescope.
"what is that, john," I asked him.
that's my polka, he would say.
"so what do you do with it?" I asked.
well, I pokes people with it, he told me.

the thing was, john never got my name right.
throughout the whole two month tour
he never got my name right.

he would start by calling me andrew
for a week or two,
then he'd shorten it to andy.
for a while.
then he'd move on to andre.
and stay with andre until I became
atrium, (my personal favorite).
it's nice to be architecture.

we were good with atrium for a time
until I simply became a.
that lasted for a while.

then one day john got all
philosophical on me,
started calling me
a nice biblical tome.

he shortened that to
(there may be an h in there somewhere,
I'm not sure of the spellings of my name
by this point.)

still not content
abrums begat abe.
finally after two months of daily conversation
that's where we left off.

honest abe belew.

no wait, I don't think he ever tried my last name.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

work in progress: Done.

almost done. I will need to find the best way to seal the front of the guitar,
but I'll do so post-tour. but I don't plan to add another splotch of rorschach
to this baby.

quick bytes...

this morning I'm learning starman by david bowie.
once a month an ever-changing group of musicians
and guests artists called the long players
perform an entire classic "album".
headed up by my friend Bill Lloyd,
I've been asked to be part of this month's entree:
ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars
which we will perform faithfully friday night, june 15
at the Mercy Lounge.

get ready for some hazy cosmic jive.

then on monday the trio has it's day of rehearsal
in time for our nashville debut tuesday night
at the Mercy Lounge.
and we'll be off to a city near you (hopefully).

start spreadin' the news...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A 4 Million Dollar Automobile...

earlier today I touched a $4,000,000.00 car.
it was on a special transport truck being delivered to its owner in florida.
Mr. Collier is in fact a famous car collector.
I've seen pictures of some of his collection.
the car was a vintage 1930's Bugatti.
if it were restored it would fetch twice the price.

I sold my first "vintage" car today to a dealer in florida.
it was worth about the price of a chevy.
I parked it inside the huge transport truck,
right behind Mr. Collier's 4 million dollar Bugatti.

work in progress, stage five...

closer, ever closer...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Manhattan Neurotica

manhattan neurotica volume 2 no. 4

as I mentioned in the download of the song dust
it's rare for me to have a krimson piece to offer,
most of that material is lovingly cared for by DGM.
I'm not sure why I even have this particular musical version,
perhaps it's what I worked to while writing the lyrics.
the unusual thing about this take is the absence of robert.
this is tony, bill, and adrian
(an early P3?).

as with most krimson pieces this began as an all-out
musical assault which we would
test drive in front of numb audiences.
it was given the working title manhattan.
right on the heels of making our "honeymoon"
record discipline
we were already hard at work on new material.
we played manhattan as an instrumental piece
for most of a tour while I tried to wrap my mind
around the idea of singing something over this maelstrom.

in the dark heart of the off-broadway theatre district
on 45th street between 7th and 8th
is the Milford Plaza Hotel.
in the early 80's I always seemed to be housed there
during my frequent visits to the big apple,
despite my numerous protests.
the Milford Plaza might be a great place nowadays,
but back then it was a glitzy pit
trying hard to look respectable
in a neighborhood of porn palaces.
once you got past the doorman
and the neon lit marquee
and settled into your monochromatic cell,
I mean, room,
the truth didn't quite match the TV ads
of glittery dancers on their way to a hot new play.

bill bruford once found a dead rat in his room.

new york city has always puzzled me.
with all its hectic passion and random energy
it can at times seem like the loneliest place on earth.
one such night I had no where to go and no one to talk to.
I sat in my room on the fifth floor of the Plaza
looking down at the busy intersection
filled with people in their theatre duds,
the taxi cab horns blaring,
the constant tide of odd-looking people
from around the globe,
and new york really did seem like
the asphalt jungle.

I saw a lady in a leopard coat.
then someone with an astonishing peacock hat.
I began assigning animal attributes to the people I saw,
writing the results on my spiral notepad.
doing my best "beat poet"
stream-of-consciousness bit.
by the time I had finished it was 3 A.M.
but I had my lyrics to neurotica.

chapman stick: tony levin

drums: bill bruford

guitar: adrian
spoken word: adrian
engineer: rhett davies
recorded at Odyssey Studio, London on march 17, 1982

length: 5:37

Saturday, June 9, 2007

work in progress: a striptease...

slowly the strips that bind fall away...
still more painting to be done.

Anecdote # 37

A Visit With The Wizard.

last night as I sat in the cool grass clacking two coconut shells together
while some of the elder tribesmen danced slowly around the bonfire
I gazed up at the stars and couldn’t help but wonder: is it possible there
could be another world not unlike ours, a world where people like us
might stick something into a hole in the wall and cause little glowing lights
to blink on and off like fireflies, a place where someone could turn
a knob on a box of some sort and fill the air with great marvelous
clouds of sound, sounds unlike anything the human ear had ever heard
before, the sound of a giant metallic insect grinding through the sky,
the sound of an angel singing underwater, the beautiful smokey wail
of an overblown speaker, and just as I was wondering what a speaker
might be...I woke up.

in my earliest memory of electric guitar I am six years old.
taking in the intense kaleidoscope of Christmas shopping
with my parents at the Newport Kentucky Shopping Mall.
the mall itself was more like a small strip mall than today’s
sprawling giants but still a fresh excitement in the mid- 1950’s.
it was snowing. little speakers in the parking lot were
repeatedly playing this jingle:

"when the values go up, up, up,

and the prices go down, down, down,
Robert Hall this season will show you the reason,
low overhead, low overhead"

a snappy lyric no doubt, but it was the sound of the guitar
accompaniment that excited me. a rich creamy electric guitar
sound. turns out it was Les Paul along with Mary Ford
singing the virtues of Robert Hall clothing.

if we fast-forward a couple of decades, I find myself
talking with Les in his living room in front of the same
Frankenstein-like laboratory of early recording gear
with which Les created his legendary sound:
multi-tracking: a technology that changed
record-making forever.*

here's the story: it's 1983.
I am spending the day in new york city doing
a full day's schedule of interviews and photo shoots.
the last magazine of the day is Guitar World.
my friend bob davis who worked for guitar world
offers to take me and my manager stan hertzman to dinner.
bob davis is a good friend of les paul's.
over dinner he begins to tell some pretty good
les paul stories and then surprises us by saying,
"hey, why don't we go out to les's house?

it's maybe an hour's drive to Mahwah, New Jersey.
we arrive at the door of les's 27-room mansion at 8:00.
we knock and are surprised: les opens the door.
bob says, "hey les, mind if we come in for a while?"
"ah, jeez, I don't know, I'm a little busy, bob," says les.
but then he quickly adds, "what the hell, come on in".
eight hours later at 4 in the morning we are begging
les to let us go back to the city; I had another full day
of interviews and meetings in just a few hours.

what happened in those eight hours was magical.
les ushered us into his living room.
he was alone, like some absentminded wizard.
he had been going through a pile of old tapes
of his television show The Les Paul and Mary Ford Show
which aired in 1951, one of the tv's first shows.
as he explained, television at that time had not yet
even arrived at an agreed upon format.
his shows were five minutes long!

a typical show went like this:
opening music theme and announcer:
"it's the les paul and mary ford show!"
(the music theme featured some blazing guitar
lick from the master, that's all I remember of it)
mary dressed in a lovely fifties outfit would be
stepping out of the kitchen.
les: "whatcha doin' mary?"
mary: " I'm baking a cake, les. I've just put it
in the oven".
les: "well, come on over here, let's do a song
while we're waiting for it to bake".

they would do a song which would somehow lead
into a live spot of their sponsor Listerine
and the many virtues of having fresh breath
which would somehow lead into
mary announcing the cake was magically finished
just in time for them to do another quick song.
(keep in mind, "hit songs" were two minutes long then)

les informed us they usually did five of these a day
for five days which became a whole season's worth.
it was really a commercial more than a tv show.
he also told us the shows were all filmed
right where we were sitting,
the large open living room with a counter top
connecting to an open kitchen.
all done in fifties-style bric a brac.

les launched straight into a story:
"when we first started, the film crew would set up
right here in the living room and everything
would be done live. they didn't bother to tape
the earliest shows, they were done to acetate.
for our very first show we had a live MC
to introduce us, a nervous little guy.
we cut up and cussed like sailors all day long.
finally the moment came, we went live on tv.
the first thing our announcer said was;
"hello fucks".

when les would laugh hard enough his voice
would go silent leaving only a slight wheez.
he could certainly tell tales. we drank some beer
and listened to les pour out the stories and jokes.
he showed us some of the taped versions of the show.
he toured us through the house, showed us the
cadillac flywheel he used to invent a mastering lathe.
he showed us the original version of the Les Paul
guitar know known as "The Log".
that's in fact what it looked like.
I could have stayed there forever.

all around the house lay guitar cases.
he said he had 300 guitars scattered around,
many of the cases had never been opened.
according to les, he made a deal with Gibson
that they had to send him one guitar every month.

back in the living room on the far end of the room
stood a tower of eight recording machines.
it was the original version for multi-track
recording les had invented to do his records.
before the beatles, even before elvis
les had 11 top ten singles and 36 gold albums!
les and mary had their own radio show as well
and constantly toured the country in les's caddy.

"pick one out," said les as he pointed to the
guitar cases strewn around the room.
I opened one. it was a blue Gibson Les Paul.
still in a wrapper, it had never opened before!
suddenly I realized:
les was asking me to play guitar with him!

we sat plugged into the original studio;
les with his recording model Les Paul
and me with a Les Paul not used to being tuned.
I did something les liked and he asked me how I did it.
les had an insatiably curious mind.

bob davis spoke up, "les, adrian makes his guitar sound
like animals. that's what he's known for".
I saw an instant gleam in les's eyes.
he quickly made it back across the room
to the pile of tv videos.

"I gotcha beat", he said and he fumbled through the tapes.
"here it is!" he announced.
"you know jingle bells don'tcha? everybody knows jingle
bells. look at this, we called it 'jungle bells' ".
sure enough there was les playing a song on his tv show
scratching the strings to make the sound of a monkey!
I thought I invented that!

needless to say, it was an incredible evening.
I have pictures of us around here somewhere.
(now I sound like les).

my next meeting with les was at Fat Tuesday's.
he played there every monday night despite
being in his 80's and wowed the audience.
martha and I sat right in front of les,
pushed up against the postage stamp-size stage.
across from us sat an elderly couple.
they looked sweet together.
les dedicated a song to them.
he said, "my old friend Ray, sitting right down
here in front, Ray wrote this song in 1925."
then he played "Somewhere Over The Rainbow".

I saw les many times over the next twenty years.
I don't think he actually knew anything about my
music nor to my knowledge did he ever hear me play
but he was always laughing, happy to see me.
then in 2004 Guitar Player magazine put on an event
in new york city for les's 90th birthday.
I played two songs. I still don't know if he listened.

backstage as I walked by les grabbed my sleeve
and insisted on signing the back of my Parker Fly.
I'm so unaccustomed to having my guitar signed,
most of his autograph wore off during the next tour.
(too stupid to think I should shellac it or something.)
Lisa Loebs walked up to les to say hello
and he grabbed her breast! laughing like a little kid.

I could say so many glowing things about Les Paul.
the world would not be the same without him.
a great inventor, an even greater player,
to me, he was the true King of Pop
long before that other guy.

*this was part of the foreword I wrote for the book
called "Analog Man's Guide To Vintage Effects"
by Tom Hughes.

Friday, June 8, 2007

my favorite aphorism...

the 1978-79 bowie band was like a small crowd.
not easy to direct us from airplane to hotel,
from hotel to bus, from bus to venue, etc.
that job fell to Eric Barrett, a sought-after tour manager.
eric was ace at babysitting big stars like george michael and madonna.
I loved to listen to him talk.
eric was scottish to the core and had the accent
(and the temper) to prove it.
(think "scotty" from star trek).

a decade before becoming our tour manager his claim to fame
was being the equipment manager for jimi hendrix.
as such, part of eric's job was to piece back together
the guitars jimi smashed on stage each night.
jimi gave eric the black Gibson Flying V he played on occasion.
(I wonder if eric ever cashed it in on a fat retirement plan).

nearly every day someone was late for the lobby call.
but it wasn't me. I prided myself on being punctual.
I was young, inexperienced, and stupid, yes,
but at least I was there on time.
weeks into the tour my perfect record stood
but never a word was said.
then one day for some reason I arrived
in the lobby a couple of minutes late.
perhaps the elevator was slow.
maybe I got a phone call just as I was leaving my room.
whatever the reason, as soon as I walked into the lobby eric was all over me.
in front of our entire entourge he growled,
"you realize, laddie, you've made all these people wait for you?
but I guess you're more important than they are!
I've worked with better guitar players than you
and I've seen them all come and go.
you better straighten up or you're gone too!"

"but eric", I pleaded, "I'm never the one who's late".

he shot me a glance and said something I'll always remember.
"you don't get points added,
you only get points taken away".

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

works in progress...

last year I purchased this pair of Fender Showmaster guitars.
I had in mind to paint them and sell them
as art to the highest bidders.
last night I finally began the process.
they are nice guitars (I played one of them for a week or so)
if somewhat spartan. one pickup. one knob.
that's what I like about them.

we are so busy here preparing for the upcoming touring,
especially the japanese leg which requires
enough paperwork to choke an elephant.
but hopefully my night times leisure hours HA!
may allow me to continue the work in progress.
if so I plan to make a photo record of the process
which I will share here from time to time.

that is if I have the time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ratuig DrawKcab

Notes On Backward Guitar.
many times I've been asked about my live playing of backward guitar parts.
in the story about the Mystery Geek
(see "a nut for a jar of tuna") I related that his device has long since been broken.
here is the way I produce
"live" backward effects nowadays.

the effects company called Digitech made an amplifier called
the Johnson Millennium 150.
it is the primary amp I use in all live performances. in fact, I use two.
when Digitech first ventured into the amp business I contacted them.
I flew to Salt Lake City, home of Digitech, for a day's worth of consultation. I brought along some of my favorite effect boxes
to see if they could incorporate them into their new amp. along with Line 6, the Johnson amp was the first to offer modeling where a type of amp or effects box could be closely reproduced with software. the amp types and effects are all built into the Johnson amp itself. no more wrecked refrigerators.

after demonstrating the effects I brought along the Digitech techs asked what else I would like the amp to do. I said I would very much like it to make my guitar sound backwards. could they do that? they scratched their heads and said "yes, it should be possible with software".
a few weeks later the Digi-techs called to say my modifications were ready. now here's the cool part. we plugged my Johnson amp into my studio computer and they downloaded my new guitar program (called "reverse") right into my amp! and that is still how I make backward guitar sounds today. the delay (which turns itself around backwards) is a standardized length (about 1.7 seconds) so I've grown accustomed to how it feels rhythmically to fit it into different songs. it's true, you have to be a little ahead of yourself (nearly two seconds ahead) but I'm used to it. it's my favorite effect.

the Johnson Millennium 150 amp is no longer made. Digitech didn't care for the amplifier business. apart from the inevitable "johnson" jokes, it's been an invaluable tool. Johnsons are rare to find, but when I hear of one in great shape I usually buy it!


Monday, June 4, 2007


my friend Will Urban informed me the worldwide population of white rhino,
the great big ones with wide mouths
is reported to be at an astonishing 13!
there are only 5 believed to be left in africa.

what a legacy we're leaving behind.

A Nut For A Jar Of Tuna

a nut for a jar of tuna
volume 3 no. 5

within a year after
I'm only sleeping
backward sounds
began popping
up everywhere,
most notably on
hendrix and beatles
that began my
life-long fascination
with all things
15 years later with
the release
of my first record
lone rhino
I developed the habit
of turning
nearly every item I recorded backwards just to hear its effect (something I still do). if you listen to lone rhino you'll hear backward effects on half of the songs, a trend throughout most of my work. for years I strove to make my guitar sound backward while playing "live".

then in 1985 I met someone who could help in my quest. he was an electronics whiz from california. I don't remember his name so I'll call him Mystery Geek. he had made a modification to an Electro-Harmonix 16-Second Delay box which allowed you to play backward! better yet, you could set it to hear what you were playing backward and forward at the same time. yow!
you set the length of the backward delay and pushed a little square red button. by watching a light metronome blinking the delay time you could feel the tempo you needed to play. I couldn't stop noodling with the box, I found it so fascinating.

once while in L.A. my manager stan hertzman and I drove to the mystery geeks apartment. after a minimum of quiet pleasantries the mystery geek launched into a monologue of hi-tech geekspeak which was unstoppable. he talked and talked about diodes and flux capacitors...I had no idea what he was saying. after 20 minutes of such bombardment, I looked at stan. he was sitting upright on the couch, asleep.
eventually we ran out of time and had to return to the planet Earth. I joke about the mystery geek, but in fact he did me a huge favor. with his modification I wrote this piece of music** which is the same forward as backward. it's played all at once on the guitar.
this is one of my personal favorites. I wish I could have continued further down this path. I still find it fascinating.

but the box broke soon thereafter. I never located the mystery geek again.
which makes this piece even more unique.
I still use backward sounds as an important part of my music.

something that's the same forward as backward is known as a palindrome. in fact, the title of this piece a nut for a jar of tuna when turned around backwards is:
a nut for a jar of tuna.

nowadays I do it "live" all the time (thank you, technology) but in the early 80's it was still still a limited and time-consuming process available only in the studio.

eventually I wrote a song for the bears first record called wavelength using this same piece of music without the backward parts.

guitar: adrian
recorded at home in Urbana, Illinois september 1985
length: 4:24

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Denems

this promo shot is the first I have
of me holding a guitar.
on the left up in the tree,
the guy with all the hair, that's me.
I didn't yet know how to play a guitar,
but I knew how to hold one.
to the right of me is
robbie workman (looking up)
dave behle (looking far way)
and terry dalhover (seated with guitar).
this shot was taken
in the summer of 1966 in richmond, ky.

The Denems play Nowhere Man

here's the story:
the denems recorded 3 beatle songs and 3 of our own songs in 1966 at King Studio in cincinnati. they were put on what was called an "acetate". an acetate looked like a slightly larger vinyl single. it was only meant as a reference and was not meant to be played more than a few times. after that acetates completely degrade. that's why the sound is terrible.
still it's the first recording I have of myself.
I sing the high harmony and play the drums.

so as a tip of the hat to Sgt. Pepper's birthday,
here are the denems doing nowhere man
as a FREE download

Terry Dalhover: lead guitar
Dave Behle: rhythm guitar and low vocal harmony
Robbie Workman: bass guitar and lead vocal
Steve Belew: drums and high harmony
engineer: Lee Hazen
recorded in 1966 at King Studio, Cincinnati, Ohio

*note: King Studio was made famous by James Brown. in fact, the studio drum kit (which I used) had James' autograph on the tom tom head.

Friday, June 1, 2007

it was 40 years ago today...

Happy Birthday Sgt. Pepper.

note: on the right side of the picture is the cut-out of adolf hitler
which was wisely left off the cover at the last minute.

a few years before the 4 guitar gods showed up there were 3 other guitar gods
who ruled the universe: george, john, and paul.
the amount of knowledge I gathered from them is immeasurable.
john lennon's sense for rhythm guitar, especially in the early days
of she loves you, I wanna hold your hand, or I feel fine
was truly rock and roll guitar at its finest.

with paul mccartney's deft hand at adding in wondrous chord changes,
and the occasional guitar solo i.e. taxman, good morning, or
the ballad of john and yoko
as well as the little asides in songs like another girl,
and even key elements like the ticket to ride riff
who knows what might have happened had he not chosen bass.
(but then we'd have missed his brilliant bass playing.)

both john and paul wrote such clever things into their songs.
I remember working out girl and figuring out a way to play
both parts of the solo section at once.
and working out blackbird, what an ingenious guitar part.

then of course there was george harrison.

just sitting here, off the top of my head (which is clearly available)
I can think of so many guitar moments to thank george for.
in the early records he had such a feel for chet atkins-style playing.
I'm thinking of baby's in black. how did he do that?
or I don't wanna spoil the party,
a solo I play often when I'm not even thinking about it.
the killer riffs of day tripper or hey bulldog.
the great melodic ideas such as the solos in nowhere man
and and your bird can sing, another song I find myself playing.
george could take just a single moment and make so much of it.
like the guitar break in got to get you into my life.
it goes by fast but it sure is good.
the tone of she said she said and fixing a hole. wow.
george was the first to use a 12-string guitar, the first person
I ever heard use a harmonic, or a volume pedal.
george coaxed one of eric clapton's all time best solos
onto a beatles record: while my guitar gently weeps.

but for me it was one song in particular that changed everything.

I remember clearly in late 1966 sitting in someone's car
in the parking lot of St. Paul's catholic church,
a place the denims once played,
when the DJ announced a preview of a new beatles track.
we turned up the radio, totally excited.
the song was stunning, john was singing as only he can,
when right in the middle there it was:
backwards guitar.
a sound I'd never heard before which I instantly fell in love with.
still one of my favorite guitar moments on record,
the solo for I'm only sleeping sounded like yawning.
(matched only by the same sound in tomorrow never knows.)

george harrison's exposure of indian music and his eventual
mastering of slide guitar I'll save for another chapter,
(as well as the effect of ringo's perfect drumming.)
but george, john, and paul were my guitar teachers.
between the 3 beatle guitarists there is so much to learn
it has consumed the careers of many other artists.
their amazing chord progressions, their tones,
and the economical parts they chose
means they wrote the book.

thank you, beatles.