Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4th Annual Have a Blue Christmas

The 4th annual Have a Blues Christmas was a great success. We had a great night thanks to the hard work and effort of Keith MF Throneberry. I could write an entire blog about how much effort and energy he puts into making this thing run perfectly. It’s frustrating not to be able to let people see what all goes into this thing but suffice to say the planning starts in January for the gig in December!
This year in addition to Ms. Natalie Stovall and my band with special guest Hodge Cook, we had Civil Service open the show. Xtreme 4X4, as always organized and staffed the event. What a great group of people! Everyone donates their time and talent for free to make sure that all of the money raised makes it to the charity. The food was BBQ by Scott Simms. It was, without a doubt, the best BBQ I have ever had. That includes 20 years of trips to Texas, KC, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and everywhere else that creates my smoky drug of choice! The silent auction was filled with contributions from local artists including my wife, who has recently picked up painting again after not doing it for a long time. Her work is amazing and I hope that you all get a chance to see it at some point. (First I have to stop claiming all her paintings as mine before see has a chance to show them publicly!) We also had guitars signed by Hubert Sumlin as well as members of The Time, Gov’t Mule, Susan Tedeschi, New York Dolls, The Band, Chris Duarte and others. Thanks for the guitars go to Tim O’Brien and the MF Mafia’s Renaissance man Chuck MF Lanza. The total raised was $11,000.00! That’s amazing considering the state of our economy, but don’t get me started!
We had friends from all over come in for the gig. We were thrilled and surprised to see our dear friends Jeff and Trina from Kansas, better people don’t exist. Roger from Chattanooga was there, Uncle Wayne and a host of Holts, Kempf MF Poole and most special for me was my mom who gets to see me play about once every 4 years! Everybody who came out was special and important and I deeply appreciate everyone who contributed and donated time, money, effort, energy and prayers.
As with every year that we’ve done this, I wish I’d played better, I wish the night had gone a little slower so that I could enjoy seeing everyone and visiting with everyone. This thing builds like a snowball going down the side of mountain and by the time we hit it’s roaring so fast and furious that there’s nothing to do but hang on. My thing aside though, we raised money for kids who otherwise might not get a Christmas present this year. Our local newspaper, The Daily Herald, raises the money through a Community Christmas Card fund that collects money from donations and then sends vouchers out to families for kids to buy a toy. The vouchers can only be used for the kids, so it guarantees that they’ll have something for Christmas. Keith and I chose this as our charity 4 years ago when we decided to do something at Christmas to benefit the community. I read in the paper this morning that, even with our contribution the goal for the charity is going to fall about $9,000.00 short of the $50,000.00 total that they were hoping for. I wish we could’ve gotten them closer, but I am so proud of what everyone gave that it’s impossible to have that as a regret. Thank you to everyone that gave, worked, attended or just sent up prayers for us this year. We literally couldn’t have done without you. We are all truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

So Thanksgiving…I love the holiday. Not my favorite, that would be Christmas! It’s my wife’s favorite holiday and that would be enough for me, but I truly do love the concept. A day that is designated to give thanks. No gifts, no cards, no forced salutations, just thanks. I have so much to be thankful for. First the obvious; my wife of 17 years, she’s the most beautiful, sexy, desirable, intelligent, artistic, inspiring person I’ve ever known and I’m blessed to be in her presence. 17 years! My God! That’s a long time!! With her, it seems like a day. My daughter, (my daughter!!!!!) an amazing entity of such incredible light and soul, she is an endless well of knowledge and eternal learning for me. My friends; Keith, Kempf, Chuck, Richard, Jeff, Will, Phil, Cody, Tim, Dino, Marshal, Tyler, Mark…the list goes on for an embarrassingly long time. I’m rich with friends. My band, our fans, and an entire constellation of people that have no idea how important they are to our very being… to my very being.
We spent the last 2 days in one of my favorite cities; Minneapolis. Why do I love Minneapolis? Sub-zero temperatures? NO! 1,000 miles away from Tennessee? NO! Second greatest record store on the planet? Maybe... but, I truly love Minneapolis because they’ve adopted me. They’ve adopted us. They’ve adopted the SHB. We have so many great friends there and every time I see a Minneapolis gig on the books, I’m excited. My friend/amp builder Tim O’Brien lives there. I say “friend/amp builder” only because I want the world to know about O’Brien amps!!! It’s always a blast to hang out with him. I get to see and jam with my friend Jellybean Johnson. Here’s a little inside scoop, I’m a big fan of Jellybean’s. I grew up knowing who he was as the drummer for the Time, one of my favorite bands. I saw Purple Rain in the theatre like 4 times! You should see it at least twice. He produced Black Cat for Janet Jackson. That’s one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time. To think that I would ever reach a point in my life where someone I admired actually knew who I was is amazing…oh wait, I’m friends with Buddy Guy! Another amazing blessing! This trip was our second visit to a new friend’s Nick & Eddie. What a place! Amazing food, an amazing environment, an amazing jukebox, an amazing proprietor, what more could you ask for? Doug is a great guy with a passion for and knowledge of music. We have a ball at his establishment and I know that any band would be fortunate to play there. To make it even better, my dear friend Dino made the drive from Wausau and hung with us for the show. Wise one that he is, he left before Marshal and I tested Tim’s rock & roll legs by keeping him out until 5:00 am. Thanks to Joe and Heather’s lovely hospitality, we were eating spaghetti and s'mores at 4:00am! That’s rock and roll!! In the moment, you’re rarely aware. I find this true in almost every situation. It takes being on the road for me to appreciate how immaculately important my time with my girls is. It takes time off to realize how imperative and intrinsic making music is to me. I am grateful for every second that God see’s fit to keep me here. I try every day to remind myself not to take a second for granted. That is hard! We’re all the same, we get irritated, or petulant, but it’s all so small. The person that ‘cut you off’ isn’t of the devil, the one that takes up your space or encroaches on your territory isn’t the evil one, and they’re just us at another point. This Thanksgiving I will visit with family that I don’t see nearly enough. The food will be amazing, the conversation will, at points, be “interesting”, and yet I’ll find it hard to say, in the moment, “I truly love all of you and I love this moment”. What a shame that I can know that short-coming in advance. My friends and family are my most treasured blessings. I truly love them all and value each moment that I’m with them. Thanksgiving…thank you God for all of your blessings…even the ones I’m too embarrassed to say out loud!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mitch Mitchell





Wednesday night is date night. It’s a sacred night between me and Buffy that never gets disturbed. Tonight, I got a voicemail from my dear friend Chuck. It said, simply, “I’m sure you’ve heard, give me a call tomorrow“. That is a signal that something major has happened. I hit the MSN homepage and discover the Mitch Mitchell has passed. Time seemed to stop. Mitch is an intrinsic part of me and my career. The music that made want to play guitar was a song by Jimi Hendrix. Mitch played on that song, and on most of the songs I heard after that. The song was Purple Haze from the soundtrack to the documentary , “Jimi Hendrix”, it was from the1969 Royal Albert Hall concert and Mitch was the drummer. From that point on he had an indelible effect on my life. Flash-forward to 1998, I’m offered the chance to record with Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell with Eddie Kramer producing. I leap at it and we record Dark Of The Night. We were scheduled to rehearse at SIR in Nashville and I was warned not mention Hendrix around Mitch. “He’ll go crazy and probably refuse to play!” was the description I got. We met for the first time and started to play a very, very mundane, bland, blues groove that had as much soul as a jar of mayonnaise. We played for a few minutes and in my mind I was wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just give up on this idea! We stopped and as I was tuning my guitar, Mitch played the drum intro to Spanish Castle Magic. I fell in at the appropriate spot and Billy was right there. 8 bars later, I’m horrified! I’ve screwed up! Mitch will storm off the set now! I turned to the drum riser, and there’s Mitch, peeking from behind his glasses, “ I was testing you!” From that point on we were mates. I knew that he knew that I loved the music. After that period, Mitch stayed in Nashville for a time and when I would play in town, he’d peak around the door of the dressing room, periodically “Hello Scott! How are you mate?” For me, that’s the price of admission right there!
Mitch and I lost track of each other for a few years. I kept up with him in the news, but we just didn’t cross paths musically.
This last month, Keith MF Throneberry and I went to Louisville KY to see the Experience Hendrix tour. We spent the whole afternoon trying to find a bottle of Knob Creek for Mitch! (Now ya know Mitch!)I was looking forward to seeing Buddy, but our MF friend Chuck had been hanging out with Mitch and had told me that he was looking forward to seeing me, so it gave me an extra amount of excitement to think that my old friend might remember me! Mitch was amazing. I’ve shaved my head and lost 40 pounds since we last saw each other, and the first encounter, he had no idea who I was, but when I said, “ Mitch, it’s me Scott.” his eyes lit up and he hugged me and made me feel so awesome! He turned and whispered something to Eric Gales. Eric’s eyes grew wide and he said, “ He just paid you a very high compliment!“ I have no idea what Mitch said, (probably something about how cool my scarf looked!), but it was enough to know that Mitch thought of me at all! That night, he made the whole show about his joy and I felt it. He danced and shimmied across the stage and I know from reports that that had been a common theme for the whole tour, so maybe in some way, that was his farewell tour. I don’t know, I wish he was still here! He was the rock and roll Elvin Jones (look it up kids, it’ll do ya good!!) What a guy! I miss him so much already! I never met his family, but my prayers go out to them and for what it’s worth, their fathers art and soul will live in me and my playing. If you’re a drummer and you don’t know Mitch Mitchell, you don’t know shit.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

R U Experienced?




After getting updates from our MF brother Chuck, there was no way I was going to miss seeing Buddy and the gang on the Experience Hendrix tour. Louisville was the closest gig to Nashville, so Keith MF Throneberry and I made the trip. KMFT has a far cooler vehicle than me (don’t he Kempf?) so he drove. We got to the gig around 4:00pm thanks to Max and hung out with Buddy’s guitar tech Gilbert until he guys showed up. Buddy has the best group of guys working with him these days. Tim (drums), Marty (keys) and especially Orlando (bass) and Ric (guitar). They always make me feel at home and like part of the family when I come out to see them and I really appreciate it. We got to see and visit with some old friends Eric Johnson, Chris Layton, Hubert Sumlin, Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox. We met Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Eric Gales and Johnny Lang. Everyone was very kind and generous. It was a great show, everybody is playing great and it’s really a great show to see if they come to your area.
It was great getting to hang with Buddy for a little while before the show; he’s doing good, feeling good and playing great as always. I’ve got some photos posted on MySpace and scottholt.com that were taken by Orlando, as soon as I get Keith’s I’ll post them too. Thanks to my MF brothers Keith and Chuck and Kempf for always being there and thanks again to all the BG guys for their always stellar hospitality.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

George W. Bush says, "Screw it, I'm not leaving!"

Well Buff and I early voted yesterday! I am so glad. My civic duty and constitutional rights were exercised to their fullest. I am one proud motherf***in’ American baby! Now all of you can stop sending me your emails proclaiming the “opponent of who you think I’m voting for” to be the anti-Christ. Make no mistake, my collection of friends comes from both sides of the aisle, from Wall Street and Main Street (I am so tired of hearing that phrase, aren’t you?) and I get emails from both sides. I don’t like any of them (the emails I mean, I love my friends very much). Friends, loved ones, strangers who have had their emails forwarded to me, you are not going to change my vote, as I make my decision based on information not gathered exclusively from the internet. As a side note, I’d like to point out that just because something appears on the internet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. Just a quick skim of the recent internet headlines that are obviously false; Keith Richards snorts his dad’s ashes, the whole Joe the plumber thing (who cares if he’s a real plumber?) the story that Tina Fey has actually been briefed by the Secret Service in the event that McCain/Palin wins the election to serve as a decoy and of course the whole Jennifer Aniston/John Mayer thing, like that could be real, (for obvious reasons)!
One of our wisest speakers and voices of conscience, Mr. Bernie Mac, in reference to the Y2K scare once said; “Ya’ll was scared like a muthaf****r! Ya’ll thought ya’ll was sure enough gonna be dead come 12:00. Buying all the sardines, potted meat, and water. Stop believing everything you read! Believe in yourself! I don’t believe in s**t until s**t happens.”
In this election year, just remember that every candidate is telling you what they’ll do for you to get your vote. Every candidate is telling you what’s wrong with the other side and why if you vote for them it will be the total destruction of our civilization. I recommend you use my proven vetting system. Go into your local Republican headquarters and your local Democratic headquarters. Ask for a McCain/Palin t-shirt and an Obama/Biden t-shirt. When they start to charge you for them, tell them that if they give it to you for free, you’ll vote for their candidate. Best case scenario; both headquarters say “no” (because that would be wrong) and you find a small glimmer of honesty in politics. Worst case scenario; you get one or two free t-shirts that you can sell on eBay, to help cover your share of the 700 billion dollar bailout!
I will say on a slightly serious tip, that I do have one dear friend on the opposite side of the fence that I discuss politics with. He’s the only person that I’m able to talk about it without him getting upset or angry or him making me angry, (although I have said some outlandish things trying to get him off his game!) The discussion is important. We don’t do enough of it in this country. Everybody (me included) says, “I’m not going to discuss my political or my religious beliefs because it’s no one’s business but mine.” True enough, but dialogue (not ranting but debate) is the most ancient and honorable way we humans have to communicate and try to enlighten each other. The other person may not ever see things your way, but at least they might gain a better understanding of who you are as person and understanding makes love more possible, not less. I realize now having written this that this is the point of this whole blog and I wish I had opened with it, because I know some of you will see the first few lines about politics and immediately delete this! At least that what somebody wrote recently. I hope not. Every blog that comes from my two fingers, (I took typing in high school! But you should see my wife type man! That girl can go! All her fingers baby! And they’re sexy fingers too!) Is about love. Postivity. We need more of it everywhere. If you laugh when you read something from here, forward it to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and just say, “Just thought about you and thought this would make you smile! Love, ….” What’s it gonna hurt? God bless each of you and may God continue to bless America!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John McCain wrestles large bear for Justice.

So here we are at Caribou Coffee, today’s home of free internet! While Marshal toils away at laundry and Richard and Zeke show our new buddy Jake how to smoke, I am sitting here next to two hilarious old ladies who are discussing everything from who died to …”what’s she going to do when she gets a new boyfriend?” Life is so interesting when you stop and just listen for a moment. I’m guilty of roaring through life and not enjoying the moment. Buff reminds me all the time to just hit pause sometimes and be where you are. I am so blessed to have such an amazing person in my life! She is without a doubt my biggest influence. Thank you God for my wife!!
Last night we did an in-store here in Minneapolis. I hope it was good, I never feel like I know what to do at those things. We did play loud though and Zeke went barefooted! Sometimes when you’ve been out here on the road for an extended period of time, the jokes in the van spill out into the rest of the world. That’s why some people are convinced that we’re insane! Maybe we are… Sanity is overrated. As is knowing what day of the week it is. (Right Chuck?) The funny thing for me is that a lot of the stuff that hits us as so funny is impossible to explain. Richard told a tollbooth operator that “It smells like dragon around here!” Writing it, I realize that it’s not really that funny, but to us it was hilarious!
Tonight we are playing at a really cool restaurant/bar called Nick & Eddie in Minneapolis. I am told we can play loud…we’ll see…We went by and had dinner last night and I can say, without a doubt, that the food was amazing.
I just saw a guy with a skateboard that was at least 4 feet long! I’d take a picture of it and attach it to my blog, but my attorney has advised me to stop taking pictures of strangers. They don’t like it.
I have a routine in the van when we’re on the road. I have a bunch of music DVDs and I’ll watch something while I’m warming up to get some inspiration. I’m told that when I watch the Sex Pistols, all the songs seem faster! I’ve been watching a killer Elvis DVD that I acquired from …dubious sources, but it’s really awesome to see Elvis in good shape and just bringing it onstage. I’ve been going back and forth between that and a Social Distortion DVD that my friend Dino gave me a while back. I also have a great Freddie King video from a television show in Dallas that’s really cool. I’m very humbled by the tremendous pool of talent that I’m exposed to on a daily basis. Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, John Coltrane, BB King, etc. the list is too long!
That guy with the big skateboard is creeping me out!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Joe Biden's Ab-Blaster Workout!

Writing a blog can be difficult sometimes. So here I sit with …keyboard in hand… and prepare to write “mon blog”. That’s French. I like the French. Is it un-American to say we like the French? I hope not! I mean I know when we were trying to get countries to side with us for the war, the French said, “Non! Nous n'allons pas vous suivre dans cette abîme de l'avarice et de fausses promesses, ce qui ne aboutir à vous de trouver votre poursuite de votre queue!”. So we said, “Fine we’ll change the name of french fries to ‘Freedom Fries’ that’ll show you!” I don’t know…I am 100% American. I get choked up when I hear (or play) The Star Spangled Banner. I love to see the American flag, blowing in the wind. I believe in our troops and know that they deserve our complete support and gratitude for the unimaginable sacrifice they’re making. I know in my heart that this is, for better or worse, the greatest country in the world. As I’ve grown older, (shudder…I mean more mature…shudder… I mean more evolved!) I realize that all human beings tend to gravitate towards their “zone” or tribe. My tribe has a flag of red, white & blue. Your tribe might have a flag of…orange! (I don’t know, I tried to choose a completely neutral color.) I believe in the good of people. I believe in humanity. I believe that, at the end of the day, languages and cultures aside, we are all first and foremost human beings. We share a genetic code. We are all the same. To all you racists and ‘white supremacists’ out there…sleep tight! I doubt very seriously if very many white supremacists read my blog. I hope they don’t. I think white supremacists can go f**k themselves. I like to think that only intelligent people read this blog. I think that humans genuinely want to do good to one another, but we are at war against …that thing…dare I call it Satan? Or maybe, as Prince referred to it the De-Elevator…or as Lincoln referred to it the lesser angels of our nature. Actually, that’s a misquote. What Lincoln actually said was “the better angels of our nature…”. He was referring to the good in all of us. Lincoln is my favorite president. He managed our country through, arguably, it’s most difficult time. Yes, we’ve had many wars and poverty and injustice, but during Lincoln’s presidency, we were at war with ourselves. That’s beyond what you and I know. Unless, of course, you’re over 240 years old. We know partisanship…or ideological differences, but during Lincoln’s time they knew war, brother on brother war, daddy on son war, ‘burn your neighbor’s house down’ war. My grandparents knew the Depression and WW II, my parents knew poverty and civil rights, I’ve been blessed to know ‘paycheck to paycheck’ and ‘threat levels’, maybe the next generation (including my daughter) will just know ‘minor, temporary cash flow’ and ‘the President’s tie doesn’t match his socks!’. Things do get better. I believe that. I believe that, as Buffy and my dearest friends have a saying, “Life Is Good”. I believe that. I believe that the world we live in can be as good as we can imagine. It can be as good as we are to one another. Or at least as good as we can be to one another. Most of our (when I say ‘our’ I’m referring to all humans) posturing comes from fear. Fear of being taken advantage of, or tricked, or gotten the better of…it’s all the same, don’t fool me because it reminds me that I’m vulnerable. We’re all vulnerable. We all hurt, we’re all scared, we’re all insecure, we all think too much, worry too much, plan too much. All the negative aspects of our nature can be traced back to fear. Greed = the fear of someone having more than you. Hate = the fear that someone might be ‘better’ than you. Etc. None of us are perfect, and it’s a good thing because the only perfect person I ever read about was executed for it! We all just try and through our trying we, maybe, gain understanding and, with understanding comes love and love do make the world go ‘round! Does this sound like “hippie-sh*t”? Cause if it does, I don’t really care. I ain’t scared to love. We’ve got a young man in our crew that often says ‘I love you.’ He says it as a way of diffusing a situation or just filling the air sometimes, but he means it and it reminds me to say it more and mean it always. Love’s not bad, telling people you love them ain’t bad, it doesn’t make you weak or sissy, it’s what we need in these times. More love. Trying to write a blog is hard! I’ve sat here for thirty minutes and I can’t think of a thing to say! Oh well, maybe tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama to appear on WWE Smackdown!

I like loud music. Sometimes in my car, I play my music really loud. Usually I don’t because my cell phone rings every 10 minutes or so, so I have to have the stereo down to hear it. I like to play loud onstage, because it feels good, and that’s the way it’s supposed to sound. It’s a spiritual thing. Like when you have to touch everything in the room 3 times before you leave it…no wait that’s OCD. I don’t really have OCD, I am slightly superstitious though. I wonder if OCD isn’t really just superstition gone wild? I’ve read that Joey Ramone had OCD. That had to suck. I really like the Ramones. I saw footage of them playing a CBGB’s in New York. It’s a fairly small club, but they were using Marshall stacks! It was awesome. I once saw Living Colour play at a place here in Nashville called the Cannery. The Dead Milkmen opened for them and Living Colour was louder than anything! The loudest show I ever went to was Robin Trower. It was also at the Cannery, but he used 2 Marshall stacks! He’s from England, where the Marshall amps come from. They are the second best amps in the world. O’Briens are #1 of course.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah Palin Sex Tape!!

I have to say, I hate chain letters. You know the ones I’m talking about; the “pass this on to 10 of your closest friends or you’ll die” type letters that we all receive every day in our emails. Some of you are lucky and have a good spam detector that weeds them out, but alas, I do not! So I bring you news from the Forbidden City! You will not die! Your children will not be born with pig’s noses! You don’t have to cow down to the edicts of some faceless (probably unemployed) imbecile, with nothing better to do than torment all of us hardworking folk with their mindless, chickenlittle-esq minutiae! I also hate political emails. You don’t know my political affiliation and if you do and send them to me anyway, then you’re just an a**hole! I will vote for who I vote for and it won’t be based on some email with flags and soldiers and the twin towers in flames. It will be based on an intelligent and thoughtful examination of the policies of the candidates…and who Tina Fey is good at making fun of! My third least favorite emails are cute babies dressed as animals. What the f**k is that all about?!! “Oh the little baby dressed as a lion!” Are you kidding me?!! I have a child. A beautiful child. When she was born, I never once thought, “Oh she would look so much cuter as a llama!” The internet is a wonderful thing. I believe in all of the good it is capable of. I am not a Luddite. I do think that much like the rest of life, there is good and bad all around us. We are an intelligent, discerning species. I offer you the following reply written by a dear friend. It is written with a loving tone that simply implies “you d**head” use it and help make the world a better place.

“Hi friends.....first I want you to know that I appreciate you thinking of me at all.....and I want you to know that no one hates chain mail or "chain email" more than me! I know, I know...either it's funny or there is some sort of promise of a rapid blessing if you just send it to 10 of your closest friends in the next 10 seconds. Well folks....I don't have 10 closest friends and if I did, I wouldn't forward another chain letter to them. I know you are all busy with your lives and families and jobs...and any computer time or correspondence has to be quick. Forwarding some anonymous email is a quick way to let someone know you are thinking about them. rather than hitting "forward", how about a word or two from your own sweet heart.....now that really means something and is precious....and FYI, sometimes I get a little shaky when I just delete those chain letters too! I need all the blessing I can get, but I don't think those chain emails have too much promise of anything but clogging up our in boxes.......................love Shasta”

Full Disclosure; No her name is not ‘Shasta’. I wouldn’t reveal that much of our private life, but I did give her a really cool stripper name, so Doris, if you read this, I gave you a cool stripper name!...no her name isn’t Doris either…that was just to make her and Buffy laugh! Yes her name is Buffy…no she’s not a vampire slayer…no you’re not the first one to say that…no you’re not the 1,000,000,000 person to say that…yes I do think you’re hitting on my wife when you say that…yes I do own a gun…and a shovel…and a truck…and hefty bags…and I do know lonesome country areas where you’ll never be found…

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Exercise secrets of the GOP!

Thank God that the hurricane Gustav didn’t hit New Orleans any harder than it did. Our prayers go out to all of the displaced and harmed, but we’re so grateful that a larger disaster was avoided. That being said, I do have one small point that I’ve often wondered about; why, during a storm, is it necessary to put newscasters outside, in the rain and wind, holding a metal microphone? Is it just so we can see that, yes the wind is really blowing hard, just like we were all taught in 3rd grade? Hurricanes are full of rain and wind and sometimes even lightning! They also often send heavy objects hurtling through the air at amazing velocity and with great force. Fun times to be standing outside in your LL Bean wind breaker with the network insignia on it! You usually see one of these poor tele-journalists standing in 100 mile an hour winds describing how the authorities have forced the evacuation of the area to protect human life. Then they show you the empty streets, all the while soaking wet, holding their hat and squinting into the camera fielding questions from the “important” anchors in the studio, (jacket off, tie loosened and sleeves rolled up as though their ready to start filling sand bags!). I actually saw one yesterday that took the cake; Poor guy standing in the middle of Houma LA ( one of the harder hit sections) wind whipping by at 100+ mph, he gets his report out and answers some inane questions like, “Have you seen any structural damage as of yet to homes or property?” (This question came as a house went cart wheeling behind the poor guy!) Then when he gets to the end of all that, the anchor, ensconced in a warm, dry studio, says… (Wait for it, this is 100% true!)…”Hold on for just a minute Jim we’ll get right back to you!” Oh what I would have given to hear poor old Jim lose it at that point; “I’m sorry Tom, did you say ‘hold on’? It was hard to hear you with the 100 mile an hour winds battering my ear drums. Or maybe the Stop sign that just grazed my skull has me a little dizzy. Or maybe it’s hard to hear because the crew guy that’s laying in 3 feet of water trying to hold me in place is making too much noise coming up for air. I’m sorry; it’s just kind of hard to stand at the threshold of death and hear every amazingly brilliant word that drips from your perfect lips in New York. ‘Hold on’? Really Mr. Big-Time TV Newsman? ‘Hold on’? I have an idea, how about you take your fancy leather-bound script full of incredibly insightful questions like, ‘is it raining really hard there now?’ and roll it up real tight and ‘hold on’ to it while you shove it up your…static! Then the test screen saying ‘Technical Difficulties please stand by’.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

John McCain is really Old Man Withers from the haunted amusement park!

Now that the Western leg of our 2008 tour is done, I’m finally able to find some semi-fond memories of our time in Sturgis! The heat, the flies (they bite!!), the rain, the dust, no showers for 3 days, 4 guys sleeping in a van for 3 days…ahh what a time! I was recently reading a music magazine, and they were interviewing some rock bands about touring during the summer, doing festivals. Basically, it came down to this; they get paid a lot of money, play short sets, tour on nice buses and play to huge crowds…and, according to them, it’s a pain in the ass!
Here’s the other side of the coin, (not bragging by any means, just putting some muthaf***in’ perspective on things!) We started our last tour leg in Jackson MO, played 4 hours, and drove overnight, straight through to Sturgis (14 hours). Due to the bike rally, there were no hotel rooms being provided by the gigs (…umm riiiight…) We finally find and check into a room at the Motel 6 in Rapid City (30 miles from Sturgis), paying double what we normally pay for a Motel 6 room, (remember, 4 guys, one room) effectively taking our entire motel budget for the week. This will be the last bed, last shower, last real comfort we have for the next 4 days. We proceed, over the course of the next 4 days to play 4 outdoor shows, in varying weather conditions (one night’s super hot, the next night has a rain storm with 80 mile an hour winds…)to sometimes less than enthusiastic crowds. Actually, while there were some small crowds, (one night very small!) there was only one sort of less than enthusiastic crowd on the last night, and that’s just because we were too loud…at a motorcycle rally…outside…too loud…bike rally…get it? The way the average day (if there is such a thing) works is this; you load-in in the afternoon, working up a decent sweat, play the gig (usually four hours), load out at the end of the night, get in the van and drive to a parking lot somewhere to go to sleep, sleep until you run out of positions that aren’t so numb you can’t fall asleep, get up, trying to get out of the van by crawling over everyone else and try not wake them up (although they’re not really asleep either), brush your teeth with a bottle of water in said parking lot, change shirts in said parking lot, find coffee and try to get through the next several hours before the next load-in. In the warm weather, you seek out places to loiter that are air-conditioned; malls, coffee shops, libraries, gun stores, etc. At one point Marshal and I went to the movies essentially to “buy” 3 hours of air-conditioning! After the last show, we drive 8 hours, overnight to the next gig in Nebraska, where we had to wait for the hotel rooms because of a mix-up in the reservations! We did make it into the rooms eventually and let me tell you showers never felt so good! Remember, that’s just the first week! We still had 2 more to go. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we were threatened with jail (!)by a club owner (hereafter known as jack “Q” ass) when we asked to be paid after playing an extra 2 hours at his request ( I will write about this creature in a future blog when I can figure out how to fully describe his repugnance without revealing his true identity, but trust me this guy was a real piece of work…he’s probably in jail as we speak!), we had the rear view mirror knocked of the van in a hit and run situation in Denver, we played multiple gigs some days, at one gig we loaded in, came back to the gig that night and had to tear down and move all of the stuff to another room, had another 22 hour drive…I could go on, but the point is during the entire 3 ½ weeks, no one complained. No one bitched about the lack of rooms, the lack of showers, the long drives, the little money, and the long nights of playing whether people were listening or not, nobody in the SHB whined at all! This isn’t acceptance of the situation, none of us, (me included), doesn’t want more of everything, more comfort, more money, more guitars, more attention, better shows, more people, etc. This is very much the art of being a warrior in a campaign. You get up every morning, prepare for battle and go to war. When you lay your head down at night, you know you were true to yourself, your art and your fans. Duct tape and Krazy Glue become your best friends. You learn to live on 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night (sometimes not all in a row!). You learn that while three square meals a day is great, you can live on one (or sometimes none!). Sometimes, you don’t get a motel for the night and you might think, “Any motel is better than no motel!”, then you get a motel that blows that theory out of the water!
I know that everything is relative and I’ve been in the “tour bus/four star hotel” situation and I definitely cried about the bad catering, bad view from the terrace of my suite or that the water in the dressing room wasn’t chilled, but having been there and then been truly blessed by God to have the reality check of having all of that taken away and find that none of that was why I do what I do, and that not only could I live without that stuff, in some ways I’m better off! That’s not to say I’m not trying to work my ass off to get it all back and then some, but it’s important to me to know that my aim is true. I know for a fact that there are plenty of musicians out there on the road, leaving blood on the stage every night doing what they believe in, whether they’re being rewarded financially or materially or not, they are being rewarded spiritually. My supreme respect is given to those fellow warriors for the love of Music. We didn’t invent this life, we just live it.
Life on the road, in any capacity, is life in a bubble. You are surrounded at all times by an almost static environment and whatever that environment is becomes your reality. Things make a sort of bizarre sense, because it’s all your really know. I learned from Buddy Guy who in his career has traveled, with a full band, in a car to the deep south on bald tires, had guns pulled on him, been cheated out of his pay, been pulled over and hauled before the judge by Mississippi cops in the middle of the night, seen people killed while he was playing and had to keep playing! I learned from his stories about legends like Earl Hooker, who while trying to entice workers in a field to come to that night’s performance, was ordered at gunpoint to, “pick up a hoe!” The road is littered with cautionary tales that transcend success. Elvis, Hank Williams and Robert Johnson all died basically scared and alone. Those are just three names that you might have heard of. There are plenty who didn’t gain that kind of notoriety who met similar fates. So to the new breed, I say, “what’s the matter, your Xbox 360 not working right? iPhone got you down? Are your free guitars not showing up in tune?” Shut the hell up and play!
As I finish this, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of the “excellent” things that happened on tour; My friend Chuck MF Lanza and his lovely wife met up with us in Denver, I got to hang out with Buddy for an hour or so one night, my friend Kempf MF Poole came out and traveled with us for 10 days or so, we ate at the original Chipotle’s twice, met a bunch of our old friends across the country and made some new ones, discovered a new favorite beer in Salt Lake City, saw The Dark Knight for a fourth time in Denver on the IMAX screen, I finally found Jason & The Scorchers first album on CD at Twist & Shout, went hiking, made amazing music with two very dear friends, got to play loud at least 92% of the time, I even got to play my “big amp” on the last day of the tour, and then got to come home to my girls! I am truly truly blessed!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Phil Guy


I first met Phil Guy on Buddy Guy’s record, Stone Crazy. Stone Crazy is one of my favorite records. It has Ray “Killer” Allison playing drums, and it has Phil Guy playing rhythm guitar. For guitar players that want to under stand accompaniment, Phil’s performance on this record alone, is a text book for what to play. During the ten years that I was with Buddy, I crossed paths with Phil a lot of times. Particularly during the January shows at Legends when he would come up near the end of the night and jam with the band. I will always associate Turn On Your Love Light with Phil Guy! I love Buddy with all my heart and, having a brother myself, I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now, but I know that while none of us are here forever, we are blessed to have had Phil for the short time that we did. My prayers go out to Buddy and his family and I know that the music in heaven is a little sweeter (and a lot funkier!) now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nude photos of Karl Rove

Today is Saturday, August 16, 2008. This is the 31st anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. When I found out about Elvis dying, I was at home, after school, watching Gilligan’s Island on television. In the old days, TV stations only ran a scroll across the bottom of the screen when something really momentous was happening; like a man walking on the moon, or to announce the death of the King of Rock and Roll. (Yeah that’s right I said the King!) These days, it seems like every channel has a scroll going 24/7. Looks kind of like:…AP/Senator John McCain says he will reduce taxes by 1,000% in his first six months as President…AP/ Senator Barak Obama has 2 eggs for breakfast…AP/Filmmaker Oliver Stone has not died today, he was just napping…AP/ AAA predicts gas prices will level off as we near November…AP/ “The Dark Knight is the greatest movie of all time, or at least 2008!”, says guitarist Scott Holt… We live in a world of 24 hour a day information overload. Look at Fox or CNN and you see at least one or two talking heads, a scroll across the bottom of the screen, text to the left or right of the screen recapping whatever you missed while you were trying to read the stuff at the bottom, and you’re still not sure exactly what the hell’s going on. When I was a kid, my dad would come home from work, read the evening papers (we had two; The Nashville Banner and the Daily Herald) and watch the news at 6:00pm and 10:00pm. And that was it! Anything else that might happen just had to wait for the one morning paper, (The Tennessean) to come out. I think it’s good to have a 24 hour news channel when something major happens, like war or some crisis that we need to be made aware of, but a couple of days ago in the hotel room we had CNN on and at least 6 hours that it was on were devoted to John Edwards affair. Not exactly the same in my book as the war in Iraq, Oil prices, the election, Darfur or the Russian/Georgia conflict! I don’t agree with people having affairs, but I really think that’s between him, his mistress, his wife and the very large fancy couch that I’m sure he’s sleeping on now! They only had about 45 seconds on about the Bigfoot those guys killed in Georgia. I knew that was a bunch of crap. If it had really been a Bigfoot, why would they kill it? They could just make friends with it and get their own reality show. I believe in Bigfoot. Why not? It could happen. I also believe in the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti’s, I believe that aliens created the pyramids in Egypt, and the animal drawings in Central America. I believe Oswald was framed and Jim Morrison faked his death. Why not? If none of that stuff is true, it doesn’t hurt anybody, so who cares?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sturgis...the final chapter

Today is the 4th and last gig for us in Sturgis and we decided to come over to one of our old haunts Deadwood for the day. We haven’t been here since we used to play at Saloon #10 back a hundred years or more. I’ve always liked this town. Too bad it’s so freaking far away from the rest of the known world! We came here for years until HBO started the series and then we never came back! It was frustrating to be seeing a show about a town that we’d spent so much time in and not be able to go see the actual sites. Yes, I know, you say, “Well why don’t you just go there on vacation or something?” The answer is simple, I travel for a living…not for fun…neither driving nor flying nor taking the train makes a difference. I’m also funny about going places that I play at when I’m not working there. It feels weird…like you’re trying to come back to the home of a party the next day to hang out. That would be pretty funny though. Go to a party, stay late and then just show up the next day at 9:30 or so and just say you had so much fun last night you just wanted to come over and hang out. If you don’t think that sounds funny in an awkward way, you are too young or socially retarded and you may be reading this from the person’s computer that you’re hanging out with today after you partied there last night!
Sight Seeing in Deadwood; Went with Marshal and Milburn to revisit John Wayne’s pickup truck (Marshal’s favorite landmark!) and the resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. I didn’t make it up to Seth Bullock’s grave because he’s too far up the hill…and it was real hot. If you’ve never been here, the cemetery is at Mount Moriah and it’s a pretty healthy climb. Yes we walked it. I loved the show Deadwood. Best show on television at the time. Now it’s Lost, but then it was Deadwood. Cool to be in the town that the shows about. Have you ever noticed that some people treat bookstores like libraries? I notice this now because I’m in a library, (with no flies, thank God!) but some times when we hit a Barnes & Noble or a Borders, it always seems like everyone is being a little more quiet than they are at Best Buy or Target. I like to shush people in Barnes & Noble. For a moment they’re not sure if you’re right or not and they stand there in a sort of confused silence trying to figure it out. Then you smile and say, “Oh I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else!” Then I wander away whistling a wistful tune.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

How to see Sturgis on $20.00 a day!

Well here we are, one more day on the road, one more mall! Free internet for me and my men! We are in Sturgis or as Milburn continues to refer to it “stooges”. This is a tricky part of the tour. We are in the middle of the Sturgis Bike Rally and there are no hotels, motels, or empty homes to stay in and we are forced to recharge at an “undisclosed location”. The shows are going great, the band sounds fantastic and while we miss Tyler very much, Marshal is doing a great job. Tonight we hit the Drag pipe Saloon. Sounds very “motorcycle-like”. Yesterday we hung out at the Rapid City Mall all day and today we’re back (free internet!) This mall’s cool except for the flies! There are flies everywhere around where we’re sitting…I wonder if it’s just us…or if it’s always like this!
RANDOM OBSERVATIONS: Lynyrd Skynyrd is playing in Sturgis this week and the paper is advertising them with a photo of the original band! There are only two of the original members left! John McCain was in town yesterday…so was Kenny Chesney…you figure out what I’m saying for yourself. I just finished reading All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Brilliant book! Thanks to Dino for the free books! There are no Chipotle’s in South Dakota! Of course, there aren’t any in Tennessee either…yet! Colorado, here we come! The flies in this place are terrible! Listening to Jesse Johnson’s Bare My Naked Soul. Brilliant, underrated guitarist. I’m really into Eddie Hazel lately. Original Funkadelic guitarist and another incredible guitarist that doesn’t get enough props. Funkadelic is the band we’re teaching Milburn about on this trip. We’re thinking about seeing the Dark Knight today (3rd time for me!) Best movie I’ve seen all year. I’d write more, but the flies win, I’m getting the hell out of here!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tyler Crowell

I wrote the first sentence of this blog 3 times before I figured out how to say, “Our drummer, Tyler Crowell, is leaving.” It’s not an easy thing for me to write, much less digest. Tyler has been and is a part of the SHB family and will remain so, but due to some medical issues, he can’t tour with us anymore. I’ve watched Tyler grow as a musician and as a human being for a long while now and I can tell you that the hole that he leaves in our organization will be impossible to fill. He is now, and always will be, a member in good standing of the SHB and an honorary MF brother, but, until his medical situation changes, we have to move forward. It’s with his knowledge and blessing that I announce that we are officially looking for a new drummer. Some of you have already contacted me through MySpace and email, and I will be getting in touch with you soon. We are looking for a solid drummer, good human being, drug free, preferably Nashville based, who wants to ride the SHB train with us as a partner and see where we go. I’m grateful to say that SHB alumni Marshal Weaver has agreed to fill in until we can find a replacement for Tyler. Marshal is, and always has been, one of my favorite drummers and having him back is an honor and a rare privilege. We will blow some shit up, I guarantee it!
Tyler is one of those people that I really don’t remember when we met. He’s just always been there. He’s a cousin of my best friend Keith, but I’m not sure if we knew each other from before that or not. I do know that I have always respected and been fond of Tyler. He’s a genuinely good person. We have a similar sense of humor. He’s smart, funny, apparently good looking… (I wouldn’t know about such things but I try to stay well informed)! I do know that no drummer has ever tried harder to get and maintain this gig than Tyler. His tenacity is one of my favorite things about him. He has worked hard to be the best drummer that he can be. As drummers go, I always look for hard hitters, (I’ve had a few!). As musicians go, I always look for those that “swing for the fence”, so to speak. Tyler has never once let me down in either regard. I am a man of faith and I know that Tyler will see his potential reached. His purpose in this world is yet to be revealed. My selfish self hopes it’s with us, but my unselfish soul knows that God’s will, will place him in the exact right time and place just like always. Tyler’s request and admonition is that we find a permanent replacement, so that’s what we’re doing. If you are the person that wants/needs/feels this gig, contact us through MySpace (www.myspace.com/scottholt ), by email (scottholtband@gmail.com) or the SHB website (www.scottholt.com). We will be arranging open auditions in the coming weeks and look forward to finding a suitable replacement for the drum chair in the SHB. If you do contact us, be sure…and come with grit teeth! This ain’t no rehearsal…this is IT!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar.

KMFT and I just went to see The Dark Knight at the IMAX theatre in Nashville…We had to sit on the front row…The movie was great, I highly recommend it…I do not, however, recommend sitting on the front row for any IMAX movies…EVER

Friday, July 18, 2008

Words to live by;

I started thinking about the philosophies that I’ve been exposed to in my life and the words of others that have influenced the way I see life and approach this journey. These are some of my favorite quotes and words I try to live by;
Be Formless, shapeless like water. Now if you put water into a cup it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle, you put it into a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash, be water my friend.
Bruce Lee
More self-respect, more respect for fellow man. Respect for fellow students and instructors. Respect for all styles and techniques. Body conditioning, mental conditioning, meditation for calming and stilling of the mind and body. Sharpen your skills, increase mental awareness, for all those that might choose a new outlook and personal philosophy. Freedom from constipation.
Elvis Presley’s TCB Oath

I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them."
John Wayne as J.B. Books in The Shootist

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
Jimi Hendrix

Do not stand in the middle; go to the right or to the left.
Johnny Rotten


I saw the light, I saw the light, No more darkness, no more night. Now I'm so happy, no sorrow in sight. Praise the Lord, I saw the light.”
Hank Williams

I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.
Muhammed Ali

Listen to the lyrics - we're singing about everyday life: rich people trying to keep money, poor people tying to get it, and everyone having trouble with their husband or wife!
Buddy Guy

I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.”
General George S. Patton

“The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important
Martin Luther King Jr.

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Jesus

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sportspage - 012009

Why I love playing at home; 1. My wife gets to see me play, which is an all too rare event. 2. it's a chance to play for all of the family members…some of whom might think I need to find a day job…3. It's close to my house! 4. For some reason, people I don't even know, seem to act much sluttier!
We had a ball last weekend. I really don't like playing at home too much, because it has the danger of becoming "ho-hum" and that would harm our benefit. I'm always extra nervous about hometown gigs, just because I want to do well and don't want the hometown folks to think that we ain't bringing it always! As a result, I always like to spice things up with something different, like when we had Criss Angel show up unannounced last year!..If you were there, you'd know if it's true or not!
When I became a musician, there were two local players that I looked up to. One was my guitar teacher, Doug Thurman, (one of the best guitarists in the world…period!) and the other was Hodge Cook. Hodge is one of those "pure musicians". He can play anything, sight read anything, and come up with something on the fly that's better than what you come up with after years of introspection. He's the type of musician that I aspire to be. Having him sit in with us was for me the ultimate gift. I don't want to downplay Mike Webber, Andy Jones and the consummate Keith Kenyon, not to mention my brother Keith MF Throneberry. It was an honor and a privilege to share a stage with all of them, but the little kid in me that worked in the music store and took lessons there and fantasized about someday being in a band will always feel like that kid when I'm on stage with Hodge. Apparently, he doesn't play out much anymore, and that's a shame. I know too many musicians who fall in that category and it makes me sad. I know it's an incredibly difficult path to follow, and I know that the "soul-wages" are tremendous but I also know how hard it is to acquire any kind of proficiency on an instrument and I meet too many people that want it and will never get it. I don't preach, because every path is different, but I hope that he decides to play more…that goes for you too Doug, and Derek, and Drew…(in my best Scott Holt voice…"What?! Ya'll want the world to be overrun with Kenny Wayne Sheppards' and Hannah Montanas'??!!!)
We had a great time, and it was worth every minute of it and if you didn't come…and you didn't hear Keith MF Throneberry…you…make…me…sad!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

01/20/09 Amabo


Blogs are like the show for me, they’re supposed to entertain, inspire & make you think. Or as I say “make you thank!” Anyway, I like writing them, but sometimes the demands of the road, the lack of internet, etc. make it hard to get them out in a timely manner. This blog is a case in point. I’m warning you up front that it’s going to be long! Some names are abbreviated to protect identities! I go all the way back to my birthday.
On my birthday we played in Westbury NY. Miles away from home and family. Nature of the game as it was. I knew that my wife wouldn’t be able to make it out to the show, and I was bummed to be so far away from my girls. At least, I thought, my buddy CMFL. will be at the show. Then I give him a call only to hear that he’s got to have a surgical procedure and can’t make the show. Oh well I think, I guess it’s just another day at the office. We did our usual routine for the afternoon; Chipotle, Starbucks, Bookstore, Mall, etc. and then I fell asleep in the van for about an hour. Somebody wakes me up…”Hey!” I look and see my best bro Keith MFT and CMFL!!! Awwwww Shhhhhhiiiii…it’s on ya’ll! What a tremendous surprise and birthday gift to have my dear friends show up just to hang for the night and be with me on my birthday! Keith brought a care package from home that my wife had put together with cards and stuff that I love and I had recordings of my wife and daughter saying happy birthday. I just wanted to crawl in the cards and go home!!! We had a great show, all the folks at Mirelles and Lori Productions made us feel so at home and welcome, that I can’t wait to get back there soon! So after the gig, Keith has to go to the airport. He’d only come up for the day! Literally! CMFL was going to drive him out there, but he actually had had the surgery and it was 30 miles in the opposite direction from his house, so I said we’ll take him. Go home and get some rest, but first let me give you a back cracking hug!!! So here we go to take Keith to the airport. Now remember, it’s 30 miles in the wrong direction for us too. Not that it matters when it’s your friend, but it just makes the story funnier to understand the geography. As we are heading towards Islip airport, I get a call from my friend and advisor, Arnie Goodman who tells me that the CDs we ordered are at his house. Cool I say, since it’s closing in on 3:00am, we’ll come to you first and get the CDs so you don’t have to stay up all night…Arnie lives in the opposite direction from the airport…we turn around and head to his house. When we get there, I realize we’re now almost to Manhattan! 50 miles from Islip! We get the CDs and Arnie says “why don’t you drop Keith off at Penn Station. You have to drive right by it on your way out of town and he can catch a train out to Islip. Makes sense, so we head to Manhattan. Penn Station is under Madison Square Garden…middle of Manhattan…3:30am. We get downstairs and see a carpet of humanity lying on the floor, leaned up against posts, waiting for the ticket office to open at 6:30am. Keith’s flight is at 8:00 and we start to vibe that if we wait, he might miss it going this way. Let’s go! Back to Islip!! We get to Islip at dawn and say good bye to my friend. Then head back, same road, to our next gig NJ! Hit the next town at around 10:30 am. I didn’t care, what a great birthday! Second best ever! Almost perfect, except my best best friend Buffy wasn’t there. My Yoko from Tennessee!! My Posh Spice! My Eva Longoria! My own personal Penthouse Pet!!! Ohhhh I could go on and on! Thank you Buff! Keith! Chuck!
Somers Point was a fun gig, after the rain storm blew through! My pedal board had an ocean’s worth of sand on it the next day though! Blue 5 in VA and then home...right? My wife’s family is scheduled to go on vacation on Sunday. We play Blue 5 on Saturday, hen we’re supposed to drive over night (9 hours), so I can get in the car and drive to Gulf Shores (6 ½ hours away). No big deal, we’ve done it before. Sleep is something you use to recharge the batteries; I don’t do it for pleasure or as a hobby (like some people we’ve known!) We start driving…an hour outside of town…BOOM!!! The rear axle breaks! Lucky we’re on the side of the road at an exit, but its 3:30 am…pitch black dark…hmmmm. I don’t have a flashlight!!! (I do now!) Can’t see the amount of damage, can’t find the tire, what do you do? I call Uncle Wayne and Keith MFT. Nobody answers!! 3 calls each and I finally wake them both up…Thanks Scott! No sleep for anybody! Keith gets up, hooks his trailer and drives 9 hours to pick us up and haul the van and the trailer back to Columbia!!! 4 hours of winching and pushing and sweating, we get the van on the trailer. Vans have 4 wheels. They roll fine. When you take away one of the wheels, they don’t roll at all. Vans are very heavy. They slide like the rocks from Stonehenge! The caravan was over 54 feet long…I’m sure we broke laws, but we got it home. 9:00 pm, shower, pack, jump in the car and head to vacation. Get there at 4:30 am Monday morning. I’m not complaining, it IS vacation. If you can’t be happy at the beach, something’s wrong with your mind grapes. Keith has the van at his shop, I have insurance to repair it, and so I call the insurance co. Monday morning and start the process. When I feel like its all in play and rolling smooth, I start my vacation. First time in 5 years or more, I put my cell phone on the night stand and walk away! No cell phone! That night when we get back I have 9 missed calls, 40 text messages, 9 voicemails; U ain’t out of the woods yet cowboy! The van is “F”ed up. Don’t be offended, if you know me, that’s how I talk and in this case, that’s a very accurate description of what’s up with the van. The rest of my vacation is cool, but it includes about an hour of phone calls a day every morning getting the latest updates and figuring out how I’m getting to Ohio on Saturday. That’s right; the back end of my vacation also includes a drive back to home and then get in another vehicle and roll overnight (71/2 hours) to Huron Ohio. Remember; Sleep is just a tool to recharge, it’s not a pastime! Fast forward, through all the boring details, Enterprise rents me the van and we get there and back. We did lock the keys in the rental van, but by this point I’m just glad the thing didn’t explode!!! Thank God for all of my blessings! Friends and safe travels! I am blessed!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What would Bill say?

I have never liked days off on the road. Ever. Even when I was with Buddy, days off were the worst. Every day I like having a purpose and a goal. I like knowing where I’m going, when I’m going to get there and that I’m going to get to play my guitar loud. Days off are the antithesis of that philosophy. When we’re on the road, everyday is planned out in advance. We’ll be leaving at this time, we’ll arrive at this time, we load in, we play, we sleep (maybe), we go to the next town. Yesterday, (the only day off on this leg…thank God), I spent 2 hours shopping for shoe laces, doing laundry, working out, updating the tour schedule, and just generally pacing the floor. BOOOOOORRRRRRIIIIINNNNGGGG!!! Today, however, we ROLL! Good day!
I might call the next record “No Sleep ‘Til Nashville”. Sorry Motorhead.
We got Milburn out here on the road with us and he’s a great guy. Best merch guy ever. Hype man extraordinaire. He is, however, hungering for a musical education, which we are happily giving him. Right now he has to learn about…Bo Diddley! Is Milburn an example of the lack of musical knowledge of his generation? What kind of country is this when young people don’t know the Sex Pistols, Miles Davis, BO F*#%^N’ DIDDLEY?! I’m scared to ask about Buddy Guy, John Coltrane, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, etc. People, if you have kids, if you know kids, if you just see some kids, you gotta teach ‘em about music! Music is the stuff in the air that lives between the words. It’s all birds do. Well, they fly, but like musicians, they’re probably just going to the next gig. Tell kids about Elvis, Ray Charles, The Stones, Little Walter, Lightnin’ Hopkins… I remember several years ago when Blues was more popular than it is now, thinking that people would probably always know about BB King, now I wonder if he’ll even be remembered in a few generations if we don’t start caring more about the history of music. What if we get to the point where people think that Kenny Wayne Sheppard created the licks he plays instead of getting them all from Stevie Ray Vaughan? Yes it’s important and not just to musicians. Think about it this way; when WWIII comes down and we’re blown back to the stone age, all we’re going to have to do all day is take a bone and tap out a song.
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour!
William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night", Act 1 scene 1

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today

Today is Ellicottville NY. Cool little village so far. Richard discovered a new brand of smokes today. He’s reading Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick. We had terrible Chinese food. Milburn bought Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols and he’s reading John Lydon’s autobiography! Tyler is working his mind muscles. I am spending all of my time being me…it’s a full time job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Toast!

So here we are in Bridgeville PA for the 5th show of the North East leg. Shows have been going great so far and the bands playing at 100% slamming. We did an acoustic show in Cleveland and had a ball. My excellent Obrien amplifier is singing and #1 is getting a pounding every night. We have a new merch/tech guy, Milburn. So far he’s learning about; The Sex Pistols, Miles Davis, the Northeastern US, how to properly catch/clean& cook a groundhog, the correct fork to use when eating soup, what gravity is, why it’s important to be in the van before it drives away, what kind of cigarettes Richard likes and when to light them, who to vote for, when to ask for more, when to ask for less, how to tell if Tyler is asleep (without asking him), “trailer surfing”, and why you shouldn’t fear vampires. That’s just the first week!

Monday, June 02, 2008

...where the sun shines every day...

The Florida tour was a blast. First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who expressed their condolences about Jake. It’s good to meet so many of our fans & friends who understand that a pet is a family member. The band is sounding better every time we play. We had a chance to play new venues in Bradenton, Sanford, Sebastian and Destin. Kicking much booty with the SHB’s patented SoulSuckerPunch! Just like George say’s, “If you’ll suck my soul, I’ll lick your funky emotions.” This tour was perfect; we had a chance to play our show every night without censorship (some of you know what I’m talking about!) Ending up at the Tiki Torch Bar in Eureka Springs was the perfect last night. We tried to leave everything on that stage as a thank you to the gods of the everlasting groove. Richard perspired, so you know it was a night! If you were there and keeping score, yes that was Bridge Of Sighs being quoted in the middle of Voodoo Chile, and yes it’s always different.
Some observations; The Peace Maker Sandwich at the Acme Oyster Bar in Destin (which is advertised as being voted #4 best sandwich) isn’t #4 or even #444 in my book. My friend Will used to make us Swiss cheese sandwiches on white bread (no condiments)when we were kids and that blew these expensive ass things away! The Exxon station in Jackson MS is still serving the consistently best ribs I’ve had, and they keep in the back of the trailer for at least 2 days and still taste great! Oh don’t start saying “gross!” we had ‘em in a cooler! My advice to all bands on the road is to be sure and pack a Nerf football. You never know when the opportunity to move will strike you. Kempf Poole reminded me to play the blues! Richard and Tyler are two of the finest, warmest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jake Holt - 1997 - 2008

Today is a hard day for me and my family. We lost a member of the family. His name is Jake. He has lived with us for 11 years. He’s never helped around the house, helped me mow the yard, cooked supper, or even fixed his own dinner. But I can’t imagine what it will be like without him here. Jake and I first met in the parking lot of a Ruby Tuesday’s while I was on lunch break from working at a music store. He bit me. He was excited, but it still hurt like hell! For 11 years, he has been with me and Buffy through our marriage. He welcomed us when our daughter came into our lives; he’s been through all of our hard times, all of our moves and our triumphs. When my dad died, Jake licked my face. It was all he knew to do, but it was better than some people could come up with! He never learned to warn us when strangers came around, so when he sounded an alarm, we new it meant nothing but that he was feeling good! I always wanted him to wear a sombrero, but he never did. It would have been hilarious! His toenails were incredibly long, he preferred “bones” over real food, he could crap in the floor after being outside for hours, he could shed an amount of hair the quantity of which seemed like biblical locust!, the list could go on and on. But he never judged, he never harmed, he loved and only wished to be loved. More than that, he simply expected love because he never thought of any other scenario. Love was all there is. He was always a better friend to me than I was to him. His last months were hard ones physically, but he tried to ignore it. Steps were the hardest, but he would hide his embarrassment when I would pick him up to help him up them. He never let us down. I’ve spent the day mourning, holding my wife and helping my daughter process the situation. Jake’s under a tree, with a perpetual amount of shade. It’s been a hard day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Guitar Lesson

If I was allowed to give advice to beginning musicians, it would be, “be you”. That’s what we need more in music. Individuality. As the music business continues to spiral into oblivion, it’s like a giant snake feeding on itself. One successful artist begets 1,000,000,000 carbon copies. It’s one thing to be influenced by an artist but it’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax to try and steal the clothes out his (or her) closet! I’ve seen some musicians who have done that and I’m not sure what they feel like they’re contributing. Unless it’s just to be famous. In our culture, fame is a big one. Maybe that’s why music doesn’t seem to have the same cultural significance that it’s had in the past. When Bob Dylan went electric, people were so angry that they became violent! If some popular artist these days changed style that drastically, I doubt if anyone would even care!
If you pick up an instrument or choose to create music (or any other art, for that matter). Remember that you have a responsibility to contribute your soul to the equation. I’m not just talking about being a professional musician, when you pick up an instrument for your own enjoyment, remember to be you. Embrace that part of you that’s different. It’s fine to learn that Gun’s & Roses or John Mayer song, but at some point as you play it you are adding your DNA to it and embracing that aspect is what making music should be about. As a guitar player, I’m very influenced by Jimi Hendrix, but if all I did was try and copy his licks note for note without ever putting “me” into it, I’m disrespecting the most important aspect of his legacy which is his originality! Just remember “be you!” God only made one of those!
My second piece of advice would be to recognize that Guitar Hero is not the same as playing guitar!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Head N Mississippi

I had an amazing time this Thursday at the Blues Music Awards. Keith M.F. T. and I met Kempf M.F. P. in Tunica and went to the awards show together. I saw and hung out with Denis & Lucy Burns (my favorite Canadians!) Hubert Sumlin, my old friends Arnie Goodman, Rueben Williams, Tab Benoit and even Marty Salzman who was Buddy’s manager when I first joined the band! It was a great time. Even when the casino took my money! I got to say hi to Buddy’s guitar tech Gilbert, Big James (from The Chicago Playboys-a smoking band you should hear!!), Nick Moss, Magic Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and especially Hubert Sumlin. Hubert’s one of those gifted musicians that inspired all of us that pickup a guitar and want to play the blues. He’s also one of the kindest most uplifting people I’ve ever met. I’m so glad that he and Koko Taylor won awards! Roots!!! May they both live forever.
When we got to Tunica, Keith, Kempf & I had some BBQ and then we went down to Clarksdale and saw the Delta Blues Museum and Ground Zero. Then we headed up to Tunica and hit the reception before the awards show. After we left the casino, they might have had all of mine and Keith’s money, but we had all of their Heineken! I saw great performances by The Holmes Brothers and Bobby Rush. It was a great time. If my wife had been there, it would have been perfect. I’m blessed by good friends.
The next morning, Keith and I stopped off in Memphis to hang out on Beale Street and eat BBQ at Cozy Corner, (best ribs in Memphis!!) before heading home. I am blessed. I am blessed. I am blessed.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New Days

Another quick little run in the books. We hit Hickory NC, Winder GA and Charleston SC on this trip. We got o see and visit with a bunch of our friends including Robb and the crew in Winder, Chip and Sara and all our friends in Charleston and we were happily surprised to see Mark and Libby from Tuscaloosa in Winder. It always amazes me when our friends make a long trip to come and see us. Makes it all the more worthwhile.
I try not to say too much about the negative stuff that goes on on the road, but this is too funny to keep to myself. At a recent gig, (I won’t say where, or even which tour it’s from to try and protect the parties involved), I was getting the very familiar speech about the volume. In the space of about 3 minutes, I was told by 2 different management type people that “we needed to turn down...” It’s a speech that I’m all too familiar with and the reasons why are so varied and boring that I won’t go into them here. Anyway, keep in mind, this is all happening on the break, so I’m told to turn down 3 times (one person tells me twice! Like maybe I’m hard of hearing or something!) Before we’ve even started playing again…very strange. When the first person comes back to tell me again for the second time, this is the exact quote; “I just want to make sure that you guys remember to turn down a little bit, it’s not too loud up front near the stage but in the back… and it’s not so much loud, it’s just the energy…”) I’ve been criticized for a lot of things in my career, but being too energetic was a new one even for me!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I’m at musically/spiritually/philosophically and I’ve been feeling the need to “recalibrate” my self and get back on the point. I’ve kind of dipped my foot into some pretty murky waters at times over the last year or so and it hasn’t made me a better anything. I believe what I’ve always believed; that God put me here to make music and reach people through that music. My passion for the blues, loud guitars and playing from the heart is stronger now than ever and I hope as we hit the road this summer, you can hear a difference in what we’re trying to do. It won’t be anything drastic from the outside, so don’t look for me to wear robes or a beanie or start talking about the cosmos (anymore than I already do!) but the soul of my playing, my interaction with the music and the musicians, the way we present all of that to you, I hope it creates a more positive experience when you are kind enough to come see us.
One last note, I’d like to hip ya’ll to a friend of mine who is writing some amazingly insightful blogs. His name is Chris Kent and he’s one of the best musicians I’ve ever heard. I was blessed to get the chance to play with Chris for some years in the original version of the SHB (for some reason, he didn’t think that starving and going permanently sleepless were that appealing, so he’s since played with a who’s who of great musicians and entertainers). Anyway, he’s listed in my friends section on MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/ckbass) and if he’s not your friend yet, add him and subscribe to his blogs. This cat has his soul tuner dialed in so tight its ridiculous!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Wonder and The Why

So I’m thinking about things I don’t understand…of which there are many! I don’t understand things on a wide variety of subjects. Everything from why Hot Dogs are sold in packs of ten and hot dog buns are sold in packs of eight, to why a nation as rich and powerful as ours can’t do more to heal the world and eradicate hunger and injustice. Why gas is so high and no one’s connecting the dots on who’s actually making money! Why aren’t there more shows like Lost on television? Why did we actually go to the moon? Why can’t we find Bin Laden. Why hasn’t someone come up with a foolproof way of keeping two socks together in the dryer? Why, with all of our advances in technology, can’t we have a voting system that’s based on the popular vote? Why aren’t there more memorable television theme songs? Gilligan’s Island, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, Love Boat, Dallas, Family Ties, Good Times, the Jeffersons, etc.
These are just some of the “why’s” that I have. I also have some “I wonder if’s”. I wonder if Guitar Hero really makes kids want to learn how to play an instrument or is it like all other video games and just sucks them in deeper. I play video games, but playing Madden Football never made me try to get a gig as a walk on with the Titans (although sometimes I think I could make the team!!) I wonder if our next president will be the candidate I’m voting for …or John McCain. And in a related question, I wonder how many presidents have had sex in the Oval Office? My guess is 4, counting Lincoln of course. I always have to relate it to sex somehow. If I was president, that’s the first thing I’d do. Just to say I did. I wonder if anyone will ever win a million dollars on Deal or No Deal. I wonder if universal peace is really possible. I wonder if we’ll ever have jet packs to fly around with. I wonder if I could take a punch from Mike Tyson. I wonder if I could out run Mike Tyson if I hit him first? I wonder if Prince could beat Michael Jackson in a wrestling match. I wonder how many romantic comedies Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson will actually make before the idea seems just a little bit old??? I wonder if any guitar will ever be built that is a sexy as a Fender Stratocaster? I wonder if we’ll ever realize that we’re all more alike than different. I wonder if the Martin Scorsese movie about The Rolling Stones is as good as I thought it was on Saturday (I say yes…probably better!) I wonder how many kids can name the most recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize...can you???...want a hint...no recount was needed! I wonder how many kids can name the winning quarterback in the last Super Bowl.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Messing With The Kid


I realized today as I was updating the music on my space, that this year is the 10Th anniversary of my first record Messing With The Kid! Time flies! No really, it flies!! I remember recording that record like it was yesterday. My band at that time consisted of Chris Kent on bass, Derek Wiseman on drums and Derek's brother Drew on keys. We also had Bobby Inman as our road crew/spiritual advisor. We did the record at a place in Nashville called Fireside Studios and the engineer was actually named George Clinton! We had been playing together for probably 4 or 5 years by this point. I was with Buddy Guy and when we would come home from the road, I would book gigs around Nashville with my band. These guys were ferocious!
If I remember right, the record was done in about 4 days. 2 days of basic tracks followed by a day of vocals and overdubs and a day to mix. Pretty fast even by the standards we work under today! We'd start in the evening, (Derek and Drew had day gigs) and finish around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. Then Bobby and I would go to Mary's BBQ on Jefferson St and get a BBQ sandwich from the walkup window. I wish I could stll eat like that!
We had a littl circuit of local clubs that we played; 3rd & Lindsley, The Bunganut Pig, The Big Apple, The Boardwalk, 12th & Porter, we even played at The End one night for all you Nashvegas rockers. The songs were half things we were doing live and half new songs that I had written. Listening back to it today, (not something I usually do with my own music), I hear plenty of things I'd change in my own performances of course, but I hear a lot of things that I really love. There was an energy and a total sense of adventure in that band. We never rehearsed, we rarely discussed any specific aspects of the songs, we just played and listened to each other and it just poured out. Effortless. Some nights, we'd play 4 hours straight, without a break.
I remember we were doing He Stopped Loving Her Today as sort of a joke in our live show, but I played it one night with Buddy and he liked it so much that some nights he'd make me do it at his shows! The whammy bar stuff in it was sort of what we did with it live, just louder and longer! The only song I wish I could take back or at least re-do, would be Who Knows. I am such a card carrying Hendrix freak that I have a lot of trouble listening to that song without cringing! It was the very last thing we did and the guy who was producing the project and financing it (his name escapes me)wanted us to do a Hendrix cover. I was being a little hard headed and didn't want to do it, so I thought if we did it poorly, it would just be left off the record. If I could go back and visit that little smart ass guitar player that I was, I'd smack him in the head!
I remember the photo shoot for the artwork to the record was done on a hot summer day by a creek that was almost dried up but they wanted me to wear my leather jacket for the cover! If you look real close to the inside photos, you can see we're all sweating! Except of course for Bobby!
I haven't seen the guys from that original band in ages. I see Bobby some, I communicate with Chris through my space sometimes and I just recently heard from Drew, but I haven't heard from Derek in forever. I know the phone works both ways, it just sad when I think about the people that I've been blessed to have in my life and how we drift away from each other.
Just as I learned from Buddy, I learned from Chris, Derek, Drew and Bobby. They were some great teachers and I'm better for knowing all of them.
I'm blessed to be surrounded by great people/musicians now like Richard and Tyler, but when I think back to how it started I realize just how blessed I've truly been.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Word!

Man it's been so long since the last blog that I don't know where to start! Last weekend, for the first time probably ever, Buff and I went with our best friends the MFThroneberry's to Chicago just to hang out. Chicago is one of mine and Buff's favorite cities and it was so great to get a chance to just hang out and walk around revisiting some of our favorite spots. After a mixup at the hotel where a young man named Victor proved that you don't have to be smart, kind, caring or basically human to work at a Hilton Hotel, we got into some great rooms and hit the town wide open. It went sort of like this; Weber Grill, Jazz Record Mart, Water Tower, House of Blues, Harry Carey's, Hard Rock Hotel, Legend's, Starbucks, Portillo's, more shopping, Frontera Grill (GREAT Mexican food), hot tub, HOME! I left out a lot of details so no one gets offended!
This trip out has been a blast . Thursday night we played Minneapolis and jammed with some of our very talented friends; Jellybean Johnson, Truth, Mike Shaw, Allen Kirk and the one and only Tim Obrien. Last night and tonight we're staying with our old friend and honorary SHB member Dino Corvino. He and his mom have been so gracious and opened their home to us. It's always such a joy to hang out with Dino and we're having a blast. We are truly blessed with great family and friends.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Buddy Miles

Just as I was finishing writing about Jeff Healey, a friend of mine sent me an email about the passing of Buddy Miles! I had the chance to meet and "sort of" know Buddy when I was with Buddy Guy. For a time in the early 90's, Buddy Miles was in Chicago. I don't know if he was living there or what, but he would come to Legends sometimes where I had a chance to jam with him a couple of times and for some reason he remembered me. My best memory of Buddy Miles is crossing the street in Chicago one night going from one blues club to another and hearing somebody call out my name. It was Buddy Miles sitting in the drivers seat of a Lincoln. He had a cassette tape of some new music he was working on and was jamming it out on the car stereo and letting me hear it! Buddy was a pretty big guy at that point and he was dancing in the car and the whole car was rocking from side to side. I was more astounded that Buddy Miles knew my name and was letting me hear his music! If anybody doesn't know Buddy Miles' history, check it out. He was not only a friend and musical foil for one of my favorite Jimi Hendrix records, but also a seasoned veteran of the 50's and 60's "chitlin" circuit. He played with Wilson Pickett and went on to form Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield. Like with all the great artists we've lost, his voice might be stilled, but his legacy exists for us to remember him by. Go buy Them Changes and turn it up loud!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Jeff Healey


Jeff Healey passed away after a long battle with cancer. I became aware of Jeff around the time I started playing guitar. His record See The Light was (and still is) a favorite of mine. Often times in the music business, people tend to reduce thing to the lowest common denominator to make it easily digestible for the public, (I could go off for hours on how the record industry thinks that music fans are too ignorant to understand music) in Jeff's case, his technique of playing the guitar in his lap and being blind were both factors that brought him attention from the public, but in some ways it distracted from the fact that he was a truly brilliant musician with a deep understanding and appreciation for the roots of blues and jazz. Jeff made some great records, toured the world, played with the legends of Blues, starred in movies and even had a couple of popular radio shows. He had a collection of over 30,000 jazz 78's (those are records, kiddies). Beyond all that though, and probably most importantly he was a husband and a father with a wife and two children. I was lucky to get a chance to meet and jam with Jeff and honored to play at his club in Toronto on a few occasions. Our prayers go to his family and friends.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chicago and den sum


Chicago was a blast as always. Ate at Heaven On Seven!! Official first stop of the SHB. Hung out with Buddy and a pack of my dear friends. Kempf Poole, Randy Z, drummer Chuck (just to establish that it wasn't Chuck M.F. Lanza), Uncle Wayne and, of course, Keith M.F.T. Jamming was great. Mr.CJ Vaughan helped hold it together and even Zekester got in the mix! Always thanks to Harvey and the crew at Legends for making it always feel like home.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm a philosopher and I'm okay!

I just saw a story on the Today show (I enjoy the Today show) about how Americans are getting dumber. Not less intelligent, but dumber. For examples they used the footage of that beauty contestant who tried to explain why Americans couldn’t find Iraq on a map. You know the one I’m talking about, she says, “such as” about 9,000 times. Then they showed Kellie Pickler (I think she was an American Idol contestant) on the show Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader…she wasn’t. She didn’t know France was a country! 40% of Americans under 44 didn’t read one book last year! 1 in 4 college students can’t find Iraq on a map. This is the nation that formed the Declaration Of Independence, sent men to the moon, invented sausage gravy, developed the Fender Stratocaster, birthed great minds like Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis and even Albert Einstein! Oh okay, Einstein was actually born in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. The point, however, is that according to this report many Americans would’ve thought that Einstein was born here! Not you kind reader. I know that all of you who read these blogs are among the intellectual elite. I think it was Sir Francis Bacon who said, “Knowledge is power.” Bacon wasn’t only the namesake of a favorite breakfast food, he was also an English philosopher and statesman. He was knighted in 1603,before many of you were even born! Philosopher must be a pretty good gig. Just sit around and think about the questions of the day. Guys like Plato and Descartes must have had plenty of time to just hang out. Can’t you just see their wives coming home from the fields and asking, “How was your day dear?” “Oh pretty good, I thought about ‘Is an idea a true copy of the real thing that it represents?’ and then I thought about ‘How can physical objects such as chairs and tables, or even physiological processes in the brain, give rise to mental items such as ideas?’ then I thought about ‘If all the contents of awareness are ideas, how can we know that anything exists apart from ideas?’” “After that I made a sandwich and watched TV for a while.
I’d like a gig like that! I think another good gig is a theoretician. Or someone who theorizes. I have a theory that theoreticians are just lazy philosophers. The theoretician just hangs out and doesn’t even make a stand, just a theory. If someone comes along and proves something different, he has the perfect out, “well it was just a theory!” “Hi honey how was your day?” “I didn’t do anything but lay on the couch and form a theory that if I don’t eat a sandwhich, I’ll just get hungrier!” How much could that have paid? Do you think that a theorist would get hired by an even lazier person to form a theory for him? “Hey man, I need a theory about why my paper sometimes ends up in shrubs in front of my house instead of on the porch.” Three hours later, the theorist charges $4.79 for a theory that sometimes the paperboy just doesn’t throw the paper as hard. Niccolò Machiavelli was a theorist. He was also Italian. He probably said “Ciao!” a lot, which I think is pretty cool...if you’re Italian. If you’re not Italian and you say ‘Ciao”, you’re just a jackass. Machiavelli was also a musican and he wrote The Prince. In those days, I guess you had to have more than one gig just to stay afloat. Maybe people worked harder then. That’s probably what made them less dumb than we are today. They probably made fun of guys who only had one job. “Here comes Ned, he’s just a blacksmith!” “I’m a blacksmith/philosopher/writer/musician/camp counselor!” Just remember that no matter what your job is, tonight when your wife asks how was your day, just say, “I worked harder than Machiavelli, I’ll tell you that!”

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Love Story


So it's Valentine's day and I shall now tell the story of my valentine. My wife Buffy is the most incredible woman in the world. Not only is she beautiful, smart, funny, challenging and the most truly genuine person I've ever met, but she also likes me! (at least she seems to!)

I met my wife for the first time when I was 16 (I actually sort of met her a few years before at a KOA swimming pool, but we didn't actually meet then, we just bobbed.) She walked into a high school art class (Mrs. Hall!) that I was taking for an easy credit and I fell in love. I don't mean that in a figurative sense, or a poetic sense, but in a literal sense. I fell hopelessly, head over heels in love. The kind of "in love" that has you thinking up funny things to say, days in advance so you'll be ready. The kind of love that has you throwing up everyday in anticipation of seeing her. The kind of love that makes every song on the radio about your life. (thanks Billy Joel). You drive by her house, sit in he parking lot of her job, threaten her boyfriend with some sort of pain, LOVE! She was (and still is) like no one I'd ever seen before. The way she moved, the light in her eyes, her spirit, she was (and is) the most amazing person I'd ever experienced. See also has an incredible backside, but this is a "love" story, not a "lust" story! I'd love (at least my ego would love) to say that the feeling was mutual, but since this is a true story, I have to say that it took me several years to convince her that I wasn't insane,or horribly disfigured, or mentally off, or just generally creepy. I don't blame her for thinking that since I pretty much started telling her that we would marry about a month after I met her, (I thought that was plenty of warning!) I drove my family, my friends, her family, her friends, complete strangers, mall security guards and other people completely crazy. We've been married for 16 years (17 this year). We've known each other for 25 years. The day I married her was the best day of my life, because it was the smartest thing I ever did. Maybe the only smart thing...except for our daughter...who I could and should write a love letter to for her supreme gift of just being in my life. We have been blessed with an almost flawless marriage. I say almost flawless, because I'm not perfect and I've made incredible, legendary, grande, epic, king sized mistakes that if I went into them, you'd also say I was an idiot. I'll save you the trouble...I know I'm an idiot! I do, however, have one small saving grace...I have been blessed with the ablity to learn from my mistakes, and in doing so have learned that, as much as I thought I loved my wife when I married her, I've discovered that I love her more. More than I ever dreamed. More than I would've thought possible. From the birth of our child, to the loss of my father, to the rising and falling and rising of our life fortunes, I've learned that the greatest gift that God gives a man is someone to share his life with and someone to love more than anything. God gave me Buffy. God gave me a friend, lover, companion, confidant, challenger, cheerleader, guide, supporter, fantasy and a smack in the back of the head if I get too "rockstar" around the house! Some of you have met Buffy and I know that you find the same person I see; a loving, caring, senstive, "real" person. When she listens to your story, she hears every word. She thinks about what you've said, and whatever you're going through, you have her prayers. I must admit that I don't talk about my wife very much in this forum. I consider you all friends, but this is a private, special, "just for me" part of my life. On this one day, however, I wanted to "shout from the rooftops" how much I love, cherish, respect, adore, admire, and just generally lust after, my wife Mrs. Buffy Holt. Happy Valentine's Day baby.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh Canada...

It is always such a pleasure and honor for us to get a chance to play for our friends in Canada. We had the chance again this weekend, in London, and what a time we had! It's always great to see our friends, especially Denis and Lucy Burns, but everyone there has always been so supportive and welcoming of us that it really feels like a hometown gig in a lot of ways. The audience always has such an energy coming from them that it's impossible for us not to reflect it right back at them. I could have truly played all night! My first Canadian gigs after going solo were in London and Windsor. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to be an audience for a very nervous kid from Tennessee! They'll always have a special place in my heart.
Another cool suprise was seeing some old friends. Lurrie Bell was the headliner, and he has Willie Hayes playing drums for him. Willie and I started together with Buddy Guy way back in 1989! I'm not sure what year Willie left, but I hadn't seen him in several years. His playing always brings a smile to my face and it was great hearing Lurrie and all the guys playing some really great, musically inspirational music.
We got home Sunday in time for me and Buff to catch the Grammy's (we actually Tivo'd them and watched them last night!). I though overall it wasa pretty good show. I've been on a big Sinatra kick lately, so it was cool to have him featured prominently up front in his "duet" with Alicia Keys (a very talented artist in her own right). I wish Prince had performed, but at least he was there. I was glad to see Tina Turner, and I liked her song with Beyonce but is Beyonce going to become the official "duetess" of he Grammys? Last year Prince and now Tina, next year Miley Cyrus! The Time were great as always and I like the Foo Fighters, straight up rock and roll. I was a little confused by the award for Contemporary Blues Album, I love Eric Clapton and JJ Cale is a legend, but "Contemporary Blues"? Betty LaVette should have won. I've only heard rough mixes of Buddy's next record, but I predict next year's grammy will go to BG!
Last time I was talking about James Burton, and a good friend of mine Shannon Dew wrote to remind me that James Burton also played on Merle Haggard's song Working Man Blues. You are correct sir! Did you also know that he played on the following records?
Barbara Mandrell - Moods
Arlo Guthrie - Running Down the Road
Billy Joe Shaver - Gypsy Boy
Bobby Darin - Golden Folk Hits
Buck Owens - Open Up Your Heart
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield Again
And these artists as well; Carl Perkins, Carlene Carter, Charlie Rich, Dale Hawkins, David Cassidy, Dean Martin, Del Shannon, Delaney & Bonnie, Dennis Weaver, Doug Kershaw, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Glen Campbell, Henry Mancini, Hank Williams Jr., Jerry Lee Lewis, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell,Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, Mae West, The Monkees, The Wiggles, Tina Turner, Kanye West.
Oh ok not Kanye West. I figured you probably wouldn't read the whole list, so I'd just throw that in there. Maybe someday he will play with Kanye. It could be a really cool idea. Kanye could sample some real chicken pickin' guitar and do a cover of Viva Las Vegas. Maybe call it Vegas 2009! Maybe do a record with Kanye, 50 cent and JayZ and call it Vegas 2009: Return of the Pack! Do hip-hop versions of some of those classic Sinatra era songs. Fly Me To The Moon with a sample from Steve Miller's Fly Like An Eagle in it. VH1 could do a reality show about the making of the album...while the three artists share a condo in Vegas!...with Ted Nugent as their producer!
Ahhh Vh1! The ground zero for the decline of western civilization reflected for us as a culture through our television screens! First, my disclaimer. I watch VH1 all the time. I watch Rock Of Love, Flavor Of Love, Scott Baio's 58 and a jackass, My Fair(ly annoying) Brady, and my current favorite show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. If you don't think musicals can be a bad thing, look what Grease did to Jeff Conway! I'm not making light of substance abuse. I have very dear people in my life who have struggled or who are struggling with what I truly believe is a disease. It is most definitley not a funny situation. However, if you put yourself on VH1 in a "reality show" situation, you are fair game for mockery. They shouldmake a new show, combining the elements of some of these shows. Here's my idea; Remember SuperGroup? With Ted Nugent, Scott Ian, Jason Bonham and the guy from BioHazard? How about a show called SuperRealityShow with Scott Baio, Christopher Knight and Jeff Conway, living in a condo (all reality shows should make the participants live in a condo. Not a house, but a condo. It's just better.) together in El Paso TX. Baio and Knight have to keep Conway off drugs while Conway trys to make men out of two poster boys for Men With Vaginas Of America. Special guest Gary Busey could come by and beat the crap out of them periodically. Oh yeah, and the whole thing's in Mandarin Chinese with subtitles! I think all shows should be in Mandarin Chinese. It's just a really cool sounding language. Bruce Lee spoke Mandarin Chinese. George Bush doesn't speak Mandarin Chinese. I think the president should be multilingual. Otherwise, you're just taking some translator's word for what the other person is saying. This election season, I will base my vote for the candidate who speaks the most languages, other than english. That's all I've really got at this point. I've noticed that no matter who we elect, my lot in life rarely changes too much...other than gas prices...and the war...and the other war...and the potential third war...and the fact that we as a nation are fairly disliked around the globe...and no healthcare...and the recession...and gas prices...I know I said gas twice, but it really bothers me!