Monday, December 28, 2009

You'll shoot your eye out!....

Random Thoughts;
The iPhone is one of man’s greatest inventions! Right up there with the internal combustion engine and the pyramids!
MOJO is the best music magazine in print today.
A RANDOM SELECTION OF STUFF I’M THANKFUL FOR: (My Wife, Family & Friends are beyond this category!)My Bible, My #1 Fender Stratocaster, Obrien amps, My Grind Fuzz pedal, My Tube Screamer, Wah Wah pedals, Buddy Guy, iPods, Nashville, John Wayne, The MF Mafia, Jimi Hendrix, Ernie Ball Strings, Xbox 360, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Converse Chuck Taylors, Andy Griffith, Ford vans and trucks, B.B. King, Rumi, Dunlop picks and every pedal they make, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Chicago, Elvis, Bugs Bunny, Prince, Gas station ribs from Jackson MS., Sinatra Live at the Sands, Fried Okra, Aretha Franklin, Football, Album liner notes, Austin TX, Miles Davis, Junior Wells, True Grit by Charles Portis, Catfish, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Independent record stores, Bob Marley, Vincent Van Gough, Chipotle, Minneapolis, Jerry Lee Lewis Live at the Star Club, Earl Hooker, John Coltrane, Timberland boots, PEZ candy, Muhammed Ali, Socks, Starbucks, Mahatma Gandhi, Canada, the Blues, Pandora radio, Sirius radio, Buffy’s Macaroni & Cheese, Carlos Santana, iPhones, The Sex Pistols, Freddie King, Guitar Player magazine, Albert King, Garlic, Paul Reed Smith guitars, Pee Wee Herman, Sweet Potato Pie, Frank’s Red Hot hot sauce, Thai Food, Sushi, Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Fried Turkey, AC/DC, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Donny Hathaway, Mozart, All Music Guide, P-Funk, Stockhausen, Peanut Butter, Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Muffins, My Peavey HP Special guitar, Rolling Stone Magazine, Grosh pickups, Smith & Wesson .357’s, Frank Sinatra, Mad Anthony’s XXX Private Reserve hot sauce, Jeff Beck, Michigan J. Frog, Jerry Lee Lewis, Led Zeppelin, Floyd Rose Tremolo systems, Eric Clapton, Blue Diamond Wasabi & Soy Almonds, Van Halen, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Dilbert, Star Wars, Bone Fish’s Bang Bang Shrimp, Fuji apples, Wired magazine, AquaFina water, Pro-Tools, iTunes, Yellow Labs, My Leather Jacket, Italian Food, Bernie Mac, Al Green, Memphis, Beale Street, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Sonny Sharrock, Eminence Speakers, James Burton, T-Bone Walker, Mitch Mitchell, Marvin the Martian, Black Duct Tape, Mexican Food, Krazy Glue, WD-40, Robben Ford, Ted Greene, The Three Stooges, Peter Green, Little Walter, Cheese Burgers, Woodstock, Road Food (the book), Annie Lennox, James Brown, The Clash, Robert Nighthawk, Electric Lady Studios, the Bacon app for iPhone, BIG TV’s, HD TV, DVR, Las Vegas, Tattoos, John Lee Hooker, Motorhead, LARA bars, Zen Guitar, Nitrocellulose lacquer, Fender guitars, Living Colour, Peach Cobbler, Tabasco, Ruger firearms, Peace, Go-Jo hand cleaner, GPS, Wi-Fi, John Bonham, I-65, Hank Williams, Jim Marshall, You Tube, Nag Champa, Bob Dylan, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Snoopy, dirt roads, kudzu, IMAX movies, 3D, Soul, Harmony, Love.
A public thank-you to my MF brothers for an awesome Christmas gift!! You guys rock!!
As always a HUGE thank you to my wife…for putting up with me and making every Christmas the best Christmas yet!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jingle Bells!!

Saturday night’s Christmas Benefit was an awesome time, (if you were there, you know this of course). For the last 5 years, Keith MF Throneberry, Xtreme 4X4, Natalie Stovall and an army of volunteers and friends have put this thing together and raised over $40,000.00 for a local charity that benefits underprivileged kids at Christmas time to insure that they receive toys for Christmas. This year, over 350 people attended the event! The money is raised and given to our local paper; they in turn purchase and distribute vouchers to people in the community that have registered for this program. All of the money goes to the charity; all of our people are volunteers. My band, Natalie’s band and all of the Xtreme folks work this thing for free.
This year we were joined by the Knoxville based band Dishwater Blonde, an incredibly funky group led by my friend, Davis Mitchell. They also, donated their time and effort making the 6 hour round trip just to play! The venue, Sports Page was donated by its owner Cliff. This year we also were blessed to have one of our local Nashville news anchor men Neil Orne from WKRN donate his time as our MC. For the last couple of years we’ve had an auction during the event to try and raise as much money as we can. This year we had a football autographed by Kyle Vanden Bosch of the Tennessee Titans and a guitar signed by George Thorogood. The guitar and other items were donated by mine and Keith’s friend Chuck MF Lanza. Not only did Chuck donate and ship us a ton of memorabilia from his personal collection, he and his lovely wife flew in from New York to surprise us and make the weekend even better! For the first time in history, the MF mafia, (Keith MF Throneberry, Chuck MF Lanza, Kempf MF Poole and me) was in full effect, and nobody even got injured!
All the bands sounded amazing and I have to say that my guys blew the roof off the joint! For the last couple of years we’ve been joined by my old friend Hodge Cook on keyboards. Hodge is one of the best musicians I’ve ever known and having him donate his time and talent just amazes me. For me this gig is too much fun! It’s usually one of the last gigs we play before the end of the year and it’s always too much fun. This year we ended up opening the whole “mental jukebox” and playing everything from Christmas songs to Rock and Roll All-night, and Party Everyday by KISS! The show closing jam, with a rotating mix of players from all three bands and special guests clocked in at close to 2 hours on its own and was a blast to be a part of.
Once again, it is impossible to fully explain the workload that Keith MF Throneberry is under for this event. ALL of the heavy lifting is his; ticket sales, organization, venue, etc. From the minute planning starts in June, Keith is on it every minute. If you bought a ticket, Keith handed it to you, if you bought a t-shirt, Keith signed off on the design. He arranged the food, the drinks, and the sound, the …everything! Keith never gets enough credit for the hard work he puts into this thing, so BIG Ups to him!!
Thank you to everyone who attended contributed or just sent up positive prayers for us. It is all appreciated and needed! If you missed it this year, start planning now to see us in 2010!!! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This is my favorite time of year. It always has been. Typically, this time of year from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is the time when my traveling slows down and I get to spend real time with my family. Of course, it’s also the holiday season, so we get to see a lot of the extended family, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. that we miss through out the year. I love the coolness in the air, the Christmas music in the stores, the lights going up around town, and the food of course! It’s the time of year when I like to look back and consider all of the things in this world that I am grateful for. I can tell you without any embarrassment that I am a rich man. I don’t have a million dollars in the bank and if you saw the truck I drive you might think that my statement about being rich was just some kind of hypothermic insanity. I do have a bunch of “stuff”, but that’s not what I value and consider as the thing that makes me rich. I am rich in family, friends and loved ones.
Don’t get me wrong, I like “stuff”. I could survive with one guitar in my life but I’ve got…a bunch! The thing is, my guitars never miss me, they never say they love me, they don’t worry about me when I’m gone and they show no emotion when I come home. Selfish bitches! (I’m just joking!!)
I am seriously grateful for my beautiful wife Buffy. She’s been my partner for the last 18+ years. What she and I have been through could be a book AND a movie AND a mini-series! I don’t know what I’d do without her, nor do I care to find out. I’m grateful for our daughter Olivia. I am amazed and surprised by her every day. She’s taught me more than almost anyone without even realizing or trying. (I’m grateful that she likes Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy and Motorhead in equal measure!) I’m grateful for my family; my mom who is the strongest most amazing person I’ve ever known and one of my heroes. My dad, he is responsible for getting my career going. He passed away in 1997 and didn’t get to see me go solo or hear any of the original music that I created, but I know he’s always with me and I’m grateful for his teaching, his wisdom, his life and his memory. I’m grateful for my brother Shane. We were a small family, it was just Mom and Dad and me and Shane. We moved around a lot when I was young and Shane and I were often the only friends we had. I’m grateful that we’re still friends! (Especially after all the things older brothers do to younger brothers!) I’m grateful for my MF brothers; Keith, Kempf and Chuck. I’ve been so blessed to have not just one but three amazing friends that support each other and make each other laugh and I know that all four of us would “help bury the body, no questions asked”. I’m grateful for Buddy Guy and his belief in me, his friendship and guidance. He gave me a career and taught me what to do with it. I’m grateful for the amazing group of musicians that have played with me, teaching me through the expression of their talent and allowing me to grow as musician by the example of their gifts. My band has a long alumni list so I’m afraid to try and name them all, lest I accidentally forget someone. Just know that there’s not one person that has played with me for a long time or a short time that I don’t feel I learned something from and I am grateful to all of them. I blessed to say that my list of friends is also long and continues to grow. A list too long to try and include here, but suffice it to say that I am ridiculously rich in friends. I am a very rich, grateful and blessed man.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Electric Church...

Great weekend! At the last minute, we got invited to go to Florence SC and play at the Pee Dee Blues Bash. We were fortunate to have Brian Pepo on bass for the weekend and we had a blast. I do, however, think that the Hampton Inn has some really strange “parking issues”. I even made it home Sunday in time for the Titans game (which they WON) and to make chili for my girls (which was too spicy and promptly made my wife sick!). Working this morning on the next project in line which looks like it’s going to be an EP, just working on the running order and what’s actually going to go on it, but I will have the full scoop soon. So far I can say that it is the proud tradition of Loud Is Good!
Random Thoughts;
1. Finally ate at Five Guys Hamburgers, Very Good! Although one order of fries would probably feed a family of 6!
2. Reading The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil. Just started it but a good thought provoking book so far!
3. Listening to Miles, Michael Landau, Stockhausen and Living Colour
4. Curb Your Enthusiasm is an awesome show!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Numero Uno!!



PATIENT AGE: 14 yrs.

DESCRIPTION: Fender Stratocaster built in 1995 @ Fender Custom Shop by Larry Brooks. Ash Body, Hand Shaped Bird’s Eye Maple Neck

DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Eric Clapton signature on back of headstock (To Scott Eric Clapton ’96), various dents, scratches, scrapes, dings, gouges, scars, blood stains, etc.

HISTORY OF REPAIRS: 2 Fret Jobs, 11 pickup replacements, 3 tone knob replacements, 3 volume knob replacements, 3 volume pot replacements, 4 tone pot replacements, 2 pick guard replacements, 3 tremolo block replacements, 14 tremolo bar replacements, 3 nut replacements, 6 spring replacements, 6 strap button repairs (including drilling new hole for rear strap button), 2 headstock repairs, 2 5-way switch assembly replacements, 2 output jack replacements

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Read The Secret! Now!!

My five favorite melodies, in no particular order;
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No.2 2.2Adagio sostenuto
Carlos Santana - Europa
Jimi Hendrix - May This Be Love
Earth Wind & Fire - September
Claude Debussy - Arabesque

Great gigs this weekend, hitting Stevie Ray's in Louisville tonight for round 2. Thanks to Mario Sangermano for filling in on bass! Great to see my friends Gary Brinkley and Kempf Poole. Looking forward to Chicago tomorrow, Buddy Guy's of course! Listening to Fleetwood Mac's Pious Bird Of Good Omen album this afternoon, Albatross is a beautiful song! Yes kids, Fleetwood Mac was a blues band at one time! All guitar players should recognize. We broke the record on this trip tp Louisville for eating at one spot, 3 times at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Great Food!!

My top five books of the moment, again, no particular order;
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
Secrets of the Talking Jaguar by Martin Prechtel
Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo
The Bible

Quote of the day, or something for your brain to chew on until we meet again; "I believe that if it were left to artists to choose their own labels, most would choose none."
Ben Shahn
US (Lithuanian-born) painter (1898 - 1969)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Michael Jackson/Ted Kennedy conspiracy revealed!

So it’s been a while and a lot of stuff’s going on so here’s a little catch up. Richard decided to come off the road after 8 years as my bass player and it’s a good thing for him but still very sad. We’re still in touch and he’s really getting into writing and hopefully we’ll be doing some recording together in the near future. Most of you know Richard and he’s been such a big part of the band for so long that I know we’ll all miss him on the gig, but as he gets projects out, I know you’ll all support him and his work!
We’re working on a bunch of new stuff for the future and I’ll talk more about it as it comes up, but rest assured that we are headed to a whole ‘nother level! Last week, I had a chance to spend some time hanging out with my MF brother CMFL, Buddy Guy and BB King in Westbury NY. It’s always a blast to get to see BG, my mentor/friend and catch up. Buddy recently celebrated his 73 birthday and he’s in great shape and playing his butt off! He was nice enough to invite me up to jam and we played Slippin’ In together (haven’t been able to find it on You Tube tho!). I haven’t played that song in a while and I was nervous as a cat! Buddy’s band is a great bunch of guys and they always make me feel welcome. After the show, we hung out with BB on his bus for a little bit and I got him to autograph a picture for my daughter.
Looking forward to seeing our friends in London ON in a couple of weeks and getting some new music together. I’ve been digging on Pandora thanks to my MF brother KMFP. Merle Haggard, Buddy Guy and Ratt all on one radio station! We live in a great age! I’ve been listening to some cool stuff lately that’s really helping me open up musically. Tinariwen, Tom Waits, lots and lots of Miles, The Replacements, David Lindley…just finding new areas of the garden to explore. I’m really excited about the future. I want to work harder at creating work that is uplifting, inspiring and entertaining. Music is a tremendous force of healing and I want to use it for that purpose! Yesterday I was listening to Aubrey Ghent’s version of Amazing Grace. The soul and joy in that performance left me speechless!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gene Simmons; "I'm really not a vampire!"

Finally home and rested from the 7 weeks we’ve just put in the van (2 days off didn’t count!). My ears have stopped ringing and my caluses are all good and hard! Pardon me for the tech talk, but I’m using a new pedal that I’m really digging and I want to spread the word; check ‘em out!
I had a blast this past weekend playing at home and with some old friends. We had Keith Kenyon on bass, Hodge Cook on keyboards and Doug Thurman on guitar. We were also joined by our old friend Geno Haffner on keys and of course Bobby Inman. My cousin Nick Holt played some blazing guitar and sounded great! I was glad that my wife was there, because she hasn’t heard us play in a while. Looking forward to this weekend in Iowa and playing for our friends in the Mid-West!
Thought for the day; Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.
W. Somerset Maugham,


Top 5 Albums (as of right now):
1. Donny Hathaway – Live
2. Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys
3. Miles Davis – Live Around The World
4. Jeff Buckley – Grace
5. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks

Monday, July 13, 2009

See The World On A Greyhound!

Here we are in the Great White North! I really do love playing in Canada. The people here are invariably friendly and very supportive of our music and it’s always a joy to perform for them. A lot has been going on, but the way we’ve been traveling, I haven’t had a chance to really put it down. So, while I have a few minutes, we’ll start from the beginning.
Our merch guy, many of you know, is Milburn. Great young man, enthusiastic and a truly good person. If Milburn has a weakness, it would be his inability to realize the time frame that we operate under in this organization. This is the world of RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, later, at your earliest convenience, but RIGHT NOW!! Months ago, when this tour was planned, I advised Milburn to get a passport. The law has become stricter concerning travel to and from Canada from the US and now a passport is required (in the past a drivers license and a birth certificate would work.). When I suggested this to Milburn, I immediately forgot about it, assuming that the task was now firmly on his plate and I could move on to other issues. A passport is a rather lengthy and involved process that can take up to a month to go through. In the meantime, back at SHB HQ, work documents are being filed and personnel are being recorded for the trip. Milburn, not understanding ‘right now’, doesn’t get his passport. Weeks go by and I ask him, with only 2 weeks to go until we leave for the tour, if he has his passport. Nope. I won’t bore you with the details of what we went through to get him a passport, but it involved multiple trips to Nashville, visits to very official buildings and finally ended with the hope that his passport would be processed and expedited to us on the road before we had to enter Canada. It kind of went like this; 1. Passport gets to his house and is overnighted to the last US gig that we’re playing at. 2. Wrong address has it sent back to Tennessee. 3. We leave Milburn in Great Falls MT with instructions to get his passport (resent from Tennessee) the next day and catch a bus to catch up with us in Canada. 4. We drive the 5 hours to the first Canadian gig. 5. Milburn gets on bus & drives for 40 hours!! From Great Falls to Butte to Seattle to Vancouver… (Check this route on a map, or go to and check out the route for Great Falls MT to Red Deer AB, it’s insane!). 6. Misses 2 towns and 3 shows, covers over 1600 miles but rejoins us and had a great time and a learning experience. Valuable lesson learned; do what you gotta do RIGHT NOW!!
Shows are going good and we’re seeing a new area of Canada that we haven’t been to before. I’m introducing Richard to some interesting new foods; Greek, Japanese and today Vietnamese! True Texan, he’s game for anything!
Still getting over the shock of Michael Jackson’s death (and Steve McNair's for that matter!!) Now the investigations and allegations start and we are hearing everyday that Michael’s body hasn’t been buried, who will raise his kids?, he was on drugs, he was in terrible shape, he was in great shape, who has his brain?, it just goes on and on. I think that when you die, you should be allowed to die, be given the dignity in death that often your not given in life, be remembered for your good works and the world should just move on. If you don’t buy the argument that as an entertainer you make calculated choices to increase the mystique of your celebrity, (i.e. Wear masks, buy the elephant man’s bones, sleep in an oxygen tank, etc.) then at least grant the argument that as humans, we all screw up and if you’re a rich, international superstar with endless bucks and plenty of people willing to allow you a pass for any and everything you want, your mistakes will be ten-fold, hell, a thousand-fold what the rest of us do. The dirt and negativity serves no purpose. If we learn that Michael Jackson was a raging drug addict, it won’t stop people from abusing drugs, it won’t help in the reform of the pharmaceutical industry, or the general practice of over medicating, it won’t make people more sympathetic to how the world’s criticism can weigh on a performer and make a fragile human being turn to any sort of ‘self medicating’ protective devices. Most importantly, I think, it won’t help his kids. It won’t give them peace of mind or fond memories of their father, it won’t help them make sense of the loss of the only parent they’ve ever known. Same goes for Steve McNair; all of the sordid allegations of infidelity don’t help the family that he’s left behind to cope with their loss. We all do dumb things that we regret, we all make bad choices that come back and bite us, if you’re reading this and you haven’t made a poor choice in the last 24 hours, congratulations, I’d like your autograph!
I guess all this ties into the down side of having this insatiable hunger for the next piece of celebrity dirt. We like to build up our celebrities, tear them down, give them forgiveness and then tear ‘em down again if they make it back up. I’m not saying this from a position of “I know it all” but just working it out as I type it. What makes us like that? Is it some kind of, “well at least I’m not as bad as so and so.” thing? I remember when Elvis died, the first day it was all shock and sadness over his passing and then the drug stories started coming out and the eating stories started coming out and for a long time Elvis was the punch line to a fat, drugged out joke. If you ever go to Graceland, in the trophy room there is a frame with about 20 canceled checks to 20 different charities for $1,000.00 each, from like 1959 or something, anyway a LOT of money, just given away to help people. No framed headline from any newspaper saying, “Look what Elvis did!” just the checks framed long after he passed. You gotta admit though that that story isn’t as interesting as how much bacon he could consume at breakfast. At least now it seems like he’s finally being recognized (or at least debated)more for his contributions to popular music than for how many peanut butter and Demerol sandwiches he could consume in one sitting, but it sure is an interesting phenomenon. If you care, just watch the Michael Jackson story unfold; we’ll hear sordid tales of drugs and assorted mischief, his work will be over-shadowed and pushed to the back and then in 10 years or so when the dust has settled and some other poor soul has blasted off into outer space and become the new sensation, some new artist will do a cover of Thriller or name check Michael as their biggest influence and all of the sudden it will become cool to like Michael Jackson the entertainer again. I’m reminded of the tag line to a show that used to come on the E channel (yes I realize the irony of this sentence!) “Fame, ain’t it a bitch?”.

Friday, June 26, 2009


One thing I never seem to fully learn about this world is the fact that change is going to happen constantly, ready or not. Three icons in as many days and the world keeps turning, but it sure seems a little bit different. I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a kid, until my mom saw it and made me take it down. At the time I really didn’t understand her attitude towards a nice picture of a smiling pretty girl, but upon reflection, that sure was a good poster! Ok maybe I’m not being entirely honest about the poster, I also watched Charlie’s Angels and not because I thought they were really good detectives!
At the same age, my bedtime would coincide with the start of the Tonight Show and many nights I would lay in bed listening to my parents’ television in the living room and not fall asleep until I heard Ed McMahon say, “Heeeerrees Johnny!” Michael Jackson was always there. The Jackson 5 cartoons, the duet video with Paul McCartney, the Beat It video, Thriller, the marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, the Martin Brashears interview that pretty much moved Michael from the realm of music innovator to circus sideshow that his life became. I was never a huge Michael fan. I liked a lot of his songs and admired and respected his talent but I was more of a Prince fan. Buddy and I used to argue about who was better, he liked Michael and I liked Prince, but whenever we saw each others “favorite” perform, we’d just look at each other and say “He is a bad m*****f****r though!”
I know how our culture treats dead celebrities and I dread the onslaught of tasteless jokes that will start to show up. For the record, I’m not interested in hearing them, so if you got some, please keep them to yourself. The down side of having 24 hour news channels is that as they eulogize Michael they’ll run out of immediate family members and close friends and eventually you’ll be seeing interviews with the mailman from Gary IN that used to deliver the mail to the Jackson household back in the early 60’s. Our culture, what I call The Culture of Right Now, makes it difficult or even unnecessary to say goodbye to passing celebrities. They live on through CD and video forever. Hopefully that will be the best and kindest part for Michael Jackson; that his music, dancing and entertaining will outlive the strange final chapter that wrote. Rest in Peace Michael and thanks for sharing your talent and art with us!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't seek the pigman!

So here we are in Idaho (capitol; Boise, entered the Union on July 3, 1890, also known as the Gem State.) Day 8. So far a very good tour. My definition of a good tour is #1; a musically rewarding gig.  After that, no breakdowns, arrests or bodily injury and that we’re not being yelled at for being too loud. That, of course, isn’t Webster’s definition of a good tour. They don’t have one! They define ‘tour’ as an intransitive verb. Boring! Touring is nothing of the kind. It is equal parts traveling circus, school fieldtrip and spiritual vision quest. This might be the double setup & teardown tour. After tearing down early in Eureka Springs a couple of weeks ago and having to set back up! (Our fault), we played in Sheridan WY (plotted as a town by John D. Loucks in 1882 on the back of a sheet of wrapping paper. Named after one of John Loucks' civil war officers, General Sheridan. The town was approved and incorporated in 1884.) last week and it was supposed to be an outside gig. We setup under a beautiful blue sky. By show time, black clouds were on the horizon. We started the show and got maybe 3 songs out before the rain started to hit and we had to tear down and move the whole thing inside, set back up and finish the gig! My guys did it flawlessly. Thanks to the help of the great security staff at My Buddy’s Place in Sheridan! We stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield on Sunday, (a place I’ve always wanted to go) and toured the battlefield. Yes, it’s more than just a big field and a bunch of tombstones. We did comment on the irony of walking the battlefield while on our cell phones, taking pictures with our digital cameras and drinking bottled water. Sometimes you can’t NOT be a tourist no matter how respectful you are. It is an amazing place though and they do a great job of giving you the information of the battle and the layout of the thing without letting it seem to “Disneyesque”…until you get to the gift shop anyway!
 Marshal and I drove from our current secret location to Idaho Falls yesterday and saw the movie The Hangover Great movie that I will see again with Buffy and the MFThroneberrys I’m sure. Came out of the movies and discovered that I had locked the keys in the van and the nearest extra set (in Richard’s pocket) was 75 miles away! Thanks to AAA, we got hooked up quickly though. Although I am still a little concerned that the guy who opened the door didn’t even ask to see my ID! He just popped the lock and split! I gotta get me one of them slimjim things!
 Just finished reading The Secret at my wife’s urging. What a great book and brilliant concept. As an armchair physics fan, (…well I am! Armchair just means I’m fascinated by the concepts and that I’ve read Brian Greene and Stephen Hawking…don’t ask me to explain the single string theory to you though.) I really liked the relation of Quantum Physics to our relationship to the universe as well as the biblical implications. Now I’m reading a great book on the Delta Blues by Ted Gioia. Called…Delta Blues. Very well researched and informative, if not exactly the most clever title. Finally watched the movie Taken this morning and now I am a Liam Neeson fan (I was already actually) but I still needed to forgive him for trying to kill Batman. Now I do!
 I did not pack for Idaho weather! My home state is currently going through a brutal heat wave that was just starting to warm-up when we left to come on tour. Idaho is having no such heat wave and I don’t really like it! I did however pack 5 guitars for this tour. After 6 shows, I played 1 guitar 99% of the time. So maybe I didn’t even pack my guitars correctly!
 Happy belated father’s Day to all you Dads. Mine was a good day but not a good Father’s Day as I was away from home. Worst part of my job. I did get an awesome card from my girl and a great call from my wife and daughter!
Why does the USA Today paper machine say that you can use any combination of coins but it will only work with 4 quarters?
 I’m off now to hug on my guitar and get through the rest of this off day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's for dinner Grandpa?

So recently my wife gave me a great idea (most of my great ideas come from her…and the rest are inspired by her!) to start writing about some of the places we eat at on the road. When you travel, food is one of the most important aspects of your journey, (because without it, you would eventually die.) Okay, gas and guitar strings are also very important, but this blog is about food. Obviously Starbucks is a big part of our rolling diet, but we also tend to seek out BBQ joints, funky local places, Chipotle or Red Robin for lunch. I am a big fan of BBQ and the band will usually indulge me unless we’ve had BBQ four or five days in a row, in which case I can usually smell the mutiny over the smoked sweat smell! When I was with Buddy, BBQ was a ritual, especially in Texas. We did the Iron Works, Stubb’s, County Line or Sam’s in Austin, we did Virgil’s in NYC, as well as a bunch of places that are gone or that I just can’t remember now! That’s where I learned the difference between good BBQ and bad BBQ. My BBQ policy is simple; no chains, no b******t! I do make an occasional exception to the chain rule, but only if the chain is consistent. I eat at Whole Hog in Little Rock AR and Dreamland in Birmingham, but the original Dreamland in Tuscaloosa has let me down a couple of times, so now we go to Archibald’s in Tuscaloosa (the original location). I will not eat at Tony Roma’s, etc. In the past few months we’ve eaten at some crazy good places (and had some crazy great food!) Like Takashi Sushi in Salt Lake City UT, Central BBQ in Memphis TN, Snappy Lunch in Mt Airy NC where we had the pork chop sandwich to end all pork chop sandwiches, or Exxon Gas Station BBQ pork ribs in Jackson MS (thanks KMFP), Blues City Café in Memphis for catfish and tamales, Stage Deli in NYC for the GIANT (and expensive) Rueben, Leatha’s BBQ in Hattiesburg MS. The best resource I’ve found for food on the road is a book called Roadfood by Jane and Michael Stern. This book has yet to let us down. We’ve found killer Mexican food in Denver, Lobster Rolls in Maine, Breakfast in Louisville, Hot Dogs in Portland OR and the list goes on and on.
Today, we are in St Louis and we had to go to Goody Goody Diner I had the BBQ Burger with slaw, fries and a side of chili - $10.00 (diet’s going great, thanks for asking!) This place is the bomb! In business since 1948, they do all the old style diner food you would expect. Burgers, Breakfast stuff, they even do chicken and waffles (don’t knock it until you try it!) Their hours, during the week, are 6:00 am – 2:00 pm. We got there at 1:45 pm and the place was packed! The hostess seated us and she even liked my Chuck Taylors! (How ‘bout that Kempf!) The chili was great, spicy and meaty (oyster crackers and Tabasco on the side!). The burger was exactly what you want from something called the BBQ Slaw Burger, it was a delicious mess (4 napkins!)! They’ve had everyone from Al Gore to Cedric the Entertainer as guests and I can guarantee I’ll be back. Next time I’m getting the fried chicken though, because it looked awesome!
As for Chipotle it’s a burrito restaurant chain from Denver CO. I discovered them a couple of years ago and when Tyler was in the band, we we’re eating there at least 3 or 4 times a week! For one thing, the food is great, fresh and mostly organically raised fresh guacamole, salsa and chips. For another thing, when you’re on a budget (who’s not on a budget these days, but if you are a musician, it’s a given that you are on a BUDGET!), a huge burrito fills you up for the whole day, so you don’t have to spend all your money on food (especially when you’re in Denver and you need to go to Twist and Shout an amazing independent record store!)! We’ve eaten at the original a couple of times on 1600 East Evans (got the t-shirt too!!) Chipotle is always good. My favorite stuff is either the Carnitas Burrito or the Barbacoa Burrito, chips with the guacamole and the hot salsa and then douse the whole thing in Chipotle Tabasco! $10.00 - $12.00 for that and a drink and you’re good to go.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

'Ello 'Enry!

So Memorial Day was a good long weekend with my family. Buff, Olivia and I welcomed a new member to our family, Henry, a great (English?) Lab. He’s fitting in just perfectly. General Sterling Price, our aged and perpetually irritated cat has no comment but it is an uneasy truce!

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to create special glasses to look at the sun.

A snapshot of life on the road finds us all piled up in a single motel room, watching a General George S Patton Jr. marathon on the History Channel. Since I’m currently reading a book about Patton, I am neglecting to tell the guys that we’ve already seen this episode earlier today…I don’t think they really care. For a guy who hates off days, this tour has had more than it’s fair share (7!!) Even Marshal commented today at sound check that it felt weird to actually be playing! At least we do 5 shows in a row starting today and then home! Lunch today at the diner in Tilton was surreal. I bet Buffy $100.00 that she couldn’t guess what I had for lunch and she guessed it immediately (hotdogs). I now owe her $100.00. How could she have known?!!?
Random thoughts from today that lead nowhere; I changed the working title of the new record today, I’m curious to hear how my friend Chris Duarte’s gig at the Tugboat in Steamboat Springs goes considering we got yelled at for 2 days about volume at that same gig and Chris plays pretty loud, I just read a face book entry from a popular guitarist who was complaining about his 18 hour BUS ride and how it just sucks the life out of him, I then read that entry to my band who are no strangers to 20 hour VAN rides (playing a gig first then driving 20 hours and then playing another gig before finding a bed) they thought he was very funny and very sad. I seem to have plenty of clean clothes left in my suitcase, but I wonder if I have enough to finish the tour without doing laundry? It’s a really beautiful day outside and I am thankful for that. I feel sorry for people who are pissed off and negative all the time, I have bouts of that from time to time and when it’s over I’m ashamed and embarrassed to be so blessed and manage to forget it to feel sorry for myself. I doubt if the people that I’m referring to will read that and realize that I’m referring to them! For 3 days we were frequenting an independent coffee shop in Rockland ME. They offered a different organic coffee each day. One day the coffee of the day was called Organic Mexican…I was required to order a large Mexican. The next day, it was Organic Ethiopian… I was required to order a large Ethiopian. I felt very international but very uncomfortable. At least at Starbucks you are ordering a Grande Pike or a Grande Komodo Dragon which sounds very exotic and not quite so “18th century slave trader”! Yes, I could have ordered a small Mexican or a small Ethiopian but I find them less stimulating or satisfying. They also had great cookies. So far on this tour, I’ve read On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Unforgivable Blackness by Geoffrey C. Ward and now I’m reading Gen. Patton by Stanley P. Hirshson. I bought a hard back copy of Alana Nash’s book about Colonel Tom Parker yesterday for $3.00 so that will probably be next. Colonel Parker was never in the military, he wasn’t an American citizen, he WAS supposedly an illegal alien, he enjoyed elephants and he managed the entire career of Elvis Presley which, by the way, was only really 20 years long! That might be an interesting argument for immigration; If Colonel Parker had been deported before guiding Elvis’ career, might we have never had rock and roll?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If you are going to eat corned beef in NYC, you are going to pay...oh yes, you are going to pay!

So it’s no secret that my major musical influence is Jimi Hendrix. He’s my “Big Bang”. My Elvis…actually, Elvis is my Elvis, but you get the idea. So we’re in New York City to play a gig at The Ace of Clubs. What’s that you say? Never heard of it? Don’t feel bad, apparently no one else has either! Anyway, we get through playing the gig and we’re hanging out with Chuck MF Lanza, the MF Mafia’s prime minister of our Northeastern Operations. We decide to go over to Electric Lady Studios to touch the door. Yes I am that “fan boy” about Jimi!) Just in case you don’t know, (and if you do, just bear with me or feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph!)In 1970, Jimi Hendrix wanted to build a night club in NYC as a place to hang out and jam with his musician friends. This turned into deciding to put a small studio in the back of the club and then finally deciding to build the most state of the art studio in the world. 13 months of construction later, the grand opening of the studio was held on August 26, 1970. Hendrix recorded his last studio recording there and left the country fro his final European tour. He died on September 18, 1970. Given his transient lifestyle for most of his career, Electric Lady was as much of a home as he ever had and as such it’s the Hendrix version of Graceland!
We get to the studio, in the pouring rain at midnight. I mean pouring rain! Biblical rain! The front door is actually a false front and then the original door in just inside (the one I wanted to touch!) We open the door and start shooting pictures when a voice comes over the intercom; “Can I help you?” Someone’s inside! Richard answers, “We just want to come in a get a photo.” No dice. “You can take all the pictures you want…from outside.” Once I realize that someone’s home, I decide that the only acceptable end to the evening is a look inside. After 30 futile minutes of begging and cajoling and shameless name dropping (most of it accurate…most of it…) we decide to call it a night and go to the hotel. Those of you that know me well know that giving up isn’t something I’m particularly good at, so my night was spent formulating my strategy for getting in! I asked CMFL to use his contacts (he has many) and I would hit mine and between the two of us we should be able to find some kind of way inside. Yes I realize in the grand scheme of things this seems like a lot of effort for something so …so…ehh! Anyway, it’s a challenge and as I said before, I don’t do ‘give up’ very well. I won’t name drop in this part of the narrative, but CMFL reached out to the likable manager of a very famous guitarist. A person who has spent a lot of time recording in Electric Lady and should be able to pull off a private tour. “Good luck” was the response from this person (who’s identity I cannot reveal!) “You won’t get in.” Now the gauntlet has been dropped! Telling me I can’t do something is like calling Marty McFly a chicken! (You know what movie I’m referring to!). I call a record label owner in Nashville that I’ve worked with in the past (name withheld to treat all participants equally…even though HE was able to come through better than the manager for the famous guitarist, from the 1970’s rock band…I can’t tell!!!) Lo and behold, we get an invitation from the studio manager (super nice guy! From Tennessee!! Lee Foster! His name is on the website, so figure it’ ok to say his name since he was so gracious.) We go back to the studio with CMFL and the SHB in full force and get to see studio A, the wall mural in the hallway and both restrooms, all still in the original condition from when Jimi was here! Because of a recording session, we couldn’t do more than just peek our heads into the studio, but it was enough for me…for now! The original plaque bearing the name of the studio, the VIBE!!! The list of musicians that have recorded in this place is endless. Billy Idol, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, even famous 1970’s rock band KISS, whose original guitarist was ACE FREHLEY! It's an endless list to be sure. I was so awestruck by finally getting the chance to check out a place that I’ve always wanted to see. I just wish Buff had been with me (of course, I know my baby, she would have been looking at me going, “yeah babe, that’s nice.” and thinking, “How much longer are we going to have to be here?”) Now I’ve got to figure out how to record there…hmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Why you always pack long pants.

One week into the North East leg of the tour and things are going good. Except of course that no one here got the memo that winter is over!!! 41 degrees today and rain! We’ve had some really great shows, especially in some of the new areas like Mount Airy NC (birthplace of the Andy Griffith Show & home of Snappy Lunch and the greatest pork chop sandwich in the world!)). I could do without the land of toll booths. In DC, we went (at 11:00pm) to see the White House. My first time ever in 20 years of touring! We walked around the entire perimeter and Milburn got yelled at by the White House police for his “street gymnastics”, apparently not a welcome addition to the stately environs of our nation’s capitol! We also, earlier in the day visited the graveside of Roy Buchanan, one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard (no you can’t find his grave without asking, so don’t bother trying.). Really enjoyed the gig at Bangkok Blues and hope we get invited back! This is a great job to have, I highly recommend it! Our needs are simple; electricity (to power Tim Obrien’s monstrous red beauty of course), room to set up and just stand back! Tonight is Red Bank NJ and it’s Cinco de Mayo so, even though it’s an acoustic show (…shhhhh…), gird your collective loins Jersey! Special thanks to Andy Jones for a stellar new fret job on #1! (I will call you soon to brag Andy, I promise!)
Tour Fuel (so far): Jeff Beck @ Ronnie Scott’s DVD, Motley Crue (Shout at the Devil and Dr. Feelgood), Aerosmith’s first record, Miles Davis’ Tribute To Jack Johnson (the boxer not the surfer), Jane’s Addiction DVD, Frank’s Pizza, Doyle Bramhall II live at the Great Wall Of China, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Krazy Glue, always Jimi, and the ‘bucks of course (yeah caffeine!!!) I am living on Starbuck’s oatmeal and dreams at the moment!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pork, the other white meat

So, sitting at a traffic light today, in my hometown, I notice a gas station that has raised their price of regular unleaded gas to $2.05. On the same sign, they are advertising a sausage and biscuit for $1.99. If you ride a bicycle, the biscuit would probably energize you for a couple of hours and you could get exercise as you make your way. $.06 stands between your choice of a gallon of gas or a nourishing meal.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The sword and the saucer

This tour has been like a screaming rollercoaster! One of those rollercoaster’s that they have in horror movies, with flaming skulls painted on the sides of the cars and barbed wire for seat belts and the operator is an old disfigured man with a maniacal laugh that haunts you in your nightmares for years after you’ve escaped…sorry, I got carried away. I haven’t time to really sit still, much less blog, so I’ve got a lot to tell. We started in Rogers AR about 30 years ago…(or at least 2 weeks ago). Great shows in Rogers, we saw Jeff and Trina and got our traditional post show photo in front of the van (different drummer every time!). Then we drove 19 hours to Salt Lake City UT. As a side note, did you know that the Starbucks in Rock Springs WY closes at 6:00pm!?! Great shows at The Sun & Moon Café, always a pleasure to play there. We visited Steamboat Springs and discovered that sometimes we’re just too loud…sometimes…nah! Paonia CO was another unexpected surprise. Great Mexican food and the gig, while a small turnout, proved to be a real fun experience. So much so that, since we were off the next day, they invited us to play the next night also. We went for a hike in the hills during the day and tried to kill the band with thin air and long climbs! Jake’s Roadhouse in Arvada was the best time we’ve EVER had there. A couple of days hanging out in Boulder CO, and then it was off to The Buckhorn Bar in Laramie WY, another favorite place of the SHB. Cunningham Journal in Kearney NE was a blast, Blues on Grand in Des Moines is always a fantastic place to play, thanks Jeff! Sioux City and Davenport IA were a couple of wonderful stops. On our way to Minneapolis, we stopped of in Clearlake IA and paid our respects at the crash site of Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and Buddy Holly. 40 mile an hour winds and really cold temperature made it a short visit, but we decided to drive by the Surf Ballroom, where the last gig of the Winter Dance Party was played, and get a picture. We got there and discovered that the place was open and we got to go in and look around. Checked out the dressing room, the stage and all the memorabilia. Richard ran into a really nice guy named Wayne that worked there and after explaining who we were, he gave us a great tour that included a piano played by Duke Ellington, the Pepsi machine that Waylon Jennings used and the phone booth that Buddy used on that fateful night to call his wife. An awesome stop and a great treat.
So now we’re in Minneapolis. Last night we went to Shaw’s, Bunker’s and Nick & Eddie. Some of our favorite places to hang and listen to music. So to sum up the trip so far, it’s been play music, Mexican food, drive, play music, Mexican food, drive, play music, breakfast at Starbucks, drive, play music, pizza, drive, sleep, play music, record store, Mexican food, play music, drive. Seems easy when you say it like that…

Friday, March 20, 2009

American Idol cancels season!

So far the tour’s going good, we’ve done 5 shows so far and the first one, in Rogers AR, seems like a million years ago. That’s one thing about the road; time just absolutely stops making any kind of sense. One day feels like a year and a week can seem like 20 minutes. We did a radio show a little while ago. Check it out at I’m in a really nice room right now, with internet for only the second time on the whole trip and I’m looking at a fake mustache. It was here when we got here, but it’s disturbing nonetheless.
What’s the deal with fake mustaches anyway? Does anyone ever really wear them with the intention of trying to make you think that they’ve actually grown a mustache? I think most actors these days actually grow whatever facial hair is required for the role. I bet that was really Kurt Russell’s mustache in Tombstone. I was in a major motion picture once and I didn’t wear a fake mustache. Of course, my character was; “Scott Holt, guitarist with Buddy Guy” and in my research for the role, I learned that “Scott Holt” didn’t have a mustache; just an unfortunate shaggy haircut that I thought looked fine at the time. I don’t know for sure, but this particular fake mustache doesn’t look real. Of course it’s not in its natural habitat (on some guy’s lip…or unfortunate woman’s lip for that matter); it’s just lying on the table. Mocking me with its faux importance. As if to say, “I am a fake mustache! I might have come here from Hollywood for all you know!” What if the last person who stayed in this room was a spy of some sort and the mustache was part of their disguise? Maybe this was the room for their stakeout and when the mission was over, they forgot to pack the fake mustache away in its special spy carrying case. Usually when you see someone in a movie using a fake mustache, they have a case with all sorts of fake facial hair pieces. I think a good disguise would be to completely cover your whole head in fake hair. Then no matter who you came in contact with, they wouldn’t be able to tell it was you! Like cousin It on The Addams Family. I once saw a guy wearing a Darth Vader helmet and it was impossible to tell who it was. No, before you ask yourself out loud, that wasn’t all he was wearing, he had clothes on but he was wearing the Darth Vader helmet…on his head. It could have been anybody! Jerry Lewis, Elvis, Barbara Stanwick, the guy that plays Benjamin Linus on Lost, Pat Sajak or Nipsey Russell, (I’m not sure if Nipsey Russell is still alive or not, but he was always great on game shows with Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly). Match Game, Cross Wits, What’s My Line. I’m not to sure that The Darth Vader helmet would be a good disguise though, unless you were at a Star Wars convention. The only one in my band that doesn’t have facial hair is Marshal. I think I’m going to ask him to try on the fake mustache and see if I can still recognize him. I bet I can.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Feral pigs create buzz at awards show!

Almost 20 years ago, I formed the first version of the SHB. It was right around the time I got with Buddy Guy and I had my band on the side to play shows in and around Nashville when I was off the road with Buddy. That first band; Derek and Drew Wiseman and Chris Kent were augmented by our dear friend Bobby Inman. In the early days, Bobby was the guitar tech, comic foil and all around SHB utility man. Bobby went on the road with me in the early days of my solo career, after I left Buddy and created the role of SHB guitar tech basically from scratch. When Bobby decided to leave the road for good, I asked him to write out a summary of all the things he thought our new guitar tech might need to know. I just thought he’d write down a few ideas to help with the transition. What I got back was 3 legal sheets, front and back! I’ve since lost that precious document, but recently my Uncle Wayne was going through some old files and found a typed copy of Bobby’s original list. Some of you know Bobby and will appreciate this more than those of you that haven’t had the chance to meet him yet. He is truly one of a kind and we’ve had some great crew guys since Bobby, but there’s never been anyone like Bobby. Bobby doesn’t have a computer, so if you know him, let him know “Scotty” (the only people who call me that are Bobby and our friends in Canada!) put a tribute to him on the blog! Here’s what Bobby did for me, unedited;
Load In
1. Help take all gear to stage. Once all gear is in club consontrate on guitar stuff only.
2. Setup amps left side of stage, behind Gene O. Bassman, Marshall on right close to Tom, Super Reverb on left, on outside. Plexiglass shield in front of both.
3. Small silver splitter box, 3-3ft cables, thick shielded cable from bassman speaker to marshall cab. 1 from bassman 2nd channel 1st input to split box. 1 from 2nd channel 1st input superreverb to split box.
4. Pedal board, when power cord is plugged in, pedalboard is on, take other cable plug into input on split box.
5. Straighten out cables on board – (1-25ft – 1 – 150ft.) before each show & during breaks. Check all wires & pedals.
6. Incense in front of plexi, keep burning whole show.
7. Picks on mic stand.
8. Turn amps on standby 1 hour before showtime to let warmup.
9. Check all setting on amps & pb, before show turn on amps hookup gtr check all pedals 1 at a time.
10. Make sure band has towels on stage and water.
11. For SCOTTY only water little ice.
12. For SCOTTY, before show redwine cabernet, during show water, during break Heinekin.
13. Make friends with soundman, bartender, barmaids, ask them for things you may need towels-water etc!!
14. Keep plenty of picks in pocket at all times, also Carefree peppermint gum (yellow pack) & van –trailer keys, & cig lighter for incense.
15. During show keep constant eye on SCOTTY, other band members may need help sometimes.
16. Watch for broke strings, mostly breaks (high E or 10) does break others though.
17. Try to get old broke strings off stage, can cause bad mess, around cables etc.
18. BE ready for (long cable) hookup, the song at the time or the next 1 or 2 he is going into the crowd, keep cable from getting knotted, follow Scotty through the crowd, don’t mind asking people to move or get off the cable, just ask nicely.
19. After show break down gear pack up, load out. Make plenty of dummy checks, better safe than sorrow.
20. Check to see if mic is grounded, plug in gtr cut on amps back of right hand across gtr strings, back of left hand touch mic, to see if it shocks.
21. Before show make sure plenty of walk room on stage, no tangled cords in path way, no old beer bottles, no glasses, no trash in way on stage.
22. NO bottles, glasses, or drinks on GTR AMPS!!!!
23. BEST place for GTR TECH WORK STATION is on same side of stage as the amps, usually the side SCOTTY enters from, plus you can listen to the amps if something is wrong, and everything is there together.
24. ON stage 1 mic only, vocals tad of reverb, in monitors.

No wonder Bobby decided he didn’t want to go on the road anymore!! Since Bobby, we’ve had 17 guitar tech/crew guys! I wonder why the turnover’s so high?.....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Max 03/02/09

So some of you know, we lost Max today. He passed away during the night and we buried him today. Thank you all for the prayers, phone calls, emails, texts, words of encouragement and just the “letting us know you’re there”. It’s important. Do it every time you know someone who loses someone, even if it’s ‘just a pet’, even if they act like they don’t want it. It’s important. Our friends have lifted us up today. Our family has been there. It sucks to lose a pet. It just does. Before you confuse me with the “I raised my monkey like a child” people, I know the difference. I’ve lost people. It hurts your soul. Pets are like kids in that they require your care. They can’t make it without it. My dog would look you in the eye, which if you know anything about dogs, you know that’s unusual. It wasn’t a dominance thing, it was a communication thing. A trust thing. He wanted to understand me and for me to understand him. When he wanted water or to go outside, he’d put his head in my lap and just look at me. Max was a house dog. I let him out the day he got hit. I’ll never forgive myself for being the one that didn’t go out with him and watch him. I could have prevented this. Our cat is an old man. We’ve had him for 20 years. He hated Max from day one. He hated Jake before him. He’s acted weird all day. He’s one of those people that only feels comfortable showing you nothing but loathing but inside he’s missing Max like the rest of us. That’s not a “monkey like a child” philosophy and if you think it is FU. My wife thinks I cuss too much, but I digress. The thing is, my dog deserved better than to die in a hit and run. He deserved better because he was better. The most supreme compliment I can pay him is that he was a GOOD DOG. He was hard headed like a muthaf***er, but he was a good dog. My daughter would ride him like a horse and he wouldn’t complain. She would put hats on him and he’d accept it. She used him as a pillow and he loved her for it. He never relaxed in the house until he could account for all of us. He would lay in a room between all of us if we were in separate rooms so he could be near us all. His last full day on earth was spent playing in the snow until he was exhausted. When we finally brought him inside to rest, he howled to be out with the kids. That’s the picture on my MySpace and my blog, a dog having a ball. Living life in the right now. I’ve lost plenty of loved ones, my dad, all my grandparents, 2 of my best friends, the list is unfortunately endless. I haven’t cried for Max today because I’m the daddy and the husband. My job is to be the strong one and get my family through this. I’ll cry tonight and I wish Max was here asleep by the couch, farting, because that’s what he did. That dog was the gassiest dog I’ve ever known! I love you Max and I’m sorry I let you down.

Monday, March 02, 2009


So our dog Max got hit by a car today. I’m not sure if it was a car or a truck because the thoughtless, soulless person, and I say this because Max weighs 100+ pounds and is the size of a small pony so I’m sure there was significant damage to the vehicle (I hope that your car was totaled and you have no insurance!), didn’t even stop. No skid marks to show an attempt to try and dodge the LARGE YELLOW dog, no stopping and asking at the nearest house (there are 5 houses within 200 yards of ours) whose LARGE YELLOW dog it might be, nothing. Max laid in a neighbor’s yard until my father –in-law found him and called me. Max is at the vet with a broken pelvis, a hernia, and head trauma. In addition, he has either a bruised (we hope) or a severed spinal cord. Tonight he’s sedated and we’re hopeful that the next 48 hours will bring a miracle. We’ve had Max for less than a year but he’s an important part of our family. Every morning I wake up and my daughter’s on the couch watching TV with Max at her feet. When I come home, Max is in my daughter’s room lying on her window seat watching the driveway. In the last year we’ve lost Jake, our dog of 15 years, and Teak, Buffy’s horse of 20 something years. My wife and my daughter who’s nine are committed animal lovers. It’s hard to comfort my wife, who’s trying to deal with Max’s pain and potential loss, it’s hard to try and comfort while I feel responsible for Max’s pain, and I’m the one who let him out today to go to the bathroom. It’s hard to explain all of this to a nine year old who’s had to deal with more loss than a grown person should (no it’s not just the two pets). It’s hard, I’m sure, for non-pet lovers to understand. We’re not raising monkeys as children; we just love our dog and pray that he’s going to be ok. Thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts, they are more important than you’ll ever know.

If you'll suck my soul, I'll lick your funky emotions

So Saturday night, we’re driving back from Gulf Port Mississippi. The temp there is 65 degrees. Buff keeps telling me that there are winter storm warnings for our area (about 7 hours north) and a 30 degree difference in temperature. We get to Tuscaloosa AL and there’s no precipitation or anything, just really cold. Tuscaloosa is about 3 ½ hours from home so I figure we have this ride just about licked. Marshal takes over driving and I’m in the front seat riding shotgun. I fall asleep around 2:00 am and wake up at about 4:00. When I open my eyes, I see what looks like low hanging limbs coming over the side of the road and it looks like we’re drifting into them! My mind, which is still pretty groggy, thinks that Marshal’s fallen asleep and we’re about to wreck. I don’t even turn to check if this is the case, I just grab his shoulder and start yelling, “AAAHHHHHHH!!!” Marshal, who is NOT asleep, starts yelling back “AAHHHH! Shut Up! Shut Up! Shut Up!” For a good 5 or 10 seconds, we’re both yelling at the same time “AAAHHHHH!”
What I didn’t realize in my groggy condition was that it had been snowing HARD for about the last 2 hours and the road was invisible. The snow was coming down so hard that if you looked straight out the windshield you’d become disoriented from the golf ball sized snowflakes coming directly at you. Marshal had been driving in this crap for 2 hours with a death grip on the steering wheel with everyone in the van asleep. Then out of nowhere, I wake up, grab his arm and start yelling “AAAAHHHHHHH!” While it wasn’t funny at the time, I’m cracking up right now as I type this! It was like a scene from Planes, Trains & Automobiles or something.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Men Can't Cry Out Loud!

Remember Gilligan’s Island? What a great show! That show was an intrinsic part of my childhood. I even first heard about the death of Elvis when they scrolled the news across the bottom of the screen during an episode. I watched it every day after school. My favorite episodes were;
1. The one where they did a musical version of Hamlet for the Hollywood producer, Harold H. Hecuba.
2. The one where the hunter comes to the island to hunt Gilligan.
3. The one with the rock group the Mosquitoes
4. The one with the Russian Cosmonauts
5. The one where Thurston and Lovey find out they’re broke (it wasn’t true; it was really Thurston Powell who was broke!)
As a kid, I never wondered why they couldn’t get off the island. I never wondered why the professor could make anything except a raft. Or how their clothes always looked clean and fresh, (Gilligan had a white hat, for crying out loud!). Or in a related point, how Thurston and Lovey and Ginger had plenty of extra clothes for a 3 hour tour. Or how Mary Ann was making all of those perfect pie crusts for Gilligan. When you think about it, the castaways make people on shows like Survivor look like chumps. They can’t even make fire, and the castaways had an entire village of really nice huts with hammocks and doors and everything!
After school we had; Gilligan’s Island, The Jefferson’s, Welcome Back Kotter, the Munster’s, Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle, Leave It To Beaver, Good Times & the Brady Bunch (and on Sunday morning, we had The Three Stooges before church!). I can remember getting home from school at 3:00 and turning on the TV (which by the way was the size of a microwave!) No remote! 4 channels! 2, 4, 5 & 8. 8 was the PBS channel so if that was on you were watching Sesame Street, the Electric Company and Zoom. No VCR’s or DVD players, no cable, no movie channels. With no remote, you pretty much left it on one channel and watched everything including the commercials (that’s how you found out about the Evel Knievel stunt bike action figure!). These days I don’t think I watch anything without my finger on the DVR’s fast-forward button! I just did a quick search and found that I can watch episodes of pretty much any show I want right now! My wife and I laugh about how you had to wait all year as a kid to see A Charlie Brown Christmas. Now my daughter can watch it in July if she wants to.
That was the good old days! I wonder what shows my daughter will remember, probably Hannah Montana. Oh well. At least she’s hip to Andy Griffith!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Possums and the Stimulus Package

Sometimes I get asked about what it’s like to live in Nashville, here’s a snapshot of an average day; Buff and I are running errands on Sunday. We stop at Best Buy to pick up a new hard drive and as I’m stopped in the parking lot, waiting on a car to back out of an extremely good spot (near the door, first row, you know the kind of spot you find and it just makes you want to stay all day!), a SUV is crowding behind me, trying to pass me on the INSIDE! In other words, between me and the space I’m waiting to turn into. I look in the rearview and it’s an older guy. I give him the ‘look’ and speak to him like you do when you’re driving, as though he can hear me, and I tell Buff, “That old guy’s trying to run over us! He looks like George Jones.” We get parked, get out and start to make our way to the front door. The SUV is now almost on the sidewalk right in front of the store!! (better spot than I got) Buff looks at the driver and says, “It is George Jones!” tag on the car was NOSHOW4!! If you have to get run over, it might as well be by a legend I always say. Just another day in Nashville.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Jonas Brothers Rock The Grammys!!

Surfing the “inter-web”, here’s my take on some current events; Prince’s new website is gonna be awesome! The Grammys never cease to amaze me with their ability to put the Blues in the “back of the bus” so to speak. I realize they had to fill some time after Chris Brown and Rihanna dropped out, but to have 2 icons like BB King and Buddy Guy there and give them a 30 second spot at the end of the obituary segment just seemed like crumbs! At least they had Al Green do his thing. Speaking of Chris Brown, he really screwed up! It’s never okay to hit a woman. Ever. Michael Phelps is more stupid than criminal, risking millions in endorsements, if he’s gonna smoke, do it at home. Or move to Amsterdam! Joaquin Phoenix…what the hell is going on? Check out this link;

Kenny Chesney tells Playboy Magazine that he is definitely NOT gay…riiiight. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but being Kenny Chesney is unforgivable. Brett Favre retires! I saw this movie when Bill Murray made it. Listening to Pandora while I write this and I think Elmore James should’ve been able to trademark that lick. You know the one I mean. Some things just say everything that needs to be said.
Not to get too specific, but racist jokes aren’t funny even when everyone in the room seems to be the same race. Ignorance is ignorance, just ‘cause everybody seems to be agreeing with you it doesn’t make you less ignorant.
My coolest discovery from my trip to Memphis last weekend was that the most amazing time to walk around Beale Street is 7:30 am on Sunday morning. Just me and the street cleaners. Guitars never lie!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Springsteen attacks camera with crotch at Super Bowl!

This weekend we played a great gig at Darwin’s in Marietta GA. The highlight for me was seeing my friend and former band mate, Drew Wiseman. I’ve been thinking a lot about that band lately; Chris Kent, Derek Wiseman & Drew Wiseman. Along with Bobby Inman, they were my first real version of the SHB and truly a musical force of nature. Chris is still playing. Having played with Take 6 and Larry Carlton, he’s currently on the road with Lorrie Morgan. I think he and Derek occasionally play gigs together in and around Nashville. Drew moved from Nashville, where we were all based, to Marietta and it’s just a shame that we didn’t get to let more people hear how great they were. I was truly the weakest musician in that band and I’ve always preferred that, because that’s how you learn, grow and elevate. I just had to keep up! If you check out the tracks I’ve posted on MySpace, you’ll get a small idea of what we were up to in those days. That particular show (August 16, 1998 at 3rd & Lindsley Bar & Grill) was a record release party for my first record, “Messing With The Kid” and was being broadcast live on the radio. With a limited amount of time to play, we were playing the songs pretty straight. If, however, you were ever at one of our Nashville gigs, you know that the songs were just launching pads for some incredible jams. Sets could stretch to 4 hours! It was an incredible ride to be on. These weren’t rehearsed gigs, I was touring with Buddy Guy and the rest of the guys were gigging or doing day gigs and the only time we really even saw each other was maybe 30 minutes before the gig. A rehearsal might go something like this;
Me: “hey Derek, have you ever heard that Stevie Wonder song I Wish?”
Derek: “Sure”
And then we’d hit the stage and open with it. Everything was head cues and nods and those guys were such amazing talents that they smiled all the time and everything seemed effortless. I’ve been blessed to know and play with some incredible musicians in my career, but it’s only after time passes that I’ve realized how incredibly blessed I was to have those guys for my first band. This year marks my 20th year in the business, you’d think that kind of anniversary might merit some sort of special gig or something huh?...stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama legalizes Facebook!

I like Kat Williams. I miss Bernie Mac. I despise negativity. I think that most of us focus too much on stuff. I think that the Great Depression was much worse than what we’ll ever go through. I think that music is powerful and underappreciated as an art form by the American culture at large. Stratocasters will always be the sexiest guitars in the world. One of my favorite sayings from my grandmother; “Can’t never could do nothing!” I hate quitters. I hate racism and I feel sorry for people who suffer from the rampant ignorance that fosters it. I love God. I love America. I love my family. I love music. I love my friends. I think dogs are important. I think we worry too much about getting “screwed” and it blocks us from being true bearers of light. I think Ricky Nelson is underrated. There is no “greatest guitarist in the world” …but Jimi Hendrix is!!! I think it’s ok to say “I love you” to people that you love. I think it’s important to be still. I think Michael Jackson is musically brilliant. In addition, I think that sometimes crazy and talent goes hand in hand. Our generation still hasn’t figured out how rock and roll is supposed to age. Robert Johnson would be freaked out by his success. Additionally, his lawyers would be filthy rich!! John Grisham could well prove to be our generation’s Ernest Hemingway. Cormac McCarthy should be our Hemingway. I wish rehab as we know it now, had existed during Elvis’ lifetime. My top five favorite concerts ever:
1. Elvis Presley at MTSU’s Murphy Center / Murfreesboro TN
2. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells at The London Victory Club / Tampa FL
3. Prince at Thompson Bowling Arena / Knoxville TN
4. P-Funk at 328 Performance Hall / Nashville TN
5. Miles Davis at The North Sea Jazz Festival / The Hague, Holland

My favorite guitar is sunburst. My second favorite is white. I love to feel. My wife is the sexiest woman in the world. If I could spend an hour talking to anyone, living or dead, I think it would be John Wayne. If I could arm wrestle anyone, it would be Eddie Van Halen. I’d like to play miniature golf with Jimi Hendrix. My top five events to witness if I had a time machine:
1. The Sermon on the Mount
2. The recording of That’s Alright Mama
3. A play written and directed by William Shakespeare
4. The opening night of Don Giovanni conducted by Mozart
5. Ringside for Ali – Foreman in Kinshasa
If there is a better film, top to bottom, than True Grit, I’ve never seen it! My wife is a brilliant artist, even if she doesn’t know it yet. God has blessed me with amazing friends in spite of myself! I’d rather be respected than liked. Most of my dreams are in some way related to my work. All of my dreams are in colour. I believe that the body we have is just a vessel to hold the light/soul that is actually us and that when we die we’re released from the body and able to travel on the eternal plane. I hope the last thing I do on this earth is significant. I also hope that it happens in Vegas!!!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old timey tales

You know how sometimes you remember something from you past and you wonder if it was really as good as you remember or if you’re sugar coating it in some way? A friend of mine gave us a recording of the original SHB (Derek Wiseman, Drew Wiseman and Chris Kent) and you know what? It was better than I remember. Stay tuned…

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Death from Above!

Just something for us to ponder while the glow of a new administration takes charge. There are still horrifying events taking place in the world daily. As a case in point, I reprint this excerpt from a newspaper in Hudson County NJ;

Flaming squirrel ignites car in Bayonne
by N. Clark Judd
Thursday October 18, 2007, 7:29 PM
It's Rocky the Frying Squirrel!
A kamikaze squirrel fell from the sky and detonated a Bayonne woman's car yesterday, police said today.
Lindsey Millar, 23, and her brother, Tony, 22, were both home Wednesday at about 12:45 p.m. when Lindsey's car suddenly started burning outside their 42nd Street home.
Tony Millar said firefighters told them it was the work of a buck-toothed saboteur that had been gnawing on overhead power lines connected to a transformer directly above the 2006 Toyota Camry.
"The squirrel chewed through the wire, was set on fire, fell down directly to where the car was," Tony Millar said. "The squirrel, on fire, slid into the engine compartment and blew up the car."They're always coming around here, chewing through the garbage," he added.
Tony Millar says his sister was fully insured.

Mr. President, I ask you, when will America’s skies be free from the tyranny of these dreaded flaming beasts of prey? At least she was fully insured!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Dawn...

What a weekend! On Thursday, we got to open for Buddy Guy at Legends (first time I have ever done that). My band played great. Full of fire and just pounding out that always wicked groove. We had some of our fans/friends in the audience flying the SHB colors and even calling out some of our songs! The standing ovation at the end was an amazing gift to me and the guys. The only drag part was that everyone was so excited that they forgot to mention the merch we had for sale! We’ve got new hats by the way, guaranteed to fit your head. After our set I got to introduce the man himself. I tried to channel my inner Steve Harvey from the Kings of Comedy film. Two of my MF brothers Keith and Kempf came up with us and we spent the weekend in Chicago hanging out and watching Buddy’s shows. What a treat to get to see a legend, on his home turf, just tearing it up every night. Buddy was kind enough to let me jam on Friday and Saturday night and just getting to hang out in the dressing room with him before the shows and hang out at the bar afterwards was worth the trip. As always, everyone at Legends and everybody in the Buddy Guy band and crew was just completely awesome with their kindness and hospitality. During the day, Keith, Kempf and I hit Jazz Record Mart, Chess studios and did our best to eat way too much; Heaven on Seven, Frontera Grill, Carmine’s, Hugo’s Frog Bar, House of Blues and Giordano’s for pizza before we caught the flight home.
Like every trip I ever make, the best part was seeing Buffy on the porch and hugging her and my daughter. I’m never home until that happens.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The best way to sharpen your Samurai sword!

The holidays are over now and the time has come to get back into the saddle! 2008 was a great year for us here at the SHB; we played more shows this year than ever before thanks to the hard work and supreme effort of Road Dawg Touring and Doug Tackett. This year we set some kind of record by going through 3 drummers in 18 months! Our friend and SHB family member, Tom Larson, left us in September of last year. He was followed by the very capable drumming of our friend and fellow SHB family member Tyler Crowell. When a medical situation forced him to step down, we were lucky enough to reach out to our old friend Marshal Weaver who has been holding it down for us ever since. We are so grateful to all of our fans and friends who have continued to support us and allow us to do what we love to do. I’m grateful that even with all of the great outpouring of offers from drummers all over the world who wanted to audition for the gig, we have alumni who are willing to comeback and plug back in!
So what’s coming in ’09? Everything will change and everything will stay the same! We are working on a new studio record tentatively titled “Sex and Violets”, a live “bootleg” (tentatively titled “Loud Is Good Vol.1”) that will be available at shows and eventually via download, and a DVD project that we’ve been working on for the better part of the last two years. We are focusing this year on a newer, better show for the fans and a more focused approach to doing what we do to try and inspire a sense of peace and harmony through music. The world is in a state of change that we are all a part of. Our choice as citizens of the world is whether we’ll be ‘pro-active’ or‘re-active’. Either way, it’s coming!
On the live tip, we start the year opening for my old boss Buddy Guy in Chicago on Jan.15 at Legends. If you haven’t made plans to attend, I hope you can make it out to see us. It will be something! I’m looking forward to the gig and can’t wait for the bell to ring so we can get started on 2009. We’ll be covering most of the US this year, doing some long awaited East Coast dates, and making it back out to the West Coast before the year is through. On behalf of Richard, Marshal, Milburn and myself, we look forward to seeing you all soon!