TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19th, 2006  12:12pm

  well, after many hours on the phone with the geek squad, it has been determined that my hard drive is terminally ill and has little time left on this earth. my computer is over five years old so i think it's time to get a whole new one. i often think about converting over to a mac, but that would be a huge project and expense, with all the programs i use. i know you can run windows on a mac now but i'm just not into the idea. i don't really do that much music stuff on my computer so i just need a good fast pc for my office. i think the only reason i'd make the switch is so all my mac friends won't roll the eyes at me when i tell them i use a pc.
i know those of you reading this on a mac are rolling your eyes right now, aren't you?

MONDAY, DECEMBER 11th, 2006  8:57pm

  so for our NYC gig, joel turned me on to bassist, charles flores. he toured europe with joel in steve kahn's band and also plays with michel camilo, so he sounds like he'll be burning. now joel has calls out to randy brecker, bill evans, and lew soloff for a horn player. poor joel, i don't think he knew that being my east coast drummer meant he had to put my whole band together. i really appreciate his help. i went through my list of guys and noone was available.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6th, 2006  4:28am

  okay, first off, i just noticed when i went to put in this blog entry that i said in the last entry that it was "NOVEMBER 39th". did anyone tell me? no.
  so anyways, i scored a gig in new york right before the international association for jazz education conference in january, thanks to my NYC drummer, joel rosenblatt. joel played with me at the 55 bar last year. he sometimes plays at the cafe soleil over on 2nd avenue so he hooked me up with a gig. thanks, joel! now, it's off to find the rest of the band.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29th, 2006  7:46pm

  so this week i've been diving into the vast vortex of myspace. i've been meaning to take advantage of its uber-networking potential for quite some time now. it is truly an amazing thing and i am thoroughly enjoying it.
  however, i now need to hire someone to practice my guitar for me, for i have no time left. i'm not going to stop until i have over a million friends.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st, 2006  12:12am

  speaking of john mclaughlin, i just went through his instructional DVD, this is how i do it and it is quite a trip. now, i didn't actually get all of it down, of course. i just went through the whole thing to check it out and now i'm going back and digging in a little more. it's full of great stuff. however, i couldn't imagine someone without at least a two year degree in music following john's explanations of some of the heavier theory concepts. it's pretty intense. but overall, it's way cool. this guy at styluspick.com, rich acocella, made PDF's & MIDI files of all the solos & licks, which is very helpful to use and not try and read it off the DVD. i found him after i sent an email to john's website and got an answer from his wife, ina, which was way cool. if you're interested, you can purchase the DVD from my good friends at abstractlogix.com

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2006  11:46pm

  so the other night i went to see darek oles & larry koonse play at the jazz bakery up in LA. they were having their CD release party/performance in honor of their new album, storybook, which also features percussionist, munyungo jackson. darek played upright bass on my record and is absolutely phenomenal and larry i met back when i was in college and he was still in high school. he was great back then and now he, too, is phenomenal.
  when i first saw larry play back in 1979 i was going to mt. san antonio college in walnut, california, and i was in the jazz improv class when the instructor, ashly alexander, brought in the eagle rock high school jazz band rhythm section to play. they totally blew us college students away, which was kind of a drag. i immediately went up to larry and asked who he was studying with. he gave me the name of his teacher, jimmy wyble. i had seen jimmy featured in guitar player magazine before then in 1977 and he was a prominent guitarist on the jazz scene in the '40's & 50's.. he then became famous for contrapuntal improvisation, meaning he essentially soloed by improvising two or more lines at once. he played nylon string guitar so he kind of sounded like a classical player with a very modern jazz style. he had published this book of etudes that were real butt-kickers to play. i still perform them to this day when i do solo shows. a newer book of his works (published by mel bay books) was done by david oakes a few years ago. it contains a CD of david performing all the pieces. well, i took quite a few lessons form jimmy and he gave me lots of deep stuff which, of course, i now wished i had really worked on way back then.
  anyways, back to the jazz bakery last monday- i show up in between shows so everyone is hanging around the coffee bar & whatnot and i immediately run into this gentlemen, art ?, who was at my show last saturday and who i then saw a few nights later at the jazz bakery when i went to see evans stone's group play (aren't i good at supporting my peers and their gigs?). as i'm standing their with art, he introduces me to his friend, who i didn't really even look at, and jimmy wyble is standing there! now, i haven't seen jimmy since maybe the early eighties. what a trip. it makes sense that he was there to see larry, his onetime student. but it was quite the pleasant surprise for me. jimmy's now 85 and he's just as sweet as could be. he remembered me and when i gave him a CD, he was extremely gracious. he even called me the next day to say how much he enjoyed it. that's always cool to get to show your teacher what you've done with your career. as a matter of fact, once during one of my lessons this other student came in and gave jimmy his band's new album. i only later realized it was steve lukather and it was toto's first record.
  so jimmy told me that he has started to play guitar again lately since his wife recently passed (you know, george van eps played locally well into his nineties).

ps- now, on that day i met larry, it really bummed me out to have this kid play so much better than i. but when i learned that his father is the great jazz guitarist, david koones, not to mention his mom is a jazz singer, i felt better. that would be somewhat of an advantage i would think.
now why couldn't my dad be john mclaughlin?

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2006  11:44pm

  geezus! what the hell happened?! six weeks since my last blog entry. wow. well, there wasn't a whole hell of a lot of stuff to report, to be honest with you. i've just been laying kinda low and doing lots of sheddin', some writing, and tending to various odds & ends.
let's see...what are some of the highlights of the last few weeks?...
i almost got my niece a record deal with disney records. madison ortiz is 14 and quite the drummer as well as singer and she happens to look great so she was just what they were looking for for this kid band version of the go-go's. the original members were going to write for the kid's CD and record with them and it was also going to probably end up involving some TV stuff as well. disney contacted me through a music teaching website i use to get students sometimes and they were looking for 11 to 15 year old players. however, they weren't into flying kids from out of town to audition so they passed. oh well, that was her first shot so she started off at the top. her parents are now inspired to get her out there and see if she has what it takes. but man, i would've been the coolest uncle in the world if i helped her get a record deal with disney records out of the blue like that (and yes, i asked the A & R guy if they had a jazz division while i had him on the phone).
  last saturday, sandra & i flew out to pensacola to visit some in-laws and when we took off on our connecting flight out of orlando we blew two tires on the right rear of this very small jet. it was pretty intense. we had to circle for an hour to burn up fuel and then assume the braced emergency position when we landed. there were all the fire trucks and emergency crews on the tarmac. we landed without incident so there will be no spike in my CD sales this month.
  i've got a very cool show coming up with eric marienthal, larry steen and bill berg. i had joel taylor playing but he got nabbed by al dimeola, the bastard. and that happened because my midwest/montreal drummer, ernie adams, quit al's band after 9 years so now al's been using other guys. so who does he get to play with him in europe during my only show i've had in a few months? joel taylor. it's a small world. so i decided to fly bill out from north carolina because he knows my tunes real well and he has a home still out here in so cal. he's one of my favorite people/drummers so it's worth it.
let's see...what else?...
  oh, i finally listened to guitarist wolfgang muthspiel. i'd heard of him from pat metheny in an article a long, long time ago and just never came across any of his stuff. i found three of his records on emusic.com and it's is very bitchin'. he's got a solo CD and a couple of discs with marc johnson & brian blade. his playing is very much what i aspire to.
so, there. you're all caught up.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th, 2006  11:11pm

  so the weirdest thing happened tonite. sandra & i went to mother's market, which is this cool neighborhood health food market with a little restaurant in the back. and i run into, of all people, eric johnson!
  while we were sitting at the table i see this guy place a to-go order and hang out by the counter and i tell my wife, " man, that guy looks exactly like eric johnson". now, i've been out before & seen people i thought i'd recognized only to go up to them and have it not be who i thought it was. but i had just met eric a couple of months ago at his show with joe satriani (see blog entry may 4th) and it was driving me crazy as i caught myself staring at this guy at the counter. so i finally went up to him because i figure at least he needs to know he looks exactly like one of the biggest guitar heroes of this generation. as soon as i ask him "excuse me, are you eric?" i realize it is him and he recognizes me at the same time. what a trip! you just don't expect to see someone like him at your neighborhood health food store. i mean, i know he lives in austin so i didn't really think he'd be just hangin' out here in orange county. but it was him and one cool thing was that the first thing he said was that he really liked my CD that i had given him. so as far as i was concerned, the encounter was off to a great start. he then actually came and joined sandra and i at our table and hung out for about 20 minutes. he was in town because he just did this play in san diego that was some kind of history of guitar production. it sounded like it would be a cool show where they present all this guitar music from, like, the 1700's to present. eric said it had a ton of great players participating- doc watson, doyle dykes, and peter sprague, to name a few. so eric said he has friends in newport beach and he really likes the area so he stays here whenever the opportunity arises. he's such a cool guy- very friendly.
  anyways, that was my brush with celebrity for this week. and for those of you who have been following my tales of late of home improvement and reorganizing, yes, i took the opportunity to ask if he wanted any old issues of the guitar magazines that i'm still trying to figure out what to do with. he politely declined and said he already has the older stuff and that he doesn't even read any articles that he does anymore. besides, if i gave him every issue he's mentioned in, he'd end up with a few hundred of them, at least.

and of course, after it was all over, sandra had no idea who eric johnson was.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5th, 2006  5:47pm

  one good thing about all this house cleaning i'm still doing is that i've been listening to the International Association for Jazz Education tapes that i got last january (eight months ago! so i'm a little behind). every year i go to that conference i get the audio tapes that this cool guy named zack, from onsiterecording.net, makes. he records all the clinics and panels that go on during the week. it's really a huge help because i have to roam around and do the requisite uber-shmoozing so i don't get to see most of those things. at the end of that week i'll visit zack's booth and purchase all the tapes/CD's that i deem interesting. it's usually a nice blend of music educational and music business topics, some of which are taught by some stellar names in jazz.
  anyways, as i've been doing the housework, i've been popping these tapes in and, as usual, there' been some very cool stuff. two of them were especially happening- ronan guiloyle & thom mason. their treatment of the subjects of rhythm & ear training, respectively, have prompted me to go online and buy their books...

creative rhythmic concepts for jazz improvisation- ronan guilfoyle
the art of hearing- thom mason

  so far, i've gotten quite a bit out of them and i'm just getting started. these two areas of study have been on the forefront of my woodshedding efforts of late. i like books that cover a subject at the fundamental level and the advanced level. you know, something for everyone regardless of ability. i still have various holes in my musicianship for which i look for ways to shore up. so i'm getting a lot out of these treatments.
  and, a bonus- in the back of ronan's book he mentioned some recordings that feature some of the concepts (like metric modulation) that he discussed, which led me to checking out miles davis's live in tokyo & live in berlin. man! these CD's are awesome.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 31st, 2006  3:49am 

  "wax on, wax off"... 

  okay- i've had it with the cleaning my house thing now. i've had to strip & polish my floor twice now due to unforeseen dilemmas. and i rented a big-ass machine to sand the concrete floor in the storage room below. i also tried to use it to strip my office floor. let's just say that my attempt to work with that thing was not unlike calf roping at the rodeo. plus, it didn't even work like it was suppose to and i ended up doing all the scrubbing/sanding by hand. i wish i had video of it all- i would put it up on my site here. i thought i would have my whole office back together last week so i could get back to work. i'm really frustrated.
  but then i watch all the shows that have been on about the katrina anniversary and there are a whole lot of people who are dealing with far worse stories than mine. it is easy to realize how blessed i am to have a roof over my head, or that i didn't lose everything i own. i am truly grateful. anyways, it will be nice to have everything up & running again. i've had a big hankerin' to do more writing and get things ready for the next CD.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23rd, 2006  1:43am

  man! on top of cleaning out the down below storage room, i've decided i must refinish my office tile floor. it really, really needs it but i know it's going to be a project. i have to move most of my furniture and gear out and then strip and polish it. i would normally hire someone to come in and do it but i've got really nice furniture in here so i don't trust floor guys to be all that careful.
  needless to say, with all this house stuff, i'm not getting in the most practice time right now. so i've decided to just work on only one thing when i have a few spare moments to play guitar- the fourth movement of bach's violin sonata #1. when i hung out with adam rogers earlier this year, he suggested that i check these sonatas out because they're really great fingering workouts for guitar, let alone how beautiful they sound! mike stern is always touting these pieces as well. i started this presto a few months ago but i've really only worked on it here & there. it's been really great to just focus on one thing whenever i sit down to play, ala kenny werner's effortless mastery book. i've got the thing memorized now, which always really helps.
  now, if only i could get my fingers to work after scrubbing the damn floor.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15th, 2006  2:36am

  well, corey found out that even a "valuable" issue of guitar player magazine, like the one with the first article ever about eddie van halen, would go for only about $20. drag. i guess i was hoping that some guy in, like, japan, would give me $50,000 for all of them (kidding). i did, however, contact robben ford and he wants the copies that he's in. i've got the second issue he ever appeared in, OCTOBER 1976, as well as the first guitar world he appeared in. so now i'm thinking i should call steve vai, who i met last month at GRAMMY camp, and see if he wants any. he first showed up in 1980 in the issue with frank zappa on the cover. i figure either he has them all already, or he doesn't and wished he had saved them, or he just doesn't give a shit.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 10th, 2006  10:54pm

  so this week i've been cleaning out the storage room down below. i wouldn't say i'm a pack-rat necessarily, but i do have a lot of stuff...all my old hot wheels, my old magic stuff, flight pants from the '80's, vinyl records, tax records and about 30 years worth of guitar magazines. it's going to be hard, but i have to part with those. sandra and i want to turn the room into a art room and i just don't have space for all these issues of guitar player, guitar world, guitar one, guitar school and others. i've got my friend and ebay-whiz, corey witt, researching if there's any value to some of the ones that are from way back, like 1975. i don't want to throw out something valuable. however, i don't think it's going to be quite like in the movie, 40 year old virgin, where he sells all his old toys for a half a million dollars. who knows...i might be sitting on the financing for my next album.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 5th, 2006   11:11pm

  so last night i went to see robben ford at the coach house in san juan capistrano with my long-time buddy, bassist doug koeppen. it was a cool show and i hung out with the band afterwards- greg mathieson on keyboards, gary novak (who played drums on 'cable' on my album), and bassist, andrew ford (no relation to robben), who i did some reed gratz shows with earlier this year. melvin davis, bassist extraordinaire, was also hangin' out. we were amusing ourselves with steve lukather stories, mostly focusing on luke's penchant for seeing just how filthy and out there he can take it when he talks over the mic.
  the night before i did a show at farmer's market in los angeles. jimmy haslip & joel taylor played and it was supposed to be eric marienthal on sax but there was a mix up with the flights for the next yellowjackets' show out in miami. eric is subbing for bob mintzer this month so he and jimmy had to take a red-eye right after my gig. eric assumed he was on the same flight as jimmy but i guess management didn't know he that was on my gig so they booked him to fly out that afternoon. by the time we realized all of this, it was too late to change the flight without it costing a gadjillion dollars. bummer! but it all worked out 'cause my good friend from the don miller big band, jeff driskill, came in a sight-read the book, which is not something that i could do, that's for sure. jeff & eric play together in gordin goodwin's big phat big band. jeff did an excellent job and it was a great show with a really good turn out of very enthusiastic jazz fans, some of whom come out every thursday night for this cool summer concert series.

MONDAY, JULY 31st, 2006   7:34pm

  last night was the big concert for the end of GRAMMY camp. the kids did an amazing job as they performed all original compositions that they all wrote during the last two weeks. it was an absolute blast getting to work with such talent (as well as being humbling at times). some of these kids are already on the verge of getting signed to record deals. this one student, zack wiesinger, has already hooked up with steve vai, whom he met at least year's camp, and is going to live above steve's studio and work for him. another student, edwin carranza, is writing songs with mariah carey who he met at a studio he works at in miami.
geez, kids today! when i was there age i was still trying to figure out what i was going to be when i grew up. wait a second....
no, don't say it.

currently listening to: janek gwizdala- mystery to me 2005
my buddy, berklee student john sosin, turned me on to this. it has tim miller on it and he's amazing. we did a show together in boston last year.

SUNDAY, JULY 23RD, 2006  3:52PM

  so GRAMMY camp week has been absolutely awesome! it is such a blast to work with these very talented kids (high-schoolers from around the country) and it's been very inspiring for us instructors. we start at 8:30am and go to 11:00 at night and then the students go back to their dorms and play even more. there's been some cool artists coming in to do clinics like steve vai, john beasely, dave koz, jeff lorber and ricky minor, the music director for american idol. i'm also digging that the whole thing takes place at citrus college, my alma mater, in glendora, california. the music department there has been completely rebuilt since when i graduated from there in 1980. it has a huge recording facility now that is often used to record orchestras for film scores. we've got one more week where we'll be recording the student's original tunes and then rehearsing for the big concert on the final night.
  last night sandra & i went to the big GRAMMY foundation dinner/concert at david foster's house up in the hills of malibu (well, now ex-house, if you've been following that story after his reality show). it was quite the party and was completely jammed with celebrities. okay, get ready for some excessive name-dropping...
LA mayor antonio villariagosa, who was being honored with the GRAMMY foundation leadership award, oprah winfrey, donald trump, kenny "babyface" edmond, josh grogan, dave koz, dionne warwick, george lopez, dick van dyke, billy gibbons, selma hayak, quincy jones, and tons more. and so with all these people, who was i the most excited to go meet? dean parks, who was playing guitar in foster's house band. i told him what a guitar hero he was to all of us and he seemed like it was news to him. if you don't think you know who he is, just google his name and check out the thousands of recordings he's played on for the last 30 something years, the most prominent of which, in my mind, would be steely dan.
  anyways, it was a very nice evening of music and hanging and i am enjoying getting to know the GRAMMY foundation a little better because i am becoming more & more interested in being involved with an organization that does so much good for music education.

SATURDAY, JULY 15th, 2006  2:24am|

  so it's off to GRAMMY camp for me tomorrow. two weeks of molding young minds and attempting to teach these teenagers how to play, write & record all styles of music. i did it last year but just for a couple of days. this time i'm in it for the whole thing. it'll be interesting for sure. half the kids are amazingly talented. the other half...er...will have their minds molded by us instructors. we tell them things like, "when you're playing at a wedding, make sure you get in the buffet line without the event coordinator seeing you." no, not really. it's a very intensive couple of weeks for everyone and it culminates in a huge concert as well as a bunch recording sessions. i'm thrilled because steve vai is coming on one of the days and i've always wanted to hang out with him. there's lots of other cool guest artists..you can check out my calendar page for the obligatory name-dropping.

TUESDAY, JULY 11th, 2006  3:17am

  man, what an excellent trip last week was! we totally kicked ass at the montreal jazz festival (if i do say so myself, which i normally don't). ernie adams & dave hiltebrand played with me and they were awesome. and those guys are an absolute blast to hang out with. we did two shows outside on one of the festival stages and then the next night we played at a special tribute concert for robert godin, founder of godin guitars, who was presented with a special award from the SIMMM show that coincided with the festival. earlier that week i did my first two clinics for godin. it was cool because robert did them with me so he talked for the first hour and then i played with my TV tracks and did some solo pieces. they went very well and i look forward to doing more clinics for them around the world from here on out. dave & i stayed an extra couple of days and we checked out the very cool city of montreal. (geez, i've got to get set up so i can post pictures myself on the gallery page...or figure out how to put them right here with the blogs. it's on my list of things to do, i promise!) anyways, it was all good and i sold a ton of CD's and i made nice with the people from the festival so i should be back next year. other than that, there were no really good road stories. which is fine with me. really good road stories usually involve something that went terribly wrong.

FRIDAY, JUNE 30th, 2006  11:47pm

  man, i am totally ready for this canada tour next week! i've been getting everything together this week. it's going to be full of firsts for me, as far as doing my own thing as a solo artist, that is. i've got a couple of clinics for godin guitars that i'll be doing with the company's founder, robert godin. he's also taking me on a tour of a few of their factories. then i play the montreal jazz festival and then the next night is a special tribute concert for robert that i was invited to perform at (robert is like the leo fender of canada- a real cool guy who's created quite a legacy). i am then staying for a couple of days to check out the city and the festival and whatever adventures come up.
  i had to really shed on my solo guitar chops as well as other things to perform for these clinics. i'll be playing along with my "TV tracks" as they call them- it's my record without my guitar parts on it. kinda like a jamey aebersold play-along record. you know, "music minus me". i've also got some cool loops programmed in my new jam man looper phrase sampler (catchy title) as well as i've worked out conjuring up live loops (don't know what looping is? visit www.loopersdelight.com). for the two nights of concerts, i'm flying in dave hiltebrand & ernie adams, both whom had played with me when i toured chicago last year. but for these clinics, i have no one to hide behind. it should be interesting, for sure.    
  and, as usual, i'll do my best to blog from the road and post the inevitable interesting stories that come up when one is on tour.

SATURDAY, JUNE 24th, 2006  11:11pm

  not much to report abut this week in the music biz so here's what i've been reading lately,,,

free play by stephen nachmanovitch
blink by malcom gladwell
the art of allowing by esther & jerry hicks

  now. remember, that with people's blogs, you don't have to really give a shit and quite often you, as do i, read one for, like 20 minutes, and suddenly realize, "what the hell am i doing reading this guy's blog? like i care what he's is reading right now."
so go do something more productive. or...send me an email and tell me what you're reading right now. i care.

SUNDAY, JUNE 18th, 2006  3:43am

  last friday i drove out to temecula, here in southern california, to see my good buddy & drummer, trent fancher. he tours with comedian extraordinaire, wayne brady. that is, he plays with wayne's live show, not the TV show, 'the wayne brady show', which is no longer. trent & i met four years ago when we played together in this very excellent rock band, day after rain, that is also no longer, unfortunately, due to PLSS (psycho lead singer syndrome). anyways, they were playing out at the pachenga casino, one of the many fine native american gambling establishments in SOCAL. a couple of summers ago i did a few quick tours with wayne's band when his regular guitarist couldn't do it. it's a great and weird gig. if you've seen 'who's line is it anyways', the improv comedy show that wayne is still on, then that's what his live show is about- a bunch of improv games with audience participation. people call out types of movies or music or situations and wayne does improv skits based on the suggestions. the band has to be ready to play anything at a moment's notice.
so it was good to see wayne and the gang. we hung out after the show and munched & played pool in one of the casino restaurants that they closed off for us (the privileges of celebritydom- his, not mine).

TUESDAY, JUNE 13th, 2006   3:45am

  so i read 'the da vinci code' on my trip (see below) and it was excellent. a "page turner" for sure. and then we went to go see the movie last night and it was really awful. now, watching a great mystery story when you already know how it's going to turn out definitely takes a lot out of the experience. however, i just don't think ron howard and the screenwriters did a good job of translating the book to film. they changed a couple of the coolest parts. oh well.
  not since 'jaws' have i read a book and then immediately went to see the movie of it. i loved that movie. that was back when i was going to become a marine biologist (i hadn't gotten my first guitar yet). come to think of it, i believe i cried at the end when they blew the shark up.

THURSDAY, JUNE 8th, 2006   11:11pm

  so i just got back from an excellent trip to sedona, arizona. we did lots of great hiking, 4-wheeling and fishing. i caught a 16 inch german brown trout my first night there (i'm strictly 'catch & release' so please, no PETA protests on my front lawn). we hung out at plenty of vortexes too, so i'm good and centered for getting back to work. although it's not really work though, is it?
  well, now i can tell you about my gig i scored for next month- i'll be playing at the montreal jazz festival. for some odd reason, they forbade me to do any promotion or put the date on my website until they did their press release a couple of days ago. i'm sure they have their reasons, it's just that now it's less than a month away and that's cutting it a little close for people to make plans to go. anyways, it'll be an awesome week as i am also doing a special tribute concert for robert godin of godin guitars as well as doing some godin clinics in st. hubert & st. hyacinthe. plus, they'll be taking me on a tour of a few of their factories. i'm going to hang a few extra days and check out the rest of the festival and montreal.

FRIDAY, JUNE 2nd, 2006  5:26am

  man, i'm tired (note blog entry time). i had a complete and total "office day". no guitar for me today. strictly business- phone & computer. it feels good to be productive though.
i just wanted to say how cool last night's show at steamers was. ric fierabracci was excellent. he's a total mofo and a really nice guy. it was his first time playing my stuff too. he's just gotten back from a european tour with bill evan's band. and bill berg was his usual bad self, of course. also a way nice guy. it makes it extra fun to play with a band of guys that are a cool hang as well as amazing musicians.

THURSDAY, MAY 25th, 2006  3:18am

  so an interesting thing happened this week. i was asked by jazz improv magazine to do a review of a mesa boogie guitar amp. it shouldn't be too difficult...because that's the amp i play! funny how things work out like that. i enjoy writing so it'll be cool.

TUESDAY, MAY 23rd, 2006  3:49am

so i managed to have a nice birthday despite not caring.

it's been a while since my last movie review...
the new world
  i don't particularly care for colin farrell's acting  (especially after 'alexander') but this movie turned out to be very compelling. it also moved veeerrryy slowly. however, once i realized it was such a "director's" kind of film i really got into it. it was also very much an "editor's" film. i don't even know who did it and i don't feel like going to find out right now but i love that kind of approach. the imagery was very exquisite and eloquent. i totally dug the ending the way the music climaxed and then there was silence with that shot up into the tree and the sound of that leaf falling (that wasn't a "spoil", was it?). i highly recommend this film. just make sure you don't need a nap when you watch it.

SATURDAY, MAY 20th, 2006  11:57pm

  tomorrow's my birthday and i don't care.

SATURDAY, MAY 13th, 2006  1:07am

  i'm getting pretty excited about how my summer is shaping up for gigs & stuff. i've been kinda laying low these days and shedding & writing and letting my new relationship with godin guitars get under way. they have some cool plans for me this year. i'll be going to montreal in july to tour their factory and do some clinics there and maybe in quebec. i'll also be playing at a special tribute concert for company president & founder, robert godin, himself, that will be held during the big MMMIS convention, which appears to be the french-canadian equivalent of the NAMM show.
  i have a really exciting gig but i'm not allowed to talk about it until they release the line-up in a couple of weeks. now, this strategy of not letting artists promote the performance until just a few weeks before the event is not something i've read about in any of my how-to-promote-your-show music business books, but it's their deal so i will conform. let's just say it's during the same week as MMMIS. i will be flying in my very awesome band i used in chicago, dave hiltebrand & ernie adams, for both nights.
  then, when i get back from all that, i will be once again involved with the GRAMMY camp summer program here in southern california. but i will be there almost the whole stretch this time. it's a fantastic experience working with these amazingly talented high-school kids from all around the USA. the learning definitely goes both ways.

MONDAY, MAY 8th, 2006  2:37pm

  so the other day my buddy & once-student-of-mine-now-amazing-berklee-student-who-i-want-to-take-lessons-from, john sosin, called me and said that he was hanging with a friend at school who said he had to go and work on a chart for his sightreading drumming class and the tune was 'cable', off of my album. turns out his teacher is terri lyne carrington, who recently become a regular instructor there. how cool is that? terri played with me last summer and i had her keep the book so she appears to be using it for her sightreading class. i know that i, myself, wouldn't want to have to sight read that chart, that's for sure. most of my tunes are pretty tricky, especially that one. i didn't mean them to be, i just come up with them and then go to write them out and that's when i go 'oh, this is in 5/4" or it has a ten bar phrase or something tweaky like that. eric marienthal once asked me at a gig if i had had a bad experience as a child or something. of all people to say something like that- he plays in chick corea's electric band, for Christ's sake, and that stuff is a bunch of math problems (albeit, pretty bitchin' math problems). anyways, i feel for the guys that i throw my charts at for these gigs where we don't even get a rehearsal. if i had to learn my stuff like that, i'd have to shed it for weeks. come to think of it, that's what i did have to do after i wrote it.
did i say shed it for weeks? i meant months.
actually....i'm still working on it.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4th, 2006  1:40am

  so my favorite way to go to a concert is last minute and that's exactly what happened today when my new buddy, cox communications producer eric winters, called me up around 4pm with an extra ticket to go see eric johnson & joe satriani at the grove theater in anaheim. It's a great venue- that's where eric (winters) taped my performance at the orange county music awards last month. i saw eric (johnson) & satch play about ten years ago on one of the first G3 tours (that one had vivian cambell as the"3").the cool thing tonite was that we had back stage passes so i got to hang with eric johnson after his set. and what did we talk about?...gear, of course! eric is famous for his passion for vintage guitars, amps & stomp boxes ( i didn't say obsession, now did i?  guitarists  are  typically  "passionate"  about  their equipment....okay, we're absolutely obsessed). he seemed interested when i told him about my new rig and he was especially interested when i told him about my glissentar (11 string nylon string fretless). he actually asked me for a CD so he could check it out. (alright, so i had a CD on me that i was going to give him no matter what. you know the drill). he's a very nice guy and very laid back & friendly. after that i went back in to catch joe's set. he was awesome! he played for over two hours and jeff campitelli, his drummer was kickin'. it felt good to go see a nice and loud rock show for a change. it was a whole lot of shreddin' for one night. i'm pretty sure i heard all the notes.

FRIDAY, APRIL 28th, 2006  10:40pm

  well things are starting to pop with the godin guitars company. i'll be traveling to montreal to perform at a special concert presentation for robert godin, the company's founder, that will take place at the montreal jazz festival in july. they're also talking about sending me to malaysia to do some clinics in kuala lumpur and to play in the penang jazz festival (in KL). this is totally awesome! it is very challenging for an independent artist like myself to break into the festivals so this is working out great.

TUESDAY, APRIL 25th, 2006  3:37am

  so i finally ordered a line 6 variax guitar and have had it for a few days now. i gotta say, it's very cool. i've been an endorsee of theirs for a while now and i've always loved their products. i was a little skeptical of this product in that i thought that the guitar models might be a little lacking. as it turns out, most of them are very happening. for those of you that don't know what a variax guitar is, you can check out line 6's website for a description. it's basically a modeling technology-based guitar that replicates the sound of many different electric & acoustic guitars .i also got the software they make called workbench which allows you to edit the guitar models on your computer with the USB connection. you can change bodies, pickups, electronics and. most coolest, the tunings. it's a great guitar for working stuff out and exploring and shedding. i probably will not use it so much live since i'll soon be out there in the world as an official godin guitar artist clinician. but i'll bet i'll bring it to a local gig and use it to trip people out on a song or two, 'cause it has a bad ass coral electric sitar model!

  oh man!, trippy....as i'm writing this i'm listening to this CD that violinist christian howes gave me when i met him at the last NAMM show and this song is playing and there's a coral electric sitar playing on it. and i'll bet that it's a variax and not an actual coral sitar because they're hard to find and the variax isn't.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20th, 2006  4:59am

  so in my last entry i stated that i saw rod piazza, of the LA dodgers fame (but now with the san diego padres), at the empire ballroom in las vegas. i have since been corrected that it's mike piazza. i am by no means a sports fan of any kind so that's my excuse. as far as where "rod" came from- rod piazza & the mighty flyers are an excellent blues band from the southern california blues circuit. they've been around since the 80's, when we all used to play the same bars in orange county. i guess my brain interchanged the two names. i just read an article on how the brain has as many neurons as there are galaxies in the universe so apparently "rod" & "mike" were both in the solar system of "piazza". my friend, michael olivieri, whom i went to vegas with, said he saw the mistake right after i posted my blog that week but forgot to tell me about it. thanks mike. i wouldn't have even recognized him (piazza) at the club to begin with if it weren't for michael pointing him out to me. michael was almost a major league ball player himself so he was more interested than i.
  if for any reason rod googled his name this month, he would've seen what i wrote below and most likely been very confused, although it wouldn't be the first time someone was in las vegas and had no recollection of it.

MONDAY, APRIL3rd, 2006   11:11pm

  so last friday i went last minute to vegas with my good friend michael olivieri. he was the singer in leatherwolf, a prominent heavy metal band from the era of big hair.He's a very talented singer/guitarist/keyboardist/ composer and he needed to go out there to catch a show at the new empire ballroom, las vegas' new premiere rock club. this guy micheal might be doing a project with, ron keel, from the big hair/metal band, keel, was opening for Y & T (they used to be called yesterday & today), another bh/m band that was fairly big back in the day. all these kinds of bands still do shows and have a following.
  so we jet out there and check into the tropicana (yuck- and we almost stayed at the bellagio) and grabbed some dinner and headed to the show. it was pretty cool- Y & T i was not so familiar with, although i'd heard of them from back in my rocker days. turns out the lead singer/lead guitarist was pretty happening on both accounts. the venue was also very slick and the crowd definitely provided some quality people watching. along with the primary demographic of the now 40 to 50 year old headbangers (which can be very not pretty- people that old that wear that much leather tend to remind me of the mummy exhibit at the LA natural history museum), there were also what appeared to be an amazingly diverse cross section of every kind of person on the planet- dressed up normal people, weird vegas people, celebrities (rod piazza of the LA dodgers), kids, grandparents and a huge assortment of all sizes & shapes. it was like the noah's ark of audiences. anyways, michael & i hung the whole evening. he was having fun being recognized & signing autographs and i was tripping out just being at a real rock show. it's been a while. we went and gambled a little at the monte carlo,went back to the room, took a three hour nap, and headed home.
  the best by far was that i called my brother, michael, who now lives in the vegas area and had him meet us at the show. he has been through the ringer in the last few years so he needed to get out and see something like this. he's use to play drums and be a sound man and he is the huge rock fan. it was fun to watch him enjoy himself so much. he told me he set up his drum set at home the very next day. maybe if he gets good again, we'll start a band together.
we could call it Von Doran.
you know, eddie & alex...matthew & michael

maybe not.

TUESDAY, MARCH 28th, 2006  3:23pm

  i'm still waiting to hear back from godin guitars about doing the clinics for them so i'm kind of on hold for booking anything for my band for this summer. i'm taking the time to woodshed, to write and to catch up on promotional activities for my CD. i feel like i still really haven't scratched the surface of all that is out there, internet-wise, to take advantage of in marketing my music...things like podcasts,
playlists, myspace, discussion groups and the like. even though the record's now almost two years old, i can still go after this stuff. because the way i see it, until everyone on the planet has bought my CD, i'm not done marketing it.

MONDAY, MARCH 20th, 2006  1:17am

  i've been getting some quality playing time in here at home...very satisfying...shedding & writing. i'm working on some of the material that was suggested to me by jonathon kreisberg & adam rogers when i hung out with them in NYC back in january.
i love exploring chord voicings and i stumbled upon this one...

1st string- Bb
2nd string- D
3rd string- Eb
4th string- F
5th string- Eb

  it's an Ebmaj9 #11, however, if you leave the root out (which i would narmally do in most cases), it could be used for a number of chords qualities, as well as be open to some more friendlier fingerings. i just like this shape.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15th, 2006 2:39am

  well i found out this week that i've been nominated for the orange county music awards again. i get to perform at the awards show in april since i won last year. i can only hope the event is as amusing as it was last time (see blog entry APRIL 8th, 2005). the show tends to be a parody of itself but fun is had by all.

- now listening to, on real rhapsody: donald fagen, 'morph the cat'
   not SD, but an incredible simulation.

THURSDAY, MARCH 9th, 2006  1:28am

  man, i'm in the middle of the busiest week i've had since i've been focusing on my solo career, meaning that i've not been doing much side-man work for the last couple of years and this week i've got four gigs with these other bands plus two studio sessions. this was how it always was back in those days. i took every gig tha came up & every student that called, as any working musician does. this is fun for right now but i've got to say i don't miss it all that much. i need all my time to focus on my own stuff, which includes writing for the next record.
  the show in san diego went well. everyone played great. andy suzuki was burning and the filming and taping went smooth as well. i hope to have a clip of one of the tunes up on the website soon.

THURSDAY, MARCH 2nd, 2006  5:01pm

  so my trip to seattle was quite excellent. all my shows went well and i had a great time with my family- my dad & step mom live on whidbey island and my sister, terri, lives in madison park. plus, my sister, kathy, flew down from anchorage, alaska, because she hasn't seen me in, like, eight years and she hasn't seen my play in even longer. it was way cool because terri was essentially my personal assistant for the week. what a luxury! she did a great job. it was nice to have help because when i tour, i'm in charge of everything so it gets a little hectic at times.
  i did this cool clinic for godin guitars at a kennelly keys music store that was set up way last minute. we had a good turnout and the night went well. it must have gotten back to godin pretty quick because yesterday mario biferali, godin's artist rep, offered me a job as a touring clinician for the company. it was something he & i have been talking about for quite a while since i'm performing with all godin guitars now, but we never seemed to get going with it. this will really help me out because now i can set up venue shows around whatever schedule they send me out on. i'm really stoked. they need someone out there spreading the word about their totally bitchin' electric guitars. they have a couple of guys doing acoustic clinics, but no one's doing the electric thing and my tunes shows off the montreal model pretty good since i use both the electric pickups and the piezo acoustic pickups.
  i got some major bummer news right before i got on my flight to come home. eric marienthal isn't going to make it back from russia in time for the dizzy's show (that i'm having recorded & filmed!!) in san diego. big drag! but that's how it goes in this biz. when you book the ringers, you're at the mercy of their schedules. i managed to not freak out about it and i trusted the universe to provide and it did. the most amazing andy suzuki will now be playing and he is every bit as burning as mr. marienthal.
  onward & upward.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18th, 2006   4:19am

  geez, i don't mean to make a career out of these new york stories, but i've been extra busy getting ready for this seattle tour (that i'm leaving for in...ten minutes!)
  okay, so here's a quick one about my gig at moto in brooklyn. now, moto is where most of these pictures on this website your looking at were taken. i thought it would be cool to go back and play there a couple years later. this is the coolest vibe for a bar i've ever seen and john mccormick, the owner, gave me a monday night, which was perfect for right after my sunday at the 55 bar. unfortunately, i'd forgotten not only how small the place was, but that they don't have bands with drummers. when i was there doing the photo shoot after hours, a klezmer band had played that night- i'd forgotten they had no drums. so to make a long story short (is that possible with me?), we barely fit in the end of the room. and the people coming and going through the front door had to walk right between my drummer, joel rosenblatt, and myself and bassist, conrad korsch. and every time they did, they would kick the bottom of conrad's music stand and it would fall over. and i mean every time. but the best part was when the bartender came over and told us we were too loud. it appears we woke up the guy who lives above the bar. now, i didn't know anyone lived above the bar. but check this out- moto is on a street with a train track right above it, so this guy lives in an apartment with his window right next to the train tracks. and, he was on the third floor. we tried to feel bad but we really thinking how cool was it that we woke up a guy three floors up who normally sleeps through a train whizzing by his bedroom window every 15 minutes?
oh shit! i gotta go catch my flight. tales from seattle to follow.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6th, 2006  1:22am

more NYC adventure...
  after my set at the 55 bar, which went great by the way, i went to check out a jam session i read about in the village voice. it was at this cool club, the fat cat, and it started at, like,1:30am! now why don't we have anything like that here in orange county? anyways, as i'm asking this guy at the front desk in this weird basement club where the jam session is at, i'm looking at this funky flyer about this guy, omer avital, who's picture makes him look like a 70's drug dealer, and i'm thinking, "funky 70's funk band" but as i read who's in the band it's got guys like mark turner & avishai cohen! then, this funky guy, who turns out to be the owner, yells at me, "hey- come in here. they're recording a live record." it turns out that omer & his band are playing that night instead of the jam session. so i go through this door into this long weird room with all kinds of couches and lounge chairs in it. the place is packed and i find a place to sit and then proceed to hear the greatest jazz i've ever heard. what a band. you gotta check this guy out. basically, i managed to, two nights in a row, stumble onto the coolest, hippest NYC jazz i could imagine, which gave me the impression that any club you go to in new york, it totally kills with local hot musicians.
  so then, after omer's band finished, kurt rosenweinkel walks in. turns out he's at the village vangard all week, for IAJE. he seems to know every one there, of course. i wait for my moment and go up and introduce myself (refer to blog entry MARCH 18, 2005 for the story about how i blew my last opportunity to talk to kurt). he lives in switzerland now so the fact that i see him twice in less than a year is a trip, i guess. we chat for a bit and i give him a CD and he invites me to his vangard show, which i did end up going to and he & his band sounded the best i've ever heard them.
but wait there's more...

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31st, 2006  3:04am

  so, back to the NYC stories...
  one of the coolest things i got to do back there was get to hang out with two of my favorite guitarist, jonathon kreisberg & adam rogers. the lessons were very enlightening and inspiring. i almost scored a lesson with ben monder, whom i got to see play at the jazz standard, but i was already cutting into IAJE shmooze time with my hanging out with those other guys. i actually went out to jonathon's place in brooklyn twice, as well as see him play with his trio at la lanterna.
  speaking of trios, drummer ari hoenig was in jonathon's group as well as three other amazing trios i caught that week. when i got in to NYC the day before my 55 bar gig, i check into this very cool west village apartment i scored and proceeded to catch up on sleep. then, after a few hours of shedding and warming up, i took a break and walked over to smalls in the village to say a quick "hi" to ari, who was playing with his trio that included pianist jean michel pilc and i forget the bassist. drummer mark ferber, whom i had asked to do my shows with me and couldn't, recommended ari to me. i called ari but he couldn't do the dates either. anyways,i thought it'd be cool to introduce myself in person and maybe catch a tune or two before i got back to my pad and shedded some more. the doorman at smalls said it was $20 bucks, which was fine, but i explained to him i only wanted to say hi to ari & stay for a tune. he was cool with that. the trio was just going back up from break so i went up to the stage and gave ari a CD & told him i was sorry i couldn't stay because i had to get back to work.
  so when they started up to play, about 40 seconds into it, i turned to the doorman and handed him the twenty bucks. it was so unbelievably incredible and i immediately knew that watching these guys play would be way better for me than sitting in my apartment running guitar exercises. i cannot tell you how great was the music they performed. and so began my week in new york. because after this, i saw the most amazing bands every night...

to be continued.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29th, 2006  1:33am

  well NAMM week was every bit as intense and exciting as IAJE. but i so ran myself into the ground that now i'm lying her sick & bed ridden. i never get sick but i think my body overruled my workaholic tendencies.
  my two shows at the marriott went great. bill berg was his usual awesome self and larry steen nailed it too. on the second night, dave hiltebrand played bass. he played with me in chicago last month, along with ernie adams on drums. dave was in town for NAMM to play at the bag end speakers booth and to just hang out. ernie was also in town to play with al  dimeola. ernie's played with al for about 12 years now. dave & i went to see al & his band play at the big paul reed smith guitar party/concert at the grove theater. what a completely weird hang. there was paul's band doing some good rock stuff (he can really play, as well as make those awesome guitars) and austin blues guitarist, johnny hiland. then there was this heavy metal goth band, complete with string section, that performed songs from the movie van helsing. dee snyder from twisted sister was the lead singer. but wait- it gets weirder. michael bolton shows up with his girlfriend, actress what's-her-name from desperate housewives (never seen it) and he get's up there with paul's band and does a blues number. then he straps on a PRS guitar and does a kick-ass blues/rock song, i forget what it was, but he totally tore it up on guitar! i mean, who knew?! other than hogging all the solos (apparently because he was pissed they pulled him on stage an hour later than scheduled) he was pretty impressive. dave & i were hanging backstage with all these people and, needless to say, it was all rather surreal.
  i did the usual NAMM drill of running around all four days of the show and seeing tons of people, gear and what not. i made some nice connections for getting over to europe to play- one was scott henderson, whom i've never met even though we went to GIT (the guitar institute of technology) together way back in '80. he's going to hook me up with his booking agent. and there was this danish guy from owit music europe who apparently caught my show wednesday night & left his card for me with the CD girl.
  my buddy, gary bruno, once with korg/marshall/vox, is now the main rep for d'angelico guitars. i was hanging at his booth when george benson showed up. he played a little and drew a big crowd. saturday night i ended up hanging with dimeola and the band again at the ovation guitars 40th anniversary party. that was cool because before al's set, kaki king played a few tunes (she plays an ovation adamas guitar). i've mentioned her in the blog before. she's the coolest. check her out at www.kakiking.com
  on a rather bizarre subplot (with way too much back-story), my wife, sandra, has known the ernie ball family and employees for 20 years and dan norton, EB's marketing guy is still a client of hers. he gets way into designing the EB NAMM booth every year with a theme of some kind. they go way over the top with it and have won 'best booth design', like, six years in a row. well, this year, the theme was the movie 'caddy shack'. all the employees dressed up as all the characters from the movie and they had a putting green in the booth, complete with gophers. dan had told sandra that they even were going to get bill murray to show up. well, on saturday at the show, i run into my long-time bud, louise motoyer. he and i went to GIT together and i run into him every year at the show. as a matter of fact, that's the only time i ever see him. he's been terence trent d'arby's guitarist for years, as well as having many other high-profile sideman gigs. so, after talking and catching up for a while he tells me he's now rooming with this drummer/actor friend of his up in hollywood. he tells me that this guy, steve columby was in a few movies, one of them being 'caddyshack". he played the caddie tony d'annunzio. DING!  i bring him down to the ernie ball booth and introduce him to dan and they set up an appearance for steve for the next day. i figured it would be a good call since you know that bill murray never showed up. okay, that story was a little long, but that's just one of the many trippy NAMM show experiences that i had last week.
  geez, i haven't even written about my NYC trip yet. i'll do some of those later. i don't feel so great right now. man, i never get sick.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18th, 2006  5:51am

  oh i so meant to keep the blog going during my trip to NYC. but with all the great adventures i was having, there just wasn't time. and now i'm fried from getting ready for the NAMM show tomorrow...i mean, today. so you're all just going to have to wait. but it was a totally bitchin' trip, for sure.
  i'll at least tell you about ari hoenig. you must go check this drummer out. it turned out i got to see him play four different gigs with four different bands. this guy is phenomenal.
  i swear i'll get to all the stories as soon as i can. but this is not good- i'm starting off NAMM week with four hours of sleep. usually, i end up fried.

FRIDAY, JANUARY 6th, 2006  7:10pm

  so here i go, off to NYC for a couple of shows and the IAJE convention. it's going to be an adventure for sure. i should be able to blog on the road so stay tuned. as soon as i get back, i do pretty much the same thing here in LA at the NAMM show. january is always busy. but i won't be going to MIDEM in france like last year at this time . it overlaps with NAMM.
geez, have i used almost every capital letter yet?...
it's the month of acronyms.







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