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Motorcycle August Blues

OK more about my trip:
Miserable on the way up.  But I made it to hugs and kisses all around at Sister Cate’s magic kingdom.  But to pick up where I left off earlier…after Joe jammed with Derek, I headed up the hill curious about the mix out front.  I returned to find Carmine gone.  I guess old WhosieWhat rushed them out before traffic got nuts.

I had intended to introduce Todd Smallie to Carmine Rojas, but that didn’t happen.  So I chatted for a few more minutes with Todd and Derek, where I saw Spider and RICjunkie and Jimmy lurking.  So we rejoined our forces, wrasseled down the minivan.  It was fighting with George, so I flung a leg over it and together we pummeled it to submission.  Then we drove (ALL of us) back to Camp Cathy’s.

I was late moving out in the morning so I went a bit later to Jane’s.  Jane Dear!  Thank you for that fabulous spread and your hospitality…nice -place.  I checked your neck to see if there was any damage from head bangin right down front.  But you looked strong.  With the whole gang there, I ate like the little piggy that I am and laughed and did my “Seasick Watermelon Slim Steve”  impersonation… um… one for the alkies…

Dean, Melissa, Amelia & Nico were there…and the dog!  “Doncha be eyeballing mah poultry there furface!”  lol  I left there and headed to Florida.  Tuesday I was home.


Blues From the Bottoms


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Hot August Blues

I will start by saying BonaBuddies are my BonaFamily. Just Lovely. I have to put aside my tongue in cheek attitude about some guitarists. Jack, Ben, Eric, Ken & Tom ate BBQ with me at the festival. I will never forget that. Thank you fellas!

Andy was out and about in his spiderchair. Sandy and crew, I forgot to give you my pass to take pics. Sorry, I was caught up! General Bob send me a gift pak, please. Watching the elders out kvetch one another was quite amazing. Two mother hens. I love you guys immensely. Respect! What a house in the forest. I regret that I did not jam more than a minute with Jimmy. Good man. Eva Darling and Guenter (much Love) are amazing English speakers and musicologists. The forest buzzed with good karma.

Squatting on the hill at the festival, I felt Libby stir the force. I turned my head and there she was. Cosmic. I met with my brothers in the band…what a joy. What laughs we shared.

As usual Joe came, preached to the masses and converted the uninitiated. What a set. Jane & Rocket right down front with so many others. Joe had to exert some influence to quiet some over zealous staff. They don’t know who Melissa is.

Had To Cry today was a surprise and a tour-de-force. Carmine and Joe just ripped several songs into little bitty pieces. They rocked hard. So many roads is a soulful nod to us old school blunatics…thanks Joe.

Derek Trucks Band: A jazzy, soulful, southern olio with influences from Allman Brothers to Miles Davis to Africa. The mix was a bit harsh, though. Sometimes the sound crew needs a flogging. It’s a travesty. As Derek headed out the door towards the stage, I asked him if he was going to speak to Joe. He grinned at me and said, “I already did.”

I’ll print more later. Going to work now.


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Bonamassa band continued

Woke Up Dreaming was where the knotheads made their alcoholic presense felt, but the crowd around them shushamed (fugawi word) them into compliance, veteran Bonamaniacs that we are.  The master plays and we are stunned by his skill, and I for one, at his mastery of DYNAMICS. 

It does an old funky doctor good to experience a scorched earth performance that does not rely solely on a full blast frontal assault; something that those who were overserved missed until we (the crowd & Joe) captured their full attention.  heh heh…

When the crowd finally got quiet during Joe’s solo in If I Ever Get to Heaven, you know the part where he holds the never ending note waiting for that sublime feedback rocket launch, you could have popped popcorn in that microwave silence.  The tension was ELECTRIC.

When he stepped off mic and sang from center stage, we white knuckled the seats and held our breath.  This band is so tight and so in tune with the boss, they never miss a cue.  So they ended that tune and brought the house down on our ears.  We COULD NOT stay in our seats.

I lost track of the ensuing musical madness.  Joe did a coupla encores.  I can’t give an exact set list.  One of These Day’s I’ll remember it all…or not.  They went through all the medley tunes and my poor son was bug eyed trying to piece together all the songs and riffs that he heard in one ten minute tribute to head-banging & butt-kicking; the best of the rest.

At one point Something caught caught my eye (ear) and I was instantly carried back to the insanity of life on the road.  I won’t go into it here, but I will say that I’m glad that I’m not the equipment rental guy who has to figure out how to make a couple of those rigs fit for duty for the next customer.

And NO the band didn’t trash the equipment.  Don’t even think it.  The fact is however that the Bonamassa Band takes no prisoners.  They play hard.  They play loud.  They give no quarter.  They are not a bar band.  They are here to convert the unwashed heathens, the uninitiated.

Joe was thin and fit and wearing a suit (actually a blue velvet blazer and grey slacks.)  We can be proud.  In a moment’s conversation after the Cocoa show he stated quite plainly that even if there were 600 committed fans at a show and one new fan made, that fan is important and that show was a success.  Hope you don’t mind me sharing that Joe.  I think it’s important.

As a matter of fact I might just offer my services to you, Joe, when you are doing your “meet and greet.”  I, for one, have thought that people in a state of excitement might need a friendly reminder to keep things short and sweet and simple. 

“Thank you for the experience, Joe.”
“Thank you for coming to see me.”
“Will you sign this?  Sure…  NEXT!” 

Oh well, it’s not a perfect world.  A pretty female (with a bat) would probably serve you better than a 6’6″ ugly in that regard.  JUST KIDDING!

My drummer son said Bogie was one of the most amazing drummers he had ever seen.  When I asked him why he grinned and said “He can count to four!”  (Inside joke)  I allowed that we could probably set our heartbeat to Brother Bowles. 

Rick stopped briefly what he was doing to speak to my family.  Thank you mate.  Love You!  My old buddy Carmine wouldn’t hardly speak to me because he couldn’t take his eyes off my wife. hmmmm come to think of it, she didn’t talk to me either. hmmmm

My daughter said Wow they rock hard!  My guitar playing son (the Stoic) was amazed beyond description and spent most of the morning asking me questions about theory and what makes it Rock?  and what makes it Blues?  What about this or that scale?  I’ve created a monster.

I saw Ken and Susan there and many others.  I saw an old friend from the old neighborhood and she couldn’t believe that I was alive, sane, and a father.  Seeing her and her husband was an unexpected thrill.  Ah the world of Joe.

With the exception of the hesitancy of the new LP to feedback on cue through that two head stack he was using for the Fla mini-tour, I really couldn’t tell a BIG difference in Joe’s sound last night and that $40 million stack he was using last time.  The tube screamer was working fine.

Joe made a very nice reference to being real glad he interrupted his schedule to come to Florida and we are all extremely grateful he did.  So Thanks for that Joe.  AND…

Thanks for being the dedicated musician, performer & businessman that you are.  I ain’t kidding.

Much Love

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Take me back…live music that’s good

Once again the Bonamassa Band has demonstrated their mastery of blues rock musical presentation. 

From the opening strains of Bridge To Better Days, as tension builds, and we begin our transition into this music, this phenomonon called Joe, to the crash of Bogie’s cymbals, Carmine’s thundering bass, Rick’s soaring keys and the hammer between the eyes of a wide open LesPaul that only Joe can make sound like that…we submit. 

Wait back up a day…

When I entered the hall in Cocoa on Thursday I knew we were in trouble.  I looked at Joe doing a sound check.  I looked at the room we were in…60′ wide and 300′ long with a low ceiling and I thought in terms of unprintable language.  I waved at Joe, he spoke and I spoke with the guys for a minute and then got out of the way.

Oh me of little faith.  The sound crew pulled it off.  They came, they listened (saw), they conquered.  By the second third of the set, they had done the impossible.  The instruments had become defined.  The vocals were front and center and the volumes had equalized.  A testament to the professionalism of each and every person involved.  Many a naddering nabob would have said “It’s the room!” and went out for a cigarette.

These guys are spectacular.  They not only work hard, they get it done.  There is a difference.

Now we’re in J-ville and the light’s are flashing and the musical onslaught has all the hair on my old punkin head standing at a 45 degree angle backwards.  MsTia is all aglow and my 3 kids are sitting there with their mouths open.  From the opening notes the transformation is complete.  We are in the most beautiful old school theater in this end of the state and the Bonamassa Band has us in the palm of their hand. 

With the exception of some illegitimate offspring that were obviously the result of a drunken merger between homeless alkies and junkie street walkers, as a crowd we behaved appropriately.  Loud and enthusiastic, but quiet when Joe shushed us. 

As the last strains of Bridge faded, the minor tones of So Many Roads swelled and Otis Rush somewhere…smiled.  The Sig LP cried and sparkled and Joe sang his a$$ off again.

Mountain Time saw the Giglioti Red Tobacco Sunburst and my guitar playing, joe college son’s eyes got rather large.  I grinned to myself and Joe took us to another time and place.  Nice modality on the opening to that one. 

The quilt top Custom came out for the next two.  The old shouting, stomping, hard rocking, marching in my seat, Another Kind of Love slid effortlessly into Sloe Gin, with Rick Melick, the consummate professional, transforming the atmosphere with flawless keyboard work, as the mood went dark and the crowd cried with Joe: “I’m so damn lonely, I ain’t even high…”.  What a tone Joe squeezes outa that Custom guitar.

When we couldn’t cheer anymore, the (Tak?) came out of Dave’s hands and around Joe’s neck and the flood waters rose.  I was floating over the levee in Nawlehns and there was High Water everywhere.  When I finally got ahold of my woman I begged her to come home but with a warning..”cause if you can’t treat me no better, it’ll be Your Funeral, My Trial.

The blues wore me out by then.  Tia liked the sound of that acoustic.  Yes I said, young Joey B makes that old $5 garage sale throwaway sound purty good.  I got the elbow for that one.

I will finish this up in a later post, y’all.  I”VE BEEN SUMMONED!


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Floyd Miles

I guess I’m spoiled.  I can’t seem to shake the feeling that Daytona Beach has slipped into the abyss.  It happens to me a lot anymore.  Ever since I stopped drinking almost a quarter of a century ago, I’m less willing to settle.

Floyd sang his heart out, even though he was not feeling super duper.  I think his sugar was slightly outa whack.  He is a phenomonal soul man; a true entertainer.  He had 2 guitars, bass, drums and a horn section.

So BigJeff…why so grumpy?  The mix was terrible for one thing.  The bass was so loud and boomy that it was headache material, and I’m a bass player for God’s sake.  There was obviously some tension on stage, although it wasn’t obvious to anyone but me.  None of my friends noticed.  But Floyd himself wasn’t loud enough. 

When I briefly spoke to Jerry (lead guitarist) he didn’t want to say.  But his brother the bassman was not there having just received a new kidney. 

I won’t complain about my aches & pains anymore…

So I really should know better, it was a free concert after all and nobody was fighting, but there was too many reminders for me of a whole lifestyle I have abandoned.  When I’m by myself I can move among the dregs of society without a second thought.

I was however with the best looking female there and she was distracted by a 300 lb. scantily clad, drunken woman gyrating on the walk next to us smoking a cigarette and trying to seduce an equally drunk tatooed biker with no teeth.

Ewwwww, gross.

The wonderful thing was the crowd was mixed racially, mostly older and the dregs, though present, were not the defining factor.  The drummer kept it all together. The horns were cooking and the affection between Big Floyd Miles and Jerry Henby (lead guitarist) was obvious.

They ended with “Going Back To Daytona” and the whole world danced in front of the stage.  It was a smoking finale and a reminder of the great R&B talent of the local soul great who taught Greg Allman how to sing the BLUES!


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Trouble plenty

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We bought Kayaks!

I’ve lost it completely.  5 kayaks…1 for everybody.  Jeff, Tia, Ryan, Sean & Sarah.  I really like them.  I commune with the heat, I mean Nature.  Yeah That’s it. 

Do you guys like that?  Im thinking about fishing from the floating thing.  Anybody done that?  Clue me in.

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