The first Indie104 show – 1/21/10

The show is back, just one hour, so if you missed it at 9 p.m. on Thursday, you can catch it here at 10 p.m., right after it airs live. Still working out the live guest portion, but some great Sonoma Valley music to be had..

NEW~~ The Playlist

Band – Album – Song

Gary Wm. Koehler – Last Voyage – Shooting Star

The Magflies – Magflies – Tried to Reach You

John Burdick – Somewhere – Hangin’ On

Bonedrivers – Roadhouse Manifesto – Live to Ride

Jamie Clark – Songs from the West Side – Lonley Love

Jaydub & Dino – Porch Groove – Darlin’ Look My Way

Michael L. Castle – Live @ Adobenet – Ghost Highway

Points North – Demo – Jubilee

Boyan Radosolov – untitled – 2011

Natasha James – Tequila Time – Tequila Time

Mike Lounibos – Planet California – Planet California

Dave Hamilton – Backroads of my Mind – Backroads of my Mind

Hellhounds – Back to Sonoma – Back to Sonoma

Rockin’ in San Rafael

I’ve been playing in San Rafael for easily the last 30 years or so, in one way or another, either at rehearsal spaces like Hun Sound, The Music Spectrum or Marin Recorders or at clubs like

New Georges

Pete’s 881


Or the Fourth Street Tavern

So when the AC/DC tribute act High Voltage asked me to sit in on bass to play the Tavern on Jan 3, 2009, I jumped at the chance. Now, mind you, being a musician comes with quirks.. we just can’t help it.. we all have silly/stupid things we do or don’t do before a show. Back in the day with Southbound, I wouldn’t eat at all before a show. Southbound was a Southern rock tribute act that I was in for 10+ years and we were a 4-set, 9-1am deal. Typically I’d eat at 2 in the morning somewhere. The Graycoats, Flanelhed, and many 1-night stand acts were all 1 set acts, but typically the 1 set in those bands took up as much energy as the whole night in a cover or tribute act.

So my buddies would all go out to eat and I’d hang at the club and they’d come back with tales of Italian, Pizza, Chinese and Sushi. I may have had a bag of chips at the bar. It was just something I did.

Even now I have to have ’space’ before I go onto a stage to ‘get my head together.’ It drove my wife crazy. ” What the hell’s wrong with you??” was the usual. It only seems to happen when I’m going onto a real stage. Playing a casual gig or the corner of a bar doesn’t invoke the same emotions. If I have to sing for a 4 hour show then no eating before, but I digress.

Now that it doesn’t take as much for me to ‘get my head together’, this particular night I think I’ll step out and grab a bite of something lite.. Pizza? nah.. Chinese? Thai? Italian… nah.. Ah.. Sushi.

I belly up to the bar (sushi that is) and order up the chef’s combo. A California roll and 5 pieces of fish. No sake or beer.. I have a show and I’m sure I’ll be drinking later. As I look around, it dawns on me what a freak show San Rafael has become.. between the wanna be gang-bangers and flat out weirdos, you could easily think you’re somewhere in San Francisco. So I finish up and make it back down to the Tavern.

Mind you the Tavern is not Taj Mahal. It’s what I would describe as a mid-level dive bar, but a cozy fireplace and pool table and a long haired bouncer to keep the real A-Holes out, and it makes for an OK vibe, as long as you’re not a single woman by herself. I walk in and see the person I’ve known for 3 years but have never actually seen or talked to.. my NBF Mel. We met on the internet (Stop it..we’re both married with children) and have stalked each others web presences and it was almost like seeing an old friend again, for the first time.We carry on a little and meet all the companions and all is good.

Sound check is next and, mind you, I’ve never played with this band.. never even rehearsed with them, so sound check, to me, is almost like the audition for the rest of the night… “is he gonna suck or not?” they’re all thinking. We whip out Rock and Roll Singer (which just happens to be one of my favorites and one I actually knew well) and seem to have passed the audition.

We hit the stage about 10p.m. and I have 2 t shirts on, one long sleeve and a short one on top. Bad Move. By the 5th song I’m drenched in sweat and my hair is soaked. Shaking your head for 5 tunes is more work than I recalled. We have a nice first set and off the long sleeve shirt comes. The second set is fairly uneventful as well. The band sounds pretty tight and if you didn’t know I wasn’t their regular bass player, I don’t think anyone would have known.

The third set is where the action starts. I’m starting to sweat again.. and not the ‘whoa it’s hot’ sweat.. but the hot flash sweats. I think ‘Dude.. you’re getting old.. suck it up’ but they don’t stop.. and then the mouth starts salivating… and it gets worse. I then start to think ‘Dude, you’re gonne puke..’ I try the whole mind over matter deal but matter is winning out.. and fast. During the middle of the namesake song, High Voltage, I make it to a point where Angus is going to take a lead break. Thats it. I hang up my bass, dash out the door around the corner to the alley and the Sushi makes an encore appearance.

The band has no idea where I went or what happened. So after the song they find me in the alley. At that point I’m feeling pretty good. I have a little water and then they ask “Are you Ok to finish the show?” I think for a minute.. what would the real Cliff Williams do? He’s a f-in rockstar.. Of course you finish the show!! So I strap it on and we bang out another 4 tunes.

I’m not going to name the Sushi bar but let’s just say it was ‘killin’ me and i don’t think it was the fish as it tasted fresh, the crab salad in the California roll seems the likely culprit. I’m sure I’m not the first person to hurl in the alley outside the tavern and am pretty sure I won’t be the last, but, once again, a new tale gets added to not just my book of tall tales but the bands as well.

Long Live Rock and Roll…

The 5 Dollar Burger

Now that I’m blessed to work half a block off the most beautiful plaza in the state, I have access to some of the finest restaurants to have lunch. Of course other than our Friday ‘Gentlemens Lunch’, I tend to be too busy to actually get away during lunch, finally realizing I’m starving at about 3 and having to hit the local Southland Corporation venue. Today was different as I had to run to the bank and figured I’d just get a ‘Grab and Go’ Broadway Market sandwich at Plaza Liquors. Sure, they’re 50 cents more than at Broadway Market but I don’t have to drive anywhere. I offer to pick up something for our nose to the grindstone radio staff and our lead Tech says ” Hey.. what about the Cheese factory for burgers?” Cheese factory?? They only do burgers on the weekends right? Wrong. Then he said the magic words..” The open condiment bar is the best.” I knew exactly what he meant. I was suddenly transported right back to Chico in the early ’80’s to Burger Hut on Nord Avenue.

Burger HutMy Friends, this is the place where burger dreams came true. At this point in my life I was playing in a metal band and if you’ve ever been to Chico you know whats involved. At Burger Hut, my college buddies showed me how to use the condiment stand properly. You get the burger, then you ask for a fork (yes.. they look at you funny). Then you take the lettuce from the condiment stand, tear it up on the plate and add all the respective veggies and then mix up the Ketchup, Mayonnaise and relish and turn it into 1000 Island and Voila.. Salad.. for free.

Meanwhile back in reality, we’re on our way to the Cheese Factory.

burgers

I have had the burgers at most of the places on the Plaza. I even ordered a burger at The Girl and The Fig as I was pretty sure there was no funky cheese on it (correct, if you ask for normal cheese) and I have to say that the Cheese Factory has the best 5 dollar burger anywhere in town. Not a fancy patty, in fact it could probably be from Costco, but grilled and sitting out front or on the Plaza lawn, It just doesn’t get much better… and play your cards right and you too could get a free salad.

Martini Madness??

OK, I can’t say that I’m exactly a martini connoisseur as the first martini I ever had was made with Grey Goose as anything made out of distilled junipers makes me itch just thinking about it. That being said, I can say with pretty much certainty that the ‘madness’ about this event is finding something that actually tastes like a martini.

The first Martini I tasted might have been OK as an orange infused vodka sounds pretty good, until I see Goat Cheese floating in it as the olive had been stuffed with it.

This is where  goat cheese comes from
This is where goat cheese comes from.

Now I don’t know when or who decided that it was OK to put freakin’ goat cheese onto and into everything but I must’ve missed my chance to stand up and say “Stop It.” You can’t even go to Chevy’s these days and not have the entire plate sprinkled with the crap, besides the fact that it doesn’t say it on the menu.. they just assume everyone likes goat cheese. Tell you what.. that plate’s going right back to the kitchen. I’ll take a chance on some chef’s saliva before Goat Cheese… and as far as the olives… I’m pretty sure they have machines that stuff garlic, pimentos and other normal items into olives but the image of some poor local Sherpa having to stuff the things with goat cheese is just saddening…but I digress

So I’m ranting about goat cheese in my first martini and my buddy DH grabs me one from a different table (we’re leaving out the restaurant names to protect the guilty), as at this point we’ve just shot in the back door and there’s hardly anyone there yet and guess what.. another goat cheese nightmare.. WTF!! So I dump that and head over to another table. This is a ‘Portini’. A concoction that I think was basically made to ruin the port and instead of an olive had a piece of bread and some cheese on the toothpick.

Right next to that one they’re making martinis with Guiness. Good lord. I later find out that this was the big winner and I didn’t even try it.

At this point I’m beginning to wonder if I should just leave now and head to The Swiss and end the nightmare but there’s people starting to filter in and some I actually wanted to talk to so I try another. This one had some sort of sorbet and champagne in it to dilute the vodka. The olive was stuffed with pineapple which normally would have been shocking but I was thanking god that it didn’t have goat cheese.

I head out to the main room where the ‘food’ was to find that ‘Madness Vultures’ had consumed about everything but some cheese rinds and a couple bowls of assorted olives. On another table there is what looks like cheese soup but I’m thinking that was some sort of nacho sauce as there are baskets with tortilla chip remnants. There is some big soft pretzels with a variety of mustard so I grab one, load it up with mustard and find a corner.

I wander back into the ‘madness’ and decide to give the martinis another shot. I figure one of the local bars on the plaza won’t be screwing one up too bad and I was right. An olive stuffed with garlic soaked in scotch for a week and a martini with gin and a hit of scotch. Tasty, like I said, I don’t like gin but this 209 stuff is pretty smooth. Closest thing to a martini so far.

So with my spirits rekindled, I venture over kitty corner and find an interesting one with a hot pepper infused vodka with some black salt on the rim. Pretty tasty too. I’m told at that point that next door was a tropical one I had to try but the line was long and when I tried to weasel to the front got dirty looks so I wandered on.

The band was taking a break and the place was packed and at that point it was either get drunk or leave and since I still had to kill a Wilderbeest  Dinner for the family dinner, it was time for me to leave. I’m sure there are plenty of ‘madness’ induced headaches today in The Valley of the Moon.

Bone Bash – 10/5/04 – Clearchannel Pavilion

First let me say that when I bought my tickets from the Joe Satriani fan club (I know..) I thought I was getting an evening with Joe for 2 hours or whatever.. so when I found out it was this other thing I was hopeful that it would all be good.. but probably not better than 2+ hours of just Joe. I also must say that the sound guys should all have their asses kicked.. I’ll touch on all that later…. So we get to the Clear fuck Pavillion about 4:45, park in the 20 dollar lot and in we go. Standing in line for an 8 dollar beer we see Dennis Lordan and Jon Wiebe with their fancy comp tickets.. He asks us to go backstage with them but my special 100 dollar tickets don’t seem to allow me that privilege.

Now… back in the day, the bands played in the order they were billed. Apparently that doesn’t happen any more as I thought I was missing Dokken but I was actually missing Thin Lizzy as I heard the end of The Boys are Back in Town and we started downstairs only to be met by a throng of people going the wrong way had an actual band been playing. I run into my buddy Murf and he tells me how great Sykes and Gorham were with shredding double leads and Strat and Les Paul tone thru Marshalls. Mind you I’d have enjoyed all this in row 10 had I known about the bill change.,.. and they weren’t done changing it yet..apparently now it was time for Blue Oyster Cult. So there we are in row 10 with our 8 dollar beers at the Bone Bash with bikers and metal heads in black regardless of the 100 degree heat and what are the sound guys playing?? Disco.. really… loud… metal heads around me are yelling “.. Turn this crap off!!” at the top of their lungs to no avail.. anyway Blue Oyster Cult hits the stage right at about that time when the sun is in between the roof and the trees and myself in row 10 and the stage are bathed in sunlight. These guys must have been all the original guys as they look like 30 years of R& R had hit them.. well.. maybe not the drummer..he still had rock hair…I have to say I don’t own any BOC CD’s and if there’s any vinyl in my house it was left by an old roommate….but I recognized all the tunes and I must say had they had lights, longer than 35 minutes to play and not Deaf Ed from Uncle Charlies doing the sound, it would have been a much better show..They were good. Towards the end of Don’t fear the Reaper this guy comes out and jams with them.. some thin Hetfield looking guy with a blue strat.. He starts doing what looks like shredding with Buck Dharma but since the sound guy can’t find the mic for the amp he was using, I’m not truly sure the guitar was even plugged in.. anyway later I find out it was Brad Gillis. Joy..

So now it’s time for more 8 dollar beers and Dokken. I have always liked Dokken, being into pop and metal all at the same time and I must say that the new guitar player, formerly their attorney had all of George Lynch’s licks down to a T and did them effortlessly.. Don had a little trouble with the highs but all in all it was 35 minutes of Dokken’s greatest hits.. Susan hated it and was getting a head start on another 8 dollar beer but I thought they were pretty good. Now it was time for who we actually came for.. it was getting dark and Joes set was going to have lights, the screen and the whole 9 yards. Susan almost got up front but for lack of a green bracelett she was relegated back to row 10. Joe’s guitar techs spent an easy 30 minutes arguing with the sound guys trying to get the second guitar to actually make sound and to get Joe’s guitar to come thru the monitors.

Joe hits the stage and after about 1/2 a tune of the sound guys actually start to get some tone thru the mains. I like Joe but his first album was Surfin with the Alien and I must say.. I think the alien is Joe as he has turned himself into one different lookin’ dude, but my guitar playing friends.. he could truly be the best all around rock guitar player of our time.. His licks and tone are truly second to none, on top of that his music has remained relatively in tact thru the Hair band days, grunge, techno etc. The top 2 bands had no amps on stage.. only speaker cabs and, for whatever reason, Joes were mic’d about 3 inches from the top and left side.. no where near the middle of the speaker. Now… Joes Band.. Campeletti is a great drummer … no problems there.. Matt Bisonette seems to play bass… but rarely, it seems, ever with the drummer.. maybe they’re that tight but he still offends me.. Now… on to Galen Henson. My friends… any of us could be this guy.. I don’t know why he’s there.. apparently he used to be Joes guitar tech and maybe since he wasn’t ever anybody there’s no ego thing but this guy doesn’t even play the second parts of the songs as they are written… He basically plays bar chords all night.. on top of that, Joe is bending and stretching his strings to new heights and using the same ax for 3 and 4 tunes but Bar Chord boy has to have a new guitar each tune….maybe I’m just jealous…So Joe plays for almost an hour and showcases 4 or 5 new tunes with many of the fav’s. I will say the show was good but I thought the G3 set from last year was better. To prove we were there look at the pic Here

Susan could have left now but I wanted to see Deep Purple not having seen them since the reunion with bitter Ritchie Blackmore. At this point I am no longer drinking 8 dollar beers but 4 dollar waters. I go down a little early to see Highway Star, as Deep Purple always opens with Highway Star… but not today..While Joes db level hit 100+ from time to time, Deep Purples started there.. not that screaming mid range loud.. but concussion loud… you felt it more than you heard it… they obviously had MUCH more power thru the mains than all the other bands…. so there you are .. on the crew… making sure everything works… don’t you think SOMEONE would have checked the lead vocalist of the headlining acts mic?.. apparently not as Ian Gillian comes out belting and we can’t hear a sound… apparently the monitors were working as they were shocked that they got booed after the first 2 tunes, having no idea how the sound guys (again) were fucking up. Anyway.. Ian gets a mic with a cable ( I guess it was the wireless fucking up) they press on and if you close your eyes, Ian’s voice sounds as good as 1974… signature.. Roger Glover and Ian Paice were good and pro as well… It’s too bad Jon Lord retired as I don’t think anyone replaces him.. Donny Airey tries.. but he’s not Jon Lord. Steve Morse… what can you say.. an excellent player but so out of place with this band.. for me anyway.. his tasty licks just don’t belong… he’s not nearly as pissed off as he should be.. Yngwie would be a much better fit… or some old pissed off rock guitar god… like.. oh.. I don’t know.. maybe Blackmore??? Unfortunately Deep Purple was twice as loud with half the tone of Joe and Steve’s Musicman Guitar’s with Dimarzio pickups are never going to cut it.. for my likin anyway..So we cut out about 10.. my buddy Murf says that they went on to play some Deep Purple classics till about 11:15 or so, but like I said in the beginning… I would have been happy with Joe alone.

There you go… My next review will be Southbound at Vinnies….