Red Nose Day Video

red-nose-day-video_webOur comedic contribution to the Red Nose Benefit Foundation.

A lot of fun. I played all the instruments you hear. Song by Renee and myself. Wonderful lyrics by Renee Carly and fantastically sung by Freddy Lopez.

I used the NS/Stick for the recording but for the video I picked up the Chapman Stick, or should I say “Shtick!” As I played like a clarinet. Lol. All guitar and bass sounds are the NS/Stick.

Have a look and laugh at us Zany characters! Wait for the end credits to find out more info.

Enjoy!!
/Don

A day drivin’ through town and life

a-day-drivin-through-town-and-life1So ya go through and live your life and at some point things come around again. I have two pictures that happened to catch my attention as I was zoomin’ through town today. The first one was on a bus stop poster. It is of Red Nose Day comin’ up May 21st on NBC. It’s a great fund raiser to help great causes in the world. “Entertainment for Change” if you will. (Made that up myself!)… Anyway we’re going to have our own internet commercial out, we did the video and music for it and the song we wrote is being mulled around by advertising execs, on how they may want to use the song. Regardless we have our version as well. So that was a few weeks ago, an now I see it being advertised, which makes the event all the more real as I had never heard of it before. SoooOOoOo photo #1 with Red Nose in the background as I stopped by the bus stop for a selfie!

a-day-drivin-through-town-and-life2Photo #2 “Aquarius” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3768572/) a new series coming out…. I have a small affiliation with through ‘life’s events, and so I stopped to mark the coincidence. When I first moved to Los Angeles in the ’70’s I was asked to join a band named “Desert Sun”. Good name and great band. Though the band was unknown and pretty much stayed that way, one of the members Brook Posten just had that “presence” about him that made me ask, “Brook, what happened in your life that makes you seem so famous?!”… A slight pause as he says, “I was a member of the Manson Family”…….. “WHAAAAT!?” And so it was. A few members tried to get out while all the horror was going on and they testified against Manson, being told by Charles, “When I get out you’re dead”… That said, Brooks had nothing to do with any horrible doings, is a wonderful man and talented artist. And to say wrong place, wrong time, wrong crowd is an understatement. He had a knack for it as later he met up with Jim Jones, he decided not to take the trip or Kool Aid. Brook had some great stories, funny and intense as well. www.cielodrive.com/brooks-poston.php to see and read more of Brook. I hope to meet up with him again one day. Years ago he found me (like everything else) on the internet just to catch up a little, say “hi” and that they (He and Jane Boltinghouse – also in the “Desert Sun” and phenomenal singer) were doing well. A big warm ‘Hello” if you both are reading this, be well and stay there!”

Okay, the bus of life is pulling out and this is my stop. Have a good night, I’ve got a little more recording to do, we’ll talk more later!/Don

On The Road Dating

Now we we’re on tour as I flew in to Detroit to stay for a couple days. At the end of those couple days we are informed we will have a 4 1/2 hour drive to get us to the next gig at Torch Lake. We figure we’ll leave in the late morning and get there just in time before daylight ends. A good call, considering none of us has ever seen this place, plus snow and the possible “getting lost” factor – it just made good sense to get an early start…

We all had a nice “partying evening” when I decided to turn in for the night and get a good rest for the long “sit” in the car the next morning. Nice car mind you… “FULLY loaded, leather seats, Cadillac jeep of some sort… comfy but nonetheless, a long time to just “sit.”

SOOoooooOOoooo long about 5 AM, I notice as I’m awoken, AND….. that I have a “Date” in bed with me…”Ahhhhhhhhhh” and “Oh no!” I say to myself… I’ve somehow gotten in bed with and dated one of the “Rhea” sisters. Now this isn’t good…I’ve got a LONG drive ahead and here I am in bed with one of the Rhea sisters. As I know it, there are three sisters, we’ve all dated one of them at some point in our lives, as they’re affectionately known as Dia, Pia and Gona…my date that evening – yes, the prettiest yet most harmless but non the less brutal of the sisters, “Dia”….yes, Diarrhea.

OY VAY!!!!! She was ready to rock as I hurried to the bathroom… For the first round I just “hung on to the toilet seat rim” and blasted away for a good ten minutes. Whew, she was talkative, “Okay, back to bed for a little rest, with luck she’s happy and tired too.” So I pull the covers over, get comfy and put my head down… When….I got that feelin’….Ahhh! She wants to dance again. So I hurry and scurry to the bathroom I murmur, “C’mon” be gentle I’ve got a five hour drive I don’t have time to play….”

Well, I wish the toilet seat had a seat belt…Whoa can she dance! I’m weak, tired and concerned now about the “Fully loaded car with leather seats under my fully loaded butt!” what a time for us to not have the tour bus. Well, we danced the Twist, the Watusi and Cha-cha-cha until she decided she had had a nice enough time as she faded from the evening. I thanked her for her consideration for my plight of a long drive and bid her a “Farewell” as I headed for a nice hot shower and a breakfast of “Kaopectate.” The car ride was “Cautious” but “uneventful.” Kapopectate, I salute you!”
/Don

What’s old is new (as a plug-in)

Pete, Pedals and meThis is me! Back in the day. I loved all those pedals. They were the latest and greatest. I had this pedal board made for me by Paul Rivera. Yes, same guy that makes the Rivera Amps. He used to make customized pedal boards for all the whose who, and… me too. It also came in a road case where some rack gear attached that interfaced with the pedals. It was a stereo board with effects for the melody side of the Stick and effects just for the bass side of the Stick. It was a lot of fun, made lots of great sounds and… was heavy and no fun to move around. Fortunately in those days the acts I played for had road crews and a semi truck to move all the gear. The dog (Petey) drove with us. When I could – I’d take the family on the road. Pete (The Dog) loved the pedal board because when that came out, he knew it meant “Road Trip”!

I knew my wife was a keeper when one day we had to take the road cases to a certain place for the truck to pick up. I had a very large amp. road case we had to get in our van. Looking at the case and how we would get it up into the van…, my wife said, as she kneeled, “Push it over onto my back and I’ll stand up and hoist it in!” And…. so I did. Lol. Ohhhhh she’s a trooper.

My favorite pedals were the Boss Chorus, Electric Mistress, Memory Man, Small Stone Phase Shifter, Mutron Octave Divider. Now all calssic and wonderful plug ins. The Octave Divider was fun however when you got down to the low bass “E” it would warble and not track as well. I figured, heck now that its a plug in I bet they fixed that. Well, they did a great job as usual, emulating the exact sound and dial functions it had even right down to the warbling imperfections. Oh well, I guess they wanted to be true to the pedal.

Notice the ‘flat top’ on the Stick. Now they are rounded. I wanted a unique look to mine so I had Emmett put a crescent indentation at the top of my later Stick. That one was a good Ol’ Iron Wood Stick. Fantastic bass sound. Back then they didn’t have Grand Sticks with 12 strings only the 10 string models. I owned two Sticks prior to that one when even the pickup housing was ‘wood’! Oh it was a great look in comparison to the modern look of then and even now.

I find being in the Music industry an even more exciting time now. The access to a professional home studio, high end gear and quality of sound so much more attainable. I’ve always had a studio even back in the days of “Tape!” However if I was making a recording for release back then I’d have to go to a “Pro” studio and spend $250.00 for 15 minutes of tape, just to start. Then studio time, engineering, mixing and mastering. Then… spend it all over again for the next recording. Now, no tape (though it did have a lovely sound all its own).

My home studio uses the same computer and plug ins the Pro studios use. I can do most of my sessions from here. I only move to another studio if the project needs large rooms or I’m mixing/mastering. The home studio is a great tracking studio for all the instruments I play, electric and acoustic bass, NS/Stick, Grand Stick, strings (cello, viola etc,.).

When the project is not mine and I’m hired for a session, I then track my parts from home then depending on where the session will be mixed, I send my tracks their via the internet. I do miss visiting other studios but there is great advantage in being relaxed at home and trying different things. Back in the day, studio time was very expensive and taking time to try stuff wasn’t the norm. You went in knowing what you wanted to have recorded especially for Film and TV. I like being able to take the time to experiment. Being creative is what music is and was all about for me.

What has changed for you over the years that you have been playing. What is it that moves you musically to want to create and go through the recording process?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Apparently Pastries and Ouzo don’t mix

This was an after gig party in the promoters hotel room. A back east trip passing through Pittsburgh, Pa.

So I’m in the corner near the ‘cannoli’s’ and this gentleman after MANY an Ouzo drink tries to hold a conversation. He slurs, “Well Don, how do you like Cleveland?”. And so I said, “Ya know, I really
love it except for the cold (Lake Erie looked 80% covered in Ice from my hotel room view).

Seemingly satisfied with my answer, he pauses … zones out for a minute, then perks up and says, “Well
Don, how do you like Cleveland?” I figure the Ouzo had kicked in… and being quite satisfied with the way I
answered it the first time, I thought, heck he doesn’t remember I’ll just say it again …. I gestured more this time as not to be too redundant. Again, pondering my answer as if Deja vu had kicked in… he started to say something … but, instead blacked out and keeled over onto the table of pastries and glasses.

Road Story cropHaving my hands full of pastry already I wasn’t quite adapt at the moment to catch him. But.. wanting to be polite I did however pick him up, dust ’em off and suggest that “When the hotel spins that fast ya gotta
sit in a chair and HANG ON!’ I found him a good solid chair with solid arm rests to steady himself in.

So I left him there and moseyed on over to the other side of the room where a very talented artist and a new fan, showed up at the party. He sketched the band as we played and
was now sketching people as they partied. It reminded me of the 60’s where eclectic people would gather
and … be eclectic and in this case with lots of Wine and Ouzo.

As I turned around my new buddy who moments ago was gripping the chair got up and wandered/weaved around and
over to the bathroom… Suddenly a very loud THUD was heard. Well… I had to look, and sure enough he ‘keeled over’ into the bath tub. I ran and got him a pillow and put it in the tub telling him “It’s the safest place for you since you’re lying down now anyway… (he can’t fall any further…”) and promised not to run the water.
However, he explained how embarrassed he was and insisted on standing. I explained “That’s the problem,
the hotel hasn’t landed yet… still spinning as we speak.”

And so… figuring he’d have another rough landing at some point, we made him a “Crash Pad” in front of the
door, where he keeled over again.

I didn’t see him (or hear any falling noises) for the next couple hours and had a blast socializing and
eating some Baklava… oh Very good stuff.

The roaming artist was doing a great job of Sketching Lana Lane and Michelle Moog, music was playing, lot’s of great conversations to join in on and listen to… But it was getting late, like 4:am late. (I like to be in my room before the Sun comes up… just a personal goal).

Since I hardly drink, I watch the pastries mostly and a dent was made in them (I do my best)… and upon
thanking the hostess for a lovely party… (She had taken her lovely Italian leather boots off in the
corner hours ago) – we again noticed these lovely Italian boots in the corner on the way out.. unfortunately someone had gotten sick all over them. “Cream of Ouzo and Cannoli’s” all over the shoes…”Hey, where did that guy go?…” Ah, he apparently didn’t feel well again and was now in the bathroom…. (He should of just stayed in the tub).

I told the hostess, I’m thinkin’ “Cannoli’s and Ouzo don’t mix well.” but he obviously liked your ‘cannoli’s’ as there’s bits all over your shoes..

Cannoli’s may never look the same to me again.
Have you ever had a food ‘change the way you think about it” from
some strange occurrence? Let’s hear it!

Excellent!
Don

Frankie and Annette

Frankie and AnnetteOne time Frankie Avalon and the band did a gig and stayed at ‘one’ of this guys 3 mansions. And… I mean real deal Scooby Doo mansions. Rooms galore, a house staff to cook or get you anything you need. It was in upstate New York and had its own game reserve and lake on the property. I stayed up for two days havin’ such fun. Short story, we all went fishing that next day complete with ‘fishing guide’ to outfit us, drive the boat, cast for you if you wanted! Any way their was Frankie fishing, sitting in the boat with a net in one hand. One of the guys yells out, “Hey, theirs Frankie and Annette (a net)!
“Clever and funny”. A good day and… we caught FISH!