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Saturday March 1st
I've been a fan of CGT since I first saw them a few years back playing with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto in San Diego at a hard rock club called Brick by Brick, so it's been a lot of fun for me to get to open for them on this tour.
Our first day together was actually Sat March 1. Although the tour didn't start officially till the 3rd, CGT was staying in San Diego and rehearsing new material. I was lucky enough to have them come over to Spotted Peccary studios in Carlsbad to record some parts for a solo CD I'm working on. The guys were great! I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, knowing that "session work" on other people's material is not the normal thing they do. They were fantastic though. From the control room I could only hear them, not see them. As the song played back and they looked for parts, it was easy to hear how as soon as one person got a good idea, the others fell right in around it. They really have the ability to work as one big instrument. In some sections you could also hear their individual personalities and backgrounds creeping in, whether it was Bert with some Bach-ish figures, Paul's chordal grooves, or Hideyo's VG8 (synth) tone creeping in. All in all, some great parts. Thanks guys!
Today the four of us played live on a San Diego radio station called KSDS. It's a great station, broadcast from San Diego City College, that's really a jazz station, but is the best San Diego has for promoting live and local music. The host, named "T" and the four of us gathered in what was actually a classroom with the studio booths all around us on one side. We didn't actually have any way to hear the broadcast, and never had a chance to do a real sound check before going on the air, so we were a bit nervous about how things were sounding. As the CGT played, I took off my Stick and snuck out to the control room. It sounded great! KSDS engineer Larry Quick was totally on the ball. (Guess that's how he got the name Quick! I wonder if he's related to Tony Levin's keyboard player Larry Fast?)
Monday March 3, Tuesday March 4
On Monday, we had our first real show at Dizzy's in San Diego. Dizzy's is a great place, and since this is home for me I felt a little extra pressure to have it be a great night. Sounds like everyone had a great time.. musicians, venue, audience! I was grateful to see lots of familair faces from my mailing list show up. It seems every time I play in s. CA with CGT we get a lot of these "familair faces." Guess they're just CGT fans.. like me!
Tuesday saw us playing at the Mint in LA with two other acts: Incendio, a fiery latin guitar band, and Kathryn Bostik, a wonderful pianist/singer songwriter. Backstage before the show all four groups huddled in the dressing room to finalize show details. The audience were very receptive to my set and the soundman did a really exceptional job. I always worry about getting all but "flashing lights" set up in time.. especially with four acts. I tried something new tonight though, in that I managed to get everything wired up on the club floor while Incendio was sound checking, then had someone help me hoist the snarling cable mess on stage. With that it only took a few minutes to finalize it. Gotta love that!
CGT friend Mark Perry was at the show doing merch. I've met Mark several times in the past, and about a year ago (when I opened for tony Levin's band) Mark promised to e-mail me. Seeing me at this show gave him enough of a guilty feeling that he actually got around to e-mailing me later that night ;)
Hideyo caught in the act at the Mint
I spent the night at Stick Enterprises last night on what I guess could be called the offical "wandering Stick player" futon (frequented often by other players). This stay was my first chance to meet the Chapman's new poodle puppy Buckley. He's only four months old, but getting very large. Emmett has built a series of barricades in the kitchen to give Buckley a little area. As you can see in the photo, Buckley has no problem looking over his barricade. Apparently Emmett has to keep finding ways to reinforce it and increase the height.
I left SE in the afternoon to drive to Goleta and the Mercury Lounge. Arriving before anyone else, I ended up volunteering to move furniture around the club to prep for the show. It's a very small place but with a great staff AND free popcorn, Cheetos and licorice (the important things, right?) Afterwards I stayed at one of the manager's homes. It was a very "hip" (can I use that word?) place with most of the home actually outdoors. There was actually a full kitchen, and a sort of living room that were only covered from above, plus tons of patio/garden space.
Thursday March 5
Today was a travel day. I left Santa Barbara very early in the morning for the long drive to a friend's house in San Jose. I was so tired that having driven for only an hour I found myself nodding off at the wheel (at like 9am!). I pulled off in San Luis Obispo, found a laundromat and took a nap while doing some laundry. Afterwards it dawned on me that Ernie Ball is in SLO. When not playing Stick, I actually use their basses and strings, and have been thinking about getting a new bass, so I called them up and actually got to go have a private tour of the factory. Fun! Of course I still haven't decided what color to get on the new bass. They have too many to choose from!
I also had a chance to spend some time in downtown SLO. A friend recommended I find something called gum alley (pic above). It's actually an alley where for who knows how long people have stuck their used gum, covering both sides! Interesting.. but I think maybe I need better recommendations on sight seeing! ;)