GRAMMY AWARDS – January 26th, 2020 – Staples Center

Tonight is the night!
The music industry gathers in Los Angeles to hand out awards in the following categories:
BEST MUSIC FILM
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
BEST CLASSICAL COMPENDIUM
BEST CLASSICAL SOLO VOCAL ALBUM
BEST CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL SOLO
BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
BEST CHORAL PERFORMANCE
BEST OPERA RECORDING
BEST ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, CLASSICAL
BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM, CLASSICAL
BEST IMMERSIVE AUDIO ALBUM
BEST REMIXED RECORDING
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON-CLASSICAL
BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM, NON-CLASSICAL
BEST HISTORICAL ALBUM
BEST ALBUM NOTES
BEST BOXED OR SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE
BEST RECORDING PACKAGE
BEST ARRANGEMENT, INSTRUMENTS AND VOCALS
BEST ARRANGEMENT, INSTRUMENTAL OR ACAPPELLA
BEST INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITION
BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA
BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA
BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA
BEST MUSICAL THEATER ALBUM
BEST COMEDY ALBUM
BEST SPOKEN WORD ALBUM (INCLUDES POETRY, AUDIO BOOKS &
STORYTELLING)
BEST CHILDREN’S MUSIC ALBUM
BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
BEST REGGAE ALBUM
BEST REGIONAL ROOTS MUSIC ALBUM
BEST FOLK ALBUM
BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM
BEST TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUM
BEST BLUEGRASS ALBUM
BEST AMERICANA ALBUM
BEST AMERICAN ROOTS SONG
BEST AMERICAN ROOTS PERFORMANCE
BEST TROPICAL LATIN ALBUM
BEST REGIONAL MEXICAN MUSIC ALBUM (INCLUDING TEJANO)
BEST LATIN ROCK, URBAN OR ALTERNATIVE ALBUM
BEST LATIN POP ALBUM
BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM
BEST CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC ALBUM
BEST GOSPEL ALBUM
BEST CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC PERFORMANCE/SONG
BEST GOSPEL PERFORMANCE/SONG
BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM
BEST LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE ALBUM
BEST JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
BEST JAZZ VOCAL ALBUM
BEST IMPROVISED JAZZ SOLO
BEST NEW AGE ALBUM
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
BEST COUNTRY SONG
BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE
BEST RAP ALBUM
BEST RAP SONG
BEST RAP/SUNG PERFORMANCE
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE
BEST R&B ALBUM
BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM
BEST R&B SONG
BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
BEST ROCK ALBUM
BEST ROCK SONG
BEST METAL PERFORMANCE
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE
BEST CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM
BEST DANCE RECORDING
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM
BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE
BEST NEW ARTIST
SONG OF THE YEAR
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Click: http://www.GRAMMY.com for a full list of nominees!

‘The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa’ due for April release

FZ03.PNGComing for Record Store Day, April 13: “The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa.” The 1987 guitar compilation by Frank Zappa originally available on cassette only through Guitar World magazine and Barfko-Swill mail order, will be reissued for the first time on 180g clear audiophile vinyl! 4000 numbered copies in the US and 3500 in Europe.

Following is an interview conducted by Noë Goldwasser for Guitar World magazine in April 1987:

Zappa’s Inferno 

By Noë Goldwasser

FZ2.jpgFrank Zappa’s fully equipped home recording stuio is where he’d most rather be. “I never go out,” he says, though his Laurel Canyon home commands a panoramic view of Los Angeles. “I could be just as happy if all this” – gesturing toward the array of equipment that surrounds him in this devil’s advocate’s workshop – “were in Utah. Except for the fact that the hardware and technicians are available in the L.A. area, and the stuff can be serviced here.” The fact is, all Frank really wants to do is work.

Whether he acknowledges it or not, Zappa has been admired by guitarists for years because of the sheer free-flying gonzo-ness of his solos within the otherwise-precise organization of his compositions. He’s always been a real Mother of a player. As a bandleader, his draconian insistence on perfection has brought out the best in his players, especially the guitarists he has introduced to the world through his succession of bands: Lowell George, Adrian Belew, Warren Cuccurullo and Steve Vai all cut their teeth in Zappa’s marching society.

FZ02.jpgWe thought about this – your editor, Noe the G., and Associate Publisher Greg Di Benedetto – as we descended with Frank into the bowels of his private inferno, otherwise known as the United Muffin Research Kitchen (U.M.R.K.).

Our purpose was to plan the Guitar World According To Frank Zappa tape-a 34-minute collection of rare Zappa solos on a special GW audio cassette which this magazine will make available in the spring-and to talk about guitar stuff.

 Well, Frank was perfectly poised to talk about guitar and to play us some of the hours of great solos he has on all those tapes in his vault. But as far as performing on the instrument, we were surprised to discover, the guitar guru has been getting his playing jollies from entering notes and manipulating them with his Synclavier. For various reasons you will hear in his own words in this interview, Frank hadn’t played serious guitar in two years (the last recorded example of Frank playing will be available on our Guitar World According To Frank Zappatape). He’d even lost his callouses!

But fear not, dear reader. Zappa had plenty to say about playing guitar and where the instrument is going. And, believe us, there’s reams of guitar in Frank’s vaults, which he continues to classify and release to the public as long as the demand is there, through his own Barking Pumpkin organization. The Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar collections did quite well worldwide, so you can expect more to be released in the future.

FZ1.PNGAnd we hear that since our talk with Frank, he’s been building up his callouses and thinking about going back on the road with his guitar and a band. The moral: you can take the Zappa out of guitar playing, but it’ll take a long time to get all the guitar playing out of Frank Zappa.

 Let me get a level on the tape recorder. Say, “The poodle bites.” 
Frank Zappa: The poodle chews it.

Come on, Frenchie! Do you see a conceptual continuum between, say, “Call Any Vegetable” and Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar? Or between the Mothers 0f Invention and the Mothers of Prevention? 
There are some links, yeah. The main drawback of the medium I’m working in is, until I got the computer I was locked into making music based on the assets and/or liabilities of the guys in the band. In other words, if you want to write something that’s faster than what the guys can play, you can’t hear it, because they can’t play it that fast. Or if you want something for an instrumentation that you don’t have in the band, then you won’t hear it. But now that I can do it with a computer, that’s not a problem anymore.

Was it always that way? When you were writing parts for, say Roy Estrada, or anybody in the early days for instance, it was all charted out, and- 
N0–because, the only time I ever had a band where everybody could read [music] was the band that had Jean-Luc Ponty and Ralph Humphrey, and Ian and Ruth [Underwood] and George [Duke], that was a reading band. And Grand Wazoo, that was a reading band. All the rest of ’em were like half-and-half. Half the guys could read, half of ’em couldn’t.

Now with the computer–the Synclavier– you don’t need the band to work out the music. What about the quality of the sound itself? 
I’ll play you some tapes; you tell me.

What about MIDI? Some say it’s the next big thing. Others say, “it’s not a guitar anymore.” 
It’s either guitar plus or guitar minus, depending on how you look at it. The big problem with doing anything MIDI is the lag. It’s like learning how to play a church pipe organ. Because when you press a key on a pipe organ, the sound doesn’t come out right away. It’s the same thing with MIDI. You have to get used to the lag. I can’t. I haven’t played a guitar synthesizer yet that feels comfortable.

FZ3.jpgWith the Synclavier, can you explain that? The mechanical differences in working with that. 
What? for the way I compose on it? I can enter information with the octapad, and I can enter it with the keyboard, or I can type it in.

Can you spontaneously jam with it? 
Yeah. You can take a completely improvised line and build an entire composition out of it.
You see, it’s still a single line. But with this, you can improvise a single line and have that line being played by a whole ensemble of instruments and actually have those instruments play that line in harmony. It’s not an improvised line anymore. It’s an arrangement.

What is all that activity doing to your guitar playing per se— 
Haven’t touched it in two years.
[There is a brief pause as the interviewers collect what’s left of their minds from the floor.]

You haven’t? 
[Zappa sits back in his chair, letting this one sink in.]

You don’t miss it at all? 
Every once in a while… but I don’t play a style that is contemporary, you know? I don’t do all the 1980s guitar noises. Unfortunately, the audience for guitar playing has a real narrow interest span. If you don’t sound like Eddie Van Halen, then apparently you don’t actually play guitar any more. I have no intention of ever sounding like Eddie Van Halen, and, uh, it makes you wonder why you would even bother to play the guitar, because the current audience would listen to it and go, “That’s not a guitar. It doesn’t go ‘wee wee wee wee, wee wee wee wee.'” So why do it?

Dweezil would probably rebut that, what with his own infatuation for Ed Van Halen. 
I’m not saying anything against Eddie because I think what he’s done for the guitar is wonderful. But the thing that’s tragic about the marketplace is that everybody decided that they were all going to do that, and then the competition is not musical. It’s gymnastic. Okay, they say, “I want to sound like Eddie, but in order to be better than Eddie I have to be faster than Eddie.” That seems to be the aesthetic operating procedure in the marketplace. Meanwhile, Edward probably sits back and goes, “These guys are really stupid.” Because I don’t think that’s what he had in mind when he developed the style.
It’s just like with MTV. MTV has a certain look, because it has a limited pictorial vocabulary. All the videos are made up of certain icons. If you don’t work in that vocabulary, then the MTV audience doesn’t perceive it as a real video, know what I mean? It’s gotta have certain things in it. So, take your pick. You can write hooks and go in there and do that shit, or you can do something else. I decided to do something else.
I’m looking for whatever else is out there. I’m looking for different structures, different sounds, different types of harmonic combinations. Different rhythms.

FZ LP2.jpgThe guitar … aside from being busy with other stuff, the reason you put it down two years ago or whatever … does it not give you that anymore? Because I personally–and a lot of our readers–love your guitar sound. To me that always meant your personal voice within whatever music we were hearing. If you had the band going precision and precise … but when you hit the guitar solo, it was not precise at all. It was something transcendent, something out. 
It’s another vegetable. The problem is, most of the best stuff that I will physically be able to do on the guitar is already on tape. You just haven’t heard it yet. I mean, I don’t have much incentive to play it. I don’t have any callouses anymore. I can still think guitar. But to physically manipulate it, I would have to go back in and woodshed for months on end just to be able to do it. For what? There’s really no audience for it. Which is not to say that there’s a great audience for this new digital stuff either, but I have more incentive to work on this, because it leads to other more interesting things than to sit in there and practice the guitar. Because even when I was playing the guitar I didn’t practice. You know? When I was on the road I would do an hour a day before the show, but, I’ve never been one of those guys … Dweezil practices non-stop, day in, day out.

So the guitar solo right now, doesn’t really play a role in your music? Even for things that can’t be done with the Synclavier? 
Well, look at it this way: I got plenty of tapes of these things. I can release another guitar solo album. And, when you see what the guitar solo has been reduced to in contemporary music, it’s like an eight-bar fill. And during that fill, you’re supposed to play every hammer-on lick that you know as fast as you can play it, followed by 15 feedback noises and then get the fuck out of there. You know, that’s what the guitar solo has been reduced to, and that’s not the medium I’ve ever worked in.

I recall you saying once that the hardest thing to accomplish in a guitar solo is to come up with a distinct melody within that solo. The solo itself would be … improvised. 
Yeah, just make it up on the spot–

But a melody– 
–Yeah, well listen to what’s going on in solos today. When was the last time you heard someone make one up with a melody?

When you’re composing, and you’re working with the Synclavier, and you get to a point where in the old days you were thinking about composing for the guitar as well, what do you do at that juncture? Do you put a coda-type thing in there? 
It would be difficult to talk about what I’m doing over there since you don’t know what it is. I should just stop the tape and go over there and show you what I’m doing.
[Stops tape and we get a demo of Frank composing on the Synclavier He taps out a few seemingly random rhythms, makes some observations of the CRT screen and manipulates parameters of music around the “random rhythms.” The music coming out of the Synclavier is many-faceted, but typical Zappa, with percussive marimbaesque runs and odd cat growls prancing about together.]

FZ LP3That sounds like your music. Same guy. 
Are you familiar with the piece on the Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar album called “While You Were Out?” Well, on the new album [Jazz From Hell] there’s a deluxe computer version of that. But it’s not played by a guitar.
I look at that thing-the recording console-and it’s like a musical instrument, if you use it the right way. You’ve gotta start with a musical idea. if it’s not a musical idea what is it? An equation?

How do you get that? How do you start? Do you have entire complicated things full-blown that spring out of your brain, or do you start with something small and you build it up? 
Sometimes, I have a complete vision of what the thing is and it’s just drudgery to go in there and execute the vision. And another way is, you start by hitting a couple of notes on that [Synclavier], and if you like it you save ’em and make a piece on it, and if you don’t you throw it away.

How do you keep track of everything? On each floppy, there’s like a million things… 
Aaah! then you have to have a good memory.

Yet, when we first started talking about this interview, we discussed guitar noisemakers and these devices that you seem to have a fondness for–the Green Ringers and the Uni-Vibes and such. Things that give that idiosyncratic, anarchic tone. 
Well, I like the sound of a guitar. My idea of the best use of a guitar is some thing that’s personal … not necessarily commercially viable. There are things I like to hear coming out of a guitar. But that’s my personal taste.

The Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar series, how did the three records do commercially? 
Real good, as a matter of fact. And it surprised the shit out of a lot of people. For example, when it was first released, there
were 30,000 units of that three-record box sold in France alone. Which is some thing of a merchandising miracle in that country. It’s done well and it’s still selling.

So, are you going to do any more of those? 
Yeah, I got another one that I’ve been fooling around with.

FZ LP4And that’s all stuff, like what you said before, “I don’t have to play guitar because I have so much stuff already” and it’s– 
–it’s on tape, right.

Do you have any urge to play at all in public any more? 
I’d have to have an awful good reason, and in order to play in public I’d have to learn to how to play the guitar again–literally. I don’t have any callouses. I couldn’t bend the strings.

It’s weird because we’re from a guitar magazine and you’re not really into playing guitar anymore. 
Well, what’s that got to do with releasing guitar records? As I told you, there’s plenty of stuff on tape. I can play you some stuff–examples of what’s lurking in the archives. I’ve even sequenced a few of the solos, but I haven’t come up with a satisfactory sequence for about six sides of guitar stuff … there’s just masses to choose from [Solos Frank is talking about will be available as The Guitar World According To Frank Zappa in a future issue of this magazine. Watch for it–GW Ed.]

How were these recorded? 
All live.

They are live. So how do you deal with the 24-track? 
They’re all different. Some of them were recorded four-track live, but that doesn’t mean they sound cheesy. One thing I always hated to do was play guitar in a studio. I always thought it was an incredibly boring experience.

Like playing in a vacuum, isn’t it? So therefore, in order to really play guitar, you’ve got to hire a band, and that becomes cumbersome. And I guess nobody’s going to want to audition just to be in Frank’s back-up band, just so Frank can play guitar. If it’s not necessarily going to go on a record or something. 
That’s true. It’s the law of supply and demand, you know? There ya go.

But with all this involvement, do you still keep up with who the musicians are around here? 
No. I mean, the guys who were good yesterday are still good today-unless they’ve nuked themselves with drugs. The guys that are going to be good, we’ll eventually hear about ’em anyway.

Do you still hear from some of the guys you’ve played with? Does Steve Vai, for instance, keep in touch with you? 
Yeah, he comes over every once in a while. But he was on the road for a year.

How did you first meet up with him? 
He sent me a cassette. When he was 17.

And he was in a music school at the time. 
Berklee.

FZ LP5How about Adrian Belew? 
I found Adrian working in a bar in Memphis, Tennessee. He was working in a bar band. They were all dressed like the Godfather. They had, you know, fake mob-type suits on and stuff and he was doing Roy Orbison imitations.

I never would have thought of him like that. Did you hire him on the spot? 
No. I don’t hire people right away. I give them a chance to audition.

Was he always into that Hendrix thing, or did he develop it later? 
He was doing some of it at that show.

Can you give our readers any practical advice? 
Give me a field. Help them with what? Getting a job? How’s this?: You want to get a job? Practice all your licks real fast. Get a good wardrobe. Get a good barber. Want to get a record contract? Get a good wardrobe, get a good barber. Don’t even worry about how you play. They’re not signing musicians anymore, they’re signing models. Make sure you look good.
Look, everybody who buys a record has a right to buy what they like. And obviously, somebody really enjoys what’s being produced today, or they wouldn’t buy it. However, I think there’s more to music than what is being made available by the record companies because they have been completely bamboozled by the video music syndrome. Record companies have made a major mistake. MTV came along and they thought, “Oh! this is it. We’re no longer going to make records”–those little plastic things that people listen to?–“What we’re going to do, we’re going to sign groups that look like models, so that they can have a video on MTV.”
The down side of this is the record companies are now totally at the mercy of MTV–that’s their main outlet. How many videos can they show on MTV? Not that many. This limits the opportunity for people who actually play music. To play music, because you’re not going on MTV unless you belong on MTV; furthermore, you’re probably not going to get a record contract unless the guy at the record company thinks you look good.
Now, not all musicians are beautiful people. In fact a lot of ’em would generally qualify as being physically unattractive. But so what? If you like a record, you can listen to that record a hundred times and still get off on it. If you like a video, how many times can you watch it? Six, ten? Thirty, if you’re a vegetable. And then it’s old.
So the record industry has kind of chosen this one path and I think they made a mistake. Thev have ignored the desires of that segment of the audience that likes to listen to music. They like to hear it. It goes in through your ears. Video music is another thing. It goes in through your eyes. And better than 50 percent of what you experience is visual. The music is secondary to the pictures. So, if musicians who are just beginning think only of how much money they’re going to make and whether or not they’re going to have that big video career … they have to decide right now whether or not they want to play music or be a model. And if it’s the bucks they’re after, like I said, “Get yourself a good wardrobe. Get a good barber. Don’t worry too much about what you’re going to play,” because the chances are, if your publicity picture really looks good, the guy at the record company won’t even listen to your tape. If you got the look, they’ll find a producer to make you sound like something, because all you’re ever going to do is lip-sync it anyway. Okay? You’re never really gonna have to play it live. Chances are some producer hired by the company will come in and do what you’re supposed to be able to do. And if that sounds like science fiction, I bet there’s plenty of people right now, readin’ the magazine saying, “Yeah, that’s what I want to do!” And they should do it. Because there’s somebody who wants to buy that. But that’s not music as far as I’m concerned.

FZ LP7Did you give Dweezil that advice before he put his lp out? Apparently, it’s worked, because he’s gotten on MTV. And he looks good, so—- 
–well, I can’t help the way he looks. And he chooses his own wardrobe, but the fact of the matter is that Dweezil can actually play an instrument.

So that’s a fluke, according to your theory of how musicians make it these days. 
Yeah, yeah. Uh, he’s a mutation.

No more school for him, right? 
He was out of school at 15 because in California you can take the high school equivalency test at 15 and get a diploma. So he’s out. Moon did the same thing.

So he’s not going to college, or … 
Why should he? He doesn’t want to be a dentist, he doesn’t want to be a lawyer. He wants to be a guitar player.

Are you aware of people like Yngwie Malmsteen? 
I know who he is. Dweezil played me a tape of his.

What do you think of him? 
Uh, not my style. Good …

Does Dweezil look up to him? Is he influenced by him? 
I think everybody who does gymnastic guitar and looks at other gymnastic guitarists sort of goes, “How fast is he movin’ his fingers?” It isa competitive thing. But you have to ask him about that.

Yngwie himself might be an original, but if everybody’s copying him, that shows you how bankrupt people are. 
Yeah, but come on; in the seventies everybody was going as fast as John McLaughiin. As long as the media celebrates the guy who is the fastest, that’s what people are going to go for.
I think it is wonderful to be able to play fast. It’s even more wonderful to play things that are impossible. It’s even more wonderful to defeat the law of averages. Things that you play fast are usually things that you rehearse fast. I’ll tell ya a fast guitar player–Tommy Tedesco. You want to hear somebody play some scales? Go hear Tommy. Tommy can play other stuff, too.

You’ve talked about your antecedents, like Johnny Guitar Watson and others you were influenced by. There’s no obvious trace of them. It must be less literal. 
What I’ve taken from them is not from their sound it’s their attitude. I’m probably stylistically closer to Guitar Slim than anybody else. But since nobody knows what he did …[laughter]There’s a couple of solos he played that I thought were landmarks–but they were very obscure.
Watson, he’s the original minimalist guitar player. The solo on “Lonely Nights,” the one-note guitar solo? Says it all! Gets the point across. I can remember guitar players in high school learning that solo and just going, “But how does he get it to sound that way?” lt really- was one note. If you can play that note against those chord changes and derive the same emotional impact that he got from playing that note, then you’re onto something. He can make that one be so nasty. You know, like, “What’s behind that note? What is the mode? Why are you continuing to play the tonic when the dominant chord comes around? Are you goin’ like this
[gestures with his middle finger in the “F-you” position] with your playing or what?” You have to learn how to do that.

A lot of the new kids playing today aren’t really concerned with all that. And they should be. 
Really, though, if you take away the gymnastics, you have to say, “What’s the message here!” It’s like, uh, a pissing contest [laughter].

But it’s weird, Frank. Here we are, the editors of a guitar magazinewe keep seeing the evidence of this copying of styles that is so prevalent today. And we keep going, like, “What can we do to turn these people onto somebody, like, ‘Listen to a Wes Montgomery record'” or something like that? 
You know what happens if you turn ’em on to that? They’ll copy Wes Montgomery. Because this is a copycat society.

FZ LP6Why is that? It wasn’t always like that. 
The answer is very simple. It’s the same way you train a dog. When you don’t want him to do something, you hit him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. When you do want him to do something. you give him a biscuit. Okay? All the biscuits have been given to copycats. Does anybody in guitar magazines ever say, “Wait a minute. You should get the newspaper on the nose if you’re coming out sounding like the guy next door.” You don’t get the newspaper on the nose. People are being praised and rewarded for copying other people. Look at the award shows on television, People become exalted because they sound the same. And you say, “Why do they do it?” Because there’s nothing to tell a new guy not to do it. Everything tells him, “Yes, do it.” That’s the key to success today, to be the same as the next guy, only faster.
You know why that happens? Because generally the people who write ahout music don’t know music. Anybody can tell whether these four notes are faster than these four notes. But what does it take to listen to Johnny Guitar Watson’s one note, and know that he’s doin’ that? Did you ever point that out to a reader. Did you ever get across that there’s something more to it than rilly-rilly-ree?
If the criticism or reporting of current musical events is left to people who do not have enough of a musicological back ground to even know where the licks were stolen from–whaddaya got? There’s nothing wrong with themes so long as you admit where the shit came from.

Was there ever a practitioner of the guitar— Hendrix, say—-that blew you away in terms of being a total original? 
One of the most interesting guys on guitar on the planet is Allan Holdsworth. I really respect his playing.
Billy Gibbons is an original. The style that he does, although I know a lot of the blues antecedents that it was derived from, he goes likethat [raises middle finger again]. You’ve gotta have that in your playing.
I thought Hendrix was great. But the very first time I saw him I had the incredible misfortune to be sitting real close to him at the Au Go Go in New York City, and he had a whole stack of Marshalls and I was right in front of it. I was physically ill–I couldn’t get out, it was so packed I couldn’t escape. And although it was great, I didn’t see how anybody could inflict that kind of volume on himself let alone other people. That particular show he ended by taking the guitar and impaling it in the low ceiling of the club. Just walked away and left it squealing.

 

Nuvo WindStars receives a ‘Best In Show’ at Namm

The arts are taking a beating in our schools.

Declining budgets have forced massive cutbacks in school music programs and the number of teachers who leave the profession within the first five years of their career is a shocking 50 percent.

Fewer teachers means fewer instructors qualified to teach music to our children.

And, that is a shame because music education provides our children with multiple benefits.

It improves their language skills, ups their test scores, enhances their self-esteem, improves their listening skills, makes their brains work harder, relieves stress, heightens creativity, boosts special needs students, and, overall, results in higher graduation rates.

We need music in our schools and we need to find a way to make it affordable to all.

That’s why we are so pleased to see Nuvo WindStars instruments and programs receive a “Best In Show” award at Winter NAMM 2019.

It has been shown that the younger a student is when they begin their musical education, the more positive impact it will have on their academic career.

The Nuvo WindStars instruments and programs, are built with children in mind. They are sized so smaller hands can play the notes, which are arranged in a fashion to make it easy for the students when they graduate to full-scale instruments. Not that the instruments are solely for kids – adults seem to love them, too – but this comfort and ease make them less intimidating and less daunting than jumping into full-sized, and expensive, instruments.

Among the instruments in the Nuvo catalog are recorders, toots (like a flute), doods (like a clarinet), the jSax, a clarineo, their jFlute, and student flute.

These instruments, besides being scaled to fit smaller hands, are also extremely lightweight.

That doesn’t mean that the musical integrity of the instrument is compromised. Although the design makes producing a musical sound in an easier manner, that doesn’t mean that the tonal quality has been sacrificed. You still get the warm, richness of the notes.

Larger, heavier full-scale instruments are also quite fragile and repairs can be very, very expensive. But, the Nuvo WindStars are built to be durable, an asset beneficial in the classroom. And, they are easy to maintain. A little warm soapy water and they are good as new.

The important thing here is that these instruments are quite affordable, making it easier for students to participate in that incredible miracle of making music.

The WindStars program also has a variety of music books with some all-time favorite songs and backing tracks composed or arranged for a WindStars band.

Ortega ukes take ‘Best In Show’ at NAMM

When he was Fab, Beatle George Harrison was known for wielding a tone-rich Gretsch Country Gentleman and a Rickenbacker 360/12 with a funky tone knob.

Years later, in his post-Beatles days when he would settle in on his 150-acre estate in Hawaii, he would pass the time strumming on a ukulele.

A rock god playing the uke?

Yes, a rock god playing the uke.

“Whenever you went ‘round George’s house, after dinner the ukuleles would come out and you’d inevitably find yourself singing all these old numbers,” Paul McCartney has said.

Harrison’s Traveling Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty had fond memories of George and the ukulele.

“He came in (Petty’s house) with two ukuleles and gave me one,” Petty said. ‘You gotta play this thing, it’s great! Let’s jam.’ (I said) I have no idea how to play a ukulele. ‘Oh, it’s no problem, I’ll show you.’ So we spent the rest of the day playing ukuleles, strolling around the yard. My wrist hurt the next day. But he taught me how to play it, and a lot of the chord formations. When he was going I walked out to the car and he said, ‘Well, wait…I want to leave some ukuleles here.’ He’d already given me one, so I said, ‘Well, I’ve got this.’ ‘No, we may need more!’ he said. He opened his trunk and he had a lot of ukuleles in there, and I think he left four at my house. He said, ‘Well, you never know when we might need them, because not everybody carries one around.'”

Whether George Harrison can take claim for revitalizing the ukulele’s popularity or not, they are now a hot item.

The quality and uniqueness of the Ortega Guitars ukuleles make them a best-seller and a respected name in the business, as evidenced by their receipt of one of Winter NAMM 2019’s “Best In Show” awards.

Ortega is a German ukulele manufacturer. Primarily a classical guitar company Ortega also manufactures guitarleles, mandolins, acoustic basses, banjos and percussive accessories.

They even make a double-neck ukulele with eight strings on top and four on the bottom if you any to have a go at “Stairway To Heaven,” ukulele style.

You can find Ortega ukes made of exotic wood, with rainbow paint jobs, double “F” holes, fretless, acoustic, or acoustic electric with a homegrown preamp.

Ortega makes beginner ukes, pro ukes, tenor ukes, baritone ukes, and everything in between and, quite frankly, with the tremendous growth in the industry – sales have tripled worldwide in the last five years – they are all richly needed.

This is serious business these days and Ortega is taking its business very seriously.

So whether you’re lolling on the beach in the warm sunshine or looking for that certain special sound for your latest recording, you might find yourself reaching for a uke.

They’re not just for hulas any more.

SOMA 63 Vintage Preamp scores ‘Best in Show’ at NAMM

We can’t all afford those top-shelf boutique amps or those fragile vintage treasures from a bygone era.

Why?

Because, let’s face it, most working guitar players are, more often than not, cash-strapped.

That doesn’t mean they have to suffer from terminal Gear Acquisition Syndrome to fill out their rig in search of that sound only they can hear.

So if you suffer from GAS and are Jonesin’ for that gritty amp tone from the Brownface Era, but just don’t have the money for one of those classic Fenders made from 1959-1963, Greer Amps has developed a pedal to cover you.

They call it the SOMA 63 Vintage Preamp and it just won a “Best In Show” award at Winter NAMM 2019.

The Brownface amps manufactured by Fender over the short span of four years were transitional monsters that cleaned up the character of the legendary Tweeds, but with more grit and gristle than the Blackface amps that followed.

It was a unique sound that launched a thousand hits.

The pedal comes with an intuitive and simple array of controls – volume, gain, presence, bass, and treble – that you can squeeze a lot of sounds out of, from a sweet, full clean to nasty, broken-up thunder.

The focal point is a steel core transformer in the audio signal path. Heating up that little component is what gave those vintage amps their charm. It turns the trick in this pedal, too.

Cut the gain on the SOMA 63 and you get a mildly overdriven tone. Not too dirty, but certainly not innocent. Dime it and you saturate the transformer for a wicked sound that makes your amp sound just this side of a 50-megaton explosion. But, and this is a big but, even when the pedal pushes your tone to that razor’s edge, you still maintain the definition of the shapes you are pushing. You cannot say that about most pedals that distort or fuzz it all up into a sonic mess. And, that definition is what separates this pedal from the pack and probably why this preamp got the nod at NAMM.

How does it work?

Set the gain at half or lower and you get those classic brown tones that you can further tweak.

Push the gain and it begins to spit venom.

In between?

Enough variations to satisfy even the pickiest tonemeister.

The Soma 63 can take the place of your current OD pedal, but think of it in terms of tone shaping instead to explore the many nuances it offers.

I’m not a pedal guy.

Most of the time they add more clutter than color.

This pedal is an exception.

Neumann nabs a ‘Best In Show’ at NAMM

For years, Neumann was known for producing some of the finest microphones and studio monitors in the business.

However, the company just nabbed a “Best In Show” at NAMM 2019 for its breakthrough Neumann NDH 20 closed-back studio headphones.

The headphones take the world-class technology of the Neumann studio monitors and place them directly into your ears whether in the studio or on location.

The headphones feature a linear sound balance; isolation that cuts through in noisy environments; and a design that makes it easy on the ears, making them ideal whether you are monitoring, editing, or mixing tracks in the studio or on the road.

Neumann put some newly designed 38-mm drivers with high-gauss neodymium magnets in these beauties to give the listener high sensitivity and minimal distortion without having to plug into a dedicated headphone amp, which means it works just as well whether it is plugged into a studio console or a laptop. It was engineered to eliminate the usual resonances in the midband that often distort most closed-back headphones.

Slip these on and the peripheral noises disappear, allowing you to do your mix with sonic isolation.

The headphones are a tip of the hat to the Sennheiser closed-back HD-630VB, but make no mistake, this is next-level technology.

Wolfgang Fraissinet, President of Neumann.Berlin, said these headphones have an unusually flat frequency response and a natural stereo image and a built-in compatibility to all playback systems.

It’s all in the ears, you know.

Without a clean signal there isn’t much you can do to massage the mix and take it from ho-hum to wow!

No worries when you plug in the NDH 20. You’re right there in the midst of all the sonic havoc.

And, these little gems are easy on the ears in another way – user comfort.

The headband is made from flexible spring steel, the ear cups are cut from lightweight aluminum, and the NDH 20 features large and soft ear pads made from durable memory foam.

Put it all togtether and it is no wonder why Neumann walked away with one of the NAMM 2019 “Best In Show” awards.

The Delgado Brothers will blow you away; Dennis Jones Band rocks it live

By ED KOCIELA

 

TWO TRAINS – The Delgado Brothers Band

2-trains-4.jpgThanks, Juke Logan, for the part you played in reuniting the Delgado Brothers Band.

As a longtime harp man, producer, and performer, you saw the talent there, the spark, the innate musical sensibilities of a top-of-the-line band that deserves to be heard.

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photo by Casey Reagan

You see, the Delgados had a stab at the musical brass ring back in 1987 when they were signed to Hightone Records and Dennis Walker and Bruce Bromberg, who made magic with Robert Cray, were brought in to help with their debut album.

The album sold a miserly 25,000 copies and Hightone, disappointed, dropped the band.

The Delgados decided then that they would never again compromise their artistic integrity and vision for a record deal. Making music is one thing, hustling for the record for the suits who have ruined the business is quite another, so they kept the gig going for a couple years before packing it in back in 1994.

It took Logan two years to convince the guys to rethink their decision to put away their instruments.

Luckily, the band decided to give it another go, with the provision that they do it on their own terms.

All it takes is one play-through of their latest album, “Two Trains,” to see that this is a band that has a lot to say musically, lyrically, and every other way that matters.

Let’s put it this way, this album is the best I’ve heard in a long, long time, and that includes the mega-bucks guys with high profiles and lucrative recording and touring deals.

The best.

Not the best I’ve heard today.

Not the best I’ve heard lately.

The best I’ve heard in years.

Seriously.

Bobby Delgado bass Steve Delgado drums - vocals

Bobby (left) and Steve Delgado photo by Casey Reagan

Whether it’s the pure vocal tones of drummer Steve Delgado, soulful Hammond B3 touches of David Kelley, driving bass lines of Bobby Delgado, the dead-center-perfect lead work of Joey Delgado, or that spicy Latin percussion, this album is a must, and not only for blues aficionados. There’s something here for everybody.

Look, I’m not some greasy used car salesman trying to get you to put your money on a dusty, worn-out Chevette in the corner of the lot, when you really have your eye set on a flashy, new Mustang. I’m just trying to turn you on to something that will take you from the blahs to your happy place in 3.6 seconds and never hit the brakes.

The album kicks off with “Live for Today,” which rolls in with an insistent drum intro by Steve Delgado that blends with Kelley’s swirling Hammond B3 wizardry.

The vocal is pure evocative tone, the guitar is note-for-note perfect without unnecessary pyrotechnics, and the bass gets deep in the pocket, holding it all together.

Everything is tight, clean. You can tell immediately that these guys share the same blood because of how they blend, how they complete each other from measure to measure.

Now, let’s get this out of the way early.

Being a Latin band, one of the first things you listen for is the Carlos Santana influence and, yes, it’s there, from the rich, ringing sustain and sexy tone to the rhythmic beauty. But, make no mistake, this isn’t some Santana tribute band copping his licks. The influence is there, but it is interpreted, not copied. This is original, one-of-a-kind music,

I’ve heard guys list Clapton or Stevie Ray as influences and, well, for the most part, they are nicking riffs, copying runs, playing like a slick cover band.

Not these guys.

They are, despite their lengthy career, fresh, invigorating, listenable.

The second cut on the album, “450 Mulberry – I Won’t Forget,” begins with a chugging guitar intro, the full, rich sound of keyboards and an almost gospel-style riff over a grooving bass line, topped with another stellar vocal performance.

“Two Trains,” the album’s title cut, has a lazy, jazzy feel.

Joey Delgado guitar Steve Delgado drums Ishmael 'Ish' Pineda percussion Rena Delgado bottom right

photo by Casey Reagan

Joey Delgado shows that he learned his chops right on this one with an economical lead guitar that drops in at all the right places. He truly knows how to play between the notes.

“If Only I Could Sing” follows with a sort of funky R&B thing going on infused with the coolest bass break by Bobby Delgado.

I like “Circle of Friends,” which follows, for its ‘60s guitar vibe thing. Joey coaxes some tasty work out of his Gibson 335, pushed along by an undulating rhythm section.

Want something with heart and soul, emotion and passion?
Try on “Talk to Me.” It fits nicely.

This isn’t some dime store blues, it’s the real deal, a longer piece to fully tell the story. The guitar work, again, enhances, doesn’t distract from the song. Nobody is competing for space, instead stirring up a seamless brew of musical poetry. I think that’s the key to this band. Everything is in perfect balance, perhaps a nod to the album’s production?

Joey Delgado guitar

Joey Delgado photo by Casey Reagan

We get two dollops of creamy guitar solo. The plea of this storyteller is “talk to me.” The guitar does. I would imagine this to be a burner in a live setting.

Want a little Latin swing?

You’ve got it in “Explore Your Mind.”

Want something with some groovy waves?
Try on “The River,” a sort of Latin psychedelic thing with an almost hypnotic groove that sucks you in and holds you until it is finished with you.

Want something really different?
Give “Ohana Tennessee” a spin.

It has a bit of a Celtic-country feel and rhythm to it. There’s an odd time signature, sort of like John Prine’s “Paradise,” that carries the listener into some different time and place. If there truly was such a thing as a real country radio station these days instead of that synthetic crap poisoning our ears I could see this one slipping into the playlist.

Want a funky jam thing?
No problem, just dial in “Things Have Changed,” with its chunky rhythms and groovy guitar work.

And, it all comes full circle with “Inspiration,” with its southern blues vibe.

David B Kelley keys

David Kelley photo by Casey Reagan

There’s a time change about midway through that is handled with a gentle, adept hand. I want this one live, too, because I have a feeling it’s got the kind of legs you’d hear in an Allman Brothers Band jam. I hate to tag things like that, but it’s the only way to get the idea across.

These guys listened to the right kind of stuff somewhere along the line.

They took a lot of years absorbing those influences and creating a sound that is unique, identifiable, compelling.

I hate using the word “great.” It is overworked, losing its full meaning.

But, this is truly a great album.

On a scale of 10, this one gets the full measure, a big, bright, sparkly 10.

 

 

WE3 LIVE – The Dennis Jones Band

Power trios can be a tricky thing.

WE3Live_CoverArtEven the seminal Cream had uneven performances with huge gaps. Contortions on the bass and guitar to fill the gaps of a small ensemble often led to awkward musical moments hidden behind ear-splitting volume and unnecessary flash. Thanks to overdubbing and the layering it offers The Jimi Hendrix Experience covered a lot of those gaps in the studio and through his histrionics and showmanship on stage.

“There’s nothing better (than being in a three-piece band) on a good night (but) on a bad night, there’s nothing worse,” guitar virtuoso Joe Walsh has said. He would know, having had a rhythm guitar player walk out on The James Gang just before a gig where it opened for Cream.

It can come out thin, it can come out muddy, or, when the planets are properly aligned and the sun is in the right house, it can all come together in that big, ballsy wall of sound tighter than Spandex on an aging hair band.

“We3 Live” is as ballsy as it gets.

This is groove-heavy stuff.

Jones is a pretty fair guitarslinger who wears his influences on his sleeve.

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Dennis Jones photo by Craig Erickson

Listen closely and you’ll hear SRV, Clapton, Johnny Winter, and I believe I even detected some Robin Trower.

This album is a little dark, a heavy-bottomed piece of work and I call it work because the sweat pours through each track.

You get your first clue with the opening song, “Blue Over You,” paced by a heavy bottom and soaring guitar licks.

But, be ready for a quick turn.

“When I Die” is an interesting Black Sabbath meets Peggy Lee thing, a sort of “War Pigs Fever” mashup, if you will with jazzy changes and overtones.

That bass sends a shiver up my spine.

It’s thick and dark and threatening as an alley prowler.

Jones?

He’s ripping a tasty lead where he channels his Troweresque influences.

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Dennis Jones photo by Craig Erickson

“Passion for The Blues” is a sort of swampy blues with a killer beat. Imagine Buddy Guy flicking a switchbade in the midnight darkness. It’s a tribute piece paying homage to some of the greats, from Muddy to B.B. and others. But, what makes it work is that instead of nicking their chops, he takes those influences and puts his own brand on the licks, which echo like the dripping wall of a damp cave.

Jones has nice, rich vocals, which he puts forth in “Stray Bullet.”

I like “Hot Sauce” not so much for the lyrics, but for the great ‘60s vibe. The song kicks off like a whirligig but takes on the energy of a freight train running with a lick echoing from someplace long ago and faraway like a psychedelic flashback.

“Don’t Worry About Me” is another one that packs a punch musically but falls just short lyrically. Great groove, great voice, but lacking a little on lyrical maturity.

“Super Deluxe” strikes yet another listener-friendly pose with a little SRV dash of goodness; “Enjoy The Ride” reminds me of a Johnny Winter romp; and “You Don’t Know A Thing” brings SRV to mind again.

Again, those influences are not a bad thing, especially when Jones puts his touch to them. Instead of being tired clichés, they are fresh and invigorating. This man’s got some chops.

It gets serious with “Kill The Pain,” a song that will become the DJB’s “Champagne and Reefer” song.

It gets even more serious with “Big Black Cat,” my favorite song from the album.

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DJB photo by Craig Erickson

It rocks in a tight pocket. Everything balances – guitar, bass, drums, vocals. There’s a razor-sharp solo that pushes the envelope. What more could you ask for?

“Devil’s Nightmare” ambles along. A bit too loose for me, but it’s followed with a nice little piece of boogie called “I’m Good.”

The album closes out with “Born Under A Bad Sign,” one of those songs that everybody mistakenly feels obligated to take on. The DJB pushes it from its plodding roots to something with a bit of flash and sparkle, far from the lumbering drag so many others have mired themselves with in an effort to do a throwback piece.

Not one of my favorite songs – Cream never seemed to get it quite right and even Albert King saw fit to record it twice – this is perhaps the best version I’ve heard. It’s one of those songs that fits best into a live context, which is what you get here, rather than trying to evoke a mood in a dimly lit studio amid the reefer smoke and whiskey.

Live music is of the moment and “Born Under A Bad Sign,” as offered, is in that one particular moment of performance, mood, perspective.

Who knows what it sounded like during the band’s next gig.

Different, I am sure.

I like the DJB, which, as the album shows, was having a very good night.

On a scale of 10, this one gets an 8.

Toad The Wet Sprocket, Charlotte, NC

text and photos by JOHN LANDOLFI for MusicUcansee

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Toad The Wet Sprocket

Where were you in 1994?  Well, Toad the Wet Sprocket was releasing its fourth studio album “Dulcinea,” and  I was making serious career and life decisions. Life, at that time, was getting complicated but moderately OK.

Never a huge fan of mainstream “soft” ’90s music  I had a musical range of Blink 182, REM, and Green Day to Nirvanna, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica, Aerosmith…you get the idea.

After just breaking up from a long-term relationship, I was driving aimlessly through ‘Jersey when “Toad” came on a New York radio station that usually played a bit harder rock music.  I was immediately intrigued by the band, the tone, the lyrics and as Toad’s founder Glen Phillips once said, “Songs (that) are supposed to elicit an emotion.”

They did.

No over-the-top sound, no gimmicks, just four regular guys from California — Glen

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Toad The Wet Sprocket rocks Charlotte

Phillips on lead vocals, rhythm guitar, mandolin, and keyboards; Randy Guss playing drums and singing backing vocals; Todd Nichols on lead guitar; and Dean Dinning on bass and keyboards putting together a special sound, as well as emotional and spiritual lyrics that seemed to penetrate the musical soul of any generation.

This night in Charlotte, NC was no different.  Even the pre-concert performance was outstanding and entertaining.  The music was as energetic as ever and the harmonies were perfect.  The multi-generational crowd often begged for more.

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Checking the audience in Charlotte

If you haven’t been to a “Toad” show, you are missing out.

Go with friends, by yourself, on date night, or whenever. Just go. The band will often center you and always point you in a better direction.

I’m, thankful for that day I heard Toad on the radio and became a fan. On an extra-added note, it was “Dulcinea” that saved me again in 2009 while I was on my second date with a girl, motoring  down the NJ shore. As she rifled through all my CDs she was getting particularly agitated, making audible groans of disappointment, until she found Toad’s “Dulcinea” the only CD I owned that held both of our interests.

Thank God, or she never would have married me later.

Thanks Toad, much appreciated.

See you next time.

SETLIST

The Moment
Crowing
Whatever I Fear
All I Want
Architect of the Ruin
Windmills
Fly From Heaven
Golden Age
Good Intentions
Brother
Don’t Fade
(With “Breathe” snippet by Pink Floyd)
California Wasted
Nobody’s Gonna Get Hurt
Enough
Come Back Down
Nightingale Song
Crazy Life
Fall Down

Encore
I’ll Bet on You
Something’s Always Wrong
Walk on the Ocean

 

OZZY OSBOURNE HOLMDEL, NJ, Sept. 10, 2018

text and photos by JOHN LANDOLFI for MusicUcansee

The metal gods certainly don’t know much about regulating the rain as it was awful weather, day and night.  The one thing I took particular notice of was that New Jersey fans didn’t seem to  care.  They were there for Ozzy, like a family reunion.

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The Prince of Darkness, backstage in New Jersey.

So we are in Ozzy”s  dressing room, and  before I could get all the words out to Ozzy that “I saw Black Sabbath on the Black and Blue tour in 1980 at Madison squ…”    Ozzy exclaimd “that wasn’t me I wasn’t in the fucking band then!“

I then quickly replied, “I know”  and that it was my first concert … “its unfortunate you weren’t in there at the time.”

I continued to go to Ozzy’s solo concerts and then saw him with Black Sabbath on various tours.  I also made sure he also  knew that we had met previously when we were on the set of “Little Nicky,” so I didn’t want to get him more riled up!

No worries, It was simply awesome just to be in his presence.

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Ozzy takes the stage.

A “gentle man” who allowed us to ask him anything or explain anything about him, his life,  sobriety or his family.

A peaceful soul who let us into his life for a brief 20 minutes where he still gets emotional when talking about Randy Rhodes, of what an exemplary, well-rounded musician Randy was being classically trained and adding so much to Ozzy’s band, career and life.

He actually can’t tell a “Randy” story without showing real deep sadness saying, “there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him.”

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Zakk Wylde handles lead guitar chores for Ozzy.

Ozzy is proud of his accomplishments and his current band, which consists of Zakk Wylde on guitar, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson on bass, Tommy Clufetos on drums, and Adam Wakeman (son of Rick) on keyboards.

Ozzy insisted on bringing back the foam gun, which the crowd loved.  They played all the great songs from his solo career and Black Sabbath, opening with “Bark at the Moon” and ending with “Paranoid.”

He didn’t disappoint his fans keeping up with his younger bandmates while being every bit the entertainer.

Ozzy demanded that the crowd clap in sync and have a great time.

Wylde was incredible as his sound check performance was one of the most impressive displays of showmanship I have ever seen.

Playing solos for six minutes behind his back and with his teeth,  he took the opportunity to exhaust the crew, the writers, and small crowd of VIPs.

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Zakk Wylde shredding it in New Jersey.

During the concert, while in the middle of “War Pigs,” Zack ventured out into the crowd about 20-30 rows deep, much to the crowd’s delight, and played nonstop solos between six to eight minutes long.

He exhausted himself and gave everything he had as the crowd was as stunned at him popping up in their row as they were as astonished at his incredible talent. It was a shredding extravaganza. Then Clufetos followed with his own powerful drum solo.

There was a feeling of being lucky to see this performance and to get so close to the band.  This was a special night and the people of NJ knew it And appreciated being part of it.

Ozzy said good night after the 97-minute set.

Thankfully, it’s not goodbye.

He’s doing another leg of his U.S. Tour in 2019, however,  an exclusive that hasn’t been released to the public yet is that there is a special performance planned for New Year’s Eve.

But you didn’t hear that from me.

Setlist

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Ozzy did a 97-minute set in New Jersey.

1.      Bark at the Moon
2       Mr. Crowley
3.      I Don’t Know
4.      Fairies Wear Boots
5.      Suicide Solution
6.      No More Tears
7.      Road to Nowhere
8.      War Pigs
9.      Miracle Man / Crazy Babies / Desire / Perry Mason
10.     Drum Solo
11.     I Don’t Want to Change the World
12.     Shot in the Dark
13.     Crazy Train
14.     Mama, I’m Coming Home
15.     Mama, I’m Coming Home(played a second time on Ozzy’s request)
16.     Paranoid
17.     Changes

MusicUcansee caught Jeff Beck on the Stars Align Tour August 19 at the PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC

text and photos by JOHN LANDOLFI for MusicUcansee

Charlotte, NC – I knew from the get-go that I wasn’t going to chat with Jeff Beck at the show. The publicist told me, “No meet and greet with Beck,” but I really didn’t care. Tonight was about the music.

Beck was on top of his game reminding me why I picked up the album “Blow by Blow” when I was 11 years old. It really took me back. While there was only a memory of Tal

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Jeff Beck rocks Charlotte, North Carolina

Wilkenfield, the striking bassist of his band from a few years back, JB was fully armed with his current touring band – stalwart drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting, Herbie Hancock), vocalist/harmonica/sax player Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), bassist Rhonda Smith (Prince, Chaka Khan, Beyoncé, George Clinton) and cellist Vanessa Freebairn-Smith.

Beck seemed to own the stage with his intricate guitar work and style as he took a look back to yesteryear. Things got wet (Willie) when Jimmy Hall stepped in and sang a few songs. This was a cosmic flashback moment, literally. In 1985, Hall sang lead vocals on Jeff Beck’s “Flash” album, and was nominated for a Grammy award for his efforts.

As this writer understands it Free/Bad Company leader Paul Rodgers and Beck take turns in headlining every other venue of the “Stars Align” tour, which kicked off July 18 (with

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Paul Rodgers and Jeff Beck

Ann Wilson) in West Valley, Utah and comes to an end August 26 in Tampa.

Beck should have had another hour this tonight as he was on fire. He ran through all of the classics and he must have known I was in the audience when he decided to play Hendrix’ “Little Wing.”

Two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee, as a solo artist and member of the Yardbirds, Beck is the subject of a new documentary, “Still on the Run: The Jeff Beck Story,” out on DVD and Blu-Ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment. The film includes interviews with Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Rod Stewart, Slash, Joe Perry, and Ronnie Wood, among others.

Paul Rodgers’ contribution to posterity can be seen here on the Paul Rodgers site http://www.paulrodgers.com/ .

Stars Align Tour Instant Live Recordings

VNUE will be recording shows from the Stars Align tour with Paul Rodgers and making the recordings available for download within minutes after the last note each night via VNUE’s set.fm mobile content delivery app and web-site.

The recordings began July 24 in Houston, Texas, and continue through August 26 in Tampa, Florida.

Fans may pre-purchase the shows by visiting http://bit.ly/PaulRodgersLive. A collector’s item “VIP LIVE” club laminate with any two free show recordings will be available for pre-sale by clicking through the link.

The shows may also be purchased by downloading the set.fm app at the Apple App Store or Google Play.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Willows Animal Sanctuary, a charity supported by Paul and his wife Cynthia Rodgers.

For more information visit set.fm/artists/paulrodgers.

Jeff Beck setlist
Pull It
Stratus
Nadia
You Know You Know
Morning Dew
I Have to Laugh
Lonnie on the Move
Mná na h-Éireann
Just for Fun
Little Wing
Big Block
Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers
Brush With the Blues
Superstition
A Day in the Life
Encore
Corpus Christi Carol
Going Down

Paul Rodgers setlist
Little Bit of Love
Can’t Get Enough
Wishing Well
Feel Like Makin’ Love
The Stealer
Ready for Love
Movin’ On
Mr. Big
Woman
Fire and Water
Shooting Star
Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy
Encore
Walk in My Shadow
All Right Now

Ann Wilson setlist
The Real Me
Barracuda
Ain’t No Way
I Am the Highway
Back to Black
You Don’t Own Me
Life in the Fast Lane
Won’t Get Fooled Again

Complete list of Jeff Beck tour dates this summer:
July 18, 2018 – West Valley City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
July 20, 2018 – Irvine, CA @ Five Point Amphitheatre
July 21, 2018 – Phoenix, AZ @ Celebrity Theater * (Jeff Beck Solo)
July 22, 2018 – Chula Vista, CA @ Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
July 24, 2018 – Houston, TX @ Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
July 25, 2018 – Dallas, TX @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
July 26, 2018 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live -Moody Theater * (Jeff Beck Solo)
July 28, 2018 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 29, 2018 – Chicago, IL @ Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
July 31, 2018 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
August 1, 2018 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
August 3, 2018 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
August 4, 2018 – Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
August 5, 2018 – York, PA @ Appell Center * (Jeff Beck Solo)
August 7, 2018 – Lewiston, NY @ Art Park * (Jeff Beck w/ Ann Wilson)
August 8, 2018 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
August 10, 2018 – Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
August 11, 2018 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Heinz Hall ** (Jeff Beck w/ Ann Wilson)
August 12, 2018 – Holmdel, NJ @ P.N.C. Bank Arts Center
August 14, 2018 – Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
August 15, 2018 – Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre * (Jeff Beck Solo)
August 17, 2018 – Nashville, TN @ Nashville Municipal Auditorium
August 19, 2018 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
August 20, 2018 – Vienna, VA @ Wolftrap * (Jeff Beck w/Ann Wilson)
August 22, 2018 – Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre
August 23, 2018 – Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place
August 25, 2018 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Coral Sky Amphitheatre
August 26, 2018 – Tampa, FL @ MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre