Muschamp Rd

Zen and the Art of the Blues

June 2nd, 2010
Too Bad Jim

Today wasn’t the best day. Last night I couldn’t sleep. I was reading “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” and I got up to look up a book on actual motorcycle maintenance, you’d be surprised how influential this book is. It is found in the philosophy section, but I’m more interested in the motorcycle maintenance and I guess the father son dynamic. My dad was a biker.

Not a Hell’s Angel, he didn’t wear colors or leathers, though he had some riding leathers I’m sure of it. He took one of those big rides, down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Baja in Mexico. He went with my uncle Jeff, left my mom, my sister, and I at home in Deep Bay. He did the trip on an 1100 CC Honda, Jeff was on the Gold Wing, my dad’s might have been a silver wing, I remember it being red. My mom wasn’t big on biking. At some point he sold that bike. When he died he had 350 maybe a 450 Honda Enduro. He used it to go fishing. He had a piece of PVC taped to it to put the rods in. I road on the back of that one probably more than I did on the back of road Honda.

I did a little dirt biking when I was a kid, I had friends who were more into it. I never had my own bike. My grandfather fixed up some old bike for my sister, that she used to ride around his farm, I liked ATVs better or just plain pedal bikes. Reading this book maybe has me nostalgic, I’ll never get to do the father son motorcycle trip, at least not as the son.

My grandma told me my grandfather and my dad fixed up old bikes one winter in their basement. That is the advantage to motorcycles as opposed to classic cars. You don’t need many if any power tools unless you want to weld your own frame. If your frame breaks, maybe it is time to get a new bike, yah know? I watched a lot of those Biker Build Off TV Shows and I think I could have done better than some of the guys on Build or Bust. One day I might have to get a project bike, see if I can get it back running. Not sure about biking 1000s of miles though, I’d rather go in my Eldorado…

The rest of the day I just kinda wasted, unless you also consider waiting on hold for over an hour not a waste. I did get one piece of good news, while I was sick I didn’t miss the Sadies concert, it is this Friday. One of my former coworkers is interested in attending, of course it probably is sold out. The opening band recently was on the cover of the Georgia Straight. I read the article, it was heartening to learn that a couple of gals from East Van can rise to some level of fame playing music I kinda play. The Pack A.D. is a two piece, like the Black Keys or the White Stripes, but I’m sure they’re tired of those comparisons. More importantly I’m influenced by the bands that influence these duos, Mississippi Fred McDowell, R. L. Burnside, and folks like Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. I think I may be a little too old and fat to be a rock star, but being old and fat isn’t a disadvantage in the Blues.

I’m going for the Sadies. I’ve seen the Sadies but not at a small sweaty venue, I bought my ticket before the Pack A.D. was added to the bill. Here are some YouTube clips:

The best song Johnny Cash ever wrote…

Gretsch with a slide on the pinky, just like someone always goes on and on about wanting to do…

Locally if you want a drum and guitar combo, I vote Rich Hope and his Evil Doers.

Now for the originators:

Luther Perkins’ the boom chicka boom guitar sound, the Man in Black’s right hand man.

Mister Guitar, Chet Atkins.

North Mississippi Hill Country Juke Joint Style

I couldn’t find any video footage, but Memphis Minnie is probably the best old school chick guitarist.

This is who Janis Joplin imitated the most, Big Momma Thorton, who also played a mean harmonica and it doesn’t hurt to have the greatest living guitarist as a sideman either.

Mr. Lucky

As Wolf and Muddy got older and fatter they gave up playing the guitar mostly, but I like my blues old and crazy.

Acoustic and no slide, it was Jon Spencer and the rest of the Blues Explosion that convinced him to play louder and crazier like he and his family and friends did at their house parties, back on the farm. They recorded “Ass pocket of whiskey” in a barn.

One of these days I gotta try to learn some songs via my computer instead of just playing alone on my couch hour after hour.

I was at this show with Thor and probably Owen.

Well, well, well!

You know who played guitar with R.L. on one tour? BOB LOG!!!

He’s playing the Biltmore on the 15th, I got tickets for that show too. Amazingly here is Bob playing in Vancouver at yet another show I was at!

God damn that sounds good!


  • Stefan Hofbauer

    I see: You've got the Blues now! Great!
    Are you practising you guitar a lot?
    Mine are sadly standing or hanging around without being played a lot. Allthough I often have the urge to play more again and learn again, I can't really get the motivation.
    Bye the way: Old and fat is no problem being a Blues star? Hmmm I might start a career!
    Do you know Joe Bonamassa / Matt Andersen / Sue Tedeschi?
    Not really pure Blues, but I like them.
    Talk to you soon and I am waiting for a Blues update!
    yours
    Stefan

  • I always have the blues.

    I spent three hours playing guitar late into the night watching Dark Angel. I really should try harder to get better, but mainly I play random improvisational stuff, some scales, some patterns, I try to be more strategic and come up with new stuff. I have books and the computer, but mainly I just let my fingers do their thing, trying to get cool sounds.

    I know of them, except maybe Matt Andersen, is he Canadian? Big white guy? I missed him when he was in town, but I wrote about him on my blog.

    Take care cuz.

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