I have been to both Spain and Oklahoma!
And how are you doing? Are you sitting comfortably? Or perhaps you’re at a standing, height-adjustable desk, just a-wheeling and dealing? Either way, I hope you’re comfortable and happy.
Let’s start with the near future.
On the weekend of November 4 and 5 I’ll be at the Baked Potato for a couple of nights.
Saturday, November 4 finds Beer For Dolphins (quartet config. w/Beller, Travers and Musallam) back at the Potato for two sets. This will be the last MK/BFD excursion for 2017 so come celebrate all the holidays at once with us! Tickets can be found waiting patiently for you here. (The ticket page only lists the trio version of BFD but all four of us will be there, promise.)
On Sunday, November 5 the Potato presents the Kris Myers Band, featuring Kris Myers (superb Umphrey’s McGee drumsman, and he’s all over Scambot 2 and Inkling as well) along with me, Pete Griffin, Ben Thomas and Billy Steinway. Two sets of tomfoolery. We’ll be playing quite the dizzying array of tunes including my all time favorite Tom Waits song. Your ticket to this whizbang event is accessible here. (Kris, Pete, Ben and I will soon be debuting another new original band, along with keyboardist Jonathan Sindelman. We presently have eight new songs in the works. More soon re: that action.)
Now, regarding the recent past.
I was just in Chicago at Progtoberfest III at Reggie’s, playing with BFD trio-style. I really loved playing this show – thank you Joe T. and Bryan B. (and Gentle Giant’s Gary Green sitting in on drums for a jam!). The festival as a whole was great, studded with many pals and wonderful bands (it was really great to see, among others, The Tangent/Karmakanic, Thank You Scientist, a one-time-only Necromonkey improv collective, the band Abacab playing all of Seconds Out, Nili Brosh playing with Alphonso Johnson and Chester Thompson, and the Chicago Zappa Collective playing “Billy The Mountain” – holy cow I loved that). I had a great time sitting in with Frogg Café and The Don & Bunk Show (it was an honor to play for the first time with Don Preston and Bunk Gardner, and a pleasure to see and play with my buds Nick D’Virgilio and Ike Willis). And sharing a brief moment backstage with Gary Green and Martin Barre, reuniting more than four decades after their bands Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull last toured together, was a pretty indelible moment.
Hey, regarding Gentle Giant: a few weeks ago I attended my first ever GORGG. That stands for Global On-Reflection Giant Gathering and it’s an annual meeting place for Gentle Giant fans the world over (and some Giant members also – Gary Green, Kerry Minnear and Malcolm Mortimore were in attendance this year), and it toggles back and forth between the US and Europe on alternate years, hosted each year by a different GORGGer. This year it was in Albuquerque, and the host Benjamin Harrison was kind enough to hire me to do a performance, primarily solo but I was delighted to be joined by Andy West for a good-sized handful of tunes, and by Anthony Garone who lent his acoustic guitar artistry to “Click” and Giant’s “Aspirations.” (My brother Marty and I recorded a version of “Aspirations” when I was 14 years old – can I convey to you how surreal it was to be playing it forty-ish years later for Gary, Kerry and Malcolm? No I can’t.) (Speaking of surreal – the night after my gig there was an all-night jam wherein Gary and Malcolm played dual drums on “Pride Is A Sin,” Kerry insisted I play keys instead of him on a version of GG’s “Mobile,” and I witnessed the Green/Mortimore drum duo with Kerry Minnear on bass powering a ZZ Top medley. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.)
Oh! Also! Speaking of entities named ZZ! Between GORGG and Progtoberfest III this month, I found myself in Mill Valley, CA, attending the world premiere of Beyond The Supernova, ZZ Satriani‘s directorial debut chronicling the last year or so of his dad Joe‘s touring adventures, featuring me and Bryan and Marco doing what we do. ZZ really has done a fantastic job with this film and I think you’d all enjoy the heck out of it – eventually you’ll get a chance to see it and I recommend you do. After the film premiere we shot over to Bob Weir‘s beautiful Sweetwater music venue and had a great time performing for 300 or so sweaty Satch fans. A lovely day/night at the theatre(s)!
But back to GORGG for a sec: there are a couple of videos online which provide glimpses into some different aspects of what went down there…first is an interview that Anthony Garone of Make Weird Music conducted with Gary, Kerry, Malcolm and myself. What a singular honor to be interviewed along with these true heroes of mine. Anthony has posted a transcript, a video and an audio podcast of the interview so that you may consume it in any way that serves your needs. Thank you Anthony!
Also during GORGG, I performed an acoustic guitar duet with Alan Benjamin that originally was recorded by Alan’s band Advent. My part was originally devised and performed by Greg Katona, whom I want to thank for coming up with such a challenging and beautiful part. I really enjoyed the process of learning and performing this lovely piece – thank you for inviting me to do so, Alan!
Anyway the moral of this story is: it’s been quite a month ☺
Thanks for reading and I hope those of you within reach of the Baked Potato can make it there on Nov. 4 and 5. Stay safe. Don’t let bugs bite you!
PS. Sending love and wishing peaceful rest to a beautiful cat named Solah – she had a guest vocal appearance on “Cat Bran Sammich” on Scambot 1 and did a really brilliant job – but more than that she was a wonderful personality and incredible presence. She will be very, very much missed.