Tour diary vol II

So, we were up to the Espresso Garden gig, which was lots of fun. The following night (Thursday) was another gig with Michael Manring, this time at The Brookdale Lodge – this place has a heck of a lot of weird mythology around it, involving mobsters, prostitutes, ghosts and god-knows-what-else. Very odd place.

As a gig venue, however, it rules. Firstly because dinner is served in the restaurant, which has a river running through the middle of it (I kid you not), and secondly because the music room has a great PA, a marvellous soundman, and a nice stage to play on.

Thanks to a borrowed mixer, I was able to do my ‘proper’ setup for the first time on the tour, with the Echoplexes in an auxiliary channel and the MPX-G2 in stereo. The sound was fantastic. Accugroove had lent me two identical cabinets to the ones I use at home, and a poweramp, so I was pretty much rocking.

The gig went well, though the big storm outside meant the audience wasn’t huge (brookdale is up in the Santa Cruz mountains, a pretty hazardous drive in the rain!)

So we’re up to Friday – Friday I set off from Santa Cruz, called in at the new AccuGroove world HQ (very nice it is too!) on my way up to meet Jeremy Cohen in Berkley. Jeremy and I have been chatting online for years, and have met up at past NAMM shows and last year in London when he and his wife were visiting. Now it was my turn to hang out on their turf, and then take Jeremy to see Kaki King at Freight and Salvage, a fantastic acoustic music club, with a lot of history, great sound and a fab view from everywhere in the room.

Saturday was masterclass day in San Jose – after Bob the original host falling ill, Mark Wright at AccuGroove became Mr Fixit and organised for the clinic to move to the Koinonia coffee shop, which was where the AccuParty in the evening was going to be anyway.

The day was a big success, the guys who came all asked lots of great questions, played well, and seemed to take lots away from it (if you were there, don’t forget to keep the discussions going over at the forum).

The clinic was followed by the AccuParty – a fun little hang out, time for people to try out the AccuGroove cabinets, and a chance for me to play some cool duets with Edo Castro.

Sunday – breakfast with the Turners, then left their lovely home and headed north to Novato to see more of my favourite people in California, Anderson Page, who works for Modulus and has been a good friend for many years, and Laura. After all the driving around gigging and teaching of the previous week, an evening in watching Pink Floyd live at Pompeii, drinking gorgeous wine (a present from Jim at the masterclass – future masterclass attendees take note!) and catching up was just what the doctor ordered. A marvellous evening on every level.

Monday morning I took my basses into Modulus – Joe Perman, who used to work there, has come back, and in the interim, my carved top fretted 6 was built, so he wanted a look at that, and while there sorted out the set up and intonation for me (thanks Joe!).

From there, I drove up to Sacramento to see Mike Roe. Mike’s the singer/guitarist in the 77s, who I’ve opened for in Sacramento before, and also in Orbis, an ambient side-project who opened for Michael Manring and I a couple of times. Dinner with Mike and Devon followed by watching about half of ‘Standing In The Shadows Of Motown’ made for another great evening.

Tuesday following breakfast I set off back to the Bay Area, calling in to see Michael Manring on the way, to discuss the next step in our plan for solo bass world domination. And then it was back to AccuGroove-land, for dinner with Mark Wright and family, and talking long into the night before flying home Wednesday.

All in all, a great trip – meeting up with so many great people in such a short space of time give me faith in the world. It often seems like a crappy place with the good people few and far between, but there are loads of ’em around. Much fine music was made, and much fun had.

Soundtrack – the CDs I took with me included – Talking Heads, ‘Stop Making Sense’; Athlete, ‘Vehicles and Animals’; Iain Archer, ‘Flood The Tanks’; Peter Gabriel, ‘Greatest Hits’; The Cure, ‘Greatest Hits’; Jing Chi, ‘3D’; Prefab Sprout, ‘Steve McQueen’; Julie Lee, ‘Stillhouse Road’; Pierce Pettis, ‘Everything Matters’; The Dum Dums, ‘It Goes Without Saying’; John Scofield, ‘Up All Night’; Bruce Cockburn, ‘Live’.

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