Bruce Cockburn gig pt 1

As you may or may not already know, I’m a bit of a Bruce Cockburn obsessive. He’s been my favourite singer/songwriter/guitarist/lyricist for over a decade, and I’ve got just about everything he’s ever released.

He’s currently on tour in the UK, and tonight I headed up to The Stables in Milton Keynes to see him play – my favourite musician at my favourite venue – how good does it get?

And it was as good as I could possibly have imagined. Better even. Just Bruce and Julie Wolf on stage – him on guitar, her on keys/accordian and BVs. Mix of stuff from the new CD and classics, including a couple of marvellous reworkings of tracks like World Of Wonders, Mighty Trucks Of Midnight and Nighttrain. All in all a marvellous gig – and what’s even better is I get to do it all again tomorrow in London – oh yes, I’ve got a ticket for the Forum as well (thanks to The Cheat for getting them…)

The other rather fun thing that happened this evening was having a bloke in the row in front say ‘don’t I know you?’ narrowing it down to Greenbelt, before asking my name, to which he responded ‘oh, I’ve been listening to your CDs for the last few days, had you on this morning in fact!’ – so there you go, with my hair tied back, I can almost go incognito. Still, rather nice to meet people who’ve been listening to my stuff at a Cockburn gig – what fine taste he must have – nice to meet you, bloke-in-the-row-in-front!

Soundtrack – right now, it’s Terje Rypdal, ‘Skywards’. This afternoon, Michael Manring, ‘Thonk’, Mark Knopfler, ‘The Ragpicker’s Dream’.

There ain't nothing like The Dame

Just been listening to Dame David Bowie (was it Smash Hits who christened him that?? I think so… whoever it was, it does seem to fit…) Anyway, been listening to Heathen, his album before the brand new one, released about a year or so ago. And it’s really really good! like, marvellous. What a great thing it is to be in your 50s and still producing great art, carrying yourself with dignity and exercising the kind of creative freedom that Bowie seems to wield.

Anyway, what have I been up to, I hear you ask. Well, I finished that transcription for Total Guitar, though I haven’t heard back from them, so I’m waiting to hear if it’s OK or not…! I’m sure it will be.

Been practicing a lot – got the bug again a few days ago, after a while off from feeling inspired by new solo ideas. I was still enjoying playing the tunes in my set, but wasn’t hearing anything new. Then yesterday, I started to get some more ideas. Can’t wait to get my new bass, which should be here by the end of September… hopefully. As soon as it arrives, I’ll start work on the next solo album.

Hang on! Talk of a next solo album is all too previous, given that ‘For The Love Of Open Spaces’ by Steve Lawson and Theo Travis isn’t out yet. At this moment in time, I’m listening through the extra material for the preorder CD special. IF you remember, last time I released a CD, the extra disc was ‘Lessons Learned From An Aged Feline Pt 1’, which features some of my favourite solo work anywhere – as you can see, this extra disc thing is not just a way of farming out a load of left over rubbish, for us it’s about getting more music out there, making it available and of course creating the incentive for you lovely people to part with your hard-earned crisp ‘n’ folding before the thing is even released. The reasons for this should be fairly obvious – we don’t have an external record company with a bottomless pit of cash. It’s us, doing it for ourselves, like the sisters, so any money we can make back before the thing is even out is a huge help to the cause.

So we release additional CDs, which entice you into buying more stuff, give us the chance to get more music out there, and help to pay the bills. Everyone’s a winner, baby!

So where was I? Ah, yes, the extra tracks for the Lawson/Travis album – these are freakin’ fabulous!! Easily good enough to have made it onto the CD itself. So do make sure that as soon as the new album goes on sale, you get a copy ordered. It’ll be a strictly limited edition…

Advert over. Start of new advert… :o) – I discovered the other day that my CDs are available at www.towerrecords.com and www.hmv.co.uk – just go to either site and search on my name! Wahey, solo bass goes mainstream! I guess the HMV one means that you can also order it from any HMV shop, so please do – it’ll really help with the distrubution of future CDs if you go and get Not Dancing and Conversations there now…

Tonight, I’m off into town to see Cathy Burton play – she’s a fab singer/songwriter, and is at Sound in Leicester Square tonight, on at 9.15 if you fancy it…

The Aged Feline was at the vets again this morning – good news is his weight’s gone up a bit (been going down for months), bad news is, his kidneys are failing a little more… hoping we can fix ‘im up soon… poor darling.

Soundtrack – right now, me and theo. also, David Bowie, ‘Heathen’; Michael Manring, ‘Thonk’; Denison Witmer, ‘Recovered’; Calamateur, ‘Son Of Everyone EP’; Athlete, ‘Vehicles And Animals”; Vigroux/Cury/Rives/Lawson;

Greenbelt 2003

Just got back from Greenbelt – ostensibly a Christian Arts festival, but with a strong focus on justice issues, and some seriously great music and seminar speakers.

We arrived Friday afternoon, pitched our tent (oh yes, proper camping), and went to watch Eden Burning (reunion gig – their final gig was infront of 10,000 people at Greenbelt 97, and they reformed for a one off this weekend to celebrate this being the 30th year of Greenbelt), then saw Pierce Pettis, Iain Archer, Juliet Turner, Boo Hewerdine with Rob Jackson, Kate Rusby and Old Solar – all marvellous, and a great start to the weekend, in fact, too much great stuff to take it all in, and I missed a lot of artists that I’d have to catch in other venues over the weekend. Watching that many amazing gigs in one evening does make you a bit blase about the genius on offer, but any one of the acts listed about would be worth driving 50 miles to see on an ordinary evening – Pierce I’ve seen lots of times before, and played with in Reading earlier this year, Iain Archer has been getting better and better over the decade that I’ve been watching him play (new album out in a few months, which promises to be a blinder), Juliet is another singer I’ve been familiar with for a long time and have got both her albums, Boo Hewerdine I was more familar with as a songwriter than a singer, but he was marvellous and Rob Jackson who was guesting on guitar is a solo looper that I’d had contact with before, and showed himself to be equally adept providing gorgeous pedal steel-esque guitar parts to Boo’s finely crafted songs.

Kate Rusby’s gig was a particular treat as she had Ewan Vernal on bass – former Deacon Blue bassist, and one of my earliest and biggest bass influences (check out the bass/voice tracks ‘Orphans’ and ‘Trampoline’ by Deacon Blue for a taste of his genius)…

Old Solar are old faves, and old friends, and played a very fine set.

Saturday began with a Dave Andrews seminar – Dave is an radical activist/speaker from Australia, and regular speaker at Greenbelt, this time expounding on the notion that we’re in the new dark ages with the financial and governmental institutions in the west providing a heavily protected fortress for the extravagance of the world’s rich to the exclusion of the poor, who are battled in a feudalistic way to protect the already disproportionately huge share of the world’s wealth that those of us in the so called developed world have. His answer was to look to St Francis for a model – Francis having been an aristocrat who gave up his wealth to work with the poor. He wasn’t a politician, and didn’t set out to change the world, just to live right. As Schumacher put is ‘think global, act local’… all great stuff…

after Dave, it was off to a Mike Riddell seminar – Mike’s an author from New Zealand, and another Greenbelt fave, talking about artistic integrity and freedom – nothing new but very encouraging and helpful nonetheless.

Next up, Martyn Joseph’s songwriter’s circle event, The Rising – lots of great songwriters playing their songs and discussing them. What a treat to see MJ, Juliet Turner, Pierce Pettis and Brian Houston talking about their songs and playing together. Amazing stuff.

Other gigs – Elan (very good), Juliet Turner and Pierce Pettis (genius, obviously), Cleveland Watkiss (with Orphy Robinson on Vibes) – outstanding, joint best gig of the weekend, Calamatuer (marvellous) and Denison Witmer (another new discovery for me this weekend – fantastic singer/songwriter from Philadelphia).

But as always, Greenbelt is about people – meeting up with loads – hundreds – of friends, meeting loads of people I deeply admire, amazing musicians, great speakers, writers, actors, and just really nice people that I aspire to be like. Spent lots of time between gigs drinking apple tea in the tiny tea tent and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

..and tomorrow I’ll tell you about Sunday and Monday!

(and in case you’re interested, the virus email count for over the weekend was in excess of 650!!!)

Soundtrack – right now, the first mixes of the tracks I recorded with the quartet on my most recent trip to France – more on that when I’ve heard them some more. Before that, Denison Witmer, ‘Recovered’ and Jaco Pastorius, ‘Jaco Pastorius’.

a new top 5…

inspired by a conversation I’m currently having with evil harv on MSN, here’s my guess at my top 5 most listened to albums of all time, in no particular order

  • Steve McQueen – Prefab Sprout
  • Strength – The Alarm
  • Dusk – The The
  • We See A New Africa – Friends First
  • Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me – The Cure

Which says absolutely nothing about my taste, really… no jazz, no singer/songwriter stuff – it says more about the albums themselves as being ones to get obsessional about…

Soundtrack – was listening to Erin McKeown on Late Junction – she’s fantastic, gonna have to get her album…

The strange ways people find my music!

as you know, my CDs are on the cdbaby.com site, and one of the things you can get from cdbaby as an artist is a list of where people came from to find your site – and this is one of the links that someone used to find me –

http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=hear+baby+chicken+sounds+&FORM=SMCRT

so, buy my CDs and hear baby chicken sounds – simple as that!

…anyway, this reminds me that I need to send another box of CDs to CDBaby as they’ve just about sold out of Not Dancing CDs… there’s been a mini-rush of sales to Japan, which is rather cool… must get a japanese language page up on this site somewhere… hmmm, time to email Chi, methinks…

Soundtrack – right now, Mary Chapin Carpenter, ‘Time Sex Love’ – one of the most consistently fantastic singer/songwriters around, rarely does anything edgy or groundbreaking, but just focusses on write fantastic songs and using great musicians. Is also blessed with a gorgeous voice… Before that was listening to Ma, ‘Links’ – Ma is a French electronica/dancey stuff artist, who came over the London to buy an Echoplex from me last week (still got a couple left is anyone’s interested – drop me an email…) – she’s just sent me her CDs which are really really good. Great sounds, great voice… ….and before that, Morphine, ‘B-Sides And Otherwise’, which is genius.

Gigs seen, gigs played

long time no blog, appologies.

Anyway, last week I went to two gigs. First one was a guy called Michael W. Smith. Second one was Kelly Joe Phelps. The comparison was quite incredible. WH Smiths was playing at Hammersmith Apollo (cap. – 3,500), KJP was at The Stables (cap. – 350). The WH Smiths gig I went to cos his bassist is a friend of mine, and very nice bloke. The gig itself was pretty excruciating – it’s always hugely frustrating to see great musicians stifled by a really really bland act. It was clear that the guys on stage were very fine players, but the overall vibe was blandola. Safe in the extreme, sort of Richard Clayderman meets half-assed Riverdance. The chat between songs was cornball par excellence – Forrest Gump with a guitar. Clearly I was in the minority here as the largely frhu audience were well up for Smith’s crass between song chat and attempts at brit-relavence (favourite moment – at the end of one song, he starts reciting the words to ‘God Save Our Gracious Queen’, before waving a huge Union Jack and playing.. wait for it… ‘Pride’ by U2 – a band from Dublin. Which is in the Republic of Ireland. Oh shit, big mistake. Which WH was clearly oblivious to..)

Anyway, it was very nice to meet up with Anothony, a great bassist, and very nice guy. Next, I’ll just body swerve the gig, and spend more time chatting…

Onto Kelly Joe Phelps. so far from WH Smiths that it’s not true. The support act was Brian Houston, a fantastic dylan-esque singer/songwriter from Belfast that I’ve seen play lots recently. He’s brilliant. nuff said. KJP’s band was Scott Amendola on drums (last seen by me playing with Sex Mob in San Jose in July 2001) and Keith Lowe on upright bass. From the off, the gig was amazing – the communication between then was brilliant, the songs were really open to loads of improv, they were making eye contact, having a great time playing fresh, creative, free-wheelin’ music. It was fun, exciting, new, engaging, dangerous, moving wonderfulness. Everything that George Michael Dubya Smith wasn’t. I could watch that every night. Got the latest album, which is great. again. All three of his CDs that I’ve got are great. ‘Shiny Eyed Mister Zen’ is in my all time top 20. Get it.

What else? ah yes, recording session – hip-hop R ‘n’ B track with the guys from Commonwealth (I played on a remix of one of their singles last year) – there was already a synthbass part on the track, which was well played and written anyway, so a lot of it was about recreating that with a more live feel, then adding some fills and a slap line. It took a while to get the feel they were after, but it was worth it. I’m sure the final track will be very fine indeed. It’s a good song. I’ll let you know when it’s out.

The weekend was spent in Lincoln – Rick’s stag do – went out in Nottingham for a fun night out. Always nice to catch up with chums from Lincoln.

Oh, almost forgot – gig on Friday, with Lovesjones. A bit of a left-field one this, as I was covering for the keyboard player, and the stage was TINY so I could only use my processor and one bass for the whole set, but it went well. A few of the tunes were ones I’d not been sent, but playing keyboardy stuff is a piece of piss – it just involves waffling around in the key, you don’t have to be there on the downbeat, and you don’t even have to get the right root note! Bass is a far more satisfying role to play… Anyway, it was loads of fun, was was followed by a solo set, which also went well….

To this week… Monday was a teaching day, then the small person and I watched the 2nd Harry Potter film, which is fantastic, even better than the first (which I really enjoyed as well…) Tuesday Andrew arrived – not seen him for ages, great to catch up.

Gig with Theo Travis at the National Theatre went very well. Nice big crowd, we played very well except one bizarre moment when Edwina Curry walked past and we both fell about laughing… not easy to play flute whilst laughing. Anyway, good gig, boding v. well for future theo ‘n’ steve gigs.

After that, dropped stuff at home and headed off to The Klinker to see Rick Walker and Matthias Grob play. We got there half way through the set, which sounded really good. The Klinker’s a very strange club, but a great place for experimenting. V. much looking forward to tonight’s gig there with Rick Walker. Didn’t stay long at The Klinker as I was knackered.

Wedneday was a do-nothing much day (though I did buy a new Bonsai, so we’ll see how long I can keep this one alive for!)

and now today – gig tonight at the Klinker. See you there!

SoundtrackBruce Cockburn, ‘You’ve Never Seen Everything’; Public Enemy, ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’; The Smiths, ‘Louder Than Bombs’; THe Bears, ‘Live’; Coldplay, ‘Parachutes’; Kelly Joe Phelps, ‘Slingshot Professionals’; Medeski Martin and Wood, ‘The Dropper’; Bruce Cockburn, ‘Humans’; Chagall Guevara, ‘Chagall Guevara’.

Show Me Heaven…

…Maria McKee’s biggest hit by quite a substantial margin, was not in evidence tonight… there can’t be many artists who’ve had world-wide #1 hits that they completely ignore when they play live (does Jeff Beck still play Hi-Ho Silver Lining? probably not…) Anyway, it was a fine gig – Maria’s got one heck of a pair of lungs on her, which can be slightly overpowering at times, but she’s a fine performer – when she straps on a guitar, it’s like seeing Neil Young channelling Maria Calas – huge voice, chaotic squealing guitar. a highly compelling combination.

It’s not often I go to a gig when I only recognise one song that the artist does – in this case it was the title track from ‘Life Is Sweet’, Maria’s mid-90s solo album, which was very fine. Would have liked more Lone Justice stuff (Maria’s pre-‘Days Of Thunder’ band with Bentmont Tench – who was, I think her husband?)

Maria famously wrote ‘A Good Heart’ for Fergal Sharkey, allegedly about the breakup of her marriage. Her ex-hubbie (Bentmont Tench I think, but could be wrong) also wrote a hit for Fergus The Shark, about the same subject matter, called ‘You Little Thief’ – differerent perspectives on the same event…

…I might be wrong about that, and it wouldn’t be the first time this week. On Saturday night at the Kashmir Klub, I managed to successfully confuse singer/songwriter Geoffrey Williams with former Shalamar front man and inventor of Michael Jackson’s BAD-era persona, Geoffrey Daniels… an easy mistake to make… ;o) I just hope that Kathy didn’t go bowling up to him making some bizarre reference to ‘making this a night to remember’ – he might have completely misunderstood where she was coming from!!!!

soundtrack – been listening to some stuff from Andy West’s forthcoming project, fwap, which is very good, and also more of the dum dums.

Stations Of The Cross

Last night’s ‘gig’ went really well… The event was called ‘UpLate’ and is a sort of alternative worship service at a lovely old church in Thame, Oxfordshire. Once a month they take a theme and set up a whole load of different artistic/musical/poetic ‘stations’ for people to wander round and look at/listen to/read/meditation on, etc. All very inspiring stuff – it’s a great building, and the quality of the art is top notch – it’s kind of like a themed multimedia art-gallery, with good coffee, and a glass or two of wine… ;o)

Anyway, last night, with it being their easter edition, Evil Harv, Jez and I were asked to come up with 14 improvs based on the stations of the cross to soundtrack the whole evening, we were set a time, and given 14 works of art to help inspire us – well, scans of them anyway… The list of station titles is –

(1) Jesus’ agony in the garden
(2) Jesus is betrayed by Judas and is arrested
(3) Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
(4) Jesus is denied by Peter
(5) Jesus is condemned by Pontius Pilate
(6) Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
(7) Jesus is made to carry the cross
(8) Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus with His cross
(9) Jesus meets with the women of Jerusalem
(10) Jesus is crucified
(11) Jesus promises paradise to the repentant thief
(12) Jesus speaks to John and Mary on the cross
(13) Jesus dies on the cross
(14) Jesus is buried in the tomb.

So for each of those we did an improv. As you can tell from the subject matter, it wasn’t going to be a happy-jazz sesh, and some of what we played got really dark and atonal – trying to express in music the image of Jesus being whipped and having a crown of thorns rammed onto his head is always going to be a pretty brutal sonic experience! But it’s amazing the way having a concrete theme like this can focus the music way beyond just noodling. Often Jez and I when we’re doing duo stuff will latch onto a particular mood and work with that, in a more abstract, but still just as compelling (for us) way. This time, it was obvious to all three of us what the theme was before we started, and the beginnings of some of the improvs were particularly interesting while we settled into how we were going to tackle that particular image – was the music going to be mournful, confrontational, pain-wracked, hopeful. etc… the tension worked really well at dealing with the many many mixed emotions that the easter story brings up…

The good news is we’ve got some of it on minidisc. The band news is that the batteries ran out after about half an hour, so we didn’t get enough… We played for about two hours (only overran by about 45 minutes! :o) – and it would’ve been great to have it all, as there were some really special moments, so hopefully we’ll be able to do it again next year in a different setting…

Soundtrack – last night and this morning, I’ve been listening to some new recordings by a fabulous bass playing singer/songwriter called John Lester. John’s a californian, who until recently was living in Paris, but is now in London, and will hopefully be gigging all over the place pretty soon. He’s great, check him out. And before that yesterday, was listening to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thiller’ – another tune that was being done in a lesson (PYT), and then staying on the turntable (ahhhh, vinyl) for a few hours… It really is a very good album indeed.

Food for the soul

Last night I went to see three stunning singer/songwriters do their thang at the 12 Bar Club in London. The 12 Bar is a really weird venue, in that it’s got a tiny downstairs, and a tiny balcony, and the stage is sort of half way between the two – too high for downstairs to see properly and too low for upstairs… bit odd, but kind of fun with it…

Anyway, last night’s magical sounds came from Brian Houston, Julie Lee and Pierce Pettis, all three of whom were amazing. Like, world class, seriously. Way better than just about anything you’ll hear on the radio in the next month or so (unless you listen to Bob Harris on Radio 2, in which case you might end up hearing all three of them).

Brian Houston, native of Belfast, sort of Dylan/Buckley/bit of Neil Young but more frantic. Amazing stuff.

Julie Lee – I’ve played bass for Julie before, and will be next week in Reading – she’s sort of Bluegrass/Nu-grass, with an beautiful voice and a great guitar style. And is one of the finest songwriters I’ve heard in a long time.

Pierce Pettis – has written hits for Garth Brooks, doesn’t really sound much like him though. More Bruce Cockburn/70s Tom Waits/Lyle Lovett/John Gorka sort of vibe. Great between song banter, fantastic songs, and a seven string guitar!

All in all, a night to recharge the creative batteries, and bask in the glow of songwriting genius. If you’re wise, you’ll catch them on the rest of the tour –

Tues 4 March: Birmingham – Ceol Castle – 0121 440 4278
Thurs 6 March: Belfast – The Errigle – 0289 032 2925
Sun 9 March: Southampton – The Brook – 0238 055 5366
Mon 10 March: Brighton – The Greys – 01273 680734
Tues 11 March: Reading – Delicatessen – 0118 901 5234

I’ll be playing a few tunes with Julie at the Reading gig (and maybe one or two with Pierce too, hopefully, if the Deli organisers don’t weird-out about it…)

In other news, I got a new pre-amp put in my bass on Saturday, made by John East, who makes the J-Retro preamp (if you’re a bassist, you should know what I’m talking about… if you’re not a bassist, you won’t care…) – anyway, I replaced my old Bartolini one with one of John’s and it sounds amazing – it’s really weird what a huge difference a new preamp can make – the basic sound of the bass is still the same, there’s just the option to add more sparkle without it getting harsh, or make it sound more ‘acoustic’, or make things fall off the walls. Truly an amazing addition to my bass, and one that I’ll be adding to my other bass very soon, and will be getting in all my basses from now on. Seriously, these thngs are great!

But you don’t really care do you? well, I’m sure you do if you’re a bassist. If not, probably not.

Anyway, I was chatting with evil harv this morning, who was asking why no-one had signed the guestbook in ages. Then someone did (not evil harv as I first thought, as I can actually verify that the person who signed it did indeed just buy a CD of mine, and the eville one didn’t know about it…) – but that’s still only one in ages, so if you’re reading this, go and write nice things on the guestbook (unless you’re harv, in which case, keep your evil weirdness to your self, you strange man) – go on, off you go.

Soundtrack – more of The Minutemen, followed by lots of Donny Hathaway Live (pulled it out to look at the solo from ‘Everything Is Everything’, and kept it in the player for a couple of hours after the lesson). Also been listening to State Of Grace by Pierce Pettis, which I bought last night, and is very very good.

California III – this time it's serious

…or maybe not…

So anyway, 26th was the Echoplex Clinic at Bananas At Large in San Raphael, just north of San Francisco. Nice town, great shop. The clinic went really well, and I stole loads of ideas from Andre LaFosse’s tips on using the Echoplex – if you’re interested in the EDP at all, you HAVE to check out his site with the Echoplex tips page on it, and all his MP3s…

Anyway, the curry after the clinic was lovely, Scott Drengsen (solo bassist from the Bay Area) came along to the clinic, which was great, and Dan and I stayed with Anderson and Laura – very good friends who live in San Raphael. A lovely time was had by all!

Couple of days off spent with Billy-Bob and Mavis which was lovely, then onto the dates with Michael Manring along with the trio – the first of which was at Henflings in Ben Lomond (sounds Scottish, actually just outside Santa Cruz) – great venue, good turn out, lots of very cool music, and a bizarre moment when Rick Walker jumped on stage to join in with Michael Manring’s set…

the Next day we were up in Sacramento (this was a mucho-driving tour). Started out with a radio interview that Michael and I did for KVMR – very very cool station, we did a duo piece and then Michael did Red Right Returning (as featured, uncredited on the new Royksopp CD).

The gig was great – loads of people there, lots of CD sales, the line up was Michael and I (solo and duo) and Orbis (Mike Roe, Mark Harmon and Nick Willow). What a fun evening. It was also the venue owner’s birthday, and his name turned out to be Tim Looper – what a fine coincidence… :o)

Couple more days off, spent in Sacramento, then the gig at the Little Fox Theatre, with Michael and David Friesen. The three of us works really well as a show, so that was very cool. Lots of good people there, etc. etc.

The next show was probably the low-light of the tour – Cafe Du Nord, nice venue in San Francisco, had been looking forward to this. Got there, and noticed in the local paper that it was billed as a singer/songwriter night, with David Friesen and I listed as acoustic singer/songwriters! Huh? Turns out it was double booked, the guy who organised the acoustic night got really annoyed about it all, tried the cancel the night, it ended up with David and I playing truncated sets, and then the acoustic thing happening afterwards. All a bit miserable and a bit of a let down… Oh well.

Stayed in a motel 6 that night, then off to Santa Barbara – very nice town, had a wander round the farmer’s market. Clinic at Instrumental Music (is this beginning to read like bullet points???), which was great fun – the store manager is a friend from last year, Jamie Faletti, so it was great to see him, lots of great questions at the clinic, loads of CDs sold, all good fun.

Next night was another clinic at another branch of instrumental music, great turnout, the whole thing was videoed (bits of it may turn up here, who knows), some cool people there, nice curry afterwards with Jeff Kaiser (avante-garde composer and trumpeter), and some people from the shop. All good fun, good people, good food, good music. yadda yadda…

Ploughing on through busy schedule, the next day, I gave a masterclass at The College Of The Canyons, normally taught by fantastic solo bassist and jazz educator, Todd Johnson. Nice to hear from Todd afterwards that I’d just confirmed all he’d been telling them for weeks :o)

The second low-light of the tour was to follow – clinic at Jim’s music in Irvine – the shop hadn’t even put up a flyer in the shop for it, no promo, no-one knew, ergo very small number of people there. Bit of a waste of time, travelling 6000 miles to play in a shop that couldn’t care less if you were there or not. Still, kick the dust from your shoes and move on. etc.

The following night in Valencia more than made up for the Irvine balls-up. Great gig at Java and Jazz. Loads of people there, including lots of lovely Level 42 fans from the web digest. Todd Johnson, who organised the gig, played a fantastic solo set, then I did my thing, followed by some fun little jazzy duets.

The tour finished off with a nice little clinic thingie for Churchbassists in San Dimas…

All in all, a lot of fun. Well worth doing, loads of good gigs, tonnes of CDs sold, lots of good press (there’s a review of Not Dancing in the current issue of Bass Player magazine, and the loop trio gig in Santa Cruz made it onto the cover of the Santa Cruz newspaper…)

Hopefully I’ll be back in the US before long…