After years of visiting and reading blogs, I have finally decided to do one of my own. Thanks for stopping by! Here I plan to describe what I am listening to, live music events I attend, and my thoughts about various artists of the present and past, as well as my thoughts on about anything else I want to share; most everything will tie back to music in some way or another. But let me first start out telling a little about myself.
Who am I?
First, I am not a professional musician. I have friends who are. I am not a music instructor. But like so many, music has always been a big part of my personal life. I played B flat clarinet in high school. Learned guitar as a teenager and took lessons for 2 years from a prominent jazz guitarist in Washington, PA - Anthony (Tony) Janflone, Sr. During the time I was taking lessons Tony's band Marshmellow Steamshovel folded and he formed the Super Blues Band with George & Bill Heid. Later, Tony was part of the Gene Ludwig combo and recorded a CD with them in 1998, "Back on the Track". Great album. I had heard somewhere, unconfirmed, that Tony's instructor was Joe Negri, of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame (Handyman Negri). I also had heard that Negri was George Benson's instructor, and also taught Ralph Patt, the inventor of major-thirds tuning. One thing is for certain; Tony and George Benson jammed together in the early to mid '60s. I have Negri's "Afternoon in Rio" CD from 1998, and it is well worth tracking down. Tony's son, Tony Janflone, Jr. is an exceptional blues/rock guitarist and is quite popular in the Pittsburgh & Tri-State area, as well as gaining international recognition. He has several CDs out, going back to the 90s. His "Live at the Blues Café" CD is my favorite.
I played in a band locally in my late teens and early 20s (1970-1972). There were several personnel and name changes with the drummer and I being the only constants. But college studies took priority and all of us in the band sort of faded away from performing. I sold my electric guitar and amp in the early 80s. I still have my acoustic, and play at home occasionally. My clarinet was lost in the move to California in 1999 but I had not played it in years. I was in a male Gospel vocal quartet for awhile in the late 80s, as well as doing community theater from '78 through '85, including musicals. That's the extent of my music performance experiences.
My parents were proficient in playing the phonograph, radio, and television but unfortunately no musical instruments. My older brothers played clarinet and trombone in high school. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and were fans of big band swing, as well as Dixieland music. My clarinetist brother turned me on to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" when I was five (1958). My sister was a big fan of Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian when I was in grade school so I heard their music a lot. We only had a 45 rpm player until I was 13 (1966), at which time we obtained a phonograph that played LPs. However we had a stereo reel-to-reel beginning in 1963. My parents made the transition from big band to Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass & Percy Faith in the mid '60s. I didn't really have a musical identity independent of my folks (except for classical music, as I was exposed to it in school) until my freshman year in high school. That's when things changed.
My first rock LP was Strawberry Alarm Clock - "Incense and Peppermints", followed by Vanilla Fudge - "The Beat Goes On", and Ultimate Spinach's first eponymous LP. A friend loaned me his Mothers of Invention - "Freak Out!" LP, as well as The Fugs' "Tenderness Junction" and Bloomfield, Cooper & Stills' "Super Session" LP. That was within a period of 3 months, and I was totally entrenched in psychedelic music. Then my neighbor introduced me to the music of The Doors, Blue Cheer, and early Deep Purple. Another friend brought Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat" to my house and I was never the same after that.
In college I regained an appreciation for jazz, especially progressive jazz. I saw Duke Ellington perform at my university campus 6 months before he passed away. He blew me away with the first number "C-Jam Blues". But then I was totally blown away by Sun Ra, and also Mahavishnu Orchestra. I had my first exposure to electronic music when BIOME visited our campus. I was able to track down members of BIOME about 7 years ago and secured a copy of a recording they did at an electronic music "festival" in the UK in 1972, the same year I saw them.
After graduating from college, I began to build and expand my collection - including the Canterbury sound, space rock, "Krautrock", avant garde/experimental, electronic, folk, country, pop classics of the 60s & 70s...you name it.
A major recent influence for me was when I stumbled onto Patrick Lundborg's Lysergia Website, and his Acid Archives book. I corresponded with Patrick and bought/traded music with him over the past few years. Sadly, he passed away in June of this year at the young age of 47.
Living in San Diego, I've recently been seeing numerous local artists, and getting to know a few.
Well, I think that's enough to give you a feel for where I am coming from. I plan to use this blog to talk about what is happening musically in my life right now, as well as reflections from the past. I might showcase various artists, in several styles of music, report on the local scene, or share some philosophical ideas and some good reads. I travel across the country in my work so I might share some experiences from the road. In any event I will try to keep it interesting.
Thanks for dropping by! Please come back when you can!