San Fran, Is Too Cool

Four nights at the Great American Music Hall in SF this past weekend…what a great time we had. The crowds for the CRB were not only cool but very respectful of us. Not a single person got rude with their cell phone nor did anyone have to be thrown outta there for bad behavior, and over the course of that many shows, it’s worth it to make note of that. The music, the energy, people dancing, the gorgeous venue & sound was just wonderful and we soaked it all up. I am quite literally exhausted.

So, here’s to all the beautiful folks who came to see us…thank you!

All that remains...courtesy of Neal Casal.
All that remains…courtesy of Neal Casal.

Off to San Diego for a two-night run at the Belly-Up Tavern.

Give The Drummer Some!

This weekend I was asked to be part of a new (ish) podcast called, Give The Drummer Some!, where they speak to various professional drummers from all over the globe and talk about anything & everything. It was an honor. I did an interview with their host, Chris Troy and co-host, Tom Ashcroft, via Skype and it’s about 90 mins in length and I don’t blame you one bit if you can’t stomach my voice for that long because I couldn’t, so don’t feel bad. I also sound like a complete idiot but whatever.

Nonetheless, it was great fun, they are super witty, nice guys who absolutely live for heavy metal music, which is hilarious that they even knew about me in the first place but Chris assured me that he knew exactly who I was and that he was a big fan. I was touched. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t able to hang with them at all when the discussion would turn toward metal, outside of one or two comments regarding some old favorites like, Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath but they didn’t seem to mind my lack of knowledge in the least. Anyhow, we discussed other wild topics, ranging from music, to our favorite drummers, Star Wars, Star Trek, Roger Moore vs. Sean Connery and lots more. It was a gas. You may have a listen if you like and see if you can count the number of times I say the words, “You know”…

Have a great weekend.


Road To Recovery

He lives!

Late in the afternoon yesterday, as the sedation started wearing off, Dad opened his eyes and looked at me, showing the first signs of truly waking up. You probably could have lifted me off the ground with a fingertip. I was floating on a cloud of glee. Best news we’ve had yet and even though I wanted to stay in the room and talk to him all night long, I knew he needed much more rest and let him be. Checking-in to my room here at the hospital (they have courtesy rooms for out-of-town families!) I sacked out early, slightly exhausted from the events of the day but elated and eager to face the next.

Then, a small feat of victory occurred….

I woke up and rushed over to the ICU as fast as possible this morning to check on his status and everyone in the nurses station was smiling at me as I entered the room. Dad’s condition had obviously improved and their once sad glances were now huge grins. This is the moment we’d all been waiting for. Assembled like a team of loving angles, the doctors and nurses entered room #9 to look over his vitals once more to make sure he was ready for what was next in his treatment and I made my way to the waiting area in order to give them some space to do what they do best. And without any difficulty, they successfully pulled the ventilator tube out of Dad’s throat only minutes later and he instantly responded in the positive, inhaling a huge deep breath.Whew!

Our man has come back to us and he’s now breathing on his own…100% stable. It’s a glorious day!

the remains of the day
the remains of the day

Of course, as much as we are celebrating having him back among us, the reality of his situation is very much in our minds. He is extremely weak right now and will no doubt be spending a couple of months in a rehab, learning to walk and move around all over again. Of course, he’s about as strong as an ox, as we’ve seen proof of these past two weeks and I have no doubt he’ll be doing all the things he loves before too long. The good news too was that as soon as he woke he knew exactly who I was and immediately started joking with me…”Gramma, what’s for supper?”

Three cheers for Big George!

Country Road by Lisa Bertagna
“Country Road” by Lisa Bertagna

Much love to my Memphis pal and brilliant photographer, Lisa Bertagna for loaning me this gorgeous image. As soon as I saw it, I felt it captured this moment in time perfectly. Thank you Lisa, you rock!

We press on.

She Brings Me Coffee (Or, She Used To)

My mornings have been really amazing for the last five or six months and coffee has been a big part of it, especially when it’s French pressed! The smell of those beans fills my lungs and heart and makes me happy. What a wonderful, soothing liquid and coupled with a woman’s touch…well, that’s my kinda livin’, folks. She knows what she’s doing and the flavor is perfect, every time. But as much as I might enjoy those lovely little black beans, currently they’re not agreeing with my stomach, so I’ve had to put them (and several other tasty pleasures) away for a bit.

Ever hear of Candida?  Neither have I, until recently.  You might wanna read up on it, just in case.

About five days ago, I went and visited a local nutritionist here in LA who took a sample of my blood and blew it up onto a big screen for me to see exactly what was/is currently going on inside my body. Holy crap! There were Candida all over the place and things did not look good. I’ve had a pretty high sugar intake for most of my life and its caused some serious problems with my digestion, so the time has finally come to make a change.

This means, no sugar, grains, dairy or caffeine for at least 30 days. Alcohol as well but I no longer drink, so that’s not a problem. I will however miss having my dear sweet gal bring me coffee in the morning.


Guess I’ll have to settle for herbal tea.

Oh, and in case you’d like to read up on this crazy diet…

Three Weeks



I have missed my hometown something awful but this trip back was incredible.  No sooner did I get my feet planted on home turf, I was off to the races and didn’t slow down for nearly two weeks straight.  No shit.  Five gigs, four rehearsals, three recording sessions, one jam session and one house party.  But that’s just the musical side of my trip cause there were tons of family & friends to see and all of ’em wanted to EAT.

Payne's BBQ.  God almighty.
Payne’s BBQ. God almighty.

It was a good time.

Snare Crazy!

It’s true, I can’t help myself sometimes and my collection of snares has now grown to a whopping eleven, with number twelve in the mail right now, on it’s way to my house.  Oh, what to do?  Maybe I’m a bad person for buying all of these drums and filling up my apartment…I must have a problem.  But I keep telling myself it’s okay cause they’re tools of my trade and I need them.  Right?  I mean, it’s OK for a guitarist to own a couple dozen guitars, so I should be able to have a few snares in my arsenal.  Different sizes, a variety of woods & metals and each with it’s own unique voice.  I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Rogers, Ludwig, Slingerland, Bleifuss, Pearl & Craviotto
Rogers, Ludwig, Slingerland, Bleifuss, Pearl & Craviotto

Wait a minute…what’s this…someone who’s got it worse than me?

The Curotto Collection
The Curotto Collection!

This is a wonderful book written by a cat named Michael Curotto, detailing his collection of rare, vintage snare drums with an estimated value of over a million bucks.  That’s pretty funny and what a relief!  Here I am thinking I’ve got a problem owning eleven, no… twelve snare drums, when come to find out that this dude has more than 450.  Whew, I think I’m gonna be fine.  Thank you Mike, even though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of shaking your hand, I truly applaud you.  This is quite a fantastic book folks and features gorgeous digital photography by Steve Haag.  If you’re like me and you have an insatiable thirst for finding the perfect snare drum, then please give it a go…I think you’ll really dig it.  I’m sure Mike (and his wife) will appreciate it, too!

The Curotto Collection

Mike Curotto, the man himself!  Photo courtesy of
Mike Curotto, the man himself! Photo courtesy of

I’ve already shown this to y’all in the last post, but it won’t hurt to feature it more than once.  Yes, indeed…I’m happy as a clam to show off my latest…picked up from my beautiful friends at Revival Drum Shop in Portland…a 1940’s Slingerland 7 x 14 “Radio King” in white marine pearl.

The Slingy sounded great in the studio.
And it sure sounded great in the studio.

Thank you, Jose’…it’s a killer!

Back Into The Fold

We all do stupid things.  It’s in our nature as humans and once in a while I’ll do something really stupid that makes no sense whatsoever and makes me feel terrible inside. I’m talking about selling-off a nice drum (or two!) during a lean month because I needed the bread.  Yes, I’ve done this before but it’s never good and I hope to never see days (or months) like that ever again.  I am definitely guilty of this crime, no doubt and could tell you stories of tossing in my bed over how bad it made me feel.  Anyway, for some reason that I haven’t yet figured out, a few of these pieces I let go of not too long ago, have made their way back to me and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Two of them came last month…

The first: a Bleifuss Handcrafted 8 x 14 orchestral snare, nicknamed Big Brown

Big Brown

This drum is so bitchin, I can’t even begin to describe the lush tone it has.  It was originally built for a snare drummer with the San Diego Symphony and has 8 ply’s of Maple with a layer of fiberglass on the inside to give it extra projection. It’s incredibly throaty, rich & sensitive.  A work of art and I was a complete fool to ever let it go and I’m sorry about it.  But as I mentioned, times were tough and I was totally broke.  A friend of mine bought it from me several years ago and fell in love with it immediately, which made the transaction even worse, as I knew in my heart I’d probably never see or hear the drum again.  Low & behold…a few weeks ago, I received an email from my old friend asking if by chance I’d like to have Big Brown back because he said he wasn’t playing drums much anymore and the drum was collecting dust.  Can you believe my luck?  Wow, I said and quickly got the money out to him to buy it back and now that it’s here with me again and sounding so amazing, I will keep it forever!

The second drum, also a Bleifuss Handcrafted, is a 6 x 14 aluminum snare known as, The Bluminator.

The Bluminator

Similar story…I let it go to a friend who had it for a while, then asked if I wanted it back.  I didn’t hesitate and hope it stays with me till I’m gone. Nearly a quarter of an inch of billet aluminum, there is no sonic space where ‘ol Blu can’t go.  To put it simply, this drum kicks major ass and I’ve used it on several recordings and many live shows that I’m most proud of.  Like this one, for example…

The City Champs — The Set Up

When I’m awarded the gift of receiving back an old piece of gear, the feeling is immense and I’m instantly filled with a warm feeling of gratitude and joy.  My only hope is that the kind folks who’ve allowed me the opportunity to reclaim my old gear are also feeling some form of happiness, perhaps just in the act of performing such a good deed.  I thank you and am very lucky, especially since my good friend Paul Bleifuss, who created these pieces is no longer with us and would probably be very pissed if he knew I’d sold-off the drums he built for me!

The world keeps on turning…