Work Faux Pas yesterday.

I’ve been collecting LP’s. Vinyl. I love the way it sounds, I love the analog sound and the warmth, and space of the audio. I think it’s a million times better than any mp3, and a couple hundred better than most cd’s.

Anyway, the other day, a buddy (whom I work with) and I learned “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon. I decided I needed the album, since I loved the song so much. I scored myself a nice $5 copy from 1980 on vinyl, via ebay. Sweet! Starting over, and “Woman” are both on this record, and are to me, two of the best love songs of all time.

The LP arrived yesterday, at work. I grabbed my buddy, and we closed to the door to my office to put it on the record player (one of the nicer perks of working at a big record label) and CRANKED it. We talked and listened, and it was awesome. We took a break and listened to “Starting Over”, “Watching the Wheels”, and “Woman”. I wasn’t familiar with the rest of the album, so after my buddy left, I spun the rest of it.

Well about halfway through side B on this thing, John gave Yoko free reign. I walked out of my office during “Watching the Wheels” and came back horrified to find that Yoko was BLARING out of my office. nobody really said anything, we’re all pretty open to each other’s weirdness here, but this was a bit much. I had to apologize for my music, which is something I’ve refused to do forever.

This was Yoko though, and I was sorry. Truly, terribly sorry.

Reminded me of this. Exactly at the moment Chuck Berry glares at John, that’s how I glared at my record player. The performance on the record wasn’t quite as bad as this. If it were, I’d probably be fired.

Capitol Records Building visit. Post # 100

100th post on this WordPress site.

Woo hoo!

It’s also been a solid month since last I posted, my last one being September 30th. Since then my good friends Amber and Anthony have gotten married, the Dodgers have gotten kicked out of the playoffs, and Sebastian Vettel locked up the F1 championship at the Indian Gran Prix. I’ve also been to Santa Anita Park every weekend since they opened, and got the Volkswagen running again, changing a starter that had been giving me trouble.

It’s been a hell of a month.

One thing I did, that was a lifelong dream of mine, was to have a little meeting at the Capitol Records building. I contained myself, but my excitement level was pretty high up there for a business meeting.

See, the thing is, back in the late 70’s, Capitol Records used to press cassettes in the Glassell Park/Glendale area, by where the old K Mart was off of Fletcher and San Fernando. Kind of around the corner from there, there was an old warehouse and factory back then, and my mom used to work there.

Some of my earliest musical memories involve Capitol Records, going to my mom’s job, and picking up surplus vinyls for 1 cent each. I remember getting the J Geils Band, some Beatles, some 45’s of singles from around the time, and just about anything I wanted that was on the label.

I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever, where my mom worked. The Capitol Building though, was another world. That was where the studios were, and the music was made. I have some cool artifacts from my mom’s days at Capitol, but the office building was for the real jobs.

Well, last week on a Friday, a few of us left the office in Woodland Hills at about noon, and cruised down to Capitol to meet some of the staff. I remember getting into the conference room, and wondering about meetings that were held there, possibly artists or songwriters conducting business, or maybe simple pencil pushers like myself. Either way, the view was pretty awesome. We were on the 13th floor, which is cool because some skyscrapers I’ve worked in have skipped 13 on the elevator button list, stooping to superstition. Not here.

I also snuck a pic of the hallway down to Capitol’s Studio A , and with the pics of the greats that graced the walls there, you could basically feel all the musical mojo and electricity that comes with talent being in the room there. All the biggest names in music, from today’s Katy Perry to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. I have to admit, during the meeting, I paid attention to stuff that pertained to my job function, but when it didn’t, I was pretty much looking out the window.

Of course , I wasn’t there in any creative capacity, or this would have been a whole different post, but it was still awesome to conduct some business in this iconic building. 

Next week is the Breeder’s Cup at Santa Anita, looking forward to getting some great pics of the massive crowd! From what I hear, the grandstands should be PACKED. Stay tuned for that!

Booker T Jones June 25, 2013, at the El Rey Theatre

Headed to the El Rey Theatre tonight to see Booker T. Jones, whose new album “Sound The Alarm” was released today. I’ve heard the album, and it’s a fresher mix of sounds than his 2011 release, “The Road From Memphis” but then that album was more of a tribute to his own influences, so it’s fitting.

The album even opens with a cool old clip of audio from a show where Booker T is introduced, to what sounds like an old school crowd, and the whole clip is scratched in by a DJ, then the album kicks off with a groovy bassline, and of course, a whirling organ flying around making things happen.

On this new album, I particularly enjoyed the instrumental “Feel Good”. The song does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a strut, a happy jaunt down a sunlit street, full of harmony and melody, subtle touches and an anchor of a beat holding it all down. Hopefully Booker T will play this one tonight, I’ll be looking out for it!

More to come after the show, hoping to get some pictures, and hope to get up close too. I want to see what the bass set up is, because it is silky but fat on this record. Not a lot of high end to it, just round and chunky in the middle, no growl either. All tone, ala motown or of course, being Booker T, Stax. 

For those that don’t know, Booker T Jones was the driving force behind the M.G.‘s who were Stax records’ house band. and is a Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductee. The man is a legend, and everybody knows a Booker T Jones hook, even if you don’t know his name. I was lucky enough to be working at Bug Music in 2011 when “The Road From Memphis” was released, so I got to see how the record was put together, and had a blast with that experience. It will be fun to see the band at work tonight.

Noodling on my Fender.

Not sure what WordPress users opinion is on shameless self promotion, but here’s a recording of me messing around with my jazz bass, which I recently had repaired. I’m also on reddit, and this would never fly there. So I’m posting here.

What this is, really, is me giving my bass a test run. This is also just about what I would play if I were trying out a new bass for the first time, or when I’m walking around NAMM picking up various axes. It gets a little clicky at the end, a little too much treble and finger slapping the string against the pickups. Apologies for that.

Otherwise, this is just me noodling the way I do. I’d never recorded it, and thought it would be interesting to come back to in a couple of years and listen to.

BTW I recorded this on my Ipad, Garageband, using an Irig. My bass is a 1997 Fender American Deluxe Jazz bass I’ve had since 98. Its the one on the right here. 

Here goes. . .

Excerpts from an interesting email convo.

Note, sometimes, I just save emails that I enjoyed particularly, or as notes for a future article. The grammatical nightmare below, is just a stream of consciousness ramble, of myself recollecting some details about working at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles from the time I was 16 to about 20 years of age. As a young aspiring musician, I couldn’t believe my luck at being able to see the contemporary great performers that I did. Apologies in advance for the formatting. First email in Conversation is at the bottom)

– Fred.

____________________________________________________________________

Yeah man. Well, for me, top ones were a four night Los Lobos / Santana jam session that had like EVERYBODY on stage as a guest, that was four days of BBQ’s, music out in the park, guitars, and then every night, a bigass Los Lobos Santana jamoff concert with the whole fucking place dancing.

The Gypsy Kings. They’re still one of my favorite shows, and what I think about when I think about EVERYBODY dancing at a concert.

Reggae Sunsplash, man, the air, thick with smoke, dancing in the aisles, and just a litany of awesome jams, it was like a reggae Pandora  for a week straight. Outside they had the rasta booths with jerk meats and chew sticks and we’d always get everything free cause were there there after hours helping out.

I’ve told ya about johnny cash a million times. He brought out his whole fam. June, the Carter family singers, and they went through ALL kinds of AWESOME tunes. Never saw females play stringed instruments so awesomely in my life, or since. They were a real act to see.

Bela Fleck, cause of the bass! Wooten!

Ray Charles, now THERE was an awesome show man. He led like a bandleader should. I remember being most impressed with how he led the band.

James Brown, with his whole orchestra, fucking BAM with the funk all night man. The whole show. I got to see James brown play.

Bryan Setzer was good.

B.B. King, got to meet him, got to strum Lucille once. Got a pic from him too.

Santana played EVERY year, it was always a highlight. Think spotlights filled with smoke. . . from the very back of the theater to the front.and DANCING

Prince, just awesome. Again with the dancing.

I got to work at the Ahmanson theatre for a season, and saw the stagecoach run. That was fucking incredible, even though I didn’t care for the show. Working there showed me how the big money lives.

Still tons I’m sure I’m forgetting. Jackson Brown, who I love, the G3 Summit, Joe Satriani who I hate but goddamnit he put on a show, old glam rockers with HUGE pyrotechnics, just tons of madness.

So much fun.

And that’s not even starting with any of the shit WE did while we were there. There were nights that they would leave the whole stage set up, and if we didn’t have gigs, we would sleep over at the theater and have the whole place to ourselves. THAT was incredible.

At this time, I was playing 100 shows a year. Average about a show every other night. Then weeks FULL of Greek theater music. I think its why I’m so stubborn about music.

______________________

From: Ian

Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:55 AM
To: Alfred
Subject: RE:

I want to hear the good. Because there aren’t too many bands I would want to see bad enough to suffer through a Blink 182 concert.

_______________________

From: Alfred
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2013 9:53 AM
To: Ian
Subject: RE:

Only the worst ones. Dude, Michael Bolton, Live, TERRIBLE OLD MAN JAZZ where they made us wear green sweaters cause it was nicer, hmm, who else, Cyndi Lauper, who I love, but seeing her chew out her musicians and butcher her own songs was awful. Tina Turner, who showed me how much you can fake emotion on stage. Taj Majal, whose wife tried to get me fired, and was a total asshole, Kenny G who I couldn’t stay awake for, Morrissey, Blink 182, 311 (hate them), and every wanky pop band that was hot at the moment or R and B crap like blackstreet, jodeci, oldies concerts full of cholos etc. causing buncha fucking hooligans to tear up Griffith park, The Dixie Chicks, never seen a spectacle like that crowd, ew country pop concerts (I think I remember Shania Twain and Garth Brooks) I just plain forced myself to forget about.

But the good STILL outweighed the bad. Way more good, too many to name.