Where the F— have I been? If you blink to many times, then a year goes by and in my head my thoughts are “I need to finish this damn record soon or else I’m gonna……………” and also “I need to play out more”
Oct 4th is the night before Hardly Strictly Bluegrass at the Makeout Room with multi talented and splendid gentleman Michael Shaw and his kick ass band “An Intimate Evening With Michael Shaw“. Michael is one of my favorite people that I know and puts on a great show. We’re starting with the full band at 8pm playing some new songs and with Parker Gibbs dressing up as DJ Foodcourt & his pals to spin, in his words “rock/pop/soul/crap”. Parker is really gonna be the star of this show. Whatever else your doing really doesn’t matter! Expect some fights and a Jellyfish tune to be involved. There will be some nudity and clothing optional! What are you waiting for? Tickets
Then Nov 17th is another great bill presented by Hawk Valentine with the full band opening for Actual Wolf & Sweetwater Black at the Bottom of the Hill. Actual Wolf has been touring across the US with my favorite drummer and BB band mate Andrew Griffin who will be pulling double duty. This is gonna be another great night of music in SF and tickets are here.
In May I got off my ass and got the full band back into the studio with producer and BB band member Adam Rossi to record 2 more songs for the new record. We also got the “Screaming Angels” back into the studio with the incomparable Vicki Randall (Mavis Staples band member) & Loralee Christensen to provide more of that background magic that these 2 powerhouses can provide. The two songs “Strange Fruit Numb” & “The Chance” will be added to the set for both of the shows and we’re very stoked to get these out into the world. Rossi and I have also been mixing more of the record and I feel like its close. This record was started about 3 and a half years ago when I was diagnosed with throat cancer and I wanted to go into the studio before I had my operation and radiation treatments. It’s been a crazy time between my own personal health journey as well as what is going on in the world today. Ya can’t ignore that.
A couple of weeks ago my good friend and Pollo Elastico brother Chris Carlone came into town for his spectacular Borts Minorts show and after that we started to shoot a video for what will be the first single off the new record “God Save The City” which is what I call “Your anti gentrification anthem”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and as an Oakland CA resident I keep wondering what is Oakland going to do different that SF and other places didn’t. Can they still keep the soul and culture intact and can it still be affordable for folks, and where will people go. I also discovered an amazing graffiti wall that is enclosed in a storage unit facility that I have near 23rd st and have been obsessed with this wall and the art that’s on it which was done by East Bay graffiti artist and legend Mike “Dream” Francisco along with the TDK crew. The wall can only be seen by entering the storage facility and it’s an amazing work of art that tells one of the many stories of Oakland. We were able to shoot with this wall as the back ground as I want graffiti to tell some of the story of what went on and whats going on. We were honored to be able to use it and hope that it represents a sense of unity & community with which the original artists intended.
The Hard Road: Also I’ve been very remiss in not talking about and thanking Tommy Rickard, Kari Zanotto, Brian Zalewski, Scott Limanek, Steve Knox, Steve Krespel for documenting my throat cancer journey from 3 years ago and putting together their new documentary series “The Hard Road” which came out late last year. When I was approached about doing this I wanted to make sure that it was as honest as I could be as well as what it’s like to go through HPV related head and neck cancer. My family & friends were really instrumental in keeping my sanity and health together, and this documentary will also hopefully help anyone that is going through their own cancer story. I can’t thank these guys enough for letting me tell my story the way that they did.
Lastly it’s with an extremely heavy heart that I want to acknowledge the passing of a Tucson AZ legend, comrade and hommie, Gene Ruley who passed away on Sunday August 26th from heart complications. Gene was a friend of mine from the formative Tucson music scene in the 80’s when I first started learning to write & play music. He was an incredibly diverse player who could play anything, could rip when he needed to but always played for the song, and was in one of my favorite Tucson bands The River Rose’s. Gene had style, humor and one of the best people that you’d wanna play with, or talk music with, or know. I was very lucky to hang out with him in Feb and everyone is shocked as to the loss of this amazing soul and music lifer. This video of Phoenix 99 from River Roses was always one of my favorites and I’m feeling for all of my Tucson friends, his family and musicians who also loved him so. This is an excellent article from the Tucson Sentinel about this Tucson legend & friend.
“To all my fellow travelers-what a privilege to have you along” Gene Ruley.
Dream well my friend!