Monday, December 27, 2010

guitar effects

I just learned something. Well, I guess I kinda knew it already, but I never really tried it.  For years I've been approaching guitar effects like a guitar player and studio effects like an engineer.  If you're using a simple setup with one amp and a couple of pedals, then this doesn't really apply.  However, if you're using a monster rig (or an asshole rig as I like to call to the rig I use) then this is the way to go.
I was watching a Steve Morse video today and he was talking about his setup.  He has a dry amp and a wet amp.  This seemed silly to me at first. Like there's really a big difference?  And more importantly, who wants to bring 2 amps everywhere?
Well, maybe the practicality of having a dual rig like this is questionable, but the concept makes sense.  Here's when this became obvious to me.
I was doing a gig last week and I kicked on my lead sound.  Here's a little under the hood description of what that means.
1. I press a button on my MIDI controller
2. The MIDI controller simultaneously sends out messages to my effects processor and my amp.
3. The amp switches to channel 3, kicks in the midboost button, the secondary master volume, and the noise gate.
4. The effects processor switches to my lead preset which is:  my sound -->Chorus--->delay--->amp
5. Then the expression pedal controls the wet/dry mix of each effect.
This is how I've been doing it for years.  However, at this last gig I noticed something that I've been subconsciously doing for all that time.  When I blend in the effects, the overall volume gets lower, so I've been going to the volume pedal and increasing the overall volume to compensate.  This constant tap dance has become very annoying.  By the time I get it right, the solo is almost over, and instead of using that time to play something good, I was tinkenering with levels!  At this last gig in particular, I couldn't get the lead sound to be loud enough with the effects on, so I played dry all night.  I had the rack of doom behind me and it was pretty much bypassed all night.  The effects were burying the guitar tone, and I just got tired of dealing with it.  Well, that's not going to happen anymore.
Today I went back into the presets that I probably programmed 5 years ago, and I changed them radically.  Like I said before, I'm not going to start carrying two amps with me, but I did use the Steve Morse concept today.  I configured everything in parallel.  Basically, I have straight path from my guitar sound to the speakers at all times (unless doing something drastic like whammy or wah.) On separate paths (you can do this in most advanced processors, or you can do this with complex wiring) I ran my effects.  The mix was 100%.  The output volume was set to OFF.  Then I assigned my expression pedal to control the output volume of each effect and VOILA!  No more subtracting volume!  Only adding volume!  So now when I blend in the effects, my guitar tone stays un-touched.  I can't wait to play my next gig and try it out.
If you're a strictly analog stomp box person and you want to try this concept out, here's how you do it:
First, you need 2 amps.  You'll also need a volume pedal (or 3) and a mono splitter or Y cable  (depending on your setup, you may need multiple splits.)
Plug your guitar straight into the amp. Or you can plug it into your wah and distortion first if that's where you're getting your basic tone. Anyway, get your basic guitar sound happening.  No delay, reverb, or modulation effects should go in this path.
Once your basic sound is to your liking run a cable out of your amps effects send.
Things to consider:
  • Some amps terminate at the effects send until you send the signal back through the effects return.  If this is the case, you'll need a mono Y cable/adapter.  Plug the Y cable into the send.  On one end of the Y, go back to the return.  This should complete the loop and make your amp happy.  We'll discuss the other end in a bit.
  • Some amps don't have effects loops. I call these Caveman amps.  Most people like to call them vintage amps.  (come on people, it's almost 2011. Get effects loops!)  This can be problematic for a setup like this, but it's not impossible.  The problem is that we want your tone in all it's glory to be duplicated through the wet amp.  An effects loops takes your guitar sound after the amp's gain and tone controls (the preamp) and sends it somewhere else.  If we can't do this, then we can't exactly duplicate this tone.  It's not the end of the world.  It's just that your wet amp may have a different tonal characteristic than the dry amp.  This may or may not be a good thing depending on your taste.  If your old amp (that you paid thousands for...ok, I'll stop now) doesn't have an effects loop then just put the Y cable out of the last pedal you would plug into your amp.  So if you have a wah and distortion, take the output of the distortion and split it.  Send one end of the Y to your amp and like I said above we'll discuss the other end in a bit.
Now you should have your basic sound all tweaked out.  That sound should be going through the speakers of amp A and it should be going through a cable that you haven't plugged into anything yet.  Next, you're going to take the cable (the effects send cable, or the cable from the Y split) and run it through the rest of your pedals. You're going to want to tweak the pedals out.  It may be beneficial to run these in parallel as well, but that will become a major pain in the ass because it will require more Y cables which can make things messy and noisy.  For the sake of simplicity, let's just say you have one delay pedal.  (if anyone's interested in the multiple effects parallel setup, I can do that in another post)
Plug this dangling cable that you have into your delay pedal.  Run the mix (or effects level as some pedals call it) at 100% on.  We want this to be all delay and no original sound. Take the output of that pedal and run it into a volume pedal.  Take the output of the volume pedal and plug it into the effects return of amp B.  If amp B doesn't have an effects return, then just plug it into the front input. If you need help with this step, ask your neighbor, Barney Rubble, to come over and help you.
Now your all set up.   When your raise the volume pedal you will add delay through amp B.  This will preserve your initial tone and only add delay through a separate source.  It's pretty cool and I think it sounds great.
guitar ---> wah ---->distortion----> amp A
amp A effects send ----> delay ----->volume pedal---->amp B effects return
You can also technically do this sort of additive setup with one amp, but it would still require you to blend the wet and dry sound before going into the amp which could get messy sounding.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I assure you, we're working on it.

Some news for Tiger's Fang Fans

We're definitely opportunists here at Tiger's Fang Productions. It's been more than a year since Tiger's Fang 6, but that doesn't mean we've been taking a break. We've been working on this non stop since March. So what's taking so long?

When you're trying to make an ambitious amateur film (or any other project you can think of) and you have a budget of $0, you become an opportunist. When someone is willing to give you something for free, or do you a huge favor, you need to take advantage of that on their time. You don't get to choose when you will get these opportunities, you just take them as they come. We've been fortunate enough to have several great people donate their time, services, gear and facilities to us. Like I said, when the opportunities come, you can't wait too long or they will most likely go away. We started working on Tiger's Fang 7, but then an opportunity came up to shoot in an amazing location that would work great for episode 10.  So before we even finished 7, we shoot half of 10.  Then another great location become available to us, but for a very limited time.  We need that location for parts 7,8 and 9.  So, we do a marathon week of shooting every night and get it all done.  Last week I just finished the video editing on Tiger's Fang 7, but we have super-duper top-secret special guests who are only able to shoot next week, so as I'm editing Tiger's Fang 7, I'm prepping for next week's shoot of scenes that will be in Tiger's Fang 10. 

It's a big mess. We're working on 4 movies at once. My computer has so many files on it that I'm starting to lose track. Aside from all the chaos of doing 4 movies at once, I also had to get knee surgery smack in the middle of shooting which complicated things a whole lot.  

Each one of these 4 movies is more ambitious than any of the previous 6 we've done. In fact, Steve and I spent today trying to figure out how we're going to achieve certain effects, we did green screen tests, watched countless tutorials, and even messed around with 3D animation. I feel very fortunate to know Rudy Sarzo, and Jon Rodgers. Aside from being fantastic musicians they're both video experts. I was calling and e-mailing them both today and picking their brains. As crazy and as stressful as it gets, it's always fun to learn how to do new stuff. That's the most rewarding part of doing these movies. They force you to develop new skills. I encourage everybody to do some youtube stuff. It's fun and you learn new skills, and at the end of the day all of the skills are related.

Here's what you can expect in the coming installments.

  • Bigger, Better, and Longer Fight Sequences
  • Amazing Special Guests
  • Increased Production Value
  • Mind Blowing Special Effects
  • New Costumes
  • Incredible Locations (seriously, you won't believe this)
  • Tons of New Music
  • The same old crappy dubbed dialog
  • More Subtle Continuity Errors
  • NUDITY!!! (well...maybe)

After next week, we will officially wrap production on Tiger's Fang 7, 8, 9, and 10. I seriously need to stop shooting for a while and start working on the post production.  The only thing that would make me want to keep shooting footage is if we got an all expenses paid trip to the Shaolin Temple, and complete access and permission to shoot wherever we want. Other than that, I think it's safe to say that post production officially begins next week.

This isn't the end of the Tiger's Fang Series. I predict we will need to make 17 to 20 episodes to tell the whole story of what happens to the iron master and his daughter. I have the entire story written down. The climax is incredibly ambitious and I only hope that by the time we start to shoot those scenes, we will have developed the skills necessary to make them look amazing.

Once 7-10 is all finished, we'll have a release party. I'll give details on that later.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Ah yes...Thanksgiving Eve. The biggest bar night of the year. Almost everyone is off from work on Thursday, so they let loose on Wednesday night and party hard.  Obviously, bar/club owners also LOVE Thanksgiving eve. This is probably their busiest and most profitable night of the year. For bands, Thanksgiving eve was also a great night to play because you would get Holiday pay which is usually considerably more than what you would normally get.

Now, notice how I phrased that sentence about the bands in the past tense? That's because the days of Thanksgiving Eve being an awesome gig night are coming to an end. Yes ladies and gentlemen, strap yourselves in for another rant on getting paid to play gigs!!!!

Why does one open a bar/club/restaurant? (we'll just call it a bar for the rest of this post.) The answer is simple. To make money...a lot of money.  No one goes into the bar business if they think they're going to make a little money. Yet some bars come and go quickly while others seem like they've been around forever. This is because the bar business is a high risk business.  With the markup that bars charge on food and alcohol, they could potentially make a seriously large amount of profit. However, if you have no customers, you will quickly lose your ass and go out of business.  This is the nature of a high risk business.  Excellent profit potential, and moderate probability of failure.

We know that reasons why people like to go bars, but let's look at some of the reasons why people DON'T like to go to certain bars:

Cover Charge

So there you have it.  If a bar sucks, people won't want to go there.  As a bar owner it's important to make sure that all of the elements listed above will appeal to your desired customers.

Now to make my point. I turned down thanksgiving gigs this year because they weren't offering holiday pay. I have nothing against any musician who does a holiday gig for regular pay, but I try to avoid doing that because I don't feel it's fair. So now bar owners don't feel the need to cut the band in on the most lucrative night of the year. As abhorrent as that is, that's still not the point of this post.  I've heard from friends that bar owner's are expecting bands to take a pay cut if they're not satisfied with the customer turnout on Thanksgiving eve.


So, not only are you not paying them what you should, but you want them to make less than a normal gig in the event that your place isn't able to attract customers? This is insane, and more importantly it's wrong. Here's why:

The bar owner stands to make a staggering amount of money on thanksgiving eve. They have agreed to pay you a reduced rate to play on the busiest night of the year.  That should be the end of story, but by them asking you to take a pay cut if the turnout is less than ideal is the same exact thing as them asking you to incur all the risk for their bar.  The bar owner would never ask any of his staff to take a pay cut, but as a musician they now feel that you are responsible for their risk.  This is totally ridiculous and it's completely wrong. If you enter a high risk venture, you don't get to pawn off the risk onto someone else. That takes the risk out of it. It's not like they're saying, "if we have a great night, we'll give you double pay."  They're saying, "if we have a great night, I win.  If we have a bad night, you lose."

This is an unfair business practice and it needs to stop now.  See the list I wrote above?  The one that says Location, Prices, Selection, etc...?  It is the bar owner's responsibility to choose these elements to create his bar.  The band is only a small fraction of the total picture.  Why do they take the brunt of the loss? If they buy beer and nobody drinks it, do they call up their suppliers and ask for a refund?  And on top of that, you can be sure that they don't pay their staff less on a bad night.

One analogy I can think of is a casino. You go to a casino to make money. It's high risk. Your chances of losing are very high, but you can potentially make a lot of money. If you go to a blackjack table and lose all your money, do you ask the dealer to share the loss with you?  Of course you don't.  Do you ask the Pit boss for a refund because you didn't know you were going to lose so much money? No!

As a band, it is not your responsibility to incur the bar owners risks. You are a service that he is hiring to entertain his customers. If the night turns out badly it falls on him. He can then choose not to hire you again, but he may NOT ask you to take a pay reduction. You should make that clear when you book gigs. As it is, local gigs don't really pay that much. This new practice is turning gigging into a gamble. If I'm gonna go out and bust my ass all night, I shouldn't have to gamble on getting paid. People are supposed to get paid for work that they do.

Bar owners, if you don't like handling the risks involved with owning a bar, then you should go into another line of work. Maybe retail, an office job, or even McDonald's. If every night was a winner then I'd open my own bar and do my own gigs there.

One more point I'd like to make, and then I'll shut up.  A DJ would not deal with this sort of thing.  I'm not going to say if a DJ is better than a band or whatever. I'm not going there.  My point is that bar owners generally don't pull this stuff on DJs. They do it to bands because they think that we love playing so much that we don't mind lugging our gear around, getting treated badly and not being paid for it. This needs to stop. I feel like I'm going to have to start renting out spaces and putting on my own shows just so I don't have to deal with this.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I paid $65 for this?

Why are video games 65 dollars now? They aren't way better than they were when they cost $50.  In fact, I'd say apart from graphics and physics improvements, the games are pretty much the same.  So why this price hike? Why are video games 65 dollars when people have far less disposable income these days?  I tried gamefly, but I had to ditch it.  I'm not a hardcore, 5+ hours a night gamer, so it usually takes me 2 or 3 months to finish a game. The problem with gamefly was that it was 17 bucks a month and I would keep each game for 3 months.  So that comes out to $51 per game. Not really a great deal when you think of it. So now, I usually wait until a game becomes old, used, or DLC priced before I buy it.

There are exceptions. Force Unleashed 2 just came out, and I had to have it, So, I paid the $65 bucks. At first, it was amazing. I was having a blast. Then it was over. I try to savor games and make them last by only playing a little bit at a time, but there was no getting around this.  This game was ridiculously short.

Aside from the length, there were some other glaring problems.

1.  There are 4 levels in this game.  They'll tell you there are 6, but that's nonsense. There's a Dagobah level where there is no action, only cutscenes, so I don't count that. Then, they commit what I consider to be one of the cardinal sins of video game design. They reuse maps. You begin the game in Kamino, and you end the game in Kamino.  I therefore refuse to count that as another level, so there you have it.  4 levels.

2.  Glitches.  A $65 game should have no glitches.  The camera in this game would get stuck during in game dialog sections. You and Darth Vader are crossing swords and screaming at each other amidst an epic battle and all you see his the corner of your shoulder. Or even better, the camera gets stuck inside Vader's helmet where you can see through the actual computer model.

3.  Repetitiveness. Killing stormtroopers is fun. They act unpredictably and that makes things funny. All the other guys you fight do the same attacks every time. You kill them with the same tactics, and the finishing move is the same every time.

4.  Control Problems. Although they fixed most of the big problems from the first game.  Jumping is still a problem.  I personally think the LucasArts Jedi double jump method should be retired.  We never see a Jedi kick off the air in the films, yet this is the way LucasArts has handled force jump for the last 15 years.

So in closing. I paid $65 for a game that is broken, short, and unfinished. It feels like they rushed this one out for a quick buck. The Lucas people have once again successfully conned me out of my money. 

May The Force Be With You

Sunday, October 24, 2010

That 25 song iPod shuffle thing

I put my droid on shuffle and this is what came up:

Flight of Icarus - Maiden
Fuck You - Cee Lo
Jungle Love - Morris Day
Fire and Rain - James Taylor
Bad Company - Bad Co
Honey I'm Home - Shania Twain
Sunglasses - Badmouth Betties
Feel Your Love Tonight - VH
The Trooper - Maiden
Jukebox Hero - Foreigner
Perpetual Change - Yes
Get Up Offa That Thing - James Brown
Can I Play With Madness - Maiden
Top Of The World - VH
Life In The Fastlane - Eagles
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple
Rowboat - Ron Thal
Jump - VH
Joining A Fan Club - Jellyfish
Good Company - Queen
What About Love - Heart
At This Moment - Billy Vera
Hit Me Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
Don't Be Stupid - Shania Twain

I think my droid likes Maiden!


Friday, October 8, 2010


Every year I get all dressed up for Halloween and never have anywhere to go. I'm putting an end to this!

This year, Comic Book Jones and I are hosting the greatest Halloween party ever. Now I don't have all the details yet, but I can say this: The party is on Halloween, October 31st. The party will be held at Comic Book Jones (the greatest comic book shop in the multiverse.) There will be a costume contest, so come in costume, and the evening's entertainment will be provided by.....


David St Hubbins (Andy Ascolese)
Derek Smalls (Russ Jones)
Joe Mama Besser (Damian Scro)
Viv Savage (Ray Magnuski)
Nigel Tufnel (me*)

Yes, we are playing all Spinal Tap songs, and Yes, we will be in costume.

performing with Spinal Pap are special guests MorningStarlett (featuring Ann Marie Nacchio)

This is going to be a lot of fun.  If you haven't seen the movie "This is Spinal Tap," then you have 3 weeks left to watch it and realize why this will be the greatest Halloween party ever.

*depending on BOC's schedule, which as of now is completely open for the halloween weekend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Internet Goodness

I posted a video of a project I did for fun:
It's me doing ABC by the Jackson 5. The response has been extremely positive and I really need to thank my family and friends for checking it out, commenting on it, and speading the word! This is really cool.
The overwhelming reaction to this video has given me a nudge to get the rest of my online stuff happening.  I've updated my website, gave my twitter page a facelift and I completely overhauled my youtube channel and the myspace page. In fact, there are 10 songs up there on the myspace page right now that are free to listen to.
Some of these songs are from CDs that I've previously recorded, but there is one brand new song called Floating Away.  There is a clip of this song on DiMarzio,com on the page for the Crusier Neck Pickup.  I've received e-mails asking about this song, so here it is!
I hope you get to check out the songs.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On your feet or on your knee

I'm having a bit of a knee issue this week so I can't run around on stage. If you come to any of the shows this week and see me limping around, this is why. But don't worry; to compensate for this, I will be playing more notes.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Michael McDonald

So I'm obsessed with Michael McDonald.  Here's how it happened....
I've always been vaguely aware of Michael McDonald, that guy with the woofy sounding voice.  About 10 years ago, I was flipping through the channels when I came across a comedy special by Tommy Davidson.  He did a great Michael McDonald impression in his act.  It was funny, and it was spot on.  Here's a clip
So after seeing this bit, I would laugh everytime I heard Michael McDonald on the radio.  I would try to do my own imitation, which was usually terrible.  After a while I started getting more familiar with the songs.  I wanted desparately do be able to do my own Michael McDonald impression.  I went out and bought the Doobie Bros. greatest hits and learned all his songs.  I even went as far as to record my own version of "What a fool Believes."  During that recording I realized something.  Singing like Michael McDonald is freakin hard!  Know why?  It's because Michael McDonald is unbelievably awesome.  What started as a joke turned into something completely different.  I became a Michael McDonald fan.  All I do is listen to the Michael McDonald station on Pandora.  I do Michael McDonald at gigs, and I try to sing all songs in the style of Michael McDonald.
Here's a related side story.  I was hanging out with the crew during the set-up at a BOC gig.  A well-respected pro audio manufacturer had just installed a brand new state of the art system at that particular venue, so their reps were there checking it out.  On this particular day, I did the entire line-check with our Front of House sound engineer, Woody.  I went through all the instruments and all the mikes doing, you guessed it...Michael McDonald.  After the line check was done, the audio reps approached me saying that they were supplying the touring gear for Michael McDonald, and they'd be interested hiring me to set Michael's vocal microphone at his gigs!  I don't know if they were serious, but it makes a good story!
So there it is.  Michael McDonald, is not silly, he's incredible.  Everything he does is awesome, and I worship the ground he walks on and the microphones he spits in.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

McCartney story

A guy named David Elkins went through the trouble of making a wikipedia page about me. It's very cool and he was very thorough in his research. He even put in something about me meeting Paul McCartney in high school. This bit of trivia was even displayed on the main wikipedia page yesterday.

On the wikipedia page this McCartney story is boiled down to about 2 lines. I figured this would be a good time to elaborate.

During my senior year of high school, 1998, my school music teacher, Lou Mannarino, got us tickets to see Paul McCartney perform on the Oprah Winfrey show. This was a huge thrill for us. We were all Beatles fans, and that spring we were putting on a Curtis High School symphony concert at Lincoln Center where the finale was to be "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" from Abbey Road.

The Oprah show started and Sir Paul performed one of his latest songs live with help from himelf on accompanying video screens. On one screen he was playing bass, and on the other, drums while he played guitar and sang live. It was pretty freakin' cool. There was also the interview where he discussed the new album, and a bunch of other stuff. On the first commercial break, the screeners came through the audience to screen the questions audience members were going to ask Paul on the air. When they came to our row, we said that we wanted to ask Paul to play with us at Lincoln Center. The screener said something like, "absolutely not."

We were a little dissapointed, but that wasn't going to stop us. On the next commercial break me, and a girl whose name I can't remember right now, stood up and screamed in Unison, "Paul, will you play with us at our high school symphony concert at Lincoln Center?" He gave us this very playful shrug and replied with an enthusiastic, "Sure!" We went fucking nuts.

Now understand something, we just put the biggest rock star in the world on the spot, and he was cool as a cucumber. Although we got a verbal confirmation, some of us were still skeptical as to whether or not Paul actually intended to show up. He couldn't exactly say No in a room full of die hard fans. After the show, a reporter from the Daily News came up to us and said something like, "I saw the whole thing! I'm writing an article about this concert!" Now we were really going nuts. Not only did Paul McCartney agree to play with us, but there would be recorded proof in the Daily News confirming it.

The next few weeks were crazy. The news stations came down to our school. On my sister's wedding day, I had to do a tv interview before the ceremony! It was a frenzy. This was a very exciting time for all of us, but unfortunately there is a downside to this story.

Sadly, Paul's wife Linda passed away a few months later, and understandably, he was unable to perform at our concert. The show did go on, but without Paul. Instead, some of the students sang Paul's parts. I was lucky enough to be one of those students. I got to sing Golden Slumbers at Lincoln Center. It was really cool.

I remember we were really tight-lipped about what Beatles songs we were doing. It was a big secret. I convinced my uncle to come to the concert, and I remember begging my grandparents to come. It was a really difficult task to get Marion and Phil Castellano to close the music store and leave Brooklyn for evening, but after relentless begging on my part, they agreed to come. So when we went into Golden Slumbers, one of my fondest memories was looking out at my family and seeing their faces light up as they realized what songs we were about to play. My grandmother passed away a few years after that, and I'm so grateful to have that happy memory of her in that moment.

So there's my whole Paul McCartney story. I got to have a very short conversation with my hero, but I never got to play with him. Maybe one day......

Monday, July 5, 2010


Happy Independence Day!  We just played a ribfest in Illinois.  It was a good show.  Half our gear didn't make it on the plane with us, but luckily we had enough to get the job done.
I think we've come to a point where air travel is completely screwed.  So far we've had to deal with delayed flights, canceled flights, excessive charges, and missing luggage on many, many occasions.  It's like they're in the business of bad business.  I know everyone who has to travel for a living complains about air travel, but this summer is the worst yet.  The just screw with people, and lie to cover their tracks.  It's like they all go to training seminars on how to lie and the semantics of wording things to avoid liability.
Even though the travel is rough, it is nice to be playing.  BOC is a great bunch of guys and even when stranded in an airport, we can make each other laugh.  One plus to spending a lot of time on planes is that you get to devote a nice chunk of time to reading/iPod.  I've been catching up on Lost.  I just got to season 4.  While it's no Battlestar Galactica, it certainly is entertaining and it gets you hooked pretty quickly.  I especially enjoy the dialogue of the character Sawyer. That's some really funny stuff. 
I've also been reading more comics lately. There's a really great comic shop near me called Comic Book Jones.  I really like the atmosphere there and the people who work there are great.  Anyway, I'm really into DC stuff, especially Batman.  I'm currently reading the Return of Bruce Wayne, which is just awesome.  I can't wait for the next issue.  As cool as the Batman movies are, they never seem to nail the Bruce Wayne character like the comics.  Hopefully, we'll get to see more of Bruce Wayne, the Tactical Mastermind/Genius Detective in the next movie.
For a while I kept the comics thing to myself, but then I began to realize that a lot people are reading these things.  This weekend alone, I met 5 middle aged men with families and real jobs (including a physics professor) who are avid comics readers.  It's like a secret society.  We need a password and a handshake.
One thing I'm not happy about in the world of DC is this new Wonder Woman crap.  This is supposed to segue into a movie where they ignore a 70 year legacy of the most famous Super Heroine ever.  Don't they realize that people hate when they do this?  If you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about then let me backtrack.  They're giving wonder woman a new costume and a new persona.  Supposedly, this idea came from the heads of Warner Brothers in an attempt to modernize her and make her movie ready.  Sorry guys, but I think all of us want to see the classic armor and not a leather body suit.  Unbelievable.
Aside from the books,  I've also checking out some of the old Superman radio shows.  Whenever we do ground travel, I usually travel with our Tour Manager.  I downloaded these shows to pass the time.  They're actually really good.  It's total cheese, but in a good way.  The organist on these shows is awesome.  The guy is playing his ass off.  A funny thing about these radio shows is that they left the original Public Service Announcements intact.  It's amazing how different things were before everything had to be Politically Correct.  It's like no one can laugh at themselves anymore.
Back to serious stuff.  I've made some changes to my BOC gear.  I'm using ENGL stuff now.  It's really heavy.  Right now I just have the preamp but eventually, I hope to go totally ENGL.  I also picked up a really cool piece from Voodoo Lab called the Control Switcher.  It has 4 jacks that you connect to the footswitch jacks on your guitar amp.  Then you can pick any combination and save it as a preset which can be changed via the MIDI jack!  For example, my ENGL preamp has the following footswitch functions.  1) Clean/Dirty, 2) Gain Boost,  3) Mid Boost.  I plug each of these jacks into the Control Switcher which is connected Via MIDI to my TC Nova System Effects Pedal.  When I hit preset 1 on the pedal it switches my amp to Clean, with no boosts.  Preset 1 is a Chorus/Long Delay which I use for songs like "Harvest Moon" and "Shooting Shark."  So by hitting that one button on the pedal, is switches my effects and the amp.  When I hit preset 2, it switches the amp to Dirty, with no boosts.  Preset 2 is dry, but I have effects that I can add as I'm playing.  My Nova is setup so I can turn effects on and off within presets like stomp boxes.  I have a slap delay that I use for the Vigil, the Burnin' For You Flanger, and the Rudy-Medley Chorus all ready to go when I need them.  Preset 3 switches the amp to Dirty with all the boosts.  That preset also pulls up a Medium Delay.  I have other effects in that preset as well.  There's a chorus, and a C Major harmonizer there for the extremely rare occasion that I'd have to play Burnin for You by myself.
The coolest thing is that I also programmed this rig to work with rental gear.  We've been using it with the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers and it works like a champ.  The only difference in the effects setup is that I add a little EQ to preset 3 to make the tone a little less buzzy which is an inherent characteristic of those amps.
Aside from all of the BOC gigs, I'm also in the middle of filming the next 2 tiger's fang movies.  I really didn't want to start filming during the BOC busy season, but a limited time opportunity to shoot in a really cool location just opened up and I had to do it while it was available.  It's just really crazy right now because I'm also in the middle of moving, so I have a lot of things going on.  We still have more stuff to shoot too.  I probably wont be able to start the post production on this one until we're settled in the new place, so in all honesty, I'd probably say I can have it out by November.  I know all the people who helped us with these movies is dying to see them, but all I can say is, be patient guys.  It'll be worth the wait.  So far it's completely awesome and is on a totally different level from the others.  The production value keeps getting better, but with that comes more work for me.  The first tiger's fang movie was a silly thing we did on a whim.  It took me a couple of hours to make.  Now they are elaborate productions that take weeks of planning, and months of post production which includes me and Steve Corn spending hours staring at a computer screen.  I have to say the biggest difference in this one is the amount of great people we have working on it.  Everyone is so charismatic about it.  When you have a bunch of people all working toward the same goal, it's amazing what you can do.
I've also mapped out the rest of the Tiger's Fang films.  To be honest, we've already shot footage for Tiger's Fang 7, 8, 9 and 10!  7 and 8 are mostly done.  We have about half of 9, and a quarter of 10.   And I plan to do a few more after 10 so stay tuned!
One final note.  As soon as BOC busy season is over, I'm looking forward to getting back to my local stuff.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do the Painter's jam more often, and I also really want to record something with MorningStarlett. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why it takes 21 hours to get from St. Louis to New York.

I feel it's my duty to inform people of the way American Airlines conducts business.  Basically they lie as much as possible until they're caught, at that point they make up a new lie to cover up the first one.  Finally when the truth comes out, you almost always discover that they lie to save money and basically don't care about totally screwing their customers.  Luckily, there was one AA employee who told it to us straight.
Remember the Jet Blue flight where they made the passengers sit on the runway for 9 hours?  Well, since then the Federal Government passed a law stating that if a plane sits on the runway for more than 3 hours, the airline will be fined $25,000 per passenger.  That's a potential fine of $1 million for a flight.  No one has been fined yet since the law was passed.  American Airlines' method of avoiding this fine is rather shady.
If air traffic control says there's congestion at the airport to which you are flying, they'll simply cancel the flight.  If there is congestion at the arrival location, then there's a very small possibility that the plane could be on the runway for more than 3 hours.  So rather than get their stuff together, they just avoid doing their jobs altogether.  For them it's financially sound because they don't have any risk on their part, but they never have an acceptable contingency plan for the passengers they are stranding.  Case in point is what happened to us yesterday.
At 9 am after being informed our flight was canceled, we were told that all other New York flights were sold out.  Our best option was to fly to Washington DC, rent cars, and drive home.  Of course the DC flight was delayed so by the time we got to Washington National airport it was Midnight.  After returning the rental car at Newark, I got home at 6:15 am.
I think that treating customers like this is unacceptable and something needs to be done about unethical ways in which Airlines conduct their business.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Video Games vs. Art Critics

Roger Ebert, a film critic who I respect, said that video games aren't art. OK, of course he's entitled to his are you and I. I've actually heard quite a few people argue this point.

To put it as eloquently and articulately as possible...this is a load of shit. This argument should be resolved by simple fact that it takes just as many (if not more) skilled artists to make the average video game than it does to make the average movie.

Star Wars: The Old Republic video game has more actors than any of the star wars movies. So I don't understand what these people are arguing?

On any given major video game there are graphic artists, animators, actors, motion capture performers, composers, script writers, musicians, composers, engineers, producers, concept artists etc... So I'm supposed to believe that these great artists are not creating art on video game projects?

I think that interactivity is on the horizon for art, and a lot of people (especially film directors) are going to have a hard time handing the reins over to the audience. I can relate, I don't know how I would feel about someone changing my songs from the way I want them to be.

Maybe I experience games differently than other people. I stop to look out windows, I never skip cutscenes, I look at textures, walk around objects so I can hear them pan around in surround sound, watch how my shadow bounces off objects... I don't understand how these components can all be art, but cease to be art once they are put together.

I've had the pleasure of working on a few video games. There are definitely talented artists working at the game companies and to say that what they're doing is not art just seems wrong to me.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Booking gigs is hard work.

For the first 16 years of my musical life, I booked almost all the gigs. I wasn't good at it. I never got many great paying gigs, and I was very easily bullied by shady club owners. I dreaded the process of constant phone calls, meetings, making press kits...remaking press kits, etc... In the end all that hard work was rewarded with getting crummy gigs for low pay. But, at least we were working.

When I started doing club dates and playing with BOC, I was very thankful that someone else was booking the gigs. When I went back to booking my own gigs I found it even more difficult. I lost some of my nerve/business sense, and had to build it up again. What made things even more difficult was that there were more bands and fewer venues.

My point is this: Booking gigs sucks and it's really hard. It takes patience, persistence, and it means developing relationships with some people who do everything they possibly can to NOT pay you. So after you do all this work, what do you get? You get to hear every member of your band complain to you. Why are we starting so late? Why are we starting so early? Really, 3 sets? Is this all you're paying me? Why won't this place give us free drinks? I don't want to play at this place anymore, why don't you book us somewhere else? Why do we have to bring people? Why can't my girlfriend get in for free? And on and on.

Now that I'm in a position where musician friends of mine are putting me on their gigs, I always make sure to say thank you. Thank you for booking this gig and putting me on it.

Believe me, after weeks or months of going back and forth with club owners the last things someone wants to hear is you complain about the gig they just busted their ass to get you.

So the moral of the story is: If a musician friend of yours gets you a gig, say thanks.


PS: if you don't start saying thanks, your gig booking musician friend will stop calling you for gigs, book solo acoustic gigs for himself and be happier, he doesn't care who you play with, stop being a dick.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Japan Day 10

This is the day we left Japan.  Since our flight was in the evening, Ann Marie and I went to Asakusa before we had to check out of the hotel.  We visited the outdoor market stalls right near the train station.  This was interesting to check out, but once again, I was disappointed to see the same stuff here that I'd seen everywhere else.  This market was a massive tourist trap.
On the whole, I loved our Japan trip.  We got to experience so many amazing things.  I felt like I was finally getting the hang of Tokyo just as we had to leave.  I guess I'll have to save that knowledge for next time. The people were mostly very friendly and helpful to tourists.
I really enjoyed the Japanese language.  Even though I only knew a few phrases, I got around with no problems, and speaking the language was a lot of fun.
Since the exchange rate was so crappy, it was easy to spend money very quickly if you weren't careful.
My biggest regret is that we didn't get to see Mount Fuji.  Ann Marie was particularly disappointed by this.  Unfortunately, the weather just wasn't clear enough for a Fuji trip.  It was also really expensive to visit Fuji and quite a time commitment, so to go through all the trouble of getting there just to not see the mountain and get rained on all day would have sucked.
If I had to do it again, I'd probably take more day trips, and spend a little less time in Tokyo.  I loved Tokyo, but Kyoto was just so beautiful that it's hard to top.

Japan Day 9

Ann Marie and I went on another trip, just the 2 of us.  First we stopped at a sword museum/store.  We saw some blades that were 700 years old and looked like they were made yesterday.
After that, we took a train to Kamakura which is about an hour south of Tokyo.  Kamakura was like a miniature version of Kyoto, although our first stop was anything but miniature.  The Daibutsu is a gigantic Buddha statue the appears to dwarf the surrounding trees. The sight of it is so awesome that it's impossible to describe.  Religion seems to be a big part of Japanese life.  Every Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple we visited had plenty of people around praying and making offerings.  Their religion is closely tied into nature so every place of worship is a breathtaking sight.
Along the main roads we saw a few gift shops.  I was most disappointed by the gift shops in Japan.  Every gift shop has the same exact stuff for more or less the same price.  The chopsticks set you bought outside a shrine in Kyoto was identical to the one on the 5th floor of a Tokyo electronics complex.
Next we visited the Hase Kannon Shrine.  This was small, but great.  There we thousands of tiny statues (of Kannon I'm guessing) placed precisely around the area.  In fact, we were there while a maintenance staff was carefully cleaning and placing the statues.  No matter where I went in Japan, I almost always saw someone cleaning.  It explains why the country is so clean.  The people are on top of it.
Since the shrine was high up, we got a really nice view of the falcons flying closely above.  They were huge and beautiful birds.
The shrine also had it's own cave.  It was my first time ever in a cave.  It was cool.  I felt like Indiana Jones.  The cave had more statues placed all over on the inside.
We made our way back to Tokyo and had another dinner at Fukisushi.  Once again, it was awesome.  I learned that the chef was a guitar player so we talked shop for a bit.  I also learned that Sushi is finger food, and is actually meant to be eaten with fingers instead of chopsticks.
After dinner we met up with the Samurai class translator, Kimi and her friend, Yumi, and we all went to a live show in Shimbuya.  Our sword instructors were joined by dancers and musicians on stage.  It was a nice fusion of traditional Asian music and modern music.  It was sort of like performance art, but not exactly.  The theme of the show was marionette puppets, and it followed a fairly traditional Japanese story line.  Narrating the story was a girl playing piano and singing.  Once again, I was absolutely floored by the Japanese musicianship.  This girl was a fantastic piano player, and had an amazing voice.  She didn't make a single mistake during 2 hours of straight playing and singing...oh yeah, I forgot to mention...she also did fight choreography and was awesome at that too. The show had everything you could possibly want.  It was truly a multimedia experience.

Japan Day 8

We had a feeling that we missed stuff in Akihabara, so we went back.  Unfortunately, we didn't miss anything, and just found more of the same stuff.
Then we went off to what was possibly the highlight of our trip.  I signed us up for a class with Tetsuro Shimaguchi.  He was a fight choreographer for Kill Bill.  He also played the character Miki, who was one of the crazy 88 gang.  We didn't know what to expect from this class.  We were assuming it was going to be a watered down activity made easy for tourists.  Luckily, we were the only ones in the class. Mr. Shimaguchi's translator, Kimi, asked us if we had any Martial Arts training.  We told him we all studied Kung Fu.  He was very pleased with this, because this meant he was going to be able to cover more ground in the allotted period of time.  The stances were all similar to Kung Fu so we picked them up quickly.  Once he saw this, he started throwing more stuff at us.  He was a great teacher, and a charismatic entertainer.  It was challenging, but we were having a great time.  He definitely kicked our asses a bit. This class was a mixture of real Katana technique and movie fighting.  This was like a Tiger's Fang training seminar.  In the middle of the class the translator suddenly stopped.  She said, "excuse me, Mr. Shimaguchi has never taught this before in this class, so I'm trying to think of the translation for what he is saying."  We felt really honored that he was going out of his way to throw in extra stuff to the class just for us.
Next, he and his assistant did a short performance for us.  The most impressive thing is that they were able to quickly rattle off a few moves verbally before hand and then execute them with no problem.  Their performance was INSANE!  I had to keep telling myself, "this is real.  There are no camera tricks, edits, or tape speed changes.  These guys are this good."
After the performance he taught us choreography for our own fight scenes.  He all took turns fighting with his assistant.  The choreography was amazing.  We used everything he taught us during the class.  I've done fight choreography before.  The biggest difference here is that my partner was skilled stunt guy, and a master swordsman.  He led the fight like it was a dance.  His sword guided my sword.  He made all of us look good.  He was amazing.
At that point, we were all comfortable enough with Mr. Shimaguchi to show him some clips of Tiger's Fang.  I think he genuinely liked it, and was laughing at our gags.  He posed for pictures with us and invited us to a live performance he was doing the next evening.  When we walked out of that room, we were all on on cloud 9.
Our next stop was Mandrake (man-der-ah-kay) in Shibuya.  It's probably the largest Manga store in Tokyo.  I didn't buy anything, because it was all in Japanese. I did get to hear some awesome Metal band on the radio in the store.  I asked one of the clerks who they were and he gave me a small scrap of paper that said, "Abingdon, JAP."  When I get home, I'll have to make sense of this message and get this band's music.
We grabbed lunch at a tiny family run restaurant.  The food was good, but really greasy.  After all the walking, we were just happy to be sitting down.
For dinner, we wanted to go to Fukizushi again, but it was closed on Sundays.  Ann Marie and I went out to have a really nice dinner for two in Roppongi at a place called Wan. It was on the 6th floor of a TGI Fridays building.  The place was fusion restaurant.  It was a combination of Japanese, Chinese, and Italian.  There were private booths closed of by Shoji screens and you sat on the floor on Tatami mats while you ate.  The food was awesome, the service was great, and it was cheap.  I can't give this place a high enough recommendation if you're planning on visiting Tokyo.
After dinner we met up with Steve and went to Kento's.  This is a club that plays rock n roll music from about 1956 to 1964.  The house band and the audience are dressed in 50's garb.  This band was also slammin'!  These guys were playing and singing the shit out of these songs and the audience was doing choreographed dance moves in unison. It was a total trip!  Ann Marie and I joined the fun and started dancing.  The regulars looked at us, started giggling, and then started mimicking our dance moves.  It was so much fun.  The band went into Johnny B. Goode, and I was singing along, every word at the top of my lungs.  The band leader, gestured for me to come to the foot of the stage.  I went there, and he turned his mike around and let me sing a chorus.  Luckily for me, it was in a good key, so I sang it pretty darn good if I don't say so myself.
I filled out a request form wih a few songs and wrote my name down as Richie from New York.  During the next set, the band leader pointed at me and said "Hey Richie...New York!"  Then he spoke in Japanese and the audience started laughing.  After that, he played "Great Balls of Fire" which was on my request sheet.  They ended the night with one of my favorite songs ever, "Long Tall Sally."
The perfect ending to an awesome day.

Japan Day 7

Ever watch Ninja Warrior on the G4 channel?  It's actually a Japanese show called Sazuke.  There's an obstacle course requiring various feats of strength and dexterity.  Contestants have to run through obstacles, balance over pits of water, and lift their enitre body weight on their fingers...crazy stuff like that.  Today we went to an indoor amusement park in Odaiba.  Odaiba is the city in the Tokyo bay so we got to take a monorail there.  The place was called "Muscle Park."  In one corner of the place was an area dedicated to Sasuke.  Unfortunately for me, they had 4 obstacles relying heavily on forearms and upper body strength. Although I was hoping to try some of the balance or speed obstacles, I still tried anyway.
Ann Marie went first, and she was awesome.  She nailed the airbike.  She had to hang off these handles that were actually pedals attached to a bicycle mechanism that was on a rope track.  Pedaling with you hands makes to bike move across the rope. She did this with no problem.
Next the cliff hanger.  There's a narrow ledge with room enough for only your finger tips and your supposed to carry your body weight across this ledge.  This was really hard, and Ann Marie didn't get far on this.
Then there was the Salmon Ladder which was like a pull-up bar from hell.  You have to do a pull up and sort of bounce the bar up a ladder without putting your legs down.  This was also really hard, and Ann Marie couldn't make it past the first step.
Finally there was the Ring Rail.  You hang on to these metal rings and slide them across rings with various steps up and down.  Ann Marie did pretty good on this too.
Steve was up next.  He almost made it through Airbike before falling at the very end, then had the same luck as Ann Marie and the next 3 obstacles.
Next was my turn.  I lifted my feet up and started pedaling the airbike.  I thought "hey this isn't so bad, I can do this!"  Then I got a shooting pain in my back and fell off.  I sucked total ass on the next 2 and managed to get to the first incline on the rings before falling to my foamy doom.  Even though, I gave a less than stellar performance, I still had a great time trying.
After that we went to SEGA Joypolis which is a collection of crappy games, long lines, and high prices.  I would not recommend this place to anyone, even though there seemed to be plenty of kids there.
Ann Marie broke off to do some shopping in the Odaiba mall, and Scro went to do his own thing, so Steve and I walked down to the Toyota Megaweb which was nothing more than a Toyota showroom with a few simulators.  In other words...crap fest.
After a quick stop at the hotel we went to Shibuya.  Shibuya at night looks like Times Square.  There are giant video billboards, and bright lights filled up by a sea of people.  There are arcades, gift shops, clothing stores, malls, restaurants, and more.  The place was on fire, even though it was raining out.
After the stroll through Shibuya we went to Shinjuku.  Shinjuku is also a crazy place.  It's similar to Shibuya until you enter the devil horned gates of Kabukicho which is Tokyo's largest red light district.  This was a pretty seedy place.  There were guys everywhere pedaling sex. Kabukicho was safe enough to walk through, but I doubt it stays safe once you follow one of these guys indoors.  Since Ann Marie was with us, everyone left us alone.  The buildings had large posters on them with pictures of young, attractive Japanese girls.  We quickly learned that only Japanese men were allowed to go into these places.  I guess it's hard to complain about discrimination if you're patronizing an illegal Yakuza run business in a foreign country.  There were other massage parlors and such that seemed to be foreigner friendly.  We also got to walk through the area of short stay Love Hotels.  These aren't brothels, just gaudy hotels with hourly rates for people who want to get it on with some privacy... or for drunk dudes who missed the last train.
After Shinjuku we searched for Karaoke.  One of the travel books recommended a place called Smash Hits.  It was in the middle of nowhere, and the place was dead.  We headed to Roppongi to try the next place on the list called Big Echo.  In Tokyo it seems that Karaoke with private rooms are more popular than in places with stages, so we went into Big Echo and got our own room.  This was good cheap fun. The food and drinks were good, and they had nearly every song we were looking for.
After singing our butts off, we called it a night.

Japan Day 6

Ann Marie and I decided to break off from the group today.  We got lucky with the weather today. It was sunny, and not too cold.  In fact, I wore a T-shirt all day without getting chilly.  We went to the very famous Meiji Shrine near Shibuya.  It was massive and amazing.  The woods leading up to the shrine consisted of thousands of trees donated from around the world. The shrine itself was very impressive and apparently a popular wedding spot since we saw 3 different wedding parties.
Next we went to Takeshita street in Harajuku.  This is the place to be if you're a teenager.  They were out in full force in some of the craziest outfits you've ever seen.  Takeshita street is lined with clothing shops.  I wanted to buy something, but a Japanese size large is about an American size small.  Even though I didn't buy anything, I did have a nice time walking through this area.  I also noticed that Michael Jackson was everywhere.  Every store had MJ t-shirts, videos, posters, and music playing.  It looks like Japan took his passing pretty hard.
After Harajuku, we made a quick stop in the Shibuya music store district where a played a bunch of sweet Ernie Ball guitars.
Later, we met up with Scro and Steve and went to the most famous concert arena in Japan...BUDOKAN.  You may know Budokan from the various live albums recorded there from Cheap Trick and Deep Purple.  Here's a little trivia: The Beatles were the first band to play at Budokan.
Budokan is a massive building.  It has a great look to it.  It's not just some huge rectangular space in which to cram a bunch of people.  It definitely looks Japanese, and has a great design.  When we arrived at Budokan, there were thousands of young kids everywhere. A Japanese boy band was playing there.  However, that was not our destination.  Budokan literally translates to Martial Arts Hall.  While the teenyboppers were rocking out to their J-Pop in the main arena, all the way in the back and down a few flights of stairs there were 2 modest sized rooms separated by a hallway in between them, where a group of badasses were beating the living shit out of each other.
I went up to one of the security guards who was busy herding kids into the right entrances and said, "Sumimasen, Kendo wa doko des ka?"  He looked at me like I was from Mars.  I repeated the phrase, except this time making a sword motion, and he said, "Ah! Kendooooooo."  Apparently, Kendo has a long "o" (ō) at the end, and I've been pronouncing it wrong for a long time.  He looked around to see if any of his co-workers were near, but there was no help in sight.  In true Japanese fashion, he went out of his way to help us.  He abandoned his post, and walked us through the crowds all the way to a rear entrance.  We thanked him profusely, and went up to the security guard guarding the rear entrance.  This time I said, "Sumimasen,  Kendō wa des ka?"  He said something I couldn't understand, and then motioned for us to go into the rear entrance.  There was another guard inside.  I forgot how to say "I would like to watch Kendo," so instead I said "Kendō, kudasai."  (Kendo please) and made the I'd like to watch gesture.  He also went out of his way, walked us to the place and showed us where to sit. 
From where we sat, we were able to see both Kendo and Judo practice.  Kendo was in front of us, Judo behind us.  At first the Kendo students were doing response drills with bokken (heavy wooden swords.) They would do the moves without actually hitting each other.  They took a short break in which one of the students went up to Steve and let him hold his sword.  (damn, 2 for 2!) After a little while, they all put on the armor and picked up Shinai (lighter bamboo swords) and started hitting each other with full contact and full force.  It was amazing to see this kind of intensity. The guys and ladies were screaming at each other like they wanted blood.  I liked to think that they were all stuck in cubicles all day, and by night these guys put on armor, pretend the opponent is their boss and wail on 'em.
After class was over we headed to Roppongi which was probably my favorite area in Tokyo.  This had the food and the music.  What I wasn't expecting was the high pressure street team.  There were a group of guys (mostly non-Japanese) saying tittybar to everyone who walked by.  Some of the guys wouldn't take no for an answer.  Scro adopted a policy of yelling "NO!" every time someone came near us.  That seemed to work for the most part.
My travel book recommended a sushi place called Fukizushi, so we stopped in for a quick bite.  This sushi redeemed our previous negative sushi experience.  It was incredible.  This place was all about the freshness of the ingredients.  They didn't have rolls with 3 different kinds of fish, avocado, mayo etc...  These guys gave you fish, and rice.  They put the soy sauce and the wasabi on for you.  These guys weren't fucking around, everything I had there was amazing.  The chefs were also extremely friendly, and conversed with us in english throughout the entire meal.  It was a little pricey, but I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to raw fish.
Next, we walked down the street to Tokyo's own cavern club!  The Beatest, the Japanese Beatles were playing and they were incredible.  There were 4 of them up there with right instruments, dressed in grey Beatles suits.  These guys were amazing.  Sure, the thick Japanese accents were funny on Beatles lyrics, but they were so good, that I honestly stopped noticing that they were singing Godda Geddu Inta My Rife, and Gorden Srumbas.  They didn't make a single mistake.  They were scary good and did stuff from every album.  On each table in the club were request sheets with the enitre catalog printed on them, suggesting that they literally knew every Beatles song.  Seeing as how good they were,  I wouldn't doubt it.  They even did an extended jam in While my Guitar Gently Weeps.  The George guy played a really tasty Clapton-esque solo that fit perfectly.  All of us had a great time at the Cavern Club.