SQUEEZE IT: Got a chance to see Ozone Squeeze at The Baked Potato in Los Angeles last night, featuring my Satriani tour mate Rai Thistlethwayte (shown here) on keys, vocals and key bass; the legendary Oz Noy on guitar; and Sara Niemietz on vocals, who I hadn't had the pleasure of hearing until last night. Fun, funky, jazzy, soul-drenched vibes and a great night out. They're hitting the road for a short US tour and I say 10/10, would recommend!
EDIT: How could I have forgotten Darren Stanley on drums? He was killing and grooving all night. My bad. I tried to tag him but there's a lot of Darren Stanley's out there!
Mon, MAR 20 Yoshi's Oakland CA
Tue, MAR 21 City Winery Chicago IL
Wed, MAR 22 Keystone Korner Baltimore MD
Thu, MAR 23 City Winery Philadelphia PA
Fri, MAR 24 Iridium New York City, NY
Sat, MAR 25 City Winery Boston MA ... See MoreSee Less
WHEN THREE’S NOT A CROWD: An especially rare joint appearance on my socials of Ellie’s Mom (aka Liz Teisan) and #nosocialmedia Joe Travers, house drummer for Ultimate Jam Night at The Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip (the occasion that brought us together for the evening). It’s nice to be home, albeit ever so briefly. ... See MoreSee Less
I HEART D'ADDARIO: And so does Ellie, clearly. (She got so many snacks for participating in this photo shoot.) Touring is BACK, baby, and that means it's time to re-up on strings, straps, cables, and all of the things that make it possible for us to do what we do onstage night after night. I've been playing D'Addario and Co. strings for 25 years now, and they just keep on delivering for me. Plus these Planet Lock straps make strap lock hardware a thing of the past - a huge hassle just gone. I could go on and on, but why do that when Ellie took all of these impossibly cute photos?
Next up: Two months in Europe with Joe Satriani, followed by one month in the UK and select European countries with The Aristocrats. Europe, it's been too long. See you soon. ... See MoreSee Less
R.I.P. MICHAEL RHODES, THE BASS KING OF NASHVILLE: When I moved to Nashville in early 2006, Bass Player Magazine assigned their new Music City correspondent (a.k.a. me) an article on Michael Rhodes, with a Masterclass’s focus on a specific release. Michael chose what they call in local parlance an “artist’s album” (in other words, not designed to be a superstar vehicle mega-smash, but instead more artsy/rootsy) he’d recently completed, Randall Bramblett’s “No More Mr. Lucky”. And it was an absolute tour-de-force of bass magic in the first three songs alone. The pick-twanged line in “God Was in The Water” (I won’t tell you how he did it, just listen to it!) and the soft, floaty double-stop melody of “Lost Enough” was enough to say: This is a master at work.
As I learned more about him, I got that he was at the very very top of an incredibly competitive scene. His credit list was already ridiculous. Today it practically defies belief. All that, and he couldn’t have been more humble, sweet, down to earth, you name it.
We didn’t know each other “well” but we saw each other a few times during my 8 years in Nashville. I thought of him more recently as he’d been the live touring bassist for Joe Bonamassa, and I wondered if I might cross paths with him as I traveled with Joe Satriani at some point. I wish I had.
You really need to read this article in The Tennessean on the incredible list of artists he played with. And then go find that Randall Bramblett record and marvel at Michael Rhodes’ sublime artistry. Rest in peace, groove master.
And here’s Michael’s unedited answer from the last question of our 2006 interview:
BB: If someone said they wanted to play like Michael Rhodes, what advice would you give them?
MR: Oh, man, be careful, first of all! All kidding aside…you know, how do we get to where we are? It’s the sum of our entire experience up to that point in time. I’m self-taught, so a lot of the stuff that I do is stuff that I’ve had to figure out how to do it. And so consequently got way off the trail, initially, and then in that process discovered something that was maybe unique to me. It’s developing one’s own vocabulary. So that’s the esoteric part of it, I guess, that we – it’s really just, what do we hear, what do I hear, how do I like the bass to sound…it’s hard to get this down into a succinct thought.
I think it’s just about listening. I think it’s really about listening, and what’s absolutely essential.
I mean, practice is obvious. I think we’ve all spent a great deal of time along the way on the edge of the bed when we’re kids, and in my case it was learning while I was earning, because that’s just the way it worked out. Hell, I had a gig before I even owned a bass. It spoke to the paucity of bass players in West Monroe, Louisiana at the time, that nobody wanted to play bass. I did, but…
Bryan, I think it really is just about listening. It’s like, “What is the essence of the song? What can I bring to it? What does it need?” And I don’t want to butt in where I’m not wanted – sonically, or rhythmically, or anything like that. And always be willing to – for me, I’ll always acquiesce to someone who has an idea that…oh, man, yeah. Listening to this guy, he’s doing something…the drummer could be doing something…maybe even not intentional, but he’s screwing around with a little part in the song or something like that, and it’s like, “Oh yeah, OK.” And you start playing chase with an idea. Pretty soon, it becomes concrete. That, in a session situation, or any situation, you know? It’s that.
To play like me, just be open to all styles. God, there’s just so much good music out there, there’s so many good songs…and be willing to contribute. Or to not contribute. Be willing to not play very much.
📸: Daniel Knighton ... See MoreSee Less