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Tiensdag  

Good morning! 9:42 and 43 degrees on this sun n' clouds Tuesday. I've been up about an hour, and am nursing that first cup of Morning Joe. Never been a fan of black coffee, so I add something. Got my choice of creamers, just as long as they're sugar-free. You probably thought I was gonna say some form of booze..

Music news. Remembering the rivalry between what used to be our two major music stores. House of Music, at 3rd and North Grand; and Walko Music Co at 1120 So 2nd Street. Our two Barons were Ralph Sordyl and Steve Walko, whom we referred to as Robbin' Ralph and Stealin' Steve. 

I was always more a partisan of Walko's, being that it was closer and my Dad had a long friendship with Steve. Took lessons there, and also gave lessons for many years. And I played more than a few gigs with him, both in Los Medicos Locos and his quartets. The quartet gigs ended, invariably, with Jingle Bells played at the finish of whatever we were playing. 

On one occasion, which I believe was a Los Medicos Locos gig, there was some confusion on his part whether he wanted me on guitar or bass. Someone quipped, "Well they both cost the same!" 

Fondly remembered. Much love. 

Back here in the present moment, I'm enjoying some prosperity as far as my music. Seriously though, I make about as much as Spongebob in streams and the occasional download. It's a ripoff. But I still enjoy every increase, however small. I actually keep track of it. Nice to know that somebody's listening to something out there..

Two things I think are essential to survival are a sense of humor and the ability to make your own fun

Okay. That's pretty much all I've got for you for today. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! More statistics.. For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

un-manic Monday  

Good morning! 9:16 and 35 degrees on this dreaded first day of the workweek. I always think, however fleetingly, about the folks working in the unemployment office, since I was once one of them. Glad to find out that some of my brethren are now in a nice quiet location.

Wondering, in a few cases, why the hell they haven't retired. Then again, if your job is free of stress, it's a lot easier to hang in there. I could've hung in there myself, even in the crazy local office, if I could've scaled down to  just a couple days a week. But it was all or nothing. And nothing sounded pretty sweet to me. Thank you, State of Illinois, for all you've done for me. But adios!

Music news. Two new albums set to release this coming month. One is supposed to go up on Wednesday. It's called Concert Music, and is much like a Band Concert you might hear in a Park, only weirder. CD Baby is still dicking around with this one, as far as approving it. The other one is more electronic, and is all set to go. It's called Up Through the Up Pipe. Supposed to release on the 16th. 

These past two years have been nutty prolific as far as albums. Part of it has been the isolation we've all been through with COVID, being more or less forced back into our houses. But I also feel like I've tapped a vein. So I'm continuing to go for it. 

As far as playing out anyplace, I have attempted a comeback. I got in one solo guitar gig downtown, and then things cancelled on me. So I figure I'll take another look at things in the Spring.( Yes, a Cold Weather Wuss am I..) In the meantime, I'm still practicing, and still playing guitar with friends at their homes or mine. 

Back in the BC years--before COVID--I played a lot of Nursing/Assisted Living gigs .One thing I liked about them  was that you had a captive audience. They sat there and listened. Okay, some folks didn't have much choice in that matter, but the more able-bodied would get up and dance. 

The ideal gig, for me, is one not only where people actually listen, but also where the band is interactive and makes something happen in the music. Not wanting to do any more background music--even though you usually get fed pretty good..

Okay. My two cents. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! Happy #%$@ Monday to you! For now, I'm outa here. More later. 

Sunday  

Good morning! 9:17 and 35 degrees. My kinda Sunday- so bright I have to close the blinds. Just like my future. .This is my favorite day of the week, at least since I've retired. No more Sontagblues for this one.  Montag is now a nice quiet day.

From all those years  in the unemployment office, having  people yelling at me on Monday morning, I think I've earned it. If you want it quiet, you have to serve some noise time.. I have paid those dues. Boy have I paid those dues!

Music news. I hate to start off on a negative note here, but am noticing more of my fellow guitarists--especially my fellow aging guitarists--are having shoulder issues. Left shoulder issues, that being where the weight of the guitar does its magic. I can think of four fellow pickers who've suffered with this. 

Going through a bit of that myself right now. So that makes five. I consider myself lucky that I've never had carpal tunnel in either hand, but am feeling the pinch in that left shoulder that seems to be common to guitar players. I think they should re-name it.

GPS. Guitar Player Syndrome. I'm not sure I like that one, but it was the first thing to pop into my head. Thinking of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Wow, what are the odds of dying of your own disease?

Okay, that one was from an episode of The Sopranos. 

This is a slow period for music. You need those every so often, at least to catch your breath. So I'm fixin' to commence to be gettin into some more sonic trouble here in the Lab. I think that's how Jed would've put it. Just puttering at the moment. 

Okay, once again we've filled the page here. All the news I can muster up at the moment. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, I'm outa here. More later. 

Saturday  

Good morning! 9:32 and 36 degrees. I've been awake about half an hour. A night full of dreams I don't remember, except for a snippet right before I woke up. I was back at work. Unbeknownst to me, I had a girlfriend. She wanted to spend her break time with me. I obliged. We were heading off arm in arm when I woke up. 

Usually, the ones I remember are weird and disturbing in some way. That one was actually refreshing. Hope I get to see her again...

Music news. With Winter fast approaching, this would be a dynamite time for a new project here in the Lab. I've got a makeshift recording studio going here, with a synthesizer, lots of guitars, a guitar processor(heavy on the Death Metal sounds, but still lots of good stuff), a 5-string bass- plus a 16-track Fostex recorder I got 20 years ago but is still holding up. 

I haven't given up on working with other people by any means. As a musician- and as a person-  I still need  that in my diet.. I'm a pretty good hermit, but I don't want to get too good at it..  

The home studio is pretty addictive, though. Through the synthesizer keyboard, I've got a whole orchestra plus some crazy sounds not found in Nature. A whole bevy of tones in the guitar processor, and a variety of guitars to choose from. I used to joke in working days that if I didn't have to earn a living, I'd never leave the house. Definitely some truth there...

So that's the view from here. My weird-ass vantage point.. I think there was something else I was gonna talk about, but I'm already out of space. Next time, maybe. For now, thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Saturday to you! This boy's outa here. More later. 

 

Black Friday(All Fools' Day)  

Good morning! 10:13 and 26 degrees on this Black Friday. Another possible name for today might be All Fools' Day. What fools these mortals be, all lined up and fighting each other over the Big Deal of the Day. Which is usually out of stock by the time they've clawed their way to the door...

What kind of fool am I? Well, at least a different variety of fool. Black Friday, strangely enough, refers more to profitability than anything else. In the black, as it were. But it is just a little bit evil in itself, so that definition can still follow. 

This was one of the best Thanksgivings I've had. Five humans and one good-sized dog who answers to Zoot. Yes, named for the great saxophonist Zoot Sims. Good food, good conversation and good music. Lots of Gershwin. And some Zoot Sims..

Music News. Same old same old. Two new albums set to release this coming month, on the 1st and 16th. I've wished that my birthday were December 16th, so I could have the same day as Beethoven. But I was a Summer kid, born the same day as Ian Anderson. August 10..

At this point, with Winter right around the corner, I think I'm going to honor my inner Cold Weather Wuss this year and hibernate. All these years, I've worked in somebody's band, and would have to bite the bullet a couple times in shitty cold weather. At this point, I'm a free agent as far as that goes. See you in the Spring!

Skimpy stuff today. Sometimes skimpy is good. 

Our next big day, of course, is Christmas. I love the traditional Christmas songs, like Silent Night- just as long as they're not sung by the fucking Chipmunks, pardon my French... I don't know if this makes me out to be a Grinch, but I have a problem with Alvin and company. 

Okay then. This is my news for the day. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Fools' Day! For now, je suis outa here. More later.  Today's music is a piece of mine called Awakening. Hope you like it.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Good morning! 9:25 and 35 degrees on this Thanksgiving Thursday. Six hours from now, I'll be on my way to a Thanksgiving dinner. Stayed in last year due to COVID. Solo Thanksgivings suck. Better to be among other people, at least for a couple hours in there. 

Music news. Still working away in the Lab. Guitar stuff goes up on YouTube, and recorded stuff goes up on my site. I'm not working anyplace right now, but I play guitar at people's houses. Most of my friends play something, so when I visit them, music usually figures into it. 

2 new recordings are going up this coming month. They're called Concert Music and Up Through the Up Pipe. Yes, weirder stuff. Both these albums are up on my site under My Wares. So you can give them a listen if the spirit moves you. I should even have a few free downloads in there. 

These past two years have been crazy prolific as far as albums. Six last year and seven this year. At the beginning of my retirement, back in mid-2013, I had maybe an album every year, and two years in there where there were no albums made.

Doing a lot of gigs then, 6 to 10 every month. By 2020, I had cut down considerably, but still had my nice little niche in there. With all of that wiped out, I just got back into doing home studio stuff. And all hell broke loose from there..

So we'll see if my crazy prolific patch continues into next year. Still having a lot of fun with it. My original game plan for music was to be a composer anyway. That's what I went to school for. But the guitar has always figured in there someplace. 

And that's all I've got for you for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through all this stuff. I do appreciate it! Happy Thanksgiving to you! For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 

 

PS Today's pic was taken at the unemployment office where I used to work. Trying to look despotic in the picture here. 

 

 

 

Wednesday  

Good morning Vietnam! It's 8:57 and 45--feels like 37--degrees on this day before Thanksgiving. I've already dug out the thermal dermis, which I'll be wearing until sometime in March. Different pairs of course. The furnace has new filters, which should be good for the Season. And I have space heaters which have been in place since last Winter. I'm as ready as I'm gonna be..

Music News. I have a few new things up on YouTube you might enjoy. Normally I rotate between the red Epiphone guitar and the yellow Takamine, but I've also got a nice arctic white Telecaster I'm pretty fond of. An old Mexican Fender Tele. Had it since 2007.  So the white guitar is added to the rotation. 

Telecasters are  versatile instruments. You can play jazz on them, but also blues and country and rock. For a good five years in there, I played in the Dan Rivero Trio. Organ, guitar and drums. It was an R & B group, but the keyboardist had some jazz in him, so we could lean in that direction when need be. And the guitar sounded good on everything we played. 

I could've lived without Margaritaville though. Never could stand that tune...But I did have a great time with Dan and Wayne for those years.

At this point, I'm pretty settled into working from home. I have gotten out and visited a few folks over this last month, and played guitar in their homes, so I'm not a total hermit... But I'm having a good time here in the Lab. This is working, at least for now. 

So there will always be something new either on my site or on YouTube or both. I still need to communicate in this way regardless of whether I leave the house to do it. Music is meant to be shared..

Well thanks once again, for stopping in and wading through all this stuff. Happy Hump Day, or pre-Thanksgiving. Looking forward to tomorrow's gathering. For now, je suis outa here. More later.  PS Today's tune is a thing I wrote called Boot Scoot. It's the same changes as the standard Lover Come Back to Me, only the melody is retrograded--bass-ackwards. It's on my album Tele-ology, which is straight-ahead jazz(and some other stuff)played on a Fender Telecaster guitar. 

 

 

 

 

un-manic Monday  

Greetings, whoever-reads-this! A mid-afternoon post, here at 2:42 in the pm.

One thing about getting older is that the semi-annual health exams have more things that can go wrong. Which means more screenings for more potential stuff.  So they're a little more worrisome, waiting for the lab results. Add to that the fact that despite your vigilance you somehow miss the call damn near every time, and have to play phone tag-sometimes for several hours. 

But then the relief is that much greater when everything comes back normal--or at least as close to it as I get. So I've got closure, at least for the time being.. 67 going on 68..

Music News. Skimpy stuff right now. I used to play in the band Ocean State, and still help out here and there. I was supposed to do a session with them tonight, but it got cancelled. That was the one news item I had. 

With everything in limbo for such a long time, I've pretty much adjusted. The void I was afraid of back in 2013 when I first retired has been embraced. I like having weeks you could shoot a cannon through. These days you almost have to pry my ass out of here..

So as far as the scene, I'm not on it at the moment. But I still love everybody. Even the stinkers.. The scene used to be terribly cliquey, with all its little in and out groups. Remembering another musician, with whom I used to play shows and various other gigs. We'd just got done playing a show, and I suggested going to Norb's for a few drinks. 

"We can't go there", my friend said." I'm mad at somebody in the band there. " "Well, okay, what about Lime Street?" "We can't go there either. I'm mad at somebody in the band there too. "

Oy gevalt! But that was what it was like back in the 80s and 90s. I should think things are cooler now..

It's something I'll come back to eventually. In lieu of gigs, I am getting a little better social life, something that fell by the wayside somewhere in the muddle of all those working years. This will probably make gigs easier, having more of a life of my own. I won't feel like I'm missing something. 

And that's my two cents for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through it. Happy Tuesday to you! For now, this boy's outa here. More later. 

 

Sunday  

Good morning! 8:32 and 45 degrees on this sun n' clouds Sunday. Back in the swing with these posts. After hitting rock bottom, I got a goodly number of reads. So somebody stopped in here someplace yesterday. Thanks, I appreciate that!

Music news. A playing session this coming Tuesday, with folks in the band Ocean State. I used to play in the band, but still help out here and there. As far as jam sessions go, I prefer something more free-form if I had my druthers. Remembering such sessions as a High Schooler, getting high as a kite and then plumbing the mysteries of the A minor chord for the next hour. 

Still, it's playing music with other people. And getting out of the house. The percussionist and I have known each other since we were kids, so there are a lot of stories back and forth.  Socializing --.something I need more of in my diet. Working on it..

And I have Thanksgiving plans this year, same address, two days later. Begged off last year because of COVID. Solo Thanksgivings are a bit grim for my taste. So I plan to enjoy a nice dinner this year with a handful of folks. The following day, I'm sure I'll be recharging my introvert batteries, but am going to enjoy my Tuesday and Thursday of this week. 

 One thing I'm noticing about retirement, or at least being the age I am, is that we in our 60s and beyond tend to have the same philosophical discussions/arguments as we did in our early 20s. My friends run the gamut, from devout Christians to hard-core Atheists. I'm somewhere in the middle of all that: not an Atheist but not a member of any particular group either. 

Another thing is that I'm too damned old and tired to argue anymore! My views are my views, and your views are yours. We can discuss all you want, but I'm done arguing. I'm coming off a little cognitive dissonance from something that happened about a week ago. Finally at peace with it..

So there you go. Thanks as ever for stopping in and wading through all this. Happy Sunday to you! For now, ich bin outa this place. More later. 

 

I'm Losing Status at the High School  

Greetings, Earthling! A rare mid-afternoon post. These are usually a morning thing. It's now 2:07 and a balmy 42 degrees on this sunny pre-Winter Friday. Today's pic shows the traffic on my site for the last week. A rather dramatic decline. Yesterday reached Ground Point Zero. Time to bump those stats back up. 

Today's title is a song of the same name by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. I don't remember the name of the album it's from , but it's one of the earlier ones like Absolutely Free or We're Only in it for the Money.  

Song lyrics are usually lost on me. I don't sing--that you'd want to hear anyway--so I don't really relate to it.  Zappa seems to be the exception. Another fave line from the song is "My school spirit's at an all-time low.."

"Do you love it, do you hate it. There it is the way you made it" is another lyric that stuck with me. 

Music News. 2 new albums coming this next month, on the 1st and 16th. They're titled Concert Music and Up Through the Up Pipe, and are both some of my wackier stuff. It seems to either come out nice and smooth, or sorta rambunctious. 

You can hear both of these, and even download a few things from the My Wares page here on the site. as well as some of my other albums. And there should be a few more freebies as far as downloading anything. 

The guitar is still getting a workout most every day. I figure I'll make another comeback attempt eventually.  Next Spring or something.. For now, I'm enjoying my nice non-schedule. It takes awhile on retirement to get to this point, having been occupied most of every week. But it's nice when you finally get there. 

As far as the scene,  I've always been happiest when I had my own group to add to the mix. For many years, I had one group I played in as leader, and another as sideman. At this point, I have people I can call, and who will always do a good job. And, most importantly, they're easy to work with. I only hire pleasant people if I can help it. 

But I haven't had the chemistry I did with Don and Bill. Not yet anyway. We had to work at playing together, but there was always a spirit of let's do this. Likewise the Quartet that preceded it. So it might be awhile until that happens again. 

Just like a relationship with a woman- a romantic relationship- you've got to have the basic chemistry. Or at least a willingness to work at it. Been awhile for one of those as well...

So for now, I'm continuing to work here in the Lab. I haven't stopped being a musician by any means. Still making music to share with you guys.  As far as something outside the house, probably something or other this coming Spring. 

Okay. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Saturday to you, especially if you've worked all week. For now, ich bin outa here. More later. 


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