strings






Some previous gigs in chronological order. This was cut and pasted from my old free website. Will try and capture the photos to go with this soon. Other information such as mentioning the web designer as "Ginny" applies only to the old website the new web designer is Tony Jilson. Okay, here is the cut & paste:

Breast Cancer Awarness Benefit

Energy Park Greenfield, Massachusetts

(June 11, 2006)

Our first outing as a duo (we were previously in the classic rock band "Retrospect.")

If you are interested in the story of "Retrospect' and how I was kicked out and then got back in and then kicked myself out and now am just in a duo (but usually solo) (and now they want me back yet again) click on "stories."

Back to this gig: We didn't rehearse enough, but did surprisingly well. The audience was only about 50 and as it says in the title the benefit was for "Breast Cancer Awareness."

Jeff Martell, a folk singer who plays around, and played before us was nice enough to let us use his PA and to tell us that on our first song, (my Fender "Chorus") amp didn't have enough 'bottom" (that means "bass) (I forgot we were outside not in my living room). I turned it up and our sound was pretty good.

The problem with free gigs, especially at the Greenfield Energy Park is that there are alot of what Bruce Bohonowicz, who works at Pioneer Aviation in Turners Falls calls "dirtbags' which means people who don't pay and maybe are homeless. I don't mind them because I think they appreciate the music more than regular people. More of them were tapping their feet and really into it than those who I think) could afford to pay - maybe because they appreciate entertainment more since they can't afford movies or DVDs or go to concerts.

Anyway, we are trying to rehearse more for our next gig and Steve wants me to learn a song from the movie "Rock Star' that stars Marky Mark (whose name now is Mark Wahlberg) but my website person, Ginny is borrowing it right now so i can't learn it.

Also, in this last gig, even though my hand sometimes doesn't work correctly (like I can't move the fingers in my left hand because of a bicycle accident) I did an experiment which was: 'not eating' and that always makes things better and played with no problem even though everyone thinks I'm crazy and you are supposed to eat all the time but I think people just like to eat so they think everyone is supposed to.

We have a new PA system that I don't know how to work that well yet, but did plug it in in the living room and will try and figure it out before our August 19th art show gig at "The 2-Car-Garage."

Also, Steve did really well harmonizing in "Ride Captain Ride" (The Blues Image 1973) even though we never rehearsed the harmonies. I sang lead for that and love the song because it is about sailors going off to a mystical place that most people think really doesn't exist and the only ones who could go there are the ones who believe it is there (like 'Neverland' in Peter Pan...)

One more thing; as i was leaving a woman who was about 55 years old said I sounded like Joni Mitchell which I'm not sure if I like because she is a girl.

Two Car/Garage Art Show -Turners Falls, Massachusetts
This was the art show for Mike Hollenbeck who paints pictures and does sculptures. We hung it in my garage, and got a listing in The "Turners Falls River Culture" newsletter.

Art was excellent and "FTF/Steve and Pete" (us) played better than ever (even though we screwed up the beginning of "Rocketman," we rallyed later with an encore of "Mustang Sally...")

First time I used the new PA system with powered Peavey PR-12 speakers (2 for audience and 1 as stage monitor) and the Mackie 8-track mixer and Shure SM-58 microphones. Although I've never owned a PA system and unfamiliar with mixing, after talking to tech support at "Sweetwater" (the best mail order place for music equipment) I figured it out and think I'm good as a sound person.

Alot of excellent (unsoliceted) comments about the music:

1) Oren Slor who was the biggest photographer of other people's art in nyc (like famous people - for example if I was visiting his loft a famous person might call) for many years (and used to play guitar/sing in coffee houses) said:

* 'The sound you get out of your red Fender Stratocaster is very good. your singing is not bad at all if a little bit inhibited."

2) Steve Crowningshield's neighbors (the "Steve" of FTF/Steve and Pete) said his upstairs tenants (4 houses away) though unable to come because she has a neck problem, said we sounded much improved from our previous gig (at The Greenfield Energy Park June, 11th). They listened from their porch.

3) Nina Bander, who lives down the street was at the performance (she didn't listen from her house like Steve Crowningshield's tenants) said our choice of songs were good.

4) Maureene Callahan, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who makes $130,000 a year as an art director said my guitar playing sounded like many instruments at once. It's true and I need to do it because prefer not to be in a band right now.

5) Bert, my next door neighbor who is wearing the hat in the image "Beautiful Car" said we sounded excellent. He wanted to invite his friend over who he said "is a long-haired hippie like us" (he means me, Steve and himself) to play guitar. Bert works in Leydon Woods, Greenfield, Massachusetts which is mostly welfare and section 8 housing. He said people destroy their own plumbing there on purpose so that they can file the paperwork for not having to pay rent for part of that month. That would be considered a welfare scam.

6) Bert's friend who until recently worked in Leyden Woods with him (fired for not following company policy which is no fraternizing with women tenants - and he did). Brought his new girlfriend (the one he fraternized with) they said we sounded 'excellent.'

7) Joane Potee, who lives around the corner on the "rich block" (Prospect Street) - they are not poor like us on Central Street (Mike Hollenbeck called the houses there "Mansions") requested "Mustang Sally" even though we already played it twice and she was leaving but said 'that's okay, i'll hear it as i'm walking home."

8) Marcus Millet, my window replacement guy, liked my solo of "Hand in Pocket" (Alanis Morisette) and when told I have 2 upcoming gigs in Connecticut said he'd be willing to drive there just to hear that song again. He is the best window guy and actually (unlike other window guys) stuffs insulation in the old counterweight side parts. Now he is painting the trim on my house. His wanting to go to connecticut to hear me play again is my favorite compliment so far.

9) Ginny Spring my website designer and computer helper said my voice is no good but my guitar playing is (good). She was the "Security" person for the art show. Mike's girlfriend expressed concern someone might steal some of the small sculptures. She wore a sweatshirt that said "Security."

10) Lizzie Cantor, Jewish and from Amherst and a social worker or something liked that I dedicated "The Mary Tyler Moore" theme song to her even though Steve said that 'whatever you do don't sing that." She said thank you in an email.

11) John Nuhn from Whately who is in 2 bands and has a degree in music from The University of Massachusetts said he had a good time at the event

12) Jay DiPucchio from across the street liked I played Steely Dan's "Barrytown." - a regional choice; Donald Fagin is from Boston. I especially chose to do that after the Kim, our guest guitarist played too much Jim Croce...it was getting dark and I couldn't read the lyrics so left out the middle part that says "In the beginning you recall the world was hurled..." - but Steely Dan lyrics are cryptically obnoxious so who cares (although the middle part of the song is good despite...)

13) Howard Lederman, a Jewish doctor from Florence said my voice was good. Even though it is a high register he said "no one would say Neil Young's voice is too high."

14) Howard's girlfriend, Cindy, who has a new Audi liked the music.

15) Bruce Bohonowicz of Turners Falls Airport could not come because he went to a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle event. He commented (after seeing the picture of me playing) that I should wear a hat because I am losing my hair.
(August 19th, 2006)

Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Maureen Callahan's 40th birthday

My first solo gig. i have slowly downsized from

1) A classic rock band (5 members - i was rhythm guitar) - summer of 2005 mostly to...

2) A duo FTF/Steve and Pete - First Gig June 11, 2006 to...

3) Solo. This is much easier in some ways and is interesting in that i have to do everythinig myself including hauling my own equipment (looking at a Dodge Ram 1500 for this - my 1993 Firebird does NOT do the job). I make my own mistakes, have to correct them, interact with the audience, find local kids to help me shlep equip from the car (kids love hanging around musical instruments and equipment - the one yesterday was telling me his father was also a professional guitar player, but then his older brother said, "no he isn't - he works at an office.")

Anyway, i brought the little Yamaha practice amp which didn't cover the outside but people liked the music anyway. I got two women to come up and sing. No PA system this time so next time for an outdoor gig - Fender Chorus Amp and PA system; but on the whole adjusted well. First time playing Steely Dan's "Barrytown" without forgetting the middle part. Am conscious i am from the same state (Massachusetts) as Donald Fagin when I play this.

Best part of this gig: when a recent Russian immigrant guest who hardly spoke English came to sinig with the others who joined the guitar clique (as opposed to, say the 'drinking crowd' down below at the edge of one of the picnic tables). He really was into it. He has few friends haviing just moved to the U. S. plus not speaking the language. But...he knew lyrics for The Beatles "Revolution" and sang it while apologizing for not knowing better English so he could sing more.

(August 27th. 2006)

*Bridge Over Spring Hill/Turners Falls, Massachusetts
Also called by the neighbors: "The Bridge Pot Luck."
On the condemed bridge. Decorated with corn stalks and hay bails (for sitting).

Celebrity guest: Patricia Pruitt chairman of the Montague Selectboard.

Guest guitar player: Ed, manager of Turners Falls Aubochon Hardware. He played classical and flamenco. By mistake I insulted him by saying "I hope he finishes soon" because even though he is good I was getting bored and wanted to play again and was afraid my fingers were getting cold. His wife was sitting there and I think she got insulted.

Worst Mistake: The refrain from "Rocketman" (Elton John; 1975) and "Something In The Air" (Thunderclap Newman; 1969) are similar and I mixed them up. Ed, the Hardware Manager/guest classical/flamenco guitarist said, that is okay, since I am among neighbors/friends but...it bothered me.

General Consensus: Best "FTF/Steve & Pete" have played yet. Here is what was better:
1) Learned to work my PA system/mix the sound better
2) Played Steely Dan's "Barrytown" middle part for the 1st time
3) First performance of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and a crowd pleaser (can tell when people like it, or are bored).
4) Even though I'm not a country-music guy, our Randy Travis number "Freight Train" was really good with (and I don't know how I did this) pulling out alot of tricks on the guitar.
5) "Oh Susanah" (Stephen Foster; 1845) was another one that people responded to as well as "Sugar Mountain" (Neil Young; 1969) which closed the show.

Compliments:

1) Dianne Lynn from Montague (used to be a photo-negative retoucher and not much use for that anymore so now works in the local plastics factory, said we were "fab." I think she likes me and that is part of the compliment, but...liking someone/as performer is part of the whole-package/show so it counts. She is not a musician nor musical which is not an insult, but she is the kind of person (like most) who has the radio on in her house but is not listening. Different than me who will not do anything but listen to the music, and do not use it for background. I say this as a segueway to the next compliment:

2) John Nuhn from Whately who came to our last performance (and didn't say anything about the music last time) said this week "you guys are good." A good compliment because he's a professional musician and composer. I didn't solicit this comment, he volunteered it when we were talking about something else.

3) Ginny Spring, the designer of this website said we were "awesome" and wants us ("FTF/Steve & Pete") to play her 21st birthday party in November. Her friend, a young puerto rican dude who I thought might only like rap music or something decided, after we played about 6 Beatles songs that he now likes The Beatles. Steve dedicated Bob Dylan's "Knocking On Heaven's Door" to Ginny (who is his niece) after by request dedicating a song to a 54-year old man from the neighborhood who died.

4) This is not an official compliment, you might call it a "back-handed compliment:" Nina Bander, the organizer of the event originally asked if we could plug a CD into our mixer for extra music. She didn't have to do this (nor did she ask) because we played a long enough set which covered the event, and held people's attention.

(Oct 7th 2006)

PHOTOS BY GINNY SPRING

Neponsit, Queens

Rockaway Park, Queens (August 18th, 2012


     I was staying in Rockaway Park, Queens (also called Belle Harbor, also called just plain Rockaway, also called Neponsit - although Neponsit where this was is the exclusive are of Rockaway and if you want to program your GPS to go there, type in "Rockaway Park").


     I had nothing to do and there was a block party with a guitar player doing a sound check so I strolled over.  He started and his set and although I stayed on edge of the street (not officially standing on the block) I received many "dirty looks" from the (provincial) Queens natives.  The population of the neighborhood could best be described as "Entitled Civil Service Workers."  The real estate is expensive, with the average house close to a million, and more than a few beach-blocks having 2, 3 or even 4 million dollar homes.  The money for these houses were earned in Tammany Hall nepotism (Irish cops and firemen).  The cops and firemen living here are "the brass" - retired captains, etc.  If you engage anyone in conversation, the subject of "The Heroes of 9/11" will come up in a few minutes.  Males of all ages proudly sport a "buzz" and not even one kid has hair longer than that.  Most are "beefy" as well.  With my shoulder length hair and 105 lbs soaking wet I dramatically stood out and the reason for the dirty looks while standing there.  


     The guitar player (buzz-cutted) was nice, however and let me harmonize with him on "Norwebian Wood" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want."  Just before harmonizing I told the gutar player my name and where I live (he asked) so he officially introduced me and they stopped giving me dirty looks).  They thought I was either part of the act or his friend and I even received a $1 tip from a reluctant irish kid (he had a red buzz cut) whose mother made him give it to me.


     As in any community, there are odd ducks and misfits.  This one had a wannabee fireman (buzz cut), small, wiry, drunk (on beer) and asking several times for us to play Billy Joel's "Captain Jack" (about a 21 year old whose "mother still makes his bed").  This block party guy was the embodiment of the lyrics.  Although an outcast, he was, amiable and a few people would talk to him.  When he got his plate of food he sat on the curb by himself since no one wanted to talk to him really for more than a minute.  His father probably beat him up regularly since he kept looking as if someone was going to hit him, weaving and bobbing all over the block.


     After I sang harmony on those two songs and was walking away he said, "good job up there, man."