blog posts

My Brush With Al-Qaeda 

Yesterday, while reading a Facebook post about New Years Eve gigs, I got to recalling my most memorable NYE gig—one that didn’t even happen.   

The story begins in comical fashion.  In early 1998, Peter Dammann, then-guitarist and manager for the Paul deLay Band—announced to us band members that we’d landed a nice-paying NYE party at the Seattle Space Needle.  A bunch of big-wigs were to be in attendance, including the mayor of Seattle, the governor of Washington, Paul Allen, and Bill Gates.  But a couple…

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Jimmy Mak's: A Dream Come True 


The story of Jimmy Mak’s is way too big for one person to tell.  It could fill a library!  But for me, as for many other musicians and music fans, the impending closing of Jimmy Mak’s—at least at its current location and possibly forever—is triggering a lot of personal memories.  I performed at this wonderful venue (including both locations) around 1,800 times over 19 plus years!  There were so many magical nights along the way that I can’t get my mind around it.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that my…

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Remembering Paul deLay 


During my ten-year stint in the Paul deLay Band, we worked on dozens of Paul's quirky, brilliant, original songs. But the one we worked the longest and hardest on—by far—was “Remember Me.” Week after week in early 2001, we'd assemble in my Gresham garage and play the song—never to Paul's satisfaction. It wasn't that he didn't know what he wanted. The song had come to Paul in a dream, nearly fully-formed. But that was the challenge: to make it sound just as it had in that dream—haunting and ghostly.…

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Bruce Conte, Soul Vaccination, and Me 


With an exciting new Soul Vaccination CD, featuring guest guitarist Bruce Conte, about to be released, I've been thinking about how it came to be.  It's a long, winding story, going back to my teens in San Francisco.


Back then—in the late '60s—Bruce was playing in a band called Common Ground, led by my first organ teacher, Norm Bellas.  They rehearsed a couple times at my folks' house in SF, which is how I first met Bruce.  Bruce was just a couple of years older than me, but he'd been playing…

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"Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters" 


In gathering and posting materials for my new website, I got reacquainted with some of my old recording projects.  One that stood out was the 1994 release (long out of print), "Soul Diva Meets the Blues Monsters" by Linda Hornbuckle with No Delay.  Listening to the CD for the first time in many years, I was knocked out.  And in talking to Linda, Dennis Carter (engineer & co-producer on the project), and guitarist Peter Dammann, I learned I wasn't alone.  They all feel that CD is one of the very best they…

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Beyonce, Esmerelda, and Other Loves 


The other day, in a Facebook post about an organ rental I’d just done, I included a photo of a particularly lovely Hammond B-3.  The post stimulated a lot of comments--mainly about the photo!  The pictured B-3 was indeed a beauty--and as it happens, there’s an amusing story about it.  

Just as B.B. King named his guitar ("Lucille“), I name my B-3's.  Their names, almost always beginning with the letter B, usually evoke the image of large, homely women: e.g., Bertha, Belinda, & Beulah.  But this particular…

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Bay Area B-3 Heyday 


The Oregonian dubbed me “Portland's Boss of the B-3,” but in part that's because I'm the best-known of a very small group.  Oh, there's some wonderful gospel organists playing in Portland churches, but as far as blues-jazz B-3 guys, we're far & few.  By contrast, when I came up in the San Francisco Bay Area music scene of the '70s, there were organ players—and good ones—all over the place.   The B-3 was a dying instrument—being replaced first by the Fender Rhodes piano and then by synthesizers—but I was…

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"King Louie's Video Vault" 


I was an "early adopter" of video recorders, purchasing a Quasar VHS top-loading VCR soon after the machines made their debut.  I don't remember the price, but it was steep, and the blank tapes were no bargain either at $16 apiece (that was on sale)!  Likewise, I jumped on "Hi-Fi" VCR's when they first went on the market, and on "Super-VHS" machines when they appeared (with their own over-priced blank tapes). 

There was a method to my madness: back in those days (late '70s thru early '90s) I was…

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King Louie, Pianist? 


Last night, I played a gig with "Big Monti" Amundsen at the Trail's End Saloon in Oregon City, OR.  Nothing too remarkable there: I'd played five or six times with Monte before, and back in the day I played at the Trail's End all the time, especially with the late, great Paul deLay.  But what was different last night was that I didn't bring an organ & Leslie speaker to the gig.  In fact, while the keyboard I used--my Nord Stage 2--does have a great organ sound, I played piano and electric piano on it…

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NAMM-ed Out!!! 


Well, Tracy and I just spent three days in Anaheim, CA at Winter NAMM 2012.  We had a great time, but three days later we're still experiencing a NAMM hangover.  For the uninitiated, here's the Wikiedia entry for the NAMM show:

The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world, founded in 1901. It is held every January in Anaheim, California, USA, at the Anaheim Convention Center. Its only major competitor is the Musik Messe in Frankfurt.


NAMM is a trade-only business show

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