We have just completed a "Live in the Studio" recording of 9 songs. Some standards and some originals. This albums is very interesting, because it has flaws and it has moments of greatness. This is a nice little slice of Big Daddy T as we are now. It is loose and exciting and far from perfect, which is why I like it. It is not too clean. It is not a studio record. It is Big Daddy T Jamming. It is 5 guys having a great time ripping through songs we love to play. You will hear some lead singing from David and from Davey. We plan to release this record very soon. You can listen to a couple of songs from it now. on our Reverbnation page and at bigdaddyt.com . We would love to get your feedback on the songs that our up right now.
This country was born racist. It has taken hundreds of years to change the souls of men, to have a society that is devoid of racism. Music was where it began. Musicians are the ones who should be thanked for the cultural change. It is strongly believed that this change has not really occurred. I am white so I could not possibly know what I am talking about. One could say, that statement alone would illustrate a lingering racism, if only toward white people. but that is not racism. If one tells me I have no understanding of a cultural because I am white that is not racism. Racism is the belief that one race is superior to others by virtue of the race itself. If someone said that I would not understand their culture because I am too stupid to understand because of my race, that is racism. Differences do not automatically imply inferiority. They are just differences. There are no differences that I have ever seen based on the color of one's skin. There are however differences based on culture. These differences should be respected within a multicultural society. I am sure there are some who still believe race plays a part in one's intelligents, morality and integtrety But they are not only wrong they also are a very fringe element and hold little influence in our culture. We should all thank musicians for that change. Is there still bigotry of course there is. It is rampant. Americans understand that the color of ones skin does not govern their thoughts or ideas but that seems to be where it stops. Religious bigotry is the most profound form of bigotry in America.It is so bad that even Christians, who are in the majority and who live in America, a nation built by Christians for Christians, feel persecuted. To my Christian friends, if you think you have it bad, imagine being a Hindu or a Sikh. In some cases Religious Bigotry is built right into the Tenants of the belief. Show me in the Bible where it says "not believing in Christ is okay." Its not okay and anyone who does not believe in him is not okay. Any Christian who says other wise is feeding you "PR." To worry about Bigotry is to worry about what people think. A society should worry about what people do, not what they think. Christians I have know have always given me respect I know what they think but it is what they do that matters. Their tenants also mandate they do right and as a group they do, but bigotry will play a greater role in today's election then racism. Very few will vote against Pres. Obama because he is black that has been proven. Lets see how many people vote against Mr. Romney because he is a Mormon.
Sometimes it might seem hard to find the joy in life. The day to day pressures of work and family can be overwhelming. So finding joy is something that can be overlooked. Sitting on a nice patio near the ocean, sipping your favorite wine or beer, eating a good meal with friends, listening to some good music played live by people who care about the details or playing some music yourself with some old friends and new friends, can each be something worth doing, but imagine doing all of those at the same time. That is the Suzy's Sunday Afternoon Blues Jam Hosted by Big Daddy T experience. From 3-6 in the afternoon we all get together to experience something that can be hard to find sometimes, Joy. The joy of creating music. The joy of good friends. The joy of just kicking back and feeling the breeze. This is more than your typical jam, where people you don't know show up to show you how cool they are or where grumpy jaded hosts yell a lot or where musicians carp about other musicians endlessly. This is the Suzy's Jam where people have a good time. The music sounds good. the vibe feels good. Its where the pro players lend a hand to the beginners and the place just feels safe and comfortable. If your a pro come out and play and lend your wisdom. If your a beginner come play and learn a little something from some genuinely good people as well as players.
“5 steps to totalitarianism.” 1. Create a public education system that makes people unknowingly illiterate. (You can read the words but you have no idea what any of them really mean. You don’t even know that you don’t know. If this seems far-fetched ask yourself right now, “What does the word ‘for’ mean?” You use it all the time so what does it mean? ) 2. Develop a moral code that creates Narcissism to such a degree that everyone is certain they are the smartest person in the room. 3. Allow the people to have the power: Demos=people; Kratos= Power: Democracy. 4. Put every important decision about our society up for public vote. Make sure everyone can vote.Even the ones who have no interest. (Motor-Voter) 5. Spend millions swaying the electorate to do just what you want them to do. I am going to ask you for a favor now, answer each of these questions for yourself. 1. Do I believe that I should read a proposition before I vote on it? 2. After I read it am I aware enough to be able to judge if I understand it correctly? (Asking someone what it means is not good enough.)
If you answered “no” to either of these questions then please sit this one out. Do our society a favor. Make sure that on Election Day you don’t vote. Sure, in a free society we all have the responsibility of exercising our right to vote. But without one and two from above you’re not really doing that. You’re just a tool of the “mad” men. Buy enough ad time and they’ll get the outcome they want and you’ll get just what you deserve. If only 5 people in the whole state voted on a particular proposition and 3 voted one way and 2 the other, but all 5 understood it and voted their beliefs, it would be better than 50,000 voting on it for the same reasons they eat at McDonald's. Voter turnout is a red herring. If you read the proposition and fully understand it then you will never be swayed by a 2 minute ad on the radio or T.V. even if you hear the bloody thing 38 times a day. Imagine a proposition that reads “All children shall be harvested for their organs starting December 3rd.” How many ad campaigns would I have to run before I could convince you to vote "yes" on this measure? It will never happen. Unless of course you happen to support this issue and then I would like to have you over for cocktails so I can pick your brain.. People only spend money on ads because they are effective. If Robert Murdoch or George Soros want to spend millions on advertising let them. They won’t do it for long if it does not work. So read the props and if that is too much trouble then, do the next best thing, don’t vote.
Upton Sinclair wrote, “The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label.“ So what is the exact definition of Socialism? This is from Merriam-Webster 1 : Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. 2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property. b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. 3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.
Sound familiar? I am not advocating or criticizing the philosophy. I am only looking for truth. So why do I call California a Socialist Democracy. Because the philosophy of our leaders is Socialist but their actions are democratic. Why? Because they are all feckless fat cats feeding at the public trough. We still have elections so they essentially have no opinion about anything. The less they advocate the less people they offend. Hello referendum or what I like to call modern day Ekklesia. I believe that paying for advertising is legitimate “speech.” I believe that the people with all the money have the right to spend it on massive ad campaigns to sway the electorate. Because if it works (and it does) the electorate gets just what it deserves. How can a free society survive with prohibitions on advertising? The idea that an ad campaign can have any effect on what a person thinks about a proposition scares the hell out of me.
I once spoke with a nice lady at a party in Tustin California. She asked me what I did for a living. I told her I was a musician and a band leader. She then asked what kind of music I played. As she was a suburban white house wife and a baby boomer to boot I was not too surprised when her response to my answer "a blues band" was "I don't like blues. Its too depressing." My first thought was, have you ever heard blues? But I held my tongue. I new she would be attending her friends party where I had been hired to perform, so I just said "tell me what you think after you hear us." I have made a point of creating an interesting and exciting show within the blues form and I refuse to play classic rock. Not because I dislike it, but because classic rock is not blues regardless of what many people think. But that does not mean that blues cannot be a vibrant and exciting form of music. Having it be that way has always been my goal. For people who truly understand the form, it is not that big a challenge. The music was designed to bring people up, to raise their spirits. I think the term "Blues Music" is probably just an abbreviation of something like "Lets get rid of these stinking blues, music" because when it is done right that is just what it does. If you think you know what blues is, but have not seen a blues band live then think again. I am not talking about some cheesy Classic Rock band that throws in a few bluesy songs cause "Clapton did that." I am talking about a real "House Rockin'" Blues Band. I've watched blues bands in Baton Rouge LA, Texas, Nashville TN, Atlanta GA, Memphis TN and many other places around this country. I have heard many amazing blues bands. I wish everyone could have heard the shows I've heard. So, it is probably true that Blues has a PR problem. People that know Blues know blues, but many, many people have a completely false idea of what Blues music is and what it does for people. We as the fans of Blues and the Musicians who trade in the blues form need to enlighten the uninitiated. I have not met one person who after hearing some smokin' blues did not at the very least find it entertaining and for many others it was a life changing experience. So let people know what we have already figured out "The Blues is Alright"
I have just completed my newest original song. It is called "Ersatz Blues." It is the song I have been trying to write for more than 20 years. It all came together yesterday. For those of you who know me, you know I am not shy about telling you my opinions. I think my opinions are strongest when it comes to this subject. The subject of authentic blues. What makes blues authentic? Many people have strong views on this. And frankly I disagree with most of you. I've been told that blues isn't real if it's played too loud or played with too many notes. Walter Trout built a motto and a marketing campaign on debunking that one. I've been told that too many pedals is the cause of the ersatz blues. I've been told if you don't sing with "power" your not an authentic blues singer, e.g. sing like Howlin' Wolf. I've been told you have to hit the drums real hard. Just for the record none of these things has anything to do with Blues one way or the other. How do I know, because these concepts can be applied to any form of music. Applying them or not applying them does not change any musical style. So what is ersatz blues, or inauthentic blues? there is no such thing. Authentic is a word people like to use to give themselves more authority, to make themselves more right. Authenticity is, in the immortal words of "The Dude" " ....just like your opinion, man." So let's look at it this way Blues is inauthentic if it is not played the way YOU like it. If it is being experimented with or played with or changed in some way. I don't think so. So here is what inauthentic blues really is. It is some other form of music that someone simply calls blues because he knows the music he is really playing no one really gives a crap about anymore. If I walked into a blues jam with a clarinet and started playing "If I were a Rich Man" that could be a problem. Why? Its a great song. Why then? Because it is not Blues. How about I play "Run To the Hills" by Iron Maiden? not okay. Its not a Blues song and calling it blues doesn't make it so. But who in their right mind would call either of those songs blues? Nobody. So here it is. Note to my my drug addled baby boomer friends, Van Morrison is not a blues singer. Rod Stewart is not a Blues singer. The Rolling Stones are not a Blues band and never were. "Cocaine" is not a Blues song. And while I am at it music was not conceived on Feb. 9th 1964 and it did not die on Sept. 18th 1970. I love rock music. I love Jerry Lee Lewis and Pink Floyd (just because they were named after Pink Anderson and Floyd Council don't make 'em Blues). I love the Grateful Dead and The Who. I also love X and the Dead Kennedy's and Camper Van Beethoven and Dramarama. Not one of those bands is a Blues band. NOT ONE. My final thought..The Black Keys and the White Stripes are as close to true Blues music as Cream or The Rolling Stones ever were. The next time I hear "Born to be Wild" at a Blues Jam I am going to play "Lonely Boy"" by the Black Keys. At least its modern "Bluesy" sounding Rock music. My final, final thought. If we keep calling rock music blues we will kill Blues. It will cease to exist. Classic rock is devouring blues like a cancer and it will kill it. Couple that with the traditionalists unwavering demands for blues music to never change and it will be gone.
I have a good friend and fellow colleague in the music business that I often have healthy conversations with about the philosophy of the business of music and the art of it. These conversations help each of us to codify our beliefs. Our last conversation was very enlightening. I think we all understand there are many hats that are worn in the music business, producers, publicists, agents, engineers and many others. These jobs never get confused with the primary job that is done by the artist. They are of a support nature. Most people understand that. The way one deals with a mixing engineer or a talent buyer is much different than the way you deal with an artist. Great producers do one thing well. They create an environment that is happy and creative for their artists. They create a space where creativity can flourish. Now here is the interesting thing, many musicians are not artists. I never new this. Many musicians are closer to booking agents or road managers than true artists. This is not a slight on them or on road mangers for that matter, it is just a fact. We could create a scale that starts with Bob the house painter and moves gradiently up to Vincent Van Gogh. There would be many many steps in-between. Is it possible for anyone to do a job like an artist? I think so. A flair of pure creativity can run through any profession. The people who treat their jobs with this degree of creativity are certainly the best in their fields. But doing a job with true artistic and creative flair is still doing a job. When the job itself is artistic creation you usually find a different type of person. We live in a unified, assembly line style culture and for most it works. Its easy to predict and fit into if you think like that. Most artists don't. This society can be very hard on artists and for all I know that is the way it should be. these trials can be the source of great art. But for God's sake lets give these people a respite once in a while. So if you go to a jam or you know an artist personally cut them some slake. Give them a safe place to create. You may be surprised at what they turn out. And you can say you had a hand in it.
This blog entry is in honor of my new hero. His name is Horselover Fat. First, his name alone engenders mystery and confusion, which is why I like it. But there is more to Fat than you know. He is a prophet and he is a nut job. He is also a writer. All characteristics I identify with. He has written an exegesis that I have had the pleasure to read excerpts from. It is very interesting. But Fat does scare me a little. He is clearly spiraling out of control and how far he falls I am not quite sure. His incarceration in an Orange county mental institution may have been avoided if he would have just listened to more Howlin' Wolf and Ray Charles.
I knew it would be a long, hard weekend when my van broke down Friday night. I played a gig Thursday evening with my new road band, Danny McCormick on Organ and Kyle Wells on Drums. I was using my regular guitarist (KC Igler, by no means regular) for this one because my road guitar player was...well on the road. We needed to gear up for the tour. We played one set opening for an amazing band Soul Fuzz. I think of them as a funky Jam band. Our show was certainly rough around the edges but my new guys are still feeling things out. We had a show scheduled at the Starboard attitude in Redondo Beach for Saturday night.KC couldn't make it, so my friend Chuck Mathieu picked up the gig. He's not too familiar with our stuff so I was a little worried. With my van broken I had know way to pick up my organist Derrick McCoy, as he was having car issues as well. It was not looking good, but Chuck came through big time. He got my organist to the show and sang and played lights out. With Jerry Olson on drums we delivered one of the best performances this year. Bobby Coreo set in on harp for a couple of sets, which was a nice surprise. The highlight of the evening occurred when Tina Jackson set in and did an amazing version of "Stormy Monday" and then tore the house down with "Thrill is Gone." I made it home to Pasadena by 4:00AM got a couple of hours sleep and was playing an acoustic show in Long Beach by 10:00AM the next morning with a project called the Marionette Quartet. Of course I like to add "Ft. Big Daddy T" to that moniker. We played till 2:00PM outside! What a great show, 4 hour of improvised hot jazz, Polkas, European folky swing, bluesgrass and rock-a-billy tinged craziness. Done by 2:00, I loaded my gear and drove like mad from Long Beach to Hermosa Beach. I arrived at 2:55 and was playing by 3:00PM. When I first walked in I was greeted by none other than the legend Carlos Guitarlos. This was the first time he had made it out to the Suzy's Blues Jam, which I have the pleasure of hosting every week. I had never met him before, but I have listened to his music for years with Top Jimmy as many others. Carlos is funny, he is smokin' and he is a total pro and a gentleman. It was a pleasure to perform with him. He backed me up on about 3 or 4 songs. He helped me out and played a little bass for the jammers and he sang and played guitar on a lot of his own stuff while The Big Daddy T Show backed him up. It was a fabulous way to end an amazing weekend of music.