Tom Balek / Blog

Thank You Roundup

We had a fantastic time - what a great crowd. If anybody deserves a party, it's you guys - glad to see you are recovering from the flood. Can't wait until our next trip to Roundup!

Hot time at the Lazy B

We had a great time at the Lazy B - great outside gig with pig feed, beer and lots of sunshine. Thanks Augusta!

Jeff is back!

So good to have my son Jeff back playing drums - this cat can flat play, and I miss him terribly when he is gone. Also have Joe Stoltz back in the saddle for gigs with Three Wheel Drive. Our Raw Honey band is really coming along - it's so nice working with great singers - the harmonies are sweeeeet!

Jeff will be back this summer

My son Jeff will be back this summer to gig with us. Jeff is an extraordinary drummer, and the crazy thing is he is totally blind. People don't even notice until he climbs out of his kit at break time and cane-travels across the room. Jeff lives in Charlotte, NC most of the year. Here'a a fun news clip about Jeff when he was in high school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lj-MG5VWkU

The solo thing is kinda cool . . .

Okay, I did my first solo gig Saturday, after a hundred years of playing with bands, and I have to admit . . . it is kinda cool! It was a very laid back vibe - people could actually talk to each other while I was playing, they liked the relative lack of volume (I admit I get loud with a band) - and I got to play tunes that I would never do in a band setting. I think I like it. Not to mention you make a little more money. One thing I learned, acoustic guitar works way better than electric playing solo (I did both) because you get so much more rhythm. I will definitely put lighter gauge strings on the old Fender acoustic next time out. Hey, I could get used to this. More later . . .

Tom is now doing SOLOS

This is something new for me. I know the trade-offs - you feed off the energy of a band, but you have more freedom and control playing solo. I'm thinking it's gonna be cool. I'll keep you posted.

Tom and Jeff Rock REGINA, SK

TOM AND JEFF ROCK REGINA We got to Regina early this evening, before tomorrow's CFL game, and were looking online for something to do. No sports in town, nothing going on on a Wednesday. Only one place with live music, and that was "jam night" at the big local music club. The menu looked good so we went over there, only a couple blocks from our hotel. www.mcnallystavern.ca Well, the food was terrible, the prices were outrageous, but there was a big crowd and a beautiful stage set up with amps, drums, etc. We thought, hey? maybe? I told the sound guy we were there and if somebody needed guitar, bass, or drums, we could help. Or if I sing, I need a bass player. He pointed to a guy across the room and said, there's a bass player. First three acts were solos with acoustic guitars, BORING. Next group was a local five-piece wannabe blues band, not too bad. Another guitar strummer, not bad. Then us. WE TORE THE FRIGGIN' HOUSE DOWN! Opened with "Bare Footin'", they loved that, especially Jeff's cool drum riffs. It's such a happy song, everybody just has to get up and dance. Then we did "Green River", and they loved that, who doesn't love Creedence. Then we did a bluesy version of Fly Like an Eagle, and they went nuts on that. Funny how everything fell together. The sound guy had a guitar hotshot working the boards with him, I asked to borrow his Music Man guitar, and he was snotty about it. But there was a Fender Strat hanging on the wall. I pulled it down, and it felt great and was perfectly in tune. He plugged me into a crappy Randall amp (I think he was trying to make me sound bad) but I unplugged it and plugged into the Fender DeVille across the stage and it sounded FABULOUS. The sound man got us dialed right in, the drums were miked perfectly, and playing three piece he got us worked right out so it sounded fantastic. The bass guy was outstanding - plays in a travelling band with his drummer from Cuba. He also jammed with another band later. He loved playing with us. I was worried about Jeff (blind drummer) playing on a strange four-piece set with only two cymbals, nothing like his drums, but he was perfect, as always. It was so cool! We had a blast! I told the audience I would write a song about Regina, but I could only think of one word that rhymes with Regina . . . and it just wouldn't work in the places we play. So now we are INTERNATIONAL stars! Tom and Jeff

Thank you Stanford

The rodeo street dance was a blast. Thanks to the Pump Bar and the Water Hole Saloon for sponsorships.

What a gig - Run to the Bulls Motorcycle Rally 6/19

Thank you Bulls MC Rally - we had a screamin' blast. Fantastic crowd, special thanks to Bill and Derek, fabulous job on sound and lights. It was a special night and we love ya.

Peavey T-60

Am I the only human being left on the earth who still plays a Peavey T-60 guitar? I have messed with every guitar there is - thought I wanted a Les Paul, but it didn't fret as nicely as my old Peavey. Love the Strat/Tele single-coil sound, but miss the humbucker drive. The Fender Jaguar is a dream to play, but sounds thin. So I still play the old Peavey. Am I a dinosaur? - Tom