Sunday, December 08, 2013

Opening for a DJ? Say It Ain't So!

The Preachers played three one-nighters this past Thanksgiving weekend, which was pretty unusual for us.  Not the one-nighters, which are typical for this area, but the number of them.

Two of the gigs had an unusual component.  We were essentially opening up for the main attraction - a DJ!  On Friday night we played the Blues Theatre gig at Jazzbones in Tacoma.  The gig is from 8-10:30 PM, and all band gear has to be cleared off of the stage in 30 minutes so that the DJ can get set up.

The Preachers at Jazzbones.  Photo created by Lauri Miller.

A little over 50 people paid a cover to see the Preachers.  By the time I took the last of my stuff out to my car, there was easily a hundred people in the club waiting for the DJ to start, and a line was forming outside the door.  A waiter told me that it is not unusual for 300-400 people to attend the DJ show on Friday nights.

By the way, we had friends from Silverdale, Shoreline, and Ballard show up for this gig, but not one of our Tacoma peeps.  Go figure!

On Saturday night we played at the H20 in Anacortes.  This is the live music venue owned by the same folks that own the Rockfish Grill next door.  The bands that used to play at the Rockfish now play at the H20, a larger venue dedicated to live music. Much to the relief of the diners at the Rockfish, I'm guessing.

This is another early gig (7:30-10:30 PM),  and another DJ set up on the stage after we cleared off our equipment.  The neighborhood was pretty quiet for a Saturday night and we only had about a third of the seats filled during our gig.  There was no throng waiting to hear canned music when we left, so maybe everyone had had too much weekend by then?

In other news, we played a set at the Friends of the Holidays benefit at The Swiss in Tacoma on Sunday and had a blast!  We were the only stone cold blues band to play the gig.  We may have puzzled some of the attendees, but I thought that the Preachers played a great set.

We were proceeded by the young local hotshot guitarist Nolan Garrett.  I guess some people think this kid is going to be the next Jonny Lang. Well, his band is certainly loud enough to qualify!

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Fun with Power Tubes

Jet City Blues readers will know that I have been fiddling with my Fender Bassman LTD amp to improve the tone of the beast.  Sometimes a power tube change can make a positive change in tone, as I discovered when I installed a pair of reissue Tung-Sol 5881s in my old Victoria Bassman clone.

The factory specifies 6L6 power tubes for the LTD.  A friend recommended trying JJ Electronic 6L6GC tubes, so I ordered a pair from Eurotubes in Oregon.

The LTD is an adjustable bias amp.  This means that the plate voltage delivered to the power tubes has to be adjusted to factory specs after installation.  Now, if I took the amp to a Seattle shop to have this work done, I would have to wait six to eight weeks to get the amp back.  Eurotubes has detailed biasing instructions both in writing and in video format on their web page, So I thought I would give it a try.

Well actually, I asked my girlfriend Lauri to give it a try, since she worked at Seattle's Bozotronics back in the day, and knows how to get around inside of a hot amplifier without getting electrocuted.  She was coming over to my place to join us for dinner on Thanksgiving, so she brought her Fluke multi-meter with her and we learned how to bias tubes that day.

We took the upper back panel off of the cabinet, revealing the amplifier components.  We located the bias trim pot and bias test point on the printed circuit board and Lauri set the meter to read millivolts.  The amp has to be on (including the Standby switch) for a few minutes for the meter to read correctly.  First, we measured the factory setting for the stock Groove Tubes 6L6s.  To get this reading the multi-meter black probe touches the amp chassis and the red probe touches the bias test point.  This setting was 59 millivolts.  I played harp through the amp for a little bit to get some sort of tone baseline.

Eurotubes recommends that the JJ tubes be set somewhere between 60 and 90 millivolts.  How to decide where to set it?  Simple - play through the amp at different bias setting to see which one sounds the best to you.  Turning the trim pot with a screwdriver either decreases (turn left) or increases (turn right) the tube plate voltage.

Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the JJ tubes did not sound as good in the amp as the stock Groove Tubes 6L6s did, no matter what the bias setting.  The JJ tubes were too clean and subtracted from the essential Bassman funkiness.  I am guessing that the JJ tubes would be a good choice for a guitar player that wants a good clean tone though.

So, we reinstalled the Groove Tubes 6L6s and tried various bias settings.  The best sounding bias setting?  59 millivolts - right where we started!  So, no more fooling around with power tubes for now.  By the way, the Weber P10R speaker clones that I recently installed in the amp are really starting to blossom after a few gigs.  They are a BIG improvement over the reissue Jensens installed at the factory.

My thanks to Lauri for her help with this project!

Please remember that guitar amps operate on dangerously high electrical voltages.  If you feel uncomfortable performing this type of work on your amp, DO NOT DO IT! Take the amp to your local repair shop instead.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Preachers' November and December Gigs

Hey, here's what's happening with the Preachers in November and December:
11/29 - Jazzbones in Tacoma, WA.  Showtime is 8:00 PM.  $6.00 cover.  This will be our first time appearing at this venue, so we hope  to see some of our Tacoma peeps at this show.  Tickets are available online from the Jazzbones website. 
The owner contacted Stoop Down earlier this week and complained that no one had purchased any tickets to the show yet.  We checked the club's web site, and lo and behold, this gig wasn't even on their calendar, how unusual!  It is now, so please buy a ticket, would ya?  We promise to play good for y'all!
11/30 - H2O in Anacortes, WA.  Showtime is 7:30 PM.  Located right next door to the Rockfish Grill (same owners), we hear that this venue gets to rocking!
12/1 - The Swiss in Tacoma, WA.  Say what?  TWO Preachers gigs in Tacoma on one weekend?  The band will be playing a short set (6:25 - 7:15 PM) at the Friends of the Holidays benefit.  It's a good cause, so be there!
12/6 - Preachers Mike Lynch and Patty Mey will be performing at the Legends of the Blues Concert at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington, WA.  Showtime is 7:00 PM.  $15.00 cover.  You can buy tickets online here:
You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Some Weber Speakers and a gig at Duff's Garage

I finally pulled the trigger on a quartet of Weber speakers for my reissue Fender Bassman LTD amp.  I chose the 10A100T model speaker, which Weber describes as a clone of the late '50s Jensen P10R.  The main difference between this speaker and the 10A100 Weber speakers that I have bought in the past is that the 10A100T has a ribbed cone whereas the 10A100 has a smooth cone.  Both are 10-inch speakers with one-inch voice coils and are rated at 15 watts of power handling capability.  Alnico magnets, of course.

So what's the difference?  The smooth cone speaker (a clone of the early '50s Jensen speakers) should distort earlier than the speaker with the stiffer ribbed cone.  The ribbed cone speakers should work just fine for me, because I like some speaker distortion, but not tons of it. 

Here's a photo of the Weber speakers installed in the Bassman amp.  Note that, just like the in original Fender Bassman, the magnet covers have to be removed from the upper speakers in order to reinstall the amplifier. 

It is hard to quantify the difference between how speakers sound, but I will try here.  Compared to the reissue Jensen speakers (ribbed cones also, but rated at 25 watts) that this amp was shipped with, I would say that the Weber speakers sound punchier, more articulate, and put out more bass.  From past experience, I am anticipating that the new speakers will develop a nice fat, warm distortion and even more bass output as they break in.

My first gig with these new speakers in the amp was at Duff's Garage in Portland last night.  I found that I had to dial up the Presence and Treble controls and dial back the Bass and Mid controls to get my sound.  I think that this is gonna work out fine.  I sold all four of the reissue Jensens in two days, so it's all good!

Speaking of the Duff's gig, we had fun playing there again, and were glad to see some of our Portland peeps (hi Kristi and Rob!) including Uncle Ray Varner, bassist David Kahl, and harp blowers Arthur Moore and Jim Wallace.  There were some pretty darn good dancers at the gig, including one couple that was doing some great (and unusual, for me to see anyway) Balboa steps.  Here's an example of some freestyle Balboa dancing:

The Preachers at Duff's Garage. Photo created by Lauri Miller.
You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ships Passing in the Night...

I, and some of my Seattle musician pals, had a brief  but interesting interaction with the excellent keyboard player Alberto Gianquinto in the very early '80s.

I am going to guess that this happened (someone correct me if I'm wrong here) in the winter of 1980.  My excellent girlfriend at the time, Monica, had gone on vacation to Mexico with her friend Patsy. When they returned Monica told me that they had met this great blues piano player by the name of Alberto Gianquinto who was playing for tips on the beach where they were hanging out.  And, Patsy was going to fly Alberto up to Seattle to hang out - would I like to meet him?

The name Alberto Gianquinto rang a bell with me right away, because I knew that someone by that name had played on the first two James Cotton Blues Band albums.  I didn't know it at the time, but Alberto had also recorded with Elvin Bishop, Son Seals, and Santana.  So yeah, I would like to meet him!  But why in earth did they discover him playing on the beach for tips?

I was playing in a band with Seattle bassist John Lee at the time.  The meeting happened at a long-gone joint on the main drag in Anacortes, Washington.  This place had a ridiculous stage located about ten feet in the air where every piece of equipment had to be lugged up a staircase, one at a time.  I recall that it was snowing that day and the windshield wipers on John's truck were only working intermittently.  Occasionally, one of us had to roll down the passenger window to have a look forward and help John stay on the road. 

We made it to the gig somehow, set up, and played the first set.  And sure enough, Monica and Patsy showed up with Alberto in tow.  The club had an upright piano located on the floor below the stage, so we put a mic on it and our new piano player wailed away with us.  It was like suddenly having Lafayette Leake join the band!

Alberto was a great keyboardist and even greater storyteller (he told Monica an Patsy that he had to leave Mexico because of some problems associated with federal piracy charges), but he was on a total losing streak at the time.  He didn't have transportation, a job, money, or a keyboard that he could use to gig with.  He did the sofa circuit thing for a while (Patsy, Seattle guitarist Jack Cook, and John Lee put him up) in Seattle but finally wore out his welcome and headed back to a warmer place, his hometown, the San Francisco Bay area. 

We heard that he died there on the street, homeless, in 1986.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hugh's Blues at the Salmon Bay Eagles

I dropped by the Salmon Bay Eagles club last night to see a rare performance of the Seattle band Hugh's Blues.  Various versions of this band, always fronted by harp blower and singer Greg "GW" Levell, were a fixture on the Seattle music scene from about the mid-'80s  to (I'm guessing) the late '90s. 

GW quit playing altogether after that and the band members went their separate ways, so it has been a long time since I have seen him.  I have been hearing reports recently that his reanimated band was playing occasionally, and there they were last night at the Eagles, in the flesh!  GW told me that he has retired from the concrete business after 35 years, and is now going to school. He has been married for 13 years and is living with his wife in North Bend.

I got the impression that he is not really interested in "starting the band again," but he will probably do these one-off gigs every now and then for the fun of it.  I saw the band's first set, which consisted mainly of the soul-blues material that GW is known to favor. 

Here are some photos from the gig:

Left to right: Jack Cook, Bert DeCoy (GW's son-in-law), and Greg "GW" Levell.

Left to right: Al Farlow, Steve Branca, and Billy Reed.
Now here's something you don't see very often.  A harp player blowing through a piggyback 1963 Fender Tremolux!  Ain't she a beauty?  I'll bet this is a killer guitar amp.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Second Annual Harp Hysteria Show at the Salmon Bay Eagles

We had a great time playing at the second annual Harp Hysteria show at the Salmon Bay Eagles club last Saturday.

The Preachers did a great job of backing up me, Portland's Arthur "Fresh Air" Moore, and our pal Joe T. Cook.  Joe and his family moved to the Seattle area recently from Minneapolis where he was a fixture on the blues scene for 25 years.

Our thanks to Zab and Eagles for hosting this gig, and all the fans for turning out!  The Eagles has been hosting blues music in Ballard for over 20 years now.  They provide a stage, lights, and a PA system - what a concept! 

Here are some photos from the gig for you:

Let the games begin!

The Portland crew. That's Arthur Moore on the right.

Arthur and Steve Yonck.  Some of Arthur's friends from Portland sat in during his set.

Blues fans Isis and Lauri.  Hi guys!

The Boneyard Preachers with some harp player.  That's my lucky "Nekkid Girl" shirt. Photo created by staff photographer Lauri Miller.

Joe T. Cook and Steve.  Joe is a great singer, harp player, and songwriter!

Joe rockin' the chromatic harp.

That's all, folks!  Joe T. Cook and the Boneyard Preachers.  Photo created by Zab.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Preachers play the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival

The Preachers played our last outdoor gig this year at the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival last Saturday.  We played the last set of the day, and were on our way home by 6:30 PM.  Unlike our last community festival gig, the sun was out and it was reasonably warm.

See? Sunlight!

The PA was sounding good this day and I noticed that the monitors were being mixed by a guy on an iPad - wireless!  First time I've seen that! let's see, where was I?

I noticed an older fellow standing in front of the PA main speakers that was apparently hard of hearing as he kept cupping his ears with his hands towards the speakers.  He seemed to really be enjoying the band.  Later, he gave a tip for the band to someone in the nearby Washington Blues Society booth.  How much of a tip? One dollar!

Tomorrow night is the Preachers second annual harp show at the Salmon Bay Eagles in Ballard, featuring Arthur "Fresh Air" Moore, Joe T. Cook, and yours truly.  We hope to see you there!

The photos in this blog were created by staff photographer Lauri Miller.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Early Warning!! Really Big Harp Show at the Salmon Bay Eagles!

The second annual Harp Hysteria show will occur this coming Saturday, October 12th at Seattle's blues clubhouse, the Salmon Bay Eagles.

The Boneyard Preachers will be backing up yours truly, plus harp blowers Arthur "Fresh Air" Moore (from Portland, Oregon), and our pal Joe T. Cook, a recent transplant to Seattle from the Minneapolis blues scene.

Showtime will be 8:30 PM, and there will be a $5.00 cover for non-Eagles members.  Sorry, there will be no, guest list for this event.

So come on down and be somebody!

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weird Gig # 9

Sometime back in the mid-'80s I joined the David Brewer Band for a gig at the clubhouse of a well-known one-percenter motorcycle club in Salem, OR.  The band included myself on harp, David on guitar, drummer Kirk "KT" Tuttle, and Abu Nafee on bass.  Abu normally played guitar and slide guitar in David's band, and I don't recall why he was playing bass on this particular gig.

The four of us met at the old Fremont Tavern that afternoon, loaded our gear into a small rented trailer, and split for Salem in KT's suicide door Lincoln Continental.   Things were going fine until the Lincoln's engine started running badly enough for us to have to stop several times by the side of the road.  After cooling off for a while it would start up again, but the problem continued until KT discovered the fuel filter was clogged.  After removing the debris from the filter, we were on our way.

We arrived in Salem many hours late, but set up and played anyway.  We probably would have played the whole night except that Abu, who had not been ingesting any of the abundant party favors, announced that that was it, he wasn't playing any more!  And not another bass note was played. 

The rest of the night is a blur, but at some point, I recall unrolling my sleeping bag on a couch in the clubhouse and making a futile attempt to sleep.  After a few minutes, I heard this faintly familiar (and for some reason, ominous) rattling sound.  I peeked out of the bag and saw a leering club member getting ready to spray paint the sleeping bag.  Okay, I got it - no sleeping during parties at the clubhouse!

Later the next morning we pulled ourselves together and started packing our stuff up for the trip home.  One problem - Abu and his bass guitar had disappeared.  His amp was still there, but he was nowhere to be seen.  We searched the premises and the neighborhood, but no Abu.  Bleary and tired, the remnants of the band headed back to Seattle.

It turned out that Abu, fed up with the shenanigans at the gig and its aftermath, had somehow got himself to the Salem Greyhound bus station in the middle of the night and went home.  He actually arrived in Seattle before the rest of us.

I'm outta here!

I should say that, when I talked to Mr. Brewer about this gig he said that he didn't see anything "weird" about it.  It was just like all of his other gigs, except for, you know, the disappearing bass player part.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Patty Mey Update and the Bite of Broadview Show

Patty Mey attended the Preachers' rehearsal last week and two gigs this weekend.  She did a fine job, and didn't seem to be having any problems associated with her recent stroke difficulties. This is good!

However, notice that she is wearing a medical boot in the photo below, taken at the last rehearsal.  She broke a bone in her foot when she went to the hospital (before the stroke) for severe back pain a few weeks ago.  It should take six to eight weeks for that to heal now.  When it rains, it pours, amiright?

Nurse!  Duct tape please!

Also, today the Preachers played at a small outdoor community festival called the Bite of Broadview in north Seattle.  The weather forecast called for heavy rain and 35+ mph winds today, and that is just what happened.  The band that was scheduled to play before us bailed on the gig, since they apparently weren't getting paid anyway.  Sensible folks!

We were schedule to play a 90 minute set, and made it most of the way through, but we finally quit about 20 minutes early.  At that point, I had covered my amp with my coat to keep water out that was making it through the overhead canopy.  And you know what?  Monitors covered with plastic sheeting don't sound very good.

The view from the Bite of Broadway stage.  I see you, Lauri!

After the gig, Lauri, the Dynamic Duo, and I repaired to Nick's Off Market restaurant (we like this place - try the rosemary lemonade) for a late lunch.  While we were there, the neighborhood was engulfed by a torrential rainstorm accompanied by very high winds.  We felt sorry for any bands that were still attempting to play at the Broadview festival, located not too far away.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Patty Mey Update

I chatted briefly with the Preachers' bassist Patty Mey today, and she gave me this health update:

She still has numbness on her left side, but other than that, doesn't feel too bad.  Her neurologist examined her this week and told her that she is recovering normally, and that it could take a couple of more months before the numbness subsides.

Patty played at a jam session downtown last week and didn't have any physical difficulties, but she was more tired afterwards than usual.  She will be attending the Preachers' rehearsal next weekend, so we will provide another update afterwards.

Patty said to say thanks to everybody for the kind thoughts.  Keep 'em coming!

Patty and KT (RIP) playing at the Corner Inn in West Seattle many moons ago.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Weird Gig # 8

I have played at casinos only twice: the first was a sparsely attended afternoon gig in Marysville with Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin' Daddies, and the second was this weird gig that occurred at a casino in Shelton a few years ago.

The Shelton gig was found for us by a friend that specialized in booking casino and golf course gigs.  And yes, as you can imagine, golf course gigs are a real riot! 

On the appointed day, an abbreviated version of the Midnight Movers (myself, bassist Patty Mey, drummer Kirk Tuttle, and guitarist Steve Yonck) headed out to Shelton, a small town about a 90 minute drive from Seattle. 

We were instructed to check in with the casino security types upon arrival.  They told us to go around to the back of the facility to the kitchen where we could unload our equipment.  We then hauled our stuff through the kitchen and down a labyrinth of hallways to the lounge where we were to perform.  The bar was full of folks taking a break from gambling, but there didn't appear to be a stage for the band.

A closer look revealed that there was a stage alright, but it was located immediately above the area where the bartenders were working.  To get to the stage, we had to pull down this hidden trap door with attached stairs located in the ceiling of the hallway behind the bar.  Each piece of our gear had to be wrestled up this contraption one at a time to the tiny stage.  All of the instrument cases had to be brought back down and carried back out to our cars, which then had to be relocated to a parking lot far, far away.

The floor of the stage at this place was about 12 inches above the bottles of booze that the bartenders were serving from.  There was no safety rail around the space, so when Steve accidently bumped into my music stand it went over the side and almost brained one of the bartenders.  Also, since we were so close to the bartenders, we had to play very quietly so  that the staff could communicate with each other.

I practically had a mutiny on my hands when the bar manager told us that since we were considered casino employees for the duration of the gig, drinking alcohol was not allowed!  Whatever, we made it through the gig with a minimum amount of complaining from the staff, and total disinterest on the part of the customers.  There was a large roll up screen located above the "stage."  It seemed to me that the event would have been equally successful if they showed a sports event on the screen while we played behind it.  I'm just sayin'...

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!
Fellow musicians - Do you have a Weird Gig story that the Jet City Blues readers might enjoy?  If so, let me know!

Friday, September 13, 2013

David Brewer at the Salmon Bay Eagles

I dropped in at the Salmon Bay Eagles club last night and caught a few minutes of a rare set of David Brewer music.  No Intimidators backing him up this night - just David singing and picking his recently refurbished Gibson ES-345 guitar through an Acme amp, accompanied by bassist Charles Mack.

It took me back to the old Fremont Tavern days 20+ years ago, but, you know, not as loud!  As a matter of fact, several of the denizens of that long gone dive were in attendance to hear David play again, including long time Brewer Band bassist Bill Freckleton..

I could only stay a little while, but did manage to get a couple of photos:

David Brewer

Charles Mack and David Brewer

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Keep a good thought for Patty Mey

Long time Seattle and Boneyard Preacher bassist Patty Mey suffered an apparent minor stroke late last week.  She was experiencing a severe headache and numbness on her left side when she went to the emergency room.

Patty is back home after a couple of days in the hospital, but is tired and still experiencing the numbness on her left side.  Her doctors say that, barring further complications, she should recover fully in six to eight weeks.

We will keep you posted here on Patty's healing progress.

Patty Mey at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Seattle.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Northwest Dance Network and Toys For Tots gigs

Here's the latest about a couple of interesting gigs the Preachers played towards the end of August.

On the 17th, we played a gig for the Northwest Dance Network at the Oddfellows Hall in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.  The Northwest Dance network is a non-profit organization that promotes social dancing events in Seattle plus dance education classes.

We played in the second floor hall, so it was pretty warm up there.  However, there was a pretty good turnout and the attendees seemed to enjoy dancing to the Preachers music.  Some things that we were asked to remember: don't play too loud, mix up the beats, and try to keep the songs about three to four minutes in length.  We hope to be invited back again soon.

Oh yes, a special shout out goes to Lauri for recommending us to the Network.  Who loves ya, baby?!

I brought my camera, but totally forgot about it.  However, Lauri did capture this photo of Steve doing his God of Hellfire routine on the stage just before we went home.

Run away, run away!

On the 24th, we played a Toys for Tots benefit outdoors at the Eagle Haven Winery in little ol' Sedro Woolley.  One of the organizer saw the band play last year and invited us to participate in this event.

We played a one hour opening set for the event headliner, Leroy Bell & His Only Friends.  We were told to bring all of our equipment, but there really wasn't room on the stage for two drum kits and bass gear.  Fortunately, El Machete knew the other drummer and was able to use his kit.  The bass player wouldn't let anybody touch his rig so Patty had to go ahead and set up her gear on stage.

I don't know if we made much of an impression on the assembled well-off charity attendees, but we were paid and enjoyed free BBQ dinners, so it was all good. Here are some photos from the gig (all created by staff photographer Lauri Miller). 

The Preachers taking a beak in the Green Room.

Big Daddy rockin' out.

El Machete and the Mighty Mite.  Check out that giant kick drum.

Stoop Down entertaining the masses.

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"So, where in the heck are your fans?"

I have had this question put to me several times during my "career" in music, usually by an unhappy bar owner as we both gaze upon his (or her) mostly empty venue.

Now, I use the word "venue" loosely here.  The word means a place where an organized event occurs.  In many of the joints I have played over the years, it was a miracle that anyone besides the band was in the place because the bar didn't bother to do even the slightest bit of promotion for this aspect of their own business.

Most of these place have been neighborhood bars or sports bars that have had live music bolted on to the business as an apparent afterthought.  Some floor space is allocated for a band by temporarily removing some tables and chairs in the vicinity of the restrooms or the dart machines.  Illumination is provided by the many flat screen TVs that continue to show sports programming during the band's "show."  And a dance floor?  Fuggedaboudit!

We have played at bars recently that didn't have any sort of web presence - no web page, no Facebook page, nothing at all except a couple of accidental Yelp! reviews.  A couple of places did have Facebook pages, with wrong phone numbers and long out of date event postings.  You would think these places would at least provide table tents with the current music calendar for customers to look at, but I don't recall the last time I saw one.

Now the Preachers do the following to promote our shows:
  • We let fans know about gigs on our Facebook page.
  • We post our calendar on our ReverbNation and band web page.
  • We send our calendar to our large (and growing) e-mail list every month.
  • Individual band member remind their friends about gigs on Facebook.
  • We send posters to the clubs for every gig (hard to quantify if this has any effect).
  • Readers are updated about gigs on this blog.
But you know what?  Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we bomb at a gig anyway.  This usually happens at these places that can't be bothered to create an atmosphere that is conducive to enjoying live music, or doing their part to promote their live music events. Do bars really want to leave the promotion of the live music portion of their business up to musicians?  In some cases, apparently so. Good grief!

You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A letter to Fender

Dear Fender Musical Instruments:

Like a lot of other folks, I like your reissue '59 Bassman combo amp.  It works great for guitar or harp.  However, it could use a few improvements, such as:
  • Lose the reissue Jensen speakers, please.  They sound like poo.  You guys can't afford to buy speakers from Weber or Eminence?
  • If you insist on keeping the controls located in the top of the amp, try switching the silk screening around so that we can read it right-side-up.  You DO know that musicians haven't played while sitting or standing behind their amps in decades, right?  This brilliant idea has already occurred to your competitor Peavey.
  • How about adding some legs to the side of the cabinet so that we can tilt it back without having to lean it against a wall?  That would be nice.  This feature has been available on all of the rest of your large amps for ages, so it shouldn't be too much of a challenge for you.  Heck, camouflage the legs with tweed - works for me!
The reissue Bassman is a reasonable facsimile of the original Bassman, and the used amp can be had at less than cork-sniffer prices.  But let's face it - the reissue Bassman is never going to become a collectible amp.  It will never retain its value like the better sounding, hand wired  Victoria '59 Bassman clone either. 

These suggestions will probably sound like blasphemy to those who like to pretend that their reissue amp is an original '59 Bassman.  But it's not.  It never will be.  However, these changes would make a reliable, affordable amp even more useful to us working stiff musicians.

Just think about it, that's all I'm asking!

Your long time fan - Mike Lynch

Check out the Boneyard preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Friday, August 16, 2013

CD Review - "Excuses" by Town Hall Brawl

This is a singer/songwriter’s album.  The songwriter in question is almost entirely Diane Forsyth, with a bit of help here and there.  Town Hall Brawl is her band, and it consists of Don Forsyth on electric and slide guitar, Billy Reed on keys, Marty Vadalabene on drums, and Diane herself on vocals and bass.

I say this is a singer/songwriter’s album because that’s a wide a category as is available to me.  I don’t want to put this CD (or this band) into a bag like “Blues” (although they can get real bluesy), or “Alt-Country” (although some tunes have a strong country flavor) or even that catch-all, “Americana.”  These folks play Diane’s songs in a way that transcends categories.  Each song is an individual piece, and this bunch of veteran musicians has enough skill and experience to make them come individually alive.  The level of craftsmanship here brings The Band to mind, or some of Dylan’s latter day efforts, “Love and Theft” perhaps, or “Modern Times.”

Diane's voice and delivery make me feel right at home, with a warm, familiar feeling like we’re sitting on the steps of her front porch talking about life.  Her songs are all about life – days gone by, regrets, anger, embarrassment, hard work for low pay, the need to just pull it together and keep on keepin’ on.  Except for Billy Reed’s lilting instrumental tune, “Daytrip to Havana,” this isn’t a particularly cheerful album.  But it’s the kind of album that’s likely to make a person feel better – like a good long conversation with a friend.  I’d be hard pressed to pick out favorites from this set – the concurrent variety and consistency of material here is one of the album’s strong points, if that makes any sense.  

The music itself is fine.  Don Forsyth is an excellent, creative guitarist, and I particularly liked his intense slide work.  Billy Reed is great throughout – he’s played with everyone in town, and his versatility shows on this recording.  He’s the central support for many of the songs, creating an underlying fabric that holds the songs together.   Marty’s crackling drums are just right, and Diane’s simple and solid bass works well for the songs she writes and sings. Seattle legend Conrad Uno was at the board for this recording, and the overall sound and production is up to his internationally renowned standards.     

The CD design and packaging of this CD is unusually good for a local release, with cool artwork by Jenica Cruz and a full lyric booklet.  A first class  effort all around!  Cheers for Town Hall Brawl!

By Mark "Tall Cool One" Dalton
Summer 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Boneyard Preachers play the Porterhouse Brewfest in Mt. Vernon

The Preachers played a nice outdoor gig in Mt. Vernon yesterday at the Porterhouse Brewfest.  This was a benefit for the Lincoln Theatre downtown. Two other bands also played this gig - Kim Field and the Mighty Titans of Tone, and the CD Woodbury Band.

We played the first set at a little after 2:00 PM. I thought that the band sounded great!  A pro sound system was provided and the sound guys did a good job.  At this kind of gig there is no point in worrying about what it sounds like out front - I figure if I can hear my vocals and amp on stage, it's all good.

Only one speed bump occurred.  My car battery died when I left my four-way flashers on after unloading at the stage.  One of the stage hands was able to give me a jump though, so Lauri and were on our way back to Seattle in no time.

Here are some photos from the gig.  All of these photos were created by Lauri Miller.

El Machete

The Mighty Mite and Stoop Down

Big Daddy

The Preachers at work
You can check out the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The Preachers play the 907 and a party in the woods.

The Preachers played two dates this weekend: Friday night at the 907 Bar & Grill in Snohomish, and a private party in a backyard in Kenmore.

The 907 Bar & Grill is located on First Street in Snohomish, on a block of popular bars and storefronts.  The 907 is right next to the Oxford Saloon, where a classic rock band entertained a full house.  I would include a link here to the 907, but the club has no web page, not even a Facebook page.  As with the Oxford, the 907 has new owners, so maybe they just haven't had time to get around to creating a web presence.

We did kinda like this sign outside the 907, though...

This is another room that has added live music as an apparent afterthought.  There is no stage, the ceilings are tall, the external walls are made of cinder block, and the floors are all hard wood.  The bands space is arranged so that the band plays directly to the bar instead of the customer tables which are all located to one side.  Did I mention that there are no lights?

See what I mean?  That's Mark Dalton on the bass.

Combine all this with a dirth of customers and it is just about impossible to get the band sound under control in this place.  Oh well, we did get paid, and the staff was super nice, so it's all good, I guess.  A big thanks out to Mark "Tall Cool One" Dalton for helping us out on the bass this night.

Saturday afternoon we played a private party in a backyard in Kenmore.  This was a nice, relaxing, well paid gig.  The neighbors called the cops with a noise complaint after our first set, so we toned it down and made it through the rest of the gig with no problems.  The fried chicken  was good, baby!

Ready for some blues in the woods.

You can find out more about the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Boneyard Preachers play on the Mighty Mouth Blues Show

The Boneyard Preachers played live on the Mighty Mouth Blues Internet radio show last Monday.  You can find and stream this show via the NWCZ Internet radio station on Monday nights from 8:00 to 11:PM Pacific Time.

Jonathan "Oogie"  Richards and "Sweet" Danny Ray are the DJs on the Mighty Mouth Blues show.  Oogie has been a radio DJ here in the Seattle area for years and Danny is also the harp player and vocalist for the popular RoadDogz band

We had a ball playing and being interviewed by the Mighty Mouth Blues dudes.  Keep up the good work, guys!

You can find a podcast of this show here.  Here are some photos from the session:

Conrad and Patty

Patty and Steve

David (aka On1), Oogie, and Danny

Conrad, Oogie, Tim, Mike, Steve, Patty, and Danny

You can find out more about the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Preachers Play at the Starday Tavern and Leslie Milton turns 75

The Preachers trekked down to Portland, OR on July 19th to play at the Starday Tavern.  The Starday is located on Foster Road in Southeast Portland, and is owned by the same folks that own the popular Duff's Garage across town.

We had to slog through a 50-mile long traffic jam in Washington, that stretched from the Southcenter Mall to Olympia.  As usual, the backup in the southbound lanes appeared to be caused by people rubbernecking at an accident that occurred on the I-5 northbound lanes.  Once we passed the site of the accident on the other side of the freeway the traffic cleared out.

However, we made it to the club early enough to set up and relax for a little bit before the 9:00 PM downbeat.  The Starday is a small narrow bar with the stage located next to the front door and the front windows. A portion of space at the rear of the club is allocated to video gambling machines.  The club provides a small four channel PA system with flying speakers.

We played a two hour show to a small but appreciative audience that included several of Portland's fine musicians, plus our old friend Ray Varner, and Cascade Blues Association President Greg Johnson (he created the black and white photos below).  A special shout out to our friends Rob and Kristi (and friends) for always coming to our shows.  Thanks guys!

Here's a couple of photos from the Starday date:

Photo created by Greg Johnson

Stoop Down's got the blues!  Photo created by Greg Johnson.

In other news, our friend Leslie "Stardrums" Milton (aka: "Pops" or "The Miltonian Institute") is turning 75 years-old and they threw a big birthday party for him at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant yesterday.  A New Orleans native, Leslie has had quite a career recording with numerous artists in New Orleans and Los Angeles, and playing with many bands in the Seattle area including the Bluestars, the Slamhound Hunters, and Stardrums & Lady Keys.

I could only stay for a minute to wish Les happy birthday, but I did get a few photos while I was there:

Happy birthday, Les!

Eric "Two Scoops" Moore on the rocket 88s.

Guitarist Daddy Treetops with Bassist Mark Dalton and his wife Katha.

You can find out more about the Boneyard Preachers here.  See you at the nightclub!