Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rock For Pussy IX: David Bowie Tribute Show Recap

Photo by Ben Clark
This show is absolutely one of the most fun shows to be a part of. Every year Twin Cities musicians come together to pull off this event at the First Avenue mainroom. Created and hosted by 89.3 The Current's Mary Lucia, this show attracts tons of Bowie fans while acting as a benefit for the Humane Society's Minneapolis no-kill cat shelters. We have the all-star band led by John Eller and then special local guest singers come up and sing their favorite David Bowie songs. The tunes span all of Bowie's career and for this shows second set we played the entire Ziggy Stardust album from start to finish. It's the 40th anniversary of it's release after all! I've been helping out on guitar in the band and sang a few songs this year. Without our past guitar player Randy Casey, I played alot more also with the help of Gary Vogel. I rehearsed at home for about a month before this one wanting to give the singers the best experience possible. There are so many intricate chord changes to some of these songs. It was a truly great show. But it was a rough start for me with my gear.

Photo by Ben Clark
I set up my guitar rig, played a bit, shut it off and had a little break before all of us getting on stage for a soundcheck. Turned my amp back on...nothing. Tried different cables, plugged in directly, prayed to it, banged on it repeatedly. The band had there soundcheck while I totally missed out. Got on the phone right away to Twin Town, a reputable local guitar shop fairly close by, and told them the situation. I needed an amp ASAP!!! They said I could swap mine out but I had to get over there within the hour before they closed. I hopped in a car and stage manager Conrad's brother zipped me out of there, through traffic almost getting hit by a car that ran a red light and we made it there. Swapped amps, got back to the club. Whew!!

My view from the stage.
Photo by Charles Robinson

Photo by Steve Cohen
It took me a good while to come down from the stress of that one.
I slipped into the VIP parking lot to decompress in my van for little bit. From there I changed into my glam rock threads, hit the make-up and hair table and prepared to hit the stage. We rocked. There were many moments of blissed out rock and roll happiness going on for me (Starman and Moonage Daydream!) and so many others I'm sure. It's fun to be a part of this. And God bless David Bowie.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

All That Glitters Is Gold

No I didn't sell 500,000 records yet, but I did find gold!

Play the audio, and read on! 

My wife and I found a place in Wisconsin where a big asteroid hit the Earth and a whole bunch of rock got busted up. We heard it was a good place for gold hunting. After gathering up Brigid's prospecting pans we headed over there. Upon arrival we noticed a gentleman in the parking lot loading up all his prospecting gear. My wife wasted no time introducing herself. Being beginners (I've never done this before) we had alot of questions and he was more than happy to show us the ropes. He even invited us to come pan with him. We walked through the park and found a real cool spot on the creek to set up. This man, Mark, has been prospecting here for 8 years. He let us use his gear and assigned us each a job. It was like having a private lesson in panning. He was really great.

Mark and Brigid dug up dirt and rock and put it into a classifier bucket and then I took the sand and rock from that bucket and put it through a sluice box (pronounced "sloose") It's a little, metal, waterfall-like piece of equipment with riffles along the inside of it and what was called minors moss to catch finer gold, sand and much smaller pebbles beneath that. Then all stuff that was caught in this we panned. We actually found some gold! very small specks, but still very neat to actually see.

At one time I was working the sluice when a big snapping turtle, about the size of a steering wheel, crossed my path within about a foot of me! Just working it's way down the river. That was quite a surprise.

It was a beautiful area. I enjoyed the sound of the river and the zen-like experience of circling the pan around and paying very close attention to finding shiny bits. It takes some practice with the pan and it was great to have a lesson in that. We also found the ruby red colored Garnets and clearish quarts. Real fun experience for sure. We'll be back.