Monday, January 26, 2015

Opening for Billy Idol!

photo by Tony Nelson
What a crazy opportunity!! My band Little Man opened up for Billy Idol and Steve Stevens! This hand picked show by DJ Mary Lucia for 89.3 The Current's 10th anniversary was hard to keep under wraps when we found out about it three months prior. If you haven't heard it, you got to tune in or stream Mary Lucia's Rock & Roll Radio. It airs at 10pm on Friday's but you can always check out anytime on-line.

This show sold out in mere minutes as the club's capacity is only about 350 people. The Turf Club in St. Paul holds a special place in my heart as it was my first introduction to the music scene here. I first got familiar with it from countless shows with Ike Reilly. I also met my wife there too. Since then the band has kind of made it our home spot. So it meant alot to be a part of this show at this particular venue

Our sound check was excellent with a top live sound engineer Jay Perlman running sound for us. Upon arrival we expected Billy and his guitarist Steve Stevens to have been there already and sound checked but that was not the case. People gathered early at the back door for autographs. I was happy to sign one for Jim Ashworth, a well known autograph collector who had a couple newspaper clippings of me to sign.

In the basement of The Turf Club the green room was reserved only for the main act. The other openers Tropical Depression and us gathered in the hallway waiting for our cue to head up to the stage for our sets. "When was Billy Idol going to arrive?" we all wondered.

As the first band played I changed into jeans, a black and white print polly vintage shirt, an orange waist length fur coat and my new white boots that had just arrived two days before in the mail. Even our drummer Sean put on his best threads for this one with a black and white suite and tie. Brian our bass player, of course, wore his overalls. No one rocks them like he does!

The Current's Mary Lucia introducing Little Man and my boots. A pause of gratitude.

photo by Tony Nelson
photo by Tony Nelson
We were able to get on stage a little early which was good since we were told to cut our set a little short so now we could get our whole show in. The house was packed and we were totally ready to bring it on. I started with he riff to The Builder, a song off the new Original Face album and we ran with it. The band was very
Sean Gilchrist
well received. I could hear lots of "Little Man"s from the audience and a couple of "nice mustache"s.  We kept the energy up rolling right from one song into the next and gave it our all. I had been nursing a cold so I felt my voice wasn't quite were it should have been but the adrenalin cleared me up some and I was able to muster up the energy to pull it off.

"How the bloody hell am I supposed to follow this?!" What I imagine Billy Idol is saying re: Little…" Star Tribune's— Chris Riemenschneider (@ChrisRstrib) Tweet of Little Man. 

On stage from the corner of my eye I could see Billy Idol among his entourage being ushered in. There was no mistaking his blond spiky hair."There he is!" I thought while crushing out a guitar lead. Our set was really rocking and we where all pretty happy with our set.
photo by Nate Ryan "the boots!"

From the stage I headed down to the basement. Billy Idol was locked away in his green room but his manager and guitarist were hanging out in the hallway outside the green room door. I kind of shuffled over to Steve Stevens pointing at his shoes and mine. We were both wearing white boots. He was impressed. In addition to our boots we talked about his touring guitar rig and effects pedals. We met just about eye to eye as he himself is not that tall of a person. Real laid back and cool to talk to for a bit.
photo by Jim McGuinn
Billy's green room door opened to let the Current staff in for a group photo so I hopped in not to miss the opportunity for a group photo.

Soon it was time for Billy and Steve to head up the narrow stairwell to the main floor and nearby stage. I was the last person up, so at the top of the stairs was Billy, Steve and me. I got to wish Idol a good show with a handshake. I stood with them as Mary introduced the two and that was a real memorable moment for me.

They got up to a screaming crowd and played an acoustic set. It was a quick one. Six songs! White Wedding, Kiss Me Deadly, Sweet Sixteen, Eyes Without a Face, To Be a Lover and Rebel Yell. No encore either. He signed autographs from the stage in between songs. This was mostly a radio promotion for him and that's how they do it. He was ushered back down to his room for a short while and I got to shake both their hands on their way out. They were escorted out of the club for more autographs out back door and then they shuttled off to an awaiting private jet.

All in all a really amazing night!

Check back, I'll post video of our set when I get it!!

A few quick reviews of our set:

“The three men create an aural assault of rock, combining a punk attitude with ‘70s glam. Herb’s bass playing is fluid and his harmonies soar. Leader Perricelli’s blistering guitar playing is somewhere between Mick Ronson (one of my heroes who played with Bowie in the early ‘70s) and Jack White. They let the music do the talking all set, quickly moving from one song to another recklessly. It was quite the experience.” – Erik Ritland, Curious North.

“rip-roaring ’70s rock aficionado” – Andrea Swensson, TheCurrent.

“Little Man hammered out an energetic and entertaining set supporting the idea that big things come in small packages.” – Patrick Dunn, TCDaily Planet

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chorus Pedal Build

This is the BYOC Mega Chorus/Vibrato. It's a guitar pedal kit you assemble and design the casing for yourself. I've done a handful of other effects (see previous blog entries) and really enjoy it. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to make this pedal for someone else. This one is for Joel Korte of Chase Bliss Audio. He's been making some fine effects. You should for sure look into them. He wanted to get some feedback on how this pedal sounded and it also gave me a chance to prove my building skills.

I love how this one turned out especially the casing. A chorus for a chorus! What better image to have on such a pedal? I Mod Podged the kid's chorus to the face of the pedal and paint-penned the knob descriptions. It took a good while to affix the photo and have it look ok. Alot of patience for sure.

The build it's self wasn't too difficult, just took a fair amount of time. A bump up in difficulty from your average fuzz pedal.

It sounds quite good! The rate gets really fast. Along with your classic Chorus and vibrato sounds, you can get some cool de-tuning effects and the tone knob is very effective.

Hard to send this one off! But it's in good hands. Thanks Joel.