I've added two more installments in my never-ending series, "How To Not Suck". These mostly handle hardware issues, gear that will not really push you forward and gear that will only hold you back. I think there's one, maybe two more hardware bits coming, and they might come this weekend.
I spent some time in the mind of Paul Gilbert, and I think my hands are a little bit better, a little bit more aligned in purpose, because of it. I have a new DVD from Netflix, a compilation of Hot Licks bits called Learn Rock Bass from Six Great Masters. The Gilbert video has the booklet in PDF format on the DVD, which is something none of the Hot Licks DVDs I've seen has, and of course, sending out the booklet is not something Netflix does, so I'm missing something. But the example tab they flash up on the screen is a lot more readable with this six than on either of the Danny Gatton videos I have on VHS. More later.
I went to the gym again last night. A variation on my normal cycle. I was on the treadmill 45 minutes rather than the normal 30, doing fat-burning walking, then did mostly arm- and shoulder-focused weights. I figure walking around with a 280-lb body on top of them makes my legs fairly strong, and the non-general-health issues I'm focusing on are stronger arms which translates to stronger hands for playing and a stronger back to combat the pain of strapping on an instrument for a few hours. And sit-ups. I put mostly the long songs on my MP3 player, and here are what cycled through:
- Jam V from the Derek and the Dominos box
- a live version of P-Funk's "Maggot Brain", with Eddie Hazel just going off
- The full "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd
- Santa Esmeralda's ten-minute take on "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". Actually, no. That came up while my son and I were driving, and I told him how, when we were in Portland for his aunt's wedding, when he was just learning to walk, this came up on the radio and his mom and I laughed while we waited for it to end. Then I started singing "The Song That Never Ends" in time with the track. Not really exercise-related, but it was fun
- Kraftwerk's "Computer Love". I should've put on the sung-in-German version, because "Computer Lieb" sounds more geeky in the good way and less geeky in the bad way.
- "Juice" by Steve Vai, although I didn't know it was him. I have too many tracks on my computer that I haven't listened to. What struck me is that Vai (I thought it might be Satriani) has a sense of boogie that I don't see too much in shredders. I love how it ends: "Shut up! We know you can play!"
- "Live Improvization" by the Hampton Grease Band
- "Love Missile F-111", covered by PWEI. I far prefer the Sigue Sigue Sputnik take on this one, so I hit fast forward.
- "Tubular Bells Pt. 1" by Mike Oldfield
I'm having a thought, so I'm curious. For the Deadheads among the readership, or even just the familiar, this question: What is the best period to study Jerry Garcia? I'm a song guy, so my fave Dead is the Workingman's Dead/American Beauty era, but I haven't dug enough to really find his top as a player. So is it the late 60s stuff? Europe in 1972? The late 70s? Did the post-"Touch of Grey" pop audience explosion fill him with inspiration? Did the advances in technology in the 90s finally catch up with the music in his head?
So, that was my week here. What's up with yours?