Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Eric Johnson put on a quietly dazzling show at the Crest Theater in Sacramento, California last night to an adoring audience. It was an excellent turnout for a Tuesday evening, and everyone knew why they were there. No tire kickers, or lookie loos (sorry, I'm just back from the NAMM Show) - no, this crowd knew the man, and knew the music, and that made for a beautiful evening.
EJ is Eric's new acoustic album, and he played most of it and more in two sets stretched over a couple of blissful hours. Eric's easy going demeanor lends itself perfectly to the living room like setting of a chair surrounded by some acoustic guitars, and an electric keyboard a few steps away that allowed him to move easily between them as he casually worked his way through the setlist.
The night was made even more special by my meeting up with Tower Of Power organist/pianist Roger Smith, who when he was twenty years old played with a teenaged Eric Johnson and bassist Roscoe Beck in a band named Blind Mellon, which pre-dated the guitarist's days in the Electromagnets. Roger regaled us with tales of early jams, building their first studio, and even asking Eric's dad permission to take his son out on the road for gigs.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
The Hall Of Heavy Metal History is based on big dreams.
Utilized by hospitals and health centers in over fifteen countries around the world, Pat's breakthrough program helps children and adults with Autism, ADHD, Muscular Dystrophy, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and other disabilities to develop retention, coordination, social skill interaction, sensory integration, fine motor skill, and physical and cognitive function. Pat is also the only person in America who can certify drum therapists.
Not just a world class drummer and philanthropic organizer, Pat is also a huge fan of heavy music and the musicians who make it. Over the last year he conceived and organized the Hall Of Heavy Metal History, which had its first induction on January 18, 2017 at the Anaheim Expo Center during the world renowned NAMM Show. The show was expertly hosted by Eddie Trunk, a man who has done so much to support the genre.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Friends, I need your help.
On January 30, 2017 a Kickstarter campaign for the blues documentary, Sidemen: Long Road To Glory will be publicly launched. The purpose of this campaign is to raise the funds necessary to pay for the licensing of the music used in the film, in order to get the film into distribution. We need your support to do this, both financially and in other ways, which I will get to shortly.
I have been involved with this great film for almost seven years. The movie is the story of blues legends Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. But, it didn't start that way. It started off as a live concert document, inspired by the likes of The Band and Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz. Unfortunately, there could have been no foreseeing the death of these three gentlemen within eight months of each other in 2011.
This derailed the project in a variety of ways, not the least being the extreme personal burden on director/writer/producer Scott Rosenbaum, who lost not three documentary subjects, but three very dear and close friends with whom he had been traveling, living, and working with for several years. My real involvement with the film really began with a series of conversations, texts, and e-mails between myself and Scott as he worked for almost a year trying to figure out not just what to do with a half finished film, but whether the film should even live on, or be discarded.
Ultimately, it was determined that in tribute to the lives lived by these great men, that their stories must be told, and that the show must go on. I connected Scott with my friend, record producer/bassist Fabrizio Grossi, and together we all worked hard to amass an incredible list of artists willing to be a part of this film. The film segued from live concert document into an incredible telling of three life stories, stories that anyone would love to watch - this is a music documentary, but it is also a very moving tale of humanity that would move any viewer. One that ends not with the deaths of some legends, but with a path and template for both the blues and its players moving forward.
The film is completed, and played very well on the summer film festival circuit, winning many awards, citations, reviews, and accolades. It made it to the finish line, and now it must make it to market, and onto screens.
Rock Guitar Daily is something which has been very near and dear to my heart for almost ten years. I've written well over a thousand interviews, reviews, gig reports, and various sundry features - a labor of love by any measure, one that was motivated by my love of music and musicians. I've never sought to monetize this blog, I have only used it to support the music I love, and also to build relationships for myself (both within the industry and with readers, listeners, and other music lovers). It has always been my policy to support what I love, and to avoid negativity. I've found that I do not have the time to support everything I like, so why would I burn up energy and time with things I didn't like? Millions of eyes have read these pages, and hopefully the hundreds of musicians, bands, acts, and artists I've covered have benefitted from the work I have done. With 50,000 regular readers a month, you all can have a huge impact on helping this film come to life!
Now, it is time for me to ask something from you. Of course, the first thing I must ask for is your financial support for this campaign when it begins on January 30, 2017. Let's not try to fool anyone, this is all about raising money to get this film onto screens. This is not just a great film, it's an important film. It gets down to the true grassroots, it's all about the love of this great music, and these great men. Your cash donations will be what takes the movie to the next level. But that's only just the beginning. I'm asking for this support as a friend, not because I feel we are owed anything.
As vitally important as the money is the support you can show for the film and its makers in the way of sharing our message with your social circles. Without you reaching out along with us, we will not be able to make this happen. So, we need your help - a lot of it. Please join our sites on Facebook, Twitter, and share our links and announcements when you see them. One person, one vote? No, much better than that, your voice can reach those we have no access to, and you can help us in a very visceral way make this film happen for the world - your vote can win us hundreds of new friends and supporters that we really need to help this succeed.
Sidemen: Long Road To Glory on Facebook
The Sidemen: Long Road To Glory Kickstarter campaign goes live on Monday, January 30th. You'll be able to find the campaign via the Kickstarter website (https://www.kickstarter.com), the film's website (http://www.sidemenfilm.com), or on our social media sites (see above).
Our team has developed a wonderful Kickstarter campaign, and we've got some fantastic perks lined up. Original artwork, autographed Custom Build guitars from Thin The Herd Guitars, posters, t-shirts, copies of the movie, and tremendous bundles of packages to reward your kind and generous help.
I'd like to thank each and every one of you reading this in advance for any consideration of help you can give us. Getting this film to market is just the beginning, but it is something we need to make happen before we can move on to the future, and we absolutely cannot do it without your help, and for that help we humbly thank you all.
Tony Conley, Rock Guitar Daily
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Yeah, over the holidays I got a glimpse. A listen to Eric Gales's new album, Middle Of The Road, soon to be released on Mascot Records. Enough to tell you this. For Eric Gales and his audience, this one is a game changer.
Eric Gales breaks it down on this album like he never has, and we have a record that evokes the memories of not just guitar heroes, but of popular music's highest points. Ray Charles. Little Richard. Miles Davis. Stevie Wonder. John Lennon.
What? John Lennon? How's that?
Well, this record is raw. Four on the floor, wall to wall, and straight to the heart. Much like Lennon's Plastic Ono Band album that laid the musician's life out in as plain a language as anyone could imagine, this album tells the truth. Fabrizio Grossi's production is brilliant - sparse and directly in your face, delivering Gale's message, which might be the most important thing about this project. This is about how we live our lives, and what we have to share with one another. A thing called love. And it's wrapped in melody, harmony, and grace.