Check out the "BePhaser" - at NAMM in Los Angeles this week! Meanwhile, in Germany... 

Brunch today in Germany with Roland Meier, inventor of the ingenious "BePhaser."  Always full of disastrous ideas, I said "Dude! You should totally call your company ROLAND!"  Fortunately, he didn't listen to me.  Fortunately, nobody ever does.

No amp should be without one  of these. I acquired one of these on my last European run. Mine's purple...

Doctor Stefan... 

I've been sick for a month now with a flu-type thing that just won't quit.  We've tried everything - bed rest, fluids, even a rare doctor's visit with a prescription for anti-biotics.  In severe cases such as this, you have to fly halfway around the globe to consult a world-renowned specialst like Stefan and his awesome brat truck in Germany.  After a healthy dose of Stefan's currywurst and his own namesake microbrew...
...Stefan sent me home with another "prescription" just to be thorough. 

I anticipate a swift and full recovery by day's end.

New video series - "LIVE FROM THE VAN" 

This is gonna be fun!  We pull off the road, fire up a couple of cameras, grab a guitar, and crank out an old classic cover tune! Click below for this episode, Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing.”

 

 

More dates are coming in for 2020! 

Europe, we will see you again in May!  Domestically - Charlotte, we will see you in June; Boston, we will see you in July! Stay tuned as the dates come rolling in...

Tone down my "American" bullshit? NEVER. 

We're trying a lot of new material this week in an off-the-radar location and, admittedly, a bit unsure of how it's going over. 

She came in about halfway through the set and watched me intently, then bought me two drinks and left before we were done, leaving this note on the receipt. For an American guy who's just trying to make "American" music, I'd say this means...mission accomplished. 

We have decided to rename the new album "American Bullshit - Sexy And Talented Otherwise."

 

The HESS TRUCK is back! 

It brings a huge smile to my face each year when I see that Hess has come out with its new “Hess Truck.” I hope they never stop doing this. 

I was probably nine or ten years old, accompanying my mom as she began her Christmas shopping. The very first place we went was a Hess gas station, where she bought the new Hess toy truck. I got all excited, seeing this really cool truck with its working lights and everything, but wondered aloud why she had allowed me to see her buy it, as it surely wouldn’t be a surprise. 

She said that it was not for me, or my brother (or my dad for that matter!). She explained, “Some kids aren’t as lucky as you are. They don’t have a Christmas. They don’t have a tree, or anybody to put anything under it for them. We must always remember that.” She headed straight for the Marines’ Toys For Tots bin and dropped the truck in there. 

After that, we began every season that way until I was old enough to go shopping on my own; we’d hit a Hess station and she’d buy the truck and then let me drop it in the Toys For Tots bin. Some years were leaner than others, and sometimes there wasn’t much under our tree. But some kid I’d never meet, somewhere, would have a nice new Hess truck every year. I found out, many years later, that she continued to do this long after my brother and I were grown and gone. 

THAT was my Mom.


News and more news! 

NEW ALBUM! 

It’s finally here!  The new one! Well. technically, it won’t be released until early 2020, but here's a fancy video promo. You can get it here.

It’s admittedly about six months behind schedule, as I got a little sidetracked earlier this year producing a couple of other albums by RAY GREICHE and JONES, but better late than never! 

NEW VIDEOS! 

We’re doing another round of videos for SIXTEEN SUNDAYS just like we did for 2017’s PLAY HURT album, although my timing is a bit off there, too.  I did about two dozen shows at or near beaches this summer, yet we just now did a video shoot on the beach…yesterday.  November 26th.   Froze my ass off.  I can’t get anything right!  While we’re cooking up the full-length videos for the new album, you can lick the spoon for a taste of them HERE

 

A LITTLE HOMETOWN HOLIDAY MINI-RESIDENCY IN DECEMBER! 

And now it’s time to get out of the studio and take these tunes for a test drive (i.e. see if I can actually play them!) before all the touring madness begins next year.  So, every Wednesday in December (except that last one, the 25th – seems most folks are busy then), I’ll be chillin’ wit da homies at our great little local musical watering hole, LIC BAR in…well, um…LIC (just one train stop and 90 seconds from Grand Central). 

I’ll do the first one solo, then we’ll torque this beeyotch up with Pete O’Neill on bass and Jon Wert on drums for the other dates. 

After this you’ll have to wait until the spring for more hometown live dates.  So I suppose we can consider this a little holiday hang.  ‘Cause, um…it’ll be the holidays.  And, um…we’ll be hanging.  I’ll bring the egg nog.  We’d love to see you! 

  

Love, 

"Barely Oats"... 

To all you classical musicians with whom I entered a conservatory, having paid tuition by playing roadhouses during high school, and who wondered "what the fuck is THIS guy doing here?"...It turns out you were right all along to look down upon me. My phone just changed Berlioz into "barely oats" via auto-correct. Now THAT'S some bourgeois upstate podunk trailer-trash git-tar pickin' shit right there.

I didn't check to see if it would change "Hector" into "tractor." I was afraid to try.

The girl in the subway, years ago... 

One of my first memories of New York, not long after I moved here, was standing on the subway platform by the tracks, waiting for a downtown town train at the Lincoln Center stop.  All of a sudden there was a commotion on the mezzanine above; a young woman was crying hysterically.  We could all hear her getting closer, and then there she was, half running, half falling down the stairs toward us on the platform. In one hand she held a violin case, and she headed straight for one of those big black garbage cans they have every hundred feet or so in the subway.  Without missing a step, she let out a scream and jammed the violin case into the garbage can with utter disgust and despair, and jumped through the closing doors of an uptown train.  Before any of us even knew what was happening, or even thought to retrieve the violin for her, the doors closed and the train disappeared into the blackness of the tunnel. We all stood there, stunned.

It suddenly dawned on me, and probably the others around me as well, that the Julliard School of music was just above us, at Lincoln Center.  Most likely, this girl had just failed a jury. Having served hard time (and been paroled) in a classical conservatory myself, I knew that meant she busted her ass studying and practicing, working at her dream for years, only to have to supposedly prove her worthiness by playing something somebody else wrote hundreds of years ago, and hoping her interpretation would curry favor with a small cadre of elitist academic blowhards who didn't have the guts to go out and lay it on the line themselves, but would rather hold court in the safety of their classrooms and their tenure and their pensions, judging others.

I don't know about the others on that subway platform, but I realized I had just witnessed the death of a dream.  To this day I still think about that girl and I wonder whatever became of her.  I hope she's OK.  I get sad all over again. And I get angry all over again.

Whether your thing is music or something else you love and believe in, don't ever let yourself be measured by someone else's standards.  You will most certainly fail at some point, but at least fail on your own terms.  Then get back up.  And when things get rough and you don't know if you have what it takes, think about the girl in the subway.  I know  I'll never forget her. 

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