I’ve been on tour almost nonstop since New Years (with four different projects), so please pardon the long time between posts. There’s been little time to write, something I do miss and plan to do more of soon. It feels good to reconnect.
All the tours were exciting, but allow me to start with a few words about AST:
We did an extensive tour of Europe- sixteen shows in seventeen days – and the experience was outstanding. We visited The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Austria. Venues were full and audiences were made up of jazz aficionados and metalheads. We want to thank all our friends in these countries who supported and made us feel so welcome. We are now getting offers in for the next tour and are planning/hoping to visit Europe every year. In addition there is a US tour planned (September 2016). Dates to be posted shortly. In addition, we’re planning an AST live release for September and a new studio recording before our next European visit (March 2017). There seems to be a genuine appreciation for improvisation and instrumental music in general in Europe and we couldn’t be happier to have found a new second home. Europe also has many great photographers, take a look at these pics from the tour:
The 2016 Skol-tour marathon began with Metal Allegiance on the West Coast in January, ended with MA on the East Coast in April, while in between was electic improv with Stu Hamm Band, the above mentioned European tour of AST, the Axes & Anchors guitar cruise (w AST) and Slayer/Testament. Too many great moments to share, but a few highlights:
MA’s emotional night of tribute to Lemmy in Hollywood at The Whiskey
Playing of my all time favorite Bay Area venues with the Stu Hamm Band, Yoshi’s, captured in this nice review
The Axes & Anchors Cruise, bringing some different sounds to the boat of high speed notes (and knots). Full report from Premier Guitar.
And finally, two highly unpredictable moments from the Slayer/Testament tour:
- During Slayer’s soundcheck, sitting in and jamming Freebird
- A visit from Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, who brought along some great puppies
While it’s true there’s been very little time to write – my blog feels a bit like an abandoned building – I did manage to contribute to a great new print magazine with my pal Randy Blythe and creator Tom Bejgrowicz. Click for info: UNBUILT. And all this is on the heals of last year, which included performances by Planetary Coalition, academic lectures and tours and recordings with additional artists, such as Jane Getter and Adam Holzman.
It’s instinctive to close by saying “Happy Spring,” yet that’s a bit difficult to do with so many recent losses in the music world. This was made especially clear last night, after catching a bit of HBO’s 2016 Rock Hall induction on HBO, when the “In Memoriam” section came on. With David Bowie’s Lazarus – from his final album Blackstar – playing in the background, names including Lemmy, Maurice White (of Earth Wind & Fire), producer George Martin, Merle Haggard and so many more appeared with their photos, concluding with Bowie himself. As a musician who’s never limited my own listening, knowledge and instrumental skill to others’ expectations, all of these artists have had an impact. It hit home even more to realize that an artist who’s been among the most inspiring in terms of breaking artistic limitations was alive and probably performing somewhere at the time that very taping took place, yet is no longer with us. So I’ll close with a clip of this particular artist in action, one of many that proves that even if he weren’t a master singer, songwriter, producer and dancer (not to mention pianist, drummer, bassist etc), his guitar skills alone would’ve carried him far: Motherless Child.
Thanks always for your support,