I'm not gonna lie. I was truly humbled by all the quotes and comments from last week's Big 15th Anniversary Blog. From the special testimonials here on the Blog, to the many comments on Social Media. Last year I could see the 15th Anniversary as some sort of a milestone. Though really, 15 years is really just a drop in the bucket when compared with other lifelong careers. Truth be told, it kind of caught me off guard. It was like "Whoa it's really 15 years already?" I promise you won't hear me make a big deal out of 16,17,18, and 19. But come 20? Yeah, that will be one to acknowledge. I mean twenty years of doing anything is worth mentioning.
So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the heartfelt love.
I would be remiss if I didn't personally thank my wife Cory for not only proof reading the Blog every week, but just putting up with me in general. We've been together for 35 years. Married 31 years. That's a longtime. It's funny I
just remembered that she wrote a story and took photos about winter surfing in 1984. I think it was for her documentary and journalism class in college. She took the photo of me above for this Blog post and I couldn't help but take one of her.
I love you baby. These last 35 years have been fun. And I know whatever
storms we encounter in the future, we will face them together.
So this last Thursday night five local surfers headed to Portland Maine to see the guitar phenomenon known as BUCKETHEAD.
I know some of my traditional music fans are scratching their heads right now. So I want to reassure you, that I have not stepped off the deep end of the pool. If anything, I dove head first into this scene, and I convinced these four to go along with me. Trying to find the words to describe BUCKETHEAD are going to be tough. And just looking at these photos are not gonna make this any easier.
But last night I came up with the perfect line to describe BH. Try to imagine what it would sound like if DEVO had somehow mated with JOE SATRIANI. That is of course if you know who DEVO is and you are familiar
with JOE. But it is exactly that kind of atmosphere. The crazy quirkiness and imagination of DEVO and the incredible playing and technique of JOE SATRIANI.
What you are seeing here is a man who is well over 6' tall with long hair. Playing a custom guitar that looks like a Gibson Les Paul but is not. And on his head is a KFC chicken bucket. And he is wearing an expressionless mask. He dresses in black and he wears sneakers. He wears this outfit for every single show. In other words, you never see his face, and you never hear his voice. But what you do see and hear, is something that is truly out of this world. I have been going to rock concerts since the 60's. I've seen so many acts over the years and have been both impressed and disappointed.
I've been aware of BH for at least 15 years. I've bought and downloaded many of his songs. And admittedly, I was only slightly interested in his persona. It was the music that drew me to him. And last Thursday night in Portland, ME it was the music that blew me and all these other guys away. And his onstage antics are fun to watch. I don't remember the last time I laughed that hard at a Rock concert. Wait, yes I do. Anytime I see the FOOLS I laugh. And Mike Girard's Big Swinging Thing. And ironically The FOOLS and MGBST are incredibly talented as well. But laughing at a BH show is different. It's almost an uneasy kind of laughing. Like you're not sure if this is supposed to be funny, or if it's something else that went completely over your head. But I found myself smiling and laughing all night.
One thing I know for certain is, BH is hands down one of the most innovative and talented guitarists I have ever seen or heard. The other four people in our crew are all well versed in hearing and liking good music. You would have to be the most negative of music critics not to like what BH is putting out. Though I am sure there are some music critics out there who "don't get it" and write some negative bullshit about him. But I'd have a hard time believing anyone who could not see the talent or hear the music and not appreciate it. But to see and watch a man who is so talented, yet wants to remain anonymous is something out of the ordinary. Most Rock stars I know are all about wanting to be known and heard. Not BH. He hides behind the bucket and the mask.
He has released 306 studio albums, four special releases, and one EP. He has also performed on more than 50 other albums by other artists. Yeah you read that right. BH is a music machine. And trying to pigeonhole him down to one genre is impossible. He plays it all. Literally and figuratively. His music spans many genres, including progressive metal, funk, blues, bluegrass, ambient, and avant-garde music. And he plays it well. No scratch that, he blows the doors off of every single genre he plays.
As I may have
mentioned a few hundred times in the last 15 years, I have been playing the guitar as long as I have been surfing. Since 1964. That's 55 years for those of you who were reaching for the calculator. So I know a little about the guitar. And yes, I still play out today and record. So I got a handle on the six string. I'm only saying this to give merit to my review. I'm not some music critic who can't sing, or play an instrument, to save their lives. I know of what I speak. And I'm telling you BH is one of the BEST guitarists I have ever seen. And I've seen some of the greats. From Jeff Beck and Robin Trower to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Joe Satriani. From Warren Haynes to Joe Bonomassa. I have friends who I consider to be some of the best players on the planet as well. Elliott Easton from The CARS. Johnny A. Rich Bartlett from the FOOLS. And my own brother Johnny. So I am well versed in the guitar.
So when I tell you that BH is one of the best. It's like that EF Hutton commercial where they mention his name and everyone stops to listen.
I'm asking you to stop and listen. He has so many records that it's hard to choose a few I'd recommend. I used one of his more mellow songs in the video I posted this week (down in the video section). I called the edit BUCKETS. It's short, only 2 minutes long. But listen to the track.
What I didn't mention is. He plays alone against a drum track and bass guitar track. All of which HE RECORDED. And when you hear the drums, bass, and other guitar tracks try and wrap your head around the fact that HE DID EVERYTHING YOU HEAR. We were all blown away.
If you're reading this, you are on the Internet. My honest suggestion is to Google him and get an overall glimpse of his brilliant library of music. And yeah, be prepared to chuckle and laugh at what you see and read. Just remember, its all intentional. But whatever you do, pay close attention to his playing. He's that good.
My buddy Artie Beauchesne sent this to me this week. ha ha. It's classic.
It's a WWII comic using the US Marine Raiders Surfing to the Japanese held beaches. I'd love to get a hold of this comic. Though I'm pretty sure the Marine Raiders never used surfboards to HIT THE BEACH!
I was surprised at how many people got upset with those who thought this fire might be a terrorist/Muslim attack. Gee, why would anyone think that? It’s not like radical Islamic terrorists would ever do such a thing. Thankfully, it was only caused by a couple of lunkhead construction workers.
Too soon? Nah...it's never too soon for bad humor.
"Surfing, Blogging, Photography, Videography, Friends, Family, and
Most Important...LOVE Heals All Wounds."
This is Mike Stanek. The only reason I chose this pic of Ed's this week is because Mike is riding a Pink Surfboard. And Pink and Purple are (to me anyway) the colors of Easter. I wrote a song called "Pink and Purple" when our three kids were young. Pink and purple were the girl's favorite colors. And I'd sing it in this McCartney like vocal ballad. The girls loved it but Max would scream "GREEN! GREEN!" This would all happen as we drove back to Hampton in the van from my parents home in Beverly. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
You would have to live under a rock not to hear about the release of the long awaited MUELLER REPORT. And honestly, you'd have to be living in a cave not to have heard about 45's reaction to all of this. Suffice it to say, 45's not too happy. What's that old saying "Ye Reap What ye Sow". I have more respect for Robert Mueller than I ever have, or had, for 45. It's a night and day comparison. Mueller is a purple heart recipient and he was awarded the Bronze star for bravery in Vietnam. When Mueller was up on Mutter's Ridge (Google it) near the DMZ slugging it out against the NVA, Cadet Bone Spurs was trying his best not to have to serve our country. Five Draft deferments made his wish come true. Bone spurs got him out of serving. And look, I'm not talking about going to Vietnam. He could have easily served his country stateside for that matter.
But he didn't want to take that risk.
I'm not sure how bad bone spurs are, but apparently it does not affect playing golf. So let's recap this for a moment. He couldn't serve because of his Bone Spurs. In other words he couldn't walk without discomfort? Yet, Cadet Bone Spurs plays more Golf than any of the other presidents combined. And he's considerably heavier than he was during the Vietnam War. Mucho heavy.
You guys following me? Yeah my money is on Mueller.
But back to 45's reaction...these are his own words. not mine. These are the words that 45 spewed out of his mouth when he heard that Mueller would be conducting this investigation. But rather than have me write negative shit about 45, I figure I'd just let 45 say it for me. You can't make this shit up.
He had previously tweeted something similar using the GOT logo and font. He called it GAME OVER. No Collusion. Well, that came back to bite him in his very large ass.
Again, his words not mine. Please don't shoot the messenger.
This my friends is a MUST SEE SHOW! I have seen these guys every year since 1990. True. I love this band. Always have always will. I was trying to describe them to a friend the other day and it really is almost impossible. I mean there is no definitive record that I could recommend you to listen to. You'd have to do a series of them. Like GRETCHEN GOES TO NEBRASKA, followed by FAITH HOPE AND LOVE. Then the self titles LP KING'SX. Then you'd have to pick up DOG MAN and EAR CANDY. Oh what am I saying. Go buy them all! They are all GREAT. But if you had to select a few. These would be the ones to buy.
As soon as I hear more about this show, I'll post it here. I do know that i am playing one of his songs to be released as a CD in the Fall. And I'm designing the CD cover.
The DVD's are available at all the local surf shops. Or by
sending me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org or send a check for $20.00 made out to ADLANTIC and send it here:
c/o OC Studio Suites
703 Ocean Blvd Suite C-4
Hampton, NH 03842
Or RENT or BUY it Online. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND.
On Monday April 15th, 2019 the BLOG officially turned 15! FIFTEEN YEARS without missing a single week. This was the BIG Blog that I was mentioning weeks ago. HUNDREDS of NEW Pics and Old ones too. There's at least FOUR NEW Videos.
It's all in celebration of 15 years.
I've enjoyed every single week, every month, and every year!
From last week. The never seen before photo of the BLACK HOLE SUN. Wait, is that Cadet Bone Spurs? Why it is!