Sunday, September 13, 2009


RIP Trigger

Today was my day to shine and I blew it, thanks to "Trigger" my faithful old Ludwig Speed King petal. Let me start the story...... to let you all know, I play for the Lord now.

Once apon a the early 90's I played in almost every blues band in the area. That got old quick, it gets tiring playing the contents of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers "Beano/Clapton" album front to back except I pulled off the drum solo night after night (What I Say), and the same old Stax/Volt "Blues Brothers" schlock that they are pushing off as "playin' de blues". "Walkin' The Dog" is as blues as "Mannish Boy" is to R&B, it got old quick so I spilt the blooooze scene to play country.......big freakin' mistake! At the time I had a yellow Gretsch kit that Tony Williams played on in the mid-80s, When the kit was set up on the stage it was like waiving a red flag in-front of a bull. Here's all these green teeth rednecks looking at it seething, saying things like "thats a yella drumset, he mustah have a yellah streak on 'is back" and my favorite: "uuuh...huh huh huh that's a yellah drumset uh huh huh, he musta be a faggut uh huh huh". I can still see those unwashed roofers in their dirty t-shirts in my face with their Billy Bob/Jack O'Lantern teeth. I would fire one back "uh huh huh you floss with clothes line, go to night school n' get a edjacashun uh huh huh huh" just for fun. Next week I would bring my Ludwig blue sparkle set and everyone is calm, even the numbskull roofers. That was a typical night at Ives Estates.

I'm looking for that Ludwig set, I sold it in the mid-90's for $600 and I want them back but it's easy to identify them, all 4 drums are stamped 11/6/70 on the inside of the shells and have the blue and olive badges, the sizes are 13/16/18/22, I want them back.

Anywho... to start the story, my neighbor ran this country show at Ives Estates and I promised to help him to play drums with his and his partner Lefty's band until they find a replacement. Their last drummer was busted on stage after being on the lam for molesting his own daughter (for real). The police arrested him on stage after a set since he was on the run from the law. That place was a white trash fantasy camp. If you wanted to smoke a cigarette, just inhale the air, the air was thick with second hand smoke, when you drove off you can see it billow from the doors and vents. The bread they served with their BBQ tasted like cigarette smoke, the longer they sold beer the wilder the nights got. You could jump in the shower and still smell like smoke when you dried off. There was this one lady who had a arm in a sling who used to drive us nuts. She would grab the microphone after a song while we were in the middle of a set and say "achy breaky achy breaky", after that you can see the battle lines going into formation. It's line dancin' time, even the roofers are in it, and we would have to play Miley's dads one big hit. For a few months the Bear was steering the boat but the C&W gig at Ives Estates did not last because the co-manager of the band thought I was hitting on his old lady, she looked 30 from the back (when playing) when you see a nice figure, but when you see her face she looks 70, almost like someones Granny, yikes! I had my own girlfriend at the time, thank you. This guy (who is married) got jealous when he saw me showing her how to change the battery inside her Guild acoustic guitar. Two weeks later I saw a different drumset on the stage with the name H-U-C-K on the front. This guy sucked UN-merciful, I had to show him how to play with dynamics for starters, and everything he played sounded like a polka or a 2-step. Lefty was so paranoid that I was going to skip town with his prune-face old lady, so he sacked me. The band wanted me back but Lefty (his name) would have no word of it and came up with one excuse after another, so they all left one by one. So Lefty was stuck with the banjo player who did not know what the term "sit this one out" ment, and 3 flat top players. Then lefty loaded up and sold my neighbor's PA gear (a typical hillbilly thing to do) and fled town leaving my neighbor holding the bag and bills from the hall.

That was at the same time I was playing in a oldies band called "Just Like Us".
These guys did not suck, they swallowed. The last gig I played with them was proof. Holli Brailsford, my girlfriend at the time was giving me the audience vibe while manning the tape machine. We cleared the room, that night. The gig was a 50's style sock hop for Autism at the Knights Of Columbus Hall in North Miami Beach on 11/5/95. The first set went over OK except for "Brown Eyed Girl". Ed the novice had to buy a $3000 off-the-rack Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty when his Epiphone did the job. He started off the song on the wrong fret and blamed the guitar for going out-of-tune, then grabbed his Gibson Blueshawk and continued. The keyboard player (brother in-law) was holding chords for 12 bars or as long as he could milk it with his Ensoniq keyboard was stuck in Vox Conti mode 95% of the night. Ever hear a ballad like "Everything I Do, I'd Do It For You" with someone playing chords on a Vox Continental organ playing the low keys and non-existent fingerwork, everything sounded like a Doors cover. The second set set was the dooser. Cecilia (the singer) came back stewed from the hall's bar and that's when it went downhill. The bass player (who was pooching the guitarist's wife) trashed the Autism association's approved set and started playing what they wanted to play. When they started into "Southern Man" (at a 50's sock hop, no thumbs up from the Fonz), half of the crowd left. "Who's Cryin' Now" was even funnier when pluted Cessie was caterwauling off key, think of that clip of Jefferson Starship from Germany with a tanked Grace from VH-1's Behind The Music and you'll get the picture. She comes in, more like jumps in during the solo at the end almost causing the song to derail, after that 1/4 of the crowd leaves. By the end of the second set, there's only a handful of people left. After the gig I took my $200 and went home, and never touched the drums for at least 3 years and that was therapy for my wrist surgery. Oh... I did sit in with Piano Bob and the Snowman during that time. That whole JLU experience put a bad taste in my mouth that I just gave up on playing with people. Cecilia hated Holli since she had a better voice, could count bars and cracked jokes at her expence. Holli was telling me what people were saying in the audience which was a scream. She told me about one guy who yelled out "who hired these guys", another one who yelled out "the only one who could play is the drummer, the rest of you need lessons". On the DAT tapes I have from the mixing board, the former is not heard but the first one is during the second set. Add compression to the between song silence and you can hear everything in the room, even the man of honor requesting "Wooly Bully" after every song.

Before that I played in a band called "Snugglebunny" from 1989-92, we were almost signed to Def American. We also were tapped to be GG Allin's backing band when he was a fugitive, but he was arrested (thank you Lord) and sent away. We would do some GG tunes when the audience was full of fans for The Goods just to send them running in fear. That was the most fun I had playing in a band.

Before that I was in the Psycho Dasies with John Saxton and Tim Powell who worked at Blue Note with me, that was in early 1989. John was a cad. He took a cassette rough mix of a 4-track tape and sold it to a Australian record label called "Dogmeat" for $600 just to buy dope, I found out about it from a indi-rock record distributor, when I confronted John about it, he started crying. We were signed to a label called Resononse in Holland. They gave John $1200 to record a album which he used to purchase recreational substances. I'm not innocent since at that time, I had a big problem with Percosets due to a cracked gum from having a mollar pulled by a dentist at the 163rd street mall, I was out of my tree but not as bad as John was. He spent the money and the label was hassling him "we want our record" so I brought out my Akai 4-track and recorded some live shows to "give them their album". John kept knocking over the vocal mike over each night, or he's pulling the wires out of the amplifier's speaker crying "my amp blew up" just to get out of playing so none of the tapes are good. When Resononse threatened him with a law suit, he borrowed $1200 from a ex-band member and recorded the album with some drug buddies who all dead now. Me and Tim were pissed and out for blood since we rehearsed for weeks doing the new material. To be honest, I never seen a person do so much dope in one sitting, turn blue, and me and his girlfriend would revive him and walk him around the house to get his heart going again. We got our revenge at Churchills when me and Tim left John on stage drooling on his shoes and almost falling off of the stool he was sitting on. Snugglebunny was formed that night. Pat (the singer) was flicking Flintstone vitamins in John's gaping mouth while Tim was telling dirty jokes, I did a drum solo ala Shelly Manne complete with cigarette. Raul the guitarist was sitting at the bar laughing at the whole thing. The 4 of us were talking "you're a singer, I'm a guitar player, you're a bassist, he's a drummer, let's start a band" while watching John's girlfriend carry him off the stage and pack up his guitar and his Marshall combo amp he tore the wires off the back of the speaker because he was too stoned to play which was a typical ploy. We applauded Jill after as she carted off John and his stuff as we put a end to the Psycho Dasies.
We booked some studio time and it clicked. In 1992 it came to a end over Tim's ex-girlfriend dating Pat. We got another bass player but it was never the same.

After the whole JLU debacle Holli took me to church and reintroduced me to the Lord, now I play for him. I played all sorts of crappy music so now I can put it in the past. I play with the praise band at United Methodist Church in Claymont Delaware every Sunday at 10am each morning and couldn't be happier. This is the first time since Snugglebunny that I have fun playing with people. Today was my moment to shine. At service we do 5 songs, the last one was "Tell The World" which is a loud raucous tune. Len (the leader) gave me instructions "play loud, bang them with all your might, pump up the congregation", I did all right! I told Andy the bass player, "kill the low cut on the SWR amp, I want rumble and see loose bladders in the first 2 rows, set tasers to kill". Everything is going great until the middle of the song where there's a part with just drums and group vocals (think of the beat from "Oh Mickey You're So Fine") and my right foot is doing it's thing while Trigger's wood beater is slamming against hide. Halfway though that part, the beater went flying from the petal landing 3 feet away. I put the beater back in while keeping the beat on the snare, and it pops out again, and again after that. By the end of the song my Speed King totaly came apart. I knocked the bass drum over at the end of the service and everyone in the band died laughing when they saw the post of the petal hanging off the hoop, the footboard was on the floor and the beater was by my foot. The singers tried to reassemble Trigger but it kept coming apart. I had that Ludwig Speed King petal since the Psycho Dasies days and now it's toast, I'm bummed. I have a DW and I hate it since the chain keeps coming off the gear like a cheap bike. I also have a DW hi-hat petal that I can't stand as well (it's overpriced junk) where I have nails bent in the holes where the rivets came out of just to keep it together, I still miss my old Rogers Swivomatic hi-hat that broke during a Snugglebunny gig. I guess I'm now on a quest to find another Speed King. Ebay! I can't stand the thought of replacing Trigger. Linda (my Sister) gave her to me as a Christmas present back in 1989.
To quote Nick Lowe "and so it goes".

God bless,

Mr Bear

UPDATE ...........Trigger lives!!
I just had to bend something back into place to fix her.
Shes as bouncy and squeaky as ever.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Things are going smoothly

I'm back to report that things are going along smoothly.
The two new racks are in and both are packed, one with jazz, the other with rock, I can use another two but I have nowhere to put them. A few weeks ago at Costco, I scored this big metal rack which I'm planning to put where this delopadated workbench stands, I may do that next week since I have a few days off. Get rid of the old kindling shitbox and put a nice metal rack in it's place and fill it up with Easy Listening, Vocals, and Exotica.

Most of the damaged stuff is fixed.
With a bucket of bleechy water and a rag, I cleaned the mold off the covers successfully inside and out. The JATP boxes survived with just a little discoloring, Most of the covers had some discoloring when dried which was a relief, some had some damage from the paper sticking together. Some of them need to be reglued. I'm still on a quest to find replacement covers at the thrifts, the two I'm desperately trying to find are Kinks Kontroversy and Once Again by Barclay James Harvest (on Sire Dist. by Polydor), I'm hoping on finding some trashed LPs that I can get for the covers, the rest of the flood victims are somewhat common but I would like to save my Tull Porkys/Peckos.

To clean them I took a risk.
I made a solution of bleechy water (1/2 cup of unscented bleech & a gallon of water) and a sponge and wiped the LPs removing the mold/mildew. Once the stuff melts off the surface, I cleaned the LP with Disc Doctor solution with a Nitty Gritty machine. A LP that was once caked with moldy funk is now squeaky clean. It works. My 1S copy of Burgers (Hot Tuna) is playable once again.


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