Archive for 2011-05

Tuesday in Santa Fe

02011-05-31 @ 13:05

At 11:30 I brought my guitar to the San Miguel chapel, on the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and De Vargas Street, to determine whether the instrument would be loud enough without any amplification. A couple of fans happened to be at the oldest church’s store and came into the chapel to ask me about the guitar. I asked them to help us by standing in the back of the room and letting me know whether the guitar was loud enough and could be clearly heard… They, as well as a person from San Miguel and my manager, all said that the guitar sounded great, and that was the feeling I also had. I am really looking forward to the performance on Thursday evening. It should sound great and the room will be mostly lit by candles!

Both of these pieces on cellphone radiations are worth reading. Do your brain a favor…

Gupta: Cell phones, brain tumors and a wired earpiece – The Chart – Blogs
The first person to encourage me to regularly wear an ear piece was Dr. Keith Black. He also is a neurosurgeon, and makes a living removing – you guessed it – brain tumors. Keith has long believed there is a link, and for some time, his was a lonely voice in this discussion. Nowadays, he has loud and prominent voices accompanying him. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute,  sent a memo warning staffers to limit their cell phone use. One of the possible consequences, he says, is  an increased risk of brain cancer. The city of San Francisco is trying to pass an ordinance requiring radiation warning labels on all cell phones.  The European Environmental Agency has said cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline. Even the makers of cell phones suggest you don’t place a device against your head, but rather advocate holding it 5/8 to a full inch away.

WHO: Cell phone use can increase possible cancer risk –
The type of radiation coming out of a cell phone is called non-ionizing. It is not like an X-ray, but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.
“What microwave radiation does in most simplistic terms is similar to what happens to food in microwaves, essentially cooking the brain,” Black said. “So in addition to leading to a development of cancer and tumors, there could be a whole host of other effects like cognitive memory function, since the memory temporal lobes are where we hold our cell phones.”

Percussion Kit

02011-05-25 @ 22:05

The first image is from Tupelo’s in White River Junction, Vermont. It shows the way we set up on stage – pretty much the way we have always set up.

The second image shows Michael’s new percussion kit. From L to R, the tiny hi-hats, the djembe with snare-attachment, the cajon on which he sits, the kick drum, the small frame drum (in a snare stand) and the bag of sticks. I don’t think he uses regular drum sticks at all with this kit. Often he uses a different kind of stick in each hand.

The third image shows the snares – two different kinds, each creating a different sound:

The fourth image shows how tiny the hi-hats are:

Some of the sticks:

…and more sticks:

And from a different angle:


02011-05-25 @ 09:05

alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto “s” tour
That is Alva Noto’s blog about touring with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Looks to be a great experience. There are many YouTube examples. Here is the first one I looked at.

It reminded me of a project Andrew Gaskin did in 2007, when he remixed three tracks from One Guitar. You can find them in the LL.

And as these things go, then I also received an email from Andrew yesterday…

Here is Andrew’s remix, called Out ot the Blue – Big Blue Room Mix

Audio MP3

And here is the original track Out of the Blue:

Audio MP3

I added a Santa Fe to our catalog page. We sold half of the 1,000 CDs we had manufactured and are currently working on a new cover for the SSRI version of the album. I haven’t heard when the Lifescapes CD will hit Target stores. Will find out and let you know.

And, this should be the last addition to the Summer tour, a performance at Harlow’s, in Sacramento, on July 5th. It means we will get to spend July 4th in San Francisco again… I am getting my Brompton ready for the four days we will have in the city.

Big Blue Room Mix

02011-05-25 @ 08:05

alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto “s” tour
Alva Noto’s blog about touring with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Looks to be a great experience. There are many YouTube examples. Here is the first one I looked at.

It reminded me of a project Andrew Gaskin did in 2007, when he remixed three tracks from One Guitar. You can find them in the ListeningLounge.

And as these things go, then I also received an email from Andrew yesterday…

Here is Andrew’s remix, called Out ot the Blue – Big Blue Room Mix

Audio MP3

And here is the original track Out of the Blue:

Audio MP3


02011-05-24 @ 12:05

Soundcheck at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, Vermont, on May 8th. Photograph by Matt Callahan.


02011-05-24 @ 09:05

I haven’t started going through the many recordings from the last tour. We did 20 performances in 20 days and most of them, perhaps 15, were recorded. I will offer a full concert download in this Journal before shutting it down, even if that means keeping it open for some of June.

Here is an announcement for this Friday’s concert at the KiMo in Albuquerque.

This is a photo Matt took at soundcheck in Vermont:

Formula One Guitar
Fernando Alonso Canada 2010 lap on slide guitar (YouTube)

…needs a bit of heavy metal drumming and bass, doesn’t it?
This is how the author arrives at the sound:

Formula 1 Guitar
When I started thinking about how to make my guitar videos, I first calculated the theoretical pitch of current Formula 1 V8 engines. This way, we have the revolutions limit in 18000 rpm, which is 300 revolutions per second, that is 300 Hz. Given that a four-stroke engine cylinder has one explosion for every two revolutions, we have 150 explosions per second per cylinder. Therefore, the eight cylinders of a V8 engine make for a total of 1200 explosions per second, that is a sound of 1200 Hz, which is a musical note slightly above D6. However, the actual sound we hear on TV onboard laps has a predominant frequency of 600 Hz when the engine is on top revolutions, which is a subdivision of the 1200 Hz theoretical sound. That is the main frequency I play on my guitar videos, using appropriately tuned third and fourth strings past 22nd fret to have a 600 Hz sound (D5).

You can find more Formula One Guitar here

Here is a GIF I found somewhere a while ago- it just goes on forever…

Why Berlin Fascinates – Speakeasy – WSJ
Why Berlin Fascinates – Building Better Bicycle Cultures
Bicycle Magnets

YouTube – How to Dial a Rotary Telephone
How to Dial a Rotary Telephone


02011-05-19 @ 10:05

Here are a few images from last night at the Dakota in Minneapolis. They were emailed to us with this message:

Here are a few images from last nights 9pm show. We’ve been fans from the beginning. If you wish to use any of these images I can send you high res files. I don’t want anything for them. If you use them just give photo credit to “Andreasen Photography”


Done, and thank you, Marty! We had a blast at the Dakota last night.

Last Night at the Dakota

02011-05-19 @ 09:05

Photos from the 9PM show, at the Dakota in Minneapolis, by Andreasen Photography.


02011-05-17 @ 10:05

We arrived in Minneapolis this Morning. The bus parked around the corner from the Dakota and we had coffee at Dunn, down the street. Then, while waiting for hotel rooms to become available, I walked to Cafe Lorcat, which I remember as the Loring Cafe from the Nineties, and around the Walker Art Museum. It’s a lovely Spring day here. The sun is shining, it is nearly 70º, and there are lots of bicyclists everywhere. I think I’ll walk some more this afternoon…

Hemp for Victory — Marginal Revolution
The film has an interesting history. For decades the USDA and the Library of Congress denied that such a thing had ever been made but in 1976 Rastafarians delivered a copy to a reporter in Florida.

Benefit Concerts

02011-05-16 @ 15:05

I know, last year I said I would do no more benefits… but what can I do?

It looks like Jon and I, with special guest Robby Rothschild on percussion, will perform at the Kimo theater in Albuquerue next week, on Friday, May 27th.

It’s a benefit for the former New Mexico Symphony orchestra musicians, who are hoping to create a new orchestra from the ashes of the old one, and we will perform three songs with a 8 piece string section – four violins, two violas and two celli – double the 2005 string quartet. Perhaps we will perform “La Luna”, “Morning Arrival in Goa” and “Snakecharmer”, since we have those charts.

Then I will do another benefit on June 2nd, a solo performance for the restauration of the San Miguel chapel, the “oldest church in the USA”, on Old Santa Fe Trail. This will happen in the chapel and I don’t have much more info on it. It’s a very small space and the organizers want to allow their mailing list to have the first opportunity to buy the 130 tickets.

It looks like my month off will be filled with performances – I am also playing a private party somewhere in Georgia on the 16th of June, and at the Mind & Life conference in New York state on the 17th.

Soon after I get back from Mind & LIfe we will get started with rehearsals for the Summer tour. Since we won’t have to fly, we can bring more instruments!! I want to add my electric guitar, Jon will bring the fretted bass guitar in addition to his fretless one, and Houman will add udu and tonbak, a traditional Persian drum, to his arsenal.


02011-05-16 @ 12:05

Before we began our soundcheck at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut, on Friday, I asked Houman whether I could play his cajon. Since everyone on the bus carries an iPhone the event was secretly captured on video, well, at least a few seconds worth…

Sunday in Sellersville

02011-05-15 @ 20:05

We did two 85′ shows today, at 16:00 and 19:30. Now we are back on the bus getting ready to leave for a town in Indiana, where we will make a stop tomorrow. We should reach Minneapolis sometime on Tuesday.

Great use of Twitter, movie night: this evening Edward J. Olmos tweeted while watching Blade Runner. Naturally he had some interesting insider points regarding the movie.

I told Houman about the worst bus ride in our twenty-one years of touring: it happened in 1994 and we had to travel from Sacramento to Philly to make up a show we had to cancel to open for Julio Iglesias at Radio City Music Hall. That ride was quite the experience!!


02011-05-14 @ 12:05

Another week almost passed. Started a Tumblr page at, where I will post photographs in no particular order or time sequence and without any titles or information – in other words just like millions of teenagers and cubicle warriors who have Tumblr accounts, but with the difference that 99% of the images I will post will be my own. The 1% will be photos of me, taken by friends.

The Ramshead in Annapolis sounded GREAT with the new quiet drumkit and we did one of our best performances there. When I asked Jaren whether he had recorded that evening he replied that it was the one night that he had no space for our recording rack and did not record. The next evening we played at the Birchmere. Our playing was not as tight as it was the night before, but the audience was fantastic and really into the music, which was great. Then came Infinity Hall in Norfolk and the Ridgefield Playhouse last night. I think there might be some music I can offer you from those nights.

Time to start the sound check here in Bay Shore, Long Island. Later…


02011-05-06 @ 12:05

Two shows at Sculler’s in Boston last night. Now we are in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in a great little venue called Tupelo Music Hall.

Tomorrow I am thinking of taking the ferry into Manhattan to have breakfast there and to check out Picasso’s guitars at the MoMA. Then I’ll meet the bus at B.B.Kings after noon.

After our concert at B.B.’s we will drive north again to Vermont, where I haven’t been since the early Nineties sometime. I am looking forward to our visit. A friend, born and raised in Santa Fe, once told me he thought that Vermont felt similar to New Mexico… the East coast version. Hitchhiking up from New York state I used to be able to see the state line by looking at the trees and landscape, similar to how we think we can see the line between Texas and New Mexico or Arizona and New Mexico.

I have fond memories of Vermont, where I spent my first Summer in the USA and had my first gigs as a solo guitarist. I remember one gig, in 1979, where I improvised music while a friend read Chinese poetry – in Mandarin of course. Nobody understood him, but the combination of the Chinese poetry and guitar music was quite appealing. Another time I played two half our sets at a bar: I played only chords during the first set, and recorded the performance on a reel-to-reel tape deck. I played back the tape and soloed over the chords during the second set. And while I am describing OL’s stranger performances, I performed in a gallery once, where I changed location every few minutes: sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, then on a chair against a corner, and so on.

Monday in Providence

02011-05-02 @ 11:05

Michael’s new drum kit (you can find a few photos here) was a big success last night in Buffalo. Jaren says it sounds great over the P.A. and we love he way it sounds in our monitors. I can hear my guitar better and felt I could play better because of that. The new setup also offers Michael many more unique colors. It really was fun to hear him play. We didn’t get a chance to rehearse with the new kit, because Michael had only three weeks since our return from Europe to research and order the new parts, and yesterday was actually the first time it was all put together.

We are in Providence, Rhode Island, for one of our two days off on his tour. My first time here, I think.

Yesterday the Berlin Philharmonic performed the Concierto de Aranjuez, by Joaquín Rodrigo, at the Teatro Madrid, with the soloist Cañizares. You can find a couple of videos on YouTube. I hope the Berlin Philharmonic will make an offical recording available.


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