Friday, January 27, 2012

End o' week musings

OK, I know it really should be "End o' two weeks musings" but tradition is tradition... Plus it has really been more like ONE really, really long week.

Last week I was all systems go in preparation for the NAMM (International Association of Music Merchants) trade show in Anaheim. I had lots of stories I was seeking and miles ahead of me in the convention center to find them.

But before that I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Raneri of Bayside, who is on the "Where's The Band? Tour," a solo acoustic performance concert series featuring members from an assortment of popular groups. Raneri was smart and charming with just a touch of sass. (Just the way I like my guys lol!). I like his music, which runs the gamut of musical genres, and suggest checking it out.

I also spoke with Sally Struthers, who is currently co-starring in "Always... Patsy Cline" at the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. I always enjoyed seeing Struthers in "All in the Family" as a kid. I might not have got all the jokes, but I looked up to her strong woman values and understood her vulnerability too. It was a joy to talk with her and discover that she's actually quite a bit like her character Gloria.

Struthers is very much an independent woman, yet she has a soft side and a very pleasant sense of humor. She's also very appreciative of her succes and her fans. Learn more about her and her show at

On the 20th, I was ready for my first day of NAMM. Photographer/videographer Keith Durflinger and I covered a smattering of tech stories and then followed Tom and Rich from the Fret House in Covina to learn what the small retail stores do at the show. It was quite interesting.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day for me was meeting my Twitter friend, guitarist Xander Demos (you can also check him out on Facebook). He was true to his boasts and can really wail on his axe, plus he's an all-around great guy. It's so awesome to meet people in person who you only know online and find out that they're someone you'd enjoy hanging out with. (We hung out a little on Sunday and had a great chat!)

The next day, Keith and I followed Mike Davis (bassist for Dramara and Halford) to get the musician's perspective. I'll admit that Mike focused more on networking and finding fellow musicians than checking out products, but it was still intriguing. I spent that afternoon returning to the booths of the tech products we had videotaped Friday to do interviews with representatives for my print story, which will run in the business section of next week. You can visit the site now to see a little preview of NAMM and hear a few cuts of some good music in the tape as well. (Ooo and look for my friends, guitarist Xander Demos and drummer Chris Batton in the video too).

The evenings of the 20th and 21st, I went to my friends Carin and Tom's house because they live so much closer to Anaheim than I. They took me to dinner and we soaked in the hot tub before I curled up in bed with their purring cat Tuffy for a good night's sleep. Thank you!

Sunday I returned to NAMM to catch anything I might have missed that would make a good story and to enjoy myself a little. I hung out with the staff of Barefoot Music News ( ) for part of the day, which was fun. They have a slightly different perspective on music than I, so it was interesting to see what they covered story-wise. I always enjoy the exchange of ideas with fellow journalists and musicians too.

At the end of the day, I joined the ukulele circle. It was geared to also for never-before players, but I was seriously surprised that I remembered some of the chords I have learned~ coolness! We had a nice time strumming and singing. Ukulele Barrt joined us and led us in a couple of songs. He told everyone on the left to sing, then everyone on the right, then the people in the middle and then "just you" and pointed at me. What do you know? There was Dan Grigor, one of my friends from Barefoot Music News, on the scene with his trusty videocamera to catch it too! Undaunted, I warbled out the song and tried to play the chords correctly-- I hope it came off OK.

Ukulele Barrt is going to be at the Coffee Gallery Backstage ( ) in Altadena 7 p.m. Feb. 5. He will also lead a ukulele circle there prior to the show at 6 p.m., so grab your git and have some fun.

This week began with a 9 a.m. Monday call from Michael Romero of Symphony X. Geez, what rockstar calls you that early on a Monday? I kept quipping words like that all weekend to my friends and discovered one of the nicest rockstars is the answer. Romero was up early packing for his tour and spending a little time with his family... and willing to spend some of that time talking with me. He was extremely gracious and we were soon talking like old friends. I am looking forward to catching the band live if I can, as their album rocks.

In the evening, I went to a house concert in Fullerton where Muriel Anderson was playing. She performed on guitar and harp guitar and was amazing! Muriel did original music, as well as songs by the Carpenters, Beatles and Steve Wonder... and more. She is a national fingerpick champion and doesn't need a band backing her, as she covers it all with her strings. She often comes to the Coffee Gallery Backstage and other SoCal venues, so if you get a chance to see her, I recommend that you go.

The rest of my week has been quieter, with the highlight being a good checkup from my dentist. Yay! No going back to spend time in the evil chair!! That flossing pays off.

I will be going to the Bill Word & Friends comedy show tomorrow night in Whittier, as my friend Carin is performing. If you come out, please say hello. All the info is in the post below.

This week I will also catch "Art" at the Pasadena Playhouse ( ) and be back to hula class~ Aloha!

In rotation this week: Symphony X, Owl City, The Tierney Sutton Band, Anthony Raneri and Taylor Swift. (That's eclectic, huh?!)

Photos we got 'em: A couple of cut pet pics, my cell phone shot of the gecko on the Geico float in Covina the evening of the company's commercial shoot and a photo of me at NAMM by Terry Miller as he rode the escalator and looked down into the press room (notice the long-haired rocker sitting near me? That's Mike Davis. We were chatting before heading out on the floor).

Thought o' the week: Cool, boy, cool. This morning the news guy on the radio remarked how "cool" President Obama is about things. When someone yells at him (as during one of his speeches), he may pause, but then he goes on as if nothing happened. If Obama has a temper, he certainly doesn't let it flare. We could all take a cue from this attitude.

It is hard not to stand up and fight back to defend your opinion, but it's not always the best course. You can say things you don't really mean or just be overly vicious. Like Obama, it is sometimes better to take a breath and let it go. Or at least take pause and then speak calmly, making your point clearly without being in "attack mode."

Discourse is healthy, as is sharing differing opinions. We learn not only about others, but about ourselves, plus it makes for a more interesting world. It's OK to share your thoughts and OK to respond to someone else's, but in a rational, serene way rather than with aggression. And it's also OK to let things go and turn the other cheek.

Making the world a more peaceful place starts with you... and me too. Be cool, boy, cool and

Keep on rockin'


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