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Gigs: Recent and upcoming... for Jim & Warren and Keith & Warren and WA...

Jim & Warren - hard at it, Laguna Beats, 4 Aug 2011.

'Laguna Beats' program :: Jim & Warren are playing on the history-soaked streets of Laguna Beach most Wednesday evenings (6:00-8:00pm) and most Sunday late afternoons (~4:00-6:30pm). We set up in front of the ice cream shop at Forest and PCH, if possible, and sometimes just a ways up Forest Ave, just past the intersection with Gleneyre. Big fun, at least for us...

 WA's Encyclopedia of Alternate Guitar Tunings "...a tremendous resource ...a wonderful site devoted to guitar tunings -— dozens and dozens of ‘em, including tunings used by Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Sonic Youth. Cool!"
- Andy Ellis (Guitar Player magazine, The Guitar Show Chronicles)

 WA's radio-friendly guitar instrumental Cerulean Blue

Gigs up next the various on-planet locations...

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Sun 8 Jan 2012 4:00-6:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
Sun 1 Jan 2012 4:00-6:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach [?]
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Sun 18 Dec 2011 4:00-6:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   A pleasure to have our man Mikey in full Santa-cap swing at his greeter's post (directly behind us). We'd missed him lately, and he's been missing the high-flying crowds of summer, understandably... but seemed pleased by today's sunny skies turnout.
   Jim and I had some passably good runs through a few neglected number, including 'Heaven', 'Four Seasons in One Day', 'Miss Misery', 'Mary', 'Long May You Run', 'I Am a Child', and 'Let it Be'... as well as the so-called (Sgt.) Pepper Package, and the LabelMates Pair (Badfinger). Jim is auditioning medium gauge strings on his big Gibson Songwriter... an excellent choice for bashing away on the sidewalk, if his hands can handle them. They sure don't work for me.
     Not too much fan excitement this evening, but there was a wonderful 4-yr old dancing girl to keep us going for quiet awhile... [$08]

Sun 11 Dec 2011 4:00-6:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Excellent time this evening, including our lately-neglected two Neil Finn songs... 'Four Seasons in One Day', and 'Don't Dream, It's Over'. We can still play, somehow, despite missing a few Thursday sessions... oops, switching (back)to Wednesdays, going forward...      [$06]

Sun 4 Dec 2011 4:00-6:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   What a pleasure to play -- guitar especially, after a week of unrelenting labor cleaning out the garage -- the final step in my move... My callouses have atrophied to a shadow of their summertime stature, but this didn't seem to matter, as I found myself playing unusually well, inspired by the shear joy of making that sound happen... on 'Wild Horses' especially.
   It got quite chilly after awhile, down to 50º or so by 6pm, and Jim noted that his fingers weren't working quite as well as they ought to be. I didn't notice it so much, due partly to my wrist-warmer mitts, no doubt...
   There weren't many people to play for, but one special event happened just as I arrived: Town Greeter Mikey Minutoli made what may have been his first stump speech for his new campaign for — that's correct — President of the U. S. of A. Fortunately, I captured the whole thing on video, from a foot away, on my little camera.      [$06]

Sun 27 Nov 2011 4:00-6:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Just skipping Thursday made it seem like a very long time since we've played -- due, as Jim suggested, to the contrast with our long summertime run of twice-weekly outings. I was very busy Thursday packing up the contents of my loft for the next days' moving van adventure to our new (nearby) place, where maa and I actually slept that night. Come Sunday, one fretting finger was suffering from a wound, and there was a very great deal more stuff to sort through, transport and heap up in the new place, but it was very nice to set it aside for a couple of hours of music-making, and I felt like it was important to not lose much more of the unprecedented momentum we've managed to gather this summer. Jim dropped into a very funky vamp at one point that took us in some entirely new direction... wouldn't mind going there again...      [$08]

Sun 20 Nov 2011 4:00-6:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
Thu 17 Nov 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach (probably)
   Chilly and foggy... could hardly stop sneezing.... Playing for Doug and Carl, and an appreciative fellow who dropped in a fiver... Sending in a request to play at the Sawdust Festival Winter Fantasy... but it's surely too late, and we just don't quite have the right connections... [..and will we ever ...]      [$06]

Sun 13 Nov 2011 4:00-6:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Lovely weather again, after a brief ice age.... The first thing we did was to run through 'Baby Blue' and 'Cruel to Be Kind', just to reassure ourselves that we could actually play these songs. Yes, we can. I had an all-around best-ever pass on the former fine song.      [$04]

Fri 11 Nov 2011 9:45-10:00pm :: Jim & Warren sitting in with Kurtis and the Heretics - Buster's Beach House
   Jim and I had a wild ride last night with a full-blown rock band, fronted by our longtime pal Kurtis Gentile. We played Badfinger's 'Baby Blue' and Nick Lowe's 'Cruel to Be Kind', with the band backing us up like a bucking bronco. It was a whole lot of fun, though slightly confusing, mostly because of not being able to hear what was going on well enough. I couldn't hear Jim's guitar at all, which would have been very disorienting, except that Kurtis was also laying down the chord progression. Fortunately, Jim was able to hear his guitar fairly well, acoustically, at least...
   I could hear my guitar sometimes... but even as I listen to the recording, it's hard for me to tell which bits are coming from my guitar, and which from Kurtis'... this is partly due to some similarity on tone, despite the radically different design of our guitars (Kurtis was playing his Telecaster), but also because of overlap in what we're playing. [Later I see that Kurtis was essentially playing what Jim plays: the riffs, and big 1st position chords, leaving plenty of room for all of my octave-uppity bits. My real problem was not being quite loud enough. Kurtis explained later that he turned my little boutique amp up a couple of times during the song, but it was just distorting more, rather than getting louder.]
   At one point during 'Cruel to Be Kind', my guitar sounded so shockingly wrong (though I verified that I was playing the correct chord) that I was momentarily convinced that the band had accidentally switched to another key... (they wouldn't do that on purpose, would they..?!).
   Anyhow, here we are bashing through 'Baby Blue' which sounds much better here that it did to me in the moment -- mostly because the band is playing it quite well, which is remarkable, considering that they only learned they'd be playing it the night before... though David politely asked what key it was in just before we kicked it off. The distortion in the sound is entirely from the overloaded mic preamp of my snapshot camera.
   I can't suggest that anyone actually listen to this, but it's a significant piece of memorabilia for us, just a day later. I expect my grandchildren to be amused, at least, should I ever have any... Still, it was a lot of fun, and I'm very glad that we just said 'Yes!' to the invitation, rather than try to beg off for all the usual reasons (including that these guys are actually very good musicians!).
   Check out Kurtis and the Heretics here, tics not required...

Thu 3 Nov 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   Coming down with the flu, but played anyhow, and very glad I did. We hit paydirt on several numbers. We also socialized a fair bit with Mikey (who crashed the recent 'Lagunatics' show, which spoofed him and Cindy B. (greeting the audience by snarling and flipping them off)) and with Doug and his pal Randy, who sang several snatches of 'Garden Party' in a loud baritone, in honor of his childhood friendship with the Nelson, and Ricky in particular (though Randy is probably no older than 55. Rick was born in 1940, so would have been 71 now). Randy also mentioned Harriet working at the burger joint on PCH in South Laguna where Ruby's now is (which also seems a bit unlikely)...
   Good outing, anyhow...      [$23 ($20+$1+$1+$1)]

Sat 29 Oct 2011 4:00-6:30pm :: Jim & Warren at private birthday party - Mission Viejo
   Not bad... it took us a scant nine years to land our first house party, not to mention our first paying gig...! Better yet, this may represent the very pinnacle of our 'career', or the extremity of high finance, at least.
   We set up at one end of a huge patio, atop a 3' high snug concrete ledge, lit by one smoky tiki lamp, which helped us understand how being able to see things like labels on knobs and fingers on fingerboards is still important... The crowd of thirty people or so was situated far away at the other end of the patio, and managed to entertain itself pretty well, but there were many kind and appreciative comments nonetheless, and hostess Lin seemed particularly happy with how it went... and she promised to tell all her friends about us... so perhaps we're off to a whole new phase of operations, in which case we may have to invest in a flashlight...
   I'd say we sounded pretty ragged at first, then pretty good as we got the innumerable x-factors all tweaked-up. In any event, it's a lot of fun to play these songs, and we had time to get through quite a few, including two passes through 'Wild Horses', which is a pleasure to explore instrumentally, and 'Into the Mystic', which Jim called for, to my great delight, as it's intensely satisfying to play my made-up, volume-swelled, exclusively-sixths guitar part.
   I've been using my sidewalk-specific stompbox set so much lately that it took me some time to get re-acquainted with my 'standard' pedal bag and pedal board rig, not to mention the StageMate PA. Fortunately, I long-ago rewired this rig so that the volume pedal is at the end of the signal chain, so volume swells were really happening... I'm not sure why it's taken me about five years to even start to get the hang of this technique, but it's so appealing now that the challenge is to not overdo it...
   Special guest: Tina Ann, aka The Queen of Happiness... now off on a solo flight, so to speak...      [$nnn!]

Thu 27 Oct 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   I guess it's not quite summertime anymore, and there were not so many passers-by to play for... but locals like Jeff kept us company, and Maurice of Amsterdam checked in for awhile, as did Jim's new pal++ Shirley.
   We ran through songs that party organizer Lin has requested for the upcoming birthday party gig for her husband... 'Wish You Were Here', 'Something'... though we also tried on 'Folsom Prison Blues' briefly... Let's try that one again soon (I may be able to sing it in G, and if not Jim probably can). Hitting the low G (barely) in that song inspired a pass through 'Was Not There', in which I was easily able to sing the low C in the verse... making me wonder if an allergic reaction to something is responsible. Perhaps I should mix pollen into my coffee, or rub it on the mic...?
   We fielded a request for a Grateful Dead song with 'I Know you Rider', which I'd all-but given up on, but I could hear it 'jelling' as we rolled along, so let's try that again soon. It's potentially 'slamming', along the lines of Wilco's 'Side With the Seeds'.
   I had an intensely good experience plying guitar this evening... which I attribute to not only playing so regularly with Jim, but also playing a lot over the last several days. ...and one more thing: a recent re-wiring of my sidewalk stompbox array so that the volume pedal (the huge heavy Morley Alligator) is after the effects, rather than just ahead of them. This makes quite a difference, since otherwise the compressor and the delay are doing their best to defeat any attempt on my a part to roll of the level with the volume pedal. With the pedal at the end of the chain, it really does what it's supposed to do, so now I can suddenly swell in and out much more like I've been trying to, for the past several years (even though I think my main effects rig is already set up this way...)
   Anyhow... I heard myself playing better this evening than anytime, ever... on 'Into the Mystic' and 'Wild Horses', and even 'Heart Full of Soul'... which is immensely encouraging... and made it suddenly easy to accept pal Kurtis' invitation to sit in with his band (on Friday Nov 4)... that will certainly be educational, at least...      [$10]

Carl ____, Doug DuMaurier, and Michael Minutoli, Laguna Beach, 23 Oct 2011.

Sun 23 Oct 2011 4:30-6:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Driving down the Canyon Road in broad sunny daylight, I could see that a great damp cloud had settled into Big Bend, just ahead, like some great grey wooly dirigible... I wondered that anyone would dare enter this forbidding fog. It was, however, somewhat clearer at our Forest & PCH stage site, and there were plenty of people to play for, including Terry ____ [?] who seemed to like our 12-bar blues rundown (in E, this time), and who mentioned that he'd recorded a CD of David 'Holland' singing his own songs, a few years ago. [Mikey told me later that Dave's real last name is McMahon, that he's currently living in Corona, after inheriting a lot of money from an aunt, and that he hasn't stopped drinking, but he has as least started eating. Faye Chapman recently told me that Dave is in Palm Springs.]
   Special guests: Jason Feddy, on break from his White House gig, who quietly sang along on 'Wild Horses' for a bit... and good pals Kurtis & Alisa, who confirm that they are now locals, and who contributed expert-level handclaps on 'No Matter What'.
   The slightly mad after-gig discussions featured everyone from esteemed colleague Doug DuMaurier, Maurice from Amsterdam (eager to join the Occupy Irvine campout, and to establish a swinging upscale nightclub, presumably in that order), and even former boss's boss Jeffrey Friederichs, who kindly handed over a copy of ISKCON's 'The Practice of Yoga' (mint, as if he knows the contents so well that it's no longer necessary to even leaf through the pictures of Krisha in his sublime opulence)...    [$6]

Thu 20 Oct 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Cooler, darker and slower -- meaning not so many people out and about. We were kept company by a team of Greenpeace buttonholers (who managed to sign Jim up), and by our good pal and professional colleague Mikey, and finally by Jim's new pal Shirley... though Mikey kept her pretty well engaged. I thought we played pretty well, despite the dearth of listeners. 'Southwest Passage' was as tight and tough as I've ever heard it, and I've just about learned how to play 'Sunny Afternoon', which Jim makes sound very good... as Mikey pointed out. One nice factor: the ice cream shop's music was very quiet, then vanished altogether when the doors shut at 7pm or so.      [$2]

Sun 16 Oct 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   When Jim saw me at the restroom between Ocean and Forest, he said, "Where's your guitar?"... forcing me to notice that it was not strapped to my back, and to admit that the last time I'd seen it was when it was leaning against the curb (in its bag), just behind the car, which was parked a mile away, up the steep hill.... so I hiked all the way back, anticipating that it would somehow still be there, which it was, so I hiked all the way back down again, all of which took at least half an hour...
   We played fairly well, but I felt a bit fuzzed out much of the time, and I suppose it's because of getting to bed at 4am the night before, then up again at 9am. So I went to bed at 9pm, only to get up at 5:30am for the Occupy Golf Course event... just can't win... Special guest: Jim's new friend Shirley...!      [$8]

Thu 13 Oct 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Another tropical Indian Summer t-shirt evening, following a moderately blistering 95º afternoon. As our pal Jeff pointed out, such warm evenings at this time of year bring out the locals, rather than pull in the tourists... which made me wish to be a local myself. If I had a time machine, I could pick up the DuMaurier home in Sarah Thurston Park (later better known as 'Dodge City') for $900 -- what his dad Major DuMaurier sold it for in 1952 or thereabouts, at a tidy profit, since he bought it, in 1947, for $600 (or so says Doug D. , but I wonder if his numbers have somehow dropped zeros, over the years)
   Police apparition: Early on, we practiced our 12-bar blues basics (in A), in hopes that we can make something of it eventually, and to help Jim get that sorted out for his future jamming opps. I was blasting harmonica riffs into my all-too-visible mic-on-a-stand when I was startled by something ominously blue just off to the right... which proved to be not just one, but four of Laguna PD's finest. I paused and said "Hello..!", thinking that the proverbial jig is now up, forever, and barely evading a sudden urge to confess and apologize for all of our present and past crimes. One officer nodded, said something like "How's it goin' there?", and then seemed to direct his gaze beyond us. Jim was still strumming the shuffle rhythm, so I returned to the mic and blew some more harp, a bit more quietly, but still obviously amplified. Presently the cadre of cops strolled right past us to the opposite street corner, to our left, and somberly addressed an unfortunate-looking older fellow seated on the concrete bench, with crutches partly blocking the sidewalk, holding what appeared to be a hand-lettered sign. Jim surmised that the adjacent Fingerhut Gallery (our dear friends from last summer) had called in the hit. Very likely... Among other things, this would seem to re-confirm that the local PD are essentially complaint-driven, at least as far as street music is concerned, and perhaps panhandling too. Lucky for us, as we are, arguably, just panhandling with guitars, though we think of it quite differently: practicing in public.
   Otherwise... most promising run-through ever of WA's 'Southwest Passage'... which seems to require about 20% more guitar-playing skill than I've managed to accumulate yet... but which also seems like the perfect vehicle for further accumulation thereof.. but I'd better play this thing two or three times a day for the foreseeable future...
   Most Transcendent Moment: As Jim was singing the beloved 'Space Oddity', we heard a lovely echo of it, and looked up to see a radiantly beautiful young woman pausing to join us for what seemed to be her favorite song of all time. Clumsily, I tried turning the mic in her direction. She shook her golden hair, and strolled away, still singing...      [$10]

R.I.P. Tully's Coffee. I happened to notice, while out for a stroll, that the windows are now painted black. This leaves Jim & Warrren with no coffeeouse gigs whatsoever, and, more significantly, nowhere to play with the full PA setup. What shall we do...?

Sun 9 Oct 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Another spectacularly lovely day... Special guest: Jeff Bowman, who hired both Jim and Warren, within a couple months of each other, back about 22 years.      [$4]

Thu 6 Oct 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   Resolved: start later, perhaps at 7pm, and play later, perhaps till 9pm., as there seems to be a modest population explosion starting about 8pm (just as we were loading out, this time...)      [$4]

Sun 2 Oct 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Videography day, thanks to our lovely friend Melanie McCullough, who captured a dozen songs for us with my little Casio camera, most of which seem to be worth keeping. It's very nice to finally have some record of our 'Pepper Package' songs: 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'With a Little Help from My Friends', and 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. Special guests: Kurtis Gentile and Alisa Eisenberg.      [$19]

Thu 29 Sept 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   A dry run for our hoped-for video shoot on Sunday (if Melanie goes for it). Even with a set list, we were rolling at a rate of about ten songs an hour. We were slowed by one visitor in particular, but mostly by our own meanderings. Fortunately, special guest Bill Pitts showed up only once we were tearing down, followed by buddy Doug D., who regaled me with tall tales from the BEL era for an hour and a half... and introduced me to environmentalist and concert promoter Rick Conkey, who was very appreciative that I lent him an XLR cable for a gig he was putting on at the White House...      [$10]

Sun 25 Sept 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Quite a few people settled in for a couple of songs, or several of them... and expressed their appreciation in various ways... most encouraging... one lovely woman even claimed that she liked my singing on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', which is surely marginal at best, but that was especially nice to hear, since I'm still smarting from a negative comment a few years ago on the same vocal... but we've since dropped the key from Am to Em, which makes all the difference, and singing through a mic is proving very helpful for me... Someone else clicked the Like button for my harmonica part for 'Imagine', which is a relief, as I've been wondering if I'm deluding myself about it's apparent goodness... It's probably my favorite thing to play right now, especially since I can often (finally) get all the way through verse and chorus without losing the thread of the melody... at least the 2nd time through...
   We kicked it off with a little shuffle-blues jam in A, complete with some 'blues harp' bits. This is our 2nd attempt at this, and we don't have it quite sorted out yet, but there's surely some real potential here for laying down a groove... a most valuable commodity... and something that Jim has great capacity for. I'm hoping that working on it will help me get the hang of getting there, and staying there.
  We retrieved a couple of songs from near-oblivion: 'Cry Baby Cry' and even (most of) 'I'm Only Sleeping'. It feels very good not to lose the option of playing any of our songs, even if we'd generally prefer to play others...
   Hardest song for me to stop playing today: the Stones' 'Wild Horses'. Jim can sing this very well, fortunately (it reaches too high for me). I'm not crazy about all of the lyrics, but the song structure and chord progression affords some kind of magic carpet ride...
   During a break between songs, a (female) LB cop strolled right past us, citation book in hand, without so much as a smile... or an indictment... OK!      [$16] [] FB notice....

Thu 22 Sept 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge - Final gig
   We were playing for just ourselves and the three baristas for much of the time, with little response from either quarter, until the rousing hand from them after we drifted off-script into one of our accidental jam sessions... which was quite a pleasure for us. We were just working off a Dm chord for much of the time, which somehow mutated to D major... but that just makes all sorts of things more possible than they'd be with a more complex structure... not that we're averse to that... as in an extended slide-guitar intro to 'Heart Full of Soul' — the one song I was able to sing reasonably well this evening.      [$04]
   We had no idea at the time, but this turned out to be our last Tully's gig. The store closed quietly shut its doors for good a couple of weeks later.

Sun 18 Sept 2011 4:30-7:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Just about busted [again]...!. A (new?) young gendarme, citation book in hand, marched up to announce something along the lines of... "Just a warning, boys... You can't play amplified." I believe this action was not complaint-based, mostly because the officer didn't state that it was, but also because the ice-cream shop's music was very quiet this evening, indicating that they weren't trying to drown us out, at least... and also because this officer appeared to be Pounding a Beat, as they used to say on my TV set. He swung by again within ten minutes, and I was very careful not to fire up again... until he was out of sight, that is... Good fun, anyhow, including bracing airings of David Byrne's 'Heaven', John Lennon's 'Imagine', Michael Millers 'Mary, David Bowie's 'Starman', and a few mad little impromptu jams...      [$14]

Thu 15 Sept 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Catching up on some of the outliers, like 'Mary' (sounded good!), and 'Miss Misery' (ouch... needs maintenance). Special guest: Zen Ken...!      [$10]

Sun 11 Sept 2011 1:30-3:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Slipping in early in the afternoon, so that Jim can have his Cake (playing at Doheny Days), and eat it too. It worked well, except for me nearly starving to death. Thank the Celestial Teapot for PB&Js. One novelty: applause for almost everything we played — generally from the ice-cream families resting on the bench opposite, and also from the fellow waiting to go 'on' next after us. It's hard to miss with those much-loved Beatles songs, not to mention John's 'Imagine'... we should probably learn even more of them... but all sorts of other things seemed to go over well too... including 'Sunny Afternoon', which I've finally got almost straight again, after we migrated it from Am to Cm. Another novelty: a couple of 12-bar blues workouts in A, with and without me blowing 'harp'. Worth pursuing, especially now that I have a mic for the harmonica...      [$14]

Thu 8 Sept 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   Strength to strength... or something very much like that. Everything is stronger, tighter, bigger, easier, and just plain better... and this is very obviously tightly coupled to playing so often — twice a week for awhile now...
   One highlight was an absurdly-extended rendition of the outro of 'Hey Jude', that seemed to work for the Indian family who clapped uproariously afterward, and the barista-guy, who dropped a bill in the jar during it. This confirms to us that we could easily do an entire gig of improvised jams, based on simple chord progressions — both made up on the spot, and nicked from favorite songs. I'm sure there'd be a lot of fun in that, and that we'd find all sorts of new twists and turns en route. There's so much to mine in just the rhythmic domain.... "change the time signature", for example, as Jim pointed out later, which he did two or three times during the aforementioned jam.
   Another highlight: When we finally roped 'Hey Jude' to the ground, the momma of the same Indian family called out, "Imagine!" — quite confidently, as if she knew that anyone who could play the one could play the other. It was a rare pleasure to be able to smile and launch right into it. She even seemed to enjoy the harmonica parts, which I've almost got sorted out now, on my Lee Oskar C harp... This verse+chorus part is especially satisfying, and shows me how incredibly expressive that instrument can be... bending into notes, vibrato on sustained notes... I never wish that I was playing guitar instead. It's so good to have it as an alternative voice. I think we should try some of the blues bits I've been playing forever... now that I see how some of it is tightly mapped to the 12-bar pattern. [$12 — very good for this venue].

Sun 4 Sept 2011 5:30-7:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   A relatively short session, ended by me breaking string 1, while bending a fret 17 high A a whole step, during a very ragged attempt at resurrecting 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. It was a very happening giglet though, as Mikey, our new Village Greeter, pointed out to us. He also very sincerely told us that we had "made his summer" by backing him up, however inadvertently, as he hailed and hollered his way through his self-imposed duties, on the curb directly behind us... One highlight for me was finally getting a couple of good passes of the harmonica verse and chorus for 'Imagine', which Jim is singing very well... and people are stopping to soak in.
   The weather is changing now... September should be very warm here, but so far it's cool, with intimations of rain... including discernible drops, though not till the next day, fortunately... [$12]

Thu 1 Sept 2011 6:00-9:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   Back to our favored / favorite 'stage' at Forest & PCH. I felt confident enough, inexplicably, to set up my mic and its rather visible stand... (very nice to have, again, for whistle and harmonica as well as vocals) — but there were no visitations from The Man this time, which is to say: no one complained.
   Special quests: Kurtis Gentile and Alisa Eisenberg. I was anxiously aware that my guitar was not quite in tune as we played and sang 'Heaven' for them. (Jim then explained that this was a Talking Heads song, from their Fear of Music album.) I was surprised how well I could play an instrumental verse, though, with Kurtis sitting there, since I'm in awe of his guitar prowess... not to mention his terrific McCartney-esque singing... I found it possible to stop 'thinking' and just play. Kurtis said that he really liked the tone of my guitar... which seemed very thoughtful... He understands, surely, that we need encouragement, and he may even know that he's perfectly positioned to deliver some. [$16]

Tue 30 Aug 2011 5:30-9:00pm :: Keith & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Not quite the mad adventure of our first outing, but a good workout, for almost four hours... which gave me 2nd and 3rd opps to do a better job on some of our old standards, like 'Old Man', 'Peaceful Easy Feeling', and even 'Bus Stop'. [$20]

Sun 28 Aug 2011 5:30-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Not busted, this time [see K&W, 23 Aug]... though this may be simply because we played elsewhere today. When we arrived, 'our' Forest & PCH corner was well-occupied by a guitar-slammin' busker who advised that he was still $5 short of an eggplant parmesan [?!], so we rolled up Forest in search of alternatives, after I cut the busker's deficit by $1. Adam and a friend were singing wonderful harmonized vocals in the Alley, so we continued on, finally settling alongside a crosswalk just past the intersection with Glenneyre... right alongside a young fellow and a young woman directing traffic in jackets branded 'POLICE'. We set up anyhow, including my Mobile Cube and effects boxes, based on the theory that they were on a mission that did not specifically include busting buskers. They never did do so, or even notice us, apparently.
   This spot sure is quieter than Forest & PCH... and it was mercifully shaded at 5:30pm, which seemed like a very good thing. For awhile, there were quite a lot of people to play for, though not nearly so many by 7pm or so. We finally gave in to the superior firepower of a rumbling fire truck, left unattended alongside us. I suppose that might be an effective to shut down buskers without actually confronting them...
   In the meantime, we had quite a good outing, connecting to passersby with the likes of 'Imagine', 'Sunny Afternoon', 'Hey Jude', and even 'Heart Full of Soul'. I can see how my practice-playing several times over the past few days has helped, reinforcing my recent realization that the most important thing for me to do is to play... anything... to improve my chops generally, to strengthen my hands, and to get both hands working together, as if they're playing the same guitar... and beyond that to practice all the tricky bits for our various songs. [$16]

Thu 25 Aug 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   Jim launched in with a long jam over just Cmaj7 and Fmaj7... which just seemed wonderful to me... so much to explore with nothing more than that.... the slow tempo inspired kicking in the Shape Shifter tremolo (tap tempo makes it work)... which certainly added some nice throbulation to the proceedings...
   Broke string 3 near closing time, but re-tuned and had a go at 'Space Oddity' anyhow... very confusing, but worth it for this wonderful song, which both of us love to play. Sweetest baristas ever, btw... [$04]

Tue 23 Aug 2011 5:30-9:00pm :: Keith & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Busted in Laguna! It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose. Unlike Tim Leary's evening mishap on Roosevelt Lane, though, Keith & Warren were busted in broad daylight right in the bustling metroplitan heart of downtown Laguna Beach.
   We took a wild ride, in several respects, through four different locations in downtown Laguna Beach, over roughly as many hours. At Keith's request, we put this outing together, despite my assumption that Keith & Warren had played their last gig [on 17 June, Borders SCP]. Since then, Keith's solo opps at the Spectrum Ctr have (temporarily?) dried up, leaving him pretty nearly gig-less. Our intention was to deploy the tried and true Jim & Warren template, at Forest & PCH — extended by running Keith's Ovation gtr and his voice (head mic) through his portable Peavey amp, hidden as much as possible. So we met at about 5pm and set up, against an onslaught of unusually high-volume KISS-FM music blasting from the ice cream shop. In retrospect, this may have been a telling clue.
   Soon after a few passes through Keith's instrumental blues warmup and one song ('Hotel California') a uniformed LB officer strode up and asked, "Hello, gentlemen... Do you have a permit to play amplified?". I admitted that we did not, and lamely offered that we were trying to keep the volume down to "acoustic levels" — a ridiculous notion on the face of it, considering that everything was amplified. He noted that only un-amplified music-making is permitted without a permit, and that such permits are hard to come by. Helpfully, he explained that he was responding to a complaint, though he declined to ID the complainant. Keith suspects the kid from the ice-cream shop who was outside picking up trash as we set up. It is hard to imagine the complaint emanating from other than the ice-cream shop bldg — which includes unrelated offices upstairs, one of which faces the street [hopefully not Greg E.'s].
   Larger questions loom: are we busted for just this afternoon, or forever... and are only Keith & Warren down for the count, or should Jim & Warren consider themselves on notice as well? Is the officer's promise of a hefty fine restricted to a 2nd offense the same day, or on any day thereafter...? Jim & Warren may soon find out, as we intend to set up as usual this coming Sunday (though I believe I'll skip the mic and mic stand this time out, at least...)
   I proposed Acoustic Alley as plan B, though I wasn't sure that there was any point in me trying to play un-amped... so we strolled up Forest Ave at about 6pm, only to find Richard McLeod still holding forth in the Alley. After some head scratching, we settled in to the area with the big green circular seat, just beyond the intersection with Gleneyre, and then moved again to one of the parallel concrete benches at the crosswalk, as soon as they opened up. We played here for an hour or so, amidst some fortuitous social encounters — notably Keith's high-school friend Susie Elliot, who just happened to be strolling by, and another couple a bit younger who were knocked out by Keith's renditions of 'Hotel California' and 'Blackbird', and who left a $20 bill in the tip jar, after vague but probably sincere promises to round us up for some business-related functions. Susie stuck around for at least an hour and a half, which was a big help to Keith, who feels much better if there's someone to play for... Susie also promised to have K&W (or at least Keith) in to play for Art Walk when her new shop Twig of Laguna, opens in Sept or so. I would be very much up for that.
   After awhile, young street singer Adam appeared, fresh from Acoustic Alley, and after Susie confirmed that it was indeed 'open', we picked up and rolled down there, where we played for another hour or so, possible for me only because Keith found some trail mix for me to shoot up... The natural amplification and reverb of the Alley proved very helpful. I could hear my guitar well enough that I found that I could actually play dynamically, rather than just 'flat out' all the time, and Keith's voice and guitar were very audible. His voice seemed to be in particularly good form too, and he seemed to be feeling very good about what he was hearing. There were few people to play for by this time, but a lot of fun to play regardless. We did find [$32] in the tip jar when we finally knocked off, thanks largely to the aforementioned $20 bill, though someone else tossed in a $5...
   The one thing significantly missing from Keith's rig this evening was the TC Electronic 'harmony box'. I noticed, several times, how nice it was not to have it. Without it, Keith's vocals sound much more like they're coming from him, and there's much more sonic space for me to run lines in. I even found myself singing harmony parts here and there — not something I've done with Keith since we hit the road as K&W. This box must seem like a lot to give up, though, especially now that he's worked out detailed tap-dance arrangements for it in many (most?) of his songs.
   Anyhow... I'm up for trying this again soon, though the Acoustic Alley is much in demand lately... and there's no other place in town that offers anything like the combination of its sonic inducements and lots of people strolling by (and through). [$32]

Sun 21 Aug 2011 5:30-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Late start... forgot the Mobile Cube... so scaled down to Nomad, and no mic (and no setup or teardown). Missing the options I usually have at hand and foot... volume pedal, reverb, delay, overdrive, compression... still it was hard to stop. The Nomad's tone veered toward distortion and finally fuzz, as the battery pooped out, prompting a slapdash attempt at 'Satisfaction' before replacing it... the battery, that is... There were noticeably fewer people out this evening, but they are no less gorgeous... [$06]

Thu 18 Aug 2011 5:30-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Too sore to sing this evening... not much traction this time out... [$01].

Sun 14 Aug 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Some highlights for me: an almost-all-there harmonica solo on John Lennon's 'Imagine' (which I am assiduously practicing several times a day), and a shambolic but magical ride through our extended outro for Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'... which Jim somehow shapes for us by wonderful swoops and swerves in his rhythm playing... which cue me to change up the lines I'm running...
   Greeter Mikey, in white-and-black-face (courtesy Star Rainbow), worked the traffic behind us, shouting encouragement our way from time to time, and then struck a frozen-mime gtr player pose to our right, which captured the admiration of many tourists from the Far East, some of whom needed to jump into the picture frame themselves, not to mention stuff greenbacks into Mikey's 'fretting' hand... a few of which he later pushed into our already-overflowing tip jar... [$25 — an LBeats record, I think]

Thu 11 Aug 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   This one came and went quickly, with me arriving late, and Jim checking out for a work-related conference call for 15 minutes. The joint was empty much of the time, anyhow. We managed to entertain ourselves and the friendly barista-girls anyhow, running through our new song 'Imagine' a couple of times — partly so I could try out the (very high, and somewhat tricky) harmonica solo. I even managed to more or less put across 'Was Not There' — by singing it early... and 'Heaven' and 'Little Wing' were especially flavorful. [$03]

Sat 6 Aug 2011 5:30pm - 7:00pm :: WA busking with Richard McLeod Laguna Beach

   It's always a pleasure to sit in with Richard, and a rare one this year, with J&W gigging so often. I had just the Nomad into the Mobile Cube, clearly a Sufficiently Good Enough rig for this sort of 'chance-plus' get together. Richard pulled several new songs out of his deep hat, and said that he's been hoping to acquaint me with them — an agreeable thought indeed.
   Richard indicated that he was just about wrapping it up as I hove in, but acquiesced to "play one or two more"... He then settled into a complex, nuanced and absorbing 'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' (Dusty Springfield), which I was able to induce him to play once more at the end of our session. There's a lot to work with there, melodically... I could've played it all night long...
   He followed that with John Lennon's 'Just Gimme Some Truth', Paul Simon's 'She Loved Me Like a Rock' ("Well I'm a consummated man..."), a very subdued reading of the Dead's 'I Know You Rider' (which Jim & Warren are also playing, at Richard's suggestion), a bizzarely delicate arrangement of Cheap Trick's 'Surrender' [?!], and a dear old favorite of mine: 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow' (Carol King, the Shirelles), and several more than I've forgotten already. Richard makes a lot of room for me, and I was able to relax into it unusually well this afternoon... a deep pleasure... some sort of musical spelunkery... maybe I should roll down on Saturday and / or weekday afternoons more often...
   [In 1965, Springfield took part in the Italian Song Festival in San Remo, and failed to qualify for the final with two songs. During the competition, she heard the song 'Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)'. Its English version, "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me", featured lyrics written by Springfield's friend, Vicki Wickham, and her future manager, Simon Napier-Bell. It reached No. 1 in the UK in May 1966 and reached No. 4 on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 in the United States... The song, which Springfield called "good old schmaltz", was voted among the All Time Top 100 Songs by the listeners of BBC Radio 2 in 1999. — Wikipedia article ]

Thu 4 Aug 2011 6:00-9:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   Our second LBeats gig using the mic, without getting busted...! It's understandable tonight — it's Art Walk, so a rock band was blasting away up the street at Hurley's... and the impressively loud resonator guitar player was set up at the opposite corner, and the pretty girl who stopped to listen to us for quite awhile later held forth with epically operatic "Oooooooooo"s that carried over everything put together...! It was actually quite a challenge to play 'through' all of this racket, which also includes quite a lot of noise from yammering carousers and hyper-excited teenage girls... not to mention swarming traffic, punctuated by roaring motorcycles, emergency sirens, and impatient car horns. It's a crazy circus, and like a lot of other people (it seems) we too find it irresistible. Even Keith C. is thinking of having a go at it... Special guest: Ken Chen and friend. [$06]

Sun 31 July 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   A super-satisfactory outing for me... partly because we added a microphone (at my request -- partly inspired by loss of our Borders gigs). The plan was for both of us to use it, for lead vocals generally, but Jim seems to be doing just as well without it. For me, it makes a huge difference. I can really hear myself sing now, and I was surprised at how clear and natural it sounds — once I backed off the (global) reverb. It helped greatly on 'With a Little Help From My Friends', and when we tried 'Mary', the song seemed to sing itself... it was effortless... a very rare experience for me. Jim seems to be willing to keep it in the act. It does add to my already too-complex setup / teardown routine, but seems well worth it. [Jim's dynamic mic, on my stand, run through an impedance-matching transformer, then into the Mobile Cube's rudimentary mic channel (high-Z 1/4" mic input, just a level control, reverb shared with inst. channel)].
   Special treat: Big scoops of coffee ice cream in little plastic bowls, which were offered and then made to order by a friendly girl from the Chantilly ice cream shop. Somehow, they like us a whole lot better than did the mgmt at our previous spot across the street next to the Fingerhut gallery. I suppose we're not blocking any windows here, but you'd think we'd be accused of blocking the sidewalk... not to mention playing songs that are just a little too old...
   Special guest: Tim Donahey, one of my Brotherhood brothers... who showed us his new baritone ukulele... and shot some pics and video. [$23 + $10 worth of ice cream!]

Thu 28 July 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   Lamenting the retirement (back to teaching) of manager Leah -- who has been so nice to us.... The new guy, Justin, seems to know us, from working there, and has graciously signed us up for 2nd and 4th Thursday gigs... which will nicely offset the lost Borders dates. We check into the Laguna Beach Art Walk for 1st Thursdays.
   One highlight for me tonight: 'Mary', which seemed to all but sing itself, and wherein both guitars and voices seemed to merge into one big wonderful sound... and Jim steered us manfully through our newest number, 'Imagine'. [$04]

Sun 24 July 2011 4:30-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Very summery indeed... we played for about three hours, and it was still very much daytime when we knocked off, and just getting cool enough to put my 'over-shirt' back on. The sidewalk scenery seems to be more spectacular every week, partially owing to new advances in fashion, but also to the warmth of the sun, and the sheer density of ambulatory comings and goings. I miss a lot of it due to the sheer necessity of concentrating on the task at hand. Looking up can be quite distracting, depending upon various factors. No wonder we're sometimes slow to kick of the next song.
   We got all the way through 'Imagine', this time — Jim's latest and most welcome contribution, and we spun through the Kinks' 'Sunny Afternoon' twice... and aired all sorts of songs we haven't played lately, like 'Sugar Mountain'... Let's try Bob Marley's 'Is This Love' again next time, and 'I Know You Rider'. [$10]

Thu 21 July 2011 6:30-8:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Much better than I'd expected after eleven days off... though singing was out the window for me. Richard and Matt made for an unusually appreciative audience. World premier: a not-too shabby traipse through 'I Know You Rider', which Richard McLeod suggested for us recently.
   Special enhancement: Mikey's loony village greeter program, running directly behind us. It's potentially distracting, as he'd running a continuous rap of nonsense to the cars and people crossing the street, but we don't seem to mind... Makeup by the legendary Ted 'Star Rainbow' Shields. [$06]

Sun 10 July 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   We're on a roll, it would seem: three gigs in the last four days... somehow it's just hard to resist, though there are plenty of other things to do, including nothing at all.
   Special guests: Kurtis Gentile, Alisa Eisenberg, Matthew Gentile, and Alex Tan. We were slightly freaked out to play for Kurtis, as he is one of our local musical heroes, and he is a Beatles fanatic who has worked up remarkably faithful arrangements for many of their songs. Despite that, or because of it, we busted right into two numbers that would put us right on the spot — our 'Pepper Pair': 'With a Little Help from My Friends', and 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'. The former was easily a worst-ever take for me, and then we did just fairly well with the latter. When I dared to look up at Kurtis he was just smiling and singing along, in a completely supportive manner, and I realized that he was cutting us a lot more slack than we were cutting ourselves. Anyhow... a Great Exercise, as they say... this is surely just the sort of thing we need to work through.
   Two World Premiers, both introduced by Jim: the Kinks' little masterpiece 'Sunny Afternoon', and Bob Marley's 'Is This Love?' (which has a much more complicated set of chords than I'd have guessed)... more big fun...! [$06]

Sat 9 July 2011 7:00-9:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Borders - Mission Viejo
   [Final Borders gig for Jim & Warren] For both of us, but especially for me, what a difference a PA makes. Singing through the mic, I could actually hear myself, and could sing all sorts of things without straining... unlike at the Laguna Beach program, where I'm pretty much inaudible, save for (barely) "With a Little Help From My Friends'... I even managed a passable take of 'Was Not There', with its too-low first and third verses... achieved by singing it right off, before any wear and tear had accrued... [$07]

Thu 7 July 2011 6:00-9:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   Beautiful people swarming, careening, yammering, and occassionally pausing to take in a song or two. Special guest: hand-drummer Stephen Dolle, who uploaded a pic of us to his FB feed as we played. Lot's of solid takes this time, including a respectable 'Side With the Seeds' which we haven't played in a month or so... [$14]
   We were finally put out of business by Circus Finelli — the troupe of San Francisco-based prankster-clown-dyke-musicians below. The Beat Feet Orchestra of the half-Iranian Mahsa Matin alone, at right, pretty well 'wiped out' (sonically) the entire intersection with her resonator guitar, Pignose-amped vocals (bullet mic straight into the instrument input), snare drum, and little bass drum -- some 50 lbs of gear, cranked up a step or three from her acknowledged Mary Poppins hero Bert. She's an excellent rhythm guitar player, btw. They gathered quite a crowd, and collected what looked like quite a pile of dollar bills to me (but not so many to them, reportedly). Mahsa made a point of saying hello between sets, and expressed concern that they'd crashed our program. I assured her that we were wrapping up anyhow (true), and she assured me that they'd be returning to SF before next wknd (lucky for us). Check this good SF Weekly review of her program.

Sun 3 July 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Summertime was in full bloom, but not oppressively so, for this very busy wknd in Laguna Beach. Natives and tourists dressed accordingly, insuring that we would be at least as entertained as them. Quite an encouraging outing, especially after an all-too-rough go of it the previous Friday, for me anyhow... We had some really happening run-throughs this time, of 'Lucy in the Sky', and 'Space Oddity' in particular... We braved 'Teacher' and 'Cruel to Be Kind', both on hiatus till recently. People were tuning in, including colleague Richard, and lots of dollar bills collected in our tip jar...[$16]
   Special guest: The elusive and rather anxious One-Eyed Rick, a former inhabitant of Dodge City... very nice to see him again, after our January walkabout on Roosevelt Lane. He stayed just long enough to explain how his famous pastor discovered Jesus while playing guitar, when he realized that there was "one note missing". I should probably request confirmation on that one...
   "Do you like ice cream?", asked the kid from the ice cream shop as he laid an overwhelming and overflowing banana split upon us. It looked pretty yummy, but eating it would have required us to stop playing, which seemed like even more fun, so Jim managed to give it away to... [?]
   Special thanks to the pretty Dancing Girl... who enchanted us with her enthusiasm and youth (4 years, max)...

Fri 1 July 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Jim & Warren - Borders - South Coast Plaza
   A fuzzed-out and trying session for me, despite plenty of coffee... I was fine some of the time, but turned in a few worst-ever performances, partly because I couldn't to seem to catch hold of the rhythm for some numbers. Jim was in good shape, fortunately...[$01]

Thu 30 June 2011 7:30-9:00pm :: Jim & Warren at The Harbor House - Dana Point
   A one off giglet, spun off from an aborted expedition to a open mic session at the Dana Point Community Ctr. -- which we signed in for, but then almost immediately bailed out of, as Jim suggested that we could probably find someplace outside to set up and play, rather that wait for / wade through three songs apiece from the six people ahead of us. Amen to that. After some mobile investigation, we settled on the long bench alongside The Harbor House, where we'd met for supper beforehand. The management probably did not notice. We had a fine time of it, playing for several people coming and going at the nearby porch entrance, several of whom were old enough to know 'Little Wing' and our other favorite songs. We skipped the tip jar. [$00]

Thu 23 June 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   Went pretty well, I think.... [$00]

Sun 19 June 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
Fri 17 June 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Keith & Warren at Borders - South Coast Plaza
   [Final Borders gig for Keith & Warren. We didn't know it at the time, but this was the last Keith & Warren Borders gig, and quite possibly the last Keith & Warren gig ever. Since Keith shifted toward harnonizer-box-enhanced solo gigs at the Spectrum Ctr in November of 2009, the South Coast Plaza and 'Mission Viejo Borders stores, are the only venues where we've contiuned to play together. Now that it's Game Over for Borders, that leaves us with no gigs at all, and probably not much incentive to find any new ones...]

Sat 11 June 2011 7:00-9:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Borders - Mission Viejo

Wed 8 June 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Special guests: the two little boys that hollered "Yay!!" every time we paused Jim's 'Orbit', as if we'd finally concluded it, which we never did... much to their delight... our best audience ever, hands down...
   Very nice to have the new replacement M. Burke tinwhistle for 'Orbit', not to mention 'Hide Your Love Away', and 'Locomotive Breath'. It sounds warm, clear and in-tune... just like the first one did. [$10]

Thu 26 May 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren - Tully's Coffee - Woodbridge
   Nice to have some PA firepower, for a change — to get the vocals, and Jim's guitar, much more into the sonic picture. Jim surmised, in the brief post-mortem, that all the recent noisy-street-corner busking is strengthening his voice, which I'm just about sure is true... especially after his larger-than-life rendition of 'Space Oddity'... It's not so obvious, but I believe I'm starting to experience some such benefit my own self... which made it somewhat less scary to go in to Borders solo last wknd.
   One highlight: the dance-as-if-no-one's-watching stylings of a wide-bodied 50-ish gentlemen (during 'Starman'?). He elevated our all-too-predictable delivery into the realm of performance art... without even trying, I'm pretty sure... [$10]

Sun 22 May 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   No sign of Laura D., though Doug D. dropped by at least twice... trailing twisted tails of legal logistics and logic... It's hard to tell for sure, but I think that our greatest hits today may have been 'Starman' and 'Space Oddity'... some kind of cosmic cash cows... despite what uncommonly great songs they are, and what an intense pleasure it is to play them... [$18]

Fri 20 May 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: WA solo - Borders - South Coast Plaza
   Quite a very novel experience for me, and a very good one. Keith was called away to Disneyland, and Jim was out of town... Typically, I would have bailed / found something else to do, but this time... buoyed by a recent brief solo outing in Laguna... I spent some time this week running through several 'old friend' songs ('For Free', 'Well Alright', 'Norwegian Wood', and some instrumental pieces ('West', 'World Cup Rendezvous')... and finally listed up some 27 songs — way more than there'd be time for... and not all known well enough to put over anyhow... I went in with just the trusty old Gibson B-25 acoustic, and ran it through my gig bag (used just EQ, and a splash of analog delay) and into the store's PA.
   The critical concept seemed to be to just Show Up... for one's life, ultimately, but also for all the little opportunities that come one's way. Woody Allen said, allegedly, that 80% of success is just showing up, and I heard mention of it recently from the sage and down-to-earth Pema Chödrön. For me, at least, that's often been the hardest part.
   I knew I'd be in for an awkward experience, at best, and possibly downright humiliating, but... I have to stop fretting about all such things. Unloading my gear in the parking lot, I explained to my little self again that my queasy reservations and anxieties (would I be able to sing at all this evening?) could be largely ignored -- if I would just shift my attention away from myself, and toward two other things: the music itself, and the people I might be playing it for.
   So that's what I did (as well as I could stay so-focused). One payoff: towards the end, when I was fully warmed up and singing better, it was very hard to stop. I knew I was running out of time, but started one more song that I really wanted to play... and then had to abandon it early when they started flashing the store lights on and off...!
   It was awkward, especially at first. Right off, a guy who often comes out to hear Jim & Warren play showed up. I can tell he's a very good musician himself, and a guitarist specifically, and he's a discerning listener. We chatted for awhile, and then somehow, I was able to roll into some instrumental playing, and just completely attend to it, and cut myself lots of slack for all sorts of little mistakes, and not worry about what he might be thinking of it, and it went pretty well. When I rolled it up he smiled and said, "Yeah... that was very nice...", as if he meant it... which proved helpful.
   It was very hard to sing at all at first... and I could have played my instrumental bits all evening, but singing songs is where the big challenge is for me, so I just went ahead and sang about fifteen, and, slowly, slowly, I could feel my voice get stronger and more confident as the evening unrolled. I repeated 'Sugar Mountain', and finally was able to get up enough steam to put it over reasonably well. I also managed a pretty good take of Mary McCaslin's 'Waiting' — a couple of people actually applauded for that one... despite not recognizing it...
   I did take one break, to finally give friendly Barista-buddy the opp to sit in that he's been asking for. He sang three songs, fairly well, including 'Blackbird', but was kind enough not to put me entirely in the shade...
   It was only possible to sing songs I knew at least fairly well... I'd imagined 'Lark in the Morning' to be a good option, since I can do it reasonably well at home, but it was hopeless 'in concert'... due surely, to the 'fog of war' effect that seems to apply to 'theaters' of all sorts. Highlight: Steeleye Span's 'One Misty Moisty Morning', at the end... a world premier, I believe... Got to stabilize their wonderful 'The Lark in the Morning', next....
   Anyhow... good for me just going ahead with it, and pushed through all my little reservations, restrictions, limitations, etc, etc... It's the only way to learn how to do it right, I'm quite sure of that...

SET LIST:  [x] Waiting (Mary McCaslin)   [x] For Free (Joni M.)   [x] With a Little Help from My Friends  
  [x] Norwegian Wood   [x] World Cup Rendezvous -WA   [ ] Sea of Joy (Blind Faith)   [ ] Laguna Beats - WA
  [x] Hickory Wind (Graham P / The Byrds)   [ ] Don't Be Cruel (Elvis)   [ ] Southwest Passage - WA
  [x] You Don't Miss Your Water (William Bell / The Byrds)   [x] One Misty Moisty Morning (Steeleye Span)
  [x] Well Alright (Buddy Holly / Blind Faith)   [ ] Something (Beatles / George)   [ ] I'm So Glad (Cream)
  [ ] You've Got to Hide Your Love Away   [x] The Lark in the Morning (Steeleye Span)   [ ] West - WA  
  [x] Sugar Mountain (Neil Young)   [ ] Heaven is in Your Mind (Traffic / WA)   [x] Horizon (Richard McLeod)
  [ ] I Am a Child (Neil Young)   [ ] Don't Dream It's Over (Crowded House)   [ ] Into White (Cat Stevens)
  [x] The Old Laughing Lady (Neil Young)   [ ] Cerulean Blue - WA   [ ] Four Seasons in One Day (Crowded House)

Sun 15 May 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Very good outing with Jim this evening, despite chilly winds to the contrary. I just managed to snag the Forest & PCH locus before busker Travis appeared. He settled for the adjacent corner. We kicked it off with our current new fav 'Little Wing' — just an immense pleasure to play, and a natural for Jim to sing... so it's audible even in this environment. We're playing it in A (though the song barely dwells on that chord), so I tried my Special 20 A harmonica... bingo... great note bending opps, especially into that opening f#...
   Eventually we made it to our other new fav song 'Heaven', alternating singing the three verses, twice through, so we each get to sing each one... with a couple of longed-for guitar breaks for me... We pulled this wonderful song out later in response to Richard McLeod's request for an "obscure but well-known" song... it caught the attention of the tall sand-sculptor gal (mother of young fellow 'Rocket') that I remember from three summers ago... she also picked 'Space Oddity' off the song list, and seemed to really appreciate our (best ever?) rendition, and then declared, "I could listen to you guys all night long...!" Wow... just like in the song... I sure hope she comes back soon.
   The ice cream shop had their own music going, so I wondered if we might be getting in the way of that, but apparently not... as, toward the end, a young fellow from the shop strolled over and handed us each a little cup of lip-smackingly yummy ice cream... (a $3-5 value, at their prices). OK... we like that a lot too...!
   We interleaved playing and conversation with Richard M. toward the end, and Jim showed him the chords for 'Hey Jude' (and I just sent him Jim's song sheet). When we finally packed it in, the tip jar was so thick with bills that it was an effort to count them... $20 in ones... possibly a record for the LBeats program, and perhaps another indication that we're finally playing these songs reasonably well... and possibly developing some modest chops en route...[?] or at least having a lot of fun trying... [$20]

Sat 14 May 2011 7:00-9:30pm :: Keith & Warren at Borders - Mission Viejo
   Unusually responsive crowd, lots of requests, including two for 'Stardust'... so perhaps I should re-learn that solo I painstakingly worked up, and the octaves to cover the verses. One highlight for me: a best-ever, nearly-perfect pass on the harmonica intro for 'Whiter Shade of Pale', thanks to practicing it in the car on the way over. It's about the most difficult thing I get to play on any instrument, for any song (because of the crazy and huge interval jumps). Another treat: a very strong pass on Neal Young's 'Old Man', thanks to a run-through yesterday.
   Keith had a very good time of it, noting the responsiveness of the crowd, and how good the sound was compared to playing outdoors at The Spectrum Ctr... and afterward demoed some incredibly smart and appealing apps for me, on his new iPad2...

Wed 11 May 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   ...and afterwards a little adventure with the wheelchair-bound, guitar-slinging artist and homeless-person advocate Martha Kohl... who herded us to the White House to hear Michael Hamilton -- who plays pop songs with a drum machine, but who turns out to be a very good electric guitarist indeed (he's played on recording sessions and in backup bands for Kenny Loggins, Bette Middler, Sting and others).
   Martha then told me mad tales of local artists and musicians (including Blue Cheer practicing downstairs in her house out on the Canyon Rd.) ... as I tuned her hopeless homeless-person guitar, and played 'House of the Rising Sun' and 'Norwegian Wood' for her, which she seemed to appreciate very much... "Are you an angel?", she asked... just checking, apparently...

Wed 4 May 2011 6:00-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   It was so warm when we arrived at Forest & PCH (and Tony's friend was shredding away there) that we fruitlessly searched for alternatives, before finally settling in there a little later. ...and I can not quite remember what happened after that....

Wed 20 Apr 2011 5:30-8:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Back to the untamed pastures of Forest & PCH -- not so much 'competition' on Wednesday evenings, apparently... Huge highlight: David Byrne's brilliant song, 'Heaven' -- which Jim sorted out on the drive over... This song has long been a favorite for both of us, though I've never been able to sing it. Jim can reach those high notes, somehow, though, and we also had a wonderful instrumental exploration of the slightly odd chord progression. We played it all night long.

Sun 17 Apr 2011 5:00-7:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Our fav spot at Forest & PCH was occupied once again. Most fortunately, we were welcomed once again at the nearby 'Toes On the Nose' shop -- by a different but equally friendly young staffer this time. Not a bad deal... and it sure doesn't hurt to have a ceiling and a couple of glass walls to reflect the sound to passers-by, and back to us...
   Jim dreamed up another new instrumental for us... simply by re-purposing the chords from his 'Summer of Love' radio hit, but with such a different rhythm that I didn't recognize it... nice trick!
   A couple of 16 year old boys, with a dad in tow, checked in to 'jam' with us. One was toting a nylon-string guitar, and the other sported bongo-like drums. Somehow we landed on 'Let It Be' as something we could play together, as I tuned the kid's guitar to Jim's, and the other boy found he lyrics with his iPhone. I handed off my camera to the dad, who shot a very good video of the performance, which I've forwarded to him. This sort of thing is potentially a disruptive sidetrack for us, but this instance seemed like the perfect way to provide these kids with just the sort of real-life experience that moves music making along from wishful thinking to happening reality.

Fri 15 Apr 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Keith & Warren - Borders - South Coast Plaza
Wed 13 Apr 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach
   Well... we managed to get off a few songs, before conversation with our colleagues swallowed us up whole. I especially enjoyed exploring 6ths for Jim's new D Em G A7 instrumental. One remarkable event: a young bearded fellow approached us while strumming his guitar, so Jim and I just joined in, which worked spectacularly well, once he was standing right before us. For me it was inspiring on the order of the first experience of Jim's composition, above. Several of his young musician buddies rolled in as we played, and they all seemed highly appreciative. Introductions all around afterward, and then they were on their way. Perhaps we'll be seeing more of these fine fellows this summer...

Sat 9 Apr 2011 7:00-9:30pm :: Jim & Warren at Borders - Mission Viejo
   Great start to the proceedings this evening. Jim put a couple of chords (D Em) together as I was tuning up, just rocking between them, added another (G) as I joined in, and one more (A7). Somehow the rhythm and structure seemed highly romantic to me, and I was moved to play lines with a big sustained tone, and a lot of empty space. It was utterly transporting, and very hard to close it out. When we finally did, there was a big round of applause — which is quite rare for us... it usually takes us awhile to find something that really connects to our accidental audience. We played it again toward the end of the evening, a bit differently, but it was still a rare pleasure for me. Jim is confident that his voice-recorded notes will enable him to reconstruct it... I do hope so...
   Jim and I have considered playing entire gigs based on this sort of automatic composition / jam band approach, but it's not necessarily appropriate for most of our audiences, and it's a lot easier to stumble into this sort of thing serendipitously, than it is do it on purpose, much less rely on it. It often happens because Jim is waiting for me to adjust my rig, or because we can't decide what song to play next. He'll play a little figure, or put two or three chords together, I'll drop in... and we're off to the races... or surfing huge waves in a Bill Ogden painting... If we're lucky, we'll make careful note of the basic structure, and then we may be able to play it, or something much like it, again. If it seems to be working, we'll add it to the song list... as we did for 'Orbit', 'Summer of Love', and several other numbers. In any event, for me, this sort of spontaneous improvisational composition is the quintessential music experience, and it's clearly very appealing to Jim. Perhaps we should put ourselves on the spontaneous spot for half of an upcoming gig, and see if we can get lucky at all, or at least get through it.
   We really were in remarkably good form tonight, surely thanks to playing so often lately, and to some x-factors snapping into position, I guess. Thanks to opening accidentally with Jim's on-the-spot composition, we had an appreciative audience right off the mark, and somehow that thread held for us all the way through, as the people weaving it came and went. The four slightly nutty (Not Entirely There) girls at the table at left stayed with us for quite awhile, singing so passionately along with 'With a Little Help from My Friends' and 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' (the 'Pepper Pair') that they were effectively our female 'backup singers'. It was inspiring, really... and helped me give it up, especially with my own singing.

Thu 7 Apr 2011 6:00-9:00pm :: Jim & Warren at Forest & PCH - Laguna Beach - Art Walk
   A young couple playing fiddle and guitar were in 'our spot', roughly, when Jim arrived, though dispersed by a sudden shower as I hove in. It liveth and raineth for ever and ever, apparently, but the friendly kid at the nearby Toes To The Nose surf shop eagerly agreed that we could set up in his entryway alcove— which kept us out of the stiff wind and the spraying rain -- and even protected roving cameraman Jonathan Frasier, who shot a videographic video of us romping rapidly through 'Starman', though not especially well...
   Soon afterward we managed a very good reading of my 'Southwest Passage' (which really sounds better on the Nomad with its taut bass, making me want to bring it along too... but the last thing we need is someone volunteering to play a third guitar with us...) Also... a sock-knocking onslaught upon 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', both of which greatly benefited from my run-throughs earlier today. Most encouraging.
   We saw so many guys and girls walking by with guitars and gig bags, that I allowed myself to wonder if Laguna Beach might be about to inadvertently host some kind of summer of love... not that anything remotely like that could ever happen again... Perhaps we're just in for a lot of friendly competition in the warm and rambunctious months ahead....

Fri 1 Apr 2011 6:00-8:30pm :: Jim & Warren - Borders - South Coast Plaza

 Blawg of previous gigs -- back to first Borders gigs, Aug 2004.

 Gemini Studios - Practice well!           OC Music Awards

Jim & Warren's set list (26 Feb 2006)

[All of our fans: Please identify yourselves!]

New and unheard of! Jim & Warren's pretty good cover of Rhett Miller's
There is a World Inside the World
-- SC Plaza Borders, 3 March 2006

New and over quickly! 39 seconds of Jim & Warren romping through Jim's
instrumental composition Gone
-- SC Plaza Borders, 3 March 2006

Video clip... Keith & Warren playing Chris Isaak's Blue Spanish Sky -- Mission Viejo Borders, 12 Nov 2005 (loads slowly).

Free song one :: Jim & Warren's medium-fi recording of the late Buffalo Springfield classic I Am a Child
:: WA: lead vocal, guitar, tambourine.
:: Jim: harmony vocal, guitar, harmonica. Recorded at JR's Flippen Way studio/den, 31 May 2004.
WA's transcription of this song.

Free song two :: Keith & Warren's medium-fi recording of the traditional song
The Water Is Wide

:: Keith: vocal, Ovation acoustic guitar.
:: WA: Ibanez electric blue guitar.
Recorded at JR's Flippen Way studio/den, 17 Apr 2004.

Free song three :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of the Jim's poststructural space age instrumental Orbit
:: Jim: rhythm guitar (Gibson Songwriter).
:: WA: melody guitar (Ibanez AFS-75).
Recorded while pretending to be a jam band at the La Habra Borders Cafe, 6 Nov 2004.
Free song four :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of Jim's blues-fringed and well-rusticated instrumental Gone
:: Jim: rhythm guitar (Gibson Songwriter).
:: WA: melody (slide) guitar (AFS-75).
Recorded under duress at the La Habra Borders cafe, 6 Nov 2004.

Free song five :: Keith & Warren's medium-fi recording of the Michael Carr & Jimmy Kennedy classic South of the Border
:: Keith: vocal, acoustic guitar.
:: WA: electric guitar, harmonica.
Recorded at JR's Flippen Way studio/den, 31 May 2004.
Free song six :: Keith & Warren's medium-fi recording of the Chris Isaak song
Forever Blue

:: Keith: vocal, acoustic guitar.
:: WA: electric guitar.
Recorded at JR's Flippen Way studio/den, 31 May 2004.

Free song seven :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of Nick Lowe's classic (What's so Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding
:: Jim: 1st vocal, acoustical guitar.
:: WA: 2nd vocal, electrical guitar, harmonica.
Recorded dead or alive at the La Habra Borders cafe, 6 Nov 2004.

Free song eight :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of (Buddy and) Julie Miller's lovely Holding Up the Sky
:: Jim: lead vocal, acoustical guitar.
:: WA: harmony vocal, Ibanez AFS-75 electrical guitar, harmonica.
Recorded on the spot at the La Habra Borders cafe, 6 Nov 2004.

Free song nine :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of the Jayhawks' Angelyne
:: Jim: lead vocal, acoustical guitar.
:: WA: harmony vocal, electrical guitar.

Recorded anxiously at the La Habra Borders cafe, 6 Nov 2004.
Free song ten :: Jim & Warren's lo-fi live recording of Lou Reed's scary Perfect Day
:: Jim: lead vocal, acoustical guitar.
:: WA: harmony vocal, electrical guitar.
:: Cathy: additional vocals (" do do...").
Recorded deleriously at the La Habra Borders cafe, 6 Nov 2004.

Free song eleven :: Keith & Warren's medium-fi recording of the Eagle's Desperado
:: Keith: vocal, acoustic guitar.
:: WA: electric guitar.
Recorded at Rancho Santa Margarita Borders cafe, 11 Nov 2005 (from PA's monitor out).

Free song twelve :: Keith & Warren's medium-fi recording of Five O'clock World, more or less
as recorded by Hal Ketchum
:: Keith: vocal, acoustic guitar.
:: WA: electric guitar.
Recorded at Mission Viejo Borders cafe,
12 Nov 2005 (from PA's monitor out).

  • ||| WA's Encyclopedia of Alternate Guitar Tunings - with copious notes about who uses them, for what, and why.
    New: Nick Drake's tunings
      New: Michael Hedges' tunings

  • ||| A table of scale lengths - of about 100 different acoustic and electric guitars, and other stringed instruments

  • ||| Pop tunes! A stack of song transcriptions - with all the chords       Newest: Syd Barrett's Octopus

  • ||| Portable major scale pattern - and the major triad comfortably nestled within - illustrated in key of D, but not strictly limited thereto. It's a .jpg image, which prints on one page.

  • ||| How to tune a guitar 2 - while sidestepping The Trap of the Tempered Third (, what...?!)

  • ||| fortifying guitar and mandolin licks (Windows wave files)

  • ||| Tunes List for Tinwhistle (pennywhistle) A list of about 120 songs and traditional tunes that I've found to be playable on the tinwhistle, including 50 Christmas songs and carols... with notes on playing, fingering charts, tables of keys and modes, pics of whistles, pics of whistle players, whiffs of pickle layers...

  • ||| Tunes List for Harmonica A list of about 50 songs that I've found to be playable on the familiar 10-hole diatonic harmonica, including a few Christmas songs and carols... and a smattering of blues classics... with notes on playing 'cross harp' style for blues, and with 'maps' of where the notes are for a few keys...

Tumbling toward abstraction ...

A few essential early 20th Century paintings

  • New and inexplicably different! (than everything else here) -- WA's huge and potentially famous
    A Chronology of Personal Computing, developed over several years, and ranging from 450BC to 1998.
    The scope is as broad as the timeline is long, covering not only the 'personal' use of small computers, but many
    events and inventions that paved the way. Here are just a few excerpts, each from different sections of the doc:

  • ||| pics from India trip - Jan-Feb 2001

  • ||| Super-special Quintessential Quotations - from the statesmen, poets and psycho killers of the world

  • ||| WA's Curious Words page [recipient of the possibly prestigious Study Web award!]

  • ||| How to Make a Great Cup of Coffee Just 116 Easy Steps (the first 9 don't count)

  • ||| The Sci-Fi Sampler - reviews of - and clips from - classics of science fiction and fantasy

  • ||| Trip pics from Sweden and Denmark
    - some kind of high-tech travelogue (April 1998)...

  • ||| (one lonely) excerpt from WA's travel journals
    ('The Tyranny of Words, The Tyranny of Design').

  • ||| notes from Herat - an excerpt from WA's 1975 Afghanistan travel journals

    The editor, at the Maha Khumba Mela, Allahabad, Feb 2001.

    The rule above is a copy of a decorative border spotted on a 600BCE terracotta plate
    from Rhodes, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, 1996 . The original is full of motion.

    This website went online late 1995 or early 1996.