Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bill Champlin in the House!

I'm almost too tired to do a blog post tonight, the gig was so overwhelming. I've got 142 shots to weed through, so I'm gonna start writing while I await the pics dumping outa the camera into iPhoto, after which I will review them all, do touch-ups where necessary on the keepers, drop 'em into a folder, and then upload 'em to the blog and arrange 'em. I may run out of steam here, I am so blown away by the energy and great vibe of this magical evening.

First of all, I gotta give props to my best friend/beautiful wife for hanging in the back all night to take care of selling the CDs, DVDs, and posters for the band. Woulda loved to just sat with her at the table to dig the band together.


Full house tonight that was howling wildly from the first tune on (they opened with the Earth, Wind & Fire medley). "Ain't That Peculiar" was particularly nasty tonight, and Gino Vanelli's "Brother to Brother" was just off-the-scale intense. They also did the new originals early on: Nathan's "Come With Me," and Dave's "Salvation." Those two tunes just blow my mind. You can always tell when it's guest artist night, the energy level and funkiness are just ramped up a bit tighter. It's a matter of relatively small degree, 'cuz they're always so fine, but, on nights like this there's a definite snappy tweak in the groove.

We gotta give thanks to our great friends Ric and Jackie Gould of the 97.1 FM jazz show for introducing the band tonight. It was a pleasure to have them with us. Tune in every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. I do now. Puts me in a much better mood every time.

What can you say about Bill and Tamara Champlin, 'eh?

Mind-altering talents aside, these are two wonderful people. Real peeps. They just came to hang and throw down, and gave generous time to anyone who wanted to talk, music celebs, or just "ordinary" fans. Below, Bill hangin' with Tower of Power bass legend Rocco Prestia. Rocco, thanks for comin', bro'. It was great to see you.

I also thanked Tamara personally for coming, and told her "your son Will is a genius, by the way." Check his MySpace cuts. Kid is fabulous. I love his stuff. What a family.

When I saw Bill tonight, I went to shake his hand and got this big, effusive hug instead. I don't think y'all can really know what that means to me. This cat has been my musical exemplar my whole adult life, after getting hipped to The Sons of Champlin in the late '60's in San Francisco when I migrated to North Beach. I have every old Sons vinyl LP ever issued. We worshipped those cats. They pushed the envelope so hard, wrote such great, intelligent lyrics, man!

And, now, four decades later, to finally get to meet this cat last fall and have him now regard me as a friend. Speechless.

Bill asked for my help tonight with promoting the Sons dates in Vegas this fall. I am all over it, bro', starting now. They will be at South Point on September 18th and 19th. Save the dates. You know Cheryl and I will be there.

OK, before I upload some more shots, let me note a few of the folks in the hang tonight. My new pal the beautiful and talented Elisa Furr came back yet again (Girl can flat-out sing, BTW). She introduced me to her equally lovely friend Kristi. Also, Jerry introduced me to Paul Xavier Campanella of the RIO show "Tony and Tina's Wedding" tonight. Very nice cat. Great to meet you. Got to meet bassist Merry Adin briefly as well. And, got a business card from Jodie Rocco of Genesis Entertainment (and Nightclubs.com) also. She was there with her twin sister Linda Rocco. Gotta say, the beautiful women index was off the scale last night.

Our homies Michito Sanchez and Drew Zingg were in the house tonight, too. Way cool. Drew is in the "Spamalot" show these days. Also, Taylor Michaels tells me she's got a MySpace page going up, which I'd told her she needed to do. Good. Saw my man our resident jazz guitar eminence Robert Conti was out at the bar tonight, but I never did make it out there, things were so busy. Also in the house was the utterly fabulous guitarist Steven Lee (Steven Lee Group). Steven, I love your band, bro'. Folks their CD is killer. Get a copy. Dave Richardson introduced me to, as he put it "jazz pianist extraordinaire" Mamma Mia keyboardist Joey Singer, along with Robin Baxter, one of the leads in Mamma Mia. Also, our brother Ron Camire was back, and was pretty mobile (comin' off a huge knee job). Drummer Joey Finger was there, too. Last for now, but certainly not least, ace drummer and Santa Fe alum Tim Lienhard was hangin'. (Dang, I feel like I oughta be puttin' on an eye patch and changin' my name to "Norm," LOL.)
[Note: the foregoing is by no means everyone. I don't ever mean to slight anyone. I know there had to be a lot of other notable brothers and sisters in the house that I didn't see, and I often get introduced to folks, and if I don't get a card or write stuff down, I just can't remember everyone later, there's always so much going on -- last night in particular].
The music was simply wonderful tonight. Phil Wigfall was on fire, man. Jerry's guitar rides were crushingly fine as well. Bill about blew the roof off The Lounge with his vocal on "After The Love Is Gone." And, we were blessed with both Johnson Brothers tonight, Johnny and Tyriq. That is like musical critical mass, man.

I'll have more thoughts about all this after some shut-eye, but I'm seriously fadin'. A few pics for now, and then I gotta crash. More tomorrow. It's after 4 a.m.

I have more shots and more thoughts, but it's goin' on 5 a.m. and I'm toast. I love you all. I agree with Tom Scott's sentiments a couple of weeks ago; I am indeed privileged to witness this incredible music every week.


I got in the sack around 5. Ugh. Then, my dogs barking, phones ringing, just try to get some sleep, Gladd. Jeesh. Might as well get up.

Dave Siefkes just sent me these post-gig shots:

What can ya say? It was just a great night.


First of all, I gotta note that our brother Tyriq Johnson will be gigging in the lounge at the Orleans tonight, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Drop by if you can. Cheryl and I will be there.

OK, some additional pics:


From Katie Louise: "Yeah, thanks for the add. You guys are tight. Stop on a dime and give you nine cents change."

Yep. Love it.


LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Paris Hilton is "emotionally distraught and traumatized" over her 45-day jail sentence and is not capable of testifying in a civil lawsuit against her, the socialite-reality TV star's psychiatrist said.

Dr. Charles Sophy has been seeing Hilton, 26, for the past eight months and has talked with her several times since her May 4 hearing for violating the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case, according to court papers.

Sophy said Hilton needs time to recover from the shock of receiving jail time before testifying in a civil case brought against her by actress and diamond heiress Zeta Graff...
Try to imagine how much I care. Bleepin' amazing.


One of the big BC fans from CA came Monday night. Here's what she posted to the Champlin Yahoo Group:
For those who couldn't be @ Palms last night it was a real mother "bleeper". The only other time i saw Santa Fe was back in the '90s when they were just a 5 piece. But these 16 musicians really rocked the house. What precision musicianship, tightness, kick-ass, pelvic-thrusting arrangements. Definetly not ur typical run-of-mill cover band. With Bill & Tam both there it made the night more of like diamonds in the rough. Before Jerry asked Bill to come the band a new Will Champlin tune I've never heard called "All My Might". A sort of 6/8 groover, Jerry sang the lead. Bill said he co-wrote it w/Will. I enjoyed it. I like to see the 2 of em record it 2gether. As far as the tunes Bill did I think were the same as 6 months ago:Love is Gonna Find Ya(w/Tam), Turn Your Love Around, Satisfaction (I hadn't seen him do that live since the Chicago 17 tour), Same Old Song (which was a real treat 'cause I never hear that live before), Headed For the Top (that shook the place like an F-5 tornado), and for the 2nd set he came back up for After the Love Has Gone and the closer EWF's System Of Survival/We Are Nothing(he didn't sing the lead on that one but his organ solo kicked serious butt. His solos on LIGFY, TYLA, Satisfaction,HFTT were impecable and most of all voice was in fine form and shout to the max. I was so overly-stimulated I couldn't get any sleep until 4 this morning. And for no cover charge I was getting the best entertainment in town. Also that Lenny Lopez is a nut case. He dances on stage like an animal on mushrooms, he's a character too, not to mention an excellent vocalist/percussionist. Lallapallaza!!!!!

Naturally I did talk to Bill and Tam during the break and gave Bill his b-day present a little early, one week to be exact. I bought it yesterday @ the Fashion Show Mall. Bill I hope you like the hat and parrot and the pic discs of PDX from last year. Please post them on ur site and myspace when u get a chance, I don't know how to do that, i never got out of the 19th century still. Oh, Rocco Prestia was in the audience last night. He's been thru alot healthwise but he looked okay to me. I'm looking fwd 2 the Sons @ So. Point in Sept. I don't think they ever played in Vegas before, right?? Anyhow Bill thanks for making my visit worth while. You always put on a show when u play your own stuff. Too bad Dawayne Bailey didn't stop by. Bill said he was afraid he would run into Chicago and backed out. I think I covered everything. Helene

It is reported today that Bo Diddley suffered a stroke. Cat is 78. He started stroking out during a concert in Des Moines, Iowa. Sounds pretty serious. Sad. I was diggin' his stuff when I was a kid and just startin' to Jones about playin' guitar. Hope he recovers, totally and quickly.


Goin' back to do it again tomorrow, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Managed to not make a total fool outa myself. At the Eagles, 1601 East Washington (not open to the general public, but all military veterans are invited). This was a great event today, they had all kinds of cool onsite services for these people. Big turnout. Met keyboardist/singer Diane Kallay at the gig (she's doing the dinner hour sets). Delightful person. She just moved here from Buffalo, NY. Her squeeze is the lighting director for the Scintas.

I'm friggin' baked, man. It got hot. We did it outdoors, and my new PA totally kicked butt. I only had my gain up maybe 20 - 25% and it was loud and clear as could be. I was totally comfortable on vocals (usually my big anxiety thingy, but today my wedges were there for me big-time; I could hear great), but fumbled on guitar a bit. The gear is all new to me, and I'm gonna be awhile gettin' in the saddle with the right sound settings.

I did manage to get all the way through Loggin's "Heart to Heart" (adapted for solo / 12-string) without screwin' up the changes. First time I'd ever done it. I was fine on the vocal (even the falsetto stretches). I love that tune. I been workin' like hell 'sheddin' that thing. Like, 'if you can't do it serious justice, don't even mess with it.'


Another Bad Boy in the house Monday night I wasn't aware of -- Dawayne Bailey. Check his killer rap sheet -- includes time playing with Chicago as well. (He's in the comments section in this post, BTW. Yo, y'all are free to make comments, and encouraged to do so.)


Email I sent to Jerry & cuz Jojo:

I played a straight 2 hour set today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., did about 26 tunes. My fingertips are friggin' throbbing still. Ran outa gas at the end, it was so hot (played outside again). Singin' was way comfortable again today, and my guitar chops were a little better, till the end of the set. Try 2 hours on an acoustic 12-string if you wanna experience finger pain, haha...

I did a total amnesia thing on "Dixie Chicken," which is normally one of my autopilot tunes. I completely spazzed after the first lines of verse one, and had to bail right to the chorus. [Bleeping] could not remember. Eventually went back around and re-sang the first verse. That was my only serious train wreck of the day, along with botching the changes in the interlude section of one of my new originals.

This creaky old veteran, probably in his eighties, came up to me with a styro cup he'd labeled "Donations" with a big $ sign on the side. He had gone around collecting money for me! Wow. These people got no dang money. There was $16.30 in it. No way I'm taking anything, so I turned it in to Marcia, the USvets event coordinator (I shot a pic of it). But, that just blew me away. Lotta these peeps are really down hard, scruffy and [bleeped] up. [They don't owe me anything. I'm there for them.]

I told them I'd come and do more events for 'em. Absolutely. I need the practice anyway; I'm not ready for prime time yet, LOL!

By the time I got home i was completely fried. The long set, plus loading / moving / setting up / tearing down the gear (those SP-2X's are heavy) wiped me out.

Very gratifying two days. Now I gotta work my checklist for Florida and head off to that adventure. See ya when I get back, Jerry.


Santa Fe alumnus Tim Lienhard just put up a second MySpace page here. It is badass. Man, the talent here...