Category Archives: Performing

When All the Dime Dancing is Through

1991, it’s a long story but there i was on the stage at soundcheck for Paul Simon’s 50th birthday show in Central Park and Edie says this is the drummer Steve (meaning Steve Gadd).

I felt like I was in the scene in Wayne’s world where they meet Alice Cooper and can’t help but get on their knees proclaiming “we’re not worthy”.

He was a small thin guy, a whisp. I got tongue tied and became inarticulate, said something about how important his work was to me and my best musical friends in high school and something else about the cymbal patterns on Aja and I don’t really recall what else I mumbled but he was not annoyed.

Doesn’t everyone wish their favourite artists be as cool in person as they are in the art you know them for? He asked about the music I was making with Edie. Surreal magic to feel like I was friends for 12 seconds with Steve Gadd like seeing the Beatles in Hamburg.

switches

Garth Hudson walked over to me while we were rehearsing The Weight for their induction into the Juno Hall of Fame. I was expecting some sort of exchange since we were both keyboard players and this is “The Band” and he’s the keyboard player. He waited for a moment when Greg, Jim, Robbie Robertson and Rick Danko were engaged in discussing something and nobody really noticed. He got up and walk over and I saw him coming. I had already thought I would play simple, single note, just background and not interfere with his expression. He had an absent minded old professor drawl and spoke without looking you in the eye,

“What exactly are you going to do over here?”

“I thought I would just play in the mid range just chords so you’re heard very clearly.”

“Uh huh… Um why don’t you just not ….play.”

“Ok.”

“Ya, uh huh, that’s good.” He walked away. So that night I played the show like an actor with the keyboard mostly off. It was win win.

The best part anyway was in the rehearsal hearing Rick Danko’s magic voice sing in front of my face and feeling his pain, wishing I could turn something off for him too.

Eric Dolphy and Jaki Byard

Got into music school because I lived out of province sent a cassette demonstrating my piano playing, something classical and something jazz. Was glad I could send in a recording because I don’t read music. At York they thought the cassette reflected my reading skills or else they just took the money of any applicant but if you were in Toronto you had to audition in person so definitely I could not have been accepted that way. Would be seen as illegitimate because the non existent sight reading would be on display. The jig would have been up.

Probably a more cost effective procedure would be showing this video to prospective students. Whoever doesn’t start laughing or crying, (especially in the Jaki Byard/ Eric Dolphy solos) doesn’t get accepted. Simple and accurate no?