Tag Archives: rehearsal

Marshalling a Rehearsal


Marshalling a Rehearsal

(See what I did there?)

The first rehearsal for new material.  I was nervous as it’s my material, stuff I’ve written, and for the most part the most personal music I’ve ever written.

I wasn’t nervous about doing arrangements and playing the material, that’s not my big concern.  The musicians I’m playing with, affectionately dubbed the “Ain’t Got No Time Band” which is shorter than “Ain’t Got No Time Rock and Blues Review” and any other number of names we’ve come up with.  They are consummate musicians and I’m quite proud to be playing with them.

We sat down to go over the first tune, a rocker called How Much More that was one of the first tunes I wrote after the passing of my wife.  How Much More is literally the angriest song I’ve ever written.  It came after losing my wife, my house, and having my salary drastically cut.  The first line of the song is, literally, “How much more can I take?”

As is typical when you get really good musicians together, the demo I recorded is simply a road map.  With the others in the band we spent four hours, first playing the verse section over and over to get a groove.  Then came the chorus, which is different the first time from the last two.  Then we weaved the opening interlude into each section between verses.

By the end, the entire ending of the song had changed – for the better.  What started as one thing became far better, the keyboard player, Rob Sabino, conducting and moving as I soloed at the end of the song.

Debate rattles around my head…the offer was put up to make this a band album, gigging to pay for it, taking our time, writing other material too.  The collaboration is so very attractive.  The other side is that this is kind of a finality to one part of my life.  Shutting the door, closing the cover on the first story.  It transitions to the next, with songs that speak of love, loss, and finding love again.  It’s almost a story in itself, nearly a concept album.  I still waffle which would be better . . .

Regardless, to get the tone I want as well I broke down and pulled the trigger on a 50 watt Marshall amplifier.  That’s the one you see up there.  I picked it up today, knowing full well it needed work.


The evening was spent swapping out tubes.  Yes…the amplifier uses vacuum tubes, an old-school technology.  But I am kind of old school anyway and they just sound better.  Marshall amplifiers are a staple of rock and roll.  Jimmy Page with Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, with Cream, and even solo used them.  It is a quintessential tone and one I wanted in my musical toolbox for years.  I just didn’t want a 100 watt version that could cause my ears to bleed when only turned to 3 on the volume.

Thus the 50 watt combo, same amplifier, smaller and I don’t have to spring for a separate cabinet.

So after testing tubes and swapping out I got it working . . . one speaker is a piece of junk but it works.  The other is a high quality Celestion.  The bigger issue – the desirable high output jack seems to not work.  I consulted a great amp tech (read my brother the wunderkind and uber talented amp builder and musician) and the two jacks are actually connected.

So this week will be cleaning, repairing and working.

Decisions have to be made, repairs have to be made . . . and I have to make up my mind.  But still . . . it’s a great week.

A deep connection.


I used to rehearse withe my brother when I lived in the same city.  Really, I did.  This was a new thing for me because in the very beginning, when we weren’t even sure which bass player would actually be on the stage with us from weekend to weekend, there was little opportunity.

Added to that, as much as I wanted to have my own “bowling nights” so to speak, but I have to be honest: my wife hated that I wouldn’t give up the idea of being a musician.  Whatever our benefits as a couple, this was one of the things that we never agreed on until the last few years of our marriage.  I could never get her to understand what playing guitar, writing music, all of it meant to me.  Sure, I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be going on tour or playing guitar on the road when I had a wife and kids at home.  But the 17-year-old inside of me jumping up and down saying “If Clapton calls, though, I’m there!”

But I noticed today . . . in picking up my guitar and playing Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon with the band of merry individuals I’m with for a fundraiser in a couple weeks . . . that I was playing with a speed and agility I haven’t had since I was twenty-one or so and playing every night.  By a certain point, when we were at our peak of playing in Omaha, I rehearsed with my brother and a drummer every Wednesday. In fact, I took my daughters with me then and they used to come down and hear us play.

Abbi during one rehearsal

Now I play a lot.  I try to pick up my guitar, even if it’s my Dobro, every night and play a little bit.  Between having Julia Sinclair stay and having this gig I’ve played more guitar in the last several weeks than I did the last several years.

The difference now?  I’m playing more and nobody argues with whether I should or not.  My kids like it.  My brother obviously is a kindred spirit.  I have met musicians (Julia included) that deeply understand that connection.  There’s a feeling, a synchronicity between the guitar and me.  It’s not that I’m so amazing that the world needs to hear me.  It’s that it makes me feel complete.  It’s like my left arm doesn’t end at the fingertips, it ends at the connection to the fretboard.  The Maple and Rosewood a tactile indication of the emotions that flow through me.

Where my guitars were relegated to another room years ago I keep them in reach now.  I have the Dobro on the wall, like a piece of the decorative nature of the house.  My Strat is there for me to play regularly.  I love the way I can take the guitar and whatever I’m feeling – anger, fear, sadness, happiness, embarrassment – flows out and into the notes I play.  Clapton always used to say that you didn’t need a flurry of notes, the best playing and players realize that sometimes it’s what you put into that one note that makes it so amazing.

So I play now, every day, sometimes with the TV on, sometimes when I should be doing other things…but without it I’d be stagnant.

It’s not a hobby.  It’s not an obsession.  It’s part of me.