Videos

Before You Accuse Me

When I was just in a rock & roll band in 1989 I owned a Fender Stratocaster – because it was Clapton’s guitar of choice.  But when I found out he had a signature model – one that came with a warning sticker that Fender, the guitar’s maker, was not responsible for the damage that the guitar could do to your amplifiers – I was starry-eyed!  I saw Clapton onstage with a fiery red one.  He favored a pewter/silver one.  I tried one out, turned up the bottom tone knob and the amp blew even more volume and distortion out its speakers.

I wanted one!

I spent weeks . . . months even just scrimping and saving.  Every penny from every gig that didn’t go toward guitar strings and new guitar cables went to savings for that guitar.  Finally, at the end of the year I made a trek to Kansas City – the only dealer that had Clapton Stratocasters in-stock.

I walked in and went straight to the expensive, hands-off section. While it was a year old, never bought from the dealer when I got it, I had no intention of buying the sparkly, bright-green strat. I walked in looking for a Torino red or a Pewter colored EC. Then I saw her . . . a 7-up green strat, lace sensor pickups covering the normally exposed pole pieces, and it spoke to me. I had to ask to try it out and must have looked like a non-sale because they handed it to me and walked off.  I plugged it into a Fender amplifier like my own and started to play.  It didn’t take me five minutes.

I was hooked. Just a few weeks after owning it it fell off its guitar stand on stage and the wood of the neck split, right in the middle.  Fenders are known for durability.  I was beside myself.  I called the dealer who told me “too bad.”  I called Fender customer service, angry, and was connected to a man I thought was simply a member of the company.  He asked me the dealer’s name.  Then he asked me to send him my Clapton Strat.

“That’s an expensive strat, it shouldn’t do that.”  I agreed.  I sent it off and a couple weeks later I got a call . . . it was Fender’s custom shop.  A few minutes later I was on the line with the very man who’d taken my initial phone call.  He was one of their chief luthiers.  They’d “taken care of” the dealer, which made me smile.  Then he informed me that my strat had shown a flaw in their design . . . the bodies were routed wrong and put too much tension on the neck.  They could split.  He personally crafted a new body for me, grabbed a new neck off the line and then asked me what color I wanted.

I still said green.

It’s my favorite guitar, my old standby, the wood aged, the pickups perfect, and the neck fitting my hand like a glove. A couple years later my older brother looked at it and remarked that it was like the 7-UP commercials and their campaign with the “dot” in them.

From that point my EC was affectionately dubbed “Dot.” It’s been the reference ever since. I’d never seen a video of Slowhand playing a green one . . . until now.  To this day, it’s my old standby . . . and I pair it with the amplifier my brother Adam built . . . and it’s perfect!

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Yer So Bad

So . . . after a horribly insane day with IRS customer disservice and repairing house destruction performed by my children I decided we’d blow off some steam.

So take this opportunity before my children strangle me, to watch the video version of today’s blog, with an intro by me (recorded at 1:30am).

The impetus is that in our old house there was a ledge that matched the one Tom Petty sat on to play his original version of this. Couldn’t fit up there before we moved so we all decided, for fun, to learn this. In 2 hours’ time we learned the song, sort of by ear, and recorded it for my very dear friend Ann Marie. Enjoy!

Fly On My Sweet Angel

Exactly one year ago, I lost the love of my life, my very best friend, my wife, Andrea Andrews Manoucheri.  We lost so very much that, by all accounts, this could have been the year everything fell apart. Instead, it became the year our story began.  We have not lost the feeling of loss, the hurt of missing her so very much.  What we did learn, though, was that we are far better together than we ever are apart.

The kids and I did this video, with the pictures and words made by our own hands. It’s purposely low-tech.  It’s meant to show you how we scratched our way up day by day on our own.  We could have done a bigger, fancier, more produced version, but that’s just not us.

The one thing that’s not low tech is the song. When I started dating Andrea, she playfully said to me, “Write me a song!” When I looked at her flabbergasted, she simply said, “You’re a musician, they write songs for their girlfriends all the time. Don’t I rate a song?!” She was kidding, being silly and pushing my buttons with a mischievous grin. Two days later I played the song for her. While my brother and I recorded it for a previous incarnation of our band and it got minimal airplay years ago in the Midwest, I never felt like I’d gotten the song right, not really. So when I started this project, as hard as it was to do, I wanted to get it right.  She deserved so much better. I changed the lyrics to match where we are today.

I miss her more than you can possibly imagine. It’s literally like a piece of myself, the part of my soul intertwined with hers, was ripped away. leaving a wound never heals. She wasn’t just my wife.  She was my love, my life, and my best friend.

It’s like she came here long enough to give me what I needed then left, abruptly. But I hear my kids laugh together and the timbre of their giggles is her laugh. The smiles they have radiate their Mom.

I had it good and perfect for a while. It’s a hard life to come back down with the rest of the mortals. Particularly when she helped me learn to fly up with the angels.

 

We miss you, my love.

Fly on, my sweet angel.

At Close Range

If you read the previous post, you saw Joel Sartore mentioned.  While I could not find the episode of National Geographic Explorer that featured Joel in Alaska and lambasting the REI store for some of their bear protection merchandise (if you find it, watch it, it’s some of the funniest television I’ve ever seen), this clip from Geographic features Joel and you get an indication of his humor and his passion.

You can get prints of his photos at: http://www.joelsartore.com

Give him some business.  He’s a contributing photog to NatGeo, but freelances as well and he’s just a good guy.

Like a Country Song

I don’t often self-promote the band.  (Well, OK, I do, but hey, it’s MY BAND)  But got compliments out of the blue the last couple weeks for a video we made a couple years back.  So today I’m posting it again.  “Like a Country Song” from Manoucheri’s debut release: “The Blind Leading the Blind”

We had it all set with a big camera and full crew . . . and the extras we had lined up stood us up.  So we decided we’d go low-tech, low-rent and shot it.  It has a nice bitter humor to it.  Spot me with 2 1/2 hours sleep in the video.  And yes, that’s actually ME playing the solo.  No fakery or auto-tune here.