Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.
-Chuck Pahlaniuk Diary:A Novel

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Licence

As much as right-wingers say they want to keep government out of our lives I have no clue as to why gay marriage isn't legal. Even if you don't agree, just mind your own business. This video sums things up nicely.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Back on the road, back on tour. I left 100 degree weather in L.A. only to arrive in 40 degree weather here in Minneapolis. Yikes! We have three days in the Twin Cities, should be a pretty good time. Its always nice when you can hang in one place for a minute. Friday off to Buffalo, then Newark, then home Sunday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Opening Day

(I lied about another music post, I wanted to post about the shocking events of yesterday first)

Well it was a fine opening day for our boys in blue was it not? O-Dog hit for the cycle, Ethier crushed two balls after being moved around in the lineup, and the old nemesis Randy Johnson was shown to be the washed-up hack that he is. An 11-1 drubbing of the Giants? What more could you ask for? My father-in-law Dave was visiting the wife and I from Indiana. He works at a small radio station in Martinsville, IN broadcasting high school boys basketball games. Whenever he comes to visit he finagles tickets and a press credential to baseball games, Angels, Dodgers, whatever. This year we went to opening day at Petco and the Dodgers home opener yesterday. There were more people at Dodgers Stadium than I had ever seen, the fans around us were great, there was a party atmosphere as the boys kept piling on the runs, and everyone was having a good time.

After the game Dave went down to the locker room for interviews and I wandered around the stadium and gift shop. We didn't get in the car until around 5:30 or so. As we were waiting to leave at Gate 6 (Elysian Park and Sunset) I see Casey Blake and his kids pull up in the car to our right. I roll down the window and give Casey an "Atta Boy!!!" but he's not looking my way, instead he's looking at the truck to his right. I peer over to see what the commotion was and a guy had jumped out of the truck and was talking shit to another guy. I really hate to stereotype but both guys looked like Latino gangsters; wife beater, bald, goatee, baggy jeans, tats, etc. Pretty soon they start trading blows and I tell Dave "those guys are fighting!" So we both are watching the fight and within seconds I see one of the guys get stabbed and fall to the ground with blood gushing from his right side. The other guy jumps back in the truck and speeds off. Dave jumps out of the car and tries to get a look at the license plate but can't see it. He tells a rent-a-cop security person to notify the police because there's been a stabbing while I'm still waiting to exit. It doesn't take long for a crowd to gather and bike police to come on the scene. Before we hit the highway there's a ghetto bird in the air and by the time we get home its on the news.

This article from claims the man suffered a non-life-threatening stab to the arm, but man, that wasn't the case. I'm afraid this article from the LA Times is much closer to the truth and lists the victim in serious condition.

I've never seen someone get stabbed before. It was a pretty dark way to end a great day. For some reason I'm really concerned that this guy pulls through even though I have no clue what the altercation was about or who he is. I guess when you get 55,000 people together some bad shit is bound to happen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

We're taking a break from the music posting. A friend of mine posted this on FB and I found it totally hilarious and totally true. (Its quite sarcastic if you don't catch on quickly)

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

I will still never understand why a lot of the same people who say we need a smaller government and our government shouldn't tell us what to do are the same folks who say our government should tell us who we can and can't marry. Things are finally changing in this regard for the better (see Iowa, Vermont).

More music soon!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eu so sei que amei

As you may or may not have noticed, The Backbeat has been horribly neglected of late. Do you remember last year when I said I wanted to work my way back in to the jazz scene here in L.A. playing more creative music? Well mission accomplished. For the past two months my schedule has been packed with a variety of gigs, rehearsals, and recording sessions. I've started playing in fantastic drummer Gerry Gibbs' Thrasher Sextet as well as my buddy Cory's indie rock band Chlorform Days (boy oh boy does anyone keep up with their MySpace anymore?) and all sorts of music in between. There are a couple of great recording projects coming down the pipe that I'm excited about. After a dreadfully slow January this has been a fantastic year for music.

But my daily schedule is crazy, get home late from the gig, Milo wakes me up at 6 like clockwork, back to bed for an hour or so (maybe) before going to a rehearsal or session, an hour or so to relax with the fam then off to the gig. I have a few minutes here and there to satiate my Facebook addiction and that's about all of the computer recreation time I have. As a result, The Backbeat suffers.

But no more! The Backbeat is taking a new direction! It will be primarily focused on my music from now on. I'll stream a wide variety of stuff I've recorded as well as doing record reviews. I'm sure I won't be able to help the occassional political rant but it will be mostly music, starting this week. I have an awesome gig tomorrow night as a bandleader! The gig fell in to my lap last week, I'm with my long-neglected Bossa Nova group at L.A. club Spazio. I'm really looking forward to it and hope it will be the first of many for the band. Here's a track from our demo we recorded a couple of years ago, a cover of "Flor de Lis" by the popular Brazillian artist Djavan. Let me know what you think.


Monday, March 2, 2009

The Untimely Stomach Bug

Remember that stomach virus that nearly thwarted and severely damped our New Year's plans? Well, Lyman was infected with yet another stomach bug over the weekend and not to be outdone this one threatened to ruin Milo's second birthday party which we had been planning for weeks.

Last week was crazy, I think every day I had a double: rehearsal-gig, lesson-gig, session-gig, etc. By Friday I knew something wasn't right but I soldiered through my recording session and gig (which btw was playing music for an African-American History Month party at a retirement home ... more fun than it sounds) and that night I was a wreck; bad fever, chills, and the usual ailments that accompany trips to the bathroom trying to expel an intestinal virus (I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks). Saturday I was even worse leaving my poor wife to plan for the party, shop for the food, ice the cake (beautifully I might add), and get her hair did all by herself. So three cheers for Carrie! When they left for the party I was too exhausted to go with them. Luckily I was able to muster enough energy to shower and get to there to catch the second half. I'm glad I made it because the party was a lot of fun and Milo had a great time. By the time I got home I was really worn out. To top it off I had to drive to Palm Springs (2.5 hrs.) Sunday for a gig with Tyrell! Luckily they got a hotel room for me so I didn't have to drive back that night and I was able to crash right after the performance.

From Friday night to Monday night I didn't eat one meal, only dry toast and rice (neither of which sat well). I've been feeling better today so I tried some chicken soup for dinner, hopefully things will be cool.

If you're keeping track in the span of a year-and-a-half that's food poisening from bad clams in Manhattan, two debilitating Holiday stomach viruses in Indiana, and my most recent escapade. My digestive system can't catch a break.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"This country needs and values the talents of every American."


And here I thought an intelligent, well-spoken president was only a pipe-dream.

Fine job Mr. President, fine job indeed!

Friday, February 20, 2009

24 hrs. in the Emerald City

My trip to Seattle was short and sweet. This is the third year of a Cancer benefit these folks in Seattle started with Steve in his wife's honor. It's a nice event. Afterward me and the boys knocked a few back and crashed. Up and at 'em in the morning and here I am, back in L.A. I really love Seattle every time I go and look forward to going back in July when we'll be there for almost a week.

Tomorrow its off to Palm Springs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy for me. Not only did I have a few jazz gigs around town but I also played two long weekend stands at Catalina Jazz Club with Mistah Tyrell. The crowds at Catalina were really great and it was good to get back in the swing of things with the band. The next couple of weeks look to keep music train chugging along; I'm in the middle of rehearsals/sessions for a couple of different recording projects. One is with fantastic composer/arranger/trombonist Curt Berg's quintet. Curt's a great writer and there are some really good cats in his band, I'm looking forward to the record. The other is a bit of a departure for me, an electric fusion R&B-type band called Alloy (think The Yellowjackets meet Harry Connick Jr.) The music is challenging but a lot of fun and its all electric bass. On top of that my favorite local drummer of late, Gerry Gibbs, is having a big CD Release show next week for his sextet The Thrasher Band and I'm on that gig as well. Talk about challenging, might be some of the most difficult music I've attempted, I'm really going to have to buckle down and prepare before the show next Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it though.

And to top it off I leave for Seattle on Thurs. for show with Tyrell. We fly home on Fri. only to drive to Palm Springs on Sat. for another show. Then I have to wake up early Sun. and drive back to L.A. for a rehearsal.

Remember when work was so slow for me a month ago? Feast or famine baby, feast or famine ...

NMR, Forgot One ...

I picked up this live Cedar Walton disc because it was recommended to me for its recording of Walton's classic tune "Bolivia." The disc is fantastic, a lot of energy particularly from saxist Bob Berg who is in prime form. Unsung bassist Sam Jones sounds great and always plays the perfect note. Good document of 70s straight-ahead jazz.

New Music Review

Alrighty folks, time for me to delve in to all of the new music I've purchased since our last New Music Review. Let's jump right in!

The 80s resurgence in Indie rock is still in full swing. I read a review of this record at Pitchfork that was positively gushing. It intrigued me enough to check out POBPAH's Myspace and in turn pick up the record. There are some really good songs on here. But make no mistake, they sound exactly like The Smiths. That's not a bad thing, but its hardly revolutionary.

Bernstein is one of my top 3 favorite jazz guitar players, he's creative, melodic, and really swings. But this tribute to Monk is a little disappointing not because of his playing, which is great, but because of the rhythm section who sound at times like they are going through the motions. Still worth checking out though.

If you didn't know Amazon has a daily MP3 deal where entire albums are on sale cheap, usually $1.99! Good stuff too, not bottom-of-the-bin stinkers. I've seen stuff like No Doubt's Greatest Hits, even Lily Allen's new record. (Today is Morrissey's new record for only $3.99!) And don't forget, Amazon is DRM-free. Anyway, while I check the daily deals, well, daily, there is hardly anything I'm interested save for this superb record by Erikah Badu. While I've always dug her voice, I've never picked up any of her albums and I'm sorry for that now. This record grooves right off the bat (the Funkadelic-laced first track "Penitentiary Philosophy") and doesn't let up. A great find.

I've been making an effort to listen to a broader range of "jazz" music the past couple of years, not just the acoustic swing-driven stuff I've immersed myself in for years. When I read a glowing review of Jeff Beck's new record in Downbeat I had to pick it up. It features a new bassist on the scene who is hot in every way, the lovely and talented Tal Wilkenfeld. Girl is bad. So is this live record.

The Bad Plus is one of the greatest groups in jazz at the moment, I really look up to them. I've always found their original compositions much stronger than the covers they do of rock songs ("Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Heat of Glass") so I was a bit curious when I saw their latest release is nothing but covers and features a vocalist. Its fun and I like listening to it, but its not nearly as moving as their other records.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine a friend sent me:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Good News!

From Greenleaf:

Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives approved their final version of the Economic Recovery bill by a vote of 246-183. We can now confirm that the package DOES include $50 million in direct support for arts jobs through National Endowment for the Arts grants. We are also happy to report that the exclusionary Coburn Amendment language banning certain arts groups from receiving any other economic recovery funds has also been successfully removed. Tonight the Senate is scheduled to have their final vote, and President Obama plans to sign the bill on Monday - President's Day.

More than 85,000 letters were sent to Congress, thousands of calls were made, and hundreds of op-eds, letters to the editor, news stories, and blog entries were generated in print and online media about the role of the arts in the economy. Artists, business leaders, mayors, governors, and a full range of national, state, and local arts groups all united together on this advocacy issue. This outcome marks a stunning turnaround of events and exemplifies the power of grassroots arts advocacy.

While the stimulus package was moving around the legislature all of the arts funding was in danger of getting cut. Lucky for all of us, that didn't happen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"As Slow As Possible"

American avant-garde composer John Cage is perhaps most famous for his notorious work 4'33". Written for any instrument, the score instructs the performer not to play and instead sit in silence for three movements and the duration of the piece. The idea being that whatever ambient noise occurs in the audience or performance space actually makes up the music. While a conceptual masterpiece and probably Cage's most important work, it is not his most ambitious.

Cage's piece Organ2/ASLSP (the second part of the title meaning "As Slow As Possible") lasts a staggering 639 years. You heard me correctly, 639 years! And astonishingly the piece is currently being performed in Halberstat, Germany. Supposedly, thousands of folks show up for the note changes that occur every month or so. From the Greenleaf Music Blog:

When checking out the score consider this: the smallest unit is one month. Each determined tone change takes place on the 5th day of the relevant month. ***Recommendation: quarter-note staccato: length 2 months, quarter-note without staccato: length 4 months.***

Is that fascinating or what? Kudos to anyone with the artistic commitment to put on this performance. I would love to see one of the note changes some day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The China Question

A few weeks ago I was offered a gig in China with a friend of mine who sings and plays piano. The gig is in a Four Seasons near Hong Kong, the pay is decent with the perk being that all meals, internet, dry cleaning, etc. are covered. It would be six nights a week, three hours a night playing at the hotel bar. The gig itself would be pretty sweet. But there's a catch, it is for four months from May through August.

I agonized over the decision. It would be really great for us to bank all of that money (times are lean for everyone these days and musicians are no exception, why not make some dough in another country?) and the music would be a lot of fun. Of course the major drawback would have been missing my family but Carrie and Milo could go to Indiana for nice long visit and we could Skype, I would also be missing some Tyrell gigs but getting them covered shouldn't be a problem. I didn't know what to do. I kept thinking "I will have serious regrets whichever decision I make." I'm very lucky to be able to play music full-time but decisions like this are what make the career difficult. I decided that I was approaching it with the wrong mindset and instead told myself "whichever decision I make will be the right one." I decided to take the gig.

Then things changed. The gig was moved up and no longer started in May but started in mid-March. This would mean that Carrie and Milo could not go back to Indy as she would be working the entire time and I would be missing even more work with Tyrell. It was a sign. I told my friend I could not do the gig. She really wanted me to do it and tried to work around my schedule asking the agency putting the whole thing together if I could do part of the gig, only two of the months, but it didn't work out.

This decision made last week quite a roller-coaster but it all worked out for the best in the end. There will be another opportunity like this in the future that will work better for us. Until then, I'll just keep doing the L.A. hustle.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How Cool Is This?

My friend/artist/fellow comic book aficionado/music enthusiast Jim MacQuarrie works for audio manufacturer M-Audio. He messaged me on Facebook today to let me know that he drew the art for their latest comic-book style production guide. Can you tell who he used as a model for this particular illustration?

(btw, he told me that's the girl from Once playing keys)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What a Trooper

Work was deathly slow during December and January, but as soon as February hit my book was slammed. Rehearsal last night, recording session this morning, private party tonight, the next four nights at a jazz club in town with Mistah Tyrell, a gig Sunday morning, another recording session Monday ... etc.

So let me tell you, this is a bad time to have an injured finger.

Whilst making salsa for a Superbowl party at a friends' house I sliced my finger open on one of my newly-sharpened kitchen knives. What you see is said injury that I fixed up with Super Glue for this morning's session. I may be injured, but I shall groove through the pain!

Monday, February 2, 2009


A bunch of YouTube videos went viral a while back of guitar legends whose solo performances were overdubbed with amateurish noise and riffing, but all of the noise fits with what their hands are doing. The audiences are overdubbed as well. Its hard to explain but funny as hell. Here is the Eddie Van Halen Shreds classic YouTube video:

Well there is a new one out of KISS that is achingly funny. Watch and laugh, hope you bust a gut as I did.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Music Review

As a musician I figure I have something to learn from just about everything I listen to. My music intake is enormous and I really feel a need (obligation?) to process all of it. I'm going to start posting thoughts of all of the new stuff I get to give myself a new slant on that processing. So let's jump right in!

Kanye West
808's and Heartbreak
Kanye West is one of those brilliant artists who manage to bring innovation to pop music and is lauded by critics and audiences alike. I dig his stuff, I'm not a huge fan but I do have "Late Registration" and I really like it but I don't seek out everything he does. When "808's ..." was released a lot of critics wrote it off since Kanye sings for almost the entire album and runs his voice through a Vocoder (a Vocoder is an effect that makes your voice sound like its run through a synthesizer, its a very trendy sound these days). That actually intrigued me but not enough to pick up the record. Then while in Hawaii my sister's boyfriend told me he recorded it on Oahu (thus the name as 808 is Hawaii's area code) and I figured I would check it out to see if I could find any island influence. I don't hear any direct influence but I do dig it. I like when you can hear artists experimenting with stuff, it really brings you in to the creative process. He might overdue the Vocoder a bit but there is actual songwriting here and the production is pretty creative. It's moody and atmospheric at times while still dropping some serious beats.

Bon Iver
Blood Bank
And speaking of Vocoder! Bon Iver's release last year "For Emma, Forever Ago" is still in heavy rotation on my iTunes so when I heard a new EP was out I had to snatch it up. The acoustic, melancholy mood of "For Emma ..." is still there but you can tell the EP is made up of tracks that didn't quite fit the concept of the other record. Good songs though. The final track is A Capella yet run through a Vocoder which is a blatant experimental departure from anything else recorded but one I like as well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Reason Facebook Was Created ...

... was to find photos like this.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Home Again

After eight fantastic days in Hawaii I'm finally back in my home, sweet home. The past month has been an wonderful onslaught of family; two weeks in Indy, over a week in Hawaii, and I've loved every minute of it.

Milo and I flew home by ourselves on Friday as Carrie had to come back early for work. I was really anxious about taking a five hour flight with just the two of us. Milo has plenty of travel miles under his belt but most of them came when he was younger and more docile. These days he is a roaring toddler on his way to the 'terrible two's' and while the past couple of flights we took with him have been decent, they also were a bit contentious. Luckily we had an empty seat next two us and a really nice man in the window seat so we made it through those five hours intact. He didn't sleep a wink and had a diaper blowout peeing all over his pants and shirt, luckily I had a backup onesie packed.

(At this point I'd like to interject how terrible United is for flying with a family. They don't allow pre-boarding for small children so you have to wait and wait in the aisle. I was in the final boarding group so there was no overhead space next time my seat, my bag was rows away making negotiating the bag and the baby really tough. Also, the bathrooms had no changing tables! I had to change him on top of the toilet seat. It was rough. So stay away from United if you have small kids.)

I was so anxious for the flight I didn't really get sad about leaving Kona until we were up in there looking at the gorgeous island. I miss it already. Paradise indeed.

So I'm back to the grind rustling up work, practicing, and rehearsing. The next few weeks are pretty busy with Mistah Tyrell and I have some other projects I'm looking forward to.

And how about Obama?! Those thinking he would change nothing must be surprised by his direct overturning of several Executive Orders from the Bush administration. I'm glad Gitmo is closing, the latest is tougher EPA guidelines for emission rules here in California and elsewhere. Finally headed in the right direction!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

Cynics and skeptics your numbers are dwindling. The time of hope and virtue has arrived.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


We are headed to sunny skies and warm beaches.

Don't freeze!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Well the new season of American Idol debuted tonight. I'd like to say my wife forced me to watch it this evening but that would be a lie. She in fact was at her monthly book club meeting and I was alone on the couch watching (but I did wait until after the Lakers game lest you think me totally void of machismo!).

I'm pretty sure I've brought this up in the past but why in the world is it that folks who are totally terrible at singing think they are good singers? It baffles me. After much thinking on the subject I've realized that I am asking the wrong question. The real question is "why won't anyone tell their loved ones they are bad singers?" If it were a guitar competition would it be different? Is it easier to tell a loved one they are a poor guitarist than a poor singer? I wonder. The human voice is such an intimate and powerful instrument that people are willing to embarrass themselves rather than admitting they stink. That probably sounds arrogant coming from a musician but I just calls em' like I sees em'.

You know what is similar? Poker. A few years ago when poker was the hottest thing around everybody you met who knew a flush from a straight would tell you how great of a poker player they were. But with poker it makes sense why nobody would tell you if you were any good or not, doesn't it? ...

Things have been pretty quiet around here. I've been spending a lot of time with Milo just chilling out, watching sports, and gearing up for our Hawaii trip. Spoke to Dad tonight, we are all really excited for the visit.

Speaking of nobody realizing how bad they are at something, George Dubya Bush will be out of the White House in eight days! Oh, happy day! To celebrate (kind of ...) please check out this list of 128 Failures of the Bush Administration. There are some real doozies in there. Have fun! It will all be over soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I haven't been blogging much

because I haven't been doing much.

Leaving for Hawaii Thursday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Booty

There is a great re-cap of our Christmas visit on the baby blog so no need for me to go in to it again. But I did get some great presents this year that I'm super excited about:

Zoom H-2 Handy Recorder: This is a mobile studio the size of an iPod with a built-in mic that will be perfect for recording rehearsals, practices, small gigs, etc. I can't wait to try it out.

Blender: I'm in to smoothies these days, ours was getting old.

Turntable with USB Out: My mom got this for me, how clever is she? Its a turntable that comes with a USB and software that allows you to rip vinyl directly in to iTunes. Perfect!

Mad Men Season 1: I'm hooked. I'll have to amend my Best of TV list.

Eugene Mirman The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman: Comedy CD from one of the "Comedians of Comedy" crew.

Pacers and Dodgers Windbreakers and various Colts trinkets: One can never have enough sports gear.

Retro Music T-Shirts: Already in heavy rotation.

Thank you to everyone, I got some really thoughtful gifts this year and I sho' do appreciate it.

What kind of Christmas Booty did you get?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday Hiatus

I thought I'd get around to posting something while away in Indy but that didn't happen. We all had a great time visiting family and friends. Unfortunately for the second year in a row an awful stomach bug attacked Carrie and I and nearly thwarted our New Year's plans but luckily we battled through (even though I still don't feel 100%). I'm glad to be back home! Only a week and a half before we leave for Hawaii.

More posts on Christmas and New Year's soon.