Road Journal

Thursday, August 8th
 Los Angeles, CA 12:21 p.m.

We're at Il's brother's house in LA, about to spend a day off in sunny, sunny SoCal. The past week saw the band's returned to active duty after a 3-week AWOL layoff with two sold out shows at San Francisco's Boom Boom Room. The Friday engagement included guest guitarist Matt Heulitt, a cross between Wayne Krantz and Yngwei Malmsteen, who ripped it up during extended free-form JAMZ in the 2nd set. (We're such a jamband.) The Saturday 2nd set was graced with the presence of Jason Concepcion, of  Netwerk: Electric fame. Jason wore a combination of chapeaus, including musical nods to Charlie Christian and White Lion's Vitto Bratta. After the gig, which ended at @ 3 a.m., we all engaged in a stream-of-consciousness quote-fest of Spinal Tap lines, the highlight being Nigel Tuffnel's description of his piano piece as having "lines, intertwining."

It was great to see a line out the door at the Boom Boom Room; people couldn't even get in. Ironically, this all happens the same week that the new Guardian Reader's Poll comes out and this year doesn't even have a "Best Jazz Group" category! (You may recall your humble narrators won the coveted position in 2001.) That's all there really is to say about the state of affairs in the "jazz" scene in San Francisco. Hey, this makes us still the reigning kings, so whatever.

This mini-tour we're on is a week-long jaunt down south. Last night's gig in Santa Barbara went well, considering the debut of a lot of new drum toys and Brian's foray into the netherworld of electro-madness using his new Line 6 delay beast. We're feeling the effects of the High Sierra Music Festival; lots of folks either saw us there or heard about our show.


We're going to start something called "Choice Of The Day." We give you two choices of anything, with no further explanation. You must choose and respond -- with a full, detailed explanation of why you made your choice. For example:  Coke or Pepsi? You respond Pepsi: not as sweet, flatter and less carbonated. Or: Pepsi: Because I love Britney. Or: Coke: I like the swirl on the can -- it's pretty. Get the idea. We think this will be fun. The best ones will be posted on our site for all the world to read.


"I'll Be There For You" or "Never Say Goodbye?"


Tuesday, July 9th
 San Francisco, CA

Our first High Sierra Music Festival was a blast.  We played our first set just after we arrived in Quincy on Thursday evening and then had three days to hang out and talked to people about it before our set on Sunday night.  All weekend we were running into strangers who were telling us "Hey man! That Paradise City ROCKED!"  That's why festivals are so great - you never know who's listening. 

After spending Friday and Saturday meeting and playing with other bands, we had accumulated a small list of folks who may come down and sit in on our Sunday set.  Before we started, Kai Eckhardt (bassist in Garaj Mahal now and John McLaughlin a few years back) was at the stage and ready to go.  This was an opportunity for us to improvise with a great musician and explore the possiblities of having two basses on stage.   For part of the set, Kai played in the middle and upper registers (letting Pete lay it down) while at other points he doubled what Pete was doing to create a thick bottom end.  At one point, Ilya kicked a groove in 5/4 and told Kai to come up with something.  He did so, and then gave the bottom to Pete while he and Brian soloed over the newly composed groove.

Towards the end of the set, Jessica Lurie of the Living Daylights jumped up on stage.  While the newly expanded quintet was slamming down the finale, the tent covering the stage started to collapse. (Luckily it was caught before anyone got hurt.) This led Ilya to proclaim that we had truly "Torn the roof off the sucka."