During the 4th of July weekend, I ventured boldly to Orcas Island in Washington state for another performance by the Orcas Blues Band.
This group features Gary (of Cinema Paradiso, the best local video store in Eastsound, WA); Joe, the first-string drummer; Dan (Orcas cable guy) on bass, who I think is a dead ringer for our current Prez when he speaks; Charlie (local island stud and sub drummer who specializes in encores and star time moments, keep his sticks visible in back pocket at all times); John, the sax player who swore a solemn blood vow on a beer keg to not quit the band ever; and me, making up tunes and lyrics while facing a patient, tolerant and adoring crowd of nip-sipping bar patrons.
That day, July 7, I played nearly five hours of music we made up on the spot. Some of it was good. Following the historical parade, we got on the back of a flatbed truck (after waking up at 6 a.m. to drive it into the park) and played two sets. First song featured a blown circuit, and I had to run into the beer store to trip the breaker in order to continue. The daytime show was a little stiff, but we got greased on beers and then hauled the gear across the green to Vern's Bayside in preparation for the night show. After a short nap and a demonstration of Gary's laser light apparatus and paraphernalia, we went to the club, sheepishly preparing to unveil whatever it was that was about to happen.
I vamped. Gary screamed. Dan slacked. Charlie subbed (and soloed in a song named after him). Joe watched my backside and followed with a steady hero beat. John, the mature elder statesman, got down on his knees, blowing hard. He told me later that last time he did that, some woman straddled his neck and wouldn't get off, so he had to play the whole song that way, on the floor. My fave moment was when John played an extended solo in the key of F while the rest of us rocked on in E. He's now playing with Billy Idol.
The best part is that I recorded all five hours of this, on a hidden ADAT machine, without the band knowing. Gary just had to reveal it to Joe, but they kept it a secret so Dan wouldn't get nervous and make mistakes. Back in SF, I mixed and boiled that recorded mess down to about an hour of unbelievable blues onslaught. I was truly possessed, or legally bombed on beer. Like the Live Start Living CD, it's a high fidelity experience that just happens to be in a bar. Should we make this available on the website? I think so.