Joe Bonamassa this and Joe Bonamassa that

Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


He is a virtuoso guitar player and evangelist of the blues- I have an unnatural and possibly not quite legal love of the blues myself.

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

He is from Upstate N.Y where I call home…and not just “everything 12 miles north of NYC” Upstate but close enough to me in Upstate that his town gets on my local weather map.

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

There he is with his Sunburst Les Paul playing with Eric Clapton. Wow, the classic tool of the trade and how cool is that to be sanctified by slow hand himself?

I should love this guy and all he stands for.

I can’t watch or listen- he is too close.

If he was from Mongolia, I would love him…I picture him riding his horse over the grassy plane to meet the tribe leader who happens to be his Dad to tell him that he is done herding Yaks and going to N.Y to follow his dream –“Dad, I will play a searing blues guitar that will make beautiful women scream and strong men cry.”

Then I would listen.

If he grew up on the streets of a post-industrial working class city like Pittsburgh, Cleveland or maybe Newcastle and was full of angst and rage that needed an outlet, then like the proverbial oyster forging a pearl, he transformed that pain into reverberated and distorted beauty that would conjure the ghost of Jimi.

Then I would love him.

Even if he changed his name to some kind of alter image- Like Johnny Ace or Joe Bomb or Alice Samobon. Anything to remove him from that regular guy down the street image of him stuck in my head.

Then I would love him.

So when I flip channels and find Joe Bonamassa live in Vienna as a P.B.S special- I should be all over it. I should be clicking to it and cranking it up. I should live and die with each perfectly sustained bent string of gleaming purity that emanates from this master of his craft. I should be almost to tears before the first pledge break.

But alas- he is too close to me and I cannot separate my preconceived feelings about him and just enjoy the show.

Joe Bonamassa this and Joe Bonamassa that, I get it but I can’t go there.

This is my problem.




Best of, worst of, Deaths 2012

Pete Townshend's Guitar
Pete Townshend’s Guitar (Photo credit: soul_motor)

The end of the year means we will see  lists to make sense of it all. What was good or bad –who did we lose and why.

The good news for rock music – We have plenty of candidates for the good and bad lists. Whatever genre you like – we can make a list.

And on the other side- rock music has now been around long enough that some of the players are starting to expire from the same things as the general population.  Those terrible things that will happen to us all…the frailties of old age are taking them away. The days of  “he choked on his own vomit” are being replaced by “yeah, there were some health issues, but he was old ”

I knew these days would come…Pete Townshend  once said “Never trust anyone over 30” and he also said “Hope I die before I get old”…I don’t think he says that anymore.  The Who may be the poster boys for the Geriatric road warriors of rock music in this century…”Quick get a ticket while we are still breathing” tours are raking in the bucks.

I am just going to take three of the many we lost this year.

Jim Marshall 1923 – 2012

This is the end of a good long run for the inventor of the Marshall Amplifier. The electric guitar became the star of the show even if you were sitting outside the arena. Les Paul or Stratocaster  alike could be plugged into this bad boy to scream and cry for the masses.

Lee Dorman  1942-2012

“In-a-Gadda-da-Vida, baby”- Bassist Lee Dorman expired in his car at 70 years old, he was on the transplant list with some heart problems. Iron Butterfly did break-up and reform over the years-still burning the left over jet fuel from the smash hit record of 1968…it is amazing to think that one great hit can keep something viable for such a long period of time.

Ronnie Montrose 1947-2012

Great guitar player.  Battling cancer and self inflicted gunshot wound. This happens too often all around us…it does not make the news and only those with intimate knowledge of each situation know the real details. Cancer and death and devastation of lives and families are all intertwined in a complex web of difficult decisions.