Tuesday, January 31, 2012

HAPPY 75th PHILIP GLASS!!!



Philip Glass is one of my all time favorite composers.  I love how deceptively complicated his minimalist compositions are. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't find myself driving in the car with the volume cranked to eleven jamming to his works.  Above is an interview from when he was composing Glassworks.  It also includes some rehearsal performances.

If you're looking to check out some more of his stuff I suggest the 3 part series he did with Francis Ford Coppola: Koyaanisqatsi ("Life Out of Balance"), Powaqqatsi ("Life in Transformation" - with George Lucas), and Naqoyqatsi ("Life as War").  Actually, the 3rd film Francis Ford Coppola did not help with. All videos can be found on youtube or instant Netflix.

So happy birthday to Mr. Glass.  You are my hero!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jam Cruise 10 Recap: Day 4/5, Excuse Me While I Play Through

Day 4 was my favorite "day," if you call it that.

The epic journey began early by Jam Cruise standards as I was awoken at 9am my roommate Gypsy, who was just getting back to the room. Gypsy had danced her little ass off in the Disco where Pete from the New Mastersounds had spun an Eurodance DJ set. She was raving about how awesome it was, but alas, I missed it. Jam Cruise is a choose your own adventure and a little different for everyone. I wasn't disappointed I missed it, mostly because I got some much needed sleep and was feeling good.

I ate some breakfast and got off the boat out of principle in Farmouth, Jamaica. I am not a fan of Jamaica. I walked around for about an hour then headed back to the boat. With music not starting till 4pm, I took advantage of the pool, hot tubs and bar on the pool deck with like minded Jam Cruisers. Jam Cruise is the perfect place to be silly and I posted my Jam Cruise memes above the center bar on the pool deck. Most of the day was a blur, meeting people, talking with old friends, and just being silly.

After partying all afternoon in the sun I was able to pull myself together enough to sit down in the restaurant and force down some food. It was a good thing I ate something substantial because I probably would have not gotten though the journey ahead.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe took over on the Pool deck at 8:30pm. Karl D played the Sticky Fingers set again (I saw the show in Denver on Halloween). If you are a fan of The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers album, then you will probably love the Karl D's take along with all his guests that make it sound great. Although, at the time I was looking for something faster and funkier. I saved my energy for The New Mastersounds in the Theater starting at 11pm.

Even though the New Mastersounds guys had been partying with us on the pool deck that morning and afternoon they were able to play the best set I have ever seen them play. It was a two hour-long funky dance party that never let up. TNM had lots of guests, including the "giant ewok" Zach Deputy and a four piece horn section. The Theater was as full as I have ever seen it and people were getting down, including the sexiest unicorn I have ever seen. >>>





By 1am, I had been partying all day and I must admit I was getting tired. I needed something to keep me going so I tried something new (for me). For the first time in 3 Jam Cruises, I headed to the casino. I only bet $20 in blackjack, but played the ups and downs for about 30 minutes. It was a nice break to sit down, but more importantly it got my adrenaline pumping. I left the casino energized and the gambling session had everything re-circulating in my system.

The New Deal played their last show on the Pool deck 2am-4:20am and it was a uplifting dance party. I danced with a crew of mutual friends from Austin and Colorado in a great spot on the center of the floor. I danced so hard I think I got a runners high. The New Deal left me feeling euphoric. I felt like I had just left a top 10 Phish show. I was loving it. Did I mention it was Track Suit night? We were looking good and The New Deal delivered (on their last ever show?).

After The New Deal, I felt great and wasn't going to bed anytime soon. I walked around the boat, catching some more acoustic Nathan Moore/Brad Barr, and then some Jam Room. There was lots of Jam Cruise silliness that you just had to be there and in an alternate state of mind to fully appreciate.

What happened next was a first for all of us on Jam Cruise. I was hanging out on the Pool Deck about 6am and the Jam Cruise Safety crew told us we had to leave the pool deck. The Safety Crew is the Jam Cruise security, and actually some of the coolest individuals you'll ever meet. There are very few rules on Jam Cruise and the Safety Crew does an awesome time putting us in our place without being too heavy handed. I have never seen the pool deck shut down and they could not tell us why.

The only people up at this point are people still raging from the night before and we had 2 choices – go to our rooms or hang out in the cafeteria.

I chose the cafeteria and it turned into a shit show. A Jam Cruiser with a Bose system who was relocated from the pool deck set up in the coffee bar and started blasting Phish. Over 30 kids were dancing in the cafeteria to Reba, when Marco Benevento and his wife and toddler daughters walked in for some breakfast. Marco and his wife glanced at each other with a knowing grin and tried to find a quiet corner on the opposite end of the cafeteria as the Phish dance party scene just got louder and rowdier.

For a while we did not know why we could not be on the pool deck, until a rumor circulated that a Jam Cruiser had jumped from the jumbotron and landed on the deck. It took a few hours for the true story to be revealed – a Jam Cruiser had climbed up the side of the jumbotron in a restricted area during The New Deal's set, and was blown off by wind gusts. What a dummy. Because of the limited medical facilities on the boat and just to be safe, a Coast Guard helicopter air lifted him to a hospital. I watched the surreal scene from a friend's balcony with a breakfast sandwich in hand as the helicopter circled us for about 30 minutes. Turns out the kid is going to be okay, but it will be his last Jam Cruise. Cruisers who do stupid stuff aren't allowed back.

The next thing I know... it is 7am and I am still raging. You can't wake up and rage if you are still up from the night before. I started looking at the schedule for Friday, day 5. It seemed as if there was only one thing to do - Surprise Me Mr. Davis started at 11:15 AM, and I had come this far, so why not play though? A few morning cocktails later and in no time SMMD was playing on the pool deck. Perfect. I have already talked about how much I love SMMD, and this set was another awesome one. Marco’s 4 year-old and 2 year-old daughters were out dancing and witnessing their interaction with their daddy brought tears to my eyes. They are just too cute for words and I hope my daughter and I will be able to enjoy a music festival with the same beautiful joy and innocence.

I was on the pool deck during the SMMD set when my friend Matt S. came up to me with a surprise -- Matt bought a Dave Vann photo signed by Umphrey's McGee in the charity auction for me. The photo has Stasik in the center rocking the disco helmet. I was blown away -- it is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have every received. Thanks Matt!

After the SMMD set, Steve from This Week On Lot got a message to me to meet at his room at 4pm to record a podcast with Scotty B from YEMBlog and Hidden Track. Normally at this point I would have gone to bed, but I was able to enjoy the Orgone set to stay awake and get my thoughts together to sound okay on the podcast, though I am talking a little slower than usual.

Listen to TWOL podcast here.

After the podcast I took much deserved nap. Day 4 and 5 had bled together.

Thanks to a classy wake up call by my Touch of Class crew, I had enough time to eat in the restaurant one last time. Lucky for me it was lobster and steak night. Dinner ended just in time for me to catch Marco Benevento in the atrium. I was moved to tears for a second time in one day when his daughter played chopstix with him. Check out his emotional set here...





Still reading?

This is a long post, and I'm even leaving out some details of this epic day. By this time its 9pm Friday...you started reading about your hero getting up at 9am on Thursday. Whew. Next up musically was Soulive on the Pool Deck and Galactic in the Theater. Both were solid, but I was running on fumes. It was the end of the marathon and I had just a few more hours to go, so I pushed myself to stay out.

The final theme night was Masquerade. Everyone interpreted it a little differently, with some bringing out their best bling and others wearing an awesome mask. I enjoyed seeing everyone’s masks, though I couldn’t always know who was under there.

After Galactic, I headed to the jam room where Eddie Roberts of the New Mastersounds was the host. It was by far the best night in the Jam Room. I also took one last sit down at “The Spot” on deck 7 where Brad Barr and Nathan Moore were playing acoustic lots of guests coming by. Jefferson Waful (lighting director for Umphrey's) put together an awesome video of "The Spot" on the last night:





At sunrise I went back to my room to pack up. There were a few more minor funny moments with friends getting off the boat, but that was pretty much my jam cruise. It was easy getting off the boat and my direct flight back to Denver was without incident.

Its hard to believe, but Jam Cruise gets better every year. Jam Cruise 10 was exactly what I needed to get away and knock my head open. I personally had a lot of changes in 2011 and was having a tough time. The negative emotions of 2011 seem to have been released and I am starting 2012 on the right emotional path. The boat is full of love and I my cup runneth over.

Thank you Jam Cruisers!



Have you booked for Jam Cruise 2013? We are already pre-booked. If you decide to go on Jam Cruise, or have any questions, please email me at wookpatrol@gmail.com. Also, if you are a first time cruiser and use me as a referral, I get $$$ on the boat and promise to reward you. See you on Jam Cruise 11!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jam Cruise 10 Surprise Me Mr. Davis Little Boat

Jam Cruise 10 Recap: Day 3 - Beach Party, Pet Meetup, Go Green!

I woke on Day 3 and we were docked at a private island in Labadee, Haiti. The weather was perfect for a beach party. We gathered up our pet monkey Rosario and headed off the boat to the perfect Jam Cruise beach party. The beach was clean and beautiful. Jam Cruise 10 had it all to ourselves. Zach Deputy and Toubab Crew played sets near the beach on a short stage while Jam Cruisers laid in the sun, danced, and practiced yoga. Out of all the stops we have done on Jam Cruise 8, 9 and 10, Labadee was by far my favorite.



Back on board the boat I enjoyed a high energy Ozomatli set that ended with a parade through the crowd on the pool deck. Immediately after the Ozomatli set Gypsy and I brought Rosario to the Jam Cruise Pet Meet up. Jam Cruise has some creative, quirky people on board and it certainly was apparent during the pet meet up. We seem to have lots of stuffed animals and inflatable toys we give a personality to. The Pet Meet-Up was the first time the freaks got all the pets in one place.


Next up was a set of 80’s covers by the Omega Moos, made up of Umphrey's McGee members Brendan Bayliss and Ryan Stasik with The New Deal members Darren Shearer and Jamie Shields. They ran through untzy covers of Whip It, Take On Me, She Blinded Me With Science, Rebel Yell and my personal favorite Maneater. I danced and ironically pointed at my beautiful roommate Gypsy as she certainly is a Maneater.

I took another break in the restaurant and put on my lizard outfit for Go Green night. I caught 7 Walkers and guests perform a fantastic Eyes of the World  before I decided to ditch the costume and get a front row spot for Dr. Klaw in the Zebra lounge. Dr. Klaw is an all-star funk band and it was my favorite set of funk on the boat – and that’s saying a lot. I danced so hard to Dr. Klaw I sweated through my t-shirt.

Late night ended with acoustic sets on the pool deck by brock butler and songs in “the spot” on Deck 7 starboard by Nathan Moore and Brad Barr. The acoustic sets are unannounced but I find them to be the most special of all the music on jam cruise. Some like to end the night in the Disco or Jam Room; I have found that I prefer to come down to some delicate acoustic guitar and meaningful lyrics.



Stay tuned for the Day 4/5 recap where your hero plays through and parties to the finish line.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jam Cruise 10 Recap: Day Two - Guitar Solos, Tigger, and Mr. Davis

Day two began with a late afternoon start around 1pm. When I awoke my quirky roommate Gypsy had moved her mattress out onto our balcony and she was fast asleep, soaking in some ocean air and getting some rest. I gathered myself together and headed to the pool deck to check out the scene.

As I mentioned in my Day 1 recap, I created a new toy for Jam Cruise 10 – a disco guitar. It is a disco’d hot lixx, and it still works. Jam Cruise is a place where you can be silly and let it all hang out. I certainly did that, taking the guitar to the artist signing and getting each of the Umphrey’s guys to play with its arpeggios and sign the back. I taunted them with the disco guitar, showing them how I had learned to play some of Jake's solos. After the artist signing I spent some time on our first day at sea casually enjoying the music on the pool deck and drinking frozen cocktails. Oh how I love a Miami Vice on Jam Cruise.

At 4pm I headed to the Theater for Lets Make A New Deal – a Jam Cruise take on the game show Lets Make a Deal with members of The New Deal and Joel Cummins from Umphrey's McGee. I was a contestant and won $20 in merch by throwing playing cards at a watermelon and getting one to stick...by cheating to win. My buddy @petelikesmusic was sporting his Tigger outfit and was a big winner. Check out Pete bouncing up and down as Tigger in the video:


Next up was Get Lit Up with Kuroda and Waful, also in the Theater. I found the discussion quite interesting about the lighting of Phish and how Kuroda got his job when the original lighting director for Phish took a restroom break. I and had enough cocktails in me to be one of the first to ask a question from the audience.

My question went something like this:
(Directed at Waful) “Ive been to a lot of shows where the band gets the crowd riled up and the energy in the room makes the band change what they are doing as a result. Please give an example of when you made a change to the lights in reaction to the crowd energy. And part two of the question is directed at Chris Kuroda – I was at Big Cypress and saw a UFO land. I was wondering if you can confirm or deny that.

The everyone in the theater chuckled at the UFO question and I thought I heard Kuroda say reluctantly admit “Yeah, that was me.” Mission accomplished.

The costume theme for the night was zebra night. Every year since we have been on the MSC Poesia there has been a zebra night because of the Zebra Lounge, a venue where everything from the carpet to the couches to the lamps is zebra print. Participation in Zebra night gets bigger every year and there are some fantastic creative zebra costumes.

After a meal in the sit down restaurant I changed into my zebra gear and caught a powerful set by Galactic on the Pool Deck. Check out the videos of Kashmir and 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.

Next up was another high energy set by Umphreys McGee at 11:30pm in the Theater, but the highlight of my evening was the Surprise Me Mr. Davis set in the Zebra Bar at 1:45am. I danced through most of the SMMD set and left a little early to catch a couple of The New Deal songs before their second to last set ended 4am. I cant wait to listen to the SMMD set again – I'll post the recording when it becomes available. SMMD is a breed of animal similar to Dr. Dog or Wilco – but with strange superpowers that I cannot describe.

Every night before going to bed I would make a lap of the boat. The freaks come out at night, especially on Jam Cruise. I lost my notes so I can't tell you exactly what happened late night, and its just as well - a lot of things on jam cruise you just have to be there.

Stay tuned for the recap of Day 3 where we visit Haiti and party with Rosario the inflatable monkey on the beach.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jam Cruise 10 Day 1 Recap: Sprinting German Sparkle Party

Its difficult to write about Jam Cruise. There is so much that happens, and many times “you just have to be there” applies.

Maya Angelou said: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I think this quote is so true when talking about Jam Cruise. Nearly everything about Jam Cruise brings out an emotion in me, and these are the things I intend to tell you about.A couple of nights ago I washed my notes in the laundry by accident. Everything I am writing is from my memory of the way I felt, and I will never forget these feelings.

I headed down to Ft Lauderdale on Saturday, Jan 7, two days before we set sail to hit the Umphreys McGee pre-shows. The Saturday UM show was well played but a miserable experience for most people in attendance, as Revolution grossly oversold the venue and it was a most uncomfortable show. The Sunday show was a different story, I got a great place and thoroughly enjoyed the show rocking out with a room full of Jam Cruisers.

Before the Sunday show we headed to a Mexican food restaurant for some dinner and to watch the Pittsburgh vs Denver game. To my surprise we found most of Umphrey’s McGee and crew/entourage sitting at a table cheering on the Steelers. Ryan Stasik and I had met briefly a few times before, and he recognized me and sneered at my buddy Adam’s Denver Broncos shirt as we walked in.

Stasik had his terrible towel in hand and stood up to cheer and wave the towel for each Steelers offensive or defensive play that went just the slightest their way. I will never forget the look on Stasik’s face as he hung his head in defeat after the winning Denver run in overtime.

Monday afternoon we headed to get on the boat without incident. Everything on Jam Cruise is a party - even the line to get on. I saw some old friends and made some new ones.

I made disco helmets to give to Simon from The New Mastersounds, and Ryan Stasik from Umphreys McGee. I had met both of them at Red Rocks July 3 and I wanted to make helmets for them because I thought it would be awesome if they actually wore them. I think both of them kind of forgot about it and never expected a fan to actually follow through. Stasik requested a gold helmet, in tribute to Pittsburgh.

I was able to run into both Stasik and Simon on the boat without looking for them and deliver their gifts with short photo sessions. I was excited and my blood was pumping. As the saying goes, it is better to give than to receive, and I feel like I was finally able to give something back to musicians who had given me so much joy. It felt good times 1,000.

The afternoon flew by and before I knew it, I was putting on a ridiculous shiny costume. The official theme for the boat was Nautical, but my crew had made a push for an unofficial theme for the night – German Sparkle Party. By 8 o’clock we had 30 people packed in the Touch of Class hallway with more sparkles and glitter than any straight man could handle. All over the boat the German Sparkle Party mixed in the the Nautical theme and the rage was turned up to 11. My cocktail of all things starting with the letter “A” was getting a little more than I would have liked – I retreated to the Pool Deck for some fresh air for a while.

We say that jam cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. On night 1 of jam cruise I came out of the gates hot – sprinting right away. I enjoyed sets by Robert Walter in the Atrium and Bruce Hornsby on the Pool Deck – but it wasn’t until Umphreys played on the Pool Deck at 12:30am that I was able to get the chemical level in my blood to the correct level.

UM played a fantastic two set show, with their originals rocking flawlessly and two standout covers will forever be remembered. During Live and Let Die, Stasik donned the Gold disco helmet for the first time, and I must say it was spectacular. Most of the time I am wearing the helmet and I don’t get to enjoy looking at it – I finally got to see a disco helmet in its perfect glory – on center stage and lit up professionally by Jefferson Waful. I enjoyed both sets rocking out on my disco guitar. I would joke that I was making a top score on guitar hero. There is no place to be a dork and silly like Jam Cruise.

The second Umphrey's cover of the night, Shine on You Crazy Diamond, was patiently executed and had all of us on the pool deck singing to the full moon directly overhead. Such a beautiful, perfect moment.

Night 1 ended for me sometime before sun rise. As I stumbled back to my room I could not believe it was only the first day.

Stay tuned for more recaps of Jam Cruise 10.

Galactic Jam Cruise Video

Galactic did a pair of fantastic covers on Jam Cruise, one with Ryan Montbleau and the other with Corey Glover (Living Colour) on vocals...



Monday, January 16, 2012

Marco Benevento "My Friend My Friend" Solo Jam Cruise

from Marco's atrium set Day 5 of Jam Cruise...he had a little help from his 2 and 4 yr old daughters...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jam Cruise 10 - TWOL Podcast and Photo Dump

I am back home from Jam Cruise 10 and am doing my best to catch up on sleep. Jam Cruise 10 was an incredible time and it was my favorite Jam Cruise. I will post more complete recaps in the coming days, but until then check out the This Week On Lot podcast we recorded on day 5. Scott Bernstein, Steve Olker and I discuss our experiences and it is a good listen.

This Week On Lot - Jam Cruise 10 special report



Check out a few of my favorite Jam Cruise 10 shots I have collected so far by pro photographers:













Thursday, January 12, 2012

Phish and Grantland.com

Phish made it's way on to the semi-regular Grantland.com segment of YouTube HOF, but in the not so favorable sub genre of 'Favorite Embarrassing Songs and Performances.' It's good fun, and well, it was the early 90s which is about as ridiculous as it gets. Link. For those unfamiliar with Grantland, it features sports and pop culture columns by Bill Simmons and Chuck Klosterman among dozens of others. Good stuff.

Tess Lynch: This video smells like old hair and gorp. Look at that sea of Caucasian ponytails bobbing along to "a crystal haze, the never-ending coral maze," dancing in sweet, stupid ignorance as someone taped them on a 15-pound camcorder. My favorite comment: "I snorted a bunch of meth at a Phish concert once and danced 'til there were holes in my socks. That was some pure shit." Bet that was during "The Squirming Coil," brah. Don't get caught by the Makisupa Policeman!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Young at Heart Chorus Sings Free

Can't say enough about this video. I was in tears watching it in BTreoch's flat, especially at the finale. Then I find out it was recorded 12/31/11.



Sung by the Young at Heart Chorus, at John M. Greene Hall, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

Filmed by Reel Life Productions

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison

Conspiracy has been brewing since the mid-1960s... Paul McCartney died in a car accident and was replaced by Billy Shears.