Monday, January 25, 2010

Jimi Hendrix's and a few others' Guitar Techniques.

trotskyismyniece posted this on Jan 19th, 2010 at 03:01:08 pm:
"The thing that always sort of blows my mind is how much guitars just look like toys in his(Jimi Hendix's[Albert King's/Stevie Ray Vaughan's]) hands. He's always holding the neck at such a weird angle almost up near his shoulder, and his hands are just too huge." Trotskyisnyniece is speaking about Jimi Hendrix but the same is true for Vaughan and Albert King, though they all held their guitars in different playing positions.
I agree with the Hendrix hands/playing technique mystery thing. When you see footage of him playing, it's not like you see him playing the notes. His hands just make a big swathe of movement about the guitar neck. Jimi, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King all seem the same in this respect. You watch a video of them playing and no matter how closely you watch, they seem to play the most amazingly exact riffs while employing this un-definite, unclear, "broad swathe" fingering technique(like an actor "playing" guitar in a movie with fake guitar playing movement). You watch other players and you can see what they are doing visually in relation to what you are hearing. Not so with guys like Vaughan, King and Hendrix. I played with both BB and Albert King; I have sat there and WATCHED Albert CAREFULLY at rehearsals and jams. I could hear and mimic what he did, but to WATCH him, I couldn't tell what the fuck he was doing on the guitar neck!
Albert King tuned his guitar to a 6th or 11th chord(depending on mood and material), like a steel or "Hawaian" guitar.
Stevie tuned normally, albeit a half step down from "CONCERT" tuning.
Neither of those facts have any bearing on being able or NOT being able to determine by observation what they were doing as far as fingering technique.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Button Ladies of Liberty Avenue(Pgh, PA)

I found myself in a fix today and it caused me to remember the little long, skinny shop on the north side of Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. It was either between what is now the tobacco store and Howlers or just past Howlers or ,maybe, up past Pearl St. in that block near the sweeper and hardware stores.
It was 2 older women with their shop full of spools of thread in every color and texture/source material imaginable. And BUTTONS! Jars, drawers, boxes and walls full of buttons of all types. Lost a button? They had the replacement or could order it.
What companies does one order buttons from?
I used to work on Liberty Avenue at a place called HH Sales. It is the little stand alone structure off Pearl St.. There is maybe a drive in parking space to the left(west) and a little fence to the right that leads to the back of the building. Anyway, when I worked there it was HH Sales, a fairly empty place with a few items here and there. All variety of items. Clothes, cassette decks, calenders, knick-knacks, kitch shit. The place was a front. For what, I never asked and never was told, I only worked there. There was a police sting operation one day with the attending newspaper reporters and television news crews- the next day, back to normal.
HH had another store, a little grocery, down near Baum Blvd on the corner of x and x streets(I'll remember and place the street names).
He was also into real estate. He had properties in Bloomfield. Commercial and habitable.
One time he invited us workers at his various "businesses" and other friends to a "House Burning" party and cook-out in the North Hills. He indeed burnt a furnitured property of the old late 40s to early 50s suburban style. A sturdy brown bricked, angular place with 2 chimneys. The local volunteer Fire Dept. was on hand to make sure the fire didn't spread to the neighbors' homes, telephone and electric wires or the suburban flora. Beer, soda, grilled hot dogs, bbq, macaroni and potato salads flowed Every now and then the firemen would handle the occasional troubling hot spot with a dousing. Far be it from me to say whether he got insurance money or not but HH built a nice new home there and perhaps is still suffering privation there in his dotage.
At that time I was seeing a woman that lived in Garnet Way. We used to call it Garnet Mimms' way after the soul singer. I was playing in blues bands. On good afternoons I used to sit on the steps of the church at Pearl and Liberty drinking a quart(there were no 40s yet) of Iron and smoking weed; sometimes playing my guitar. I didn't smoke cigarettes yet.
Stevie Ray Vaughan spent a night in that little place in "Garnet Mimms'" Way. That was when I 1st met him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Black, Mods and Rockers; Pittsburgh Style 1960s

In this photo: Rockers.
In Pittsburgh there were "mods", "slicks" and "young blacks" that were different than our Negro parents. No true British style mods, nor true British style Rockers. I was a young black mod/rocker. Slicks were "norms". Mods were the 1st mass gtr generation. We began learning to play British invasion, folk, blues, top forty, country, bluegrass and r&b/burgeoning soul on our guitars. Not pop. We hung out at Lomakin's Music on Liberty Avenue downtown, Tarshis' Music on Baum blvd. in East Liberty off Highland Ave., the "listening rooms" of the various National Record Mart stores, Point State Park, and the Village Pizza on Ivy Street off Walnut in Shadyside. We began to wear leather jackets over "Carnaby" fashioned shirts. We accessorized with iron crosses, swastikas(I know),leather boots and garrison belts, wristbands of leather and steal link chain, etc. Some of us began smoking weed by late fall of 64. After I moved to Boston circa 1966, I found acid which had been slowly leaking out of Cambridge to the general mod/hipster public.

SWASTIKA 1: Ancient occult symbol of the sun and the four directions. Revived by Hitler, it represents racism and the "white supremacy" of neo-nazis. Like other occult symbols, it is often placed inside a "circle".

SWASTIKA 2 (Crux Dissimulata): An ancient swastika which symbolized the four winds or directions and their corresponding spirits. It was also a "fire and sun symbol occurring initially in Asia and later among the Germanic tribes," according to The Herder Symbol Dictionary.[4] "The cross inscribed in a circle mediates between the square and the circle," emphasizing the "joining of heaven and earth.... and "the perfected human being."

SWASTIKA 3: A contemporary variation of the many swastikas with labyrinth patterns. Like the two swastikas above, its arms point counterclockwise indicating a mystical, lunar and female orientation. Compare its two intersecting lines with "Sun Sign 2, its curved arms (following the shape of the circle) with Swastika 2, and its dark areas with the "Iron Cross."

CROSS (IRON or EISERNAS KREUZ): Also called Mantuan or Maltese cross. First linked to an ancient goddess temple on Malta, it was adopted as the Iron Cross in Prussia. During the First World War, it appeared on German fighter planes and tanks. Later, it became a fascist symbol in France, Portugal and other nations.

I post these in refute of the Nazi meanings of these symbols and would refer you to their TRADITIONAL meanings BEFORE they were appropriated by Nazi Germans.
In the Mods/Rockers(Early Beatles) era of the 1960s, we wore these Swastikas and Iron Crosses with leather/Carnaby Street fashions with their ORIGINAL meanings' intent; we wore them in defiance and repute of the 1930s-45 Nazi significations.

Copy and paste image URLs to see art/objects referred to.

Also reference blog entry:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Time I Got Drunk In Az(circa mid-1970s)

(From a chat session)
dujones: i miss az
i used to live there in holy shit what the fuck town asu ist TEMPE
Meriel: hahaha

i want to go there.
dujones: I was forced to b drunk and the police came and arrested this guy that was forcing me to drink. weird story....
Meriel: wtf??
dujones: I should call and see if I can get that police report
I was in this bar having a sammich and this neighbor guy came in and offeredd a drink so i said yea and he bought me a shot
then I said I gotta go to a job innervew and he said have one more
then after that he bought me another but nothing for himself then he just kept buying them and getting meaner and was I AM PAYING U BETERR FUCKIN KEEP DRINKIN OR I WILL FUCK U UP FOR WASTING MY CASH
then he started forcing them down my throat i asked the bartender to please stop and the bartender laffed at me and i was startiing to get really drunk and sick
finally i said i gotta piss and they said go ahead there is no way out back there BUT
there was a phone booth by the mens room and i dialed 911 and told them.
when the cops came he had me on the floor pouring a drink down my throat he was sitting on my stomache
The cops arrested him called more cops and they arrested the bartender and made the owner come and lock the bar till further notice
the owner was pissed cozza his loss of money so immediately fired the bartender in cuffs
they were closed for a week
meanwhile I had my bike so the police took me home instead of jail only becauese i was forced to drink.
Him and the bartender had a hearing and me and the bar OWNER were testifying against them
ever since then though I got free drinks (to a point) at the bar

Sent at 12:26 AM on Saturday
dujones: but there is more, I stupidly got on my bike and tried to make it to the job innerview and passed out in the street while trying to ride my bike someone called 911 and the original arresting officers came and got me. THIS time they put me in an unlocked cell till i slept and so.bered up then they took me home WILD Story huh?
Meriel: sorry stepped away let me read
Sent at 12:29 AM on Saturday
Meriel: whoa duane!
what the hell was up witht aht guy?? That's insane!
dujones: It was weird I think i had alcohol poisoning a little I finally puked into dry heaves and could not eat the next day, i just lay around headachy and puking
I think he was trying to kill me with alcohol and I KNOW WHY cause it came out in court
and THAT is another amazing story to hear the REASON he did it.
1/15/10 the guy that forced me to drink's 1st name was Maurice, David new remembers now. Still working on a last name.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year Eve and Emily Love's Birthday Party

Photo: Erin, Erin, Emily.

I really loved meeting the Erins and others. It was such a comfortable party. Like at Joel's comfortable parties in Wilkinsburg; out back in the neighbor's yard there was even the little pond with running water making the sound of Joel's neighbor's outside space. I will always remember going out in the night to find the lost woman who had been wandering around looking for the place in high heels over the icy causeway, starting from around the SHARP EDGE(over a mile away!). But the party was waaaay down Penn Ave past 40th Street!!!! Wandering alone after 1am she was trying to find the party that was such a long, lonely, cold, uncomfortable, scary(she lives outside of PGH)walk for her. She called for help and I just happened to hear that guy trying to figure where she was calling from, but by him repeating what she said, I knew where she was and lit out and found her walking, and got her to the party! What the hell was HER name, BTW? And then I met the amazing Hilary. Oh, and that women that was standing talking on the basement stairs, who suddenly lost her angle of repose and toppled, knocking EVERYONE ELSE domino style down the stairs into the basement with a long, loud, rolling, thunderous noise that caused the whole house to go quiet! PRICELESSSSSSS!!!!!!
I hope the whole next year rolls along so riotously nicely as this party did. Cannot wait to see the pics from Erin's cam. I took the library of grabbing her cam and shooting away. She is gonna wonder who the f... took those pics, HAPPYNEWDAYOFBIRTHYEAREMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Photo pending....