Saturday, October 01, 2011

9.29-9.30.2011, FTW

Had to forego the Roky Erickson show at the Kessler last night, for it was my last opportunity to see my middle daughter and her baby before they jet off to Washington State to join her Army nurse husband at Fort Lewis. While I'm confident that she'll succeed and thrive anywhere she goes, it's the first time one of my kids has ever lived that far away, and I'm having a little trouble wrapping my head around it. Have to remember that the kids in my family have always moved far from home, myself included. And we'll have ample reason to visit, since my sister-in-law's family is in Seattle.

The previous day, I got to jam with Frank Cervantez on my favorite guitar-amp combo ever: an SG (thanks to Branden from the Dangits) and reverb-less Deluxe clone (owned by Linc Campbell, custom built by Vistalux Amplification right here in the Fort). I'd heard Steffin Ratliff play through one with Pablo & the Hemphill 7 a couple of weeks before and was muy impressed by its light weight and rich, full sound. With Branden's SG, I was able to replicate the best tone I've ever had in my life -- winter '79-'80 in Aspen, CO, with Bruce Wade, John Klein, and Jay Hardesty, using the '66 SG I foolishly sold in '93 for what I'd paid for it in '78 and the tweed Deluxe my late ex-brother-in-law destroyed while I was in Korea in '83.

As Frank pointed out, the Vistalux is ready to go the moment you switch it on. With the volume on 3, it had a nice, warm, saturated tone, rich in harmonics with plenty of stinging treble that Linc uses to good effect on his band Badcreek's upcoming EP. Frank and I jammed some Neil Young and I enjoyed watching him shred on lead while I cranked out the riddim chords and luxuriated in the Vistalux's sweet tone. Also showed him some of the Live At Leeds material that we used to play back in Aspen, and even jammed a Fairport Convention song that my last Lawn Guyland band played back in '77. Always fun jamming with Mr. Cervantez -- reminds me of why I love to play.

If I could afford it, I'd have an SG and a Vistalux and just use a TS-9 for solos. I'd forgotten how good "straight through the amp" can sound.


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