Monday, March 31, 2008

Good guitar solos

Hi folks,
Since my previous post focused on bad guitar playing, I thought I'd turn things around this week and show you an example of good guitar playing. Think of it as Music Appreciation 101, Concord grape-style.

Here's a video of one of my all-time favorite guitarists, John Fahey, playing live in 1978. When you watch this clip, I want to you to be aware of the following: 1) Observe how Fahey uses a single guitar to create a complete song. Vocals and rhythm section are unnecessary and would probably detract from the quality of the music. 2) Notice that there is no self-indulgent soloing. Although he is not as technically accomplished as some guitarists, every note Fahey plays is perfectly placed and essential to the structure of the melody. 3) Listen to the way Fahey uses the techniques of traditional folk guitar fingerpicking to make music that is both highly expressive and modern-sounding. 4) Check out Fahey's hair. It is a total disaster. Even with this major distraction, the music is strong enough to hold our attention until the very end.

It is worth mentioning that I once went to a John Fahey show in Tacoma with my friend (and blog nemesis) Trevor. Fahey was in such terrible form that his playing could easily have been included in my previous post. Apparently, Fahey suffered from alcoholism and other health problems during his later years, and he died in 2001. If you want to hear more of his music, I recommend that you check out any of the albums he recorded in the 60's. These are classic records by a true musical genius.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Worst Guitar Solos Ever

Hey kids,
I just discovered these funny clips on YouTube (courtesy of the BoingBoing website): videos of some of rock's most famous guitarists playing excruciatingly bad solos. In reality, some prankster has overdubbed his own intentionally awful playing over these clips, and the result is hilarious. Two of my favorites are of Eric Clapton and Steve Vai, if only because these guys are amongst the finest purveyors of "guitar face." Totally awesome.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chew On This

Hello dear readers,

As many of you now know, I recently opened a restaurant. The name of it is "Chew", and we specialize in nouveau Pan-Asian tapas with a Northwest flair. Really, it is like the most perfect food ever. Maybe you read that 4-star review of Chew in the Seattle Times, or perhaps you saw me on the cover of Bon Appetit magazine. If not, let me tell you about the place. Chew is located in the heart of downtown Seattle, right next to a bunch of other fancy restaurants. It's very cozy, only three tables and a small bar, and it's built inside of a giant, hollowed-out tree stump. The walls and furniture are lined with aluminum siding from the old Kalakala can't get more local than that, can you? The decor is very vintage-modern post-industrial chic, whatever the hell that means. But let's move on to the star of the show: the food. Here's a sample from our award-winning menu:

Braised mutton tips with fennel jelly and baby artichokes...$15
Corned oxtail fricassee and panko-crusted filberts in a geoduck demi-glace...$24
Seared pygmy lobsters with sun-dried crabapples and mango-veal compote...$22
Quince and pigeon stew, with a side of fig sauce...$17
Half-dozen pheasant eggs, soaked in brandy and pomegranate soda...$19
Whole baby seal, grilled "Fukuoka"-style, on a bed of candied turnips...$30
Lavender oil-infused sea cucumbers laced with shiitake-habanero aioli...$14
Willamette Valley buffalo cheeks with blackened chard and cinnamon sticks...$24
Curried yams with daikon-rutabaga chutney and wild boar confit...$22

And for dessert...concord grapes, of course!