Sunday, April 23, 2017

King of the Skype: Fu Manchu's Balch offers online lessons

Bob Balch with Fu Manchu in Seattle in 2015. (All Cat Rose photos)





By Andy

Stoner rock... Skype rock...those are the realms where you'll find Bob Balch doing his thing.

If you wanna learn the licks of the trade from the Fu Manchu guitar meister, he's ready and willing to give you an online lesson and likely engage in some banter about the rock scene.

Here's a Q and A with the man about his tutelage adventures with six-string students:


When did you start Skype teaching? 

2010.


How did the idea come about?

I just thought it could work and it totally does. I actually teach more people online now than in person.


Who are your students and what is the age range?

All ages. All styles. I've started "answering" students with tabs and video too. So there isn't a set time. But the content is the same.


How does this all work… they contact you with song requests or is there a list to choose from? How long do the sessions last and how many songs are performed?

Yeah, songs, technique, theory. Lessons run 30 or 60 minutes.


Do you have any interesting or funny stories about the lessons?

Farts happen. One dude kept smelling his finger. Once guy had to have been on acid or something.


What do you get out of the experience? Is it enlightening for you, as well?

Totally! I get to cherry pick ideas and licks. I've gotten tons better since I started.


How long have you been playing guitar and how did you get started?

Started at 13. Listened to Sabbath and Deep Purple. Then the Misfits, Slayer. Took lessons with a local guy who taught Fu Manchu's bass player as well.


What was the first song you learned? What’s your all-time favorite riff and song? 

"One" - Metallica
"Dogs" - Pink Floyd


You can reach me at playthisriff@gmail.com to start rocking today! All levels welcome.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A smashing good time with The Damned in Seattle

The Damned entertain the Seattle crowd. (All Cat Rose photos)


By Andy; Cat Rose photos

Can't stop 'em.

The Damned were the first UK punk band out of the gate to unleash a single and an album and they just might be the last blokes standing when punk -- and all of us -- finally bites the dust.

Singer Dave Vanian was standing tall and displaying his usual swagger despite nursing a wounded left arm, which took a hit during a recent gig. With appendage in a sling, the show must go on, and did it ever on Easter Sunday night at the Showbox in Seattle.

During the gig, I found myself transported back to certain times in my life that matched with songs that were brought forth during the 21-song set. I'm sure I was smiling and shaking my head when scenarios crept into my mind. Reliving the past Damned-style... and enjoying the present, of course.

The room was sold out and fans devoured each morsel that the ever-solid band tossed our way: We got the full spectrum of tunes, from raucous opener "Melody Lee" right on through to "Love Song," "Street of Dreams," "Eloise," "Wait for the Blackout," that initial single, "New Rose," and more, more, more. Vanian even sported Easter bunny ears for a bit during one of the encores, "White Rabbit."

As always, Captain Sensible was a man possessed with guitar wailing and slinging from side to side the entire gig. Can't slow this guy down or put a cork in his ever-flowing stream of humor. Maybe there's something vital under that red beret that keeps the energy buzzing through his body.

Keyboardist Monty Oxymoron, drummer Pinch and bassist Stu West kept things rolling on the eighth date of the band's 34-date North American 40th anniversary tour.

The Damned has a long way to go on this trek, but you know they'll destroy everything in their path along the way.

Here's Cat Rose's photos, plus shots of rockin' openers Bleached.




























BLEACHED











Monday, April 10, 2017

Totally Wired at The Crocodile in Seattle


Wire at The Crocodile in Seattle. (All Andy photos)




By Andy

A friend of mine noted that Wire are on a roll right now and praised their last three albums.

I'll admit to not knowing much past their first three albums except a smattering of songs here and there, but I was fully on board with everything the band flung our way last Saturday at The Crocodile in Seattle. Just absolutely solid from start to finish, soft to loud and everything in between.

It was an entrancing gig and people were stoked before, during and after the performance.

I'm gonna start digging into those other albums post-haste.

Here's my photos of original members Colin Newman on vocals/guitar, Graham Lewis on bass/vocals and Robert Grey on drums along with guitarist Matthew Simms (who's been with Wire since 2010).