Watching the Wheels

Happy 72nd birthday to my favorite Beatle, and one of my favorite people, John Lennon.


So Behind I’m Still Talking About Hendrix


It’s been a while. How’s everyone doing out there??  I just got back from Ireland.  Did you know that Guinness beer is WAY better in Ireland than it is in the states?  According to a new bartender/drummer friend in Doolin, it is fact that Guinness doesn’t travel well – which is why it’s 100 times more amazing over there.

Since I’ve been away, and had very limited internet access while I was gone, I am terribly behind on all kinds of news. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Is this really happening?  How can that much ego fit into one relationship?  Why do I care?  It also just genuinely kind of grosses me out. Of course there are far more important things going on in the world, but let’s face it, this is what people want to talk about. It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

I’m so behind that I haven’t even had a chance to listen to Jack White’s first solo album, Blunderbuss (released Tuesday) in its entirety yet.  I’ll get on that at some point today and report back, although I have been hearing nothing but positive feedback thus far.

On my trip, however, I did discover a new appreciation for the banjo. As you can imagine, we did a lot of pubbing, and there was FREE live music at almost every pub.  Why it can’t be like this in New York, I don’t know… but it was great.  There was a little village on the West Coast of Ireland called Doolin where we stayed for 3 days, and while we were there we “frequented” a pub called McGann’s. It was a good crowd, but there was also an amazing band there featuring Kevin Griffin, a world-renowned banjo player, and ranked as one of the best in all of Ireland.  He was fucking awesome.

That’s my mom on her birthday with Kevin (the guy boozing on the left)

Also while I was there I started reading Charles R. Cross’ “Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix”.  Charles Cross is an amazing writer, and also wrote “Heavier Than Heaven”, the bestselling Kurt Cobain bio that I read last year and absolutely loved.  If you’re interested in checking them out, click their titles above.

So anyway, I was reading this book and I came across this part that really blew my mind.  Here’s a synopsis:

It was June 4, 1967. The Jimi Hendrix Experience had already been formed (including Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums), and they were experiencing rapid success throughout the U.K.  They had already been set to travel back to the states to play the Monterey Pop Festival in July, and were playing their “farewell England” concert that day at the Seville Theater in London, which was owned by Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager.  The Beatles had just released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (my personal favorite of their albums) 3 days prior, and both Paul and George were set to attend the show (along with Eric Clapton – no big deal.) Just 30 minutes prior to their performance, Jimi came backstage and announced that he had just heard the new Beatles record, and that they were going to open their set with the song Sgt. Pepper’s. Redding and Mitchell thought he was completely nuts, but they listened to it and went through it a couple of times. This is what happened less than a half an hour later:

Later that night, Brian Epstein had a private party and Jimi, Noel and Mitch were invited.  When they arrived none other than Paul McCartney himself opened the front door holding a huge joint in his mouth.  He immediately passed it to Jimi and said, “That was fucking great, man.”  To this day, Paul McCartney will say that performance was one of the greatest honors of his career.

Great story. Great book. Go read it.