Thursday, March 30, 2017

Take Me To The River, and Talking In My Head

THE TALKING HEADS were an amazing band. They played quirky songs and were flat-out funky. They put on great live shows. They were strange and weird and experimental, but they figured out the whole melody thing. I cannot stand bands that make noise just to make noise, and wail and cry instead of tell a story through song.

The other day I heard "Take Me To The River" and figured it might make a good guitar lesson song. I am an average guitar player but I can figure stuff out fairly quickly, and this is a great song.

I encourage students to pick a song to learn. It's great ear training and it's fun to see a student discover the joy of playing something they like and identify with. So the past two days I've unleashed Take Me To The River on two students, both young, both completely oblivious to whacky 80s rock.

One loved it. The other wasn't so sure. Maybe it will grow on her.

Uh oh. "I've got some groceries, some peanut butter ...." Crap. Now I have another Talking Heads song talking in my head. The power of music!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remembering the legendary PPGA



I WAS WORKING at The Whig last night when one of the newer sports guys said, "What is the PPGA?"

Matt Schuckman and I started laughing, and we didn't stop. The PPGA was the "Piss Poor Golf Association," and it was run with Tim Finchem-like authority by former Whig Sports Editor Don O'Brien. We'd get together at area courses Sunday mornings and the idea was the badder the golf, the better the results.

Par was shooting 100. If you lost a ball but you thought you knew where it was and found another ball, you could play it without penalty. Hand wedges out of sand traps were acceptable after three whiffs.

After every round Don would write a recap. He even kept an "Order of Merit" stats. Last night Matt found an old blog with some of the recaps and read them out loud, and I almost cried from laughing. Here is the blog from 2005. I am wiping away tears. Maybe you have to know the guys. Man, I miss the PPGA.

If you had a 13 on a hole, it was called a "Gough," in honor of Bob Gough once getting a 13. If you were really bad, you were playing for the "Hardcore Championship." A woeful shot was called "Hausdorfian." We had guys nicknamed "Noodlehauser" and "Fed Ex Bob" as regular tour members. If a member shot a round that was too good, he was in danger of being placed on probation until he sucked bad enough to get back in the tour's good graces.

One day KHQA Sports Director Chris Duerr sprained his ankle on the fourth hole and had to be carted back to the clubhouse. Another day WGEM Sports Director Ben Marth got so ticked off he quit midway through the back nine so he could go home and watch the Bears. Geesh. What a glutton.

I will never forget Eric Ervin tossing his brand new driver into a pond in Barry, and waiting for it to float back to the side.

Then there was former Whig Sportswriter Jeff Rabjohns, who deserves his own chapter. Heck, he deserves his own book. We can't go into detail on this blog, sadly.

One morning at Westview we had the legendary Gordon Pasley announce us as we teed off. We wrote up bios of every player. I just remember shaking with laughter as Gordon enthusiastically boomed out our intros.

Good lord. I'm crying again.

Am I sensing a PPGA reunion event?



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Hey Ginny - remember learning a C chord?

WE DIDN'T GET a chance to catch the Quincy Notre Dame Spring Show over the weekend. Our loss. I've heard rave reviews and it never ceases to amaze me how much talent we have in both our public and parochial school programs.

Two of my guitar students played in the QND show. Adam Kirkpatrick, who is turning into a monstrous player, performed "American Pie" and killed it, from what we hear. And Ginny Steinkamp, who took lessons here for about a year, did a duet with her boyfriend, the classic Kansas song "Dust In The Wind." I've seen the Facebook clip and it's stunning - where the heck did Ginny learn that fingerstyle technique? Not from this burned out 80s hairband guy, that's for sure.

Stretch those fingers to play the C, Ginny!
I recall Ginny as a very shy and quiet girl who wanted to play guitar. She bought a beautiful Dean acoustic, which she still plays, and it didn't take her very long to figure it out. Some students just take to it naturally and put in the time to learn, which is the key.

Now she's giving lessons and discovering the joy of playing and teaching music, a powerful thing indeed.

Gosh. Where do the years fly by? I seem to remember Ginny wrinkling her nose when she was trying to learn that finger-stretching C chord. You've come a million miles in a short time, Ginny.

How much do you charge for lessons? Maybe this old dog can finally learn that fingerstyle thing you do ....



Monday, March 27, 2017

Broken glass and actually reading the post

EARLY SATURDAY MORNING, some moron broke a large plate glass window of the restaurant at Fifth and Hampshire, Thrive. It appeared the window was punched or head-butted. The Moron bled profusely walking south on Fifth Street, then stopped by our entrance and splattered blood on our front door.

Congrats, Moron. Your DNA has been collected. You'll be caught. I'm sure we'll have to listen about your sorry upbringing and how the world is against you, and you were just mad at your significant other or just drunk and didn't know what you were doing. Whatever. All I know is that all of us downtown are keeping an eye out for you and your wrapped up hand or head or whatever, and somebody will eventually blab and give you up.

The restaurant had to deal with a busted window before a busy Saturday morning, the building owner has to replace a window, and his insurance rates probably went up. All because of a stupid and thoughtless action. I'm sure, Moron, you'll be able to pay restitution when you are caught.

Quincy Police patrol officer E.S. Cowick responded and did an excellent job gathering evidence. He tried tracking the blood trail, but unfortunately it has rained and I'm not sure there was much to follow once Moron cross the street from our building. Both he and another officer spent a lot of time Saturday on the case.

At one point I heard officer Cowick talking on his phone with another agency about a different case he was working on. Let's just put it this way - the officer shouldn't have been spending his time tracking Moron and his stupidity - there are so many more urgent and important things law enforcement really need to do.

I put up a post Saturday morning mentioning the window at Fifth and Hampshire, but many people thought it was our window at Fifth and Maine. Guess I should have been more specific and mentioned the restaurant, though we do appreciate the concern.

I'm being harsh, maybe too harsh. And there are far more pressing issues in our wretched world. But I'm tired of hard-working and good people getting screwed by the stupidity of somebody else. My heart fails to bleed for you, Moron. And your blood will eventually lead to your demise.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What to do when visiting Quincy

MY COUSIN, ROLAND Hart, is coming to Quincy next weekend for a little solo road trip. Roland lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is visiting the Q-Town for the first time.

Roland is a very good guitar player, so I think he'll be just fine surrounded by all kinds of stuff to play. I think he'll enjoy knocking around town and checking it out. At least one of the nights I have a gig and I'll drag him along and force him to be a roadie, or maybe even play a song or two with us if he wants.

Friends and family have visited us before and they like Quincy. It's small enough and has history. They like driving up Maine Street and strolling through Calftown. We have nice shops and restaurants and live music on weekends. There is always something going on.

I've thought about what Roland should do. He's a pretty self-reliant dude so he'll figure stuff out on his own - maybe I'll put him to work and have him tune guitars, sell stuff and make sure no ghosts are knocking around the upper floors of Fifth and Maine.

There are some places you go and everything is planned out to the minute. Not here. We'll just take it as it comes and have ourselves a good time. That's maybe what I love most about Quincy - easy peazy!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ready to rock with another street party!

A street party means a store party!
THE DISTRICT FORMALLY announced the bands for a street party during QFest weekend. Click here for the full press release. On Saturday night, June 3, Maine Street between Fifth and Sixth will be rocking and we'll be right in the thick of it.

QFest is replacing MidSummer Arts Faire and has moved to the first weekend of June. We have some great local acoustic and band acts lined up for Saturday and Sunday during the day hours in Washington Park, and the party Saturday night should be epic.

I got asked yesterday by several people if I was offended there wasn't a local band invited to play the Saturday night show. No. Bleep no! If I can watch two good bands play right in front of my store for a paltry $5, plus throw a little bash in the store, plus offer up our back area as a Green Room for the bands (like we did last year during Dogwood's rain delay), we are all about it.

I'm all about playing and having fun - this Saturday The Cheeseburgers will be rocking the annual Fabulous Furball for the Quincy Humane Society, and we couldn't be more fired up. But sometimes it's nice to take a weekend off and enjoy watching somebody else do the entertaining, and to just forget about life for a while and have some fun.

I suggest you join us!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Turn it up? Really?

SOMETHING HAPPENED THE other day that has never happened before in my many years of playing music.


We got asked to turn it up.

Pepper Spray played Sunday at the Tangerine Bowl in Quincy for the Pins For Patriots event. You really haven't lived unless you've played a bowling alley gig, and we are not talking about some side room or in the basement. We took up the front of lanes eight through 12. To the left and the right were strikes and spares and splits.

Anyway, we were jamming away and everybody seems to be having fun when the event organizer came up to Pepper Spray sound guy and ringleader Adam Yates. Uh oh. Here it comes. We are being too loud. We have to turn it down.

"Nope," Adam said. "He wants us to turn it up."

I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you. He wants us to do what?

I have been told to "turn it down" all my life. And really, I don't play in loud bands. But when you have a band, particularly with percussion and plugged in instruments, you have volume. You know it's going to be an interesting show when you get told to turn it down, and you haven't even started. Happens all the time - it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll,  you know.

The best story about volume was the night The Funions played at a local bar. Pat Cornwell was on drums and manning the small PA. Halfway through the show a Quincy Police officer came in and told us neighbors were complaining, and to turn down the volume.

Pat just glared at him. I assured the officer we'd lower the volume. Pat leaned over the mixer and made twisting motions with his hands. The officer left.

"Did you turn it down?" I asked.

"Nope," Pat said, that evil gleam in his eye glittering like a disco ball. "I turned it up. Let's play!"

And we had no more issues that night.

So thank you, bowlers and Pins For Patriots organizers. We had a blast and I think we were loud enough. Hopefully we get to do it again next year. But if we do, could you turn down the bowling a bit?

Nah. Turn it up. We'll all feel better about it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ticket to ride, not park

LAST WEEK A Quincy Police officer wrote tickets for cars parked more than two hours on Maine between Fifth and Sixth. A business near Sixth and Maine complained, so the officer spent the good part of her day observing cars and issuing citations.

I am guilty of parking on Maine Street during the day, mostly to suck up a spot from a WCU Building employee. WCU building employees are by far the biggest violators. There is a lot of parking within a square block, and it's not hard to find. So, Monday through Friday during the day, I will not park on Maine Street by Second String Music. I'd rather have the space open for a customer.

I watched some of the vehicles come and go yesterday. This is informal and a rough estimate, but at least 80 percent of the people who parked went into the WCU Building. Not all were employees, and a few came right back out after paying a bill or doing business.

There is one guy who comes out to his truck, sets up his laptop, smokes cigarettes and works from the truck for a couple of hours. Then he goes back into his WCU Building office. Maybe he just needs to get away from the phone or annoying co-workers. Who knows?

A while back we had some work done on our second floor and needed access beside 505 Maine. Sheryl actually went into the WCU Building to get a few employees to move their cars. Incredibly, they all had stickers for the parking garage across from the Whig on Fifth Street. "Oh, I just wanted to be closer today," one of the car owners said.

Grrrrrrrr ....

I have nothing against the WCU Building, the businesses and the people who work there. It's a big part of The District. Many employees do park a block or more away. Some even pay to park in the parking garage at the rear of the building. And really, this isn't a huge deal.

But I believe we need to keep parking spaces open for people who come down here to shop, dine or do business. We as business owners need to encourage this. I don't like QPD writing tickets - it's a waste of manpower and they have way better things to do.

So I will park a half block west. There is no restriction on parking on the south side of Washington Park or on 5th Street. Every now and then it gets a bit congested but rarely do I have to walk more than half a block to get to Second String Music.

I have said and written this many times, but the chances of you getting closer to our SSM door than at any big box store on Broadway are way better. The difference is that my door is really small, and all of WalMart looks huge, so it appears you are parking closer. You aren't. And it's safer crossing Fifth and Maine than it is navigating through a busy parking lot.

It's about common courtesy and respect for our customers and people coming downtown. Shop, work, eat and play in The District. And let's make it easy for everybody to do it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Don't fight - jig!

Gittin Jiggy Wid It.
WE HOPE YOU had a great St. Patrick's weekend. Looks like we've all lived to tell the tales. Some are bigger and more Irish than others. GUH.

Here's the best story from the weekend. Remember, You Can't Make It Up.

Early Saturday afternoon, 911 received a call about "five men fighting" in the parking lot of a bar on Broadway. The officer dispatched to the scene soon radioed back - "Disregard."

Seems the five men weren't fighting. They were doing "an Irish jig." Certainly an Irish jig and a parking lot brawl have a lot in common - when you sober up I'm sure you'd rather forget it, or don't remember it at all.

So if you drive past the bar and you see five guys lurching around and falling into each other, consider it the luck of the Irish, and keep driving. Especially around St. Patrick's weekend.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Not guilty, and a big story in a little town

I USUALLY WATCH the CBS morning news. I like Charlie Rose. The other two networks are more concerned about the latest celebrity in rehab or who won the talent show last night. CBS actually has news and interesting guests.

This morning, out of the blue, they had a promo for Saturday night's 48 Hours show. It's about Curtis Lovelace and his two trials. If you want unbiased and fair opinion, stop reading. I  knew Curtis and wrote stories quoting him when I worked at The Whig. I taught his son guitar lessons. And I played at his wedding to Christine, a genuinely nice person who didn't deserve to go through this.

I was a witness at both trials. The first time I was on the stand for three minutes. I saw Curtis the day his first wife died, at the state's attorney's office. He said, "Happy Valentine's Day to me, huh." I never forgot it and I thought it was odd at the time.

I told several people about it, including my boss at the paper, State's Attorney Jon Barnard and several Quincy Police officers. But over time, the story faded. The death was labeled undetermined. I was always curious about it, but there was nothing there. It was like a ton of stories floating around when I was a reporter.

I got along well with Curtis and I liked him. He seemed to move on. He didn't have a lot of criminal cases when he was at the state's attorney's office, but the ones he did prosecute, he was competent and always ready to talk. Same thing when he was on the school board.

After he was arrested, I was interviewed by a QPD detective. Prosecutor Ed Parkinson called me and said he wanted me to testify, even though I knew very little and my brief interaction with Curtis was just that - brief. It didn't determine his guilty or innocence. But it's a common tactic for prosecutors, called setting the table. He wanted to show the jury how Curtis was acting that day.

I testified two weeks ago in Springfield in the second trial. I didn't want to be there. I got a piece of paper from a man wearing a badge and was "commanded" to testify. It's called a subpoena. You don't have a choice in the matter. So I went.

I was on the stand for about six minutes. Curtis' defense attorney, an absolute shark who has represented some, uh, interesting clients, was aggressive. He asked me if I knew why I had to drive 106 miles to testify. He asked me what I'd say if I found my wife dead. And he asked me why I was "judging his client."

I wasn't judging anybody. The attorney, like most good defense attorneys, was putting words in my mouth. "I'm not," was my terse reply. And that was that. I could tell you more about the encounter I had with him in the elevator a few minutes later, but I'll save it for when you see me in person, if you want to know.

I'm not surprised Curtis was found not guilty. It came down to the pathologists and lack of evidence. Curtis didn't hurt himself when he testified. And putting his second wife on the stand was a huge mistake, in my opinion.

You can watch the 48 Hours episode Saturday night at 8. I'm not interested in seeing it. I tried watching the original broadcast and made it about four minutes before turning it off.

It's certainly given Quincy notoriety. This CBS blog from the first trial was well done and complimentary.

The only thing for sure is that we are glad it's over.





Thursday, March 16, 2017

This piece of mail was a piece of bleep

THERE WAS AN item in our home mail yesterday. It was a single piece of paper, maybe 4 X 6 inches in size, no envelope. The message was typed, probably from a computer. It said that an upcoming "seminar" in Quincy about homosexuality in the church was wrong, and it proceeded to tell me what sin was and wasn't.


If you dropped this into my mail slot, and I presume you dropped it into a lot of Calftown mail slots, you are a hypocrite and sinner yourself. You just broke the law, moron. You can't put something in the mail unless it is properly addressed and has a stamp. Render unto Caesar what is Caesars. Look it up. A wise man said it and it's in the Bible.

People are often surprised when learning I'm a PK. Yup. Preacher's Kid. I'm kind of proud of it, actually. I went to Christian schools all my life, even survived a terrible year at a Christian college. I was once very active in an organized church. But I've gotten away from it, and I admit I need more God in my life.

In my later years I've developed a more liberal and world view of religion. Are we right just because we are right? If you are Jewish are you going to hell, should I be hanging out with you? Geesh. I'd really miss out, because I couldn't enjoy Paul Lester and his dirty jokes and magnificent mandolin playing.

Keeping Christian extremists out of our country is a bigger issue than keeping out Muslims. Have you ever actually tried to watch the 700 Club? I did once when getting my oil changed and sitting in the waiting room. I got really angry. But it was a good oil change.

Back to the idiot who put the note in our mail. If your intent was to make us think or reconsider or understand how evil we are, well, you failed. In fact, my wife cursed a blue streak after reading the note. You made her sin. Great. Even the dogs were bitching, and a sinning dog is an awful thing to deal with. Just awful. It's ironic that we sinned even more by reading your note about sin. Your purported good deed got undone by the devil. Calftown is full of sinners you know....

Go ahead and hide behind your computer and tell us all about right and wrong. I'd answer back if you had the guts to show your face. But I have better things to do - my car is due for an oil change.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rocking with the Irish Rag Tag band

WELL, I KNOW what we are doing Friday night.

The Rag Tag Irish Band knows how to have fun!
The Rag Tag Irish Band is playing at O'Griffs in downtown Quincy for St. Patrick's Day. If you live in Quincy or the surrounding area, you've seen them play. They are regulars on Wednesday nights at O'Griffs, located on the square in the 400 block of Hampshire. We hire them ever year for the MidSummer Arts Faire, now known as QFest. Obviously St. Patrick's Day is a big deal for them, and they have several gigs Friday, with O'Griffs being the big one.

Several Rag Tag members have done business with us at Second String Music, and we are grateful. I love the band because they don't take themselves too seriously, but they are serious about having a good time.

One of the members called me yesterday and asked how much I would charge to help them with sound Friday. I had to think about it for a second. "Do you pay in beer?" I asked. "Uh, what kind of dumb question is that?" was the reply.

All we have to do is show up and tell them if they sound OK. I can already predict how this is going to go. "You guys sound great! Where's my glass?" I will say.

So join us Friday night at 6 for St. Patrick's Day at O'Griffs with the Rag Tag Irish Band. Geesh. What could possibly be more Irish?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Health care story

SHERYL AND I are watching the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with equal parts horror and fascination. Thank you, Sherlock Trump, for telling us what we've known for a long time - the health care thing is really complicated.

How can you be President of the USA and not know that the issue of health insurance and/or health care is a complicated issue? How can you be a citizen of the USA and not know that this is an important and complicated issue? Sheryl is particularly amazed and comfuzed at the lack of basic knowledge that this president has about many important (and yes complicated) parts of his JOB.

What is very simple is that without the ACA, Second String Music will not be in business. Period. So we watch and wait and pray and hope we can figure it out.

Here's a great story from my cousin Natalie in Grand Rapids. Her tale is precautionary and an example of how things are supposed to work.

We'll keep watching. And I will cross my fingers behind my back.

Friday, March 10, 2017

All Cheese in all weather

THE CHEESEBURGERS ARE alive and well. Recently I've heard people say, "I thought you guys were done." This could not be further from the truth, and there are two reasons why this rumor is floating one.

The first has to do with people spreading "fake news". I'll leave that alone, but I've figured it out and it's really pathetic. This band has gone through several lineup changes and is different from the one I joined nearly eight years ago, but we still play Cheesy classic rock and we are still a bunch of goofballs. This is the most fun I've had with the band yet - no egos, no bullbleep, just some guys who want to play and are willing to practice.

Cheese on!
The second reasons is that we just don't play that many public shows anymore. The local bar scene has died out. And I'm not really into playing in a bar until 1 a.m. anymore. So most of what we do is private parties and events. And we're good with that.

Are we as good as the band I joined eight years ago? Maybe. Maybe not. But I'll put us up against any other band out there right now, and there are some excellent groups - Eleven, Raised On Radio, Vertigo and many others. They are great bands and I respect the daylights out of the guys who play in them.

Here's a list of shows we are playing so far in 2017. We are negotiating as we speak for more, so make sure you check out our Facebook page.

Make America Cheese Again 2017
Saturday, March 25
Fabulous Furball, Town & Country Inn, Quincy, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 24
Party Cove, Monroe City, 8 p.m.

Thursday, July 6
Washington Park, Quincy, Quincy Park District Summer Concert Series, 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 15
State Room, Quincy, Private Party

Saturday, July 29
Clark County Fair, Kahoka, Mo. 8 p.m.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Former QU hoops coaches thrive

AS WE DESCEND into March Madness, here's to two former Quincy University basketball coaches who are making their marks on bigger stages.

Steve Hawkins has been the men's basketball coach at Western Michigan University for 14 seasons. He was the coach at QU when I was sports editor at The Whig, and I knew then what many have found out around the country - he's a great coach, and he has it figured out far beyond the court.

Western Michigan has won a bunch of games lately and is playing in the MAC Tournament today in Cleveland. I am a proud graduate of Central Michigan, the arch-rival, but I follow Hawk and his team and I wish them the best.

I find it staggering to believe it was almost 20 years ago to the day that Hawk and his QU team defeated Southern Indiana in a NCAA Division II tournament game in Indianapolis. It went to three overtimes and it might be the most amazing athletic event I have ever witnessed. Twenty years? Really?

Meanwhile, up in Macomb, J.D. Gravina continues to show he's one of the best young coaches in the country - his Western Illinois University women's team just won the Summit League championship Monday. Emily teaches at WIU and was in town Tuesday night for dinner and she was pumped about the game. The player who hit the heroic game-tying 3-pointer Monday, Taylor Hanneman, was in one of Emily's music classes last semester, and Emily is super excited about Western Illinois going to the NCAA Tournament.

J.D. had very good teams during his years at Quincy University. I will never forget before his first game as coach - I was the official scorekeeper for QU back then, and he was all nervous about who was working at the table and if we had enough help. J.D. also practices what he preaches - he was an amazing player and pretty much unstoppable during our NBA (Noon Basketball Association) games.

Go get 'em, Hawk and J.D.!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Keep on scooting

I WENT TO Traeder's TNT this morning and got a new battery for the scooter. I bought it from the Traeders eight years ago, and it's still purring right along.

The scooter gets between 75 and 100 miles per gallon. We have put 6,700 miles on it. Let's say the average price of gas the last eight years is around $3 a gallon. If I save 50 miles for every gallon of gas versus driving my car, I figure I've saved .... well. A lot of money. I'm lousy at math, so Sheryl will probably figure this out for me.

Bottom line is that it's been worth every penny. Quincy is a great town to have a scooter, because you can ride it on every street except Broadway. And you can use it nine or 10 months of the year - I got it out Sunday and zipped around to do errands, and took it to the store Monday when Sheryl had the car and was teaching.

Some day I'd like to do away with the car forever. But vehicles are like computers and the internet - we don't realize just how dependent we've become on them.

And yes, I still look strange, a 6-foot-7 dude on a little scooter. Fortunately I couldn't care less - it gets me to where I need to go and it's fun to ride.

Spring is here (though it's supposedly going to snow Saturday). Bring on the warmer weather and the scooter rides!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Riding The Storm Out

WE GOT SMACKED by a righteous thunderstorm last night. The warning sirens went off a little after 10 p.m., waking us both up. We turned on the TV, saw the line of storms crashing toward us, and headed to the basement.

Quite the scene, our little family. Sheryl, me, three ticked off dogs and a cat. Tucker is morbidly afraid of storms and was a mess. Angus patiently sat on us, and Genie simply laid down and waited it out. Josie thought it was all a big game and prowled around the five of us huddled up against the basement wall.

At least Sheryl got the litter box cleaned and I figured out there are 7.2 million spider webs by the furnace. Fifteen minutes later the hail stopped clattering off the house, and we were good to go.

Up in Macomb, Emily tracked down her neighbors and waited it out in their basement. She brought her oboes and wine. Glad to see she has perspective and priorities!

Tornado warnings are nothing to fool around with. I'm glad we didn't get much damage, but it sure was a light show. I'm a bit afraid to look up at our Fifth and Maine building for fear of finding more windows blown out, but maybe we lucked out.

So I'm thankful for basements and warning systems, and even shaking dogs and a playful cat.


Monday, March 6, 2017

My new baby

I HAVE A new baby. She is cherry red. Her name is Genevieve. She is a Gretsch Broadkaster with a V stoptail bridge.

I. Am. In. Love.

When buying a new guitar, I am always fighting the "Want Versus Need" dilemma. Do I need a new guitar? Pffft. No. Do I want a new guitar? Bleep yeah! It's a struggle, this whole Dutch Calvinistic thing battling the dream of having a new guitar.

It's been a while since I've purchased a new electric. I fight the urge to buy stuff I don't really need all the time. But this was too good of a guitar to pass up. I own a music store. We are a Gretsch dealer. I play in a working band. Plus Plus Plus WAIT DON'T DO IT Plus Plus Plus .... bang. I pulled the trigger.

To finance this new project, I sold a beautiful Takamine 12-string acoustic. I was sad to see her go, but she found a great new home and I'm on my way to paying off Genevieve. I have two other electric guitars on the floor right now, my Reverend Flat Roc and a Jon Kammerer custom made beauty. Both are priced to sell, but I'm in no hurry to see them go.

A month or so ago, our Gretsch dealer paid us a visit and talked me into buying the Broadkaster. I am fortunate to have a supportive wife through all of our musical adventures, and she only rolled her eyes seven or eight times when we were talking about a guitar to fit my band and style of playing.

I've never owned a new hollow body, and certainly never a beauty like Genevieve. She has what Gretsch calls "FullTron" pickups, and they ring forever. The Cheeseburgers played a show Friday night in Hannibal in a huge and boomy room, and I couldn't believe how good Genevieve sounded through my Bugera tube amp. Every string and note was crystal clean and the sustain is mind-boggling. I even plugged it into an acoustic amp Saturday and I was stunned to hear the tone ... Genevieve may be with me on some of our HartLyss and other acoustic adventures.

I am pretty simplistic when it comes to electric guitar tone - I play rhythm guitar in a Cheesey cover band. But it's fun to experiment with sound and tone.

So take one guess at what I'll be doing a lot of this week, especially with two more huge Cheeseburger shows looming. You shouldn't have trouble hearing Genevieve roar at Fifth and Maine!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

More parking lot party smashing!

SATURDAY IS OUR annual anniversary party for Second String Music. Six years? Seriously? We will celebrate and do what we do best, that is, have some controlled chaos and more fun than should be allowed.

Click here for all the details. The highlight of this year's event is the El Crapon smashing in Schuecking's parking lot. Jim Percy went to a lot of trouble and effort to make a cajon to smash. I believe Jim went to the Frank Haxel school of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But he's delivering the goods and I wouldn't miss it, if I were you.

We have a Cheeseburger gig the night before so I'll be groggy from the start. One thing I've learned about these store parties is that it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Nah, to heck with that. I'll be running as soon as I hit the ground, probably.

Also, you can meet the newest member of my guitar family. She's a gorgeous cherry stain Gretsch Broadkaster. Her name is Genevieve. I am shaking and can hardly type.

See you Saturday for a smashing good time! And to get us in the mood, here's Chris Kelly's amazing Table 16 video from last year's event.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mayoral civility

I WAS INVITED to a mayoral forum Tuesday night by Quincy Regional Crime Stoppers and the Quincy Police Department Citizen's Police Academy Alumni.. It was informative and well-attended. I suggest you find out more yourself about the two candidates.

Incumbent Kyle Moore in a Republican. He is being challenged by independent Jeff Van Camp, a city alderman. I will not endorse either man publicly, but you can ask if you see me.

The two men agree on many subjects, and have very different ideas about others. If you live in Quincy, I challenge you to find out more and make an informed decision at the polls in April.

What I most appreciated was that the tone stayed civil and there seems to be respect between the two men. The last mayoral election got a little ugly and it was unnecessary. Both men have the right idea now, and I hope it stays that way.

The ugly head of bipartisan politics has no place at the local political table. If you are a proud R or D, good for you. It doesn't make a bit of difference to me.