Dust off those rusty strings…

This is my 1986, Gibson Les Paul. I’ve had it since ‘86. It’s the possession I’ve had the longest in my whole life. It’s my best and oldest friend.

If you saw me play before 2001, you Probably only ever saw this guitar. About ten years ago, I kinda “retired” it. The frets were getting low and to do a fret job with the binding the way that it is…. ugh, spendy. $800+. I decided I’d only play it for bigger shows. Also around 2004, I started playing a lot more country music. I got a telecaster (the one that got stolen), and that became my main guitar for the next 14 years. Teles. I got it from water music in Stillwater for $1650. I still have the receipt and paperwork.

About two weeks ago, I pulled it out after playing Tony Houle ‘s Les Paul at the Schooner Tavern. I didn’t even throw new strings on it. Rusty as fuck, I wiped them off and played a show at Cowboy Jack’s (Woodbury) with Stephen Murray.

Have you ever had an old baseball glove, a pair of boots, or a fried you haven’t seen I years, but it was “just like yesterday” that you talked? That’s how it felt. I slid in like an old pair of boots. My hands played fast. My mind was free of worry. My thought came across, and were true. “Melissa” is back.

I brought it to Ted Vig at Vig Guitars , he made a set of really sweet 59 style pickups with a cap to brighten up the bridge. Then came the elbow grease. Years and years of grime. Stories. Messes.

I wish I knew what I had back as a teen, cuz would have never left if in the car a billion times in Minnesota winters, or sweltering heat. The photos will show the checking. I drove over it twice with my car (drunk obvi) in ‘97. Left it outside the The Terminal Bar and Flem TerminalBar Fleming hid it from me to rteach me a lesson. In 1989 it fell out of a stand and the headstock broke. I actually cried. In 1999 it got broken when I lived in a hippies house in Oregon. Moses Oakland (Leonard Shapiro) fixed the neck both times.

I going to play her til I need the fret job.

I love my teles, I love, my PRS, Dano’s, Harmony’s, Godin A-6 ultras, but she has my heart. Always and forever. Have any old pics of it? Share please.

Come hear her sing again at Javier Trejo at Mancini’s!! Mancini’s Thursday Jan. 9th at 7:30pm in the lounge. Thank you!!

Hey now!! Happy 2020

So I started this year out as I do every year, at a Gig. I played the Iron Exchange and it was pretty Deece. Followed that up with a gig on Jan. 1st and Lisa’s Place in Carver.

I’m going to make it my goal to journal here and practice my writing.

The other main goal of the year is to rid myself of most all of my possessions. So if you need anything… just ask I might have it.

Happy New Year!!

P.S. I’m playing at Mancini’s on Jan 9th so I’d love it if you came to that!! It’s early, 730 pm.


The Big Easy

“The Trees Grow Beads”

The Music

New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin, (and they’ll all say) Minneapolis…. All big music towns. One thing that all these towns agree on though is that, New Orleans is the Mecca. It has not only the players and all the venues a city can handle but it also has this “vibe”. A steaze that combines; black culture, the birth of Jazz, Voodoo, ancient musical tradition, sophistication of European musicality, back bayou soul, add spices, crawfish, oysters and mix it with warm hot and humid weather.

I have two friends that moved down there about 10 months ago, so I normally take a little vacay about this time of year. The bars are slower and rather than go to Mexico I decided to look at NOLA. It’s been calling me for a couple years now. Like seriously calling.

“St. Charles Streetcar”

I loved the streetcars!! So chill, so uniquely old, recalling a time of day long past. I imagined how many people over the past who had ridden them. They run up to the Quarter and north to the city park.

New Orleans is set in the bend if a river much like St. Paul and having grown up in St. Paul I get the references i.e. “Upriver, down river, north, south” it can mean different things when you live in the bend of the river. Also to have grown up in St. Paul on the Mississippi and then to be in NOLA on the Mississippi was pretty freaking sweet!!

I kept thinking of all the sweet songs I’d heard as a kid which just added to the mysticism. “Way down yonder in New Orleans” by Freddy Cannon was probably the first I actually remember.

“House of the Rising Sun”

“City of New Orleans”

“Walking to New Orleans”

And all the musicians I admired so much were also from NOLA and Louisiana. Fats Dominoe, Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Huey Piano Smith, Beau Jacques, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Jerry Lee Louis and probably my favorite all time Louis Prima!!

Look at all theses artists, they all have a “thing”, a show, a mystique, a style, a schtik, and a presence in playing that is so NOLA.

Here’s my theory…. Because there is so many venues in NOLA, so many musicians, so much competition, YOU BETTER STAND OUT (in one way or another)!! If it’s between me and the next guy getting the gig, out play them, out sing them, out flash them, out something them man?!

“Are you going to bring a guitar down here?” my friends asked. “No I don’t think so.” And honestly I was scared and intimidated. That and only being there a week I wanted to just see it first.  Get a feel.

I walked up and down Burbon and found my way to Frenchman. It was all pretty sweet. I walked everywhere!! Took the city bikes and the streetcars. I wish I brought my Brompton (a foldy bike). I’ll just say this, the music was amazing and I definitely could hang with all the cats there. My mind was put at rest. Maybe not the Cajun music we saw but all the horn bands and funky and jazz swing I heard… Yeah I can get down. And I don’t mean this as a toot toot moment but more like a happy realization that I’ve put a lot of time into my craft.

The Food

The food in NOLA was amazing! From the char grilled oyster to the street corner hot dog. The Poboy to the Bigneits. It was all comfort food. Like super super good. I think I gained 10 lbs. Red beans and rice I could eat everyday. Just like Refried beans and rice. But I’ll have to say that the ability to have oysters every single day that weren’t $3-$5 a piece was a real treat. I went to a place that had .50¢ oysters for happy hour and we basically just said… “Keep ’em coming” I actually saw a place in the quarter that had .25¢ oyster happy hour but I never made it back there. I LOVE oysters, the brine the taste the different combos of sauces all of it, and up here they’re so expensive. But not there… Walking down the street you’d see oyster shell on sidewalk the same way you’d see cigarette butts. Bags of powdered sugar, from people who finished the Bigneits but left the sugar for like a homeless person or a gutter punk. I think they’re different.

Gutter Punks and the Scene

It Was hard watching all the gutter punk drink the dregs of all the Hand Grenades. I’m not judging but shit… it just gave me a sick feeling of my old ways. It wasn’t tough. I could walk and Bike for days. We rented the city bikes and it was awesome.

Here the other thing… I know everyone loves Cafe Dumonde but the real Beignets are in City Park at Morning Call. Just sayin’ .




So, it looks like i didn’t do shit for the last year… almost no posts. Laugh out fucking loud. Or… you lazy piece of shit.  Well here goes again… I’m trying to be less on media. Social media makes me crazy and adds to my depression and anxiety. I like instagram because it’s mostly just pictures but recently I fell into the twittersphere….. UGH?!?!  Iam going to blog more this year and work on nailing down a solid fanbase with flyers and email updates. Here’s a sweet link to my mailing list:  http://eepurl.com/dfSn_f

2017 > 2016

Ok, so this is the year. I tried last year (not really) to keep up with the posts, but, one gets busy then it gets late and before you know it…. it’s the next day. 

2016 was a ride fosho!! I played many shows and met many many people. Made new connections lost some too. Lost love but started creating again. Fell in love with my band again, and gave up on other ones. Became a teacher, started over as a student.

 All in all I feel I’m aging gracefully. It’s different to be sure. The crowds are younger, the gear is a bit heavier, the truck is a bit more beaten down. I feel as though I’m playing better, taking risks and being sought after by a few different bands. So here’s to you, and all of yours!! Let’s make this the year we want it to be. 

“I don’t make New Years resolutions, I make anti-resolutions. Like ‘shit, I ain’t gonna do THAT again?!?’ ” – JT

The Light of the Universe…. Share it!!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job.


Photo: Josh Olson Photography

 Even though I make mostly all of my money playing music, every  week I go to Heimies and sew bags. Thursday’s and Friday’s  I shine shoes. Playing music for money has it’s ups and downs. Yes, you do get to actually do what you love but like any other job there are those times when man, sometimes you just don’t wanna go into work. Your co-workers are buggin’ ya, there’s a really really great show in town you’d rather go see (more on that later) or geez, I just played most of these songs yesterday.
Here in Minnesota musicians don’t have the luxury of a 9-10 month “playing season” like an L.A. or a Florida or a Texas. Yes, half the year here it gets down right cold and all the outside weddings/venues/gigs/festivals are gone…. Not to mention that the cold is just murder to guitars, tubes, cars, case handles and pretty much anything heavy. Loading gear is never fun and when it happens four times a day (once to the truck, out at the venue, after the show back to the truck and back in the house) but loading gear when its 25 degrees or even better yet negative 25 degrees (yes that’s what I said) well it’s down right brutal. What I’m trying to say is, here in the winter in Minnesota 1/3 if not half of the gigs dry up. Patio happy hour gigs are gone with the wind, literally. So whats a player to do to make up the income?
I was once told once by a friend who is a west coast musician “Man, I totally respect you mid-west musicians, y’all ain’t afraid to work a day job. You guys work hard all day then play hard all night.”
Tis true. A lot of musicians here that I know, and I mean professional musicians, not like guys who got a couple gigs this month. ALL keep some sorta day job even if it’s one day a week. Installing sprinklers, roofing, maintenance, pizza delivery… somethin’. Even this one guy I know who travels all around the country playing to thousands, sells out two nights at First Ave. 3-4 times a year, on the radio contsantly… yup, shovels snow in the winter a bit and roofs a bit in the summer.
I for one like my day job. I shine shoes, which to me is very Zen and healing, I mean how many other things in life do you get such the instant satisfaction? A mess comes to me, I make it look awesome, and it goes away. The other reason I like having a day job is because if you ARE giggin’ like 3-4 nights a week you tend to forget that the rest of the world is out there. It helps me maintain just a bit of normalcy. “I see drunk people.” Yes, they are everywhere and they are every night. The names and faces might be different, but they are mostly the same. You start thinking the whole world is just that way and acts like that. The drama, the fights, the jealousy, the lying and all the egos. I’m sorry but after 11pm most folks in the bars I play are up to no good. So just to sit at my little shine stand and talk with a few people who aren’t completely wasted and asking me to play “Brown Eyed Girl” is quite honestly a breath of fresh air. 
Anyone that knows me know I have a bit of a shoe fetish. Also, I really enjoy dressing up for my shows (remind me of this and I think it’ll be a whole new post someday soon). There is nothing and I mean nothing like the feeling of having you shoes shine. You could have on the worst outfit ever but if those shoes shine… boy?!? Well, you just feel good. So for myself I couldn’t think of the more perfect job.
It’s a great extra little side cash for me and a nice little cushion in the wallet. I don’t have to touch any of my gig money, which is going to pay for, posters, PA, Lights, and new album I’m going into record next week. Yeah, that’s what I said. Let’s see who reads this.