Sunday, April 29, 2018

Black Crowes – "Let Me Share the Ride" (1996)

Let me share the ride
Let me share the ride

A few days ago, I was riding my bike on the Sligo Creek hiker-biker trail and minding my own business when I saw this shared bike parked just off the trail:

A few minutes later, I saw this shared bike:

Shortly after that, I saw this pair of shared bikes parked side by side:

I counted 20-odd shared bikes parked along the six miles of the Sligo Creek trail that I covered on my ride.  None of them had been left anywhere near a Metro station or bus stop or major intersection.  

What the hell?

*     *     *     *     *

The Washington area is awash in shared bicycles.

Capital Bikeshare, which has been around since 2010, is the largest of the DC-area shared-bike operations with more than 4300 bikes spread out among almost 500 docking stations in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland and Virginia.

A Capital Bikeshare bike
I purchased a Capital Bikeshare membership last summer.  For $85 a year, I can take an unlimited number of rides.  But I can’t keep a bike more than 30 minutes without paying an extra charge.  

Sometimes the docking stations where Capital Bikeshare bicycles are deployed are empty.  That’s bad if you’re looking for a bike to ride:

Other times the docking stations are filled to capacity.  That’s bad if you’re looking to drop off a bike at the end of a ride:

A few months ago, I planned to ride a Capital Bikeshare bike the mile or so from a Metro station to my dentist’s office.  But the docking station nearest the dentist was completely full – so I couldn’t leave my bike there.  The two next-closest stations were also filled up.  I had to go to a fourth docking station to find an empty space to park the bike.

That’s important because you have to secure the bike to a dock or take the risk that someone will steal it – leaving you on the hook for a $1200 lost bike fee.

The good news is that no one in his or her right mind would steal a Capital Bikeshare bike.  They are heavy and ungainly and uncomfortable, and I can’t imagine riding one more than a few miles.

But for me they are the best alternative when it comes to covering short distances in downtown DC because they’re faster than walking and less expensive than cabs or the Metro.  (Plus cabs get hung up in traffic, and you usually have to wait a few minutes for the next Metro train to show up – so bikes usually get you where you want to go just as fast.)

*     *     *     *     *

Last September, the county where I live – Montgomery County, Maryland – allowed four dockless bike-sharing companies to place their bikes on the mean streets of Silver Spring.

The biggest advantage of dockless bikes is that you aren’t required to check them out from or return them to a docking station – you can grab one wherever you find it, and leave it wherever you want.

Feel like leaving your shared bike on its side out in the middle of nowhere?  No problem:

The biggest disadvantage of dockless bikes is that there’s no guarantee that there will be a bike available at any particular bike location.  And dockless bikes are sometimes left blocking sidewalks or doorways by their I-can’t-be-bothered riders.

*     *     *     *     *

LimeBike, which is the largest dockless bikeshare operator in the U.S., has raised $62 million from investors and has placed some 10,000 bikes in 30 American cities.  They dropped off 240 of their green and yellow bikes in Silver Spring last October:

I saw 16 of them along the stretch of the Sligo Creek trail I rode.  I suppose it’s possible that someone taking a walk on the trail might decide to hop on one of them and ride it back to downtown Silver Spring, but it’s far more likely that the company will have to ferry them back in one of its trucks it uses to reposition its bikes where they are needed.

I also saw four Mobike bikes and five Ofo bikes sitting along the trail.  Each of those companies are Beijing-based behemoths that own millions of bikes and operates in hundreds of cities, mostly in China (where bikesharing is hugely popular) but also in other countries.

An Ofo shared bike
parked next to a Mobike
I saw only one Spin bike.  Spin is a West Coast startup company like LimeBike that’s also investing in shared electric scooters:

As I previously noted, none of those bikes had been left anywhere near a Metro station or bus stop or major intersection.  I can only guess that most of them were ridden by returning commuters to the point on the trail nearest their homes.  They presumably left the bikes there and walked to their residences.  (I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just ride the bike all the way to your house, unless there is some rule against parking on sidewalks in residential neighborhoods that I don’t know about.) 

*     *     *     *     *

The dockless bikeshare companies operating in the DC area charge $1 per 30 minutes of usage.  You find bikes – which have built-in GPS technology – by using an app, and you use the same app to unlock the bike built-in locking mechanism.

I’ve not been tempted to try one of the dockless bikes.  For one thing, I have my Capital Bikeshare membership, so I can ride their bikes for free.  (David Copperfield’s old nurse, Peggotty, described her husband as being “close” with money.  I’m a bit close with my money as well.)

For another, I’m not too excited about downloading the app, opening a new account, and figuring out how the checkout system works.

Too damn complicated
The dockless bikes do look a little more nimble and rideable that the Capital Bikeshare clunkers, but they aren’t nearly as nimble and rideable as my own bikes.

*     *     *     *     *

“Let Me Share the Ride” was released in 1996 on Three Snakes and One Charm, the fourth Black Crowes studio album.  

The song is about hitchhiking, not bikesharing, but . . . whatever.

Melody Maker once described the Black Crowes as “The Most Rock ’n’ Roll Rock ’n’ Roll Band in the World.”  I don’t know about that, but I do know that “Hard to Handle” and “Remedy” are silly records.

Here’s “Let Me Share the Ride”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, April 27, 2018

Adam Ant – "Goody Two Shoes" (1982)

You don't drink, don't smoke
What do you do?

Earlier this month – on Friday the 13th – I attended the grand opening of True Respite Brewing, which is located just a few miles from my Rockville home.

True Respite Brewing’s grand 
opening drew a big crowd
I wasn’t the only big shot there.  Maryland Governor Larry Hogan handled ribbon-cutting duties, and the event was also attended by Montgomery County Council President Hans Reimer, State Senator Roger Manno, and Delegate Bonnie Cullison.  (Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot – who is the Maryland craft brewing industry’s best friend – was traveling, but he sent his Chief of Staff, Len Foxwell, who is the Maryland craft brewing industry’s second-best friend, in his stead.)

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
at the True Respite ribbon-cutting
It was a great day for True Respite owners Brendan and Bailey O’Leary and head brewer Kenny Allen.

And it was a great day to drink a pint of Gude Two Shoes, a blonde ale with just a hint of mango that hit the spot on what turned out to be a very warm afternoon.  (Gude Two Shoes – the name was inspired by the title of today’s featured song – was a collaboration between True Respite and Saints Row Brewing, which opened in 2017 just a short distance from True Respite).

*     *     *     *     *

Five days later, I was at another brand-new Maryland craft brewery – Crooked Crab Brewing in Odenton.

To work up a thirst, I first took a 90-minute bike ride along the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis trail, which follows the right of way of a long-defunct electric commuter railway.

The WB&A trail in Anne Arundel County
Unfortunately, I could only ride part of the trail.  That’s because the half of the trail that’s in Anne Arundel County isn’t connected to the half that’s in Prince George’s County.  The Patuxent River forms the dividing line between those counties, who haven’t been able to get their acts together to build a bridge over it to connect the two parts of the trail.  (The Patuxent is almost narrow enough to jump over, and should have been bridged years ago.)

*     *     *     *     *

I went to Crooked Crab to listen to Comptroller Franchot discuss next steps in his efforts to reform Maryland’s antiquated and anticompetitive beer laws. 

Sadly, Franchot’s proposed “Reform on Tap” legislation – which would have repealed arbitrary and unjustified limits on the freedom of Maryland brewers to brew, distribute, and sell beer – didn’t get out of committee in the 2018 legislative session.

Crooked Crab co-owner Earl Holman
introduces Comptroller Franchot
It turns out that some of the members of the legislature’s leadership are exceedingly thin-skinned – so thin-skinned that they took serious umbrage with the Comptroller’s willingness to call a spade a spade when it came to the perverseness of current Maryland law, which blatantly favors the interests of beer distributors and retailers over those of brewers and consumers.

Too many legislators seem to believe that those who support the reform of Maryland’s antiquated and anticompetitive beer laws should appear hat in hand, humbly beg for the legislature’s indulgence, and be grateful for whatever legislative pittance that the lawmakers see fit to give them.

When the nine-year-old Oliver Twist famously said “I want some more” because he and his fellow workhouse orphans weren’t given enough gruel to satisfy their hunger, he was beaten for having the audacity to speak honestly.  

And when Maryland’s craft brewers – led by Franchot – appeared in Annapolis earlier this year and correctly told the powers-that-be in the Maryland General Assembly that “We deserve some more,” they were sent packing.  

Franchot – who was elected to his statewide office in 2006 by a wide margin, won by even larger margins in 2010 and 2014, and will no doubt roll up an even larger vote total this fall – isn’t going anywhere.  And he’s not about to give up the fight when it comes to bringing Maryland’s laws into line with the more reasonable ones in neighboring states.

The Crooked Crab Brewing logo
I listened to Franchot’s remarks while replenishing my precious bodily fluids with a pint of Crooked Crab’s Crooked Cream Ale.  To make sure that I was fully hydrated after all those miles riding the WB&A bike trail, I followed up with a pint of Rye-ders on the Storm, a hoppy but well-balanced rye beer.

*     *     *     *     *

Two days later, I was back on my bike, riding the network of hiker-biker trails in Frederick, Maryland.

After an hour or so of riding, I took a break at one of my favorite Frederick craft breweries, Attaboy Beer.

Attaboy Beer in Frederick, MD
I was glad to have the chance to say hello to Attaboy co-owner Carly Ogden – a stalwart member of the “Reform on Tap” task force.  Carly is currently great with child, but is working as hard as ever in the unpretentious Attaboy tasting room, which she and her husband opened last year.

*     *     *     *     *

After a pint of Attaboy’s Golden Fields Belgian-style saison, I got back on my bike and headed for my last stop of the day: Flying Dog Brewery, the largest craft brewery in Maryland.

The Flying Dog tasting room
Flying Dog is a large, bustling place that always offers a wide selection of beers on tap – several of which are usually one-of-a-kind recipes.

Last Friday, the featured beer was Puss ’N’ Boots, an unfiltered hoppy sour made with lime and cranberry that was conceived and brewed by Flying Dog’s female employees.

But I went for another limited-edition Flying Dog beer – the Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale, which is made with Maryland’s famous Old Bay seafood spice mix.  

The ST.EADman abbey ale label
I followed that up with a glass of ST.EADman abbey ale, which honors Flying Dog label artist (and close friend of Hunter S. Thompson) Ralph Steadman.

*     *     *     *     *

I had made Flying Dog my destination last Friday so I could get a copy of the brand-new book, Beer in Maryland: A History of Breweries Since Colonial Times, from its author, historian and beer aficionado Maureen O’Prey, who was signing and selling her tome in the Flying Dog taproom that evening.

I’ve only had time to skim Beer in Maryland, but that was enough to demonstrate how remarkably comprehensive the book is.  (How does one come up with a list of Maryland’s pre-Revolutionary War breweries?  I don’t have the slightest idea how Maureen pulled that off.)

And while Beer in Maryland offers a detailed history of Maryland beermaking in the 18th and 19th centuries, it also tells the stories of many of the state’s newest craft breweries.  (I was particularly impressed with how much information Maureen had compiled about a small brewery that opened in my neighborhood not quite a decade ago, but has long since closed its doors.)

Click here to buy Beer in Maryland from Amazon. 

*     *     *     *     *

Gude Drive in Rockville, Maryland, was named for the late Gilbert Gude, who represented the area in Congress from 1967 to 1977.  

You take Gude Drive to get from Saints Row Brewing to True Respite Brewing, so the two breweries decided to incorporate the name of the street in the name of their first collaborative beer, Gude Two Shoes.

Gude is often mispronounced.  (The word has two syllables, and the “u” is long – like the vowel sound in “chew” or “shoe.”)  But if you’re a fan of today’s featured song, you’ll at least come close to pronouncing the beer’s name correctly.

When I mentioned the song to Brendan O’Leary of True Respite, it quickly became apparent that he had never heard it.  Of course, Brendan is barely 30 years old – he wasn’t alive when Adam Ant released “Goody Two Shoes” in 1982.

Here’s “Goody Two Shoes”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kaleidoscope – "Just a Taste" (1968)

Just a taste of my good lovin’
Sweet as bread you can bake in your oven
And it’s good . . . and it’s good for you!

This article from recently popped up in my Facebook news feed:

9 Things That Are Scientifically 
Proven To Attract Women 

I don’t know about you, but I simply can not resist reading online articles about science!  So naturally I clicked on the link to this story.  (You can click here to read the entire article for yourself.)

It turns out that attracting women isn’t that hard – according to science.

Believe it or not, science says that“manspreading” is a sure way to get chicks.  From the article:

A new study suggests [that manspreading] could also make you lucky in love.  People who adopted “expansive postures”– widespread limbs and a stretched-out torso – in speed-dating situations garnered more romantic interest than those who folded their arms in “closed postures,” the researchers found.

Manspreading: it worked for Bill
The same researcher who did that study also posted pictures of men in open and closed postures on a dating site and found that those in expansive postures were more likely to generate interest from women.  In fact, 87 percent of the “yes” responses that males received from females were generated by photos showing them in an expansive posture.

So spread out, guys – and wear red when you do so.  That’s because wearing red clothing attracts women:

A study from the United Kingdom attempted to determine whether the color red could affect social signals.  Researchers took photos of several men and digitally altered the color of the men’s clothing.  When women were shown images of men in red clothes, they rated the men as “more aggressive” and more attractive.  

Ken Bone: surrounded by babes
That’s simple enough, isn’t it?  (You can best believe I’ll be looking for a snazzy red cardigan the next time I’m at my local Sears.)

*     *     *     *     *

Any guy can manspread and wear red clothing, of course.  But not every guy plays a musical instrument – which is something else that attracts women.

In a 2014 study, researchers had a young man stand on a busy street corner and ask out 300 random women who passed by.   He was empty-handed when he asked the first hundred women for a date, held a gym bag when he approached the second hundred women, and held a guitar case when he hit on the third hundred.

The guy was most successful getting dates when he was holding the guitar case.

This is very good news for me even though I can’t play a guitar.  But I do play the piano – also known as the “King of Instruments” – and it’s obvious that women would be even more attracted to pianists than to guitar players.  

Women are attracted to pianists like
flies are attracted to . . . well, you know
I’d like to see those scientists replicate that study in a hotel lobby or some other location where there’s a piano available.  Have a male pianist tickle the ivories and chat up the females who walk by him.  I’m guessing that he’ll score digits at least 90% of the time – especially if he’s wearing red and has his legs spread open as he plays.

*     *     *     *     *

I’ve saved the best part of the article for last.  

It turns out that older guys are more attractive to women.  (I’m not making this up – it’s science!)

Why is this true?

In nature, males don’t tend to live that long.  If you’re a female deer and you meet a majestic, elderly stag with a full head of antlers, odds are that potential mate is packing some healthy genes.

At the dawn of humanity, males didn’t live much past their twenties.  If women encountered a healthy male specimen who managed to beat the odds, their evolutionary psychology might push them toward attraction.  It’s all about the genes.

However, this trick doesn’t work for every male of any species.  You can’t just be old.  You also have to be sort of fit. 

85-year-old bodybuilder Jim Arrington
“Sort of” fit?  That describes me to a “T”!

*     *     *     *     *

Allmusic describes Kaleidoscope as “arguably the most eclectic band of the psychedelic era, weaving together folk, blues, Middle Eastern, and acid more often and seamlessly than any other musicians.”

The group released four albums on Epic between 1967 and 1970, then broke up.  Today they are largely forgotten, which is a real shame.  

Pulsating Dream, a 2004 compilation album, includes every song from those four albums plus every non-LP single and B-side the group recorded for Epic – including “Just a Taste.”

Here’s “Just a Taste”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cat Stevens – "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (1967)

’Cause when it comes to being lucky
He’s cursed

(This song’s lyrics actually say “She’s cursed,” not “He’s cursed.”  But you’ll soon understand why I revised them.)

*     *     *     *     *

There are a lot of jokes that begin with a doctor telling a patient, “I’ve got good news and bad news for you.”

Here’s one example:

Doctor: I have some good news and some bad news for you.

Patient: What’s the bad news?

Doctor: We're going to have to amputate both of your legs.

Patient: What's the good news?

Doctor: The guy in the next room wants to buy your shoes. 

Here’s another example, but with a twist:

Doctor: I have some bad news and some worse news for you.

Patient:  What’s the worse news?

Doctor: You have cancer.

Patient: What's the bad news?

Doctor: You also have Alzheimer’s disease.

Patient: Well, I suppose it could be worse – I could have cancer.

*     *     *     *     *

The Washington Post story about the testicle-surgery blunder made reference to the good-news-bad-news joke genre:

In 2013, Steven Hanes visited his urologist, complaining of persistent pain in his right testicle.

An ultrasound revealed that the testicle had atrophied, with scarring and damage from a previous injury, according to court documents.  And so the doctor scheduled an orchiectomy — or surgical removal of the testicle — to help alleviate Hanes’s pain.

The good news?  The orchiectomy was successful.

The bad news?  The doctor removed the wrong testicle during the surgery.

Care to guess whether that Post reporter was a man or a woman? 

The answer should be obvious – no male reporter would make a joke about a doctor surgically removing the wrong testicle from his patient.

In fact, no male reporter would make a joke about a doctor surgically removing the wrong anything from a female patient.  But apparently it’s OK to have a laugh at the expense of a man who’s had one of his balls accidentally chopped off by a clueless surgeon.  (That female reporter was probably thinking to herself “Serves the b*st*rd right!” when she wrote that piece.)

You can click here to read the entire Post story.

*     *     *     *     *

Not surprisingly, Steven Hanes lawyered up and sued the doctor who removed the wrong testicle.  

Given that 11 of the 12 jurors in the Hanes case were women, it’s not surprising that the judgment Hanes won was woefully inadequate.  Thanks for nothing, ladies.

(How the hell did Hanes’s lawyer end up agreeing to a jury with 11 women on it?  Surely a skillful trial lawyer could have managed his challenges in such a way as to get more than one male on the jury.) 

*     *     *     *     *

The Hanes case reminded me of a trial I had observed many years ago when I was a law student.  

It had involved a man who unexpectedly woke up from anesthesia during eye surgery.  As a result, he lost the use of one of his eyes.

The lawyer for the defense admitted his client’s liability for the injury, but argued that the victim deserved only a relatively small amount in damages.  In support of his position, he called as a witness a one-eyed scientist, who testified that losing an eye wasn’t really that big a deal – one eye was almost as good as two when it came to getting through everyday life.  

The victim’s lawyer was a famous litigator who had a field day with the defense’s argument.  He impressed upon the jury just how terrifying it would be to lose an eye – not because you couldn’t see reasonably well with just one eye, but because you would spend the rest of your life in constant fear of being plunged into permanent darkness if something happened to your remaining eye.  Not surprisingly, the jury nailed the defendants with a big judgment.

I don’t recall the male-female breakdown of the jury in that case.  It probably didn’t matter – after all, both men and women have eyes.

But women don’t have testicles.  Which may explain why the women on the Hanes jury didn’t appreciate what it would mean not only to need to get one cut off, but also to have the doctor doing the cutting mistakenly remove the healthy one instead of the diseased one.

*     *     *     *     *

“The First Cut Is the Deepest” – which was written by Cat Stevens (who now calls himself Yusuf Islam) – has been covered by a number of different artists, including Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow.

Today we’re featuring Stevens’ own version of the song, which he released in 1967 on New Masters, his second studio album.  

Here’s “The First Cut Is the Deepest”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Buffalo 40 – "Restless Minds" (2018)

Lovely smiles, full of grace
I’m amazed . . . I’m amazed

The previous 2 or 3 lines featured part one of my two-part interview with Rich McPhee, the frontman for Buffalo 40, a Washington, DC-area group whose website says its influences include classic rock, funk, blues, and modern rock.   Click here if you missed it.

Here’s part two of my interview with Rich.

*     *     *     *     *

2 or 3 lines:  I understand that one of the other members of Buffalo 40 is a very old friend of yours.

Rich McPhee:  That’s right.  I’ve known Adam Morrell since we were small children.  The biggest joy I get from being in Buffalo 40 is having a friend of 27 years that I grew up playing baseball and basketball with in the band with me.  Neither of us played music at all when we were kids but now we’re down here, writing music and playing together.

2 or 3 lines: When Buffalo 40 performs live, do you do mostly originals or mostly covers?

Rich:  I’d say we’re about 50-50 originals and covers.

2 or 3 lines:  I know you do a lot of covers of classic rock songs.

Rich:  We do a lot of sixties and seventies stuff, but also more contemporary pop and rock covers.

2 or 3 lines:  Who are some of the more contemporary artists whose songs you cover?

Rich:  Our last live show, we did a bunch of Chris Stapleton stuff.  We also did a couple of soulful, swingy tunes by Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats, and “Wish I Knew You” by the Revivalists.

[Note: If you know anything about country music, you know that Chris Stapleton is a hugely successful country singer-songwriter.  Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats are known for their old-school-style soul and R&B songs, while the Revivalists are a roots-rock group from New Orleans.]

At a Buffalo 40 performance
2 or 3 lines:  No Justin Timberlake or Taylor Swift covers?

Rich:  [Laughs.]  No, although we did a cover of “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd, which is a super pop song.  But we rocked it up – added a classic-rock-style guitar solo to it, which was awesome!

2 or 3 lines:  I’m sure a lot of the audience at your live shows are there to see Buffalo 40, but the rest probably don’t know anything about you.  They just came out to eat and drink and have a good time.

Rich:  That’s right.  You suck them in with the familiar pop stuff – you use the covers to bookend originals that have a somewhat similar feel.  We do originals that are country, bluesy, funky, fast, slow . . . we run the whole gamut, so we can play any cover and follow up with an original song that fits with it.

*     *     *     *     *

Later this month, Buffalo 40 will be releasing a five-song EP.  It will include “Restless Minds,” which is a very different kind of song than “Troublin’ on My Mind,” the catchy, honky-tonky Buffalo 40 song that was featured in the previous 2 or 3 lines.  

“Restless Minds” reminds me a little of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’.”  Sit back, put your feet up, and give “Restless Minds” a listen – I guarantee you that your blood pressure will head south.

Here's Buffalo 40's music video for “Restless Minds” – you bulldog fans out there are really going to love it:

Click here and you’ll be taken to Buffalo 40’s Reverbnation page, where you can purchase “Restless Minds” and other Buffalo 40 songs.

For those of you who live in the Washington, DC area, Buffalo 40 will be appearing live at the Boundary Stone at 9:00 PM on Saturday, April 28.  (The Boundary Stone is located at 116 Rhode Island Ave., NW, in Washington – just a stone’s throw north of the US Capitol.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Buffalo 40 – "Troublin' On My Mind" (2018)

Rolling ’round the town
Tryin’ to find myself a warm bed

Rich McPhee is the frontman for Buffalo 40, a Washington, DC-area group whose website says its influences include classic rock, funk, blues, and modern rock.  

I met Rich a few weeks ago at a local brewery.  I was sitting at the bar and minding my own business, when Rich  picked up a guitar and started singing a series of songs by artists whose LPs my college classmates and I played almost to death back in the early 1970s.

Rich McPhee performing solo
 at Saints Row Brewing
I’m talking Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison, and the Allman Brothers, and Delaney & Bonnie (and friends), and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and America.  (Don’t sleep on “Sister Golden Hair,” boys and girls!)

When Rich finished his set, I sat down with him and interviewed him for 2 or 3 lines.   Here’s part one of that interview.

*     *     *     *     *

2 or 3 lines:  Rich, you look like you’re about 30 years old.

Rich McPhee:  You’re close.

2 or 3 lines:  So what are you doing playing classic rock songs that were recorded before you were born?

Rich:  I love classic rock because that’s what my parents played constantly when I was growing up.  One of my earliest memories is listening to an Eagles album on a Walkman when I was just seven.

Buffalo 40
2 or 3 lines:  And you grew up where?

Rich:  In New Hampshire.

2 or 3 lines:  Were your parents musicians, or just music fans?

Rich:  My father was a pretty good guitarist.  He was one of those life-of-the-party types who always pulled out his guitar when he and my mother partied with their friends.

2 or 3 lines:  When did you start playing the guitar?

Rich:  Not until I was in college.  I sang in my middle school chorus but I didn’t play an instrument when I was a kid.  I was a jock, not a musician – I loved baseball and basketball.

2 or 3 lines:  Where did you go to college?

Rich:  I was a sports management major at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

[Note: Springfield College is where a Canadian graduate student named James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891.]

Rich McPhee cuts loose in the recording studio
2 or 3 lines:  Your father must have been happy when you came home and could play the guitar.   

Rich:  He was.  I remember the first song he taught me – Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done.”

2 or 3 lines:  Which is one of the songs you played here tonight.

Rich:  It’s still one of my favorites.  After my father taught it to me, I played it so often that he lost it one day and yelled at me to “Learn a new song!”

2 or 3 lines: I don’t know much about guitars, but I have readers who will want me to ask you what kind of guitar you play.

Rich:  Tonight I played a Guild acoustic guitar.  When I play with Buffalo 40, I’ll play acoustic occasionally, but most of the time I play an electric – right now, that’s a Fender American Stratocaster with noiseless frets.  I go through guitars and amps like nobody’s business, but I like the setup I’ve got now – I use a Vox AC10, which is pretty lightweight compared to a lot of the amplifiers out there.  

[Note:  Vox tube amplifiers were used by most of the great British Invasion bands.  The original Vox AC10 was discontinued in 1965, but a modern version of this classic amplifier is now available.]

2 or 3 lines:  Any special tuning?

Rich :  I pretty much use straight tuning – no drop D or open G or anything like that.  

Part two of my interview with Rich McPhee will appear in the next 2 or 3 lines.

*     *     *     *     *

Buffalo 40 will be releasing a five-song EP later this month.  It will include today’s featured song, “Troublin’ On My Mind,” which is my personal favorite among the Buffalo 40 songs I’ve heard.  It’s a smartly arranged and well-executed song that I think would hold its own against almost any million-selling country hit that’s on the radio today: 

Click here and you’ll be taken to Buffalo 40’s Reverbnation page, where you can purchase “Troublin’ On My Mind” and other Buffalo 40 songs.

For those of you who live in the Washington, DC area, Buffalo 40 will be appearing live at the Boundary Stone at 9:00 PM on Saturday, April 28.  (The Boundary Stone is located at 116 Rhode Island Ave., NW, in Washington – just a stone’s throw north of the US Capitol.)