I hate guitar shops. They are populated by young men who polish guitars and can play Van Halen's "Eruption". And I can never think of anything to play.
Van Halen - Eruption - http://youtu.be/sI7XiJgt0vY
Today I visited to try out some amplifiers. My Marshall is just too big (physically) and it annoys me carrying it around. I'd done my research and I had a couple of amps I wanted to audition. The first step was good; they had what I wanted to test. And the second step was OK too - they lugged it into the test room and plugged it in. But then things went downhill. After being quizzed about my current guitars and amps I was handed a cheap electric to try the amp out with. I was a bit shocked but decided just to roll with it. The amp was good so my research was worth it apparently. But when I asked to demo something different (a Vox) the store guy recommended something else. Fair enough, he's the expert I guess. So I plugged in and turned up. Again the amp was good. I agreed to bring my Marshall in next week for some trade discussions as well as to try the amps with my own guitars. When I got home I nearly fell off my chair - the second amp that was recommended to me is more than double the price of what I had been trying out. All I can say is that they better have a very good price for my Marshall. Wow. I'm open to suggestions for amps to try out. I'm looking for something all valve, up to 50 watts and with separate eq settings for each channel. And next time I'll be grabbing a nice guitar.
Englebert Humperdinck - Ten Guitars - http://youtu.be/4fxA7zLLQzY
Just quietly, I think I liked the cheaper amp better anyway. Maybe it's my Scottish ears.
Last week I sat down to watch a few movies and to read a few books. Other than riding my bike those are pretty much my favourite holiday activities! "The Big Red One" is the story of part of the US Army all the way through WWII. It's a long movie but then I guess it was a long war. Lee Marvin was in it and was very well cast as a grizzled Sergeant. Mark Hamill is there as well and he plays the innocent young soldier quite well. But Lee is the best.
Lee Marvin - Wandering Star - http://youtu.be/WuNDfldXVC4
I also watched "Red" and "Red 2" which have Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren starring in them. These are great movies! If you like a good action movie that actually has a story as well as a few laughs then these come highly recommended. Did you know Bruce could sing? No, neither did I.
Bruce Willis - Devil Woman - http://youtu.be/nDXkd2NyCCE
I was really hoping that he'd covered Cliff Richard but it's not to be!
Cliff Richard - Devil Woman - http://youtu.be/NTp_Yy9QHBw
DJ SamSpam gave me "AC/DC: The Ultimate Illustrated History" for Christmas. Books about AC/DC are usually very patchy and full of conflicting information. Some of this is a function of the fact that then band really don't give much away. However, this book is really very good. It actually covers the whole history of the group rather than fizzling out in the mid 1980's. There are essays on each album by different writers. It was a bit disappointing that these conflicted in places with the main author - surely someone edited the book?? But, all in all it's the best book I've read on the band and I've read quite a few. Hopefully the band will release an authorised biography at some stage but I'm not holding my breath. The good thing about reading this was that I went back and listened to albums and tracks that I might usually avoid. With 16 studio albums there are bound to be a few duds but when you consider that these span 33 years it's not a bad effort. I'd listen to a less popular AC/DC track rather than many other bands best work. Here's a couple worthy of a listen that you won't hear on the radio or a greatest hits compilation.
AC/DC - Overdose (1977) - http://youtu.be/28HWy0Im_Vg
AC/DC - This House Is On Fire (1983) - http://youtu.be/k2x1RKAVGw8
The other book I read of note is "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith. It's a solid piece of crime fiction with a good storyline and, if you're like me and not all that good at guessing "whodunnit" then the ending is well crafted. Oh yeah, it's really written by JK Rowling. It's nothing like Harry Potter.
Stray Cats - I Fought The Law (1990) - http://youtu.be/Ugk4_1mlQ2w
The other day I revisited the "Rock of Ages" movie. Now that we have a bigger TV coupled with the sound system I could see, hear and feel the quality that comes with BluRay. Such a fun movie and a great soundtrack. Along with "So I Married An Axe Murderer" it's guaranteed to make me smile.
Journey - Anyway You Want It (1980) - http://youtu.be/atxUuldUcfI
Another film I finally got around to watching was the Coen Brothers, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Essentially I picked it because I had heard rave reviews about the soundtrack. The movie is strange. But strange in a good way. George Clooney plays a kook pretty well. For fans of this film there is another Coen Brother film about to open. "Inside Llewyn Davies" is about a New York folk musician. Given that the soundtrack is again being done by T-Bone Burnett it should be worth a look.
The Soggy Bottom Boys - I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow - http://youtu.be/YZtgZ5fHOuU
I'm a bit worried about our neighbours. They've just had their first child and today when I was working in the garage I heard this next song being played at quite significant volume. Maybe they're closet hippies and I haven't noticed. Cool song though even if I did play a different version last week!
Peter, Paul and Mary - Leaving On A Jet Plane (1969) - http://youtu.be/c8jEapecSqc
Tune in next week for a band that I'm working on presenting to you. At the moment it's a bit like a cross between Zappa, Jon Lord and Iggy Pop. Bonus points if you can guess who it is (you can't play H).
Frank Zappa - My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama (1970) - http://youtu.be/LfjgJo1OdEU