We will be having a labor day sale on our Vai.com Webstore, from Aug 31st to Sept 3rd.
- 20% off any purchase
- 30% off orders over $60
- 40% off orders over $120
Some items are excluded.
We will be having a labor day sale on our Vai.com Webstore, from Aug 31st to Sept 3rd.
Some items are excluded.
STEVE VAI ANNOUNCES “THE BIG MAMA JAMA JAM-A-THON,” SEPT. 28-30
AT MUSICIANS INSTITUTE IN LOS ANGELES — WHERE THE MUSIC WON’T STOP FOR 52 CONSECUTIVE HOURS
100% OF PROFITS TO BENEFIT LEADING NONPROFIT FOSTER FAMILY ADOPTION AGENCY EXTRAORDINARY FAMILIES
VERY SPECIAL GUEST ARTISTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE JAM — LIVE-STREAMED WORLDWIDE IN ITS ENTIRETY
LOS ANGELES, CA — Steve Vai has announced he will host and serve as the musical director for “The Big Mama Jama Jam-a-thon” — an open, improvisational music/art event where the music doesn’t stop for 52 hours — to be held Sept. 28-30, 2018 at Musicians Institute’s brand new venue, LiveHouse, in Los Angeles, California. The jam-a-thon will mark the public grand opening of LiveHouse. 100% of the profits raised will benefit Extraordinary Families, a leading nonprofit foster family, adoption agency in the Los Angeles area dedicated to improving the daily lives of children and youths in foster care.
Various professional musicians to be announced (including many of Vai’s friends) and novice musicians, along with celebrities, painters, poets, magicians, visual artists, speakers and other creative performers from all genres are invited to support each other in an “in-the-moment,” continuous 52-hour jam featuring non-stop music and other creative activity. Vai will be center stage for the majority of the event and will be directing the band and jammers in an impromptu setting.
The festivities, which will commence on Friday, Sept. 28 at Noon Pacific and conclude at 4:00 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, Sept. 30, will be streamed live worldwide via www.jamathon.org, www.vai.com, and Steve’s official Facebook page, alongside other outlets including websites, social media, and cable TV stations. The website www.jamathon.org includes more specifics about the jam-a-thon and outlines various ways to be involved and donate to Extraordinary Families.
“I currently serve on the board of Extraordinary Families and let me tell you, these folks are extraordinary, and do vital work for families and children in L.A.,” said Steve Vai. “It is such an honor to be involved with this organization, and to host something like this that will benefit so many children and families. ‘The Big Mama Jama Jam-a-thon’ will be a ton of fun and a place where anything can happen — expect quite a wild ride!”
“Our organization is so fortunate to have such extraordinary and dedicated supporters who have demonstrated a long-standing commitment as role models for children and youth in foster care,” said Sarah Boone, Chief Executive Officer of Extraordinary Families. “And we welcome more supporters to be someone who matters to someone who matters.”
Stig Mathisen, Chair of the Guitar Program at Musicians Institute (MI) added: “MI is very honored to team up with Steve Vai and Extraordinary Families for this unique charity event and important cause, bringing together the world of music academia and the music industry, benefitting families that are doing an incredibly important job of providing support for children and youth in foster care.”
Entry to the jam-a-thon can be purchased here. Wristbands (good for 4-hour blocks of time) are for sale for $50 on a first-come, first-served basis (these will also be available at the door if spots remain available). Individuals interested in taking to the stage to participate in the jam can purchase and secure a slot on the jam (approximately 10 minutes in duration) during the hours of Midnight PDT to 7 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Midnight PDT to 3 p.m. PDT on Sunday, Sept. 30. 100 pre-purchased slots will be made available and guaranteed for a donation of $100 each, while they last. On-site stage participation passes can be purchased for $150 if schedule and space allows but advance registration is encouraged. Beer, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, and simple munchies will be made available to purchase in the venue.
Auction items plus other unique and fulfilling opportunities to donate to Extraordinary Families will be available online at www.jamathon.org and at various times throughout the live webcast.
About Steve Vai:
A virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery, Steve Vai has awed fans of all genres with his exceptional guitar skills and musicianship for decades. At age 12, he started taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. At 18, he began his professional music career transcribing for, and then playing with, the legendary Frank Zappa. More than three decades, over 15 million in album sales, and three GRAMMY® Awards later, Vai has proven himself, in his own right, to be one of music’s true originals.
Vai’s work has been recognized with a long list of awards and honors, including over 15 from Guitar Player magazine alone. His career accomplishments have earned him honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute. The 2016 Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee was voted the 10th “Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and consistently lands among the best in various lists of the top guitarists of all time. In 2012, the TEC Foundation honored him with the prestigious Les Paul Award, created in 1991 to salute those who have set the highest standard of excellence in the creative application of technology (past winners include Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, and Bob Clearmountain).
Vai has toured the world as a solo artist (including many performances backed by an orchestra), as a member of G3 and Generation Axe (with Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi), and with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth (just after Roth left Van Halen), Alcatrazz, and Whitesnake—at the peak of its popularity. Vai’s full discography encompasses more than 60 albums, including many with Zappa, others from stints with Roth and Whitesnake, as well as live releases, collaborations, compilations, and orchestral works. Two of Vai’s landmark recordings are 1990’s groundbreaking Passion and Warfare, and 2007’s Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2, performed with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest. As an accomplished audio producer, Vai has written, produced, and engineered all of his solo albums, and released many via Favored Nations Entertainment, his own independent record label that has also released over 70 albums by legendary musicians such as Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Lukather, Eric Johnson, Billy Sheehan, Larry Carlton and many more.
For more information, please visit www.vai.com
About Extraordinary Families:
Over 20,000 children and youth are currently in L.A. county’s child welfare system and are in need of safe loving homes. An average of 1,000 young adults age out of the system every year and are still in need of critical resources and support. Extraordinary Families finds families for children in foster care, and provides employment services, education planning, resource coordination, and mentoring to foster youth transitioning to out of child welfare and into adulthood.
Extraordinary Families’ mission is to help children and youth in foster care to have the childhoods and futures they rightfully deserve. The organization’s vision is that every child, youth, and family in child welfare will have the ability to achieve their hopes, fulfill their dreams, and thrive. Extraordinary Families was formed in 2015 with the merger of two robust nonprofits: Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency (SCFFAA) with a 20-year history of direct fost/adopt services, and Child Welfare Initiative (CWI) founded in 2007 to advance advocacy and policy initiatives.
For more information, please visit www.ExtraordinaryFamilies.org
About Musicians Institute:
Located in the heart of Hollywood, California, Musicians Institute (MI) is a world-renowned music college dedicated to inspiring artistic and academic excellence while preparing students for careers in the music and entertainment industry.
Musicians Institute provides an innovative education that prepares graduates for creative and professional careers in the contemporary music industry. MI is dedicated to providing comprehensive instruction, facilities and other resources to support and inspire artistic and professional accomplishment. MI connects students to the global music industry with all the tools they need to enhance their careers and pursue their artistic dreams.
More information about Musicians Institute can be found at www.mi.edu
About LiveHouse on the Musicians Institute Campus (the venue for the event):
As a welcoming, multi-purpose, arts-centered, community-rooted venue in the heart of Hollywood, Musicians Institute’s newly built LiveHouse is an 11,000 square-foot music venue, student lounge, and dance studio, all under one roof.
The 300-person capacity venue incorporates a 700 square-foot stage with state-of-the art sound equipment, lights, hi-def LED wall, and broadcasting abilities alongside a greenroom with its own shower and load-in dock.
As aptly noted, this will be “The Venue missing in L.A.”
The Big Mama Jama Jamathon will be the first public event held in LiveHouse.
Steve will be performing with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra on November 2nd in Birmingham, AL. during the Sound Edge Festival.
The concert will take place at the UAB’s Alys Stephens Center – Jamison Concert Hall.
The ASO is thrilled to perform with guitarist, composer, and producer Steve Vai, who “has awed fans of all genres with his exceptional guitar skills and musicianship.” Carlos Izcaray calls Vai, “…the Paganini of electric guitar, an artist whose total mastery of the instrument has redefined his craft. His visionary approach transcends any musical genre, and it provides a sound world with infinite possibilities, one that matches perfectly with a full symphony orchestra.”
Tickets will go on sale on August 7th. Please stay tuned on Vai.com for ticket links.
Below is the press release for this special event:
Alabama Symphony Orchestra Presents: Steve Vai
(Birmingham, AL) – The Alabama Symphony Orchestra presents a collaboration with virtuoso guitarist and Grammy award winner Steve Vai on November 2, 2018.
The ASO is thrilled to perform with Grammy Award winning guitarist, composer, and producer Steve Vai, who has awed fans of all genres with his exceptional guitar skills and musicianship for decades. The 2016 Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee was voted the 10th “Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and consistently lands among the best in various lists of the top guitarists of all time.
Carlos Izcaray, ASO Music Director, says, “Steve Vai is the Paganini of electric guitar, an artist whose total mastery of the instrument has redefined his craft. His visionary approach transcends any musical genre, and it provides a sound world with infinite possibilities, one that matches perfectly with a full symphony orchestra.”
This program is a special event of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-2018 Season. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 9:30am and start at $25. Discounts are available for groups. To purchase tickets, visit us online at alabamasymphony.org, in person at 1200 10th Ave. South, Birmingham, or call 205.975.2787
About the Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Since its founding in 1921, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra has grown to become the state’s premier performing arts organization and only full-time professional orchestra. The ASO inspires, entertains, and provides vital programming to the residents of the state, serving nearly 100,000 people yearly throughout Alabama through concert series, youth programs, and educational and community engagement efforts to fulfill our mission of changing lives through music. The ASO works to produce creative, dynamic programming and to be recognized as an artistically innovative leader in the field.
About Steve Vai
Steve Vai is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery. Vai has awed fans of all genres with his exceptional guitar skills and musicianship for decades. At age 12, he started taking guitar lessons from Joe Satriani. At 18, he began his professional music career transcribing for, and then playing with, the legendary Frank Zappa. More than three decades, over 15 million in album sales, and three GRAMMY Awards later, Vai has proven himself, in his own right, to be one of music’s true originals.
Vai’s work has been recognized with a long list of awards and honors, including over 15 from Guitar Player magazine alone. His career accomplishments have earned him honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute. The 2016 Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductee was voted the 10th “Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine and consistently lands among the best in various lists of the top guitarists of all time. In 2012, the TEC Foundation honored him with the prestigious Les Paul Award, created in 1991 to salute those who have set the highest standard of excellence in the creative application of technology. Past winners of the Les Paul Award include Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Herbie Hancock, Steely Dan, and Bob Clearmountain. In bestowing it on Vai, TEC noted, “Steve Vai’s sheer breathtaking facility on the guitar is acclaimed in the rock world and beyond…Vai has dedicated his talents to creatively advance the language of music. While many artists fit easily into a single category, Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a musical alchemist of the highest order.”
Vai has toured the world as a solo artist, as a member of G3, and with Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth (just after Roth left Van Halen), Alcatrazz, and Whitesnake—at the peak of its popularity. Vai’s full discography encompasses more than 60 albums, including many with Zappa, others from stints with Roth and Whitesnake, as well as live releases, collaborations, compilations, and orchestral works. Highlights include 1990’s groundbreaking Passion and Warfare, and 2007’s Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2, performed with the Netherlands’ Metropole Orkest. Vai’s other orchestral compositions include “The Middle of Everywhere,” which had its world premiere in 2011 with the Noord Nederlands Orkest. The orchestra’s director, Marcel Mandos, said of Vai’s work, “Steve Vai’s music can easily compete with that of famous contemporary composers.”
As an accomplished audio producer, Vai has written, produced, and engineered all of his solo albums, and released many via Favored Nations Entertainment, his own independent record label that has also released over 70 albums by legendary musicians such as Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Lukather, Eric Johnson, Billy Sheehan, Larry Carlton and many more. For Vai, virtuosity and versatility are not mutually exclusive. He has created music for blockbuster films, bestselling video games, national sports franchises, and corporate brand initiatives.
In 2012, Vai embarked on an epic three-year tour spanning 253 engagements (including shows, concerts with various orchestras, & master classes) in 52 countries in support of his 16th solo album release, the critically acclaimed The Story of Light. Upon signing a multi-recording agreement with SONY Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings in 2015, Vai released Stillness In Motion – Vai Live in L.A., a 2-CD set and 2-DVD set, internationally. The multi-album deal marked an SME homecoming for Vai, who set the gold and platinum standard for instrumental rock music across a series of albums released through Relativity and Epic Records from 1990’s game-changing Passion and Warfare (his second album and first major label release) through 2007’s orchestral Sound Theories, Vol. I & II.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, Passion and Warfare — highly regarded as one of the greatest instrumental rock guitar recordings of all time — Vai released Modern Primitive/Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Edition in 2016. The release, which included previously unreleased material, was celebrated by a very special 100+ date world tour in which he performed the entire Passion and Warfare record live from top to bottom for the first time. Having conquered Europe and the U.S., the third leg of the Passion and Warfare 25th Anniversary Tour traveled to South America, Mexico, and Puerto Rico in May and June 2017.
In addition to his solo tour work, Vai is known for his creative live performances with orchestras around the world and for projects such as Vai Academy (his annual guitar camp), Alien Guitar Secrets master classes, and Generation Axe — a unique combination of five fiercely talented guitar players in which he currently tours internationally with Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi.
Vai’s signature instruments include the Ibanez JEM guitar, which he designed in 1985 with first-of-its-kind features including the floating tremolo and the monkey grip. The JEM is now one of the longest running, most successful signature series guitars in history, and for over a decade its sister model—the RG—is second in worldwide sales only to the Fender Stratocaster. Also for Ibanez, Vai designed “The Universe,” the first commercial 7-string electric guitar. This instrument inspired a revolutionary metal subculture that started in the mid ’90s. Among his many other innovative collaborations with equipment manufacturers, he designed the Steve Vai Legacy V3 series of all-tube amplifiers with Carvin Corporation.
In the film realm, Vai has credits including Executive Producer for the acclaimed 2008 Hank Garland biopic Crazy, in which he also appears as Hank Williams. In the 1986 movie Crossroads, inspired by the legend of blues icon Robert Johnson, Vai appears as Jack Butler—“the devil’s guitarist”—and collaborated with Ry Cooder on the music scenes.
In 1998, Vai established (with Ruta Sepetys) the Make a Noise Foundation to provide instruments and music education to young musicians without means. “Music educates the whole person as an integrated individual. It educates the mind, the senses, and the emotions,” says Vai. “Those interested in music should not have to sacrifice their ability to develop important skills and express emotions due to limited financial resources.”
Steve Vai (USA) w/ Tapiola Sinfonietta, Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble
Monday 20.08.2018 klo 19:00
Steve Vai is considered one of the best electric guitarists in the world – regardless of genre. Vai is known for his mind-blowing, fast and melodic solos and stylistically perfect guitar sound. He is also a showman through and through, whose gigs turn into fiery Events progressing with insane energy. Vai’s music melts progressive rock and metal into a red-hot euphoric mix.
During his long career, Vai has played with giants of rock ranging from Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne to Motörhead and Meat Loaf, won several Grammy Awards and sold over 15 million albums. Vai rose to fame in the late-1970s as a member of Frank Zappa’s band, which is likely the origin of his massive, genre-breaking ambition and inclination to think outside the box.
Lately Vai has been composing for various big bands and using classical orchestras. At Huvila Festival Tent, Vai is accompanied by a reinforced Tapiola Sinfonietta – the audience is in for a tent erupting with sound.
Th e evening’s opening act is a pioneer of modern progressive rock, Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble. Headed by bassist-composer Porra, the band has cemented its place as one of the best live acts in Finland, receiving praise from both jazz and heavy metal enthusiasts.
STEVE VAI, ZAKK WYLDE, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, NUNO BETTENCOURT & TOSIN ABASI TO STAGE SECOND NORTH AMERICAN GENERATION AXE TOUR
32-Date Run Begins November 7 At The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA and Wraps December 18 At The Wiltern in Los Angeles, CA – General On-Sale Begins July 13
Los Angeles, CA — The term “supergroup” gets thrown around on a regular basis these days, however, GENERATION AXE undisputedly brings together some of the greatest guitarists of all time. Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abisi once again will join together to tour North America to stage 32 appearances across the country. Beginning on November 7 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA, the run will return to markets where the inaugural tour was celebrated and hit several new cities for the first time. The general on-sale goes live July 13.
Steve Vai offers, “The Generation Axe show is a unique performance of five fiercely talented guitar players coming together to create a 6-string extravaganza that is sure to amaze and delight.” Each tour stop will include a variety of collaborations by the five players, including everyone performing together as one cohesive band with a rhythm section including Pete Griffin (Dweezil Zappa, Stanley Clarke, Edgar Winter) on bass, Nick Marinovich (Yngwie Malmsteen) on keys, and JP Bouvet on drums. Vai, Wylde, Malmsteen, Bettencourt and Abasi will perform songs from their various catalogs and join forces on some well-known songs (as well as probably a few unexpected, unearthed gems). Vai shares, “The Generation Axe experience goes way beyond simply gathering five guitar greats on one stage to jam. The idea was to create a seamless show with one backing band and 5 completely accomplished and astonishing guitarists that take to the stage in various configurations, performing some of their solo music and merging together as cohesive co-creators of lushly orchestrated guitar extravaganzas. Guitar Jams like this can get really messy when there is no organization and my idea was to create parts for everybody to play in harmony and off each other so it’s not a mess of noise. This worked out remarkably well. There are places where everyone is playing together in wild harmony.”
Making this rare tour experience even more special, Generation Axe VIP packages will be offered, giving fans access to these guitars masters and exclusive one-of-a-kind memorabilia. A front row package (including a meet & greet), a meet & greet package, and a VIP tour package will be available. For more information, visit www.generationaxe.com.
Many artists fit easily into a single category, while Steve Vai remains unclassifiable. He is a virtuoso guitarist, visionary composer, and consummate audio producer who sculpts musical sound with infinite creativity and technical mastery. He is one of the most in-demand, versatile, eloquent and soulful guitarists in the business. The GRAMMY Award-winner has sold over 15 million albums and toured the world as a solo artist, a member of G3, and with Frank Zappa, Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake. Vai launched his successful solo career with the release of Flex-Able in 1984 and has written, produced, and engineered all of his solo albums. He has appeared as a guest artist on more than 40 albums and created music for blockbuster films, best-selling video games, national sports franchises, and corporate brand initiatives. Vai has earned honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute. For more info, visit: www.vai.com.
GRAMMY Award-winner Zakk Wylde’s legendary career includes a lengthy tenure with Ozzy Osbourne in which Wylde co-wrote and recorded several albums, including the multiplatinum No More Tears, Osbourne’s largest selling solo album featuring the classic hit single, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and the bulk of the double platinum 2002 set, Ozzmosis. With Osbourne, Wylde has played on countless world tours and television appearances, with his signature bullseye Les Paul in tow. Wylde has his mitts imprinted on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame; guest-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the movie “Rockstar”; and even momentarily joined Axl, Slash and Duff in Guns N’ Roses. But nothing offers the pure expression of Zakk Wylde’s animalistic “id” like Black Label Society, the stomping, heavy, bluesy, recklessly unhinged hard-rock-metal quartet who are quick to rip up a solo as to dip into a piano-fueled anthemic ballad. For more info, visit: www.zakkwylde.com.
When Yngwie J. Malmsteen hit the scene in the early 80s, he turned the entire guitar world upside down. Never before was guitar playing like his ever heard. Drawing inspiration from his love for Baroque and Romantic classical music, Malmsteen employs classical violin techniques such as four and five octave arpeggios, pedal notes, and harmonic minor, diminished and Phrygian scales, flawlessly delivered at mind-boggling levels of speed and clarity. In doing so, he has singlehandedly created a brand-new style of guitar playing and composing that is still derived from today. In addition to having written and produced 35+ neoclassical rock albums, Malmsteen composed and orchestrated the “Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra,” which he recorded with the prestigious Czech Philharmonic in Prague, conducted by Yoel Levy of Atlanta Symphony fame. Malmsteen subsequently performed the piece live with the New Japan Philharmonic and the Taipei Symphony, among others. Malmsteen has received numerous Grammy nominations, hundreds of magazine covers, dozens of Reader’s Poll and Composer of the Year Awards, a plaque on the Rock Walk of Fame, signature model guitars, amps, pickups, strings, picks, pedals, microphones, and more. TIME Magazine placed him as one of the top ten guitarists of all time. Some 35 years and 25 million+ album sales later, Yngwie shows no signs of slowing down. For more info, visit: www.yngwiemalmsteen.com.
Guitar virtuoso, singer-songwriter, and record producer, Nuno Bettencourt rose to international prominence as a guitar player with the GRAMMY-nominated, Boston-area band EXTREME, one of the most successful rock acts of the early to mid-1990s selling over 10 million records worldwide. Musically, EXTREME is dominated by Bettencourt’s blistering guitar riffs, often with funky, syncopated timing, and incendiary, high-speed rock/metal solos. Bettencourt penned the acoustic ballad “More Than Words” that went to #1 on the Billboard charts and “Hole Hearted” that reached #4. He has released multiple solo albums as well as with bands he founded including Mourning Widows Population 1, Dramagods and Satellite Party. Bettencourt has written, produced and performed with many legendary artists including Rihanna, Steven Tyler, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson and many others. For more info: www.nunobettencourt.com.
Oluwatosin Ayoyinka Olumide Abasi, better known as Tosin Abasi, is a Nigerian American guitarist known as the guitar player and founder of the instrumental progressive metal band, Animals as Leaders. Abasi’s compositions of intricate music have garnered critical acclaim in a few short years. Abasi is part of the breed of new contemporary players who are raising the bar on the concept of electric guitar virtuosity. His approach to the guitar stems from a passion for advanced techniques and harmony. Using 7-, 8-, and 9-string guitars have allowed Abasi to create a highly unique and individual sound. For more info, visit: www.facebook.com/ animalsasleaders
Generation Axe – A Night of Guitars is produced by Copeland International Arts and is booked by CAA. For additional information visit: www.generationaxe.com.
Confirmed appearances include:
11/07 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
11/08 Anaheim, CA City National Grove
11/09 Las Vegas, NV The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
11/10 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theatre #
11/11 Albuquerque, NM El Rey Theater
11/13 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre – Denver
11/15 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
11/16 Salina, KS The Stiefel Theatre
11/17 Tulsa, OK Brady Theater
11/18 Des Moines, IA Hoyt Sherman Theatre
11/19 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre
11/20 Grand Rapids, MI 20 Monroe Live
11/21 Detroit, MI Fillmore Detroit
11/23 Medford, MA The Chevalier Theater
11/24 Niagara Falls, NY The Rapids Theatre
11/25 Kitchener, ON Centre in the Square
11/27 Bethlehem, PA Sands Bethlehem Event Center
11/28 Port Chester, NY Capitol Theatre
11/29 Albany, NY The Palace Theatre
11/30 Atlantic City, NJ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City – The Theater
12/01 Rochester, NY Kodak Center for the Arts
12/03 Greensburg, PA The Palace Theatre
12/04 Westbury, NY NYCB Theatre at Westbury
12/05 Richmond, VA The National
12/08 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle
12/09 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
12/10 Davie, FL Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
12/11 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/13 Austin, TX The Moody Theater
12/14 Dallas, TX The Bomb Factory
12/16 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex – Rockwell
12/18 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
# – Nuno Bettencourt not appearing
It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Joe “Jem” Despagni had passed away on Tuesday May 29, 2018 in his sleep.
Joe was not only an excellent luthier, he was a brilliantly creative, funny, considerate, and generous person. He was also perhaps my very best friend in this life. When we go through a loss like this, there’s an opportunity for the divine to shine through and I’ve been thinking about him constantly lately and as my mind and heart are filled with so many precious memories of our friendship, I feel great love and appreciation for him and the life we had together, and the amazing person he was. And of course, there’s the great pangs of loss. He will be profoundly missed by those who loved him.
Some of you may know about my relationship with Joe and a bit about him, but here’s a little more.
I remember Joe Despagni being in my life as long as I can remember remembering. We lived a block away from each other and it seems like we were always in each other life.
I’m still processing the loss and as I do I’m flooded with memories of our life together and I would like to share a few.
All the kids that grew up on my street were relatively well behaved, never got into trouble, never really did things we were not supposed to do, played sports, Monopoly, Risk, listened to music, etc. We were basically very simple. But two streets over was a completely different group of kids. They were good spirited but considered “greasers”, heavy metal rock and rollers, bikers, trouble makers, drinkers, smokers and drug takers. I split my time between the two groups and fit in well but was still a bit of a misfit in both groups. Joe was absolutely part of the greaser group and though he and I spent the most time together on our own, we would also hang out with our rocker friends and do things with them that greasy golden memories were made of.
Joe had a brother Rob and a sister Carmela. They were younger, and I really liked them. We were like family in a way. Joe’s Mom and Dad were good people. They were pure Long Island Italian as my family was and his Mom was such the sweetie. She would cook for us occasionally. His Dad was funny and warm and good to us kids. Coming from an Italian family I understand how the household dynamics work. From an outsider’s point of view, it could look as though there was a lot of bickering going on inside the home, but in reality, that’s just the way we communicated. The love in these Italian families runs deep and strong.
Joe owned the first guitar I ever played, a Hagstrom III and we would gather in his basement and take turns trying to figure it out.
Joe and I spent most of our time together from the age of 12 to the time I left for Berklee college when I was 18.
There’s no way to quantify the impact we had on each other’s lives.
It’s a blessing to have a friend that you completely and utterly feel comfortable with, that you can share anything with because they understand you and don’t criticize you for anything. I’m fortunate in that I have had many friends like this in my youth and my life, but in those most formative teenage years, Joe was the closest.
Through those years we grew together and made all those discoveries you make as an adolescent such as, music, girls, cars, bikes, drugs, life, independence, etc. Joe and I would have deep talks about everything. There was nothing we couldn’t say to each other. I have recordings of some of it. He was always kind, considerate and generous with even the simple things he had, and we were laughing most of the time. It felt like we both had a totally bizarre sense of humor that only the two of us understood.
When I started to practice the guitar hours and hours in my bedroom, (age 13) Joe was there. Sometimes he would hang out while I practiced. Many hours were spent in the dark of the room playing chords for each other and telling the stories that those chords told us. Whenever I discovered a new riff on the guitar I was so excited to show it to Joe. We were both fascinated with what I could come up with after all the hours I was practicing, even if it was a rip off of a Hendrix lick.
The first time I ever heard anybody use the word “shred” associated with a guitar was from Joe after we had discovered the first riff I could play that sounded fast and “shreddy”. We used the term constantly after that. Perhaps it’s possible that he was the first to coin that phrase?
We discovered new music together, went to concerts and once we were old enough to get away with fake id (14 perhaps, the drinking age was 18 at the time) we started going to funky rock and roll dump bars on Long Island with our group of greaser friends. We would try not to miss going to shows by some of the Long Island elite bands when they played such as Twisted Sister, Zebra, Rat Race Choir, The Good Rats, etc.
Our group of rocker friends liked partying, getting into trouble, hooking up with girls, smoking weed, (mostly cut with oregano) starting fights, riding motorbikes and just finding mischief whenever they could. This was in great contrast to the social activities of the “cleaner” group of kids that lived on my street… BIG contrast.
Another turning point was when I joined the band “Rayge” at the age of perhaps 14 with some of the other rockers in our roving youth gang of a town. The band played, Zeppelin, Kiss, Bowie, Queen, Aerosmith and all that great rock music from the 70’s. We played all sorts of odd gigs like back yard parties, bars on Long Island, High school dances, parks, or anyplace that would have us. We had a built in rowdy audience in our large group of wild friends who all took part in virtually every show we ever played. Things usually seemed to really get heated up whenever we would play “Born to be Wild”. It was like a call to arms of destruction and teenage insanity whenever we played it. We would make it like 30 minutes long and it acted as a hysteria potion.
It was so great to be a teenager on Long Island in the 70’s and playing in a rock band. Joe was there with me through it all, virtually every show, every rehearsal and all our spare time. Besides fixing my guitars when they broke, he was the band’s electronic and light show mastermind. He was in charge of the light show and he and I would sneak around the neighborhood at night and “borrow” flood lights from people’s properties which he used to build a make-shift lighting truss. We would go to JC Pennies and purchase these little rocket engines for these toy rockets they sold. They actually had flash powder in them and we would sit for days and peel the outer wrapping and gather all the flash powder for these flash pots he rigged that we would use at the shows when I would do my Jimmy Page impersonation with a violin bow. I would strike the guitar with the bow and when the echo came out, Joe would hit the flash pot. One time while doing a gig in our high school gymnasium, the flash pots malfunctioned and they all went off at once and singed my eyelashes off. This was miraculous fun.
After the gig the entire gymnasium was thick with smoke and as it dissipated it left in its wake a pile of beer bottles, articles of clothing soaked in vomit, all sorts of odd debris, and a handful of passed out high school students.
When I wrote my first orchestra score, “Sweet Wind from Orange County” when I was perhaps 15 or 16 years old, Joe was there to encourage me. He even did the art work for the cover of the score.
We loved to eat… a lot. At times I weighed close to 200 pounds in high school.
Joe and I would always save a few quarters after we bought beer on the weekends to purchase a few sticks of butter. We would stash the butter in the bushes before we went out for the night because in the middle of our town was a bakery that baked their fresh bread all night. When we would show up there after the nights festivities at around 3-4am, the bakery folks would give us a few loaves of freshly baked warm Italian bread. We would retrieve the butter stash and pig out! It was amazing.
One night we got home to my house at around 4am and were pretty out of it. We were also quite hungry. I made one of my “famous” tuna melts. You mix the tuna with a ton of mayo and onions and then spread it out on a piece of bread, cover it with Velveeta cheese and melt it in the toaster oven. Pure delight, but in the morning, I asked my Mom if there was anything for lunch. She said there was a can of tuna in the cabinet. I told her Joe and I ate that last night. She said, “well, I saw it there yesterday, it’s next to the can of cat food”. That’s when I looked in the cabinet and to my surprise, the only can of anything in there was of tuna fish. Those were the best cat food cheese melts we ever had.
There were many times when I learned things from Joe that had a tremendous effect on my perspective. I remember once when his girlfriend got a car I said to him, “This is great, now you can ask her if we can borrow her car to go out to the Hamptons this weekend” and he said, “Nah, that’s her car. I’m not going to be that guy”. This seemed simple enough, but it had a huge impact on me.
I remember I purchased my first car from the singer in our group for $50. It was a Chevy Impala and had a totally blown engine and wouldn’t even start. Joe and I would just sit in it for hours at a time talking and imagining we had a real car.
Eventually I received a hand-me-down Buick LeSabre from my parents that was on its last wheels. That car became our sanctuary. We went everywhere in it. It had no heating or AC but that didn’t matter.
I believe the first place we drove to in that car was to get our first tattoos together. We started drawing these tattoos years before we got them. We would sit at the table in my kitchen and just draw. He was so much better at it than me. But we had finally decided what we wanted, and we went and got our first tattoos together.
We were really into Harleys. All the older cool guys had one. My brother Roger had an amazing chopper. Joe and I would just fantasize about owning one. Then as fate would have it, Joe was hit by a car while crossing Glen Cove Road on his bicycle. He was OK… sort of, but there was an insurance settlement that he was eligible for on his 17th birthday. When that day came Joe received the money and immediately purchased my brothers 1200cc Harley chopper.
It was like we hit the jackpot. We rode EVERYWHERE around Long Island on that bike. How we survived based on the things we did is still a phenomenon to me. Joe would stand on the seat with his arms out in an iron cross and ride through town. He was the only guy we knew that would ride his Harley barefoot. One time he came riding through town with his legs stretched out over the handlebars like he was relaxing and watching tv. In his mouth hung a cigarette, in one hand a beer, and in the other a handful of bottle rockets. He would drink the beer and light the bottle rocket with his cigarette and then discharge them at his unsuspecting victims while whizzing by them on his Harley.
Although a big part of me was very rock and roll and “greaseresque”, in my heart of hearts I wanted to be a composer and a guitar player, and I wanted to further my studies by attending Berklee college of Music. This did not sit well with the band as we all had fantasies of going on to becoming a famous rock band. I just never felt that was a realistic thing because the whole idea of being that successful seemed so impossible to me. But I believe the band knew that I had different aspirations, so I was off with their blessing… I think.
I was going to miss that little town, the band and our wild group friends, but I knew I was really going to miss Joe. But I also knew it was time for me to transition.
Around the time I left for Berklee Joe started to get serious with his guitar building talents and started building guitars instead of just fixing them. We always stayed in contact and saw each other whenever we could.
When I joined David Lee Roth’s band, Joe made me a bunch of guitars, the lightning bolt guitar, swiss cheese guitar, the flame guitar, and a handful of others. His approach to making guitars was similar to his approach to other things which was insightful, bombastic, seemingly haphazard but with a creative panache that captured his personality and intentions. The guitars he made for me were best suited as stage guitars. They were bold and exotic looking in a way only he could muster.
He hand-made me the one and only original “Flame” guitar that I used quite a bit with Roth and Whitesnake. I used the guitars he made me periodically through those years. Several were stolen from a storage locker in Pasadena while I was rehearsing with Roth.
Joe called his guitars “Jems” and one of the reasons I named my signature Ibanez guitar the “Jem” was in hopes to bring some attention to him and his work. The early guitars he made me bore no real resemblance to the Jem I designed for Ibanez, but Joe was the first one I asked to put a monkey grip in one of my guitars.
He made such odd and inventive instruments. I still have some. He even made me a beautiful instrument a few years ago. Making these wild instruments was Joe’s passion and he did it with much joy and brilliance. His specialty was animated type flames. He just had a way of understanding certain things such as electronics, handy crafts, etc. He was just great at it all.
Joe was always surprising us with his inventive work but perhaps the most outstanding thing about Joe Despagni was the size of his heart. He was just a really good, fun and easy guy. He had a particular integrity that helped to fill in so many of my blanks. He was tremendously supportive of me through my entire life.
As I sit and write this I’m completely in awe at all the absolutely amazing life experiences we had, the things we did, the places we went, the secrets we shared. Only a very small amount of these adventures is written about here. We knew each other better than anyone. And though my heart is heavy I can’t be more grateful to the Universe for Joe and I having each other in this life. I’m blessed with many best friends in life, from different situations, towns, times, etc. but as mentioned, there’s something about that one person that you have through those teenage years that’s just a little different. Someone that was a blessing in your life.
If not for my relationship with Joe Despagni, Steve Vai the guitar player and the Ibanez Jem would most certainly not be as they are known today. Joe really was a game changer for me and I loved him so much, and still do. I love thinking about him and our crazy youthful days and when I do that, in a way, he’s even closer to me than when he was among us in the flesh.
Here’s to you my dear friend. Thank you for who you were and all we had.
June 1, 2018
Added: 23 July 2018
When I was growing up with Joe Despagni, there was a small group of us (maybe 3-4 at times) that were ultra close. One of those folks, a very very dear friend, had written this insightful reminiscent of Joe and she and I agreed to post it here for those who were interested in getting a little deeper view of what our good buddy Joe was about. Enjoy!
Remembering JOE DESPAGNI
The first time my mother met Joe he had come by when I wasn’t home. When I got home my mother said, “This black thing with chains came to the door asking for you?!!!” I knew it was Joe.
Joe was a great driver. Joe always stopped whatever he was doing (drinking) to drive me home so my father wouldn’t kill me. He’d be drunk but his driving was always impeccable.
We drove around a lot. SO MUCH FUN JUST DRIVING AROUND.
Joe would drop me off around the corner from my house when we were on his bike. My father hated motorcycles. It was funny! I’d walk in and my father would sometimes ask “Were you on a motorcycle? I heard a motorcycle!!” I’d tell him it was a Volkswagen. Pop never figured out how the different engines sounded, but I can still tell em apart to date!
Us in the Impala doing doughnuts in parking lots after it snowed. Joe taught me how to turn into a spin out on snow in a parking lot. Inviting kids to bumper hitch while driving down the main drag of Carle Place – sent one kid head first into a snow bank. HA
Drinking outside during the winter when we were underage, Joe would only wear one glove – on his beer-holding hand.
The layers of tee shirt, cut-off denim jacket, then black leather jacket. Joe had the quintessential biker look. BLACK BOOTS.
Joe actually tried to teach me how to drink beer in the bus parking lot at Rushmore. He was inspiring. I had trouble with the bubbles but wanted to drink with him very much.
Joe doing a beer shooter at the Beverage Barn then kind of barfing with beer foam coming out his nose. HA
Singing with Joe – lots of Zappa.
Going to Joe’s house where his sweet mom would always make us the best coffee (instant, I think, with cream) and feed us great her great cooking.
Joe so drunk and falling down that some guys wedged him between two telephone poles outside the Carvel ice cream store where I worked.
Joe and I riding on the 74 police special he bought from Roger, in the middle of winter. Me wearing my mother’s old beaver coat and old, round sunglasses. Joe in biker layers of denim and leather. Wish I had a picture of that…
Meeting up at Steve’s. Singing notes under Steve’s direction to help him with what he was composing. Going out, sans Steve, to party till like 4 am, then back to Steve’s where he’d still be playing guitar.
Ran out of gas far from home; kinda lost, like 2 am, in a creepy place, I think in front of a cemetery. Joe and Cheech went off to get gas and came back for Steve and I in a cop car. The cop was not happy to have us but agreed to drive us over to a gas station. I was scared shitless, sitting in the front seat. Joe’s in the back seat and in a very innocent voice he says something like ” Wow, I’ve never been in the back seat of a cop car before!” SO HILARIOUS. I remember the excruciation of sitting next to the cop trying not to laugh and get more trouble!
Left my denim jacket in Joe’s car one night. He returned it to me with a drawing he had made all over the back. I was kinda pissed. I still have that jacket:
Driving around, setting up, standing around at Rayge concerts with Joe. ROCK PUB (PIT). Battle of the Bands! Some weird bar at Roosevelt Field – BEEF(Y) BARN! I drank too much and ended up puking in the parking lot outside the Beefy Barn while Joe held my hair.
Sitting on amps outside bars after shows, guarding the band’s gear, waiting for Joe to show up with the van.
One time Joe completely took apart Wally Williams’ Volkswagen “Thing” in the parking lot of CPHS while the rest of us were in class. Joe was so smart but did not like going to school.
Joe riding by the front of CPHS, standing on top of his bike doing the iron cross.
Joe was kind of everywhere in Carle Place. I could always see him. HE STUCK OUT in a glorious way. Plus, since he didn’t like to go to high school much, he always seemed to be nearby waiting for us to get out.
Joe driving up in his car. Driving up on his bike, giving it a little pop of gas to make the engine growl before switching it off. So stylish and well performed – BIKER STYLE.
Joe always seemed to be around. Easy to find. Easy to see:
– Joe driving up smiling
– Joe in front of O’Hara’s smoking and holding a beer
– Joe patrolling inside and outside of bars and parties.
I SAW HIM EVERYWHERE. I could find Joe 24/7. It was cool and fortunate. I think too, he was always looking for me…
Drinking Long Island Ice Teas (first and last time) with Joe at the restaurant Marion worked at, then going to another bar somewhere on the South shore for more. So drunk. Came back to my house (parents weren’t around?), had bad sloppy sex and in the process broke my bed!
Joe talking about making guitars with such love. I remember the sparkle in his eyes, the joy in his voice, as he explained in detail how he’d set up a tank and was doing an old Florentine technique to make the marbleized paint look on guitars.
So proud when Joe sent me his JEM Guitars catalogue. So proud of his talent. Hope I still have that catalogue. Can’t find it. Shit.
Joe was so proud and in endless love with his daughter, Melissa. I think his relationship with Melissa’s mom was not working out, but he never said anything bad about her. JUST focused on how he loved Melissa.
So proud was Joe of Steve. He would just glow talking about Steve.
Joe did good Zippo tricks. He gave me a Zippo. I still have it.
Joe chain smoked beautifully. Like a poet gangster.
Going to Jack-in-the-Box at four in the morning, all of us with our jackets on inside out and backwards to disturb the cashier, getting and eating a million “dogmeat” tacos.
Getting great hot semolina bread from the bakery next to O’Hara’s at four in the morning, stuffing loaves with sticks of butter, eating mass quantities. So fun and tasty to put on top of beer.
Joe reporting on going to jail: “It was cool – I knew so many people there!”
Joe smiling, admitting he’d lost most of his teeth to speed and fist fights.
Joe standing around so serious, so proud, watching Steve play in Rayge.
Rayge playing a CPHS dance. Drank quarts of Colt 45 in the bushes outside. Came in to Rayge playing BAD COMPANY. Me so thrilled to see my friends being a badass rock and roll BAND! Joe patrolling the scene, so proud! The fireworks went wrong and nearly blew us all up.
Joe talking about Melissa with so much love.
Joe biting a shot glass on a bet at the ROCK PUB.
Fights. Drunken fights. Me standing on top of the cigarette machine at the Rock Pub watching all below me in a big fist fight! Joe in the middle of it all.
So many fuzzy high nights following Rayge around. Joe serious about sound and lights. DRINKING SMOKING I remember the honor of being the DRINK supplier from the BAR to the BAND at the BEEFY BARN. Such power! Standing next to Joe while he adjusted the soundboard. WE RULED the bar! The world was so funny.
Battle of the Bands. Who was Rayge battling? WE ALWAYS WON as far as we were concerned.
Joe & Co. doing drunken kick line dancing to Born to be Wild. We were ROCKERS. Very anti-Disco – NO dancing – except when Born to be Wild came on. Then everybody would cut loose and go insane. THAT song was our Pledge of Allegiance.
Sitting in diners after the bars closed, eating breakfast before going home.
Joe took a lot of shit for being fat. Joe was always so kind, supportive loving towards everybody. And he never fought back when they put him down. Made me sad.
JOE HAD BEAUTIFUL EYES & BEAUTIFUL HAIR and such style – I always loved the way he looked.
His eyes sparkled and laughed a lot. His hair was mostly kept in a long black, then grey, then white braid. I occasionally braided his hair. It was beautiful.
We all developed a collective sense of humor laced with inside jokes, phrases, code that we cultivated, curated and enjoyed a lot. My sense of humor was honed talking with Joe and Steve and Cheech. ALL such smart, curious, inventive, imaginative guys. They’d almost compete to be funny. WHAT a pleasure. What great good fortune to hang out with my best friends.
I always wished I was a guy. All the females would hang out together, go together to parties and bars, where they would hook up with the guy groups. I would show up all the time with Joe/Steve/Cheech. They never seemed to notice or care that I was a weirdo girl who didn’t have much rapport with the other females. They didn’t hold my gender against me. Made me feel special to not just be T&A to those guys.
Joe and Steve and Cheech excitedly discussing some kind of guitar trick or figuring out how to play other people’s guitar licks.
We were misfits but we got away with it. I think greater CP let us be for a few reasons:
– JOE was hilarious FUN
– STEVE was a great rock guitarist
– CHEECH was stealthy and a clever troubleshooter.
Mostly though: ROGER VAI would kill anyone who touched us and ALL KNEW IT.
Steve driving an ice cream truck, Joe in the jump seat shouting “Wheelie Time!” as we bounced around the backyard of some rich chick’s house on the North shore at a CRAZY PARTY.
We were all such happy derelicts.
My father told me one day there was a kind of impromptu parade going down the street (maybe 4th of July…). Joe was in a convertible surrounded by gnarly bikers, drinking and smoking and the usual rowdy shit. Joe apparently saw my father, stopped everything and greeted him very politely in the middle of all the mayhem. Thrilled and impressed the hell out of my dad.
Many warm, comfortable time sitting in Steve’s den or bedroom. Steve with a guitar, Joe, me, Cheech and occasionally others. Talking serious, joking serious. Steve playing, us somehow very much participating with Steve’s playing.
Joe’s phrasing and intonations were beautiful and fun to listen to. He had a way of coloring in what he was saying by how he said it.
Lines he said come back to suddenly, out of nowhere – things he said decades ago! Too many, too deep in there to remember off the top, but I hereby commit writing them down when they show up going forward.
Joe respected the people he felt were above him with sincerity. He seemed always proud to be us and he was kind to those who fell below us in the crazy hierarchy of our teenage years. HE LOOKED SO MEAN BIKER but he was SO KIND and EMPATHIC towards all. I so admired his generosity of spirit.
One time I had a dream at around 16 years old. I was driving along the water when I was the silhouette of Joe on his bike at the end of a dock. I stopped, got out of the car and walked down the dock. There was Joe. He was really old, long white braid, kinda skeleton head. I was TERRIFIED. I asked him, “Joe what the fuck happened to you?!!” He replied, “It’s like this Vic, you get old, you get ugly, then you die”. With that, he revved the motor then drove straight off the dock.
I woke up with a START! I never forgot. HE WAS RIGHT and eventually, when his braid was white, it would remind me of that dream…
I always felt safe with Joe, no matter what kind of crazy shit we got into. HE WAS SO LOYAL. I felt sure he would protect me. DIE for me. I learned loyalty from Joe and Steve’s relationship. I’m not sure if I have ever know more loyalty, allegiance, alliance than we had between us in those days…
Joe went to visit his parents in FLA and ended up staying there and taking care of them until they died. He did it with empathy and good humor. He easily adapted to FLA, found old friends and new ones to party with – I was amazed.
He described pretty horrible care giving situations without fear, rancor or complaint. WE WOULD END UP LAUGHING no matter what was going on.
When his parents died, Joe just stayed there. FLA seemed to suit him. He/We talked about him moving to California a bunch of times but it never happened…
He would call me up and tell me of all his ups and downs and the saga of his DRINKIN SMOKIN GETTING IN TROUBLE lifestyle. Once he told me he landed in jail and was amazed at how many of his friends were there too!
Joe came to visit me in San Pablo in around 2005. It was the last time I saw him. We drank and smoked. I took him to the local biker bar. He was immediately one of them. I left to walk my dog, came back to get him. HE WAS DRUNK and with all his friends as if they had always been together.
Joe sat in my kitchen and cooked while I went to work. He made the BEST eggplant parm I have ever had. He taught me to make an oregano chicken dish. HE WAS AN EXCELLENT COOK!
Also on that visit Joe did a thing I haven’t mentioned so far which is get super DRUNK and OBNOXIOUS! He had the capacity to get relentlessly OBNOXIOUS when drunk sometimes. This time he got my BIG PIT BULL dog upset enough I became afraid. He was falling down (literally) drunk and my dog was starting to get defensive of me cuz of the way Joe was acting. I ended up locking myself and the dog in my room. NOT A GOOD MEMORY…
One time I was mad a Joe (likely for for being drunk and obnoxious to me) and turned down the opportunity to go with him to see LED ZEPPELIN at Madison Square Gardens. Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!
Joe always remembered my birthday. I think his was December 5th, but I was never any good at birthdays. One time Joe borrowed his uncle’s (?) limo, picked me up and drove me around town for my birthday. He played chauffer while I sat in the back acting rich and famous. I felt so special and important. It was a wonderful present
I thought Harleys were cool but poorly built unreliable motorcycles. Joe explained to me it wasn’t the bikes, it was the dumbass guys who took them apart all winter to “fix” them that fucked them up and made HDs unreliable. HA
It bugged me out how self-destructive Joe could be. He would hurt himself and it would piss me off. At times it seemed like the world was shitty to him and he would take it out on himself. I now notice I did/do the same thing, albeit less with liquor and more with cheese.
I think we connected as misfits. All of us: Joe, Steve, Cheech and me. WE FIT TOGETHER VERY WELL and it steeled me against the pain of being different.
I liked to draw but my father always told me I sucked at it, which made me feel horrible. In my twenties, I did a series of flower/moon drawings and gave them all away. I gave one to Joe. He told me several times how he thought it was beautiful and he would keep it forever. THAT MADE ME SO HAPPY.
We all liked being smart and derelict. Joe liked being derelict more than the rest of us…
I felt loved by Joe. He showed a lot of love easily. Generous with his heart.
Pia and I just returned from a fabulous “Alien Guitar Secrets” master class tour in Europe.
I got to visit some places I have never been and met some wonderful folks along the way.
I so much enjoy doing these little tours and would like to thank all the fine people that attended the classes.
A special shout out to my good buddy Riccardo Cappelli who organized the trip and had us laughing virtually the whole time.
We were in :
Oslo Norway, Helsinki Finland, Zoetermeer Netherlands, Guilford UK, Madrid Spain, Luxembourg, Malta, Athens Greece, Isola Del Liri Italy and Tel Aviv Israel
One other bit of cool news. Some time ago, The Hard Rock Cafe acquired my 1946 Harley Davidson Knuckle Head motorcycle and it’s on display in their Daytona location. I loved that motorcycle and put a lot of miles on it back in the 90’s and now it’s so nice to see it in a place where more people could enjoy it than when it was sitting in my garage!