February 26, 2003

Where: Encino, CA

As I write this I am on a plane from New York to LA. Last night was the Grammy show and your boy here actually was the host of the pre-tel. I was asked by the Academy to host the pre-tel and come out playing my guitar for about a minute or so.
The pre-tel is just that: the pre-telecast portion of the Grammy show. Besides the 14 or so Grammys that are given away on the air during the televised portion of the show, there are an additional 94 or so Grammys that are given away in various other categories before the aired portion of the show.
It was really quite a thrill and an honor for me to be asked to do this. I came out playing the Bad Horsie guitar (the black Jem with the mirror front that I’m hoping to make a production model), and it was tuned down a whole step with the low string tuned to C. I wanted to do something that contrasted with the performance style I did on the show the previous year with Nelly Furtado.
If I get some time I’ll re-record what I played and put it up on the site for you all – you might get a kick out of it.
It was interesting to see the look on people’s faces when I was done. I remember looking out into the audience and seeing such diverse artists as Erykah Badu, Sheryl Crow, B. B. King, Pat Metheny, The Dixie Chicks, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Floetry, Vanessa Carlton, N*SYNC, Norah Jones and so so many more. After I brutally wagged the whammy bar to the point where the guitar was actually begging me to let go, and then raised it to my face and slithered harmonics out with my tongue, I was sure they all thought I was from Venus but hey, what am I here for, right? I get a kick out of trying to shock the musical elite. Actually, they were all very supportive and respectful, but they still thought I was from Venus.
I then went on to give a little intro speech and present in several categories. Basically my job was to introduce various presenters and present some categories myself along with attempting to keep the proceedings running at a good clip.
After that, Pia and I sat in the 7th row and enjoyed what I believe to be the finest Grammy show in the history of the show itself. We were sitting literally 4 feet from Simon and Garfunkel when they performed “The Sound of Silence.” It moved us to tears.
The entire show was a tremendously entertaining experience. Norah Jones, God bless her, it was her night. It was sweet to see her be overwhelmed by the whole thing.
Besides aggressive guitar playing the other thing that I enjoy listening to is thick, well-performed vocal harmonies. This was the 3rd time I have seen N*SYNC perform at the Grammys and I’m convinced that they are one of the better vocal ensembles ever assembled. They were perfectly on pitch, singing dense and very difficult chord voicings and clusters. It may not be your type of music but I certainly appreciate how talented they are. They did a tribute to the Bee Gees.
The one thing that I was a little disappointed at was that there was no metal band performing on the show. I would have loved to see Korn or System of a Down perform but maybe next time. Unfortunately there is such little time for all the great genres represented in the various categories.
I think the highlight of the evening for me, was when Faith Hill walked
through the back stage area and graced my guitar. The whammy bar stood straight up and started violently wangling, and then all the strings popped.
Poor thing, now I can’t keep it in tune.
After the show we attended the Grammy party. Nile Rodgers and his band Chic were performing and man, they were the bomb. This party was free to Academy members and hosted some of the finest foods that the elite restaurants of New York had to offer.
Although the Grammy show is the most popular aspect of what the Academy does, there are so many other programs that help and educate people in need that the academy supports. I urge you to visit and check it out. YOU can even become a member of the academy if you are a musician. To be a voting member, you need to have been credited on contributing to at least 6 songs that were released through conventional means on any CD or CD’s. Otherwise you can be an Associate Member if you are in the music business. If you go to the site you can get details on how to join. You can even put me down on the form as a sponsor.
Hey, I might even see you at the next Grammy party. It’s certainly a wingding.
In other news, the new record is shaping up nicely. Slowly but nicely. Sorry it’s taking so long, and if I can get it out by the end of this year I’ll be thrilled. Stay tuned for the new Archives CD’s that go in the box.