Wednesday
Aug312011

Little Dume

So I'm seeing some inquiries regarding the origin of Little Dume Recordings, my record label. Here's what I know, or think I know about what it's inspired by. Point Dume is a promontory on the western end of Malibu, California. It also marks the uppermost end of Santa Monica Bay. It was used as a navigational point for mariners dating back to the 1700's. Point Dume was named by George Vancouver in 1793 in honor of Padre Francisco Dumetz of Mission San Buenaventura. The name was misspelled as "Dume" on Vancouver's map and was never corrected.

The "Little Dume" part probably was coined by local surfers and beach goers in the late sixties-early seventies to describe the beautiful and somewhat inaccessible beach that lies below the cliffs. They called the far western point Big Dume, which was easier to get to and was excepted as the more public area of the beach, and the more private "locals only" part, Little Dume. Besides the beauty and privacy of the place, it boasts some of the best south and southwest facing waves maybe anywhere, certainly in California. There was a time when even speaking to "outsiders" about Little Dume beach would be considered an act of treason by the fiercely territorial local surfers who felt they owned the place. My family and I arrived in Malibu in the mid-eighties when it was still a pretty unknown beach but I have heard stories about how "enforcers" would keep non-locals away by literally dragging them out of the water if they wouldn't leave when told. These days, the secret is definitely out due to word of mouth, the phenomenal flood of new surfers and Internet sites that broadcast every detail about the place (I got some of the facts here from Wikipedia).

Fortunately, I'm old enough to have experienced the days when the secret hadn't gotten out yet. I can remember times when I wished someone would come out and join me in the water. When there were riderless waves coming one after another. Then, maybe one or two or three guys would paddle out and we'd all talk about whatever in between sets and take turns riding incredibly perfect waves until we got tired or hungry. These days, if a good swell comes, it's like a madhouse out there and many times too aggressive for me at my advanced age. Also, with the introduction of "stand-up paddling" (where people stand on a large buoyant longboard and propel themselves with a paddle) there are so many people in the water, many of whom know nothing about the basic skills and etiquette of surfing, there's just a lot of mayhem.
Years ago, when I was thinking about what to name my publishing company, I liked the sound of Little Dume Music and because it has been such a huge part of our lives (it literally was my kids backyard for their entire childhood) I thought it fit perfectly. Later, when Rob, George and I started the label, we decided there was no need to call it anything else.

I hope this is helpful to those who wanted the background, and hope everyone is having a relaxing summer.

photo: Seth Page

Tuesday
Jul122011

Berlin

We are in our last week of this tour and it feels like we're winding down now. Don't know how some artists do these 12 and 18 month tours. You must start to feel like a vagabond without any roots. When we were in Milan, Roger Waters and band were staying at the same hotel. I know some of the guys in his band. Roger was kind enough to invite us to an after show get together in the hotel. Those guys had been out since March (I think they're done now and home) so they were really feeling dingy. Kipp, Pat and Mark Lennon (the band Venice) and Jon Joyce, who I've known for years, were singing with Roger, so it was nice to hang with them a bit. As much as they loved doing The Wall with Roger, I sensed they were ready to go home. They're back out in January for another run. It does take quite a bit of stamina to do this, especially since almost all of us are slightly past our prime. One thing I've noticed (and Gary Wright mentioned this a lot at the start of the tour) is if you don't get a lot of rest (sleep) things can get really bad. Especially with the voice, and when the voice goes, it's a nightmare. Edgar came down with a horrible cold and laryngitis a week ago. Luckily, it just came on after a show and the following two days we had off, so he had time to recover. Just barely though. He told me he slept almost the whole time. There is no more helpless feeling than having no voice. You just can't do anything with it and there is nothing you can do but wait. Edgar's plan was to have Rick Derringer sing his part on Free Ride but as it turned out, that wasn't necessary.

Gregg and I went over to check out Checkpoint Charlie, the now infamous place where East Berlin was separated from the west. As with so many of these places, some enterprising person had the idea to capitalize on this historic place. For a few Euros, you can get your picture taken with an actor dressed in an American army uniform holding a US flag. We got tea at a shop right across the street and one of the actors was taking a break there. I asked him if it was a good job, and he replied in a thick German accent, "ya, very gude". There is also a depressing museum there about how difficult and sometimes deadly it was to live behind the wall and how clever and successful some of the escape attempts were. Many people died trying as I'm sure you remember. Don't know if I mentioned this in a previous blog, but it is strangely interesting that most of the popular tourist stops in Europe have something to do with human atrocities. Public squares where beheadings took place, death camps, lions eating Christians, children being sacrificed, etc. Yet these things are still going on right now (don't know about children being sacrificed.......but who knows?). Have we learned anything from our past? Apparently not. Look at Syria, and the Middle East, and Africa. Just makes me realize that suffering is endless and all we can really do about it is tame our own minds and hearts individually so that we never engage in harming others........or ourselves.

On a more upbeat note, crowds have been consistently great everywhere we've been. It will be a bit of a let down to end this, but everything must end and we shouldn't get too attached to endings or beginnings. I should warn any of you that might have become attached somehow to my regular blogs, that once I'm home, they won't be so regular, as I slink back into my private life. I do plan on staying in touch though. Thanks for reading my ramblings........ More to come.

Thursday
Jul072011

Hamburg, Germany

So I said goodbye to wife Linda and daughters Alisha and Aja in Rome. I am now in Hamburg Germany and they are on their way back to Southern California. It was great to share some of this trip with them. We spent a little over two weeks together starting in London, then on to Paris, Prague and Rome. Back when Mr. Mister was touring Europe, they came over with Linda for a few weeks, but because they were just little kids, they don't really remember much. Tai, our oldest son was 14, so he remembers a lot of that. Alisha, nearly 27 and Aja, just 25 in June, had a great time seeing all the amazing things that makes Europe so unique.

I'm glad Rome was the finale. What an extraordinary place. Almost indescribable. We toured the Vatican, saw the Sistine Chapel, went to the Spanish steps. The girls made wishes at the Trevino Fountain, and we had some of the best food on the planet........every day and night we were there (I feel like I've gained 10 pounds already). Gary and Rose Wright have spent a lot of time in Europe, and Italy in particular, so Rose acted as tour guide for my girls when we were working. That was helpful. Thanks Rose.

Hamburg, as many of you know, was where The Beatles worked their music in the early years. Last night, Gary, Rick Derringer, Wally Palmar and I had dinner with some of the people who have history with The Star Club, the famous club where The Beatles played. We met a guy named King Size Taylor (also from Liverpool) who offered Ringo a job as his drummer when he first met John, Paul and George. He claims The Beatles offered Ringo $5 more a week than he could afford, so Ringo became a Beatle. We checked that story out with Ringo this morning, because, you know, everyone's got a story, and it was true. He could've been in King Size Taylors band and missed making history. Crazy.

We are celebrating his birthday tonight with a band dinner after the show. Should be fun.

Wednesday
Jun292011

Glasgow, Scotland

For any of you reading this who have been to Scotland, I don't have to tell you how unbelievably beautiful it is. Scott Ritchie, who is one of the crew guys taking care of us is from Glasgow (Scottie from Scotland), volunteered to take Gregg Bisonette and me out to the country's most famous lake, Loch Lommond. We had rain in the UK off and on for our entire stay there, but fortunately the skies cleared that day. We hired a car and driver, who's name was James. James told us that just about everyone's name is James on Scotland (except Scotties). Gregg and I, from the back seat, had to really pay attention to what was being said in the front seat because listening to those two was almost like listening to another language, the accents so thick. We were able to decipher most of it though by muttering under our breath to each other what we thought we'd heard. What a beautiful use of the English language though. So melodic. I could've listen to them all day.

When we got to the lake (loch), the hillsides were so green it didn't look real. Very few trees, just rolling hills everywhere leading down to the water. We walked through a tiny village by the lake, stopping in to several of the shops. All of them had the famous song Loch Lommond (you take the high road and I'll take the low road) playing. There were kilts and scotch plaid hats, souvenirs of all kinds there. We toyed with the idea of both of us wearing red plaid hats to the gig that night, but backed off when we figured the crowd would think we were a couple of dumb asses. "Oh look there James, they think they're being clever, don't they."

After hanging by the lake for a while, James and Scottie took us for a drive up into the hills to a place called Rest and Be Thankful. An incredible vantage point where you can see for miles. The place got it's name because years ago, before motorized transportation, people would journey up the hill with their possessions either on their backs or on a cart, and when they got to this place, they would rest and be thankful for just making it that far.

Getting back to the song Loch Lommond. There are conflicting stories about what the song means and for whom it was written, but the one I like has to do with a couple of Scottish soldiers who were captured by the English many years ago when Scotland was at war with England. As a way of 'playing' with them, the English announced that one of the soldiers would be freed and one would be executed. The one scheduled to die would never see his true love again on the 'Bonnie Bonnie banks of Loch Lommond' yet his soul would return to Scotland via 'the low road' (death) sooner than his colleague on 'the high road' (life). I'd always thought that song was just this kind of happy tune they sang in pubs and not the serious, heartbreaking story it really is.

Great visit Scotland. Great audience too.

Me and Gregg on Loch Lommond.

Sunday
Jun192011

Empire Theatre, Liverpool

We flew into Liverpool from London late yesterday for a show last night. There were some problems at the airport so we were delayed a bit. Having never been to Liverpool, I was anxious to see if what I had constructed in my mind about the place was at all accurate. As a kid living in Southern California when the Beatles took over the world, Liverpool seemed to me to be Mecca, the epicenter of all things cool. Of course the city has been well documented as the working class, rough and tumble place that it still seems to be today, but to see it for the first time, the fact that it is visually so underwhelming made it just as cool as I had imagined it. What are the odds that four unbelievably talented young men could all be living in this unassuming place, find each other and change the world with their music?

As we arrived, there were already hundreds of people waiting to get a glimpse of one of their two remaining homeboys. There is a  real sense of ownership, a feeling that natives of Liverpool are themselves intrinsically connected and part of the history of what The Beatles did. I get that. Looking out the window as we pulled up to the theater, I noticed a young man with the Beatle's faces tattooed on both arms. John and Paul on the left and George and Ringo on the right. Excellently done. There was a brief scuffle with security as Ringo (in the car ahead of us) tried to weave through the unruly crowd. People were screaming for his attention and demanding autographs. A very upset middle aged woman yanked the arm of one of our crew and shoved him into a few other people trying to get to Ringo. The crew guy complained of a sore shoulder later. Safely in our dressing rooms, Ringo, talking about the scene outside, said something like "that was nothing, imagine that times a thousand. We really were scared for our lives." You get the idea.

Show was great. His 95 year old auntie was in the audience. Ringo made a few cracks about how he used to have to run through certain neighborhoods to avoid being beat up or robbed of his school lunch money. I can't remember the names of the neighborhoods, but that got a big laugh. Maybe the coolest thing about the whole experience was that we played on the same stage of The Empire Theatre where The Beatles performed back in 1965.