Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Introducing the next generation to slide guitar

As we were perusing the camping equipment at REI, a new song came on the radio.

"Listen, Listen dad", my son said excitedly, "do you recognize the song?"

It didn't take me much to recognize the slide guitar from the Allman Brothers Band. (I learned on YouTube the song was called "Jessica".)

"Who?,  my son asked, "No dad, this is the theme song from Top Gear."

Of course! I must have heard it a hundred times by now, as we watch the UK shows over and over. Even though the gang of three lost all credibility after the infamous Tesla episode.

Sure, I may pretend to know all about the Allman Brothers now, but about 15 years ago, my answer would have been the same as my son. But that all changed one infamous Sunday night at the Paradise Lounge in San Francisco. It was a few months after I watched Rush, a movie about undercover narcotics agents played by Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Little did I know that Will Gaines, the drug lord in the movie, is played by Gregg Allman.

Back to the night in the Paradise Lounge. It was close to 1:30am Sunday night. Closing time. My roommate, his girlfriend and myself were one of the few remaining patrons finishing our drinks. As we were leaving the place, a group of well dressed folks walks in. The gents were in tuxedos and the ladies were all dressed up in elegant gowns. Intrigued they were let in at this time of the night, we dragged out feet leaving and hid in the back against the wall. The doors closed and everybody inside was asked to stay back, away from the windows as the SFPD was making sure all bars, clubs and lounges had emptied. There must have been perhaps 15 patrons and about 10 of the fancy folks. About 30 minutes past, when the fancy folks opened their cases and pulled out a bunch of instruments. They got on stage and started jamming. They seemed to know the owner of the place. The band sounded beyond awesome. My roommate could hardly contain his excitement. It took me a couple of minutes to recognize the front man: "That's the drug dealer!", I shouted, just as they paused between songs. A little chuckle here and there. But indeed it was the drug dealer. We were enjoying an almost private concert by no other than Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers band.

And thus a budding guitar player got introduced to the slide guitar at REI.

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