for many, the response is, itself, musical, and if you let it, music will connect you from musician to musician until you are discovering something new, exciting and rewarding every day. it started for me when i was a teenager, and i discovered among the fine print on my albums a treasure trove of "appears courtesy of", meaning that a pop weakness for linda ronstadt's voice as a part of the stone poneys could quickly connect me back to my childhood appreciation for the monkees, ("different drum" was written my mike nesmith"), as well as forward to neil young, jackson browne and little feat. (though it doesn't always work--one of her backup configurations literally became the eagles, and i'm with mojo nixon on that one). lowell george (little feat) turned up playing guitar on an etta james record that i found buried in the stacks of a used record store on mass ave outside of harvard square. the connections are endless.
so it is last night that i happily played the degrees of musical separation game to catch everyone who opened for treat her right at the lizard lounge. (after watching tuukka rask shut down the buffalo sabres across the street at the temple bar, natch). walking down the narrow, winding stair to the dark and already-crowded lounge, the first thing to be noticed was the force of what we being put down by the associates of musical mayhem who had arrayed themselves in the center of the room. the euphemism for them that evening was CATBIRD, but chandler travis, dinty childs, steve wood and rikki bates were kicking the crazy out of the place. i mean, KICKIN IT. i've seen dinty childs enough to recognize his musical polymathery, and enough rock and roll bands to appreciate everything that he, chandler and steve were putting down, but i'm here to say that i was blown away by rikki bates, and by that i mean COMPLETELY.
i can tell you who played skins on all my oldest and most favorite records, and most all of the ones since then, too. russ kunkel. (thanks linda!) richie hayward. (get well, richie). steve gadd. roger taylor. john bonham.
john bonham had a way of hitting his kit that was like nothing so much as percussion grenades going off in time to the music. no, strike that. going off to BE the music. one listen to the opening drum line for d'yer mak'er and i was HOOKED. like on crack. rock and roll. the ocean. the list of songs on which bonham shone like a beacon just goes on and on.
so please know that there's something hard-wired in my brain to respond when somebody grabs a beat and explodes it like that. rikki bates, just hacking around with some guys she knows on songs they likely only play out together as that particular group once in a blue moon, if they ever had before, which i don't know, maybe they hadn't, (though, of course, they all knew each other pretty well, which helps), was, to me and my ears, ON IT last night in a way that defies words to describe. i'm an instant fan.
i'm also here to tell you, if you should ever have the good fortune to get to see her as part of the chandler philharmonic, or mascara music, or the incredible casuals, or any of the other combos she plays with down on the cape these days, that you're instantly going to know what i'm talking about when i say that it's likely you've rarely, if ever, seen anything like her before. i walked up to her after the show and got to shake her hand and tell her how much i loved all of it, and i'm always going to remember how completely gracious and appreciative she was that some odd guy off the street down in a basement bar in some small city somewhere might have liked the way she played. until then, here's a sample to wet your whistle.
i'm a fan.
oh! i almost forgot! treat her right was AWESOME.
edited to add, with gracious thanks for the info in the comments, that the missing member of catbird is steve wood. great show!