Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heatwave Blues

Today was a very hot day. I mean extremely. Not only did it take me ONE HOUR to mind a parking spot INSIDE the parking lot at my office, but it was 47 degrees in the parking itself.

I'm sure this will be a very unpleasant summer.

Got that heatwave blues!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

An Introduction to the Blues

The Blues... the heart of modern Western music. It was the blues that spawned rock n' roll, and is the foundation of jazz. It's a feeling, a mood; the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Rolling Stones named themselves after one of Muddy Water's songs.

Eric Clapton has sighted Robert Johnson as his biggest influence... even recorded an entire album of Johnson's music in his interpretation.

The list goes on and on.

A few years ago, Martin Scorsese (a prominent lover of the blues, he included Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" in many of his movies, including Goodfellas) directed a documentary about the Blues. If you want a great time to spend on the internet about the Blues, the link below is for you.

Martin Scorsese presents The Blues

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bass Guitar Gear FOR SALE

Kuwait bassists! I got some stuff for sale!

1) Boss CE-2B Bass Chorus

This effects pedal is basically brand new... barely used. This is the older version of the current Boss Bass Chorus (CEB-3).

KD 25/-

2) Bad Ass III Bass Bridge

Heavy mass bridge for increased sustain.

This bridge is designed as a direct replacement for string-through-body Fender basses (but works for most other 4 string basses).

Strings can be top loaded. Screws and allen wrench included. Has grooves for string spacing.

KD 30/-

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gig on Thursday a Success!

My gig on Thursday with the Mojolaters was a great success, full of fun and blues. Thanks to those who were able to make it!

Please visit the band page and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for latest music updates.

Support your local musicians!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video of the Week - "Goin Down" - Freddie King

Freddie King is one of the most energetic Blues masters out there. His style is pure Texas blues. If you also notice he likes to shift between major and minor pentatonic scales in his solos. Pure energy!

Goin' Down

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Got Vintage Equipment? A Challenge!

I'm a vintage instrument/amp nut. I can tell what decade a Fender guitar or bass was made in simply by looking at it. I can date to the approximate year if I take a closer look.

Back in Lebanon I had many friends who showed me their dads' or uncles' old gear.

Here's a 1972 Fender Stratocaster: (Click to enlarge)

And here's a 1972 Gibson Les Paul: (Click to enlarge)

I haven't seen any old instruments in Kuwait. I challenge you to bring forth to me a vintage (IE 70's or older) instrument or amp for me to see.

I hope I can get some good responses! Cheers!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reminder: Gig on Thursday

Reminder for everyone that our gig is on Thursday at Rotana Fahaheel.

(Click to see larger image)

Reserve, and come watch the finest blues in town, by the First & Original Blues Band in Kuwait, the MOJOLATERS.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Devil Counter Blues

I didn't just divide by zero did I?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Sing the Blues : A Parody

The below text has been on the internet forever... thought I would share this for those who haven't seen it. And apparently my blues name is Fat Fingers Davis.

1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like " I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: "Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, " adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places:

a. Ashrams
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses

11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old ethnic person, and you slept in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:

a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied

No, if:

a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived.
d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund.

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

2010 update : Tiger can nowadays sing the blues.
You know like this:
I got a good woman,
but she beats me with iron seven
Im f$^%ing everything whats moving
and I will not go to heaven.
and then some rhymes about stress - mistress etc. :)

14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues.

Other acceptable Blues beverages are:

a. wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:

a. mixed drinks
b. kosher wine
c. Snapple
d. sparkling water

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:

a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:

a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, and Rainbow can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name (starter kit):

a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,etc.)
c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.

(Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

20. I don't care how tragic your life: you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or get out a shotgun. I don't care.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Video of the Week : "Blue Train" - John Coltrane

Yes, it's not a real video so sue me. Anyhow, Blue Train is an important Jazz piece on the John Coltrane album of the same name. Also just to mention John Coltrane is one of my favorite artists ever.

The album was released in 1957 under legendary Jazz label Blue Note Records. This album is considered Coltrane's first "true" solo album; he chose the musicians and wrote all the songs (including this song) except one on the album.

This song in particular is one the defining works of Coltrane. This song features Lee Morgan, legendary Jazz player in his own right with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, on trumpet, Paul Chambers on bass (another legendary player, having worked with almost all the major artists including Miles Davis and went to record "Kind of Blue" with Coltrane and Davis), Chris Fuller on trombone, also with the Jazz Messengers, Kenny Drew on piano, and PJ Jones on drums, yet another legend.

The song starts with a bluesy introduction, which then leads to the usual energetic and sometimes chaotic soloing by Coltrane, followed by an exceptional solo by Lee Morgan. Fuller comes next, then Drew, then Chambers, until the intro is repeated before the song ends.

A superb listen for Jazz and improv fans.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blog Milestone: Over 600 views in 1 month!

This blog was created in 2008... however nothing substantial was done to it up until 2011.

Up to this moment, the blog has been viewed over 600 times this month, which for me is a great feat considering the short time and heavy competition!

Maybe I have more time and ideas in my head to write more often... I hope this blog can have a slice of the pie that is Kuwaiti blogging. Thanks for visiting and looking forward for more posts and visits!

The Blues is what drives me, and my views on life are about living in decency and keeping an open mind for all the cultures of the world. I've been in Kuwait for all my life, and studied in it's schools and have my own business serving public interests (through Ministry contracts.) I stayed during the Iraqi invasion. I always wish the best for this country that has been my home. So if some of my articles sound negative, the intentions behind it are pure.

Of course, playing bass, songwriting, performing, and spreading the message is also something integral! I want to thank my lovely wife for supporting me, believing in me and inspiring me to achieve, the Mojolaters Blues Band for spreading the message and staying on top of the game, and the family for being there.

Good blues to ya!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ice Cream Blues

Some rain tonight eh? Well it is pretty strange... one day it's hot and humid, the next cloudy and dusty, then, rainy!

I was driving back home from a nice dinner with my lovely wife; while it was raining. Through the heavy pour I saw an ice cream man, like the one in the above photo (credits to Mink), riding his bike under the rain, all wet and looking helpless trying to find some sort of shelter.

I usually get some ice cream if I feel like to cool down. I talk to these men, mostly are Egyptians who came to this country with the dream of making money for their families back home.

Most live the harsh reality of life... hard working conditions, low wages and all that.

Unfortunately I don't see a viable alternative; I feel for these guys... trying to sell us yummy treats through all the weather changes and things. All for a small return.

Somewhere there's a blues song in there.

Canceled Gig Blues

Due to reasons beyond the control of the band, the scheduled gig for tomorrow at Cafe Supreme is canceled.

This is a road many, including myself, have been through. But we got to carry on.

See you at the 26th of May at Manshar Rotana!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mojolaters Blues Band - Gig: 18 May

Another announcement from the band in 24 hours!

Check the official page to the new gig @ Cafe Supreme HERE

Support your local bands, and come see us in action! Would love the blogging community to come and review this gig, for a couple of reasons:

1) Because it's the Mojolaters
2) Because it's the blues, and live music
3) Because this Cafe Supreme is new
4) You have nothing better to do anyways.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mojolaters Blues Band - Gig 26 May

The Mojolaters Blues Band returns yet once again the Al-Manshar Rotana Hotel - Fahaheel for another night of blues, with the usual delicious Buffet Dinner!

Please call the Rotana Hotel for reservations!

Date: Thursday, 26 May 2011
...Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: Al-Manshar Rotana Hotel, Al Kout Ballroom, Fahaheel-Kuwait
Price: 12KD + Service Charge (includes buffet dinner)
Contact: 23931000

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Murky Water Blues

This video has circulated around all of Kuwait this weekend (and yes I'm late to the party).

This whale looks lost... and while I pity this mammal's predicament, if you watch the video, that's some nasty, dirty, littered water.

Guys... you love your country right? Marina is a place that's considered a tourist / family / hang out spot. Keep it clean goddammit.

We'll worry about all that gasoline in the water later.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Video of the Week: Miles Davis "So What"

So What is probably the most essential Miles Davis recording, and considering Miles' career, that's a bold statement on my part.

This song is the first track on Miles' "Kind of Blue" album. If you didn't know, Kind of Blue is the best selling Jazz album of all time (almost 4 million copies) and was released in 1959 to much praise.

The album is one of the first times that a Jazz album was solely made by playing in modes. Usually in Bebop in Hard Bop, soloists would improvise over chord changes; in modal jazz, improvisation is done by using modes of the key scale in the piece, with less emphasis (if at all) on chord changes. This opens up the player to play much more freely, and as Miles said it, it's a "Return to Melody".

As usual, Miles' is the definition of cool... his playing and stance is calm and focused. John Coltrane (on tenor sax) is also his usual self; concentrating while giving out as much emotion and notes as he can. Miles & Coltrane are the biggest giants in Jazz, and seeing them perform together on a rare video is amazing.

I also covered this song for the bass lessons. Pay my friends there a visit!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Transportation Blues: Kuwait Taxi's

I help run the family business. Our office is in Kuwait City near Al-Muthana... so everyone knows how much traffic and congestion there is not just to commute there in the morning, but throughout the whole day.

So whenever I have meetings in the city, I take a taxi; don't have to worry about tight/no parking or paying attention on the road during the insane traffic. Relaxes my mind.

But I always wondered... how EFFECTIVE is the Kuwait Taxi service? I always chat to these drivers... ask them how they are doing and about their work. Most of them are miserable... usually they have to pay an average of 6 or 7 KD per DAY to their company, and whatever they have over that is theirs. They have to pay their own residencies too.

I've seen how people haggle over prices too... I don't mind paying a little more as a tip... but many fight over .250 fils for a ride.

Let's not forget most of them are left in bad condition and the drivers are not informed to dress properly or speak English... this affects the tourism of Kuwait and it's image.

If anyone has been to Dubai, you know how the Road & Transport Authority (RTA) (IE the Government) runs the taxi system.

They own several taxi companies under the same umbrella, and all are unified (same cars, uniform for drivers, meter, call center). They even have vans and women drivers!

I'm sure if the government took over this service under MOC, they could 1) remove all illegal residing drivers, and any abuses, and keeping all the cars in good working condition.

I've lived in Kuwait for almost 30 years, and I hate to see how these things, as minuscule they are to others, are a actually very important as a social issue.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Update: Technology UN-blues?

Just to update... I did get an iPhone (hypocrite... trend follower etc).

I thought it was gonna be harder than I thought... not so bad. Got it all up and running fairly quickly (except for the micro-SIM thing and downloading iTunes). All by myself too! Perhaps I'm not as technologically inhibited as I thought I was.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Technology Blues

I've always been a sucker for retro things... I see the stuff I used to know back in the 80's & 90's and it makes me wanna cry.

Those simple life items and well, pretty much everything else is long gone. While technology only helps us in our daily lives, it also makes technology more sophisticated and complex.

I'm no tech guy... I can barely use this blog even... I have a 4 year old phone that just does calls and SMS... I still use XP (well perhaps it's a good thing) and although I'm a long time musician, I can't use audio/recording equipment to save my life.

So very shortly (any day now) I'll be getting an Iphone (Boo... hiss... traitor).

That is all... wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Design

I have given the blog a facelift... more modern-hip-minimalist design.

Video of the Week

This video by Sugar Blue, covering the Muddy Waters classic "Hoochie Coochie Man".

I love his dynamics on the harp. Very solid cover.

Sugar Blue is a Grammy award winner for Best Traditional Blues Album in '85.