Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stick Men, UKZ, Julie Slick, NYC, and W Hotel...INSANE

As advertised, Julie Slick and I went to New York City this weekend and oh man, did we have a blast. This Friday is my beautiful daughter's 23rd birthday, so this trip was also a bit of an advance gift though we usually celebrate Ms. Julie's birthday the entire month of January.

There's the princess on stage at World Cafe Live last year.

Anyway, the last time we spent the night in New York, because we had so many plans and places to be, we decided it was silly to stay in a really nice hotel when we could use the money for other things, so I did a quick internet search and booked a room at a place described on the internet thusly: "Our 700 comfortable, renovated rooms, were designed with the budget traveler in mind. If you are looking for a good value in a great location, our hotel is for you. For a very reasonable price, you can enjoy our excellent service and all the amenities you need to make your stay in New York City a pleasant one."

Ahem. Good value? Well, yeah, if you don't mind towels and sheets with brown spots on them accompanied by the distinct smell of pee, a window in the room which did not lock and led to a catwalk where any maniac could stroll by and make an unannounced visit; a bathroom without a door...arghhh...Julie and I ended up calling Eric, who by chance had a gig in NYC that night, and begged him to come stay with us so that we'd have a male presence in case a murderer or rapist was in the building.

"You're staying WHERE?" Eric exclaimed when we pleaded for his company. "Oh my God, that's the place where Bill Bruford found a rat in his room when he was touring with King Crimson!"

I do believe I blogged about that experience here a couple years ago, but I'm too lazy to find the link. Trust me, it was traumatic.

Needless to say, I was never going to let that happen to me again, so this time, I decided to go all the way and book a spectacular room and surprise Julie with the location -- when we got off the train at Penn Station, she had to idea where we were staying until we actually arrived at the hotel door.

Now this was much more our style...and to see Julie's face when we walked into the lobby was priceless - damn I wish I had my camera out to catch her smile:

The bar was pretty hilarious, though. These were not New York hipsters, but rather New Yorker wannabes hipster wannabes and um, they kind of failed. But who am I to judge; and hey, we were there, too, though even I'm not crazy enough to drink in a place charging $17.00 for a cocktail. Okay, I'm lying, but still.

Now our bedroom was quite worth it -- and note to self: After you do this blog post, look up what kind of pillows they use at the W because you really need to order some for your bed in Philadelphia:

Check-in time was at 3:00 p.m. and we had to be at Town Hall at 7:30 for the Stick Men and UKZ Band show so that left us with approximately four hours to do our usual shopping and eating damage.

"Now Julie," I said. "Please. We don't have much time and I'm already exhausted from the walk from Penn Station (32nd Street) to the W (47th Street). Town Hall is at 43rd Street. Promise me you aren't going to make me go to the East Village on foot. Every time we're here, you swear you aren't going to run me ragged but somehow you manage to drag me twenty-five miles . You can't do that to me tonight; we have a show to see and hopefully an after-show hang-out with the bands. And, because you need to be at work on Sunday and I have to be at the Beatle show at noon, we have to be on a 6:45 a.m. train home so that's not going to give us a lot of time and I really, really, really want to save my energy for the show tonight.

"Okay, Mom, I promise. And since you did hint that we were staying sort of near the train station, I looked up some shops in the area and I know exactly where I want to go...plus, the wine bar we chose for a light pre-concert meal is on 31st Street near Broadway so that's the farthest we'll walk, I swear."

"Thank God," I sighed. Okay. 31st Street wasn't that far a hike. And I figured even though Town Hall was only a short 12 block walk, after Julie had a few glasses of wine, it would be easy to convince her to take a cab.

"The first store I want to visit is at 45th and 9th Avenue," she said as we exited the W.

Arghh...Broadway to 9th Avenue alone is almost as far as walking ten blocks. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but already I was starting to see where this was leading.

"What kind of shop is this?" I asked.

"Home decor. All the places I want to go are home decor. C'mon Mom, I have a new apartment and I want to get some cool stuff!"

Erm, "all the places she wants to go"? How many were there? Okay, here's the plan. Buy her whatever she wants at Store #1 and mitigate the damages, i.e., she won't need to go anywhere else afterwards, other than the wine bar. I was starving and eagerly anticipating out visit there.

Well, no such luck. I could tell as soon as we walked in that there was nothing in that shop which Julie would want. It was more touristy than anything else, and though they did have some cute, offbeat knickknacks, they didn't have anything that were one of a kind pieces, signed by the artist...stuff I taught Ms. Julie to appreciate from the time she was a young little pup. I mean, if you collect penguins or frogs, this is the place for you - penguin salt shakers, pitchers...you get the idea.

Julie and I both turned our noses up and left.

"What now?" I asked, with more than a little trepidation.

"Well, I've been dying to go to ABC Carpet and Home," she replied with a devilish grin.

"Where's that?"

"19th Street," she answered sheepishly.

"19th Street! Oh God, Julie, that's the Flat Iron District - and right on the way to the East Village. 19th and where?"


"Broadway! Broadway is really more like 5th Avenue down there. That's like a ten mile walk!"

"Mom, you're exaggerating."

"Oh man...but this is exactly what I did not want to do. It's already 4:00 p.m.; by the time we walk there, it will be after 5:00 p.m.; that's like a six floor store so I know you'll want to spend at least an hour in there; we'll have to rush through dinner and then by the time we get to Town Hall, I'll be snoring in my seat."

"Mom...stop. We don't have to go. Actually, I'm starving. Let's just walk to 31st Street and go to the wine bar."

"Really? Are you sure?" Naturally I was smacked with guilt. Stop being such an old whining curmudgeon, I said to myself. How often do you get to spend quality time with your daughter.

"Really. I am fine with just eating, going back to the hotel to change, and then heading out to the show."


Of course I then learned that the wine bar was not only at 31st Street, which was 14 short blocks away, but at Fifth Avenue, which was decidedly not short blocks from where we were on 9th if you are at all familiar with NYC. But I figured a two mile walk was nothing in my travels with Julie and I gladly started walking, though cursing myself for wearing, erm, trendy high black leather boots instead of comfortable walking shoes. But this was because I thought we were going straight to the show...had I known we were going back to the hotel so Julie could change into a dress (sometimes I think they switched babies on me in the hospital), I would have gone with footwear a lot more sensible.

Anyway, we arrived at our destination at 4:30 p.m. and we could tell just from the exterior that we'd picked a winner.

Our culinary destination of choice was Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar and with a name like that, how could it be bad?

Of course there was one slight problem. They didn't open until 5:00 p.m. and we had thirty minutes to kill.

"ABC Home and Carpet?" Julie asked hopefully.

"Noooooooo...." I moaned.

"Oh, c'mon, Mom. What else are we going to do? And we're already at Fifth Avenue. If you think about it, 19th Street is only twelve blocks away, and they are such short blocks it's more like six blocks. It'll be good exercise. And I promise we can take a cab back."

Julie really does hate cabs and I can't say I blame her - she's not only a health nut who believes in going everywhere on foot, she loathes wasting money on taxis. Again, there goes that "baby must have been switched in the hospital" theory I have but hey, even though I know that's not true, if it was man oh man did I make out on that deal!

So, despite her promise to the contrary, my poor swollen feet and I started walking and yuck, we encountered an area of NYC I'd never had the pleasure of seeing before - the cell phone/perfume/watch/wig district. I'm serious. There were at least one hundred stores, over a four block stretch, which all sold exactly the same thing. Bottles of stinky discounted perfume, cheap watches, cell phones, and inexplicably, synthetic hair wigs. And outside each were hawkers, yelling at us to come in, come in, see our beautiful merchandise.


"Let's not walk this way back to the restaurant," Julie said.

No shit.

We arrived at ABC in fifteen minutes so yeah, it wasn't that bad, but once in the store, I almost died. It was like this incredible assault on every single one of my senses. I mean, it was utterly fantastic, but there was just too much stuff to see; the prices were INSANE (I mean, there were stacks of plates teetering on a display table; I'd pick one up and it had a $500.00 price tag)...there had to be several million dollars worth of inventory scattered throughout and there were security guards everywhere. But wow, the place was freaking packed with customers. You'd never know there was a recession going on by the looks of all the happy shoppers.

But can I just say this? While they had a lot of really cool stuff, once again, nothing was one of a kind; I think they have a bunch of savvy buyers who go to Thailand and buy stuff in bulk for pennies and then bring it back to ABC and mark up the price by like 5,000%.

I could be wrong but I doubt it.

Julie was also not impressed though she did say she "got a lot of ideas" by looking at the stuff and then snidely adding "I can probably find similar things at Pier One imports...not that I would buy anything there..."

I sighed and looked at my watch. 5:20. Yes! We could eat!

I had no trouble at all dragging Julie from the store, and we happily loped back the twelve (short...I had to keep reminding myself they were short) blocks to 31st Street. By then the sun had set and the temperature had dropped by, oh, like thirty degrees so I was not only exhausted, I was freaking freezing to death. But please don't interpret this as whining - I was having the time of my life with my very best girlfriend.

We were really excited when we entered Ayza. As soon as we sat down, our server brought us a complimentary sake sized cup of warm mulled wine and a basket of interesting sliced baguettes with accompanying dipping oil (and that little oil cup contained a half a dozen really awesome imported olives).

"I think this is pistachio cherry bread," Julie said, swooning as she took a bite.

I grabbed the remaining piece of that and rolled my eyes in pleasure as well.

"You picked a great spot, Jules. Good job!"

I got that gorgeous smile again. Have I mentioned how much I adore my daughter?

We struggled with the menu because there were so many choices but worried that we might be eating again after the show, so we decided to keep it simple, light, and share each dish. We started off with "wild mushrooms dusted with fresh herbs".

Unbelievable. Hands down the best mushrooms I've had anywhere. Our next course was "Hot Artichoke Hearts with Irish cheddar cheese and ripe tomatoes" (as opposed to unripe tomatoes?) and it was so awesomely delicious we forgot to take a photo. Oh well. Trust me, it was even better than it sounds, and came with toasted pita points.

Naturally we were still starving so we asked our waitress if the salads were full sized or tiny plates like the mushrooms and artichokes.

"Oh, you two can easily share a salad," she replied. Of course I should have taken into consideration that she was like a size zero and probably thought a tablespoon of peanut butter could be split in quarters and enjoyed by four people but whatever. Anyway, our salad, though small enough for me to inhale with three forkfuls, was outrageous - "Goat Cheese Brulee with mixed field greens, toasted walnuts, marinated beets, truffle oil and walnut sherry vinaigrette".

Interestingly enough, though, and somewhat disappointing, was the fact that they only offered maybe five-six choices each of red and white wine, which was way strange for a restaurant dubbing itself a wine bar. I questioned our server if there were any specials after looking over a not so exciting list, but she said they change the list almost weekly so that explained that.

In any event, Julie was most happy with her Malbec and I enjoyed a lovely Albarino. Okay, so we both enjoyed more than one. It was just such a cool place with great vibes; for a brief moment we considered dessert because they offered plates of home made chocolate truffles, but then I remembered my stupid diet which I'd already broken by even having the smidge of cheese and bread so we refrained.

By now it was somehow 7:00 p.m. so yeah, we hopped a cab back to the W, Julie changed into a beautiful black dress and high black boots and even put on eyeliner (mine)...and off we went to Town Hall which...sigh...was another five block walk in what was now total sub-zero weather but we had an absolute blast.

Wow. Does this mean I finally get to talk about the music? Yay! I've been writing a mini-series here, I know, but we had so much fun I wanted to document everything. Oh wait, before I launch into said music, I did want to say as Groupie Mom, I was in heaven. So many fans in the theater recognized Julie it was ridiculous.

"Oh my God, there's Julie Slick, Adrian Belew's bass player. Hi, Julie! We love your work. Where's Adrian? Where's Eric?"

"Eric is music director for a Rock School show today so he couldn't make it," we repeated like a broken record all evening. Not that I minded...(but it would have been awesome if he could have made it to NYC, too)

So we schmoozed in the lobby for fifteen minutes before taking our seat, and once we did sit down, Julie turned to me and grinned.

"Get your money's worth just now, Mom?" she teased me.

"Ha! You know it. I'm just so proud of you..." (and naturally I got all teary eyed but I managed to stop myself from completely falling apart)

The fabulous Stick Men took the stage. What can I say about Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto that I haven't said already in prior posts? They are just amazing, amazing musicians and I absolutely adored this trio, which also featured someone I'd never seen live, the brilliant (and movie star handsome) Michael Bernier on Chapman stick. They reminded me of the Adrian Belew Power Trio the way they smiled at each other and interacted on stage. A highlight of the show was when both Tony and Michael played their sticks with bows...just gorgeous material - I literally could have watched them all night except for the fact that I was just so excited about seeing Eddie Jobson perform next - his first show in the United States in close to thirty years.

This is when I wish I had some music journalist training. There are some lovely reviews of this show by real musicians over at Progressive Ears forum board but please take into account that there are always asshats who have something negative to say -- as I remarked in my comments section to a particular idiot yesterday, "You are pretty bold sitting behind your monitors in your mother's basement, aren't you." I don't mean to be nasty in saying that, but I don't know, it freaks me out when people take shots at musicians who are legends...and legends for a reason because they are brilliant and have long, stellar careers. Michael and Tony were just so interesting together - they're doing something different and creative in this band, and Pat...well, at one point I turned to Julie and said, "You know, you can really tell that Eric has studied Pat Mastelotto. He reminds me so much of Pat in both his playing style and even his smile and facial gesture while he's drumming...I don't think I ever noticed it before. Of course it could be that when Pat played with you guys, I watched you (Julie and Eric and Ade); and when he played with King Crimson, it just wasn't the same vibe and from where I was sitting, I could see Gavin Harrison and truth to tell, the sound system at the Keswick sucked and really all I could hear was Gavin, too. Which is not a cut on Gavin Harrison...no way (btw, I hope everyone got a chance to read his most excellent interview in Modern Drummer)...but it was what it was and I had bad feelings that night from the minute I arrived because of security guards screaming over and over again NO CAMERAS NO CAMERAS like we were a ten year old audience attending a Hannah Montana show...actually we were treated more like criminals just waiting for the chance to break the law. Security guards (and, um, others) at concerts where the audience is made up of mostly middle aged people really need to lighten up. Oh, that's right, they're such derelicts, those baby boomers.

Anyway, here are some amazing shots of Stick Men taken by Ms. Julie Slick with her new Canon EOS 40D digital camera:

Then it was time for UKZ. Eddie Jobson is a genius. Adjectives that come to mind when I watch him play the keyboard and violin: Sensitive. Highly inventive. Haunting. Pure, unadulterated beauty.

He was amazingly humble on stage and was very endearing when he stood center stage and took the mic, thanking incredibly loyal and loving fans who'd come as far as South Africa and Sweden to see him play that night.

And then we have Trey Gunn on war guitar/bass (okay, I'm screwing that up, I know but it's now night time and I am drinking sake) and on drums, Marco fucking Minnemann. Marco's a monster. He's the best young drummer I've seen since Eric Slick. Holy fucking shit, his solo was a masterpiece. Oh, how I wished Eric were there but he's met him and seen him play and when I told him my impression, he said "I know, he's sick, isn't he?" Trey Gunn is pretty damn good, too. I'd never seen him before, either. Now I understand all the fuss. But naturally I could not help but remark to Julie "I hope he's wearing underwear." Because she laughed and didn't tell me to be quiet like I expected, I had to tell her what I was really thinking."I bet he's got a closet full of handcuffs and whips. And maybe even a dungeon in his house."

We both giggled and yes, I know, I'm a bad mother but we were tipsy on all kinds of wine. Oh yeah, and vodka/tonics in the Town Hall lobby. Hey, we were celebrating Julie's birthday!

Here's Trey and Marco. Aren't they cute?

Ahem. I say the skirt has to go.

Here's Alex Machacek, and it was immediately evident that he's a classically trained guitarist:

And cutie pie Marco during his solo:

Okay, now here was a serious highlight. Chill rendering. Tony and Pat took the stage for King Crimson's Larks Tongue in Aspic Part II. I am sitting there watching Eddie, Tony, and Trey and I'm so into it I'm giddy.

Hey, I know the guy in that last photo! It's Andre Cholmondeley, who was all around tech man for the show and about to go on tour himself along with my son and some real luminaries in the music world starting this Thursday through next Sunday. Click on Andre's name for further details.

I totally apologize for not posting a photo of vocalist Aaron Lippert. For some reason, I don't have a good photo. But trust me, he was amazing and I can't help it, I have to make the Greg Lake/John Wetton comparison. Same kind of poetic, lovely English voice although in reading his bio, I just learned he's "a citizen from Belgium, born in New York, and now a resident of Boston" so what do I know.

So because we, erm, had VIP backstage passes, we were lucky enough to be invited to a private party at a bar next door that Eddie arranged for all his fans who'd traveled the world to see him, and of course all of our pals from both bands were there as well. What an incredibly gracious thing to do! They had a private back room but Julie and I found ourselves at the bar area with Pat, Tony, and Bob Duncan from Roland. We had a blast though for some reason I get like the village idiot around Tony and can't form a coherent sentence but what can you do, it's not every day I converse with my musical heroes. Even after almost three years, I still get like the village idiot around Ade sometimes, too. Oh, who cares. Life is so fucking good it's ridiculous. Anyway, enough of that, one other cool thing was that I told Pat what I thought about his playing...seeing so much of him and Eric, and he seemed really humbled by that and replied "Eric has learned from a lot of drummers beside me!" which was an awesome thing to say but again, I was struck by how in sync the two of them were when I saw them play in Canada so I know I'm right.

Anyway, it was now 1:00 a.m. and Julie and I were totally wiped out and...sob...knew we'd only have five hours sleep in our wonderful bed a the W. So we braced ourselves for the five block walk in what now felt like an Arctic chill; we somehow made it back without turning into ice sculptures, changed into our pajamas and sunk into the insanely fantastic pillows, closing our eyes with contented sighs and wishing we could sleep until noon.

And then all hell broke loose.

Sirens - ambulances, fire engines, police; and they appear to be stopping outside our building. Wtf? More sirens. We get out of bed and peer out the window. We see reflections of twirling lights -- they're right outside. And then a big red alarm goes off in our room and starts flashing.

"Oh. My. God." I moaned to Julie.

"Mom, what do we do?"

"I don't know. They aren't telling us to evacuate yet and I'm sure they must have a loudspeaker system. Do you hear anyone out in the hall?"


"I'll call the front desk."

Naturally no one answered, even though I let it ring and ring and ring and they have 24/7 service.

Also naturally I started thinking I smelled smoke.

"I don't want to get dressed and go back out in the cold," Julie cried, burying herself further in the covers.

"Me, either." And I was so tired and inebriated I actually thought "Well, dying in the W Hotel in New York City would be a very fitting oh so cool death. Kind of like a Nelson Rockefeller deal."

But the light in our room kept flashing and I really did not want to meet my demise, especially after having such an extraordinary day/night with my daughter, so I figured I had to be responsible and get us the hell out of there. But just as I was about to insist, the loudspeaker finally came on and said "FALSE ALARM FALSE ALARM DO NOT EVACUATE DO NOT EVACUATE".

I mean, really. Only us. And now we were wide awake and completely freaked out.

So much for our evening in a luxury hotel.

We did manage to get an hour or two sleep and then our wake up call came at 6 and we had just enough time to throw on clothes, hop a cab, and race to Penn Station where our train was scheduled to leave for Philadelphia at 6:45 a.m.

Julie slept the whole way home; I am a lunatic who can't sleep on any moving vehicle because I know for a fact that the minute I do fall asleep, we will all be killed in a horrific accident.

We arrived in Philly by 8:00 a.m. and poor Julie headed off for a double shift at the restaurant where she works when she's not on tour as a fabulous rock star; I figured I'd at least get 4-5 hours sleep but learned as soon as I walked in that I had to be at the Beatle show earlier than expected and had just enough time to shower and get dressed before we had to leave.

Now. Normally I would launch into telling you all about the Beatle show, but that honestly deserves a post of its own so that will be my project tomorrow or the next day.

Anyway, for now, let me just say that the weekend was the best; the music was sublime, I had an awesome meal, and I spent quality time with one of the greatest woman in the universe - bass player extraordinaire, gourmet chef, and someone poised to conquer the world, my beautiful daughter and the birthday girl, Ms. Julie Slick.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Eddie Jobson/UKZ, Tony Levin/Stickmen, and The Beatles! This Weekend in Music!

So when's the last time I posted a Julie Slick/Robin Slick adventure story? Man, it's been ages, hasn't it? Well, I don't have anything for you today, but expect that to change because this weekend, Jules and I are headed for New York City for two days of shopping, eating, and..yeah!...going to Town Hall on Saturday night to see Julie's pals Eddie Jobson and Tony Levin performing with their new bands, UKZ Band and Stickmen, respectively. We are so, so totally psyched. From my private stash of photos, here's Eddie, Tony, and Pat Mastelotto performing in Russia last summer along with my favorite band in the entire world, The Adrian Belew Power Trio (you can see Julie in this photo, watching them play from the side of the stage), and below that is a photo I lifted from the Stickmen website, which also gives you their very exciting tour schedule:

Julie and I will be training it to NYC early Saturday afternoon and Julie doesn't know it, and won't unless she lies to me and really does read my blog, but I have booked us a room at a pretty damn spectacular hotel. I do have a recommendation for an awesome vegetarian restaurant nearby, but I'm open to suggestions for another or a great seafood restaurant...so if anyone reading this can give me a five star recommendation, I'm all "ears". Though it's incredibly tempting to return to the West Bank Cafe on 42nd Street, owned by a total King Crimson fanatic, and where we shared the most amazing, amazing meal back when Adrian, Julie and Eric played at BB King's last March. I fully documented the experience, including full details of the meal, right here and just reading it over...oh wow...yes, yes, very tempting...

I dunno, I'll have to check with my daughter and see if she's up for that. Or maybe we'll just grab some sushi and go out with the band after the show. I know King Crimson ate at West Bank Cafe when they played the Nokia this past summer so maybe Tony and Pat are up for a return visit, too.

Ha ha - pretty presumptuous, aren't I? Whenever I get like that, it usually means Julie and I will end up doing something entirely different.

Anyway, let me tell you about another very, very special concert this weekend: The School of Rock Beatle Show! What makes this extra wonderful is that this show commemorates the 40th anniversary of the White Album, and it will be performed in its entirety, in order, by kids ages 6-17. Eric Slick is the music director for the show, and he is assisted by his proud papa, Gary Slick, who has spent tireless hours getting this show together. Here's the details:

Saturday Jan 24, 03:00 pm

Sunday Jan 25, 03:00 pm

@ World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

All Ages

Buy your tickets right here.

Obviously I won't be at the Saturday afternoon show as that is just about when Julie and I will be checking into our amazing hotel in NYC, but I will be there Sunday and I've been assured that I will pretty much be bawling the entire time -- that's how good this show is and how touching it will be to see the music I cut my teeth on performed by young, gifted students. I cannot wait!

So that's my weekend of music...I really hope to connect with a lot of you at the UKZ/Stickmen show in NYC and at the Beatle show in Philly - come over and say Hi and maybe I will give you candy...

In other news, Eric Slick, freshly back from NAMM and doing a top secret recording session on the west coast, is meeting me for lunch today and there is much to catch up on. As I've hinted, I've been sitting on major Eric news but until any of it is actually confirmed, I have promised that I won't blab anything. In the meantime, both Eric and Julie are anxiously and excitedly awaiting recording their first studio CD with Ade from February 9-17 down at Casa Belew in Nashville, and of course Eric goes out on the road with Project Object starting Thursday, January 29 at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Whoa! Wait a minute! Andre, why is Glenn Leonard in the band photo on Mexicali's website? He hasn't been your drummer for over two years since moving to Oregon and being replaced by Eric Slick! What did you do with all the new photos I forwarded you? Sheesh. That's it, I'm taking over as your publicist. This is just an unforgivable error. Ha!

By the way, Andre Cholmondeley is the tech man and all around everything man for the Stickmen/UKZ show Saturday night so we're very happy about that as well.

Anyway, can you tell I'm a little bit thrilled about spending two days with my daughter in Manhattan? And about seeing Tony and Pat again, and meeting Eddie Jobson? Well, in a perfect world...again, every time I assume anything...well, let's just say I had a vision of skating all by myself alone at Rockefeller Center at midnight. Wait. They're probably closed. Okay, me sitting by myself at the hotel bar. Ahem. But considering the hotel, that bar is a pretty damn fine choice. Now. If we can only get both bands to join us there...

Oy, I'm such a groupie Mom. Which you are all going to find out shortly when my first mainstream novel, a rock music memoir, is released next month. Yep, Daddy Left Me Alone with God is coming to a bookstore near you in just a few weeks, and not only is it a memoir, albeit highly fictionalized, it's also got a strong School of Rock back story which chronicles one of the first All-Star tours five years ago while Eric and Julie were still students...but again...fictionalized to protect the innocent (ha) and all positive. (The positive aspect is not fiction!) I was incredibly excited to receive a cover blurb from brilliant author Ellen Meister, who described my book thusly:

"At last--a funny, sexy and scathingly honest look at what it means to be an aging baby boomer in a world changing faster than a phone number on speed dial. With a fresh voice, a fast plot and a unique perspective on the new generation of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, DADDY LEFT ME ALONE WITH GOD is a delight from start to finish."
-- Ellen Meister, author of THE SMART ONE

And do you think I'm also a little stoked about that? Ellen is an incredible writer and to get that blurb from her gave me the utter chills. And I received it one day following the momentous occasion of the inauguration of the best President this country will ever have...you know, I can't even write about that yet as I'm still on such a high and you had to see me watching said inauguration...I started sobbing non-stop from the minute Aretha came out and sang...

Oh God, I'm teary eyed right now as predicted. Alright, enough out of me. Lots of stuff to do today, lunch with Eric, packing for NYC, scoping out restaurants and shops....ah...life is very, very good.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Adrian Belew and Eric Slick at NAMM - Name Dropping Post Part I

So I could name drop and tell you everyone Eric Slick and Adrian Belew are hanging out with at NAMM this weekend, besides each other, har har, but photos speak a thousand words or something like that. And I lifted the following from the Paiste website...as I've previously posted on billboards all over the internet, Eric endorses their cymbals:

"Highlights from day 3 of the 2009 Winter NAMM Show
Day 3 of the 2009 Winter NAMM show has come and gone quickly and again Paiste had a full day of drummers & percussionists flock to the booth to hear what the world’s finest cymbal makers had on display.

The booth hosted three autograph signings today; each one was very busy with fans waiting up to an hour to meet some of their drum heros. It was one Saturday at NAMM that will not be forgotten.

Ho hum, if you click on the Paiste link, you'll see everyone else with whom Eric rubbed elbows. He also nonchalantly mentioned he spent an hour hanging out with Danny Carey from Tool.

Oh, before I forget, check out these magnificent You Tubes of the Adrian Belew Power Trio really rocking out -- these popped up on the web the other day and are actually Part I and Part II of an extended Beat Box jam.

Awesome, huh.

So the reason I've been among the missing is the stomach virus from hell last week - not a good winter for me so far, if anyone is keeping track that makes two viruses and one back thrown out in less than three months but there you have it, bad luck does come in threes and I figure I'm home free now.

And feeling well enough to talk about dinner at Julie's on Monday night which was right before I came down with this devil bug. She made lovely roasted vegetable pot pie:

Julie never does anything half way - the bottom crust contained a porcini mushroom puree and the puff pastry dough was rubbed/encrusted with toasted fennel seeds. Truly amazing. She's having me over for dinner again tomorrow evening and I believe it will either be eggplant lasagna or eggplant rollatini. Either one will be fine with me -- Ms. Julie truly rules in the kitchen and her new apartment rocks - she tells me she finally finished hanging up all of her artwork (she can do it all) so I'll be taking some photos to share later this week.

Did I mention Eric was also at Julie's and he drove to dinner? Yes, now Adrian can no longer open ABPT shows by saying his drummer and bass player still live at home and neither have their drivers' licenses. Sob...hate to tell you, Ade, but both have moved out - Eric, last April; Julie, last month, and Eric is now behind the wheel as well. Ha ha - Ade will come to love that on the next leg of the US tour when he can sleep in the passenger seat and let Eric chauffeur the trio while Julie cackles in the back seat with the iPhone, looking up restaurants in the area. Oh to be a fly on the wall for that one...

Anyway, I'm going to sign off Blogger for now but once I hear from Eric and get some more stories from NAMM, I will most definitely come in and add to this post. In the meantime, now I have a new problem. I am definitely having too much fun with Twitter...so I am off to have a cup of coffee and see what my cyber pals are up to there. I've come across some incredibly interesting writers/artists on my travels through Twitter world - definitely worthy of a post of its own.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Twitter twitter

Okay, this is a quick one though I did have dinner at my daughter's new digs last night and yes, I took photos so I'll be back to post about that later.

In the meantime...help me. I recently joined Twitter, started adding friends and people I wish were my friends (ha), and have absolutely no clue how to interact there. So I'm guessing if any of you twitter and add me to your list, then maybe I won't be talking to an empty black hole?

You can find me over there under my real name...and yes, my real name is Robin Slick, but for some reason I had to use RobinSlick as my actual user name.

Help a girl out, please. If anyone can give me a further tutorial as to how the hell it works, I would greatly appreciate it.

I did figure out how to put the widget on my blog, though...you can't miss it. But it's not a cool widget like I've seen on other blogs...it just lists my comments. I guess I need to switch to the new blogger template? Arghh...I wanted to do that, but I'm afraid I'll end up deleting the entire contents of this blog.

But it figures. I finally master MySpace, then everyone flees to Facebook. I sign up for Facebook and find it even a worse disaster than MySpace - people are poking me, sending me good karma, flowers...wtf? I go to Facebook and start to worry I have ADD because I so, so totally cannot follow what's happening there. So then I see everyone is now twittering and I think to myself, Wow, it's just blurbs. How hard can that be?

Erm...apparently when you are technology challenged...difficult as hell.



Sunday, January 11, 2009

This Week in Music and Writing...

So while my lips are sealed at this point, Eric had and is having the kind of week in music most people can only daydream about, and yeah, that's all I can say.

A blogger, who I later find out is a principal player in Rope a Dope Records, which is just too cool for words, had this to say about where Eric was last night and what he was up to...

Here's a You Tube of the Adrian Belew Power Trio doing Futurevision which just popped up this morning:

And Eric and Ade are flying out to California to NAMM this week - I think arriving Thursday night and staying through Sunday; Eric then hops a flight from Anaheim to San Francisco or LA I think and does some studio work for a band recording a new CD; hangs out there for a few more days and flies home to do possibly does something else MAJOR though also top secret; then goes on a ten day tour with Project Object, and here's the schedule so far:

PROJECT/OBJECT - the music of Frank Zappa

THU 29 Teaneck NJ Mexicali $18/$20
FRI 30 Baltimore MD 8X10 $18/$20
SAT 31 Sellersville PA Sellersville Theatre $22.50

SUN 1 Falls Church VA State Theatre $18/$20
MON 2 Pittsburgh PA Club Cafe' $20/$22
TUE 3 Ann Arbor MI Blind Pig $12/$15
WED 4 Cleveland OH Beachland $18/$20
THU 5 Chicago IL Morse Theater $20/$22.50
FRI 6 Kalamazoo MI Papa Pete's $12/$15
SAT 7 Buffalo NY The Tralf $20/$23
SUN 8 TBA (possible)

So that's cool - and look for some surprising twists re a member of the band and some unadvertised special guests.

In Julie Slick news, Saturday night is the CD release party for Cheers Elephant at the North Star Bar. Julie produced the CD, and if you don't already know this, her significant other is the bass player. You can hear one of my favorites - "Here We Are" on my below Music Player. We'll all be there to support Matt and the band - except for Eric, who will still be out in California so please come over and say Hi!

Wait. I need to take a break for a minute. Are the Eagles actually going to beat the Giants right now and be in the NFC Championship game next week against Arizona? Are you freaking kidding me? Pigs are flying all over the place right now...

In writing news, Daddy Left Me Alone with God is now officially line edited; today I gave my editor my official "dedication"...that was a lot harder than I thought but then I just simplified it by speaking from the heart and then cutting down ten pages to one sentence...ha...and by the way, I'll be hawking that at the RT Convention this April in sunny Orlando, Florida from August 22-26.

Okay, I am in total shock. The Eagles just did win. Holy cow. Must go celebrate.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Little Madness and Much Better Now

Okay, I'm in a much better mood now.

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card game and are headed to NY to play the Giants on Sunday. I guess I'm excited but to be honest, I am a lot more stoked about the upcoming inauguration.

In other happy news, I just found this awesome video clip of the Adrian Belew Power Trio performing A Little Madness in Barcelona, Spain a few months ago. Check out Ms. Julie Slick!

My daughter is just so very, very cool.

She had us over for dinner at her new place Monday night. Want to see some pictures? Sure you do!

Julie and her new lamp, which I am going to steal. Must...have...that...lamp...

Then she started cooking. She is one sick puppy. Speaking of puppies, guess who also came to dinner? Gah, Monty is so hyper when he goes visiting, though. We had to let him out every two seconds and then we had to make him a peanut butter sandwich because obviously he can't eat spicy food and he went insane over the delightful aromas coming from Julie's kitchen.

Our first course were home-made samosas with three different chutneys - mango, onion, and raita:

I shot Julie an email yesterday to ask her to give me an ingredient list for the absolutely fabulous meal she made, and her reply was priceless:

"Vegetarian (technically vegan) curry - with onion, potato, cauliflower, tomato, peas and spinach. It was finished with coconut milk, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Obviously it was topped with Tiffin chutneys and rice which I couldn't make since I gave Dad my good rice pot (ahem...). The base was made with a homemade curry and garam masala blend. For the complete recipe go to my blog (which I'll update it later today).

Yeah, she did update her blog and while she hasn't included the recipe yet (check back again this afternoon), she talks more about her travels in Australia, preparing a surprise breakfast for Adrian Belew, hanging out with the fabulous Derek Trucks Band (which became the mutual admiration society, by the way - the two bands really dug each other's music and hanging out together) and her quest to intoxicate her poor brother with what looks like Flaming Moes.


Anyway, getting back to her amazing dinner, yes, she did actually grind her own curry:

A work in progress:

The final product:

Our meal was extremely fantastic and Julie is indeed the mistress of her new manor:

I am still in denial that she's moved out, though.

Anyway, when I uploaded the photos from dinner, there were still some from Australia on my camera which I hadn't seen, and I am reluctant to post them here since Julie is apparently putting them in her blog once I upload them to my photo site, but here's one I could not resist - Ms. Julie and Pink Floyd's bassist Guy Pratt:

And this hilarious shot of uber drummer Eric Slick:

Finally, two more of Ms. Julie which speak for themselves...ahem...

Ah, to be (almost...on January 30, to be precise) 23 years old, beautiful and talented...

Okay, that's a wrap for me. I am sure I have more to say but I just this minute learned that the City of Philadelphia now has weekly recycling and I didn't think I had to get my plastics and paper out until next Wednesday so now I must rush around and gather stuff up like a madwoman...but woo hoo...it's about time, Philly!


Sunday, January 04, 2009


Dear Internet,

I am sorry but I've fallen out of love with you.

Oh okay, I'm being overly dramatic and childish but lately, between what I'm reading on various music and writing forum boards I frequent plus my own issues with an alleged promo site for writers, I feel like screaming. But I'm smart enough to realize that when I think too much about cyber people instead of focusing my energy on those I love in the real world, it's time to sit back and take a break.

Though there's a lot I wish I could say.

I'm really not fond of this time of the year. Can you tell? I love Christmas and all the pretty colored lights and gift giving and suddenly it's over and we're faced with the cold bleak months of January-March. At least in Philadelphia, anyway.

Anyhoo, is there any good news to report? Well, yeah. Tomorrow night Julie is having us over for her first dinner party at her new apartment and yep, I'm bringing the camera. So that should be an uplifting future post indeed.

"Daddy Left Me Alone with God" is currently being line edited, which means it will be out in the real world shortly. My baby! Almost five years in the making/writing/editing...and I am really stoked about that and intend to throw my entire being into promoting it...fair warning now.

I added some more songs to my Music Player on this blog. I could seriously program that thing all day. I love the shuffle feature and the fact that I created my own juke box. Yeah, yeah, I know these things have been around for years but I've just discovered it and let me have my fun, please. Anyway, you have to do some serious scrolling down to find it, but it's on the right, directly under the ads for my books.

I have still not been able to diet more than two consecutive days which is freaking me out. I ate far too many Christmas cookies. Tomorrow I am going to wear my tightest outfit all day so that I am in acute pain awareness of anything I put in my mouth that isn't green and leafy. Actually, eating at Julie's will be very good since I know whatever she serves us will be both healthy and vegetarian. The only problem will be when I get home because WE STILL HAVE THOSE DAMN COOKIES. And because they are shortbread, two weeks later they're better than ever.

I'm doomed. I should just have my jaw wired.

Do people still do that? I'd find a way to still shove it in, trust me.

The reason I still have cookies is that I was very lax in sending them out this year. To those of you who didn't receive any tins, I'm really sorry. The week before Christmas when I was flat on my back took a lot out of me and that's the week I normally mail out cookies. And well, then I started eating them myself...

Oh well. Another hour and the Eagles will be on. Go Eagles? I'm kind of ambivalent at this point...let's see them win this one and play the Giants next weekend, then I'll be excited.

Sort of.

But for now, I think I'll take a break from the dreaded internet and read a book or something.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different (and Happy 2009!)

So here's something completely different to ring in the New Year -- Eric Slick, jazz dude.

This is a film by Robert O'Haire, featuring BOB MUSSO and RAOUL BJORKENHEIM on guitar, ELLIOTT LEVIN on sax and flute, KEITH MACKSOUD on bass, and ERIC SLICK on drums at The Bowery Poetry Club on December 17, 2008.

Meanwhile, Eric does rock out around six minutes in...but I love the jazz dude, too.

And here's a link to some cool photos of Eric at that show, too.

The Daily Gazette in New York reviewed over 200 concerts this season and posted a list of their top ten concerts of the year, with said ten being the usual suspects, Wilco, David Byrne, etc. but look who is listed in the dozen or so Honorable Mentions!

Honorable mention

- Neko Case on Jan. 31 at The Egg

- John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett on Feb. 16 at The Egg

- Nellie McKay on March 10 at The Egg

- They Might Be Giants on April 19 at The Egg

- Adrian Belew Power Trio on June 8 at Revolution Hall, Troy

- Cowboy Junkies on July 8 at the Plaza Music Fest in Empire State Plaza

- Robyn Hitchcock on July 10 at WAMC

- Terrance Simien on July 24 at Alive at Five

- Zappa Plays Zappa on Aug. 5 at The Egg

- The American Music Festival on Aug. 17 at Saratoga Performing Arts Center featuring Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, the Swell Season, Conor Oberst. Steve Earle & Allison Moorer, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, and Raul Malo

- Rodney Crowell on Oct. 23 at The Egg

- Richard Thompson on Oct. 24 at The Egg

- Joe Jackson on Oct. 30 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

- Bela Fleck & the Flecktones on Dec. 9 at The Egg

Yes, we are pretty psyched about that.

Anyway, some of you may have noticed I added a Music Player to this site (scroll down on the right hand side) but you will all be relieved to know that I've disabled automatic play in case you tune in at work and get caught as the dulcet tones of Ween or the Kinks come blasting through your speakers. But I'll be adding to my player all the time and since everyone knows what excellent taste in music I have, feel free to click the play button when no one is around and crank up your speakers...oh yeah, I've also added the shuffle feature so you won't get bored.

Wait - did I just say "crank up your speakers?" Who am I, Wolfman Jack? Oh god, please kill me.

In other news, Julie moved out to her new apartment yesterday and I went into her bedroom today and saw it (mostly) cleaned out; then I walked into Eric's room and saw the same, and I admit it, reality hit hard for the first time and I got teary eyed. Oh well, life goes on. Julie did feel it was her civic duty to wake me out of a sound sleep last evening at midnight to wish me a Happy New Year and at first I was like, "is she nuts?" and then I realized how terrific she was to do that and how lucky I am.

So while Julie settles into her new apartment this month and sets up her studio, Eric will be going on tour with Project Object and there's already a few dates listed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland with more to come. Then I think in either February or March they begin the first of two sessions with Ade down in Nashville for their first studio recording, "E" before heading out on what it appears to be a two week tour in the midwest. But I'm not sure if it's confined to that area or not...I keep checking Pollstar.

Meanwhile, I just realized I need to take a photo of Julie's new bass. Lakland made her a fretless custom in natural wood. It's so gorgeous it's ridiculous.

Finally, the infamous Jon Swift has his yearly Best Of Blogpost entries over at his place as chosen by the author, and if you want to see what I picked as my favorite In Her Own Write moment of 2008 (could it possibly involve the Adrian Belew Power Trio?), click on Jon's name and have a look.

Well, now that I've totally run out of things to say, let me just mention how happy I am that 2008 is over; it was a pretty difficult/bleak year for Gary and me. Luckily, 2009 is The Year of the Ox. Any year dedicated to the late, great John Entwistle is okay with me, eh?