Saturday, January 24, 2009

Johnny Schizoid one man band

John Steinhardt (aka Johnny Schizoid), a one-man-band from California was at the Waterhole #1 Bar in Cowley, Wyoming, Thursday, Jan. 22.

Schizoid's stage show employs electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, keyboards, trombone, trumpet, bugles, harmonica, drums and electronic percussion. He sings the songs and plays every instrument himself. He has a bachelor's degree in music and has been a high school music teacher in recent years.

A few songs I remember from his setlist: La Bamba, Freebird, Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001 theme), Rockin' in the USA, along with some originals.

While laying down a guitar groove, Schizoid jams along with an electronic drum loop and other instruments that he played and pre-recorded himself. He then picks up another instrument or begins soloing on a keyboard before leapfrogging to another voice. He plays covers along with some original tunes. His show covers a gamut of musical styles and varies in tone from silly to serious. He also uses several costumes and masks throughout the performance.

I have to say, Schizoid is a talented musician. He has been playing on the road for 30+ years and creates a wall of sound you would expect from three or four musicians. He has painstakingly set up his show to play accurate versions of the songs he covers. I was impressed, and I can't say i'm exactly a typical fan of one-man bands. You don't really expect a one-man operation to respond to shouts of "Freebird" from the audience...

Introducing... Schizoid Johnny

Thursday, January 8, 2009

PHISH summer tour announced

And so it begins. With the announcement of the 2009 Phish summer tour today on, phans from every walk of life are quitting their jobs, sending in applications for fresh credit cards, selling their childhood toys and terminating the lease on their apartments to head out on the road and catch the first summer tour since the band called it quits in August of 2004.

But what about those of us who can’t afford to simply quit our jobs and head out on the road in this modern-day traveling Mecca musical experience? What about those of us who are still recovering from the financial upheaval that the band’s supposed last tour and show in Coventry in 2004?

For those folks, I have this to say: beggars can’t be choosers.

Everyone wanted Phish to stay together and the band has undoubtedly been questioned and pressured about a reunion since they first called it quits. Heck, even during the hiatus (2000-02) no one would leave them alone. Now that their ducks are in a row and some of their personal and other musical needs have been fulfilled, the band can go back on the road on their own terms. This reunion may be inspired, in part, by the fans that feed the band energy that can take a live performance to the next level, but the tour is kicking off on the band’s terms. It’s a time when band members are again ready to be a part of Phish.

From now through Saturday, Jan. 17 at midnight, a limited number of tickets are available through Phish’s online ticketing Website, Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, Jan. 30, at 10 a.m. eastern time. Check and to purchase tickets.

If the $49.50 each night is a bit much to swallow, try to check out a few shows, because who knows how long Phish 3.0 will last. Vending at shows is a great way to fund the trek. Grilled cheese, vege burritos, beer, cigarettes or a unique food or jewelry item are always favorites in the lots. Be sure to keep tabs on your budget, be respectful and pleasant to security personnel, make sure the item you plan to sell is in demand and check the legality of what you’re selling before counting on sales to fund the tour.

Whether you plan to see any live shows in 2009 or not, Phish is back and no one knows what to expect. Phish, a band that thrives on surprising their audiences and keeping the music new and inventive, probably has a few tricks up their sleeves for the upcoming summer tour. Be it the resurrection of Fluffhead, new onstage antics to go with new songs, or some totally original invention (such as the big ball jam, secret language, IT tower jam, etc.) there’s bound to be some wild and fun times on the tour.

Be safe, stay hydrated and keep the vibe positive. After all, this is a long-awaited day, a great second chance for those of us who didn’t get their fill of Phish before and a chance for new fans to truly appreciate the music. Do your part and make sure new fans get to see how truly kind the people surrounding Phish can be. See you on the road.