Today is October 16th and what a great day in music history. Three musical birthdays on Oct. 16th stick out today in my mind; John Mayer, Bob Weir and Flea. All great and world renown in their own right, each of these players has an incredible story and a rich music history that will be spoken of for many years to come.
John Mayer: the Front
Every act needs front man… or maybe its every front man needs a band. I mean what are the Chicago Bulls of the 90’s without Jordan? Sure the whole team was full of amazing players but the reason we all showed up on the couch or at the court was truly for the magically display that was “Air Jordan”. We love to be fans, we love to idolize and John Mayer has definitely received a world of deserved praise in his lifetime for his guitar skills. I remember sitting with my good friend Tim Miller in his house in Corvallis, OR back in 2002. Tim was a phenomenal guitar player and he had discovered John’s mastery of the guitar before most of us thought he was no more than another pop ikon. Tim had an album playing in the background one day while we were hanging out that was blowing my mind. No vocals, just guitar and man did the player ever know the fretboard; the right note, on the right string (for tonal characteristics) at the right time. I asked Tim, “who is this?”. Tim laughed because he knew I detested John Mayer and anything that had to do with “running down the halls of your high school” at that time and he simply replied, “John Mayer”. I thought it a joke and said, “no, really. who is this?”. I was stunned to discover who it was playing and since then I have had a great appreciation for Mayer’s ear and technic. Glad his stunningly good front man looks and silky voice got him the initial recognition he needed so that the rest of us could discover his true talents.
Bob Weir: the Rhythm
Ok, so I just lost about 80% of you. That’s ok though because that’s what being a rhythm player is all about. Now, if I had said Jerry Garcia, most of you would have known who I was talking about. Bob was the rhythm to Jerry’s lead in the infamous band, the Grateful Dead. Bob wasn’t always Jerry’s favorite guitar player though. For a short time in '68 Weir and Mckernan were dropped from the band’s roster. Many believe this was because Garcia wasn’t to happy with the sound, in particular Bob's guitar playing. However Weir’s playing grew in that short time away and Garcia couldn’t help but want him back; Jerry knew that Bob was the only player that could support their sound and do it in a way that would captivate millions. Rhythm isn't flashy or in your face but someone who does it right can make everything else sound incredible. That is the token of a great rhythm player; people might not remember you but they can’t ever let you go. Strangely enough, John Mayer must feel the same way as Garcia did because both him and Weir are headed out on the road for the next three months with shows on both the east and west coasts as the super group “Dead & Company”. This should prove to be a concert worth watching and i believe tickets are on sale.
Flea: the Bass
I don’t think many people get bass players. Then again, I don’t think many bass players get the world… they don’t need to; they are the world. Don’t believe me? go listen to your favorite band’s tracks and take away the bass. “I want to feel it!” is usually the attitude when we think about rock music or any music for that matter. The drums might grab your feet and the guitar’s intricacies might grab your ears and mind but the bass grabs your whole body and gets it moving and swaying. A bass player with a unique voice is the foundation of an iconic band and Flea is definitely the glue that has held the Red Hot Chili Peppers together for decades now. The guitar players and drummers changed but the Chili Peppers managed to keep their signature sound because it was always in the worn-down thumb of Flea’s right hand. However, most of us never knew that Michael Balzary (Flea) could have actually been a fabulous jazz musician in his own right. In fact, the school he attended growing up even noted that Flea had the most potential for becoming a jazz musician than they’d seen in decades. You know, it's always the bass players in a group that will surprise you.
Well Happy Birthday to these great rock legends and to any of you who might be celebrating today, too! You share a birthday with some of music’s greatest. Got a birthday coming up? need a little something special with the holiday’s on the way? make sure to contact us with your needs and we will help you, or your friends and family, get that gear into your hands.