Monday, August 27, 2007

The sky is cryin....can't you see the tears roll down the street

To everyone coming over from Crooks and Liars, welcome! There is plenty of other political, as well as musical commentary here, so don't be afraid to hit the "Home" link at the bottom and read some more.

Today is a sad anniversary for music lovers. 17 short years ago, we lost Stevie Ray Vaughan:



In July, 1986, I was working for Stevie Wonder, designing and wiring a custom audio remote recording truck at his L.A. studio, Wonderland, when word came from the front desk that Stevie Ray Vaughan wanted to come by and see the place. Wonderland is private, but friends and selected others can work there.

SRV had just come off tour, and wanted to do some overdubs and mix what was released later that year as "Live Alive." He had gone to another famous L.A. studio that had just been freshly rebuilt, and he found it too shiny and new, too clinical. He wanted someplace that looked older and funkier, more comfortable, but with great technical infrastructure. A mutual acquaintance suggested Wonderland, and he loved it as soon as he looked it over.



He set up shop and got to work. Problem was, all his equipment: amps, guitars, including his famous brown Strat with the initials, were stuck on a truck in Canada because of Carnet issues. We made calls to every musician and rental company we could find for '59 Strats with rosewood slab fingerboards, Marshall 50 watt amps with the rare 8 x 10" speaker cab, pre-CBS blackface Super Reverbs, and Dumble amps.

When he found out that I played guitar and knew how to work on them, he hired me to re-string and setup many of the borrowed and rental instruments. He sat and talked with me one day for a long time while playing this guitar of mine (sadly, no camera at the time):

One night I was upstairs in the tech shop, working on wiring, and talking with Pam on the phone, when SRV came running up the stairs:

"Hey Steve, I need some batteries, some double-A ones, you got any?"

I looked, found a few, but he needed more. I unloaded the 2 in my Walkman™, he grabbed them all, said "Thanks, man" and ran down the stairs.

About 5 minutes later I heard someone run back up the stairs, SRV came into the room and started shooting me with a battery powered machine gun-type squirt gun. Hilarity ensued. It really was quite funny.

Lovely man, very sweet and nice, and to quote David Bowie: "He took it all too far but boy could he play guitar."

Here are both Stevie's playing Wonder's "Superstition" (bad video, but good audio):