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  1. #1
    On Fire killerq's Avatar
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    Default The Biff Baby Allstars

    Anyone ever heard of this before ? The Biff Baby AllStars a celebrity supergroup who's members include Eddie Van Halen, Steve Morse and Steve Lukather.

    I Know EVH has Jammed with all of those guitarists, I just never knew about this ?

    Would love to hear a boot if anyone has one
    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

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    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    The three guitarists played a handful of gigs together as the "Biff Baby's All Stars". The event was featured as a cover story in Musician Magazine in 1991, and the writer was none too complimentary at EVH's "contributions" to the set. Mr. Van Halen was so disturbed by this unflattering portrayal of his playing that it is rumored he vowed never to be interviewed for the magazine (or that writer) again.

    "The concert event of the 1991 NAMM Winter Market will undoubtedly be the performance of Albert Lee, Steve Morse and Eddie Van Halen in the Biff Baby's All-Star band on Saturday night January 15th. Sponsored by Musician Magazine, plus JBL. The Biff Baby's all-Star band is the creation of Sterling Ball, vice-president of Ernie Ball/Music Man. Regular members of the band include Sherwood Ball on guitars and vocals, Jim Cox on keyboard, and Steve Ferraro on drums. The band is currently on tour in Japan. Ball was able to persuade Music Man endorsers Lee, Morse, and Van Halen to appear with the band for a performance at NAMM."

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Why+yo...ever-a09303184
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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  3. #3
    On Fire killerq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    The three guitarists played a handful of gigs together as the "Biff Baby's All Stars". The event was featured as a cover story in Musician Magazine in 1991, and the writer was none too complimentary at EVH's "contributions" to the set. Mr. Van Halen was so disturbed by this unflattering portrayal of his playing that it is rumored he vowed never to be interviewed for the magazine (or that writer) again.

    "The concert event of the 1991 NAMM Winter Market will undoubtedly be the performance of Albert Lee, Steve Morse and Eddie Van Halen in the Biff Baby's All-Star band on Saturday night January 15th. Sponsored by Musician Magazine, plus JBL. The Biff Baby's all-Star band is the creation of Sterling Ball, vice-president of Ernie Ball/Music Man. Regular members of the band include Sherwood Ball on guitars and vocals, Jim Cox on keyboard, and Steve Ferraro on drums. The band is currently on tour in Japan. Ball was able to persuade Music Man endorsers Lee, Morse, and Van Halen to appear with the band for a performance at NAMM."

    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Why+yo...ever-a09303184

    Thanks Chef exellent info as usual
    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

  4. #4
    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    EVH jammed with them @ the 1991 Namm show.
    I met Steve Morse in 1993 and asked him about that jam and he said they played a lot of blues stuff.
    There's an issue of Musician magazine from 1991 where Eddie talks about it.
    I have some photos of the jam, maybe i'll post them this weekend.
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    On Fire killerq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybeane View Post
    EVH jammed with them @ the 1991 Namm show.
    I met Steve Morse in 1993 and asked him about that jam and he said they played a lot of blues stuff.
    There's an issue of Musician magazine from 1991 where Eddie talks about it.
    I have some photos of the jam, maybe i'll post them this weekend.
    JB
    Post that stuff up, that would be great
    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killerq View Post
    Post that stuff up, that would be great
    I have them right here but can't scan till tomorrow.
    They are real photos that someone took, i bought them in 1996 i think.
    Most of them are of Eddie and Steve Morse but there's one with Sterling ball playing bass and Albert Lee.
    I have the magazine too, see if i can find it.
    It's the one with Eddie holding the pink EBMM on the cover.

    I also think i have heard audio of the jam?
    Might have it on a cassette tape but have no idea where that would be.
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    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    I just ran across this blog someone wrote -

    http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblog...van-halen.html

    JB
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    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    It's a shame the links in that article are dead. I'd have loved to read tha letter from Ed's manager.

    The Musician cover is from May of 1991, featuring all 3 guitarists.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    It's a shame the links in that article are dead. I'd have loved to read tha letter from Ed's manager.

    The Musician cover is from May of 1991, featuring all 3 guitarists.
    I know!
    I clicked it and was like NOOO!!!!!!
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    Somebody has to find that transcript. I heard it was pretty wicked.

  11. #11
    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    Hey Jim!

    JB
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    Sinner's Swing! johnnybeane's Avatar
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    Here's an interview with Matt Resnicoff but the "Letter" link is dead.

    http://rockcriticsarchives.com/inter...resnicoff.html

    JB
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    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    From an interview Matt Resnicoff conducted with Frank Zappa:

    MUSICIAN: I don't want to leap to the defense of the press because I don't respect a lot of it. On the other hand lwrote an article recently in which I suggested that Edward Van Halen might have stagnated with his band, and his manager called me and up and called me a "no-good motherfuckin' k***."
    ZAPPA: Oooh! Nice man! I hope you ran that!

    MUSICIAN: We did, and we received a lot of mail. Not that I needed anymore convincing, but that was a confirmation that...
    ZAPPA: People are listening! I'm telling you, that's the influence.... The worst thing that can happen to a person who is an MTV-size "star" is for somebody to write they're not hot. I mean, [smiling] stagnating is not very hot. And that's a career-crunching thing, especially to apply to somebody who's playing hot guitar solos. To even imply that--you can imagine the manager going, "My 15 motherfucking percent, it's goin' up in smoke! That little kike! The motherfucking kike! I gotta call him now!" [laughs] I don't even know this guy, but I just hear that ratchet going.

    MUSICIAN: Now, how culpable is the press there? I feel it's that Edward Van Halen is being constricted by somebody who would rather not see him go off and do a progressive power-trio record.
    ZAPPA: Well, let me set you straight on a couple of things that I see slightly differently than you do, partly because I'm 50 years old and you're not--and I don't want to sound like grandpa. But to reinforce the negative side of the activities of the press: I lived as an entertainer through one era of rock 'n' roll where the rock press was absolutely the blowboy of the industry. In the '70s, when corporate rock really blossomed into this stinking apparition it became, companies were giving cocaine, girls, money, junkets and all this stuff to famous rock writers, just greasing them from one end to the other so they would write nonstop, wonderful glowing articles about groups that needed to be promoted. It was pure grease, okay? I detect from the way that this interview is going that you have a little bit more integrity--a lot more integrity--and more of an intellectual edge to what you're trying to do than the people I had to talk to in the world of rock in the last 25 years. I mean it as a compliment, I'm not trying to stroke you or any thing. I find it refreshing to talk to anybody connected with a music magazine--whether he's a little motherfuckin' kike or not [laughter]--who has an idea of the relationship between music, the industry and the realworld. Because most interviews you do, people are just talking about...nothing. No-thing! I put up with that for too long. And it wasn't until 1985, when I went to Washington to testity in front of the Congress, that I started having the chance to talk to people in the press who were not from rock 'n' roll, just regular writers, who were intelligent, normal human beings. I started doing fewer rock interviews, and my attitude toward the press changed at the moment where I didn't have to do so many conversations with the people who determined whether or not you were hot. The world of hot-I don't give a fuck about the world of hot. And that's all they care about in that world, okay? So I wouldn't be too quick to defend the rock press because of its rather...checkered past. And it may have evolved, and it may have matured, might have even been perfected by now, who knows? I don't read it any more. But if you're any example of what's out there in terms of rock interviewers, I'm gratified. Especially if you're going to get a call like that from Eddie Van Halen's manager, you must be doing something right.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    And here is the article that started the entire mess!

    Musician, May, 1991

    Jamming with Edward
    Steve Morse, Albert Lee And The Emperor Van Halen
    By Matt Resnicoff

    The war began two hours ago, his wife is at home in northern California nine months pregnant, and Steve Morse is standing backstage in a Malibu nightclub hoping just to get through the day. Two out of every three great guitarists are poor, and of those two, one is just making it.

    Morse flew himself in for the gig in a prop plane he paid for over time with Morse band airfare allotments; Edward Van Halen and Albert Lee came down the canyon road. This is no joke to Morse, whose wife is getting ready to go into labor, and Albert seems content just to have a quiet place to sit, but it's all fun for Ed, whose own pregnant wife just wants to go.

    Word is that no one up in Ed's front office was particularly thrilled about his taking part in any extracurricular jamming that could signal interest or attention outside his big-bread-and-butter day gig with Van Halen the band. To Ed's credit, he insisted on joining this overnight supergroup to play at Musician's annual concert at the NAMM convention–and plug Ernie Ball's new Edward Van Halen guitar. More important, it's a chance for Van Halen to breathe some fresh creative air.

    The Malibu gig is a warm-up, and Eddie can't stay put. He's circling the club like a dervish, jumping onstage to check his sound, jumping off to make nice with his wife, jumping into conversations with small gatherings of guests and jumping out mid-sentence. Ed suddenly appears near the dark corner table where Morse has been warming up. Eddie's face goes blank and grave as Steve's as he watches Morse's fingers do a quick dance over the strings of his guitar. He dashes off, leaving Morse to his intense ritual of practice.

    When they join Albert and the rest of the band for soundcheck , Ed plugs himself into a bank of amplifiers and lays some familiar squeals across country tunes. Moments later, Albert and Steve lay country lines over Hendrix. It's one of those "fun" gigs that actually manages to entertain largely because the atmosphere is informal and non-competitive, and the soundcheck, like the dining room annex being used as backstage, is open to the world in four different directions. Even during the actual show, the first four bars of each guitarist's solos go unplayed for the exchange of delicate pinky-shakes or congratulatory high-fives. This is blowing time. This is country metal. This is Albert Lee's meat.

    "Country swing, he smiles, that's what I'm best at, really. I'm just trying to keep up with these guys and all the whoooo!" His wife and another couple laugh. Yeah, Big Al, trying to keep up. The guy's a fire hazard up there.

    Someone else adds diplomatically that bombast just isn't Albert's style, and he shrugs and looks at his wife, who puts her hand on his shoulder. "I don't think you work hard at it, do you?"

    "Well, no, I don't." The women start laughing, but Albert is neither joking nor apologetic. "No, I just don't have my rig set up for that kind of sound, to begin with. I love a real clean sound."

    "You've got your own style, which is great." The second woman cocks her head. "You don't want to sound just like all the rest." He smiles politely.

    "I used to be worried that I didn't sound like all the other players."

    "You didn't worry for long," says Mrs. Lee.

    "Tonight is about as far out as we've ever gone," Steve laughs "And it's really a challenge. It's a humbling kind of gig, and that's important to do on a regular basis, to put myself in a position where I have nothing: no big rig, no control, nothing. I'm playing through those two little amps." He points to two small boxes that look like flashbulbs atop Edward's speaker wall. "It's like being out in a jungle with just a knife and finding your way back." Edward's a bit less metaphorical. He hops off the stage, sits down in the front row to hear the rest of the band howl away, then taps my knee and leans over: "I don't think my sound is right for this band."

    But even if the most copied guitar sound in contemporary music isn't right for a bar band, there's still a place for it among friends. The band begins a second set and keyboardist Jimmy Cox sets everyone up; as the playing moves across the stage, from the right wings to the left, the three different lifestyles and approaches become most pronounced. Albert's soloing in the lower register is as resonant as a piano; fluid and deep rolling country figures swerve around torn-off blues phrases. When he kicks into overdrive he makes mountains of sound. Steve builds his lines slowly but with complex unpredictability, inching his way through the changes, does a Hawaiian-style interlude, then plays lines on the same theme in double-stop harmonics, finally drilling it home with dizzying speed-picking and screams. The place is stunned. Eddie takes the hint and eases into things patiently with nice, strong blues and a hint of wah-wah. He's having a great time up there, and he's so excited when they get around to playing "Fire" that he keeps coming in early with the guitar refrain.

    Eddie has balls of brass for getting into what's basically an Albert Lee set of demanding hoedowns. Most of the time he rises to it, but he simply doesn't have the right hand to keep up with these cats. What he can't tackle with melody he pounds out by hitting his whammy bar in time to the song, sticking to Hendrix themes and screams. Morse plays the life out of a slow one, squeezing some liquid lines that sound like a pedal-steel, and by the time the the baton gets to Ed he knows his number's up–he's got a lot of assets, but being a sensitive balladeer isn't among them. When it's obvious he can't cut it in the few moments, Ed resorts to the "elephant," a novel way of making a guitar groan by hitting three dissonant notes and swelling up the volume. The crowd responds accordingly. But when everyone starts trading fours on a high-velocity country blues, Ed begs off and watches aghast as Albert and Steve burn chorus after chorus, Steve flailing arpeggios, Albert just simply, unbelievably Albert. The country boys really stick it to the city slicker this time; Ed's got the wind knocked out of him. He throws his head back and blows his cheeks out in disbelief.

    The scene makes a troubling comment about music and celebrity, especially since the screams for the worst solos are as emphatic as the screams for the best. This doesn't slip by Morse. "That's part of anything," he says, practicing backstage after the set. "You ever notice those pictures of governments that you've never hear where they're having a parade and carrying a big poster of a guy wearing a headdress? He looks just like any of those citizens. But the fact that he's walking behind those pictures makes the people freak out. They wait for hours to see him go by, and they pray and they applaud and faint. It's part of the euphoria of rock music. Fame's a powerful drug, you know? Why do people pay to go to baseball games? It's not that exciting to watch. It's that they're close to what's happening, what they've seen only on TV. Just the fact that people recognize a song makes a huge difference, and they get into it more no matter what." Barroom chatter resumes its battle with televised news of war, and everyone is hugging one another and reliving the set. "I'm just here to add a little noise," Eddie keeps telling people. His wife, pregnant, hungry and impatient, grabs his wrist and drags him off into the night.

    CONTINUED...
    Last edited by chefcraig; 05.01.09 at 05:20 PM.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    A day later, above the whoosh of flushing toilets, Eddie calls out his half of the conversation from the urinal. His voice honks around the room as he describes some construction work being done at home, particularly the attendant studio makeover which he says is transforming the sonic essence of his new album with Van Halen. This is a public hotel men's facility, but the traffic coming through is bearable, and the few music conventioneers who interrupt are polite about it–each courteously washes his hands before shaking Ed's. The idea of leveling one studio to put up another seems like a costly undertaking, Eddie.

    "Naw, I didn't break it down, I added to it Okay, put it this way: What I used to have was the size of one racquetball court, because that's what it was, and I put everything in it. And then I changed it. I didn't fuck with that at all, I just put in a new console and added another racquetball court. The first racquetball court was sittin' like that"–he puts a cigarette in his mouth and chops out the design on the sink with the side of his hands, one perpendicular to the other. "Then I added another one sittin' like that. We added a whole drum room, so I can get live drum room so it just blows my shit."

    This is something new to the Van Halen recording ethos, which Eddie's been instructed not to discuss. "The only reason I don't want to talk about the record is because it's not done. You know, when it's done, then I'm gonna talk about it. I don't even know what to..."

    Well, there's also a sense of curiosity about what you want to see happen with the record–

    "Can we wait, can't we wait with all that shit? I guarantee that I will give you an interview when the record is done.

    "You know, put it this way–" "Put it this way," it turns out, is Ed's bridge between saying "I don't want to answer your question" and telling you whatever on his mind superficially resembles the topic he's been asked about. "The reason I hate all this shit is because if I start talking to you about it...'Oh, why didn't he talk to me about it?' You know, it's just like releasing a single too soon to one radio station, and the other ones get pissed off. You know what I'm saying? I just think it's bad for me to do, I dunno."

    Eddie talks about a lot of things–his new record, his new studio, his new guitar, his unwillingness to talk. Absolutely nothing about him suggests any interest in self-examination. He obviously drinks to steel his nerves, so he's asked if he smokes cigarettes for the same reason. His tautological reply: "No, because I'm a smoker!" A sore spot on his mind–and he can't stop picking at it–is his uncredited contribution to the design of the Floyd Rose vibrato-bar device. It's faster if I explain: Floyd kept showing up at Van Halen's early Seattle gigs with a prototype that didn't yet feature knobs which allow for fine-tuning the guitar by hand; at that point it required cumbersome little wrenches. Over three years of Van Halen tours and Edward's urging, Floyd refined the unit to where tuning required no wrench adjustments. "I never asked Floyd for any thing for the help," Ed says, "and I'd like you to print that, too." He laughs. "I was very involved in development on that thing. I don't care what he says. He kind of threw me a bone, but I'm a bit ticked." Eddie started ticking even louder at this year's NAMM convention, where the stalwart Fender Guitars announced their side of a lucrative new licensing deal–with Floyd Rose.

    Eds dismay over the transaction registers as little more than the affront you might suffer at not getting invited to a lawn party. The biggest problem Floyd's deal creates for Eddie is that when he called Floyd recently to get a couple of the units for testing, Floyd told him, "'I can't give you any. 'I said, 'What?!"' Ed groans, then taps off the tape recorder for the first of what will be several such episodes throughout the weekend. It's interesting: Even if he'd gotten his pound of Floyd, he'd have to sell countless guitars just to make a fraction of what he'd have made from, say, a proper negotiation for his unpaid solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It." That's Eddie. At the moment he seems more interested talking about fine-tuners.

    "Okay, so he showed up with a goddamn wrench! Now you need one for the front, and a different-size wrench for the strings to finetune. I'm goin', 'Ahh, that ain't fuckin' what I wanted.' So after three years, he finally got it right and I said, 'Okay, great. Now let's...' So that's kinda like having something to do with it, don't you think? You get involved with people where you think everything's going to be okay, and all of a sudden...you know, its like...I don't know. Put it this way–" A gentleman comes out of a stall, approaches Ed with an outstretched unwashed hand and says, "Just like to say how much I enjoy your music." Edward doesn't even think twice about it. "Obviously, the main thing I look for..."–he sips a beer–"is a sweet, warm sound that isn't like someone chuckin' razor blades at you. And something that's easy to play. That's why to make my new guitar, we copied the neck off my last guitar, because it's been played for years. So when you pick up the guitar it's like putting on some old favorite shoes, already worn in the way I play."

    So everyone who buys one will have an exact replica of what you like in a guitar.

    "I used to play with just one pickup, now I play with two. I got a right to change my mind, don't I? Put it this way: The way the guitar is is what I'm comfortable using. And who knows? In the future we might come out with another style guitar, you know? We might."

    There's some discussion about you doing just that.

    "Yeah, well, let's not talk about it yet."

    Jeez, look, I don't care if we...

    "No, no, no. What I'm saying is, I'm coming out with another guitar already, okay, real soon, but I don't want to talk about it until it comes out."

    So if you had an opportunity to talk to Picasso while he was painting, you'd rather wait until he was finished and then listen to him tell you, "Oh, just look at the picture–that will answer your questions"?

    "Okay, we're building another guitar. All right, all right, all right." (Ed turns out to be an easy mark after all.) "But the thing is, it's a very important part of this new record that's coming out. I'm using a bass, actually."

    A six-string bass?

    "Yeah, okay, and we're coming out with one, and until I get it sounding right, I don't want someone beatin' me to the punch. So I'd rather not talk about it until we have the prototype ready."

    Meaning someone else is going to invent a six-string bass and come out with an album with your style of playing?

    "Yeah, come on! Hey–you know how many times I've been fucked? Every goddamn company used to make a Strat style guitar with one pickup and one knob. That was not my idea, was it? I'd just rather not say anything until it's out there and people know it was my idea, just because...that's the way I want it.

    "Put it this way. I don't like telling you I'm working on a song that sounds this way until I'm done recording it. For me to explain to you what I'm writing or what I'm designing or what I'm working on...serves no purpose until you can actually see it, hold it, touch it, play it."

    How about, "Buy it"? What you're doing while you're recording is part of the creative process. That's what's interesting.

    "Matt, Matt, Matt! At the same time, a lot of times, if you ask me a question and it's premature, it might not end up the way I'm telling you. And then people go, 'Hey, this guy's full of shit."'

    CONTINUED...
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

 

 

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