Nashville trip Aug. 2018
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    Default Nashville trip Aug. 2018

    Now that I've pissed everyone off with my opinions of The Beatles and Creem magazine, let me type a lengthy post about my trip to Nashville no one will read (but they should)!

    After seeing Sammy Hagar's interview with Vince Neil, and hearing that Vince, Mick Mars, Brad Whitford and Steven Tyler, Dave Mustaine, Sheryl Crow and even Desmond Child all live in Nashville now, I decided to make a trip to see if I was missing something.

    I rolled into town about noon on a Monday, this strip called Broadway that's nothing but bars, and it's unbelievable -- music blasting from every building! At NOON on a MONDAY! I couldn't wait to get in there!

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    • PLAYED AN OPEN MIC. As long as I was paying for gas and a motel room for two nights, I decided I'd find an open mic and go torture some eardrums. I haven't played a guitar on stage in 24 years, and I can't carry a tune whatsoever, but I got on stage at a bar where Garth Brooks allegedly played when he first came to town.

      First...Taylor Swift and Katie Perry have had a VERY positive impact on the culture! The world is now filled with 21 year old girls with acoustic guitars wearing miniskirts, hot pants and leggings. I figured Nashville had a regionally limited appeal, but there were people there from Arizona, Spokane, and one guy said he flies in from Seattle annually just to play open mics, and there were a couple of people from England, even. Amazing.

      I finally got on stage at 1 a.m., (#35 on the list). I thanked the guy running the show for allowing me to pollute his stage. To my surprise, he told me I should come again and he'd try to put me on earlier, and recommended another open mic I should check out. I told him if he put me on earlier his bartender was going to say, "We only made $15 before that guy ran everybody off!," which gave him a big laugh. I figured he was just a very, very nice man until I was back home texting my aunt about it. She said, "I would take him up on his suggestion." So I guess I'll be back!

      It turned out this guy had a Southern Rock band in the mid-70's called the Winter Brothers, and they had a song on the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam III & IV album I bought when I was 10. I brought up "Cumberland Mountain #9," written and sung by Charlie's guitar player, Tommy Crane, and we had a bit of a Tommy Crane discussion. He also said his dad had been a backup singer for Marty Robbins for something like 30 years, and Marty Robbins was "like an uncle" to him! So getting a dab of encouragement from a guy who knew Charlie Daniels and Marty Robbins first hand was awesome.

    • VINCE GILL. A friend told me to go see a band called The Time Jumpers...featuring Vince Gill. These are old studio and touring pros, now in their 60's-80's, who play Western Swing every Monday night at this bar for just $25. Vince Gill is not mentioned in the advertising, but sure enough he was there. He doesn't play the star at all, he lets another guy MC, shares singing lead and taking solos with the rest of the band; he just does it because he likes to perform and be a guy in the band, I guess! They actually had another guitar player in the band who blazed past Vince, but maybe he was holding back.

    • DARIUS RUCKER. Also took the Grand Ole Opry backstage tour, where Darius Rucker was being escorted down the hall by his bodyguards. I got to tell him I saw him at the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta in 1990 at a battle of the bands. Hootie was the second band. He pretended to remember. "The Center Stage?! Oh, wow!" He was really nice to everyone.

    • RYMAN / HALL OF FAME. You might not be into this kind of stuff, and I haven't followed country music since I was 11, either, but to see the guitars on display at the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame is something I DEFINITELY recommend to any guitar player. The coolest was seeing three of Johnny Cash's old Martins, with sweat stains, checked finish and pick gouges that looked like a woodpecker had attacked them.

    • GRUHN GUITARS. Speaking of Martins, I also got to sweep through legendary Gruhns Guitars. I can now rest easy: I'm convinced my "cheap" Yamahas sound as good as Martins costing 10x as much.

    • RCA STUDIO TOUR. Also took the RCA Studio B tour where Elvis (but not the Beatles) often recorded, and Dolly Parton recorded "Jolene," Jerry Reed did "Amos Moses," just tons of songs you would recognize. The tour guide was a really interesting guy who was truly passionate about his job, and told us TWICE that he also worked for the Cash family and was in a band with Johnny Cash's son. I kept annoying him with music factoids ("Y'know, Willie Nelson wrote 'Night Life' in two parts as he was driving over a bridge in Houston, one verse going into town and the second one coming back.") I have to have an outlet for them somewhere!


    So that was fun.

    Would you like to see some photos from my trip AND hear me make eardrums bleed? You can! (TIP: You can always mute the audio and just look at the pictures!)


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  3. #2
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    I did a country festival in Atlanta in the 90s was like 3 days of nonstop rock or country 2 stages I think it was called the Music Midtown Festival? I saw every big act in country I really tried to get into it but just can't fall in love with it. I do admire the talent but Nashville sounds like a fun trip.
    10-6-2020 RIP King of sixstrings.

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    Sounds like quite an amazing trip, Art!
    Some great experiences, and congrats for getting on that stage after such a hiatus! Kudos.

    An old high school friend and bandmate is now a pretty popular recording artist out of Nashville, as part of a duet with his wife, and two of their daughters were also on that show called Nashville.
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - A very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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    Cool story !!
    Remember the Heroes - 9/11/01

    In 2012, the phoenix has risen!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by edwardv View Post
    I did a country festival in Atlanta in the 90s was like 3 days of nonstop rock or country 2 stages I think it was called the Music Midtown Festival? I saw every big act in country I really tried to get into it but just can't fall in love with it. I do admire the talent but Nashville sounds like a fun trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raldo View Post
    Cool story !!
    Thanks! I did quite a bit of typing there, didn't I?! I must've been all excited!

    Oh, yes, I went to the first Music Midtown around that time. They have a bit of everything. I saw Brother Caine, The Knack, Charlatan's UK, James Brown, and KC & the Sunshine Band, all for $15 in 1994. These days they charge about $100 a day and I've never heard of 98% of the performers (although Van Halen headlined there awhile back).

    Vince Neil said Nashville "is like L.A. in the `80's." I also saw an interview where John Kalodner said Nashville is the last place where singers and melodies and good production still matter, because the other music meccas have turned to rap. And they have other kinds of music there, away from the tourist area. It's got me thinkin'!

    The vibe I got right away is it's an "artists's colony." Whether you're a 20 year old newcomer, someone who was huge in the `80's but your heyday is done, or you're currently on top, no one looks down on anyone else, because they're all about playing music in the end.

    I also came to understand the significance of the Grand Olde Opry radio show to our style of music. Back in the 1920's, city people listened to classical and big band. The music of people who worked in fields and factories was not heard on the radio, anywhere. The GOO was the first time the sound of people who lived rough and played rough was given a commercial voice, and it took off like a rocket. If you wanted to hear something with three chords and a beat before 1954, the GOO was it! And rock n' roll evolved out of that music, which went back to Ireland and Scotland.

    Now I've typed a lot again. So much food for thought!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RRvh1 View Post
    An old high school friend and bandmate is now a pretty popular recording artist out of Nashville, as part of a duet with his wife, and two of their daughters were also on that show called Nashville.
    Who's your high school friend and bandmate?

    I've been reading more about Nashville. I can't believe some of the rock n' roll and pop names that live there now:

    Joe Bonamassa
    Dave Mustaine
    Steven Tyler
    Brad Whitford
    Vince Neal
    Mick Mars
    John Corabi
    Peter Frampton
    Tom Keifer
    Mark Slaughter
    Jack White
    Desmond Child
    Ben Folds
    Sheryl Crow
    Taylor Swift
    Ed Sheeran

    I also did some reading on that bar that I did an open mic at. It turns out that back in the `70's, Black Sabbath, David Bowie and a lot of other people recorded their entire tours on a 24 track mobile truck. The guy who owned and operated the mobile truck now owns that bar! He came off the road in 1987 and bought into that bar, but the mobile truck is still parked somewhere there and they rent it out for recording! And Jon Bon Jovi and Bonnie Raitt have both done solo shows in that bar, and Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson did their major label showcases in there!

    This is all fascinating me because in midlife crisis, some of my friends are telling me, for the first time ever, they think I have actual talent (I thought they thought I was delusional. Now they tell me?) and it would probably bloom somewhere else but definitely not here in Atlanta. Hmm...

    So anyway...blah blah blah...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtyBoy View Post
    Who's your high school friend and bandmate?

    I've been reading more about Nashville. I can't believe some of the rock n' roll and pop names that live there now:

    Joe Bonamassa
    Dave Mustaine
    Steven Tyler
    Brad Whitford
    Vince Neal
    Mick Mars
    John Corabi
    Peter Frampton
    Tom Keifer
    Mark Slaughter
    Jack White
    Desmond Child
    Ben Folds
    Sheryl Crow
    Taylor Swift
    Ed Sheeran

    I also did some reading on that bar that I did an open mic at. It turns out that back in the `70's, Black Sabbath, David Bowie and a lot of other people recorded their entire tours on a 24 track mobile truck. The guy who owned and operated the mobile truck now owns that bar! He came off the road in 1987 and bought into that bar, but the mobile truck is still parked somewhere there and they rent it out for recording! And Jon Bon Jovi and Bonnie Raitt have both done solo shows in that bar, and Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson did their major label showcases in there!

    This is all fascinating me because in midlife crisis, some of my friends are telling me, for the first time ever, they think I have actual talent (I thought they thought I was delusional. Now they tell me?) and it would probably bloom somewhere else but definitely not here in Atlanta. Hmm...

    So anyway...blah blah blah...
    Didn't Ron Keel from the '80's bands Keel and Steeler also move to Nashville before the place was even cool and launch a country western career as Ronnie Lee Keel?

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    Not as good of a story as ArtyBoy but I spent the last weekend in Nashville and surrounding area for a family reunion. Did get downtown twice but since I was with family members (some who hate country and music in general) it was a mixed bag. Just love the atmosphere with every bar having bands and some having 4 playing at the same time. I need to go down there again with the sole goal in mind of listening to music and seeing hot girls in cowboy boots.

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    Nashville is a cool town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naked Wake View Post
    Didn't Ron Keel from the '80's bands Keel and Steeler also move to Nashville before the place was even cool and launch a country western career as Ronnie Lee Keel?
    I had always heard he was from Georgia. I just read his Wikipedia, and he was from Savannah but then had a band in Tennessee and then on to Los Angeles where he had Steeler with Yngwie Malmsteen. Then it says he was in Las Vegas singing in a Brooks & Dunn tribute band, and was last seen as a DJ in South Dakota.

    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    Just love the atmosphere with every bar having bands and some having 4 playing at the same time. I need to go down there again with the sole goal in mind of listening to music and seeing hot girls in cowboy boots.
    The bar with the four bands is Honky Tonk Central! On my last day I parked next to it and ran in and did a quick run up the steps to see everything. It was two in the afternoon on a Wednesday so they just had an electric band on the first floor and then the next three floors were acoustic trios playing to the bartenders. I want to see it on a Friday or Saturday night when I'm guessing it's electric and packed on every level. I've heard Don Kelly's Western World is the best place in town. J.D. Simo spontaneously shows up on stage there to jam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtyBoy View Post
    I had always heard he was from Georgia. I just read his Wikipedia, and he was from Savannah but then had a band in Tennessee and then on to Los Angeles where he had Steeler with Yngwie Malmsteen. Then it says he was in Las Vegas singing in a Brooks & Dunn tribute band, and was last seen as a DJ in South Dakota.



    The bar with the four bands is Honky Tonk Central! On my last day I parked next to it and ran in and did a quick run up the steps to see everything. It was two in the afternoon on a Wednesday so they just had an electric band on the first floor and then the next three floors were acoustic trios playing to the bartenders. I want to see it on a Friday or Saturday night when I'm guessing it's electric and packed on every level. I've heard Don Kelly's Western World is the best place in town. J.D. Simo spontaneously shows up on stage there to jam.

    I was talking to my dad (since he doesn't drink) and we were at two bars with four bands each. The Stage and Tootsies Honky Tonk. However this was also Friday night so I imagine it was a weekend thing more than a weekday. Incredible town

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    I was talking to my dad (since he doesn't drink) and we were at two bars with four bands each. The Stage and Tootsies Honky Tonk. However this was also Friday night so I imagine it was a weekend thing more than a weekday. Incredible town
    Oh, I didn't realize those places had multiple bands, too, I thought it was just Honky Tonk Central. I do know, from reading Willie Nelson's autobiography, that Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is where he used to hang out and do his music business networking while his wife worked as a waitress. I think he got to know Hank Cochran there ("Make the World Go Away") and that's how he got his first full-time music job as a staff songwriter for a publishing company.

    I used to see awesome bands in my 20's here in Atlanta that could pack a bar with 500 people by word of mouth, then go to Philadelphia or Tampa and do the same. But a few years would go by, then they would break up, and nothing would've happened. I used to wonder why, but within five minutes in Nashville I realized DUH! Because there's no record industry here! In Nashville, probably every fifth person you see has a legitimate connection to the music business! They were playing in the wrong town!

    I like Hollywood, but for something within driving distance, Nashville is pretty damn cool! I have GOT to get back up there!

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    Fuck all the music. Nashville women. There must have been crazy oodles of beautiful women...

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    Cool town. We were there in August for the Journey/Def Leppard show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaboChris View Post
    Fuck all the music. Nashville women. There must have been crazy oodles of beautiful women...
    Yes and they are typically plastered. Most of the staff working behind bar is top shelf as well. Still think about the bottom of this one who was wearing Yoga pants. Ass wouldn't quit. My only problem with Nashville and the surrounding area is that it seems no matter where you go to, you have to get on 4 interstates, 3 state routes and drive through 4 developments. There doesn't seem to be any direct routes anywhere.

    Plus they have f'ed up speed limits. 20mph, 30mph?

 

 

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