November 19, 2004
We're getting near the end of the tour leg in the United Kingdom. This is home turf for the guys in the band, apart from me. Soccer on t.v. any time of the day, BBC programming, but some hotels carry SKY1, which plays The Simpsons every day. I'm one of those people that doesn't follow very many shows, but that show comes on in England right before we have to leave our hotel rooms to go to work. That makes for a good mood right before going to work........you can't get that usually from the morning news, right?
Gigs have really gone well. Great package with Dean Howard, Thunder, and Peter Frampton. As usual, the experienced, serious musicians are all nice people and easy to work with. Shows have been no more than 2 minutes off schedule, and that 2 minute one was not acceptable to the stage manager.
Peter Frampton and I wrote some songs together, and ended up recording one on the Stand Up album with the Steve Morse Band. He still sings great, and I think he plays better than ever. It's always good to find old friends on the road, and this has been very pleasant as we have made plans to work at least a few days together on something instrumental. Schedules have a way of filling up, so planning anything more than a couple of days is always difficult.
Bernie Marsden, another of Whitesnake's members, came to the gig a few nights ago, and we almost had a little jam, but our set got too close to the time limit.
However, in London, who should suddenly turn up behind the organ, (actually, it was HIS Hammond that we've been using on the road), but Jon Lord. Very cool and everybody was smiling and enjoying the reunion, however brief. Don Airey handled it perfectly, with grace and dignity.
Then, last night in Cardiff, Uli Roth came to the gig. Don and he were playing on one of the shows in Italy a couple of years back, and I met him then. He also was the guitarist with the Scorpions in their early period before he left to do his own stuff. Uli is a fantastic, very individual guitar player, and of course I asked him if he'd like to play on a song if time permitted. He said that he hasn't played someone else's guitar in 20 years! That sounded like a "no", so we figured not.
During the end of the set, I guess he picked up one of my MusicMans and reconsidered, so at the very last second before the very last tune, he came out. Unfortunately, we had a technical problem that still baffles me.....involving a partial short of the amp he was plugged into. This left his volume nearly inaudible. So, right before the guitar solo, I unplugged my guitar cord, and leaned over to plug it into his guitar. I just made it in time, and he started to solo. In my haste, I didn't wrap the cord through the guitar strap, and managed to pull it out by me standing on the cord as he moved around looking for a good spot to hear the best balance. This was quickly followed by me grabbing the cord and replugging it in, again, without securing the cord around the strap......(it takes a few seconds of fiddling to do that, and he was still playing). You can guess what happened a little later, right? Yep, less than a minute later, he was wondering why his guitar was suddenly cut off and looking on the ground for the ever elusive guitar cord.
Haste makes waste? Well, not exactly waste, but it did make for a very funny onstage dance between us. In the end, we ended up getting the mike turned up enough on the partially shorted amp that I was playing through in order for us both to play a bit together. And it was good. He's real good. It never ceases to amaze me how great guitarists can come up and plug into my stuff and suddenly play so well.
© stevemorse.com 2004