Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Little Mandolin Music

This is a quick mandolin riff that I've included with my college submissions.

Take 2 - What's so funny?

I think I like Take One better....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Party for the City of San Diego

Curly Max and I were the sole entertainment for the City of San Diego's holiday party! This was really fun! We met some commissioners, the whole staff, and played a few solid hours of holiday favorites. The whole thing was paid for by the city staff themselves "out of their own pockets," which is why they appreciated us playing good music for not too much money.

Both of us had to leave school early on the last day before winter break to do the show, but our counselors made sure our teachers knew what we were doing. We didn't tell them there was cheesecake involved.

Here's the party, everyone played games between our sets!

Secret plans.

"Ah, could you boys play now?"
"Uh, no."
"Please? Please could you play for us now?"
"No, man. We're on our break, bro. And Max is still eating his cheesecake."
"PLEASE? Pretty please? I'm begging you, please play for us?"
"Well... I guess... OK."

Just kidding! We played for like 2 hours or so, and everybody gave us so many tips and clapped so much we really didn't want to stop! This was probably the best concert we've ever given.

Curly Max and I realized that we were coincidentally wearing the EXACT same pants and shoes, except my shoes are blue -

The mandolin was a hit:

We don't usually brag about how much money we make for Fresh Start from a single gig, BUT we made a whole LOT of money for Fresh Start from this gig!

Tips - $120
Paid - $150
Total - $270

BUT the money is going to be DOUBLED from the mysterious double-donor benefactor from Arizona who will remain nameless, so the day's Grand Total is -


Which brings our year total up to $930, doubled to $1860! The Gibson Guitar Graph has gone up, we're close to the top now:

Thanks to the entire City of San Diego, the personel department and everyone who made this party a great success. We really had more fun this day than any time before, and it was a great way to end the year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Carolyn Helps Record Our Christmas CD

Carolyn, an award winning violinist from Westview High School, has gone out  of her way (literally, she's on the other side or town!) to help us record a few songs for our Christmas CD. She's probably the best violinist for her age in the entire city. She was really great to work with, and played a perfect version of Silent Night the first time she tried it.

Here she is, third from the left, beside Ron Bierman, President of Advocates for Classical Music and Artistic Director of the San Diego Youth Symphony Jeff Edmons. She's receiving the top prize for the 2010 Symphony Concerto Competition. Bravo Carolyn!

She'll be playing her violin concerto with the full orchestra at the Spring Ovation Concert on June 12th, 2011 at Symphony Hall, downtown San Diego.

We set her up with a microphone run through an amp with lots of reverb to get a really deep echo sound for her violin. Carolyn LOVED that, she played around with the sound a lot and wants one for herself now. She's on our Christmas CD playing a solo piece, Silent Night, and Jingle Bell Rock.
Thanks, Carolyn!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Curly Max Plays the Star Spangled Banner!

This is becoming the Curly Max Blog! Here he is -

And here he is playing the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner at the Mira Mesa High Pep Rally!

Here he is again playing a duet with his friend Jeff, listen to the crowd, they're going crazy! Curly Max has a GIANT fan club, he's amazing.

You GO Curly Max!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our Christmas CD

It's Curly Max AGAIN! He's on the front of . . .

(Click on CD for ordering information)

Featuring Max, Curly Max, Carolyn, and a special Guest Appearance by Jake!
All profits go to Fresh Start, we're thinking $5.00 a CD.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Matching Funds!!!!

Well, a certain generous donor at the Fresh Start Butterfly Ball on October 23rd pledged to MATCH our FUNDS.

Fresh Start raised $46,000 at the Butterfly Ball, and the matching funds donor seemed to like what we were playing that night.

That's GREAT because that means the money we're raising is going to DOUBLE!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Fresh Start Video

Here is the newest Fresh Start Surgical Gifts video, and our song is at the very end! A little bit of guitar, and then Jake wraps it up with the lyrics! We can't believe it, but here it is...

Thanks again Fresh Start,
for all the good work you do!

Here is Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

A lot of people have been asking about Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, the fundraising we're doing for them, the song we wrote for them, and everything else. I didn't realize they had a whole series of YouTube videos out there, but here are they are... !

This is why they are our main charity:

Here's Shari talking about Fresh Start, they were given an award from the Better Business Bureau for excellence in ethics! She also points out that a lot of Fresh Start is volunteer driven -

Here's the Better Business Bureau charity website:

And more, the Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children's Hospital -

 for all the work you do!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A.R.T.S. Planning Session

Here I am with Mario, Adriana, Andy and the other musician/instructors at the A.R.T.S. Music department planning session. We're brainstorming ideas for future events and teaching programs. One thing that we decided is - have a holiday party on December 16th, so it's time to start practicing Christmas and Olde English wassail songs!

Got to meet up with Mario again, long time no see!

(That's my new jacket I got for my birthday. It's PUFFY!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Busking at the Mission Beach Boardwalk

Here we are down at the Mission Beach Boardwalk, right outside the Plunge swimming pool and roller coaster. Everybody was out getting exercise after Turkey Day, including us.

One of the things we're thankful for is the weather. It was a REALLY nice day.

We're a bit rusty at this, we need to practice more!

Jake gets warmed up as we go along -

We actually made some decent cash - which we are very thankful for! . . .
Fresh Start Surgical Gifts gets a bit more, 1 buck at a time!

One of Jake's favorites, "Stand By Me" -

and "Gloria!" - G L O R I A ! More cash is acquired!

We gotta do this more often!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A.R.T.S. Guitar Program

Here's the guitar class I founded and teach at A.R.T.S. on Tuesdays to kids with life challenges. We usually have a lot more kids, but this is Thanksgiving week, so only a few showed up.

There are all kinds of new instruments coming into the A.R.T.S. music room, including this giant 1970's Hammond Organ! It has it's own speaker cabinet, all made of oak wood!

And they've been buying new guitar amps - wow!

The guitar area of the room, that's the new class coordinator, Carey. Carey is COOL, and he's an expert at mixing with ProTools 7.

Animal is cool too.

Tuning up his electric guitar, which is hard - it's not plugged in!


After class, some people on the street heard me playing and wanted  some more, so I gave a quick sidewalk concert. This girl plays drums -

My giant audience!

Thanks to Andy, Carey, and Adrianna

See you next time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fresh Start's Golf Club Fundraiser

What's the opposite of a 1960's Psychedelic Concert? How about playing a little acoustic guitar cocktail party music at the Golf Club? So here I am at the Maderas Golf Club - Amanda at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts asked me to play for their big fundraising golf & dinner night.

They had all these little cars parked out front -

I guess they use them to practice driving with, before they get to use real cars. This guy looked like he needed more practice.

There they go! Look out, they're STUDENT DRIVERS!

Our hostesses for the night!

And then this guy announced that 4 golfers were going to try to get a hole-in-one from 165 yards, to win $100,000!!!!!

That's a LOT of guitar picks, so we ALL WATCHED -

Here's everybody watching -

Here are the 4 golfers, good luck!

but -

Better luck next time, aloha and good night to the good people at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, everyone seemed to have a great time, I sure did....

G o o d  N i g h t !

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It hasn't rained for weeks. The one night we play our fundraiser at Tio Leo's for the San Diego Children's Coalition it POURS. It breaks all records. Sections of San Diego flood out. This photo was taken right beside the In N' Out Burger in Pacific Beach -

It all reminds me of another time we played for the same group with Jocelyn, but this time we have twice the people playing and about ten times more equipment to drag through the rain!

Remember THIS?

Jake and I show up first, so we do an acoustic set up on stage for a crowd of about 50. Alfonso is setting up his drums as fast as he can...

Jake the Great.

Max on guitar. Yes, that's a 70's black velvet jacket, I bought it the day before at a second hand shop for $20. Feels GOOD!

Wrapping up the first set.

Valentine gets ready to sing....

Ready, steady, LETS GO!

Time to ROCK!

Clando does a raffle, assisted by the beautiful Curly Max. (Or is Curly Max stealing tickets while Clando isn't watching?????) The funny thing is, some of the raffle items were Varsity Strings CDs. I've never been raffled before.

Curly Max!


So here are the songs from our Psychedelic Set. Enjoy. Also, watch as Curly Max does the little things that make him the music director, like kicking Jake off stage first (he doesn't sing in this one) and then telling Alfonso when to crank up the drums, about half way through the song.

Then watch at 3:34 as Curly Max notices the smoke machine and wonders if something's on fire!...

This was the most fun we've ever had at a gig.

This next one is an original song by Jake, "The Wild". I love playing Jake's songs.


Drums, a fun audience, more guitar...

Here's another Jake original song, in the classic psychedelic style. (Totally unlike the one he wrote for Fresh Start Surgicel Gifts!) Jake is having a LOT of fun. Things like this don't usually happen to us.

Guitar solos, wah pedals, echo amps, smoke machines, projection effects. And finally ...

Thanks again to Clando Brownlee Jr.
and Jeff Perwin of the
San Diego Children's Coalition,
and Frankie, the owner and sound expert 
of Tio Leo's!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Practice at Curly Max's Place

We're trying to get lots of practices in before we play our fundraiser tonight at Tio Leo's for the San Diego Children's Coalition, especially because we're doing the whole 2 hour set (!!!) with a new drummer, Alfonso.

Alfonso, luckily, KNOWS HOW TO DRUM REAL GOOD!

He plays guitar too, here he is up close - he looks and acts a lot like a really young Pete Townsend.

Alfonso -

Pete. See????

And here's our first jam on Little Wing, I think we did pretty good . . .

Well, wish us luck at  Tio Leo's today, it may RAIN!