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Michael Devin's Blog
  • 2013-05-16 02:58:37
    Come Taste The Beard
    So, where were we? Where shall I begin?
    Begin at the beginning, and go on ’til you come to the end, then stop. Said the King to the White Rabbit.
    Sage advice.
    Shall we venture back down the rabbit hole? Or in our case, the snake hole...

    First day of rehearsal... goddamn... it’s hotter than hell in Los Angeles this morning… Whitesnake tends to get the day started a wee tad earlier than this night owl is used to...I see I’m not the first one to the rehearsal room... a Pandora’s box of drum shells, hoops, rings, nuts and bolts, has exploded... though, no drummer to be found...let’s see here… blow some dust off the amps, wipe the dirt from the road cases, break out a couple packs of fresh strings, tighten the strap locks, fresh batteries…fire it up...kaboom. Amp is loud ’n proud. Time for some lobby coffee. Muddy stuff. Delicious. Comin’ back into the room, I see a big ball of thick, kinky hair with skinny legs stickin’ out from the bottom, picking up the pieces of the drums, forming a drum kit. This ball of kinky hair means business...he’s quick, clearly determined... when I finally find a face, I see it’s none other than the legend, Tommy Aldridge. Speak of the Devil... Randy Rhodes Tribute... must-have live albums in my ’hood growing up. Inspired drumming! It’s beyond exciting to be playing with Tommy, being a rhythm section with the man. Can’t wait to lock it up, lock it down. Here comes Aldrich... lookin’ three kinds of cool... geared up with all his guns and axes. He shows me he’s got a new beast on board... a sweet black Tele. Looks like it bites...I soon find out, sounds like it looks. We lay into a few tunes as a trio, clear the cobwebs...won’t be a couple days yet ’til Reb and Ruedy arrive, but when they do, they pile on the sugar by the spoonful... Reb’s got himself a new mirrored pick guard on the Suhr... Ruedy’s arrived with some growly tones, invoking Jon Lord. Coverdale shows up lookin’ like a sun-kissed million dollar bill. He quickly moves toward Tommy, whom he hasn’t seen in about a decade if my math is up to snuff...big hugs...big smiles all around... we haven’t been in the same room together in quite some time... with Tommy this particular lineup has never been in the same room together. We fire back up the engine, full horsepower, except now we’ve got the thoroughbred, David Coverdale, a wailin’ with the band... we’re off like greyhounds chasin’ a jackrabbit.

    Last day of rehearsals... I happen to have my harmonica with me... well, I happen to have a harmonica with me everywhere I go... just so happens I happen have the correct key for a certain stompin’ number we tend to rock from time to time... just so happens I have a green hornet mic in the car, too... well, whaddya know... soundin’ pretty raunchy... David’s diggin’ it, the band’s diggin’ it... maybe this little piece of tin will find its way onto the big stage howlin’... we shall see. Practice makes perfect. I hope to be Little Walter. I hope to be Lester Butler. Here’s Lester Butler discussing Little Walter... Lester Butler sang and played harp for The Red Devils back in the 90s. Red hot.

    A Whitesnake fan sent a message via carrier pigeon that she’d heard bets were placed upon whether or not I’d keep the hair on "thy chinny chin chin"… Brother DC surprised us all, didn’t he... and on behalf of my beard and all bearded rock n roll poets across the land, we thank you kindly, Sir... So for those who lost the bet, my condolences, don’t fear the beard… for those who won, speak for yourselves and I want a cut of the winnings for having to endure the daily Coverdale ribbings… “Michael, please part the audience, I have to get to the mixing board.” Or, "Michael, we’re fresh out of wine... will bottled water do?" I’m sure there are many more. Much more to come... I can hardly wait?

    The new live DVD, "Made in Japan" is unleashed and making its way around the globe, quite successfully too… I say, go out and buy the sucker ‘cause it rocks like an avalanche on Mount Kilimanjaro, spurred on by a jackhammer race. The Brutal Bros. spent big chunks of time, high on the Tahoe mountaintop, getting the mix just right so the ears won’t bleed...but they will perspire. DId I mention the liner notes are comprised of the "From the Road" Japan blog? Quite proud o’ that! I got mine, Go get yours...

    Van ride to the hotel in Takamatsu, Kagawa...coming in from Tokyo. The cool breeze feels like a New England port town breeze... the kind where one can smell the rust mixed in with the ocean air... can taste the salt in a breath. I watch dusk envelope the day... the sky is a blend of pinks and reds... fire in the sky... deep purples near a horizon of silent black hills... I notice Doug’s doing the same thing, admiring the sky in silence... pure appreciation... to see the world is a blessing and a gift, nothing less.
    Ruedy’s rockin’ some tunes on his iPhone… some O’Jay’s, Seals and Crofts, Blues Image. Ride Captain Ride upon your mystery ship... be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip... groovy. Doug suspects Ruedy’s loaded up his iPhone with music for the infamous "Bus Battles". Reb is chattin’ it up with Tommy, something about his third grade antics...nicknaming a girl Spider Legs... something about spaghetti Bolognese when he gets to the hotel. We pass a bicycle store, loaded with bikes floor to ceiling... "Tommy, check it out, a bike store." Doug says. “Those aren’t bikes, man, those are toys. Those are for kids.” Tommy Aldridge, madman, Cream fan, hardcore cyclist.

    At times I walk around in Japan and feel as though I’m walking around in a cartoon...primary colors...simple lines... brightly lit... fast-paced.

    On the bullet train to Kakashima. Band’s still still suffering from a bad case of desynchronosis... good ol’ get lag...Goddess Insomnia has me in the palm of her hands... need Goddess Caffeina... or some Devin water. This Bullet Train is built for comfort...billowy seats cradle our listless rocker faces, our sleepy sanguine smiles. Sure is a beautiful day today....sunny and warm in the land of the Rising Sun. I’m listening to George Harrison’s, "All Things Must Pass". Aldrich shows me a self portrait... his reflection in the window against a shot of the Tokyo Tower... looks like a UFO above the tower in the sky… is it a UFO? Has Douglas Aldrich of Whitesnake actually captured an image of an unidentified flying object hovering over the Tokyo Tower? You’d have to see for yourself... maybe if he’s lucky it’ll make its way to the best UFO bits of 2013... check it...

    "What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust." Salvador Dali said that. This coming from a man who once gave a lecture wearing a deep sea diving suit and helmet...and nearly suffocated. Genius.

    Flight to Nagoya. Heavy turbulence. Feels like we’re in a wicker canoe goin’ down an Angry River. Last I knew, Reb was having quite the conversation with the girl seated next to him... playin’ it real cool... that is, until the heavy turbulence... then the ghost of Psycho scream queen Janet Leigh invaded his body and Reb began to sound as if he were being chased through woods by a fleshy face-mask wearing fat man wielding a chainsaw. As Tommy Aldridge so aptly put it, "Rebby, you were screaming like Pee Wee Herman’s cross-dressing aunt." Yeah...just like that. Which brings me to it... this blog’s first installment of, A Few Seriously Absurd Questions with Reb Beach... Reb is Truly One of a Kind Out of His Mind...

    Reb, which would you find easier… jumping from an airplane in pitch-black night skies or deep sea diving in pitch-black waters?

    Jumping from an airplane? I would be nervous jumping off of this bed. As you well know, I am a nervous flier. It’s pretty embarrassing. I sat next to this super hot chick on the plane recently, and I was all James Bond and shit. I had my cool sunglasses on. We hit turbulence, and I grabbed the armrests. I made the same noises that a women would make giving birth. I made distinctly female, heavy breathing and pain noises. I was actually in the right position to have a baby, slumped way down in the chair with my legs spread. It happens every time there is turbulence. So…jumping? Mmmm…
    Deep sea diving? Jesus Michael, you really tailored these questions for me. I have only snorkeled once or twice in twelve feet of water. The first time was in the Bahamas when I was 13. We were supposed to swim into this cave. I remember being surrounded by sea urchins, with giant black needles sticking out of them. I passed on the cave, but still I had nightmares for days. The second time was in Guam, when I was 29 years old. They told me about a small fish, the size of my palm, which was very territorial. It had some intimidating name, like “The Black Mambo”. If you came near her nest, she would bite. I swam out about twenty feet and saw one from the back. It turned around and saw me. They didn’t tell me it had teeth like a piranha. It started gunning toward me, and I hightailed it out of there. I swam for all of two minutes. So….deep sea diving in pitch black waters?
    I’d have to say I would find it much easier to go deep sea diving in pitch black waters. At least, I wouldn’t be traveling 400 miles per hour with poop in my pants.

    If you could claim to have written one song, any song throughout the history of rock and roll, which song would it be and why?

    I guess that would be “Something” by the Beatles. It’s a perfectly written arrangement, and it moves me so much every time I hear it.

    You’re feeling edgy one night and decide to tattoo a series of words on your forehead… they’re there forever… what does the tattoo read?

    I am the kind of guy who really doesn’t know what’s going on in the world. When I wasn’t doing well in school, my father told me that it was normal, because all I cared about was” beer, pussy (his words), and guitars”. These 35 years later, I have to say that not much has changed. There are no causes, or issues in the world, that I have any sort of passion for, because even if I did pay attention to them, I would forget what they were the next day. People are sometimes irritated by the fact that I don’t remember meeting them five years ago. The fact is I wouldn’t remember meeting them five days ago unless they were:
    A. A hot chick
    B. A beer
    C. A hot chick that gave me a guitar and a beer
    The people that know me make excuses to their friends…” Just so you know it’s very possible that Reb will not remember who you are.”
    That said, I would tattoo the most practical thing I could on my forehead, my name. REB BEACH. Then when I met people, they would say “Hi I’m John” and I would say “ Reb Beach” and point to my head. People usually get my name wrong, you know, Red, or whatever. I could just point to head and say “no, read the noggin pal.” A series of words? REB BEACH, MUSIC MAN, PHILANTHROPIST. I don’t know what philanthropist means it just makes me sound cool.

    So there ya have it...Reb Beach...Music Man...Philanthropist.

    Headed off to Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-star sushi restaurant, with Aldrich and Gid our tour manager... DC is should be here, but he’s tangled up in some television and radio we make our way to a a very discreet, no frills establishment. Jiro Ono, is an 85-year-old sushi master who has spent a lifetime perfecting the art of sushi... he’s handed down that knowledge to his two sons. The younger son, Takashi, opened a restaurant in Roppongi Hills. That’s where we’re headed... and I soon realize this luncheon is not to be taken lightly. Takashi means business. We enter the establishment and it’s quiet. Too quiet for a Tuesday afternoon at lunch time. No musak, no conversation, no din...of any kind. We’ve come to the Church of Raw Fish. I wonder if the soy sauce has been blessed. The restaurant could easily seat 30 people, but I see only four others at the bar. Apparently, if Takashi doesn’t think you’re serious about sushi, he’s not serious about reserving you a table. Call back some other time... and you’ve got to call back a few times to convince him. I’m feeling nervous... my chopstick chops are decent, but he’s got a sharp knife. There’s no smile on the man, nor a frown, but no smile. As they prepare our first piece of sushi, I notice his assistant did something to Takashi’s disliking. WIth only a few words, the young assistant turns race car red...his skin gets blotchy. Clearly, he’s learning the craft by a master where every move has meaning... like every move on a guitar fingerboard. When the first piece of sushi is served it melts in the mouth... I’ve never tasted a piece of fish so fresh... unbelievably fresh. Another quickly follows. I grab for it with my chopsticks with too much force and the rice breaks apart... shit... they take notice... a woman rushes over and snatches the piece from my plate, wipes up the one grain of rice that hit the tabletop, and a new piece is made and served. I was looking over both shoulders for the samurai...Takashi looks at me with a hint of derision when he puts the new piece in front of me, as if to say, "with greater care, young grasshopper." When the same thing happens to Gid I see the worry wash over his face... he’s quick to shovel the piece into his mouth before anyone notices. Lucky bastard. We indulge on the best sushi we’ve ever had, hands down, before the big gig... not a bad way to get the day rollin’... on behalf of the band, we thank you, Takashi! There’s a fantastic documentary worth watching entitled, Jiro Dreams of Sushi... tells the story of the man and his family... [link]

    Makin’ our way to the airport... headed for Heathrow...sure will miss the sushi... I will miss the wonderful, attentive audiences... the taste of unfiltered sake, the tidy Japanese streets, the kind hearts, the ornate rooftops, the lush gardens… goddamn, I’m really gonna miss that toilet seat with built-in bum warmer and bidet…

    Until next time, kiddies... bloom where ya planted.

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