Posts Tagged ‘Pinche Blues Band’


Pinche Blues Band and Michael Zubay

Pinche Blues Band at Boondocks Lounge a few years ago. Michael Zubay is at left playing bass guitar.

My good friend and on-again-off-again bass player for the last eight or ten years, Michael Zubay, died last night from cancer. I loved him. We clicked both musically and personally. If I wanted someone to talk to who I’d trust, Michael was the guy. He was honest, helpful, tremendous fun to be around, and tremendous fun to play with. He also was funnier than hell and had a good, dark sense of humor. He was a very good friend and a very good musician.

Michael was an atheist, and in place of a religious service there will be a day-long jam session and party for all of the musicians he played with over the years. No date yet, but I’ll post video if and when it’s available. (Update: The jam happened yesterday on November 11; Jay Werth videoed it, and I’ll post links to some of the videos once Jay has them up on Youtube.)

Here’s probably the best recording I have of Michael from back in 2014 when we had the Pinche Blues Band together. His bass lines are absolutely wonderful (check out the syncopation and how much the bass line drives).

Michael wrote a number of songs, and we’ll record his best one, “No Job Blues,” on our next CD (probably as Stone Dead). I’ll post it once it’s available.

More later.

 


Within the last two or three months, after decades of playing guitar, I’ve begun playing bass in one of my musical projects (Borrowed Time).

Until then, my attitude toward bassists was, “fine, play the damn root on the one, after that, whatever.”

I had no idea.

The Bassist's Bible by Tim Boomer front coverI thought it absolutely pathetic that the most popular part of The Bassist’s Bible was the appendix in the back listing the bassists in various bands over the last few decades.

Who could give a shit?

Bassists. That’s who.

Everyone else should, too.

As I’ve discovered recently, while learning to play bass, there’s a reason for that: bassists usually get no credit  at all, and they can be incredibly creative and vital to the success of a band.

How many bassists can you name right now? I’ll bet you can count them on the fingers of one hand. The really good ones you’ll probably name are Paul McCartney, John Entwistle and, if you’re a jazz freak, Ron Carter, Charlie Mingus, and Jaco Pastorious . . . and beyond that? Probably few if any.

Why are they so important? They anchor a song and more importantly drive it and can provide counterpoint to the lines above.

Check this tune out from the last Pinche Blues Band CD: Life Is Good. My pal Michael Zubay drives the hell out of it. It would be nowhere near as compelling without his driving bass line.

On this song, people tend to just listen to the vocals (Abe), my (guitar) solo, and Fred’s (organ) solo. NOT the bass line which drives the whole thing.

How does he do it? Rhythm. It’s one . . . AND (of 2nd beat — hammering it) . . . and four and one . . . AND . . . etc.

It’s only since I began playing bass myself, after decades of playing only guitar, that I really began to appreciate bass players.

Thanks guys. Over the decades, I’ve never properly appreciated you. I’m proud to join your ranks. It’s the most musical fun I’ve had in a long time.


Back in the ’60s, I grew up listening to white musicians covering black music: Stones, Beatles, Animals, etc., etc.

Late in the decade, I started listening to the original black artists. The first thing I ever heard in the genre was Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud.”  It was a revelation at the time, though in retrospect it was a lousy album — designed to sell to clueless white kids, such as yours truly.

Since then, I’ve been a blues fan, and have been writing and playing the blues (guitar) for decades.  Beyond the standard canon, here are a few obscurities I love from the various decades:

(’70s) Son Seals, “Midnight Son” — a great album; his others are terrible. This one features great song writing, guitar work, and vocals.

(’80s) Treat Her Right, “Tied to the Tracks” — more blues rock than blues, but a great album with wonderful song writing and intelligent lyrics from the (better) forerunner to Morphine

(’90s)  Doug Sahm, “The Last Real Texas Blues Band” — all covers, but absolutely wonderful — this album is a veritable definition of “swing”

(’90s) Willie Edwards, “Everlasting Tears” — wonderful song writing, wonderful guitar playing, wonderful, intelligent vocals.. Willie signed perhaps the worst recording contract in the history of music, and doesn’t even have the copyright to the songs on this CD. I want to cover a couple of them on our next CD, but can’t; I’ll probably end up covering one or two of his more recent songs, very likely the very apropos “Police State on the Rise.”

(’00s) Sugar Thieves, “Live” — an incredibly good CD from the best band from the hellhole 190 km northwest of here. Great dueling male and female vocals

Finally, since you asked (or didn’t) here are a few cuts I wrote or co-wrote and recorded with The Pinche Blues Band:

Cheers.