Monday October 27
This just in from BTV field correspondent, David Lavallee:
----- Original Message -----
From: David Lavallee
To: Steve Ball
Cc: David Singleton
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2003 10:26 AM
Subject: RF in the November '03 Vanity Fair Magazine, pp 324
I'm not a usual consumer of this ragazine. The issue has some very nice rock
To mange an oft tossed justification, "I just buy it for the pictures".
* * *
Tuesday October 28
Dinner this evening with old BTV exec crew JohnL and GeorgeM. Joined by
the delightful and funny Bob Leighton. Some fun conversations about life
during and after start-ups. And interesting discussions of the current Seattle
landscape in and outside of big companies.
Good people, all around.
* * *
Wednesday October 29
Ferny is in the house! I believe he arrived earlier today and is hanging
out at Frank and Ingrid's for a couple of days.
* * *
Pre-SGC rehearsal dinner with Joel, Lee, and Sandra to bounce some ideas around
about next year. One thing I've learned from various BTV and MS
projects: sometimes it is best to do small 'focus group' vetting of ideas before
going live in front of a large audience.
This has at least two benefits:
a) the ideas can be tested and refined (in some cases, abandoned outright)
b) emotional attachment to the ideas has potential to be safely grounded
In this case, the dinner focus group had mixed results. It is clearly
impossible to consolidate, articulate, or transmit my 18 years of various
GC group project experiences via words in a way that does not sound like dire
warnings about 'what not to do.'
A better approach may be this: simply put some dates in the calendar and let the
logistics (and reasons for this work and these projects) sort themselves out in
the minds of potential participants. Let's call that 'plan A' for
* * *
Thursday October 30
MS all company meeting today at Safeco field. The future is so bright I
have to wear a bright green fleece blanket.
< everyone was given a brightly colored blanket at the door - and good thing
Did I mention how cold
it was outside? Welcome to Seattle in the fall.
* * *
Finally, reunion dinner with Ferny at Jitterbug in Freemont. Great
to see Frank and Ingrid in the handoff too. Many reminiscences
about our long history together and many ideas about the future (2nd Electric
Gauchos CD - the material is already in the can from 1997 0 and live projects in Seattle and/or Japan
Many warm memories of Gauchos and Electric Gauchos days and
friends. And memories of MG and Mendoza come flooding back as if it were
Sometimes I forget that we have an incredible body of friends spread out across
the globe. Speaking of, how wonderful to hear from Crafty
Guitarist and Prometheus bass player Nigel Gavin again on a fairly
regular basis. Seems he has a new CD in the can as well.
* * *
Friday October 31
Long day at work, then retrieved Ferny from Frank and Ingrid's to whisk him off
to Pelota HQ for a (good?) nights sleep and day off before he heads to Atlanta for
* * *
Saturday November 01
Calisthenics and sitting at SandraP's this morning with special guests TonyG and
PabloM. We visited Tony's twisted 'where's the nurse' picking patterns and chords after a
"D-Warmup." Good workout.
Then, breakfast with Ferny at QA cafe (same menu as Vera's but slightly more QA
Ran into a couple of "interesting"
people while there: one guy I work with on the Windows Shell team, a good guy. And another who
I barely know (and did not even acknowledge this morning) -- strange to feel a
very real, non-personal, yet explicit and tangible, 'pull' of someone who has had
a intense affect on the course of your life. I've even mentioned him
before in these pages.
* * *
Sunday November 02
Homework today. Some EG mixing and then practicing harmonic minor runs on
two and three strings.
Hoped to receive a phone call this evening, but was not meant to be.
* * *
Monday November 03
Busy week of social engagements. Branching out and hoping not to get hit
by swinging branches.
* * *
Tuesday November 04
Sent out a potentially controversial email to a few Seattle Circle people today,
testing the water for some project-defining principles. Here is an edited version of what I included in the email:
1. Relationship of Seattle Circle and Seattle Guitar Circle
to Guitar Craft and League of Crafty Guitarists.
Within Guitar Craft and associated spin-off groups, there is a rich history
of muddled missions, overlapping organizations, and general inspired
confusion in both our public and private messaging about who we are, how we
operate, and why we do what we do. My comments at our dinner meeting last
week (mentioned in these pages) stem from direct experience with what happens if we do not make (or
even understand that there is) a necessary distinction between these
Some suggested definitions (in my own words) to promote clarity:
Seattle Circle is a non-profit organization whose mission is
to develop and actively promote music appreciation in the Puget Sound
area through education, workshops and music events. This will be
achieved by providing a professional facility in an inclusive,
educational atmosphere for the enhancement of skills in the field of
music, by providing instruction on both the individual and group level
and by presenting the results of our work to the general public through
performances, workshops, and presentations. < this lifted
directly from the official SC mission statement on file with the govt. >
The Seattle Guitar Circle is the primary public performance
troupe of the Seattle Circle community. Membership varies from show to
show, recording to recording, or course to course, but includes both aspiring and professional musicians who work
together regularly to refine personal and group performance skills.
* * *
Guitar Craft is a world-wide apprenticeship-based applied
music school founded in 1985 by British guitarist Robert Fripp. Guitar
Craft courses and projects are organized by various individuals and
entities around the world, but these activities require oversight and
direct involvement of Robert Fripp and/or Robert's appointed
trustees. Guitar Craft, as its name implies, is focused on
instrumental instruction on Guitar.
The League of Crafty Guitarists is the front-line performance
troupe of Guitar Craft. As with use of the term "Guitar Craft" in public
or private descriptions of projects or events, use of the name LCG
requires approval and oversight by Robert Fripp and/or approved
Guitar Craft Directors. It also implies history, propagation, and
transmission of 18+ years of Guitar Craft repertoire and practices
presented to address the world-wide needs of Guitar Craft.
Guitar Craft has an international scope and mission, designed to serve
the long term mission and vision of RF.
Seattle Circle is local in
scope and mission, designed to serve the 1-7 year needs and aspirations of
our local community, members, and musicians.
So, why does any of this really matter?
In my experience, the average Crafty fan/participant/audient makes no real
distinction between an SC project and a GC project or an SGC show and an LCG
show. To the average audient, both involve presentations of often
barely-accessible 'crafty' repertoire (spewing streams of angular
interlocking sixteenth notes) delivered sans expression or explanation, free
of any intellectual or emotional context, by a floor-staring semi-circle of
dreadful and depressing-looking spectacle-wearing goateed dudes with black,
blonde, brown, and sometimes red plastic guitars.
The brilliant cartoonist who designed
BPM poster/CD cover
captured it pretty well. If I'm not mistaken, I'd guess that face is
modeled after my dear friend MartinS. Or is that TonyG? CurtG?
AndrewE? JonathanB? TomR? Non?
BTW, I'm not saying this
presentation 'style' has no value, in fact, it does have at least one
redeeming value: it is instantly recognizable in form and essence.
It is completely unique.
We, in fact, constantly refer to our own work with SC and SGC projects as
"Guitar Craft" work. I'm not suggesting that we sever or hide this
connection or stop describing it this way. However, I am suggesting that
we be clear about what these terms mean and take care in how and when we
refer to the SC and SGC connection to Guitar Craft work.
Case in point: by confusing GC with SC, it implies SC activities require
oversight, approval, or participation by RF and/or RF-blessed 'directors.'
In my view, this both limits our potential and constrains our ability to
serve the local needs of SC musicians (not just guitarists) who are now and
may eventually become part of the SC community.
1. Jane Siberry, Bill Frisell, and Tony Levin have nothing (explicit) to do with
but all three have potential to be part of a future SC curriculum,
performances, and events.
2. Singing, songs, and lyric-writing have no
real place in Guitar Craft, but, for
these are an essential part of past, present, and future SC activities.
3. Work with electric guitars, Group Loops, and drums have nothing
do with formal Guitar Craft courses to date, but for some, these are an essential part of past,
present, and future SC activities.
Suggestion: let's be clear to ourselves and in our communications to the
public that, although we share some common heritage, the Seattle Guitar
Circle is an independent
entity from Guitar Craft.
2. Seattle Guitar Circle Recording Project
I would like to propose an SGC recording project to parallel the existing
DGM/Inner Knot/Plauge of Crafty Guitarists 'compilation' CD project.
Principle: members of
the SC community collaborate and contribute submissions for a CD to be
released next spring. There are no limits or restrictions on format or
instrumentation except one: at least one member of contributing groups needs
to be a current or formerly active SC member. Previously released
tracks are welcome for submission and encouraged.
Group Goal: present a CD that will give press and public a reason
to come see SC-related artists live.
Individual Goal: give SC 'artists' a vehicle for releasing their
work as part of the larger SC mission.
Suggestion: let's release one CD with an accompanying 'slip case' (read:
box set-style box, like the SB Box Set) so that individuals and group can
sell/give away the SGC compilation along with their own work as a set that
shows off their specialty while sharing the work within the context of the
larger community and its 10-year history.
propose we look at this CD project not as a money maker, but as a
'marketing' effort - the goal will be to give away as many CDs as we can to
potential fans, press, family, and friends.
If someone wishes to buy the CD, wonderful. But
let's not mistake the process of getting this music out into the world with
a process of making money.
3. Seattle Guitar Circle Music Director
Based upon recent direct suggestions from Lee, Paul, Andrew, and Sandra, I would
like to offer my services in the role of "SGC Music Director" for one year,
beginning in January of 2004, with three simple goals:
1. build a reliable and top-notch SGC performance team capable of
flexible membership while delivering original, accessible
repertoire that demonstrates our unique performance practices
(circulations, Group Loops, visuals, story-telling, warm-ups, exercises,
practices, and songs.)
2. host frequent, high-visibility performances the next 12 months in
order to raise awareness of SC artists and activities (out of the rest
homes and into the art galleries, fine performance spaces)
the public to experience, appreciate, and finance the ongoing
work or Seattle Circle in it's mission to acquire a high-quality
To this end, I am visualizing 'big' shows in 2004 including Folklife, Bumbershoot,
Broadway Performance Hall, The Triple Door, Odd Fellows Hall, On the Boards, Seattle Art Museum, Whidbey Island
Center for the Arts, not to mention KUOW, KPLU, KEXP, and KONG-TV.
Playing rest homes are fine for those who wish to rest.
(And I will continue to encourage, participate in, and support these performances as well.)
However, why not also aim higher and realize (or at
least test the idea that) our work has value? Raising the level of
our aspiration is one practical means of raising the quality of our work.
If we discover along the way that the quality of our work/playing does not live
up to these aspirations, we have at least two choices:
grow/improve and rise to meet the
- or -
settle back down to the "we suck" habit and keep working until we are
ready and able.
After working with the SGC this fall in preparing for the Hugo House show, it is
clear to me that this current crop of Seattle aspiring musicians is ready and
able to rise to the challenge.
Sent this in email to a largely resoundingly silent response. Perhaps a
good sign? Or perhaps a very bad sign. Oh well. Trusting my
instincts. And that when they fail, my friends will forgive me.
* * *
Wednesday November 05
Dinner with Bill Barrett and Pat Rodden this evening at Oceanaire. Bill is
one very connected individual. Example: Pat and Bill were in
Portland yesterday and Bill put in a call to his old pal, Nike CEO, Phil Knight,
who promptly joined them for a spontaneous catch-up get together.
These are the kinds of friends that Bill has spread out around the globe.
This reminds me that Ferny was given a pair of 'custom' Nike shoes in Japan by
one of the famous musicians he was playing with. Seems that Nike Japan
issues limited-edition artist-branded shoes. Wow.
Can wait to get my pair of all-black, Bill Rieflin High-tops.
* * *
Personal recording/CD release goals for next year, release 3 new CDs:
- Seattle Guitar Circle,
Compilation CD (and accompanying slip case)
- Electric Gauchos, 2nd CD
(tracking already in the can!)
- SB new 'pop' CD,
featuring 2004-2005 edition of SBRS (want to know what I am thinking next?
Imagine Greenthumb meets Electric Gauchos playing Secret
I also hope to facilitate or at least encourage releases by the Atomic
Chamber Ensemble, Bob Williams, Tobin Buttram, Travis
Metcalf, to record and release 'solo' projects. Not sure about Tobin
and Travis, but I know ACE and Bob have tracks in the can and have only to do
the remaining production work to get their projects out the door.
* * *
If all of this were not enough, I also 'received' a quick vision this evening
for a Level Four Guitar Craft course in Seattle beginning in January of
2004. Sometimes, these fully-formed pictures just arrive instantaneously
my pelota inbox.
Not sure just yet what to do with this vision, so best to just shut up and let
it brew until Curt comes home, then perhaps I'll call a meeting with Curt, Bill,
Jaxie, Tobin, Frank, and Debra and see if there is resonance here?
However, I wonder: what are we waiting for? What if this next
year were our last on earth? What would we wish to do? For me, this
question, and the answers it brings are part of where all of these words are
coming from lately.
* * *
Thursday November 06
Spoke to old pal LisaA who is now Design Director for MSN. Great to catch
up with her and learn a bit about what she is up to. Also spoke to old
friend PabloM who was recently in Seattle about getting his portfolio together
and in shape to share with Lisa next week.
There are opportunities in the air for
those willing to do some serious homework.
Up late in the evening for a rather surreal CD release party at Tula's Jazz Club. Sweaty
hands and smirky smiles. Met some people who even work in my building - it
is a very very small world and getting smaller.
Many smirky smiles all around this evening.
* * *
Friday November 07
I was up very early this morning knowing that I would have to leave work early to catch a Ferry to Whidbey
Island to go hang with Pat Rodden for his birthday celebration!
And it was a
wonderful evening of great food and music at the Whidbey Island Center for the
Arts. Roots guitarist, Corey Harris, played a solo show, and I
found myself holding a vision of 2004 throughout the show.
Corey Harris, blues guitarist, was
recently profiled by Martin Scorsessee in his recent and acclaimed PBS blues documentary.
Wow - what a voice. It reaches right into your chest and gives your heart
a big squeeze.
BTW, happy Birthday, PatR - you are a generous friend.
* * *
More reflections on the venue this evening:
SGC and SBRS played the WICA theatre almost four years ago thanks to the efforts
of Peter Dervin and KSER in Everett.
The SGC at that time was a quintet with Curt Golden, Bob Williams, Jaxie Binder,
Dean Jensen and myself on acoustic guitars.
The SB Roadshow at that time also featured Curt Golden on electric guitar, Bob Williams on
bass, Jaxie Binder on acoustic guitar, Dean Jensen on electric guitar and
loops, and Brock Pytel on drums.
If it is not obvious from the above two paragraphs, the same people were in both
groups (except the addition of Brock on drums.) This is a theme that
I hope will be coming back in 2004.
That Whidbey SGC/SBRS show was pretty good, overall. BootlegTV
(specifically, Ken and Violet) filmed the whole show, which turned out to be the
first BTV show we ever filmed, I believe. I have a VHS copy of the SBRS portion,
and somewhere there exists the raw footage of the SGC show.
Would be good to find these for potential use in the DVD project that SteveT,
JulieB are compiling.
* * *
Speaking of the past morphing into the future, I had a fun IM session with Bill
Forth today - he has some ideas for some recording project for Dec/Jan.
Hmmm... interesting possibilities brewing.
* * *
Oh, and minor work update:
After nine+ months of work and internal 'shopping' had what felt like the best
'review' meeting of a significant 'side' project I've been working on with my MS
colleague, ShaneW. We have some potential to finally get this work in front of
an important audient.
It is not often that one has an idea/concept/vision that could influence and
positively impact the next wave of personal computing in such a significant way.
Those who know me, know that I've been brewing this one since BTV days, and, as
empirical proof of
morpogenic resonance, ShaneW actually built this thing and
then sought me out without even knowing about my explicit history with this idea.
More validation today from some pretty big brains that we are, in fact, on to
* * *
On top of all of that, SBBS posters finally arrived today. Look good with
exception of a small black seam between Roadshow and Naive covers that no one
except me will ever even notice.
Hmmm... Looks like the PDF export has the wrong fonts. Oh well. The
printed version got it right.
One more step in incrementally feeding
the SBBS promotion machine.
* * *
Saturday November 08
Up early in non-wireless Langley for brunch with Pat.
Work for the morning: pave the way to book a follow-up show at WICA for the SB
Roadshow and SGC for Jan/Feb timeframe. To this end, contact with
Joe's Music on Whidbey Island, dropped off posters and box sets with the
obligatory pelota schmooze.
* * *
Evening: dinner at 10 Mercer with PeteW and TobyB, some MS pals who share the
same taste in music and 'behind the music' relationship analogies.
Excellent, food, conversation and then...
The best live show I've seen in years:
Bill Frisell and the
Intercontinentals at On the Boards. We saw the late show, and it left me
So much that I hit send on the following:
Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 4:53 AM
To: Travis Metcalf; Derek DiFilippo; Chris Gibson; Fernando Kabusacki
Cc: Joel Palmer; Sandra Prow; Andrew Boscardin; Tobin Buttram; Curt Golden;
Subject: Just home from Bill Frisell show at On the Boards...
and I'm buzzing like a mf. His band tonight was incredible. It was
Electric Gauchos, and/or everything I've ever dreamed of in an electric
band. Unf***ingbeliveable. Sound familiar? Four electric guitars,
percussion/drums, (and a violin.) Ferny, reminded me so much of our Mendoza
and BA EG shows. Except five years later, and five years of evolution.
Emailing Sama tomorrow with an invitation to Seattle/Japan.
I swear, the repertoire WAS Electric Gauchos. Geeze. I know what I wish to
Best wishes from one buzzing mofo.
BTW, met Bill after the show and gave him SBBS and invited him to do 'master
class' for Seattle Circle.
* * *
Sunday November 10
Bikram yoga at 9, then home to shower, do some cleaning, errands, and
organizational puttering. More errands in the afternoon with telephone tag
to Atlanta followed by an evening upgrade to Windows Media Center Edition 2004
(the 'classic' Hartnett "four hour problem if there ever was one.)
Also, listening and editing Electric Gauchos sessions from 1997, live in Buenos
Aires. About 35 minutes of wonderful improvisations waiting to be
productized. None of this has ever been heard (except in the live studio
where we recorded these improvisations.)
* * *
Still buzzing from the Frisell show last night.
Taking that energy and
putting it to work.
Electric Gauchos, coming back to life in 2004.
* * *
One other slightly weird thing that I stumbled on by chance today, from
Lams diary last June, two days after my birthday:
Friday 13th. June, 2003
Friday the 13th. 11;54 pm. We are staying with John and Chris in the
quiet countryside, not far from Rochester. It rained all day; it is so
green here, and wet…I now realize how much I miss England.
Last night I dreamt that I was in a circle with some 30 other people
from Guitar Craft. There was a circle on the inside (with mostly South
American people); the circle was bursting with good energy and people
were pushing to extend outwards. On the outside was a circle too, with
mostly people sitting in chairs, some in rocking chairs (the inner
circle was standing). There was so much outwards pulling that some of
the people in rocking chairs rolled over backwards to the floor.
Some started climbing on the shoulders of others,
and while the circle slowly moved around, people raised themselves one
by one through a hole to the roof of the building. It was all in an
organized and coordinated way, like a circulation.
In the end there was too many people and some
people made a special formation to let others go past them to the hole
in the roof, knowing that they would not be able to make it. I noticed
my friend Steve. He was up there giving his shoulder for someone else to
climb on; loosing his place in line to make it through himself…I felt
gratitude - it woke me up.
* * *