Ugh!

Tim Cronin is one of the most genuinely funny people I’ve ever met. I regret the fact that I’ve never spent more than a few fleeting moments with him before now. And I regret even more that we probably won’t sit down and talk again for another ten years or so.
Though I’ve known Tim Cronin for over decade, our friendship mostly consisted of random visits to Jack’s Music in Red Bank, NJ where Tim doles out great swaths of musical knowledge to eager ears. I’d heard drips and drabs of his story as lead singer for Monster Magnet from mutual friends, but never had the opportunity to sit down with him and hear the whole tale. I’m glad we finally rectified that.
Tim is self effacing. That’s perhaps an understatement. He expertly effaces himself with deft efficacy. It starts the moment you first see him and ends as he’s walking out of sight. And you’re certain that, long after you’ve parted, he’s still out there effacing himself somewhere.
People like Tim hold a special place in my heart. My brother was a sound and lighting guy for hundreds of bands and I know how grueling and unglamorous life on the road can be for the guys behind the scenes. Tim manages it with comic brilliance and I hope one day he writes a book about his experiences. And if he doesn’t, I’m going to base a screenplay on his story and hope he doesn’t sue me. I’ll change his name to Ted Cronin in the script. He’ll be none the wiser.

Tim’s very interesting blog is http://feedtim.wordpress.com/

The Sound and The Honoshowsky

My favorite recording sessions are the ones where nobody in the room knows what’s going to happen. Steve Honoshowsky called me up recently with just such an opportunity. No guidelines. No vague adjectives to describe what he was looking for. Just plug in and play.
It was also the perfect opportunity to get Steve on camera for The Sideman Show. Win-win.
Halfway through the evening, I’d made a discovery. Any time I have to play a session AND work the camera, the filming generally suffers from inattention to things like focus, sound and generally being aimed in the direction of the subject.
Oops.
It wasn’t one of my more visually stunning segments, but the music was an absolute joy to be a part of. John Noll, owner of Retromedia Studios and engineer for the session, got us up and rolling in seconds and before I knew it, Steve and I had recorded an album’s worth of material.
For all of his amazing technical ability on the drums, Steve is modest and soft spoken. Rather than forcing a bunch of answers, his interview consists of a few minutes of him playing drums. That speaks volumes and it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than me asking him what kind of drumsticks he uses.

Here, There, Chocolate Cake.

I’m a TO DO list idealist. I like to fill up a college ruled page early in the morning with things I hope to accomplish in the next twenty-four hours. This is usually followed up by an “Oh shit” around noon when I realize I’m nowhere close to getting past item number three.*

Today, number one on the list is COFFEE and number two is INTERVIEW MIKE NOORDZY.

Remember that movie Cocoon from the eighties where aliens wore human costumes and underneath the skin was this overpoweringly blinding light? A big burst of kinetic energy under a calm exterior: that’s Mike Noordzy. I’ve not asked if his dermal layer comes off and even broaching the subject might strain our relationship so I’ll just leave it there. (Damn it! Now I’m having Steve Guttenberg flashbacks.)

Mike doesn’t bullshit you about his plans for the future in music. He tells you about an eight hour wedding gig littered with Lady Gaga tunes the same way he tells you about a free jazz gig in Brooklyn. He plays music. And plays it. And plays it. And plays it well.

Mike has a perspective that more folks in the industry should have. I doubt he would turn down a high profile gig with fresh fruit in the green room, but it’s all about the music in the end. He wouldn’t live his life gig after gig after gig if that weren’t the case. Everything is in the moment and you can tell he loves it.

The whole shoot was flawless, but filming the bass segments were my favorite. Solid, adventurous and beautiful. We were talking about Charlie Haden a few minutes before recording and I could really hear it in Mike’s playing. He wasn’t forcing out something from The Shape of Jazz To Come, but hints of Haden were there in a most respectful way. Class act, that Mike Noordzy.

After grabbing tons of great footage, we went north to record his afternoon session with guitarist, Dave Ross. Maybe it was the excellent chocolate cake that Mike’s girlfriend Karen gave us. Maybe it was aged mead we drank. Whatever the muse, it was a stellar night of playing.

Dave Ross was superb.

Mike was astounding.

I forgot to focus the camera.

At the end of the day with a sugar crash about to take hold, I sized up my TO DO list. I crossed out all items after two and penciled in: SLEEP. It was a full and perfect day.

*It’s important to note that I am not a lazy person.