Sunday, December 09, 2007


Shi-Chi-Go-San - The Shi-Chi-Go-San festival is celebrated on November 15th in Japan. Shi-Chi-Go-San literally means 7-5-3. You celebrate when your kids turn each of these ages (actually girls at 3 and 7 and boys at 3 and 5). They (and you) get dressed up and go to the Shinto shrine and ask for a long and prosperous life and whatnot. Sort of a Shinto version of a Christening I suppose. Anyway, we found a Shinto Shrine here in Los Angeles and went down. Melissa enjoyed getting dressed up but had ants in her pants sitting around inside the Shrine.

Shi-Chi-Go-San Link

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Turmeric and Apple Vinegar Soy Milk!

Hmm.. I couldn't resist buying and drinking this one: Turmeric and Apple Vinegar Soy Milk! And I love the quote up on top, it says; "Drinking is work too!." You see, turmeric is supposed to be good for your liver and as Japanese men are expected to go out drinking with their workmates every night, somebody came up with this idea for a soy drink. I actually like it. Turmeric is also supposed to have something in it that cancer doesn't like as well. I'm not sure if it is true but I have heard that Indians have less occurrences of certain cancers because of the turmeric in curries. Now that I think of it, soy products are also supposed to inhibit certain cancers as well. And apple vinegar is good for lowering cholesterol and all sorts of things. Hey, this the ultimate drink for you!

Turmeric and Cancer
Soy and Cancer
Apple Vinegar

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

G&L Poster

Guitar maker G&L has made me the poster boy for their ASAT Classic Bluesboy model. The Japanese distributor asked me last year to perform at a concert in Tokyo using a G&L guitar. I had never played one before so I didn't know what to expect. When I received the guitar, I was pleasantly surprised and have become a fan as well as user of the ASAT model. I've always liked Telecasters but this one may be even better. It has a great tone and is easy to play. I use it on several cuts on my upcoming CD.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Guitar and Vocal Tracks

I Finished up recording the final tracks on the upcoming "Strange Phenomenon" release. I threw out the scratch guitar tracks that I originally played with the rhythm section on "Nothing's Got Me," and "Living the Lie" and re-recorded them. I had my hands full with the "Nothing's Got Me" solo which took me about five takes to get right. I also blew up a Soldano 50 watt head in the process and had to switch over to a 100 watt Marshall head. My fingers are sore and I don't feel like playing guitar for a week but I have a show to do the day after tomorrow (Joke: How do you get a musican to complain? Give him a job).

It was a good day and I'm pretty satisfied with the way everything got recorded. I also recorded the vocal tracks for both those songs and two others, "The Spirit" and "Blood on the Streets." It took me about four hours which ain't bad I suppose. "Strange Phenomenon" will be a half live, half studio release and should be out year end. It has been fun recording it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ahh.. The Japanese Pizza!

In my never ending pursuit of culinary delights, I bring you the world famous Japanese Pizza. Here it is, brought to you by "Strawberry Cones," the Japanese pizzeria of choice, the "Natsu" (Summer) pizza, divided into four separate tasty zones:

Top Right: Chili Con Carne

Bottom Right: Shrimp and mayonnaise

Bottom Left: Squid rings and Basil Sauce

Top Left: Teriyaki Chicken

There are stranger ones yet, I'll be on the lookout.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mixing the new CD

It is a hundred degrees here in Japan today and even though I'm not at college teaching (it is the Obon vacation in Japan so school is out) , I can't bare the heat outside. So I'm in the air conditioned studio mixing my next CD. Yes, there is an engineer who is supposed to do these things but I figure I can get it in shape as much as possible and have him work out the fine details. The CD will be called "Strange Phenomenon" and has five live tracks and five studio tracks.

The five live tracks were recorded at a concert I did in Tokyo late last year. The venue is wired to an SSL studio so I hired an engineer to record the show. I am playing so loud that my guitar is bleeding in every channel. It is even in the bass track. Go figure, the bass is recorded direct and not with a mic so I'm playing so loud that his pickup is picking me up. Pretty funny. No escaping from Chris Juergensen's guitar!

Basically this means that unlike all live albums, I can't edit out anything. If you didn't know, most live recordings are completely re-recorded after the fact, they re-record almost everything and even double the audience track to make it sound like a million people are at the show. Not so with mine, it is a genuine live recorded concert that you'll get if you happen to buy it. Anyway, you'll finally get to know the truth, can I play the same way live as in a recording studio?

Three of the live tracks were originally recorded on my last CD "Big Bad Sun:" "Sweet Melissa," "Tell me a Story," and "House on the Hill." The other two tracks are "Born to Love You" about something I can't talk about without getting myself in trouble, and "Boot Hill" which is the only cover on the record (once before recorded by Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The other five tracks were recorded in the studio and cover a wide variety of genres from Rock to Blues and Gospel. I recorded all the tunes during a very complicated time in my life so there is some pretty good story telling going on. Should be ready for release by year end.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Back in Japan - Wacky English

Ha, ha... You can curry the chicken or curry the Beef (as long as you are not Indian). You can even curry the beans. But can you actually curry the HOUSE? Found this curry restaurant near the music college here in Japan. There is plenty of this kind of creative English going on all over the place. I'll keep you up to date..


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yes, More Strange Food

Another strange food from Japan. "Shrimp Fries!" Or maybe "Shrimp Chips!" Sprinkled with savory Korean seaweed or so it says right on the package. These are actually very popular in Japan and can be had for a mere 137 yen or about a buck twenty. I had to take a photo of them with my cell phone when I was shopping at the super market yesterday. I wasn't about to buy them much less take them home with me. I have tried them before but I don't particularly like them enough to actually pay real money for them. So I tool a photo at the grocery store and got a few strange looks because of my behavior.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back in Japan - Strange Food

Although Japanese cuisine is great, the Japanese version of Western food gives me a good crack up. Here is one example.... A Fruit Sandwich, I'll repeat it a little louder.... a FRUIT SANDWICH! Between two slices of earless white bread you will find whipped cream and slices of oranges, pineapples and kiwis! For 245 yen, about two bucks.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Creepy Crawlers

Do you remember "Creepy Crawlers?" I completely forgot that this thing ever existed. My Mother bought one for my daughter Melissa for Christmas. It's funny because your parents sometimes remember the fun things you did when you were kids more so that even you do.

So she got the "Creepy Crawler" bug oven for her grandchild and I got the added pleasure of reliving the fun again. I'll tell you though, they make the "Creepy Crawler" bug maker a lot better now than when I was a kid. Of course we are talking 35 years ago. I remember living in Greenwich Village and making the bugs with my sister. The new "Creepy Crawler" is made safe so you can't burn yourself.

Now it is 2007 and my daughter had a great time making the bugs, picking the colors and putting them in the oven to cook for the three or four minutes it takes. I suggest "Creepy Crawlers" for your kids as well, especially if you want to have some fun making some bugs, worms and spiders yourself.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back In Japan - America's Lame Health Care

I'm back in Japan for a few months and have had a little time to reflect back on our relocation to the states all all things involved with becoming American again. There has been a lot of good things but also a lot of disappointments as well. One, is the American health care system. I would agree that America has great doctors and cutting edge technology but the truth is that only rich people can afford it. The insurance system is the worst of all the developed countries.

I was reading an article yesterday in a Japanese English language newspaper about it. In Japan by the way, everybody has health insurance, yes everybody. When I mention to people here that in America 16 percent of people (46 million) do not have health insurance, they react like it was the weirdest thing they had ever heard. All people living in Japan have coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions and the deductible is maybe ten percent at most. They deduct from my check every month the premium. It is grouped together with the Japanese version of social security and equals about ten percent of your monthly paycheck. So if you were making four grand a month, you would have to fork over 400 bucks. Pretty good deal I think, considering that when you go to the doctor, you only have to pay maybe seven or eight bucks. It is a better deal for someone making half of that.

Now lets compare that to what the same person in the states would pay. Keep in mind that what you earn doesn't effect anything. A five thousand deductible PPO (meaning that just like Japan, you can go to any doctor you want) costs about four hundred dollars a month. I'll say it again just to make sure you heard me: FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR DEDUCTIBLE! That means that if I get sick I'll have to pay the first five grand out of my pocket, on top of this, I'm already paying about five grand a year in premiums. This makes America's health care system the world's most expensive. And if you are sickly, you can't get insurance anyways.

The government should pass a law that makes it against the law to decline people with health problems. Premiums should be tax deductible. And health insurance should be available at a discounted premium for people in lower income brackets.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Death of Internet Radio?

It is five minutes to midnight on internet radio's digital clock. Time is ripening to its doom it would seem. I'll give you the short version and let you decide for yourselves what you want to do about it. First let me give you a short marketing lesson. The general formula for selling records (for the commercial music business) traditionally goes like this: Make a bunch of CDs, distribute them everywhere, use financial leverage to get commercial radio to play them nonstop and the result is that brainwashed (or earwashed) consumers will buy them by the truckload. But something happened and changed everything. The digital revolution happened.

First of all the digital revolution made it easy for independent artists to record their own music. They no longer needed financing from the record industry. Next it gave them a method to sell their music. As you know, independent music gets sold from artist websites (like, internet retailers (like and download sites (like iTunes or No need for carpet bombing methods of distribution anymore.

The digital revolution also gave artists a way to promote themselves through internet radio and podcasts. As we speak (or as I write this) less than 10 percent of music played on FM/AM radio is independent music while internet radio plays close to 40 percent and I imagine if you looked at the statistics for podcasts, you would find that at least 90 percent of the music played is Indie music. This is about all the record industry could take and have come up with a plan to crush us like grapes. To make it worse, they claim that they are trying to protect artists but this is a big facade.

At the request of the Recording Industry Association of America, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which oversees sound recording royalties paid by Internet radio services, increased Internet radio's royalty burden between 300 and 1200 percent and is thereby jeopardizing the industry’s future.

The rate is only increasing from 7/100 of a penny per song streamed to 19/100 of a penny per song streamed over a 5-year period which may not seem like much but take a look at the other conditions:

No Revenue based Royalty Option - Prior to this decision all small webcasters and some large webcasters had the choice of paying royalties based on a percentage of their revenue that typically equaled 10-12%. But the CRB decision did not offer a revenue-based royalty option for any webcasters.

Retroactive Impact - The CRB decision is effective as of January 2006, so if it actually becomes effective for only one day its impact will be immediate as the past due royalties alone will be enough to bankrupt virtually all small and mid-sized webcasters.

Per Station Minimum - The CRB piled on even more, by imposing a $500 per channel minimum royalty that for many services will far exceed the annual royalties that would otherwise be due even after the CRB decision. One advantage of Internet radio is that it is not limited by spectrum capacity or bandwidth capacity, which enables several services literally to offer 10,000 or 100,000 stations and more. By penalizing this innovation and creativity the CRB further ensures that Internet radio will become less creative, less dynamic, less of an opportunity for non-mainstream artists and genres, and will look more like broadcast radio in the future.

Internet radio is like FM radio fifty years ago, DJs pick and play what they like with little regard for what big business has to say. It is refreshing to say the least, honest radio, it sounds like an oxymoron. With revenues shrinking for the big labels they have their sites on internet radio and claim that it is for me, the artist who deserves more money. It will mean less money for me because most of the radio stations that play me will be out of business. They can not be allowed to do it.

What you can do:

Save Net Radio

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back in the US

Thats right, back in Los Angeles after fifteen years in Japan. Feels strange to say the least, like I never really left. Getting back into th music scene a little at a time but I am mostly just letting my family get used to their new lives in a new country. My daughter loved the beach and can't get enough of it. The warm southern California weather keeps us there a few times a week. Anyone who will be at the NAMM show next week, let me know. I'll be demonstrating at the K-T-S booth.