|--< Les anD His excavatoR ->--| A |--< Farewell TO coviD |--<
Covid has been a horrible, terrible thing on so many levels. Artists have been particularly hit hard by COVID which has effectively shut down one of the key ways artists make a living - Live shows.
But despite all the chaos, loss and tragedy that so many people across the world have experienced, there have been some good things to come out of the crisis. Artists have been innovating like crazy: creating powerful new ways of creating music, playing live and connecting with fans, and hopefully making some badly needed revenue in the process.
So one of the good things that has come out of it for us is being able to connect with musicians and meeting new interesting artists that have lead to some really cool collaborations.
Here in Calgary, Keith Dundas created the Friday Night Hootenanny sessions featuring musicians playing live from their homes, which has been an incredible success - I played live on hoot #7
Dweezil Zappa setup Reward Music to help musicians generate an alternative forms of revenue through connecting fans to musicians during the covid crisis. Through an interesting series of events, I got connected to Kurt Morgan who is a composer and bass player extraordinaire.
Kurt has been playing bass with Dweezil Zappa's band for many years, and has also done work helping curate the Zappa archive. We were fortunate to see Dweezil's band play Hot Rats in Calgary, in September 2019 before Covid hit the wall.
I was a fan of Zappa's music prior to this event, but the amazing work Dweezil and his talented team of musicians have done in bringing Zappa's music to life live on stage is indeed an inspiration for a whole new generation of music enthusiasts. Being able to see Hot Rats live inspired me to take up the bass, and she immediately went to work learning Zappa tunes.
It was difficult for me to find sheet music for Zappa tunes. I had subscribed to Dweezil's reward music site following its launch and sent him a question asking if he could help. He connected us with Kurt Morgan, who as it turned out, had seen a video I had posted, and was impressed with her playing. He offered to teach and coach her in advanced bass techniques and composition, which has been instrumental in accelerating her proficiency.
It's no secret that Primus and Les Claypool have also been a huge influence on my bass style, and in fact, were supposed to go see Primus play A Tribute to Kings last summer before COVID hit the wall.
In an adjacent innovation, Last Christmas Primus held a livestream gig and Q&A event from Claypool Cellars. It was pretty cool because the livestream was
very nicely produced and had fantastic up close camera angles. Primus played a lot of material they hadn't played live in a long time, and some material they had never played live before.
The Q&A was great - Mr. Claypool was very enthusiastic, and wanted to answer questions and talk to as many people live as possible.
I Posted a question about bass techniques and how Les came up with his unique style of playing - which he answered!
Les also talked about how covid had affected Primus and his other music projects, which of course, led to the livestream. Someone asked him what he was doing to help cope with being unable to tour - which he answered exactly as you would expect: he bought an excavator.
Well - that and the associated stories of Les and his Excavator bulldozing their way through 2020 to stop from going crazy inspired me to write a song about it.
Big thanks to Kurt Morgan (check out kurtmorgan.com for original compositions and all things bass!) who has helped produce the song....