Everyone I've
ever played with is
a genius.

A long time ago, I played Irish music with George and Dennis and Amy and (I seem to remember) someone named Scott. We played at a couple of KPFK Christmas fairs and at the house of Robert Fitzpatrick, the president or something of Cal Arts and later the man who made the '84 Olympics such a delightful experience for everyone, and at a wedding and several times at a bar in Pasadena called the Loch Ness Monster and at sundry other Scots-Irish "pubs" in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Ultimately it was not my thing. George and Dennis soldiered on, and the culmination of all their sweat and tears may be accessed at George's Buzzworld world. 
The Lopez Beatles was my first perfectly satisfying band experience, not counting perfectly satisfying teenage bedroom/garage combos with Brian and Bob and Ron and (a different) Bob. Not counting playing under the tree on the quad. You may read of the mysterious origins of the Lopez Beatles here. We played a lot of clubs that don't exist anymore and a couple that do, and we were on television more than once, though it was always the same bit of film. Do not rule out future performances, but don't hold your breath either.
The Radio Ranch Straight Shooters was formed sometime in the 1980s by high school chum and self styled bum vivant Paul Greenstein. Subsequent incarnations of the band have all been more professional and accomplished than the original, which included Paul, singing and playing the guitar, Mary Mullen on standup bass, Marilyn Neher later of the Screamin' Sirens on fiddle, me on accordion, and eventually Lopez Beatle Bruce on lap steel guitar. We busked for small recompense on Olvera Street, opened for Los Lobos once somewhere downtown and played a horse sale. Lopez Beatle Doug plays lead guitar in the present, on-again-off-again version.
The Romans were friends of mine. They were ditching their lead guitarist or he was ditching them or they were ditching each other, and there I was. We played a lot of clubs that don't exist anymore, or anyway none that should. (Sans Michael we also backed up Mr. Greg Burk as The Romanoffs. See Greg's MetalJazz blog here.
Around the time I became a Roman I acquired a mandolin, and being the only person in my little corner of the world with a mandolin I became immediately more useful and popular. Ditto for the accordion once I acquired an accordion. I also let it be known that I could make intelligible noise on a piano and so I got some jobs Chris Cacavas wasn't available for.
The Steve Wynn Quintet/Quartet/Trio/Duo. The mandolin, accordion and piano when available were in full effect in this fluctuating aggregation which played acoustic shows around town from 1987 to 1989, performing songs that wound up either on the last Dream Syndicate album or Steve's first solo record and some that have been lost to the ages. You would find at these functions some combination of Steve, myself, Chris Cacavas, Mark Walton and Paul B. Cutler of the Dream Syndicate and a few times the sweet pink icing that is Julie Christensen. Audio souvenirs of this period may be found on the semisanctioned Dream Syndicate bootleg It's Too Late to Stop Now, as well as on Take Your Flunky and Dangle and the deluxe reissue of Kerosene Man. Some may squeeze onto this site and I will tell you when they do.
In loud electrical mode, I toured with Steve in America and Europe in 1990 and '92 and again in '98, with John Wesley Harding who had seven years earlier hired the old loud quintet minus Steve for his first big headlining American tour.) Steve turned the sound mostly down for Fluorescent, backed mostly by me and Gary Eaton and Kevin Jarivs. (See photos, some of which were illustrated the expanded reissue, here.) We played out only once at a show few saw and nobody bothered to tape and also included Doug Pettibone -- then a member of Gary's band, w/ Kevin, me and Bobby McDonald -- and C. Cacavas. I played guitar and keys and music-directed another brief Wynnsemble (1997) that included drumgirl Linda Pitmon, Lopez Beatle bassist Doug Freeman, House on the Cliff reedman Rick Arbuckle, 2nd/sometimes 3rd guitarist Russ Tolman and special guest Dennis Duck; minus Rick, and w/ Steve producing we provided backup for half of Russ's album City Lights. (Hear our special live flute version of "Some Kinda Itch" by clicking here.) Other ad hoc West Coast ensembles have formed as Steve returns to town from Manhattan where he moved years ago the bum, and we have gone duo as well. Regard this page why don't you for some of that noise, and more.
Russ Tolman. Local shows with Russ's Totem Polemen (it all just hangs out w/ Russ, all over the place) included guitarist Broadway Jon Klages, erstwhile Dream Syndicate bassist and constant Droog David Provost, and drummer Dave Drewry; in the '89 touring band (see pix here) there were Dave and me and Jeff Kane (guitar) and Brian Mazor (bass). Later there was guitarzan Kirk Swan and there were other people. Russ, who was in True West, made a lot of good records on his own; I think I'm on most of them. Here's a link to the title tune from Sweet Spot (I wrote the music for Russ to set words to but he just named the track and put it on the album, naked-like).
Chris Cacavas I first got to know when Steve brought him in to play keyboards with the Romans on Last Days at the Ranch. Chris was in Green on Red, which was still happening then (and Romans drummer Keith Mitchell was happening with them, or was about to). Chris was a fellow member of the acoustic SWQ, and I accompanied him on a few odd coffeehouse jobs the details of which are lost to history and fading memory and played on some of his records.
John Wesley Harding I guess I've played more music with than any other human on Earth. As related above the Steve Wynn Quintet v. 1990 became in 1991 the Deceivers for Wes's first American headlining tour and oh what a time we had. We backed up Iggy Pop one night in Boston I guess I might mention. Peter Buck jammed in Atlanta, Kelly Hogan sang somewhere. Many further excursions in the more familiar duo form and the adventures of the Radical Gentlemen, with Kirk and CVS and Kevin again, are related in small and larger detail in the Tourism pages, and in the News section, accessible from this page. Recordings are catalogued in il discografia! There are a lot of pictures about, if you look, and tour diaries. David Lewis came along once and that was nice.
Victoria Williams. Occasional shows with a versatile little instrument-trading combo that included Willie Aron, Tammy Rogers, Joey Burns and John Convertino and later Don Heffington and (in New York, subbing for Willie) Stephen McCarthy of Long Ryders/Gutterball and lately the Jayhawks "fame." In addition to appearances onstage and radio, half a dozen songs were recorded at Mad Dog Studios (site as well of the Fluorescent sessions) when it was still tiny and in Venice. In New York we played Fez (R.I.P.) with Peter Blegvad opening and the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center and went to see an IMAX film about Antarctica at the Natural History Museum. Here is a Rev. Gary Davis song, played live on KCRW, April 7, 1993.
The Other Woman. Jill Fields, late, as myself, of Birmingham High School and also, not as myself, of the Holy Sisters of the Gaga Dada (where she was Jill Fido), formed this motley combo sometime back in the early '90s. Members besides me included tuba virtuoso Bill Roper, actor-guitarist-doghowler Mark Boone Jr., Holy Sister Zero and Pierre Smith (New Marine, El Vez sideman, sometime replacemant Roman, currently a Human Hand). We played in a classroom once (USC?) and at a coffeehouse and quite possibly at the Sunset Junction street fair, and we recorded, with somebody, somewhere.
The House on the Cliff was my own psychedelifolk-free-faux-jazz instrumental combo, named for the second Hardy Boys book. There were me (the mandolin, the accordion), Mr. Doug Freeman of the Lopez Beatles on acoustical and electrical guitar, Steve Wagner who'd been in the Balancing Act playing bass, frequent tourmate Kevin Cakes Jarvis beating skins, and sax and flute guy Rick Arbuckle. When Steve left town to make beer it all fell apart, and I've been too lazy or distracted to pick up the pieces. Steve Wynn guested once on "The Coat That Wouldn't Burn," an A-chord excursion written especially for him to guest on, named in honor of the night we unsuccessfully tried to torch his tour-skanky jacket outside the Mean Fiddler in London at the close of the 1990 Eurotour. (In the end they ran the truck over it instead.)
Syd Straw. Early '90s odds and ends beginning with the Troubadours of Folk fest at UCLA. Rick Shea played guitar and Duke McVinnie the bass and I played accordion and mandolin and some lap steel guitar and Will Rigby drummed first and Alan Bezozi after and then some demos with DJ Bonebrake. With John Jorgenson in for Rick and Evan Dando on co-vocal we recorded "'For Shame of Doing Wrong" for the Richard Thompson tribute Beat the Retreat. Some later dates, one w/ Willie Aron and Van Dyke Parks and probably DJ on drums though I would have to research that, and in-sitting. Dag has also been a Syd sideman but out of Chicago.
Gary Eaton/Kingsizemaybe. I've played with ex-Continental Drifter/ex-Ringling Sister and otherwise busy guy Gary on and off -- currently off -- over the years (combos sometimes including Mr. Kevin Jarvis, of Steve Wynn Quintet/John Wesley Harding & the Deceivers/& the Radical Gentlemen fames among other fames -- see the paragraph above beginning "In loud electrical mode" for more on the Gary/Kevin/Steve/Robert axis). Local page with music links here.


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