This recording took place at a seminar on effects that I did for SPAH at Sacramento in 2009; Chris Michalek was a late addition to the official program, and Brendan…

This recording took place at a seminar on effects that I did for SPAH at Sacramento in 2009; Chris Michalek was a late addition to the official program, and Brendan just showed up. I was glad to see Brendan. I got upset with Chris after this show, for reasons I describe below.

I like some of my own playing on this one, though the whole thing goes on too long, as psychedelic jams are wont to do. (None of the players in this jam was actually on psychedelics, so far as I know). I like most of Chris’s and Brendan’s playing, Brendan’s more, though Chris does some very cool stuff, including both funky stuff and abstract sounds. The sounds of all three harps are pretty cool overall, nice to hear the blend of three different electro rigs, though I wish I’d have been louder. My patch set has undergone several major updates since this show, but I like some of the sounds a lot, including a gauzy ambient sound featuring a Tweed Deluxe amp model with a TC Electronics chorus model that Brendan commented on afterwards.

I was upset with Chris because he showed up with a huge amp–a 50 Watt HarpGear, Jason Ricci’s rig according to Chris–which I did not appreciate given that I’d thought this was going to be a low-volume demo. I had amped up accordingly with a bass amp that Slim Heilpern lent me, as opposed to renting a keyboard amp, which is what I usually would have done. When Chris came on as if the demo was a contest, I felt betrayed. I don’t think Chris saw it that way, but Chris was often unaware of his effect on other people, as his friends occasionally explained to someone he’d just offended with a bluntly if unconsciously aggressive email. We seem at several points in this video to be playing past each other, and I think it has something to do with my feelings at that time, if not his.

Anyway, Chris could play. I played things with Chris on a few occasions, including my son’s birthday in April 1999 when we were both at the Buckeye State harmonica festival, and I convinced and convened a bunch of epic harmonica players including Robert Bonfiglio, Rob Paparrozi, Chris, Mike Turk, and others (maybe Jelly Roll Johnson?) to play “Happy Birthday” over the phone to my son. I went to dinner with Chris once when I was in Arizona, a pleasant occasion; we went out for pizza, then Chris demoed his Harpgear to me, the 5 watt model with an 8″ speaker, along with his RE-10 mic, both of which I liked. It was a fun night. And I jammed with him at various SPAHs in hallways, bars, and other impromptu locations.

So far as I know, this is the only video of him playing with me. I didn’t know this one existed, but I should have remembered that some of the people at that seminar had cameras. You never know who’s recording what these days. Given how little formal recording Chris did in his life, bits like this are important. Enjoy.

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