I played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And it was great.
No, my band, Gartner in the Cloud, didn’t win the Playoffs for the Inc. Magazine Battle of the Corporate Bands in 2015. But it was a hellalotta fun for everyone involved, and my band’s set included a bold presentation of harmonica in classic rock. The audience got the message, too. My Digitech RP500-based setup performed brilliantly, and with the capable and well-equipped stage team at the R&R Hall of Fame behind me, the harp projected loud and clear in the room.
Based on conversations with various musicians and fans at the show, there’s no doubt that the sounds I laid out that night came across as a very new take on what the harmonica in rock is all about. I remember clearly how strongly I was affected by the J. Geils Band’s first record on Alantic in 1970; I knew right away that Magic Dick was on to something new, that he’d moved the harmonica into the rhythm section instead of floating on top of it. The stuff I played at this show is another step down that line, where the harmonica plays a wide range of roles that go well beyond what was possible in previous eras (you know, all those years when harp players didn’t have pitch shifters and rotary speaker FX and…).
Inc. Magazine will post the live video from the show sometime soon, and it’ll be great stuff–they do not lack the means to record quality audio and video at the R&R Hall of Fame. In the meantime, here’s a rough video from the semifinals show that we played in May at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, DC. Enjoy.