New Heathens
18Jul/09Off

The More You Suck, The Better You Sound


A day after doing another good, solo-acoustic gig with my 12-string guitar at Banjo Jim's , I was harp guy, guest Mississippi Saxophonist.

Saturday morning and early afternoon I recorded three blues songs as the mouth organ player for probably my favorite band in New York, The Izzys. These guys play dirty, gritty rock and roll that SWINGS. Singer/songwriter/guitarman Mike Storey's been cool enough to invite me to perform with them on harmonica several times and I love it. Playing with this band is like lassoing a stuntplane - it's an exhilarating ride but hold on, it gets intense.

Mike says he's going to release the three songs we recorded on iTunes. He's threatening to call the EP, "Blues Orgy."

At night I played with another favorite NYC band, Spanking Charlene at the Lakeside Lounge. They had me blow harp on a cool new tune called "Where Are The Freaks?"

I love the harmonica, especially blues harp. For you non-harp players, there are two basic styles of playing harmonica. One is called "straight harp" where the emphasis is on notes you blow, the other is called "blues harp" where you emphasize notes you suck. I play blues harp some, but not too much, on New Heathens songs and even less during my solo gigs (though I am playing more straight harp on a rack; hey if you're doing the Dylan thing you gotta' DO the Dylan thing).

If a solo is required, the harmonica is the only instrument I can do it with. That being said, I can get the job done better than most of the clowns who call themselves harp players in these NYC clubs (not to toot my own horn, or harmonica as the case may be).

However my skills on blues harp I can attribute to one simple, unique fact: it's the only instrument where the more you suck, the better you sound.

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