[Harp-L] Re: great Chris Michalek interview...

I remember the first time I met him in person in the Cities.  It was
2004 and I'd been playing just over a year.  He and his band, Michalek-
Strone, were playing at the Mid-Summer Jazz Festival.  They did an
hour long jam that went from one song to the next and was just
amazing.  Anyways, it was unlike anything else going on that weekend.
When they finished, the whole park gave a standing ovation and people
were literally climbing up no stage to talk with him.  Needless to
say, the next band went on late.

He could do things with the harmonica that the non-harmonica player
could be engaged by.  He totally knew how to work that crowd and
destroy any harp stereotypes.  I think many of us only had the chance
to see him play to harmonica crowds.  While always super-impressive,
it has always been the reaction of non-harmonica players to his
playing that made me smile and literally laugh out loud!

My band played the next night at the Viking, which used to be a big
deal.  He walked in with his band and played a 45 minute set of rock
at a blues club.  I remember him doing Billie Jean and Purple Haze for
sure.  My guitar player's amp died so he was using my Bassman.  Chris
had to play through a little "harp" amp...some really old vintage
thing with an 8" speaker I had on loan....the kinda thing blues heads
go crazy for.  Man did he cuss me out for letting the guitar player
use the Bassman instead!  I still thought he sounded like a god!

The whole weekend he was talking about how sick he'd been with a
respiratory illness.  I know he'd mentioned it on list, but that
really made him change his playing style.  I don't think anyone seemed
to mind.  I kept bugging him to show me how to play things, but he
insisted on talking theory and general music topics like he did in
this interview.  He went on and on about vibrato, phrasing, and all
those things he was so great at.  I think he realized I wasn't ready
to digest much of it yet.  A year or so later, he invited me out to AZ
as he thought my fledgling abilities to the point where studying with
him for a week was actually going to teach me something, lol.  That
week is a story much too long and full of late night tacos for the
list here, but he seriously changed my life over that visit.  It was
one of my biggest life epiphanies for sure.  I am not just talking
musically either.

Many on the list have heard me play, and I am not at all claiming to
be a good harmonica player, but I know that my continued growth as a
harp player is totally directed by his mentoring and friendship.  We
didn't always agree on everything and he knew I had no ambitions to
try and clone his style, but he always knew exactly what I needed to
work on and in what directions I had a chance to excel at.  I remember
getting picked up at the airport in his car, which was full of CDs
that he said he never even listened to.  He dug and dug for one
without saying a word to me.  He put it in and told me that what I was
studying was wrong and I needed to go this route.  The album was
Joyful Noise by the Derek Trucks Band.  I about wet myself.  I could
go on about the implications of that conversation, etc, but the point
I am making is he always knew exactly how to teach you with the least
amount of effort, lol.  For someone who presented himself physically
as being a bit unkept and messy, he could always get straight to the
point with an unrivaled efficiency.


On Dec 20, 12:19 am, Warren Bee <spahpublic...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> this sonova biach was as bad as he wanted to be...can't dry the tears from
> my keyboard
> http://dfwhoot.blogspot.com/2009/03/harping-on-chris-michalek.html
> wb

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