Joe “Jem” Despagni has passed… I only exchanged a few posts with him on Facebook, but I remember as a teen music maniac when Steve Vai was playing in David Lee Roth’s "Eat 'Em and Smile" era band with all of these wacky guitars – flame shapes, Swiss cheese, prototypes in process for what would become his signature models – it fascinated me that some guitar builder was having so much fun with the form of the guitar. Those did not come from the store. What a concept! It wasn’t about whether I liked them or not, it was about my mind being blown that this was possible and some dude was doing it. This was around 1985. That was Joe, and Joe is no mo’… condolences to his family and friends. I dedicated a day of my work on instruments to his memory.
In an unusual twist of context, I found myself in a furniture store the other day, one of the handful of times in my life, and while walking past a shelf one of the arranged display books caught my eye… Musical Instruments: Traditions and Craftsmanship from Prehistory to the Present by Lucie Rault. After looking at the piece we were there to look at, I walked back by said shelf, proceeded to UN-arrange the book from the display, and asked the nice lady to sell it to me. It is a huge volume, a real coffee table book. Just amazing with lots of pictures and glossy paper and hundreds of pages of all kinds of instruments and the stories and history and rituals behind them. The Bible of tools of music. It was her book. Turns out she’s a guitar player and music fan, and was fascinated to find out what I do. Needless to say, the book came home.
Also this week a couple of dear friends passed their Paul Winter albums on to us. They love his work and even used one of his tunes as their wedding song many years ago. So this is quite a gift from them! I remember Paul Winter being one of, along with Andreas Vollenweider, the artists whose work introduced me to different, textural, ethereal music at a time when my ears were all hard rock. Once you’re 16 and segueing from Ozzy Osbourne to the Paul Winter Consort, it’s all over as to ever being one dimensional musically, and really the path to places deeper through music has begun. The music that grabs you first brings you in “that” door… and then you realize you’re inside a great room of thousands of doors where all kinds of music from all over the world and all through time is available to taste! As for these Paul Winter LPs, Jamie and I will caretake and enjoy them until it’s our time to hand them off.
Pass along some music moments... those of us to whom this is food thank you!
Listening to: Bobby Goldsboro (while inlaying the initials of a client’s late wife into a bass, do not listen to “Honey” – it makes it difficult to see); Earthmother off YouTube (Birdsong client, some great stuff); Paul Winter Consort Icarus; misc. jazz.