One Year Later

One Year Later

A trip around the sun with no shows--what now?

On January 22nd it will have been a year since Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring. It also marked my retirement from touring, so I am collateral damage, in a sense.

So what have I done in the last year?

Not much, it seems to the naked or semi-nude eye, but actually it’s more than it appears.

During the course of my 40 years of touring with “the best band in the land,” as Mr. Diamond effusively referred to us, there were regular pauses, some longer than others, when we went back to recharge our batteries and reacquaint ourselves with home and family, so we were pretty well-prepared to deal with life on our own, filling our days with recording, writing, golfing, dining, and conjuring up foolish ideas for things which either materialized or didn’t.

I n 2016, I filled  the hiatus before our final tour by recording an instrumental jazz album of Neil’s songs. It was a project which had intrigued me for a long time. I came from a jazz background, and I’d always wondered doing such a thing had never occurred to other jazz players.

Some of the songs might seem too jolly, all major keys and open chords and such, but when I think back to examples such as Andre Previn’s fine album of the music from My Fair Lady, Neil’s tunes didn’t seem such an awkward fit.

The album is all that I’d hoped, and I’ll posting some things from it on this site, along with subtle suggestions about obtaining a copy, along with some background on why it came out the way it did.

I didn’t originally think of it as a farewell to a 40 year gig, and I may return to that material sometime in the future, But I’ve moved on. I spent most of 2018 finishing up an album that I began 50 years ago, about which I’ll be spilling the beans here very soon.

The new album is done now and off being pressed into biscuits and cookies. Come back if you’re at all interested in what happens when Muzoids turn their minds to old friends and new tasks.

 

D'ville Tom Sez...

Moving Forward 

I should have gotten three or four of those stickers, just to make my other-party friends nervous, but I actually only voted once today.

At the polling place, I noticed a wrapped-up grand piano, and began to experience that feeling again, the one that seized me in a number of European railroad stations last year, but I decided that sitting down and serenading the voting process would be a less than optimum gesture, and if I was doing to be arrested at the polls, I would prefer that if be for hurling a…

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The French Connection 

If you look closely you may be able to pick out Tim, Cathy, Sarah and Tom Hensley at the breakfast table, speaking French. Why this? Why now? Well, therein lies a tale. 

In 2016, Tim’s epic anecdotal biography of Alfred Hitchcock, “Sir Alfred No. 3,” was published by Fantagraphics in a limited signed and numbered edition of 1000. Of course, those all sold out, and are now appearing on collector sites at silly, inflated prices (I saw it on eBay for $499.99). 

But as of the 14th, you’re in luck—at least if…

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At Work and At Play 

Parade Magazine has posted a lovely video of our performance of Cherry Cherry at the Greek Theatre in 2012, from the upcoming (the 17th) release of Hot August Night III. The band is featured in this video, so I have an airtight alibi for that night, even if you claim to have security camera footage of me stealing your hubcaps.

 

Dueling Invisible Pianists 

After Alan Lindgren retired from touring in 2012, his rele in the band went to Mark Le Vang, who did a great job. The photo above was taken at Calgary's National Music Centre, just one more thing Canada has figured out that continues to elude this country. The photo shows Mark and I sharing a piano in a non-traditional way.

In our mutual backgrounds, Mark and I share another thing which you may not be aware of. At one time, each of us was an invisible pianist. Let me explain:

One of Mark's early gigs was…

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The Larry King Show 

For the last thirty years, I've published a newsletter on each show day. One recurring feature of the PBI, as it was known, was The Larry King Show, a comic strip about the adventures of saxophonist Larry Klimas and percussionist King Errisson. Here is one such strip, a study of the variety of snack items provided on one of our charter jet flights.