Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A little Blast From the Past...and the Barter System Is Alive and Well

Aloha Kakou!!

Another beautiful day in Hawai'i Nei, with a beautiful breeze coming down the Ko'olau range and pushing some fluffies lazily through the sky. Days like this are when I wish I worked the outdoor gigs that used to make up the majority of my schedule when I lived in South Florida...but of course not actually IN Florida...same gigs, just in Hawai'i. Most of my gigs back then were of the "tiki bar" variety, feeding a constant diet of Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Bob Marley, CS&N and the ilk to outdoorsy folks looking to escape the winters of the north, or those who had permanently escaped and lived down there. I moved to South Florida in 1997 when I left the employ of Dolphin/Premier Cruise Lines and went into music full time. I spent an interesting seven or so years there, playing to a lot of people, meeting and playing with great musicians and always fearing for my life when I drove on the highway at night..or the daytime for that matter. Here are a few pics from "back in the day":

This is how I could usually be found in SoFla...on a small stage, with the tip jar out, and Bruce Freeland playing bass with me. Bruce is one of the best musicians I know, and he was in my large band as well as being at many of my other gigs. We did a ton of work together and had a million laughs...and almost as many beers. This is from our regular Monday gig at the Aruba Beach Cafe.

Bruce and me again at a city concert from Cooper City in Florida. This was with my band, Dave Soreff and the Coral Reef Revue. We started as a tribute band to Jimmy Buffett but became a tropical party band in the end...here is our promo video that got sent to the agents around the country...we used to do a lot of corporate work around the country...Colorado, Atlantic City, Puerto Rico...lots of air miles and lots of fun. This was back in 1998...many pounds ago...the core of the band stayed, but we ended up with a different guitarist and percussionist...the wonderful Fred Weng in the video moved over to percussion and was replaced by the amazing Eddie Saez.

Here is a shot of us in Atlantic City, playing at Trump Marina...this features two of my closest friends, Robert and Mandy France. They were at the beginning of the band, all during the middle and at the end as well. Great performers and even better friends. Many a night was spent with them over sake and sushi.

Lastly is a picture of the late amazingly great Carlos Benthien. We were so lucky to have Carlos in the band for a little while. He played with many of the greats and actually played Woodstock with Santana. He brought a whole new groove to the band...he passed away a while ago from cancer...he is still missed by anyone who knew him or played with him.

Anyway, just a few pictures from the past...I will cull through the archives in the coming days and see what else I can find.

So, like many guitar players, I have played, bought, sold, traded, trashed, lost, modified countless instruments over the years. My very very very first guitar was a Madeira acoustic guitar (a less expensive division of Guild) and I have played a variety since, ranging from Alvarez to Fender to Guild to Carvin to Godin to Rickenbacker to Gibson to Ovation to Breedlove to...well, name it and I have probably played it. (This of course does not include my real love...steel guitar) Guitarists are strange in that we very rarely find one instrument that stays with us for a loooooooooooong time. There are exceptions of course, but we are mostly looking out for the next great instrument. Now and then it comes in handy...let me explain. In trying to lighten my load, I went through many of the instruments I owned last year and tried to sell or give away or just plain divest myself of many of them. One in particular never suited me, and it was this one:

I got this one to play in the Wheelhouse on the Dawn Princess, and it just never looked or felt right on stage. Into storage it went until last year when I brought it into Dan's Guitars in Honolulu, who do all the work on my steel guitars. I thought they might take it in and sell it on spec, and I guess most everyone else felt the same way as I did, and it stayed unsold...until today, sort of. I brought in my steel guitar for some work...a double neck 8 string requires a lot of patience to change all the stings...and they did some other work as well...and I thought I would throw out an idea to the owner. Straight up trade...services for the guitar...bingo! The barter system is alive and well. Mahalos to Dan and the guys at the store for doing a rush job on the steel...it plays great once again and makes me oh so happy! It got me to thinking that maybe we as a society should look a little deeper into the barter system. What do I need? Do I have something that you need? A service, an item...something I have been keeping in the garage for years that will never see the light of day again? Can you paint my house if I play your daughters wedding?

Nice pic eh? A very quaint way of looking at the barter system.

So we are now parked at beautiful Pier 2 in Honolulu and Leialoha and I are getting ready to go play Sailaway. there have been some big changes on board the Golden in regards to entertainment, and in my opinion, for the better. This means more work for us but truth be told, a better product for the passengers. So, we will be playing our tunes under the Honolulu stars as we sail off to our next stop:


Location:Kailua, Hi

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Taking Requests!

Aloha Kakou!!

Greetings from beautiful Waiakea...otherwise known as Hilo! It is another beautiful day here, with a gentle breeze blowing through and a few clouds in the sky, promising us a little liquid sunshine later in the day. It is something that we are quite used to here...it keeps everything green and looking lush. Speaking of lush...I have caved. Many of you may know that at our house, the lawn mowing and care is my responsibility. Having not done this for a very long time, (and of course not having owned a house before) I was actually looking forward to it, as part of my "manly duties". (Please not cries of sexism...I was being sarcastic...who do you think had to remind me exactly how to mow lawn? Yes, Leialoha) It was fun for all of about two times, and then became, for lack of a better term, a pain in the ass. So, I have caved. There is a very nice young man named Bryson who now comes to our house every two weeks and mows, edges, weeds and just generally does the things that I don't really want to do. I feel I may have dropped the standard of Tool Time Tim

But, as my Mother always says, when you don't want to deal with something like this, throw money at it. So, I get an extra hour to do things I want to do, like practice, or veg out, or write a blog entry. Hooray!!

There have been a few changes on the ship in the last week or so, as the Golden Princess changes its entertainment format on board to make it more of a non-stop entertainment venue. It is actually a very good idea, and the result is that there is very little "down time" for the passengers...if they wish to avail themselves of it. It has also resulted in a little more work for Leialoha and myself, but in a positive way...if that is possible. The set times are coordinated throughout the ship with the shows and the theme parties to make a better traffic flow, and to allow guests to see ALL of the shows if they wish, and to have some form of ebtertainment going at all times in the evenings. We no longer do sets in the Piazza, but they are billed as concerts. While they are not concerts in the real definition of the word, it does make for a little different atmosphere, and the result is that I think we get a little more of a connection with the crowd, as we choose to speak a bit more then we might, and to link up our material...all in all...a good thing.

So, to todays title. Many of you are not on FB, or my friends, so you may have missed my last post regarding a new steel guitar CD. A few years back, I had the audacity, (I really wasn't thinking straight) to record a steel guitar CD after having played for all of about a year. I liked how it turned out, but three years later, I think I can do better. Now, besides Hawaiian music, I have an affinity for surf music. in particular, the sound of these two things:

These are standard issue for surf music...a Jazzmaster and a Twin Reverb...but my days of being a guitar hero are long gone, so in my twisted mind I thought, why not a surf CD done on steel guitar...dripping in reverb and tremelo. I'm very excited about it, and I have a good idea of some of the songs going on it, but I do love to please everyone wherever possible. So, if you have a moment, make sure to drop in some requests in the comment section of the blog. There are "traditional" surf tunes, but almost any rock, pop, jazz or country song can be given "the treatment"...so i ask of you all dear readers, send me some ideas. If I use yours, I will send you a free copy of the CD when it is done.

My last thought for today has to do with the upcoming holiday season...I am all for celebrating each and every one of them...and everyone should be able to do it in their own way, but for hecks sake, can we not wait until it is actually the season to do so? We are just about to insert our holiday songs in the set list, which we do each year..but I for one, will always refuse to do so until it is at least December. Sorry, no Jingle Bells before Columbus Day is done. Soreff out!!

Malama Pono,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Am In Love Again

Aloha Kakou!!

First of all, an apology for being away for so long. I had some drama with my laptop, and once it was fixed and fine, things here on the ship kind of took over...and maybe I got a teensy weensy lazy in keeping up with the blog. I promise to be better about it. I am humbled at all the people who have mailed me about the blog, and say how much they enjoy reading it and keeping up with our loves, both on the ship, and on land. So while I can't make any concrete promises, I will try my best to be more regular...some would say try bran.

So, to todays blog title..not to worry...I have not forgotten my one life love Leialoha...let me introduce you to my new love:

This is what is called a steel guitar. Some would call it a non-pedal steel guitar and this particular one is made by Fender, and is called a Stringmaster. Technically it is called a D8 which stands for Double 8 meaning that there are two necks and on this one, eight strings on each neck. For the uninitiated, steel guitars can have one, two, three or even four necks. These are used to give the player access to different tunings, which enables the player to play different kinds of chords, voicings, and to just generally expand the tonal palette. So in many peoples minds, the Stringmaster is the epitome of what a steel guitar should be. Up until now, and I have been playing for four years now, I have never laid my hands on one. But, just two weeks ago, I found out from my teacher Alan Akaka that a friend of ours Derrick Mau was thinning his heard of steels. (We steel guitarists tend to collect a bit) He had this one for sale, and he was reluctant to ship to the Mainland. Long story short, even though I have five steel guitars already, and had no intention of buying more, it was too good a deal fore too good a steal. So I got it this last Tuesday, and have been in love ever since. It plays beautifully and plays like a dream. It has been a slight adjustment to eight strings from the usual six that I use, but it is coming along. I am going to try to do a little recording with it and then I will post the samples here so you can hear for yourself just how special the sound of this classic instrument is.

The other thing that has been on my mind, is this whole issue about Christmas music playing in malls and stores as we speak. On Tuesday, while walking in Ala Moana Mall, I noticed that not only were the stores ALREADY decorated for the holidays, but there was non-stop holiday music playing. Now, granted it was local style performed by local artists, but call me old school in my belief that these things are meant to start after Thanksgiving. It just seems that each year it starts earlier...I imagine that if I live long enough, I will see holiday music start right after Labor Day...or Memorial Day...or possibly even the day after Christmas itself. Heck, why not do it year round...it would make things so much simpler...for the people who decorate the stores anyway.

So we have had a bit of change on the ship, as we had a new CD come on this past cruise. (Cruise Director) The funny thing about this business is that if you work in it long enough, chances are that you will see a lot of the same faces over and over again. Our new CD is Sammi Baker, and she is one of my oldest friends in this business. I met Sammi back in 1993 on the old Royal Majesty, when she came to take over the ship and I was just plain old newbie cruise staff. She came to us from the late lamented Sitmar cruises as well as Princess, and she was, and still is a force of nature. Lots of energy, lots of craziness, (in the best possible way) and a really good boss, as she promoted me to assistant cruise director quickly, and is one of my mentors in this business. We last worked with her back in 2009 on the Dawn Princess as part of the world cruise and were very happy to learn that she would be coming here to the Golden. It will be a wonderful rest of the season, as Sammi will be here for three months, and then our good friend David Cole will be returning. David is the CD that we developed the Hawaiian Program with back in 2008. He is similar to Sammi in many ways, not the least of which is that they are two of the hardest working CDs I have ever met.

So we are in Lahaina today, which means one thing...pedicure! And poi! Life can be filled with rituals,some good, some bad...but in Lahaina, we always go to get our feet cleaned up and buffed...this is important, as we spend much of our life in slippers here in Hawai'i and you want your feet to look presentable...and up until Leialoha introduced me to pedicures, my feet did not look presentable...I will be posting the results from todays scrubbing/sand blasting. The sound in my ears now is the anchor dropping, so it is time to fight for a seat in the tender...have a great day everyone! A hui hou!!

Aloha No

Location:Lahaina, Hi