Please enjoy the original writing, Christian travel journal, and photography by a hapa haole named Gail Rhea.

Original Writing & Photography

by Gail Rhea

 

 

 

From: "The Hapa Haole Journal"

 

Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 1:25 AM

 

Subject: The HHJ: Running with the Big Dogs - Part 2



 

"Come, they told me. Pah-rum-pum-pum-pum.
A newborn King to see. Pah-rum-pum-pum-pum..."

It was beautiful. Rock or not, Bernard can sing.

After the set was over, the musicians got ready to leave and Robi pulled me over to Bernard. "Bernard, you gotta hear this! She said the energy level went up as soon as you stepped on the stage. You hadn't even started singing yet!"

What I wanted to know was from where did that come? What was it? Was it him?

Bernard smiled and shook his head, "I don't want to know." His gentle reply told me that he knew it was special and if he knew, the knowledge might cause pride to rise up and overwhelm the gift.

I nodded. "Well, thank you anyway. I loved what you did with 'The Little Drummer Boy.'"

He was so pleased, he beamed and pulled me in close for a hug, pressing his cheek against mine.

I still wonder about it. It might be in him, or from him joining the band, a synergy of the whole being more than the sum of the parts since several of them are used to working together. Whatever it is, it's highly effective.

At some point after the show, I got to talk with John Philbrick to verify that Waddy had been passing him his guitars to be tuned and exchanged for a different one after every song.

"Yes," John said. "I was tuning them, not really playing even though it looked like it." He identified the meter saying that not many used it anymore.

Wow, tuning that often. It was easy to see that Waddy's particular and exacting. From what I read online, he could be demanding. Uncomfortable for others, of course, but band leaders and others at a high level of expertise don't get there by slacking off or accepting less than the best from themselves or others. I remember hearing something similar about Barbra Streisand and Martha Stewart, that they're picky.

The question I have is: is it possible to demand the best without hurting people's feelings? Of the people with whom I've worked, with some people, yes, of course. Others, however, only get up to snuff when yelled at. It's as though they don't take their jobs seriously until they're yelled at or derided and they have to be reminded constantly. 

The real problem is when the yeller gets used to yelling at people and yells out of habit whether someone needs it or not. Of course, there's also the type of personality who yells because s/he's always yelled and derided people. That's plain disrespectfulness.

I also got to talk with Rasputin. "There are 50,000 bands in L.A.," he said, "all looking for a gig. Some offer to play for free just to get themselves out there. Not these guys, though. They get paid and they've had this gig for six years. That's really something in this town. That's how good they are."

The man who got ear plugs from me stopped by. "Thanks a lot. You saved my life." 

Sure, you're welcome, I nodded. Thanks to Robi. (Kim later explained that Rick's bass wasn't as good as usual because he was sitting in front of the amp and the sound man couldn't control the feedback.)

Soon after, the club people started running patrons out so they could close up. Somebody was asking me what brought me to Los Angeles, giving me a blank look when I answered that I'm going down the Pacific Coast Highway and diverted to see Kim.

"The Pacific Coast Highway?" he was puzzled. Maybe he's new to the Left Coast.

"Highway 1," I tried to help out.

"Oh, yeah!" Aha, recognition. Wait. More puzzlement. "What's on Highway 1?"

"The Pacific Ocean," I replied.

His face went blank. 

"I'm from Hawaii," I explained, "and sometimes I need a fix of a large body of water." 

Face still blank, he turned away. He's gotta be an inlander.

Another was talking to me about how Thomas Square was right behind Ala Moana (nope, not the way I define "right behind") when we were asked to leave.

"That doesn't apply to us," Kim whispered as the other man turned away.

Kewl.

Gradually, those of us allowed to stay migrated toward the back door to give room to those cleaning up. A man came over and started pointing his finger.

"You're okay. Okay, you can stay. Okay. Okay." He looked at me.

"She's with me," an okayed stranger said.

"Okay, the lady's okay." He went on to the rest and left. All were okay to stay. 

I looked at the stranger, "Thanks," I said.

Only a few minutes later, the man returned to recheck our cluster. "You can stay. You can stay....the lady..." Me, again, the only woman.

"Is with me," reminded the stranger.

Kim zipped past from outside and seeing the pointer said, "She's with me," as he went by.

The pointer got it. "The lady's okay. The lady's okay. The lady's okay."

I tried not to laugh because the poor guy was obviously frazzled.

When Kim said we're ready to go, Rasputin was riding with us. Walking out to Kim's car, we came upon a safe. Yes, a safe. About three feet high. Outside. Closed up tight. You think you see everything in a big city, but this was a new one. Fascinating.

"I don't want my fingerprints on it," Kim advised.

"I have to take a picture. This is definitely unusual," Rasputin replied, aiming his camera phone.

Kim didn't hear him. He was already in the car with me shortly along.

Arriving back at the other studio, we saw several other cars parked. Robi, Neal, Fuzzbee, Mike Stone, and a few others I don't know were already inside. The gathering was for a jam session. It was like a private concert for me and the two or three others who didn't play and I loved it. 

Robi sat on the sofa nearest me playing guitar with Kim on his other side. Fuzzbee was on the keyboards. Drums weren't set up, but Rasputin kept the beat with smaller, handheld percussive instruments.

I kicked off my flip-flops, propped my feet against the sofa's arm, and leaned back to relax and enjoy.

The music kind of wandered a bit at first, each player feeling out where the others were going, a few remarks passing back and forth. Then, Mike started singing in a narrative, story-telling style, his deep voice calming and restful. It all came together and was a beautiful weaving together of music, song, and story. I heard about a Man who went to the cross for the sins of all. It was special even for them who are used to these sessions.

They went on to other songs, Rasputin lying down on the floor for a nap somewhere along the way; Mike and one or two of the other non-players leaving. As he was going out the door, I asked Mike for the name of the first song I liked so much because I'd love to have a copy or at least review the lyrics. "The Millennium Man," he said.

I think it was after Mike left, maybe before, that Robi started singing a Bob Dylan song with Fuzzbee echoing the words imitating Dylan's style of singing. It was a hilarious duet made funnier by the second Dylan song they did with Fuzzbee singing solo, mimicking Dylan even more strongly than before. 

They and the others went on to do original tunes plus those done by the Beatles, Dylan, and the Beach Boys' "Sail On, Sailor" that Kim wanted me, the clueless one, to hear. 

It was 4 a.m. before the session broke up, Rasputin awakening before that to participate again.

"You know, I recorded him once, shaking a tambourine while asleep or half-asleep on the floor," Robi said in an aside to me.

These music men are all multi- and very talented.

It was a great night and morning. I had a fantastic time. 

Thanks, Kim.


 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright 1993- Gail Rhea.

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