Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Sep 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Guitar Hero

music_EricGalesHendrix doppelganger Eric Gales schools DQ’s in the blues
All too many blues rock albums consist exclusively of AAB lyric schemes slung over the same 12-bar pattern we’ve heard millions of times before. Holding it all together are guitar riffs so clichéd that the player might as well use air quotes before and after playing them. The only real surprises for the listener are what the key and tempo of the next song will be, and whether the singer will complain about romantic troubles, financial hardship, legal issues or health concerns.

While some such songs do inhabit blues guitar monster Eric Gales’ latest album, Relentless, they’re outnumbered by tunes with far more original melodic, harmonic and lyrical information. If there’s such a thing as “progressive blues rock,” Gales’ music might just fall under this category. The main attraction here is Gales’ fiery lead guitar playing: His triplet flurries, brazen double stops and demon-conjuring string bends led Guitarist magazine to name him Best Blues Player of 2010.

Gales, once considered a child prodigy, discovered his musical talent at age 4, when he picked up a guitar and immediately began making coherent sounds. “I was like, ‘Man, this is kind of cool! I think I can play this thing,’” the bluesman recalls. The groove he was playing was a simple one, “but to me, that was big shit to be doin’ at 4 years old. To me, I was rockin’ out with my cock out!”

With a little guidance from his brother Eugene, the young musician progressed quickly. Though naturally right-handed, he learned to play the guitar Hendrix-style: He flipped a right-handed guitar upside-down and used his left hand for picking. “For the longest time, I didn’t know if I was right- or left-handed, ’cause I didn’t know which way to label the way that I played,” he says. “By the time I learned that it was the ‘wrong’ way, I had already learned how to play that way, so it was too late.”

Not surprisingly, as a black man playing blues rock on an upside-down guitar, Gales draws Hendrix comparisons galore. “When I sit back and look at some of the performances I’ve done, I have to admit: Yeah, it does kind of have a small resemblance, a little bit,” he acquiesces. “But I’m not out there just doing stuff that I hear or see Hendrix do. I’m doing what I feel, that comes out of me.”

Various songs on Relentless draw inspiration from recent tribulations in Gales’ life: Last year, he was released from prison after serving 21 months for a 2006 cocaine and weapons possession charge. The song “When You’ve Got No Place to Go” refers directly to his incarceration: “A lot of time for regret/Too much time to think/A lot of time for worry/How much lower can I sink?/I’ve been away too long/Every day is the same old song/The days go by so slow when you’ve got no place to go.”

Gales, who was allowed to play gigs in the outside world with a prison band during his sentence, doesn’t regret any of what’s gone down. “I’m not saying I want to relive it, but I believe that every situation in life gives you something to help you in the future,” muses the guitarist, who just completed work on a new record called Transformation, due for release in late 2011. “If there’s something to help me have more passion about what I do, or more expression when I’m doin’ what I’m doin’, then it all served its purpose.”


Eric Gales plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. Tickets are $12. For more information, call 603-2294 or go to donquixotesmusic.info.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Best Live video so far this year we've done
written by Crafton, May 12, 2011
Here's a very proud rendition of "Got no place to go" from this years Hotwing Festival in Memphis. Thank you for such a decent article!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmp4Byhx1Zk

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 4

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs