Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
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

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

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

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”