Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year! Wow 2017 is almost here. Another year has gone by and what a crazy year it's been! Now more than ever the Professor World Band will be in demand to generate the Peace Waves that are so desperately needed. While there is still music there is always hope!

The big news for me since my last posting is that I've moved from the Cambridge Coop where I was lucky to live for the past eight years to a little red ranch house on the edge of a small town in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. At this point it is uncertain if this move is only temporary or permanent. It sure is lovely out here though and peaceful. I've got deer and bear and fox and all kinds of critters right in my backyard.

Best of all though, I have my very own awesome basement workshop and practice room where I can make as much sound and music as I like whenever I feel like it. I've been doing a lot of practicing and I'm looking forward to doing lots more throughout the winter here and improving my show.
One of the first things I've been working on here in my basement is a brand new portable one man band. It is still fairly early in the developmental stage but I took it out for a test run in the Harvard T station a couple of weeks ago and I was quite pleased with the results. I am thinking about taking a trip with it to somewhere warm this winter.
Playing with my new portable one man band in the Harvard T station

It is a two hour drive from my new house to Boston though and not too many places to busk nearby. I often drive in to play and stay weekends in my van but will probably not do that so often after New Years until it starts warming up again. I'm expecting a pretty tough winter as we've already gotten a fair amount of snow. I am working on finding more gigs and places to play out in Western Mass. I played at the Asheville Fall Festival a couple of months back and that was fun. Last week I did a Channuka gig at Temple Israel in Greenfield that also went well. Let me know if anyones got any good ideas for me. I've been giving out my publicity at schools but haven't heard back from any yet.

I'm also working on my very own documentary film with the help of Greenfield Public TV. They leant me a camera to film and now they are teaching me to edit in their studio. It will hopefully be finished soon and then it will be aired on local TV and posted on the internet. I will post a link to it here on my site when it is ready.

That's about all my news that's fit to print for the moment. Here is one last photo of me playing in the Public Gardens in October with a couple of French horn players from a local music school. I thought we sounded really good together.

Happy 2017 to one and all from the Professor World Band!
I am making a "Wall of Sound" down in my basement!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My highest ever gig so far!

Here are a couple of photos from my last gig. It was on the top floor of an M.I.T. dormitory building. I believe it was the 27'th floor. It houses over 2000 people, some of them married couples with children. In any case the view of Boston and Cambridge was pretty amazing. Perhaps the Peace Wave Generator broadcasts better from such a high altitude because the gig went really well as can be seen in the photo here, everybody there joined the band and helped me keep the beat.

I've got a couple more gigs coming up that I'm pretty excited about. There's a Children's Art festival in Haverhill coming up on Saturday June 4th. That's thanks to Elaine Barker who saw me playing in the Public Gardens last weekend.

Then there's the Howland street block party on June 18th in the Cambridge neighborhood that I live in. That's always a fun event that I've played at for the past five or six years.

And then on July 23rd I'll be playing at the Boston Children's Museum at a Maker fair they are organizing.  I'm really excited to be playing there so come on down and bring the family and friends to see the Professor World Band in action. I am scheduled to be playing there from 11:00 to 12.00 and then again from 1:00 to 2:00.

If you know anyone who needs a really unique and crazy one man band to entertain guests at their special event just have them contact the Professor World Band right here through this website! My dream is to someday play together with the Muppets on Sesame Street so if you run into Kermit or Miss Piggy or Big Bird or any of those guys, please feel free to put in a good word for me!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Return of the Rotating Stage!

I've been very busy with the new version of the Professor World Band since returning from Guatemala. and it's been lot's of fun. I also have been working on a rotating platform for it which is pretty awesome. I had a rotating stage years ago when I was traveling around Europe but this newer version is much easier to set up and transport and it needs no motor to keep it going around. It's a real attention getter and people have been very excited about it. I'm hoping for a good season playing in the Public Gardens and Harvard Square. When it starts getting hot perhaps I'll take a trip up to Canada this year.
 You can see the rotating stage in the developmental phase in this recently made documentary made by Harvard student, Michael Genecin for a class.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Back in Boston!

Just a quick update now to let you know that I had a very successful and fun trip to Guatemala and I am now back in town and working on a brand new Peace Wave Generating contraption. I've tested in out already once in the T and once in the Public Gardens and it is sure to be a whole lot of fun to play. I am looking forward to the coming spring!

I hear tell that I missed out on a lot of snow while I was away.  My friends sent me incredible photos and I'll have to say that it all looked very pretty from where I was sitting and soaking up the sun in Guatemala the whole time. I think it only rained once for less than an hour the whole time I was there. The day I arrived in Antigua though it did snow volcanic ash all over town from an eruption on nearby Fuego volcano. I had an excellent view of all the eruptions from the roof of my hotel there. It really was very impressive and inspiring. I wrote several songs while I was there which I hope to post soon in future blogs.

I had a lot of fun playing in the Central Plaza of Antigua.  My traveling version of the Professor World Band attracted lots of attention and created a lot of joy and laughter. I only really played a few times but it was worth to me all the trouble of bringing all my gear with me just to see all those curious and happy faces crowding around to see my show.

I didn't mention in my last update that one important reason for my trip was to get my teeth fixed at a fraction of the cost of what I would have had to pay here.  Although I was a bit nervous about trusting my teeth to an unknown dentist, she was highly recommended by a friend and she did an excellent job.
So not only did I have an excellent vacation and escape the Boston winter but I also saved about five thousand dollars by going there! Lucky me. I feel all charged up and ready to go as soon as the spring time finally hits here.

Here's one of the songs I wrote while sitting on the roof of Capitan Tom Hostel in Antigua while watching the Fuego volcano blow off steam.

I'll sing you a little song about an amazing trip I took,
Down to Guatemala just to have a little look.
My dentist had just quoted me 10,000 for a bridge
I didn't have that kind of dough a laying round the fridge.

My friend Ricardo says to me, Go down to Guaté town,
I know a real good dentist there, she makes amazing crowns.
It only costs a fraction of what it does right here
So I flew on down to Guaté town in the winter of the year.

It snowed and snowed in Boston almost every single day
But I was down in Guatemala so very far away
Sitting on my hotel roof and soaking up the sun
Meeting lots of travelers and having lots of fun

Surrounded by volcanoes spewing ash and steam
It was really amazing like in some crazy dream.
Delicious fruits and vegetables that grow the whole year long
And lots of friendly people who inspired this here song

I even brought along with me my crazy one man band
I played out in the central square and it was really grand.
Lots of people gathered round to cheer the loco gringo boy
The was a lot of laughter and the air was filled with joy!

The dentist did a real fine job I am happy for to say
My smile is so much brighter now in oh so many ways.
I saved a lot of do-re-mi and had a real great trip
So go down to Guatemala if you want a real hot tip!

From top to bottom.

Fuego volcano letting of steam as seen from the roof of my hostel in Antigua,
with a Swedish friend playing on the roof,
and the Professor World Band in Central Plaza in Antigua

This time the police never stopped me in Antigua. As a matter of fact, one friendly officer even wanted to play my guilelee!

Monday, November 24, 2014

February in Guatemala!

Once again winter is back in Boston. I've started to play in the T with a new suitcase version of the Professor World Band. It's still in the developmental stages but I've been having a lot of success with it and making lots of people smile. I'm going to road test it this February and fly with it to Guatemala for a month. Last time I was there was in February of 1980! Coming up on 35 years ago!
 I have some great stories to tell about that trip. I was hitching across from Belise to Mexico because I ran out of money. I started busking with my mandolin to make some money for food and lodging. I was quite an attraction as a light skinned redhead with long hair and a beard in a beat up old cowboy hat. I had big crowds of people who gathered as I belted out Beatle songs that everybody knows. I earned enough to stay in cheap hostels and food was very inexpensive. I made an effort to learn Spanish and carried my dictionary and vocabulary notebook with me everywhere. After a month or so I could have some interesting conversations with people. I still remember playing in Antigua on the crafts market and I look forward to playing there once again on this coming trip. Not for the money this time but just for old times sake and spread the message of the Professor World Band.
The police used to stand around and watch sometimes with big submachine guns and very macho looking scowls on their faces. They never really bothered me but they did make me a little nervous. I kept thinking better not hit any sour notes or it could be your last!  My friend Ricardo who lives with me in the coop is a street musician from Guatemala. He tells me that it is legal there now. I do remember eventually getting stopped from playing in Guatemala city and told to go back home because I didn't have any money. I hitched on up through Mexico back to Austin Texas where I was living in a coop.  What an amazing trip that was! My guardian angels must have been looking after me to make sure that I was safe.
I remember Guatemala as a beautiful country . I know that times are pretty tough for many people there and there is crime and poverty. I will be careful but I also hope to arrange to play in schools while I'm there. Where there is joy there is hope and that's what it's all about. That, and not to mention getting away from the cold Boston winter.
So I hope my next update will be about the wonderful time I had with the Professor World Band in Guatemala and hopefully I will be able to post some photos of us performing at the market in Antigua and also at a school or two. here are a couple of pictures of the new suitcase version of the Peace Wave Generator that he took in South Station last week. Thanks to Nda-jiya Suberu for sending these.