Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Here we are at the end of another year. I was sitting here looking @ the tree & contemplating this past year. It was a very good year. It was a very busy year for the Slacks. The band has come a long way in the past year. And I must say it has been an honor and a pleasure to play and work with talented professionals who really care about the music. More importantly, I am proud to call these men FRIENDS. I am looking forward to 08 and making sweet soul music, capped with the release of our first original Slacks CD.

But I also can't help but think of all the friends and great music makers we lost this year. Ike Turner, jazz great Oscar Peterson, Little Milton, Luther Ingram, Boots Randolph, just to name a few. And last, but not least, one of the Slack biggest fans, Apache. To you all, R.I.P

Yes, it was quite a year, ending with the annual Slacks Christmas party. That was BIG fun. We met & made alot of new friends. HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. And let's have a prosperous and SAFE 2008.

Diamond D

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cantab Chicken Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Chicken Slacks Christmas/Winter Solstice show last night, it was a good turnout and a fun time had by all. The Slacks got down and played some holiday ditties along with our usual funky fare. Santa never actually showed up but we had plenty of Back-door Santas out on the dancefloor and it was a sight to see! Here's hoping your holidays are joyous and we look forward to partying it up with you in the coming year of Thursday nights and beyond. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Money talks...

Usually it's a great joke when, after someone in the audience shouts out a song request to the band, Diamond D tells them: "Just write your request on the back of a $50 bill, and we'll consider it." It always gets a laugh. But last night at the Cantab some dude actually called us on it! He pulls out a crisp new "fitty" and said "Sign Sealed Delivered", a tune by Stevie Wonder that the band has never performed. Doh! After a quick survey of the band (Slim knew it, Rosco knew it, Curtis sorta knew it, I sorta knew it, and Johnny would try the vocal) we launched into it. Fantastic! What a joy it was to whip this one out off the cuff and have it rock! That's one we'll be adding to regular rotation. So folks, bring down those Ulysses S Grants and stump the band!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Thanksgiving at Muscle Shoals

Over Thanksgiving we visited the bathroom that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards locked themselves into for two hours to write "Wild Horses." It's a small bathroom, as is the building that holds the newly restored Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

My wife Amy's hometown is right next door, in Florence, and we got personal tours of both Muscle Shoals and FAME Studios. Florence Alabama Music Enterprises (FAME) had its first success with the 1961 hit by Arthur Alexander, "You Better Move On," and the studio did move on, to record Wilson Pickett's "Land of a Thousand Dances," Etta James' "Tell Mama," and dozens more records that went platinum and changed the pop landscape. It is where Aretha Franklin launched her soul career in 1967 with "Never Loved a Man the Way that I Love You." I sat down at the very same Wurlitzer piano that Spooner Oldham played for that great opening hook at the top of that song.

Our visit to the second studio-- Muscle Shoals Sound Studios-- was the coolest part of our day. We pulled up to the place and no one was around and the doors were locked. We peered through the windows and didn't see much. We took some pics of the building. Then a man in a pick up pulled in and parked behind us, and he was Noel Webster, the current owner of the studio, the man responsible for restoring the place after a few years of its being shut down, and the man responsible for getting the place on the National Historic Registry. (Sun Studios is the only other studio so designated.)

Noel was happy to see us and we hung out a long time. Saw the bathroom, yes, and the vintage console and the two-inch tape set up. All vintage gear, down to the original orange vinyl sofa and chair used for breaks. But the big deal was the timeless genius of the place itself, the great and rare acoustics: a warm sound, due in large part to the wooden floor and a whole lot of hard and soft surfaces in a relationship that could never be engineered by anything but good fortune. They still get reverb by dropping a mic down into the basement (Chess did the same thing. Did STAX?). Music just sounds good in there. Cozy and warm, it's a perfect place to record a rocker like "Brown Sugar" or a ballad like "Many Rivers to Cross"

Most of us know the history: In 1969, the legendary FAME house band started Muscle Shoals Sound in a tiny ex-casket factory not too far from FAME, out on Jackson Highway, with a loan from Atlantic's Jerry Wexler. The new musician-owned studio went on to create a big chunk of rock and roots history: The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, Millie Jackson, Traffic, The Staple Singers, Paul Simon, Leon Russell, Bobby Womack, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Cliff, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, and again, Aretha Franklin-- they all went to Muscle Shoals, 65 miles, at the time, from any Interstate Highway, to isolate and do nothing but work inside the music.

Phil Collins and Tom Petty have booked Muscle Shoals sessions this December. Noel continues his cause to get STAX, Capricorn, Capitol, Chess, Motown and other studios on to the National Registry, to restore them as needed and keep them restored and safe from destruction, to honor the music that came out of churches, farms, factories, bars and high schools to change everything. Yeah, everything.

So guys-- how about a trip to northwest Alabama?

In Remembrance

The Chicken Slacks lost one of it's biggest fans this month. We didn't know her name, but she was there almost every Thursday night. You might remember her, she always wanted to hear Brick House. You might have even talked to her. She was a very interesting person to talk to. She did a lot of living in her fortysomething years. I called her the Indian lady. Being Native American myself, I can say she represented her culture & heritage with great diginity & grace. She worked construction, auto mechanic, boxed & was very active in martial arts. Our dear sister's voice was silenced forever by a heart attack the second week of this month. 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. Which brings us to this: We all have something to be thankful for. Our health and most of all our Life. As I have always said, tomorrow is promised to none of us. Live every day like it's your last day, because you never know. Every day we should try to bring some happiness to someone's life. I will miss her sitting off on the side of the band, just watching the band & the people and just having a good time. I will miss her little scooter she came to the Cantab on with her 2 littledogs that she carried with her all the time. Her last time at the Cantab, she bought the Slacks CD just because it had her favorite song of all time on it. That was also the last time she requested us to play Brick House. It feels good to know that we were able to fulfill her last request from the Chicken Slacks. I just wish I could've have talked with her a little more. Never let a day go by or an opportunity to tell our loved ones that you love them. EVERYDAY!!! Because tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Everyday we are alive is a blessing and a gift from the Supreme Being. She is now partying and enjoying BrickHouse with the greatest musicians in the universe.
RIP dear sister and God Speed. We will truly miss you.

Diamond D

Summer of '07

Hey boys and girls,

How y'all doing? It's been a while, but here we are. It was one hell-of-a summer. We did alot of weddings this year. A couple stand out, though. The Stump wedding was a blast, as well as the State House wedding. I don't know about you, but I really had fun at the wedding we did for the New Orleans couple. That was the most fun I had all summer at any wedding. At the end of that one, I felt like one of the guests. It really went over the top when the horns (& myself) led the whole wedding party into the second line dance parade. It REALLY REALLY felt like I was back home again. I haven't danced like that in years. (God I miss N.O., there's no place like home Toto). And what really brought the whole year to an end was the return trip to Bar Harbor, where we had the pleasure of closing Carmen Verandah's for the year. Met some really NICE people there (see Pics). Can't wait to go back next year. KT, WE WILL be coming back, so as the song says "Get Ready" cuz here we come. So now it's on to the New Year. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. And we hope you have a happy holiday. Don't party too much (yeah, right). Do all that you can & DO IT GOOD!!

Diamond D