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Sunday, June 18, 2006


More about The Burners' July 15 gig:

In stage patter at The Burners' first gig on July 29, 2002 (back when I WAS the singer in the band), I christened our keyboardist "the Maestro." It's a perfect nickname; it bespeaks his giant talent as well as his giant ego. I say that with love. I think my fellow Burners would agree that the Maestro has a bit of a Tony Montana complex.

At the last two practices, the Maestro wore open-toed sandals, and his toenails were painted maroon. Sound a bit fey? Something tells me anyone making that accusation would end up with his head in the toilet.

Years ago, when a former drummer tried -- tried, I say -- to ridicule the Maestro over the "Sopranos"-esque cigar he was puffing on, the Maestro said without pause: "First of all, (expletive). Second of all, this cigar? Cost more than your clothes." We all looked at the drummer in his shabby sneakers, jeans and T-shirt and reached the same conclusion.

Here's what I always say about the Maestro: He can play piano like Johnnie Johnson and organ like Jon Lord. Actually, that's pigeonholing him. He can play any classical piece, any prog-rock piece, any anything. A Burners show, truth be told, is a Maestro show. He never plays a song the same way twice. He's always on fire.

I once told him, "You're the second-best musician I've ever played with." He glared at me. I explained: "Ritchie Blackmore once told me to pick up a tambourine at a restaurant while he was playing." The Maestro seemed satisfied.


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