The Last Opium Den

About 3 years ago I read a fantastic piece by Nick Tosches in Vanity Fair. Recently I found out that The Last Opium Den is also available as a book.

Originally an article in Vanity Fair (where it purportedly received the biggest reader response of editor-in-chief Graydon Carter’s tenure), the book’s brevity will leave readers itching for another hit of Tosches’s finely turned prose.

Highly recommended.

Carlos Santana – Guitar Amps

This cracked me up:

Q: And you are also using a bigger cabinet.

A: Yes, a 4×12. We found this gentleman who makes speakers with hemp cones [these are Tone Tubby alnico speakers made by A Brown Soun in San Rafael, California].

Emphasis added.

Carlos Santana – Nylon Tones

With all due to respect to my brothers Paco de Lucia and Ottmar Liebert, the best acoustic nylon tones I hear are from B-Tribe.

That’s what almost 40 years of playing guitar real loud will do to ya… : )

But seriously, nice to hear my name mentioned by Carlos. B-Tribe, by the way, is a project by German Keyboardist Claus Zundel, who calls himself The Brave. I believe he sampled a variety of Flamenco guitarists for his first album, but for his latest, called 5, he used a guitarist from Ibiza named Paco Fernandez. It appears that this Paco put out a solo album last year, which I haven’t heard.

Mountain Biking

I love how quickly any great idea can spread throughout the world these days. By all accounts Mountain Biking was invented in Marin County, Northern California, in the mid-Seventies. However, barely thirty years later not even one American wins a medal in the male or female Olympic Mountain Biking competition in Athens. The idea has spread around the globe and international competition is now fierce.

I bet there were a few guys in California last week, popping beers while watching the mountain biking competition, and saying: “See that, son. I invented that sport!” What a great gift.