Chuck Berry, Rock & Roll’s First Guitar Hero is 86!

You can’t be a guitar aficionado and not at least have an appreciation for Chuck Berry. The man is the first true rock n roll guitar hero! The duck-walk, the hairstyle and of course the, “Johnny B. Good,” guitar riff, one of the most popular and influential in rock n roll history!

Chuck Berry the energized rocker is 86!! That is crazy but so glad he is still around. He is definitely on my list of must see live performers…hopefully I will still get a chance. He is said to still play a club in St. Louis regularly.

Happy Birthday Chuck Berry, here’s to many more joyful guitar playing years before you!

Watch both the classic version and see the influence he had years later making his way into this classic clip from, “Back to the Future,” where Michael  J. Fox introduces the 50’s to Chuck Berry before… Chuck Berry.

Just saw Jose sing this at the San Francisco Giants playoff game Oct. 14, 2012. One of my favorite musicians!!

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

It’s a great day, opening day of the baseball season! One of the unofficial holidays in the life of sports fans across America. Lucky me, on Spring Break and working from home this week got to see all the opening day festivities on TV, live from Miami.
They had all kinds of pregame fanfare: F-16 flyover, Vegas style showgirls escorting the players onto the field, an appearance by the ‘Champ’ Muhammad Ali and of course the National Anthem, sung by Jose Feliciano.
I am not one who usually enjoys much deviation of the norm on the Star Spangled Banner. I just don’t think it’s a song that should be used for personal self promotion and showing off what a great singer you are. The reason it is sung at events is to honor our country. So the runs, trills and ‘check me out’ vocal fireworks are usually out of place…

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Ten Tips for Planning Wedding Music

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

Having played weddings in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs area and throughout Southern California for 20 years I’ve learned so much. This post is a chance to share some of this info with you!

Here are ten tips to help you plan your wedding music to the fullest. Feel free to share this page with your wedding planners, friends and family.

-These tips are not in any particular order except #10 may be the most important!

-Not all these tips may apply to your specific plans but some of them definitely will.

If you have any questions I would be glad to help!

1) Ceremony Events.

Although all weddings are different most have some semblance of the following events requiring music; pre-music as guests are being seated, seating of parents, bridal party and couples recession. Often music is needed for an interlude; a prayer or sand/candle ceremony, etc.

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Here Comes the Bride, A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog-Bride’s Procession

One of the first things people ask me when they find out I play guitar for weddings is, “Do you get tired of playing, ‘Here Comes the Bride’?”

My answer is NO! I enjoy playing for all of my clients big day. Each wedding is different and has it’s own energy. It is important to make the atmosphere of the event special for each couple and their guests. Second, I really don’t play it as often as one might think.

To some the “Bridal Chorus,” Here Comes the Bride’s, real title, has become cliché or cartoon-ish due to having been placed  in so much media over the years; movies, commercials, cartoons, etc. It also has the feel of ‘My parents wedding march’ to many of my clients.

The irony is that I have handfuls of clients who say NO WAY to the traditional marches and a handful of those who wouldn’t have it any other way. There is no right or wrong, it is each couples decision.

That said there are a few popular alternatives that have trended over the years. Some are short lived trendy and some have become the new traditional, like Pachelbel’s, “Canon in D.” Without doubt the Canon is the most popular piece I play for the Bridal procession. It is classy and timeless but has a more modern feel than the “Bridal Chorus.” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” by J.S. Bach and Handel’s, “Harmonious Blacksmith,” are two other in demand classical pieces that I am often asked to play.

Then there are the non-traditional options, for those who want their wedding to display something uniquely them. I have played Metallica, Journey, Gypsy Kings, Enya, George Harrison, The Beatles to name a few. There are also trends that are born from mass media, like when the big wedding episode of “Friends,” the 90’s sitcom, used Eric Clapton’s, “Wonderful Tonight.” I played that one quite a bit back then, although I think that song always makes a great procession.

The idea of a piece becoming trendy is not really a new idea to these times. ‘Here Comes the Bride,’ as I mentioned, is really entitled, “Bridal Chorus,” and was adapted from Wagner’s opera, “Lohengrin.” It only became traditional due to its extended trendiness.

So there it is a post about Bridal March music. Hope this helps you pick your music whether you like traditional, semi-traditional or something unique. I am always glad to go over options and ideas with my clients to help them if they don’t already have a clear idea of the music they want.

To see other wedding music posts.

If you need a guitarist or info for your wedding music please check out my Wedding Center.

Space Cowboy, Steve Miller, Turns 69 on Oct. 5

Been a lot of Rock n Roll Birthdays this week.

Steve Miller is next on the list. October 5th , the Space Cowboy will turn 69.

From the time I was a little kid through high school, Steve Miller was one of my favorites! As a guitarist I think he is underrated and he has a great Rock n Roll voice. Couple that with the super cool synth tracks ie Fly Like an Eagle and a young rocker to be couldn’t resist. Music was like catnip for my developing internal music hard drive! I will always remember hearing him in the car driving around San Diego with my mom and at the beach blaring out of radios. Even back then when I was 7, 8 years old I couldn’t get enough music and Steve Miller was always on hand.

For some reason I think “Swingtown” was my all time favorite of his songs. It displays all the previously mentioned aspects; his voice, guitar riffs and the ambient synthesizers. Here it is…Enjoy!