Options Aerial View: Playlist from September 22, 2015 Options

Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me. (Visit homepage.)

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Options September 22, 2015: Learn Guitar With Keith Hartel
On this Aerial View in Exile pod(iatry)cast I take a guitar lesson from Keith Hartel, Professional Musician just back from a tour with Richard Lloyd.

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Today: Learn Guitar with Keith Hartel!
On this Aerial View in Exile pod(iatry)cast I take a guitar lesson from Keith Hartel, Professional Musician just back from a tour with Richard Lloyd. Keith's been on the NY/NJ music scene for decades now. playing guitar and bass with Inger Lorre & Motel Shootout, Adrenalin OD, Tammy Faye Starlite and many more. I've known Keith nearly thirty years. He was most recently on WFMU when we did the Nico:Underground special from Monty Hall last October. He's the only person who could convince me to sing War Pigs at my own wedding (he was playing guitar with Otis Ball's live Karaoke outfit, our wedding band, see below).
You might know that I've been playing guitar since I was twelve years old but except for a class in Junior High, I'm self-taught. Badly self-taught. I've tried learning from tablature, from apps and from videos and none of those methods are terribly edifying for me. I need one-on-one instruction from someone who can "cut to the chase". Keith is that person. 

We sat in my basement for almost two hours talking gear, rock & roll, the blues, the pentatonic scale, Chuck Berry, Neil Young, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and a whole bunch of other guitar stuff. When we were done I felt like I'd made some actual progress. Keith has been teaching out of the Guitar Bar in Hoboken for many years but now he's also busting out on his own. If you're looking for some lessons, message him right here on Facebook.

Below is a picture of the recording setup. I recorded four tracks on the Zoom H6: a stereo track from the X/Y mic capsule (set to 120 degrees) and two tracks from my Audio-Technica lavalier mics, one clipped to me, one clipped to Keith. Gearhead Note: My mid-60's Epiphone Electra EA26RVT amp (found at the Meadowlands Flea Market) can be seen top left and that's my 1984 "Small Box" ProCo Rat next to the lime-green Boss Super Phaser.
Here's me playing my 1968 Les Paul "Debbie", whose story has been told on Aerial View and in this newsletter (look for a repeat appearance of the poem Debbie Redux, below). Gearhead Note: that's an original MXR Distortion + in front of me.
Below is Keith Hartel with his '59 reissue Goldtop Les Paul. Gearhead Note: The Sovtek "Black Russian" Big Muff he's using (also purchased at the Meadowlands Flea Market!) is version 7D, as documented on the excellent Big Muff History website.Please contact me if you have a battery door for this beast.
There will be more guitar lessons with Keith in the future. While I'm housebound, recuperating from my upcoming foot surgery, I hope to get much better at looking like I know what I'm doing.

Two notes about this show: The music under the opening was created by none other than WFMU's own Hearty White. Thanks, Hearty! And this will be an extended-length podcast, BTW, because podcasts don't have to be any particular length!
Last Week: "I Don't Use The Technology."
Last week's Aerial View In Exile Pod(iatry)cast was recorded in Rockefeller Center on Sep. 11, 2015. Here's some comments I've received via e-mail, the playlist and the See You Next Tuesday! Facebook Group.
  • Was really hoping that anti technology guy would have talked to you.
  • Sounds good Chris!
  • Loved your first podcast!
  • I am here!
Notice anything? Like a certain paucity of feedback? I was mentally preparing myself for that because my playlist comments area was always lively and I knew it would drop off with a podcast. But this is falling off a cliff. 

If you listen to the podcast, please leave a comment. Thanks!
As promised, here's a repeat appearance of the poem about my Les Paul acquisition, which originally ran in the 5/20/14 See You Next Tuesday! newsletter.
Debbie Redux
There’s this banjo tune in my head -
Appalachian picking -
the son-of-a-bitch can play.
Wish I could.
 
It’s been so long since
I picked up my guitar.
I used to be a musician.
It occupied my life some twelve years.
 
I started on a Kay -
cheapest piece-of-shit guitar
you have ever seen.
Made in Japan,
bought as a birthday gift
by my dear dead Nana
at South Shore Mall
in some chain store
for seventy-nine dollars, with amp
(which was little more
than a cardboard box
crammed with transistors,
covered in Tolex,
spitting razor blades
through an 8-inch speaker -
cheapest piece-of-shit amp
you have ever seen).
 
I learned how to play guitar
on that Kay
with its strings
three inches from the fretboard.
Talk about poor action!
 
(Action being the distance
from the bottom of the strings
to the top of the fretboard.
I used to know all that guitar talk.)
 
That Kay and I (and later, a Harmony)
learned from each other
through a Boss Distortion
and out the cardboard box:
“Dueling Banjos”;
“Happy Birthday”;
everything in the first Mel Bay book;
half of the second;
more Mel later on;
and:
“Stairway To Heaven”;
“Ticket to Ride”;
“I Should’ve Known Better”;
“Can’t Buy Me Love”;
“Substitute”;
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”;
“Take The Money And Run”;
“Can’t Get Enough of Your Love”;
plus all the hits of 1978.
I was in a cover band with
Billy, Tom and Vince.
What the HELL was I doing with them?
I met Billy because he lived
across the street from Glenn,
my best friend at the time.
Billy and I formed “Cobra”,
spray- painting a snake on
the bass drum with Krylon.
 
Our biggest gig was at a
Catholic Schoolgirl Dance
in Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s basement.
As close as I ever got
to feeling like my idol, Jimmy Page,
came when a girl from my block
who was a t the dance
(and on whom I had a wicked crush)
thought I could actually play.
The way she covered her mouth,
smiled,
pointed me out to her girlfriends,
giggled -
could she not believe
it was me behind that
Ibanez Les Paul copy?
 
White,
black binding,
bolt-on neck,
two Super 70 pickups,
gold hardware -
like Bill Nelson’s guitar
on the back cover of
“Axe Victim”.
Another birthday gift from Nana,
bought at Sam Ash
on Route 110.
I took off all the gold crap,
changed it to chrome.
It was a nice guitar -
good action,
nice sound -
made in the land
of the Rising Sun
but much better
than that fucking Kay -
piece-of-shit guitar.
 
On that Ibanez I learned:
“After Death”;
“You’re to Blame”;
“Welfare for the Rich”;
and many more
ditties for kitties,
playing Punk Rock
in Max’s Kansas City;
the Mudd Club;
Peppermint Lounge;
Club 57;
Danceteria;
Irving Plaza;
and
CBGB’s
too many fucking times.
 
I sold the Ibanez in ‘81,
to my next-door neighbor, Lenny
(sometimes I wish I hadn’t).
 
That same year I was at Music Land
on Wellwood Avenue
in Lindenhurst,
Long Island,
when a frantic woman
sailed in.
and laid a beat-up guitar case
on the counter.
There was a “Harley-Davidson #1”
irridescent sticker
on the lid
and inside -
inside
was a 1968 Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe.
 
It was in bad shape but still lovely.
Whomever owned it
routed it out for three humbuckers,
fucked with the wiring,
pulling out the volume and  tone pots,
replacing them with goddamn fucking switches.
Switches?!
Shithead!
 
Charlie listened to the sob story -
the woman had no money,
needed to sell the guitar quick
it being the only thing of value
her shithead boyfriend left behind.
 
Charlie  took pity,
gave her $200,
closed the case,
put it behind the counter.
 
No sooner was  the girl out the door,
cash in hand,
when I leaned over the counter
saying:
“Charlie, my man...”
See, Charlie WAS  my man -
I bought EVERYTHING from him:
cords
picks
Mel Bay books
capos
slides
an amp
and God-knows-what else.
 
Charlie and I were friends, almost.
Whenever I came in
to see what was new
we’d chat, joke, swap  stories.
That’s why I had no problem saying:
“Charlie, sell it to me.”
Don’t ask me how
but I had $300 on me.
 
Charlie answered:
“I don’t know, Chris...”
“C’mon, man...” I implored.
“I should wait until Mike gets here.”
Charlie mumbled.
 
Mike owned the place and was a prick.
 
“Charlie, I got the money in my pocket
RIGHT NOW!”
“Yeah?”
“Yeah.”
“I’ll give you $225 for it.
You’ll make $25.
Look - it’s all beat up!”
And it was.
The top was pitted and gouged,
the gold-flake had turned to green,
like it does
when the copper in the flake
becomes exposed to air.
 
Charlie looked at the guitar,
said:
“I don’t know...”
I could’ve killed him.
“C’mon, man - I need a good guitar.”
Charlie, finally moved, said:
“Okay.”
 
Then all was fast motion -
hand
pocket
money
count
$225
pass
Charlie
count
$225
register
receipt
pass
Chris
guitar
case
counter
handle
door
waving
“Bye Charlie!”
hand
pocket
keys
car
door
open
case
backseat.
1971 Plymouth Satellite
383 rockets me away
tires spinning,
head spinning,
checking backseat -
still there -
fucking guitar is still there.
 
I get home,
call Alex,
say:
“You’ll never believe this...”
Two weeks later he comes over.
We strip her down.
Debbie
I named her Debbie -
We took her apart,
had her painted blue metalflake,
put her back together
and I learned:
“Murderers in Blue”
“Touch Me”
“Mary Baker Eddy”
“Burn Trees”
and more, their names forgotten.
 
Then under the bed
went Debbie,
me above,
every night asking:
“What happened?”
When did it go away?
This need to play?
To get the damn thing out
and make a racket?
I told a friend -
a guitar player, a good one -
of my distress.
“Jim,” I said,
“I don’t really play anymore.”
“You have other outlets now.”
he answered.
Shit.
I have other outlets now.
 
I’m writing this now
when I could be strumming Debbie.
But my hands know this keyboard
too well
and stumble around Debbie
like we never met,
clumsy,
punch-drunk -
in the fight once too often.

Artist Track Year Format
Hearty Chris T. White  Aerial View Intro 2015   Options 2015  MP3 
Upcoming Events
Another Piece in The Weeklings
More of my writing from this newsletter will be appearing on the website The Weeklings (they previously published Bring It On Home). On October 2nd (the date of my foot surgery!), look for The Other Chris. Thanks to their Editor, Janet Steen, for the support!
Pencil Me In
Thanks to everyone who came out to see my wife Janet Tsakis during the Pencil Me In opening at the Monmouth Museum this past Friday night.

Janet gives an Artist Talk Wed., Oct. 7, 7 - 8 pm and the show has been extended until Nov. 1. Go see it if you haven't.
Obligatory Throwback Pic
Right after Debbie got painted, 1983.
Yes, I've run this before.
Yes, that grout could use some cleaning.
How To Hear Aerial View
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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member    Tue. 9/22/15 9:12pm Aaron in Minneapolis:

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