Category: The Gig List

Remembering Paul Williams [05.19.48-03.27.13]

Remembering Paul Williams [05.19.48-03.27.13]
by Jon Kanis

If you would like to read my feature article on Paul Williams for the San Diego Troubadour magazine you can go to this link here.

What follows below is my eulogy from the memorial in Carlsbad, CA on 04.07.13…

First of all, I want to express my sincere condolences to all of Paul’s family, particularly Cindy Lee and Alexander, Kenta, Taiyo, Eric & Heather and to all of Paul’s friends throughout the world, because there are so many people who were touched by Paul’s incredible zeal and how he expressed the creative principle through his thoughtful and passionate words and actions.

I believe that Paul thought this trip was largely about communication – in order to create communion. One of the thoughts that he committed to paper, and made an example of his life was that: “The only way to enjoy the show, to enjoy life, is to be a participant. Perhaps it’s the people who think they’re spectators who spread the idea that all pleasure must be paid for. Don’t pay for anything – life is free.” Not exactly what you would call the thinking of a free-market capitalist…

I believe that part of the beauty of Paul’s words are that they offer a window into a period of personal and collective history as well as offering a glimpse into the possibilities. The timelessness of Paul’s words are beautiful in that you didn’t have to experience them in his time in order to be enriched by what he put down on the page. His words are an evocation and an invitation of how to see, how to think – of how to simply BE. His words tick off the possibilities and suggest that if you’re willing to take action and responsibility for your personal vision that you can change yourself and, by doing so subsequently change the world. This is what the highest forms of art do. The best art is inspirational and infuses you with the notion that anything is possible, that you can reinvent yourself at ANY moment. So why not now? What are you waiting for? You won’t get a second chance to make the most of this moment. Words can wound and words can heal and words can open doors, move mountains and create universes. Being bold and courageous you can do anything. So, get cracking kid. Over the years those were the types of sentiments I heard Paul express time and again, provocative ideas that could be found throughout all his work but particularly bubbling under in the Billboard Hot 100 in his classic, unclassifiable book Das Energi.

I also believe in the law of magnetism and the principle that “like” does indeed attract “like,” which perhaps accounts for how I found myself on June 9th, 1986 sitting on a couch in University Heights talking about the great, lost Beach Boys album SMiLE with Paul. I came prepared to our get together by bringing a bootleg copy of SMiLE on cassette for Paul and in appreciation for the gift he whipped out his 1979 book Dylan – What Happened? [which contains the glorious subtitle: How and why did Bob Dylan become a born-again Christian?] – signed it and handed it to me. I was only 21 at the time but already a fan of Paul’s work and of the opinion that his writing regarding the mysterious power and spiritual sway of what we call rock and roll is as substantive and significant as the very sounds that inspired him to write in the first place. With Paul you could look him in the eye and know that you had a confidant who held a paradigm-shifting secret that he was dying to share with the world. He was endowed with a compassionate fervor that wanted to hip everyone to the awareness that music could expand your consciousness and had the power heal your soul and affirm the beauty of existence. Read his musings regarding The Rolling Stones song “The Last Time” and you’ll quickly understand how music wasn’t just a pastime or background noise, that it was no less than Existence Itself: “We’re talking holy noise here, sacred writ.” A great 45 rpm record could contain “sex and death and humor and an attitude and a great beat and guitar piano vocal orchestral rock and roll music to die for.” Jeez, no wonder I loved the guy…

A mutual friend introduced us when I happened to have an extra ticket that I passed along to Paul for the inaugural date of a 41-city North American tour by Bob Dylan, who was touring at the time with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. I had never seen Bob Dylan before and by the time the week was over I went to hyper-drive by experiencing four spectacular shows with Paul in San Diego, Berkeley and two nights in Costa Mesa. Over the next decade I would see Dylan another 30 times and the frequent post-concert ritual would find me and many other aficionados sharing notes with Paul about which songs were played and how well the evening came off. Most times I witnessed Paul in what seemed to be a state of ecstasy after seeing Dylan play. His enthusiasm was absolutely contagious and I came to share his conviction that apart from his talents as a writer that Bob Dylan was one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.

Paul was a spiritual brother in every sense of the word. While it was music, music, music that brought us together I also learned a great deal about Zen philosophy, astrology and the Book Of Changes, the I Ching from Paul. He was the first person I ever saw throw a hexagram when grappling with the uncertainty about how to handle a particular problem. He was an old school hippie, a wise magician, a science-fiction geek with nerd glasses and he knew how to use words as a divination tool. You ended up hearing music differently after Paul’s sensibilities had zig-zagged through your skull and astonishing pictures could emerge from the previously unconnected dots that Paul’s prose drew together, turning your mirror maze of a mind into a cultural playground as profound as the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel.

Once in awhile I would get a postcard from Paul when he was out in the world traveling. One card dated March 13th, 1995, sent from Prague reads: “Totally in love with this city – 5 days not enough! Wallet stolen but I don’t care – Dylan reinventing self by putting down his guitar – he always surprises! Love, Paul”

I was hanging out with Paul the night that we heard Nico had passed away from a freakish bike accident in Ibiza in July of 1988. Paul got extremely upset by the news and slammed his fists into his into his knees crying out “No! No!” and fired off a few choice expletives to express his anger and sadness. That visceral response was exactly how I felt when I received the news around Paul’s own bicycle accident in April 1995 and after visiting Paul in the hospital a couple of weeks after the accident with Cindy Lee I was stunned by how quickly things change on a dime. I am grateful for the generosity of Paul’s spirit and that I was privileged to bear witness to many of the times that his generosity bore fruit by putting his love out into the world. He is definitely missed and yet his ideas will be perpetually with us and I am delighted that we got to share a little bit of space and time in this lifetime and I look to meeting up again in the next. Thanks Paul for making a difference in the world. There isn’t a better way to make use of this slice of eternity that each one of us has.

Jon Kanis, Unplugged Festival on Adams Avenue, Dimille’s, San Diego, CA [04.27.13]

Jon Kanis, Unplugged Festival on Adams Avenue, Dimille’s, San Diego, CA [04.27.13]

Good times at the second annual Unplugged Festival on Adams Avenue. I was booked on the Dimille’s stage and played for 65 minutes. Good times. Thanks to Kent for the booking and to Scott Kessler for speaking with me for my feature on Uncovering The Roots Of The Unplugged Festival in The San Diego Troubadour.

1) Tangled Up In Blue
) Arlington
3) Jimmy Burke The Newsboy
4) Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy
5) Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?
6) I Love You More Than Words Could Ever Say
7) Valentine’s Day On Planet Xena/Think It Over
8) It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

9) Follow Up
10) Below The Fold
11) Give
) Visions Of Johanna
13) Five O’Clock World
14) Quick!
) Like A Rolling Stone

Fish Party XXX with Listening To Rocks, Sue Palmer & her Motel Orchestra, the Tighten Ups, The Amanda Waggner Band, the Kensington Club, San Diego, CA [03.03.13]

Fish Party XXX with Listening To Rocks, Sue Palmer & her Motel Orchestra, the Tighten Ups, The Amanda Waggner Band, the Kensington Club, San Diego, CA [03.03.13]

Happy 50th birthday to Laura Jane Wilcox! You are awesome baby!

1) Hello There
) Think It Over
3) I Didn’t Ask For This
4) I Love You More Than Words Could Ever Say
5) Come Correct
6) Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?
7) Doorbell
8) Below The Fold
9) Song For Sharing

10) Wail

Listening To Rocks is Roger Morrison [electric guitar, vocals], Brad Smith [drums] and Jon Kanis [electric bass, vocals].

The Best Gig Of My Life (So Far)

As best as I can remember, this is my favorite gig so far in 30+ years. 25+ hours with a Goddess on Sky Street.

1) Jimmy Burke The Newsboy
2) Below The Fold
3) Quick!
4) Five O’Clock World
5) It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
) I’ve Just Seen A Face
7) The Wind Cries Mary
8) [The Human] Race [Is A] Riot
9) Merry-Go-Round
) We Can Work It Out
11) What You Give
12) Night Moves
13) Beautiful Loser

14) Maybe You’re Right
) Next To You
) Solicitude
17) Don’t Stand There
18) So You Think You’re In Love
19) The Daily Planet
20) Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?
21) 23 Skidoo! [the hot wheels song]
22) Cosmic Mirror/Cosmic Mate
23) Look Away, Johnny Stash
24) Visions Of Johanna
25) You’re Gonna Lose That Girl
26) Surrender
27) All I Gotta Do

The San Diego Troubadour Holiday Party, Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, San Diego, CA [12.22.12]

The San Diego Troubadour Holiday Party, Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, San Diego, CA [12.22.12]

It is the eleventh anniversary for The San Diego Troubadour magazine and Saturday evening they had their tenth annual holiday party at the Queen Bee Art & Cultural Center on Ohio Street in North Park. The party has become such a popular tradition amongst the local musical community that it has grown too big to be housed at Kent Johnson & Liz Abbott’s residence any longer and this is the second year that they had to go outside of their home to host. It was my great pleasure to act as Master of Ceremonies and to stage manage the open mic on the main stage where we seamlessly managed to usher on and off thirty-six different musical acts between 6:15 and 11:00 PM.

My thanks to Liz & Kent for hosting the party of the year and to Alma and her staff at Queen Bee (especially Papa Shawn behind the soundboard and his awesome assistant). Thirty-six acts in less than five hours…once you do the math it adds up. This night was special for many reasons. A thousand acts of gratitude for being introduced to the Foregone Francesca and being whisked away to Planet Xena for the very first time. One world ends and a new one begins. Happy holidays and I can’t wait for the next party in 2013. Peace everyone!

1) Jon Kanis
2) Ensemble Les Femmes
3) Eddie The Blade
4) Bass Clef Experiment [Mike Alvarez, Greg Gode]
5) The Lacemakers [Miss Darla, Kim Donaldson, Heloise Love + percussionist]
6) Jackie Austin Singer & Mich Fritzpuhing
7) Wood ‘N’ Lips [Tim Woods, Bari Zwirn, Gregory Gross]
8) Coco & Lief [with their Christmas Beagle]
9) Beird & Silva [Tom Beird, David Silva]
10) Bob Pruitt [with Ric Lee on drums]
11) Jim Wakefield
12) Liz Abbott & Kent Johnson
13) Steve Anderson
14) Peter Filacio [with Steve Anderson]
15) Paul And Tiffany
16) Cindy Lee Berryhill & Alexander Berryhill-Williams
17) Lou & Virginia Curtiss
18) Oak Palace
19) Alan Ladd with Annie Rennick
20) Chris Carpenter
21) Carl Durant
22) Jeff Boyer
23) Podunk Nowhere
24) The Comeuppance
25) Skid Roper & His Mandolin [with Ric Lee on drums]
26) Hugh Gaskins
27) Sweet Joyce Anne with Annie Rennick
28) Dusty & Indian Joe [with Floyd on violin and Ric Lee on drums]
29) Jeffrey Joe
30) Rusty Jones
31) The Panache Orchestra [with Ric Lee on drums]
32) Jeff Lee
33) Cowboy Jack
34) Raelee Nikole
35) Happy Ron Hill
36) Finale with Jon Kanis, Kent Johnson & Ric Lee

Jefferson Jay Band, Destructo Bunny, Neo Pangea, Looness, Southern Cumford, Winston’s, San Diego, CA [12.20.12]

The Jefferson Jay Band, Destructo Bunny, Neo Pangea, Looness, Southern Cumford, Winston’s, San Diego, CA [12.20.12]

Last night I played my second show with Jefferson Jay and Leanne Pearl and had a really great time. We played a tight forty-five minute set at Ocean Beach’s legendary Winston’s club…my first time in 30 years of playing on it’s fabled stage. The sound was okay/so-so but the musical vibe and all the people out on the dance floor shaking their arms, legs and tails more than made up for the mix. A really great time and I was happy to bring in the day of Winter Solstice at midnight on stage with Destructo Bunny doing some guest rapping on the tunes “Avalon” & “Running Out Of Time” and our guest vocalist Barbara Tolbert on “The Greens Of Mind.” Big thanks to Destructo Bunny for inviting us to play, all the other hip hop rappers that we shared the bill with, Mike behind the bar, our sound guy with the Santa hat and Layne for witnessing the spectacle and trekking me back to Golden Hill. Good times for everyone. Happy Solstice baby. See ya at our next gig.

1) February
2) The Next Great Escape
3) Begin Believin’ Today
4) Every Day’s Time
5) Hallelujah Expressway
6) Gypsy Roll/Avalon [with freestyle rapping from Destructo Bunny]
7) Time Won’t Pass Me By
8) The Greens Of Mind [with guest vocalist Barbara Tolbert]
9) Standing In The End
10) Running Out Of Time [with freestyle rapping at midnight from Destructo Bunny]
11) P.S. It’s You

The Jefferson Jay Band is: Jefferson Jay [guitar, vocals], Jon Kanis [electric bass], Leanne Pearl [drums, percussion]


Jefferson Jay Band, Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market, San Diego, CA [11.28.12]

The Jefferson Jay Band, Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market, San Diego, CA [11.28.12]

Last night I made my debut playing electric Fender bass with Jefferson Jay and Leanne Pearl as we rocked out an 18 song set and played for 80 minutes on the corner of Newport and Bacon. If you’ve ever been to OB then you know what to expect: funky beach folks who know how to have a good time. There were people dancing in the street, others hanging about, Christmas shoppers, you name it. One guy insisted on playing harmonica with us throughout the entire set. That’s cool. And another guy named Tony kept flinging these glow in the dark plastic copters toys way up into the black sky and we kept watching them float back down to Earth every 30 seconds or so. Pyrotechnics OB style. I had a blast and look forward to more gigs in the future and getting down to the business of recording Jefferson’s sixth CD, which will be available by springtime 2013. See ya at the next gig.

1) Begin Believin’ Today
2) Gypsy Roll/Avalon [with freestyle rapping from Destructo Bunny]
3) I Am The You And The Me
4) Time Won’t Pass Me By
5) Hallelujah Expressway
6) Us Against The World
7) Standing In The End
8) Every Day’s Time
9) Good Graces
10) Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
11) February
12) Killing’s Wrong
13) P.S. It’s You
14) Do You Feel Free?
15) April
16) For Life
17) Dalai Lama, Cadillac And Rivers On The Radio
18) Running Out Of Time

The Jefferson Jay Band is: Jefferson Jay [guitar, vocals], Jon Kanis [electric bass], Leanne Pearl [drums, percussion]

Peter Gabriel, Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA [10.08.12]

Peter Gabriel is a class act and he proved it time and again last night at the Valley View Casino Center where is he out celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 1986 masterpiece So. Gabriel reassembled the same group of musicians that made that LP such a commercial and artistic success and with a stage dominated with artistic props, inventive lighting and surrealistic uses of digital projection the entire production is the very definition of what an arena rock experience ought to be. A vision such as Gabriel’s is too large and too spectacular to be staged in a club or a bar setting and Gabriel’s songs and his art school upbringing have matured into a vision that is pretty much unmatched in the world of “rock music,” if you want to call what he does “rock.”

Gabriel’s amazing band played through three sets of incredibly tight, passionate music with the first section played acoustically with the house lights up. In the middle of “Family Snapshot” the lights suddenly went down, the sound went up many dBs and that immediate surge of adrenaline and electricity stayed in the air until the last notes of “Biko” rang out as each member of the band left the stage one-by-one. After a generous display of energy for two and a half hours Gabriel’s parting words to the audience: “Now you seen what can be done. The rest is up to you.” With that he turned the microphone away from himself and towards the crowd and left without fanfare. Like I said, Peter Gabriel is a class act.

Also, the beautiful and talented Jennie Abrahamson opened the evening with four of her own songs at the piano with fellow vocalist Linnea Olson accompanying her on cello. Ethereal pop from Sweden, she is worth further investigation. Kudos to Gabriel for sharing the stage with her.

1) O But
2) Come Talk To Me
3) Shock The Monkey
4) Family Snapshot

Electronic [with the full band]:
5) Digging In The Dirt
6) Secret World
7) The Family And The Fishing Net
8) No Self Control
9) Solsbury Hill
10) Humdrum

11) Red Rain
12) Sledgehammer
13) Don’t Give Up
14) That Voice Again
15) Mercy Street
16) Big Time
17) We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)
18) This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)
19) In Your Eyes

20) The Tower That Ate People
21) Biko

The band:
Peter Gabriel [lead vocals, piano, keyboards, percussion], Tony Levin [bass, vocals], Manu Katché [drums, percussion], David Sancious [keyboard, piano, guitar], David Rhodes [guitars], Jennie Abrahamson [vocals], Linnea Olsson [vocals]. Jennie and Lennea also opened the program with four compositions with Jennie on piano and vocals, Lennea on cello and vocals.

Listening To Rocks, Stone Soldiers, The Cactus 5 at The Ruby Room, San Diego, CA [08.26.12]

On Sunday, August 26th it was my forty-eighth birthday and to celebrate the occasion I had the privilege of playing a wailing 14-song set with Roger Morrison and Brad Smith, the other two-thirds of Listening To Rocks. A historic night and only the second time that we’ve taken the stage together during the calendar year of 2012. After this gig we decided that we are going back into Chaos Recording with Christopher Hoffee and recording another six originals…three of Roger’s compositions and three of mine. I can’t wait. In the meantime we managed to help raise some money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which was organized by Lynda Webb West of the band Useless Rhetoric.  Ryan behind the bar @ The Ruby Room was awesome with our entire party and it was marvelous seeing some of my favorite people in the world [including Teresa, LJ, Dirk & Katy, Christine & Monique, Rob & Trish, Jefferson, Rebecca & Ben, Brooke]. Long live LTR!

1) Hello There
2) Doorbell
3) Think It Over
4) So Glad
5) Below The Fold
6) I Didn’t Ask For This
7) Come Correct
8) [The Human] Race [Is A] Riot
9) Kiss Me Again
10) Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?
11) Capitalist Plot
12) Surrender
13) Wail
14) Goodnight Now

Peter Case, Dead Rock West, Jon Kanis @ Java Joe’s, San Diego, CA [08.04.12]

1st Set: Jon Kanis

1) Think It Over
2) Where Is Joe Strummer When You Need Him?
3) Follow Up [with a reading of Visions At Java Joe’s poem]
4) Below The Fold
5) Cosmic Mirror/Cosmic Mate
6) 23 Skidoo [the hot wheels song]
7) Quick!

2nd Set: Dead Rock West with Peter Case

3rd Set: Peter Case

1) House Rent Jump
2) Million Dollars Bail
3) Bumble Bee
4) Underneath The Stars
5) A Whiter Shade Of Pale
6) Flying On The Ground Is Wrong
7) Not A Second Time
8) Pledging My Time
9) May This Be Love [switch to acoustic 12-string…]
10) Broke Down Engine
11) We’ll All Meet Again At The End Of The Long Good Time
12) Words Of Red
13) House Rent Party
14) When You Find Out [back to the electric for…]
15) First Light [with I-Feel-Like-I’m Fixin’-To-Die]