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Bill Janovitz – My Funny Valentine

Posted in Bill Janovitz, Buffalo Tom on October 25th 2012 by Randy Reichardt

Bill Janovitz, El Capitan of Buffalo Tom, of my my all-time favorite bands, sings My Funny Valentine with the Rusty Scott Quartet, 18 October 2012, Redstar Union, Cambridge MA.

Buffalo Tom and Friends at Brighton Music Hall, Allston MA, 27 November 2011

Posted in Bill Janovitz, Buffalo Tom, Chris Colbourne, Tom Maginnis on November 28th 2011 by Randy Reichardt

.: A few photos from the Buffalo Tom 25th Anniversary weekend at Brighton Music Hall, Allston MA, 27 November 2011.  Guests included Aurore Ounjian and Chris Keene of Mean Creek, Mike Gent of The Figgs, Mike O’Malley (Glee), and Tanya Donnelly of Throwing Muses and Belly.


Posted in Buffalo Tom on June 28th 2010 by Randy Reichardt

.: As noted previously, I have been on the road a lot since mid-May.  My trip to New York was from 15-25 May 2010.  I went to attend a two-day board meeting at Knovel, and spent the remainder of my time hanging out.  The major highlight was seeing Buffalo Tom, finally, at last!, on two successive nights.  Many of you know Buff Tom is one of my all-time favourite bands, having influenced me musically for two decades.  I became a Facebook “friend” with Bill Janovitz, the El Capitan of the group, in 2007, and also have been following and contributing comments to his brilliant blog, Part Time Man of Rock.

On Thursday, 20 May 2010, I saw them perform a three-song set as part of the Cabinet of Wonders evening, hosted by John Wesley Harding.  Afterwards I met Bill, Chris and Tom, and had a marvellous time talking with them about their music and its impact on me.  Meeting Bill, especially, was a dream come true.  I know I sound like a gushing fanboy, but this is a band that has always treated its fans with respect and dignity, and meeting them personally only solidified that belief for me.  Bill’s blog is incredible – he was recorded over 80 “Cover of the Week” tunes in the past 20 months or so, enough material to fill 6 albums at least – and always provides a fascinating backstory.  Anyway, The Boys were gracious and kind to me, and I left with my friend Amy, feeling like a million bucks.

Me and Tom Maginnis, Bill Janovitz, and Chris Colbourn, at (le) poisson rouge, NYC, 20 May 2010.

The next night, I saw Buffalo Tom play two full shows at The Mercury Lounge.  This was the night I’d been waiting for for two decades, having never seen them perform a full electric show.  I was able to stand close to the stage for both shows, which were not the same (check set lists here and here).  I met some other Buff T fans with whom I’d interacted via Bill’s Facebook page, and after the first show, two of them took me to the legendary Katz’s Delicatessen, where I enjoyed a pastrami on rye and good company.  We then returned to the Mercury for the second show.  A wonderful, memorable evening.  I also finally met Danny DeBruin, an old friend of Bill’s, who has just released his first comic strip novel, I Am Stu Pitt.  I’m looking forward to receiving a copy in the mail soon.

.: I’ll return to more trip coverage soon, but wanted to make note of today’s date, 28 June 2010.  It’s my 57th birthday, and while I lament getting older, I’m grateful for the love and support of so many friends, colleagues, and family at this time of year, and all year round of course.  But on my birthday, I do tend to reflect a bit on what’s happened in my life to date, and to give thanks for the many blessings surrounding me on a daily basis.  So thanks to all who contribute to that warm and fuzzy feeling tonight.

Silver’s More Pretty Than Gold

Posted in Buffalo Tom, NYC on May 16th 2010 by Randy Reichardt

.: I’m in NYC, arrived yesterday, and will be here until Tuesday, 25 May 2010.  I have meetings with the Knovel Library Advisory Board on 20-21 May  It’s probably my longest trip ever, and by my calculations, the 19th or 20th time I’ve been here.  I’m once again staying in a tiny one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side, off York Avenue.  I have a ticket to see God of Carnage on Wednesday afternoon, and tickets to the Cabinet of Wonders show on the 20th (featuring Buffalo Tom, Janeane Garofalo, and others), and then the full Buffalo Tom show on Friday, 21 May 2010.  I’ve never seen Buffalo Tom live, and this band is one of my all-time favorites, ever.  So I’m predictably excited about these two shows.

Some weeks ago, I received a package from Delta Airlines.  I was already a member of the Delta SkyMiles program, but in the package was a new SkyMiles card, and luggage tags, each designated with “Silver Medallion” status.  Apparently this is a status one reaches after flying a certain number of miles – in my case, 25,000.  I was not aware of the benefits until I arrived at the Edmonton International Airport on Friday, 14 May 2010.  Once there, I was advised that the maximum weight on each piece of my luggage bag was now 70 lbs instead of 50 lbs; also, I no longer have to pay a luggage fee.  Additionally, I can check in at an airport in the “fast lane”, so to speak.  Once I’d checked in, I went to clear US Customs, and because I have Nexus status (Trusted Traveller), I was able to bypass the lineup of 50-75 passengers waiting in line and go straight to a Nexus machine.  Once there, the machine does an iris scan, I answer a couple questions, and the machine prints a card.  I turned and waited, and the next available US Immigration officer waved me over, looked at my documents and that was that.  Next, I proceeded towards the lengthy security lines, only to be met by another uniformed staff person who asked me if I was Nexus.  I said yes, and he directed me to a much shorter security line!  Sweet.

Taytum, me, and Terra, with Minnehaha Falls in the background.

The Delta flight to Minneapolis was on a Canadair Regional Jet 900, one of the sardine cans that Delta used to replace the larger, much more comfortable ones previously flown when Northwest Airlines flew the route, before it was bought by Delta.  It’s more uncomfortable if you end up sitting next to, well, a large person, and that’s what happened to me on that flight.  Anyway, later in the day in Minneapolis, while I was visiting the lovely Rhoades family, I checked in online for my NYC flight, only to discover I’d been bumped up to First Class.  Apparently when you have Medallion status, if there are empty seats in First Class, you are automatically moved into that section.  All these perks – who knew?

I was spoiled on the flight to New York – free meal, red wine, nice big seat.  My only complaint was that I ended up behind someone who moved their seat back as far as possible, making it somewhat difficult to watch Sanctuary on my computer.   Then when went to retrieve my luggage, it appeared amongst the first few bags, with a special tag on it because of my Medallion status.

Today in NYC it was sunny with moderate temperatures.  I didn’t venture far from the apartment, just went for an early afternoon breakfast at The Barking Dog (had the spinach, potato and dill pancakes, with poached eggs, salmon caviar and crème fraiche), and eventually had a latte at Starbucks and read some of the NYTimes.  A totally lazy day.  Tomorrow evening, dinner with the Dillons!

Bill Janovitz and the Cover(s) of the Week

Posted in Bill Janovitz, Bll Janovitz and Crown Victoria, Buffalo Tom, Chris Toppin, Cover of the Week, Show People on January 20th 2009 by Randy Reichardt

.: Those who have known me for years and who are aware of my musical tastes (like my brother Chris and friends Derryl and Taras) also know that one of my favorite bands at any time is Buffalo Tom of Boston.  I first heard Buff Tom when I bought the No Alternative album in the early 90s.  The song “For All To See” is on that record, and when I heard it for the first time, I was hooked on BT for life.  I had to hear more, and have been a loyal fan ever since that first listening.

Bill Janovitz is the guitarist and “El Capitan” of BT.  In addition to the BT catalogue, he has also released two solo albums, an album called Fireworks on TV with his group, Bill Janovitz and Crown Victoria, and an album with Chris Toppin under the name Show People.  The entire body of his work to date is a creative and unique mix of sounds and styles and always feels like the real thing – raw, honest music from the heart, tunes that get stuck in your head for days.

I mention all of this because I want to direct your attention to Bill’s blog, The Life and Times of Bill Janovitz, Part Time Man of Rock, and his new and ongoing project, Cover of the Week, in which Bill has been recording some of his favorite cover tunes and posting them to his site for his fans to enjoy and download.  In the first CotW, posted on 29 November 2008, Bill writes:

“I am undertaking an ambitious task, that is to record a cover song every week and offer it up here for your enjoyment, criticism, suggestions, tears, or laughter. I just feel like covering some of my favorite songs. The idea is an informal little pastime. I will not be fussing around with these. I just want to post some songs that I sit around the house playing.”

Whether or not you are aware of Bill and his many musical projects, please take the time to check out his Cover(s) of the Week.  Each tune is downloadable from his site, and as he adds more, he is creating a new and unique set of songs for those his of fans fortunate enough to have found his blog!  This is a rare treat from a creative bandleader and songwriter whose musical talents and work ethic I respect and admire greatly and try to emulate in my own musical life.  What he is doing is also inspring.  As an added bonus, each song is usually accompanied by an articulate and very interesting back story.

So thanks Bill, and to my friends who read this blog, please check Bill’s site and listen to his readings from a very interesting and expanding set of great cover tunes.  Oh, and my favorite CotW so far is #5, Bill’s version of In A Misty Morning, from Gene Clark‘s second solo album, Roadmaster.  Clark was one of the founding members of The Byrds.

Jaw Breaker

Posted in Buffalo Tom, Family, Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys, Hurtin' Unit on July 29th 2007 by Randy Reichardt

.: My holidays are coming to an end. I’ve been off for two weeks, choosing to stay in Edmonton and keep a relatively low profile. Last weekend my parents visited for three days, and we had a great time. Friend joined us on Friday and Saturday for bbq’s, and on Sunday night my folks attended a band rehearsal so they could see and hear us play. My Dad took a number of photos with my Canon A630 camera, and you can see them here.

On Wednesday, I went to the dentist, ostensibly to have work done on the lower left second molar – the last tooth before the wisdom tooth. When I arrived at his office, he told me that because the lower left third molar – said wisdom tooth – was beginning to emerge from the gum and was visible, it had to be removed before he could begin the crown. I waited while his receptionist called the dental surgeon, assuming an appointment would be made for a later date. I was caught off-guard when she put the phone down and said to me, “Can you go today”? I thought for a moment and said, “I suppose so, sure.” Forty-five minutes later I was in the dental surgeon’s chair, and he was freezing me for the procedure. It didn’t take long, but it wasn’t much fun. I learned afterwards that he had to cut the gum open, and then break the tooth up in the jaw and extract it in pieces. I needed extra freezing four times. I left with a very sore jaw and a swollen face and lower gland that in total was quite uncomfortable. I was given prescriptions for two pain killers and one antibiotic. It took about 36 hours before I began to feel some relief, and the swelling started diminishing by Saturday.

I wasn’t aware the wisdom teeth are normally removed in one’s teenage years. Being considerably past that stage of my life, I can’t even begin to imagine what this experience would be like if I had to have four removed at once. Ugh.

BTW, I can report that I am really enjoying the new Buffalo Tom album, Three Easy Pieces.  It’s so good to have them making new music again.  And in this article, it is revealed that drummer Tom Maginnis works for EBSCO – good God, there’s a library connection between the band and I!  (Even weirder, Bill Janovitz sells real estate.)  I so love this band.