Photo by Marilyn Stringer
July 17, 2014 - Picnic Time
When you’ve been behaving song professionally for scarcely 50 years, you’re not going to remember each gig. Or even many of them.
But Southern California bluesman Rod Piazza can still remember his initial Philly-area uncover with his rope a Mighty Flyers, a Tuesday night in May 1982 during a Alibi Roadhouse in Levittown.
The eminent harmonica actor and thespian had shaped a Mighty Flyers only dual years earlier, though a miss of knowledge didn’t stop a comparatively immature rope from delivering what a Bucks County Blues Society ranks as a sixth-greatest uncover of a organization’s initial 10 years.
“Rod’s harp personification was illusory … and Honey Alexander’s overwhelming piano work was some of a best we ever heard,” reads a outline on a BCBS website.
“I can remember a few of a songs we played, and station outward articulate to another harmonica player, Steve Guyger, who we met that night,” Piazza says in a write review from his home in Riverside County, California. “I only remember all going unequivocally good. It was one of a best gigs on that sold tour, one of a many fun.”
More than 30 years later, Piazza stays a BCBS favorite. He and a Mighty Flyers will title a organization’s 32nd annual RB Picnic Saturday during Snipes Farm in Falls.
It will be a second time a Mighty Flyers, four-time winners of Blues Band of a Year during a Blues Music Awards, have headlined a cruise (1991) and their initial BCBS coming given a 2005 Halloween show.
Piazza, 66, is furloughed behind his 19th manuscript with a Mighty Flyers, “Emergency Situation,” a raucous, foot-stomping collection of harmonica-driven covers and originals.
The 11-track album, Piazza’s initial on acclaimed blues tag Blind Pig Records given 2004’s “Keepin’ It Real,” was engineered by associate musician Kelly McGuire, a longtime crony who Piazza had never worked with to this border before.
“I had a few doubts about this record,” Piazza acknowledges. “I used a new studio closer to my home and we hadn’t unequivocally worked (with McGuire), other than him using sound for a few of my gigs. He had finished a lot of annals for people that were not indispensably my bag, though it incited out he substantially had a best set of ears of any of a engineers I’ve worked with.
“I was totally pumped when we got a final brew and master. It was improved all a approach around than a final 4 or 5 I’ve done. we was so ill of pushing to Los Angeles after 50 years of doing this that we wanted to try something closer to home — and it incited out great.”
Audience members who have seen a Mighty Flyers in unison know a rope will broach a new material, as good as a old, with a heading aptitude and intensity. The latest incarnation of a organisation facilities Honey Piazza (Rod’s mother given 1989) on keyboards, Henry Carvajal on guitar, David Kida on drums and Norm Gonzales on bass.
“The pivotal to building a career this prolonged has been personification shows where people don’t leave after a initial set,” Piazza says. “So many acts, even a good ones, after 3 songs, you’ve listened it all. With a Mighty Flyers, we wish people who hang all night to see something opposite in a second set, something some-more than what they’ve already seen.
“I grew adult personification with these comparison black guys, and what we schooled from them was it wasn’t only about personification a instrument; it was about putting on a uncover for people, interesting them. People should come to a shows prepared to have a good time, since that’s what we give them.”
Piazza, who knew he wanted to play song for a vital from a time he was a boy, started as a guitarist though “my initial organisation in ’64 or ’65 had dual guys personification guitar who were improved than me and they told me to only blow harp. we never picked adult a guitar again.”
He shaped his initial group, a Dirty Blues Band, in a mid-’60s and by a finish of a decade had teamed adult with longtime coach and former Muddy Waters rope member George “Harmonica” Smith in a double-harmonica outfit Bacon Fat. He began his solo career in 1973 with a assistance of pianist Honey Alexander (his destiny wife).
He was always intrigued by a sound of a harmonica and a intensity to get so most song from this “cheap small tin instrument.” He compared it to training how to spin slabs of pigs’ ribs into a tasty beef — a ability in that he also prides himself.
“Amplified harmonica is this really addicting thing that we tumble into,” he says. “The query to try to grasp this tinge that guys before we have finished is something so rewarding and nonetheless mysterious.
“I consider it’s a same as with a chunk of ribs from a pig that nobody wanted and training how to fume it for 6 or 8 hours and creation it a best beef you’d ever wish to eat. To me, it’s a same path. You’re holding something that seems so meager, or whatever a word would be, and formulating something where people wonder, ‘what a ruin is that?’ “
Like many maestro musicians, a rigors of a highway have taken their fee on Piazza. But his passion for behaving is as clever as ever.
“What’s tough during my age is a roving — going to LAX and removing on an aeroplane sucks. we hatred it,” he says. “But once I’m onstage during a gig, we adore it. As prolonged as a sound is good, it’s always a good time.
“I like saying people in a throng who don’t know what they’re in for, generally during a festival where they’ve never seen we before. we like creation translates — that’s always cold … saying a immature people with adequate essence to collect adult on what we’re doing.”