SMOKIN' JOE BONAMASSA

8/5/08: Michael Jensen is a longtime bigwig publicist whose clients include Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Graham Nash and an up and coming guitar player who may just make a name for himself some day…CARLOS SANTANA!!!!!!! Yep, Michael and I have worked together for years, many, many years, mainly on the countless opportunities I've been blessed to have to work with, talk to, see perform, have dinner with, and just enjoy the unforgettable and always magical company of one Carlos Santana.

But tonight I'm back at the historic Henry Fonda Theatre - site of my recent conversation with Mike Peters of The Alarm – to see a fantastic young blues guitar player named Joe Bonamassa. My history with "Smokin'" Joe goes all the way back to October 17, 1994 when I had the band Bloodline on Rockline for half a show. Joe, a well, smokin' hot blues-rock guitar player (think Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang or, dare I say, a baby Stevie Ray Vaughan!), was then just 17-years old and the lead guitarist for Bloodline and, appropriately - because of his band's name and, more importantly, his brilliant guitar playing - I booked Joe and Bloodline for a half a show with none other than THE blues legend, Rock and Roll hall of Famer Buddy Guy!!! Amazing how life is and how things fall into place…and how blessed my life has been! So, back to tonight's show at the Henry Fonda. My best friend, Mark Pinto joined me for the free fun, food, blues and booze, all courtesy of my friend, Michael Jensen.

OK, WOW!!! Joe was on fire, his guitar playing at times echoing Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and, yes, Buddy Guy. PLEASE do yourself a favor and catch this guy live ANY chance you get. I absolutely guarantee you will not be disappointed…or be able to stand still. Tune up your air guitar, cause you're gonna need it. I swear if you like guitar playing – GREAT blues-roc guitar playing – Joe Bonamassa is your MAN!
Right now, I need to back up for a minute before I move forward. When the lights went down and Joe and his band hit the stage, the first thing I said to Mark was, "Holy s*#t, that's Carmine on bass!" The Carmine I was referring to was Carmine Rojas, a brilliant bass player whose played with at least a couple of guys you might have heard of: David Bowie and for years, Rod Stewart! Carmine was responsible for one of the greatest nights of my life, and still a top 2 – OK, maybe THE top – night of my professional career. Years ago, Carmine, a longtime friend of mine, invited me to spend an entire night with Rod Stewart, hopping from club to club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. Me, the BIGGEST Rod Stewart fan EVER, got a chance to sit in a booth with Rod, sipping rum and cokes all night, listening to rock and roll at the House of Blues, at the Whisky, then next door at the Cat Club. People, I'm talking ROD STEWART! To this day, I call "Maggie May" the national anthem. Right, Nancy? It was truly a pinch me, then, OK, God, go ahead and take me, I'm done, moment!! Me…Rod…Carmine…hanging out ALL NIGHT…life is good!
OK, OK, I better wrap. So, after Joe's set, Michael hosted a cocktail party on the roof of the Henry Fonda, overlooking Hollywood Blvd. Carmine and I got caught up, Joe Bonamassa and I relived old times, and my friend Mark, well he did what he does best, he worked the room, baby! Mark is one in a million…Michael is one in a million….Carmine is one in a million…"Smokin'" Joe Bonamassa is one of a kind!

PS: Sorry Susan, I promise I'll try and write less!

Peace

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4 comments:

Susan S. said...

Hey Tio great job. I don't want you to write less, I want you write more often. You are very descriptive in your writing and that's what makes it worth the wait.
Susan

Jim Villanueva said...

Thank you...again! I know you want me to write more often and not less, and I promise - cross my heart - I'll try harder to do just that.

Next up, I'll tell you about Angie and me speaking last week at a journalism workshop at Long Beach State that, believe it or not is run by MY high school journalism teacher! What a crazy, beautiful life.

By the way, PLEASE tell me that you are telling ALL your friends, their friends, every family member, your neighbors, mailman, grocery store clerk and dog catcher to READ MY BLOG...and buy stuff on Amazon! ;-)

Peace,

Susan S. said...

I am very happy to be able to share such a great column (blog). I am also looking forward to hear about your experience with Angie. So is this teacher someone from our High School :).
love,
Susan S.

Jim Villanueva said...

Thank you...again! Yes, Konnie Krislock, Hawthorne High School journalism teacher who did the school newspaper and oversaw the yearbook.

Peace