Jim Guittard’s Place

February 16, 2003

Posted in Life by guittard on February 16, 2009

So it has been six years since an eventful night in my life.  I can still remember quite well.  I was living in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles at the time.  For three years, I was hitting the pavement in hopes of being a known musician.  But something knocked me down.

What knocked me down was a robbery.  It was in my Los Feliz apartment.  The place was ransacked and trashed and death threats were written all over the walls.  Why did it happen?    Because of shady contacts.  Yep!  Los Angeles has quite a bit.   The cops were called and the chips fell.

I was not in the apartment at the time of the robbery but had been there right before and left to go to a hotel in Pasadena because of a funny feeling.  I thought about taking my guitars but I didn’t and so three were stolen.  My apartment was broken into and a 12 String Guild acoustic, Electric Fender B-Bender and a Fender Jazz Bass were stolen. 

I was betrayed in a big way.  I now forgive the people that were responsible.  I never got the guitars back.  They may be around Los Angeles somewhere.  My Rickenbackers survived the robbery.  I guess they are a bit holy. 

It is good for you to be stripped of your possessions at times.  What is it anyway?  Property and meaningless.  I picked up my guitars again after recovering back in Texas from the whole ordeal.

 The door was busted open and it said something like “West Side Gangsters” written on the inside of the door.  Straight into the apartment ahead was my bedroom, the door was shut but hanging on the door was a note of some kind saying something like, “We know where you are and will kill you.”  My entrance was the second door on the lower level as the picture will show. 

Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California

los-feliz-los-angeles-california

 I remember rightfully being paranoid while inside and found a suspicious looking thing that I didn’t know what it was.  It almost looked like a handmade bomb.  I called the police out again and this was in 2003 you know and the cops came out with their dogs to see what it was.  It was nothing.  They taped off the whole street and I sat on a wall down the street and played like I knew nothing.  It was embarrassing.  Old ladies were being escorted across the street and I just said, “must be a terrorism scare or something” when people would ask what was going on.

So for a week, I stayed at the Westway Inn across from the Pasadena City College.  It was a new low and I wondered what to do next.  I had actually put a down payment down on a new apartment that was cheaper and in Van Nuys, California.  When I got on the phone with mom, she said it was time to come home.  I got a U-Haul and got out of there.   I maxed out my Discover Card and lost the deposit on the both apartments.  I hadn’t even moved into the second one.  Let’s just say I was depressed as everything.  

Back in Texas, I didn’t pursue charges.  It wasn’t worth it.  I had been through enough and so had the person I was trying to help.  God knows what happened and I let it go.  I think I made the right decision. 

The Pasadena Westway Inn

westway-inn-pasadena-california

 I wrote a song around this time about the thing I was dealing with.  It’s called “Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs.”  The song is country-rock and I was listening to a lot of Johnny Cash at the time so it came out this way. 

 Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs

The lyrics are:

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs

I woke up this morning half past two.
My only problem is where are you.
You ran off with another guy.
I don’t know why.

Confusion, Lies, Guns and Drugs. 2X

We’ve been through this many a time.
It’s starting to be a crime.
Give up the jerk with the gun.
Let’s have some fun.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

I just don’t know what you see in him.
It seems like it’s just a whim.
He doesn’t like you for who you are.
It’s just a game.

Confusion, Lies, Guns, and Drugs 2X

Ya gotta clear your mind, choose the Way.
It’ll be a brand new day.
Give up the junk and soon you’ll see.
I promise you.

No more confusion, lies, guns and drugs. 2X

Feel free to download my “California Daze” album for free that I did in 2002 here:
California Daze

Introducing the Ragas Art by Henry McGuinn

Posted in Music, The Arts by guittard on January 30, 2009

Here are some paintings done by Henry McGuinn.  They are quite colorful and much like the “Yellow Submarine” cartoon of the Beatles.  During that time, Henry and I watched the Yellow Submarine a thousand times.

Jim with 12-String Rickenbacker and Korg

jim-guittard-with-rickenbacker-by-henry-mcguinn

 The Ragas at Topanga Beach

the-ragas-playing-at-topanga-beach

 Jim Sleeps In Bush On PCH Near Malibu

jim-sleeps-in-bush

 The Car Chase

the-car-chase1

 3 of Clubs in Hollywood

jim-at-3-of-clubs

 Jim Drinking Stout for Breakfast at Neptune’s Lounge – Topanga Canyon

jim-at-neptunes-lounge

Thanks Henry.  The art is rad and really sums up my life in 2000.  Cheers.  Jim Guittard

Listen to a live show of the Ragas. 

The Ragas Live 2000

The Ragas Release Free Album

Posted in Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on June 3, 2008

Well I just wanted to let people know that Henry McGuinn and I have released an album on the free download site Jamendo.

The songs are from 2000 when we were establishing our band the Ragas in the beginnings of the Neo-Psychedelic scene in Hollywood.

I had enough foresight to let my 4-track roll. The tunes are pretty raw but I think captures the essense of the Ragas. We named our group the Ragas after sitar royalty Ravi Shankar and the style of raga rock music that the Beatles and the Byrds came up with.

Basically, Henry and I would jam tunes and record them and then trek out for Indian food on the Sunset Strip. It was fun times.

I hope you will download for free at:

The Ragas at Jamendo

All the Best,
Jim

I Am Releasing 2 Albums On Jamendo For Free

Posted in Music by guittard on May 19, 2008

2008 – “Busted In Bulgaria”

2002 – “California Daze”

“Busted In Bulgaria” is a collection of songs that document living in a strange land. During a two year period, the tracks were all recorded in a raw stripped down way on a laptop using Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs range from psychedelic, shoegaze, folk-rock to experimental. The album is full of sound effects to add a creative vibe. Some songs even have the actual sound from students in the Bulgarian school where I have taught English in Pernik. I also sing a handful of songs in the Bulgarian language.

“California Daze” was recorded in Hollywood, California around 2002 by me on my 4-track recorder and later mixed with Adobe Audition 2.0. The songs pay tribute to the birth of the Neo-Psychedelic scene that emerged beginning in 2000 in Silverlake, California with groups such as the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Quarter After, smallstone, the Warlocks, the Tyde, and the Belle Isle.

I play the shaker, drum machine, and sing all lead and background vocals with the help of friend Vladimir Maskov for bass. Brian McKay engineered the recording of the Beach the acoustic version. I also play all lead and rhythm guitars. The song Beach is co-written by myself and Dominic Campanella of the Quarter After.

The “Swing Tune” and “Jazz Tune” are instrumentals I wrote while attending the Musicians Institute from 1999 to 2000. Here I play the lead guitar with session bassist and drummer. On the rhythm guitar is a guy from Brazil named Reginaldo. He was a student with Jim at the school. You can hear the teacher, “Mr. Lupo Groinig” giving a critique after the instrumentals end.

2008 – Busted in Bulgaria

2008 - Busted in Bulgaria

2002 – California Daze

2002 - California Daze

Please download both albums for free:

Jim at Jamendo

Enjoy!

Flat People

Posted in Family, Good Music, Music by guittard on May 13, 2008

SAMPLE Press Articles
Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Nothing “Flat” About Flat People’s Bob Guittard

Bob Guittard of Flat People

Digesting music from a steady bowl of oldies, with large sprinkles of the Beatles on top, Bob Guittard developed an interest in music very early in life thanks to the combined influences of his father and brother. “I played violin and piano growing up for years, then my brother gave me one of his guitars when I was fourteen and that completely changed me forever. I taught myself to play out of Hendrix and Zeppelin tab books and immediately started writing songs and formed a band with my buddies.”
His first band, formed in the seventh grade, was called The Little Puppy Dogs. His eighth grade year saw the birth of The Daring Chapstick Officers, followed by Fandango in late high school, The Bob Guittard Band during his first year as a Radio-TV-Film major at The University of Texas at Austin, Timado in his second year of college, and on and on through a variety of front man and back up band positions until, in 2007, he formed his current enterprise Flat People. Guittard’s older brother, Jim, writes music as well. He plays sitar, guitar, trombone and he sings. Guittard’s father and grandfather both played brass instruments in their respective high school marching bands. And his mother, maternal grandmother and maternal great grandmother played violin and piano quite well, which explains how he came to choose his first instruments as a child. “[That] was kind of forced on me as a kid. I liked it for a few years then gave it up when high school hit, probably because I felt like a nerd in the orchestra would rather play the guitar.”

Guittard and his wife recently had a child of their own, a little boy named Miles, and Guittard, although he has no intention of forcing music on his son, is adamant that the boy’s time not be wasted playing video games. He’s hoping that a love of music and creativity will grow from time not spent… well… wasting time. “I think about that a lot,“ said Guittard. “He’ll always be around music and I think he won’t be able to help loving music. Kids love banging on drums so I’ll bet he’ll originally be into that. I’m definitely not going to discourage him playing music. I’m all for my kids not melting their brains and wasting the years away on video games. It seems so common these days and is such a huge waste of time. Think of all the time that could have been spent creating art, music, stories, using the imagination, whatever. I don’t get on a soapbox often, but overuse of video games for kids and overuse and prescribing of anti-depressants, especially for kids, really bugs me. I talk about that in one of the songs on my album called ‘Everybody’s Got a Syndrome Here.’”

Guittard admits that his primary musical influences as a now-seasoned songwriter vary greatly from those of his childhood. He continues to cite the Beatles as a major influence, but has added Jeff Buckley, Wilco, Neil Young, Beck, Radiohead, Air, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith and more to the list, explaining, “All of these folks stretched themselves either musically, vocally, lyrically, or sonically. They were all so passionate and so good. These are the folks that will give me goosebumps on that long road trip at night, or make me cry, or make me wish I could write a song like that. Or angry that I didn’t.”

Guittard has floated from Dallas to Austin to Los Angeles and back again in a quest for creative and musical fulfillment. Originally from Dallas, his move to Austin was prompted by both his desire to attend the University of Texas and Austin’s “vibrant history of music.” Two months after he graduated college, he moved to Los Angeles – following in the footsteps of his brother who had moved there two years earlier and was deeply embedded in the “darker coming” of the 60s era rock revival – hoping to satisfy two dreams. The first was simply to pursue his music. The second was to utilize the RTVF degree he’d earned in college.
“I had aspirations, like everyone else in that town, of becoming the next big screenwriter, director or producer of films. Once I got out to L.A. it was cool, but I figured out that I wasn‘t that into pursuing the film dream and, once I‘d decided that, I figured I didn‘t really need to live in L.A. to do something special with my number one love, music.”
While in L.A. Guittard joined a couple of different bands and played regularly on the Sunset Strip, but didn’t stay long enough to focus on his own music as much as he would have liked to. He said that his time there contained several “dark and low points” which matured him a great deal. His car was stolen and totaled, and he had broken up with his girlfriend, a girl he knew he wanted to spend his life with.
“It made me think a lot. The beach, writing songs, and the upright piano I rented weekly helped me get through it. The journey there was a necessary evil that I look back on fondly.”
Guittard moved back to Dallas in 2002 both in the hopes of getting a “real” job (in case his musical aspirations didn’t work out), and reconnecting with the girl who would later become his wife.
“I’m not planning on leaving Dallas any time soon unless there is a really compelling reason to. Although I’d love to just take off and travel the world, I’ve got some pretty firm roots here and I’m really happy being sedentary for now.”

Art imitates life for Guittard and his music. He stated, “I tend to write about what’s going on in my life, what I’m going through, what’s got me down or up, or general things or insecurities I’ve noticed as I walk through life. Sometimes it’s in the form of a narrative disguised as other folks and sometimes it’s in a vague metaphorical journey that may make sense to me, but no one else. I’m not sure whether it hits home for others or not, but it makes me happy so I’m good with that.” According to SAMPLE Press Music Writer, Jason Manriquez, Guittard’s lyrics are “a cut-and-paste collage of image-laden tongue twisters and fantastical descriptions of everyday occurrences.”
Guittard said of his songwriting style, “I hope [people] think about the lyrics. My songs, I think, are naturally emotive in terms of how they make me feel so I hope they strike a chord with other people. I’d hate to make a record that fails to stir up some emotion in my listeners. What’s the point if not? I’ve never been one to enjoy an entire album of light, fluffy material.”

Guittard’s decision to work with Nourallah on his album was not one that he came by blithely. Although he’d seen Nourallah play a couple of live shows and loved the music, his interest wasn’t peaked until he read the Dallas Observer article regarding the troubled relationship between Salim and his brother, Faris.
“After doing some research, I figured out that he was also a great producer, really putting out some great music. So, because I loved his approach to music and songwriting, I knew he’d be a great fit to work with me on producing my album. I emailed him and he actually said a friend of his had told him about my music already, which was cool. It just seemed like it was meant to be. I later met with him and gave him my songs and he was really excited, so we began the journey together. I can’t say enough about how great that studio experience was.”

The name, Flat People, did not come about until after the studio recording was complete and the final mixing was in progress.
“We were wrapping up the mixing and I was trying my best to take a step back and look objectively back through the song lyrics and general themes that make up the record. Flat People is the result. Vague, I know.”
Vague indeed. But, unraveling the nuances and mysteries behind Guittard’s music and the Flat People name is the link that binds the listener to the sound. However vague it may be, you are guaranteed to be entranced by it.
— Jennifer Manriquez

(Photos courtesy of Bob Guittard)
Copyright: SAMPLE Press, 2008

Modern Psychedelic Influenced Bands

Posted in Good Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on April 27, 2008

First of all I recommend a band called the Beachwood Sparks. They take the torch where Gram Parsons and the Byrds left off particularly with the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. I’ve seen them live numerous times and have never been disappointed. They are the best especially with
their extended Space Echo freakout endings. They have 3 albums out and the first called Beachwood Sparks is my favorite. I hear that the BWS is getting back together (coincidentally on Roger McGuinn’s birthday), July 13th in Seattle for the 20th year for Subpop label. I wish I could be there.

Beachwood Sparks 2000

Beachwood Sparks

The second band I recommend is called the Tyde. This band has mutual members of the Beachwood Sparks. The Tyde is more Bob Dylan or Lou Reed sounding with much reference to surfing. I’ve seen them live, too. They have 3 albums out. I like Once the best.

The Tyde

The third band that I recommend is the Quarter After. This band is Byrds influenced with chimey Rickenbackers and groovy lyrics. It is lead by brothers, Rob Campanella and Dom Campanella. Incidentally, Rob records and produces many of the bands I mention here. I was
fortunate to sit in on a Quarter After session a few years back.

Here’s my somewhat humorous review for their debut album:

The Revolution Is Coming Down!!!

I dig the Quarter After live and on record. They are nice
outstanding citizens who are dedicated followers of the
Revolution effort. If you don’t understand, look up the
Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Their song ‘Too Much to Think About’ can put you in a
trance if you are not careful. It takes you back to 1966
with some Raga-Rock influence. ‘Know Me When I’m Gone’
is my favorite track on the album. It is modern psychedelia.
Dominic’s singing is much like Roger McGuinn’s. Byrds fans
will love the Quarter After. Or any fan of the ’60’s or good music.

Quarter After is authentic and not cheesy. They do not
overdo it. Dominic’s 12 String Rickenbacker work is great.
Good harmonies too by Rob and various personnel.

The Quarter After has recently put out their second album. I have not got my hands on it yet but will review soon.

The Quarter After

The Quarter After

And last but not least is the band called the Brian Jonestown Massacre. These guys are pretty outstanding and have had a documentary about them already called “Dig!” This band is the one
that really should take credit for this revival in psychedelic sound. They have at least a dozen albums out. They are very prolific.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

I hope you will check these bands out. They really cook.

My Connection With Rock & Roll History

Posted in Rock and Roll History by guittard on April 18, 2008

February 2000, Los Angeles, California

I drove up to the Sherman Oaks, California Guitar Center on Ventura. I had grown tired of the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd and all the tourists. It was so loud. On this particular day, I walked in wearing my John Lennon T-Shirt that said New York City.

John Lennon - New York City

I had gone in to look for a new amplifier. I looked around the store quickly and decided that I had seen enough. I walked out the front door and down the street and decided, no I was going back in.

Inside I found a white Fender Stratocaster and got a power cord and plugged into a Fender amp. I began playing jazz chords. After a few minutes and while I was still playing a guy came up to me.

This was Henry McGuinn. He said, “Hey man. I like your playing. What’s happening? Do you like the Byrds?”

I said, “Yeah, I guess so. I don’t have any of their albums but I like Mr. Tambourine Man and Eight Miles High. That’s all I know.”

Henry said, “My dad’s Roger McGuinn, who started the Byrds.”

I said, “Yeah, man, that’s cool. Can I see your ID?”

Roger McGuinn - Rock and Roll Hall of Famer

We talked in the store for about twenty minutes. We spoke about the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. I finally found someone I could relate to with this type of music. My meeting with Henry left me with renewed purpose. I seemed that I was just waiting around a bit in Hollywood to find the right people. I figured sooner or later I would find someone. I left the Guitar Center stoked, thinking of the possibilities. I guess I was a bit star-struck, too.

The next day, I went to the Warehouse on Sunset Blvd. to look for some Byrds music. I found and bought 5D. It was the Byrds 1966 album that had Eight Miles High, Mr. Spaceman, and I See You on it. I listened to the album a few times and decided to call Henry.

I left a message and an hour or so later he called from a pay phone.

Henry, “Hey, what’s happening? This is Henry McGuinn.”

I said enthusiastically, “Hey, Henry, yeah this is Jim. I met you at the Guitar Center.”

Henry said, “Yeah cool. I’m out by the beach just loving it.”

I said, “I bought 5D. It’s really cool. I haven’t ever really listened to the Byrds but they are really hip.”

The Byrds - Fifth Dimension

Henry said, “Yeah, they’re all good, especially ’65-’68 era. Well, so you want to get together?”

I said, “How bout tomorrow? We could have lunch and then jam.”

Henry, “Yeah, I just want to meet and see if we have chemistry, you know.”

Boy I was excited, the chance to play with someone that liked the same music I did and the fact that his dad is a rock star is totally rad!

The next day I met him outside at his truck. We brought up his guitar and then we walked to a Sandwich shop right up Las Palmas in Hollywood. We ate and talked music and began to get to know each other. We seemed to be on such a similar wavelength. It was kind of amazing chemistry really.

After lunch, we opened up our guitars. He brought out his acoustic 12- String Martin guitar. At first, I just listened to him. He sang a few Byrds tunes. He sang Tambourine Man and You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere and I believe he sang the Christian Life as well. At the time I had never heard the Christian Life and I was stoked on it. I was really inspired to start playing.

The next few times that we met, we listened to Byrds music. At the Tower Records, I loaded up on all sorts of music that he recommended. I was really into it. I bought several Flying Burrito Brothers albums, some Gram Parsons and Lovin’ Spoonful.

Our music was finally coming together. We were playing some Beatles, Byrds, and Dylan covers and some of our new stuff. He played me his cool song called Summertime that he wrote at the beach inspired by George Harrison and What You Say a song about running away and pure Byrds. I loved it. I added some rhythm guitar to it while he did his fingerpicking style soloing inspired by his father.

One day Henry brought over his 12-String Guitar Instructional Video that his dad had done. On the video his dad went wild on the 12- String Rickenbacker playing his old classics. I was again blown away.

McGuinn 12-String Instructional Video

Now prior to that point I had always thought that the Beatles were my number one group but I now believed that the Byrds were up there with them. It was great to learn more about music. I did not feel bad about buying a lot of records. I considered it an investment: The Who ’65, The Zombies, The Association, Beach Boys Pet Sounds, The Kinks, Gram Parsons, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

The next thing I did was to buy the Johnny Rogan Byrds biography. Henry had been talking about it. It was the only complete Byrds biography written. I found it at the Book Soup book store on Sunset Strip right across the street from Tower Records. Henry and I considered it our manual on how to live a Byrdsian lifestyle.

I met Henry in February 2000 and in March South by Southwest music festival raged in Austin, Texas. We found out that Roger was playing at the Cactus Lounge on the University of Texas Campus. We felt it was a good excuse for a road trip.

Before we left, Henry and I made a trip down to the Rickenbacker factory in Santa Ana. At Rickenbacker, we both waited in the reception area. Shortly after, John Hall, the CEO, came out and I was introduced.

Henry told me stories of John Hall and the Beatles. John Hall had been to the Beatles’ Hollywood Bowl show in 1965 as a teenager and had met all the Beatles and the Byrds. John Lennon and George Harrison both played guitars that were given to them by Rickenbacker and Crosby and then Jim McGuinn would run down to S.A. for Rick customizations . Needless to say, Rickenbacker has had great influence on Rock & Roll. Henry’s father worked with Rickenbacker in designing a custom signature 12-String guitar with an on board compressor. What resulted was the wood colored (Maple Glo) Rickenbacker 370 Model. Henry is totally proud of his father.

While Henry talked with John in his office, I sat down and looked at magazines. We were there for Henry to interview for a job with Rickenbacker. I sat and waited for fifteen minutes and then Henry returned, full of hope for the future. We said our good byes to John Hall and Henry told John that he would get back in touch after our trip to Austin.

I felt on the in-crowd a bit. Rickenbacker had worked with all sorts of artists: REM, Tom Petty, Susana Hoffs, Carl Wilson, etc. I have a Rickenbacker FG 330 from those days. Henry on the 325Byrd and me on the 330 is some of the best noise ever! All the best bands play Rickenbacker.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Henry McGuinn and Jim Guittard - Austin, Texas SXSW 2000

Henry and I put up a website for our band the Ragas. You can check it out at:

www.myspace.com/theragas

Guittard Chocolate Factory

Posted in Family by guittard on October 5, 2007


In the 1850’s, Etienne Guittard embarked on an arduous journey from France to America. It was during the California Gold Rush, and in just a few short years, while still in his twenties, this adventuresome Frenchman struck gold on the rough and tumble streets of early San Francisco.

An experienced chocolate maker, Etienne had brought delicious French chocolate to trade for mining supplies, but soon discovered that wealthy miners were willing to pay premium prices for this elegant treat. Etienne sailed back to Tournus, France, where he worked in his uncle’s chocolate factory until he could afford to buy his own chocolate making equipment. In 1868, he returned to San Francisco and opened Guittard Chocolate on Sansome Street.

In no time, San Francisco became one of the great chocolate manufacturing centers in America, where ships from exotic regions
of the world brought their cacao beans to market. Of the original
family-owned companies that brought commerce and culture to the dusty, often lawless streets of early San Francisco, Guittard Chocolate Company is the only one that remains family-owned.


For Horace C. Guittard, who succeeded his father, Etienne, running the Guittard Chocolate Company would be no less challenging. Along with most of San Francisco, the legendary 1906 earthquake destroyed the family business. Undaunted, Horace quickly rebuilt on Main Street, near the Embarcadero, where he introduced coffee, tea and spices to the family’s offering of fine chocolate.


Horace’s son, Horace A. Guittard, became President of the company in 1950 and relocated the factory to Burlingame in 1955, where it became and still remains one of the foremost suppliers of fine chocolate to acclaimed professionals in pastry, confectionery and ice cream trades. Though Horace A. was instrumental in bringing the company into the era of automation, he continued to operate in the old-world tradition, producing small, carefully tended batches of chocolate and working closely with customers, tailoring products according to their needs. This visionary approach placed the Guittard Chocolate Company at the forefront of innovation for several American food trends.


One of Guittard’s earliest and perhaps most important innovations was their proprietary Guittard Sweet Ground Chocolate, which was used by San Francisco’s Cliff House at the turn of the century and later sponsored a popular radio show. Cliff House Vanilla, a specialty using Guittard Sweet Ground Chocolate, may have been the forerunner of today’s trendy cafe mochas. Guittard milk chocolate chips, white chips and super-sized chips were other notable innovations as was the idea of truffles, which Guittard passed along to some of their confectionary customers.


As the oldest family owned and operated chocolate company in the US, a new generation now continues to grow the company with the same indomitable spirit that has made the Guittard Chocolate Company one of the world’s most respected purveyors of premium chocolate.

(source: http://www.guittard.com/home/guittard_history.html )

Fear Is Nothing New

Posted in Music, Neo-psychedelia, Poetry, Psychedelic by guittard on May 21, 2007

Fear is nothing new.
Fear is nothing new.

Rise up from the heavy sleep.
You’ve been so far into the deep.
Make the sweet noise for today.
It will carry you the right way.

Your confusion will disappear as you trust.
Leave your ancient fears in the dust.
They will be covered over in time.
Speak your heart with rhyme.

Fear is nothing new.
Fear is nothing new.

With courage, you will strum again.
Unload all the trash into the bin.
Set your eyes up to the sky.
Always tell yourself, I’ll try try try.

Dark times are there no more.
There awaits you an open door.
Don’t let the fear get to you.
Set your heart on something true.

Fear is nothing new.
Fear is nothing new.

Your fans wait with excitement.
How has your time been spent?
Write again about the Tymes.
It’ll clear up any fog burnt mind.

Jim Guittard 2007

Confusion Is Nothing New by Beachwood Sparks

The Ragas Press Packet

Posted in Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on March 17, 2007

I am putting in a bit of my history.  It’s been about five years since I was living in Los Angeles.  Today, I can only think that I am really fortunate to have experienced, firsthand, the 1960’s music revival in its re-birth.  The following is the letter Henry and I used when contacting clubs. 

May 24, 2000

Booking
Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA  90046

RE:  Booking

Dear Club:

The Ragas duo was formed in mid-March 2000 after discovering a major musical chemistry between us.  I moved to Los Angeles from Texas to pursue my musical passion.  Henry was born here in L.A.  Henry is the son of 60’s icon, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds.

We are influenced by the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and incorporate 12-String guitars, and vocal harmonies in our songs.  We play both cover songs and original songs.  We focus on musicianship rather than cool grooves or beats.  The old school sounds are what we are focused on.  Our songs range from jazz rock, country- rock, folk-rock, psychedelic, and raga-rock to name a few.

At present, we are searching for a bassist and drummer to complete our band.  In mid-June, we will have two English fellows visit us to most likely join the band.  We switch off with lead guitar.

We are so excited to be involved in the music scene in Los Angeles.  We can be reached at 323-###-#### and at our address in Hollywood, California.

Please find our demo tape included.

Thanks For Your Consideration,
Jim Guittard and Henry McGuinn

Here’s one of our setlists that I scanned.

The Ragas - Setlist
*The starred songs are the ones we played.

We did not play too many shows back then but we sure went to see a lot of shows by the Beachwood Sparks, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Quarter After, Sunstorm, smallstone, the Tyde, the Belle Isle, Whiskey Biscuit, the Snakes, and the Warlocks. Many of these bands are still around today.

Smallstone evolved into the Electromagnetic led by James Ambrose. The Belle Isle disbanded and Cliff Magreta now leads Minutes Til Midnight. Beachwood Sparks unofficially disbanded in 2003 and other groups were formed in its wake such as All Night Radio with sometimes BWS drummer Jimi Hey and BWS lap steel and organist Farmer Dave. Mystic Chords of Memory was formed by BWS leader Chris Gunst and Frausdots was BWS bassist Brent Rademaker’s. Brent continued to play in the Tyde with his brother Darren.

I am hopeful in seeing the Beachwood Sparks get back together. We’ll see.

The Ragas – June 2000 Los Angeles, California
The Ragas - June 2000

You can listen to the show here:

The Ragas Live 2000