The Black Swan show this past Sunday was a lot of fun as well as a satisfying challenge. Not only did the Cats+ (with the amazing Omar Saab on rhythm guitar) perform a mega-set to open, we played two sets with special guest Chris Scian, which involved prepping a bunch of songs some of us had never played. It all came off very well.

Here are some samples.

Gig Alert!

Following this “Two-Chrises” event, the Swan’s management were so pleased, they offered us a last-minute slot for this coming Friday. The show starts at 10 PM so we are looking forward to seeing all you night-owlish fans.Header Black Swan Jan 31.jpg

‘Til then, be well!


Rehab Addendum

Last week I wrote of the rehabilitation of my “big” pedalboard.

As hinted, here is the update for the sideboard.

Thanks to a family gift, I have added an Electro Harmonix Mel9 pedal to the already too many I own. This one simulates the sound of a Mellotron, previously written about here.


This “sideboard” will add a lot of depth to the band’s sound, with the Mel9 creating keyboard-like pads, and the Ditto looper for backing for solos, drones or extra rhythm.

This demo from the manufacturer should provide a good example of the possibilities.

It should be getting a first live run at our show this coming Sunday, January 26 at the Black Swan, with special guest Chris Scian and a surprise.

Header Black Swan with Chris Scian

Gig Alert

Just picked up a new show back at a fave cozy spot, the Dock on Queen, on February 21st! Details to follow!


Be well!



There is an affliction many guitarists suffer from. Beyond the obvious calluses or possible repetitive strain injury, GAS is the most costly (not that kind of GAS). Guitar Acquisition Syndrome affects many of our ranks; the need for ever more guitars is addictive. To mitigate the impact of GAS, some players have moved onto PAS – Pedal Acquisition Syndrome. Think of it as the methadone to guitar collection heroine.

I am dealing with this…right!

My latest geeky project is to rehab (get it?) my largest pedal board—one of three—to a more reliable and versatile arrangement.

Original version, pre rehab.

The first concern was the “solderless” cables I had been using. I don’t trust them. While many have been in the pedalboard for years due, mostly to low profile of the connectors, a few have proven unreliable. They work by direct contact but if any part is loose, they will fail. There is little margin for error. I decided to revert back to soldered cable as they are more resilient and durable but faced the challenge of finding the same small solderable connector profile at a reasonable cost. I found a great supplier out of the States called Redco. Since they shipped via US Postal Service, it kept prices in line.

Next, I felt it was time to get a dedicated isolated power supply for mostly each pedal to reduce hum and ensure good good voltage for each; the non-guitar folks’ eyes are glazing over…

The underbelly.

Finally, I needed better access to certain effects that were less than appropriately on the upper row (the two Line 6 pedals – DL4 and Roto-Machine), and these. The entire board had to be re-layed out to bring these more under foot. It also led to a few content changes with the TC Electronic PolyTune and Visual Sound Route 66 compressor/overdrive pedals being moved to another board, and the Boss TU-2 tuner and EHX Soul Food overdrive plus the newly acquired TC Electronic Hyper Gravity compressor taking their places. It also made room for the Boss PS-3 Pitch Shifter/Delay.


The bulk of the work is done, although. few parts are still on the way to allow faster setup. Perhaps an update when that happens, along with a connected project (ha!) for a sideboard. TBD.

So yeah, I’ve got it under control. Thanks for asking!

Gig Reminder

Header Black Swan with Chris Scian.jpg

Special Show Coming Soon!

I am working on something special and hope to have the details sorted out in the next few weeks. Details to follow!

Until then, new well!


A Tale of Two Chrisses

Black Swan with Chris Scian.jpgGig Alert

In a few weeks, the Cats will be back at the Black Swan Tavern for a late afternoon matinée show. With two shows already done (guesting Salabama this past June and Omar Saab in November), the format seems to be established. This time – Sunday, January 26, 2020 from 4 to 8 PM – our guest will be Chris Scian, for whom the Cats will provide backup for two sets after we set the mood with one of our own.

Chris and I first crossed paths at a open mics, particularly at the one at Legends on Danforth, hosted by Amber Durette and Gary Edward Allen. Although Chris more often plays covers, he is an established and gifted songwriter, which led to an appearance at my Songwriters’ Circle back in July of 2018.

Chris’ solid vocals and deep catalogue of songs made him an obvious choice for our Black Swan matinée. We expect this to be a solidly fun show, so please join us, Chris (Scian) and Chris (Bender), along with NeMo and me. There is no cover, but PWYC donations are always welcome.

Until next week, where I may geek out on a new gear project, be well!