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Musings on the Taylor Hawkins UK Tribute Concert 

I had forgotten about the Taylor Hawkins tribute on 9/3 until I woke up and started scrolling around on socials. Wound up watching the entire thing. If you watched any of it, drop me a comment! What did you think? What were the hits and misses? 

For me it was mostly hits. Too many to list here but here are some: 

The Hits:

-The smile on the James Gang drummer’s face their entire set. I can imagine the phone call “Hey man it’s Joe (Walsh). What’s up? So… you wanna put the band back together and play for 88,000 people at Wembley?” Um….. sure, ok, yeah let me check my calendar… 

-Supergrass - who the hell are these guys? Really good band! 

-Of course Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush playing again (2nd time so far) without Neil Peart. Yeah, I cried. 

-Wolfgang Van Halen playing deep Van Halen cut On Fire (and Hot For Teacher) with a permagrin like his dad, another musician lost who deserves tribute. Wolfie has been pretty outspoken about NOT playing VH songs in general so this was so cool. I had chills, actually… 

-Chrissie Hynde and original Pretenders drummer Martin Chambers kicking ass through two of their punkiest tunes. She has not lost one iota of her vocal power. 

-I thought Ke$ha doing the T Rex song was pretty damn good and who would have ever predicted she’d be asked to play? Dave pulled her right out of the “Where Are They Now” file! 

-Stewart Copeland from the Police, he’s still got it and I wanted 1-2 more from him! 

-Everything the Foo Fighters touched from their backing up many of the night’s artists to their own incendiary and emotional set, and of course Dave, poor mourning Dave who barely made it through some of these songs after losing his best friend and musical soulmate. Sigh…. 

-Taylor Hawkins’ 16-year-old son stealing the show with his pummeling drumming on There Goes My Hero. Tears… 

The Meh: 

-Paul McCartney. Song choices were ‘meh’ and both were way out of his current vocal range. Don’t hate me! 

-Them Crooked Vultures. One of my favorite all time shows was seeing these guys in 2009 at the Roseland Theater in Portland. I mean any band with John Paul Jones from Zeppelin is going to be amazing! But their song selection was not my favorite. 

-Queen. OK Brian May doing Love of My Life solo with 88,000 fans singing with cell phone lights going was one of the coolest things ever but I guess I’ve just seen them reformed enough over the years for their set overall to not do a ton for me. The songs were predictable except for I’m In Love With My Car. Them following Rush was a personal emotional down step, too, which I am sure impacted my opinion. 

-The Jeff Buckley songs. Don’t kill me!! Grohl’s daughter is a tremendous singer and her rendition of Valerie later on was super strong. It’s just hard to do Buckley. It was a ballsy choice but I wasn’t a huge fan. 

Other observations: 

-This was a really multi generational thing. Grohl’s daughter and Hawkins son, plus the ‘drum off’ kid (Nandi Bushell) are a new generation of talented mo-fo’s! Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s son as well, but he’s already well established as is Wolfgang VH but I still think of them as ‘new guard.’ 

-Geddy and Alex from Rush need to play more with Omar Hakim on drums. That really worked for me. 

-Rock is alive and well across all of these generations. Six hours of live music with no backing tracks or lip syncing? More of that please! 

I know I’m skipping a lot but it’s late. What did you think of the tribute!?

Musings from a Floydian Slip – 25 Years In A Tribute Band  

Here in the first week of April, I'm smack dab in between rare Floydian Slips shows (the Pink Floyd tribute band I co-founded 25 years ago). We played last Saturday in Eugene, Oregon at the McDonald Theatre and we play this Saturday (April 9) in Portland at Revolution Hall. If you are local, I highly suggest attending! It’s quite a thing and I am not sure when we’ll do it again. We are celebrating 25 years by performing two Floyd albums – The Dark Side of the Moon and Animals, plus a host of other songs. Almost three hours of music. Full on light show. It’s quite a thing, and it’s all ages as well. You can get tickets for this Saturday’s show at the Revolution Hall website. 

This photo is from the Eugene show last Saturday.

We’ve put out a few promotional videos, here, here and here. And I penned an article for Live Music News and Review that talks about what it’s been like doing this for 25 flipping years! 

The first bit is below -- follow the link for the rest. Many of you have supported the band for years and for this I thank you. If you are new to the fold, do consider coming out. It’s going to be a bang-up! 

Musings from a Floydian Slip – 25 Years In A Tribute Band 

When I first heard The Dark Side of the Moon, I didn’t like it. Between the long intro sound collage before Breathe, the lengthy synth pulse of On The Run and the clocks/chiming/ticking intro to Time, I thought to myself, “Where are the SONGS?” Of course, I was in high school, and my jam was prog and heavy rock. Stuff like Yes, Rush, Maiden. Complex songs with a LOT of notes. 

But it didn’t take long for me to appreciate the space (shock!) Floyd left in between its notes, the choices of instrumentation, mix, the ethereal David Gilmour leads, the jazzy Rick Wright piano noodlings, and soon after — the lyrics, oh man the Roger Waters lyrics really got to me. I was hooked…. 

Read the rest here… 

Thanks for your continued support! 

Paul

 

New Album Release “New Worlds”  

I am excited to announce the immediate availability of an album of ten songs called New Worlds: An Instrumental Journey, written by my friend Rob Barteletti, with sonic embellishments, leads, bass and assorted noodlings by yours truly.  

I met Rob in the 80s when, well, he was an English teacher at my high school! We re-connected in Portland when both of us found our respective ways into town. Rob now lives in New Mexico but spent quite a few years in Portland where he wrote and recorded several CDs with local musicians including Nick Peets, Storm Large, Dan Decker and my old Strangers partner Bart Ferguson. Even after he moved, we kept in touch over email. 

During our ‘stay home months’ the last year, Rob got on a creative roll and started sending songs one-off to his friends. The styles ranged from jazz to ambient to sambas, blues and everything in between. Some were instrumentals, some had singing. One day, one of them struck me and I wrote to Rob. The ensuing conversation over the next few months could be summarized this way: 

Paul: “Hey Rob would you be cool if I laid down a lead on this track?” 

Rob: “Sure!” 

Paul (3.5 weeks later): “Hey I am still going to lay that lead down. Sorry!” 

Rob: “It’s OK.” 

Paul: “Here you go – let me know what you think!” 

Rob: “I really like this! Thanks! Here is another song if you want to check it out” 

Paul: “This is great! I kind of got on a roll and added bass and acoustic guitar” 

Rob: “Great! Hey, I got inspired, here is another song. And here is one I did a few years ago. What might you be able to add to it…?” 

--Repeat process for about a dozen more songs across about six months— 

Rob: “Hey you know, we have 10 instrumentals done. Want to put out an album?” 

Paul: “Wow, hell yes! What should we call it…?”  

You get the idea. So what we have is ten of Rob’s songs with my embellishments. Much like my other Strangers partner in crime Allen Bush who recorded an entire album using Apple’s Garage Band software (called Juiced), Rob is a Garage Band power user. I am consistently blown away with what is able to put together using this software. I took his tracks, popped them into Digital Performer, which is my recording software, laid down tracks, sent them to Rob and he edited at will, sometimes asking me for a different take or approach and other times, we’d be done with one go at it. I tried to give him a different palate of colors to work with, and he gave me quite a variety of styles of music to tackle. We both had a blast, and I am really proud of what we put together. 

You can find the album on AppleMusic, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube, and at my Bandcamp site. I hope you enjoy it – it’s certainly different from anything I’ve ever released to the public. Do let me know what you think!

Post-Mort from At The Garages Show 

It’s funny, I usually video every show. Take photos, post stuff. On Friday night I did none of that, and I didn’t even realize it until the weekend. Too bad because it was a real barn burner. Guess it’ll have to live in memory (and maybe that’s not a bad thing). The photo below was sent by a friend...

Big thanks to At The Garages Satellite Pub, Steve Griffiths on sound, Kent and Jami and especially everyone who showed up. It exceeded my expectations and I guess we all needed to get out and kick some jams out. It was super cool to have people dance to our original music. That doesn't happen a ton.

And it was quite a kick to have drummer Dave’s nephew join us on bass for a song (What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding), and his sister and our great musical partner Carla Kendall Bray join us to sing an old colorfield song (Say It In A Whisper). That was a time machine moment. Wow! So… I just want to say thanks to all who had a hand in last night and dang I needed that…

Announcing the Return of the Paul Lesinski Band to the Stage! 

I am super excited to announce that the electric Paul Lesinski Band trio is playing At The Garages in Lake Oswego on Friday March 4. This is our first time onstage in front of folks in more than three years. I cannot say enough good things about this venue. It’s the new location for the Garages that used to be in Beaverton and the owners spared no expense on making this a top notch club. This will be a destination for touring and local bands, hands-down. If you are local, come support us and the venue. Tickets are on sale at the venue site. Thanks!

Floydian Slips 25th Anniversary Shows On Sale! 

OK I know these shows were supposed to happen in January but we moved them due to the Omicron variant taking everyone down. It also made us realize that the new dates - in April 2022 - are a mere month away from the 25th anniversary of our very first show! So these April dates (Saturday April 2 at McDonald Theatre in Eugene, Oregon and Saturday April 9, 2022 at Revolution Hall in Portland) will be balls-out celebrations of our 25th year. Tickets are available at the venue websites. Hope to see you there!

Happy New Year, Bring it On 2022, and Rescheduled Slips Dates 

Hi everyone – As we close out yet another strange year, I wanted to wish you all a happy and peaceful New Year and 2022.

On the music front, things weren’t all bad in 2021. I was able to re-start the monthly acoustic gigs at the Dublin Pub in Portland, and the Paul Lesinski Band did its fourth pandemic-era livestreamed gig in March with Northwest Talent Spotlight. I also was able to do an acoustic livestream with NWTS before the show went on hiatus. There are some songs posted on the Paul Lesinski Music YouTube page for your perusal. 

But you know, we aren’t done with this stupid pandemic. The Floydian Slips shows that were booked for early January have been moved to Saturday April 2 (McDonald Theater in Eugene) and Saturday April 9 (Revolution Hall in Portland). Let’s hope things settle down by then and we can celebrate proper. Interestingly, May 2022 is the 25th anniversary of the Slips’ first gig, a one-off project to play Dark Side of the Moon all the way through, live. Little did we know we’d be still kicking it 25 years later! 

I am thankful for my family, my health and my ability to play music. I also thank you for your continued support. So as we step into 2022, I wish you all the best. Here’s to health, happiness and chasing what truly fills you.

See you around! 

Paul

Floydian Slips Shows Announced for January 2022! 

I am excited to announce my Pink Floyd tribute band Floydian Slips will return to the stage for the first time since New Year’s 2019. We will be playing Portland and Eugene Oregon on January 7 and 8, 2022, doing the Dark Side of the Moon and Animals albums in their entirety along with select favorites. To get tickets, go to these links. The full press is release is below the poster art!

Portland show: https://bit.ly/3Byq0cg 

Eugene show: https://bit.ly/3FEFCxw

Portland, Ore. – October 15, 2021 – The northwest musical collective Floydian Slips will perform Pink Floyd songs, including two full albums, in all ages show at Revolution Hall Friday, January 7, 2022, at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. doors). The band will perform Pink Floyd’s seminal Dark Side of the Moon and Animals albums in their entirety. Minors are welcome with a parent or guardian. 

Floydian Slips co-founder Paul Lesinski said, “We live in strange times and the individual has great power. Through social media, one person can start a movement. To quote a line from Animals, people are breaking away from the pack. They are taking a stand and using social platforms to share and amplify it. But when misused, this power causes great chaos and can be used to manipulate. In this context, the madness, money, and power presented in Dark Side and especially Animals is very relevant today.” 

After more than 23 years of rare and singular performances, the Pacific Northwest musical collective known as Floydian Slips continues to tear through the discography of classic Pink Floyd, performing note-perfect renditions of many of the iconic hits and deep cuts composed by the British-rock band. 

The band is a collective of mainstay Portland and Eugene musicians, including Nicole Campbell (vocals); Ehren Ebbage (vocals, guitar); Ned Failing (drums, percussion); Sean Flannery, (saxophone, keyboards) Dustin Lanker (keyboards, vocals); 

Paul Lesinski (vocals, guitar); Brendan Relaford (bass); Rich Sellars (vocals, drums, percussion); and Al Toribio (lead guitar, vocals). 

Each Floydian Slips concert is different, with unique set lists and special effects, and the band moves from “greatest hits” tributes to full-length album performances depending on its collective mood. 

“Getting this group together to perform is a blast,” said founding member Brendan Relaford. “Since we don’t tour, and all the members of the Slips have other bands and careers in and out of the music business, when we gather to play this timeless music, it’s a joyous occasion and that vibe is passed to our audience.” 

Born from a one-off idea to play through Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side Of The Moon album during a single concert in 1997, the eight-piece band has grown into a musical ensemble on a 24-year run that captures the essence of Pink Floyd, with emphatic tone placed just right where it belongs in each song. 

With spot-on vocals, perfect guitar solos, epic keyboard layers and Floydian-laid-back drum and bass grooves, the real Pink Floyd experience is enhanced during Floydian Slips concerts with unique visuals specifically designed for each show. 

The band approaches the classic music with all the curmudgeon, stoniness, swagger and attitude of the men who wrote the songs, and never fails to impress the naysayers while delivering the specific notes in the right places to please any Pink Floyd fanatic. 

Having performed The Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals and The Wall in their entirety many times, set lists have included most of the Wish You Were Here album, as well as select material from A Saucerful of Secrets, Meddle, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason, all played with great care to reproduce the original sounds and emotions of The Floyd as closely as possible.

Acoustic version of Rush Song "The Garden" 

I played a virtual acoustic gig recently with Northwest Talent Spotlight (see the whole thing here). I told the story of how the 2020 pandemic shite show really started for me when Neil Peart passed away that January. So it was fitting to learn and perform what turned out to be the last song on the last album for Rush. Called 'The Garden,' it fittingly addresses life and gained experience, and what is really important. See what you think:

See ya 2020! 

To say “It was quite a year” understates the uniqueness of 2020 and also short-changes both the highs and lows. For many, there were countless physical, emotional and economic hardships. Indeed, so many of our lives changed, forever. Losses have been incurred that we won’t get back.  

Focusing on the positive, and what I am thankful for, it’s my immediate family’s health and general happiness. We grew closer this year because, well, we had to. We were together a lot, and sorted out how to make it work, and how to even make it fun. I’m not wishing another 2020 on anyone but that was a nice by-product. 

On the music front, a high was managing to get a CD released. Even though it was written and mostly recorded before January 2020, I felt that it was timely and relevant to 2020’s political and societal landscape. So I am glad I got it out. This gave me an excuse to safely get the band back together and play some virtual venues that did not exist last year, namely the PDX Couch Tour and Northwest Talent Spotlight, run by Brian J. Straus and Bobby Palotta, respectively. These shows were ‘attended’ by so many who frankly would never be able to see us in person given their location and the fact that I don’t tour, even when there is no pandemic. I also did one acoustic show behind a sheet of plastic at the Dublin Pub before Portland locked everything down again. It almost felt normal. Thanks to JT for that! 

I also met and worked with some great people who started their own media outlets (or leaned into their existing ones), like drummer Kevin Rankin who started up a videocast called All Access Live and interviewed me and my Floydian Slips partner Ned Failing, or Tim and Naomi Bunch, who interviewed me for their fantastic podcast The Audio Brew, or my buddy Eric Gessner who keeps having me on his Now and Then radio show on KMUZ FM

Eric and I did a three-hour tribute on KMUZ to Neil Peart in January (Neil’s dying in January was an early point where this year turned to shit and didn’t turn back), and ran an hour-long special on the new CD this month. Radio was friendly in general and I was proud to be added to the rotations of the Portland Radio Project, Shady Pines Radio, Radio Hot Tub, and NWCZ by old friend and supporter Darryl Fortune. 

So there was some music and some community! And I got to PLAY, virtually and also in person 6+ feet apart with my musical partners Dave Kendall and Mike Budd, without whom…! Thanks guys, as always! 

For 2021, I remain thankful and hopeful. As this year turns to next year, I wish all of you safety, warmth and happiness and hope that whatever your jam is, that you are doing it. See you on the other side!

--Paul Lesinski

 

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