Sunday, July 4, 2010
I was introduced to Bill through a friend of my sister. Our first conversation was over the telephone, in which was talked mostly about Shellac, as I recall. We started to play together about a week later, and rehearsed with a religious zeal for the next two years.
Ahab was a very music-focused band. It seems to me that bands have all kinds of focuses. Sex, drugs, money, scenes. For Ahab, the focus remained firmly on music. At one point we rehearsed three times a week. We would have long talks about Rory Gallagher or James Blood Ulmer or John Coltrane.
Bill called the shots in Ahab. A native of Maine, he has an independent Yankee spirit, along with a real love of nature. He's a very meticulous guy, and one hell of a guitar player. I consider him to be the best guitarist I've ever played with. The tunes posted here were chosen for the most part to show just how ripping Bill can be when he solos. I still marvel at his tone and songwriting. He's also enormously generous. He bailed me out of more than one financial jam. Along with all that, Bill also turned me on to SF Giants baseball. Thanks a million, Mr. Raymond.
Tom Siebert played the shit out of a great old Fender Jazz Bass. Bill and I could jam for an hour, non-stop, and Tom would calmly lay down these great walking bass lines, up and down the neck of his axe, without ever going out of time or key. His playing was so important to the band. Tom was obsessed with Buckethead, and attended/recorded his SF Bay Area shows fanatically. In a previous phase of his life, he'd been a major Deadhead. There is a famous picture of the Dead playing their last run of shows at the Winterland. Smack dab in front of stage right, you will see a red-headed guy clapping and smiling. That's Tom. Tom also had the foresight to record all of our shows, along with select practices. Tom showed me the importance of documenting your stuff. Up to that point, I hadn't really cared too much about doing that. Tom's mid-Western upbringing in Minneapolis gives him a bit of a reserved demeanor. He's a pretty sensitive guy, and this cruel world has often been tough on him. I hope he's doing well these days.
The two tunes featured here were recorded at someone's warehouse/loft on Capp St. in S.F., probably in 1998. We were asked to play the show by a guy named Mark, who played in a band called Helivator. Also on the bill were Hammerlock and the Solvents, among others.