It was 20 years ago today…
Actually, it was more like 25 years ago.
Back when I was in graduate school in Italian at UCLA, I played in a bunch of bands. But the most popular group I played with was the one that I started with my friend Shawn Amos, above. We were called “Lucky Son.”
We had our “it” moment on the Sunset Strip in the 1990s, regularly playing clubs like the Roxy, the Whisky, and Club Lingerie (my all-time favorite; anybody out there remember Club Lingerie?). But despite lots of demos and A&R interest, it never went anywhere. We were in our mid-20s and it was a great time.
Shawn and I were housemates and best friends, sharing a one-bedroom apartment a couple of blocks from the beach in Venice.
He even came to Italy with me one year to tour with my cover band. That’s me and him on stage circa 1993 in Pedavena (Feltre, Belluno province), below. That was our “jam band” phase.
In 2013, we decided to do a reunion of our Italian band in the Veneto where we used to play. We all stayed at our old impresario’s hotel/villa with our families. It was an unforgettable visit and show.
The set list that night was all classic blues. And it was that night that we dubbed Shawn “the Reverend.”
Since that time, Shawn’s career as a blues singer and songwriter has exploded. The Reverend Shawn Amos, as he is now known, has put out a couple of critically acclaimed albums, tours across the U.S., and frequently appears on national TV and radio.
Shawn called me last week and asked me to fill in for his guitar player at the Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival in Pittsburgh this weekend. We’ll be playing the big stage on Saturday afternoon and we’ll also be doing a lounge set at the Taste of Blues party the night before.
Rodd Bland, Bobby Bland’s son and drummer, who also used to perform with B.B. King, is sitting in on both nights. Tracie and I used to see him play with his dad at Antone’s in Austin when we were living there.
I’m super psyched. Come out and rock with me!
Top image via the Reverend Shawn Amos Facebook.