Vondel Bunker, Amsterdam

The Vondel  Bunker is located within the Vondel Park in Amsterdam, a beautiful oasis with some small lakes, a lot of trees and grass,right in the center of  Amsterdam.

There are two bunkers, right next to each other; they were built around the 40’s to be used as protection against bombs and shells (between 1940-’45 Holland was invaded by Nazi Germany); it could apparently shelter up to 2500 people (which is insane, if you happen to have seen the place) . In the’60 s the place became a night club called Lijn 3 (Line 3 in english), being Lijn 3 the tram line that circulated in the area back then…Shortly after the place took the name of Studio 7 and became one of the epicenters of Amsterdam growing music and art movement; during this period bands like Pink Floyd, The Who and the Small Faces played there…

And here s a fantastic video from the opening night, in 1968!!!

I happen to have one of my rehearsal spaces there and the place is one of a kind, obviously, it being a bunker, not a lot has changed.

The second bunker next door has got an array of events and artistic happening on a regular basis, you can find a little more out here.

And finally here comes the video shot by Bart Vuijk ( for more about Bart’s work check out his instagram page; SSTROBART, or you can reach him directly at: bartvuijk@gmail.com), right inside the rehearsal complex; it s from a r&b band I used to play with for a couple of years, called Working Voodoo Club. Featured in the video are also the Watusi gals.

Enjoy the highly charged energy!!!

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Music Giants…Part 1

Last year, I had the opportunity of playing with these two gentlemen, while on tour in Europe with Zappatika.

On my right is Mr. Jeff Hollie, tenor saxophone player, and on my left is Craig “Twister” Steward, harmonica player.

Jeff has been playing on the seminal “Joe’s garage” album, which is one of Frank Zappa’ s most revered albums (…and you could hear and feel the crowd’s excitement, every time we’d launch into one of those songs…);  he s also being very active on the gigging circuit and as a session musician through the years ,and still going strong.

Twister and his harmonica can actually also be heard both on “Joe’s garage” and others like “The Man From Utopia”, “You are What You Is”. Besides his killer harmonica playing, he s also very fluent and respected for his guitar work, which has got a lot of the blues greats’ feel actually…

It was simply a fantastic experience to have been able to share the stage with people like Jeff and Twister (and of course “Uncle” Ike Willis), their experience, sense of dynamics , team playing while on stage, and incredible musical taste makes it for a continuous learning process for me, (not to talk about some of the anecdotes and great stories from the old days, which are priceless!!)

On top of all of this, they are some of most relaxed and humble people to have around, which is just the icing on top of an already great cake!!

The picture on top was taken at London, “Under The Bridge” club, right inside the Chelsea football ground.

And here it s a little memory from that night, the pictures (top and bottom of the page), were taken by Massimo Menta, thank you!

Vibravoid

Vibravoid plays its own brand of very special psychedelic/acid rock and has been going now for quite a number of years, and it s still going very strong….

So, one fine night, around end of spring 2014 I get a call from Christian ( whom started the band and composes most of the music);they were at the moment in Valencia (Spain) while on a just started three weeks tour of France and Spain

He went on saying they had just lost their then current drummer, whom had to be flown back home with health issues…so…

….to make a very long story short, the band asked me to fly the morning after to Barcelona and finish the tour with them; obviously without having the time to rehearse or anything…literally ,straight from the airport to the club. Some of you might call this, a very relaxed way of joining a band!

Previous to that I had met and heard the band since when I was playing with the Atomic Workers, we did a back to back tour of Italy for about three weeks some time before, two or three years earlier .

So, I decided to go for it and everything turned out so good that we ended up playing together for the remaining dates of 2014 and furthermore also in 2015; it was basically non stop touring and the band did then their longest tours so far.

There are sometimes moments  in life, where quick decisions have to be made; one could easily pull off and say no, take the easier way out…however some of the most memorable events and things take place when you do not plan them; so, try not to be afraid of the unknown, work hard and be prepared, so that whenever chances come your way, you ll be able to capitalize on them

I had a great time with these guys both on stage and off stages, hanging out in crazy situations, hardly sleeping and touring and playing a lot.

I wish them all the best, and if they happen to play close by your town, do yourself a favour and check them out.

Following are a few live videos; the first one from Magdeburg (Germany), then  Berlin (Germany) and the last one from Athens(Greece), including also a short drumsolo.

Hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did!

Hands

Hands

Last year,  during a tour with Zappatika, right after soundcheck at the Grammatikoff in Duisburg, I was approached by photographer called Marc Menningmann, whom explained he was working on a concept about photographing musicians’ hands for an exibition and a book, called appropriately “Hands” , and asked if I wanted to be a part of it, which I gladly did.

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Here s a few pics from the day, courtesy of Sven Kosakowski.

And here, you can see my hands!

diego_mocci_-_drums-hands

Eventually, when the first exibition was hosted in Lunen (Dortmund) this past summer,

Zappatika was invited to play a show in very intimate, relaxed and friendly settings,

we definitely had a great time!!

For more info on what Marc is currently busy with,

have a look at http://www.hands-project.de

 

Touring…

Touring…what can I say?? Get me in the tour bus a.s.a.p!!

I have a very special relashionship with being on the road with a band, travelling, meeting a lot of people every day, hardly sleeping and most importantly, giving everything on stage playing your heart and soul night after night in order to give the fans and the public a true experience.

However, it can all be very tough and demanding on your body and mind if you don t watch out and if you don t know how to pace yourself; there can be a lot of temptations or crazy things going on around you in the most unexpected times and I have actually seen people burn out, or having nervous breakdowns and so on…

But again, for me personally it s one of my absolute favourite sides about playing music (together with teaching and passing on the knowledge ..), and I feel very lucky to be able to do it!

This two clips are taken from a long European tour done with The Lords Of Altamont in 2014.

 

Brushes….a lost art…

Here’s a live video from a recent show played with Lost Highways;

I feel so blessed to be able to play with brushes and implement different sounds and moods that fit the music accordingly.

The sound is live, that means a lot of details get a little lost when it comes to the brushes.

Check out my “personal”(meaning that I made this beat myself) halftime shuffle at min. 04,55; it s a little quick but you should be able to figure out the sticking!!

Hope you enjoy the ride!!