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Down Night in Bahrain – Hard Rock Times

March 12, 2010

It’s so depressing when you write a nice long blog post and then the computer eats it before you get a chance to put it up. Especially at nearly 1 AM. So I give up. In short, today was not a fruitful evening on the musical front. But it was not entirely without – for as I walked from the circuit shuttle drop off point at the Gulf Hotel back to my hotel I ran into a Hard Rock Cafe just down the street from my hotel. It reminded me of the evening I had at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuala Lumpur last year when I went to listen to Eddie Jordan’s band there, and I did a blog post on Eddie and the Robbers at my F1 blog at the NYT.

Hard Rock Cafe Bahrain

The neon guitar of the Hard Rock Cafe in Bahrain appeared on the horizon of the cityscape....

So tonight, I went into the Hard Rock Cafe and had a beer. The place was bursting with people and at the bar where I sat were about five men dressed in the traditional white Arab garb – not sure what they were drinking. I asked a nice blonde barwoman if she knew a place to play music, like in an open mic or jam, and she knew nothing. She was from South Africa, but had lived here for some time. She said, though, that the woman at the door, the greeter, had lived here a lot longer and she might know about places to play.

So I left and on my way out, I asked the greeter woman – who looked Filipino – if she knew where there might be a place for an amateur musician like me to play.

“You know, an open mic or jam session,” I said. “Just some place where they might allow anyone to go up and play a little music. I’m here for a few days and brought my guitar and I’d like to find a place to play.”

“At all the bars in all the hotels,” she said.

“Okay, thanks,” I said, and got out fast.

That was it. Back to the hotel. Play a little music all by myself with the knowledge that I may have had a down day today, but there was definitely an open jam session at the Dublin Club tomorrow and I was told they’d fit me in.

So I went back to the hotel itching to play. I’m like a violinist I remember reading about when I was a teenager. It was either in a radio and TV announcing course I took or it was in a ventriloquism course, I cannot remember which, but the quote was very interesting. The violinist said: “If I don’t practice for one day, I notice it. If I don’t practice for two days, my family notice it. If I don’t practice for three days, my audience notices it.” Well, I may be the only one who notices it when I don’t practice for a few days, but I’ve still begun to get a little itchy if I can’t play every day.

So I went into the bathroom in my hotel room since it is well insulated from the other rooms next to mine, and also because it echoes nicely and gives me that feeling you get when you sing in the shower – or just a bigger sound. And I sang two cover songs I often sing, “Father And Son,” by Cat Stevens and “Just Like A Woman,” by Bob Dylan. I set up my handheld recorder that I use for my interviews in the paddock, propping it up on the towel rack in a way that Jac Holzman had me do (not in the bathroom but on a towel on a table in his hotel room in order to absorb and deflect any bad sound vibrations from the glass-top table) in Amsterdam a few years ago when I interviewed him, the founder of Elektra Records for a story. Anyway, I thought I’d put up here the results of those two recordings I did in the bathroom of my hotel tonight and leave the musical adventure at that for today as I wait with anticipation for tomorrow. You can click on the songs below to hear me singing them in my hotel in Bahrain tonight:

Father and Son

Just Like A Woman

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