Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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David Sam’s Singing Keyboards, Ed Tulipa’s Pop Terapia, and My Own Bits ‘n Pieces at the Big Bang Bar in Barcelona

May 14, 2012

After there was a big bang in the Williams Formula One team garage after the Grand Prix I had to stay later at the race track, so whatever may have been my thoughts about where I might go to play music in Barcelona last night, it whittled the choices down to one as far as I was concerned: The Big Bang Bar. That, of course, was where I had intended to go anyway, since it has a very cool Sunday evening rock and pop jam session. So I went, I played, and I especially enjoyed – oh, and made a few discoveries.

The open jam session is run by David Sam, who sings and plays keyboards, and its the style where you go up with your instrument and play with other musicians. Mostly rock and pop. David did this fabulous thing using the synthesized vocals on his keyboard. I got it on video, so check it out here; it is on the video that starts with a long bass solo – which is cool too – and the scat singing keyboard kicks in around the 55-second point.

I got to play two songs, and David played along on keyboards, someone else played drums, and a performer named Ed Tulipa played bass. I did “Mad World” and “Wicked Game.” Oddly, I blew both of them, forgetting key moments of the vocals. But it went over pretty well, and I had an amazing time. Ed then came over later with David, and gave me his latest CD, which is called Pop Terapia. I have listened to half of it already, and have it waiting for me to accompany my exercises tomorrow morning.

But what I have heard of Ed Tulipa’s album so far is very good, and very Beatles. The story behind the CD is that Ed’s Dad died, then at the same time basically, Ed got cancer, and during his chemotherapy treatment, his girlfriend left him!!! Holy crap! So he did this album as therapy, naming it Pop Terapia. But what is beautiful is that it is not sad, down, and depressed. Very nice stuff, and Ed plays a wicked lead guitar and sings well. The songs are catchy and nice pop. One of the songs is brilliantly entitled, “I’m Only Here for a While.” That one, in fact, was written by, and played with and sung by on this album, the so-named Rory Gallagher of The Revs.

I could write all night about this place, this music, and my time last night – which was incredibly brilliant in more ways than one. But if I did that, I would find myself compromising tonight’s open mic in Paris. I had to travel back from Barcelona today and that took a while, and now I’m in Paris and looking forward to some of my own Pop Therapie…. return tomorrow to hear about that…..

Hard Rock at the Big Bang Bar Barcelona Jam

May 23, 2011

I mentioned the jazz jam at the Big Bang the other night, well, the rock jam is the one that started this bar off a couple of decades ago when Jesus de Kalle, a rock guitarist, decided he needed a place for him and other musicians to jam. So last night, like every Sunday, it was the rock jam night. I took that as my cue to go and play some of my songs, but there was a biiiiiiggg difference between my songs and most of the stuff last night. I mean, AC/DC, Deep Purple et al ???

Jesus was on hand to start out the night playing lead guitar, and it turned out I would be the first non-employed performer – ie, the first jam victim – and I would play with the house drummer and that house bass player. I was a little disappointed that both Jesus and David Sam, the keyboard player who is in charge of the rock jam, left when I was called up. But they had been playing for a while, so they needed a break. I played Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” and then I went into “Mad World,” and as I started the first chords of the latter, David Sam ran back into the room and did some greet backing for me on the keyboards and some nice solo stuff during the break between verses and at the end.

He later told me he liked this kind of music and that’s why he came back, to play along. I suddenly realized that I had already played with David before, around the corner two years ago at the JazzSi club on my first ever time playing with a full band. That was such an odd experience for me that time, and it took me telling myself that I would do it purely for the book I was writing about open mics, just like a George Plimpton experience playing with the Detroit Lions or something. But it was my baptism by fire, and since then I’ve grown to love playing with other musicians, and I no longer tremble at the thought of it being weird for me to be caught dead in the company of “real” musicians.

Speaking of real musicians, there were a number of them last night. There were some great bass players, lead guitar players, keyboard players, sax players and a singer or two. Check out the guy singing the AC/DC! He did some other stuff that sounded even more heavy metal….

Anyway…off to a blues jam tonight. I had two other places lined up last night, but in the end I decided to get the best taste of one place only that I could. Interviewed David Sam for the documentary, and also managed to get my performance on video, but it was too long to put here and I don’t have my video editing software on the laptop to cut the video shorter….

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