Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tim Pierce, Guitarist Extraordinaire

I only recently became aware of the fact that Tim Pierce, a guitar player who grew up in Albuquerque and later played in Rick Springfield's band back in the 1980s, is still playing out in California and, in fact, is considered a studio legend. Pierce played lead guitar in Traveller, Albuquerque's finest bar band in the mid-to-late 1970s, which played at a lot of our church dances when I was in high school. (Even now, one of my favorite musical memories is Traveller playing Fleetwood Mac's "Tell Me All the Things You Do"; I remember approaching Pierce when he was on stage one time to ask which Mac album -- Kiln House, it turned out -- that song was from.) It really surprises me to know now that he and I are the same age, which means he must only have been 15 or 16 when he started playing with Traveller -- and he was good then. There are various videos on Youtube that show him playing guitar, either on stage or in his home studio (which, in the digital age, is where he does almost all of his session work). He isn't a master technician on the order of a John McLaughlin or an Eric Johnson, but his playing oozes a certain natural melodic genius; it's easy to see why he's known for being able to add the perfect guitar part to round out any tune.

[Update 9/18/09: I bought Pierce's 1994 solo album Guitarland on iTunes and now have it on my iPod. It's pretty amazing music -- understated in the main, flashy in places, and extremely tasteful throughout.]

[Update 2/13/10: I found this video on YouTube, which shows Pierce not only recording a few lead guitar parts but also talking about his career in music. It's very informative (note that he talks about liking Mutemath and Muse) -- and I guess he actually is a year older than I am, if he was twelve in 1970.]

Year-End at Work

Well, Fiscal Year 2009 is almost over at Sandia National Laboratories, and none too soon! I still have to wait until Monday to see what happens this week with the costs vs. recoveries on the "maintenance of capability" holding project that I now administer. I'm hoping to come in slightly over-recovered, so that I don't have to do much to "zero" the project out, but as my supervisor, John Brewer, says, it's like unwrapping a Christmas present and not having any idea what's inside. (Depending on which costs hit this week and who's gone on vacation, I could be $300K under-recovered, $300K over-recovered, or anywhere in between!)

I do look forward to the fall. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year -- spring without the allergies! -- and I look forward to having my "off" Fridays all to myself. (A couple of hikes and a trip to Vegas would be nice.) Dorine and I will have two new grandsons here in six weeks or so, as Heidi and Devery are both about to "undergo fission." We will have made what are, for us, significant purchases: (1) a 2001 Honda Accord, which our son-in-law Chris got for us at auction in July; (2) a new cello for Kiley (an investment that we hope will pay off in the form of a college music scholarship); and (3) passage on a Caribbean cruise in January to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

I'm teaching Sunday School at church, and I've been assigned to be a veil coordinator at the temple on the "odd" weeks. (I'm already almost half-way through my two-year temple calling, although I often wish I hadn't said I'd work every week!) After Darren got home, I arranged for him, Jordan Roper, and Steven Brewer to do some "initiatory" at the temple in Spanish; I don't know how they liked it, but I enjoyed it very much -- I felt like it was the fruition of all the effort I've made to learn the ordinances in Spanish.