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Tag Archive: Conner Roark


Dweezil Zappa and Ryan Brown

I had been waiting for Dweezil Zappa to play at House of Blues since November. Which was when Dweezil’s drummer, Ryan Brown, played on my songs when I recorded in LA in November with my son, Conner, producing.

Not so incidentally, the first of two five song EPs that we recorded will be released within the next few weeks – Hello Out There. Ryan did a great job on my songs, as did Lou Castro, L.A. session bassist, and I was looking forward to seeing him play the massive drum set he plays with Dweezil.

I, and the rest of those in the audience, were not disappointed. It was an excellent show. And Ryan was impressive on the drums, as the other performers were on their respective instruments. The songs they played of Frank’s I recognized. But all songs were played exceptionally well. It was a kickass show.

When I walked into the room before the show, I was getting ready to send Ryan a message to let him know I was there. Before I had a chance to get my phone out, I looked up and there he was with his friend, Collin, who had also come to see the show. We talked for a few minutes before Ryan had to go get ready. He was going to come out when the show was over. But when they played a two song encore, it was getting late and I didn’t want to hang around until the after show backstage activities were over. I sent him a message telling him the show was excellent and I’d see him later.

On my way back to my car – as I do every time I’m down there – I remembered that HOB is in the old White Swan building. When I was working at Famous Ramos Hot Dog Place that was in mall food courts in the early 80’s, when the stores needed more pretzels, I would drive down to the basement dock at the White Swan building and get as many boxes as my car would carry. Famous Ramos, and other companies, paid them for freezer space. That was when the only thing in what would become the West End was the Old Spaghetti Warehouse.

Things change. But sometimes it’s kind of nice to remember what it was like then. I know the memories floating around in the ether would appreciate it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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Dan Roark, Lou Castro, Ryan Brown

My oldest son, Conner, an audio engineer and owner of Refrigerator Records, and I arrived at Mikal Reid’s studio in Woodland Hills, California. We had come out the night before to get everything ready. So it didn’t take Conner too long to get things set up.

When Conner told me he had Lou Castro, noted LA session musician,

Ryan Brown, Lou Castro, Dan Roark

and Ryan Brown, drummer for Dweezil Zappa, lined up to play on my cd, I was elated, as you can understand. I had not expected to play with that level of talent. And I didn’t know what they would think of my songs.

Lou Castro

I sent Lou and Ryan the songs I wanted to record. A couple of days later, I talked to Lou and he said he liked my songs. So I felt a little better, but I hadn’t talked to Ryan. So I’m in the studio playing guitar and warming up while Conner sets up the mics and headphones. About twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was Ryan Brown. Lou was going to arrive a little later. Conner let him in. Before I had a chance to react, Ryan walked up to me.

Ryan Brown

“Are you Dan?” I nodded. “I like your music. Awesome songs.”

I was blown away, to say the least. While Ryan was setting up the drums the way he wanted them, Lou arrived and got set up with his bass. After Conner got all the levels set, we started the session with the Aardvark song. Once we began playing, all nervousness left me and it was just fun.

Dan Roark

Four to five hours later, we had nine songs done, a couple on the first two takes. We didn’t take any breaks. Mainly because I got so involved in playing that I didn’t think about it. Nobody else said anything either. When you have a groove going, no reason to stop.

Except that after three hours of straight playing and singing, I felt a cramp in my right hand gaining intensity. My voice was sounding rough. We weren’t using the vocal track anyway, but I was still straining my vocal chords. The cramping was a more immediate issue.

I made it through the nine songs. I only had eleven in mind. Of the two we didn’t get recorded, one was a song I already had recorded, but wanted to redo it. The other song was more of an acoustic song anyway.

We spent the next hour talking about music and telling stories while Conner transferred the files to his hard drive. As well as comparing music scenes. It was a very pleasant way to end a good day of recording – with the exception of the throbbing in my hand.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

In less than a week I’ll be in North Hollywood. I have eight shows in ten days, while recording during the day on six of those days. I have the good fortune to have noted LA bassist, Lou Castro, playing on my cd. Not to mention Ryan Brown, Dweezil Zappa’s drummer. Then there is Jimena Fosado, one of the hottest young guitarists in LA. With my son, Conner as engineer and producer. Conner also owns Refrigerator Records.

As if that wasn’t enough, I play at Rumi Cafe on Thursday and Friday. Then Tribal Cafe on Sunday and Ireland’s 32 on Monday. The Cork Lounge on Tuesday, then Guitar Merchant on Wednesday. Back at Rumi on Thursday and Friday. The Saturdays are in the works.

If you would like pre-order the cd, Hello Out There, you can do so on the store page of my website. Buying anything else in my store would also help with expenses.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

When I knew I was going to be in LA to see Conner and record, I contacted the Tribal Cafe and Gary Stockdale and booked a gig. I was trying for Friday, but Gary was busy, so I arranged for a Sunday afternoon show. The Tribal Cafe, as you can see, is a funky little place in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. It has an extremely varied menu and the food is really good. They have an open mic five days a week.

The show was from 4:30 to 6:30. Gary played first because he had an obligation later. I really wanted to do a show with Gary and hear a full set of his songs. I met him at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in Austin a few years ago and see him there each year. But I only got to hear a few songs at a time. Gary is the consumate folk entertainer. He has some really good songs which you can find through his website.

Gary Stockdale

Fortunately, he had a couple of friends show up to hear him play. There were few other people in the cafe. Gary played a good, full set which included a song from his show, Bumpersticker – the Musical. He also played my favorite song – so far – Who’s That Old Man. I think that’s the title.

After his set, Gary was able to listen to a few of my songs, but then he had to leave Рa couple of songs after Conner and his girlfriend, Jimena, arrived.

A few songs into my set, people began to arrive. For the last half of my set, I had a full crowd. Granted, it was not a huge place, but a full group of people for my first show in LA felt really good. And they liked my songs. I almost always adjust my set list when the crowd isn’t the type or size I expected. I switched places with a few songs, but I actually played the set as planned and even did the two standby tunes.

The fact that Conner and Jimena were there was a bonus. It was the first time she heard me play. She’s quite the guitarist and songwriter herself. Jimena Fosado is one of the angels in Corey Feldman‘s band. I also have her to thank for the pictures of me playing.

I spent the rest of the evening grinning quite often. All in all, my first show in LA was a success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

Here is the video for my song, What the Lord Intends (Sack Summer Hunger). The video was filmed and produced by Marcus Belmore. The song was produced by my son, Daniel “Conner” Roark. It is the bonus song on my new cd of live songs, Peace Be With You. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re there. Also, please like my Facebook music page.

Peace be with you.

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