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Gary's Summer of Fun, Foreign Festivals and Music Madness
The summer of 2003 has proved to be Gary's most diverse and enjoyable season of international music making in his career—kicking off with the double honor of Gary being cited by the editors of DownBeat magazine as one of their "66 Hot 6-Stringers" (alongside Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Pat Metheny and others), as well as The Wall Street Journal devoting a half page profile on Gary's Chinese pop album "The Edge of Heaven", praise of which this year spread all over the U.S. with its release through Harmonia Mundi and into China itself, where it garnered press raves in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
Gary's live summer action began with a stellar appearance at the prestigious Holland Festival in Amsterdam, where Gary was the overwhelming crowd favorite in the famous Concertegbouw's "Night of Guitars" which featured short appearances by other guitar greats in the old classical music sanctorum, including Marc Ribot, Mike Kennealy, Kelly Joe Phelps and Japan's sonic kamikazes Ex-Girl. The 3 Japanese minxes later turned up to catch Gary's full solo set the next night at his favorite venue to play in the world, the Paradiso (Gary's 17th appearance there in his career(!), going back to his first show there in 1980 with Captain Beefheart). When not making music Gary hung with his pals the actors Willem Dafoe and Kate Valk from the NYC based avant-garde theater company The Wooster Group, who were also appearing at the Holland Festival.
Next it was a hop west to LA where Gary made a solo acoustic appearance at the Knitting Factory Hollywood, and celebrated his birthday on the Santa Monica pier with old Yale friends actors Harry Hamelin and Bill Moseley. While in LA he also hung out with fellow Magic Band guitarist Denny Walley and "Ice Cream for Crow" drummer Cliff Martinez.
Early July saw Gary take off for Russia for his premier concert appearance there, to join Future Sound of London for their first ever live appearance, which took place in St. Petersburg in the throes of its 300th anniversary celebration, at the Stereoleto Festival. Outdoors under the famous starry White Nights sky that never darkens, the band, comprising leader/dj/sampler Garry Cobain, blind sitar virtuoso Baluji Shrivastav, and Gary, took the stage before 2000 ravers and blazed new sonic territories for a nonstop 2 hour rave improvisation complete with absent FSOL member Brian Dougan's computerized digital lightshow projected behind them. Their set left the ecstatic crowd begging for more as the three musicians signed autographs after the show to swarms of excited fans well into the wee hours of dawn. Thanks especially to organizers Sasha Cheparukhin, Yuliana Galitskaya, and Ilya Bortnuk for making the dream a reality.
Early August and Gary flew way west to fabulous Honolulu for a special 3 night stand at the University of Hawaii, comprising a lecture about his life in music "Tales of a Wandering Musician", an acoustic music workshop for specially enrolled guitar students, and a gala acoustic concert on the last night which sold out early on, thanks to a massive promotional effort by organizer Alan Hunley which saw elaborate preview and feature newspaper profiles on Gary running in the 3 largest papers in Hawaii before the show. The 3 night stand a tremendous success with attendees, organizers and the performer himself. Gary then took off to Maui for some much needed r and r on the beach at Wialea.
In the midst of this midsummer madness, Gary managed to play several NYC based shows at Joe's Pub and the Knitting Factory both solo acoustic and with his Fast 'n Bulbous Captain Beefheart tribute project; helped promote the release of The Magic Band's new CD "Back to the Front" (ATP) with live radio appearances on Vin Scelsa's "Idiot's Delight" show and on WFMU and WNYC FM; and attended Roxy Music's incredible reunion show at Radio City Music Hall as the special guest of Bryan Ferry, who Gary had the honor of playing with at Royal Festival Hall in summer 2000.
Upcoming: Gary's fall solo tour of Europe which will take him to London first for a show at The Spitz Sept. 10th where he will be joined for a song by his buddies Larry Love and the Rev. Dr. D. Wayne Love of Alabama 3 ("Woke Up This Morning" from The Sopranos, one of Gary's favorite shows); then off to Bordeaux France, Lucerne Switzerland, Venice Italy (an appearance at the Biennale); and lastly 2 nights in Paris, before it's back to hometown NYC.