Tony Miles and Kevin Kooyumjian

Rich Rath and Tony MilesJust got back from a visit to the Bay Area. We took a trip down to Monterey Bay one afternoon, and I got to meet, hear, and jam a little with some great musicians, Tony Miles and Kevin Kooyumjian.

I first saw Tony hanging out in the park, playing this very small guitar and went by thinking nothing of it. A little later I heard Kevin. He was playing keyboards at one of the tourist shopping areas. He played sampled guitar over a rhytm background he set up. I was really impressed with the way he got the sampler to actually sound like a guitar, getting all the bends and slides right on, which I guess (not being a keyboard player) is pretty difficult. I hung around and chatted with his wife, then with him, and went back to listening after a break.

Tony Miles and Rich Rath jammingThen the guy with the pint-size guitar (Tony) showed up and listened for a while. He went up to chat with Kevin, and overcoming a bout of shyness, I went up and joined the conversation. Kevin was really cool about this… some street performers act a bit territorial. Tony, it turns out leads a reggae band that plays around Monterey. Check out some of his tunes on the links above. He played some reggae licks and he and Kevin talked about the nature of open mic jamming. Kevin went to get something to drink and Tony and I started talking and trading licks.

Tony had some interesting stories. He said that John Lee Hooker had left him his guitars, and proceeded to reel off the brands…old Kay and Harmony guitars I think, which at least sounded about right. He then laid down some really nice stuff by John Lee…not the “Boogie Chillun” rhythm most often associated with him (think Z.Z. Top’s “La Grange” if you are not familiar with the original). I think it might have been “Boom Boom.” I played a little of the late, great, and sorely missed Robert Lockwood Jr‘s riff on Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Nine Below Zero” which Tony thought was a cool lick (Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about the time Robert Jr. played in my living room). Kevin came back and put the tip jar out in front of us! We chatted a bit more and then I took off to catch up with my friends. Check out Tony and Kevin’s music!

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