Slow Hand Healing: an Interim Report

Anticipating that you might be wondering where I’ve gone or what I’m doing, I offer the following brief tales of surgical procedures, ongoing works in progress, leanings toward the olde country and physical manifestations.

Meanwhile a decent (though not yet quite complete) retrospective of my 40 year music careen can be heard at


Olde Leanings: The olde country for me is, of course, England. I’m planning to tour the UK next summer / autumn. There seems to be quite a lot of people playing the same sort of blend of traditional and original music that I have been working on here for many many years. And I want to go home. Whatever that means.

Dave Swarbrick in 1969 rehearsing with Fairport Convention for the groundbreaking album, Leige and Lief

Dave Swarbrick in 1969 rehearsing with Fairport Convention for the groundbreaking album, Leige and Lief

Speaking of home, some of you may not know that Dave Swarbrick died recently.–obituary//

Surgery Etc. Back on March 15th, I was wheeled supine into an operating room in Redding, California. No soothing New Age music played there. Only classic rock. Not very loud but loud, nonetheless. My nurse slipped the end of what seemed like a four-foot plastic plank under my shoulders. “What’s this for?” I asked.

“Surgery,” he replied with a knowing grin. He then strapped my out-stretched left arm to it.

My anesthesiologist administered what he had gamely nicknamed a margarita to the IV in my right arm and applied a rubber tourniquet to the outstretched left arm. He injected something into my left hand to put it completely to sleep while the “margarita” did its job of turning me into a warm piece of toast in love with the world. [A higher dosage of the same stuff, we should note, killed Prince.]

The surgery, which took about half an hour, was actually two procedures. The first procedure immediately removed the numbness and burning of about ten years of carpal tunnel syndrome. The second procedure corrected a triggering index finger. The finger would get locked in an upright position sometimes and was stiff and swollen. Cortisone worked well for a while. The index finger is healing much more slowly though I was able to play guitar well enough quite soon after the operation. It is still swollen and stiff but I’m told that can last up until September.

Eric “Slow Hand” Clapton, according to the BBC, does not have such a good prognosis. He has peripheral neuropathy which is making it difficult for him to play.


Richard d’Andrea, when playing bass with the Know in the late 70s early 80s. He is currently arranging and playing bass for my 40 year-old recording project, WatThe?

Work in Progress: Meanwhile, I am still at work on the five recording projects detailed in my last newsletter.

I am nearly finished with principal recording for On Earth, the first of two albums begun 40 years ago by the proto-new wave trio we are now calling WatThe? Richard d’Andrea, one of the finest bass players of LA’s 70s/80s new wave scene has been steadily emailing spot-on bass parts for each of On Earth’s 12 songs. There is very little left to record before we mix.

There is more to record, however, on one of the two recording projects begun last spring: Come Listen to My Story: Ballads and Blues.

I’m also working on On Venus, the second of the two WatThe? projects; The Ghost of Old Lord August by David Nigel Lloyd and His Mojave Desert Ceilidh Band (only 20 years old); and on Star Thistle: Twelve New Songs (the other project begun last year).

More info:


Physical Manifestations: Part of the creative process [and this may be BS on my part] has included an unwillingness to think about performing. With the desire to perform in the UK, that part of the process must be coming to an end. On July 1st, accompanied by percussionist Vaughn Avery, I performed a very casual sorta bg music deal at the Ashland Oak Street Galleries. Vaughn is an extremely perceptive musician. Wit maybe 10 minutes of rehearsal, he was right on top of things the whole evening. Perhaps with rehearsal . . .

I will be performing nearer to home on October 15th at the Music Hall in Yreka. Details forthcoming.

Thanks for reading and have a fine summer!