music, technology & life in pasadena, california

Birds & Bugs

Readers of this blog may recall the following short entry I made here last year:

For the first time in 23 years, as I was sitting onstage at the Hollywood Bowl getting ready to play my quasi-60s-surf-rock solo on Henry Mancini’s Baby Elephant Walk, a bird pooped on my hand…

Well, last week I learned that in order to combat the bird problem that has plagued the Bowl since installation of the new band shell, a recording of hawks and other raptors is played at high volume levels throughout the day. The recording isn’t a simple loop, either. It’s an extended soundtrack lasting several hours. I’m sure that somewhere a study’s been done regarding its effectiveness.

Timpanist Wade Culbreath was changing drumheads Friday afternoon when he was assaulted by the cacophony overhead. I told him that Paul Horn had some success with his CDs featuring wolves and whale cries and maybe, just maybe, this was the genesis of a new project for him.

Later, during the evening concert, harpist Mindy Ball noticed a commotion in the violin section directly in front of her. When she gazed in the direction of the string players’ attention, she spied a 4-inch cockroach scurrying along the floor headed straight for her. As it crawled closer and scampered over the leg of her music stand, she steeled her nerves, waited for an appropriate spot in the music, raised her leg and squashed the offending creature in one blow.

Appropriately, the theme of the concert was A Night in Old Havana, so the foot-stomping was in order. There is no end to the professionalism of the people I work with…

August 22, 2008 | Link to this entry


Paul Viapiano is a guitarist working in film, television and live performance based in sunny Pasadena, California.

You can email me here.

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