Category Archives: Birthday

Howard Buzz Feiten Guitarist

Howard Buzz Feiten Guitarist

Happy birthday
born November 4, 1948
Buzzy Feiten was 21 when he played guitar with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band  the last day of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The band came on at about 6 AM by the dawn's early light for their 45 minutes set. 

By the time he was 21, Feiten had already played Carnegie Hall. At 18, he had played the French horn with the American Youth Performs orchestra. His attempt to get into Julliard School of Music as a French horn player failed.

Like many musicians, Feiten was also in a local band, in this case on his home area of Long Island, NY with The Reasons Why during the summer of 1966, but his talent allowed him to branch out and back up other musicians.
Buzz Feiten tuning system
Eventually his guitar skills brought him to the attention of Paul Butterfield who hired Feiten to replace Elvin Bishop as his guitarist. From there the road led to Bethel, NY.
Howard Buzz Feiten Guitarist
Buzzy became Buzz and became the guitarist for Felix Cavaliere's Rascals. He played on their on their Peaceful World and Island of Real albums. "Jungle Walk" came from the former.

In 1972, he was part of a project that produced the "Full Moon" album: Buzzy Feiten, Neil Larson, Gene Dinwiddie, Philip Wilson, and Freddie Beckmeier. Dinwiddie and Wilson had both been in the Butterfield band.

His credits are, not surprisingly, extensive as the AllMusic site shows. His own site is more specific and even more amazing.
Howard Buzz Feiten Guitarist

Buzz Feiten tuning system

In 1992 he developed the Buzz Feiten tuning system. According to the system's site:

1. Shelf Nut: our exclusive Buzz Feiten Tuning System¨ (BFTS) Shelf Nut moves the strings closer to the first fret according to our Patented Formula. This eliminates sharp notes at the first three frets.

2. Intonation: your guitar's bridge is adjusted according to our Patented Pitch Offsets, creating balanced intonation over the entire fingerboard - every fret - every string.

Feiten guitar

Buzz Feiten tuning system

In 2012 he introduced a line of guitars: I'm proud to introduce you to... an incredible new guitar line called, "SuperNova/Future Vintage".  The Future Vintage mission is simple... I wanted to take the best elements of guitar and hardware designs from the Golden Era of the electric guitar, (1948-1970) and using those elements, create new designs that would perform up to the very highest standards of the most discriminating guitarists in the world. We all search for an instrument that feels alive, and gives back MORE than we put in. That's when playing a guitar becomes a truly incredible experience. That's been my mission building Buzz Feiten guitars, and the driving force behind SuperNova.

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Glen Moore Bass

Glen Moore Bass

Belated birthday wishes
October 28, 1941
“Oxeye” by Glen Moore
The opening day at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was planned as a folk-oriented one. Folk musicians often play solo, but only the unscheduled Melanie did that on Friday. And other than Sweetwater--not exactly a folk band--each performance carried the name of their leader.

Richie Havens, Bert Sommer, and Joan Baez each had two others accompanying them. Arlo Guthrie had three others, and surprisingly (to me at least) Tim Hardin had the most,  five others. I say surprisingly because of all the performers, Hardin was the one to my mind that would have, could have performed solo.

Glen Moore Bass

Glen Moore Bass

Glen Moore played bass in Hardin's band that day. He was 27 years old and had been for 14 years already. He continues to play bass today and like my lifetime musicians, his credit list is a long one ( list). Using that list as a guide, it seems that Moore is only associated with Hardin on one album, Bird on a Wire, and that two years after Woodstock.

Oregon and beyond

Glen Moore is best known for his part in the band Oregon. He had helped form the band with Ralph Towner (who also played at Woodstock with Hardin) in 1970. Towner and Moore had met in 1960 as students at the University of Oregon and like so many musicians before and since, found themselves in New York City by 1969.

There they worked with Hardin, but also more importantly began working with the Paul Winter Consort whose style of music let to the formation of Oregon. It was while Moore was playing with the Paul Winter Consort that that band recorded the song "Icarus" the well-known  instrumental, particularly to fans of the late Pete Fornatale, one of the first DJs for New York's famous WNEW-FM. Fornatale used "Icarus" as his theme song and its melody transport his fans back to those days.

Moore remained with Oregon until 2015 and by then the band had released 28 albums, but he has played with  Larry Coryell, Misty River, Susan McKeown, String Alchemy,  Afrique,  Rabih Abou-Khalil,and many more. Also, he has been credited as a composer on dozens of albums.

Here is an amazing performance in a collaboration with David Friesen:

He has also released of ten of his own albums:

In other words, although my personal "discovery" of Moore may have sprung from his sitting beside the "star" Tim Hardin at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Moore's lifetime oeuvre  far surpasses that 30 minute performance however famed it may have been.


Glen Moore Bass

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Sweetwater Fred Herrera

Sweetwater Fred Herrera

Sweetwater Fred Herrera
Sweetwater Fred Herrera second from right

Woodstock’s opening band

Sweetwater is often described as the opening band at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. That is true as long as the preceding performance of Richie Havens, Daniel Ben Zebulon, and Paul "Deano" Williams is excluded.

Sweetwater deserves the title considering the path their lead singer Nancy Nevins and then the rest of band endured shortly after the famed Woodstock.

Jay Walker and the Pedestrians

Sweetwater evolved out of a band called Jay Walker and the Pedestrians, a band that bassist Robert 'Bob' Barboza  had formed in Rhode Island. Barboza relocated to Los Angeles and reformed his band there.

In June 1967, Pedestrians Alex Del Zoppo (keyboards) , Albert Moore (flute), Pete Cobian (percussion), and Andy Friend (guitar) along with newcomer Nevins (vocals) left Jay Walker and started a new band. It remained unnamed for a bit, but after Moore told Nevins that some stream water he'd just quenched his thirst with wasn't bad at all, it was sweetwater, they realized they'd found a name.

Sweetwater Fred Herrera

Sweetwater Fred Herrera
Fred Herrera far left
Fred Herrera had not been in Jay Walker and the Pedestrians.  Del Zoppo new him from playing other gigs and knew him to be a good rock bassist. Rock was the direction that Sweetwater wanted to head in. Keep in mind that in 1967 the definition of rock had expanded to include the influences from all areas of music. They included idea of jazz jamming along with the feel of free wheeling rock. The odd thing about the band was that it had no guitarist. 

The band became one of the main opening groups for many other suddenly famous bands like the Doors, the Grateful Dead, and Johnny Winter. They joined those bands and many more on the festival circuit. 

TV had realized that this "new music" sold well--that is, advertisers would buy time on their shows if they featured such bands.  On June 10, 1969, Sweetwater played on the Los Angeles TV show, "New Sound." Unusual for these new shows, Sweetwater played live. Herrera recalls, "They actually recorded us video and audio live at the same time, which was never done at that time. All of the other TV shows we did in those day either took the feed directly from the album which we then lip-synched to, or recorded the band offstage beforehand. Then they would come in and 'stage' us according to the music to allow for correct camera angles. It was refreshing that they didn’t care what we did. They just turned on the camera and said, 'Go!' It was a lot different than just about everything else on TV that was going down then."

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Bruce Blatman was Sweetwater's manager. He suggested the band add another festival to their 1969 summer itinerary: "an intimate, no-pressure music and art fair itn ehcountryside of upstate New York called Woodstock."  (see Horror stories).

Keyboardist Alex Del Zoppo was in the Air Force Reserves at the time. When facing the reality of fighting in Viet Nam, many young men of the time joined a reserved branch of the US military. Though the length of service was longer, the chance of deployment was far less. Del Zoppo told Blatman that his 2-week summer training started Sunday that weekend. Blatman said they'd be the opening act on Saturday afternoon, Del Zoppo could get to JFK Airport in plenty of time to fly to California and his base on time for Sunday.

We know that didn't quite work out as planned. The word plan that Woodstock weekend had a very loose meaning.


Sweetwater Fred Herrera

Del Zoppo got in trouble but also eventually got out of the reserves without having to serve. The point was moot since on December 8, 1969 a drunk driver t-boned the car that lead singer Nancy Nevins sat in. She was in a coma for two weeks and awoke with damaged vocal cords.

Sweetwater did not make the 1970 movie's soundtrack or the movie itself. It became a footnote, a bar bet: what Woodstock band had no guitarist?

The appetite for Woodstock has never gone away. Surprisingly to many, there are many gen-Xers who arrive in Bethel, NY at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts seeking inspiration. Some of Sweetwater's Woodstock music is now available . Though three of the original members have died, the others, including a recovered Nevins, continues to play music.

Herrera's credits include playing or producing Grupo Fuego (1993), The Exies (2000 and 2003), and Father John Misty (2015).

Sweetwater Fred Herrera, Sweetwater Fred Herrera, Sweetwater Fred Herrera, 






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