Chris Sauthoff has a new lease on life these days. "I'm able to ride my bike and play my music!" he reports. "I love my wife and dogs and students!" Last November, you might recall, the U.S. Pipe/Lord of Word & Disciples of Bass/P-Funk guitarist -- better known around here as just Citrus -- suffered a minor stroke that affected his guitar playing. Shortly after an MRI scan revealed that he had indeed incurred some damage, he took to Facebook with a promise that he would return to form at some point. "It will take a lot of work," he acknowledged, then promised, "I will make U dance."
Since then, Citrus has steadily been making progress. This past spring, he returned to the stage as part of Swallow Hill's Top of the Hill series, performing with colleagues from the school as well as students and friends. The performance showcased his fluency in a mixture of musical styles, from flamenco and folk to Hindustani and gypsy jazz.
And he's continued to work on regaining strength in his playing hand. He's not at 100 percent quite yet, but he's staying focused. "The stroke is still tough to deal with - as you can tell by my typos!" he writes. "I haven't gotten any more feeling back in my hand, and my aphasia is still an issue, but I get better at adapting every day."
The funk master has adapted well enough to get back to making the funk in earnest. On Friday, September 28, Citrus's new band, Crazy Dog Society, will make its debut at the Lion's Lair in the company of Thee Octaves, Brainstorm and Thee Dang Dangs (which will be celebrating its EP release). "It's still in its infancy," Citrus writes of the new project. "Drums, bass, two guitars, Bubbles and another lady singing."
After pointing out that "we are really rough and improvisational," he concludes, "We're just having enough fun with it that we thought we'd share it with others. I am glad to be opening at the Lair. I used to sell that place out twice in one night back in the day. It feels like the right place to start again."
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