Monday, July 30, 2007
We got to Atlanta later than expected. No harm. I spent the afternoon & evening with Michelle. It's good to be home. It's good to see her. It's good to hang with the Schnauzes. 'Big Love' was really good. Not much to report. I deserve some time off.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Oh, ye olde Indian Ranch. I played here last year with Tucker as well. It was hot then & it's hot now. The good news is that I can just jump in my bunk & go to sleep. Last year I had to drive the rental car to Boston/Logan. I missed the last flight out of Boston. I ended up flying out of Providence, RI the next morning. It's actually a really long story - that's it in a nutshell.
The show was great. Carlos, our guitar tech, played my guitar on "Can't You See." It was time for him to jam with us. We're all very tired. Keith, our front of house engineer, was passed out in his bunk before the bus pulled out of Webster.
And now - for the long hard ride home.
I got on the bus at 8am. Was asleep by 8:05am. My bunk rules! I rolled off the bus and caught a little more shut eye in the room. There was a crazy thunderstorm here. I sleep pretty well during those.
The gig was fantastic. It was also sad. It was the last Volunteer Jam show - perhaps ever. The night was filthy with jams. It was a perfect night to end it. During the last song of the night - The South's Gonna Do It Again - the crew came out - the crew for all 3 bands - & all played tambourines.
On an even more sad note: I wish the best of luck to my friend Pat McDonald, Charlie Daniels' drummer, on his chemo treatment starting Tuesday. He & I have been friends for 7 years now. He is a truly talented individual & a great person... he's also funny as hell too.
Now, back to real life.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The Braves just can't close 'em out like they used to. The lost to the Diamondback in 11 off of a walk off HR. That's 3 in a row for those of you not counting.
I was rudely awakened this morning by a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector on the bus. I took it outside of the bus & walked to a 'safe' place & the ppm reading actually went up. I took out the batteries, locked the bus, & rolled into my room in the hotel. Everyone else but Barry had already done that. We have had tendencies to sleep past noon lately - staying up late watching TV, chatting, reading, listening to music, & bugging the bus driver, Jimmy.
I got little rest after rolling into the hotel. Call was early becuase the gig was 40 miles away.
I jammed with The Outlaws on 'Green Grass & High Tides.' It was a lot of fun to play something other than Tucker or Charlie. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bored with what I do - it was just fun to do something different.
The whole night was wonderful. It's depressing to think that it all ends tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow night is the last night of the Volunteer Jam. Our lives will go on somehow.
The Volunteer Jam resumes... but not much longer. Inconsequently, I stayed up late (again) last night. It's almost like I'm on Hawaii time or something. I don't mind. At least I don't HAVE to be awake early.
The gig was business as usual. Everyone played great. We hung out with Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Biscotti. He's a lot of fun. I also had the best brownie I've ever tasted today. It was from the catering here at Pier Six Pavillion. Just thought you'd like to know.
We leave tonight for New Hampshire. 95, here we come!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
We checked out at 11am am & took our time to get to Baltimore.
JOKE: What's the difference between 'a nice part of Baltimore' & aliens? People have been known to see aliens.
It's kinda crappy here. We have today off at least. I've been working on some ideas for the new record. I just neeed the time to implement them. That time is coming soon.
I had a great dinner with Dibby, Doug, & Jimmy. Finished off by a slice of Reese's peanut butter pie. I'm miserable right now. I ate WAYYY too much.
I don't know why, but I stayed awake until 5am last night. Maybe I got too much rest the night before. I did wake around noon, kinda groggy. I ended up falling back asleep around 3pm & sleeping until 6pm. We left the hotel shortly after. The gig was on the other side (width wise) of New Jersey. To be honest, we all thought this gig was gonna suck. I'm so glad that we were wrong. The audience was in to it. But we... we played the best show we have ever played. Everyone was listening to each other & there was some magic going on. I live for times like these. I also discovered that the gas station chain Wa-Wa has awesome sandwiches - 24 hours a day.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Finally, a day off. Bigger tours sometimes don't even get days off - but they don't travel like us.
I was up & out the door by 10am... fully rested. We flew to Chicago today. Then, Chicago to Philadelphia. Jimmy, our bus driver, picked us up & took us to our hotel in Cherry Hill. It feels good to breathe. I had some decent BBQ in the resteranu adjacent to the hotel. Have a nice day!
Oh God, let me sleep. We rolled off of the bus at 4:30am at the Philadelphia airport. Boy the Philly airport is NASTY! The carpet looks like at some point every man in the terminal stood up, whipped it out, & pissed all over it. Our 6am flight was a puddle jumper to Cincy. The Cincinnati airport was surprisingly immaculate. I enjoyed a well made egg & cheese sandwich.
We finally touched down in the Omaha airport. Which, strangely enough, is in Iowa & not in Nebraska. We stayed near the airport. I took this chance to catch a one hour nap in my room before we left for the gig. The trip to the gig was 4 & a half hours. I'm not kidding.
Dave rented me a Bassman. It worked great. From now on, I say. From now on. Cross Canadian Ragweed opened up. They were real good, but seemed tired of what they are doing.
Anyway, the trip back was just as long. I sleep now.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Home of Michael Vick. People around here are kind of sensative about the situation. It's almost like they've been indicted as well. Anywho, it's been a relaxing day. The gig was around an hour away from the hotel. The reason being that we played in the middle of nowhere. That being said, it was a great show. The crowd was having a blast. It just seems like that time of year when all concert goers seem 'less worried & free' in general.
We left the gig & rushed back to the hotel to shower.
The plan is to drive to Philly, jump on the earliest flight out, & play sometime tomorrow in Nebraska.
I'm looking at a full 4 hours of sleep ahead of me. It's a dog eat dog world!
Jamboree in the Hills - the self proclaimed Super Bowl of Country Music. It was the 31st having of the legendary event. 30,000 folks poured in today to see Friday's offering: The Outlaws, .38 Special, The Marshall Tucker Band, & The Charlie Daniels Band. Crowds at festival like this differ from the serious music fests. Bonnaroo, Coachella, & Austin City Limits Music Festival are different in that the people are more interested in the music than drinking. Here it's the polar opposite. Most of the crowd was slobbering drunk by the time we played at 8pm. I salute all of the folks who braved the sun all day. Congratulations, you were here today!
Every played great sets even thought the crowd was unresponsive. It's hard to keep up that type of energy from 5-11pm. I know that I even too a break or two.
Time to go to Virginia. Clay - out!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The singer for Lifehouse needs a cock-punch to be administered. I would like to volunteer for the job. Also, they got rid of their 'overweight,' Latino bassist for a tall, rocker looning guy with great blonde hair. Good luck with that Karma, boys.
I didn't do much today. I must sound really lazy ALL of the time. I did some preproduction on my record. I'm pretty torn about how to approach the final stages of this record. A lot of different things that I don't care to mention.
I installed my new flat screen TV in my bunk. I wasn't the only one who got one. I was just the only one who installed theirs today. I have officially 'pimped my bunk.' I want for nothing in my little world.
Tonight's stage was perfect. A large, canvas covered, wooden floored stage with EAW wedges is my idea of great sounding rock'n'roll. The power went out 3 times before the show. We were lucky that only the lights went out once during the set. It was a great time to do it also: it was before the first solo in '24 Hours at a Time' - there a little break down & the first solo (saxophone) starts will a quiet rhythm section. It was fitting. Anyway, mission accomplished - pig shit smell aside - we played a county fair - it comes with the territory.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Can you believe that Wal-Mart has lost it's lustre? I've visited at least 6 times in the past 2 days. We got on the bus at noon to find somewhere else to eat other than Applebee's (which has literally been our only choice outside of snacking at Wal-Mart). Red Lobster was a pleasant change. I suggest the bottomless lasket of cheddar biscuits.
I watched a bunch of MTV & VH1 late last night (when they actually PLAY videos). I hate to keep harping on the music scene but it has a gaping whole in it. Even the soul-less pop music from 15 years ago was better written then today's. The 'too cool for school' crowd, which in the past was the source for great creativity, is somehow too cool to make GOOD music. I hate country music also. You know who was good? Buck Owens. Go & find a Buck Owens record & you'll see what good country music was all about. Who knew that cryin' in your beer could be so awesome? Obviously not today's country music producers. I think that it all went south with Billy Ray Cyrus. "Achy Breaky Heart," while devoid of any true message like every good party song, was a particularly great example of bad songwriting. Had the American public not fallen for that one, we may still be in a good place in country music. I balme you - record buying, country music fan. When you're hot, you're hot... & I said "thank's a lot." - Jerry Reed
I was in my room by 7am - no sleep. I decided to stay up with Jimmy as he tore through the midwest. I was gone like the wind by 7:30am.
Our Comfort Inn is in a Walmart parking lot. Lucky me.
I spent most of the day relaxing, eating, & taking my time stocking up at the 'Mart. Applebee's worked out well.
This evening we started a well needed disctraction: a funny rap song by Chris Hicks. Chris wrote the words. He 'sang' a scratch track tonight. I used that to start building the track. I'm using Garage Band for real for the first time. I normally use it to make demos... many songs in one session - muting all of the other tracks to listen to one song.
Anyway, I'm producing the track. It's starting out pretty good. Keith Glenn, our front of house engineer, will do the final vocal tomorrow night sometime.
The Bronx is Burning is working out famously. It's a dramatic recreation of the 1977 Yankees produced by ESPN. Oliver Platt as Steinbrenner & Tuturro as Billy Martin works well.
Also, the new Spoon record is really good.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Leave at checkout. A few pit stops & we were off. Our road manager, David, put on "Lonesome Dove" & put us all asleep. 6 hour western/dramas always relax me. I had never seen it before. I read the book in high school. It was written by Larry McMurtry - father of little known great songwriter James McMurtry.
I finally woke up & didn't do much for many more hours. The new episode of Big Love was good - uneventful, but good... but I wouldn't expect any less at this point. HBO kicks so much ass that it makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel terrible for the other networks. You wouldn't think that strong language & adult content would make such a difference. I guess that it comes down to writing. The good writers like the freedom I guess. The other networks have money - but still most of them bat under .200.
9am bus call. It took us a couple of hours to get to New Castle this morning. We played at Mike's Famous Harley dealership. It's their 10th anniversary. He apparently sells a lot of bikes due to no sales tax in Delaware. A lot of people live 'near' Delaware. Not so much in it though.
The show was over by 4pm. It was strange to play a gig so early & then check in to the hotel afterwards.
I spent most of the evening contemplating the direction of my next record. I guess I'm crazy.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Today was a normal day. A normal day for the road. Tonight will be different. Michelle & her friend Heather are driving up to Quebec. I've invited them to share my room. They'll need a good nights rest instead of trying to drive through to Canada.
The gig was great. There were some 'new' ideas tried out in the jams tonight. Chris couldn't find 'a groove,' but what he did was refreshing. It was pretty different & avantgarde at times.
In other news, the Bassman sounded fantastic. It really throws.
We played for the Masons here in Hamlin. They are raising money for children with disabilities. Good luck to them.
It's time to sleep... with two girls in my room. Lucky me.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I was up early to run a few last minute errands. I gave back the TG2 to get the 2nd channel repaired. The 1st channel sounded amazing. The 2nd has a problem. An hour into being powered up, there's some sort voltage oscillation happening. It should be back by the time I get back from the road. I also picked up a Fulltone Stereo mini Deja-Vibe. It's going in my 'quick grab' pedal board. I'm flirting with stereo options on some gigs. (Not with Marshall Tucker, ofcourse).
Michelle & I had Savage Pizza in L5P.
I was on the bus by 3am. It has been a boring ride. I can't explain it. I guess because I've been so active for the past few days. When I finally stop, I'm bored. See you on the other side.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I started the day off finishing Matthew Kahler's mixes. It was most of the working day, actually. I'm really proud of the mix on that record. I can't wait to hear the final, mastered product. I used the rest of the workday to do some more overdubs on my record. You'd be surprised how long overdubbs take when you're engineering yourself. It sure does help to have an extra hand in the studio. I was home by 8:30 & picked up Michelle. We went straight to Atlantic Station to go see the new Harry Potter flick. I strongly suggest it. It is the most entertaining film that I've seen all year. However, Atlantic Station has turned into a haven for the dregs that no longer inhabit Buckhead during the late night hours. The night club area in Buckhead was shut down a few weeks ago & now everyone flocks to Atlantic Station to get laid. Good luck with that!
Stardate: 7-11. I was up early. Way too early for a post midnight bedtime. I met Emily Kate Boyd at the studio to listen to her new prospects for songs for her upcoming record. I'm pretty excited about it. That was from 8:30am to 10am. From then to noon, I mixed a song for Atlanta country band 'South 70.' We'll see what happens with that.
I had my first NARAS (the Grammy's) board meeting. It was what I expected. I really think that I belong in this organization. It's a good feeling.
After that I made my way back to the studio for 5 hours of overdubbs on my new record. It was pretty tedious... but at least I'm making progress.
Matthew Kahler & producer Michael Levine showed up at 7pm for 4 hours of mixing. Matthew's record is almost done. A couple hours of fixes tomorrow & it's home free for me.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I was in the studio by 9:30am. I installed the new TG2. I did some administrative work on my new record. Then I cut 3 or 4 guitar tracks. At that point I took my Park amp to Guitar Center - Rhythm City & sold it to them. I used that money to buy a used Fender Bassman LTD. It's one of the better Bassman clones that I've ever heard. I think this particular one sounds better than the Chicago Blues Box Buddy Guy Signature Amp. I'm very pleased.
After that, I continued to work on my record. I spent most of the day working on tedious parts. I had a lot of patience today (for some reason). I won't count on it being there tomorrow.
I just got home. I have a long day tomorrow. I had better get some rest.
Monday, July 9, 2007
I toured the music stores of Atlanta today. I'm scheeming about replacing my amp. I have some good leads. Things are going to work out just fine. I can feel it. I picked up my new Chandler TG2 today. It's a mic pre design like the desk from Abbey Road Studios in the late 60's-early 70's. I swapped one of my existing pieces of gear for it. I'm really excited about tracking with it. Michelle & I had Mexican food in East Atlanta. We watched Big Love, The Home Run Derby, & The Bronx is Burning. Not bad for a couple of white kids.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Pine Knob! I woke up at a reasonable hour. I cleaned up in what seemed like an expensive room at the Hilton. It didn't matter. Shortly after my shower I was on the truck going to the gig with our crew. I was going to give the Park (my current touring amp) one last chance.
I changed all of the tubes. I tried different settings. Nothing made me smile. So it was officially the Park's last gig.
Today was the Live Earth 'festival' on TV. It didn't really have the excitement of Live Aid. I saw it when I was young. I don't even remember all that participated. I do remember wanting to be a musician even more after that day. I wonder if Live Earth had that effect on some one today. I hioe so... for music's sake. It seems like their's less & less young innovaters out there.
I sent a runner to buy me a basketball. They had a goal backstage. I shot for 30 minutes by myself. I forgot how 'coordinated' I am. I love B-Ball. I want to join a league in Atlanta. My only problem is my job. I travel too much to make a commitment like that.
Tonight's show was rather uninspired. The jam was good... but then again, it's always good. Time for sleepy & ridey.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
I did a bunch of 'amp' research this afternoon. I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with my amp's sound. Coming from a technical standpoint, the amp is just too loud. In my opinion, most amps don't sound good until their on 7. In the case of this amp, if I turn it on 7... then dogs in the next state should be able to hear it on a clear night. 100 Watt amps are good for clean sounds. I need a 50 watt amp. Anything below 30 Watts would be to anemic. The 18 Watt 65 Amps London is just too quiet for a Marshall Tucker stage. Also, for Tucker, 6L6's sound better. Or maybe 6550's or KT88's. EL 34's & EL 84's are too brittle for the desired sound. The style of guitar that I play with them just sounds better with 6L6 tubes. Let the search begin.
The show tonight was even better than last night. It was well attended (perhaps, even sold out). We played first in the line up. The Outlaws have their best draw of any city in Pittsburgh. It was strange to play a short set & wait over 2 hours to Jam with Charlie.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Tonight resumed The Volunteer Jam. I had lunch with Charlie's bus driver. Charlie's crew & band have their own bus. Charlie rides alone with Dean. Dean Tubb has an interesting background. He's been on the road since he was 10 years old. His father was the legendary country singer Ernest Tubb. We must have sat there & talked for 2 hours. He's got a lot of stories.
The show was fine. I wasn't very happy with my guitar tone tonight. The jam was a little hilarious. There were 7 guitar players on stage.
I stayed up late last night... or should I say this morning. It was daylight when I finally passed out. I got up around 2pm. I guess that I'm trying to adjust my sleeping schedule so I can work late hours when I get home. Our 6pm bus call came earlier than expected. It was business usual at the office tonight. Randy Travis played before us tonight. Fireworks played after us. It was a good time slot. Most of us spent this evening listening to "new" music on my iPod in the bus.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I was awoken rather rudely. Jimmy parked the bus in the hotel parking lot at 5:30am. The generator runs the air conditioner. Sometimes the fumes make their way back through the 'out' vents under the bus. The carbon monoxide alarm went off around 8:30am. I was right in the middle of a deep sleep. Luckily our rooms had long since been ready. I grabbed my key & rustled up to my room. After a shower, TV, & lunch, I went back to sleep - until 6pm. I'm still awake. I'll probably be all night. I like that better. The nighttime is the right time.
We had the day off... which is good because we have 4 gigs in a row. It was 5, but Sunday's gig cancelled. Which I don't mind because it was logistically horrific. Now all is well. My laundry is done. I'm clean. I've updated the website, myspace, & the blog. I'm awesome. Everyday should start with possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Ahh, the uncool side of the twin cities. However, that moniker changes every 5 years. Out of sheer boredom, I decided to accompany our prestigiuos crew to the gig. It was originally going to be a fly date - so we used rental gear & the guys in the truck got a couple of days off (no gig tomorrow). This was the first rental gig with a real steel amp. They rented me a Peavey Nashville 400 (which is what I have on the truck). I realized how much more efficient a Black Widow 15" is than the Jensen that I have in my amp. I think it's time to upgrade. Some guitar sounds thrive on inefficiency. With steel guitar, it's all about getting ever little amount of power you can get on stage. That's why steel amps are 300 Watts. The instrument is played completely different than an electric guitar.
Anyway, today was another gig with The Charlie Daniels Band. However, it wasn't a Volunteer Jam date. We took off right after our set. We were in the bus by 7pm. We're leaving the hotel by 8pm. Doug has to catch a flight back to Spartanburg out of Chicago by 4am. He's going to attend George McCorkle's funeral on our day off. It's kind of a bummer. But, at least George didn't lie on a bed for months.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
I wore myself out yesterday. I went out with the boys to a sports bar last night. It was a late night. The crowd was weird at the gig. I can't blame them. Most of them had been hanging out in the direct sunlight & heat for upwards of 8 hours. It's also Sunday. Sunday crowds are usually lower energy. If people worked at their jobs with the ferver of their weekend party schedule, then USA would be #1. #1 for what - I don't know. But we would be.
On another note, I'm sure most of who have flipped by The Godfather on AMC today. They're showing Parts I & II in chronological order. I'm convinced that it's easier to watch both parts in that configuration.