Monday, June 30, 2008

Kung Fu Travel

Since our bus dropped us off at the airport last night & will be meeting us in Atlanta later this week, I checked nothing on my flight home today. Michelle picked me up at 8:15am at our "usual spot" at the Atlanta airport. I was pretty wiped. She brought me home & I crashed for 4 hours.
We had a leisurely day. We took our boys (Pete & Charlie - our miniature Schnauzers) to the park for a canine play date. Charlie did surprisingly well for his normal behavior.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Auburn, WA

It was an early show today. I got to see some friends at the concert. Tucker started around 1pm. Kenny Wayne Sheppard played after us. That's all we stayed for. We were back at the hotel & in the bed by 3pm. I was restless. It's really hard to get sleep when you're already rested & it's full blown daylight outside.
The bus pulled out of the hotel parking lot around 10:30pm for the Sea/Tac airport. Our flight leaves here around midnight; the red eye bound for Atlanta. It was a good day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Veneta, OR

Upon a great night's sleep I rolled out of bed & made myself some granola cereal. They charged me $3 for a glass of milk downstairs in the restaurant. Isn't that almost as much as a gallon?
Anyway, I walked to downtown Corvallis. It's a cool, old college town not unlike Athens, GA. There are a ton of shops & places to eat. I made a grocery store run & stocked up my un-perishable food box on the bus.
I've been watching Dexter, Season 2 on my iPod lately. It's a really great show. I add it to the half dozen plus shows that I follow regularly. It's amazing. Back in the '80's & '90's there were a lot of sit coms that ruled the TV. Now it seems that hour long, drama-suspenses that are shot like movies are the way to go: the CSI's, anything on HBO or Showtime, House, 24, & anything that fits that profile.
We played Veneta, OR tonight. It was vineyard out in the middle of nowhere. People still showed up though. Again, Marcus showed up & played his ass off. He fits perfectly with Chris & me. More importantly he fits with this band. I can't wait until it's clicking on all cylinders. The scary part is - it's clicking really, really well 2 gigs in.

Friday, June 27, 2008

to Corvallis... & beyond

I woke up in my bunk just as the cop pulled Doug over for speeding. Doug drives the bus every now & then... FAST. We got into our hotel rooms around 3pm in Corvallis, OR. We're staying on the Oregon State campus. Across the street from the football stadium actually. We're also next door to the baseball training complex. They take their college baseball pretty serious up here. They won both the 2006 & 2007 College World Series. It's hard to argue with that.
We had sushi tonight. It's been a while for me. I really enjoyed it.
Not much else to report on this day off. Good rest is in order.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jackson Hole, WY

I woke up in my gigantic room & took a deep breath. It feels good to chill out sometimes. I had breakfast with our guitar tech, Darryl, this morning. We're a line checking type of band, but because this is Marcus Henderson's first gig with us, we had a brief rehearsal over at the venue.
We played a private party for an insurance company tonight. Doug was on a roll. I think he may have talked more than we played. He WAS funny though. Marcus is going to work out just fine. In some ways I dig his playing better than David Muse.
Well, off to the fine state of Oregon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Camp Jam - Dallas

I got a ton of sleep - a ton of sleep for some one who got up at 5am. I left Atlanta on American flight #450 bound for Dallas. I taxied to Camp Jam from the airport. I don't take taxis often - & not by myself with a guitar in a flight case. I live a sheltered life.
I did a clinic for the Dallas Camp Jam today. I basically fill an hour with playing, talking about music & my career, & answering any questions that the kids might have for me. This Camp Jam was smaller but I had more fun doing it. The kids were responsive & the staff was great. Brian & Mick, two instructors, played a few tunes with me. It was a wonderful experience. Honestly, I had no idea what I was stepping into. It's one thing to put one of these clinics on at the Atlanta camp because I know that Mark Cobb & Nick Niespodziani are right behind me. I have confidence in that. You never know what you're going to get from city to city. I was lucky enough to come roses on this one. Mick was Yngwie Malmsteen's bassist for a few years. He was a real interesting guy. He was originally from Argentina but was raised in England. Great player too. Usually you would say the word Yngwie & musicians already have preconceived notions.
I was back at D/FW around 3pm bound for Jackson Hole via Denver. I must admit, it was a bumping flight especially leaving Denver - & I fly a lot. As best as I can remember, I've never been to Jackson Hole, WY. I was truly amazed at it's beauty when I steeped off of the plain. There's something really cool about snow capped mountains in the middle of the summer. It looked like a beer commercial.
Oh yeah, we're staying at the Four Season in Teton Village. Since it's a ski community (not unlike Vail or Aspen) they have villas here. I'm staying in a 3 bedroom suite with a kitchen. There's a bathroom, deck, & TV for each room. So this is what it's like to travel like Mariah Carey.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Brian Wiltsey (day six)

We got home around 1am tonight after cleaning up from last night's shoot. I was up before 10am rolling to the studio before 11am. I set up for electric guitars, acoustic guitars, Hammond organ, & a handful of sampled keyboards. We worked solid taking only two short breaks. Sean McIntyre came in towards the end of the day to play bass on one song. This album is starting to shape up already. I'd like to have him cut vocals next.
I packed for my trip this week. It's a nice 'long' fly trip - but the bus is on the shows. Which means that we'll leave Atlanta on a plane but Jimmy is out in Casper, WY today waiting on us. He's been there over a week just waiting. He's used to this kind of thing. He's a professional.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting Smart

I slept like the bed owed me money! It was rough weekend & I didn't have anything left in the tank. I finally took a shower around noon. I also soldered my new WCR Alnico II bridge pickup in my Nash TC63. It is a little darker than the pickup that was in there. I also painted all of the cavities in the body with a metallic based shielding paint. Doing this & running ground cables from each cavity to the universal ground unifies the ground into a giant shield & makes RF interference & 'bad power' a non-issue. Needless to say, my Tele is much quieter & tonally more balanced.
Michelle & I went to see "Get Smart" today. It was okay. The 'funny' jokes were few & far between. It was cast well, but I think there was a reason that "Get Smart" was originally just a TV show. Mel Brooks & Don Adams got it right the first time.
Michelle & I met Craig Eck at the studio tonight. We took pictures for the new album art. I'm pretty happy with the results. I can't wait for you to see it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Push On Through

I got a 2 hour nap & then drove one of the rental cars from Providence to Boston. It was an easy trip. It just hurt not having any real sleep. Barry & I had a later flight than everyone else but we still had to leave together. We tried to crash in the terminal by our gate but the Boston airport was just too loud.
We finally left the northeast at 8:30am. I was home & in my own bed by noon. Michelle had me up by 3:30pm. We went to our friend Shaina Lee's (Greg Lee & Nicole Jurovics' daughter) 2nd birthday party. After that we came home & are watching TV. I cant imagine that I'll be up much longer. Good bye, world.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Willimantic, CT

2 hours. I see a pattern. This weekend & last weekend are certainly good tests of endurance. Last week my pattern was 4 hours at a time. I'm beating that by half this weekend. We rolled to the airport & flew to Chicago & then to Providence, RI. We stayed at a hotel near the Providence airport. Again, I got a 2 hour nap this afternoon.
We drove a little over an hour to Willimantic, CT. Rick Derringer opened up for us. He also sat in on "Ramblin.'" I can't report much after that. We drove back to the hotel. However, tomorrow is more of the same. We're actually flying out of Boston tomorrow instead of Providence. It's an hour away. I think they're trying to kill me. I can't say that they're not succeeding.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mankato, MN

After such a hectic day yesterday I got up at an early, early hour. I got around 2 hours of sleep. I was at the Atlanta airport by 5:30am. I took Airtran (for the first time in a long time) to Minneapolis. David Muse's flight was really late so our driver took us to The Mall of America for lunch. We all attacked the food court.
With a thick traffic day, Mankato was the better part of 2 hours away from the airport. I finally got a bit of a nap this afternoon. It won't be enough for my long term health.
We played Brewfest tonight. I'll be the first to say that it wasn't a very good show. The band played up to par. The solos were pretty good. Doug didn't have a very good night singing. He also was in a weird place anyway. His interaction with the audience was disjointed. He also called a weak setlist throughout the night. You can't win 'em all.
Well I'll try to get some sleep. We're leaving really early. I'm running on that 2 hours from last night & the 2 hour nap from this afternoon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Camp Jamming

I rolled out of bed into the car. I put on another Master Class at Camp Jam this morning. I talked about the blues again.
Shortly after that was over we (drummer Mark Cobb & Nick Niespodiani) packed up a van & headed to Cleveland, GA. We taught at a summer camp for the afternoon. I guess it was one of their electrives for the day. All of the musically inclined kids signed up to perform in a show this afternoon. We had a band each to teach. "My" band had a pianist, bassist, guitarist, drummer, vocalist & a violist. I was pretty cool. I coached them to play a version of James Taylor's "Fire & Rain" & Ben E. Lee's "Stand By Me." They killed it.
Afterwards we played a a short set with Tim Smith. Tim has played with Sheryl Crow for over a decade. The kids dug it & it made us feel good that we could help these kids throw together a decent show.
I finally got home around 9:30pm. I spent the next hour packing & getting ready for my working weekend. I also watched the season finally for Dexter, Season 1. It's a pretty well written show.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I awoke & showered. I sprinted to the Saturn of Decatur dealership for service. They replaced my driver side head light assembly. Michelle & I had lunch at Picadilly & then we went to see the new Hulk movie. It was a step up from the last one but it was still a disappointment.
I feel pretty weird. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep or the lack of sleep. I hope I'm not coming down with anything. It would be very bad timing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brian Wiltsey (day five)

Michelle & I ran some errands today (after I finally got out of the bed). I went & picked my brother up at the airport around 5pm (which is not normally advised in Atlanta on a week day). We had dinner with him & my Mom tonight. Shortly after they left I hit the studio with Brian WIltsey again.
It was really my night tonight. I played Hammond & piano on all of the songs. Now that I think of it Brian didn't play anything tonight. Weird.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Brian Wiltsey (day four)

I took my time getting out of the bed today. I knew that I'd be up late tonight. Michelle & I spent some time together then it was off to the studio... earlier than expected. Some one originally had the time booked this afternoon but they cancelled at the last minute. I slid in there & started my session 4 hours early.
Brian & I tore the night up. We recorded some piano, acoustic guitars, & electric guitars. That may not sound like a lot but this is a minimalistic record (at least for Brian). All of the sounds that we got were top notch. This is going to be an interesting departure from his normal records.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shyamalam-a-ding dong

I got around 4 hours of sleep on the bus. We rolled up right to the United ticket counter & I was in line 2 minutes after I woke up.
Today we flew from San Francisco to Chicago to Atlanta. Michelle picked me up at the airport around 5:30pm. I went home, took a shower, had dinner, & we were off to the movies.
We saw M. Night Shyamalan's new movie called "The Happening." It was NOT happening. This could've been a great X-Files episode - but a movie it was not.
This is my life sometimes. Most folks would think that the life of a traveling professional musician would be very exciting. To be honest, it is. I get to make a living playing music. However, there's a lot of travel involved. A LOT. I don't mind it because I'm happy for those few hours on stage. It could be worse - a lot worse.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Piercy, CA

I don't remember anything after my head hit the pillow in my bunk last night. I don't even know what I was watching on TV. All I know is that I woke up an hour from the hotel. The roads were winding & so the slightest bit of "awake" was fully awake in 30 seconds or less.
We stayed in Willits. CA. There wasn't much there... but I don't care. We were there to rest.
My friends Jim & Carol Wagner came to the show. They own & operate WCR Pickups. He built me a tele bridge pickup that has less "ice pick in the forehead" to the sound.
We played the Redwood Run. Ten Years After opened up. Ratt played after us. We were on the road before Ratt started.
Not really much to report. It was a vanilla summertime gig. Vanilla is my favorite ice cream flavor.

Piercy, CA

I don't remember anything after my head hit the pillow in my bunk last night. I don't even know what I was watching on TV. All I know is that I woke up an hour from the hotel. The roads were winding & so the slightest bit of "awake" was fully awake in 30 seconds or less.
We stayed in Willits. CA. There wasn't much there... but I don't care. We were there to rest.
My friends Jim & Carol Wagner came to the show. They own & operate WCR Pickups. He built me a tele bridge pickup that has less "ice pick in the forehead" to the sound.
We played the Redwood Run. Ten Years After opened up. Ratt played after us. We were on the road before Ratt started.
Not really much to report. It was a vanilla summertime gig. Vanilla is my favorite ice cream flavor.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fallon, NV

Sleep Watch '08: I got an hour or two on our flight from Anchorage to Seattle. When we got to Seattle I stayed awake for our 4 hour layover to make sure that we didn't miss our flight. Our flight to Reno was super easy. All-in-all it was easy minus the sleep dep.
Jimmy, our bus driver, picked us up at the Reno airport. I was so loopy that I couldn't lay down & sleep. I'd past the point of no return. When we got to Fallon, NV I finally crashed around 3pm. I was up by 7pm to shower & jump on the bus. I felt great. I had a great show. We had a great show. It's almost midnight & I'm about to hit the hay. We're on our way to Willits, CA tonight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Anchorage, AK

I got up from 4 hours of sleep at 3am this morning. We flew from San Francisco to Seattle. Then, after a two hour layover, to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage we found out that our bags didn't make it & wouldn't be in until 10:30pm tonight.
We rented guitars & such. We played the gig. It was kind of weird. We had a ton of gear malfunctions & no guitar tech tonight. It was rather uncomfortable.
I'm pretty loopy right now. I'm sitting in the Anchorage airport waiting on my flight outta here - the red eye to Seattle & then to Reno. No sleep for the wicked! It's not that weird - at least the sun is still out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fumbled Again!

I tried my best to sleep in to no avail. I packed the rest of my bags for this weekend's journey.
Nicole Jurovics picked me up for carpooling to the NARAS Governors Board meeting today. It was business as usual.
Michelle dropped me off at 3pm at the Atlanta airport. I checked my bag all the way to Anchorage. Air traffic control in Atlanta was mixed up at some point so we left an hour & ten minutes late. We, of course, landed 10 minutes after our connection left San Francisco. Sooooo... for the next 2 hours we ran around the airport trying to get to Anchorage tonight. It looks like our best bet is tomorrow morning through Seattle. They were nice enough to put us up in the Best Western. Hopefully tomorrow has less hiccups.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rock 'n Roll Charity

I was blowing out the door at 10:30am with my Gibson Firebird in the back seat. I had to pick up my pedal steel at the studio. I also hit up the Apple Store at Lenox Mall (it was on the way to the "gig").
I did a clinic for Camp Jam - Atlanta today. I talked about my career in music. I talked about improvisation (mainly over the blues - because it's easier to explain). It was a lot of fun.
I then went back to the studio for a few hours. I met a sax player who's moving to Atlanta & was looking for some advice. I guess it was micro mentoring.
I came home for a couple hours of fine dinner & relaxation. Then it was off to Smith's. I played 4 of my songs with The Vagabonds tonight. It was a great night - a little long winded but still good.
Michelle & I finally got home for good around 11:30pm. Just enough time to see the Lakers beat Boston. I love the NBA now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Brian Wiltsey (day three)

I complain a lot about not sleeping. I only bring this up because I, again, didn't get enough sleep last night. I was in the studio around 9:30am this morning. I spent all day tracking Brian Wiltsey & his acoustic guitar. We barreled through most of his record on acoustic today. We got a lot done.
I finally came home around 7pm. Michelle & I spent most of the evening watching back episodes of Showtime's 'Dexter.' I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Back Home

I woke up relatively late for a normal bus day. It was around 10am when I rolled out of the bunk. We still had 6 hours to go. It was a boring day but I don't mind. It's good to get some rest. The next 3 months will be gruesome.
Michelle made me dinner. It was hot & on the table when I got home. I'm pretty lucky like that.
We went to see the 7pm 'Zohan' movie. I really liked it. All of those Sandler movies are about the funny moments & the individual jokes as opposed to the story. Then again, I think that's what he wants to do.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Syracuse, NY

I was up around 5am. I got about 4 hours last night. We flew from Kansas City to Cleveland to Syracuse. The bus picked us up & dropped us off at the hotel. I crashed when I got to my room.
I got up just in time to change clothes & meet a van that took us to the gig. We played in downtown Syracuse - outside. It was a good gig. Molly Hachet opened up. I haven't seen those guys in quite a while. We played all the way up to curfew. About an hour later we were on our way. I've been up for a while I'm pretty beat but my sleep schedule is screwed.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Shawnee, KS

I was up by 4:30am for a 7:45am Delta flight to Kansas City, MO (insert lyrics to the blues standard "Kansas City" here). We didn't fly any of our techs for this gig so I had to go & set up. I got an hour nap though.
Chris' guitar didn't make it to Kansas CIty. They said it's somewhere between Chicago & Denver. Luckily, Foghat's guitars were there a day early & he played one of their Les Pauls.
It was a good show playing wise. I played the Nash Tele with the Charlie Christian pickup in it. It slayed for tone tonight.
We have an early one tomorrow so I'm gonna crash.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

NARAS event

Michelle & I spent the night in the basement. For the past week our air condition has been out of the top floor (where our bedroom is). It doesn't bother me that much. Since she's been gone I've been sleeping up there in 'the heat.'
We ran a handful of errands together & had lunch too (@ Savage Pizza in L5P). The AC guy had a 1pm-5pm window that he should've showed up to repair our problem. I made sure we were home promptly at 1pm. However, he didn't show until 6pm. I spent all that time working on my guitars & such. He did fix us up though. We're back in the 20th century.
I left the house around 7:30pm for a NARAS event at Tree Sound Studio. It was a Production & Engineering event. They demoed the JBL LSR4300 speakers in surround sound. It's also got some pretty interesting technology built in for room mode correction. Sorry if that's over your head.
I have an early day tomorrow. I must go to sleep.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Here Come Da Moose!

After a 3am sleep time, one of my dogs, Charlie, decided he needed to wake me up at 7am. He demanded (in the Queen's English) to be taken outside & fed. So I did. For reasons unbeknownst to me I couldn't fall back asleep. I had to be in the shower by 9am anyway.
I had a 10am appointment at Saturn of Decatur to get my front driver's side light assembly replaced (& my oil changed). I ordered the part last week - at least I asked them to order the part. It wasn't in stock. For the inconvenience, they changed my oil for free, made me a new appointment & sent me on my way. No worries.
I then drove to Emily Kate Boyd's new place just outside of Decatur. She has offered to paint a portrait of me for my new album's artwork. So I sat for 2 minutes while she took some pictures. She rocks.
After that I went back to the studio to finish the clean up of last night's session. I also made 4 copies of my new record for some people.
Michelle & her Mom rode up around 4pm in our drive way. The boys were really glad to see them. I guess I'm just not that cool. It took her 3 hours to complete her re-entry. Re-entry is the things that you do wupon coming home from a trip, i.e., unpacking your bag, taking a shower, putting things away, washing clothes, etc. It is something that I do on a weekly basis - so I've got it down.
We had a great afternoon together. I missed her.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brain Wiltsey (day two)

I made a trip to Atlanta Pro Audio this morning. I picked up my repaired Beyerdynamic M500 microphone. It sounds really good on guitar amps. I also found the time to finish the mix on Aslyn's demos that we recorded on Sunday.
I spent a good bit of the day tightening up the loose ends on Brian Wilsey's preproduction/production (form markers, setting up drums, wiring the kit, patching for tonight's session etc.). When Mark Cobb showed up at 6pm everything was squeaky clean, ready-to-go. We were cutting tracks less than an hour later. Mark knows how to hit the drums to get the best sound out of them. That may seem like a funny statement, but most drummers don't hit the drums (or cymbals for that matter) correctly. I understand beating the drums to death in hard rock, metal, & punk music - but why would you do it on a pop rock record? I'll never understand.
Tonight went like clockwork. We even had time half way through tracking to go out & sit down for dinner. Mark was packing up by midnight. He played on 8 & 1/2 songs... songs he'd never heard. Granted, I did make detailed charts for him to read but the devil's in the details... & he's got some great details.
After a pretty involved clean up, I was on my way home by 2am. I think it's time to hit the hay.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Keeping It Together

I had a meeting with Nicole Jurovics, Leslie Fram, & Lanny West this after noon. We discussed the 'game plan' for this new record. It was a good meeting.
I also got some mixing in on the Aslyn stuff. Brian Wiltsey came in for a couple of hours to go over each song & also cut one more scratch track. I made a lot of phone calls today. I also set up the drums for tomorrow night's session. It was just a day of constant motion. It feels good to accomplish a lot.
It's just me & the boys at home. I feel a quick sleep coming on.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Home, Boys, Aslyn

I got in my car around noon at the Atlanta airport. I decided to keep driving. I picked up the boys (my miniature Schnauzers Pete & Charlie) in Snellville, GA. I finally got home around 2pm. Apparently, the session that was supposed to be in the studio this afternoon was cancelled. The second I saw that I booked Aslyn in for tonight. We had a session crammed into Tuesday, but I felt like working today & easing up on Tuesday.
Aslyn brought it tonight. We recorded 5 songs - piano, vocals. They are new tunes that weren't written in time for her upcoming release.