Monday, July 26, 2010

Back Home

... & not a moment too soon.
I gave Kevin Coughlin a ride from the bus to his house this morning. I haven't written about him yet. Kevin & I went to high school together. We've been friends for a very long time. He is now working with the band in the crew. His roll is more of guitar tech for Coy, Hop, & me. It seems to be working out very well. Soooo... I dropped him off this morning & made my way back to my house. I laid really low this morning. Around noon I turned on the shower & thought to myself... I stink already. Why not work out, then shower.
It had to be 2,500ºF at the peak of the day. I moved my bench outside & lifted this afternoon. It was an easy sweat & felt good to workout outside. I breezed through it though. It was also the 1st time that I've worked out at home. Can't wait to do it again.
I ran a ton of errands around town this afternoon too. FYI: if you ever want to feel good about yourself go to WalMart & just look around. There's probably some one there way worse off than you.
After doing a couple hours of computer work this afternoon I had dinner with my Mom. (I also did some laundry there too). Haven't found the time to buy a washer/dryer for the house yet. Anyway, I'm feelin' pretty good. Hope you're doing well. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Louisville, KY

Today was a good day. I woke up in the parking lot of Churchill Downs. My abs aren't worth shit today thanks to Jimmy De Martini & a medicine ball. We got to shower in the jockey's locker room. The shower heads were at the perfect height to rinse my beard - & I'm already a fairly short fellow.
Anyway, we played the first ever Hullabalou Festival held here at the same site as the Kentucky Derby. I caught Taj Mahal & The Black Crowes today before I had to go to the meet & greet. It was as hot as the dickens today. The sun was mighty & showed me no mercy. I should probably burn the shirt that I played the show in. Fun but not fun.
Going home for a couple days of recoup before we launch ourselves out to San Fran. Peace out!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kingsport, TN

My Dad is from this leg of the woods. Erwin, just south of Johnson City. Look on the picture.
What a day. I got up at 8am. I finished a song & wrote another. You have to take advantage of days like this. When the muse comes calling you have to drop everything if you are able. This morning I was able. I also worked out today. & we had a meeting regarding the order of the songs on the new record. We have so many good songs that it's hard to order this one. Usually, if you have weaker songs, you want to hide them or surround them by better ones. This album simply doesn't have any sub par songs. It's an extremely hard job. We actually didn't finish because we didn't have enough time.
Eat & greet was good. It's the last one of this style. We'll be changing the format very soon. This was the last Southern Ground show. Sonia Leigh was out playing her own show tonight so it was not even a normal Southern Ground show.
The crowd & the show was great. In the 30 years that they've had this event, this was the first time that they've ever sold it out. & it sold out in a short amount of time too. 12,000+. Sheesh!
On to Louisville. Ready for a short break.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Washington, D.C. (DMB)

Today was a barrage of emotions. The first thing we did as we stepped of of the bus was visit Walter Reed Medical Hospital. For those of you who don't know what that is - it's where all of the wounded soldiers go when they return stateside to receive care. Most of the guys that we visited today were in high spirits. Some of the amputees were excited about getting back in to limited action when they were able. It's truly awe inspiring to actually see their dedication to our country. I hope we lifted some spirits while we were there.
After that, it was a normal 'opening for DMB in a stadium' type of day. It was easily our best opening set though. Everyone on stage was in a good headspace & we had 0 technical incidences. Can't say too much about it. It was just good.
On a personal note, I got to see my friend Taylor tonight. It's always good to see him when I come up here. He & his wife are good people. On to Tennessee!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Danville, VA

I went home on Monday night. I was in my own bed by 4am. The band hitched a ride on Zac's private jet flight back home. Tuesday & Wednesday was filled with cleaning & chores & getting my mind straight. I got a haircut too. It was definitely worth going home for a multitude of reasons.
We flew back 'to the road' this morning. It was business as usual for the ZBB camp out here on the road. It was also hot as the dickens here in Danville. It was a smaller venue compared to most of the recent ones. Folks were crammed into the lawn of this 5300 capacity shed. It was a good show, though I felt the heat & humidity reign in my normal stage motion. Only one more Southern Ground show left (& also two DMB shows left - all this weekend). It feels weird to have the 'getting out of school' feeling in late July.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gilford, NH (day two)

I was up at a reasonable hour this morning. I can't say that for the rest of the bunch. Rumor has it that the last one went down around 5am. I took it easy today. I still have a very late night ahead of me.
The promoter took a couple van loads of folks to the lake for a little boating. The weather was dodgy & I had work to do, so I didn't go.
The show tonight was one of the best in recent memory - topping last night's effort. Only 2 more Southern Ground shows left.
The show is over & the band is leaving soon for home - hopping on to Zac's charter for Atlanta. I'm assuming I'll be in my own bed by 4am. Sorry so short - gotta go.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gilford, NH (day one)

Slept like a baby last night - which was out of my control. I was so tired that, once I fell asleep, I didn't wake until we stopped moving here in Gilford. This is my 3rd or 4th time here at this venue: Meadowbrook Pavilion. The actual venue itself is a normal shed: amphitheatre seating underneath a roof & then lawn eating behind that. But, the backstage area is pretty accommodating & set up for fun. There is a basketball goal. Catering is set up really nice outside. Tons of room for buses backstage. Also, it being summer in New Hampshire, the weather is perfect.
It was, however, a pinch hot to work out in the sun at noon. Again, we kill ourselves. Today - more stations. Eric, Jake, & Wyatt played through but Jimmy & I were the only ones to do 4 full rounds of 13 stations (one minute a piece). Normally, there would be a tad of physical comedy inserted here. Let me describe it for you. I would position my hand with the fingers almost closed, then lightly breathe on my fingernails, followed my rubbing them on my check in an up & down motion. It's so awkward to describe the mannerisms that dignify my awesomeness.
Anyway, it was a full blown Southern Ground show tonight. To me, it was one of the best. Zac wasn't feeling well, but once the show started I couldn't even tell. We knocked it out of the park. There's only a handful of these shows left. I must admit, I'm so glad to have ben a part of it, but it's been almost a year since we started this tour - I can't wait to change it up. The jazz musician in me just wants Zac to call the songs on stage & play a completely different set every night. But, I understand the value of true entertainment for our audience. We should have a nice, clean show for them. & we did... in October. Since then the rookies have changed a song or two here & there, we've added Joey+Rory to the fold, & we've even started playing new material from he upcoming album. Truth is - I just want to get to the August. I'll play these last Southern Ground shows like they were the last ones of my life, but I'm ready to start anew.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New York, NY (day two - DMB)

At the behest of a few impatient individuals, I give you this post. New York kicked my ass yesterday. Well... Jimmy D & Jim Beam. We did stations outside in the unseasonably treacherous New York heat - on a blacktop - with the sun at its peak. An utter ass whooping. I took it like a man though.
Then there was the show which was the most lackluster pre-DMB set to date. I think we weren't into it as much as the crowd. We were having technical difficulties on stage so that brings down the excitement level rather quickly for us.
The show was over & we hit a bar down in TriBeCa. I got tanked. That's what I do (when I drink). I'm not very good at it.
This morning wasn't so bad. Since water, a sandwich, & Advil helped me to bed, I awoke rather normal. God damn Beam!
Today's workout was easier on the lungs & we did it in the shade. Jimmy & I just lifted & wrecked our abs. The show tonight was rather redeeming. The crowd was definitely into it. Redemption is almost as sweet as its bastard cousin, revenge.
I turned in early tonight. I watched a movie & a half. Time for nighty nite!!! See you in NH, y'all!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

En Route to NY

Sorry I fell off with this blog thing. I didn't have internet at the house & was just plain tired & didn't have anything to say. We have been riding since 1pm EST on our way to NYC for two DMB shows at CitiField (where the NY Mets play their expensive brand of baseball to no avail). Speaking of which, my Bravos got rid of our only locker room problem: Yunel Escobar. We got Alex Gonzalez for him. He's a bit older... hell, he's older than me - but I think he'll be a good influence, a consistent bat, & a great fielder. In essence, we traded a young, good, ill tempered short stop for an experienced, good, veteran short stop.
Anyway, I'll fill you in on tomorrow. Don't worry. The blog shall now resume!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hershey, PA

So sue me. I didn't write last night. It was a great night. We played Canadaigua, NY. Good show. Good crowd. Great set. That's all I have to say about that.
Today was a different pace. Another DMB opening slot. This time at Hershey Field in Hershey, PA. It's basically a big, local football/soccer field with stadium seating on the sides. We closed the set with "Killing in the Name Of" by Rage Against the Machine. It whipped it with a belt!
Nothing else to report. Onto Pittsburgh tomorrow for the same fare - but this time in the Pirates baseball stadium.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fort Wayne, IN

I was up at a relative safe time this morning. I had a good breakfast. Jimmy, Coy, & I worked out today. It was a hard one. My muscles have finally started shutting down. I wanted to do push ups, but an hour into working out, I couldn't. It's a very satisfying & frustrating feeling.
Immediately after working out we had an hour & a half rehearsal/soundcheck. Then we had 30 minutes to get our stuff together, find the shower, & use it. In "road time," that's not a lot of time to accomplish all three.
Immediately after that, we had Eat & Greet. It was a good one too. Good people here in Ft. Wayne.
After the E & G, I found 15 minutes to lay down in my bunk. Then there were warm ups.
We played the minor league baseball stadium here in good ol' Fort Wayne. 9-10,000+ fans tonight. I played well tonight, but physically - I hit a wall. I almost passed out twice... luckily I was sitting down at the keys for the last 20-30 minutes of the show. I really need to pace myself throughout these days. I didn't know about the hour & a half soundcheck. Also, the E & G was 30 minutes earlier than on a normal day. Soooooo, I lost 2 hours of rest time. I'm getting old I think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Toledo, OH

Oh, Toledo, OH. We had yesterday off here. Most of the fold traveled to an island in Lake Erie. A smart handful of us stayed behind. I worked out in the gym yesterday with Jimmy & Eric, but took it easy the rest of the day. Pretty sure I drank my weight in water trying to rehydrate from working out, the dry bus, & the sunburn. Could've been worse: we could've been in Tucson or something where I'm dehydrated just by being there.
The crew left the hotel at 9am & we left at noon. Today's show was at the Ampitheatre at the Zoo here in Toledo. Some toured the facilities - I spent most of my day at the venue finishing up & installing my new guitar rig. It's a Bradshaw Switching System that I have modified to my own preferences. I bought it from Ryan Newell of Sister Hazel. He had it designed for him back in 2000 & ended up not liking it. He preferred a traditional pedal board. So he switched back to a pedal board within a few months. This has been sitting in his storage space for nearly a decade.
I'm really happy with it. It sounds better... way more top end on the guitar. I actually have to roll back my treble setting on the amp. Everything seems clearer & more vibrant because the signal is not being bogged down by 40'+ of guitar cable. You'd be surprised how fast guitar degrades over even 15' of cable. I use 5' cables in the studio - shorter if I'm able.
I thought tonight was going to be 'back to work' or 'time to make the donuts.' True, it's been a couple weeks since we did a Southern Ground show. Those days are rather time & energy consuming. Our day starts at 5pm where we have the Eat & Greet for an hour. Then 15-20 off to do whatever (I usually get dressed for the show & try to relax). Then it's vocal warmups for half an hour. Then the show. A 3 & 1/2 hour show! 30+ minutes after the show we do a signing for about 30 minutes. Used to be a lot longer. So my "work" day is from 5pm-midnight or later. It's an intense 7+ hours, I tell you.
Anywho, tonight's show, that threatened to be heavy lifting, was a pure joy. It didn't feel long at all. The new guitar rig was gangbusters. Big fan, big fan. Can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

East Troy, WI (DMB - day two)

Soooo. Yeah. Happy 234th Birthday America! I got up really early this morning. I kinda tooled around until noonish when we worked out. It was my first official day back working out so I didn't have the stamina that I had when last I did it & I would imagine that I'll be very, very sore over the next few days. I got a pretty wicked sunburn as well. That'll teach me. We pulled out the grill & made burgers, dogs, & brats behind the buses today. That's how we roll on July 4th!
Anyway, that's over with. We took the stage around 7pm. Dave introduced us again. Today's crowd was a little more subdued than yesterday's. But they were ALL about some DMB.
Those guys played a total of 5+ hours over the past two nights & NEVER played the same song twice. They also didn't even play their biggest radio song: Crash. They are just great & their fans are truly fans of the music not of the celebrity (which is so common among country fans). Anyway, it was a straight up eye opening experience.
Since the working out & the sunburn, I'm gonna turn in early tonight - earlier than normal anyway.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

East Troy, WI (DMB - day one)

Since my last blog I am officially moved in my new/old place. I haven't had any internet there so I haven't blogged (obviously). Let me try to recap:
After many trips to Wal-Mart & Home Depot everything seems to be in place. I now have AC. I now have a fridge. I now have cable. I ordered my new iPhone (which is in Atlanta waiting for me now). I built my new guitar rig for the road (well, it's 90% built - the rest will have to happen out here). I packed for this run. I also did a juice cleanse/detox on Wednesday & Thursday. This is not my first time on this detox. I did it a couple of years ago. It's this special concoction of fruit juices (mainly grapefruit) that you drink. 8 oz. of juice every hour & all the water you want to drink. It's not as bad as it sounds. The hard part is convincing your body that you don't HAVE to eat every 6 hours... the funny part is, if you really observe yourself, you're not actually hungry. The only thing I did wrong during that time was overexert myself physically (i.e., lifting, working around the house, cleaning, etc.).
We left Atlanta yesterday (Friday) around 1pm hoping to dodge some of the traffic craziness this upcoming holiday can harbor. It was NOT the case. It took forever just to leave Atlanta. Not only that, but every city we came near was bumper to bumper traffic. It's not like it was surprising, just inconvenient. Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, even Indianapolis around 11pm was a nightmare.
We stayed the night in Indy... & left around 9am for Wisconsin. We should've left much early & just been early. However, the venue that we played at tonight just wasn't equipped for the entourages of both bands. Dave carries 11 buses & maybe as many trucks for his production. Even our 4 buses & 2 trucks was way more than they could handle. So, that being said, they wanted us here at the last minute so we wouldn't be in the way. Ahhh... the life of an opening act: stay out of the way, try not to kick TOO much ass & get your ass of stage ASAP.
Everything went pretty well though. The only real hitch is our guitar tech, Mikey, was not with us because of a family emergency. So we flew in Kevin Coughlin, a high school friend of mine & a former Marshall Tucker guitar tech. He was to join us on the road anyway in a couple of weeks & he was available to work on short notice. He did a good job tonight.
Dave introduced us on stage. I'd say 50% of the crowd was there for the beginning & 80% was there by the end. The show was 60 minutes. For the short set up time & missing key components of the crew, we did great.
I was so beat after that week I had, the trip up here, & the stress setting up before the show - that I am resigning to my bunk. I'll see Dave & the guys tomorrow night. We're playing here again. See you then.