Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I PROMISE to finish the last few Canadian dates of the King's X tour when I can get around to it. I just gotta say that buying cigarettes in Canada was fucking weird. That, and I added some Wino pics to the "intermission" post. Finally got Photoshop Elements 8 for the laptop and can actually EDIT and WATERMARK my damn pics. Screw Adobe tech support, but that is another blogpost altogether.

In the meantime, here is a scan of a pamphlet that some Jehovah's Witnesses gave me at our house a few weeks back. I was so impressed by the utter ridiculousness of it I hung it on the refrigerator:

What gets me is the people about halfway down the line looking back and waving Adios to the poor dumb bastards being left behind. Sick people, man.
Another apology to my 5 humble readers. Life's been a little crazy lately.

I will say that The Mother Truckers happy hour last Thurs (10-15) was fucking AWESOME. Another sold out, capacity crowd! I had to take it easy as though my back was feeling better, I sure as fuck didn't want to make it worse. Told Josh as much onstage, he replied "I can't tell, doesn't seem like anyone else notices either!" Awesome. But trust me, I was taking it EASY. Although, I did still jump offstage for my bass solo... can't stop the ROCK!!! Great crowd, a lot of new faces as well as the usual suspects.

Clara the bartender Go-Go dancing during "Save My Soul"

Josh holds a shot glass for Pete the Beat to incorporate into his drum solo:

Second set we brought up the legendary Earl Poole Ball (Google him, seriously!) to tickle the ivories for most of the tunes. Always awesome to share the stage with a living legend! Nice guy and such a pro. Tell him the key, count him in, point to him to take a solo, and it's like we've been practicing with him for weeks! For the big finale of "Love Me Like A Man" Josh and I did the switcheroo and I took a long guitar solo and finished the song out. Good times! But oh shit, out of time. Thank you, good night!

The incomparable JB (silver-haired gentleman/Mother Truckers super fan) leads a post-show toast! This was his 98th Mother Truckers show!

Afterwards went to the Scoot Inn with Josh, Teal and some of the Truckers gang for drinks and stupidity. My friend Amber came out as well, gave me the latest version of the new Amber Lucille album with a pedal steel player that just tracked that day or the day before. I gotta say, this is some of the best stuff (musically and production-wise) that her and Trent have ever done. And they've done a lot of different shit in the past few years, as I have done as well. Awesome that the breakup of Southern Gun Culture in 2004 allowed us all to branch off into so many other directions musically.

Next night (Friday 10-16) was Eric Tessmer at Maggie Mae's upstairs. The weather had turned cool so it was a great night to play outside. When we finally GOT to play. I swear to Crom it took that soundguy an hour and a half to set up the damn PA. And to think I hauled ass to go park and grab a slice of pizza (dinner) on the way back to get set up at 7:30 for an 8pm set time, and not fucking start until almost 9:30?!? Well shit, I should have grabbed a table somewhere and gotten a proper fucking meal. My friends Triniti Young and Chris (Splithoof) were there with some friends. All we could do was drink our beers, check our watches and wait... Yeesh.

Low key gig, crowd OK. The little thing of lights behind Richard's kit didn't work. I know, I tried to plug them in after 40 minutes into the set to get some light but we had enough from the goddam movie screen showing the fucking game. Nice. But we just played and had fun despite getting started so late. Tessmer yelled in my ear between songs "We have to be offstage for the DJ by 11pm, and we're getting our full guarantee anyway..." Cool. And sure enough, we stop at 11pm and the DJ was already setting up playing a bunch of good old-school hip hop. I dug his musical selection, but the crowd it attracted left a lot to be desired... But whatever.

"Impromptu party" called at Chris and Triniti's place, so Richard and I headed there for late night drinks and music. Nice little gathering, met their new kitty cat Durga, "The Goddess of Boundaries, for she knows none!" explained Triniti. Nice! Fun little get together, got schooled by Chris on a lot of early 70's rock which I now can't recall, go figure. But yeah, it all cemented my conviction that the early 70's is my favorite era of music. Now if I can just remember what he played.

But anyway, gear: I did one final trussrod adjustment to the neck of my bass for those lighter strings and it seemed to do the trick. They didn't feel weird at all in standard E tuning for the Truckers, nor did they feel weird in Eb for Tessmer's stuff. Did buzz a little on the frets but no big deal.

Another longish weeked of gigs: Truckers happy hour tomorrow night @ Continental, gig with Tessmer at Club One-2-One downtown Friday, then Tessmer @ BD Riley's on 6th Street Saturday night. We'll see about One-2-One. Not that great a place, but last time we had a blast. Got drunk and were jumping out the windows (ground level) and walking around the sidewalk playing. Good times!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh man my back is killing me right now. Probably a combination of yesterday: playing drums for 30 minutes (will wear earplugs next time), doing 30 minutes on the treadmill (over-doing it?), and some free weights for upper body. Trying to stay in shape so I can rock out for long, high-energy sets and not run out of gas... and continue to get pegged for being 27 years old instead of 35, heh!

Saturday night with Eric Tessmer went pretty damn good! And fun!

I guess UT had beaten whoever they were playing so there was a crowd downtown, heh. I was well rested and sober (at least at the beginning of the evening) and felt way more on top of my game than two nights previous. Also had my pick fingers back and my fret hand felt strong. Awesome. Only used a pick on "Killing Floor" and "Down". Good long set and people were into it. Having Michael McDaniel with us helps us stretch out the jams even further, additional keys and organ solos and tenor/soprano sax solos. Awesome!

Finally about 2 hours in, Eric, Michael and I went out front for a smoke break as Richard did his drum solo. After about 5 minutes I observed, "Well, people aren't running outside, he must be doing pretty good!" So we gave him a few more minutes and went back inside, and sure enough, the half-circle around the small corner stage had grown! Can be hard to get people to dig on a drum solo, and he did it! Finished out the last hour+ with several free drinks from the crowd.

Afterwards lotta people made sure to come up and say they dug it. "Did you guys play ACL?!?!" "Uh, no..." "WHY NOT?!?!?" I have no idea, either politics or not enough fellating and manipulation of corporate genitalia, who knows. Probably the same reason I've lived in Austin for 9 years and only finally started playing official SXSW showcases last year because I was finally playing in a well-established band who was on a label (The Mother Truckers).

ANYWAY. Next morning HUGE blood blister on my R index finger. *shrugs* It'll peel and heal, no big deal. Just good to have my calluses back.

Yesterday I re-strung my bass for DR .40-.100 guage strings from my usual Dean Markley Blue Steel .45-.105. Wound up with several free boxes of them from the last King's X tour, might as well use them! Will do some heavy playing today to make sure they work. Tried to use them once before but felt too goddamn weird and switched back. But this time I adjusted the truss rod a bit so we'll see if they work. Free strings > the $25 a set ones I prefer...! Would still like a DM endorsement since I swear by their bass strings. But maybe I can at least trade in the DR .40's for DR .45's since they are still in the original boxes.

Trying to fill my schedule for financial reasons but tired of trolling Craigslist. Yes you can find some great opportunities there -- The Mother Truckers (hired), Jackson Taylor Band (not hired), Charlie Robison Band (not hired) -- but those are 1 in 1000 ads. Will start calling talent scout Billy Squire again, and look into others. Maybe also get an agent or something. Tessmer says he is hiring a booking agent to get some road gigs, but The Mother Truckers don't have much going on rest of the year save for the Oct happy hour slots and a Saturday (finally!!!) at Antone's next month.

I want to play well-paying gigs for good crowds in reputable venues, performing music that doesn't suck, and travel a lot.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday night was a very long night.

The Mother Truckers happy hour at the Continental Club was awesome!!! Lotta old friends and the usual cast of characters, as well as new faces. Sold out crowd! Felt great about my playing although had to use a pick for the second set due to lack of proper calluses. Man, almost feels like cheating...! Think from now on I will at least use a pick for "Can't Sleep in Tucson" which is the single hardest Truckers song for me to play, shoulda been doing it all along!

We had Brandon from Pat Green's band get up and sit in on Violin for 4-5 songs, sounded awesome! I love just getting people onstage, telling then what key it's in and letting them do their thing, especially when they are pro enough to follow along like they've been jamming with us all along. Awesome!!!

Took some shots onstage during Pete the Beat's drum solo for "Save My Soul":

Second set we had Brandon up for a few more, then got (shit, can't remember name) from Stone Honey to trade blues solos with Josh on "Love Me Like a Man". Yelled in Josh's ear "Mind if I take a solo?!?" He said "Hell yeah!" I meant on guitar, but pulled a pretty decent bass solo out of my ass, with Josh yelling in my ear "Use the WAH, man!!!" Hell yeah! Then for an encore we had most/all of Stone Honey and Aaron from Shurman get up for gang vox and harmonica on the "Paradise City" medley. Hell yeah, good times! Hopefully next week we'll have a bottle of Patron onstage to pass around, heh! Pete the Beat was using the house kit so a drum dive was out, and most of the front row was ladies so no crowd surfing either. Will make preparations next time for a finale. Lots of "So good to have you back!" from friends, fans and my bandmates. And it's good to be back, have missed jammin with the Truckers.

Tried to get the party moved over to Antone's for Eric Tessmer's set but no dice. The Truckers posse and Stone Honey guys were going to party at the SRV statue (a fave after-party spot of ours). Said my goodbyes and departed for Antone's.

Crowd a little thin, White Rhino already onstage. Tessmer helped me load, went to park. Got back and Son of Fire already ontsage. Running out of gas big time by this point, just rocked my ass off for 2 hours and had another long set to go. Son of Fire sounded great, had a pretty decent crowd by then. I got a Dos Equis and tried to take it easy backstage. Curious about the new organ player, turns out it's Michael McDaniel from the Friends Sunday blues jam! Awesome.

Standing outside smoking with friends some douchebag totally went after some English bloke standing outside minding his own business: got pissed at him out of nowhere, headbutted him 3 times in the face and took him down beating the shit out of him. Happened so quick we were all kind of in shock, Son of Fire guys broke it up. Poor English bloke spent the rest of the evening going "What happened?!?" We didn't know either. Aforementioned douchebag needs to pull that shit on a cage fighter and get a much-deserved beatdown.

Switched to Jim Beam on the rocks by the time we went on (maybe not the best idea). Tipsy, tired and hadn't played practiced with Tessmer in who-knows how long, and a new member. Fuck it. Let's do it! Felt out of shape and out of practice but did my best under the circumstances. Mainly used a pick cause my pick fingers were shot. Then the drinks started coming in and it was over. Chain smoked onstage to keep my energy up a little. Who knows how we (I) actually sounded, heh. Was still fun and good practice for tonight. Michael was a good addition, not only adding organ but also tenor and soprano sax and some vocals as well.

Was fine to drive tho and got home no problem. But in the middle of the night woke my wife up crawling OVER the bed instead of walking around it to go to the bathroom. Was totally half asleep cause I do remember getting to the bedroom door and it looked like the bus door of The Black Panther. Weird. Then Gina turned on the light and I had to squint at the doorknob before opening it. Weird.

Yeah. I was beat.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taking it easy today, about to take a ibuprofin. Have 2 shows tonight, The Mother Truckers hapy hour @ Continental Club and then a set with Eric Tessmer at Antone's. Double-duty!

Yesterday played a private event with The Mother Truckers at Stubb's (the big outdoor stage!). Okay by event standards but free food and an open bar so there ya go! Fun sets as well, good warmup for tonight. Can't even remember when my last shows with them was. Nice day but by mid first set was like I dumped a bucket of sweat over my head. Drenched! Played pretty decent once I ripped all the band aids off my fingers. End of first set pick fingertips like I'd held them to a soldering iron. Had to use a pick for rest of the show, messed me up a little but no big deal. All in all a fun show, even when little things went wrong we'd all look at each other and laugh. Tried to take it easy rockin out-wise as I have a long night tonight, but couldn't help it. Havin too much fun.

About to refresh Eric Tessmer's music, haven't played with him in awhile either and have 2 new songs to learn. And we won't get to practice. Ha! It'll be a little loose but we'll be fine. Added an organ player so cant WAIT to check that out.

Was going to mow the lawn today (nice day so far) but I think I better lay low and conserve as much energy as possible. The Truckers happy hour tonight is going to be insane. Crowd surfing or a drum dive will def be in order...!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I'm so fucking far behind in updating this blog, and I apologize to those who've been following it (all 2 of you, heh). The run with Porcupine Tree was so draining physically, emotionally and creatively that it was hard to keep it updated day-to-day. Recaps make for more linear flow, but day to day updates have the emotional punch because it's being documented as it happens (tho it does make the flow kinda weird, have a paragraph or two for the current day then recap the previous day). But whatever.

I am home. I have never wanted to go home so bad from any run of show's I've ever done, whether teching or playing. I lost 5 pounds on that run, would have been more if not for copious beer consumption.

Went to see Wino w/JP from Clutch Sunday night after getting in that afternoon, much to the dismay of my wife. But it was two living legends sharing the stage. And worth it. It was inspiring. Immediately wanted to go home and play the drums cause JP makes it look so damn easy. Great show.

JT Drunk, new guitarist for Dixie Witch and electrician extraordinaire

Wino and JP Gaster

With the man himself, the mighty Wino

Been playing bass all day yesterday and today, making sure my stricken fingers will be good to go (they are) and getting my calluses back. Irony of irony, I've had daily access to the rig that is the "brown sound" of bass tones, and can't play it. Dug Pinnick and his lefty bass... I have never felt more musically retarded in my entire life as I did the first time I tried to play bass left-handed. Even flipping it upside down don't help. So yeah, I havent played bass in 3 weeks.

The Truckers have 4 songs I need to know tonight, 3 originals and one medley of covers. Got them locked down, we practice tonight. Then a private event at Stubb's BBQ tomorrow (the big outdoor stage!!!). Then Thursday Happy Hour at the Continental Club (Teal said the first one I missed was sold out and had a line up the street!), and later on I play with Eric Tessmer @ Antone's. That will be awesome! Then a long set with Tessmer at BD Riley's downtown on Saturday. Not sure I'll even get to practice with him, hope we do cause he added an organ player.

I will rejoin my Fall Tour recap already in progress when I have time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 13 -- Montreal, Canada @ Metropolis w/Porcupine Tree

Tuesday September 29, 2009

Woke early anyway, sat in the back lounge watching the trees go by and doing some last minute internet correspondence. Had to spread the word that once we crossed the border into Canada I'd have no phone service and limited internet access. Stopped at a grocery store somewhere in Vermont. Gary bought me hydrogen peroxide for my thumb which is starting to concern me. Looks nasty and infected but it's thankfully just a big chunk of dead skin. Rest of my fingers healing up more or less nicely, provided I don't tear it up loading gear. Robert the driver had bought something using a stack of ones. On the way out he had a cop waiting for him. There was a recent bank robbery and they wanted to make sure he wasn't the guy. HA!

Last ditch effort to get Wilson into Canada... a disguise!!!

But we still had the US-Canada border to deal with. Jrab had already departed from Boston since he couldn't make it in. Wilson was worried he'd either have to pay or be turned back. Ryan knew he had to pay and didn't have the money. The deal is, if you have ANYTHING of an arrest record, even stuff from 20 years ago they make make you pay $200 for a temporary work permit. And it mainly depends on who is manning the guardpost that day. Some border guards are cool, some take you for all you have because they CAN.

So Wilson is turned back to the US and told if he ever comes back to the border he'd be arrested. Mind you as a professional merch wrangler he can and has entered most of Europe with no problems. But it's all a racket so there you go. We didn't even get to say goodbye to him. They took him away, then they took Ryan (he came back), then the rest of us had to sit in a waiting room (Ryan still on the bus) while the bus physically drove him back to the US border. Luckily they had some special paperwork or would have had to deal w/re-entering the US and going through a longer traffic line and even more bullshit. So it took about 2 hours or so to get through.
Talking to the band it's taken up to 8 hours before. It's just effin Canada man, like we're really black market smugglers of moose and eskimos and shit.

Weather again turned sour coming into Montreal. We're now calling this the "Rain Tour". Fuck. Watching Montreal from my bunk I could def tell I was not in America. Different architecture, billboards and roadsigns in French. Venue was pretty cool, all kinds of weird graffiti on the backs of the surrounding buildings. Couldn't read it anyway so who knew if it was French or English. Also not used to French Canadian or the accent, not like anything I've ever heard. I swear they are just making it up, heh!

Lost a damn glove after Boston, the right one (the one I NEED). Luckily Ryan had a spare pair but they are fingerless. Go figure. Got loaded in and played the waiting game. Bus parked along a brush-lined sidewalk. Needed a machete to cut a path, weird. Catered food downstairs, yay! Some kind of slop with meat, corn and potatoes (later identified as shepherd's pie, very good). Football (soccer) on the tele, we are definitely not in America!

Mental note: bring a machete for the bus next time. And a BBQ grill.

Barely enough time for a soundcheck, no surprise there. Rest of our gear crammed into the metal freight elevator off stage right. Getting very cold outside now, went for a brief walk around the block with Ryan. Cool to walk around a place that feels like a totally different country. Then King's X went on and knocked them dead like they always do. Sounded goddam amazing onstage even though I could tell they were struggling a bit. Dug's been a little under the weather and having trouble hitting those Mariah Carey sog whistle notes in certain songs. Got the hell offstage and Ryan and I spent the first few songs of Porcupine Tree tetrising our gear back into the cases.

Downstairs in the dressing room Ty and Jerry very excited talking about band stuff and the new website, have a bunch of new ideas for promo and their upcoming DVD. Drank a few Borealis (? had a polar bear on it) and rested a bit/checked e-mail. Had loaders at the end of the night (spoke English but could barely understand them) and the rain had stopped but goddam was it cold. But we were done, so Ryan and I went to spend our $10CN buyouts at the bar next door ("When are we going to be in Montreal again? Let's go to a bar!"), which seemed cool from the back. It was OK, 80's American music and drunk college girls. Had 2 pitchers of some Canadian beer. Tipped in dollar Canadian coins but still felt like a cheapskate leaving change. Staggered back to the bus and slept.

Day 12 -- (off day, somewhere in Vermont)

Monday September 28, 2009

Woke up and the bus was in Vermont somewhere. Thought we'd have the day off in Boston instead. Ah well. Had to text my Boston friend John ( moderator) that plans had evidently changed and we would NOT be having some beers together. Saw him last year when The Mother Truckers played Boston. At this weird hotel (Anchorage something), first floor haflway in the ground, second floor waist level, and these half-staircases like an MC Escher painting. Cleaned up and showered in the crew room, my first since messing up my hand. Shampooing my hair hurt like hell, that's for sure. Scrapes on fingers starting to heal, but it's the big wound on the side of my thumb that has me worried. But I still have more than a week til I need to play.

Sky still threatening rain as Ryan, Dug and I went across the street to the mall to forage. Walked into the entry of some department store and we almost froze: bright white and clean, Amy Grant playing on the PA. So NOT what we were expecting we almost left, but found the entry to the mall proper. Walking around the sides of my knees were hurting. My Army boots so worn down/rounded in the soles I could feel my legs quivering a little with each step and how it affected my euqilibirum. And maybe if I had new ones I wouldn't have slipped on that damn ramp...

Split off from Ryan and Dug to go boot shopping. Found some Doc Martens for $110, felt a little big but put the bad ass insoles from my boots into the new ones at the store and they fit great. SOLD. Ate solo at Applebee's, apple walnut chicken salad. Lotta good people watching at that mall, even spread of college girls, old folks and some seriously inbred looking motherfuckers. Then walked to a nearby grocery store for more band aids and some Neo-Sporin.

Didn't feel like doing shit the rest of the day. Could have caught up on photos and blogging, but so road-weary I just didn't care. Phone drifting in and out of analog roam, hope I didn't run up my phone bill too bad... Eric Tessmer called looking for Jason Morales' (Tia Carrera) phone number, wanted them to be on the Antone's bill for Thursday Oct 8th as Amplified Heat couldnt do it. Made several calls and finally got it from Kenny Wagner (Splithoof). Of course they couldn't either so he asked White Rhino and I asked Son Of Fire. Both said yes and both were added to the bill. Awesome! Brandon from SOF was very excited and grateful. I don't mind helping out people I like and bands I respect.

Opted to lay low most of the evening and try to sleep/rest. Mainly laid there and watched TV. Finally said hell with it and went to an Outback Steakhouse with Wilson, Ryan and Jerry. Had a greasy ass rare-in-the-middle burger cause at that point my body was craving protein. It's pretty good at telling me what it needs. Even had a sunday for desert. Hung on the bus with everyone. Bus call was 9am, and the choice between sleeping in an actual bed but having to get up stupid early or just sleeping til I woke up was an easy one.