Thursday, January 28, 2010

I just signed up for the RPM Challenge again.

RPM Challenge is an online deal where bands/musicians challenge themselves to write/record an album's worth of material during the month of February. Last year I did an instrumental solo disc under the name Red River Day Care. This year I will do the same but under my own name. Would like to press and self-release both as solo albums when I have the money, why the hell not?

Rearranged the garage the other day to set my drums back up. Nice to finally have the fire back. Last 2 months or so I have felt little to no inspiration to do anything creative. But now I feel that musical focus again, and it feels Goddamn good. Have about 4-5 solid song ideas so far, some of it a little ambitious musically. But fuck it, alot of the RRDC album was pretty musically ambitious. Bring it on.

Maggie Mae's w/ETB last night:

Went pretty well. We played great and feel strong. Pretty good crowd as well. Had some fun towards the end of set, played Green Diamond pt 1 as trippy as we possibly could, heh. Had a little band business meeting beforehand and better assembled out game plan. But we have been bumped to every OTHER Wednesday at Maggies. Will suck to lose the money, but let's be honest most of those shows have blown. Hopefully get some weekends there and not be playing several times a week for free. Have a huge push from the new album and CD release and need to capitalize on that.

ETB @ Friends, Monday night

Went OK. Decent crowd at times. Played pretty good. Meow.

Going to go play some drums and do some pre-production arranging. I should probably eat something too, but probably won't.

Full CD release recap w/pics coming soon, I swear.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Too tired to write, this has been a very long week and I am glad it is over.

The ETB CD release last night was utterly amazing, was better than I could have imagined. By doors a line 3 people wide around the corner and halfway down the building. Blistering sets by Tia Carrera and Amplified Heat, and the crowd loved them.

Full recap later. Taking rest of today and most of tomorrow off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just wheeled my Isovent cab into Austin Speaker so the guy could check it out.

He called yesterday asking questions about the cab, not only out of professional curiosity (never seen one) but also to help him tailor the speakers to my needs. Not only did I realize that the cab is indeed 600w total load (300w each for top/bottom) but popped the speaker jack plate off the back and noticed a big burn mark on the circuit board. Nice.

So he says that the burn mark isn't anything important and that he was going to glue a big ass capacitor as wide as my wrist into the cab to act as a make-shift crossover to help ease some of the load on the top 10's. This will allow the cab to operate more efficiently, but on the flip side it would now be wired for 4 ohms for bottom 15's and 16 ohms for the 10's, which would not let me run just the top 10's anymore by themselves. That feature came in really handy when playing smaller, quieter Truckers shows. But this cab is way too heavy to lug around as a 2x10 and I can still run just the bottom 15's with my Marshall JCM800 if need be so that's cool.

Long story short, the speaker guy doesn't want this to happen again. Hence the make-shift crossover.

Last night practiced with Shandon at St. Elmo Music Lab. No Tom this time but Jim Ortiz was there so that was cool, haven't seen him in awhile. He was green on some of the songs but with three guitar players tomorrow night (yes, THREE guitar players!) he can hang back on the stuff he's rusty on. Everything still sounded great tho. Finally figured out the horn parts on "Nitty Gritty", wish there was time to do a dual guitar thing with it. I also added some backing vocals on that one and "Viking Girl". Fills things out a bit more. Tomorrow night at Continental Club should be fun.

Was cool cause after practice I bumped into Jrab, Ryan13 and Al Shire from RAZR13 in the hallway. That was cool, always good to see them. They were just getting out and invited me to the Continental Club for a quick beer (Ryan was going home to Houston and couldn't join us). Cool hanging out with them, Jrab is a brother and Al is a great guy. Can't recall the name of the band about to play, but the drummer was Damien from Barfield who is a certified, card-carrying bad ass. Love watching that guy play. Has the funk/Motown syncopation DOWN to where it is physically impossible to NOT bob your head to his beats. Awesome.

Monday night at Friends with ETB was actually pretty good. Really good crowd for a Monday not that tips were great. Fun set, Marshall JCM800 and Baxter's 4x10 sounding better and better. Tried some of the new harmonies that we'd practiced earlier that day, some of them on some of them damn close. That morning we had a long rehearsal at the St. Elmo Music Lab. Even tho we have 3 shows leading up to Saturday's CD release, we want to get in as much practice time as possible so we can sound as GOOD as we fucking can. It's already there but we really want to drive it home for this one and also have a good crowd, and hopefully start doing weekends at Antone's.

Maggie Mae's tonight with ETB. Tomorrow 11am ETB rehearsal, hopefully pick up speakers, gig that night with Shandon Sahm @ Continental Club. Friday ETB gig at BD Riley's. Saturday big CD release at Antone's. Long week already.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ugh, wtf? Think I am falling into a funk.

Have things I could/should/NEED to do and don't feel like doing anything. Surprised I'm actually writing on this blog right now. Not only things I need to do today, but everything in general. Could be editing pics for 710 book, writing the rest of the King's X fall tour recap, writing about Thanksgiving with the Tessmers. Could be writing music, or just fiddling around with a guitar or bass (still no room for drums in garage yet). Should be eating something. Don't feel like doing any of it and haven't for awhile. But with what's going on in my life right now I try to cut myself some slack. Sometimes it helps, but not usually.

Anyway. ETB picked up a gig at Darwin's for tonight, so much for going out. Which is good, work is work. Saturday night might be cool. They have backline drums and bass rig so that will be nice as well. Haven't played there (if I have played there) since the Velvet Brick days, 2005-ish? We'll see how it goes.

Stayed the fuck in last night. Had been raining and 45 degrees all day. Got wet and muddy helping Richard (ETB drummer) grab the rest of the firewood from the soon-to-be-sold Casa G. Then followed him to Jonestown for a vocal rehearsal with Michael. Crappy drive in the rain, but it was a productive little session. Polished up some existing things and worked on some of the parts Michael worked out solo on the record for "Taildragger" and "Green Diamond pt 3". Cool shit. We'll be at the Music Lab Monday and Thursday 11am-3, in addition to gigs Mon/Wed/Thur/Fri before the CD release at Antone's on Sat the 23rd. Yeah, I think we will be well-rehearsed by then!

But then leaving Richard & Eric's place my van Goldie Hawn got stuck in the fucking mud in the driveway. Nice. For a half hour in the rain Richard shoveled gravel under my rear tires, shoved planks of plywood under them, pushed from the front. All to no avail. And every time my tires spun, gravity pulled me a little closer to Boss Hoss on my port side. Richard finally chained my trailer hitch to the front of his SUV and pulled me the fuck out. Almost backed into the SUV in the process and cleared Boss Hoss by about 2 inches. Then had to drive from Jonestown to south Austin at 5pm in the rain. Took more than an hour. So yeah, I did not feel like getting soggy and cold all over again, then driving home on rain-slicked streets with drunks on the road.

Might put up some posters today, Tessmer seems to have covered a lot of areas. Speak of the devil, just texted and asked that I put them up a few places down here. 6pm load in, 10pm set time. Guess I will be taking a dinner break.

Woke at 10:30, have had 2 cups of coffee w/cream. Ate a plate of spaghetti about 6:30pm yesterday. Was a little hungry earlier but now feel like I could go all day. Maybe that's why I feel like going back to sleep.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Must be the weather (damp, dreary) but I feel like going back to bed at 1pm.

But I need to run to all the music/record stores down south and put up flyers for the ETB cd release next weekend. Had I realized Eric was too tied up with mixing/mastering to print up flyers and handbills would have volunteered way sooner. Got designed them yesterday and went to Affordable Sound and printed up 60 full color 12x18's and 1000 b&w handbills (had to cut them up myself but no biggie) for about $65. Not too shabby.

Last night at Maggie's with ETB went pretty good. Had a really good crowd for about the first half. Then when everyone bailed we did some onstage practice. "Herusha" sounds fucking awesome on the CD but is still pretty rough live. Even did "Taildragger" for once as well. Got the final mastered mix of the CD last night, need to listen to it more to form an opinion.

Keep meaning to stretch out and warm up my hands/forearms not only pre-set but in general but can't seem to get around to it. Def feel it in my body. Even jumping onstage cold my forearms will feel tight first song or two (depending on what we open with) but doesn't really affect my playing, so that's good. Hands are kind of a mess tho. Lots of little scratches/abrasions from moving stuff from the house and reaching into my jean pockets on cold/dry nights. Sometime last week I somehow knocked the skin under the nail on my R index finger back a little. A little discomfort and doesn't affect my playing but now the nail looks mishapen and goofy, heh. Hopefully having 4 days off from playing will help. That and have a small cut on my L ring finger that DOES hurt so I had to adjust quite a bit last night.

Still no word from Austin Speaker, will call them today maybe. Marshall has been running/sounding great. Wireless system is a lot of fun. Strap buttons on bass were getting loose so stuck some toothpicks and wood glue into the holes earlier in the week. Seems to have done the trick.

Tuesday night practiced with Shandon finally. Jim coudln't make it but still had Gary, Trevor and Tom. Sounded pretty good too. Borrowed Tessmer's Super Reverb and it sounded gorgeous. May use it for the Continental Club show next week Thursday. It will be another Sahm Covers Sahm set, 13 Sir Doug tunes. Man that stuff is fun to play. Such good songs too. Will try to arrange to horn parts on "Nitty Gritty" for guitar. See if either Tom or Jim and I can Lynyrd Skynyrd it up. Looks like we will have three guitars for the show so bring it on! My backing vocals have been working pretty well too. Added some upper harmonies on "Groover's Paradise". Looking forward to the show.

Will try to go out this weekend and see some bands on Red River and catch up with that crowd. So busy lately been missing a lot of good shows, and usually too tired to go out when I have a weekend off (like this one). Haven't checked out the new place Encore (old Spiro's). Billy from Elvis on Speed's new band Killa Dilla is playing, might check that out. But also Gary Clarke Jr @ Antone's that night, been meaning to catch a full set from him since the Truckers played with him last year at the Brew-B-Que. So much good music in this town, I love it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Home, 10:19pm

Staying in tonight cause it's about 25 degrees and will be in the teens over night. Feel like a wuss but need a break anyway.

My mental health day Tuesday was a complete success. Stuck to my goal of doing fuck all the entire day, save for dropping off my stricken speakers and later running a load of clothes and a much-need trip to the grocery store. Cooked myself my first proper meal since probably Christmas.

Last night at Friends with Eric Tessmer Band was pretty damn awesome. Def felt like we were on fire, everything feeling tight and powerful. Pretty decent crowd too tho UT lost the Championship. Didn't even know about it or that they were playing until a text from JB earlier that evening. Shows how much I follow sports. We were set up around halftime as first band ended way early, and had to wait til the end of the game to start.

Picked up the SVT-II from Jesse at Austin Vintage yesterday, blown power tube and a fuse. $12.99 fix. Will need an imminent retube tho, and that will run almost $200 just for the tubes. Asked if when I got around to it Jesse would show me how to bias it. He said sure. Awesome, biasing is one of the main things about amps I don't know how to do, and will save money in the future.

New Line6 X2 wireless system has been working like a charm tho it eats batteries, fun so far. Bass speakers should be ready next week. Have been kicking around the idea of building a 2-space rack to hold just the wireless and the power conditioner, that way I could use it with any amp, rather than pulling the wireless to use with the SVT or on guitar. Have enough scrap wood and all the hardware I need. Just need the time.

Wednesday at Maggie Mae's with ETB was alright. Had people at the end but typically dead most of it. Fun gig tho, played pretty good. No wireless cause I left the damn 6-pack of 9 volts I specifically bought for it in Goldie Hawn 4 blocks away. Well shit. Was informed by Michael that the 2 Ropollo's pizza locations on 6th Street give discounts on slices to musicians playing that night. Went to try and sure enough got a slice of pepperoni for $1.50. Awesome! Sometimes Ropollo's pizza is my dinner...

Monday at Friends with ETB was pretty awesome. Started off pretty loose but picked it back up few songs in. Decent crowd for a Monday and got to try the wireless out for the first time. Worked out of the box, and continued to do so after taking a spill off the railing (this happened Thurs as well and still works). Gary Clarke Jr was there for a bit, stuck around to catch a few tunes, including this weird/awesome jam we just pulled out of our asses. Cool bassline I made up with using the Phrygian/Egyptian scale (not sure the terminology, just know what scales sound like), cool shit. A jam that we will never remember, or ever be able replicate if we did. Taking chances like that onstage is awesome, and with the caliber players onstage with me when we do that at the very least it won't suck, heh!

Back to the subject of food. My mom said I'd lost weight over Christmas and out of curiosity got on the scale. 159, wow. I usually range between 163-167 and only drop into the upper 150's when I get the flu. But with the divorce and trying to do too mnay things at once eating is becoming a chore.

That and all the touring I've done in the last 2 years has pretty much recalibrated my metabolism to run full bore on only 2 meals a day. Breakfast not usually being one of them. Came back lean and mean from the last King's X tour and have pretty much stayed that way. Usually get caught up in what I am doing and leave in the morning only remember to force myself to eat something on the way out the door, as I usually blow it off and eat later. If at all. Weird how stress affects me like that.

Ate a shitload last night before heading to Friends, some Hamburger Helper lasagne with turkey meat, leftover mixed veggies, then after my nap a protein drink and some Wisconsin summer sausage with Triscuits. Probably as much as I've eaten the rest of the week combined, heh. Was stuffed as hell most of the night but I think my body finally told me enough is enough...

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm taking a mental health day tomorrow. Since getting back from Christmas is Corpus I've been going pretty much all day every day, playing long sets several nights and dealing with some life stuff.

New Years Eve took the cake. Great crowd at Friends for once. Started off on a sour note as the Fender TB-600 has blown all of my bass speakers. Yes, even the new ones. Tops 10's are a farty mess, bottom 15's only produce a "click-click, click-click" when hitting a note. Unfucking believable. Had I started this blog Jan of 2008 y'all would know of how much gear related bad luck I've been dealing with. But anyway, the Eden 4x10 cab that JT Coldfire's band uses was there so I commandeered it, making sure to check the power handling first...

Sets went great, knocked the place dead. But of course the Jager shots started to appear onstage bout 1/3 the way in. Last clear memory I have is being onstage holding one in each hand, so I did what anyone would do and poured one into the other and drank them both. Ouch. After the show (reports were that we were all pretty tipsy but still tight as a band, heh!) went to Scott H. Birham and The Beaumonts (old friends from the band Hognose). Had a good time tho was kind of a blur. Caught up with Shane and Todd for a long time so that was cool.

Called Austin Speaker service and told the guy what happened. He said warranty doesn't cover blowing them, but he felt really bad for me and is giving me a bro deal on rebuilding top speakers and a set of new bottoms. Need to ask if I can increase the power handling of my Isovent by using higher-wattage speakers (and letting me keep the TB-600), that and if I gave him a quad of blown Celestion G-75's if he'd knock anything off the price...

So for the Maggie Mae's Gibson Room show Saturday I used my roommate's cab. It belonged to Baxter, who played bass for Brewtality Inc, Teabag, Bound and who knows who else who else, they had been together for a year and a half. He was killed after a motorcycle wreck April of 2008. Big loss to the local community tho I didn't really know him personally. So I felt honored to use his old cabinet as he was probably the last one to have played it. But I also took no chances and used my Marshall JCM800 2203 as a bass amp (100w into a 200w cab... my SVT is 300w). Sounded dirty as hell in a cool way, awesome tone.

Gig sucked tho (we were isolated from rest of bar so little crowd). But it paid good, so it is all good. Will be using the same rig tonight at Friends, have not been able to grab my stricken cab to harvest the speakers and will do that tonight. Austin Speaker guy said he could have everything rebuilt by end of the week.

Now I need to see if I can run that TB-600 on a lower power setting. Mah.