Friday, April 30, 2010

The Mother Truckers just opened for Clint Black at Nutty Brown Cafe.

It was awesome. Great venue, great show. Big outdoor festival stage, awesome staff, great food, great crowd, great weather. Hopefully we'll be back, heh.

I felt really on, the band felt really on. Stage sounded great, didn't need to wear earplugs. Afterwards felt like I jumped into a pool filled with sweat. Feeling much better about the Fender 4x10 I recently bought. Had to dial in my SVT a bit during soundcheck, but during the set it sounded great.

While warming up with Josh by the White Whale (Josh & Teal's white 15-passenger van) Clint Black's keyboard player Dane came up and chatted with us. Really cool guy. Mid sentence the door to the bus they parked next to flew open and Clint Black gave him good natured shit about talking shop with a band about to go on, heh. He shook our hands and said he dug what he heard during soundcheck. Really nice of him. His hand was perfectly manicured. Was afraid to shake it too hard.

Cool fucking night. Could go to the Scoot Inn and hang with some friends of the band and check out a jam with some of the Shurman and Stonehoney guys, but now that I am home I am going nowhere.

Lemmy would be disappointed in me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just signed up for HAAM yesterday.

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Wow, just wow. Didn't realize how affordable this was for health care, totally free (mainly thru donations) and some of the lowest deductibles I've ever come across. Was hoping at the least it would be on par with some of the crap med insurance I've paid an arm and a leg out-of-pocket for just so I can get my asthma meds. Lost all my healthcare when I finalized the divorce, and never qualified while married.

Went in with my ID, filled-out application form, a cell phone bill for proof of residency, a spreadsheet of earnings for 2009 for proof of income, a Mother Truckers CD and an Eric Tessmer CD to prove I was a working musician. And to think I had to dedicate myself to a life of poverty and hard labor to finally have access to affordable healthcare. Nice. God Bless Austin, TX. Can breathe a little easier now, literally.

Been enjoying my days off, giving my hands/forearms a break. Goddamn tennis elbow flared up with a vengeance, was reaching for the toilet lid and OUCH. Added a sweatband high on my forearm to complement the big stupid wrist brace. Look like I'm stepping up to bat for the Yankees. Feels better now, wrist still a little tweaky when I rotate it. But now I can go see a doctor about it.

Got a call from a friend of Josh and Teal, needing a bass player for about 10 days in Canada for July. Still waiting back to hear the dates, the Truckers are booking up July/Aug/Sept. If I can't, will call Tank from Ironclad. Jason from Velvet Brick texted there was a high-dollar session coming up that he was recommending me for, but it went to the bassist from the Dixie Chicks. Well shit, thanks anyway bro. Will be refreshing Mother Truckers music all day today, prepping for the Clint Black show tomorrow. Maybe we should have practiced, heh.

Saturday working for King's X at the Crawfish Festival was fun. Headed out around 8am with JRAB (tour mgr/drum tech) and Jamie from Continental Club who'd be running FOH. Weather clear and beautiful tho rain was expected. Got to Katy with plenty of time to rent a panel truck, grab the gear from storage and get everything set up for 1pm soundcheck with stage going live at 3pm. But soon as we loaded the truck received word that weather had pushed back schedule. No sound check til set time. Well shit.

So here we are with about 7 hours to kill. Walked around the Crawfish Fest before getting a crew hotel room. Interesting cross-section of East Texas, heh. Carnival rides, 3 stages, various booths and whatnot. Fest spilled out into Old Town Spring. After about 30 minutes we were done. Went to the room with Jamie as JRAB stayed back to tie up loose ends. Gorgeous weather by set time. Aside for a lengthy soundcheck in front of the entire crowd, KX played a great set and were asked to do an encore tho the cops were about to shut the entire thing down for the night.

Felt pretty drained by load out, all I'd had for dinner was some fried gator on a stick. Got everything loaded, said goodbyes to everyone (not sure when KX playing again) and headed out with Jamie in JRAB's fucked up little Ford Focus. Stopped for a proper meal at IHOP and were seated near the table of 2 decked out Indian women and some dude. Listening to them talk it was almost comical how uselessly beautiful they were. Clucked about Facebook, getting married, derogatory ethnic/caste remarks. Don't think either of them once said anything remotely interesting. Crazy. Made it back to Austin at 5:45am in one piece, despite JRAB's dodgy transmission. Surprised the whole car didn't fly apart like in the end of Blues Brothers.

Good times.

Am finally getting around to editing all the pics I've been taking since Dec/Jan, and will no doubt post them when I get around to it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Finally some time off.

Will have time to finally start catching up on photo editing (backed up since Dec/Jan), will get started today. Will also be nice to have some time to relax and get a much needed start on other projects: need to get crackin on the SVT-CL roadcase for Travis the amp-renter and start building myself a few things, need to contact labels and try to get distro for solo album before I really start advertising it, need to post edited pics to this blog so y'all have something to look at rather than just my ramblings. Other stuff I am certainly forgetting.

But will chill today, last few days were long.

Tuesday finalized the divorce. Didn't mean to do it on 4/20 but I had time and the night off in case I needed to go out and get shit-hammered. Was hoping I'd feel more closure or a weight off my shoulders. But before it could even sink in got home and received word that the buyer had walked and the house deal was off. Well shit. So much for not having to worry about money for the next few years. Spent rest of the day gardening and mowing the lawn. Did go out but did not get shit-hammered.

Wednesday with ETB at Maggie Mae's was alright. Michael almost talked Casey Epps into letting me drum for him on Monday 4/26 when we had the night off from Friends. Not sure I could have pulled off a 2-3 hour show and have not yet attempted train beats and shuffles. Maybe should work on that as a way to supplement my income.

Thursday started out with Adrian Connor and Heather Webb stopping by to pick up my SVT/4x10 cab and JCM800/4x12 cab. They'd made arrangements months in advance to rent them for shows in Houston and Austin, Hell's Belles with Adrian and the Sickness. Missed Austin cause I had to be in Dallas that night. Good to see them. Then helped a friend move in the rain. Then went to see another friend in the hospital with a brown recluse spider bite. Nasty shit if left untreated. See one of these fuckers, kill it if can be done so easily or get the hell away from it:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wow. Nice to finally relax and breathe a bit, last few days have been crazy.

Went down to Corpus for Tues-Thurs, to see family and go to the beach for a mini-vacation. Mission accomplished, felt immediately better. Will post pics soon. But called in to play Friends that night with Tessmer last minute, figured what the hell?

Make it back into town in the rain with just enough time to change clothes and grab my bass before heading straight to the venue. Thought I got to Friends late but luckily had a little time to set up and stretch out a bit. Very slow night. Broke my low e-string mid set (old strings). Realized tho I have a box of strings at the house, I had absolutely no spares with me. And we still had to play another hour. Well shit.

Tessmer said they sell strings at a nearby T-shirt shop. They did, but only guitar strings and not bass strings. So paced up and down 6th Street waiting for one of the bands at Thirsty Nickel, Maggie Mae's or Chuggin Monkey to finish a song so I could ask their bassist if they had any spares. Finally catch Maggie Mae's band, explain the situation and ask guitarist to ask bassist (far end of stage). He wasn't sure, but said I could have the one on his bass now when they were done, heh. Told him I might be back. But before bassist could check for spares the harp player told me to come back in 15 minutes when they were done. Gee thanks.

Ask band at Thirsty Nickel and they have none but were really cool about it. Finally catch Carson Alexander band between songs and ask their guy. He was super fuckin cool and dug into his gig bag and fumbled out an entire set of used strings. But as he is handing them to me, rest of the band starts the next song. Come on guys. Offered money but bassist smiled waved it off. Never caught his name, but will look for him so I can thank him proper for saving my ass. Walked back to Friends looking like one of those religious snake handlers. Replaced the string and finished the show.

And all that bullshit (hurrying back to town, broken string) for $30 at the end of the night. Livin the dream. Already talking to Tessmer about this. I hate 6th Street and a lot of these gigs are a little money in our pockets but not worth our time, and not building a fanbase either.

Anyway. Then have to run to Dallas on Friday to tech for King's X at the Dallas Guitar Festival. Jrab and the truck running late, so I get there early and try to get a drop on everything by procuring our credentials and looking into parking/hotel. Confusion as I expected, credentials picked up but someone who's name I couldn't identify (turns out was Chris Norch from Guildord Guitars, who build Ty's axes and provided our hotel rooms). Promoter says we are running late, Stage Manager says we're fine on time. Playing outside stage... no, inside stage... no, outside stage.

But everything turned out great and King's X knocked em dead. Dug of course got everyone on their feet and up front which tripled the already good energy. One drunk asshole started throwing beer around, which was fun for 2 seconds but when Dug had to stop "Dogman" cause he got splashed in the face mid-verse, Trent (stand-in bass tech) was already onstage talking to the guy, and I was right behind 3 security guys bum rushing the stage. The gentleman in question was moved to the back but not asked to leave, and behaved after that.

All in all fun tho I was exhausted. And had to run right back to Austin to play with ETB at Friends again. Last night was much better despite the early PM thunderstorms. Good crowd once weather cleared up, filling up fast right before the end. Then we had to stop so a DJ could play CDs and talk over it. By the time I left there still weren't as many people as ETB had. And the clientele went from zero to douche in under 5 minutes.

If it was another $30 night I would be forced to take a vacation from playing 6th Street, temporarily or maybe permanently. I need work as a musician and I absolutely LOVE playing with Eric Tessmer Band and enjoy the music, but playing on 6th Street is turning into a job I am thinking of quitting. The Texas Country act has contacted me again and we spoke while on my way back to Austin. Def worth looking into, tho not necessarily my style of music. But too good an opportunity to pass on so I will check it the fuck out for sure.

Will call Josh and Teal today, sounds like the Truckers album is just about done! Been to busy to even go by the studio and hang out. But looks like TMT is planning 2 regional tours (TX/OK/KS/AR) for July, a West Coast run in August and the Europe tour has expanded to 9/4 thru 9/18 with a festival in Switzerland with Roseanne Cash. Awesome.

Good to know things are rapidly piling up on my calendar.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wrist feeling better slowly but surely.

Feels fine but hurts to push a shopping cart or move it certain ways. Will probably wear the brace sporadically next few days and for sure tonight @ Friends w/ETB. Felt good last Wednesday, see how it feels tonight. Note to self: WARM THE FUCK UP BEFORE I PLAY.

Been a roller coaster ride most of the weekend. Drama and bullshit affecting a good friend's health so adversely I am finally stepping in to intervene. Nothing I want to get in to but affecting me and especially my friend to the point where enough is enough. Will be firm and direct. Wish me luck.

Felt good to get out and see Dixie Witch/Honky/Amplified Heat on Saturday at Encore. Been too long since I been out and bills like that are always a family reunion. Took lotsa pics but shit, I haven't even edited my SXSW pics yet...

Did my taxes today with my soon-to-be ex-wife. The wind up was more painful than the actual act. Went very well, filed jointly for the last time and only owed $700, with a $680 bill for filing at Jackson Hewitt. Ouch. I paid the fee, she paid the income tax and we called it even. Next year is gonna suck tho. For now finances stable but getting close to "E".

Going down to Corpus for Tues-Thurs to unwind.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Will be good to have several days to rest my hands/forearms. No gigs til Monday.

Still wearing the brace, wrist still sore without it. Wore it onstage Wednesday night w/ETB @ Maggie Mae's. Thought about going without but figured I'd give it a song. It actually felt really really good. Kept my wrist right where it needed to be and didn't really affect my playing at all, save for having to put my shoulder into it a little to reach the higher strings. Other than that it felt really natural. Might have to keep that up for awhile and see how goes.

The show that night was alright by MM standards. Decent crowd at times, dead at others. We played pretty good. Still dialing in the TB-600, think I just about have it. Had that thing a year before I realized the bass and treble knobs were push/pull. Duh. Added the bass boost but dialed bass back to noon and liked it. Gave it a little more range of frequencies and doesn't sound like it's driving the speakers too hard like that setting I stopped using (don't even know what it's called, guess I should finally look at the owner's manual, heh). Band said it sounded better. Still not blown away by it, but it's getting better. End of the night found that someone left a joint in the tip jar. Awesome.

Will probably lay low tonight to save money for Dixie Witch/Honky on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Now my R wrist is a little tweaked.

Been feeling a little iffy for awhile: sore joint mainly when I rotate it and is popping constantly. Not the joint, but the overwound tendons from my pick fingers snapping over the wrist joint. Have had a ganglion cyst on the wrist in the past, feels like it's coming back but can't feel it under the skin. Bought a good wrist brace @ CVS yesterday and been wearing it since.

But good news this morning: got the first week of dates in Denmark for the Mother Truckers Europe tour! And it will be over my birthday which will be fucking AWESOME. That and got a call re: a TX Country artist I was almost hired by last spring, need to return that call and see what they have going on. My schedule already starting to fill up from Eric Tessmer and the Truckers, both of which will be pushing albums I played on. Would like to be a part of all that, but rent must be paid so will at least get some details.

Playing tonight @ Maggie Mae's w/ETB. Will see how it goes, hoopefully won't rain again... Monday at Friends was fucking dead. Went to see Toni Price happy hour at the Continental Club last night, that was great. Never seen her before and I see why everyone's been talking about her. Got to hang with her afterwards a bit, such a cool lady and total character. A really good night.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I feel really good today.

Past few weeks been feeling tired all the time. Understandable given all that's been going on. But this week I will file taxes and finalize my divorce, so having the finish line finally in sight offers a new perspective. That and I feel really good about my tracking on the Truckers album, as well as have paid a good chunk of my bills for this month and still have more than $500 in my checking account despite the recent gear purchase.

Got up this morning and immediately got to work on gathering (hopefully) all my pertinent tax info together, finally getting all my important papers organized, as well as clearing much surface area of my room from junk mail and old bills. Then running errands I saw a kid at the Newflower market with a full-on mohawk. Awesome.

Feeling so productive today I just put an ad on Craigslist looking for session work. See if I get any nibbles.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Man I am wrecked. Long day of studio sessions.

Had the earlier Kari Renee session at the place Jason from Velvet Brick works. Started off a little iffy, she was really inexperienced and nervous, bless her heart. Real sweet lady. But her drummer son, Russell the session guitarist and myself worked out the song and it went better from there. Kinda country/folky number. She has a good voice. Then took a stab at a "Turtle Blues", a greasy Janis blues song since I only had an hour left. Was a good warmup for the Truckers session and put some extra rent money in my pocket.

Then went straight to Cris Burns' place to record with the Truckers. Session went very well, blew out 7 of 10 songs. New cab sounds fine and was happy with my playing. Will finish last 3 songs for drums and do bass fixits tomorrow and I should be done. Awesome.

So yesterday was doing some last minute cab shopping when I got a call from Ken (ex-Butcherwhite). Said he was poking around online, stumbled across this blog and asked if I needed to borrow anything. Hell yeah, Ken is such a great guy. Told him I'd call him back after I hit a few more places. At Ray Hennig's found a new run Fender 4x10, which I thought had Eden speakers in it. They asked for $250 but let it go for $225. Awesome. Turns out has Eminence speakers, not too shabby. Lightweight and easy to move, but I will upgrade the handles and maybe throw some casters on it.

Used it last night with the SVT at Friends w/ETB and got some good tone compliments. Wasn't blown away by it but for the money I am pleased. Still have $$ left over to fix my Isovent, and can maybe use it as a trade-in towards a 2x15 down the line. Anyway, the gig went well. Started off fucking dead but steadily filled throughout our 8pm-11pm slot. It's Texas Relay weekend, meaning there are a lot of people downtown. Obviously beefed up police presence on 6th Street to keep an eye on the more questionable individuals, and there were quite a few.

Trying to navigate 2 huge vans down the middle of a closed-off 6th Street was an exercise in patience. Jesus people, don't you see a BIG FUCKING VAN coming your way? I was tailing Boss Hoss and fucking people were walking BETWEEN OUR MOVING VANS as we inched towards Brazos. Fucking jackasses, I tell ya.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So I've been scouring Austin TX for a bass cabinet/rig to use for recording.

Have my mid 70's Ampeg SVT fully retubed and 100% but can't use it with the 4x10 cabinet I've been borrowing from my roommate. Have the Fender TB-600 out of the shop but same deal. Both amps are way over-powered for that cabinet (300-600w into a 200w = bad). So I can only use my Marshall JCM800 as a bass amp (100w).

So I hit most of the good gear stores Tuesday, saw lots of good/bad deals but nothing worth spending any money on. Bid $1000 on a $1500 Acoustic 370 w/matching 2x15 but lowest they'd go was $1200. There's an electric blue Kustom head/cab, but the cab is only 200w or so, so I would have to re-speaker it. But not worth buying a head AND cab when I just want the cab. Talked to Travis the gear rental guy and he only has an 8x10. Over kill. Rock n Roll Rentals only has an 8x10 or 2x10's. WTF? Tried to "rent" a cab from Guitar Center and they said no. But they didn't have anything I really wanted anyway.

So my dilemma is I'm willing to BUY something right now, but I'm not finding anything I'd want to pay money for (except that Acoustic 370 rig, heh). My goal is $400 range but willing to go to $600, and to find a cab that won't just sit in the garage once I get my Isovent back. Something I'd want to KEEP. So far nada.

So on that note did my sencond session with 25 Smokin Figurados yesterday and used my current ETB stage rig: Marshall JCM800 thru that 200w 4x10. Didn't sound too bad, a little aggressive and mid-rangey but is that a bad thing? heh. Blew threw 3 songs in 90 minutes. And this time no emailing/phone calls between Tim and Gregg to offer suggestions. They obviously trusted what I was doing, awesome. Would have liked to have prepped more, but keeping it loose allows for creativity, whether suggested or purely unintentional. Felt pretty good about what I did, and even better about the payout. If I can find more session work, playing live can be more about having fun than trying to pay the rent.

Monday and Tuesday at Friends with ETB were brutal, speaking of which. Dead both nights and a double-booking almost had us pack up and go home. Which we probably should have but fuck it. Not very profitable nights.

That, and the last week has been physically exhausting and emotionally draining, and that's all I have to say about that. My time in Corpus was too short, and was thrown right back into the marathon called my life. No wonder I feel so drained.

Today went and tried more gear. Tried the blue Kustom and didn't like the head enough to buy the set. South Austin Music also had an Acoustic 220 head/2x15 cab set. Asked how much. $500. $500?!?!? What the hell is WRONG with it? It's HUGE. Yeah. This particular 2x15 cab was stupid big. Bigger and deeper than an 8x10. Just retarded big. Sounded great tho! But totally over-sized for practical use. And it was 2 ohms and would need an overhall just so I can use it with a diff amp. Not worth the $500... but tempting just to have. Will hit south Guitar Center tomorrow and maybe a few other places.

Hoping the Gods of Rock will take pity on my plight and deliver the perfect bass cabinet to me, like TOMORROW.