Monday, May 24, 2010

Just got back from a productive session with Michael McDaniel (ETB) working out sax parts for the OCEAN OF STARS set on June 3 at Headhunters.

Sounds really cool, having him do a lot of the melody lines to free up rhythm guitar parts, and he'll be adding stuff here and there and taking some solos. Want to make sure him and Adrian get some trigger time to showcase their talents, rather than have it be Danny G Wank Fest 2010. Have the afternoon off before Eric Tessmer Band tonight at Friends.

Tomorrow have my first HAAM doctor appointment, then at noon getting together with Adrian Conner (Adrian and the Sickness) to work on guitar parts for OCEAN OF STARS material. Worked out that way w/our schedules but actually is a better order, can get the sax straightened out before working on guitars. Hopefully will get together with Richard Lamm (ETB) tomorrow as well to work on drums. Then practice with Shandon Sahm 7:30 for a Sunday May 30 "Sahm Cover Sahm" set headlining at Saxon Pub (moved from Threadgill's World HQ, just found that out). Still need to meet with Heather Webb (Adrian and the Sickness) to go over bass parts for OoS set, hopefully next week before full band rehearsal (still need to line that up, Tues night would be best). Figure it much better to work with everyone individually before getting them all in a room together and showing everybody everything at the same time. Still a 50/50 chance of success/failure with this particular endeavor, and those odds are fine by me.

Just glad there's even a slight possibility of playing some of the solo material as-is with some players I've been wanting to work with for a long time. Might be a little loose, but I think it will be really cool.

Wed-Sat will be in Corpus and Houston for my mom's retirement party and the ETB cd release shows in H-town and CC.


The trip to Florida with the Truckers over the weekend was a total blast! I have never been to FL before so was able to cross one more state off my list of the ones I've been too. For the continental US just have Maine now, and for all 50 need it and Alaska. Yay!

Bought a gig bag to carry my bass like a carry-on cause I am still shellshocked about traveling with instruments after my Les Paul studio had the headstock break during a flight. Teal had doubts as to whether Southwest would let me. So the three of us had all our guitfiddles in hardshell cases in the belly of the plane. They were fine, there and back. Flight was uneventful and smooth, navigating the Orlando airport no problem, getting the rental SUV a snap. Nice drive to New Smyrna Beach, so damn tropical/swampy/rainforest/wetlands. Found the Ocean Walk Condos where Pete the Beat's brother-in-law Mike aka "Smitty" was putting the three of us up. Very nice, fucking huge and rather swank.

Hit the beach before sunset, an easy walk from our building. Gorgeous beach, water nice and warm. Cream white sand which made weird squeaking/creaking noises when you shuffled your feet. Lots of shells. This was gonna be awesome! That night ate at a place "downtown", the Breakers I believe it was called but I could be wrong. Table on back patio overlooking the ocean (dark at this point but still really nice). Had fish n chips but less than impressed. We couldn't help but notice people congregating on the beach, asked the waitress what was up and she said that there was going to be a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in about 15 minutes. Awesome! Made our way down and waited. And waited. And waited. After we noticed most of the people had bailed, asked some stragglers what was up. "Oh, they called it off." Well shit.

Next morning Josh and Teal went off to check out the boardwalk behind our building, which led back into the tangles of mangroves. I went to the beach. An even more gorgeous day, sunny with a gentle breeze and occasional sets of breaking waves. Took long walks in both directions, went in the water a bit (supposedly shark infested), took pics. Lots of families and lovely young bikini girls. Bumped into Josh and Teal coming from the other way. Got showered and changed and we made our way to Smitty's to set up for the party.

Smitty's place was awesome! Just outside of New Smyrna Beach on land pretty much carved out of the jungle. Nice house with separate garage, barn converted into a Man Cave with a pool table, which opened into the screened-in pool area. In the far corner a swampy pond that would connect with other wetlands in the jungle in times of heavy rain, and fenced off due to alligators brought in by aforementioned weather conditions. Joked with Josh and Teal about swimming in it, probably come out of the water in a bodysuit of leeches, heh!

Smitty had a tent for the tables and a tent for the stage, and rented some top notch backline gear and a PA better than most clubs. Spared no expense! Lots of family and they were all great. Pete's wife Denise's (Smitty's sister) birthday falls almost on his but separated by a few years, so it was a big party for both of them. Killer food, had turkey breast, potato/egg salad, this big weird and tasty roll and some truly amazing baked beans. Plus two kegs of beer in a tent and a full bar on the house patio. These people really know how to party! When a cat appeared from behind the garage 2 little girls went to go pick him up and pet him. Then they yelled "SNAKE!!!", dropped the cat and ran back to the house! Josh, Teal and I went to investigate, and sure enough there was a little bitty coiled up snake with markings I couldn't identify. If was a baby rattler than it would be more dangerous than an adult, as they can't control how much venom they inflict. But Smitty the Snake Wrangler ID'd it as a harmless Florida Garter Snake and tossed it towards the trees with a shovel.

Sun went down by the time we went on. First set the 2 snake girls and 2 friends were doing interpretive ballet moves to the music. Distractingly cute and utterly hilarious, it was awesome! Played good, had fun. Despite the sun being down it didn't affect the humidity at all so let's just say we were sweating like women of the night in a house of worship, heh! Second set even more fun and raucous. Nice to have a copy of the new album so I can figure out what basslines I settled on, heh. Called back up to do an encore! Afterwards hit the bar and hung out, evidently the rocket launch was rescheduled for that night so we all waited looking southward. But then word filtered that the launch was scrubbed AGAIN. Ah well. Talked with lotsa nice people, everyone was great. Before we finally left tried to show the beautiful Asian girl the moon on Smitty's telescope which someone drunkenly brought out earlier. But after 3 Jack Daniels on the rocks was unable to find the damn moon despite 2 previous successes. So much for being all romantic and whatnot. As we left Smitty printed out my flight info and talked with some of Pete's friends/family about arranging a ride to the airport.

Next morning wanted to hit the beach one last time but chilled instead. Would have been too much rush to go there then come back and shower/pack before catching my shuttle. While smoking a cig on the back patio the blinds from Josh and Teal's room opened. Looked over in time to catch Josh's bare ass. We're going to be traveling a lot soon, might as well get used to it now, heh! Caught my ride and said goodbyes to Pete and Denise. Full minivan, still not sure who was who re: Denise's family. The Robert Smith guy was her nephew, that's about all I can remember. Drive to Orlando airport uneventful, no problems finding my way to the SW ticket counter or my gate. Flight was smooth save for some bumps coming back into Austin. Attractive woman one seat over, ring on her finger so politely offered my Cheese Nips but other than that read 'Blood Meridian' and slept.

Flying over the Gulf the pilot pointed out the BP oil spill off our left side (was sitting on the left, score). Brownish tendrils running north and south from our vantage. We'll see how my phone pics come out, didn't have time to grab my camera from the overhead bin (note to self, fly with camera at my feet). Landed in Austin and that was that. At home, whereas 24 hours previous I was sitting on a beach on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. I love this job.

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