Monday, June 28, 2010

The Mother Truckers CD release on Saturday at Antone's was an overwhelming success!!!

Great crowd, great show, lots of friends and family in attendance. Had Antone's packed to near capacity (thankfully they removed all the tables and chairs!). We played the early slot with co-headliners Mickey and the Motor Cars. So there was gear onstage when we loaded but no problemo. Their bassist Logan offered me his rig, but I declined in favor of my SVT thru Antones' backline Deitz 2x15 which I love so much.

M&TMC had their big tour bus and trailer right out front, which was too perfect in it's irony (our new album is "Van Tour" and here's this big honking bus parked out front... and it's not ours, heh!). We joked that we'd invite all our friends to party on "our" bus but we locked ourselves out ;) Amber Lucille Band (my old Southern Gun Culture bandmates) opened the show with their own CD release set, adding to the family vibe of the night.

Photos courtesy of Kristy Duff Wallace

The only drawback to taking the early slot is that we had the rest of the night off. Which I spent getting smashed and hanging with friends. Woke up at 9am next morning still drunk. Good times.

So glad the evening went well. Have been focusing all my attention on the show all week. But Friday early AM awoke to stomach issues and stayed up dwelling on shit. Put myself into a really dark mood rest of the day, and had to go mow my ex-wife Gina's lawn in such a mental state. And of course I lost a damn contact lens in the back yard (my last left lens) and was worried I wouldn't be able to get a replacement before the show on Saturday. On top of not being able to see well enough to finish mowing. Well shit. Got a new lens no problem, so that was awesome. Need to be able too SEE onstage.

Tried to pull myself out of the dark mood all that day, and tried to remind myself that when I feel at my lowest something good is usually about to happen. The night is always darkest in the hour before sunrise. By Saturday AM felt my mood turn around and was feeling much better/getting excited about the show.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Austin American Statesman w/The Truckers feature in the weekend section came out.

Only found one copy tho, heh! Our pic on cover of paper and several more pics and a 1500 word story by Michael Corcoran as well. Hell yeah! Expecting a good crowd saturday, can't wait!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just got in from practice with the Truckers at the Oltorf Music Lab.

Went well, not perfect but we'd rather be a little off in rehearsal and sound great at the show than the other way around...

Last night on KLBJ was a blast. Loris must have played half the "Van Tour" album, heh! So good to see her again. New tunes sound great on the radio and got lots of great feedback. As our segment was over she played "Ocean of Stars." Listened to some of it on the way home and it sounded SO FUCKING MASSIVE with all the radio compression (released the album as-is with no mastering, what you hear is pretty much straight from my 8-track).

Will try to take it easy next few days to save strength for the CD release at Antone's on Saturday. Need to start working out again, not getting any younger. And while I play often with Eric Tessmer and for long sets, I only really let loose on stage for select shows (Antone's, etc). To give 100% even at the really good shows at Friends would take a terrible toll on my body over a 3+ hour set...

Weighed myself while in Corpus, back down to 152. Was up to 157 few weeks back. Still lean and mean. Not that I mind, but can't afford to lose too much weight... don't have much extra left! Other than that still feel pretty healthy. Forearms/hands/wrists not giving too much grief tho still have some lingering tennis elbow on R forearm. And I believe that was aggravated by recent yardwork.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tonight 10:30pm CDT on KLBJ FM 93.7 The Mother Truckers will be on Local Licks w/my good friend Loris Lowe. Listen online!

Radio and press are really coming together this week for the CD release, we are really stoked. Had a quiet sit-down jam yesterday at Josh and Teal's place. Got some copies on "Van Tour" and they look great! Practice went well and we are all really excited! Tomorrow is a full dress rehearsal for CD release at one of the Music Labs. Full stage rigs and running the set. Can't wait! Had fun jamming yesterday, tomorrow will be even more fun (and LOUDER).

In a good mood tho can't seem to make any headway financially just yet. Knew my van battery terminals were getting corroded again, even the new one Tessmer and I (well, he did most of the work, I just held the flashlight in the rain) installed after the van wouldn't start after an ETB gig few months back. So they finally decided to crap out yesterday after a driving back from Corpus Christi and stopping home with just enough time to change clothes, grab some gig clothes for later that night and grab my bass for Mother Truckers practice. Then my van wouldn't start. Shit.

Not only was I already late but everything that could have possibly went wrong went wrong. Noticed not only were terminals corroded but wires coming out of new battery terminal. No biggie, have spares. Getting cardboard box of tools/parts out of van bottom fell out and tools/parts then scattered on lawn. Shit. Replace battery terminal, still wont start. Neg terminal corroded as well, try to unhook/clean but the pole from the fucking BATTERY broke off. Nice. Had to disturb D's bath to borrow her SUV to run to O'Reilly real quick for new damn battery.

Which they didn't sell that brand. Ask who did, can't remember when/where/if I replaced it. Turns out it's a Ford factory battery. Nice. So bite the bullet (credit card) and buy a new battery full price. But installed it and made it to practice 90 minutes late but no big deal. Had a good jam which put me in a good mood after the eventful afternoon.

But turned out ETB was off last night which sucked ass because I just dropped $110 on a battery and am already behind for next month, but was also good because if I needed a night off, last night was a good night to have off. Was fucking exhausted. I really really hope the TMT CD release makes a sizeable profit and as much of that as possible makes its way to my bank account...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Antone's last Saturday with ETB was a success.

Wish there was a slightly larger crowd, but those that were there were totally into it for the live recording. Great sets by J Wesley Haynes Trio, Amplified Heat and Dixie Witch.

Had a bit of a meltdown during soundcheck tho. Realized my malfunctioning bass wah didn't want to run via DC adapter anymore. No biggie, will run a battery. Hooked up SVT and Antones' backline 2x15 and sounded like the fucking thing was blown. DAMNIT! Braved the blast furnace heat to get my 4x10 cab from Boss Hoss. Broke a caster manhandling it onto the stage. It sounded no better. WTF?!? Just got my damn SVT re-tubed, it can't be going already. Threw my bass into my guitar boat and broke a straplock off. Wow. 2nd time I've broken a straplock at Antone's, only this instance wasn't very awesome or rock n roll. Fired up the TB-600 and it TOO sounded like ass... What the hell?

Then started unplugging pedals, sure enough was the damn Wah pedal. Ripped it off my pedalboard and threw it aside. That is the 2nd Dunlop Bass Wah to fail on me in the past 18-months. Goddamn mass-produced piece of shit that you can't actually fix yourself... *sigh* So I will not be using a Wah pedal for the foreseeable future, as I can't afford another $110 disposable pedal and won't for awhile. Bah.

So for the finale when Tessmer and I broke our strings off, had to use my Phase 90 to make weird noises instead. Worked like a charm, fuck that piece of shit Wah. SVT thru the 2x15 sounded like God. Man, I really need to either get a 2x15 or get my Isovent back up and running. Whichever is cheaper. Would like a 2x15 as well as a backup, can prolly sell my 4x10 towards it.

Speaking of which, picked up my Isovent (FINALLY) from Austin Vintage. Bill Webb said he knows how to fix the wiring but can't really do anything about it til I get some speakers. Who knows when that will be. Mentioned that I might need special 15's with extra play on the drivers due to the isobaric mounting of the speakers. Shit. Asked if I should just have the stock ones reconed. "Oh, you still have them? Great!" And gave me the number of a speaker repair guy he highly recommends. (NOT Austin Speaker Service...).

Friends Monday w/ETB was great, good crowd all night and a profitable evening as well. Filled in on bass with Casey Epps that Tuesday. June will be a little light $$-wise so any extra work is greatly appreciated. Rusty Traps on kit and JT Coldfire on guitar. A fun night but probably more people onstage than in the audience. Dead as a fucking doornail. Was nice to make an extra couple of bucks, but damn. Ouch. And we played good to, especially cause I actually knew how to play a handful of the tunes, heh. The rest were "Slow blues in B, quick 4, watch for changes... 1, 2, 3!" And jump right in doing my best to act like I knew the songs, which I generally pulled off. A fun musical exercise.

In Corpus for the weekend to see family. But still working. Updating this blog. Loris Lowe from KLBJ/KGSR texted last night asking if the Truckers want to do Local Licks on KLBJ Tues the 22nd to promote the CD release on the 26th. Told her I AM IN, let me talk to rest of the band! I've gone on Local Licks twice and talked about EVERYTHING I was doing at the time, easily filling the 30 minute slot and playing music from a half-dozen bands. Gonna join Josh and Teal as they are available.

As for press leading up to CD release, Teal sent me a list of things going on: 1500 word front page feature in Austin American Statesman weekend section for Thurs 6/24, lots of airplay on KVET and other local stations, free download on, "Van Tour" album is already at Waterloo with it's own listening station. Hell effing YEAH!

Can't wait for y'all to hear the new Truckers album. Will say about it that so far I feel it is the album of my career.

Am also talking to an artist named Bryce Clifford about a 10-day Canadian run for end of July. Talking particulars as far as payment and seeing if it will be worth it for me financially. This unfortunately is a BUSINESS and I have bills to pay. As much as I love to travel, if it ain't worth my time I can't do it. Will see what he says in a few days.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Played the Republic of Texas Biker Rally yesterday afternoon with ETB. The Backline SWR bass amp lasted halfway through first song.

Was happy to hear there'd be backline gear at this thing, less stuff for us to deal with. Get there, check out amp while loading stage, and had to shake my head. Dusty looking SWR 2x10 combo with matching 2x10 extension cab. Seriously? I can tell just by looking at it that it will a) sound decent at best (if it worked) and b) if it did work, probably wouldn't work for long. Whatever. Plugged in and took awhile to dial in tone, mainly because of the interview taking place with band that played before us, blaring through the PA. Let's just say it was a band that's been doing it for a long time but are neither intersting nor all that good. But they carried themselves like rockstars and the interviewer was totally kissing their asses. It was kinda funny, good for them to have some rockstar treatment or something. Whatever.

So finally get to soundcheck and start. Bass amp clipping badly. Dies halfway through first song. So I do the only appropriate thing which is signal sound guy that the amp is gone and mime some Pete Townsend windmills, just to keep it visually interesting. Took a considerable amount of self-restraint to not kick the damn thing over. But then remembered it wasn't my amp to kick over, heh. So they DI me and run me through PA and my monitors. Which sounded like ass when I could hear them, but usually coudn't. Have all this stage to run around on, why stand in front of my monitors just so I can hear myself, heh! We still threw down and had a good show. Tessmer's amp lasted entire set at least, heh.

As you can tell from this Blog I go through a lot of bass gear. It can be argued I am too hard on my gear but whatever. My roots are from the early 70's, back when bass players weren't pussies \m/,

Tonight is Eric Tessmer Band live recording at Antone's with Dixie Witch, Amp Heat and J Wesley Haynes Trio. Gotta go, still have a song by Eric's dad to learn for soundcheck and the show tonight. 2:04 pm now and I gotta load in at 4pm.

Gotta run.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Earlier this week sat down at the kitchen table and noticed a single banana with a phone number written on it in Sharpie.

I'll get to the banana in a minute, cause whoops life got away from me yet again.

The Ocean of Stars set last Thursday was fucking AWESOME! Yeah it was loose but the fact that it happened and with the individuals involved, just wow. And so good to finally be doing SOMETHING with that music. Still need to call Adrian, Heather and JRAB to thank them again for taking the time to do that. Got lots of really really good feedback. Have yet to watch the video or listen to the recording from my 8 track. Real curious to see how it sounds.

Photos courtesy of Kristy Duff Wallace

Photos by Yours Truly

Looking For Bucho (Deanna and Jason from Velvet Brick)

Adrian and the Sickness

Adrian Conner rocks out Kristin Crowfire (Sabbath Crow)

Ironclad canceled that night, official statement was a last minute family obligation. Didn't put a damper on a great night of music tho. Was also great to see so many people I haven't seen in a long time.

Had a rare weekend off. Spent Friday night basically doing fuck all. Saturday night went out with some friends. Saw a not so good band at Dirty Dog. Walking down Red River found out Melvins were at Emo's. Shit. I need to do better recon for weekends off, tired of missing shit. And wish me and aforementioned friends had gone to that show instead. Would like that half-hour back from watching that other band. Still a fun night tho.

Sunday evening had an impromptu gathering/bbq for Mike's birthday. Small gathering of friends and family (my friends ARE family). Good times and great food. I'm a damn good bbq cook for not really knowing what the hell I'm doing other than keep the grill going and try not to burn shit. Good times with good people.

Here's where the banana comes in: so the banana has taken on a life of its own in the last week, that mystery phone number akin to the number sequence from 'Lost'. Long story short, the number was originally written on a paper plate who knows how long ago. Mike and Marcus (our houseguests from the band Mastery) had to use the plate but didn't want to discard the number, so they wrote it on something that wouldn't be absentmindedly thrown away. So they wrote it on a banana. Crazy fucking Canadians, heh.

Now the phone number has been popping up on weirder and weirder random objects around the house. We even sent a pic of the banana to the phone number it belongs to but no response. We don't know who it is. So anyway, at the BBQ Deanna's friend Erin comes outside with a tampon wrapper, hands it to Deanna and laughs "Look what I found!!!" A lady friend of mine wrote the number on one of D's aforementioned lady accessories and meant it for her, not knowing how long it would take to surface. But with perfect comedic timing it was found in a matter of days and in front of a bunch of people who would fully appreciate the humor in it. And it was most appreciated!

Good times with my weird friends, heh!

ETB last night at Friends was pretty good. Still tinkering with the Fulltone Bass Drive I recently bought. Not 100% liking it over the Big Muff clone I built but has some handy features. Still trying to dial it in. Thought about returning it and cloning it, but with both my guitar and bass wah-wah pedals acting up figure you can never have too many fully-functional pedals. Also last night Eric was filling me in on the new publicist he will be working with. Sounds like it could be huge for us. Awesome.

Tomorrow morning ETB on KLBJ morning show, bout 8:30am!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just got in from sit-down jam with Heather Webb for the Ocean of Stars set, but will get to that in a minute.

Began my evening last night squeezing a sliver of aluminum from my palm shortly before the ETB set at Friends last night. My pedalboard's aluminum trim is pretty banged up from 5+ years of hard use. Picked up the lid and OW. Quickly realized whatever poked me was still in my hand, and we were on in five minutes. Managed to squeezed it out manually as Tessmer was fishing me out a pair of needle nose pliers. Very good show last night, great crowd and we felt tight as hell. Mondays like that are always awesome.

The weekend of ETB CD release shows in Houston and Corpus was great. Was already feeling burned out and used up Wednesday morning as I headed down a few days early for my mom's retirement party. Got to see a lot of close and extended family whom I haven't seen in awhile due to either time constraints or geography.

Felt better for the drive Friday to meet up with ETB in Humble (NE of Houston). Weird little town in the middle of nowhere and pines. Rock, Wine and Blues was a great venue. Good sized venue, nice system, good stage, friendly staff. Had a really good crowd and a really great show. Def the best show I believe I've ever had in Houston. Lots of nice people and hungry fans, lots of shots as well, heh! Mariah the Merch Girl Extraordinaire sold $600 in shwag. Holy shit! Very profitable weekend so far! Stayed with friends as rest of band went to provided hotel rooms.

Saturday in Corpus was also pretty good. Dr. Rockit's downtown, believe I saw a band there recently. Small little stage, had to rearrange some drum mics so they wouldn't be knocked over. Had family there for the first set, which makes me a little shy for some reason, heh. Had fun tho. While Tessmer was doing his crowd walk this weird drunk/meth'ed out older lady sauntered up to him and rocked out like any other drunk fan. But then she put her arms around him and grabbed him from behind. Tried not to laugh my ass off when Tessmer freaked out and threw his arms up and shuffled away like a chimp trying to avoid a net. I joined him at the bar for a drink (mid song still) when guess who comes up? Tessmer made himself scarce, leaving her with me. Dick, heh! As I made a quick exit she grabbed my ass. Would have been funny if it had not been so sad. She was soon escorted out of the bar. Heard she peed herself as well, but that has not been substantiated.

That was the first set. Onstage about to start the second set Tessmer downed a shot of Crown, then got a weird look on his face and shuffled over to me: "Dude, I am shitfaced!" Nice! Other than forgetting the occasional lyric you wouldn't have heard it in his playing. But load out was great, with Tessmer jokingly lobbing insults in all directions. Believe he told me he hated my face, among other things. Rare to see him that shit hammered, but at least he's a funny drunk. After load out I went home while he rode the 60's Schwinn bike he got at a roadside flea market downtown until 5am, Mariah in tow to keep him from falling over. Good times.

Sunday was slated for double duty for me: ETB doing an early set at Antone's for the Austin Blues Society, then a Sahm Cover Sahm set with Shandon at Saxon Pub later that evening. So that meant waking up early (got home at 3:30am) and hauling ass back to Austin ASAP to be at Antone's by 4pm. This was gonna be close, and three separate vehicles to make it that much more logistically tricky. So an hour from Austin with an hour to get there Tessmer finally hears from Richard (taking separate vehicle): "Just woke up. I am sorry".

On the plus side I was able to take my time getting home and settled in taking a quick nap before heading to Saxon. But on the negative side canceling an important show like that an hour before set time and the fans that paid $15 to see just US and then not seeing us, not so much. But it's all good and won't be happening again.


The jam with Heather went great, showed her everything she needed to know before full band rehearsal in 3 hours... She filmed some of it so she could review the tape and get the part. I joked "Is this going to make it into a video blog?!?" heh. Adrian and the Sickness have been doing a series of Video Blogs that are great. Would post links if had time.

Had to scramble to find a room last minute, St Elmo Music Lab booked solid. Shit. Asked JRAB about using RAZR13's room, but would take him a few hours to know if was available. Texted Deanna about Velvet Brick's room, but not surprisingly they were practicing tonight instead of usual Wednesday. Shit. Could reserve room at Oltorf Music Lab but would still owe if I backed out last minute. But the RAZR13 room came through, which will also save me some money on it. (Would have been about $50 to rent an hourly, but RAZR's room is half that as a bro deal. Thanks, Big Mike).