Sunday, November 27, 2011

Have been on self-imposed vacation the last few days. Holy crap did I need that.

My Virgo brain kept wanting to dash to my laptop real quick to work on small things here and there as time went on, but I always stopped myself remembering that it was also Thanksgiving Weekend and who the hell would be reading let alone responding to any of the emails I needed to send. So there ya go. Bliss.

But now like Revenge of the Nerds II, I'm back and I'm bad. Or something. Been at it all day doing internet shit: music biz stuff, social networking stuff, looking into things. Have been in touch with an upstart paranormal investigations TV show about using my music for the theme. Badass. May be a case of trading services for exposure, as they don't even have a budget yet. But exposure is exposure!

I have also posted a demo version of "House of Leaves", an instrumental concept EP inspired by the book of the same name by Mark Danielewski I did for RPM Challenge earlier this year, to my FB page. 20 minutes long in total and one of the most ambitious pieces of music I have attempted to date. Plan to leave it up for a bit to let people know about it, and eventually re-record it and release it as its own EP.

In other news ETB managed to again blow the doors off the Saxon Pub instead of leveling the whole block on Thursday for their Thanksgiving party. WC Clark as the early act, actually got to check him out this time. He was rocking a Peavey Bandit 65 amp. And it sounded great. Blues! Our crowd nothing to write home about, I mean it was Thanksgiving and all. But we had some of our fave friends/family/die-hards as well as some new faces too, so was still awesome.

Black Friday I stayed the fuck home. Crowded stores get to me. Really REALLY crowded stores really REALLY get to me. With Goldie Hawn still misfiring I had to call off the weekend trip to Corpus for belated T-giving. Instead got more time to relax here at house, and van is now fixed. Faulty wire. May still replace rest of them with Eric pretty soon. I did pay for them and the existing ones are starting to fail...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Long week last week.

Ouch. But good, busy.

Last week Monday had ETB rehearsal, Friends residency. Good to best of my recollection. Great crowd that dispersed during setbreak. Well shit. But Jim and Gian Ortiz of Amplified Heat stopped by, great to see them.

Tuesday I don't remember at this point.

Wednesday received Reiki from Triniti and Karen Slafter. It was awesome. Felt very focused and at peace. Which came in handy cause then tore apart my storage unit to retrieve Fender 4x10 bass cabinet, which was of course in the back under everything. I had thrown it in with sale of TB-600 bass amp to Heather Webb, and wanted to make sure working properly. Sure enough wired wrong (me popping speakers in/out and no slack from speaker wiring so shit got crossed). No wiring schem on Fender site. Improvised with an Ampeg 4x10 wiring diagram. Then noticed broken speaker wire and soldered back together.

What was supposed to take 30 mins was 2+ hours of me ripping the cabinet apart in their dining room. Worked but one speaker mount buzzing a bit and metal grill cover rattling too bad to use (takes 8 screws and 8 rubber feet, I had 4 screws and 3 rubber feet...). But she is pleased nonetheless.

Thursday drawing a blank other than Goldie Hawn started misfiring. Shit. Went to a car place for diagnostic computer thing, cylinder #8 misfiring. Nice. Believe I edited an ETB Mondays promo that day.

Friday early set at Friends, no break. Good crowd. Parked out front so could throw bass gear in van then catch Amplified Heat sporting their new Marshall Stacks at Dirty Dog few blocks down. It was effing awesome. And loud. I was beat and had to bail before Thunderosa took the stage. 

Saturday was ETB at BD Riley's. Another great show and great crowd. Good times.

Sunday ETB played Grace Sharington's birthday party at her place. Thunderosa also on the bill. Back patio doubled as the stage, used Thunderosa's gear to save time/energy. Short set (5 songs?). Good times! Caught up with Sumner Erickson afterwards. Really good guy.

Monday another marathon. ETB practice at St Elmo Music Lab in Southern Gun Culture's old room, 65. More songwriting, and another song in the works. Sweet. En route picked up an edit CD from Heather Webb for a photo shoot Triniti has been working on. Then met up with Eric at his place to replace faulty plug and wire for #8 cylinder. Did not solve the problem. Planned to reconvene to replace rest of plugs/wires at a later date. Monday residency set was awesome. Good crowd for first set, felt like we were on fire. Didn't get parking right outside for once, wonder what the hell was going on that night.

Tuesday awoke feeling completely wrecked. So tired I felt nauseous. What was to be a completely mental health day went out the window when I realized I needed to drive my van down to Corpus Christi for belated Thanksgiving on Friday. Fuck. Yeah even if Eric and I (well, mainly Eric...) replaced all wires and plugs on Wednesday, if that didn't solve the problem I couldn't take it in on Thursday. Damn. So called place where I had diagnostic check and they said $350 for labor on replaced wires and plugs. Fuck that, Lakeway prices. But Triniti remembered a mechanic a friend used out here in the Apache Shores neighborhood. Couldn't remember address, no phone number. But she recognized the house/driveway on Google satellite map. Awesome. Drove in, met Bruce, gave me an awesome etstimate and I left it there. Rest of Tuesday off. MUCH needed.

Today was supposed to be a mixed bag. Trinti had weekly reiki trade with Karen Slafter. But van not ready. Photo shoot with Amber Lucille Band later in afternoon. That meant her coming back to Lakeway so van can be picked up, then back into town at rush hour for shoot. Damn. So we took rain check on shoot. Rest of today off as well. Double bonus! Van was more than estimate, coil packs went bad. But then Bruce said he found parts for cheaper than estimate and passed the savings on to me. THAT is awesome. As well as having a full weekend (Tues/Wed is pretty much my Fri/Sat) off.

Bout time. But still allowing my Virgo brain to have an hour of necessary TCB before a quiet evening of pizza and beer.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Out with the old, in with the... well shit

Today I sold my trusty Fender TB-600 rackmount to Heather Webb of Adrian and the Sickness.

It had to go, as it's too powerful to use with my 400w main bass cab. So in a sense I've been lugging it around for nothing for quite some time. And since I was dealing with "family" I gave Heather a really good price on it. Has served me well in The Mother Truckers and Eric Tessmer Band. But time for it to move on to someone who will use it.

So I then went and bought a voltmeter so I could attempt biasing my SVT-II in the garage. Success!!! Very simple procedure. Sounded great, non of the snap/crackle/pop from when I first fired it up un-biased with the replacement tubes. OMG!!! Is this amp finally going to be back in service? Will I not have to use the money Heather gave me for the TB-600 on a suitable backup now?!?

Fat fucking chance. Stuck it into my rack case with power conditioner and wireless unit. Thing weighed TWICE as much with the added tonnage of the SVT-II. Fired it back up and...


Started making that same Goddamn crackle noise which originally grounded the amp from gigs a few years back and resulted in numerous fruitless tech visits. Shit shit shit. Unless there is a miracle, that thing is officially a doorstop once again. *sigh*

Day wasn't a total loss. Passed on a very good amp to a very good friend. Finally changed strings on Cate Blanchett and woodburned fret markers onto the neck with a soldering iron, like what I did with Minnie Pearl a few months back. Makes the fret markers easy to see, they can all but disappear in certain stage lighting conditions.

Now to find a suitable rackmount backup amp. And to buy a new tire for my van, which will cut into funding for said backup amp.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"At last, my arm is complete!"

Sweeney Todd quote. That's kinda how I feel.

Anyway, got my Marshall JCM800 back from South Austin Music. The first time in at least a year and a half it's been fully functional. Retubed with JJ E34-Ls which I wisely bought before the ETB summer tour when I could afford them. Been sitting on them for 6 months til I had time/funds to take the amp in.

Played it in the garage, swappin pre amp tubes to dial it in. Don't have my main stash and all my NOS Mullards have long since gone squeally. Best results from what I have: V1 a nameless 7571, V2 a Groove Tube 12ax7R, V3 a Ruby 12at7. So far so good.

Also as an experiment put the somewhat used Winged C Svetlana 6550's from my SVT retube into my SVT-II and scrounged for appropriate pre amp tubes to see what would happen. Results: loud pops and willy-inducing crackles. Well shit. Would love to bring that amp back into service but alas it keeps setting itself back.

Anyway. 3 shows in last 4 days, no wonder I'm a little drained today. All ETB residency shows, bi-monthly fri/sat at Friends and BD Riley's respectively, and our weekly Monday residency. So today is Saturday for me, heh.

All good shows, and a fairly profitable work-week. Friday a 3-hour set, no break. Saturday we had the time change to contend with, but another 3 hours w/no break. Last night we played 2.5 hours til we finally took a break. Damn.

Friday/Sat packed downtown with spillover from Fun Fun Fun Fest on Auditorium Shores, just across the river. At Friends, our friends Kelly and Michelle came decked out in their Eric Tessmer Hallowee costumes: Castro hats, a wig if needed, mirror shades, fake nosering, and a little guitar with blood and severed fingers hanging from it. Awesome!

Saturday Rob saw Kerry King from Slayer walking down 6th Street. Also awesome. I joked on the mic that we'd have him sit in with us but he's fucking Kerry King and doesn't play blues. Good times. Good crowds both nights, still warm in Nov and sweated by butt off.

Monday was also good but took a long time to fill in crowd wise. When people finally did they were so into it that we just kept playing long after we usually take a set break. Monitors were not functioning that night and Eric having voice issues, so we did best we could vocal-wise. Played "Taildragger" twice and ended with "Smokestack" by Doyle Bramhall II rather than "Vooodoo Child." Mixing it up. I like how we don't use setlists. I still need to woodburn fretmarkers on Cate Blanchett tho I only play her on "Taildragger" (diff tuning.)

In other news got 3 sets of strings in the mail from DR to try out. Fuck yeah! But of course I have no shows until Monday next week, not counting the Jonestown blues jam Eric and I are going to tomorrow. Well poop, heh.

Will post my findings.