Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Still hot, sweating in October. Crowd started kinda slow, but place filled up like Gangbusters during first song. Awesome! Eric changed up the set on the fly (not that we ever use a setlist anyway), and it really worked. Kept the energy up for first songs and kept the crowd groovin. Even with ebb and flow place still stayed pretty full most of the night. Felt like we were on fire. Did some really cool stuff in "Armadillo Strut", just wish we could remember it since that song is different every time we play it. Also brought our instrumental rendition of "Stop" out of the dustbin and the crowd loved it. Gave me another bass solo during the set, sweet! All around good night.
Eric's finger finally healing a little, he cut out 2 of the stitches the other day and is planning on removing another one or two today to alleviate more pressure. This is certainly put on hold jamming during the day and writing new material. Shit happens.
Our return to BD Riley's on Saturday was pretty good as well. Not as crazy shitpacked as it has been in the past but still a good crowd even for a weekend so all is good. We played decent, I felt a little loose for some reason. Mentioning that we are almost out of Green Diamond CDs and the Boss Hoss tour shirts made for a feeding frenzy at the merch booth, we sold out of both real quick. Think we have a few oddball-sized shirts left but other than that we is sold out. So now we need to reprint Green Diamond (not everyone has it), more shirts/designs, and come out with a new record here quick. And we have no money. We'll make it work.
Friday got out of my court-appointed DWI class (very educational and informative, def put the fear of God about cops really cracking down on even slightly-impaired drivers) and of course went to meet up with Heather Webb (Adrian and the Sickness/BugGirl bassist) and Amber Saxon (Hell's Belles singer/BugGirl singer/guitarist) for birhtday karaoke at Canary Hut Pub on N Burnet. Holy shit, that was awesome, and awesomely weird. They blew everyone's minds doing old metal songs, always chuckled when people would tell them "Y'all should sing in bands!" Heh, they are both full-time musicians. Good times. Triniti and I took it easy at the bar, aforementioned fear-of-God-from-DWI-class... Still good times.
This week nothing until Thursday at Antone's, ETB headlining the Mobile Loaves and Fishes benefit. Off Monday for Halloween (good, try not to go anywhere NEAR downtown if I can help it... also a 'no-refusal' weekend, so y'all be safe), planning on getting in a good visit down in Corpus this weekend and part of next week. Get in some good family time before Thanksgiving.
In other news, in the process of replacing my Fender rackmount TB-600 with another backup bass amp that wont blow my EV's out of the speaker cabs. Will keep y'all posted.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Dropped Triniti off at Spellbound Studio for her weekly Reiki trade with Karen Slafter. Picked up a consignment check for some furniture and went to drop off my JCM800 for a much-needed retube and do some gear-hunting. More like recon. Need to replace the rackmount Fender TB-600 with somthing that won't blow the speakers clean out of my cabinets.
At South Austin Music where I dropped my 800 off was going to buy a shirt when Billy the owner said "Take it." That was fucking awesome, made my day! Caught up with Billy in the office to thank him. I got my 800 there 10 years ago, have sold several pedal boards I built as well. Guess he was saying thanks in return. You don't get that kinda service at Guitar Center.
Talked to Ray Hennig for a bit trying to find out a little about my Dietz 2x15, if I could research the serial number and find out when it was made, as Heart of Texas Music has been making Dietz since the late 60's. Damn interesting conversation, tho I didn't really get my question answered, heh.
Didn't really see any promising bass gear there, at South Austin or at Austin Vintage. That TB-600 is a damn good amp so don't want to replace with something that I wouldn't mind gigging with. But rackmountable-ness is high on my priority list for a backup amp. Hmmm...
Picked Triniti up and we went to take pics at Wire Recording, where Tim Abbott's album is being mastered and Matt Smith was overseeing as producer. Awesome getting to hang out with him and Stuart. Turns out I've been there few years back, Shandon was doing a late-nite session and I played acoustic guitar on a few tunes. Anyway, awesome non-descript place. Gold records on the wall from the albums Sublime and Meat Puppets did there. But alas our stay was brief as we had lots of other shit to do.
Looking around on the Bass Emporium website (ATX music shop) I came across the SVT-IIP rackmount tube preamp, basically the pre-amp circuit of my stricken SVT-II... all i'd need is a tube (or gasp, solid state) power amp and I'd have quite a mean backup. Something to look into.
Something else I need to look into is my overdrawn Bank of America account. Seems McAfee active shield decided to renew itself without my consent, which put my checking into the negative. Gee thanks, guys.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Tested it out that night at Friends. There are some tonal differences, nothing drastic but noticeable. Not sure which I prefer yet. The crowd at Friends was a little slow, which was a damn shame cause felt like we were really really on fire last night. Holy shit, that felt great. And the people who were there knew it too. Lot of compliments from blown away tourists as well as old friends.
I wish I could remember all the little things from shows that I always think "Oh, I should mention THAT on the blog!" But even if I get to writing about the previous night the following morning (like now, for once) it's still gone. Well shit. And when I get done playing I want to smoke a cigarette and mingle, rather than sit in the corner crouched over my phone updating this thing.
Another thing I've been meaning to mention. Still recovering from the 3 month ETB summer tour. Feels like I have a month+ of jetlag still, if that makes any sense. It is the now the latter half of October. But it feels to me like first half of September. The warmer-than-normal temperature hasn't helped, only adding to the nagging feeling that I've lost a significant chunk of time.
Crazy. And not complaining in any way shape or form. This is the life I have chosen for myself, or that chose me. I accept all possible repercussions (physical, psychological, financial, etc) of my career choice. Just conveying what is going on in my life and the way being on the road for extended periods of time affects you.
All in the interest of science, and all in the name of Rock N Roll.
But I digress:
After ETB's set at Antone's, Trinti and I went to Saxon Pub to catch Matt Smith's World. If you ever have a chance to see them, do yourself a favor. You will spend the next few days collecting the pieces of your blown mind. Seriously. He is producing Tim Abbott's album so Tim was there as well. Also bumped into Spanky, good friend and great bassist from the circle of 6th Street musicians. Has filled in for me with ETB several times.
But yeah. Matt Smith's World: Amazing. I'll leave it at that. Had Ernie Durawa from Texas Tornadoes drumming that night. After the show didn't meet him, but met his wife and "Pig Floyd", their pet pig. Awesome. Got acquainted as Triniti took pics.
Next morning I somehow wound up with a Pig Floyd hair embedded deeply into the bottom of my foot. And I was wearing Doc Martens that night, meaning the hair had stayed on my clothes all the way home, fell off in the bedroom onto the floor, and next morning somehow harpooned my foot.
By Wednesday morn the brakes on my van Goldie Hawn were grinding so bad it could not be overlooked any more. My finances are still recovering, but had to be dealt with ASAP with all the hills/turns in West Austin. Called Eric and made plans to have him help/show me how to replace front brake shoes. Took him 30 mins if that (with stitches in his finger), and $35 in parts. Now all I need is a good jack and a caliper press and I will never have to pay someone to do that ever again. Something about teaching a man to fish, or repair brakes. something.
Thursday went to see Hell's Belles (all-female AC/DC tribute from Seattle WA) at Continental Club. Adrian Conner has played guitar for them for 10 years or so. I have known her for 5 or 6 and have never seen them play. Have had opportunities, but always had a gig or something going on (broke). Face-melting. Great fun. Good to see Adrian finally get to uncork for 90+ minutes. That and Amber Saxon (Bug Girl, new H/B singer) also sounded great. The energy never wavered. Awesome.
Spent Friday afternoon re-wiring both my bass cabs (pulling the EV 15's from Mergilli's Dietz replica and dropping them into the Dietz cab). But the wiring was iffy on Dietz so had to put them right back into the Mergilli cab to use for Friends that night. Which was pretty good. The crowd and the night, not me taking apart both bass cabinets only to put my main one back together as-was.
Saturday was ETB's debut at the Saxon Pub. We were all really stoked, very legit and historic place, and they don't book crap. Then we receive word that we've picked up another early set at Friends before Saxon. Did not conflict and we could use the money, so we simply kept pushing the Saxon show and showed up to Friends unannounced, heh. Still melted faces and had a great time. However, we now had to tear down after playing 3 hours straight and head forthwith to another gig. Working a double you could say.
And we didn't know what to expect. We'd told as many friends as we could, but for a venue we were new to, and headlining on a Saturday night... this could really go either way. And I figured we'd be way too loud anyway. Saxon is intimate, covered in wood and sounds great. But we're a pretty damn loud band...
So we roll in and immediately start breaking shit. Both of our mic stands fell out the back of Goldie Hawn into Saxon parking lot. One the base broke off. Well shit. Then I pick up the other and the base broke off of IT as well! WTF?!? Not good. Then as Triniti heaved the tilt-castered merch case into Saxon it caught on the door eave and a wheel goes tumbling off of it. Fucking hell. Haven't even loaded on stage and already 3 things have broken just getting the gear inside.
But things turned around soon as we took the stage, all tired and sweaty from the earlier Friends set. And turned down as much as we can... But the place was damn near packed when we started! Awesome! Lot of familiar faces, people who see us for free all the time now paying $10 a head to see us in a new place. That is support. Thank you all for being supportive, people! YOU helped make that night an overwhelming success and helped us get a solid foot in the door for a new venue for us. Awesome!
Great set. Now a blur. Spent all of Sunday and most of Monday recovering from the energy expenditure of Saturday. Awesome. Eric had a wedding to play, and a possible private event which hadn't totally materialized we canceled anyway just cause Eric's stitches needed a rest.
What an awesome week. Need to post pics. Yeah I always say that... *sigh*
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Finally ETB's full time scedule kicking in this week: Monday residency at Friends, tues nite opening for Blackberry Smoke a Antone's, Friday early set at Friends (7:30) and Saturday our debut at Saxon Pub, blowing the doors off at midnite.
Roll into Friends to load in on Monday and meet Eric on the sidewalk. He shows me his thumb and forefinger on his fret hand. Both covered in a layer of gauze, crazy glue and caked blood. Apprently he was cleaning out his guitar toolbox and grabbed a fresh new razor blade before realizing what it was, until it had already deeply cut into the inside nail of the finger and left a dime-sized flap hanging from the thumb.
Holy shit. "We'll see how long this lasts..." he says motioning to the gauze. It didn't last long.
Began first set and looked like was going to be a good night crowd (and money) wise. But began clearing out 3rd song in. Shit. The crowdwalk livened things up a bit but after 90 minutes the crowd had died and Eric's cuts had reopened. He called break and taped them up again. By beginning of second set things had changed. People started filing in and Eric's finger was now bleeding freely.
Eric is a fuckin trooper. Utmost respect. We played almost our entire 4-hour slot to a packed house. He ruined the strings on 3 guitars from blood caking to the strings. People were going nuts and emptying their wallets into the tip jar. It was fucking amazing! Well, we wanted to make these Mondays an event, and mission accomplished.
Last night at Antone's was great as well, but crowd kinda subdued. By now Eric had stitches in his finger courtesy an off duty ER doc friend of a friend in said friend's kitchen. He of course sent pics as well as video. Not for the faint of heart.
We played a short 45 if that set, feels good being able to put 4 hours worth of energy into that short a time. Just gettin warmed up and already done. Nice! My love affair with the Antone's house Dietz 2x15 only grows. Used it solo due to lack of space onstage. Goddam it sounds amazing. Eric: "Well, it was Tommy Shannon's when he played with SRV, so it's got some mojo." No shit. Tempted to swap the EV's from Mergilli's replica to my real-deal backup and see how it sounds. May do that today after I change strings.
In other news the MER deal is off for now due to lack of funds. Could still happen, but at the very least I know how much duplication is, and my copies of 'Ocean of Stars' were selling on the road. A follow up with a real drummer would be nice, but reprinting OoS right now would be a financial stretch. A band would be awesome but not until I'm back in town, driving into Austin is a geographic and financial hurdle. Will research labels and pitch OoS re-issue/follow up to a couple and see what happens.
Still waiting for word back from DR. About to use my last set of strings.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Busy busy busy tho big lull in schedule. That will end Monday, then have 6 gigs in 8 days. My bank account will be very pleased.
But have been slaving all week putting together a pro presskit to send to DR Strings for an endorsement deal, JRAB goes thru them for King's X. It's a hookup and they make good strings, hopefully I can afford the artist discount, heh.
Spent $40 at Office Depot yesterday while Triniti had her weekly Reiki session with tattoo artist Karen Slafter. Printed up photo cards and color copies of Mother Truckers press items, got nice clear folders with pockets and bubble mailers, along with discography/2011 Austin Music Awards which ETB and TMT placed in and a list from last 2 years of all shows/sessions/guitar tech work. Spent most of Monday compiling that, I've been busy. Bios I somehow overlooked in printing, which is good cause the one I tweaked somehow never got added to my pin drive or even saved. Printed that at the house today before putting it all together and sending it out today.
Long story short: spare no expense on your presskit.
Learned that in the Southern Gun Culture days, as Amber and I virgo'd the fuck out of the SGC presskits and heard repeatedly "These are some of the most professional presskits I've ever seen!" In retrospect I could have subscribed to an online preskit service for what I spent on materials, but having a physical copy I think goes much further than a website.
I also put another kit together for Tim Abbott to take to Matt Smith at his studio today, he tracked vocals today and goes in tomorrow as well. I'd like to schedule a meeting with Matt to pick his brain about what I should do with this music, and Tim said Matt is all for it and was very intrigued by me doing my own thing separate from my full time band (ETB).
Speaking of which, I got recognized at the grocery store today heh! Was interesting cause it was from ETB instead of the Truckers this time. Awesome. The life of a rock star \m/,
And speaking of the life of a rockstar, my finances are in lockdown from the void left by India falling thru. Doing my best to remind myself that while being flat broke, I still have everything I need. Van has gas, have food in the fridge. While I don't currently have enough to cover bills due after this weekend, I am working 6 of 8 days next week and will have the money then.
But above all, I am happy. Life isn't easy but it is good.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Last Monday ETB at Friends, The Cowboys were playing Monday Night Football. Affected the crowd a bit, mah. Still hot at night, good they had the windows open to attract foot traffic on 6th Street but was like someone left the oven door open. I didn't drink much and it felt great. Driving back to Lakeway after playing for 4 hours keeps you sober to say the least.
Spent the bulk of this week editing pics from the 99 day Eric Tessmer Band summer tour. Have them posted on my FB page, and about to post 2nd half of pics on the ETB FB. Also my business cards came in and they look great. QR code on the back works too, sweet.
Thursday Tim Abbott invited me to hang out at Matt Smith's SW Austin studio again, he was having LZ Love do guest vocal tracks. Great meeting her, talk about an amazing singer. She hit her takes out of the park, and then did some guest ad libs on two other tracks as well. Wow. Home runs each time. On the ride to and from her and Tim had several deep spiritual conversations. Glad I'm having more and more people in my life that don't watch TV and discuss ideas as opposed to events or worse yet, people.
Awesome again to be a fly on the wall at Matt's studio. Guy is a certified card-carrying bad ass, anything I can learn from just being around him will help me immensely. Gave me a great compliment too in his deep baritone: "You've been here most of the day and finally the first words out of your mouth were: 'That was fucking bad ass!'" Don't want to impose or buck the energy when people are trying to work, and would like to get into the rotation as a session bass player or guitarist. Gave him as requested a highlight reel CD of Mother Truckers, Eric Tessmer Band and several of my own solo tracks for playing examples. Glad I got to deliver it in person as well.
Friday morning ETB had plans to meet with our publicist friend Suzanne Penneley (publicity for Mikkey Dee of Motorhead and Chris Adler from Lamb of God) to discuss working with her for real now, but her house gotten some storm damage, so that was postponed til Sunday, giving me more time to edit/post ETB tour pics. Later that evening Tim, Tracey, Triniti and I went to Lakeway High School for The Eggmen featuring the LHS orchestra, featuring Tracey's son Theren on one of the stand up basses. It was bad ass! The kids (God I'm old) sounded great, and it was also badass to hear Beatles music pulled off live, and totally nailed. Gave me a new appreciation of vocal harmonies and the intricacies they put into them, especially in the context of what seem like simple pop songs. Awesome. Wish I could sing better, maybe I would if I actually practiced...
Later on T and I went to the Dixie Witch Euro tour kick-off party at Red 7 downtown. Being that we are broke as a joke I texted Trinidad (drummer/vox) about getting on the guestlist in return for both of us taking pics. He accepted, sweet! We got there in time to catch our good friends Sabbath Crow, added last minute and the first show for them in a year + now that our other friend Ric Furley is no longer drumming for them. Also Honky had to cancel last minute to Sabbath Crow was pushed back, meaning we got to see them. Great set by DW as well. Will post pics soon as I edit them, which I will be starting shortly. Talking to my friend Dave TV, he pointed out Nick Oliveri in the crowd, handed me his camera, and I finally got the shot on the 2nd try. You'd think cameras would be more standardized, but even a seasoned photographer such as my self can be stricken retarded by a strange camera. After Dave's second round of instructions I got the shot \m/,
Saturday was the wild card. Van getting low on gas, but Kyuss Lives was at Stubb's. We had absolutely no money for tix, prolly sold out anyway. But we made tentative plans to just stand outside and listen, heh! But I was actually a little tired from playing guitar for several hours in the garage -- that felt great. Ran thru most of Ocean of Stars album, new stuff I have in the works, old stuff that I still remembered how to play. Good to know I haven't lost as much as my guitar playing ability as I'd thought.
But I digress. Tim said LZ Love was playing a stripped down set not far from here. Also my good friend and ex-Southern Gun Culture bandmate Amber Lucilee was playing out in Lakeway as well. As much as I wanted to see (well, HEAR) Kyuss Lives, the price of gas superceded any once-in-a-lifetime events. Sorry guys. Caught tail end of LZ's set and got to chat with her/band. Tim has been wanting Triniti to meet her, and of course they hit it off. Turns out the bass player is Nick from South Austin Music, who has worked on my Marshall a few times. Made arrangements to bring it by again and have him put those new JJ E34L's in it, which have been sitting in the boxes for 4 months. After T and I went to Jasper's for Amber Lucille. Good to see her and Charlie Murphy, haven't seen them since before the ETB summer tour. Good to catch up. Jasper's is a decent place, guess we finally have a bar out here.
Today got up early (8am) for the rescheduled ETB band meeting in SW Austin. Good meeting all around, discussed band shit then publicity when Suzanne got there. All around very positive. Still behind in sending Trinidad some sample pics from Friday night. Also behind in getting my presskit together to send to DR Strings, and finish posting ETB tour pics to ETB FB page. Wanted to have all that done by tomorrow, but here we are on Sunday night. Shit shit shit