Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Retrospective

Wow, what a year. Not even sure where to begin.

So here is a bunch of noteworthy events and accomplishments, in no particular order.

There was a huge sea change in my professional and personal life, with resulting tremendous ups and downs, as I moved on from Eric Tessmer Band and ended a relationship, both of which started around the same time and ended the same time. Weird parallel there.

Was voted #5 Bassist for the Austin Music Awards in March. That was definitely a high point.

Did not complete the RPM Challenge this year as February was so busy for me. And didn't even come close either. Only the second time that's happened in the 5 years I've participated.

I have no idea how many shows I played, but it was a lot. But I was able to count the number of bands I performed with this year, which was 15. That has to be a record for me, listed as follows:

Eric Tessmer Band
Shandon Sahm
Forever Town
Adrian and the Sickness
Rick Hornyak
Planet Casper
Diesel and Dixie
Amber Lucille and the Selfless Cover Band
Aaron Navarro
Vine House
Shannon Lee Nelson
Skyline Drive
Sean Evan and His Very Handsome Band
Deann Rene

I was able to finally put together a line-up for Ocean of Stars, which I have been trying to do for the last 4-5 years. THAT is a huge accomplishment. Have almost scrapped the idea repeatedly over the years out of frustration. Glad I stuck to my guns.

I got to jam improv with the legendary Greg Ginn (Black Flag) for 90 minutes with his drummer, and from a Craigslist ad no less. That was awesome.

Despite still not having a full-time project I am able to still keep myself in business and pay my bills and support myself and my lil dog. THAT is a huge accomplishment as well. September was the leanest month money-wise in the last 5 years. I made it through tho.

I played a lot of great music with a lot of great people. Recorded the Patten album with legendary producer Chet Himes, have yet to hear it but I was very proud of my playing on it.

Got to do another last minute one-song session with Dead Oak, and work with J Yeunger again. That was a pleasant surprise.

Went to a lot of towns in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that I'd never heard of with Rick Hornyak. Got to go to New Orleans again with Forever Town.

Had a typically negative experience during SXSW, but that is no surprise and not exactly an accomplishment. Just happened.

Trying to think of other things that have happened but as my head currently feels like a cinderblock, I am drawing a blank.

So this is me signing off for 2013.

My resolutions are much the same as every year:  (1) Kick Ass, and (2) Not Die.

Take care of yourselves, and each other. Follow your heart. Love more, live more and see more live bands.

Danny G
11:06pm CDT
Dec 31, 2013

Another cool night (and day) in a much more literal sense

SO this past weekend had my first gig with Deann Rene Band, my last gig filling in with Sean Evan and his Very Handsome Band, and a photo shoot with Forever Town yesterday.

And now I have a cold.

Deann Rene set went great, considering the last rehearsal was a full week previous and I didn't have much time to go over the music while on Christmas vacation. Deann was happy, Ric and Kyle were happy, the sound guy at Baker St Pub was happy, I was happy. Good times with good people playing good music.

Tho my van left a huge pool of coolant in their parking lot.

My heater core went out while heading back to Austin from Corpus and I would be taking it in the following morning. Had I found out before I left town, or while I was down there, I may have either missed my nephew's first Christmas trying to find a mechanic on Dec 23, or missed the gigs trying to find a mechanic in Corpus Christi on Dec 26...

So while the drive back was nerve racking, everything worked perfectly.

Saturday night was Sean Evan at Pat O'Brien's in San Antonio. Had never been there. The unseasonable chill is still going on, this has already been a weirdly cold winter down here, and has been going on for a month. Had I known we were playing outside, I would have worn long johns and bundled up more...

Rode down with Johnny Glass, who is a a huge history buff. Apparently the location where Pat O'Briens sits is where General Santa Ana addressed and readied his troops to begin the seige on The Alamo, which is a few blocks away. I found this fascinating, as I love history.

And driving into downtown San Antone, I came to a realization: I really like downtown San Antonio. It has so much more history than Austin, The Alamo being a pivotal historic location for one, but also rounding the corner to park in front of the venue and suddenly most of the buildings are easily 200 years old. I love that.

An old church, taken on my iPhone from the window of Johnny's truck

The fountain on Pat O'Briens patio. Fire and water

Tried to get a shot of The Alamo, but no dice.

The gig was fun, cool night for first part of set but they had lots of those big butane heater things. The Dietz cab only spit my speaker cable out three times this gig (and I am totally fixing that this week...). But during the last third of the set I played in my thermal hoodie, hat and fingerless gloves. Have never needed to play in fingerless gloves and didn't know if it would even work. It did, and my hands were very happy about that.

After the show, I had to retreat into the venue a few times to get warm. Felt like I was coming down with something. Shit.

Didn't feel too bad on Sunday, fighting something off but not anything worth complaining on Facebook about, hahaha! Got a ride from a friend to Guitar Center (van still in shop, and I had a gift card) so I could fix the problem with my bass cabinet. While they did not have the actual jack, I did get a 1/4" to Speakon cable and some guitar strings. Laid low other than that.

Monday had a photo shoot with Forever Town in Wimberley TX at Pioneer Town, this weird wild west movie set looking place. Tho I was prepared and wearing long johns under my jeans and black pearl snap,  it still wasn't enough. Was about 42 degrees and overcast (GREAT for the lighting). But as I am skinny, thin-blooded and have lived south of the Mason-Dixon line all my life, it got to me and went straight to my bones. While my body was not amused by the chill on Saturday, now it was pissed. The Ramsay brothers took it in stride, and in short sleeves...!

Pioneer Town, Wimberley TX

Driving back to Austin from the FT compound in San Marcos, I was planning on driving straight home and getting into bed, but opted to go to Home Depot as I don't know where my drill bits are. I may have replaced them, my ex may have took them. Probably the former, but who knows. I needed them to work on my bass cab.

GLAD I DID. The thick layer of stratus clouds had started to move off to the south, allowing the sun to peek through just before it set. Cast a gorgeous amber/gold light on the top halves of any buidling over two stories, and had washed the sky in orange and purple by the time I was leaving the store. Just WOW. One of the most breathtaking sunsets I've seen in awhile!

Not music-related. But fuck you, it was beautiful!

Friday, December 27, 2013

However, this was a cool night:

So Sunday Dec 22 I had the second of two shows with Sean Evans and his Very Handsome Band on bass for that weekend.

Played the Dizzy Rooster on 6th Street, covers, but fuck it.

I like those guys, had fun playing, and made some money. While I would not like to play full time in a cover band, I am not opposed to it here and there, as being out and playing and making some money (and learning new songs which may have things that I can apply musically to my own playing) is always preferable than sitting home not playing and not making money.

So it was a fun night, tho the Parking Gods were not very favorable on a Sunday which was weird, drove around for 15+ minutes just trying to find a goddamn spot. WTH?!?

But got out early enough that I could catch ETB at the Saxon Pub, practically on the way home.

Rolled in, and the door guy let me in for free. Sweet! Grab a Lonestar tallboy at the bar, which turned out to be the only drink I actually paid for the rest of the night. Sweet!

ETB already onstage. I take a seat, Eric sees me from the stage and points me out to everyone. Which garners a round of applause. HA! Awesome :) Eric commented over the mic: "Damn dude, you just walk in here and get cheered!" Heh!

Was a good night, lots of good friends in the crowd, hence all the free drinks hahaha.

Then, thankfully before I was too drunk to do so, I was asked to sit in. Awesome! And since I had just come from a gig I had my bass in the van and was already tuned to E flat as well as warmed up. Sweet!

Played "White Room" by Cream and the original instrumental "Three-Four" and just destroyed the place. Holy shit that was fun! Always good to play with Eric n Rob. But also cool seeing Gian up there with them as well, as our styles draw from similar roots but are apples and oranges in their execution.

It's cool seeing Gian play with ETB, because he plays the songs his way. And I wouldn't want him to try to play my parts or play like me, as that would be a disservice to his own unique style. And also it's cool to hear a totally different interpretation of what the bass can do for songs that I've been playing for years.

We're all musically family, and one of the things I love about Austin is the vast amount of mutual respect between the players.

That was a good night!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gear trouble at an Eric Tessmer Band show. Shocking, I know!

So I recently had my new run Acoustic B200H serviced by a tech, after being non-functional for 3+ years.

Blown solder joint to voltage regulator. $30. Well shit. I could have come up with $30 back then hahaha.

Have had it back for a few weeks but haven't been able to properly try it out, and have been brainstorming on how to rack-mount it.

So I finally fired it up at Dead Oak rehearsal Wednesday night of last week (Dec 18). Holy fucking shitballs. Forgot how awesome it sounded!

As I've been using the SWR/8x10 amp in their jam room, I tried it out on the fridge cab. Blew the SWR out of the water. It was loud. Like, stupid loud. Not bad for a modest 200 watts (the SWR was 350 and I still couldn't hear myself). Needless to say, I had to keep turning down to avoid overpowering the rest of the band, which is usually Kirk's job with his guitar rig, hahaha.

So yeah. I was happy, they were happy.

Thursday night had a last minute Eric Tessmer Band gig fall into my lap at Friends on 6th Street. Which was good as I can always use the money and love playing with them. And an early set so I could still catch Amplified Heat and Alien Knife Fight after our set.

But then we are informed the later band has cancelled and we could play all night if we wished, and we opted to do so.

I was stoked cause I could finally fire up the B200H at a gig, and I hadn't used it in battle since it became my main amp when my SVT was having trouble back in the Mother Truckers days in 2008/9. Sweet!

Sounded great sound-checking! YES!!! It liked the 8x10 cab in the Dead Oak room, but it LOVED my Dietz 2x15. Needless to say, I was stoked to play it all night and see what happened.

Looked pretty cool, heh!

We launch into the first song, and after about 4 notes the trouble began. Cut out immediately. Shit. Still has power, thats good. Peak light not staying on like when it was previously fucked, that's good.

I switch to the SVT and fire it up, plug in speaker cable. Still nothing. What the hell?

AH. Speaker cable probably rattled out.

Happens sometimes. Checked the back of my cab. AHA! Plugged it back in, switched back to the Acoustic, rejoined the song for a few more notes. Then it cut out again. Pushed the cable back into the jack. Hit a few notes, and it was spit right back out.

That jack must be getting loosey-goosey from years of use. It has two inputs, and the nut holding the other long since fell off and of course the jack retreated back into the speaker cab. I'll have to remedy that on break.

In the meantime I get gaff tape from Eric and tape the fucker into the input. It works, sort of. And this was the first song. It continued to cut out intermittently which was funny for the first hour, but not so much for a 4-hour set. Shit. Even the SVT was spitting the cable out at this point. Shit.

Did the best I could but the cutting out kept getting worse and worse. Play a few notes. Cuts out. Reach back and fiddle with the cable. Which became less effective as time went on. OK, starting to get pissed.

Eric had a cordless electric drill on hand. The problem with the Dietz was that the jackplate itself does not screw onto the cab from the back, but from the inside. Which means in order to swap out the speaker jacks and get thru the set I would either have to:

(a) pull the entire front of the speaker cabinet off, switch the jacks, and close it back up


(b) take a chance on just removing the side handle and hope to Cthullu I can access the jackplate that way.

And this would all have to be done mid-song.

So I spent most of 'Armadillo Strut' removing the screws from the speaker handle. No big deal. HOWEVER: I removed all of them except 2 which stripped out in the process. Fuck.

So I flip the cab over and try to remove the other handle. Same fucking deal. You got to be kidding me.

SO I flip the cab BACK over, as those stripped screws are in a more favorable position for me to use my screwdriver to PRY THE GODDAMN HANDLE OFF.

It worked, and I was able to not only access the jackplate with much appreciated ease, but got the jacks swapped out no problemo.

Then I switched to the SVT, as I theorized the B200H was producing some weird extra frequency which was the main culprit in the jack plate constantly spitting out the speaker cable. Which was probably the case, cause I had no problems whatsoever the rest of the night...

Fucking hell.

SO. I have since come up with a solution to make sure this never ever ever ever EVER fucking happens again:

I will, when I have the time to take the Dietz damn near apart and get the proper part, I will route out the jackplate on one side and install a speak-on connector, and get a speaker cable that is 1/4" on one side and speak-on on the other.

Those twist and lock into place. Problem fucking solved. The B200H sounded great while it worked, and is a worthy back up amp that I wouldn't mind using for a gig once all this is done.

So yeah. And I still have some of the screws from the side handles rattling around on my pedalboard.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Busy Week, Another Busy Week...

Busy week+ already in full swing, but more on that in a bit.

Last week was busy as well, but with the cold snap it just felt like I didn't do much. Just lacking in motivation. Fighting off hibernation I suppose.

Went to the Ortiz Brothers jam on Tuesday, that was fun as always.

Not as big a crowd as the Hendrix birthday one few weeks back but still plenty of friends and players and filled up not long after I got there. Jammed some bass and got in some good time playing guitar, jamming improv as a three piece with Beky Hayes of the Surleys on bass and a drummer who I never caught his name because Chris Ortiz (Amplified Heat, Jamey Simms Band) got up to play drums with us as well. Fun!

Wednesday made an appearance at the Recording Conservatory/Grammy Committee Christmas party at the Gibson Showroom not far from where I live. Ocean of Stars bassist Melanie Martinez had a plus one and asked me to go. Awesome!

Was fun, tho I am terrible at mixing/networking events. And of course, she had to split early so I was going to be left alone. Well shit. I didn't last long after that, heh. But we got to see Patricia Vonne do a short set, and I finally bumped into someone I knew (Lonnie from Whiskey Sisters/South Austin Moonlighters) but he was talking to some people and I was on my way to get a free hotdog, so the exchange was brief.

Patricia Vonne

Maybe Austin Community College offers an online course in schmoozing... Cause I need it.

Thursday experimenting at home I found I could use a Boss tuner pedal as a poor man's ABY switcher to run the Loop Station pedal into it's own amp so I can play stuff on top of it through a separate amp. Part of the problem with using it in rehearsals is it gets hard to hear the loop with it and me both playing out of my one halfstack.

Eureka! But now the problem is I have two 4x12 cabinets, but only one Marshall JCM800. Shit.

Friday worked on Ocean of Stars music with Melanie, as Ric Furley is down in Corpus Christi doing a string of orchestra gigs (pun intended). Worked on "Brief Ties To Space", "Leap of Faith" and an older song called "Laguna Madre."  5 songs total being worked in already. Progress!

Also spent much of Friday and Saturday physically preparing myself for the Eric Tessmer Band double on Saturday night. Early 7:30 set at Friends followed by a 10:30-ish set at BD Rileys. 3 hour set punctuated by tearing down gear/throwing it onstage and another 3 hour set. And the first half of the BD's sets on nights like that are usually amazing, second half can be a mixed bag depending on our energy reserves and alcohol consumption, hahaha

So yeah. I took it the fuck easy Friday and Saturday, energy conservation mode.

Rolled into Friends, started getting gear inside when a spot on 6th Street a few yards back opened. The night was already off to a great start! Such gigs like this usually result in a parking ticket if forced to use grab a meter somewhere...

Resumed loading in only to realize I forgot my damn rack, containing my wireless unit.

Left at home because I was trying to figure out how to mount my newly repaired (after 3 years) Acoustic B200H.

Shit. Now this was a dilemma.

I scored a primo parking spot, meaning I don't have to deal with parking tickets or the barricades that go up to close off 6th Street. End of the night load out, my vehicle is right there.

However... The wireless system is part of our stage show pretty much. I join Eric for shots at the bar, I go smoke cigarettes outside while playing, etc. Adds to the fun. The more fun we have, the more fun the crowd has. The more fun the crowd has, the more money we and the bar make at the end of the night.

Fuck the parking spot, I need to pay my rent (still)...

But then Eric informs us it was double booked at Friends, and we are only doing the BD Riley's set.

Well. That at least solved the problem about retrieving my rack from home, hahaha! However, that means the payout will only be half what it usually is, as one show has been cancelled. My body was VERY happy to only have a 3 hour set to look forward to after running home to eat and nap. My bank account, not so much...

Anyway. BD's was still a fun show. Always fun to play with Eric and Rob. Had a blast, had a good night musically as well as financially. Ripped off my bass strings at the end of the set, they needed to be changed. And I've had a new set, but merely changing them wouldn't be a fitting enough end for the long months of service this particular set has endured, heh.

And did I mention that upon my return downtown to BD Riley's, after a leisurely load in (bass rig already at BD's except my rack and my basses) I got the front row Joe rock star parking spot right in front of the place. HA! Awesome.

SO NOW the aforementioned busy week+ that lies ahead:

Earlier today had a sit-down rehearsal with Deann Rene and her guitarist Kyle. Went great! Still learning the songs but they are pretty straight forward, and I've seen her enough that I remember most of them.

Tuesday work on Deann Rene music and start on the setlist songs for bass gigs with Johnny Glass downtown this weekend. Maybe hit the Ortiz Brothers jam that night.

Wednesday work on music. Rehearsal with Dead Oak that evening followed by Ocean of Stars rehearsal later that night.

Thursday Deann Rene rehearsal during the day. Then ETB gig at Friends that evening.

Friday work on music, gig with Johnny Glass that night.

Saturday still up in the air. A gig would be nice, but Melanie from Ocean of Stars is having a party that night too...

Sunday gig with Johnny Glass.

Monday head home to the coast for Christmas.

Return to Austin on Friday Dec 27 for first gig with Deann Rene Band.

Saturday Dec 28 gig in San Antonio with Johnny Glass.

Got just about all my Xmas shopping done today. Took advantage of some time off the get that taken care of. Felt good, I usually wait til last minute!

Also been doing other constructive things around the house. Changed strings on my bass and my '79 Iceman, both have been needing it BAD. Also treated the rosewood fretboards with lemon oil, also much needed. Also did lots of other chores yesterday and today. That felt good.

Lately my energy level and motivation has been in the shitter, haven't felt like doing much of ANYTHING. But the cold snap is finally lifted, so maybe the hibernation mode is wearing off. Mentally I feel decent to good. Financial trouble, but scraping by. The gigs and the money are always there.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

This week was pretty awesome, Updates

Currently in the grips of some unseasonable arctic chill.

Usually doesn't get this cold in Austin until February, and this is the coldest its been in the 2 years I've lived at the Hobbit Hole. My pipes are currently frozen and have been so all day. But had plenty of bottled water to make coffee so that was good.

Some really cool things happened soon after my arrival back in town from Thanksgiving.

Had to sign a bunch of paperwork via scan/email as ETB was hired to be on the NBC show Revolution, and the scene called for a 4th band member and a song to be recorded. So I was added on as 2nd guitar player. Awesome!

Got back into town on Monday long enough to unpack, take a nap, then head to Arlyn Studios to record an acoustic rendition of "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Hell yeah! What we concocted was this weird crazy acoustic jug band reinterpretation of it. Just, wow.

Got there early with Eric to do guitars. He used his Harmony (?) acoustic electric, I messed around with another old acoustic until Gian arrived with another Harmony elec/acoustic. Half the strings would fret out but it was perfect for the vibe of the track.

Gian used a wash tub bass he and Eric built early that afternoon. It sounded great, and he learned how to play it while he was tracking.

By the time Rob arrived, flying in from family gathering in LA, percussion was ready to go. So he did one track hitting an old 28" kick drum with a mallet, another with him hitting an old ammunition crate with his shoe, and a third snare drum track.

Then Rob, Gian and I added gang vocals and harmonies to Eric's main vocal track

Wish I could post the rough mix cause it is pretty damn awesome. That was fun and glad I was able to be a part of it \m/,

Tuesday and Wednesday were originally slated to be on set shooting for the show. Tues was going to be with Brett Michaels, us backing him acoustic and doing Every Rose Has Its Thorn and probably a few others. But that fell through, as scene re-written to be him solo. Wednesday was slated for ETB to be preforming Ring of Fire. But that was re-written as well and nixed. Well shit.

Either or both would have been cool. Apparently the show is still using the song so that's awesome as well.

Tuesday night I was planning on hitting the Ortiz Brothers jam, but decided against it as at the time I thought shooting for next two days was a go and wanted to be rested for that. So relegated to get into my pajamas and at least play some guitar at the house. Or that was the plan.

There's a spot on my wrist that is a problem from time to time, and seems I aggravated it Monday night recording, playing an acoustic I've never played before, and picking very close to the bridge for the distinctive sound. Was in prep to play some guitar, closing the windows for the benefit of my neighbors, when it screamed to life as I locked a window lock. Shit.

Needless to say I didn't play. Put my wrist in a brace as a precaution and started taking ibuprofin. Still have recording on bass with Dead Oak coming up, not to mention possible gigs for the weekend... Decided to maybe take the weekend off if possible, plus the weather was going to be shit. 

So come Thursday, Dead Oak recording had already been rescheduled a few times, when 9pm that night is settled upon instead of early-ish on Friday.

That afternoon Deann Rene (rock singer/songwriter) got in touch asking about a gig we'd talk about me playing bass for on Dec 27th, and if I was available tonight to come by and rehearse. Yes, I was!

So settled on 6:30 as I could spend some time with her band before heading to record with Dead Oak. Checked out the drop box link she'd sent and played along to a few tunes. Wrist felt OK to play, even wearing the brace. That was good.

Met up at Karl the guitar player's home and played with him, Deann and drummer Ric Furley (my good friend and Ocean of Stars/Rick Hornyak bandmate) for several hours, as Dead Oak was pushed back til Friday eve. Was fun playing with them and sounded great! Looks like I'll be playing shows with Deann now \m/,

Friday rolls around, as has the cold. No gigs for the weekend (unless something falls into my lap), kinda happy about that cause holy shitballs it's fucking cold!

Drive to Kirk's new place in SW Austin, which he's been investing in recording gear. Walk into his place, and his good friend J Yeunger (White Zombie guitarist) is there to engineer! Awesome!

(And shit, maybe I should have done more prep work... heh!)

But the set up they had going at Kirk's place was legit as fuck, and it was a very easy one song session, laying down bass for a track called "Dance of the Elves." Silly name, but seriously rocking song.

Plugged straight into a DI setup they had, no amp needed and no problems with neighbors calling the cops, heh. Ran through it for three takes and pretty much nailed it on the third. Only thing we went back to change was adding my bass wah on the closing chord \m/,

What a blast. Probably spent more time afterwards hanging out with Kirk and J than I did actually tracking the song. Can't wait to hear it.

Today doing what I can to stay home (never made it above 32 degrees today), tho will have to venture out for water at some point, coffee creamer too. Hoping tomorrow my pipes will thaw out undamaged (all PVC and all outside, and easily replaceable), COLDPOCALYPSE 2013!!!

Other things in the works are an Adrian and the Sickness tour in February and more Thunderosa dates for January.

And lots of things going on the deserve their own post. More to come.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ocean of Stars, Work, Craigslist, My Ass on a Plate courtesy of Hell's Belles

Big news!

(For me at least, heh)

Ocean of Stars now has an official line up:

Danny G: Guitar
Derek Rodrigues: Saxophone
Melanie Martinez: Bass
Ric Furley: Drums

Finally had full rehearsal on Wednesday with Melanie Martinez on bass. It went great. Feels like a band! I'd worked with Melanie on the material a few times prior, with her making exponential progress each time, and she kicked it's ass. We all played and sounded great together, and even made some creative progress on 'Hammerfoot.' Very stoked!!!

Photo courtesy Melanie Martinez:

Feels absolutely amazing to finally have a working line-up on the band I've been trying to put together since 2008. And of course, now it feels like no time has passed at all. Ha!

And we also already had a gig offer, to open for Thunderosa tonight. Even tho we only have 3 songs we can play, we unfortunately had to turn it down because Derek is unavailable, heh.

In other news, my calendar is heating up for the next week and hopefully rest of the month. Tho I did have gigs for Friday and Saturday fall in my lap and fall through just as fast.

Posted on some of the FB musician groups and put a new ad on Craigslist. Going to a music industry mixer/jam for the Recording Conservatory at Arlyn Studio on Monday.

Say what you will about CL, it is still a great resource. Tho you have to weed through a lot of bullshit ads and not let the anti hired-gun contingent boil your blood too much... But I have gotten a lot of session work through it and cool opportunities, as well as hooking up with The Mother Truckers. Not to mention that tho I didn't get the bass job in Good For You, I did get to jam improv with Greg Ginn for an hour and a half.

This time around have gotten numerous responses. About to start learning music for Skyline Drive, who have shows at the Saxon Pub for Nov. 19 and 26th, a rehearsal for Monday at noon location pending, and an additional set Nov. 18 at Sahara Lounge now.

Another response that could lead to some session work and some gigs as well. Have not heard back yet.

Another response asking about bass lessons. And not just lessons, but very specific things about technique and writing of bass lines. Meeting with him to begin his training on Wednesday.

Placed an ad on Corpus Christi CL since I'll be down there around Thanksgiving. Already a response to that as well, a gig on Dec 6 which I had to decline as Dead Oak is planning on heading into the studio again on Dec 7 to record more tracks at Ohm with J Yeunger (met them thru CL).

Plus, Forever Town just had their album mastered at Terra Nova the other day, so that will be coming out soon. (Also CL).

And on Tuesday I've been asked to be in a video shoot with Adrian and the Sickness. My response to yes or no on that was a resounding FUCK YEAH.

Speaking of Adrian Conner, got to see Hell's Belles last night downtown at Austin Fanfest, a huge block party (several blocks actually) related to the Formula 1 race this weekend.

And they handed me my ass on a plate! Amazing show, best I've ever seen from them and one of the best I've seen in awhile!

Got a ride with Armando Reyes (Adrian and the Sickness drummer) and his friend Kathy Jo, that was awesome. Lots of friends and musical family in the crowd, too many to name, ha! The Belles were on fire, and for one little boy dressed up as Angus Young, his life will never be the same, as evidence in the video I took last night! Awesome.

I feel truly blessed and inspired to be friends with the people I am friends with \m/,

Tonight going to see Thunderosa  at the Dirty Dog, bassist Mike Mackie's last show with them, in Austin at least. Since I filled in for him on that weekend (story coming, I swear), it would be good to help see him off and wish him well. And that show is gonna fucking rock balls too. Thunderosa with home field advantage in their favorite venue, and their CD release party (I think?).


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thunderosa Weekend Run, Business Talks/A Frazzled Brain, Playing More Guitar, Ocean of Stars, Food

The Halloween weekend run I did on bass with Thunderosa was a blast, and cannot all be summed up here in one post, so hopefully I will get on that soon (hopefully tonight). Had lots of fun with AJ and Drew and met lots of good people, and I threw up in a Wal-Mart parking lot. As I said, that will all be its own posts...!

My busy schedule has wound down a bit this week, which has me very concerned. Music is my bread and butter. If I am not playing gigs or in the studio, I am not earning any income. I don't have any gigs booked so far until December. That will undoubtedly change. But in the meantime the empty calendar on the wall in front of my face is cause for deep concern.

On the bright side, I played a shitload of guitar last week. A little bass too. But not much.

While out with Thunderosa I realized just how frazzled my brain has become from having to constantly learn new material from different bands for diff gigs every weekend.

Vine House contacted me while out with Thunderosa and said Monday Nov 4 gig at Empire Control Room. Cool. Then later text exchange about meeting up on Wednesday during the day. Some actual rehearsal prep. Cool. Details on gig? Now at Guero's Wednesday, 8-9pm. Adjusted my calendar accordingly.

Only realized sometime on Sunday that I had been talking to two different people about two different band situations... Wow. Man I am losing it.

Vine House gig was on for Monday. The Wednesday thing was an audition for The Statesboro Revue, who are looking for a bass player. I followed back with them apologizing for thinking I was talking to someone else and explained my confusion due to a weary brain. They understood and laughed about it, so that was good.

SO. Got home from Thunderosa weekend Sunday night around Midnight.

Monday Nov 4. Speaking of losing it, I was groggily enjoying my morning coffee/cigs in my patio/living room when the phone rang. It was Lisa Evert, of Spirit Chronicles/Runic Productions, who I had recently gotten in touch with about working together providing music for some of their projects. Why is she calling?

OH SHIT. That's right, we had talked who knows when about having a conference call for that morning, and I had completely forgotten that was set up. Thank God I set my alarm so I could wake up to work on music...

Talks went good, they have a slew of projects in the works and would like me to be the Music Director for them. Awesome!!! Will have more formal announcements as things progress. But for now my homework assignment with them was to provide a press photo and bio (short term, just completed) and to come up with a budget for recording equipment, as owning studio shit is more cost effective and buying studio time. Have yet to get on that...

Once I had my head on straight, worked on Vine House music that day in prep for the gig. Short 6-song set as opposed to the 2.5 hour/25 song show I was prepping for two weeks ago. Thank God. It went well and was really fun, and Empire Control Room is a great venue.

Empire Control Room

Tuesday Nov 5 took the Goddamn day off. Fuck the world, I am tired. Tho I did run over and chart the 3 songs for the Statesboro Revue audition the following afternoon... I even work on my day off. Opted out of the Ortiz Brothers Blues Jam that night and stayed home to rest.

Wednesday Nov 6 the SR audition went really well (I hope), still waiting to hear back. Later that afternoon got together for a 2 hour jam with Ric and Derek in Ocean of Stars, our first in awhile, although the prospective bassist could not make it. But I needed to experiment with my new Loop Station pedal. It wasn't a total fix-all to cover extra instrumentation, but it will come in super fuckin handy! Missed the SR show that night out of exhaustion.

Thursday Nov 7 spent the day working on songs for a gig with my old SGC bandmate Amber Lucille's Selfless Cover Band for a gig that Friday. Then in the evening had a final sit-down jam with the prospective Ocean of Stars bassist.

She did great! I was very impressed, pleased and happy with the obvious amount of work she had put into the material. Her exponential progress over 3 sit-down jams was a joy to witness. Would have handed her the job already, but still need to get her into the jam room with Ric and Derek just to make sure (99.6% sure she's going to kick its ass, and look forward to making an official line-up announcement late tomorrow night).

Friday Nov 8 worked on music for the AL show a bit more. Was just about to pull onto S. Congress Ave to head to Stomping Grounds (which I could have walked to, but sure as hell was not going to carry my gear there, heh!) when Amber called. Figuring it was probably Very Important, I answered.

Turns out there is also a Stomping Grounds in North Austin. Oh shit. We go on in less than an hour, and I don't have the gas to get there without dipping into what I had of my already late rent... She offered to drive, so that was fucking awesome. Was a fun show, we did really good!

Saturday Nov 9 I had resigned myself to rest, other than go by Amber's place to get paid and on the way back stopping by to visit with Eric Tessmer, who texted saying had just seen me drive by.

But I was totally burned out on a rare Saturday evening off from gigging. I don't know how much longer I can hustle gigs like this. That evening did see a FB music group posting about a singer/songwriter who needed an acoustic guitarist well-versed in country for a set that night. I responded, but said I neither have an acoustic, nor play country... but I am available. Heh!

Was JUST about to open my 2nd Lone Star of the night and put on Netflix, when suddenly the singer (Shannon Lee Nelson) asked me to do the gig on electric. And it started in a half hour.

Well, my plans just changed..! Threw on some clothes, packed my Iceman and Epiphone Valve Standard combo and rushed downtown to Shotgun's on 6th Street, next to the Dirty Dog, to play a 90 minute set of music I had never heard with someone I had never met. HA! I love that kind of challenge \m/,

I didn't knock the shit out of the park, but did quite well considering the aforementioned variables, in addition to Shannon using a capo most of the time which totally fucked with my ability to read her chords. She would tell me the key, and I was on my own from there. So tho it appeared she was playing the first position chords of G, C and D. But was actually playing A, D and E. Fuck.

But it was fun, Shannon was really nice and I made it thru the set! And made some extra money on a night I thought would be gigless. So that was cool. While I didn't recognize the venue while I was there, I DID remember that rickety-ass wooden staircase out the back door to the alley. I think I played there with Southern Gun Culture back in the day, and can't remember what the venue was called then. Crazy.

Three gigs in a week on guitar. Can't remember the last time that happened...

IN OTHER NEWS, my Lonestar SNAP (food stamps) card was finally approved. Thank God. At least I can eat for the next few months without having to decide between late bills or starvation.

I am struggling financially. And I am working my ass off.

This is what assistance of this kind is for.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Busy/Busy/Busier Still, a 1000 Year Old Tree, and I Got A Loop Pedal too

Damn. Didn't realize how much time had elapsed since my last post. Shit. Sorry, loyal readers.

Been busy, which is very good. But I'm starting to run myself ragged.

Hands/arms feeling much improved tho I'm still working them quite hard.

Since my last post:

Picked up a Boss RC-2 Loop Station pedal at South Austin Music, along with a new power supply to replace the one which my neighbor had given me but was not working properly.

Well, it worked. However my Boss tuner pedal (which it was plugged into) the LED would still be half-on even when the pedal was off... not supposed to do that. Also it was creating a buzz in my signal chain which worsened with each effect I turned on. Not good. So I replaced it before I fried everything on my pedal board.

And my schedule being what it has been recently, it was several days before I could really try out the loop pedal at home. But when I finally did (and learned to use it properly...), HOLY SHIT. This is a game changer for Ocean of Stars, my in the works instrumental band. Now we can easily play my music as a four piece. Hell, if I got one of the fancier units, we could play it with 3 members... but I like having a saxophone player cause it's fucking awesome \m/, 

So yeah. Now if my schedule would just ease up a bit so Ocean of Stars can finally fucking rehearse... That won't be til first part of November. Meeting with the prospective bassist again on Thursday. Keep y'all posted.

I put it on my credit card. Fuck it. I had a huge chunk reduced from it since I had to return the ProTools software I bought since Guitar Center didn't bother checking to see if everything was returned with it in the box before they resold it to me. So it was a decent chunk of change for the loop pedal and power supply. They even threw in a free shirt, that was awesome of them. My existing red one already has a huge hole where my belt buckle is from wearing it onstage.

In the meantime I have been up to:

Picked up a last minute gig playing bass for Aaron Navarro on 6th Street Saturday Oct 12.

That was fun, decent money to be thrown on stage with no prep. I knew at least 1/3 of the covers and the originals were pretty basic, and good. Fun night! Not a huge crowd as storms blew in and it was raining quite hard. Got soaked loading out. Got home just in time for the first drips to start in my patio/living room roof. That was good timing.

Was soon bleeding like a stuck pig as Austin got between 7-12 INCHES of rain during that deluge and the one that blew threw around 6am. Just, wow. That Sunday of Austin City Limits fest was cancelled due to flooding. The water on Lady Bird Lake (the stretch of Colorado River running thru downtown Austin) has risen to the foot of the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue on Auditorium Shores. Barton Springs was a wide and flowing torrent.

Mud from the receded flood waters. It's Flooding Down In Texas:

I plan on rebuilding half the roof early November, as I can't be worrying about the rain when I go on tour...

Sunday the 13th had final VineHouse rehearsal. Went well! Learned slide guitar for one song, they said I did great. That was cool. However the gig for that Thursday (Oct 17) fell thru, but I jump ahead of my tale.

Monday Oct 14 played Metal Mondays at Headhunters downtown on bass with Forever Town.

Fun show, pretty good crowd. I give myself a B-, as I was never able to get around to refreshing their music (too fucking busy, and we had just played the week before). Figured I'd be fine, but my hands got tired quick and I was missing shit here and there. Wasn't a bad show tho.

Shared the stage with Mustard Puncher (drummer for Forever Town's other band), which is always a blast. They play good times, high octane, fun PUNK FUCKING ROCK. Tight, energetic, and with a loyal following. Was awesome standing out front smoking a cig watching thru the front door as empty beer cans, ice, cups full of ice, and anything that could be tossed were thrown at them as they play -- and all done out of love. After the show there was even salsa containers and taco foil wrappers and all kinds of weird shit onstage. Good times!

Was getting my cigs out of my van after parking out front to load, slipped and nearly busted my ass in front of a lovely lady getting her bike from the rack. She saw it. I caught myself, but still... I didn't bother trying to strike up a conversation after that, heh...

Tues Oct 15 I missed the Ortiz Brother Blues Jam at the Legendary White Swan, as rain was moving in from the West. Started raining just as I was about to leave, and watched the radar as storms coming in from the Rio Grande Valley were sending a plume of moisture/rain 150+ miles straight towards us. Shit shit shit... Needless to say, it never came. Until 6am. Luckily it woke me up, stayed up for a good 90 mins monitoring the patio leaks...

Wed Oct 16 spent most of the day refreshing and learning music on bass for the Adrian and the Sickness for a rehearsal that night. During the refreshing saw that Mark from Vinehouse was calling me. Couldn't answer as I had a mouthfull of home cooked hamburger, but my gut said it was probably bad news about the show. Calling him back a bit later, it was. Logan's on 6th had fallen behind on renovations and would not be open. Shit. VH tried to relocate to diff venue, but no dice (jump ahead of my tale again).

AATS rehrearsal that night went great, gonna be fun playing with Adrian and Armando (drums) again!

Thursday Oct 17. It was by this time I realized I'd been so busy learning music that I had forgotten to make arrangements for my Chihuahua Nacho to be looked after for the weekend's two Rick Hornyak shows in Rockport TX...!!!!!! Shit! HOWEVER, with the Vinehouse show now postponed indefinitely, I decided it was worth the extra fuel expenditure to drive down myself to my parents' place in Corpus Christi later that day, rather than ride down with Rick. That way Nacho could stay at their place, I could do the Friday show, stay at the hotel in Fulton Beach, do the Saturday show and drive back to my parents that night.

Which is exactly what I did. The RH shows Fri/Sat Oct 18/19 at the Grog Bar went really well, fun sets to decent and good crowds respective of nights. Used the little Trace Elliot Boxer 30 bass combo amp Eric Tessmer gave me awhile back, as my SVT would have been overkill. That little thing kicked ass! Sounded great and never had to turn it up past 2.

My parents came out for the Saturday show, we went out for dinner and drove to nearby Goose Island to see this:

The Goose Island Oak, a native live oak tree estimated to be 1000 years old.

Just, wow. I wish we had more than five minutes there before heading back to load in at Grog Bar. I would like to go back, climb over the fence surrounding it, and touch it for awhile. Just to feel a living thing that is older than a lot of civilizations, and has weathered countless hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and humans for a millenia. That just blows my mind. Nature is awesome.

Sunday Oct 20 had a rough night and rough morning, trouble sleeping and weird dreams. But drove back to Austin, home by 4pm. Enough time to nap, wake up, eat, walk Nacho, then rehearse with Dead Oak 7-9pm. They brought in a second guitar player to try out. He did decent, considering he had little prep and wasn't using his own rig. I was so out of it I don't even remember his name at this point.

Afterwards made an appearance at the house warming/birthday BBQ for Amber Saxon of Hell's Belles/BugGirl, who just moved into a rental with her brother Clinno (BugGirl drummer) and Heather Webb (BugGirl bassist, etc). Caught the tail end and missed most of the jamming, but still good to see some good people. I didn't stay too long, but with as late as I got there I was the last to leave, heh. Great to see all of them! I know some really awesome people and musicians, and for that I am eternally greatful.

Today was spent depositing the check from Rick Hornyak shows, taking out the recycling, and refreshing/learning Thunderosa music for rehearsal this evening in prep for the 3 date/3 state run we are making next weekend. Jam went great. Getting together again on Wednesday.

Rest of my week as follows:

Tomorrow: rest while I can, Ortiz Bros Blues Jam at Legendary White Swan

Wednesday: Work on Thunderosa music, rehearsal with them and probably Dead Oak afterwards

Thursday: Work on Adrian and the Sickness music, meet up with prospective Ocean of Stars bassist in afternoon, rehearse with Adrian and the Sickness that night

Friday: Picked up another Eric Tessmer Band reunion/fill-in at Friends

Saturday: Leave early for Houston with Adrian and the Sickness, we play the Neon Moon Saloon at 6pm

Sunday: Hopefully doing FUCK ALL

And some people don't think playing music full time is a real job...

I should offer people a Rock N Roll fantasy camp, where they follow me around for a week, watching me refresh music, loading my gear for me in and out of rehearsals, loading my gear for me in and out of gigs. Whatever they make in a week at their job, that will be my fee to see what being a musician is actually like. HA!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tiger Balm, No Rest For The Weary

So was posting yesterday about my hands being blown, trying to take it easy on them to not injure myself.

Last night went to see Eric Tessmber Band at their Friends Monday residency. Maryann from Rochester NY, very good friend of the band, was in town visiting and would be at the show.

So as a birthday present to her, I sat in for two songs. A cover of "Shot Down" and the original "Blues Bullets".

 Eric and Maryann, photo courtesy yours truly

I didn't think to bring my own bass, as tho Gian's 60's Gibson SG bass feels nothing whatsoever like my P-Basses (short scale as opposed to long scale, flatwounds as opposed to roundwound strings, he slings his high whereas I wear mine loin-cloth low) it's still an awesome bass to play, and it's always cool doing my thing with someone else's rig and tone.

Not only does he sling his bass high, but apparently I am also a few inches taller than him as well.

My hands and arms were feeling great all day. I figured two songs would be fine.


Both songs are very involved and played fast and hard. I can't play bass slung high or sitting down due to the angles for my arms/hands being all wrong. So I was using all the right muscles in all the wrong ways. Hard.

By the end of "Shot Down" I was kinda hurting. I paused to lengthen Gian's bass strap as low as it would go, which helped a little but not really.

"Blues Bullets" did me in. OUCH.

Now I was concerned. Luckily have no gigs this weekend thusfar, but do have a week of learning music on guitar, and practicing said music on guitar. Plus, tonight is the Ortiz Bros Blues Jam at Legendary White Swan, hosted by Gian and his brothers' other band Amplified Heat.

Last week it didn't happen due to a scheduling conflict. Tonight it is. I want to play, guitar and bass.

However now I am concerned over the shape of my hands/forearms. Well, their shape is the same, they just hurt and are very tired and quite angry at me.

During ETB's second set, Eric asked if I wanted to get up and play some more. I had to decline. I had already been using my glass of ice water and my cold Lonestar as an ice pack, and playing any more would only injure myself for sure.

So when I got home, of course gobbled more Ibuprofin like candy. Getting ready for bed, I spotted my little jar of Tiger Balm on the nightstand.

FUCK!!! How could I have forgotten about Tiger Balm?!?

I could have used some after getting home Saturday night, applied more Sunday morning, more on Sunday afternoon, and more Monday morning...

Back over Christmas when my tennis elbow was acting up something fierce, Tiger Balm was the only thing that improved it almost immediately. Well shit...

See how I feel today, I'll be mainly charting out arrangements for the rest of the Vine House music today as opposed to playing and rehearsing it. Hope my situation improves by tonight. Because I really WANT TO PLAY at the jam...

Not only that, but I have a very busy month ahead. No rest for the weary:

Tomorrow I will be meeting up with the prospecting Ocean of Stars bassist. Thursday have rehearsal with Dead Oak. And in between now and Sunday afternoon when VH rehearsal scheduled, have another 10-12 songs to learn and practice for Vine House, in addition to the 10-12 I have already learned.

Then, next week will be spent mastering the VH music for a Thursday Oct 17 gig. As well as refreshing the Rick Hornyak music on bass for two gigs in Rockport TX that weekend, the 18th/19th.

Week after that will be spent learning/refreshing music and a rehearsal on bass with Adrian and the Sickness for gig in Houston on the 26th. In between I will be learning and refreshing music and having rehearsal last week of October on bass with Thuderosa for a three-date/three-state run October 31st-Nov 2nd.

And there will be Dead Oak and Ocean of Stars rehearsals during this entire time as well.

Hence my concern over my hands and forearms.

If I injure myself, I cannot play.

If I cannot play, I cannot pay my bills...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Self-imposed rest after a busy weekend, Ibuprofin

So Eric Tessmer Band picked up an early set at Friends before the 10:30pm set at BD Riley's on 6th Street this past Saturday.

Bring it on.

I've done doubles like that with ETB many times before, and while my body was more than a little angry with me the next morning for playing back-to-back 3 hours sets punctuated only by the mad dash to tear down the gear and wheel it two doors down and throw it onstage at BD Riley's, my bank account was quite jubilant. That and I wisely downed 3 Ibuprofin before leaving the house.

Again, really fun to be playing with Eric and Rob again. Setting up at Friends took my main P-Bass (Minnie Pearl) out of the case to find it was still in Eb, from the last ETB show I did 2 weeks ago. Meaning: I haven't touched my bass in two weeks.

Wow. Hands/arms-wise, that second set is going to hurt...!

And I forgot to stretch out before the first set. Shit! My whole body was going to hurt.

Friends set was a blast, the BD Riley's set we on fire and totally destroyed.

Kind of a blur for the whole night. 6 hours of high energy blues rock. All I knew is my hands were starting to hurt a few songs into the second set but there was nothing that could be done about it except keep going, keep going, keep going.

I don't think our energy wavered a millisecond that whole second set. All I know is we improved the first song, and played a few things the second set that we didn't play for the first.

Next morning I had to be up bright and early for 11:30am rehearsal in far North Austin on guitar with Vine House, only to leave there at 3:30 to haul ass back downtown for a short set with Forever Town.

I wasn't as on point for the VH rehearsal as I would have liked. Have been going over the first half of their material and was going to start with the second half Saturday during the day. That changed with the early set added to ETB's night, and had to forgo charting out songs and learning them to go into energy-conservation mode for the long night and day ahead.

That and my frethand and arm were blown from playing 6 hours the previous night. But got through it and it sounded as good as it could have. Turns out Matt their drummer and I played briefly together in Shandon Sahm's band, and he is in two videos we shot several years ago.

'Everything's Cool'  Shandon/myself/Jim Ortiz/Amy/Matt

'Rock N Roll Demon'

I didn't play on the recording of 'Everything's Cool' but I did supply the guitar solo for 'Rock N Roll Demon.'


Pretty much dead on my feet by the time I rolled in to Red Eyed Fly for the Forever Town set. And thank God is was short.

Soldiered through that one best I could. After the first song both my hands were blown and I was feeling a little loopy from having only eaten a single breakfast taco in the past 24 hours on top of the massive energy expenditure the previous night.

But mission accomplished, I hung for a bit but had to grab my gear and head out so I could go home, get some food, eat some more Ibuprofin, and rest.

Today was a self-imposed day off. More Ibuprofin this morning.

I need to work on the rest of the Vine House music, but don't want to press my luck with my hands. I often have to remind myself that when I need to take a day off, that is still DOING SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE. Usually my head will swim with all the things I need to do and should be doing.

But when I have the opportunity for some much-needed downtime, I need to take it.

Mission accomplished there. I feel really good. And gobbling around 2000mg of Ibuprofin the past day and a half, my body feels pretty damn good too. I feel very fortunate to feel very good physically for being 39.

Adding to my feeling of general well-being, I was able to pay my rent in a timely manner this month. That hasn't happened in awhile. Things are looking up, and I hope that trend continues.

Also looks like Ocean of Stars will still be on hiatus for the next two weeks, as life and schedules aren't allowing for rehearsal this week or the next. Not the end of the world. This will give me the opportunity to sit down with the prospective bassist and work with her personally to bring her up to speed, rather than just throw her into the mix and hope she kicks its ass.

So yeah. Today was nice, on many levels.

Finally cooling off here in Central Texas, have had the Hobbit Hole open for the last two days, and had to get an extra blanket and wear pajamas for warmth last night. #awesome

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Spike in Traffic, 6 strings vs 4 strings, Busy, Inner Voice and Ocean of Stars

Wow, I don't know what the hell I did differently, but the page views for my last post are currently over 530...!?!

Usually its around 500 less than that, as I don't advertise this thing much.

Especially after my Adsense account got pulled due to my GF at the time "trying to help" by clicking on the ads, heh. Guess I need to finally look into other platforms for that, as if this traffic keeps up I might be able to supplement my income via this blog, which would be amazing. Financially, I need all the help I can get...

October is picking up, and that is good.

Been playing more guitar lately, more than I have in years probably, and that is VERY good. Have done two shows with good friend and ex-SGC bandmate Amber Lucille, which were fun and reminded me how out of shape I am on a 6-string. My fret fingertips hurt for a day and a half after both shows.

But all this week I've been hitting the Vine House music hard in prep for the two rapidly approaching Sunday rehearsals and a gig at Logan's on 6th Street on Thursday Oct 17. God damn it feels great to play guitar. Three days in and I can already feel my hands getting back in shape. Feels good to get my chops back. Can't wait to see how I do on my own damn music when Ocean of Stars rehearsals resume \m/,

Haven't run over it today yet, I was up til 6:30am due to insomnia and a heavy mind. Financial worries, decompressing still from the breakup, etc.

Dead Oak rehearsals are resuming tonight at 7pm, I've already tried to take one nap today after waking up around 11:30. No dice. May try again here pretty soon after finally having breakfast at 4pm...

But my mental state is faring much better today, as gigs that were falling thru are falling right back into place, other gigs are coming my way, and gigs that have been on the books are still happening (so far). Also just picked up another BD Riley's bass gig this Saturday with my former full time project Eric Tessmer Band, that will be a blast, as was the one two weeks ago \m/,

So yeah, October is shaping up to be a pretty damn good month.

Maybe I won't need a SNAP card for food assistance now, especially after I finally applied just in time for the Govt Shutdown! Gee thanks, you fucking self-serving assholes.

Anyway. In other news, I have a bass player I will be trying out for Ocean of Stars. Don't want to reveal any details because I don't like talking about things only for them to fall through, making me look like a jackass.

But I will say, this individual has the right energy for the project, and digs the music.

And having the right kind of energy for this project is very important, while the Ocean of Stars music is loud and heavy more often than not, the overall energy of it is very Yin (passive/feminine/negative pole of the battery) as opposed to Yang (active/male/positive pole of the battery).

And having the right mix of energy is very important, and to be honest I couldn't really tell you why. I always follow my inner voice/heart/gut instincts when I feel them telling me something important. My inner voice has been telling me that the OoS bass position has to have the right energy, and should be a woman. Earth mother energy? I don't know. My inner voice speaks, I listen and act accordingly.

Unless my inner voice is telling me to do something obviously stupid, which hasn't happened so far... at least I dont think!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Downtime, Old Friends, Moving Forward

Currently on the Texas coast seeing my family and new nephew for the first time since the beginning of August.

October is about to pick up so this was the only time I had enough downtime to wrangle a visit. Tho I will be here again the weekend of Oct 18-19 for 2 shows with Rick Hornyak. But will probably ride down with him and stay at the hotel in Fulton TX to save wear and tear/gas expenses on my van.

Last weekend was great, played Dirty Dog with Forever Town last Friday and reprised my old role as ETB bassist for a gig at BD Riley's on Saturday.

Both shows went well. After the previous show I did with FT last month got a rough mix of the album they did with Frenchie Smith and was able to learn all the things that had changed in the studio, heh. So the music felt much tighter. Good set, decent crowd.

A total family reunion of sorts. Also on the bill was Amber Lucille and Brian Mees' new 2-piece heavy jam band EYEZ. Amber is of course my old SGC bandmate from 10 years ago, Brian sang in a band at the time who's name now escapes me. Superfoot featured on guitar Charlie from Teabag, another band from that time period. Devola was another band from the era still alive and kickin, I even filled in on guitar with them 10 years ago for 2 shows. And Fur King featuring Russell Abbott from the SuperHeavyGoatAss, another alum from the era. Good times with old friends.

Interesting sidenote about Super Heavy Goat Ass. They were practically a sibling band to Southern Gun Culture, we shared a room with them at the Music Lab for many years, Trent from SGC played the drums on their half of the SGC/SHGA split EP. They were awesome. And had the kind of name that made you scratch your head whether you liked it or not. I personally thought it was one of the greatest band names in the history of band names.

Fast forward several years, and they started receiving anonymous offers to purchase the name. They rejected the first two, and people thought they were crazy. They finally accepted the third offer, which topped out at $18,500. You heard me right. $18.5k in USD. Only after the sale did they finally find out it was a rep for the one and only Mick Jagger, who was putting together a new band called Super Heavy at the time.

Yeah. Wow. Hence the anonymity of the offer. They could have held out for way more and that still would have been chump change to the legendary frontman. Hence the transition from Super Heavy Goat Ass to Fur King.

I unfortunately had to leave before Fur King's set, timing my departure with Jason from FT. I needed help getting my SVT and 2x15 cab down the back staircase to the alley, as 6th Street was closed off by this point and going out the front door to avoid said staircase would have meant wheeling my shit 1000 yds around the corner and navigating herds of staggering drunks.

But it was a good night and got to catch up with some old friends.

The next night (Saturday) was my first actual gig with ETB since May 17th of this year. The only prep I had done for this show was to learn another new tune "Lullaby". Other than that I would be going solely on muscle memory.

The gig was a blast and well attended. Great being onstage with Eric and Rob again, have def missed those guys. And the muscle memory was intact like a mofo! It was like there hadn't even been a 4 day lag since the last time we played together, much less 4 whole months. Wow. That, and we had Mariah the former merch girl working the table, so it was even more like old times! Great to catch up with her as well.

Photo by yours truly:

The only real brainfart I had was going into the chorus a little too early during the outro solo in "Buttons and Threads". Looked up and noticed Rob and Eric both giving me the "hairy eyeball". Huh? Oh yeah, oops! Heh. And the crowd probably didn't even notice \m/,

Word of advice to players of lesser experience: keep your game face on.

If you mess up, the only people who will probably notice is you and your bandmates. If you freak out and trainwreck the song, THEN the audience will surely notice ;)

So yeah, very fun.

So now I am still filling up October, looking for bass students to supplement my income, looking for projects, struggling to get Ocean of Stars up and running, much less finalize a lineup.

Gave a bass lesson to my friend Chrissy Flatt recently, she asked if I would or ever have taught, I of course hadn't and don't really know how to teach. I don't know how I know what I know, I just learned and continue to learn as I go along. I probably know more about music theory than I give myself credit for, tho I don't always know what things are called or why they are the way they are, but I do know how things sound...

"Well, how about you show me how to play some songs and give me some pointers on technique?"

Well shit, I can do that! It went very well!

So now I'm looking for students. Have one lined up when I get back into town tomorrow, looking for more.

Also cutting my vacation slightly short as I've picked up a gig on guitar for tomorrow (Friday) with Amber Lucille's Selfless Cover Band at Moon River. I need the money and have heard most of the songs enough times to pretty much know how they go in my head, and anything I don't know I can follow cues on and make up as I go along.

Then my next mission is learning material for a gig on guitar with the band Vinehouse for Thurs Oct 17. Southern rock. Should be fun, see how it goes and see what happens with that. In between there will probably be a prep rehearsal for the weekend with Rick Hornyak.

Then will be refreshing music on bass and having a jam or two with Adrian and the Sickness for a benefit show she's doing in Houston for Sat Oct 26.

While doing that will start learning and refreshing Thunderosa music on bass for a 3-day weekend with them end of October, which could extend into a longer tour. Either way, bring it on.

Other than that, still entertaining the few offers I have coming in. Just kind of hard as things are getting desperate financially, so going where the money is would help immensely for my bank account but not so much for my peace of mind. Pursuing Ocean of Stars full time would mean some type of day job.

Playing bass means even if I came into a project as a full songwriter, creativity on bass for me is more of a passive activity than an active one. I can't direct song ideas on bass the way I can on guitar. With bass I pretty much have to either wait for the drums and guitar to finalize their parts before I tie them together with a bass line, or write the drum parts and the guitar parts myself.

If I come into a rehearsal with a bassline, there is usually already a guitar and drum part for it, as I don't sit at home and write basslines.


But as for my own music, there is a glimmer of hope to do something with it.

I probably mentioned before but a friend was working as music supervisor to an in-the-works film called "White Rabbit", which in theory has part of one of my songs "House of Leaves" as music in one scene. I sent her a follow up msg to see what the progress was, as being an indie production my only compensation would be my name in the end credits and a DVD copy when the DVD came out.

So she sent a link to the trailer. And just, WOW. I had no idea if this was just a glorified student video project or the real deal.

Turns out, its the real fucking deal:

The trailer of course doesn't feature my audio clip, and I hope it still made it to the finished product. But it premieres at the Zurich Film Festival later this year I believe.

Doing movie soundtracks would be a great halfway point for me, being able to get my music out there without necessarily having a full-time band to maintain.

See what happens, not going to put this on my resume until I see the finished product and confirm my song is in the actual movie. Don't want to look like a jackass ;)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Birthday today

Go me for hanging in there another year. The Big 3-9.

I don't feel old, yet.

Hope that trend continues. I still feel in very good shape for my age, still have most if not all of my hair (thank God!), and even with an increasing amount of grey in my beard and the odd wizard eyebrow hairs that are growing in I still get pegged for late 20's.

 I'll take it!!!

Celebrated last night at the Blues Condition Blues Jam at Legendary White Swan, hosted by the Ortiz Brothers of Amplified Heat.

Good times. Got to debut some Ocean of Stars songs with Ric Furley (drums) and Derek Rodrigues (sax) with my good friend Heather Webb filling in bass duties. Went well, as far as I can remember! End of the night got pretty hazy, but I wasn't driving. Good times with lots of great people and lots of great music!

Photo of the dusted-off Iceman by Beky Hayes

Still no permanent bass player for OoS and still working on that.

Spent most of last week learning music for a show with Diesel & Dixie in San Antonio last weekend. Great shit, high-octane Southern heavy rock/metal/progressive/etc. Not for the faint of heart, and very involved musically. Took me the better part of 6 days and two band rehearsals to almost master 9 songs.

Fun show at Serna's Backyard Sports Bar, sharing the bill with their good friends Powerchief and The Heroine.

Trying to decide if I should post the videos of all three bands having fun during the band set changes, heh! It was glorious in its fun drunken stupidity, those guys are awesome. Took over the dance floor and showed everyone there how to have a good time! I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume touring with them is a blast \m/,

Note to self: stretch out before those 45 power sets... Was feeling that one well into Monday.

On Monday night my good friend and old SGC bandmate Amber Lucille asked me to play guitar with her as a duo at the Blind Pig.

That was fun!

Kind of a slow night due to the intermittent heavy rain, but was good to get to play guitar for that long for once and make some extra money. And the fact that I didn't really know how to play most of the songs she did def kept me on my toes, heh! But I managed just fine, as I'd heard most of these songs many times and was able to figure them out sooner of later, or just make something up \m/,


Tonight continuing my birthday festivities and going to the Barbara Nesbitt (Whiskey Sisters) solo CD release party at Strange Brew.

Tomorrow refreshing the Forever Town music for a rehearsal with them that night. Playing with them at the Dirty Dog on Friday.

Then I'll be subbing on bass for the Eric Tessmer Band on Saturday at BD Riley's! That'll be fun, have missed playing with those guys. Which reminds me, I need to learn a song for that one too.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Belated August Update: Planet Casper, Life Changes, Looking for work

Wow been awhile.

Not even sure where to begin.

Arrived home safe and sound from the Rick Hornyak tour, as you can probably gather from this post. That was a lot of fun, good to get out of town/state/timezone for awhile and make some good music with some good people.

Got back and started putting my life back together, as well as looking for work.

I'll just come out and say it finally. Triniti and I are no longer together. Split up after the first week of the RH tour. All I have to say about it is it was mutual, and the best thing for both of us. Will discuss no other details of it, tho much to tell, here. This is a music journal, not Facebook.

So the Hobbit Hole is all mine now, just me and Nacho. Have not lived alone in 10 years. Settling in to that just fine. My time is my own to spend in whatever fashion I deem fit and I am free to wake up, sleep, come and go as I please. Kinda nice.

So have been spending much of my new free time working on music (gigs with Planet Casper and Forever Town this weekend) and going to shows, to network/stay visible and reconnect with friends.

The networking hasn't panned out the way I was hoping but damn it is good to see old friends, old bandmates and be able to watch shows instead of play them.

And have so many people in the crowd know who I am, which has led to many catching-up conversations, complimentary drinks and getting in to some reputable venues for free \m/,

I'm am on a very thin budget right now til my calendar fills up...!

Since officially getting back the first week of August, have seen The Whiskey Sisters finally (old Mother Truckers bandmates), a few Eric Tessmer Band shows, got to see Matt Brooks play with Two Hoots and a Holler (tho left a few songs in as it was really crowded and crowds get to me now), Melvins and Honky (with Dale Crover drumming for Honky and Pinkus on bass with Melvins), Adrian and the Sickness and many others whom I can't even remember now.

Had some work offers from Diesel & Dixie and New Mystery Girl fall through, but that fortunately has freed me up to focus on the Planet Casper show and prep for Forever Town.

VERY MUCH looking forward to the Planet Casper Matinee tomorrow (Sunday) at The Continental Club. It is an amazing opportunity to have that fall into my lap, the kind of high-profile show I would like to do more of.

The legendary Casper Rawls has been doing these matinee shows for 6 years with a weekly rotating cast of A-list players. You never know who you are going to see onstage with him. To be asked to do one of these is a huge honor to say the least.

Casper had played some guitar on one of Rick Hornyak's albums, and they've kept in touch. So Casper asked Rick to be a stage guest for an upcoming show, asked if he had a band too. "Why yes I do, I'm in the hotel with them right now!" This was first weekend of August and Rick, myself and Ric Furley were down in Corpus Christi area for two shows.

Since then I've been learning 10 songs on bass and harmony vocals that Casper picked. Had a refresh rehearsal for RH originals with Rick and Ric at the new Hornyak house in Buda, then a rehearsal with Casper himself. Went great, he's very laid back and likes to keep the Planet Casper gigs loose. Was very much an honor to be part of only the second rehearsal Casper has had for a PC gig in the 6 years he's been doing them \m/,

That and been refreshing the Forever Town material for a show with them tonight at Headhunters.

Had two rehearsals with them at the Ramsay compound in San Marcos. First went great. Second was awesome as well: they have my old Ironclad bandmate Tim "Tank" Casterline on bass for the Red Eyed Fly show they have Sunday, which I was unavailable for due to Planet Casper gig.

Second rehearsal was really fun, rode down with Tank, and brought my guitar rig this time. They had me on second guitar duty to see how it sounded, and I was also acting as bass consultant to Tank. He only had one day to learn 5-6 songs, and the FT music is not easy.

So he did have many questions about parts, most of which I probably answered with, "Uhhhhh let me think... the the hell DID I play there?!?"

Upon getting back the rough mix of the FT album I realize why I had such a hard time remembering some of the details: there were a lot of little things that changed in the studio takes as opposed to what I used to do live pre-studio.

Learning songs to play live and learning to record are two different beasts. My memory retention for live is much better, as studio sessions are usually a blur of getting 90% of the basslines in the first 2 takes, then going back and fine tuning the details (where a lot of things will change). So yeah, I did the best I could to help him, heh!

Was also very fun to play some guitar for once, I need to do that more often...

So yeah, my first shows in Austin since the middle of May are this weekend!

Good to be back onstage.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Homeward Bound

Wow. The Rick Hornyak summer tour is over.

Starting the drive back to Texas today.

It will be just me and Rick trading off driving, so it will take 2-3 days. Will update the last few days on this blog when time allows.

This has been a blast. Played some great shows with some great players: guitarist Matt Brooks, drummer Eric Rietman, guitarist James Willaman, drummer Steve Marks, drummer Sam Orrico, and of course Mr. Rick Hornyak. Met lots of great people and had lots of great fun!

Rick and I are still debating on whether to visit Mammoth Caves in Kentucky en route.

While that would be awesome, we both also have reasons to head home as quickly but safely as possible. Rick and his wife closed on a new house on this run, and I would like to get back home to my own life as well. I went through some huge changes on this run. Will talk about that later.

But all is not over for now with Rick Hornyak Band. We still have two shows this coming weekend in Rockport/Fulton TX on the coast with our good friend, drummer Ric Furley. That will be awesome.

Last night Rick and I could have had an end-of-tour, rip roaring drunk. But knowing the drive ahead of us and the fact that it's just the two us making said drive, we knew that would not have been a very good idea. But more about that later. 

In the meantime, enjoy this old Mother Truckers video with yours truly on bass that Sam Orrico found and posted on Facebook \m/,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 25 -- Off Day (sort of), Rural Pennsylvania

Tuesday July 23

Today! My blog is finally up to date for the first time on this goddamn tour.

Don't know what to say, other than thanks for bearing with me as I go off on a rant...

I stopped watching the news a long time ago, and my life has been better because of it. But it sounds like there is a new royal baby. Apparently the media is behaving about this much as you'd expect a group of wild monkeys released into a banana warehouse to behave.

Well, you cannot fathom the immensity of the fuck that I do not give. What do the British Royal Family actually do? The Queen of England, whom is probably a nice lady (or a total bitch, either way I don't care), does not run the British Empire. The British Empire doesn't even exist any more. The Prime Minister and Parliament run England. What does the Royal Family actual DO?

Please tell me that? What is their purpose, other than to be the figureheads on a ship that has been out-dated for 100 or more years, but is still maintained and groomed and polished tho sitting uselessly in a museum with hard-earned tax payer dollars being spent on said frivolous and pointless maintenance.

So who gives a flying fuck if one of them has a kid. Great, another one of God's chosen bloodline or some shit enters the world.

You want to hear about a birth way more important and noteworthy than another useless inbred royal, but which you never heard about on the news?

Earlier this year my sister had a baby at age 40, a full five weeks early, with a difficult all-day delivery finally resulting in a C-section. My sister and nephew Sam are and have been just fine.

So yeah. Anyone who actually cares about this, and is not at least British, should really re-examine their priorities.


Wasn't quite a day off, as we had local drummer Sam Orrico join us out at the Hornyak homestead earlier this afternoon to rehearse as a three-piece for the 3 gigs he will be doing with us this weekend. He's a nice guy, I officially met him at the house party we played a few nights ago.

Despite little prep time for him, he's a solid pro and will do just fine. Tore it up on nothing but a small kick, snare and hi hat.

However with a house full of people there were some distractions, heh. Our mid-rehearsal break turned into a full on dinner break as Judy made us, Rich and Libby, and two of their friends a sloppy joe dinner with potato salad and all the fixins. Was pretty damn good! Combine a feast with after dinner chat and our afternoon rehearse actually took about 5 hours from start time to load out. Wow.

Yum, but wow!

But we got some great work done, and again, Sam will do just fine. He's played with Rick in the past.

Reloading the van to head to Wilkes-Barre PA area tomorrow, we were able to leave out the PA/speakers/monitors and light kit. Holy shit, there is so much room in the van it seems like we must be leaving something behind...

But that space will be filled with James' and Steve's gear, as they are finally taking a van trip with us. A week's worth of shows with them, and we haven't driven anywhere together yet. Weird. But they live in the area and it hasn't been too big a stretch for them to take their own vehicles. Will be good to finally travel with them.

The tour is winding down. I will keep y'all posted. In the meantime, Judy just informed me there is strawberry shortcake downstairs...!