Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014, Burning the Candle At Both Ends

So 2014 began with me getting over a cold, and immediately diving in to a hellacious schedule.

New Years Eve I was slated to sub on bass for the house band in the Ortiz Brothers Blues Jam at the Legendary White Swan, as BT (our good friend and house band bassist) had broken his arm.

As Tuesday (NYE) rolled around I had to decline playing that night as I needed to kick the cold by Thursday. Which I did, mission accomplished.

My busy week(s) began Thursday with back-to-back rehearsals at the Music Lab St. Elmo, first a two-hour rehearsal on guitar with Thunderosa followed by Ocean of Stars for 3 hours for the first time as a temp 3-piece. OoS rehearsead in Room 65, which was my first band in town Southern Gun Culture's old lockout room. Kind of a cool homecoming of sorts \m/,

Both rehearsals went great, as it also felt great to play that much guitar. Tho by the end I was so tired and worn out I was having trouble speaking coherently.

Earlier that day I also had enough energy to finally install the Speakon connector to the back of my Dietz cab. Worked like a charm at OoS rehearsal (I let Melanie use my bass rig).

Friday I was in energy-conservation mode in prep for the Eric Tessmer Band Saxon Pub gig that night. I did spend a good chunk of the day attempting to re-wire my Paul Stanley Iceman, as the pickup toggle switch was having grounding issues. Got lazy and only re-did a third of it. It works now, but not 100%. More on that in a bit.

T-Minus 30 minutes:

The ETB Saxon show went great, felt good to play with Eric and Rob as always, and to get up on stage and rock my ass off, as with other projects I tend to hold back a little only because the music isn't as in-grained yet... gotta pay attention so I don't mess up too much, heh!

ETB @ Saxon Pub, 1-3-14

Good times with good people playing good, loud music! The speakon connector worked great, as the cable was not once spit out from the back of the cab. Success!!!

Saturday woke up bright and early to be picked up for a Thunderosa gig in Blanco, playing a Boozefighters Motorcyle Club rally. In theory, we would get out early enough so I could be home for a few hours to eat and nap before heading to pick up Eric for an ETB set at BD Riley's later that night.

Which didn't happen, heh. We picked up our friend JT Coldfire en route, as he would be hosting the auction and had a later set at the clubhouse. The show went predictably behind schedule but was fun as hell despite an under-powered PA. Thunderosa sent went great! Tried the PS Iceman and while it worked, the grounding is still not 100%. Will have to completely rewire it myself or take it to a pro to avoid the hassle.

But hands down the most awesome and surreal part of the afternoon came during "Musical Chairs for Prospective New Members."

We played Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" as the soundtrack to about ten burly bikers playing musical chairs on metal folding chairs and a concrete floor. It was awesome, and no one was hurt, surprisingly. HA! Just awesome all around. For the auction AJ from Thunderosa had to step in for JT at certain points due to a blown voice. He was a natural! The rest of us just jammed music in the background.

I think we finally ended the set cause the sun was going down. Plus the temp was dropping fast and I was lacking adequate warm clothes.

Was dropped of at the Hobbit Hole well after dark, and had enough time to walk Nacho real quick, wrap my knee in an ace bandage (I seem to have tweaked it during the Saxon show, and it was really bothering my during the Thunderosa set), grab my basses then go pick up Eric Tessmer to load in at BD Riley's.

That set was also fun, and admittedly a blur at this point from energy expenditure. I do remember the batteries for my wireless finally going out during the last song; note to self: buy more AA batteries...

I attempted to use the Acoustic B200H for this set but no fucking dice. Plugged it in for soundcheck, and every time I hit a note (set to a modest volume, no less) there would be a fraction of a second of sound followed by it cutting out and ticking angrily from inside the amp. You fucking piece of shit.

Was tempted (and still am) to smash the goddamn thing. I see no point in investing another dime on a piece of gear which still may or may not work afterwards. Probably was damaged when trying to use it at Friends a few weeks back when the whole spitting-out-the-speaker-cable problem arose.

Needless to say, I am back where I started: no backup bass amp, and an SVT with very tired tubes.

Ugh. Anyway.

Sunday I was looking forward to, and actually EXCITED, about having several hours to not do jack shit until a Thunderosa set later that night at the Longbranch Inn, a benefit for the owner of the Key Bar whose trailer burned down in a fire.

Thunderosa at Longbranch Inn

That too was a fun show tho by now Texas was also feeling the effects of the "Polar Vortex" that has turned much of North America into a giant snow globe. Was COLD AS FUCK outside, that's for sure. Another fun show. The Thunderosa guys were definitely impressed with my stamina as I gave them a run-down of all I'd been doing since kicking that cold.

And I ain't close to being done yet...

This week opened with a flurry of band chatter re: rehearsals.

Deann Rene scheduled last minute rehearsal for Monday, which conflicted with rehearsal for the Ortiz Brothers Jam house band. Talked to Jim Ortiz about it, he said "Just wing it, you'll be fine." Ha! Awesome and thanks. Also Adrian and the Sickness trying to schedule a rehearsal for this week in prep for the 18th in Dallas. Don't think that will be happening this week, but 2 rehearsals scheduled for next week. Ocean of Stars is slated for our usual Wednesday night slot, and am about to call Space to book it.

So I might not have an official day off until Thursday, unless something comes my way for then (still need to see of Dead Oak planning anything for this week). Friday heading to San Angelo to play the Deadhorse with Thunderosa, my first time at that particular venue. Saturday off so far. Sunday have a Forever Town video shoot during the day, then a 7:30-10:30 set with Amber Lucille's Selfless Cover Band on guitar that evening.

SO yeah, it's no wonder I started feeling like shit again yesterday. Running myself ragged and also finally feeling the effects of the cedar pollen in the air. And the bitter, near-record cold isn't helping at all. But finally warming up today, to a point.

So yeah. Burning the candle at both ends. Draining me physically, but holy shit is it fun!

I understand and appreciate why people run marathons. Sometimes you have to push yourself to the utmost limit, just so you know where those limitation are. Then you can cross over that line and set a new level to reach for.

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