Monday, January 20, 2014

What a Week pt 1: Cedar, Prednisone, Craigslist, Amazing musicians/friends

Last week was insanely busy, in a good way.

Last week the cedar pollen count was insanely high, and in a bad way.

The residual cough leftover from the cold I had first week of this year was lingering on and intermingling with the record cedar counts. Not a good combo. Lethargy, severe allergy symptoms, a cough that wouldn't quit no matter what I did or what I took.

2nd week of Jan as all this was going on I was dragging ass in Ocean of Stars rehearsal, and opted out of a Thunderosa gig in San Angelo (I would be on 2nd guitar, which was optional) to give myself two extra days to prepare for this schedule:

Sun Jan 12: Forever Town video shoot afternoon, later gig on guitar w/Amber Lucille's Selfless Cover Band
Mon Jan 13: Rehearsal w/Adrian and the Sickness, followed by rehearsal for Ortiz Bros Jam house band
Tues Jan 14: Ortiz Bros Jam, I'd be staying all night as my Dietz would also be house bass cab
Wed Jan 15: Ocean of Stars full band rehearsal, as sax player Derek Rodrigues back in town
Thu Jan 16: Adrian and the Sickness rehearsal followed by Sean Evan gig downtown
Fri Jan 17: Deann Rene day rehearsal, Deann Rene gig that night
Sat Jan 18: Adrian and the Sickness in Dallas.

Yeah. Opting out of that Thunderosa gig was probably the right thing to do, tho it didn't help me energy level much. And I'd also gone thru an entire bottle of Robitussin with no affect on my cough.

The FT shoot went great tho, I rallied best I could tho I was running on fumes. Made myself a big grilled chicken salad to fuel up. Got into my second bite and had to stifle a coughing fit. Managed to get it down without choking, tho I did spray some used chicken pieces on part of my record collection.

Then let the cough out, and was so intense it made me throw up. Son of a bitch. So much for eating lunch before a long day...

Anyway, yes gross. But the shoot went very well, funny how pretending to rock out is more tiring than actually rocking out. Performed 'Platinum Girl' from the forthcoming album 'Players and Dealers.' Used the inside stage of Red Eyed Fly as the set. Booking agent Mike Boudreaux, who let us have the run of the place for a few hours, at the end of the shoot offered a prime time slot for Jan 24th on the outside stage! Awesome, thanks Mike!

Mission accomplished! Headed straight to Bat Bar for Amber Lucille gig. Went well, always good to play with an old friend and bandmate, and to wing it on guitar \m/,

Monday found me recovering from the previous days' energy expenditure and refreshing Adrian and the Sickness music, and trying to save energy for the two imminent rehearsals.

Walking into to the place with Adrian Conner where drummer Armando Reyes has a rehearsal room, I came to a realization which I've had many times before and always like revisiting said realization.

I know some AMAZING musicians. And these are people that are also just good friends of mine. I've known Adrian for about 8 years from playing/going to shows, and she has been one of the single most influential figures in my own musical career, as a player, performer and band leader.

Reading Jack Kerouac in my 20's, I always wished I had this circle of good friends who are also these amazingly talented artists, great thinkers, and larger than life characters. And I have that. My musician friends may not be rich and famous and spearheading a cultural revolution. But that does not diminish in any way shape or form their amazing talent, indomitable spirit and unquestionable musical ability.

And here we are, friends schlepping guitar cases down a noisy hallway, about to jam, have fun and make some noise like it's no big deal. \m/,

Rehearsal went great, a few rough patches (on my end, the new material is much more involved than her previous albums) but in general it felt VERY STRONG. I look forward to trying to keep up with her onstage!

Afterwards same realization deal at the Ortiz Bros compound to jam with Jim Ortiz, Chris Ortiz and Randall the owner of Beerland. Just making some noise on a monday night with some friends. I've known Jim and Chris for about 13+ years, and have played opposite Jim in Shandon Sahm's band on and off since 2004.

And here we are playing some loud, down and dirty blues. Randall kills it on vocals and harmonica, and feeds his own energy into the rest of the band, even in rehearsal. I love surfing that wave \m/,

Jim's an awesome guitar player, and Chris is absolutely INSANE on the drums. Very Mitch Mitchell/Keith Moon. And this was the first time I've really had the chance to play with him. Wow. I'm used to drummers like Rob Williamson (ETB) and Ric Furley (Ocean of Stars/Deann Rene), they do a fill at the end of a measure and I can usually follow along with my own fill, Black Sabbath/Led Zep style.

With Chris that went out the window. He goes into his fills early and hits shit like the Tasmanian Devil. I found out very quickly it's best to just play through instead of trying to follow him hahahaha! Their brother Gian Ortiz can keep up with him, but I sure as hell can't \m/,

Awesome and amazing. God damn, I love my friends!

By Tuesday I'd had enough of my severe allergy symptoms and cough. I needed my life back, as the week had only just begun and I was already dragging ass. Decided to cut to the chase and get a steroid shot.

Called the clinic I've been assigned to through HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), and just my luck they do not offer them. And worse, there was no one they could refer me to. Son of a bitch.

However, Ocean of Stars bassist Melanie Martinez referred me to her doctor, whom she had already called ahead and he was willing to not only see me that afternoon but work with me on what I could afford.

He got me in at 4pm that afternoon. And was super fucking cool, I like him a lot. He also talked me out of an allergy shot and into a script for prednisone: the shot is all-at-once, whereas with the pills I could tweak the dose as needed. And it was only $5. What a country!

Dropped it off at HEB pharmacy, and the pickup line was all the way down the aisle. Shit. I bought some groceries and just went home, I was drained from merely sitting in a doc's office and picking up a few things.

That night at the Ortiz Bros Jam I managed to last all night! Fun times with good friends and great players. I even got to play some guitar, but was on bass most of the night. However at the end we did get the James Brown crackhead up for some tunes.

We had him up a few weeks back, and knew what he was capable of, and to deny him a chance on the mic would be a crime. This dude could NAIL some James Brown. Not only the vocals, but the stage presence, moves and charisma. Just WOW!

He got up, and fucking KILLED it. Thank you, good night!

Wednesday I picked up my prednisone script and took the first dose. Within a half hour I HAD MY LIFE BACK! Allergy symptoms disappeared, and were replaced by the rather pleasant feeling of having drank an entire pot of coffee and an icepack on my face. I was bouncing off the walls for Ocean of Stars rehearsal that night.

Also about this time I started getting responses to my current Craigslist ad, looking for session work (which I was very specific about, as I am pretty much booked solid gig-wise until SXSW).

More on that in a bit....

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