Friday, November 20, 2015

Quick vacation, Paris attack, Cheetah Chrome, Ocean of Stars in the studio!

Enjoying a brief early Thanksgiving/vacation on the coast with my family before diving headlong into a busy few weeks.

So in case you have been living under a rock, there were multiple terror attacks in Paris, one target was an Eagles of Death Metal concert. As a musician, this hit very close to home. I do not know the band, or their merch person who was killed, or (to my knowledge) anyone in the club. But that could have easily been people I did know, and I do know people who know all involved.

The backlash and outpouring of fear and hatred has all but destroyed what little faith in humanity I still retained. I feel better now, but a few days ago I was hoping we would all be wiped out by an asteroid, the sooner the better. Millions of years of evolution, and an unfortunate chunk of the human populace are STILL little more than shit-flinging primates with iPhones and internet access.

Truly fucking sad. On the bright side I can at least whittle down my "friends" list on FB and not have to wish so many people a happy birthday.

I will continue on the course of empathy and compassion. I will light a candle to dispel some of the darkness. If people choose to blow it out, that is their choice. Much like we are in the Universe, we are on our own. There is no supreme deity that will fix our problems for us, either we will do it ourselves or we won't. And so far signs point to that we will not, and we will go the way of the dinosaurs and it will be our own doing and our own fault. Hopefully nature will start over with dogs next time, because dogs at least aren't assholes.


Ocean of Stars is in the studio recording a single. I wish I could be more excited about it given recent events, as this is the first time I've been in a real studio with music I've written since Ironclad in 2007.

Our friends David Ducharme-Jones is taking great care of us and is a pleasure to work with.

Ric Furley came in and knocked out drums in about 4 takes, and that was only because we were experimenting with the tempos. Derek Rodrigues came in and knocked his parts out in about 2 takes. I started the guitar before he got there, and finished not long after he left. And there is A LOT of guitar.

Ric Furley

David Ducharme-Jones

Derek Rodrigues and Dave



Me, happy

I thank Bleu Edmondson for switching me over to guitar, as after almost a year of constant playing with him, and Ocean of Stars, and Thunderosa, this was the first session I've done on guitar where I didn't feel like I was struggling a little.

The song we are doing is called "Great Divide" and the title is now pretty fitting given the state of the world. I came up with the basic idea in 2003. Worked it out during RPM Challenge 2009. Expanded upon it for RPM 2013. We added it to the set earlier this year. And we will sure as hell play it at the Dirty Dog on Friday Dec 4.

In other news, I will be playing bass for the legendary Cheetah Chrome of the legendary Dead Boys for two shows (New Orleans and Houston) the last weekend of November. That will be awesome. Have little exposure to the Dead Boys, but upon listening to and learning the music, I know I've already heard some to most of it. Green River or Mudhoney covered "Ain't Nothin To Do" and I probably have a few songs on cassette mix tapes from my punk friends when I was in high school.

Awesome to be supporting a legend. Thank you Jason Kottwitz for offering the gigs offhandedly at the Lost Well a few weeks back \m/,  Have had one rehearsal with Jason and the drummer already and it went great.

Heading back to Austin on Sunday for the second rehearsal, then going to Dirty Dog for my good friend JRAB's benefit show. He has injured his shoulder, can't work (he's a drummer and drum tech for King's X), and is dealing with some other shit in his life that has left him in a tight spot. I can barely afford to help myself, but will help friends when I can.

Then the busy week continues with rehearsal with Taking Back Thaxton on Monday eve. That day will be meeting with Ocean of Stars bassist Melanie Martinez to work on the bassline for "Great Divide" so she can walk into the studio and knock it out of the park. Tuesday is final rhx with Cheetah Chrome. Wednesday Bleu Edmondson is in Ft. Worth. Thursday is Thanksgiving. Black Friday will be spent driving to New Orleans with Cheetah Chrome to destroy Sibera that night. Saturday is Fitzgerald's in Houston, haven't played there in 10 years. The following monday I'm with Eric Tessmer Band for his residency at Friends.

Dec 4 poster by yours truly:

First weekend of December is double duty with Ocean of Stars and Thunderosa at Dirty Dog, Adrian Conner in San Angelo at the Deadhorse, then again at the Dirty Dog with Adrian Sunday. Mon Dec 7 I'm back at Friends with Eric Tessmer Band, unless Bleu Edmondson wants to leave town extra early for a run through St. Louis MO, Des Moines IA and Omaha NE.

Busy busy mofo-ing BUSY. Bring it on.

In other news, I finally got my SVT back from the shop. Just in time for a video shoot with Taking Back Thaxton for the song "Romantic Gallows" at Jason Patten's property on the edge of town.

Him and his lady did a bang up job building sets (clearing out a decrepit and detached garage/work room, building a graveyard and some gallows, and setting up for a dream sequence shot). It was goddamned impressive. And the crew he had filming did such a great job on the last (much less complicated) video, that I can't wait to see the results.

Will check back in when I check back in.

In the meantime, don't give into fear. Fear turns you into a fucking asshole, and I'm tired of assholes.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Much going on

Busy in a good way. This is going to take awhile, so pull up a chair.

Have ramped up Ocean of Stars booking, also talking to a friend with a studio about cutting a track. Looking like November some time. Also trying to go out more and stay visible/see friends/network. Feels good, I don't get out often enough.

Super busy month. Gigs with Bleu, working in a new bass player (Brandon Warnke) after the friendly departure of Tony Valdez. Huge shoes to fill, but Brandon is doing great.

Adrian played an outdoor festival in Kerrville TX called Rev Fest with The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Texas Tornadoes. That was a BLAST. We took my van Goldie Hawn as Adrian's van Vincent Van Go is on injured reserve. The radio station who put it on (94.3 The Rev FM) were great and everyone was super nice. They had high hopes for us, and we fucking delivered! Great set on a beautiful fall afternoon.

Photo by Armando Reyes

Texas Tornadoes pretty much stole the show, but in talking to people we were a very close second \m/, One of the bands on the side stage was a two-piece who were absolutely amazing, and I can't remember their name now. Shit.

Also played with Eric Tessmer Band at Saxon Pub same weekend. Awesome show, always good to play with Eric and Rob. And Saxon is such a great place. Awesome set, great crowd.

Did the following Monday Oct 19 residency at Friends as well. This time our good friend Adrian Meyers on the drums. Always awesome to play with him, great guy, great chops, great groove, and entertaining as hell to watch. If he was tired from doing the early set with Dave Scher, he showed no signs.

Wed Oct 21 went to Acid King at the newly opened Sidewinder, which was Red Eyed Fly since I've been here, and was merged of the now-closed Red 7 to form a new venue in the same building. It was totally different, but the same. Caught The Well, who I'd only recently heard about. Loud heavy 3-piece Stoner Rock Band. Female bassist with one of the loudest bass rigs in town (early 70's SVT, 8x10, Rickenbacker). Bad ass. Check them out. Talked to them after the show, very nice. They definitely took me back to the Southern Gun Culture days. Glad that style of music is alive and well.

The Well

Acid King was awesome. Their first tour in 10 years, and I was there at Room 710 for the last one with Dale Crover from Melvins on drums. They were in top form. Lori S played and sounded great. Whole band was great. Huge crowd for a Tuesday! Talked to the bass player Mark afterwards about his SVT-II (I have a non-functioning one acting as an 88-pound door stop). Really cool guy. When I asked about his amp he immediately stopped tearing gear down and enthusiastically talked shop. When we finally exchanged names he recognized me from the old message boards. Awesome! I proudly displayed my Gordy Fest T-shirt \m/,

Acid King

Also got to hang out and catch up with bassist Wade Morrison (ex-Split Hoof, his new band opened and I missed them) and drummer Kenny Wagner (Split Hoof, Honky, SuperHeavyGoatAss, etc). Old friends from back in the day. Feels good to reconnect with good people.

Thursday Oct 22 Eric Tessmer Band played Willie's Joint in Buda TX (yes that's a real town), which I had played with Thunderosa the Thursday previous and had a great time. However, by now the weather had turned fucky with a strong cold front moving through and the beginnings of the remnants of Hurricane Patricia moving through Texas. If you've been following this Blog long enough, you'll be well aware of ETB's track record with inclement weather. Two thwarted Threadgill's outside shows, The Roost, and many more.

I texted Eric the previous day to discuss the imminent cancellation, as the most powerful tropical system in recorded history had just slammed into Mexico and was making a B-line for us. Venue would let us know by 5pm day of. We played at 7:30, outside.

However a miracle happened. While the sky was threatening and the wind was occasionally gusty, our set went off without a hitch, let alone a single drop of rain. Crazy!

Bleu Edmondson at Floore's Country Store in Helotes TX (San Antonio) the next night (Oct 23) was also affected by the weather. There was some rain and storms in the area but not what you would expect from the remnants of a hurricane. However the crowd was pretty thin. But before we started Bleu got on the mic and talked to the crowd, warming them up and making an off-hand comment about everyone moving their chairs up front.

And wouldn't you know it, they did just that hahaha! Suddenly it went from a large and somewhat empty honkytonk to an intimate VH1 Story Tellers kind of night with an attentive and receptive (tho seated) crowd. Awesome! Great set too. Brandon really killed it, and we were all pretty on-point.

Before the show in the Floore's awesome green room Bleu and I talked about bringing the mandolin into the mix. I am totally OK with this. So he said bring it to the next show. And I did.

Saturday Oct 24 we played in Justin TX (Ft Worth) and the venue name escapes me. Tried the mando during soundcheck on "Travellin Man." Not too shabby. I hadn't worked on "$50 and a Flask of Crown" enough to even attempt it yet, so we'd just try the one song later that night. However I hadn't been able to listen to "Travelin" on the way up, so I hoped the mando part I came up with would be close enough haha. Of course later at the hotel Hec Rivera (guitar) played it on his phone and yeah, I was way off. Oops. Oh well. It worked well enough in the set.

Which went really good. Great crowd there, good times. 4 rounds of shots brought to the stage.... That kind of night.

Photo by Hec Rivera

Played Monday Oct 26 with ETB at Friends again, this time with a drummer I pretty much met when he showed up his with his drums, Mark Redix. Challenge accepted! You could tell by looking at him he was an awesome player, and after the 4-month stretch of 2010 where ETB played full time but without a full time drummer I could pretty much play with anyone. That was a stressful but musically invaluable time.

And yes, Mark fucking killed it all night. I liked having to pay attention to him to stay locked in with kick/snare as it allowed me to also see all the cool shit he was doing. Very good chops. Great crowd and they loved it. I still don't know how Eric pulls off playing as loud as he wants and not doing any SRV covers to appease the tourists (despite the obvious influence and reverence) but those Mondays draw weekend crowds more often than not. Just, wow.

In between I've also been doing a lot of gear shit and woodshedding. Changed strings on all three guitars and intonated them. Went to an un-named big chain corporate music storeSwapped my guitar and bass pedalboards again (one is less deep and lighter, other is opposite on both).

(Note to self: When removing an entire set of strings to apply lemon oil to a fretboard, make sure you have a spare set. I wound up doing the Bleu gigs in Helotes & Justin TX shows using the wrong gauge strings... duh.)

I'd moved my guitar setup from the lighter one to the bigger one (my original Southern Gun Culture pedalboard) as with adding the MXR boost I couldn't fit all my pedals in a row and would have to stagger them, as well as put the staggered ones up on pieces of wood to elevate them. But the big clunky board is just too much of a pain in the ass to fit onstage (especially in conjunction with the auxiliary loop station board I use for Ocean of Stars). Switched the guitar rig, pieces of wood for elevation and all, and put it onto the lighter board and just hoped the shit would fit. It did. Thank Crom.

Also went to an un-named big chain music store to swap out a bum instrument cable and get some things, including a TC Electronic PolyTune (needed another floor tuner for a mandolin). Liking it so far and put it on my guitar board. Added mandolin pedal setup to the auxiliary pedalboard to kill two birds with one stone and not have to configure another separate board for mandolin (and save on power supplies and patch cables). See how it works.

AND FINALLY. Went to see Spirit Caravan at the Lost Well. But before that went to Roberto Balderrama's birthday at Hanover's in Pflugerville TX. Which was way out of the way, but fuck it man, Roberto is an awesome dude. Went to his birthday last year as well (FB reminded me of this today ha!).

Didn't get to stick around long, but got to catch up with Roberto and lots of other good friends/musicians/people. There is so much love to go around in every musician circle I roll with, honored to be a part \m/, Also got to talk to Erik (FOH) about getting Ocean of Stars back there ASAP.

Roberto! And a dog :)

Oh yeah and I got pulled over en route to Hanover's, but was just a warning for my fucky back license plate light. No big deal.

Drive to The Lost Well was without incident other that rerouting due to construction on I-35 going through downtown.

I really like The Lost Well, seems that it's become the Central Hub, where all the people from Red River went after Room 710 changed over and Headhunter's went under. Glad it's been re-established, and at this point glad the it's not downtown...

But the show was great, caught Destroyer of Light. Really dug the hell out of them. Super heavy sludge/loud/whatever it is I like it. Chatted up Keegan the guitar player afterwards talked maybe Ocean of Stars doing shows with them. That would be an interesting mix for sure. I like it. Hell, we played the Small Stone Records SXSW 2013 showcase together but weren't able to catch one another's sets. But I sure as hell heard about theirs.

Destroyer of Light

Spirit Caravan was awesome as well. Guitarist Scott "Wino" Weinrich is like a Lieutenant Lemmy. A living legend who if you haven't heard of, you should really check out. Last time (that I remember at least) Spirit Caravan came through Austin was in the early 2000's and SuperHeavyGoatAss opened. I've seen Wino on several occasions in several bands, and even bumped into him on the street once. I certainly don't know him, and certainly wish I did haha ugh. Maybe if I'd stuck around and chatted him up longer after their set instead of just shaking his hand, telling him it's good to have him back in town, and here's some van music you might like (Ocean of Stars EP) I would know him a little better... #introvert

Spirit Caravan

But yeah, they sounded great and I got to catch up with even more friends/musicians/good people during and after. I really need to get out more and stop being such a damn hermit hahaha. But there being cool shows on weekdays (Acid King, Roberto's party, Spirit Caravan) helps immensely, as I'm usually playing on weekends. And certainly not complaining there...! But I do miss my friends.

Monday, October 5, 2015

General update

Hey all, just checking in. Certainly much going on, just haven't felt the motivation to write. Need to change that.

The Adrian HUSH tour was a blast, will try to get on a recap of that STAT.

Played with Bleu Edmondson last Saturday at Western Days in Lewisville TX (DFW), the last gig with Tony Valdez on bass. Great guy, great player, he will be missed. To make it a blowout we wound up blowing the power 3/4 of way through set and my Marshall blew out during "Finger On The Trigger."

Here's some video. My amp was sounding awesome, even using my bass pedalboard because I forgot to load my guitar one. Duh.

It's already gone through the shop at Austin Vintage Guitars. Thank you Jesse for fixing the faulty ohm tap switch and the newly blown filter cap \m/,

The Adrian Conner homecoming show at Continental Club was a blast, great show and great crowd even tho it was late on a Tuesday night! Barfield "The Tyrant of Funk" kicked things off right and got the party started.

Good to see these two, the one and only Jen Leigh (awesome guitarist, check out her band) and the incomparable Dale the Super Fan!

Photo by our good friend Kathy, yes I am playing mandolin \m/,

Video of "So Bored" by our good friend Kathy:

Have Dead Oak rehearsal this evening. Played with Taking Back Thaxton at Blue Moon this past Tuesday. Derek Hensley's (drums) parents and sister were in town. They are awesome. Some guy kept getting up and dancing towards the crowd as if he was the frontman right in front of Jason Patten (guitar/vox). It was really really weird. Funny, but weird.

Had a full week of music in general all last week since getting back in town from the Adrian tour that Monday.

My friend Steve Janiak from Indianapolis was in town, haven't seen him since Devil To Pay and Southern Gun Culture did some shows together in 2003/4. But we've kept in touch online.

He contacted me a few months back as his other band Apostle of Solitude was booking a tour and looking to come through Austin on Tues Sept 22. I suggested the Lost Well for a venue. They hooked up a show with Project Armageddon from Houston and landed a date for Monday Sept 21 instead.

So instead of staying home and resting from an awesome but grueling 12 days on the road, I went to see a friend I hadn't seen in 11 or 12 years \m/, And Apostle of Solitude was really fucking good too! Good to see Steve, and Project Armageddon was really nice. Did some much-needed networking for Ocean of Stars, which I've really been slacking on...

Wednesday I went to ABGB to catch Scorpio Rising, haven't seen them since Armando from Adrian's band took over on drums. Fun as always and Armando kicked ass! Also used my presence there as an excuse to talk to Paul Minor about booking and give him an OoS EP ;)

Wonderbred of Scorpio Rising

Thursday had Taking Back Thaxton rehearsal in prep for the aforementioned show/family reunion.

Friday I actually stayed home haha!

Saturday the Bleu show was at 2pm, and we were home by 7:30. Checking Facebook saw that all kinds of shows were going on. Almost went to Way Past Yonder (old friends/bandmates from SGC days) at Badlands (need to talk to them re: return dates for OoS), but instead went to Eric Tessmer Band at Saxon Pub. Was closer to my house, they usually let me in for free, and I need to talk booking with them as well.

Had I scrolled down a little farther on FB I would have also seen that this was the last weekend for a really good but short-lived venue called Holy Mountain, and Eagle Claw and Tia Carerra were playing. THAT would have been a great OoS networking opportunity as well as huge musical family reunion.

However, I went to Saxon and had a blast. Always good to see Eric, Rob and Gian, plus all the old friends in the crowd. Sat in on "White Room." Good times! Who I thought was the booking agent wasn't there, but no big deal. Have already acquired that information and a contact email.

"Borrowing" Gian's vintage SG bass:

As if you couldn't tell, I am starting an Ocean of Stars booking blitz, as we need some gigs on the books. Our EP isn't going to sell itself (tho that would be AWESOME if it did haha) and gigs aren't always going to magically fall in my lap.

And I will post the Ripple Effect review here soon. Let's just say it was glowing, and I owe Swedebeast a lifetime of free beers/shots at the bar for calling the Ocean of Stars EP "Otherworldly and magical, a mind-blowing musical journey."


There is much work to do.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

OK, I think I'm back

So my laptop has been fritzy, but my friend Stan (you may remember from previous posts, did an album with him, Josh from Mother Truckers and Trinidad from Dixie Witch) just came by this evening and not sure what he did but laptop seems to be working fine now.

Certainly much has been going on. The Ocean of Stars EP release party happened, and The Ripple Effect just gave it a glowing review! Awesome.

The Bleu Edmondson summer tour was a blast.

Going out for two weeks in September with Adrian Conner in support of her new acoustic album 'Hush', just had the first of two rehearsals last night. Sounded great! Fun to play with Adrian and Armando again. After doing some work on the Hobbit Hole today I learned the mandolin part for a Led Zep cover we will be doing, so this tour may mark my debut as a mandolin player (for a song or two haha).

Have a Thursday show with Deann Rene Band, and Bleu Edmondson's schedule resumes this weekend after some time off.

My SVT is in the shop (running fine save for the persistent microphonic squeal) and my JCM800 just cut out on me last weekend. Hoping its a tube issue and nothing serious. Well my shit was working good for awhile at least haha ugh.

SO yes. I will get back into the habit of updating this blog, as the people I know who follow it really seem to like it.

Hopefully more posts to come!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quick update, Bleu Edmondson East Coast run

Have a new iPhone 6 so hopefully it'll make posting from it easier (laptop still tweaky and not taking it with me). 

Leaving tomorrow to begin a Bleu Edmondson in Lubbock TX that will take us all the way to NYC and Washington DC and back. Looking forward, should be a blast. 

Look for updates and pics here! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Apologies for the radio silence

So my laptop is being a fucker again, hence my lack of posting. Certainly LOTS going on, and posting from my iPhone (like I am now) is possible but a huge pain in the ass. 

Looking into getting it repaired again and continuing forward with this blog. 

Thank y'all for your patience!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

SXSW 2015 Report: Day 1

And so it begins.

Wednesday March 18, 2015

Day 1

2 gigs, Thunderosa at 12:30pm, Adrian Conner official showcase at 1am. Long day ahead...

Woke early to catch the bus to play with Thunderosa at DirtyFest at the Dirty Dog Bar on 6th Street. Awesome place.

What was not going to be awesome was trying to park there. So, DD provides backline. I was on bass for this one. So I was able to take my gigbag and a backpack with pertinent cables and pedals. BAM! No driving, no hassle!

Of course the bus dropped me off at 4th and Lavaca, and I had to walk to 6th and Neches. Google map it. It was a jaunt, but a nice day for a walk!

Thunderosa played at a disorientingly early hour (12:30pm) but a quick turn and burn set. They had the other lead player Jason doing this one, and was nice to finally meet him haha (as in, "Hi, nice to meet you! OK here we go, 1-2-3-4" and play)

photo by Armando Reyes

But the show was a blast, we drew in a decent number of people from the street. And tear down took literally 3 minutes. Which gave us plenty of time to deal with this situation:

So glad I wasn't driving haha!

Calm before the storm, 6th Street on early Wednesday afternoon

Walked all the way back to Lavaca to catch the bus home. Rested briefly (slept off the Jager I mean) and decided to catch part of the Heavy Metal Pool Party at the Metropolis Apartment Complex (nowhere near downtown).

Glad I made an appearance, lots of musical friends and family involved or in attendance. Was also warm enough this year the people could actually get INTO the pool haha. So yes, lots of lovely tattooed rocker ladies in bikini this time.

Caught up with Heather Webb and Clinno (both ex-Bug Girl and co-founders of the HM Pool Party), Debbie from Bexar County Bastards (talked to her about joining Ocean of Stars but she couldn't), good friend Teresa Kay (who has been kicking the shit out of breast cancer the past year), many others that I can't recall at the moment. But good times and good bands.

Home again to rest up before meeting Adrian and Armando at the rehearsal place to take Vincent Van Go right into the jaws of the beast (downtown during SXSW).

Being she was a showcasing artist she had a pass to get through the barricades, if that would help get us any closer to the club. We showed up probably around 2 hours early just to see if we could grab parking, even tho the itinerary said load in 1-hour before set time. We were playing at the Trophy Club on 6th Street, which I only know as the place next to Dizzy Rooster with the mechanical bull. We were trying to convince Adrian to ride it mid-song, but that didn't come to pass. And not because she didn't want to, but I jump ahead of my tale.

So we pull up to the barricade at 7th and San Jacinto and pull over. Armando runs to the venue for recon on gear situation and load-in. I go and talk to the guardian of the barricade. I see that they have beefed up the barricade situation since the fatalities last year. Even if we got through the barricade with our fancy pass, it would only get us 5 feet closer to a load in door still 100 yards away and downhill.

Guardian of the barricade was really really nice, and yes she could let us in if need be but also was in agreement that it wouldn't really mean fuck all in getting us closer to the load in door haha.

Armando also returned saying load in is through the back door. Well that is good, fuck wheeling gear through the crowds on 6th Street proper.

At this point I see that the paid parking lot right behind the venue we need to load in has several open spots. And for $30 we got parking there all night, and could leave our gear in the van until it was time to load in.

Victory is ours!!! $30 might seem steep, because it is. But better to pay $30 to park a stones throw from aforementioned load in door and be able to leave our gear safe within the van, rather than load our gear in then pay same price to park several block away and have to watch our gear all night.

So we popped our heads in the venue for a quick look-see. Trophy Club is bigger than I thought. Stage was set up in a back room I didn't know existed. Which was unfortunate as (1) not much access to mechanical bull and (2) kind of secluded so wouldn't be much foot traffic coming in to see who the hell was the tiny blonde dreadlocked maniac rocking on a mechanical bull wearing a short shiny dress and a Gibson SG. Well shit :)

So I suggested we go to Valhalla (former Room 710) for a pre-showcase beverage).

The madness has set in

One of the perks of doing the freelance work for SXSW is they hook me up with a platinum badge. Don't bother looking up how much they cost. You don't want to know. They allow access to all trade events, seminars, and SXSW sanctioned events. Awesome in theory, however I AM ALWAYS TOO BUSY PLAYING SHOWS TO USE IT FOR ANYTHING!!! Doh!!! It's a nice gesture tho haha.

However, little did we know Valhalla (which stopped having bands officially when it stopped being Room 710) was an official SXSW music venue. Whoah. Good thing Adrian had wristbands for her and Armando and I had the fancypants platinum badge. We would have had to pay cover to drink in a place that usually doesn't have a cover charge.

So was crazy to walk into Valhalla like it was back in the 710 days, with bands playing only we didn't recognize anyone there except Jason Craig working the door. We got Lonestar Tallboys and headed to the upstairs loft. A band called Nightmare Air onstage. They were good.

Again, good to hang out with Adrian and Armando as friends. Again, felt like we were in a gang haha

Room 710, err Valhalla loft, photo by Armando Reyes

Back to the venue. Band before us onstage, can't recall the name but very good. I recognized the afro-wielding bassist, remembered seeing him at the convention center Tuesday evening when I went to pick up my platinum badge. Thought: "He plays in a band. And he's probably awesome." He was both \m/,

To get our gear into the back hallway in prep to take the stage we had to overcome a series of obstacles, including a 4-foot concrete embankment and 2 separate sets of stairs. SXSW proving gorunds:

Waiting to go on

The place had kinda cleared by the time we went on, but fuck it. Some shows look better on your resume than they do in practice (this is Adrian's first official SXSW showcase performance.)

So we blew into our set and blew the minds of the few people there at the beginning. But if filled up a bit as the night went on, people watching the mechanical bull action invariably got curious about who was making all the racket in the back. So they walked in on this happening:

Adrian on the bar, getting some service haha


Fun set, fun time.

End of the night began loading out the back door, and out back was a guy and a girl, and the guy was cradling another girl in his arms who was obviously partied out and possibly in need of medical attention.

Back in for more gear. Came out, girl had vomited several times, and service industry people were suggesting to angle her head to keep her from choking to death.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and people were starting to get on their phones and calling paramedics.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and the guy and girl were gone (earlier overheard the guy saying he didn't even know who the girl was, they had just met her), but unconscious girl was still lying motionless on the concrete, surrounded by waiting police officers and a puddle of puke.

Back in for more gear. Came out, and paramedics on scene, putting unconscious girl on a stretcher. The leisure at which they did so gave indication that they weren't worried about losing her. That's good, I guess.

Wrangled our gear up over the 4 foot embankment and into Vincent Van Go, eager to get the hell out of there before there were any more SXSW casualties.

Day 1 over.

SXSW 2015 Report: Day 0

Tuesday March 17, 2015

SXSW Day Zero

Ordinarily on this day there has been a Tuesday SXSW Kickoff party at Red Eyed Fly and has been for years and years. Unfortunately with the ownership of REF changing hands, it didn't happen this year.

Which was very sad, it was a show I have been going to for years and years, and last year (2014) marked the first official live appearance by Ocean of Stars. That was a huge honor.

Left with nothing to do, I was trying to decide to stay in or do something.

Doing something presented itself with band chatter among Adrian and the Sickness. We decided to meet up at Adrian's new place and go to a similar kickoff party at the Lost Well (no where near downtown, awesome!). Our friends Sabbath Crow were playing, as well as the band Mos Generator, whom I'd always heard about but have never seen.

What fun! It was great to hang out with Adrian and Armando outside the confines of playing a show or rehearsing. Just hanging out. Felt like we were in a gang :)

Crimson Devils

House Harkonnen

Mos Generator (everything everyone has been saying about them for years is absolutely true. Wow)

Sabbath Crow

What a great night of music. Had the same kind of family reunion feel that the Red Eyed Fly kickoff always had. Very awesome. I miss going to shows, and I miss seeing my musical family.

Wish we could have stayed all night, but alas a crazy busy week was about to begin and we were already very tired.

SXSW 2015 report: Prologue

SXSW 2015 has already come and gone. Hell, it's almost April.

In general, this was a really really good SXSW for me. And seems like most others I've talked to also had a very positive experience. For those who live here, SXSW is a double-edged sword. Was glad this year was free of that always one incident that threatens to negate any other good times that were had. You can read some of those in SXSW reports from years past.

But yeah, this on was busy for me (6 gigs with 3 bands in 3 days) and was preceded by much busy-ness: RPM Challenge during February, went on the road with Bleu Edmondson for 5 days the week previous. Then after SXSW did my years post-SXSW vacation on the coast with my family. Which I had to cut a day short to return for a video shoot then another gig with Bleu.

So here's the gist of my tale.

March was in generally busy as fuck so we'll have to rewind a bit.

First week of March: Deann Rene played a short set at a benefit March 1st, the afternoon after the final Hundred Miles Gone fiasco. Rehearsal with Taking Back Thaxton Mar 3, rehearsal with Ocean of Stars Mar 4. Ocean of Stars at Gypsy Lounge Thurs Mar 5. Crowd was understandably thin due to a late season arctic front but we still had fun and played well. Thunderosa rehearsal Fri Mar 6. Sat Mar 7 was Thunderosa on the Dave TV show followed by a gig in Killeen. Both went well and were fun.

With Deann Rene and Kyle Judd. Photo by Cata Cagle

Thunderosa with the man himself, Mr. Dave TV (pictured being kissed on the cheek by AJ hahaha)

Thunderosa Live on Dave TV:

Mon and Tuesday March 9/10 I did some freelance work for SXSW, driving a shuttle van to pick up and drop off crew members. Wed March 11 Bleu Edmondson Band shipped off for Thurs Mar 12 in Kansas City @ Knuckleheads, Fri Mar 13 in Lawrence Kansas at Granada Theater, and Sat Mar 14 in Joplin MO at The Venue.

Bassist Tony Valdez's beard sees all:

Hotel room window, KC MO

Across the street from Knuckleheads, they are turning this into a theater-sized venue

Granada Theater, Lawrence KS (bumpy van window filter)

Sound check (photo by Hec Rivera)


Good times with good people: Hec Rivera, Clint Litton, yours truly, Tony Valdez

(alternate angle)

Was a great weekend of shows. Have played Knuckleheads many times with The Mother Truckers and Eric Tessmer Band, so always great to be back. The Granada Theater in Lawrence I am still trying to remember if it's the one I played with Ryan Bales Band opening for Pat Green. I still don't know. The show in Joplin was fun as well. All fun crowds and great sets. Really starting to feel like a band rather than just a collection of players. Feel I'm settling into guitar nicely as well.

Got home Sunday Mar 15, tho there was a slight delay when we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere in Eastern Oklahoma. Dear Oklahoma: Build more gas stations.K thx, Bleu Edmondson Band

Mon Mar 16 was rehearsal with Adrian and the Sickness for the 2 (which turned into 3 gigs for SXSW). Ocean of Stars couldn't squeeze one in, but we were pretty damn tight the previous week so I wasn't going to worry about it.