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.
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 Stonerrock.com message boards. Awesome! I proudly displayed my Gordy Fest T-shirt \m/,
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
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.