Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ocean of Stars on the Dave TV show!

Very successful weekend for Ocean of Stars!

Friday Jan 23 at the Triple Crown went great! Played a strong set to a very receptive crowd. Audience feedback was glowing. Awesome!

Stage set up at the Crown:

Also great sets by The Red Direct and the mighty Chasca! Awesome night all around. Mission accomplished.

Saturday was the Dave TV live appearance and then I shipped off for San Antonio with Thunderosa.

Dave TV is a long time veteran and champion of the underground Austin music community. I've known him since the Southern Gun Culture days in the very early 00's. So for him to be back on the air (he's been doing public access music shows since at least the 90's) and for us to be on the show is a big deal and a huge honor, respectively.

Setting up:

Photos by Heather Bishop. Derek Rodrigues

Melanie Martinez

Ric Furley

Our set went pretty well! Check it out here:

Derek, Dave TV, Melanie, yours truly, Nathan Olivarez, Ric. Photo by Heather Bishop

Awesome! Thank you Dave TV! Great to have you back on air!

Thunderosa in San Antonio at Boozehounds was a fun night. We were pulling an all-nighter, and the crowd can vary.

There was already a good crowd, so the challenge was now keeping them haha. We did great. AJ kept the crowd involved and riled up. Did lots of jamming, which was a blast. The we'd launch into a song we actually knew and BOOM haha. Good times.

A good weekend overall.

And I cannot adequately put into words how stoked and excited I am about Ocean of Stars.

It's been a long process putting it together, with its many false starts and my constant misgivings about how well it would go over, if I ever even got it off the ground. The feedback we've been gotten from the recent shows has been overwhelmingly positive, and that we should keep it up.

Awesome! :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ocean of Stars this weekend (and next), Bleu Edmondson last weekend

Gearing up for a busy weekend with Ocean of Stars.

Yay! Finally a busy weekend for us!

Rehearsal on Tuesday night. Wasn't perfect but still sounded strong. "Great Divide," the most challenging song to date, is really coming together.

We play the Triple Crown in San Marcos TX on Friday night, with a live appearance on the Dave TV show for Saturday afternoon. After that I play Boozehounds in San Antonio with Thunderosa.

Also picked up this week: Friday Jan 30, Ocean of Stars with Thunderosa and Johnny Hootrock at the Dirty Dog in Austin.

Sweet! We'll have a show to promote on DaveTV \m/,

I wrangled the opening slot for the Dirty Dog show as opposed to the more coveted middle slot -- when doing double duty with OoS and Thunderosa, having them back-to-back causes me to miss the valuable networking opportunity of mingling after our set, meeting people, talking to people (and getting feedback) as well as collecting email adresses...

Also will be trying an auxiliary pedalboard in addition to my main guitar board. With OoS I run a splitter with a Loop Station and control pedal. I don't like them being loose on the stage.

But Hec Rivera (guitarist for Bleu Edmondson) just gave me an ABY box he wasn't using. Very generous of him!

This will save me the hassle of pulling the Boss TU-2 tuner from my bass pedalboard for use as a poor-man's ABY box. As well as the trouble of buying an ABY or building a switcher box.

Already have the ABY, Looper and footswitch wired on my old smaller bass pedalboard with which I traveled for many years with The Mother Truckers, and still bears the really cool painting on the top cover by my ex-wife Gina.

The whole setup is bigger than it needs to be: my current guitar pedalboard I built in the early 00's, the length (24") is fine but in later builds I made them more narrow (14" as opposed to 16") to fit better up front on stage. That, and I built it out of all 3/4 plywood so it's heavy as fuck...! I think my reasoning at the time was for the efficiency of building the whole thing from a single 24"x48" sheet of plywood. Soon after this one I switched to 1/2" plywood for the top to save some weight.

Add the second board (13"x18") and it's a pretty impressive spread. But the two boards kind of lock together which is nice.

Last weekend with Bleu Edmondson went pretty well.

We hadn't practiced or played since November of last year, so there was quite a bit of rust to knock off. And with the imminent arrival of Clint's (drummer) baby, we could only wrangle one rehearsal instead of two.

Friday Jan 16 began normally enough. Woke early to pack and say goodbye to Heather, get gear and things in order, and prep to meet up at a nearby hotel parking lot to load the band van.

But Bleu's van keys had disappeared from their normal spot, and we had to drive 5 hours to Ardmore OK for an early-ish soundcheck. Meaning, there was no time to look for them. Shit.

I would have offered my van, but I know the worn front tires wouldn't be very happy about driving 5 hours to OK, then 5 hours to Houston, then 3 hours back to Austin. And my check engine light came back on.

So as Bleu rushed to get here, Hec and I worked on a plan B.

He called a nearby Uhaul to reserve a trailer if need be (we got the last one). So rather than caravan it, we towed the rented trailer in Bleu's truck. Fuck it, we need to get there. Just sucked as all the merch was locked in the band van...

Made it there just fine. Heritage Hall in Ardmore OK was a pretty cool and historic venue.

Kind of like a gymnasium but with a HUGE stage. We were middle slot between Whiskey Myers headlining and Mike McClure opening.

The acoustics in the place were weird. During soundcheck, my individual bass notes were getting weird synth/octave overtones. Hoped a full house would soak that shit up (it did).

Cool green room upstairs. Navigating all the back hallways made me think of that scene in Spinal Tap hahaha

Our set went pretty well, great response from the crowd (c. 1000 people). I still felt rusty as fuck as the three shows we did in November weren't enough to really ingrain the material into my muscle memory. And having only one rehearsal wasn't enough. I hit the music hard at home in the days leading up to the shows, but I still had/have room for improvement. Still a successful set.

Whiskey Myers were def pro as fuck. Bus, huge trailer, 6pc band, full crew, mobile T-shirt shop. I had never heard of them. Really good. Nice guys too.

We didn't stick around for their full set as it had been a stressful day, and we had a long drive in the morning. We stayed at the Econo Lodge, which had long hallways reminiscent of The Shining \m/,

Drive to Houston was uneventful and smooth.

One of Houston's multiple skylines:

Pulled into for a leisurely load in and early soundcheck. Pulling in, I wondered if I had played their with Ryan Bales back in the day. I had not.

Cool place. Good sized stage, roomy venue with plank floors. Would be trying my newly acquired Dietz direct out box for the first time live. Fingers were crossed it would function properly (it did).

Grabbed Pho after soundcheck, then 3 hours to relax at the hotel. Ahhhhh... We had been traveling hard so didn't have time to really stop and eat.

Got back to venue to catch last few songs of Matt Begely and Bitter Whiskey. They were great, and really great guys.

Our set went MUCH smoother, felt really strong, tho I was still trying to stay on top of parts. Mid show Hec came over multiple times to rock out with me, sometimes he would sing too. After the set I had to tell him to cease and desist for now. The singing to me was weird hahaha but mainly it was distracting for the time being as I was really trying to not miss any changes :)

There is still room for improvement (mainly on my end) but that will come. Looking forward to how the year plays out with Bleu.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Belated 2014 Year In Review

Shit. Almost halfway through January.

Here it is, 2014 Year In Review.

It was a busy year (mostly). 2014 was a hard year, but it wasn't a bad year. Looking forward to what 2015 will have to offer.

Here is a list of all gigs/projects/albums I was involved in 2014:

Eric Tessmer Band:   14
Thunderosa:   15
Amber Lucille Band:   4
Sean Evan & The Very Handsome Band:   23
Sean Evan (duo):  2
Deann Rene Band:   16
Adrian (and the Sickness):   35
Forever Town:   6
Ocean of Stars:   5
Rick Hornyak (duo):   3
CIZE:   1
Andy MacIntyre:   1
Heather Bishop Band:   4
Hooka Hey:   3
100 Miles Gone:   6
Ulrich Ellison and Tribe:   4
Bleu Edmondson Band:   3
Love Mound/Big Mean:   1

Total # gigs:  146
Total # projects:   18

States visted: 19 (including TX)

Albums I appeared on:

Danny G 'Automatic Writing' (guitar/bass/drums/engineer)
Sean Evan & VHB 'All Things Considered' (half of bass tracks)
Taking Back Thaxton album session (bass)
Ocean of Stars EP (guitar/engineer)
Adrian and the Sickness acoustic album (bass on one track)

Not too shabby!

2014 Highlights:

-- Finally debuting Ocean of Stars live during SXSW, playing the Red Eyed Fly Tuesday Kickoff Party, and landing an official SXSW Showcase set for the Small Stone Records showcase

-- The Adrian and the Sickness West Coast Tour was amazing and such a blast. Visiting Sedona AZ. Opening for Brody Dalle at Slims in SF. Opening for Zepparella in Portland and Seattle. Amazing shows, such a great time with Adrian and Armando, so many tour tacos! Opening for Zepparella here in Austin was bad ass as well!

-- Was an honor to play with Ulrich filling in for his wife Sabine who was dealing with some health issues at the time.

-- Doing another album session with the legendary Chet Himes out at The Ranch

-- Several fun runs with Thunderosa

Wow. What a year. I had some major major lows in my personal life, but also have many things to be thankful about. Hence 2014 being a hard year, but not a bad year.

Again, looking forward to what 2015 has to offer.

About this time (mid January) marks 15 years since moving to Austin from Corpus Christi TX to pursue a career in music. And mission accomplished! Probably THE best life decision I have ever made.

And what exactly does 2015 have in store?

Booking for Ocean of Stars is picking up! We rehearse tonight in prep for next week Friday (23rd) at the Triple Crown in San Marcos TX opening for Chasca, and Saturday (24th) performing live on the Dave TV show! Playing with Thunderosa later that night. OoS also booking for Feb and March, details to come.

Have already done 2 shows with Eric Tessmer Band and one with Deann Rene Band.

Bleu Edmondson Band rehearsal Thursday in prep for shows in OK and Houston this weekend.

Busy busy busy! 2015, bring it on!