On Friday, October 1st, Amy called and told me that her grandmother was dying. We had an engagement the next day, the 2nd, but Amy had to fly to Iowa to see her grandmother. We scrambled and got Dara, the last minute queen, to fill in for Amy. Her grandmother did indeed pass away. It was really sad... her phone call made ME cry. Ok, well, that's a depressing way to start a DEAR SURFER, but it's what happened. Dara did a great job on Saturday at the LIGHT THE NIGHT walk in Montclair. This was the only walk we actually did this year (we couldn't play Hoboken, because it was too windy). It was sad to only do one, but Sal got his first taste of these wonderful events!
We headed to Buffalo, NY, on the 7th. Amy flew to NYC from Iowa, straight from her mourning family, and then got on another plane to Buffalo that day. Sheila picked her up at the airport, while the rest of us set up and started our set at the Sportsmen's. We met some cool new people at this venue and had a lot of fun, as always. The weather was great. The following night, we packed the Tudor lounge. Thanks so much to Jeff and Fred Schumacher and Jim Bradbury for working the door for us, collecting money, selling merchandise and just being so helpful. We could NOT have done this gig without you, and Jeff, I forgive your Republicaness this time! The gig was a blast. So much so that I actually got up on the bar and danced. People were going nuts. Sheila & Amy joined me. It was crazy, out of control, and loads of fun. The bartender, Pam Ryder, was a sweetie, too. Back to Amy and the loss of her grandmother... I just wrote that Amy was dancing on the bar. Amy was amazing this weekend. She was professional and totally together. I didn't want to bring up the topic, but we talked about it some. This is the kind of situation musicians encounter. The show must go on, no matter what. Given the fact that Amy had given her resignation months ago, yet still honored her commitment, she is definitely a pro. A great person, too. I will miss her so much in the band.
After those shows, we headed to Cleveland for the Barking Spider on the 8th. It was pretty slow that night, but thanks to those of you who did come. It's always a treat to play at this venue. The people in charge are the coolest. We were informed, prior to our set, that it's a Friday night tradition to have a spoken word artists come up during each of the bands' 2 sets and recite a poem, then pass the tip jar for the band. We were asked to play background music - a blues for one and a funk jam for the other. The guys did a great job following the poets. I played flute. We had a good time with it. On the 9th, we played Fat Fish Blue, with Ryan Snow again on trombone, and a new guy named Todd on sax. They did a good job, but the sound in the room was much boomier than I remembered from last time. It was still fun. There are some photos on our fans page.
Our only other planned engagement this month was for the 23rd in Harrisburg, PA. But on the 20th, a booking person from a company called G. Layne productions emailed me asking if we could do a show on the 22nd, Friday, in Bloomfield, NJ. It was so last minute, but we decided to take it and go, for the first time, as a 4 piece. It was only a half hour set. There was no way we could promote it with such short notice, but we took it to see what it would be like to play this way to an audience, plus, the place was only 20 minutes away and they had a drum kit. When we got there, it turned out one band had cancelled, so the entire night was pushed back a half hour. We started late, but it was fine. The band before us was a punk rock group, and the band after us was a very heavy rock group - a night of kooky bookings. We hadn't subjected ourselves to one of these situations ("dues gigs") in a long time! But we still got people to dance and we sold some CD's, and it was an interesting experience. I missed the girls, but I liked the extra room on the stage, the guys played great and it was really fun! I especially liked that the crowd was so young (teenagers and 20 year olds). Not only that, they had purple hair and Dead Kennedy's t-shirts. But they still appreciated our music. So it just showed me that genres mean nothing. You never know with taste - it's all subjective! And finally, I really liked this little gig because I felt free - no restrictions. I felt like we could experiment and rock out. We did a very rock set, which is rare for us. That's the value of these types of shows (but only once in a while! And only if someone calls us.)
The show on the 23rd was a trip. Quite a drive and a bad turnout that night. Everyone was apologizing, from the waitress to the regulars. I think it was the final game of the World Series, or something to do with baseball, what do I know! Anyway, We still sold CD's and made fans anyway. It was a long night. And worst of all, this was Amy's last gig with us. Sheila's family came out and she stayed overnight at their place. We also met a woman who lives in Bridgewater, NJ! How crazy is that?
That's about it. Spent the last week of the month and into November on vacation in Jamaica. What a beautiful place!
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Letters from the past:
August, 2000 (from Marco)