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Dear Surfer:

Debuted a new song at O'Donnell's on the 14th... I messed up. I usually do when we debut a new song. Fortunately, the audience doesn't notice! That's the beauty of a new song. So I guess I shouldn't be confessing this, because now, every time I say "This is a new song" anyone who has read this "DEAR SURFER" will be watching very closely to see when I mess up. Oh well. Please DO watch closely! It keeps me on my toes. Anyway, back to the 14th - it was a strangely warm and humid night, and a particularly lively crowd. People were dancing and stuff, more than usual. I guess it was the holiday spirit in action. Or perhaps the blatantly obvious climate changes have people living day by day, so they're making the most of each moment now, each chance to dance, they take it.... I don't know. It was loads of fun, as always. We love Jim O'Donnell. You would, too, if you came out to his beautiful bar.

ACUI paid off to the tune of one gig so far, at Rutgers Newark. We'll be there on March 5th along with 2 of the 3 random horns. Looking forward to it. We also got booked to play the Hoboken Harriers Snowball again. The Harriers are a running club and the Snowball is their annual bash. More info on that closer to the date, but it's a great party, not to be missed, with good food and us playing all night. Joel's going to perform with us that night and will be doing lead vocals on a couple of tunes. First time ever!

We also played at Tribeca Blues on the 18th. The club had been closed for months due to 9-11. Fortunately, there was a decent turnout. Ginetta of Ginetta's Vendetta sat in with us on one tune... she's a GREAT trumpet player. And Pamela West hopped on stage and sang Jerking My Chains with us. It was very fun. Thank you to all of you who came! I love that place. It's got a very warm and cozy vibe. I'd hate to see them close their doors for good. Times are tough for everyone....

Speaking of tough times, had a major band meeting this month to discuss the elusive FUTURE. I was 5 minutes from taking up a new hobby, like scuba diving. One that would provide me with some comfort, an escape, some relaxation. Not that I consider bn9 a hobby. Far from it. But if you look up "hobby" and "profession" in the dictionary, the thing that differentiates the two is "income". And while on occasion, we do generate income playing music, most times, I spend money to play. I've told you this before. It's been 6 years since I started the band and I had hoped at some point, we'd at least break even, despite the fact that according to BILLBOARD magazine, fewer than 10% of artists SIGNED to MAJOR labels EVER break even. That hasn't happened. I haven't given up hope that it could happen, but I was feeling kind of cranky, I reached my limit with Human Resources management, and the idea of spending my hard earned cash scuba diving versus schlepping gear around in the rain was seeming pretty damn inviting. So we had a meeting, and now we've got a participatory economics borderline Socialist thing happening. Democracy is dead in bn9. Peer pressure is in. We'll see how it all plays out. If only I had a crystal ball! One thing is certain: we need to pinch pennies if we're ever going to release a second CD. We won't be sending out as many postcards via US Mail. In fact PLEASE send us your email address if you're on our mailing list. Let me know that you don't need postcards, that email reminders will suffice. This will help us immensely. Thanks!

Last bit of news. The congas came. (See last month's "DEAR SURFER"). I guess Shawn couldn't take the pressure. So the moral of this story? Well, I'm STILL not going to buy anything off eBay again, but if you do and you suspect you're getting duped, take my advice: relentlessly file everything there is to file in order to get your money back! I really didn't even WANT the stupid congas after all the bullshit, but they did come and I'm trying to play them. It kinda hurts my hands, but it's fun!

Anyway, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Have a great New Year's Eve... I'll be in Italy! See you in 2002.



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Letters from the past:

November, 2001
October, 2001
September, 2001
August, 2001
July, 2001
June, 2001
May, 2001
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March, 2001
February, 2001
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December, 2000
November, 2000
October, 2000
September, 2000
August, 2000 (from Marco)
July, 2000
June, 2000
May, 2000
April, 2000
March, 2000
February, 2000
January, 2000
December, 1999
November, 1999
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July, 1999
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March, 1999
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January, 1999