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7/06

Dear Surfer:

What a busy month. I'm going to have to put out a new CD just to have a place to thank all the people who helped in July 2006! No songs, just thank you's!

It was a tiring month, and now the summer is almost over. Next month, we go on tour for a couple of weeks. I don't know how I've managed to keep up, but it has been fun. And my back is feeling much better... no problems at all, in fact.

So... the shows... on July 1st, we played in Pittsburgh at a place called Logan's Pub, which we booked through MySpace with a (very cool) woman names Chrissy who totally digs our music. Thanks to Donna & Teddy for coming out from Altoona to see us and to Lisa and Greg for coming and bringing friends! Despite our loyal fans, we had a small turnout. But it was a holiday weekend and we got the show last minute and had very little time to promote. Regardless, we made new friends and had a great time!

On the way back to our lodging, I noticed a smell in the van and asked if anyone else smelled it. I have an annoyingly strong sense of smell, so it took a while for anyone else to notice, but when they did notice, everyone concurred, "It's the road... it's oil on the road." I was certain the smell was coming from the van and said so. Finally, Marco turned to Jack and asked, "Jack - did you take off the emergency brake?" Jack had not taken off the emergency brake. Great. I was PISSED.

This is how the day actually started: Marco, Jack, Luca and I left NJ at 11am and headed to our lodging, dorm apartments on the campus of University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg, supplied by the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, which we were to play on July 2nd. Camari and Evie met us at Logan's Pub.

That night, Camari stayed at the dorms with us and Evie stayed with a friend. We stayed up much too late, as usual, and left for the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival around 2pm. We were to play at 3:30 and wanted to get there early. Well, we had bad directions, and the grounds (Twin Lakes Park) were HUGE... so we were pretty much on time, but not early. But it started STORMING like CRAZY once we got there. Two little trucks picked up Jack and his gear and Marco, Luca & their gear while Camari & I and Evie and Aaron walked to the Island Stage. Camari and I didn't make it out of the parking lot. Lighting, thunder, and trees falling prevented us!

No one seemed to be panicking, though, but us. Even though we heard that a speaker fell off a stage into the lake, the people running the show were cool as cukes. They asked us to hang around to see if the bad weather would pass. Teddy & Donna came by at one point. I'm so sorry they left, because we did end up performing.

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and we played about a 35 minute set. I wish it could have been longer. The stage was a lot of fun! We'll have photos up somewhere on the site soon.

Of course, in typical bn9 style, we left PA way too late. We all wanted to check out the festival (which was really nice - fresh local raspberries were sold - yum!). Then, we went back to the dorm rooms, packed our stuff and left.

About an hour into our trip, we stopped at a rest area. I was asleep, but Morgan woke me up. I'm glad she did, because I had to use the bathroom, it turned out, but I was in a daze. I left everything in the van and walked in my sleep to the bathroom. When I came out, Camari turned to me and said, "Jack locked the keys in the van! Do you have your set?" Well, I didn't have my set because I left my set in my purse which I left in the van.

We wasted about 45 minutes at this rest stop. We asked a mother with little kids if one of her children could stick his hand in the open side window and try to unlock the door, but he couldn't. Finally, a tow truck showed up to tow another vehicle and Jack paid the guy 20 bucks to break into our van. Yea, Jack, go Jack. He was on a roll this weekend. Needless to say, we were all pretty down on him!

On July 6, we opened for the Average White Band in Stamford, CT, at an event called Alive At Five. The act before us, the Scarlett Lee Moore Band, were super nice people and highly entertaining! We had the Random Horns with us - Pamela Fleming, Rob Susman and Jenny Hill. They were excellent. In fact, we all had a great time and we were a huge hit. The woman who booked us told me, after the show, "Everyone is talking about you." I was flattered. Thanks to my mother for selling our merchandise! We met a lot of cool people who gave us some tips on other venues in CT. We'll see if we get back to CT... I don't know. It's too freakin' hard to keep living like this. Play on weekends, work in an office during the week.

July 8 - Cozzy's, in Pine Plains, NY. It was a steamy night, but it cooled off, eventually. This venue has a backyard with an outdoor bar, tables, food, comfy chairs, and a decent sized stage. The venue never got very crowded. We were told that there was some event going on in the next town. It was a shame more people weren't there because we played our hearts out. On our last song of the night, someone next door set off fireworks! What a dramatic coincidence. Regardless of the small turnout, the owners loved us and invited back within the same month... they booked us to perform on July 28th.

This "Dear Surfer" is getting long because we had a busy month! On July 14, we headed to Cleveland. We hadn't played Cleveland in a year, sadly. Not cool at all! We need to play that town 3 times a year. It's my favorite place to play and our fans are now friends!

The original plan for the weekend was to stay at the Fat Fish Blue apt. Friday night, then Morgan's brother's place in PA Saturday night, but at the last minute, I got a call from a guy about riding with us to Cleveland (Craig's list has a "ride share" section, and I placed ads for all bn9's travels... we have the room, and the ride sharer pitches in money for gas.) The guy, Bobby, has an apartment in CT and also in Cleveland, so the plan was that he would come to NJ, ride with us, then meet us on Sunday, come to our Sunday show in PA and ride back with us. So, this meant we had to change our Saturday night accomodation plans.

Bobby was SO NICE - he offered to let us stay at his place. Gary & Jean did, too, but ultimately, Mike and Donna hooked us up with Marybeth... more on that later.

Our show at Fat Fish Blue went as well as it could have gone considering the bad acoustics. The venue has great food and great drinks, but they do need to do something about the acoustics. We did the best we could to make it sound as good as it could. Thanks to everyone who showed up to see us and to our new fans for buying CDs - Mike & Donna, Karen, Caitlin and Craig. Our friend Erv drove in from Columbus to sell our merch; he stayed with us at the apt. Of course we went to sleep way too late and I was hoarse the next day.

July 15 - HOT... our show was from 1:30-3pm.... the hottest part of the day. We performed at the Cain Park Arts Festival on a HUGE stage... an ampitheater, really. The stage was the largest ever for us and I was completely thrilled. I had room to literally run laps around the band! The sound system was impeccable. We had a decent turnout, and it was great to see familiar faces, like Joe from Kent & his family and Gary & Jean. I think we put on a great show. It is hard NOT to put on a great show when the stage is fantastic and the sound is perfect. I wish every show could be like this one. We sold a LOT of CD's. Sound & stage make a huge different.

Afterwards, Mike & Donna put together a party at Marybeth's, where we ended up staying. We stopped by our friend Gary's bike shop and met his guy John; they showed up at the party at Marybeth's later. There was so much great food, cases and cases of beer, a bottle of vodka and shots of tequila later. I was so wiped out and drank way too much beer. Morgan, Marybeth and Camari apparently stayed up until 5am and finished the tequila. Crazy! But I hit the bed at 1:30. I was just way too tired. In fact, this weekend was a little bit much for old me!

July 16 - Bobby met us at Marybeth's at 2:30, and then we all drove to Somerset, PA for a 7-9pm show at Somerfest. Cindy sold merch for us... finally, we sold quite a few t-shirts. They are really nice so it's about time! The woman who booked us LOVED us. She kept giving us beer. Bobby liked us, too, thankfully! I knew he would, though. Again, we made new fans, it was nice to see Scott even though I didn't get to talk to him, or Cindy either for that matter. We had a good time. Again, GREAT sound people - easy to work with, nice & professional. We drove home immediately after breaking down - a five hour drive. Got home at 3:15, to bed at 4, up at 9 and into the office job.

Monday the 17th was a hellish day for me. I was so exhausted, I had to bow out of going to see BELT at the Knitting Factory. Marco performed with them, but there was no way I could go. I was a vegetable - squash to be exact, green in the face with exhaustion.

Our next show this month was Jill's debut with blue number nine and she did a great job. We played on the 22nd at Washington Township's Festival in the Borough in Washington, NJ. Thanks to Melissa for manning our merch table! Another brutally hot day... plus, there was rain on and off... plus, one of the headliners cancelled. I felt bad for the organizers. I always feel bad when the weather is crappy. Festivals take so much planning and effort and work. Hell, I feel sorry for US when the weather is bad! It's been a rainy summer, hasn't it? Too much, and I haven't had any fun... yet. I guess there's still time! Anyway, on this gig, we also had Jim Kost again on keyboards. Sorry if you haven't been able to see him perform with us... doubly sorry because we don't have anything coming up with him on the bill and the guy is really great!!

On the 28th & 29th, Chris Vaindirlis sang with us. We debuted Camari's first original w/bn9, a song called LATELY. Anyway, the 28th was Altoona's downtown concert series. As usual, we love playing in Altoona. Sadly, though, gas is killing us!! I don't want to say what it costs to drive to and from Altoona in our big van, but it's so much. And we did drive to and from in the same day because Marco had a gig on Saturday during the day, then bn9 played on Saturday (the 29th) at Cozzy's again. Anyway, THANK YOU DONNA for taking care of us and THANK YOU MIKE for feeding us! Next time, we'll stay overnight and hang out longer.

On Saturday, the weather was fine all day, until we pulled into the town of Pine Plains and a hurricane hit! Marco missed it - he drove up on his own after his other gig earlier that day and when he pulled up, it was still raining, but not as hard and not SIDEWAYS! Well, it was fun, I guess, even though my new shoes are ruined now (they are white and I couldn't have performed in my clogs), a mic cable got dog shit on it and the weather kept the crowds away. Such a shame. Yea, it wasn't really very fun. Luca was cranky, I was cranky and annoyed at having to set up in the dark (the gig is outside... there is one light up a tree, but the stage was covered with a tent to keep the rain off, so the light was blocked.) Yea, this was a tough one! We hope to return to Pine Plains in October.

This was a long one! We had a lot of shows this month. I'm getting nervous about our tour in August... mainly, we don't have a merch person committed. We still sold a ton of CDs in Altoona, but it gets too confusing for me to do the merch myself. I can't concentrate on it because I'm concentrating on performing!

Oh, yea - I'm practicing sax again. I'm planning to bring it on tour and play it on tour!

One last thing... we played a new song at Cozzy's, so we have played all our new stuff now, which is exciting!

One last last thing - Marco has already booked us 4 or 5 shows in MD next year and we may have a private event next summer booked already. We'll see....

peace,

stefanie


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