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Dear Surfer:

Last month, I told you about how we were frantically searching for a new guitarist. Well, thankfully, we're covered. We found a great guy named Igor who plays extremely well and is a nice guy to boot, we've got BD Lenz on a few shows and also Luca Tozzi, so everything worked out somehow. I'm relieved.

But we had other drama last month too! A singer did the same thing -- emailed me saying she no longer would be in the band and that she wasn't going to do gigs to which she contractually agreed to do. Wow.... two in a matter of weeks. It was really hard to deal with!

I contacted every singer I knew, and somehow, it worked out, but the stress was incredible, but the people in the group now are all really cool, professional, easy to work with and quick so it all worked out for the best.

But back to the first gig of the month -- July 5th in Westwood, NJ. Dara Seitzman signed on to this show at the last minute. We had B.D. Lenz on guitar and special guest Emi Yabuno on keyboards. Since bn9's music is just about all written on keys, it's nice to have a keyboard player! Jack recorded the show on his minidisk and we sounded great! Unfortunately, the weather was bad, so instead of playing outside in the park, we played inside the community center. Outdoor gigs are just so much fun. But we made the best of it and gave the people a great show. Thanks to Chip for coming out and bringing his brother. This venue already booked us for 2008. I think the show is the farthest show in advance that we've ever booked!

On the 14th, we headed to Cleveland. Paul Munoz, singer, stayed over on Friday night and then he, Jack, Marco and I loaded up the van at 7am and then went to pick up Chris Vaindirlis (who came through at the last minute back up vocals) and Luca Tozzi who filled in on guitar. The drive there took about 7 hours and change and I was pretty tired but pulled it together to put on a strong show. We also had two horn players named Kris or Skinny K and Betty Jeane. They are based out of Cleveland and play with a band called Mifune. I found them on MySpace. This show was a return engagement at the Cain Park Arts Festival, a really great venue. Check out the pictures on our site. Thank you so much to Gayle Edwards for taking pix and selling our merch and more than that -- for putting us up! After the show, we all got something to eat in the park and then we drove Luca & Jack to Gary & Jean's where they were staying. The rest of us stayed at Gayle's place. We actually ended up hanging out at Gary & Jean's for a bit first. It was so relaxing to hang in Jean's amazing garden. When we finally made it to Gayle's, she had made us dessert! Cheesecake and chocolate cake...yummy. What a great day. The weather was nice, too.

The next day, Gayle made us breakfast, which was so nice of her, and we spent the morning into the early afternoon hooked on a Reality TV show (I won't mention which one!) It was just hard to get moving and we really didn't have a plan other than going to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, but I personally was feeling lazy and didn't bring warm enough clothes (I'm sure the air conditioner in there would have killed me!) So we hung around for a bit, then went to Gary & Jean's again where we hung around for a bit longer until our show that night at the Barking Spider. (sidebar -- there were a few people involved in the band a short while ago who complained about staying at people's houses vs. staying in a hotel. They didn't want to do it. CRAZY! Or perhaps just clueless. Everyone I've told about this was stunned and laughed. Staying with people is so great. We were spoiled rotten by Gayle and by Gary & Jean, but I guess the people I'm talking about would have still found something to complain about!)

The Barking Spider was so quiet when we first arrived, but people started showing up about halfway through our set. It was great to see Mike & Donna, Anne, Marybeth, Josh and everyone else who came to see us. THANK YOU Cleveland.

The plan was to split right after the show, but of course, we all got to talking to people. So we got on the road a little later than we had planned and got back to Jersey City at around 6:30 in the morning. Chris had to go straight to work and Jack probably did, too. I took a 2 hour nap and headed into work after driving Paul to the train station. He had to go to work, too! Marco did most of the driving home... just about all of it, actually. He is such a trooper! Actually, everyone was a trooper on this trip... no drama, no complaints, no b.s.

Next, we had another appearance booked at Journal Square at the fountain. For this one, we had BD Lenz on guitar, Viola Karuri and Paul Munoz on vocals and me, Jack & Marco. The day before, the weather looked iffy, but it turned out to be a nice day -- a little windy, which made it hard to play the flute, but not too hot. I'm sure the audience didn't mind the wind. Thanks once again to Ronnie for coming out to see us. Thanks to all of you who bought our CD's. I had a fun time at this show. We were good!

And that's all for July. We've rehearsed twice now with guitarist Igor Fejzula, a nice kid and great player.




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