Unless I'm on a nice vacation, which I will be next week, I can't go this long between gigs ever again... at least not until I find another creative outlet (which I'm working on, actually! More on that later....) A gig on July 1st and then the next one on August 14th? Not good. I nearly lost my mind! Unfortunately, we have nothing until the end of September. But like I said, I'm going on vacation, and October is busy!
On the 14th, we had the privilege of performing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) as part of the Absolut Sounds of the City series in Newark, NJ. I was in a major panic about the weather (remember how it rained for like a week straight in the beginning of August?) Then, we attempted to schedule a video production company to come and do a 3 camera shoot of the show plus a Pro Tools audio recording. They offered us a great deal for this. Well, two days before the show, there were last minute issues from the venue. The day before, the production company canceled, and I can't blame them, it got too complicated. And the day of the show, THE BLACKOUT!
Now, NJPAC had given us our choice of dates for this concert and this was the date we chose! The Random Horns were scheduled to play, we had friends coming from Sandy Hook and Trenton, NJ to help sell CD's and my mother and brother were supposed to be taking the Northeast Corridor Line from Trenton, NJ to Newark, NJ to see us. And of course, Sheila drove down from Buffalo the night before after working all day and had to go back to work on Friday.
Fortunately, our friend Aaron Strebs had talked me out of firing him... he shoots video and I had asked him to shoot our show, prior to asking the production company. I offered him some cash, but couldn't really afford to pay both him and the production company. But he's a friend and his reasoning was so sound, I just told him, "OK! The more the merrier!!" So he came to shoot and fortunately decided to drive to Jersey City from Brooklyn rather than take the train. He gave Camari a ride and she might not have made it had she been traveling via public transportation!
The power went out around 4. I was sitting at my computer at the time and thought it was just my house. We left at 4:30 oblivious to the fact that this was a blackout in several cities - at that point, we knew it wasn't just my house, but we thought it was just Jersey City. Then, we found out it was everywhere when we finally thought to turn on the radio. Fortunately, we left early! By the time we got to Newark, the traffic was out of control. I panicked a little thinking of my mother on the train and the horn players, two of whom were coming on the PATH train (we passed the PATH trains on the way - between Journal Square and Harrison, the PATH is above ground on a really tall, thin bridge and we saw two trains stopped on the bridge with passengers in them.) Meanwhile, Aaron was getting everything on tape.
When we finally made it to Newark, the people in charge were cool as cucumbers. First, they asked us if we could play an acoustic set (the answer is no.) Then, they told us they were working on getting a generator, which they indeed accomplished. They SO had their act together. We ended up playing for about an hour and a half because the poor band after us never made it from Brooklyn. The horn players never made it to the gig. Fortunately, no one got stuck on a train. That's what I was most worried about. My mom had gotten a late start and missed the train she wanted to take. Had she made that train, she would have been right in the middle of Newark and Trenton when the power went out - nowhere near home or us (the train ride is an hour. She was going to take the 3:30 train and the power died at 4:00!) So it all worked out in the end, somehow. Pretty amazing, really.
After the show, which was a lot of fun and a great experience in about every way you can imagine (the sound system was perfect), we headed back to the studio. Camari and Sheila drove straight to Buffalo (we had gigs there Friday the 15th & Saturday the 16th.) Most of Jersey City had power restored, except for the section where we live! So I went to the bar on the corner and begged them to sell me a couple of six packs to go and Aaron, Marco, Minoru, Jack and I sat on the deck drinking beer by candlelight with the radio on. Minoru and Jack eventually left because Jack found out Bayonne had power and Minoru found out he could get back into NYC. But by then, it was pretty late and we had planned to leave at 11am the following morning for some gigs in Buffalo. Aaron ended up crashing at the house because he had to drive to Bushwick and reports about the Holland tunnel and traffic and whatnot were not promising!
The next day, we didn't get on the road until around 1:00. We made bad time getting to Buffalo because of traffic, and when we got to Buffalo, Sheila & her mom had cooked dinner for us! So NICE of them! Then we headed to Molly McGuire's for a 3 set gig. It was HOT. The air conditioner was busted! But Sheila has some damn good friends because people came to see us and stayed. We did 2 new songs - "Nasty" and "Don't Let Them" which I think came out pretty good. The gig was fun, but it was tough. We were all bathed in sweat and for me personally, it was a major workout after the workout on Thursday then sitting in the van for 7 hours. Ugh.
The following night, we played at Jacobi's in Lackawanna. We had played this room last year, but it seemed less crowded this time. The no smoking in bars law has been passed upstate now, too, and it is clearly affecting business negatively. This gig was really tough, too, because the place is a nightclub with a dance floor and a d.j. The d.j. was spinning dance music, butt shakin' dance music, and people were into dancing. Then we got up to do our performances and everyone cleared the dance floor and left the area, really. They didn't seem to want us there. I felt like we were interrupting! Very awkward, and 3 sets of this. The saving grace was that Sheila's high school reunion was earlier that evening and a lot of her old classmates came to the show and when she sang her solo song, they all got up and danced and clapped for her. Camari and I went out into the audience and we had our own dance party with Sheila's classmates (all women - Sheila went to an all girl high school.) So that was fun. Some of Sheila's family and friends came, too, so it was also nice to see them in the audience. And we did sell 2 CD's that night. But we didn't really make any new fans, so like I said, it was a strange night!!
THANK YOU to Mrs. Connors for letting us crash at her place and for Paul & Heidi for the food and hospitality on Sunday. Also thanks to Sheila's family and friends for the support and to everyone who bought our CD's.
And that was it for gigs in August. I'm leaving next week for vacation and when I come back have tons of work to do. Camari is moving to Columbus, Ohio, I am sad to announce. She has agreed to do all the gigs we have planned and has even said she could be here for the band if we need her, but it really isn't possible (or a good plan) to have 2 members living 400 miles away from the rest of us. Rehearsal is kinda necessary! If only we were earning our livings at this. But we're not and now we're losing yet another bandmate.... I'm really really sad about this one. Perhaps the most sad I've ever been about someone leaving blue number nine. But we are looking for new singers and more than that, I will live! As I mentioned above, I'm pursuing other creative outlets right now. I'm thinking of taking a welding class at the New School, my alma mater... but I may wait until Spring because I am buying a new computer in October and want to begin recording my entire catalog of songs. That should keep me busy! And I've also decided BOOKING AGENT OR BUST. We really need to be much busier than we are and I have the touring bug!! So I am actively looking for a booking agent who can get us the kinds of gigs we need to get. Sheila and I have done a pretty good job of it on our own, but it's really a full time job. Anyway, that's enough of this month's report!
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Letters from the past:July, 2003
August, 2000 (from Marco)