We played a new song at our 2nd gig of the month, but let me begin with the insanity of our first gig of the month, which was supposed to be City Sounds by the Pool on THURSDAY, the 5th. Last month's weather was great. This month has been crap. Tropical. Way tropical. So on August 4th, the day before our gig, it dawned on me that it could rain on the 5th... so I looked at the contract that I had already signed and agreed to and was supposed to have shared with the band. And discovered that there was a rain date scheduled for the next day, Friday the 6th. I don't know why I didn't notice this before... probably because the promoter for this show had booked us for two outdoor summer lunchtime gigs last year AND NEITHER HAD A SET RAINDATE! (One venue said the gig would just be cancelled, the other venue, this SAME venue, said a raindate would be scheduled!) So I flipped out when I saw this and emailed everyone in the band to see if the raindate were OK with them. Everyone wrote me back, but two people in the band didn't specifically say YES or NO to the rain date, so things were unclear. Jenny, our sax player, couldn't do Friday. She was going on tour. So we knew we would maybe have to find a sub for her. We were already using a sub, Dave Phelps, on guitar. Well, sure enough, on Thursday morning, the sky was grey and I got the call, so I called everyone in the band to tell them RAINDATE and discovered then that Sheila couldn't do the raindate. I nearly lost it. Marco got on the phone and found a sub (Jenny had given him some names.) And the rest of the day was spent with Marco and I making calls and sending out emails to find a singer. We did get Victoria Warne - Marco plays in her band - and she came over and rehearsed with me later that day.
So blue number nine that day consisted of me, Marco, Amy, Jack, Rob, Nabate and 3 subs - Lily White on sax (who was amazingly awesome! What a sight reader.) Dave Phelps on guitar and Victoria Warne on vocals... and we ended up with the best live photos ever taken of us! (on our photos page --> City Sounds 2004.) Irony. The gig was great. The weather was perfect. Oh, and by the way, the day before, the SUN CAME OUT right at 12:30, the time we would have been playing.
So I was fried. Those two days were stressful, and we had a gig that same night at Split Rock Resort! So when people were late getting to the studio and the actual gig on account of the day jobs, by that time, I didn't want to hear anything. I pretty much screamed at everyone. Very similar to "The guys get shirts", if you know what I'm talking about (if not, check out http://www.noisetank.com/integrity/ - FUNNY!!) Mad tension filled the air at Split Rock. But it was a great gig. We did some killer extended jams, Jeff Witt on keys was smokin' - he's been tentative in the past, but he let it rip that night. The audience seemed to like it. It was great.
We played a new song I wrote with Marco's help called "Dig My Hands" which came to me while gardening. While pruning tomatos and such, I started thinking how beautiful it would be if we could just plant the world, like seeds, and watch it grow. Start from scratch. So now it's a song. I also wrote and/or finished 2 others and have 3 more which we're going to work on next week. SIX new songs after a long time with ZERO new songs... I'm relieved that I can still write. I was getting worried.
Our only other gig this month was the 28th at the Sand Bar at Split Rock. We played 2 new songs (in addition to "Dig My Hands"). Jeff couldn't make this gig and was greatly missed. We bought a new PA head - a Mackie, the real deal. We had been having serious sound issues, but this didn't solve the problem. I think it's the monitors, I don't know. It made the gig difficult because I couldn't hear myself AT ALL. The gig was a lot of work because we started to set up in the open, but it started to rain, so we moved under the porch which put us with our backs to people sitting on the porch and far far away from the people at the bar - hard to connect. Felt like a human jukebox. After our 2nd set, I decided to move us back out into the open, because the rain stopped... in fact, it was only a short thunderstorm. It was much cooler in the open and felt better.
Aside from that, this month we got called for 2 last minute gigs, but we could only take one. We also were asked to perform at the Columbus Avenue Street Fair, woo hoo! I love those huge NYC street fairs.
And now for the news I mentioned at the end of last months "DEAR SURFER". We'll start with "either good news or no news". Not much to say. We gave our kit to a label, through the recommendation of a friend of a co-worker of Sheila. The guy at the label did get back to us, but he said, "We'll pass". I've never understood that answer. Why not just say "Not interested"? Rejection is rejection so why not just tell it like it is? I don't get that. The "very bad news" is that Amy's last gig with us will be October 23rd. She will continue to sub if we need her but decided she needs to put all her focus into her solo project. We're trying to find a replacement (said with a heavy sigh) again which is a major drag. We're auditioning someone next month; we didn't get a good response to our ads. I'm sad about this. She's a wonderful person and a hard worker. She also learned everything pretty much on her own, which is tough to find! I am SO TIRED of teaching new people the same old stuff (again, a miracle that I wrote new songs with all this shit going on all the time.) And as I said, only one person to audition. That's not good.
Next month, all our Saturdays are booked. October has a few gigs and after that, I'm taking a break from gigging and putting out a new album. I'm also working with a group called BELT - helping them. I started a record label: check out http://www.beltmusic.com and http://www.checkotherrecords.com. And now with this back up vocalist issue, if the one person doesn't work out, then what? The drama!
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Letters from the past:
August, 2000 (from Marco)