still have shows at the end of this week, but since it is a
mini tour that runs into October, I'll write about them in our
forum. So this month's DEAR SURFER is being published early.
I'm sure you will find that it is long enough!
first show this month was September 1st. This was a tough month
of scrambling with lineups for shows. I really want to keep
blue number nine going! It's so freaking hard with the inconsistent
lineup. Anyway, we returned to the Lexington Market in Baltimore,
again with Dara and Camari on vocals. We brought our own PA
this time, so we sounded better than last time. Dara's sister
came out to see us. It was a fun time once again, and I talked
to some interesting people, namely Robert, who is in the military
and will soon be deployed to Iraq. I am against the invasion
and occupation of Iraq and I have been since the beginning.
I've been vocal about it and I always will be. So when Robert
told me he was going, I almost cried.
said, "Someone has to do it." I told him I don't agree,
but I said it with compassion, because this man could very well
lose his life over there due to the madness of the people in
gave Robert a free demo CD and a DVD and I told him he could
take it with him and share it with the other troops (he is in
the army.) Just writing about this fills me with sadness. People
in the military are surely propagandized... I don't know for
sure, because I was never in the military and never received
the training. However, I believe that it isn't just propaganda,
and it isn't just the dire need for money for college. It isn't
just the desire to get out of poverty or to be given a shot
at a real career. I believe many people who join the military
do it also out of a sense of duty and patriotism. Many join
because it is a family tradition. Robert struck me as one of
these types - pure hearted and patriotic. The fact that the
Bush administration has not only exploited the post 9/11 fears
of the American Public, but also has exploited the good hearts
of our military makes me sick! Of course, there are bad eggs
everywhere - not everyone in the military is a good person at
heart. But they are all risking their lives, and it simply disgusts
me. Ok... next topic...
2nd, we were to perform at The 2nd Annual Frenchtown River Festival.
The weather on the 1st was horrible in Baltimore - Hurricane
Ernesto was in full rage. So I called my contact for the Frenchtown
fest on the way home from Baltimore. She was disheveled and
didn't quite know what to do, because the weather forecast was
not good. We were going to perform from 1 to 2, then there was
going to be an animal show, then we were going to perform again
from 3 to 4. However, she told me that many vendors had already
cancelled, the band after us cancelled, the hayride folks cancelled,
and she wasn't sure what we should do. She gave us several options,
and we spoke later that night, but there was a miscommunication.
When I woke up, she had called at 8am telling us to come anyway
and play at 1! So I called her, told her we would get there
as fast as we could, called everyone in the band and made arrangements
for us all to get there, but then, she called again (after people
were already on route) and told me the weather suddenly turned
for the worse.
it was too late, so we went, we played to a tiny audience under
a tent that kept us dry and safe, but the weather was simply
horrible. We did our best anyway, then went and ate some Mexican
food and drove home. Jill was on this gig with us, and my mother
came along. Towards the end, we played "Dance Dance Dance"
and I told the audience I was putting West Indian "hoodoo
voodoo" on the town so that on Sunday, the weather would
be beautiful. Because "D, D, D" is a calypso song,
I told everyone to think Carribean, sun, heat, summer, and that
would make the weather great on Sunday. Well, Sunday did turn
out to be a nice day, so I'm glad they got one good day for
the festival. It feel miserable when these types of events
get rained out. So much work goes into them and everyone loses
money if it's a washout.
8th, we played the Hkan Hookah Bar in Pittsburgh. Thanks to
Craig & Lisa, Donna & Teddie for coming from Altoona
and thanks to John for
coming from Somerset! Cute place, fine tobacco for the hookahs,
but not the greatest sound system. Also, the dreaded tin ceilings...
bad for acoustics. Thanks to Cindy and to Jim for videotaping
us, and thanks to Jonah for letting us crash at his place, which
we ended up doing both Friday and Saturday night. Also, thanks
to Morgan! Morgan hasn't performed with us much this summer,
but thanks to her people and the band's fans, we had a good
turnout at the Hkan, and we had a place to sleep and of course,
Cindy gave us more food than we could eat! We played 3 sets
at the Hkan. It's in a cute section of Pittsburgh... definitely
my favorite live music venue yet.
the 9th, we performed at "A Fair in the Park" in Mellon
Park. We arrived with plenty of time to set up and do a soundcheck,
but one of our Random Horns, Luke (alto sax) got terribly lost
and showed up an hour into our set. I felt so bad for him. He
left about 6 messages on my answering machine. I also felt bad
for Les, our trombone player, who had to be his own horn section!
He was great, though. He played the alto sax charts instead
of the trombone charts, because the harmonies make more sense.
When Luke did show up, it was sweet to hear! We had a good turnout
and whipped out our kiddie percussion instruments at one point.
The kids stormed the stage and most weren't shy! We played a
tight hour and a half set. The band was great and we got a standing
ovation. I was proud, but also sad, because I'm going to miss
Luca and I wish Morgan weren't so busy with other things and
could be more a part of the band. This has been a great lineup,
and I'm not good with change to begin with.
also sad because our 2006 tourdates are almost over. Funny how
I was dreading them, and now I wish it wouldn't end. The Grass
Is Always Greener - we really have to get that song into our
repetoire when we find our new guitar player. It would be nice
to find a full time keyboard player, too!
after our performance, the Craftman's Guild of Pittsburgh (responsible
for putting the fair together) had some food, wine and beer
available for the artists, so we all ate a bit and drank a bit
and hung out and talked to people. A solo artist performed
on guitar and sang. THANK YOU to my MySpace friend Nelson for
stopping by. He had 2 gigs that day, but still came out to meet
me in person and he also bought 2 CD's and suggested we stop
by a venue called "The Shadow Lounge". He said that
a lot of musicians hang out there and they often let other musicians
come up and jam. So we stopped by, but it was early, so the
only people there were the owners. They were super nice and
gave us a tour of the place, which is absolutely gorgeous. If
I lived in Pittsburgh, I'd hang out there. I wish them much
success with their business. I know it's tough to make money,
and they are young guys. Hopefully, we'll play there in the
future. The room is really cool.
that, we went to Primanti Brothers, a famous Pittsburgh sandwich
joint where they put homemade french fries and cole slaw on
all sandwiches. Delicious and gloopy! We then bought 3 six packs
of beer and headed back to Jonah's where we watched a documentary
called "All We Are Saying", by Roseanna Arquette.
have watched this movie 3 times now. It is a MUST SEE for all
musicians, venue owners, managers... everyone involved in the
music business and anyone involved with someone involved in
the music business - rock music, though. It's an important,
well-made movie which has inspired me because it has validated
what I've been doing for last 12 years. Arquette interviews
Elton John, Willie Nelson, Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, Patty Smith,
David Crosby, Graham Nash, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox, Peter
Gabriel, Thom Yorke, Anthony Kiedis and Flea, Joanie Mitchell,
Stevie Nicks, Andre 2000, Macy Gray, Gwen Stefani, Patty Scialfa,
Ben Harper, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Petty, Steven Tyler, Sting,
Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne, Burt Bacharach, Perry Farrell,
and other artists whom I can't think of right now, as well as
a few label owners and others in the music business. Nobody
watched the whole movie, though. Marco and I were the last ones
standing, so to speak, but that was a good thing because we
had to leave the next morning at 9. We didn't leave until quarter
to ten. Then, Marco, Jack and I had to set up and rehearse with
BD Lenz, guitarist who performed with us on September 22nd.
the 15th we were supposed to play outside at Journal Square
Fountain in Jersey City. I was really looking forward to it.
We were going to have no back up singers, but 2 random horns,
one of whom does sing. Well, it rained, so it got cancelled
and I'm bummed out about it.
the 22nd, we returned to Altoona, PA to perform one last time
this yeat at the Curtain Mall. It was Evie and Camari on vocals
(don't you, too, get confused with the lineup?!) BD Lenz is
an accomplished songwriter who plays the same circuit we do,
pretty much, and he played guitar with us, as I mentioned earlier.
He was not only excellent, but enthused, super nice, cooperative,
communicative on stage and fun to hang out with. He even jumped
on "LOVE THE BEAT", even though he was reading music.
It was cool. A friend of ours videotaped the show. We saw a
lot of familiar faces, but there were a lot of new people in
the audience because there was a biker's convention in town.
This time, they put us up in a hotel, so we didn't have to drive
home immediately afterwards and got to hangout "downstairs".
SUPER SUPER THANKS to Michael for the free drinks, but mostly,
for opening up his restaurant so we could eat at a table and
get warm (it was a chilly evening.) Thank you to Donna & Teddie for coordinating the food thing with Michael for us.
We love you guys!! I had a great time at this show. I was so
worried about it, because we only had two rehearsals with BD
and none with Evie, but they both did absolutely fantastic jobs.
that's it for now. The rest of the month's tourdates will be
in our forum.
Remarks? Comments? Want to read "Dear Surfers" all the way from 1997? Visit our FORUM