Sunday, November 26, 2006

Things I learned while on the Road with the Scott Holt Band

1. The Van is home, and no amount of Febreeze covers STANK

2. The guys are serious about Ipods

3. "Milk might have been a bad choice"

4. Movie dialogue gets stuck in everyones head

5. Tyler knows everything.

Day off in San Diego

Today we decided that we were going to stay the whole day here in SD, as it is a short drive to Ridgecrest, and since we love SD.

We went to the road food book, and found a Hawaiian restaraunt, and off we went. Derrick took the day to ride public transit and go to Mexico. I gotta question the smarts of going to Tijuana alone, but that is fine.

The restaraunt was amazing. Right on the beach. Some girl interrupted us, could tell we were foreigners, and made me try some tuna dish. She was cool, so I told her I liked it.

But honestly, ick.

I am glad for the day of rest, but feel like crap if there is no show.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

San Diego Nights Two and Day 3

So we got a second night in San Diego, which is good for all of us. More nights in stable hotel rooms, that is awesome. Derrick and I got to sleep in a little longer, because nothing stops the Starbucks train. It just delays it a bit.

During the day we all sort of rested, and caught up on life. We went downtown to look for the restaraunt you see there. Sort of a true California meets Hawaii explosion. Me, and the band ran to the mall that was near us at the hotel. We bought some stuff at WalMart, toiletries and what not.

I bought the band one of my favorite books, Ishmael.

It is just one of those lifechanging sort of books. Tom ended up reading it on the road. I was so proud of myself to have bought a book that Tom thought was cool.

Our day went the way most bands go, laundry, napping, grabass, arguing about LOST. And I do not care what Scott says, there making that show up as they go along. They have to be. There is no reason for a polar bear to play a significant role, or a hatch, or god knows what else is happening there. Screw that damn island. They said I needed to watch from the beginning...what is this??? HOMEWORK.

We got to the gig, and it was the same...only better. The band found a way to get Scott some room so he would stop ramming into the big pole.

We also got to meet Joannie from Blogcritics. She is a writer and a fotog, and a serious blues fan. Her boyfriend (whos name I forget) does an internet blues radio station. How cool is that?

That night we broke out a new song called OKAY, and you can find that one Scotts myspace page I think.

Then Scott broke out the long Hendrix medley. It was shocking in its power. What is even more shocking is that the show is the same for 5000 people as 150 people.

We bring it. This is a million dollar show.

Friday, November 10, 2006

San Diego, Night One

So there we are. In El Cajon. Four guys. One gig. The south California weather. Being from Wisconsin I was freaking out, my body confused, and it was a bad smell coming from our luggage. Too many days without laundry I suppose.

Either way when that Motel 6 had laundry, we knew where our days were going to be .

The club was called Patricks II. Right downtown. Right next to the Hard Rock, a really cool hole in the wall in one of those oceanside towns. A real locals only thing.

The owner Mario, cool name, was a great guy. He had installed his own PA, so that was nice. And then the band loaded in, and we found the stage to be shall we say a tight fit. Not like Hueys or anything, but a tight fit none the less.

The big Irishman behind the bar told us the lay of the land, and then it was off and running. The hardest part of the San Diego gig, parking. I think Richard and Tom parked the van in Ohio to be honest.

The club has a great open window serving area...onto the street. So we got our fair of lets just say differantly homed (or homeless) dancers. Lots of walk up people, and just generally a good show to start California off.

I could tell from where I was Scott was having a hard time on stage, being as confined as he was. There was a giant post there, and it was affecting his movement. But ultimately they overcame that and gave it 150% and showed the people of Patricks II what a great time could be had.

We met some cats from a Research Vessell. And while I do not claim to know what they do, they seemed like great guys.

This is a new song

This is a new song.

Check it out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Things I learned while on the Road with the Scott Holt Band

1...There is a differance between a band and a BAND

2...Blue Diamond makes a Wasabi Soy delicacy

3...I am not a hard core coffee guy

4...I cannot imagine life without my iPod

5...Doug, the agent, is a champ. Prone to bouts of passionate discourse, but at the end of the day...Doug stands in our corner.

The Road To San Diego

So, the next morning was a few of what will be come to the same thing...the Starbucks stop. Nothing occurs before the Starbucks stop. Richard has an insane ability to see Starbucks. Man I cannot even see road signs, and this man is spotting Starbucks. He is like a great hunter looking for a mountain goat, or whatever metaphor applies to things that can see a long distance.

Starbucks day eye, and maple scone. A bit of heaven. Though that is some serious coffee, and it might be TOO MUCH for me. I worry that I look like a big sissy with all tha milk.

So we try to go this and that way in Tuscon. Finally finding the highway.

The van, our loving Ford, is a great van. A conversion van, four captain chair, and one bench. Enough room in the back for the box drum of the intrerpid drummer Tom Larson...and the holy guitars of Richard and Scott.

Then it was off, through the desert, to the dreamland of California.

While on the road the ipods came out, and a tradition was started telling what the first song that everyone heard on the ipod. Richard seemed to always find a Beatles song. At first I did not get it, then I got it.

The desert is gorgeous. Its where, like Graham Parsons, my family lays me to rest. Sorry for the downer. But it is so clear, clean. Binary almost.

So on the trip we experience Border Control twice. All the talk about immigration seems so silly. Both times the person asked, "Are you all American citizens?" Well yeah. Not drugs, or guns...or even show us some id. Just "well are you?", and then we were off.

While traveling we made our first foray into real altitude, and our loving van responsed the way all internal combustion engines would I struggling. But the van kept on keeping on. Blessings to Tom for getting us through that mountain pass.

We made it safe and sound, and a bit sweaty. It actually seemed like a really long drive, but it was not anything like the stuff to come.

The band spent a great chunk of time talking to their wives. And children. I gotta say it was a bit strange. That is not the norm for bands in my experience. I think it reflects the maturity of these guys, and the amazing women they all leave behind.

I was also amazed at Merch Guy Dereks ability to sleep the entire time. I can say honestly in the time I was in that van, I looked to the back seat only once, and it was like a little cave.

We got to San Diego like champs, and found Patricks II easily, and then our hotel. Our hotel was in El Cajon, and a colorful place. Right next to a great little Mexican restaraunt where Richard and Derek and I ate, while Scott and Tom seached out In and Out Burger.

Then, our heads hit the pillows.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tuscon is left full of the Blues

Well we all know I am partial to my blues raw, and energetic, and for lack of a better word PRIMAL. It also needs to be FUNKY.

We all know...

the funk is gonna do what the funk is gonna do

And I need performance and connection.

I think that is why I love the Scott Holt Band so much. They drive themselves so far for the show, that it is just gorgeous and powerful. Scott on a stage with a guitar is a real form of perfection, and energy. It is amazing. The training, the preparation, Scott and the guys are like a finely trained boxer, just needing the stage, and they can do the magic.

Well that is what Tuscon got.

The guys and myself had spent the afternoon relaxing at that great hotel, and by the time it was time to go all we needed was a little Starbucks Red Eye juice, and kapow nothing was going to hold us back.

We arrived at a part in Tuscon, and they had a gorgeous bandshell. It was just amazing. About 5000 people were there for the local cats before us, and those guys were good. It was like a 100 guys on that stage, and they kept it together. So while we were loading in Scott and I hung out in the green room, and tuned guitars. He and I had not seen each other in a few weeks, so it was great just to catch up.

I am often unsure of my spot during shows, but it was cool because Scott said, "Your going to be on stage today right?" So my confidence was boosted. For whatever reason, I like making sure my friends the performers are safe and get what they need for a good show. Years of travel with the other guy sort of made that spot comfortable for me. So I was thrilled.

So the band came to the stage, got introduced and dropped the first note, and WOW the monitors were not on, or not close...because they all started looking around like someone had kicked there dog. I could hear it too, as could the monitor guy, so we got it straightened out right away. Way to go Monitor Guy in Tuscon. Nothing like 30 seconds of panic on the first gig.

I thought it would all be okay...but I was wrong.

In the middle of the first song I took my eyes off Tom for a bit, as I thought he was okay. How wrong I was. You know how I know I was wrong...that drum stick sticking out my butt. He managed to hit me mid song, right in the butt. Its not that it is a small butt, but he did not miss a beat. Turns out he could not hear Richard in the monitors. So we fixed that.

Seeing Scott and the guys on a big stage is the best way. I may be partial to the full night of Scott...but when they do the festival set...all diamonds played at 100% intensity you have no choice but to go WOW.

The shows highlights were "I will make love to you anytime". That song has clearly come on in ways that I never thought were possible.

Also the crowd moved the the front of the stage, like a good festival crowd. Unlike the band that followed us, where the crowd just sat back and watched. The Scott Holt show was participatory. Scott was giving to them, and they were giving back.

Amazingly there were two youg girls, like ten, who were rigth on the barrier dancing more than anyone else. Scott jumped off the stage, and got in the crowd with everyone, and they loved it.

And if your keeping score, Scott played 4 guitars out of tune in a 75 minute set.

The finale of Polk Salad Annie, that made my hands shake.

This is a great band.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Landing In Tuscon

Well this post is really about finding time to sleep, and seeing Scott kick some level of ass that few can come close to...and leaving headliners in the dust.

For me, I hate jumping into the tour midway through, but these guys spent some time in texas, and we all know that Texas is all about driving. One spot to the next spot...its a big state.

So the night before was my family reunion, so I was up all day driving to Chicago, and then it was to sit at the airport at Midway. So I was operating on zero sleep in like three nights by the time I landed in Tuscon.

The Southern Arizona Blues Society sent a ride for me, and it was actually a family. No fault to them, but after 60 hours of no sleep, the last thing I was looking for was colorful family dynamics. I was looking for bed.

The good folks from the Blues Society got me to the Hotel in downtown Tuscon, pretty sure I was sitting in the back of there jeep drooling like a retarded puppy. But the hotel perked me up. It was officially a 4 star joint, and the attention I got proved it.

Rooms were not ready until 3 pm, you know the deal cleaning them, making beds, hospital corners...etc. Well I got there about 10 am. So that is 5 hours to kill, no sleep, no nothing, no band. Well the nice folks there took my bags, and put them in the back, and found me a nice chair out of the way. In all honesty it was a great chair, and like all music folks I knew they did not have to do that. But the sales manager saw it in my eyes that I was going to fall out, and nothing he could say was going to stop me. So better to get me out of sight, than sleeping in the lobby or the bar while I waited for my room. So much love to the Hotel Arizona, and its great staff.

I dozed off, and what felt like a few minutes later my blackberry was ringing. Yeah I am a tech savvy guy, and on this trip it paid off. It was the guys, wanting directions to the hotel. Well on this I made my first and from what I can tell one of only a few mistakes on the tour. I sent them to the wrong joint. I was exhausted, and not thinking straight...thankfully the staff heard my mistake and we got Scott and the guys on the phone and guided them in. I was really embarrassed.

About the time they arrived, the room was ready. So it was in bed for me. I greeted the guys. It was great to see Tom and Richard and Scott and to meet Derek. But I had to lay down. Van call was about 3, so I had 2 hours to sleep.

Which I did.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Starting Over...

So I am sitting at home in Wisconsin, the great north. Were coming into winter. The first thing I learned from the mighty Scott Holt band, is that nothing is for sure...only Starbucks. Nothing comes between the band and the show, but the only for sure thing is Starbucks...massive quantities of Starbucks. I mean fans give Starbucks gift cards to the band, I guess that makes it all worthwhile.

But I also got a hold of the truth that the internet, while truly not everywhere. It is not in the van. You would think that the van would have it, given the superior nature of the van...but the van is without wireless access points. So some of this blogging that came before is sort of haphazard, and not really any good. So I have had a few days to sit with the memories and the notes from the road, and it is my intention to tell those stories, and hope that they excite you.

And the other thing, were going to dump massive amounts of photos of the guys on this blog, and sometimes there will be a story, and sometimes not.

In these photos, your seeing some images of the band on there last trip north. To Wausau, my home. Sitting around Cafe Gelato catching up on email, and apparently cleaning up after themselves.

The young man in the photo is a cat who has started to take bass lessons after seeing Richard and what he can do with his bass.

We also see Richard turning his back on the whole technology thing. I do not think he had an ipod yet.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sitting at Home

Dear Cats and Kittens...

I made it home. Had a great life adventure...made friends with musicians I thought of as heroes, now there my friends and better yet my family.

So I will be catching some ZZZZZ's, and then I will start the tour stop notes. The goal is to pass this along to Scott and the boys to update...but I need to talk them into it.

But I am home now. Give me a few days to do some laundry, then check back.