Monday, September 24, 2007

Cleveland Rocks!

Well it’s been an interesting couple of days! We played at the R&B Grill in Bethel NY on Friday night and had a ball! What a great bunch of people and a tremendously cool environment. Thanks to the great folks at the bed & breakfast that put us up for the night. What a great place to visit. We got up the next morning and went to the site of the Woodstock festival. I stood in the spot where Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner! I think I could still hear the notes ringing around the field. On to New London CT where we discovered that the club forgot we were coming and booked another band! (We are freakin’ huge in New London CT!!) They were kind enough to pay us not to play and Richard and I headed for Cleveland early. (Tyler had to go home for his sister’s wedding so Andy Began played with us in NY and we put him on a train in CT and rolled away- thanks again Andy!) Last night was Cleveland where Richard and I played an acoustic show as a duo (first time!) It was a lot of fun and hopefully the people dug it. Tonight’s off so its laundry, internet, etc. tomorrow starts an uninterrupted run for 6 days. Looking forward to getting Tyler back with us, and getting to Chicago on Sunday to see some of our home folks. The MF mafia will be in the house!
By the way, recently I wrote a blog that has garnered some unfortunate attention and led to some misunderstanding, so I want clear it up now, once and for all; I don’t care for Dockers, but if you wear them while cooking barbecue, you instantly leap to the front of the cool line in my book (especially when the ribs are as good as the ones I’m referring to). I think that barbecuing in Dockers makes them okay by default and you overcome the negative ness of their very existence by the spiritual art of cooking. So if you wear Dockers, grab some tongs and fire up the grill! You’ll feel better about yourself, I promise!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The road is long and winding...

Day 4 on the road and we’ve got 3 shows under our belt with new drummer Tyler and everything’s going great. Checked out 3:10 To Yuma yesterday, whacking great film! Tomorrow, we get back to work in NYC and then its roll hard until KY. We’ve got a couple of days off sprinkled here and there to do laundry and glue the guitars back together, but the miles start falling hard and fast tomorrow. I hate off days, so I’m glad to get over this hump in the road. Off days are the Wednesdays of the SHB! For those of you in Bethpage and New London, Tyler is flying home to attend the wedding of his sister, so his spot will be filled by the very capable drumming of Mr. Andy Began. Congratulations to the soon to be Mrs. Ashley Johnson (or possibly Mrs. Ashley Crowell – Johnson or maybe even Ms. Ashley Crowell…maybe her new husband will take her name instead…I’m not sure what the current vogue is for newly weds…maybe they take each others name…in which case she’ll be Mrs. Johnson, and he’ll be Mr. Crowell…what a strange thing that would be filling out home loans or job applications…I once knew a woman who not only didn’t take her new husbands name, she made up a new name for the both of them out of a combination of the letters of their respective names. I thought that was pretty cool. They took the first half of her name and the last half of his name. His name was Benson and her’s was Robertson, so they became Mr. & Mrs. Robertson…actually, now that I see that typed, it looks more like they just kept her name…that bitch! She tricked poor old Benson! I guess he should have made her sign some sort of prenuptial agreement concerning the maintenance of his name. Of course, he must be pretty dumb not to see that coming…”Hey honey, let’s just combine our names to make a new name like the ancient Greeks did. Wouldn’t that be fun? You’ll do it for me won’t you?” Oh what a slippery slope! Well, I can’t feel too sorry for him if he’s not any smarter than that. Anyway, congratulations to the happy couple!)
I’m sorry, but I just got distracted by the two guys sitting across from me. (I’m in Panera Bread of course!) They seem to be planning some kind of takeover for the company they both work for. I don’t eavesdrop, but they’re talking really loud. The one guy seems like a real jackass. “You do this, and I’ll do that and we’ll just take over the whole thing…” If I knew what company they worked for, I’d call the CEO right now and alert him that there’s mischief afoot! Then again, as a musician, I am sort of a modern day pirate; so technically, I should be rooting for the mutiny. Still they are wearing Dockers (which always pisses me off!) and they are really annoying. Maybe we should just take their computers and run. I better find Richard. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tom Larson

We’ve had some big changes in the last few weeks and after getting a lot of questions about it, I decided that I needed to address what’s going on. As many of you have noticed, Tom is no longer with us. This wasn’t an acrimonious split, no invectives were being hurled, and it was simply Tom’s decision to move on his own path. Tom has been the drummer in the SHB for a bunch of years. He was the first drummer after I left Buddy and played on the records Angels in Exile and From Lettsworth to Legend.
Tom and I met through our wives who worked in the same field. Buffy invited Tom and his wife Misty out to see a show and I called him up to jam. I knew from the first note that Tom and I had a tremendous musical connection. He’s that good. We’ve had some amazing musical moments over the past several years and I remember all of them fondly, from opening in Canada for Buddy Guy to opening this past April for Johnny Winter. We played some musically amazing shows and Tom always plays his heart out, never giving less than his all. Tom’s also been with us through some really hard times on the road, just like every band has to endure and he’s always been a great solid friend. As we move on, Tom’s moving on. I know that whatever project he pursues, he’ll be fantastic in it. If you’re in an area where Tom is performing, go out and support him just like you do us, after all he’s still family and we’ve all got to stick together. One thing I’ve learned in this business is that good musicians are easy to find but good people are more rare and precious. Tom is a genuinely good person as well as being a devastatingly good drummer. I thank Tom for all of his help in getting the SHB rolling and helping to push us further down the line. I thank him for his friendship and I look forward to watching him continue to grow, develop and create.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sail On

So the new chapter starts on Friday. We move forward and keep driving. No matter what. It’s funny, but conviction isn’t something you can just talk about, you have to walk the walk. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. I started with Buddy in 1989. I never stopped. When I left Buddy, the money went to almost nothing, I went from hotels (real nice hotels) to motels (real bad motels), and I went from a tour bus to a van that I drive and pay for and fuel myself. I’ve had dozens of musicians in this band, some for a while, some for a minute. I treated them all with respect and loved them like family. I’ve never thought about giving up, I’ve never let myself get discouraged by some little pieces of trouble that might have been cast in my direction. I never wondered, “is this all there is?”, I understand that I am doing what I was put here to do and if God wants me to move, He’ll move me or make my situation so obvious that I have no choice but to move. I have an amazing support. My wife Buffy is my best friend and has always kept me grounded while simultaneously giving me what I need to fly. She has supported me without fail from the beginning and that makes the difference. She keeps me in check spiritually as well, reminding me that just because we’re in this world, that doesn’t mean that this is all there is. I couldn’t make it without her. She is the love of my life. I’m her biggest fan.
I have amazing friends who are there for me in so many ways that it’s impossible to describe. I have family that supports and loves me and I’m humbled by all of it. I understand when people who don’t have that kind of love and support crack under the stress and strain. My heart goes out to them. There are people around me right now who are floundering and lost and searching. I want to be there for them and I am there for them, but sometimes people don’t see you, they don’t know you’re there no matter how much you shout or how much you do. I hope that the people in my life who are struggling find the peace that they’re looking for and that they can achieve their dreams.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Snare drum pound of 2 & 4, all the party people get on the floor...

Day 1; we storm through From Lettsworth to Legend from start to finish. Hammering the sword so that sparks are flying off of it. “Rocky” style sit-ups with somebody punching you in the stomach every time you rise up. This is where you find yourself. Are you a “lifer” or you just playing at it? Can you play your hardest with no screaming crowds shouting your name? When your pay for the day is a luke-warm bottle of water, is it enough? The rehearsal space is a metal building with no air-conditioning. It’s loud and hot. There’s only 3 of us in there and the mission is simple; work harder, get better, let the music do what the music’s gonna do! Circle the wagons. Time to empty our cup so that we can get some new tea. Cell phones off. No visitors allowed. We’re playing through all 6 albums top to bottom, working on some new stuff and generally getting geared up to finish kicking 2007’s ass. A 2 hour session ends in you standing in a literal pool of sweat. Your guitar, pedal board and clothes soaking wet. Drums are being bashed so hard, they’re jumping across the floor! The bass growling like the voice of doom. Richard’s right, “You’re mother should know!” This is designed to make the hottest sweatiest gig seem like a vacation. After blasting through this furnace for 2 weeks, any 4 hour gig is going to seem like nothing. Like the song says, “Next time you see me, things won’t be the same…”