Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Off Topic: Miss You Already

I leave bright and early Thursday morning for two gigs in Washington with Trowar.  Of course I'm pretty jazzed about it.  What's not to like about traveling on someone else's dime to play original music with mind-blowingly amazing musicians?  I'm particularly excited about the next three Trowar shows (two in Washington, one in Indianapolis) because we've been drilling the same songs in the same order. The set may be short, but it should be nice and tight.  This is my hope; this is what we're working towards.

However, these trips are always preceded by a sort of ache in my chest.  I think that it is due in part to performance anxiety*, but mostly it comes from missing my wife Mary Beth and our two kids.  It happens this way every time:  once a gig is confirmed and the plane tickets purchased, this uneasiness/ache in my chest expands until I'm on the plane ready to head out.  Essentially, I begin missing my family before I have even left.  I get a bit squeamish when I leave the security and stability of our home, and this feeling gets so intense that I start to question whether or not I even want to carry on with a band that requires me to travel.  Yeah, I realize how crazy that sounds - travelling to play music is something I've fantasized about since I got my first bass.  I always enjoy it, but I hate not having my family along for the ride.  I want them to experience all the neat things I get to experience; I want them to take part in the fun too.  I know this will happen eventually - Chris (Trowar manager) has already tried to do it once - but until then, I'll just have to take as many photos as I can to show the family when I come home.

To be clear:  I'm not complaining about this amazing situation into which I have fallen.  I feel truly lucky every time I carry my bass through the airport.  But I did want to acknowledge the slight melancholy I feel every time I leave my family.  Guys - I, as always, will miss (am missing) you a bunch.  I love you dearly and thanks for making it possible for me to live this dream.

*-Although I do believe a little performance anxiety is good.  You have to stay sharp.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Amigo Fields On Local Live

I had mentioned in a previous post that my friends in Amigo Fields had made an appearance on WFHB's "Local Live" show, promising to link to or embed the show when it was available.  I wish I could embed, but alas:  I must instead link to it.  I'm listening to it now, and it's cool to hear them on the radio!  It sounds great, so check it out!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Trowar Report: Guitar Porn For Now

I returned from the Land of Lebowski (Los Angeles) yesterday evening.  I was out there rehearsing with Trowar for upcoming gigs.  We are very, very pumped at the progress we're making.  I will type a longer report soon; but for now, enjoy this guitar and bass porn from Guitar Center and Time Warp Guitars, both of Hollywood, California.

I can't stop thinking about the non-reverse body Gibson
Thunderbird (the red one, gringo).  What. A. Beauty!

The slot head on this Gibson EB-0 bass is pretty
rare.  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen one in
person until now.

You might know that I'm a total sucker for patina.
The patina on this Fender Precision bass is so
bad ass that I can overlook the white pick up
covers (which I normally loathe).

Ampeg Dan Armstrong bass.  I love this bass.  I fought
the temptation to plug it in. Why tempt myself with
something I can't afford?

A Gibson and an Ampeg.  I think the reason the Gibson
is so cheap is that it doesn't have all original parts (note
the tuning pegs for example).  EDIT:  Okay, I just looked
at a full sized version of this photo. The Gibson isn't
$499.  It's $1499.  That's about right.

Ampeg Baby Bass.  I played this for a moment.  Want.
Very badly.

A Rickenbacker Light Show guitar - another lovely that
I've only ever seen in books.  For those who might not know:
this guitar has lights mounted on the inside that pulsate
and blink through the finish.

Two electric sitars.  Would love to hear someone play
these sukkas.

A beat up (we'll call it "patina" again) Gibson SG.  One
of my favorites in the vintage room, and that's saying

This is what a bass should look like.  Gah I love this one

A 1917 Gibson harp guitar.  I couldn't believe
the great condition of this instrument!

Damn kids and their Legos/super glue.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Odds And Ends

Welp, next week I get to go to Los Angeles for the first time in my life.  Trowar (for reasons that aren't clear to me) is rehearsing there for a late May gig in Washington state. I love rehearsing at Ghost Train studios (our home base), but I'm excited to try something new. My two goals are to play my ass off and find a good taco.  Also looking forward to hearing how the Jazz bass sounds in the mix.

I'm not sure where Trowar is playing in Washington yet, but I will put something up here when I know.  I'll do my best to document all my travels with photos.

Amigo Fields - a project I'm in and out of - has a great looking website online now.  Go check it out, yo!  See if you recognize anyone.  At some point, someone at WFHB will upload AF's "Local Live" performance so that I can link or embed it.  At any rate, check out their Facebook page as well - it's very active and contains lots of info.  Congrats to James, Anna, and Allen - the site looks wonderful.

I think that should cover up some lose ends for now.  It's great to be gearing up to play music again!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gig Photos: TOTT's First Gig

Details about this gig here - here are the photos, as promised.
(Left to right) Kevin Reynolds and Leslie Newton.

(Left to right) Kevin, Leslie and me.

Leslie "ooooo"ing about something.

Look at the woman in the background.

Trowar To Play Melody Inn In Indianapolis

Great news - Trowar has landed a gig at the appropriately rough and tumble Melody Inn in Indianapolis.  It's June 12th - doors open at 8 PM; we will be the first of three bands taking the stage starting at 9 PM.  This is a benefit show to raise money for the AC system that was stolen from the Mel (!), so there is a $5 minimum donation at the door.  Let's fill this place up!

I'm excited for this show for a number of reasons - to play for folks here in Indiana, to raise money for the second oldest bar in Indianapolis, and most importantly, this is sort of a homecoming for me:  The Melody Inn was my watering hole in college.  My friend Dylan discovered it and started tending bar there, which means I was there pretty much there drinking anytime he was working.*  I was there A LOT.  And I loved it.  I haven't been there since college, and it has changed a lot since then.  From what I can tell, all the changes are for better.  So be there - it's great music for a great cause.  I can't wait!

Trowar plays original power blues very fucking loud.  Trowar is:
Fred Astaire - guitar, vocals
John Astaire - drums
Matt Zink - bass, backing vocals

*-Connect the dots, knowwhutImsayin'?

TOTT Gig Report: Three On The Tree Debuts At Big Woods Pizza Company

Three On The Tree had their first ever show this weekend at Big Woods Pizza Company in Nashville, Indiana.  We played from 7:30 to 9ish, and I think it went very well for a debut!  We played out on the patio under the staircase, which felt a bit strange at first.  The disadvantages to playing under the stairs were that it presented some acoustic issues (mild feedback issues a couple times) and it was very cramped.  Also, traffic going into the restaurant had to walk right in front of us to get into the restaurant (though this didn't end up being a distraction for us).  But the advantages outweighed the disadvantages:  since we were facing the main drag in Nashville, we got a lot of exposure to passers by.  I believe the patio seats more than the interior of the restaurant, so I think we really reached a lot of folks since the patio was packed the entire time.  The manager told us afterward that folks who left when we started soon came back after they heard a song or two.  Some pedestrians watched for a few moments from the sidewalk before continuing on their way, so we were able to get some of the attention we'd hoped to get.

As for the performance itself, it wasn't perfect.  There were some songs we had a hard time getting out of; and there was a wrong chord or note here or there.  I also felt like we could have smaller gaps between songs, but that and the minor sound issues will be resolved as we continue to gig and get our system down. I'm generally pleased with my playing and singing, but man I need to practice some of these songs and build up my endurance - we have some long gigs coming up!  And the G-string on my bass sounds horrible past the D-position.  I'm not sure what to do about that, but it does stress me out.

But the crowd liked us as evidenced by the tip jar, and the manager absolutely loved us.  He gushed as did the wait staff.  It sounds like we might be in their regular rotation soon enough both at the Nashville and Bloomington locations.  We're looking forward to being there again soon, and I'll keep you readers up-to-date on all future gigs.

Mary Beth took some photos, but I don't have them at the moment.  I'll post soon enough!