Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So, What The Hell Am I Looking For, Anyway?

I want to rock. No blues, no jazz, no R&B, no country, no crap. I know that real rock bands around here are scarce. Only about a half-dozen play on a regular basis in the area surrounding Reno, which includes most of California, playing tribal casinos spanning from the redwoods to outskirts of the Big Smoggy, LA itself. Some go to the far ends of Nevada, as a buddy of mine is playing as we speak in Jackpot, scarcely three hours southeast of Boise. A lot of my friends play regularly in West Wendover, on the border with Utah (FACT: Every major highway that crosses into Nevada, as in Interstates and Federal (US routes) roads, anywhere from 5 feet to five miles of crossing the border, there'll be a casino by that crossing, bank on it), nearly four hundred miles east of Reno. I played with Rick & Dana Cowen at the Riverside in Laughlin, which at 545 miles southeast of Reno is about as far away from home as I can get and still be in the Silver State. So traveling isn't an option, it's a necessity.

My truck will go into the shop next week to get the transmission and clutch worked over, at an estimated cost of just a bit over $800. Joy isn't happy about it, but what's more dangerous - the devil you know, or the devil you don't know? I could take the money we'd budgeted for the repair, plus whatever I could borrow to buy another beater truck or wagon, but how long would it last? What issues does it have? Beyond the transmission, I think I have some rumbling coming from worn wheel bearings, but Rick's told me that I could save a little money and have him do that work. My transmission, while not beyond his capacity to repair, is beyond the capacity of his tools, because he'd have to drop the transmission to do the job. But once it's done, I'll have my 30mpg truck ready to roll. Even without a gig it's a good thing, because my courier route still needs an efficient vehicle to get the job done. Oh, and Baby needs new shoes as well. All the driving I do basically means a new set of tires annually.

Sometimes I wonder what I've gotten myself into. But Joy is doing better, and likely to get her SS/D claim approved in the next few months, and her app for food-stamps (okay, it's a debit card now) should be up and running by the weekend. One of our tax returns should hit the bank by Monday morning, so that will help, and our 2006 return should be ready to go to the IRS pretty soon, then Joy can finish the 2008 return. She now has a doctor that takes her seriously, and seems able to comprehend all that ails her. Michelle and Bill have good jobs, and Cody and Ellie growing like weeds. Speaking of that, my garden is really rounding into shape. Beans, squash, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, all sprouting like crazy. The sage I planted last summer is back with a vengeance, so I'm trying again at putting an herb garden together. Joy wants to plant medicinal herbs, but she needs to get on that fast. I'll probably just get the seeds that she wants and do it for her.

So all in all, I guess things aren't too bad for me. And Joy and I are planning to take the babies up to Washington again at the end of July for Joy's family reunion up at the Bumping River again. We found out that Eddie and Melissa are coming home with Soren and their new baby boy Sascha (the exact spelling makes me wonder, was Eddie watching Borat?), and Joy is dying to finally meet them. And this will also include trips to Olympia and Port Angeles for my family, and some very special friends.

So this should be a pretty busy summer. I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I've been hitting the local jam sessions lately, to play a little and to network with other musicians. There are a lot of us out here. In fact, Nevada has more musicians per capita than any other state in the Union. That had traditionally been because the casinos had employed full orchestras for their various shows, and these were some of the finest musicians in the country. As the times changed, the orchestras died out and were replaced by smaller bands. With the era of modern electrified instruments came rock, country, and R&B bands replaced small orchestras and jazz combos from the cabarets. In recent years DJs and ultra-modern dance music have replaced the bands, though the signs are evident that the bands are coming back. One way or another, it signals that there's always going to be a lot of musicians in the Silver State.

My favorite jam night is at a tiny restaurant/bar in Minden called Indigo. The guy who runs the jam, Dean, also runs other jams in Sparks and Carson City. Joy and I went to the one in Sparks, and I didn't like it all that much. So many musicians come in, you're lucky if you get to play two or three songs, and usually it's the same old I-IV-V blues progression with the guitarists noodling away like Clapton on PCP. And most of these guys are has-beens, never-weres, and burnouts, who have no real interest in anything other than noodling for their three songs. Dean told me that one night in Sparks, he had twenty drummers to deal with. At Indigo, I can play a real variety of music, and a lot of it, sing lead, and meet people who actually seem interested in the concept of playing music as a source of income. I was hoping to meet up with the guy who'd told me he was looking for a good drummer who was familiar with playing to a click-track, but he never showed.

But I didn't really mind. I just like to play. No clicks, no tracks, no set stops and starts unless it's a song we all know. Of course, that means dealing with players who have a hard time with the concept of 'one', as in "come in on 'one'". I've told Dean that I've fought the urge at times to step up to the front of the stage and conduct the band so they can all come in together. But even when it's annoying or even frustrating, it's still fun. Now if I can only make a little money through this......

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Truth be told, I'm not in a position to just walk away when somebody says to me that they're looking for a drummer. But I've also been made offers that were totally bullshit, and needless to say it was very disappointing to see promises come to naught. So I'm out and about, and willing to listen. I can't tell you what's going on at this moment, but I was made an offer last Thursday at Indigo. At least I was informed of an opening with a band. One that wouldn't force me to deal with the fuckheads at the Atlantis. And thanks to the connections I've been building at Indigo's Jam Nights, I've also been able to get in position to do sub work when others are unavailable. We'll just have to see how things all break down from here. But a day-job is still very much in my future, so I shall just have to be patient, and let the currents take me where they may.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've Been Banned

I happened to have a chance encounter with Powerlight's agent, John McDaniel, at an Office Depot today. He was glad to see me, but what the hell happened, and why didn't you call me? I admitted that I'd possibly overreacted, but that I didn't really care in the end, and told him about my refusal to set foot in the building again.

John said that he was okay with my decision, since he'd received a call from the Atlantis informing him that I was not allowed to be used by his bands there. I told him that was fine with me, that I'd washed my hands of the dump. He told me that we were still on good terms, and that he'd see if he could find me gigs elsewhere, so I passed along my current phone numbers and bade him farewell.

So I've been banned, eighty-sixed, tossed.

So what? No, let me rephrase that. So fucking what? Like I really expected any different from Cockbreath McPothead and the morons that run the place? Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all in the ass with their own severed penises (penii?) So here's my call to you: BOYCOTT THE ATLANTIS. Don't spend a dime there. Don't even stop to visit anyone there. Fuck them all. Show them the same respect and dignity they showed me with their lies and stupidity. Tell a friend. Tell another friend. Then tell another. Spread it like a virus, choke off their business, make them suffer for their arrogance and idiocy. Perhaps deliver the Flaming Bag of Poo to the Farahi family manse. I dunno, I just don't give a shit any more.


Gotta run, time to make some fried chicken before I go to work, maybe see my boy Dre up at Carson Station, he's in town with Steppen Stonz. Then maybe hit Jam Night at Indigo in Minden, do a little networking. Until I can secure a second PT job, it won't hurt to network.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder If I Did The Right Thing.....

.....then I realize I just had gas.

Okay, seriously. I do wonder if I've done the right thing. I looked at the news today, and saw some depressing economic news. For those of you not familiar with the Truckee Meadows, the northeastern part of the area holds the City of Sparks, and just off I-80 east of the Sparks Marina (which is what you get when a construction project literally becomes a sinkhole, and you decide to make the best of it) is a large new mall-type project known simply as Legends. The first few shops of the Legends complex opened up a few months ago, and the remainder will open this summer. Yesterday, there was a job fair to start the hiring process for what's expected to be around 700 retail, security, and other rather menial jobs at the other tenants of the complex. The job fair, which was hosted by the John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino & Hotel (Author's note: There are several 'Nugget' casinos in the Reno-Tahoe-Carson area, with some differentiated by the names of the individual owners), expected about 3,000 people to attend the fair.

5,000 was the last estimate from the Reno Gazette-Journal. My sources suggest that number may be somewhat conservative, but think about it: Five thousand people applying for seven hundred jobs. The odds aren't good, the job-seekers having less than a one-in-seven chance of getting hired. Factor in that most of the merchants setting up shop in Legends take applications online, the odds are probably more like 1:9 or 1:10.

Well, I'm still waiting on calls from jobs I've applied for online, so I have hope. And just a little bit of time on my side. I still won't go back to Atlantis, no way, no how. Cockbreath McPothead has to be canned before I do that. I'm not about to worry just yet. And hopefully my boss from my courier route will pay me today, and my transmission holds out long enough that I can get to Chico on Saturday to see Stolen Babies. I'd all but talked myself out of it, saying I can't afford it. Joy and I skipped the debut of our good buddy Jeremy Orris with his new band I Dekay last night for that very same reason. But the Babies haven't come within 400 miles of Reno in 18 months, and I get the feeling that Saturday may be their last live show for a while, as they get ready to record their next album. I really don't want to miss out on that. I'll just have to talk myself back into it, and hope for the best.

Now, it's back to CareerBuilder......

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And Now That It's Over.....

I'm just tired. Tired of a lot of things. Tired of people. I want to play, and just play for the fun of it. But it isn't fun any more. I've lost my love of music. So now I need to either enter the workforce, or find my love again and find a new gig. I told Calvin that I wasn't quitting Powerlight, just quitting the Atlantis. And I'm dead serious about it. Until Cockbreath McPothead gets canned, I'll never set foot on the property again. So if Calvin finds some big-boy gigs elsewhere, I'll be happy to hook up with him again. But I know the score, so I don't expect that to happen any time soon.

I also want to watch a show once in a while. But an unexpected expense has pretty much devastated our bank accounts. I was going to head to Carson City early on Thursday with Joy to see my bro Jeremy play with his new band, I Dekay, but that's out of the question. I'd also been planning for the last several weeks to see my favorite new band, LA's Stolen Babies, in Chico on Satruday, but thanks to this bill we were barely able to pay the rent. A full tank of gas getting to Chico and back, then going on my courier route, is also pretty much out of the question. We'll see what happens. My truck is dying on me with a uncooperative transmission and bald tires, and I'm just hoping our tax return shows up before it finally goes kaput.

Hell, I just wanted to go to Jam night at Sidelines in Sparks tonight, but I'm sick with a sinus infection that was sadly self-inflicted (take allergy meds that dry me out so badly that infection is inevitable, or just not be able to breathe worth a damn - some choice, eh?), so right now I'm moving between the computer and the couch, coughing up phlegm, occasionally sneezing blood (this last winter was rough on my sinuses), and otherwise being generally miserable and depressed. I know that something will turn up, but it's just the holding on until then that's difficult.

Wish me luck.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Very Long Night

Last night was pretty weird. I leave for the Atlantis fairly late now, because I have no real reason to be early. I'm not interested in seriously altering the set-up of the Vkit for this last gig (aside from tilting the snare a bit towards me), and I have no other equipment to assemble, arrange and align, so why bother? As long as Robert has a mic set up for my vocals, I'm a (reasonably) happy camper. Yet there's a surprise waiting for me as I go up to the stage. Along side Robert is Atlantis' Entertainment Director, the man in charge of dealing with the cabaret bands, as well as the national-level and international acts that play in the second-floor ballrooms.

We've talked before. A few months back, I talked to him about possibly purchasing the Atlantis' old plexiglass drum screen. He blew smoke politely, and theorized that the price would likely be far higher than I was even remotely interested in paying for. This was a key moment in my decision to move to triggering my drums.

He introduced himself, this being the first time we'd talked face-to-face, and asked me how things were going. I looked him square in the eye that things were okay, aside from being falsely accused of damaging the kick drum, which really didn't matter any more because I was leaving the band at the end of the week, then went back to adjusting the snare stand. He looked at me for several moments, while I ignored him. I think he was trying to place the voice, and comprehend what I'd said. Being the only drummer in the conversation, I could've told him about Cockbreath McPothead's accusation in Klingon, and I doubt he'd have understood any better. He then promptly left. I was rather surprised that he was there, since his usual schedule has him coming into work usually at 6 or 7 in the morning. I wonder who asked him to come by? I'll have to ask Robert that tonight. I'd also cut my hair short the night before (Joy was upset that I didn't leave her a chunk of long hair in a ponytail to play with) so I think they were expecting someone with long hair. I also found out that Joy had lodged a complaint with the Atlantis over Cockbreath McPothead, and found that a majority of my friends amongst the employees thought he was full of shit. Perhaps I'll get what I want.......

But I'm not holding my breath.