I just got an email today, one I'd been expecting for a few days, from Mike from Steppen Stonz. He was letting me know that he and Arthur were in need of my services again, starting at the end of the month and playing for most of August. I'd gone by to visit them at the Carson Station last week, and let them know that I was available if they needed me, that Dean had informed me recently that the gigs in Topaz that he'd gotten had for the beginning of August been rescinded by the club and given to another band. That was all I said, nothing more. I didn't politick for the gig, it something I just wouldn't do, no matter how desperate I was for the gig. There are lines I just won't cross, no matter what.
Therefore I was a bit surprised when Mike told me that Dee just wasn't working out for them, and that he and Arthur would be more than happy to have me fill in with them again. I actually defended Dee for a bit, and told them that he was doing a good job for them. They didn't try to refute me, but said that they would prefer me over Dee. I feel kinda bad, but not that much, since Dee already has another gig, playing with the various permutations of Escalade around the Reno-Tahoe area. But Dee isn't a drummer much any more, and by his own admission wants more to be a frontman and percussionist than the guy in the back of the stage playing drums. In my own opinion he's qualified for that gig - I've heard him sing, he's a damn good singer - but he's spent less and less time purely as a drummer, and Mike and Arthur have noticed that. I'm a damn good singer in my own right, but I have no aspirations to front a band. I remember all too well what my old friend Dan Hoyer of The Boinkers (www.theboinkers.com) told me once a long time ago back in Washington state:
"Joe, a stable drummer is worth his weight in gold. A stable drummer that can sing is worth a hundred times his weight in gold."
So what does it mean for your favorite asshole drummer? Four more weeks of work, and right when Joy and I could use it the most - just as we've finished moving into the pop-up trailer. The run starts on July 29 or 30, with two weeks at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, followed by two weeks at the Carson Station, the Stonz' de facto home base. and running my courier route all the while. So the bucks will flow quite heavily for a few weeks. This should allow me to get my truck repaired in that time frame, and also put some money away for trips to Sonoma in September and home to Washington in late October for Joy's birthday.
And as the TV pitchman says, but wait - there's more. I'm not going to say that there's an eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the room, but the deuce-and-a-half drummer not in the room is the only real variable in the equation. Y'see, Mike and Arthur still don't know what's going to happen with Dre. They're not sure if he'll ever come back to Nevada. I would sincerely hope that he does. Not that I don't need the work - boy, do I need it - but Dre's worked with Mike and Arthur for seventeen years now, and no matter how comfortable I could get playing with them, I'd always feel like I'm just keeping his chair warm for him.
And in a Twilight Zone moment to beat 'em all, the bass player I worked with at Toad's with Dean called me about an hour after I read Mike's email, telling me he had a gig at the Churchill County Fairgrounds set up for the weekend that would be my first with the Stonz at the Nugget in Sparks. I didn't actually take the call, didn't even hear the phone ring, so I heard the voicemail. This could be a bit difficult......