Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going Coastal

I just got back the other day from a gig out on the Oregon Coast. It was a pleasant gig, but not great. There could've been more people there, especially on Sunday night, but I can't complain too much. The last time I played at the Three Rivers Casino in Florence, I played with a band that I don't have much contact with any more, mostly because the bandleader is a lying backstabbing bastard. And no matter how quietly I played, I was getting slagged for playing too loud. So, to prepare for the gig I took the heads off my drums and replaced them with a different set of heads that I'd modified with a generous application of carpet padding. Then I applied electronic drum triggers (basically similar to guitar pickups) to each head and ran them through the Simmons Hybrid controller that I got for my birthday in February. I still have some learning to do with muffling the heads properly, and getting the best contact of the triggers to the heads to get the best possible sound, but it was a good enough job to get by.

The drive over was easy enough, though I've come to the conclusion that Mike and Arthur really don't like driving too much, and would just take the easiest route to get where they're going rather than the the shortest route. I'd wanted to take Joy with me, but Mike really wasn't down with that idea, so I dropped her off in Bend to visit with her sister while I was out in Florence. I'd been informed that there was no way in hell that I could find the bandhouse, so I was told to go to the casino and wait for the guys there. I really hate to tell them this, but they were making mountains out of molehills. While the bandhouse was off US101 and up a dirt road, I had no doubt that I could've found it if given the proper directions.

The bandhouse itself was something of a shock - it was actually a nice house! And since nobody had a real idea as to who owned the place, my mind started to fill in the blanks for me. Whether I wanted it to or not. I even took a hint from Joy and brought in my thor's-hammer to bless my bedroom and protect it from evil. I later learned that the casino rented the house from the couples who owned it and were still in the process of remodeling it, but I slept the firs night in the house with the nagging feeling that something sinister was lurking.

I have to give a kudo to the casino's soundman, Jeff. He remembered me from the year before, and was nearly moved to tears when he saw that he had nothing to worry about with my newly-modified drums. That, plus the addition of a drum-screen to the stage, made me very quiet and mellow for the audience's safety. The shows themselves were okay, just not to a lot of people.

My only real disappointment was that there weren't good crowds that weekend. One of the waitresses was rather disappointed as well. The casino is the only real source of nightlife in the area, but it's still heavily dependent on tourists coming in from around western Oregon and southwest Washington, so if they're not there, the audiences get a little thin. I still had to go buy a few odds and sods in Eugene, so Cliff and I made a day of it and got a great lunch at Three Forks Wok & Grill (excellent stuff, right there in the same stripmall as the Guitar Center in Eugene - jackpot!). I really didn't leave the bandhouse much beyond that, other than for expeditions for groceries. Didn't really want to, because I just wasn't interested. All I wanted to do was to get the gig over with and get back to Bend to be with my wife.

I really shouldn't be so negative. I do get to do what I love to do, and get paid for it. But I never know when things will really start to go downhill with Joy, so I just would rather be with her and take care of her. But at least I'm working. I'll be pretty busy through the remainder of the month, and playing on Halloween night in Carson City at the Carson Station. That could be fun. I'm suggesting themed costumes for that night. Maybe 'Wizard of Oz' or something like that. Just as I'm not the Tin Man. Then it'd be hard to play.....