Sunday, June 19, 2011

Getting Back On The Horse

In about ten hours, I'll be rolling over to Roger's garage to set up for the first Dirty Joe practice in some time. I'm nervous, as Roger has told me that they might finally have a singer to fill the void at frontman. Oh wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself. Did I tell you how their gig went, the one that I had to bail on because I went to Nevada instead? It didn't go all that well.

First off, I had to scramble to find replacments. Jay Reid never showed up, despite reassuring me that he would cover for me. So it's the Fred Phelps Award for ya, bucko - and ne'er to be trusted again. And Britton backed out as well, so I went 0-fer for the night's replacement's. But Roger was able to find a replacement drummer - oddly enough the same person who'd gone around spreading rumors that we were meth addicts - so let's just say that I'm glad I wasn't there. Probably would've killed the bastard right there and then. And this new singer..... all I know about him is that he's another transplant from Hawai'i, and he's more of a 60's rock guy. Well, we can adapt if he's talented enough. And I'll still be singing a lot of songs a night anyway, so why go into this without an open mind?

Here's hoping for the best. And here's hoping I can get some sleep tonight. It's been a busy weekend so far - first running out to 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn to visit my old homey Curtis Seals, who was in town playing with his band Gruvbox. Then earlier tonight Joy and I made a quick visit to what until recently was the Veela Cafe downtown - though now it was called The Caffeinated Clothier due to new owners - to see an old friend of my stepdaughter's, who was playing the bodhran (a traditional Irish frame drum) along with a fiddler, both in pirate garb. It was a nice change of pace, being in the crowd rather than in front of it, but I'd rather be playing any day of the week.

I'd rather be paid to be there than pay to be there.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Strangest Weather Is Always In June

And I'm not kidding. This last trip down to Minden was strange, and not in a good way. In fact, this last trip sucked balls. And it did so right from the very start. Y'see, Joy wanted to come with. I do love her with all my heart, but it changes the way I travel. I have to accommodate her needs, and while I'll do so happily, it costs time and money to do so, and with my money as tight as it is, Joy traveling with me makes things that much harder. So we take the detour to Bend to visit with her sister's family. That wasn't so bad, it's just out of my way. Little did I suspect that 'out of my way' was going to be the least of my problems.

First off, my truck was acting up. I may have mentioned it previously that my heater core sprung a leak a few weeks back. I put some liquid-copper sealant in my radiator to fix the problem, and while it was holding, there was still enough of a leak that I dared not use my heater for the trip. So it was a pretty cold trip. And while passing through the eastern foothills of the Sierras above Susanville, CA, it started snowing. Hard. I mean big, fat-ass flakes that covered the road in a matter of minutes. In a space of about ten minutes I went from clear skies to near-whiteout conditions. And on top of that, our freaking out was causing our windshield to fog up. Remember what I said about not using the heater? Well, since I absolutely needed to see where I was going, I made a command decision and turned on the defogger full-blast and full-hot. And within a few seconds we were moving easier, and the blizzard (yes, blizzard - I would not use that term lightly) mercifully abated as we reached the southeastern edge of Eagle Lake. Thankfully the rest of the trip went without incident, and we pulled into the CVI's motor lodge a little after midnight.

The gig itself didn't get off to a good start. Thursday was dead quiet. And it didn't help that Joy seemed a little grumpy with me going off to get my free meal in the employee's commissary in the bowels of the CVI, either. She seemed downright jealous of me because she couldn't go, so I wound up going only once in three nights - and y'all know me, I never turn down free food. Friday night was better, and Saturday more so, but friends of ours weren't coming to the shows, or at least not as many as usual. But enough people came to fill up the cabaret. And after Saturday's gig was finished, my old friends Dean and Shelly Brownell came by the CVI to get breakfast, and surprised me while I was tearing down my equipment, and invited Joy and I to join them. I had to run back over to the motor lodge to go get her, but we did eventually join them for what I will (much to my surprise) call a business meal....

Now if only the weather would've been nicer. It was cold, windy, and threatening to snow almost the whole weekend - and it did snow a few miles away up at Lake Tahoe, and snow a lot. Funny thing was, it was warmer in Port Angeles than it was in Minden, where the temperatures were running nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the beginning of June. I was actually looking forward to going home to warm up for once! And sure enough, by the time my poor little truck descended down Willamette Pass into Eugene, it was much warmer than when we left Minden.

But I have to look on the bright side - all the drama and travel was better than what I'd had to pass up. Y'see, Dirty Joe was already booked for that Saturday, to play for Roger's motorcycle club. Mikey called me to remind me of the previously booked gig (that I swear I didn't remember), so I made arrangements to have Jay Reid cover for me on the drums, and Britton and Roger's friend Jana to cover vocals while I was away. And to look even further on the bright side, Mikey paid me in cash - Roger told me that I was only going to get cash after he sold my share of......


Oh well. Now I'm home, and I (for the moment) have about four weeks to kill. So now it's time to get Dirty Joe up and running smoothly. We have a July 4th gig lined up, and that money will be much needed, if only so I can get back down to Minden the following week. August will have us back in Sparks for Hot August Nights, and hopefully other gigs for both bands will fill out my summer schedule.

Here's hoping I'm busy soon.....

POSTSCRIPT: I just found out earlier today that one of our regulars passed away, just after we left Minden. Nan (that's all I knew her by) passed in her sleep, Mikey called to inform me of it today. Joy was stunned, they'd just been talking about TENS units - Joy wanted to make pads for her when she got her unit. She and her grandson Josh were always at our gigs, and she will be missed. RIP