Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 04-16-14

I’m a fast walker.


I realize this now, after a couple days of leisurely strolling around the streets of New York by myself.  My wife and I joined two other friends for 3 fast-paced days in the Big Apple in the days leading up to our show in Freehold this past week.  My wife had never been to NYC, so of course we had to get in as many attractions as possible in a short period of time.  We did the ‘biggies’ : 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, John’s Pizza in The Village, Ben’s Kosher Deli, Little Italy, and Central Park. Dinner at Patsy’s, late-night desserts at The Cake Boss Bakery, and bagels for breakfast were on the agenda as well.  The trip was extremely relaxing, romantic, and informative.  The Circle Line boat tour was the perfect blend of history lesson and pleasure cruise. If you only have a short time in town, you have to take this tour. I learned more in 2 1/2 hours on the boat than a semester’s worth of NY history. Traveling with great friends makes a huge difference, and their adventurous spirit was infectious. A big thank you to them… 🙂

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We were given a VIP tour of the NBC studios, where we were on the set of the Today show and checked out the SNL studio. I’ve been in awe of some venues before, but the simple, small set that is SNL was magical for me. I pictured George Harrison sitting with Paul Simon on that stage, as well as countless other Hall of Famers. I really was a little kid that afternoon. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures on our tour, however my journalistic side came out, and I had to report SOMETHING to the folks at home, so I snapped a picture of the NBC restroom on one of the ‘important’ NBC floors. Mike Meyers could have washed his hands in the same sink I used. Or not – he’s Canadian, you know.

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Since some of us have ‘real jobs’, my wife flew back in the morning on Wednesday, and I was left by myself in the big city all by my lonesome.  I was looking forward to getting out and experiencing as much of the city as I could in 24 hours.  Forgive my lack of adventure –  I stayed on the island – so the Bronx will have to wait until next time. But whilst in the city, I was walking a lot faster than the previous 3 days. If I were to check in via Facebook, you would not have believed the number of places I visited. I’ll probably leave something out, but I had an 11 AM appointment in Chelsea, so I went from Times Square to Chelsea, then to the Chelsea Hotel.  Afterward, I went back to Trinity Church, Wall St., and Federal Hall.  I skated back to Times Square to check in to my new hotel, then back over to Chelsea Market then walked the Highline Trail. Then it was to Central Park, to 5th Ave, back downtown past 30 Rock, Ed Sullivan Theater, then to the Theater District to check into my new hotel. Then it was off to Hell’s Kitchen for an extremely overpriced farm-to-table dinner.  Then I walked back to the hotel to put my feet up for a moment, and then friends picked me up at the hotel. We hit the Press Lounge, a rooftop bar with $11 beers, and a million-dollar view.  Then it was off to Greenwich Village to meet up with another friend who let me sit in with the band.  I made it back to the hotel late, and woke up with a splitting headache, and a head full of memories.

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As I collected my thoughts over postcards and waffles, I really, really, began to reflect on how great the past few days were. Being able to run solo is interesting – I like certain things that would bore the hell out of most folks, and I can move much faster. The downside is not sharing the moment, but having to relay the experience later. I live a charmed life, for sure, and not because of money (clearly), but for the people around me that make me feel like a million bucks. And for once, a personal trip lined up perfectly with work. That just doesn’t happen.

When we first hatched the scheme to visit NYC, it was a few months out, and in such a dynamic industry as ours, plans change at the drop of a sombrero. If a show was booked in the middle of the trip, then our plans would have been dashed. I would watch the calendar every week for changes, and sure enough a date was added. But as I discovered, it was in Freehold, NJ, not far from NYC. As a matter of fact, the bus schedule from NJ Transit had a bus that dropped my weary behind off 2 blocks from our venue. So for those of you scoring at home, you can hop on the 139 from Port Authority and get to the iPlay complex in Freehold, NJ for $14.75, and you will most likely get your own air-conditioned seat on the bus. Of course by this time I realized that if I just keep my headphones in and not make eye contact, then I will look like a local. Except for the matching ‘I (heart) NY’ T-shirt and hat set.

Happily reuniting with the boys from the bus, I realized that we were playing at a massive ‘Fun-plex’, complete with video games, go carts, and laser tag. We had arrived! Add tequila and this could be a fun night. Truth be told, we DID play a private round of laser tag, and for the record J-dawg won, although I am pretty sure the game was rigged. Although I enjoy vacations, I truly enjoyed getting back onstage, and feeling the rumbled of my new Eden 212 cab under my feet. (That’s for the musician gear-head types, there, folks. I switched out one of my 410s for a 212 for added boom.)

After a painfully long bus ride of about 200 miles, we were at our next destination – Hanover, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. We were playing Ram’s Head Live inside the casino. We play Ram’s Head in Annapolis a lot, and I love the room, the staff (and the food), however, due to space limitations, we always play acoustic shows. This go ’round we were full-bore, and it was a welcome change. The two shows were sold out, and the sound and lights were amazing. But all that glitters…

For some reason we had trailer light issues (again), and after we sat on the side of a frozen Nebraska highway for not having proper trailer lights, we weren’t about to be stuck again. So while we were up there rockin’ and you were out there a-drinkin’, our Johnny-on-the-spot Gordon was not only manning the stage and monitor duties, but he was leaving during the show(s) (yes both) to check on the mobile repairman and make sure we could leave on time. So once again, Gordon saved the day. Give that man a hug next time you see him.

I hope that tax season was kind to you. I am a great giver of advice, seldom a great heeder of advice (or grammar, it seems), so true to form I waited until that last possible minute to get my 1040 in. Hence the reason for the delay in my journal. I know, excuses, excuses. But I was also on vacation, so cut me a little slack? A tiny hair?

Yesterday the entire day was spent at a video shoot for a new web TV show I am helping to launch. It’s called ‘Player’s Din’, which is a free-for-all jam with some of the top sidemen in Nashville. I’ll be playing on a future show, but I was on the looking-glass end of the camera yesterday. I hope it comes out OK, and I hope you all dig it.

So there’s your weekly wrap up. What’s the word for the day? Sunshine! It’s actually ‘lawnmower’ for me, but I wanted to be uplifting. Someone send pizza and lemonade in a few hours…

See you on the road!




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