Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 08-13-12

Could be worse.  Could be ra–….

Monday Monday.  You are a sight for sore eyes.  Not that I wanted the weekend over, because I really didn’t, however, there are times when you can’t help but look ahead and get into planning mode of the weeks to come.  Right now is that time.  The planning and executing time.  I’m not really at liberty to talk about things that are going down in Phil’s camp but they will show themselves in a couple of weeks, and you will be excited, especially if you live in Nashville.  So with that veiled offering, I am also working diligently on the project I couldn’t talk about a few weeks ago as well.  I might as well call my house Area 51.  All in due time.

There is a great saying that I live by – ‘Careful what you wish for, because you just may get it’.  It is so very true.  We dream of fortune, fame, travel, and then boom – we get it.  Then we have tax problems, can’t eat a meal in peace, and we miss our family terribly.  So when wishing on that star, make sure you see the downside, because with every upside, there is a downside.  I always wished to be on a tour bus and touring the world.  This past week, we headed to Ohio then north of Toronto in Canada.  Not really the world, but you get my point.  The downside – it rained the entire weekend.  When we say we live on a bus, well, this weekend, we lived on the bus.  Atrophy has set in.  With the exception of a fine lunch at Zoup! and a shower in Ohio, we didn’t leave the bus.  Very sad, really.

And I am not complaining.  I did 4 hours on a Greyhound once in the middle of the night, and I wanted to kill myself.  We have creature comforts, so it’s not like we are in a corrugated tin box on the back of a flatbed being trafficked to rock-breaking school.  We do have leather couches and DirecTV.  I know, you could get used to this, right?  It’s not the surroundings, it’s the time, which is why prison doesn’t look so inviting.  OK, that and toilet wine.  The bus offers an extremely comfortable mode of transportation, but at times, you would like to get out and walk around a little – feel the clean midwestern air fill your lungs and the sun warm your shoulders.  We settle for a freezing cold front lounge and reading lights in our bunks.  Again – it beats so many modes of transportation, but careful what you wish for.  As soon as I start wanting sunshine, I’ll find the bus broken down in the middle of the high desert.  See how that works?

Ohio – Maumee, to be exact.  We were playing the rib-off, which I guess is like a cook off of sorts, however, the only menu item for the day was, well, rain.  And more rain.  We didn’t think the show was going to be close to happening – the stage was soaked, the gear was covered, and forecast grim.  The faithful held out, however, and the opening act went on, much to our amazement.  Not that we haven’t / won’t play in the rain, but I have learned that the chances of an electrical accident grow exponentially when water is involved.  It’s not a fun feeling.  The opener managed to get a few songs out, and then the powers that be pulled the power.  Phil delayed for a long time, hoping the rains would pass.  And no offense to the concert goer, but the rain wasn’t our concern – it was the stage.  It resembled a koi pond. Fate and a leaf blower intervened and Phil was able to go on and do a few songs by himself.  Of course, we were a little itchy to play from sitting all day (and once that music starts), so we jumped in and played the last 3 or 4 songs as well.  Crazy night, because then it started raining again.  Before we knew it, we were back on the bus, and headed to the Great White North.

Crossing the border in a bus and trailer is a bit tricky.  We have to list every single piece of gear we have, down to the serial number, and can’t take any produce into the country.  I understand completely, and for a touring act it’s a little different than the casual tourist.  Surprisingly, the border crossing went pretty smoothly, however, the ‘gathering of the passports’ looked rather suspicious to me, especially next to a stack of cash.  Hmm…this is all we need to get in, eh?

We made our way North, then hit the Boots and Hearts Festival, which featured us, Sheryl Crow, Alabama, and Kid Rock.  And the rain.  Lots of it.  For such a great lineup and festival setting, it was a shame the rain held so many people in their campers.  There were a lot of brave souls (it was Canada, after all) that hung out in the rain, including us, for the entire day was spent drying out.  Catering was a good 150 yards away from the bus, along with our dressing room, so it was always a fun jaunt to get a snack (since the border guards took our bananas).

Needless to say, when we hit the stage, for some reason the skies opened, and the sun came out of nowhere.  There was the sun on our faces we had dreamed of.  The sun lasted for another 2 hours, carrying through our set, and Sheryl Crow’s set.  Her band was great, and she can still bring it. Alabama was on during my visit to catering, but Jeff and I did manage a gherm photo of Jeff Cook before he went on stage.

Now is the tricky part of the night – the Kid Rock.  I am not a fan.  I know people from his camp, and I understand he has sold a bunch of records, yadda, yadda, but I just don’t get it.  His band are very nice.  I have met Bob (Kid) before, and I look at it and think ‘Wow, if he worked at Jiffy Lube…’ I will say that he has done ‘his thing’ and done it for a long time, and in this industry, that’s huge.  I don’t like the ‘lowest common denominator’ factor about his music, and he’s not trying to win any jazz grammies, so we can just stay on our respective sides of the world.  And backstage he managed to ensure just that.  No side stage watching unless you had a KR pass, and they closed off backstage before the show to everyone.  What this means is that if I wanted to walk from our bus to the dressing room, I would have to wait until he was onstage.  Now you are messing with my bathroom time.  Not cool.  I get it, I really do, but it’s unnecessary.  I’ve seen so many artists ‘clear the hallways’, and it’s a pile of shit.

I managed to escape Canada without hearing one note of the Bob Ritchie show, and that was OK with me.  We had  along run ahead, and frankly, I was beat.  I was awakened around 1AM by a US border guard, but in contrast to say, going into Macedonia, there were no automatic weapons, and he was nice as can be.  I was back in bed in 30 seconds.  My kind of crossing.

As we ambled down the road, we decided to grab a little breakfast, where I spotted this truck kitty.  I am not sure that this is the best idea, but if it keeps them both happy, then there you go.  The cat sleeps 18 hours a day anyways, and probably keeps him up at night, so maybe it’s a win-win. This poor thing looks like it was in a fight. Or maybe he’s that bad-ass.


One more trip down I-65, and we were home.  It seemed like forever since we left, even though it was just Thursday night.  I am thankful for the rain, because so many areas need it, including ours, so a few hours cooped up isn’t going to hurt.  Again, it could have been much worse, and for worse reasons.  I hope that you are ready for a hell of a week, and for a hell of a rest of ’12.  Next week I’ll clue you all in as to what is going on, and it’s going to be crazy.  I promise.


A parting shot, from one of my favorite shows of the 70’s…


I’m living on the air in Cincinnati….


See you on the road!





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