Shinybass journal entry 09/08/18
That’s how I feel some days. (Disclaimer – this may be more personal a post than most, so bear with me). I’m torn between things I love, as someone shouldn’t have to be. This may take a while to explain, so buckle in and get a snack.
I love what I do for a living. I love to play music, I love to listen to music, I love to be immersed in music. Not all music, mind you, but I will give anything a listen once. I also love to write. I love swishing my fingers across a keyboard and hoping the words that appear on the page abdksofm amdjhaholf. I also love working in video, capturing moments that may last forever in some form or fashion, if nothing more than to be a laugh when we are older.
I was asked at a show last night ‘What have you been up to?’. I wish I had an easy answer for that. Mostly I’ve been Husband and Dad, which are my two hardest and most rewarding jobs. I haven’t posted a journal entry in a minute, because, quite honestly, I haven’t been doing many shows on the road. That doesn’t mean I’m not busy, but the busy is a different busy. Family time has been the bulk of my days, and who wants to hear about neither child wanting to sleep, eat anything, or listen? And the video projects I’ve been working on don’t get released for some time, so no news there. So to answer the first question, I guess I’ve just been trying to navigate like the rest of us in this world, and gather as many smiles as I can at the same time.
I am also presently playing the role of a frustrated writer. I have some great things in the mix, however, the muse has run into the rabbit hole for 6 more weeks of proverbial winter. I read the blogs on how to unblock, and you know, it ain’t easy. Go for a walk, do something different, eat spicy foods (Oh wait, that was the pregnancy blog…), however, I will say this: If you want results, you have to perform. As in that song ain’t gonna write itself, that workout ain’t gonna sweat itself, and that book ain’t gonna read/write/publish itself either. And realize that just by opening the laptop and composing this, I have started back on my horse.
What does that mean to you? Well, nothing, really, unless you take this away: We (the humans on this planet) are here to help each other. In some form or fashion. Like when we leave home for days on end to play shows for you, it’s awfully nice if you put the cell phone down (how many pictures do you really need?) and occasionally clap. (Before we get all bent – I’m not speaking to all of you, or any of you, for that matter – just ‘those’ people that bring, say, iPads to the shows). Anyhow, the name of the game is reciprocity.
And I am not even looking for a fair or even trade. Just make these long days and even longer nights worth the time we all spend out here. You know what’s really cool? Traveling on a tour bus. You know what really sucks? Traveling on a tour bus. You know what the best part of my day is? Honestly? The few minutes alone with my bass. The fingers finding the notes on an instrument that inspired me 30+ years ago, and the one that continues to love, baffle, motivate, stimulate, and suffocate. The irony of bass is that the less you play, the better you sound. Mastering the art of restraint and simplicity is a Zen (or is it Tao?) exercise all in itself, and becoming one with the instrument on a molecular level is the strata we all wish to achieve.
But enough about that bass, ‘bout that bass. You don’t want to hear my inner monologue (I PROMISE), however, I only share these little tidbits because I feel you need to have the whole picture. Why I am the way I am. I care. I honestly do.
So on with the show. We had a couple of shows this past week, which I won’t bore you with the details of the set list or the settings on my bass. I will say that my Pedego has kept me going (and sane) out here, which allows me to see so much. This picture of my pedal covered in New Jersey sand as I unload it in Illinois makes me smile. As do the old buildings I see when I am out. But enough bikes and belvederes, I will talk about something near and dear to my heart: food.
Here’s another tidbit for all of you wanting to be in the music touring roadshow business: Get ready for lots of bad food, and redundant food at that. Here’s the skinny (every pun intended): There’s a reason the Fair only comes around once a year. The food they serve is not good for you. It’s so bad for you, in fact, that it should be law that you can only attend one fair a year. In the course of a touring season, we’ll see 20-30 county or State Fairs. So if you’re in country music and in our touring circles (everyone is at one point), ribbon-cut, deep-fried, chocolate-dipped hotdogs will, in fact be one of your food options multiple times in your endless summer.
To be fair (again, every pun intended), we are provided food by the promoter. Here’s your menu: Lunch: this is generally what we call ‘flat meat’ (deli tray), which is pretty awful. It’s a sodium-rich blend of bland and slimy that makes for a bad afternoon. And that’s if the flies haven’t helped themselves to it first. Then there’s the BBQ. Always with the BBQ, these people. For some reason promoters think every country act loves to eat BBQ. The truth is, I do. Give me a little char and that award-winning sauce, and yes, on occasion, I will eat BBQ. Not three days a week, and not from a chain restaurant. (My general rule is I don’t frequent places ending in apostrophe S (‘S). So Famous Dave’s falls into this category. Again, these are foods that should be eaten on occasion.
Dinner: Here’s the ‘hit-or-miss’ portion of the day. We have specific items we’d like to see on our dinner tables, and some hit the mark, and some skirt steak their way to do just enough to satisfy our food requirement. It’s all about the money. Always.
Now, what happens when a country act plays 3 fairs in a week? That’s right. Diabetes and increased cholesterol. There are stop-gap measures in place to combat these things. First, we do have a contract rider, and it can specify no deli trays or BBQ. Sometimes that goes unheeded, and we get a ‘you get what you get’ day. Those are the days I’m looking for a taco truck.
Not every day is like this. We meet a lot of great people who take pride in the food they serve, and it does not go unappreciated or unnoticed. Just this past week we had home made peach cobbler for dessert. That’s the kind of love we genuinely appreciate. I suppose we are simple creatures after all. Feed us. Feed our egos and our stomachs.
Thank you for letting me vent a little about our little world, and in a small effort to make our lives better, hopefully yours is better as well. Be nice to each other, enjoy the quiet moments, and remember: life is too short for burnt popcorn.
See you on the road!