Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 10-28-13

I *heart* Southwest Airlines.

It seems that people are fascinated with our troubadour lifestyle.  (Not to be confused with a gypsy lifestyle…) I hear lots of people say that they want to be us, and they want to do what we do.  Of course, they only see the 90 or so minutes of smiles and occasional right notes.  Most folks have a clouded view of our touring lives, especially when it comes to travel.  We have a bus, which is a tricked-out 12 bunk tour bus that is pretty standard compared to other touring acts.  We don’t have a hot tub on board (’cause I ain’t cleaning it), no tanning bed, and no dog kennel (although we are working on that one).  We are just regular touring folks.  There are lots of rock/pop even country artists with the aforementioned accoutrements, and yes, stars such as Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton use or own private planes.  So when you are in those bands, yes, touring can be a little nicer without TSA the security lines, however, at its core, touring is still touring.  And so we, like many other acts, use a bus and fly commercially.  For all of you jealous of our lives, read on.

Our schedule this week read ‘Omaha, Nebraska to Palm Beach, Florida t0 Yerington, Nevada’.  Let’s pull out our Google map and look at this for a moment.  We are crossing the country more than once on this trip.  And the trip is only a few days long.  If you look at the ‘routing’ on this trip, it’s pretty sensational.  Then, if you look a little closer at the day sheet (which is our daily touring agenda chock-full of information), you’ll see that the cities I listed above were destinations, with the closest airports not actually in those cities.  For day 1, we flew into Omaha (after a layover in St. Louis), then drove to Council Bluffs.  That one wasn’t too bad.  Day 2, we flew from Omaha to Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale, then drove 45 minutes to Palm Beach. Day 3, drove to Ft. Lauderdale, flew to Jacksonville, then Vegas, then Reno (not getting off the plane…).  Day 4, drove to Yerington, NV (middle of nowhere), then played a show, returned that night to Reno. To get home we flew from Reno to Vegas to Nashville.  Everybody get all that?  To sum up – to drive this short trip would have been about an 8100 mile drive, a little less in a plane. And probably a dozen sick people each plane.  Oh, and the 9 hours on the plane to head west would have put us in Berlin if we headed East instead.

No complaints here, though.  I love to be busy, and I love to fly.  It’s the not getting off the airplane business that I have a hard time with.  So Hi-Ho, Hi-ho.  And our first gig was an acoustic show – a radio benefit with Parmalee, Joe Nichols, and Ronnie Dunn.  The acoustic shows are fun, but generally we are at the mercy of the sound and monitors provided , which is always an adventure.  We watched Parmalee, who sounded great, then plowed through our 30 minute set.  I walked back to the hotel to egotistically see myself on ABC’s Nashville.  I am sure my musician (and other) friends are tired of the self-promotional hullabaloo surrounding the show, but it was on my list of things to do.  Next is a movie, I think. Anyhow, I watched my top gun acting and shuddered to think of the alarm going off at 4 AM for our flight out.


As we flew north to fly south, we stopped in Chicago, which is a great airport for a layover.  The Illinois Bar and Grill is a favorite pit stop that has pancakes as big as a go-cart tire and a great jukebox.  Plus private bathrooms are around the corner.  Important for the frequent flyer.  Full of breakfast, we flew to Ft. Lauderdale, where were greeted with 75 degree weather, a terrible view from our room, and $17 hamburgers.  Yes, we were at The Breakers Resort.  I know, it’s awful.

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The first shot is the view from the room.  This touring takes a toll, doesn’t it?  The second is from the sunrise, the morning we were about to spend more than 1/3 of a day on the same plane.  The Lord has a way of balancing things out, doesn’t he?

Next (eventual) stop – Reno.  As Jefferson our keyboard player put it – ‘If Vegas and K-Mart ever had a child, it would be Reno’.  ’nuff said.  With the night off and on East Coast/Central time, we needed to eat.  With a hankerin’ for Mexican, we Yelped a little place just off the main drag in downtown Reno.  It was a hole in the wall, which usually means great food.  We asked a local about the soup, which looked really good.  He said he loved it, and we ordered it.  One tripe soup, please.  Umm, for those of you scoring at home, tripe is stomach.  Cow stomach, of which I tried three bites and could not stomach.  Hey – I tried.  I really did.  Too much sinew for my taste.  Burritos for me and all my friends!

We left for Yerington in time to hit up someplace for lunch.  As we drove around, we happened upon the King’s Diner, which I am telling you here, there and everywhere, that it had one of the TOP 3 hamburgers that I have EVER experienced.  I don’t know what made it so good, but it was incredible.  And the group felt the same way, so it wasn’t just me.  I’m still thinking about it…

We became accidental tourists when we happened upon the old drive-in theater just outside of town.  Rattlesnakes and scorpions be damned, we captured some great pictures.

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And if you look closely of the Reno picture, that’s actually Jdawg stealing my pose. I just wanted to show proof.

With a very full stomach, Jefferson and I took a walk down the main street in Yerington, and we happened to find a gem of a town museum.  Again, if you happen to be in the middle of nowhere, get lunch and visit the museum.  The train display is totally worth it.

Our show went swimmingly, with an extremely enthusiastic crowd rocking with us to the last note.  Then we drove 90 minutes back through the desert to get to the hotel.  I had the boys pull over so I could look at the night desert sky in perfect darkness, and it was incredible.  Always worth the pause, no matter how tired. Once again, the alarm clock was set for a time beginning with ‘4’, and we were back in the comfort of yet another airport, where it’s perfectly OK to charge someone $2 for a banana.

And now, home.  Sleeping last night in my own bed was magical, especially after this week.  I came home to a nice list of projects, so there’s my week ahead for you.  And for those of you that remember my affinity for clocks, well, I’m back on the train.  And speaking of time, remember how valuable your time is.  All time is important, but take second and remember daily how great you really have it.  And remember that not all rock stars rock, or are stars at all.  And the travel isn’t all that it seems.  I must sign off, now, I need to buy some new DVD’s for my bunk…. 🙂


See you on the road!




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