Shinybass journal entry 2-20-11
A day early and a dollar over…
OK, that wasn’t as witty as I would have liked to start, but as ‘they’ say, it’s not how you start, but rather how you finish. Or Swedish. Or something. A strong ending is just as important as a strong beginning, that is for sure. But let’s not discount the creamy middle. I was thrown a huge curve this weekend by Phil, who is sort of an’off the cuff’ performer. He will just sit and start playing a song, and well, we had better be ready for whatever he throws. Turns out on Saturday he started a song that we didn’t rehearse much, which is no excuse, but I totally blanked on the solo section – the creamy middle. (Insert audible gasp from musicians : ‘You can’t point out that you screwed up!’) Guess what? I can, and I do. Admit my mistakes, that is, because that is how we LEARN, kind people. And learning is FUN! And I will never make that mistake again. But that was last night. Don’t you want to hear/see about Friday night? Doncha?
Chicago. My kind of town. Seriously. It’s clean, friendly, and in the few years I have been out on the road, I have been fortunate to get there a few dozen times. The venue this go-round was Joe’s on Weed St., which I had my first taste of 10 years ago with King Konga. It was nuts then, and well, it’s nuts now. Phil sold out the show, and in selling out, already announced we’ll be back in October. I like that kind of popularity. By then I hope we have a new #1 single under our collective touring belt. The new single ‘Love is Alive’ is hitting the airwaves in April. I’ll keep you posted. But back to Chicago.
Last year, my Dad and I stayed in Chi-town for 3 days for a little fun and baseball. As we walked around, we popped into the Hard Rock hotel and inquired about room rates. Next thing I know, I’m back in town, and staying at…The Hard Rock Hotel. I love it when a plan comes together. A couple of great things about the hotel – all the memorabilia on each floor, the best being the guitar and leather coat from John Lennon, as seen here.
The silver space suit from the Styx ‘Mr. Roboto’ Tour in 1982 was not even worth the KB space on my phone. What a hot mess that tour was. Singing about robots…but back to the hotel. The other great thing about the hotel was the bathroom. Not only did it have a shower big enough for the starting lineup of the Brazilian Women’s Volleyball team (a boy can dream), but it had a view! Yes, a window in the shower, 10 floors above the city. It’s only rock n’ roll, but I like it.
(Another) great thing about this new gig is the ‘free’ time we have been able to find. The crew is top-notch, and our window for sound check is conducive to exploration, so with time on our hands, we were out and about in the city. One of our crew had never been, so we went for a little Michigan Avenue stroll, which was a nice switch from the gym. I’d much rather walk a couple of miles outdoors than on the hamster wheel at the local sweat house. Plus, I like playing tourist.
The show itself was a madhouse. We played for a couple of hours, and Phil was pulling out all kinds of songs, and was all over the bar, making for a fantastic Friday night. The beauty of Phil’s show is that you will never see the same show twice. Ever. I like that. He has said that playing music should be different, and that if you are coming out to see us, then you should get more than just the album versions of songs. Case in point, ‘Six Pack’ is a solid 20 minutes long. And a fun song to play. But to wrap up, Chicago is always a wonderful visit, and I look forward to seeing it again soon.
After a short bus ride we found ourselves in Bloomington, Indiana, home of IU basketball and Opie’s, a local ‘Eats’ joint boasting an opera singer/server and thick hamburgers. We were playing the Indiana theater, and of course, we pick the same night that IU is having a home basketball game. So no sellout, but still a good and spirited crowd, and we were able to cut up a little bit. I discovered via YouTube that the boys on this bus are pranksters, so I barricaded myself in the dressing room while showering. Last thing I wanted was a bowl of pasta salad from catering thrown on me for ‘funsies’.
Here’s the abbreviated set – more pictures of the ramps and smoking boxes as we get out and do more shows. But let’s get back to the first paragraph of this entry – strong finishes. I’ve had some interesting discussions lately with friends about follow-through – i.e. finishing projects. I only talk about it because of my laundry list of things to conquer. I know I preach it all the time, but now, as the sun has decided to show its face again, and the bulbs are starting to peek out of the once-frozen ground, it is also time for us to be inspired. We need to open the windows (both literally and figuratively) and let the cool breeze wash over us as we dream and focus on the future. As a whole, we have been economically depressed, winter depressed, and simply depressed depressed. Ain’t nothing to cry about. I promise. It will all be OK. One step at a time.
I am off for the bulk of the week, but have decided to tackle a big writing project for Premier Guitar Magazine, and that will keep me busy for the rest of the week. The gym is going to be sick of looking at me this week, too. With the sun comes time sans shirt, which right now is a pale and scary thing, so in my follow-through, I got some push ups to attend to. Enjoy this week, and if you need some quick insight, follow me on twitter @shinybass.
See you on the road!