Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Miss Austin

I miss Austin. Have you ever missed a place so bad that you feel like a piece of your soul quietly slips away every day that you're not there? I've missed people like that after they were no longer part of my life. I've missed music I didn't have. I've missed other places I've lived. But not like this...I miss everything about Austin. I miss the silly middle age hippy dance you see at the Saxon Pub. I miss Barton Springs. Even though I hardly actually went there. I just miss knowing it was there for the people who like it. I miss Torchy's, and all other breakfast tacos. I miss the one and a half seasons. Really...who needs 4? I miss the comfort, I miss the speed at which time saunters there. Some places I've lived, I was wound like a top. Some places I was restless and bored. Austin I felt just right. I had a talk with Jon Dee Graham about it before I left. He knows - he left once for his career. He told me you just can't explain it - there's something magical about Austin, Texas. I had the best relationships of my life there - with women, with friends, with musicians - and of course with my beloved Kim, who I met there, who I remain with to this day. Thank you, Austin. Maybe one day we will move back and once again be a part of you. I confess I get choked up at the sound of your name. I tell audiences you are where I'm from, because I feel like I am. And because it helps sell CD's. My career aspirations call, but you and I were oh-so-good a match.

Yet sadly, Austin, at the same time I was always bitter that your music community never accepted me as I'd hoped. Your musicians certainly came to do so, even some of your club promoters who I spent all that time coveting. But your masses - the ones who enable a musician to truly succeed in Austin - where were you? Your booking agents, your small record labels. Your papers, your radios, your residencies. I had certain writers and DJ's in your ranks who were always very into what I had. But I never made your playlists, your year end recommendations. No-one ever said, "This guy stayed in Austin because he loved it, look at all the great music he's sharing with us. Look at all the great musicians we have who speak for him." And don't even talk to me about SXSW. I gave you everything I had Austin, and yet I had to leave. I never wanted to. While I love you with all of it, you kind of broke my heart.

It's OK though, Austin. I'm in a city with more opportunity, with more irons and more fires. And I think you like people who return because they couldn't stand being away. I'm going to show you, Austin. I'm going to make the best record of my life this year. I'm going to capitalize on the fans I'm making across the country. I'm working as hard or harder as I worked there. And one day I will be back, Austin. I love you too much. It's as simple as that. Just don't break my heart twice. I don't think I could take it a second time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When In Rome

We're in Rome. Georgia. There's lots to do here in Rome. For instance, we tried finding a music store, to get some gear looked at, and maybe buy strings and things. No music store. No Office Depot, no Best Buy, no Pei Wei, but at least 5 college campuses. I guess I'm just complaining because I'm about to crack on some gear I need to buy, and with all the schools here, I just assumed Rome was a little bigger.

This is a tough one, because it's been a week or so, and I'm trying to put together an insightful and entertaining blog, yet the TV in here is blaring pridefighting championships, which is somewhere between pro wrestling and UFC. Entertaining yes. Major testosterone - uh yeah? Mental stimulant...not so much.

What I can say is that I'm getting more comfortable in my opening slot, as we've been doing them almost every day. And as a result - I'm in great command, and selling some CD's again. I had started thinking I was going to have to start paying people out here to buy them (you know, like Universal or Capitol often do...).

Here's a good picture of James and Miguel not learning from my lesson, and also my beloved Kim sent me a picture of herself and our dear Alaska. Sorry for forcing you to indulge me. We're both so in love with our cat, it's ridiculous.

Oh - Nashville! My band and I are playing 3rd & Lindsley Monday May 17, along with Kalisa Ewing, and the exquisite Rose Falcon (of Sowing Circle fame). I want to see you out there, I'm not on Nashville stages much these days. The band is ready again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hot 'Lanta, McAleer's Pub

We spent the day in Atlanta yesterday. The gig was kind of ridiculous, but the rest of the day was great. They gave us a fixed budget to wander and buy lunch with, so I managed to strategize and get my lunch AND dinner out of it. That was A1. Then we went back to the hotel and - this was a Mariott, a really classy place - they had free beer for a full hour and a half in the 2nd floor lounge. I guess this is how the other half lives. So nap time got put off another day, but what can you do?

Where we were in downtown Atlanta looks and feels a lot like lower Manhatten, and it got me a bit nostalgic for the place, which I think we're returning to sometime this year. Not the parts where I worked all those awful jobs, running my career and band up against a wall, etc. etc, but more the shot of relevenace I felt my life needed, that it ultimately received in living there. Maybe it makes no sense now as an adult, but at 19 it seemed to mean everything to me.

Mostly, what I miss us...not when I knew that I lived in the same neighbohood as Iggy Pop, or that I was hustling gigs at the same venues that Neil Young and Bob Dylan did 30 years prior, or even the feeling from having an A&R rep from Atlantic call me up to talk about possibilities (that went nowhere). No, the thing I miss most is the one thing I couldn't wait to get away from - the bar I spent 4 years working in - as cook, doorman, and finally day bartender. The professional alcoholics I ran with there were very seasoned New Yorkers, seasoned livers of life, and ultimately seasoned cohorts - though I ultimately did quit so as to avoid joining their ranks as professional day alcoholic. In a strange, strange way, there is something comforting about being in the presence of people on such a serious regimen of acceptance. I spend my whole life accepting nothing. Here was true resignation to the accumulation of certain harsh realities, because let's face it, not everyone makes it to the 26th mile. I find myself writing about this theme a lot, the first one was Dakota, and that's why it's still one of my favorite songs. My old apartment looked out over the exact halfway point of the NYC marathon. While I always slept through the frontrunners, I managed to wake up in time to watch and admire the stragglers who gave up on their initial goals, and found some salvation in just being there, having given something. I admired it because I know that they slept well that night. So, too, did my distinguished acquaintences at McAleer's Pub on Amsterdam Ave. I often feel like I walked into tha bar knowing nothing about life, and finally ran out knowing everything I'll ever need to. I miss it, I miss those people, and I look forward to going back.I haven't been back in years, though the owner was kind enough to donate generously to the funding of my live CD/DVD last year.

P.S. download HERE (or just go comment)!!:

I miss discovering that harsh reality for the first time - acceptance, dreams broken, pride in resignation - and the boost and reinforcement it ultimately helped feed to my ambitions (like they needed it). Without that, I might well have given up by now, who knows?

Life is all cycles. You have to stay on the fucking bike and just pedal.

Here are some pictures, including a great one of Miguel that illustrates his dedication to his van DVD remote obligations:

This is a magician who was outside our gig in Hot 'Lanta yesterday. I don't remember his name, but his hands shook a lot. The rabbit was really sweet, you could pet him and everything.

Chattanooga was tonight, Marietta, Georgia tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Hello! I'm in Virginia, and only have a second, but wanted to post up a bunch of pictures that have come in recently. This is us in Florida, Finlay, OH (home of Fat Matt, the Nino's staff member who ate all the band's pizza, much to our chagrin), and...somewhere else.

One weird thing is...what has happened to the names of bathroom things? When I tour alone, I stay in Motel 6's, Super 8's, or my car, where they don't label things like soap (or in some cases don't have any). These people I'm out with, though, have class, so we stay in actual nice places - Holiday Inn Express, etc... And instead of "soap", or "shampoo", these things are called "Cleanse", or "Face Bar". "Face Bar"? Now that would be a nasty place. I'm quite political, biased even, but for the life of me I can't find the logic where "soap" has somehow developed into a socially incorrect word?

Anyway, who cares, here are some pictures:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Pain

I am in so much pain from my ongoing tackling habit and the escapde it produced last week, I can't even tell you. Like I said - don't do this. Try not to even start, before it becomes a habit you can't break. I can barely move some days right now.......yet when I see one of the guys in a compromising position I still start moving towards them in preparation for a takedown. It's like a guy hacking up half a lung while reaching for another cigarette. Think Johnny Sacrimono on his death bed. Don't take yourself down this road.

We bared several gruelling elements yesterday, such as excessive heat, humidity, and the knowledge that we were packing up afterwards and driving for 7 hrs - all the standard spring/summer elements for college touring - all to play for a good sized crowd that also ended up being the worst crowd of the year, hands down. Since we're all mature adults here, I won't say where this college was. Let's just say we were stuck there with the Memphis blues. Again. After my second song, there was one guy clapping (as well as the band - thanks band!), so naturally I was thinking, well, I guess I'm sucking tonight. Fair enough, but then Natalie came up and we roared into our set, and by the end of the second song...same thing - same aural tumbleweed. It reminded me of several years ago in Waco. I thought, is it possible that we're both sucking big tonight? No, thank god, it turned out the crowd just sucked. Lame, just sitting there stuffing their faces on crawfish and gumbo, talking to each other, occasionally calling out Freebird. I guess this event was open to all the fraternity houses.

Even still, though, there always seems to at least be one guy, one person to pick you up and make you feel better, without even really knowing that they're doing so. I forget his name, but he came up at break telling us how much he was loving the show. He asked if I wrote those songs I sung, told me how much he liked them, and that he wrote songs himself. Then he told Natalie how much he was liking her stuff and our band. So thanks buddy, whoever you are. You made our night.

We have 30 shows in 30 days, so I'll have plenty to write about. We got some great pics from some recent shows, but I can't upload them from my phone, so will have to do it next blog...

Friday, April 2, 2010


This morning I'm hung up in bed because I started trying to tackle all the guys in the band last night, and in doing so I bruised a rib. Miguel tells me I crashed into a table pretty hard. I guess I did. I remember the impact, but that's about all. So let this be a lesson to all you kids out there - don't drink and tackle. It will eventually catch up with you and you'll get hurt.

I don't know why I drink and tackle, other than that I guess somebody has to do it. It's only when I get past a certain point - in this case involving bartenders at the end of the night offering to hook us up with rounds of white russians and "extra" shots and such (in addition to whatever we'd been steadily pacing ourselves with all night). And only when I'm surrounded by a bunch of guys who are all bigger than me, and probably not in the mood for being tackled. Generally, this stuff happens when you're away from home for too long.

The show was fun, though. This club is massive, this Toby Keith bar. Apparently it should be a lot more hopping tonight, since it's a Friday. It felt...too big last night.

I don't really have anything too deep and profound to say this morning other than "Ow".

Here's something from something we did somewhere, maybe a week ago: