Nervous

Okay, I’m a little nervous. We have a gig on February 1st.  Given that we took the holidays off that means we have had one practice over the last month and we will only have two more before the 1st.  Now it looks like there might be a conflict this Sunday.  We are hoping to move the rehearsal to Saturday but there is a snow storm in the forecast.  Monday is a holiday and I have it off, I think I’m the only one, so I don’t have my long commute to worry about.  We should be able to have our usual 6:00 start time if the weather doesn’t cooperate on Saturday.  I don’t think we’re going to miss one of our two remaining weekends but like I said, I’m nervous.  We won’t be adding any new songs, but we are hoping to polish off the handful that we added in 2019 without ever playing to an audience.  I have some wood shed time ahead of me, for sure.

On the plus side, our singer told us he bought a new digital mixing board today.  One that we can control with an iPad app.  Does that mean we will turn into one of those bands and all of us will have iPads on stage with us?  Maybe.  Larry and I had a completely unrelated discussion the other day about in-ear monitors.  I would say this is the time to start experimenting with them, but sweet christmas they can get expensive.  No thanks.  If I happen to find a reasonably priced set that fits into my gigantic head (literally, not figuratively) that can also take the place of my ear plugs then maybe, but I don’t see that happening.  Greg uses an in-ear and said it cost him $600.  From what I have seen, that is cheap.  Nope.

Allow me to give some credit here.  In the last few months Greg has really come through for us in the P.A. system department.  I have a mountain of gear that I can bring to the band table, but a good P.A. system is not included.  Greg has stepped up and helped out in a big way.  Now we just have to book gigs so we can use all of the new stuff.

Change of subject, I mentioned the other day that my Uncle was having surgery.  It was actually a triple bypass.  We found out today that he is now off of the ventilator, which is good, but he still has a long way to go before he recovers.  On top of that my mother was having a bad night last night and there was talk of taking her to the ER.  Fortunately she improved and the hospital was not necessary.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks for her and her siblings.  Her older sister spent some time in the hospital a week or so ago, and her younger sister might have to go back on chemotherapy after being in remission for years.  Pardon me, oh universe, but do you have to be a dick to all of them at once?

As I typed that last sentence, the sun broke through the clouds.  Is that a sign?  Is the universe messing with my head?  Dick.

So Neil Peart mentioned me in one of his books.  Not really.  In Ghost Rider he tells a story of a stop on the Test for Echo Tour in 1997 where his daughter, Selena, joined him and his riding buddy, Brutus, on a between gig motorcycle adventure.  She met up with him at a show at Great Woods in Mansfield, MA.  Yup, you guessed it.  I was there.  June 23, 1997 to be exact.  Neil Peart, Selena Taylor, Brutus McTrash (that’s his name on facebook, if I remember correctly), and I were all in the same room at the same time.  Granted there were something like 12,000 other people with us, including Mike and Maria.  I don’t think Maria was there with us, we didn’t start the band with her until after that, but I know she was there.  In the story they left Mansfield and drove North into Maine and then the next day hopped onto their motorcycles and explored the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Pretty much the same thing my wife and I do a couple of times a year.  The difference being our vehicle has four wheels and theirs had two.  Given that Neil’s publishing career was made up of all travel books, I would say that he had good taste in road trips, which means Jen and I have good taste in road trips too.  Yeah, we rule.

I’m still doing the photo a day thing over on Flickr.  This morning before work I took the three minutes I should have spent shaving and took a couple of pictures.  This one is the outtake.  You’re welcome.

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Snatch Monkey

Two members of my band, me and Mike the bass player, were once in a band called Stormbringer. Fitting that we now play in a band that has a gig on a day when we are going to get a Spring Nor’easter.

April 1st… snow… figures. It’s not going to be so bad here, or in Plaistow where we’ll be playing, but we have to go see my step daughter in a chorus concert during the afternoon and that’s happening up around the foot of snow zone.

Crap.

To cheer us all up, let’s all watch this video that compiles all of the utterances of the words Harry and Potter from the eight Harry Potter movies.

First Band Practice in a Month

We had our first band practice in about a month tonight. The first time we’ve gotten together since the last gig. We were down one singer due to a sore throat, and there was some political joking around as the liberals in the band outnumbered the conservatives 2–1. (should we drop that 3-doors down song? I mean, they did play the inauguration)

I left my pedal board at home so that I can have it when RPM starts this week. I hope to have a new Fender tube amp (the 15 watt Bassbreaker) but that all depends on whether or not guitar center can get it’s head out of it’s ass.

How was my playing tonight? I’ll tell you in one word:

Suck.

Oh my goodness did I suck tonight. My RPM album is going to be atrocious.

Fuzz

We had a band practice today. It was the last one before Friday night’s gig.

The band agreed that from this point forward… no more December gigs. This month has been suck after suck after suck, and there just isn’t time to work on the music. Practice went well today, apart from the singer having a cold and having to take things easy. We cranked through all three sets as quickly as possible and we were all toast by the end. Fingers just didn’t respond the way they should have. It was tough, but over all there were few disasters.

I took my amp and my pedals home in the hopes that I will be able to work on all of my pedal settings through the actual amp I want to use at the gig. Unfortunately there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do what I need to do, and it will require volume to get it right. Still, I hope to spend some time with it. Fingers crossed.

Four days to the gig.

We Were Okay Tonight

Band practice tonight. We did the gig on 10/8, then took two weeks off. Last week was the first practice back, but we were short a singer. Tonight was the first practice with all of us. It wasn’t bad. We hacked our way through a few songs that we’re hoping to add to the set for the next show. Nothing was good, but nothing was disastrous either. I’m using the Fender amp now at rehearsals. That’s a big change gear wise for me, but I’m okay with it so far. The Big Muff with Tone Wicker doesn’t play nicely with the Fender. I need to figure out an alternative. It might be time to try out a clone, who knows. Other than that, all is pretty well right now. Part of me is thinking that maybe it’s time to dial back on the all out fuzz box attack and move back into the overdrive world. Not sure. Maybe.

The next practice should be next Sunday, but we’ll probably be off for a couple of weeks after that. I need to practice more this week, and I am really hoping my Les Paul comes home from the shop. Fingers crossed on that one.

Band Practice/Crunch Time

We had a band practice last night. Since it’s down to the last three weekends before the next gig we added an hour to rehearsal. We should have added more.

Boy, were we bad last night. Everyone was tired and hot and a little cranky and some of us were a little sick. We just did not play well at all…

…and that’s probably a good thing.

It’s been two months since the last gig. We took quite a bit of time off afterwards, and we’ve added a ton of new songs. Maybe we’ve been a little over confident. Sucking up the joint last night will probably have the beneficial effect of scaring us straight. The next practice will be much better. Bank on it.

I was trying to push through it and I gave myself a good blister on my left ring finger. That should be fun. I haven’t changed my strings since July 1st. If I pop a blister while playing I’ll probably need a tetanus shot. Totally worth it.