Okay. Here we go, the short-short version. (to LONE STARR} Do you?
Good. You're married. Kiss her.
That's the way I'm attempting (and probably failing) to handle this round of catch up: The short-short version. Remember to use my voice recorded while traveling is a new priority. It's tough keeping all the memories and details of transpired events fresh in my mind.
The recollection is there but the essence of the emotions/humor of the past moments have faded a bit and hasn't been coming across quite as sharp in print.
So after leaving Portland (and avoiding sideswiping any more campground trees) the show was off to Binghamton, NY (the one time home of David Sedaris). Steve and I arrived in the wee hours in the morning, unhitched, caught a few hours sleep, and headed home to Pittsburgh. Before this tour, the thought "Well, we're only 6 hours away from home....let's do it" would've never crossed my mind.
While hanging out in Monroeville browsing through the CP listings, I caught myself in the midst of a cartoonish double take. I figured I had read something wrong but sure enough The Slip was playing Club Cafe the Tuesday I was in town. Seriously, there's a weensy bit of history with that band (a ten year history of countless road trips including a train ride to California and drive down the coast following their tour). I hadn't seen them play in at least 3 years. I first caught them at CMU in 1998.
They were backing this young "blues" artist Sonya Kitchell. Although it wasn't going to be Slip material per say, I figured it was worth checking out. I mean, what were the chances they were in town the same night I was back home?
T'was a very interesting night. Brad Barr (vox/guitar for The Slip) did a solo set to open the night. Very cool stuff. I think AJ may have gotten a few ideas for how to approach his solo stuff when it debuts.
The Slip definitely wasn't the best choice for a backing band as they are just too good. Soyna was OK, but nothing special at all. It's never good when your backing band blows you away even though they're not trying to.
I re-lived the past 10 years of my life during that performance which was both nostalgic, cheesy, re-assuring, and educational all at once.
It seemed our career paths have ended up coinciding somewhat musically speaking ('somewhat' meaning our respective musical evolutions were similar but The Slip were successful at it all along).
What really hit was my current gig situation compared with theirs. They weren't playing their own material but:
1. They were still playing with each other
2. They music was still pretty good
3. They were making bank. (as was evident by the huge tour bus that rolled up at the end of the night in lieu of the little "Slip Van" I've always seen them crammed into.
It made me feel OK with what I'm doing. I'm not playing my own band material (my parts are my own though) but:
1. I'm making music with Steve
2. The music's not that bad
3. I'm making bank (finally, ha)
So all the nightlife in Binghamton is condensed into about 2 blocks. The place is dead in the daytime and a drunken overly aggressive madhouse at night. Brian and I were treated to fights in the street both nights (observing, not participating).
FIGHT 1: Overweight Bald Bull minus the mustache (who ended up being an usher at the arena, haha) vs. Big Drunk Black Man who kept molesting a mentally retarded girl in the club and was being "thrown out" by the other dude.
Winner: Bald Bull represented. Holy crap. The instant BDBM grabbed for his face, OBB just pulled his hood over his head and went to town looking extremely bored.
:smash smash smash:
"Let go of my shirt and I'll let you go"
:smash smash smash:
"Let go of my shirt and I'll let you go"
Eventually the dude got the hint and was released. And of course, there was the anticipated "pretend I just didn't get my ass handed to me and act like I'm letting him get off easy" song and dance. Very amusing.
Wasn't fast enough to get a picture but Brian and I re-enacted it:
FIGHT 2: Battle Royale with 3 heavier set drunk girls. Need I say more
Winner: All of us in the street who were treated to the spectacle.
I also met a very cool girl (of course with a boyfriend...gah) and her friends. We rocked an 80s night with yet another light up dance floor.
From Binghamton, the show moved to Johnstown, PA for a one night stand. Steve and I decided to not drive our trailers there (since the lot was going to be way shitty) and went back home again.
I really wish I would've shot some footage from the first time I tried backing my trailer into my parents driveway just to compare it with backing in that night upon arrival. Ha! Rather substantial difference to say the least.
My dad and grandma came to Johnstown to see the show:
While in Johnstown Steve and I concurred that it would make more sense to leave our trailers at home and just get split a hotel room for the Huntington shows. Two bonuses here: 1. When arrived in Huntington, the lot was so tight it would've been damn near impossible to squeeze us in. 2. We were able to gain an extra day home in Pittsburgh.
There's something about Tuesday nights in Pittsburgh. First The Slip before Binghamtom, and this time around my former bandmates in Thee Adora were playing at Brillobox. Again, what are the odds, right?
I decided not to forewarn them and just showed up. Good times. They may tell you otherwise, but they rocked it out. I've never experienced hearing drum parts I had written played back at me with the new dude's (Ethan) definitive stamp on them. It was pretty cool.
PICS (1st 7)
So Huntington....well, this sums up Huntington:
That is all.
More hanging out as per usual: PICS (last 8)
Ummm.....I had awesome sushi at one of those rotating Sushi Bars and made a couple new friends.
Ummm....I got new glasses (after much deliberation) and went to Sheetz.
*Too much to write about. Best told in pictures:
*after much (actually very little) persuasion, I'll devote a couple entries to the Shenanigan-ing that transpired.
AJ and Sproul Visit/Rockband Party
Pittsburgh Ladies Visit/Halloween
Mom and Dad visit the Circus
So far: Springfield sucks (except for the Dr. Suess Memorial Sculpture Garden), Northampton and Amherst both rock.
Possibly more to come....
So that's it.