So nice to be at more or less a real venue in West Palm Beach!
When I woke up today to my alarm it took me about fifteen minutes to actually get out of bed… I think reading so long right before bed might be the culprit. BUT I meditated and exercised (and Pedro came in and asked me about it… he’s doing a 30 day workout challenge which is pretty cool).. and then went to catering. I was so happy to walk in and see all my favorite breakfast fixins, including a vegetable juicer (that was broken and required three employees to keep it from expelling juice everywhere- yikes). I managed to practice this morning in the band’s dressing room.. that was cool just in principle, band wouldn’t be there for a while. I did a longer practice today, but I’m feeling a general tiredness in a lot of ways. It does take a lot out of ya to be on the road this continuously, but I still feel very healthy. I’ve taken up listening to a lot of Roy Eldridge… he’s the next trumpet player I’m gonna attack for a few weeks. He’s Dizzy’s inspiration, but his early stuff falls right in line with Louis Armstrong and Bix.. cool to see that evolution.
ANYWAY, when I finally got back to the bus and saw Nathan and Steven for a sec they went off to eat and I got my keyboard out and set to composing. I’m working on an arrangement of Emily, but I’m not gonna set a specific deadline to finish it or anything- I’m just gonna chip at it every day and I know I’ll get there. I do like GarageBand a lot as a composing tool, I just can’t create complex forms or change time signatures halfway thru a piece I don’t think. Heard some stories today about times Nate almost got arrested (he never has).. he’s trashed dressing rooms, once climbed a light pole just because he was angry, run through Boston naked, etc. He’s almost that one guy who’s just THERE for comedic relief- he has a real easy job, as he admits.
They wanted us onstage at 130 so I grabbed lunch for a bit at 1… grilled eggplant and salad. Had another philosophical chat with Dave, the guitar tech. Somehow we got to talking about if dogs went to heaven (since he doesn’t believe humans do). He concluded that if dogs did then wolves must go to heaven also- I countered that perhaps wolves must be domesticated in order to get into heaven, a saving grace of sorts. This follows that humans can be somehow domesticated to be “saved”- he asserted this was through selective breeding (this was where the conversation lost my support!!). The venue today is a big gazebo-like arena, all covered thankfully. But it is very tall and makes it tough to hear everything. Soundcheck was more or less a jam at first- it’s funny how that’s happening more often. I wanna work on something cool to play during soundcheck hehe- just without busting my chops at all. I’m taping my cable to my horn now to avoid it dangling everywhere. Also Julie requested that we start wearing all black… but she later changed her mind and gave us John Fogerty-style flannels from the merch department. They look cool but oh gawd they’ll be hot. It’s definitely hotter here today than it was yesterday in Clearwater. John won’t be saying our last names on stage anymore hehe… oh I forgot to mention that last night he called me “Ethan ‘Chitlin’ Charleston”, trying to make a pun on my name and simultaneously saying my real last name wrong (all good, I love him). On stage John will often do really goofy exaggerated gestures when he messes up or stutters.
We did quite a lot of standing around after soundcheck waiting to be sure that we were done… and Nathan was playing James’ bass and talking to him all about it. Finally we could leaveeee and leave we did- the heat takes a lot out of ya.
When we stepped back on the bus we noticed that the AC was off and a slow beep was the only sound. I noticed a Low Battery warning was on a screen near the driver’s seat— the generator was dying, and with it, the fridge, freezer, lights, everything were bust. LUCKILY it got somehow taken care of. We went up to Bob (tour manager) to ask him if another bus driver could be contacted (ours is sleeping during the day) to power it back up, and he let us just stay in the band’s dressing room instead. I figured I’d keep busy in there writing or something… but ALAS on my way to the bus there were people there fixing it (I also bumped into Bob on the way who jokingly suggested I go jogging in the heat to stay busy). Now I’m blogging (it’s 5 PM after all that), and gonna maybe do some practicing before dinner - considering using the band dressing room. Ohh also gonna get to work on editing my video blogs I think- wanna have those up by Wednesday.
I went to the bands dressing room to practice for a while- it’s cool that they have security guards on all the doors to that room and I can walk right past em with my trumpet and my badge and just say “howdy” and it’s all cool. Worked on some solos, then ate dinner- I wasn’t really too terribly hungry, only a little bored to be completely honest. I watched a lot of this movie Kingpin with Nathan and Steven- funny movie with Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson about bowling. I’m enjoying the relaxation BUT really wanted to do something before the show so I went for a walk! The parking lot we were in was almost entirely closed off except for real narrow hidden exit. Walked around the parking lots, the sun was setting and the clouds were all white, fluffy, and ginormous. I went to one open gravely lot at the end… it was real scenic and green. I had found my happy place enough to want to go write some more on the MIDI keyboard. With all this freedom I have, it’s better for me to just focus on ONE cool cerebral project at a time. Right now it’s this arrangement of Emily! Expect it by Thursday or Friday at the latest. (Side note- that reminds me that we still haven’t gotten paid). My schedule is too unpredictable to budget my time up in too many pieces- because then when I don’t get to something I feel as if I failed for that day. We got dressed in our flannels- our collective energy as a trio always goes up right before showtime, during, and right after the show for sure. I discovered a new pre-show ritual that I enjoy… when we have a late show (ie, more than 2-3 hours after dinner), I have an almond butter/banana quesadilla. I had so much energy during that show it was unbelievable. Despite the heat and the thick flannels that we had on, I felt fantastic. They had a giant fan in our vicinity (but our chairs were out of reach of it ?). We started the show a couple minutes late but the crowd ate up everything- a surprisingly young audience. There was one kid maybe 13 or 14 in the front row who was wearing a flannel matching ours who knew every single lyric.
We nailed just about everything in the night- tight, energetic, and our choreography was happenin’. A lot of it has kinda just happened organically. Before the show someone encouraged me to try some kind of flashy thing when my solo starts in New Orleans… Nathan bends down and sways, Steven comes in with a flashy lick and lunges, and today I skipped from side to side while soloing on a riff. Gotta show off to that crowd! Got a real good response from everyone on that. I was really workin to keep the camaraderie up between us backstage and I think it paid off :) haven’t heard from the crew yet (it’s 11:55, STILL unloading I guess), but when we came out we were hit hard with compliments and our energy was sky high. Billie Gibbons came up and started talking to Bob right as he was telling me that we could wash our flannels if we wanted in the production office- still haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him, but that’s otay. Nathan just tried to act cool and accepted some Jack Daniels from Mike D…. As soon as Mike left he went off coughing to get water (hehehehe). None for me- I’m chill bein a pansy! It’s 1 AM! All I’ve done in the last hour is raid the dressing rooms for various goods, eat half of a giant orange, and do laundry (our flannels and some of my stuff.. cuz it’s free!!). Right now I’m the only one on the tour bus- everyone else is outside smoking I think. I might stand out there until something strikes me as important to do. Man I write a lot- if you’d like these to be more condensed let me know and I’d be happy to shorten everything. Did some laundry in one of the rooms by the green room- it’s now 245 AM! Goodnight from West Palm Beach… tomorrow we have an off day in St. Augustine. I shall keep y’all posted!!