Got up around 915, straight to shower and packin’ so that I’d have time to head to the lobby and grab some food before we shuttled to the airport. Turns out I’m a moderate fan of cottage cheese- I like it (high protein, lo sugar, lo fat), but couldn’t eat it every day- the taste is merely tolerable. Listened to music, short 45 minute shuttle ride, airport experience was fine.
It was weird to end that little part of my life… something I’m trying to keep in mind is a piece of wisdom I learned from Mark Cross, a dude I interviewed in the music industry for a business class- “even when work is going good, spend your after-hours looking for more work!”. So I’m gonna keep John Fogerty out of my mind for the next two weeks unless, of course, I’m asked about it. YES- I’m gonna make this gig awesome so I can use it as publicity. Does that mean I buy a video?? Hmmm maybe.
Got back to LA around 215- plane was right on time. Said bye to everyone… tears tears!! Not really but it felt like it! Got into an uber and was home before 4. Felt weird, just all kinds of weird. The house was trashed!!! Ugh! Ate some food with Andre (my OG roommate, jazz guitarist extraordinaire) at Study hall cafe right by campus, went back to write, organize my money, start unpacking… it’s gonna take me a while to feel truly at home around here again.
Trader Joes’ is pretty freakin fantastic!!! Since my kitchen isn’t quite usable, I got about 4 meals plus a week or more’s supply of some stable items for FORTY BUCKS… and we’re talking about food that’s better than 70% of the catering I’ve had for the last six weeks so I’m a happy boy. I have a new perspective on this place. Money is a tool- it’s not the definition of a person. Holding on to it does very little unless there’s a specific goal in mind for it. I can spend money… that’s how this place functions.
What am I a gonna do tonight… ask Richard (a kid who lives in my house) to help me pick up garbage downstairs and throw it in some garbage bags. That’s pretty much about it. Other thoughts I had… should I ask Aaron to play a tune with me at the Mint? And should I start shedding some of the tunes I’m gonna do really hard tonight? Since my nights will be kinda hard to find this week, I should do some work tonight with listening/practicing/composing before I go clean.
I’m thinking of starting the attack process of my room- I’d argue it’s more important that my workspace is clean than my kitchen is. I can eat via Trader Joe’s for a while- IF I have a workspace that lets me generate a little more money via the Mint. If I get 20 people to go THEN I start making $5.10 a person. Let’s say I post something every night- something in particular that I’m working on or gonna do at the gig.
Attacking piano playing- I’m gonna take some time at some point to work on technique and then learn one of these Herbie tunes on piano from Speak Like a Child. This has no time constraint really.
Final thing- what shall be my bedtime?? Well, my only limit is my late nights- I prefer to both get 8 hours and stay up late. I think I’ll aim to sleep 1230-830 each night… that’ll be pushed around a bit every once in a while but not much.
After I ate I met Viraj, a friend of my good friend Maahir who is living in the house. He’s a cinema student- he’ll be around the house doing some short films! He said he’d hit me up if he needs film composing. There’s my in right there! Cleaned the kitchen all night with Andre and Richard, that felt great. Got to sleep close to 130- EXHAUSTED, sleeping till 945 tomorrow. Sad face on the lateness, but I gotta do what I gotta do.
This ends my public blog for now… I’ll start it up again when the tour resumes. I included a heck of a lot of my private life on this but hey who cares!
Thanks to you all for checking in even if you only did so periodically. I love you. Stay in touch. Peace!!!
I guess it’s only fitting that my last show blog is posted twelve hours late. Last show of this run anyway. Today was our venture into outdoor stages in Minnesota. Basically Canada, eh?
I was up around 845, and as soon as I stepped outside I could tell it’d be a burner of a day. The outside of the bus reeked of pee (the tanks were leaking) and it was already warmer than it’d been for us in a long time. The high for the day was around 100, and the humidity was nothing short of very very high.
We were playing at Treasure Island Resort and Casino, on Native American territory technically, in Welch, Minnesota, on an outdoor stage just to the side of the hotel. It was still a 20 minute walk around the stage and down a trail to get to the hotel, SO they had a shuttle taking us back and forth all day whenever we wanted. The shuttle driver was a very nice but very quiet Native American woman- older, she appeared tired. I took a class last Fall called “North American Indians in Public Life” all about the treatment of Native peoples by Europeans and Americans in the last five hundred years. Terrifying stuff but it really gave me a new, more informed, perspective.
Catering today was decent- I won’t give it more than three stars but it did the job and frankly that’s all that truly matters to me in retrospect (I can eat the way I wanna eat for the rest of my life). For dinner though I had to ask for the vegetarian option- they didn’t even have it out.
A running theme I’ve been hearing from people has been the unprofessionally of our bus driver. In my opinion he’s an extremely friendly guy, but he gets up in the bands’ business and asks for autographs and free merch- which isn’t the role that a lot of the crew see the bus driver as allowed to hold. (I’m being candid because I’ll never see him again, but he tried to play a song for the Fogerty family on his guitar when they stayed on the bus a few nights ago. The entire crew regarded that as simply not ok.)
Trying to get all the negative things out of the way first so I can end happy…. After I headed to my hotel room the first time I wrote a lot, exercised (felt amazing)- soundcheck was scheduled for 3. When we arrived via shuttle Mike said he wouldn’t be ready for us for half an hour. If I had one recommendation to make it would be that those developments need to be communicated to the rest of the band in a timely way so we don’t waste our time sitting in the bus (with none of our belongings) waiting to be ready. Luckily, everything’s air conditioned! Humans have a need to complain.
Last negative thing- after soundcheck I received a text saying the bus driver was leaving… we had all left our horns on the bus preshow (he told us he’d leave after the show). After a lot of back and forth with different people, we worked out that he wasn’t leaving until after the show- but I had already shuttled over to the busses again. It was prime heat now- 530 PM or so. We had to drive around the back of the hotel in the swamp/dirt because the traffic up front was too heavy. Fascinating place! Really pretty and flat scenery. We were on the bus until showtime, and I left my bag, shoes, and computer on the bus while we played. Halfway through the show our bus driver walks up to me to ask if all the stuff was mine and that he was about to take off! Embarrassing for me indeed. Very lucky he didn’t leave.
OK I won’t focus on the negatives anymore this has been depressing for me to write.
I got a decent amount of work done in my hotel room- trying to choogle out (yes that’s a verb I’m gonna use forever now thanks to Fogerty and fam) three songs for Chilltonix’s Mint Gig. (BTW Felix and Nathan are gonna come to that so YAY). Trying to balance out my eating again- lots of veggies all day, I took cashews from the bus home with me but wanting to keep it to two handfuls a day.
By the time we started our show it had cooled down a lot! Little breeze, it got pretty windy throughout the day. Crowd was medium-sized. Good friend of mine, Mikey Lasusa, and his dad, were gonna come to the show but he got the date of the show wrong so he missed it… too bad! The show started real late- originally set for 7, then moved to 730, then we didn’t start till 750! No issues though, it was just cooler for us. Show went great… I was feeling really happy the whole time. After the show we were getting ready to leave back to the hotel and change when the Fogerty’s private shuttle pulled over and the whole family invited us over for handshakes, hugs, and general good vibes all around. That was a really wonderful moment- made it all feel worthwhile!
Went back up the room to shower and change, then met Steven and Nathan at production where we hung out, said lots of goodbyes, grabbed our after show food (got some nasty oily Pad Thai that I didn’t really eat). I’ll miss Gina and Bob!! I’ll even miss Nate Wlazelek (drum tech).
Pedro, the stage manager for ZZ Top, got us in the front line of the meet/greet with the band that they do every night- we took pics and were off- that was awesome.
We walked back up to Nathan’s room to relax and watch some mindless TV for an hour or so, and I had only a little trouble going to sleep but I had worked hard enough.
Last day was a nice one. Yes, it was hot. Yes, there was enough animosity today to last a lifetime, but we made it. I’m surrounded by professional who have been doing their job for years and have set ways in their minds on the ways things should be done, but because of my age my mind is far more open. I can see that yes this is just another job, but that also means it’s just like any other job! How do CEOs, bank tellers, teachers, engineers, and accountants find joy and satisfaction in their days? The same ways that we all can in the touring business. We all miscommunicate, we all squabble, we all get tired of being pressed for time and then waiting around. That means we can all use the same strategies of being more truthful, more open, more respectful, and more mindful. I’ve learned plenty about touring, but also that 95% of the time the most effective strategy in dealing with others is to stay quiet, and NOT say the thing that’s on your mind. Being around Steven taught me the value in observing before judging, and how doing the other way around leads to misperceptions and negativity. Being around Nathan taught me how to foster and develop personal relationships with others that go beyond small talk and force one’s own personality to come out. Dave Whiston taught me that you can be your dorky self and others will either hate it or love it, and that shouldn’t mess with your happiness. Felix Brenner taught me to relax, take care of your body, and promote yourself. Pedro Sison taught me how to be proactive in my lifestyle, how to let loose onstage, and be less intellectual about the way I solo when the music doesn’t demand it. Ryan Matthias taught me how to relax (I get that from a lot of people), a lot of ins about the movie composing business, and that you can end up doing amazing things simply by circumstance if you’re open to new things. I could go on and on, frankly I guess this is to say I’ve learned a lot, in subtle ways that I won’t always know.
Tonight I’ll post one more time to talk about Saturday (6-30)!
Today went by pretty quickly considering it was an off day- but then again I did wake up at 10. It’s 9 now, blogging in pieces throughout the night really works best for me so that I’m not sitting at the computer late right before bed. Listening to this artist Cosmo Sheldrake- just had him pop up in my Apple Music suggestions- it’s Alternative, very classical influenced in instrumentation but also resembles dance music at the same time. Super creative in terms of texture and use of double reed instruments. Inspiring me to write some cool stuff!
Woke up around 10 this morning- with no sunlight it’s always impossible to tell if it’s 6 am or 11 am. Got up and had to make emergency bathroom trip. Meditating today in the back lounge of the bus (Where I always do) felt incredible.. for some reason I was tense and in need of stretching and deep focused breathing. Planned on exercising in the morning, but my room wasn’t ready until close to noon. So I had a protein shake (soymilk from the bus and my protein powder) and organized my stuff a little bit. Had a vision for one of my tunes so did a bit of writing. Finally went to the front desk to ask for my key card and low and behold the room was ready, I just hadn’t been contacted about it yet. Through my stuff down and decided to get breakfast instead of exercise.
Again my indecision was plaguing me- I went to a brunch place called Egg Harbor Cafe to order a scramble- it ended up being ridiculously expensive so I cancelled and went to Starbucks to get a lil bit of food instead. Kamasi Washington was playing on the speakers in there (while his sound is a little unorthodox and grungy, I rather like his compositions I found). Kept breakfast small and broken up, headed back up to the room to polish up some of my originals for a little while.
Wanted to get a haircut today, so scheduled at a barber shop that I thought was right nextdoor for a 2 pm appointment. At 155 I’m standing right where Apple Maps said the place was and can only find an apartment complex. I check Google Maps and yeah I was 4 miles away from the spot. Yikes. Cancelled that. Went to an awesome little healthy food place called Protein Bar and got a Superfood Vegan Salad and Kombucha.. dude I did the full blown hippie health thang it felt awesome. $16 and a toothpick later (to get the kale out of my teeth), I got a haircut at Floyd’s Barbershop instead. Hipster vibe fir sure… got a $26 basic haircut but they shampooed me up and gave me a hot towel for my face and everything. Hadn’t done the salon thing ever before- this was a step in that direction but still not all the way. Felt fresh, lil bit cooler on the head- plenty ‘o compliments from the others.
Downloaded Mint to manage my monayy… this way I can account for cash, savings, checkings, and my Ally account, and track my spending in different ways too. I wanna really invest into eating healthy food and shopping well, more so than doing other fun things, so I wanna budget accordingly.
Did half an hour of long tones (varying them up in as many possible ways I could think of), and then went by the buses to hang with Nate, Steve, Wayne (stage manager), Alex Skowron, Felix, and Gina for a bit. Got some t-shirts from Hard Rock in Oklahoma from a few weeks ago… Wayne is such a funny guy. He has a deep gravelly voice and speaks in very quick, direct, militant sentences… “yep New Orleans on the Vegas state is a straight shot, round the corner, down the carpet, back to the stage, 37 seconds, no guesswork.. I said it!” He was referring to the uncertainty of having to figure out where to walk each night when we go out into the stage.
Went to dinner with Nate and Steve at Giordano’s Pizza- right across from the hotel (they had everything here). They are one of the two competing deep dish pizza chains in Chicago- the other being Lou Malnati’s as Steve said. It was delicious, thick and stuffed- we got a Super Veggie and a Chicago Classic I think. Had my lil salad and one piece of the Super Veggie and I was set (I’ll have another piece tonight cuz it’s so damn good, but don’t wanna overwork my pancreas so I’ll stop it there even though I have 5 pieces left). Ran into Buddha, Nate, and Dave there. Well, actually Dave jumped behind Nathan playing the spider goat sound effect on his phone to scare him (he just recorded himself making a guttural goat noise and plays it on loop to freak out Nathan). They’re awesome guys. Walked back to the bus to grab the rest of my things and pack them away and THATTT’s where I am today.
Wow I completely forgot to post this thing last night! Oops!! We headed out of Illinois around 11 last night— the real party is in the back lounge with the horns, Nate, Buddha, and Gina. We just talk and make fun of each other, that’s about it. There’s always good music playing too- primarily rock. Played Chuck Mangione for Dave and he called him the “luckiest flugelhorn player in the world”. Kinda agree! I didn’t stay up past 1230, had a bit of a headache. Until tomorrow for the final run around the bend!
Good evenin’ Michigan!! Today was long indeed, but I don’t yet quite feel tired. In fact I don’t wanna feel tired for a good couple hours. Our last hotel took us to this gig via shuttle…. It was a nice two hour bus ride to Clarksdale, Michigan, around an hour from Detroit. When we arrived around 915 we were ushered straight to catering and the bands’ dressing room. Nice food today, I could have my omelette. This venue wasn’t anything special… a medium sized covered amphitheater with a grassy hill… but I must say the surrounding nature is really pretty. We all stayed in the band’s dressing room until 3 when the band finally arrived… during that downtime I did a lot. We watched some Sesame Street (because watching children’s television with Nate is the funniest thing ever). I uploaded my Week 5 vlogs… jeesh FIVE WEEKS and this is a good way through the sixth already. That took some time. I'm really glad I'm doing them though. It's almost meditative for me to vlog about things.
Alllso I made some EPK material for my gig at the Mint and set all that off, yikes it’s a lot of work but that gig is gonna be sensational. We line checked, waited around some more, and then finally around 3 (when the band got here) we sound checked with everyone.
The space would’ve been too small to set up pyro BUT John really wanted esplosionsss… so we went over our soundcheck time to move the entirety of the stage up five feet or more to accommodate pyro. Had to walk up a ton of stairs today for “When the Saints”. Oh hey also I practiced a little bit in the seats… there were employees cleaning up trash and Pedro and Mike were both running around.
What ellllse… oh it did start pouring rain pretty bad around 5 pm. I did lots of my own work on thangs for a while, to the point of pretty much exhausting every pastime activity I wanted to do. Gearing up for the show is always fun, ’twas the penultimate show. I texted my mom to tell her it was the ‘penultimate’ show and she didn’t know what penultimate meant (hehehehe). Every night we know the show better, sing it louder (tonight my throat even hurts from singing/yelling). Back on the crew bus everyone thinks we had a real great show (even the people who have been angry before!).
Heard something pretty cool from Dave today - two things I guess. He created an animal called a SpiderGoat that he's been using to terrorize Nathan specifically. Second thing- apparently Dave went to a house party a year ago where Dave played guitar, Steven Tyler was playing drums and Jim Carrey was singing lead vocals over ACDC music.
I’m quite tired of sitting in front of a computer at the moment… after show food is still not here round 12:05 hmmm. Ate a salad and chilled out, around 130 I finished this blog and started heading to bed. We still hadn't left !!! Odd...
It’s morning! I didn’t blog last night but went straight to sleep. I shall explain…
Woke up naturally around 10 AM- looking forward to setting a consistent wake up time as soon as I can have some consistency. I'll start with the biggest news- because of rainy weather tonight, John and family aren't flying out tonight but are taking over our bus for the night and riding it to the gig tomorrow. Which means we aren't gonna have it.. we are staying the night at the Soaring Eagle Casino here where we did the gig, and a shuttle bus is taking us to the next venue in Detroit at 7 AM tomorrow morning. To be frank, it was definitely not the most popular decision amongst the entire crew… to take our home from us (forcing us to parse down our luggage and belongings into something small that will fit while still giving us enough to live for a full morning and afternoon) AND get us up before 7 after a late night isn’t the most pleasing. I’ll just say that plenty of crew members are very upset by everything.
Regardless, I’m enjoying myself at least a little bit. Backing up to yesterday- I went straight to my hotel room, there was a bathtub sitting in our room which I had never seen before. The day was spent pretty much editing my vlogs for tomorrow, going down for meals and soundcheck, and working on Photoshop for my poster for my jazz quartet gig on July 10th at the Mint. I stylized it like an old Blue Note album cover, quite happy with how it turned out.
To enter the hotel from the bus we walked in through an employee entrance, showed our tour lanyards, and had a guard search through our belongings. Then we walked through the hotel kitchen and laundry service to an elevator to get up to the rooms. Every time I left my room I consistently turned the wrong way out of some quirky indiscernible habit. During today’s soundcheck Willie Nelson’s gear was mixed in with our own- he was our opener today instead of Ryan Kinder. But his set was an hour (7-8), followed by us (830-945), followed by ZZ Top (1015-1130). Long night!!!
Willie’s equipment was all really old- a taped up vintage Custom amp, weed leaf guitar picks, and a big box of auxiliary percussion were right next to the spot the horns stood. When John arrived we asked for our phone numbers so he could “call us sometime” as he said. I guess he’s officially one of our contacts.
Changed on the bus and did our show to great results. The venue was outdoors- off to the side of the hotel was maybe two thousand seats and then a giant green hill. Most of the onlookers were on the big hill- it looked like something out of Woodstock. We started fifteen minutes late, AND the show went long.. BUT it might’ve been our best show collectively. John was really relaxed the whole time (as the crew decided, I don’t notice those things), and we sounded tight- typical of the 24th time you put on a show.
On our way back to the bus, Steven said something about the number of people leaving the show already who didn’t wanna see ZZ Top. At that exact moment we peer toward the busses and see Billy F. Gibbons getting out of his bus in full getup look over at us and wave. As we got closer we spoke to us, “that was a good one tonight!” In his gravely, have-fun voice. He’s a sweet guy even if he is really quiet- I’m glad we at least had one interaction over the tour. It’s hilarious that we were talking about how many people are too tired for ZZ Top practically in front of the lead guy of ZZ Top.
Per tomorrow’s early morning I went back to my hotel room immediately after getting our after show food. I took the box with me to eat in the morning and went to sleep by around 1150. Meditated, made a little hot tea, stretched out, and slept really well for 6.5 hours. Now we’re on a shuttle heading to Clarksdale- gloomy and wet outside, and the mood’s a little gloomy inside too.
Off day today in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Right on the cutoff between Central Time Zone and Eastern Time zone- so as I write this right now at 9:05 PM it’s still bright outside ?!?! It’s also four days after the solstice so that figures.
Anyway, had a great day of me time today. Woke up without an alarm at 9 after only seven hours- guess I managed to get really good sleep somehow. I didn’t read right before bed but I did meditate lying down- maybe that’s what it takes.
Our rooms were ready right away but right after putting my stuff down I went for a run. Only about 1.5 miles total, didn’t do any sprints, just a good warmup, ran through some of the town’s streets and back. We’re at a TowneHouse Marriot which I really like (kitchens built into the rooms), and nearby there’s not too much but a few good food places in a plaza a half mile down. The run really made my body ache- I did half an hour of runner’s yoga after which helped but my left knee was still kinda sore. Long distance runs don’t come easy for me- I do better at medium distance naturally.
I snagged some free hotel breakfast before they shut it down so after a shower I was ready to spend this day doin Ethan stuff. That meant sending emails, fixing my Amsterdam application, scouring for this missing ring on my trumpet, etc.
Walked to lunch about a mile away at Aladdin’s Eatery, had a power salad with hummus, lentils, brown rice (cool idea). Ultimately I just about finished 2/3rds of the original songs I’m doing for my gig two weeks from tomorrow :o and I’ll send out all the demos tomorrow to the band. Practiced pretty good- somewhere around seventy minutes when you add it all up, gotta ween back onto it if I need to do any more than that. But I haven’t lost any playing ability really- all the practicing I did real heavy last semester has still carried through. Maybe I’ll have to work on smoothing out lines in the upper register, that’s all.
Around 5 I went to the gym for a sec, I had gotten done everything I needed to for the day (which felt awesomeeee), so I was planning to practically relax and code the rest of the night. At 6 or so Nathan texted me that he, Steve, and Pedro were going to dinner so of course I accepted. Ended up at BrewGarden, a pub close by where I ate lunch. Pedro was talking a lot to us about some useful stuff- the importance of learning the language of a country you travel abroad to, and why everyone in the US should have a passport as soon as they’re of age. He always reminds us that he had a kid when he was nineteen (my age now) and that he wishes he was in our shoes now. He’s a great guy, though- he bought us dinner because he thinks we’re doing so awesome. It took time, he said, but he’s most impressed with the amount of improvement we’ve made.
He told us that we’re professionals.. and to never undercut what we’re worth. If our rate is $500, ask for $700.. push it, know what we’re worth. But always stay humble- the world doesn’t owe you anything. Your negativity is your own doing.
And that’s where I am at this point- lookin’ to watch some stuff with Nate and Steve maybe later tonight but I’m gonna code until then. I’ll write again right before I go to sleep tonight.
Eh not too much more to say! It’s about time to leave.. just got back to the bus. I’m quite tired- surprisingly more tired than most show days. Wild. Goodnight Ohio!!
Aaaand we in Camden, New Joisey today- just a stone’s throw from Phily. Honestly only like five minutes away. Woke up after 9 hours of sleep.. didn’t do any of the time-wasting things I said I would do last night I just read and went to sleep.
Working backward chronologically tonight so I don’t skip over anything. The show was really good. There’s tension with one member of the crew, enough that he doesn’t want to continue working for John anymore. Other than that- we’re hangin in there. We had a bunch of space on the side of the stage- really nice- there wasn’t a monitor in front of me tonight like the last few shows so I was visible to the entire crowd for once! We really showboated it up more than any other night- show 23 was no fluke. Must be cuz it’s a prime number.
I took ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ up the octave tonight! And to my surprise I could do it! It sounded the way I wanted it toooo! Lots of fun. John gave a signed baseball to a little girl in the audience and pulled her up on stage- that was cool. In the third to last song he also skipped two beats of the music in a verse but the band caught it and it was entirely seamless.
Been thinkin’ a lot about knowing a LOT versus knowing a little bit REALLY WELL. I think the latter is what qualifies a master at anything, and whenever you’re jealous at someone’s ability, remember that the latter is what got them there. That takes perspective. This is what I’ve learned today as a result of things I’ve been feeling. I’ll keep it as abstract as that, but trying to be an encyclopedia isn’t the path to fulfillment.. being the best at what YOU DO is.
A friend of ours from school, RC, had his parents come to the show- immediately after we played we stood at the bottom of the stage and not only did they chat and ask for pictures, but so did just about a dozen other people! We were celebrities!! Everybody was really proud of us, had been reading our blog and really diggin’ it, and wanted to know how we got the gig, where we were from, etc. Really grateful that they’ve all been reading everything, the fans make it all possible. Fogerty IS a legend.
Back to the beginning of the day! After I got up I pretty much went straight to the bands’ dressing room to try to exercise a bit. Was gonna run, but after talking to Buddha about the less than favorable conditions of our surroundings I decided to do a HIIT workout instead. Always feel bad for using the bands’ dressing room, but this is 930 AM and the band doesn’t even get here until 1 PM at the earliest, so everything is left unlocked (sometimes hospitality is in there setting up snacks and drinks for the band for later, that’s it). I ask our production manager if it’s cool and start doing lunges and whatever. Well today, since our guitar player Devin has been riding on our bus with us, he walked into the dressing room and saw me exercising- and joined me! He’s a pretty muscular guy- he says his roommate was a personal trainer. He’s real serious about fitness I can tell- not messing around. I was doing a workout from fitness blender, he had done it before and knew ways to vary up and improve all the moves. Squats, for example- test your form by squatting with your arms horizontal against a wall and trying to not let them actually touch the wall through the whole descent. Did the whole thirty minutes with him, was the best workout I’d done in a week or more. Felt great to have a “buddy” who was chill about it all… he said he’d be down anytime! Gina came in and told me “when you’re done doing pigeon poses, Ethan, come see me”, … so I was all sweaty and nervous, thinking she’d tell me not to workout there anhymore. But it was just that Austin, our front of house guy, is leaving the tour and the guy replacing him can’t sleep on the top bunk- so I have to trade bunks with him. I’m on top now which should be interesting… I’ve heard that when the bus turns abruptly people have been known to fall out of their bunk….
Changed sheets, warmed up real quick (I got it down to an absolute science, hmu if you’re truly interested), had some morning meals, showered up (only one shower in this placeeee), and eventually got to all ma work.
Still waiting on a confirmation for my July 10th gig, tomorrow I’m gonna make a phone call for that and for a screw for my trumpet valve ring.
Soundcheck today was a reaaaal long drawn out process. Line checked real quick, sound checked with the band, and then we waited for John to arrive so we could finish up. Took two hours or more from start to finish. In between I watched this concert of Joni Mitchell with Jaco- Shadows and Light from 78. My take on Joni- great songwriting, brilliant lyricist, but not my favorite guitar player, I can only listen to so much- Brecker and Jaco are brilliant though. Pat Matheny was on stage too, he always strikes me as real whacky.
Anyway, ate my two dinners (i’m doing that consistently on our late night shows.. eating at 530 and then again at 830). Dang I don’t know how I’m gonna live without catering. Currently watching this movie Split about a guy with 23 personalities… it’s kinda intense for me tbh but really fascinating. That’s about all I gotta say! Tomorrow’s an off day… we only have three shows left. Really down to the wire. People getting tense, everyone ready to end. Stay positive, stay grateful, life will be take care of you if you take care of it.
Hello new yawrk… once again we’re in the Empire State, but today we’re in upstate New York.. Canneduiga.. Cannenduga??? Canduiga??? Canandaigua is how you say it but I’ve butchered it all day. Rainy all day on and off, nice and wilderness-like but no big hills visible.
Slept a lot last night, didn’t hang out real late but read instead. Finished my book “What to listen for in music” by Aaron Copland, it was good brain food- even though I’m not gonna remember half of it in a years’ time. Not sure what I’ll move onto yet but this just means I get to explore for a while.
This morning my energy and metabolism were both really low- I’m wanting to exercise in the mornings but I’m always too hungry. I’m reluctant to eat late at night so it messes with me. I think tonight I’ll try to have some power oatmeal so that I have enough energy in the morning’. Gotta keep everything on track.
Catering here was good (nothing like yesterday… read below cuz that was a pretty amazing place)… got my omelette, showered and warmed up, had a salad, and for a while I worked on designing a poster for my gig at the Mint on July 10th. About thattttt I still have yet to get a confirmation email from the guy booking me…. Little hesitant to post a big Facebook event if he’s not confirming it for me.
Exercised a leeeettle, hung out in the front lounge and listened to Beach Boys/Elvis (and compared early Beach boys to Chuck berry… sigh… not gonna go there)… Not super structuring my time like I might’ve planned on BUT I’m making sure that I keep my projects focused, effective, and driven towards long-term goals sooooo all’s ok.
Soundcheck was longer today- John wanted to hear the snare some more. Cool to see Kenny still so energized and on top of things 22 shows in!
I’ve been messing around on this website Quora… used to read it all the time but now checking it out again.. people post their specific questions on different subjects and experts or amateurs post answers… lot of fascinating stuff.
After soundcheck I came to the bus and, at Felix’s suggestion, hiked to the top of the venue- big grassy hill where you can overlook most of town. We’re pretty close to the lake- I could see a chunk of water, lil townhouses, mostly grass. Walked back to the bus and worked on my charts for my gig. Got my piano out since I got inspired to tweak some of the chord progressions in. I’m working on ‘Summer Home’ and ‘Waiting for the Show’… two tunes I started writing while on the tour pretty much.
Summer Home I’ve written entirely on GarageBand- that’s been a fascinating experiment! I think it’s led to really good results too, I’m working on it every day and at this point it’s just tweaking the GarageBand Drummer and moving the form around.
Waiting for the Show was an old tune I started a few months ago after listening to Gilad Hekselman (jazz guitarist) but I’ve entirely repurposed it… that’s the one I had Felix listen to a while ago.
I worked a lil bit on the terrace outside catering… I liked that we had table and chairs outdoors. The Fogerty family was eating dinner right next to me- went inside after a bit to eat with Nathan and Steven. While eating, Alex, the video guy who toured with Guns ’n Roses, was tellin’ stories…. He was on the road with them when some seriously heavy riots happened. They were in South America and when a literal coup happened of one government and their gear was upheld at an airport, they couldn’t do a show. This irritated a promoter so he sent out rumors that Axel Rose of the band wanted to do something obscene to the Argentinian flag. This was right before they were supposed to go to Argentina. Sooo there were riots. Heavy heavy stuff.
Eventually when they did a show in Argentina, Axel told everyone what was up and Alex says they had the BEST rock ’n roll show ever. He came out wearing the Argentina soccer jersey. Wild stuff… ZZ Top’s guitar tech was also on that tour.
We opened today- 730 showtime- had to be pretty far backstage today because of the layout. It was crowded. Our playing was alright- Nathan said he felt a little uncomfortable, I missed some stuff (might’ve overplayed throughout the day at soundcheck). Oh hey I also dropped my third valve slide while onstage…. yikes.. working on getting a screw. The rubber band I’ve been using finally snapped. Jeez.
Enough about my mistakes… man that crowd of people dancing gets me every time.
I’m so lucky to be on this tour… here’s to hopefully having another one.
After show food was a greasy veggie burrito that I ate the innards of. I wanna watch Rick and Morty tonight. And download SpaceEngine. That’s a cool program, look it up- you can explore the entire universe in 3D with procedurally generated maps. OK I’ll write about late tonight stuff tomorrow, now I get back to other stuff.
Ok this venue was seriously the best that we’ve ever played by far. Today was our show in Gilford, New Hampshire at the BNC Pavilion. It’s in the woods, right by Lake Winnipesaugee, and the theme of the entire backstage is like a summer camp. We got there around 10 (I did the gym this morning and a light snack at the hotel), and first thing we did was head to dining. I’ll talk about each part of the experience in sections. Not sure how much of the experience they want to keep totally secret but I’d rather ask for forgiveness than beg for permission.
The dining hall was laid out like a restaurant, breakfast was made even better with an omelette station, maple almond butter, raspberry pancakes, and some super health oatmeal. The place was pumping all day long… had tofu and noodles for lunch, then they had this giant seafood spread in a boat full of ice for dinner… ate a bunch of roasted veggies and still got pretty full. For desert all I had was a piece of a cheesecake cupcake… DAMN is all I can say about that abomination.
Moving on, I’ll talk about the bikes. After we ate we started walking around the backstage. As the parking lots continued back, there were sitting areas with flat screens, firepits, giant chess and giant Jenga, a basketball court, and, the best part, a dozen or more bikes, scooters, and tricycles for the crew to use during their free time. WHAT?! Now that’s insane. The three horns went with Felix on bike out the exit of the venue and tried to find a beach on the lake. We came across a private beach but luckily the lady there was nice and let us sit for a sec anyway. Gorgeous views… we headed back shortly and heard there was also a heated pool for the crew!!! Sooo we walk down a giant parking lot, over a well-kept lawn of grass and a picturesque rocky trail to the pool. It was very well maintained, adorned with pool toys, and had a full bar that was going 24/7. I took a swim in my tan shorts, Nate and Steve relaxed on some chairs, and when we went back to the bus I finally warmed up on the trumpet a little bit.
I’ve been giving myself fewer daily goals and more of a daily routine of things.. every day I wanna compose, prepare for my July gig, exercise, code, and work on my social media. If I can get to 3/5 things each day I’m happy. This also gives me a lot more down time… I worry less about not doing anything because it allows me to weigh the importance of the five things I do.. if I don’t feel like working on any of them in a given moment that means I’m not taking in my environment!
Rode trikes like an idiot, got to talk to and meet Tyler Fogerty and his girlfriend, and chatted with the crew all about the cute waitresses that were walking around catering serving meals. Ohh I talked with Ryan about GarageBand… he’s a software guru- I was asking him if he thinks there’s a good way for me to output a MIDI instrument sound when my input is raw audio of my trumpet. Probably not, he says, unless I re-record my trumpet via a midi controller. My best bet is to just use a lot of pedals. He diiid say that I can output GarageBand audio through the same interface that I use to input… and that can go directly to a house PA. Now I’m excited for ma gig. Also I downloaded Photoshop today- looking to make a poster for my gig too!
Let’s talk about work now… super short line check around 130, no soundcheck with John today, we had nothin goin on until prepping for the show at 845. I stayed busy though! Waking up at 745 I was rightfully tired when it came to showtime but my mind got right into the game as soon as I was on that stage. Had a blast tonight as usual… a few lil slip-ups that I won’t make again. Trumpet-wise, my chops are doing pretty well… I can play all the music I need to, a lot better than at the beginning of the tour. If anything it just requires me to mentally prepare/visualize for a sec.
Sheets were changed today, Scott, the bus driver, is sitting here making a ham sandwich while everybody else eats lobster steak dinners and prime after-show food. So I decided tomorrow I’m gonna take him a takeout of the best food the catering has… I did hear that the venue tomorrow is a dump, but that’s whatever I’m still gonna do this. He is too good to us.
Loved the wilderness today, had a great time hangin’, and am thoroughly ready for bed right about now. Tomorrow after the show I’ll do some jazz. GOODNIGHT New Hampshuh.
Happy first day of Summer! Or Winter if you happen to be living down in Australia where toilet water spins in the opposite direction.
Today was truly a beautifully wonderful day. It’s only 10 PM (so I’ve been up less than 12 hours) but I feel as if I could sleep right now for a while. Also I’m getting pretty hungry but can’t really do much to help that. ANYWAY let’s backtrack a bit.
After I woke up I went straight to my room with my bags in one haul. We’re in beautifully hilly New Hampshire- hills, trees, meadows surround us, and it was super overcast first thing in the morning.
There was nothing really near the hotel except a pizza place, but the hotel staff was super accommodating. After I exercised in the room and showered I went back to the bus to see if anyone was planning on leaving. Pedro was there watching a World Cup match- he said the hotel staff was planning on driving some of us a few miles to the grocery store (Hannaford… sorta kinda like Trader Joe’s) if we needed to get stuff. Perfect… it was a full two hours until that would happen, BUT in the interim I hung out and warmed up a little bit on trompert.
Dave Whiston (Lord Whiston, John’s guitar tech) is from maybe forty miles from here, so he was planning dinner that night with his mom and a friend. He was chattin’ with Devin for hours (guitarist in the band who’s staying on the bus for a few days). The running gag over today’s group chat was started after we decided to grill this afternoon…. Dave decided that he wanted human meat (he’s a strange fellow, kidding but has a devilish sense of humor).. so the group started a “Save Ethan Chilton fund”, since Dave decided eating me would be like eating organic grass-fed beef and I’d likely still be tender. I share that with you just so you see their level of humor not so I can gross anyone out hehe.
Went to the grocery store with Pedro, Nathan, and Steve to buy a ton of vegetables to grill. Only spent $20 and got body wash for myself. I picked up two sweet potatoes, broccoli, two yellow squash, an eggplant, and two portobello mushrooms. The woman who drove us from the hotel worked in Clinton’s campaign… she had some very strong political things to say. Back at the hotel I took up the task of getting ice for the busses from the hotel ice machines- acquired a plastic crate from the lobby. Really flourish when I can just walk around all day doing miscellaneous tasks (getting stuff from the bus, cleaning, grilling, tending obsessively to food that I grill). I could do to relax but nahhhhh.
The grilling party we had was honestly the best!!! Most of the crew was there at some point- the Flannels (aka “Stranger Things”, since Nate and Steve and I kinda resemble the cast of that show), Dave, Pedro (the grillmaster and my mentor most of this trip), Felix (who today we decided looks like a supermodel since he’s 44 and looks 28), Ferco (who got the nickname Spiller in high school and today he proceeded to keep dropping things over and over again), Dave’s lifelong friend Paul who used to be in a childhood band with Dave, and I think that’s it.
There were burgers, sausages, onions, garlic, veggies of all sorts, all seasoned with beer and laughter. Not to be cheesy, but hey it was pretty amazing. We started around 330, the sky had cleared up entirely, the views were gorgeous, and we didn’t finish until close to 7. Nate was even out for a little bit. I made a pizza with all my veggies (bought an artisan pizza crust YUP), but I burnt the crap out of it.
Cooking tips from Pedro- when grilling a bunch of veggies, start off throwing in the garlic, onions, lil bit of oil and vinegar, and over high heat it will start a nice sauce that you can roast the veggies in over low heat for a long time. That way everything caramelizes and the flavor gets really developed. And Mom don’t worry I know you taught me all that first ;)
Took me a little walk with some tea, and when I came back to the room around 745 I was thoroughly tired out. Had to nap and then I played a little trumpet and coded all night. Long day! There’s a lake really close by that I wish I had gotten to go by, but I’ll be very well rested instead and that’s far more worthwhile. I’ve heard a million good things about the venue tomorrow… especially the catering, so I will be sure to get video via the vlogs. Goodnight Gilford!!!!!