Today was a beautiful day indeed…. My first time in New York. Jones Beach amphitheater in Wantagh, on Long Island but a good hour from Manhattan I think.
I woke up SOO late today- 11:47 I finally slid out of bed. Entirely unexpected, it felt really weird to get such a late start to my day.
Ditched the exercise today but I looked outside once and after adjusting to the brightness I was in love with our surroundings. We’re on a little parking lot with the water in front of us, a little beach with a gorgeous view before that, and a tall field of grass surrounding us in most directions. The venue looks like someone took a baseball stadium and cut it into quarters. The seats are a triple-tiered stack of concrete and chairs facing the water, and the stage is small with a semi-circular shell that covers backstage. It looks absolutely massive because of how tall everything is, and the view from on top of all the seats overlooks everything; beaches, parks, and parking lots. I could just barely make out what looked like a part of the New York city skyline, but it could’ve just been another suburb.
I had breakfast with the horns and Felix… Furco.. the merchandise guy… is hookin us up with free shirts and pretty much whatever else we want at the end of the tour run (just over a week from now). Scoooooore. Figured out that we had to shower up in the bands’ dressing room, so I did that….. I’ve concluded that I really want a duffel bag to carry all my clothes and soap and shampoo from the bus to the shower- it’s annoying to carry everything in a bundle and hope I don’t drop everything.
Anywayyyyyy I warmed up in Kenny’s dressing room (drummer) around 2 PM.. an hour before soundcheck was supposed to start. Today I really tried to keep my trumpet warmup meditative- I did some mindful breathing in between a lot of the exercises. I was feeling a little overwhelmed mentally.. I don’t know if ten hours of sleep will do that or if it was the excitement of knowing I was near New York. Regardless, my chops felt amazing all day…… I record my trumpet warmups in my practice notebook each day in case I find something that just feels perfect, and luckily today was pretty close to perfect.
Fit in some time to answer emails before soundcheck…. I have a gig at the Mint on July 10th!! I have yet to announce it until the venue confirms BUT I’m so excited about the band. ALSO I’m doing this gig with Sokamba, this traveling theatre arts company that started getting in touch with me through Rissi, a lady who I did a project with before. It’s an interdisciplinary arts type of thing, I love doing those kinds of things…. Not getting paid but I got midi files of some of the music and it’s rather unique.
Sooo that’s all on ma mind.
Soundcheck was in two parts today. We were the opener (ZZ Top was after us) so we sound checked last… John didn’t get there until 5, but we played stuff anyway around 3 as we usually do (we run Travelin’ Band, our first song, and messed around for a while). After that we had some downtime before John would arrive, so I hung out with Kenny for a little bit…. Networking by association and friendly smiles. But honestly Kenny is the coolest guy (I know I say that a lot). I was sitting in while he was trying to make a successful Twitter post, and then we started talking about endorsements (they’re really hard to get, even if you’re good nowadays). Kenny’s endorsed by Tama (has been for 34 years), who gives him all the drums he uses on tour. The conversation somehow moved to my dad being a Deputy Sheriff, and when I told Kenny that my dad used to be a rock drummer (and fanboy of Kenny), he gave me a pair of his sticks!! And then signed them!!! Even cooler, the sticks were used- he had used them a few shows ago.. only one night, but they were destroyed already!
Tyler Fogerty and his funky dancing were back to do more shows with us (younger son of John)… and because of band travel logistics that means that Devin (backing guitar player and youngest person in band other than us) has to ride on the crew bus.
Keeping my meals small, had some vegan jambalaya that honestly wasn’t that good. But I’m a fan of corn chowder (carrots, potatoes, green onions, corn in a tomato bisque), much tastier than the catering yesterday. All around solid. Had the best brownie I’ve had in months too (because, my friends, you won’t die if you eat a brownie).
By the time the show was about to start it was freezing cold (to me at least), and it started sprinkling shortly. Surprisingly, I still feel turbocharged with energy and excitement before we start a show. This was our twentieth one but it could’ve been the very first one. We just keep killing it! Overall honest critique: I’m much more free, I killed my power move in my solo (got on my knees and played stuff that satisfied both me and everyone else), and hit all ma high notes. At the same time I lost a bit of focus in Psycho, the song Tyler plays on, and forgot part of the form. I’ve realized it’s important to be aware of your mistakes but not let them define you!
Post-show it was back on the bus, meet some friends of Felix (front of house engineer), and went outside to see ZZ Top play a little bit. Had a black bean burger (after show food has been consistently good last few days), and now I relax! I wish I could keep these blogs shorter, but yikes I just can’t seem to. Tomorrow we have a day off, perhaps I’ll think about a tour highlights reel where I condense all of these into the most month-defining moments. Goodnight NEW YORK!!