So last night we had a party.  When I say we I mean Phil and Jason put together a compilation record to promote the rock scene in San Antonio.  Phil and I are pretty thick in biz together so this was folded in and my label is providing promotion support.  Phil and I grabbed some gear, a keg of beer and literally set-the-stage. Most of the bands showed up, lots of fans showed up.  Keg was drained early.  Met some very cool people.  I had a blast!  Let me say it again. I had a blast! Pretty sure everybody else did too.  Raised some money to mail out the CD and gave away many copies.  This was a very cool event. Woke up with a smile on my face. 

 

 

Busy, busy, busy...aka Kurt Vonnegut.  I do like to keep busy.  Although I have found myself not packing my every moment with work.  Which is nice.  My wife said to me last night, this is the most I have ever been around you in our relationship.  (We've been together 15 years).  Fortunately, she seems to be enjoying me.  I certainly am enjoying her. 

She doesn't want any part of the public side of my life, but this is my blog and I get to write whatever I want.  Don't like? Don't read it.  What I do find odd is that y'all are actually reading it.  This is my most dynamic page on my site as the content comes stream-of-conscious from my brain to my fingers and I try to do it often.  Although I seem to fail in doing it "often."   I often have great days and sometimes not so great days and I have these (I think) wonderful, relevant things that I want to blog about it.  But, two weeks later when I finally have a moment those moments are barely remembered and seem like a lifetime ago.  And so much of my social media is all biz, I want this to be personally revealing about me.

Here's a few things.  For the past 5 or 6 years I've been doing push-ups three times a week as my "work-out."  It's the perfect exercise.  Keeps your arms, back and stomach strong.  I do it so I don't hurt myself moving gear and so I can do all the manual labor I have to do to fix my house and get my yard work done.  Got it up to 4 sets of 80 per work-out. And then last fall, just before my big loopfest tour, I hurt my shoulder in a weird way that bothered my nexk and back.  Had to stop playing disc golf, had to stop the push-ups.  Of course, strapping a sax to my neck 2 to 3 times a day and living in a van for 2.5 months isn't exactly quality healing time.  Got home pretty messed up.  Spent about a week on my back.  Didn't do anymore than I had to for a month (and that was quite a bit - something like 140 videos editing and posted in that time).  But the house needed stuff done and I put it off as long as possible. But...when you go crawling under a house and fixing stuff at weird angles, un-healed injuries get re-injured.   Right about the time I'm ready to gt back on it, bam - broke a finger, then I tweaked my neck and then I realized I'm just getting older and that crap just hurts now. So after 6 months off, I'm back on the work-outs.  Got it up to 4 sets of 65 already.  I feel better. Posture is better.  Still not raring to go, but I have gotten back on the proverbial horse.

And speaking of proverbial horses - I also joined a band.  The River Barons - we're new group.  Cool guys, fun and loud blues/rock.  I think we're going to do okay.  I've also been doing a little subbing in a zydeco band.  This is fun and I love it.  I'm messing around doing other stuff here and there, but it's mostly loop station stuff outside of that. 

My days of composing have slowed considerably.  I'm doing a lot of collaborating.  Zach, Phil, Brant are my main partners in this endeavor. But I'm always looking for more.    Got about 10 new videos up. Just plugging away doing what I do.  LoopFests are humming.  Label is making all kinds of new inroads although the tasks to get done are always daunting.  And of course there's dealing with the "talent."  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know how some people eat.  Words are one thing, actions are everything.  How often the words and action are in contradiction in the music biz.  It's unprofessional.  It's not good art.  It's not good people skills.  It's not good.  That's not to say I've been a perfect saint or done everything right or well.  But it ain't my first time on the horse.  Nor my last.  Some people just don't get it and they never will.  Some people embrace it and it changes everything in their life.  Some people take what they can get from it.  Some people try. Some people want it but just can't do it or they need a lot of help.   The thing is, there's no one way to do it.  But that doesn't mean right and wrong doesn't exist. 

One of my brothers spent a good portion of his career as a church music minister.  Now if you think the regular music biz is shitty, get into church music.  WOW...it's a whole 'nother level.  I have never seen people get treated so badly.  It kind of makes sense.  Most of the people that hire and fire church musicians are volunteers. And they do things for the "great good" of the church.  But it's way it's done.  And it's generally not done well.  I've seen it at the churches I've gone to.  I've heard stories from other musicians about it.  It's still a professional environment.  They folks should still be treated professionally.  Just because you volunteer on a board doesn't mean you get to crap on the staff.  I'm assuming if you're on the board, you have a job or had a job and it probably was a job where people skills matter.  What am I blithering on about?  I've always wanted to play in the church.  I've done a stint here and there, but would still love to be in "Christian" band getting down with God.  I have realized that this is an area of my life that will probably remained unfulfilled.   I joined an online community to network about church music jobs or band openings.  I'd even do it for free.  All my previous church bands were volunteer.  I don't do THAT for money. (of course some pay would be nice...) Had a contact to do some services out of town, when I was in the area.  Went back and forth and then got a really passive-aggressive message from the "dude" that ended with. "Blah, blah, blah...but whatever. God Bless." I've got a pretty thick skin.  I've got a pretty big ego. So big it's almost invincible from being slighted.  But "dude" hit my button.  He could have been an ass the whole time and I really wouldn't care.  The "...but whatever" thing is a hipster go fuck yourself if I've ever heard one.  Not a fan of that.  If you're going to end anything with "...but whatever" why say anything at all?  Clearly the point was to insult with no response.  A chicken-shit move. And the "God Bless."  Not "God Bless You."  Just a simple look how pious I am. That phrase is often used as an I can dump on you and wash it away; because if you say anything after I said "God Bless" you are the child of the devil.  All I can say about it this.  I see why that "dude" is constantly looking for players.  It's because they won't put up with getting crapped on.  The odd thing is all I said was, I can't come up 80 miles (one-way) for a free show.  I can play if I have a gig in the area on the same day.  I didn't even get a "okay dude, let me know when you're around and I'll if I can squeeze you in somehow."   It was at the moment I realized I'm never going to play in a church.  Not because I don't want to.  It's because it's hateful.  And that is shameful. Stole my joy away. 

A couple months after that and I get the same kind of crap from another real "duder."  And it was about a blog post.  Seriously?  Yep. Seriously.  Stupid stuff.  Wanna know the worst part?  This ain't the first time "duder" pulled that with me.  I might not say things the best. I might not be that sensitive to your issues.  But my actions speak for me. What I do says it all.  I can think of one person where I handled things very badly.  Not to say what I did was wrong, but how I did it was wrong.  I lost a friend when I fired that band mate.  A man who I respected and enjoyed lost all respect for me and I deserved that.  He and I did meet and talk about it after.  But the damage was done.  There was no repairing it.  I think about that a lot.  I have never done that since. I felt like it cost me a little piece of my soul.  Not this last time.   My problem here is I can't believe how mad I still am.  I don't want to be mad.  I don't want to be hung up on this.  It's not worth it.  That's not the kind of man I am.  I keep hoping for it to fade, but when it pops up in my brain my heart goes dark.  I don't like that.  That's not me. 

What do I do? Take a deep breath, shake my head, scold myself for being shallow and move on to something productive. I try and make sure I don't get mixed up with people like that again.  I'm not worried about protecting myself.  The biz is like love.  You have to be willing to get crushed to make it work.  Otherwise you've lost before you've even started.  Now that I've put this down I can say that I do appreciate all of the cool musicians I get to work with.  And since moving to Texas...let me say the quality of people (generally) I'm meeting is way up.  It's been a real pleasure.  That's probably why I was all hot to get back into a band.  I want to play music with guys that are fun to play music with.

Back to the grind.  Lots to do. 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm getting pretty excited about the LoopFests.  San Antonio has taken a huge leap to the front of the pack.  I haven't signed the contract yet, but Luminaria is pulling the San Antonio LoopFest into their festival.  How does this change things? 300,000 people come to Luminaria.  It's a multi-million dollar event.  Promotion.  Serious promotion.  I have a budget. I have sound, stage, hotels, all of that.  I've got a fantastic line-up and I'm not even done confirming artists yet.  The NW is packed is awesome.  The S.A. and Austin are looking awesome.  SoCal is a bit neglected, but Y2K14 should fill that out.  It's crazy.  It's awesome.

Might have finally found a band to join in S.A. as well.  Starting to turn my attention back to my own career for a change as well.  Been pulled a ton of directions building the label up and some things have some traction.  But I need to make some money.  That means me playing gigs.  Been a weird few months....  Crazy ride.

Well...it finally happened.  Had to my put kitty down.  Tabetha was about 16 and hadn't been eating for weeks.  So my wife and finally took her in to the vet to euthanize her.  Poor little fuzzy-head.   But she was suffering and not very mobile so it was an entirely sad affair. 

And now it means my Bucho gets the run of the house.  I don't know if he has realized that Tabetha is gone. I think he'll figure it out pretty quick though.  Especially tonight we he gets to start sleeping with us.  Although that's going to take some adjustment.  He likes to attack your feet in the middle of the night and pounce on your belly early in the morning.  And when I saw your I mean mine.  What a cute little booger. 

Goodbye Tabetha, you were a cutie and will be missed.  Thank you for being such an important part of our life.  Meooow!

If you've been watching my FD posts and reading the blogs, it's pretty obvious that things are going pretty awesome.  Of course, there are some bumps in the road.  It's not all fun and games and it is a lot of hard work.  But some of it you need to get a little dirty first before you can make some decisions.

I've got project that I dip my finger into on occasion for a variety of reasons.  Just to help "get out" on the scene.  Some are just to meet people, some are for fun, some are push myself.  But there comes a time when the music just doesn't resonate with me and it's time to move.  That's not to say it's bad or anything like that. it just isn't for me.   I'm beginning to hit that here and there.

There's also long-term relationships.  Sometimes they just are played out.  Nothing more to get out it.  The friendship has long been over. There aren't pulling their weight on the partnership side.  The workload, time and compensation are so far out of balance that it causes resentment.   And then there's the petty stuff...ick. I'm done.  The lack of respect, the lack of help, the lack of partnership, the entitlement, the immaturity, the stupidity.  I should have walked away sooner.  But I didn't.  I didn't get burned but I get crapped on pretty hard for the last couple of years.  I'm done.  I can't work with some people.  I know this.  It's okay.  But for this one special case, I'm done and it's not okay.  Time to walk away.  Past time.  Ugh... 

Fortunately, I'm not letting that ruin my day nor did I let it ruin my weekend.  I've got so many other things are taking off. Things that are positive experiences. Things that I enjoy and partners who are working hard.  Lots to do, lots to learn.  This is part of the process too.  I handled myself pretty well through the hard parts and really got some great things out of some tough situations.  Time to move on.  Happy Monday everybody - git 'er dun!

Today was one of those days...for the past seven weeks I've been tore up.  Let me tell you why.  For starters, this is all LoopFest stuff.  I run a few in several cities.  They are a tremendous amount of work.  The joy of doing them and watching them literally makes my heart strong and my spirit fierce.  They power me like Jesus powers me.  I'm not one of those guys that likes to be "public" about my faith.  But I'm also not a pussy and I don't take kindly to being crapped on about it either.  Fair warning has been given.  What I find humbling about it is when good things happen.  I thank God for it. I thank God for the people I met that got me there. I thank God for putting me in the places I needed to be.  Today was a humbling day.  The San Antonio LoopFest was picked up by Luminaria.  This means I get to pay performers.  I can give some travel support.  I have an entire organization that has infrastructure, advertising, promotion and tech support that is now sponsoring this Festival.  I have loopers coming in from the region, from out-of-state and from other countries.  It's going to be amazing.  And I say God is good.  All the time.  Even when I put this event on with no support and the bands came and played I said God is good. All the time. 

Now it's outside sponsorship time for ALL the loopfests.  It's a beautiful time for me right now.  I've never been more at the top of my game.  My life is good, my wife is good, and I know it's not all me.  It's a host of people I've met, friends of friends, other players, fans, music and culture lovers, my family, my friends (My A-One SUPERFANS!!!) civic organizations, festivals, businesses... the first rule of the music biz.  There's no such thing as a self-made man.  Think about it.  Superstars are superstars because of the millions of people that support them.    I'm so grateful for all of you who have given to me.  You buy my records, you come to my shows, you play my gigs, you play on my recordings, you support my efforts, you contribute to my causes, you support the artists on my shows and my label, you watch my videos, read my posts let me crash at your pads and care about what I am doing.  I am nothing without you. And without God's blessing none of this bears fruit.  Thank you.  Today is a great day. And it's a great day because you think what I'm doing matters.  Awesome.

 

The hot weather is finally here.  Had our first 100 degree day yesterday.  Still feels good to me.    Been going pretty hard on things for quite some time so I eased off last week.  Put things in slow gear, spent some extra time with the wife, even took a day off for napping and movies and cocktails.  Then I went to bed early.  Good times. 

But all things must come to an end... back on it today.  Hitting the yard work pretty good. Got some cypress mulch on the shrubs, expanding my grass patches (trying to...), got most of my rock/dirt pile gone got a few things in the garden.  Ready to button up my water tanks.   Getting going on the house as well.  Got the mesh up for stuccoing the skirting.  Starting to dig out some spots for concrete.  I do have some other repairs on one wall that need to be done, but I gotta see what the wife wants to do about it.  Need to fix the plumbing so I can get my tank going.  Already have a plan for that.  Going to start fixing the shop outer wall and get the roof properly sealed up. 

Lots going on the music stuff that's starting to chew me up a little.... still waiting on the city for loopfest/luminaria.  Not happy about the delay.  But it would be nice to have that support.  If not, I have another offer to make the event bigger by partnering with a posterfest.  That doesn't suck at all.  Too many things to fret about...and I need to start booking myself some shows. Back to it...

 

Wow...all caught up.  Getting ahead.  Trying to get back to playing, writing and making some music.  That's not to say I'm neglecting my artists and videos.  Got another 10 videos or so up this week. And very busy with my acts. Having a good time though.  Took the "day" day yesterday and gig some house work.  Cleaned out my water tanks which seem to be functioning perfectly.  Busted out some concrete steps, replaced some rotten wood steps, did some car maintenance.  All good things.  Good my kitty on my lap and working on videos right now.  Waiting for them to convert and upload.  Two more and it's yard work and practice time.  Got a little guitar practice in for the first time in weeks as well.  That's all new and strange to me still.  Wait, wait wait....these little machines have to do their work.

Waiting for emails and phone calls to be returned.  Waiting to hear back if gigs are going to happen.  Waiting to hear if San Antonio if bringing my LoopFest into Luminaria.   That last one is enough to give me an ulcer.  Waiting to see how many radio stations are going to spin Emmett's new CD.  So much....yikes.

I put everything I got into this stuff.  But there are many wheels to turn and they all move at their own pace.  In the meantime, I grab another project and get going instead of treading water.  Got a lot of waiting that's tearing me up a little on the inside though.  Back to it!!!

You know - I really wanted to be making entries more often.  But there's been so much going on I haven't had the time to write it.  The website is ever expanding.  New pages for artists, more content, updated content.  Loopfest's are coming along. Austin loopfest is booked at The Brass House, which I'm stoked for.  Great venue.  Totally thrilled to have it.  Booking a couple more acts for the loopfests in San Antonio and Austin.  I should be hearing from the city this week if San Antonio is going to bring my loopfest into Luminaria.  Crossing my fingers for that one.  Got Emmett's CD "Them Poetry Blues" in the mail to 90 stations around the U.S. and 10 magazines.  Signed a new band - Villela, pretty hot stuff.  Been getting a bunch of video shot and posted on my youtube channel and website, doing some shows, jamming with some bands.  Staying on top of everything really.  All my "hot item" projects are complete and now it's time to get back to the grind of getting everything even better.  Pretty happy, pretty tried.  Loving it all.

 

Wow...what a month.  Crazy busy.  Got a ton of new video up, projects are rolling along, time is slipping away, trying to book gigs, tours, promote records, videos, put on concerts, loopfests... yowza!

All kinds of good things happening though.  Heading to Ohio in a couple of days, really feeling the pinch of booking right now.  Spring is here and that means there's a bunch of house repairs and yard work to do.  Got my sax fixed, in the middle of getting a crown on my tooth - that's no fun.  :(  Working with my artists pretty heavy of late and need to get back to me!  All kinds of things I want to blab about, but I want to wait for official confirmation before I say anything.  So much to be excited about, so much to be nervous about, so much to do...my head is spinning.  Time for a little break and back to it!!

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post...so much has happened. 

Just got back from Portland.  Jim Miller's memorial service.  A tough and emotional day.  What a great man.  I don't have the words to really sum it all up.  Quite a lovely outpouring from his friends. 

Since this wasn't a performing trip, I got a ton of visits in.  Literally stacked back to back.  Old friends, music compatriots, band-mates, neighbors, all of it.  What a beautiful visit.  I know some really cool folks.  I enjoyed them all.  What a great time.  I wish I had more time to see them all.  So much success, so much adventure.  Their lives are all full.  I was more than a little worked up emotionally so there was some extra sweetness in it for me.  Back home so soon and out on the road again in a week to Ohio for the 17th Annual Pro Music Festival at Tiffin University. 

I'll try and get some recaps of other things in the next week.  Got a ton of projects finished and should be able to actually do it!

Until then - RIP Jim.  You are missed.

The thing is we all love doing a "Big Show."  Big Shows are rare.  Big Shows are defined differently.  What makes a Big Show?  The answers vary depending on where you are at in your career.

For me, right now, tonight is a "Big Show."  It's the monthly Downtown on Tuesday event.  It's my first event for the City of San Antonio. It's outdoors at Alamo Plaza, right in front of the Alamo.  Just me and my loop station for 3 hours.  Unfortunately, the weather may not cooperate.  It has cancelled this event for several months.  I expect it will go on. 

I'm mildly excited and greatly looking forward to it.  I'm going to bring out my larger P.A.  That should make the low end effects bark and bump, give some thud to my bass drum box and punch the rest out with some serious volume and clarity.  I love getting to use bigger speakers.  More air, bigger magnets, larger cones - it really transforms the impact my show has.  It's why blues bands are so much better live.  You feel the bass and drums move through your body.  My little PA only gives an auditory suggestion of that.  People still get it, but there's nothing like feeling it.  This excites me.  I'm a little anxious to see how people react to it. 

Anyway...I think one the things that make for a big show are the preparations.  It changes your day. I'm not going to say I took the day off or didn't work or anything like that.  But I certainly didn't work as hard, or get into a project or do much more than a daily check-in.  I want to be rested physically and mentally.  I have a big set-up.  Now I'm going to relax for a minute and then get to it.  It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

 

 

If you really want to see how time flies, try and write a blog "frequently."    In some ways it feels like I just got, in others, ways it seems like I never went.  The odd thing is how much traffic this is receiving.  It's my #3 entry page on m site.

I get back home last Monday, I figured the next day is going to be spent on couch napping, eating, coffee in the day, booze at night and lots and lots of rest. Nope.  I'm all hot and bothered to get the new The Please Help video up and ready to go.  Phil wants that as well.  We're up and at it and spend hours and hours on it getting it just right.  Graphics look great and we are ready to go.  Except after converting it to a wmv file shows that I'm out of sync on a part and two other parts could be a little tighter.  The adjustments are so slight that I have to export the video (an hour to an hour twenty each time) every time I want to check it.  I'm up until 2:30am working on it.  I finally call it night and I'm up at 8:30am.  Tighten up two sections, get the other thing right and post it.  Booyah!  Nope.  Phil says it's too dark and there's a hard cut at 1:57.  Pull it down.  I look and it's not just a hard cut that's missing, almost ALL the transitions from scene to scene are gone.  I go get him and we're working on it until well after 5pm.  Keep in mind we wanted it up and ready to go with the article in the paper that came out that morning.  We finally get it right.  And post it.  The other one got 17 views before we took it down.  First one got 100 views in a day. Not too shabby. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibwrr2I8JZs

After that the rest is a confused mess.  My wife and I went to a networking meeting, went out for sushi with friends, gigs, videoed a live show of The Please Help at the 1011, lots of computer time, loopfest stuff, met some folks, did some label biz... Kind of shut down on Saturday day for the afternoon.  Sunday I felt like a zombie. And I got my new T-shirt for The Please Help.  Got a solid 10 hours of sleep in and some good husband/wife time. 

I'm getting to the point where I'm at my project limit.  I can take on a couple more things. But I'm getting stretched.  I've got some other things humming, but nothing is in the pipeline.  Other things are taking waaay too much time, energy and producing very little unless my hands are doing all the work.  I'm not happy at all with this project.  The funny thing is, I'm vetting potential artists and collaborators in a very different way.  I've met with a lot of people. Enough that I'm not able to see the signs of what is and isn't a reasonable time/reward investment.  Hustling matters.  A willingness and ability to learn matter.  An entrepreneurial spirit matter. A willingness to tackle basic tech matter.  The lack of hatred toward establishments that pay you matter.  Self-management matters.  The ability to communicate matters.  Efficient, easy communication matters.  A thick skin matters.  A solution-oriented and opportunistic mindset matter.  Warning flags:  complainers, whiners, stupid (NOT ignorant - I can fix that), lazy, unfocused, victims, fearful, uncertain, know-it-alls, debaters, cocaine, bad hygiene, no teeth, sit-back-and-let-someone-else-do-it and the "I heard that..." guy.  These things make this job hard.  Makes the sweet fruit of one's labor taste like garbage and sand.  And it ruins relationships.  Unfortunately reality in the biz.  I could live without that part.

Anyway, can't say I'm raring to go, but I'm ready for the week.

Already promoting the videos this morning - hope to finish with that project in the next day or two.  Got some car repairs to get to, taxes, a couple of rehearsals and I need to book some shows... onward and upward.

 

Had a nice gig at Francesca's.  Surprise, surpise and my brother and his wife show up for the gig.  What a fun treat.  Had a fun show up with a table of her friends, food was once again a home room.  After that I hit the road.  Ended up driving until 3am or so...spent an hour on the phone with my brother telling "yo momma" jokes.  I love my family.  We are some odd ducks but we all rock and I have a lot of fun with them. 

Anyway...finally had to call it a night. Made it to Alabama. It was a lot further than I thought I would make it.   Up in the morning and hit the freeway for home.  The long drive the previous night got me home for supper in my little Texas home with my lovely and wonderful wife.  What a joy to be back home.  I love my little kitty and getting back to work.  Started kicking some tail with Phil right out of the gate.  Today was awesome.  Crushed it today.  Serious biz, serious creativity, serious progress.  Today I am excited, thrilled and bursting with enjoyment of the music biz.  My trip was fantastic. I made a ton of good music with my buddy Zach in Florida and the tour went great.  Things are humming sweetly.  Can't wait for the rest of this week to unfold.  I'm almost giddy.  Today was a good day.

And BAM...just like that a week flies by so fast I literally didn't have time to eat let alone get on line.  Let's see...Last Sunday, okay had a nice show at Francesca's Trattoria.  Got a hug from Shel when I came in.  She brought the chef out and started ordering for me.  Food was the bomb!  Had a great time hanging out and catching up.  Crowd was a little sedate, so I kept it jazzy and mellow.  I was a little concerned for a minute because I've been hitting the funky stuff so hard for the past few months and I'm really excited about the new tunes I've been working on with Phil and Brant.  Those babies are hot.  

My "day off" was a pretty serious effort on the computer trying to push views of The Please Help "What I'm Hoping" video on my youtube channel.   Did some fest stuff and little domestic duties, found out that Emmett's CD has been pirated and is posted everywhere.  Ick.  Contacted the FBI.  Ick.  Will start to send take down notices. Ick. That was a major bummer.  by then I was ready to hit the beach.  Except I couldn't find a beach.  After I wasted 2 hours finding nothing but docks and breakers, I gave up and found a bar with a water view for some booze and oysters.  That helped.  Called it an early night.

Spend the next morning online.  Did my show at a retirement community, which was a blast.  They LOVED it.  Looking forward to going back there next year. The activities coordinator said, "...the video was neat, but you are just awesome in person.  I really had no idea.  It's so cool."   And my ego was satisfied for the entire tour.  After the show headed off to meet up with Zach at his mom's house.  And yes, I do feel like I'm 15 when I say that.

We set up, say hi and immediately get to work.  Takes us about 5 hours to get going.  Tech problems.  But with two of us, we got it figured out.  We strayed pretty far from the original intent of this project when I started using the mini-Korg.  I don't own it, it's on a keyboard exchange with Zack Walters (3rd Alley).  We swapped last time I was in L.A.   I had no idea what that machine was capable of.  Over the next 4 days I found out.  We made some crazy music and had a lot of fun.  I think we were up until about 3am the first night.  Up and at it again about 10am the next morning.  Worked all day until my show that night for a bike night in Naples.  Had a GREAT time with the bikers.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorms ended the show and hurt attendance, but it was still a solid Wednesday night gig.  Many thanks to Polock for the tequila!    A couple of good ole' boys invited me to go hang out at a private bar and jam.  So I went, half expecting to get fed to the gators.  These guys had a strip mall/warehouse space that must have had 40 guitar amps stacked in it.  Pool table, huge mixing board, drum set, etc...  Bunch of Floridians hanging out drinking and smoking.  I got down with the band playing rock tunes.  Haven't played rock a quite a while.  I had fun. call it quits around 1am, home around 2am.  Up a 8:30am the next day and busting out the music with Zach hard all day.  One of the guys from the bike night calls me up and wants me to play another one that night.  Sweet.  Love picking up gigs along the way.  Put in a solid day, recorded some horns with electronic tracks and off to the gig.  I get there (45 minute one way drive) and I forgot my bag of bells and whistles:  no effects, no wireless mic, no cables, no delay, etc...   I'm bummed.  But I got my sax, my loop station, my pa and an SM58 that plugs direct into the station.  Which is pretty close to how I started out doing the show.  And since it's really about the tunes and the sax, that other stuff is just icing on the cake and no one would know.  So I sat down and knocked it out.  People really, really liked it.  That's the difference. Add the toys and they LOVE it.  Still had a good night but didn't sell very many CDs.  If I had the effects I would have sold out my touring inventory of SSS.  As it stands I have 3 left.  Anyway... it was a fine show. Wrapped it at 9, home around 10 and we put in a couple of hours of work.   Next day we were at it around 8:30am and worked all day again.  This time my show was late so we worked well into the evening.   I went off to my show at a billiard hall for Valentine's Day and had a good time.  Kind of late, home around 1am and just crashed.  Saturday was up 7:30am and off to breakfast.  Zach had some things to take care of: car issues, g/f, family time, etc... we got going late morning and pushed it hard until 3.  After that we were done. I was bitchy and bossing him around, he was tired of getting bossed around, his G/F was there, his mom was coming home, we had stopped having fun the day before and agreed that time had simply run out.  I think we ended up with 16 or 17 tracks for those few days.  What a massive effort.  We did a ton of work and we worked well.  Aside from cool grooves and sounds, we got another tune out of it "Two Ports Down" it's kind of a "Poortown Scrub" revisited.  I'm already using it on shows.  Nice little calypso ditty.  We seem to get one good tune every time we get together.  i packed up to do my show and hit the road, Zach packed up to go spend a few days in Sarasota and it was goodnight Irene.  I did my show a very cool little brewery, YBel Brewing. GREAT beer.  Snappy hops!  That stuff can easily hang with the NW craftbrews.  People were cool, two of the workers there both played sax in school, a couple other musicians were there as well.  Fun night although they said it was dead as people were downtown for a festival.  I wrapped a little early and hit road.  Only made about 2.5 hours before it was time to sleep.

I'm partial to truck stops these days as opposed to rest areas.  But for this stretch of interstate, there's not a lot of truck stops and the rest areas are pretty nice.  So I pull over in what I think is a nice quiet spot.  Seems I picked the spot where carloads of people wanted to chat, smoke and laugh for extended periods of time in the middle of the night.  I had no idea that rest areas in Florida was such hot spots for hanging out fun.  Oh well... it's only sleep. Got up, hit the road and hello starbucks!!!  One more gig tonight and then's hightailing it for home. BandVanAdventures indeed.  This week was intense. 

 

 

 

Road report:

This one is a little different.  Banged my pinky finger pretty good a few days before I left.  Didn't touch my horn so I could let it recover.  First gig was 8 hours at the Jacksonville airport.  Suffice to say I was playing through the pain.  Next two days were airport gigs and night gigs.  Finger hurts.  A lot. 

Gigs were pretty cool.  Bumped into folk musician Jim Scott in the airport.  We had a nice chat, we jammed on a tune and off he went to his gig in Tallahassee.  Fun stuff.  I also put my gigs online via an online busking site.  That was kind of fun and made the time between flights a lot of fun to play.  Had some pretty good traffic from that and even made some tips.  All in all, the first leg was pretty.  Got to hang out with my brother and his family a little bit.  That's always nice, but the gigs were so long it was out the door at 7am and home after midnight and then time to hit the road. 

Couple of notable things. 

Jazzland in Jacksonville.  the outside is deceiving.  The inside is a straight-up jazz club.  Nice little bar, cool tables, tight stage, house PA and jazz lovers and fans.  Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy. And it's Florida, streets were empty and the club had a small crowd.  But it was fun and the attendees were cool.  One of them even posted a couple cell phone videos on facebook. 

Dandelion Cafe in Orlando.  Once again a great show and good food.  Even though it's tiny, I always have a great a show there.  People are cool and they are practically in your lap.  I was pretty hot that night although the cramped space made for some foot blunders on the pedals.  It happens. 

Spent the night at a service station on the Turnpike and got online to do some work for the first time in three days.  Can't really deal with loopfest biz right now...that's kind of not cool.  Too much to do.  Got a great gig tonight and then Monday is off.  Looking forward to some serious online work and I'm thinking some beach time.  Haven't had a REAL day off since I don't know when.  I'll hook up with Zack on Tuesday after my gig and we'll get to work on the new project. Looking forward to getting musically dirty with him!

Feeling pretty good.  My cheeks hurt from the stool at the airport. 22 hours of playing in three days is a butt-buster.   Plus driving, plus other gigs...oww.   Pinkie hurts too, swelling is gone down but I think it's broken. Hand hurts from favoring it and holding the horn though.  My thumb callous from the horn is getting larger too. I have a knobby thumb.  Back is little better.  My brother is a N.P. for the Navy and an acupuncturist.  He gave me a treatment. That helped, although it was a little disturbing on how taken he was with how messed up it is.  He kept saying it's worse than his patient with fibromyalgia.  And hear I thought things were really getting better.  That being said, i am feeling pretty good.  Eating smart, finally got some sleep, playing a ton of music, talking with the wife on the phone when we both have a few moments.  Good times for sure.  I do love being on tour.  I really do.  

 

 

So I've been enjoying the house to myself.  Spent the weekend home alone, no gigs, no wife, no where to be.  Got a lot done.  Not what I thought I was going to spend my time on, but it was time well spent.  I have enjoyed the new business hours.  Up laaate.  That's fun.  Making some music in the house.  I need a piano or a keyboard.  I can't write without it.  These new projects are really challenging without a writing tool.  Maybe next year....

LoopFests are seriously blowing up.  Fantastic talent.  I'm about loaded in some spots and booking for others that I haven't called for.  I'm committed to my vision of them.  I work very hard at making them be what I think they can be.  I often forget there are other ways to look at it.  Getting feedback on these things is a head-trip.  There's what was said, what was meant, what you tried to do, what actually happened, what you're trying to do this time, etc... there's a lot of considerations.  I forget that people have their own impressions of it all.

Here's the hard part.  Getting talent.  International talent matters, it's awesome to support touring acts, there's are larger elements to consider and I'd like to include establishing and upcoming local acts.  For the fest attender, I think the variety of styles, instruments and presentation with a variety of tech is awesome.  It's unbeatable. 

But trying to get things done is not as easy as it seems.  I only hope that people come and love it and support the artists that came to perform.  I have the time of my life putting them together and putting them on.  The artists and events are awesome. 

Wow indeed. So much has happened in the past two days.  Great developments with the loopfests.  Progress on a recording project.  Set-backs at the office due to weather and time conflicts.  A ton of progress made.  A ton of things happening.  Dealing with them has been great.  I've things pretty tight right now.  Backed up on paperwork a little. But that'll get done soon enough.  Other priorities.  Phil's video is doing well.  10 days, 700+ views.  We're pretty happy right now. Looking forward to inking some more deals.  The future is bright.  Today and this month I've been loving the music business.  

I feel good about my these new things coming out.  I think they're going to be better than ever.  I've got some great talent I'm collaborating with.  New music, new festivals.  I'm very excited about what's coming.  It's hard to contain it.

Today was an interesting day.  I got a little uncool with my dissatisfaction of how San Antonio handles it's bad weather.  Oy... That doesn't mean I was wrong.  At all.  Anyway, lots of good news today too.  Venues confirmed, new acts confirmed, new video shoot planned.  This is awesome.  I love it and I love the people I'm working with.

or maybe so much is better.  Life is blasting on at a magnificent pace.  It's hard to keep up.  Haven't gotten to play with my kitty is days.  Poor Bucho isn't very happy with me right now.  It's good to be working.  It's good to take a moment to get ready for the next thing.  C'mere Bucho!!!!

...is some terrible advice.  I think looking back is a necessary and powerful tool..  Especially for musicians.  You need to measure progress.  You need to see IF you have progressed.  You need to see if your efforts are furthering your career.  This life of music is an inch by inch 24/7 crawl towards a dream.  It's not easy to set goals, let alone achieve them.  Because your music dream is YOUR music dream.  There's no final test.  There's no final measure.  For some it's obvious, chart topping hits and world-wide arena tours.  But once reality sets in, and even if it doesn't, how do you measure progress towards that.    The thin is it's easy to get lost in the day to struggles.  Things seem like they move too slowly and nothing ever gets done. 

For me that sums up this week.  Mentally, it was a struggle.  Felt like I was spinning my wheels and wasting my time.  Got some no's (which I HATE!!!) didn't get some things done (which is demoralizing) and felt unproductive.  The reality of it was a little different.  Spent two days with my new production team coming up with ideas for our first collaborative record and have over 10 new songs started. Got press in Portland, OR and San Antonio, TX for my collaborations with other artists.  Got booked for a live looping clinic at the ProMusic Festival in Tuffin, Ohio, made a little progress on my looping festivals, got a lot of work done in my yard, got some time in with friends, got my exercise in and spent time with my wife, my neighbor and spoke with family, spent some time playing with some gear and pushed video views on youtube for one of my artists via social media.   That was a GREAT week, yet I felt like a failure because I didn't write more songs, I didn't work on arrangements and I didn't get practice time in and I didn't get some loop station time in.  Had I not  checked my self yesterday, I'd be coming in to today with a bad attitude and sense of desperation.  The fact is, you can't do it all.  You what you can, when you can and try and pick the rest up later. Looking back helps keep you going.

Today is a good day.

Got some press in Portland, got some press in San Antonio.  But these things are never isolated nor individual.

I'm not one for New Year resolutions or any crap like that.  But I did want to do a lot more blog postings this year.  I do it because I think these things should be personally and emotionally revealing.  I AM an artist.  And fans, critics, haters and casual observers should have the opportunity to know more about the person who makes the art.  That's what I think.

This time of year always brings a lot of press for one of my artists, poet Emmett Wheatfall.  www.emmetthwheatfall.com
He's not JUST a poet.  He's a got a fine job. He like to be informed. He's also a pastor.  And he loved acting, movies and the theatre.  He is known in Portland for his powerful renditions of the MKL Jr. "I Have a Dream" speech.  He gets several annual bookings to do this every year.  And he's incredible.  He sent me an article from the local black newspaper (I refuse to say African-American unless you were born in Africa and immigrated to the U.S.), the Skanner.  They spelled my name wrong, but I don't care.  They mentioned the work he I did on the very first poetry and jazz collaboration we did.  This came the very same day the the San Antonio Current published an article about the local Mexican rock legend Phillip Luna and the video that we released 18 hours ago. 

I couldn't help but think of my uncle who marched with Rev. King and my parents who went to South Africa and put on racially integrated religious retreats during apartheid.  While I was thrilled about my work being mentioned in the news media of two major metropolitan cities in the U.S. on the same day, I also couldn't help but be awed by my elders.  Whose shit was far more important, less self-serving and paved the very way for my work today.  God bless them.

I am please for my part in the success of these artists.  It's in my blood. I come from a line of ass-kickers.  Men and women who stand up for others. People who choose to do the right thing.  That is who I want to be.  That is what I strive for everyday.  I want to make the world a better place.  I want to empower people.  I take my cue from my elders, my bettors.  I don't succeed at this everyday.  But I don't let a failure today stop me from trying again tomorrow. 

Today was a good day.  Tomorrow is going to be even better.

 

 

 

Can't believe it's the 13th already.  Been going full speed on a variety of projects and getting ahead, but feeling behind.  (That sounds kinda dirty...)  Anyway, the LoopFests are in full swing.  I can't believe the amount of international interest this year.  I blew it up last year with 4 stellar shows in the NW, but this year has me very excited NOW!   Got some superb talent coming in from all over and I've only been at it a week: Japan, Chile, Mexico, Sweden, France, Canada, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Las Vegas, Connecticut, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles...ridiculous.  I can't wait.  I'm just thrilled.  The locals are already hitting me up as well.  Now I just need to the the Texas fests going like those!

Did my first video with my San Antonio soul-brother Phillip Luna.  His new band, Please Help!, is in post-production on their debut release.  We did a shoot in downtown S.A. for a track called "What I'm Hoping."  Came out real nice for our first production.  Launched that baby today to get the buzz going. Pretty happy how that's all coming out as well.

Got my Gulf Coast tour pretty well filled up and a recording session lined up with my buddy Zach.  We've got a nice collaboration going and will be putting out our next bit of fun.  Looking forward to seeing what he does with the tracks when we're all done. 

Today was pretty crazy - booking venues for the loopfests, booking gigs, editing, lots of emails, confirming loopers, planning spring tours, phone calls, posting, posting, posting...even got my workout in this morning. What a lovely day.  Going to bed after a solid day of work.  Love it.

 

Wow...a brutal end to 2013.  I hurt my shoulder working on my house so I stopped my exercising for the last couple of months, I had a very intense fall tour, I lost a much loved colleague and friend, I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, I didn't have much work for the holiday season, it was too cold to work on the house and I got a nasty cold over Christmas that put me in bed for 3 days.  I am thankful 2013 is GONE, GONE, GONE!

2014 started with a fantastic college bowl season, I started back on my exercise program, got my diet figured out a little better for my new "condition," made some nice contacts for new gigs in town, getting my first tour of the year rocking and rolling, got some new, old records signed to the label, started getting the loopfest plans rocking, even got some house repairs in and cut my hair!  It's amazing the power of imagery.  Just having a fresh haircut puts a little pride in one's step and a fire in the belly.  I'm rested up, rejuvenated and full of music.  Already written a half-dozen new grooves for the loop station show and getting ready for the first recording of 2014.  2014 is all about getting ahead.  It's going to be a lot like 2013 as I'm still the newbie in a new town, but I'm making headway.  I'll get my band going and advance all of my projects.  MUCH to be done and I'm looking forward to doing it.

When I started doing this, i had every intention of it being a most regular thing.  A "revealing look" inside if you will.  Well, schedules and life being what it is, regular is a difficult thing.  And my wife isn't too fond of the personal stuff being out in the world.  She's right about that, but what are you as an artist if you don't reveal yourself?  Isn't one's work made more valuable be the personal motivations, the things going on in one's life that affect inspiration and thought concentrations?  We are humans.  We are complex beings affect by myriad emotions and experiences.  We can also set these things somewhat aside.  But as an artist, these things affect how we create or practice our craft. 

I've had a bit of a slow holiday season.  Some cancellations and cutbacks and a lot of time spent on other things have left an open calendar.  I'm beginning to see how to work my schedule now though.  And there's a lot of label stuff to do.  I've been doing a ton of video from the loopfest.  Although I really cannot be doing some much of it "after=the-fact."  It's a pretty intense amount of work.  I've picked up some more records and am kicking out a lot of new releases between now and spring.  It's a pretty cool. 

I'm pretty caught up on things in the office.  I haven't jumped into a new big project yet and have been doing a lot of house stuff and fiddling with some ideas of tech, music, etc...  just housekeeping stuff.  It's been eating up time and giving me time to think whilst still being productive.  And the house is cleaner!  Still haven't started exercising again although my shoulder is fully healed up.  I'm thinking 2014 is a fine time to start up again. 

As I've been reflecting on the holiday season and my year.  I did have some things I wanted to say.  The very first is Thank you.  To all of my friends, family and fans.  To my loved ones, to the people who came to hear my play, the venues that hired me, those who you purchased my music, those who streamed my songs and those who have watched my videos.  THANK YOU.  To those who let me stay at their homes, to those we met up with for dinner, drinks, meetings, concerts. THANK YOU.  To those who participated in all my projects THANK YOU.  To those I'm in business with and the music we've made together and the music we are promoting together THANK YOU.  To those who have included me in their projects THANK YOU. This has been a great year for me and my company.

I've really been expanding the label, adding records, working with more people and making great music.  It's been an amazing ride.  Merry Christmas everyone, I hope your 2014 is blessed and filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.

Noah

 

Back home dealing with lots of office stuff.  Mainly trying to get video online and distributed to Loopfesters!  That's all kind of fun, but the slow uploading is killing me...In the meantime I'm finally going through some old mini-disc gig recordings from 5, 8, 10 years ago... jazz, folk, reggae all in small combos from gigs so far. 

I've really been blessed to make a lot of music in my life.  And I look forward to making a lot more.  What a life...

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