Friday, August 24, 2012

It has been too long

     Well,  it has been quite some time since my last post. I have decided to revive this stream of useless babbling. There has been a lot of changes since my last post. I have traveled to Brazil and New Zealand with the Frankenreiter extravaganza. On September 14th last year our son Harry came into the world and obviously our lives were changed forever. I'm sure many of you reading this have experienced this and understand what a crazy roller coaster ride childbirth entails. I have never been so stressed and happy at the same time. Since February, I have been home here in North Florida hanging with the family enjoying watching little Harry grow like a weed. He is truly a blessing to Cat and myself minus the poopy diapers and sleepless nights.
our precious lil' Harry
      On the music side of things,  I have been extremely busy playing , recording and torturing young musicians with my useless musical knowledge. It has been a nice change to be able to stay in one place and not live out of a suitcase for a minute. With that being said, I have been itching to get back out on the road and bring some music to the peeps. 
     In June I had the privilege of doing a few shows with the amazing Walter Parks and his band Swamp Cabbage. This band is a group of musical all stars. Walter has been a long standing member of the legendary Woodstock artist Richie Havens Band. Walter not only played guitar and arranged Richie's music but also kept the show afloat behind the scenes tour managing their every step. Jim Devito chimes in on bass. Jimmy also a native of North Florida has recorded and produced artists such as Tom Petty, Don Henly, Creed, Mofro, Donavon, the list goes on and on. Jimmy is an accomplished bass player as well as a proficient guitar slinger. Rounding out the trio is Jagoda on the buckets. Jagoda is a native of New York. We do forgive him of his "Yankee-ness."  He has played and recorded with a long list of great artists. Jagoda just completed a record with  producer T-Bone Burnett.  I felt as if I was not worthy of being in such a grown up band with likes of these fellas. 
 After a grueling drive in a very small rental car loaded with too much vintage gear topping out at 65 MPH and  listening to Jim snore, we made it North Carolina Our first show was at the famous Garage Bar in Winston Salem.  Walter had a film crew come out to shoot some video in hopes of releasing a DVD in the near future. We had a grand old time. There is so much history in this town. I never realized how much big tobacco has influenced that area. Our show went very well and was well received by the audience. I felt that I got myself a good kick in the ass by a great trio of musicians. 
     If you get a chance check out Walter and The Swamp Cabbage. Here's the link


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweat Sweat and More Sweat

As we continued our steamy Summer tour down the East Coast, I gradually became hotter and hotter. Our next stop was Wellfleet Mass at the Beachcomber. Thanks to our good friends at Pipeline Surfshop, we were able to get off the bus and grab some waves down at a local break called Coast Guards.   The poor folks at the shop must hate it when we show up with a handful of people wanting to take out their best sticks. We always play two nights at the Beachcomber. I love this place because it is at the end of the road. There is nothing around for miles, spotty cell service and no shower. We parked the bus behind the venue and camp for a couple of days. The Comber has some of the best seafood the Cape has to offer. MMMmm... I love the lobster.  The fans are off the chart. People pile in this little place after dinner is finished and the Comber is transformed from Seafood shack to concert venue. The staff takes a break and gears up for the thirsty fans. The stage doubles as a dinner table area during the day. It feels like I am at home playing a local gig. 
     Both shows were great and the second day, we scored some great surf right before dark. It was a solid 6 foot swell jamming on the sand bars right out front of the Comber. I ran down the hill towards the beach board in hand with no leash and very little wax thinking it was waist high. Boy was I wrong. I swear I thought Donavon was going to break my longboard in half as he was sliding into these ridiculous barrels. I became very humbled as I paddled out. 
     At 3 am, we loaded up and headed to Fairfield for the next show. The Fairfield show was sold out and super fun. The Venue was a small theater nestled in the heart of the city. The patrons were sitting at tables around the horse shoe-shaped stage which made for an intimate show. It was a nice change from the sardine packed Beachcomber plus there was a shower unlike the past few days. It was nice to be back in civilization and Starbucks. 
     The next drive was a long one. We drove all the way out to Montauk, NY to play a free show at the Surf Lodge. Once again the venue is right on the water and the weather was great. This was my third time at the Lodge. We quickly got off the bus and headed down to the ditch to get some surf. The beaches in this area are all covered with stones which makes it very difficult to walk your board out. My poor toe got hung in between some rocks and pulled it out of socket. The locals were kind enough to lend us some foamies from their surf school quiver. I ran into surf legend Tom Curren while we were out in the water. The locals out at the ditch are very friendly and will let you get your share of waves. It seems to be a small knit surf community up there. Although I do hear the local sea life is not so friendly. There seem to be a good deal of shark sightings in the area due to a trash dump located off the coast. 
     The show at the lodge was over crowded and full of very wealthy vacationers from all over. The lodge is set up like a small open air bar and eatery with a 25 room hotel attached to it. It lies somewhere in between hostel and Boutique. I have never seen some many luxury cars in one place. The venue holds around 500 people but that night I heard there were around 1500 peeps on the property. The fire Marshall was not happy. After our 90 minute set the lodge turns into a disco inferno with bass pumping jams blasting out the crowd while they sip on their $15 cocktails. 

     After recovering from a late night, I headed down to the beach with the Billabong crew and surfed off the last night's binge. Nothing like cold ass water to wake up your hangover. Donny was already at the beach with a photographer shoot some amazing photos on a tin plate camera. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nantucket and beyond

     Our next stop took us the Island of Nantucket. This is our 3rd time at the old Chicken Box. The venue used to be an eating and watering hole for seasonal workers on the island. Unfortunately, there is no more chicken at the box only beer, booze and music. The Box holds about 400 people and has no a/c. It is legendary among the islanders for good times and good music. The venue has a band house/hostel attached to it which has not been renovated since it was built who knows when. It is scary what may be growing underneath that joint. The band house has a few a bedrooms and a gross non-working kitchen and a mold ridden bathroom but there is laundry! So it is best to sleep in your dirty clothes then wash them in the morning. 
     The whole journey to get to the island is quite an experience. The only way to the island is by ferry or by plane. Since our private jet was in the shop, we opted to board the ferry. Unfortunately our tour bus can't fit on the ferry so we had to cross load our gear and personal items on the ferry. Not fun! The ferry ride is about an hour long and actually very pleasant. After cramming 9 of us plus gear and dirty laundry into the Chicken Box van we headed through the quaint little town that looks like it was out a Hemingway novel. Rustic houses sprinkled in with cool little eating spots and watering holes line the narrow cobblestone streets.  Tourist as well as locals travel the cobblestone roads on scooters and bikes from bar to bar. It is such a neat place with a lot of history and mystique. 
     The crew dumped off our stuff and headed straight to the beach for a surf. The waves were  waist high and the water was brisk but crystal clear. Once again, it is always a great feeling to cleanse the body after being shoved around from place to place in cars, buses and in this case ferries. The surf instructors at the surf camp were dumbfounded as we blitzed their camp and took all their rentals. Good times! 
     The second day the band jumped on a 23 foot center console fishing boat and went out to catch some dinner. We caught a lot of fish as well as 6-8 foot seas. It was so worth it! We ran up on a school of blues and could not pull them in fast enough. We all had some good fights with some very playful fish. Four hours later we took our sea legs back to the hostel for some R&R before the show. 
     Both shows were sold out plus people were sneaking in through the side doors. It was a fire marshall's nightmare! As long as I am on stage the tightness does not bother me but in the crowd it would be a totally different situation. The shows were great and I swear I lost 5 pounds of water weight from sweating. Those floks were amped and ready to party. There were so many loyal fans who have been to all the shows in years past. 
     After the second show, we were invited to go up to the Maria Mitchell Observatory to see Jupiter. Oh my, this was one of the greatest parts of the whole tour. There were two scopes set up in two observatories. One was from the 1800s and the other was brand new. I think I spotted ET and the rings around Uranus....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Going Down East Coast Style

     Following our short stay in Montreux, we headed back to the states to finish the East Coast leg of our summer tour. Our first stop of 21 shows was Salisbury Mass. I love this place. Salisbury is a quaint little beach town nestled in the Cape area. There are some great surf spots as well as some great fishing. This was our second time playing the Blue Ocean Hall. This show was connected to an event hosted by Zapstix Surf Shop and featured many bands as well as several artists.  Todo Bien, G Love, Donavon, The Dead Air Project and Seth Pettersen all performed over the 3 day fest. 
     We were met with a warm welcome at the Airport by our buddy Patrick Hall. He had us stocked with party favors and put us up in a cool little condo right on the Beach. We jumped up the next morning and headed up the coast in search of some swell. We ended up finding a little point break and grab some SUP's and caught a few peelers with our buddy Skip. The water was freezing but it was a great way to wash off the travel and airplane goo. If you travel often you will know what I speak of. 
     Our show at the Blue Ocean was packed and the crowd was amped. The show was a good kick off for the tour. Surf artist Jay Alders had his work on display and our opener Seth Pettersen did a great job arousing the early goers. It was a good time by all. It was great to catch up with friends and have a little down time before jumping on the tour bus and heading south for 21 shows in a row. 
Donavon and Me on the huge set wave

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Switzerland and beyond

     It has been a long minute since I have reported in to all of you. After our 3 week stint through California and a brief trip to Portugal, We traveled home for a whole 6 days before we once again boarded that big jet airliner. This trip took us to Montreaux, Switzerland for the Montreaux Jazz Festival. I have to admit that I had a few butterflies buzzing around my belly when I heard the news that we were performing. This festival is one of the most prestigious music and art festivals in the world. We had the honor of playing in the newly built Miles Davis Auditorium. 
     This festival runs for 3 weeks and is spread out over several venues in the downtown district. There are over 100 acts performing each year. Although the fest is labeled as a "Jazz" festival, many genres are represented. I heard everything from funk and soul to Latin. It was a blast walking along Lake Geneva and hearing the sounds of music drifting through the Summer air. 
     The city was littered with beautiful sculptures everywhere. The art pieces were constructed of every material imaginable. There were also a slew of merchants with booths set up alongside the lake selling everything from funnel cakes to lava lamps. It was like a county fair Swiss style. And lucky for us, there were lots of beer gardens spread throughout the festival area. 
     The day of our performance, we strolled out to the lake for a quick dip. Donavon and I were the only takers. The water in the lake is as clear as glass and full of wildlife.  Across the lake was a beautiful view of France. It seemed so close that you could skip a rock atop the surface to the border. After our freshwater bath we loaded up the van and took off to the Hall for soundcheck. 
     The festival production team run a tight ship. Everything was in place and ready for the band to get going. Each band member had a few people around their rigs helping out with any problems with the gear or stage. Quite a far cry from playing the bar/restaraunt scene I am used to at home.  The backline instruments were prestine and in perfect working order. Each band member had a camera man assigned to their station. I had a beautiful white B3 brought over from France for the festival as well as some other great gear.  
     The show was good and the crowd was very responsive.We had a strong showing. The production was awesome from the craziest light show to the jumbotrons on both sides of the stage. The whole experience was a blast. After the show we headed back to the Hotel and sat on the balcony and absorbed the post show high as well as a few tasty beverages. The next morning we were whisped back to Geneva and on to the next leg down the East Coast of the states. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mmmm Burritos

      My most favorite thing about California is the Mexican food. Not only is the food cheap but so fresh and flavorful. For the whole Cali run I was on a 2 burrito/day diet. Meal-in-a-sack, what a great invention!  
     After rubbing elbows with rich and elite, We headed over to Santa Cruz then down the coast making stops thru Half Moon Bay, San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach. These shows were a string of promo gigs for Coors Light. One of Donavon and the band's corporate sponsors. All these took place in small venues catered to clients and associates of the brand. Most of these hits were full of drunken bar goers and loud networkers. We did leave these shows with some new fans. The rule of thumb for free shows goes as follows, If you don't pay you don't appreciate. Not always true, but these shows seem this way. Through the obnoxiously loud crowd, we managed to muscle though these shows. My mortgage does thank Miller Coors for the work. 
Diamond Donny on failed trumpet
     Our next proper show was at the Bircher Aquarium in San Diego. What a great place! The actual show took place over the man made outdoor reef behind the aquarium. I could look over the stage and see starfish and sea cucumbers everywhere. As I gazed over my right shoulder I had a beautiful view of some great surf peeling away from the La Jolla pier. The show was sold out and we even had a random high-heeled reef dancing girl. The security guard came to remove Miss Dancing Shoes from the rocky reef before she went down into sea cucumber hizzy but she was playing hard to get. That was very entertaining. Here are a few pictures from the gig.
under the sea or stage in this case

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Going back to Cali

Hello all, Once again the DF summer tour has begun. After a very short trip to Brazil and short stay back at the hizzy in good old Jacksonville, we headed out to California for a three week tour down the coast finishing up with a 72 hour trip to Lisbon, Portugal to play a festival. 
     Our first stop took us to the town of Petaluma. I love this little town. Petaluma reflects the good aspects of small town living with the benefits of being in close proximity of a major city. The town is full of Hippie cowboys. Just grab your boots and hat throw on that tie dye and head down to the five and dime/coffee shop. We spent a couple of days at the Best Western Petaluma and enjoyed the not so fresh continental breakfast. At least it was the right price. The show was at The Mystic Theater in downtown Petaluma. The Mystic has a great vibe and a friendly staff. 
    The following day, we packed into the Sprinter and drove up to McCloud for a private party for members of the William Hearst legacy. The party was poolside at the Wyntoon Mansion which happens to be nestled deep down in the forest of McCloud. This place is off limits to the general public and can only be accessed by a two path road guarded by big black bears and mosquitos. This Castle was left by Willie to be used exclusively for direct descendants of his blood line. The main house is something out of a mid-evil story book. Each room is filled with furnishings, artwork and personal items of William and his children. The property has a fast flowing spring-fed river flowing around the house. There are giant trees securing any ariel paparazzi from stealing some photos. The party was fun and turned into an in the pool party for most of the guest. The best part was Pete's rendition of "Baby's got Back" which was topped off by Donny's perfect 10 one and half off the diving board in his manties. 

     The late night party finished up at smaller mansions down the road in the actual town of McCloud that was also owned by Hearst. We arrived at the house late so we could not see the layout of our accommodations but when I awoke at 5:30 am for lobby call and made to order breakfast, I could not believe my eyes. It was as if I clicked my heels and appeared in 16 century Europe. That is when I realized this is how the other half lives. Once again our schedule never allows for much down time and the rule of thumb is if the gig is at an amazing spot, there is no time to enjoy. I do feel blessed to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful place that otherwise would be completely out of reach. Now on to another place....