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.