Monthly Archives: October 2013

Back in the saddle again

Days 33-38
Mid-tour break & drive day

Here is my promised short blog…. Well, maybe not as short as I originally thought…..
We had four days off, in which everyone went their respective ways. I went back to the Berkshires, and the guys went to the city.
I spent my time off finally completing the bench project that I was working on. (If you care to see the finished product, hit me up on twitter, @stevejmichaels)
We reconvened in NYC on Wednesday, and honestly it felt as if we were starting tour all over. The first day back together was a drive day, so getting back into the swing of the daily routine didn’t happen right away. Well, with the amount that we’re on the road it’s not that it really takes much to get back in to it, it’s just it after a few days off the energy that had accumulated up has to be built up again.
On the drive, we saw our first snow flurries of the season somewhere in western Pennsylvania. I personally am not looking forward to the snow…
We stopped for the night just outside Ohio, with our sights set on Detroit for the morning…

Listen to what the man said

Day 32: The Shamrock
Waterbury, CT

Criticism is honestly one of the greatest fuels to any art. Constructive criticism allows you, if you’re receptive, to hear other opinions on how to better your work. Negative criticism can add a F.U. attitude and spark to your craft, allowing you to soldier on despite whatever is said to you.
While at the Waterbury show someone who reads my blog lightly scolded me that recently my writing hasn’t been up to par, the major complaint being that the length of the blogs has been very short compared to the bar that I set myself.
I know for a fact that it was meant as a positive bit of criticism, and quite honestly, I couldn’t agree more.
I really don’t consider my ramblings here to be any form of art, but when we’re on the road, visiting cities that we never have been to, the sense of mystery and adventure gives me enough inspiration to paint a literary picture that expands beyond the monotony of the stark reality of what being a touring band is. We wake up, we drive, we load in, we wait to go on, the band plays, we load out, we drive some more, we go to sleep….. Then we wake up and do it all over again. Being immersed in that world though gives me the time and focus to be able to find things within the daily routine to write about. Throw me in New England on the other hand, and all the distractions of non-tour life kill my motivation.
It makes me wonder if songwriters or professional screen writers ever actually listen to (with the intent of growing from) any of the criticism that fans send their way. Obviously, there’s a lot of stupid opinions to filter through, but there is definitely gold to glean from what people are saying about you.
That all being said (and the fact that we’re back in the wild), I’m hoping to get back in to the swing of this thing. (With the exception of the very next post, the one about our few days off and our drive day, haha. That’s bound to be a short one)

Waterbury is Stevie G’s hometown, and his friends and family came out in force. The club is a restaurant with a decent sized stage. The place was packed, with all the tables full and the space between clogged up with standing people.
The band that was headlining had a giant drum rig, so Mochello and I had to find a way to work his kit around their setup, because there was no way to move it.
The guys did their thing so well that the headliner (a cover band) asked the audience to lower their expectations for their set. (In all fairness, while I don’t like cover bands, these guys did a great job!)
After the show, everyone went home, with a four day mid tour break ensuing.

The road to Rhode Island

Day 31: Cats at K.C.’s Tap
Pawtucket, RI

I hooked back up with the band at the venue in Rhode Island after having to miss the Worcester show because of a job that I’m trying to finish.
I actually spent the morning in the ER, having woken up with a stabbing pain in my ear. It turned out I had a good old fashioned ear infection. So, antibiotics in hand, and head throbbing, I headed off to the show.
The venue had an odd feel to it. I came in through the load in door which opened into a decent sized room with a good sized stage. Stickers from Metal bands plastered various surfaces and stainless steel diamond plates wrapped the outside corners of the wall. The room had a hard core scene feel to it for sure. Oh, and there was no bar in sight.
After everything was set up I explored a bit and found out that there was an entirely different room, with a bar, dart boards, and some people already chillin out.
It was Down County’s last show on this run with us, and it was great to see them enact all the things that they learned from their last gig with us, and they put on a great show!
After the show and goodbyes, we set out towards Waterbury, CT, a gig that seemed as if it was a shoe-in to be a packed night.
Still feeling like my head was about to explode, I took some NyQuil an drifted off in to some much needed sleep.

Workin’ on the chain gang

Day 30: Lucky Dog
Worcester, MA

Following the Northampton show I had to ride back to Great Barrington with Down County. I have an ongoing project that I’m working on that I need to finish before we head back west again. The guys headed off to Worcester without me, (I’m trying to get one of them to guest blog about it) and I didn’t hear from them until they woke me up at 2:30 in the morning to say they were in Rhode Island and missed me. Sallys!

Learning to fly

Days 27-29
Days off and The Elevens

Northampton, MA

I really hate lumping days together on the blog, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
I spent my weekend in the Berkshires, as did Root. We hung out a little, but for the most part we just spent time with our families, and I worked a bit.
Nate, Stevie, and Mochello had all taken the Panda Express back to the city, so we arranged for them to meet up in Springfield, MA on the day of the show.
That night, Down County played their 2nd of three shows on this tour with us. Being that it was their first non-home area show, they couldn’t help but feel a little bit of fish-out-of-the-water syndrome.
Touring for a baby band, especially one that hasn’t been out before, is a whole different animal than playing an at home gig. You don’t have all your friends and family crowding into a room, screaming the lyrics to songs that they have been listening to since they were just noodled notes on a guitar in a basement. In fact, you’re usually lucky to recognize a handful of people in the room. The lack of that instantly reciprocated energy is a shock at first. I honestly don’t think that there is a way to prepare a band for how truly different the touring gigs are from a home show without them actually experiencing it firsthand. It’s a true learning curve. But if you view it as such, then your next gig can only get better!