Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hakuna Matata

Days 5&6:
The Social
Orlando, FL

We woke up fairly early (for us), and jumped back into the fray, working right up till we had to leave for load in.

One of the projects we had been working on was the mailing of the new record pre-order packages. Root had spent hours hand writing the addresses and packaging them up, so on our way to the venue we found a post office to ship them out so they would arrive by release day.

This was my fourth time in Orlando with the band, and our third time at The Social. Having a sound guy for the tour has been a boon, he was able to dial the band’s sound in pretty tight, giving us, in my opinion, the best sound that we’ve yet had in that room.

For this tour Nate and Stevie G have been using in ear monitors which, while Nate has used them before, are a completely new animal for Stevie.

What the guys hear on the stage is an entirely different thing then what the crowd hears. That’s not to say that they’re up on stage listening to the sounds of nature while they’re playing. Most of the instruments are mic’d and then the sounds are mixed together by the engineer at the board before it gets pumped through the club’s PA system. Given that everyone in the band is set up scattered across the stage and usually directly in front of their own amp, there is no way that Stevie G, for example, could hear Nate’s vocals over the blast of his own guitar amp. Hence, the stage monitors.

The concept of a monitor mix is so that a musician can hear just the things that they want to while on stage. A large speaker on the stage or an in-ear headphone plays their individual mix (in a perfect situation that is… In a less perfect situation, which is more common, some band members share the same mix). This allows everyone to stay on the same page throughout the show, plus it gives you the ability to self critique your performance in real time, forcing anyone who strives for self development to work on any issues plaguing them, or suffer with hearing their screw-ups nightly.

That’s why it was a big deal when, halfway through their set, Nate’s in-ear monitor died. Suddenly, mid-song, he could hear nothing but the driving beat of Mochello’s drums and the sound of his own guitar amp. When something unexpected like that happens, there is no time to stop and grab a speaker to use as a monitor. The only thing to do at that point is to push on.

To the casual concert goer, nothing seemed to change. Nate soldiered on, not missing a beat. To me, who has worked at over 200 Man on Earth shows in the last few years, well, if I had somehow missed the split second of surprise on Nate’s face when his monitor died, or if I didn’t see him take the in-ears out, I may have been in the dark as well. When a curveball comes at you, you just have to trust in your abilities and not psych yourself out, and I think Nate was able to do that perfectly in Orlando.

We stayed in Orlando after the show, finally making it to our first Walmart of the tour. The next day, after our first Planet Fitness of this run and a few hours in our local Starbucks doing some office work (NOW it feels like tour!), Mochello headed off to spend some time with his brother and family. The rest of us headed to Downtown Disney, where, after walking around a bit, Root and I did what every responsible adult would do at Downtown Disney…. We found an Irish pub. There we found Irish whiskey and those step dancers that move their legs in impossible directions, all with an eerie Disney smile on their face… (The pub also had this dense multigrain bread with this awesome dipping oil that had an amazing Guinness reduction in it… Looks like I’ll be finding THAT recipe!)

After, we headed back to a Walmart parking lot to sleep and wait for Mochello, who was meeting back up with us in the morning so we could head down to Tampa for our next show.

Workin’ Late

Days 4&5: Jack Rabbits
Jacksonville, FL
and Office work

Tuesday was a long and eventful day. We started by finishing off the drive down the coast, making our way down Interstate 95.

Driving into the familiar streets of Jacksonville always feels good. Jack Rabbits has been amazing to us over the years, so I can’t help but be excited anytime we make it down to there to play.

This was the first show where we met up with the other two bands that we’re touring with, Miggs and Open Air Stereo. Touring with other bands, especially ones that you aren’t terribly familiar with, always has the same kind of dynamic the first few shows. I find it to be an interesting process to observe, as it mirrors every sort of group interaction among humans in general.

The first show is almost like a meet and greet, everyone says their hellos, shakes hands exchanges pleasantries….. Then it almost becomes cliquish again, with everyone crowding up with their respective bands. Throughout the night, the more socially outgoing ones in the bands begin to make their way around the room, exchanging small talk with various members in the other crews, yet almost always reverting to their own circle. It takes a few shows worth of time for true entropy to take place.

For the first few shows of the tour each band tends to watch the other’s sets together, commenting amongst themselves as to their opinions of the others songs, style, and observing each other’s strong points. The reason I think this happens is, no matter now friendly bands get with each other there has to remain a healthy competition against one another from gig to gig. I believe that this is necessary for the benefit of everyone on tour. It pushes everyone to strive for ever greater heights, and helps stave any complacency that can set in from playing the same songs over and over, day after day.

After the show we headed straight to Orlando. Max, the tour’s merch girl, is from Orlando and since we’re playing her hometown she wanted to take the opportunity to say goodbye to her boyfriend before he headed out on his own tour.

We spent Wednesday doing office work all day, which is not very rock star, but, vital. With the eminent release of the new record there is much to do. And, with 99% of the workload being handled “in house”, there is always something that needs to be done. Stopping only to record a quick acoustic video with Trent, one of Max’s roommates who is a film student at Full Sail University, we all stayed busy until well after midnight.

It’s Time to Play the Music, It’s Time to Light the Lights!

Days 1-3: Waterbury, CT
Shamrock Pub
& Travel
Days

I’ve come to the realization that at this moment in my life I feel more at home when we’re on the road than anywhere else. Yes, we’re back at it again, and I honestly couldn’t be happier. It’s time to put countless miles on our bus traversing the country, playing shows, seeing friends, making new ones… (Ok, I know TECHNICALLY we could count the miles that we will be traveling, but I’m writing this as I’m just waking up, so don’t argue semantics with me!)

Friday night was the first show of our Spring 2014 National Tour. We’re making a giant loop around the country, hitting all sorts of great cities, including a few in the Pacific Northwest, which the band hasn’t been to in a number of years. This time we’ll be making the journey with our friends Miggs and Open Air Stereo. The Friday show was our kick off party, the send off before we head down to Florida to meet up with the other two bands that are making this run with us.

The Waterbury gig was unique as far as Man on Earth shows go. We were the only band booked on the entire bill, and the club wanted a full night of music from us. What that meant is that whoever was at Fridays show heard the longest set that the band has ever played. They played all the songs from their new record, as well as collection of ones from “Things They’d Never Believe” and “Time Spent Wondering”, and also peppered the set with a few covers, some that they’ve never played at shows before.

The months that led up to this show have hardly been down time. Between the time that was required to finish the new record, band practices, and everyone also having other obligations, the four months since the end of the last tour flew by like an Olympic speed skater on crack. The time constraints left little time to perfect all the cover songs, but a with just a few bumps along the way they pulled them off.

Having that amount of time to play also gave the guys a bit of time to have some fun, with Root taking over the lead mic for a few songs, and we even got to see Stevie G step to the front for a cover of the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’.

Stevie G’s family showed up in force again, making this another solid hometown show in the books for him. It’s very clear that Waterbury will be on the list of stops we return to soon. Some of my family, including my mom and aunt came down too, as well as my older brother, who lives in Waterbury, and who hadn’t seen Man on Earth before.

After the show we packed up and headed straight back to the city, which, after dropping everyone else off, put us back at Nate’s apartment by about 6am…ish. We spent the day sleeping in, then Nate and I, along with the incomparable 3k, (if you don’t know him, your life is lacking!), went to grab a late afternoon breakfast. Once we were filled up on carbs in the way only a diner can fill you up, we headed to Target to do a little pre-tour shopping.

The interesting thing that has always struck me about Target is that the patrons always seem to be a bit more put together than their Walmart counterparts. On tour, we frequent Walmarts on the regular, as they are usually friendly to the overnight parking of oversized vehicles in their lots. And, all across the country there is a consistency that exists among the “attitude” of shoppers of the discount chain. (As a matter of fact, someone started a website www.peopleofwalmart.com Go ahead and check it out for a photo documentation of what I mean!) Now I’m not slamming anyone, we’ve been those disheveled zombified 3am Walmart patrons before, I’m just pointing out the dichotomy that typically exists between the normal clientele of the two stores.

The reason that I bring it up is that, as far as I know, there are no Walmarts in the NYC metro area. But there are Targets, and people have to do their shopping somewhere. When freedom of choice is taken away, adaptation happens. Thus, peopleoftarget.com was born… Just kidding. I did, however, find myself very confused as we were shopping, almost as if I was Schroedinger’s Cat, existing in two places at the same time.

After contemplating that quantum paradox for a while, Nate and I met up with his girlfriend Jess and headed to do what every rock star does in their down time… We went to the theater to see The Muppets. (Judge away, I refuse to out grow them!)

The rest of the band met up with us the next morning, and after everyone was set, we began our trek to our southern home, Jacksonville, FL, where our tour mates await. After a few necessary stops and detours along the way, we are now on the final stretch of our beeline down the coast. Welcome back, hope you enjoy the ride!

Daily Dose of Dave

3/18/14
American Baby
Weekend on the Rocks

There’s those thought mazes that, when you take the time to analyze them, just make absolutely no sense at all. What I mean by a thought maze is, the journey that our brain takes from point A to point B to arrive at a thought.
For example, today I was talking to a friend who retold a joke that I had heard a while back. My thought process took me back to when I first remembered hearing the joke, and had flashes of the faces of the people in the room at that time. One of those peoples faces, a girl that I’ve known for some time now, triggered the memory of a conversation that I had earlier that week about her, in which someone told me that they heard she was pregnant, which brought the word “baby” to mind. 2.3 seconds later I was subconsciously humming ‘American Baby’, causing me to stop for a second and trace back how a joke about a clever midget led me to the song in what seemed like an instantaneous jump. I often find that stopping and tracing back through these mazes proves insightful into my own mind.

Daily Dose of Dave

3/17/14
Old Dirt Hill
Live from Mile High Music Festival

I spent much of today hanging out with one of my oldest friends and his wife and kid. While you know that time passes and we all grow up, there are still those people in your life that bring it right back to those younger, wilder times. Just being around certain people sends you back in time, and you are right back to the mischief and mayhem. While the temperance of age keeps it from getting out of controll, all the fun remains. This song reminds me of those times.