Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sunday ACL to Tucson to San Diego

There were at least 200 people waiting for sound check to start.  The band played a day light show out in the open festival.  The sea was 600 deep before they began. 

I stood around talking with Dave Jorgensen before they took the stage.  He asked me to take a bunch of photo’s for his parents. Dave’s got a Blog.  Here’s the address.

  He doesn’t update it much -- Sounds familiar.
Here’s a bunch of pictures of Dave playing for his folks. 

  I listen to more of Dave’s work than pretty much anybody else's work, because he does the horn line for Think Out Loud, an Oregon Public Broadcasting radio program that has people call in.  It plays in the morning when I’m usually on my way to an appointment.  Dave’s from Wisconsin and lives music.  He also plays in the band for the Radio Program Live wire. They compose and rehearse all the songs that they play on each show. It's a pretty sweet deal.  He likes to build instruments out of other instruments.  He knows a guy in Springfield in Oregon that has the pipe portion of a pipe organ and I volunteered to pick it up next time I’m in Springfield.  I also volunteered the piano that is in my barn.  It’s a 1950’s –ish  upright that is just taking up space, getting weathered and infested..  I don’t plan on using it for the next 5 years, so If Dave will make music on it then I think it’ll be put to good use.

The ACL set went well.  It looked good and sounded fun.  By the time they got into it there were several thousand people. 

The crowd cheered when Israel played the first chords of Oviedo.  Big festivals are interesting there are several bands playing all at once sounds interfering with each other. But when the band you want to see starts to play its loud enough that you can’t hear the other stages.  After the show I went to the Green room to try to nap, which didn’t work out so well.  Stu came in with his long time  (like since 2) girlfriend and also (separate person) his step sister and a friend of her’s.  I got in touch with an old friend of mine CJ Hanecamp from college – it turns out that this girl we knew – that he had dated later went on to win a bunch of money on Fear factor and then to date George Clooney.  The green room was cool it was a nice place to get away – consequently I didn’t get to see many bands because I was sitting around trying to do some appraisal stuff, catching up on this blog and attempting to nap – the crowd never thinned down.  CJ took advantage of a complimentary masseuse – Israel did too.  I went to eat then got out into the crowd and caught the end of Band of Horses. CJ and I tried to get over to see the National but there were so many people that we wound up standing at the back of the Nora Jones concert.  We had a bromantic time.  Really we caught up - told our “oh, then the cop goes…” stories. We were obnoxious and the crowd around us gave us space.  It was excellent.  The band and I decided to skip The Eagles and caught a bus to Loretta.  I started the Drive to Tucson.  Everyone slept in the back.  I’m getting better at shifting smoothly.  I found an actual rest stop in Texas – they have a shit load of “Picnic areas” but no rest stops.  This one was newer and nice.  It has Wifi.  We hit the road.  The sun came up at another rest stop in South west Texas. 

I drove on to El Paso. We’d caught a flat on one of the dually’s in the night and instead of getting it patched the band decided to replace all the back wheels which has cut our top speed by 5-10% because the wheel's diameters are smaller.  Luke and Dave tried to fix the inverter again to no avail.  They tried again in Tucson but we keep blowing resistors.  Israel drove the rest of the way to Tucson.  I got up when we were like 3 blocks from my Aunt’s house. This whole operation is easier for me when someone else drives.  I just sleep.  We hung out at my Aunt Connie and Uncle Tom’s house the next day – did laundry, took showers, watched Iron Man II and swam in the pool - Glorious. Katie and I went clothes shopping, which was fun.  She’s got an easily identifiable style so when you look at something you know if it’s going to work and you know if it’s what she’s looking for.  I got a new Wrangler shirt and a pair of used cowboy boots.  The show that night was bad ass.  

 I snuck my cousin in through the back door, under the guise of selling shirts.  Stu was there – he knows the words to the songs. 

  After the show I noticed that somebody at the bar had the bus blocked in and I decided it would be a good idea to ask everyone in the bar if the car was their's.  I spoke to everyone in the bar and it literally belonged to the only guy left for me to talk ask.  I had him move it but the band was in the mood to stick around and party so I made him move it for no reason.  How can you know?  Israel, Luke, Katie, Stu, Cory Chisel and Adreil were all in the back they were singing anything they could think of and someone came up with the idea that they should work on covering the Sam Cooke Song “Bring it on home to me”. 
Here’s a link to the San Diego show where they perform it – the next night.

Mike the sound guy got made a new friend but did not follow the girl home for the sake of the band getting on the road at a reasonable hour – a very considerate thing for him to have done. Big ups Mike, Big ups Brother.  I have a set of friends, Joyce and Malen Heller they’ve been married for somewhere around, almost, a half-a-century. Joyce once said to me, in regards to extra-relationshipal relationships while on the road, “The world is a cold and lonely place.  You get love where you find it.” Not that I’ve ever really had the opportunity to take her advice but I encouraged Mike to explore his full potential.  It’s kind of a funny thing.  You’d expect that if anyone was going to get picked up, on the road it maybe would have been someone in the band – but as a sound guy Mike is that good.  Stu had to leave for the airport to catch a plane to some place in Colorado, I think, to meet up with another band, part of the hands on management that Red light provides – also I think it might give Stu the opportunity to be close to Texas. He’s drawn to return there like many men by a powerful force.  We missed Stu immediately.  Everybody loves Stu and having Stu around. He’s a get shit done kind of guy. That’s fun and that works hard at his job and that appears to enjoy handling the many details of touring performing artists.  I drove North toward Phoenix and then slid over to San Diego. The Darkness melted away, I don’t remember where.

I was driving through the desert still in Arizona as the Sun began to rise.  I remember thinking about the Feed lots and the giant bales of hay trucked out to the middle of the desert.  The bill boards for vacant lots and empty neighborhood streets for to park a single wide and use as a vacation get away. Not long ago the valley floors were lakes and a big change in the weather could make them lakes again. But if they were lakes nobody could afford to come to their second homes. These single-wides would melt into the landscape. In 2001 I visited – stayed the night in the back of my truck in, the ghost town of Hamilton, Nevada. Sometime in the 1980’s there was a slight resurgence in the town and a new office building was constructed and a few single-wides were brought in.  By the time I’d gotten there a few had been knocked over – either by vandals or the wind.  One had a giant hole in the wall and insulation was strewn about everywhere.  The presence of the single-wides made me wonder if there was anyone around. There wasn’t. Didn't find no gold, only poached deer. If living gets harder no one is going to live in Dateland. Somewhere in California after the wide wind shaped golden sand dunes give way to sage and irrigated farm land, sometime around 10:30AM, the thought went through my head, “just close your eyes and tomorrow will be fine.” Which was startling.  Really though I realized I had reached capacity when after thinking how dangerous and ridiculous that would be, part of me started to argue for the notion.

I realized I had lost the mindfulness required to continue and pulled over at the next exit. Israel took over from there and drove the rest of the way into San Diego.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Saturday ACL

The next day I hung out with Loretta, which was like taking a sun/bus sauna.  We hung out until the afternoon.  I had to move from location pictured in the episode before last.  I found a sweet spot in the middle of a park.  I then wound up driving around to pick up peoples bags and then coming back basically to the park.  Israel and I caught up with the rest of the band at the festival.  I got to go back stage where they have free beer, water, tea and couches.  I thought it was the best thing int he world, until the next day when I got to hang out in the trailer.  I saw Monsters of Folk again, this time it wasn't as magical as Stubbs, then I caught some of M.I.A.  She looked haggard, like she was exhausted.  I found out later that she has a toddler. We wound up walking all around Austin that night to get back to the bus.  We had some late night falafal from a street vender. We got back to the bus pretty late. 

Stubb's BBQ in Austin, Last Friday - my log book is way behind

Blind Pilot played the after party.  The headliner of the show was Monsters of Folk.  It seems like a lot of bands get together just to play ACL.  Phish played the main stage at the Austin City Limits (ACL) festival while Monsters of Folk was playing Stubbs.  Monsters of Folk is a band of All stars – much the same way that Blind Pilot is a band of Portland Indie Rock All stars. 

The show was amazing and inspiring.  I’ve always wanted to see Conor Oberst perform.  I really like his art.  His lines just keep coming.  “While my mother waters plants, my father loads his gun, says death will give us back to god just like the setting sun is returned to the lonesome ocean.”
My wife’s cousin Matt traveled From Alaska for ACL.  It was really good to see him, I wish we had been able to hang out more.  

Blind Pilot played the after party on the inside of Stubbs.  The house was packed.

There were folks who waited in the inside of Stubbs through the Monsters of Folk show.  I wound up standing amongst a bunch of people from Portland. During “Get It Out”, a song that has not yet been released, someone asked the name.  The girl standing next to me said the name before I could, get it out.  It turns out she and her husband traveled from Portland for ACL.  We all wound up hanging out with the band after the show.  This was the best show so far. The sound was great the audience was energetic the house was packed.  By the time the set was over and the meet and greet finished closing time had occurred. 

Ian has a super power. Ian has the rare and valuable ability to get cases of beer from bartenders after closing time frequently without parting with any money.  I’ve seen it happen more than once on this tour – and have been a witness to testimony that it has happened before.  Unfortunately he did not choose to apply his powers on this evening and we had no beer on the bus.  He and I shared the analysis that Stubbs was not a venue that would let a case of beer slide out the back door after hours.  The band had a radio interview and performance earlier in the day and they got a ride back to Stubbs on the Gibson promotional bus.  They picked up a case of sweet tea and a bottle of Vodka and the cocktails included but were not limited to the watermelon that Mike had picked up the day before, some ice and this said fifth of vodka.  I may have cut the top off of a water bottle and used it as a glass ala Ricky from Trailer Park Boys … big time. 

The next opportunity I had I outfitted the bus with a reasonable amount of beer.  It tends to help in maintaining order in an environment that can at times resemble a tinderbox – a party tinderbox.
Blind Pilot is managed by Red Light Management they are officially represented by Jason Colton and Stu Smith but it seems like Stu is the dude that handles the nuts and bolts of the Blind Pilot account.  Both of these dudes are in Austin and both either read this blog or get reports of its content from their mutual and/or respective underlings (Hello, sirs.) Stu is joining us from Austin to Tucson which I think is the longest stretch of driving on the tour.  Stu is always smiling, he’s the type of dude that turns a couple of people sitting around having a beer into a lets open up this 5th of vodka and see what happens night of debauchery, without ever really saying or doing anything. Stu claims to have dated his step sister sometime before the middle of high school.  To give this fair treatment it was before their respective sets of parents had split and reassigned themselves with one of the results being Stu's dad and Stu's ex-girlfriend's mom. - it was a small town. Stu is smart, lucky, confident and brave.

Conor Oberst is one of Israels Idols.  Stu knows Conor Oberst and introduced the two after the Monsters of Folk show.  I was very excited for Israel.

Red light bestows, what appears to me to be, personal and special attention on Blind Pilot. In all fairness I have not seen their treatment of any other of their artists – and their list of artists is impressive.  I choose to interpret this “special treatment” as a sign of their faith in the inevitable growth of the band.  Their sudden rise from obscurity with the release of “Three Rounds and a Sound”, as well as the quality of their future work seems to instill confidence and respect in management.  It seems like the management is trying to keep Blind Pilot as a client rather than just tolerating them as another account. I choose to see it as a good sign.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

If it ain't Texas, It Ain't

 Greg Biffle is a professional automobile driver from Vancouver, Washington.  I am an amateur Bus driver from Vancouver, Washington.  Kati Clayborne is a professional Banjo, Mountain dulcimer and singer, she is also from Vancouver, Washington.  (This is a note to my sister: Tusk, Kati went to River, she knows (of) Heather and Jenny). Kati Clayborn is dating Luke Ydstie.  Which makes the bus less crowded because of the extra bunk.  Kati was the singer in the Portland old timey band, The Mighty Ghosts of Heaven, with her former husband. She left that job and took up this one in 2008 just before the release of the Blind Pilot Album 3 rounds and a Sound. Her harmonies reflect that they have been simmered in the melodies of old folk and gospel songs.  Luke and Kati will sit around and sing for hours and hours.  In the green room in Boise and the green room in Boulder I was treated to various pop songs which include but are not limited to: Neil Young's, Unknown Legend. If you can pick out her lines in the harmonies Kati Claborn will break your heart just like Linda Ronstadt. Sometimes she's sings the sweet and low down note.

The show in Santa Fe went fairly well.  The band rambled the city during the day but the load in time didn't give them much opportunity for a sound check and the rhythm of the show is always less choppy when Mike can really dig into the sound before the show starts. The places has a capacity of 300 but I counted, yes literally counted, 72 and the door was counted as 105, I think.

It looked everybody knew everybody and Israel came out of his shell a little and joked with the crowd.  Israel was giving his explanation of Oviedo, "I was living in Europe and a friend of mine wanted to know... know how things ... (Israel pauses for some screeching from the speakers) - Luke interupts "She wanted some feedback." An audience member recycled that joke again later. (This is a note to my wife: ... And it wasn't me.)

I took the drive out of Santa Fe. It was glorious.  I love seeing the sunrise.  It gives me a thrill.

The Northwest Texas highways are all four lanes, straight and flat, brown cotton fields and feed lots. I stopped in Lubbock at about 10:00 AM, because I could not go on and slept until Israel fired up Loretta at Noon. He drove the bus to Post.

We ate at a BBQ joint with free soft serve Ice cream, Mike bought a water melon from some farmers on the side of the road. Israel drove until about 7ish and we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in some little Texas town, whose name I cannot recall - Here's some pictures.

I drove again until 10:30 and Israel took over for the last 30 miles or so.

We got a motel room in Austin, primarily to shower in. I won't be sleeping there. It's the kind of place you might meet your lover, toward the end of the affair - not that I have any experience with that sort of thing (This is a note to my wife: 21, 23 always vacancy, free HBO on the Culla, culla, culla, culla, culla TV, what, what, what, what, what, value motel, value motel meet me in a half at the value motel). It smells like a swamp, has mildew in the corners and I'm pretty sure I actually saw a bed bug, okay 2. I'm happy to report they are both now dead.

Now I'm rested, showered, fed, hanging out at Stubb's and I've got two appraisal addenda to type.  Looks like an exciting day.

I think it would be really neat and tidy if there were someway I could think of to tie this back into Greg Biffle but there ain't.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shelter from the storm

We left Aspen this morning with plenty of time to spare. We drove well, stopped once for gas and food on the interstate.  I thought it was going to be pretty easy, I mean it’s the interstate. Israel said he'd take over for me when I got tired.  I started out thinking, oh man this is going to be no big deal. Garmin (our GPS) says we are going to get there 2 hours early.  It was a beautiful drive, high granite cliffs ripped through by the Colorado. We were making good time.  The hills weren't too bad and the curves weren't too bad. Then we started to climb hills that were so long and steep that I couldn't keep above 35 and I had to down shift into 2nd gear, which means were doing 20 in a 75.  It’s a little frightening, semi’s and cars trying to merge as the close on you but everyone is cool because we’re an old bus and they find the room. I thought that was about the end of it in Veil at 10,000 + feet and we started to descend some pretty treacherous downhill slopes. Then we started to climb again I wound up in 2nd gear doing 20 for about 10 minutes and was relieved when we reached the top.  The road leveled off and then began steeply descending and headed into this tunnel that runs through a mountain. There are signs just outside the tunnel that say “traffic monitored by camera”  “No pedestrians or bicyclists.” I hate to admit this but I’ve read almost ½ of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand makes a big deal about long tunnels and carbon monoxide poisoning. So I'm, you know, a little on edge.  I go to shift from third to fourth and as soon as I get the clutch in the cigarette lighter housing power supply Garmin fried.  Ozone smoke started to drift up.  I left it in neutral, to coast for the time being hoping that it isn't the whole electrical system. Pumping the brakes   I pull the Garmin plug out of the outlet because I don’t want it to spread and open the window so as I don't have to breath it in.  I did not panic - that's twice in a row.  When asked what happened. My immediate summary was that we'd lost Garmin, which was incomplete. In my defense I was asked to report what had happened while I was pushing 16 tons of steel, rubber, diesel fuel, wood, flesh, plastic, propane and glass down a 6% grade in a tunnel trying to make sure there wasn’t an electrical fire or some other horrendous malfunction that would render the vehicle uncontrollable. I will no longer be operating the bus with one of the emergency exits locked from the outside.
This was an absolute Cluster Fuck and it freaked the shit out of me. I mean that very honestly and truly. After I determined that it wasn't going to catch fire and that the bus was still running and that we were still operational and all my friends were okay and safe.  I allowed myself to feel.  It shook my breath. Sometimes the tricks are rigged.  We had some good sized hills yet to come down, ones with signs like... "Lost your Brakes? ... Stay on the Highway." At the end of the hills I sighed and I wanted to cry.  I took us to the junction of the interstate and highway 6 after Idaho Springs - which looks like a cool town with gold mines and an old town that looks like it hasn't burned down or changed much since the 1880's.  I'd like to visit it sometime.  Just not while driving an old school bus with some malfunctioning wiring; no speed-o-meter, Air brakes that have overheated twice on the journey, oh and a fucking rock band bound for greatness a sleep in the back. I pulled over and took the lock off the emergency exit.  We were through the crazy shit and Israel, in all his wisdom, insisted on finishing the drive.  I went down to the river and washed my face and hands. I looked for some gold in the river - It's there, I could see it in the hills and there was tons of pyrite (fool's gold).  Israel came down and we discussed my shape. I expressed my concern about the upcoming curves, the lack of speed-o-meter (Garmin was our speed-o-meter) I explained my strategy of braking prior to the curve, cornering through the apex of the curve in order to maximize the efficiency of the rubber on the road, keep the momentum moving forward, rather than sideways.  Sideways = no good, particularly in a bus.  He explained that he would proceed with caution with regard to curves.  I felt relieved. 

I printed off directions from every venue to every venue before we left.  Like this is some kind of giant appraisal and THIS is some kind of appraisal report.
The show in Boulder was amazing.  The sound was excellent.  Everything was clear. The band had a good time.  We added Mike the sound guy from the last tour to the bus.

The promoter was excellent he was very helpful and generous. The band played dressed up and played every song they know. The set list looked like this:
Paint or Pollen
Two Towns From Me
The story I heard
Just One
I Buried a Bone
(If’n) Things I Cannot Recall
The as of yet song without a title
Go On Say It
Bitter End
(Holy Road) Always
Poor Boy
(Wild Idea) Get it Out
3 Rounds and a Sound
Half Moon
One Red Thread
Miss Ohio
White Apple
We Are The Tide

In the last episode I wanted to get the crowd from Salt Lake and the sound from Aspen.  The Sound was as good as it was in Aspen; the crowd was almost as good as Salt Lake.  The audience of 450 was so polite they knew the words but wouldn’t sing along for fear of bothering their neighbors.  They also didn’t talk and no one even looked at their cell phones.  I think they may have all switched them to vibrate. I know I did. The promoter said the club was running out of Red Wine and so he brought the band whiskey. These two girls from Denver missed the bus home so Kati invited them to hang out with the band until the next bus ran. I got to sleep on Cristina Rudosky’s living room floor (Israel’s special lady friend, Miki’s friend from Hawaii) so I didn’t get to see it but – they stayed up and did homework. Can you imagine?  You go to see a show, I actually saw them singing along in the front row across the stage at the other edge, and you talk your way onto the bus the band is polishing of a 5th and then you proceed to do homework. By this I mean no disrespect to the young ladies, Luke said it reminded him of baby-sitting- it came in a context of age difference. Kids these days with all their respect and responsibility.

 It turns out everybody else slept in and no one wants to hit the road before 5 tonight.
The drive to Santa Fe was perfect.  Israel started and drove for 3 hours or so and I took a nap.  I finished the drive.  The highways were straight the hills not too bad.  The only big hill was Raton Pass which wasn’t even that bad.  We pulled in around 4 am.  I found a Whole Foods and decided to park in the parking lot.  They are awesome.  I’ve been hole-up in the bus all day reading.  Around lunch time the security guard came over and said he spoke to the manager and arranged for us to move to the loading dock if we wanted to.  That dude was cool. The manager is cool. Whole Foods is cool.  Our inverter overloaded a few days ago and we have no Alternating Current power so keeping phones and computers charged is getting to be challenge.  There’s an electrician that’s supposed to come by a little later and take a look at it.  I bought a new camera yesterday. Mine’s been around for 5 years and I’ve taken thousands of pictures of houses with it and I’m excited to get new one charged up and shooting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Salt Lake City to Aspen, Colorado - Blind Pilot's Fall Tour

I'm in love with the mountain west - but I'm getting ahead of myself. When you last heard from me I was trapped in a green room.

I've come to learn that the green room has very little to do with the show.  The green room could be in a basement filled with broken bottles and piss and the show could be the best one you've ever seen or played or it could suck all balls.

Salt Lake City was an amazing show.  The club was greasy (In the Trailer Park Boys sense - ) as you could tell by the green room but there were 400 people that all knew the lyrics, danced, and sang along.  It looked to me like they had good time.  I was sweating in the middle of the set because the heat from all the people in the room.  It's one thing to fill a room in Portland and kill. It's another to go out of town fill the room and kill.

The requests for Miss Ohio from the audiences in Bend and Boise has made the band practice the song and now they include it in the show.

Here's the set list from Salt Lake

Go on say it
Two towns from me
I Buried a bone
Just One (new song)
The Story I heard
Always (Holy Road)
Paint or Pollen
*** a new song that as of yet has no official title
Bitter End
3 rounds and a sound
Half Moon (new song)
We are the tide
White Apple
Miss Ohio
and  One Red Thread

After the show I drove all the way through to the next venue while the band slept.  The first part out of Salt Lake is interstate but not far south of town you leave the interstate and get on a highway that climbs to 7,500 feet and then comes down the mountain range over the course of 40 or 50 miles or so before it merges with Interstate 70.  I was in the Arches Canyon Lands in Utah when the sun rose.

It was so beautiful I was giddy. We crossed the Colorado River where it's about 12 feet wide.

I stopped at a rest stop a mile from where we were to leave the Interstate to take the highway into Aspen. We were about an hour out when the band got moving.

When we got to Aspen we were 4 hours early.  The venue was open so we pulled up and unloaded our equipment and I took to figuring out where we were staying.  We are lucky enough to get hotel rooms in Aspen. After a couple of calls we located the joint and Ian Krist and I walked over to check in. The rooms weren't ready so I slipped off to the park for a nap and strolled back when it was time. I realized as I walked to the park that it took a lot of effort and attributed it to the drive and staying up all night but it turns out to be the elevation.

Before I forget here's the run down on Ian Krist, who I'm trying to get to change his last name to Krist-Fick because in German it - never mind. Ian is about 30ish and plays the vibraphone.  He's pretty good at it but doesn't give himself enough credit for his talents - vibraphone is one of those instruments that not many people play so being proficient at it puts you in rare company. He's more than proficient. Ian plays drums for several other bands in Portland. He's from Michigan originally and has managed a venue and has toured quite a bit - which makes him and his knowledge a valuable resource for me. He's tattooed to all hell and genuinely a nice guy.  I think we have similar world views and tastes.  We wind up hanging out quite a bit because of the group dynamics and just the way things shake out.  Ian recently married his long time girlfriend Cozette, who I don't think I've ever met, which seems strange because I bet she goes to shows in Portland.

I fell asleep as soon as I got to my room, and I mean I passed out. I didn't even climb under the blankets and when I woke up I had no idea where I was. I realized that it was around 7 or 7:30 because it was getting dark but still had no idea where I was or how I had gotten here for a couple of seconds.

I got up and got to shower then I turned on the football game and watched the Bears offensive line get crushed by the Giants pass rush. Then slipped over to the venue because we'd been promised food and I watched the last half of the game - I had a veggie pizza, which was pretty damn good.  Ian showed up for the 4th Quarter and we discussed our mutual affection of and for the sport of American football and the National football league.  I miss having a T.V. because I don't get to watch sporting events very often and enjoyed the Bellyup's presentation of the game. They lower a big screen and play the sound through the house PA, which is pretty damn good. After the game - The Giants beat the shit out of the Bears, as you could see happening in the first half - but contrary to what most would have expected coming into the game.  The opening band came out.

For the shows in Boise, Salt Lake, now Aspen and following the tour until well San Diego will be the last show, Cory Chisel has been and will be opening for Blind Pilot.  Cory Chisel currently lives in Wisconsin but is originally from Northern Minnesota - Northern Minnesota??? you say and yes I know what your thinking because I had the same question, How close to Hibbing? It turns out, two minutes from Hibbing. What? you say, yeah I know right, the next logical question is: "Is there still a Zimmerman's furniture store, in Hibbing?"  And the Answer, it turns out, is yes there is but somebody else owns it now.  Based on a conversation I had with Cory Chisel tonight - oh and that guy is so friggin' cool he makes - something that is notoriously cool like ice cream, look like something that is not cool like, uh World of Warcraft, Star Trek conventions, or Magic: The Gathering, - Based on our conversation tonight there are all sorts of little Zimmermans running around all over that place in Hibbing and that his good friend that also plays music, Luke Zimmerman, strongly resembles his Uncle Robert in looks and voice - and people give him shit for it.  At least he comes by it honestly.

Corey Chisel is traveling with his key board player, and background vocalist Adriel Harris. She said that she got the job as pianist by claiming to know how to play the piano, when asked.  She then went home to her father and asked him to teach her to play the blues on piano. Her style is not flashy but solid and with true feeling.  Chisel's father was a baptist minister and you can tell it. When Chisel walks into a room he's compelled to make a witty comment and way way more frequently than not what comes out of his mouth is both true and fucking hilarious. He used to be a blues man but his parameters have expanded. Now he writes songs that are more folk rock than blues. His delivery is genuine and he can work a crowd. He's great to have as an opener. He takes a room full of strangers and by the end of his set he's turned them into friends. It's impressive.

He has a song that I like "I never should have loved you but it's too late now" that he straight jacked from a Bob Dylan song of the same title.  He changed up the lyrics. I still like the song. It's still good. I can't easily find a sample of it on line so here's links to two other songs, both I like.

Aspen's an interesting place in the fall.  It's dead. There was no cover for the show. I'm not very good at this but it looked like 200 to 250 people in a club that could hold, I don't know, a thousand at least.  The audience was into it and the club was designed in such a way that it didn't feel empty.  They were mostly in the pit grooving. The interesting thing about this show was that it had the best equipment and sound people really professional equipment and engineers.  The band sounded really, really good, clean, bright but not shrill and the low end was full but not over powering. It would be nice if every venue had sound like this, or if there were a venue like this that they might have a crowd like Salt Lake.

I'm living on a graveyard schedule and I've settled into a rhythm with the bus. It has more horse power, is running better and the exhaust has started to turn from steamy and white to black which is a sign of increased efficiency. I had such a great time yesterday and today and am looking forward to tomorrow.