For those of you that know me personally, you know that I can't even go get the mail without coming back with a 10 minute story. The following posts are a collection of the crazy stuff that happens when I’m out in the world and out at shows; from the "I Always Have A Story" section of my monthly e-newsletters.
If 10 year old Benjamin is an official Rock Star by time he is 25, I’m going to take credit for it.
After seeing me play a show last fall, a 10 year old boy named Benjamin bought my CD. Not too long after that, his guitar teacher (whom I happen to know) asked him to write a list of 10 songs he would like to learn. He listed a few Beatles songs, The Eagles, some modern rock tunes, etc. But #2 on his list was my song "A Thousand Love Songs"! He then came to one of my shows this spring with his Dad and told me he learned the song. So I invited him to play it with me the next time I had a show in his area. Not long after that, he showed up with his electric guitar ready to make his live debut. Fortunately his dad had a video camera and sent me the video. Here it is:
I’m flattered that young Benjamin digs my music enough to want to learn it. I hope he continues to practice, as I’m sure he will get better every month. And speaking of getting better, his Dad recently reached out to let me know that his Mini Clapton has learned two more of my songs. He also let me know that Benjamin has also written a song for his Mother! So I invited him back to play with me on Mothers Day at The Barns At Hamilton Station. I’ll be sure to post the video when I can get my hands on it!
Rock on Benjamin.
Below is the video of Benjamin's Mother's Day song recorded by his Father!
Last year Zia met a 9 year old boy that his fiancée was babysitting. After making some small talk, he quickly realized this kid had a lot to say about some pretty deep topics. So he grabbed his camera and started to film the boy's responses. A year after he posted it without much attention, it has officially gone viral with millions of views. I HIGHLY recommend you read the piece that Robert Krulwich wrote for NPR about Zia and the young boy, referred to as “The Philosopher”. Check it out HERE, which also contains the embedded video Zia originally posted.
Over the past couple weeks, many celebrities have commented on, tweeted the video and/or contacted Zia. They include Deepak Chopra, The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Alyssa Milano, Chris Hayes, Danica McKellar (Winnie Cooper!), and more. My favorite celebrity response is THIS video that Sarah Silverman did about the boy. (start watching at 1:30)
“You guys are going to love this unless you’re a fu@#ing a$$hole” ~Sarah SilvermanAccording to the Cambride Idioms Dictionary, “Out of The Mouths of Babes” is “Something you say when a small child says something that surprises you because it shows an adult's wisdom and understanding of a situation”. I think it’s safe to say that this kid has some serious wisdom. Our future is bright with people like Zia and The 9 Year Old Philospher in the world.
So A Baby Walks Into A Bar... (Posted on May 31, 2010)
This one is pretty self-explainatory.
WWWD (What Would Weezy Do?) (Posted on Sep 7, 2010)
By far the most embarrassing thing that has ever happen to me on stage. I still have people remind me about this regularly. Ugggggh.
My Calculator Can Beat Up Your Calculator (Posted on Aug 4, 2010)
My poor technology-challenged Mother needed some math done.
The Giant Flop of a Radio Interview (Posted on Feb 4, 2011)
My first ever radio interview was a train wreck. After posting this, the DJ actually left a comment worth reading. The audio is up as well.
I Suck Huh? Well Don’t Tell That To Manassas (Posted on Jun 27, 2011)
Nothing like getting a bar to beat somebody up for you while you're playing.
Yes, That Was My Job (Posted on Jul 5, 2012)
A run-through of all the odd-jobs I’ve had over my life.
Weeks turned to months, and he didn’t return my emails. I had no phone number. He didn’t have a Facebook account that I could find. I didn’t even know if his name was real. He was off the grid. I was pissed. Leo Durocher once said “Nice guys finish last”. Truer words were never spoken.
I decided to use this “internet” thing that everybody always talks about. I grew out my mustache and turned into Magnum PI. After my refined stalking skills got elbow grease all over my keyboard, I finally found out where he worked.
"Dan, please teach me how to grow that."
I took a little drive to the coffee shop where he was happily slinging lattes. He nearly filled his pants with pudding when he saw my face. The first thing he said was “uhhh, wow, I can’t believe you’re here… it’s.. um…. amazing.” He stuttered and stammered through a boatload of excuses that included but were not limited to:
“I tried emailing you… you didn’t get them?!”
“I lost my password and couldn’t get into my computer to find your contact info!”
And my personal favorite: “I thought since I didn’t hear from you, you were just going to give it to me for free!”
After trying very unsuccessfully to show me the magical emails on his phone and laptop that somehow never made it to my inbox, he asked if I wanted to follow him to the bank. We drove a mile down the road, and he paid the $300, as well as a voluntary $50 interest fee because he was “embarrassed”.
It all worked out in the end thanks to my sleuth skills. And for my Captain Obvious advice of the day; never trust anybody on Craigslist.
And just to make you smile, HERE is the 20 Most Bizzarre Craigslist Adverts of All Time”. My personal favorite is the free couch you can get if you’re able to bend time and/or space.
National touring and massively successful musician Pat McGee recently put up a couple photos on his Facebook Page of newspaper clippings that his wonderful and proud mother cut out of the Washington Post 18 years ago. THIS one lists Pat playing with his old band "Gillian's Fun Deck" at a local venue. THIS one has even more future stars. This was a time when he was playing the same small bars and clubs that I'm currently playing now. The neat part is reading through the other local "small" bands and artists that were playing Virginia and DC back then. Names like Dave Matthews, Jeff Buckley, Hootie & The Blowfish, Edwin McCain, Doug Derryberry and John Alagia, Vertical Horizon, and more. It was an interesting peak into the past, with the knowledge that all of these musicians went on to do big things.
A comment left on one of the photos reads "What I wouldn't give to have been living in Virginia in '94.... sigh".
My response in the comment section: "Those were amazing times 18 years ago. But 18 years from now, I'd like to think you can look back at today's Washington Post and be equally amazed. All the more reason to support local music:)"
In theory, everybody wants to catch a band before they make it big. But you can't do that if you don't support local music. It's hard to believe, but the Grammy winners of 2030 are probably playing at that BBQ joint around the corner next friday. Did you ever catch Starfish before they became Coldplay? Or Pineapple before you knew them as Fleet Foxes? Wouldn't it have been great to see Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem long before you could call them RHCP?
Want a place to start? Check out Morgan Frazier, Gideon Grove, and Matt Duke. Because the next time you hear of them, you might not be able to get tickets.... but you will be able to brag.
I have been known to have a lead foot every now and then. Although I currently own a truck (how else to tote around all that band gear?!), the previous vehicles I have owned since the moment I had a license included 2 Camaros and a Mustang. (Insert SPS joke here)
On a recent trip up to NY, I was driving through DC on Rt. 295 at a casual pace. I don’t know, let’s say 11-15 miles per hour over the posted limit of 50 mph. About 2 weeks later, I received a nice letter in the mail from the DC Metropolitan Police Department which included 3 photos of my truck. Here is the top half of the letter:
Now from this photo you can clearly see that I am speeding right?! I would feel better if they sent me one of those fancy “moving pictures” that the kids these days call “video” that at least would have proved I was speeding. Not to mention, how can you prove it was me driving? You know what the photo does prove though? That my Rhodesian Ridgeback Cannon was sticking his head out of the back window. Clearly he is the only “person” visible in the truck. Clearly he is the only one responsible. Clearly he was using the cruise control function set above the speed limit while he stuck his head out the back window. You can’t prove nothin’ copper!
So my dog is a borderline felon now. Because I’m a good Dad, I bailed him out of jail and paid the $125 ticket. Though I was bummed to hear THE DAY AFTER I GOT THE TICKET, D.C. lowered all their “automated traffic enforcement” fines. Good timing. It turns out that D.C. had a budget surplus of $139 million dollars, thanks in no small part to the $23 million dollars they made from the traffic cameras. Glad I could help. So the take home lessons here are 1) Never let your dog drive... they are always in a hurry. 2) Know where the speed cameras are! Here are the top 10 locations people get tickets in D.C. if you were wondering.
As many of you know, I was in a band called “Knockout Mouse” for several years before doing the solo singer-songwriter thing. KM played hundreds of shows between NY, PA, MD, DC, and VA. Anyway, a couple years ago, due to a technical glitch, I lost my list of shows that the band had performed over the years. Being an overly organized–anal retentive–pack rat, this was information I need to have! You never know when you might want to look up what smokey bar you played on a random Friday in November of 2006. Or what if you find yourself in court as a witness to a fight that broke out at your show and you need to look up details of that night?! (I only wish I made up that last one.) I was distraught! But little did I know that Johnny Love (AKA John Jens) was not only playing bass in the band, he was also taking private notes after he got home after every show. He never intended to have anybody read them other than himself (which makes the occasional reference to himself in third person all the more funny). He included info about the crowd, how we sounded, what songs worked, and random observations etc. So when he gave me the list to replace the one I had lost, I REALLY enjoyed reading his descriptions and notes. I have listed some of my favorites, and changed some names to protect the innocent. I present to you “The Bassist Diaries”:
Date, Bar X, _______, MD; 4 sets was tough; ready to pack up after 3; John autographed a couple drunk chick’s backs
Date, Bar X, _______, VA; 9pm; no cover. Had to play inside due to rain; was great show until Joe punched Ken, scrum, Brenda flew into drumset wrestling Ken off Joe, cops, Brenda got tased...oy vey no 3rd set. Packed up early...
Date, Bar X, _______, VA; horrible; we won't be returning; Tom’s a &%@ and doesn't care about live music and will be switching to all comedians...good for him
Date, Private festival, MD Wow. Could write a book about this show. Rainstorms x 4. Rich from the first band, Sampson Road or whatever the %$#! they were called, wanted a stage; demanded a stage. The 30ft trailer they brought was ridiculous; the tent wouldn't fit on top. F the stage! Dave slipped and broke his arm just before the last rain storm finished and we were to do line-check for them. Totally sucks
11 Aug 2007 - Nissan Pavillion VIP Club side stage; Danny & Johnny w/ Mike Jewel - Mike on vaca; partied with Adam and MJ beforehand, place crawling with cops, nice; Dan on crutches; &%@ing hotter than Afrika; "we're opening for DMB!" heh
25 Aug 2007 - Nissan Pavillion VIP Club side stage; hotter than ballz, again; thunderstorms shortened our sets and mad scramble to cover everything with tarp; tons of drunk young girls running around for Kenny Chesney
New Years Eve 2007 Bar X, _______, VA; $10 cover includes champagne toast pretty good turnout though not the largest here; fire marshall made them take down xmas lights on ceiling, waste of at least an hour during setup; 1521s worked fine again; used 15" as rack stand for mixer + combo + just a bit in the PA for good results and lots of compliments on sound;
8 June 2008 - Nissan Pavillion VIP Club side stage; some dude called Tom Petty on the main stage. Hotter than africa hot; markbass DI gave issues; couple cables bad; bad first set sound; worse playing; 2nd better but combo acting weird (heat?)
Date, Private wedding, VA; great time; winning ugly though; Dan stress puppy; Sarah pretty good on cowbell; Sweet Caroline HUGE hit; Safety Dance surprised, too; couple power issues blowing circuits, guess those 2 outlets WERE on the same circuit; hot and humid, showers during setup under huge tent with decent stage; JBLs sounded good, clean, projected nicely; bluegrass band was ok
Date, Bar X, _______, VA; 10pm; no cover; ok turn out, nice weather, lots of ppl outside, not so many inside; long set worked well (100 mins); Shannon the wanna-be bass player was just as bad as could be imagined
10 Aug 2007 - Danny & Johnny w/ Mike Jewel - the Red Horse Tavern (formerly Maxwell's), Middleburg, VA; 9:30pm; no cover sit-down, coffee shop vibe was cool; Dan busted his ankle jumping off a trailer earlier in the week and on crutches
It never occurred to me that drinking all night followed by three hours sleep with no water in me followed by standing in the sun for two hours is potentially dangerous. It STILL didn’t occur to me when I started to get really hot. Then really sick. Then really dizzy. I told everybody around me that I was hot/sick/dizzy the moment that wonderful cornucopia of feelings swept over me. I remember trying to kneel down on one knee, and then it all went black.
The next thing I remember was like a scene out of movie. I heard voices calling my name, and as I opened my eyes I saw several upside down heads nervously looking down at me. I asked “where am I”, to which they responded “you passed out!”. All I could think about was “why the hell did you wake me up? I was really enjoying that deep sleep!”.
So kids, there is your lesson. Drink water. Lots of water. Especially after a night of drinking, no sleep, and a Mountain Dew / chicken wing breakfast in the hot sun. It was the first time I ever passed out in my life. Oh, and if you are wondering, we were all done shooting by the time I hit the ground. I find it hard to hit the target when you are unconscious.
A face only a mother could love.
There is no better time to be in Maine for lobster lovers than early August, thanks to the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland. It’s a weeklong celebration of crustaceans, and though there are bands, arts and crafts, games, speed knitting (seriously) and cooking contests - the 20,000 pounds of lobster they serve up in the food tent is why I attend. Picnic tables lined the inside of the food tent, with an open isle down the center that included large trashcans. After eating my first two whole Giant Sea Cockroaches, I headed back to get another. The moment I stood up, I noticed a young teenager right next to me with his head buried in a trash can tossing his cookies. Maybe he had a bad clam, maybe he was just sick. But I ignored it, and went up front and grabbed Lobster #3. On my way back, I noticed that Chucky McPuke-a-lot was sitting down next to his garbage can, and the kid’s mother was now looking in the can, presumably looking at her sons expensive but hardly enjoyed lunch. Right when I was thinking that that was a bit odd (and by “odd”, I mean disgusting), the lady’s mouth exploded and added to the seemingly growing pile of awesomeness somewhere deep in that can.
Most people would probably lose their appetite at this point (in fact, some of you may want to skip lunch after reading this). However I didn’t drive 13 hours to miss out on my 10-legged friends. I sat down at my table, just a few feet from the Chunder family and gleefully cracked some claw to the sounds of somebody’s stomach being turned upside down just a few feet away.
Nothing comes between me and my Lobstah.
According to a government survey, the median amount of time that a person stays at one job is 4.1 years. So the average person will have between 7-10 different jobs throughout the course of their working lives. I love hearing what people used to do before they landed at their current position. It’s typically far more interesting than whatever desk job they hate to drive to every day currently. Maybe fuzzy memories and glorified fish-tales make the past more romantic and funny.
Though I usually share a singular, specific story for my IAHAS blog, I thought I would give you all a glimpse into my working past by listing a few jobs I have held in my pre-musician life and sharing my favorite story from each. Enjoy.
Yup, I wore the awesome bee suit. During a summer home from college, I assisted a bee keeper while working for the USDA Plant Genetic Resources Unit. Every morning I would enter these screened off test plots and move bees around. I probably dealt with tens of thousands of bees, and never once got stung. I was proud of that fact! That is until I was driving home with my window down after my very last day of work. Bee flies in, stings my arm. It’s like the bees heard me bragging and just couldn’t resist.
High school… summer job… worked for Village of Seneca Falls. All the summer kids were on 2 weeks rotation. Two full weeks on “the packer”, and two weeks doing something else. One day it was well above 90 degrees (rare for Upstate NY), which caused the maggots to smell particularly potent in nearly every trash can I opened and lifted up to empty in the back of the truck. One trash container’s top wouldn’t open… I pulled every corner… harder and harder.. and then SNAP! The lid flies up, and apparently the inside of it was covered in those nice squishy, hot, smelly maggots. Which upon me aggressively pulling it off, made dozens of them fly off the lid and cover my face and chest. Yummy.
Fish Hatchery Technician.
My first college degree was in Fisheries and Wildlife, and I worked at the on-campus Fish Hatchery at SUNY Cobleskill. I cleaned gigantic fish tanks, I washed filters, I squeezed eggs (roe) out of fish to cross breed, I fed them, I smelled like fish when I went to class.
Environmental Compliance Specialist.
My wildlife degree landed me a job at Wetland Studies and Solutions after college, and I worked there for many years before I took music more seriously. I still work for them a little bit whenever they need me between my gigs. Best story from Wetland Studies? Probably the story I told in this very blog back in February.
Thanks to high school and college summers, I had several other jobs that I didn’t list here (farmer, cemetery landscaping, grape vine trimmer, street paver and more). I don’t regret any job I have ever had, and never will. Who else do you know that can pick up your trash on the way to breeding some salmon while simultaneously managing the bee hives near the wetland in your back yard? Email me or post on my FB page your interesting jobs growing up!
PS – tip your garbage man double this Christmas. Trust me, he deserves it.
Earlier this month I had the unique opportunity to play at the 4th Annual Fisher House Golf Classic fundraiser at Lansdowne Resort. It was an amazing event that raised over 1 million dollars. For those that aren’t familiar with The Fisher House Foundation, they build homes on the grounds of VA medical centers to provide free lodging for the families of military members receiving medical care. Hosted by CNN White House correspondent Brianna Keilar, the event had several special guests, including General Martin Dempsey (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff), who actually upstaged me by singing a song himself.
Look at me in my fancy cloths!Following dinner, they had a live auction to help raise more money for this great cause. While Brianna played the auctioneer, items auctioned off included a framed American flag that flew over Afghanistan, a baseball bat signed by 28 Medal of Honor recipients, and more. All of the items were going for between $2,000 - $5,000. The last item up for bid was the “Jay Leno Package”, which included a private tour for two of Jay’s car collection in LA and two VIP tickets to The Tonight Show with a stop in the green room followed by a meet and greet with Jay. I was sitting there thinking that some rich dude would probably be willing to pay a couple grand for it. When the bidding reached 4 grand and seemed to stall out, Brianna asked if there were any more bids. Some guy sitting in the front row raised his left hand while his right hand held a phone pressed to his ear, apparently giving bid instructions. He mumbled something that sounded like “one hundred thousand dollars”. Brianna looked down and said “did you say one HUNDRED thousand dollars?!”. After consulting with the person on the other end of the phone, he in fact repeated ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. The crowd went dead silent, all of us wondering if this was even real. Who raises an auction bid from 4 grand to a 100 grand?! Ummmm… do I hear TWO hundred thousand dollars? No such luck. After a quick confirmation from Brianna, she proudly said “sold!” with a surprised look on her face shared by the whole room.
While the entire audience gave the mystery bidder a standing ovation, the guy that placed the bet held the phone up so the charitable caller could hear the claps. He was also able to hear Brianna announce to the crowd that the grand total raised from the event was $960,000. Just a few seconds later, the bidder decided to best his own generosity and INCREASE his bid to $140,000 – just to make sure the event raised an even million.
So how much is Jay Leno worth? Well, at least one person thinks he’s worth about 140 grand. Obviously the mystery bidder wanted to wonderfully donate a serious lump of cash to the foundation, and didn’t really think the Leno trip was worth that much. But it was certainly a flamboyant way to help a great cause. Now if I could just sell a few more $8 CDs at my shows…
My blog posts are always about my run-ins with the world (hence the “I Always Have A Story” title). But just this once, I want to rant for a moment about a reality TV show, specifically The Voice, and more specifically one of the contestants: Tony Lucca.
American Idol started this crazy trend of “reality” talent shows back in 2002. The show was a huge hit, entertaining, and has produced some major stars. One reason for the success of these shows is the “coming-out-of-nowhere” aspect of the contestants. You haven’t heard of them before, they are underdogs, and their back-story is touching (dad just died, they are going broke, they are working as a dishwasher, they overcame a horrific disease, etc). Who doesn’t love to cheer for the underdog? It’s as American as apple pie and road rage.
Which brings me to Tony Lucca, current top 4 contestant on NBC’s The Voice. For those of you that don’t know, Tony started his career off as a teenager on the Mickey Mouse Club. Fellow castmates included many future stars like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling and current coach on The Voice, Christina Aguilera. Obviously Tony didn’t become a mega-star like the others, but he has been a successful singer-songwriter, touring the country and releasing a dozen or so albums over the past 15 years. Being a “struggling musician” myself, I find his level of success extremely commendable. Don’t confuse fame with success. His CD sales, his song placements on several television shows, his collaborations with major acts, his acting career and his dedicated fanbase nationwide has made him more “successful” than literally 99.9% of every self proclaimed “musician” in the world.
You may have never heard of Tony Lucca before, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t great. And it also doesn’t mean he hasn’t been successful (did I mention he also has a beautiful wife and two adoring children?). I know America wants to see a “nobody” win The Voice. And many people don’t think it’s fair that somebody like Tony, who has had some national success, a previous record deal, and some celebrity fans pulling for him, should have the opportunity to compete on a talent show that is supposed to find the countries best unknown talent. But really, who more deserves national attention than a guy who has dedicated his life to his craft, paid his dues 10 times over, and just hasn’t had the right opportunity or luck to let the world know about him until now. Tony Lucca is exactly who should be on The Voice, and exactly the type of guy that should win. But win or lose, Tony has made it far enough (top four as of the moment I’m writing this) to achieve massive notoriety that should boost his career higher than he ever thought possible.
Someday I will write a book on the many levels of success in the music business (I find the topic extremely interesting). Tony has been hanging out on a particular “rung” on the musical success “ladder” for quite some time. It’s hard to climb up there, but even harder to reach the next rung. There are hundreds of guys out there that are equally talented and deserve wild fame as well (see Tony’s TFDI bandmate and my old buddy Jay Nash, Ernie Halter, Martin Sexton, Mutlu, Justin Jones and a many, many more). But the glamour of fame doesn’t come without a little luck, a lot of talent, and sometimes a show like The Voice to put you over the top. In the few times I have met Tony over the years, I didn’t get the impression that he cares at all if he is famous. He is a legitimate nice guy and lacks the ego that many others of his talent level posess. I think he just wants to make music, entertain his fans, support his family, and do what he knows best. Tony didn’t choose music as a career… music choose Tony. Now we shall see if America does as well. Good lucky Tony, you deserve it.
Watch The Voice on NBC on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm.
Tony performs "How You Like Me Now" on The Voice.
It seems I am not capable of going to New York City without returning with a story. Remember my story from a couple years ago when a baby walked into the bar I was playing at? Well this most recent trip was no different…
After playing a show at Googies Lounge on the Lower East Side a couple weeks back, a few friends and I ended up at a bar in Astoria. After a long day and night and a few bladder filling cocktails, it was finally time to go to bed. But first we had to drop one friend off at the train station, followed by a 45 minute car ride to yet another friends house at which we were staying. It was very early in the car ride that I had the realization that there was a 0.0% chance of making it back to his house before having to go to the bathroom. Widely recognized as the weakest of bladders among my fellow humans, tonight was a decisive loss in the battle against it’s sworn enemy: beer.
I drove around looking for a restaurant. No luck. I kept my eyes open for a bar with a glowing “Open” sign. No luck. I looked for a wooded lot amidst the neighborhoods of suburban Astoria. No luck. At this point, I would have happily taken a construction site porta-potty covered in horse manure. I decided I had no choice: I just had to park on a relatively dark street and go in the nearest bush.
The row houses on the particular street I chose were not far off the road. There were only about 5 feet between the front doors and the sidewalks. But there it was, a beautiful bush next to a door in a dark street at 3am in New York City. Nobody within a mile of this place is awake. A guy peeing outside: this can’t be THAT unusual right?
As I gracefully started the “relief process”, I noticed a woman at the other end of the street walking on the very sidewalk that eventually leads to where I was standing. I remember very distinctly thinking that I had plenty of time to wrap things up. However as she got closer, I realized that there was no end in sight. I made the decision to quietly continue on with my mission, hoping she walks right by me and chalks it up to crazy New Yorkers doing what they do.
That plan seemed fine until she got right behind me and yelled “This is NOT a bathroom!”. My slight embarrassment turned to guilt when I realized that she was just a couple feet away from me, unlocking her door. Yup, I was peeing on her house. Not AT her house, but ON her house. What the hell are the chances of that? I didn’t say a word. Just got in my car and left.
Totally worth it.
A couple weeks ago I made it down to Nashville for the first time in my life. Fellow DC musicians and friends Brian Franke and Brad Pugh made the 9.5 hour drive with me down to Tennessee to play a couple open mics, network, meet up with some friends, and just absorb and learn what the Nashville music scene is all about.
I could write a novel about my trip down there. But I will give the brief highlights:
I saw my favorite VA band Carbon Leaf play at Exit/In, and got to hang with them after the show. I played an open mic at The Commadore and The Bluebird (which is a legendary venue, and without a doubt the best open mic in the country). I went to Fisk University to buy a few t-shirts so people think I’m important when I wear them. I had amazing bbq at Hog Heaven. Had way too much fun getting to know the bar scene; 3 Crow Bar, Toosies, The 5 Spot (East Nashville rocks!) and a million more. Met a pile of amazing musicians including Trevor Finlay, Nicole Neff, Autumn Reynolds, Steve Goodie, Chad Elliot, 18-year old Morgan Frazier (she’s going places, trust me), and several others.
I was blown away at the collaborative nature between the musicians of Nashville. I was in awe of the sheer volume of musicians and venues. Everybody was incredibly nice (well, almost everybody), and our 5 day trip was short enough that I want to make it back there as soon as possible. I’m not sure I’m ready to move to Music City, but I certainly want to visit and tour on a regular basis.
Brian, Brad and I playing at The Commadore
Till next time Nashville. Keep a mic warm for me.
As some of you may know, my major in college was Wildlife Management. After school I got a job at an Environmental Consulting firm down here in Virginia. Although it was only a tiny portion of the job, one responsibility was to help control the massive overpopulation of deer in our large wetland banks. To do this, a group of four of us – all legal, trained and certified – would do night hunts. For those of you that wonder what we did with the deer after they were killed, have no fear; all meat was donated to Hunters For The Hungry which helps feed those less fortunate.
On one particular night a few years back, we finished up at about 3:00am. Because we clean the deer in the field, we often get a little bit of blood on us. Okay, actually a lot of blood. After leaving the site, we decided to stop at a 7-11 to pick up some drinks. All four of us were wearing dark clothing. All four of us had blood stained cloths, blood all over our hands, and a bit of blood smeared on our faces. We pretty much looked like we just slaughtered a small village. The Indian fellow behind the counter froze as we walked through the door. He started to shake. He didn’t say a word. As we shopped around the store chatting with each other, a couple of us *might* have said a few things like “man, that dude will NOT mess with us again”.
He checked us out without making eye contact. He was superbly freaked out. Mission accomplished. Homeless people got fed. The deer population was improved. And the Indian teller had a great story for his family (or maybe the cops?).