Thursday, September 03, 2009

Back from beyond

Quite a nice trip to San Fran and Napa. I enjoyed the trip thoroughly, up until the ride to the airport, in fact -- TD and I completed a bike ride over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito just before boarding. As for the wine, I only went too far once -- on a port wine called Caberet (not to be confused be cabernet sauvignon) from Nichelini (the most quaint, and in my opinion, most legit winery we toured). It was a bad combo of port wine and cigars, neither of which, I must admit, am I very experienced in. But for the most part, we spent the days traveling about, sampling at the vineyards, and spending more money than we should have. It's funny how much that area of the country looks like central Texas. During my morning runs, I was really taken back to the time I spent in the hill country outside San Antonio last September. Perhaps I will post some photos shortly.

So, I have yet to reconvene with my musical kin, but tonight we shall. I'm excited because I'll have copies of our new CD. One of the things this trip gave me perspective on may be quite huge, actually. I must have listened to "It's Gonna Change" three times. Once, a relative put it on during dinner to embarrass me. That sucked. But later, I made peace with that record -- no small feat, as any musician who has a back catalog knows. I have long looked at that record as a good stepping stone album, but also a missed opportunity. I fully believe, still, that it's a STRONG record, writing-wise, but it just didn't showcase the performances we wanted. It was rushed, perhaps -- a lethal combination of not knowing any better and not wanting to overspend (sounds like the port wine/cigar combo, eh?). But listening back to it for the first time in a long time, it sounded refreshingly new. There were so many elements I had forgotten -- not the least of which is how much pleasure we used to take (and the crowd used to take) in "It's Gonna Be Alright." The song fell out of favor when I stopped playing piano live, and our reworkings have never really worked. But, listening to a live recording of our two-year anniversary show, when Mike hits that opening chord, the crowd goes ballistic. A girl screams like it is literally the most exciting moment of her week -- she actually sounds more terrified than excited, so maybe she saw a ghost at the exact same time that Mike hit the chord. It's insane! I don't recall that kind of response to the song, but see, memory forgets these things. Washes right over them. I'm not saying that we need to bring that song back all the time -- that would be a step backward in our evolution of a band. But it's also important to remember where you came from. I think this trip really gave me some perspective on that. I guess that's what family reunions are for (even if that recollection was about music).

Also, listening to that same two-year anniversary live show (yes, I gave Cassavettes material a thorough listen), I noticed that we opened, of all things, with a song that we had not played but once before or really since, at least in a dog's age (it's called "She's a Bright Light"). It's funny, because I brought up the idea of resurrecting this song to the band about a month ago, and the response was better than I expected. Best of all, for being a "piano song," and a "harmonica song" (like "Alright"), this one actually lends itself to the switch to a guitar-driven tune. I messed around with it at about 3 a.m. the other morning. I think it could work. Worth a shot.

Anyhow, the band has a busy month coming up, with touring and what not. This Friday, we're back at The Dive for the first time in a long time. Next week, we re-start Toad Tuesdays (late show next week, 10 p.m., but 8 p.m. for the weeks after that), then my buddy Jimmy visits just in time for us to play The Beachcomber in Quincy again and the I Am Festival with Deerhoof in New London. We actually got a nice mention from the local paper, The Day.
This year, folk-rocker Tim Easton, who's played with former New London- and now Los Angeles-based band Quiet Life, is on the card, as are up-and-comers Free Energy and Cassavettes.

Finally, a dilemma: The band has a weird offer right now that could possibly fund our tour. But it would require selling out...again, possibly. My thought: Is it selling out if there is no profit for us personally? I mean, yes, it's generally selling out to give up intellectual property for any reimbursement -- but then isn't selling CDs sort of like selling out? Being somebody's swag dog doesn't interest me much, but if a small commitment, and doing something totally lame for a month, can bankroll our entire tour, save us from going way deeper in the red, and help us further our dreams (rather than our own bank accounts), should we do it? Or is it a deal with the devil either way? Ponder that one, my friends.

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Anonymous Mike said...

Without going too much into detail about said offer, I think we can comfortably pass on it without feeling like we missed an opportunity. This particular deal happens to come from a product which we can all agree is abhorrent and awful. One of those things that you wouldn't be caught dead using. It's very true that we need the money to tour on, but based on what would be required of us, it is in no way worth it. I would literally lose sleep if we were to accept this, and we would lose all respect that anyone had ever had for us as a band. Basically, they are asking way too much of us and offering WAY too little in return.

Don't get me wrong, if the right deal were to come up, and there weren't quite so many ridiculous strings attached, I'd be all for garnering revenue by way of some cross promotion. The current offer, however, is out of the question in my opinion. Basically, a little palm-greasing from the man isn't a bad thing, especially since we need it. I think we should keep searching.

05 September, 2009 08:16  
Anonymous glenn said...

well said.

05 September, 2009 13:12  

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