We're driving through Missouri on our way to Kansas City for tonight's gig with Tenacious D. We're passing a beautiful countryside and Ronnie Lane's first solo record is our soundtrack--it's a perfect cocktail for the afternoon.
We played Tulsa with the D at the Brady Theater on Saturday night and the gig was good. It wasn't great, but it was symbolic of what has become a higher level of showmanship and musicality from us. We're working through songs in soundcheck and inserting them into our set when it feels right. I am happy with where we're at as a band, but I can't wait to break from the amped up opening slot that we've mastered and move into slower, weirder territory.
After Tulsa we went nocturnal with Shades at the wheel and pulled into Springfield, MO where we had a gig on Sunday...or so we thought. We slept well and I polished and cleaned my guitars (a first for me) since Patrick, guitar tech for the D, was gracious enough to give me a guitar cleaning kit.
It feels like when someone (a relative?) gives you a gift and you think, "What the hell am I gonna use this for?" and so you sort of reluctantly try it out. It was a great gesture by a great man. Anyway, we pulled into the venue, only to see it closed.
Springfield was full of tweakers, people asking for quarters but turning down my offer of free water. It's hot, take the water. We had to tell Neil and Karrie Miller the gig was off. They are making their way west to meet us at Red Rocks, so this gig happened to be on their route. Great to see them, and I as I was walking and talking with them Jerry Sprinter was pulling away so I ran to him just in time for our trip to Joe and Sandy Schwab's in St. Louis.
We got to the Schwab's around 1am, just in time for some tequila and talking. We sat on the back patio like old friends in the summer heat and everything just felt right. It was the perfect setting for relaxation that we so needed.
We woke Monday morning (yesterday) to arrive early for our KDHX radio session in St. Louis. We played four songs: "Not as Pretty," "Prayer," "Left Over Right," and "Fool (I Can't Stop Making Out With You)." There were some minor flubs-- my voice squealed on "Prayer" and Kyle's headphones fell on his bass during "Left Over Right," but other than that it was an effortless morning set and it felt good. The station was impressed we were early and for that I thank Shades for kicking our butts to be on time.
And then came our show at The Pageant in St. Louis. The Pageant is the perfect room for a show--2,000 capacity, but it felt like a big club. The show was sold out and we went on an hour and a half after doors opened as opposed to the usual one hour. The crowd was ready for us and we delivered a great show. I kept laughing into the mic because there was a pudgy forty-something lady in front who could not have looked more bored to be there. I love that stuff. That kinda stuff doesn't bother me, and our set went off without a hitch.
Backstage we hung with the D and talked about the pictures on the walls everywhere. A lot of the acts who've played there get their picture with a tan, blonde dude who seems like the owner. Joe Schwab knew who he was, but to me he just looks strange being in every single photo, making the exact same face. I wonder if the D had the same fate as the pictures on the wall. Brooks Wackerman, the D's drummer, showed me a picture of him ten years before when he was there with Bad Religion.
It was fun relaxing with the D, and the tour has been such a fun summer. I've been watching most of their set the last few nights, and it remains entertaining every night.
All the best,
Today's high according to Jerry Sprinter's thermometer: 103
Photos by Shades