Pittsburgh to Pawling, via Poughkeepsie (or One Helluva Hat!)
After a night of rock and roll, and a little bit of babysitting, 7am comes pretty early. I’m an early riser as it is, most times getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. It’s pretty unusual for me to sleep past the 5 hour mark, unless I medicate myself. I feel bad for the others on this tour who have to suffer the early hours of driving, but I figure they can sleep in the van. And as you can see by these pics, they do:
I feel bad about posting those, so it’s only fair that I post a picture of myself as well:
And I just found this one of our new drummer, Sam:
The drive to Darryl’s House in Pawling, NY, is a little over 6 hours, but I agreed to stop at a radio station in Poughkeepsie, for a quick on air interview, in an effort to sell the final 20 tickets for the show. WRRV has been a huge supporter of the band, even in recent years, and it was good to stop off and say hello. Lou and I did a performance of The Freshmen and Colorful, and told a few stories as well. In the picture, you can tell that I'm quite a bit taller than Lou. In fact, I'm actually sitting while he's standing!
We were already running late for Pawling, where we were due for soundcheck 90 minutes earlier. I’m sure that the sound person was freaking out, but after doing so many of what we call “throw and gos” where you get no soundcheck (usually at festivals), I knew we could set up and check in no time at all.
Darryl’s House Club is an anomaly, one of the best small clubs we’ve played in. Clearly it’s a club designed by and for musicians. Sound and lights befitting a larger venue, yet intimate enough that there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Being able to take a video tour of the club before we arrived was very helpful; we knew where everything was and exactly what to expect.
I had my old friend Mitch coming to the show tonight. Mitch made a movie called Mergers and Acquisitions, one of my first starring roles, and it was good to see him again. We were able to catch up over the din of the club, nearly sold out.
I was still a little bitter over the fact THE I WAS WRONG ABOUT LOU TURNING UP HIS AMP, OK LOU?!! So tonight, I decided I was going to take a picture of Lou’s amp - one before and one after. I know, I know. I should let it go…but I’ll catch him at some point. I took a picture of his knob, and then we were on with the show.
It was a good one, to say the least. Opening the set with If I Could Make You Feel always feel good to me, easing the crowd into it. For someone who probably still had to much sugar in his bloodstream, Griff rocked the joint, and people loved him. Joel and Randy are always right on, making few mistakes, though Randy hides them better than Joel.
Randy is one of those guys that refuses to play the same thing twice, though we might describe it as: “forgot what he just played”. Once known as “Reckless”, we still call him that on occasion, like for instance when he’s backing one vehicle into another, or let's suppose he's losing his temper and exploding on unsuspecting teenagers who are playing video games during a movie date with his wife. “ENOUGH!!”, he might have screamed, jumping up and waving a karate chop at them. (Randy once rode with me, my wife Lux and our 18 month old daughter Evie across the country until Evie couldn’t take it anymore and screamed for 90 minutes straight. I suspect that it bothered Randy but he didn’t say a word about it, and it was pretty cool of him not to threaten her with the karate chop.)
Back to the show at Darryl’s, a request for our kid’s song, “Cereal” came during the encore, and we decided what the hell, we’ll play it, and though there was no kid in the audience, the song went over big. Loud, fat guitars and four-part harmonies throughout, it’s a favorite at the kid’s shows we play. It made me wonder if we should play it at all of the rock shows.
After the performance, we had a couple of whiskeys and went out to mingle with the crowd, selling merch and posing for picks. We did particularly well with selling the CD’s and shirts tonight, and I was almost too excited about it to take the after picture of Lou's amp, once and for all proving he was turning up during the show. Here are the pics:
Wheelz (Chris Wheeler) is an endearing character that we all love but he's probably not the best person to be doing merch for us, only for the fact that he, like the rest of us, has a hard time with math. The first time he did merch, back at a casino gig a couple of years ago, he had put on his reading glasses, and looked like an accountant, and I remember thinking “Yes! This is going to work out great!!” Two years, and quite a few dollars over and under later, he still counts merch and money about as well as he counts calories. (OK RELAX WHEELZ FANS.. he LOVES seeing his name in the blog, and he knows we love him. I could accuse him of killing a puppy, and he would chuckle and say, “That puppy got in the way of me making moves”, like some capo in a Mafia family.)
As far as merch was tonight, Wheelz actually did very well, only $10 short. When we realized that he had overpaid the club on their percentage of the take, I sent Randy back in to straighten it out and get the $10 back, on principle alone. We were all loaded up in the van when Randy joined us again, ready to hit the hotel in his brand new Darryl’s House Club hat, and no sign of the $10 bill. In Randy’s defense, it’s a helluva hat, worth at least $15, so his negotiating paid off, and now all I have to do is figure out how to explain it to our accountant. I guess I could just show her this picture, and all will be “right as rain.” Though, more than likely, she will understand it better if I explained it as “Reckless as Randy.”
Next Stop: NYC