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Pawling To NYC (or The Magnificent Golden Arches of The Big Apple)

I woke up early again, and drove through Starbucks in the Sprinter van. I considered buying everyone coffee, but what time everyone was going to get up was anyone’s guess. Besides, there are 3 in our group that are perfectly happy with watered-down hotel coffee, and the other 3 could very well be taking advantage of the late check out.

This was one of the longer times spent in a hotel for the night (10 hours total), so I could get some of the paper work done. All of the shows are budgeted tightly, and I was still staring straight at that $3990 loss. Hopefully, the show at Lucille’s in NYC would make up for it, but it was doubtful; the show had already been moved from the big room (BB King’s) into Lucille’s (about half the size), due to poor ticket sales. (Two weeks prior to the show, only 26 tickets had been sold, a surprising low number.) The chances of hitting the break point and making any bonus money was pretty much nil.

We arrived NYC about 2pm, to the child-like squeals of our drummer Sam who, unbeknownst to us at this point, had never been to NYC. The first words he said were not about the skyline as we rounded the corner toward the Lincoln Tunnel, or about how he caught a glimpse of the Empire State building. The first thing out of his mouth was, “Oh my god, look at the size of that McDonald’s!”

Sam will either get eaten alive here, or flourish due to his charming smile and “aw shucks” attitude. Spoiler: Not only did he flourish, he managed to find a pretty lady to hang out with for the 2 days we were there, who fed him, gave him a place to sleep, and I assumed (and hoped) bathed him.

Here's the photo he texted me the day after.

Sam's in trouble now. Just look at the way she's looking at him!

Back to the arrival in the city. After looking for parking for about an hour, I decided to offer Wheelz the opportunity to make $60 just sitting in the van while we load in, and if any cops tried to move the Sprinter after, he would just circle the block and re-park in the same spot. Turns out no one asked him to move, and we saved about $100 in parking for the night. YES! Now, we’re moving in the right direction with a loss of $3890.

Wheelz was perfectly happy sitting in the driver’s seat for about 8 hours straight, the ginormous golden arches of “Micky D’s” as he calls it, on the same block. I reminded him he would have to actually walk the 30 feet to McDonald’s and not do a U-turn and drive, losing our parking space. I detected a little sigh from him, and I wasn’t positive if it was because he was tired of me ribbing him about his lack of exercise, or because he would actually have to walk.

Wheelz is a great addition to this group, doing most of the hard labor for every show, but damn it, I fear that he’s going to drop dead of a heart attack, and what then? I’d have to carry my own amp?! Best to chide him about his Facebook posts about food, like the one where he posted a pic of a giant wet burrito with the caption “Lunch;)” and then 3 hours later, posted a pic of a soft-shell taco dinner platter with the caption "Dinner;)" Don’t believe me?

Lunch (dated March 9):

Dinner (dated March 9):

As you can tell by the plates and table top, at least he was “making moves” and got up to go to a second Mexican restaurant.

Wheelz, most of me wanted to post this so that everyone would pressure you into eating healthier because we love you. But a significant part of me posting this was in an effort to get you to use one of the many camera filters available to you through your massive iPhone 6. Your food photos are like those found on a Chinese food menu. Example:

The above menu photos actually look more appetizing than your photos, and they include the words "fried cat ear" and "rotten child".

After a brief soundcheck, we were all let loose upon the city. I lived in New York for a little over a year while we were recording our ill-fated Frog Album, and knew my way around, and had pretty much seen everything I had ever wanted to back then. My NY friends happened to be gone that weekend, so I decided to walk across the street to the AMC theaters, and see a movie. I didn’t care what movie, I just enjoy the process of it, especially now that Lux and I have young kids at home, and it’s nearly impossible to get to a theater.

Here’s the movie I saw:

OMG it was so GREAT! It's all about a pilot who accidentally superglued his hands to a baggage cart and then when a flight attendant tried to help him, she got stuck to his baggage! They ended up having to get married.

Just kidding. I saw Deadpool, which was as equally hilarious as I imagined Just the 3 of Us was.

Back to the club in time for a quick set up and play, no real soundcheck could be done. There was some grumblings from fans when the show got moved to the smaller room, and that we would now be playing acoustically, but I said screw it. We came a long way to be here, and I wanted to plug in and be loud. I loved that the stage was tiny, and that the band would all be rubbing elbows, and tripping over each other, as you can see by this photo.

It ended up being to our advantage; we played one helluva show. Everything fell into place, from Channing’s spot on harmonies to Joel carrying the weight of the bottom end. Joel’s energy onstage is infectious, he gives it all, and leaves it on the stage and in the club when he’s done. Just look at him in the live photos. He's the band member who always ends up looking a little blurry, because he's got that energy. Fans leave our shows with his energy, hotting and hollering on the way back to their cars, or in this case, trains. Lou was rocking, an opportunity to turn it up to 11 was there because of my fuck it attitude, but he restrained himself to a level that made the mix perfect. A couple of Long Island friends/fans came out, and I knew that a favorite of theirs was our song She Has Faces, which we haven’t played in ten years, but I decided to just do it, and Lou joined me, and it ended up being a highlight. Sometimes shit like that just happens, and it’s a good lesson. Don’t be stuck on a setlist.

Performing music should be treated much like life itself. Let all things flow, and go with the way the day moves you.

Next up: Day Two in NYC (or How Misspelling 'Merely" Ruins a Tattoo)

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