As I said in the last blog, I wasn’t feeling great about the show in Nashville, but was convinced otherwise by the fans on social media and the rest of the band. The following morning, Randy pondered aloud whether there is a direct correlation between the band’s consumption of alcohol and our inability to truly review our own performances. The more we drink, it seems, the better we thought we were! In other words, he agreed that last night may not have been as stellar as some of us thought, and offered to write up a report, complete with graphs and flow charts linking alcohol to the vortex. I thought to myself, “Go to it, brainiac.” What I said out loud was, “Sounds good,” fearing a karate chop from our keyboard player/triple black belter.
"Reckless", as we call him, is apparently no longer with us, although once in awhile he shows up to encourage the younger ones in the band to "take their outboard motor out of the water, throw caution to the wind, and drink a Busch Light with your binoculars strapped to your neck for god's sake", a metaphor that would be lost on you, if it weren't for this picture I found on his Facebook page.
Reckless Randy Lebowski, The Original "Dude"
We had plenty of time to think about the show in Nashville on the drive back up north to the show in Chicago, to which we will play and then leave to head south again directly after the show. Turns out, 5 hotel rooms in Chicago are slightly more expensive than in Bottomsville, IL, and I am constantly thinking about the budget.
We took another van selfie, and no one noticed that Sam was wearing the same clothes as the night before (and btw, skip ahead to 24 hours from there, and he still hadn’t changed.) I guess when you have abs and a couple of dimples, you get away with murder in the hygiene department. In Sam’s defense, Jim Morrison wore the same leather pants for months straight, and I would tell Sam that but I’m pretty sure he would ask, “Jim who?”
We're adults. We change our clothes everyday. Well, most of us.
The above photo is proof. Notice Randy's shirt (and everyone else's) changes everyday. And Sam (in the way back) is still wearing the Mickey Mouse shirt. By the end of it, Mickey had beauty marks on his face from Sam splattering food (and god knows what else) on himself.
I was determined to get a little nap in before the show, having only slept for a few hours last night. Wheelz had other plans for me, when he saw a funny dog, and shook me awake again. Goddammit. What I'm starting to realize is that Wheelz needs to stop to pee or eat, and hopes that I'll suggest it and I can't if I'm asleep.
A word about diets on the road - everyone embarks with illusions of grandeur when it comes to food, filling their bags with dried kale chips, and then by day two or three your eating the nachos at Speedway, and if the cheese is so encrusted on the dispenser, no problem, you’ll buy the cheese whiz, and cover each nacho like your icing a cake. Pretty soon you're out of chips, so best to just finish the can of Cheese Whiz by icing the apple you found in the bottom of your bag.
We’ve played the city winery in Chicago before, and it’s every bit as perfect as a venue than any place I can recall. The room is large and beautiful, the sound immaculate, and the food is great. The issue is do we play to the room, and soft rock the night away, or turn it up loud, and play heavy. We opted to turn it up a bit tonight, perhaps to out-rock what happened last night.
Channing snapped another slightly out of focus picture of us backstage before the show, and Randy estimated that her selfies are 6.735% blurrier when she's not wearing her glasses. As you can see below, he is asking Siri to remind him to put Channing in touch with his optometrist.
We interrupted Lou while he was greasing up of his guitar neck for maximum speed.
For reasons unknown, Griff was feeling especially ‘huggie’ before the show, and I thought, what the hell, the man wants a hug, give him a hug. It was a nice moment between, almost too nice, as you can see by this pic:
Appropriate Man Love. Please notice you can see all of our hands.
After Channing took that picture, she said, “Awwwww, look at the love in your eyes! It’s so sweet,” and I felt like vomiting.
Channing is all girl, all sugar and spice. She sings her ass off every night and makes us all aspire to be better performers on stage. From her ever-sweet enthusiastic pre-show smile to post show after-glow, we love her like a sister. When she can’t make a show, we are 17.46% percent worse, according to Randy’s estimation.
Jim Shaneberger is playing bass on the tour, since Joel had other plans with the family. That’s the thing in this band, family comes first. We’re old enough now that everyone has had their moment in the sun, and now no one is going to miss their kid’s birthday party if they don’t want to. After all, this is our life. And there are way to many great musicians available who would be more than happy to step in for a 4 or 5 day tour. Jim was kind enough to do it for Joel. Jim is a great bass player, singer, guitar player, and he has great hair and a broad smile. There’s nothing more to ask of a musician. One caveat is that when he takes a solo during our introduction of him, he makes us all look incompetent, that no one wants to be introduced after him. So, after this show in Chicago, he will be introduced last.
We rocked it tonight, pulling out Barely If At All, Drive You Mild and Penny is Poison, three songs that I asked Jim to learn in a few hours.
Penny seemed appropriate to play since the City Winery makes wine in honor of whatever band is playing. (Ok, they slap a label on an existing bottle of wine, but it’s more fun to brag to friends back home about, none of whom read anything outside of a wine label, let alone this blog). I threw together a label at home and asked if they would use it. I thought it was a pretty funny play on our song Penny Is Poison:
Turns out, there was an issue with it. Apparently, no establishment wants to call their product “poison”. Who knew? Randy did some convincing, drawing up charts and graphs again, and next thing you know, the winery agrees to letting us sell the bottle with the label as is. We sold a shitload of them, a description I suggested they put on their website. “Verve Pipe Wine. Pinot is Poison. $30. We sell a shitload of them.”
Why I didn’t pursue a marketing degree is the real mystery.
NEXT TIME: Flying Over Tulsa In An Open Cockpit (or “Whatever You Do, Do Not Touch That Button!”)