We pulled a double shift in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago, with a stripped-down set in The Preservation Pub's upstairs "Speakeasy", followed by a full-on electric set in the "Smokeasy" downstairs. Both sets came off without a hitch, and we stuck around to enjoy a few drinks, and the musical stylings of our Knoxville brethren Far Far Away, who whipped a caribou's ass, as the late Wesley Willis would almost certainly have assessed.
We crashed in Kodak, TN, just long enough to feel human before room service repeatedly harangued us into leaving ALMOST on time.
We headed up the road to Bristol, where we were scheduled to play later that evening at O'Mainnin's, and spent most of the day wandering downtown, raiding pawn shops, and being made to feel uncomfortable in a billiards hall that didn't seem to want us partaking of our adult beverages on their premises, as we might disrupt a tournament going on some 50 feet away.
Whatever. I was just happy to rifle through my rare CD haul while those burly ladies squared off.
The gig was cool. We played outdoors, on a stage that had bats swarming around it once night descended. Luckily, the racket we made served as adequate deterrent, and none of us were actually attacked by said winged, nocturnal predators.
The place had some interesting folklore attached, imparted to us during soundcheck by the bar manager. Tales of multiple murders, and subsequent ghostly encounters…pretty cool stuff. We're headed back in December, to play INSIDE, in closer quarters to said goings-on. I'll file a full report, barring any demonic possession, or spectral encounter that may result in the loss of my faculties. Also, if I should piss my pants, that will go unmentioned in my account.
Next, we headed north to Marion, IL, where we played a new favorite, John Brown's On The Square. Unassuming little joint, with killer decor, great sound, and an amazing beer selection…..but the true gold in this place is the crew behind it…and the folks on hand to partake in the music are a rare breed too. We had to cram ourselves onto a tiny stage to make them some noise, but those were the most comfortable cramped confines I've ever squeezed into, because the place is just alive with good vibes. I almost hated to leave, and we're looking forward to getting back up that way in late September. Hats off to John Brown, the man.
From there, we trucked another 250 miles to Creve Coeur, IL, for a set at Trendz, to close out their Slash after-party. My good buddy Dan Sego arrived post-Slash to spruce up our mix, and we gave everything we had until it was time for the DJ to take over for the after-hours crowd. I think I even played a bit of FOXX by request. The legend never dies.
I got to see a few folks I hadn't seen in a while…missed you guys, and we left town short one man, as Patrick stayed behind to visit family and celebrate his daughter's birthday.
This week, the Summer NAMM convention is in town, so Kenny, Henry, & I are hitting the D'Addario pre-party tonight, and we'll probably walk the show floor at some point this weekend, checking out a whole mess of stuff we don't need and probably couldn't afford if we did.
Oh yeah, and it's Henry's bday this weekend…but he'll be in Minneapolis 'til Sunday. He's 27..again.
In two weeks, I'm taking off for Los Angeles to do a pair of shows, one at The Sunset Strip Market, and the other at Molly Malone's, before enjoying a few days of doing absolutely nothing I don't want to do, before I return to Nashville, and get back to work on finishing up a handful of recording projects.
Speaking of which, I went in last week and cut the vocals on a pop track that I had originally intended to go no further than the archives, but it turned out so good that it may actually surface at some point, either on a new TGA release, or some other type of outlet…in short, I think this new batch of material is shaping up well, so there is probably something on the horizon besides just this record Kenny & I have been slogging through for the last several months. If the first few tunes are any indication, it's going to be a very different kind of record, and cover a lot of bases…going places sonically that we've certainly never gone before as The Great Affairs. OR, we might ditch all that stuff and make a straight-up rock n' roll album….it's too soon to tell. I'm stoked though, either way, but that might just be because I just pounded an energy drink and I know I have a vacation coming up. Hard to say.
For now, we're off the grid as a band until August, but for the time being(meaning until next week), you can still get the expanded version of '4' for free at this link: http://noisetrade.com/thegreataffairs/45 It includes the KISS and Fleetwood Mac covers we cut recently.
Alright then, I'm out. See you in August…or later this month, if you live in the L.A. area.
p.s. Here's a picture of Gary Belcher in a drum case....just because.