Well, 120 minutes, 23 songs, a collective 12 lbs. lost, and one blown prototype amplifier later, we appear to have survived the Bridgestone Plaza Party relatively unscathed. I mean, sure, my one-of-a-kind Russian-designed Class A head, for which I have no specs to give an amp tech for repairs, shot sparks and a small plume of smoke out before we ever played a note, and the vast majority of folks filing past us had and still have no clue who we were or what we were doing in front of the arena before the Journey show, and yeah, we took some unintentional liberties with the melodies & chord progressions of a few of our own songs, BUT we sold some CDs, put some coin in our pockets, and nobody got hurt. I'm claiming this one a victory.
Truth is, we were called upon at the last minute by our buddy David Hart at Iconic Rockwear, to pull together a 2 hr. set, to entertain(/entice-to-purchase beer & concessions) whoever may be milling about OUTside prior to Night Ranger taking the stage INside at approximately 7PM. No problem...except for the fact that we've pretty much been conditioned; by years of playing club shows, to achieve optimum performance in the 45 minutes-or-less setting. Since we were determined not to repeat a single song, we had to dig back into our catalog, reviving numbers we had long since retired from active duty. With only a single run through on most of them, we surprised ourselves at how easily muscle memory can take over, and the majority of the stuff came together quickly. Granted, we didn't have the time to put any real spit n' polish on their finer nuances, but the rough edges were inoffensive enough to pass muster. In fact, I didn't realize how much I've missed playing a handful of these songs, so hopefully we'll keep a few of them on deck for future emergencies, or just because we feel like running them up the flagpole every now & then.
We're just a few weeks away from our next show at 12th & Porter, on Saturday, October 1st. The lineup has changed a smidge, with The Lasting forced to drop off the bill, being replaced by The Monroes, who will now be closing the show, taking the stage right after our set. Hello Kelly will open, followed by our Cincinnati brothers Billy Carri. This will be our "official" record release celebration, so if you don't have it yet, and you're afraid to have your credit card information out there on the internet, being abused by one of the retailers who are handling our inventory, bring 10 extra bucks, earmarked for the purchase of "The Kids Deserve Cable" , so that years from now you can regale your grandchildren with tales of how your life was forever changed when Patrick Miller of fORMER flashed you that moneymaker smile, as he snatched that coin from your palm and handed you what may be the best album you'll ever own.
Speaking of which, we've managed to rack up a handful of really good reviews, both from friends & fans, as well as bloggers and online publications, and several have complimented the actual sonic quality of the production on this record. I'd just like to give a quick tip of the hat to our engineer/co-producer Michael Saint-Leon at The Switchyard. Michael knew going into this record; having done so much work with us in the past, that the last thing we wanted was the standard "modern rock" sound, the one that 99.9% of the bands making records; independent or otherwise, in this "genre" tend to favor. We didn't want uber-compressed guitars with ridiculous amounts of midrange-less gain, or THAT snare sound...you know the one, that may as well be a drum machine. We wanted slightly ragged guitars, and more than a little humanity in the performances. No, we didn't use a click track on every song, and anyone paying some attention, that can count to 4, might be able to pick up on it in spots. We're cool with it. That's the way most of our favorite records were made. Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on folks that do it the other way, and we definitely used technology to our advantage more than once while putting this album together, but we didn't wanna join the herd of acts that sound more like science projects than rock n' roll bands, and are happily uncool in this regard. I'd like to thank Michael once again for helping us get OUR sound, and I'd recommend the services of Mr. Saint-Leon & The Switchyard to anyone not looking to paint by numbers.
OK, down from my soapbox, I've gotta go pack a bag, 'cause I'm headed home to Central Illinois and the annual Morton Pumpkin Festival tomorrow. Maybe I'll see some of you folks in the beer tent, or in line for whatever other pumpkin-flavored eats intrigue my taste buds.
One last thing. I watched the movie Get Low with Robert Duvall & Bill Murray the other night. Amazing! If you haven't seen it, change that. Sublime performances from those two and Sissy Spacek. Not a popcorn movie, and unsuitable to be watched with anyone chatty, but seriously one of the best films I've seen in a long time. Dig it up.