Dear 15-yr. old me,
When you grow up, don’t bother buying a house with a pool, because Phoebe Cates is never going to emerge from it’s waters and remove her bikini top, but keep practicing that guitar, because THAT? THAT might actually pay off down the road.
There’s nothing better than nabbing a good opening slot, particularly when it happens to be direct support for bands whose posters you used to have on your wall, whose arena shows you camped out behind the video store to get first dibs on tickets for, whose tour shirts set you back 2 weeks’ worth of lunch money before you could drive a car or hold down any job other than a paper route or detasseling corn.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Cinderella and Great White over the years, or how many copies of “Night Songs” I straight wore out on cassette, but I can tell you it never gets old being the warmup act for your heroes.
However, it can prove to be a bit daunting under certain circumstances.
Please allow me to elaborate.
Now, as most of you (hopefully) know, The Great Affairs consists of 4 individuals, and while ironically this current lineup probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the fact that both Kenny & Matt had been enlisted as subs along the way, if all four of us can’t make a gig, then we just don’t take that gig.
Sometimes though, you spout off some nonsense like “I’ll do it as a solo acoustic act, if they really need somebody.”, and that comes back to haunt you a few days later when; as it so happens, they DO still need somebody.
So here’s how this all played out: We played a killer outdoor venue(The Shed) up in Maryville, TN, near Knoxville on Friday night, with Jack Russell’s Great White. Fantastic crowd. Great crew. Good people all the way around at this joint, and some bitchin’ BBQ to boot, even if it was something like 100 degrees on that stage.
After the show, we loaded up, and I drove us back to Nashville, because my big mouth had made that offer to open for Cinderella’s Tom Keifer the next night at an amphitheater in Winder, GA, just outside Atlanta. They initially wanted the band, but Kenny couldn’t do the show due to a prior commitment, and I never thought they’d actually take me up on that solo acoustic business(Thanks, Kyle.), but they did, so 4 hours of sleep and 6 hours of driving later, I was soundchecking by my lonesome to a place that holds 1500 people or so, and most of them were in their seats at 7:30, waiting for a big Rock show to begin, when some tall, skinny dude with a Gibson Hummingbird walked on and started strumming his way through an hour of tunes not a one of them had probably ever heard before.
Clearly I lived to tell, as I’m that, tall skinny fella, and it’s me pecking out this update after the fact. People clapped, and hollered some, and I got really nice compliments on my somewhat un-Rock presentation afterwards(For the record, I don’t mind being compared to Rick Springfield. As a matter of fact, I’m pleased as punch with that observation!), but I sure wish the guys had been up there with me. That said, I’d totally do it again.
With that dance dusted, it was right back into the studio, and we’ve done some marathon tracking sessions that have yielded the following results:
My solo record is approximately halfway there. All the drums(Criss Cheatham) and Bass(Dave Webb) are a wrap, and I’ve managed to finish my lead vocals and the bulk of the acoustic tracks, in addition to all sorts of miscellaneous piano, strings, harmonica and whatnot. Lots of work yet to do before we can dig into mixing, but it’s getting there.
Since I had Criss & Dave on the hook as a rhythm section, they and banged out the foundation of 3 more tunes for The Hail Marys project I’ve been working on with Joshua Ketchmark, and Kenny absolutely crushed the drum tracks for 5 new TGA tunes, a new single from The Die Youngs, and some material for his solo project while we were in there.….it’s a mess, but it’s a beautiful one to sift through, believe me. I can’t wait to get these songs into new ears, so I go back in Tuesday morning to get a few more things tied up that I can’t track here at home, and then I’ll be hunkering down in Pastry Park to capture the rest, so we can hopefully move with some degree of swiftness toward having at least my record completed sometime in October.
As for the band and shows…here’s what WE’ve got on deck:
Thursday, August 29th we’re at The Basement in Nashville, TN(8th Ave.)
Doors at 6. Wille & The Bandits(UK) 7-7:35 TGA 7:50-8:30 $5
Friday, September 6th Eighth & Rail Opelika, AL (w/Joshua Ketchmark opening) 9PM
Friday, September 13th John Brown’s On The Square Marion, IL 9PM
Saturday, Sep. 14th Bokeh Lounge Evansville, IN(w/Joshua Ketchmark opening) 5:30PM Early show
Sunday, Sep 15th Summer’s End Fest(Wicked Good) Clarksville, TN 2PM
While we finish up work on all the material from these various projects, before sorting out the wheres, whens, and hows of their impending release(s), I’d say it’s unlikely that anything will see the light of day before the end of the year, unless we go the strictly digital route, but I think we’re all of the same mind on getting something physical out that will include all of the stuff we’ve recorded since ‘Ten & 2’. We should know more as work progresses on the new batch, and we decide whether or not we think we’ve got an actual album here. We may need to cut a few more before we’re ready to commit to these constituting an LP.
Now, betwixt all of that recording business and business business, AND factoring for the show opportunities that will almost certainly pop up, we should be plenty occupied, but please keep an eye on our FACEBOOK page for updates, as that’s still the platform we update most frequently. If something cool is happening with us, that’s your best bet for finding out about it.
Remember to be good to each other,
The Great Affairs