Monday, September 26, 2016


Yacht Rock was in Atlanta all weekend (for a change), closing out the summer with a few local gigs.

Friday:  Park Tavern.  Due to this year's schedule, we only played here in July, August, and September.  Gone are the days of playing the first Friday of every month all summer long!  The crowd was pretty good--maybe 750?--and fairly tame.  We had Keisha Jackson come and sing a few songs with us (in particular, the Pointer Sisters I'm So Excited), and we brought a back a few songs that we haven't played in a while.  All were challenging due to the fact that our gear was in the trailer all week, so I imagined a lot of synth parts while practicing them on piano!

Saturday:  We performed at East Lake Golf Club as part of the PGA Tour Championship this weekend.  This is our third year playing this gig, and the first one where there hasn't been monsoon-like conditions.

Our show was in a tent in a sponsor's pavilion.  As usual, it was a fairly easy show once we got on site and got our gear into the tent.  We played ninety minutes to a pretty good crowd, though most of them were behind a rope line while a few VIPs lingered in between--kind of strange.

After the gig, Monkeyboy chased me out of our green room tent in my underwear, and the cops showed up.

I was home before the sun went down, which was great!

Sunday:  Venkman's.  Our home away from home was the place for this evening's corporate event, some kind of afterparty for a convention going on downtown.  It was a snoozer of an event--I'm sure they enjoyed it, but we didn't get any energy from the crowd, which made the night feel twice as long.  Still better than my church gig.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Yacht Rock spent last weekend in Texas.  Dig it:

Friday:  We were once again on an early flight out of Atlanta, this time bound for Houston.  Why so early?  We played a fundraiser at an elementary school before our load into the House of Blues.

I had a window seat on the flight over.

The school thing was tied to our evening gig--it sounded like they bought a big block of tickets for the show, and in exchange we agreed to make an appearance--our usual three song, stripped down show for the kiddos.  We also recorded some sort of music for an auction, but all of that went by so fast that I wasn't really following what was going on.

Anyway, on to the main event--the House of Blues in Houston!  Yes!  What a cool place to play!

This was a great first gig of the run--the room was cool, the crowd was tremendous (over 700 for our first time in Houston), and we played well.  Shows like this make the other stuff worth it.

post show photo with a fan

Saturday:  We got up and headed to the Dallas/Ft Worth area for an outdoor show in Mansfield, Texas.

A waffle and coffee before we hit the road.

It may be mid-September, but it was still really hot in Texas.  What a relief that the stage faced east, blocking us from the blazing afternoon sun.  It also meant that we got a great view of the harvest moon rising throughout our  show.

I don't know why this showed up in the parking lot next to our show

Zach got a little crazy from the heat, so we left him on ice for a while
Nice gig!  This was another revival show, so Ambrosia opened for us, and then we backed Robbie Dupree, Matthew Wilder, and Player.  Word was that this was Mansfield's first time going beyond small local bands for entertainment.  I think most everybody liked it, but they were very polite about it.  For us, it was a good warm up for Sunday's main event.

Sunday:  Austin City Limits!  We played in the theatre where the show is currently filmed.  Wow!

This one was extra special for me--I grew up watching Austin City Limits at my grandparents' house every summer, back when it seemed that it was always Crystal Gayle, Porter Wagoner, and Guy Clark  in a rotation.  I don't think my grandparents ever understood how my career was progressing, and if I could have showed them that I was playing here (even though it wasn't a television performance), it'd finally be something they could relate to.

photo cred:  Matthew Wilder
 Another one of the greatest rooms we've ever played.  Unbelievable.

Willie Nelson has a smoking balcony

Doug Jackson, guitarist for Ambrosia, never brings a pedalboard to the gig--always just loose guitar pedals, which he lays out on whatever's available at the venue.  Tonight was a strip of carpet.

We listened to Ambrosia's set piped into our dressing room, and it sounded amazing!  Kudos to Kip for dialing up such a perfect mix.  It sounded just like their records.

photo cred:  Kip Conner

photo cred:  Scott Moore
Alongside Robbie Dupree!

photo cred:  Scott Moore

Our set was excellent, and I had especially good night on saxophone--my solos were more cohesive than the previous two nights.  The room sounded great, and the crowd (around 800 on a Sunday night!) was loving it.  I think we'll be back!

We're in Atlanta this coming weekend, with shows at Park Tavern Friday night, East Lake Golf Club for the Tour Championship Saturday afternoon, and then off to California next week for a show at Club Bahia in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 16, 2016


To be perfectly honest, I couldn't even remember where we were earlier this week for the gig, and I'm not totally sure of what day it is today.  I woke up three times last night thinking that I was late for my flight, even though we don't fly again until tomorrow.  Soooooo...

Tuesday:  We got up super damn early and flew to Orlando.  There was a tropical storm off the eastern coast, and we had rain pretty much the entire day.

I sent my mom this picture and said, "Guess where I am."  "Give me a hint," she replied.  I wrote "You hate it here" and she immediately answered "Florida!"

Lunch in Celebration, Florida.  This place didn't exist when I lived here.  It feels like the town from The Truman Show. 

The rain is moving in!

Nice hotel rooms for the night at The Swan.  Corporate gigs do have their perks!  Our day was drawn out enough that after soundcheck there were several hours of down time.  I think just about all of us went back to our rooms and slept.

The rain is here!

This gig was a private party for a fast food chain--the typical party setting to close out an evening of meetings. Unfortunately, there was no green room for us to change in, but they furnished an RV which was parked across the street from the loading dock.  Since it was still raining, our handler brought seven ponchos.

Pete's new guitar effects pedal--because every twelve string guitar needs distortion and wah wah.

His guitar rig is now better than several of our guests' (original artists) setups.

Anyway...this gig was pretty happening for a Tuesday night!  The people were definitely into us from the start, giving us plenty of good energy to make it through the show.  They dug it so much, we had to do two encores (and easily could've done a third if the venue hadn't shut us down).   Another plus was that the room in which we were performing at Epcot sounded fantastic, and we had Kip and Zach with us to really dial things in.  Those guys are the best, and I'm so glad we have them helping us.

photo cred:  Kip Conner
Wednesday:  We took an early flight home, and Kip and Zach headed to Texas with all of our gear for the next run of shows.  Friday night, we're at the House of Blues in Houston.  Saturday night, we're hosting a revival (with Robbie Dupree, Matthew Wilder, Player, and Ambrosia) in Mansfield, Texas (outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth).  Sunday night, we're right back in Austin for another revival show at the place where they film Austin City Limits.  More details are available here, and I'll be posting the aftermath sometime next week when my brain recovers.

Monday, September 12, 2016

This Week's Trips

Yacht Rock played two private fly dates this week--a corporate party in Austin, and a wedding reception in California.  Too far apart (and too far away) to drive our gear, we had to fly to both, which meant dragging my gear through a few airports, and the anxiety of making it past the guardians of the airport gates.  Fortunately, I made it through without incident.

Thursday:  The nine of us (seven band plus Kip and Zach) assembled at the airport for our trip to Austin.

This particular show was a private party for a corporate client in a small club downtown.

Another tiny corner stage!  It took some time to figure out how we could get everything on stage and still play.  Pretty tight.

Nick was out for this gig, so Greg Lee rotated up to the front line, and we had Rob Henson sub on bass.

The backline gear was pretty good for this one.  My only problem was a wonky sustain pedal for the top keyboard.  During the first song, I stepped on it and it stayed on, so I quickly reached up and yanked it out until I could figure out what was wrong.  A few songs later, I finally had enough of a break to flip the polarity switch, which solved one issue, but illuminated another:  the connection inside the pedal must've been messed up, and the pedal would fully sustain sometimes, sustain for two seconds sometimes, and not sustain at all sometimes.  Through trial and error, I figured out that if I stepped on it at an angle (sort of pushing it out as I pushed down), that gave me the most consistent results.  The game of gig!

Decent crowd, though!

Friday:  Travel day.  I found a kiosk in Austin's airport that was self-serve coffee for $3.00.  I like the idea of not having to deal with anyone before I'm caffeinated, but it also meant that there was no one restocking it.  I ended up with some weird blend of Ethiopian brew--not Dave's fave.

We flew from Austin to Salt Lake City, changed planes (SLC's airport is a mess--the gates are too close together to accommodate all of the people sitting around, and then they talk over each other on competing intercoms), and then from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.  The view as we left Salt Lake was really cool, but I was in a middle seat, and the lady next to me didn't seem like she'd be very tolerant of the needs of my blog.

On the flight from Austin, I watched All Things Must Pass, a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records.  It's very well done--you should watch it!

Anyway...San Fran!  Never been here!  We rented two minivans and headed to our hotel an hour and a half away.  First, though:  Haight Ashbury and Amoeba Music (one of the last great record stores in the US), and then the Golden Gate Bridge!

photo cred:  Peter Olson

Just up the 101, we stopped in Sausalito to eat lunch.  By sheer luck, we picked a really great neighborhood Italian restaurant.  I ate all of this, plus ten breadsticks.  It really hit the spot.

Dave's food

The weather here is pretty amazing;  the owner of the restaurant told us that they average 60 degrees as the high.  It felt like it was maybe 70 when we were walking around.  We stood for several minutes and watched clouds roll over this hill and break apart.  Eat your heart out Jim Cantore.

Our accommodations:  we had hotel rooms at the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa, CA for two nights.  Not too bad!  It was built, I'd guess, in the 50s, and it still has a lot of that vibe to it.

With nothing to do this evening, we headed over to the Russian River Brewery.  This place was packed!  We had a nice hang out on the patio (it got pretty cold after the sun went down!).  A few beers and it was time to crash.

Saturday:  One nice things about being on the west coast with my body clock still on eastern time:  I can sleep as late as I want, and it's still pretty early.  Breakfast time!

Charles Schulz was a longtime resident of Santa Rosa.  This guy was in the lobby.

Lunch time at In and Out Burger.  Did you know that you can order a veggie burger at In and Out?  They give you hamburger without the meat (bun, lettuce, onion, a slice of tomato, and their sauce).  It was ok--I wish they'd had some sort of bean burger patty.

photo cred:  Peter Olson

The gig:  a wedding reception at a vineyard in Sonoma County.  Definitely one of the prettiest gigs we've ever had, with stunning views in every direction.  That being said, I'm never wild about an uncovered stage.  The gear roasted for several hours, temporarily erasing the screen on the top keyboard.  I kept my laptop under a shirt and several charts I needed for the evening, and moved my saxophones and flutes into the shade behind the stage.  We got hot and a little sunburned.

The gear for this one was a little more roughed up than Austin.  I had a mixer die before I ever played a note through it, and the keyboards had some wobbly knobs (I also got stuck with a Nord 2, which is plagued by a pretty terrible piano sound).  All of their pedals worked, though!  

photo cred:  Peter Olson

photo cred:  Peter Olson

The sun finally went down, and with it, the temperature.  By the time we fit the second set, my hands were beginning to get cold and stiff.  Easy gig, though;  my gear worked, and we were up against a hard cut off at 10 PM, so no lingering encores or anything.  I'm still terrified of what my EWI might do, by the way, but it seems to be behaving again.

Sunday:  Travel day.  We were out of the hotel pretty early, leaving us ample time to drive through San Francisco before heading to the airport.

We drove down Lombard Street, the "crookedest street in the world."  A crowd at the top and bottom, a policeman directing traffic (on a Sunday morning!), and tourists standing in driveways taking pictures.  Pretty wild.

Next, we drove through Fisherman's Wharf.

Finally, it was time to head to the airport.  We flew from San Fran to Los Angeles (the gate agent was hesitant about my horns, saying "Well...I don't think they'll fit, but you can try."  Of course they fit!)  The flight was delayed and then it took forever to taxi into LAX, and I was pretty concerned, but we made our connection without any issues.  

This was the snack on the flight.  Never seen these before.  Pretty good!

LAX to ATL, I watched The Last Man on the Moon.  Wow!  Very cool.  I highly recommend it.  It's on Netflix.