Back Home Again in Indiana

Yacht Rock headed to the midwest in the middle of last week for a couple of gigs in Indiana, plus a visit to our (most of us) alma mater, Indiana University.  I hadn't been back in almost twenty years;  much of it looks exactly the same, and brought back some pretty strong feelings about my time there.

Wednesday:  we left town just before noon.  Monkeyboy showed up with some sort of food poisoning or some kind of bug.  We all kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that we'd all have the flu by the end of the week, especially when he got out of the van to barf all over the side of the CVS in the Old Fourth Ward.

(photo cred: Kip Conner)
Our lunch stop (mid afternoon) was in Nashville.

Late in the evening, we finally pulled into Bloomington, Indiana, and checked in at the hotel just off the square, across the street from the infamous Irish Lion.  It still looks the same (though it felt bigger and more crowded in the 90s).

Kip, posing with my half yard of beer.

Mark Bencuya and I, toasting our return.

A quick walk across the square to the Bluebird to check out the room.  It's been enlarged slightly (they acquired the sandwich shop next door), but it still looks basically the same.

Thursday:  my big chance to walk across campus.  My apologies for this portion--mostly just pictures to show my old roommate Mike.  I'll try and give some explanation.

I was feeling pretty fine until I came around the corner and saw the back of the music building, and then things got much more emotional for me.

I only walked through these doors about a million times.

Unremarkably, it was just as I remembered it.  It smelled the same.  The blast from the heat, turned up too high, was the same.  I'm kind of surprised I didn't puke from nervousness right here.

Eugene Rousseau's old office.  I spent lots of time inside, as well as hanging around outside.

Nice to see the Jazz Fables posters for Bears Place are still printed the same way.

Clouse's Lounge.

Recital Hall, where I had my first college course (freshman music theory).

I took flute lessons from a couple of lovely graduate students in this office (Heather the Canadian chick and Kristen Hyde, both of whom I was completely smitten with).

3rd floor lockers.

The entrance to the 3rd floor annex, where I basically lived for my entire college career.

The back of the Musical Arts Center (the MAC).

The front of the school of music.

T.I.S. (to this day, I don't know what the initials stand for), across the street from the school of music.

Back when I had hair, I was given some pretty bad haircuts here.

This shopping center at 3rd and Jordan just to have our Papa John's and a music store (Pro Winds) where I bought my tenor.

The house where we lived my senior year (Atwater and Jordan).

This is the new music building, across the street from what was the new music building in the 90s.

Tom Walsh was a grad student when I started.  Eventually, he was hired on as the associate prof of saxophone.  I studied with him the last semester of my senior year.  He looks exactly the same.  I do not.

The dorm where Mike and I lived for three years (in the same room!).  Read Beck 512.

This used to be the cafeteria.

I had forgotten that you needed a room key to call the elevator.

Our hall.  Read Beck 5.

Another shot of the MAC, where I worked for a few semesters until I got fired.  Ahh, memories...

The lobby of the MAC.  Still exactly the same.

The basement of the MAC.

I tried to walk in the front door of the MAC, but they wouldn't let me.  Fortunately as a former employee, I know just about every way around every locked door in the building!  It didn't take me long to get to the stage, where the crew was setting up scenes for the upcoming opera.

A shot from the stage out into the house.

Another shot of the back of the music annex.

A view from the Sample Gates.

These things are still in every classroom.

That afternoon, we participated in a masterclass of sorts for IU Jumpstart, which gives students some perspective on how graduates who are not Joshua Bell or Chris Botti are surviving.  I think we had three students in attendance (one was also working the event, and one had to leave about halfway through).

We also had solo interviews where four of us talked about gigs and adventures, and I talked about how I was stressed, depressed, and rarely left the practice room for four years.  Oops.

(photo cred:  IU Jumpstart)

(photo cred:  IU Jumpstart)

Thursday night, we played the Bluebird.  Another weird Bloomington memory, and a place I never thought I'd see again.

Any thoughts that we would return as local music school heroes were quickly dashed.  How many people came through?  Twenty-five?  We were fortunate that Mark Cobb's parents and Nick's parents came to see us--it made the crowd significantly bigger!  Horrible turn out.  Blame it on spring break if you want.

(photo cred:  Kip Conner)

All of my gear, lined up and ready to get the hell out of Bloomington once and for all.

Friday:  Hours after our less than triumphant show, we were on the road again, this time to play on morning TV in Indianapolis.

(photo cred:  Alyssa Moody)

In spite of being tired as hell, this was actually kind of fun, and even though it was a goddamn Fox affiliate, they were pretty cool hosts.

Check it out (a little distorted, but it still sounds pretty good)!

From there, breakfast at Bob Evans and a nap.  In the afternoon, we loaded into The Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, and then ran to the local NPR station for more promo.

The audio dude couldn't get it together, so we ended up crowding around a single microphone.

Check out our interview and performance.  I didn't mess up the flute solo as much, though my alto pretty bad (sharp) at the beginning, and then I played some wrong notes in the last verse.  Not my best work.

Back to The Vogue for soundcheck.

Redemption!  Awesome crowd at The Vogue.  749 people through the door.  Indy is always very good to us.

(photo cred:  somebody in the audience)

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