Monday, March 25, 2019

Twice in Athens, Twice Stop Making Sense

Before I begin the weekend recap, I want to mention that Yacht Rock put out a live album a couple of weeks ago. The recording is from a show in Boston at The Royale in May 2018 (there's a blog recap that mentions nothing about the gig here).

You can find it on iTunes here. I don't think there are any physical copies to be had.

Thursday: Athens, GA. It's time to play the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense again, beginning with a show at the Georgia Theatre in Athens.

Here's a broadcast, in case you missed it:

Saturday: Stop Making Sense at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. This one may have sold out, though it didn't look like it to me.

Sunday: Back to Athens for a private Yacht Rock show at the Georgia Theatre--I think it was for an insurance company. We played an hour and a half to a pretty empty room. People were kind of lukewarm about it, but I don't care. I think it was a good rehearsal for us to start thinking about these songs again. The big Yacht Rock tour starts next week in Florida!

Monday, March 18, 2019

South Pacific

In the middle of last week, I got a phone call about subbing on clarinet in the pit for South Pacific at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Awesome! I'm always trying to 1. play with some different people; 2. play more musicals; 3. play more woodwinds (especially flute, clarinet, and alto sax). This was a perfect situation. I worked on the book Thursday night, all day Friday, and most of Saturday, and when the show started I was relaxed about what I would find on the next page. 

The Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center is a really nice room, by the way. And oh yeah!--we wore tuxedos! I gave away my tuxedo to Goodwill (my family is like, "Of course you did") maybe six or seven years ago, so I wore a tux shirt, a black bowtie, and an old black suit. Close enough. It's going to take more than one tux gig for me to reinvest! 

Great gig, though. I was pumped.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Odds and Ends

Another week without much going on. Yacht Rock did a video shoot for the stuff we recorded in the studio earlier this year; I look forward to lots of shots of me standing at this microphone, doing nothing and trying to remember what I played a month ago.

Immediately following that, we went to Venkman's for another "Unplugged" gig. I was pretty braindead by that point, but I did pull off a good flute solo on Lowdown. We also learned Welcome Back, Kotter. Kinda random (and it took me waaaay too long to get the rhodes part together), but a good 70s learn nonetheless. Keisha Jackson showed up at the end of the night and sang on two songs.

Last night (Monday), I played bari sax with Bumpin' the Mango at Cafe 290 in a horn section full of subs (Joe Gransden's big band took all the regular guys away). I guess it was inevitable that eventually I'd have a crappy night playing this gig--last night was it. I couldn't get my brain to cooperate and count, and then I also had the annoying sax problem of trying to drop my jaw to play a bunch of low notes, only to have no sound come out.

Nobody complained about me being there, though, which means that either I got away with a mediocre performance, or everybody was sympathetic to my pathetic (which doesn't make sense, but I like the way it sounds when I read it). Good hang with Neil Newcomb, who killed it on tenor sax.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Lil Abner

Last week, I got a random phone call from a friend asking if I was working Monday night.


"Cool. I need you for a recording session. We're recording the musical Lil Abner. 8 to 11 PM. I'll email you the book."

And away we go! I was sent Reed 2, which was mostly clarinet and bass clarinet, and a little bit of alto sax. Lotta clarinet. Good thing I've been practicing. Wednesday night, I read through the first act. Thursday, I went through everything twice. Sunday night, I went through a lot of it, and then again on Monday (though I was trying not to wear myself out before the session).

Monday night, I met up with Kevin Lyons and Lee King on trumpet, Tom Gibson on trombone, and Seth Kuehn on Reed 1 (piccolo, flute, clarinet, and alto), plus a string quartet, to rip through the book. The recording was to be used as backing tracks for a high school musical. 

The goal was to record as much of the show as we possibly could in three hours. In order to accomplish this, we flew threw songs, often taking the first take, regardless of any mistakes. In our headphones was a click track and piano track as a guide, and we did our best to keep up.

In the end, we probably recorded almost two-thirds of the musical. I assume that everything we did will go into Pro Tools and be severely edited. A very interesting evening!


Another one gig weekend--this time in Napa, California, playing the fiftieth birthday party for our friend Pat from Train.

Just like our trip to Utah the week before, we were fortunately able to fly the night before, sparing us the longest-day-of-your-life feeling of flying for several hours, riding in a van for an hour and a half, and then setting up and playing a gig. It also afforded us the opportunity to kill half a day before our scheduled soundcheck. Some scenes from my run around town:

our hotel
On a trip with nothing exciting to tell, here's something--for the first time, I used Lyft. I've gotten in Lyfts that others have called, but this was the first time I've ever opened the app on my phone and requested a car. This particular ride took me to an Indian place for lunch. Doubly fun was the Lyft back to the hotel.

aloo gobi and saffron rice

On to the gig--we played at a nifty little theatre called the JaM Cellars Ballroom. Nice room! The gear was also good, provided by SIR San Fran.

Maybe I expected this gig to be a little more wild, but then again, fifty years old, so maybe not. The crowd definitely liked us, but they were also very polite and quieted down between every song. It was almost corporate in atmosphere.

We learned How 'Bout Us for this one, which was really fun and vibey (especially since we had Keisha and Kourtney with us). Pat came on stage after I Can't Go for That to complement us on how much better we are than Hall and Oates. Everybody got a kick out of that.

Sunday: Another full day of travel. The flight home was quicker, but the guy in the seat next to me smelled much worse. And you annoying old ladies behind me! Shut up! The whole damn back of the plane can hear everything you're talking about.