Dave puts together a “Fan Letter” to send to the guy at the bar that wanted our schedule. In honesty, the “Fan Magazine” is really a flyer for a drummer. Dave sets out to the local music stores and tacks up the flyer. While he is there he gets a few numbers. In calling the first number (guy looking for a country/oldies rock band) Dave finds “Dave” who just moved to the area from Tennessee. Sounds like a real country boy. He sounds hungry for a band. Unfortunately, he lives near new Philadelphia (deep south Ohio). Meanwhile, Kevin has finally made contact of Johnny Rodregous. Johnny is the drummer of a band called “Little Country.” It’s nice to have prospects. Dave also has another number to use if needed. John on the other hand has now received a call from Glen at the Tangled Spur. Glen has talked to this guy, and he wants in the band. The drummer again named “DAVE” was in the house band at the tangled spur.
“Tennessee Dave” will be coming over this Tuesday to audition. Unfortunately, Seth will be having his wisdom teeth pulled this weekend and may not be functional by Tuesday. He’s really worried about “going under the knife.” John will be moving into his new house in Boliver this weekend.
Dave walks in behind John. Tennessee Dave has beat everyone to the house. As Dave and John move towards the stairs, they hear the sound of a dead groundhog being thrown into a fan (thump, chunk, gutta, whack). Dave voices, “that didn’t sound to good” to which John mutters, “maybe he is tuning up.”
Tennessee Dave (who will be referred to as TD) is one eager beaver. He’s really nervous. To make it easy on him, we let him pick the first song. He picks Margaritaville. While not exactly a hugely technical piece, we will be able to test his meter. The song starts and TD takes off. While his meter isn’t too bad. He is playing some kind of “cha-cha beat” on acid. The band mentally scratches its head.
The launch into another song. It’s official he sucks. He says he has been playing for 17 years. Apparently, he plays one day a year. The band launches into Grundy County Auction - at warp speed.
Kevin and Dave giggle as they try to keep up with the pace.
The meaning behind the looks as the band glances at each other is priceless. TD makes remarks between songs that make Lee’s comments sound like he was related to Einstein (more head scratching). TD is into Merril Haggard.
The crowning touch was as we did “Fast as You.” It was just awful. As John put it, “I don’t think he could hold his meter for more than a measure.” He was really making Lee look good. Dave usually ready to blast off, cuts the lead short. That’s how bad he sucked. Realizing the practice was a waste, the band plays The Dance ala Maggot brain. At least we all get a good chuckle.
We also get a good whiff. Dave was curious before we started to play, but it’s official now. Not only does TD suck on the drums, HE SMELLS. NOW WHAT DO WE DO? The band politely interviews him (realizing that Hell is not freezing over, and he’s not getting hired). Seth had left after two or three songs to attend to his diarrhea (thanks for sharing). TD strums Dave’s guitar and sings. Dave just wants to scream IT’S OVER! YOU SUCK. HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW YOU SUCK?!! Kevin and John remain polite. Dave is trying to send the body language to get this guy out and let's make some phone calls. The band finally gets the hint when Dave starts turning off the lights. He finally leaves. Wow, that was a truly memorable experience.
Dave and Kevin have been phoning different numbers they have picked up, but can’t get anyone to return their calls. Oh well.
Dave gets a call from Kevin. We have a drummer coming over tomorrow. This relieves Dave who was getting ready to resurrect the “Magic Drummer” tape. The interesting news is that it’s Dale from page 3.
On May 16th Dale is auditioned for the drummer position. Dale also has equipment, vocal ability, experience, and what appears to be the same taste in music. Dale (much like John) has played in numerous bands covering a wide variety of music. He (much like Dave) is looking to try Country as a new style of playing. Impressed with his ability to learn songs quickly, the band offers him the position on the spot.
John has interviewed him. Dales says he is ready to play country. Dave is skeptical, but at least this guy will get us through our gig. Tomorrow should be interesting. A thorough interview will be taking place.
The bad news comes from the Tangled Spur. Mary Coleman is Dead at age 43. We don’t know how or why, just that she is. This makes the band start to wonder if they have the curse of Def Leppard. They play Cappy’s and they get closed down. They play the Red Dog, and now they have Rock-n-Roll bands. They play the Tangled Spur, and now Mary is dead (no disrespect intended). We all feel sad. Poor Glenn. We will have to send flowers or a card or something.
The decision has been made to fire Lee after tonight’s gig. It’s a sad but necessary thing. After some discussion, it is determined that it is Dave’s turn to fire the drummer (John fired Bob, Kevin Fired Jesse). Dave has recently gone through some assertiveness training at work and feels this will be a nice “final exam” to his training. We all look forward to a band without Lee, but no one enjoys hurting Lee (well maybe John ha ha).
The band sets up in record time. It’s nice to be able to sit down for a full 45 minutes before we play. As usual, it’s cold in the Spur, and Lee sits apart from the band. The first two sets are tight, and sounding good. This has one fan Geoff Rowlands greeting the band in between sets. It’s Geoff’s birthday and he came to the Tangled Spur because he knew we were going to be here. He is ON FIRE about the band. He has his picture taken with the band (a slight hint of irony as it will soon be outdated). He tells Dave how he came in a few weeks ago, and when he saw that we weren’t there, he turned around and walked out. At one point Geoff takes a flyer and notices that Seth’s name is missing (old flyer design was mistakenly given to the Spur). Upon filling in the missing blanks on the flyer, Geoff walks into the bathroom. While Geoff is still in listening distance Lee blurts out, “What a Freak!” (Nice!). That’s right Lee, the one thing we don’t want is people who REALLY THINK WE KICK ASS. Geoff hands Seth his address and wants to be put our mailing list (mental note to Dave - start mailing list).
The drumming is all over the place. Lee stops the song Little Rock for the second week in a row in the wrong place. His playing has been taking a steady decline for the past few months regardless of any comments from the band (slow down - in slow songs). With this kind of playing, he’s going to make tonight’s dismissal easy.
By the third set, the band’s batteries start to go low. A few slip ups here and there. Dave goes into “la la” land during Ain’t going Down ‘till the Sun Comes Up. Dave also gets distracted as Kris decides to dance with a scum bag. John draws a blank in My Maria. My Maria goes over very well at this bar (after kind of falling flat at Cappy’s). John’s wife Rhonda surprises us all as she jumps up on stage an sings back up on Mercury Blues. Erin Tippin’s biggest fan is at the bar tonight so the band pulls Ain’t Nothing Wrong with the Radio and Workin Man’s Ph.D. out of their butt. The crowd is much more rock-oriented and wants to hear Sweet Home Alabama or any Lynard Skynard tunes. We probably should learn one frickin Skynard tune. We have groups of drunken men who are blitzed strutting their drunkenness on the dance floor. One guy actually performs the “Watermelon Crawl.” At the end of the evening, many people stop to tell us how good we are- cool.
The band rips down in record time and gets back to the house. A dark cloud looms over the house.
In the basement, the band distributes the $275 that they made at the Tangled Spur. The band has perched themselves on miscellaneous speakers and such. They all stare at the floor. It’s time for Dave to fire Lee. A brief pause. Then Dave starts his speech. He wants to avoid any arguing. He doesn’t want to hurt Lee (but knows this will). Rather than tell him he sucks, Dave decides to focus that he just doesn’t “fit” in with the band’s vision. When he open’s his mouth, this is what comes out:
Dave: “Well we do have some band news, to talk over here, and basically Lee it deals mainly with you.
Um, the fact the you used to beat us here to practice... and that time is no more. (Lee nods in agreement).
There was a time, in all honesty, that you knew songs better than Me and Kevin and John, who had been playing them for months, - that time is no more.
Lee: “Uh, huh.”
There was time when, uh, you know... your attitude ... you’re ... you’re a lot happier to be in this band than some of us were. And I don’t know, lately it just doesn’t seem that way... and then ...... it’s like lately ..... the last couple of weeks... especially last week...I know you said that one thing to that one customer about you know, “You better get on your knees and pray for a fuckin’ miracle if we’re gonna learn a new song.” And yet you were the one that months ago I heard out of your mouth say... you know, that, “This is a business and we have to treat it like a business” ........so ........
We thought about this a lot. We talked it over as a band, and you’re a good drummer and you’re gonna to fit, but basically, we just don’t think we can move forward with, with your attitude - and not so much your attitude- your..your. just......... a difference of opinion on how to...to run the band and ...and..basically we want to basically divide up the drum set give you your cymbals and..and thank you for the time you’ve been here. Um,,,,,”
Lee: “You give me my drum heads too then?”
Dave: “Well the heads you basically wore out.”
Dave: “I mean you’re basically leaving the drum set the way you found it.. is how we want to do that.”
Dave: “Um...You know it’s like I said,...your..your just the.. the direction we want to go, we just don’t think that’s where you want to go...from your actions and things like that...so...........with that .....(long pause).....”
Lee: “So in other words, I’m terminated.”
Dave: “Pretty much, yeah.”
Lee: “All right, well...”
It turns out that Lee has the band’s cymbals at his house. While we had hoped to make this the last interaction with Lee, there will be one more. A swapping of equipment. This will happen this week sometime.
Lee goes upstairs. A silence fills the air. The four remaining members stare at each other. It’s over.
The band is slightly puzzled at the lack of fight. It made things easy. Lee didn’t offer one - not one- excuse, plead, anything. He uttered the typical drummer response to getting fired: “Whatever.”
Kevin explains how it’s not due to a lack of talent, but just a difference of opinion in how the band should sound. Jesse responds with, “Whatever. Do what you want.”
Upstairs the band discusses the actions taken with Maria and Kris. Dave had recorded the firing (again the assertiveness training) and thought if it went bad he could use it as a learning tool. We all feel bad. More for the fact that Lee is kind of used to being fired (he’s gone through a quite a few jobs during his stay). The band tries to make themselves feel better by reminding it was Lee’s actions that he CHOSE to do, (repeatedly) that lead us to fire him. The lack of rebellion in his response leads everyone to believe that he really didn’t want to be in this band.
We recall some of his biggest blunders (again possibly trying to make ourselves feel better). We talk about the fact that Ron (the awesome drummer from a few weeks back) has turned us down. He has given us a number of a high school student (NOT!). Dave will be in touch with Jack Beam this week. Kevin will be getting a number for the drummer of the band “Little Country” who has recently quit. We have a few leads, so we’re not too worried. We know in the long run, this will be for the best. With a glimpse of Ron, we also know how much better we can become.
We’re all glad to have a break. This will give us a chance to rework the song list. Scout the competition and bars, and get ready for our next move. Our next gig is May 31 for some outdoor festival. We will also have to start planning for Kevin’s departure later this Summer.
Jack comes over to audition for a temporary position. His attitude is awesome, as is his playing. He is just a talented as Ron. With Jack’s position being “I want to be temporary” it makes no real sense for him to join at this point. We still have time to find a drummer. It’s too bad he couldn’t join for real.
The band has to put out an extra 22 bucks for drum gear (Sticks and a high hat clutch) to replace the stuff the Lee “forgot” to leave behind.
Later in the week ,Lee calls Kevin to again stress how he wants his heads back. Kevin tells him to call John. John basically says that Lee STOLE our clutch, and that we will call it even. This should be the last we hear of Lee.
The band begins their four-week stint at the Tangled Spur. This has been advertised on a local radio station K105. It’s kind of cool hearing your name mentioned on the radio. This gig the band is “Sethless” due to a prior commitment. While he has only been with the band for a short period, it seems weird playing without him. Also, there are many songs we have not practiced, that are now added to the setlist. Dave adds a few extended solos to the evening and we make our way through the night.
Dave tries to talk to Kevin and John about the severity of booting Lee, and how we really haven’t heard his side of the story. They seem to think his calling John was “his side” of the story. They are set on firing him. Dave feels we will live to regret not thinking this through. It will put us back a few weeks at a minimum. However, in the long run, it may be for the best.
Using some of the new toys, the band’s sound is coming along nicely. For the first time in a while, Dave can REALLY hear his vocals on stage which lets him concentrate on his playing. The crowd is pretty decent size, but not much in the way of getting rowdy. In the case of Dave, he seems to be going through the motions despite a full night sleep. He needs to add a few new licks to his arsenal. He is boring himself on stage. In his opinion, while he is not playing bad, there doesn’t seem to be much feel in his playing. The usual “screw ups” happen, but at a minimum. The band was pretty on, but for the Tangled Spur, they were pretty calm.
The night comes off pretty well (except for John pressing the wrong button in the middle of a song unleashing an unbelievably loud feedback signal). Dave and Kris get detained on their way back to Kevin’s as they take a detour to avoid the usual riots on Cleveland avenue only to have their path blocked by traffic as a policeman pulls over a car in the middle an intersection. The band is really tired by the end of the night. While the spur will always be a nice place to fall back on, I believe we will be ready to move on to another spot by the end of the month. This will be a learning experience, and I think we will know why we originally decided to only play a maximum of three weeks a month.
The band is back with Seth intact. It’s Chad “the stomping machine’s” birthday. We announce that it is his 22nd birthday when in reality it is his 21rst (thus he’s been illegal all these months -which makes the shit we gave Maria completely unfair). Musically the night is OK. Our tempo is all over the place. Dave has moved over to John’s side, and has a hard time hearing his guitar. It will be nice when we play places big enough to afford a sound guy. It has turned very cold and it has effects on numerous people. Both Maria and Kevin aren’t feeling good to the point where Maria leaves in the middle of the night. Dave and Seth take over on stage as Kevin takes a break to make sure Maria gets home all right. By the end of the night we’re all just glad to have made it through the night.
Lee shows the tact of Jimmy Swaggart and announces that the “Perky” party (who usually have a tabled reserved for them) party isn’t there this week. Lee loudly states, “Maybe they’re down at the Red Dog cause they’re sick of hearing Six Shooter.” How stupid can you get.
Seth knows a drummer with a superb sound system. That aside when the guy comes over and plays a drum set he’s never seen, without adjusting it, songs he hasn’t played in a while, he TOTAL KICKS LEE’S ASS. Not only did we finally get to hear “Grundy County Auction” the way it was supposed to sound, but he SANG THE SONG while he played this impressive drum part. As the song says: SOLD. Unfortunately, Ron is currently filling in for TWO bands, and if he did want to join (he seems to really like being in a fill in drummer) he couldn’t join until JUNE. Bummer. Now the hardest part, playing with LEE again after hearing Ron.
Dave calls an acquaintance of his that was previously in the band Phoenix. His band has broken up. Unfortunately, when Dave gets a hold of him on the phone, Jack informs Dave that he is “Out of the business.” This is too bad as Dave heard Jack play briefly and knows Jack is very talented. Jack is interested in coming down and “jamming” but admits that he does NOT want to join a band. This is depressing.
The band is musically having a good night. Dave has his guitar up in volume on stage and everyone seems to appreciate being able to hear him. Dave is excited that his brother is coming to tonight’s show. The band is getting pretty good at setting up as a good team effort is put forward to get everything up and running. Lee is 30 minutes late without a phone call. It turns out he was buying Kerosene. We are all kind of wondering why he waited until it was time to go load up to buy the kerosene. The band butchers “Happy Birthday” as they play it for Mary, Connie, and Caroline. The band is beginning to reap the benefits of the radio play as it is pretty full early in the evening. At the bar Lee remarks since “He is not getting first rate pay, he doesn’t do first-rate work.” The meter and overall quality of his playing is awful. Granted we had our usual missed chords and flubbed lyrics, but Lee stopped when wasn’t supposed to, and speed up a slow song so much Seth finally turned around and said, “Slow it down.”
The crowning touch to Lee’s escapades was at the end of the night when a bar patron asked us if we knew the Garth Brooks song, “Shameless” (a song we have already spoken of learning). When we explained that we didn’t know it, but plan on learning it in the future she seemed slightly bummed that we wouldn’t know it by next week. Lee then added TO THE CUSTOMER, “You better get on your knees and pray for a fucking miracle if you want the band to learn new songs.” This man has the tact of OJ Simpson. Upon hearing this later the band wanted to fire him on the spot. As a joke, Dave starts his stopwatch as the money gets into Lee’s hands. It takes Lee four minutes and nine seconds to get out the door. There was no “I’ve got to get up early.... see you later...” he just bolted.
Dave mentions the rough road we have ahead. Soon we will be working around two marriage ceremonies, a drummer change, and a lead singer moving to North Carolina at some point. Dave wants to make sure we’re all on the same page and that we’re going to stick it out and fill these positions as needed. He brings up the idea of having Jack Beam fill in as a temporary. He will fly this idea by Jack tomorrow. We need to get Lee out before he does more damage. Seth notes as a last resort he could learn the drum parts and go “keyboardless” for a while until a drummer is found. What a guy. We all realize while that is an option, we would like to use it as a last resort.
Dave calls Jack Beam again. This time he gives Jack a new pitch of filling in until we find a permanent replacement. When Dave explains how we could document it that we all know up front and agree that Jack is not here to stay, and he would leave when the permanent replacement was found, Jack is now interested. He is not saying “yes”, but he is not saying “no.” He wants to talk to the band and see the situation.
Dave calls Kevin and ttheyare both disgusted by Lee’s remarks last night. It was very strange in between each set Lee sat alone at a table and talked to no one. One might think there is an opportunity for Mr. Fowler at the post office.
Well, it appears that Lee has taken his phone off the hook. Last Tuesday John could not make practice (due to house stuff). Lee wanted to practice on Friday, but due to Valentine’s Day, we practiced on Thursday. Lee never called at 6:30 His phone was busy the whole evening. This combined with the lack of meter on slow songs made for a kind of “Down on Lee” night. John, Kevin and Maria were pissed that he apparently blew off practice. He appeared bored on Tuesday when basically Kevin, Dave and Seth worked on vocals. It is brought up that Linda was kind of pissed that we gave Chuck $50 to run the sound at the Red Dog. Kevin states that he is not looking to fire Lee, but that we should talk to him. The point is made that Kevin helps pimp the band, John and Kevin work on the equipment, and Dave makes posters for the group, and Lee has no “Extracurricular” activities -or even attempts to help with setting up. He never even inquires.
Another fun evening at the Tangled Spur. Seth has spent all day practicing and is going to attempt to play on every song. As usual, the Canton area gets hit with another two inches of snow. The bar is cold, and will stay cold for most of the evening. The band wives are wearing layers of clothes to the bars now.
While setting up the band encounters aloud buzzing noise from the sound system. The band troubleshoots for approximately 30 minutes. Trying different cords and outlets the band is able to pretty much eliminate the buzz, but cuts it very close to starting time. Lots of tweaking to the monitors and main sound.
The night went off pretty much without a hitch. John is kicking himself at the end of the night. Due to his busy schedule, he admits his lack of practicing is becoming embarrassing on stage. Seth made it through the evening. If Kevin flubbed any words, it wasn’t apparent. Dave had tried a configuration with his amplifier that destroyed the sound the first set. His guitar was too distorted. He went back to his tried and true pedal board and everyone agreed it sounded better.
Dave surprises Kevin at the beginning of the second set by having the crowd sing happy birthday to Kevin.
The band performs Where am I Gonna live. The whole evening has needed a “Spark.” Kevin has everyone keep play “G” as he prods people to come up on stage to sing along. Suddenly a whole group of “manly men” rush the stage. It was a nice boost to the show.
Seth is now using an amp on stage, and it’s a nice touch as we can now hear what he is playing. The band has added a new ballad Whenever You Come Around which Seth sings. Most of the ballads with reworked vocals are sounding really good. Seth liked So Help Me Girl in particular.
Glenn the bar owner wants us to play every week in March (We were previously booked for one week in March). The band is in the middle of playing three weeks in a row. This means after the Red Dog next week, we will get a one week break, and then four weeks straight. Dave is hesitant. He says it’s fine with him if we take a break in April. Seth is ready willing and able. He has a two word plan: let’s go. Lee is all for it, as is John. It is a fun time. So the decision is made, and we will be playing every week in March at the Tangled Spur. The good news is this will be an extra $200 for each member ($50 X 4 weeks). However, if we have the opportunity to book other gigs, we are now tied in to the Tangled Spur.
At this point, the band is looking forward to the Red Dog next week. We will get to initiate the new (now paid for) snake. John is going to check on the preamp/effects unit that myseteriously has never showed up at Gatuso’s music. The band will practice at the Red Dog this week as Dave will be going to a Metallica concert on Tuesday. This could be interesting with new tunes. We hope to add Baby Likes to Rock and Be My Baby Tonight.
The band sets up Thursday in a slightly warmer Red Dog. The weather is getting warmer. It’s been in the 40s. John is really getting sick, and looks like cold death on a stick. The band is making great time setting up, and then runs into a grounding problem with the monitor amp that causes us to spend an hour troubleshooting a buzz sound (again!).
Friday goes OK. The sounds is a little different. The monitors are pretty much non-existent (sound familiar?) Background vocals are a little to low. Due to the low monitor volume, the stage volume is real low, and much of Seth and Dave is trampled by the drums (no volume control on those babies!). Dave and Seth try not to trample on each other, but are having a hard time trying to let the other be heard. Thanks to the weather, it’s a pretty good crowd for a Friday. There is some dude running around being your typical “just got our of prison” drunken fool. Dave’s batteries are low, as are John’s, and the crowd is kind of strange. They are starring at us. Dave is going through the motions. He contemplates not going into the audience during Fast as You, but finally strolls on in.
He is followed by a mental patient into the bar area who says, “Let’s hear you play that thing!” He then sticks his face about 2 inches from Dave’s strings. Due to Dave’s lack of sleep, and lack of monitors, lack of stage volume, he leaves the gig very frustrated. While Kris and Maria say we sounded good, it just wasn’t sounding good on stage. Dave really needs some sleep.
Seth is doing a fine job of learning the material, and adds some unexpected (but right on the money) back-up vocals. He rocks.
Dave has to teach a class at 9 the following morning. On his way home he decides to stop into the musicians bargain basement and see if there is any sign of an equalizer. If we had one of those we could boost the monitor mix.
Sure enough, there was one there, and Dave charges it. So much for making a profit this weekend. But if this means we can sound better, it will put the fun back into the gigs. Upon talking to John on the phone, Dave tells John how he saw a spectrum analyzer. John immediately pops a boner over the phone. Dave returns to the basement and adds another item on the visa.
The band shows up early to play with the new toys. John has completed the transaction of trading in the amp for an effects unit and a compressor. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to set them up (using the analyzer and new equalizer as well). The room seems to resonate at a certain frequency and we just can’t get rid of it. It sounds crisper, but we just need more time to experiment. Oh well, the show must go on.
Dave and Kevin’s amp switch positions on stage. Now Seth and Dave are separated and will not be stomping on each other’s volume. John’s happy as this is one of the first times he says he’s got to hear what Dave has played.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse. It’s cold. Dave watches Tammy turn off the heat at the end of the third set. By the end of the fourth set, it’s very cold on stage. The band is not happy. Dave (Still in need of sleep) complains on stage about the heat. The crowd pretty much sucks. No one to really exchange witty banter with. Musically we were better tonight. It seemed our meter was a little more solid (despite a mosh version of Aint goin Down).
The band goes to get paid only to find out that Tammy has a sob story about how she bought too much beer, and she barely has enough to pay us. If we take our full $350 fee, she will make less than $30 on the night. She wants to pay us $300. After some discussion, the band decides to compromise and take $325. We also let Tammy know about the lack of heat, and how we feel it is hurting business. Tammy boo-hoos some more. She explains how much it costs to heat this place. She begs the band not to tell anyone. Not to tell her husband. It’s pretty much assumed she’s your typical drunk who owns a bar so it doesn’t show that she’s a drunk. Tammy is floored by the lack of people. Mike Pisani has placed peanut shells on the floor to see just when they will be swept up. Some wager that it may be the year 2006. This place is a dump and she wonders why nobody is pounding at the door.
The band took the “nice guy” way out. Sure there was more than enough argument to get paid in full. Instead, we opted to take what amounted to a $5 pay cut (each), and get booked when it was warmer out. In a nutshell, we took a long term approach to it. We also told Tammy that this was the only time we would do her “any favors.” It puts a shitty ending to a shitty weekend. Musically the band was pretty solid. We all are starting to fight colds. We are at he Tangled Spur for the next few weeks. Glenn says he is advertising on a local country radio station. Had he not already advertised, the band was going to attempt to get out of the gig (a break is needed). Due to his parents being in from out of town, Seth will have to miss one of the Tangles Spur gigs. It will be weird going back without him.
While tearing down the equipment Seth gets a little friend who follows him around. His name is Dave. He is totally drunk. He knows Seth from his days in Blackhawk. As he tells Dave, “I’ve know Jeff for years.” He asks Seth for his address to which Seth supplies a fake. He asks for his phone number and poor Seth has to tell how “he doesn’t have one.” Drunken Dave the Dick says he’ll write Seth a letter this week. Dave wants to know if we’re hiring in the band. Dave thinks “Nope we have all the drunks we need.” What a night! The band makes plan for Tuesday. Again we will try to work on Be My Baby Tonight and Baby Likes To Rock It.
The band shows up at Kevin’s around 6:45. Seth, Dave and Kevin still have their work clothes on. The usual joking and all goes on. Dave has to do the embarrassing task of apologizing for his wife’s behavior last Saturday. It turns out that Kris was so pissed about the cut in pay that she went in and emptied a trash can into the Red Dog’s toilet. Had she got caught she could have got us in serious trouble. Dave apologizes for her actions, explains how he has talked to her, and she says she will maintain her control in the future.
It then becomes apparent that Lee is no where to be found. Upon checking the answering machine we get a message from Lee asking if we were still practicing. It has always been the general idea that we will ALWAYS practice unless otherwise noted. This is peculiar as we had mentioned at the Red Dog about practicing on Tuesday. There is also a message from Linda asking Kevin to call Lee.
Upon calling Lee, Kevin finds there is no one answering the phone. Hmm.....
An all out Lee Fowler “bashfest” follows. From his lack of stage clothes, dogs shitting in his house, meter problems, constant grumbling, general greed, lack of team spirit, to “the stupid shit he says.” Only Ginger can break the negativity by saying “he seems like a nice guy.” Kevin is amazed that Dave is even joining in.
The band is kind of bummed that Lee has chosen to give us the shaft again. We’re not sure why. Maybe he was pissed the one week when John called off (NOTE JOHN CALLED OFF). That week we worked on vocals. Lee was unhappy about paying Chuck the one night at the Red Dog, and while the band called him down to discuss a pre-Tammy meeting, Lee did not follow us back to the kitchen to discuss the “cut-in-pay” issue. However, much like the person who doesn’t vote but hates the president, Lee bitched when we returned with the outcome. While musically we don’t have a huge problem with him, his attitude is bringing some of the band members down. As Randy from Southern Rose put it (when Dave was trying to nab his keyboard player) “He’s your weakest link.”
Seth brings up the talented drummer with the killer P.A. system. Kevin and John foam at the mouth. Seth makes some calls, and the first step to booting Lee is taken. The audition will happen the following Thursday night. We have to play good as this guy is currently subbing for a band called Diamond Hitch. He’s very loyal, and we have to make it a no-brainer for him to join.
A call is made, and the first step to booting Lee out of the band is made. Here we go again. After making numerous calls, Seth gets a hold of Ron. He is coming next Thursday. This should be interesting. Dave is not sure if the problems we have with Lee are big enough to fire him. He did just donate his earnings to the new snake. This just doesn’t seem 100% ethical.
Later in the week Dave finds out that Linda had called John’s house and Rhonda told her that John was on his way to practice. Thus, Lee knew we were practicing. The following day Lee calls John and tries to talk his way out of his mistake. He says he called and nobody answered the phone. This is funny as we were all sitting around basically playing Nintendo (kick it’s Ass Seth!). It’s really not looking good for Lee. If he didn’t want to practice, he should’ve just told us that he didn’t want to practice. Now he has slightly betrayed the trust of the band, wasted our time, and generally left a bad taste in our mouths. Oddly enough his one year anniversary is right around this time.
Seth comes over as the band sets up their equipment. We get a chance to talk a bit. Seth was really busy during the holiday season and hasn’t really had a chance to learn any of the songs. Eventually, we all get set up. We plug in and turn on.
As we start to do Doomis Walker, Seth asks if we can work out the vocal harmonies first. As we do this Seth slips into his “Choir Director” mode as we sing virtually occopella. It sounds cool. No, it sounds really cool. As we giggle at how cool we sound Kevin blurts out, “The guy acts like a choir director.” Seth then fills in the mystery by informing us that indeed HE IS A CHOIR DIRECTOR.
Yes, the newest member of Six Shooter is a multi-talented dude. He sings like an angel, plays guitar, harmonica, and totally KICKS ASS on the keyboards. Boners are rampant. If there was any doubt before, there is none now. It’s totally official. WE ARE THE SHIT.
Seth jams along with the band. We work on some vocals. There is such a difference between two and three part harmony. It is so cool, it is hard to put into words. The band picks a few songs they want to work on. John books a gig at the Tangled Spur for February 8 (Dave’s birthday). There is also a chance to play there on the 15th. The money from this gig will go to pay for a snake (should run around 300 bucks). Watch out world - Here comes Six Shooter -cocked and loaded!
Six Shooter takes the stage at the Tangled Spur (704 4th St. S.W.) on a special night. Dave has secured a new snake that passes everyone’s inspection. Dave has bought a hat for the gig (and another new shirt). It’s also Dave’s birthday. It’s also some girl named Tracy’s birthday. The band surprises Dave with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and a giant cookie that says “Happy Birthday Dave.” Dave has distributed flyers that read, “Come out and celebrate Dave’s birthday and see if the old man can still jam.” He now feels a little pressure to really do something special.
The band is pumped to showcase their new keyboardists. While it was in the mid 40’s all week, the weather has turned to the traditional snow and cold. The band has learned three new songs with Seth. These are Desperado, The Dance and Little Rock. The band has been focusing on vocals these past practices. The three part harmonies give Dave goose-bumps. It’s so cool.
The band makes it through their first set, and everything seems to be going OK. The bar starts to fill up. Some Graphic people show up (Jeff Aul, Jeff Fritchley and Megan Benten). The second set features Seth. Dave explains how he’s always wanted a keyboardist that he could simply say, “Take it.” They launch into Doomis Walker. At the end, Dave looks over and says “Take it Seth!” Seth takes it, and kicks it’s ass. You couldn’t have asked for a better first impression.
Meanwhile, the band has become brain dead in some aspects. Dave starts off Watermelon Crawl on the wrong fret. Kevin is forgetting lyrics left and right. Dave’s not sure when or what to sing for back-up vocals. John has been involved in a lot of activity getting ready to move. He’s been approved for his new house. However, his lack of practice time shows. Just about the time Dave really gets pissed at John’s mistakes, he is informed that John’s problem is that the battery is going dead in his bass (OOPS!). Lee is stuck with the job of trying to keep up with a lot of improvisation on the stage. The band does their traditional speeding up of slow songs. This is something that needs addressed at practice There are couples on the dance floor as the band closes the set with “Fast as You.” Dave passes on venturing on to the floor as he is afraid he will be pelted with a drunken jitterbugger.
The band embarrasses Dave with an interesting version of Happy Birthday. They also sing to “Tracy.” Tracy has a group of people with her celebrating her birthday. The third set has the band doing the hot or cold routine. Musically we are either kicking ass or screwing up horribly. The good news is the crowd is just soaking us up. We’re having a lot of fun with Seth. The harmonies are sounding good. Seth finishes up his appearance with The Dance. It sounds so cool. Kevin nails the harmonies on “Little Rock” (an extremely high part). Kevin leans over to Dave and announces “I shot my wad.” However, his voice is fine for the evening. Seth gets a round of applause as he exits off the stage. The band finishes up the third set. The crowd continues to filter in. For a small bar, it’s pretty packed. Their are plenty of people behind the bar (where the band can’t see).
The band launches into their fourth set to a crowd full of tipsy patrons. The band is having a lot of fun, and the crowd is too. As Kevin puts it, “That was one of the best “Yee-Haws” we’ve ever heard. Meanwhile sitting on a bar stool Seth is approached by a drunken middle-aged wench we will call “Trixie.” Trixie really likes Seth. Seth is so polite he tries to give her the brush off. Trixie is rather forward and grabs Seth’s hands and attempts to pull him off the stool. Seth is NOT budging. About the time Seth has finally discouraged Trixie, Kevin yells “Go for it!” from the stage. Seth deeply appreciates this move. Finally, Seth gets Trixie to get the point. At this point, she moves on to ask Maria if she wants to dance. At this point, Seth jumps back on to the safety of the stage. If you look closely I believe you could see beads of sweat on his forehead.
The band launches into a few more songs with Seth to end the evening. The plan was to perform a “fake” last song. Then perform the actual last song as an “encore.” We forgot to announce the first “last song.” We then launched into what would be one of the best version of Fast as You the band has ever played. Dave ventured into the bar and entertained the boys back by the pool table as they hooped and hollered. Back on stage the band “brings it down” as Kevin introduces the band. Upon completing this Dave starts back up in a quiet solo (totally forgetting to announce Kevin! OOPS!). Dave asks the crowd, “Are you ready to blow the roof off of this place?” to which a rousing cheer is heard. The band shifts into over-drive and absolutely kicks ass. Seth’s keyboards add that crowning touch. We end what was supposed to be the last song only to have the crowd chanting for more. Dave feels his ego explode as the crowd chants his name and explain how it’s his birthday and he must play one more. He looks over at Kevin, who looks at John. What the Hell - one more tune.
How are we gonna top that song? Dave thinks. We pull out Walk softly on this heart of mine. All night Dave has been bumping his hat on anything within 30 feet. With this in mind, and in need of something different to take the performance to a new level. As the band winds up the song they get to the last part that is just Kevin and Dave on vocals. Dave turns to Kevin as he gets ready to sing as says, “Just a second K-man. I got to take off my hat to finish this song.” To this, the crowd on the dance floor (which includes about 90% of the bar) sends up another cheer (drunk people are so easy to entertain). Kevin and Dave do the vocal part and the band kicks in. Dave has a quick argument within his head and decides to play the guitar behind his head (a definite rock move). He bumps a light hanging from the ceiling on his way up. He plays for a little bit behind his head. Again, the drunken crew elicit woo-hoos. The band ends the song with a thunderous roar and the night is over. It was a great introduction of Seth, some really good playing, and some really awful playing. The good news the snake (which we didn’t use) is now pretty much paid off (we made $250). This will be greatly beneficial when we play the Red Dog Salloon in two weeks. We will be playing back here next week. This news has the crowd excited.
As we tear down the equipment numerous people approach us and praise our performance. They really liked us. As one person put it, “You’re the best band to ever play in here.” The “significant others” are laughing at all the white trash displayed during the evening. From 300 pound mountain men doing aerobics on the dance floor to an old codger who had eyes for Maria. As Kris said, “It was really entertaining.”
The bar, while small, is a cool place to play. This is enhanced since we do not have to drag our speakers out of the basement. What a night. What a birthday.
Well, Ohio experiences snow, sleet, and freezing rain during the day. Consequently, the bar is very empty. Six Shooter plays to four people (not counting friends and wives). They seem to like us. We sound good. Our stage volume is a little loud, and Dave can’t really hear himself. Dave also discovers that he hurt his wrist last night carrying things up the steps. He should be fine. Kevin’s nephews come out of the gate HARD and build a pyramid of shot glasses (previously filled with whiskey). This provides some comic relief as the band openly talks with the crowd. The in-between song banter is again loose and free (after all who cares NOBODY IS HERE). The band lets “Steve the Harmonica player” on stage for a quick jam session. It was OK, but not overly impressive. All of the friends are partying hard, and having a good time. Jeff Aul, Mike Pisani, Sean McCloskey, John France, and new tech Jeff Fritchley have come out to support their Graphic Enterprises buddies (note: John put in his notice this week).
Due to the make of the bar, Dave is standing on part of the stage that is also under the lowest part of the ceiling. Smoke congregates around his head. His vocals are taking a beating. He is still trying to recover from a free coke that tasted like a mixture of dirt and rust. During a stroll off the stage, Dave is asked “Are you really playing or is that a tape?” by some drunken wench in the pool room.
The band finds inspiration as Kevin whispers that one of the Red Dog’s regular bands is checking us out. Tammy has told Kevin to “show them up.” As soon as Dave hears this he takes it up a notch on the guitar. Kevin’s singing goes to a new level. It’s time to show off. Dave smiles as he is having a pretty good night on guitar.
The band stretches set four out a bit as they field some requests from the floor. One such request from a very “happy” Jeff Aul is to play “Let’s Get Drunk and Screw” by Jimmy Buffet. The band (again - who is going to hear it?) launches into this song (after a quick 10 seconds to dust off some cobwebs) they haven’t played for MONTHS. We pull it off nicely. Everything is really sounding good. No complaints from the crowd. The crowd has increased as the band watches a couple bump and grind through numerous songs. Dave thinks “get a room.”
The night ends, as we all hope we can sound this good when there are actual people in the bar. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. John is kind of disappointed (as is the band) of the low turn out. John remembers when the bar was so packed it would take you a half hour to get to the bar. Dave talks to Tammy on his way out. She says she had a good Friday night (?!). Oh well. Again the boys get to bed in the wee hours of the morning. Tomorrow is Saturday and we can all sleep in.
Well, there are more people in the bar, and it’s a good thing as there is a general lack of heat. Kim Allen, Heather Davis and Anthony Pansera show from Graphic along with Jeff Fritchley. Kevin’s Mom takes her front row seat. The bar actually has some people, but still far from packed. It’s snowed more today, and the roads are now getting slick.
Gremlins show up and possess the snake and board. It’s time to retire this mess of cords and duct tape. Chuckie does his best. From time to time a speaker cuts out. Oh well, what ya gonna do? The band gets to watch “Johnny Disco” strut his gold chains on the dance floor as he twirls and grinds.
Except for an interesting rendition of Aint’t Goin Dow ‘Till the Sun Comes Up” which included the second verse twice, everything goes smooth. Dave has brought a boom box to tape tonight’s performance. He takes a listen in between sets and determines that it sounds like a tape that has been made on a boom box in the back of a bar. It gives a general idea of how we sound.
Unfortunately, many of the patrons leave after the second set (they had complained about the lack of heat). The band takes a vote a decides that the Red Dog has the most hideous bathrooms on the planet. Nothing beats the pungent smell of urine.
A wench strolls in for the last set and grills Dave about the song list. He talks with her for a while and figures out that she is pretty shit-faced (way to go sherlock). She apparently likes the band “Sierra” and wants to know if they are playing tonight (hello?). Oddly enough this wench dances to everything we play. The band winds up the night with Fast as You and the usual “Dave going back to play his guitar behind the bar” with Mary the barmaid. He comes back in and the band brings the volume down. Dave and John are on the dance floor. With Miss “Play some Brooks and Dunn” behind him Dave asks, “Are you ready to blow the roof off of the this place? To which she replies, “Sure.” Inspired to rock this bitch’s face off Dave pulls out all the stops, and the band concludes the night with a thunderous roar. We’re becoming a well oiled machine on stage.
The band tries to book another gig beyond the date next month, but is put off by Tammy who says she “didn’t bring her book.” They stroll out of the bar with their $600. for the weekend.
As the band tears down Tammy puts back up the flap (from Thursday), and the room becomes an ice box again. Dave reflects on just how far the band has come in the past year, and realizes with Seth coming on, it will be a little different. A new phase is on the horizon. It turns out Seth can play the harmonica. Dave is waiting for Seth to pull a fiddle out of his butt and crank out The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Sure things will be different, and that’s scary. However, it has so much potential to be great.
The whole band is pumped to play a bar the size of the Graphic Enterprises service department (S-M-A-L-L!). Mother nature has blessed us with some snow and a wind chill of at least -20. Luckily we do not have to drag our speakers with us to the gig.
While tearing down at Kevin’s, Maria starts explaining how “Everyone Should Get Drunk.” Dave gets a little nervous as the extra travel time involved means he will be getting home later and we will need all parties helping to unload the stuff. Dave realizes that there will probably always be a difference of opinion here. Maria sees this as a chance to party (which it is-which he appreciates her support). Dave will always see Maria as an “Ambassador” of Six Shooter. Any unprofessional behavior makes him nervous. Just as he wouldn’t walk into her job and jeopardize her work, I don’t think she understands how serious we take this. When Dave explains how he is worried about Maria messing with “our business” Maria jokingly lays into him. Dave decides to drop it, and wait and see what happens. Thinking back on some of the issues, there may be an element of a “Microscope” in watching Maria’s behavior.
The band sets up using the small board from the bargain basement. It’s very cold. It doesn’t take too long. Dave uses a volume pedal to adjust his guitar for lead breaks. It sounds good. Thank goodness we have that equalizer. The stage is very small and confining compared to Cappy’s.
The band has only added one new song (and it’s old) called Good Brown Gravy by Joe Diffey. This was learned for Cappy’s benefit. It’s pretty cold in the bar.
Musically it’s a pretty good night. After noticeably speeding up the song Texas Tattoo the band gives Lee a quick sobriety test (who had a shot earlier to get warmed up). With the band focusing on our meter, we do a much better job the rest of the evening. As a unit, we were pretty solid. The band gets another request to learn “The Electric Slide.” Due to the cold, the crowd is a little thin. However, Jeff Fuchs and wife, Anthony Pansera and Heather Davis, Chucky, Mike Pisani, and Jeff Aul show up from GEI. They all seem to think we sound good.
The in-between song banter is flowing tonight. We have made a conscious effort to go directly from one song to another. We previously felt compelled to fill all silence with talking. Tonight some silence is filled with Dave playing, and other items.
The audience gets a kick as Kevin explains how Dave is wearing a new shirt designed by country stars Brooks and Dun. When Kevin invites Dave to do a quick catwalk, Dave takes him up on it. Dave struts out across the dance floor as Kevin sings “I’m too sexy for my shirt.” We’re having fun. The sound system is sounding good. For once we have more monitor sound than we have in the main speaker (this is a concern for the red dog in 2 weeks).
Lee is fired up and is nicknamed “the Animal” as every song is finished with a thunderous drum roll.
Upon tuning his guitar for the last set, Dave notices that the screw that his guitar strap is attached to is very loose. He wiggles it and it falls off in his hand. YIKES. This means that Dave’s guitar could fall off any time during the set. He decides to pull a chair on the stage and sit down for the last set. This is very foreign. While the stage was small, the option of having ZERO movement is not a pleasant thought. The audience seems understanding as they enjoy a “Tutor” (a drink) special. Kevin jokes that since the whole bar is getting “tutors” that this will be one of the smartest crowds we’ve ever played to. Dave attempts his “Rocky the squirrel” imitation as he chimes “Now here’s something you’ll really like” only to realize that the smoke and cold are getting to his voice. To finish the set Dave and Kevin switch guitars so Dave can go mobile for “Fast as you.” Mary (the owner’s wife/bartender) seems a little surprised as Dave came strolling through the back of the bar. Kevin teases Dave to get up on a table, and Dave jumps up on two chairs and plays under the glow of a neon sign.
The gig was a pleasant surprise. While we were not going to get filthy rich here, it wasn’t a bad gig. We got paid $62.50 a piece ($250.)
I think it’s safe to say we accomplished our mission: TO KICK THEIR ASS. The door lady stops Dave and says, “If Glen (the owner) does not book you back, I WILL PERSONALLY BOOK YOU HERE IN MARCH FOR MY BIRTHDAY-I WANT YOU GUYS! She explains how she thinks we’re really good. Mary is slightly bummed when she hears we are playing other bars (I think they were looking for a new house band). We do get a set date for March 15. John talks with Glen and as John put it “We can basically write our own ticket.” Dave talks with some guy who is heavily involved with Rodeos at the Canton Civic Center. The guys also liked us and wants us to play at a Rodeo in the future. While it was a small crowd, it sounds like we got some good exposure.
The band finishes unloading at Kevin’s at 3:15. Maria has gone straight to bed (she pretty much behaved). Dave thinks that there may be something to this Microscope issue. He was just glad that Kevin was able to help with the unloading as the wind chill at three in the morning was almost unbearable.
Now it’s time to start focusing on merging Seth into the plan. Kevin did announce that he is more than likely NOT going to move to Montana. It seems it has dawned on Kevin that Montana is well .... FAR AWAY!
Get Your Six Shooter Shirt at www.historyofsixshooter.com
Dave goes over to Kevin’s to get his amp for the Southern Heart practice-steal your keyboard player session. In talking with Maria and Kevin, Dave and Kevin voice some items that have been brooding in their minds. Dave hasn’t always been 100% thrilled with the fact that John has never really learned what is on the record (in terms of bass parts). While he has learned enough to stumble through, he’s never learned that extra 15% that can make a difference. Other issues are discussed, and Dave explains how he’s not upset at Kevin, but more the situation. He’s kind of excited about looking at different options. The thought of singing with someone else is still a very foreign idea. Dave realizes that Kevin is part owner of the drum set. Yet another complication to work out. Kevin explains how Tuesday John, Dave and Lee can decide what direction they will take. With John moving, moving practice back to John’s may not be an option. Suddenly the Southern Heart audition takes on a different meaning. Dave is 100% positive John will jump back into bed with Dan and revive their band “The Bends.” “On to a new frontier,” Dave thinks as he walks across Kevin’s front lawn. He embraces the fear of the unknown and decides to make the most out of a depressing situation.
During their discussion, Maria explains that with her current work schedule and band practice, she only sees Kevin one night a week. “AHA!” Dave thinks - the missing objection. Dave pats himself on the back for using his “handling objection” skills.
Later that day................................................
Kevin calls Dave to explain some things. After thinking a few things out, Kevin realizes that it’s not fair just to say “I quit” and bolt out the door. The band has never had a chance to change its ways. Consequently, Kevin wants to sit down with the band and discuss some of the issues that he and Dave had discussed previously in the day. While the band has got along great, played above average, Dave and Kevin realize that communication is really lacking. We need to put ALL of our concerns on the table. We need to polish up on being a band and strengthening the four-way-marriage that is the band.
In a sense, if we addressed all his concerns, Kevin feels the band would fun again. This pretty much shoots the shit out of Dave’s “Handling Objections” theories. Dave kicks himself in the balls and makes a mental note that most salesmen are full of shit.
Dave is relieved and looks forward to the communication challenge of the coming practice on Tuesday.
Kevin announces to the band that as of Friday he quit. He has since thought it over and thought it only fair to try to reconcile our differences first. The main problems are:
• Stage volume is too loud and the equipment being unreliable adds to frustrations.
• The amount of negativity that abounds at practice-usually brought about by bashing Graphic Enterprises for 30-40 minutes.
• The lack of practice by all members.
• In general -IT’S NOT FUN
The band admits that some of the song lists should be readjusted to play songs that people can dance to.
It decides that we need to fine-tune our sets, and have songs run into each other. This eliminates the need for “witty banter” in between songs. It also will keep people on the dance floor.
The band decides to set agendas for each practice. By having a set amount of items to practice we can focus on the tasks at hand. By eliminating the bitch session, we can focus on the music. The band also realizes that eventually there may not be a need to practice every week.
John has some ideas on how we can streamline the sound system to make it more portable, and sound better.
The band realizes we need to spend some time “surfing the scene” and see what people are dancing to -instead of what they’re listening to on the radio.
While Kevin and Dave bring all the topics of the previous discussion to the table, John and Dave both choked on bringing up the Kevin has to babysit at the end of the night issue. This while the band repeats how they need to be more honest with each other. Dave feels that Kevin has probably already addressed this issue. In discussing the issue earlier, John swears he heard Maria say “Pay up FUCKERS”... Dave does not remember the “f” word being used.
Basically, the band tries to hold it together to have fun. The band realizes that Kevin plans on leaving and moving to Montana in July/August.
When Dave asks if he should pursue Seth Jenkins (salesmen at work) everyone seems into the idea. Kevin needed some slight persuasion (timing issue). This demonstrates the obvious, with plans of weddings and moves to Montana, Kevin’s long-term commitment (understandably so) is pretty short term. The majority rules and Dave will try to catch Seth at work.
Seth Jams with the Band
IBS Salesman Seth Jenkins brings over his keyboard and plays with the band. Seth is able to handle Dave’s test of being able to “take it” when someone yells “TAKE IT SETH.” In short - SETH JAMS. He played everything from blues to jazz to honkey tonk. It was strange adapting to a keyboardist. John and Dave are used to filling in all the gaps. Seth even plays the guitar and sings. Again I say SETH JAMS. While it’s a depressing thought, Seth may be Kevin’s replacement as a vocalist when the time arises. We would then find a replacement rhythm guitarist.
Seth does a fine rendition of the Eagles ‘Desperado.” The band pulls the Garth Brooks song “The Dance” out of their ass. It comes together nicely. We launch into ‘Fast as You” and it sounds so cool to hear the actual keyboard part instead of Dave imitating a keyboard on his guitar. Dave knows he will cry his wanker off if this guy doesn’t join.
Upon completion of the practice, the band is worried. Seth gave off a very luke-warm reception to joining. Dave fears he stomped all over him musically (again not used to playing with a keyboardist).
At work, Seth says he needs to think about it and consult his fiancée. The band feels he’s probably just trying to let us down easy.
We are very amazed when Seth announces later in the week that he would love to join the band, but it has to be after the first of the year (he is very busy in December and such). Dave pops a boner at the very sound of the words. This is way to cool. We have a keyboard player.
NOTE SOMEWHERE IN THE LAST QUARTER OF THIS YEAR THE CAT WITH REALLY BAD GAS WAS GIVEN TO SOMEONE.
Dave has to cover at work, and practiced is basically postponed for most of December. In this absence, bars start calling for bookings (go figure). The band ends up with a booking at the Tangled Spur on January 11th (for a measly 250 bucks). We’re not sure if Seth will make it for this show. We also have a date for the Red Dog on January 24th and 25th. This is cool. Unfortunately, the band is finding it hard to get excited about playing the Tangled Spur as this is a really small place. If Dave goes off into the audience he will get to take about 5 steps and have to come back.
Dave stops over at Kevin and Maria’s while Christmas shopping to pick up a microphone stand. Dave gets a chance to talk with Maria. Dave does a lot of listening. Maria explains how excited she is about the upcoming wedding and some of the joys of planning the whole thing. Dave talks to Maria about some of the presents he has purchased for his wife. Maria is now legal and the whole “getting the bar owner in trouble” problem is no longer an issue. This should make gigs a little less stressful. Dave and Maria talk about doing something cool for Kevin and Dave’s birthdays in February.
The band turned down offers to play in December due to a lack of practice time. Instead ,we have turned those dates into January dates. The band gets together for the first time in weeks to practice. The band is pleased to find that we have established a base of songs that are pretty much embedded in our heads. Luckily we do not sound like a band that hasn’t played together for three weeks. Suddenly the January dates aren’t quite as scary.
The band gets a rude awakening when Lee sees that the band’s name on the Cappy’s marquee for October 18 and 19. The band was practicing for the following week (the 25th). We work with the owner, and he ends up putting us on after a Male review called “California Hunks” (from Columbus Ohio). The band waits in the back as men are not allowed in the bar as a group of 70 or so women fondle and paw at the loincloth-wearing pieces of meat. Dave starts off the night on stage with his Ted Nugent imitation, “Mercy mercy, I’ve died and gone to heaven, I’m playin’ to a bar full of horny woman.” This evokes a “Dave!?” from Kevin.
The women were sloshed. We were even joined on stage by a drunken wench that the band affectionately referred to as Bambi. She had brown hair and weighed about 45 pounds. As she jumped up on stage and began to wiggle and jiggle, John gave her a “bump” and shot-putted her halfway across the stage. Dave joined John in using Bambi as a human ping pong ball. During Bubba Hyde, Dave was doing the famous James Brown arrangement. He went out and “bumped” with Bambi. As they boogied back to back, Dave realizes that if he moves too quick Bambi is gonna end up on the floor. When he finally maneuvers to get away, Dave feels an arm come over his shoulder as Bambi tires to keep him on the dance floor. Dave does a spin move and catapults himself back to the safe haven of the stage (Glad to get back with his life intact).
Later during a break, Bambi helped herself to a microphone. At this point, Dave went up on stage and said enough is enough. Later Bambi would try to get a whole sentence out to explain that she want’s us to sing “Bappy Hirthday.” Later John witnesses as Bambi’s female traveling partner bites her tit on the dance floor. The owner explains that things were getting a little overheated in the parking lot.
The band has a blast, but without a sound check, they don’t sound as sharp as usual out front. Chucky works out the bugs, but the stage volume is too loud and again, the monitors are almost useless. Dave has an extremely hard time hearing his backup vocals. When he does hear them, they’re pretty rough. The band performs 3 new songs. These were My Maria, Daddy’s Money, and On a Good Night (show opener).
Saturday has the band moving the board to a new spot. In the process, the band’s sound clears up and it sounds awesome! The band turns down their stage volume, and the monitors are heard loud and clear. Unfortunately, it’s sweetest day, and the crowd is beyond shy. The band is treated to the pleasure of asking someone to turn off the jukebox. Dave tries to get a giggle by insinuating that Madonna has a venereal disease and that’s why she had a cesarean delivery of her child (he refrains from making a joke about finding missing super bowl rings). Unfortunately Ernie the DJ is short on CD’s and asks the band to play a little longer sets. Hmm... the band enters the lovely land of improvisation on stage. They pull off a version of Boot-Scootin' Boogie that must have lasted almost 10 minutes. Kevin was like a quarterback calling plays at the line of scrimmage. As he announces “Extended version” in the middle of Watermelon Crawl. The band pulls a few songs off the “Left-over” list, and realize why most of them are on the list in the first place (they suck). Dave accidentally cuts Ain’t nothin Wrong with the Radio in half as he puts the solo in the wrong place. However, in hindsight, this was probably a blessing.
The band can’t believe the dead quiet after each song. The band would hammer out the final chords of a song, end it with a thunderous crunch and then you would hear the chirping of crickets in the back corner of the bar.
Dave receives a job offer to join a band that is playing out 2 times a month. I think they were called Southern Exposure or something. Anyway, he takes the guy’s number just to be polite. He has no intention of leaving the band.
During one break Dave accidentally steps in a puddle of drool that has formed around the soundboard as Chucky has his eye on a lovely brunette. As a slow song starts, Dave prods Chucky to “go for it,” and sure enough Chuck shoots and scores. Unfortunately, Chucky was too busy to running sound to apply the needed pressure to court this fine vixen, and she ended up sitting by another guy. Chucky definitely gets an “A” for effort.
Even though the crowd was dead (they did come alive by the third set), the band has a lot of fun. The joy of making up a set list on stage is interesting to say the least. The band fields requests to play some songs twice, so they do. The band was even joined by the Ernie the DJ for If Tomorrow Never Comes. Ernie wasn’t bad at all, and puts a lot of emotion into his singing. The band is hounded to do some Lynard Skynard both nights and asks a patron what song they should do. He answers “Sweet Home Alabama.” He also wants to hear Mountain Music by the group ALABAMA. In all, it was a pretty fun gig. As John put it, “I had very low expectations coming in, and left very glad we did the gig.”
Dave calls the guy from the band Southern Heart. Here’s the scoop on them.
• They’ve been apart for a while and are now reforming ( a little different from the “we’re playing out twice a month” story at the bar).
• The lead singer is the drummer. They think you should bring your kids to practice.
• They play the Eagles, Seager, etc... (I’m sure they do Keep Your hands to Yourself by the Georgia Satellites).
Dave sets it up with Randy to come over and play this Sunday. Dave explains how Six Shooter is a tight band, and he will not be leaving unless the singer (Kevin) moves to Montana (a possibility). Randy says he doesn’t care. He just wants Dave to hear them. Dave figures, what can it hurt? While he’s there he may just mention how Six Shooter is looking for a keyboardist.
Dave calls Kevin to see about getting his amp for the Southern Heart tryout thing. Dave is explaining how he wants to go check an Akron bar called “The Shamrock.” In doing so, Kevin feels he must tell Dave something.
Kevin announces how lately things just haven’t been much “fun.” He explains the constant worries about equipment failure, the strain of screaming over a stage volume that could destroy any pigeons flying in close proximity of the speakers, the negative attitude of John during the latest gig, the tardiness of some of the band members, and a general lack of drive is making the band situation a poor return on investment. Playing on stage is fun, but that’s about the only thing that is anymore.
Dave interrupts as he has been played the fool with this speech before. Only this time Kevin is not pulling his leg. Kevin hates to do this over the phone, but he doesn’t want Dave pimping a singer-less band. Dave tries to use a salesman tactic to identify objections and asks, “If we fixed the sound system and worked on our stage volume (yata yata yata) would you stay? To this Kevin says “No, its just not fun.” According to the limited sales training Dave has received, this is supposed to reveal that their is another objection that has not been voiced. Hmmmmm....
While Dave will miss singing with Kevin. Dave tends to agree with many of Kevin’s points. The band has been a disappointment in some ways. We’ve never been too efficient in learning songs. It will be very strange to be in this band without Kevin. Dave doesn’t put too much effort in trying to talk Kevin out of his decision. Dave knows that Kevin wouldn’t say this without putting some thought into it.
Upon hanging up the phone Dave is not sure how to feel. He can’t be mad at Kevin. As a friend, Dave wouldn’t want Kevin to do something he no longer enjoyed. In a selfish way, Dave is not happy about being put in the situation of finding a replacement. It’s very strange. John and Dave had discussed this earlier in the week at lunch. Apparently ,John had picked up a vibe from Kevin. John announced that if Kevin ever left, he’d just call his buddy Dan (whom he explains is a real pain to work with at times) and form his old rock band. Dave isn’t really big on the idea. Without being an egomaniac, Dave feels he is talented enough to hold down the role of lead guitarist. Consequently, a band with Dan would probably not include Dave.
Kevin is going to wait to tell John, so Dave can’t call John and say “Holy shit Kevin quit!” Dave ponders the thought of joining a blues band (something he’s always wanted to front). Dave isn’t really worried. He’ll examine his options, and choose the best one.
With Kevin in Pennsylvania, John makes the trip to Cappy’s. There is plenty of good news. In talking with John, Chuck (the bar owner) says “People are talking” about our appearance. Consequently, Chuck has asked us to return September 6 and 7 with a raise in pay of $300 ($700 total for the weekend). Cappy’s also wants to hold a dance for teens on a Sunday night sometime THIS MONTH (OH YEAH). This is for an undisclosed amount. Things are definitely looking up.
Dave and Kevin decide to go to Cappy’s this weekend to see “Phoenix.’ Dave hits the “Red Pepper” in Barberton only to find that it’s closed. He then goes to the Shenandoah and drops off a tape. Pretty much the same tune as before at the Shenandoah (they want us to audition again). The Shenandoah is such a dive. There are never more than 20 people in there at a time. Dave then goes to the Tangled Spur only to find that the house band has pulled it together (thus no room for Six Shooter).
At Cappy’s Dave sees Phoenix drummer Jack Beam whom he knows from past experience (he originally talked to Jack about purchasing drums back when Six Shooter first formed). The band opens up with Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “House is a Rockin” and performs other country classics as the Georgia Satellite’s “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” The band has a front man that sings and plays the harmonica. This means every song has a harmonica part. The band is running the sound via a snake from the front. While their song list may not be as good as Six Shooter’s, their sound is solid. Their in-between song banter is moot. They barely come up with anything to discuss except the bachelorette party going on in the back. They sounded good, but Dave is a little confused on their choice of country songs. Dave is a little pissed at the fact that Kevin and Maria are a no-show. Dave is curious as they decided not to meet at their house (minutes away), if this was preplanned. Dave’s feelings are hurt but will survive. The lack of communication via voice mail or answering machine was the exact thing the band was concerned with Lee last weekend. John was a “possibly maybe” due to relatives in from out of town. After watching the first song of the second set, Dave leaves. On his way to the parking lot, Dave hears the band launch into Sly and the Family Stone's “Dance to the Music” in the middle of Watermelon Crawl. This song did start off with a drum solo that was impressive.
Upon returning to the Shenandoah, Dave listens to the “Country Jammers” do (you guessed it) “Keep your Hands To Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites. They also did some Merle Haggart song. It’s been a bad night, and Dave heads for home.
Later when talking to Kevin, Kevin explains that they just didn’t make it. As Kevin puts it, “you got boofed.”
Kevin hits the Carriage House and the Elms club and admits that neither sound promising. Meanwhile ,Dave has tried to get the Shenandoah to relinquish their “Must Audition” policy, but they say we still have to audition. I think John summed it up best when he sarcastically said, “We’re not playing the Shenandoah- Boo-Hoo, Waaa.”
Well t,he band is rusty due to a cancellation of practice. It’s been a fun time. John and Kevin have been tearing apart the power amps. Two transistors are replaced. After much testing ,it appears that the amplifiers have simply lost their balls. There is no real punch. Then suddenly they came to life (it appears one of the outputs is funky). Unfortunately ,John and Kevin are up late most of the week. The sound check on Thursday night ended around midnight. Oh yes, work will be fun tomorrow.
The band takes the stage with the energy of a week old road kill. It’s a strange set. The crowd is kind of dead (the traditional juke box during the set gesture). The band is real rusty (due to the strange practice week). Mistakes are all over the place. Most were covered smoothly. Kevin drew a blank on the words to “She’s Got The Rhythm” and Dave and the boys made it an extended jam. We all drew blanks. At times it wasn’t pretty, but I’m a perfectionist.
Chuck and the sound board were out front. Chuck is learning the ropes on running sound. The power amps were working well. Dave went to the Musician’s Bargain basement and picked up an equalizer, and that has seemed to stop the feedback out front. However, once again, KEVIN AND DAVE CAN’T HEAR A NOTE THEIR SINGING ON STAGE. Bottom line we need an equalizer for the monitors.
During one of the breaks, John meets up with an elderly type woman who says that basically, any bar with the word MOOSE is looking for good bands. She says we’re a good band. This is good. Even when we suck, we’re good.
Ernie is the new DJ at Cappy’s. The bar has installed a new sound system that sounds O.K. (tweaking is needed). They also need to isolate the CD player as every time someone stomps their feet (which they do a lot in line dancing) the CD skips.
The night has a strange vibe to it. The excitement of playing out the first time as a group is wearing thin. The fact that we’re all zombies has a lot to do with it. Some sleep will put us back at the top of our game. Luckily the Sunday gig has been postponed. Dave does the traditional run through the bar only to be disappointed when everyone in the pool section of the bar informs him that they can’t hear him. Bummer.
Saturday’s performance was much livelier. Although we believe we blew up the monitor amplifier by adding a speaker for Lee, we some how tweaked it enough to where we could hear the vocals on stage. This made being on stage 100% more comfortable.
The band used a new format by playing 40 minutes and taking a 20 minute break (previously we played 60 minutes and were off for 30). This meant that we actually played less time. The band revamped the set list and took some songs that were not going over very well, or the band didn’t sound their best on. This also provided some flexibility as the crowd requested “Margarittaville” the band took it off the “Left over” list and threw it in the set. Along with the request came “Becky” on stage to sing with the band. Unfortunately, it turns out that Becky is a wench from Chuck’s past. The band hashed out some basic cords to Happy Birthday and countrified it. It turns out that there were two birthday girls in the audience (Tanya Beck and Kara) and this was repeated again.
The crowd by the end of the night is a decent size, but definitely at the bar to talk amongst themselves than to listen to a band. The band more or less entertained themselves. The mistakes were still present (better than the night before), but covered well.
We got paid $700 and an extra $100 for the cancellation of Sunday’s gig. We paid Chuck $40 for running sound. The band is approached to play next month, and Kevin decides to play “Hard to Get” and tell the owner that we need to check the schedule.
The weekend wasn’t bad. It’s hard physically to do, but its paying the bills. We now have around a month to get ready for the next appearance. I hope the band can focus on their vision, work on some new tunes, add some vocals, and become the band we are potentially able to be.