The History of the Six Shooter Band
As remember By Dave Jackson

S3E5 - Freezing at the Red Dog

Friday Night at the Red Dog

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.

Saturday: January 25-Red Dog

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. 

S3E6 - Dave's Birthday at the Spur

Jan 28: Seth’s First Practice

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!

Feb. 8: Seth’s First Live Appearance

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.

S3E7 - Where's Lee?

Feb. 13: Concerns Over Lee

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.

February 15: Back at The Spur

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.

February 22-23: The Red Dog - Did you Say $350?

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.

February 25th: Lee Blows of Another Practice and Dave Apologizes for Kris

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.

S3E8 - Lee Digs Himself a Grave

March 1: Back at the Spur

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.

March 8: Round Two at the Spur

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.

March 10: Ron the Super Drummer

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.

March 11: Jack Beam is in Retirement

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.

March 15 Round Three at the Spur

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.

March 16: Dave Begs Jack To Become A Temp

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.

S3E9 - Good Day Sir!

March 22: Last Night at the Spur-Last Night for Lee

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” ........

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 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.”

Lee: “Oh,”

Dave: “I mean you’re basically leaving the drum set the way you found it.. is how we want to do that.”

Lee: “Whatever.”

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 .....(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.”

January 15, 1996:

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.

March 25: Jack Beam Comes to Jam

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.

S4E1 - That Smell

That Smell

April 3: DAVE, Johnny, and DAVE

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.

April 7: Tennessee Dave Stinks

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.

April 14: No Luck

Dave and Kevin have been phoning different numbers they have picked up, but can’t get anyone to return their calls. Oh well.

April 21: Good News Bad News

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.

S4E2 - Cheese Festival Blues

May 30: Prepping For the Cheese Festival

           Well, it’s been a fun few weeks. Seth got married, Dave had to go to Columbus, John missed a practice also. The band reforms and starts to put the pieces together. Dale has done a good job of playing catch up. While there are still a few rough areas, none of them sound like mistakes. Basically, he is in the same boat as all of us.

           The band pulls a Thursday practice trying to get it all together. Dale picks the tunes we do, and practices is over early at 8:30. There is some discussion about the hiring of one of Dale’s friends (Lou) who will be running a system that is partly his and part Dales. Originally we were going to pay him 50 bucks to run our sound, but that has changed to 100 bucks to run his system. The benefit (we were thinking) was that we wouldn’t have to haul anything to the gig but our bodies and amps. It turns out this is not the case. We need to bring mic stands, microphones, and cables. Everything but speakers and power amps. Since the sound guy is getting 220% more than I am, I am a little miffed. However, I choose to wait and see how we sound before I decide if I want to complain or not. The good news is that after the gig, I pack my amp and I am homeward bound. Kevin will still have some things to unpack at the house. So yes, there are some mixed feelings.

           On the positive side, it will be so nice to get back on stage. One of the greatest things about this band is -well this band. It’s cool playing and getting off on everyone else’s talent. Dale blows Lee’s playing off of the planet. Some of the stuff we thought Dale was playing wrong, but it turns out that Lee was playing it wrong for months (And we thought it was right).

           The awkwardness is gone, and we’re all pretty pumped to take the stage. With a veteran soundman and a working sound system, it will be nice to set up at the festival (some type of fireman’s cheese jubilee) in Brewster and just PLAY.

 Rain Rain Go Away

           The day of the festival arrives with a constant rain that lasts the entire day. Dave drives to the festival just in case the stage was under a tarp. Instead, he finds a hollowed out truck trailer under water. While a few dry spots were on the stage, there is no way we could set up and play. Dave, Seth, and Kevin (along with their significant others) go to the movie “Scream.”

           The height of the excitement that the band felt had only lifted them further up for a fall. We’re all bummed out.

The Blur that was the Spring of 1997

           As mentioned before, Dave had gone to Columbus, Seth had got married, we replaced Lee, Mary at the Tangled Spur died, John moved, John got ill (to the point of lung damage), and now Kevin is getting married and leaving the band. July 1rst the band meets with what will more than likely be the last practice at Kevin’s house. Seth serenades Kevin with different lyrics to songs begging him not to leave.

           While it is great to finally all be together, it is a very gloomy practice. The band has a discussion on what direction to take next. We talk about hiring a female singer but decide to bypass that option. We need to run an ad for a singer and knock on some doors to try and get a gig. Through our trials of occasionally practicing, our chops have gotten rusty, and we’re sounding pretty awful. We all agree it’s time to bump up the priority of the band.

           Dale mentions that he may be leaving for Tennessee in February. This is solidified in a few weeks when he begins selling furniture to his house.

           The devastation of the festival getting rained out has multiplied and robbed a great live band of all its momentum. Kris asks Dave one night, “Why don't you guys just quit?” The thought is not foreign to Dave’s mind. We’re very close to being back to square one. The big difference is now I am at square one with some great musicians that aren’t assholes.

July 10: An Ad is Placed           

With Kevin away doing wedding stuff, and John on vacation, practice is again canceled. Seth and Dave talk about how the “why not quit” issue is entering their mind. They both know that we have the right pieces of the puzzle, it’s just a matter of getting them to fit. Seth decides to place an advertisement for a singer as soon as he gets off the phone with Dave.

           While the ad runs Tuesday-Thursday, we get three interested parties. Two are male and one is female. With this information, Dave calls John and Dale and gets them to commit to practice this week as we will be interviewing singers. Both Seth and Dave are excited as this feels like the first step to putting the band back together.

           In talking with Dale on the phone, Dale states that if we want to start looking for a drummer, he is fine with that. He will stay with us until we find a new drummer. Dave feels that this is probably not a bad idea.

           Dave informs Kevin of all the goings-on. It’s strange, but if we didn’t keep him “in the loop” it felt like we were doing it behind his back. The weird gloomy actions of replacing the K-Man. The band will be very different without him.

Dave Jackson