Here’s the official video from Bret Bollinger’s track, Sober, which features yours truly in a sweet hat… Thanks to Dark Fall Productions for making it look awesome!
The new album from Bret Bollinger dropped today! I played guitar, sang, co-wrote, and co-produced this whole thing, and am so proud of what we have put together. Please stream, save, and share!
Excited to announce that Bret Bollinger’s newest release, Hit Me Up, drops today. Grab it on all platforms! We will be releasing one song a week for the next six weeks. This project has been incredible to be a part of and I’m really looking forward to sharing a bunch of new tunes.
On July 20th, 2018 Ozzy entered our world and made our already wonderful lives significantly better. After dog-sitting for a friend one Sunday afternoon, we realized that we were more than ready to take on the responsibility of raising a puppy, and began eagerly searching for our future family member. In a stroke of fate, we came to find out that the puppy we looked after that day had a brother in need of rescue. He had been adopted by a woman in Reno who, for one reason or another, didn’t feel she was a good fit for the little guy and decided she was ready to part with him. Although it did seem like the perfect opportunity for us, we ultimately decided to do the responsible thing and sleep on it before making such a life altering decision. It’s beginning to scare me how much we are becoming responsible adults (writer pauses and stares longingly over his computer screen at some invisible “portal to the past”, but quickly realizes that this is best saved for another post, and decides to continue his story).
The next morning I was awoken to my wife with a look in her eye that I could only compare to an excited puppy, and I swear that if she had a tail, it would have been wagging her off of her feet. She was not only ready to get the dog, but she was really fired up on the idea. Once I sat up in bed and gathered my thoughts, I re-confirmed with myself what I already knew… that I was ready to get a dog as soon as possible. With both of us on board, I immediately sprung in to action. I contacted the owner, booked a flight to Reno (where the puppy was located) for the following night, followed by a rental car and a hotel. Flash-forward 36 hours and there I am in Reno, waking up in a Motel 6 and then driving my way to an address about 15 minutes down the road.
When I arrived, I was greeted by a sweet middle age lady, a barking mini-chocolate labrador retriever named Cranberry, and hiding in the furthest corner or his kennel, a mini-golden retriever pup with a name tag reading “Alfalfa”… soon to be our sweet little Ozzy (my wife and I agreed immediately that he would be getting a name change). I slowly approached the trembling puppy and as I reached out my hand, he began gently urinating all over himself and his kennel. This will be quite a learning process I thought to myself as his then-owner began talking me through her life with him thus far. She then walked him outside where he ran to the nearest outdoor lounge chair and hid underneath with his eyes affixed to the stranger in his home.
After signing papers and some goodbyes, my rented Nissan Rogue was making its long journey back home to Hermosa Beach with a puppy hiding in his kennel, atop folded down seats. Every time I would look in the rearview mirror my heart would break as I saw the eyes of pure sadness and fear. It was as though the pup was on his way to meet his maker, and his last act on earth was peeing on the floor. I kept looking back at him and smiling as if for some reason, he would in turn smile back at me. Instead he just looked up at me with his little puppy head pointing down at his little puppy paws, while his little puppy body was curled up in a tight little puppy coil. When I stopped for gas, I attempted to get him out to relieve himself, but I quickly realized that he was not getting out of his kennel without a fight, so I thought it best to just plow through the rest of the drive. It would be a total of 8 hours without relief.
After returning the rental car and transferring him to my wife’s car, we eventually made it back home where we carried his kennel with him inside to our fenced patio. When I opened it up, I had to pull the terrified little guy out and as soon as he hit the concrete he sprinted out of his kennel and began pissing and shitting as he ran for his short life. Within seconds, he tried to jump through a trash can barricade I had set up and got himself lodged between the trashcan and the stucco of the house with his front paws out like a little puppy superman. I simultaneously sprang into action and ran around the opposite side of the house in an attempt to stop him from going into the street, and thinking to myself what my future psyche would be like if I killed a puppy within seconds of getting him home. Lucky for me, my make-shift barricade stopped him and I was able to carry this “still-shitting” dog back around to a safe zone. I quickly noticed that I had broken a sandal strap amidst the chaos. After taking a moment for everyone to calm down, we then decided to give the feces-covered pup a bath before we proceeded with anything, and to our surprise, he completely calmed down. We were able to sit with him for hours on the patio as he began to acclimate to his new life.
He spent the next few days hiding out under our coffee table, but now after five days with us, he is already become a comfortable member of the family who enjoys walks, playing with other dogs, and of course the best spot on the couch. We love him to death, and can’t wait for many years of great times with our Ozzy!
I'm proud to announce that the EP that I produced at Kona Town Recording for Zacc West and Lisa Richie is finally out! They're project is officially called Copperline. Check out the Spotify link below!
Last Saturday was an epic day to be in Long Beach. I was fortunate enough to share the stage with Tomorrows Bad Seeds for a beautiful afternoon set to an amazing crowd. It has been a blast playing with these guys for the past year, but all good things must come to an end and it looks like this will be my last show with them for a while.
Everyone is on the best of terms, but it's time for me to focus my attention on some of my own current projects. I wish these fellas all the best on their upcoming tour, and thank them for having me on board for about 50 shows. Now I will set my sights on finishing the new Bret Bollinger and the Bad Habits album and start playing some shows of our own. Be sure to check out the "Tour" tab for all of our upcoming shows.
2018 is off to a great start, and there is so much more to come!
Hey everyone just a quick announcement that my band Lose Control has just released a new song and lyric video! Check it out below:
Ill be playing guitar for Tomorrows Bad Seeds for a Spring Tour over the next few weeks. Check out the dates below. For all other upcoming dates this year that have been added thus far, click the "Tour" tab above. Lots of other shows in the works!
Well I am very glad you asked because, as it turns out, A LOT!
For starters, the little side project I started with Bret Bollinger has turned into quite a large undertaking that's given rise to some great opportunities. I think that both of us were looking for something new to try out musically, and it's been a breath of fresh air for all parties involved. We're both still hard at work in our respective bands, but sometimes it's nice to step out of your comfort zone and play music with someone new. In just a couple short months, we've played KROQ's microbrew festival, two shows in Hawaii, recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios, performed live on TV, and also live on the radio... As you can see, we've been a little more active than your standard "side project"...
Our band consists of Bret Bollinger (lead vocals), Andre Davis (Bass Guitar), Patrick Salmon (Drums), and Myself (Guitar, Vocals). If Andre and Pat look familiar, it's because I have been playing with them for a few years in a band called Cheers to Nothing (See photo on the right). Hopefully that gets you all up to speed.
Next we have our sites set on Florida, where we'll be playing three shows at clubs located on the beach, and it doesn't get much better than that! After that we'll be recording a new album that will most likely be released next year, and I'm sure there will be more shows some time in the near future.
Aside from the Bollinger project, Lose Control has studio time booked so that we can get closer to finishing our sophomore album. This album has been constantly stalled for a number or reasons, no band drama or anything, it's simply that we've all been wrapped up in plenty of other projects making it hard to get our schedules aligned. It's looking, though, like we are finally getting the ship steered in the right direction now and we're excited to get this album done!
Finally, this past week I have once again worn the producer hat as the band Altered Revelations came through our studio to work on their debut release. These guys are extremely talented, and be sure to look for their album down the road if you are into the heavy/hardcore metal scene similar to early Avenged Sevenfold.
This has been by far the most eventful year of my life, and I look forward to seeing what more life throws my way in the coming months. Be sure to check back soon and keep up with my shows in the "Tour" tab above. I hope to have more exciting news and some new music in the near future.
That's it for now, Happy Fall!
Happy to announce that I'll be playing guitar for Bret Bollinger from Pepper on October 8th at Santa Anita Park! These events are truly one of a kind as they combine live music, horse racing, and beer drinking... Don't miss out! CLICK HERE for tickets.
Summer time is upon us folks and I just added a bunch of new gigs, so be sure to check the tour tab for a list of places you can find me in the next couple months. I'll be staying fairly close to the home front as I continue work on the new Lose Control album, and take a couple of weeks to get myself married.
I also would also like to announce that the new Pepper album, Ohana, to which I contributed production work, has been officially released to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Be sure to pick up a copy and give it a listen! Lose Control played 3 sold out nights with them last month, it was an incredible experience.
That's it for today, check back soon!
Greetings folks, I must admit it's been several months since my last confession, but that certainly doesn't mean that I haven't been busy! Allow me to catch you up on what's been going on with me this year.
For starters, Lose Control has been hard at work on our sophomore album which is yet to be titled. We are recording the album at Kona Inn Recording in Redondo Beach with Mike Sutherland behind the helm as producer. Mike has also signed on board to be our manager which is great news for us as he is an invaluable asset, our 5th member, and a close friend.
As of now, we have three tracks mostly finished with two more that are well on their way. We are shooting for ten songs total so I'd say we are about 35% done with a long way to go. We actually just finished writing the 10th song last week. I must say though this album is sounding awesome! We tracked all of the instruments live together which captures our sound much more accurately, and gives the songs a much more raw rock n' roll feel. I'll keep you updated as things progress, and we will probably be floating one of the tracks out in the next month or so. For now, just know that it's sounding bad ass and we are very happy with it.
Aside from recording with Lose Control, I have also been gigging quite a bit around my home town of Hermosa Beach with acoustic guitar in hand. I'm working on putting together a bunch of my own songs and recording a solo album this year, so these gigs have been a great place to work on new material and play some fun covers as well. I just ordered a new microphone from Miktek, a little audio company who endorses me, and once it comes in I plan on recording a bunch of demos that I will release into the wild with corresponding youtube videos later this year. I may release a song a week or something like that just to try something different, but I'll keep you posted on that.
Outside the music realm, you may or may not know this, but I am also a licensed real estate agent and have been practicing real estate for many years. I sold a house in Manhattan Beach last month which took up a good chunk of my time, and was an overall great experience. Be sure to contact me if you are every looking for a good real estate agent (end advertisement).
Finally, I am happy to announce that Pepper will be releasing their new album, Ohana, on April 29th this year. I did quite a bit of production work on this album last year and am really proud of how it turned out. The pre-order is now available, and I highly recommend that you grab a copy, it sounds fantastic!
That's about it for now. I certainly have my work cut out for me over the next few months so be sure to check back soon and I will hopefully have some new music to share with you. Thank you for your continued support of my musical endeavors, hopefully this is the year I hit it big. Take care.
Well the rumors are true, I have been excommunicated from the Church of the Appendix. It all started last Wednesday with some sharp lower abdominal pain that landed me in the Emergency Room by Thursday morning. Several tests revealed appendicitis which has but one remedy; extraction via surgery. If the inflamed appendix is not removed immediately then it will undoubtedly burst some time in the near future and turn deadly very quickly.
I had to wait around all afternoon for an operating table and was under the knife by about 8:30pm. The surgery was a complete success with no complications, but unfortunately I did have to stay overnight due to the late hour of my surgery. The more unfortunate part is that the guy I shared a room with snored like a wildebeest and when he wasn't snoring he was groaning in pain. It was like paying a premium rate for the room next to the torture chamber.
There's not too much information out there for what to do once you get home from a laparoscopic appendectomy (say that 10 times fast), other than basically just go get better. I spent the first two days laying on my back, taking pain killers and watching movies. Finally on Sunday I was able to ditch the pain killers and move around a little bit and I used those precious steps to do a photo shoot with Lose Control. The photo shoot is just one of many steps taken by Lose Control to get ready for more content in the new year so stay tuned on that.
As of today I am finally feeling closer to normal, although I now must refer to if my life as "post-appendix". I'll still have a few more days of laying low, but luckily I will be doing so on the beautiful island of Oahu. I had to cancel my gigs for the week, but promise to back in action in about a week or so. As of now, I am just glad to be rid of that freeloading appendix who does nothing for the human body other than wage war once it gets bored with it. Damn thing didn't even pay for gas money, let alone it's own hospital bill.
On the bright side, this experience has been yet another reminder of my own mortality. Although there is no known cause for appendicitis, it's been nice to take a step back and start focusing on my health as we transition into the new year. Even just a couple small steps like changing my diet and drinking habits I'm sure will yield much healthier results which in turn will lead to a happier and more productive life. Also, I must mention that the amount of support I received from family and friends was overwhelming, and I'm so thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life to be there when I get knocked down. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
That's it for now, enjoy the holidays!
So you're in a band in the 21st century, and then all of a sudden someone from a "radio station" emails you and they're interested in your music!! You get so excited that you write back right away, only to get hit with a generic response telling you to submit your music somewhere... I think I nailed the response on this one:
I'm generically copying and pasting something significant into your email chain since I can tell with 100% certainty that you did not read my initial response. I do, however, in some small way appreciate your effort to convolute what's left of the music world, so here's to the deaf ears that this falls upon. If you've made it this far and you truly wanna work with a kick-ass rock band, then inquire again.
I know, I know... This has been a long time coming. The longer that I waited, the more daunting of a task it became to start designing a website. Luckily for me, companies like Squarespace have finally emerged that allow for an inexpensive and easy way to design your own personal space. It has still been about a two week long process that has unearthed a tremendous amount of past memories and material, but all in all it's been quite a fruitful endeavor. I have scoured every corner of every hard drive that I have with the ultimate goal of painting a detailed picture of myself so that my audience can better understand me, both as a musician and a person. Plus, I'm tired of having to tell people where I am playing every week, it's finally all in one place!
As many of you may or may not know, I have lived the life of a musician for quite some time, and through my experiences I've been able to develop a particular set of writing skills that have made for some great stories, or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, my main motivation for setting up a website is that I really miss writing and sharing said stories with the unsuspecting public. Throughout the next few weeks, I will be tracking down all of my old "Road Notes" from my first band Sand Section and finally organizing them into one place. Unfortunately I had all of them saved on our Sand Section website which has been taken down, but I am in the process of recovering them (Thanks Mom!). In these entries I take the reader through a day in the life of a traveling musician, and for those of you who have read them are aware, I'm pretty damn honest. I also write Road Notes for my band Lose Control that for the time being can be found at www.LoseControlRock.com.
The first Road Notes that I want to share can be found below, followed by many other posts over the past half decade for your reading pleasure. Going back and reading them has made me feel like I have already lived several lives, and yet here I am at 28 years old with what I can only expect to be an even longer road ahead. From here forward, even though I am sedentary for the next month or so, I'll still be posting every week and keeping you updated on not only life stories, but many other topics that interest me and that I find "share-worthy". I hope you find my new website easy to navigate, and as far as I know, you should be able to comment on any of these posts and leave feedback which is always appreciated. For those of you who have read this far and are still thinking "who the fuck is this guy?" then maybe a good place to start would the "BIOGRAPHY" tab. For everyone else, thanks for reading, enjoy!
I thought this would be a great story to kick off my archived Sand Section posts. I posted many Road Notes entries from our very first tour in July 2010, but unfortunately most of them have been lost since our Sand Section website was disabled. Luckily this one was pretty popular and I was able to recover it from an old email. The context for this post was that we were on the last leg of the tour, on our way home from Texas and an unbelievable amount of shenanigans ensued. At this point in time, we were still a 3-piece reggae/rock band fresh off our first album. Enjoy.
Last leg of the Sun Is Shining Tour: Sand Section invades Texas and gets into the swing of things.
There is no question that these last few weeks have been some of the most exciting and memorable of our short tenure on planet earth. We have played great shows at some awesome venues and have seen many of the amazing places that this country has to offer. In this entry, upon our return home from Texas, I finally do not feel the need to open with my standard cynical question regarding our difficult lifestyle choice. We return home humbled by not only the stress and toil of road life, but also the amazing people and places with which we have been so privileged to share our time. Our finale in Texas proved to be the most successful leg of the tour. It served as a heralding reminder that you never know what life will hand you.
I left off on Sunday July 25, following our show in Denver, which as you probably recall had a less than favorable turnout. Fortunately, we would never see an empty house for the remainder of the tour. We left Colorado with high hopes, but still slightly defeated after two consecutive shows that were less than stellar to say the least. Upon leaving our hotel, we thought that we could boost morale by checking out The Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, which are the largest sand dunes in North America. They seemed like the obvious place to stop and take a Sand Section photo, and we were not really too concerned with driving 70 miles out of the way just to check them out. That’s when the rain started…
About half way through our drive to the dunes, the clouds started to layer in thicker and thicker. Then it started to rain. We had already driven pretty far out the way so we remained optimistic that the rain would let up and we could take a victorious photograph. As the sprinkle turned to a downpour however, and we pictured ourselves taking photos knee-deep in mud amidst dodging bolts of lightening, we finally decided to pull the plug. We turned our little minivan around, snapped a couple of photos by the side of the road, and headed for Lubbock, Texas about 9 hours away where we would stay the night. The drive was pretty standard, but we were fortunate to drive through New Mexico for our first time which was cool to see, but definitely no Hawaii if you know what I mean.
There is nothing notable about our stay in Lubbock, Texas. It was just a little Texan purgatory where we arrived late and rested up for our equally long drive to San Antonio the following day. It was a nice hotel though if I do so say myself. I feel pretty well qualified to make such a claim having stayed in 9 hotels in the last 2 weeks.
We arrived in San Antonio late after spending about 45 minutes driving in circles trying to find the elusive hotel. It unfortunately turned out to be the nastiest one we had stayed in yet and we were going to have to stay there for two nights. It reeked of mold and was another definite candidate for bedbugs. On top of everything, it was so humid that it made it impossible to stop sweating, and made the air even more musty and gross. We were so turned off by it that Sam reluctantly got on the phone and demanded we get a better place the following night, which we did, at no additional charge. He definitely saved us from all sorts of fun infections that would have at the very least ended the tour.
Hang in there readers, things get way better from here on out. The next morning we headed to the Alamo. That’s right the Sand Section tour group invaded the Alamo and got a full-on history lesson. I personally didn’t know much about it prior to our visit, but we learned that it is truly a fascinating place that commemorates American heroism. I won’t bore you with the long details about the treacherous battle that ensued there, but we were all pretty stoked and stayed there for quite a while learning all about it.
After our adventure, we met up with the Fortunate Youth boys for some Texan BBQ. We ate at an absolutely delicious place which I believe was called BBQ City where we grubbed as much as we could all stomach. With full bellies we finally headed off to our new hotel, which was a million times nicer than the previous one. Finally, after lounging by the pool we made our way over to the Scout Bar where we would play our gig that night.
We were a little discouraged when we got to the Scout Bar to be honest because it is a very large and awesome venue. I know that sounds great and all, but very large awesome venues look extra large and empty when they are sparsely populated. On top of everything the place had signed guitars and platinum records all over the walls which hung there and taunted our rookie status. Judging by our last couple gigs and a discouraging warning from the sound guy who said that Tuesdays were usually pretty awful, we were looking at potential embarrassment.
By the time we got to playing our set however, people had actually showed. I counted a good number of people from the stage, which was a major confidence booster after a string of tough shows. The downside was that the crowd watched us as they would watch a special on the History Channel and we could not really tell if they were enjoying the tunes or not. In the end they actually loved our music and were just listening intently. We even signed a couple autographs after the show which was awesome.
After the show, we stayed the night in our hotel and headed for Houston the following morning. We checked into yet another hotel in the early afternoon, except that this time we spoiled ourselves and stayed in a really nice one; the kind that gives you fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies at the front desk. We headed to our gig early that evening at another Scout Bar (Same owner, decorated the same).
This was hands down our best gig of the tour. The place was completely packed for live music and dollar beer night. The place would have been even more crowded if it didn't happen to be fifty cent beer night upstairs... Nonetheless, we played awesome and people were blown away by our powerful performance. You can only imagine the amount of energy we had seeing all those excited people out there after playing to such small numbers previously. We were really impressed with ourselves and it was difficult to stop smiling while playing our set.
After the show, we finally went for it and packed 11 people into one hotel room. We were all so exhausted that we actually got a great night sleep and we were able to pull off the crowded room without getting in trouble with the hotel which is always a major challenge. The funniest part about it was that Travis from Fortunate Youth was sleeping next to the door and his snoring was mistook for a dog by hotel staff, and they had to call our room to make sure that we didn't have any wild animals running around. We all got a great laugh about that 7am phone call.
The next morning we left for our final major venue show of the tour in Dallas and we were all a little bummed that the whole thing was ending. Before we got the venue, however, we stopped off and paid Spencer's mom, aunt, uncle, and grandmother a visit at his aunt's house just outside of Dallas. We were able to get a nice swim in and hear some intense motorcycle stories from Uncle Tom.
We played that night at a place called Trees which was another sweet venue located in downtown Dallas. We played another really solid set to another solid crowd, and we all felt grateful for the opportunity to be able to play three great shows in a row. At the very end of the show, both bands got on stage for a cover of Bob Marley's Stir It Up. It was definitely a great moment shared between two bands who had grown extremely close over the last few weeks. I can't tell you how well we actually played the song unfortunately as my memory is a little hazy, but from what I do remember it was a powerful event.
After the show we were fortunate enough to stay with our long time friend Kellie who currently resides in Dallas. Thank you very much for letting us hang out and crash, we really appreciate it!
The next morning we made our final tourist stop of the trip and went to the site where JFK was assassinated. We sat in the grassy knoll to snap a few photos, and then we headed to what we thought was our final gig of the tour at the Morgan residence just outside of Dallas. Of course our GPS took us entirely out of the way to some random dirt road in Rockwall, Texas before we made the correction and drove an hour back to their house, but eventually we made it.
Our evening at the Morgan’s was awesome; those folks really know how to throw a party! We played both an electric and an acoustic set before spending the rest of the night lounging in the pool and meeting some more amazing people. We want to give a huge thank you to Dan and Lisa Morgan for their friendly vibes and amazing hospitality. They not only let us play at their beautiful house, but they were kind enough to put us up in a nearby hotel for the night. As if that wasn’t enough, they treated us to a delicious lunch the following day.
Here is where our story takes a very interesting turn. Upon finishing our lunch, we were asked if we were interested in staying an extra night in Dallas to play yet another house party at the residence of one of the previous night’s attendees. The price was definitely right, so we figured we might as well take advantage of some more Texan hospitality. Little did we know that we were soon to be introduced to the unique life of the middle-aged Dallas swinger community.
We arrived at the house in the early evening with acoustic guitars in hand, ready to jam one final night in Texas. Everyone that we met at the party was both extremely nice and hospitable not only to us, but also strangely to each other. As different couples began splitting apart and getting a little more intimate with all the other couples we knew we were in for a one of a kind experience. We were thrust into a full on swinger party and before long everyone was hooking up with everyone.
As you know, I have been extremely honest about everything thus far in my posts and I will honestly say that not a single one of us were even remotely involved in any of this. In fact, we were surprised that the couples wanted us awkward kids to even stick around once they got into the “swing” of things. We pretty much just sat in the hot tub and watched all the shenanigans take place all around us with jaws dropped. It was one of those moments where you keep rubbing your eyes and making sure that you aren’t in some sort of strange dream. It was oddly the perfect way to end our crazy little tour. Probably the eeriest part of the night was that Tony and I slept in twin beds in one of the kid’s rooms who was surely staying with grandma for the weekend while mommy and daddy got weird.
We left early the next morning feeling like we could sleep uninterrupted for at least a week straight. We had a 20-hour drive ahead of us back to Vegas where as you recall we left our Winnebago to be fixed. We decided to book a hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the night so that we could cut the drive in half. Honestly I was so tired and sick the next day I slept for almost the entire drive so I don’t really remember anything.
We stayed the night in New Mexico and left for Las Vegas at 6:30 in the morning in order to prepare for the 16 hours of driving that lay ahead of us. Again nothing crazy about the drive except that we stopped at the Hoover Dam for a quick picture only to realize that the battery in the camera was dead. In the time that we stopped for the picture of course there was a major car accident just up ahead and we could have avoided the 45-minute wait had we not stopped to take the picture with the camera that didn’t work. Uggh…
We made it into Vegas by the early afternoon to turn in the rental car and grab the Winnie. We finally caught a couple breaks and for some reason the rental company did not charge us for the chipped windshield and the RV worked great. It was great to be driving her again, and we were all anxious to get back home.
We arrived back in Manhattan Beach at a little after midnight and finally got to get back into our own beds. This was truly a once in a lifetime experienced and we are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to travel and play music. No matter what happens, we will always have these memories and stories to share for the rest of our lives. Thank you again to everyone who has helped us along the way, and to everyone who has been reading my little tour updates. I apologize for both the tardiness and length of this blog, but I had a lot of ground to cover. I look forward to writing about our next tour experience which will most likely consist of a bunch of college parties over the next couple months. I can only imagine the stories to come. I will keep you all posted.
-Jeff and the Sand Section Crew
8,868 miles, 100 degree heat, 24 Days, 23 States, 14 Shows, 9 Hotels, 5 Couches, 2 Hardwood Floors, and 1 tour we will never forget.
The last leg of our cross-country tour has finally come to an end and we are proud to announce that we have made it home safely. I last left you in the middle of Georgia maintaining a steady northern bearing destined for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where we arrived in the early evening. We played our set that night at a bar called Bourbon Street to an intimate yet responsive crowd. We played extremely well and we could tell the entire audience was pleased with our performance. Unfortunately we were followed by a local reggae band that was less than satisfactory and who played much longer than many people had patience to pay attention. As a result Fortunate Youth had to start later than they would have hoped, but they were still able to get the crowd moving and close out the night successfully.
Myrtle Beach is one of the only cities that we ever went to where the vast majority of the hotels require that you are 25 years of age or older in order to book a hotel. As a result, with puppy dog looks on our faces, we had to make a desperate announcement on stage during our set asking anyone if they could spare some floor space for three lost Californians in search of shelter. Luckily an extremely kind bartender by the name of Blakely allowed us to crash on her huge couch at her apartment only a few minutes down the road. We are extremely thankful for her kindness!
The next day we were off to Norfolk, Virginia which we quickly discovered was one of the more depressing places we have encountered in the country. We played at a place called The Jewish Mother in the heart of downtown. When we arrived at the venue we were greeted by an extremely belligerent African American male who was lying on the ground clawing at the air in a desperately futile attempt to get himself back in the standing position. He ultimately laid himself to rest on the damp Virginian cobblestone and managed to remove his pants and his left shoe before he was handcuffed by three of Norfolk's finest and placed in their custody.
I must admit, however, that The Jewish Mother was a stellar venue with probably the best sound equipment we have had the pleasure utilizing. Admittedly the crowd was sparse, but we were thrilled with how well we played and how great we sounded. We have some live video of that performance that we will be posting some time this week. After our gig we walked down the street to find some food and noticed about three puddles of vomit on the sidewalk which made us wonder why people would be so drunk on Wednesday night. The answer came when we got to a local pub and one of the locals answered our question by saying, "Because there is nothing better to do in Norfolk ever." After a brief chuckle and a head shake it was off to a Super 8 Motel somewhere just outside the city.
The next day we stopped off in Washington D.C. for our inaugural visit to our nation's beautiful capital. After some aggressive sightseeing (aggressive because we were in a hurry), we met up with our childhood friend James Grant who has now become a successful entrepreneur in the city. He accompanied us to our gig in Annapolis, Maryland that night where we played a large Irish Pub known as O'Brien's.
O'Brien's was probably the worst gig of the entire tour. While we did get to do a bit more sightseeing in Annapolis, we also had to play to a crowd that consisted of the band Fortunate Youth, and James Grant, our childhood friend whom I just mentioned. Perhaps the highlight of the show was that when we were unloading our gear, Tony found a corn dog and a half underneath the backseat of our Jeep Liberty Sport which had been there since Brownsville, Texas about two weeks prior. How they got there is a mystery, but we have a couple of guesses.
Finally, after spending the night at Mr. Grant's nice new house in D.C., we were headed to Seaside Heights, New Jersey for the last stop of our tour. We played at Jack & Bill's Bar that night to a huge crowd of people. It was nice to be able to close out the tour on a good note, and after the show we began our roughly 2,700 mile drive home…
I am not going to go into much detail about the driving part of it, just picture three dudes driving for 12 hours a day through cornfields for three days straight. I will definitely elaborate on some highlights, the first of which being Chicago. When we arrived after our long drive from New Jersey we went and visited Stefan's grandparents and Uncle who greeted us with an exquisite steak dinner! After eating Subway every day for weeks, there is nothing like a delicious home cooked meal prepared the way that only loving grandparents can. We are extremely appreciative of their warm hospitality!
After dinner we met up with our second Ofersure of the trip by the name of Brian Gregoire who is currently residing near downtown Chicago. We went out and partied on the town until the wee hours of the morning, and woke up in extreme pain caused by our excessive inebriation. We did still some how manage to record a fun new song with Brian, which we should be releasing some time in the near future. Big thanks to Brian for showing us a great time!
After Chicago it was off to Denver where Stefan delivered again by providing a place to stay at the Shanahans, who are close family friends and former neighbors of the Partelows. After a few beers and some great conversation we went to sleep to prepare for yet another long drive to the always exciting Las Vegas, Nevada. Again, big thank you to the Shanahans for letting us take over three rooms in their wonderful house, it really means a lot.
I must say that when you stare at nothing but cornfields for 2,000 miles, it is a huge breath of fresh air when you get to drive through the constantly changing landscape in Utah. The canyons are often breathtaking, and it is nice to drive along side the pure serenity of a glistening running river. Then you get to Vegas…
That night we managed to book a $28 room online at the Imperial Palace and Casino on the 10th floor overlooking the strip. I don't know how these insane deals exist, but some how we get "lucky" enough to find them. Honestly, there was nothing out of the ordinary about our trip in Vegas. I lost $50 in just under an hour playing black jack and I payed way too much for drinks all night (must be why the room was so cheap).
The next day we finally made it home, and I must tell you that after my experience in most of the states worth going to in this country, there is nothing like Southern California. Regardless of any other aspect, the climate is absolutely perfect. Walking outside without fear of combustion is a subtlety that I hope I no longer take for granted.
I finally would like to announce that this past Sunday we got to play an enormous concert on the beach in Hermosa Beach to over 2,000 people, which is the biggest show we have ever played. It was the best homecoming we could have asked for and we are more than thrilled to have had such a wonderful opportunity. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported both Sand Section and Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, it was certainly a day to remember!
It's not often that you can get an opportunity to do what we have done for the purpose that we have done it. We got a crash course in just under 50% of the entire country while promoting our product to a plethora of unsuspecting civilians. Sure we had to spend 50% of our days cramped up in a car designed for moderate sport utility, but we got to spend our entire nights celebrating the release of our music to a fresh audience. We made new friends from all reaches of our awesome country, we had interesting conversations, we went sightseeing, and we worked as a team. I know it is an experience that I will not soon forget. Thank you to everyone who has followed along with us, we appreciate your love and support. Hopefully at least one or two of you are still reading this, it was a longer post than usual : ) Thanks!
We Get By with A Little Help From Our Friends
Playing music across this great country can be one of the most rewarding endeavors that one can experience in a lifetime. Sure it has it's setbacks such as car trouble or the occasional canceled gig, but you quickly learn that damage control is just part of the job. This week I wanna pay special homage to Corey Draskovich of Fortunate Youth for going above and beyond in this department to save three of our shows in Florida.
Most of the time when you show up to a venue all you have to do is set up your personal gear with the assumption that the venue will provide a sound system and microphones. Unfortunately in Pensacola, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach there were none of these said sound systems in place so Corey rigged together a sound system using any and every speaker he could find and successfully ran the sound for all three of these shows. I should mention that he also managed to play guitar, bass, keyboard, and hand percussion in all these gigs. Thank you Corey, we salute you!
Last entry I left off en route to Orlando, and that night we played one of our most successful shows at the West End Trading Co. This was the one place that actually did have its own sound so it was relatively stress free and both bands played very well to a very enthusiastic audience. After the gig, thanks to a family hook-up through Fortunate Youth we stayed the night at the Mike Ditka Beach Club just outside the city, a place that we would come to know quite well.
The following day we headed to Jupiter, Florida which is a beautiful little town that has great beaches and several alligator-filled estuaries. We were lucky enough to score a great hotel room located right on one of these estuaries and three doors down from the venue called Guanabanas. It is amazing how you can spend $60 on a hotel room in the middle of Texas and get a room that you assume to be completely neglected by any sort of functioning maid team, and then you go to Jupiter, Florida and get a nice room with a full kitchen for the same price. I understand supply and demand is the over-riding principle here, but when you stay in as many hotels as we do and cross your fingers every time you open the door for the first time, you begin to draw all sorts or strange conclusions.
The show in Jupiter went really well, and we had a fun night out on the town after. The next day we headed to Boca Raton to play the Funky Buddha Lounge. It marked the first time of the entire tour that we had less than a one hour drive from one city to the other as Boca Raton is located just 40 minutes from Jupiter. This is always beneficial because it gives us a whole day to relax and explore a new city. We spent the afternoon at the famous Delray Beach, where we decided that California has better beaches than Florida. Sure the Florida sand is soft and the water is warm, but it is 100 degrees outside which makes it extremely uncomfortable to do anything but get in the water, which is too warm to be refreshing. Plus, walking across the sand is like walking over dwindling camp fires that terrorize the flesh on the bottom of your feet and create radiant heat that makes you feel like you are in an oven. Yes I know I am complaining about being too hot at the beach, but my point is that it did make me miss the shear perfection of the Southern California coast.
After a swim in the Atlantic Ocean and some fresh sun burns, we headed to our hotel which turned out to be even nicer than the one we had the night before in Jupiter, again for the same price. We got a room on the fourth floor of this hotel with a beautiful view of the entire Boca Raton Bay where we watched boats gently glide across the beautiful blue water as it reflected the afternoon sun. It was a real treat.
That night we finally had a gig that was just okay. There were some people there, but not many. Both bands played great, but sometimes you can get a crowd that didn't go out to listen to music and simply want to hang out with some friends. We sold a couple of CDs which was cool, but nothing too substantial. It was a great example of a gig that had everything going for it-awesome place, great stage, friendly staff, Thursday night-but for some reason it was a bit of a dud.
The next day we had an even shorter drive to West Palm Beach where we met up with a friend of Fortunate Youth's named Lara at her beautiful house on a river inlet. We spent all day swimming in her glorious pool and hanging out around the house. There is nothing better than finding a home base that has a pool, especially when you can stay for free…
That night we played a gig at the Reef Road Rum Room and I got myself into a bit of a debacle right when we pulled up to the venue. As I got out of the car to unload some gear my phone fell out of my lap, one-hopped into a gutter, and sunk like a rock in a puddle that was any number of feet deep. I acted quickly and removed the sewer grate in an extremely futile attempt to rescue my contact with the outside world. Unfortunately, no sooner had I removed the sewer grate did I realize how heavy and slippery it was and I immediately dropped it into the sewer as well which only exacerbated my predicament. I ended up waiting next to an open sewer for about an hour until public works came and fished out the grate. There was no phone attached to the grate, but I had already long since realized that the phone was gone.
Fortunately, that night we had another great gig and there were a bunch of people there. We stayed the night at Lara's house and the next day we figured out what to do with our day off because unfortunately our gig was cancelled that night. Luckily we found out that the Warped Tour happened to be in West Palm Beach that day so we went and met up with our friends in the band Tomorrow's Bad Seeds who are on the tour. We got a little taste of what it's like to hang out on a tour bus, and we watched a bunch of great bands play. Afterward we headed back to the Mike Ditka Beach Club in Orlando to stay the night.
Again, we had a gig fall through on Sunday so that gave us three days to make a nine hour drive up to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We decided to save some money and we waited it out at Mike Ditka's place for an additional two nights. It is amazing how close both of our bands have gotten over the last couple weeks, and we now pretty much operate like a family. If you walked around the place we stayed over the last few days, you would see four guys playing Nintendo 64, two or three wandering around playing guitar, a couple in the kitchen cooking dinner, and then usually one or two asleep on a couch. It isreal site for sore eyes.
Here we are on Tuesday driving through Georgia en route to South Carolina for the last leg of our adventure. We have absolutely no concept of time or space any more because we live under the craziest schedule imaginable with extremely abnormal sleeping cycles, and we are 3,000 miles from home. I must say though that we have made some of the best memories we could have ever imagined, had a whole lot of fun, and yet we still have another four shows to go in four states where we have never stepped foot. I will certainly let you know how it all goes. Thanks for keeping up with us!
Austin, Houston, Pensacola, and Exploding Turtles
I would like to begin my post today by remembering the thousands of brave bugs who have lost their lives over the past three nights due to the painful sting of our windshield. It seems like every gas station that we stop at requires that we scrape off a thick layer of "bug cake" in order to maintain visibility throughout our hours and hours of daily traveling through the hot and humid air of the American South. What makes matters worse is that every time we step out of the car, we get attacked by bloodthirsty mosquitos that are currently responsible for roughly 17 itchy bumps on my feet and legs.
With the exception of the above, our travels since we left off in Brownsville, Texas have actually been much more successful and the shows have finally been consistent. After we played our Brownsville gig we headed for Austin, Texas to play at Ruta Maya. This was by far the best show so far. The sound was great, we played great, there was a great turnout, and we sold a bunch of merchandise. Fortunate Youth also put on a stellar performance and we both made our California presence known positively and effectively to the hundreds of people who were in attendance.
That night after the show we rushed our way to downtown Austin because we were dying to see what all the hype was about. Let me tell you, it lives up to everything we have heard about it. There were thousands of people walking down 6th Street (the main drag) that Saturday night and we were excited to get in the mix which we did until the bars closed at 2am. We ended up at an Irish pub that had an incredible blues guitarist performing. He would wander off the stage and play overly extended guitar solos to each and every patron in the bar as everyone tried to gulp down their drinks before it was time to retire for the night. We were lucky enough to meet a new friend Erin earlier in the night and she welcomed us over to sleep on her couch which was a lifesaver. It wasn't the greatest night's rest due to her four kittens running and jumping on us, but they were pretty adorable so you couldn't be too bummed about it.
The next day we headed for Houston to play the Texas Hippie Connection (THC) which we quickly discovered was a head shop. We were initially a little skeptical about how the show would go for obvious reasons, but it ended up being pretty successful as we played to people who were relaxing on couches smoking hookah. It was interesting to say the least, and we certainly met some really cool people.
After the stoner gig we headed to New Orleans to get some miles out of the way for our show in Pensacola, Florida the following night. We stayed with our good friend Sherif Shoucri of Ofersures fame who is currently going to Med School at Tulane. He gave us an awesome tour of the city the following day and took us to the Parkway Bakery where we ate Po'boys and some alligator sausage. After a quick jam session and many laughs we were headed to Pensacola.
We learned an important lesson in Pensacola and that is that you can't go into a gig with any expectations. Sometimes the shows that seem to be less than favorable can turn out to be some of the best shows and visa versa. Since none of us had been to Pensacola before and we were playing at a brand new bar called Berryhill Lounge that had no PA system, we assumed that it was going to be a tough night. It didn't help that when we told one of the people at the bar where we were from she replied, "What did you take a wrong turn or something? How the hell did you end up here?"
Oddly enough someone said something similar in Brownsville. This definitely begs the question, why would you live anywhere where you can take absolutely zero pride of residency? It's pretty sad, but I digress… The moral of the story is that we ended up playing for over an hour to a bar packed full of people who loved our music. We sold more merchandise than we have sold the entire tour, and a nice lady offered a place to stay for the night which turned into another wonderful little story.
We followed this lady back to her house about five minutes away from the bar where we were greeted by her husband, and her ex-husband who lives in an RV in the yard. We soon came to find out that she also had three children, the oldest of which was thirteen and was skateboarding on a half-pipe until about 2am. I cannot imagine how confusing it must be for a thirteen-year-old kid who lives with a fully pierced and tattooed step-dad in the house, while his real dad lives in an RV about 18 feet away. To make matters worse, the kid was really unhappy with his mom for allowing us to sleep over at their house. We all shared some really odd conversations throughout the night, but managed to actually have a pretty good time. It was one of the strangest and most dysfunctional situations that we have been in thus far, but we made the best of it and got a few hours of sleep before leaving for Orlando.
That was this morning and we are currently about four hours into the seven hour drive to Orlando. We are driving through some of the heaviest rain showers imaginable where visibility is essentially gone for several minutes at time which is always makes for an interesting dynamic. Oh crap, we just ran over a pretty good sized turtle and a bunch of shell fragments went exploding down the highway… Every minute is an adventure.