Sand Section Road Notes: Florida to Georgia (July 2011 Part 3 of 4)

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!