12.22.2014

I Saw 5 Bands This Weekend If You Include My Own

My weekend was action packed. On Friday night, I went to see a rock-n-roll show, where I met my friends Sherry, Peter, and Danielle. The bands were amazingly good, but I was so energized afterwards that I had trouble sleeping and ended up sleeping in on Saturday morning until almost noon. I probably needed the rest. I had no plans on Saturday, but Sherry had invited me to a wine party at the last minute, so I decided to go to that. It was at the apartment of a mutual friend named Abigail. I feasted on cheese and crackers and had nice conversations with people. Sherry was tired, so we did not stay too late.

On Sunday morning, I did the unthinkable. I went to church. Sherry and I went to the 9 AM service at the west side Frank Lloyd Wright Unitarian Church. The fact that I went on the Sunday right before Christmas was total coincidence, since I am an atheist. I went there to scope for women, hypothesizing that I could date a woman with liberal values like the Unitarians have. Sadly, the service was attended only by elderly Madison liberal elites that live in the neighborhoods around the church. Fine people, but not my type. But it was still fun. The sermon was on the many different conflicting descriptions of Jesus throughout the ages, a topic of scholarly interest to me. After the sermon, we got a tour of the old Frank Lloyd Wright Meeting House, which is a historical landmark, though no longer used for services because it is too small (Side Note: When I attended this church years ago, while I still lived in Whitewater WI, the service was still in the old building).

Sherry and I went to Einstein’s Bagels for brunch after the church tour and reflected on events from the rock-n-roll show the night before, then parted ways.

At 1 PM, I loaded my guitar gear in my car and drove to drummer Dan’s house for an EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE practice ahead of a studio recording session later in the afternoon. We were asked to perform on a segment of the Madison Cable Access TV show “Bordello of Horror.” So around 3 PM, we carpooled over to the Madison Media Institute and did a few takes of a couple songs, and interviewed with the show’s host. Mostly Tim (aka Eddie), the band leader, did all the talking.

I was home by about 5 PM and made some dinner before heading out again, to see the band STEEL PANTHER at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, with my buddy Stefan, his fiancee Kat, and another guy named Lars.

Steel Panther is a ridiculous hair metal band with a raunchy schtick. They are good showmen, and clever, notwithstanding the cruder elements of their music. So I was entertained. They brought some audience members up on stage (all women) for their antics, but I think some of them were plants, not actual fans, because they acted exactly like the band intended for them to. It was over the top. We didn’t drink any overpriced beer at the show, but afterwards we retired to Cooper’s Irish Pub around the corner for a nightcap. Once again, I was out too late, and I am tired at work. But, it was worth it, and this week is a lighter load as far as work and rocking, so I get to take it really easy most nights. No band practices until next Tuesday. I fully plan to work on some book writing, piano practice, and WORT volunteerism in my copious spare time.

12.19.2014

Workouts

It's winter. And that means less exercise for me. Usually November and December are the worst because it is too cold to workout outside, but I haven't yet taken the initiative to set up my indoor bike trainer at home.

On my fortnight plus long Australia trip, I did a fair amount of walking around, but probably not enough calories were burned to offset the amount of food consumed during our travels.

Before the trip, I had started lifting weights a bit in the gym at work, but I haven't done so since I have been back. Truth be told, I don't like weight lifting and I think it is because I can't read my Kindle or watch Netflix to pass the time when lifting like I can on the exercise bike.

So today I am going to do 40 minutes on an exercise bike at the gym at work.

The Week in Review

This was my first full week back after a very cool trip to Australia with my entire family. It took a while to get over jet lag, and apparently it was not just me, because my parents reported this too. I got back from the trip late last Wednesday night (there were some flight delays) and immediately set about practicing my rhythm guitar parts for a short EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE (EAD) debut show at the Frequency on Saturday December 13.

I had been sans musical outlets in Australia, so I was worried I would be out of practice, but it came back to me really fast. EAD practiced in the early afternoon on Saturday ahead of the show to make sure we were all on the same page, and the show that night was a big success, I thought. Because there were several bands on the bill, the Frequency club in Madison WI was pretty much packed, with each band bringing a contingent of people that collectively filled the place up. It was EAD’s first show in the current lineup, after what I understand was a five year or so hiatus. It was very well received and since there were a lot of people there, the word will hopefully spread so we get lots of people at our next show (slated for New Year’s Eve…also a short set of perhaps 30 minutes).

On Sunday, after the gig, I slept in a long time to rest up. In the afternoon, I had an “informational interview” with Madison WI writer Elizabeth Galewski, who also happens to be the partner of my guitarist buddy Kyle. She has a couple of books published and we talked about the art and craft of writing. I subsequently scored her book, Butterfly Valley, on Amazon Kindle and started reading it. Her writing is very good, descriptive and easy to follow and understand. It’s a non-fiction about traveling in the Middle East pre-911.

In the evening on Sunday, I took Sherry out for Indian food, her reward for picking me up from the airport when I came back from Australia, much delayed. Sherry had also dog sitted for me during my trip. I paid her some money for that responsibility, but still felt like supplementing her some more with the Indian dinner.

On Monday night, I cruised on out to Woop Woop WI in the boonies near Mt. Horeb and rocked on bass with a group that does a mix of old school rock-n-roll covers and originals. The band is decent, but the long drive is a deterrent. If I continue to rock with them, I will only be able to handle fortnightly or less frequent practices. I need to do some homework on their original material.

I had Tuesday night off from band practices, though I did run through EAD material at home in anticipation of Wednesday night EAD practice. The songs all came back to me pretty fast. After that, I went on a date.

On Wednesday night, EAD wanted to attend a Happy Hour meet and greet for Madison Mayoral candidate Bridget Maniaci at 5:30, and then do some EP recording afterwards. The meet and greet was themed on local arts and music in Madison WI and there was a pretty good conversation about how to improve and fund the arts in Madison. My theory about Madison’s weak arts scene was validated by others at the social. What it boils down to is that the “establishment” in Madison is very conservative. Even though it has a lot of elitist rich liberals, who you would think would be into progressive innovation in the arts, they tend to maintain a fairly snobbish status quo that they do not want to pay any money for. In other words, artists are expected to underwrite themselves. This is why Madison has a low infusion of new and innovative artists and musicians and rock bands have to play for peanuts. Hopefully, pro-music Maniaci will work to change this status quo, the basis for the Happy Hour discussion. Suffice to say, the meet and greet went a bit over time and the band decided that it might be a better use of our time to schmooze with Maniaci and other Happy Hour attendees. Maybe we can be involved in providing music for fund raising events before the primary election, which was discussed. After the social, we stopped by the Caribou bar because my band mates wanted to bid farewell to some friends who were leaving town. However, the friends were late and we ended up leaving before they showed up.

GUPPY EFFECT, which normally practices on Tuesdays, practiced on Thursday night this week. We got together at my house at 7 PM, after I got done with a holiday social with some coworkers at Sprechers after work, and we had a serious discussion about our band direction. I was quite happy to find out we are all mostly on the same page. One thing that had been bugging me about the direction of GUPPY EFFECT was the emphasis on playing a variety of covers and performing 3 to 4 hour full shows on weekends, that are usually poorly attended. One of my ideas for the band is to go in an original music focused direction, with minimal cover music, and to play shorter shows of an hour or so, collaboratively with other bands. The drummer, Jon, actually put this idea on the table before I even said anything about it. Stefan and I both fully embraced it and then we set about culling our setlist, deciding what originals to work on for now and what covers, if any, would make the cut as songs to incorporate within a largely original music based repertoire. We jammed on some of the originals and we even had some time left over to hash out a skeletal song idea. After practice, I dug up a couple of other song ideas the band had come up with earlier this year, and I uploaded all of these to Dropbox, so the band can start developing these ideas into full songs.

Now it’s Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend. Tonight I am going to have dinner at Tuvalu Coffee Shoppe in nearby Verona WI around 7 PM, because the aforementioned guitarist Kyle is playing an acoustic show of original music there from 7 to 9 PM. After that, I am going to go downtown and meet friends Sherry and Peter at the Frequency rock club. Peter has a friend or family member, I cannot remember which, whose band is playing at the Frequency.

Tomorrow I have the day off. So I’ll relax and spend a little time rehearsing EAD songs on guitar. EAD is heading to Madison Media Institute on Sunday afternoon to perform on a TV show called “Bordello of Horror” (I think). Not sure what that is all about, but we will play two songs and get interviewed by the host. The band is going to meet beforehand to run the two songs and discuss what we hope to talk about on the show. If there is any kind of public link to the program, I will try to publicize it.

Stefan and I are going to see Steel Panther at the Orpheum Theater in Madison on Sunday night. That should not go too late, so I should not be too tired on Monday. Next week will be lighter at work because of the holidays.

Anyway, I hope you, my dear readers, are doing well. Leave a comment below and let me know what’s been going on.

Happy Holidays.