Friday night I hung out with Deborah. We watched some Orange is the New Black Season 3, walked the dogs, and had a nice outing to the Vintage brew pub. I stayed at my house on Friday night so as to take Foster to an early veterinarian appointment on Saturday at 8 AM. My cleaning lady came on Saturday morning and a little bit later in the morning, Sherry brought her dogs over so I could dog sit them while she went on a camping trip. Deborah came over about 11 AM and we grilled on my patio. Her sister Julie joined us for a bit too. In the afternoon, Deborah and I biked to her folks’ house and we kayaked on Lake Mendota.
I am getting over some kind of respiratory sickness that had me coughing and hiccupping on Saturday night. I was pretty miserable when Deborah, her sis, and I went to see a friend’s band at the Come Back Inn, followed by fireworks. But I powered through it. On Sunday, I actually felt a lot better and was able to sing OK at band practice that evening (RITA WITTER BAND) and at the Funks open jam on Sunday night. Today I am in the process of purging lung butter, but I think I am on the mend and will be able to perform OK with my two bands at HIGH NOON SALOON tomorrow night (GUPPY EFFECT and EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE are on the same bill, starting about 7 PM).
Today is a typical work day, and it is winding down. I have GUPPY EFFECT practice tonight ahead of the big HIGH NOON show tomorrow. I will get a better sense of how my voice is holding up due to the sickness, but I won’t over do it.
This coming weekend is July 4th. I need to find out if my contracting agency gives us Friday or Monday off, so I can plan my weekend. There is definitely going to be some biking in the New Glarus WI area on Saturday. Maybe some on Friday, if I have it off. If I don’t, there is talk of going to the Jefferson Drive In Theater to see a movie Friday night.
I am quite well following a weekend marathon of rock-n-roll that started last Thursday and wound down on Sunday night. The rocking took me as far away as the Wisconsin Dells (with BABY ROCKET) and Fond du Lac WI (with EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE), and saw GUPPY EFFECT playing its first ever Make Music Madison events (two venues on Sunday).
Tonight, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE (EAD) is getting together to record parts for our upcoming CD, mostly drums I suspect. A few weeks ago, we recorded pre-production (PREPRO) scratch tracks, and now it is time to lay down the official biff-free parts. EAD is the best and funnest band I have ever played in. The musicians are good people, driven and motivated. The songs are well-written and performed. Everyone is happy and optimistic. The positivity is great. A band really needs positivity to succeed. Maybe that is all it needs, because positivity is contagious.
The next big show on the horizon is on Tuesday June 30, when two of my bands, GUPPY EFFECT and EAD, will join a third band, WE ARE THE WILD THINGS, to perform at the High Noon Saloon from 7-10 PM. It looks to be a fun time and well attended, since it is an early time slot on a school night.
I may perform solo acoustic at the Union Terrace Open Mic Night tomorrow (Wednesday) night, weather permitting. On Thursday night, they (who are they?) are showing the movie Back to the Future at Camp Randall Stadium. That should be fun, provided we don’t have to drive there. It’s free.
In contrast to this past weekend, this coming weekend has very little in the way of band stuff or responsibilities in general. I need to mow my front lawn and tend the garden, and I am dog sitting for Sherry. That’s about it. If all goes well, Deborah and I might go out on the lake in her parents’ boat and cruise around. There will probably be some grilling on my back patio as well, if nature smiles upon us. I probably have a band practice with RITA WITTER BAND on Sunday evening, followed by the Funks Pub Open Jam. Beyond that it will be a nice relaxing time.
My folks arrive next week some time (HI MOM!) on their way up to the cottage. I hope they are here in time for the big June 30 concert at High Noon. I may go up to the cottage for July 4 weekend, though I have a bike ride option closer to home that is compelling in as much as it is a training ride for my Ireland bike trip in August.
Did you know that in some places...you can rent a goat from Amazon to mow your lawn? Nice.
That’s all for now. Signing off.
But that worries me. The Law of Karmic Balance in the Cosmos dictates that for anything good, there must be an equal and opposite bad thing.
So either there is a very unfortunate person in China right now, or bad fortune is on it’s way to me.
I’m going to go with the Unhappy Chinaman…
The rocking kicked off with a couple of warm up shows with cover band BABY ROCKET, Thursday and Friday nights. The Thursday performance was at the Nautigal Pub in Northport WI, a suburb of Madison. The Friday show was at the Baja Cantina in Wisconsin Dells. The milquetoast cover songs were a nice warm up for the rest of the weekend's more potent rock-n-roll.
On Saturday night, punk band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE cruised up to Fond du Lac WI to rock a great set at Ziggy’s Corner Bar. This was the first EAD show EVER with me subbing for Spots on bass. I didn’t do too badly, I thought, and the crowd loved us.
By this time, I was pretty battle fatigued. I got home to Madison fairly late on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning) and got a pretty decent night of sleep ahead of Sunday’s continued ultra-marathon of rock.
GUPPY EFFECT played two shows on Sunday afternoon as part of MAKE MUSIC MADISON, a city wide celebration of live music. At 2:30 PM, we performed on the street corner outside of the Cosmic Delights head shop on the east side, for a decent crowd of people sitting on the grass in the shade across the street. After that set, we pounded some iced coffees and made our way to Guitar Center on the near west side for another performance (same basic set of material) at 5 PM.
Thanks to Deborah Montgomery and the UStream app, we captured the entire GUPPY EFFECT performance at Guitar Center and you can watch it below…
The only respite from rock-n-roll battle I have this weekend is late morning and early afternoon on Saturday. What I want to do during that time window is grill brunch and chill out on my patio, perhaps with a few peeps if anyone is interested in throwing some stuff on the grill and throwing back a couple of beers.
Later in the afternoon, I need to practice some EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE songs on bass, because I will be slinging the low end at this particular show for the first time. Our bass player, Spots (aka Matt), has some other pressing matters to attend to this weekend. Earlier in the morning, I should probably mow my front lawn, since rain is forecast for the evening hours.
So that’s the plan for Saturday brunch. Join me if you like. Perhaps around 11 AM until 1 PM or so.
I slept very soundly last night, after a jam packed weekend that did not permit a great deal of snoozery.
Friday after work, Tim (aka Eddie) of EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE and I road tripped up to Sturgeon Bay WI to rock the Steel Bridge Song Fest, a celebration of song writing and original music that transforms the quaint rural town into a mini-Nashville for a week. We arrived just in time for the final weekend's festivities and played our set at the Red Room bar about 11 pm, after which we roamed the downtown in search of other musicians to see/hear.
DEVIL TO DRAG, one of our contemporary bands on the Madison WI music scene, closed out the night at one of the neighboring venues called the Brick Lot bar, if I am not mistaken.
We were hosted in Sturgeon Bay by some friends of Tim. On Saturday morning, they cooked us up a spread of French (Freedom?) toast and sausages. After letting our digestion settle a bit, we walked downtown, about 15 minutes from the host house by foot.
The Music Motel parking lot had a couple of stages with music, but most of the other venues' rocking didn't start till later in the evening. The weather was inclement on Saturday and when the rain came in earnest, the outdoor music was moved from the motel to an indoor venue called the Fire Door. It used to be a fire station.
We basically just chilled and socialized over some beers all afternoon and eventually walked across the steel bridge to an Irish pub. Not much was going on there, so we walked back after having one drink. We did a lot of walking on Saturday and my calves are feeling it today (Monday) as I write this.
Some time during the afternoon, we grilled bacon wrapped brats at our hosts' house.
The evening hours were a blur of bands at various venues. Most of the fest took place at several venues all walking distance to one another.
Sunday morning, I left Sturgeon Bay fairly early, sans Tim (who was getting a ride back from his special lady friend, who had come up from Madison on Saturday to join us), so I could get back to see my special lady friend.
I went to see "Jurassic World" (ok) with Deborah, her son Devon, and his GF. After that, Deborah and I went to Funks Pub for the Sunday open jam where I performed a few songs with MG's HENCHMEN, an impromptu band that formed out of the jam and only ever performs at the jam, consisting of me, drummer Michael Sherry (MG), and guitarist Phil Dickert.
I did not stay at the jam too late and slept like the dead last night. Great weekend, though it sucks to have to come back to work...
I am going to the new Jurassic Park movie on Sunday evening with Deborah and some of her kin. Deborah was kind enough to dog sit Foster for me and he seems to be getting along OK with her two Dachshunds, one of which is a clear alpha dog (Maddy).
Next weekend is going to be a busy one for rocking, starting with a BABY ROCKET cover band gig at the Nautigal Bar in Madison on Thursday June 18. BABY ROCKET also plays Friday June 19 at the Baja Bar in Wisconsin Dells. On Saturday June 20, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE cruises up to Fond du Lac WI to play a show at a bar called Ziggy’s with two other heavier bands. On Sunday June 21, GUPPY EFFECT has two shows as part of the city-wide Make Music Madison festival that celebrates local music with multiple bands and venues. GUPPY EFFECT will perform at the Cosmic Delights Stage from 2:30-3:30 PM that Sunday and then again at Guitar Center near my house from 5-6 PM.
That will be close to the record for most rocking I have done in a single weekend. Five shows, including two out of town, in four days. Rock Gods save me!
I don’t eat a huge amount of greens, although I should, and since I am road tripping to Sturgeon Bay WI this weekend to perform with EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE at the Steel Bridge Music Festival, I will probably hand off all or most of the greens to Deborah before I leave. This will also serve as payment for her dog sitting Foster while I am gone most of the weekend.
I am geeked for the road trip to rock witg EAD, my classy punk rock band.
I have not been Ubering much lately, as a result of doing a lot more band stuff on weekends. I am hoping to get back into it next week a few nights. The peak times to drive for Uber are between 7 PM and bar time, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. On week nights I don’t like to stay out past midnight, and usually around 10 PM, the quality of Uber riders drops a little bit. But generally, Ubering is a blast. I also need to keep an eye on special events coming to Madison WI, because a lot of people use Uber to get around when they visit a strange city. And Madison is a strange city, for sure.
I don’t think he is a SIR, actually. I just added that for emphasis. I doubt anyone would knight Dawkins, nor would he much care for the moniker, God Save the Queen and all that…
I left work about 1:15 in the afternoon on Tuesday 6/9/15 and met Deborah at my house shortly thereafter. I reheated us a couple bowls of the delicious, healthy stir fry I had cooked up the night before. We ate and then hit the road.
We took her car, a fancy schmancy pants Audi A4. It’s a potent machine. The drive was uneventful, except for the fact that rural Minnesota along I-90 has ridiculously few rest stops. The exit ramps there are an untapped market for gas stations, restaurants, and motels (Note to self).
We ended up stopping at an Amish place to rest and refresh. I bought a small bag of trail mix as a car snack, though I didn’t end up eating any of it until the next day when we drove home.
We rolled into Rochester about 6 pm and found our way to the Super 8 motel where we would spend the night, after the Dawkins seminar. We changed into some socializing clothes in the motel room and then headed for the Mayo Civic Center downtown.
Rochester, from what we saw, is a fairly economically depressed town. I always forget that I am sheltered by the wealthy elitist liberalism of Madison WI.
On the bright side, evening parking is free in the downtown parking ramps of Rochester and we parked in one across from the Civic Center. It was about 6:45 by this time and the Dawkins presentation was to start about 7 PM.
Although the line at the concessions stand inside the Civic Center was a bit long, Deborah and I waited in it to secure some refreshments. I ordered a couple of Schell’s (MN Brewery) Firebrick beers, so I wouldn’t have to come back to the line to get a second one. Deborah ordered a wine and a water.
We took our seats, in the balcony, with impeccable timing. No sooner had we seated ourselves when the lights went down and the thing started.
Most of the show was a dialog between Dawkins and actress Julia Sweeney, an “openly secular” atheist actress (you know her from old Saturday Night Live episodes, most likely). Sweeney was playing the Devil’s Advocate (pun intended), arguing that religion has some redeeming features and a cultural importance for people. Dawkins partially agreed with her, but argued in favor of abandoning religion in favor of science and truth. He did concur that one could be an atheist within a particular religion, if the person was in the religion mainly for socio-cultural reasons (friends, family, and community in the same religion), not faith reasons. Because it is hard to give up on friends, family, and community, even if they are part of a group that worships a mythical deity and a bunch of so called prophets from the 1st century who were largely illiterate and lived in mud huts.
I always want there to be more discussion of evolution and science at these things, instead of just a lambasting of religion, since the latter is mostly just “preaching to the choir” and the science is way more fascinating and educational. But I am a biology guy, so I am biased.
I would be content with examples from science to support why people should abandon religion and accept science and evolution as their guiding principles. The closest Dawkins and Sweeney got to this was when they discussed the idea that science is not designed to PROVE anything, but rather to DISPROVE things. The closest science can come to proof is repeatedly failing to disprove hypotheses and theories with ongoing experimentation. I have always held that to be true. Dawkins also touched on the idea of intermediate species, proposing the thought experiment that if all intermediate species were alive today (had not gone extinct), then there would be a continuous line of individuals between humans and chimps, and each individual would be more or less indistinguishable from it’s neighbor, even though the individuals at the ends of the line would be very different. True, but not particularly compelling.
It was what it was.
There was a short Q&A after the talk and after it ended, we all filed out into the street. The Civic Center auditorium was filled almost to capacity with people, which was nice to see.
On the way out of the Civic Center, I asked a fellow if he was from town, and discovering that he was, I asked what would be a good place to go eat. He recommended a place about three blocks away, but we ended up going to a brew pub called Grand Rounds Brewery (I just realized this name probably stems from some reference to the Mayo Clinic) across the street from the recommended establishment. It was an enjoyable dinner and I got a sampler tray of the beers they brewed on site. Deborah liked the coconut flavored ones. I liked most of them.
We walked back to the parking deck and drove back to the motel. Notwithstanding a noisy and dysfuynctional air conditioner in the room, I slept pretty well. Deborah didn’t feel well and slept fitfully.
In the morning, we checked out and went for breakfast at the Denny’s next door to the motel, before cruising home to Madison at a leisurely pace. It was a fun time and also something of a “test” of mine and Deborah’s embryonic relationship. If you can survive a 7 hour road trip with a significant other, that’s a major milestone. We did more than great. It was Deborah, a self-described “atheist Jew,” who invited me to the Dawkins thing in the first place, earning her major brownie points.
That’s about all. I might go to another atheistic social tonight. The Madison Skeptics group, albeit a fairly dry bunch, are getting together to discuss science vs religion. Honestly, it’s another case of “I have heard it all before.” So I might just go to dinner with Deborah and then work on some music.
I am gearing up for a big EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE road trip this weekend. The band is playing at the Steel Bridge Original Music Fest in Sturgeon Bay WI on Friday night and we will probably stay through Saturday to hear some more music. We have lodging arranged for both Friday and Saturday nights. I hope the weather cooperates. I should get back around noon on Sunday and then I am going to the new Jurassic Park movie with Deborah and her family, at which I will meet her son for the first time. I already met her parents and if you have been following along, you know we hit it off pretty well.
On Friday night, EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE road tripped up to Oshkosh WI and played our second show EVER at the Reptile Palace rock club. We played with two other bands, THE LEMURS and HOLLY AND PLASTIC. Great fun.
After the gig, Tim (Eddie) and I grubbed at an all you can eat pizza buffet (Cranky Pat’s), before retiring at my buddy Todd’s house, where we (and my dog Foster) stayed overnight. Saturday morning, we got up earlier than we should have, because Todd and his GF Beth wanted to get breakfast and go to the Oshkosh Farmers’ Market, before they headed off to Green Bay for some other pursuit. After the pizza buffet the night before, I was not especially hungry for breakfast, so I ordered a small breakfast bagel at the New Moon Café on Main Street. And coffee. A large coffee. I was happy to see the New Moon offering almond milk, as well as soy milk, as coffee creamer substitutes.
Tim, Foster, and I headed back to Madison about 10:30 AM on Saturday. Shortly after I got home, I met my special lady friend, Deborah, at her parents’ house on Lake Mendota and we went kayaking for a short while. Her folks have these fancy kayaks that you can paddle or pedal. The pedaling was a bit cumbersome and my kayak did not want to obey the laws of physics, but it was great fun and Deborah’s parents are cool. They told me that had been to Australia (and New Zealand) at the end of last year, about a week after my extended family returned from there. They were in Melbourne too, and they said they really liked it. In fact, Deborah’s pops said he thought Melbourne was about the nicest city he had ever been to, which makes sense since Melbourne was recently rated the best city in the world to live in. It’s certainly my intended retirement destination. I might go there even sooner if the world explodes.
After kayaking, I showered up to get an excess amount of sunscreen off me, and then Deborah and I drove back to my house. EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE had another show on Saturday night, at the Frequency rock club in Madison, similar in many ways to Oshkosh’s Reptile Palace. My car was still loaded with our music gear from the show the night before. Tim came over and the three of us carpooled down to the Frequency about 5 PM. We got there way to early. Load in wasn’t even until 5:30 pm and the owner of the bar, Darwin, was still prepping the place for the big show, which featured seven bands in honor of it being the Frequency’s 7th Birthday Bash. None the less, we loaded in our gear and put it in the basement. Deborah and I then wandered down to Genna’s Pub at the other end of the block from the Frequency and relaxed for a while.
Each band only got about 40 minutes to play that night, because there were so many bands. I broke a string early on in the performance, but luckily I had brought a spare backup guitar, because with such a short length of time to play, changing a string would not be feasible or wise. Even if I had not had a backup guitar, with seven bands, I am sure someone would have loaned me one for the short duration of the set. I have started playing my red Ibanez Art Star hollow body electric guitar in EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE lately. It sounds good and has a richer tone than the black Ibanez solid body electric I had been playing. That is the only band I play guitar in. I am a bass player by trade.
Kat and Stefan came to the Saturday show and after EAD’s set, they, Deborah, and I walked to a restaurant called Deluxe and ate a midnight snack. We all headed home after that, even though we could have stayed and heard some more bands at the Frequency. One of those bands was the Black Saints, who EAD played with a couple months ago at the Annex in Madison. They have a sound that seems to be influenced by Guns ‘n’ Roses.
On Sunday morning, Deborah and I brunched at the Garden Café inside the HyVee near my house, before I had GUPPY EFFECT band practice at noon, followed by RITA WITTER BAND PRACTICE at 5 PM.
During the interlude between GE and RWB practices, Deborah brought her two Dachshunds over to meet Foster. They got along fine (no violence), although the wiener dogs barked a bit in a show of dominance.
At 8 PM, I headed over to Funks Pub for the open jam and ran the live stream of it as I usually do. Sherry and Deborah both came to spectate. I played a short set on bass with MG’s HENCHMEN, an impromptu band comprising me on bass, guitarist Phil Dickert, and drummer Michael Sherry (MG). This group formed from the jam and only ever practices and performs at the jam, five or six songs on average, per jam. On the bright side, though, we have a gig every week and it’s easy peasey, plug and play. Deborah and Sherry got a kick out of my stage shenanigans. I get a little bored with the hippie noodle jams that go on for 10 minutes, and so I entertain myself on stage with theatrics and facial expressions. MG’s HENCHMEN didn’t jam too much though. I did most of the singing this last Sunday because Phil was getting over a cough.
By the time the jam ended, I was thoroughly spent and went home to sleep, after bidding Deborah adieu. I slept soundly and for decently long, so I feel pretty good today.
Tomorrow, Deborah and I are road tripping up to Rochester MN in the afternoon, to see Richard Dawkins talk in the evening at the Mayo Clinic Civic Center. That should bee fun. This coming Friday, EAD road trips once again, up to Sturgeon Bay WI, to perform at the prestigious Steel Bridge Music Festival, a showcase of original music (mostly from Wisconsin, I think, but not sure). We play at 11:30 PM on Friday night, and we may stay through Saturday to hear other artists perform and party with them. I had planned to go up to the cottage this coming weekend but this will be more fun.
Life is good.
I was invited to this event by the girl I am quasi-dating, and it is immensely pleasing to me that I met a girl who is an atheist (in addition to being good looking and outdoorsy and very sweet).
I am enjoying playing more original rock-n-roll and getting away from cover band music. I am still playing some shows with cover band BABY ROCKET this summer, but I am pretty much done with cover bands. I’ll still play a choice cover here and there in GUPPY EFFECT. HIATVS is a cover band, but the performances are so over the top that it doesn’t really count. Plus HIATVS only plays three or four times a year.
Today is Wednesday. After I bike commute home from work and relax a little bit, I am going to descend into my Rock Cave and practice EDDIE songs for the upcoming gigs, on my new guitar tube amplifier I bought specifically for use in this band. The amp popped up as a Musician’s Friend Stupid Deal of the Day and was about 60% off the usual price. It’s potent. I probably won’t use this amp for the Oshkosh gig, because it’s a beast to haul and space will be limited there. Plus, I will have both my dog Foster and EAD guitarist Tim (aka Eddie) in the car for the road trip. However, I fully plan to rock the new amp at the Frequency show on Saturday. In that case, I will have the room in my car, and if my rockstar parking luck holds, I will get a parking spot within easy distance of the venue. The Carvin 6x10 guitar cabinet I am using with the amp has wheels, otherwise it would be nigh impossible to transport.
Tomorrow night, EDDIE rehearses for the shows. That will be fun. We haven’t rehearsed in a while, it seems like. But in reality, I think we rehearsed last week. Time dilation.
GUPPY EFFECT doesn’t practice again until Sunday. Normally we practice on Wednesday nights, but tonight the drummer double booked himself to practice with his other band. Doesn’t he know GUPPY EFFECT band practice night is sacrosanct? But actually, Sunday is a much better practice day for me. There are less time constraints and I don’t have to go to work beforehand. The RITA WITTER BAND is also practicing on Sunday, after the GUPPY EFFECT rehearsal. So Sunday will be a marathon of band rehearsal, followed by the open jam at Funks Pub at 8 PM that I plan to attend, as I usually do, to run the live stream. I would not be surprised if one or both bands ends up canceling practice. With the exception of EDDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, none of my other bands really takes rehearsing seriously and makes it a priority. I accept this as fact and adapt. I want my bands to be tight when we play shows, but if we aren’t, due to lack of practice, at least I know I am not the weak link in the chain. Still, it’s bad form to offer consumers an “unfinished” product, even if that product is amateur original music from a local rock-n-roll band. Many musicians don’t grasp this and this is why many musicians have little success and make no money.
Well, I need to wrap it up because my bicycle is calling to me to bike commute home, where Foster is waiting for me to take him on his evening walk. I’ll probably whip up a chicken stir fry for dinner, having secured a windfall of foodstuffs at CostCo earlier this week. They have great fresh produce, but it doesn’t keep forever.