12.19.2014

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.

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