The Grand Finale of 2014 Was Awesome

The nice thing about being the designated driver on New Year's Eve is...pretty much nothing.

I mean, there are all the obvious things like getting home safely and not being hung over on the first day of the new year. There is also the inner altruistic satisfaction of DDing your friends home after the celebration, so they can party hearty without consequence. However, last night the only person I DD-ed home was Spots (aka Matt), the bass player in my band EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, and he doesn't drink at all anyway. Oh the irony!

Before I left the Frequency rock club in Madison WI last night, I made sure my band mates had their safe passage home secured. Drummer Frank (aka Dano) told me he and Kayla would cab it if they did not find a suitably sober volunteer. I believed them for the simple fact that we had all car pooled to the club together in my car, so I knew there could be no option for them to get behind the wheel of their own car after the show when inhibitions are gone.

"Are you OK to drive?"

"Totally. I drive better after my 10th beer."

Lead guitarist Eddie (aka Tim) had his friend Mel as DD.

The NYE party I attended was fantastic, in no small measure because it was the second show ever of my punk rock band, the aforementioned EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE, but also because there were four other excellent bands on the bill and I got to enjoy them all.

My giddiness was growing exponentially in the afternoon yesterday, long before EAD took the stage at Frequency. When I got done with my 60 minute workout about 5 PM, I loaded my guitar in the car and drove the 15 minutes to Dano's house on the east side of Madison for a quick band practice to run down the night's 10 song setlist of power punk rock tunes.

We headed over to the Frequency about 7:30 to load in our gear, along with the other bands (we were sharing drums and amps and things with some of them), and do a soundcheck. Since we got there early and we were the first band, we got to do a nice long sound check and get everything dialed in perfectly. The sound guy last night was top notch. I could hear all the instruments and the three vocal parts clearly in the stage mix. The Frequency is a good place to hear music.

We kicked off the show about 9:45 and plowed through our 30 minute set of original power punk rock tunes. Everyone loved "I Like Your Hat," as always and we introduced the crowd to a song they had not officially heard live before, "Drunk Dialed Your Mom." That will be a singalong anthem pretty soon, I think. The room was packed with people, even at that somewhat early hour and we must have sounded good, because we didn't scare anyone off.

Even though I have been playing live rock-n-roll for more years than I can remember, I still get a little nervous before I play. I am a perfectionist and I want to make sure the songs are performed as tight as possible and that I biff minimally, while maintaining an engaging stage presence. With this band, I really have nothing to worry about. They are top notch musicians and we won't even play a song live unless we know it is rock solid at band practice. It is great to play in a band where I don't have to worry about stuff like that...they will be solid. Still, I have to give the performance a lot of mental focus to uphold my end of the bargain, because nobody wants to be the weak link in the rock-n-roll chain, so it is stressful in a good way. After we finished our set, I could relax and enjoy the four other bands that followed us, and I did.

My favorite was the second band, called DEVIL TO DRAG. Their original songs rocked and they have a female front woman with amazing vocal "pipes" and great stage charisma. Their bass player also played standup bass, which was cool and eye-catching.

The other bands were all equally talented, albeit not as much my taste in music. Two of them were more the screamo type metal where it is pointless to try to understand the words they are singing. As that kind of music goes, they were excellent, and I flailed to it just as hard as everyone else in the audience.

Some dickhead ruined the fun at one point when he became aggressive on the dance floor and had to be forcibly removed from the venue. We didn't let that dampen our fun though and the party soon resumed.

After the last band finished, Spots had to leave pretty quick for his marathon drive back to Kenosha WI. I did a quick survey of who would need my DD services, if anyone.

Finding no one, Spots and I loaded our gear in my muscle car (Prius is the new Mustang), along with some of Frank's drum stuff, and then we drove off in the direction of Burrito Drive with intentions for a late night post rocking meal. Sadly, the eatery was no longer taking orders when we arrived at about 2:40 AM this morning. Plan B was the 24 hour Denny's near Frank's house. I refueled on a Supreme Skillet and a milk shake, and I treated Spots to a double cheeseburger, since I knew he had a long assed drive before him.

My drive home from Denny's was only about 15 minutes, and by that time of the night, the roads were largely empty, except for some sneaky cops trying to bust people for drunk driving. I secretly kind of hoped I would get pulled over, since I was 100% sober (although "drunk" on greasy restaurant food). But my driving was flawless and I gave them no excuse. I got home about 4 AM and soon fell into the deep slumber that only a fully satisfying rock-n-roll performance can induce.

This morning, my dog Buddy woke me up about 7:45 AM to let me know he was hungry and wanted to go out. Bleary eyed and foggy headed, I satisfied his need and then fell back into a fitful sleep for another 90 minutes or so. However, I was too high on life from the show to fall fully back to sleep, so I didn't fight it. I just got up about 9:30 and made some strong coffee before sitting down to write this post.

I am excited for 2015. I am feeling really energized about my "resolutions." Today I am going to spend about 90 minutes on the bike trainer to burn off the massive caloric intake at Denny's last night. My workout regime is going to correlate with my dietary patterns, with basically three tiers. Tier 1 correlates with good dietary habits (whole foods, low calories, high nutrient density). Tier 2 correlates with average dietary habits (somewhat healthy food, carbs, eating too much). Tier 3 correlates with poor dietary habits (junk food, sweets, excessive carbs).

Tier 1: 30 minute workout, the minimum maintenance workout when adhering to my usual good healthy whole food diet the day prior.

Tier 2: 60 minute workout to counterbalance the mild caloric overload of the day prior.

Tier 3: 90 minute workout, when I really indulged the day prior.

Now these are guidelines, of course. Scheduling sometimes precludes a long workout, especially after work when I have music stuff in the evenings. My goal is to get my workouts completed in the morning, before the day's responsibilities interfere. I have maintained this kind of fitness pattern in the past, so it's totally doable. I just need to get into the mindset.

That's enough for today, I suppose. Have a happy 2015.

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