2011 US Tour Post #2- In Beween Pictures

Word up homedizzles!  So this has been that strange week where we had to come home in order to move forward.  I'm sure it's much less convenient for most states that aren't California, but due to Oregon and Washington's pesky location of being due north of us, there's really no easy way to tour up there and then go elsewhere without backtracking a little which means coming right back through Sacramento.  It definitely takes a little bit of the edge off of trying not to forget anything I'm going to need for the next two and a half months.  Imagine my horror at arriving in Oregon and realizing I had come all that way without packing a chess set!  Quite a relief to know that I would be able to swing by my home to pick it up to avoid going a full two months without it.  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

We still had two more shows to go up in the northwest.  The first was at Mandolin Cafe in Tacoma where we had played the year before.  It was a Monday night but we actually had a surprisingly decent sized crowd.  There's nothing more encouraging than playing multiple shows in a given area and having people actually come back to see you who had seen you at previous shows.  Gina, our talented new friend who had opened up our previous two shows, actually came out to see us a third night in a row in Tacoma.  I personally would have been sick of us by then, but that's just me...;)  A woman named Loretta who had come to our Tiger Lounge gig in Seattle, came out to see us again in Tacoma and brought her whole family with her including her 12 year old twin daughters who apparently had been listening to Ricky's new ep on repeat all weekend.  That show was the start of spoiling me in another way that week as it was the first of four gigs in a row where the venue had an actual piano, which I'll take any day over a keyboard.

The next night we played in Portland at Twin Paradox Coffeehouse.  According to Wikipedia, "In physics, the twin paradox is a thought experiment in special relativity, in which a twin makes a journey into space in a high-speed rocket and returns home to find he has aged less than his identical twin who stayed on Earth.  This result appears puzzling because each twin sees the other twin as traveling, and so, according to a naive application of time dilation, each should paradoxically find the other to have aged more slowly."  Far out.  We saw some familiar faces at that show as well: my old friend Brian who I was in a band with when I was 13 and who had performed with us at our Portland show last year, a guy named Ben who went to high school with me, plus Ricky's Uncle Carson and some of his friends.  By the way, I forgot to mention the epic midnight jam session with Uncle Carson the night before going through ten minutes of "Down By the River" and an even more country-fied version of Ricky's "Stingy", complete with pedal steel and everything.

We drove home from Portland on Wednesday.  Fun fact: the midpoint between the equator and the North Pole is just a few miles south of Salem, OR.  I would have thought it was lower than that...if I'd ever thought about it at all.  At one gas station right around the Oregon/California border there was snow covering the ground ironically giving us our most authentically winter experience of the year in the second week of spring.

It was really nice being home again for a few days.  Not that there was much time to rest.  The day after getting back into Sacramento, Ricky, Amy and I drove down to Stockton for a show at the Plea For Peace Center.  Middaugh Goodwin, the guy who books the shows there, is actually running for president in 2012 and has done so in 2004 and 2008.  Plea For Peace Party perhaps?  The show itself was pretty sparsely attended and the rule of making sure there are more people in the audience than there are onstage was just barely met but at least everybody who was there bought a CD.  Maybe they'll all go and start a band too.

As expected, the next night had a much better turnout as it was our official tour kickoff show in Sacramento.  We played at a new venue I'd never played at before called Shine.  Our original openers had to cancel at the last minute so our good friend Autumn Sky valliantly stepped in allowing us to pass the original opening act announcement as a deliberately planned April Fools Day joke.  It was a fun show with lots of friends and encouraging well-wishers for our tour.  If only they knew the artistic tensions already mounting between us causing us to lash out at each other in song... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TMYpJQpzTo

We had Saturday off, our first day without a gig or long distance travelling in almost two weeks which was definitely refreshing but actually made me a little restless.  On Sunday, Ricky and I drove down to Santa Cruz for a show at the Abbey, a venue I've played plenty of times and always enjoy coming back to.  Before driving to the venue, Ricky and I had a very important stop to make, namely to the Boardwalk to ride the Giant Dipper, quite possibly the greatest 86 year old rollar coaster in the world.  After having a brief discussion about whether or not to just ditch the gig all together and hang out at the Boardwalk the rest of the evening, we decided to be responsible rock stars and head back over to the venue which was well worth our while as the gig ended up being very enjoyable.  I was able to top off the day with a slice of pesto pizza from Pizza My Heart which to me would make any day a success.

And then yesterday we really finally left, not to return home for two months.  We're playing nearly twice as many gigs as we did last year in the same amount of time.  Every tour is really a shot in the dark, but if you really think of your main goal as an aspiring professional musician as getting in front of as many people as possible, there's no other way to do it than to leave your hometown and take your music to every corner of the world.  I bought a sand bucket to be our tip jar at shows and it got me thinking that each gig is like a sand castle, this elegant and majestic structure you build that only lasts a moment before the tide knocks it down again.  The real trick is finding the material to build a castle that won't fall no matter what happens.  Or maybe Thoreau uses the castle analogy more eloquently: “Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”  Whatever the case, this tour is going to be a blast and I just hope that we can take advantage of every opportunity available to us to make this a significant step towards a successful life of music.  And if I encounter some unlucky fool along the way who wants to challenge me in a game of chess, I am so ready...

"Jonah" live at Shine- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj5eC18_n3Q

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