...being the observations and navigational extracts
from the ongoing expeditions of San Francisco Piano Pop trio
True Margrit

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Opposite Band

Saturday August 7
We stop at Pea Soup Andersons on Highway 5. We get to SF around 7:00 pm. We sleep.

Sunday August 8
Off we go to Bottom of the Hill at the crack of noon. We meet the (MANY—it varies from show to show, but today they are ten) members of Family Crest. Family Crest plays first. They are VERY adept at what they do, which is definitely in the Arcade Fire kind of vein, but with more pop-soul-tinged vocal stylings, and more aggressively orchestral flavorings—and occasionally even embracing Gypsy-meets-Celtic-music-meets-chamber-music moments to keep the listeners guessing and wondering. And they are cute as buttons.

Next up is the worldwide premiere of our new music video, OPPOSITE MAN—directed by filmmakers, Sarah Dunham & Chelsea Walton. The screen goes up, Sarah pushes ‘play’, the video kicks in, and we are as excited as HELL to be sharing it with the folks here today. The video looks AMAZING—from the time-lapse, and tilt-shift, to the radiant saturated colors, to the wild glowing white grid backdrop—splendid! I’m so proud.

It really strikes me, upon seeing it on a biggish screen, how much Sarah and Chelsea totally nailed it—the video fits the song in this super-cool way. Multiplicity. Choices. The time lapsed/ tilt-shifted scenes of humanity moving through the cityscape convey that pseudo-brave shell of ironic distance that belies the vulnerability underneath. Don’t we all sometimes wish we were the opposite man? But as soon as you get the opposite of what you had, you want the NEW opposite, don’t you? That’s that fleeting myth embedded in an unreachable past in a hall of reflecting mirrors wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a sweater.

And the dog’s in the cradle, and the cat’s in the cupboard, and Bono’s in a villa, and the pea’s in the pod, and the butter’s on the table, and the bacon’s in the pan.

We leap into our set after the video, while on the floor a whole sassy dance-section forms and organizes some fancy moves custom-made on the spot for each tune--very amusing. We do some bangup versions of tunes from SEAWORTHY and THE JUGGLER’s PROGRESS, plus some newer ones: “Blazing Wheel”, “Obvious Solutions”, Superhero Drugs”, and “Comforting the Castaways”. All of these are on the docket to be recorded… and soon! And how!

In a blur our set is over and the final act , McCabe and Mrs Miller takes the stage. They are a super-duper-supergroup (each member being a big star in his/ or her own right) and show no mercy as they croon, roar, whisper, and scream, and pummel their instruments and vocal cords in the name of Sunday afternoon rocking. Very impressive, very cool— and it’s a great ending to a great day of music.

The bands’ gear is cleared and carried away to waiting vehicles, the final drinks are quaffed, farewells are made, and the last cars drive off. The night is young and there will be a variety of companionable gatherings with beverages and foods and all other manner of refreshments, but that part of our mission where we get up onstage and play for you nice people is completed (for now) and though it is sad it is over (for now) it is also satisfying to know in our guts, in our bones, and in our very cells that what we just accomplished was a summer tour well-done. North, south, east, and west, we chased the cardinal points to shows in Washington, Oregon, and California--playing at an organic farm, a burlesque show, a jazz club, a restaurant, a café, at big and wee nightclubs. We answered interview questions, we appeared on the radio, we traveled far, we drank beer.

We did our best to rock you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mim's the Word

In the morning we receive an email from David Bash generally thanking all the performers and asking if anyone accidentally took a black jacket from backstage at the venue—Steve Barton is missing his groovy 60’s coat. Andrew fesses up—he thought is was Gary’s jacket so he scooped it up & tossed it in the truck. Oops. We get in touch with Steve and make the joke he’s probably pretty sick of: “your jacket’s in the Valley, but you’re not”. Ouch. He’s totally gracious and agrees to meet us at our venue before the gig to retrieve his cool garment.

We get to tonight’s venue (TRIP) at 5:30-ish and Steve shows up promptly. We hand over his jacket; and it turns out that both his cell-phone and a copy of his new, unreleased album are in the pockets DAMN. We are glad all these items are safe back with the owner. To make up for our bad behavior we give him some True Margrit CDs and he gives US a copy of his new CD to check out! WOW—what a guy!

We get our gear onstage while Shane, TRIP's amazing sandwich artisan, makes us all the MOST mysterioously scrumptious sandwiches. We eat these with relish (actually, with pickles).

Soon enough, though, we greet friends, and then it’s time to play. Andrew has a whole table of high-school friends there cheering us on; Gary has a quite a crew tonight, as well. Super-sweet. We blaze through a few tunes and then my sister Mim Eichler Rivas (yes, she’s that famous as hell author), and her husband Victor Rivers (also famous as hell) arrive. YAY! We greet them (well, to be more accurate, we all intone: “MIM” in an oblique reference to Galaxyquest), and then carry on with the rock.

After the gig we mill about on the sidewalk and eventually formulate a plan to go to Jerry’s Deli. There, we chat and eat and have a nice little after-party. Matzo-ball soup, chopped liver, chopped salad, burgers, and cheesecake are all consumed by one or more of our group. And then somehow it’s after midnight. Our friends/family are all looking weary. We are a bit sleepy too, but not very--we are getting tough. After that epic journey to Texas, this trip (though not a complete piece of cake) is certainly way mellower.

We zip back to Grenada Hills in half the time it took to get to Santa Monica due to the late hour and its attendant lack of traffic. And now the air has cooled down, the palm trees are silhouetted in the streetlights, their leaves gently sussurating in the night breeze. And tomorrow: yea though we travel through the Valley of Central California, I will fear no odor.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Margrit & Margaret

Thursday, August 5
Picture this: I write a blog about how I undertake a mission to cook all the recipes in Margaret Cho's cookbook...no wait...wrong universe.

OK. Picture this instead--since this DID happen:
International Pop Overthrow Festival at the Echoplex in Echo Park in Los Angeles! IPO is indie-music tastemaker, David Bash’s baby—and his baby is now a teenager, this is the 13th year (time for a bar-mitzvah) that he’s been traveling to and from NYC, Liverpool, Seattle, Los Angeles (among other locations ) creating scores of super lineups of indie-power-pop joy. We are proud to be part of such a cool institution—in fact this year we are on the IPO compilation CD. Hence, if you go to any of the shows you can pick up a copy and you’ll get our song, “SYLLABLE” for free (and 65 other cool tunes by bands you will be psyched to know about).

We are up first tonight, so when we get to the Echoplex we just carry our gear right up to the stage and set it up and check it. Done and done. We get swag on the merch-table, Done and done. It’s still over an hour before our set, so we repair to TWO BOOTS pizza next door. I always get a TWO BOOTS slice when I’m in the Village in NYC; I had no idea they had expanded to LA. I say: YUM! We are all pretty much ravenous, but we only get a single slice—for now. There are many items on the menu we want to experience, but I for one, must not be too terribly full whilst rocking. But after the show—I intend to eat the face off of a calzone (as Christina Kowalchuk would say).

We go back downstairs to the club and in walks Gary’s friend, the clever funnyman, Jim Earl (of the Clutter Family--oh, and Gary just mastered their CD). Jim is accompanied by his friend--the brilliant, hip, and fabulous Margaret Cho--ooh! How cool! We try not to say anything too ridiculous to her, since we are such total fans of all her work.

And then it’s time for us to rock! We explode into “500 Years” and it’s super fun to play on such a big ol’ stage. We burn through our set in what seems like nanoseconds (but it’s actually our allotted 25 minutes), and then it’s time to take a bow and carry off my piano.

We sell and sign some CDs, and chat with Jim Earl and Margaret Cho, who give us warm and fuzzy feedback--especially Margaret, who says many enthusiastic and encouraging words about our music, genre, and our performance thereof--and this, I must say, my friends, is most inspiring and thrilling indeed. She tells me she is working on her music these days ---which is supercool--and that she has a keytar...(Ok this link is a crazy one with Rick and Adam Wakeman--just saying). Margaret informs me that the old keytars from the 80's are "bullshit" but the new ones are great--this is a good tip and when I (inevitably) can't resist the urge any longer, and go ahead and acquire my very own personal keytar, I will be forewarned and forearmed. She and Jim then take off to fulfill their quest for pie. Mmm, pie.

The next band starts up: The Shebangs! We just played with them in SF in January at El Rio. Now here we are on this massive stage. They have an awesome set, followed by Steve Barton –who also plays a superb set. WOW! And hey--we are everywhere that Steve is (well, twice in 24 hours--as will be related in the next blog). This is a damned good show of which we are proud participants.

At this point our returning hunger makes our interest in music become detached and visions of TWO BOOTS pizza draws us back for more of the fine fare. We go order and split a chicken parmesan sandwich and a saprasetta mushroom and artichoke calzone—it is pretty delish. As we munch our second dinner we look around. Wow. Everyone looks famous— for example, I keep thinking the guy across from our table with the pepperoni slice looks like a guy from Star Trek New Generation...right?

And now, because pie was invoked during the course of the evening, we go now in search of dessert. We end up only a few doors down at Masa. We are ALMOST turned away, but once the owner is assured we will take something sweet to go, he personally sets us up with bread pudding and carrot cake. He tells us that if we don’t like the bread pudding we can come back & get our money back. He is very confident. He informs us that it’s actually croissant pudding—specifically, it’s made with chocolate and almond croissants. Good LORD!

When we get the treats back to Lynn’s house and try them, there is much rejoicing-especially over the bread pudding. AMAZING! It is should have a star on Hollywood Boulevard. I just know it's Margaret Cho's recipe--and I know, I just know she can cook it while singing and playing her keytar!

With these comforting visions dancing in my head--and eggs, sugar, butter, chocolate, and marzipan pirouetting in my belly, I slumber sweetly.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tasmanian Angels

Wednesday, August 4
The guys arrive at my place a mere two hours later than they said they would and we’re off to Los Angeles (actually, our first southern Cal date is in Sherman Oaks at a fancy schmancy restaurant). Andrew drives like the wind through the central valley. It is boiling hot today (you guessed it, we have no AC), and with the aromas from Cowschwitz, Pea Soup Andersen's, and other loathsome Hwy 5 landmarks, we are glad to make serious tracks.

We arrive at our host’s abode—once again the lovely Lynn is putting us up/putting up with us. Overcome with a crippling torpor we drape ourselves on the furniture for a wee rest before the shower queue begins.

Soon enough we are off to Sherman Oaks. When we get to Cafe Cordiale we do a walk –through. Well. White tablecloths. Low lighting, hushed tones. We’re gonna bust up this quilting-bee,  neighbors and gentlefolk.

We start loading in our gear, and one of the other performers, Rod Fritz (who is here all the way from Australia), arrives. We feel like we are old friends, since we’ve been shooting posts, emails, and info back and  forth on facebook and reverbnation .  His girlfriend, Tania from Tasmania, is totally bubbly, charming, and blessed with good looks beyond mere mortals; within a few moments we are all getting along famously & sipping drinks at the bar. Shortly this particular configuration alters, because my “uncle”  and “aunt” Phil and Mary show up; we repair to our own table to chat. Meanwhile, Athena Murray starts up her set—and a very excellent set it is.

Rod gets up next and sings like and angel (and with much stage presence). I had checked out some of his tunes online, but he sounds even better in person. Tania and he beam at each other while he plays. She tells me about each song.

She says:
“ Oh this one is the absolute BEST” and “This one makes me cry” and other such commentary. Aw, cute. She takes a break from shooting pics of Rod to pose for my camera.

Then it is time for True Margrit to stand in front of the red curtains.  Ooh red. We feel kind of swanky. The sound is quite nice and we play through our set with the volume down a few notches from eleven (but just a few)--Andrew has a smaller kit than usual, and is hitting the skins with blastix instead of sticks. We will not alarm digesting diners—well, not too much. Tonight’s version of our new tune,  “ Comforting the Castaways”, is particularly tasty.  We dedicate our closing song to Mary and Phil due to it being their anniversary, and then the show is over.

We sell a few CDs, sign up a few new fans on the mailing list, say farewells to our peeps, and meanwhile Tania tries on, selects, and purchases one of our t-shirts. She and Rod are coming up to San Francisco this weekend and they assure us they will come to Bottom of the Hill and grace us with their friendly faces. Rejoicing at that thought, we ride forth towards Lynn’s house where we’ll soon enough get to slumber.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marc Time Flies

Sunday, August 1
The guys retrieve me from Brad’s at the crack of 10:30 and we hasten to KWVA where we are to appear in an interview on the Sunday Morning Hangover with Marc Time. He has requested that we bring some rarities, so we share some instrumental versions of songs from THE JUGGLER'S PROGRESS, some outtakes from Seaworthy, and some of my demos of new songs. Marc is an excellent, entertaining, quick-witted radio personality. He asks us interesting questions and makes us feel welcome…well most of the time-- he does start to snore with comical loudness into his mic when I go off on a  ( perhaps dull) description of  using a whole–tone scale in one of the rare tracks we play, “Desperate and Dumb”. Damn, dude! How rude…and I admit—hilarious! And useful--for the rest of the tour, we use this snoring technique on each other to curtail overly-lengthy diatribes, explanations, and lectures any member of True Margrit may try to bore ourselves with.

After the show we meet Brad at Studio One Café for a spectonkular brunch. Yum. Best French toast. Ever. And a damned good Benedict. And now, somehow, it’s almost 3pm—DAMN! We gotta jet! We get on Highway 5 and point vehicles toward San Francisco…and two full days break from the tour, but I know this time will fly.

Mark my words.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I Live at my House

Saturday, July 31
On the way down to Eugene (where we play TONIGHT) we stop in Portland and have lunch with my brother Dan Eichler—yay!!!

We zoom onward to Eugene and soon enough the True Margrit band is convening with Andrea and Joey at Rogue Brewery consuming delish items like beer, Kobe burgers, reubens, and more tater tots. Mmm, tots. Thus fortified, we walk down the block to our venue, Luckey’s Cigar Store. Teresa (who heard us for the first time last week at the Rock Bar gig is there, having driven down from Portland --which is so very flattering! The New Mexican Revolution kicks off the night with some hearty, excellent, quirky-rock-meets-Americana in the family tree of both Tom Waits and Nick Cave—nice! We especially love the tune where bassist Emily picks up her trumpet and performs a super pretty brassy fanfare. Oh yeah.

The NMR finishes their set with a flourish and we pop up to the stage and roar into a set. We are egged on to new heights by the crowd--particularly by a dude doing some dancing that includes furious pogo-hops, jumps, skips and general arm-flailing. It makes me feel that Eugene is very hospitable—I feel quite at home.

After a few songs he inquires politely:
“Are you gonna play that songs about bruises to your ego?” I gape for a moment—he’s quoting my lyrics!

Finally I answer:
“ Oh, right, oh yeah, ‘Syllable’! Totally. We are definitely playing it!”

He says:
“I heard it on Snap Crackle Pop on KWVA. It’s your best song—but I love them all, so far…” I high-five him by way of thanks. SWEET!

We continue onward, making the Luckey’s stage our home away from home. We slam through our set with full-on rock forces, playing well past midnight. After the show we sell some CDs to various folks, our friends Andrea & Joey take off, we meet the crazily dancing guy (James B) who announces that we are now his favorite band. YAY! I LOVE IT! I give a CD to David Gizara from KLCC who wants to play “Make then Beg” on his jazz show—nice! A great night!

Gary & Andrew head back to Marc’s, but I hang at the bar with my bud, Brad E (a brilliant guitarist--and part of Luckey’s bartending staff). I’m going to crash at his place, so I chill while they close up shop. They are just about to shut the doors when it is determined that a woman, we’ll call her Mabel, is passed out on a couch in the dark. The staff tries to get her to her feet, but to no avail. Not to be defeated, a rolling office chair is produced and Mabel is wheeled out to a waiting cab at the curb. Brad and I opt to go with her to make sure she gets safely home. But alas, Mabel is not able to conjure up her address. When asked where she lives, she can only muster:

“My house!” Hellfire. The cabbie does indeed remember her former apartment, however, it appears she has moved--and to where, it unfortunately remains a mystery. After a few stops around Eugene, some of her close friends are located and she is bundled into her homies' waiting arms and we speed off into the night. Well—what’s left of it.

For, as I finally lay head to pillow and drift off, I hear birds a-stirring and there’s a distinct lightening of the sky.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

It's a Little Eorthe After All

Friday, July 30th
Today we are heading to a potluck /openhouse/concert at an organic farm (Little Eorthe Farm run by Carrie Anne Little & Ken). I throw together some tater salad with olive oil & boiled eggs & celery & capers & onions and we promptly leave for the very farm from whence said taters sprang –whoa. We don’t have super far to go from Tacoma—we are going just outside of Orting, WA. When we arrive we set up our instruments on a brand new stage that looks out over a field facing a wooded ridge. WOW! This is gorgeous. I wander about, checking out the pigpen, trying to photograph the alpacas. They are very distrustful, as they have recently been shorn and they slip away when I come near. The sheep are more social and crowd around to be scratched and cooed at.

I meet our hosts, Ken & Carrie, who are SUPER cool and they go to great lengths to make sure we all have a drink—there are four kegs with housemade beverages: porter, mead, IPA, and carbonated wine. I slurp down a big cup of mead and it’s delicious--- and damn it, I’m drunk. Ken tells me it’s about 15% alcohol. Oops. Just then a big fat platter of roasted chicken arrives (the chickens were clucking, hunting, and pecking these very fields just days ago, but have been sacrificed for the delectation of all of us lucky enough to be here at this party to taste them.). And they are delicious.

After three pieces I feel more sober --which is good, because we presently launch into our set. The sun sets while we play tunes. The first stars line up on the horizon like ships on a quest, dew settles on the fields, and the audience bundles into sweaters, jackets, and blankies, delicious drinks in hand, as they settle in for a good listen. In this dusk of exactly blue we play “50,000 Names”. As I sing, I perceive the deepening sky overhead in my peripheral vision and it feels chockfull of possibilities—way more than 50,000.

In due course, we wind up our set and Deborah Page Band sets up (except for Andrew who is all ready to go, of course). While they prep their show, Monica regales the crowd with some standup in the bawdy, ribald vein, sending the crowd into gales of mirth. The band launches into their moody-sweet music as the stars blaze forth mingling with the onstage lightshow of lasers and swirling colors. The moon rises into a nest of glowing clouds, adding another note of mystery to the proceedings.

After the rockshow is completed there are hugs all around, then the crowd drifts into the night. We tear down the gear and chat with a few late-arrivers. Our hosts have long retired to their repose. They have to be at the Proctor Farmer’s Market at 7:30 am.

A farmer’s work is never done.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Wednesday, July 28th
Before hitting the pillow in the wee hours, I find a little prezzie from Heather resting upon said pillow: a card and a Fran’s salted caramel. For it is my birthday, my friends. In the late late morning I arise and indulge in some strong black tea and some vocal and cardio warm-ups. Thus fortified I’m ready to face my year. I work for a while on some lyrics for a new song called, “Absolute Zero”. I receive birthday calls from friends & family. Meanwhile, as the afternoon wears on, aromas of the most appetizing nature are wafting about causing much growling in my stomach. Andrew is frying up his famous Bacon bacon fried chicken, Gary is baking his famous chili-cheese cornbread, and Heather is roasting organic veggies famously. YUM! Soon we eat, joined by my Tennesse friend, Anne Turpin, who now lives in Tacoma! There is also birthday cake and good cheer, and a lovely and filling time is had by all.

Happy birthday to ME—nevermind Candace.

Thursday July 29th
We arrive at 4th Ave Tavern not knowing who, when, how, which, wherefore, or moreover. The club booked us and Gina Belliveau originally, but then added a burlesque show to the evening. Do we go first? Does the burlesque show include ponies? Is Andrew going to be asked to play rimshots while dancers expose body parts? The suspense is soon to end. We bring in the gear and Ben the good-natured (and we will soon learn talented) sound-guy spells out his plan to mesh the two shows by alternating sets—a sandwich , if you will. We get set up on our quadrant—well, almost half, really--of the stage. The other section will have the risqué dancers prancing naughtily. Or nicely, or both, depending on your proclivities.

Soon enough the crowd arrives--rather dressed up in evening-ish wear and looking eagerish in their dresses and fancy pants. People like near-nudity, it’s a well-worn fact. The show commences with Gina Belliveau accompanied on some songs by her friend Claire. They play a set of super-sweet tunes that is well-received by the filling house.

Then the burlesque players shake their moneymakers, strut, and grind with a healthy dose of humor and to great approbation of the audience. We follow their set with a short but sassy set of our own, closing with "MAKE THEM BEG" (which feels particularly apt tonight). This is, in turn, followed by more nearly-nude dancing. One dancer does her bit to Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls, an arresting performance which climaxes when she dislodges two cheese burgers from her loincloth/pants and eats them (except for the portions that are mischievously spat out upon the startled but very amused crowd).

Then the dancers turn the stage over to us (in the name of rock) for the rest of the evening and we set forth on a journey that takes us well past midnight. There’s a changing of the guard with the rock-hungry crowd filtering in while the burlesque-satiated crowd filters out. Amongst those with an appetite for both shows I see the nodding and smiling woman from the Jazzbones show—nodding and smiling once again (sweet)! At one point a posse of women arrives that exhibit some enthused dancing while we play. I mention that we are from San Francisco and they all holler and hoot and laugh—it turns out they too are from the bay area! They particularly dig “500 Years” , and during the 7/8 section as the piano and bass accents are thundering, and the drums shatter the sound barrier, they throw cash at us—fives and ones go swirling about mingling with all the eighth notes, generally filling the air with anarchy and love. Whoa.

After the gig we hit King Solomon’s Reef next door. We are joined at the diner by she who nods and smiles (we are then properly introduced and I learn that she is Cat). Josh, who really dug the set and thus bought our CD, also comes along; and (in a rare co-mingling of the burlesuque and rock camps of the evening) Janine, the burlesque troupe’s fearless leader also joins our table for some food and chatter. We all get tasty snacks in the genre of burgers, tater tots (deep-fried, mind you), grilled cheese and tomato soup, and such.

Giving and receiving exposure is strenuous and we are hungry--and the food tastes divine.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Seattle Two Ways

Monday, July 26th
Many hours of sleep roll by in technicolor REM for me. AWESOME! I feel revivified. In the morning I work out whilst Andrew is just working.

We all head up to Seattle on this gigless night. Andrew & Heather meet a cousin of Andrew’s for a fancy seafood meal. Gary chills in the park meditatively overlooking the Pacific, then chows down on fancy seafood at a different eaterie. I wander about meditatively, drink free tea samples, wander more, and finally eat fancy seafood at yet another restaurant. We re-convene for tasty beers and a highly elevated & rarified salami platter at Pike Brewing Company ( since our seafood dinners, fanciness notwithstanding, were on the light side).

We head back to Tacoma where we all listen nostalgically to selections from 90125 and Big Generator by Yes, to which Heather & I do some moving interpretive dance. Needless to say there’s not a dry eye by the end of the night.

Tuesday, July 27th
Back up to Seattle we go—this time we shall rock. We get to the (Jewelbox Theatre) and find that it is ever-so cute. It is a bar/restaurant/theatre all at the same time--which is no small feat--and we get to play on their wee stage in the theatre area. Deborah Page Band
(for which, in an instance of music-scene-incest/ cross-pollination, Andrew plays drums) sets up first. They coat the stage with Deborah’s tunes, swirling lights, lasers, fog synths, e-bowing, and mega atmosphere –sweet! Then True Margrit hurtles through space balancing precariously on a sassy stack of songs—zoom! Finally, the evening is topped off with the athletic, honeyed, mellifluous voice & piano of Katrina Litz accompanied by her sparkling drummer’s finger-snapping grooves—wow! And I say again, wow.

We go back to Tacoma with rock in our veins and hunger in our bellies. And we snack upon arrival, 2:30 am though it is. Yum.

The Leg Bone's Connected to the Jazzbone

Saturday July 24th
My cousin Brook (& Mike's!) boisterous wedding festivities exact from each participant a payment of tears (and chuckles) of the type that friends and kin tender with joy and pride on such occasions. In other words--there's nary a dry eye in the Portland city park where the nuptial ceremony takes place. The reception continues in the same vein, with exuberant toasts to the cute and awesome bride and groom. When the party is over, all retire replete with good cheer, good food, drink, cupcakes, and sparklers.

Sunday, July 25th
A smaller group meets in the a.m. for bagels & just a bit more family time. Afterwards I grab a ride with my cousin, Jon F Geffen to head back up to Tacoma--for Andrew and Gary await and there's a gig tonight! The traffic is gnarly & I grow weary in the eyeballs due to the summer afternoon glare on the highway.
It takes four hours (twice the usual travel time) and I arrive kind of last minute-ish. Gary & Andrew trot off to the venue du jour, Jazzbones, to load-in--graciously conceding that I might welcome a breather before I head over to join them in rock.

I chill for a bit, chatting with Heather, thus bringing my brain back to earth after its journey to the outer reaches of the galaxy’s spiral arms brought on by the lightspeed visit with glorious family and extensions thereof.

In due course, we scoot over to the club Jazzbones and find Gary & Andrew already ensconced next to a tidily arranged merch-table, tasty beers in hands. The drumkit is against the far wall all assembled and ready to be whisked up onstage when it’s time for rock.

I peer about the room. Something seems different—the murals? No they were here before. Well, they are fetching—shiny reddish-hued depictions of music-related actions such as drumming and sax playing. Hmmmm—maybe it looks changed because I was so wildly sleep-deprived last time (as recounted in the October blog: HUMPDAY), and I’m merely mildly sleep-deprived at the moment.

The band playing has a Fender Rhodes. I flashback to the first time I met Gary during a solo set I was playing at the Albion in San Francisco and he McGyvered my Fender Rhodes when it broke down (it broke down a lot, the damned thing, but it sounded GREAT) --and I was able to finish my set thanks to him.

Now, back in present tense , it’s our turn. We place our gear onstage and wallop the hell out of it for several songs. It sounds good. The hand bone’s connected to the piano-bone.
The piano-bone’s connected to the drum bone, the drum bone’s connected to the bass-bone. Hear the sound of True Margrit. Amen. I’m looking out as we play. A woman smiles and nods in time through each song from her table close to the stage. Presently, another woman breathlessly approaches the stage and asks me to sing ‘happy birthday’ to a girl who’s turning 21.

I ask:
“What’s her name?” She pauses.

She says:
“Wait”, and scampers back to the bar. We play some more tunes. She returns. She says:
“Candace”, and jets back to the bar.

I strike a chord and sing:
“Happy birthday to Candace/ you’re turning 21/ Happy birthday Candace/ now you’re free to be a lush.” A heartwarming sentiment, really. We wind up our set, tear down, load the truck, and drive away from Jazzbones. Again.

This gig’s connected to the last gig
The big gig’s connected to the humble gig
That next gig’s gonna flip your wig
Dem gigs dem gigs dem funky warm and fuzzy gigs

Dem Bones shows up a lot...here...
Or here...