Summer of Self Love and balance control
Hope everyone is FINALLY enjoying this warm weather! It’s about time dangit!
enjoying a little bit of downtime, so wanted to write a little follow-up to the last blog, plus provide an update on things.
so when I last left off, after my long confession regarding how the gigging world is these days I mentioned how i was getting that feeling of “hey i think things are starting to finally happen”. well, funny thing is after i posted my last entry, things have been starting to happen gig wise!
after a good start to the year playing some bigger places like the loft, Katona Space and then the chance in poughkeepsie, next thing I know we have already secured more high profile type gigs taking us through the summer!
as i mentioned last time, we got an offer to play toad’s place in new haven which is a venue that quite honestly i never thought we would have been able to get, but we did! i was on their “e-mail mailing list” for years and years and every time I would respond to their thread saying we were available for the upcoming shows they had available i wouldn’t hear a peep. to be honest, i thought it was just spam. at least once in awhile respond by saying “go fuck yourself”!
but next thing i knew, the booking agent actually (gasp!) called me on my cell to see if i wanted the gig! i was shocked so i jumped at the opportunity, so for the first time since i think the mid 90’s I got to play the venue and for the first time it was me fronting and playing my own music which to me, was a super big deal.
so to recap the toad’s show, although we weren’t able to bring many (shocker..come on people get off that netflix!) we had a super great set, the staff/crew there were really nice and we received a really great response from the crowd! i had a lot of people come up to us after saying how much they enjoyed, even one saying “best band of the night!” which felt really good. it’s one thing to have a few of your friends compliment you, it’s another when total strangers come up and say it. that’s what making new fans is all about!
plus I ran into an old friend aaron who’s new band played right before us! hopefully we will come back and hopefully we will get to play more shows with his new band as well. check out the lost royals here and tell em we sent ya!
i also have to thank my “pseudo sponsor”, band mate and pal Shawn for helping me that night. two things he did for me was not only to remind me “don’t be combative on stage” but he also removed me from the venue with his lovely wife Liz so not to obsess.
now that I’m not on meds and sober, all i end up doing is sitting in the venue watching the other bands and I start to think “fuck, everyone is going to leave. nobody is going to be here, this is gonna suck…” and if I don’t remove myself, if the crowd is small, I tend to get “pissy” on stage and have the tendency of getting nasty to the crowd as almost a defense mechanism. thankfully, my brother doing these two things for me made my mind at ease and I was able to get up there, have a blast and it shows in the video ;)
so after getting that call and playing this gig, i felt really good but then almost instantly we got e-mails for offers to play dingbatz in new jersey as well as back to the loft in june, then back to 33 golden street in july, freight house cafe in august and that’s not counting other offers I got from webster underground and some others recently, which we actually had to turn down because of scheduling!
like i said before in the last blog, i really believe that just having that resume now with our prior shows under our belt in bigger venues is starting to finally pay off. after starting the band back in 2015 we are finally at the point where venues are contacting us to play, not me chasing after them!
it couldn’t have come at a better time for my ego too since after being dormant since september, i get nervous so to have gigs booked monthly and pretty damn impressive ones at that gave me the confidence I needed to really dig in and move forward with my music and the band in general. we still need to build that fanbase show wise, but the more we play at these places i’m getting more confident that it will get there.
So besides having all of these kick ass gigs with the CAB, the summer also has me booked solid with my pals in Split Decision playing gigs with them practically every weekend! right after this gig at toad’s on friday night, next thing i know I was waking up, having a bit of downtime, but then i was back in the car loading my bass this time and playing a show that saturday for a private party with the splits!
it was a lot of fun, made some bucks, ate some killer food and rocked it out but it was 3 sets…almost 40+ songs so needless to say after playing the night before, along with lugging gear I was pretty shot. that’s not counting a few weeks ago when gary and I played a splits gig in the am, then a cab gig the same night at the chance!
made me think of the subject for this blog entry and how i have to remind myself just like mister myagi told daniel son, i need to practice balance….not just with music, but in life so that’s my message for the day.
i had a convo recently with someone who when i was talking about all of the gigs coming up they mentioned “well come on, you have to like one band more than the other” and my honest response was for the first time was “no actually, just like my own children i love and treat each one the same”
when it comes to being in a band, especially being in more than one it’s disrespectful to everyone involved if you decide to treat one project as “beneath you” or lesser than the other. there’s going to be one member who to them this band is their world, the only band they are in and are committed 110% to it and if you walk in half assed, popping beers, not knowing the songs and having the attitude of “well, i’m just doing this for the paycheck or to get out of the house…THIS over here is my thing” do yourself and everyone else a favor…go home.
i learned that the hard way a few years ago where i was too drunk, too depressed, too involved in the other original music i was doing I felt i had to quit the splits because I couldn’t handle being in both bands and needed to choose.
Turns out, as much as i loved doing “my own thing:” playing with barry and darrell in the dalliance, i wasn’t contributing there either as much. i ballooned to over 300lbs, was drinking myself to death, playing/feeling miserable, squeaked out maybe a song once or twice a year with them and we barely played any gigs.
cut to now i’m back in the splits having the time of my life with them again, down 60lbs, sober for almost 15 months, released 3 full length albums of original music and a live album under my own name, playing those songs live with some killer musicians in the CAB in places like toads, the chance, the loft, etc. and that’s within only 4 years! i even have 15 NEW songs demoed for another release.
i’m also not only playing guitar instead of bass in the band live, I’m also recording and playing guitar SOLOS. live. back in 2015 recording my first album HEAL with Darrell I couldn’t play ONE solo on the album, i tried i was horrible but now? not too shabby ;)
at this point in my life, i am super lucky and grateful that not only am i gainfully employed with a nice “day job”, still playing music in two kick ass bands and have all of the things I thought I would NEVER have like my own home, a new car, money in the bank (sorta…ha!) and all of that i also am a big brother to my siblings, a son to my mother, a father to my children, a husband to my wife and these things NEED to come first before anything and allllll have to be balanced. let me tell you…it’s not easy.
you think it makes things a lot simpler if you act like “me,me,me only!” and you HAVE to take care of yourself in order to be around for others i learned that too.
but i’ve also buried too many friends, family members and seen way too many people leave those church basement rooms thinking “i have to give up this so I can do this other thing…i got it” only to find them back in, black eyes and all starting over.
balance. it can be done if you really want it. if you piss on a fire another one is going to start again and much worse.
Hope to see some of you smiling faces at some of these upcoming shows this summer and stay tuned, lots more exciting things are a coming.