Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 16-Too Beautiful to Live

Wed, Sept 22nd

We woke up in Seattle. Since we had some time off for the day, we did our personalized yoga routine, drank cucumber water, felt a little bit like gods, and then reminded ourselves that we had errands to run, movies to film, and shows to play.

We went to the bank, went to American Music and bought their cheapest mic stand, then had enough time to get AMAZING indian buffet for lunch at Bengal Tiger on Roosevelt. After lunch we went for a stroll around Green lake park. It was a beautiful day, and I never realized just how nice that spot is. Bryan captured its beauty in this short clip.

While back at my brother Zach's place we did an impromptu photo/video shoot involving a dinosaur, a golf ball, an army dude and a parachute man, all items we scored in Riverside. More to come on that later.

The show that night was AWESOME. Zach had rented out the Grotto, (The basement speak-easy section of Rendezvous) which was a really nice intimate area. People started filtering in at 8 and by the time we started at 9, we had a wonderful crowd or kind listeners. John (our bassist) had driven up to join us for the set. We had really been looking forward to this show/party because it was a celebration with family and friends about the re-release of our album, Clumsy Seduction.

There were some really exciting attendees, including Luke and Vanessa of TBTL(!!) and I was surprised by Tulsa songwriter Chelsea Coleman. She had recently moved to Seattle and came out. We hadn't seen each other in several years, so that was fun.

Bryan and John drove out that night. I stayed to have as much Zach and Stephanie time as possible. I managed to drink about 8 greyhounds and we ended up doing 3am breakfast at 5 point cafe, which was delicious. I tried deep fried mac and cheese squares for the first time. Pretty alright.

xoxoemma and bryan

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 14-"I love free sh*t"

Monday, Sept 20th

I woke up in the mood for fun, so Sean and I started considering the day's options. I got to talking about theme parks and he remembered this handy coupon book his mother was coerced into buying not so long ago. Inside of it were coupons to Castle Park for FREE minigolf and Straw hat pizza.

So at 1 we went and experienced the awesomeness of Castle Park. I was actually really impressed with the course. We decided not to keep score and the three of us had a really fun time cheering each other on. Bryan got a hole-in-one at the last hole and won Sean a free game for next time. Yay!

We were all really hot, (I swear, it doesn't matter what time of year I come to Riverside, it's always the same HOT weather,) so we went in to get some waters and play Skee-ball. Bryan and I won enough tickets to get a parachute man and a little army guy, more to come on that later.
We finished up the arcade fun with a game of air-hockey, I must admit, I dominated.

Then we went to get our free pizza and headed back to the house to relax and eat lunch. We watched Youth In Revolt, and the boys passed out for a mid-afternoon nap. They woke up in time for us to hit the drive-in theater as planned, but not before a stop at Del Taco for some VEGGIE BURRITOS!! (You can tell I was excited) We watched Machete then headed home for some sleep.

I had to rest up for my 7am radio interview the next day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 13-BBQ and Beer Pong

Sunday, Sept 19th

We drove down to Temecula to play at my brother Joe's friend John's BBQ joint called Sweet Lumpy's BBQ. We played lunch hour and there was a good amount of folks out enjoying the food. They seemed to enjoy our tunes as well. We sold some cds and made some tips. We were excited to find out that a fan of several years, Tanya, had found out about the show and come with her friend. We got some pictures!

After our set, Bryan mowed down on a half rack of ribs, done just right. Luckily they carried a veggie burger for ME! The Sauce was awesome. Sean even lucked out and got a free bottle to add to his hot sauce collection.

Don, the guy helping us out at the restaurant, was an awesome dude. A musician himself, saw that I was straining my voice a bit to be heard, and came to the rescue with an improvised PA.

The rest of the night was chill, Bryan caught up on some sleep, while I played beer pong and soaked in the jacuzzi.

Day 12-Try The Apple Pie

We woke up in Vegas after our great night out. Unfortunately, I woke up after only 3 hours of sleep. I watched a movie, wrote a song and then the boys woke up. We had just enough time to go scarf down some breakfast burritos before Brock dropped us at the airport and he ran off to hold haunted house auditions. (He's now the "scare" supervisor.)

We got into Long Beach, (which may I add has a pretty ghetto airport...think trailer classrooms at your high school,) and headed towards Riverside. [Bryan says: I wish I could put into words how weird the Enterprise car rental lady was.] Anyways, we show up to an already-gettin'-started party at Sean Foster's house. We can tell immediately that the night is going to be a fun one. As more people begin to filter in, and the opening band arrives, Sean starts setting up the band area in the music area on the back patio.

The Cat Family opened up with some jams, I was mostly affected by the guitar player's ASS hanging out in my face the whole night. The kid definitely had some spunk though.

We had a great audience and really enjoyed playing our set. Sean's cousin Mark and his girlfriend Vanessa were visiting from Ohio and it was their last night in town. They are fans and it was a treat to be able to play some of their favorite songs during the set. They are two very awesome, sweet people. [Side note: Vanessa made an AWESOME banana's foster cake that we got down on after the set. Thanks Vanessa!]

Jared and Megan, this adorable married couple, played the last set with some really sweet tunes. Nice people!

We want to thank Sean, Lori and Nik for holding such a great party. We love playing shows like this. Fun was had by all. Bryan was introduced to a drink called Apple Pie...yummm...and two people had to be carried out. Shoes were lost, naughty things MAY have happened in mustangs. (NOT BY US)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 11 - Irish Car Bomb

Fri, Sept 17

We stayed with Brock, and he managed to get a ride to work so he lent us his car for the day. What a guy! We had some time to kill, so we checked out the new Ben Affleck film, The Town. I really liked it. Then we headed over to the Pinball Hall of Fame, which had my favorite table of all time, Creature From the Black Lagoon. And...Ted Nugent pinball.

I got a pocketful of quarters and my homeboys do, too

The show that night was at The Beat Coffeehouse, a really cool new spot with a record store attached. We played a very well-received set (though the crowd was stacked with Vegas friends, so it was easy to get them going). Our friends Dreaming of Lions played next - they're always a lot of fun. The rest of the night was just a fun night in Vegas, with a little bit of barhopping, some Irish dancing, and a sleepy-eyed jam session at Brock's later.

I just want to thank Brock, Sal, and Chris Leland for taking care of us so well when we come to Vegas. We had a really fun time. I will never forget the dancing!! Brock and I made such a scene with joyous dancing that a lady in the bathroom asked if we were married...haha I said no just buddies, but glad we look cute while doing a jig! I was also very glad I got the opportunity to introduce Bryan to Irish Car Bombs.
See you next time Vegas!!

Day 10 - What happens in Vegas stays on Youtube

Thurs, Sept 16

This day was smooth rolling. We got up very early and drove back across the border to catch our flight to Las Vegas out of Buffalo. It was a longer flight, but the TV and unlimited snacks helped. Brock picked us up at the airport and we had time for showers before heading to Yayo Taco (one of my favorite places in Vegas,) for dinner and one of the first Neon Reverb shows. There food is so good and we were able to buy a bucket of iced beers for 10 bucks and carry it around with us. I wish all bars had this feature. We enjoyed the show, visited with Brock and Sal and then called it a night.

When we left JFK airport that morning (after driving in from Toronto), the ride out was pretty bumpy, bad weather. It was a pretty long flight, and the weather was playing on the little personal TV screens on the plane - we started seeing weather reports of a tornado watch in NYC. Turns out we just outran a tornado! The most affected area was Park Slope, right where we were staying when we were there. Paul & Katie's apartment had a tree fall right in front of it, and they posted some pictures of busted out windows and other damage.

Day 9 - International Superstars

Weds, Sept 15

We got up and said our goodbyes to Katie and Paul (they really are awesome), then headed to the subway to make our way to the airport. Things went fine until we got to the Howard Beach station, and then something crazy happened - we were both standing up and ready to go with our gear, but as soon as Emma got through the doors, they swished closed before I had a chance to even stick out an arm. Our eyes met through the door, and I just said "F***, I'll get the next train back!" It was a tense 15-minute ride to the next station and back, and then I got on the Airtrain and huffed through the airport as quick as I could. Emma was already at ticketing, checking us in for the flight so we didn't get bumped, and we got there just in time to get our bags on the plane and get through security. This day was packed with stuff, including a drive to Toronto, a press thing, and a show - so missing this flight would have totally screwed us over. It was stressful, but I have never been more glad to be on an airport concourse!

We got our car and drove to Toronto, stopping at a Tim Horton's for food. Verdict: meh. We got into town and headed to a public park where we were meeting some press folks to do a live performance, but we got there early, so we just napped in the car for a while. Emma woke me up to move the car when she overheard a shady drug deal going down right outside our window. We did the press thing, which was fun, and then we ate at a place called Big Fat Burrito. It did not disappoint :)

The show that night was at The Central, and Audio Blood set it up for us. It was upstairs on an outside balcony, and it was super fun - great bands and people, for sure. We played 3rd of 4, which is the best spot for an out of town band. Also on the bill were Luke Nares, Mothers of Brides, and Balconies - all really fun bands.

Emma: Bryan did a pretty great job of summing up this day. Looking back at Bryan as the subway swept him away, knowing we were already running late, almost gave me a panic attack! Luckily all came out okay, and no more baggage was lost.

The show at The Central was soooo much fun! Thanks Audio Blood and Dave for putting on such a great show. Good people, good music, good times. I'm really growing attached to Toronto. Wish we had been able to spend more than one day there.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 8 - Coney Island and Open Mics

Tues, Sept 14

I spent the morning trying to contact JetBlue's baggage department to find my pedal steel legs - I kept getting the voicemail. Emma and I decided to go to Coney Island and check that out, since neither of us had been. It was really cool, even though the amusement park stuff was closed since it's after Labor Day. I did get a hot dog at the original Nathan's, and you know what? It was really good.

Finally I got someone on the phone from JetBlue, and it turned out they had the legs there in the office. By this time it was getting late in the day, so I had to take the subway back out to JFK airport to ensure I got the legs in time for the show. They were really nice about it and even gave me a a $30 credit since I had to come back to the airport.

Paul and Katie had some awesome Kuskokwim salmon prepared for dinner, which we wolfed down before heading back to the subway to go to our show at Googie's Lounge. The show was fun, and then we headed back over to Park Slope to check out this open mic at Bar Four. We did two songs, which went over well, and we got to hear some really good singer/songwriters, including Paul.

Coney Island was great. Walking down the boardwalk in the sun, dipping our feet in the Atlantic, gazing at the wonder wheel. I definitely skipped out on the hot dog, but we went a little later to get Indian for lunch and that had me quite pleased. I got the veggie korma, my fav.

Dealing with gear and public transportation was hectic, but I always love riding the subway and getting to appreciate its convenience. Bryan and I shared headphones and listened to TBTL on the way back from Coney Island. We even did the shoulders only dance!

I'm really glad Paul told us about the Bar 4 open mic. The energy was really great in there, and a wonderful way to end our time in New York.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 7-Caribou Spaghetti!

Mon, Sept 13

At airport security, the inspector told me I couldn’t take the bundle that contained the legs and pull rods for my pedal steel. I told him I had flown many times and always carried them on with no problems...he asked, “which airports?” To which I replied, “all of them.” I had no choice but to go back to the ticket counter and check the bundle, which they taped up and put in a garbage bag.

Of course when we got to JFK, the bundle didn’t come out on the baggage carousel. We spent almost an hour in the baggage office while they tried to track it down, to no avail. I will say that the lady who helped me was very nice, and great at customer service. She even found two All You Can Jet promo t-shirts for us...but she didn’t find my pedal steel legs. I got a claim number and a promise that they would bring them to me when they found them.

We took 3 trains and walked a half-mile to Katie and Paul’s apartment, where we stayed for the night. Katie was part of the (sadly defunct) Alaska House that we played at last summer. They fixed us a great meal of spaghetti and caribou sausage, and gave us access to their wi-fi and computer - thanks guys! Paul is in a band himself, Great Elk, which you should definitely check out. We checked out Prospect Park, then decided to head in for an early night. I called jetBlue to ask after my pedal steel legs, and they told me they ended up in West Palm Beach! I’m supposed to have them back by morning, fingers crossed.

It is such a treat to be staying with Katie and Paul. Katie and I have Alaska friends in common and she's even been to my parent's store in little ol' Sleetmute! How neat. Kuskokwim Salmon is on the horizon. I can't believe I'll be in NYC eating fish from home. Life just keeps getting cooler and cooler.

Day 6-Stripmall Ballads

Sun, Sept 12

We woke up to a home-cooked breakfast (soooo nice when you’re on the road), then we said our tearful goodbyes and headed out. Before leaving Baltimore, we stopped to check out the famous Owl Bar at the Belvedere Hotel, with its framed photos of more well-known customers (Hollywood elite and actual royalty). Then we drove over to find the gravesite of Edgar Allan Poe in this really cool old-fashioned graveyard alongside a church.

Then we got on the road to Arlington, VA, where we played at the Metamorphosis Art Exhibition. The band before us was called Stripmall Ballads, and they were fantastic - great songs, spot-on playing and singing (including harmonies from a singing drummer, I love that). The singer, Phil, played banjo as well as guitar and did this cool singing-into-a-feeding-back-banjo thing that must be seen to be believed. I told him straight up I was going to steal that trick!

Alison, who organized the show, got us both a great free meal, and then the Stripmall Ballads guys invited us to their show that night at The Velvet Lounge in DC. We were en route with drummer Danny when he got the call that the opening band had flaked - so, hey, presto, we picked up another gig! We didn’t have our instruments in the car, so I just sang backup as Emma played a borrowed guitar. Then we were treated to another set of great tunes from Stripmall Ballads...seriously, they’re so awesome live. You have to go see them if you get the chance.

We crashed out at Danny’s place, then back to Dulles for the flight out.

I want to thank Danny so much for the hospitality. That morning we had no idea whether we would be sleeping in the car or the airport, and then we ended up each having our own bed! What a treat! Seriously, check out his band Stripmall Ballads, because they are a gem!

Day 5-Leonard Cohen and Blowjobs

Sat, Sept 11

After a nice morning with Liz and crew, we flew to Dulles Airport (Washington, DC), thankfully a direct flight this time. We picked up a rental car and headed to Baltimore, where my high school chum Mike Vandercook had a show for us. He’s the creative technical director for a play called I Am the Machine Gunner, directed by David White and translated from Russian.
It’s an hour-long, one-man show (with amazing actor James Knight), and if I could describe it in one word it would be INTENSE...I don’t want to give anything away, so if you’re in Chicago or San Diego, go see the show when it comes through. We played the after party for the show, which included wine, birthday cake, and Mike’s homemade gumbo! Another high school friend, Mary Slayter, made the trip to hang out too.

Then we headed to Dave and Rebecca’s for the after-after party, which was a total blast. Hanging out with a theater crew after their show is an experience not to be missed - the G&T’s were flowing, and they’ve all got such great stories. I felt like we had found our “people,” so to speak. I talked Emma into getting our her guitar, and we did a few songs right there in the kitchen, including some of the more lyrically-oriented ones that may not have been heard so well at the raucous after party.

I do have to add a short story to explain the title of this blog. Leonard Cohen has been a big part of conversations so far on this tour. He's my fav! That night blowjobs were entered into the same convo and I just couldn't help myself. That's all. What an awesome night!

Day 4-Liquid Sunshine!

Fri, Sept 10

Liz and daughter Jessie took us on a boat ride down the New River, looking into the backyards of the rich and famous! Then Emma and I drove to Miami to play another intimate show for my old friends at Outpost Audio. It was so great to see my former boss, Steve, one of my favorite people. My ex-bassist (from Going Nowhere) Rob and his wife Kiki were there, and a former client and good friend Michel, plus a few more. We had a great time laughing, singing songs, and enacting light saber battles. It was really interesting to hear their comments on the music - when I left Miami 7 years ago, I was in a punk band and had never even seen a pedal steel guitar.

Then Emma got a message on her phone that her cousin’s friend had found us an opening slot at a bar in Ft. Lauderdale that night, so we rushed down to the club, literally loading right onto the stage and soundchecking, then going right into a half-hour set. The club was a rockabilly/punk place, attached to a tattoo shop - not necessarily an ideal venue for our type of music, but we did OK anyway! Ron and Kiki made the trek down, and we had a late dinner at a nearby diner afterward.

This was such an awesome day! It was so great to be reunited with Liz and Jessie, and to meet Liz's boyfriend Frank. I haven't seen them in seven years and Jessie sure has grown into a beautiful and smart young lady! The craziest thing was that at two different points in the day it was pouring rain while the sun was shining bright as can be. It was quite a sight to see.

Day 3-We're on a boat

Thurs, Sept 9

We flew into Fort Lauderdale (again routed through JFK in New York) and met up with Emma’s cousin Liz. We played a really fun show on their houseboat (actually a mission vessel, I belive), ate curry and cheesecake, and drank wine. It was about as intimate a show as you could get, back in their TV den. My friend Joe from college came, and we got to catch up a bit.

I must add, (this is Emma,) that the heat took some getting used to. HOT outside, FREEZING in all houses and vehicles. I still don't understand how they never seem to get air conditioning right. Bryan says when you actually live in a place like that, they get you really cold while you're inside so that it's refreshing to step outside and warm up a bit. Ha! How backwards, jackets inside? Interesting...

Day 2-Po' Boys and Jambalaya!

Weds, Sept 8

My parents picked us up in New Orleans and took us to breakfast at the Camellia Grill, a cool old-school diner. Then we went to Decatur Street so Emma could see the French Quarter. Things were jammed up a bit because they had a big stage set up for some NFL kickoff event, but we did walk around Jackson Square for a little while.
In Baton Rouge, we had lunch at Rocco's (shrimp poboys) and caught up on emails while my parents finished setting up for the house show. Around 6 people started showing up, including my sister’s family, aunts and uncles, and some friends of theirs that I hadn’t yet met. There were about 8 or so kids in attendance, and their attention waned after about 45 minutes of music - I thought that was actually pretty good! The rest of the night was chatting, eating jambalaya, and signing CDs.

Day 1-NPR and unlimited Snacks

Tues, Sept 7

We left Portland at 10 AM and flew into the Long Beach airport. When we got there, I turned my phone on and found that the NPR reporter who interviewed us (Vanessa Romo) had left a message asking us to take a picture in front of a jetBlue sign for their web buildout.

We got that sent out, then made a bunch of calls and emails trying to get stuff nailed down for DC and other places. A guy named Sam overheard us talking about the NPR story, and he came over to chat - turns out he was once interviewed on Morning Edition too (he's a horticulturist). The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful...we slept in JFK airport, took advantage of jetBlue’s unlimited snack policy, etc.