Going solo isn’t quite like going from the major to the minor leagues; it’s more like a drop from the minors to high school.
I probably spent more time worrying about this one gig than the last 200 Watershed shows combined. Watershed has structure and a well defined role for band members and crew. Hotels are checked into, gigs are advanced, gear is stored and set up, club owners pay somebody, beer and water magically appear in the dressing room, ECT...
No more. For this first out of town opening slot I am acting as agent, promoter, tour manager, and performer. The performing stuff I can handle. The rest of it challenges my multitasking skills.
I was trying to figure out a way to rent or borrow a van to spare us the unwritten humiliation of arriving to a gig in cars, but in the end it just wasn’t feasible. Alas, I wrestled my Marshall amp into the trunk of my Chevy Monte Carlo just like I used to in high school (had a Ford Pinto back in the day) and hit the road. Actually, after traveling with 5 other guys for so many years, it’s kind of nice to drive alone to shows. Stop when you please. Channel surf endlessly through satellite radio with no regards to others preferences.
Oddly enough, I had never played or even been to the new Grog Shop. Watershed used to play the old Grog all of the time but just kind of fell off after they moved. Played many great Cleveland spots (Beachland, HOB, Rock Hall of Fame) in the meantime, but never there.
Arrived. Clicked on my hazard lights are wrestled the amp back out of my trunk to the sweet serenade of car horns blowing behind me as I blocked traffic. The house tech was very cool allowing us an extended sound check. Afterwards, I finished my tour managing duties with earnest. Got buyouts for the guys for dinner, put promo stuff up around the club, tuned instruments, and set up our swag table.
Doors opened and the place soon filled to near capacity. My euphoria over actually having everything ready to go was short lived however. A woman walked by our table, looked at the Colin Gawel CD and said to me, “oh god! Don’t tell me there is an opener. The ticket said The Clarks would be on at 8 pm and it’s already 8:30. When are these losers playing?”
I answered, “I think 9:30, gonna have to ask the club, I just work here. Want to sign this mailing list?” (She was pretty hot)
I noticed the place was restless and packed tight and it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t just here to set the show up, I was also going to be playing unknown original songs with a band that had only performed together once before tonight. Yikes! My breathing got a little quick and I thought to myself, “Where are those beer tickets?”
Anyway, I thought the show was a great success. The crowd went from frosty to friendly to fanatical. I think the Bones are showing great improvement and for a new band, that is goal number one. Starting a new job, a new relationship, or a new band is a scary and uncomfortable time as you search for footing and confidence. This show is evidence that we are on the right path. If we keep it up there could be a van in 2010.
The set: Profile/See You Tonight/Small Doses/ Chemotherapy/ Lonely Bones/ Wallflower Child/ Words We Say/Sad Drive/Maggie May (The Faces) /AM Boy/ Superior
Special thanks to my friends in The Clarks for giving us this opportunity. Great guys, great band check em out at www.clarksonline.com and to Chris at the Grog who was really cool. I needed that.