Friday Fill In #113

1. I’m crazy, I’m kooky, I don’t know where to run.

2. Why do I have three kids and not any more? (‘Cause three is plenty, that’s why!)

3. How does this whole government plan of us spending money we don’t have to bail us out from spending money we didn’t have work, anyway?

4. Every morning, I put deodorant on my underpits.

5. I consider myself lucky because one time I hit the lottery playing the number 013 on June 6th of 2006, all while standing under a ladder, looking at myself in a broken mirror (while saying “Bloody Mary” three times) while a black cat crossed my path.

6. One day we’ll see our Maker face to face–whether we want to or not.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to playing funk with Groove Machine, tomorrow my plans include playing rock and blues with Blind Albert and Sunday, I want to play feel good island music with Steelin’ Thunder!

Long Weekend Wrap-Up

Oh, it’s an exciting one!

Grandma(Susan’s mom) picked the kids up on Wednesday. They were going to be gone until noontime on Friday. I was supposed to have President’s Day off, but, because it was the day before billing, I needed to be in the office. I was going to take Thursday off, because the kids were going to be gone all day. Instead, I decided to take Friday off too, and parlay the whole thing into a mini vacation.

So Wednesday, after work, I came home and picked Susan up. We ended up going to Cafe Miranda. I had the “Pitch A Tent,” and Susan had something called Jim’s Beef. It was all very good. You should click on the link, and check out their menu. It’s huge. There’s so much stuff from which to choose!  Then off to the grocery store to pick up a few things.We came home, and watched a Jeff Dunham comedy show.

Thursday morning was Eggs Benedict morning. We had had some snow, so we decided it would be a “stick around home” day. Around noon, Susan was feeling sleepy, so she went to take a nap. I stayed up and worked on a web site. With four or five uninterrupted hours, I was able to get it mostly done. I thought perhaps I’d use the leftover Hollandaise to make a Bearnaise to eat over a fillet of beef. At $15/pound for fillet, though, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Instead, I bought some less expensive stuff, some broccoli, and a Pepperidge Farm lemon cake. I think we watched some uneventful movie before bed.

Friday morning, and Susan was going to treat me to breakfast at the Brass Compass. Instead, though, we got a phone call: Julia wasn’t feeling well, and wanted to be picked up immediately (instead of noon). So we picked up a few items at Wal-Mart, and had a delicious breakfast in the car provided by, um, McDonalds. In the afternoon, I remember I made some biscuits, and we had them under hamburger and brown gravy for supper: sort of a take on SOS. At one point, while getting the boys ready for bed, I lost my temper, and put myself to bed.

Saturday morning was mostly the same as all my Saturday mornings. Blueberry pancakes for the family. Wash dishes. I stayed home with Julia while Susan and the boys went to nephew Caleb’s birthday party. A nap in the afternoon before my gig. It was during this nap that my gut started to churn. I played my gig, but I wasn’t feeling great. The guys noticed. I wasn’t myself.

Sunday morning, and I noted on Facebook that I wasn’t feeling 100%, but I was still going to church. And I did. And I still had lunch at my Mom’s. I come home, though, and take a nap. When I got up from my nap, I felt worse than before. The boys hadn’t had a nap, and they were starting to falter, so Susan asked that I stay home, and put them to bed. So I didn’t go to evening church. At one point, my stomach was churning so much I went into the bathroom. I was able to fight it off, though. The snow was starting to come down when Susan got back from church, and she reported the roads were quite greasy.

My sleep last night was fitful. I woke up at 3am, stomach in knots. Then, I couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind kept whirling. I wanted to stay home, but I knew I would have work to do at the office from two days off. And I knew, with the snow, other staff members would be running late. What should I do? I would drift in and out, but never really fall back to sleep. So I got up at my usual 5:30.

And, everything was as I expected at the office. All kinds of people couldn’t make it in due to the snow. On the good side of things, Gina, the bookkeeper, kept most of the customers at bay while I enjoyed my time off. So there wasn’t a huge pile on my desk this morning. I got the fires put out around 11am, and then came home. I put my jammies on, and took a nap. I think I’m starting to feel better: I ate supper, and it’s the first time I’ve felt hungry in days.

More Drumming Dreams

Yet another drumming dream. I’m starting to see a pattern!

Paddy accepted this gig. We were the opening band for a soul and funk festival. I was out back hanging out with all these bands. I’d never heard of any of them, but they were supposedly big acts. There were about four bands that went on after us, but before the headliner. Who was the headliner? James Brown! So backstage, I’m talking gear with all the cats. One guy has this incredible looking drumset. It was a violet to silver sparkle fade, similar to this. The drums themselves were made out of titanium! It was slick.

It was time for me to get to the stage. I went to grab some stuff, and Jason Wilcox stopped me. He reached into my empty drum bags, and pulled a snare bag out, with a snare still inside. He asked “Do you want to leave this back here?” I opened the bag, and found my 1925 Leedy Black Elite inside. Now way did I want to leave that backstage with a bunch of strangers. But, I didn’t want to use it as my primary snare onstage. So I just decided to bring it onstage with me. I got to the stage, and Allison Murray, who was the band’s singer, was complaining about the set list. “Patrick has picked all these songs we don’t even know,” she said. I asked her if she questioned him about it. She said “He said ‘It’s just music. We can fake it.'” I agreed that opening for James Brown probably wasn’t the place to be figuring out songs onstage.

I then noticed that my drums weren’t set up! We had 15 minutes until we were supposed to start, and my drums were just lying about on the stage. I started to freak out. The festival was outside, and there was no curtain on the stage. I had to set up in front of the audience. They were getting uneasy; they new I’d be hard pressed to get set-up and ready in 15 minutes. Paddy came onstage, saw my delema, and said something along the lines of “What the heck is going on! How come the drums aren’t set up?” I said I didn’t know, but I was working as fast I could.

I took my bass drum, set it upright, and started adjusting the legs that keep the drum from moving. I adjusted stage right first. When I went to the stage left side, I noticed the drum leg bracket was all apart! Now, I had to reassemble this thing, under pressure, in front of screaming fans. And there were about 10 pieces to the bracket, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how it was supposed to go back together. Then I woke up.

What’s this all mean? Three times in what, a week or so, I’ve had strange dreams about music. Two of them have involved being stressed for time, and two have included something broked that I needed to fix. What’s the deal?

Friday Fill-In #112

1. Give me some coffee and I’ll drink it.

2. Whenever I don’t get enough sleep, or drink enough coffee, I get a headache.

3. I wish the snow was gone. I want to ride my scooter, and I’m sick of shoveling.

4. “Pitch A Tent” was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious. (The “Pitch A Tent” is a Cafe Miranda dish: sausage, roasted mushroom, roasted garlic, pan gravy, served under a “tent” of fresh pasta.)

5. To live in this world is pretty nice, but better things are coming.

6. Other than this one, I’m not sure what is was the last blog I commented on. (I do remember commenting on Jim’s Facebook status, though. Jim give us the date!!!)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to having the kids come home, tomorrow my plans include a gig in Bangor, and Sunday, I want to have a great Sunday School class!

Louie Bellson

Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni, aka Louie Bellson, died on Saturday. Louie was the pioneer of the double bass drum set–something seen frequently among hard rock and heavy metal drummers today. Interestingly, other than Louie and Ed Shaugnessy, I can’t think of any other Jazzers who used two basses. Anyway, here’s to you, Louie.

Thank You Harvey!

Props going out to my friend Harvey. He called me the other day and asked if I’d heard of the band Breakestra. He described them as “young kids playing James Brown grooves.” I said I hadn’t, and he told me I should check them out. He said they were listening to them on Pandora. I had heard of Pandora, but I never checked it out. It’s great! Free music, and so many artists I haven’t heard! So, while listening to the Breakestra station, I found this band called Poets of Rhythm–a German funk band! Can you believe it? So I downloaded some Breakestra and Poets of Rhythm from iTunes. See–free Internet radio results in music sales! Oh, and Pandora also has an app for the iPod Touch. So I downloaded that, too. So now, I can plug my Touch into my iPod alarm clock, run the Pandora app, and listen to Internet radio as I drift off to sleep. Cool! Thanks a lot, Harv!

Friday Fill In #111

1. It seems like I’m always climbing, and stumbling, and climbing, but I keep on tryin’. (Toby Keith?)

2. Put the lid down when you’re done, please?

3. If I thought you would give me a million dollars I’d drink a bucket of melted lard!

4. Great love songs is are what I think of most when I think of you. (See Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” or Matthew Sweet’s “Your Sweet Voice,” or Al Green’s “Let Stay Together,” or, or, or!

5. To me, Valentine’s Day means there’s a special day set aside for everyone to think about love–the kind of love that Susan and I celebrate every day!

6. The LORD gives me strength.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to not playing any gigs, tomorrow my plans include relaxing and watching a movie with the kids, and Sunday, I want to teach my new Sunday School class without looking like a total doofus!

Another Crazy Music Dream

Last night’s dream went something like this:

Blind Albert had secured a gig as the soundman for a Stewart Copeland gig in Boston. (For those of you who didn’t click the link in the previous post, Stewart Copeland was the drummer for The Police, and one of my favorite drummers.) Blind Albert said he’dd like me to come along and help, but there were two catches: I’d need to fly to MA, and I’d have to buy a ticket. For the chance to be so close, and work with, such an amazing talent, I said yes.

I got to the concert. Stewart was already set up. He hit his snare drum. (Stewart’s snare has a signature sound: high pitched, with lots of air and crack. Incidentally, in real life I own one of his signature snares!) It sounded awful! He came up to me, and admitted he wasn’t great at tuning drums. I sorta pride myself on being a good drum tuner. I listened to his snare, and realized his bottom head was way too loose. I cranked it up for him, and then that signature sound was back. He played his first song. I don’t remember what it was. After it was done, he got up, and went to the bar that was set up behind his drum kit, and started to mix himself some cocktails. He also poured himself about five shots of Sambuca. He proceeded to drink them all. He was talking to the audience the whole time, and you could here in his voice he was getting intoxicated. He then wandered off “stage” (which was in the round–you sat all around his drums, which were set up on the floor of the club). Everyone started talking, trying to figure out what was going on. After a few minutes, on the side of the club opposite where Stewart exited, a video began to play on a big screen. The screen was covered by a translucent curtain; you couldn’t tell what was playing on the screen, but you knew something was. The curtain pulled away, and then you could see it was the video for Roxanne. “Ah,” I thought “this is all part of the show.” Sure enough, Stewart came back on stage from behind the screen–meaning he entered from the opposite way he left. I remember thinking “How’d he get over there without anyone seeing him?” The next thing I know, he’s dancing with some girl in front of the screen. They’re just slow dancing like two drunks, holding on to each other, shuffling around in a circle, each one almost trying to hold the other up. It seemed rather odd they would slow dance to a song with the intensity of Roxanne, but that’s what they did.

When the song was over, Stewart announced the concert was over, and he went and mixed himself some more drinks. I went up to him and said “Do you realize all these people came down to hear you play, and you only played one song!” He said (in a Brittish accent–which is odd because he’s an American who was raised in the Middle East–and he doens’t speak with a bit of English accent) “Aw man, I though I played two songs!” And I replied “No, you didn’t. And not only did I buy a ticket to see you, but I bought a plane ticket to be here!” At that point I said to Blind Albert, “C’mon, let’s get on the stage and play some Police songs for these people.” (And, of course in real life, Blind Albert and I don’t play any Police songs. OK, once in a while we drag out Message in a Bottle.) So we proceed to play Spirits in a Material World. Stewart blasts on stage, screaming drunk. I’m really upset. “Hey man, I look up to you. See…” I said pointing between my legs “…here’s my Stewart Copeland signature snare! I went out and bought this because I like your sound so much!” He said something like “If you keep playing my songs, I’m going to stick these drumsticks in your ear!” And I said “I’d like to see you try.” So he does this drunken lunge towards me. He’s so out of it, I easily twist him around, and have him on the floor. I’ve got him sitting on the ground, and I’ve got his arm twisted behind him. The bartenders are on the phone to the cops, and they’re asking them to come out and drag Stewart off! I then tell him something like “Now I’m going back behind those drums, to play music–your music–to these people who came out to see you, not me! And now I’ve got to play for them ’cause you’re too much of a drunk to care!” And as I started to head for the drums, the crowd started cheering, and Stewart, still sitting on the floor, hung his head in shame and embarassment.

Crazy Dream, Two Guitar Players

I had this strange dream last night. Paddy and I were going to play this gig with Three Button Deluxe. We got to the gig, which was in this old Odd Fellows Hall turned bar with an outside bandstand ala Union Fair kinda thing. (Sorry for those of you who’ve never seen the Union Fair bandstand. Picture a covered porch.) I’m setting up the drums. I pull my snare stand out of the hardware bag. In my dream, it’s a snare stand made by the North drum company. The only problem is that this snare stand is incredibly complicated. And, mine has fallen apart. In my dream I’m thinking “There are only two people in the world who can fix this: me and Stewart Copeland.” In my dream, it’s almost time for us to get started, so I don’t have time to fix this intricate snare stand. (Incidentally, North Drums didn’t make any wicked fancy, complicated snare stands. It’s just some silly thing my brain made up for me in my dream.) I decide not to bother to fix it. It’s about 15 minutes before we start to play. Chris Poulin, the back-up guitar player we sometimes use when Quick can’t make a gig has arrived, and he’s brought Quick’s PA system. Quick is supposed to be playing this gig, but hasn’t arrived yet. Paddy is running around, trying to get the PA set up before we start to play. I start to pull a floor tom out of one of my drum bags, and I notice the bag is all wet. I can see through the clear drum heads that water has soaked into the wooden drum, and the bearing edge is thick with soaked-up water. The drum appears to be made out of OSB, and the drum has just soaked up all kinds of water, and basically fallen apart.

The end.

Mel’s Play Along MI-5

Here’s what you do. I start a story with five words. You continue the story with five more words. The next person adds five words, and so on, until we have 300 pages that will take Stephen King out of the best seller slot. Ready? Continue the story in the comments section.

“She knew the envelope contained…”