August 29, 2008
Summer…(Part 1, west coast)
This summer the road has taken us to both coasts and a couple of places in the middle. Although we obviously never had to show our passports, as we never left the continental United States, one must appreciate the vast differences that our beautiful land offers. First, we went to the west coast and southern california and played a little theater called the Coach House in San Juan Capristano. It was a great way to start the tour with a sold-out crowd and all. I love playing the Coach House for obvious reasons. They treat us right and the crowds are always great fun.
Next stop was the Canyon Club in the outskirts of LA. The Canyon Club is a legendary place with a storied past where many great musicians have played. And now they even let US in there! Ha! Although, I remember sitting in the green room and hearing what sounded like gunfire. Sure enough, the green-room is adjacent to a firing range. I know, I know…weird right? Well, this is LA. And so I go outside because I just had to check if this was true. Sure enough, there is a firing range next door. As I’m standing there just taking it all in with much bemusement (that’s usually how I am in southern california), an older gentleman in a Ferrari pulls up. It was quite funny watching him extricate himself from his Italian beauty. It was clear she had grabbed hold of his largess (or large ass) and did not want to be left alone in the parking lot. Speaking from the point of view of someone with a large-ass (yours truly) his passion for fine automobiles would be better served with a Bentley or a Rolls. Or any other large vehicle that will not miss him so as he pursues other passions. Nonetheless, it was quite amusing. And then I started thinking, here is a guy in a Ferrari, living in Agoura Hills, having target practice…Why exactly? They don’t film a lot of “Cops” episodes in Agoura Hills. Whatever…it’s LA and I love it with all the shit in it that doesn’t make any sense. Good Fun!
Bakersfield is the “Yang” to LA’s “Ying”. The Crystal Palace is always great fun to play and that night was especially fun. We had to fly to Austin the day before and come back the day of the show at the Palace. Of course, American Airlines, true to form, canceled our flight and the games began. The day was too long to recount. We were supposed to play at 8:10. We ended up starting at 8:30. We were exhausted and frustrated and somehow it turned into one of the best shows we’ve ever done. Truly, it was the crowd. I think they kind of knew that something was going on and by the time we hit the stage they were more than ready. It was a great night.
Next, we headed north to some of the prettiest parts of this country. Winters, Ca…ever heard of it? Well, they have a great little theater that hosts some really fine shows. It is right smack in the middle of a beautiful little town undisturbed by modern bullshit. And the music fans that attend these shows are wonderful. They sold us out on a sunday night. You can’t get that everywhere, so we thank you. Our next stop took us to one of my favorite places on the planet, Sausalito, CA. I fell in love with the place the first time I stayed there. I recommend the Casa Madrona Hotel. It is not too expensive and its rooms are well-appointed. It is located right next to an Italian restaurant (Poggios) that makes everything delicious. And right next to that is one of the greatest wine stores in the world “Bacchus and Venus”. They have a selection for every taste and budget. My friend, Marcy Roth runs it with the passion and grace the place deserves. She even put up with a bunch of musicians loittering in her beautiful store. Well, at least I bought some wine. Later on in the evening we all went out to dinner to a wonderful restaurant named Angelino’s. Its seafood entrees were just out of this world. Then we ended up at a pub, got drunk and sat in with the band that was playing there. I know, I know…something different. They were nice enough to let us do that and we ended up having a great time drinking beer and talking trash with fellow musicians. It’s funny how similar all our (musician) stories sound. It (our existence) is a bit Gypsy-like really… albeit with better accomodations (sometimes).
Next stop…Modesto, CA. I don’t really know much about Modesto I must confess. The State Theater is a beautiful venue in the heart of downtown and that is always nice to see. (…that a city has not torn down its beautiful, irreplaceable, old buildings.) We had a great crowd and a great night. And I got to see some old Maverick fans, that hadn’t seen one of my shows ever. So it was nice to catch up with them and them catch up with me and what I’ve been doing. Our next stop was Paso Robles. I’ve been fortunate to have spent a little bit of time in this town. It is host to probably the wildest chapter of “MaloMamas” in the country. The town is beautiful with old buildings housing privately owned businesses, and a lovely park in the middle and beautiful side-walk lined neighborhoods. Having said all this, I absolutely hated playing the mid-state fair. I just can’t understand the thinking behind their set-up. It happened once before and I swore I would never play it. Well it happened again and somehow I found myself trying to make it work. Well, it didn’t work and I’m sorry for the people that had to endure it. It was definitely beyond our control. However, the after-show hang was great fun as usual. The Malomamas were out in force and their Patron-bottle shaped cake was a sight to behold. Thank you all for your support always.
Petaluma, CA. was our next stop. I knew this would be a great gig. Even though I had never played there before, the show was going to be a sell-out. Also, the Mystic Theater is my favorite kind of place…a gutted old movie theater with a dance-floor. And on a friday night to boot, well it did not disappoint. By the time we went on, that crowd was ready to party and party we did. It was a wonderful night with a wonderful crowd and I can’t wait to get back there.
Our final stop on this trip took us to Reno, Nevada. Normally we would be playing a casino (usually John Asquaga’s Nugget). So this time around it was going to be a little different. We were playing the Robert Z Hawkins Amphitheater. A beautiful outdoor venue nestled up in the hills away from the concrete jungle of the city. The weather was just perfect and the place was packed. It was the perfect end to a long, but very fun trip. The crowds were wonderful, as always, and the band was absolutely on fire every night. I find myself enjoying what I do more and more as time goes on, and I just can’t imagine doing anything else. Thank you…
| - 2009-11-17|
|First off I would like to say that I always found your voice incredible, and as a singer songwriter myself I wished I had your pipes. Now that you have struck out on your own, what are the main differences between touring now as opposed to your maverick days,also has your music taste altered over the years? PS If ever you fancy a good country "flavoured" song give me a bell as I have one or two that need a vocal like yours. As a scot there is not a big market over here for the kind of stuff I like to write, but it would suit you to a tee. keep up the good work, you've a great talent.|
|by Russ Littler-Gordon.|