August 03, 2007
Well, it’s finally out!! “After Hours” has just come out and what a week it’s been. My journey started on sunday, July 15th, with a very delayed Southwest flight out of Nashville. For the record…I hate flying. And more importantly I hate flying in this day and age. It is so uncivilized. You have to take off your shoes; your shampoo has to be in a plastic bag; old ladies have to take off their jewelry; you can’t wear a belt; you have to take out your computer; you have to surrender your bottled water, your perfume, and what’s left of your dignity all to justify an annual budget of 80 billion dollars!!I secretly wish for the airlines to all go out of business and/or become so expensive that we as a people force our beloved and forward-thinking leaders to develop the railroads as they have say, in Europe and Japan. But, that’s just me…or is it? Anyways, after many,many Heinekens I was ready for my wonderful flying experience in the middle seat of an oversold flight. And because it was so delayed, my plans with Ozzy (Jefferey, tour manager) to go dine at our favorite Thai restaurant(Chandara on Sunset and Cahuenga) were now ruined. Oh well…we opted for option #2 which was to go to the hotel and get as much rest as possible since I had to be up at 5:00 in the morning to make a radio station visit to KKGO 105FM. Shawn Parr and Robin Banks do the morning show and their energy was much appreciated and needed, as well as Elliot Kendall’s (from Universal) who drove me around at that ungodly hour. Well, the show went off without a hitch. I sang a song… talked about the record… they talked about the record. Mission accomplished!
Next, we were off to breakfast at the Urth Cafe. For some reason this place has the best coffee on the planet. Come to think of it, I’ve never really bothered to find out why they have the best coffee. Partly because I don’t really care why, but also I’m pretty sure that if somebody were to tell me, or if I were to read it somewhere, chances are I wouldn’t retain any of it! (Between all the songs I have to remember, people’s names, etc.) my hardrive is pretty full. Anyways, breakfast was delicious. My favorite part, though, was watching Elliot put one of those anti-theft “Clubs” on the steering wheel of his Isuzu Trooper with 230,000 miles on it. All this, in spite of the fact that our table was on the sidewalk and we could literally throw our eggs at the car! Too funny! Anyways, a good start to a very busy week. After breakfast, it was back to the hotel for a 10:00 am interview with KGSR in Austin. (More on Austin later). Then at around 12:30 Robin (from Universal) came to pick me up to take me to a tv taping for “Extra!” That will air later this month we’ve been told. I was supposed to do this interview for the last record (You’re Only Lonely) but it was bumped because it was the day of Brittney Spears’ divorce! You gotta love pop culture.
As musicians we have to do all these other things to get your name out there (interviews, tv, radio, etc…). And you do all that to get to play your songs for a couple of hours. Is it worth it? Absolutely…we always have fun when we play. Add in a great crowd like the one at the “El Rey” theatre in Los Angeles, and you forget how tired you are. We played a lot of the new record for the first time. Once we got through those first six or seven songs we really started to loosen up. I want to thank everyone that attended for making it a special night for us.
Show is over. Back to reality. In bed by 2:00, up at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight to Austin. Luckily, the very friendly lady at American Airlines upgraded me to first class and I got to sleep a little. (I think she felt sorry for me). Landed in Austin around 1:30. Straight to the hotel for a shower and some lunch. I know this sounds like a crazy schedule (and it is). But this being release week you kind of prepare mentally for this and just accept that you are not going to get much sleep. Plus, I knew that we would have a lot of support in Austin. And believe me, that positive energy from a great crowd makes it all worthwhile. So, off to our in-store performance at Waterloo Records, truly one of the great record stores in the world. And one of the few independents left. When I first got there, there was nobody there. It was still early and it was raining, and everybody kept saying not to worry…”this is Austin”. Sure enough, in what seemed like minutes, a line formed around the outside and there were three hundred people there to greet us! Unbelievable! A lot of people helped us put that show together and I thank them…John Kunz(owner of Waterloo), Robin Kirby(from Universal) and her regional sales staff–Dale, William, Carissa and Zulma, you’re the best.
Austin has always been one of my favorite cities and it never fails in its support not only of my music, but the arts in general. I love it. And after a long day of travel, and a show, etc…we were ready for a night off. We ended up at Gueros restaurant on Congress where the margaritas are not too sweet and the fish tacos are actually fresh. After too many of each of those, I was ready for bed. I must have been really tired because I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour in a town that never allows me. (Noticed how I blamed the city!)
Thursday, July 19th…12:00 noon on the air at KGSR. Artists like me don’t get a lot of radio airplay. So when a station does play my music, believe me, I appreciate it. Brian Beck was our very gracious host. I played a song or two, talked about the record, he talked about the record, mission accomplished. Then, back to the hotel for a quick workout, a light lunch, and off to soundcheck at Antone’s. Antone’s is one of the many legendary music venues in Austin. And it’s late, great owner, Clifford Antone, was a legendary fixture and a main ingredient in the colorful stew of characters that somehow keeps itself replenished in this city. His love and support of the arts and its artist spilled out into the streets making Austin a haven for old troubadours, bluesmen, and honky tonk heroes.
For years, legendary blues piano player “Pinetop Perkins” resided in one of the offices of the club. I know because at our last show he was trying to walk across the stage in the middle of our set. At first, I didn’t know what to make of this. I didn’t realize he was alive, much less living in the club! Well, it didn’t take long to realize that it was actually “Pinetop.” Soon thereafter we went into full reverence mode. He wanted me to announce that he was selling his new cd… in the middle of our show, mind you. What am I to do? Never mind that I never announce that my cd’s are for sale. ( A very counterproductive policy I might add…I’m so full of it sometimes). Well, I’ve never been prouder to make an announcement with commercial consequences than that night. It was truly an honor and an experience that I’ll never forget.
Back to the show…a great crowd had assembled that thursday night. We basically played the same set we played in LA. I’ll leave the reviews to the reviewers. The crowd seemed happy and that’s what counts. After a small “after” show party, it was straight to the hotel for some much needed rest. Wake-up call was set for 9:00 am. as I had to be at WKUT at 10:00 am. It might as well have been 6:00am. My host this morning was John Aielli and he was very kind to me even though I sounded tired. Nonetheless, I played a couple of songs; he mentioned the record; mission accomplished. Then off to Magnolia Cafe for a much needed breakfast of bacon and eggs. Meanwhile the rain kept pouring down in monsoon-like tenacity making sleep the only real option for the day. After all is there anything better than going to sleep after breakfast while it storms outside? I think not.
For friday night we wanted to perform a special for the first one hundred fans who purchased the cd at Waterloo Records. Our friend, Steve Wortheimer (owner of the Continental) offered to let us do this party at the Gallery (above the Continental). It proved to be the perfect setting for a lovely intimate evening of socializing, cocktails, and music. Out of all the sets we did that week, this was my personal favorite. If for no other reason that we played a bunch of songs we had never played before. Also we were accompanied by one of Austin’s finest musicians, Ephraim Owens, who performs regularly at the Gallery. The sound of his trumpet reverberates in that room to create one of the sweetest sounds on this planet. If you’re in Austin, make sure and stop by the Gallery, especially if Ephraim is performing.
This pretty much sums up the week’s activities. It sounds like a lot of stuff, doesn’t it? It is really difficult to promote a record to say the least. But I feel fortunate to have a great team and a great band that can play in any situation and under just about any circumstance. And through it all, we always manage to have a good time…making all that hard work seem like no work at all. Thanks to everyone mentioned in this article for their hard work. And a special thanks to the fans for coming to the shows and buying the records. You’re the ones that really make all this happen. What a week!
thanks so much
P.S. next week…New York