Feb. 13: Concerns Over Lee
Well, it appears that Lee has taken his phone off the hook. Last Tuesday John could not make practice (due to house stuff). Lee wanted to practice on Friday, but due to Valentine’s Day, we practiced on Thursday. Lee never called at 6:30 His phone was busy the whole evening. This combined with the lack of meter on slow songs made for a kind of “Down on Lee” night. John, Kevin and Maria were pissed that he apparently blew off practice. He appeared bored on Tuesday when basically Kevin, Dave and Seth worked on vocals. It is brought up that Linda was kind of pissed that we gave Chuck $50 to run the sound at the Red Dog. Kevin states that he is not looking to fire Lee, but that we should talk to him. The point is made that Kevin helps pimp the band, John and Kevin work on the equipment, and Dave makes posters for the group, and Lee has no “Extracurricular” activities -or even attempts to help with setting up. He never even inquires.
February 15: Back at The Spur
Another fun evening at the Tangled Spur. Seth has spent all day practicing and is going to attempt to play on every song. As usual, the Canton area gets hit with another two inches of snow. The bar is cold, and will stay cold for most of the evening. The band wives are wearing layers of clothes to the bars now.
While setting up the band encounters aloud buzzing noise from the sound system. The band troubleshoots for approximately 30 minutes. Trying different cords and outlets the band is able to pretty much eliminate the buzz, but cuts it very close to starting time. Lots of tweaking to the monitors and main sound.
The night went off pretty much without a hitch. John is kicking himself at the end of the night. Due to his busy schedule, he admits his lack of practicing is becoming embarrassing on stage. Seth made it through the evening. If Kevin flubbed any words, it wasn’t apparent. Dave had tried a configuration with his amplifier that destroyed the sound the first set. His guitar was too distorted. He went back to his tried and true pedal board and everyone agreed it sounded better.
Dave surprises Kevin at the beginning of the second set by having the crowd sing happy birthday to Kevin.
The band performs Where am I Gonna live. The whole evening has needed a “Spark.” Kevin has everyone keep play “G” as he prods people to come up on stage to sing along. Suddenly a whole group of “manly men” rush the stage. It was a nice boost to the show.
Seth is now using an amp on stage, and it’s a nice touch as we can now hear what he is playing. The band has added a new ballad Whenever You Come Around which Seth sings. Most of the ballads with reworked vocals are sounding really good. Seth liked So Help Me Girl in particular.
Glenn the bar owner wants us to play every week in March (We were previously booked for one week in March). The band is in the middle of playing three weeks in a row. This means after the Red Dog next week, we will get a one week break, and then four weeks straight. Dave is hesitant. He says it’s fine with him if we take a break in April. Seth is ready willing and able. He has a two word plan: let’s go. Lee is all for it, as is John. It is a fun time. So the decision is made, and we will be playing every week in March at the Tangled Spur. The good news is this will be an extra $200 for each member ($50 X 4 weeks). However, if we have the opportunity to book other gigs, we are now tied in to the Tangled Spur.
At this point, the band is looking forward to the Red Dog next week. We will get to initiate the new (now paid for) snake. John is going to check on the preamp/effects unit that myseteriously has never showed up at Gatuso’s music. The band will practice at the Red Dog this week as Dave will be going to a Metallica concert on Tuesday. This could be interesting with new tunes. We hope to add Baby Likes to Rock and Be My Baby Tonight.
February 22-23: The Red Dog – Did you Say $350?
The band sets up Thursday in a slightly warmer Red Dog. The weather is getting warmer. It’s been in the 40s. John is really getting sick, and looks like cold death on a stick. The band is making great time setting up, and then runs into a grounding problem with the monitor amp that causes us to spend an hour troubleshooting a buzz sound (again!).
Friday goes OK. The sounds is a little different. The monitors are pretty much non-existent (sound familiar?) Background vocals are a little to low. Due to the low monitor volume, the stage volume is real low, and much of Seth and Dave is trampled by the drums (no volume control on those babies!). Dave and Seth try not to trample on each other, but are having a hard time trying to let the other be heard. Thanks to the weather, it’s a pretty good crowd for a Friday. There is some dude running around being your typical “just got our of prison” drunken fool. Dave’s batteries are low, as are John’s, and the crowd is kind of strange. They are starring at us. Dave is going through the motions. He contemplates not going into the audience during Fast as You, but finally strolls on in.
He is followed by a mental patient into the bar area who says, “Let’s hear you play that thing!” He then sticks his face about 2 inches from Dave’s strings. Due to Dave’s lack of sleep, and lack of monitors, lack of stage volume, he leaves the gig very frustrated. While Kris and Maria say we sounded good, it just wasn’t sounding good on stage. Dave really needs some sleep.
Seth is doing a fine job of learning the material, and adds some unexpected (but right on the money) back-up vocals. He rocks.
Dave has to teach a class at 9 the following morning. On his way home he decides to stop into the musicians bargain basement and see if there is any sign of an equalizer. If we had one of those we could boost the monitor mix.
Sure enough, there was one there, and Dave charges it. So much for making a profit this weekend. But if this means we can sound better, it will put the fun back into the gigs. Upon talking to John on the phone, Dave tells John how he saw a spectrum analyzer. John immediately pops a boner over the phone. Dave returns to the basement and adds another item on the visa.
The band shows up early to play with the new toys. John has completed the transaction of trading in the amp for an effects unit and a compressor. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to set them up (using the analyzer and new equalizer as well). The room seems to resonate at a certain frequency and we just can’t get rid of it. It sounds crisper, but we just need more time to experiment. Oh well, the show must go on.
Dave and Kevin’s amp switch positions on stage. Now Seth and Dave are separated and will not be stomping on each other’s volume. John’s happy as this is one of the first times he says he’s got to hear what Dave has played.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse. It’s cold. Dave watches Tammy turn off the heat at the end of the third set. By the end of the fourth set, it’s very cold on stage. The band is not happy. Dave (Still in need of sleep) complains on stage about the heat. The crowd pretty much sucks. No one to really exchange witty banter with. Musically we were better tonight. It seemed our meter was a little more solid (despite a mosh version of Aint goin Down).
The band goes to get paid only to find out that Tammy has a sob story about how she bought too much beer, and she barely has enough to pay us. If we take our full $350 fee, she will make less than $30 on the night. She wants to pay us $300. After some discussion, the band decides to compromise and take $325. We also let Tammy know about the lack of heat, and how we feel it is hurting business. Tammy boo-hoos some more. She explains how much it costs to heat this place. She begs the band not to tell anyone. Not to tell her husband. It’s pretty much assumed she’s your typical drunk who owns a bar so it doesn’t show that she’s a drunk. Tammy is floored by the lack of people. Mike Pisani has placed peanut shells on the floor to see just when they will be swept up. Some wager that it may be the year 2006. This place is a dump and she wonders why nobody is pounding at the door.
The band took the “nice guy” way out. Sure there was more than enough argument to get paid in full. Instead, we opted to take what amounted to a $5 pay cut (each), and get booked when it was warmer out. In a nutshell, we took a long term approach to it. We also told Tammy that this was the only time we would do her “any favors.” It puts a shitty ending to a shitty weekend. Musically the band was pretty solid. We all are starting to fight colds. We are at he Tangled Spur for the next few weeks. Glenn says he is advertising on a local country radio station. Had he not already advertised, the band was going to attempt to get out of the gig (a break is needed). Due to his parents being in from out of town, Seth will have to miss one of the Tangles Spur gigs. It will be weird going back without him.
While tearing down the equipment Seth gets a little friend who follows him around. His name is Dave. He is totally drunk. He knows Seth from his days in Blackhawk. As he tells Dave, “I’ve know Jeff for years.” He asks Seth for his address to which Seth supplies a fake. He asks for his phone number and poor Seth has to tell how “he doesn’t have one.” Drunken Dave the Dick says he’ll write Seth a letter this week. Dave wants to know if we’re hiring in the band. Dave thinks “Nope we have all the drunks we need.” What a night! The band makes plan for Tuesday. Again we will try to work on Be My Baby Tonight and Baby Likes To Rock It.
February 25th: Lee Blows of Another Practice and Dave Apologizes for Kris
The band shows up at Kevin’s around 6:45. Seth, Dave and Kevin still have their work clothes on. The usual joking and all goes on. Dave has to do the embarrassing task of apologizing for his wife’s behavior last Saturday. It turns out that Kris was so pissed about the cut in pay that she went in and emptied a trash can into the Red Dog’s toilet. Had she got caught she could have got us in serious trouble. Dave apologizes for her actions, explains how he has talked to her, and she says she will maintain her control in the future.
It then becomes apparent that Lee is no where to be found. Upon checking the answering machine we get a message from Lee asking if we were still practicing. It has always been the general idea that we will ALWAYS practice unless otherwise noted. This is peculiar as we had mentioned at the Red Dog about practicing on Tuesday. There is also a message from Linda asking Kevin to call Lee.
Upon calling Lee, Kevin finds there is no one answering the phone. Hmm…..
An all out Lee Fowler “bashfest” follows. From his lack of stage clothes, dogs shitting in his house, meter problems, constant grumbling, general greed, lack of team spirit, to “the stupid shit he says.” Only Ginger can break the negativity by saying “he seems like a nice guy.” Kevin is amazed that Dave is even joining in.
The band is kind of bummed that Lee has chosen to give us the shaft again. We’re not sure why. Maybe he was pissed the one week when John called off (NOTE JOHN CALLED OFF). That week we worked on vocals. Lee was unhappy about paying Chuck the one night at the Red Dog, and while the band called him down to discuss a pre-Tammy meeting, Lee did not follow us back to the kitchen to discuss the “cut-in-pay” issue. However, much like the person who doesn’t vote but hates the president, Lee bitched when we returned with the outcome. While musically we don’t have a huge problem with him, his attitude is bringing some of the band members down. As Randy from Southern Rose put it (when Dave was trying to nab his keyboard player) “He’s your weakest link.”
Seth brings up the talented drummer with the killer P.A. system. Kevin and John foam at the mouth. Seth makes some calls, and the first step to booting Lee is taken. The audition will happen the following Thursday night. We have to play good as this guy is currently subbing for a band called Diamond Hitch. He’s very loyal, and we have to make it a no-brainer for him to join.
A call is made, and the first step to booting Lee out of the band is made. Here we go again. After making numerous calls, Seth gets a hold of Ron. He is coming next Thursday. This should be interesting. Dave is not sure if the problems we have with Lee are big enough to fire him. He did just donate his earnings to the new snake. This just doesn’t seem 100% ethical.
Later in the week Dave finds out that Linda had called John’s house and Rhonda told her that John was on his way to practice. Thus, Lee knew we were practicing. The following day Lee calls John and tries to talk his way out of his mistake. He says he called and nobody answered the phone. This is funny as we were all sitting around basically playing Nintendo (kick it’s Ass Seth!). It’s really not looking good for Lee. If he didn’t want to practice, he should’ve just told us that he didn’t want to practice. Now he has slightly betrayed the trust of the band, wasted our time, and generally left a bad taste in our mouths. Oddly enough his one year anniversary is right around this time.