Last night on the way to Beaumont for the gig, I passed the Zechs, enroute to Florida. Pulled up next to them, honked, and we all cheered, gave a thumbs-up, waved, and we zipped on ahead to the gig. It hurts to lose Roland and Micah, not to mention the wonderful people who are their parents and sister. The silence in our house is deafening. I always felt numb after hearing Blastula play, but this kind of numbness is painful. We'll move on, things will change, but this was a massive hit. Ouch doesn't cover it, but for now it will have to do.
Thursday night we played at another Houston landmark, the Rice Hotel, downtown. We played in the Empire Room. It was a small room for an 8-piece band to set up and play in, they kept opening the door to the outside veranda next to us, and all the air conditioning blew outside...replaced with a virtual steam bath...but the whole place danced to every song we did...this gig was for a political fundraiser that the guy who is running doesn't have much of a chance to win...he's up against an invincible opponent...nice fellow, but he's running headlong into a wall...my opinion, anything can happen. We were paid handsomely for the 2-set deal, and I went all around the building, which is gorgeous (1913), hung out with Clem, our sax player, who knows the history of the place, and took the tour...the Grand Ballroom is breathtaking...they had the 1928 Democratic National Convention there...Herbert Hoover ended up winning that year...the stage and dance floor still have the original wood on the floors. Laminated Texas limestone, marble and granite floors in the lobby...Victorian decor, highly figured art noveau appointments...I'd love to have one of those nude wall statues here in the Cat House...JFK and LBJ stayed there the night before they went to Dallas...it's all been restored and updated with all modern outfittings. Here are some images:
We played on the second floor next to a veranda on the Main Street side.
The Beaumont Civic Center sits on the West side of the Texas/Louisiana border, next to the Sabine river. It's a huge arena, they had us on a big stage. High-dollar fundraiser for the American Red Cross, honoring some citizens of Beaumont who have donated their time, energy and money to help restore the town in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. There is still a lot of damage there, and the city has dwindled population-wise after that storm...got back here at 2AM, not bad considering the distance. They let us pull our cars up inside the place right next to the stage. They also had an excellent air conditioning system in there that kept everybody comfortable...it's HOT and HUMID down here, folks. Big Time. This old guy came up to the stage at the end of our first set, signaled Pee Wee, who went over to him...he yelled "You have a great voice, but you're too (Bleeping) LOUD!" and he walked off...Pee Wee (and the rest of us) were taken aback by that...Pee Wee said something that put the whole place (well over a thousand people) on HIS side...he said "Sir, I appreciate your taking the step to compliment us, but please, don't curse me. That is not something I will return to you. We'll try to play something for everybody." Next thing you know, we got people all over us, telling us to TURN IT UP. Run that old guy outta here, let's party! Ended up being just that. Pee Wee has a knack for saying and doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time, our audiences end up loving us even after one of them jumps up in our faces with a hateful statement like that old guy did (probably made his day to do that)...because from then on, the fun started...Pee Wee told us later, we got 6 gigs coming up out of those 2 nights...here is the URL to the Beaumont Civic Center:
Tonight it's the Lone Star in Pasadena, the supermarket-turned-nightclub...we get to get loose and crazy...plus, the band's following will be out in force...the Phantom Kruizers'll be there...and our regular dancing friends...party time! Life is good. On we go...Cheers, WC1