The Night Shift... Continues!

Here's where we go to kick back after the races with our pals. Pour a tall one, punch a few buttons on the jukebox, and relax...
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WildcatOne
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby WildcatOne » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:10 pm

It's been 3 months since my last post in here so this might be a little lengthy and convoluted, but here goes...
Somewhere around mid-June, I moved out of my house in Stafford. I got an apartment down in Dickinson in the Bay Area. Long, boring story as to why, but I was certain that I was doing the right thing. However, I had been gone so long that by now I can't remember the point of it anymore. So I came back. I know there were and are issues but I'd just as soon ignore them and live in peace. My wife didn't exactly throw a party for me when I came back. She didn't want me to leave, and now it looks like she didn't want me to come back, either. Well, here I am. It's nice to be here, I don't care what anybody says.
There was a personnel spasm in the band and with the departure of the keyboard player, Pee Wee had to make some changes. I am now the keyboard player, and the guitar player who was in the band when I joined on keyboards in 2006, Jim, has returned to the guitar slot. Cool with me. I like Jim. He's a great player and a good guy, he builds his own instruments, has his own guitar shop and brings great chops and experience to the band. For me, becoming the full-time keyboard player is exciting, challenging and more convenient. No more buying guitar strings and stringing the guitar every week. No more tuning up between sets. No more cod-theatrics and crowd-surfing. Just show up, plug in and play. Life is good. I also have been playing a lot with OTA and it's been good. Keyboards and bass with those guys. Almost the whole time I was not here, I had a situation to deal with involving Sylvester the trombone player. He called me on a Monday morning in late June. He said he was sick, dizzy, and he needed me to come get him and take him to the hospital. I went over and got him and saw that his left foot was swollen and he was extemely sick...I took him to the VA hospital. It took 4 hours to get him in and hooked up to an IV, but once we were in the cubicle and he was hooked up, he asked me to take his socks off. I put on latex gloves and carefully removed his socks and I saw that his left foot looked like he had stepped on a land mine. He had gangrene and he was definitely knocking on Heaven's door. The doctor came in and within 3 minutes they wheeled him upstairs. At 2 AM the next morning, they amputated his left foot. That saved his life, but after 2 1/2 weeks of trying to get his diabetes and high blood pressure under control, they took more of the leg off in order for it to be adaptable to a prosthetic leg...6 inches below the knee. That hit him like a lead pipe. He was in the hospital 6 weeks before he finally came home. There is a lot more to his story but it's his business and I'm not sticking my whiskers where they don't belong. I did get to be friends with a couple of his sisters and their husbands, and I am very happy to have acquired their friendship. I got called back to GRI for at least a couple of weeks...I sure hope Charlie says the magic words this time, but if not, I understand. I need one more year. I will qualify for Social Security in September 2011...looking forward to that...hope we all enjoy the US Nationals! Cheers, WC1
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draglist
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby draglist » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:07 am

Glad to have you back home, John. bp
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23t
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby 23t » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:34 am

Now were firing on all 8 cylinders!!!!! 8) 8)
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Billy Mac
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby Billy Mac » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:24 am

23t wrote:Now were firing on all 8 cylinders!!!!! 8) 8)


With 100% in the tank 8) 8) 8)
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pro70z28
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby pro70z28 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:48 pm

Glad to see you back WC.
nothing to say at this time.

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WildcatOne
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby WildcatOne » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:27 pm

Thanks, it's great to be back. I missed being here. That's a sign to me that the adventure wasn't meant to last. I'll do the best I can with what I've got from now on. Cheers, WC1
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby WildcatOne » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:04 pm

I've been practicing keyboards...something I should have done 50 years ago but I wasn't getting paid to play gigs then...I was learning music theory and doing recitals...those activities were more stressful than rock 'n roll is...it ain't rocket surgery, but I went ahead and had a meeting with myself about this keyboard deal. I've gotta kick it up a notch or two. I can play all the songs, I know some clever licks, I learned the intros to the slick keyboard tunes we do (Blueberry Hill, You Don't Know Me, What'd I Say and Can't Help Falling In Love With You) but In my opinion I'm playing too far down in lower registers and not the upper middle, which is where I believe I should be. In many instances, I'm duplicating what Jim is doing on guitar. That has to change. Anyway, to get myself into a more fluid, mercurial style, I've been working on learning the hardest songs I can think of on keys. "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin is without a doubt the most difficult rock song I've ever tackled, and I'm still working on getting that downward crescendo part smooth and seamless. It's a real booger of a song...my hat's off to John Paul Jones for his musicianship on that song...not just that song but all the stuff he did. His solo work is unbelievable. So there's that, "Eleanor Rigby", done on the Cello setting, and the keyboard intro to "Light My Fire", which has been requested of me to learn for future installment at some of another buddy's gigs. I am brokenhearted over having to pass on OTA's live audition at T-Bone Tom's next Tuesday. Out of 364 other days, they have that day scheduled. I got home last night from a rehearsal with them and discovered that THAT day, I am booked to play a private country club gig with the main band. That makes 4 gigs in a row I've had to pass on with OTA because I'm double-booked...frustrating. But I'm still dancing with who brung me in that scene and it's the right thing to do. Sometimes I miss playing my own material. Most of what I know, I wrote and there has been a non-stop soundtrack playing in my head all my life. 20 times a day I'll stop and hum something that's channelling through me. Some of it's good. Some of it I have to think about what it is and where it comes from, and at times I've found myself humming a tune that's already been done, but not always. Cover bands (bands that play the hits) are the most successful and popular. From playing 20+ years in original bands, I have to admit that I made more in the first 6 months I played in the current band I'm in than I did in my entire life playing music. I'm rambling and I'll shut up now, but I'll keep practicing until I'm as loose and carefree as the guys whose songs I'm covering are...I want to be able to just smooth walk up there and play slick all night long and not even blink. It's getting there. Cheers, WC1
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby Billy Mac » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:43 pm

Perserverence and persistence, Cat...We have your back 8)
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WildcatOne
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Re: The Night Shift... Continues!

Postby WildcatOne » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:04 am

The merry-go-round turned into a tilt-a-whirl this week...5 shows in 7 days and 3 of them were out-of-town. I played keyboards for 2 of them and I was on guitar for 3. The country club gig was very good musically but the people who threw the party there treated us like dirt, and they kept hard at it the whole time. We were supposed to remember that they're a better class of people than we are, and we have to obey and behave as such. It's a gated community in the middle of town with security cameras everywhere, armed guards patrolling constantly, designated parking areas, service entrances and a list of rules, regulations, car stickers, photo IDs and limited drink menus (I don't drink, so I just got water), on and on. They were served a superior meal by a group of servants (even they were snobs...I smirked just now) who pampered them and waited on them hand and foot while we stood and played easy-listening music for them. Then when we took a break, went to the lobby and had a seat for a minute, the ladies in charge came over and complained that we weren't playing. We got up and went in and played straight-through to the end. I was reminded of a term I'd heard before..."the idle rich". It's true. I never saw a more bored, lifeless and downright depressing bunch of people than the millionaires who showed up for the guy's 80th birthday party. A lot of them just sat there and didn't talk, just looked glumly straight ahead once they were seated. Apparently he is a great guy and everybody loves him, but here I am on the outside looking in at these folks. I did go over and shake his hand and wish him a happy birthday and he was nice to me. Once the second or third drink kicked in, they loosened up, danced, smiled and told us we're great. At the end of the night, they told Pee Wee that they'd mail him a check...which he still hasn't received. See, rich people don't have any money. That's why they're rich. This is something I've learned from having played for their functions. They have 30-day billing cycles. They have checks that get delayed usually because their committee decides that it has to be deferred to legal and negotiations ensue. That was last Tuesday...meanwhile the bills come up due over here...but that's not what it's all about in their world. They aren't going to do anything...after all, it was their party. Friday night we played at Capone's in the Galleria area to a dancing crowd and we did our thing to the hilt. Saturday night we played at Crow's on the Strand in Galveston to a packed house, a mixed crowd of tourists, Crow's regulars, bikers and our crowd. It was a lot of fun but our sax player was sick and went home at the last minute, so I ended up playing most of his damn solos on guitar. Had a blast, but my fingers were hurting...Sunday we played at the Haak Winery in Santa Fe to 800 dancing maniacs and we rocked the place, it was a terrific gig, marking the official return of Sylvester on trombone, who is now in a wheelchair with one less leg to get him around, but his playing was excellent. Heck, I just about have a man-crush on him, it's so good to have him back. The winery is one of my favorite places to play for an "outside" gig...it does have a roof, but it's open-air and they have these big fans that make ample wind in there, it's great...casual and boy, do the folks ever like that wine...it shows in their dance floor expressions, ya know. Then yesterday we played in Galveston at the Emerald By The Sea condominium at the intersection of Seawall Boulevard and Broadway. We played on the 6th floor, facing the Gulf of Mexico (a breathtaking view that I've never seen before) from 1-3PM...those people probably aren't as rich as the country club people are, but they're quite well-to-do (their deal starts at $250,000 for a single...that country club was all-multi-millionaire, all the way). I got there first and I came in through security and meekly approached the ladies in charge as if I were on my knees...dude, they were thrilled...no, ECSTATIC to meet me...they rolled out the red carpet for us...they gave me this big rolling rack to take downstairs to load up my stuff on (usually takes 3 trips with my fold-up dolly), let me park George in the VIP space, gave me a security key, offered me a drink (I don't drink, so I had water), gushed to me about how happy they were to have us, then offered me a full dinner along with the rest of the folks there...I politely declined the dinner until we had our first break. The band showed up, we played, the crowd started out pretty stiff but by the end of the first set, the ladies were hanging on Pee Wee like coat hangers...we had our meal, hung out with them, and when we played the second set, they flipped. By the time we played the last 5 songs, a dozen ladies including the ones that work there were gyrating, bumping and grinding and going Club 21 on us...we got paid $125 a man in cash on the spot, and they provided full assistance in our load out. Then they pulled Pee Wee back in and set up a deal with him for us to play there every Sunday after the first of the year, with a raise. Now, I haven't said this yet but here it is: LIFE IS GOOD. Pee Wee's working with them to firm up the deal. It just goes to show ya, it isn't all the same everywhere you go. Those folks are A-OK in my book. And it did a lot to restore my faith in the goodness of humanity after being forced to make the country club pyramid's bricks without hay...but to be honest, I had to sit here and try to remember where we played Saturday, then Friday before that. It all blends together in a blurred panoramic mural in my memory...it goes by fast and it's jam-packed with hundreds of scenes (the bikers at Crow's LOVED George. They hung out with me and we talked Bugs for a while...then this big white SUV pulls up on the Strand and honks...the window rolls down and it's my cousin Robert, who has been working in Uzbekistan and his wife Sophie and a car full of folks with them, we hung out and chatted until traffic pushed them along, and so on) but all in all, it was a wild and crazy week here. I'm tired today and I'm going to kick back and relax for a spell. Congratulations to the great driver Greg Stanfield! He put up a BIG shot for the little guy. Cheers, WC1
http://galveston-crystalbeach.alicedonahue.com/EmeraldByTheSea.aspx
Last edited by WildcatOne on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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