Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Saturday at the Skylark

A few weeks ago my friend Emilio asked me to play bass with him. Initially I said no. I've done it twice before and, well, it's just not my cup of tea. He writes catchy songs, but they need some polishing. I did, however, bum rush my way onto the bill. I checked the Skylark's website and saw Jessie (who books the place) only had Emilio's band and no one else. I asked if my other band, the Scheme, could hit it, and she said yes. I then hit up Scott's (from Doll Test) band, Paul Lynde Fan Club, and they said yes.

Presto! Instant show!

But Emilio kept asking. I figured I'd help out a bro and said I'd do the show. We had a rehearsal with his drummer Chris, and that was that.

I got to the Skylark and PLFC was just sound checking. They're a little three piece band, guitar, bass and drums, and all have varied histories. Scott on guitar, Lisa on bass and Jim on drums have all played with each other not only in PLFC, but also in other bands. Somehow, someway, they're all connected with Rusty Willoughby and Flop, but if you're interested, that's what Wikipedia's for (I think!).

Lund Bros. first played with PLFC two years ago tomorrow (!) according to our Myspace page. At that show, Rusty took a liking to us and we all started to hit it off. Back at that show, I remember that they were spacey and weird. Jim, the drummer, did the lead vocals and it was kind of trippy. We played with them again down the road and their music had evolved quite a bit and was getting much cooler.

This time around, I unfortunately didn't get to see all of PLFC's set as an old friend came to see me and he and I ended up chatting the whole time. What I did notice about the set was that they were SUPER loud! And they had a song called Cookie Monster. But, as always, they were engaging and entertaining, what little I heard/saw.

After PLFC came Emilio's band, Static Radio. I set up my gear and went to chat with my friends Rich and Aaron. Strangely enough, my friend Rich is married to an Erin. And both Rich and Erin and Aaron have daughters named Eliana (or Ellie for short), and I work with two guys named Rich and Aaron. But they don't have any daughters named Eliana (or Ellie, for that matter). It's kind of weird.

I saw Emilio take the stage. I finished up my chat, then took the stage too. I plugged in and figured we'd be ready to go.

I was wrong.

E tuned his guitar. He adjusted his volume, first clean, then distorted. Then clean. Then tuned. Then distorted volume. He tuned some more. I swear to God he must have fiddled with his knobs for about 3 to 4 minutes. Thankfully Charlie, the sound guy, had some sense about the situation and kept the house music on. Leaving us hanging with silence while E primadonnaed about would've been quite uncomfortable.

The whole time, I tried to maintain a professional attitude about it. After all, I took the gig with E to kind of showcase myself, to let others know that, yeah, I can do two bands in one night, why not? The Unsmashable crew was there and, though they know I rock with the Lunds, I wanted them to see I was more than a one trick pony.

So yeah, it was a ego trip. Guilty as charged.

Anyway, pretty soon, my pro attitude turned into a bad attitude. After E was finally done noodling around, what did he do? He said he had to piss, so off he went!

I couldn't believe it. At this point in the night, we should've been on his second song, but we hadn't even started note one yet. It was quite lame.

Finally, after draining the main vein, E was ready and we did some faux rock/pop and tried to manufacture some feel. Or, at least I did. I'm pretty sure I mailed it in on the performance. I could feel my rep draining away as we played. E puts on a decent show. People eat up what he does, for the most part, but as a member of his band, I just wasn't feeling it. His music is far too simple for me (does that sound arrogant?). It's catchy, sure, but he would benefit SO MUCH from a co-writer or some songwriting classes (this from the guy who doesn't write music!).

I did some backing vocals and tried to rock. Chris is a different drummer live than in rehearsal. It's weird. He's a total pansy in practice, but on stage, before I put in my earplugs, he was banging the heck out of those drums. He did pretty well. E was a sweaty wreck. I did ok. I could've gone home afterward and not even needed a shower. I got sweatier today getting my blood pressure checked at the doctor's office (his office was HOT!).

After the SR set, I felt a little bad. All the Unsmashable crew was off for jello shots at a Halloween party and weren't even going to see the Scheme go. And I felt bad for mailing in a performance. Not very pro of me, I suppose, but if there's anything I can't stand, it's faking enthusiasm and passion for something I feel nothing for.

Onto the Scheme!


I first wrote about this band in July of 2007. We fired up rehearsals on a regular basis in March and now we're finally playing out. Leading up to this show, me, David and Gregg met 3 times in 7 days to iron things out. The rehearsals were pretty good and we were feeling fairly confident.

The first thing that was not right, I suppose, was Gregg left his bass drum pedal at the rehearsal space. He had just told us he'd had that pedal since he was 13 or so and it was his baby. Luckily he got a replacement and we were able to play.

So we started and things went pretty well for the first two songs, You Let Me Go and Holly Wouldn't. Those are pretty easy crowd pleasers and we played them well. Lots of singing for me and it was fun. Though, I had a bit of a cold and after singing a little for Static Radio, I was starting to feel it.

The third song we did, Nothing Left in Common, is a barn burner and is hard even in practice. It's a song that has me considering playing with a pick, and if I'm considering playing with a pick (which I suck at and simply cannot do), you know it's fast. David started it a click below supersonic and off we went. I could barely keep up, but I made it through.

After that came 2:18, one of the newer songs Gregg and I had learned. I had a couple flubs on that, both in timing and vocals. For whatever reason, there's a part in that song that I can sing just fine by myself, but with the band going and David singing, all bets are off. I think I butchered it pretty well, but the show must go on, right?

Overall, we played decent. Wasn't our best performance, but people seemed to like it. Poor Gregg had some equipment failures (bass pedal blew up and something happened to his high hat too) which sucks. I hate it when something out of my control goes wrong at a show. But, overall, I was pretty pleased with how we did.

I didn't get paid for either gig, but didn't expect to. Emilio did mention if I played with him, he'd give me the $$, but I didn't ask for it, though a few sheckles might have been cool. And David has paid for the rehearsal space since day 1 and has never asked for cash, so I figured what we earned, he'd keep.

All in all, a good night. I had a few friends there. I got to play two sets in two bands, which, though fun, isn't necessarily something I'd want to do again. I started getting ear fatigue through my plugs in the Scheme's set and had a hard time hearing my vocal notes and cues.

Up next? Nothing on the horizon except...

LUND BROS CD RELEASE! Keep your eyes/ears peeled!

It all goes down in one week

And I don't mean the election.

One week from now, Riley's going to be a little uncomfortable. He'll have a few new incisions on his head and he'll probably be all drugged out. Haley will be at home with the grandparents and Marci and I will be at the hospital with Rye, keeping each other company and keeping an eye on our son. Over the next few days, he'll start healing and we'll be able to bring him home soon after.

At home, we'll keep him as mellow as possible, pumping him full of videos, shows, games and the like. The doctor has ordered us to keep him still so his head can heal. Otherwise, if he disturbs the stitches, who knows what might happen.

Of course, this is all dependent on Riley not catching a cold or anything prior to next Tuesday. So far, so good (KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD IN THE HOUSE AND NEIGHBORHOOD). Though, ironically, the one time a year I get sick happens to be right now. But it's not too bad. It's a little congestion in the morning and some coughing throughout the day. I do need to keep away from Rye a little, but I think we're doing ok with it. Marci's been giving me Lysol showers and bleaching my clothes and towels (not really).

So, this, is weighing on all of us. I suppose we're stressing just a little, but it hasn't quite hit full force yet. I'm pretty sure things will be fine, but it's brain surgery on my four-year-old son. This kind of stuff isn't supposed to happen to us!

Anyway, keep us in your thoughts. Riley's a cool kid. You should meet him sometime!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Slow posting month

Well, not much seems to be happening in my neck of the woods. I'm definitely noticing a slowdown at work due to the infamous economy. I have a few things I'm working on to turn it around but it'll definitely be a slow process.

Mom is doing great. She's got a little daily routine going on and is taking care of business left and right. I'm quite proud of her!

Riley's surgery is in 10 days or so. He seems to have some allergies now, or possibly a tiny cold. Hopefully that's all it is; if he does get sick or is sick at the time of the operation, they'll postpone it, which would be LAME!

In other Riley news, I gotta show Riley how to pee better. I got home today and he said he had an "asiwent" (accident) at school. Evidently his "penith" got stuck to his "bumpth" and caused him to pee all over his leg. Sadly, the teacher at his school only had shorts that we gave her at the end of summer for a change of clothes. So, he had to wear shorts for the day. Luckily he had PE (no pun intended) and got to run around to warm up a bit. Kind of funny, I suppose.

I've been playing a ton of music lately. Friday I had a gig at the Sunset. Sunday I played at church, then rehearsed with Emilio's band that night. No Lunds on Monday, but had a productive Scheme practice last night and will do it again Friday night. We gig on Saturday (twice for me) and then I have God Rock on Sunday morning. Whew!

Meanwhile, I've been sleeping kind of lousy lately. Doesn't help that I stay up too late, but last night, Rye got up at 1:00am (I'd only been asleep for 1/2 an hour). The night before, he was up at 5 or so, having wet the bed. I'd woken up 2-3 times that night anyway. Usually, I don my sexxxxy CPAP and I'm out for 7-8 hours. Past few nights, not so much. Hopefully that changes tonight.

I am going to hit the hay. Goodnight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday night at the Sunset

I contacted Mike at the Sunset a few weeks ago and he was kind enough to toss a Friday night our way. All I had to do was fill it. No problem, right? I put an email out to the usual suspects and we'd have a killer show in no time.

Or so I thought.

I sent an email to two bands I wanted to play with, the Young Sportsmen and the Doll Test. I heard back from Wesley of the YS who said they couldn't do the show. They had reasons they couldn't yet divulge, which turned out to be them hanging it up. Scott from DT said they couldn't do the show.

I emailed Kurt and Sgt Major, who said they couldn't do the show. Emailed Jim with the Tripwires and they couldn't do the show. I tried Nick with the Riffbrokers (no response), Gregg with the Small Change (couldn't do it), Erik with the I Love Myselfs (busy that night) and I think that was it.

What now?

I looked on the Seattle Powerpop page for some ideas and came across the Knast, a powerpop/indie trio from Seattle. They got back to me and were able to do it. I asked AJ from the Knast to help out and he enlisted the services of a band called Wallpaper from Auburn. Finally, a lineup!

Fast forward a few weeks and it was Friday and time for the show. Shortly after arriving, a whole bunch of Sean's friends made it out. Let's see: Cam, Pasha, Natalia, Diane, Chuck, Gary, Andi, and Chuck's brother. Later on, some more of his friends came. It was a big ol' Love In for Sean. Pretty cool.

Showtime was late as one of the Knast ran late. But they took the stage and they were pretty good. Kind of garagey, kind of loose, kind of like the Strokes, but all in all, not bad. They had the crushed velvet jacket, tight striped shirt, skinny jeans look down pat. Big lambchop sideburns and feathered-just-right hair, you know the drill. People dug them, and rightfully so.

We took the stage next. I set up stage right. Don't know why. Most times, the bassist prefers to be on the high-hat side of the drummer (stage left if the drummer is right handed). I guess it's so the drummer can see the bassist as the drummer is looking towards the high-hat. For whatever reason, I've set up on stage right for many many years. It doesn't really matter to me where I set up. Unless I'm at the Sunset, that is.

You see, about 5 feet above the corner of stage right is this light can hanging from the ceiling. It fires off the heat of 1000 suns directly onto where I stand. Every time. Any season.

In other words, it's hot as a mother up in there. Anyway, my whole point is that as much as I love playing this place, I sure hate that corner of the stage. Meanwhile, Chris got up on stage, cool as a cucumber (maybe even cold!) in his little track jacket. I don't even think he broke a sweat. Me? I was drenched by the end of the first song!

We played pretty well that night. It helps that the Sunset has great stage sound so you can always hear what you're playing/singing. We were fairly tight and the mistakes were kept to a minimum. I had a fun time and I think the people enjoyed it as well.

Wallpaper took the stage next, though none of us were even sure if they showed up. Turns out they were, they were just stealthy about it.

When I researched them, I saw they were "signed" to a label. It's a small local, but it's a label nonetheless. They had some impressive gigs on their resume, as well as a reputed following of "kids", per AJ's description.

As they took the stage, it was clear that these guys were youngsters. They were a 3 piece, with drums, guitar and guitar (and some bass). They did the ol' instrument switcheroo a few times during their set. They dressed like college kids trying to dress like college kids who weren't trying to look like they were in a band, but obviously were in a band. One kid had a haircut so bad that it seemed to be an anti-haircut, and I'm not even trying to pick on him, but if you saw him, you'd agree. But, kudos to him for having the balls to pull off that haircut.

They played some rock that was good for what it was, but it wasn't my thing. The kids dancing on the floor were all dressed in what looked to be prom dresses, but not quite. They looked like they'd fit in selling Doc Martens on Capitol Hill. I half expected Austin Powers to come on stage and say, "Oh, behave!" Their music was kind of psychedelic, kind of jangly, kind of catchy and kind of grungy. But, it did work, and the kids loved it.

So, all in all, it was a good night. We got paid, we played with new bands, and we played the Sunset on a Friday night. Thanks to those that were there, and hopefully some of you that weren't can make it another time.

Next up for me: playing bass for Static Radio and the Scheme at the Skylark.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Monday

Wow! It's almost been a week since my last update! I'm sorry to say... I'm back!

Anyway, our bathroom is fixed. Turns out that when the shower install was done, they somehow cracked the S-trap underneath the drain. Luckily that drain is directly over the garage and another part of the house. After that was fixed, all is good. I spent a few hours priming and painting the bathroom yesterday and it's looking pretty spiffy. Now we just need to get the toilet and vanity replaced and we'll be all done!

I got to have some Riley time by myself on Saturday and it was fun. We hit the mall to run some errands and play and just do things he wanted to do. He got a little Hot Wheels car from McDonalds and enjoyed crashing that into everything in the mall. He's a fun little dude.

Haley's kind of come around too. I think what Marci hit onto is to keep Haley with food in her hands. We think Haley is going through a growth spurt. Her pants are all getting too short for her. I put Marci on a clothes buying moratorium until Haley stops growing. As long as Hay eats, she's in pretty good spirits, so we'll have a chubby Haley, but a happy Haley.

Music is starting to come around again. I have a rehearsal with the Lunds tonight and a gig on Friday at the Sunset. Next Saturday, I'm playing my first gig with the Scheme at the Skylark. In addition, my old friend Emilio is also playing that gig and needed a bassist, so I told him I'd do it.

Not much else to report. Riley has his surgery in a few weeks, the in-laws come in as well. Holidays coming up, of course, and Dad's not here. We'll see how that goes. I saw a HUGE spider in Mom's house the other day. Before taking care of it (humanely!), I asked Mom if it was Dad coming back to check on us. She said no, so I got the big plastic cup and tried to get the spider in the cup.

Only, when I got close to the spider, it moved and I put the edge of the cup right on the spider. Ugh. I didn't sever it, but it was stunned or dead. Now, it's sleepin' with the fishes.

I hate spiders. Can't stand 'em!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bummer

We met with a Bathfitters guy this summer. They install a shower/tub over your existing one. It's not as expensive as a whole makeover of the bathroom, but it's still expensive, relatively speaking.

At the time, we weren't ready to do it, so we told the guy no thanks.

A few weeks ago, it became more and more apparent that our shower floor was slowly turning black and brown with mold. It wasn't for lack of cleaning or trying, but after 25+ years of use and scrubbing, the fiberglass floor was giving up the ghost. We called the Bathfitters guy to come remeasure, and then told him to go ahead with the job.

Last Friday, Duke came from PlumbFit (contracted by Bathfitters) to demo the lower half of our shower.



Unfortunately, it was either Friday and Monday, or end of the month. We chose now and have "suffered" with using the downstairs shower in the laundry room.

Yesterday, Zack came from Bathfitters and did the install. A buddy joined him later and they were here for about 7 hours or so. Between the start and finish, we thought we lost our cat. With Dad passing, then a dead bird found on Sunday, and now a potentially missing cat, we figured Haley would be a basket case.

Thankfully, we found the stupid cat later. In Haley's closet. Luckily, the cat didn't show her displeasure with us in the closet. But, I digress.

After Zack and co. finished, they told us we had to wait 24 hours for the caulk to dry, etc. So we waited.



Tonight, Marci took a shower. I pulled into the garage about 5:30 and smelled soap. As I came around her car, I saw water running down the wall in the garage. It was just above the utility sink, just under where the shower would be. Upon further inspection, it was clear there was a bulge from above that wasn't there before. It would appear that one of the workers put something lower than it should've been, which then proceeded to leak all over the wall and floor.

I called Bathfitters and it was a little too late. The salesperson answered, but the office people were all gone. The good news is, according to Greg, the salesperson, they'll take care of it. The bad news is that we have no brand new shower to use for the next few days, at least.

I just finished working out, and instead of taking a shower in our nice new shower, I get to take one in a nice, coffin-sized shower. No big deal, I suppose. It could be worse, right?