Tag Archives: blue bullet
We are the proud owners of this luxurious new* beast. A very very special thanks to Scott Miller for hooking us up. He’s a great guy and basically started the Knoxville music scene.
On to the real issues here:
1) What do we name this monster?
2) What do we do with The Blue Bullet?
So the time had finally arrived for our first northeastern run. Very exciting for us because we have mainly been hitting up the southeast and it’s time to expand our market to other regions. We scheduled a three show run starting in Teaneck NJ, then heading to New York City, and finishing up in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.
For those of you that know our traveling situation you are well aware that our van is not equipped for a trip of this magnitude. First of all there is no air conditioning so the heat index on the inside is about 230 degrees fahrenheit from 12pm to 8pm. Also it smells beefy and salty and has poisonous spores growing in the carpet. Sometimes an ant colony likes to chill in the back under the last bench seat and they crawl up your shorts when you least expect it.
To remedy this situation Scott Miller let us use his bus for the trip, thank you Scott. The bus is about 30 feet long and about 10 feet high, has a dvd player, working AC, and velvet like captains chairs that can almost lean parallel to the floor. The chill was righteous and we were ready. We boarded the bus and began our rock and roll journey. The plan was to drive part of the way then crash at a hotel provided by the Murph’s dad, thank you Murph’s dad. The Murph is our camera guy who travels with us to document our many adventures. We were also accompanied by Knoxville’s best actor Matt Dearman, who works alongside Murph in their company Bad Land Pictures. We got a good nights sleep and woke up the next morning to head the rest of the way to New Jersey.
When we got on the bus we all took our seats and Jenks tried to start the engine. It wouldn’t start. Luckily there was a car battery charger in the floor that was at full power so we were able to get it started. We got on the road and drove for a little ways down the road to find a gas station. After filling up we tried to start the engine and again, it wouldn’t start. The gas station was only 20 minutes or so down the road so we figured that wasn’t enough time to recharge the battery. We kicked the battery off again and continued on our way. About four or five hours down the road we need to fill up again so we find a gas station. The battery dies again so our only option now is to use the service station that shares the same building called Tink’s Auto Repair.
Tink wasn’t there because they were relocating down the road about a mile so our only option was to go to the other shop to have him fix our bus. The night started to go down hill. Tink said it was the alternator so he called somebody and said some cuss words over the phone to kick off the two and a half our mechanical fiasco. It turned out that we left the light on in the equipment compartment all night and it drained our battery completely dry so there was never anything wrong with the alternator. After hitting that mud hole we needed redemption so we took it on to New York.
My driving shift had started so it was up to me to get the mammoth sled into the edgiest city on the face of the planet. I felt like I was experiencing a star wars battle scene in a foreign land that had no road signs. For about 20 minutes I think my body went into shock then i snapped out of it and we were on the right track. We arrived at our destination in Long Island where we were staying with our good friends Diana Warner and her brother Rob Warner in their luxurious high rise condos, thank you Diana and Rob. Yeeeaaaa the trip was startin to get buttery. Everything was falling into place and we finally arrived to New York.
The next day we ate some good food and walked around for a bit before we had to be at the venue. I ate a rib burger and finished Diana’s cheesy hashy browns. We also checked out Times Square where I experienced slight sensory overload but it was pretty awesome. Later that night we took the stage at the Canal Room and rocked so hard for the packed out club. Lives were changed, people knew our songs and somehow I spent 50 dollars on 5 beers. I had to drink the beer because they weren’t serving ecto coolers there.
After the show Doody did some freestyle walking, Justin temporarily turned into a mute, and I bought an eighteen inch chicken salad hoagie. The following day we headed to Bethlehem Pennsylvania to play Musikfest. It was awesome, we rocked in front of 5000, sold a ton of cd’s, and played really tight. The trip was glorious and we now own an incredible bus, thanks to Scott Miller, the Hoskins family, and Jim Williams. Strong.
Friday afternoon in Woodstock. We’ve gotten the rhythm tracks down for 9 songs. The fellas are in the other room working on another one as I sit here and type by fireside. Everything is sounding REALLY GOOD. It’s hard to believe that we’re getting to record here. Pictures of legends are on all the walls. The entire studio made of wood. It feels more like a getaway cabin than a studio. Everyday we see Levon Helm walk out his back door to go play with his dogs for a few minutes. The temperature outside right now is 26 degrees, and we’ve had about 10 inches of snow since we’ve been here. As some of you might have heard, I came down with the flu on the day we got to Woodstock and was sidelined to the bed for 2 straight days. The good news is that I finally got some antibiotics and I am on the road to health. Today, I can talk… but I’m hoping that I’ll able to sing by tomorrow night for our performance in Woodstock. I won’t be recording any vocal tracks until next week, so yall can just pray that I fully recover by then.
The first couple days in the studio were tough. We had serious trouble finding our mojo and were really discouraged… wondering if we were actually ready to record this album or if we needed to go home and rehearse for a couple months before making it happen. At the end of the day on Tuesday, our producer took me to the side and told me that we really needed to get it together or we should just cancel the second week in the studio and go home and work on our songs some more… to say we were feeling down would be an understatement.
We woke up Wednesday morning, hoping that our tune would change… but then we looked out the window to 8 inches of snow. Bad news. This was a problem because:
a) Our house is at the bottom of a 500 foot downhill drive way. Angle of decline, approximately 40 degrees (according to Cozmo)
b) Our van is 17 years old, has fairly bald tires, and is rear wheel drive.
The good news is that Cozmo is a total beast and led the hour-long snow shovel enslaught that ensued. For a full 60 minutes, Guv’nahs were filing in and out the front door… doing 10 minute shifts with snow shovels and then coming in to warm their fingers before returning to the shoveling… but Cozmo remained, for the full 60 minutes. We finally got the van to the top of the hill and rejoiced in our victory. We started down the mountainside to the studio, and just when we thought we had finally defeated the evil spirit that was upon us… our van started smoking. Dark black smoke. Really freaking bad smoke. Smoke was billowing both inside and outside of the van. Everybody was freaking out, lots of yelling, Chris said we should bail out the windows, and Justin suggested just slamming the brakes and leaving the van on the side of the road and just walking to the studio. Well, the smoke wagon finally got to the bottom of the mountain and pulled into a gas station to check out the situation. We all got out to survey the scene and were quickly greeted by an old woman in the parking lot who said, “Something is really wrong with your van!” Thanks, genius.
Well, after about 2 minutes Mitch noticed that the parking brake had been on for the entire descent from the mountaintop. I won’t name who drove 4 miles down the mountain with the parking brake engaged. Immediately, Justin rejoiced in the backseat with a loud shout…. throwing his hands in the air… as if he had just found the fountain of youth…
This was the moment that turned our week around. It literally felt as if the clouds had opened and the sunny skies had flooded in.
Immediately all of our attitudes changed and good music started to flow close behind.
I’ll check in again with yall sometime really soon. You’re only allowed to laugh at this blog post because it has a happy ending. Ha. We appreciate all your thoughts and prayers. Good things are happening my friends.
The weather keeps getting colder as we keep driving north. The temperature outside fell below East Tennessee’s standard of acceptability somewhere around Washington D.C. The van has proven its reliability, motoring without incident through overpriced New England toll booths that are apparently necessary every 15 miles. Despite spending a small fortune on donations to the great states of this region, our spirits are high. We’re about one hour from Woodstock.
Tomorrow morning we’ll begin the two week process of trying to create the best album of our careers. I can’t think of a better place to do it. I’m looking outside the van window right now, watching the Catskill Mountains in the distance. They’re snow covered and still, far removed from the bustle of big city life that exists just 80 miles southwest of here. Woodstock is a musician’s sanctuary, and we definitely aren’t the first band to seek refuge here. In the late 1960’s, before a rock n’ roll festival occurred that would change the world and put the small town of Woodstock NY on the map forever, this place was an escape for famous artists of the time. Bob Dylan lived here, right down the street from Van Morrison, just a couple of blocks away from The Band. This is where The Band’s relationship with Bob Dylan started. Without the quiet allure of Woodstock, it’s possible we never would have heard Levon Helm sing “I pulled into Nazareth, I was feeling bout half past dead”. (I always thought this was a vague biblical reference until I looked at our travel map and realized that Nazareth, NY is just down the road from Woodstock). This historical place is where we’ll live and work for the next 2 weeks.
We are excited and hopeful about our time here. The studio is supposed to be amazing, and I can’t wait to lay eyes on it. Personally, I’m looking forward to playing a studio-owned Hammond B3 organ that so many great hands have played in the past, including The Band’s Garth Hudson. I know Aaron is looking forward to laying down rhythm tracks on a set of drums that were a gift to Levon from the Beatle’s Ringo Starr. Cozmo and Michael will play through amps that donated their tones to Grammy-Award winning albums. The story of this place humbles and amazes us.
As I write this, it seems somehow arrogant to entertain the hope of great expectations for our time here. After all, so many inspirational musicians have made their pilgrimage to Levon’s small home and barn / recording studio during their careers. I’m not sure where we rank on the list of visitors here, but I’m quite sure it’s somewhere near the bottom. Regardless, we’ve gotten this far, and as always, I feel compelled to remind each and every reader that this would not be possible without all of you. From me and from the band, again we say thank you for your love and support.
We’ll keep checking in with you guys every day or so. Tomorrow we start laying down live tracks to build our recordings from. Thus begins our musical journey. We’re not sure where it all goes from here. We just know it’s going somewhere, and we embrace the hope that it’s somewhere good.
The time has finally come. Tomorrow morning the van will roll out of Knoxville on our journey to Woodstock, NY. It’s been a great few months working on all this new material and we are pretty excited to hear what they will sound like.
We are heading up there with 16 songs at the moment. Some will be cut, some will be tweaked, and some songs might even be written up there. Who knows. But I do know that we have never worked harder on anything as a band than we have with the creation of these new songs. Everyone has been writing, contributing their ideas, and spending countless hours trying to make these things better. We are a little exhausted but more excited than anything really.
It still hasn’t really sunk in that we are going to record at one of our musical hero’s studio. I guess when we walk in and see Levon things will start feeling real. Getting the chance to even go to Levon Helm Studios, much less record and perform there, is the ultimate honor of our career so far. We have been blessed to be able to work with a Grammy award winning team on this record and we intend to make the most of it.
We will be checking in from the studio alot to keep you guys updated, so please keep checking. Thanks so much for your support!
Having trouble coming up with Christmas gift ideas? How about Guv’nahs tickets? NEW DATES ANNOUNCED, Tickets on sale now:
January 15 Knoxville, TN The Square Room http://www.thesquareroom.com/calendar.php?format=full
January 21 Roanoke, VA Kirk Avenue Music Hall http://kirkavenuemusic.com/
January 23 Greenville, SC The Handlebar http://www.handlebar-online.com/
January 28 Atlanta, GA Smith’s Olde Bar http://www.smithsoldebar.com/
January 29 Athens, GA Tasty World http://tastyworlduptown.com/
February 18 Black Mountain, NC Town Pump Tavern http://www.myspace.com/townpumptavernnc
February 19 Charlotte, NC The Evening Muse
February 20 Johnson City, TN Capone’s http://profile.myspace.com/304827604
MANY MORE DATES COMING SOON!
For all of you out there that actually keep up with what we’re doing, i feel compelled to give you a recap of our face rockin weekend. At high noon, we all met at the headquarters better known as “summertown” USA (the motherland of rock). It was a beautiful Friday, 73 degrees and sunny so our chill was at its maximum level. After loading the trailor all 8 of us pile in the blue bullet to make our way down to birmingham. We had everything we needed for our rock and roll invasion, instruments, amps, trail mix, and an indian head dress (the head dress was essential in purchasing an ipod adapter from ghetto radio shack as well as giving indian blessing ceremonies to the random crazies after our athens show). We hit the road and decide we are hungry so we pull into a subway in lenoir city where i found out that eric savage used to be called “pepper jack pete” in high school due to an incident with pepper jack cheese.
Moving forward with the recap, we finally arrive in birmingham. It was our first time ever in Birmingham so we were pretty pumped about hitting a new market. We were opening up for our friends “High Tide Blues” who are an awesome band. I highly recommend you check them out. It was also exciting because we were going to attempt to play 3 new songs at the show just to see if we could pull them off. After finishing up with our load-in, sound check, dinner, etc. it was time to relax and focus on rockin. As the night went on it was about time for us to go on. We hit the stage to a pretty packed out and energetic club. We hit the first note and everything fell into place smoothly. We sounded raw yet polished from an intense few weeks of rehearsing. We decide that for the last song we are gonna play “We’ll Be the Light.” People were going crazy as well as singing the words to the song. Thats pretty cool especially because we have never performed there. The night was full of shenanigans with the cake taking shenanigan being doody singing lead vocals with high tide blues. Don’t ask how that went. Rockin Friday!!!
We get up on Saturday to another beautiful morning and get ready to head over to Athens, Ga. For this trip we picked up an extra man, Sean Doody. Somehow he just decided that he was going to leave his jeep in birmingham and come to athens with us. Let me shed some light on the fact that Sean goes to school at Auburn. As far as Sean goes,he finds himself tied up to three different cities on Saturday, but he didn’t seem to care so we didn’t either. Sean took it upon himself to suggest a primo dining spot for lunch called milo’s. Mitch, Jenkins, and I felt a little sketchy about it so we decided to eat at the neighboring arby’s. When we all meet back up it turns out that we chose wisely, evidently all that milo’s has to offer on the menu are barfburgers and tea that tastes like cat urine, so durdy. From there we hit it down to athens to provide another evening of rock. 15 minutes before we were suppose to start, we were informed that the bullet and our trailer was about to be towed so James has to move to a legal parking spot (not on the sidewalk where we decided to park). This definitely takes about 20 minutes so we start cutting songs. We finally hear from James,he is still in the van looking for somewhere to park in a town that resembles a zoo that has no cages. Thank God for our friend Daniel Clower who saved our set by taking the van and parking it for us. He also provided us with a place to stay so here’s to you Daniel Clower, you are a true american hero. This time we are the opener for a band called “The Constellations” who just signed a four record deal with virgin records. They rock as well. We start our set 15 minutes late so we had to cut a few songs. We begin to rock and immediately the crowd is into it. At this point we really start rockin, rockin so hard that my amp just decides to stop producing sound at a very crucial moment in the song that was being played. It did this a few other times and we finally figured out that the power strip on that side of the stage was made right after electricity was discovered. After we fix the problem we really start to turn up the rock. By the end of the set we were so full throttle that jenkins almost knocked me off the stage, it was awesome. We hit the last note and are trying to get off the stage when the crowd erupts in a “one more song” encore. It was intense so we had to give em one more. We finished up with “Loving Cup” warming up the stage for “The Contellations.” It was beautiful.
our van, the blue bullet, rolled into knoxville last night at 3:30 EST. had to stop in cleveland, TN at 2:40 to get some coffee cause i was about to pass out along with most of the other folks in the van. the best way to describe our bonnaroo experience? …a huge success. we had great shows on saturday and sunday afternoon… with great crowds and great energy. the late afternoon heat was my nemesis. saturday afternoon i made the mistake of only drinking 6 bottles of water between lunch and 5:20 (when we started)… this was not enough. six songs into the set i found myself about to pass out from heat exhaustion. i literally had to walk off stage and into the wide open where i could get a full breath of air. needless to say, i prepared even more for the sunday afternoon set. throwing in a few extra bottles of gatorade consumption and some extra food to help reenergize my soul.
had the joy of meeting some fantastic musicians and festival attendees. the mood was overwhelmingly positive. everyone, musicians and festival goers alike, just happy as a lark to be hangin at the nation’s best music festival. i’d been to Bonnaroo 2 times prior, but going with all my best friends in the band was a totally different experience. much better.
my favorite shows of the weekend were the following, and in order:
1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – “is anybody alive out there? i said, is anybody alive out there?” bruce rules. that’s right. i’ve been converted. the guy is a total freak of a performer and inspirational for anyone who’s ever stood behind a microphone. i will go see him anytime he’s within 5 hours of my house, from now on… forever. best songs of the night: Glory Days, The Rising, Born to Run, and yes… Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
2. Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 – call it a personal infatuation. call it musician lust. whatever. ben harper owns the stage and is consistently the coolest person on the planet.
3. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – she was the “it” girl at Bonnaroo. everywhere you looked she was taking a picture with somebody. always lookin fine as can be, and always smiling. i think she shared the stage with 4 different bands… me and jenks got to meet her and i totally nerded out. lord knows what i said to her. i don’t think she was listening very close… but she’ll come around, just you wait and see. check this picture:
4. AA Bondy – i haven’t heard a more perfect combination of desperation, authenticity, and harmonica since bob dylan.
5. MGMT – even though their set started off very rough in my opinion… by the time the got to Electric Feel, The Handshake, and The Youth… they had the whole house rocking. this show was easily the weirdest crowd i saw… not to mention it was about 3:30am and at that point everybody was delerious. weirdest award goes to the guy in the yellow banana suit who climbed up in a tree and the two girls that were dressed up like siamese twins.
be sure to check out our BONNAROO PHOTOS section for more pics:
ps… forgot to mention that i met jimmy buffet. check the camera phone pics below. what a weekend.