Tag Archives: new york city
this past weekend is the biggest weekend the guv’s have ever had. It was our second trip to new york. we played in the city on thursday then shot up to woodstock to open up for the levon helm band at a midnight ramble session. the wives came along so it was like a family vacation, it was cool. the murph was there too. tony d made us some spinach balls, cookies, and yogurt pretzels for our journey because we like snacks. we piled into the mule to start the first leg to hagerstown maryland. i could feel it was gonna be good weekend because william shatner hooked us up with some hotel rooms and i bought a nesquik double chocolate milk for the road.
some of you may have read my last blog about pulling into new york city while driving a 30 foot long airport shuttle. edgy times. i drove us in last time so james decided to take the pilot seat for this go around while i was the motivational copilot. we decided to implement a different strategy for this trip. instead of worrying about how horrible it was last time to get into the city we spoke blessings over the mule. the blessing was to pull straight in and park right next to the load in doors at the venue. statistically, judging by last time, there was a negative 21% chance of this happening but we believed that it was our time. we have a technological device called a gps that tells you what to do when you have no idea where you re going. sometimes it works well and sometimes it is full of lies. for this trip the gps was on point and according to the instructions we only had one turn to make once we entered the city to get to the venue. it was early afternoon so there was minimal traffic pulling in so it was a smooth arrival. we got in the city easily and sure enough the venue was about 50 yards ahead and the one turn was exactly where we were hoping to park. we made the turn and there was a huge parking space right in front of the load in doors. victorious. all the wives went to some science place called anthropology and we loaded into the venue for sound check.
we were excited to play new york again because last time it was an awesome turnout and we gained a lot of fans. we also had a ton more energy because we didn’t have to deal with driving our gear across the city. sound check felt really good as well so there was an easiness about this night that created a good chill for all of us as a band. we played with the northbound traveling minstrel jug band and the rozatones who are both really cool bands so check em out if you get a chance. it came time for us to come on so we hit the stage to bring the rock to the people of new york. the crowd doubled what was there last time and the wives were in the front row dancin and singin our songs. It was so inspiring to us to have all this support so we gave em a rock and roll sandwich to the faaayse. we love new york city.
the next day we woke up to 12 inches of snow on the ground but the roads were plowed so that didn’t stop us. we stayed a little ways north of the city so we could wake up and get on the road to woodstock for a chill day because the ramble wasn’t until saturday. last year we went to woodstock to record our album “youth is in our blood” at levon helm studios. we were there for two weeks so we decided to stay in bob clearmountain’s vacation home which is located in the byrdcliffe colony. it’s such an awesome house that we decided to stay there this time to maximize the chill. bob clearmountain is an award winning studio engineer who mixed songs as well as complete records for artists such as bruce springsteen, the rolling stones, bryan adams, as well as many others. as we got closer to woodstock we called our producer justin guip because we wanted to stop by to see him. we arrived at levon’s house and it was like we never left. levon was pulling out when we arrived and he was waving at us and giving us his signature “go get em boys” thumbs up. he just got out of the hopital so it was good to see him out and moving around. his dog muddy was in the passenger seat. it was really cool to see everyone, levon, guip, brendan, chris, barbara, walt, the whole team levon staff, it felt like we had only been gone for a few months. they run a very family oriented ship there so we felt really “at home”. one day i’m gonna purchase a vacation home in woodstock and it will be a glorious day. i will have many cookouts with tons of beer and steaks for my friends at my vacation home. we hung out at levon’s for a while and then i heard ashley say taco night. tha cozmo loves tacos. i got really happy and we gave each other a high five. our friend from ascap, robert filhart, was there with us and he offered to shuttle us all to the house so we could leave the mule at levon’s. thank you for being awesome robert. the wives made tacos and guac for us. it was delicious. i ate 2 burritos and three tacos, then later they made cookies for dessert. we built a fire and had family hang time where we sang songs and danced around the living room to celebrate the weekend. the next day we slept in for a little while then went into town to get some food. the first group shuttled in was me, the murph, the hoskins, and the doodys. we went to the oriole 9 cafe. me and the murph got the cuban sandwich which was scrumptious. i also got some bacon on the side with a classical coke that was in the old school eight ounce glass bottle. our lunch was awesome. when we finished we walked around to check out some of the shops in town then we had a rendezvous at the hot chocolate factory. shortly after, we went back to the house to relax til sound check. it was a good day.
it was time for the ramble. we were so excited to open for someone we really look up to as a musician as well as a person. levon is a legend and a huge inspiration to our band and we were pumped to be back to play with him once again. we also heard that jimmy vivino (leader of conan o brien’s basic cable band) randomly showed up to play with the levon helm band so we knew it would be a special night but we weren’t aware of how special. he was in town from l.a. to visit his son and decided to stop by to play the show. it came time for us to go on and we held nothing back. the crowd was so into the music that we got an encore. it felt really good, our set was rockin. we cleared off the stage for the intermission and went downstairs to do a cd signing then came back up for levon’s set. they were amazing, the energy was maxed out and the crowd was feelin it. about mid way through they’re show i looked down at the set list and noticed that the last song was “the weight”. i started thinkin to myself, “man that would be cool if they invited us on stage to play the weight with them.” slowly that thought consumed my brained and about 5 minutes rolled by where i drifted into a dream world and played that scenario out in my head. eventually i snapped back to reality to catch the remainder of the show. i started to have this rumblin feelin in my belly when they finished the last song before the weight. something was gonna happen but i didn’t know what. sure enough larry campbell (grammy award winning producer/arranger, virtuoso of multiple instruments, and front man of the levon helm band) started talking about us on the microphone. he was complimenting our music then he invited us all on stage for the last song. wuuuuuuuuuuuuurd. i couldn’t believe it, it really happened. i walked on stage and larry told me to grab the acoustic guitar that was sitting in the rack. i never play acoustic guitars but it was the only one that was available so i just had to roll with it. so there we were, a red-headed american rock and roll band from knoxville on stage with grammy award winning levon helm band. crazy. we started the song and james sang the first verse and killed it. levon had a full grin on his face the whole time. it was priceless. meanwhile i’m tucked in the back next to jimmy vivino trying not to do anything stupid. i figured i wasn’t going to do much on the song since there was 25 people on stage so i was in chill mode. next thing i know, larry looks at me and tells me to take a solo. i felt like i was gonna poop my diapers. as i mentioned earlier i was playing an acoustic so i felt like i was about to fight a dragon and my only weapon was a carton of eggs and a slingshot. i couldn’t let south knoxville down so i accepted the challenge. it was the longest solo i have ever played on an acoustic guitar in my life and it felt good and buttery. after the show was over we hung around with the band for a while then took off to the house to celebrate our epic night.
the next morning we woke up and the wives made us bacon and eggs. tha cozmo also loves bacon and eggs. before we left woodstock we wanted to stop by and check out “big pink” which is the legendary pink house where bob dylan and the band composed several huge songs, including “the weight”. they would rehearse in the basement. we started our journey to “big pink” following snowy back roads through woodstock. it was a slow trip because it started to get really “hilly” and we didn’t want to get stuck anywhere. finally we approached parnassus road where the house was supposedly located. the map told us to take a right but it looked a little sketchy because the road was really narrow and covered with snow. there was also no houses in sight. a few of us walked down the road to scope out the territory but there was no luck. it was getting late and we had to get back to tennessee so we were about to give up because the roads didn’t look friendly for the ol mule. after pondering for a moment we decided to take a left and drove in a huge circle. we couldn’t find the house on the left side of the street either. once we arrived back to the intersection we had a better angle to turn where the map was telling us to go so we decided to risk it. as soon as we turned onto the narrow, snowy road someone turned in behind us so we were stuck, there was no turning back. the mule was stopped in the middle of the road blocking everything when the people in the car walked up to the driver side of the mule. they knew who we were and why we were turning down into the woods. it turns out they were the people who owned “big pink” and we were right the first time but we didn’t go down far enough. pushing further we pulled up to the house. originally we were just going to take a picture out front and leave but the owners invited us to come inside. they gave us a tour and told us a bunch of cool stories about bob dylan and the band. i wanted to ask them if i could have a glass of kool aid but i figured that might be pushin it. we got to see the basement and everything. just think, we were about to give up, decided to go the opposite route, looped around right back to where we came then got trapped in by the owners. it worked out great because they were forced to talk to us because we were blocking the entire street. it was the greatest weekend in all the land. i also got to hang out with one of levon’s dogs. it’s gonna be a big year for the guv’s, thanx to everyone for your support.
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.