I am into conspiracy. If I were you, I'd think the contest was rigged too. I did spend some time going through the names, astounded at the representation of the country. We were totally planning on getting on a plane and making the journey somewhere far away for this. I was prepared. I knew it would be unlikely, possible, but unlikely to stay in the state. Like I said on the video, this is real. Not fake. The video was done in one take. I made Ella practice the pouring of the names into the salad twirler from the hat box one time. Ella drew a name in the rehearsal only to pull out the one and only blank slip. Whoa. Once again, I promise and swear on everything sacred that the contest was not rigged. I am a big believer in karma. Congratulations to Nicholas Dellinger. Let's party. By the way…I'm going to need a trailer with a working bathroom, a team of female massage therapists, a golf cart, an espresso machine, a chef for omelets (breakfast), some brick oven pizza (lunch), and of course surf and turf (dinner). I guess you will need a brick oven too. Also, I will need Grey Goose, Jameson, and your finest bottle of red wine preferably from the late 70's. Please provide fresh ice, club soda, limes, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Don't forget the cups. Solo brand only please. Red of course. Please provide a trampoline along with an ambulance and medical staff. I will also need a tuned grand piano to relax with before the set. I think that's it. Thanks for everyone who participated. Should be interesting.
Another super cool experience at the National Theater in Richmond, Virginia. This time with Michael Franti and Spearhead. The energy was up. Super up. People were going off. The Sunday night vibe was absent. This was more like a Friday night aptmosphere. Michael is very generous with his stage. Bringing up all kinds of people to dance, sing, play harmonica and even guitar. I was honored to be invited up for the latter. It was a song that I've never heard before but Michael was confident that I would get it. I trusted him, and he was right.
My wife, Emily, who is a huge Spearhead fan, had a set list of her favorite Spearhead songs prepared on the off chance that the backstage conversation with Michael would veer into request land. It didn't. But she was ready if it had. We were given an official set list so I could keep track of the show and be in ready position when my sit in came around. Her songs were not on the list. After my sit in, Emily started jokingly hinting around that maybe I could make a sign with her requests on it and go to the front row in hopes that MF sees me there, takes pity on me, thus playing her request (like we had seen other people do during the show). I told her that I would gladly guard her cocktail from the balcony while she set off on her mission. Like that was going to happen..... Of course it didn't. Then....... she made me an offer that I couldn't refuse. I quickly snagged a day sheet off of the backstage wall and ran into the production office to find a Sharpie. I wrote the words "Keller and Emily will have sex tonite if you play Everybody Ona Move la la la." I ran down to stage right where Antonio the kick ass, super friendly guitar tech had started casing up guitars........ I asked him to hand off the note to MF. He refused as he should've and directed me to Jason (the tour manager). Jason was in the stage right pit helping people on and off the stage. I couldn't get to him fast enough. The final song was approaching. It was to be the hit (Say Hey I Love You) time was running out. Obviously, I wasn't going to go out on stage and hand it to Michael. Just then, the stage left tech walked by and I pawned it off on him. Knowing full well that my chances were slim I returned to the balcony. They launched into the hit. When it was almost over, to our astonishment, they kicked in to Everybody Ona Move. We were grooving with giant grins on our faces. It worked! And then...... MF said..... "This is a special dedication to Keller and his wife who are trying to conceive another child TONITE!!" Well...... I guess I deserved that and should’ve expected it. We are more than happy with our two children but do not want another. We both feel MF has magic powers. So with that being said.... I definitely did not get laid. But if I had..... and a baby was made...... we would've named it Loudee. As in "I like my bass loudee loudee loudah.”
Check out the episode of FrantiTV featuring the exercise regimes of the band as well as a final shout out from Keller HERE.
Brewing Station and Music On The Mountain Top. The Outer Banks is cool. The Brewing Station slams for dinner. Tables are full and there's always a line of hungry, sunburned people waiting for one. We were told not to sound check as it may bum the eaters. We went rogue and did it anyway. Nowhere near what we needed, but we just made sure the speakers and amps worked. Music is obviously not the main attraction, but when they move the tables and turn the house lights off and stage lights on, the place transforms into a great club with a cool vibe.
We drove 2 hours after the show and about 6 hours the next day to Music On The Mountain Top in Boone, North Carolina. Jimmy Hunt and the boys and girls who put on that fest do a great job of providing a stress free environment for everyone involved. I say boys and girls because they are all younger than me and clearly not jaded.......yet. They took care of their scene with a serious representation of North Carolina bands. When we pulled in the band Uncle Mountain, from Ashville was playing. Their style had an 80’s type of college rock thing to it, but yet current. The harmonies were super complex as if they sat down with a piano and came up with the most difficult groups of notes that sound good together and then practiced the ever-living shit out of it until it became 2nd nature. I dug it. The next band was Holy Ghost Tent Revival, from Greensboro. Trumpet, trombone, fiddle, banjo, bass, keys, guitar, and drums. Their sound had that positive indie rock feel to it with flourishes of gypsy Americana. Great songs and great singing. This was my analysis from behind the stage. I peeked around the corner to see what the scene was like on stage. Low and behold the stage looked like two gangs going crazy, wailing on each other. Immediately the perspective changed from hearing them to hearing and seeing them. There was running and jumping, stomping and slamming, teeth grinding, and fist pumping. All while sweat poured. The energy emitting from the stage was infectious.
Next was The Josh Phillips Folk Festival, from Asheville. Josh's voice has real soul to it. It has a slight New York hip-hop element that could possibly be accentuated by his baseball cap cocked to the side. Yo. The band's style is more funky reggae pop than it is folk, but what's in a name? Check out Wicker from the Josh Phillips Folk Festival. Catchy songs and a reggae version of John Hartford's “Steam Powered Aereo Plane”, which is super dope. Yo.
I was on from 7:30 to 9:00 PM (I'm not from North Carolina). The first loop I created screamed out to me that something was dreadfully wrong with my gear. When it happens at the top of my set, it kind of bums me out. I've learned to not dwell on it, but it happens. It hasn't happened for a long time so when it did, I was caught off guard and got knocked off of my game for a song or two. Lou fixed it and all went well for the remainder of my slot. Yay.
After me was the super funky YO MAMAS BIG FAT BOOTY BAND, originally from Boone. I could actually visualize your mother’s big fat booty shaking around when they played. My friend Walt said he tour managed them for a couple of weeks. Apparently, they traveled with a stripper pole. Sweet. I got the impression that Josh Phillips used to be in that band, because when he got up to sit in he appeared to be in his element. Rappin and rhyming with call and response from the band. It was way funky and tight. The day was beautiful, and the music was delicious. Yum.