West Coast

I love the west coast. When I was 16 or 17 wearing a skinny tie and blazer with the sleeves pushed up and sitting on stool playing eagles and r.e.m. covers on a back patio of a restaurant that was big enough for 4 tables that could hold 12 people that was usually at half capacity, i would dream of playing the west coast. Before the internet, you had to have a record deal or physically go there and play on the street to get your music heard on the west coast. Along came the taping community that helped me greatly to get my music out to places that I haven’t been yet.  The first place I played in the pacific time zone was the great american music hall in san francisco in 1997. I was opening for the cheese and I remembered waking up excited. I was in the “blazeabago”  which was really a ‘74 chevy blazer with a slide in camper. We were about a block from the venue. there was a widely circulated dead bootleg from that room that later on became one of the “dicks picks”, so I knew the room was special before I even set foot there. After the show, emily and I (and the two dogs) were “adopted” by john hart. He was a generous san francisco native who  took us on an amazing tour. We went by the house where the Jefferson airplane lived and by 710 ashbury (where the dead once lived). Then we went to a nitrous party at 3 am, which we thought was the coolest thing in the world. wahwahwah. john graciously gave us a place to stay and shower. I still to this day feel that he is synonymous with california. the next time I came to town, the place I played wasn’t quite so epic. It was called brainwash. It was a Laundromat/bar. A wonderful establishment where you could drink and listen to live music while waiting for your laundry to wash and  dry. I also played places like hotel utah, boomerangs, and fritz’s place (called the Connecticut Yankee). I played a club that was near a hill so steep, i thought the brakes were going to give out on my 24 foot motor home and we were going to plummet to the bottom of the hill killing us and everyone in our path. I don’t remember the name of the place but I do remember the dressing room was a loft that you couldn’t stand up in. the ceiling was easily touched  from the couch and there was some art/graffiti, drawn in sharpie on the ceiling of a dude rocking out with a 5 string banjo. His head: clearly banging, his right arm: thrusted in the air flashing the rock and roll horns with the caption reading “yonder mountain string band sold out yer punk club”. since then I’ve been lucky enough to play the bill grahm civic, the warfield, the avalon ballroom, golden gate park, and of course my favorite-the filmore (with the magic purple chandeliers…at least after a cup of the tea back stage at the 2nd cheese show in 98…but that’s a whole other blog for another day) where I will be in november with keith moseley, gibb droll and the mighty jeff sipe. I think I would really like to play the great american music hall again someday. I remember feeling good there. Until then, they are allowing me to play the kent stage in kent, ohio. I hear it’s really nice (which means it will probably be a one time thing). My crowd tends to set off smoke alarms at nice places and I don’t get asked back, so I always try to take absorb the sweet venue vibe when I’m in them. I also get to rock out with reckless abandon at the newport music hall in Columbus, ohio- as well as a free show in Asheville, nc. Asheville, is the coolest city in the mid atlantic. I get to get my groove on while watching michael travis and jason hann from eoto, as well as check out the ridiculously smooth, josh phillips. All while being outside, in downtown asheville. Free to the public. Gotta love that. I will. unless it snows. kw