Category: Bands

Post 4

By , May 7, 2014 6:20 pm

So we’re back home, in beautiful Seattle, but I have still have a ways to go in the tour.  I enjoy talking about it, and hopefully you guys enjoy reading about it, so I’ll keep going.

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Okay…with the end of the Phoenix show came one of our monster drives:  10 hours overnight to Telluride, Colorado.  Jason and Nathan knocked out the majority of the drive and a couple of the rest of us filled in the gaps.  Unfortunately, we had just missed tourist season, as Telluride is a big ski town, but we had an opportunity to put on a show for the locals there, make an impression for next time, and make at least one new fan (albeit a four-legged one that came into the club late).  Regardless, the hospitality was exceptional; we had rooms at a nearby lodge and the staff at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon treated us well.  Plus, who can beat that view?

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After Telluride came Sol, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  On the way there, while talking to the venue owners, concerns were rising that it may be not be worthwhile to perform at Sol at all; there was some confusion on the date, there had not been time to properly promote, and the efforts we had made to promote had produced little result.  But this was also the only show on the tour where we had the opportunity to collaborate with our old friend and influence, Joel Ricci, aka Lucky Brown.  Joel had been in Taos working on playing and recording music with the lovely Ivy, to whom he is married, and they had driven to Santa Fe to do a special show with us, which was another factor to consider in deciding whether to do the show or not.

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Ultimately, we decided to play, and I think it was a success!  Several regular supporters of the venue were there, as well as 2 local bands and a group of listeners that had driven from out of town to see us.  The gratitude they showed us doubled the turnout in my mind.  The room sounded great, we played well, and to perform with Lucky always keeps things fresh and new, so it was a timely show in that sense, a week and a half or so into the tour.

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We had a day off in Santa Fe, and luckily we had the hospitality of some of Ben’s family, who allowed us to stay at their house.  It was a much-needed 24 hours of laundry, sleep, decompression, and Game of Thrones (for some of us).  As she did allllllll tour, Lauren rocked the meal plan!  We would have been feeling a lot worse without her keeping stuff organized and cooking amazing food for us.

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Next up was Texas:  Houston and Austin.  More on that next post!

 

Tour Blog 3

By , May 4, 2014 11:18 am

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San Diego:  Our San Diego show was in the beach town of Ocean Beach, at Winston’s, where we’d played once before and had a really successful show.  Unlike last time, I went to the beach for a little while before we started, which was gorgeous!  A nice last look before we turned East.  Then I talked to my sis and got the recommendation for fish tacos (she lived in San Diego for a couple of years).  I also found a record store and got a Grant Green vinyl, Solid, with James Spaulding and Joe Henderson, two saxophonists I like.  Our gig was with a local band that I was familiar with through Twitter, Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, and they sounded awesome too; interesting tunes, cool sounds, and nice and supportive people to boot!  I made sure to grab one of their 45s!

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Then we took the left turn to head towards the middle.  First on that route was Phoenix, at Last Exit Live.  The building was kind of on the edge of town and the “green room” was an old airstream trailer; not a lot to look at on the outside.  But, sure enough, the inside was stylish and clean, and they had a fence that was hiding a big patio with nice tables and chairs everywhere.  Their sound system and staff was top notch (several of them from the well-known Recording Institute they have in Phoenix, where my friends Matt and Adam went), and the inside of the trailer was hip too!

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Our local connection there was the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, and they tore it up!  Lots of energy, commitment to the Fela Kuti sound, and what looked like a community that was really into creative music; several of the audience members had just seen Kneebody in Phoenix the week before, after they played with Hardcoretet in Seattle, and they had listened to some of the Polyrhythmics before we got there and were really excited about us.

Around this time I was really becoming aware of how quickly I fell in love with all of the places we play.  I understand that I’m getting an unbalanced view, being somewhere one night, maybe two, and only encountering locals at the show, where obviously everyone is going to have similar personalities, but I can’t help but be fascinated with what it’s like living somewhere else and being immersed in music somewhere other than Seattle.  After all, I’ve never lived anywhere else.  It would be a long time before I ever moved – I have too many connections with friends, family, and musicians that would be too difficult to leave right now – but this tour in particular really got me thinking, and this is before the real kicker:  a week in New Orleans.

BUT FIRST:  An overnight detour to Telluride and a Lucky Brown reunion in Santa Fe!  All that and more in my next post.

Tour Post #1

By , April 22, 2014 7:22 pm

Okay, so I waited a little longer than I would have liked to post my first tour blog, but I’m going to try to give a quick rundown of our first couple of stops:

Our first stop was at the Applegate Lodge in Applegate, Oregon, which was a great first show because we had played there several times before and I really enjoy the community of people there; I consider many of the people there good friends!

After that we headed down to the Hopmonk, a venue in Sebastopol, California.  The space was designed to look like a medieval abbey, with a courtyard and stone buildings, really cool.  It was also a nice birthday show for Jason!

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The next night we played in South Lake Tahoe, at a new venue called the Loft.  The opening band, 4 Piece Puzzle, will be down in New Orleans for Jazzfest too, so it was nice to hang out with them before then.

Saturday night was the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco.  Kate and Naomi of the band Syrinx Effect were in town that night as well, but unfortunately the timing didin’t work out to hang before the show.  More often than I’d like I find myself scrambling to find time to catch or meet up with friends while I’m on tour; sometimes soundcheck takes longer than expected, or we have to leave right after we play, or we have to be at the venue early, etc.  I did get a chance to meet up with my friend Jack, and I finally was able to meet his fiance Diana too, which was really fun!

By the end of the first week, I found myself thinking a lot about the different music I play and what it takes to find the people that like it.  It has been really inspiring to play for really supportive audiences, and I hope to come home motivated to compose, practice, and work on my sound and approach.

I’ll stop here for now, but next post I’ll pick up with week 2, some considerations about the non-music aspects of my life, and more random tour thoughts!

Upcoming Tour Blog

By , April 3, 2014 3:13 pm

It’s less than a week now from when I will be on the longest tour I’ve ever done, three and a half weeks to New Orleans with the Polyrhythmics, and I haven’t done a tour blog since the first tour of my career, when Hardcoretet went down the coast to Los Angeles 5 years ago!

Stay tuned for posts from the road throughout April, and hopefully I will be able to put up a video or two as well.

April Excitement

By , March 8, 2014 4:48 pm

I had a nice excursion North to Bellingham the last couple of days; Theoretics had a solid first Bellingham show at the Wild Buffalo, and I was able to spend the following day with Karl, drummer for the band Polecat, who the Polyrhythmics have shared bills and festivals with pretty frequently.  It was good to talk about music as a career with someone else who has been doing it for a while:  how to make it work, the positives and negatives, and how to balance everything out.  Then that night we topped it all off with a great jam with Jeremy, guitarist for Polecat, Jefferson Rose, a killer bass player with a band of his own, and Mars, one of the best trombonists I know.  Right on, Bellingham!

A couple of things I’m looking forward to next month:

April 8th Hardcoretet will be releasing our third album, a full-length recording that we are all very excited about.  Not only that, we are also opening for Kneebody, a group that has been one of my primary musical influences for the last couple of years, and the show is at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, one of my favorite venues in town!  Some preview tracks of the new album are available at the Hardcoretet band camp page:  https://hardcoretet.bandcamp.com/

The next day I embark on tour with the Polyrhythmics; we are travelling down the coast to Southern California, East through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and finishing in New Orleans.

I have never been to New Orleans and cannot wait to be there to take in as much as I possibly can.  The more I play and listen to music, the more I know I am influenced by that city.  Many of the musicians I enjoy listening to have spent significant time there, and its historical significance cannot be overstated, in my opinion.  I’m going to try to post a bit from the road, so stay tuned!

There is a fundraising campaign to help us minimize the expenses and costs of the tour; most of the places we are playing are new to us, so there will likely be a few lightly-attended gigs, so to speak.  If you want to help, please go here!  http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/polyrhythmics-new-orleans-jazz-fest-2014

2013 Dog Blog!

By , January 7, 2014 1:53 pm

As promised, here is a pictorial tribute to all the pooches I was likely enough to meet throughout the Pacific Northwest and along the West Coast.  There were more, but unfortunately it was difficult to document the others.  Here’s to more friends, dog and human, in 2014.  Happy New Year everyone!

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Summer Recap

By , August 28, 2013 1:45 pm

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Another eventful summer is coming to a close; in many ways this one was an extension of the tours, trips, and festivals that I really began to experience last year, and yet at the same time I could feel my “adult” life begin in Seattle.  I’ve become (slightly) more organized with my teaching schedule, I’ll be committed to living somewhere for longer than a year (unusual for me), and the dust has started to settle in this post-day-job life.  And all this was happening while traveling to Montana for the first time since I was a kid, performing in places that still seem unreal to me, and playing music for more people than I ever have in my life.

In addition to that juxtaposition, travel vs. home life, I’ve found the need to connect with listeners, friends, and family stronger than ever, and at the same really valuing the time I have by myself to organize my…self.  These two dualities, social and professional, are really what drove my summer.  I’m not sure whether feeling this way is healthy/helpful/sustainable, but for me it feels good.  It feels like I am experiencing life from as many different aspects as possible, and when it all comes down to it, it hasn’t kept me from being both happy and musically productive, and that’s really all that matters.

Plenty of fun things in the pipeline:  just finished recording the next Hardcoretet album; it will be the first time any band I’ve been in will get to three records!  The Polyrhythmics album will be coming out on vinyl soon, another first for me, and the artwork looks great!  Theoretics shows at Sasquatch and Capitol Hill Block Party were great successes and will be leading to more opportunities in the future.  Other than that, I’m just doing the best I can to be present, enjoy the moment, and put myself in good places!

 

 

Jazz, Teaching, and Lucky Brown

By , May 15, 2013 11:20 am

A couple of really fun performances around town over the past couple of weeks:

Claudio Rochat-Felix and Michael Marcus at 418 Public House:  Drums, Bass, and Saxophone.  Really cool chance to stretch on things and mess with forms in interesting ways.

Claudio, Tim Kennedy, Ian Sheridan, and Thomas Marriott at Vito’s:  First time playing with Tom and a great time playing tunes and interacting as a quintet.

Eric Hullander, Owen Ross, and Tyler Graves at the Seamonster:  Another standards gig, for the most part, but run through the Seamonster lens.

Bill Bradburd, Geoff Harper, and Tim Kennedy at the Columbia City Gallery:  Sort of a Dexter and Hayes reunion; it had been too long since I’d played with Bill!

Jacob Zimmerman jam session:  This was just Jacob and me playing saxophone and talking; I left his house really motivated to continue getting deeper into playing music!

I was really happy to be a little busier in town with different people; Although I always feel connected to the music community in Seattle, this added something different to the connection, in a great way.

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I also participated in a student recital as a teacher for the first time!  Although I still want my focus to be performance, I really enjoy teaching kids, and I was happy and proud that some of my students were able to perform in front of friends and family.  Hopefully the first of more to come.

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Last but not least, this past weekend I played in the Lucky Mystery Now Orchestra, which was essentially a conglomeration of several funk groups including the Polyrhythmics, and performed original music written and arranged by Lucky Brown.  Many of the other Polyrhythmics members have known Lucky for years and years, but I’ve known him just for the last year or so, and I admire his dedication and energy that he puts toward his music.  To see him in front of the LMNO so happy to hear us play what he wrote was inspiring to me, and something I hope to remember as I continue to write and perform.

 

 

New Photos Up

By , April 22, 2013 11:35 am

I added a new gallery of photos taken from Hardcoretet’s performance at Central Washington University.  The show was after an evening clinic/master class with some of the music students there, our second one at CWU, and the reception was very warm and enthusiastic.

I enjoy playing music at bars and smaller clubs; I think the social/party atmosphere can really help people get over their discomfort at trying to get into types of music they don’t hear very often.  If the setting is too formal, I feel as though listeners sometimes question their own reactions to the music, because they think they need to know more to enjoy it.

That being said, I don’t get a chance to play at concert or recital halls very often, and to be able to do it while at Central was an awesome opportunity.  Something about the darkened hall and silence as everyone there focuses on the sounds to come creates an atmosphere that can heighten the experience.  The audience was attentive but also threw out some great energy, which really helped us rock out a bit at times, and in the end we put on a great show, which is always at least part of the goal.  Hope to do it again soon!

 

 

Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up

By , February 1, 2013 12:46 pm

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It’s been a really fun run of performances the last couple of weeks.  Polyrhythmics had a memorable mountain show at the top of Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe, Hardcoretet played the Comet Tavern for the first time with two great bands in Industrial Revelation and Skerik and really got to rock out, and there were a couple of pick-up gigs that felt great for my playing:  Grant and Delvon (airing out an old Pocket Change tune!), sitting in with McTuff, and a semi-Dexter-and-Hayes-reunion with Tarik, Tim, and Ian.

In addition, I’ve been able to take a little bit more time and practice, which has made a huge difference (what a surprise).  I hope to keep the momentum going in the coming birthday month!

 

 

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