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So we had another out of town gig this past weekend, and it was eventful to say the least.  We booked the Oil Can in Columbia, MO for the 4th of July weekend.  We were pretty excited as we have heard that the Oil Can is quite the scene.  It is right on the campus of Mizzou and is known to be quite packed on the weekends.  In other words, this was going to be a great gig.

We had been practicing pretty hard in the weeks leading up to the gig and were even going to debut a few new songs.  Greg had just purchased a new bass guitar and I had just purchased my dream guitar, the American Fender Stratocaster.  I have wanted one of these babies for years and cannot believe how much better it sounds than that Mexican Strat I have been playing with forever.  I went with Cherry Red and let me tell you something, this thing is beautiful.  Now if I could only play the damn thing. Ha.

So we packed up the van Friday afternoon and started the 90 minute trip to Columbia.  We figured we had plenty of time as the gig did not start until 8pm.  We got as far as Chesterfield when the trouble began.  We noticed a weird noise coming from the engine compartment of the van and soon smelled something burning.  And wouldn’t you know it, black smoke began billowing out from underneath the hood.  The giggin’ van was en fuego.  We pullled over to the side of the highway and Greg hopped out with our fire extinguisher.  Luckily, we were able to pop the hood and douse the flames before the thing got rolling.  The gear was saved…and oh yeah, we were uninjured.

Needless to say, we needed a tow truck.  We found a tow company on my smartphone and hoped and prayed they would not take forever to get there.  Luckily, it was only about a half hour and the tow truck showed up.  They quickly got our van loaded up and enroute back to Kirkwood where we unloaded everything.  Time was beginning to become a factor and we needed to act quickly to find another ride.  My friend Steve runs a rental company and thankfully, he had a van that we could use.  He didn’t even charge us.

We had two and a half hours to get to Columbia and set up all of our gear.  And we were going to have to deal with rush hour traffic now.  Awesome!  I have never driven so fast.  By the grace of God, we didn’t get pulled over for speeding.  Traffic was a bit heavy getting out of St. Louis, but then it was smooth sailing to Columbia.  We got there with 30 minutes to go.  The bar owner was a bit worried and anxious when we got there, but he quickly changed his tune when we told him what happened.

With the help of Greg’s son Josh and a couple of his fraternity brothers, we were able to get the van unloaded and everything set up on stage…5 minuted before our scheduled start.  Whew!  Our first two or three songs were a bit rough, mostly because we were all a bit frazzled from the events of the day and having to rush.  But then we settled in to a nice groove and really lit the place on fire (no pun intended).  The bar filled up nicely with a crowd of folks ranging from college kids to a few senior citizens.  They all seemed to dig the show and a few of them even bought us drinks afterwards.

All in all it was a great gig.  Despite losing our giggin’ van, we considered everything to be a large success and will hopefully play another gig at the Oil Can soon.  Thanks for reading.

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Well we decided it was time for an upgrade of our recording studio.  Bill’s basement has served us well in the past, but there was nothing professional about the space.  With our upcoming efforts to record another album, we thought it was a good time to re-do the space.  Plus, we had a huge check burning a hole in our pockets from the Ryan Adams show.

We all got together this past Monday and removed everything from the basement and put in in a Pods storage unit that we rented.  So we crammed several speakers, amps, drums, guitars, keyboards, and all the recording equipment we owned into the POD.  It was a tight fit, but we got everything in there.  From there, we ripped out all of the old carpet and scrapped up all the old, nasty carpet glue.  Luckily, the drywall down in the basement was in good shape, so we were good to go there.  We did a thorough cleaning of all the nooks and crannies and at that point, we were ready for the renovation.

Now neither of us knew a damn thing about interior design and decoration.  Luckily, Mike knew a gal that works for St Charles Designs and she said she would be able to give us a hand at a discounted “friend” price.  She was even able to draw us up a 3-D rendering of what she envisioned the place could look like.  We were all pretty stoked when we saw that.  Metallica would be jealous.  She picked out all the colors for the walls and even gave us some recommendations for furniture.  This place is going to be pimp.

While we were at it, we decided to pick out some new PA sound equipment and a new mixing board at Guitar Center We were ripping through that Ryan Adams money really fast. Ha.

Anyway, stay tuned for the final product.  We think its going to turn out great.

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Its not every day a mid level band like us gets to open up for a big name like Ryan Adams, but last Thursday was certainly an exception to the rule.  We were called by Ryan Adams management team back in February.  Apparently his manager saw us perform at the Ready Room in St. Louis while he was passing through town and thought we put on a great show.  I have to admit, we did rock the house that night.  Anyway, when he told us that he was Ryan Adam’s manager and he wanted us to open for him at the Ryman in Nashville, we were pretty stunned.

We actually cover a couple Ryan Adams songs and have seen him play live several times.  So needless to say, we were pretty excited about this opportunity.  We had a show booked at the Duck Room on the Loop the night we were supposed to open for Ryan, so without hesitation we cancelled that gig.  I mean come on…who wouldn’t.

We decided to arrive in Nashville in style, so my friend at set us up with a great deal on a stretch limousine.  Maybe this was kind of a cheesy move, but this was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Go big or go home…right?  So we loaded up our gig van and I had my brother drive it down to Nashville.  The limo picked us up from Bill’s house and the party began.  Its a 4 hour trip down to Nashville, so we agreed to wait on the boozing until we got a little closer to Nashville.  Not very rock and roll, but we didnt want to screw this gig up.

We arrived in Nashville and pulled right into the belly of the Ryman in our fancy limousine.  We hopped out and made our way backstage.  There he was.  Ryan was warming up on his acoustic guitar.  It was a very awe struck moment for all of us.  He saw us come in and he put his guitar down and came over to greet us.  He said, “sup fellas?” and walked right past us.  Ok, that was far from amazing, but hey, its rock and roll.

The actual gig flew by.  It felt like we were on stage for 30 seconds, but we actually got to play seven songs.  Not bad for an unknown opening act.  There was a decent crowd in attendance, especially for an opening act and they seemed to be into our music. Ryan gave us a big thumbs up as we headed back stage after our last song.  We were able to watch his whole performance from backstage.  It was a great experience.  After the show, we packed up all of our gear and headed out to the “strip” for a celebration drink…or two.  We had a blast at a local honky tonk and headed back to the limo for a late night ride back to St. Charles.  What a night!!  And the check we received for playing was a real nice touch too…