Oct 30, 2015

Right Thoughts / News Update

Right Thoughts / News Update
Been having a really good week. Halloween and dominating at my beer league trivia! But even more important, we finished doing a track for our friend Larry Gee great singer from Dallas, check him out he's awesome and starting work on some new music... that's all pre-production beat building stuff right now... it'll take some time before we start tape rolling.
Then business calls with mgmt and booking; getting things ready for Idyll Green. I'm hoping for new music and shows starting next year. I'll be giving you updates as they come.
So exciting. Can't tell you how ready I am for this to get going.

Also I decided that I'm going to be opening up on my blog. So look for more writing like this here once a week, plus a continuation of my travel stories once a month.
All part of me trying to focus myself a little better.
much love

Oct 23, 2015

605 Miles From Home pt. 1

605 Miles From Home 

I'm at the end of the tour. Hovering just under 4 weeks out. In Little Rock. 

The other musicians are in and out of a hotel day room. Showering. Resting. Calling loved ones at home. Lounging on the bus. Getting ready for tomorrow's flights. Everyone's a little edgy, a little somber, and more than a little hungry.

I've spent the afternoon on a walk around town with our drummer Fred and Lindsay, after a big lunch of coursePretty much how it's been everyday, except that today is a mix of excitement, melancholy, and homesick desperation. Last days are heavy.

Sam, the guitar tech and all around great guy, is setting up gear on stage. After lunch we had load-in, which is why I'm taking a breather, I won't have something to do until sound-check in a few hours.

The driver Sean is working on the bus. The generator has been tricky for the last few days, but it was able to make it to the lot behind the club overlooking the Arkansas River. Nothing as bad as when the brakes went out in Montreal almost making Heartless late for a festival in Toronto. That's just par for the course, when you put that many miles on anything, the small things start to give out. 

Walking, sitting, waiting, and writing. Thinking about everything that's happened to me on this run. Wild thoughts. Strange dreams and epiphanies. A string of days where everything felt dark. Nihilistic comedy. Jubilant performances. 

And now. 

A handful of giant fist-sized crickets passing by my head. A grandmother pushing two toddlers in a stroller. And I listen to the river.

There are a million little things I could tell you about: strange people, inside jokes, tensions and arguments... the dark stuff makes for easy stories... but I'll try to write something about Gratitude, a word rarely used in this business. Though it might take me a second to get there.

I feel it's important. Cause I feel really grateful. Now on this bench. Writing to you. So close to home. And from day one, from the moment I had landed in New Orleans... or actually a little after that.

"Thanks for flying with us."

I nodded back weakly, not because the flight was bad, I'm just not a morning person.

I was getting an unusual amount of hospitality from the attendants. I'm not used to First Class. And the only reason I'm there is because of some fluke about the number of bags I can carry and how much musical instruments it was cheaper for me to fly first class. Anyways... It was 9 in the morning and I already had enough snacks and diet coke to last me till lunch, but that still doesn't mean I was ready to talk to people.

'Baggage claim's next on my list," I think turning on my phone, following the heard off of the plane. 

'Baggage claim,' and as my phone loads up the regular amount of programs and updates, I get an email from Mgmt. I read it as I collect my bags ahead of everyone else: one of the perks of first class.

Rene. You'll be landing first. The guys should be a couple of hours behind. It'll probably be easier for you to wait at the airport until they arrive. Then you can go to the rehearsal together.

'Only a couple of hours at the New Orleans airport...' I think passing the last restaurants and shops, heading through security.

And now it's too late to go back.

The waiting area for rentals and taxis is small. Real small. Two vending machines and an empty help desk, a rack of pamphlets... and no where good to kill 2 hours.

And soon I'm waiting outside on the smoking bench, with my gear and bag, next to a fifty something women burning through a second cigarette.

"You get kicked out?" She asked.

"What?" I was in to much of a daze to understand her. Till she points at all my things with a deep violet polished finger. "You got a lot of stuff hun... looks like you got kicked out of your apartment."

"No... I'm playing tomorrow," I said kicking my bass case, but she starts laughing, deep and husky.

'She's messing with me.'

"I know, I know hun," she laughs more then turned away. Taking another drag. Leaving me feeling strange.

Should I leave? Where would I go? Does she want to talk or just tell me that joke? That was a joke, right?

Then she snubs out the butt under a heel, and sits next to me, "Who ya wanting for?"

"The rest of my group."

"By yourself?... hmm."


"Why ain't they here? The rest of your band? Shouldn't a band be together?"

"They are... uh... coming from New York, I think,"

"You don't know?"

"I've never played with these guys before," I said trying to explain this situation. But I don't know how interested she really is. 

She's getting to the end of the smoke, "But you're playing tomorrow?"

"That's right..."

She says something else but it was lost in the roar of a bus pulling away from the stop, and I don't really feel like asking her to repeat.
She starts looking through her Iphone with one hand. Grabs the cigarette pack off the bench between us and without another word, walks away.

There's a weird moment when I'm alone. And I notice a breeze hadn't come by in a while. And I notice New Orleans is warm. But not the kinda warm that I have in Texas. The air is heavy and wet. The warmth is hovering all over me. I could feel it sitting in my chest. Why hadn't I noticed this before?

I try to distract myself. Pulling out my phone. Playing a quick game. Then check my emails as a new group of passengers comes thru.

I look over the schedule.

Show after show.

Only a few days off.

Why hadn't I noticed this?

And all I can think of thru the woman and her cigarettes: Everything's different.

The people unloading from planes. Grabbing their bags. Getting into taxis. New Orleans: Everything's different.

And I think about the last bus tour I did. The smallness of a bus bunk. Buses are small: Everything's different.

My family back at home. My son. My wife. Everything's different.

I've got a month on a bus with a band of guys I don't know. Everything's different and anything could happen.

Then my phone buzzed.

-Rene. We landed. Where are you?

To be cont...


Oct 6, 2015

Thoughts From 39,000

Last month I got a emotionally heavy. Getting those feelings off my mind is good though. I need that every now and again. Like a sad song, these thoughts can build inside of me and need to be processed out even when I'm in a good mood.

And life has been good for me. Though for you guys it might look slow, I don't know if I've ever been this productive before. 

Right now I'm on a flight back home from LA. Cramped up in the middle seat between a sleeping wife, she's is the best part of this, and a large guy who never learned how to share or not invade personal space. Best not to look towards the aisle... Then there's the window. The sky. The miles of desert between Texas and California.

After exploring the city; traveling without working is one of bigger life goals; meeting new people, amazingly talented people my brothers and I are so excited to be working with; the beach; the freak-show; a really great recording studio; it's been unbelievable.

So I'm in the air. Going over it in my mind. Holding on to it. Listening to the engine. 



Of days when we traveled in a used conversion van. Four captains chairs. Little beige mini-blinds on the windows. Rope lights everywhere.

I was 21 and hungry for everything.

We'd loaded up with the four musicians, suitcases, and gear, cutting up IH-35.

"What's comin' up?"

It was getting hard to stay sitting for so long. "Could use a stretch," I added.

I was eager to get to Ohio, Dan and his studio; but after switching my weight back and forth for the last four hours as I switched between each leg falling asleep, and I needed out.

We were only a jump northeast of Dallas into Arkansas at a small convenience store; I stepped out of the van for the first time since we left San Antonio. And already in a different world. Hope.

It wasn't exactly what I imagined leaving Texas would look like, but it was a start.

New horizon. New trees. New air bursting in my lungs pushing me to the edge between life and dream for a nobody from nowhere. I had spent years as an invisible. Wanting. Waiting. Sometimes my childhood felt like a slow fall to death. Knowing the world was busting with life happening everywhere else. And I only had to find it. But I was stuck.


"Would you like anything?" The hostess whispered over the belly of my sleeping neighbor.

She was in her late 40's, well dressed with a floral scarf around her neck like this was a jet off a Mad Men ad.

"Diet Coke," I said automatically. It's my junk. My vice.

"More crackers," Rachel said softly to me, still with her eyes closed.

"And more crackers," I passed down the message.

The hostess slashed a couple tick marks on her paper then moved across the aisle.

Rachel shifted her head gently against my shoulder.

Maybe because it was our first trip, or maybe because it was so strange, but I remember this rest stop well.  Better than the hundreds since that I couldn't tell you a thing about.


"Hmm," the lady behind the counter looked me over as the bell rang over the gas station door. 

I nodded politely. 

"You look exotic," she said without pause or hesitation. Somewhere between surprise and apathy. 

I didn't know how to answer her with anything other than a smile and another polite nod. A real Texan.

The lady kept an eye on me from behind the counter, as an orange and black calico bounced out from around her feet, rounding the lotto ticket display, cutting thru my legs, and down a small row of protein bars to the back of the store..

I followed heading towards the refrigerators.

"Where you from?... You look different."

"San Antonio," I answered checking back over my shoulder with a quick look at her. She was still staring at me. 

I could feel her examining everything about me, detached and scientific. I felt naked. I felt embarrassed.

I tried to keep focused. Sprite. Coke. Mountain Dew. But that feeling of her eyes just burned the back of my neck.

My heart jumped when I felt a light touch brush against my leg, but it was just the cat. Pushing it's face into my jeans. Wrapping its tail around the other leg.

"She don't like nobody around here," the cashier yelled at me.

The cat sat down to watch me too. It's eyes frozen on my face.

I could hear the lady shuffling behind the counter, "She must think your different."

"Maybe she's a Texan too," I laughed but I don't think she found any humor in it.

The women's stare turned from cold to angry, "wouldn't surprise me."

She rang me up quietly.

Coke. Trail mix. Money.

The cat ran back behind the counter as someone else came in.
She held the change above my hand, "born in Texas?"

"Yeah," I had my palm open. Waiting.

Her eyes looked me over back and forth, "nah, you look too exotic." She said finally dropping the coins.


"Here you are Sir," the softness in the hostess' voice pulls me out of Arkansas and into the air. She's holding the drink out to me and searching her tray for Rachel's crackers.

"Hey, coffee too," my sleeping neighbor butts in. His voice cutting low against her ear as she reaches over to hand us the bag.

The hostess flinches for a second then holding back her anger, she softly says, "A hello first," and she does it so gently, and with a sweet laugh too, the man doesn't even notice the poison behind it. 

He mumbles something between a grunt and a hello.

She's calm but her eyes were ready to kill, "and welcome back Sir. Would you like me to get you something?"

The man smiles unashamedly, "Yeah... coffee."

The hostess flashes a brilliantly white smile and flips around towards the back of train. 

My neighbor is back into his fully laid back and slumped position. A real throaty wind sound is gurgling in his mouth right now as I'm typing this.

Thankfully we will be landing soon. And I'll have another week before I take off to New Orleans to start a tour. Cutting north up to New York, looping back west through Canada, south along the mid-west and ending back in Arkansas.

It feels like I've been here before so many times. But each time I leave I have no idea what to expect. No idea what'll be at the end of this flight. Or waiting for me in Arkansas. New air. New people. New horizons.