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Rick's Rap   - September 2003


      Ordered monitor amp and speakers for the acoustic trio PA.


      Rehearsed for upcoming gig at Brady's. Went throught everything on the set list that anybody had a problem with. Added "Big Railroad Blues", "Don't Ease Me In", and "Alabama Getaway" to the ready to play list. I'll incorporate them into the set lists for the Outta The Way Cafe on 10/3.


      When I left my previous band to co-resurrect the Rock Creek Band, they went through a string of various musicians for about a year, until they settled on a line up that looks like it's going to be pretty stable, and that everyone seems to be reasonably comfortable with. Last night they played their first gig with this line up at the Port Tobacco Tiki Bar, and they invited me to sit in on a few tunes.

      Barb and I went down early for dinner and drinks. When the band started playing they were an immediate hit. Lots of applause. Packed dance floor.

      I sat in on the 3rd set. I did a few lead vocals and lead guitar at the start of the set, and then settled back and played rhythm guitar for the rest of the set. They closed the last set with "Stormy Monday", and called me back up to do the vocals. It's really weird singing without holding a guitar. I borrowed a pork pie hat and shades from the harmonica guy. I couldn't figure out what to do with my hands, so I just put 'em in my pockets.

      At the end of the night the manager came out and shook hands with everybody in the band and told them how much he liked them. He even shook my hand and congratulated me. I didn't bother to tell him that I'm not actually in the band.


      Monitor speakers showed up. Got an e-mail saying monitor amp was out of stock and the order was cancelled. Patience .... patience ...

      Found another source for the monitor amp, same price, re-ordered it. Got an e-mail saying the recording setup mixer was in stock. Ordered it. As far as I can tell, all of the band electronics equipment is now either on hand, or on order. Here's hopin'!


      In the dim, distant past, when we were planning the recording setup, we ordered a 40 gig hard drive for Barb's Gateway computer to do the wav file track mastering. We bought the drive from Gateway and installed it, and for a while it worked fine. Then it started having problems. We ran scandisk and marked the bad sectors as unusable. We did this several times, and eventually the drive just became worthless. Not a problem, it's still under warrenty.

      We contacted Gateway, and were told we had to deal with the manufacturer of the drive. We contacted the manufacturer and were told we had to deal with Gateway. We re-contacted Gateway several times, and were re-directed to a number of different people. Finally we reached technical assistance, where we were told to run the Gateway diagnostics on the drive. When we informed them that the drive was in such bad shape that it would not respond to the diagnostics, they informed us that if we did not run the diagnostics, they could not help us.

      I hate technology!   Hate it! Hate it! Hate it!

      O.k, o.k., o.k. ....   maintain .... maintain ....   it's all cool   ....

      At this point, I'm guessing that the odds I'm ever going to buy another Gateway product are slim.

      09/12/03 - Lounge Lizards Redeux at the College Park American Legion

      Just me, Doc, and Eric. Played my new Epiphone. I haven't installed the b-bender yet (hell, I haven't even taken the protective plastic off of the pickups yet). I've been anxious to see if the basic guitar is good enough to use on a gig. It most definitely is. I added a little reverb, and set the basic volume on the amp. After that I just used the pickup selector switch, and the volume and tone controls on the guitar to adjust my sound through out the night. The tone and natural sustain of the instrument were just beautiful.

      I did notice that I had a tendancy to over bend occassionaly. I don't know if that's because of the Gibson scale length, which is a little shorter than the Fender scale length that I'm used to, or a lack of talent, or maybe just because I'm a klutz. If it persists, I'll try switching to a slightly heavier guage set of strings.

      Some friends of mine from my last band showed up to listen to us. The harmonica player sat in on "Honky Tonk" and "Stormy Monday". Sounded mighty fine, mighty fine indeed. The leader of the previous band mentioned that although what we were doing wasn't the kind of material he preferred to play, it seemed to be just exactly what the audience wanted to hear. I've got to hand it to Eric, when it comes to the Legion circuit he does seem to know what he's doing.

      09/13/03 - (Mostly) Dead Gig #3

      Brady's Irish Pub, Manassas, VA

Set 1         Set 2         Set 3         Set 4
You Win Again
Peaceful Easy Feelin'
Kansas City
Already Gone
Stormy Monday
The Race Is On
Round and Round
U.S. Blues
        It's All Over Now
Brown Eyed Girl
3rd Rate Romance
Eyes Of The World
It Hurts Me Too
Franklin's Tower
Johnny B. Goode
        Big Boss Man
Truck Drivin' Man
Take It Easy
Iko Iko
Bring It On Home
        Big River
Trashy Women
Suzy Q
Jack Straw
Promised Land
Tequila Sunrise
One More Saturday Night

      The gig was 9:30 - 1:30. Bob stopped off at our house and rode down with us. We had no idea just exactly where the place was, or how long it would take to get there, so we left early and got there at 7:00. Rt 66 West was almost a parking lot for a while.

      The club itself turned out to be quite nice. Interesting decor, easy parking, easy load-in and load-out, good stage, and a full bar. A number of folks were having dinner, and the food looked pretty good, too. The place was pretty much filled to capacity all night, and more than a few folks that were there when we were setting up, were still there when we were tearing down.

      Eric got the PA set up pretty well, and Barb said we had a good mix through the mains. A few times we got louder than usual, and the monitor mix on stage got a little muffled, but it was certainly usable.

      We really didn't have any idea of what to expect from the crowd, so the set list was only about half Grateful Dead material, and the rest was heavy on 70's era, southwest, generic country/folk/blues rock. Apparently it was a good mix as far as the audience was concerned, judging by the fact that they were pretty consistently dancing and applauding. I even saw some people at the bar, and at some of the tables, singing along with some of the Dead tunes. Who would'a thought?

      Performance wise, we were pretty stiff, and although we would occasionally hook into a nice flow and get some really good highlights, we didn't seem to be able to sustain them. The high point of the evening for me was "Franklin's Tower". I think it may well have been our best ever performance.

      The audience didn't seem to notice (or care about) the unevenness, and during the breaks a number of people told me how much they were enjoying the show. At the end of the evening, the manager bumped our pay up a tad, absorbed our bar bill, and suggested that we call back about some more bookings. All in all, a good night.

      Barb took a slew of pics. As soon as she selects, edits, crops, and in general does her Barb thing to them, they'll get posted.

      At one point Bob suggested substituting "Deal" for "Brown Eyed Girl". I didn't have a clue what the chords are, and I wasn't confident in my ability to just fake it cold and pull it off adequately, so I declined. I do love the tune, however, and we can certainly use more up tempo songs where Bob does the lead vocals, so I plan to learn it post-haste, and suggest that we add it to our repertoire whenever we get together again.


      Posted the pics from Brady's. Posted the set lists for all 3 gigs in October.

      09/21/03 - 1 year anniversary

      Look out!     Rick's getting philisophical again

      Well, it's been a year since Eric, Bob, and I decided to try and resurrect this old war horse. We're not where we'd hoped to be at this point, but we're not doin' too bad either.

      There's just so much administrative, logistical, and technical crap necessary to make a part time local bar band work, that it's easy to get overwhelmed by it all, and either lose sight of the goal, or just say "to hell with it", and let things fall apart. Then again, sometimes no matter how diligent you are, you get blind sided by something totally beyond your control, and things just fall apart anyway. Or maybe, things don't fall apart, but the grunt work gets to be so much that it overwhelms the fun, which is, after all, the whole reason for doing this in the first place. Probably the worst case senario is that you don't either clearly succeed, or fail, you just keep .... endlessly .... plodding .... away ..........

      Oh well. So far, so good.


      Eric has found a replacement guitar player for Crossfire, so last night, and the night before, were my last scheduled fill in dates with them. I removed the Crossfire schedule from the web site.

      I've used my new Epiphone el-cheapo axe on 5 gigs now, a set-in set with my previous band at the Port Tobacco Marina Tiki Bar (pre- hurricane, of course), an open mic night at JV's, and 3 jobs with Crossfire - College Park Legion, College Park Moose, and Camp Springs Elks. Each time the set up was the guitar straight into an amp, with no effects boxes. I've used a total of 3 different amps, all Fenders - a Blues Deluxe, a Blues Junior, and a Stage 112. The guitar is straight out of the box, I've done nothing to it except tune it, and it plays and sounds just great. I have no idea how they can sell such a fine instrument at that price. So now I'm going the order the Hipshot b-bender and install it. Yet another project to put in the pipeline ...

      Speaking of projects, all the parts for the recorder and the acoustic PA monitors have been received, so in my spare time I can start assembling them. The concept of retiring from my day job is starting to have a certain appeal to it.


      Stay tuned,


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