Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tour Diary: New Pages and New Doings

Hey all,

Much has happened between now and March 23rd.  I have played lot of shows, run sound at a lot of shows, and traveled more extensively to play shows than before.

So there. Now that we're caught up, Andy Bopp and I are currently out on tour in Fort Collins, CO.  In fact, the we are stuck in Fort Collins, CO.  The fuel pump in the fit decided to take some time off leading to a scramble... we canceled our Lawrence, KS show... and if all goes well we'll be on the road, burning fast to get to Columbus OH for Monday's show with Matt Monta.


I'm doing some last minute blogging... I'm inspired and not inspired at the same time... you get this, kind of, ennui that will not let go.


I promise to post some more detailed stuff when I get some energy... now, I sit and wait for the car.

In other news though... June Star is starting a subscription service through Bandcamp.  A yearly $60 subscription gets you:

2016/2014 Re-Release Simple Truths (re-recorded and mastered... and freaking awesome)
2016 You're Still Here
2015 Pull Awake
2013 Kill The Lights
2012 Slow Dance
2010 Lower Your Arms
2009 Almost Home (Andrew Grimm Solo Record)
2009 Shift Engage and Initiate
2008 Cora Belle
2007 Wolves (Grimm Solo)
2006 Palace to Palace (Grimm Solo)
2005 Mountain Halo (Grimm Solo)
2004 Sugarbird
2001 Telegraph
2000 Songs from an Engineer's Daughter

New Song Monday:  A new song uploaded on Mondays... these are exclusively for subscribers only
Select songs from live shows
Anything that June Star puts out during your subscription... probably a record and or an EP.

That's a bargain.

More later,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tour Diary: Day 26? Charleston WV, Matt Monta

Good morning...

Some folks take to traveling pretty well... I'm one of them... I don't mind driving six or seven hours to play for 45 minutes, check into a hotel (or couch or floor space), get up early and clear on out for the next town.  Many people ask if it's some sort of crazy party... not in any conventional way.  I'm blogging at 7:30 AM on a Wednesday morning in the lobby of a hotel in Charleston WV. 

Party in the USA. 

Charleston, on a Tuesday evening, has all of the same ring as a post apocalyptic landscape... dead quiet with seemingly random lonely pedestrians propelled by a remote supernatural power.  Even the smallest conversation between two people sounds like an overly dramatic fight scene. 

Regardless, I like Charleston.  The people I have met here in the past few years speak with genuine warmth and humanity.  Without irony or criticism, they keep showing up and making it count.  Whatever that means.  I found the Boulevard Tavern a little while back... and Dave, bartender and booker, was gracious enough to give us a shot.  The Tavern has a part dive bar, part concert hall feel to it... high ceilings and worn floors... oh, and some very very very large Iron Maiden tapestry decorations. (The owner[?] played drums in an Iron Maiden tribute band.) 

Last night, being the first night of the tour did not really hold many surprises... your normal tentative performances happened... on our end at least... not surprising at all is how good Matt Monta is.  Almost to the point where I ask myself, "Does he know that he is that good?"  He's got this song "5AM" talking about his struggle insomnia... replete with the rising sun and skewed visions of jet plane vapor trails... and the delivery... a typical (in no dismissive tone) Monta mode... a he builds a phrase with rhythm and stressed syllables with a force and deliberateness and/or intensity that would make a cheery "good morning!" sound both welcoming and menacing, equally. 

Today... short drive to Columbus OH and a day of rehearsal... Tonight, the Big Room Bar.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tour Photo Update! 2

#3 Tuna and a Doctor Pepper... He's more machine than man...

Tour Photo 1

Tour Diary: Day28? Who knows... rebooting, right? That's the American way.

Today, Andy Bopp and I head out to West Virginia for a short tour... good times... fun times... preparing for a tour, at least for me, can feel hectic... I hate missing school.  Some folks might believe that to miss school is kind of a relief... and despite my mixed feelings about my career, I still love my job... I do it like it's my job and it's not really work.  To miss a couple days wears on me. 

Regardless, I'm up early and hanging out at my dealership getting the oil changed for the Fit and watching the news on Brussels.  Ugh.  Terrorism.  A potential GOP candidate was asked what he would do and he said he would do what he would have been doing as the President which, basically, was being President.  Succinct answer, brah.

We just read 1984 in my 2nd period class and I keep thinking of this line, "We are the dead."

So... enough of that... the tour!  We're bringing with us Matt Monta... he's a really great singer/songwriter from Columbus OH.  We've played a bunch of shows with him and he's always been super accommodating to us... this is his first tour and he's really excited. 

What else has been going on?  Our digital version of he vinyl single is live and ready for download at our BANDCAMP page... get there!  50% of online sales go to Cancer LifeNet at Upper Chesapeake Hospital... It is a program a friend of mine really supported... the song "You're Still Here" was written with her in mind... So, buy a copy. Eh?  I have the blogger app on my phone and I'm going to attempt some sort of updating while out there... stick with me. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Tour Diary: What day is it again... Day 17? Update...I don't even know...

Here's what I wrote after heading down to NC:

A couple of things I learned about myself this weekend.  Traveling and posting to social media, blog-type things is hard to do.  I don't know how people do it... I wanted to compartmentalize some of the process... and then never got around to it... I want to document stuff... as it happens... sort of... without being that person who isn't enjoying the concert, or funeral, because he's too busy recording  it for later.  The only way I feel like I could do it was to wear a body cam... but that's just stupid. 

I guess part of the purpose of this blog is to really take my time to reflect and report with some accuracy about my experiences with traveling and music?  It doesn't need to be "real time."  So don't expect it... but you can expect real time pic updates...

Right.  So it's not that easy all the time.  But, rarely is anything... keeping a house in order, maintaining a blog, understanding love.  Regardless, we try, or at least we should try, because if we didn't, nothing really wouldn't matter, would it?  So here I am, again.

The past few weeks have been fairly busy with many bouts of productive/unproductive bursts in activity.  As I type, I'm listening to an edition of "Mountain Stage" which reminds me that in a couple of weeks Andy Bopp and I will be heading out on tour... here's where we're going, again:

3/22  The Boulevard Tavern, Charleston WB
3/23  The Big Room, Columbus OH
3/24  PJ's Lager House, Detroit MI
3/25  The Acorn Alliance, Pittsburgh PA
3/26  The Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, Harrisburg PA

This is in advance of that new vinyl thing:  You're Still Here... see the image below:

Very cool:  You can hear the lead track at our Bandcamp Site.

That's it for now...


Friday, February 12, 2016

Tour Diary: Day 16 Open Mic Introduction

Friday... I'm playing an open mic up in New Freedom, PA.  The Wagonshed, a small venue that has a pretty big following.  Should be fun.

Open mics were a big thing for me back in 2004... my good friend ellen cherry
ellen cherry in Dunkin Donuts
and I used to travel to at least two a night if we could make it work... it was fun... it was silly... I was sitting in my apartment on a Monday night and I was bored... and thought... "Man, I should be playing somewhere..." So, I called her up and said... let's hit some open mics..."  and she said... "Yes!" 

I did not anticipate the culture we'd encounter... I figured there would be different degrees of abilities... but nothing like what we stumbled into... 4 different type of players emerged...

1.  The host
2.  The first timer
3.  The hobbyist
4.  The veteran

Unfortunately, I don't have much time today to put this together this morning... however, look for updates over this weekend...  plus, I will send some notes from the North Carolina... I'm avoiding terms like, "The Road" or "#tourlife"  or "Road Dog"  or... any other label... You can classify it as a short tour... how about "Interstate Jaunt?"  One thing I'm trying to avoid is the selfie... thanks for looking! 

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

William Carlos Williams


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tour Diary: Day 15 The Day After a Day Off

What does it mean?  Really.  What does any of it mean?  Should there be some sort of pay off?  Of course there should be, but that doesn't mean it will be in the form that you would expect right?  Here's lyric I've been working on...

Rarely, what you earn
equals what you deserve

And the idea is that you can reverse it later in the song as the speaker's situation/attitude develops...

Until what you deserve
matches up to what you earn

and so on... keep an eye out for those lines in a song... maybe it'll happen this month.

This weekend, June Star is heading down to Raleigh and Carrboro to play a handful of shows... North Carolina... one of the Alt. Country meccas... When I first became interested in touring, nay obsessed, I focused much of my energy on getting a show down that way.  There were these tantalizing names... The Cave, The Pourhouse, The Local 506... These were places that I noticed bands like June Star seemed to play... and I set off on a quest of sorts to get a show down that way.

The first show we played in North Carolina was at the Cave... which was booked by Mr. Mouse.  I shit you not, Mr. Mouse!  Talk about getting involved in the rock and roll world... here's an owner and booker of a venue who doesn't go by Mitchell Albright... or Steve... it was Mr. Mouse.  Fabulous. And, you had to send a physical presskit then follow up in two weeks with a call to the venue on Tuesday or Thursday between the hours of 2-4pm. 

I followed the directions... as any literate person would... and after two weeks I called.  Two rings and the phone picks up... and the voice on the other end squeaks, "Cave." 

I'm not making this up... his voice sounded kind of mouse-y... a cool, masculine mouse-y in case he's reading this blog... Although he no longer owns the Cave, I have nothing but love and respect for Mr. Mouse... he was always helpful and kind to us and I was sad to hear that he moved on... June Star played off an on at the Cave since 2002.  I played the Pourhouse with ellen cherry on Easter Sunday 2005... and we played the Local 506 w/Birds and Arrows about two years ago.  Dreams do come true.

The entire time I was, and still am, signed up on the Guitartown email list.  The Triangle area email list was the go to place to find out about new records, upcoming concerts, and concert reviews... I signed up since I liked that stuff... but also to drum up some support when we came to town... I know... kind of shady and self serving... call me Mr. Rat.

One of the listserv members, Jonathan, has been super supportive of us... with the explosion of "social media," which BTW seems to really be a loose thread of memes questioning/challenging my faith, humanity, or patriotism when daring me to "like" or "share" images of U.S. soldiers or air brushed eagles crying, but now "social media" really wiped out email groups... and Guitartown suffered... they were putting on some shows... they communed at SXSW... a lot of that seemed to disappear.  But Jonathan, with many folks from the community, has been working to bring Guitartown back to the forefront or at least back into a larger awareness... it's pretty cool... I think all of their hard work down there has paid off. 
Both of our shows in this weekend are sponsored by Guitartown... currently I'm unable to post the images... of the posters... but will do later tonight... The recognition and thanks are well earned most richly deserved....

Gotta run...


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tour Diary: Day 12-13 Mig and the Principles of Rehearsal

I'm not sure what else I'd be doing: music and teaching.  I found myself, at the end of college in 1994, thinking about that next step, that unformed space waiting--a space composed of deep darkness, endless really, and a defining light. Like, for me, seriously, it seemed like anything could be possible, the same perspective held by one of my cats, Mig.

After I had moved back to Westminster, my first goal was get a couple of cats... enter Mig and Mouse.  They're littermates and all-around boys.  Katie Field, artist superstar had stopped by for something... we may have been rehearsing for the September Hopscotch opening party in Raleigh, anyhow, Mig was going through his "Look at me, I'm a cat!" phase and leaping here and there... and at one point, he stopped and started staring at the ceiling fan.  He was doing the math in his head.  Katie turned and said admiringly, "Look at that.  Anything is possible.  No limits."

Many times we limit ourselves... we tell ourselves:  "There's not enough money."  OR "I don't think I'm cut out for that."  OR  "I thought I had pulled the emergency brake."  OR "I thought booking a show on Super Bowl Sunday would be okay."

Okay... I started this entry yesterday... and I didn't finish... for various reasons... I don't think I will finish. 

From time to time I am reminded, sometimes gently and sometimes mockingly, the only person who truly cares about your songs is you.