ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 1st, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Martin missed the bus to Detroit. This surprised no one, really, since he’d informed the crew he’d get himself there. It was only like a two or three hour drive and I think he convinced either Mary or Sue to just drive him.

Once he did get to Detroit, he thanked me before soundcheck because he’d had such a good time with them. I told him I thought even if I hadn’t been there he would have been perfectly equipped to make that pickup without me, but he seemed convinced it was my presence that had drawn them over like a magnet.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I pride myself on being honest. I feel like I worked hard to stop lying to myself and to undo the damage of people lying to me all the time, so if I lie to someone else I consider it really bad.

So I’m very not proud of the lie I told in Cleveland. One particular one. Except that what I said was true, if misleading.

I should just tell you what happened, eh?

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Feb. 9th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Hey folks, help me out: get a stopwatch or a phone that counts seconds and take this quick survey to let me know the loading times for you for DGC: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W7NWDPG! -ctan)

I’ll give you one guess who the first person was I called about the drumming gig.


It never occurred to me he would say no.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Oct. 20th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

My California geography sucks, mostly because I get a lot of the names which are very similar mixed up, but also because some of the dense parts take a long time to cross and some of the empty parts take very little time to cross. Therefore how far apart things are is skewed in my head.

As it turned out, the amphitheater where we were playing the next night was only an hour, hour and a half from the venue in San Diego. In fact, it was in Orange County, not far from Long Beach, which meant it was not far from Los Angeles proper. So the bus trip was fairly short and they put us into hotel beds for the night. Which was nice, although Remo didn’t stay with us. He kept on going up to his place in Laurel Canyon.

I caught up with Flip and Martin on the bus ride and then we crashed right away on getting to the hotel. I was not only still feeling sleep deprived, I think all the stuff with Ziggy had left me really emotionally drained. I mean, I felt good about everything but at the same time I had used up a lot of my usual capacity for dealing with that kind of thing, I guess.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jun. 9th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I’m not sure if Martin and Flip took it on themselves or if they were assigned to talk me down. When we got to the hotel in Indianapolis at four in the morning I was off the bus like a shot, but I didn’t make it to the elevator before they caught up with me.

“Dude, did you have dinner?” Flip was asking.

“For fuck’s sake, Flip, I…” Fuck. “I had some yogurt,” I said weakly.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( May. 5th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We blew the doors off the Worcester Centrum. I really think that pushing everyone to do “Baker Street” had heightened the whole band’s cohesion. Or maybe it was just that after a day off everyone was fresh and well-rested. Whatever it was, we were on fire.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Apr. 30th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We arrived in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the wee hours of the morning after the gig in Syracuse, at a hotel where the night clerk was very unprepared for the entire entourage to descend. As such it took an hour or two to get the rooms sorted out. A couple of members of the crew fell asleep in the lobby. All I can say is if you don’t want scruffy-looking, disreputable rock and rollers passed out in your lobby, have their rooms ready.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

We drove all night to Syracuse. No, that’s no accurate. The drive was only five hours, but we stayed in the bus overnight, parked at the venue. I sleep better when the bus is in motion, so I slept about four hours and then just lay there in my coffin wondering about where we were.

The Carrier Dome is unbelievably fucking immense. No wonder it wasn’t sold out. We play all those hockey and basketball arenas, some at colleges, some in cities, and they usually hold around 18,000. This place had basketball but they also had football, indoors, under a dome, and it seated well over 40,000. In fucking Syracuse. No offense Syracuse, but your population isn’t that dense. I felt one really couldn’t blame anyone for this humongous place not selling out, though I don’t actually know what percentage of bands who play there come close.

I got sleepy again finally at the worst time, around noon when Remo had to go do a radio spot or something and so everyone else wanted to grab a “Baker Street” rehearsal, since that night we’d be doing it.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Apr. 2nd, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

When I opened the door to my hotel room I could see my leather jacket was on the corner of the bed nearest the door , as if someone had dropped it off in a hurry. I stepped on the day sheet on my way over to check that my wallet was in the inside pocket. It was. And I did a little dance when I saw the day sheet said:

Today is

You are in Flushing, New York.

Tonight’s show is at the Brendan Byrne Arena
in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The bus leaves at
1:00 PM SHARP.”

I tried to imagine that I was going to be completely unaffected by the fact that tonight’s show was in New Jersey. Why should that matter? Lines on a map. So what. New Jersey, New Schmersey.

Freshly showered and dressed, I presented myself in the lobby at 12:45 pm and didn’t see anyone else, but the bus was out front. The wind was raw and cold like winter was still hanging on in this part of the country. I knocked on the door and Randy opened it. He was our main driver, a forty-something guy with enormous arm muscles, biker tattoos, and a crew cut. All I knew about him was he used to drive long haul trucks and he liked driving rock bands better. He rarely said much, preferring to let his nod imply good morning or hello or whatever. I nodded back and got into the nice, warm bus.

Martin was already there. “Hey, stranger,” he said.

“Hay is for horses.” I sat down next to him in the front lounge. “Is it supposed to warm up today? This cold is brutal.”

“Not for a couple of days, I think. What, you weren’t watching the Weather Channel at four in the morning like an insomniac should?”

I looked at him. Something about what he said didn’t feel like our usual poking-at-each-other banter. “Have I been that bad?”

“With insomnia? If it’s bad enough for me to notice, I’d say yeah.”

“I slept fine last night.” I shrugged instead of elaborating on why. “So was it you or Flip who brought my stuff back?”

“Don’t look at me,” he said. “I take it you had a good time, wherever you went?”

“Got a good night’s sleep,” I said, and that closed the subject.

Within a few minutes we had everyone but Remo on the bus and Randy gave a double toot of the horn before pulling away from the curb. I took that to mean Remo was off doing press or something.

I confess I actually didn’t know who the fuck Brendan Byrne was and I didn’t care. I vaguely knew he’d been a governor of New Jersey but I didn’t know if it had been during my lifetime or what. The Brendan Byrne Arena, on the other hand, I knew of as the hockey/basketball arena at the Meadowlands where a lot of big concerts took place. I had never actually seen a show there, though.

Insert standard joke here about how in New Jersey the area known as “the Meadowlands” is a giant swamp.

The acoustics were good, though. I’ll give it that.

Remo was still not there by 1:30 so I got the band together for a pre-soundcheck rehearsal where we worked on “Baker Street.” Honestly I didn’t want to rehearse it so much that everyone got super-comfortable or bored with their parts. All the backing musicians had backgrounds in jazz, and the regulars were up for being challenged: part of what would make it exciting is that it’d be so fresh. Alan had even found a keyboard patch that gave him a sound kind of like the one in the original.

Remo still wasn’t there when we wrapped that up, and a brief debate took place between the sound crew and Waldo about when he was expected and whether we should give the stage over to the opening band, who were a kind of quirky blues band called Puddle in the Road. I hadn’t had much of a chance to talk with them yet.

While they were debating, Remo came in, so that answered that. We ran through half of three different songs and everything checked out fine, which meant it was time to go back to doing nothing until showtime. I decided to sit and watch Puddle in the Road do their check. They were fun, and one of the songs was so catchy it was going to be stuck in my head for a week at least.

Which led me to asking Artie later, when we were hanging around, “What’s it going to take for a band like Puddle to make it?”

We were sitting in the main green room, which the crew had set up with a couple of couches and a snack table with bowls of fresh fruit, granola bars, and containers of yogurt in a bowl of ice. Artie had a half-eaten cup of yogurt in his hand. “Well, depends on a lot of things. I mean, the style they’re playing is great for parties, but it isn’t really what radio is looking for right now.”

“Okay, but isn’t hit radio basically any-genre-goes now?”

“Well, except country and rap, and even those have one or two exceptions.”

“Exactly. So why not, whatever you would call what they do?”

Artie dug around in his yogurt cup, apparently having discovered the fruit on the bottom. “What would you call them?”

“Quirky blues? Party blues? I don’t know. But that song, ‘Hop The Fence?’ It’s really catchy. Don’t you think it could catch on if it had a really fun video?”

“Possibly, but you know, typically a record label isn’t looking for a one-hit wonder. If that’s their one really hot song, their best bet might be to license it to someone–have someone like me shuttle it to an artist on my roster.”

“Hm, yeah.” Jordan would have probably said the same thing.

“The history of this band is kind of interesting, but not exactly the best for a commercial breakthrough,” Artie went on.

“Yeah? I don’t know anything about them except Remo likes them.”

“They started out as a college group, playing on their campus, and then expanded out to playing campuses around the country. To hear them tell it, they were a Grateful Dead cover band for all of a few weeks but quickly moved to more uptempo blues with a touch of ska.”

“And that’s a strike against them?”

“Well, the band wasn’t originally called Puddle in the Road, either. It was ‘Pothole.’”

“Ah.” Good name for a jam band, bad name for a band in an era when there were Moms Against Music groups campaigning for censorship and boycotts.

“Yeah, Even with the name change they’re pigeonholed as a quintessential campus party band. They have a pretty good thing going with regular gigs, but no radio penetration at all.”


“Also, and it’s annoying to even think about but it’s more and more true in the video age, they’re great musicians. But they’re not telegenic.”

“But couldn’t you make them more telegenic for video? We had stylists all over us before we filmed ‘Why the Sky.’”

“Well, you also had going for you that you and Ziggy start out good-looking. And you’re both in good shape.”

By good shape I think he meant neither of us was chubby, unlike the lead singer of Puddle who was sort of a schlub. I knew better than to argue about that. How cute you were or whether you were considered “hot” by the teen magazines had nothing to do with whether someone was a good musician or not, but I knew what record companies looked for was a lot of things other than musicianship.

“The sad truth is that if I want to go out and sign a quirky blues party band because I think that’s the next hot trend,” Artie said, “I can probably go out and find one that’s more marketable than this one. Which isn’t to say these guys aren’t going to make it. Every band has strikes against them.”

“You’re saying these guys aren’t unique?”

“Only in the sense that every band is unique. But I would bet you I can find another uptempo blues band with a Jimmy Buffett-meets-They Might Be Giants vibe.”

“Huh.” That was kind of a chilling thought. “How many flamenco-influenced cello and hand percussion bands do you know?”

He shrugged. “If you’re doing it, I guarantee you you’re not alone. Someone out there, among the millions and millions of musicians we don’t know, other people are doing it, too. And if there’s a sudden breakthrough hit in that vein? Then there’ll be a stampede to sign a pile of them.”

Yeah. And four out of five of them would end up in hock to the record company and that would be that. But of that one out of five who made it to the next level…

Yeah, I was depressing myself thinking about it.

“That reminds me,” Artie said. “Tomorrow morning, before you leave for Philly, could you come by the office to sign some stuff?”

My hackles went up. “Sign some stuff?”

“You know, some CDs and promo photos of you.”

“Oh. You mean autograph. I don’t know what I was thinking.” I was thinking we hadn’t finished some paperwork, or like they needed me to amend my contracts or something. I was paranoid. “Is there some point when the whole band is heading down there?”

“I don’t think so. Nomad’s been to our offices so many times we didn’t set something up for this trip.”

“I’ll see. I’ll have to figure out how to get to midtown from the boonies where we’re staying. That might be easier on our day off. We’re off Friday.”

“We could send a car for you if we need to. I’ll check the schedule.”

I nodded. I’d have to check the schedule and make sure I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere, but with Remo doing most of the promo appearances on his own, I hadn’t had to do much.

Remo came in then and poured himself a cup of coffee, added milk and sugar, and then poured liberally from a flask into it before he sat down, looking rough around the edges.

I was going to bust his balls about being late, but instead I said, “You all right?”

“Yeah.” He took a swig of the coffee and grimaced. I guess even with milk and booze it was too hot. Or maybe it just tasted awful. He seemed pensive.

Artie got up to throw away his yogurt container and drifted away. Everyone else was elsewhere right then, too.

“Something on your mind?” I tried again. Remo was generally not an angst-ridden type of guy, you know?

“Did you hear about what happened?” he finally said, after another grimace-inducing swallow of coffee.

“No.” Or I wouldn’t be asking. But I didn’t say that.

“To Clapton’s kid.”

“No…?” My skin prickled with dread, though, from his tone of voice.

“Four years old. Fell out a window in Manhattan. Fifty stories. God.” He covered his eyes with his hand. “A janitor left the window open at his girlfriend’s condo.”

“Oh, jeez.” I couldn’t even say the words that’s awful. I also wasn’t sure how close Remo and Clapton were or if the heavy upset was all because Remo was thinking that could have been Ford who fell out the window. “When?”

“Last week.” He coughed and drank the rest of the coffee, setting the empty mug down. “He was going to come to the show but he’s lying low. Grieving.”

I didn’t even know Clapton had a four-year-old kid. “Have you talked to Melissa?”

“Not about this. I don’t want to freak her out.”

“Randy’s got a phone installed in the bus, you know.”

He nodded. A moment later he got up, and I knew now that I’d planted the idea, he was going to call Melissa anyway.

It’s a dangerous world out there, sometimes.

I don’t know what she told him, but by the time I saw him next, he was back to normal, all his emotions stuffed back into his pocket except for his usual laid-back jollity.

And the show was fine.

(Note: Both the cold New York weather on April 3, 1991, and what happened to Conor Clapton are true. It was hard to pick a song for this chapter. -ctan)

ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Mar. 19th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

The first show of the tour would be in Atlanta, at an arena officially named the Omni but referred to by the crew as the Waffle Iron because of the shape of the roof, which looked like a—you guessed it—waffle iron. We had several days off in LA before the actual show because the crew and rig had to travel across the entire country to get there.

I kind of wondered about this. Nomad was a band from the West Coast, and here they were starting a tour in the East. Moondog Three had been a band from the East Coast, and we had started our tour in the West. Was that bad planning? Or was it good because it meant you ended up closer to home in the end? I wasn’t sure. It probably had more to do with when the venues were available. Carynne once told me that to set up any given six weeks on the road she probably made about five hundred phone calls. That was about four-hundred-ninety-nine more than I would have been willing to make before I freaked out and bailed.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Melissa was very blond and very, very pregnant. I found her in the suite with most of everyone else, including Martin, who had his ear pressed to her swollen stomach.

He pulled back suddenly. “Ow! He kicked me!”

“Do you know if it’s a boy?” Alan asked.

Melissa shook her head. “We don’t know for sure but I have a feeling it’s a boy. That or a really feisty girl. Like me.” She grinned and showed her teeth.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 30th, 2014 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I didn’t think, however, that Ziggy wanted me to call that night. So Martin and I ended up channel flipping and shooting the breeze in his room until nearly dawn and finishing the last of a bottle of Jack.

“I hear you’re coming with us this time,” he said at one point.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Our hotel was in a part of Tokyo that was kind of like Times Square: a really busy area with lots of tourists and commerce and neon. Only not as sleazy as Times Square. Since I felt like I didn’t have to spend every waking minute rehearsing or learning–only three hours this time with Alex and Alan and a spare guitar and a portable Casio mini keyboard–I went out and wandered around a little with Martin. There was enough English on signs that we could feed ourselves if we weren’t too finicky.

Turns out one thing you can get just about everywhere is fried octopus balls.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Jonathan called a little while later. I took it on the kitchen phone and Remo made himself scarce.

“Hey,” I said.

“Hey. I…” He cleared his throat. “I wanted to check in.”

I kept it light. “Like to a hotel?”

He let out a little huff of breath and I knew he was smiling, though he hadn’t gotten all the way to a laugh. “You want to come get some lunch down here? I’m at the place down the hill.”

“Why, so I won’t yell at you like I did last night?” Well, so much for light.

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Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Don’t forget! This Saturday, 5-9pm US eastern, the DGC 4th Anniversary Online Celebration! Bookmark the new DGC Chat room for the 5-7pm live chat with Daron and ctan: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/chat-room and then at 7pm ctan moves to her uStream channel for the video portion! Rumor has it she may read from Colin or Ziggy’s stories! More details to come!)

I barely got introduced to the Mazel brothers’ wives before we were shooed into our seats for dinner. Remo sat at the head of the table, with me next to him on the corner, Martin directly across from me and of course Jonathan next to me.

Maybe I shouldn’t say “of course.” I could imagine plenty of families who would have split us up. Maybe that would have been to make sure we weren’t holding hands under the table. Or maybe so we could each be grilled at opposite ends of the table about each other. Either way I would have been uncomfortable. I sat there thinking that fortunately, unlike my blood family, my chosen family didn’t have a stake in making me uncomfortable.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Nov. 7th, 2013 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Thanksgiving arrived a few days later. Jonathan had insisted I call Remo to find out if we were supposed to bring something, and Remo told me to tell him that if he felt it was necessary not to walk into someone’s home empty-handed for etiquette reasons, we could bring a bottle of wine. Jonathan went to a wine shop on the day before Thanksgiving and was gone for two hours. I was glad I stayed home, because between hating traffic, hating crowds, and hating talking about things I don’t understand I don’t think I would have enjoyed the trip. He seemed extremely happy about the wine he bought, though, which was a California wine, which was somehow symbolically important to Jonathan. So I guess it was worth the trip to him.

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