Tonight, I’m posting the 2nd night from WSP’s unbelievable performance at the first Bonnaroo. Widespread’s second night had a lot to live up to after their amazing first night of music and sure enough, they delivered. Here are a few highlights:
Dottie Peoples and the People’s choice join the band on Ain’t Life Grand and they put on a tentshow revival version of tallboy. Amazing!
Lots of guest appearances
DJ Logic jumps in midway through the drum session
Steve Winwood shows up alongside Randall Bramblett for a Traffic cover
Final song is a Talking Heads cover and a perfect finisher
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Hordes of live music fans have descended upon a spacious farm in Manchester Tennessee for a few days of good vibes and great music.
In honor of this grand event, I’m posting my first bootleg session, Widespread’s unforgettable performance at the first Bonnaroo. It’s hard to believe I was in that field 10 years ago.
Widespread’s two-night jam was one for the record books for a lot of reasons; perhaps the most noteworthy being the fact that it was one of Mike Houser’s last few performances. The band was playing their hearts out and the crowd was soaking it all in. The icing on this sweet-ass jam cake was all the guest appearances and kick-ass set lists. Not to mention (shameless plug), it was one of the many sources of inspiration from that weekend behind my novel. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here!
Over the course of this year’s Bonnaroo, I’ll post all the sets from this amazing show. Tonight, I’m proud to present the first night’s performance. Here are some highlights to note while you listen along:
The intro is great, the announcer sounds like he’s totally stoked about the show as he encourages everyone to be safe, drink plenty of water, and practice moderation. Great advice for any roo’er!
Blackout Blues really gets the crowd going
Around track 7, the first guest appears, Randall Bramblett! His sax puts an amazing spin on the rest of the songs in the set
A nice long jam bounces back and forth between Driving Song and Porch Song
Around track 7, Randal returns with members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Someone blows a whistle after a quiet lull and slams the tempo back into overdrive
The set finishes strong with Fishwater, Pilgrims, and Climb to Safety
Finally, the encore for the night: A cozy, light-hearted version of Old Joe before finishing things up with a cover of the old Okie badass himself, JJ Cale.
For all you folks lucky enough to have made it to Bonnaroo this year, stay safe, be kind, and let it ride!
Check back in a few days for the amazing second night from Widespread right here on the Bootleg Sessions!
Lots of music fans might tell you that they would go through Hell to see a band perform live. They would mean that figuratively, of course. I, on the other hand, can tell you that I literally drove through hail to see a show. That’s right, hail. Totally worth it though, the Black Keys tore the roof off the Bojangle’s Coliseum that night.
It was March 24th. I was cruising past the well-manicured lawns of Charlotte’s Southpark neighborhood on my way to meet a friend at his posh downtown apartment for some pre-show drinks and eats. Suddenly, a fast-moving black cloud hijacked an unsuspecting blue sky. It opened up with a crack of lightning, the streets began to flood, and the only sound I could hear was the steady, hollow pop-pop-pop of dime-sized hail pellets bouncing off my car. A green witch flew by on a broomstick, laughing, as my hands gripped tighter around the steering wheel.
In the South, we have an ongoing joke about how drivers slow down when it rains but speed up when it snows. Do you know what they do in a hail storm? Apparently, they fucking stop. Dead in their tracks. Right in the middle of the road.
I pressed on. The storm disappeared and a few minutes later I was closing in on my friend’s apartment. Once there, I dropped off my bags and we bolted straight for the bar to pre-game before heading to the show.
I was well into into my third local IPA and halfway through my second fish taco when who else walks in, sits down next to me at the bar, and orders up a drink? Why, this Jet-Flying, Limousine-Ridin’, Kiss-Stealin’, Wheelin’-Dealin’, Skirt-Chasin’, Whiskey-Drinkin’ Son-of-a-gun, that’s who!
That’s right folks, the friggin’ Nature Boy himself showed up, Ric Flair!
I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this so I engaged him in some small talk and eventually asked if I could get a picture. He was gracious enough to agree and was really cool. We shot the shit for a while and I congratulated him on the Four Horsemen making it into the WWE Hall of Fame. At 63, Slic Ric moved a little slower and talked a little quieter but I was 100% certain that one wrong move could put me at the business end of a figure four leg lock. I chose my words carefully and when it was time to go, I shook his hand. “Take care Champ,” I told him.
We pressed on.
Our taxi dropped us off at the coliseum around 8:45. We hustled in, grabbed a few beers, and made it to our seats with a few minutes to spare before the opening act started.
A little background on the Keys: Rubber Factory was their third album. I bought it back in 2005 and as soon as I heard the opening chords to Girl is on My Mind, I knew these boys were for real.
The name of their tour is El Camino, a promotion for their seventh album of the same name. El Camino is also a Spanish word that roughly translates to ‘Illegitimate lovechild of truck and sedan’. To differentiate between the Chevy El Camino and the Black Keys El Camino, this is what a Chevy El Camino looks like (photo courtesy of Wikipedia):
And this is what El Camino sounds like:
Quite a difference, no?
Seeing hipster bands like the Black Keys puts me a little outside my comfort zone since I’m used to seeing jambands but Widespread is on hiatus and at the time I bought tickets to the show, I had no idea whether or not the Allman Brothers would be touring. Every now and then you’ve got to step out of your comfort zone. And I’m glad I did.
The Keys lit it up from opening to encore, gigantic white lights flashing in time with power chords would periodically light up the entire arena, displaying the band’s name, making me think of the Vegas shows that Elvis would do in the 70’s with his name in giant red lights behind him. I managed to snap this picture but it doesn’t do justice:
Perhaps the only snag of the night came when we made our way down to the concession stands only to be foiled by a 10 pm cutoff for beer. I shook my fists in anger. I cried to the gods. I got over it. We made it back to our seats in time for the last song of the show and the encore. I was unbelievably impressed. That night, I made a mental note to focus my summer concert calendar on seeing some shows that I normally wouldn’t see. Sometimes, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a much needed change.
Here’s the setlist from the show. Next up, I finally get that music streaming thing figured out.
I was recently informed that the good folks at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream have a new flavor: Bonnaroo Buzz! Flavored with coffee, malt, toffee chunks, and a whiskey caramel swirl, this is the ice cream buzz you’ve been looking for. Check it out here. I’ve been a longtime fan of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and while I’m stoked that they’ve created a new flavor honoring Bonaroo, I’m not terribly surprised. Ben & Jerry’s, located in Vermont, has always been on the crunchy side. Two of my favorite of their existing flavors are Cherry Garcia and Phish Food. I even remember visiting a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop on a beach trip with my parents when I was in high school and they bought me a tie-dyed Wavy Gravy shirt. Jam on, Ben & Jerry!
I like beer. I like to drink beer. I like the way it tastes. I like how when I drink a few beers, I start to laugh at my own jokes and pee outside. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my tastes in beer have matured. Especially within the past few years since North Carolina began to allow sales of beers with higher alcohol content, ushering in a tidal wave of craft and microbrews available for purchase. I’m a big fan of IPAs, the hoppier the better. I love discovering a new beer with exceptional taste. With that being said, I’m also not a beer snob. I’m just as happy chugging a domestic canned beer in a parking lot before a summer concert as I am sampling a craft beer at a new restaurant. It all depends on the environment. With that being said, I’d like to share my theory on choosing a light beer. To be fair and honest, it’s not my theory at all. A friend shared this theory with me when I asked him why he chose Bud Light over Miller Light given that there was really no difference in taste between the two. I liked his idea so much that I adopted it as my own and I will now share it. When it comes to selecting a canned, light, domestic beer, base your selection solely on advertising. In my honest opinion (and I’m sure many others), there is little to no difference in taste between light domestic beers, so how do you make your selection? Base it on the most appealing advertisements. Make those beer titans earn your money by spending a shitload of their own money on creative advertising tactics. Let them know that your decision is based solely on your own selfish entertainment and if they can get your attention with bikini clad lifeguards or talking lizards, they’ll get your hard earned cash. Sure, it seems a little artificial at first but Hell, so is their beer. That’s why when I drink light domestic, I drink Keystone Light. That Keith Stone is a damn character. And he’s always smooth! Whether he’s hanging up a phone with a three foot long piece of jerky or couples skating with a blonde in a leg cast, he maintains his coolness. Keith Stone: Always smooth. Just like the cheap domestic swill he’s knockin’ back. Check him out here:
I was at the beach about a month ago and I took note of how beach people like to name their beach houses. Similar to naming your boat for good luck, perhaps this practice is employed by the owners of beach houses for good luck in the event of a Hurricane or a rapidly inflating Adjustable Rate Mortgage. Most of them had generic names, like ‘Place at the Beach’ and ‘Seascape’. Some of the houses were clearly named after the professions or hobbies of their homeowners, like ‘Beach Doc’, ‘Psy-Cottage’, and ‘Under Parrrrrr’.
But the one that really caught my eye and nearly caused me to run off the road as I rubbernecked to confirm that I was reading it correctly was this one: ‘Sea-Section’. I’m guessing the owner was a doctor. Or a mother with scar tissue. Could have gone either way.
Coming Soon: An update on my book and a new feature for my blog posts: Podcasts!
I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to have a gimmick, like a comedian with a catchphrase or a serial killer that leaves a calling card. Some sort of regular thing to add to my posts that gives the blog a unique angle; something to make it stand out from the other blogs. I have some background in graphic and web design so it seemed like a good idea to try to utilize those skills in my quest.
Aside from his day job as an art teacher, my Dad has a small screen printing operation. He’s been silk-screening since I was a kid. He’s got a nice setup in the garage of his house, a straight up man cave complete with a heat press, a ’68 Mustang, enough iron-on letters to complete a dozen alphabets, and more multi-colored inks than you shake a squeegee at. Go ahead and take a few seconds to Google squeegee, I’ll wait…
…Back already? Good. Now that you’re up to speed with the tools of the screen printing trade, did you go to Wikipedia for the definition? If you did, here comes our inside joke: ‘Onomatopoeically’? Seriously? Is that a real word? How many times are we gonna have to resort to Dictionary.com before we get through this blog?
Stick with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
I have two boys, neither of which like to eat their vegetables. Me? I love vegetables, especially vegetables covered in shitloads of cheese sauce or ranch dressing. I like to eat healthy, yet ironically.
Seriously, I’m gonna pull this all together.
I’ve discovered that my best ideas occur when I’m trying not to come up with ideas at all. This is usually when I’m focusing on a single task with little or no distraction, like mowing the lawn, washing my car, or running from the cops. It always happens when I least expect it, I’ll be chugging right along, focusing on whatever I’m doing at the moment, when suddenly an idea sneaks up and sucker punches me like an angry drunk at a dive bar.
That’s how I came up with my gimmick.
I was running during my lunch break, trying not to puke on my shoes, when suddenly it hit me. T-shirt designs! That’s it! That’s the gimmick. Are you with me? You’re with me, right? No? OK, let me explain my thought process on this one.
I’m a big fan of designing logos and graphics. I also like those novelty graphic tees, like the ones you can find on snorgtees.com. This is most likely due to growing up around my Dad’s screen printing endeavors. What better way to come up with a gimmick than to combine the two? So from now on, I’m going to try to include a t-shirt design in this and all of my future blogs. For this particular blog, I decided on the following design, inspired by the adamant refusal of my two sons to eat any resemblance of a vegetable.
Told you I’d pull it all together. Maybe the serial killer thing was a bit much. Anyway, here is your t-shirt design of the day. I’ll try to include one in each new blog until I either get bored with it or run out of ideas, whichever comes first. Enjoy.
Do: Identify and attend events where you will find potential readers who you believe could be interested in reading your book.
Do: Take along some sort of information that can be handed out, like a flyer, which provides a brief but appealing description of your book.
Don’t: Go to the wrong event.
Sunday, June 12th.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is playing tonight at the Carolina Theater in Durham. Derek Trucks: Nephew of Butch Trucks of Allman Brothers fame. He began playing at the age of 9, toured with the Allman Brothers, and is a slide guitar aficionado. In short, he’s amazing. Susan Tedeschi: Multiple Grammy Award winning blues and soul artist, wife of Derek Trucks. These two are the Brangelina of the live music scene. Teducks. No. Derusan. No. TeDerek.
Joining me tonight to pass out flyers is Most Honorable Cuz, a recent graduate of NC State and an amazing writer. He already has two published stories under his belt and an impressive portfolio of both artwork and short stories. Check out some of his stuff here.
The Missus is staying home tonight, more than happy to pass the torch after our little adventure from the previous night (see The Dos and Don’ts of Self Promotion: Part 1). She wishes us good luck and we’re on our way.
After a quick sprint down the Durham Freeway, we make a few quick turns past the Durham Bulls Stadium and we’re turning into the parking deck right across from the Carolina Theater.
“Enjoy the show,” the parking lot attendant tells me as I pass him two singles and he waves us in.
I’m stoked. I’ve got a few hundred flyers to pass out tonight and I’m certain I’ll get some interest. TeDerek will most certainly be playing to a Bonnaroo crowd. Even more so than the Decemberists, who played last night in Raleigh just after leaving Bonnaroo. This is gonna pay off in spades.
This is easily the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
I get lucky and find an open spot in the very back of the first level of the deck. Nice. I pull in quick and we hit the elevator to the top floor.
“Alright man,” I tell Most Honorable Cuz as I hand him half of the stack of the flyers. “We should make quick work of this tonight since we’re both handing out flyers. Don’t forget where we parked, OK?”
“Uh, OK,” Most Honorable Cuz replies. “We parked on the first floor.”
“Yeah, I know. Don’t forget.”
The elevator dings and we storm through the doors, screeching to a sudden halt. Not a car in site. The top floor is empty. Strange.
“Probably a lighter crowd, you know, Sunday and all,” I reassure myself aloud as we hit the elevator for a ride down to the second floor.
The elevator dings again and we step out. There are exactly two cars on this floor.
Most Honorable Cuz throws me a look like he just smelled a fart. “Seriously light crowd, huh?” He asks.
“Yeah man, this is weird,” I reply. “The first floor was definitely packed, though. Let’s cruise down there and pass these things out.”
The elevator dings a third time and we’re back to the first floor. We split up and get to work. In just a few minutes I’ve covered my side of the parking deck and I’ve got about 20 flyers to spare. The street outside is lined with cars so I make a break for it, I don’t want to take any flyers home with me. I want them all out there.
No sooner have I placed the last flyer and started back toward the parking deck, I spot Most Honorable Cuz walking quickly toward me with a concerned look on his face.
“Are you sure we’re at the right venue?” He asks.
“Yeah, I think so,” I reply. “It said Carolina Theater on the website…why?”
“I ran into the parking lot attendant while I was putting my last flyer out.”
“Oh yeah? What’d he say?”
“He asked if I was handing out flyers for a night club. I told him no, that we were handing out flyers for a book about live music and he said ‘Oh, OK. Cause if you’re handing out flyers for a night club, you’re probably handing them out in the wrong place.’”
A screeching tire sound effect echoes through my head.
“Crap,” is all I can manage.
“Wait, hold on,” Most Honorable Cuz interjects. “The parking deck attendant doesn’t know anything. Let’s check the marquee.”
We scurry over to the front of the Carolina Theater and turn to take a look at the marquee. My gut wrenches as I read the title.
Tonight: Middle School Dance Recital. The Carolina Theater Welcomes Family and Friends.
“Holy shit you gotta be kiddin’ me,” I mumble.
I have handed out flyers for a book about sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll to a parking lot full of parents and middle school dancers.
This is easily the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
I don’t know why I didn’t pick up on the signals; the small crowd, the lack of tour buses, the over abundance of mini-vans. I think it was the parking deck attendant who said ‘Enjoy the show’ as we pulled into the parking deck. I thought for sure he was referring to TeDerek.
A moment of silent defeat passes before we start to laugh.
“You wanna go back and get the flyers and find the right venue?” Most Honorable Cuz asks as we walk back to the car.
“Nah, fuck it,” I reply after brief deliberation. “Let’s go get a beer.”
“Well, you never know,” Most Honorable Cuz observes in an optimistic tone.
“Maybe there are a few parents that will be interested in it.”
On the way to the bar, we pass the DPAC, a much larger live music venue. Outside are two large tour buses and I can hear the tell-tale sound of a slide guitar echoing from the depths of the building.
The night wasn’t a total bust. I at least got flyers handed out and I got to hang with my cuz, kick back a few beers, and shoot the breeze.
So my lesson to you is this: When handing out promotional flyers, make sure you’re in the right place.
And to all you parents who may have gotten a flyer: Please enjoy ROO’D AWAKENING: A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ODYSSEY, the delightful story of a young ballerina and her adventures in Rainbow City with her pet unicorn.
DO: Identify your target audience. DO: Come up with a clever way to reach out to them and let them know about your writing. DON’T: Forget where you parked.
It was pretty easy to identify my target audience: Fans of live music, age ranges from mid-twenties to mid-forties. My next step was figuring out how to reach out to them. That’s when I got a great suggestion from a friend. “Dude, just go to a concert and hand out flyers!” Dude, that’s a great idea.
Saturday, June 11th. Downtown Raleigh Amphitheater.
The Decemberists are headlining tonight, blowing into town after a knock-out performance at Bonnaroo just one day prior. I have 150 printed flyers advertising my book. Joining me on my little adventure is the Missus. She reluctantly agreed to join, pending my acknowledgement that she would drop said flyers and sprint in the opposite direction at the first sign of law enforcement. Fair enough.
We park at a free deck just a few blocks away from the pay deck where all of the fans would be parking. After a short hike, we hit the elevator to the top of the parking deck and get started. The Missus is following behind me with the bulk of the flyers, restocking me when I run out. I’m in front, moving in and out of rows of parked cars as I place my ads under the windshield wipers. We make quick work of the flyers and I even hand a few to some late arrivals hustling into the show. By the time we get down to level two, we’re out. Mission accomplished, now to head over to Mellow Mushroom for celebratory drinks and a slice of pie.
Picture your add on a fine ass car
We hustle back to the free parking deck and quickly discover that our car is nowhere to be found. After a brief debate on whether or not we’re in the right parking deck, we speed walk up and down the ramps for the next hour or so like a couple of cracked out mall walkers while I hit the alarm button on my key chain, expecting to hear the familiar honk of our misplaced car.
“Are you sure this is the right deck?” I asked.
“I’m positive!” The Missus replied. “See these yellow signs? I remember them from when we parked. This has got to be it.”
We search some more. We come up empty handed.
“That’s it!” I shouted. “I’m calling 911. Somebody stole my car!”
“Are you serious?” The Missus replied. “Think for a second. Who’s going to steal a 2002 Mercury Sable?”
Frustrated, confused, and sweating buckets, we hit the streets. Fortune smiles upon us in the form of the Downtown Raleigh Ambassadors, red-shirted ninjas whose mission, among other things, is to keep the panhandlers in check and help dumbasses like me find my lost or stolen car.
After briefly explaining our predicament, our friendly Ambassador is on his radio, calling in backup in the form of another Ambassador who I swear swooped in on a zip line. Seriously, he came out of nowhere.
They begin asking us for details of the deck where we parked.
“Did you take the elevator or stairs?”
“Was it really hot in the stairs? Like steamy hot?”
“Yeah, it was, actually.”
“What about the smell?”
“The smell. Did the stairwell smell like urine?”
“Uh, yeah, it did.”
“Do you remember seeing any signs in the parking deck?”
“There were big yellow signs, we parked right in front of one,” The Missus chimed in.
“You’re definitely in the Blunt Street deck. What kind of car do you drive?”
After providing the details of the car, we’re on our way back to the deck we had just left, now with an Ambassador escort who’s calling in backup. Within seconds, I’m hearing radio chatter from whom the Ambassador tells me are other Ambassadors searching other parking decks within the vicinity for our lost car.
“Do you ever get reports of cars getting stolen from these decks?” I ask.
“Only Ferraris,” he laughs.
We do another sweep of the deck and come up empty handed. We’re about to give up when a crackly voice comes over the radio announcing that the car has been spotted. Sweet baby Jesus in a tie-dye t-shirt, we’ve been saved!
Our Ambassador gets the location of the car and after an embarrassing walk across the street to the large, obvious parking deck right next to the one we had been searching, we are reunited with our long lost four-door family sedan.
Time spent putting flyers on cars: 30 minutes
Time spent searching for car: 2 hours, 30 minutes
We skipped Mellow Mushroom since it was after 10, headed home to have a pizza delivered instead, and counted our blessings.
Big ups to the Downtown Raleigh Ambassadors for helping idiots like me find my car.
Up next: Part 2 of the Dos and Don’ts of self-promotion.
It’s June 11th, mid-Bonnaroo, and if you’re a ‘Roo fan sitting at home like me, you’re wishing you were in a field right now with a bunch of hot, sweaty mother fuckers getting your noodle on to the band that’s tearing it up on stage.
So far, everything I’ve read and seen about Bonnaroo this year has been tops as usual. Fortunately, the good folks at Vevo have made streaming live videos from the festival available this year so I’ve at least gotten the opportunity to watch some bands from the comfort of my air conditioned house. I still wish I was on the farm. Guess I’ll just have to wait until next year.
I also read that Widespread Panic will be streaming their show tonight live on Facebook. So if you’ve got a facebook account, head on over tonight and join in the fun. I’m a total facebook newbie so watching the show tonight on my computer will be a brand new experience for me.
Also, be sure to check out YouTube where they have a page fully devoted to Bonnaroo. Just do a search on Bonnaroo 2011, crack open your favorite beverage, and ease on back.
That’s about all for today.
Coming up, I’m documenting my experiences as I venture into the world of guerilla marketing to push my novel. I’ll be hitting up a few local shows in the area tonight and tomorrow to promote the book and I’ll let you know how that goes.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally finished the new look-and-feel of my portfolio site to include links to both my blog and book site (which is nearly complete). Back in March, I decided that the only way I would ever force myself to finish editing the manuscript and get it published on Kindle would be to set a deadline and stick to it. I decided on June 1st. That would give me enough time to finish my portfolio and book site as well as set up a Facebook account and an updated LinkedIn page so that I would have a reasonable amount of promotional material on the web when I made the announcement that my book was available. Bonnaroo is also scheduled for June 9th – 12th, so that will give me about a week to reach out to all of the live music fans out there that may be interested in reading the book.
So far, everything is coming along as expected. I’ve got about a week to set up an account on this crazy Facebook thing that the hip youngsters keep talking about, which I hope won’t be too hard, and finalize the look and feel of the manuscript so that it’s easy to read when downloaded. The most daunting task has definitely been formatting the manuscript for Kindle . I guess that’s mainly because it was an entirely new process for me. In order to upload your manuscript to Kindle, you have to save it as an htm document with elements and styles and so forth. You can upload a Word file, but it’s going to look like crap and you don’t want that. The fact that I had to add html coding to my manuscript prior to uploading to Kindle came as a surprise to me. I figured all I had to do was make the Word document look good, upload it to Kindle, and that’s it. I completely overlooked the fact that I am uploading a file that will be read as a web document and, just like every other web document, it will need to be coded with html in order to be properly displayed. But then again, I never plan very far ahead. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of guy. So, self-publishing writers new to Kindle or any other e-reader beware: You will need to plan for changes to your Word document in order to get it properly formatted so that it can be read by the e-reader of your choice. Fortunately, this doesn’t require a degree in Web Design (although some basic understanding of html will help) and there are a lot of very helpful threads on the Amazon community forums to help you along the way.
Expect more blog posts as I get closer to June 1st, D-DAY, when ROOD AWAKENING, A ROCK -N- ROLL ODYSSEY makes its official debut.That is all for now.