Las Vegas, NV- Here it is two months to the day that I left Las Vegas to embark on my second national tour. If you had told me this time two months and a day ago the adventures I would tackle, the people I would meet and the artists I would share times with on and offstage, there is a good chance I would have replied simply, “Yeah right.” However, here I am two months and a day later….with an absolute wealth of experience and knowledge that springboards me into the next chapter of my musical path.
Every artist I have ever known be it internationally known rock stars, live loopers at the local, regional, national and international level, opera aficionados, jazzheads, metal heads, pit orchestra types….each has their own unique relationship with the road. Some see if as a grand adventure, others as an escape, some see it as a proving ground for new music and others see it as a lonesome, brutal and unforgiving part of the job…..and that’s on a good day.
I love the road. The hotels, the people, the cheap hotel soap, the questionable diner fish sandwiches, the venues, the load-in door to the venue...thats never unlocked when you need it, the lack of parking in big cities, the crowds, the autograph sessions, the radio interviews. Is it hard? Yes. Is it grueling at times? Absolutely. Is it part of our job, or musical calling? Without a doubt.
Reflecting on my tour I see the good, bad and ugly of the road, of people, of this business and gain from each experience a new understanding and skill set to make the next show, the next album, the next tour better on and offstage.
I remember a phone conversation I had with my Dad that went something like this.
Dad: So where are you?
Me: I don’t know. A hotel somewhere in the middle of nowhere next to the freeway but somehow they had a room under my name.
To this day...I still don’t remember the name of the town I was in.
One place I was able to lay my head in for more than a sleep deprived one-nighter was Pittsburgh. So many people scratch their head when I tell them about the exciting, thriving and very diverse musical energy in The City Of Bridges. In short I was invited by Philfest to perform a number of times through out the week culminating with a performance at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Philfest had it’s artist roster not only performing, but also educating, engaging and empowering students and adults alike in Pittsburgh through the medium of live looping. I was very(!) lucky to be asked to share a kids concert with the supremely talented Violoncheloops. (More on him later). The kids concert was held in downtown Pittsburgh, right in Market Square. The oldest student I performed for that day…..was five years old!!
The common question I get, is “How do you engage and teach 50 four-year-olds at a time?” Well...thats easy. They don’t really care how it works. They simply are interested in that it works. The students coming up afterward and getting on my set-up and laughing and giggling in the mic...was seriously some of the sweetest music I heard out on the road.
Want to know a secret about Pittsburgh? There is music everywhere. It’s not localized (see: limited) to one area. Different areas off Pittsburgh proper and surrounding towns and suburbs all have a diverse line up of rock bands to indie to reggae, to synthwave...yes synthwave. How awesome is that? Of course musicians and performance opportunities are directly related to venues, which the City Of Champions has in spades. If you’re a touring musician….look at Pittsburgh. Not now...finish my blog….then look into it.
To wrap up my first entry into my first tour blog I have to say thank you to the people of Pittsburgh, the Philfest organization and my fellow artists I shared long days and (very blog worthy) nights together. Keep an eye here over the next few weeks when I shine a light on the different artists, towns and adventures the road gave me.
Las Vegas, NV