Last show of a run is always full of mixed feelings. On one hand I always have a sense of accomplishment and an excitement about going home, no matter how brief the stay there will be. On the negative side… I will miss the nightly poker games in the back of the bus. I will miss the wonderful massage I get from our organ player. Wait a minute… this band doesn’t HAVE a organ player! Who WAS that guy? I’ll miss the playful interaction… the boasting… the contests of courage…. “Ten bucks says you can’t jump from this buildings roof to the next roof!” “I’m not sure what this liquid is in this cup but I dare you to drink it!”  Good times.

We finished up at the Grove in Anaheim. This place is huge and it is all decked out like the kind of lounge in Vegas that would have Sammy Davis Jr. starring in it. Lots of friends and relatives. Also lots of fans who, once again, sang along and flocked to the merch table. That part I really am going to miss. We have about a week off till we all converge in St. Louis and start the second leg. I will have to drink the strange beverages and jump off the roofs all by myself till I see them again.

Leaving does make me reflect on how lucky we are to have these guys. A fledgling band should not be supported on the road by A players like this. We should have a band full of cousins, college roommates and furloughed mental patients.

Our tour manager always has a big smile on his face… even when he is telling us that we only have seven minutes for soundcheck because the headliner’s soundcheck went long. Apparently he was in the service and knows how to kill a man twelve different ways. That comes in handy when you settle up the cash at the end of the night. Our road manager (totally different gig… he is the official cat wrangler… in charge of getting us to the venue and on airplanes on time. Need a hooker and a pizza at 3 AM? Call him. He will tell you to go f#*k yourself… but he is the first call you make.)

The musicians we have can’t bluff a pair of twos worth a shit… but our bass player is amazing. Not only is he one of the great bass players I have played with… but then he switches to piano and plays like Friggin’ Tchaikovsky! (little known background… there were three sons in the Tchaikovsky family: Ivan, Igor… and Friggin’…  Igor was the only son to NOT go into the piano business. He fought in the Battle of Leningrad, defected to the US and died at the age of 86 in Port Arthur, Delaware.)

Our guitar player makes me feel like I play the tuba. His fingers are a blur. Actually… now that I notice it… most things are a blur. Might be time for a stronger glasses prescription. Getting old. But he is a brilliant guitar player and a Beatles Freak, so it makes it a lot of fun on the road playing Strip Beatles Trivial Pursuit.

Our drummer is a legend. When we tell people who we have drumming for us, their mouths fall open and they think we are kidding. In the jazz world his name opens doors. Why his parents named him Push Here is beyond me. Thank you and try the veal.  It is amazing how his mind doesn’t wander playing the boom tap boom tap drum parts our songs require. He must be multitasking… making out laundry lists or solving Euclidian Algebra problems while he plays “How About Now.”

Sound guys, guitar techs… the whole team is a perfectly meshing machine that brings quality entertainment, night after night, to audiences big and small. But mostly small.

The hard part of all this is for the next week or so I will not be blogging. We are on our way to play a private show in Aspen. Tonight I plan on finding a flat spot to lie back and watch the meteor showers. Tomorrow we will play and then we go home! Over-achievers that we are… we land at 2 and that night we play a show at the Bluebird Cafe. Then it’s two days off and we leave for the next run. Why? If you really believe in something then you don’t mind wearing yourself out in the name of promoting it. We really believe in this band and this CD, and we are grinding and grinding out the miles to make sure that at the end of the year we look back and know that we did all we could.

I hope no one in the band reads this. I need them to keep on believing that they are good poker players.

The Band: Scott BernardTom BrechtleinShem Von Schroeck