That was a rare condition I had in high school. It was uncomfortable, but it allowed me to be the only player on the soccer team who could play without wearing a cup.

Apparently in Birmingham, Alabama, Iron Ball is something else entirely.

Whatever it is… it wreaks havoc on any show played within a few days on either side of it. Either everyone in Birmingham attends the Iron Ball and it is so exhausting (it probably involved potato sack races and various feats of strength, like Festivus) that they need a week to recover… or we are not as popular as we thought we… naaaahh.

We started our Christmas tour in Birmingham last night. It’s a short tour… about seven dates… but we have been told that the shows are almost all sold out (in show business that is good. In almost every other line of work it means that you have lost your integrity. I speak from experience.) The Birmingham show, we were warned, was a bit weak in the ticket sales department because of something called Iron Ball. (Note to Hollywood: great name for a Bond villain.)

We are nothing if not optimists. Did we cancel the show? No. Did we hit the airwaves and flood the industry with word of this fabulous upcoming show. No. That just sounds exhausting. Plus, that’s not our job, unfortunately. Our job is to trust everyone else to do their jobs and then we go out on stage to a huge throng and give people the thrill of their lifetimes… or at least two hours of twist music.

We have a guy. I’m not sure what to call him cause he does so many things for us. He wears lots of hats. He seriously wears at least eight hats every day. He says he does it so that, if someone has a problem, we can point our guy out and say “go talk to the guy in all the hats.” It is a surprisingly effective strategy. Our guy came to our dressing room last night and told us that we would be playing for 70 people. You can guess what happened next. We smashed our guitars and stormed out cursing. No… you know we didn’t do that.

We told them all to come to the front of the stage and get close and comfy… then we gave them the best show we could to show them how much we appreciated them being there on a Monday night so soon after the dreaded Iron Ball. (punch line for new joke I am perfecting. “How do you play baseball and not have any wrinkles? Iron ball.” It’s a work in progress, lighten up!)  I remember reading that when they were starting out, The Beatles once did a show for four people and they played for three hours. That’s us last night, baby! The New Beatles.

We played some Christmas songs… we tried out some new tunes from the next CD… we gave out some eggnog recipes and shared a holiday memory or two. Actually only one, from me. But it was a doozy. Sorry you missed it. Hope you enjoyed the Iron Ball. (one last Iron Ball joke:  I once won a trophy for “best use of starch while performing the waltz at the Iron Ball” )

Okay, the jokes are getting weak and so am I, cause it’s four in the morning and we are flying to Lexington for the next show. Once again, thanks to everyone we met at the merch table after the show. And I mean EVERYONE. Tonight is a sold out show, but I guarantee you we had just as much fun last night as we will tonight.

Someone please let us know what the date is for the Iron Ball next year so we can steer clear of Birmingham that week.