Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Band on the Beach

So I've deviated a bit the last few posts. But today I get back to the band.

This past weekend we had a marathon day; first the Freedom Festival in Long Beach, then the beach, then the OC GoGirls Showcase in Huntington Beach.

It was our first foray into all-day band territory, and we were all pretty excited at the prospect.

It was easily 104 degrees onstage Sunday afternoon, as the 5th Annual Freedom Festival, celebrating sobriety and recovery, got underway. The recovery theme was prominent, evinced by the MC who at one point bellowed into her mic: "Where are the convicted felons? Let's see hands!!! OK, multiple convictions!!!" The staff just couldn't have been nicer; they made sure we had food, drinks and assistance with our gear, which was key in the sweltering heat. The crowd was Sunday-mellow, and definitely seemed like they'd be game for my music, and when security arrived, in the form of a biker gang, I was in my element. Tattoos and hair everywhere.

Sound check was at 10, and I had worn high-heeled sandals, thinking that it was too hot for boots and I'd just ditch my shoes altogether to sing. By 10:30, the black stage was SCALDING, and there was no way I could play without shoes. So- heels it was.

We opened with 'Stop Kicking My Heart Around' and the crowd was instantly receptive. The sun settled in right over us, and Joe was steadily sweating onto his pedal board as we worked through the set. At one point, Rem was visibly sweating directly through his shirt, as if it wasn't even there, but he shook his head fiercely and powered through.

We sold a bunch of CD's, and folks came up to ask me to sign them, which was very cool. Jake, adorable in Panama hat, walked through the crowd with me to the Take 12 Radio tent, where I did a quick interview with Monty Myers. The crowd was absolutely awesome- we were invited back next year, and we're already looking forward to it- the set really could not have gone better. I should have some video clips up soon; several people were taping.

Then we headed to the beach- however, upon arriving, we realized parking was a nightmare. So we parked at Harpoon Harry's (No, I'm not kidding) and went in for a drink. We all were cooked to the bone and just wanted to sit for a minute. Jake, Christie and I sat at the bar and instantly, this Alt rock-looking cat made a beeline for Jake and started chatting him up. I assumed that this was someone he knew from another band or something. Nope. Jake was polite, but confused.

Sean smooth talked the hostess into letting us take up a table to just drink, so we all moved into an incredibly dark room with an exaggerated nautical theme. Lo and behold, Alt boy followed us, and then Jake went into the buffet room, and he followed him there. I didn't like the looks of it- I couldn't tell if he wanted to fight him or frisk him, so I went in the back and said "Come on honey" and pulled Jake back to the table. By this time he was completely freiked out.

"Do I give off a vibe like I'm trying to pick up a dude!!!??"

There was much discussion about exactly what message his skinny jeans and tank top were sending, but the verdict was that Alt boy was probably just drunk. But still creepy.

We headed to the beach, and I was torn between really wanting to go into the water and really not wanting my hair to curl up like Carole King for the late show. So I settled for wading in up to my knees and chatting with Christie.

Jake announced that there was nothing wrong with him swimming in his boxer briefs- thousands would disagree- but there is no shame in young Mr. Hayden's game, so he, Sean and Rem flung themselves into the ocean with a Nerf football (Only Jake would have a Nerf football just hanging around his van), and played contentedly for the next 2 hours.

We arrived at the Blue Cafe sticky, salty, tired and starving; the Mexican restaurant next door was the closest food, so we got a table and realized there was NO AIR CONDITIONING.

The booker popped in from next door to tell me that there was package for me. Wha..?? She said that it arrived 2 days ago, and she'd accidentally opened it, but 'here it is!'. It turns out it was from a fan who'd tracked down where I'd be that day, and mailed me a letter and some custom-made picks with my name and silhouette on them. Pretty schnazzy. While we were still passing them around, the booker popped in again and said the first band was a no-show; we're up next.

The show was sleepy and uneventful for the most part, and we were very grateful to climb into our cars and go home. Poor Jake looked like he was going to curl up and fall asleep on the parking lot, and Rem had been so sweaty for so long, I think he was actually shriveling up. Sean was a candidate for sainthood, driving both up and back, and staying chipper, upbeat and attentive through all of it.

Overall, it was a long day, but it was also an indicator of what life on the road might be like for this group of people. And as I looked around the table at dinner, I realized- these are my dearest friends. I wouldn't want to be doing this with any others. Who else would: 1. approach a stranger in the park, who may or may not be a convicted felon, because I wanted to look at his puppy, 2. try to plan a trip for the band to Brazil to get my music to more people, and 3. talk with me in a dingy restaurant about James Joyce- brilliant or drunk? Only my boys.

Distinctly different, yet closely connected, Rem made the point that it's amazing we gel so well, 4 people who would hate each other if forced to listen to each other's music collections.

So bring on the East Coast. Bring on the Netherlands. Bring on the Germany, Norway, Sweden and Brazil excursions in all kinds of weather.

Have Nerf, will travel.

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