On Friday Jan 28th we set sail in the ever faithful “white whale” headed towards the legendary Sundance Film Festival for the first show of our 2011 Winter Tour. The weather was suspiciously kind as relatively warm temperatures guided us east towards the Mormon State. Armed and dangerous, we left San Francisco in the evening with a plan to drive through the night and arrive in Park City by sunrise. Though we have traveled this road together many times this was our first moonlight voyage on I-80 east.
The bar was open before we even left the city. With the sound of Tecates being crushed and the scent of fresh cali and sandle wood burning through the night, in a blink of an eye we were leaving behind the big lights of Reno. When you pass the legendary Mustang Ranch you can’t help but crack jokes and consider stopping to see what the hype is all about. As we came flying over the hill to our surprise the Mustang was lit up like a carnival, dangerously red,seductive,calling like the gates of purgatory. Exit in 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 100 ft…..quick stop to look around can’t hurt can it?
It’s a long and winding road as you drive closer and closer to the red den of iniquity. Visions of Frankie Lee ran through my head as we showed our ID’s and the large white gate swung open. “It’s only $5 to get in and that includes a free drink” the young security guard said as we crossed the line into the boiling red vortex. I parked the van at the door to the ranch and with my will power safely tucked in my back pocket I said “I got twenty on it fellas let’s check it out.” A slight silent pause was followed by “I’m not going in”, “We can check it next time”….I nagged for a minute longer, “Just one drink?”
Everyone is unique and has their own opinions, but at this moment we all agreed that we had crossed into some strange earthly Gomorrah, whose doors, if opened, would consume us all. One turn of the key and the engine of the ever faithful “balena blanca” roared on command, and as if we were passing through some strange dream the white exit gate opened and we were once again traveling towards Utah, laughing as the miles distanced us further and further from the ranch. What can I say, there is always next time.
We arrived in Salt Lake city around 11am. A handful of last minute errands included, Wal-mart,Target,Office Depot, and of course Chick-Fil-A and soon we were checking into our usual home away from home at the always accommodating Holiday Inn Express. A quick rest and we were in the thick of the madness loading our gear into the famed Spur Bar n Grill off the strip in Park City. The place was jammed when we took the stage at 10pm and an amazing night of music and audience participation was just reward for the day’s long journey. Music is life and our crew is an unstoppable force of positive chaos that like a tumbling snowball only gets stronger as we roll along on this musical journey together. “We are the best of friends, insisting that the world keeps turning our way” and for this we are truly blessed!
Sunday found us barreling towards Denver. The warm and kind temperature that had so kindly guided us to Utah was a distant memory as temperatures dropped to negative 30. Seriously, at some point isn’t “bitterly fucking cold” description enough, what is the sense of counting below freezing? Sparing the personal detail, I have been dealing with some illness in my family. Sunday night I flew to Dallas to lend help to a much loved friend and family member. Unfortunately the weather followed me as the worst storm in 15 years hit the Dallas area, crippling the infrastructure of the Super Bowl host and leaving the roads covered in snow and ice. Faith will bring you mountains but life demands growth of the soul and will push you to the cliff of what you think you are capable of handling. Just when you think you can’t go any further, life will toss you on your face into rough gravel concrete and rain alcohol on the wounds only to be followed by gusts of salt to make sure you don’t forget the lessons of true compassion.
With hesitation I optimistically left the ice covered Dallas on Tuesday and returned to negative 30 temperatures in Denver to continue the tour. Tuesday we visited the all too familiar Quixotes in Denver. Same shit different day as our new friends Interstate Stash Express from Denver delivered their ripe power trio sound to the folks on hand and on a bitterly cold night we played a short set and stayed well lubricated to combat the cold.
Wednesday’s show at 320 south in Breckenridge was defeated by the cold weather and after meeting up with “Rocko” for a beer and conversation we agreed to cut our losses and push on to Vail. Thursday we loaded into The Sandbar and Grill in Vail and after consuming some amazing family style BBQ we played two inspired sets of music to those who ventured out in the slightly warmer negative 20 degree weather. Rock n Roll is war, if you can’t rock 10 people like they are 10,000 then you are self defeated and might as well stay at home like most “bands” and continue to play locally for your friends and talk and dream about all the things you will never do.
Thursday after the gig I got the call from my family that I was needed ASAP back in Dallas, things were not going well. When faced with crisis you will quickly find all that you once thought was important no longer holds its value and that supporting your family is worth any short term sacrifice it might demand. So Friday morning I jump a plane to Dallas, the band heads back east on the I-80 and I place the calls to cancel our remaining shows in Crested Butte,Carbondale, Keystone,Steamboat, Jackson Hole, BIllings,Bozeman,Sun Valley and Park City. We will reschedule all of the shows for the spring or summer and promise to rock you folks twice as hard when we see you next. God willing we still plan on delivering the goods at the ALO after party at Crystal Bay on Sunday Feb 20th. Till then take care of one another and count your blessings for life is short and mysterious and the bounty of tomorrow is never a guarantee. In a minute- xo