CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 2011
After returning from my third trip to California this year, I feel a huge urge to look back and reflect on this particular trip…
My travel plans to California where already set in stone about a year in advance. I’ve been blessed and honored to perform with the Fred Hersch Ensemble as of recently - premiering Fred’s new piece, My Coma Dreams. Fred called me up in August of 2010 asking me to play the book for the Montclair University premier this past May, and also asked if I was busy in October 2011 for the premier in San Francisco. My response was… “Fred, I just graduated college a few months ago, my schedule is wide open 14 months from now!"
The My Coma Dreams trip/premier in San Francisco was an incredible experience. Even though my parents live in San Francisco, SFPerformances hooked me up with a free hotel room just blocks away from the Herbst theatre. I guess I need to start booking better gigs for myself :) Anyway, the whole trip consisted of one and a half days of rehearsal and one spectacular gig. I can’t even express in words how much fun it was to hang and play with the likes of Fred, John Hebert, Matt Wilson, Charles Pillow, Joyce Hammon, Mike Christianson, Ralph Alessi, Michael Winther and Greg Kallor. Be on the look out for more NYC dates of My Coma Dreams - maybe even more tour dates *fingers crossed*
The very next day (Halloween), I flew down to Los Angeles to meet up with In One Wind. From there we embarked on our first West Coast Tour! But let me back up a minute…
I was picked up at LAX by two of my best friends, Jason Lazarus and Jacie Pacheco. I’ve known both of these fine people since middle school, and it floors me every time how we can simply pick up where we left off - as if no time has passed between us. These are true friends! What ensued later on was one of the most fun Halloweens I have ever had. Thank you Jason, Jacie, Ali, Steven, Jordan, Mikey, Zac and Kendall Sinclair for making it such a special night! Oh, and thanks to Jason and his room mates for letting me crash at their place for a week :)
If you can’t tell, I put a lot of time and energy into my costume. Thank you Steven Wilson for being the bacon to my egg. Unfortunately, I would never eat you Steven, I don’t eat Bacon…
This is what we gave trick or treaters, seriously.
The next morning, I met up with the rest of In One Wind where we began a six-night stretch of gigs up and down California. The first night was @ UCLA, where we had the amazing opportunity to open for tUnE-yArDs! Playing for a crowd of eager college listeners was super intense, I hope we can nail down more gigs like that in the future. It was also amazing to meet Merrell of tUnE-yArDs and to hear Big Tree again (who opened up the night).
On this tour, we were supporting our latest album, How Bright A Shadow! But we were also promoting a new project of ours… We’ve recently been asking friends/colleagues/musicians we admire to pick a track from How Bright A Shadow! that they’d like to remix. We provide the raw audio files from the original recording session, and leave it up to these master minds to remix this track however they please. The results have been varied, some people have kept our songs/forms relatively intact, while others will remix the audio files beyond recognition of the original song. Most recently Greg Saunier of Deerhoof did a remix of Up or Down. Check it out :::
Wednesday night we played at The University of Southern California, where we performed on what may be the nicest sound system we’ve ever used. Gotta love super rich college campuses, right? Later that week on Friday, we actually returned to USC for a radio appearance on KZSC. Thank you to Michael Fishman and Angelo Asistio for putting that together for us.
But Thursday night was probably our favorite night of tour. The night took place at the SIlverlake Lounge in LA. From what I’ve heard, The Silverlake Lounge used to be a super grungy dive bar, but in recent years it has become pretty hip, essentially making it the place to see bands in LA. Taylor Dexter from Big Moves graciously put the gig together for us, and what a bill it was. Masxs, In One Wind, Big Moves & Gothic Tropic. A HUGE HUGE HUGE shout out to Taylor for booking this gig for us. You seriously need to check out Big Moves , they seriously rock hard. And another HUGE HUGE HUGE thanks to Blake Strauss (of Big Moves) & Greg Katz (of LA Font) for letting us use their gear throughout our tour. What generous people!
I also want to thank all of my dear friends who came out to the Silverlake show. You know who you are - Brandon, Kendall, Rory, Jason, Carrin, Parker, Jacie & Garrett. You guys are the best.
Oh, how could I forget…
Before Silverlake, we went over to Occupy LA and played a few songs.
On Friday, we make our way up to Isla Vista, where we played at the Biko Garage.
We went to Freebirds in Isla Vista, where half the band proceeded to get “Monster Burritos.”
On Saturday, we went down to San Diego to perform at The Loft - which is right on the UC San Diego campus. We shared the night with a group led by vocalist Bonnie Lander. It was super fun :)
After our SD gig, we drove back to LA, got a few hours of sleep before waking up at 5AM to trek up to San Francisco. “Why” you ask? Well, once we got to San Francisco, we met up with Peter Varshavsky and Adam Willumsen of Porto Franco Records to shoot a live music video. I highly encourage you to check out Porto Franco Records. They are a label based out of San Francisco that is putting out some really really interesting music. You can also check out some of the videos they’ve been producing here. Stay tuned for an IOW/Porto Franco video soon! Thank you Peter and Adam for working with us. Was a pleasure to hang and meet you guys!
Later that night, we played our last show at Kimo’s in San Francisco. Again, thank you to all my friends who came out to support us - Travis, Jessica, Rory, Derek, Ian, Patrick, Cody, Jacie, Marie-Eve, Robbie & Sam. It was such a pleasure to play this music for you guys.
Later that night and early the next morning, I took Rob and Angelo to some Burlingame staples - Royal Donuts & Super Burrito. Angelo claimed that these donuts where the best he’s EVER had, and I’m pretty sure they enjoyed those Burritos as well!
Now I am back in New York… It is always sad to leave California, but I have plenty of things coming up in NYC the next few months. Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for helping us through this tour, whether we crashed on your couch, borrowed your equipment, hooked us up with media appearances or simply came to a show. Thank you so much everyone.