Step Into The Light

spending my living days right.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bringing Your Guitar on an Airplane.

If you're reading this right now, no doubt you're a lot like me. You want to take your guitar on an airplane, but you don't really know how to do it without stressing out that your guitar will make it to your destination in one piece, so now your scouring the internet looking for answers.

I figured i'd blog about this because i recently just successfully flew with my guitar, and i hope this entry will help others who wish to do that same.

First ill lead off telling you that its never going to be an easy decision to take your guitar with you. I have a Taylor 420ce limited Koa, and so this isnt some cheap guitar that i could care less about... whenever you're flying with your guitar, at some level you have to prepare yourself that there is a chance something will happen, but if you remain calm and take the actions i describe below you should be alright.

1. Hardshell Case. i suspect you'll find a lot of people telling you a soft gig bag is best, but i never would want to take that risk.... i know my guitar is protected in a hardshell case, so thats where it will stay.

2. Don't overload on carry-ons. If you walk on to the plane, with a huge carry on, plus your guitar you're pushing your luck... if you can swing it... don't bring anything else on BUT your guitar... i only had my small backpack with me, so it wasn't a big deal.

3. Know the plane you're flying in. My hardshell case is pretty big, but it fits in the overhead compartments of Boeing 7x7 jets (i flew in both 737 and 757 this trip) without any problem at all. There are also garment closets in the front of the aircraft that can fit guitars, but its much more difficult to get large items in there, as they fill up very quickly.

4. Confidence. Seriously... act like it is no problem at all, and no big deal that you are carrying on your guitar. OF COURSE you are carrying it on... why wouldn't you? Confidently hand them your ticket... and dont look like your trying to sneak anything by them. Though i didnt try it, i wouldnt advice walking up to the gate early to speak with the attendant to even tell them you have a guitar, because they will most likely try to tell you that you shouldn't bring it into the cabin.

5. Board Early. Look at your seating number, and be ready to be the 1st person to walk on the plane with your number is called. You want to get a completely free overhead compartment and if you get on the plane towards the end, you are never going to find one. Literally stand near the gate so when your section is called, you are first to hand them your ticket.

6. Smile. Be extra friendly with the flight attendants, smile and be agreeable... if you are miserable or mean to them, they aren't going to care about your problem. If anyone questions you, dont hesitate to tell them your instrument is your way you make your living, there is actually a law that says professional musicians must be allowed to carry on their instruments.

7. Make sure your strings are de-tuned, and your case is padded. You may want to stuff some t-shirts into your case to better support the neck of your guitar, and make sure you tune down all your strings so they don't pop, or warp the neck under the pressure change.

8. If all else fails, gate check it. If you absolutely have struck out, and cant have your guitar in the cabin, you will have to gate check it. This isnt the worst thing in the world, particularly if your flight is short. This means that they will carry your instrument down the stairs, put it in cargo, and then when the plane lands, bring it back up and it will be waiting for you as you step off the plane. This happened to me once on one of my flights as our jet was small. If this happens, calmly and in a friendly way, explain to the attendant that your guitar is worth a lot of money, and its your livelihood, this goes a long way to making sure its carefully handled when its put below. When you get off the plane, the first thing you should do is open up your case, and check for any condensation that may have formed so you can wipe it off... this didn't happen to me, but just in case.

Also be aware, lots of people carry on their instruments, so this won't be a foreign to the flight staff as you might think. As long as your are calm and keep a level head, you should have no problem. Hope this helps some people out there!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Back up from the rabbit hole.

Its weird not worrying where the bus was parked and when we have to be on the road.

Its been a couple weeks since we've arrived back home from the tour. All in all, it was a huge success. Lets recap.

Having left the hole of state that was Alabama, we arrived in North Carolina some days early. We explored Black Mountain, and all its majesty for the next few very cold days, and we saw our first snow on the east coast. Jeff took us all out on the first night, and we had a grand (read very inebriated) night at the i already cant remember the name of the place.

What i do remember is we had a great time, especially when Floyd, Jeremy, Donny and I began to have a heated dispute on the rules of darts, and who may have been cheating. (read floyd was cheating) Amber Starr was running around tagging people with stars, and we all eventually retired as the bar closed. The next day Floyd, Brett and I prepared for that evenings Open Mic by re-writing the lyrics to Sit Tight, one of Jeff's tunes. We performed it that night to the delight, of pretty much just the 9 of us, but it was totally worth it. its all on video.

The next night was our big show. Matt showed up during the day, and it was great to see him again. At our first set break, Floyd presented us with trophies for our dart game... the show was great, we said our goodbyes, packed up our gear, and hit the road. Our NYC having been canceled, we were on our way home. at last.

Fast forward to HOME! It felt good to sleep in my own bed, and be in my own house again. And while, it only took me 2 days to miss being on the road, its nice to have a little break. We played a Welcome Home show at Seven Angels to great success, and now we are looking ahead to the future. New album, mini tour in January (we're going to Slamdance Film Festival!) and bigger and better things to follow. My blogs will for the time being go back to just my regular rants and daily events....hope you all enjoyed the tour section of the blog.... it will return in January.


Monday, November 12, 2007

im sorry if im offending anyone, but i really do not enjoy Alabama. I wasnt looking forward to it in the first place, but lets list off a few things that have accelerated my current point of view on the 22nd state to join the Union.

1. It was a lame scenery for the 11 hour drive it took to get here.
2. We got screwed out of our guaranteed money..
3. Our 2nd gig for tomorrow night was canceled.
4. Despite what you disillusioned people from the Northeast may think, its pretty cold here.
5. Yet another place that you can smoke in bars.

ok, im stretching now, but you get my point. I think its only fair that i flip this around and list some good things.

1. We're picking up Amber Starr tomorrow!
2. The room we played was pretty cool.
3. The sound tonight was stellar
4. We're a little closer to home.

All in all tho, i cant wait to get the flapjacks out of Alabama. Our next gig is in North Carolina where ill be meeting with my best friend Matt who may as well be my brother. Im stoked to see him, and i shall set my sights on that, and then home.

Current Bus Count: 10 People
id rather be in Georgia.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


We've spent the weekend in New Smynra Beach (which is essentially Daytona) and have had ourselves quite a time. Before we ended the hurricane friendly state of Florida we picked up our new friend Shannon in Auburn, AL, bringing our bus total to 9. We arrived in FLA to an absolutely gorgeous condo literally sitting yards from the beach. Let the drinking begin. As i watched 2e+BLB play shots and beer was a-flowin. Needless to say, leaving the bar into the next morning is a bit hazy for told we all just stumbled back, and Shannon was nice enough to see to it i found my bed.

The next morning i awoke to beer cans opening, wine being poured, shots being taken. I knew it was going to be a good day. You can't drink all day if you dont start early right? We hit the beach bar, and toasted to many things, and we hit the gig in style. More beer was had, more fun times. At about 4am, some of us went out to the beach and i ended up in the Atlantic ocean in my boxers. This is my life. im livin the dream.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Naw-Leans (I didnt go)

This is what happens when i write blogs late at toooo tired to write anything fun. Not that theres much to report. Louisiana loved us... we played the Green Bean, and then got ourselves an impromtu show the next night at the Cate Street Pub. We are in Auburn, Alabama now. A little over a week until we're home! More later tonight maybe.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

The women in Austin are slammin.

The people of Taos, New Mexico have no socks left. Jeff Tuohy and the Bush League Band rocked them off.

New Mexico was fun, and Taos loved the guys. We had a great time at the wonderful Taos Inn. They put us up in a suite for a couple nights which was a nice change from our prison issue mattresses on the tour bus. While our stage was small, our presence was mighty. A buzz filtered around the small town after our wednesday night show, and after a brief furlow in Albuquerque (which i will always know how to spell now) our friday night show in Taos was standing room only. We set our tour record for merch with 15 CDs sold, and we told by the staff that we could come back any time we wanted.

Tonight we played Momo's in Austin Texas where we drew more than the band that headlined the night.... we rule. We popped over to Antone's and got to hang out with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band who has just wrapped up their show. I shit you not, i saw their horn player hold a flugelhorn note for a solid 10 minutes by using circular breathing. We're spending the day here in Austin tomorrow (im gonna go searching for the Hot Chick factory that im sure has to be around here somewhere). Im pretty beat right now, sorry, no pics tonight.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When i say Sake, you say bomb.

Marathon Driving.

This is how touring goes in the early years. Gigs are never an hour apart from each other. Your tour map resembles a sadistic game of twister, and most of your time, as a tour manager, is spent staring at your cell phone and calculating how much time is left before you're sposta be at your gig. My new pastime is looking at a highway sign for a town that we're driving by and google map-ing it to our destination. 600 miles left. 500 miles left. ad nausium.

We departed Portland at 11pm on Wednesday, knowing we were in for a ride. We would be traveling to Los Angeles, just shy of 1,000 miles. We needed to be there by 7:30pm.... 20 hours to make the 18 hour drive. When i awoke, we were somewhere near Sacramento, and i was happy because no one had woken me up at an Agriculture checkpoint upon entering Cali. This was a point of interest to me because we were traveling on expired license plates, as well as a dog, and lots of food, all potential problems if we were stopped. Having made it without issue into the state, i decided the day was going well. Tim our driver was a trooper, only sleeping an hour an a half the whole time. Things were going right on track up until about 2 hours to go. Our bus, which had been running thru the California heat for about 18 hours decided it was tired, and began to overheat every 5 miles or so.... this could be bad.

Google Maps... Cell Phone... Google Maps... Cell Phone.

With 40 minutes before we were due to arrive, we were still 90 miles out. I called the venue to let them know we were "almost there." And i had the guys start bringing their gear out to the front lounge of the bus... any time we could spare. Long story short (too late, i know) we didnt make it to our destination until about 5 minutes before we were supposed to play. Furiously we set up, and lost only 15 minutes of our set time. Congrats was due. We made it to the City of Angels in one piece.

Highlight of the night: After our gig was over, an entourage of people came back to check out our bus... somewhere in the mix, a tranny found her way on to our sweet ride, and began asking if anyone would like any choice sexual acts performed on them. We persuaded her off the bus, but things escalated when she began yelling at Jeff's Pit Bull puppy Izzie. Words were had, spit flew through the air, cops were called. This all of course peeked when the tranny yelled "Suck my pussy!" to which Jeff retorted "are you sure it's not a dick" to which she dropped trou to let us all see.

The next day was a blast. Jeff made reservations at Tokyo Delve, a sushi bar, famous for their Sake Bombs, and theatrics as you eat. A fantastic time was had by all as we chugged our beer at marathon speeds, danced the chicken dance, and enjoyed some great food. We went bar hopping down Sunset After that, having a quick drink at the famous Whiskey where bands such as Mötley Crüe began their way to success. Thanks to the lovely Brett Wulfson, we ended up at a VIP after party at the Roxy, and ended the night with some pizza from the famous Frankie and Johnny's.

We said goodbye to LA, and headed to my most anticipated stop, San Diego, Califor
nia. Home to surfers, amazing weather, wildfires, and of course my sister, brother-in-law and my baby niece Autumn. For the first time this tour, i left the vicinity of the bus, and went to chill and have dinner with my family. It was a nice break to be away from everyone for a little while, and to see Autumn! She's gotten so big since 5 weeks old (last time i saw her) and she's smiling and trying to crawl and talk. Seriously, its totally awesome to have a niece. After dinner, i met up with everyone near Lestat's the venue that we would be playing at the following evening. I saw famous singer/songwriter Gregory Page, whom i know through my sister and had a chat with him, inviting him to the show.

Sunday afternoon, Jeff and Floyd did some surfing at OB, while i did some exploring, and we all finally indulged in the Mexican food we were all craving. We headed back to home base, and gathered everyone up for the gig, which we have been anticipating since the tour started.

Lestat's is a cool joint. A local 24 hour coffee house/music venue, it holds host to a vast array of characters that hang out both inside and out on the patio. Passersby linger outside the doorways to listen to new music, deciding to pay the cover or not based on what they hear. The night was opened for us by the talented Anna Troy, whom i had the distinct pleasure of chatting with later in the night. Hopefully we see more of Anna on the east coast this summer, hooking up for a few shows in the Northeast. Shortly before the set began i also had the pleasure of watching the 2007 Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the second time in 4 years. GO SOX! Jeff and the guys played a great, and very well received set at Lestat's and we are excited to return there again next time around.

Monday had arrived, and we headed to El Cajone, California, the home of Taylor Guitars. We were treated to a private tour of the factory, and got to see how these amazing guitars are constructed.
It was really fascinating to see the stages of the product, literly from planks of wood, all the way to finished guitar. We got to see their new line of electric guitars, not yet available to the public as well, which was a real treat (they are absolutely beautiful). At the end of the tour, we landed ourselves in a room of guitars that we could just play. This was especially cool for me, for a couple reasons. Reason Number one, is i got to play a Taylor 914ce. This particular model is the guitar that Dave Matthews plays, and iv always wanted to play one. Its a $6,000 guitar, and now i know why. It was so freaking cool to bust out some DMB licks on that thing, and almost heartbreaking when it was offered to me for a meer $2000 dollars. You dont know how badly i wanted to buy it. Reason Number two however, is because i did buy a guitar. Oh yeah. I got me a Taylor.

I'v wanted a Taylor for awhile now, and iv been amping myself up to just finally spend the money and get it. This was the perfect opportunity. By chance, the first guitar that was pulled out, was the one i fell in love with immediately. I'm not the proud owner of a 2007 Taylor 420ce Limited Edition Koa Dreadnought. It's absolutely gorgeous, i love it, and i know its not something im going to regret buying. I mean, come on.... look at that thing.

We left San Diego, and hightailed it for Phoenix, AZ. A bit of hilarity ensued. At one point, we couldnt figure out what time it was. Now... when you hear about something like this, your inclined to laugh, and poke some fun at those who are in the predicament, thinking, how could they not know the time. But seriously...we had no idea. 8 people on the bus, everyone's cell phone changing to different times...we didnt know if it was quarter to midnight, or quarter to one. It finally took me logging on to Greenwich Mean time on the net to determine that while the rest of Mountain Standard Time was at quarter to 1, Phoenix did not observe daylight savings, and therefore it was quarter to 12. Glad that was cleared up.

I awoke at 4:50am and trudged out to the lobby of a Red Roof Inn to rent a room for 6 hours. The guys would be appearing on Good Morning Arizona this morning, and needed a shower to look dapper. We had a great television performance, and after catching up on a bit of sleep, and getting a little sushi in our stomaches, we made our way to The Red Owl, in Tempe for our gig.

2E+BLB played one of the best sets iv heard them play tonight, and Tempe, AZ loved us on a Tuesday night. We've loaded up the bus once again, and we are on our way to Taos, NM where the temperature is half of what it is in Phoenix. We'll be blowing the dust off our space heater in no time.

This may sound odd, but im really psyched that its a 10+ hour drive to Taos... im so used to long drives, that in a way they are comforting. They allow everyone a chance to chill and relax. There is nothing we can do but sit and drive, and maybe do a little internet work or makes some phone calls. We know it will be hours before we have to unload and play a show, we can catch up on sleep, or personal matters. We listen to music, joke around, watch movies, and just take in the road. There something to that... maybe you have to be on tour to appreciate it.

Speaking of catching up on sleep.