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My newly acquired Fender Squire Vintage Modified bass 

I’m going to go ahead and do a review of this Fender Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar Bass: 
ITS AWESOME! ????? 
Oh... you want details? 
I’ve mentioned before my attraction to getting a short scale bass has been due to my reoccurring rotator cuff problems which limits my arm movement. “Short scale” = less lateral arm movement = less pain = ? 
The neck is smallish. Think Jazz neck at the nut that doesn’t get much wider. Or if you’ve played a Hofner: similar. It’s a little beefier feeling than that. Which also means accessing strings on your picking hand will be narrower.  
In my later years combined with not regularly playing I’m experiencing cramping in either hand when I play “hard” and for longer periods of time so the smaller neck helps ALOT. 
Basically, VERY playable and fun. 
Tone controls are Volume - Volume - Bass boost - Overall tone. And it’s active so the boost, BOOSTS. I tend to roll that WAY back. Tone about 3/4 both volumes all the way up and I’ll back off Pbass pick up to give me more of a Jazz (Jaco) tone. I expected this to AT LEAST do this or this bass would end up on the trade bait wall. But this Jag surprisingly does a bit more. This one will get the growl tone of my 80’s Japanese Squire Jazz I love so much. 
And the harder I play it the better the growl. (Think Entwhistle or Geddy or Chris Squire solo tones) Yeah, this crazy little Squire Bass will DO IT. 
I haven’t bothered to open up the volume pot cavity to inspect... I’m sure it won’t be too impressive. Maybe it is. Too scared and don’t want to be disappointed so I won’t until I need to. 
Probably the worst thing about the bass is the actual neck finish. I suppose it’s a “satin finish” but on most Squire guitars I compare it to “accidentally getting an overspray or clear coat and then wiping it off.” Wood it ok but I don’t like the way these necks with this kind of finish ages. Eh... it’s Squire, right? You’re not SUPPOSED to worry about how a SQUIRE guitar “ages”. 
That IS the Squire thing: You get components that will last enough long enough on a guitar to learn that you need to spend “American Made” money in your NEXT bass. Translation: not built to last. 
At this point ( roughly 330 days away from my 60th birthday ) I’m not worried about “guitar aging”. It’s all eventually becoming grandkid hand me downs anyways ? 
Final say: If you can find one of these basses at a decent price (new on Amazon around $220) and WORKS (truss rod MUST work...I put a solid full turn and a half in this one to straighten it) GRAB IT! You won’t be disappointed. And if you are, lemme know. If it’s not red I’ll want it ? 
#BookOfJimmy #FenderSquire #SquireJaguarBass

Truck headaches galore ? 

Well, our Kenworth broke down again. Probably computer issues handling the emission controls.  

I think it is officially to the comparable point that if I were still touring in a band and I had to borrow or rent an amplifier and guitar once or twice a year over the last 4 years.... I think it would be time to get a new amp and guitar ... 

Tomorrow we visit a dealership.....

#BookOfJimmy

#BookOfJimmy 

I thought I would go ahead and place all of my #BookOfJiimmy ramblings on Facebook and Twitter in one place. Enjoy

..."A trio of young teens, two black dudes and one white dude, came up to the door to mow our front yard for $10. I looked at them in the eye and asked, "Don't you guys know there's a race war going on right now?" They looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders and then mowed our front yard. 
Teenagers.....always think they know it all."? 
#BookOfJimmy    

It should be a law that if you're going to make people wait in line at a drive thru you should have access to their wifi #BookOfJimmy

Dear #JJABRAMS and/or #JamesCameron and/or #JamesGunn: Make a movie about the Edmund Fitzgerald. You can even have The Rock and Kevin Hart AND Vin Diesel in it. Or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio should sink another ? https://youtu.be/9vST6hVRj2A #BookOfJimmy

· 

Be the needle and thread when there's a hole in the pocket #BookOfJimmy Oh... and pick up any dropped change

 

Just a reminder to young students to practice because you never know when a Beatle will let you jam on stage in front of 1000's of people #BookOfJimmy

I've listened to Beatles songs 1000s of times. Today a handful of their brought a tear to my eye. Could've been Don Henley's thoughtful introduction to his pick of favorite Beatle songs. ( While My Guitar Gently Weeps, All Across The Universe, The Long and Winding Road, Here Comes The Sun ) Or it could've been in listening to the songs and once again admiring the talent of these 4 guys plus George Martin will more than likely not come our way again and I am grateful that they gave the world a library of over 200 songs to listen and to share for generations. 
Some are still out there and say they "don't get the Beatles" 
If you don't you're not listening. 

#BookOfJimmy

The most important ingredient to a major LEGO build is a strong cup of coffee #LEGO #BookOfJimmy

 

 

Buh Bye Social Media! 

Well , I’ve done it. I’ve rid myself of the burden of all social media sites. Sure you can call my website a social media site and if that’s the case, this will be the only one. I will still be posting/blogging thru the Timeslip band website and its social media platforms but that’s about it.

stay tuned....✌?

Now NO band! 

And just like that Im currently not playing and/or officially a member of any band. Trucking was down for us a couple of months I got busy hanging out once again at R&R Music and playing numerous genres or music with TIMESLIP, DAVE MUSKETT, KENNY HAVENS, and the mighty BIG DADDY CADDY. But once again "it" calls and we are out on the road. This time with our OWN truck and leasing our services to LANDSTAR. So far its been GREAT.
 Today I write this in a hotel room in Carson, CA and thats pretty much what Ive been waiting for: the ability to drive into So Cal and make a delivery or pick up AND spend time with family. Today, on our time off, before the pickup we ran around the Long Beach and Redondo Beach area with my sis Cora and her husband Ron. Also spent time rediscovering where we lived for about a year in San Pedro, CA. Our old military housing is now a barred up window low income housing project. Also visited our old Barton Hill Elementary School. Its always funny how things like your old school seemed SO much larger than they are.
In short, I can see us trying to pick up a dedicated route through here soon!

Thats all for now. This website has been down for a bit because I havent been paying attention to email notifications telling me it was about to expire. I just got it back up again and thought Id at least write some thing new in here.

oh...I should mention that Donald Trump is our President Elect now....

NEW BAND! 

Well, it was inevitable. If we're not going to be out driving the rig throughout North America I was bound to land in a musical project.
the band is called TIMESLIP. A great bunch of guys headed up by singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Taylor. Here are some links to the band where you can see and hear them. I call it "All Original Age Appropriate Music"

 
The beauty about this band is I will get to play Congas and other percussion on songs. Ill definitely be playing bass and actually solo in a few tunes also. Vocals will be mainly backups at this time, but who knows!
Our first show together is May 21st, 2016 at SAHM's on 96th St in Fishers, IN. Hope to see you there and at any future shows.
The band knows of our truck driving and are wiling to work around our schedule of being home one week a month ( at this time) Fingers crossed everything should work out fine.
Here's to the "new band" Timeslip. We'll see where it goes from here.

We're down for a while 

"Down" meaning we're not driving. We are currently trying to purchase the truck we've been driving for ourselves and will become "official: owner operators !
That process takes around a month to do so in the meantime, Deanna diligently(stressfully) works the administration of our new venture and I have gone back to R&R Music for the month or so to keep busy. In the process I have also taken on a couple students AND a couple of gigs: My 20th and 22nd with Dave Muskett and May 21st with my buddy Mark Taylor and his band Timeslip. Please check my calendar for more details.
We're down for awhile but we'll be out inspecting the roller meat at PILOTs throughout the US soon!

First Year of Driving The Big Rig 

My First Year of Driving The Big Rig As of this writing it is April 12, 2016 and Deanna and I have been CDL holders for about a year. We have approximately 90,000 miles behind the wheel team driving. Two years ago I would have NEVER guessed that’s what we would be doing now. Practically the farthest thought in our minds. Another farthest thought would be ME without any kind of musical “job”.

My last endeavor was with Crambone and I officially quit them at the end of 2015. It just got to be too much trying to schedule shows around the driving schedule. Crambone deserves to grow and they cant do that with one member never home. They also deserve a great bass player and they have one in Michael “Oz” Osborn.

Do I miss the music thing yet? In some ways yes and in some ways no. Would I give up what we are doing now to go back to a full time music gig? Right now? No. Having WAY too much fun and seeing WAY too many beautiful places. We also see a lot of the not so beautiful places but that’s “the world.” It aint all pretty.

On a side note: I’ve noticed my ring constantly falls off my ring finger now. I don’t think Im losing weight so Im going to have to attribute it atrophy since Im not playing guitar, bass, or ukulele no where near that I have over the past 20 years or so.


Driving through Portland, Oregon today I took pictures of many “campsites” I could see along the interstate. “Homes” created by tarps and tents and plastic buckets and whatever else one may scavenge up to live in the bushes alongside a busy highway. I also noticed that the city of Portland put up wrought iron fencing underneath over passes and bridges so that no one would take up residence up in the crooks and crevices. Its life and some choose to live that way.

Some look at the way Deanna and I live now and cannot fathom themselves doing it. Once again, we did not see that either a couple years ago. Two years ago Deanna was knee and elbow deep into perfecting her garden in our backyard and looking for ways to expand and improve. Not now. Not even home enough to cut the grass let alone tend a garden. Two years ago I was involved with my King James and The Verses band in full electric and in duo or trio acoustic versions. Also there was Crambone. I was still looking for any kind of musical gear deals and tinkering, repairing, restringing the gear I had. We both had different day jobs also. Deanna was mainly at a desk helping the community at the John Boner Center and I was selling musical retail and teaching guitar, ukulele, and bass. How does any of that point to getting behind the wheel of a T660 450HP 15 speed Kenworth truck pulling a 53 foot trailer with a gross vehicle weight of often times a shade under 80,000 lbs? I supposed one piece of evidence would be that we both tend to change careers after so long. I’ve held out longer in my career choices being able to maintain basically two choices: The automotive service and retail business for 20 years and then being a professional musician for 20 years. There was some overlap but that’s about it for my work experience. Oh sure there was that year away at the Phoenix Institute of Technology where I had a handful of jobs that the school pointed me towards. I worked at a 24 hour McDonalds for about a week. Kmart for maybe a month. Evening janitorial for a few businesses for a couple weeks. And a carwash making 7 quarters an hour ( that’s $1.75/hour ) Oh, but plus tips. I did that for maybe a week. But the point here is I suppose it was time or a career change. Neither of us saw this one coming.

I’ve mentioned before that this job isn’t for everyone. There are a few reasons why it works for us:
1) We are doing it together. We’ve both had careers that kept us away from home so now was the time to have a career that put us together.
2) We both love camping and trucking is a form of camping. You have to be able to live with just the essentials due to space. We’re just not setting up camp and a tent anymore. Now our tent and camp is on wheels and our campsite is wherever we can park 75 feet of vehicle.
3) We get to bring our dog with us. This was a BIG deal. We were offered jobs from companies but they didn’t allow a pet to go with you so we really lucked out with Bulldog. Also, every so often we get to take our grandson along with us and that’s a BIG plus.

4) We get to see a large part of America.

Granted most of it is via the interstate but if you haven’t done that you need to. No amount of pictures or post cards can justify seeing Mother Nature at its finest. I think I got the “bug” for that touring with the Kelly Richey Band. Even then I thought it an added bonus to be able to drive the tour van and see things. Knowing that I could do that made it an easy decision for me to get behind the wheel of a Kenworth and do it. In the band we always joked that we didn’t get paid for performing, it was the driving and set up. Now I actually AM getting paid to drive. Its funny how sometimes I lose track of where we are. As I’ve discovered touring, people look the same everywhere you go. It’s not until they speak and you hear an accent in their speech do you realize the region you are in.

To sum it all up, we are a year into driving the big rig and see no stopping yet.

The Environmentally Conscientious Observer 

Oddly enough, the more driving around we do the more aware we become of how much we as a being are destroying the planet we live in. Any choice we make to try and correct anything will be too late for me. Probably too late for my daughter. Possibly in time for our grand son to see.
Case in point:
What do you see here?  It looks innocent enough but those dark spots in the parking areas are what I want to draw your attention to. Chances are you have one in your driveway also. 
These particular ones are in a Rest Area on the TRUCK side. There's 40 marked parking spaces. 
Would you drink the water that runs off this parking lot after it rains? Would you even put that water in your aquarium if you had one? 
The reports are out that since the 70s we have lost 50% off all living creatures in our oceans. This innocent parking lot is but one of the reasons. When this parking lot gets rained on the water drains eventually into the ocean and or other water marshes near by.
Technically every vehicle parking here is breaking a law. No vehicle whether its a passenger car or a Semi-Truck  is allowed to "leak" any fluids onto the road but water. 
This mini slick of oil and/or diesel and/or anti freeze mixture runs off into our water ways which gets to any fish or crustacean we decide to eat.....if they live. And as we now know, more than half have already died off. 
Again, I doubt anything will be done in my lifetime to fix this. Theyre not going to stop trucking. I TRUCK. I see EXACTLY how this industry pollutes. This is but one little rest stop just south of Jacksonville Florida. Florida has HUNDREDS of these rest stops. And thats not counting the Truck stops like Pilot, LOVES or TA. Those have over a hundred parking spots each.
Its both sad and scary to think that we are either destroying life in the oceans by pollution or if its alive we are eating it. What are we supposed to do, stop eating lobster. crab,salmon, tuna, sword fish etc.? What about all those reports that were supposed to eat MORE fish?
Sooner or later (hopefully LOTS later) we will run out of food in our oceans. As it is we have not slowed down creating more mouths to feed. On the contrary there are Millions of people out there that INSIST on creating more and more and yet we have no answer for how to feed everyone. I understand why we have GMO food. Its the ONLY way we can "grow" food rapidly and efficiently enough to try and accommodate the population. Yes,some GMOs cause cancer but not until later.
And if we continue to create people that are raised on GMO foods perhaps theyll develop an immunity to a GMO induced cancer. Maybe THATs what Monsanto is striving for.  

But as far as the oceans and fish go, theres the  controversy of eating "wild caught" or "farm bred" fish. I think we see where thats eventually going to be JUST farm bred. And pretty soon they wont even be able to have those farms in our oceans. Theyll have to be on land somewhere to control the water.   

When I think about all this I realize that the humans are not the most powerful beings on this planet. Are they the most intelligent? Maybe. But the way we use technology shows us that we are smart enough to create technology but we are not smart enough to use it properly. 
If it's not "God" I think there are higher beings that drop us little hints or ideas to try and help us and then we get a hold of it and go totally the wrong way with it. Like the whole cell phone technology. Possibly the greatest invention of the century but maybe it really wasnt meant to just talk and text to each other. Do we really think the cell phone was created so that we could take selfies? Im sure if it was handed down to us from a superior being they having a BIG laugh on how were using cell phones while driving and killing each other. Somewhere there is a technology God either laughing his ass off or scratching head wondering why were all idiots down here. He or she has to be wondering why every gift they give us we manage to kill each other with it. I have to wonder that as vast as our universe is, maybe Earth is the Detroit or Cleveland or Jersey of the universe and this is where they throw shit that doesnt work on other planets.

I kind of strayed from polluting the oceans but that is the question: Why do we knowingly continue to destroy the only planet we have?
Id like to think that all the wildlife in both Land and Sea will come back as soon as Humans are done with it. It we stop dumping and eating everything oin the oceans I would like to think it will eventually replenish itself. What has to happen for that to come about? 
Sadly, no more humans. We are the ONLY ones destroying the planet. We are eating ourselves out of house and home. Who else can you blame? Polar Bears? Lions? The Apes? Great White Sharks? All of those creature were here before Man. Man has only been around for a few thousand years. What do you see for man in the next 4 -10 thousand years?  A better iPhone?
Even HIGHER definition TV? 
How about safe food and water?
And back to the possibility of a higher being.... What if they never meant for any person to live beyond 40 years old? What if thats happening by accident?
Its like a big SIMS game isnt it? 



 

We Are Truckers! 

Greetings from “the Road”

If you havent figured it out by now, WE ARE TRUCKERS!
We are soon to be in our six month of driving the Kenworth OTR (over the road) and it is STILL a blast!

When I first let people know that I was going to get my CDL and be a truck driver I was told by one person, “Why would you want a job where everybody hates you?”

I was befuddled by that response but almost six months in to it I can see why he said that.

There are times out here where we are “greeted” at a place picking up or delivering with a sneer or a growl. I have decided that some people just do NOT like their job and take it out on whoever is in front of them at the time. Lucky us. If we’re not on time we are greeted with a snarling “Youre late” or “ Youre EARLY”. Either throws them into a tizzy. Not all, but enough of them to make you ready for  ANYTHING when you tentatively walk through a warehouse door looking for someone…anyone…that can tell you where to park your rig.

Id say about half of our pick ups or deliveries have an appointment time that read like a cable guy schedule “Sometime between 8:00AM and 5:00PM” half of those could be “hard appointments” with an actual time like  Oct. 3 2015 at 9:00AM. And they will point out to you that it DOES NOT say 8:30AM or 9:30AM and it most CERTAINLY does NOT say Oct 2nd or Oct 4th.   If you do not make it at your scheduled appointment time you may still get to dock/park your truck and trailer at a door but you’ll be told, “We will get to you when we can…”
 
“Well, whats the big deal? Why cant you make an appointment time?” you may ask.   Most of the time we can and things move along very smoothly. But lets imagine that your day job expects you there ready to work at 8:00AM. Easy enough. Let’s say your job is in the Pacific Northwest like Seattle, Washington. No biggie…big city…get up early for traffic. Doable. But what if you’re waking up every morning in the Atlantic Southeast like Orlando, Florida ?
Give yourself three days to get there. No problem. What could POSSIBLY happen? 
If you just draw a straight line across the map of the USA you can clearly see its going to be a breeze. Hmmm…..no straight interstate to Seattle from Orlando?  No problem..we”ll just plot our course across the USA zig zagging though the states.  And what does EVERY state have? A major city. And what does every major city have? Traffic. How many bumper to bumper stop and go traffic jams would like to negotiate today? You’ll be fine. Keep it Zen like and you’ll make it through.
Lets throw some other curveballs at you. And these are things you already consider in your everyday 30 minute commute to your existing job in your home town.

Hows’s my vehicle doing?

Shouldn’t worry too much about that if you have dependable transportation but how may times have you gone out to your car and the battery is dead? Or you have a flat? Or youre out of gas?
The vehicle we drive NEEDS to be driving a minimum of 2500 miles a week to make money. That’s some wear and tear and also the reason why EVERY time we start the day we do what we call a “Pre Trip Inspection”. That’s basically looking and/or touching every component of the tractor AND trailer to make sure its safe to drive. 
Im not going to even ask how many of you bother to check the air in your tires before you drive because I see all of you on the side of the road in the winter with a flat.

Just ONE of the things you should be thanking your truck driver when you see a responsible one: We try to make sure our vehicle is safe to drive so it wont kill you.

I wonder if Ill run into any traffic today?

We touched on this a bit already but its worth mentioning again because we have to consider EVERY city we are going to drive through. And for all of you Indiana fans, we have to consider if the bridges will actually be safe to drive across. 
Did you know that most bridges are designed with semi’s in mind? Not your little front wheel drive scooter cars. ANYBODY can build a bridge for those. Bridges are to be designed to handle a fully loaded (80,000 pounds) tractor and trailer. 
Whenever I comment on the state of our infrastructure in any social media, you understand my concern. A bridge going out that’s on my route and I don’t know about it until I get there can ruin my day. You know what ruins my day even more? If that bridge fails while Im on it.  
So, no biggie. Just plan a route that you don’t have to deal with any bridge. HA! Even KANSAS has bridges!
What irks me even more and fuels my bridge phobia is the question: “Who gets the contract to make a bridge?” Answer: the lowest bidder. NOT the one that wants to use all the BEST and STRONGEST material. The cheapest one. UGH.

How’s the weather?

Never mind whether or not its going to be sunny in both Seattle AND Orlando..Is it still tornado season in Oklahoma? When are the first “Northeasterns” coming?
Are trucks being blown over by gusts of wind in Wyoming? Do I have CHAINS to get OVER the Rockies? Is Florida expecting a hurricane? WILL I BE STUCK ON A BRIDGE WHEN ANY OF THIS HAPPENS?!?!?  

Speaking of rain…..
Every time you drive your car on the interstate in the rain and you pass or drive near a trucker, you owe them thanks for not running over you.  
We all know how many get a little crazy whenever it rains or snows a little bit.
You know what’s really crazy? Not making yourself MORE visible in the rain. TURN YOUR LIGHTS ON. Its not for you to see, its so everyone else can see YOU. 
One little visability test you could do is cover up you rear view mirror and drive around. Hopefully you will all realize how much you actually use it. 
We don’t have one. Couldn’t use it if we did because of the 53 foot long trailer directly behind us.
We have our side mirrors but we still have a TON of blind spots. So throw in rain or snow and the visibility decreases again.
 Also, if you’ve ever ridden in a big rig you’ll know how noisy they can be. If you’ve stood next one while its idling you can get an idea. Now just imagine that a speed. Its noisy.
In order to try and combat that noise our cabs try to be a little insulated. Loud engine plus insulated cab plus possible music playing equals I don’t hear your little tweaky horn so don’t “beep” at me, get out of the way.
Also, if you ever have the honor of riding in a truck you’ll notice it’s a bumpy ride. We feel bumps more than you do in your cars. So one of things we always do is check our mirrors to make sure we didn’t just run over you because running over a Ford Focus feels like a speed bump to us. That’s kinda funny but that should also terrify you enough to respect the 70 foot long 80000 pound vehicle driving along side of you. 

While Im on the subject of sharing the road …

Let me say here that most respectful truck drivers DO NOT weave in and out of lanes. Speaking for myself and a lot of others once we are in a lane we don’t want to get out of it unless we have to. We do not have an agenda of trying to get in front of you for fun. Believe me, I would much rather drive one lane ALL THE WAY from Orlando to Seattle. But things happen. There is a very real vacuum that happens when a truck and trailer passes by at speed. The faster its going the stronger the vacuum. So, THIS is why we are going to move to the left whenever a vehicle is disabled on the right hand shoulder. I’ve had the thrill of placing safety triangles on the shoulder of an interstate right next to trucks going by at speed. Try it some time. Make sure you lean AWAY from traffic. 

There are many times a car will be coming up along my left side and cannot see a disabled vehicle on the right shoulder but they SHOULD be able to see my turn signal and that I want/need to come over. Very rarely does anyone ever realize whats going on and they will dilly dally next to me. 
Again, if possible, I NEVER want to change lanes so if you see my signal on theres going to be a good reason for it and Im coming over. You should remember at this time if I run over you I have to SEE IT in my mirror to know its happening.

I was told by many experienced drivers that when you drive in New York City they are VERY conscious of holding up traffic like slowing down or stopping to change lanes. It has been made very clear by the local law officials that a trucker is to signal which way they are wanting to go and after it blinks once you move your truck over. If the cars next to you don’t make an adjustment its THEIR Fault.

Let me quickly address on /off ramp merging.
Usually any truck on the interstate is moving at the legal speed limit. And its constant. Chances are that truck has been at that exact cruise controlled speed for hundreds of miles. As you engage an on ramp your job is to quickly identify if you can pass the truck next to you safely or do you need to merge in behind it. THAT’S IT. There is no hoping that the truck will speed up or slow down for you. If you don’t have the horsepower ( looking right at you Prius and Smart Car drivers) you slow that over blown skateboard down and get in line. If you do have the horsepower, that long vertical pedal on the right.. THAT’S the one you step on to get in front of me. And DON’T brake when you do get in front of me.

What else?
Whats the nickname for a Semi Tractor and Trailer?  An “18 wheeler“”. EIGHTEEN
Why am I reinforcing 18? Because that means We have at least 4 times the amount of tires to worry about than most of you.  A lot of the trucks out there have recapped tires which is usually their corpses you see im chunks out there on the roads. You DO NOT want to be next a rig when one of those blow. You don’t want to be tailgating a rig when one of those blow. So the lesson here is keep a safe distance away on ALL sides of a truck and trailer.  If we knew exactly when a tire was going to go we would replace it before hand.

With tires in mind, anytime you see something odd on a truck and trailer like a tire going flat or wobbling, its not a bad idea to try and let a driver know. Like Ive said before, if we don’t see it, we probably don’t know whats going on. As the trees and vegetation dries out you should say something about sparks from a dragging chain or something also. I know its tough to yell through a window but if you happen to have a CB radio most truckers monitor channel 19. 

BTW… there isn’t NEARLY as much CB radio chatter as there use to be back in the 80s. Oddly enough, most truckers tell me they stay off of it because its usually full of drivers that think theyre comedians and all they say are smart ass remarks. Cell phones has pretty much killed the CB chat. Its still handy. We usually turn it on in traffic jams so we can figure out whats going on and what lane we should be in to avoid whatever happened.

So what does all of this have to do with people hating truck drivers? 

Well, for one, all of those things I listed about how to drive around a truck with your car most people wont want to do and they already feel they own the road so they don’t want a truck driver ruining it for them. There’s one hater.

Another is that warehouse worker in shipping or receiving when we show up late because of any one or more of things that could have happened to us on the road. I understand that they have a schedule to keep. We all do. But  we represent extra work for them. Either they have to reschedule help or have to ask other workers to work our truck now that were there. Or even worse if we show up and that makes everybody have to stay later than what theyre scheduled. This equals potentially a whole warehouse full of haters 
And now,  if pulling those workers off another load and truck driver waiting to go, now THAT driver hates you and the driver after that and the driver after that….

Other truck drivers also hate you because youre physically in their way and its taking you an extra 30 seconds to park. Or you represent potentially taking a job away from them. The whole “competition” thing in truck driving is incomprehensible for me.
I had a driver snap at me “ya just had to take up the whole area?!?” at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere and the only problem was that he couldn’t walk STRAIGHT to the door of the fuel station and actually had to walk around about 1/3 of our trailer while we got ready to leave. I suppose he had a gripe. But you do run into the proverbial grumpy driver. I just listed a bunch of stuff to be grumpy about. We try not to be the grumpy drivers. Maybe that automatically happens with experience.

SO, yeah, we witness a lot of hate out here. Luckily its not everywhere nor all the time. There are the times complete strangers act like you’re long lost relatives or close friends.
And we also still get to experience the beauty and wonder of this country we live in. I’ve said it before that pictures or videos just do not to the scenery justice. You have to go out and experience it first hand. And if you actually get paid to do it: BONUS!
 
/Remember, if you didn’t grow it a truck driver brought it to you. And chances are, a truck driver brought the seeds for you to grow it.

Until next time,
Keep the clean side up and the dirty side down. 
Drive on!

"our" Blue 2010 Kenworth T660 and trailer

It's 2015 and a whole New Year ! 


Sorry for the absence but you know how things get.

Let's see.... whats been going on in the Jimmy V world?

Since last blog I've become the bass player for Indianapolis 80's Metal cover band CRAMBONE and keeping with my blues roots I am also the bassist for award winning Indiana Bluesman Dave Muskett. 
Since pictures are "worth a thousand words" here are some pics of CRAMBONE: all of the CRAMBONE pics are by photographer Bill Iles

 
 
 
 

and here's one of Dave Muskett





in non-music news I have decided to get my CDL and become an "Over The Road" truck driver. I always loved seeing North America from the driver's seat of the Kelly Richey bus so I might as well get paid to do it !  The plan is still to be playing music with Crambone, Dave Muskett, and even King James and The Verses but it will definitely hinder my availability to students and R&R Music. Hopefully we'll get enough experience behind the wheel to do some of both.  






On a sad note we had to goodbye to our beloved BHanna this year.

don't believe everything they say about "what doesnt kill you only makes you stronger..."  It is NEVER easy to let your loved one go


And that's what's new for 2015 so far....

The YouTube Generation 

 
How do you learn “cover songs?”
I suppose that I am fortunate to be outliving types of media that are now extinct. 
The new younger generation really has no clue on what we “old folks” used to go through to learn cover material. This young YouTube generation doesn’t know how good they have it. At least they’re not showing me what they can do with the advances of technology they have compared to my/the “old days.”
How old is “old?” 
Well, “When I was a kid…..”

1) I used to sit at the ready with a cassette tape recorder waiting for the song you wanted to record to be played on “AM” radio. Actually, it was easier to wait for AM radio instead of FM back then because it was only going to have about 50 specific songs in the rotation. If you missed your song the first time you waited around for about an hour or two and it would play again. Less than that if it was a top 10 hit. And this was on MONOPHONIC AM radio. Odd how song writing, producing, engineering has gone down as technology has gone up. Yes there are some good songs being written today but it doesn’t seem to be the most important thing. Hard to pinpoint exactly what is important in the recording industry these days.

2) I bought the album or 45 and played the crap out of it until you learned the song. This was not only one of the best ways of learning a song but it was a sure fire way of ruining your vinyl. You were constantly playing a track or a certain part of a song over and over and over until you got it. To this day I have some albums where one song was obviously played more than any other tracks on the record. I would inadvertently hit the record player with the headstock of my guitar and put a big scratch on the record. Whatever room you were using to learn material had to be set up just right so that you could reach the record player and play your guitar without having to get up off your chair, bed, or couch to often. There was no such thing as a remote control for your record player. The somewhat easier route was the cassette player. You could use a portable battery powered one or you may be lucky enough to own one that had a remote control to rewind and/or fast forward. Problem with cassettes is that they were even more fragile that vinyl records. But there was yet another hellish media….

3) There were 8 track tapes. What a pain those were. Not only were you extremely lucky if you had an 8 track player with a remote, you were lucky if you had one that would rewind or fast forward. For those of you who know nothing about 8 track tapes and players, it is very difficult for me to explain this Neanderthalic form of media. Even more difficult to explain if you know nothing of cassette tapes or vinyl records. Ill give it a shot. Young people bare with me or just Google it.
For me, it was like a 4 sided album. 8 track players/tapes would divide up an albums worth of recording onto 4 sections of stereo (= 8) on a tape. If you played the tape continuously it would automatically, with a loud CLICK, switch to the next section in order. The comical thing about this system is that there was going to be a gap in sound between one section to the next along with the loud click. Many times this “gap and click” would be in the middle of a song. Oh, you would hear the entire song but there would be this annoying “gap and click” in the middle. It would ruin many a romantic and/or air guitar moment.
I guess because of the design of the actual tape cartridge you didn’t get to rewind 8 tracks. Just fast forward. So when you were learning material from one if you wanted to review you had to click over to that section again and then fast forward to the song.
8 tracks were a reason to always have a book of matches around even if you didn’t smoke. Why? Because 8 tracks relied on a certain amount of pressure between a rubber wheel in the player and a foam sponge on the back side of the tape in the cartridge. Yeah I know, “genius” right? So as your tape got older it was harder and harder for your player to play it because the sponge was losing its pressure and elasticity.
I was surprised to find out that 8 tracks were actually around from the 60s to the 80s. I still have some 8 track tapes.

Nowadays? Nowadays you don’t even need to record a song because of YouTube. The one problem with learning songs off of YouTube is that there could be a wide variety of versions of the song. Nowadays on YouTube chances are there’s already someone that has recorded themselves playing the song note for note and showing you in detail how they play it. Along with YouTube, the YouTube generation has a wonderful recording and playing device that’s portable AND convenient to use. It’s called a cell phone. There’s almost NO reason why someone covering material CANT get a recording of a song anywhere and anytime.

It’s a viable argument whether or not YouTube is helping or hurting the music industry. It’s a dichotomy for sure. In one way I think it hurts because it makes songs way too accessible for free. It has to hurt sales. I know for a fact it has hurts sales as far as Im concerned because I cant remember the last time I actually bought a popular recording artist’s CD. I never bought an album or CD to “support” an artist. I bought them because I liked their songs. But now I can get their songs anytime Id like for free. To some extent I can do the same thing through web players like Pandora, Slacker, or Spotify.

Again, the artistry and song writing has not progressed as exponentially as technology.
We have and are developing technology to have recorded songs last a lifetime. Unfortunately there aren’t that many new songs I want to listen to for a lifetime.
Sometimes I think I have that opinion because Im old. I know that that is not the case because I have so many teenagers still wanting to learn how to play Beatles and Led Zeppelin songs.There are still so many bass players wanting to learn how to play Jaco Pastorius. There are so many others without counting  the classical composers like Mozart and Beethoven. As talented a song writer Billy Joel is, I find it refreshing and interesting that he is trying to write timeless “classical” music in the vein of the great composers.

Has technology advanced since the days of Mozart and Beethoven? The Beatles and Led Zeppelin? Then why aren’t songs as advanced?
On a cold winter night is there anything better than a hot bowl of vegetable soup or beef stew? With all the advances made in the culinary world, both of those dishes can be made at a camp fire.
When your loved ones come in the front door at Christmas time does it feel better because they got there by the latest SUV or would it feel the same if they got there by horse drawn carriage?

Music may be one way we realize if technology is exceeding actual needs.
Unfortunately for the YouTube generation, it is up to you to utilize modern technology and create better music than Mozart, Beethoven, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

Now, about all these 3D movies…   
 

Im a free agent 

 Greetings and salutations one and all.

The news today is that I am a “free agent” and no longer touring with the Kelly Richey Band. Nothing scandalous, just wanting to spend more time at home. I wish Kelly all the best in her endeavors and I’m sure she wishes the same for me. Almost 8 years I was on the road with her and we had played and seen some very cool places and venues and have met some great people. You will all be missed and hopefully we can meet up again.  Until then we have the blog.

 

 

 


Spending 8 years out on the road has taught me TONS! For one, it’s taught me that I can actually drive an 8 to 12 hour shift behind the wheel.  There were so many times driving just locally that it took everything I had to do a show an hour or two away from home.  Actually the same thing happened touring. I would start out ok and then about an hour or two into the drive I needed help. It was usually in the form of Starbucks and/or Red Bull. I’m not sure what the long term effects of Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy shots are but if they want to study my health from here on out, feel free. In recent months there have been reports of teenage deaths from  drinking too many energy drinks and overdosing on the caffeine. Not sure if I have “overdosed” but I can tell you that what started out as needing a day to recover from a week’s worth or touring had stretched to needing two days if not the entire week. So if the tour was 2 or 3 weeks straight with no down time to recover… well, let’s just say I know exactly why a person turns to any kind of controlled substance on the road to keep going. It is a rough way to live and even tougher for a Grandpa.

“Well, how do the Rolling Stones or BB King keep going?” That can be a very complicated answer or it can be summed up with one word:  Money.  A “million dollar tour” is not exactly cash in your hands. That’s generally what your tour is costing. Rest assured, The Stones do not exist on McDonalds or truck stop beef jerky.

Can I keep touring and playing if I had my own roadie, personal chef, trainer, physical therapist, masseuse and driver? YES. 

Unfortunately I don’t have that and my body feels it. I need to heal. I need to mend physically and emotionally. And I will do that being closer to home and loved ones.

This is definitely not a retirement, just a break from the cycle. A break from the writing about being on the road and perhaps writing more about what it’s going to take to keep busy with playing and creating. As of this writing I had just finished portraying a violinist in a Charter Hospital commercial so being close to home will allow me to get back into doing what little acting jobs are thrown my way.

One of the biggest things to get used to is playing all night long. The year Kelly took off from touring allowed me to get involved with some local cover band projects which meant the proverbial 3 sets or 3 hours straight of music per night. With KRB I was getting used to the 90 minutes of playing per night but doing at least 3 hours of driving to get there. Your body still takes a toll but just in different places. Driving I would feel it in my shoulders, hands, and in my butt from sitting too long. That’s what I would feel in “perfect” conditions. Throw in a good stiff side wind with gusts and some rain or snow and now your whole body is involved with keeping the vehicle on the road. Sometimes I would get to rest and recoup before the show, sometimes not. And sometimes we would pack up right after the show, move on and start the cycle all over again.  Did I mention that touring is a young persons’ game? I should clarify that: Young body with mature mind. If you’re out there driving 40,000 miles a year you need to know your limitations and you need to “know” how to drive.  As I‘ve mentioned in previous writings, when you’re driving the band bus you’re responsible for your life and everyone else in the bus AND all families and loved ones tied to each person in the bus. With big power come big responsibilities.  The more I would be out on the road, the more I would hear horrible and tragic stories of people I met, other touring bands, running into problems or worse out there.

I’ve been told that I shouldn’t let such things deter me from performing and touring. Perhaps. I’m sure if and when I miss it enough I’ll go back out under the right circumstances.

Playing a local 3 hour show meant I would feel it in my lower back, maybe my left shoulder where I wear my bass, and in my wrists. But I would also get to sleep in my own bed when I was done.

It’s a tough life. It takes a very unique person to keep doing it. 8 years with the KRB was a good run. So many memories and most of them good. That’s a good time to walk away.

I’m a free agent. I’ll be spending more time at the music store and available to do more projects now. Whether it be music, or acting, or writing or even just teaching my grandson how to do all of that.  We just got a play T-Ball set. Who else is going to teach him how to bat from both sides?

Until next time,

Bass be with you

Jimmy V

Change Your Strings! 

 Chances are that as you read this your bass guitar needs to have its strings replaced. I just replaced mine with DR Sunbeams 40-95 with a .125 added. DR does not make a "light" nickel 5 string set AT THIS TIME. They were just over a month old and that means they were JUST over due.  



Those of you who do not cater to that THUMP THUNK THUMP THUNK flat wound type of tone for your bass know what Im talking about. I like some growl to my tone. When I play hard I like my bass to deeply growl and not just bark and bite. I like it to roar when I ask...check that.... COMMAND it to.

I do keep a bass or two with either flat wound or REALLY old strings on them for folks that hire me to play the non-growling, non-roaring, thump thump, amplified upright type sound. It has its place and Ill use it upon request.

It befuddles me on how many bass players out there "insist" on using dirty grimy moldy rusty old strings. Did you buy your bass that way? When you first played your bass, was that the tone you heard? Never mind tone for minute, what about what it feels like to play that "barbed wire?" And what is that DNA on the underside of your strings?

In my tenure in the retail music business I’ve had many a customer bring in their bass and want to trade it in because "it sucks." Maybe a third to half the time their bass genuinely does suck. and usually it’s because it’s had too many "modifications" done to it. But a majority of the time I recommend them to let me replace the strings on their bass and set it up. If they still want to trade it in after that, I’m more than willing to help them find a new bass. Doesn’t “initially” help with big money bass guitar sales but it does help make a connection of honesty and friendship with my customers.

It's funny that how many of you out there just accept your bass the way it is and you don't try to make it conform to you versus you conforming to it. It’s like buying a pair of shoes that look awesome but they hurt your feet. Why do that?

Its taken me many years to figure it all out and now YOU have the advantage of reading about my experience and hope that you gain something from it.

I’m going off on a little tangent here but when you go and try out a bass to purchase there’s a reason why you decided on it. Chances are it’s the feel and tone of it. A large percentage of that feel and tone are the strings.

For my students who are into sports that use a ball of some sort, I tell them there’s a reason why they always use a brand new ball every time. It happens In baseball usually every batter if not every other pitch.

It’s consistency.

Using a new ball is the only way you can have any kind of consistency of feel. It’s the same for strings. When they’re new there is a particular sound you get. Yes, it diminishes over time but the ONLY time you KNOW what the tone should be is when they’re new. Any other time and they’re just at some degree of worn out.

 

There are a couple of things I do when I begin to notice my strings are getting to the point of replacement. One is I keep dialing in more EQ. Usually it’s more mids and highs because that’s what goes first. Second is that my CLEAN fingers don’t quite glide over the strings like they usually do. That’s usually a sign that the strings are dirty. You can “surface” clean your strings but most of the dirt is actually in the windings where you can’t wipe.

There are good string cleaning solutions out there that do a real good job at getting most of the gunk out. You can even boil your strings. Actually, I recommend that you do boil a set of well used strings at some point just so you can see the amount of crud that’s not visible.

 

(NOTE: do NOT use your mother’s or significant other’s $100 Emeril Legasse sauce pan for this procedure unless you’re prepared to purchase a new one.)

 

Cleaning the strings usually gets at least another gig out of them but they quickly go right back to where they were tone wise. The reason for that is that strings are a metal on metal moving part. And metal on metal wears. That wear is effecting your tone AND sustain of tone.

Cure: Change your strings.

Another sign that your strings are done and are actually about to break are the little shiny wear spots on the underside/fret side of the strings. Again, this is a metal on metal wear spot. Seeing these spots are one thing but if you can feel them, the life expectancy of that string is very short. Its death will be of severe traumatic self-amputation or breakage.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure.” Change your strings.

 

What if the bass is just sitting and has not been played in months or a year?

 

IF the bass was strung, NEVER played and not exposed to the elements…. There’s a possibility that the strings and bass are actually playable. BUT, if it was played for any length of time and then put away, chances are the strings could just feel terrible to play. The reason for that are the oils and acids in your sweat got into at least the finish of the string. If you’ve ever left a finger print on a piece of chrome or silver you’ll notice that the longer its left on the surface, the harder it is to clean off. That’s because your oils and acids out of your skin are actually etching the metal surface. It is the same with strings.

That along with plain exposure to the environment corrodes and deteriorates string quality.

 

So pick up your bass. Play open strings and then some notes on 3rd and 5th frets. I like to do this sitting down with bass on my thigh and as much of the bass’ body up against mine. I look, listen and feel for that deep Grrrrowl. A large amount of  the money you spent on that bass is the wood that went in to it. And those woods were chosen for its looks AND resonant properties. Resonance with NEW strings. Guitars aren’t built for old strings.

 

Some of this tone and growl you can get through your amp. Amongst other types of tones. That’s a blog for another time.

However, I will leave you with this:

Your amplifier “should” be just that: something to amplify an existing tone. Why amplify or attempt to amplify dead strings? Are you making your bass a Zombie by prolonging a false life after death?

Give those old strings a proper burial and replace them with shiny new ones. Everyone will be happier for it.

 

 

Change your strings

Bass be with you

Jimmy V

The Kelly Richey Band Marathon Tour 2012!!! 

September 1st through the 15th marks the next KRB Marathon Tour of 2012!!!  We'll be playing 11 shows in 17 days and driving 4,250 miles...WOW -- that's a marathon!!!
Please check out the dates below and help spread the word!

Saturday, September 1st - River Raisin Jazz Festival - 6:00 pm
River Raisin Labor Day BBQ Festival, Monroe, MI
http://www.monroeinfo.com

Monday, September 3rd - Walker Bluff Winery - 2:00 pm
Walker Bluff Winery, 14400 Meridian Rd., Carterville, IL
Venue: (618) 956-9900
http://www.walkersbluff.com/

Wednesday, September 5th - Boulder Outlook Hotel - 7:30 pm
Boulder Outlook Hotel, 800 28th Street, Boulder, CO
Venue: (303) 443-3322
http://www.boulderoutlook.com

September 7th & 8th - The Blues Can - 9:00 pm
The Blues Can, 1439 9th Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Venue: (403) 262-2666
http://www.thebluescan.com/

September 10th thru 15th - Blues On Whyte - 9:00 pm
Blues On Whyte, 10329 Whyte AVE, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Venue: 780-439-3981
http://www.bluesonwhyte.ca/


The Kelly Richey Band
Jimmy V, Kelly Richey, Danne Sheets, Jr.

Photo by Conrad 

Show Highlights from this week's tour through NE, MN and ND!!! 

Check out show highlights from this week's tour through NE, MN and ND!!!!  We kicked the week off at the World Famous Zoo Bar in Lincoln, NE and wrapped thing up at Blues on the Red Music Festival in Grand Forks, ND!  

The Kelly Richey Band in Lincoln, NE at the World Famous Zoo Bar:
The Kelly Richey Band - Jimmy V
The Jimmy V


The Kelly Richey Band - Danne Sheets Jr
Danne Sheets, Jr


The Kelly Richey Band - Kelly Richey
Kelly Richey

Photos by Conrad


Here's a great crowd shot from our show Saturday in Grand Forks, ND!!!

The Kelly Richey Band in Grand Forks at Blues on the Red Music Fest
Photo taken on Kelly's iPhone




MINIMIZE YOUR TIME 

It has been brought to my attention that some folks want to read my little article I wrote years back in the Indiana Blues Society newsletter on my procedure for setting up and tearing down my gear on stage.
I couldn’t find it so I’ll write a new one. I haven’t changed much in my routine.

Of course, everybody has their own ways, and perhaps, superstitions or OCD, of putting stuff on and off the stage but I like to go through my simple ritual so that I minimize the possibility of losing or breaking anything.
Setting up:
First thing is to assess your proposed designated area. The immediate area that will now determine where your amp will be placed and the area you will stand to play/perform. Some folks like to look for power at this time. I worry about that later. Call it a prima donna attitude but I want to pick my prime choice of real estate first and then worry about getting power to it later. I keep a 50 foot extension cord with me. OBVIOUSLY one exception to that rule is when it’s an outdoor event and the weather is like it has been this summer. This year and many others when it’s hot out, I seek out where I am going to plug in the all important fan. I do that so that I don’t become TOO much of a big sweaty mess before the show.
OK. I have my amp and guitars in place.
Special note at this time: The COFFIN brand cases Kelly and I use are one of the best invention/discoveries out there. I got my mine back when I still played with Governor Davis. It holds 3 guitars and takes up the space of one guitar on a standard stand. Not to mention ample space to carry items such as extra straps, strings, Mike and Ikes, and Dentyne Ice Arctic Chill gum.
Once I have my amp and guitar case/stand in place, I get my pedal board situated. Adjacent to that will be my fan. It is very helpful to have all of your electrical devices ready to power up with just one outlet. Sometimes that’s all you’ll get. So always think ahead and plan. If you need multiple outlets have a good 4 or 6 way outlet strip ready for all of your accessories. That way all you’re looking for is one outlet.
Chances are you’ll be setting up your pedal board (if you use one) out in front of your amp so you’ll need ALL your perspective cables handy and ready to plug in. For me, I have a pair of 20’ cables running for my effects loop, a pair of 20’ cables running for my inline effects and a 20’ extension cord to run from my pedal board back to my amp that has a rack mounted power strip. Notice how everything is 20’? VERY handy. Once one set of cables are run you’ll know exactly how much slack will be in the rest of the cables. It’s easier to keep things nice and neat when all your cables going to the same place are the same length.
I try to run my cables always to the outside of the area I’m going to be moving around on stage. Sometimes power outlet location does not allow one to do so, so at least keep all of you cables in a neat line and not spread all over. With that in mind, it is imperative that you use a high quality grade of cable because you want to minimize any sort of electrical interference with your signal and running 4 cables AND an extension cord is giving you lots of opportunity to create odd magnetic fields. Cheap cables give you cheap signal. Don’t use them. Currently I have a pair of Monster Cables and a pair of Planet Wave cables. BOTH set are over 10 years old and have hundreds of thousands of gig miles traveled on them.
What you may have noticed is that I’m running my extension cord for my pedals back to my amp with the rack mounted power strip. That way I only need one power outlet to get my entire rig up and running. On most large festival stages power outlets are not an issue but when you’re in some bars that have live music sporadically, power outlets can end up being a premium.
Minimize wasted time searching for power.
The Kelly Richey Band can be up and ready to rock within 30 minutes. Many times faster than that depending how the stage and access is. If van to stage is less than 50’ I can be unloaded and set up, ready to rock in 5 minutes. This only happens because I know my gear and what is needed to get it to work. Setting up your amp and all of your pedals and only need to look for one power outlet is a plus.
If you’re not touring or gigging every weekend, it would be good practice NOT to leave you gear out and set up in your studio/room/basement/garage. You should actually tear it all down, put it all nice and neatly away, and then set it up EVERY TIME you go to practice or jam. It makes for good road preparation.
Another very helpful accessory is a container that will carry all of your necessary cables. Not just ANY container either. Cables have copper. Enough cables and your container becomes very heavy. Get a good quality container that’s going to be able to handle the weight and the rigors of travel. This can be a process of trial an error because your first instinct is to go with the biggest container you can find. The problem with that is “can you lift/move it by yourself easily?” I’m not on the million dollar label supported tour so I’m lifting my own gear. Anvil type cases are great and indestructible but also very heavy. For my cables and accessories I have a nifty Black and Decker rolling “tool box”. It’s plastic so it’s not heavy. But its heavy duty enough to have lasted 15 years with me. I don’t even think they make it anymore. Shame. It’s near perfect for the budget minded musician. It’s not just a big box. It has a large lift out tool tray also. The problem with just plain big boxes is organizing. Nothing worse than needing a battery or another cable and having to fish through a big ol’ box of stuff. I keep my “spare” cables and such on the bottom of the box and then cover them with simple piece of card board so that I can put another layer of cables on top of them for easy access and a lot less tangling.
Minimize your time searching for cables.
You’ve done your show and now we need to tear down. …
Notice how we didn’t discuss actual playing once again. I did that on purpose because more often than not, it does seem like we get paid to set up and tear down. The actual performance is for fun!
Back to tearing down:
I have applied my own science to this method: The more the value, the sooner it gets put away.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen guitars topple off of stands or drinks spilled on to pedal boards at the end of the night. At the end of the night almost everybody on a stage is pulling indiscriminately on cords and winding them up. Accidents happen.
As soon as I end a show I try to always wipe down my guitar and place it in its case safe and sound. Right after that I like to unplug all cables attached to my pedal board and get that covered. NOW I start to put my cables away. Get the stuff that can easily break or get damaged put away FIRST. I don’t understand players that like to put their guitar away last. Are they showing it off? If you don’t want your guitar dinged or nicked my a stray mic cable end hitting it or neck to break because it fell off the stand during all the hustle and bustle of stage tear down, put it away first. If you don’t want a stray water, cola, or beer spilled on your pedals by an overzealous drunk fan stumbling on stage to say HI or an autograph, put your pedals away.
Minimize your time wiping off your pedals from spilled drinks.
As far as putting my cables away, I like to roll them in loose loop. About foot and a half loops in diameter and then secure it with Velcro. Making the loop around a foot and a half in diameter allows my cables to sit fairly flat in my storage box. A larger loop and I may have to fold a cable over. A little tighter loop and they would take up more room when stacked. The pairs that I use together I wrap together. Both of those sets need to hook to pedals and amp as a pair so I keep them that way so I don’t have to search for two separate cables and I also don’t have to de-tangle two cables. They run alongside each other from pedal board to amp so I just need to be able to access each end.
A couple of little hitches that come up on the multiple band festival stages are the stage hands. Usually they’re just trying to be helpful and get the stage cleared as soon as possible for the next band. I have found in those instances it’s sometimes a good idea to not concentrate on putting stuff away myself but help direct the stage hands on where to put things. That way you at least see where things are going. If you’re wrapped up wrapping your own cables you may not notice what case a guitar went into or even where a guitar was placed. It’s just as efficient to step back and watch them work and direct.
The other hitch you run into at some multi band stages are the performers that feel they’ve just played the set of their lives and have a problem with getting their gear off the stage so that the next band can get up.
If we have a band coming on right after us I try to just gather my gear and get it off the stage area in one area and THEN put it all away. Lots of people don’t have this concept down. They insist on sitting on the stage and meticulously putting each piece away ON THE STAGE in a leisurely pace. Whether they realize it or not, that’s a very prima donna move. Don’t do it. Sometimes if it’s very busy stage I won’t even bother to hook my pedals up and just go less effects. Another prima donna move is having your stuff during set up or tear down scattered all over the place where people have to walk around or over it like a maze. Try to keep things in one location do that, if someone needs to walk through or by, they should only have to step towards one aside or the other. Not zig zag through an obstacle course of your gear.
Minimize your time looking for your own gear.
Again, setting up your gear for performance and then tearing down and putting it away at home is good practice for when you get out on the road.
A happy touring musician is more than just knowing how to play your instrument. A lot of it is knowing how to GET to play your instrument and then knowing how to play your instrument makes your audience happy.
Minimize your time being unhappy on the road.

Do You Have $10,000? 

If you have ever crossed our northern border into Canada you know what that means.
If you have not, grab a beverage and pull up a comfy seat nieces and nephews because Im about to tell you a tale of the horrors of patience, discipline, and obedience.

Its been over 20 years since Ive crossed into our southern borders so i dont know what thats like now.
My experience lately has been with the ruthless and power hungry
country known as CANADA. (Cue dramatic music .... place tongue in cheek
... wink at camera )

I dont really feel that any border officers, ours or theirs, have any kind of power issues. They are all just doing their job as thoroughly as possible.
Im sure most of the day or even week, month, or year is fairly ho hum
and mundane. But every once in awhile theres probably a trouble maker
who had one or more of those "red flags" on.
A red flag like "Do you have $10,000 on you?"
As funny and absurb as this question is, it is a very legitimate question. You show me ANYONE carrying $10,000 and ill show you trouble waiting to happen.
Does someone carrying $5000 in cash present less a threat? Maybe. 50% less. Perhaps. Not exactly sure how they came up with the amount.
There is/was a big counterfeiting problem in Canada. Some crafty American would print up passable cash and launder it all over here.
Cant blame them. Have you seen the Monopoly money they pass around as cash here? Come on! No dead presidents = no REAL value. A dollar called LOONEY and two dollars called TOONEY? Am i supposed to take that seriously?

"What do they launder the conterfeit money with,Uncle Jimmy?"
Good question nephews and nieces. My guess is ( cue dramatic music )
Drugs.
"You mean marijuana or heroin, Uncle Jimmy?"
Maybe some.
My money is on (figuratively) good ol prescription drugs. Its cheaper here, ya know?
Easily double or triple your investment. And last i heard, dogs are not sniffin for Percoset or Vicodin yet. Just a hunch. I watch a lot of cable.

Another peculiar rule they like to throw at ya is, "Ya got any food?" Now what theyre REALLY looking for is some sort of bug infested fruits or vegetables. Disbelief, i know.
Now sit back down and buckle your seat belt kids because im about to take you to school.
If youre traveling or touring with a bunch of bug infested and disease apples or carrots, i dont want you coming over to MY house!
Throw that stuff out! Thats why you get to Detroit BEFORE crossing into Canada.

"Are you a smoker?" And "Do you have more than 200 cigarettes on you?"
Clearly Canada does not want you to be smokin up theor country with our dirty American nicotene induced tobacco. If youre gonna smoke in Canada, by god you smoke what the locals smoke.

"If you brought it in, you take it out." This rule may have come about due to the number of Kelly Richey Band drummers that are in Canada now.
But seriously, this is almost the same as the diseased fruit rule.
Dont be coming over to MY house with your garbage. Keep it to yourself. Or, at the very least, drop it off in Buffalo NY before coming over.
For the most part Canada is very clean in comparison to its southern neighbors. (Thats us)

"How do they do it, Uncle Jimmy? "
You stop all the trash carrying jack wagons at the curb and make them dump it BEFORE you let them in your house. You know, like Port Huron, MI.

These are just a few of the pesky rules Canada has. They have bunches.
And its just them wanting to know whos coming in their house to visit.
Silly little questions like "Have you ever been arrested?" Now nobody wants to ask a first time house guest this but if you have valuables laying around, its valueable information.
If you were arrested and convicted for obtaining a significant amount of Plutonium, and a significant amount of Plutonium ends up missing from your neighbors garage. It does not take 3 channels of CSI episodes to know who our number one suspect is.

It took the Kelly Richey Band TWO AND A HALF HOURS to get to cross over in to Canada.
Am i upset? Nope.
"Why not, Uncle Jimmy?"
Because nieces and nephews, one thing they actually WANT you to leave in Canada:
The memory of a ROCK AWESOMENESS show! ( cue rock awesomeness Kelly Richey Band song )
Cost of show: $10,000. Can you direct deposit that? Homeland Security tends to frown on a lot of cash.

Cheers to the band!

On a side note:
I heard very few "good" things about coming to Quebec. Things like how "the people are rude and look down upon the non-speaking French." Not true. I found nothing but down to earth genuinely nice people that were more than willing to help with directions or making change. The surrounding area and Centre Ville Quebec (thats "downtown Quebec" for you low life non French speaking pig dogs) is beautiful.
There is a downside: tap water is not as good tasting as Calgary or Edmonton. Sorry, Quebec. Its not. Something to be said about glacier water.

Bon jour!

On another side note:
I did NOT make $10,000 in Canadian or American money on this tour.

Taken from Jimmy V's phone

Taken for phone

Maintaining Sanity on the Road  

Greetings friends,followers and KRiB-heads!
Once again we are on the road and its time to relieve some of that stress of hotel lockdown by writing about it.

Most of the time I dont even have the time to blog anything in detail. Just the occaissional Facebook post. This timeout we actually have a full day of down time (and currently The Walking Dead marathon is on a break) so i shall attempt to communicate to all on what I do to maintain sanity on the road. Assuming that ONE is sane to begin with. So it really is subjective.

From afar, or at least from the rows of fans in audience at the shows, the whole rock n roll world appears to be all lights and glamour and frolicking fun on stage. It is. For about 90 minutes or however long we are scheduled. Nobody really gets to witness what had to happen prior to that opening crash of controlled chaos and guitar chords that is the Kelly Richey Band.

Quite often I awaken myself out of a forced sleep in the very wee hours of what is defined by morning only by the initials "AM". Hopefully the day before I have packed and need only to sleepily double check :

Basses ....................................... check
Amp .......................................... check
Box of cables ............................ check
Pedals ....................................... check
Fan ............................................ check.... its summer.. fan...check; FAN?!? .....check
Road clothes ..............................check
Bag of toiletries/hair products...check
Stage clothes ..............................check
Cell phone ................................ check
Wallet and/or passport .............check
Get in van and drive ................ check.

Ahh.....the drive. It is what we get paid to do: drive and load gear. In between all that we get to have fun on stage.

Loading gear and set up time is generally about 15 - 20 mins. So yes, youve guessed it, driving is the main, biggest, longest, most physically demanding, most dangerous part of all of what we "mid-level touring bands" do. On an average we drive 6-8 hours one way to most shows. Its intimidating at first but you quickly change your perspective and judge by if youre driving 12 HOURS or more to the show. Are we crossing the street, city, county, state or the continent?

Its great to be intiating yet another new drummer, Danne Sheets Jr, to the band and to the road this year. Its interesting and fun to watch someone see first hand what it takes for the KRB to be on the road and get from show to show. And Danne's intiation was almost trial by fire because his first show on the road was out to Montana and then Canada. So, really, that was more of a trial by sleep deprivation. If what you want to do is drive an average of 8 hours, sleep sitting up in a moving vehicle, eat lots of "roller food", move a ton of gear and then repeat ... this is the life for you. Oh, you'll get to play your instrument before anywhere between 20 to 20,000 people. But THATS the easy part.

You may have noticed i havent written anything about what needs to be done to prepare ones self to actually play songs. HAH! You better have that down BEFORE you get out here on the road because the road is merciless and cruel. You need to watch your back and watch your bandmates back at all times.

Many times it is your band vs the world. And when you are driving yourselves from show to show, each one of us has the lives of the others in their hands that should be firmly planted on the steering wheel and concentrating on the road. Everyone knows the facts and figures of accidents on the highway. Average person drives 10000 miles a year with those figures. The Kelly Richey Band drives an average of 40000 miles a year so our odds, and all other bands, are four times greater that we would have a vehicular accident. Almost 8 years on the road with Kelly and I/we have not had such bad luck. How? We maintain sobriety and rest when we can. "Party?" Our "party" is 90 minutes on stage. I also pick up every heads up penny I find and keep it in the Sprinter.

Id like to tell you all (and my doctor....if i had one) that I maintain sanity on the road by getting plenty of rest, eating well, exercising and stretching. Its a little of all. I get a little rest.

I eat well on occaission. And i excercise and stretch a little. Do i do any of that religously? Yes, i do it ALL.... a little bit.... RELIGIOUSLY. I try not to form any kind of real routine out on the road because theres always something that breaks that routine and i wouldnt want to stress too much on something i didnt get to do. I use the procrastinators mantra: There's always tomorrow. And yes, my body is feeling that. Procrastination isnt the best when it comes to keeping your body healthy because before you know it youre half a century old and all those lacksidaisical procrastinating ways catches up to your body and suddenly things are stiff that you dont want to be and things you want stiff are not. Gone are the days when you can do sit ups and crunches for a weekend and be back in shape. Who am i kidding? Gone are the days of doing ANY sit ups or crunches.

Is it a great life? It has its moments.

Is it a great job? Depends on your definition. Contrary to what i have been writing, "the work" is easy to me and i thoroughly enjoy it. Its not making any of us a millionaire. For me, how some live pay check to pay check, I live gig to gig...tour to tour.

Im doing what i love and Im getting paid to do it. Its what we all want, right?

And the drive? I wouldnt want to tour any other way. I have seen so much of North America that I normally wouldn't have. And if we flew everywhere we'd only see airports and hotels.

And that would be sad because we have some CRAZY stuff driving all over this continent.

One thing that comes to mind are things on trailers marked " Wide Load " that I cant identify.Herds of Antelope or Elk. All 5 Great Lakes. Well, the Great Lakes arent crazy but it IS crazy that a Filipino kid from Oxnard, California is getting to experience it all because Im in this band.

Its not for everyone. But if everyone was doing it, Id probably be doing something else.

Why would i put myself in a position where i have to fight off truckers AND other musicians for roller food?

To all of you sane and insane KRiB-heads out there, thanks for coming to the shows and all the support. Thanks for helping me in maintaining sanity on the road.

Jimmy V and The Kelly Richey Band
Jimmy V, Danne Sheets Jr, Kelly Richey


Jimmy V and The Kelly Richey Band


Jimmy V and The Kelly Richey Band
Jimmy V, Kelly Richey


Photos by Keith Virgo of Kool Koncepts

The Kelly Richey Band Hits the Road for Festivals in PA, MI and Canada 

Friday, July 6 - Mega Rock R&B Fest - 6:30 pm
Treasure Lake Ski Resort, 13 Treasure Lake, Dubois, PA
Venue: (814) 375-1806
http://www.treasurelakepoa.com/

Saturday, July 7 - Saint Louis Blues Fest - 6:00 pm
Saint Louis Blues Fest, Saint Louis, MI
http://www.saintlouisbluesfestival.com/

Tuesday, July 10 - La Casbah - 8:00 pm
La Casbah, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Friday, July 13 - Light House Blues Festival - 6:45 pm
Light House Blues Festival, Kincardine, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, July 14 - Ottawa Bluesfest - 4:00 pm
Ottawa Bluesfest, 265 Catherine, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Venue: 613-247-1188
http://ottawabluesfest.ca/

The Kelly Richey Band - Danne Sheets Jr, Kelly Richey, Jimmy V
Danne Sheets Jr, Kelly Richey, Jimmy V

Photo By Sonya Ziegler


The Kelly Richey Band Heads West to WY, IA, & SD!!! 

This week The Kelly Richey Band heads west for shows in WY, IA, and SD!!! Come check us out and be sure to tell your friends!!!

Thursday, June 14 - Music in the Park Summer Concert Series - 6:00 pm
Music in the Park Summer Concert Series, Rawlins, WY
Venue: (307) 324-7529

Friday, June 15 - Awesome Biker Night - 10:30 pm
Awesome Biker Night, Downtown, Sioux City, IA
Venue: (712) 224-2759
http://awesomebikernights.com/

Saturday, June 16 - Old Skoolz - 8:00 pm
921 E. 8th Street, Sioux Falls, SD
Venue: (605) 338-9491
http://www.oldskoolzsf.com/

Sunday, June 17 - Byron's - 5:00 pm
112 Main Street, Pomeroy, IA
Venue: (712) 468-2372
http://www.facebook.com/byron.stuart?sk=info

The Kelly Richey Band

Photo By Sonya Ziegler