Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
I’ve been doing a lot of solo acoustic shows, in fact I just finished a run out west with my wife and two dogs. We piled everything in my ‘07 GMC pickup. I bought it new (just crossed the big 100k miles) and it’s my main vehicle unless I have a band. No major repairs (fingers crossed) but it does have a bed cover where I store all the gear. The lock on it jammed one day on the way to a show and I thought I was locked out and would have to cancel. I luckily found a repair shop that was still open at 4:30pm on a Saturday that showed me a little trick to open it. We narrowly made the show and now I know how to break into my truck. So that’s a good skill to have.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Preparation and a good cooler. We cooked a healthy casserole type of thing for this last run that lasted us the first three or four days. That and lots of water, pb&j’s and fruit. Also I carried a dried mix of oats and trail mix that I made for breakfast with almond milk, like DIY cereal. Once that stuff runs out though, cooking on the road is kinda rough so we found the local Whole Foods and stocked the cooler with healthy meals from there.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Hardly any. That probably doesn’t reflect very highly on my playing, but I’m not a shredder. Cables seem to be the thing that goes out the most. That and amp wiring. If I could learn to wire amps, I’d probably save myself a couple hundred bucks a year.
Where do you rehearse?
It’s one of the bedrooms in our house that I’ve made into a small demo/writing room. We did construct our own sound dampening panels that are hung on the walls. They have funky 70s prints on them. I guess that qualifies as peculiar.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
The first one I remember was called the “Miscommunication Blues.” It went something like “you go right and I go wrong, we just can’t seem to get along.” It was really deep.
Describe your first gig.
I played bass in a punk rock band in high school. If I remember right, we were the first of three or four local bands opening up for some touring band in Corpus Christi. It was an old warehouse space, just four concrete walls and floor with a crappy PA stuck in there. We were terrible. In fact, I remember one of the other bands tried to take my bass away and show me how to play during our set.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
Pizza delivery was my last day job. My current “day job” is playing bass, so that would probably be my favorite.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
I’ve been lucky enough to play for a living since about 2004 or 2005 and we have been on a decent salary since then so if we can keep that going for the next 10 years I’d call that a win. I have noticed that royalty payments have inched up to about $75 a quarter, so it would be nice to see that number go up as streaming becomes more ubiquitous.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
The more you write, the better you get and always talk and be friendly to everyone. The more friends you make on the road, the easier it gets. I guess that’s two, but sometimes you gotta break the rules. ok maybe three…