Pictures and thoughts from a Memphis Musician's Wife

Archive for July, 2013

Race wars

Ok. So I kept up with the Trayvon Martin case. I, as many others, do not agree with a not guilty verdict. However, I do agree that the media circus has done nothing but promote a horrible cycle in this country. The media feeds us all of this information, making it all some people will talk about or think about. They encourage and promote all the drama so there will be more news and more money for them. Are we so blind that we do not see this? We have turned a certain group of people into villains, and now people are hurting innocent people in retaliation. Violence will not solve anything. We need to get together as human beings, not black or white or Hispanic or whatever race, and stop this tragic trend. We need to come together and change unfair laws. We need to encourage community activities so we can get to know our neighbors. We used to look out for each other. Why did this stop? Peace can happen, but it will take a community effort. Stop the divisions and stop what will surely turn into a race war if we don’t stop.

Differences between playing instruments and using instruments

I was discussing with my husband all of the things that he can do with his Yamaha Motif XF8 as we were going over some material he is supposed to be learning. It is amazing how you can do so much without even really learning to play the piano. This machine does it all for you. However, my husband does all of those things without having to “cheat” using all of his keyboard’s accessories. This is what makes Jeremy unique in my eyes. Instead of using all of the different arpeggios on his keyboard, he listens to them and mimics them. He plays everything that the keyboard does manually. I hang out with a group of musicians who have taught themselves how to play their instruments. They take pride in their skills, and it shows during their live performances. I almost hate to hear an album that was completely done digital. Live instruments are where that quality is that people want to hear. Most people who get a workstation (keyboard) use it to make beats and do studio work, making all of the digital albums you hear today. My husband uses his workstation to actually play music. I love that about him. 

Growing Up

Most of us think that we are grown up when we turn 18. Some say it is 21, others at 25. I don’t think there is actually an age when you are all the way “grown up.” Some people go through experiences at earlier ages than other people that may give them different perspectives on life. Everybody lives life in a different way. Jobs are different, skills are different, tastes are different. Different is just a part of today’s society. Some experiences make you leave childish ways behind. Parenthood can be one of those experiences, although not for all people. Going to jail will make some grow up, and for others, it is getting a job. For some, it is graduation from high school or college. Whatever it is, we always seem to have something childish still in us. For me, it is my parents. I am still very much a daddy and mama’s girl. I admit it. For some it is video games, and that is mostly men. We all struggle in some way with a childish tendency or two as we age. At some point in time, though, most of us have too grow up all the way. We have families, get jobs, get bills. We have to pay our way through life with little pieces of paper and metal that people put value into. For some, money is their downfall. Those who don’t know how to manage their money find that the pursuit of that money will be their goal for the rest of their lives. There will be no retirement, no fun; just work for the rest of their lives. I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be able to live life. I am no longer a child. I am now helping raise one. I want to be able to experience the world, taste new things, hear new sounds, see new sights. I don’t want to be stuck in the never ending cycle that goes on day after day. Sometimes I wish money would just lose all its value. Then, maybe people would come to their senses and realize we are all just humans. We all deserve the same rights and abilities as all the other people. This is just a rant today. It doesn’t really pertain to the music life I live, although it does indirectly.

#88Bones @ the Center for Southern Folklore: Band Manager’s POV

Suavo J. featuring Mr. 88 and the Bones is the band that I manage. Most of the time when Jeremy plays, I take a supportive wife role. I setup equipment and play waitress and mom to most of the bands that he plays with. My momma didn’t raise a lazy woman. On occasions with my band, I get to play more of a role than band wife and mom. I get to manage the Bones. I run their website, Facebook, promote, book, and do crowd management at the shows. I am the one everyone turns too when the band is on the stage and something is needed from them. 

For the past 10 months, I have been trying to get the band booked at venues other than the cigar shop, where they play when needed. This has been in nights when the Grizzlies had home games at the Forum or when a band is not already booked on Thursdays (ladies’ night). I appreciate having a venue to play in so the band would have a regular showing. It has had its ups and downs, and we will probably be back there soon.

Tonight was different. Tonight the Bones played at the Center for Southern Folklore. This is a vastly different crowd. Tonight, my moms were there and the first time they would see Jeremy and his band play live. Tonight was the first gig with a cover charge ($10). Tonight was their time to shine and be seen. That is exactly what they did. As they began their first set, my moms and their friends took their seats. Another friend of ours came in. I walked outside, and the manager asked if I thought the guys would draw a crowd. I just kinda shrugged my shoulders and said we would see. 

As they played the first of two sets, people began piling in. These were people who were just walking by and had too stop and listen. Most of them stayed most of the night. My band had the house PACKED! The employees of the Center were wowed by the Bones. They lived up to their motto of putting some of their Memphis Soul in the bones of their listeners. The set ended with a packed house. My moms and their friends left, and a few of the others stayed around. 

The second set started with “Extravaganza.” They absolutely rocked the house with their rendition of this song, and by the second part of the song, the room was beginning to fill again. People who couldn’t come in gathered at the door to see this amazing band. By the end of the night, the crowd was begging for more. The played the longest instrumental version of “Let’s Straighten It Out” I have ever heard. but it was so appropriately wonderful. The crowd erupted when they finished. I could just imagine them on a giant stage with thousands of people in front of them. I can’t wait. 

The people filed out, and we began to break down the equipment, all feeling very satisfied. All of the money was counted and distributed. Everyone was even more satisfied. We sealed another gig at the Center, and we will hopefully be appearing at the Memphis Music Heritage Festival on Main Street in Memphis, TN on Sept. 1, 2013. I would call today an all around success. 

 

Florida Road Trip: Part 4 Sunday Night

It was nice being able to walk just a few yards to where Jeremy played. We got everything set up and the sound check done and went to eat. Paradise Bar and Grill fed us well. Jeremy ordered some shrimp to tide himself over until the end of the gig, and they began to play. The crowd slowly filled the small beach of picnic tables as the band filled the air. The first set was pretty uneventful.

The band took a break, and there was a woman with an adorable little boy standing at the side of the stage. They asked me if they could go speak to Darren, and i shooed them on up. The little boy’s name was Gavin, and he was absolutely entranced by the guitar. He had the cutest little green eyes and blonde hair mixed with his surfer shorts and tanned skin, a true Florida baby. He’d been there the night before and made his family come back on Sunday so he could hear the band again. Darren gave him a guitar pick and spoke with him for a little while, and we milled around for their break.

This is Gavin, the budding Blues guitarist

This is Gavin, the budding Blues guitarist

Darren asked me to take a lot of pictures that day, so I was shooting up a storm. I got some really great shots, and some awesome footage! I was so excited about that. Darren and Jeremy are both so animated, and I love to catch Brian, the drummer when he is really feeling the music. I smiled every time I would snap a shot, especially the shots I got of Jeremy during one of his solos.

Darren called me up to the stage and asked me to place a chair next to the stage so Gavin could sit and watch the band up close and personal. He was so excited when I asked him if he wanted to sit by the stage. He sat and watched the rest of the show right there. Image

The crowd danced. The kids played. The boats docked. It was a perfect, although cloudy day when the played. The gig went without a hitch, and we enjoyed dinner afterward as I showed Darren and Brian the pictures I took of them that day.

Darren Jay and Mr. 88 put on a show!

Darren Jay and Mr. 88 put on a show!

Hanging out listening to the band

Hanging out listening to the band

Dancing away to Darren Jay and the Delta Souls

Dancing away to Darren Jay and the Delta Souls

We went back to our room, making a few calls to see if Jeremy would need to be in town to work the next day or not. We wanted to stay just a little longer, but with what we spent, we really couldn’t afford too. We decided to go ahead and get on the road. We drove all night to get home. It was an uneventful drive, and as soon as we got home, we were back to real life and real heat. All in all, it was a good trip. I can’t wait to go back!

Florida Road Trip: Part 3 Paradise Bar and Grill…and Inn

The rest of the ride to Pensacola was fairly uneventful. We hit a ton of traffic going through the tunnel in Mobile during rush hour on Saturday, of course. Jeremy was drove through to the other side of the I-10 bridge, and we stopped one last time. We had about 45 minutes on our GPS, and we had 40 minutes to make the gig. It was time to drive smart.

I made it through traffic and got us to Paradise Bar and Grill at 5:56 pm. The gig started at 6.We pulled into the Paradise Inn, which is not on the side of the Gulf that all of the waves wash up on. It was a pretty nice place, and the staff was very friendly. There was a small private beach area and swim area with a pier. A few boats were docked, and there was a pretty nice crowd of people there. While Jeremy changed clothes (he looked like a grease monkey…lol), Darren and Mike, the substitute bass player, helped me get all of Jeremy’s equipment out of the car and set up. At precisely 6:07 pm, the band started. It rained earlier in the day, so the band was set up on the patio instead of the big stage. The clouds were clearing, and the sun was warming the beach. It was an intimate setting, and the band sounded great. An autistic young man, maybe 21 or so, got up and began to dance. He really had the crowd going. Brian gave him a tambourine, and he was right on beat. It was so awesome! I walked out onto the beach and had a seat next to the ocean. I ran my feet through the sand and took a few pictures of the sky and of the band. I was at peace, finally. It felt so good to feel the sand in my toes again.

After the first set, Darren gave us our room key, and we went to take our stuff to the room. About half way through the second set, I went to the room to try to sit down and blog. Of course, the “free wifi” didn’t work in my room, so I went back out to listen for a little while and have a bite to eat. We ate in the room on Jeremy’s second break, and the exhaustion began to hit. I’d been up since the day before with only about two hours of sleep in the car in Little Rock. My time to sleep on the road was interrupted by our car situation. I decided to stay in the room for the last set, take a shower, and maybe get some sleep. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out. The next thing I knew, Jeremy was waking me up to tell me that the gig was over. He hopped in the shower, and cuddled up next to me in the softest bed we’d probably ever been in.

We woke up bright and early the next morning, actually feeling refreshed. We made our way to Mc Donald’s to grab a warm breakfast (the continental breakfast at the hotel really didn’t fill you up), and tried to figure out what we wanted to do. We were limited on funds due to the car trouble on the way down, but I was still determined to enjoy myself. We went back to the room and changed into beach wear.

We walked across the street to the ocean side of the beach, and when we hit the sand, it felt so cool and smooth between my toes. I hadn’t really been able to enjoy the beach since I was a kid, and I was excited to be with Jeremy on his first trip to the beach. It is truly another world. The people are all friendly and laid back. The weather is beautiful. The scenery is beautiful. Who wouldn’t love it? Unfortunately, I burned my leg pretty bad a week before, so I couldn’t get in the ocean. It was so nice just getting to spend time with Jeremy. We walked up the beach as the waves washed over our feet, sometimes pulling us toward the ocean. We would laugh and try to keep each other up. It was fun just being with each other without worrying about all the things we deal with when we are at home. If we had no responsibilities, we probably would have tried too stay. LOL. We didn’t have long before the next gig started at 3, so we went to the pool for a dip. It was so cold I couldn’t make it past the 2nd step. We were at the pool because Jeremy wanted to prove to me that he couldn’t float. He proved his point, and we quickly got out. It was time too get ready for the gig, anyway. It was time to see what a Sunday afternoon on the big stage at Paradise Bar and Grill would be like.

Florida Road Trip: Part 2 Getting to Florida

So, from the pictures you can see that the ride through Arkansas, Louisiana, and into Mississippi was pretty smooth. I made good time, got to see a beautiful sunrise over huge crops of corn and peppers, and Jeremy got some rest in. Soon after we got into Mississippi, we were going to have to stop for gas and switch out driving.

As I was pulling off the road to refill on gas, I heard a clanking noise. We were right by a construction site, so I thought it was all of the machinery until I rolled my window down and heard the noise was coming from under my hood. Jeremy thought the oil was low, so he added a little in, overfilling it enough to make my car start smoking on top of everything. We were now riding down Highway 49 in Richland, MS with a smoking, rattling car. We pulled off on a small country road, thinking we would just empty a little of the oil out. Of course, we didn’t have a wrench to undo the oil plug and let some of the oil drain off. After 5 or 6 cars passed by, asking us did we need a phone or any help, an older black gentleman in an old truck pulling a trailer of tree limbs drove up. He looked like one of those old men you see in the pictures drinking moonshine and playing his guitar to his dog, and he had almost no voice to speak. Jeremy asked him if he had a wrench, and he just happened too. He pulled his truck off to the side of the road, and while Jeremy let the oil drain into a bottle, the old man directed traffic, waving at everyone as they drove by. It was like a scene out of a movie. He walked over and warned Jeremy not to let too much oil out because he was on a hill. As he was walking off, I hear Jeremy scream. The oil plug slipped all the way out, and all of the oil was leaking out now. All I can do at this point is grab every bottle we have laying in the car and try to salvage as much oil as possible. Jeremy got the plug back on the oil tank, and I carefully put all of the oil we had (about 1 qt.) back in the car. The old man told us how to get to the nearest gas station, and followed us to the main road. The car stopped smoking, but it was still making that horrible noise. On top of that, I noticed that one of my belts was almost shredded to pieces.

I looked up the nearest AutoZone, which was a mere 4 miles away. I turned and headed down the highway, but we ran into an O’Reilly Auto Parts first, so I stopped there, thinking that they would probably be helpful. I got the oil, and walked up to the counter to wait on Jeremy. Once the guys figured out which belt I needed to replace, Jeremy and the customer rep came back in to finish ringing us up. We needed a new power steering belt, which we got, but the worker told us he didn’t know how to put it on. Just my luck, right? He referred us to his coworker, who came and took a look under the hood. He told us that he didn’t have the tool to remove the bolt and replace the power steering belt, and with a closer look he showed us why our car was clanking: the top ac pulley bolt fell off. The pulley and belt fell off, as well. The pulley got lodged between the power steering and the bottom ac pulley, and the guy said he didn’t know what to do. He sent us up the road to a mechanic, not knowing if the mechanic would be open since it was Saturday. I am really spoiled living in a city where mechanics are readily available any day of the week.

We drove on up the road, clanking as we rode the speed limit. We pulled into the mechanic’s and, of course, they were closed. Jeremy popped the hood, determined to get the pulley out. With a few strategic moves with a crow bar, we finally dislodged the pulley. The noise stopped, and we headed to AutoZone, hoping the shredded power steering belt would make it.

We pulled into AutoZone and asked for a tool that we could use to change the power steering belt. The gentleman inside was much more helpful than the guys at AutoZone. He told us how to change the belt and informed us that the ac belt was what was missing. So, now we were going to be without ac all the way to Florida, and we were almost 5 hours out with 5 hours to make it to the gig. Off down Highway 49 we went, on the way to Florida, praying we would make it on time.

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