Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Not so much “glamorous” as “sweaty.”

Not so much “glamorous” as “sweaty.”

Saturday, “sleep in” until the leisurely hour of 8:00 a.m. Be thankful for foam roll-up earplugs that allowed for a glorious 8.5 hours of sleep. Perform morning ablutions. Iron extra shirt for gig, pack third change of clothes for safety. Move equipment into car, including mandatory rockin’ behemoth combo amp. Note temperature at 9:30 a.m. is already at 84 F with relative humidity of 65%, heat index ~96. Try not to break sweat. Plenty of time for that later. Depart house after requisite PDA from family and note that A/C in car makes it a comfortable place to spend most of the day.

11:30 a.m. Arrive at Annapolis, where streets are crowded with throngs of festival attendees and Naval Academy students and visitors. Search for parking, find excellent spot two blocks from historic Middleton Tavern. Note two-hour restriction and hope no one steals gear. Meet singer and drummer for celebratory lunch (last gig). Ingest an excellent oyster loaf poboy and a surprisingly good iced tea.

1:30 p.m. Arrive at Dan Haas’ house for qiuck rehearsal of 75% of an album’s worth of material. Regret not having had time to do more homework. Fret silently over Dan’s exposure to better musicians, and own complicity in his possible unease at a possible downward career trajectory due to inferior sideman support. When Dan is proactively and graciously apologetic about failure to do adequate venting in family room during home renovation, as evidenced by copious perspiration among and upon all present, happily remember extra change of clothes in car. Ponder market for bass guitars with built-in rear-load icepack, musing that there seem to be more famous fat bassists than famous fat guitarists. Revel in chance at celebrity endorsements.

5:15 p.m. Depart for Andy’s in Chestertown. Remain thankful for car A/C, providing blissful repose from sweaty afternoon.

6:00 p.m. Arrive Andy’s, unpack gear, sweat more. Note venue is fortunately somewhat cooler and a bit less humid. Wonder again why more venues can’t be like this one, with kind proprietor and friendly, attentive service staff who never seem too busy to bring by an extra beverage. Set up PA sound and remember why it’s not an appealing job any more. With efficient knob tweakage and all due humility, dial in pleasing audio for all participants. Accept fellow players’ gratitude, accolades, extra pay, offer of premium drinks. Wake up from daydream and order some dinner.

7:30 p.m. Enjoy dinner and humorous banter with Dan, Leah, and Rich. Try to file this in long-term memory to hold on to, as one of the best of the good times. Hilarious moments include Leah noting that her stories often involve pantomime, such as “email” (typing motions) and “playing” (air guitar), to which your humble narrator adds “hobo killing” (furious knifing action).

9:00 p.m. Play guts out at show, as Dan and Leah trade off material. Make inappropriate numbers of mistakes on some of the lesser-rehearsed Haasian material, eliciting nary a single angry glance or conspicuous remark from rock-and-roll icon Dan, who pitches in with your humble narrator to provide very tasty three-part harmonies with Leah. (Work on sound pays off.) Sweat a lot.

11:30 p.m. Suffer from a brief negative moment when particularly large and drunk boater shows up with too-solicitous significant other, yells loudly over music (in a “listening room” venue, a BIG no-no) and then proceeds to stand, staring, directly in front of pixie-sized frontgal for no apparent reason. Briefly consider throwing down with a-hole by allowing him to sample the fine maple of butt end of bass, then realize this would make for an awkward parting gig. Relax when drunk moves off to general bar area and is not long thereafter asked to leave.

Sunday, 12:00 a.m. Say goodnight, pack, and load gear; sweat copiously. Enjoy fresh pot of coffee brewed by lovely Andy’s staff, who gush with compliments about performance and sound. Offer thanks and also sneak in gig pitch for new project with Laura. Night seems to have brought little if any relief from heat and humidity. Agree to meet bandmates at Wawa after crossing Bay Bridge.

1:15 a.m. Come to dead halt 2 miles before Bay Bridge. Pick up ringing cell phone and listen to drummer’s report that an accident ahead has closed all lanes of Route 50 before the bridge, with Medevac helicopters on scene. Turn off lights and put vehicle in park, but refuse to cater to low-carbon caterwauling by shutting off engine since that would mean additional sweat and misery on top of a day already far exceeding any reasonable standards of personal moisture. Bemusedly observe tattooed gentlemen of mulletish bent, with plain plastic beverage containers and female companions with poor fashion sense, standing on car roofs and milling about highway for a better look at the carnage.

1:35 a.m. Feel guilty and turn car off.

1:40 a.m. Join traffic by resuming forward motion. Briskly change lanes to avoid rear-ending stationary and unlit Ford Focus 300 yards ahead in which driver appears to have fallen asleep. Consider honking to wake driver, then discard idea in favor of not angering surrounding and already peevish festival-going rednecks.

1:45 a.m. Meet bandmates at store, grumble about delay. Buy new favorite juice-based energy drink to ward off sleepies on long highway drive home.

3:30 a.m. Arrive home, fail to unpack car other than necessities (phone, coffee mug, iPod). Fall in a more-or-less controlled fashion into bed, realizing wakeup is no later than 9:00 to accommodate wife’s Sunday schedule.

7:30 a.m. Wake abruptly for no apparent reason.

8:30 a.m. Fail to properly return to sleep, rise and greet glorious new day and opportunity to take care of rugrats! YAY!

9:00 a.m. Remain humbled by and grateful for continued marriage to spouse, who has prepared coffee.


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