The Shredi Master

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Location: Iowa, Afghanistan

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Lighter Fare

Well after the last entry I need a bit of lighter writing. The topic came up on a musicians forum about people's worst shows. So, here's a few that I can remember:

1) The absolute worst is actually a summation of all the shows we've played with horrible monitor mixes. There's nothing as unpleasing as trying to inmprovise or play a passage with a bunch of compoud bends when you can't hear yourself over the vocals and you certainly can't tell when you've hit pitch on a bend. We've played a LOT of shows with horrible monitor mixes. Or shows where we didn't get to soundcheck.

2) Sundown Mountian Show 2005. I was just coming down with a nasty sickness. We played two late night shows as it was an all night ski event. I think we started at 11pm and then again at 1am or something... I was heavily medicated and though I didn't actually sleep, I was like a zombie all night. Other than setting up my own gear I didn't do any set up or teardown. Turned out I had walking Pneumonia and would be sick for the next month. Strangely enough, the show went well and I played okay. Muscle memory is an amazing thing.

3) Xmas show 2004 in Independance. We played an hour long Xmas set and then took a break. After that we came back and started into our regualr rock set. Right after the first couple songs - just before a big instrumental section - my guitar cut out. I messed with everything to try and locate the problem, but I was hosed. I took my other amp back from Chris (rhythm guitar hombre) and he used his smaller amp that - thank God- we brought along. It turns out that the circuit board on my power ampcaught fire and the power amp went out. Since then I've added another power amp and another preamp as backups in case something like this shoudl ever happen again. Be prepared!

4) Derailment in Osky. We played a good sized church in Oskaloosa once - a LONG time ago. I've never forgotten that show though. I like to improvise a lot of my instrmental parts, and I guess just in general. Anyway, I took the solo break in Consumign Fire (I think it was) with much gusto. My gusto was short lived though. I soon figured out that I was playing about a half step off - that means out of key and out of key BAD. Now days I would have hit the first note and either bent it into a correct one or slid or slurred it and went on no probolem. Back then it pshycologically messed me up and the solo turned into a train wreck. I will always remember this guy and his girlfriend sitting in the front row before me and the twisted looks of disgust and embarassment they let loose. It was that bad.

5) LifeLight tryouts - South Dakota 2005. We had basically a 15 minute try out for Life Light - a huge Christian music festival. It was a pretty bad experience but we got chosen anyway. We showed up early and I restrung my baritone guitar a couple hours before we went on. I would have done it sooner - like I did my other guitars, but the baritone takes special guage strings and they just came in the day before. Anyway, we were the first band of the day and they hadn't gotten their sound dailed in yet - so we had a HORRIBLE mix. Which was even worse because of what came next. I used the baritone guitar for our first song and, along with the normal inevitable string stretching, one of the strings wasn't theaded through the vibrato all the way and it finally pulled thorugh. What that means is that the string just got about a half inch longer - and looser - which means major out of tune! Now even though that guitar has a locking tremolo unit, if the pressure is released on one string to that extent, the trem is going to move and all of the other strings are going to change pitch as well. And they did; oh yes they did. Normally i could have tuned on the fly by ear and gotten back into the song with a minimal amount of fuss. But, since the mix was bad and I couldn;t hear myself, tuning was a lost cause. I tried to transpose the song on the fly and play everything as single notes on one string. It might have been better than just stopping playing - but I'm still not sure.
So, let that be a lesson - be prepared. Do everything ahead of time! The guys after us had a tube go out and luckily I had one I let them use. Again - be prepared!

That's it for now. The RV certainly is a source of problems with travelling, but that'll have to be another post.