Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 21 - Off day, Seattle - Watching the Spartans on Gail and Denny's bigscreen TV


Plus, pancakes, fresh strawberries, sausage, coffee and other great achievements of hospitality from our hosts Gail and Denny. Thanks for letting me beat the hell out of your couch throughout the game.

Life is so good.

Back to Spokane tonight for another evening with Karl.

I hope he knows we're coming back.

I left my clothes in his den.

Day 20 - 3/27 - Empty Sea Studio's, back to Seattle!

This Washington I-90 drive is stunning. I've been the driver on these passes from Seattle to Spokane and back since T has been doing day job work. She edits textbooks or something, and works remotely. She pays me to cart her diva butt around by picking up the tab for beer, something I wouldn't be buying for myself since I don't have a day job editing textbooks (or something).

(She's really not a diva. She's great. I'm just jealous she makes more money than me.)

On these drives back and forth I have, on more than one occasion, uttered the words "I have the best life in the world." Sometimes, I truly believe it. Even after some difficulty in Seattle earlier this week, I can't help but feel as though I'm extremely fortunate to have the drive and know-how to make a living LIVING like a retired person... taking in all the beautiful beauty that these states have to offer, meeting new people, sleeping in until noon and doing only that which brings me joy. The icing on the cake is that I actually get praised for it with applause and overly kind words of encouragement from the audiences we've played for.

With this good perspective I drove the tour bus (the Honda Fit) back to Seattle for our show at Empty Sea Studio's. Some bigger acoustic folk names have graced the stage, many of them Teresa's friends (Chuck E. Costa, Danny Schmidt, Sarah Sample, etc.). The crowd was solid, considering our newness to this fine city... Teresa brought some extended family. A couple who had never heard of either of us came up from Olympia, and I like to think that was based off my marketing efforts.

It was a great change of scenery, coming from the loud Whitestone tasting room in Spokane to this hushed, quiet and attentive crowd at Empty Sea. I usually get a little nervous when it's that quiet and I'm not used to it. Then I mess up a song I've played 2,365,928 times in the last nine or ten years, laugh at my self and from there I'm all good. Just gotta make that first goof.

Great crowd. T and I are tightening up the duo act quite nicely after 18 shows together.

Came back to Gail and Denny's place in Lynnwood and played pool and chatted until the late hours... make that early hours. Thanks so much guys.

Day 19 - 3/26 - Whitestone Winery in Spokane, Washington

The original plan was to hit Seattle during the week and spend the weekend in Spokane. Friday was booked early this year and offered guaranteed compensation. Then, T booked Saturday at Empty Sea back in Seattle, an awesome folk/acoustic venue, so awesome we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to folk there. We hmm'd and ha'd about it for a while and thought "what the hell." Hence the day trip to Spokane before returning to Seattle tomorrow.

Whitestone Winery is located about and hour and a half from Spokane, but the tasting room is downtown, and that's where we did our thing, or "thang".

Provided background sounds for 3 hours, trading off sets. Collected our pay and had a delightful time swilling merlot. Then off to Andy's across the street with Karl (who helped us land the gig and also put us up in his pad and took us for an awesome hike, thank you Karl) and went back to his place for whiskey tasting. By far the heaviest drinking night thusfar.

I nearly partied like a rock star.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Days 17 and 18 - March 24 and 25 - Tipless, Fanless in Seattle

We pulled into the big city of Seattle around 10pm Tuesday. I'm not a big city person but if someone held a gun to me and said "you gotta pick a city with more than 2 million people to live in NOW", without hesitation I'd say "Seattle."

I've been here before. It's a great sports town AND arts town, and it's proof that - yes - both groups can coexist and thrive in one city (other mass "metropolisis" take note).

Although, Thursday night at C&P Coffee, we lost in our battle against the Washington Huskies Sweet-Sixteen tilt. We played for two people, Frank and Dave. George behind the counter was the only one to sing along with Teresa's drunken sing along, "Holiday". At this "tips only" gig, we made $6.

Which was $6 more than we made the previous night, Wednesday at Skylark. Way back in January I booked The Green Frog in Bellingham, Washington. We were bumped, but at least we were given plenty of notice. Rebooking the night proved difficult until we hopped on the open-mic at Skylark Bar and Cafe in SW Seattle as a touring headliner. We played last, which allowed us to listen to some swell musicians with major "skillz" here in Seattle... but kept us from playing in front of more than three people. We really appreciate those three extremely talented people, although I can't recall their names.

I'm horrible with names.

We met Mauri and Meiko, who are staying with the same friend that we're staying with. Mauri's moving here from Salt Lake for change, and looking for jobs and shelter. Meiko is her pug, who so adorably "daps" or fist pumps you if you offer your closed fist (see pic). The three of us touristed the Pike Place Market. This was probably the highlight of our first of two trips this week to Seattle.

Tomorrow (Friday 3/26) we head east for guaranteed pay in Spokane, then back to Seattle Saturday for our show at Empty Sea, the big one. The one we've been pushing hard. The adventure continues.

Despite the two show/$3 pay days, I'm in good spirits. I'm in Seattle, running, staying healthy, feeling good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Days 15 and 16 - 3/22 and 3/23... respite!

After ten shows in ten days, plus countless hours on laptops and phones trying to book May and June, a brief holiday was in order... and what better place to take a holiday than Yachats, OR.

Sunday night we stayed with Linda, who had booked us at The Drift In. Monday, we decided to book a hotel at a discounted rate (thanks to Linda, again) and stay in Yachats. Angie, a local shop owner, said someone from MASH had a house there. I kept an I peeled for Alan Alda but never cross paths with him.

The pictures tell the stories better. Spent the days strolling slowly, window shopping, sending postcards and setting aside time to get the hell away from each other, as we're starting to feel like Teremy Storchnitz.

Spent Tuesday morning struggling to leave this beautiful little jewel and make our way to the big city of Seattle.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Day 14 - 3/21 - Portland Church to Drift In! Yachats, Oregon

Long day.

Didn't get much sleep last night, as I was up late writing lyrics.

Hit the PCSL for a morning service. Two songs with the church band, who rocked (thank you crew of three-letter names; Don, Ken and Jim!)

T sold many a CD as she usually does. Sometimes I feel a little jealous that churches have little interest in songs like "Songwriter Strikes Back" or "Trivial Pursuer". But, I get over it. Usually about the time that T pays me a handsome amount for playing guitar for two songs.

We drove to Yachats, Oregon back down south a ways, on the coast. The Drift In is a family restaurant that has decided to hire our folk stylings for the evening. This is our tenth show in as many days, and the fatigue is present. It's odd. It's not that I'm not getting enough sleep or working some grunt, manual labor job. It's an energy I try to summon for my shows, it's the focus - and it's EVERY night. But it's such a nice, swell, "good" tired. My dad calls it "sleeping the good sleep".

Stayed with Linda, the venue owner. Thanks so much Linda.

Day 7 in Oregon.

We finally saw some rain.

Day 13 - 3/20 - Flipside Studio's, CANCELLED! Portland, Oregon

Dana's plans changed, so we stayed at his house longer than expected... listening to music on his fabulous mastering speakers. MFTOMPS, after 6 months without listening to it, sounded, um, good? In my critical ears? Yes.

After stalling as long as we all could (Teresa taught us yoga while we listened to the latest "Gomez"), we made our way to Hon-ri, a coffee shop Dana had referred us to. The day was bright and very warm. T-shirts were all we needed. The pretty, young hipster ladies brought out their hipster, spring wardrobes. Many bikes. Many smiles.

Day 6 in Oregon and still no rain. Oregon is romancing me.

Thanks much to Matt Kin, who supplied us with the empty Kin condo downtown (it truly is amazing that we've gone this far into the tour and have yet to lay down coin for a hotel room).

On the way to the gig, we passed many fine restaurants and many fine record stores. Tired from all the recent folking, I vocalized to Teresa "man, I almost hope we don't have a show tonight... go get dinner, go record shopping, go back to the condo and go to sleep".

Careful what you wish for.

Last week, Muddy Waters closed. No one told us. We received an explanation for the shows cancellation and it involves things I won't talk about here because it involves the state of Oregon and bullshit like that and anyone who's anyone knows you don't mess with the state of Oregon... I guess... but the reasons were valid, we were okay with it and we wish the owners well in their future endeavors.

We crossed the street to a cafe and treated ourselves to black cherry porters and other swell things.

Went back to the condo and decided to attempt a writing session.

Now, I'm going to let you in a little bit about Jeremy Facknitz as a songwriter. I love composing music. Music comes to me on the wings of hot, naked female fairies (like Tinkerbell, but hotter). Melody is my mistress. She comes to me in a similar way, although sometimes she's coy and plays hide and seek with me. It just turns me on more, so I'm okay with it.

Lyrics are a smelly bitch.

I hate writing lyrics. I hate it. It's labor. It's puzzle solving, and I hate puzzles. I like pictures far better than stupid, smelly puzzles. And I wish to become a better songwriter, I wish to delve deeper into my soul and bare more. So these accountability sessions that I've begun doing with other songwriters are a necessary evil. Still, I kick and scream the whole time.

While trying to write lyrics about a very difficult subject for me, T was trying her damndest to keep me focused while I looked out the window and tried to figure out how many seconds it would take my face to meet the pavement if I jumped. That's how much I hate writing lyrics.

But, good came of it. I thank her so much for her patience and I feel I'm on the right track.

Sometimes, it's good to have gigs get cancelled.

Day 12 - 3/19 - House Concert in Portland, Oregon

With Teresa feeling less than stellar and me being my usual laid-back self, only the warmth of this northern Oregon morning could awake us from our slumbers. 11:34 am, PST, I crawled out of bed and laughed at the the idea that some of my peers in the eastern time zone would be leaving work soon.

Dana and Candace waited for us before eating breakfast, which was wonderful - and now entitled "lunch". T scored some free acupuncture and sat out in Candace's garden. I pet (pat? Patted? Petteded?) the soft belly of the cat who had defeated me soundly in our "laze-off" (she slept all day, every day).

The House Concert was actually an Office Concert, as it was held at Candace's Acupuncture office. 15 or so in attendence. Cheese, crackers, salmon, chicken. Wine was flowing, 14 bottles of wine and 15 people, 4 of which proclaimed they didn't drink any.

Thanks so much to Dana and Candace for their office and their hospitality.


Day 11 - 3/18 - White Eagle, Portland Oregon

I apologize to western medicine for the slam in yesterday's blog.

I don't know if it's the nasal spray or time that has healed my ache, but damn! I'm like a puppy that just took a dump. Life is good, my tail is wagging and I'm ready to play. I haven't felt this good in weeks.

Sadly, it appears I've handed off my illness to my tour partner, who is now complaining of an earache.

Drove up from Ashland to Portland. I have friends in the Springs who talk about Portland like it's special, so I'm kind of waltzing into this town with my arms crossed. Okay, P-town, show me whatchya got.

White Eagle is a quaint pub. Alex told us that we'd have to bring the crowd, and he wasn't kidding. For most of the show, the 6 people in attendance were fans/friends. The Kin brothers showed up and brought along Allan, a Montana Grizzly fan who saw his mighty 14 seeded basketball team bow out of the tournament and gave our tour a new slogan: "even in defeat, there is success" (the defeat tonight? The failure to get people to come out to a show at a bar the day after St. Patty's Day).

We did get a few stragglers come in near the end, and sold CD's to just about every one of them.

Stayed with Dana and Candace in Tigard, just south of Oregon - tomorrow, a house concert at Candace's office of acupuncture.

Day 4 in Oregon, still no rain.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 10 - 3/17 - St. Patty's Day House Concert at Liz Love's and Jeremiah's House

5:30 am. Jolted from a sound sleep by the throbbing pain of my right ear.

I've been sick, on and off, for almost two weeks now. I ignore it the best I can. The pain comes and goes, I'm having a blast on this tour and therefore often forgetting about my discomfort... but mostly, I ignore it because I'm one of the many Americans that do not have health insurance! So I don't exactly set appointments with urgent care clinics unless I can't stop the bleeding or I'm missing a limb.

But this is ridiculous.

So I go to the doc-in-the-box, in fear I have an infection and at the begging and pleading of my mother and grandmother. I get tossed around a bit... "This" place won't help me because I'm not a resident. "That" place won't help me because I'm uninsured. Finally, in Medford, I find a saving grace that will happily rob me of $140 dollars in exchange for some doc to touch my neck, look in my ears, prescribe a nasal spray and say "it's viral."

And that's exactly what happened.

Well at least I got my nasal spray. Thank you, western medicine.

On to happier things, like the show. The house party, hosted by Liz and Jeremy. T and I plugged in upstairs and played our 8 song set. Not having packed anything green, I donned one of Jeremy's shirts that read "Need More Cowbell", and some sexy red-suspenders (pics coming soon). We sold many a CD to Liz's friends. Ate hearty and healthy. Wrote songs on the spot with the loop pedal about "politeness" and how "too much tea makes you have to pee."

This is our 4th night here invading their home, and they have been so incredibly kind, tolerant and loving. Thanks so much guys.

Tomorrow, on to Portland.

Day 9 - 3/16 - Paschal Winery in Talent, Oregon

Paschal Winery in Talent, Oregon. The sign says they close at 6, but... we're supposed to start folking at 6. Teresa and I have a plethora of true horror stories that start along these lines.

No worries though, the place filled as the night wore on. Some fine people from Indiana, now living in Seattle (they promised they would come see us there next week!), and our new friends above proved most supportive of our efforts. Andrew and Amanda purchased the entire Storch/Facknitz catalogs and then invited us over to their friend Andrew's (another Andrew) house for jamming and more wine drinking. How, oh how could we resist?

Walking through the entire home of Andrew B. is like walking through a gem of an antique. His grandfather was an animator for Disney and built the place himself. As an appreciator of all things old I couldn't help but squeal with glee over the untouched furniture, the hundred year old baby grand and the listening room complete with built-in "mono" (that's right, not "stereo", but "mono").

We shared tales of heartache and the road. Good conversation, good wine, a few songs. Thanks to these three great folks for letting us traveling gypsies into their lives for an evening. We'll see them again soon.

Day 8 - 3/15 - Liquid Assets in Ashland, Oregon

We pulled into Casa De Liz Love and Jeremiah just outside of Ashland, OR late last night after a drive up the coast and temporary goodbye to the water (see previous "blog").

After another day of gently nudging venues in Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania to book the rocking duo you see above (we'll be there in May), we made our way to Liquid Assets to show that beautiful, empty, Monday night wine bar the rockingist, folkingist act this side of Ashland on this particular Monday night...

No no no! It wasn't empty! The aforementioned Liz Love and Jeremiah (a.k.a. Invisible Dominion) attended, as well as 8 or 9 locals, many of whom took home free Jeremy Facknitz refrigerator magnets and purchased CD's. We each earned a free glass of Merlot which, to go along with my overdose of Sudafed (still trying to kick this earache), gave me quite the interesting high.

Kids, do not try this at home. I'm a professional.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 7 - 3/14 - Unity of the Redwoods, Eureka, CA

Behold, my road-weary face. Every gig that passes means one less gig on the schedule, so every few days you gotta locate a wi-fi connection, take off the rock star hat and put on the manager chapeau. Neither one of us do what we do to sit at a godforsaken laptop but if we don't book 'em, no one will. Hours upon hours, updating the blog, emailing venues. Right now we're trying to book May, our return from Boston through Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Chicago and so on.

Downtown Eureka is adorable, the outside day is gorgeous and we swear we're hitting the ocean once we get done here at Old Town Cafe.

This morning we awoke in Weaverville, I on the floor and T on the couch. Many thanks dear Charlene. A massive earache tore me from my slumber at 5:30 am. Don't know when I'll be well again, but damn am I looking forward to it.

Drove to Eureka for some churchin'; an appearance at Unity of the Redwoods. We played a couple of Teresa's songs... because tunes like "Songwriter Strikes Back" and "Cup O' Noodles" don't fit so well into a church service.

Left early, before sunrise, and snapped a picture from above the clouds. Tonight we'll drive to Ashland, Oregon for three shows this week. A chance to do some laundry, write, rock. Despite the illness and tired eyes, this first week has been amazing and has far-exceeded all expectations. New friends. Great turnouts. Great CD sales. May the love and the money keep rolling in.


Day 6 - 3/13 - Mamma Llama's, Weaverville, CA

One week down, two to go on this first leg. You know, it's interesting touring with a woman you're not "coupled" with. You're together a lot of the time, traveling, sleeping often in the same room. A lot of the "couple" elements are present... I open the shows for her, talk her up. She is the rose to my thorn. I've been feeling ill since we left with sinus troubles, so she's been pumping me full of over-the-counter drugs. One will get breakfast, the other will get dinner. She knows all about my bowel movements, and their frequency - or lack thereof. She isn't happy about that last part, but this is touring. In return, I get the door for her when I can, do most of the "roadie" work and sing the best back-ups I possibly can on her awesome songs. I think it's a fair trade.

Wonderful, wonderful time at Mamma Llama's. What a fantastic venue, thank you so much Steve and Donna. They got us in the local paper and did a fine job bringing a bunch of classy people to a show featuring two songwriters they had never heard of. Steve has a listening station in his store and takes pride in offering the space to touring, talented singer-songwriters who are not well-known... like us.

Thanks to Char for putting us up tonight, and feeding us beer and girl scout cookies.

Day 5 - 3/12 - Zelda's On The Beach, Capitola, CA

See that cute kid up there? That's Sean (or Shawn, never got the correct spelling). He's 7. I woke up to find he had come down to the cabin/guest house to challenge me to a game of "Horse". I said, "Sure". He then said, "I'm sorry, but I am going to dominate you."

I liked his spunk.

Little did he know I played intramural basketball in high school, and rode pine for the 7th grade Holly Middle School basketball team.

I crushed him.

Then, just to reinforce who was boss, I lowered the rim to 8 feet and we played one-on-one. It wasn't easy but I was able to use my massive "ups" and buried insecurities about my athletic abilities to reverse-dunk on him. I then screamed and informed him this was indeed "my house."

Jeremy 10, Shawn 0.

After Putt-Putt with the family (thank you Kathy) we performed a bar-gig at Zelda's On The Beach. Made a few new friends, Chris and Joel. They invited us over for Foosball after the show, but T and I were pretty wiped from hanging out with the kids all day. Besides, those of you who know me know my Foos skillz far-exceed even my streetball skillz, and I really wasn't in the mood to do any more demoralizing. Best to rest up for the drive to Weaverville tomorrow.

Thanks guys, for the beers.

Day 4 - 3/11 - DAY OFF, Sierraville Hot Springs to Watsonville, CA

This afternoon we considered ourselves well compensated for our "folk and roll" last night with a complimentary room for the night and a dip in the hot springs. Clothing optional. Enjoy the pictures above that were taken with the camera pointed AWAY from my awkward, snow-white body. You are very welcome.

Drove west in preparation of our show in Capitola tomorrow. Staying with Teresa's cousin Kathy... the guest house at the base of their hill on 19 acres of property just miles from the coast. We came down from the mountain towards Sacramento and entered spring time. Green leaves on the trees, not a cloud in the sky and 64 degrees or so.

Ah. Northern California is pretty bad ass.