Archive | May, 2013

Do your kids love your music?

21 May

Everyone always asks me, “Do your kids love it when you play music for them?”
and my answer is no….well, yes…I mean, kinda.

Lets put this into perspective–my kids HAVE to listen to me play. When we are hanging out at the house wasting time, I usually have my guitar sitting on my lap as I work on new songs. For them, it’s not necessarily a treat to hear me playing something over and over to perfect it. In fact, I’m sure it’s rather annoying.

I remember when I first started playing guitar, my family wasnt exactly happy
about it either. I use to wear my guitar around the house like a shirt, playing
all the time (badly, I might add).

I have a song I wrote for my band years ago that came from a guitar riff I kept playing repeatedly. I played it to the point where my dad said, “Can you play something that isn’t so annoying?”

But that’s a musician for you. Everyone’s favorite band, singer or musician had to put blood, sweat and tears (and years) into their craft and annoy a lot of people within earshot along the way. But the end result hopefully pleases the others that didn’t have to hear the rough times getting those songs right.

So do my kids like hearing daddy playing music around the house? No. But then they’ll come to my shows and guess who is their daddy’s biggest fan?

I love seeing fans at my shows, but nothing quite compares to seeing them there.  All the sudden, they walk into a room of people staring at their daddy, listening to their daddy and it puts a big smile on their face. The older they get, the more they want in on the action.

If any of you have been to a show that they’ve attended, you know what I’m talking about. Both my kids (especially Shelby) are the first and last people dancing to every song.  They wave to me, they kiss me in between songs and they bow when people applaud–as if they are the main attraction.  It’s quite possible that they are.

We are a team. It’s me and them against the world most days. This is
a great place to be in the life of a musician.  Maybe I could’ve been the next
big thing in the music industry, but to them, i AM music. I’m the one who showed them music, other people’s music and will maybe even help them create their own music someday.

So Gabe and Shelby, if you ever read this–thanks for making me feel like the biggest musician out there. If you ever want to pick up an instrument yourself someday, I will try to be helpful and tolerant through those days when it’s still a work in progress. I just hope it’s not a drum set.  Those things are loud and expensive!

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Couldn’t Put a Ring on it

16 May

When I moved to San Antonio, it was a scary time. I’d just picked up my life in Kansas City where I had a good following in a lot of different areas and moved to a completely foreign city where I knew no one and vice versa. Since I was starting from scratch, that meant I had to play a lot of shows in the state of Texas that were nothing to write home about–meaning they were shit.

Here I was–30 plus years old–playing dive bars again, but sometimes the best memories come from places you hope no one ever witnesses you walking out of.  I wasn’t gonna blog about this one, but I told it to some dear fans of mine recently and they were cracking up, so I changed my mind.

It’s a Tuesday night at another dive bar when a particular couple watching me play catches my eye.  They seem genuinely interested in each song I play, so during one of my breaks, they invite me to sit at their table.

I oblige their request, make their acquaintance and start small talk with them. As we are carrying on, I think to myself, “what a nice couple! I’m so glad to meet some people with their shit together in a dive like this”.

In the middle of our conversation, the girl gets up and says she’s going to get another drink–leaving me and her man at the table by ourselves. Seems harmless, right?  Nope.  Here’s the conversation we had during her departure:

Man: “So do you do weddings?”

Me: “Yeah, I play weddings all the time!  Are you two getting married?”

Man: “Yeah, someday.  I think it would be cool if you were playing at our wedding. I want to marry her someday, but she needs to lose 20 lbs first (he was serious as a heart attack).  So what do you charge?”

She needed to lose 20 lbs first or no wedding ring!!!!   Just when I forgot I was playing a dive bar, this guy brought me right back to reality.  It was the most difficult time I’ve ever had not laughing out loud at an inappropriate time.

I’d like to say I told him that’s an awful thing to say and he should be ashamed of himself. I’d like to tell you I told him love doesn’t know anything about weight, age, skin-color, or anything so obtuse.  Instead, what I told him was my rate and thanked him for listening.  What can I say?  I was new to the area and trying to make fans.  Even the ones 20 lbs overweight.  I guess she never lost the weight, because I never got the call to play their wedding.

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Who’s feeling frisky?

7 May

“That’s baby-making music right there” – Ron Burgundy

Yeah, I make baby-making music. What can I say? I’m in the business of making sexy time music. Having said that, here’s the proof to back it up. Years ago at one of my acoustic gigs, I found out how potent my songs can be.

I was doing this weekly gig at a place called Big Cedar when a couple came out to see me play that had been following me for a while. I’m not the best with names, but I do remember faces and this couple was at every gig I did in the area.

Well, this particular night was like any other night until they showed up. I was in my third set when they asked me to play one of my popular songs at at the time.  Eager to please, I said, “of course”.

As I played it, I couldn’t help but notice this song made the two of them a little
bit….frisky.  With every word I sang, this couple seem to tear into one another a little bit more. 

As I finished, I look over to the booth they were sitting in and noticed they were no longer  there.  Okay, no big deal.  There are a lot of times when people come out to see me, but don’t stay the entire night.

Oh no….They didn’t leave. They were still there, but little did I know what I had helped start.

A couple songs later, I see a woman running out of the women’s restroom covering her mouth, acting like she had just seen someone get murdered.  I think nothing of it, but  in the middle of my next song, I see exactly why she was running from the restroom. The managers on duty that night rushed in the ladies room like Navy Seals moving in on Osama bin Laden’s hideout and who do they pull out? The couple who requested my song moments ago.

Apparently (and I’m just assuming this for my ego), they were so turned on that they had to do something about it right then and there.  So what do you do when you’re in public and can’t control your urges (because of Jeff’s music)?  You go to the women’s restroom and have sex.

Yes, people, that’s what they were doing.  I’m sorry. I never meant to write a song that would spur such an act, but if you’ve got it, you’ve got it!

I never saw them again after that, but it does keep me up at night that they never thanked me or tipped me for the musical foreplay I provided. The nerve of some people!!!

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China Doll

1 May

Here’s a groupie story for the ages. She was a girl from China my band had met
on the way to some shows in Las Vegas.  She was stopped at a scenic rest stop
that we happen to stop at as well. Somehow, someway, we all flirted with her and
I was the one she was interested in.  She was on her way to Los Angeles, but not
for long.

I know her name (probably couldn’t spell it if I tried) but we’ll call her China Doll for her sake and China Doll was convinced by my guitarist to hang out with us in Vegas for a few days before she headed to LA (God bless a good wingman).

So this girl was really into me, but not in a way suited for a touring rock musician. First of all, I never touched this girl. Our relationship (if that’s what you want to call it) was beyond physical from the get-go.  She was looking to fall in love with someone and instantly.  China Doll was married/divorced to a man from America who left her and in her country, this was a disgrace. She came to the United States to be his wife against her family’s best wishes and this kind of behavior is frowned upon in China, especially if it ends in divorce.

So when she met me, she had plans I didn’t fully understand.  She told me she loved me (after knowing me for maybe a week) and wanted to marry me. Huge buzzkill!  She was hot, but not marry-after-a-week hot. Obviously, she wanted a new husband to replace her disgraced husband who ruined her rep in China and picked up on me. Luckily, I picked up on this, told her goodbye and left Vegas when our shows were done.

Cut to a few months later, we were playing a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma when I get a call from China Doll.

“Hi, Jeff,” she said in broken English, “guess where I am!”

My heart stopped.  I knew where she was without asking, but played along.

“I’m in Tulsa to see you play”

My heart stopped again (someone should have called a doctor).  She came to our Tulsa show and was planning to follow us on the rest of our tour–which ended in Kansas City.  And guess where she followed me after that?  That’s right! TO MY HOUSE!

I felt bad for her and everything she had been through, so I told her she could spend ONE night at my house, but then, had to leave.  She slept in my bed and I slept on the couch (I’m such a gentleman).

The next morning when I tried to kick her out, she started bawling and begged me to marry her. I’m not even kidding!  She was standing in my living room, pleading with me to be her husband so she didn’t have to go back to China and tell her family of her disgrace. 

I had been very nice up to this point, but now i had to save myself. I told her she had to leave and never come back.

She did as she was told and that was the last I heard from China Doll.   I’m not saying it was a lesson learned (I’ve clearly made a lot more mistakes with future relationship), but it was eye-opening.  China Doll was looking for love in all the wrong places and ended up at my doorstep.

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