I have been inspired by a cool post by Chuck Anderson over at MusicianWages.com…he describes his day in the life as a working musician. He’s got a very different day than anything I typically do, so I figured doing my own would not result in me being accused of plagiarism. Today was a 12 hour day from when we hit the road to when we got back home. I woke up at about 8 AM. The gig was a private party, and it was 3 hours away, so we got some coffee and picked up a fellow musician and took the scenic route because most roads that are not I-35 are scenic around these parts. We spent most of the time talking and I did buy a Giddings newspaper whereupon the police blotter provided 15 minutes of entertainment because it consisted of things like, “A cow was reported wandering loose on CR 391. Deputy Durburger arrived on the scene and herded the cow into the pasture. It was all ok.” I’m not lying.

Flat

About 30 minutes from our destination we heard a weird rumble. Susan pulled over and we had a smoking and shredded trailer tire. Luckily, Susan is not only a kickass musician, but pretty handy with a jack. We were on the road in 15 minutes.

Apple


We got to the gig, set up the PA, changed clothes, sound checked, and I handled some email stuff while I waited for the show to start because there was wifi!

Suz and Kevin

Yes that’s Susan and Kevin Welch. Yes it was awesome.

It was fun and easy and I watched a good show and afterwards we packed it all back up and headed back. No flat tires on the drive home, just caffeine consumption. I had an hour drive back to Austin and now I’m blogging. It’s almost midnight. Zzzz. That’s usually what a day is like when we leave home and return home in the same day. These days are rare, but appreciated. During the week a typical day for me involves waking up as early as I can stand depending on how late I was up the night before…the first half of my week is spent trying to normalize my body clock and the second half of the week is usually spent destroying it again. That’s ok. I still try and get 7 hours a night regardless. Anyways, once I wake up an inject coffee into my veins, I’ll handle email and do booking. I do best with booking if I have an expansive amount of time because while it is very analytic to map things and route things and put things on calendars, it is also a creative process and I like time to sit and think. I’ll handle web site updates, blog, or do my own writing during the mornings, too. Sometimes it’s erranding like mailing gig posters and the like…the post office is not my favorite place, but I like the do-it-yourself kiosk so I get out of there with as little human interaction as possible. Then depending on the day I’ll either go work at the music school (Red Leaf School of Music) from afternoon into the evening or go work for Dan at Rubicon Recording. (A thorough Rubicon post is forthcoming. It’s really cool). This past weekend we had a non-gig day, so Susan and I spent it registering for the Folk Alliance 2011 conference, arranging some travel plans for her, and making spreadsheets and plans for her new album release in February. Then we watched a Mae West movie because what else do you do after making spreadsheets? It’s a varied week every week and I like it that way. Sometimes it drives me nuts, but I’ve done the monotonous job thing before and I wouldn’t trade this for anything. And now…about that bed time thing…tomorrow is here.

My friend Josh just informed me that his daughter Lily is a big fan of Track No. 4 on For & Against. I like to get at them young. :) Also, that track is called “Drive Around,” so when she’s 16…watch out, Josh.

Tiny Fan Hands

Record Scratch Sky

I took this somewhere outside El Paso. The clouds looked like record grooves to me. There’s a great DJ in the sky, apparently.

This weekend was good…we went to San Angelo (see previous LOCKED IN THE BATHROOM post), Lubbock, and Amarillo.

I commented to Susan that we are usually either coordinating a stunning execution of pull up to the gig/load in gear/change clothes/sound check/walk dogs/set up merch in a record 7 minutes and 46 seconds, or we have hours to kill for well, hours. (We are actually ALWAYS punctual and early, but our degrees of early change and make for less hectic load ins sometimes). In Lubbock we had hours to kill, which was nice. I laptopped at the venue, we walked the dogs around the venue neighborhood which happened to contain a mall. It’s good we had stuff to do or I would have dropped my paycheck on crap at Dillards out of boredom. I work like that sometimes.

The Amarillo show was great as usual, as Susan has a crack team of musicians up there and they do a great band show. The drive home from Amarillo yesterday was long, though I killed maybe the first 3 hours reading out loud from the New Yorker (my favorite magazine because it’s interesting and it costs $6 but it takes me like 5 hours to read, so that’s cheap entertainment, and then I get to say things like “I read in The New Yorker…”).

It was the Thanksgiving food issue, so I informed Susan and the dogs about such things like making borscht, pickled cabbage, a roadhouse in New Orleans that hasn’t changed since 1962 or something like that, and gastropubs in NYC. After a while my throat got scratchy and now I have a lot more respect for talk show hosts, because I was not cut out to talk for 3 hours straight. However, I will train so that I can do it more, because I like reading and Susan likes books on tape, which I am almost akin to except she doesn’t have to change the disc every 60 minutes.

We had a headlight out, and we got pulled over twice by very nice officers who informed us of such fact. We also needed to decide where to eat dinner.

“Where do you want to eat?”
“I don’t care.”
“Oh, we’re being pulled over. I’ll pull into this Dairy Queen.”
(Nice officer interlude).
…”Wanna eat at Dairy Queen?”
“Ok.”

Sometimes these things just get decided for us, which I prefer to making decisions sometimes. While in line at the DQ, Susan decided that in the future, she will refuse me my per diem on food unless I order things in my old man New Yorker accent. I will either starve or get over my fear of public humiliation in fast food restaurants. Updates forthcoming. I told her I would start by being British, though, and work my way up to old man.

Last night in San Angelo was eventful. We played a great venue called The House of Fifi Dubois, which is a stellar retro/antique store with a bar and a stage in the back of it. It’s in a huge downtown building that is 100 years old itself…very cool. Those folks do it right.

So then we got to our motel, looking forward to cable TV and a bed. Susan went in the bathroom and before too long I hear the door handle jiggling and Susan yells that she is stuck. The knob was not engaging the thing that makes the door open. I said, “HOLD ON! LET ME GOOGLE IT!” Because that is what I do. So I googled how to pop a lock with a credit card and it worked and Susan rejoiced and we thought that was funny. She had to go walk to dogs who had been in the car for 8 hours, and I was going to settle myself in.

My Temporary Home

So I go in the bathroom and shut the door a little bit but not completely, and I take a shoe off and while doing that…I lean into the door.

And Susan’s words echo in my head…”We’re going on a fairly long walk.”

Fairly. Long. Walk.

Nothing on my person…no phone, no hotel key card to jimmy it.

This will not do. I will not be stuck in the motel bathroom for “fairly long.”

The first course of action is to jiggle and yank on the door. This is not doing anything. I look around; there’s not much in a motel bathroom. There is a little wrapped bar of soap, so I unwrap it and see if I can make a stiff enough piece of paper to jimmy it. No dice. I toss the soap.

Guitar Pick Screwdriver

I do always carry guitar picks in my pocket, and there are two screws on the knob. The next 40 minutes is spent slowly, one quarter turn at a time while sitting on the motel bathroom floor…unscrewing the screws. The top one comes pretty easily and freedom was in sight. The bottom one just kept unscrewing and unscrewing. I got bored. I got lightheaded from angling my head in an upwards but sideways fashion while moving a metal screw millimeters at a time. I decided there was one more recourse.

The Screw

I ripped the check out time placard off the bathroom door (I had already half dismantled the knob so I figured what’s a little more property damage?). It was a plastic-y material and I thought that might be able to handle the credit card trick. Nope. Back to unscrewing with a guitar pick.

Doorknob

Then I just gave up and figured that Susan would be done with her walk soon. I stood there, sending telepathic messages of “DISCOMFORT! LOCKED! TRAPPED!” hoping that she would somehow pick up on the vibes. It’s worth a shot.

I started planning out my little life in the bathroom. I had water. I had a towel, I could make a little pillow. I could do chin ups on the towel bar to stay in shape. The acoustics were good so I could work on my singing. Maybe I could write a novel on the wall by scratching words with my guitar pick. Maybe I could burrow through the floor, or move the ceiling tiles like in Jurassic Park.

Then Susan came back in the room.

“Susan?”

“…Oh no.”

She did the credit card trick (it works way faster if you’re on the outside using the card FYI). She then went to complain at the desk but there was no manager. We will see how this plays out but I’m hoping for at leasy 40 free nights. I won’t name the chain. (Spotel Mix).

Tweeting

Susan promptly tweeted the happenings, and then we laaaaaaaaughed. It’s good to have a friend on the road for when you get locked in the bathroom.