Thursday, June 01, 2006

It looks like the Fighting Brothers McCarthy may be getting the band back together.

Well, sort of.

Back story: last fall, amid a fair amount of acrimony, the Brothers decided it was time for a change -- which basically meant that some of the old players quit and some weren't asked back. It was, to be honest, a little disconcerting, but in the end things have worked out really well for me. For the record, I don't bear any ill will towards anyone involved in that project.

The Brothers did try to keep moving, with a couple of shows in January. But it seemed to peter out, for reasons best left to them to explain.

I've stayed in touch with all of the old band members and Kevin. I haven't talked with Steve much. Kev told me today that he and Steve finally have gotten motivated enough to pull things back together. The Brothers are going to get together with Bryant, Travis and Hunter on Saturday "to see how things work out."

So, for all you FBM fans out there, your day is coming ...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rehearsed with Summer Wardrobe today; we have a show tonight here in town and it has been a while since we've played. Well, not quite true -- we have been in the studio for the past few weeks. The great part about that is that the new material in the set shows some polish. Those songs sounded great. But we still needed to rehearse to get into that live set mode, not to mention to refresh ourselves on a couple of older tunes that are still in the set.

I joined the band in December, and since then we've had much discussion about getting some backing vocals into the mix. It's not something they've had a lot of before, although the bass player before me did step up occassionally. But I've been shying away, because I've never been able to get the singing and playing part down very well.

But I know that someone has to do it; the steel guitar player says he will, but says his voice is horrible. The drummer has already got a bunch of percussion stuff, etc. going on. Still, with the label putting our record out, and the certainty of touring to support it, it's a given that these songs are going to need some backing vocals to make our set shine.

So today in our rehearsal, I stepped up and tried to add some things here and there. The rest of the guys were very excited. It's not much, and I made a point to stay way off the mike.

Now to go and see if I've got the cojones to do it in front of a crowd.

Oh dear.

Monday, December 19, 2005

My day job puts me on the road every few months or so. By the road, I mean "in the air." I am a frequent business traveler, which requires me to regularly wade into the semi-anarchy of our nation's air travel system.

For those of you who don't travel often, business travel isn't glamorous at all. Delayed flights, crowded flights, missed flights and odd people all conspire to make me despise the travel portion of my work.

Now, most of the time, the bulk of the other people I'm flying with are business travelers as well. They know the drill, for the most part. Yes, you can only bring two carry-on bags, and yes, if it is too big, you will have to gate check it. No, you don't get fed on most flights unless you're in first class. Yes, there are certain other little points of etiquette that, when followed, make travel just a bit more pleasant for everyone else.

Then there are the amateurs. The pleasure travelers. There are always a few of them on every flight. They're pretty easy to pick out -- the shopping bag overflowing with whatever sundries these folks require; the kids in tow; t-shirts, shorts and sandals on a trip to Philadelphia in November.

This year, though, I have the distinct pleasure of traveling for a one-day customer site visit within a week of Christmas. The plane is FULL of amateur, ill-equipped, unpleasant holiday travelers. I'm polite, so I won't ask these folks the following questions. Hell, I do my best to avoid conversation whenever I travel. But I do wonder about a few things:

1. Is it too much to ask for a little hygiene? You know, a shower and some deodorant before you step out the door. You're about to spend several hours in close proximity with your fellow human beings. Please, don't torture us with your b.o.

2. Can we talk about attire? Can we get something maybe a *little* more appropriate. A t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes are fine. But please, no sleeveless t-shirts, especially if you are pushing 300 pounds. No one wants to see your fat, hairy, fish-belly-white armpits.

3. When you're boarding the flight and you can't figure out where to stuff that overpacked shopping bag of yours, can you at least step into your seat and let the rest of us get to our seats? Please.

4. Once we're in route, can you make an effort not to press your ass into my face when you're walking up and down the aisle? Oh, and if you need to get out from your window or middle seat, ask me nicely and I'll get up to let you out. You don't have to crawl across my legs.

5. If you've got kids with you, is it too much to ask that you encourage them to use their "inside voices"?

6. Please don't point your overhead air vent at me. I've got mine turned to a very low flow. If yours is blowing to hard on you, the thing to do is twist it until the flow lessens, not push it to the side so that it blows in my face.

7. If my arm is already on the armrest, don't shove yours on there too. And if it's not, please keep your elbows out of my space, m'kay?

8. Yes, I know you're hungry. So am I. But please, if you must eat something laden with onions, garlic or other aromatic herbs and spices, can you please do it *before* you board? Better yet, why not wait until we land. You're a pretty hefty person -- you'll survive another hour and a half without eating.

9. I'm sure you lead a wonderfully interesting life. But if I'm not real responsive to your conversational leads, can you take the hint that I'm not up for talking much right now?

10. Stop with the farting. There are lavatories fore and aft. Use them.