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Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #2

Second Installment of the Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014

Here are the previous entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1

Rick in the zone at Roya's

Rick in the zone at Roya’s


Gas Tank Adventures

This tour was completely self-sufficient and funded by each performance.  Jeff collected all the proceeds and doled out what was needed bit by bit so that we could keep tabs on travel expenses.  He was less like a rich uncle, and more like “Dad” in this respect.  I hadn’t done the calculations yet, but evidently the Element only got 20 miles to the gallon on the highway with the full load we were carrying.  Rick and I pulled off the freeway into Carlsbad with the orange warning light on the dashboard alerting us that we were on borrowed time.  With the help of navigation, we drove approximately 7 miles inland to find our stop for the evening nestled in a subdivision of the Carlsbad hills.

All You Need to Know about the Music Business

All You Need to Know about the Music Business

Being that we didn’t know our hosts yet, Rick and I parked on the street like a couple of undercover cops on a stakeout.  It was a moment for us to reflect on the state of the music industry at present.  Gone are the days of big record company contracts, also gone are the more recent 360 deals where record companies fronted budgets and also took, not only a cut of unit sales (which are virtually non-existent these days), but also publishing, tour support and merchandise.  It begged the question of what’s next?  Well, as far as I was concerned, we were doing what is the way artists are eeking out a reasonable living:  Touring the country playing house concerts where the proceeds go directly to the artist, while offering good opportunities to gain fans and move merchandise.  It is a business model that appears to work quite well for some by earning patrons – publishing and crowd funding aside.  That was your music industry tutorial in less than 30 seconds.  The topic of being a sideman (person) or band member is a whole ‘nother topic, and we can address that in the next session, “Legal Aspects of the Music Business: Publishing, Writing Credits/Royalties, and Licensing: BUS 201”.

In the meantime, thanks to Steve Jobs and Siri, I was able to locate an Arco station we could backtrack to, so we made arrangements to rendezvous with “Dad”, aka Jeff.  That way we could top off the gas tank.  It was a white knuckled drive through the San Diego suburban hills.  The last thing we needed was to have to push a Honda Element full of precious music equipment up a 45-degree incline.  But, then again, I could’ve just been manufacturing my own anxiety about our circumstance.

With a big sigh of relief, we made it to the station to find Megan, Max and Kyle performing pretend skateboard tour Olympics off the street curb.  And that was only a 2.5-hour drive that day.  Imagine the boredom that sets in when we would get to hit the road for 8 or more hours at a stretch.

Parking lot + hardcore = parkour. The Video.


The Bains

The Bains were a military family finishing out their last of three years in San Diego where she was stationed as a Navy Nurse, and he was a programmer/hippie with the Jesus hair and beard and fascination with Volkswagen Buses to go with the title.  They had three spectacularly cute children, two girls and one boy.  The youngest girl was to repeatedly steal the show once the house concert got underway.  But she was entitled as she had a doctors appointment in the morning to extract an almond from her ear.

VW Bus on the beach

VW Bus on the beach

This was also to be our lodging for the night so we unpacked and staked out our places on the second level next to the Barbie playhouse and Michigan sized bean-bag chair.  I pulled “The Hungarian” out of her case to stimulate the wood (he-huh, he said “wood”) with a bow across the strings.  I was in the backyard warming up on scales and a Handel fugue while the little ones sprung around me.  The second eldest girl was running around holding a red plastic chair to her behind proclaiming, “my bum is burning, my bum is burning!”  I hear they have creams for that.

As the sun descended and house concert guests began to arrive, Kyle and Megan took to the stage (a converted dining room nook) and characteristically impressed the audience with her songs and performance.  Next after a brief intermission, the Jeff Campbell band tuned up and launched into a 50 minute set with encores.

It was satisfying to perform for a handful of the audience who were virgins to the house concert experience.  They settled right in with good natured heckles and appreciative applause.  Jeff even had some uber fans there who could not help themselves but sing along to all of his songs, loudly and off-key.  But hey, they are having a good time right?  Who are we to judge?  Not only that, but their presence there was helping finance our tour.

Later that night, Jason Bain (the hippie husband) regaled us with tales of vanilla porter home brews and Oregon Craft Fairs slash clothing optional Hippie Family camping.

The next day held some uncertainty as to where we were going to stay. Apparently, the AirBnB in Las Cruces we were targeting ended up already booked, so Jeff was on the case to find a place for us to crash on our way to Texas for SXSW.  The next two days were going to be strictly drive days after completing a run of three successful and profitable shows.

Snuggle bugs.  Max and Rick in Carlsbad.

Snuggle bugs. Max and Rick in Carlsbad.

As sleep found each of us that night in Carlsbad, even if begrudgingly, as I was stationed next to Rick who was also a notorious snorer, I was grateful for a respite from the logging if only for a moment.  Remember that almond in the ear I mentioned earlier?  Well, the youngest awoke in the early, early morning with a painful swelling in her ear calling out for “daddy”.  It was pitch black and she tentatively made her way through the maze of sleeping band members across the second level.  Kyle later accounted that he heard her coming and immediately started chanting in his head, “please go to somebody else, please go to somebody else.”  It was fortunate that she found Rick, who is a family man, and upon slapping his forehead several times, still calling out for daddy, received the compassionate assistance that only a father can provide.  Bear in mind, when Rick is on the job as a musician, he is not a “father”.  If it were anybody else but that 2.5-year old girl tapping on Rick’s forehead, somebody would be missing a limb.  In any case, he gently guided her to the parent’s bedroom, and we got to listen to her wails through the door for the next hour and a half- at least.

Jason makes Breakfast Sandwiches - Click to see the video

Jason makes Breakfast Sandwiches – Click the pic to see the video

After breakfast sandwiches, homemade lattes and showers, we were ready for a 6 hour or more drive to Tuscon, AZ.  Jeff scored a free night’s stay at the mother of one of San Francisco’s best-loved singers and performers, and bandmate of Kyle’s in Pop Rocks, Brad Brooks– more about that later.   In the meantime, I had the benefit of Jeff as a passenger, who kept the trip relatively high energy considering the nights sleep deprivation.

I hadn’t mentioned yet that the Bain’s were also a devout Christian family.   I was certain to let my Pentecostal daughter Cayleigh know, as I was sure she would be pleased that her heathen father got to lodge under the grace of a house devoted to Jesus.  In fact, before Jeff and I left, Jason asked if he could pray over us, and proceeded to offer a beautiful and heartfelt prayer for our safety and success.  It really was quite moving, but when I told Cayleigh about the episode via text, she replied, “Ooo, I love it when men pray, especially men with families!”

Hello, My name is Cayleigh, I am a devoted wife and mother of two.  My turn-ons include, going to church, picnics on the beach, and men who pray, especially men with families.

The Bain’s were truly a wonderful family.  It is unfortunate that we won’t be back to their house in Carlsbad because they are being re-stationed in Maryland this July.

To be continued….


Next up:

Raising Arizona

Oh! Now it's getting serious!

Oh! Now it’s getting serious!


Here are the previous entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1

Here are the following entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #3
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #4
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #5
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #6
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #7
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #8 – Final Episode

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