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Rick on Set of Save Me Matte
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band Tour SXSW March 2014 #7

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

Other entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #2
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 #8 – Final Episode

 

Meganpalooza

Meganpalooza

 

Connecticut Trees

Connecticut Trees

PART SEVEN

On The Road Again

One can’t talk about a band road trip without a Willie Nelson reference, especially since we were only a few miles away from his ranch outside of Austin, TX.

I’m sorry; I had to do it.  I am terribly sorry.

Please be Puerto Rico! Damn, still Texas!

Please be Puerto Rico! Damn, still Texas!

The equivalent is that one can’t show up to an after dinner wedding reception without at least one spin of Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration’ – (A song I never liked, even as a kid waking up to KFRC 610 AM, the Top 40 radio station, in my day, and Morning DJ, Dr. Don Rose with his fictitious dog, Roscoe, in the SF Bay Area).  I did however, come around to appreciating the Red Headed Stranger later in life as a result of some of the tales my father shared with me about touring the United States on a 1971 BMW motorcycle and camping out under the Connecticut stars listening to his Willie Nelson cassette, possibly with some other comforts or substances to heighten his experience.

I digress.

A lot of Texas

A lot of Texas

Rick settled into the passenger seat of the Honda for the long haul out of Austin, TX to Las Cruces, NM.  Austin is a bit of an oasis tucked in the central hills of the state with lakes and rivers surrounding the city.  There is a lot of Texas outside of the People’s Republic of Austin (it is a college town that rivals Berkeley in some small pockets for its weirdness).  When I say there is a lot of Texas, I mean, there is a LOT of Texas.  We were hunkered in for a good 12 hour drive to get to Las Cruces, New Mexico with a one night stop over before we caravanned on to Phoenix for the last official show of the tour.

This would be a good spot to explain two distinctly different things:  1) about being on the road away from one’s significant others, wives, husbands, or whatever your preference may be; and, 2) About the fashion sensibility of musicians.  How are they related, you ask?  I’ll explain.

Firstly, as a self-aware human being one can’t help but take notice of beauty.  As a man, whether single, married, or in a committed relationship, I believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  However, when beautiful women of all shapes and sizes surround a man, in general, a guy is going to take notice.  This may intensify one’s longing for home and the type of intimacy that can only occur in any of the above relationship statuses.  There is a dichotomy that exists for the recurring road warrior: when on the road, you can’t wait to get home; when you are at home, you can’t wait to get back on the road.  It is the nature of being a performing musician.  The performance fulfills a passion that cannot be duplicated under too many other circumstances.  That could explain why some chase the euphoria of heavy narcotics when denied their passions or true intimacy.  However, that is just a theory, and I have gone way off the reservation of my original point.

In Austin, there was plenty of ‘people watching’ to do and some eye candy to look at.  Frankly, this can be frustrating after a while, especially when away from one’s wife, or significant other, or as they say in Cheech and Chong movies, “ol’ lady.”

Secondly, a musician often takes great care in how they present themselves, whether one has fashion sensibility or not.  Even the most slovenly looking musician is often making a choice to appear that way.  So when somebody like Rick (Jeff Campbell’s drummer) chooses his wares, he is representing what is hip to him.  He might find a jacket or a hat that speaks to him, and even if his wife objects to hats in general on him, he will procure it and wear it proudly.  (Rick also doesn’t typically care what others think of him.  An attitude that has allowed him to get far in life.)  However, when he found the “Heisenberg” hat (Breaking Bad reference) and Jody, his wife, admitted that she was quite fond of it on him, he felt he not only had the look he was going for in the Jeff Campbell ‘Save Me’ Official video shoot under the direction of the dynamic Matthew Ward at the time he bought it, but he also had his wife’s validation.

The above ideas are related and explained further in the following episode:

Physical Graffiti

Physical Graffiti

Already, and possibly, 6 hours into our drive heading west through Texas as we trailed Megan and crew, Rick and I had gone through three full-length albums, the double album of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’, a handful of Foreigner singles, and a choice Steel Panther cut (the mock glam metal band with egregiously funny but largely accurate 80’s Hair Metal lifestyle lyrics- see air guitar excerpt below or you can see the original at the Steel Panther link above- viewer discretion is advised).  We also sat in approximately an hour or more of silence while maintaining a steady 80 miles per hour.  After stopping at the prettiest rest stop in all of Texas (literally, no joke), we continued on down the I-10 with the windows down.

 

Prettiest Rest Stop in Texas

Prettiest Rest Stop in Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In my peripheral vision I saw Rick put his hand out the window while it whipped around until the contour of the palm of his hand caught the air and he held it like a sail in the America’s Cup race.  I didn’t think much of it.

He rolled up the window and went back to his FaceBooking and wiki searches on the iPhone.  Then a few minutes later, the passenger side window rolled down again.

Andrew: “What the hell are you doing?”

Rick: “Did you know that when you drive at 80 mph, but it has to be at 80 mph, and hold your hand cupped against the wind, it feels like a boob?”

Andrew: “What!?”

Rick: “No, seriously!”

Andrew: “What are you talking about?”

Rick:  “Try it.”

Andrew:  “Okay.”

I rolled down the driver side window and allowed the resistance to catch my hand in position and in an instant Rick’s “Heisenberg” hat was swept up by the wind and sailed out the passenger window into the Texas high desert never to be seen again!

Rick: “@#$%!!”

“&*$^@##!%!!”

Andrew: “Oh, sh*t!  Sorry dude.”

Rick:  “Great. Jody doesn’t like hats, but that was her favorite on me!”

Andrew: “Oh, man.”

Rick: “ Now I get to be the idiot and explain how I lost it…”

Um, honey?  I was feeling up boobs on the I-10 in Texas and lost your favorite hat.

Jeff Campbell ‘Save Me’ Official Video by Matt Ward – Feat. “The Heisenberg Hat” (be sure to expand to Full screen view and turn up loud!)

For more on Matt Ward, you should visit his site http://www.studioward.com/ to check out both his Independent and Feature Film work.  He’s the real deal.  He also shot the incredible ‘A Token of the Wreckage’ video for Megan Slankard.  Should you have 8 minutes and 31 seconds more to spare, click to see his work with Megan: Here (and the same goes, expand to Full Screen and turn up loud!)

Murder Capital

Murder Capital

Murder Capital

The border town of Juarez had been proclaimed as the murder capital of Mexico for many years.  However, it has most recently lost this dubious distinction to another Latin American city.  Ciudad Juárez is notorious for endemic violence, kidnapping , extortion and murder, and remains a household name for these reasons, but Honduras’ San Pedro Sula has usurped the Mexican metropolis as the world’s most violent city.

Why do I bring this up?  No reason.  I figured I needed to begin this segment with something sensational to maintain interest.  A cheap maneuver, I know.

El Paso

El Paso

Rick and I pulled into the city of El Paso, at the border of Juarez, Mexico, nursing another orange warning light on the gas gauge.  It was a brief 45-minute drive from America’s self-proclaimed “safest city” (El Paso) to Las Cruces, New Mexico, but we were still required to stop and fuel up.  So we went on the search for a “Four”bucks  (Starbucks).  In any other major city, Starbucks exceeds the number of street signs usually.  They evidently don’t drink much froo froo coffee in El Paso, as we had to drive an extraordinary 5-miles after we filled the gas tank to find the Seattle corporate coffee chain store.  A double Americano and stale cheese Danish later, we were flying past the crucifix adorned Juarez mountains to the south that over looked the dilapidated outskirts of the city.

Spice of Life

Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”` William Cowper

The tiniest bottle in the world-drink it!  "Oh, the colors!" - Courtesy of the Curry's

The tiniest bottle in the world-drink it! “Oh, the colors!” – Courtesy of the Curry’s

After snaking down a short gravel drive way and finding a convenient place to park the cars for the night, we were greeted by Jeff and Ashleigh Curry outside of their single-story, Southwestern chic, home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  This was the very first time we had all met the Curry’s, and part of what is appealing about travelling the country as a performing musician is that you get to meet and experience all kinds of wonderful and different people.  It is in the “getting to know” folks that one can really benefit from a mutual sense of humanity.

Granted, this was not a cold introduction.  This was actually the family that had the AirBnB we missed out on in Las Cruces on the way to Austin.  Because Jeff (let’s call him OGJ, “Original Gangsta Jeff”) Curry was a high school friend of our longtime buddy, engineer, producer and drummer friend, Matt Boudreau, he and his family decided to take a chance and let five strange (to them) musicians stay at their home for the night.  –  Kyle had flown home from Austin, either because he was simply tired of all of us, or he had two big gigs to get back to.  He didn’t really specify.

Las Cruces NM-The Curry's

Las Cruces NM-The Curry’s

While we are on the topic of Matt Boudreau, we tried in earnest to get “OGJ” Jeff to share with us as many incriminating stories about Matt and growing up in Las Cruces as he could recall.  Jeff was totally game!

Firstly, Matt (Boudreau) is a drummer, so you know the stories were going to good!  As inconceivable as it sounds, the following stories about Matt were beyond belief:

–       Matt’s cross-dressing phase where he would don full make-up and blonde wig as alter ego, Olivia Newton-John, while singing songs from the movie musical ‘Grease’ to friends.  Later, he tried to re-enact the music video for “Physical”.

–       Matt’s episode when he decided that all he was going to wear to school was gun-metal grey body paint and claim that he was an elephant- guess which part was the trunk?

–       The time that he tried to dress up as Chewbacca for Halloween using only inside out duct tape so that he could append 32(!) Coronet long-haired guinea pigs as his outer coat.

–       Most bizarre to learn about was his early desire to be Tom Jones!  Evidently he would steal the under garments of all of his friend’s moms and lip sync to “What’s New Pussycat?” while getting his buddies to throw bras and underwear at him.  That explains a lot!

It was all so unbelievable because unfortunately to the disappointment of the rest of us, it wasn’t true.  In reality, all that “OGJ” Jeff could come up with was that, “he was good in drum line and sort of nerdy.”

Don’t worry “OGJ” Jeff, we’ve got you covered.  We can make up countless colorful, and largely untrue stories about Matt Boudreau for the internet’s appetite.  It’s the internet, nobody will know the difference!

Matt Boudreau

Matt Boudreau

Actually, Matt is a well-respected and experienced drummer, producer and audio engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Go here – http://mattboudreau.com/ – if you have serious interest in working with him on a project- he is a thoughtful, well articulated, audio professional who produces quality results!

We kid about him, because we love him!  Although it is kind of weird that his favorite game is attaching the word “Anal” to car model names, his favorite being “Anal Avenger.”

At the Curry's

At the Curry’s

The Curry family was plain enchanting, and after partaking vegetarian enchiladas, green chili and freshly baked cookies, we were clearly under their spell.  Their two children, Ben (age 12), and Samantha (age 10?- who we did not meet until the following morning because she was slightly under the weather), were amazingly good humored and charming hosts as well.

In fact, heads up to all you investors and venture capitalists, you may wish to keep an eye on young Ben.  We learned that Ben was quite the entrepreneur with three failed businesses under his belt and a thriving gumball vending machine business at the moment.  The kid has tested the market, tasted defeat, and come back to build an empire.  I will be waiting to hear what his next venture will be, because he has an unstoppable capacity, it appears, to succeed.  He also has demonstrated great determination evidenced by the following exploitations of his character:

1) Ben one day decided he was going to spend 12 hours up top one of the fruit trees on the property and persuaded his younger sister to relay supplies when needed throughout the day.  As nightfall occurred, he was undeterred, and remained in the tree for 14 hours total without a break. 

He is either primed to become an environmental activist or intends to build himself a luxury replication of the “Swiss Family Treehouse” (the Magic Kingdom Attraction and a registered trademark of Disney) upon making his first millions.

2) Ben wanted to get more time in on a BMX dirt-racing course so he decided to build one in his back yard and shoveled all the dirt himself.

3) Ben is now practicing French Horn, one of the most challenging brass instruments to control.

I personally am most impressed by number “3”.  – – Of course I am.

 

Jeff Campbell Band Las Cruces NM

Jeff Campbell Band Las Cruces NM

Just Call

Regardless of the Curry’s hospitality, we had to earn our keep.  Jeff, Megan and Max proceeded to unpack guitars and mandolin for a Curry Living Room Session house performance.  Rick and I were let off the hook as all of our gear was securely stowed in the back of the Element (I did give the Curry’s my last copy of Negative Press Project’s ‘Live @ Avonova’ CD as a concession though).  I assumed iPhone videographer responsibilities and captured the first song of the set, Jeff Campbell’s ‘Just Call’.  (It is worthwhile to catch a Jeff Campbell performance so that one can hear the preamble/story behind the tune – not included in the video below.)

‘Just Call’ by Jeff Campbell Feat. Megan Slankard & Max Delaney

Next Up:

SURPRISE!

 

Other entries:
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #1
Tour Beard Diaries – Jeff Campbell and Band SXSW Tour March 2014 #2
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 #8 – Final Episode

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