Blood Witch Tour Day 6: New Beginnings, New Additions, and the PCH
As we come into day seven of Vajra's #bloodwitchtour, I find myself gaining some perspective on my situation, and feeling incredibly grateful. I am cruising down the PCH with five awesome people, looking out over an emerald ocean, Thomas Newman providing a musical landscape for my ears.
We are en route to Santa Barbara to play at Velvet Jones; our second to last show in CA. If I stop and think for a second about the goals and dreams I have set for myself in life, I realize that I'm already living them out on some level. I have a tendency, as many others surely do, to feel personally and situationally inadequate. It sometimes feels as if I've lived my whole life with a voice in the back of my head reminding me that I'm not "enough." The voice shouts, "You're not good enough yet, and you haven't done enough yet. Keep pushing for the future so you can be ok then!" But I'm starting to realize that this way of thinking is a trap. It's a trap set for us by academic institutions, governments, society itself. We are an achievement-based society that far too often forgets the importance of cherishing the moment, living for today. Success is an admirable pursuit of course, but when it comes at the expense of the moment, it means nothing. It's somewhat paradoxical, but I think I'm finding a mixture of curiosity, desire for excellence, and joy of the moment to be a potent potion for life.
Up until this point on the tour, we've been rolling with five "teammates" total: vocalist/bandleader Annamaria Pinna, guitarist Dave Sussman, bassist Kevin Jones, photographer Max Sequeira, and myself. Yesterday we added a most vivacious sound-woman in the form of Chris Castillo. She has already added an element of positivity and humor to the group (as well as great ears to the mixing board) that is making the whole experience even more enjoyable. Great to have you aboard Chris!
Chris's first official gig doing sound with us was last night at Molly Malone's which, like Loaded, was not without its frustrations. The first annoyance as I mentioned yesterday, was the news that we would have to pay $35 if we wanted to soundcheck. This is, of course, the most ridiculous demand in the history of venues*, but apparently that seems to be getting more and more popular. As it turned out, we got there at five to soundcheck, but didn't actually get let in by the soundman until 7. Let me tel you, we certainly did not pay that $35. My main frustration with both venues so far is the lack of communication leading up to gigs. I am personally not the one to receive this correspondence, but I know that nobody in the band has received any sort of rider from a venue thus far. Despite these hurdles, we had a very fun show last night, and had great pictures and sound thanks to keen-eyed Max and sharp-eared Chris.
After the show, I was very excited to get to spend a little more time with my lovely girlfriend Emily, and left to join her at a huge birthday party for four of her friends. Before getting in an uber, though, I was witness to a sea of bikes flooding the street, one of which had light up wheels and duel American flags! Cool! Man! Yeah! You can check a clip from the bike parade below...
Needless to say, getting to spend more time with Emily was absolutely amazing. I am still so shocked and touched that she surprised me in LA; it really is going to make these two weeks away from NYC much easier.
*If we can just think about this fucked up reversal (of which there are currently many in the music business) for a second: venues want bands to play on their stages so that people will come to the venue and spend money. People spend money at shows when they're having a good time. People have a good time at shows when the music is good. The music has a better chance to be good if the band gets to soundcheck! The venue wants the band to pay to soundcheck?!?! OK, I think I've said enough about the absurdity of that.