Thanks to all our friends who came out and saw us at the Austin Wine Festival on Sunday evening. We had a blast, rain notwithstanding.
We're hunkering down this month to do a bunch of writing and rehearsing, so our schedule is clear until the end of June. We're starting to plan the fall East Coast tour (10/17 - 10/29) so if you've got any cities you think we should hit, let us know. :)
We're all back in TX now, amazingly in one piece - no accidents, breakdowns, illnesses, or other catastrophes. Our show on Thursday at Luna was really fantastic - a great way to come back home to TX.
No rest for the weary, though - now we're starting plans for a fall tour out East. Anybody on the Eastern seaboard, give us a holla
if you know if good spots we should play at.
Also, Austin friends - come catch our set on Sunday, May 27th, at the Austin Wine Festival - 7pm at Republic Square Park. See you there!
Keep those doggies Rollin'. It's 2:30 am and we've driven 1100 miles today. And by we I mean Nuje, aka Captain Driving Badge.
We've seen a great many things today - 5 states, mountains, plains, sun, rain, rainbows. What we'd like to see now, in particular, would be the insides of our eyelids.
Don't forget to come hang out at Luna tomorrow! We'll do our best to get there in one piece. Safety first!
Quick heads up to our Albuquerque friends - we've had to cancel our show at the District Bar this evening. We did some more examination of our tour routing from Seattle, and realized that there was pretty much no way in hell we were going to get there in time. Hope that doesn't put anybody out - definitely still go by the club, as our friend from Austin, The Bus Stop Stallions, will be rocking the house. We'll be back in town before long.
Despite warnings that Seattle would be rainy and cold, we arrived to find it sunny and ... well, cold. But as chilly as the air was, the people were warm and Texas-friendly.
Molly, a high school friend of Ian's, put the band up in her beautiful home not far from the club. Not only did she make us a kick-awesome dinner, but we also got to chill with her 18-month old daughter, Verity, whose favorite all-purpose expression is "Dooooing?" (as in, "Mommy Doing?" and "Patrick, Doing?"). She entertained Patrick for hours (and she was scared of Ian, which is probably wise).
Our show at Nectar Lounge was really cool - several fans and friends made it out to the show despite the school night. Molly came, with her husband Jeff (who took some rad photos) and some friends. Texas-transplant friends Emily & Matt came to hang out, as did musician friend Danielle. And Sandi, Susan & Paul got a tie for MVP for making it out to their 3rd show in as many nights (Eric in San Francisco being the only competition). We'll be mailing you all your groupie badges.
Nectar's is a great room, and they've got a hidden panel in the floor of the stage filled with beer. Why doesn't every club have a hidden panel in the floor of the stage filled with beer?
(As always, more pics available at our Flickr page
We also had the immense pleasure of seeing The Nepotistas, a jazz outfit with pure face-melting chops. Holy crap, you guys rule. Thanks for sharing the bill with us.
Now we're heading for home. Just 2600 miles in 3 days. I'm sure it's fine.
The drive from Penngrove to Portland narrowly beat out Austin to Lubbock as our longest drive -- so far. Again, Nuje kept the shine on his driving badge while Ian and I started into an updated
, classic BBC series
. The scenery inspired much "oohing, and ahhing," but there came a point where I had to cover my eyes.
We had successfully avoided all rain -- until we arrived in Portland. As the locals pointed out, the rain in the Northwest doesn't really storm; everything just gets wet. We didn't melt.
We got some really great surprises in Portland. Uberjam
made the trek from Austin to surprise Ian. He sure enjoyed seeing her and getting a break from us. They stayed in a fancy hotel and I bet it had a TV with inputs for the Wii. I'll bet they had fun playing Zelda all night.
Too, Sandi came from Houston and brought her siblings Susan and Paul to begin groupie training. We're happy we could provide distraction from Mothers' Day activities. They may just earn a spaceship jazz badge this week!Brainstains
This large house among several dentists' offices reminded us of Supper Happy Fun Land in Houston -- except with Lysol. John and the gang run a loose organization of artists and host music. Somewhat surprisingly, they keep the ship pretty clean and sober.
Eric and Betty hosted me and Nuje. After a thoroughly enjoyable late dinner with Sandi, Susan, Paul, Eric and Betty, I got a fantastic night's sleep. Eric's mom, Eric and Betty graciously shared their mothers' day activities with them. A nice brunch and a hike up Multnomah Falls provided us a nice break from the van. Super friends!Someday LoungeTres Gone
put on quite the show before our set. Veterans of the Portland music scene, they've put their musicianship to good creative work. They filled the nicely appointed Someday Lounge with beautifully intriguing sounds.
New to the downtown Portland scene, Someday Lounge provides great facilities and friendly staff. I'm sure the encompassing trolley construction makes things difficult. The sound was great and made us feel welcome. They also stream most performances live on teh intarwebs
Holy smokes, only two shows left!
After a great meal with Ian's friends, Anna, Eric, and Hillary, we headed north into wine country. We stopped to enjoy the grounds and wine at Cline Vinyards
We napped through the afternoon -- bor-ing, but necessary. We needed our rest for our show at the Black Cat
in Penngrove, CA. What a cool little room. The bar's building stood a little crooked from old age. The main room was small - cozy but not cramped. The linoleum floors and screen doors suggested that an older crowd might assemble for a morning coffee klach, but the bras hanging from the ceiling and posters for an upcoming 2 Live Crew
concert suggested a different draw. (Yes, THAT
2 Live Crew!)
Funky J took some great pictures at the Stork Room in Oakland. What a pal for sticking it out so late. Thanks Jonathan!More pictures from Funky J
Unfortunately, our schedule required taking I-5 through central California instead of the Pacific Coast Highway. We would have enjoyed the scenery, but the relative speed and security of the interstate won out. The valley south of the bay area sure reminded us of Lubbock: hot, windy, and full of stinky cows. Ugh. No burgers for me for a while. The outside of the van smelled worse than the inside of the van.
We anticipated this portion of our trip for all the friends we have in the area and the potential for open minded face melting. An undeniable sense of openness and free thinking attracts many to the area. I can't believe Nuje didn't move here long ago.
Three Days of Music
Tuesday - Grant & Green
Despite holding a coveted driving badge earned during the Korean War, Nuje gave up the wheel to Ian when entering the morass of San Francisco driving. Not only did Ian get us straight to the club, but he found some rock star parking across the street.
Our transplanted friend from Houston, Ryan Dylla
, played some funky crazy music with his duo drums and keys project, Duck Duck Moose. Ryan's been a big Drop Trio supporter and we're happy to see him making some fine noise in San Francisco.
Grant & Green (at the corner of Grant and Green, oddly enough) had a tiny little stage - perfect for our compact set up. We had a few old friends in attendance, but several folks came in from our advertisements on JamBase
and word of mouth. After some fine tuning on the bass heavy cube shaped stage we totally won them over.Eric
, great pals of mine from back in the day
, took us in during our stay in the Bay. Nary a cantankerous walrus
to be found. Wednesday we took some time to tool around Berkeley. We caught up on our fiber consumption and I gave some Spanish lessons.
Wednesday - Stork Club
We had been warned. Though the quirky decor suggested we might have a good show, I don't think we can recommend the Stork Club. We had lots of people show up to see us, but the sound guy invited some lady to open up the show that he found playing at a coffee shop down the street. Consequently, our set got bumped to nearly 12:45, well after most folks who turned out to see us left. However, we really dug Ben Adams and Joe Lewis.
Could someone suddenly become allergic to gravity?
If you're one of the folks that made it out, but couldn't suffer the poor scheduling, PLEASE drop us a line
. We'd like to make it up to you.
Thursday - KT's
Ian and Nuje took the BART into San Francisco and spent the day shopping for wigs - or something. I stayed back and took a nap and went for another walk through Berkeley. Berkeley boasts some nice record shops. For some reason I caught a Beach Boys
earworm that I passed along to Ian and Nuje.
If any Republicans live in San Francisco they probably hang out in Cow Hollow. Kelley's tavern differed greatly from the majority of the rooms we've played so far. The bathrooms sparkled, large leather chairs lined the walls, and the ladies sported some expensive looking silicone (and I'm not talking about their hot glue guns). Kelley's rocked: everything started on time; the friendly bar staff treated us well; and we didn't have to hassle anyone to get paid.
KT's also served as a reunion for lots of old friends. Old college friends and Ian's friends from the dotcom heyday shared some drinks and music with us. Eric earned his spaceship jazz badge by turning up for all three shows in the bay area.
Two gigs in L.A. meant we had a day to unwind. Thanks to our most excellent hosts Merle and Marty, we didn't have to spend it in the van. I went for a jog
, Nuje went for a walk
, and Ian reached for the stars
. Thanks Marty and Merle!
I would murder someone if I had to drive in Los Angeles traffic everyday.The Mint
rules. If two of our favorite clubs in Texas, Luna
and Helios, merged, they would emerge as The mint. Candle lit tables surrounded a compact stage. Heavy hitting jazz and blues come through for dressed down music lovers. An excellent bar staff takes their job seriously and made us feel welcome. We hope we can make it back.
Monday gigs are tough. Although a supportive and captive audience enjoyed our music, the vibe differed greatly from a Friday or Saturday party. We decided to treat ourselves
before turning in.
Southern California treated us well. We've made lots of new friends and finally brought our music to some long time listeners. Eric G. made it to both shows and deserves our thanks for helping with some heavy lifting -- a real pal.
San Francisco here we come!
When we got the gig at Mr. T's bowl we were a little skeptical. Especially me. A gig in a bowling alley reminded me of that scene in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
. But, we all know what happens when you assume ... you're usually wrong. I was. Mr. T's Bowl
proved to be one of the coolest music venues on the planet. From the booking guy, to the sound man to the Under Twins DJ Duo
we were treated better than ever. The Under Twins played such an awesome mix of music that they were (unfortunately) able to get even Ian and gpf dancing. Thankfully, I didn't take any pics of that.
See? It used to be a bowling alley ... back in the day ... before two thirds of the band was born...
The band that played after us, Charts and Maps
were also great. They played a tight set of instrumental/progressive/indie/rock. They made sure to tell all of their friends to get to the show early and check us out. Much appreciated fellas.
With every passing show we are getting our gear closer and closer on stage. Someone recently said that we are now so close to each other on stage that to signal changes we could just kiss. Probably not gonna happen ... uh, until week 3.
Holy cow, Los Angeles traffic stinks. I suppose current and former Houstonians shouldn't bat an eye, but the drive to Isla Vista
("IV" for those in the know) differed starkly from our previous days' drives through New Mexico and Arizona. Once we got through the city, the 101 rewarded our patience.
Arriving in IV, the traffic patterns immediately alerted us to a high student to
non-student ratio. Cars yield to pedestrians -- very slow-moving, skateboard toting pedestrians. Our local guide, Alex
, explained that their neighborhood right next to the university housed not only resident students but also vacation homes on the beach, modest working class homes, and varied social backgrounds. As California real estate prices have gone through the roof the students have descended and infested the neighborhood -- with beer.
Playing in the garage at the Biko house
turned out great. Initially skeptic that a loosely organized co-op would suit our spaceship vibe, we realized all we had to do was turn up the funk a hair. More than anywhere along the tour so far, we grooved out.
After cutting the music at midnight in the residential neighborhood we took a stroll down the main drag, Del Playa. I have no doubt Girls Gone Wild
visited here at some point. The crowds of students and drunkeness reminded me of Austin's 6th Street. Except houses line the street. And it's a block off the beach. And there aren't any cars. And nobody's fighting. I think IV wins.
Our hosts Alex, TJ, Elisa, and the gang opened their home to us and made us feel welcome. I think I lost a shoe, though. If they find and extra laying around I
hope they put it to good use!
After driving through the mountains we spent the night in El Cajon and nobody woke up sore.
We didn't have to drive far to get to San Diego. We ate lunch with Martin and the Axure
crew. Martin gave us a chance to catch up on some much needed R & R - another pal making this adventure possible.
Our gig at Scolari's Office took us to the North Park neighborhood in San Diego. We had time enough to wander a couple of funky shops and records stores nearby. We also found a pizza joint for dinner and stared at a TV for a while.
The seesaw ensemble opened impressed us with some free jazz and overdriven Fender Rhodes. We enjoy sharing music with good musicians and having our faces melted.
All this playing has tightened up our set. The crowd at Scolari's wore more black leather than usually appears for Drop Trio, but Ian won them over with some undeniably wicked keytar mind tricks. Seriously, they went nuts for the keytar; that doesn't always happen.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo
We didn't schedule a gig yesterday. Without a pressing schedule we took our time to rest, to eat, and to hang out in the desert. Many travel the path between Phoenix and San Diego, but getting off the road just a little
seemed very far from everything and anything.
We spent most of the day on the road and thankfully we didn't have to do much driving in the dark. What night driving we did was in the mountains. Unfortunately, we got stopped by the border patrol. The officer walked up to Ian in the passenger seat. Shining the light inside on all our gear covered in black sheets, he informed us that he usually sees Astro vans full of adults or dope. Somewhat surprisingly, he made his visit extremely short. Maybe it was our complexion. He certainly smelled something - but it sure wasn't dope.
So, as you could tell from yesterday's blog entry, our Phoenix stop didn't really meet all our expectations, owing mainly to the venue that didn't bother to tell us that they were closed (which we found out happened two weeks ago
, by the way.) But we made the best of it. We did an in-store show at a cool record store called Zia Record Exchange
Then we chilled out a little bit in Phoenix. Mainly that involved reading, driving around, and having a "rehearsal":
We also made friends with a tree, Steve. I think we're starting to go a little crazy.
Right now Nuje and Patrick are climbing a mountain. Not me - I'm sitting in the van where it's safe. Don't they know that exercise is bad for you?
That's my chain mail, by the way. Anyhoo, we're pushing off for California in a little while. Wo0Tz!
Last minute alert: As it turns out, we appear not
to have a gig at the Goat Head Saloon, primarily because there no longer appears to be
a Goat Head Saloon. From a poster on the door:
I working hard to Open BACK UP ASAP!
This is OUT of The GOATHEAD Saloon's Hands!
Nice of them to call us, eh? The road sucks sometimes. Anyway, come hang out at Zia Record Exchange on University in Tempe and we'll play for you there!
The desert heat must seep into your brain. We hit town at rush hour and everyone on the road drove infuriatingly rudely. Tucson seemed dirty and full of grumpy people when we arrived. Although, after meeting the fine folks at The Grill and getting a much needed meal, we realized that driving 9 hours in the desert might have skewed our perception.
Even so, downtown Tucson creeped us out a little.
Next door to the Red Room we visited the dustiest and most disorganized music shop
. They resell janky, used drum sticks by the bucket full. A gem might lurk among the junk, but the over-priced metronome they tried to sell Ian doesn't qualify.
The Red Room layout required us to set up on top of each other - as they say, "all up ins." (And by "they", I mean "we.") Carl Hanni
spun some old school records before we put together a somewhat subdued set for the bar crowd. Several people came out to revel in Arizona's brand new state-wide smoking ban. Wanting a beer or seven and a little Spaceship Jazz shouldn't require smelling like butts afterwards.