singer songwriter musician soundman producer engineer

on tour

While it is true that Joe is no longer touring on a regular basis, he has done four full blown tours across the United States Of America. This page will help you to see and feel the vibe of each of these unique tours.

Tour 2002

Tour 2003

Tour 2004

Tour 2007

Tour 2002

In October of 2002 Joe Chinnici & Rick Juliano set out on a one month tour in support of Joe’s new album entitled ’12 Months’. They performed the entire album acoustically along with some other tunes as well.

This tour was sponsored by JBL, Harman Kardon & Infinity.

Band Members (left to right)

Joe Chinnici: guitar & vocals

Rick Juliano: guitar & vocals

Tour Schedule

June 16 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York

August 08 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York
August 17 – Munchaba Lounge: Levittown, New York

September 29 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York
September 30 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York

October 04 – St, Michael’s College (S.H.A.R.P, House): Burlington, Vermont
October 05 – Village Cup: Jericho, Vermont
October 07 – Cafe 59: Buffalo, New York
October 08 – Fielder’s: Westover, West Virginia
October 09 – WXUT 88.3 FM: Toledo, Ohio
October 09 – Bottle Rocket: Toledo, Ohio
October 10 – Brewed Awakenings: Toledo, Ohio
October 11 – Locker Room: Madison, Wisconsin
October 12 – Break Time Cafe: Monoma, Wisconsin
October 13 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 14 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 16 – Hale’s Tavern: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
October 19 – Good Times: Marietta, Georgia
October 22 – WSBF 88.1 FM: Clemson, South Carolina
October 22 – Loose Change: Clemson, South Carolina
October 24 – Easy Chair: Blacksburg, Virginia
October 25 – WRSU 88.7 FM: New Brunswick, New Jersey


Well, the tour has ended and we can’t wait to do it again.  We went as far north as Burlington, Vermont, as far west as Madison, Wisconsin, and as far south as Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  And guess what, people are the same everywhere.  They are all GREAT!!!!  It was so much fun to play and sing almost every night to people that came specifically to see us.  What an amazing feeling.  I’ve learned so many things on this tour, I don’t know where to start.  I guess I’ll just start babbling, and hopefully I won’t bore you.  One thing I learned is that Rick is and always will be a dear friend.  It’s not easy to spend every moment of your life with someone for 30 days straight.  Yet, we did it, and had fun doing it.  Most married couples couldn’t do it while preserving their sanity, and we pulled it off and are ready to do it again.  Rick is a great friend.

Next I’d like to talk about the college students.  They are amazing.  They are all mature, responsible, respectful and intelligent.  People express concerns about the “youth of today”.  Well I’ve got news for you.  We have nothing to worry about.  We were no better at that age than they are today.  Remember when you were 20 and couldn’t understand why all the old people treated you like you didn’t know what you were doing even though you did.  Well, these kids are now in your shoes and you are treating them the way you didn’t want to be treated.  Everybody just relax and enjoy life.

And now I must move onto my most personal issue, my wife Cyndie.  Simply put, she is everything in the world to me, and I am thankful that she is crazy enough to understand me.

Now let’s talk about the music.  A few years back I gave into the “idea” that I am too old and too fat to ever get signed or have a “real” career in music.  I mean, all you see on MTV and VH1 are these young bands and/or artists flaunting their perfect bodies, and then you’re told by the record company execs that you’re too old or that they don’t know how to market you.  After a while you begin to believe it.  Well, you know what?  We just went on tour performing only Joe Chinnici (Chin-Knee-See) material and every single person that heard us absolutely loved it.  We actually did a show that had 5 year old kids along side 90 year old senior citizens, and they were all enjoying it.  There are hundreds of girls from age 16 – 25 sleeping in “Joe Chinnici” t-shirts every night.  Hundreds and hundreds of college students are totally digging the CD, and every single venue we played wants us back in the spring.

So, the next record company executive that tells me that I’m too old or that he doesn’t know how he could market me, can take my “12 Months” disc, shove it up his ass and go run the marathon.  On the other hand, the first record company executive that offers me a legitimate fair deal can take great pleasure in kicking the other guy’s ass and watching his face as the disc in his ass shatters.

In the end, I’ve learned that I have nothing more to prove.  I can only hope that somebody in the record industry catches on, or I will simply continue on this journey as an unsigned act.

Thanks to each and every person who made this tour so incredibly special.

Joe Chinnici

PS:  I really need to thank JBL, Harman/Kardon & Infinity for their support through this entire project. Without their assistance, this would not have been possible.

Tour 2003

In 2003 Joe Chinnici & Rick Juliano went out on their second and third tours (now considered to be the single Tour of 2003) in support of Joe’s album entitled ’12 Months’. This time they brought along pre-recorded drum and bass tracks (as performed by Joe) to assist in the experience.

This tour was sponsored by JBL, Harman Kardon & Infinity.

Band Members (left to right)

Joe Chinnici: guitar & vocals

Rick Juliano: guitar & vocals (pre-recorded bass, drums & percussion)

Tour Schedule (spring leg)

April 04 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York
April 05 – Hotel Rhinecliff: Rhinecliff, New York
April 08 – Mile Square: Hoboken, New Jersey
April 09 – Charlie D’s: Montpelier, Vermont
April 10 – Manhattan’s: Burlington, Vermont
April 11 – Purple Moon: Waitsfield, Vermont
April 12 – End Zone: Saugerties, New York
April 14 – Cale 58: Buffalo, New York
April 15 – Fielder’s: Westover, West Virginia
April 16 – Brewed Awakenings: Toledo, Ohio
April 18 – Locker Room: Madison, Wisconsin
April 19 – Locker Room: Madison, Wisconsin
April 19 – Break Time Cafe: Manama, Wisconsin
April 21 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
April 22 – Parrish’s: Oxford, Mississippi
April 23 – Checkpoint Charlie’s: New Orleans, Louisiana
April 25 – Hale’s Tavern: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
April 26 – Good Times: Marietta, Georgia
April 28 – Michael’s: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
April 30 – Easy Chair: Blacksburg, Virginia

Epilogue (spring leg)

Well, we have completed the second tour.  This tour was quite different than the first tour, in the sense that I prerecorded drum and bass tracks, and then we played along with the tracks.  We also inserted many covers into the set.  It was very exciting to play with drums and bass again.  The travel was a lot of fun, Rick and I once again had a great time, and without a doubt, we had the best time in Charleston, Illinois.  The town that started out as a stop-over has turned into my absolute favorite place to play.

There were many other high points as well.  My cousin’s Charlie and Janet surprising me in New Orleans, three shows in Madison, Wisconsin in two days, an unsuspected great time in Oxford, Mississippi, and a thrilling end of tour show at Munchaba on Long Island.

Once again, the people we met and saw for the second time were absolutely wonderful.  We had so much fun, we decided to do it again in October.  We’ll see you in the fall.  Thanks again to everyone and Rick for making this possible.

Joe Chinnici

PS:  Once again, I really need to thank JBL, Harman/Kardon & Infinity for their support through this entire project. Without their assistance, this would not have been possible.

Tour Schedule (fall leg)

September 25 – Manhattan’s: Burlington, Vermont
September 26 – Charlie O’s: Montpelier, Vermont
September 27 – End Zone: Saugerties, New York

October 01- Fielder’s: Westover, West Virginia
October 02 – Michael’s: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
October 03 – Michael’s: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
October 05 – Hemingway’s: Marietta, Georgia
October 08 – Hale’s Tavern: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
October 09 – Back Porch: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
October 10 – Parrish’s: Oxford, Mississippi
October 12 – Checkpoint Charlie’s: New Orleans, Louisiana
October 16 – Royal Too: Wichita, Kansas
October 17 – Royal Too: Wichita, Kansas
October 21 – Silver Dollar: Cody, Wyoming
October 22 – Ramada Cheers: Rapid City, South Dakota
October 24 – locker Room: Madison, Wisconsin
October 25 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 26 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 27 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 28 – Brewed Awakenings: Toledo, Ohio
October 30 – K-Ville Hotel: Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania
October 31 – Daily Grind: Walton, New York

November 01 – Grand Stand: Baldwin, New York

Epilogue (fall leg)

The third tour has been completed, and I have come to some realizations this time around.  While it was an awful lot of fun, many things occurred that made me realize it was time to make some changes.  First, I am sorry to announce that much of the youth of America do not know what a phonetic spelling is.  As a result, I have decided that the name “Chin-Knee-See” must go away.  And so I am officially changing the name to “Joe Chinnici”.  I’m sure people will still have a hard time saying my last name, but at least people won’t ask me if I am Chinese.

Second, the prerecorded drum and bass tracks did not work.  Wait a minute.  Let me explain that.  The tracks did work, but they worked too well.  Believe it or not, there were several times on this last tour that people actually stopped us from playing in the middle of a song, and ask us to make a mistake or to play guitar without the tracks, just to prove that we were actually playing.  At one point, we were actually accused of being Milli Vanilli, because they didn’t believe we were actually playing.  As a result, moving forward, I have decided that future tours will include a full band.

Some other things.  People are great, music is life, and record companies don’t know shit about what’s good.  Also, the Midwest is wonderful, Wyoming is where I belong, the people of Charleston, Illinois are AWESOME, the people at The Uptowner are the BEST, and finally, Chevy Vans RULE!!!In the end, the tour was great, and the next one will be better.  Now I’m off to start recording the new album.  My plan is to spend the next 10 months writing and recording, putting together a new band, and booking the next tour.  I have my work cut out for me.  See you in October.  Thanks to all for making this possible.

Joe Chinnici

PS:  And again, I really need to thank JBL, Harman/Kardon & Infinity for their support through this entire project. Without their assistance, this would not have been possible.

Tour 2004

In 2004 Joe hit the road yet again in support of his third album entitled ‘Here I Am’. But this time he decided to lose the pre-recorded drum and bass tracks, and instead brought along buddies Mike Christian (drums) and Rusty Homan (bass).

This tour was sponsored by JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity & AKG.

Band Members (left to right)

Mike Christian: drums & vocals (bass & guitar on occasion)

Rusty Homan: bass & vocals (guitar & drums on occasion)

Joe Chinnici: vocals & guitar (bass & drums on occasion)

Tour Schedule

September 30 – Fielder’s: Westover, West Virginia

October 01 – Brewed Awakenings: Toledo, Ohio
October 02 – Good Times: Madison, Wisconsin
October 06 – Ramada Cheers: Rapid City, South Dakota
October 07 – Ramada Cheers: Rapid City, South Dakota
October 08 – My Buddy’s Place: Sheridan, Wyoming
October 09 – My Buddy’s Place: Sheridan, Wyoming
October 11 – Shooters Roost: Reeder, North Dakota
October 14 – Good Times: Madison, Wisconsin
October 15 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 16 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 17 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 19 – Scooters: Clarksville, Tennessee
October 21 – Back Porch: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
October 22 – Back Porch: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
October 24 – Hemingway’s: Marietta, Georgia
October 28 – K-Ville Hotel: Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania
October 29 – Fielder’s: Westover, West Virginia
October 30 – Daily Grind: Walton, New York

Tour Diary (week 1)

Sunday, September 26, 2004
Well, it’s Sunday night. After a gig with “The Wankers” yesterday, Russ and I had to wake up early this morning, load up the van this, eat a nice French Toast and Bacon breakfast (prepared by my wonderful wife Cyndie), and then begin our journey down to Long Island. Once there, we hooked up with Mike, unloaded the van, set up, and started rehearsals. Things are starting to come together, and I am becoming confident that this tour will be all I’d hoped for.

Monday, September 27, 2004
Monday night, after a very long day of tour preparation, we settled in for more rehearsing. Things are really starting to take shape. Mike has worked out his microphone/headset issues and now feels comfortable with his setup. Russ is becoming more and more confident with his voice. And I’m getting better at playing the new songs. I know that sounds crazy but you have to realize I wrote and recorded some of these songs six months ago. I played them only once to record them, so now I have to relearn how to play the songs I wrote. Better yet, I also have to learn how to play and sing them at the same time. Thankfully it’s all coming together rather nicely.

I also just spent some time to put together the “Joe Chinnici: The Tour Begins” email promo which was just sent out to the mailing list. Well, it’s pretty late (almost 2AM), and I’m gonna call it a night. More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Another long day of tour preparation, and more rehearsing. Things are starting to really come together, except for my back, I threw it out this morning. Man was that painful!!! Thankfully, through some hard-ass mental convincing, I managed to make it go away, yeah right. No seriously, the pain is gone. I’m very thankful for that because tomorrow night we are going to have to load up the truck and I would be useless if I couldn’t move.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
We spent a better part of today installing the clamshell case on top of the van, fixing wires, re-soldering sub cabinets, changing drum heads and thanking the music gods because my back feels 100% again. Then we got into an acoustic vocal rehearsal, had dinner, and kicked into our final full blown rehearsal. It went well. When all was said and done, at 1AM, we packed everything up and loaded it into the van. It’s now 3AM and we have to crash for the night because we have to be on the road by 10AM in order to make it to the first gig on time, which is in Westover, West Virginia. The problem is that we are all completely psyched so it will probably be difficult to fall asleep, but we must try. So I’m gonna sign off for now. I’ll write again tomorrow after the first gig. I should have plenty to say afterwards. Ciao for now.

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Today was quite an adventure. We all woke up after only 5 hours of sleep, got in the van and drove 460 miles to the first gig in Westover, West Virginia. The club is called Fielder’s and the owner, Dave, is a great guy. He set us up with two huge plates of wings, and I have to say they are probably the best wings I’ve ever had. We had a bit of difficulty dealing with getting the new banner set up, but everything worked out. This was the perfect place to do our first gig. The room is big enough that were able to work out the kinks in the system, and how we would lay everything out on stage. We played three sets of music and then it was time to pack it in. As we were packing, Mike lost a piece of hardware from one of his cymbal stands. We searched far and wide, but could not find it. We searched hard enough that I became convinced that it must be in one of our bags, and that it will show up tomorrow. Let’s see what happens. One more thing that I have to write. This just needs to be said. As we were leaving and inebriated girl comes up and says “hey, you want to watch me pee”, I say “sure”, she says “where’s my money?”. Pretty scary!!! Oh well, time to go to bed. More tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2004
Today was much less grueling. We only had to drive 300 miles today, so we were able to leave at 10:30AM. Russ did most of the driving today (Mike did it yesterday). Unfortunately I won’t be doing much driving on this tour, as I am always dealing with computer stuff like updating the website, mastering recordings from the night before (this tour will likely bring a live album), and writing emails. Anyway, we got into town fairly early, with enough time to go to the hotel, take showers, and then head over to Brewed Awakenings for a relaxing setup. The banner went up much nicer this time. And wouldn’t you know it, as we were setting up, I look down and say “hey Mike, is that the piece?” and Mike says “yeah”. There it was, sitting right there on the floor. All proud of myself, thinking “yes, I knew it was in one of our bags”, Rusty came up with a different scenario. He is convinced that the piece came flying out of the cymbal stand with such force, that it flew all the way from West Virginia to Ohio and landed on the floor in Brewed Awakenings. I guess it’s possible. Anyway, on a serious note, after setting up, Casey (the owner) showed up. She is so wonderful to deal with. Actually, everyone there is. They’re all great. Anyway, we ate a nice meal and then performed the entire album “Here I Am” in order, and added in a few others as well. It really was a great time. I love playing at Brewed. I also need to thank Cherie, Abbie & Dorothy. These girls are great. They make each trip to Ohio very special. Okay, so I’m done ranting. We’re back from the gig, feeling pretty good about ourselves, being that we sounded better tonight than last night, and will hopefully sound even better tomorrow night, and it’s time to go to sleep. More tomorrow.

Saturday, October 2, 2004
Today was a really great day, although we had a few mishaps. We started out the day by going to Home Depot and buying some things to fix little problems we’ve been having with some equipment and the van, performed some minor surgeries, and then hit the road. While on the road we hit a really cool music store to pick up a few odds and ends like guitar stands, snare drum dead ringers and so on. Once we got back on the road it hit me. This is my fourth tour. While the three previous tours were a lot of fun, they were chock full of stress, all three offered a new and different kind of stress, but it was stress nonetheless. Now, here we are at the start of the fourth tour, usually the most stressful point in the tour, and I am completely relaxed, thoroughly enjoying myself, happy and pumped up. This is what I have been hoping for all along, and now I finally have it. May I also say that Mike and Rusty are amazing. They are two amazing musicians and wonderful human beings. I am honored and lucky to have them playing with me. So, we got to Wisconsin and went straight to Deb’s house. Deb is the person that used to book me at The Locker Room. She no longer works there, so she set us up at Good Times. She was also nice enough to put all of us up at her home. Deb is great. I am so thankful that I found her again after she left The Locker Room. And you know what, Good Times was even better than TLR. The people were great, really attentive, and extremely appreciative of what we were doing. I would have to say this was the best gig to date on this tour, partially because we are getting better as a band. It is really starting to sound great. Oh, back to pulling up to Deb’s. When we got out of the van, the side door broke. So we will spend tomorrow, our first day off, fixing the door. That should make for a nice day. Anyway, that’s all for now. It’s 4AM here in Wisconsin, which actually means 5AM for me (we crossed over the time line today) and I only got 4 hours sleep last night, so I’m pretty shot. Tomorrow we will be fixing the van and taking Deb out to lunch. I don’t know that I’ll have a lot to say being that we are not playing tomorrow, but I’ll write something. Till tomorrow…

Tour Diary (week 2)

Sunday, October 3, 2004
Our first day off. Woke up at 9AM today, not exactly sure why and dove right back into working. My plan was to get all of my “tour work” done so that I could enjoy the next two days off with the guys. It worked. Rusty, Mike and Deb worked on the van door while I worked on the website and editing last nights show. Wait, let me back up. First Deb made us some insanely wonderful breakfast consisting of hash browns and biscuits and gravy. Awesome!!! Okay, so they worked on the door, I worked on tour stuff, and then we met to complete fixing the door together. Once that was done, we took Deb out to lunch/dinner at some really nice steak house on the lake. Really good food and great company. When we returned from dinner, we loaded up the van with our luggage and low and behold, the battery was dead. This made sense considering that the side door on the van had been open for 24 hours. After connecting up the battery charger and getting the van started, we said our goodbyes to Deb and headed over to Ashish and Gauri’s house. These are the people that owned the coffee shop I used to play in. Unfortunately they closed down, but we have stayed in touch. So we got together with them and to our surprise they were making dinner for us. You have no idea how hard it was to turn down Gauri’s homemade Indian dinner. That was probably one or the worst decisions I’ve had to make to date on this tour. Hopefully when we loop back around and play here next week, we will be able to hook up with them again and enjoy a true authentic Indian dinner. Anyway, we left them and decided to hit the road for a few hours, to get a jump on the 800 mile trip to Mount Rushmore. Rusty drove while I finished up my computer work, and Mike took a power nap. We stopped in some town called Wisconsin Dells at this little no name motel and got a great room for a very low price. We hung out for the evening, I wrote this note, and now we are going to sleep. I’m hoping we will reach the Badlands, but not sure if we will get that far. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2004
Well, we weren’t able to reach the Badlands today, but we will definitely hit them tomorrow. Nothing much happened today other than to drive over 400 miles, do some shopping at Wal-Mart, and eating two meals that were too big. There is a fast food place out here in the Midwest called Culvers, home of the butter burger. These are the best fast food burgers I’ve ever had. For dinner we ate Chinese food in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and it really was very good. Surprising. After settling into the hotel, we sat down for an acoustic vocal rehearsal, and now I am calling it a night.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Today was pretty amazing. It feels so good to be so relaxed on this tour. We really are making the most of our time. This morning, while I was doing some quick updating to the website and taking care of some email stuff, the guys went and got breakfast and gassed up the van. That was really nice of them as it saved us a bunch of time. Soon we were on the road and heading toward Mount Rushmore. The plan was to go full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes with the exception of a stop in the Badlands to really appreciate Mother Nature. And you know what, we did exactly as we had planned. Thankfully time was on our side being that we passed into the Mountain time zone, buying us an extra hour in the day. The Badlands were amazing. Rusty wanted to stay and do some camping, but we had to reel him in and remind him that we are on tour. That’s not true, he already knows that, but I saw it in his eyes, he really wanted to do some hiking or something. Mike really dug it too. I don’t think he really believed that stuff like this actually does exist. But now he has no choice but to believe it, he saw it with his own eyes. Once we were done with the Badlands, we did what every other tourist does, we went to Wall Drug. Wall Drug was a tiny little store in a tiny little town many years ago. As a last ditch effort to try and get some business, the owner stuck a sign out on Interstate 90 offering free ice water. Well, the place exploded into a gold mine once truckers realized that could get free water. Many years later it has turned into a bit of a legend and a huge store, so we went there. I have to say I was very disappointed, and so was Mike and Rusty. It was nothing more than a tourist trap, something I am not into at all. Once we left Wall Drugs we only had another 50 miles to go. We got to Ramada/Cheers and got setup in our hotel room. My Cell Phone is now dead and I’m working on getting it fixed. Being that I’m completely caught up with everything, Mike and I decided to go to the bar and sit down for a drink. Rusty decided to hang back and do some reading. So Mike and I go and they are having Karaoke night. The host had a really good voice and did a great job of hosting, unlike most other Karaoke hosts which are nothing more than frustrated wannabe singers living out a fantasy with a Karaoke machine. This guy was good. The first person after him was also very good. I sat there thinking to myself, wow, South Dakota has some serious talent. Then the next person got up and it was all downhill from there. The funniest part was this girl that came strutting in the place looking and acting like she owned it. Way overconfident. Then she got up to sing. I won’t say the name of the song, her name, what she looked like, or where we were as I do not want to offend her. But she got up to sing and it was embarrassing. She had obviously stood in front of a mirror practicing all of her I-Want-To-Be-A-Diva moves and poses, but forgot that in order to be a Diva the most important thing is learning how to sing, and that is something she simply could not do. She was terrible. I was truly embarrassed for her. So we left. I am now back in the hotel writing this entry and then I’m going to sleep to gear up for tomorrows adventure. Mount Rushmore, here we come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Last night, after completing yesterdays entry, Mike woke up from a bad dream about people we won’t name. Of course this woke Rusty up as well and then we proceeded to laugh for almost an hour about some really stupid shit that I can’t even remember. But it was really funny. The three of us got to that point where we were having trouble breathing. I love moments like that. Okay, so we woke up this morning, went over to the club, setup and began a little rehearsal. Unfortunately there was some sort of conference going on above the club, so we had to stop. Apparently the people in the conference did not find our music suitable. I did my string changing ceremony on all of my guitars and then we returned to the hotel room for a little acoustic vocal rehearsal. After a fairly relaxing and uneventful day we returned to the club for a nice dinner and then an evening of playing. We had a lot of fun and met some really nice and interesting people. After dealing with her for a year, I met Teri, the person that booked the shows and runs the club. What a sweetheart. And her boyfriend Shawn and his band mates were also great people. Many Native Americans in this area, and they all seem wonderful. When the show was over, we sat down and had a drink and then called it a night. Obviously we never made it over to Mount Rushmore, but we are definitely doing that tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2004
Today was a long but fairly relaxing day. After a few hours of typical tour maintenance stuff like website updates, emails, phone calls, etc., we went to breakfast and then headed over to Mount Rushmore. This was my fourth time experiencing this wonder, but for Rusty and Mike, it was their first. They really dug it. When we left, we went by to check out the progress on Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse is a new monument in the works, similar to Mount Rushmore, except that it is only one person, and it is bigger. It has quite a number of years to go before it is completed, but it was certainly worth checking out. As we left Crazy Horse, we then took the wonderful Route 16A which takes you through Custer Park. It was truly amazing. We took tons of pictures. Lots of wildlife and great bridges. We returned to Rapid City in time to shower and do the gig. This was also a fun night, but not quite as fun as the first night. Even so, we had a great time, and the people in Rapid City are great. Can’t wait to get back there again. Well, it’s really late. I have to crash because we have to get up in 5 hours to pack up the van and get on the road to make it to Sheridan, Wyoming for tomorrow nights gig.

Friday, October 8, 2004
Today was tough. When all was said and done, I only got 4 hours of sleep. We woke up, packed up the room, went to breakfast, went to the club and packed up all of the gear and loaded it into the van, went back to the room and loaded the luggage into the van and got on the road by 11AM. We headed toward Devil’s Tower. The ride was beautiful, but I was working on the computer pretty much the entire time. We had taken so many photos of Mount Rushmore that I had a lot of work to do to edit them and get them posted. When we got to Devil’s Tower, I was once again blown away. This is the giant rock that appears in “Close Encounters”. Everyone asks “Why go visit a rock?”. Well you know what? It is one of the most amazing natural attractions in this country. And now I know I’m not crazy because Mike and Rusty were equally blown away by it. The drawback, once again we took tons of photos, so now I had more work to do. Well, we got back on the road and I kept working. I got to the point where I was falling asleep while working so I decided I had to take a nap. Oops, we’re there and it’s time to set up. So we set up, went across the street to the hotel, took showers and went back to play. I never got to take my nap, and I was completely exhausted. The place, My Buddy’s Place, this was the first time I was ever playing there. As we pulled up, we got a little worried. It looked a little, I don’t know, questionable. But we walked in, and it was big and beautiful. And the people, once again, were incredible. Well, somewhere around the second set, I felt a click in my back. That usually does not mean anything good. Typically, if I sit down, I’ll feel better, but I couldn’t sit down, I had to stand there with my 16lb Les Paul strapped over my shoulders. OUCH!!! By the time the night was over, I was really hurting, so we returned to the hotel room. Well we’re here now and I’m writing this, but I really need to go to sleep. I can’t think straight. I haven’t spoken to my wonderful wife in two days (no cell service), I’m going through Cyndie withdrawals, I haven’t completed the photo editing for Mount Rushmore or Devil’s Tower, and I haven’t yet finished the mastering for the recordings of yesterdays show. So I am really behind, but I will try to get caught up tomorrow. I’m going to sleep.

Saturday, October 9, 2004
Today was quite a day. We didn’t have to do any traveling, but we had a bunch of maintenance to deal with. We needed to do some minor repairs on the van and it was definitely laundry time. This was also the third time in 8 shows that the room was so dark we couldn’t see what we were playing, so we decided to purchase some lights. So now, not only do we come with our own complete PA system, we also have a two light show. This production is ever expanding. Anyway, the day was very nice and relaxing, except for the fact that I lost my wallet just after fixing the van. After driving all over the place looking for it, and completely panicking, we found it wedged way back under the seat. How it got there, we don’t know, but boy were we relieved to find it. Then it came time to do the show. Unfortunately the club was not very crowded at all, but we were told that it was much more busy than a typical Saturday night. Even so, we played our best tonight. The band has finally come into it’s own. We all know the songs so well now, that we are each able to let loose a little bit and have it sound better instead of tentative. If tonight was a sign of what’s to come, we should really be kicking some ass by the time the tour ends. Oh, one more thing. I realized today that with different people on the road, the mindset changes. With Rusty and Mike, we have not been looking for Stupid Stuff or dealing with Life Lessons. So tonight, I pulled these links off of the 2004 tour page. Well that’s it for now.

Tour Diary (week 3)

Sunday, October 10, 2004
Today was our day off. Rather than spending it sitting in a hotel room rehearsing, reading, watching TV, or listening to music, we decided to take a ride through the Big Horn Mountains. All I could say is WOW!!! This was my fourth time through these incredible mountains, and amazingly enough, it gets better every time. I posted a huge number of photos in the photo album, so be sure to check them out. Speaking of the photo album, I added a new feature. There is now a Hi Speed page for the photo album which shows every photo full size rather than the little thumbnails. This should make viewing a little nicer for people with a broadband internet connection. Anyway, back to the day. After leaving the Big Horn Mountains, we entered into Montana. Eventually we pulled into a rest stop that had a sign posted stating “Rattle snakes have been observed here. Please stay on the grass.” We should have taken a picture of that, but didn’t think of it at the time. Eventually we made our way to Miles City, a small town in Montana. We are now at a cute little motel in Miles City, and will be leaving early tomorrow morning for Reeder, South Dakota where we will have our next show. Rusty and Mike are doing their string changes while I update the website and send out my Week 2 email. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2004
It’s really late, 3:20AM as I write this. We just finished up our show at The Shooters Roost in Reeder, but first let me back up to the beginning of the day before I forget. This morning we woke up and headed out almost immediately. We only had to drive 150 miles, but they would be all back roads, so we didn’t know how long it would take. Well, it was one back road and it was gorgeous, and the speed limit was 75, so we made it to Reeder in no time. Reeder is literally a 5 block town. We pulled up and wondered what we got ourselves into. Then we walked in, and Denise, the owner, was just the sweetest person in the world. We talked with her for a while, set up our gear, drove 20 miles to the nearest town with a hotel, got all set up, and went back to do the gig. This is a Monday night and we expected nothing. Well, she had a sign on the street, which will be posted in the next day or so, laminated posters all over the place, and had run an add at the local radio station using “Groovin'” in the add. So, we started playing and the place filled up with people, and some were asking to hear Groovin’ because they had heard it in the commercial. That was pretty cool. We played all night, and then packed up to head back to the hotel. Denise did something amazing. She really appreciated us and what we were doing, and decided on her own to pay double what we had agreed on. That’s not a tip, that’s an owner understanding what’s happening and not taking advantage. This is a beautiful thing, and Denise, I thank you. Once again, all of the people we met in Reeder, North Dakota are wonderful. We hope we get to see them again next year. In the meantime, I’m going to sleep. Goodnight!!! Oh one more thing, it is now officially Rusty’s Birthday. Being on the road can be a bit lonely, and on the actual day of his birthday, we will be doing nothing more than traveling 450 miles. So, if you’re reading this and it’s Tuesday, October 12, please send Rusty a birthday wish via the Circle Of Friends Forum. We will check it throughout the day as we are traveling, and let Rusty know of your birthday wished to him. This should make him feel great!!! Thanks!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Okay, so we started today with the plan that we would drive only 300 miles, which would leave us only 300 more miles to drive tomorrow, to get to the Dairy Queen Headquarters. It was Rusty’s birthday today, and all he wanted was a day without any Joe farts and Culvers Butter Burgers for dinner. Amazingly enough, I pulled it off, but at 12:01, boy did I let loose on him. As for dinner, North Dakota doesn’t have any Culvers, so we stayed on course, aiming for Minnesota, hoping that we would find a Culvers when we crossed the border. No such luck. Rusty was getting mighty testy, not having eaten for several hours, and just wanted to eat something. He didn’t care where we stopped. So, we pulled off the road, just inside Minnesota, and stopped at some really nice looking restaurant. The atmosphere was beautiful, but the food was pretty crappy. Crappy food or not, Rusty now had something in his system, and was able to smile again. So we hit the road, and wouldn’t you know it, the very next exit had a Culvers. Oh well, Rusty was impatient, so he didn’t get his Culvers for his birthday. Oh, earlier in the day, Mike was driving, and had been all day, and Rusty looks at the dashboard and says “Hey, don’t we need gas soon?” Now, we’re in North Dakota where the nearest gas stations are 60 – 100 miles apart. We look down, and the gas gauge is on E, and I mean E, as in EMPTY!!! We all completely panic, realizing that we are going to run out of gas, and what in the world would we do to fix this problem. Well, while freakin’ out, exactly one mile ahead is the next exit with a gas station. We pulled in, got gas, and went on our way. That was a major scare, but thankfully, we got through it without any problems. Very Lucky. So anyway, we left the restaurant and decided to drive a little more, you know, to shorten the drive for tomorrow. Well, as we’re driving, I finish up a cigarette and roll up the window. Yes, I rolled up the window. A 1988 Chevy Van does not have power windows. It has one of those handle things where you have to actually move it in a circular motion in order to raise and lower the window. Great exercise for the arms. No wonder why my arms are skinny when the rest of me is fat. Okay, enough of my rant. So I rolled up the window, and when the window rolled up all the way, the handle kept going, and broke off right in my hand. This van is amazing. The engine keeps going, but everything else around it is slowly falling apart. So now, every time I need to roll down the window for a smoke or fart ventilation, I have to take a screwdriver, insert it into the broken handle, and roll down the window. Maybe we’ll find a NAPA store and buy a replacement handle. So, we ended up driving 600 miles today, and we are now only 50 miles from DQ headquarters. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet them for lunch and have some fun tomorrow. Oh, one more thing. I just finished posting all of the photos from the past two days, and after posting them live on the web, I began reading them back. It’s now 3AM, and I was falling asleep as I was writing the captions. Well, when I read them, many of them were complete gibberish, so I had to go back and fix the complete nonsense captions I had written. Well, I’m going to sleep. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
After spending a week without any cell service (my cell phone company SUCKS), I finally got service back. My honey is in a bit of a down mood. Usually she’s happy to have me disappear for a month at a time. But this time, I don’t know, maybe she’s actually really in love with me. Hard to believe, considering how anal and difficult I can be at times. Regardless, we are both completely missing each other, but it’s nice to be able to talk on the phone again. So we got up this morning and headed over to the Dairy Queen Headquarters. We got there in time for lunch (thanks to miles of driving yesterday) and finally got to meet the wonderful Carolyn Kidder and her assistant Allison Eicher. These two woman were wonderful. They took us on a tour of the facility and then took us out to lunch, where else but Dairy Queen. You know none of us were complaining about that. After spending some time and taking a nice photo for the website, we said our goodbyes, let them get back to work, and began our journey toward Madison, Wisconsin. We are really psyched about returning to Madison, because the gig two weeks ago was a complete blast and hanging with Deb is always great. We can only hope tomorrow will be more of the same. Well, we have only 100 miles to go to get to Madison tomorrow, so we stopped for the night. I’m gonna change my guitar strings, and then I think we are going to learn a new tune to add to the set for tomorrows show. So that’s it for now. More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 14, 2004
Wow, today couldn’t have worked out any better. First off, we did learn the new tune, and it sound great, well, considering that Mike was playing drums on my guitar case, and Rusty and I were playing bass and guitar through the same little 5 watt practice amp. Anyway, we got up and drove a very short 75 miles to the club. Actually, first we went to Deb’s. Deb wasn’t home, but Mike, her husband, was. So we unloaded our luggage and headed over to the club. Unfortunately Mike missed us both times we were in town because he had to work, and his work makes him travel a lot. Mike (Bubba), I hope we get to hang next time. So, at the club we set up our stuff while they made us lunch, than we tried the new tune with the complete system, and then went back to Deb’s. Getting back to do the show was awesome. The place was filled with people ready to listen to us. One guy named Shane had heard about the show last week, perused the website, and decided to bring his “Cheese Head” from the 1996 Packer Super Bowl and give it to me, making me an honorary “Cheese Head”. That was really cool. Anyway, we played all night. The audience was incredible. We had a great time. Wisconsin is great. I love it there. But tomorrow is the day. The whole tour is booked around Homecoming in Charleston, Illinois. I don’t know how it could get any better than what we had tonight, but if it can, Charleston is the place where it will happen. Till tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2004
Deb is just amazing. She made us Steak & Eggs with Hash Browns for breakfast. That ain’t the typical “on the road” breakfast. It was great. Then we said our goodbyes and headed for Charleston. We stopped and had our last Culvers for the tour, as there are no Culvers down south or in the east. But you can bet we’ll be eating more Dairy Queen. So anyway, we had to move fast because we had to be at the Uptowner and completely set up by 7PM because there was an opening band that had to set up in front of us, and was playing until 9:30PM. Well, we made it there in time, walk in the door and immediately felt right at home once again. Most everyone I was hoping to see was there, Stu, Gregg, RT, Tory, Kevin, Nancy, Beth and Carly. It was really cool that Carly showed up, considering that she had moved back home. Carly asked how Dan is doing. Who’s Dan? The only people missing were Jimmy and Angie. But unfortunately neither of them work there any longer. Anyway, we set up, did a little sound check and everything felt great. Then we found out that the opening band had cancelled, so we didn’t have to worry about our set up or anything. That took some pressure off the evening. Nancy and Kevin brought us back to their house to get set up for our three day stay. Oh man, their house is amazing. A huge log home that they built themselves, set on 6 acres. It’s just gorgeous, and I’m gonna be living here for the next three days. Wee hoo!!!! So, after getting all set up, updating the website, and relaxing a little bit, we headed over to the club. Unfortunately the night didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. I mean, it was good and all, but that magic feeling wasn’t there. Hopefully tomorrow and Sunday will be better. I did get to see Jimmy though. We caught each other outside the club. I was really happy that he went out of his way to come down and see me. Tomorrow should be fun. We’ll be playing throughout the day, and Ryan Groff will be playing at night. Ryan’s great. I’m looking forward to seeing him. Too bad he didn’t make it out tonight. I hope Angie makes it back for homecoming, that would be nice. More tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2004
Today was great. We all woke up, had a nice morning and then headed over to The Uptowner in time to start playing at roughly 1:30PM. We ended up playing until 8:00PM. It was a long day, but it was great. So many people were there from last year. People were requesting tunes from the old albums “12 Months” and “Nobody But Me…” and singing along with the songs. I found out that Angie wouldn’t be showing up because she is 8 months pregnant, and her and Hop are living in Chicago. Angie, if you’re reading this, please get in touch and say “hi”. I also met many new people today, which helped to make for an extra special day. Stephanie showed up, Mike’s girlfriend, so Mike was very happy. After playing all day, Mike and Stef left and I drove Rusty back to the house. I then returned to the club to set Ryan up with the system. They started playing, and I have to say, as always, I was amazed. Ryan is so talented, it’s scary. Unfortunately, I was so wiped that I had to leave after only 40 minutes of listening. But that’s okay, because tomorrow night will be split between me and Ryan, so I will get to listen to all of it. Tomorrow is acoustic night, so it should be fun. Well, I’m back at the house, very relaxed. I’m going to do some online chatting with Cyndie and then go to sleep. We’ll talk more tomorrow.

Tour Diary (week 4)

Sunday, October 17, 2004
All I can say is OH-MY-GOD!!! When I say that, not being a religious man, I DON’T mean it as Oh my lord and savior Jesus Christ, I mean it as nothing more than a powerful statement. So here it is again, OH-MY-GOD!!! Yesterday was probably one of the most special days on the tour. We woke up and enjoyed an incredibly relaxing day with Kevin and Nancy in their beautiful home. Nancy made some kick ass homemade chili and chocolate pudding, a Sunday Football tradition in the Mac home. Nancy turned me on to pickles in the chili. I know that sounds crazy, but it tasted great. I did some work on the computer, we watched some sports, I played with Dee, Reebok and Nike (the dogs and cat), I spoke with Cyndie, Marilyn, Bob & Dorrie on the phone, which gave me a nice taste of home, and I relaxed on the swing on the front porch in this amazing log home. Then we headed over to the club to move the stage forward for the more intimate acoustic evening. Ryan showed up, and that just bumped the day up again. I know that sounds corny, but if you know Ryan, you know what I mean. He is a really special human being. If the world was made up of Ryan’s, we wouldn’t be worrying about whether or not Bush should be in office for another term because there would be no war in the first place. So we started setting up the stage area so that we could both switch back and forth without any down time. It worked, and we were off to an evening of acoustic music. We kicked the night off. After all, this is Ryan’s home town, and I really felt that he should close the show. So we started playing, once again to a full house, and once again to an incredibly receptive audience, and it was just incredible. My voice was a bit hoarse from doing nearly six hours the day before, and when it cracked, the audience cheered me on to let me know it was okay. When I couldn’t hit the note, the audience took over the singing for me. These people are amazing. So we finished a five song set and then Ryan took the stage with his band. He is just insane. No one, at his age, should be that musically mature, but he is. And the band, they are right there with him. Great bunch of guys, and incredibly talented. They played a six song set. I could have listened for hours. Then we took the stage again. I did a few solo tunes, including “The Suitcase”, by request, which was really weird because I couldn’t remember how it went at first, and then the guys came up for an impromptu performance of an old Charlie Daniels tune. Then we handed it back over to Ryan and his band (I believe the band is called El S-Nore) and they closed out the night with four more tunes. The last tune was CSN’s Helplessly Hoping, and all I can say is OH-MY-GOD!!! Okay, so it sounds like a perfect day, right. Nope, it gets even better. We packed up and headed back to the house, and Kevin and Nancy have set up a big spread of food, and we all sit down and have a nice little after-performance party. That was just so special. So here it is, it’s 2AM, everyone has gone to sleep, and I’m going to stay up a bit longer to edit and assemble the recording from tonight’s show. I need to do this because I want to give Ryan the recording tomorrow morning before we leave town. So I’m gonna get to work. To everyone in Charleston, THANK YOU. You make me want to continue doing this. And a special thank you to KEVIN and NANCY!!!! More tomorrow.

Monday, October 18, 2004
So I ran into some problems transferring the show into the computer last night and didn’t end up finishing until 5AM. I set the alarm on my cell phone for 8:30AM, being that we were going to meet everyone for breakfast at 10AM, and went to sleep. No sooner did I fall asleep and my phone started making noise. I pick it up to look at the time and it says it’s 8:15AM. In my completely oblivious state I am trying to figure out why the alarm would go off 15 minutes earlier than I had set it. So I push a button to stop it from making noise and continue to look at it, trying to make sense out of the whole thing. Then suddenly, without warning, my phone speaks to me. It says “Hello?”. I completely freaked out, like what the hell is going on here, and then figured out that my alarm had not gone off at all, I had actually received a phone call. What a way to wake up. Very weird. So having slept only 3 hours and 15 minutes, I began my day. We said our goodbyes to Nancy (thanking her profusely) and Stephanie (she was heading back home) and then made our way over to “What’s Cooking” for breakfast with a bunch of people from The Uptowner. That was the perfect way to end our visit to Charleston. We then went to a few stores to get some supplies like Duct Tape, Van Door Handles, Power Steering Fluid, and Mag Lites, and then headed out toward Alabama. We stopped to gas up and found that the van repair we had made last week did not last. Thankfully we were able to fix it for real, believe it or not, with two clamps and a keychain. The rest of the day was spent driving (and I slept for a little while) until we landed in Clarksville, Tennessee. We pulled up to a Super 8 Motel, and right next door was a little bar. On a whim, Mike decided to walk in and try to book a gig, being that we have off until Thursday. Rusty freaked. He could not understand how we could consider doing something so weird. Well, Mike was not able to book a gig, but the person behind the bar suggested that we call back tomorrow after4PM to see if we might be able to play tomorrow night.. After settling into the motel room, Mike and I went over to the same bar for a drink. We walked in, and the people were very happy to see us. Apparently they loved the album that Mike had left and are really pushing to get us booked for tomorrow. So who knows, maybe we’ll do a gig tomorrow. That would be cool. So we are now in the hotel. I have just updated all of the photos from last nights show, and now I am going to bed at midnight. Man that’s early. It was a nice day. Oh, one more thing, I bought Rusty this very odd looking food (some sort of a beef stick), and his response was priceless. I was literally in tears looking at the photo I took. I know I was exhausted and slap happy, but it was still funny. Till tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
This was absolutely the best day off I’ve ever had. First, I slept until 10AM. I’m on tour and slept for 10 hours. That doesn’t happen. So I wake up, totally refreshed and we eat breakfast. Then I take out my effects board and manage to fix it, and improve it, which was a nice surprise. During this time, I actually had an opportunity to turn on Court TV and get caught up on how the trial for scumbag Scott Peterson is going. He is the lowest form of life on this planet. Not only do I hope he gets the death penalty, but rather than being humane about it, I hope they drag it out and make it as painful as possible. He deserves it. I know, they won’t, but it’s a nice wish. Anyway, when I was done with all that, we went to wash the van. The guys weren’t into going, but when all was said and done, we actually had fun doing it, and the van looks much better now. Then, about 4:30PM we headed over to the bar, called Scooters, across from the motel. The one that we checked out last night, hoping to play. Marilyn, the bartender from last night, was there and served us a nice lunch. We hung out for a while and had a few drinks. The owner, Leigh, showed up and we talked for a while. She said that this guy plays every Tuesday night, he’s under contract with her, and she couldn’t bump him for us, but next time we come through, she would be happy to book us. And then she invited us to come back tonight and maybe sing a few songs with the guy. Well, I turned to the guys and said, you know what, this guy is not showing up tonight. They thought I was out of me mind, but I felt it in my gut. So we went back to the room, turned on the TV, saw a Dairy Queen commercial, got in the van and drove 10 miles to the nearest DQ, had some ice cream and then returned to the motel. Rusty was spent, had a headache, and was actually a little drunk. Who could blame him, it’s his day off. Mike and I decided to go back over to the bar, as we had promised. We walk in, Leigh turns to us and says “he didn’t show up, you guys are on”. So we ran back to the room, got Rusty to come along (he was a bit reluctant), got in the van, went over, set up, and started playing. The place went nuts. We had a total blast. Everyone in the place was wonderful. Now this is the part that flips me out. This is now the fourth tour. I have tried desperately to book gigs in Nashville and the surrounding areas for all four tours. Nashville won’t have it. You see, Nashville is music country. They have a million outstanding musicians willing to play for tips, so why should they hire me or us to play when they can have anyone they want. Yet, we get this gig by mistake, and we are told by everyone that we are the best band they’ve ever had in there. You have no idea what a great feeling that is. This area is flooded with outstanding musicians, and not only did they like us, but they thought we were the best. Now if that isn’t a great day off, I don’t know what is. Good night!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I can’t believe this. This tour keeps getting better and better, day after day. Today was a day off and we had two days to go another 300 miles to get to the next show in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, so we decided to go into Nashville and spend the day checking out some of the local talent and have some fun. Well, we get into town and find out that Gov’t Mule is playing at the historic Ryman Theatre, so what the hell, we bought tickets. Now we have six hours to waste. We spent the day on the strip in Nashville listening to great music with great musicians, eating great food, and then going to an awesome concert. Gov’t Mule was incredible. They played for almost 4 hours, and brought out some serious heavy hitters in the Nashville music circuit for some serious jamming. It was an incredible show. Warren Haynes is truly an amazing musician and singer. When the show ended we hit the road again, drove for a while, stopped at the Waffle House for a bite, and now we’re in the hotel, and I’m going to sleep. I just can’t believe it. What are the chances that we’d go to Nashville for a quick visit on a particular day, and be lucky enough to catch Gov’t Mule, one of my favorite bands. Awesome!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2004
Well, I guess there has to be a valley in order to appreciate the peak. If this is the case, then today was the valley. We woke up after sleeping in a fairly cheesy motel and headed out for Tuscaloosa. After a fairly short 3 hour trip we arrived, got settled in and went over to the club. They weren’t open yet, so we sat around, waiting for roughly an hour, until it got to that point where we wouldn’t have enough time to set up, go take showers, and come back to do the show. So we went back to the motel, took showers, and headed back over to the club. We got set up, ate Pizza Hut (it’s still sitting with me), and then began waiting. We were supposed to start at 9PM but the place was completely empty. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the person that booked us, forgot that he had booked us, so there was virtually no publicity. However, in defense of the club owners, Mickey and Doug, they treated us great. They could have told us to take a walk, like many others would have done. Instead they put their DJ out back and had us take the stage. That was very commendable. So anyway, we ended up playing from 10:30PM until roughly 2AM. For most of the show we were playing to very few people with little response. You know, it’s really weird how this works. You’ve got a handful of people hangin’ out, you finish a tune and get pretty much no response. So you sit there thinking “man, we must really suck”. But then virtually every person comes up to you during the break and makes it a point to say something like “Hey, you guys are great. You’re the best band we’ve ever had.” I don’t understand that. I don’t think people understand just how difficult it is to play to an audience that gives nothing back. It’s downright painful to do. Okay, enough of my rant. So around 1AM things started to get rolling. People started responding and that allowed us to dig in a bit harder. The last hour turned out to be a lot of fun, and then we hung out at the bar until roughly 3AM. This was nice because we didn’t have to pack up being that we are playing here again tomorrow. So even though this was a bit of a valley, this valley had some peaks of its own. I hope tomorrow night will be better.

Friday, October 22, 2004
Ouch, two bad days in a row. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. For the most part it was a very nice day. We didn’t have to travel, we didn’t have to set up, and we didn’t have to do any sightseeing as there isn’t much to see here in Tuscaloosa, other than the beautiful little college women. So after sleeping for only 4 hours we woke up and went over to Shoney’s for some of their great breakfast buffet. We returned to the motel and went back to sleep. We slept pretty much the entire day, as we were planning on playing from Midnight to 4AM, as we had discussed with the club owners last night. However, when we got to the club, we all reevaluated the situation and realized this would be a mistake, so we decided to do a short two hour set from 9-11PM and then have the DJ take over for the rest of the night. With time to spare, Mickey and Doug took us out for a fine dinner and then we went back to play to a very small audience. We had fun playing, but it really is tough playing to such an unresponsive crowd. Oh well, the good news is that we are back at the motel nice and early, we are going to sleep, and tomorrow I get to see Felice, John, Jacob and Luke, some of my dearest friends. Good night!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2004
We lost an hour today as we worked our way back into the Eastern Time Zone. The day being cut a little short, we didn’t get to the Catalano’s house until almost 4PM. It was a very relaxing drive, but even more relaxing once we were at their home. Felice made us an amazing home cooked meal consisting of baked ziti and salad. It was awesome. Then we spent the entire evening catching up from last year and just enjoying each others company. It was a great time. I’m now in bed and getting ready for tomorrows afternoon gig. This means that we have to be at the club by 10AM. Not something we are used to doing on this tour.

Tour Diary (week 5)

Sunday, October 24, 2004
So we wake up bright and early and head over to the club, only to find that they have decided to have us play inside instead of outside, being that the weather is a little iffy. No big deal except that the band from the night before were in the club breaking down all of their gear. So we waited, and when they were done, we loaded in and set up. Then, to my amazement, I look up, and who is walking in the door but Jen Anghelone, my friend that was with me on tour last year for about a week. Well she is now living in Kentucky and I had no idea when I might see her again. So when she walked in the door, I was just shocked, happy, thrilled and just plain surprised. Then, not 10 minutes later a friend of mine, Stu Levine, from New Jersey walks in the door. And twenty minutes after that, the entire Catalano clan show up. This was just too much. All these people, here in Georgia. This was so cool. So we started playing and having fun. Unfortunately, the sun came out, and everybody other than our friends felt it necessary to sit on the patio, where we were supposed to be playing in the first place. It turned out to be a beautiful day, so playing inside just did not work. Oh well, what can you do. After the show, Stu left, Jen left, and the Catalano’s (John, Felice, Jake, Luke) left while we packed up. I can’t believe I forgot to get a picture of all of us. That’s really frustrating. Anyway, we returned to the house and we went out to dinner with the Catalano’s. We ate at a great Mexican restaurant and then returned to the house to watch Fahrenheit 9/11. What a disturbing movie. All I can say is “I was wrong” to trust such an asshole!!!! And now I’m going to sleep.

Monday, October 25, 2004
Today was one of those odd days. It was painful, it was exciting, it was boring, and it was fun. I woke up at 7AM so that I could say goodbye to John, Jacob and Luke. It was a bit early for me, but completely worth it. I love this family so much, it’s a shame that I only get to see them once a year. Rusty and Mike really liked them too. Being that I was awake, I started doing some work on the computer. Mike and Rusty woke at about 9:30AM. Felice was supposed to leave early to go do some studying before her test, but decided to study at home. I was happy with her decision. Even though she was doing her thing, and I was doing mine, it was nice just to be in the same room. Soon it was time for Felice to go take her test, and for us to hit the road. Saying goodbye to her is always very difficult. I wish we lived closer. So, as we were loading up the van, UPS showed up with my new guitar strings. D’Addario was replacing some defective strings, so that was a relief. Anyway, we hit the road and went to Sonny’s BBQ Pit. This is a chain down in the Georgia/Florida area. I’ve always been told how good their ribs are, but never tried them. Well, they were awesome. If you’re ever in the south, check out Sonny’s BBQ Pit. It’s worth it. We finally really got on the road at about 3PM and I sat in the back while Rusty drove and Mike sat in the passenger seat. As the day wore on, all I could think about was the fact that I would see my beautiful wife, Cyndie, in only 5 more days. My imagination started to go wild. This was very frustrating, as I was imagining my wife, but was looking at the backs of Rusty and Mikes heads. Eventually I had to take out my computer and write an email to Cyndie, telling her exactly what I’d been thinking about. This worked out nicely because I was looking at the screen instead of Mike and Rusty. Soon we were in the area where we wanted to stop. We had just entered into Virginia and were heading uphill to the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We pulled off to get something to eat and a place to stay. We pulled into this little food shop and it turned out we were in Mayberry, you know, the place were Andy and Barney lived. We enjoyed some local food, burgers that were tiny. It was really funny because the sign said “Mayberry style Hamburgers – Note: same size as White Castle or Crystal”. The only problem was that NOTE: was spelled NOT:. Well we figured it out anyway and placed our orders. The people in there were not very friendly at all. As a matter of fact we felt very unwelcome. When we left, we pulled into the gas station next door to gas up and got more of the same treatment. It was really bizarre. The people in there just did not want us there. This was the first time on this entire tour that I did not feel comfortable. So we decided not to stay in the area. We finished gassing up and hit the road to drive roughly another 40 miles. We are now in Salem, Virginia and will be heading to Pennsylvania tomorrow. Only 5 days left.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Today was amazing. We woke up early and decided to beeline for Pennsylvania. Being that Mike had gotten to see his honey, Stephanie, in Illinois, Rusty and I felt it was time to see our honeys. So we got up to Pennsylvania as quickly as possible. Once there, we reunited Rusty with Liz, I dropped Mike off at a hotel, and immediately headed home to see my love, Cyndie. Getting home proved to be quite a challenge. I got a little lost a few times, but finally made it home at 10PM. I shocked the hell out of Cyndie, made her very happy, and then made some other things that I won’t go into detail about on this page. Seeing her was just incredible. I’ve been away from her for almost 5 weeks, and it was 5 weeks too long. So I surprised her, then let her know that she had me until 2PM tomorrow, and then eventually, we went to sleep. That’s all the detail you get for this day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I woke up this morning and got to turn and look at my beautiful wife. Let me tell you, it’s a lot nicer seeing her face (and body) in the morning than seeing Rusty and Mike. But Cyndie doesn’t play any musical instruments, so I must take the bad with the good. No seriously, waking up with Mike and Rusty has been great. Both of these guys wake up in a great mood, so typically, waking up in a hotel room with these two guys has been quite a bit of fun. But even so, I completely prefer waking up with Cyndie in the bed with me. So anyway, we woke up and let me just say that what happened between 7:30AM and 2PM will be left to your imagination, as I will not be giving those details. At 2PM I left to head back to Pennsylvania. Leaving this time was much easier being that I knew I would be returning in only three days. So I went back to PA and went to the hotel. After hanging for a while, Mike and I went to an Italian place for dinner. Italian food and Kutztown does not go well together. It was probably the worst meal we’d had on the tour, but as Rusty says, “hey, a lump is a lump.” Once I thought of it that way, I was okay with the meal. We returned to the hotel and watched “Dog Day Afternoon” on the Spike channel. They managed to turn this into a 2:30 movie by putting an insane volume of commercials into it. They actually went to commercial every 10 minutes. It was bullshit. I hate commercial TV. Being that we were forced to watch commercials every 10 minutes, it allowed our minds to wander rather than getting engulfed in the movie, and Mike and I found ourselves getting the munchies/looking for ice cream. So, as soon as the movie ended we headed over to the local diner. It was a fairly normal visit to a diner, like most all other diner visits, except that the waitress was extra cool. She was just a really sweet lady. However, there was one really odd thing that happened. As Mike and I are sitting there, this guy walks into the diner holding a pumpkin in each hand, he walks over to us, turns to me and says “Hey Joe, how you doin’?”. I say “good”. He turns and walks out, leaves the diner. That was it, as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. Mike and I sat there in amazement. We couldn’t figure out what had just happened. That was probably the weirdest thing that has happened to me on this entire tour. Well, anyway, thankfully this is our last night off on the tour. Three days off in a row is too much. You find yourself aching to play. There are three days left to the tour, and three more shows. These last three days should be awesome, especially the last night in Walton. I’m looking forward to it. More tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2004
Okay, so Mike and I got up this morning and headed over to pick up Rusty. He was a new man and very happy to be getting back together for our last three shows of the tour. We headed over to Jan’s to pick up his Drum Pad Kit that he was so graciously lending us, and then headed over to the club. We arrived really early hoping to set up and be done before the dinner crowd showed up. Unfortunately this was not possible, so we headed back to Rusty’s, brought the Drum Pad Kit into his house and spent some time getting sounds. Then we headed back over to the club, waited to eat dinner, then waited for the patrons to finish eating dinner, and then started setting up at a fairly late hour. The place filled up with people and we started playing. We started out acoustic, and then switched over to electric using the drum pads. It was great to be able to do this, but it felt really weird. I felt like I was in the studio. It didn’t feel live at all, but it was better than not playing at all. Unfortunately, even with this customized set up, we were still too loud for the neighbors. So eventually we switched back to acoustic. Thinking this would be a bit of a mistake, we were very surprised when we started playing tunes like “Gotta Get Real” acoustic and it actually worked. The audience loved it, and so did we. The coolest thing about this gig, other than getting to see Ritchie (my cousin), Linda, Emily, Avis, Jeff, Jan, Valerie, Eleanor and everyone else, was the fact that Bruce and his wife, Barb, showed up. That was a big surprise, and I really appreciated it. Well, the show has ended, we have packed up and begun our journey back to Fielder’s in West Virginia. Only two shows left, Fielder’s tomorrow night, and The Daily Grind on Saturday night in my home town of Walton, New York. I’m looking forward to both shows, but I am really psyched to see everyone in Walton. It’s been a long time.

Friday, October 29, 2004
We had gotten to the hotel at 3:30AM last night, and immediately crashed. Check out was 11AM. Well, we woke up at 11AM. I guess you could say we were tired. So we took some quick showers and hit the road. We got to the club by 5PM, loaded in, set up, and ate the best wings I’ve ever had anywhere, including Buffalo. Then I sat down to change my guitar strings. Mike helped me, so it wasn’t quite as long a job as it usually is. Rusty acquired himself an overwhelming migraine type headache. He really wasn’t feeling well at all, and the Aspirin didn’t help at all. But the show must go on, right? Right. So we began playing. I have to hand it to Rusty. He played really well. If I was in his situation, it would have showed in my playing, but not him. He just played right through the pain, and an audience member would never have known. As a matter of fact, they didn’t. He truly is a professional. So we finished playing, packed up as quickly as possible, loaded up the van, went and got Rusty some Advil to fix his headache, and hit the road, heading back toward Walton. So that’s it for now. I don’t feel like this is the end of the day because we are not going to sleep. But if I don’t end it now, today will run into tomorrow and then complete ciaos will ensue. So in the interest of mankind’s wellbeing, I officially call this moment, 2:48AM, the end of our Friday and the beginning of our Saturday. Tomorrows entry will explain from this point forward.

Saturday, October 30, 2004
At 2:49 I got to work on updating photos and editing the recording from the Fielder’s gig. I did this to stay awake and to be there for Rusty so that he would not fall asleep at the wheel. Mike slept in the back of the van. At 5:30AM we pulled into a rest stop to gas up and switch. Rusty kept driving, but Mike took over the passenger seat while I went to sleep in the back. At 7:30AM we arrived at Rusty’s house to pick up Lizi. Lizi and Rusty got in the back and Rusty went to sleep. Mike stayed in the passenger seat, and I took on the driving. We finally reached my home at 11:30AM. I went in the house and went to sleep, and Mike, Rusty and Lizi went ahead into Walton to the hotel to get some sleep as well. Cyndie eventually got home and gave me a nice wake up and then we got ready to go over to The Daily Grind for the final show of the tour. We drove over to the hotel and got to see Dave and Dorrie. I really missed them both. It was great to see them. We headed over to the club and started setting up. We were really tight on time, but we made it work. This was absolutely the most amazing way to end the tour. First, almost everyone important to me was there. All the people in my “home” town were there. These are people that I consider part of my family. I got to see, Bob, Marilyn, Rich, Dorrie, Dave, Mike V., Mike D., Chuck, Chris, Raina, Holly, Jes, Bill, Noel, Karen, Pat, the list goes on and on. It’s just amazing that everyone was there to greet us at the end of the tour. We started playing at 9PM and it was just awesome. It was so incredible to be playing my own original music and to look out into the audience and see many people singing along, knowing every word of every song. That was incredible. We were supposed to play until 1AM and then The Wankers were going to take the stage. We ended up cutting our show just a little bit short because we were all getting a little tired, and I wanted to be able to give my all to The Wankers set that would happen afterward. As planned, The Wankers took the stage at roughly 1AM and we played until almost 3AM. We had some guests play with us. The girls Jes, Holly and Raina, took the stage to help with backgrounds on “Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo”, Bill Foley got up to play a few tunes, and Rich joined us on bass for “The Joker”. Dave left half way through the show. I’m not sure why. I just found it odd because we had all looked so forward to this night for so long. Either way, I’m sure he had a good reason, but I can’t wait for the next Wanker gig, when we are all sober, not tired, and ready to kick ass again. Once The Wankers were done playing, we packed up, the guys returned to the hotel, and I took my wife home. Ah, home sweet home. It’s great to be back. Well, I’m home, the tour has ended and it’s time to get back to reality.


My Final Thoughts
Before this tour started, I had realized that while the three previous tours were great, each one of them had their own set of problems. On all three tours I found myself saying “Just once I want to be able to have the same amount of fun that the other guy is having.” I used to look over at him and see him smiling, and wonder why I wasn’t getting the same amount of enjoyment out of this. It was frustrating, but understandable because I had so many things to think about and couldn’t just concentrate on playing and enjoying the tour, like he was able to do. But now that I had removed all problems and potential problems from the equation, I felt this would be the tour that would bring me the satisfaction that I was so desperately seeking. I had decided that if I didn’t thoroughly enjoy this tour, this would be the last one as this obviously is not something for me. Well, thankfully, I WAS WRONG!!!! I completely enjoyed this tour, beyond what I could have hoped for.

Hooking up with Rusty and Mike was the best thing I could have asked for. We got together five days before the tour to begin rehearsals, and immediately knew it would work. There was an awesome chemistry and a mutual respect for each others musical abilities. Both of these guys play all the instruments, just like me. And the most interesting thing is that we all have very different styles. So when Mike got up to play guitar while I sat at the drums, it sounded like a different band. When Rusty grabbed the guitar and handed me the bass, it sounded like yet another band.

So we finished rehearsals and hit the road. This tour was just incredible. Most every show was just great. The people really dug what we were doing, there were many people returning from previous tours, we got to see people singing along with original tunes, saw some really outrageous behavior thanks to the JBL Tattoo Contest, got to see some amazing countryside, and received some surprising visits from friends in different parts of the country. That was awesome.

The people throughout this country are just great. Whenever you start to feel like humanity is going downhill, take a ride into the country, go into a little town, and say hello to the people on the street. You will likely realize that humanity is in great shape. After four tours I have developed some great friendships, and on this tour I met many new people that I feel will very likely become great friends as well. It’s nice to know that I can get in a car and drive to almost any state in the country and meet up with friends there.

Mike, Rusty and I had a great time together. It’s not easy for three men to spend every moment together for 30 days, but we did it and had a great time. The van has become its own star. Many towns that we pull into, the people ask “Is that the same van?” This 16 year old Chevy Van with 170,000 miles on it repeatedly takes me all over the country with almost no problems, and has it’s own fan base. This time it looked a lot better, thanks to JBL, but it’s still the same old van.

I would have to say that the highlights of this tour were Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Walton, New York. The home town show in Walton was by far the best. I live in the mountains, away from my real family, but have developed an extended family where I live. While I don’t see my family at these shows, my entire extended family was at the homecoming show. These are the people that constantly posted things on the Circle Of Friends Forum, Rusty’s Fault section, and emailed me, a lot. This was a big part of why this tour went so well for me. They all helped me to always feel like I had a piece of home with me.

This band and tour was great, and it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I can only hope that I get to do this again. I hope that Mike and Rusty are able to do it with me. Of course, there’s no guarantee due to potential scheduling issues, but if they can do it, I will do it with them in a heart beat. I hope they can.

The last thing I have to talk about is Cyndie. She is just incredible. We missed each other terribly on this tour, and while I am sad that the tour has ended, I am thrilled to be home with the love of my life.

Well, till next year, THANKS!!!

Tour 2007

2007 marked what would be Joe’s final tour. He had an overwhelming need to do one more tour so that it could be recorded an turned into a live album. For this he pulled together a monster band of amazing musicians and wonderful friends, James Pagano (bass), Mike Viola (drums), and Rusty Homan (this time on guitar). This tour turned into the double CD ‘When The Tree Fell’.

This tour was sponsored by JBL. Harman Kardon, Infinity, Hercules Stands 6 Gibson Gear.

Band Members (left to right)

Rusty Homan: guitar, sax, percussion, vocals
Mike Viola: drums, vocals
Joe Chinnici: vocals, guitar, drums (every now and again)
James Pagano: bass, vocals

Tour Schedule

October 14 – Milligans: Orchard Park, New York
October 15 – Luke’s: Bluffton, Ohio
October 16 – Olde Town: Dunkirk, Ohio
October 18 – Czar’s 505: St. Joseph, Michigan
October 19 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 20 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 21 – Uptowner: Charleston, Illinois
October 24 – Anchor Bar: Pine Haven, Wyoming
October 25 – The Borderline: Reeder, North Dakota
October 27 – Winnie’s: Madison, Wisconsin
October 29 – Lou’s All-Starr Bar: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
October 30 – Cutting Room: Manhattan, New York

November 01 – Nutty Irishman: Farmingdale, New York
November 02 – The Loft: Walton, New York

Tour Diary (pre-tour)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Hey there. It’s been almost three years since my last diary, and while it feels like forever since the last tour, as I sit down to start typing this it feels like yesterday that I was typing my last entry into the last tour diary.

Well, this tour was truly three years in the making. At my age, NOT 21, it’s not easy to find three great musicians that can take time away from their “real” life and jobs, just to go out an live out a fantasy: to live, eat, sleep, breathe, think, talk, drink and make music 24/7. But somehow, after three years, the search is over and everything came together exactly as I had hoped. After all, the criteria for this tour was to be very strict.

All top notch professional musicians.
All really nice guys.
Record the entire tour 24-track, to be turned into a live album.
We must all get along really well.

Here’s how it all worked out. My first thing was to get the guys back from last tour (Mike Christian & Rusty Homan). So in May of 2005 I approached them both about doing a tour in October 2005. Mike, due to some life changes, would not be able to find the time to do another tour. Rusty was on board, but the plan was to come up with a fourth person as well, so I still needed a drummer and another guitarist or bass player (Rusty could do either). So the tour of 2005 never happened. In May of 2006, I approached James Pagano, my life long best friend that I’ve been playing in bands with for the past 14 years, and thankfully, also, due to some life changes, he was now available to tour, but Rusty was going to have a tough time making it happen, and I still didn’t have a drummer I felt good about having on tour with me.

Let me tell you about drummers. You could be a mediocre guitarist and be in a great band, but if you are a mediocre drummer, the band sucks. It all starts with the drumming. The band is only as good as the drummer. Of course you have to have good material also, but assuming you do, you must have a great drummer or you have NOTHING. Ah, but I digress.

So the tour of 2006 didn’t happen either. This brings me to May of 2007, when I seriously started to look at my life and tried to decide if I really wanted this to happen or not. I mean, I live for music and I have loved touring, but it is an awful lot of work for virtually no return. In the business world they call this ROI (Return On Investment). But if I was in this for the money, I would have gotten out a LONG time ago. Even so, I found myself wondering whether or not I really wanted to go through all of this trouble. So I decided to start making some phone calls and see where it would go.

I called James, he said YES. I called Rusty, he said ABSOLUTELY. And then it came time to think about a drummer. I guess you could say that Mike Viola (the x-drummer of The Wankers) & I had a bit of a falling out. Nothing major, but I didn’t feel overly comfortable calling him at the moment. Many other drummers were auditioned and nothing seemed to really work. So I decided to put my tail between my legs and call Mike. I am so happy I did. He seems really interested and I think it will work out.

So now I potentially have my band of amazing musicians. I hope they’ll get along. We’ll find out soon enough. And now I have to start booking the tour. I’ll check back in, in a few weeks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007
It’s been a few weeks since my last entry. I’ve spent this time firming up things with Mike, he said yes and we’re all pretty psyched. But here’s the problem I’ve run into. This tour was intended to be a “Greatest Hits” tour. I don’t mean this as “Joe Chinnici’s Greatest Hits”, I mean it as the towns/venues I enjoy hitting the most. I wanted to weed out the fat and play only the places I really enjoy playing. Problem: Bars and/or managers don’t last that long. Of the 14 places I wanted to hit, only 1 of them still has the same owner and bar, and of course that’s in Charleston, Illinois, my home away from home. So I booked that weekend and then set my sites on booking the rest of the tour, almost starting from scratch. This is gonna be fun.

In the meantime me and the guys have been talking on the phone a lot (we all live hundreds of miles from each other) and working out details. I’ve provided the song list and we are all doing our homework.
Rusty and I just spent the weekend working out some fun guitar parts. This is getting really good. It’s gonna be amazing!!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007
Last weekend was UNBELIEVABLE. We all got together for the first official rehearsal, and it was something I can’t even put into words, but of course I’ll try. It was more than any of us ever expected. This tour is going to be the best ever; it’s gonna sound great, it’s gonna be the most fun, it’s just gonna be the best. Musically, it was priceless. And on a personal level, we had so much fun. We basically spent 48 hours making music and laughing. It doesn’t get any better than that. Oh, wait, yes it can. When we get out on the road, we’re all hoping it will be even better. All we can do is hope until we’re out there.

The tour is now half booked and we are now getting ready for the next rehearsal in a few weeks. I’ll check back in soon.

Oh, by the way, the tour starts on Sunday, October 14. On that day I will begin my daily entrees. Hope to see you all out on the road.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Nineteen days until the tour begins, and my mind is having a very hard time with it. The left half of my brain just wants to jump in a time machine and move forward 19 days driving toward the first show in Orchard Park (right outside Buffalo), New York. The right side (I’m lefty) of my brain says “what are you nuts, there’s tons of work to be done.” I’m sorry to say that my right side is smarter than my left.

Nonetheless, we had our second rehearsal session this past weekend. It was very inspiring and exciting. This is going to be one intensely powerful tour. Well, I have to sign off for now, too much preparing to do, but I will do what I can to post any updates prior to the tour.

Sunday, October 07, 2007
Seven days till the tour begins and there are four guys just itching for that day to come. We just finished our final rehearsal and all I can say is WOW. This is by far the best rock and roll band I’ve ever created/been involved with. Three great musicians with great attitudes and as much a need to get it right as me. I don’t think I could ask for much more than this. I just can’t wait for the first show next Sunday. It’s gonna be a blast. Hope to see you out there.

Tour Diary (week 1)

DAY 1: Sunday, October 14, 2007
Well this was one hell of a rough day. After returning home at 2:30AM from a Fab Faux show in PA and getting to sleep at 3:15AM, we all had to wake up at 6AM to begin our 300 mile trip to Orchard Park, NY, just outside of Buffalo for a 4PM show at Milligan’s. Needless to say, we were completely wiped before playing the first note. Even so, as soon as we started playing we all felt completely awake and had a great time. While it was a fairly light night in the way of attendance, the people that were there were absolutely awesome. I’m hoping we get to play there again.

We then spent some time searching out just the right motel (cheap) and hit the hay…HARD!!! Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful day. Oh wait, I’d like to send out a special thank you to our new friend (no names mentioned) that was nice enough to show us her blessings. Well, that’s all for today.

DAY 2: Monday, October 15, 2007
Today was quite amazing. It started with a cancelled breakfast, followed by a Denny’s breakfast that was actually quite delicious. Denny’s does something really cool that the entire restaurant industry should adopt. They automatically separate all seats on the check and give a complete total, including tax for each seat. They they also tally it together for a grand total. GENIUS!!!We then began our 350 mile trip to Bluffton, Ohio where we were greeted by incredibly sweet bartenders at Luke’s Bar. They were so nice to us and make us feel so at home. It was a great time. But here is the amazing point. We’ve now done two shows and it seems that Christopher Walken is alive and well across America. Both shows were met with “MORE COWBELL” yells from the audience. VERY FUNNY. It seems that the cowbell may well be the common thread through this tour.

Well, sorry I haven’t put up pictures yet, but finding time to do all of this stuff seems to be a bit tougher as we get older, if you know what mean. But I will do my best to get everything updated in the next day or two. Well, I’m signing off for now. Hope to see you on the road.

DAY 3: Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Well, it’s Tuesday night and tonight was fun, but today was hell day. Hmm, let’s see, we started out thinking we don’t have to travel being that our next show is only 15 miles away, so let’s use today to get some things done and do some relaxing. We wanted breakfast at 10AM, so we went in to town and found that the one place that used to sell breakfast is now closed because the owner took a job as a teacher. It’s a real shame though, because she used to make a great breakfast. We then realized that we were going to have to leave Bluffton if we wanted to eat someplace other than McDonalds. So we asked Jane (our trusty GPS system) where we could get some breakfast. She referred us to a stand alone little house in the middle of an empty crossroads roughly 10 miles out of town called The Cory-Rawson Cafe. This little place was quite a trip. They had already stopped serving breakfast and were now offering lunch. James and Mike went with the “special” BBQ Beef Sandwich for $1.75 while Rusty and I went the safer route and order the burgers. The special was anything but special from what I’ve been told, but the burgers were actually really good, and the waitress was an absolute doll.

Okay, so we left breakfast and attempted to get online so that we could check email and things like that. It wasn’t working so we had to go back into town to the coffee shop that doesn’t serve breakfast. Mike and I sat down for some beverages and internet services while James and Rusty drove all over town buying supplies.

Next we discovered that we had a leak in the trailer and our gear was getting quite soggy. So Mike, being the smallest in the bunch, was kind enough to climb up on top of the trailer and reseal the sun roof.
Then we headed over to Olde Town Tavern and were pleasantly surprised when we met up with Elizabeth & Greg. These people were great, and they were so excited to have us there. We set up and began playing and were met with NO RESPONSE. I’m not kidding. I felt like I was in Vermont again. There was a fair number of people there, and they all told us how great we were during breaks, and they even bought CD’s, but during the show, after songs, we got NOTHING!!! Not a single clap. It was the most bizarre thing I ever experienced. But it was fun, nonetheless, and a great second show as we continue to hone in on the music.

Well, enough for today.

DAY 4: Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A day off and a day of travel. We only had to drive 250 miles today and had the entire day to do it, and we managed to take the entire day, but it was great. Our first day off and we spent it traveling, site seeing, shopping (Mike bought a really nice leather jacket) and eating. I got to turn the guys on to the Dairy Queen Blizzard and Culver’s, home of the Butter Burger. It was fun, fattening, but fun.

We arrived in St. Joseph, Michigan at roughly 8PM where we hooked up with my buddy Jimmy Colford. We got an “apartment” type of hotel room and hung out for the night with Jimmy. It was a great time, the first really relaxing day of the tour.

Well, Jimmy left and I’m off to bed, but unfortunately I still have not yet been able to post this stuff because I have not had access to the web. Hopefully I’ll get online soon.

DAY 5: Thursday, October 18, 2007
Jimmy came back to the “apartment” this morning, we all crammed into his car, and went out to Breakfast, the biggest breakfast I’ve ever seen. This place makes 5 egg omelets. That’s NUTS!!! But the food was really good. Then Jimmy took us on a tour of St. Joseph, Michigan. It’s a beautiful town. Next we went to the local music store where James bought a brand new Takamine Acoustic Bass. Then we went back to the “apartment” for a quick rehearsal before going to Czar’s 505 for the gig. The gig was a blast and Tony, Jenna and everyone there were just amazing people. I hope we get to go back there again. I also have to thank Jimmy for pulling this together for me. It was awesome to see him, and he even got up and played a few tunes with us. It was a lot of fun.

Okay, I’m off to bed.

DAY 6: Friday, October 19, 2007
Today was the day I’d been looking forward to for a long time. I just love Charleston, Illinois and all of the people in it, and today was the day we were going to arrive there. First, as we were leaving St. Joseph we had to stop and get the local Olive Burgers that everyone kept raving about. They were right, green olives on a burger is AWESOME!!!Then we headed out to Charleston. Arriving there was amazing. As much as things had changed they had completely stayed the same. I was depressed to realize it had been three years since I was last here and that all of my “friends” were now gone being this is a college town.

However, within hours I had a whole new bunch of friends. I honestly don’t know how this works but virtually every single person that hangs out at The Uptowner in Charleston, Illinois is special. They are just a great bunch of people. And Kevin & Nancy, the owner’s, what could I say. THEY ARE THE BEST!!!Okay, so we’re scheduled to play with Ryan Groff (Elsinore) tonight. For those of you that have followed all of these tours, Ryan is the “kid” that I met the first time I came to Charleston. He was amazing then, and is all growed up now and even more amazing. His look has completely changed, and so has his playing, and he’s even better than he was before. He certainly is not a kid anymore.

Anyway, first we setup our rig, then we went to dinner and had GREAT Mexican food with Kevin & Nancy, then did our show to a great response, and then listened to Elsinore do their show before heading back to Kevin & Nancy’s for some shut-eye. It was our first truly amazing night and we are really looking forward to doing it again tomorrow night.

DAY 7: Saturday, October 20, 2007
Today was awesome, hanging out at the McGugan residence, changing strings, updating the website, drinking Bloody Mary’s at The Uptowner while working on some emails and online stuff, checking out some beautiful nature and then hanging out with some great friends making some great music. I couldn’t ask for much more.

But there was one thorn you might say. I was extremely upset to find out that the person I originally toured with, the guy that claimed to be my friend, had spent a significant amount of time contacting people/friends/fans after our last tour together, trying to “turn them against me”. Basically, he told these people lies to make himself look good and me look bad. Of course, they saw right through him and cut him off, but it’s a real shame to know that the person I decided to share my touring experiences with was so unappreciative that he would do something as petty and embarrassing as this. The funny part is, he proved himself to be the asshole for all involved. I guess the shit really does sink to the bottom.

Oh well, even with this pathetic display of past immature bullshit behavior from someone I no longer give a rats ass about, I still had a wonderful day, thanks to an AWESOME group of guys that are with me (Mike, James & Rusty) and to the amazing people of Charleston, Illinois, starting with the McGugans.

Tomorrow we get to do it all again, with acoustic guitars.

Tour Diary (week 2)

DAY 8: Sunday, October 21, 2007
First I need to give an apology for yesterdays rant. The apology is not for what was written. If it were, I would have simply removed it today. The apology is for feeling forced to air my dirty laundry. I went on record telling everyone who asked in the past, that we parted ways simply because schedules didn’t work out or benign things like that. But when I found out that this person did what he did, it became necessary, for mental health reasons, to post my reaction and response. It is now out of my system and I am feeling much better.

Anyway, today was another great day. We spent the day doing laundry, hangin’ at the McGugan’s and then spent the evening making acoustic music at The Uptowner with Ryan Groff. An amazingly perfect way to end the first week before starting our two day vacation of travel and sightseeing.
If I may just add one more thing, this was my fifth time to Charleston, Illinois, and I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but there is something really magical about this place. Every single person you meet is nice, and I mean truly nice. They will give you the shirt off their back. They are beautiful people. And again, it all starts with the McGugans. I really feel that I have now become friends with Kevin & Nancy. To Kevin & Nancy, I can’t thank you guys enough for making me feel so welcome and comfortable.


DAY 9: Monday, October 22, 2007
Today was quite a day. It was supposed to be a full day of travel, leaving us off at the beginning of The Badlands in South Dakota. We very quickly realized that it would be impossible to travel nearly 800 miles in one day, especially considering that we have to gas up every 150 miles. Yes, we are getting 150 miles to every 18 gallon tank. Is that scary or what, considering the gas prices?

So we altered our plan and went with a plan of roughly 600 miles which would put us in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and we’d only have to travel a another 200 miles before hitting The Badlands the following day.
Well, we left the McGugans at roughly 7:30AM and arrived in the Sioux Falls area at roughly 9PM. But there was one problem, the interstate was closed into Sioux Falls and put us on a detour route which took us to the western outskirts of town. Rather than turning back we figured we would continue on and catch the first hotel we could find. Enter problem number two. There were no vacancies available at ANY hotels. I’m not kidding. Every single hotel was completely booked. Why? The first weekend of Hunting Season, but we did not know this. So we spent the next two hours hunting, not for deer or pheasant, but for a hotel. The only place we could find was the AmericINN Suites. You know that when “Suites” is in the name it’s going to be expensive. You know, kind of like Starbucks. If Starbucks is in the name, it’s going to be expensive regardless of how crappy the coffee actually is. But I digress. Let me get back to the crap at hand.

So I walk into the lobby, completely exhausted and lay the whole “starving musician” thing on her. Could you imagine, me, starving? But she asked for a business card and gave me a greatly reduced rate. That was really cool. A great end to a really long day.

I’m going to sleep now.

DAY 10: Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This was heaven day. We started out with some mellow travel until we hit The Badlands. This is absolutely stunning. You can see some amazing photos in the photo album. These are definitely worth checking out.
Then we went to Wall Drugs, the place that has been interviewed/told about in every magazine and on every TV station in the world. This is the place that nearly collapsed, the drug store and the entire town of Wall surrounding it, due to the creation of Interstate 90, until they put signs out on the highway that said “free ice water”. Wall Drugs and the town of Wall have since flourished into a happening tourist trap, another place worth seeing.

Then we headed over to Custer State Park where we hung out with Buffalo, Antelope, Deer and many other wonderful wild animals.

Unfortunately it began to get dark out, so we would not be able to go to Mount Rushmore today. It was time to start looking for a hotel again, when what do we happen upon, right before our very eyes, while still in Custer State Park? A hotel resort. I walk in and give the exhausted starving musician speech again, and whammo, I get a greatly reduced rate, AGAIN!!! Yay for me.

So we got to hang in Custer State Park and have an amazing Buffalo Filet Mignon dinner in a beautiful giant log resort.

This was truly an awesome but draining day. I’m going to sleep.

DAY 11: Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Today we got to do more sightseeing and a gig. Can you say “brain overload”? Okay, so we woke up and went through the rest of Custer State Park and then headed over to Mount Rushmore. Again, these pictures are all available on the Photo Album section, or they will be shortly, as soon as I am done editing them.

Anyway, after leaving Mount Rushmore we headed over to Pine Haven, Wyoming, population 222 This was just incredible. We had the best time in this little town. The people there were so intensely nice, accommodating and truly genuine that we couldn’t help but have the best night of the tour so far. We played our asses off and the people totally dug it. It was an absolute ball. I need to thank Teresa in particular for booking this gig with me. Teresa, I really hope we get to work together again some day.
Well, it’s now 2AM and I’m going to bed because we have to get up at 8AM to head to Reeder, North Dakota.

DAY 12: Thursday, October 25, 2007
Today was not a good day, with the exception of Devils Tower. First, after not falling asleep until nearly 2:30AM due to being wired from an absolute awesome evening over at The Anchor Bar, I was awoken by very early morning, 6AM to be exact, noises. This resulted in 3.5 hours of sleep with a really long day ahead of us. I was not happy about this at all.

Then we were referred over to the local diner that had Biscuits & Sausage Gravy “to die for”. WRONG!!! As James described it, they were biscuits covered in glue with sausage bits. Don’t get me wrong. The service and people were wonderful, and the food was actually good, but it just wasn’t to die for.

Next we began our journey over to Devils Tower. This was awesome, as always. We had an absolutely great time checking out this historic site, but couldn’t stay long because we had to get moving in order to make it to Reeder, North Dakota in time for the show.

The trip over to Reeder was fairly uneventful, flat, and did not have a whole lot of eye candy. Arriving in Reeder was not much different, yet very different from last time. Last time we had a ball. This time was quite depressing. We set up in the back where there was No Smoking allowed and played to a completely empty room, while all the people stayed in the front room so they could smoke and drink. Yet everyone loved us and they want us back. How weird is that? I think it’s safe to say we will not be returning to Reeder. I’m sorry to say this was the low point of the tour. But I shouldn’t blame Reeder or the people in and around it. It’s also largely due to the fact that I am on NO SLEEP and was literally falling asleep as we were playing.

The saving grace for this portion of the trip is the sleeping accommodations. Last time we were here we stayed in Hettinger, a town roughly 20 miles down the road, the town I really wanted to play in this time, but could not due to an “away game”. This time, they have a few rooms set up in the old school that is no longer a school. They gave us two beautiful rooms, and it is really cool to have an old school to hang out in for the night.

But it is late and I must now call it quits because I’m passing out as I type. More tomorrow.

DAY 13: Friday, October 26, 2007
I felt much better when I woke up today in a really cool old school. Who knows, maybe we will come back here and give it another try, cause this really is a nice place. Anyway, we hit the road and when we reached Hettinger we reluctantly went into a coffee house to have some breakfast. Now that was a pleasant surprise. The best breakfast we’ve had to date on this tour. The food was awesome, the coffee was great, and the people, all of them, were amazing. And the coolest thing? They had a tall rack of hats (you can see a picture in the tour photo album) with a sign on top that said “Hat Exchange: Take one – leave one behind.” That’s just awesome. A great idea that would never go over in an area where people are so afraid of germs they’ve forgotten how to enjoy life. Oh well, I really wish we had played in Hettinger. Regardless, we had to get on the road because we have until tomorrow at roughly 2PM to drive 900 miles to the next show. So we get in the car and begin another grueling day of uneventful driving. At roughly midnight, with 650 miles under our belt, all of us really tired, we pulled into the Sterling Motel in Sterling, Minnesota and get two rooms at what we thought were really good rates. Upon entering the two rooms we discovered that the rates we were given were way to high. We had a whore/prostitute in the room next to one of our rooms, entertaining a client, and music playing in the room next to our other room. The rooms smelled terrible. It was just plain disgusting. So I nicely went back to the office and told the “gentlemen” that we could not stay there and gave the list of reasons explaining that we really needed to get sleep. He pointed to his sign that stated “NO REFUNDS”.

We got into it a bit, but he agreed to check out the rooms and if they were not “USED” he would give me a refund. Now, keep in mind, this entire transaction (paying for the room) had taken place not 5 minutes earlier. This guy was obviously busting my balls. But that’s okay. I just wanted my money back so that we could go get a real hotel room.

So he and I went into both rooms and he claimed that one of the bathrooms was a little more dirty than he had left it, so he would have to charge me a 10% service fee. Fine, here’s your stupid 10%, now give me money back and let me get out of here. OMG, we were all completely skeeved out.

So we leave the Sterling Motel and go over to the Days Inn, a respectable establishment. I go in and explain what we had just been through and give the starving musician line and he takes pity on me. We grab our luggage and head to our rooms. James and I head into our room and get CLOBBERED by a green cloud of CRAP stench and a half used can of soda on the counter. What in the world is going on here? I just want to go to sleep!!!!So I go out to the front desk and explain the situation. He apologizes and gives us another room. The new room is much better and I’m going to sleep now. I really hope tomorrow is better.

DAY 14: Saturday, October 27, 2007
I woke up today and we all went over to Perkins for another great breakfast from the sweetest waitress I’ve ever dealt with. She was a complete doll. Then we began our journey to Winnie’s. I was really looking forward to this because I couldn’t wait to see Deb, my friend in Madison, Wisconsin that hooked us up with this gig.

The trip was rather smooth, we got to the club nice and early, and were greeted by Deb and Mike/Bubba. It was great to see them. We walked into Winnie’s and were a little scared by the size of the room, it was really small, but agreed that we’d modify the system and make the best of it.

We went back to Deb and Mike’s and they made us an awesome steak dinner with Sharon’s (the owner of Winnie’s) famous Twice Baked Potatoes and Wisconsin Sweet Corn. It was really amazing how great they treated us. While eating dinner James was playing with Trucker, Deb’s dog, and got a little too feisty resulting in a nice little gash on his chin. But hey, as Bill Foley used to say, it’ll be part of the show.

Then we went back to the club and began the tedious process of squeezing 2000lbs into a 5lb bag. You know what? It worked. It sounded great, the place filled up with people, and we had an absolute ball. It’s really amazing. It works out this way every single time I go to Madison, Wisconsin, or should I say every time I go to see DEB and her people. They take us in with open arms every time and it is ALWAYS a great time. DEB, I love you. Thanks for everything.

Well, we’re now back at Deb & Mike’s, and I’m going to sleep. More tomorrow.

Tour Diary (week 3)

DAY 15: Sunday, October 28, 2007
Today was a great day. We woke up to the wonderful fragrance of home made Sausage Gravy & Biscuits and Quiche being made by Deb. It was incredible. Now this meal was to die for. Then Deb took us over to Best Buy (I needed another hard drive), and then we began yet another 900 mile trip. The trip was fairly uneventful, but we really had a great time just hanging out in the Jeep together, listening to music. It was a great time.

We are now in Somerset, Pennsylvania, only 20 minutes from where flight 93 went down on 9/11, and only 200 miles from tomorrows gig. This means that tomorrow should be great. A quick day of travel and then some quality relaxation time before the gig.

More tomorrow.

DAY 16: Monday, October 29, 2007
Okay, so last night when we arrived at the motel, the guy behind the counter, upon finding out that I am a musician, decided that we must travel to the site of where Flight 93 went down and then write a song about it. He decided that this would get me my long awaited hit. Well, this morning, as we were getting into the Jeep to begin our trip to Lou’s in Pennsylvania, this guy came over and handed me the “blueprint” for my hit song. We took a photo of it and posted it in the photo album. It is ridiculously funny. I can’t believe this guy was serious, but he was. Really funny.

The long day of driving yesterday really paid off. We arrived at Lou’s at 2:30PM. This meant that we had 5 1/2 hours to set up, change strings, eat dinner and just hang out and relax. Then Hank, my buddy from Gibson Gear showed up. Helped me change my strings on my guitars and then we just hung out and had dinner.

Now it was show time and my cousin Richie Arteca showed up with all of his friends and band mates (Linda, Emily, Jimmy, Val, Avis, and many more) and we had a great show. We got Richie up to jam “Can’t You See” with us, and we got Hank up to jam “Honky Tonk Woman”. It was a lot of fun.
The drag was trying to find a “reasonable” hotel after the gig. It was a bit of a drag and then I made the stupid decision to stay up and do laundry in the hotel. Well, it is now 5AM, I’m exhausted, and I’m going to sleep. More tomorrow.

DAY 17: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well, today was the bid day I/we’d been waiting for. We were going to do a show in Manhattan at The Cutting Room. We woke up, took showers, and started our journey to Manhattan. We received several emails and phone calls from friends that wanted to be there but were letting us know they couldn’t make it. It was totally cool of course, but we began to get a bit depressed that we would be playing to a very small audience, if any.

We got to The Cutting Room at exactly 4PM, exactly when we were supposed to get there, directly across the street from where the building collapsed a few days ago, and we started loading in. I was so pleasantly surprised to find the cops outside on the street being exceptionally accommodating to my situation with the Jeep and trailer, having to load in and set up in an area that only allows commercial vehicles. And then I was even more surprised to find that The Cutting Room and everyone in it was just wonderful. I mean, let’s face it, these guys didn’t need us there. They were doing me a big favor opening up early to let us do this little showcase for our local friends, and they were just wonderful. So I’d like to send a big thank you to Steve, Peter and everyone at The Cutting Room.

Okay, so 7PM rolled around, our start time, and two people were there. Now this is scary. But by 7:20 we had a very nice, cozy little crowd of VERY respected people in the audience. We did our best to entertain them and I truly do believe that we pulled through. We had a great time, and I believe they did to.
We are now in a motel on Long Island. We will be off tomorrow. I am hoping to actually relax. We’ll see what happens.

DAY 18: Wednesday, October 31, 2007
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!Okay, so much for relaxing. I forgot to mention that last night during sound check I discovered that one of my JBL subs were blown. So this morning Mike and I headed over to the JBL office and swapped out the subs. This took a while to do, but it was totally necessary. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, eating, catching of one website photos and watching REALLY bad movies. While we were at Wall Drugs in South Dakota I bought one of those 50 Movie Pack box sets called “Tales Of Terror’. We watched “The White Gorilla”, “The Long Hair Of Death”, and “the Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave”. I know, you’re thinking “three classics”, right? These were three of the funniest pieces of garbage ever. Almost as bad as any Ed Wood movie ever made. And they were chopped to shit too. I wouldn’t ever recommend buying one of those 50 movie box sets. Really cheezy!!!

Oh well, but it really was a nice day of relaxation. I’m going to bed now.

DAY 19: Thursday, November 01, 2007
Today was actually a very relaxing day for everyone except James. We basically got to hang out for the entire day while James had to deal with some doctor crap. It was a bit of a bittersweet situation. We actually felt kind of guilty for enjoying our down time because James was not able to have any. But we dealt with it by watching the entire video recording of The Cutting Room performance, which pleasantly surprised us, and by taking a little ride over to Massapequa for All-American Burgers & Franks. Yummy!!We then headed over to The Nutty Irishman where we had a painless setup and sound check followed by a nice dinner at which time Cyndie (my wife) showed up, and then a fairly decent show. The audience was a little thin, but the people that were there were totally diggin’ it, and we saw some people we hadn’t seen in years. It was really great to see everyone.

But it was kind of weird. With all of the down time, it was like we gave ourselves a chance to shut down. Suddenly, after three weeks of go go go, we all completely shut down. We were exhausted, and it was audible in the performance. I don’t know that anyone in the audience could hear it, but it was there. Even so, I can’t complain. This band is amazing.

We then decided to get in the Jeep and head back to my home, 150 miles away. Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but after 5400 miles in 19 days, another 150 miles at midnight is nothing. So I got in the car with Cyndie, and the guys got in the Jeep, and we headed home to The Catskill Mountains. Good Night!!!

DAY 20: Friday, November 02, 2007
THE FINAL DAY!!!Last night, at 3:30AM, we all agreed that we would sleep as late as we wanted and then go to breakfast/brunch at NOON, and that’s exactly what we did. Of course, I woke up at 9AM, just because I HAVE TO. It’s my tour, everything is my responsibility, and I have too many things on my mind to sleep soundly for long periods of time. Everyone else slept a little longer, which is a good thing because we all needed some good sleep.

Anyway, we all went out to breakfast at noon, came back to the house and had a little meeting about how we would proceed moving forward. Before we knew it, it was time to head over to The Loft for the last show of the tour.

We got there, set up, sound checked, ate dinner, saw a whole lot of home town friends and then played a long night of rock and roll. Dave Mitchell, the harmonica player in The Wankers came all the way from Vermont with his new friend Monica. I have to say this was one of the highlights for me. It was great to se him and was the perfect way to end the tour. We had a great time.

When the show was over we packed up for the last time and headed home. While hanging in the kitchen we decided to take the “post tour” band photo and then said goodnight.

This is really messed up because tomorrow morning I have to leave the house at 8:30AM to go to a Fab Faux show at Queens College, 150 miles from my home. So I will have to get up and leave in the morning without really being able to spend time with the guys recapping the tour and thanking them. As a result, I spent much of today doing that, but it isn’t the same, not being able to do it after all is said and done. I hope they understand just how much I appreciate them. They are awesome.

Okay, well the tour is now officially over.


My Final Thoughts
Okay, so as mentioned at the beginning of the diary, I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do this tour in the first place. But as things fell together, I became very psyched and really looked forward to it.

Unfortunately this feeling was fairly short lived. While the rehearsals were amazing and the friendship/camaraderie was awesome, the first week of shows was fairly painful. It really got all of us wondering “why are we doing this”. Then Illinois and Wyoming happened, and we were reminded why. These two stops were awesome, and while I feel like Illinois is my home away from home, I must admit that this time around, when it came to audiences, the Pine Haven, Wyoming audience won hands down. This show was SO much fun.

Basically every gig we did from Illinois to the end was great, with the exception of North Dakota. Another highlight was Wisconsin. Tons of fun. Deb is an amazing person, and she really knows how to book and promote a show. But that North Dakota show really messed me up, and it pretty much convinced me that I am done with the whole independent touring thing. It’s way too much work for too little return.

However, it is necessary to talk about the band. James is my dearest friend. Getting to spend 20 days with him was a treat. He is one of the best people I know and is great to be around. Rusty is a musical prodigy, playing every instrument at a level that is way beyond my reach. He added a great extra dimension to the music and was a ball to be with. Mike, what can I say about Mike. Let’s see, he and I hadn’t talked in a while due to some private personal issues, but I decided to contact him, with my tail between my legs, and I am so happy I did. He is an incredible talent, has an amazing sense of humor, and I feel that we really developed a permanent friendship.

We have all agreed that we will continue to play together, locally and in the surrounding areas, but we will not be doing another tour. Let’s face it, we have a bigger following in the local areas, so we can play more often to bigger audiences, but I will certainly miss Illinois, Wyoming & Wisconsin. These three places are dear to my heart, but they are unfortunately too far away to do weekend shows.

The good news; I believe we got some great recordings and will likely be able to turn this into a live album that should sound great. Of course I’ll let you all know if and when this is completed. I have to start going through all of the tracks now.

Okay, I’m signing off on my last diary entry for my last tour. It has been great and I really need to thank JBL, Harman/Kardon, Infinity, Hercules & Gibson Gear for their support through this entire project. Without their assistance, this would not have been possible.


Joe Chinnici