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Montana and the Missouri River

CBC performing in Seeley Lake, MT

CBC performing in Seeley Lake, MT

The past few weeks have been an incredible journey.  We left Washington for Montana on June 20 and are just now trickling back a few at a time.  Growing up in Montana (and truly loving its culture and natural beauty), it was a pleasure to be able to share it with the rest of the band as we toured the state.  Not only did we get to perform in a few of my favorite cities, but we also performed at a couple weddings for some of my favorite people and got to be a part of their creating lifelong memories.  What an honor!  We enjoyed a perfect Independence Day celebration on Seeley Lake (thank you, Kurt’s Polaris) and were able to introduce Montana to the incredible music of Australian native Blake Noble.  We didn’t waste our time between shows either.  We fished, we enjoyed the farm life, we camped in Glacier National Park, we reacquainted ourselves with the great people and town of Seeley Lake, and we embarked on a two night paddle down the Wild and Scenic Upper Missouri River National Monument.  I would love to indulge myself by detailing every moment of this adventure, but I feel obligated to limit it to one good story.  You’ll find that below, but first… THANK YOU to everyone that helped us, hosted us, hired us, hung out with us, and rocked out with us the last three weeks.  Montana truly is the treasure state.

Paddling The Missouri

To me, rivers are the veins and capillaries of our world, and through those passages flow the lifeblood.  Distilled in that substance is the unique nature of the country you’re in, and if you are given the chance to experience it intimately, you glimpse the fundamental character of the landscape you’re surrounded by.  The Upper Missouri River National Monument in North Central Montana simmers with that lifeblood, and when you match its stillness for even a moment, the Missouri will tell you some of her secrets.

Packed, armed, bathed in sunscreen and bug repellent, toting a good measure of Songbird Syrah from Washington’s Red Mountain (as well as a healthy portion of layman’s beer from Montana’s finest pub), we boarded two canoes and a kayak and began river mile 1 of 43.  Accounted for were our provisions, a tool for every job, a device for every possibility, and our rules.  Of these, there were far fewer than gear…  In fact, there were only two.

Rule #1 – Don’t capsize your canoe.

Rule #2 – Don’t get bit by a rattlesnake.

Though neither was a weighty nor controversial commandment, one out of two would be broken within the first ten minutes.

Grins broke under sun-squinted eyes.  After all the preparations, we finally embarked… our direct destiny filled only with paddling, fishing, and solitude.  As some in our troupe adjusted to the weight and drag of their boats, the canoeing at first was a little erratic, and it was found that some structural tweaks must be made.  The focal point of our efforts was to be the pony keg of layman’s suds.

A thought flickered in the back of my mind that maybe we were acting greedily taking a keg with us into the wilderness to be motored around by our own grit and strength… But, what is one to do?  Abandon the beer for more exceptional maneuvering?

Somewhere, we had heard these things would float given the chance (I may have even helped to spread that rumor), so we intended to smartly drag the keg behind a canoe.  Thus, two problems were solved: where to put the keg and how to keep it cold…  So, my friend Billy Pierce, with whom I have made this trek many times, tied a good knot around the device and another to the back of his canoe.  He let go; the keg sank.

Luckily, it was tied on.

While retrieving the beer from the bottom of the river, the more scientifically leaning members of our group relayed their long standing opinions on the lack of buoyancy of a keg not yet tapped.  Unfortunately, those opinions had not been voiced to full effect earlier, but lofty thoughts of vacuums and air pressure led directly the next logical step.

“We must tap the keg and drink down the beer.”

Drinking beer to promote exceptional maneuverability?  Rarely yes, but at that moment… yes.

Amidst an eruption of warm, sticky foam, the keg was tapped.  As a yellowy stain ran down my arm, I accepted my first cup.  Foam piled onto foam, and it was undrinkable.  So, after some moments of further deliberation, we decided to put it in a canoe.  There were two immediate options:

Spitfire Betty

Spitefire Betty

Option #1 – Spitfire Betty.  Manned by our percussionist Joe Catron and Billy, Spitfire Betty was the canoe I learned in.  She’s tippy, but she’s fast.

Jolly Green Giant

Jolly Green Giant

Option #2 – Jolly Green Giant.  Bassist Eric Miller and our singer Cody Beebe manned option two.  She was a plastic Coleman special – a whale of a boat and nearly impossible to tip.

The only outside consideration while designating the location of our beer was this: Eric and Cody are gluten intolerant and don’t drink beer.

After we mounted the 120 lbs. keg to the tippy (but she’s fast) canoe, I turned around and pressed play on the small $20 boombox strapped behind me.  Leo Kottke’s “Meadowlark” rang out, and the Western Meadowlarks in the trees around us chimed in their old tune.  The mood was perfect.

Then, Joe and Billy broke Rule #1.

Initially, tipping over a canoe is funny.  Everyone laughs and the water is refreshing.  Soon after, the problem of righting the canoe and relieving it of the water it has taken on whilst floating down a fairly strong current and not losing all your gear dawns on your consciousness.  It isn’t until later that you worry about the soundness of your dry-bags and the dryness of your sleeping bags.

A few Physics lessons solidly clunked in our minds at that point concerning buoyancy and centrifugal force.  Full kegs don’t float and shouldn’t be strapped to the highest point of the most unstable (but she’s fast) canoe.  Three quarters of an hour later, we set off again.  We were still smiling, our gear was all accounted for (its dryness still not considered), and the keg finally sulked in the boat manned by our gluten intolerant conglomerate.  Thus, we crossed into river mile 2 of 43.

A hawk glided down and called to us what we thought must be our welcome, and we soon passed two immense bald eagles perched as still as the dead of night on equally impressive cottonwoods.  The sentries.

We paddled, floated, enjoyed some wine, tried to de-foam our beer, and fished.  On a hunch, I told Billy he was going to catch the first fish as he had recently taken his sons fishing the Dearborn River.  Good river Karma is good river Karma, and Billy soon had a catfish on.

Ten minutes later, I nabbed a goldeye.  A goldeye is a particularly un-fun fish to catch.  They don’t fight, there isn’t anything on them to eat, and it makes you question your river Karma.  I can’t recall who caught the next catfish, but someone did and it wasn’t me.  Then, I caught another goldeye, and shortly after I landed yet another goldeye.  With banter and snickers, I was crowned The Goldeye King and really started analyzing any possible source for my river Karma.

And now for the Big Fish Story…

Drifting back behind the group, I continued to fish in earnest.  I have heard that fishing is done at least 50% in the mind, and I steeped mine into its most predatory stance.  I became part of my surroundings, and I became silent.  Fishing even more intently, I questioned whether or not it is selfish to pray for a fish.  Can I trouble My Maker just for a nice trout?  Then it happened…  Just as I moved my lips to begin my fishy prayer…

Something grabbed my eye from starboard side.  I whirled to cast in that direction.  A plomp (or maybe it was more of a glug) sounded from the surface of the river.  My hand twitched to the reel.  I cast.

The biggest Walleye I have ever laid eyes on floated to the surface – belly skyward and freshly dead just two feet from my boat.

Now, you may think at this point that my river Karma is of course bad, but I am not totally convinced of that.  Consider this.  I was floating well behind the rest of the group.  Any one of them could have caught the fish (as they passed by directly before he died), but they did not catch him.  Instead, a truly magnificent predator, wily enough to survive in well fished waters, died of old age right under me and floated to the surface right where I couldn’t miss him…  I have great river Karma!

Giant Pike spotted by yours truly

Giant Pike spotted by yours truly

Of course, you may say, “How do you know it died right under you?  It could have died long before and was submerged by the current and just happened to pop up next to you.”  You could say that, but it is my fish story and that is how it ends.  I have great river Karma.

Later, we arrived at Hole in the Wall, an incredible rock formation that is undeniably self descriptive and served as our camp site.  Montana performed her nightly symphony with the sun and the horizon, and the stars materialized in an arch, blotted out only by a distant lightning storm on the prairie to the North.  It is unclear when we discovered that the majority of the sleeping bags were quite wet, but it is clear that is was at that point that the fact became the most inconvenient.

Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall

Arriving at Hole in the Wall to camp

Arriving at Hole in the Wall to camp

The next morning was filled with the bustle of breaking camp, some more fishing, and another bit of that incredible Syrah.  Beginning with a cloud of dust and gusting winds, a storm swept in from the West.  It mostly missed us, but it demanded a measure of humility and respect.  We paid our dues and virtually surfed the front downriver.  Pulled and pushed by violent throws, we worked to keep our boats upright and pointed downhill.  As we neared the final destination, the wind quieted and Cody, Eric, and Billy caught some more catfish.  Billy even caught a nice walleye.  Of course, I topped it off with another goldeye or two.

We rounded the final bend, landed on the boat ramp, and wished we were going a bit further.  Powdery dust billowing, my brother Matthew soon flew over the hill in his black pickup and pulled up next to us.  We loaded up our crafts, and we headed to Pep’s Bar and Lanes in Big Sandy for the nation’s greatest hamburger, some cold beer, and an audience for our stories.  Our keg rode home as full as it had departed (minus some foam) and everyone followed Rule #2 to the last letter.

The end of the trip

The end of the trip

Sometimes, the secrets you learn take a while to understand.  Sometimes, they appear in your work down the line and it is then that you realize you heard them.

– Aaron Myers (keys and piano)


I met an older fella named Doug

Thanks for your patience and understanding regarding the lapse between blog posts!  Thank goodness you aren’t our friends because we are talented and prolific writers!  Anyway, we have collectively agreed to make the blog a priority, and we all look forward to doing our due diligence.  As far as the music goes, we are all very excited about the direction and the depth of the new music we are creating and we look forward to sharing it with all of you!  Our Summer schedule is booked out solid and we have so many exciting events coming up that it wouldn’t do any good trying to recite them all to you now; the website has all of the info you will need to come share an evening or 2 with us this summer!

            All 5 of us will be taking turns writing the blog and I think it will be really cool for you all to get a little better understanding of us as individuals; what we do with our spare time, our favorite local hikes, our pet peeves, our favorite meals, etc.  There are many of you that know us as close friends, and there are many more casual fans that would perhaps like to be a bigger part of this journey we find ourselves on.  It is you, the fans, that make this dream possible for us, and please believe me when I say that we genuinely cherish and appreciate every ounce of support that you have all provided over the years.  Thank you.

            After having traversed the country a couple times, I think back to all of the seemingly random people that I have encountered and shared precious moments with.  Are they really just random people that happened to be in the same city, at the same time, at a CBC show?  I am increasingly convinced that these “random” interactions aren’t random at all.  Does everything happen for a reason?  I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe that if you keep your brain aware and your heart engaged, life has a way of rewarding you.

            Yesterday at work, I met an older fella named Doug.  He was on the hunt for some daphne plants, and I was happy to help him pick a couple out.  As we were walking and talking about the weather, (as us old men do) I commented on his very nicely crafted pearl snap western shirt, and told him that I play in a band and wear those things during concerts (as many of you know, we Crooks try to out-do each other with vintage pearl snaps, but I digress).  When I told Doug that I was a local musician, his demeanor noticeably changed.  He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Son, I kinda have a crazy story.”

Percussionist and Blog Auther Joe Catron wearing a western pearl snap.

Percussionist and Blog Author Joe Catron wearing a western pearl snap, much like the one Doug had on when the two met.

            Doug went on to tell me that several years ago, he and his wife were about to go to bed for the evening, but he couldn’t get to sleep because he had some words running through his head.  He told me that he just kept hearing “If I’m here all night, wake me in the morning.”  This verse continued to cycle through his head for about 2 weeks, when finally, Doug, who is not a musician and had never written a song before in his life, sat down and tried to get the words out of him.  As he explains it, he sat down with a pen and paper, and before he knew it, the sheet was filled with words.  As a veteran of the Korean War, Doug experienced some very raw and unforgettable days, and he also lost some very good friends.  He sincerely believes that one of those friends is responsible for the words that he wrote down and he believes that he is an acting conduit for his fallen comrade.  I believe him too.  At this point of the conversation, I was covered with goosebumps and hanging by his every word.  He went on to say that he had several times considered just sending the poem down to Nashville and seeing if anything ever came of it, but never actually got around to doing it.  He had just come across the poem again the past Sunday, and him and his wife again discussed the logistics of getting it into the hands of someone who could formulate a song out of it.  Doug then, for whatever reason, decided he was going to try to find a local musician to give it to.  The following Tuesday he came in to the nursery to get some daphne plants.
-Joe 


The Art of Gratitude

This Friday (Feb. 10, 2012), we will be kicking off a great festival at Nectar Lounge in Fremont, WA, called Northwest Lovefest.  The festival celebrates the connection between community and art and how essential that support is for art to survive.  We couldn’t imagine a better cause and a more meaningful weekend or venue for it because this Friday will also mark the third anniversary of our band.  It was at Nectar Lounge three years ago that I nervously paced around, mentally ran through songs I barely knew, and shook hands with our percussionist Joe Catron for the first time.  I think Cody was in worse shape than me as far as nerves go.  If I was pacing, he was doing laps, and, as always, Chris and Eric were as cool as two arctic sea cucumbers (as the old adage goes).

I honestly can’t remember how we sounded that night.  I know we had a great time, and it strongly affected the directions of all our lives.  It wasn’t long after that night and we were fortunate enough to record an album together.  Then, we fullfilled long held dreams by criss-crossing the nation, sharing our passion with an incredible variety of characters, crazies, and very fine folks. 

There are a few ways the success of a band is commonly judged.  Are you famous?  Are you rich?  Have high school kids begun to dress like you?  Well, we certainly aren’t famous, and splurging on a fancy dinner means deli meat over pressed ham product (water added).  We are unaware of any high shoolers running off to purchase Ariat boots or used pearl button shirts.  In fact, there are liklely adolescents mocking our wardrobe and sheer linear feet of hair at this very moment.  But, then, how can you take some punk wearing his little sister’s jeans and multicolored neon shoe laces seriously?  The fact is we feel successful just to still be doing what we are doing – playing music together.

Yesterday, Joe and I sat down to dinner and beers.  As the distance between the foamy heads of our IPA’s and the bottom of our glasses lessened, we began talking about how much support we’ve been given… all the people that have helped us out over the past three years.  People like Leslie who will drive hours to see us play and always brings us a huge batch of homemade cookies, or Katie and Brett in Austin that let eight rock and rollers turn their backyard into a campsite for a week, our families whose encouragement and help have sustained us, Sue and Doug in New Jersey who gave us a little feeling of home when we were thousands of miles from our own, our significant others who don’t see us for weeks or even months and are still excited when we finally show up (often with 4 guys in tow begging for couch space), the hard-cores up on Chinook Pass and the Nile Valley that love our music and inspire us to keep making it, the cities of Yakima, Selah, Seeley, and Big Sandy for accepting us for who we are and urge us to keep going.  This list could go on for miles, and I’m tempted to make that happen.  It is a shame to neglect any one person.  You know who you are, and we sincerely appreciate your support and think of you often.  We are a band of five that seems to stand on the legs of a thousand.
 
So, this Friday, we return to where it all started for CBC – The Nectar Lounge.  We will be kicking off Northwest Lovefest and celebrating the connection between community and art. Truly, we couldn’t imagine a better cause.

Thank You,
Aaron

*Presale tickets for Friday’s show at Nectar can be found at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/e/221598.


The Character of Creation

There is a subtle ringing in my ears – I’ve worn headphones all day and own the real estate closest to Chris’ drum set.  We hammer out the same two measure long transitional riff that we’ve continued constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing for a long while.  Cody’s exasperated exhalation is literally amplified through a series of electronics and harmonizes with each of our own inner thoughts.
 “Maybe we should take a break for dinner,” Eric suggests.  We all respond with an almost over-eager chorus of agreement.  So, I gladly pull off the cans, crawl out from behind my keyboard, and we all walk stiffly into the kitchen.  We roast some potatoes and brussel sprouts, grill some burgers, set the table, and all gather around family-like.

Someone says, “Man, I’m starving.  What time is it?”  We all look up at each other cluelessly, and ten eyes drift to the clock.  It is 1:30 AM.  We just prepared a full-course, sit-down meal at 1:30 in the morning.  After a moment of silence that is almost a respectful mourning for our distant selves that kept things like regular hours and long term addresses, we erupt into a welcome, decompressing bout of laughter.  Who cares if we get lost in what we’re doing and lose track of time?  We eat and serve each other massive helpings of banter and bull shit.  Then, we get back to work…  This is how we are proceeding with the task of writing the songs for our next album.

Though the songs we have written thus far are still in rough form and extremely eclectic, I am starting to sense some of the common themes.  This new music seems to serve as our reflection, and we get to study it to discover nuances about our selves we didn’t necessarily understand before we voiced them.  Part of what I hear is an understanding and a respect that the past year of touring and depending on each other must have galvanized amongst us.  It is a giving sort of respect that creates space for us to intently listen to each other, and it is an unspoken understanding resulting in an essential freedom to openly express and create.

I can’t presume to know the outcome of what all this will be, and (as They say) talking about music is like dancing about architecture, so trying to describe what it sounds like is pointless.  I can only say that I am inspired by the attitude of our little tribe, and I am thankful for the atmosphere surrounding this opportunity to make music together.

-Aaron

 


Central Washington….. home sweet home!

 

Hello again!
Sorry it’s been so long since our last post! We feel so lucky to have been able to travel the country for the past year, seeing 30 states, playing 112 shows to date so far, meeting a ton of new inspiring people along the way. After an incredible summer on the road, we are back in Washington, re-energizing and writing new music for an album we hope to release in Spring 2012….. well, if all goes as planned. That being said, we have a lot of work ahead of us! So, we have holed up in Central Washington for a few months, built a small demo recording studio, and have been focusing our attention on our next plan of attack…. well, and a little fishing while we’re here!

Naches River

In the past, Ty did most of the blog posting and did an excellent job. But, since he won’t be around to keep everyone in the loop, we’ve decided to all take turns writing posts from now on. So, about once a week, we’ll have a new write-up from one of the Crooks….. should be mildy entertaining at the very least! Personally, I can’t wait to see what the guys come up with! Joe may do a post about the best microbrews we’ve found along our travels; Aaron may delve into his past month in Montana driving grain truck; Chris may give a little insight to his point of view each night from the back of the stage; Eric may even let you in on his best beef jerky recipe….. who knows!

Most importantly, I just wanted to say that although this past summer has had its share of ups and downs for the Crooks, the remaining five of us are more committed and excited about our future than ever. Although it seemed very difficult to make sense at first of some of the things that shook our foundation, I feel that it has made us stronger as a group. After talking with the rest of the guys, I know for a fact that we are all in it for the right reasons….. to make good music and hopefully help some people along the way if possible. As long as we can accomplish this, we’re a success in my book. Anything else is just gravy.

Thanks for the support!

New Year's Eve - Seattle, WA

Cody

Dec 17 - Yakima, WA


California Love…

After playing Taos, New Mexico, we made our way to L.A.  And before I talk about the City of Angels, I want to take a brief moment to thank all of our new friends in Taos who came out to the show at the Taos Inn and Adobe Bar; what a night!

Well, we’re back!  It’s been about 5 months since we last played in the great state of California and it’s still everything we remember it to be; sunny, hot, pretty people, and a lot of music lovers!  We arrived into the beautiful neighborhood of Englewood at about 4a.m. last Thursday morning.  Once again, we stayed at Chris’ Uncle’s apartment, The Heights, where we seem to have become local visiting celebrities.  We played at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood Thursday night and had a great response.  Not only did we have old friends show up (great to see you Austin, Ian, Renae, and friends), but we also had the opportunity to meet new ones.

 

 

The next day, after sleeping in, we were off to Warner Bros. Records to meet with our friend Austin Hendrix.  We got our own personal tour of the studios and offices.  Thanks again Austin!  Next, we had dinner plans with our friend Maria.  It was at a fancy burger joint and I’m pretty sure Joe and I had one of, if not the best, burgers of our lives.  Later

that night our dear friend Yuki drove down from Fresno to accompany us for a few days.  Yuki is awesome!

The next few days were relaxing, but eventful.  Not only did we have the opportunity to hang out with Chris’ family and join in on Grandma Adrielle’s birthday pool party, but we also got to camp on the coast and drive up the scenic Highway 101.

Tonight we play at the Sonoma County Fair.  Tomorrow camping in the Redwoods!

-Ty


Life on The Road…

One thing’s for sure, The Crooks love Colorado!  We had an amazing time in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins!  Thanks to everyone who shared these good times with us!  We also had the opportunity to play with Angie Stevens and The Beautiful Wreck!  If you ever get the chance, please check them out!

 

Being in a touring band is an interesting and exciting way of life, but it also comes with sacrifice.  One must accept the fact that you will be traveling in a van for eight, twelve, possibly even seventeen hours per day with the same five other poeple.  Most of the time you won’t know where, if at all, you’ll be sleeping each night.  Your friends and significant others won’t see you for months at a time.  And lastly, your diet will be unorthodox to say the least and most likely very off putting to most “normal” individuals; one of our personal favorites for this tour: chicken cans!  With all of these factors considered, you can begin to evaluate if this is the life for you.

After chewing on and digesting the lifestyle that comes along with being in a touring rock band, you can then begin to enjoy its fruits.  You have the opportunity to see new sights and visit every state in our country.  You are able to meet new and interesting people with every stop the van makes.  You have the option of making lifelong memories.  You might even have the opportunity to change someone for the better with the healing powers of music (my personal favorite).

I want to take this time to give some recognition where it’s deserved…If y’all didn’t know already, Eric happens to be the genius behind all of our photos and videos while we’re on the road.  So, thanks Eric for being you; a great friend, an amazing photographer, and an OK bassist!

“You only live once” is a popular term we hear being thrown around from time to time.  Whether this is true or not, I believe it’s important to live life to the most of your ability.  For some, that’s playing music around the world.  For others, gardening, farming, or running marathons.  Whatever it is, I encourage you to do it.

See ya on down the trail!

-Ty


New York, Ethan Hawke, & Seven Crooks

Within our ten hour visit to New York, we almost hit a famous celebrity, played two shows, witnessed a topless “working woman” on the street, and ate a slice of famous New York pizza…twice.

On our drive into The Big Apple we quickly realized how difficult and expensive it actually is to drive a twelve-passenger van and trailer into the city.  After maneuvering through traffic and almost getting assaulted by a smug, aggressive New York driver we had finally made it to the Holland Tunnel.  After twenty minutes of waiting in line, we had finally reached the teller.  “You can’t bring that trailer through here,” she said.  Well, @#$%…now what.  She contacted a large, tattooed NY Policeman who rerouted us to find the Lincoln Tunnel; apparently this tunnel accepts vans with trailers.

After finally making our way into the city we now had to deal with the traffic that comes along with it.  Both of our gigs were in Greenwich Village, where finding a decent parking spot in the proximity of the venue was a challenge.  Keeping our eyes peeled for civilians stepping out in front of us, we had a standoff with a jogger.  Cody braked, then gassed, then braked again.  The polite jogger gave us a smile and wave and motioned for us to ‘go ahead.’  “Dude, it’s Christian Slater!” Cody said, as we drove past him.  “No, that’s Ethan Hawke!”  No joke, we actually had a run in with the actor Ethan Hawke while he was out for a jog!  Wow!  If you’re not familiar with Mr. Hawke he has starred in such films as: Dead Poets Society, White Fang, Hamlet, and Training Day.

After finding our way around the busy metropolis we pulled up to our first venue.  Kenny’s Castaways is a unique venue with a bar that has been there since 1962.  We played a fun set with several attentive listeners.  The gig was a music Showcase put on by a company called Music Gorilla and had an A&R Representative from Columbia Records in attendance.  After playing, we quickly wrapped up our gear to get to the next gig.  The heat was on!  Because our van was parked in such a convenient location, our friends Lawrence and Alexia, who also happen to be the owners of Music Gorilla, offered their vehicle for us to use.   So, Cody and Eric drove our gear, Greg, Aaron, and Chris flagged a cab, while Joe and I had a brisk ten block walk.  We made it right on time.

The next gig: The National Underground at 10pm.  Unfortunately, we could barely hear anything on stage.  Regardless of this misfortune, we still played our hearts out.  We even had a friend in the audience from Wenatchee, WA.  Great seeing you Ali!

Of course we finished the night off with some NYC pizza slices before getting on the road to our hotel across the water in Jersey.  What a night!

Next stop: Washington D.C. @ Bloombars

-Ty


Dela Where? Newark…that’s where.

After pulling out of North Carolina on Tuesday we made our way north toward Virginia.  One of the advantages of being in a seven piece band is the collective network between all of us.  A lot of times, no matter what city we are playing in one of us either knows someone, or knows someone who knows someone, who will be attending our show.  This also reigns true in terms of lodging.  So far, we have been very fortunate to have such a large network of friends and family who are able and willing to house seven full grown, stinky men.  We had arranged a visit to stay with a good friend of Eric’s mom, MaryLynn and her ultra-scholar husband, Mehdi.  On our seven hour drive up to Lorton, Virginia we had to make a pit stop so Chris could get his fill at Hardee’s; a sister of Carl’s Jr.  He was thoroughly and beefily  satisfied.  Upon our arrival we were greeted with smiles, hugs and a large home-cooked meal that we’d been longing for.  Our stay was outstanding!  Can’t wait to see you on Sunday when we play in D.C.

The next morning we were greeted with a big breakfast and then were off to Newark, Delaware.  The drive couldn’t have gone better.  We were greeted with sunshine and rolling hills of deciduous forests.  It was awesome.  We really hope to return in the fall to see those trees in their autumn colors.

During the drive I had been charging my phone in the front of the van.  Upon our arrival I unplugged it only to find six missed calls from my fiance’, Mo and her mother.  “Holy %^&! I hope everything’s alright!”  I called the both of them back only to find out that Mo’s half brother lives in Newark!  I couldn’t believe it.  Carlos and his wife Amy even invited the band to crash at their house for the night…a big expense-saver for us!  The early evening was going great.  They took me out to dinner and I was able to get to know them better.  The night couldn’t have been going better until I found out that Mo’s other brother Danny and his wife Karice were driving up from Baltimore to see the show! Karice is 8 months pregnant, what a trooper! Next time you think you are too tired to come out to a show, think of  Karice!!

So it turns out that Delaware, the first state to ratify the American Constitution, is also one of the first places to visit if you are ever out east.  It’s a beautiful place with intriguing people and copious amounts of diversity. The Crooks will be sad to leave.

Next Show: Mojo 13 Wilmington, Delaware 10 pm Thursday, July 14th

-Ty


On The Road Again…

Wow!  What a crazy last few days it has been!  I would like to start off by saying thank you for your patience as it has been many moons since my last blog entry.  Cody’s vocals are feeling better and the band, as a whole, is ready for our next chapter on the road!  Let’s go to the East Coast!

Considering the mouthful of memories as well as the 3500 miles we have accumulated on our odometer thus far, I’ll just get us all caught up to where we are now.  And then, I promise to keep the posts rolling in as we roll across the East Coast and beyond.

We started the tour off in Yakima, WA where we played for some old friends at the Yakima Arboretum.  It was an awesome evening and somewhat of a class reunion for a few of us.  The next morning it was up and at ’em with a drive down to Sun River, Oregon to perform at a wedding.  The wedding performance was unlike any other gig we have done.  Not only were we the main entertainment at the Reception, but Aaron and Greg held down the Processional and Recessional with some easy listening.  I had the pleasure of being the M.C. for the night, announcing the bouquet toss and all of the other traditional events that go along with a great wedding.  What a night!  A special thanks to the Graf family!

We spent the next few days in Montana with a few old friends and good laughs.  Not only were we able to catch an incredible fireworks show at Seeley Lake, we also had the pleasure of trying our luck at wake boarding and surfing…Aaron, you’re a natural…me, not so much.  After making new memories in Montana and meeting new friends, including our new little pal, “John (The Dragon),” a young boy who started the dance party at Seeley Lake, we were off to Indiana.

We spent a few days driving across South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.  We caught ourselves in one of the biggest thunder and lightning storms a few of us had ever seen, the Hozzington hit it’s first deer (it was only a tap…she’s probably ok…just gave it a little tappy) as well as it’s first few hundred fireflies, and saw more corn fields than…well, we didn’t know that much corn existed in the U.S.

We played in Bloomington, Indiana to a crowd of adoring Hoosiers.  For our first Midwest gig, we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  That night, Eric’s Birthday celebration!  It was awesome.  I was the D.D. and had the pleasure of making sure we all got home safely.  Eric had the pleasure of enjoying himself in a celebration of his 27th year on Earth.  Next stop, ‘Ol Kaintuck!

Lexington and Louisville (pronounced LUH-Vull) was a blast!  It was about 85 degrees with 90% humidity.  The shows went great and the Kentucky Bourbon, even smoother.  Driving through Kentucky is pretty much how I pictured it.  Pristine grass pastures filled with thoroughbred horses surrounded by white fences.  Awesome.

 

Next stop, North Carolina!  We had the pleasure of staying with a friend of Eric’s, Molly.  She gave us the true Southern Hospitality a boy could only dream of.  When we arrived we were greeted with BBQ burgers, fresh goat cheese, and grits…MMM…mmm!  After driving through the Biltmore Estate (the largest home in our country) and attempting to sneak through a field to get a closer look (it’s $50 per person…we’re starving artists) we played at a local brewery.  Great night!

Stay tuned!  More to come…  Up next, we hit Delaware, New York, and New Jersey.

-Ty