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Biscuits and Blues, San Francisco, California


   Pretty Boy's Corner

August 12, 2010

We are up at 7 am and get a text message from Laurie and Lisa inviting us to go have coffee at the Starbucks with them and Tommy. We all meet in the Lobby and head on over. I'm glad Starbucks has free internet now. The hotel we are in does not which seems really cheesy on their part. It seems like they are just trying to find another way to squeeze another nickel out of you. We have coffee and spend a very pleasant time together and then head back to our rooms. I run into Laurie later and she tells me that the floor we are staying on is a designated smoking floor and that she will try to get us non-smoking rooms later in the day. You got to like that. She's always looking out for us. I get a good run in and Susan, Laurie, and Lisa go for a walk to fill out the morning. Turns out they did more shopping than walking but they were enjoying their time together. About 1 or 2 pm we switch rooms to a non-smoking floor. It is so much nicer on this non-smoking floor.
During some down time I go to a Radio Shack and buy some battery clips and a soldering gun. I need to fix my wireless transmitter as I pulled out one of the battery leads when trying to change a battery. It is a pretty quick job and looks like it is as good as new after having replaced the old battery clip with a new one.

At 4:30 pm we leave for the club to load in around 5 pm and soundcheck for our 8 pm show. Getting into San Francisco is always a challenge and kind of stressful. It is so easy to get turned around in this hilly city. It would also be nice if Biscuits and Blues would provide backline to cut down on the hassle of parking Big Mama, unloading Big Mama, and schlepping the gear downstairs. At any rate, we find our way to the club and we are greeted by my brothers, Mike and Mark, and their friend, Patrick. It is good to see them. They have driven up from Fresno, where they live. They plan to take in our show and drive home afterwards which makes for a long day for them but I'm glad they have come.

Once inside we get our gear all set up and order some food. We eat our dinners and await for the sound person, Kali. Kali arrives and sets up her mics and we do a sound check with about 15 minutes to spare.

By the time we start our first set the room has filled up. There has been some advertising in the San Francisco Examiner and a lot of people who have heard us some where else, like the Monterey Bay Blues Festival, have come. Our friend Bo Ely and Photographer Bob Hakins have also come. The first set starts off as usual but my bass starts to malfunction. It starts by dropping in volume sporadically which has happened on some of the other gigs but not to any great extent. Tonight it is really acting up and I can't figure out where it is happening. I first eliminate my wireless by going directly into the pedal board with a cable. It is still happening! I then plug into my amp directly. It is still happening! I tried switching the channel on the amp and it seems to be working at a decent volume but the tone sucks. Aw. This is starting to affect the flow of our first set. At one point the bass surges to a very loud volume all by itself. I start thinking my amp is going out and Kallie runs up to ask what is going on. I ask her if she has another bass amp. She tells me they have a Gallien-Krueger amp and she runs off to get it. We survive the next song until she returns with the Gallien-Krueger amp and I quickly switch it out using my same speaker cabinet array. This works well for a few minutes but then is starts doing it again. Finally, after the next song is over, I switch cables and I start to realize that the problem, after having eliminated everything else, has something to do with the output jack on the bass. I notice that as we finish this first set that if the sound drops or peaks in volume that if I wiggle the cable in the bass its goes back to a normal volume. This has happened with the wireless and two different cables. Ok, now that the problem is isolated, I can't wait for the set to finish so that I can fix it. Needless to say by now I am thoroughly exasperated and finding it difficult to keep my cool. I was once told that the Who started smashing guitars and drums not to put on a show but because the equipment was not working correctly. Later they found this was a good gimmick. Believe me, at this point I am ready to hurl all my gear into the nearest brick wall. Thankfully I do not and as soon as the set is over I head off to the back room with a screw driver to look at the bass.

I get the bass opened up and there is nothing obvious but the battery looks like it was sitting in a place where it could have been making contact intermittently with the output jack. I move it to a better place and put the bass back together and test it out. It seems to be working better. I put my Aguilar bass amp back in the mix and cross my fingers that this will solve the problem. For now I will stay with a cable going directly into the amp. After this is done I even have some time to cool down and visit some of the audience.

We start our second set and there are not problems so I take the next step and put the pedal board back in line. Everything is working fine and back to its usual self. What a relief! Ninety-nine percent of the time it is always something simple. Why do I seem to always forget this when under the gun? I am grateful for this and we have a very good set. I only wish the people who left after our first set would have stayed around to hear this exciting set.

After our show we thank some of our fans for coming and I say good bye to my brothers and their friend, Patrick. We get Big Mama loaded and head back to the hotel for a good nights sleep.
During the evening before our show Mike tells Tommy and I this joke. A Texan enrolls at Harvard College. On his first day there he asked this prissy post-graduate student for directions. He says, "Pardon me Maam. Can Y'all tell me where the library is at?" She answers back indignantly, "Sir, here at Harvard we are taught never to end a sentence with a preposition." The Texan then responds, "Ok, Then. Can y'all tell me where the library is at asshole?"

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