Tour Story: Herb Summer Tour 2007

An actual Herb tour! Four shows in four different towns in 3 days! Actually less than 60 hours!!

  • Wednesday night, July 25th: Nova Express Cafe in Hollywood
  • Thursday afternoon, July 26th: Pershing Square in downtown LA
  • Thursday night, July 26th: 4th and B in San Diego with Bjorn Again
  • Friday night, July 27th: Bimbo's in SF with Bjorn Again

Here's the tour story highlights:

On Wednesday morning Jamison, Wes, Steve, John, and I hauled ass down to LA. Hot hot drive through the central valley and over the Grapevine. Stayed at a youth hostel called Banana Bungalow just down the street from the first gig and Canter's Deli, where we had dinner. John missed dinner as a bottle of beer in his luggage broke and soaked into all of his dress shirts, so he had a bit of laundry to do. The rest of us napped or went thrift store hunting until meeting up with Scrote at the Nova Express Cafe.

The gig was a good warm up for the remaining three shows. Danny actually came by to visit and sing on a few songs for fun. Went to Canter's afterward for late night matzoh brei before crawling into my bunk. Since there were six beds per room some poor eastern European woman was stuck sharing the room with us and having to deal with us crashing in and making noise as we prepared for bed.

We were sweaty and stanky from the hot drive yesterday and the hot room all night, and were unable to take showers in the morning due to time (and towel) constraints. Soon after waking up we came to realize we left the second trumpet book at the gig last night. Panic ensued and dozens of cell phone calls were made until the book was located. Kerry the club owner had it, but woke up late enough that we wouldn't get it in time for the afternoon show. So John, who would be playing second trumpet, had to wing it, which was totally fine. Meanwhile went to Canter's for a third time for coffee and fruit cup.

We had Mitch subbing on first trumpet for today's shows. Nice guy from the area who Scrote worked with before. It was an outdoor public show, which meant lots of direct sun, which in turn meant lots of detuning instruments. But as the earth rotated I got more shade. Two hour show for the locals hanging out and perhaps even dancing right there in Pershing Square.

Good show, then got right in the van and headed south to San Diego for a 6pm load in/7pm soundcheck. Normally this is a two hour drive, so we had plenty of time, right? Long story short, it took about 5 hours due to stop/start traffic the whole way down. Not very fun at all, and we got even smellier and stinkier.

Found the 4th and B club and loaded again. Luckily the headliners Bjorn Again were still soundchecking, and we'd be using most of their backline anyway. This particular version of the highly acclaimed Abba tribute band were from Canada, which meant they were really really nice people. Veryful helpful and accommodating, and they looked/sounded great. Things were running late so I only had a few moments to figure out how to use the non-intuitive interface of the rented keyboard. I was only able to find a piano and organ sound - no marimba or useable strings - so I had to invent new parts on the fly. I enjoyed the challenge, actually.

It was only an hour slot which meant we stuck to the "hits" and the crowd of about 1000 who were filing in for the main act seemed to really like what we were doing. Fun show, and that made up for a lot of the stress over the past two days. Got partially comped for dinner at the affiliated House of Blues and caught the end of the Bjorn set. They were rad and the crowd ate it up.

We had a long drive back to SF the next day, so we got some miles behind us by staying at a Motel 6 in Whittier. On Friday morning had breakfast at Denny's (the only food establishment near the Motel) and hit the road. We avoided most of the traffic by getting on 605 to the 210, meeting up with 5 halfway up the Grapevine.

We were making good time, but then a tire blew out right at the hottest, most barren point of the pass. We had a spare, but the tools to remove the bolts of the busted tire were inadequate. So we called AAA, who arrived about 30 minutes later with the right tools. This little mishap and the ensuing quest for a new spare tire further up I-5 cost us about an hour or so.

So we're once again running late but nevertheless made up some time thanks to car pool lanes as we finally entered the greater Bay Area. The drop in temperature as we hit the fog was a major relief. Got to Bimbo's around 7:15pm, and once again things we running late so we were fine.

The Bjorn Again gang were headlining tonight as well, and had flown up from San Diego so they had an easier day than we had. Scrote didn't make it up for the gig, but Dan happened to be in town so he subbed on bass. And Chris (Grady) subbed on first trumpet. So during our short soundcheck we got those guys up to speed on the trickier tunes. It was only a 45 minute set so we were done before we knew it. Jamison did wonderfully as backup bandleader.

And that was pretty much it! Headed home right after our set. Unfortunately Jenya had a gig of her own up in Willits with her band Long Thaw so we were gonna spend another night apart. Sigh.

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