I was getting sicker and my day off had come to an end and I am not feeling too good about playing tonight. Albeit I am a little better than I was at the Tucson gig but far from 100%. We pull into Ft. Worth and I settle into my room. Finally I capitulate to my condition and growing anxiety and I decide to go to a walk-in clinic. I am on the ACA program but hospitals are still pricey and this wasn’t the most lucrative tour we’ve been on so it’s on to the drive-in of clinics.
I get to the clinic and I’m informed they don’t accept HMO’s, so much for trying to save money, and I surrender to the fees cuz’ I just drove there and what are ya’ going to do? I sit down and proceed to fill out my life history that new patients must endure when going to a healthcare provider. Turns out I have a ‘sinus infection’ and the PA recommends some steroid shots and antibiotics as a tonic and sends me on my way. I gotta admit, I wasn’t too pleased with the clinic not accepting my HMO but in the end they were very professional, courteous and very helpful in genuinely giving me good healthcare. I then admitted to the front desk girl that I was a bit curt to about the billing policies but I told her I was glad I came. She smiled and so did I. After a few hours I was ready to go. First time taking steroids in my life and Wow, ‘Here I come to save the day….’ I felt normal.
My vocal abilities were still a bit stifled and not-all-there but I wasn’t feeling sick either. Turned out that Rusty Burns was opening up the show at Keys Lounge. Rusty is one of the founding members of Point Blank. Point Blank! I saw them in San Antonio back in the seventies and they were the headliner. I was excited to meet Rusty to tell him I saw them back in the day. Rusty was great. He had a really nice touch on the guitar and great tone. He’s the real deal alright. We had fun this night but I think it was because I was just thrilled to be feeling almost normal again. Things were looking up.
On to Houston; not my favorite drive in Texas; Dallas to Houston via I-45. Just uninspiring scenery. There is the big statue of Sam Houston and the prison, where Texas proudly boasts about their ‘busy’ schedule. Other than that it’s just not my fave. We have to get in early cuz’ we’ve got an in-store at Cactus Records starting at 3 pm. I’ve played this event several times so I know the drill. Everybody on staff is cool and takes good care of us. When it’s time to start I’m taken with how many people have showed up for our truncated show. I announce if there’s a Cadillac give-away that I’m not aware of cuz’ this is a good looking crowd. We pull off the show with aplomb and energy and the crowd seemed happy. So we pack up our scaled down wares and it’s onto Dan Electro’s. We load in, get our levels checked and we’re ready to go. This club has always been good to us and I’ve played here many times through the years and it’s only gotten better. This night I feel it was my best musical night of the tour. Everything seemed to be going my way; the tone, I could hear the amp’s colors, my ideas were flowing without too much trouble, and the group was hitting good. Why can’t I sound like this every night?
The short drive to Austin is one that’s been done many times by me. Really there are two ways you can choose to get to the Texas capitol, with negligible time differences, I choose the southern approach; by way of I-10 and Texas 71. It’s the Roost that we play at tonight this Sunday evening. David Cotton’s dream of having a club and he’s done quite well to assemble a top-notch venue. Dave and I have known each other for well over 20 years. The club had a professional audio planning on the inside, acoustically constructed. Not just your ‘got a building and we’ll set the stage down here and then point the PA this way and the tables and chairs, no this one was thought out. Sounds great on stage and the seats all have unobstructed views; A real performance venue. The place is great but I’m not feeling it in my playing tonight. I think I’m forcing myself this time instead of letting it flow. I’m still not at 100% with my voice and I have started to lay out a disclaimer at the beginning of my shows, ‘diagnosed with sinus infection, we’re going to be playing a bit more instrumentals and yada…’, this does offer me a bit of space to play around and try new things but still it’s just not clicking for me like last night. Yes the pattern here is that I’m still extremely critical on myself every night and don’t try to assuage me otherwise. It’s my M.O. and its part of my ambition’s fuel. I always think I can do better.
The Gulf of Mexico is nice this time of year. Corpus Christi has long been a part of my musical history. The venue is an outside stage and it’s unusually muggy this night. We’ve got 2 bands in front of us and each one is really playing well. I enjoy listening to both. The way I’ve always seen it is the opening band is supposed to come out and give it their all so as to inspire the main acts or the proceeding bands to ‘bring-it’ and continue the upward trajectory in quality of performance. The crowd is light but it is a Monday night and people are in the pre-Christmas/Holiday mode so it’s understandable that some decide to stay at home. Heck that’s what I’d do. I’ve had some pretty memorable shows to tables and chairs so my spirit isn’t dampened in the slightest. Our show begins and here comes the sweat from being outside in the muggy conditions. Rolling and rocking we attack the songs and do our best to grab the audience. The sweat drips off me and in my immediate area where I stand on stage there’s a speckled appearance from the abundance of perspiration that I produce in such conditions. I don’t know why I sweat so much. I just do and I always have. The show done, I change out of my gig clothes, everything is wet except my shoes, we pack up and drive to San Antonio. On the drive through the night I look at the various refineries that are down there, how eerie and industrial the damp coastal air makes them appear, kind of like a scene out of the movie ‘Bladerunner’ when a cityscape is shown, and with its fire from the Gas Flares that are visible from miles around in the night time, they only lend a more ominous look to what might foreshadows a dystopian future that science fiction and literary books have written about. How evocative.