It’s been a long, stressful but ultimately enjoyable and amazing six and a half weeks being out on the road. Strategic planning was essential in making everything move along properly, however there is always a hiccup that can throw everything off track. Fortunately in my experience, no major problem went unresolved. I have the guys to thank for that. We all seemed to have that connection and mutual respect for each others craft. I am truly thankful for having an experienced and hard working team and will never forget sharing this entire adventure with them.
As you may or may not know, being out on the road touring is completely new territory for me. No matter how much time and effort you prepare yourself for the ebb and flow of touring, nothing goes according to the original plan. My manager and I spent countless hours mapping out dates and venues from city to city that combined scheduling flexibility and being at the right place at the right time. We started in the early summer of this year to book September and October dates. Although we had plenty of time to figure out when and where, we were still reliant on what was available at the time and what may foreseeably be available later.
While this was being plotted out, I started recording my debut album at Haus Music in Studio City with Mitchell Hauser. I brought in the guys I had been working with earlier in the year to lay down what we had experimented with in practice spaces and live shows. I write and construct all of my songs on acoustic guitar but these guys really brought it to life. By having musicians of their caliber backing me, they really influenced my drive and performance. Using this gig to gig experience around LA as a platform, I was able to understand some of the necessary components that make up touring and collaborating with venues. Or so I thought…
Without a doubt, I had the pleasure of working along side some of the most gifted, talented and hard working musicians in the industry. Most of them were in bands or in side projects together in the past. This may not come as much of a surprise because the music community tends to be very collaborative and overlapping from time to time. But how connected we were was the interesting part of this story, which I would like to share with you.
When I first moved to Los Angeles from Rhode Island, I didn’t know anyone nor was I originally pursuing a career in music. I came out here as most do to work in the film industry. I went to school with the idea that I would come out to Hollywood after I graduate and work my way up. Music was something dormant and always seemed secondary. I loved music growing up, enjoyed fiddling around on guitar and eventually formed a band while attending college. After breaking up, all of us still remained in touch but I never felt I truly got the full experience I wanted out of it. So when I moved out west and wasn’t getting where I wanted to be in the film industry, I began thinking more and more about music. I began writing again and realized how much I missed that creative outlet.
This is where things get interesting. The drummer I toured and worked with on the album (Johnny Brown) was in a band called Kid in LA. Gary Harrison was their bassist who moved out west from RI who’s girlfriend at the time worked on a film project with my brother Matt and I in Boston (she is also a RI native and had previously been introduced to Matt while working another project). I met Shaun Towne in one of my film classes in college who was an avid bassist with his first instrument being percussion. Unbeknownst to me, Gary was Shaun’s RA in his dorm at URI. So it came as a surprise to find out later how well Gary and Shaun knew each other when I picked them both up to support me on tour. Also while attending school, I worked in retail and met musician and now RI producer and recording artist Brad Thibodeaux. Brad Shaun and I, along with my friend Tim began jamming together.
Later, Shaun and I would work on the 48 Hour Film Festival where I met percussion aficionado and film editor Thom DaSilva from the Boston area. Thom moved out west and lived next door to me where he met Sam Zettel who would eventually become his roommate. Sam, Thom and I, along with Drago began jamming some of the songs that would eventually be featured on my album. Thom eventually moved back east and Sam began working with John Oltean in a band called Royal Young (they were both from the same area in Michigan). This is how I started working with Sam and John, eventually circling back and picking up Johnny Brown to play gigs and to be featured on the album. Jonny Cifuentes did sound around Hollywood when I met him playing solo shows and knew Johnny Brown. Jonny would eventually fill in the first half of the tour in September, along with Johnny and John (lots of John’s).
When I was planning out October on the east coast, I decided to contact those whom I have either jammed with in the past or met in the music community. Brad became my main point of reference due to his knowledge and experience touring with other bands. He accompanied me on lead guitar for the two and a half weeks around the New England area. It has been almost a decade since Brad, Shaun and I played together so you can imagine how surreal that was being out on the road, along with Gary, whom Shaun and I knew from different circumstances. It would have been extra interesting if Shaun and Thom were reunited but Shaun was adamant about playing drums instead of bass on tour and could only take a week off of work for the second half of the tour. Instead, Thom filled in the first week and brought in his long time college jamming buddy Dmitri Khodjakov on bass.
So, all and all, it just goes to show how coincidence and how well connected the music community really is. I could also say my friend from my home town Luke Imbusch, who recorded my first EP went to Berkeley in Boston with my current album producer Mitchell, but I think you get the point. It was exciting going on tour all over California, stopping in Maui and heading back to my neck of the woods where it all started. I met some really cool people and learned a lot about how things work. I’m looking forward to the release of my new album and will be making an announcement as soon as it becomes available. I hope this was as fun for you to read as it was fun for me to connect all the dots.
Until next time!