Welcome to my bathtub. This is a beautiful place full of bubbles (of the peppermint persuasion) happy thoughts, and peace. Life isn’t always like this… Noooooo sireeeeeee…. But at this exact moment I am wonderful, and life is alright.
Let me tell you how I got here.
It all started about 4 1/2 hours ago. I was scheduled to headline the O’brien Stage at the San Diego County Fair. I did my normal ritual of getting ready- double checking that I had all of my gear in my backpack, making sure my clothes looked good, brushing my teeth, (See Mom… Good hygiene… Stop worrying about me…) and loading up for the 25 minute motorcycle ride from North Park to Del Mar. That’s when I realized I didn’t have the green parking pass I needed to get into the lot.
You see, the San Diego County Fair has been good to me this year. I grew up thinking that the fair was a scary and dangerous place. (Maybe because where I grew up, The Alameda County Fair has shootings and gang related stuff regularly… but I digress.) This year, they booked me for over a dozen shows each ranging from an hour to two hours long. That’s a TON of exposure and practice. I might just learn a fourth chord soon!!! Some of the gigs have been amazing! I got to see my friend Tolan Shaw win this year’s Singer/Songwriter contest, which I was disqualified from since I won last year… (You’re lucky, Tolan…) I’ve gotten to meet a ton of cool people. And I’ve been able to grow… Like the first day, when I was being cocky and trying to be funny on stage, and a guy heckled me, hardcore, for 3 songs straight… (Really??? Who heckles an acoustic singer/songwriter at the fair???)
I called my manager, Jeff, to find out what I was supposed to do, and he gave me instructions, but I was still kind of uneasy about the situation. “Oh well… You’re gonna be alright…” I thought to myself. HA!
Tonight was going to be a fun gig. I had a frustrating conversation, and was ready to blow off steam. I was gonna just go nuts on stage, take prisoners, and beat them musically until they liked it… So I got on my rental motorcycle from Harley Davidson Little Italy, and sped off into the sunset.
The gas gauge said I needed to fill up, so I pulled over to the Chevron on the same street as the fair (Still about 2 miles down 8:30) and got myself a full tank of gas. I was early, so I felt good about getting this done before I showed up, because I wouldn’t have to fight traffic on the way back. I put the gas cap back on, and started up the bike, but the security system went off. Confused, I turned the motorcycle off again, and waited a second and turned it back on. (This is a trick that Grammy Lodge taught me as a kid with her Commodore 64. In technical terms, the computer “Gets tired” and needs to rest for a few minutes… Yes. I still believe this is literally how it works.)
The error message that came on the screen basically said that I didn’t have the key. On these new motorcycles, they use something called a “Fob” that allows the bike to work when this little keychain is within 10 feet or so of the bike.
“That’s impossible.” I thought. “It’s right here in my jacket pock……”
As I reached into my OPEN jacket pocket. I realized it was not only possible… it happened…. my key had fallen out. The ONLY other way to start the bike is to know the 5 digit code to make it turn on… Something I had forgotten to get from the Salesman at the Harley Davidson in Little Italy… I called his cell, but since it’s a Saturday night, I figured there was no way I was going to hear back from him until Tuesday. I left a message… and went into all out panic mode.
I immediately called Jeff again.
“JEFF… MY KEYS FELL OUT ON THE FREEWAY. I NEED A RIDE TO THE FAIR.” Is what I felt my body shake out of my face. It was probably more like, “JEFF… KSLJDFSOOUGHSKJDSLJ… SDKJFSOJKJSHF!!!!!! AAAAAAAHHHHHH”
Somehow, Jeff understands me. And he was right down the street. He picked me up, and dropped me off outside of the Fair gates. “How are you getting home?” He asked. “How, indeed.” I replied. ::SIGH::
I walked to check into the office. (9:05) And they are gone for the night. An incredibly awkward lady on a cart yells, “CAN I HELP YOU?” (Like I had annoyed her or something… sheesh people… do you hear yourselves when you talk to other people?)
“I need to check in so I can play my show.” I said.
“Check in at this tent.” And she pointed to the cart tent.
I walked inside, told the guys what was going on, and they said, “Go to the Events tent.” I looked them dead in the eyes and said, “I’m not dealing with the lady outside again. You go to the events tent.” They laughed, and got me a stamp to get in the fair. I will never forget this stamp. It was like a beautiful and comedic moment, when I looked at it and thought… Oh really???? You’re gonna put your thumb up at ME????
As I was walking in, still not sure what I was going to do with my motorcycle. I saw a number flash up on my phone. IT WAS GARRET FROM HARLEY DAVIDSON LITTLE ITALY!!!! He called to give me the code to the motorcycle. You better believe that he just got a customer for life.
I walked in through security in a flash, because at this point, I’m a pro. I don’t make any sudden movements- I talk the security guards through each compartment of my guitar bag- and I don’t joke about bombs.
I race to the other side of the fair, (WHY IS MY STAGE SO FAR AWAY FROM MY ENTRANCE????) and I’m greeted by Daniel, Del Mar’s greatest sound man.
“You made it!”
“If you only knew….” I muttered… then I told him. OH…. he laughed….
I then realized that my keychain had all of my picks in it. Daniel frantically started searching the entire stage for a runaway pick from another band… but much to our dismay… the SAN DIEGO COUNTY FAIR IS CLEAN…. and there were no picks ANYWHERE. I smacked my head, reached in my pocket… and low and behold….. ONE PICK. (This is probably the high point of the night so far….)
I set up the stage, and we start about five minutes early. I start by letting everyone know that I have been having a rough night, and I will not allow them to have a bad show tonight. I play my Britney Spears cover. (And people sang along…. AWESOME.) Announced that this next song was for, “Anyone having a rough day…. well… for me really… but they were allowed to listen…” And I started ROCKING out “ALRIGHT” from my new album, “Hope”. (AVAILABLE ON iTUNES….. YOU DON’T HAVE IT???? STOP READING THIS BLOG AND DOWNLOAD IT….. JUST CLICK HERE…. SHEESH….)
About 4 chords into the song… my string brakes.
I just bought these D’addario EXP Custom Light strings that are supposed to last longer, and 2 songs into a set, they’re broken. You can’t be serious… this night…. is…… the worst.
I finish the song. Look at the sound man… and he’s just shaking his head… At this point… Daniel is on my team. He gets it. We’re both about to play a 2 hour gig… without a .22 string. (Aka… G-string… oh… yeah… I broke a G-String… this joke would make my entire set….)
The rest of the show is kind of a blur. At one point. The electricity went out during a song, “Knock You Out”, I believe, and I unplugged and ran into the crowd and sang it from the benches. But here’s the thing… Something magical happened.
People were digging the set.
People were having a great time.
People were smiling at me.
I was having fun.
The show was…. LEGEN…… Wait for it…… DARY. (Thanks Barney…)
Boston Bruins fans showed up. Chicago Blackhawks fans embraced me. People danced. People clapped. People sang. People laughed at my jokes. People sang along. People cheered during instrumental breaks… it was AMAAAAAAAAAAAZING.
Here’s the thing. At any point tonight, I could have just said, “WELP… CANCEL THE GIG… I’M DONE FOR TONIGHT…” Motorcycle doesn’t work. People won’t let me in. String breaks. Panic mode is flashing giant warning signs. But something in me won’t let me quit. There’s some stupidity that is deep inside of me that literally forces me to keep going. Dear Stupid Josh. Thank you, for being stupid.
The fair staff insisted on giving me a ride back to my motorcycle, the code worked, and I’ve decided that I’m going to get that “Thumbs Up” tattoo on my wrist to remind myself to stay positive. It can’t get any worse…. er…. Well…. meh………
I hope to see you guys at a gig soon. And I hope it’s with much less distractions than tonights, but at the same time…. I hope it’s just as good.
Well… I’m kinda pruney… and I’m pretty sure that’s how people get old skin…. from taking baths and blogging too long.
Keep making lemonade.