Tonight i had the opportunity to once again be invited to the Recording Academy Grammy block party in Nashville. After having more than a handful of drinks with good friends and professional schmoozers it gave me a chance to reflect on the state of the union. I have now been a member of the recording academy for about 11 years. uh yeah 11. For those that are not in the know at the recording academy we put on the Grammy’s as well as promote and pursue a number of charitable causes such as musicares. I still remember joining the academy a while back in our producer at the time David Ivory’s studio in Philadelphia. Surrounded by the who’s who of neo-soul and the Philadelphia sound, people like Bunny Sigler, my good friends Lzzy and RJ Hale, Vex X, and i joined the academy for what has been quite a ride. Lzzy and Rj (who i used to play shows as a kid with in coffee shops and as underage bar patrons) have gone on to win a Grammy themselves in their band Halestorm. By the way there is a weird zombie staring at me on the side of my screen as i write this and i have no idea why?! Zombie or no zombie it was great to get out in the sunshine today and listen to some great bands including one of my favorites Will Hoge. I started writing songs 20 years ago this year. Unfortunately I lost all those lyrics and recordings in the big Nashville flood a few years ago, but I have arrived at a point where i realized i’ve been doing this a while. I’ve seen a lot of things and have a lot of great stories to tell. ALKS is the culmination of a lot of hard work, great times, and heartache. As super dramatic as that sounds I have never been more excited as a musician or so appreciative of the journey. Surrounded by guitars and weird testaments to a life in music just under, and sometimes slightly above, the radar every second has been worth it. As this thing explodes my thoughts to anyone who picks up an instrument in elementary school or whenever it is…ride that thing til the wheels fall off. Its not just about the music just like college isn’t just about the classes you take. Believe in something and believe in it fully. Not to get all Bon Jovi on you but lets get together at the rock club, have some drinks, and make some great memories…Anderson Layne
This past Saturday we had our first video shoot as a band for the single off our forthcoming EP St. Charles. Until you have done a bunch of videos this is a pretty awkward experience for most musicians. As per all of my previous video experiences, half the band was secure in their manhood enough to get all made up and the other half would have been more happy if the video had not involved them at all. Regardless the band, director Q, and lead character Lauren went cruising around Nashville in the pouring rain to make it happen. First stop was the old Nashville cemetery. Blatantly disregarding the large sign that said no commercial filming we were able to get some great material in what is an awesome old southern creepy cemetery. I mean its not commercial unless we get paid right? And that’ll be the day… Next up as the rain increased was the Percy Priest Dam. We brought it all home with some performance shots in The Underground with a handful of other great friends. At the end of the day everyone had warmed up to the idea, maybe the keg helped, and we are all excited for the big video release.
I have no idea what that says because i don’t read russian but it must mean band practice. ALKS making it happen, had a great rehearsal tonight and set up for some scenes of the music video this saturday. Its like the mtv beach house up in here…except nothing at all like that. Fired up for the EP release, fired up for the video shoot, fired up for a new show to be posted shortly. The only problem I have is that all the lamps i own are on set already which means my living room (that lack’s an overhead light) is very dark. hashtag lamps - hashtag rock n roll - hashtag nashville
Never having been to the East Room right here in our own east nasty i had no idea what to expect. Ben and company have a killer super covert rock room here. We had a blast playing for a lot of great people and with a lot of other great bands. Look for us to share the stage with lots of these guys in the future. This shot was taken at soundcheck. In other news we have a big video shoot this next weekend for the lead single on our new EP (shooting for May) called St. Charles. Stay tuned for a lot of killer behind the scenes footage. Thanks for your support and keep spreading the word!
Early in my musical career, I played in several bands and toured all over North America. In my early 20’s before I moved to Nashville Tennessee I went on the road with one of Canada’s greatest fiddle players, Yogi Klos. Yogi and friends featured me (Ray St.Germain Jr.), Kevin Cockle, Ray Chiupka, AJ Chabidon, and sometimes the former drummer from the Crash Test Dummies, Vinny Lambert. We toured all over Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario often calling our tours, the Sewer Tours….
One of these tours in particular took us to Dryden Ontario to play for a couple weeks in downtown at one of the town’s favorite watering holes/hotel. This 200 mile trip meant a lot of beer to drink and stories to tell. One can imagine the stories that five men in a van can come up with, especially with several beers and cigarettes in the mix. The conversation soon switched to picking up girls in the bar and four of us were coming up with some great ideas….
Eventually Yogi, wise from his years, says: “Fellas…I’ve GOT IT! I have this friend who has a rabbit farm on the way to Dryden.” Intrigued, we all drew silent and listened as one of the greatest methods for picking up girls on the road transpired. Yogi continued: “We’ll stop at his farm and each get a little dwarf bunny…they’re really small and easy to take care of. We’ll keep them in our rooms, and when we’re talking to girls we’ll tell them we have a cute, little, adorable rabbit in our room, would you like to come see it?”
I can still remember the look on everyone’s faces as we realized this WAS BRILLIANT!!! Maybe it was the beers, or Yogi’s Sven Gali way of luring us into this scheme, but we made a detour and headed to the rabbit farm. If I’m not mistaken we even came up with a little song about the road rabbits as we gleefully headed to the Rabbit farm.
I’ll never forget pulling up to the rabbit farm. The farm was a huge house with an even bigger barn behind it. At this time we did not have cell phones so Yogi’s friend was surprised but happy to see us. Turns out the rabbit business had been very slow and he did not have many rabbits to choose from. In fact the small adorable dwarf bunnies were too small as they had just been born, so we could not take any of those. So of course we opted for the next best thing…a regular sized rabbit named Sylvester. Sylvester was a black and white rabbit that appeared to be very calm and so nice; we all fell in love with it.
We bought the rabbit for about 20 bucks and the rabbit farmer placed him carefully in a cardboard box with some straw, a little food, and some water for the rest of our 200 mile trip. About half-way to Dryden, the beers had more than taken their affect and our buzz had turned into sleepy-hangover like symptoms. I was sitting in the front passenger seat, Yogi was driving, and Ray, Vinny and Kevin were sitting in the back. Someone asked how the rabbit was doing….
Ray carefully reached for the top of the cardboard box at his feet to see how Sylvester was doing. Sylvester shot right through the top of the box making a horrible screeching sound, kicking, clawing and biting everything in his path. SCREAMS rang out as the van swerved all over the highway. Ray, covered in blood, sweat, and tears…not the band, literally blood, sweat, and tears, grabbed Sylvester and shoved him back into the box. Someone screamed out “I don’t understand!!” “What the F#$%!!!! Was that???” The cardboard box continued to rumble as Sylvester made a second attempt to claw our faces off. We finally had to duct tape the box shut to protect our lives. We all looked at each other and realized that several of us had been bitten, clawed, and scratched and I think a couple of us were crying… Yes crying…
We arrived in Dryden, unloaded the van and realized we had to do something with the F#$%ing Rabbit. We managed to force the rabbit into a couple milk crates that we kept together with duct tape and carried him up to me and Vinny’s room. Whenever I or anyone in the band would try to go near the rabbit it would freak out and try to kill us. That night, we took the stage, scars and all. I noticed a couple lovely young ladies at the bar and figured I might as well try the “Road Rabbit” method of picking up girls. It worked just like Yogi said it would. They came up to our room and while Vinny and I were making a drink, I saw one of the girls opening the make-shift rabbit cage. I remember the scene in slow motion as I ran over and yelled…NOOOOOOOOOOOOO….too late. The girl turned around with Sylvester calmly in her hands and eating a piece of carrot. As I approached, the rabbit hissed at me and clearly wanted no part of me, only the lovely young lady.
I wound up giving Sylvester to the young lady as we realized the rabbit would eventually kill us all. She and I remained “friends” and would send me pictures of Sylvester dressed up in little outfits….To this day, the Road Rabbit was one of Yogi’s greatest schemes I will always remember! Thank you Yogi!
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Last nights basement show was a blast…it did make me wonder how many years of my life i have spent sitting in rock clubs with a pile of gear and a beer waiting to go on. I was super great to see so many people out at the gig. Unfortunately our uber delayed start time made many people understandably bounce but we appreciate everyone for ruining your wednesday by enjoying your tuesday. stay tuned for big things!
This is the Fuel bus. Hello rock gods…I want one. We played a great set with Fuel who was very impressive. Made some cool new friends and fans. Fuel was awesome. They played well and it reminded me how heavy they actually are. As i walked into the lounge in the front of the building there were some hipsters playing with tight turquoise skinny jeans. It reminded me of just how big my distaste is for hipsters. Here’s what i have to say to you (hipsters), learn how to play your instrument. Hip has never meant mediocre. In other news the Fuel guys were great and really had no ego. Spent some time talking to Brett the singer who signed the Fuel cd that i’ve had since i was a kid, and i spent some time talking to the bass player who used to be in shinedown. We discussed some of our mutual friends and it was a great night. Hope to keep these big gigs up!
Played a gig the other night with London. I will say a few things about this, first of all i have never played with a band wearing more sequins before to the point that i don’t even know how to spell the word. So i can cross that off the bucket list….(played with band with sequins). Last time i played with them there were less sequins. You will never know the intensity of three drummers “discussing” what drum kit to use unless you were at sound check that evening. Thankfully it all ended in the soundguy recieving a signed 8x10. Roadie happy? Roadie even more angry? At the end of the day, those guys have been living the sunset strip in every aspect for many years. There is something to be said for that. They were also very easy to get along with and very nice to us. The unfortunate part about the whole things was that we played at 115 sunday morning…many gig attenders had been bussed back to the hotel or had gone home. It is still always great to play no matter for who and what time. Rock n roll kicked me in the face saturday night and every once in a while you need that. At least thats what i will tell myself…here’s to playing after the headliner!
The show at the Rutledge went great the other night..this is despite the fact that many of you chose luke bryan next door at the enormo dome or (enter dirty hippie band who plays 20 min songs here) up the road at the roo. The Brion Gamboa band is bringing sexy back in ways that Luke Bryan can only dream of. This saturday make sure you come see us at 12th and Porter, its the only gig currently on the books…otherwise 2 photo shoots this week in addition to the gig. that hansell is so hot right now. at some point down the road i should probably sleep. lets go oklahoma.
For the Brion Gamboa band…i did my own eyeliner for the first time….now i will go to sleep cold and alone…shaking…i will never live this down to myself…