Free Radio Gainesville Benefit

Free Radio Gainesville Benefit

with Crash Pad, Sleeping For Sunrise, Rumbleseat, and Reina Aveja

The Covered Dish, Gainesville • January 13, 1999

Soundcheck was at 8 at the Dish. This was my first show there in two years, so I planned to be there early, since Crash Pad was going on first. Sometimes life gets in the way.

The preceding Sunday, my wife had received a telephone call that her grandfather was in intensive care in a Mississippi hospital. She and my daughter had left the same day, leaving me to care for my 18-month-old son that week. Luckily, my folks were able to come up the next day and grandson-sit while I went to work.

My dad had said he’d come to the show, but ended up going golfing that day and playing a full round, so he begged off. After tuning guitars, packing the car, and giving child-care instructions, I tore off to soundcheck, getting there about five minutes late.

The rest of Crash Pad was already there and loading in. I broke out my trusty ’70s Gordon & Smith skateboard that now serves as my amp truck, and rolled my Super Reverb into the Dish. Then trips for guitars, and gig bag, and back inside for set-up.

We soundchecked on a couple songs, without problem except for the drummer’s monitor, which sounded all distorted. The soundwoman tried various fixes, but none worked. Since our “backline” was in fact in front of our drummer, I prayed he’d be able to hear the other instruments and vocals, either from our front monitors or from the mains. Such is rock and roll.

We got offstage, ordered beers, and set about attempting to record the impending event. The ancient videocam I’d borrowed from my parents, however, wouldn’t record in such low light, and a similar problem occurred with the camera I’d brought, due to the film speed. Oh well, at least we could make an audio tape on the boombox I’d brought. (Or so I thought: the soundwoman forgot to turn it on for the first 3 songs, and after that it only partially recorded over the stuff that’d already been on the tape I used. Damn.)

Crash Pad took the stage at 9:30, due to the four-band bill. The first two songs went fine, although I had a little difficulty hearing my guitar solo, as I was about fifteen feet away from my amp. Then on the third song I broke a string, and had to improvise a different solo than the one planned. My backup guitar was still in its case, and I had to borrow a strap, but at least the backup was in tune.

There was probably less than a minute delay changing guitars. But the new guitar had a much treblier sound and really required an amp control reset to sound similar to the first one. But once the Crash Pad rock and roll juggernaut kicked in, there was no time for such niceties. I turned the tone control on my distortion pedal all the way down, but still had to turn my guitar volume down between songs to kill the feedback that would otherwise occur. Punk rock!

Despite the technical problems before and during, it was a good set. Vinny had been able to hear us well enough to keep the beat, and had been going at breakneck pace, just like we like (too fast is OK, but too slow is not). Adam (the other guitarist) and I bounced around like maniacs, and there was even a drum riser for me to jump off from! Yay! Even our normally reserved bassist, lower case e, was bopping around, perhaps because he’d decided to leave the band and this was his last show with us. At least he left on a good note.

Sleeping for Sunrise, a trio from Illinois, was up next. They were good musicians, but truth be told they bored me, so I concentrated on load-out and schmoozing outside during their set.

Rumbleseat was third, after some self-deprecating “propaganda” from FRG. This newish quartet features two guitarists (one on electric through a halfstack, the other on acoustic with a pickup) from Hot Water Music, plus Samantha from the late great Crustaceans on bass. Unsurprisingly, they are very very good. They play a kind of edgy acoustic folk-country mixed with punk, and all 3 of the frontpersons sing, trading off on lead. Chuck, the acoustic guitarist, also broke a string that night, I guess something was in the air. He announced that the others would play a song while he drank a beer, which indeed he did, but he came in on backing vocals in between gulps.

While waiting for the last band, Reina Aveja, to come on, I got a message from the bartender that someone had called from my house looking for me. It turned out my parents had called a couple hours earlier (it was about midnight by then), but the club had it’s answering machine on. I went behind the bar and called home, to find out that my son had come down with a fever.

I jumped in my car for the fifteen mile journey back to my house. About halfway there, all of a sudden the car lost compression and started running very rough. I couldn’t get the damn thing to go much past 35 M.P.H., but managed to limp home.

My son was burning up when I arrived. I gave him some medicine and let him sleep in the bed with me so I could monitor his condition. Fortunately he just had a virus that was going around, and was OK for the next couple days, so long as I kept him full of medicine. My car wasn’t so lucky — it had blown a head gasket due to a rusted head bolt. So I not only had missed the last band, played for free (no problem, FRG is a worthy cause, you can read about it in the print and web versions of Ink Nineteen this month), but also ended up dropping almost a grand on car repairs.

Ah, the glamorous life of the rock and roller!

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