We don't use booking agents anymore. My drummer has a talent for keeping us busy and getting more money than anybody else around. I swear I don't know how he does it. I tried for several years to book a band but I clearly had no talent for it and ended up falling back on an agent, We've only used one a couple of times in 20 years, and only then because they asked us to fill in for one of their bands who had to cancel for one reason or another.
I am still strongly considering quitting but I really do need the money and I really wonder if it would drive me crazy after a couple of months. It's almost all I've done for 50 years. Oh, I worked on computers for about 15 years but at best, computers were only about 50% of my income, and less than that the last few years. I'm certainly not worried about getting bored. Television, the computer, books and chess keep me entertained. I could also do some solo 12 string work if I felt like it. I'm just afraid I'll miss the crowd reactions. You get addicted to that and the things people say are just amazing.
I have been putting more time in on the chess lately. I finally played a friend from Mexico on Lichess a few days ago. I was stomping him pretty badly...then ran out of time and lost. It was only a 5 minute game and I'm just way too slow for that. That game is in my profile on Lichess.
Going to the hospital with Cheri in a few minutes. Should be all talking today. Wish I knew where this was all going. John
Do you use booking agents for the local stuff?
We used booking agents. They would book the gig, tell us where to go, and they charged 15%. One tour started in Oklahoma, went to North Platte Nebraska, Dickinson North Dakota, Fargo North Dakota,then back to Sedalia. We'd be in each city 2 weeks and sometimes 3, playing 6 nights a week. Usually we'd have one Sunday off and spend the next Sunday traveling. Usually we'd be gone about 3 months then back for a couple of weeks, but even that couple of weeks we'd be playing here in town. Sometimes we'd use our own Greyhound bus but I usually took my own car.
I would like to have seen the Little Big Horn and I'm not sure how far we were from it. Of course, that little adventure in the park took up our whole day, and yes, that storm did hit suddenly and violently. We didn't even know it was coming until it hit just as it was getting dark. I do remember about the time the movie "Little Big Man" came out, there was a gift shop in Illinois that glorified the Indians. I remember the most popular bumper sticker said, "Custer Had It Coming".
Touring with a band was the dream of a lifetime but it really does wear thin after years of doing it. You basically live in Holiday Inns and there's precious little privacy as you always had to share a room with one or 2 other guys. You might leave in the winter and get back in the spring. A lot of places, like Fargo North Dakota, weren't really very interesting. We spent all our free time in Fargo wandering around a shopping mall across the street from our hotel. Still, I certainly got to see a lot of things I would never have seen if I'd done anything else. John
How did you get a playing gig in ND?
I have not been to the Grand Canyon, but when I was in Vegas about 10+ years ago I took a flying tour over it, but I hardly think that counts as a proper visit.
I have been to Custer's Last Stand in Eastern Montana (when driving out here in 2002 and in 1991). The place made me sad because Native Americans were running the tourist shops and they were having to glorify Custer (sort of). I likened it to a bunch of Jewish people running a tourist shop in auschwitz.
It was good you took the main trail down from the bench. The storm fronts out in this area (I am including ND and SD) can be quick and violent, but fully visible from a distance (as a grey wall).
I'd been close to Mount Rushmore a few times but only saw it once. I know there was supposed to be a lot more to it but they ran out of money and interest long before it was done. If you looked for it, you can still see where they had just started working on the knuckles of Abraham Lincoln's left hand and stopped. I was close to the Grand Canyon at least 4 times and still never saw it. LOL I guess when I have a destination in mind, I'm not easily distracted.
We played in Fargo North Dakota for 2 or 3 weeks and Dickinson North Dakota for 3 weeks. While I was in Dickinson we did a Holiday Inn commercial, where you could actually see my left hand for maybe a split second. It was also in Dickinson where I saw a man turn around just in time to get knocked over by a tumbleweed that stood taller than he was. We were playing 6 days a week and had Sundays off. During those Sundays we'd either be traveling from one city to another, or being tourists.
One of those "tourist days", we drove over to Theodore Roosevelt park and started to walk around it. The trail was a huge circle so you came out where you started. We were half way around when we realized it would be dark long before we got all the way around, so we decided to cut the distance in half, and started following a trail that looked like it cut through the middle. It turned out to be a deer trail that got narrower, and narrower, and narrower, as it got steeper, and steeper, and steeper. At one point the trail through the brush was less than a foot wide and very nearly straight up. We were grabbing onto bushes to help pull us up the hill. When we finally got to the top, we found a trail that ran across the top of the mountain and there was a bench on the trail, (totally unexpected). Next to the bench was a sign that said that if you look down into the valley below, you could see where George Custer took his troops on the way to the Little Big Horn. We were way up high and the valley below looked enormous. Rather than continue on our deer trail, we took the real trail back to the highway and came out a mile or so from the car. We hopped in the car and found a tiny diner in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and went in to eat. Just as we sat down, a big thunderstorm hit. I'll always remember how close we came to getting caught in that park in the dark, or how close we came to getting caught in that thunderstorm, and I'll never forget how hard it was pulling ourselves up that nearly vertical deer path.
Well, that's the condensed version of one of uncounted "road stories". Maybe I need to write a book. John
Dickinson looks about 600 miles from here. I have not been to ND before, just Sough Dakota. Loved Mt Rushmore and the badlands and Devils Tower.
I have never been to a rodeo. I wanted to go in 2020 and in the winter of 2020 asked my neighbor if they had an interest in the Helena Rodeo in the summer, but COVID put a stop to that. I'll need to see if they will have it this year.
What is your Theodore Roosevelt park story?