Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another weekend over... already?

Our band Sock Monkey played at the 31st annual Sertoma Chili Cookoff Saturday afternoon, here in Springfield. There was an insane number of people there.  It was a blast.  Of course, we didn't get to play the main stage, down on the bottom floor where most of the chili booths were... and all of the people (hmmmm... there's always next year) but we were in the beer garden on the second floor, which was a pretty popular place to be.  We got there a little early, so before we played I waded through the crowd and took some pictures.  What you see in these two are just the people that were milling around on the main floor area.  The chili booths were on either side, and just about equally packed with people, as well.  Some folks can't stand crowds (let alone anything like this) but I actually enjoyed it, in an odd sort of way.  The second picture is looking toward the main stage, with local favorites Big Smith just about to finish up their set.  In the top picture, all the way back on the back wall, where those windows are; well... that's where we played.  Up in that room, overlooking the main floor.  It was still cool to get to play there.  Well, it's getting late, I'm tired, and my alarm clock is going to be going off before I know it, so I best hit the hay.  Peace.  Have a good week ahead.       
I did manage to make some pottery this weekend, also.  This piece is a lidded, white earthenware cannister.  The tile it's sitting on is about 8 inches square.  I'll probably finish it in a dark underglaze and a sgraffito design.  I'm leaning toward another floral pattern... leaves and vines, or maybe a gourd plant (?) this time.  That might look OK.  We'll see.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My home town... West Plains, Missouri

 Looking east toward the court house and the square from the corner of Langston Street and West Main.  All of these pictures were taken on February 6th, 2011.  We were in West Plains for Pam's mother's funeral.
 Looking west from the corner of Langston Street and West Main.  The big building on the left side of the picture is the First Christian Church.  Our family was a member of that church from before I was born, I'm pretty sure... long time.
 Looking toward the southwest corner of the square.
 Looking toward the southeast corner of the square from the west side.  The gray building is the courthouse, and the red building in the center is the old Aid's Hardware store.
 West Plains Opera House... I worked in this building when it was the Sterlings Store and Magic Mart, starting after I graduated HS in the Spring of 1976 through the Fall of 1977.
Looking south down Aid Avenue... what used to be called South Main Street.  We took this street to get to our house, all the way out to where South Main ends at the bypass.  The odd looking building in the center is the Zorn Building; and the small brick building just past the Zorn Building was my father's pharmacy for many years.  I was born in West Plains in 1958 and lived there till my late teens.  West Plains is my home town, and even though it looks kind of bleak in these pictures (it really isn't) it was a great place to grow up.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Long bowl

White earthenware with a black terra sig and sgraffito floral decoration.  I wasn't sure if I should call this a deep platter or a bowl, but I think it would work well as a serving bowl.  It's an unusual shape, which made the sgraffito work a bit difficult in places, but I like it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where were you...?

Where were you the first week of February, 1987, and what were you doing?  If you can't remember, it's not surprising... as far as I know, nothing earth-shattering occurred that week.  Twenty five years ago, this past week, I was on the road with our band playing in Billings, Montana.  I was 28 years old and had been playing music for a living for several years.  It was just another gig in another city, and I probably wouldn't have remembered much of anything about it either, except that I wrote letters to Pam & Patricia when they couldn't go out with us.  I was going through some of my old band stuff today, and I came across a couple of letters dated February 3rd and 5th, 1987.  With all of the letters I've saved over the years, what are the odds that I would come across one that was written 25 years ago... to the day.  I thought that was kinda cool.  
A brief glimpse into the wild life of a band on the road (ha!)

At that time, the band consisted of Rick Toombs (guitar, sax & vocals), Vinny Luciani (lead guitar & vocals), Dane Ward (keys and lead vocals), Ronald Wesley (bass guitar, keys and vocals), Becky Davich (lead vocals) and me on drums.  We also had a lighting tech named Kerry Williams (who had been with us since the early 80s) and our sound guy, Darrel Sanders.  We were living in Colorado Springs at the time, and had just finished a week in Durango, Colorado.  Then we headed north to Montana.  Our story begins on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 3rd, 1987.

Dear Pam and Patricia,
Hi - I love you!  I'm sitting here all by myself in our room #9 at the world famous Stardust Motel, at 3621 Montana Avenue, in beautiful Billings, Montana.  I'm just plain thrilled to be here! (Hmmmmm...)  I sure do miss you two.  It's going to be a long two weeks.  After I called you last night, Wes called Joan, and then we went in search of the motel.  It didn't take long.  This is a pretty bad motel... you know, the kind where you don't know if the sheets are "clean" or not.  It's down by the railroad tracks in the seedy part of town (who would have guessed that Billings had a "seedy" part of town?  funny).  It's not real bad, like Portales, New Mexico, but I am a little concerned about getting broken into... anyway... I hope not!  It sounds like the equipment truck just pulled in, so Darrel and Vinny should be coming in any minute now.  There are three beds in our room - two regular double beds and a bed that pops out of the couch.  I'm sleeping on that one.  It's not exactly what you would call comfortable.  There are two support bars that run across it, and one of them lands just across the small of my back, if I lay out flat on it... so I ended up kinda curled up in a ball in my sleeping bag last night.  It wasn't so bad.  We went for set-up today at around 1:00 or 1:30.  So far so good.  The people aren't real friendly yet, and I just get a strange vibe around here.  I don't know what it is... ya know?  It's kinda redneck.  Maybe that's it.  The club has a few rules.  It looks like it's going to be a low volume job, but the people like rock.  Sounds like an interesting combination.  I think we will find out what works soon enough.  One guy sitting at the bar said that they don't start throwing beer bottles at the band until after 11:00 (ha!)  (ha, ha, ha.... oh boy).
It will be a little strange doing opening night without Rick.  He's supposed to fly in at 7:00pm Wednesday, I think.  The last time we played in Billings was in early 1980 at a place called Grandma's, and we stayed out at the Econo Lodge.  That was where Linda blew up her toaster oven with a can of soup.  Remember? 
Anyway... we are playing at The Casino Club in case you need to know.  I hope you can read this, it's looking kinda sloppy.  Sorry.  I'll talk to you Wednesday.  Well, I guess I better go for now.  Everybody is coming in & out and they've got the TV on, talking, etc. so... I'll see you later.  Love you both.  Take care and be careful out there.
I'll be home in no time... right?

Thursday afternoon
February 5, 1987

Dear Pam & Patricia,
Wow, only 2:00pm and we've already done so much.  We got up at around 9:45 so we could practice on the new Peter Gabriel song "Big Time".  It was hard to pull myself out of bed!  Last night after work the manager told us about this place down the street called The Golden Nugget.  They have full meals for only $1.25!!  So... Wes & Vinny and I went over there last night for breakfast.  I got a huge 3 egg omlet with ham & cheese, hash browns and toast.  It was really good.  They have some gambling here in Montana, so a lot of these places serve cheap food to get you in the door, so you will play their slot machines.  We didn't play the machines.  Got back to the motel at around 3:00 or 3:30am....
the letter continues on about a nice library I found within walking distance from the motel... some "issues" we were having with one of the members of the band... and Ron & I working on some sequenced synthesizer parts.  So... that was what I  was doing 25 years ago today.  Exciting, huh.  But beyond the mundane day-to-day stuff, we also had a lot of fun in that band.  There were aspects of that profession that could be very difficult, to say the least, but I loved it. I mean, hey... I played drums for a living! I can easily say that it was the best job I ever had.  And I do miss that life sometimes, but I really don't think I could ever go back.  Not like that. There are way too many things that I like about my life today.
Our band, Some Peoples' Kids, in the summer of 1986.  L to R: Del Thompson (me), Rick Toombs, Becky Davich, Dane Ward, Ron Wesley and Vinny Luciani.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A smallish vessel for my spirits...

Slab built jug made of white earthenware... leather hard.  I made some dark blue terra sig a few days ago, and I think I will use it on this bottle.  I may add some floral patterned sgraffito to it also.  I'll give it a good look once the terra sig is dry, and see if it will let me (ha).  I am discovering that you can't force a design or decoration idea onto a piece when everything is telling you it shouldn't be there.  Sometimes you just have to know when to sit it aside and leave it alone.  It may just be a blue bottle, which would be fine.  I've got more of these in the works.