Phish Adventure & the Days that Followed

 On Saturday 29 June 2019 I drove to Camden New Jersey to meet with Jason and Mike for my first Phish concert. I got there very early and if you know me you know I do everything early. I drove around a little to try and find parking for less than $40; bad idea, I finally parked and paid $30 about six blocks from the venue. If you’re familiar with Camden you know I should’ve just paid the $40 across the street from the amphitheater. Although it was extremely early I figured why don’t I just walk to the river and chill while I wait for Jason and Mike to come over on the ferry from Philly. 

About two blocks into my walk it started to rain a little, knowing the previous nights storm I figured it was a good idea to go to the overhang at the building I was walking past and see how the rain would turn out. Within a few minutes of me taking cover the sky opened up in the wind kicked in and I was trapped at the front door of the Camden charter high school. The rain and wind was so intense I could barely see the building across the street maybe 50 yards from where I was standing. I called Jason from my shelter to see if him and Mike were on the ferry yet, luckily they were not; they were planning on coming over a little bit later. 

After about 10 minutes or so there was a break in the storm, I figured this was my best chance to get back to my car so I made a break for it. When I got back to my car it was completely surrounded by water so I had to get into my car without getting my feet completely soaked since I only had the sneakers and socks I was wearing, luckily I managed to pull it off. When I finally got back into my car I figure it’s probably a good idea to move it to a different section of the parking lot where maybe its a little bit higher and dry, and not currently flooded.

My logic was if it wasn’t flooded at this point it most likely wouldn’t flood if the rain started up again. So I moved my car to a different location and just hung out for about a half hour until the rain finally stopped for good. 

It was at this point where I decided I would walk back to the venue and find a bite to eat before meeting up with Jason and Mike at the ferry. As I got closer to the venue there was a food cart with a dude selling hot dogs which I don’t eat, but he also had pretzels so I grabbed a pretzel and for three dollars I got the biggest pretzel I ever saw my life and it was pretty damn good. As I was eating my pretzel I walked down towards the water to check out the battleship New Jersey which is docked next to the concert venue in Camden.  I also just looked across the river into Philly where the submarine USS Bacuna is berthed at Penn’s Landing right next to a Ship from WW1 and is part of the Independence Seaport Museum. A few years back we filmed a short on the sub so this brought back some pretty cool memories for me. 

A short while later the ferry was docking so I walked over to meet with Jason and Mike. When we finally got inside Jason and Mike wanted to stop at the beer stand. While we were waiting they bumped into a friend who said she had a great spot on the lawn with other friends so we all headed in.

Shortly after the concert started I could no longer stand in the middle of that crowd so I let Jay know I was running to the bathroom to take a leak and I would not be coming back to the spot. (I don’t fair to well in the middle of crowds like that). He said he would take the walk and hang out with me and just head back to the group later. We finally settled into a spot at the top of the lawn area that was open and had a great view of the stage (this was much more enjoyable for me). 

After the first set I decided to go for a walk and told Jay I would be leaving early and not staying for the entire second set so at that point we separated, Jason went back down by Mike and their group of friends and I just walked around a little bit and eventually split. 

In between Phish sets down by the river there was a fireworks show which was really cool. I tried to get some photos but didn’t have a clear view so the pics sucked.

My first Phish show was very enjoyable, I had a great time and me and Jason made a deal that since I’m not a big Phish fan but went to the show with him that he (not being a Slipknot fan) would come to see Slipknot with me. By the way I can now call myself a Phish fan. 

To be continued………….

 

From the show we went to

Bio-Logic

A while back I started writing my story. It started off with the fact that I was adopted from birth and although I grew up in a 100% Italian family I did not know my biological back ground. Before I could finish the story Tara told me she had a gift for me and would be giving it to me later that night. What was the gift you may be asking; an Ancestry DNA kit. At first I wasn’t sure if I would even use it and I let it sit there for a while before I made the decision to spit in the vile.

Now just to take you back a little bit, my family somehow had a connection with the family of the woman who gave birth to me. Also my mother had all the papers from the adoption and gave them to me before she died so I had all the information on the adoption. A while before Tara bought me the DNA kit I did a quick google search and within 5 minutes I knew quite a bit about my biological mother and her immediate family. 

Just to makes this clear I had the best mom I could have ever asked for and wouldn’t have changed that for anything. My father died when I was very young and after that we struggled a bit. My mom worked extremely hard to make sure me and my sister had everything we needed, she sacrificed her time and happiness for us. Im sure she would’ve loved to go out with friends and possibly meet someone but she didn’t because we became her top priority. For this I am extremely grateful but also feeling a little guilt because she deserved to be happy and Im not really sure she was. 

Getting back to the DNA test I really don’t care much about the nationality part of the test. I was born Bayshore NY, grew up in Lodi NJ, and I carry an American passport; I am 100% American plain and simple. I did’t think I would care about biological family, turns out I was wrong about that. 

 

To be continued…….

Musically Irked

I’ve been playing in working bands (both cover and original) since 1985. Over that 30 plus years I’ve seen a lot of change in the music industry and local music scene. My first original release was in a predominant cassette era, then it was CD, now it’s predominant digital download with vinyl making a strong comeback. Also without the backing of a major label it was damn near impossible to achieve success, now you can achieve success with a good recording and an iPhone video through the social platform.

The area of change currently affecting me is the local scene. Back in the day I had an endless stream of gigs, with both my cover and original bands. Back in the day the clubs knew they needed to bring in patrons and it was not the sole responsibility of the band, now; not so much. Yes, it was important for the band to draw to keep gigs, but the burden was not placed on the band alone. Now when I contact clubs the very first question I’m asked is how many people I can bring into the club. Well, how many people will the club be bringing to see me? It should be a mutual effort, no?

Hey club owners I have a question for you, during you hiring process with your bartenders, cooks, dish washers, servers, and security do you ask them how many people they can draw to your bar? Maybe bartenders are asked if they have a following (as many do) but I doubt you rely solely on them to fill your bar.

As a band with a following we are always looking to build our following as we can’t rely on the same people to attend every show. The way to build our following is for the club itself to have a following so we are consistently exposed to a new crowd.

The other area where I find great frustration is with promoters who never return phone calls or messages. This is unacceptable behavior, if you don’t want to book my band simple tell me I’m a big boy and can take it. This lack of response from club owners and promoters especially from clubs where we have an established relationship is simply disrespectful and they should be ashamed of themselves for such poor behavior. You have the right to book or not book anyone you like, but at least have the common courtesy to return a call, not much to ask.

I once had a club promoter tell me he would book a monkey banging on a garbage can every week if people came in to see it, and I get it. But that being said even on nights we had less than stellar turnouts from our fan base, his club was full.

Back in the day Northern New Jersey had a great local music scene, now I have to say it sucks and it’s draining me of the passion I once had as a musician. May be time for a change.

Peace

 

Mr/Ms Perfect

I’ve been a musician for a long time. I know my limitations, I’m not a great bass player, guitar player, or singer. I’m aware of what I do well and where I’m weak. I know when I have a good performance and a bad performance. By the way a good performance doesn’t mean I played every note perfectly, if it did I never had a good performance in my life. Being critical of every note is completely ridiculous. If thats how you listen to music you’re cheating yourself of enjoying the experience. Nobody plays every note perfect, and I do mean nobody. Musicians at the highest levels are not perfect 100%.

Another thing, although I like most music there is good and not so good in every genre. There is music I really like that most people I know think sucks. In my opinion (for what it’s worth). No music sucks. You may disagree with how it’s created, the way it sounds, whatever, that doesn’t make it suck.

Anyway back to my original point. I’m not the greatest musician, I make lots of mistakes, I have to read charts to play songs I’ve been playing forever. When I sing I go off key at times, hell sometimes I can’t even get back on. I have good nights and bad nights. But the most important thing is I get out there and do it. I put my fears and insecurities and social anxiety aside and give it my all every time I step out on that stage. Whether it’s the smallest bar with my cover band or a big stage with my original band, you get 100% of my heart and soul in every performance.

Think about that next time you say someone sucks. Especially those of you who have never put yourself out there for all to be critical of. So if you can’t even play the guitar you probably shouldn’t be talking about how much someone else sucks at it…

Just something to think about..

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Peace