Thursday, July 20, 2017

It's hot. Stay inside. The end.

ABOUT THIS TIME every year, the boss would stick his head out of his office, see which unfortunate victim was still sitting at his or her desk, then fire off an email. It would be titled "Weather Story." If my name was on it, I'd start cursing and wondering what I'd done to piss him off.

I. Hated. Weather. Stories. To me, it was pretty simple. It's hot, so stay inside, drink liquids, run in the early morning, drink liquids, don't mow your lawn, wear sunscreen, drink liquids, blah blah blah. In other words, have common sense.

We'd be directed to find "real people who are impacted" by the hot weather, and to look up the historical data about hottest days ever, when the last time we had rain, blah blah blah. I remember one particularly miserable summer where it didn't rain for months, and we did a lot of stories about it, but that was different since agriculture was such a huge issue around here.

So I'd grit my teeth and do it. I understood it. A daily paper needed daily stories, and people liked to know about the weather. It wasn't hard to do - everybody has to deal with the weather, and in Quincy we got used to 100 degree summer days.

Sure enough, yesterday's Whig had a front page story about the hot weather. I didn't see the name of the reporter who evidently didn't duck in time and was chosen for the honor.

I seem to remember during my last summer at the paper five years ago doing a story and then doing a video at Indian Mounds Pool. I put the camera in a plastic bag and went down the water slide. Later, Steve Eighinger and I did a bit at Sheridan for our legendary "Perfect 10" segment. It was all about getting the story, right?

It's hot. Stay inside. Drink a lot, preferably water. Or, do what we are doing soon - flee north and find a beach that time forgot.

It's big news, you know.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's your name?

I AM TERRIBLE at remembering names. Funny - I can remember Who lyrics from a gazillion years ago, or Van Halen's forgotten singer, or the Stanley Cup Finals MVP in 1979, but come up to me and say hello and say, "Remember me?" I do. I just don't remember your name.

This is hereditary. On the long and dreaded drive to the Hart cottage in the 1970s, we'd start acting up and my father would get mad. "Rod! I mean, Charys! I mean, Kathy! Stephen? No. Greg. Be quiet!" He'd run through all five names, figuring he'd get one right. I used to be offended. Now I'm just sympathetic.

Sheryl has this issue, too. Yesterday she called our vet and said she needed flea medication for Bella. BELLA! You know, Bella The Destroyer, who's been dead and gone for a long time. I call Tucker "Angus" and Angus "Genie" and Josie "Tucker". See? It's a big vicious pet cycle, from what I vaguely remember.

I have a lot of guitar students right now. Yesterday I called Lauren by the wrong name, Katie. It seems Katie comes about an hour later. So I was either jumping forward, or couldn't remember, or just blurted out the first name that came to my mind. I hope Lauren was not too offended. It's just the big dumb guitar teacher, but still, your name is your name and you would think he'd be better at remembering.

Thank you for your patience and reminding me about your name. I appreciate it. I will make a mental note and lodge it into the deep recesses of my brain, back by our phone number in Montreal (471-8389) and the address of the house I lived in on Burton Street one long summer 32 years ago (830).

Please don't be mad when I can't dig your name out. Kind of murky and muddy in there, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dennis Oliver - one of the good guys



QUINCY RADIO LEGEND Dennis Oliver made it public last week - he's dealing with Alzheimers. He's fighting hard. And you can help.

Dennis left Y-101 last December after spending 40 years on the air. He's one of the good guys around here and he actually gave a bleep about local music, promoting and playing it all the time. If we had a big event to push, Dennis was always glad to give us time and help us promote it.

When he left last year it was just time to retire, but he knew the Alzheimer's was progressing. Judging from the clip above, he's hanging in there and is the same positive and fun Dennis we know and love.

His partner in radio crime, Jeff Dorsey, has long been a board member of our local Alzheimer's association and familiar with the horrendous implications of the disease. To see his best friend and colleague go through this is unimaginable. So Jeff is doing what Jeff normally does, namely, do something about it.

This Saturday at the Elk's Lodge in Quincy, Jeff is being roasted. Click here for details. It won't be PG and it won't be for the faint of heart, fitting for the subject!

Fight on, Dennis. We are rooting for you.




Monday, July 17, 2017

It's a long way to the top ....

IF A PICTURE is worth a thousand words, then so is a song.

Yes, playing in a band IS fun, more fun than you should be allowed to have. I wouldn't trade all the band experiences, adventures, ups and downs for anything.

But it ain't easy being easy, or Cheesey. That being said, Saturday night was a blast with The Cheeseburgers at a 40th birthday party, and I'm still shaking off the Rock N Roll Truck.

So here it is, and it pretty much summarizes the whole deal

And I'm ready for the next gig.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Half off sale

WE HAVE A lot of stuff you might not think of in our music store. So we are putting some of it on sale, half off the price, get it while it lasts.

We have pick guards, specialty guitar picks, microphone cables, capos, tuners, percussion items, drum heads, phone holders, violin and viola care kits. We have three rack mount tuners which are normally $100 - $50 takes it home.

It's all on a table by the front of the store, and already things are starting to find new homes. I doubt most of the items stick around for long.

We thought about giving Fast Eddie away for free with any purchase, but despite his large waddle, propensity to get locked in the back room and finicky digestive system, he's going to stay. For now, anyway.

Half off at Fifth and Maine! Sounds like an excuse to go to the music store. Who needs an excuse anyway?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Someday we'll go on a real vacation

SHERYL AND I are planning a Lake Michigan getaway. It will have to take place over three days. It takes a day to get up there and a day to get back. I wish I could take a week and find a beach and do nothing for five days, but it doesn't work like that anymore.

It's the joy and frustration of running your own small retail business. We have an excellent part-time employer, Steve Rees, who has helped us out on numerous occasions and can work flexible day hours. But the simple reality is that we can't leave for more than a day or two, and we can't just close the store because we need a break.

It's OK. Quality time, not quantity. We'll make the best of it and soak in as much as we can, and be better off for it when we get back.





Monday, July 10, 2017

To stage or not to stage

Pepper Spray on stage! Photo by Mike Sorenson/Bad Wolf Media

I HAVE PLAYED a million shows on a million stages. Stages are big, small, rickety, built up and torn down, and part of the show.

If you are in a venue, and there is a stage, you play on the stage. The Cheeseburgers just played at The Party Cove near Mark Twain Lake. It has the biggest stage we've ever been on - huge. There's lots of room and it felt good to roam around.

I've played on stages so rickety our stuff fell off. One particular Catholic parish picnic party comes to mind. Another night we were in front of the Quincy Boat Club and Marty Tappe save my amp from falling off the wobbling flatbed trailer about seven times.

Last Tuesday in LaHarpe, The Cheeseburgers played for the community fireworks show and we had a trailer for a stage. We put our drummer and keyboard player up there, and the other three guys stood in the grass in front of the trailer. I thought it looked really cool and we loved how it worked.

Thursday night we played for the Quincy Park District's summer concert series in Washington Park. We set up in front of the gazebo. It was more efficient and I think we were more accessible for the crowd, and it was a really good crowd for a weeknight. I loved having the room and not worrying about tripping over something on a stage. I understand going on the gazebo when it is Blues In the District, and 3,000 of your closest friends are in front of you.

Saturday night Pepper Spray played in the exact same Washington Park spot. This time we had a huge flatbed trailer for a stage. It was donated and I appreciated all the hard work and effort that went into the Back The Red, White and Blue Festival - we had a blast and a lot of people enjoyed it. Several people mentioned they liked the stage with the gazebo as a backdrop, and again, we had a lot of fun playing.

All the world is a stage, right? This weekend The Cheeseburgers play a private party at The State Room in Quincy, an amazing venue with a wide but not deep stage, and I can't wait to get up there and rock it to the ground again!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Get Cheesey in the park tonight!

AS USUAL, FIFTH and Maine is the place to be!

It starts tonight with The Cheeseburgers playing in Washington Park as part of the Quincy Park District's summer concert series. We play at 7 sharp until at least 8:30, maybe longer. We had a lot of fun up in LaHarpe Tuesday night for the city's fireworks event, but only got to play for an hour because of the rain. There is no Blues In The District Friday, so get the weekend kicked off early and catch our only free and public show in Quincy this year.

Saturday is our big Red White and Back The Blue Festival in Washington Park, honoring our local emergency services personnel. Pepper Spray and friends will be playing in the park around 7 ish, and the event is free and open to the public.

Blues In The District resumes a week from Friday with a big show and some surprises, from what we hear.

As usual, Second String Music is in the middle of it all, and we love it. See you downtown!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hey Frank! Any room in the dumpster?

WE ONLY GET one day off during the week, Sunday. Much of the time it's spent recovering from another adventure in small retail and playing gigs. Yesterday, however, we decided to take the rug out of the master bedroom (the original hardwood floors are still in great shape) and clean the back porch.

This should fit in Frank's dumpster, no problem.
That meant removing my old recliner and Sheryl's granny chair. I've had my recliner for 12 years - I bought it when I moved into the apartment at 9th and Monroe. It's old and cranky and doesn't work that well anymore, kinda like the owner. The granny chair is still usable.

I thought about having a Calftown Garage Sale - putting my recliner by the street and hoping somebody picks it up. But halfway to the curb it broke. It no longer reclines, there's a gash on the side and the stuffing is coming out.

In other words, I'm calling Frank Haxel and saying, "Uh, Frank, why did you pick up the phone?" and "Got any room in your dumpster?"

We also have a pile of nasty carpet. We filled two garbage bags full of just debris and dirt. We actually scrubbed the back porch to within an inch of its death. Then Sheryl busted a window killing a fly. She didn't die from the puncture wound as it slowly healed. I got a carpet nail wound on my right middle finger. And pulled a hammy. And both our backs don't work, nor does Sheryl's right shoulder. No biggie.

We called Custom Glass this morning and Leo said, "I'll be right over." He got the back window re-glassed and glazed to perfection. Now THAT is small town service to perfection! And Sheryl vows to not kill flies with the bare hands anymore.

We feel better about the clean porch and bedroom. But maybe the moral of the story should be, "Take Sunday off and drink beer in the backyard shade, Hoser." Nobody gets hurt that way.