As Dopapod hits the road in anticipation of their upcoming album, Never Odd or Even, (due out November 11), they have agreed to be our eyes and ears on the front-line of Rock-n-Roll and report to Honest Tune about what life on the road is really like for a touring band. The band will periodically be checking in and delivering their thoughts and musings from the road. Rob Compa checks in this time from Denver, C0lorado after finishing Season 1 of Breaking Bad.
Hey guys! Blog number 4 for your reading pleasure here, straight from the Double Tree Inn in beautiful Denver, CO. Get it while it’s hot. I think I may have made the mistake of waiting a little too long to start a new blog entry, so there may a little too much information to sort out. But I’ll do my best. Get cozy and be ready for a long read!
Let’s see. Well according to my previous entry, I left you guys hanging while we were on our way to Columbia, Missouri for our first time. The venue was a fun little bar called Mojo’s, although the stage’s small size presented a bit of a challenge as far as fitting a light rig, all our equipment, and all of Tauk’s equipment. But in four years of touring, we’ve yet to encounter a situation that we couldn’t make work, so I knew we’d figure it out. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love playing small venues. It’s just so easy to hear every little detail, so we can interact with each other way more and be more adventurous in our improvisation. Honestly, it was some of my favorite playing we’ve done so far on this tour. Not only that, but considering it was our first time even playing in the state of Missouri, we had a really great crowd. We definitely appreciated it. When we’re in a market for the first time, we’re happy if 2 people show up as long they have a good time, so we were more than happy with the turnout.
The next day was spent entirely in the van, which was pretty uneventful, with the one exception being that we stumbled upon the most epic DVD store we’ve ever encountered. I opted to get something I’d never seen before, so I bought Stargate and the first season of Breaking Bad. I feel like I might be the only person in the western hemisphere who hasn’t seen Breaking Bad, so I figured it was about time to get educated. Great shit so far, its way better than The Mummy.
After a full twelve hour day of travel, we were all chomping at the bit to get to Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins. Before the show started, myself and Tauk’s guitarist, Matt, spent a little time jamming on Charlie Parker’s classic jazz tune “Donna Lee.” If any of you don’t know much about jazz music, “Donna Lee” is sort of the jazz standard equivalent of Van Halen’s “Eruption.” It’s really challenging, but a lot of fun to play, and is sort of an essential tune to have in your back pocket if you want to have some jazz vocabulary in your playing. Anyhow, I’m always eager for a great player to shed with, and Matt is certainly an amazing guitarist. We had a great time trading solos and trying not to mess up the melody and chord changes; definitely a great way to warm up before the show.
The show was easily twice as packed as the last time we were in Fort Collins. Sometimes a packed show results in us playing a little more safely, I think because we’re just more inclined to play a solid, entertaining show. This night, however, was a nice example of us having our cake and eating it, too. The room was packed out, yet we still played as if no one was paying any attention to us and we didn’t have a care or inhibition in the world. I want to feel like that on stage every night; definitely a great time.
The next day we drove over to Denver to play the first of two nights at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom as part of Sonic Blossom, which is a sort of indoor festival thrown by the same folks that put on Sonic Bloom every summer. Our set wasn’t until 12:30 A.M., so I passed the time by downloading the season premiere of American Horror Story: Freak Show. If you’re not cool with being scared, don’t watch it. There’s a clown who kills people scissors. Really fucking scary.
At the stroke of midnight, it was officially my 28th birthday. Not only that, but it was also the one year anniversary of Scotty’s first show with us. And what better birthday/anniversary present than a sold out crowd of 1200 people waiting to for us to walk on stage! I can’t really put into words how excited I was. The show went great. My personal goal for the evening was to take as many major key melodies as I could think of and play them in minor key jams. It was a fun experiment, and I think I did it with “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “Happy Birthday.” Lately, I’ve been really into the chords and melody for “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Check out the solo guitar version by one of my favorite guitarists of all time, Jim Campilongo. It’s really beautiful.
It felt grew to wake up on my birthday already in the city I was gonna play in that night. We woke up and got a bite, then headed over the venue to sound check. Once were finished, we headed out to a Thai restaurant to get some grub and some Sake. Afterward we headed over to the Ogden Theatre to catch some of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. I hope I don’t offend any deadheads here, but I’ve gotta be honest: I don’t know jack shit about the Grateful Dead, but I know I really enjoyed the show. The whole band looked like they were having a great time, and Tom Hamilton, the guitarist, really sounded fantastic. I actually saw Tom with his other band, Brother’s Past, years ago when they were opening for Umphrey’s Mcgee at the Avalon in Boston, and I really dug what he did back then, too.
We had to head back to the venue much sooner than I would’ve hoped, but hey man, duty calls. We arrived to behold another sold out crowd, which was obviously not bad news at all. The only down side of a sold out crowd is that walking around the venue is a nightmare. But that’s a small price to pay to play for a packed room.
The show started off fine, albeit a little standard at first. Things really picked up once we brought out a good friend of ours, Jaden Carlson, to play guitar with us. Jaden’s an amazing player; incredibly mature phrasing, great tone, awesome chops, all while being a humble, down to earth person… oh, and she’s only thirteen years old. I couldn’t believe the playing that I was hearing coming out of this tiny, unassuming kid. She’s got a bright future ahead of her!
The rest of the set really picked up after that. I had a really good time. Afterwards, though, I was so exhausted that I immediately fell asleep on the couch in the green room. You know you’re truly wiped out when you can sleep soundly even with twenty people partying in the same room. I guess I’ve just reached that inevitable point of the tour when my body realizes how much shit its being put through. Oh well. Luckily I’ve got the day off in a nice, cushy hotel room. Maybe I can take a walk and track down season 2 of Breaking Bad. I literally just finished the last episode of season 1 while I was typing this paragraph, and I’m feeling a strange, empty feeling knowing that it’s over. Dammit.
Anyhow, It’s been a pleasure rambling about nonsense to all you beautiful people, as always! Stay safe. Over and out.