Tag Archives: Dopapod

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod #8 – Billy Joel, Bonnaroo, Synths

db1Well, I asked Billy Joel to sit in with us, but he said no. I don’t know why, maybe he was weirded out because I asked him while we were both taking a leak in the bathroom. Whatever, bro, get over yourself. It’s 2015. The walls of urination etiquette are a savage custom of the past. Live in the now.

 

Okay, so I didn’t actually ask Billy Joel to jam with us, nor did I even see him whatsoever. But on a serious note, Bonnaroo was absolutely unbelievable; without question not only the hugest crowd we’ve ever played for, but also one of the most energetic and appreciative. But I’ll start from the beginning of our Bonnaroo experience before we get into the meaty show time details.

 

We arrived nice and early in the afternoon with a lot of time to kill before our set. I usually don’t like to be at a festival all day before we play. It’s not that I don’t want to be there; I just know from experience that walking around for eight hours under the hot sun can leave me totally drained of any energy by show time. Not only that, but a lot of times I get bored and cope with it by drinking beer. And that’s definitely not something you want to consume all day before playing. In this case, though, we didn’t have a choice, so I figured I might as well walk around Bonnaroo and take it all in. I did, however, give myself a rule of no drinking before the set. I didn’t want to be a sloppy, exhausted pile of crap for one of the biggest festivals we’d ever played.

 

db2Before our set we sat down to do an interview with Red Bull TV, which was one of the stranger things I’ve experienced in my time on the road. They brought us up to a sort of tower overlooking the concert field, where they sat us down in front of super bright lights, handed us all microphones and dabbed makeup on us. I felt like I was announcing New Years Rockin’ Eve or something. It was weird. The interview itself was pretty fun, though.
The time finally came to set up our equipment, and I was surprised to see a substantial amount of people already at the stage waiting for us. To be honest, I initially told myself that they were probably just camping out for a good spot for whatever band would be playing after us, and we were just the entertainment in the meantime. As we neared completion of our sound check, we were all a bit stressed to discover that Eli’s Moog prodigy was completely incapable of staying in tune. Fun fact for those of you who don’t know much about keyboards (and I am one of you): Vintage synthesizers actually have to be tuned. I don’t know if it was the dust or the humidity or what, but the Moog was in super rough shape. But it was now or never! Gear malfunction moments are what separate the men from the boys, and if you don’t keep your cool and handle it with grace you’re bound to have a terrible time on stage. I knew that if anybody could handle it, it was Eli. He has four other keyboards on stage, and dude sounds amazing on anything that has piano keys, so I knew if something went wrong he would still play it off like a boss.

 

db3As we took a minute to collect ourselves before walking on stage, we heard the entire crowd chanting our band’s name, and I realized that the people who had been waiting while we were setting up were not just waiting for some other band to start playing. I hate to be cheesy, but we were really moved by it. As we finally took the stage, I was absolutely dumbfounded at how much the crowd had grown since I had walked off after sound check. I had never experienced anything like it. I would guess it was somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 people. A few of my friends and family asked me if were nervous playing in front of such a big crowd; Honestly, aside from being a touch nervous about Eli’s synth working properly, I couldn’t have been less nervous. How could I be stressed playing in front of a crowd that was so warm and enthusiastic? I didn’t feel I had anything to prove. I was only focused on having a great time and enjoying such a beautiful moment while it lasted. On top of that, Eli dealt with his technical difficulties beautifully. I was proud of him for being so zen about it and adjusting without a hitch.

 

 

After having a day off to enjoy Bonnaroo, we hopped on a plane and headed back up north to play at Disc Jam Music Festival. I have to give a shout out to our unbelievable road crew for this one.  As soon as our set had finished, they packed up the all the gear and drove all the way from Tennessee to New York so that we could stay at Bonnaroo for an extra day and then fly into the next gig. That just blows my mind. They work way harder than we do to begin with, yet we’re the ones who get special treatment. I won’t lie, I was more than happy to be able to hang out for awhile and then fly in a nice comfy airplane, but I felt kind of guilty about it. The next time a fan comes over to me to shake my hand or ask for an autograph I should just tell them to go get our road crew to sign their stuff instead, because in actuality my job is pretty easy and theirs is unbelievably difficult.

 

 

We arrived at Disc Jam in high spirits, not only from the afterglow of Bonnaroo, but from excitement about playing a festival that’s been so good to us throughout the years. It’s changed locations multiple times at this point, but has managed to retain the same vibe no matter where it’s been held each year. My theory is that it’s truly a festival that thrives off of the people who attend it. I’ve seen so many of the same faces every year I’ve ever played at it that it really doesn’t matter what the location is. The people there dictate the mood and spirit of the event.

 

As I set up my equipment in preparation for our set, I enjoyed the sounds of Electron emanating from the adjacent stage. Those guys have all been doing what we’re doing for years and years, and they’ve been super cool and supportive to us. They’re definitely always a fun hang. The only guy I haven’t talked to too much is Tom Hamilton, but I can safely say I was really impressed with his guitar playing. To be honest, up until recently I didn’t really know he was so good. It’s not that I didn’t think he was good – I just hadn’t checked out much of his playing – that was until a few months ago, when I caught him playing with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead in Denver. Man, that guy can play guitar.

 

As Electron wound down and we started getting into our set, I felt a nice, rare wave of contentment. If I’m being honest with myself, I feel like I always want something else; more songs, more gigs, less gigs, more notoriety, more guitars, whatever. But every once in awhile, I can reach a place where I’m totally happy with where I’m at right then and there. I got to go to that place while I was on stage at Disc Jam, and I really appreciated being there. I was on stage with my friends, playing music that I was happy with, for a crowd of people who were feeding us great energy. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 

 

The set started off pretty standard, with us breezing through a few more abridged versions of songs. Definitely tight, but the real fun was yet to begin. Then, about halfway through the set, we brought up our friend Justin Hancock from Haley Jane and the Primates to play some guitar. Justin goes way back with all of us. I met him in college in a guitar lab, where we bonded over Phish. On top of that, he used to be in a band with Chuck and Eli called Actual Proof, so there’s a lot of history between all of us. We all had a great time playing together, and Justin sounded great. From that point on, I don’t think there a single break between songs. I also don’t think a single thing went according to plan, which is how we want it to be. That’s when the really good stuff happens!

 

Anyhow, that’s all for now, I’m in the van, as usual. It’s a little past midnight, and I’m listening to some Cannonball Adderley. Check him out if you never have. He is definitely my favorite bebop horn player. I may even start my next blog as soon I’m done with this one. It’s not like I have anything else to do! ’Til then, you all be safe out there.

 

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #7 Martha2, “Echoes,” and Slayer

mt jamHey everybody! I’m back at it after a long hiatus from blogging. I guess I just got the bug again and needed some sort of activity to keep me from going nuts on the road. But before I give you the details of last week’s run of shows, I figured I’d tell you about a couple of the more exciting things that have happened so far this year.

First off, I started off the new year by purchasing a shiny new guitar. That’s exciting stuff for me. For any guitar geeks out there who care about specifics, its a Gibson custom shop CS-336 with a non-reverse firebird headstock. For anyone who doesn’t care about what its called, just look at the pretty picture of it below:

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I was out to dinner with my girlfriend and we stopped into a terrific guitar shop called Lark Street Music. I had no intention of buying a new guitar, but it felt and sounded too perfect for me not to fall in love with it. I spent the following couple days trying to get it out of my head so as not to make a frivolous decision, but ultimately my wonderful, lovely girlfriend told me to stop being a dumb ass and buy it. There’s nothing like the love of a good woman, huh? Anyhow, it’s been my primary guitar for the last six months, which is saying a lot since I’ve sold every guitar I’ve owned in the last 8 years. I named her Martha 2 (Martha 1 is my dog). Also, for anyone who cares, I still have Amelia, my trusty Paul Reed Smith hollowbody II that has been my primary guitar for the last ten years. That guitar will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands. She is however, in need of some TLC and overall maintenance, so I haven’t been playing her too much as of late.

Another highlight of this year for me was our three night run at the Sinclair in Boston. Playing shows and just being in Boston in general is always a big deal for us since we started the band there many years ago, and being there always brings something out of us creatively. I usually try not to voice my opinion of any of our shows. Who am I to let my negative opinion of a show ruin what was a great experience for someone in the audience? And, conversely, I’m wary to think too highly of a show and then get people’s expectations up too high only to have the music not meet it. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that these three shows are some of my favorite shows we’ve ever played. I love the feeling of abandoning a setlist for the sake of creativity and exploration, and I don’t think any of the three shows abided by what was written down. I also felt that every chance we took paid off in spades. I couldn’t have had a better time.

Here’s some of personal highlights of the run:

1- the entire first show

2- Russ Lawton and Ray Paczkowski of Soul Monde and Trey Anastasio Band sitting in with us on “Roid Rage”

3- Playing Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” for nearly an entire hour. It was the only song of the entire second set on the third night.

 

Fast forward to Summer and here we are, in the midst of festival season. This is an exciting yet stressful time of year for any band. Being at a festival with all our friends from other bands feels like a giant family reunion. The hang is just unbelievable. I honestly feel that all the other bands that are sort of in the same teir as us (is that what the kids are calling it these days? “Teir?”) are my best friends. Unfortunately, with all of us always on our own crazy tours we don’t get to hang as much as we’d like to, so we look forward to the hang that occurs backstage at any given festival.

Last weekend was an amazing, albeit insane one for us. We started off by flying to Arkansas to perform at Wakarusa. The set was all right despite fighting through some technical difficulties in the first quarter of the set. We were also using all rental (or “backline,” as the pros say) equipment, which was a bit stressful. But we made it through unscathed to fight another day. I think my personal highlight of the day was that all the water at the festival came in cans, which blew our minds. It felt like we were drinking beer, but we were actually being healthy. Good stuff.

We woke up bright and early the next day for one of the most hectic days of travel I’ve experienced in recent memory. We started off with an hour and a half drive to the airport, and then got on an airplane and landed in Chicago to catch a connecting flight. The layover culminated with our plane arriving an hour late, only to be kept at the gate for an extra hour because the flight crew couldn’t get the door of the airplane to close. That’s reassuring! A door being broken on an airplane is definitely pretty high up on the list of things you don’t want to be broken on an airplane. Dead men tell no tales, however, and obviously I’m alive to tell this one, so I think it’s obvious that the door held up okay. Then once that plane landed at LaGuardia, we hopped in a car and drove another three hours to Mountain Jam in Hunter, New York. All in all, thirteen hours of traveling in one day.

Thankfully, we arrived in time to catch the last half of Robert Plant’s set. He rocked the shit out of that mountain. He still sounds great and his music has aged gracefully over the years. Also, in between songs he told weird stories about young girls walking through the heather with buckets of milk singing “English refrains of old.” I don’t know what the hell he was talking about, but Robert Plant was saying it so it was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever heard.

After that, I walked over to the indoor stage to play our late night set. I’ll admit it was a bit surreal to watch a member of Led Zeppelin and then walk 100 yards and play my own set. That was a pretty cool “pinch me moment.” I enjoyed our set a lot, although I can’t think of any specific highlights. I just know it was nice to play a good long set that allowed us to stretch out. We’ve had a lot of power hour festival sets where we’re off stage before we even know we have started playing, so it was nice to have time on our side once again.

We got finished at 3 am and headed to our hotel to get some rest, but not for long. We were back at the venue at 11 am to get set up for an early afternoon set on the main stage. This was by far the biggest stage we had ever played on, but frankly I didn’t care what the stage looked like; I just hoped that people would get up early and come see us. No one wants to play for an empty ski slope. Fortunately, we had a wonderful crowd as well as a beautiful, sunny day amidst a lush, green mountainous setting. What a beautiful time. Despite our exhaustion from all the travel, we felt really locked in and creative. All four of us were in high spirits and were truly enjoying such a beautiful place to make music. 

I hung out for the afternoon and enjoyed some free beer and food, and then decided to hit the road so I could have some “R and R” before getting back on the road, which brings me to now. We’re in the van, headed to Bonnaroo. My back is killing me and my hair is starting to go gray. Do you guys think Billy Joel would be down to sit in with us? I doubt it. Maybe we’ll ask Slayer…they’re a jam band, right? We’ll see… 

 

The Werk Out Festival 2015 Lineup Announcement

PrintReturning to Legend Valley on August 6-8, The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival features three nights of music from host band The Werks, two nights of Papadosio, and special guests Lettuce, Dopapod and many more, including a main headliner still to be announced!

Creating their own “psychedelic dance rock,” The Werks fuses shredding guitar with the screaming organ of jam and classic rock, the slap bass of funk and the more modern sounds of synthesizers and dance beats. Coming off of a monumental 2014, the host band has two new releases with their new album, Mr. Smalls Sessions and their live recording of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (performed at last year’s Werk Out Festival with help from members of Papadosio and Dopapod).

Papadosio has amassed a dedicated following of thousands through their melding progressive rock with psychedelia, folk with electronica, and dance music with jam. The band completed their innovative Night & Day (Live) series late last summer, where they posted on Youtube new songs they recorded live.

2015’s full lineup includes:
The Werks (three nights)
+ an additional headliner TBA March 30
Papadosio (two nights)
Lettuce
Dopapod (two nights)
The Nth Power
The Main Squeeze
Turbo Suit
Tauk
Earthcry
Pgrass (featuring Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove)
The Heard
The Mantras
Broccoli Samurai
…and more to be announced!

Formerly known as Buckeye Lake Music Center, the sprawling festival grounds of Legend Valley have played host to some of Ohio’s most memorable live performances of the past five decades including half a dozen Grateful Dead concerts as well as tour stops from Lollapalooza, AC/DC, WOMAD, The Allman Brothers Band, and numerous other large events.

GA festival passes are available now for $99.99 and $199.99 for VIP packages which include Official VIP-Access Laminate, VIP only Showers, VIP only Bathrooms, VIP only concert viewing area & more. The link for ticket purchase is http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-werk-out-music-and-arts-festival-2015-tickets-14740574455

Dopapod Announce Spring Tour

After a New Year’s run that began 2015 with to a packed house in Worcester, MA, Dopapod is exploding out of the gate for the year announcing a lengthy spring tour along with the news of their debut at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.  Multiple night stands highlight the spring run with weekend-long stints at The Sinclair in Boston April 17 – 19 and April 24, 25 at the Brooklyn Bowl.

All of this follows the release of the band’s fourth album, Never Odd or Even – released November 2014. The band’s most fully realized work to date, the new songs embody the energy and cohesion that Dopapod has developed from playing live as well as an increasing comfort and familiarity while in the studio.

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Dopapod tour dates:

 

Feb 25 Levels [State College, PA]

Feb 26 Tralf Music Hall [Buffalo, NY]

Feb 27 Madison Theater [Covington, KY]

Feb 28 Mercy Lounge [Nashville, TN]

Mar 1  The Concourse [Knoxville, TN]

Mar 3 The Blind Tiger [Greensboro, NC]

Mar 4 Gottrocks [Greenville, SC]

Mar 5, 6 AURA Music Festival [Live Oak, FL]

Mar 26 Howlin’ Wolf [New Orleans, LA]

Mar 27 Last Concert Cafe [Houston, TX]

Mar 28 Head For the Hills Festival [Kerrville, TX]

Mar 31 George’s Majestic [Fayeteville, AR]

Apr 1 The Bottleneck [Lawrence, KS]

Apr 2 Rose Music Hall [Columbia, MO]

Apr 3 Waiting Room [Omaha, NE]

Apr 4 7th Street Entry [Minneapolis, MN]

Apr 5 Mirimar Theatre [Milwaukee, MI]

Apr 8 The Stache [Grand Rapids, MI]

Apr 9 The Bluebird [Bloomington, IN]

Apr 10 Park Street Saloon [Columbus, OH]

Apr 11 Beachland Ballroom [Cleveland, OH]

Apr 12 Lee’s Palace [Toronto, ON]

Apr 15 Wescott Theater [Syracuse, NY]

Apr 16 Pearl Street Ballroom [Northampton, MA]

Apr 17-19 The Sinclair [Boston, MA]

Apr 21 Chameleon Club [Lancaster, PA]

Apr 22 The Southern Cafe [Charlottesville, VA]

Apr 23 Hamilton Theatre [Washington, DC]

Apr 24-25 Brooklyn Bowl [Brooklyn, NY]

Jun 11-14 Bonnaroo [Manchester, TN]

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #6, Jake or Brendan?, cargo-shorts, and “White Room”

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.   This week Rob Compa comes to us after a string of shows opening for Umphrey’s McGee.

 

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Hey everybody! I’m sitting in the van headed home for a night before we meet up for rehearsal, and I thought I’d check in. We just finished up a two night run at one of our favorite venues to play, the Spot Underground in Providence RI, and I realized that the route back to where we were going to rehearse goes right by the exit for my apartment. I’m super excited to get a night home with my lady, my cat, and my dog before we meet up to get some tricks and treats together for our Halloween show next week. Should be a good time. But LOTS of stuff happened this week, so let me start from the beginning.

 

We arrived at the House of Blues in Cleveland filled with excitement to be opening for Umphrey’s McGee. I’ve been listening to that band for the last ten years of my life, so getting to play some shows with them is a real “pinch me” kind of moment. We arrived just in time to catch Umphrey’s rehearsing some tunes during their sound check. Even watching them sound check is a seriously inspiring experience. It’s cool to see a band that’s been doing it for so long who still works so hard and gives everything they have every night.

 

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The band walked offstage and I immediately threw myself into awkward Rob mode by shaking Brendan Bayliss’ hand and accidentally calling him Jake. Shit. What are you gonna do, huh? Oh well, onward and upward. Regardless of that, all the UM band and crew members made us feel right at home, which was a good feeling.

 

 

Our set was pretty standard procedure, but what can you expect when you’re playing a 45 minute opening set? It was definitely an adjustment for us to give people an idea what we’re all about in such a short time frame. As an improvising band, I think time is a really important factor into making a nice tasty improv casserole, so to speak. It needs time to bake, and then cool off and coagulate. And although 45 minutes is enough time to make some good moments happen, we definitely had to keep a careful eye on the clock and it was a little distracting at times. Even still, I think we got the point across. Mission accomplished, IMO.

 

[Check out the full show from the House of Blues]

 

 

jumanjiThe next day we pulled into Niagara Falls (the U.S. side) to open for Umphrey’s again at the Rapids Theatre. The town itself was pretty desolate. You know in the movie Jumanji (RIP Robin Williams) when he finally gets out of the game and walks around his town and everything’s boarded up and covered in graffiti and the movie theater has been turned into a porno theater? It was kind of like that. Except that this theater wasn’t a porno theater, it was absolutely beautiful and giant inside. It gave us a nice warm and fuzzy feeling to play in such a nice joint. Also, my Mom made the trip from Rochester to see the show, so it was nice to have her see us perform in a nice big place in front of a big fat crowd.

 

The set was pretty much the same vibe as the night before. Pretty standard and short. Knowing that two guitarists who I’ve grown up listening to could potentially be watching somewhere in the room was a little scary, and I think it made me play a little differently. Not to say in a better or worse way, but I think I played a little more showy than usual, and felt a little less focused on melodies or motif-y types of approaches. Whatever the case, though, I think I played some stuff I might not have played under normal circumstances, and in this line of work anything different is good.

 

20141024-_DSC0816The next day we arrived at Stage AE in Pittsburgh to open for Umphrey’s yet again. The AE in the aforementioned venue’s name stands for “American Eagle.” I figured we would all get short haircuts with spiked up bangs and frosted tips like a 90’s middle-schooler, and maybe wear some brand new but somehow pre-tattered and worn in Cargo shorts, but alas it was not to be. Anyhow, the venue was HUGE. I couldn’t even believe it. It may have been the biggest indoor venue we’ve played to date. I felt much more comfortable during our set than I had the previous two nights. I guess I had finally adjusted to playing a shorter set. I think it’s important to be a patient improviser, but it’s super important to know how to say what you need to say without unnecessary bullshit if needs be, too; definitely something to keep in mind.

 

[Check out the full show from Stage AE]

 

Check out Honest Tune’s photo gallery of Umphrey’s McGee’s show at Stage AE

 

 

I was truly excited to play the next two nights at the Spot Underground. We’ve been playing there for years, and its run by some Jack Brucereally great people who always make us feel right at home. And the crowd is always super energetic, without fail. Besides that, I was excited to get back to our normal two set format for a couple nights.

 

For the first night, we decided to pay tribute to Cream’s bassist Jack Bruce who had passed away that morning by covering “White Room.” We all listened to it at sound check and gave it a quick run through. It went over really well, and the rest of the set contained some fun Cream teases in a few jams. We really took our time and had some good moments. And the crowd was just nuts man. People always get rowdy at the Spot. I had a couple drinks in me for the second set, which made me feel a little loopy, but hey man, that’s rock and roll.

 

[Check out night 1 from the Spot]

 

Thanks to the two night run, we got to enjoy the rare and wonderful experience of not having to pack up any of our gear after the set, and not have to set any of it up the next morning. It was bliss man. We pretty much just hung at the hotel all day and then went to the venue and made sure everything still worked. The first set was a little mellow to me, but I dug it because of that. It had a little bit more of a grown up vibe, and it seemed appropriate for a Sunday. The second set, on the other hand, was much more aggressive and adventurous. Really good times. My only issue was that my amplifier was messed up and kind of sounded like crap. Oh well. Sometimes ya gotta roll with what you’ve got.

 

[Check out night 2 from the Spot]

 

Anyhow, that’s it for now. Halloween looms ahead of us like a giant jack o lantern with an evil grin beckoning us, so I should have some good stories the next time I get in touch with whoever is reading this. Til next time!

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #5, “Flying,” Dirty Hotels, and Michigan

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.  This time around Rob Compa comes to us after finishing a run of shows through the Midwest.

 

 

15423570792_6219bf1c92_oAhoy!!! Ahoy… Did you guys know that the term “Ahoy” was the word that Alexander Graham Bell (ya know that old dead dude that invented the telephone) originally wanted use as the universal greeting when someone picked up the phone? Apparently Thomas Edison (that other dead guy) changed it to the hello that we know and love today. I just learned that today. I always thought that was just some shit pirates or sailors said to each other. Whadya know?

 

Alright, on to business.

 

After leaving the beautiful state of Colorado, we headed to Omaha Nebraska for a Tuesday show at The Waiting Room. The show started off fine, but a couple minutes into the second tune Eli and I completely lost power on stage. After years of playing shows, I’ve learned that the worst thing you can do in situation like that is stop having fun. You just have to roll with it and take whatever the rock gods throw your way. That being said, I had a hard time shaking my frustration for the next couple tunes. I finally was brought out of my funk when we brought Matt from Tauk up to play some guitar on one of our newer songs, “Dracula’s Monk.” I had a great time playing music with him, and it was definitely the highlight of my night.


The next day we headed to The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS. Early in the day, I settled down to restring my guitar and watch the Orioles and Royals ALCS game. I was an Orioles fan when I was a kid, so it would’ve been cool to see them win, but I also enjoy rooting for the underdog, so I was happy to see the Royals win. Very cool. {editor’s note: The Honest Tune editor of this piece is from Baltimore and does not find this very cool.} As for the rest of my day, I can’t really say that anything else too noteworthy happened. The show was a good time, for sure, but after so many shows I can’t necessarily remember details from every single one.

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We arrived in St. Louis on Thursday to discover that 13 bands had had their trailers broken into just that month in that same neighborhood. Yikes! That’s not exactly news we’re happy to get. Anyway, we appreciated the heads up and took some extra precautions. Before show time, I got some chicken and vegetable Tikka Masala that totally blew my mind. Best meal I’ve had this tour. The show went well and I personally felt really good about my playing that night. I felt like I had a lot to say and my hands were letting me say it.

 

15420739531_b171874a07_oBecause of all the theft problems in St. Louis, we drove for a couple hours to get out of town. By the time we got to the hotel, it was somewhere around 5 AM. As Luke (our lighting designer) and I walked into our hotel room to finally get some Z’s, we discovered that our bed had been slept in, and our toilet was filled with old shit and it wouldn’t flush. I personally would’ve preferred a mint on my pillow or something. Well anyways, we quickly got a new room and got what sleep we could manage.

 

We all woke up the next morning needing way, way more sleep than we had actually gotten, which isn’t at all abnormal. We arrived in Chicago the next morning fatigued, but stoked to play one of our favorite cities. The set contained some really great improvising. We even found ourselves playing an impromptu covers of “Flying” by the Beatles and “Brain Stew” by Green Day. Ya gotta love finding yourself in some cover that you’ve never played or talked about before, just via improvisation. We had a great time.

The next day was a little bittersweet for us because our long time manager, Jason Gibbs, flew out that morning to finally get off the road with us and become our, well, just plain manager -that means not touring with us anymore. I’m gonna miss my Pep Pep. He’s a good Pep Pep and I’ll miss sitting on his lap and hearing whimsical bed time stories about settlement, back end deals, and radius clauses. But luckily, our buddy Aaron Hagele took over the duties of road management, and has since then been doing a great job for us. Thanks Aaron!

 

I arrived to the Mousetrap in Indianapolis filled with excitement, not because of the show so much as the anticipation of eating the delicious beef stew that the venue regularly serves. I look forward to it every time we tour in the Midwest. The Mousetrap is a tiny little place, but the crowd there always goes nuts, which we just love. This time was no different. It felt great to play our songs and see people singing the words along with us, and it made our day to start a song and see people in the crowd cheer with glee because they got to hear the one song they were hoping we would play. We even had one dude crowd surfing! Good times.

 

Grand-Rapids-MIAnd finally, we ended our run in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the Stache. After our sound check, we all headed to the Founders Brewery down the street to grab a bite and try some good beer. Gotta love Michigan’s abundance of beer. The show was a good time, but that old feeling of playing the sixth show in row was definitely apparent to all four of us, so the next two days were spent at our good friends Rick and Pam VandeKerkhoff in Rockford. We make sure to spend a few days with Rick and Pam every time we’re in town. They’re the parents of one of our good friends from Berklee, Kyle, and they’re two of the coolest people on the planet. We’ve spent the last two days filling our bellies with beer, whiskey, chorizo strata, seven layer dip, and meatloaf sandwiches. It just doesn’t get any better.

 

Anyhow, that concludes our journey for now! Tomorrow we’ll embark on three shows with one of our favorite bands, Umphrey’s Mcgee, so I’m sure I’ll have some good road stories for all of you lovely folks. Later!

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #4, Breaking Bad, Charlie Parker, Clowns with Scissors

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.

 

15423916345_19455a4e41_oHey 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.

 

Breaking-Bad-Season-51The 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.

 

American Horror StoryThe 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.

image002The 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.

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #3, Consider the Source, Sharts, and The Mummy.

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.  After a stretch of six shows in six days, guitarist Rob Compa checks in while watching The Mummy (spoiler alert, it’s not as good as he remembered it was).

 

11698433333_a519e77b85_oHey guys! It’s me, Rob, again. I originally envisioned this blog thing being a little more of a collaborative effort wherein each week a different band member would type something up, but I just can’t stay away from all you lovely folks out there on the information super-highway, so I’m being greedy and just taking care of it myself. I don’t know how many of you have ever been on tour, but any task at all is a welcome occurrence when you’re sitting in the van anywhere between 3 to 7 hours each day for months at a time. So here I am again!

 

The last time I spoke of our epic adventure, we were on our way to Morgantown, West Virginia to play at 123 Pleasant Street. Well lemme tell ya, that was a hell of a night. We’ve played in Morgantown a handful of times and have always had a blast, but this marked the first time that we played for a sold out crowd. There’s no better term in this industry than “sold out,” so we were all walking on air.

 

Gabe MarinThe first set was solid and tight, with my personal highlight being when Gabe Marin from Consider the Source came up to play some guitar with us during our song “Bahbi.” We don’t play that tune very often anymore, and the studio version on our album Drawn Onward actually has Gabe on it, so I always enjoy hearing what he adds to the song. That being said, this particular version was easily my favorite one that we’ve played with him so far. All of the CTS guys are just about the coolest dudes you could ever find. You’ll never meet three cooler, more down-to-earth people anywhere. And as a guitar player, I just can’t stress enough how brilliant Gabe is. Honestly, every time I’m on stage with him, I can’t help but appreciate that I’m lucky enough to be playing guitar with someone who does things that I’ve honestly never seen anyone else do on the instrument. He is, for lack of a better word, a total motherfucker.

 

If the first set was solid and tight, then the second one was the exact opposite, but in the best way possible. We threw caution to the wind and played whatever we wanted. We took a lot of chances, some which worked and some of which didn’t, but man did we have fun. And the crowd did, too. We definitely put all of our energy into that second set, which was totally worthwhile, although the load out afterwards was a pretty agonizing endeavor.

Listen to Dopapod’s full show from 123 Pleasant Street here:


Finally, and most notably, the evening ended with easily one of my favorite tour stories of all time. Be warned, however; this tale is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. We all packed up and left for the hotel, with the exception of our monitor guy, Tim Foran, who stuck around to hang out with some friends he had in town. The next morning, he told us a riveting tale. After everyone had left, he had gone to a friend’s apartment next to the venue to hang out with some people. When they arrived, there was a person lying on the couch passed out, as is often the result after a rowdy concert. After a few minutes, this said person awoke to lean over the side of the couch and barf everywhere. That’s not horribly out of the ordinary, except that while in the process of spewing, the person let out a huge, wet fart and pooped their pants…They barfed and pooped their pants simultaneously…You heard me right.

So anyway…

Resonance FestAfter that, we headed to the great state of Ohio to play the Resonance Music Festival . We arrived to discover that it was extremely cold, although how could we be surprised when we’re pulling up to an outdoor music festival in the northern U.S. in October? We’ve dealt with colder, so we were ready. And despite the frigid temperature, we were warmed down to our plums with an abundance of good friends. As had been the case with every show of the tour up to that point, our buddies in Consider the Source were there when we arrived. But we were also greeted by our good friends in The Werks, Papadosio, the Main Squeeze and many more as well. It’s always good to get to a gig and have it be teeming with your best buds.

 

Our set was pretty standard, but definitely a good time. And we were honored to have our friend Dino from the Werks come up to play bass on our song “Black and White” with us. That tune definitely requires a little homework, so we were flattered that he took the time to study it, and he nailed it to the wall. After that, we brought up Gabe and John from CTS to play one more version of “War Pigs” with us before our bands parted ways for the rest of the tour. I’m gonna miss those dudes, but we always cross paths pretty frequently, so I’m sure we’ll see them again soon.

Listen to Dopapod’s full set from the Resonance Music Festival:

 

Sunday took us to the great land of Lincoln: Illinois, at the Canopy Club in Urbana. Now that we had parted ways with Consider the Source, we met up with another terrific band, Tauk . If any of you haven’t heard this band yet, they are absolutely fantastic and worth every ounce of hype about them that you may have come across on the internet.

 

15423570672_ee3b963291_oAfter sound check, I made my way over to the local college’s music building to teach a guitar lesson. I honestly love teaching when I have the time to do it. Before we started touring full-time, I actually made my living teaching in Boston at the School of Rock. It was a great time and although I would much rather play than teach, I miss it and the people I met doing it. My student for the day was a nice dude named Jonah with a really gorgeous Gibson ES-335. Really nice guy and he sounded great. Before we started the lesson he gave me a bit of a warning that he had already studied some of my playing, and had even learned a couple of our tunes. As soon as we started jamming, I could hear what he was talking about. A bunch of the lines he played were definitely similar to ideas that I often have when I’m playing. I’ve read some interviews with guitar players who say they don’t like it when someone copies their playing and feel they’re being ripped off or something. I, however, can honestly say I was moved that someone took the time to learn some of what I do. I know that when I hear one of my favorite players do something that really hits me, I immediately want to sit down and study it, so the fact that I played anything that meant enough to another player to dedicate their time to picking it apart was very, very cool to me. He even learned the fast middle section to “French Bowling” and the intro melody to “Vol. 3 #86,” although I can’t take credit for either of those since both those parts were written by Eli.

 

I headed back to the venue and listened to Tauk’s set for a little while, and man do I dig them every time I hear them play. They are a really cool blend of funk music that’s still forward thinking and unique, and they all play the shit out of their instruments while still leaving space for each other and being great listeners. I’m psyched to be able to listen to such great music before we play for the next few shows.


Our set was pretty fun, although I think we were all a little winded from playing six(?) shows in a row that week. Nevertheless, we persevered and had some good moments in the set. Since I was teaching before the show, Scotty made the set list for the night, which led to some really cool, different things.

 

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So here were are now, making our way to Columbia, Missouri for the next show. I’m watching The Mummy as I type this, and it’s a way shittier movie than I remember it being. But whatever, I’m just down for anything to pass the time. After Columbia, we’ll be making our way to the great state of Colorado for one show in Fort Collins and two in Denver at Cervantes. Should be a blast. Til next time!

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #2, Friendly Canadians, War Pigs, and BBQ.

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.  Guitarist Rob Compa checks in from Morgantown, WV this week.

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Howdy, everybody!!! I just couldn’t stay away from all you wonderful folks (whoever you are), so I’m hitting you guys with another blog. I also figure that if I wait any longer than three shows to type something, I’ll have too much information to make sense out of and it’ll just be a long, confusing piece of tripe. So this seems like a good way to chew slowly, exercise some portion control, and stay regular…

 

We started our week off in Toronto and Lee’s Palace, and lemme tell you, Canadian folks are the warmest, kindest folks you could ever hope to meet. I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore when I accidentally elbowed a cop on the street who, after I apologized, pleasantly said it was no problem. I can’t help but assume that if I did that in New York City, it’d be a different story.

 

The venue was a really cool, old club that seemed like it might’ve been a pretty opulent movie theater decades ago. I love getting to old venues and examining its blemishes. I enjoy making up my own theories about what those blemishes are a result of, even if they’re incorrect. The place was relatively small, but the stage was probably one of the tallest ones I’ve ever come across, which gave us a pretty cool feeling once the show started. It was fun to be an entire person higher than everyone else in the room.

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The show went great, although I can’t really recall any musical highlights, although maybe that’s just because it was all so fun I can’t distinguish any one positive moment from another. At the end of the night a handful of folks stuck around to help us pack up, which we really appreciated. Those Canadians sure know how to be hospitable.

 

 

 

The next day took us to Hamilton, which was only about 40 minutes away from Toronto, which was pretty relieving for us compared to how much driving is involved on the average day. We played at a nice little Irish bar called the Corktown Pub, which was a riot. I think I can speak for everybody else in the band when I say that playing small rooms is immensely fun. The sound is always so tight and dry, which we love because we can hear everything little thing going on onstage, which leads to some really cool interaction. I also dig it because a small room puts us in the mood of not taking ourselves too seriously, which is important to me. If you use that mentality the right way, some really great music can come out of it.

 

rochester     The following day was one that I’d been looking forward to for quite a while, because we were headed to my hometown of Rochester, NY to play at Water Street Music Hall! We hadn’t played the ole’ 585 in almost two years, so I was pretty stoked. We were also excited because this was the first time that we were booked in the big concert hall side of the venue instead of the smaller (but still very cool) club side. It was cool to load into that great big room that I had seen so many amazing bands in as a kid.

 

After sound check, we all took a walk through some extremely suspect neighborhoods and made our way to Dinosaur BBQ to fill our bellies with meat and our souls with greasy, smoky bliss. I got the Cuban sandwich. A wise choice if I do say so myself. I also recommend the catfish strips. Eating there was a cool walk down memory lane, too. I used to beg my Dad to take me to open blues jam over there on Tuesday nights. However, on one of the rare occasions that he did take me over there, I was petrified when I encountered a crack head who said to me “Give me your fucking phone number.” I think I was too scared to go back to that joint for a good two years!

 

The show was, at least in our humble opinions, the best show of the tour so far. We had a blast. I felt really warm and cozy from start to finish; great vibes from the crowd, not an ounce of nervousness. It was awesome. For the first set closer, we brought up Gabe and Jeff from Consider the Source to play a cover of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. That was a great excuse for Gabe and I to wield our battle axes together in reverence of rock’s oldest Deity, good ole’ Lucifer. What a guy. We were a little flustered after the fact when we discovered that we had forgotten to put a mic on Gabe’s amp, but every said that he was plenty loud anyhow, so fuck it. The recording might sound a little strange if it every gets released, but what are ya gonna do?


So that brings us to now, three shows deep in a six show run. I guess you could say that this our hump day. We’re making our way to Morgantown, WV to play at 123 Pleasant Street tonight. I, personally, come to Morgantown for the music but I stay for the black bean burritos across the street from the venue! Tonight is the local college’s homecoming, so I for one am hopeful for some drunken college kids doing crazy shit tonight. Should be a rowdy time.

Dopa-Blog: The Road Journal of Dopapod – #1, From New Haven to Toronto with Garbage Plates In-Between

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.  In this installment guitarist Rob Compa explores the highs and lows of shows from New Haven to Toronto and the glory that is a Rochester Garbage Plate. 

 

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Hey there everybody! I’m gonna come right out of the gate here and give all of you a disclaimer: I’m not actually totally sure what a blog is. I get the impression that it’s more or less a public journal entry. But I’m always looking for something to help pass the time in the van, and this ought to pass a whole lot of it. If anyone actually goes out of their way to read it, then good for you. And if not, then at least I killed a little time. I apologize for whatever grammatical errors might be lurking in the following paragraphs, but hey, I’d rather it be honest than be perfect.

 

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So where do I begin??? Well for starters, we’re three shows into fall tour, which started off with a bang right out of the gate. We started out at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut with our good buddies and one of our favorite bands, Consider the Source. Our good friend Adrian Tramontano from Kung Fu came out and played percussion with us for the whole show. During the encore, Chuck and I both had Adrian play some guitar and bass, which he just slaughtered. What an amazing musician. And I got to play a little bass, which is always a fun time for me. And he really took the music to a new place. Lots of tours start off with one or two “dust of the cobwebs” shows, so when the first show in is as exciting and fun for us as the Toad’s show was, that’s a good sign for how the rest of tour is gonna go.

Higher Ground The next day brought us to Higher Ground in Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is easily one of our favorite cities to play in, and Higher Ground is one of the coolest, most hospitable venues in the country. We were especially psyched because Adrian had such a great time with us that he decided to cancel a couple other gigs and drive out to the next two nights to play with us again. It meant the world to us that such a great dude and amazing musician went out of his way just so he could play some more music with us. The show went great, minus a slightly embarrassing moment during my guitar solo in “Upside of Down” when I broke a string on my guitar. Normally I’d just play through a broken string, but I was using my solid-body PRS, which has a really sensitive whammy bar, so when I broke my string, all the other strings went completely out of tune. But shit happens, and the best you can do is laugh about it.


The next day we played at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs. My dad and a few family friends made the trip out, which really Putnam Denmade my night. He’s a retired drug counselor, and anyone who’s ever been to a Dopapod show knows that the audience is not without it’s debauchery and other various shenanigans on any given night, so it always gives me a chuckle to see what kinds of characters he runs into when he comes out to a show. Despite that, though, it always feels good to have the guy who bought me my first guitar and showed me the first chords I ever learned in the room cheering us on. And my Dad was especially tickled when a fan asked him to autograph his poster. Rock on, Dad.

 

garbage-plate-300x202After a couple days off, we all met up in my hometown of Rochester, NY and crashed at my parents’ place. We all went out for a few drinks and then got the idea to fill our bellies with a Rochester tradition: garbage plates. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, lemme give you the lowdown; A Styrofoam takeout box, with one half filled with macaroni salad, and the other filled with home fries (you can also swap either of those out for French fries or baked beans). Then you put either 2 cheeseburgers or 2 hotdogs on top of that, cover it in Chili, ketchup, mustard, and diced onions. Then you eat all of it. Then you go to bed. Then you wake up. And then you feel bad about it. Then you kind of want another one. It’s glorious. Lemme tell ya, if you’re ever in Rochester and want to do something totally irresponsible to your body, get a garbage plate.

 

So that brings us to now. I’m sitting here in the van, chugging some coffee. We’re headed to Toronto today, which should be cool. I haven’t been to Toronto since I was in the 7th grade, when I went there on a field trip to see Phantom of the Opera at Pantages Theatre. Maybe we should tease some tunes from that show… Andrew Lloyd Webber writes some pretty badass shit! We’ll see…

Anyhow, I’m officially out of stuff to talk about out, so until next time! Take it easy, everybody!