Posts tagged: Mayday Pit Bull Rescue

Shipe in Phoenix @ Turf Pub – SW Tour Day 5

This being my first Southwest tour, I’m not expecting huge turnouts at my regular venue gigs. So, I thank my Mayday Pit Bull Rescue friends for adding up to at nearly half the attendance last night at Turf Irish Pub. In gratitude, I gave them my best musical effort. And I left out most of the canine-oriented songs, which they had heard the day before anyway.

A note about how I got this gig. The owner of The Turf — Andy — is fan of my old band The Renegade Saints, and a good friend of my longtime bass player Jerry-Groove Abelin. Andy was there when Jerry introduced himself to me over a decade ago, having heard that I was looking for a bassist. (The particular Saints’ tune that Andy is a fan of is “Know By Now.” What a softie, huh!)

So, like I said, attendance was sparse. (Let’s blame it on Halloween weekend.) That was expected, so I appreciate the booking.. I wanna come back and fill the place.

I had a nice moment with a new fan. Shortly before I went on, I was explaining to Richard (of Richard & Kyleigh the homestays/auto repair shuttle) that I rarely play “Sun Dog Ranch Road,” because I have trouble with the fingerpicking. I wrote that song — and many others like it — with musical hooks meant to be played by other instruments. When performing solo, it can be difficult to suggest those hooks with complex “right hand” work, while holding down chords and basslines. (Not to mention singing along with such guitar work.) At the end of the night, a fellow came up to me and said, “Man, you have the greatest right hand!”

Yes! Hard work and concentration pay off.

Broke Down in the Desert

I left Sacramento at 7:00 a.m., in order to make Phoenix on time for a good night sleep before Saturday’s Mayday Pit Bull Rescue benefit.

I was making good time. L.A. of course slowed me down, but sportstalk radio about the Cardinals’ Game 6 kept me in a good mood.

East of Palm Springs, almost to Arizona, I was listening to Game Seven. Bottom of the 6th inning. Suddenly, the radio died. Dash lights dimmed. Headlights started to fade. And finally, my trusty 1990 Toyota Corolla Wagon died altogether — Alternator.

The streak is over. Not a single on-the-road breakdown since I went solo, until now. (My old Subaru Loyale broke down several times back when I had a band.)

Now I’m sitting here at Denny’s in Blythe. The Arizona-California border. Day 2 of tour. 8:00 pm. And the gig is tomorrow is at Noon! 160 miles away.

But the show must go on. And I’m trying to figure out a way to make the gig. If it were my own gig, in a bar or coffeehouse, I might feel free to cancel and get a hotel room. But this is a benefit performance for some good folks who are counting on me. I’m figuring out a Greyhound bus schedule. Or maybe I’ll just go out onto Interstate 10 with my guitar, a flashlight and a big sign that says “Gig in the morning in Phoenix!”

The car was towed — with all my gear in it, everything that’s important to the basic infrastructure of my life! Merle the tow truck driver, who also goes by Dale, has taken care of it. It’s in the Ace tow yard, secure, instead of the Ace Auto Repair parking lot. (Also, he isn’t fazed by my black nail polish. He used to be a DJ in Pennsylvania where my wife grew up, and in Daytona, FL where he rocked Spring Break.)

So, what happens next? A solution I didn’t even consider. The Pit Bull Rescuers in Phoenix are coming to pick me up. 2 1/2 hours each way! Richard & Kyleigh, my homestays.

Although it sucks to be broken down in the middle of the desert, this is the kind of treatment that really makes a guy feel worthwhile. A thick thread of gratitude runs through the frustration and anxiety of the situation.