The Thinking
Musician feeds himself!! (film @ 11)

Gigs come and gigs go.  Check back quickly as I try to make more gigs come. Feel free to request gigs as you see fit..

Summmertiiiime and the Giggin' is easy....

Check closely for those Westport Saloon Honkytonk Happy Hours.  That's where I'll be when not hurtling over a highway with Dave Jimmy and Paulie.  See y'all out here in the real world, yes?

Springtime gigs of note--

Although not published as dates, I'll be sitting in most Thursdays with Dusty Rust @ the Westport Saloon 8-11 for the Spagetti Western Honkytonk Jam.  Good time golden age country!

Two Feb. Plaza gigs of note---

Chaz on the Plaza has me solo on Thurs. the 12th, and with a happy little trio on Fat Tues. the 17th.  Johnny Hammil on acoustic bass and Pete Cole on percussion will help me party into MardiGras!

Just Added!!

Thursday 10-09 MIke Kelly's Westsider hosts my special Tom Waits Tribute with growling and glitter @9pmish. Also,Thurs Oct. 30 with John Paul at BB's to get our blues on.  Thanks for your support.

My Native American name

I am a fan of talk/variety shows. Graham Norton, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson. Given that fact, I should strive to have one of my own.  I know some folks that could help me produce it, so y'all look out over the web to see it coming by the new year. Most folks on this continent through no fault of their own have a native american appellation.."Runs with Bear", "Stands with Fist" "Strong with Kegs"...  Did I mention that my N.A name is "Good at Cocktail Parties"?

Blues-O-Rama
As the superlative Shinetop Sedovic slithers about with those Schebelin kids (aka TUF) I've been asked to hold down a few dates at B.B's Lawnside BBQ. I've played combo gigs there for years; this is my big solo debut! Wed, April 9th and again in May (7th and 14th). I gotta hit the gym quick to make room for some serious smoked meat.
The Backslider's Brunch--Sunday Sunday Sunday
Winter Sundays Gospel Gig!! Starting Nov.24th, I'm makin the proverbial joyful noise from 3-5pm at the Westport Saloon(the old Dark Horse/Torre's pizza spot) The buffet looks great, and the bloody mary bar will set you right without a doubt. Let's worship together, shall we?
New Gigs and New Records
Just a note to draw your attention to a few new rooms. The Green Lady on 18th and Grand is swiftly becoming a major Kansas City live jazz venue, and I'm so happy to be a part of it. Granted, they are slumming a bit when they asked me to play, but they seem to dig my particular take on the art form. Check em out. Also, the Matchbox on SW Blvd is a groovy little taco hut for those of you on the Westside that keeps a very cool lineup (the only KC appearances of Jimmy Nace solo, for example.) Getting ready to do a series of live recordings at the Phoenix,and cooking up a Cajun Christmas record. What? Yeah, why not. Stay well, my friends.
What--I Gotta Job?
For those of you that might follow my schedule on this site, you can see that I go to work. Regularly. Often. All the goddamn time. I would not have it any other way. Although I may not be as effective with the ephemera of artistry as some, and if I risk overexposure ( sorrry, my hubris talkin there..) this is what I am here to do. Come by a show and have a drink and ask a girl to dance. Shake my hand and say "Fuck you, man..you rock!" Meet me later at a midtown bar and get drunk and talk shit. Please. I'll see you then.
Was that a Birthday Party or What?

My neck hurts.  It is so difficult to play the piano while trying not to stare at the backside of several shimmying go-go girls just a foot away.  Fortunately, the pain in my overextended liver is helping me to ignore that cruelly twisted vertebrae.  I won't need to say too much more on this as photos and video should be up on Facebook in a few days.  I will say that I'm still thrilled to have thrown a quality party in a formerly stuffy jazz club.  Never forget that jazz was a verb long before it became a Noun.  Kansas City jazz in particular is dance music, and I'm proud to say the Phoenix supports my efforts to continue it as such.  This ain't dessicated museum music yet, my people.

 

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Nashville Run

Heading to Music City for a few days the end of April.  Gonna jam w/some fellow roots rock weirdos the Coalmen.

Gigging at The Family Wash on Tuesday May !st.  They'll never know what hit 'em.....

The Emergency Circus

 

The Emergency Circus
The Emergency Circus
by
T.J. Erhardt
.
Sunday night. The band has played the whole week in Marg'ville to a smallish and reasonably polite crowd. A double handful of our fans from different places, a buttload of tired tourists and a pinch of crazy but harmless conchs honking harmonicas in the wrong key. You've been there; you know. This particular Sunday was shaping up to be one of those particular Sundays.
By the way, playing for two hours and being done by 11:30 has proven to be a dangerous set of circumstances for me. I just don't really need that extra couple of hours running around the island without supervision. You've seen me; you know. Forty minutes into the set, my head is down with my hair in my eyes and I'm in the middle of the solo to "Walkin' To My Baby" when the music stops cold. I keep playing, thinking Oooh, cool, new breaks. But the boys don't pick back up. What the hell?
I look up (still playing) to see a big guy with a big Mustache intently gesturing to halt the music. Oooh, great, I'm sure that it's his girlfriend's birthday and he's gonna make us play a song we don't like and try to give us five bucks and never ever ever leave us alone until we do it. Dave isn't buying my mental explanation and waves the man forward. "What's the deal?". We hear "There's been a report of a fire somewhere in the building and I need everybody out until we find it." A fire truck is parked to the right of the front door. Ahhh, ok, the teriyaki chicken got overdone and none of the cooks will own up to it. Dave makes a reassuring announcement to the crowd and we gradually meander toward the door behind them, guitars and squeezebox in hand.
I arrive at the door to see a much larger crowd (cell phones and cameras in hand) gathering round to join the hubub. The sudden appearance of two more fire trucks to our right and a cop car on our left add a bit more urgency to to the scene. The suggestion of smoke crosses my nose, and it smells nothing like teriyaki chicken. It's the stench of several storefronts on fire, right next door. Hey, there might be something to this. Mustache Man commands that we EVACUATE THE STREET NOW.
This hits the panic button. Grab the gear, boys. We are now a three-ringed Emergency Circus. We jump back inside past the now stridently yelling fire marshal (Mustache Man). In the blur of a few minutes we dismantle the stage, handing amps and instruments to people we don't know. They have bravely and miraculously appeared with open hands and bright eyes saying "Does this go?" "This?" "This ready?" Now we've had to get stuff off a stage in a hurry before at big festivals and such (J--- H---tt's on in two minutes y'all--move it.) and usually have busy, greasy, smelly well-tattooed roadies that help. You've smelled 'em; you know. You can trust that smell. Finally I'm a little concerned. Who are you and where are you going with that piano? Most but not all of the gear is now on the sidewalk, and the Emergency Circus takes a collective breath.
Police tape comes out. A lot of it. Presidential-Inauguration-Parade-Block-Off-Everything amounts of the stuff. In three heartbeats the Emergency Circus is on the wrong side of the Law.
The Law doesn't care what you have in your hands when the Law wants you to move.
Officer:"Drop that stuff and MOVE!"
EC Ringleader: "No, man, this is my livelihood."
Officer :"Then I WILL take you to JAIL".    ECRingleader:"Great, man, got room for my drums in the squad car?"
Waco Bob, our doorman, is the last man under the tape. After juggling equipment for the Circus, he ran back to the palm tree directly in front of the club to unlock and rescue his custom ConchCruiser bike .
(That's conchcruiserbikes.com folks, check it out. Bob makes 'em. They're worth rescuing.) The rest of the Emergency Circus is trying to get all the clowns back in the little car and move across the street when BAH-WHOOHMP. The flames inside the storefront that sells crepes and ice cream ignite a propane tank. The fireball shrieked and rushed forward like drink-dropping sorority chicks toward a dance floor at the kickoff of "Brown Eyed Girl". With surprisingly similar results; the crowd winces and ducks but stands, not moving itself to a safe distance despite the flying glass. This is serious. I think Waco Bob lost some hair.
We mostly end up on the sidewalk in front of the Ghost Tour office. The flames leaping from the roof at the back of the building are more than just visible through the heavy stinging smoke. Marrero's Guest House is being emptied. Great location, just not for a big fire. You've stayed there; you know. Several times over the course of the next two hours firefighters would come walking out through the haze. Each time I think ok, they're winding it up. The firemen walked calmly to the pumper truck, exchanged O2 tanks, and calmly threw themselves back into the boiling fire. I calmly vowed to never become a firefighter, no matter how badass that looked.I play in a band. I can get chicks. Real-life friggin action heroes, these guys.
The sidewalk begins to resemble high ground during a wilderness disaster. Disparate species trying their best not to eat each other. Vagrants tussling over who gave whom that last half a cigarette. Tourists pulling suitcases from cars blocked in by dozens of hoses. Locals staring wistfully at their scooters inches away impounded by impassable streamers of yellow tape. Red-eyed and coughing (from the fire, people, really) Jimmy schmoozes a cop (I know! Jimmy! Schmoozing cops!) to let us bring the van to the end of the block. The rumor is that it will be days before anyone gets back in to the building, so we load up what we had dragged out. I hear Tim thank someone for the beer. How does that guy find a beer next to a four-alarm fire? Charming bastard, anyway.
The Emergency Circus begins to disband as its members trust that the band will survive. A huge shout-out to the Louisiana folks, our hard-core fans from the UK, the staff and mgmnt. of Margville and Ghost Tour Jay. The boys in the office are shipping most of what we left behind out to us; some replaceable gear, a bunch of dirty laundry and my damned cell phone. What we most regret leaving behind is the concern and goodwill of beautiful strangers and the down-and-dirty help of true friends. I can guarantee that we'll be back to pick those things up, come fire, hell, or high water.
We know; we’re doi

Sunday night. The band has played the whole week in Marg'ville to a smallish and reasonably polite crowd.

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The Robbery
ust. Darkness. Sweat. Noise more felt than heard. Breaking into a vault was too close to a mine disaster for Miguel’s liking.  His high pulse rate was caused more by fear of discovery than hope of rescue.  Not like that four-day stretch in the bottom of a collapsed silver mine outside of Panama City surrounded by wealth with little hope of rescue.  The primary vein of precious metal had still winked and glowed in the shrinking LED’s of his emergency lamp flaunting its promises of wealth and position as the air had shrunk into dust, darkness and sweat.  In this tiny crawlspace between the parking garage and the jewelry store those riches were still unseen.  Miguel thought that maybe he could smell it.  Gold and diamonds have a smell that travels. That smell makes those mines too dangerous.  Not the mine itself, the danger came from the other miners. He hated Panamanian gold mines.  He knew for a fact that those vatos would drill you for a pinkie nail sized flake.  He’d done it.
“Madre de Dios, man, give me some slack here”.  He’d developed an odd pitch to his voice,  clenched-toothed, throwing it over his shoulder to carry just beyond the sound of the small pneumatic hammer to the jagged crawlspace opening behind him and hopefully no further.
“I’m close, eh..close...”
Bernie pulled a coil of hose from the compressor in the back of the van marked “Bud’s Industrial Carpet Cleaning” and laid it on the concrete floor behind Miguel’s feet.  “Come on, Mig, make it happen” he muttered.  He knew that Miguel hated that nickname.  The first time they got drunk together Bernie became convinced that Miguel was a central-american Marxist
looking to strike a blow against godless capitalism.  The fact that Miguel could speak pidgin Russian thanks to his Soviet military advisor grandfather confirmed this fact in his head.  Calling him a Russian jet served to tweak Miguel into Constitutional fourteenth amendment  tirades.  Fun when the tequila kicked in, not fun when it wore off.  Bernie wondered why Mig didn’t drink vodka.  Those drunk arguments had also led to Earl setting the robbery date; Labor Day.  Bernie thought it appealed to Mig’s red upbringing, while Miguel more pragmatically  knew that rent-a-cops would be slacking during the end of a long holiday guarding an empty shopping mall.  A sudden change in the muffled sound of the hammer grabbed Bernie’s attention.
“Are you there, Mig?”
“Yeah, mano.  Gotta change bits.  Hand me the #8.”  A pale dust-covered hand reached out of the hole with wagging fingers.  “Dial down the compressor.”
It was time to tackle steel. Two feet of cement, now and inch and a half of spark-throwing hardened metal.   Bernie was always suprised that safes were not equally thick on all sides.  Cheap ass American cost cutting.  Heh, heh, cutting.  Easier to let a wall be a security measure than more metal.  Dumb idea.  That’s what Earl had told them when he had finally laid out the plans for the job. Bernie knew smarts when he saw them, and Earl had them.  Earl was the guy who had put this thing together.  Only a Gulf oil roughneck with evil genius ambitions could have found the personnel to make this happen. An Alaskan pipe-fitter and a Latino miner. Cross-cultural co-operation and all.
Earl was leaning against the front of the van wearing coveralls and holding a clipboard.  Decoy and mouthpiece.  The patch on the left pocket said “Bud”.  Earl was inordinately proud of these little details.  Attention to detail is what Earl felt best about.  No damn Deepwater fiascos on his watch.  The big drilling rigs demanded focus on the smallest things even if the execs could give a shit about anything but the bottom line.  They were’nt the ones with their asses on the line if one little checklist got fudged to avoid overtimes or stupid government regs.  Hell, they were barely even around.  Mostly played golf in Houston or partied in the French Quarter and waited for paperwork to sign.  Screw ‘em.  Earl heard the compressor chug down and looked at his clipboard.  Took the pen from behind his ear and marked off the box next to “Second Floor”.  The checklist was printed out on “B.I.C.C.” invoice carbon paper with each stage of the job disguised as a regular industrial carpet cleaning assignment.  Just another of Earl’s details. Details gave him a hard on like a French manicure and artfull browlines on a Decatur St. hooker.  Tits and ass were big picture.  Anybody can appreciate those.  The little pictures that make up the big picture are the real picture.  Like a Chuck Close portrait.  Earl knew that an evil genius had to be a modern art fan just to be considered for the position. The checklist was slowly being checked off.
Check.
Check.
Aaaaand...check.

Dust. Darkness. Sweat. Noise more felt than heard. Breaking into a vault was too close to a mine disaster for Miguel’s liking.  His high pulse rate was caused more by fear of discovery than hope of rescue.  Not like that four-day stretch in the bottom of a collapsed silver mine outside of Panama City surrounded by wealth with little hope of rescue.

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