Here we go again, Folks-
Everyone okay? I am pretty okay. Little panicky but okay. I think I have to pull back on the coffee and hope. They're both making me edgy. I’m a romantic. It’s killing me.
I want to thank everyone for coming out to the workshop shows at The Trepany House at The Steve Allen Theater. They were helpful. I have one more tomorrow night and I may add a couple at the end of April. I’ll let you know.
Heads up! Three episodes this week.
I’m flying back from NYC as I write this. I was there for the IFC upfront party. It was a big shindig at The Roseland Ballroom, announcing their shows for this year and next year. They set up a roller skating rink. It was fun. I didn’t have to say anything but Fred Armisen got the idea that we throw a band together and do a few tunes. So, me and Fred and Scott Aukerman and a few of The Birthday Boys jammed. They rented us guitars and amps and set up all the shit. We rehearsed that day for a couple of hours. Fred couldn’t make rehearsal even though it was his big idea. He had to be with Seth Myers working on Late Night. So, me and the other fellas knocked out the tunes and just jammed to an empty Roseland. It was amazing to sing in that space. Our show was the second to last gig there before they close it down. We played Train In Vain and Dancing with Myself. Fred picked the tunes. It was a blast. We sounded pretty good.
I’m personally very excited about the shows this week. Dan Vitale was a mythic person to me. When I was starting out in NYC at the old original Improv, when it was on its last legs in the late eighties, Dan was a regular there. It was probably the only place he worked at that time. He was an aggravated force of nature. A raw sweating nerve. I had no idea who he was or where he came from but people used to mumble that he was about to break big and he blew it. He was Lorne Michael’s golden boy and threw it all away. I never knew the whole story. He was just this guy that couldn’t control the monster within and it took him down. Today I get the whole story. It meant a lot to me.
Wednesday's and Friday’s shows are connected on many levels. I am a Drive By Truckers fan but I was never a total nerd for them. I dug a few of the records but wasn’t real familiar with the history or the guys in the band. Patterson Hood, the main guy, and I started emailing each other. He’s a fan of the show and wanted to come on. I was into it. I did not know Jason Isbell’s solo work before I did a gig with him in Minneapolis recently. I found out he was in the Truckers for some of my favorite albums of theirs. I crammed all of his solo work into my head the days leading up our show together. His new album ‘Southeastern’ is a bit of a masterpiece. I asked if he would talk and we did in my hotel room at 12:30 at night. He’d had very little sleep and had to be up in a few hours to hit the road again. We recorded a talk and a performance of his song Elephant.
Jason grew up around Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Patterson Hood did as well. David Hood, the bass player of the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, is Patterson Hood’s dad. By the time Jason Isbell was playing guitar around town Patterson had moved to Athens, Georgia. They had never met. David Hood took a shine to Jason and took him under his wing musically. Jason and Patterson met years later and Jason joined the Truckers. The through line of Muscle Shoals, David Hood, Alabama and The Truckers made for some amazing conversations. I hope you dig them.
Here we go again, Folks-