Note from the author:
Below is a written version of the podcast, which you can find on SoundCloud, iTunes, or wherever you get podcasts. The actual recording contains comments from Stephen. Although the content is mainly the same, my reactions to Stephen's voice are not.
Welcome to Episode 2 of Four Questions – a podcast where I answer four questions about the state of affairs of my husband’s rock band, Learson Peak, - and some stuff about me. Stephen (my husband) will be in the background responding live to my comments.
I just want to start off this week with apologizing for the lateness of this episode. I know it was supposed to be released on Tuesday and it’s Thursday now, so I really dropped the ball. The main reason it’s late is because my flight from Baltimore back to Boston was cancelled on Tuesday due to another crazy winter storm. I mean come on!... it’s April people.
So I got back late Tuesday night, went to work on Wednesday, and then worked at the Foundation Room pretty much the entire evening. If you didn’t know – I’ve been officially hired as the newest unpaid hostess for the House of Blues Foundation Room. Yup. Any questions about bathrooms, where to see the show, where are the donuts – you know who to ask.
So – moving on to our questions for the week.
#1. What went well for the band last week?
Well last night – the Joe Perry pre-party – was pretty fun! Considering all the challenges we had. When I arrived at the venue around 7pm to setup for the show, I was surprised to hear that the show was “completely sold out” I think Joe Perry fans really have money! It was fantastic because we had a nice big crowd of people very early on, who were there to eat and drink and relax before getting it on with Joe.
Video from Learson Peak @ House of Blues Foundation Room - 4/18
I also want to congratulate myself on building a new neon sign for the band (refer to photo). I used white chalkboard marker, a black chalkboard and duck-taped some cool LED lights to it.
I felt a little nostalgic creating the sign, because it’s the first time using the chalkboard since my wedding about a year and a half ago. I had to erase "Michelle & Stephen's Wedding" to create the sign for the band. I figure at least it’s being put to good use.
#2. What didn’t go so well for the band last week?
Nothing really terrible happened to Learson Peak since Episode 1, but something did happen to The Indobox, Stephen’s other band. The Indobox, played a show last Friday night at Brighton Music Hall. Lots of people showed up! The openers were great (shout out to our friends Sean Cronin, Alonzo Demetrius and the Ego, and Speakerbot)
Old friends and fans came that the band hadn’t seen in months. The last time this group played together was opening for Conspirator in September 2017 at the Ardmore Muscic Hall. So everyone was super excited for the show.
But on the day of the event, after tons of rehearsals, one of the members of the band - who will go unnamed – got really hammered right before the show….. and basically sabotaged the entire set.
I think the crowd still had a great time, but man was the rest of the band pisssssssssed. How do you recover from that? I don’t know.
Here's a statement from Stephen to all Indobox Fans:
I wrote our set list about 2 months ago for the Indobox show we performed this past Friday, April 13, and I put a lot of Joey Zarick’s songs in the setlist. The other members of the band, Mike Carter, Jules Jenssen and I have been playing a lot together with Learson Peak this year and I thought Indobox fans would enjoy hearing more of Joey’s songs since he has been gone for a while.
We got together and rehearsed the set 2 days before the show and to my surprise, it was phenomenal. We were playing so well together that I multi-track recorded our rehearsal the 2nd night, which came out amazing. I was thinking to myself, “We could release this rehearsal as an album.” It was that good! I was also thinking, “This is what this band used to sound like, and this is the kind of band I want to be in.”
We loaded in to the Brighton Music Hall in Allston early Friday afternoon and had a great sound check. When we walked on stage to perform the set that night Joey was clearly inebriated, so much so that at first he couldn’t get his guitar amp to work. What followed was one of the most embarrassing sets of my life.
If you’ve never heard The Indobox before, you must know that a lot of the live show is purely improvisational. When improvising music, it’s important that every musician listens intently, to the nuances of pitch, rhythm, and harmony, and the players are able to react to each other instantly. As soon as a player stops listening, the magic disappears, and there’s nothing worse than listening to a jam band that has stopped listening to each other.
As we played the set, I found myself guessing what would happen next as Joey skipped verses, forgot lyrics, and fumbled chords on his guitar. When it came time to improvise I was so flustered and confused that it was impossible to be creative. We finished our songs and the huge crowd that came to see us was silent. Crickets.
As my 35th birthday draws near I kick myself for getting my hopes up, for being excited to play with someone who clearly doesn’t respect me, the band, the fans, or the music. I would like to apologize to everyone who came to the show, and I promise it will never happen again.
I told the other members of the Indobox that either Joey is fired or I quit the band. We have three more shows on the calendar this year and i am prepared to play them without him if that’s what Mike and Jules want.
I’d like to say I care about Joey a lot. I’ve played with him for over 12 years and we’ve had a lot of great times together. While I’ll won’t play music with him, I’ll always be there for him as his friend
#3. What is the most interesting thing I learned?
I want to share with everyone about the challenges of playing a “FREE” show and what I learned by performing a social experiment (which is ongoing at the moment) at the House of Blues Foundation Room. What’s the challenge you ask?
People don’t come to free shows. We’ve tried lots of things. Giving out flyers with the words "Free Live Music". We tried offering free food - gourmet donuts from Union Square Donuts at our shows. We also tried inviting truly talented musicians to play with us.
All of the above items have negligible impact on the human psyche of wanting to attend a “Free show”. Do you know what worked? If you walk up to someone and give them a golden ticket with “FREE ACCESS” one night only – on the front. It’s the FOMO (fear of missing out”) really takes hold of them and wills people to think – "OMG, I MUST go to this very special one-night only VIP event." BOOM
I can’t wait to try this again.
#4. What am I excited about next week?
#1 -- The lespecial show tomorrow night (Four-Twenty, or International Cannabis / Marijuana Day) featuring Stephen in a new band called “The Flat.” The Flat is actually imaginary band from England, slotted to open for lespecial. I heard they are gonna play some original British tunes and then break up on stage…. Should be interesting!
#2 -- I am also super excited about Stephen’s birthday show on Wednesday 4/25 at House of Blues! Stephen’s actual birthday is Thur 4/26, but it will be Thur on Weds night at midnight. I have some special surprise gifts for him
So that’s it for this week. Stephen’s been working on some new tracks which I hope he’ll share with you soon. See you around town.