Under The Weather

Today's Unvarnished Truth is brought to you by the letter "I". As in; illness, ichiban, ill-fitting and "ick".... which is how ol' Sawbones is feeling lately.

See Sickness

Damn inconvenient time to catch a cold/flu/rickets. But one must soldier on in the face of phlegm. Been fighting this nasty bug the last few days, living on instant noodles, liquids and flu meds. So please forgive the tardiness of the blog and I'll do my best not to sneeze on you.

This past Saturday at the Beaumont Bluesfest, I literally and figuratively hacked though a 40-minute set with the dashing & talented gentlemen players of Punch Drunk Cabaret.

Blue Morning, Blue Day

The forecast called for a drizzly 18 degrees. In a way, a rather fitting kickoff to a music gathering saluting the blues. Just what are "the blues"? Well, aside from a hue and a Missouri hockey team, it's been said that the blues is when bad things happen to a good man. And what the heck is PDC doing performing at a bluesfest? Beats me. I don't books 'em, I just plays 'em. And anyway, it's a gig! Hooray for the blues!!!



Adding insult to injury that morning, I tried on my trademark top hat just to admire my dashing self in the mirror (hey, at least I admit it). The fit was just not to my liking. In fact, a tad too small. Don't know if this flu has actually swelled my head or perhaps it's the effect of adoration from the tens of tens of our fans.... no matter. Best shop for a new chapeau soon.... or go on a diet...?

Odd The Road Agedd

I packed all my gear, cold meds and troubles into the Sawbonesmobile and headed out to meet the boys at the festival site in Beaumont, Alberta, Canada. It's the 5th annual with headliners Spirit Of The West on Saturday and Kim Mitchell on Sunday. And no darn-tarnation, scallywag of a virus is going to keep me from my rock 'n' roll duty!

The weather still looking somewhere in between lousy and crummy, I liaised with Ringleader Randy and Rev. Eklund an hour or two before the show at the backstage area. There, we were assisted with the unloading of our gear by BBF crewmember Josh, he of the ring toss hair-do. This was a punk/mohawk style for the ages! Blonde, heavily product-ed spikes protruding almost a foot off his head. Magnificent. The nicest fella, too, and the last guy you'd want to land on parachuting.

At the artist hospitality tent, we met a few interesting musical characters performing before us that day including a man with bulldog tattoos and another man who carried many harmonicas and may have been around when the harmonica was invented.



Playing mostly outdoor festivals this summer, I'm really getting quite used to hastily loading and setting up my bass equipment onstage while in full PDC show garb. Heaven help me, though, if I squat or stretch the wrong way and split my trousers! Firstly, we don't have a tour seamstress (seamster? seamist?). Secondly, modesty forbids me from showing any skin or undergarments during a band performance. That would be gonch.... I mean, gauche. Not to mention sullying our reputation as chivalrous, gentlemen players! Nothing ruins the illusion of dapperdom like accidentally flashing/mooning your audience.


Warming Trend

It's a good thing we were dressed well too. The sunless sky and whipping winds made it truly feel like the death of summer. We hit the chilly stage just after 3:30. Not only was it the goal, as always, to entertain/convert the paying festival crowd, but to thaw one's fingers as quickly as possible. Our humble trio receives a lot of remarks about how high energy we are. But from the first notes of the first song, it was also about self-preservation!

It didn't take long, though, to shake a leg and get hot rockin'. I was personally aided by my trusty jacket flask of cure-all elixir, a must-have for any frigid occasion. But another of Mother Nature's obstacles that threatened to bring fashion disaster to the set was her wind. She blew sudden gusts hither and dither like it was Dorothy's Kansas but could not chill our resolve nor remove our trademark headgear. No sir, both bowler and top hat remained affixed upon our noggins tighter than two toads in tandem. It was close there a couple of times. I don't mind confessing that Ol' Sawbones had to sacrifice a few musical notes just to keep the durned thing on my durned head. <sigh> This is where showbiz and vanity collide.

As is par for the course at our concerts, dancing quickly ensued and no doubt helped the audience in the circulation of the blood to the extremities. Again, entertainment + self-preservation = good times!

No musical surprises this day. Our brand of rebel rockabilly and steampunk swing does the trick every time! Though it's called a "bluesfest" and we're not a blues act, folks young & old alike always seem to enjoy and embrace us. And that cuts through the cold and warms you up better than mittens or liquid courage any day!

Tote Board

 - Men named Chiz: 1  (do not mispronounce this)
 - Beer garden pals: 2 . Let's just call them Silver Tooth and Drumstar
 - Hats lost due to high winds: 0 (in your face, <deity of your choice>!)
 - Awesome Beaumont Bluesfest staff: all of them (not excluding Jeremy, Dave & Brent)!
 - Throat lozenges consumed: ugh... too many.
 - Festival patrons affected by my infection: more than a couple, less than a plague.



After the show, the sweat had cooled and now I had the chills to add to my fever. We gladhanded many kind folks who watched us play, purchased our wares, etc. And I'd like to personally apologize to any who get sick after contact with me. This is not the kind of disease I had planned on spreading. Rock 'n' roll pneumonia? Yep. Boogie woogie flu? Of course. Head cold with chest congestion and post-nasal drip? S'not the souvenir I wanted to leave you with.

And that...  cough, cough, sniff, cough... is the unvarnished truth.