Sunday, October 14, 2007

More stories of places that i rocked real hard

OK, so I just got back from San Antonio today after a weekend of concerts, and I figured I needed to give the quick recap of all the shows I’ve done since I got back from PA. Except for the San Antonio ones. Gee whiz, I’m so behind.

I’m not sure how much anybody cares about these recaps, but they help me to process what all goes on at the shows, and they also help me to sort of document the “journey” of learning how to relate to a crowded living room full of people, with a guitar and a few tunes.

So that’s why I do this, in case anybody cares.

The first gig I had after PA/MD wasn’t really part of the house show tour thing, but it was fun, so I’ll mention it briefly. Ben Love (bass, vocals) and Michael Steele (drums) went with me to Jackson, MS to do a college conference. Voddie was there as well, which made it fun and anything-but-boring. Here’s a little secret that they don’t want you to know. Sometimes when you’re asked to lead worship at an event, they bring someone in to teach/preach who you don’t know at all, so it’s really weird trying to find some kind of unity with them.

Or, equally frustrating, you just have a really hard time enjoying (and/or agreeing with) what the speaker/preacher is teaching, and so you have to figure out how to adjust your worship and music to fit into something that you’re pretty sure isn’t going to work.

Of course, a good chunk of the time, you’re given the opportunity to work with someone who teaches/preaches really, really well. Sometimes you even come across someone who comes to really shepherd/pastor the people, and then things are fun and exciting and purposeful. That’s how it is with Voddie. Gigs with him are always a little more purposed and fulfilling.

Anyway, the weekend was great. Sold tons of CD’s, which is always fun. It was the first time in a while that I’d actually had official prices listed on the table. At the house shows, I have these buckets that I leave out next to the CD’s, and I never know what’s going to be in them when the whole deal is over. It’s like a tiny, sad, little lottery. But this was different. People actually paid for stuff.

Again, it was nice to lead worship after all the concerts I’d been doing.

Also, I tried out something new. I haven’t really been writing much worship stuff since Soulspeak, but I’d been working, off and on, with the hymn “Just as I Am,” adding something to it. I’m not a huge fan of all the “let’s add a chorus to this old hymn” movement that is going on. Sometimes I think it just implies that the hymn wasn’t good enough on its own. Other times I have a hard time believing that the new thing makes the hymn any better. The really, really cynical part of me sometimes believes that people do it as an easy way to get a writing/publishing credit, and the subsequent check that comes with it.

Hey, I said it was cynical.

The point is that, with all that ridiculous baggage, I have been working with a chorus-like thing that I’d been singing around the house, to go with “Just as I am.” I showed it to Ben and Michael, and they really liked it, so we did it. I think it went well. I’ve been bouncing around the idea of a hymns/traditional songs record for a while, and maybe this new tune will give me some inspiration to flesh that out.

So it was great weekend. Michael and Ben did great. They play with me at church a good bit, and we’re really starting to gel as a band. Plus they’re great guys who seem to understand my sense of humor. And that can sometimes be a bit of a hurdle.

The next week I had two house shows, and I invited Craig Weaver to join me for them. He played on the record, and he played with me back when concerts were a normal part of my ministry, so I thought it would be cool to use him now and again on the house shows. I figured Michael needed a break anyway, so it worked out ok.

The first show was on Tuesday Oct 2. This was a weird deal because, not only was it in my hometown of Bryan, TX, but it was actually in the house that I grew up in. My parents still own the place, and they rent it out to college students, young singles, etc. I had tons of almost-but-not-quite-good jokes that I wanted to tell about stuff like “you can never go home again” or “prophets in their home towns,” junk like that. See, I told you, there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it. Ideas?

Oh well, despite all the weirdness, it was an incredible show. Michelle Omo and her roommates hosted. They were really great. There were maybe 20-25 people there. I’m terrible at counting these things. But it seemed to be one of the most engaged and genuinely focused audiences I’ve had on the tour. I was a little worried, because the crowd was a little too big for “unplugged, “ and most of our “plugged-in” house shows, up to that point, hadn’t gone as well as I would’ve hoped. Something about amplifying yourself when people are sitting 5 feet from you. I don’t know.

But it went off just about perfect. I forgot some words at the end of “keeper of the way,” but nobody knew until I said something about it after the song. Then Craig forgot the ending of “Why Me Lord.” I don’t think anybody would’ve noticed that either, except for the fact that I totally mocked him in front of everyone. Craig’s messed up like 5 times in the last 15 years of playing, so I had to run with it. Since he’s only messed up 5 times in 15 years, he’s pretty confident. I don’t think I injured him too badly.

So big thanks to Michelle and the girls on Helena Street. They’re keeping my old room clean, which is nice. But they did take down my poster of Magnum P.I. which was, I think, a foolish choice. Nothing classes up a joint like Thomas Magnum’s smiling, mustachioed mug.

Check out pics. They even made a cake. At first, I thought they messed up the tour name, but then I got the joke.

This last pic is me with the girls from the house. Also, as you can see, Staci and the boys came. This was their first time to be at a house show. Jude did great. He yelled out every few minutes, he laughed most of the time, and he only crawled across the room to get me once. Sam sat front and center and kept his eyes glued on Craig. What would you expect him to do?

The second show was in Houston, at the home of Billy and Stephenie Newhouse, long time friends and former Com Church members. Man, it was great to be with them. There were tons of familiar faces, including Ryan Riley, Travis Cardwell, Nicole Starch, Justin Johnston, and some of my old pals from Billy’s time as a Student Venture leader. It was a pretty packed house; maybe 20-25 people (yeah, that’s practically “sold out” in the Ross King World Tour business). Again, I’m horrible at this. Craig and I played a pretty long set. I thought it went great. They actually asked me to do an encore. I did one, despite my rule #5. Then they asked for another. I put my foot down. Rule #4 prevailed.
Here are a couple pics. First, me and Craig setting up for the big show. We don't have roadies or techs or whatever.

And here's one of me with Billy and Stephenie. This one just reminds me that I need to do some working out. I swear I don't feel like I'm as fat as I look in that picture. Must've been some problem with the camera. In real life, I'm like totally ripped and chiseled and stuff.

So it was a great week for shows. Billy and Travis made videos. I’m going to try to get them directly on the blog so you can watch them directly here. In the meantime, go here, here, and here to watch me and Craig rock it.

Also, speaking of videos, I meant to send you here a while ago. Robb from Wichita made this one of me and Michael while we were out there last month. He posted a link to it on the comments section when I recapped the OKMOKS tour, but I thought I’d mention it again in case you missed it.

San Antonio recap in a day or two. (I’m thinking of pulling a Todd or a Heather this week and blogging, like, every day. What do these people do all day other than find ways to keep me from working?) I’ve only got one show this week, so hopefully I can finally catch up.

Oh, and I’ve got big news this week for any local (or, dare I suggest, even regional) fans. And by “big news,” I mean something involving several dozen of my adoring fans getting to see me do a mega-show somewhere in the area, some time soon.


RR said...

Any cake left?

Johnny! said...

Great. You're gonna start wearing leather pants now, aren't ya?

rk said...

leather pants are so last year. But I'm wide open to the possiblity of some make-up and maybe a little botox.

no cake. i ate it all. how do you think i got so fat in that picture?

RR said...

I believe the correct term is husky, not fat

billy newhouse said...

Thanks for coming to Houston and to our home. We really enjoyed the evening all around.

Man, I never thought the encore would provoke so much discussion and rules. I would have been better prepared to follow up your songs with a juggling act or something to appease all of your fans.

Also, props on correctly spelling my wife's name. We appreciate that small detail!

Seriously, thanks for fitting us in and hopefully you can join us again before too long.