Friday, December 21, 2007

Back to Bidness

I'm starting to book shows for the new year. I know that I never made it to all the places that I hoped to go, but after the great (and surprising) success of the fall tour, I think I'll have a little more confidence and freedom in expanding the whole deal. So if you're still interested in me coming (or coming back), let me know. Be patient. I'm doing this all by myself here, so things are always a little disorganized.

Anyway, here are January's shows so far:

Jan 1-2 -- shows in a couple of Southwest Houston locations
Jan 5 -- Houston
Jan 17-19 -- 2-3 shows in the San Antonio area
Jan 25 -- Waco

I'll be adding stuff to this, but let me know if you are interested in any of this, either to come to an already-booked show or to book an additional show in any of these areas (especially Waco or SA).

After Christmas, I'll be contacting my friends in DFW, Oklahoma, Florida, and PA/MD/NY to talk possibilites. Also, I'm working on Arizona and California mini-tours as well. Again, if you have thoughts or questions about any of this, let me know here on the blog, or email me.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I wrote most of this post on Sunday, but I didn’t have time to finish it or post it because our friend Monique’s house caught on fire and that took up most of our night. Long story.

Then I almost scrapped the whole post because it was too late by the time I could get to it agin.

But I’ve always thought we should give people “birthweeks” instead of birthdays, anyway, because the whole thing just seems too big to squeeze into 24 hours. So, in honor of my wife’s birthweek, here is a post about her birthday.

Today my wife turns 33 years old. Below is a picture of her the way she really looks, or at least the way she looked a month or two ago. I chose that picture because it exemplifies who she is and how she lives and loves.

When I was a kid, I thought 30 was old. Okay, when I was in college, I thought 30 was old. We live and learn, right? It’s all relative. To each his own. Whatever. Pick your cliché. I was wrong. 30 isn't old. It's wise and seasoned and such.

So she's 33 now, and I think she's just hitting her stride. Pace yourself, baby, or you're going to be too awesome for words by the time you're 40.

Anyway, first, let’s talk about her looks.

What, that offends you? Too shallow? Too surface? "All men care about is physical appearance!" That's probably what you're thinking.

Well, that’s bullcrap. I mean, men do care a lot about looks, but let’s not be unreasonable about that. Everybody cares about looks. A lot. Men are just too stupid to handle that realization with style and subtlety. But they're not unique in their vanity.

What, you don’t think everybody cares about looks?

Let me put it like this. When people go to the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal, you don't ever hear anyone saying, “well, it is really pretty, sure, but does it know any Bible verses?”

No. You don’t hear that because good looks count too.

And I’m just saying my wife is beautiful. 33 and totally hot. Deal with it.

Now that we've got that straight, here’s a list of things, in no particular order, that make me glad she was born:

--She laughs at my jokes, and even though she’s funny, she usually lets me get the laughs.

--She understands Jesus and the Kingdom in ways that I don’t, but she treats me like I’m the smart one.

--She’s sort of shy and reserved in public, but when she’s with my sons, she’s like a whole crazy, fun, sugar-rush circus show wrapped up in a single person.

--She can military press more than I can, but she never mentions it when I’m feeling down.

--She reads voraciously, but she’s not a book-snob (if you don’t know what a book-snob is, you might be one).

--She doesn’t care what the critics say about anything. She enjoys what she enjoys and is absolutely unapologetic about it.

--She loves to dance.

--She organizes everything. No, really, everything.

--She hates doing Quickbooks, but she does it because I hate it worse.

--She has great hair.

--She never complains that we can’t get pregnant, but instead feels sorry for women who never adopt.

--She eats dessert and cheese and bacon, but she looks like a movie star.

--She knows I’m generally a sissy and an idiot, but she makes me feel like a man anyway. This is one of those important intangibles, and lots of women stink at it.

--She never acts like all men are stupid and all women are oppressed or any of that ridiculous crap.

--She knows when I can’t get a word out, and she jumps in and rescues me from the burden of having to stutter for days.

--She lets me dream.

--She never, ever makes me look like a fool.

--She thinks about everything.

--She hates it when I’m gone, but she sends me away because we both know that sometimes I have to go.

--Her left hook is, honestly, pretty good. But she only uses it on the heavy bag.

--She can sing, but she doesn’t really care.

--She loves Jesus more than she loves me.

--She loves me more than she loves our children.

--She loves our children more than she loves herself.

That’s not an exhaustive list (the exhaustive list would be, among other things, inappropriate for anyone else to read) but it’s enough. I love her, and I’m giddy, still, that she’s alive and that she’s my wife.

Even though it’s really late, you can go here and tell her happy late birthday if you want.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I didn't want to admit that I'm a huge international star, but...

That's exactly what I'm being forced to do by the techno-geniuses who run iTunes. It seems like it was only yesterday (or, at the most, 2 weeks ago), that I was telling you about the ringtone scam being perpetuated, in a joint effort, by the Apple empire and the Grassroots cartel. I was miffed, but also honored and ego-inflated. It was quite a precarious psychological position, I assure you.

Well, today I went to iTunes to check on my recent sales (very unimpressive, but sufficient for the modest lifestyle the King family embraces) only to find that nearly my entire song catalog has, sometime within the last couple of weeks, been made available for ringtone use.

I'm forced to make two conclusions.

First, I'm a huge rock star who will only be made huger by the sonic deluge of my super-hits on cellular telephone devices worldwide. Go me.

Second, iTunes must be basically making every song in the world available for ringtone downloading. Go everybody.

Perhaps you find my two conclusion at logical odds with one another. Perhaps you're even confused by the seemingly contradictory (and certainly trivial) points that I'm making with this entire post.

Hey, don't worry about it. Just quit thinking about it. Your time would be better spent going to iTunes and getting a ringtone of "Why Me Lord." And next time you get a call, let it ring until you get to that part about the kid who cleans poo.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


There's a reason (and then another reason) why this is the absolute perfect picture for this blog post, but I'll let you figure that out after you read this one.

Every once in a while, my 4-year-old son, Sam asks to hear specific music in the car. Today he wanted to hear "Why Me Lord," from the new CD. That made daddy beam with pride of course, so I popped in the CD and we listened.

About 30 seconds in, he starts giggling. Here's how the dialogue went:

Me (turning down the music): "What are you laughing at, buddy?"
Sam: "That's so funny."
Me (thinking my kid is the only 4-year-old in the world who has an adept grasp of irony, but curious all the same): "What's funny?"
Sam (giggling): "Poo."
Me: "What?"
Sam: "Poo. That's SO funny!"
Me (thinking poo is actually really funny, but not understanding): "When did you hear 'poo'?"
Sam: "That kid who cleans your poo."(More giggling)

Then it dawns on me.

"... And the kid who cleans my pool just quit..."

Horrified and utterly repulsed at the imagery that my son has inadvertently extracted from my song, I start to explain to him what the lyrics really say...

Me: "No, Sam, that's not..."
Sam (interrupting): "I wanna hear that again!"

Why me Lord, indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


OK, so after a couple of days of tweaking, and a couple of "prove how dumb I am" phone calls to Keith, here's what I've got. I wanted a picture at the top, and I got that working. I wanted a wider area for main text, since I tend to write long posts. Got that working.

But it's still just a blog, and who really cares, right? So, if anybody has any strong opinions on it, let me know. I've come to realize that this site has, in many ways, become more important to my ministry than my other one, at least in this "touring" time. And that makes me want to improve it in little ways, when I can. If I'm not accomplishing that with my poor-man's-hacker experiments, let me know.

Also, I'll have info on January house concerts within a few days.

And I'm working on another Ridiculous But True.

Monday, December 3, 2007

under construction

I'm messing with the blog today, trying to find new ways to make it super-awesome. Please be patient.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For a heavy, convicting time, call...

And in the "weirdest news of the week" category, I discovered (with a mixture of self-esteem-boosting glee and awkward-embarassment horror) that you can now have "Clear the Stage" as a ringtone (I refuse to link to it, for reasons I will explain in the following angst-filled rant).

Yeah, this is surely going to be a huge hit. I can see it now. You're out with your best "special friend," having a good time, maybe drinking a perfectly biblical glass of wine, laughing it up, thinking about how much fun it is be out enjoying yourself with a hottie who seems to like you, when, all of a sudden, your phone rings, and you get a little of this action:

"tell your friends that this is where the party ends until you're broken for your sins you can't be social..."

So, of course, you take the call, but it doesn't really matter who it is. Cause you gotta turn to your sweetie and be all like,

"I, uh... I think I better go. I mean, I'm probably not as broken for my sins as I should be, ya know? So I guess this is where the party ends."

Or maybe you're at home, watching some Aggie basketball (or choose your favorite sports team, I don't care) on your plasma screen with some of your friends, eating some Cheez-its, maybe throwing back your 3rd Dr Pepper. You're just thinking about how much you love snack food, caffiene, and sports. I mean, none of these "loves" are especially valuable to the Kingdom or anything, but it's not like they hurt anybody, right?


You should've turned off that phone, my friend, because just as you're starting to get a little too into the game; just as you're starting to wonder if maybe you really need that Dr Pepper a little more than you should, your buddy Ross comes crooning across the phone lines, blessing you with a little bit of...

"Take a break from all the plans that you have made and sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper..."

Kind of hard to hear God whispering with all those friends around, crunching their Cheez-its and slurping their beverages and cheering the game.

And don't let it ring too long, or you may even have to deal with this lyrical buzzkill:

"Anything I want with all my heart is an idol..."

And you sho be lovin' that plasma screen HD, especialy with your caffeine-and-sugar buzz on. Hello? Idols, anyone?
I urge you, friends, do not download this ringtone. You will not be helping anyone. Not me, not your friends, not yourself. You want some Beyonce for a ringtone? Maybe a little Kanye? Maroon 5? How about some Tim McGraw or Rascal Flatts? All good choices for ringtones.

But not "Clear the Stage."

Oh, and one other thing. Do not download this ringtone. I'm serious.
Have I made that clear thru jokes? If not, I'll make it clear thru not-funny boycott talk.

I actually don't get any money from it anyway. Yeah, how about that?
It's being sold by Grassroots, who got that song as part of a compilation that I agreed to be on for promotional purposes. These people are actually taking the exact same song (the exact same recording of the song) that's on my And All the Decorations Too record and selling it thru their compilation. Don't get me started. When they sell "Clear the Stage," as a song or as a (I still can't believe I have to even type this word) ringtone, they keep all the money. If you download it from And All the Decorations Too then I make money. But I ain't selling no ringtones, kids. For obvious reasons.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ridiculous But True Stories of Stuff that Happened to Me

Vol 1: Karaoke Hero

Back when I listed my Seven Random Facts, I was again reminded that lots of funny (both “funny haha” and “funny strange”) things have happened to me. I don’t know if my life has an unusually high percentage of such occurrences, but I do know that it seems like I say “did I ever tell you about that time…” a lot more than most people I know. Maybe that just means I'm a loud mouth who likes to for everyone to listen to me.

No, it's probably the other thing.

Anyway, due to the numerical limits imposed upon me by Johnny's silly challenge, I actually left out a bunch of pretty good ones when I did that post. So I’ve decided that, from time to time, when I have nothing better to write about, I shall share a few of these as-yet-untold stories. They are mostly ridiculous. They are all true according to my sincerest recollection. And they absolutely happened to me, and not someone else.

I mean, a story that starts with a “I know a guy who…” is pretty good, but it’s better with something like “so there I was, just minding my own business, when all of a sudden…”

Those are the good stories. Here’s one.

Maybe 6-7 years ago, when my friend Rusty Kennedy was still a youth minister, he asked me to do this thing for him in Indianapolis. It was the kind of thing that seemed destined to fail, and probably would’ve had it been any youth minister other than The Godfather himself. For those of you who don’t know, Rusty is sort of famous out there in the land of tall corn and superior college basketball.

The “event” was called Union. It was a city-wide youth gathering, sort of in the style of all these “Metro” Bible studies that used to be a pretty big deal. The idea was that they wouldn’t do Union too often, so as to keep the whole tone fresh and vibrant. To that end, the schedule was a little odd. Every four months, for three weeks, Union happened.

So every four months, for three weeks in a row, Craig Weaver and I would fly up to Indy early on Thursday morning, play in Indy on Thursday night, get to bed pretty late, then get up and fly back out of Indy by like 6 or 7 in the a.m., in order to be back in Texas for any weekend gigs we needed to do. Once or twice we actually flew straight from Indy to other places where we had some kind of weekend events.

I’ve been trying to tell you people that I’m a rock star, but nobody believes me.

This went for maybe a year and a half, and then I think they either took a break from Union or, more likely, they took a break from me and kept doing Union with another worship leader. I was thankful for those 18 months, both from a monetary standpoint and because it was a really fun, Spirit-filled time.

There are tons of other details that I could rattle off, but that stuff is just background info. The main story is way better, so I’ll jump to it.

Towards the beginning of the whole Union thing, we always ended up eating late-night meals, for time purposes, and because we were too busy during regular meal hours. We’d wait until the whole thing was over and cleaned up before we even thought about dinner. It would be like 10 or 11 at night, and we’d be out cruising Indy, trying to find suitable grub. A bunch of us would always go: me, Craig, Rusty, and maybe 3-4 of the other youth pastors or friends or whoever. Anybody who was hungry was usually invited.

Late on a Thursday night, your best bets are always sports bars and chain places like Chili’s.

So I remember this one time we ended up at this place called Champp’s. I don’t know what’s up with the two “p’s,” so don’t ask me. Unless it’s somebody’s actual name, it’s stupid. And even if it is some guy’s actual name, it’s still unfortunate, one “p” or two. Who can live up to a name like that? Guy like that is better off just avoiding sports altogether. And he darn sure better stay away from boxing. The sports page headlines would be unrelenting, even in pee-wee leagues and such. I’m just saying. But I digress.

Champp’s was serving food – typical sports bar stuff like burgers and potato skins and Grilled Honey Chicken Cajun Pasta – and as it so happened, they were also having karaoke night down at the bar.

When I say “down at the bar,” I’m being literal. As part of their gimmick or whatever, the place is set up like an arena of sorts. There are semi-circular platforms, going down in a stair-step (or bleacher) pattern, leading down to a bar at the bottom, and center, of the joint. People who want to eat are up on the platforms, and people who want to check each other out, or whatever, are down at the bar.

We were eating. Christian musicians are allowed to frequent these kinds of scandalous establishments only when they really need to eat and have nowhere else to go. Otherwise it’s a no-no. Or so I’m told by doofuses who like to create new laws and pretend like Jesus was a tee-totaling party-pooper nerd who only hung out with church people and drank mint chocolate chip malts (always vigilantly careful not to get a sugar rush!).

I’m digressing again. I promise I’m almost to the good part.

So there I was, minding my own business, when all of sudden, somebody says “hey Ross, you should go down there and do some karaoke.” I probably had a mouth full of seasoned, beer-battered philly cheese curly fries or something, and I bet I mumbled something that sounded like “humph,” which would’ve meant, loosely translated, “humph.” I mean, I sing for a living, and karaoke is usually for people who wish they could sing for a living. Me singing karaoke seems kind of like a race car driver showing up at a go cart track and trying to ram all the 13-year olds into the wall. Right?

So I blew it off and kept eating my Bacon Swiss Pesto Steakburger, and the conversation went elsewhere.

But all throughout our meal, we’re pretty clearly hearing the horrendous vocal atrocities of the wannabe Michael Bolton’s and Mariah Carey’s on stage. And we’re just kind of chuckling at it, making side jokes as we talked about Calvinism or One Day or Lordship salvation or whatever was cool for cool Christians to talk about back then.

Here’s a quick thing on karaoke. You know how I am about theories and rules and stuff. I’ve got a few about karaoke. Behold.

The karaoke performer can usually be broken down into one of only a few categories.

You’ve got your “I’m totally joking here, and of course I’m not a very good singer.” This is usually a guy. Women have a harder time with this for some reason. I think it’s because, deep down, women always want to be sexy, or at least not ridiculous, when they’re in front of people. Guys don’t seem to care about this as much. Except for those metrosexual dudes who always look shiny all over. I can’t figure them out.

The point is that your first kind of person is totally about getting a laugh and working thru their buzz in front of as many people as possible. They usually pick something like “You Give Love a Bad Name” or “Margaritaville,” or, if they’re really loaded, “Sweet Caroline.” I once saw a dude belt out a 2-octaves-too-low “Like a Virgin” that would make a maggot’s skin crawl. These people are a feast to the eyes and ears. They’re terrible singers, and having a drink or two in them only gives them more guts to hit the high notes and risk the obscene dance moves. Good times.

Then you’ve got your “I’m totally serious here, and this is my chance to prove to everyone at the office that I am not boring and I definitely could’ve made it on American Idol cause I’m absolutely as good as Taylor Hicks and Fantasia.” These people make me nervous and uncomfortable, but I sort of thrive on those two feelings, so I have a blast with them.

They usually pick something like “Because You Loved Me” or “The Greatest Love of All,” or even “The Dance,” and they alwaysalwaysalways end up embarrassing themselves. No matter how good they are, everyone in the room knows that karaoke is supposed to be fun, not meaningful. These people want you to quiet down and take in the lyrics and stuff. These people want you to lift a lighter in the air when they break out the Daughtry and start bringing it “Home.”

My favorite group is, unfortunately, the least common. That’s the “I’m about to do something to prove to my ex (and TO THE WORLD!!!) that he/she really blew it, whether he/she is here tonight or not.” Oh boy, this is way awkward, and somehow oh so beautiful.

These folks always pick stuff with a message: either a “How Am I Supposed To Leave Without You?” message, or a “Since You’ve Been Gone” message. These people be lovin’ them some Avril Lavigne and some Shania Twain. They be all up in the “to the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left.” Either that, or they’re crying their way thru Brian McKnight. And it doesn’t matter if they can sing or not. Because you can’t focus on the music. All you can do is try to avoid their probing, painfully serious stares as they comb the audience for someone to feel their pain.

We feel it alright. Like a burn on your tongue that won’t go away and makes everything taste funny.

Yeah, I know. Digression.

OK, so about the time we finish eating, somebody says “no Ross, seriously, you should really do it.” Then everybody starts talking about how hilarious it would be. I’m shaking my head, playing it cool, wondering what exactly would be so hilarious, and then Craig says “he won’t do it.”

Well, of course, that was it. Napkin on the table, the screech of a quickly-scooted-back chair, and I’m heading down the giant bleachers to hit the court like Rudy being called in for that last play, only it’s more like 25 Rudy’s are already down there, and now Tiger Woods is coming in to actually start doing some stuff.

Yeah, I know I mixed up all my sports there. It was a sports bar, and the dozens of screens with various telecasts got me all jumbled up. That’s not what’s important right now. Wait til you hear the next part.

So I make my way thru the Mojito-drinking, hey-ladies-talking masses, to the stage, where they have “the books.” Maybe you’ve never been to karaoke, but they usually have these books somewhere near the stage where a potential karaoker can pick out their tune of choice.

I start digging thru the books, keeping my eyes peeled for something from the greatest era of music ever: the 80’s.

And what do you know? These folks got themselves a whole pile of Lionel Richie.


No, I mean, literally, “Hello.” That’s what I picked. It’s a perfect choice, really. It was one of the biggest hits from one of the biggest stars of my generation. Lionel Richie is the epitome of 80’s pop greatness, and he’s beloved by all, regardless of race, creed, religion, or dance style. The man is a legend, I’m telling you, and if Ross King was going to make his karaoke debut, he was going to do it riding comfortably on the fashionably-padded shoulders of Lionel Richie.

I figured I’d have to wait a while, which made me nervous. I hadn’t been around that much hair gel and perfume in some time, and I was feeling a little phobic.

But they called me up like 2 songs later.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare myself, strategically speaking. I mean, which category was I in? Was I the guy just trying to have fun, or was I going to show these folks my nasal-but-passionate chops? There was, after all, a $250 prize for the winner. But if I went for the win and didn’t get it, how bad was that going to be? I decided to just take it easy at first and let the song take me where it wanted to go. I was in Lionel’s hands now.

The words came up on the screen. It was sort of off-putting at first. I’d never done this before. I stumbled thru a line or to.

“I’ve been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times
Sometimes… see your, er, you pass outsidemughsthror…”

I was bombing. This was a bad choice.

But then, at that one word, I hit my stride.

Frankly, it had me at…

“Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?”

And then, like dewberry jelly on a hot biscuit, I started to rub the funk on it.

Kids, I’m not playing when I say that the crowd started to get a little quiet. Heads began to turn toward the stage. White people began to dance along, poorly and sluggishly, biting their bottom lips, bobbing their heads completely off the rhythm. Men tried to use my ever-escalating mojo to make moves on ladies who, so enraptured in the moment, immediately, inadvertently lowered their standards and acquiesced, inhibitions lost in a swell of vocal smoothness.

OK, some of that I’m probably making up, but people were digging it. That part is the truth.

And hey, this weren’t no Baptist church, so I gave ‘em a little movement as well. Some of you know that I’m terribly unembarrassed about dancing in public. The slow groove was in full effect.

Here was the kicker: the instrumental break. The ultimate test of any karaoke performance is simply this: what do you do during the instrumental break? There’s usually an 8-bar (or – heavens! – a 16-bar) break, and you’ve got to do something to fill that time. You can’t just stand there. And we all know how tragic it is when people try to clap or do an especially risky dance move to try to keep the audience engaged. Any momentum that you’ve got can be melted away like a slug under a salt shaker.

So most people just go for that head-down-body-moving-slightly-to-the-beat thing. Most of you old-school evangelicals can picture that one during the instrumental break of “The Warrior is a Child” or “There’s a Bridge to Cross The Great Divide” or some other overdone “special music” number.

But I was too high on the moment. These people were into me and, I admit, I was a little drunk on the power that I wielded over them in that moment.

So I did what Lionel would’ve done. This is the part where you’re going to say, “there’s no way he really did that,” but I did.

I talked.

I’m not making this up. Something had broken loose in me and I went careening off the rails into that void that teeters precariously between genius and insanity.

I started talking to the crowd. I think it went something like:

“You know, I can really feel the love in here tonight. I’m not from around here, and sometimes it’s hard for an out-of-town boy like myself to find a place where he feels like he can fit in. But you people have really made me feel welcome. It’s beautiful, really, and it’s hard to find words to express how touched I am. I guess there’s really only one word that sums it up, and that word is…

HELLO! Is it me you’re looking foooooorrr?”

Well, of course they loved that. I mean, I timed it perfect, and people kind of actually went a little crazy.

At this point, my confidence level was at a dangerous all-time high. This is the kind of adrenaline rush that produces stories about people lifting overturned cars off of their loved ones and frat guys swallowing whole pint glasses of goat urine,to a chorus of "chug! chug! chug!". This is volatile, psychologically toxic stuff.

The saving grace was that the song ended maybe 25 seconds later. I said “thanks,” I probably winked like a total moron, and then I waved (almost as moronic as the wink) and walked off stage, to much applause. I don’t think I bowed, but that part is cloudy.

The DJ actually said “Ladies and Gentlemen, Ross has left the building.” I would’ve hi-fived him if he’d been in hi-fiving distance.

That’s basically the end of the story, with two tiny caveats.

First, by the time I got back to the table, it was getting pretty late, and I think probably everyone at my table was wishing they’d never met me. I was pretty proud of myself. Nobody seemed to want to talk as much about it as I did. Jealous. But the point is that we didn’t stick around to find out who won. Everybody wanted to leave, except for me.

I suppose it was for the best that we got out of there when we did. Losing would’ve been unbearable for me. And winning would’ve been unbearable for everyone with me.

Second, shortly after I sat back down, a young woman came up to me and told me that I did a great job. She said something like,

“You know, you’re not bad at that. You should think about maybe singing more.”

I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth but I did take her advice. I continued to tour the country, though obviously keeping my ministry primarily focused more on churches than bars.

But no matter how far I travel, my heart always returns to that place; to that smoke-filled stage with the Indianapolians that showed me so much love and kindness; to that song that, with but a single word, reminded us all how powerful a simple greeting can be; to that Bleu Cheese Nacho Caesar Salad that nourished me to a show-stopping performance.

To this day, I ponder, and I suppose I will always ponder, this burning question: that night, for a brief shining moment, was I the Champp?

Monday, November 19, 2007

3 Shows and a Month's Rent

As usual, I'm way behind, so I'll get right to the recapping, and spare you any jokes. Two weekends ago I had the big show at the Palace. You know, the one I talked about here. Well, it went amazing. There were about 300-350 people there, which surprised me about as much as anybody. On Saturday, I had a great house show in Houston with some of my old college friends, and on Sunday morning I had a gig at First Baptist in Bryan. The short version is this: I didn't charge a single solitary dollar for any of the performances or any of the CD's, and somehow, after paying several musicians, and a few other expenses, I came away with enough money to pay just about all my bills for the whole month.

I know things like "calling" shouldn't be muddied up with monetary concerns, but it is cool to see that God is allowing me to pay the bills doing this. I mean, when I do worship gigs, I have contracts that guarantee that I'll make a certain amount of money. And at those gigs, I almost always charge $10-12 each for my CD's. And I hardly ever make as much money at those gigs as I did in that weekend. I don't know. It's just really encouraging.

So here are some pics from the really fun show at the palace. These were taken by Lynsey Kramer who, as you can see, is an amazing photographer. Check out her pic blog and let her know that she rules.

That last pic features Brady Redwine (on dobro) and Wesley Lunsford (background vocals), two of the super-talented dudes that helped me out that night. Craig Weaver (percussion) and Josh Smith (violin, keys) were also there, making everything beautiful. Staci sat in on a couple of tunes as well, and of course that was awesome as always. How cool is it that I have a hot wife who sings with me sometimes?

Oh, and we recorded it. I've listened to it already, and I've got at least 5-6 tracks that I'm really digging from the evening, including some older stuff. So I think I finally know what to do with those extra tracks that I recorded for the record. Some of you may remember me mentioning that a while ago. If not, the skinny is that I recorded 5 songs (some demos, some full productions) that I didn't end up using for the new project. I really like all the songs, but I just didn't think they fit the project, so I shelved them. Now that I have these live tracks, I'm pretty sure I'm going to take the holidays to tweak all of it and hopefully release some kind of odds-and-ends thing sometime in the spring. In other words, it will be a CD of 10-12 songs, about half of them brand new, and the others live versions of songs from 2-3 different CD's. Since it's kind of random, I'll make it really cheap.

I don't have pics from the other two shows, but they were both really great. Thanks to Aaron and Heather Hendrick, for helping to host/promote the show at the Palace; to Tray Mounce, Kyle Fox, and several other dudes I hung out with in college, for hosting the Saturday show in Cypress; and to Toney Upton, college pastor at FBC Bryan, for giving me a whole hour on a Sunday morning.

I'm basically done with house shows until the new year, so most of my upcoming blogs will be, shall we say, not very business-like. I've had some requests for a few stories from my weird and random past. So be looking for that within the next few days.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

words, words,words

There was this great episode of Beavis and Butthead where Butthead was reading the label on a some product (I forget what it was) and he just ran his finger along the fine print and said "words... words... words..." until he ran into a word that sounded like something dirty. It was awesome. I know I'm not supposed to like that show, but there you go.

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I finally got the lyrics (i.e. words) to the new CD on my website. It's on the "writings" page. Thanks to all of you who have been asking. My apologies for taking so long. I wish I could've had them in the liner notes, but budget concerns prevailed.

I'm working on recaps for this past weekend. I had 3 really great shows, and I really just felt like God used this weekend to affirm and encourage me in this whole concert thing I've been getting back into. It's a long story that I may or may not tell. But one of the big punchlines is this: this weekend I "sold" (meaning people paid me to take CD's even when they didn't have to) over 250 CD's. Most of those were the new one. And that brings me to another cool thing. On September 5, I had 1000 copies of Perhaps I've Said Too Much. Today I have less than 150. That means that, if my math skills are right, I've sold over 800 of these suckers (I've given away probably 40) in about 2 months (not counting downloads from iTunes, etc). That also means that, so far, this is my fastest-selling project ever. Now didn't I hear recently that people aren't buying CD's anymore? Whatever.

Hey, I know 800 in two months isn't a big deal for people who are signed and on the radio, but when you're mainly selling them in living rooms, doing all the work yourself, it feels pretty good.

And it's nice to pay bills, too.

Hopefully I'll have a recap tomorrow or the next day. I'm waiting on some pics from the shows.

Thanks to all the hosts and attendees of the weekend's shows.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tomball is the the bomb ya'll

I don't know how I come up with this stuff. Genius, I say. Genius.

After a few weeks off the road, Michael and I played in Tomball last night. My friend Jeff Medders is on the pastoral staff of a church in the area, and they host a worship and Bible study gathering thing on Monday nights at Tomball College. He invited me to do my "house show"thing for that group, so we did.

It was a really great night. Man, I wish I could figure out some kind of formula that I could plug in and use for every show. Last night just felt very comfortable and easy and right, despite the fact that we were in a college classroom with a crappy sound system and bad lighting. Other times I've been in "perfect" settings, where everything looked and sounded just right, and things haven't gone so well. I suppose I have to chalk this sort of thing up to mysterious stuff like the Holy Spirit and the plans of the Lord and feedback frequencies and why the same jokes make some people bust a gut and other people stare at me with blank expressions.

Or maybe it has to do with the people. Is the audience ready to receive what the Lord wants to give them? Am I ready and open and attentive to all that God is doing and saying? I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud here. If blogs are good (or bad) for anything, I'm sure "thinking out loud" is on that list.

Whatever the reasons, this was really an excellent night. Several Houston area folks made the drive, and we ended up with maybe 40-50 people. Jeff asked for an encore, and I gave it to him, because he was the guy who invited me. That's the addendum to The Encore Rule. Do your best, when your conscience allows, to obey the wishes of the folks who got you the gig. It's sort of a "dance with the one that brung you" kind of thing. Hey, even a legalist like me has room for fluidity and addendum-adding and such.

And how about this little bill-paying tidbit: I sold 92 CD's. And of course, when I say "sold," you know I mean that 92 CD's were gone from the table, and there was plenty of money in "the box." See, I told you God would take of me. And you doubted me. You thought "that Ross is dreaming if he thinks he can make a living playing for free and giving away CD's." And you were wrong. But at least you're mature enough to admit it, and that's saying something. And at least I'm vigilant enough to remind you that you were wrong. That's saying something too. High five.

So thanks to Jeff Medders and his crew of leaders/helpers/friends. They were gracious and encouraging to Michael and me.

Today Staci and I are heading to Houston to be with our good friends John and Kelly Sherrill. I know many of you have been following their journey, so you can be praying that Staci and I will be ambassadors of joy, healing, and power for the life and health of Baby Kyle and to the glory of Jesus.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Here’s a quick thing. I haven’t had a chance to change the calendar on my website, but I wanted to let all you folks know that I have another Houston-area show on the books, and this one is open to anybody.

I’ll be playing at Tomball College on Monday Nov 5. I’ve had several requests from Houston people to let them know about local shows, so pass the word around. The show will start at 7:30. Michael Steele will sit in on percussion, and I’ll probably treat it like a house concert, in terms of the set list and the mood and such. Come out if you can.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Last Belated Recap

Just because I’m a recovering legalist who desperately needs things like closure and tidy-ness, I’m going to do a quick recap of the last house concert that I did, nearly two weeks ago.

The concert was hosted at the home of Aaron and Heather Hendrick. I know, I know, these people are everywhere, right? What can I tell you? They’re like superhuman or something, with all their tour-naming and concert-organizing and joke-posting and such. Also, they have a trampoline.

It was a really great show. Craig goes to church with the Hendrick family, and he’s pretty close to them, so I asked him to play with me again.

Maybe 25 people. We played for about 90 minutes. Nobody yawned or made boo-ing sounds or listened to their iPods while we were playing. A couple of people had the nerve to get up and “use the bathroom” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) while we were playing. Don’t worry. I totally mocked them in front of everybody.

Also, there was food. It was really good. They had stew, cornbread, and that cheesecake that tastes like sopapillas. Holy moley. I’d punch a puppy for that stuff.

But I didn’t. I only engage in canine abuse when I’m backed into a corner.

I think having food at house concerts is good. Most of the shows I’ve done so far have had food. I’m not a picky eater, so I’m usually really excited when someone puts hot grub in front of me and says “you don’t have to pay for this.” That’s just something to think about for all you future hosts.

Not much else to tell about the show. If something terrible had happened, it would make for a funny story, but no luck there. Like I said, it was basically a really good time.

Here’s something cool. The show was local, so I wasn’t all tired from traveling when it was over, and I hung out late and talked with people. That’s really the part that I love about these shows. The after-show talking.

Here’s something else. They had that Guitar Hero game, and I figured I’d be awesome at it because, well, I sort of am a guitar hero. I mean, it’s like that time I sang karaoke in Indianapolis at that sports bar. I’ll tell the story some other time, okay, but the point is that I was kind a ringer. They loved me in Indy. Karaoke Hero, you know?

So I figured this would be like that.

Well, it wasn’t. I was terrible. Lots of people that were there were way better than me, and none of them have written super-hit chart-toppers like yours truly. None of them, I bet, can blaze thru G-C-D like RK. So how come I wasn’t the awesomest?

It was pretty lame. Luckily I’m not all that competitive. Otherwise I would’ve pointed out that I think my controller was messed up and besides that it was only my first time and plus I was really distracted from all that sopapilla cheesecake I’d eaten and the game was stupid anyway.

I could beat any of those punks at Galaga.

So another great show. Right now I’m in Florida on vacation with the family. We’ve spent a few days at the beach, and tomorrow we’re going to do some Disney park stuff. If we don’t get blown off the coast by the 40 mph winds, we’ll be hanging out with Mickey for a few more days before we go home.

Speaking of Mickey Mouse, is anybody else freaked out that our nation’s most prominent animated icon is a rodent that is so big he owns a dog? Seriously.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Love of God

John Sherrill is one of my best friends in the whole world. Besides that, if you own any of my CD's, you've probably heard his writing and/or his singing and/or his piano-playing and/or his producing. Go here and find out how you can help him, as he and his family fight for the life of their baby. At the very least, take some time right this second to pray for baby Kyle.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 1 John 3:17

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Congrats Johnny!

It's hard to say exactly why, but I like "Enthusiam '07 featuring Ross King" best, so Johnny wins.

What set this entry apart, you ask? I think those of you who know me well know that this is exactly the kind of subtle, smart-mouth, and oh-so-spot-on-sarcastic humor that I love. I mean, really, has the word "entusiasm" ever been used to describe me?

Runners up were, in no particular order:
Joe, with "Free Music (musical stylings and a positive message from local artist Ross King)"

Brett, with "Ross and Coco in 'I sing while he mimes'"

Lance, with "An Inconvenient Concert"
( though I really couldn't let this one win because it reminded me too much of Al Gore's "documentary," and that thing's already garnered more undeserved awards than Titanic and Crash combined; and no,that's not my attempt to refute global warming, only to refute Al's scientific and artistic integrity)

Everyone did great. You're all winners. Well, actually only Johnny is.

Anyway, I'm putting some tasty meat products in the mail to Johnny today. They're pretty heavy, and I don't have a lot of money so they may take a couple of days. So, Johnny, you can be expecting some warm pork food within a week or so.

I've still got a recap to write, from last week. The short version is that the show ruled. The long version will be ready soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You think you're a rock star, S.A.?

Get it? That's not racist is it? I mean, it's dumb and not-funny, but I think it's probably harmless.

Whatever. Either way, here's the recap of last weekend in San Antonio. It was a great time.

Friday I did a house concert in the Spring Branch area, which is right off 281, between San Antonio and New Braunfels. Kelly and Tiffany Tremont were the hosts, and the leadership of Riverside Community Church put it all together. They had the show in the Tremonts' really cool, really massive backyard. The weather was surprisingly fantastic.

Keith Sewell, my good friend and the co-owner of The MixLab, came along and played percussion. He also sang harmony of several of the songs and basically conquered the world with sonic beauty. It was a really great show. We played for about 90 minutes for about 50 people, and got a great response. Really felt like God was doing some God stuff.

Sold enough CD's to pay Keith a little and still make some money.

Keith had to leave for a vacation with his wife (which is almost as cool as playing house shows for very little money), so I went and stayed with Darrell Smith and his family. Darrell is a good friend, a sometimes-client at the studio, and also a really great musician and songwriter. He helped me set up the whole weekend and his wife was kind enough to let me interrupt their lives for 48 hours or so.

During the day on Saturday, I rode along with Darrell and his drummer/pal AJ Navarro to a day-time gig they had at T Bar M in New Braunfels. It was fun. We led worship, and I just played second acoustic and sang some harmony. I had to read charts and everything. I never get to do that kind of thing. It was good for me. Darrell did a great job leading, and that was cool to see as well.

That night I did another house show, this time at the home of Keith and Dinah Shelly. Dinah is Darrell's sister, and they have a really cool house. It was another backyard deal. AJ agreed to sit in with me and, despite the fact that we didn't practice at all, he nailed it about 99% of the time.

The crowd was a little smaller at this show. Maybe 40 people. Still big for a house concert, though. Darrell took some pictures with his fancy new iPhone. They're not really very good, but I wanted to put them here anyway, to show that iPhones, though nifty, are crap cameras. Those Apple people think they're such hot snot, you know?

Again, great show. Props to Darrell for taking pictures that would probably be awesome if his phone wasn't trying to pretend like a real camera.

The next morning I went back out to Spring Branch and played the morning service at Riverside Community Church. My friend Scott Heare is the pastor there, and it was really great to be with him and the people of Riverside.

OK, here's where I do a little brutal honesty. You expect that from me, right?

First, let me give away the punchline: I sincerely enjoyed my time at the Sunday gathering of Riverside Community Church.

So what? Big deal.

Well, here's the brutal part. I hardly ever feel that way when I work with other churches besides my own. It's not like I always hate everything about every single church besides Community Church. It's not that extreme. It's just that I usually sit thru church services and think something like "I got paroled from this kind of white-collar jail a while ago, and I don't want to go back." Hey, I know how that sounds. I tried to think of a better metaphor -- something not quite as harsh -- but I came up blank.

Am I saying that being involved in another church besides my own would be comparable to being in jail? Of course not. I know a guy who is in prison right now, and it would be terribly insulting and insensitive to make that kind of serious comparison.

I just mean that, at my church, I feel really, really free. I feel like I can really be myself. I feel like people are really relaxed and alive. I feel like the Spirit of God is absolutely welcome and wanted. I feel like real relationships are prioritized over policies and schedules.

And at most churches, that's not how I feel. Again, I'm not saying those places are dungeons of nasty wickedness or whatever. I'm just saying that other places feel, quite often, like something far less than CHURCH to me.

And I'm saying that Riverside's Sunday gathering felt more like real CHURCH than lots of the Sunday gatherings where I am graciously allowed to lead and play.

So, if I've been to your church lately, don't get all huffy and defensive. I don't claim to be an authority on all-things-church-related. I'm just a guy with opinions. More than anything, I'm trying to tell you that Riverside is a cool church.

And maybe I'm also trying to make you (and me, all of us) think about what kind of environments we are creating and maintaining and protecting in our faith communities; what sorts of "greenhouses for the soul" we are building among our people and in our various gatherings.

That's all.

I'm open to any/all discussion on this. Anybody think I'm being unfair? Anybody think I have wrong desires/expectations for church? Hey, let's talk.

So Riverside was fun. Scott gave a really great teaching. The people worshiped like crazy. The church paid me real money. The people bought crazy amounts of CD's.

And I got home in time to worship with Community Church on Sunday night.

Great weekend.

I have one more house show to recap. The ubiquitous Hendrick family hosted me for a show this past Tuesday, and I need to write about how cool it was. Soon.

Also, I'll announce the winner of the marquee contest early next week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Big Show; Jokers Wanted

So I'm playing at this place (above) on Friday November 9, and I think everybody who lives within 90 miles or so ought to try and come. Craig Weaver (percussion/drums) and Brady Redwine (keys, dobro, etc) have already agreed to join me, and I may throw in another band member or two before it's all over with. Or maybe I'll keep it fairly acoustic. Not sure yet.

Either way, mark the calendar. This is gonna be a super-sweet face-rocker for the ages.

Oh, and in case you're wondering how/why I'm throwing a 400-seat theater venue smack into the middle of my "houses and other tiny venues" tour, here's the sitch:

Aaron and Heather Hendrick, apparently my most devoted and go-getter fans, decided to put this thing together after realizing that, in order to accomodate all the people in their life who want to hang out at their house and listen to live music, they would need to host something life 43 house shows. That seemed like too much, I guess. I mean, the cost of chips and dips alone would be staggering for such an undertaking, not to mention the potential for knick-knack theft and toilet back-up. So they emailed me and said, "what if we had one Big Show instead of 43 small ones?"

I said yes. So that's what we're doing. Who's with me? Did I mention that it's free?

I'll give you a moment to think about it....

Good. See you there.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I think it's time for another contest around here.

Last time I had people pick my tour name. Ironically, Heather won that, though only by a narrow margin. Also ironically (or alsoronically, if you will), this contest was Heather's idea as well. Hey, I told you these people were go-getters.

So here's the contest. It appears, from the above pic, that the old Palace Theater has a marquee. Now, I have no idea who has control/access to this thing, or if they'll let me get my grubbies on it. But I sure would love to have something snazzy to put there on the night of my concert.

And more than that, I sure would like to think of some really funny stuff to not put on it, but that, if we were in Fantasy World Where Everybody Likes to Make Jokes, would be on it for shiz.

So send in your ideas, and the winner will get some Free Stuff*, not to mention the huge ego boost of being lauded publicly on this here site.

Ready, set, jokes.

Todd and Lance, keep it clean.
Oh, and Alex, try to make jokes that other people besides me and you understand.
*"Free stuff" can include, but is not limited to, kind words, handshakes, platonic side-hugs, affirming yet awkward eye-winks, meat products, coozies, gently used D-Now T-shirts, spam emails, spam sandwiches, or any official Ross King merchandise. The management of Ross King World Tour will not be held responsible, nor will it even really care a whole lot, if recipients of said "Free Stuff" are unsatisfied, injured, humiliated, or made ill by the use or possession of said "Free Stuff." Restrictions apply. Available while supplies last. No monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.

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.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gather round, kids. Let Uncle Ross tell you all about life.

I’m still working on a couple of recap/update blogs for recent shows. But all this recent touring has reminded me of some stuff.

At a recent Houston show (coming in the next blog), something weird happened. They wanted an encore. I have weird feelings about encores. I have rules about such things. Long story.

So I guess this is where I let you in on “Ross King’s Rules of Performance.” Yeah, that's right, I said "Rules." This is serious business.

Have I ever done this on the blog? I don’t think so. Anyway, here they are in no particular:

Rule 1: Never play a song you wrote that day.
Reasoning: Give it some time. Play it a few times; make sure you really know how it goes and what the words are and if you even really like it. Lots of songs that are "awesome" 10 minutes after I wrote them become "what was I thinking" a few days later.

I once saw a signed, semi-famous Christian musician make this error. He'd actually written the song backstage. I heard him doing it while we were having the catered dinner (I was opening up for him). During his show, he pulled out some wadded up paper and smoothed it out on his keyboard and proceeded to stumble and stutter thru a mediocre song that could’ve been great if he’d just waited. In fact, he later released the song and it was much better. But a few hundred people paid good money to watch him "experiment" with his not-even-close-to-ready tune. It was not pretty.

***One thing that I should say here is that I'm specifically talking about "written" songs, and not those weird things that can happen in worship where something spontaneous just comes to you out the wild blue yonder of Holy Spirit land. I would never fault someone for doing that. I've done it myself a time or two. I'm talking more about giving a concert and "trying out" the song you wrote that afternoon but haven't even memorized yet.***

Rule 2: Never say things like "I'm not any good at this,” or “I don’t know why they even let me be up here.”
Reasoning: For some reason, young performers think it’s humble and cute to act like they’re no good. But here’s the thing. If you’re no good at this, what are you doing up there on stage? People are giving you their time and their ears and, sometimes, their money. Humility is good. It’s like, godly, and stuff. But honestly, if you’re a performer, you probably think you’re good enough to be up there. And if you don’t think that, then you’re not being true to your callings and convictions. Let the audience decide if you’re good.

Rule 3: When you get to the end of your allotted time (only really popular musicians have unlimited time on stage; the rest of us usually get somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes), never, ever say something like “you guys care if we do a couple more?!?”

Reasoning: You’ve just boarded the fast train to Hack City. Do more songs or don’t (and if your agreed-upon time is up, don’t), but don’t ask the audience what they think. Because here’s what happens when you do, especially when you’re performing for Christians: the nerds in the front 2 rows will cheer, because they like everything. They go to Carman shows and give weepy hi-fives during “The Champion.” They think the gray-pony-tailed lead guitarist for their church band is “the best guitarist EVER!!!” They clap (on 1 and 3) their way thru every slow song that you play. The are not discerning.

The rest of the audience, torn between honesty and niceness, choose niceness and join in on the cheering, though with much less excitement. Nobody ever yells out, “No, we’d rather you didn't play any more songs.” That would be funny.

The point is that you’re never going to be able to count on an honest answer if you throw out that question. So the safe bet is to count on…

Rule 4: When in doubt, always leave them wanting more.
Reasoning: It’s obvious, I think. If you wear people out with too much of a good thing, you think they’re going to go buy a CD? Nope. They’re heard enough. But if you leave them wanting more, they’ll probably go pay for the “more” with their own money.

Rule 5: Encores are tricky. Use extreme caution.
Reasoning: This one probably seems especially silly. I mean, what could be wrong with encores? Allow me to explain. You ever waited to wash your car because you’re pretty sure it’s going to rain, and then it doesn’t rain, but it keeps looking, day after day, like it’s going to rain, so you just keep waiting, and your car just keeps getting nastier and cruddier?

It goes the other way, too.

Sometimes you’re totally sure that it’s not going to rain, so you wash your car and give it the royal treatment. Then of course it rains, right? Encores are kind of like that. If you plan your song list around the assurance of an encore, you won’t get asked to do one. Maybe you’re thinking, “big deal,” “so what?” That’s because you’ve never had to plan for an encore, o foolish child.

What are you supposed to play in an encore? YOUR BEST SONG, that’s what. So what if you save that BEST SONG for an encore, and then nobody asks for one?

It goes the other way, too.

What if you assume that there will be no encore, so you play all your good songs, including YOUR BEST ONE, and then they ask for an encore? What are you supposed to play now? Some B-side, anti-climactic dribble that wasn’t even good enough to fit into your song list? I don’t think so.

So here’s the safe bet (and this is really the kind of info that you ought to have to pay for). Play all your best songs, except the “odd” ones (for example, a love song about your spouse, or a song about your family or your kids or something; maybe even a really specific song or weirdly metaphorical song; or even a funny or silly song that usually makes people laugh but doesn’t fit that well into a really “spiritual” serious concert). These kinds of songs don’t usually fit into the set all that well, anyway.

Then, if they ask for an encore, you can be like, “well, I pretty much played everything that I came here to play, and I never really assume that I’m going to get asked to do an encore…” (which is totally true, and actually sounds really humble, cause it is) "… but if you guys really want another one, here’s one I wrote about my adopted boys.” I mean, genius, right? The crowd gets a peek into the more personal “you,” and everybody’s happy. And if they don’t ask for an encore, nobody loses anything.

So, yeah, encores. I’ll explain more in a day or two. I’m almost finished with that blog.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

PA, MD, finally

OK, so I got a little lazy on the blogging front, but I'm back with a vengeance. Well, maybe not a vengeance, but at least a concerted effort. Here's how I'll do it. I've actually had several gigs since I got back from the great Northeast, but I'll post about that stuff in a day or two. I have the early part of this week off, so hopefully I'll be caught up by Friday or so, in time for my San Antonio shows.

So, here's the recap of PA/MD:

Michael and I arrived at the Baltimore airport on Tuesday Sept 18. Lance Burch and Jason Fullen (youth pastors at their church) picked us up and took us to Lance's place. Lance and his wife were hosting us that evening for a house concert, and the evening started off with a party/barbecue thing. Michael and I were delighted to find that the yankees up in MD were acquainted with our new favorite game (we learned it from the farmers up in IN, who taught it to us in the hills out in OH). The game shall go unnamed here, due to the caliber of jokes that will surely accompany its mention. We ended up taking on Jason and one of their buddies. Due to an until-then-unheard-of facet of the game known as, I think, "The Boston Rule," Michael and I actually ended up winning, which was a lovely moral victory that, as it turned out, took us in great spirits into the evening.

The concert went great. Maybe 15 people showed up, which may sound small to you, but was actually just perfect. It's weird. Some of my best shows of the last two months have been the smallest ones. Anyway, just about everyone took a CD or two at least, and there was (as there has been throughout the tour) way more money in "the box" than there should've been. God is graciously sneaky when blessing His kids.

After the concert, Lance took Michael and me to a local Irish pub, where we got to hang out, talk about the Kingdom, and unwind from the very long day. It was really cool. The bartender/waiter was a real-live Irish dude. Or a great faker playing a joke on us. Or a crazy person playing a joke on the little Leprechaun who lives in his pocket. Probably he was a real Irish dude. Let's just go with that.

We spent Wednesday hanging out with Lance some, reading, and watching Discovery Channel. That night we played at the church for maybe 70 people. It was a really great show; plugged in and everything. Here are a few pics, taken by Jason, I believe:

The crowd was really cool and responsive, and we sold a boatload of CD's. A good night on all counts. Afterward, we went to the pub again and had a late dinner with Jason and Lance. More great conversation, some excellent food and beverage, and lots of laughing and learning.

As a side note, why is it that pubs (and places of that nature) are, quite often, places of greater honesty, joy, conversational safety, and Spirit-filled connection than many church buildings? And don't try throwing any legalistic, extra-biblical nonsense about drinking and bars and such at me. Making that argument will only get you a theological smackdown from Thad, Johnny, Lance, or any number of the other Christ-following, freed-up geniuses that frequent this page. I'm really curious about this. What have we done to make church buildings (not always, but lots of the time) so sterile, so life-sucking? It's a question that I think we really do have to answer. Maybe not right here on this blog, but at some point.


Overall, our time in MD was fantastic. Big thanks to Lance, Jason, and their families for all their kindness, hospitality, and support. Can't wait to come back soon (can I? please, can I?).

Thursday we drove over to the Reading/Sinking Springs area. It was a short easy drive. An extremely kind and trusting young lady from Lance's church let us borrow a car for our time there. That was a major help and answer to prayer.

Thursday night was really cool. My friend Rob Tyson, owner of the soon-to-be-opening Gravity Bookstore in Reading hosted us at his church, and my good pal and former bandmate Alex Burdine joined Michael and I for the show. Alex is a great singer and multi-instrumentalist (much like his crazy brother James, writer of many brilliant and super-strange songs), and he played second acoustic and sang pitch-perfect harmonies. There were maybe 50 people there, and they all seemed really engaged and gracious. It was a very fun and vibrant show. I felt like some real ministry happened.

Also, a great songwriter named Jeremy Simon opened up for us. He was excellent, and I'm not just saying that. He played maybe 6-7 songs, and I liked every single one. I LOVED 2-3 of them. Go buy his music. He seems like a real guy with real talent.

After the show we went out for a late dinner at some diner kind of place. We had some really great and, at times, awkward conversation about the Kingdom, the Real Church of Jesus, honesty, vulnerability, and church membership. It was rich!

After dinner Alex headed off to Allentown, and Michael and I went to our hotel. Big thanks to Rob and Cheryl Tyson for hosting and making us feel like rock stars.

On Friday Michael and I made the short drive to Lancaster to join my long-time pal and supporter, Sean Williams, for a retreat with the youth at his church. We hung out with him some that afternoon, enjoyed the free wi-fi in their building, and then headed out to Northeast, MD (that's actually the name of the town, kind of like West, TX) for the retreat.

We had a great time at the retreat. Here's how it went. We did 3 sessions, each one consisting of a short "concert" kind of thing (3-4 of my songs), then some worship. It was nice to lead some worship after all the concerts we'd been doing. I'm thrilled to be back into "performing," but I suppose my heart is still (and always will be) drawn to the pastoral and interactive aspects of leading people in praise.

Sunday we went back to Lancaster, where we led worship for the morning service of Sean's church, then did a concert for the youth group that evening. Alex came back and played with us again, and he did great. Also, they showed this great video that I'll try to upload some time soon. It was basically, well, you'd just have to see it. It was bizarre and awesome.

Muchos gracios to Sean Williams, and to the people of his church.

Michael and I drove back to Reisterstown that night and stayed with Jason Fullen, who was a real trooper, staying up late to watch the Cowboys, then getting up at 4 am to take us to the Baltimore airport.

We came home the next day. Another 7 days with me, and Michael hasn't killed me yet.

I'll post in the next couple of days about the TX shows, and maybe a little about the great trip we had to MS.

So, anybody got any stories about people getting mad at "Happy" or any of my other songs?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Like the title says, we're back. Michael and I got home yesterday morning. Great trip. I'll post the update/recap/"behind the music" soon. Today is Sam's birthday (4 years old), so I'm otherwise occupied. It's terribly bad form to leave one's family for 7 days and then spend the next day blogging. It's downright criminal to do it all on your son's birthday. As such, I leave you only with this pic of Lance, me, Michael and Jason (aka "L-train," "King Delicious," "Steeley Mike," and "J Biggie"):

Dedicated to the millions of high school and college girls who seem to think they are in street gangs whenever they take pics for myspace and facebook.

later haters.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

OKMOKS part 2

I like the way that sounds: "okmoks." Like a race of semi-humans in an Orson Scott Card book. The Okmoks descended upon on the Castle of Slunderkahn in full force, their massive webbed feet roaring thunderously, their broadswords glistening in the light of the twin midday suns... blah blah blah, like that. Anyway...

Here’s more of what happened on the OK/KS/MO leg of the Mi Casa es Su Casa tour. Sorry for the delay. I've been slammed since I got home. In fact, I leave again tomorrow for the PA/MD tour. So I'm pressed for time. This might be a little more brief than the last one, in terms of show-for-show details.

Friday in Clever, MO

This pic didn't turn out too good. It was raining, and I think maybe the lens got fogged up or something. Anyway, that's me and Michael with Brandon Hix. Brandon and his wife Rebecca hosted us for a house show in Clever, MO, near Springfield. The Hix family inspired and challenged me like crazy. I won't lay out their whole personal life for the world without their permission, but I will say that they model teach-ability, generosity, faith, and true religion like few families I've met. I'm serious. These people are amazing. Michael and I had a great time hanging out with them and a bunch of their friends. About 20-25 people sat under the carport and graciously listened to us play.

Below are a few pics of the venue and the show, taken by my new friend Ty Davisson.

Saturday and Sunday in Wichita, KS

For the second day in a row, Michael and I drove pretty far. Lots of "have you ever heard this band?" going on in the car. Man, I'm old. I've never heard of anything.

Here was something interesting. The lovely town of Gas, KS was on our route, and we snapped this photo:

Rule #26 in "King's Rules of Great Comedy" is "Let the easy jokes go." However, rule #13 is "Fart jokes are always funny," so you see how I'm stuck?

So here are just a few:

"Excuse me, ma'am. I need to make a deposit. You might want to back up a little."

"OH NO! It's a robbery! What? Oh sorry, sir... that's just your finger? I thought you were pointing a gun at me. Yes, of course. I'd be glad to pull it. Will you need a receipt with that?"

"Whoa! What's that smell? Who's been writing hot checks?"

I could do this for days. Anybody want to join in? Keep it clean, kids. I mean, as clean as possible, considering the subject matter.

But seriously folks...

We had a fantastic time in Wichita. Pastor Robb Brunansky was our gracious host. He and his family set up 3 venues for us during our time there. We did a house show on Saturday, a Sunday service at their church on Sunday morning, and a concert at a neighboring church Sunday night. All of it was really great. Good people, and lots of fun.


Above is me and Michael with Robb and his sweet family. Below you've got all of us, plus some of their family and friends.

After Wichita, my voice was totally gone, so Michael and I had to cancel the Tulsa show. I'm pretty sure we're going to reschedule that show, and add a few others as well. There were a few folks in the are who didn't get a show this time around, so we might add those next time.

Tomorrow we're off for leg #2. Hopefully I'll have more updates soon.

And hey, let's hear some Bank of Gas jokes, people. Come on, this is comedy at its simplest and best.

Good day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"A Visual Recap of the Tour," or, "Several Thousand Words, Metaphorically Speaking"

Wednesday in Edmond, OK:

This is where it all began, so to speak. Above, witness the corner of the Roth's living room where Michael and I (and I think I can safely use the word "literally" here) rocked the house. We had to move that chair out of the way to do it.

Below is a wider (and different) angle of the same room, with some Roth's thrown in there on the left, to give you some perspective, in case you were thinking that the room was really massive. (I mean, all along you were thinking "Ross is kidding about this living room thing, right? He's being figurative or something. He's going to have some huge stage show and set up to look like he's playing on someone's couch, right?" Nope.) We fit maybe 15-18 people in there. This is the kind of glamorous, super-celeb vibe you get on the Su Casa es Mi Casa Tour.

and here (below) is the whole Roth fam, along with me and Michael and two of the dogs, one of whom was compelled to protest the photo shoot by mooning us. Not cool, Sally. So not cool.
By the way, the Roth's are home schoolers. I submit their two kids -- Reagan and Chance --as evidence that this whole "socialization" argument is dumb and uninformed. Not only did both of their kids have plenty of well-adjusted, healthy peer relationships (I met several of their friends at the house show, some of whom were public schooled and some who weren't), but they were two of the most mature, well spoken, witty, and polite kids I've ever been around. Oh, and Chance has a black belt which, as you might expect, goes pretty far with me. Take that, anti-homeschool snobs.

Bottom line, these people were awesome, their friends were amazing, and the show was fantastic. If every house concert I do is half as good as this one was (and/or if every host home is half as gracious and comfortable), this is going to be my new job.
Thursday in Stillwater, OK:

The above pic is of me, Michael and Scott Donaho, who is the director of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at OSU. He hosted one of the two "non-house" concerts that we did. Scott is a super cool dude, and he paid us actual, real money to play, in addition to taking us out to eat THREE times, and putting us up in a REAL HOTEL. Apparently this guy is the Donald Trump of house concert hosting. Or the Santa Claus. Whatever. He was really kind to us, and we had a blast leading his students in worship, playing some of my concert tunes, and eating late-night Taco Bueno.

Here's something fun. After the show, Michael and I were in the hotel room, winding down, getting ready for bed, etc (try not to focus on all the jokes you want to make right here about how that sentence sounds, lest you miss what's coming right here), and I see this small pile of clothes in the corner of the room, and I'm like "hey Michael, the least you can do is put your dirty underwear in your bag and not leave them on the floor." And Michael's like "those aren't mine."

Yep. That's right. Unclaimed unmentionables.

So I got to take the garbage bag from the wastebasket and do that turn-it-inside-out-and-make-it-a-glove trick that dog owners do when their pooch poops on the pavement.

It was awesome.

Thad had told me that some of the guys on texags call the town "Stoolwater" (hey, Aggies can be a cruel, merciless bunch, and the management of rosskingworldtourblog do not endorse that kind of hate speech, or any kind for that matter). I thought that was a little harsh. Maybe they were basing their judgment on the Best Western. If so, maybe not so harsh.

I'm just saying.

Anyway, Scott was the man, and he gets big props for all his kindness. Hey, it's not like he called the hotel and said "I need to reserve a room; preferbaly one with soiled shorts in the corner." I mean, I doubt they said to him "smoking or non-smoking? Dirty drawers or non-dirty drawers?"

OK, I've used up all my self-alotted blog time talking about skid-marked undies and the discovery/disposal thereof. I'll give more recaps and pics sometime this weekend.

Hey, have you got the new CD yet? Let me know. Anybody ticked off or confused by any of the crazy stuff I put on it? Let me know.