Gavin Rossdale is a pretty dude, and must have lived; when not busy making babies with his fellow 90's icon wife, in some sort of hyperbaric chamber, because he doesn't appear to have aged much since his heyday some 15 years ago. I know this, because, for the second time in recent months, I have been in close proximity to Mr. Stefani. First, it was backstage before their set supporting Motley Crue at The Sunset Strip Music Festival, and then again this past Saturday afternoon at soundcheck for the Haunted Valley Block Party, where The Beauty School Dropouts would headline the INdoor stage, get this, AFTER Bush & Candlebox had closed down the OUTdoor one. Billed as an "after party", it was really a lot of "after", and very little "party", since we didn't actually take the stage until sometime around 1:30 AM....yeah, Sunday morning, if anyone's counting. Still, we delivered our best; albeit somewhat taxed, performance for so early on the sabbath.

 The true saving grace of the evening would be the hospitality of none other than Mr. Tracy Lawrence, known for his 8 country #1s, and; apparently, for throwing one hell of a party. This one was a joint celebration of his wife's birthday and Halloween, and since Jimmy & his wife Lacy had an invite, the rest of the BSD posse were kindly allowed to tag along and pre-game before heading back down to 12th & Porter for our triumphant finale. I wish we'd had more time, but since I was able to knock out 3 beers, a couple shots, and some moonshine cherries(and possibly witness Josh giving Jeremy a lad dance), in the brief instant we were there, it's probably for the best, or our capacity crowd early the NEXT morning might've been witness to a compromised exposition of our talents.

 I did get to meet our host, who was as down-to-earth as I could've hoped, in spite of the fact that his property could probably accommodate the amount of homes needed to qualify for township, and his guest house was as big as my actual domicile. I KNEW I should've gone the country route...Oh well, there's still time.

I built a new studio rig last week, with help from my friends Josh"Grohl" Baker & Tony"The Chief" Higbee. I had to completely reconfigure my studio room, and my wallet's significantly lighter, but I think this upgrade will expedite the demo process for the next fORMER release, and might even allow Shane Tassart & I to put together a new Best Of Seven record, as schedules permit. This new setup will come in handy for writing projects, and may even help me do proper, full-blown versions of a few songs that have never fit the "band" format over the years.( Yes, Tommy Krantz, I'm talking about THAT one too.) If nothing else, I should be posting my progress with a few of these ideas on the "audio" page, so stay tuned.

 Speaking of new tunes, we have about 20 or so on the board for consideration, and once we get through this weekend's show in Bowling Green, and the last of the new additions to the live set, we can start cracking down on ourselves to weed through the contenders. I'm not sure the cream we'll need for LP #3 has risen to the top, but we've got time, so no worries there. We might even hold the cards a little closer to the vest this time, and refrain from playing any of the new stuff live until after it's been released, which is something we've never been disciplined or brave enough to do. This is my plan, at least, but we'll see how democracy...and our general lack of patience effect this strategy over time.

 As for this Saturday's show, I say again, this is our buddy Miki's birthday, and our first show at Tidball's in over 2 years, so we intend to throw down. We've tweaked the set, as per Miki's request, and we're anxious to see how long the birthday boy can stay on his feet. The spectacle may not be on the stage. You have been warned.

 Our next stop will be Soho in Columbus, Georgia, another little town we've been missing for a minute. We'll be there Saturday, November 19th with Six To The Wheels, out of Atlanta. This place is always a good time, and inevitably makes for a rough morning. Folks in the area, we've missed you, don't miss us. Vickie, I will politely decline all complimentary shots in advance. Thank you.

 After that, it's one last show for fORMER in 2011(unless something pops up), at The Rutledge on December 3rd, so mark your calendars, Nashville, 'cause we're gone until next year after this one, and we really wanna give 2011 a proper sendoff as she's been especially good to us.



p.s. I got the Butch Walker auto-biography "Drinking With Strangers" in the mail the other day....not bad...definitely worth dropping a few bucks on.

p.s.s. The Belle Brigade might be my album of the year.....sorry, Gillian & Dave....I said "might".