Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cinder Bridge, Incorporated: Nevermind

Ron the Drummer called me this morning about the company that supposedly took our name. Being much less lazy than I am, Ron took the extra step of signing up for the business directory that listed Cinder Bridge. That gave him access to the contact info for the companies listed there.

And? The phone number for Cinder Bridge is my cell number. The URL is, the band's website. Either their bot made a mistake, or they're trying to pad their directory to make it seem like it contains more businesses than it does.

Besides the mailing address for Cinder Bridge the company, the only piece of information they give that doesn't link back to us is the contact name: Alex Spivey. We have no idea who this is. I wonder if he or she would like to be our booking agent.

The hell?

Catching up on my e-mail, I found a Google alert for Cinder Bridge. Yay! Except that it wasn't about us. It was about some company called Cinder Bridge.

Y'know, back when Ron the Drummer and I began casting about for a band name, we wanted to make sure that whatever we chose not only hadn't been taken, but wouldn't be taken. Ever. When we finally settled on "Cinder Bridge," we figured we were pretty safe.

So what are the odds that some random business would think of it too?

And what are the odds that the location of said business would be a few miles from my freaking house?


Obama: The gift that keeps on giving

New gig! On Saturday, January 10, Cinder Bridge will be playing at its fourth Obama event.

We don't know exactly what the event is for yet, and we're not that bothered about it. At this point we're so psyched about the changing of the guard that we'd donate our performance to the Help Barack Find a Puppy Foundation.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

When the day job isn't

I got some practicing in today. Just a little.

Normally that wouldn't be worth mentioning. It is now because this was the first chance I've had to practice in over two weeks. Things have gotten rather busy at the day job.

I often refer to it as the "day job." I do this because it makes me feel more musicianly. You know, like I'm really a singer/songwriter/keyboardist, and my current employment is just something I do to pay the bills. But the truth is that my day job -- book designer at a small self-publishing company -- isn't the kind where you get in at 8, leave at 5, and don't give it a second thought until you arrive again the next morning. I actually enjoy it. And every now and again it demands that I devote more time to it than eight hours a day. A lot more.

It's earned my loyalty many times over. The hours are flexible. If I have a gig scheduled for 3 p.m. on a Wednesday, I simply e-mail the office saying I'm cutting out early because I have a gig. Back when Ron and I flew to Philadelphia to record our album, I had been at my job less than a year and hadn't accrued any vacation time; my boss let me work Saturdays to make up the five days off beforehand. Also, I regularly meander into the office around 10 or 10:30 a.m. OK, that has nothing to do with working around musical activities -- I just like to sleep late -- but I don't appreciate it any less for that.

So I'm working a lot now. And in the interim I've hardly touched my keyboard. And I haven't done anything at all to promote the band. Maybe I should consider these sacrifices as an investment. Eventually things will calm down and I'll once again be able to take advantage of the freedom this job gives me when it comes to gigs and such.

But I still feel like I'm shirking.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dowel addendum

So now that I've told this long story about Ron forgetting his sticks, I will point out why I find the whole thing ironic:

Ron never makes this kind of mistake.

I always make this kind of mistake.

Ever since Cinder Bridge started playing out, I've been afraid that I would forget some key piece of equipment. It's a danger every time something happens to cause a break in the routine. (Which is actually what happened with Ron. He put the bag 'o' sticks somewhere else to keep his cats from getting into it, then didn't take it because it wasn't in the usual place.) This hasn't happened to me yet, partially because my fear has made me vigilant, but mostly because there's a severe lack of storage space at my house, making it necessary for Ron to stow and haul most of our stuff. He has a lot more to keep track of than I do.

So, I kind of feel like Ron took a bullet that was meant for me. Thanks, Ron. That's one more I owe you.

Saved by the dowel

While Ron the Drummer and I are setting up for this afternoon's gig, my cell phone rings. It's Tim, a friend and former coworker I haven't seen in a couple of years.

"Hey, Susan, we're coming to your gig, but you got the address wrong," says Tim, referring to the mailing I sent out. "The one you gave is for the Tucson Airport."

"Um, no, it's correct. We're playing at the airport."

"Oh. Okay."

* * *

1:40 p.m. and we're just about ready. In the 20 minutes before we start, there's plenty of time for Ron to take levels and make sure that our sweet new mixing board is working as it should. It pays to get to a gig early for setup -- as we always do -- just in case of emergencies, even though there are almost never emergencies.

"Oh, shit," says Ron.

I stare at him blankly. Sometimes Ron kids around, trying to get a startle response out of me before telling me it's nothing. Best to keep my cool.

"I left my sticks at home."

I continue to stare blankly. He could still be kidding. Right? Totally kidding.

"I'm not kidding."

Ron goes off to call his wife. His wife isn't home. He calls a neighbor to see if she's puttering around outside. No dice. There's no one else who can grab his stick bag and run to the airport with it, and there's absolutely no way for him to drive home, get them, and come back before 2. I sit on my little keyboard bench and try to think of creative solutions. Do I have anything that could serve as substitute drumsticks? No, I do not.

1:50 p.m. Vicki, the PR woman who's hired us to do this gig, comes over to say hi. Ron confesses his error to Vicki, who remains cheerful and unperturbed. She points out that I could do the gig solo, which is true, but only as a last resort. These songs don't sound nearly as good without Ron. It would be better if he could just play the drums with his hands, our current plan B.

"What if Ron went and got them, and we started an hour later?" I ask.

Vicki tells me it wouldn't work. The crowd will thin out and disappear after 3. I realize it was a stupid idea anyway. Tim and his family are coming to see us. We can't keep them waiting that long.

"If you have dowels," says Ron, "then I could use those as drumsticks."

S'pose it never hurts to ask, I think, but seriously. What are the chances ...

"Oh, sure! What size do you need? I'll go check for them. Give me your tickets, and I'll validate them while I'm up there."

... of someone just happening to have dowels on hand?


Ten minutes later and she's back with, God help me, a fistful of dowels. She hands two small ones to Ron. They actually look like drumsticks if you don't notice the lack of little knobby things at the end. He tries them out. They sound a whole lot crisper and louder than the hot rods he usually uses, but they work.

* * *

Aside from starting 10 minutes late, the gig itself goes swimmingly. I see reactions I'm beginning to recognize as typical for these airport performances. A very little kid and a bigger kid hold hands and dance along to the music. A few people smile at us as they walk by; I don't know if they're specifically into our sound, but they seem grateful to us for making their trip a little more interesting. One woman talks to us between songs, asking if we'd be interested in playing for her nursing home residents.

Oh, and the new mixing board sounds great.

Dowel's well that ends well.

*ahem* ... Sorry.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Once an album, always an album

Commenting on my last post about whether our music is happy or sad, Leigh said of two of her favorite Cinder Bridge songs:
And yet both are not on the cd (which I initially typed as "album", showing my age :) ). *grumble*
OK, first, Leigh should be unashamed of her verbiage. Highways and Hiking Shoes IS an album. An album is simply a collection of musical tracks, released together in a certain order. The White Album by the Beatles is still The White Album. It is not, as one DJ rather appallingly called it, The White CD.

Second, Leigh is showing her age (mine too), but not for the reasons she thinks.

A friend of mine once told me that half of people under 16 have never bought a CD. A lot of those people will probably never buy a CD. They get all their music online.

So if you insist on associating the word "album" with vinyl, then you may have to call recent releases "MP3s." Except that MP3s are individual songs. You can download them separately, or you can buy a bunch of them together as the collection known as ... wait for it ... the album.

ALBUM ALBUM ALBUM! S'there. Also, get off my lawn!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The ear of the beholder

While hanging out with longtime awesome friend DeppityBob over an extended Thanksgiving holiday, we got on the topic of my band. We were talking about what Cinder Bridge was up to, and he asked me:

"So when are you going to write a HAPPY song?"

* * *

At rehearsal tonight, Ron the Drummer said he'd heard from a friend of his and found out she was leaving her husband. Apparently she's been listening a lot to our album, Highways and Hiking Shoes. According to Ron, she finds it "hopeful and uplifting."

* * *

It amazes me that people can have such opposing reactions to our music. I mean, I get differences in taste. I get that some people are going to love us and other people (fools that they are) will hate us. But it's weird to me that, of those who basically like what we do, some think most of our stuff is depressing (Dep's not alone), and others think it's optimistic (Ron's friend isn't alone).

Maybe it has to do with what you consider happy. DeppityBob has a preference for up-tempo material, and our music tends toward mid-tempo. It's possible that certain listeners conflate "slow" with "despondent."

Or, maybe our music sounds more cheerful if you happen to be going through extreme trauma.

Cinder Bridge: the auditory Rorschach test.