From the minute we arrived in downtown San Diego from our over night 11 hour greyhound bus ride we instantly felt right at home in this legendary city. Besides the perfect weather which is a big plus after near heat stroke from Arizona, the city has a welcoming energy that just says ‘come inside and explore’
We made our way to the backpackers for our first few nights in downtown and quickly found that there is enough open mic sessions for us to kill time at before our booked show at the legendary Casbuh.
First up was Patricks pub for Big Walters chicken wing jam, yip, big Walter gives free chicken wings to the patrons.
This was like no other open mic I had ever experienced though, this was the blues, and played by pro’s who knew every standard note for note and each muso knew what was going down.
In my experience running the bluestown sessions I was used to the setup just this time it was trading drummers, bassists, horn sections as well as front men.
Before we kenw it my self and Nick were leading jams with a collective of musicians that were masters of their crafts, we had 2 ripping guitarists, a 4 part horn section as well as a killer Rythm section. It was a mind blowing experience.
The next day we were eager to explore more of what the city has to offer and by chance we crossed a corner and there it was, the legendary House of Blues. We inquired about jam sessions and it just so happened that that very evening was the house of blues pro jam, so we got the number of the lady who books, told her our story and we were invited to join the house band. Again, by miracle it was an incredible jam session and we blew the roof off house of blues with an open invitation to return any time… Happy days
We have a rule when on tour: never say no (within reason)
So a character named Greg invited us to go to the beach at 5am (to get a parking spot) so we we agreed and after 2 hours of sleep we found ourselves on Pacific beach (PB) and the next few days we literally lived on that beach.
Now if you remember the first blog post of this tour i stated that I needed to get a Windhoek and a tafel lager from Namibia to San Diego to the hand of Alan Sanderson. Well they made it, 7 border posts later they made it. All we knew is that Alan wanted to meet us and us to bring him some beer (he also hooked up the Casbuh show)
Alan gave us an unexpected call when he told us that he has had a cancellation at his studio (Pacific beat recording) on the same day as the Casbuh show, and he invited us to come in for a recording session (just for fun)
Naturally we couldnt say no, but we were minus a band. We spent the next few nights searching for musicians to join us when literally on the day of the recording I called up Lisa Viegas (Sister Speak) who I had met at the jam session at the House of Blues. She happened to have the day off and was keen to come play drums for us, she asked though if she could bring her vocalist as it was her birthday and she was keen to be in studio on that day, naturally we said yes.
So we went to meet Alan, beers in hand. And we met out in the parking where we talked shit for an hour before going into studio, he placed the beers neatly on his studio monitors. and again we talked about his experience in Namibia, his work with Penilane and how he came to love Africa through the vast amount of beer and love the local folk have.
Then Lisa and Sherry Ann joined us at the studio, first time meeting them properly… and here’s the funny part of the story:
Sister Speak (Lisa and Sherry Ann) were supposed to record that day at Alan’s studio and they are the booking that got canceled that day (was meant for a film recoding that day but there was an issue with crew)
So both of them were free that day and the only reason we got to record is because they canceled, but they were still keen to go in and record on Sherry Ann’s birthday. Fate? I think so!!
The girls then went the extra mile and called up Nick Hein to join on on bass, and Pedro who works with Alan is a super humble and brilliant guitar player so naturally we invited him to join the session.
What happened next was natural and beautiful, Alan setup the studio and let us do our thing, while he tracked everything and the result was 2 songs down. One a rendition of a 400 year old folk song St James infirmary blues and my own composition “doing what I do’
We tracked with no issues and those recordings will forever capture what was a day we will never forget.
After the session we went through to the Casbuh and played a fun set which was well received and we were joined by the girls of Sister Speak on the 2 songs we had been jamming all day, and they went down beautifully. We love those girls and hope to bring to SA to show their talent off to our home turf very soon.
Here’s St james Infirmary
And here’s Doing What I do
Next up we headed out to L.A to play 2 shows in one night, after performing 2 sets at locations an hour apart (L.A is big) we slept on Venice beach, falling asleep to gun shots and waking up to millions of people on the beach, it was 4th of July after all so we decided to drive back to San Diego to surprise sister speak at their 4th of July show which was epic, these girls are great and their band rocks. We then spent the night watching the amazing fireworks go down which blew our minds.
After that night of mayhem we were back living on the beach and by dumb luck lost the keys to our car on the beach and spent 7 hours in the beating sun until the spare arrived. We then headed back to L.A to play again, with some serious sun stroke. but we played!
Then we headed up the 101 to San Fransisco which is a ridiculously beautiful city. After a night of chaos finding ourselves in an underground pub called “Smugglers cove” and braaing on the side of the road we caught our flight to Cayman where we are performing 4 different venues and staying with great friends before heading off to New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville and back to New York!
Thank you for having us California, we can see why this is the land of opportunity through this amazing part of the world.
Eyes are wide open!