The weeks leading up to the physical release of Confidence were hectic. J.D. was a great source of information and advice – he’s done a few of these before – and he also helped by putting together a good bio and press release for the event. I commissioned a flyer to be made by the fantastic Lynette May (in brainstorming, we chose an onryo – a vengeful spirit from Japanese folklore).
After booking the show, we experienced what we were concerned would be a major setback, as Stephen Chopek found himself unavailable for the show (double booking? A guaranteed paying gig? Who knows.) Fortunately, John Bonds stepped up to play the set and the day was saved. It would have to be a drummer with a good blend of precision and force, and John delivers both in spades.
The Friday before the show, September 11th, J.D. and I appeared on ABC24’s Local Memphis Live to promote the album and show. What a fun and surreal experience live television is. Everyone at the station was congenial and we performed three songs: “We Died Laughing”, “For My Favorite” and “The First Episode”. Ah, the joys of writing short tunes. “We Died Laughing” showed up on the Internet as evidence of our appearance along with a very awkwardly funny interview. I stated, clearly, “I have no message” which was probably the most punk rock thing I could have said (without invoking Bill Grundy).
So we got a run-through in the Monday before the show. It was a little late, but it was a solid practice. John definitely spent a little time living with the songs beforehand – he is a very precise and dynamic player – and I would say it’s probably the best this batch of songs have sounded in a practice room. We sounded like we were having fun.
The day of the show arrived very quickly. Unfortunately, I had been dealing with probably the worst headache I’ve ever had for over two weeks (and on a steroid pack to combat it as I type this) and I was a little lacking in enthusiasm. Nonetheless, it had been a good week for promotion and a lot of our friends talked it up. The Memphis Flyer and Commercial Appeal gave it brief mentions as well. With Cooper Young Fest set to drain everyone’s pocketbooks the following day, there was a sense that it might be a light crowd. It was indeed, but we were surrounded by some of our best friends and there was a positive spirit in the air. The staff of the Hi-Tone were hospitable as always, and technical hiccups aside we delivered a high energy set. Headache aside, I felt a sense of achievement and, also, a sense of relief.