Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Catching up...

Eric Slick, lost in the music

First, let's start with writing news.

You must immediately go read a short story by my extremely talented pal, Kathy Fish over at Juked Magazine. Kathy rocks -- I'm a big fan. Google her and read some of her other stuff...she's amazing.

In other not so good writing news, I was supposed to be packing to leave for the RT Convention in Daytona Beach today to promote my new book, Another Bite of the Apple but some personal stuff has derailed my plans and I'm really bummed out to be missing five days hanging out with fellow authors in sunny Florida but, you know, shit happens. The book is not available for sale yet but I do have the advance review copy and it will most likely be released by the end of this month when my publisher returns from the convention. Sigh...by tomorrow I would have been holding it in my hand, damn it. (Hey! Stop having those dirty thoughts!)

I am, however, still hoping to make Balticon over Memorial Day weekend and no, no, not because Neil Gaiman is there -- I had those plans way before I even knew he was the speaker and god knows I'm not going to be able to get anywhere near him though it makes for a good fantasy, huh. Hey, speaking of Neil, how about some eye candy?

This is really for you, Susan -- I know how you get when you see Neil in glasses. But as far as the outfit goes, you know me -- I am a black t-shirt person. If this was Neil's typical attire, I wouldn't be nearly as in lust with him. (Note to Neil: If you don't want me stalking you, just wear a suit. It will be your talisman against all things Slick)

Oh, one more thing - I am allowed to blab this much: Barring any unforseen circumstances, both Eric and Julie are headed for Nashville on Friday for a stay at the home of a rock and roll legend for four days to prepare for something pretty damn spectacular and I'll have more on that next week as soon as I get the official okay to broadcast the news, but um, I think there's going to be a press release so I may just be cutting and pasting that here instead. Ah, how I wish I could spill it all now but I'm far too superstitious. All I can say now is: Stay tuned...

So Sunday night was the final evening of almost five weeks of the Project Object tour. It was bittersweet -- I couldn't wait to see Eric again and have him back home, but on the other hand, after all that time on the road this band is so fucking amazing I wish (and I know the band feels the same) that it could have gone on forever. It was both cool and sad it ended at Rock School Bergen County. Cool because Andy Lucibello who runs the school is an incredible guy with a long music history and a group of the Rock School kids were there and sat in on a couple of songs (and did an amazing job!) but kinda sad because the place was more than half empty. But you know, it was a Sunday night, Mothers Day, and it wasn't the typical P/O venue with the alcohol flowing so it's understandable. But the upside is...and it's a huge upside...P/O played for three hours, they were loose, there were a couple of blips and they laughed it off...it was just a fun time and after it was all over, everyone hugged and had birthday cake in honor of Eric's 19th birthday.

Funny story about Eric's birthday cake. He almost didn't have one because I am officially a total ditz. I have tons of stuff on my mind right now and am so distracted I'm liable to get hit by a truck if I walk outside. But anyway, I had my killer chocolate cake recipe out, all of the ingredients, and I figured I'd double the recipe so there'd be enough for everyone. So in goes a pound of butter, two cups of sugar, chocolate, six eggs...blah blah blah...and I'm beating it with the mixer for two minutes and I'm like, wow, this is strange, this batter seems really loose -- I'm not even going to have to scrape the bowl; this stuff is going to pour right out. I checked the recipe again...checked my math to make sure I'd doubled everything correctly, and shook my head and said to myself "Well, you've been used to making brownies (ahem...more on that later in the post) and brownies are a very thick batter -- it's been a while since you've baked an actual cake -- you're just being your usual paranoid self. The cake is going to be fine, stick it in the oven and go upstairs and get over yourself."

So that's what I did...an hour later the timer went off in the kitchen and I went downstairs and checked. It looked fine, the top of the cake was nicely browned, and I go to pull it out of the oven and oh my god, the entire thing was hot molten liquid that poured all over me, the oven, the floor -- it was completely uncooked despite being in a hot oven for sixty minutes. I knew something was wrong with that recipe! I was completely freaked out because not only did I have a huge mess, I had no cake and only three hours before I had to leave for the show.

And then I looked up at the countertop and there it was. Sitting behind my mixer -- two and a half cups of flour - carefully measured out -- which I never added to the bowl when I was adding the ingredients. (In other words, I put in the original two and a half cups which is for the usual recipe but forgot to add the next two and a half cups for double the recipe). Which is why I had chocolate soup instead of cake.

I get seriously worried about myself. Do I have early Alzheimers? Ha! Hardly. Just so much crap on my mind right now I can't think straight. Eric's dad to the rescue - he ran to the store for me and got me more chocolate, eggs, etc.

"Rob, would you mind if I make the cake?"



Think that's the end of the story?

I wish.

I had one and a half pounds of butter sitting out softening. One pound went into the cake, the other two sticks of butter were for the frosting. Gary shoos me out of the kitchen. I was only too happy to get out of there, especially as I'd just spent the last half hour cleaning up spilled chocolate so I went upstairs in my bedroom and put the pillow over my head, worrying about all sorts of things and trying not to freak out.

"Hey Rob?" I hear the holler from downstairs.

"Yeah?" I fly down the steps. What now?

"All done. The cake is in the oven. Man that thing takes a lot of butter."

"Well, it's a pound cake." Whew.

"Yeah, but six sticks of butter is a pound and a half."

He thought all six sticks of butter went into the batter so into the batter they went. I know I told him otherwise but maybe I didn't...I don't know what the hell happened or if I told him and since he's in the same insane state I am over some stuff, he didn't absorb the information or what.

"Oh my god...."

Anyway, within fifteen minutes the cake started spilling out of the pan -- my oven is never going to be the same again...we were like the Three Stooges in the kitchen...and we now had like an hour and a half before we had to leave and I still had to frost that thing.

He took it out of the oven and again, it's a wobbly mess but at least it stayed fairly in one piece when we got it out of the pan. We put it by the open window to cool and I made icing. I started frosting it -- so far, so good, but then I began to decorate it with little Reese's peanut butter cups -- Eric's favorite -- and it started to sink down.

"Shall I get a bicycle pump?" Gary quipped.

"Oh be quiet, you. I think we should just forget this whole thing and go to Whole Foods and buy a cake like we should have done in the first place when my original cake failed," I sighed.

But Gary refused to give up -- he gave me a taste of the cake from the pan and it was sick -- I mean, six sticks of butter, how could it not taste sick -- so we packed it up, I threw chocolate chips all over it to at least make it look a little better but of course that caused it to cave in even more -- and we just decided to laugh about it and take a huge spoon and scoop it out for people instead of slicing it. It was more like a giant chocolate peanut butter mousse.

Okay, so that's the cake story.

Now let's talk some more about Project Object. I think keyboardist Eric Svalgard sums it all up the best in his journal entry of last night:

Some Final Thoughts

Okay, last time I said I would post in a couple of days after I got back and I never did. SO HERE GOES!

Final thoughts. First and foremost this is the best band I have ever played with. I was so happy that the Hag played almost the whole tour with us. André has really stepped up to the plate as well. His playing on this tour was inspired and inspiring. His retirement from retail may have left a void in the Red Bank Vegan community, but it is WELL worth what the focus on playing hath wrought. Some of his Inca solos were tear inducing. No shit. Dave, I am almost speechless. Always keeps me on my toes, always blows the crowd and all of us away, always working to make it better. Following in the footsteps of Jaco in creating a new voice for the instrument. More like Hendrix or Coltrane than Clark. He is an innovator, and I know he will hate me for this. Ike was on. Except for some vocal fatigue in the last week of the tour, he hasn’t sounded or played better in P/O since I have been a member. Denise, his wife is a trooper, a hard working, humorous helpful addition to the tour. She also has some hot moves on stage, but don’t tell Ike I said so. Laura, you know I love you, and it was great that you got up on stage for a couple of songs this tour. Great work again on the merch, the driving and just being around. I would really have liked to have another 20 minutes in Harrisburg.

That leaves the Slickmiester, with whom I have been working for 4 years now, but never before as a bandmate. Jesus, is this kid good or what. He survived the grueling schedule, the bad food, the Motel 6 beds and the brownies and played his ass off every night (well maybe not in Rochester). He was my roommate and we had a blast. Some nights he made me laugh so hard I couldn’t sing, others I couldn’t even play. The kid has a fantastic future in this business and I hope to have the honor of sharing a stage with him again in the near future.

Dré has been making serious waves with the fans by talking about this being the last tour. I hope not, but you have to look at the ZPZ and how their tour will affect our market to see what the future holds. He is not being negative but is, as he always is, thoughtful and cognizant of the effects that the ZPZ may have.
Thanks to all the people who sat in on this tour. I am sure that André has a complete list. Thanks to all the fans who come out early and leave late to help us with the gear, you guy RULE!!!!! Thanks to the Zappa car for making it to Pittsburgh (was it worth the drive, Tami?)

This has been the best yet. I have been playing better, the band sounds better and tighter, the crowd were great (with 3 or 4 exceptions) and we really had a great time. Thanks to all of you fans out there. Your support and the tireless work of André have made this last two years the best of my musical life. If/When we go out again, it will only be better. Hope to see you all at ZPZ, as I will be at the Beacon in NY and Tower in Philly.
Eric Svalgård a.k.a. Sluggo
Oh, and Slick, YOU DON’T PLAY TOO HARD!!!!

Anyway, thank you so much to Andre, Dave, Seahag, Ike, and Eric Svalgard for making my son's first professional tour such an amazing experience. He came home a man...a man with muscles! I'm so proud of him I'm bursting.

Now. Let's talk about brownies and Eric Svalgard's remark about Eric Slick maybe "not so good in Rochester".

Before every show, the guys, who are all vegans/vegetarians, usually have a meal prepared for them by their fans or if the venue serves food, the chef there. The ride to Rochester was long and they arrived late and didn't have a chance to eat before the show. Eric had gone all day without food. So he was quite stoked to see a tray of brownies backstage donated by a fan. He was so hungry he gobbled up two huge ones and headed back out for soundcheck.

Heh. Eric has now learned that you never eat anything you do not unwrap or cook yourself. He started to levitate off the stage, and I understand he ran backstage an hour later and barfed altogether. I know it's not funny and I should be outraged, but come on, it's not such a big deal. So my son got stoned on some pot brownies. The good news is he hated the feeling. (Now if he had just eaten one, we might have had problems with him liking it ha ha). The bad news is someone recorded that show, which he does not remember playing, and it's on You Tube. Not just him playing, but being accosted by a sock puppet named Pisspot who has its own cable access TV show in Rochester and who totally freaked out my poor stoned son...

You may want to fast forward a lot of that...and don't forget you can make You Tube movies whole screen by clicking on that little square. I still can't believe I didn't know that and have been watching tiny films this whole time.

Okay, I think I've reported all that I'm able to report at this point. As I said, I still have major news regarding Julie and Eric, my own writing career, and a slew of other stuff, but this post is long enough and I'll be back with more news than you could possibly want tomorrow.