Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Clifton kinda Christmas

Okay, I promised you last post that I'd post "tomorrow" about our other Christmas gig, and today is not "tomorrow." But today is today, and today is actually more important than tomorrow, right? Today is all you really have, so don't get wrapped up in tomorrow.

That said, let's talk about the past - namely last Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, we played our second annual Christmas show in Clifton, Texas - The Norwegian Capital of Texas. I know that's true because they have a sign that says so. The gig we played was a corporate party, held at the beautiful Bosque Arts Center. Here are the boys getting ready for their close-up at the BAC:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Never be above bribing

The vocal gods have been kind, and I was actually able to pull my weight with all of our gigs this past week. We've got one more gig to go this week then we'll get a little break before rockin' the rock out of Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier for New Year's Eve!

Get your mind out of the gutter. The Pleasure Pier has nothing to do with Galveston's once-famous red light district. It's a midway - basically a small amusement park perched over the wild, wild waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We are seriously excited to be playing the pier on New Year's Eve!

But before I jump ahead to the new year, I'll tell you about our gigs from last week. I'll post tomorrow about our gig from last night. It deserves it's own post.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Germs are not your friends

We took a little break for Thanksgiving and for Johnny and I to take a short vacation before our holiday gigs start. We've got three shows in the next week or so, plus some irons in the fire for New Year's, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get away for a bit, right?

Well, in theory, getting away is good. But when "getting away" means "traveling somewhere far away to experience new germs and bring home a respiratory ailment," right before you have a bunch of gigs lined up, then getting away is not so good.

Yes, I got a cold during our trip - on the second day actually. Nothing like getting sick when you're away from home and will be for several days. Congestion, sore throat, coughing. Oh, and we were on a cruise for a few of our vacation days, so toss in a little sea sickness, too. Stellar.

I swear, I wasn't this guy. I was not
Patient Zero on our cruise. I PROMISE!

Saturday, November 24, 2012


At our last gig, we played on an outdoor deck. As we were setting up, I looked down and saw this, wedged in the slats of the deck:

Unused, right? Shouldn't it have a wrapper? So...used?
How did it end up here? Was someone dancing super hard?

How does that even happen? WAIT! Don't tell me. Just don't.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's not all pinwheels and candy canes

A lot of our posts are about chronicling our adventures. You learn a little bit about what it's like to be in a band by hearing our stories, and it's a good way for our friends, families and fans to keep up with us. And hopefully, if you're in a band, you can relate to some of the things we do and see.

But not every story can be told in a public forum. There are times when we have experiences that we'd like to rant about, but if we did, we'd likely burn bridges that we might need later. We want to be authentic, and not sound all Pollyanna, like every moment of every gig is a joy to behold.

Can't you just see the rage all pent-up from unexpressed injustices?
She'd have been served by occasionally just saying, "Well, that sucks!"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stir that coffee

Children change things. If you have children, you probably already know this, but it's relevant to bands, even if no one in the band has kids. Because sometimes kids are at your show, and you have to decide if you're going to change your show due to their presence. And sometimes, you make the wrong decision, and it gets...uncomfortable.

I should start this post by pointing out that if we're hired for a "family-friendly" event, and especially if we're told specifically to keep things clean, we comply. We like to get hired more than once, and you've got a better chance of that happening if you don't pull an Ozzy Osbourne and start biting the heads off animals or pulling out your privates on stage.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beware the headless mad scientist

If you live in Austin, you know that Halloween is a really popular holiday here. None of this "Halloween is for kids" bunk - people of all ages decorate and dress up in these parts!

It's a lot of fun to see people get so creative and be so uninhibited (Note: People who dress up are way more fun than people who won't because they're afraid of looking silly. Just FYI.), but I'll admit, it can be a bit of a distraction when you're trying to perform - not because people are looking at other people instead of you, but because YOU are looking at everyone, and it's very easy to find yourself suddenly wondering, "Wait - what song are we playing again?"

I had a moment like that this past Friday night.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rebranding complete

Those of you who have been along for the ride with us for a while now know that we didn't start out as The Staylyns.

When the band first started, it was just Johnny with his very talented friend Scott on drums. Scott is a lifelong friend of Johnny's and a fantastic drummer. But Scott prefers to work individual gigs on a freelance basis, rather than being a standing member of a particular band. So, Johnny knew from the start that Scott wouldn't be his long-term drummer. Thus, he performed essentially as a solo act - Johnny Austin:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We did it! We hit the big time - we headlined a festival! 

No, not ACL. That's this coming weekend, and we admit that we're not quite that big-time. In fact, I suppose if I really look at it up close, it's probably not "big" time, in the sense of the festival being, say, "large" in terms of attendance...or physical presence...or money. It's probably more like "not big" time. Maybe even "small" time.

The festival in question was Manor Fest. Manor is a small (but growing!) town just east of Austin. And apparently they hold a festival every year as a fundraiser for the town. Let's take a look at what this fiesta entails, and you can help us decide on the proper characterization for it.

Manor Fest features:
Delicious bbq, cooked in biiiiiig, Longhorn-themed smokers,

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Road trippin'

Last weekend (if you start the weekend on Thursday, which we will for this post), we had three gigs in a 48-hour period, which is a lot of gigging. What's most interesting, though, is that one of those gigs was 5 1/2 hours away. Yup - that's 5 1/2 hours each way. Road trip!

We actually decided earlier this year that we were going to be judicious about our long-distance gigs. We'd done a couple of trips to Nashville with marginal success (okay, one marginal success and one total disaster), and one trip to El Paso, which was almost a bust except that Johnny worked something out with the booker to make the trip at least a break-even (the event we'd been hired to play had been double-booked, and they almost sent us away without playing and with less money than our expenses to get there - it's 9 hours away).

We learned some lessons in those experiences about what kind of guarantees to get, and what to get in writing, if we were hired to play a gig outside of our usual Central Texas area. But as a general rule, we just don't like to book anything more than a few hours away. In this case, though, the money was good, we could go up and back in a day, which keeps our expenses down, and the people we dealt with were professional and put the things we needed in writing. So, last Thursday, off we went to play the Big Apple Deli in the bustling West Texas metropolis of Snyder, Texas!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Turning into Mavericks

September has shaped up to be a great month for The Staylyns to play new venues. By the time the month is out, we will have played three new venues (for us) in three different cities:

  • Kemah Boardwalk in Kemah
  • Mavericks in Pflugerville, and 
  • Big Apple Deli in Snyder

I already blogged about playing Kemah, so I'll tell you about Mavericks - the club we played this past weekend.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gig, soup and toilet paper

So, life remains interesting in Staylyn-land - both good interesting and not-awesome interesting.

On the good side, this past Friday was my (Suzy's) last day at my 9-to-5 office job. This is a very good thing. I will still be working a non-band job, but the new job will have more flexibility than the old one, which means The Staylyns now have more flexibility as well. Hurrah!

We also got very lucky on Saturday with the weather for our gig playing the Kemah Boardwalk. Not only did it rain every day leading up to our gig, but as we were playing in the sunshine in Kemah on Saturday, the other side of Houston was getting soaked. I think God decided to give us a break since we were rained out of this same gig in March. So, to all you folks who got the benefit of the sunshine that we were personally responsible for on Saturday, you're welcome.

Less cool was the cold that Johnny woke up with on Sunday. To be accurate, the cold had been coming on for days, so it didn't actually just appear on Sunday, but he was definitely feeling full-on crappy that morning. We had spent the night with my very generous family the night before, but when he woke up feeling bad, we loaded up and headed home as soon as we could get Joey vertical. Have we mentioned before that Joe can sleep? Anywhere, anytime, for as long as you'll let him. But I'll save that for another post.

We did make one stop on the way home, and that was for lunch. Johnny needed soup - possibly soup with a little sinus-clearing kick. So, we stopped in Columbus at this fine establishment for some tortilla soup:

As soon as we were seated, I noticed a cool old-timey map on the wall that had this on it:

Since we play Hotel California in our band, I took it as a sign that we had made a good decision.

In fact, it was an excellent decision. Johnny and Joe both got the soup, which seemed pricey until we saw the enormous bowls delivered to our table. These people hook you UP with some soup! And even better, Johnny said it was officially the best chicken tortilla soup (he added chicken, because you're supposed to when you're sick) he'd ever had. Here it is about halfway eaten:

To give some perspective, that's not a teaspoon - it's a tablespoon. Somehow the picture doesn't do it justice, but trust me, it was a lot of soup.

One more point of interest came as we were getting ready to leave. I went to the bathroom, because you should always do that at all possible opportunities when you're on a road trip, and as I was washing my hands, I saw another woman enter, go into one of the stalls and then do this:

What the...? I saw her hang this piece of toilet paper over the door before getting to business. But...why? Is she trying to signal that the stall is ocupado? Because your feet under the door are a pretty good indicator. And, of course, there's the whole DOOR LOCK thing to keep urgent strangers from busting in on you. So, what could that be? Oooo - I sense a game opportunity. Let's all come up with theories! Here's mine:

She's a germophobe, and she's afraid that the last person who touched the toilet paper had dirty hands. So, she pulls a foot or so of paper out to get to the clean paper. But she's also OCD, so she has to hang the pulled paper on the outside of the stall where she can see it when she washes her hands so she knows she did, in fact, remember to pull the first foot of paper and, therefore, only has to wash her hands - not her hoohah, too, which she would surely have to do if she had used the first foot of contaminated paper. And that is NOT something she wants to have to do again in a public restroom.

Your turn - put your theory in the comments!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life needs to back off

Has it really been almost three weeks since my last post? What the...?

Sorry for the silence. I wasn't ignoring you - it's just been kinda crazy in the land of The Staylyns. I'll see if I can do a photo recap of what all has been going on. I make no promises that these will all be actual photos of us, but see if you can figure out which ones aren't actually us!

We've done a bunch of this:

Johnny and I dealt with this at our rental properties:

"We may need a machete for that back part."

"An anteater is probably the cheapest solution."

"So, you're saying that a ceiling fan isn't insufficient when it's 104 degrees outside?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Almost Famous

So, in the midst of a busy weekend of gigs, we got some cool news from one of our fans who lives in Round Rock. We made the Round Rock Leader newspaper!

The ever-loyal Jan C. sent us a note Saturday morning to let us know we were in the Places & Faces section of the Leader, so on our way to our gig in Lake Whitney, we stopped in Round Rock and picked up a copy so we could see for ourselves. Admittedly, only one of us is visible in the shot, but we're all mentioned, and they even gave a little shout out for Sex & Coffee, so we're very pleased!

The photographer who took the picture, Henry Huey, came to one of our gigs at Junior's Icehouse in Round Rock in July. He took several photos, which he allowed us to share on our Facebook page, but it was a lot of fun to see the shot in the actual newspaper. There's something thrilling about makin' the ole newsprint!

So, a big thank you to the Round Rock Leader for featuring us, and another big thank you to Jan C. for letting us know we'd hit the newsstands - I'd have cried real tears if I'd missed it (or cursed...sometimes I curse)!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monitors - who needs 'em?!

Just when you think you're gettin' all fancy pants with endorsements and stuff, you get knocked down a your own gear!

We had our monthly gig at Little Woodrow's in Bee Cave this past weekend, and in most regards, it was a good show. We were there early and had a relaxed, easy setup. It was hot, but the sun dropped behind the trees before we hit the stage, and there was a nice breeze, so the temperature was comfortable by go time. We had a good crowd with most of the tables full, and we were all healthy and ready to rock, which we did.

Unfortunately, though, in the second set, the "rock" part of things got a little difficult for Johnny.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Another milestone moment in the lives of The Staylyns - we got our first endorsement this week!

We are now officially endorsed by Clayton, Inc.:
Sweet logo, right?

Clayton makes really cool custom picks. Custom picks have been a staple of The Staylyns gear since Johnny first launched the band under his name as Johnny Austin, so it's a great fit. The endorsement gives us the opportunity to promote gear that we use and believe in and to get a discount on that gear for singing its praises to our fans. Everybody wins!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Someone hates our phones

We almost had another phone casualty right before our gig at Junior's on Friday night. This time it was my phone, and again it was a near drowning. It involved this guy:

I won't talk about what I had to do to rescue said phone, but let's just say I didn't have time think about it - I just had to act. And Junior's needs to do a better job keeping their soap dispenser stocked. I'd also suggest keeping some hand/arm sanitizer handy.

After the immediate rescue, I pulled the phone apart, dried everything with paper towels, then stashed it in pieces and open in my purse. As soon as we got home, I put it in rice, and by Saturday evening, it was operational, though with an abstract kind of screen.

By Sunday morning, the screen looked normal again, but the touch isn't quite as sensitive as usual. We'll see if that resolves itself, but I'm just happy I'm all back and tethered again to the mobile Interwebs. I was pretty sure all day Saturday that people were trying to call me and thought I was ignoring them. "No, I'm not answering your calls. You know what you did!"

Hopefully this is the end of our phone drama for a while. I don't know why God hates our phones, but if he wants us to start using iPads or something, all he has to do is give us free ones.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Exposure is a good thing

Boy, when things start improving, they really improve! When I last left you, Johnny was on the mend and we'd had a lovely lakeside gig to get things moving in the right direction again. In the week since then, things have only gotten better!

On Tuesday, July 24, we were notified by Reverbnation (see my Reverbnation review if you're not sure who/what that is) that The Staylyns would be one the site's 10 featured bands on their home page for the following week - EXCITING!! In case you're not sure what the big deal is, RN has nearly 2.5 million artists, and they get 25 million visitors per month, so to be selected among all of those artists for that kind of exposure is just phenomenal. We're so very grateful! Here's a photo of us in the primo spot on their home page:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Back on track

It appears our luck is finally back on the upswing. Johnny's ankle is improving; he has replaced his old, dead phone with a long-desired iPhone; and we had two really great shows this past weekend.

The first of the two shows was a Friday afternoon electric bike rock n' roll tour. I think there may be a song in that name. It sounds kind of Beatles-esque, circa 1967. But I digress. The gyst of the gig is that Joe and Johnny took a group of five guys on a tour of the city, sightseeing the city's iconic rock 'n roll sights (like the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue and Victory Grill), atop Pedego electric bikes from our most favoritist electric bike shop, Rocket Electrics.

After cruisin' the sights and, no doubt, charmin' the bejeezus out of their charges, the boys then entertained them with a short rooftop concert with a skyline view:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It started with rain

It's been a helluva week. Weather calamity. Injury. Even (dare I say it?)...death. Yeah, you read that right. Somethin' died. So, don't even think your week has been bad. Just read about ours, tell us what troopers we are for soldiering on, then go buy our CD or something.

It started on Saturday. We were scheduled to play at Little Woodrow's in Bee Cave. On our way out to the venue, we saw a few clouds here and there. They seemed to be dropping some rain in the distance, but the weather reports said it would all fade out by around 8:30pm. We were set to play at 9:00, so that should have been manageable.

We got completely set up. All that was left was a sound check. And then I looked up, and saw this:

Okay, that's not actually what I saw - I didn't have time to snap a picture of the storm that was descending on us at that moment. So that photo is just a really cool photo of a supercell. But the storm that swept over us had the same basic elements: rain, wind, clouds. And when I say I didn't have time to take a photo, I'm not kidding. I saw the cloud approaching, pointed it out to Johnny, and we immediately started putting out tarps next to all of our gear.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back in the saddle

We played our monthly gig at Junior's Icehouse last night, and it was SO fun! It wasn't just that we had a good crowd (we did), or that the show itself went well (it did), or even that it was National Fried Chicken Day (it was - I had some fried chicken quesadillas to celebrate); it was also just that fact that we were back on stage after a week and a half.

It wasn't a planned break - it's just how our gig schedule worked out, but it was a nice break, and it was even nicer to get back to it last night. It's amazing how when you start playing every week, sometimes several times, taking just a week and a half off can feel like an eternity. Getting back to work last night at Junior's felt great!

It's good to take breaks, since life has a way of piling up on you when you're in constant motion. Sometimes you need to stop, get off the hamster wheel and take care of "stuff." I doubled-up on my break by also taking some vacation time from my day job, and I got a lot of "stuff" done. It felt great!

And a week and a half or so is a good period of time for a gig break, because it's enough time to let you stop and breathe, but not so much time that you get rusty.

It probably sounds crazy that you get rusty after just a few weeks of not playing, but it happens fast. You suddenly can't remember how a song starts, or you get to the second verse of a song, and you start singing the first verse again. You know these songs, and it actually surprises you when everything doesn't just come by rote.

But you get warmed up and get going and everything is fine, as long as you shake off that initial feeling of "What just happened?" when the brain fart catches you off-guard. You can't let it get to you or your whole show will be blown.

I've heard that golf is the same way - that you have to do it all the time to stay sharp. I don't play golf, so I can't vouch for that, but that's the word on the street. The homies say it all the time: "Golf, man. You gotta stay on top of that shit." So, I guess I'm saying that playing music is not like riding bike, which apparently you never forget, and it is like playing golf...which honestly sounds nothing like playing music, so I don't know what you guys are talking about with this golf thing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Walls are important

Lesson learned at Monday night's gig: walls are important.

This week, instead of a weekend gig, we got crazy with a Monday night gig at a place called Billy's Icehouse in New Braunfels, TX. I admit, I didn't know anything about Billy's, but after we booked the gig, I found out from several people that Billy's is a bit of a legend in those parts. I wasn't sure about playing late on a Monday, but I liked the idea of playing some place legendary, so I got on board.

When we showed up at our gig, though, I discovered that this legendary place was missing two things that I find vitally important for a Central Texas venue in June when temperatures in the triple digits (the high on Monday was 106): air conditioning and walls on two sides to hold in said a/c.

Me, upon arrival at Billy's: Uh...where's the inside?

Johnny: This is it. There's not really an inside. 

Me: Escue me?


Now, outdoor venues (or in this case, partially outdoor) are not at all unusual in Texas, and we play them regularly. But it really helps a person to dress appropriately if you KNOW you're essentially playing outdoors in killer heat. I can also mentally prepare if I know in advance.

But I didn't know. So, I did what any self-respecting woman in jeans with her hair down would have done in similar circumstances. I hung out in the bathroom, which for some reason WAS air conditioned, until it was time to go on.

I gotta start bringing a full slate of emergency outfits for any situation: ripped pants, too cold, too hot, shirt scratching me, etc. Is this why music stars really have big tour buses - for the closet space?

Monday, June 18, 2012

There's no place like home

This weekend we played a gig at a lovely lakeside resort in North Texas. It was about a three-hour drive from Austin if you're not in a hurry, which we try not to be, and the distance brought up an interesting point for a band that travels outside of their home city.

First, let me say that we really enjoyed the gig. Our stage was a deck overlooking the lake, which is a pretty sweet office, and the weather was great (a little too windy, but I'll tackle wind and its annoying properties another time). We had a nice, appreciative crowd, and the staff was very friendly and took good care of us. 

The interesting point that came up was the question of when you stay overnight at an out-of-town gig and when you drive back home immediately afterward.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Runnin' on ROT Rally fumes

We had a huge weekend this past weekend - so huge that it's taken me a couple of days to recuperate enough to write about it. I could've tried yesterday, but it would've been incoherent, and I hate to waste server space on rambling nonsense. I leave that to Kanye West. ("OH! Whaaaat? She did not just dis another artist!" Uh, have you heard what comes out of that man's mouth?)

We had ourselves what I like to call a bit of a Rock n' Roll Marathon this weekend. We worked almost non-stop from 5:30pm on Friday until 1 a.m on Sunday. I think there was a five-hour catnap in there Saturday morning, but that was about it. Luckily, I had taken Friday off from my office job, so I had a chance to rest up before we began this little gauntlet. But here's the rundown:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Live Music Fan 101

We had a fantastic CD release show last night, and I'd like to start this post by thanking everyone who came, who rocked and who bought our EP. In fact, a big thank you to everyone has bought "Sex & Coffee" - we're getting some great feedback! (If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can remedy that at CD Baby, iTunes or our website,

Speaking of feedback, it came to my attention last night that not every live music fan knows the proper etiquette for addressing members of a band when at a show. So, as a public service, I thought I'd offer some pointers. This could be the first in a series, but we'll see what circumstances dictate.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My clothes hate me

Why does this keep happening? Once again, my clothes threatened to derail a show for me.

As you may remember, a few weeks ago, a pair of pants I never did anything to almost committed suicide at a show, presumably for the sole purpose of embarrassing me. I chalked it up to the pants being too old for my rock n' roll lifestyle.

But last night, a brand new shirt attacked me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review of Reverbnation

One of the things that bands have to do in the 21st century if they want to actually be working bands is maintain an online presence. Label bands have someone to manage all that for them, but those of us responsible for driving our own bus (or van or hatchback), have to tackle the Interwebs ourselves.

Our band has chosen a few different platforms to spin our web from the tons that are out there. This blog is hosted on Blogger, and we have a Facebook page, but the real anchor for our virtual presence is Reverbnation. We’ve been on the site for a while now, so I thought I would post a review of our experience so far.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Did my driveway sign a release?

One thing I've learned since moving from the suburbs into the city a few years ago is that our neighborhood in the city is way more interesting. Don't believe what you see on Desperate Housewives - suburbia just can't match the random stuff that happens when you live in the city.

Take Wednesday for example. We had just finished rehearsal at our house and were hanging out in the front yard with Joe. As we talked a couple of girls passed by on foot. We didn't recognize them, and they seemed a little sketchy and like they were moving kind of fast, maybe a little nervous. So, Johnny said hello, which seemed to throw them. As I said: nervous.

They walked past us, then stopped two houses down and just seemed to hang out in the street. Um...okay. After a few minutes, we started to go in the house, and Joe got in his car to leave, and they ran up to Joe's car.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

First EP sale!

The ink is barely dry on our new EPs, and we have our first sale! I know what you're thinking - we said the release is June 1, so how is it possible we already have a sale? Well, we got the hard copies, the actual CDs, in yesterday afternoon before our gig at Stompin Grounds Coffeehouse and Cocktail Lounge, so we took some with us, and it just so happened that super fans Chris and Laura Irwin were there so...they got the first copy!

Super Fans Chris and Laura Irwin with Copy #1 of Sex & Coffee!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pants of betrayal

We had two gigs this weekend - our monthly gig at Junior's Grill and Icehouse in Round Rock, and a Cinco de Mayo gig at Pluckers Wing Bar in Killeen. Now, you might think that the more interesting gig of the two would be Pluckers since it was a holiday gig and it was in a town we don't play very often.

It's fun to play new venues, and Pluckers had a nice stage. We made some new fans (Bonnie, the Realtor, you have the best smile and energy we've seen in a long time!), we ate some great food, and we liked our time slot of 2-6pm. Afternoons can be rough since people aren't always in a rock n' roll mood at 2pm, but it worked for us, because we didn't have to be up early, and we could be home at a decent hour, despite the 1.5 hour drive to Killeen, which was nice since we'd played the night before.

However, all that said, Pluckers was not as interesting to me as Junior's the night before. Because at Pluckers, I was fairly certain that my butt was going to stay firmly tucked away inside my pants. I could not say the same thing at Junior's.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I feel the need...the need for speed!

I kinda feel like this lately:

(image property of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Things are busy and moving fast, but ohhhhh, I'm havin' fun! (Also, I think protective headgear is very important.)

We've been gigging a lot, we've all been working alot at our various jobs, AND we've been recording a new EP that we're very excited about. I've posted a lot about our recent gigs, and I've whined about my work hours, but I haven't said much about the EP.

I haven't intentionally been mum about it - it's just been a very long process, and I didn't think to say much about it as we've gotten into the final stages of putting it together. But we're almost there, and we passed a big milestone this week, so I thought I'd give you, loyal readers, the scoop. (Oh, and if you read my last post, or you follow us on Facebook and have already seen the pictures of our parade gig, and you were expecting to read about that, I'll write about that next. See? So much goin' on, man!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just put that plane anywhere.

Well, the week got away from me, and I didn't get a chance to tell you about our other gig last weekend. I was pretty tired when we played, so you might have thought that I actually didn't remember it, but I DO! And it was cool.

We played a private party in Georgetown in an aircraft hangar home neighborhood. I know - what? It's a residential neighborhood where each home has its own private aircraft hangar. You read that right. Each homeowner owns his/her own plane, and they park it at their house! I didn't even know such neighborhoods existed! But when I pulled up to what looked like a normal house, there it was - a little plane parked in the back yard like that's totally normal.

Monday, April 23, 2012


So, we've covered what I was doing last Friday, but where were the boys, you ask? Well, they were doing THIS:

Yes, they rocked it duo-style at the Clusterfest music festival at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Lucky dogs!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the other side

I'm here. I made it. I survived my work conference, though, it was getting dicey toward the end. I worked almost 55 hours between Wednesday and Saturday. Then I went and played a three-hour gig on Saturday night.

Die. Hard.

The conference: long hours, aching feet, earphones that didn't fit right on a walkie-talkie that never delivered good news, short tempers, the lovely San Antonio Riverwalk, headphones that didn't fit right in the production booth for two large events featuring people with no regard for scripts or clocks, some good food enjoyed in a very cool restaurant, a lot of mediocre food wolfed down in a hurry between events or while doing other things, a lot of money thrown around like rice at a wedding but none thrown at me, someone from high school recognizing me while I worked a chaotic raffle sale in an industry expo, some great people, some not great people, a photo with David Robinson, and a predicted but nonetheless vile meltdown (not mine).

There's more I could say, but you get the idea. A couple of high points and a lot of agony. So, rather than stay focused on it, let's stamp that bitch "Done!" and turn our attention back to things that are awesome - the BAND. I'll write about what The Staylyns have been doing in the next post...after I get some more sleep!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hell Week

My Hell Week has begun. It actually began this Saturday, when I had to work a full day to get ready for my company's annual conference, which starts on Wednesday and lasts until early afternoon on Saturday. But since technically that was last week, I'll say that Hell Week began today.

I call it that because Wednesday-Friday will be 14-16 hour days each, much of that on my feet. Most hotels and convention centers are freezing, so that contributes to the discomfort, and there are certain events that resemble controlled chaos. Add some pretty nasty personalities to the unavoidable exhaustion, and you have...Hell.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Steel thumbs and a day job

I had my follow-up appointment today for The Thumb. The news was good - increased flexibility and strength. So, I'm well on my way to have Manos de Acero. That's "Hands of Steel" for those of you who don't speak Spanish...go ahead and say it. It's fun. Spanish feels good when you speak it.

In other band news, there's not a lot of band news this week. We are blissfully off this weekend. And I say that not because I don't love to play, because I DO, and we did have a really great gig this past Friday at Junior's Grill and Icehouse in Round Rock (heretofore to be referred to simply as "Junior's" - you'll be in the know when I say that now), but because my day job is interfering this week and next with my music-making.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm not *that* rock n roll

I like to think I'm pretty rock 'n roll. After all, I'm in a rock 'n roll band. I've got the bass guitar, the rebel hair, the special section of my closet devoted to "show clothes." That last one may be more "woman" than "rock n roller," but ask any woman in a band, and she's got that section of her closet, so I'm counting it. I don't have tattoos or a drug habit, so I take my rocker cred where I can find it.

But tonight, on a walk through the neighborhood with Johnny, I found out I'm actually pretty tame.

Johnny and I go on walks through the hood pretty often. We know many of our neighbors, and I know where all the friendly cats are that will let me pet them. But we usually don't see anything too exciting. Except for tonight.

As we were finishing up our route, coming up the street behind ours, we came upon a truck. Across the street from the truck was a house where someone was working in their side/back yard. The far side door of the truck was open, meaning the dome light in the cab was on. I saw a little bit of movement by the open door and thought maybe the truck belonged to someone working in that yard, and they were getting a tool or something out of the cab.

As we passed by the driver's side door, and I glanced to my right, and I saw...well, I did not see someone grabbing a tool...or maybe I did. Because what I saw was a lot of white skin (too much really - if you're going to do that, work out or something), possibly some underwear, and a lot of writhing around. I also heard something - a woman making noises like something felt really good and by God she wanted the strangers walking past the truck to KNOW it!

I snapped my head to the left and looked at Johnny, who never broke stride, and asked, "Are they seriously having sex in there?"

Johnny: "Yup."

Me: "On a neighborhood street,with the door open and the dome light on?"

Johnny: "Yup."

Me: "Okaaaaay." (pause) "Really? With people right there working?" I stole a quick glance back, but it was too quick, and I really couldn't see anything without looking longer - a wasted effort, and considering they were in public, I really had every right to make a longer inspection of the situation to make sure I wasn't being punked or something. I regret not being more bold, in light of how bold they were being. It probably would've added to their experience, and I'd have more detail for you, my loyal readers. So, in retrospect, it would have been a public service.

Johnny: "I tried not to get too good of a look, but yes, really."

I pondered this the rest of the walk home and realized that what with my current lack of public sex AND vehicle sex, much less both at the same time, I may not be as rock 'n roll as I think.

Oh sure - I also didn't go to jail tonight and possibly ruin my life by being labeled a sex offender (yes, that can happen). But that probably also detracts from my rocker cred. I guess I'll just have to live with that...and take pictures from now on when I see stuff like that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Unplugged at The Cove...mostly

This past weekend was a quiet one in terms of gigging, but that was good for two reasons. First, we had three gigs the previous week: the two I previously blogged about and an acoustic gig at The Cove at Southwestern University during the week. Here are some shots from that show (photo credit: Ashley Kraft):

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Capping" off a great weekend

So, my last post told you about our Friday, March 23 Sixth Street gig. Our other gig from this past weekend was playing the Capitol 10k. The only photo of us playing this gig that I managed to come up with is this one:

Since there are no runners in this photo, you will just have to trust me that it is, in fact, from the Cap 10 and not, say, just us set up in a parking lot somewhere for a photo op.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brain farts and distractions

This weekend has been all about band action, which always makes for a nice weekend. We played a gig on Friday night, went to a friend's gig on Saturday night, then played another gig on Sunday morning. I still have no working camera, so I couldn't take any pics at any of these, but I think I may be able to find some photos I can share for the Sunday gig, given a day or two. So for now, I'll recap the Friday gig and follow-up with another post later about Sunday.

SO! Friday night. We started the weekend by playing Latitude 30 in the 6th Street district on Friday night, which was mostly good, but had a few challenges. The good part is that we really like that venue. The owner and staff are great, they have a nice stage, and though shows can start a bit slow, they always end big, since 6th Street really tends to pick up after 11:00 pm. So, definitely a gig we like.

Also, we had several people come out for us, including an old friend of Johnny's who happened to be in town from Utah, Katy, and a friend of hers, who was exploring the Lone Star State with her, Amy. Katy is famous with her own blog and all, It's My Life, so I'm givin' her a public shout out. Thanks for coming, Katy and Amy! It's always fun to play to friendly and familiar faces.

The challenges came in the form of distraction and your garden variety brain farts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who needs a thumb?

Answer: I do.

If you play an instrument, you probably pay a bit more attention to your hands than most people. For instance, a few years ago, a friend of ours who shall remain nameless (TONY!) decided to have us all play paintball for his birthday. If you've never played paintball, let me educate you: it hurrrrrts!!

Those little balls of paint that look all cheerful and benign when they're splattered across your jeans are, in fact, tiny, colorful, bright bombs of piercing pain. When they smack into your head at bullet speed, it feels neither cheerful nor benign. I've seen bruises on my friends that I can't unsee thanks to paintball. I may have been a little bit traumatized.

Not Johnny, though. He was a warrior! He kept playing long after I gave up, and he even started playing with some of the crazy paintball punks who bring their own gear. ... Until he took one in the hand. And that was it for paintball. He got a zinger to the hand and realized what a terrible idea paintball is for a guitar player. And we haven't played since.

As a musician, whenever something affects your hands, the first thing you think about is how it will affect your playing. So, it should be no surprise that when my right thumb recently started popping loudly and painfully and then started hurting when I did simple things like use a pen, all I could think was, "That's my picking hand. Am I going to start having trouble playing bass?"

I probably should have worried about more mundane things, like - oh, I don't know, writing! But I couldn't help it. All I could think was how sad I'd be if I couldn't play bass anymore. I really started to worry after it didn't just go away on its own (a time-tested medical strategy often employed by men).

Well, worry is a pointless emotion (one I spend way too much time indulging), so instead of sitting around wondering what might be wrong (Is it arthritis? Carpal tunnel? Will I have to stop playing?), I went to a hand specialist today.

Diagnosis: I have what's called a "trigger finger." Is that the coolest diagnosis you've ever heard? Hell yeah, bitches - I have a trigger finger! Don't make me pull it!

Seriously, if I had let it go too long, it could have degenerated into pretty painful ailment, necessitating surgery at some point. But because I got a jump on it, I should be able to manage it with a little occupational therapy and some simple treatments, like icing it when it gets inflamed from overuse. I can handle that.

So, worry short-circuited, and I live to play another day! Makes me want to go play right now.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seeing red - Fiesta Red, that is!

Well, our SXSW event went swimmingly! (Why is swimming synonymous with "great"? I mean, swimming can be pretty great if it's hot outside and the water temperature is just right, but what if you can't swim? Or the water is ridiculously cold or something? In that case to say something went "swimmingly" would mean it went pretty badly. But I digress.

We had been a little concerned about the weather early in the day, but the clouds held for us - we got lucky with no rain and mild temperatures. That allowed everyone to focus on the real point of the event: the music.

We experienced the Fiesta Red Indie Fiesta from the other side of the stage - off-stage, behind the sound board instead of on stage - and it was awesome in every way, except my camera. My camera crapped out on me after just one band. We'll have to figure out if we can fix it, or if it's time to move on to a new camera, because we do use it for the band. But I did get a few pix of the festival before it died. Here is the view of the venue from the stage:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SXSW from a local band's perspective

It begins. Today marks the beginning of the music portion of SXSW, which for some of us local bands is an event that spawns mixed emotions.

For those of you not "in the know," SXSW is a 10-day festival hosted every March in the lovely city of Austin that showcases stuff related to gaming/technology, film and music. Between official and unofficial SX events, it brings a couple hundred thousand folks to our little burg.

In 2011, the official numbers were: almost 67,000 attendees for the film festival, 65,000 for the trade show, more than 19,000 for the interactive conference, and they didn't even estimate a total for how many people came for the music portion except to say that 45,000 attended the free shows at Auditorium Shores. There were almost 2,100 bands and 92 stages for the official venues. So, maybe double that to incorporate all the unofficial shows.

That sounds amazing, right? So much creativity and so many artists right here for your listening/watching/playing pleasure! As an attendee, it is a staggering amount of entertainment - even if you haven't bought a badge to get in to the official events (which you may not be able to get into even WITH a badge if a venue hits capacity). As a participant, the idea is to be discovered. A distributor picks up your film. Your technology is launched. Your band is given a record deal. Bam! Your future is made.

Maybe. Or not.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

When momma ain't happy...

...ain't nobody happy. No, we're not talking about me. We're talking about Mother Nature.

One of the things any band deals with, big or small, is the unpredictability of weather. All bands play outdoor gigs - from a private party in a backyard to an outdoor stadium. And the thing that sucks about outdoor gigs is the weather.

Our band has been together for nearly four years, and in that time, we've played in rain, cold and heat. We've dealt with our equipment starting to short out in misty rain. We've played gigs where my fingers were so cold, I could hardly play. And I can't even count the number of times we've played in heat so bad that my makeup was melted off before we ever started, and I had to wipe the sweat off my arm between every song so it would stop slipping off my bass. We played a couple of summers ago in a parking lot where the temperature registered a balmy 108 degrees. For realz. I literally almost passed out.

So, when we booked a gig playing on the Kemah Boardwalk for this weekend, we knew there was a chance that weather could be a factor, since it's an outdoor stage, but we've been wanting to play there for two years, so we were really excited about landing the gig. On top of it being a great venue, this weekend is the first weekend of Spring Break AND the venue is close to where some of my family lives, so we had every reason to expect a big crowd with some friendly faces in it. And a nice payday. Woo-hoo all around!

Imagine our distress as the forecasts throughout the week began showing decreasing temperatures and increasing chances of thunderstorms precisely when we were supposed to be on stage.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who's playing tonight?

So, chances are if you're reading this inaugural post, you already know who we are, because we're probably related to you and we sent you the link and made you read it. But on the off chance that you are what's called a "fan" or a "random reader," let me introduce us (the band this blog is about) and myself (the writer of this blog).

"We" are The Staylyns. We are a three-piece rock band based in Austin, Texas. We're one of thousands of bands - maybe in this city alone - who love to play music and do it publicly. We are fortunate enough to do it professionally, though I should probably define "professionally." That means we usually get paid when we play. It doesn't mean we're living on our earnings (yet), but we're not just out there busking, either. We haven't quit our day jobs (yet), but it's more than just a hobby to us. We're trying to "make it" whatever that ends up meaning to us!

Oh, and we write original music, so while we do play a mix of covers and originals at our shows, we're not a cover band, per se. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

I'm Suzy. I play bass in the band and write when I can - this blog, novels, sarcastic Facebook posts, etc. My partners in crime are Johnny (our guitarist, my husband, and the veteran rocker of this band venture) and Joey (our awesome drummer and the one with the best hair without trying). We all sing, we all play our instruments, and we all write songs. I know - crazy, right?! That's just how we roll.

Well, that's who we are! We're "the band" when you go in a club and there's a sign outside that simply says, "Live Music Tonight!"

"So, what's this blog about?" you may be asking. Well, here's what it's not about. We're not Pearl Jam or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and we're definitely not Taylor Swift, so this blog is not about living the millionnaire rocker lifestyle, a quest for Grammy gold or facing down drug addictions while trying to get through a stadium tour or living in a van. There are tons of books out there with those plotlines if that's what you're looking for.

This blog is about our experiences as a local band playing gigs, producing our own CDs, operating our own business and living for those moments when someone in the crowd sings one of our songs back to us. This is our story of what it's like in the trenches - the ups, the downs, and the "What just happened?" moments. If you've ever wondered what it's like when a band leaves the garage and starts playing for 10 percent of the bar, this is it!