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  May 12th, 2004 - Cowbop dodges storms and discovers Edmond, OK

Got up early, headed back to retrieve our stuff before the bugs made off with it. Of course all was cool, but I'll tell you, on second look I relaized we'd have put all our clothes ON just to get in bed in that joint. It was a narrow escape I'd say. Day started off with a bang: got word that Neil Tesser (one of the premier jazz writers and radio personalities in the country, Chicago-based) made Cow Bop the CD of the week on his radio program. If you don't believe me you can check him out on the web:, and he's also helping out JazzMasters too by promoting our unusual odyssey. Too cool, thanks Neil. Gotta get you some cowboy boots next.

I don't know if I've mentioned Ellen (from Magellan) to you all, she's our navigator. She's a GPS unit that plugs into the lighter and hangs off the air vent and tells me every move to make...sorta like we're married, sorry Pammy. She is unflappable (Ellen, actually Pammy too). If I do something wrong or ignore her, Ellen never gets flustered, she just says, "recalculating route" which of course means: I meant your OTHER left...dummy! Anyway, Ellen was donated by the Thales Co., and her wisdom has been indispensable (she knows everything, she even told us we'd better get around to laundry soon, but that's another thing) Half the places we have gone to, we'd never have found. We went to the Tulsa distribution center for Thales and played an impromptu conceert for everyone there. They were the nicest folks, really, they weren't the least bit perturbed we'd interrupted their work. They gave Mike a baritone cardboard box to play on, it had some serious tone. They also turned us on to Tally's, the quintessential route 66 road diner, and said we could probably trade them a set for lunch, and you know what, they were right. Met a guy there who wanted to sell us some pictures, and I guess I've led a jaded life--don't want to tell you what I was thinking at that moment--but, I didn't think they'd be Bob Wills pix. This area is Bob Wills (BW) country and considering that they are being right hospitable to an alien group from Cow-lifornia. We played some requests, ended with Route 66 and hubbed (that's the BW word for traveling down the road in search of gigs) towards Edmond, where our next playing opportunity awaited.

We rolled in and found the UCO (University of Central Oklahoma) Jazz Lab (or rather, Ellen did), it's great little New Orleans style two-story room. We set up, Mike finally got a real set of drums, he's been playing on cardboard boxes mostly, occasional hits with his homemade set, which consists of one of those black fiberboard cases, that holds all his stuff: a snare drum, hi-hat and drum stool. He turns the case over and uses it for a bass drum with the pedal attached via a door hinge pinned on with wing nuts. Takes one to know one I figure. I got an old Feder amp, ah, things were looking up even if the crowd was a tad thin. We still made some dough, and actually, while we are facing a long stretch without anything set up (what we signed up for in the first place), we have yet another full tank and more than we started with. (Mom, you can hold off sending the dough for now, but stay in touch...just jokin...sort of)

The gig was fun, a house full of guitar players so I hogged the evening, played some trio and solo and duo w/Pammy and of course a medley of Cow Bop's Greatest Hit. Brian Gorrell (he runs the program there at OCU sat in on tenor) played great and I got a picture with the Oklahoma City guitar cartel. Oklahoma has some serious guitar heritage: Charlie Christian and Barney Kessel to name a couple. Gotta mention right now that we lost Barney last week. He was not only a great inspiration and mentor for me but he was a great man and I am honored to have been a friend of his. Love to Phyllis, I know the past years have been tough for you.

I have been watching the weather channel whenever I can, it seems as though we have danced through calm corridors between storms the whole week. Well, if they are right--and it sure seems like it now, a hot wind is whipping, the trees are bent over--a whopper is coming down on us. We might take the day off tomorrow to recharge our batteries and see the sights around here. Don't really want to travel down the road in a squall, makes playing on the street kind of tough, not to mention the numerous loads and unloads during the day. Speaking of loads, doing laundry as I write...halleleujah! If you aren't a road rat you couldn't possibly understand the elation assoociated with this seemingly menial domestic endeavor. Multiply it by four people, 90 degree days and 80% humidity and you might get the idea, then again, you might not.

From OK City we make the big turn west, we are still talking to each other, can laugh, and Cozy Dog is still hungry. That and clean underwaer will get you anything.

Quote of the day: "Nice glasses Mike, (see picture) do they make those for men?"

Click here to check out pictures from May 12th