Thursday, September 30, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 9

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 9, Dispatch 1 - When we pulled into Fitzgerald's yesterday, I was feeling great & in a great mood. Fitzgerald's is more a pub than what I'd call a "bar", and everybody involved there is friendly and hospitable. I was glad to be back in Chicago and was excited to catch up with an old friend I hadn't seen in years. Turns out that Dennis knows him too - he used to give him guitar lessons! (Who hasn't Dennis given guitar lessons to?)

Rhoades also had some friends come out to the show early and we arrived late enough in the evening that after a quick setup and soundcheck, we were getting hungry. Dennis, myself, Rhoades, and our entourage of Chicago friends exited the venue and walked nearby to enjoy some Chinese food for dinnner and lots of great conversation.

I was glad we had enough time to eat (withOUT rushing!) and once we had finished dining, we arrived back at Fitzgerald's with plenty of time to catch the Hoyle Bros. The Hoyle Bros. are a Chicago band playing Texas Honky-Tonk and they are really great! All the players are very good at their instruments and all of them are crazy super cool. It's always good to see them in either Chicago or in Texas, and it's always fun to hear their set.

Once they were finished, we tore into our set and KILLED for almost 90 minutes. Over the course of playing every night for two weeks, I find myself in great drumming condition and I'm super relaxed onstage behind my kit and we're 3/4 of the way through the set before I realize it. Some nights 90 minutes can seem like an eternity. Other nights (like the nights on this run), 90 minutes is gone before I know it. We finished out our night with an encore of a couple of songs and then made our way into the crowd to visit and cool off. Don't know what it is about all this cool weather up here. In Texas, we all open our windows and are thankful for some respite from the heat of the long summer months. Up here, everybody's already in windbreakers and all the windows are closed which makes for some stuffy rooms. Anticipation of the long winter months to come perhaps? Once we were torn down and loaded up, we said our goodbyes and Bill Fitzgerald pulled me aside to tell me how much he enjoyed our set and my drumming. He's been there for 30 years and he's seen a lot, so his kind words were extremely appreciated and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We made our way to our hotel and after dropping off our belongings, we ventured out into the cool Chicago night air for a nightcap and hopefully more laughs. If there is anything we do well, it's make music and make each other laugh. There's always somebody saying or doing something silly that has all of us busting our sides. Last night was no different.

We found a little pizza joint/bowling alley still open and we arrived just in time to bear witness to a good old fashioned bar room brawl. Some dude said something to somebody and next thing we knew, KA-POW! Sucker punch! Despite the vulgar expletives and the blood on the floor, the bouncers were successfully able to contain and remove the parties involved and it was back to fun and games for everybody. We stayed out til stoopid o'clock (again) and I was glad to get back to our room.

Today's skies are clear and the breeze is cool and the temperature is perfect. I hope this weather follows us home to Texas upon our return. Summer's fun, but I'm ready for the seasonal change that the comes with the annual planetary trajectory around our star. Tonight we're playing the Gramophone in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to being back there too. Good times. Have a great day out there everybody and I'll report from there soon.

- Doddsy

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 8

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 8, Dispatch 1 - It's strange to me that I'm closer here to our suitemates above our northern national border than I am to our friends below the border to our south when I'm home. We're moving steadily across Wisconsin making a beeline for Chicago. Last night at Lee's Liquor Lounge was a good time catching up with fans who caught us the last time around as well as a nice evening visiting with new fans who had yet to hear us spread the gospel of Two Tons. The stage there is kind of small but the room sounds great and Joe, the house sound engineer (and all around nice guy), always does such a fantastic job! I had an enjoyable time talking with the drummer from the opening band and then we were headed out.

It seems I'm always running. I'm always running from one place to the next, in a rush to make it here or there on time or just a few minutes behind schedule. Because we had in excess of 7 hours to drive from Minneapolis to Chicago and we always stay up all night anyway, we decided to drive part of the way after our show last night. As luck would have it, after two relatively easy days of travel, I was employed by my wife to assist in the 5th grade Student Council campaign my son Casey is currently in the middle of. Elementary school politics can be cut-throat, so it was necessary to pull out all the stops to help him even while I'm away. After plowing through a good portion of the night, we arrived at our stop and once we checked in (around 2:30 or 3:00am), I set to work on Dennis's laptop doing my best to help create campaign propaganda that will hopefully help "Rock the Vote" on Friday morning in my son's favor.

For those who don't know, I'm also an I.T. guy. I'm kind of a tech nerd and thus, I had one of my older boys copy a photo editing program into an image that could be uploaded to a server online that I could then log on with Dennis laptop and download from the server and install so as to create said propaganda. (Talk about pulling some high tech magic outta my... hat...) I kicked off the download before crawling into bed for a few hours and awoke this morning bleary-eyed and groggy, but ready to tackle the task at hand.

Back to the rushing... We rushed outta the lounge, rushed down the road, rushed into bed, rushed to get up, rushed to get Casey's project done and rushed to get a shower in and now we're rushing to Chicago. I was born almost a month after my mother's original due date and I've never caught up - I've been late ever since. Anyhow, while the world slept last night, I was Karl Rove creating the next great political campaign strategy. Meanwhile, my wife is at home with a nest full of hatchlings. She's bravely facing each new day with the resolve of a general hell-bent on conquering the day's adversaries at hand while I'm out here on walkabout until my arrival back home on Sunday night. She works harder than I do but doesn't get paid to do her job. So here's to you, Crystal Dodds, you're a fantastic mommy, your hard work is not in vain and I'll make it up to you when I get back home!

That's it for now, kids. I'm looking forward to Fitzgerald's tonight in Chicago and catching up with an old friend I haven't seen in years, a friend who followed the first part of my career in my teens. Only 5 more hours in our time machine...

- SuperDodds

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 7

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 7, Dispatch 1 - My last correspondence found me nearing my destination in Des Moines last night only to find that upon arriving around 7:30 or so, we wouldn't play until after 11:00 and had several hours to kill before loading into the venue. Our last stay in Des Moines in March of this year we discovered Kung Fu Tap & Taco just by accident. As it turns out, this is the place to be.

We were walking around late and looking for food when we happened into the joint and we met and befriended Brad "Fatty" Smith. With almost 4 hours on our hands, I grabbed the wheel and piloted our fearless time machine over to Kung Fu. Fatty was there playing host to what seemed like a whole crew of outcast pirates and was excited to see us darken his door. After catching up a bit and enjoying a Fat Tire Ale and 5 crispy beef tacos, we headed over to Fort Des Moines Hotel to check in for the evening and powder our noses before tearing up and burning down the Vaudeville Mews. The hotel room looked just like I remembered it (save for the lack of toilet paper all over the floor - Dennis and I threw a pretty good party for each other last time we were there...) and we caught a little of the Packers/Bears game before having to change clothes and split for the club. Rumble Seat Riot opened our show and they were all out and about hanging around outside as if waiting on us to arrive. We met another fellow whom Dennis was pretty sure was not pirate, but we never quite could tell what he was due to the lack of any intelligable words spoken from his gob. He made sounds, we just couldn't seem to make heads or tails of what he was muttering. After loading in and catching their opening set, we took the stage and gave a blistering performance to a crowd of really eager fans. While we don't draw the large numbers in the midwest the same way we do in Texas, the fans that come see us are no less zealous in their excitement and appreciation for what we do and it's always great to get to hang out with them. Our travels also keep us hip to the trendiest graffiti art across our nation. Both inside and out, Vaudeville Mews is easily as cool as any other place we play in regards to green room graffitti.

Because the set wasn't but an hour, we slayed the crowd with our most-rippenist material that really revv'ed everybody up. We dropped Kev off at the hoyel after departing from Vaudeville Mews and wound up again at Kung Fu for last call and then it was back to the fort for me while Dennis and Rhoades sought another late night adventure.

I awoke this morning to another beautiful autumn day and I'm currently awaiting our arrival in Minneapolis, MN where we'll play Lee's Liquor Lounge tonight. We had a blast there last time & I'm sure tonight will be no different. I just hope that at the end of all this morphing from one space in time to the next that I don't wind up looking like Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly". Somedays I feel like that though... Best wishes to all out there following this post and I hope your day is as beautiful as mine is here. More soon...

- Dodds

Monday, September 27, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 6

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 6, Dispatch 1 - Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana last night was just as much fun as I remembered it being and easily as much fun as I was hoping it would be! The stage is tiny but the volume level in that place is perfect in that I'm not slammin behind the kit but I don't have to hold back either. I can just play my instrument and enjoy myself. I feel like a kid practicing in my room again when we're there. Fun!

Our pal Corny Leonard came out for a visit too. I met Corny last March when he was there and informed me he was from El Paso. Then I was hoodwinked to find he was from El Paso, Illinois! The ol' bait-and-switch. Hardy-har-har. We've kept in touch though and it was good to catch up again with him.

It was also cool to see some of the same folks from our show with Big Sandy in Springfield drive over to catch us in Urbana at The Rose Bowl last night. Steve also went out of his way to provide us with more Shiner Bock and I was a very happy boy. While I didn't even drink any of it last night, when we show up and I see Shiner, it's a sure sign that somebody's reading their contracts and cares enough to make sure we're taken care of. (Steve sent it with us to enjoy for later!)

After hanging around just a little while and visiting with fans we loaded out our gear and began the trek across town to find Merry-Ann's Diner. Dennis were looking forward to getting reckless with the #5 on their menu -- The Diner Stack. This is a full plate of delicious goodness made by my new favoite late night cook, Juan. Hash browns topped with cheese, topped with two giant sausage patties, topped with biscuits, topped with two scrambled eggs and then smothered in gravy. In the words of the late Big Bopper, "Oh baby, that's what I like!"

I hadn't eaten but just a tiny bit at the Rhoades' home and was starving when got to Merry-Ann's. By the time we finally checked into the hotel, I was absolutely wiped out and so happy that nobody wanted to afterparty with us in Urbana. Urbana is a town we can rest and recharge our batteries. We were in our rooms before midnight and I was tucked into bed shortly thereafter. Dennis and I watched some classic boxing footage from the late 50's before I drifted off to sleep.

We didn't have to check out of our rooms til noon today and we didn't have to be on the road til 2:00, so after posing wuth the police bomb squad truck parked outside or hotel (what was that all about?) Dennis, Rhoades, and I found a nice Indian Buffet and ate til we felt like we were about to pop! The last several hours have been spent inside the belly of our time capsule. We crawl in here together and arrive somewhere else at a much later time. We're less than an hour from Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA and this is a dimly lit room that also has such great vibe and character. Rhoades played here several months back with The Bar Brawl 3 and the same band that opened for them is opening the show for us tonight. This will be fun and then afterwards, it's Kung Fu Tap & Taco for everybody! More on that tomorrow. Happy trails and safe travels. Much love from...

- The Doddster

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Location:Interstate 80,Grant,United States

TTS Fall Tour - Day 5

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 5, Dispatch 1 - A Constant Spring in Goshen, Indiana is not the biggest bar we frequent nor does it boast our biggest crowds, but Jason and his staff are always so friendly and everybody who comes out is always so excited to have us there and thus it's another one of my favorite venues to play!

I complain often about the many venues we play that don't have Shiner Bock beer and there are lots of them outside our great state of Texas. Jason remembered me whining last time and so he made sure that there was plenty of Shiner Bock for me - on tap no less. I'm not a big beer connoiseur. I started drinking Shiner Bock in college and that's what I like. Although Jason didn't see what was so great about, he did his best to make me happy and I sure appreciated that!

Last night was epic and once the show was over, the evening's crowd moved from the venue to the home of one of Rhoades's close friends - and we did too. It was a lot of fun meeting new people and it was great to catch up with some folks we met last March when we were here last. I saw the Sun come up again before my head met my pillow and it was only a few hours after that Rhoades was waking me up to meet with his folks for some breakfast. Phil and Cheryl Rhoades are two of the kindest, sweetest, most hospitable folks you'll ever meet and we owe them a big thanks for always welcoming us into their town and welcoming us into their home. It's a shame we don't see them more often but it's always nice to see them when we do. They help make an "away" game feel like we're playing at home -- thanks so much!

Today we're journeying to Urbana, IL to play another fantastic jukejoint called the Rose Bowl Tavern. Not a big room either, but this place has soul and I'm looking forward to being back there tonight. We also have a favorite place to eat in Urbana called Merry-Ann's Diner. They have a cook name Juan that is a breakfast-makin' machine! Can't wait til after the show to get some yum-yums! More soon...

- Dodds

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 4

TTS Midwest Tour

Day 4, Dispatch 1 - My eyes are heavy this morning as we roll out of Springfield, IL. Last night was such a great show! For all my whining about the Shreveport show - we more than made up for last night. The room was an old Masonic Temple and it was full! It sounded great and had such a great vibe and Caffeine Patrol (who opened the show) was a lot of fun and Big Sandy was fantastic! We met some really nice folks out there last night as well. Thanks to everybody who came out and made us feel so welcome.

Once we were loaded out, we made our way over to our hotel rooms and Dennis and I hung out with our new pal Joe Perez, Big Sandy's Fly-Rite drummer, til' around 3:00 am or so and after a phone call home, my head hit the pillow shortly before 4:00. There's nothing like the sound of an alarm clock in the morning to remind you that the best part of the day is over. The alarm this morning found my body paralyzed and it was all I could do to crawl out of my biscuit and make my way to the van. Tonight we're in Goshen, IN, where we'll all play Robin to Rhoades's Batman - and that's not a bad thing. He grew up in Goshen and there's really no need for him to attend any of his high school's reunions because every trip back home is a reunion. The bar we're playing tonight is not a big room and it will be PACKED because he is hailed as a sort of superhero in Goshen and I'm glad I'm on his team rather than playing against him!

The sun this morning is bright and there are plenty of miles ahead of us between our current coordinates and Goshen, Indiana. I'm gonna go catch some zzzzz's so I can be ready tonight for Rhoades-fest 2010. Catch you later...

- Dodds

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Location:Hurlbut,United States

Friday, September 24, 2010

TTS Fall Tour - Day 3

Two Tons Midwest Tour

Day 3, Dispatch 1 - Last night was supposed to be an "off" night in which I had planned to get some rest. With Beale Street just a few blocks away, I was hardpressed to stay up in the room alone while Dennis and Rhoades ventured out onto the streets looking for some excitement. After a laaaaate night with the guys that turned into a wrestling match between Rhoades and I that I provoked by rubbing my finger in the leftover oil of a can of smoked herring that Dennis brought along and then wiping it under/into Rhoades's nose causing him to nearly vomit in our room (that ended in a draw by the way), we got up this morning and groggily made our way back into our coach and got on our way to Springfield, IL. It's been an all day drive but we're now within an hour of our home for tonight and designated place of employment for this evening. We're playing with 'Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys' tonight. Should be fun -- those guys are great! Gonna lay down a bit before load-in/soundcheck so I'll check in again a little bit later. In the meantime, check out Big Sandy online at: and stay tuned...

- Dodds

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

TTS Fall Tour- Day 2

Two Tons Midwest Tour

Day 2, Dispatch 1 - The rooms at the El Dorado Casino are so nice. It was great to have a nice place to stay the first night out. After we got back to our room, I told Dennis that every night I room with him I feel like a kid spending the night at a friend's house. I don't have to try too hard to imagine that Mom and Dad have gone to bed and left us with snacks and goodies. And laughter. When are we not laughing about something? Or at each other? We finally got to bed between 2:30 and 3:00 and after a quick load out this morning, noontime finds us well on our way to Memphis. Looking forward to what we'll find in Memphis and more tomfoolery!

- Dodds

Two Tons Midwest Tour

Day 2, Dispatch 2 - So after arriving in Memphis and checking into our rooms, Dennis and I laid around a little while recharging our batteries before he and Rhoades headed down towards Beale Street. I hung around the room for another half hour to watch the season premier of "The Office" before I met them down there. After a few drinks and sitting in with a band down on Beale Street, the night is now endinv with the kind of tomfoolery that you can only be here to understand. With that having been said, check out the following video -- it should answer any questions you may have...

We'll talk soon!

- Doddsy

TTS Fall Tour - Day 1

Two Tons Midwest Tour

Day 1, Dispatch 1 - We're en route to Shreveport, LA. Playing El Dorado Casino tonight. Should be fun! We're 2 hrs into a 2 week run travelling through the heart of our nation. Check for tour dates and check in at for more online fun and Two Tons hijinks as I chronicle our adventures! More soon...

Day 1, Dispatch 2 - Roughly a 1/2 hr outside of Shreveport. 7 hours on the road today. No worries! Showtime between 8:00-8:30. Two 75 min sets. Easy peasy. Stay tuned...

Day 1, Dispatch 3 - Wow. Was so looking forward to playing tonight. Rough, rough night. Don't know why. Fatigue? I mean it's only the first day, but I know I haven't had a full night's rest in at least 4 nights and with 7 hours on the road today -- I'm pretty wiped out. We're off tomorrow but we have almost 6 hours to drive up to Memphis where we'll stay and then drive the rest of the way to Springfield, IL on Friday. Hopefully with a day off and splitting an extra long drive across 2 days, the next show will come together better.
After having written the above, I spent some time hanging around the casino bar with David, our soundman, and a new friend, Cameron Meshell. These 2 guys made tonight worth it. Great conversation and a good time. Ended the night by walking around the casino with Dennis and laughing about all the crazy themes of all the different slot machines. Dennis pointes out that it seems there's something to appeal to everybody's tastes. We saw lots of ladies playing "Kitty Glitter" & we couldn't help but laugh! It's now 2:31am and check out is once again at 11:00am. It's off to bed for me. 'Night all. Here's to the rest of this tour.

- Dodds

Location:Shreveport,United States

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Uh oh...

So we're downtown Austin, playing a street party & waiting for the previous band to get off the stage so we can set up and start our set. The smell of diesel is in the air as we stand in front of the generator right by the stage. Dennis walks up and tells me he mysteriously got our set time delayed indefinitely. "Huh?" I say. Turns out the pooling of fluid around the generator wasn't a gathering of the day's earlier afternoon rains, but rather a leaking of diesel all over the sidewalk. Generator's shut down and our set is cut waaaaaay back due to stay on schedule for the rest of the night.

We talked about the movie "Spinal Tap" the other night. Seems tonight when I get home will be the perfect night to enjoy that film again. It's funny regardless, but for those of us making our livings as professional musicians (and drummers), it's REALLY funny. Here's to "show biz".

- Dodds

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Get out!

"Check out is at noon" Kevin says as we climb out of the van last night at 1:30am and head for our rooms. Housekeeping drove us crazy all morning trying to get in to clean our room. As I get out of the shower - another knock at our door. Dennis says "housekeeping's been very persistent about cleaning our room". As Dennis is taking his shower, another knock at the door. I open it and with a head full of wet, nappy hair, I see the hotel manager in front of me. "You guys gonna check out today?" he asks. "Uh, yeah? In 10 minutes - at noon?" I respond. "Okay because checkout was at 11:00".

No wonder they were trying so hard to get into our room. We overstayed our welcome.


Two Tons of Steel; makin' friends everywhere we go.

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