That was the year that was…

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 Greetings, friends and neighbors, and welcome to the last blog post of 2023! We hope your holiday season has been joyful, or at least non-traumatic. As of this writing, New Year’s Eve and the first moments of 2024 are scant days away. In classic Brian fashion, I’d like to take a moment to look back over the passing year, and speculate a bit about the possibilities offered by the new year. Strap in, there will be no pre-flight safety briefing.

   2023 was a pretty up-and-down year. We had committed to updating this very blog on a weekly basis, and I think we did fairly well with that. You got the opportunity to peek behind the curtains, see what was going on with the band both on stage and in our private lives, and we all had regular reminders that “Oh yeah, I’m in a band!”. Pretty useful stuff. Going forward, we’d love more feedback from all of you. What do you want to hear about? (And I just had me an idea that I’ll drop on you later. Don’t worry, it probably won’t hurt. Much.)

   Musically, it was a good year. We played pretty regularly, started playing a new venue or two, bid a sad farewell to old familiar haunts, and generally kept scrambling to find places where we can deliver our weird blend of musical nerdistry to you. The performance landscape is definitely changing in Arizona, and we need to figure out how to change with it, whilst still remaining ourselves. It’s a challenging task at best, made moreso by the fact that we’re all somewhere on the “batshit crazy” spectrum, but we’ll manage. In related news, the artist formerly known as Paul Schmidt will now be referred to as “Paul Thee Stallion”, while Brian will now be called “Li’l Lardbutt X”. (Erin is perfect as she is, of course.)  In the coming year, we’ll be continuing our search for new-to-us venues, and maybe look to play at least a few out-of-town shows. As always, we’ll keep you posted.

   We recorded another album this year! In case you missed it, ‘round about 100 people joined us one evening in August to cheer us on as we  recorded our first-ever live album! It was a vastly different experience from recording in the studio, we enjoyed the hell out of it, and should be ready to release it in the next couple of months. It was exhausting, it was stressful, and it was an absolute blast. We got to bring a couple of pieces to the stage for the very first time, music we’d been working on for over a year, music that one of us had dreamed of performing for DECADES, and it was grand, grand. If you were able to attend and support us, if you’re one of our Patreon Patrons who helped finance the whole endeavor, or if you’ve ever just cheered us on, we thank you sincerely and hope you’ll continue to do so in the coming year. We’re hoping to record at least one new album in the coming year, two if we can manage it. We’re already making selections for the first one, as well as making notes of what we’ve learned from previous recording experiences. Should streamline the process in the future, or so we think.

   One of the things we’ve realized is that the time is long overdue for us to start writing our own music. Finding existing work and adapting it to our needs and style has been and will continue to be a blast, and a vital part of the “Open Beta sound” for certain, but we’ve realized that we have things we want to say OUR way, in OUR words. It’s a little scary, to be honest. If you don’t like a song that we cover, no big deal, maybe you just don’t care for the original artist or whatever. Putting OUR music and words out there means that any criticism falls entirely upon US. So as we start releasing music, we invite you to be kind. (Of course, if you LOVE it, please feel free to lose your damn minds over it.)

   We’ve played for pubs and festivals, back yards full of friends and rooms full of strangers. We’ve stood on countless stages and entertained you as best as we know how. We’ve performed for coffeehouses and for a small detachment of the Continental Army (ask us about that one some time, it was a SUPER fun gig) and through it all, you’ve walked with us. You’ve made time in your lives to attend our shows, sing along, pound on tables, and laugh uproariously at our antics. We’ll never be able to adequately convey the depth of our appreciation for you, but we’ll keep on trying. From all of us, to all of you, THANK YOU! We look forward to entertaining you in the coming New Year.

   (Oh, and that idea I had earlier? Yeah, not even my bandmates have heard this one yet: The first post in February will be a little different. We’re not going to select a topic. We’d like YOU to do so. Leave a comment below, or in subsequent blog posts, and tell us what YOU want to know. This could turn into an “AMA” sort of experience, or it might end up just focused on one particularly interesting answer. But lay it on us; no holds barred, no forbidden topics: What would YOU like to hear about from US ?)   

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