On The Road Again…

Wow!  What a crazy last few days it has been!  I would like to start off by saying thank you for your patience as it has been many moons since my last blog entry.  Cody’s vocals are feeling better and the band, as a whole, is ready for our next chapter on the road!  Let’s go to the East Coast!

Considering the mouthful of memories as well as the 3500 miles we have accumulated on our odometer thus far, I’ll just get us all caught up to where we are now.  And then, I promise to keep the posts rolling in as we roll across the East Coast and beyond.

We started the tour off in Yakima, WA where we played for some old friends at the Yakima Arboretum.  It was an awesome evening and somewhat of a class reunion for a few of us.  The next morning it was up and at ‘em with a drive down to Sun River, Oregon to perform at a wedding.  The wedding performance was unlike any other gig we have done.  Not only were we the main entertainment at the Reception, but Aaron and Greg held down the Processional and Recessional with some easy listening.  I had the pleasure of being the M.C. for the night, announcing the bouquet toss and all of the other traditional events that go along with a great wedding.  What a night!  A special thanks to the Graf family!

We spent the next few days in Montana with a few old friends and good laughs.  Not only were we able to catch an incredible fireworks show at Seeley Lake, we also had the pleasure of trying our luck at wake boarding and surfing…Aaron, you’re a natural…me, not so much.  After making new memories in Montana and meeting new friends, including our new little pal, “John (The Dragon),” a young boy who started the dance party at Seeley Lake, we were off to Indiana.

We spent a few days driving across South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois.  We caught ourselves in one of the biggest thunder and lightning storms a few of us had ever seen, the Hozzington hit it’s first deer (it was only a tap…she’s probably ok…just gave it a little tappy) as well as it’s first few hundred fireflies, and saw more corn fields than…well, we didn’t know that much corn existed in the U.S.

We played in Bloomington, Indiana to a crowd of adoring Hoosiers.  For our first Midwest gig, we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  That night, Eric’s Birthday celebration!  It was awesome.  I was the D.D. and had the pleasure of making sure we all got home safely.  Eric had the pleasure of enjoying himself in a celebration of his 27th year on Earth.  Next stop, ‘Ol Kaintuck!

Lexington and Louisville (pronounced LUH-Vull) was a blast!  It was about 85 degrees with 90% humidity.  The shows went great and the Kentucky Bourbon, even smoother.  Driving through Kentucky is pretty much how I pictured it.  Pristine grass pastures filled with thoroughbred horses surrounded by white fences.  Awesome.

 

Next stop, North Carolina!  We had the pleasure of staying with a friend of Eric’s, Molly.  She gave us the true Southern Hospitality a boy could only dream of.  When we arrived we were greeted with BBQ burgers, fresh goat cheese, and grits…MMM…mmm!  After driving through the Biltmore Estate (the largest home in our country) and attempting to sneak through a field to get a closer look (it’s $50 per person…we’re starving artists) we played at a local brewery.  Great night!

Stay tuned!  More to come…  Up next, we hit Delaware, New York, and New Jersey.

-Ty

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Speechless in Seattle

Hello all!

Front label for our upcoming wine release!

This is Cody.  Ty usually writes our blog and does an awesome job, but I have had a few things happen to me personally lately that I figured I should share.  Sorry if this gets a little wordy, but I feel I need to share this for you, and for myself.  And for those of you who follow this blog regularly, sorry for the recent slump in activity….. I told Ty a while ago that I would handle the next update……. and my old high school procrastination skills snuck up on me in the meantime.  The Crooks have taken the month of May off in order to recharge our batteries and gear up for an intense summer tour schedule.  Joe has been working at a family plant nursery in Central WA, digging in the dirt and planting trees; Aaron has been working on the family farm in Montana, watching that hard red winter wheat grow; Greg has been hanging out on the beach in West Seattle and working on his tan; Chris has been hanging in Everett and working at his Dad’s insurance office; Eric has been shooting and editing video for various commercials and National Geographic reality shows; Ty is hanging with his fiance’ in Denver and working three part-time jobs, one being a childrens’ train conductor in the Denver mall; and I have been working on bringing Crooked Red Wine to fruition…. it’ll be released in June!  It’s been an extremely busy and rewarding last few months, and we want to sincerely thank everyone who supported us along the Crooked road we traveled.  

As some of you may have heard, I’ve been dealing with some vocal issues for the past few months.  Many of my musical heroes have very raspy voices…. so I have always been attracted to a more breathy, gritty tone.  Naturally, I grew up singing in much the same way.  Little did I know, if done improperly, this can add a lot of wear and tear on the vocal chords.  In addition, I often seem to get so caught up in the emotion of being on stage that I end up pushing my voice past its limits.  So, I’ve honestly probably had these issues for the last year or longer, but not until on our tour did I really see the impact it was having in the long-term. 
 
Back in mid-February, while in Southern California on tour, I was losing my voice and having a hard time keeping up with the demand of our intense tour schedule.  After speaking with our manager at the time and my vocal coach, we decided I should probably see a doctor.  Luckily, especially for a guy like myself without medical insurance, the Grammys have a non-profit called MusiCares that helps financially with artists in need of medical attention.  They set me up with an appointment in Beverly Hills with the same doctor who cares for Mariah Carey…. so, I was really excited to know that after visiting him I’d finally be able to hit all the notes in “Butterfly.”  Although the doctor was a very nice and reassuring guy, it was a fairly nerve-wracking experience overall.  He used some sort of rod to stick a camera down to the back of my throat….. and then said…. “Okay, now just stay calm….. breathe through your mouth….. now hit this note…. ahhhh…. no, eeeeehhh….. breathe…….” and then, well, I gagged and nearly spit up on the poor fella.  “You want to try some of this throat numbing spray?  It may be a little easier this way.”  Yes, I would love to try the spray….. why didn’t you ask in the first place?!!  And how am I supposed to breathe through my mouth when you have a camera in my throat?!?!?!  Thankfully, I made it through the second round, and we were presented with a video of my vocal chords in motion.
 
The doctor deduced that I had what is called a “soft vocal nodule.”  At this “soft” stage, he said it was treatable, but that it may require some drastic changes in my habits, and possibly in our tour schedule.  He said his ideal treatment choice would be to administer some steroids, have me commit to complete silence for at least one week, and then we would have to take a few weeks off to let me fully recover.  Well, being that it was only the second week of our first national tour and that we would have to cancel upwards of 20 shows including SXSW, this seemed like a catastrophic blow to my spirit.  Feeling like I was negotiating with a used car salesman and trying to save the tour, we talked a little more, and he said that I may be okay if I limited talking to only necessary instances, along with cutting back any drinking or smoking I was doing………. but, it was still a risk.  If the nodule were to worsen and become hardened, the result could be surgery. 
 
I left the doctor shaken, but determined to work through the issue and prevail.  Not only could this nodule affect my singing career in the long-term, but I also had six other people to think about… my band.  We had all sacrificed so much to make this tour a reality….. and now its survival teetered on my vocal health.  Telling the guys wasn’t easy, but they could not have been more supportive.  There was not a question in their minds….. my health was most important.  Even if we had to cancel the entire tour, they had my back.  I was so thankful for their support during that time…. they told me that I didn’t need to feel that I was carrying everything on my shoulders, and that we were all in it together. 

KCSN in Northern Los Angeles, the day after I visited the doctor in Beverly Hills.

 
After much deliberation, talking amongst ourselves and with my vocal coach, we finally came up with what we thought was the most reasonable solution to our situation.  First, we canceled a few select shows along our tour route that would allow rest time for my voice.  Then, I committed to limited speech…. literally using a pen and paper for most communication between shows and only speaking when absolutely necessary.  When we had a few days off, I’d usually cut myself a little slack and let out all the words I had been holding in….. and I’d end up blabbering like an idiot for a few hours due to all the pent-up verbiage.  I also erred on the conservative side and completely quit drinking alcohol and caffeine, smoking, and eating and drinking dairy products….. all of which can affect vocal chords negatively. 

Las Vegas, February 27, 2011

Where most musicians seem to acquire addictions on the road, I was the most sober I had been in a decade.  I also sang more cautiously and really tried to focus on using my vocal chords correctly.  We worked hard on making sure the monitors were mixed so that I could hear myself and not have to push too hard to compete with the stage volume of the band…… and again, I have to thank the guys for being so understanding in this circumstance as well.  I must say, all of these changes took a lot of will power, but knowing that it would allow myself and my band to continue living our dream….. it was really quite easy.  I saw Vegas in complete sobriety, with a pen and paper as my voice.  I saw the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the world, sober.  I entered various public places…. banks, stores, restaurants…. without saying a word.   

 
The end phase of our plan for my recovery was to play out the rest of the shows on our tour, and then for me to see another ENT doctor upon returning to Seattle.  This way, he could take a look at the picture of my vocal chords from before and see if the nodule had progressed or receded.  We left the majority of May completely open so that I would have ample time to recover….. thus, part of the reason for our current hiatus. 
 
So, on Monday, April 25th, directly following our shows in Portland and Seattle, I faced fate and visited the doctor.  I was extremely nervous to hear the results….. but to my surprise and satisfaction, the doctor said that my chords looked considerably better than before.  What a relief!  I guess all of the precautions were not in vain!  However, the doctor did say that I could still use a steroid treatment and a week of vocal rest….. but after all the stress that had preceded, I welcomed this verdict with open arms!  Compared to the alternative of surgery, I felt rather fortunate.

Having some fun in the liquor store while the other guys picked their poison!

From April 25th at roughly 3pm until May 2nd at around 5:30…….. I did not utter a sound.  I headed back to Central Washington and hung out with family for the week.  My grandparents had just returned from their winter stay in Arizona, my uncle visited for a few days, and I got to spend a weekend at our family cabin with my Dad for his birthday….. all in silence.  At times it was aggravating to not be able to explain how I was feeling….. or crack a joke.  And if I really wanted to say something, I had to work for it.  I couldn’t just spit out words without thinking like before.  But, no matter how hard this experience was at times…… I tried to always remain thankful.  I think we often forget that some people live their whole lives without the use of certain “normal” functions.  There are people who will never make a sound…. never hear a sound…… never see.  In challenging myself to this silence, I really grew to appreciate a function that I often take for granted.  I learned that much of what I say on a daily basis is really unneeded…… people just tend to want to have their opinion heard, so they open up and let it flow on out without much thought or care.  I could count in a journal all of the things I actually needed to say in the day, because if I didn’t write it down, I kept it to myself.  So, since my opinions were stifled by my lack of communicative vehicle, I instead focused on learning from others’ opinions.  I watched the world around me in silence, taking everything in and thinking very deeply.  It allowed me the time to have a conversation with someone in my life I often ignore….. myself.  The world is spinning so fast and our lives are filled with constant activity.  I challenge you to take a day, just one day, and save your voice.  You’ll really like the way it sounds when you finally decide to speak.  And, if yours looks anything like mine, you’ll have to improve your handwriting so people can understand what you’re trying to say!
 
All in all, couldn’t ask for a better experience.  There may have been a few bumps along the road, but I am so grateful for everything that has happened in the past few months.  I am also thankful to my friends and family that have been so supportive along the way.  I have grown closer with my Crooked brothers, and, I’ve grown closer to myself.  This was a crazy time for me, but I feel better about myself today than the day we left on tour…. and in my book, that’s a win.  Personal growth.  Progress.  Sometimes, the hard times can end up being your best times.  Thank you for reading.
 
-Cody

Crooks reunite in Bellingham on Sunday, May 29th at Boundary Bay Brewery.  We’ll be joining Northwest legends Flowmotion!

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Our Drummer is On FIRE!!!

While visiting Leavenworth, WA there are a few “HOT” spots to check out.  One, is Der Hinterhof; a German style Ale House and music venue.  Well, pretty much any Ale House in Leavenworth is “LeavenWORTH” checking out!  From local Northwest Brews to German style dark beers, your taste buds will be tantalized with each sip.  However, there is one place you might want to wait ‘til your very last stop.  That is, if you want any taste buds at all to taste that delicious German beer.  The place I am talking about is at the very end of the main drag directly next to the Munchen Haus.  The name is gone from my memory at the moment, but you’ll know you have arrived when you see the collection of jars filled with jellies, mustards, honeys, bbq sauce, hummus, and of course hot sauce.  The store is filled with every type of dipping delight you can imagine.  Each dip has a small bowl of pretzels to test each one before deciding which one to take home for yourself.  Near the register is a hot sauce with plenty of warning signs.  There’s even a sign that warns parents to keep the sauce away from children!  So, being the Crooks that we are, we had to try it.

We each took our turn allowing the peppers and other ingredients to tear our mouths apart.  After about five seconds the tears began to roll.  This stuff is HOT!  And you only need a tiny amount.  In fact, any more than a rain drop-sized dip can have you on your knees begging for a time machine to take back the courageous amount you scooped onto your pretzel!

Chris Green was the bravest of all that day.  After we each took a sample Mr. Green stepped up to the plate to load his pretzel.  He picked up the saucer and drenched his pretzel in the Hell fire sauce, all the while having a, “I’m a brave badass” snicker on his face.  “No! Don’t do it,” one of us hollered.  Holy S&^%!  I thought to myself as he plunged the pretzel into his mouth!  We all froze!  Did he really just do that???  Yes.  After a few seconds of giving the “rock star horns” he began to succumb to the poison that had just entered his mouth.  Off came the glasses as the tears streamed down his face!  Wow.  He ran to the check out line and bought two over-priced bottles of water and guzzled them.  It was painful to even watch.  Joe’s eyes were watering just at the sight of Chris’ agony.  This all lasted a very painful 20 minutes for Mr. Green as the Capsaicin enzyme (the stuff that makes peppers hot) leveled his taste buds like a bulldozer in soft dirt.

Well, in case you weren’t at our show at The Croc, he did survive.  But, I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice next time about being Mr. Hot Sauce showoff!

The Crooks are enjoying some much needed TLC and rest.  And Cody’s vocals are doing much better!  And although it’s nice to take time off, I can speak for all of us when I say, I can’t wait to get back on the road and make music!  See you all very soon!

Cody Beebe & The Crooks will be performing at Boundary Bay Brewing Co. in Bellingham, WA w/Flowmotion on Sunday, May 29th.

-Ty

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The Office: season 2, episode 3

There’s no doubt that being in a band is a lot of fun.  However, being on stage and actually performing our music is not even the half of it.  In fact, I would say playing music equates to about 5% of our time and efforts, with the other 95% going toward other aspects of the business.

This may come as a surprise to a few of you, but just take wineries or breweries for example.  Sure, you get to show up to a tasting room and try their delicious concoctions right as you enter the building.  However, before they pour their craft into your tasting mug, the master brewer had spent countless hours, weeks, months, and in some cases, years to reach the end product.  A band is really no different.

Being a seven-piece band, we have the advantage of accomplishing a lot together.  So far, we have been lucky enough in putting our efforts together; with a few of us shining in certain departments.  One key aspect of being a good leader is job delegations.  That doesn’t just mean assigning jobs to whoever.  It means seeking out specific talents within the members of the business and allowing them to shine.  Cody, and the rest of us, have done a great job coming into our own organically.  As a collective, we have a strong marketing, business, accounting, broadcasting/recording, and music theory background; all of which happen to be key elements in the working engine of a small up and coming band.  Go Crooks!

Any member disputes?  It’s simply solved the old fashioned way!  Arm wrestling.

We are stoked to see some of our family and friends at The Brick Saloon this Friday, April 15th!  Show starts at 9pm!

-Ty

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Back Home…

As I sit here typing this I am back in a familiar place; our home in Seattle.  The band officially finished the Southwest Tour on Monday, April 4th with our last gig being at Central Washington University.  CWU is a familiar place for us to play and we are always warmly welcomed by the students and staff alike!  A special thanks to our friend Amber Linn and her family for treating The Crooks to lunch after the show.  What a great final finish to a wonderful tour!

Our last few dates were jam packed and we were hustling all around Washington and some of Oregon to finally make a valiant finish!  On Friday, April 1st we played up on Chinook Pass for a private mountain party.  And what a party it was!  Not only were we celebrating a few local birthdays, but it also just happened to be our own Aaron Myers’ b-day as well!  Wow!  Well, at least we survived to tell about it!

Our next stop was up at Mount Hood Meadows!  We played up at the main ski lodge for both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.  Not only did the staff go out of their way to make our stay comfortable, but they also provided us with daily meals, lodging, and free lift tickets!  Holy jeeze…I can’t wait to play at “The Hood” again!  Needless to say, I took them up on the free lift tickets and spent my Sunday morning on the hill.

On Sunday morning around 7:30 am, Eric was nice enough to give me a lift down to highway 35 where I proceeded to stick my thumb out and further myself up the mountain.  After about 5 minutes a friendly guy named Chris pulled over and gave me a lift to the nearest parking lot and I was on my way to a great day on the slopes.  All I can say is, “powder, powder, powder!”  Woo!  It was great.  

In other news, Chris is finally home to his “Babbas!” and Mr. Cody Beebe has a new piercing!  What did he get pierced you ask?  Well, you’ll just have to come to our next show and see for yourself!.

Cody Beebe & The Crooks will be performing at The Brick Saloon in Roslyn, WA this Friday, April 15th!  Show starts at 9pm!

-Ty

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Oh, Washington!

So, after much deliberation and careful, emotional talks among the band members, we have decided to go our separate ways.  The band is officially breaking up.

 

APRIL FOOLS!  Just yankin ya!  We’re doing awesome.  Surprisingly, after two months on the road everyone is still alive and well!Hey folks!  …Oh and Happy Birthday to Aaron!!!!

I’m really sorry I have been so dang illusive recently with the blog posts.  A personal family emergency coupled with lots of driving in the van and many shows during the tail-end of this tour, has seemed to resulted in a blog posting vacation.  

The band has been warmly greeted once again by our fans and friends in the greater Pullman/Moscow area!  Our show at the Coug went flawlessly and seemed to be more of a big Pullman party!  John’s Alley was the shiz and fans packed the place for a Thursday night.  We were scheduled to open for Elephant Revival but when we arrived the show got switched on us.  So, after last minute facebook posting and calls to friends to let them know that we are going on late, the show went on and it was a success!

Stayed tuned for our next blog…Cody will be posting about our adventures and probably will disclose some inside information about some nasty tour secrets!  Ooohhh!

Cody Beebe & The Crooks will be performing up at Chinook Pass for a private mountain party tonight (4/1/11)

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