not all who wander are lost...

I've been wracking my brain lately with what my next post should be about. Should it be serious? Funny? Talk about recent shows? None of these? And then it hit me...write about your travels! You see, the truth is, a lot of shows seem to run together. Sure, I'll remember a specific venue or if a crowd was especially awesome (see last post), but otherwise each show tends to run into the next. And before you know it, it's been 6 months of being out every weekend playing 2 - 3 - 4 shows a week. I often wonder where that time goes and how it flies by so fast. But, then again, I wonder that about life itself as I get older too. 

Ok, I went off on a tangent there. What I really want to talk about is what I do with my days off on the road. I tend to not do a very good job of wanting to "lay low" on my days off. If I'm anywhere near anything even SLIGHTLY cool, I'll take off for the day. Most days I don't even have a plan, just a destination I'm heading and I'll figure the rest out as I go! I might also need to add that the band refers to me as a cheap ass, but I have no problem spending money on experiences. Everything else? Not so much. My take is that memories are really all you have in the end. So I'd like to have a lot of good memories rather than a bunch of material things.

I'm writing this sitting in a hotel room in Chico, California and have been gone from home for over a week. I have no working cell phone - I'll hit on that later - which is why I'm probably writing this instead of sucked into reading the news, social media and other mindless things. So, let me tell you about my adventures lately.

The last few days we've had some days off near San Francisco. I used that time to spend time with some family friends I haven't seen in 10 years over a lunch and drive around the city/bay - thanks again Larry and Nancy! Another day, I decided I was renting a car and exploring, whether anyone else wanted to join or not. The rest of the guys did decide to join so we took off for Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods is a collection of Redwoods just a little north of the city. It's awe-inspiring and it makes you feel like you're so small. Your neck starts to hurt from looking up constantly. The Redwoods tend to make you humble. You think you're something special on Earth? Some of those trees have been here 3,000 years! It's amazing and if you haven't been there, it's well worth the time and money spent. We then drove to the Golden Gate Bridge overlook (picture posted below is by Derrick Young since I lost all mine when my phone quit working). It was windy and freezing for us southern boys, but a spectacular view. Soon after we headed into the city for dinner and then back to the hotel. The following day was spent returning the rental car, doing laundry and taking the BART (train) into the city for dinner/drinks and to see a friend play at The Independent (an awesome music venue). Then comes the part where my phone stops working.

Long story short - my phone froze up last night on the way back to the hotel. I shut it off to do a fresh restart and then...it wouldn't turn back on. I tried frantically for an hour and finally accepted the fact that it was done. Sadly, all my pictures and contacts from the last 6 months are most likely gone as I (stupidly) did not back up my phone. Let that be a lesson folks! Luckily, I was able to get to a Verizon in Chico today where they could get me a new phone over-nighted to the hotel tomorrow. I immediately left Verizon and had to buy a watch (a purple one at that, very stylish) at Big Lots just so I could tell time today and tomorrow. Today was strange not being totally tied into the outside world, but it was also kind of refreshing and fun. And it didn't stop me from my usual exploring. 

After my return from Verizon and a quick lunch, I decided I was going to rent a bicycle and ride to Upper Bidwell Park. It's a gorgeous place to hike or ride on the outskirts of Chico. Taylor (our sound guy) and I took a long ride to the park. We got lost and re-found our way - all part of the adventure! We ended up down some backroads near a stream where we pulled off, found a watering hole and dove in. Swimming in that stream in the middle of nowhere was probably one of the highlights of my trip so far. The temperature was perfect and the water crystal clear. I swam/floated in that stream for 45 minutes and couldn't have enjoyed myself more. It was just what I needed after the stress of the phone situation. It put things into a little bit better perspective for me and it taught me a lesson: you can't let the bad things bring down a good moment. However, I will admit, I really wanted a damn picture to remember that moment! ha! Later on, the band toured the Sierra Nevada Brewery, went our separate ways for dinner and took time to relax. Overall, today was a great day, even without something I thought was so important to me. Though, I really do hope I've got a working one in my hands tomorrow :)

I feel like I've rambled through a lot of this. But, hey! - I never once promised this would be written well. I think the main point I had in writing this was to encourage people to get out and explore. See the world, even if it's just from your own backyard. And try to make the best of a (seemingly) crappy situation. Your brain may not want you to, but try to focus on the good. Today actually ended up being a memorable day BECAUSE I didn't have my phone and I actually enjoyed the moments instead of trying to capture them. I never realized how many times I've worried more about capturing the moment than experiencing it. The moments are worth it, I promise you. And lastly, I remind you to always remember...

not all who wander are lost. 

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Golden Gate Bridge 7/31/17

The show that reminds me why

I'm going to preface this post with a simple statement: I love the fact that my job is performing on stage every night. It's something I've felt called to do since I was a little kid. I thank God I get the opportunity to do it for a living and try to not take it for granted. That being said...

It's still a job - this is referring to touring in general - and every job has things you don't love about it. There are days where I wonder if this is what I should continue doing no matter how much I love it. It can be wearing - both physically and emotionally, lonely (even in a bus full of people), and can make me wonder if being away from home and missing family/friends is really worth it. That's just the truth of it. At least for me. I know some people are reading that thinking, "are you being serious? You get to travel all over the country and get paid to play music! That's the dream!"...and yes it is, but every dream has its sacrifices. And those sacrifices have seemed worth it so many times I can't even count. However, I have doubts and fears just like anyone else does in any other job. Doesn't mean my love and passion for it is gone or waning - I just have to choose to keep chasing it. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but I always say it beats the hell out of a day job. I'm known to be an extremely honest person, and that's about as honest as it gets right there. 

Needless to say, the point of this post is to say that one show can make all of the doubts disappear and make everything seem so worth it. I recently experienced this in the last place I thought I would. July 4th - the band is enjoying a day off in North Carolina on the beach. We have to leave that night to play a show in Fort Loramie, Ohio. To say I was less than thrilled to leave our paradise to play a show in OHIO would be an understatement. All I could think to myself was, " sheesh, let's just get this one over with and get on to the next". 

That next day we did our usual routine - load in, sound check , dinner, showers, and then it became close to show time. I made my usual pre-show vodka/tropical redbull (don't knock it til you try it!) and walked up side stage to mentally prepare for a 90 minute headlining show in some of the worst heat and humidity I could remember. I barely took a look out at the crowd as we did our pre-show huddle. We're finally ready to get this one done. Lights out, Derrick (Tuck's drummer) starts his usual rocking tom intro and we walk out.........to 6,000 people screaming their heads off. At the moment, I felt this rush of adrenaline and pure excitement as I looked at all the guys who had these big smiles, mouthing, "what the f**k?" in amazement. From that moment on, it's a pretty big blur as I rushed around the stage having some of the most fun performing I've had in longer than I can remember. I was left, right, center, on top of speakers, on top of the drum riser far more than usual, making funny faces at everyone, laughing for no reason. I remember looking around at the band and crew as we looked like we were all kids again just jamming in some garage somewhere. It felt pure and not covered in any sort of bullish*t. The show flew by - it felt like the fastest 90 minutes of my life. Did I play a perfect show? Hell no. Did I laugh, smile, and run around like a child on Christmas morning? Hell yes. Walking off stage, everyone just looked at each other and said "that is exactly why we do this!" There's a joke about what type of night it's going to be using my last name, Knop (Ka-nope). I always get asked, "is this a Knop night or a Kyup night?" It was about as Kyup a night as it could've been. And, yes, I know that's lame...just go with it. 

That night probably re-energized me for another year. It made those exhausted doubts and fears disappear - if only for a few minutes. This show was an example of why I ever picked up a bass and decided to chase this whole dream. Thanks Ohio...you gave me a reminder that I needed more than you know.

Fort Loramie OH. 7/5/17

The beginning of something new

It’s 1:30 AM and I can’t sleep, which isn’t unusual. This job keeps me up late at night when on the road and any attempt to have a normal sleep schedule when I’m home has not been successful. Plus, it seems to be that with a lot of the world asleep I can think about my life, the future, my dreams. 

After lots of thought and searching, I really feel that starting a/this blog is something I have to do. It’s not that I think that what I have to say is of any importance or that it will even reach anyone. I just think it needs to get out into the world, even if only for me. Maybe it’ll just be me adding to the noise in this already noisy world. But I want to give it a go none the less.

I want to use this to share true stories from the road and life. Stories that will make you laugh out loud. Stories of some of the great things I get to experience as I travel. Stories of disappointment. Stories of doubt. Serious stories. Funny stories. Stories that I want to remember when I’m 80 (and an extremely wealthy retiree). Hell, some of them may just be my thoughts on random shit. I really am not even sure to be quite honest. I just know I want to do it. And if I happen to touch someone with whatever I say…even better. Also, this will not be all about me. I have so many friends with great stories, experiences and wisdom that I think need to be shared as well.

Lastly, I’m challenging myself to write a post at least twice a month. So, here’s to nothing and adding to the dream. First “real” post coming soon.

 

Nigel

 

 

Nigel Knop Music