The Sights Tour Diary Entry No. 16: Shades & Eddie in the War Room, Fernando & Koontz Mend Important Tour Gear and Pops Throws a Billion Dollar Bash.
I am backstage at the Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina waiting to sound check. It’s been awhile since I’ve written, so here we go. Between the first and second legs we had a little over two weeks off. In that time we played two shows in Detroit and Chicago with Reigning Sound and tried to lay low.
Shades and I spent a lot of time in the War Room. The WR (War Room) is sort of a vibe we get into when we need to get shit done. We’re the engine of the operation. Along with John Bissa, the WR involves meeting for breakfast and going over details, getting necessary repairs completed, making sure Dean‘s 3,453 people are on the list for each show, and overall simply kicking ass.
The WR first found us at Mike Koontz Guitar Repair, where he fixed my wah-wah and Gibson 330 guitar on the spot. I love Mike. I love that when I say “Hi Mike it’s Eddie Baranek” into the phone he gets kinda nervous and asks “Oh no, what did you break this time?”
We then trekked over to Colin Simon from The Frustrations place ‘cos he repaired some pedals for me while I was gone. I don’t know him well, and so we sometimes have awkward conversations while doing the pedal exchange. Like Mike, Colin is a solid dude and I appreciate his help. A stop was made at Archer Records in Detroit– one of fifteen vinyl record pressing plants left in the country. It’s run by the grandson, Mike Archer.
We’ve been getting our records pressed with Mike and Archer for years, and picked up our test pressings for “Left Over Right.” I love working with a guy who has tools his grandfather and father’s hands have used. That’s working class Detroit.
Our last stop was George’s Shoe Repair in Berkley. There we met Fernando, an old world cobbler with a faraway accent that makes you have 100% faith in the guy. I want my shoe guy to come from the old country–you just know he knows his shit.
It’s a shame the world is becoming so “mono” that guys like Fernando will be extinct in a few years. Anyway, like Mike and Colin, Fernando is a part of our extended Sights’ family.
And now onto my father’s BBQ. In the last few years Pops has been more supportive than ever of my musical path. He wanted to show his appreciation for the band by hosting a catered party in his backyard. And so the man did. He invited anyone sympathetic to the Sights’ cause (family, friends, musicians) and rented tents, gave away prizes, had excellent food, booze and a smile on his face the whole time.
Well, he did get nervous before he tried to introduce us and apparently, as he said, “he lost his cookies.” Still, he had a great time and I am proud that he is my dad. Oh, and a few bands played too: Six and the Sevens, the Hard Lessons, M.L. Liebler, Scott Harrison, and the Sights. My time off the road was filled with gigs and friends; great stuff.
I’d like to think that I work as hard as my father did for my family growing up to support us. I’d like to think that both my Mom and Dad have instilled in me a strong work ethic. Last night as we were loading out of the Tabernacle in Atlanta the loading crew (local roadies in each city who load your gear for you) were asking why we were carrying our own gear. I guess that’s proof right there my parents raised me right.
All the best,
Current tour morale: tired and happy
Photos by Shades