It was March, and I had heard that Three Dog Night was coming through Pennsylvania on their tour, and were performing at the Sherman Theater in June. I had seen The Black Crowes and some other gigs there years back, and knew the venue held around 3,000 people. I thought, now THAT would be a great debut for this new duo thing. Soon after having that thought, I fired off the farmhouse demos to the Sherman and requested the support slot for Three Dog Night, a band who had sold over 40 million records and registered 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, 3 of which went to #1 in the charts. It felt like a long-shot at best, something that wasn't going to happen. We heard nothing and forgot quickly about it.
Approximately six weeks later, I was on my way home from a week in Vermont. I checked the band emails for the first time in weeks. the last email was from three weeks ago and the heading was THREE DOG NIGHT. I read the email, and realized that we were confirmed to be the opener. I thought, OH SHIT, they probably made other plans by now! I called the agent and was told the gig was safe. This was to be our first time playing an acoustic gig, nothing to get nervous about or anything.
All of a sudden we were there. It's twenty minutes before we go on and Danny Hutton is telling us about his friendship with Harry Nilsson, and how Three Dog Night came to record One, written by Nilsson. He told us some stories about living in Laurel Canyon in the '60s, when Neil Young was his neighbor. They were gracious enough to snap some photos with us before we went on as well. I said "how do you keep it going?" Michael Allsup, the lead guitarist laughed and said "it's easy, since most of us are dead".
We went on, played our set. The crowd was very engaged in what we were doing. It was almost hard to believe that these folks who were here to see this massive ten-piece band they could sing along with even cared about these two guys standing there singing songs they never heard. It worked though. Nobody went out the door, the seats remained filled. It was scary as hell, and the sound on stage was not good. In the end, we pulled it off. As Brendan strummed the final chord of "Oh My My", I looked to my left and saw Danny Hutton clapping with the crowd. As I walked bye, he said "wonderful songs fellas, thank you".
After that, we did a second show with Three Dog Night. This time the sound on stage was perfect, and we played the best set of our lives. We had a lot of friends and family in the crowd this time, and the overall reaction was beyond anything we had ever experienced. My wife was pregnant with Lola at the time, and was there to support me. Laura had flew in from Seattle to watch Brendan, it was a great night. It was time to go deeper.
One night I was out with Dustin Caruso, a good friend of mine. It was my last night out before becoming a dad, end of November. At some ungodly hour and after one too many Manhattans, I ran into Bennie Sims. I knew who Bennie was, but Bennie didn't know who I was, other than that I was some kind of singer. There was some heated conversation about politics going on, so naturally I jumped in. Bennie and I wound up talking about music, and he asked if I had anything he could hear. I played some demo on my phone speaker, in a loud bar. Bennie said "that's YOU?" I sent him a few tracks the next morning in a hungover haze. I thought, "he probably won't even remember talking to me".
Now it's the present day, June 6th. We are halfway through an LP. We have yet to touch an acoustic guitar on this record. Brendan has been recording all the guitars and singing harmonies. Bennie is playing bass (OBVIOUSLY). I have been doing the vocals and the harp. Brendan and I have split the drum duties. The record is going to be really special. It's time to go further....
We began planning for the release of this album. We imagine by next Autumn it will be ready to buy. True to form, we just confirmed our first show. October 4th we will open for what's left of The Band at The Sherman Theater. They are now called the Weight Band, and consist entirely of former members of The Band and the Levon Helm Band. From there, there has been some talk of doing some interesting things, including some European dates. the LATEST news is the exciting addition to our band, Billy Whalen, of Gleasons Drift and Blind Pigeon Records fame. Billy will play the drums in our band, and will join us moving forward from here. It has been really exciting and special to be part of this thing as it has evolved and changed into what it is now. Who knows what will happen next. Turn, turn, turn.