Movin’ Along…

Well, it’s finally arrived. Tonight I’ll take the stage at Goose Island Brewery, here in Chicago, for the last time with a bass player. Darin Mullins, my bassist from Feb 2nd, 2007 – July 2nd, 2010, will be departing from the Long Haul after this evening’s performance. He’s been an absolutely fantastic member of the band and an even better person, all around. It’s definitely going to be an adjustment not having him around and he will sincerely be missed – especially for those early morning drives on tour 🙂 I’m going to have to learn how to be functional before 10am.

So….tonight we rock it out one more time in the classic four piece (bass, drums, guitar, guitar/vocal) and as of tomorrow I will move forward into brand new territory. I’m saying good-bye to tradition. It’s definitely a bit scary, but most things worth doing usually are…ya know? It’s also terribly exciting. I’m still working on putting together our first official Chicago show, but if you check out my show calendar on MySpace ( you’ll see there are a few places you can check out the new line-up if you like before then.
The best is yet to come. Rock on people.

Just A Quick Word…

The rock is definitely rolling as I’m writing this tonight. My brain is on fire. I just came from seeing the Max Weinberg (Bruce Springsteen’s drummer in the E-Street Band) Big Band up in Evanston, just north of Chicago. Incredible show. I haven’t seen a live big band in quite some time and the sheer energy and amount of sound is really unreal. Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I spent a good amount of time in the jazz world and tonight’s show definitely presented me with a frothy mug of nostalgia. It reminded me a bit of why I play music.

You see, I play a lot – A LOT – of shows. I love it to death but at the level I’m at there are still plenty of nights playing to no more than a handful of people. It’s actually a bit scary, but in some ways I’ve gotten used to being in the background. Either that or I’ve just matured and know better than to force the issue that my younger self might have pounded down people’s eardrums. I’d like to think that it’s the latter of the two. Regardless, seeing a real performance like tonight’s show (200 people on a Monday evening at 7pm) reminded me that the audience is out there. It reminded me that the audience is listening.
You guys are going to trip out when you see this new formation of my band. I hope you’ll continue to listen, and I promise I’ll keep giving you a reason to.

And Then There Were Three

Tonight’s entry is going to be short and sweet. Incase you missed the announcement several weeks back, my bass player of the last three years – Darin Mullins – will be leaving the Long Haul on July 2nd. His farewell show will be at the Goose Island Brewery here in Chicago, just down the street from Wrigley Field. For those of you in the area, I would sincerely appreciate the support. Darin is one of the most solid people I’ve met and he will be missed.
Given these circumstances, I’ve made a bold choice in my plans moving forward. No bass. That’s right people. I’ll say it again – no bass. I’ve acquired a really sweet keyboard – a Korg SV-1 (for those of you who might actually want to know). It contains fabulous acoustic piano emulations as well as a full range of classic electric pianos and organs (Hammond B-3, Wurlitzer, etc.). I’ll be splitting my time between keyboard and guitar, forming a hybrid power trio. I cannot tell you how exciting this will be for me…and you – my audience.
Many of you probably don’t know that I actually started out playing piano when I was about 4 or 5. I’ve always played it on the side of my guitar work and during my two years in music school I became quite proficient. I haven’t had an opportunity to put those skills to work for me – until now.
So far I’ve had three solid rehearsals with Brad Quandt (my lead guitar/lap steel player) and Rio Chavez (my drummer). The arrangements are coming together even better than I heard them in my head. I’ve given the task of providing harmony vocals to both Brad and Rio and little by little we’re getting there. Furthermore, the space left by the bass is allowing some really amazing things to shine through and create surprisingly unique elements in the music. The phrase I’ve been using for the past seven years – “Folk Rock on Steroids” – has never been more accurate. This will be a true meeting point between the rawness of my acoustic show and the hair-raising power of an electric band. All topped off with the gospel soul of piano, and the electric organ whistling through a Leslie rotating speaker.
I cannot wait to share this with you guys. It will be a force to be reckoned with. Are you with me?

The Road to Memphis…and Back

9:30am, Thursday May 19th – Due to a few obstacles, what was originally supposed to be a tour with my band was now going to be a solo tour. It had been a while. I used to tour by myself all the time. With a new album, changes in the band and new business ideas overloading my brain I very much welcomed the time to just….drive. It’s amazing the kinds of things you can work out by just letting the big wheels roll.
On this particular morning I was Memphis-bound. I packed up the “bus” – my previously mentioned Ford E-150 – and made my way down I-55 S. From there I would make the five hour drive cutting through the flat open plains of central Illinois on through the very swollen Mississippi river valley surrounding St. Louis, Missouri. It was a beautiful spring day. Clear skies. It felt great to be on the road. My mind carved out ideas for new marketing plans, new song arrangements for my new band line-up and the plans for the night’s show at the Hi-Tone Café in Memphis.
After working through various highway interchanges in St. Louis I continued on the additional five hour drive through the deep green hills of eastern Missouri leading on through the flatlands of northeastern Arkansas. Eventually I would meet up with I-40 east and head over the gargantuan Big Muddy officially crossing into Memphis, Tennessee.
I pulled into the parking lot at the Hi-Tone Café having logged ten hours of driving. It’s a long day, but it was the last thing on my mind. I made my way into the venue, grabbed a seat at the bar and received some glorious news from the bartender. Free pizza and PBR – some of the sweetest words a touring musician can hope to hear. By the time I finished my dinner and had a couple drinks the rest of the nights musicians were arriving – it was just about time.
As my set time approached I went into show-mode which is comprised of these general steps:
1) A quick stop at the van to change into my show clothes
2) Assembly of my guitar stand
3) Set up both my acoustic and electric guitars – tune them – place them in the stand
4) Uncover my amp and make sure I have all my cords, tuning pedal, picks, etc. ready
5) Look over my set list with any final thoughts/changes
6) Remember the ten hours I drove to be here and that I better bring it for myself, my band and the 20-30 people who don’t know me and who I hope can’t forget me by the end of my set
7) Get all of my gear up on stage after the opening band is clear
8) Forget everything I just thought about in my pre-show
9) Take the stage
10) Show time
45 min later – sweaty and breathing hard – I clear the stage and hang by my merchandise to talk with new fans. The folks in Memphis were unbelievable. I sold three or four cds and received various cash amounts from a number of people to help with gas. The last band closed out the night and we headed to a local bar for the post-show during which I got to a know a number of new people and begin plans for my next Memphis show. One of my fans was even cool enough to let me crash at his place. I love Memphis.
I left the following afternoon and retraced my steps north on I-55 back to St. Louis. I would do it all over again in a few hours at Brennan‘s in the Central West End, and get to see some old friends with whom I’d be staying for the night. In the morning the tour would creep further north to Decatur, IL.
On Friday night after setting up the PA, sound checking, having a drink and waiting…waiting…waiting…I’d see a great sight after a long couple of days in the car – my band. They made it down to Decatur to meet up for our show at the Cornerstone Tavern. The stage lights went on, we cranked up the house fog machine and played our best show in Decatur to date. I can’t thank everyone down there enough for their support. After three years of playing the scene regularly it seems we’ve finally had our first break through.
With that said, there was quite the party that ensued afterwards. 5am saw us at Hardee’s purchasing $54 worth of monster biscuits, tater tots and orange juices. 5:20am saw us all passed out. I was up four hours later revving up the “bus”, and home by early afternoon.
A great tour, healthy profit, new fans, great memories and a clear mind.

How Good It Feels

Kill the headlights
Tall pines
Sway in the night
Fire in my wheels
The tires squeal
Man, I forgot just How Good It Feels

It’s funny how easy it can be to forget to just have a good time. The ride is short but sweet. Put the pedal down…..and rock on.

Let Me Play My Old Guitar, and Sing for You My Song

You may have noticed the description of my blog reads “Let me play my old guitar, and sing for you my song/I promise you my friend, I will not do you wrong”. There is an interesting story behind those words that goes a little something like this…
August 2004. I had just moved to LA from Tempe, AZ. I’d come into Hollywood with a duffle bag of clothes and my acoustic guitar. Like the Tom Petty song I had busted “into the great wide open” (and in a lot of ways I was definitely a rebel without a clue). After landing a short gig at Starbucks it became apparent VERY quickly that in order to hang around town I was going to need to rope in more substantial income, so into my cubicle I went.
I worked a standard office job in the small Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, CA. My morning consisted of waking up at 7:30, showering and hitting the road by 8 to fight the infamous LA traffic on my hour commute to work. Most of my work day was dedicated to a lot of time on Microsoft Excel, coffee, customer phone calls, meetings of questionable significance, more coffee, some form of lunch, emails, more coffee (on a really bad day) and an hour commute home.
I did my best. Fighting off mild ADD, song ideas, show promotion and booking plans I focused as best I could at my job. At night I played whatever open mics or gigs I could find, would roll into bed by 2 or 3am and do it all over again in the morning. There were even times I’d drive two and a half hours to Bakersfield on a weeknight. I’d share sets with a band I’d met while touring, drive back in the early morning hours through the San Jaoquin desert on highway 99 – crash out in a truck stop when necessary – and slump into work amidst the morning rush hour. But ultimately this pace couldn’t last.
By February 2006 my attempts at keeping my focus at work while pursuing what I could of my musical dreams failed me. I was put on probation after a number of billing discrepancies and mishaps in other administrative tasks associated with my position. I became extremely frustrated with myself, knowing that I was smart enough to handle my job but now realizing I simply wasn’t interested enough. I needed to find my place, and I knew that when I did things would feel right. One afternoon I skipped my lunch break and hid out in an empty office with a pad of paper and a pen. I wrote the following lines –
“Let me play my old guitar and sing for you my song
Let me play my old guitar and sing for you my song
I promise you my friend
I will not do you wrong”
Having worked in corn fields, factories, offices, part-time retail, etc. the time had come to really go for it. The following month I put in my two weeks, got on the internet and began booking my summer full of every gig I could find….in Chicago. I would head home by early-May having found, however permanent I couldn’t say, a place.

A Life in Rock ‘n Roll

I am Dan Tedesco, a 28 year-old singer/songwriter based out of the north side of Chicago only a few blocks from the infamous Wrigley Field. I’ve been able to support myself for the last four years solely as a professional musician and in that time I put together my own band – Dan Tedesco and the Long Haul. I’ve performed all over the country, both with and without the Long Haul. There’s been backyard parties, weddings, small-town bars, summer festivals and serious venues in some of our nation’s most historic music cities. I released my first full-length album with the Long Haul entitled, “Starin’ at a Green Light” in early 2009 and toured from coast to coast in support of it. You can check it out on iTunes or if you like. I’ve done all of this completely independent of any record label, booking agency or management company. I own a 2001 dark blue Ford E-150 which functions as the “tour bus” for myself, the band and LOTS of gear.
Now that you know a little about me, I want to be clear on something else: Rock ‘n Roll. What is it to you? Everyone has their own definition. To me, rock ‘n roll has always been a metaphor for life, and I don’t mean the “Sex, Drugs ‘n Rock ‘n Roll” life. I’m talking about real life: work, family, home, love, community, responsibility, honesty, fear, sadness, loss, hope, failure, dreams and the unwillingness to settle. It is what you get if you distill every last drop of blood, sweat and tears from your daily life.
So…..with that in mind, it is my hope that through this blog you may be able to learn something about yourself. Maybe even become inspired in some way. Whatever it may be, the last thing I want this to focus on: Me.
I invite you to pack up your gear and hop in the van. May Rock ‘n Roll take you home….
Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonYouTube Icontwitter follow buttonVisit Our Blog