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August '06 starts and ends with Gregnando the Pool Gringo and Families Rock. We had a great show at the legendary Antones club with Guy Forsyth this month. We also met one of the greatest Families ~ The Moors. Little did we know how life changing August would pre-date. Enjoy...
And kids ~ welcome to barenakedfamily! Interesting twist on perception we think. First, the High School Coaches are going to Hooters... next, it's Hooters which were originally owls... a bar and grill... plus the words 'barenakedfamily' flow so well together... we think. Not really sure what we're trying to say here ~ maybe lighten up?!?
August was one of the most fateful meetings of our lives. Greg and Jenn were working together one day as Gregnando the Pool Gringo and we had a long day. There were more work orders but we were ready to go home to our kids. However, as fate would have it, Gregnando the Pool Gringo pushed to visit one more work order that was just around the corner and should go really fast. There we walked into one of the most amazing relationships we've had. Amrita greeted us at the front door and invited us inside (a rare occurence for a service gringo). She offered us a beer and wine, and since it was the last call we accepted. We began talking and both of us knew there was something deeper there. Ezra came out eventually and we all got along really well. Turns out their house was on the market and they were going to hit the road in their Airstream trailer! We ended up there for over two hours and never fixed the pool (which turned out to be a trend with further Gregnando the Pool Gringo calls to their house).
That night, they invited us to their house that following Sunday when they were celebrating a group of Nigerian students coming to America. Ezra and Amrita had built fresh water wells in their village and changed their lives from disease and infections to the benefits of something as simple as clean and fresh water.
One of the most amazing things about that Sunday celebration with the Nigerian kids was our kids connecting with Ezra, Amrita, and their daughter Ava. The four kids toured the property with the Nigerian kids and witnessed them freaking out on the pool and hot tub being two different temperatures; the decorative 'life like' turtle in the pond they were scared of; hugging the stuffed animals with huge grins on their faces; 'running' water as they were turning on and off faucets and hot and cold water; 'light' as they would flip switches over and over again with pure fascination.
We got to explain to our kids how these things don't exist in their village in Nigeria...
Here our kids were impressed with the artificial pool waterfall, synthetic water slide, large backyard and engineered landscape, handcrafted house and exotic decorations ~ all common and organic in Nigeria.
Here the Nigerian kids were impressed with water temperature differences, turtles without fear, animals they could hug, running water and electricity.
And now we're living in the Nigerians Afterglow. (yes, you'll be sick of our INXS / JD references until you go out and experience Switch). Go on now, get.
August also got us close to a band we've long wanted to experience ~ Harry and The Potters. Fun stuff.
One of the coolest things about seeing them in this park is Greg's ancestral connection with it:
Years ago, I researched about my great, great grandfather living in Austin, TX around 1900 (give or take a lifetime ~ 1880s to 1930s?). Thomas Devine Smith lived and worked in Austin Texas at the McClure Grocery store. Eventually he purchased the store (or part of it) and ran Tom D. Smith Fancy Groceries. That's right folks, not ordinary groceries... fancy groceries. There's even a story my dad tells of his great grandfather buying a knife (or something) from Tom at his store in Austin back in the days when he lived outside of Austin in Liberty Hill. Tom D Smith Fancy Groceries was located on Congress just blocks from the capitol. We found and walked into the building one day that is now a Mediterranean cafe (906 Congress?). Tom and his wife lived just around the corner and caddy corner to the Governors Mansion. I sat on that corner on an old stone fence that is now a bank parking lot looking into Wooldridge Square when I called my 96yo grandmother. She remembered the white gazebo as a child looking across the street from the porch. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the house was gone... awwwwwwwww. Ya'll go ahead and bite my nostalgic ass because I'm a real Texan (born in Nashville but got here as fast as I could).
And now the kids are playing on the Colorado river of our ancestry. So what it was all dammed up in the 1940s.
Greg actually spent a lot of time growing up on this lake water skiing. Here he's using skills from snow boarding, skateboarding, and water skiing to impress his kids that he's not all old, fat, and dried up.
Greg even got over the wake before hot shot Austin ~ hoping that he 'encouraged' his son to do the same... next year, Austin will be doing flips off the wake and Greg will be tending his bad back and weak knees. Such is life.
And girls will not grow up. They won't ever get all grown up for dating and boys and such nonsense. They have promised to live at home forever and stop growing this year... but wait, they promised that last year?!? What the hell? What the hell?
What the hell?
Hell, that's Guy Forsyth again. We love this man and his music. And Shady Grove restaurant.
This was Guy's performance the night before the Families Rock show that we put together at Antones.
Guy had the kids get on stage and announce what the hell was going on with Families Rock.
And this reminded us it has nothing to do with hell. We are living in heaven. It Just Is.
Families Rock Antones with Guy Forsyth was great. See more here.
One of the greatest things that came out of the show at Antones was the story from a father that kept stopping Greg during the show for 'a business card'. Hmmm. Little did he know how we're not much about mission statements, goals, obectives, and little annoyances like business cards. However, Joel Craig became quite the mentor and friend to us.
After the show, Joel contacted us (from a flyer / biz card) and told Greg that this was the first 'rock concert' he had ever been to and he was with his Family ~ two kids and his wife. He was telling us that his daughter was so excited to go on the stage with other kids and mamas during our pre-show dance craziness and she was dancing and moving to the music; she was playing air guitar and could actually feel, see, and hear the music... she's deaf.
Joel invited us to a meeting at the Country Club later that week to help with a benefit for the deaf community. We are sooo not Country Club material. We did however learn much about the deaf community that we did not know.
It made us feel so good to get Joel's feedback and really made the trivial common feedback such as: it's too loud! / where's the chairs! / this isn't kids music / start on time / where's the food / it's too dark... wah, wah, wah. We responded to emails like this something to the effect of ~ Thanks for your feedback. You should check out Austin RocknRomp or Mr. Johnny's events. -FamiliesRock. This actually made one guy so furious that he suggested that his criticism fell on deaf ears and proceeded to teach us how to change the whole Families Rock concept to fit his needs.
Because we don't address this emotionally charged concept on Families Rock: These shows are NOT for kids. They are for Families. We are so sick of events billed as 'Family events' being kid events which is why we do Families Rock shows ~ we're so sick of Wiggles and Barney and barnyard caca for kids and parents that have long outgrown it. We create a night club environment that kids and parents can enjoy together.
At Antones this night, we setup a deal with the club and band to play an early, short set cheap for Families with kids (not an easy sell). We promoted ruthlessly at our cost. We remove chairs to encourage dancing together. We engineer the sound volume to sound loud, but not be loud (judged by our ability to talk in front of the speakers ~ 70-90 db). We produced a pre-show video projection that included 'Fan School' to encourage people to not sit down and watch the show, rather to participate. Other videos include lyrics on screen set to some kick ass Rock n Roll ~ 70s to now. We got on stage to help bring up the energy and get the people that sat down in the front off their butts with their fists pumping in the air and their bodies moving. Parents and kids actually joined us on stage passing out glow sticks, LED flashlights, and lanyards. By the time the band took the stage, the crowd was in a frenzy... rare for a band to experience.
The bitch fest group was identified because of the limited 'bad' feedback all worded the same: the comment that we were trying to teach them 'how to listen to Rock n Roll'; it was too loud; and didn't start on time. They went on to slam our choice of music as the producers and they bitched about the 'devil hands' sign attached to rock that we used (also known as the corna, and commonly used in Austin for the Longhorns). We have another finger sign for you all that can also mean many different things.
Our 'Fan School' video had nothing to do with 'how to listen to Rock n Roll' although it sounds like you all could use this lesson in a live 'Rock Show' setting.
The volume was not too loud to drown out your little bitch fest ~ you were able to actually bitch to each other without screaming.
Live Rock Shows rarely if ever start on time, we ran minutes late (5:30p advertised, 5:35p actual) ~ refer to 'how to listen to Rock n Roll'.
So to those with their little bitch fest in the back left corner identified by those chanting we want Guy, we want Guy: apparently you do need to be taught how to listen to LIVE Rock n Roll, let go, and enjoy a rock show. After you've learned, then maybe you can enjoy a Families Rock produced show as did some 500+ members of Family did that night. Till then... produce your own show or go to your quiet, sit down, calm, and tame shows that you have a plethora to choose from and thanks for chanting we want Guy, we want Guy ~ it actually added a lot to the excitement of the show!
Meanwhile, we let go and jumped right back into enjoying shows around town ~ this is Wide Awake at Freddie's Place.
Gah, you guys were like too loud and didn't start on time... was that a lyric trying to teach us how to listen to Rock n Roll? Nope, think you just said something like c'mon people!!
Mount Bonnell is a great place to get away and look at the Live Music Capitol of the World...
In the distance is the 360 bridge that was way over-engineered for its load. Kinda like a Rock Show production for idiots that still need lessons in 'how to listen to Rock n Roll'. Seriously folks, we let it go until we got to this page. There was only three emails and a blogger slamming the show. The positive feedback was overwhelming.
So we only drowned three idiots and a blogger that really need a lesson in 'how to listen to Rock n Roll'.
Not a great loss.
And if you ever met this guy in a dark alleyway...
Take him to a great Rock Show that engages him, is too loud, and starts late. Then throw his kids in the mix to listen hard for musical authenticity... oh wait, Rock Shows are for letting go and having fun! Right?
Hayden Vitera opened for Vallejo and he sure lets go, has fun, and rocks a mean flying V fiddle. Catch that show if you can.
Meanwhile, we're going to ask Guy Forsyth what he thinks about Families Rock...
Cause it's not like we know him or anything... like he would actually play an early set for Families Rock with the help of the legendary Clifford Antone.
we ums doen naw nuthin jush neadin to gaw un buhk tah dim smuL tuwn krouds bee fur day byew n En da bihg sit tee.
Nah. We'll stick with the friends that matter to us... Thanks Ean.
And all you Families that Rock.
Who have joined us in the music that our kids love and have passion for... Austin could not get his head around this spinny vinyl disc thingie.
We also joined the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players for another show at Cactus. That's world famous Rachel Trachtenburg hanging with our Rock Stars.
And that's a Lujan making a b-day pie for Austin's b-day season.
Love that kid. He's amazing.
September '06 pictures >>