Aug 21 2015
Guitarist Chris Schlarb, whose music I’ve raved about on this site repeatedly, completed a solo tour in 2014 in support of his new album Making the Saint.
His Twitter feed was incredibly entertaining to follow. I’ve decided to embed a compilation of the post-show tweets. The tweets included here all have the same format: a few words about how the show went, a tangential comment, and a tally of his progress on recouping his financial investment in the tour. I think these tweets are illuminating, succinct glimpses into the mindset of a touring musician. The only other musician I’ve seen that does anything resembling this on a consistent basis is Ken Vandermark (and his is a Twitter feed also worth following).
In any event, here begins the Chris Schlarb tour tweets travelogue. Visit his Twitter page for even more tour tweets, which often focus on side-trips in between shows and pre-show observations. Also, at the foot of this column, be sure to check out some announcements about current & upcoming Chris Schlarb projects.
July 1 – Hitting the Road
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 1, 2014
July 5 – Phoenix, AZ – Trunk Space
Trunk Space 7/5/14: Small, enthusiastic crowd. Mind clear, fingers loose. Good night music. UFC 175 dreams. Made: $40. In the hole: $3,460. — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 6, 2014
July 6 – Santa Fe, NM – High Mayhem
High Mayhem 7/6/14: Bizarre set included trio improv, solo drone meditation, two covers, and a folk song. Made: $60. In the hole: $3,400.
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 7, 2014
July 8 – Denton, TX – House Show
Denton House Show 7/7/14: Intimate setting allows for explanations, detours, premiere of new PT III song. Made: $150. In the hole: $3,250. — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 8, 2014
July 8 – Dallas, TX – Good Records
Good Records 7/8/14: First performance on AstroTurf. Best “Bird” whistling yet. Small crowd with big ears. Made: $60. In the hole: $3,190.
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 9, 2014
July 9 – Austin, TX – MASS Gallery
MASS Gallery 7/9/14: The guitar called & the audience responded. Natural reverb is the perfect sound pillow. Made: $335. In the hole: $2,855 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 10, 2014
July 10 – San Antonio, TX – Sala Diaz
Sala Diaz 7/10/14: Lovely duet improv with Justin Boyd on modular synth. I got an audience for my birthday. Made: $235. In the hole: $2,620
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 11, 2014
July 11 – Houston, TX – Alabama Song
Alabama Song 7/11/14: Opened with “Everybody” and the joke landed. Warm, smart crowd. Don’t mess with Texas. Made: $185. In the hole: $2,435 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 12, 2014
July 15 – Nashville, TN – Stone Fox
Stone Fox 7/15/14: Post-FAME residue. Inside the sound. Unbelievers sat in darkness before seeing the light. Made: $125. In the hole: $2,310
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 16, 2014
July 16 – Athens, GA – Cine
Ciné 7/16/14: Shiny happy people in the Psychic Temple. Another new set list provided legitimate denouement. Made: $110. In the hole: $2,200 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 17, 2014
July 18 – Lynchburg, VA – Speakertree Records
Speakertree 7/18/14: New setlist, new devotees, new problems, new solutions, new wineskins, old wine. Made: $125. In the hole: $2,075
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 19, 2014
July 19 – Richmond, VA – Plan 9 Records (Afternoon)
Plan 9 Records 7/19/14: Afternoon show without breakfast. I was hungry and Richmond fed me. Sweetest sounds. Made: $240. In the hole: $1,835 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 19, 2014
July 19 – Charlottesville, VA – Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar (Evening)
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar 7/19/14: 2nd show of the day, like Phil Collins at Live Aid. Transcended the void. Made: $135. In the hole: $1,700
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 20, 2014
July 20 – Washington DC – Union Arts DC
Union Arts DC 7/20/14: Structures becoming more fluid. “Saint” never felt more surprising. Heavy listeners. Made: $110. In the hole: $1,590 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 21, 2014
July 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Ortlieb’s Lounge
Ortlieb’s 7/22/14: Fought against sound and silence all night. A few moments of invention. Wisdom is pain. Made: $115. In the hole: $1,475
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 23, 2014
July 23 – New York, NY – New Amsterdam Records
New Amsterdam 7/23/14: A perfect sounding room. A divine trinity. A race of angels bound with one another. Made: $245. In the hole: $1,230 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 24, 2014
July 25 – Rochester, NY – Vineyard Community Space
Vineyard 7/25/14: Another fork in the road of trials. As Watt told me, “Payment isn’t always in the coin.” Made: $65. In the hole: $1,165 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 26, 2014
July 26 – Buffalo, NY – El Museo
El Museo 7/26/14: From darkness to light. Interstellar gradient ascension. Symbiotic duet with Alfred Brown. Made: $165. In the hole: $1,000
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 27, 2014
July 27 – Athens, OH – Donkey Coffee
Donkey Coffee 7/27/14: Expectant audience at matinee show. Trust allowed for risk taking and full impartation. Made: $120. In the hole: $880 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 28, 2014
July 28 – Cincinnati, OH – Heligator House
HeligatorHouse 7/28/14: Three song, 20 minute encore. Another Psychic Temple III debut. I’m living on the air. Made: $100. In the hole: $780
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 29, 2014
July 29 – Owensboro, KY – Daviess County Public Library
DCPL 7/29/14: A measured dispensation of pop, folk, drone, & soul. Owensboro is the Alexandria of the south. Made: $445. In the hole: $335 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 30, 2014
July 30 – Indianapolis, IN – Joyful Noise Recordings
Joyful Noise 7/30/14: Best performance of the tour. Best of last tour too. Corey Barnes engineered both shows. Made: $175. In the hole: $160
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) July 31, 2014
July 31 – Goshen, IN – Ignition Music
Ignition 7/31/14: Incredible venue with exuberant crowd. Hey hey, my my. Out of the blue and into the black. Made: $330. In the black: $170 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 1, 2014
August 1 – Chicago, IL – Comfort Station
Comfort Station 8/1/14: On a streak where every show feels great. Performing without judgement. Lovely crowd. Made: $165. In the black: $335
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 2, 2014
August 2 – Oshkosh, WI – Oshkosh Masonic Center
OMC 8/2/14: The flock gathered at my feet and together we travelled across the witching hour. Unforgettable. Made: $555. In the black: $890 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 3, 2014
August 3 – Iowa City, IA – Public Space One
Public Space One 8/3/14: Down 15lbs, tired, & sick. Almost couldn’t perform. I gave them everything I had. Made: $145. In the black: $1,035
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 4, 2014
August 4 – Wichita, KS – Track House
Track House 8/4/14: Fever playing. Inexact but honest. As Falls Wichita So Falls The Psychic Temple Walls. Made: $245. In the black: $1,280 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 5, 2014
August 5 – Denver, CO – Leon Gallery
Leon Gallery 8/5/14: Fourth day with fever. Details are hazy. Power jamming the Psychic Temple regardless. Made: $130. In the black: $1,410
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 6, 2014
August 6 – Salt Lake City, UT – Diabolical Records
Diabolical Records 8/6/14: Fifth day with 100° fever. Went to ER instead of show. Last two gigs are still on. Made: $0. In the black: $1,410 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 8, 2014
August 8 – San Francisco, CA – Holy Innocents Episcopal Church
Holy Innocents 8/8/14: Came not to bring peace but a sword. Beautiful acoustics. Guitar & voice returned. Made: $130. In the black: $1,540
— Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 10, 2014
August 9 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Boo Boo Records
Boo Boo Records 8/9/14: Last show of tour. Improvisation + three songs. Drove home and slept in my own bed. Made: $30. In the black: $1,570 — Chris Schlarb (@schlarb) August 10, 2014
All Done – Show Over
In the wake of the tour conclusion, I asked Chris a handful of questions. Here’s a composite of his responses.
Favorite shows? Best memories are from Brooklyn, Indianapolis, Goshen and Oshkosh. Favorite side trip was the few days I spent in New Orleans… no show there, and it was completely magical. I was also able to see [former collaborator & pedal steel guitarist with the Brian Blade Fellowship] Dave Easley play a trio set, complete with Zappa, Allman Brothers & Beatles covers, plus the old jazz standard “Moonlight In Vermont”.
My thoughts on the tour as a whole was that it was a completely insane thing to do. It was also very successful creatively and personally. I learned a lot about myself as a performer. I challenged myself both musically and intellectually. Biggest challenge? Well, performing solo, and the complete lack of dynamics that a band gives you. I worked on my set, performance, and concept for months ahead of time in an effort to put on a great show. I tried my best to meet the challenge head-on. I’m proud of the hard work I put into the show and the tour.
Of course, I don’t look at this tour as the end of anything. I’ll be back on the road next fall with the band. It’s part of a continuum. You can’t win at music.
That’s not to say he isn’t trying… Released today is Schlarb’s soundtrack to the video game Dropsy. You can check that out on his Bandcamp page. Also, Chris Schlarb has two new recordings in the works. There’s the third installment of the Psychic Temple series due out Spring 2016 on Asthmatic Kitty. Follow developments about this recording on his website’s blog.
Also on the verge is a new album, titled Music For Bus Stops. It’s comprised of two long-form pieces with an 11-piece ensemble. It’s live in studio, no edits, no overdubs. The first track, “Music For Bus Stops,” was composed by Schlarb and Tabor Allen. The second track is a rendition of the opening salvo from Brian Eno’s classic ambient meditation, Music For Airports.
Here’s the ensemble: Chris Schlarb (electric guitar), Tabor Allen (drums, percussion), Philip Glenn (Hammond organ), Danny T. Levin (trombonium, euphonium, marching baritone, valve trombone), Paul Masvidal (electric guitar), Curt Oren (baritone sax), Cathlene Pineda (Wurlitzer electric piano), Sheridan Riley (drums, percussion), Kris Tiner (trumpet), David Tranchina (double bass) and Mike Watt (electric bass).
In the meantime, browse various articles about Schlarb’s music on this site. This LINK should take you to them.