Las Vegas: City of Sax
DAY 1 | Los Angeles, CA, to Las Vegas, NV
Who is writing this?
Where are you right now?
I am currently sitting on the couch inside the RV while Watson cooks eggs. We are waiting for the pool to open at our RV park, which is actually the pool at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.
What did you do today?
I’ll actually start with Wednesday night. Wednesday night we had a dinner party at our house called “The Last Supper.” We took a break from packing our things and loading the bus to eat a home-cooked meal around our dinner table. There were ten of us in attendance. My girlfriend Brooke made a vegetarian lasagna, which was incredibly delicious and I ate way too much. My roommate Jake made burgers and brats, and his girlfriend Katie made a salad. It was nice to celebrate our going-away with friends and relax with a glass of wine.
Thursday I woke up at 7AM at Brooke’s house, Billy picked me up in his car, and we headed home to Culver City. We finished packing the bus and hit the road. Billy and Watson drove Billy’s car, while Mike, Zack, and myself hold it down in the bus. We drove to Las Vegas, where we are currently staying in an RV park at Circus Circus.
The bus has been driving pretty smoothly. Slow on hills, which there have been a decent amount of. We set up a camera on the dashboard and filmed a “DashCast” where Mike and I discuss our current situations and what's going on with the project. The mics were kind of messed up. You live, and you learn. We’re going to post it anyway.
When we arrived in Vegas, Watson cooked tacos and we got some work in order on our computers. Then we hit the streets and went to Fremont street to look for talent. It was alright — lot of bar-room covers like Hotel California, Red Red Wine, and Free Bird. We eventually decided to pack it up because we hadn’t found anybody good. On our way home we ended up finding the person we were looking for.
Stacey AKA Big Sax was playing to almost nobody on the street. His saxophone had an enormous amount of reverb on it, and he was playing along with some R&B instrumentals. We approached him and asked if he was cool with us filming. He asked if we were musicians and immediately started telling us his story.
We recorded one of his original songs and scheduled to meet back at the same corner tonight to record some sax for our cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” At that point we went to the Bellagio to see if there was some talent over by the strip. There wasn’t.
What was the best music you heard today?
On the drive to Vegas we listened to My Morning Jacket’s “Z” which is one of my favorite albums of all time. I haven’t listened to it in a while. Billy and I saw My Morning Jacket play at the Shrine Auditorium about a year ago. Jim James is an excellent performer and the show blew me away.
Are you nervous and/or excited right now?
I am more excited than I am nervous. I don’t have much room for nervousness at the moment. When I was on a plane back from Paris a couple months ago, I ate an edible marijuana candy and I became very nervous and paranoid that I had made the wrong decision by quitting my job and starting this project. In my head, I couldn’t understand why anybody would care about this, or how we would actually accomplish any of our goals. I got pretty close to deciding I was going to quit the project. When I got un-high, I realized that I had overreacted. From that point I decided that being nervous isn’t going to help us get anything done. So I guess since then I’ve just shut any nerves out of my mind.
Are there any improvements to be made?
There are a few, definitely. I think we can figure out a system for getting more footage of our traveling — it’s hard because 2/5 of our group is driving at all times. So maybe we can figure out a way to have the non-shooting members of the crew drive. In terms of our gear, I think we are just starting to get to a point where we know what we need to take, how to pack it, and who is responsible for it. That will come with time, I’m sure.