On the Road - 32 Days in - The West Coast

After our must needed rest in Hide River Oregon, we headed to the great city of Portland, Oregon. We were playing another show with our buddies and and and from Portland. I really can't say enough good things about these guys. Great band; awesome guys. I Really hope we can play again with them soon. We played at Bunk Bar. A happening spot, known for good music and good sandwiches. What more do you need?

After Portland it was time to start our descent into California. We made sure to spend plenty of time on the west coast this tour; spending 10 days playing shows in California alone. First on the list was Sacramento. We pulled in late the night before and checked out the neighborhood (which means "go to a bar") and breathed in our fist batch of California air. 

Welcome to California - Keith in Sacramento, CA

We played at Old Ironsides, a fun neighborhood bar that has been around for the better part of a century and will probably be there long after we're gone. On the bill were  2 great bands, one of which

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On the road - 20 days in

You'll be pleased to know we survived our trifecta of marathon drives from Lincoln, NE to Denver CO, to Denver CO, to Boise ID. Thanks to Marc, (our new addition on the road) our driver, roadie, tour-manager-in-training, he rotated in on some grueling drives for us.

Boise was a really nice city. You never know what to expect being that far from home but we had a little time to stroll around downtown and take in the sites and rather enjoyed ourselves. Our show at the Red Room was really fun. The bar reminded me of some of the places we play in Boston, like Great Scott; a friendly neighborhood spot with PBR tall boys and a quality lineup of music each night.

the WANDAS Live at The Red Room - Boise, ID

We had to leave Boise, ID right when the night was over as we had a 9 hour drive

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Kickstarter Campaign Complete, nearly $12,000 raised towards new album!

For those of you following our kickstarter fundraiser; we started about 2 months back on a journey to fund our new album by going directly to our fans. Since we're an independent band we have full control over the direction of our band. Which means we're able to set the price of our music and make it available directly to you in whatever format we want.

Since many of you were already planning on purchasing our album when it came out, it just made sense to allow you to pre-order it with a bunch of other cool merchandise. By pre-ordering the album we were able to fund the recording process.

The campaign was a complete success thanks to your loyalty and support. Now it's time for us record this thing! We're heading to Montreal in a few weeks to start the process. We'll be posting updates on here for you to follow along at home.

Thanks a million!

Ross, Keith, Brent & Will - theWANDAS

theWANDAS SXSW 2010 - Showcase Reviewed

While we were down in Austin, TX for the South By Southwest Music Festival we played 4 showcases. Here is a review of one of our performances. There is an excerpt below but you can read the entire review HERE.

PROBABLY THE BEST LIVE SHOW WE SAW IN AUSTIN -Our St. Patrick's Day got set off with a bang thanks to The Wandas... We are proud to say this Boston act is suddenly (only with much hard work and extensive touring, of course,) one of the best bands in America. As it ended up, they were easily one of the best live shows we saw in Austin last week.

theWANDAS - SXSW 2010 - Photo Credit: 5342 StudiosRead the entire review at Ryan's Smashing Life

theWANDAS advance to 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt Finals @ Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel 04.10.10

When we threw our hat into the ring for the 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt two months ago we didn't give the event much thought. We were on tour somewhere around North Carolina at the time and when we looked at the schedule, we realized we already had shows on 4/5 of the potential Rock Hunt dates.

Assuming that the Rock Gods would sort out the potential scheduling conflicts for us we went ahead on our merry way. When we got the call that we were chosen as 1 of 12 semifinalist out of a couple hundred submissions, we were flattered but figured we'd have to pass because there is no way we could shift around our existing gigs. Well, we lucked out and were selected for the one night we didn't already have a show.

On Saturday night we took the stage for the semifinals after 2 other great young bands finished playing; The Intel & Fighting The Influence. At the end of the night the judges (made up of 4 record label representatives) chose theWANDAS as the band to advance.

So what's next? Less than 1 week after Wilco will be taking the stage at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI, we will be following suit. Along with us will be 3 other excellent New England band's all seeking the title of the 2010 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt Winner.

We'll see you April 10th!

Cheers,

Ross

 

SXSW - Halfway through

We're on day four of our sunny stay in beautiful Austin Texas. The music has been awesome, the weather is perfect and the parties are insane. We Pulled up the RV to a quaint little spot away from the action. Little did we know Levi's was setting up a huge outdoor stage and had Metric playing right in our backyard. Pretty awesome.

We've played 2 showcases so far and both have been great. The first one was a PureVolume event featuring free drinks for everyone in attendance. The lighting rig was setup and maintained by someone who does lights for Cirque du Soleil. Needless to say everything looked and sounded top notch. The venue can hold about 600 people and features acts throughout the week including Jakob Dylan and Neko Case. 

PureVolume Showcase - SXSW Austin, TX 2010. Photo Credit: Laura Hinds

The next night we played the Music Tech Mashup showcase at Rusty Spurs. It was a marathon day of music featuring 45 acts on 3 different stages. Both nights we played with our buddies from back home in McAlister drive. It's always fun to share the stage with hometown bands.

We've got 2 more shows to play and ton of other bands to see. It is Disney World for music lovers down here.

Cheers,

Ross

Gainesville, FL

After our great night in Jacksonville, FL we made our way to our last stop in our Floridian trifecta; The Backstage Lounge in Gainesville, FL. This place was Rock N' Roll at it's finest. $1 beers, a sound system that you could feel in your gut and a stage lighting kit that looks like it was taken from Pink Floyd's Pulse tour.

This night was also the last stop on our little East Coast run (it's funny how a month long tour seems little these days) before we head to South By Southwest in Austin, TX in a couple weeks. There's something about the last show of tour that brings out the best in you. A perfect mix of satisfaction and sorrow.

We met a great band from Orlando, FL called Buffalo Gun who put on an excellent show and gave us some good pointers if we want to hit Orlando the next time we come through Florida.

We drove a couple hours north last night and hit the road this morning. We're passing though from Virginia to Maryland as we speak and the temperature has already dropped 20 degrees since we left Florida. Oh well, Texas is right around the corner.

Thanks to everyone who made it out to see us on this run and to all of the great new people we met. You guys are the best.

See you soon.

Cheers,

Ross 

Jacksonville, FL

We departed Palm Beach and slowly made our way back up to northern Florida. We made sure to go as slow as possible to ensure our maximum exposure to the sun. We decided to splurge a bit and stay at a few campgrounds so we could hit the pool, play shuffle board and horseshoes with other retired couples. 

We passed through the Seminole Indian Casino then up to Orlando to visit some of Keith's family. After a few days of beautiful weather our streak had ended as it was raining when we pulled into Jacksonville. Not to worry it was just a passing storm.

We were looking forward to sharing the stage with our buddies in Longfellow Street. As expected, after our set they blew the crowd away. We had a little extra fun and decided to join them onstage for 2 of their songs and have a full on jam session.

As usual Jacksonville, FL never disappoints. We spent the night sharing stories and playing acoustic jams back at the Longfellow Street house into the early morning.

Looking forward Gainesville, FL tonight!

Cheers,

Ross

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

We've been hitting a lot of cities which we've played before, however we were on our way to a new destination; Palm Beach Gardens, FL; only the second place we've played in FL (Jacksonville being the first) and just eeking out San Antonio, TX for theWANDAS southern most gig.

When we pulled into the parking lot we were greeted by The Bastard Suns; one of the other bands we were playing with that night. It turns out that not only were they being friendly, but they also mistook us for Junkie Rush, the other band that was playing, who coincidentally has the same Gulfstream make and model RV that we have. After meeting the guys and getting some laughs about the mistaken identity we grabbed a bite to eat at one of the nearby eateries.

Brent's dad and step mom have been traveling throughout the east coast and FL for the last month as well and were going to be meeting us at our gig. The funny thing is that they have a near identical RV to us as well. So needless to say when they pulled into the parking lot they got a warm welcome from The Bastard Suns.

The show was great. We had a blast playing and socializing with all of the Boston/northern transplants. It seems everywhere we go there is always at least one, but this place was filled with them. We felt right at home, except for the fact that it was 75 degrees outside. Ah yes, now we're talking.

 

Cheers,

Ross

Atlanta, GA

When we left Knoxville, TN it was snowing. When we arrived in Atlanta, GA it was 50 degrees and sunny. It was finally starting to feel like a southern tour. We rolled into town around 4pm, plenty of time to walk around town for a bit and whip up a batch of my vegan chili in the RV; which we have been living off of for most of the tour.

We were playing the Star Bar which was the first venue we had ever played in Atlanta. We were thrilled to be back. The room is about a 200 person capacity venue that always seems to be packed with live music enthusiasts. This is the 3rd time we've played Atlanta in the last 10 months and I gotta say I really can't wait to go back. It's just such a great music city with friendly people. The bill for the night was no exception. Lera Lynn started off the night with some great country tunes. We played second to a great crowd and the Aristocrats and Ponderosa followed with face-melting sets. Special thanks to Luis and the Pop Death Squad for putting on the show and having us back.

The only downside to the night was that we had a 10 hour drive to  Palm Beach, FL so we couldn't stay and do our usual RV after party. Oh well, there's always next time.

Cheers,

Ross

Charlotte, NC & Knoxville, TN

After leaving our new favorite bar in Raligh, NC (The Black Flower) we headed to one of our old favorite places to play in Charlotte, NC; Snug Harbor. It's funny how even being pretty far from home some places just feel like you drove down the street to play a gig. We pulled into our usual parking spot right next to the venue and said hello to the friendly staff and sound guy.

The night was special, not just because it was Valentine's day, but because we were playing with local favorite and New West recording artist Benji Hughes. We opened the night to a full crowd anticipating a night of good music. After we played, we got to see the friends we've made from the last 2 visits to Charlotte and the new fans who were hearing us for the first time.

After we played, Benji took the stage and delivered two stellar sets. He reminded me of a mix of Leonard Cohen and Julian Casablancas; needless to say that's an impressive combination. Another grand time in Charlotte had by all. We're already looking forward to going back this summer.

Next stop on the tour was a new destination for us; Knoxville, TN. I must say our knowledge about Knoxville prior to our gig was limited to what we learned from The Simpsons episode about their spoof on the World's Fair. We arrived to a chilly 29 degree day. I can't help but feel slightly a little responsible that the same day the band full of northerners arrives, it's freezing outside.

The venue was a lively local hot spot filled with friendly regulars enjoying the free happy hour pizza and the great live entertainment by local act Ben Maney. We were slated to play 2 1-hour sets that night which was fun for us because we typically only get to play for 45 minutes a night. We pulled out a bunch of our songs from our past albums and even threw in a few cover songs.

After we played we chatted with everyone and finally learned more about Knoxville. Despite popular belief (and Simpsons Folklore) there is no wig shop in the Sunsphere.

Next stop, sunny (and hopefully warm) Atlanta GA.

Cheers,

Ross

 

Chicago, IL

Heading out of Minneapolis to Chicago we had a 6-7 hour drive which seemed like a hop skip and a jump compared to what we had just done coming from Seattle to Minneapolis.

Rolling into town we were definitely pumped to be playing a great city like Chicago; especially on a Saturday night when the place is hopping. We were playing The Elbo Room, a great venue with two floors; bands were playing downstairs and there were bars on each level.

The night was packed with 5 bands starting at 8:30pm and ending at 2:30am. We were headlining so we weren't taking the stage until about 1:15am which gave us plenty of time to relax, grab some food and take in the city a bit before we played.

theWANDAS at The Elbo Room, Chicago ILThe show went really well and was broadcasted live online. I know it was a late night, but those who saw it said they really enjoyed it; which was great to hear. After the show we hung out with the venue staff until the last person left the bar. Everyone at the venue is great and needless to say we'll be back at The Elbo Room next leg of the tour.

Cheers,

Ross 

Ross's iPod featured in Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Worcester, MA newspaper, Telegram & Gazette is running a feature on what musician's are listening to. They chose to examine Ross's iPod to see what he was rocking out to. Check out an excerpt from the article below or read the entire article here.

“New Wave Blues”? The title of the theWANDAS’ new CD sums the band up nicely. Both poppy and emotional, the veterans of the Worcester and Boston music scenes cut straight to the core with gorgeous harmonies, startling earnestness, and a sense of indie pop cool that makes the band one of the more fun local listens.

 

We're looking forward to reading more on some of the featured artists.

Read the entire article here

R.I.P. Nani - Nov 21st 1925 - May 15th 2009

For those of you who know Keith and I personally, you know that we come from a tight-knit family who has always been extremely supportive of our work. Recently, one of our greatest supporters has passed away.

Our Grandmother, better known as Nani died in her home last Friday surrounded by loved ones after a battle with cancer. She will be dearly missed, but her life lessons will stay with us forever. She was instrumental in our development as a band as she would encourage us to practice and perform at her home from a very young age, even when our "music" sounded more like nails across a chalk board than rock & roll.

Thanks for everything Nani,

Love Ross & Keith.

Here is the eulogy I wrote/read at her funeral (click "read more"):

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Tour - Day 11 - Easter on The Road

Yesterday was a low-key day filled mostly with traveling from Delaware to Virginia. We had filled in a last minute show in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but we got word yesterday afternoon that show had been cancelled after all. Luckily we hadn't already headed to Pittsburgh because it's about a 5 hour drive out of the way. Instead we decided to head to Virginia early for our show in Richmond on Wednesday. Since our friends in Pendleton live in Richmond and we were playing with them on Wednesday, they offered to let us hang at their place for a few days.

We arrived around 9pm and they were nice enough to let us use their kitchen to make a late-night Easter dinner. Danielle & Keith prepared some ham steaks, mashed potatoes, corn and yams.

Easter on the road : Richmond VA

After dinner we decided to see what Richmond was like and we went for a walk down the street. We're staying right in the middle of a few colleges so there was plenty going on. We went to a bar near by and just relaxed for a bit. It's weird seeing people smoking in bars still. It's been so long since they banned smoking inside buildings, in MA it feels like you never could in the first place. It's a bit of a bummer, but luckily the bars weren't that smokey.

So now we're just hanging around Richmond until Wednesday. After that it's all the way down to Athens Georgia.

Ross & Will breaking the law in Richmond VA

 

Tour - Day 9 - Danbury, CT

We decided to stay in Brooklyn for a little longer since we were only 90 minutes from Danbury, CT. Keith and Will decided to try to make a few extra bucks and do an acoustic performance on the streets of Brooklyn. They made some friends and even had another street musician jump in on guitar. It was a great way to wrap up our time in NYC. Check out the video below!

Then it was on to Cousin Larry's in Danbury CT. I must say, going into the tour I was most uncertain of this venue. Maybe it was the name, maybe it was my lack of familiarity with the location; I'm not sure what it was, however I couldn't have been more wrong. We pulled up and were greeted by a lively staff and group of regulars who were at the bar. We unloaded our equipment and then hit the bus for what has become our pre-show ritual; watching the Simpsons. The band who played before us Panda and Child knew our good friends in 28 Degrees Taurus from Boston, so we felt right at home.

We were the last act and went on around 12:30am. Since there was no one after us we were able to play extra long. We threw in a couple of old ones and even included an jammed out version of Why don't we do it in the road? The crowd was really digging it by the end and we were having a blast. It's safe to say we will be back at Cousin Larry's.

Will's drums looking sharp on stage at Cousin Larry's in Danbury, CT.

Last night we were leaving the club around 2:30am and got pulled over for no real apparent reason; other than the fact we were pulling out from a parking spot and the cop didn't seem to appreciate us doing it in front of him. After a few minutes of running the license and registration, we were let off the hook and proceeded to a local diner where we enjoyed our 3am breakfast.

We're on the road to Wilmington Delaware right now for a show tonight at Bank Shots. Then we have Sunday and Monday off for Easter on the road.

See you in Deleware!

Tour - Day 6 - Manhattan NY

Yesterday was a day of firsts. First time draining the sewage from the bus, first time paying a $20.00 highway toll, first time trying to get a vehicle carrying propane into New York City. The bus has a propane tank that fuels the stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, etc. Well apparently vehicles carrying propane aren't allowed in most tunnels in New York, and in our case; the Holland Tunnel. Pulling up to the tunnel, we were 5 miles from Manhattan, then we had to be re-routed to go over the George Washington bridge which is 20 miles north. After our 40 mile detour we were back on track to the packed streets of NYC rush hour traffic.

Back within 5 miles of the venue, it took us another hour to get through the traffic. Nonetheless it was worth it. We found a big enough parking spot right in front of Lit Lounge. The parking gods were on our side today because we were able to stretch a 1 hour parking spot into 3 hours until the meter maids were off duty, without getting a ticket.

Right when we pulled up we were greeted by our good friends and killer NYC band; Akudama. We were playing with them and pumped to be doing it again; they played our Worcester Kick off show at Ralph's. After unloading and finally being able to relax, we cooked some dinner in the bus and had a few cold ones with Blake and Jay from Akudama. Our relaxation time was cut short when we were informed that the band before us didn't show up; so we had to jump on early.

theWANDAS at Lit Lounge in Manhattan NY

There were a few snafu's like Ross was using the house bass amp that was super low-end heavy and it was rumbling the whole stage; which made it hard to hear anything else in the monitors. The DI box that controls Will's sequencer was kicking in and out, so during "The  Lady" the horn section was abruptly starting and stopping. Even with the technical difficulties we still had a blast. Akudama put on a sick set and we were pumped to play for all of their fans.

Akudama at Lit Lounge in Manhattan NY

Riding high from the night, we decided to push our luck and stick around in our blessed parking spot. We scoured the street for signs and decided we were cleared to stay until 9am without trouble. Ross woke up at 8:50 am to feed the meter only to find what looked like a scene from "I Am Legend". We were the only vehicle on the entire street as far as the eye could see. Looking over we saw the damage; a big sticker on the window and a violation on the windshield. "Street cleaning between 8:30am-9:00am". Baah.

Oh well on to Baltimore! See you tonight at 8x10.

Spread The pabLOVE

The music industry is riddled with stories of self service, deceit, and betrayal; probably more than any other industry. That's why it's so important to share the positive experiences that we come across when working in this field.

On may 17th of 2008 Dangerbird Records co-founder, Jeff Castelaz's 5 year-old son, Pablo, was diagnosed with Wilm's Tumor, a rare form of cancer that surfaces most commonly between 2-5 year olds and effects the kidneys. Since then, Pablo has been undergoing treatment at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) to help him make a healthy recovery.

The greatest judge of a man's character is how he deals with adversity. By forming the pablove foundation, Jeff has turned this gut wrenching scenario into a way to help other people in need.

From their web site:

Each penny donated to the foundation will be matched with our time, our Rolodex, and our reach into the community. CHLA is a stand-alone, not-for-profit institution that has a growing need for community connection.

They also put together and awesome double disc compilation CD featuring Radiohead, Oasis, The Dears, Bloc Party and many more great artists in which $13.88 of every $14.99 goes to the pablove foundation.

You can help the cause by donating to the pablove foundation. Every bit helps!