Singer/songwriters Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr have created the new band Blue Sky Riders, and were profiled by Huff/Post50 in February. The band will release their debut self-titled album "Blue Sky Riders" on January 22, 2013 and will be chronicling their experiences as a band in this blog.
Winnie the Pooh is waving us onto the stage. The lawn is filled with mommies and their infants who applaud politely as Kenny, Georgia and I squeeze past Pooh (he IS a chubby old bear!) and take our places to play three songs for the grand opening of Disney's new Baby Store. (I was disappointed to arrive and discover a full-sized store.)
We are expected to play "House at Pooh Corner," and two Blue Sky Riders songs before the store doors are thrown open and the mommies run in to find the latest in Tinkerbell-related child wear. This is perfect. A baby band playing for a baby store! Baby bands show up where they are invited and are happy to play for anyone, anytime, anywhere. To Kenny this has to be very weird indeed. This is a small gig for a guy who once sang on "We Are The World." For me, this is all pretty darn cool. Disney treats us first class, giving us a condo to get ready in and a delicious breakfast while we wait ... all in the gorgeous city of Glendale, California (though it does creep me out a little eating bacon in front of Piglet). And I get to meet Eeyore!
I could get used to this! Kenny is definitely NOT used to this.
We have always known in our heads what being a brand-new band on the road would be like, but we are starting to actually experience it now and it is daunting! No radio station is apparently too small or newspaper interview too early in the morning to turn down. Got a club? Want us to play? We will be there and we will ignore the strange smell coming out of the dressing room mini-fridge.
You know what I find interesting? When we started this project, I envisioned hitting the road as a fairly unknown band -- we DO have relatives! -- would mean the three of us climbing into a station wagon and driving into small Stephen King-like towns, carrying our guitars ourselves and getting paid in twenty dollar bills at the end of the night while we looked suspiciously at the lump in the club owner's jacket and wondered if it was a gun.
That is not what we are doing. Somehow while we slept this "thing" grew into something resembling a professional tour. Our managers (we suddenly have managers ... and accountants!) advise us that perception is a huge part of the game. If we show up looking like a successful band, then the audience thinks we are already successful and they want to find out who we are in case they missed something cool. Or something like that.
Here is our tiny tour: We are hitting the road with a three-piece backing band of amazing players, a bus, a big banner to hang behind our drummer, a road manager, a second road manager to wrangle us into our occasional TV or radio appearance, a monitor guy, a guitar tech ... Have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes... our merch person. (We have t-shirts. They do not have our faces on them. That leap I am not ready to make.) This is our baby band? Yikes. This baby is so big it would crush the Disney store if it sat on it.
Back at the Glendale store it is hot out. It will hit about 90 today and I have great sympathy for whoever the young boy or girl in the bright yellow Pooh suit is. We are about to entertain the kiddies -- just like Pooh has been hired to do -- but we at least don't have to do it wearing felt.