The day before I was ready to go on the road for a lengthy tour with singer Phoebe Snow, they suddenly announced to me that I was not only the lead guitarist, but I was in fact now the "musical director"! Of course, it was good in the sense that I received an unexpected raise right before the tour, but it was a sudden additional level of responsibility that was rather unexpected, and one that came with all kinds of craziness!
And "crazy" really defined that tour, as we had our share of bus nightmares, audience problems, logistical problems, and band members who really didn’t cut it! They fired the first musical director just one day before I became the "new" one, and since the musical director was the keyboard player, and a fine one at that, they stuck me with an awful keyboardist who they had heard in a Holiday Inn lounge! I wish I could’ve had a say in THAT decision, as it totally held the band back! Don’t get me wrong, the new guy was a wonderful person, but his chops were way down from what we needed! The band as a whole didn’t really gel, either, but the funniest thing about the tour was that since Phoebe never liked to go to the sound checks, we started to use those sound checks as fun jams and "clowning around" sessions that ended up becoming, unbeknownst to me, the rehearsals for most of my next solo album!
I ended up using the same rhythm section (minus the piano player!) and re-hired the old musical director and keyboardist, Dean Kraus, along with Ivan Elias on bass, and the wonderful Michael Braun on drums and percussion. It felt really good to go from the road to the studio with those guys, as we had now become fast friends, and had such a good musical rapport with each other! Not to metion, we had those 30 or so sound checks that Phoebe never came to, so we could polish up our tunes, and get them ready for the recording! Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!