Stretta had a great run of shows over the Summer with some great highlights. The Nashville Shores 4th of July event, playing the Hollywood Casino again in Cincy and The annual Riverbend Festival in Clifton, TN. That was a really great time. The whole city turned out. We followed a great up and coming artist who's already made a name for herself as an actress Jana Kramer.
We also said goodbye to our longime regular stop in Louisville, Jim Porter's Good Time Emporium. It was a very unique place to say the least. Often what was going on in the crowd was way more interesting that what we were doing on stage.
We also got to kick off the NHL season playing downtown in the heart of Nashville.
It's been a while since we've played one of our old haunts near Cincinnati in Lawrenceburg, IN. For years we played the regular circuit at the Argosy Casino. Now, it's known as the Hollywood Casino. We'll be back there this Friday performing at the new and improved 'Hollywood on the Roof' club. It's going to be a great time. Come on out!
Well Kiddies...if you're in NashVegas this week. You may have noticed an enless sea of cowboy boots and Daisy Dukes..
That can only mean one thing..It's CMA Fest week. As if parking downtown wasn't hard enough..pretty much all parking meters have no parking bags on them, the garages hike the prices and it's like a video game dodging inebriated pedestrians.
So, Stretta wants you to be safe out there..and come visit us playing Sunday eve at Dick's Last Resort on 2nd Ave.
Ray and Kenny will be wearing their Daisy Dukes..
This past weekend our fearless little band of misfits made their way to Ohio for two shows. Both at the Hollywood Casinos. One in Columbus and the other in Dayton. The shows went off without a hitch, But, not without Jon squaking like Peter Brady singing Sunshine Day..(thank you allergy season) and Glen getting into an arm wrestling match with the sound man.
We observed a nice lady who won a brand new car. She opted for the payout instead of the actual car. Smart move..that's a lot of taxes to pay.
And it's always a highlight to pass by the Big Butter Jesus..we prefer the pre inferno Jesus to the new one.
We had enthusiasctic crowds at both performances. They danced. They sang along. They offered us drinks that we couldn't accept. We even got to see and hang with our ol pal and sometime Stretta fill in Val Cardelli. Good times all around.
Coming up are a few Nahsville shows..then up to Kentucky to play the KY Downs Raceway.
Happy Summer everyone!
Let's go back a few years..it was our beloved Debra's last 'gig' with us. It was also the night of the 'Nashville flood'.
We were playing a wedding reception downtown at the famous Hermitage Hotel. Check out the video.
It's been way too long since I sent out a dispatch! The judge finally lifted the gag order, and I can now discuss Stretta in public again. There have been many changes in Strettaland. First, long-time Stretta vocalist, Debra, has moved on to greener pastures. Literally! She joined an agricultural cult living somewhere in the Smoky mountains. We wish Debra (now known as Starshine Moonbunny) all the best in her new life! Our new vocalist is a great singer named Happiness. She is doing well acclimating to the Stretta way of life, but it is difficult for a novice to adjust to an all-fried-food diet. She's making great progress!
Bassist Kenny has been away for a few gigs "vacationing". His initial "Vacation" was scheduled for 11 months and 29 days, but there's hope it may be shortened. Some Nashville Strettites may have seen Kenny with other D.O.C. "vacationers" working under the I65 overpass. Wave and honk if you see him!!
Our recent travels took us to Michigan. It was our second trip up to the casino in New Buffalo. The first trip was harrowing! Just as brave Aeneas, fleeing the burning Troy, faced constant struggles in his travels (and we all can agree that a fleeing Trojan is a problem), so too did Jon and I face 80 mph winds, trees coming down, trashcans flying, and an encounter with furries before we reached our destination. This time however, it was smooth sailing. No problems to report.
I thought I would share with you some highlights from Stretta's recent tour of the great state of Alabama.
Our journey began in Huntsville. We had come down to play a wedding reception in a barn. That's right, a barn. It's not the first time we've played in a barn, either. There were horses, goats, cows, approximately 250 barn cats, and a jackass. No, I don't mean Ray! It was an actual donkey, and of the non-human members of our crowd that night, I think the donkey liked us the best. It was hot that night. At one point, a lady decided that due to the heat, she would just wear her bra. And why not? It's a wedding reception in a barn, after all. Go crazy! Later in the evening, the bride and bridesmaids joined us on stage and engaged in bodily gyrations normally observed on the Discovery Channel or Cinemax's late-night programming. I foresee a back support brace and possibly a chiropractor in the groom's future.
The next day, we traveled to Tuscaloosa for a performance at Paul Bryant Stadium. The load-in was brutal with the Sun baking us and the siroccos searing our skin, but we prevailed. At about an hour before downbeat, Ray Balz suddenly exclaimed, "Oh cwap! I tink dat I fuhgot tuh bring uh shurt foe-er tuhnight, oveh dere!" Raymond placed the chicken-fried poptart that he had been eating on his snare drum and sprinted out of the room. If you can recall the speed at which Luke Skywalker's X-wing fighter flew across the surface of the Death Star, you'll be close to the speed that Ray reached driving out of the parking lot. It was just like Beggar's Canyon, back home! Fortunately and not for the first time, Stretta was saved by a close proximity to J.C. Penney's. Ray purchased suitable attire and returned in time to finish his chicken-fried poptart, still waiting on the snare drum, and start the evening's Big Rock Show. We had a guest vocalist that night, and an audience determined to stay at least 150 yards from us at all times. Historically, Stretta has had to keep certain distances from certain individuals due to restraining orders, but this time it was a little different.
The Stretta Band was back in full force this past weekend! It was good to have the gang back. Ray Balz had recently completed his court-ordered community service for what the circuit judge deemed the "most blatant abuse of the Take-a-Penny-Leave-a-Penny Honor System that I've ever come across in all my years on the bench". So it was good to have the team back together.
We descended on the Indigo Planetoid club in beautiful Lebnun, Tennessee. As you know, the weather is getting warmer and romance is in the air! Igor Stravinsky himself couldn't have imagined a greater scene of pagan fertility rituals than was witnessed last Friday. Ah, the rites of spring! There she was: tight "Daisy Dukes" covering only what was legally required, cowboy hat, cowboy boots, tight-white-somewhat see-thru tank-top, barbed-wire tattoo around the upper thigh area. And her partner/opponent: black "Dale Earnhardt 'Intimidator'" t-shirt stretched tight over the beer-belly. It was dirty dancin' "Lebnun" style! And even though no one puts Baby in the corner, they were in the corner...and on the floor...and on the pool table..and up against the wall! There was definitely some kind of spawning occurring, and while it isn't wise to judge a book by it's cover, I'm pretty sure he wasn't boldly going where no man has gone before...
As a strange coda to our night, Mrs. Ray Balz came to the show and announced to the band that Raymond has four of what most men only have two.
And that is all I will ever say on that subject!
Hey Strettites and all Fried-food and Fructose Fans! I haven't abandoned you. Though it has been many moons since I've written, you've been constantly in my thoughts. So don't cry for me, Argentina. The Stretta Band rolls on through thick and thin. As always, the obstacles are many, the danger is real. Of many episodes, consider these two:
"Out of gas, out of luck"
The band was booked to play in the Burg of Lawrence recently. Some members of the group met up at a gas station to carpool. While there, they purchased- Slim Jims, Doritos, pork rinds, Mountain Dew Supernova, Cadbury Creme eggs, air fresheners, more Doritos, hot dog, a "burrito", Teddy Grahams, Coca-cola Zero, a Maglite, a cassette of Foghat's Greatest Hits, another bag of Doritos, teriyaki-flavored beef jerky, a box of Whoppers, and a Diet Pepsi. Then, they left. Shortly after, they ran out of gas on the interstate because no gasoline was purchased. At least there were provisions. Fortunately, we made it to the gig and had a huge success. The owner told us, "You guys even had the crackheads dancing!" The club closed permanently the following Monday.
"Stretta fought the law and the...
"We had an engagement at Tennessee's University in Martin. Always a fun crowd, we look forward to all our shows out there. The place was packed, the crowd ready, the band took the stage, and the house was rockin'! Perhaps a little too much because soon the police department was called to shut us down. We were ordered to stop. Tensions were high. The young scholars began chanting, "F--- the Popo!" Cool-headed Raymond Balz formed a plan- "Do yooz guys tink dat if I slip duh poe-leese offisuh a five, dat we can make all uh dis go away, oveh dere?" We informed Ray that he should NOT follow through on that plan. Instead, we opted to pack up and go get pizza. Which we did.
Then we got lost in Martin.
For over an hour...
Greetings Strettites, It's been a long time since I've written. The Strettaband has been traveling the world over. The Rock and Roll (and French fry) odyssey has continued. And like the wandering Odysseus, we faced many perils, overcame insurmountable obstacles, witnessed many strange and unsettling events, and ate fried foods like there was no tomorrow. Here are a few tales: "Well, All Right!" We were playing in Bowling Green, KY when Jon was abducted by Frat boys and forced (at gunpoint) to drink shot after shot of alcohol. At least that's the story Jon tells, and he's sticking to it. That night, Jon proceeded to explore his interest in avant garde music by playing the chord progression to a ballad completely backwards, singing a rousing rendition of "Love Shack", and repeatedly yelling "Well, all right!" into the microphone. "Man Down" We were playing in Indianapolis, IN. Kenny, our bass picker and bass fisher, was playing an inspired set. It's a surprise to many to learn that while it's true that Kenny is a diehard NASCAR fan and an avid collector of Jenna Jameson films, he's also a huge fan of the Russian Ballet and often incorporates ballet into his signature stage moves. This night however, it went horribly wrong! While spinning, young Kenny lost his balance and crashed backwards into the sound console. Ever the Rock and Roll warrior, he jumped back up without missing a note. That's when we noticed the blood gushing. He had torn his face open. The blood flowed. Debra had to take Kenny to the emergency room where he received five stitches. However, the night wasn't over. The Stretta Gang had another gig in Florida. We picked young Kenny and Debra up at midnight and departed. 97 hours later we arrived in Florida. It took a little longer than usual because Raymond Magellan Balz thought that we should go north around the Great Lakes to get to Florida. That's not the most direct route, I'm afraid. "Non-sexual Man Crush" The Stretta juggernaut had rolled into Evansville, IN to play a reception for a member of a major league baseball team. Upon arrival, Jon noticed that there was something different about Ray this time. Ray had cut his hair, shaved (including his neck as Jon observed), was wearing a suit (often, Ray wears swim trunks and a worn t-shirt with "Where's the Beef?" still legible on the front to our gigs), and probably the most unusual thing of all, Ray had brought extra Biggie Fries. We realized that Ray had a Seinfeldian Non-sexual Man crush! That's where you are trying hard to become a side kick. The extra fries was the most damning piece of evidence. Ray shares French fries with no one. There you have it, Strettites. Just a pinhole glimpse into the recent world of Stretta. The road goes on forever and the French fries never end...
Hey Strettites, This past weekend saw the band roll up to Cincinnati, OH for the first of two glorious weekends at the Argosy Casino. We were without the services of Ray Balz for this show (Ok, go ahead, make all the "Stretta's got no Balz" jokes that you want). Raymond was in Atlantic City, NJ, attending the 54th Annual Deep Fryers Convention. We had a special guest star, Spoons, from the infamous Trailer Park Troubadours on drums for this show. Upon arrival, it was learned that Debra, our singer, didn't have the proper identification and was denied access. This was quite a predicament as Jon, our other singer, was also absent (he sustained multiple head wounds at our last performance and was out on medical leave). The situation was turning grim for our heroes so phone calls were placed, favors cashed in, alliances were created, and back room deals went down. With literally minutes to go, Debra was granted clearance and the show was on! And what a show it was! The place was rockin', the crowd was out of control. The highlight of the evening came when a lady in a wheelchair stood up and started dancing (this actually happened). Extraordinary! Awe-inspiring! It was another Stretta Miracle...
It was yet another weekend of debauchery, hedonism,
and fried foods for the Stretta gang. Friday night
found our heroes playing the Bunganut Pig in
Murfreesboro, TN. The highlight of the evening was
probably the drunken, young lady who fell over the
monitor and lay spread-eagle on the stage floor. It
was especially appreciated by longtime Strettite
Lowell and newcomer Jason. The evening was capped off
by a rousing, impromptu version of "Love Shack" that
was requested by a bacchanalian bachelorette party
that had entered the building.
On Saturday, the team took to the road and trekked to
the teaming megapolis of Owensboro, KY to play the
infamous Executive Inn. Ahh, the Executive Inn, the
state of the art in 1958 hotel architecture. It was a
good room, kinda groovy. Things started roughly as we
were plagued by equipment failure and the amazing,
vanishing soundman. Fortunately, to our aid came our
newest, favorite superheroine - Cakegirl!!! She
provided the band with what it needed most - lots of
sugar-laden desserts. Disaster was averted, lives
Until next time my friends, remember the immortal
words of Raymond Balz- "If you can fry it, you can eat