A Quail Tale Blog Post by Bryon White
Suck it, empty page.
Often times, when I'm trying to figure out how to get one of these fucking blog posts started, I type that four word declarative sentence at the top of the page. Once I've actually begun hacking away at the empty expanse of whiteness on the screen, I usually go back and delete it before posting the final product so as not to come off like some kind of lunatic that threatens and berates his own word processing program. But this time is different.
This time, it's personal.
It's been almost two whole months since I successfully completed my first (and hopefully last) inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program, and this empty page has been leering at me from the shadows every since I got out. It taunts me, ridiculing my lack of creativity and output with all the elegance of a pissed off fifth grader refusing to give up the tether ball pole at recess. You'd think that 142 days free of any and all chemical influence on my beat up old brain would at least result in some sort of creative uptick or literary clarity, but you'd be wrong.
Dead, flat, fucking wrong.
As far as writing goes, I'm a little bit lost as of late. I'm uncertain of what I want to say, if I even want to say anything, and how to say whatever it is that I may or may not even want to say in the first place. It's as mentally exhausting as reading that last fucking sentence. I'm not saying that drugs made me creative, nor am I saying I can't be creative without drugs. Truth be told, I don't know what the fuck I'm saying. I'm just trying to say something to prove to myself that I still can while intermittently cursing without losing what's left of my goddamn mind
...he types, as he loses what's left of his goddamn mind...
Due to certain restrictions attached to the terms of my probation, the number of shows I can play and the venues at which I can play them is pretty limited. Thank God (or more accurately, thank Greg Johnson) for the Blue Door and it's policy of not serving alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, you'd likely have to make a trip to Rob's Ranch in Purcell and crash some random client's transition ceremony to see me play again for the remainder of 2018. Lucky for you, the best listening room in the WORLD is still a viable option for me, and it's esteemed and fearless owner Greg Johnson still loves me and my tunes. And with that...
Gabriel Marshall and I will be performing a Damn Quails acoustic show on April 28th, 2018 at the one and only Blue Door in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I'm excited about it, and excitement is a lot farther between jumps on this side of sobriety. It promises to be a great evening of music, and I'm looking forward to sharing the stage with one of my oldest partners in musical crime. I've always made my best music with Gabriel Marshall and playing songs on the Blue Door stage again feels less like a concert and more like finally coming home. Get your tickets early at www.bluedoorOKC.com or get them at the door if you're a fellow procrastinator. The first set will be songs from Out of the Birdcage, along with some covers by the Red Dirt songwriters that we stole our best stuff from. The second set will be a front-to-back performance of Down the Hatch, the record that started our whole red dirty mess of a musical career, recorded and produced in the dark corners of Mike McClure's creepy ass basement.
UPDATE: Since writing this post last week, a few additional dates have been added to the performance schedule. On April 6th, I'll be playing a solo gig (with my good pal Buffalo Rogers on sideman duty) at Victory Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. The event is called the Unity Recovery Revival 2018, and the proceeds from this gig will go to Brothers In Recovery, a sober living operation headed up by my friend Chris Flannery in Choctaw, Oklahoma. BIR provides a sober living environment for recovering addicts and alcoholics transitioning from inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facilities back into the real world. The money we raise at Unity Recovery Revival 2018 will go towards a scholarship to Rob's Ranch for a still suffering alcoholic/addict that wants to get the help they so desperately need. It's a cause I'm very close to and I hope you folks and folkettes will make your way out and watch me and Buffalo plunk around on some songs. Tickets are $15 and doors are at 6pm on April 6th at Victory Church in Edmond.
Speaking of good causes...
In the way back when of 2010, Gabriel Marshall and myself began playing the late night slot on Monday nights at the world famous Deli in Norman, Oklahoma. In those early days, our crowd was small in number but mighty in spirit, and every time we said the f word, everyone drank Jagerbombs. Those early days at my favorite bar are a little hazy, but there were two people that were mainstays of that fiercely loyal following, and so long as they were in the crowd, we had no fear of taking that next Jagerbomb because Zac was a paramedic and his date Brenna was an emergency room nurse. They had their first date watching our drunk asses play music at the Deli, and a few years down the road, they got engaged watching our drunk asses play music at their cabin at Lake Eufala. Things came full circle when they got married, and wouldn't you know it, our drunk asses were right there playing music at their wedding, too. Zac and Brenna Reeves are two incredibly kind, caring, amazing people that have been fans of The Damn Quails since before we actually called ourselves The Damn Quails. Their son Jack had a little trouble coming into this world, and every since Jack was born, we've done our best to play the annual Jammin' For Jack benefit concert to raise some cash for our friends to help out with Jack's medical expenses, and this year, we're glad to be back in action. On May 12th at Hollywood Corners in Norman, Oklahoma, The Damn Quails will be taking the stage with the full on Quail Philharmonic backing us up. This will be the first full band Quail show since I checked myself into rehab, and needless to say I've been itching to play some fucking rock and roll music. Get as many friends and family members as you can wrangle up and come enjoy an evening of music with us while raising dough for a truly worthy cause.
I want to take this last paragraph and thank each and every one of you that sent me letters, care packages, and good vibes when I was in rehab. I had hoped to send thank you notes to everybody individually, but treatment required a lot more energy and attention than I ever could have imagined and I know I missed some of you in the process. I'm truly humbled by all of your support and I love the shit out of each and every one of you. I've been traveling down a rough road the last few years and I never would have made it to treatment (or through it) without the love and solidarity of the friends and family and the folks that consider themselves fans of my music. I've never had an overabundance of optimism. I tend to believe that the glass is half full, but most times that glass is half full of shit that isn't really worth drinking. At least I'm not going to die of thirst on my way through the red dirt desert. Thanks for sticking around, everyone. I'll catch you cats on down the road.
*Another show has been added since this was written. A house concert with the Washitas, you can contact Dylan Stewart for more information.
** Title Photo credit: Clay Billman, Oklamerica.