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  1. Its a start Shaster. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for us musicians. My bank account cant wait to see an actual deposit. Still waiting to play my first gig. Been shut down since march 2020. Ended up getting neck surgery in the fall since I wasn't gigging. Was all set to return in March 2021. Got my vaccine shots, then....my shoulder gave out on me. Been getting quarterly shots to avoid surgery. But, it finally got bad enough, I gave in and got the surgery June 1. It was a complete reverse shoulder replacement. I now have no rotator cuff tendons. Its just my bicep and deltoid muscle doing all the work. Problem is, it was my fretting hand. I can play cowboy chords, but moving up and down the neck is rough. I'm a lead guitarist. It will take time to get my riffs back. 12 weeks of PT. That'll push me into late September. So I've started booking for October on. October will be just 5-6 gigs to get me back into the swing, then November will be 18+ gigs per month thru April. I've got some groupie friends that will help me move my gear for a while till I get stronger and regain my motion in that arm.
  2. Surgery went as planned. Amazing how they can completely rebuild the shoulder with steel and plastic and you walk out in less than 2 hours. After the block wears off, you don’t even need the sling. I remember just 10 years back that this procedure would take hours to complete and you would be in the hospital for 3-5 days. Recovery would take 4-6 months. I’m scheduled for therapy 7 days after surgery so they can get my arm moving and the muscles strengthened. They said 2 weeks and I should be able to drive. I’m already using the arm quite a bit. They want me to use it Sure, it’s sore. But it was really sore before surgery The only difference is, I know it will get better every day. I can already get my arm in position to fret the guitar. If I didn’t have the swelling, I could probably play. But I’m planning on returning to gigs in August-September. I want to make sure I’m completely able to perform and carry the gear.
  3. I got both my vaccine's by mid March, and was all ready to get back out to playing.... then my shoulder started bothering me AGAIN. Went in for an mri and found I need a Reverse Shoulder Replacement (steel ball and cup in my shoulder joint like a hip operation). Rotator cuff was beyond repair. Been getting cort shots every 5-6 months since 2019 and it always calmed down so I can live with it. Now the shots don't do anything. Got 2 Dr opinions. Both came to the same conclusion. So, I'll be out for the summer. Dr says my surgery is quicker to recover than rotator cuff even though it's more evasive, as I'll be in PT 1 week after surgery, and should be able to play guitar again by week 3. My 55 years of constant playing has took it's toll on my body. I go in for surgery June 1 Good news is, during my time off since March of last year, I was able to sequence over 130 more songs of all styles, plus add more vids to my Youtube channel. The bookings of my private parties are coming in steady for the fall and winter. I'll be back to my regular amount of bookings by January. The bar scene has been back since October down here in SW Florida, but the private parties have not come back yet. Next fall all the venues will be back. They will hear a whole new repertoire of songs from me. Are you guys back to playing yet?
  4. Just got my first Moderna vaccine yesterday. No issues. Didnt even feel it. Might be able to play some Animal Clubs during the summer once I get my 2nd shot. My bookings for next season are filling up starting late October. If nothing crazy happens, next year will be a big comeback for music venues.
  5. The places that cancelled me for November and December of 2020 are now calling to rebook for this coming November and December. I was booked about 50% already for the end of 2021 and 2022 season (Nov to April). People are filling in the empty dates for 2022 as well. So, hopefully I'll have a big 2022 season if we get the covid calmed down and the vaccine in peoples arms this spring and summer. I'll hate if it drags on, and the venues will have to cancel the dates they just rebooked.
  6. I remember the TB shot in grade school (I think that's what it was). it was a circle of dots on your forearm. That didn't hurt. Just made a cool mark that lasted a few days. I'm not a needle fan. Having blood tests are bad enough. What is worse is, when they miss the vein and keep moving the needle hoping to find it. That's about the time I'm starting to pass out. Only questions I have is...1. how are they going to know if you've had the vaccine or not? A card you carry? Hopefully more than just a sticker on your lapel. 2. am I still going to have to wear a mask after I get the vaccine? or will it stop me spreading it on to someone else? But hey, the bottom line is, if it gets me back to work, I'll take 2 shots in the arm.👍
  7. I just got word that the guy running the party, came down with covid over the weekend. Him and his wife both have it. They are in their 70s. They had a meeting and determined to cancel the party tomorrow. DUH! I told him a couple times that they shouldn't have a gathering inside of a building. I wasn't happy with it, and said I would be masked with a kn95 mask during the entire evening, plus be self distanced away from everybody. I told them that I was cancelling the upcoming date they booked in March with me. So, back to the drawing board.... looks like I'll be out of work till late summer/fall. Cant see anybody having parties till Spring/Summer. what a complete ClusterF***
  8. I'm a singer, but have learned over the past 33 years as a soloist as a full time job, to have a good supply of instrumentals for guitar, piano, lap steel, banjo, etc. There has been times when I had a bad cold and couldn't sing. The crowd usually understands the situation. I still have dance songs I converted to instrumentals so they can still get up and shake.😀 They wanted me to sing. I told them the only way I'll play is to be masked and play instrumentals. I'm sure the hall ventilation hasn't been modded with better filters. People will take their masks off to eat and talk across the table. It will be important to keep the music low so they can talk without screaming across the table. I told them a few weeks ago that I wasn't really wanting to play an inside venue. It wouldn't bother me if I didn't play. They called me and said the club can handle a group of 30. I'm surprised they ok'd any type of gathering. They are a bunch of musicians that jam every Thursday at a vacation spot in Venice Fl. They ask me every year to play their Christmas party. I'm scheduled for the Valentines dinner too this year. Usually, they eat the first hour and I am wallpaper music mixing Christmas hits with instrumentalized hits from the 50s-90s (I can turn any song I play into an instrumental on the fly). The next set they usually like some oldies to dance to. This year, it will be a concert. They will enjoy it because they usually hire me just to watch my guitar playing. 😎lol Besides, I told them my throat is still a little weak from the neck surgery I had a while back. It's taken quite a while to get my range back, but I dont think I'm ready to sing 40+ songs a night and play 4-5 nights a week.
  9. I guess I'm doing a Christmas party for 30 at a local big country club on Dec 12th. 2 hours of instrumentals with 1 fifteen minute break. Told them I would be in a mask the entire time. I'll be distanced from everybody. They are fellow musicians, so I hope they know how to act. Tables will be spread apart. No dancing. The pay will cover my house payment. And since all my other holiday parties are cancelled, I could really use one good check for December
  10. i took the time i had off this summer to have some neck surgery. My pickin' hand was going numb and i've been dealing with pain and numbness for 10 years. been through the shots and therapy. Dr said that since i was out of work, now would be a good time to get a c6-c7 disc replacement. they said the replacement will keep my movement and told me that fusion would be a longer recovery. so, on august 7, i had the surgery. within 3 weeks, i was driving. by 6 weeks, i was back to normal. only thing that took time to get back was the voice. i couldnt sing a note for 4 weeks. but that has come back 100%. i'm ready to gig. learned about 40 more songs this summer. posted a bunch of videos on my youtube page. built 5 guitars, and revamped my rig. i figured the time off has gave me a chance to fix some flaws in my solo act that has been bugging me the past few years, but was too busy to fix. Shaster...I hope you get to play those gigs. I'd do an instrumental night with a mask if the chance came up.
  11. still haven't gigged since March. Dates are slowly being cancelled for the coming season. The big Christmas gigs are still up for grabs. I really doubt any of them will pan out. The owners of the venues are likely to cancel. Haven't heard from the New Years eve dance. I will be contacting them just to make sure they aren't trying to figure out how to get 500 people in a hall for the biggest dance of the year. As much as I could use the big payday, it will be virtually impossible to have a safe inside party. A few mobile home and rv parks are trying to figure out how to have outdoor parties in the parking lot of the clubhouse instead of inside the hall. Then everybody can spread out and not be on top of each other. They mentioned a pool party, but that would be a crowded situation. Cant imagine 150-200 packed around a pool, even with masks on. I've waited all this time. Unless the situation is very safe, I'd rather just hold off till the "All Clear" is confirmed or the vaccines are distributed. Maybe April/May we'll get to a reasonable normal
  12. yes, just read that about the Canada border. My main jobs are in parks that have a heavy Canadian influence. Just another nail in the 2021 season
  13. outside is better than inside......as long as the weather is nice. Luckily, in November, Florida is pretty nice. You can put the mask on during the break or escape to a quiet place when you're not on the stage. Unfortunately, my gigs have slowly been getting cancelled because the inside venues and crowd size. I told them to wait till the week of the gig before they decide. Who knows what it's going to be like in the next few months. I think all my gigs will be cancelled this season. I hope we all get back to our normal ASAP Yes, I wish you a great gig.
  14. just got informed that my version of Sultans just passed the 4 million views mark on youtube. never ever thought that any of my videos would do more than 1000-2000 views, but for some reason, this video took off. it is extremely popular outside the USA. Brazil is the main fan base. the comments say I'm known as lefty Bill Gates LOL of all videos, it took a 6 minute video that i learned 2 weeks prior to the video. i made my own backing track, learned the guitar parts (close enough), and learned all the words. Decided to put a camera in front of me and force myself to play it as good as possible. nothing helps more than putting yourself under pressure.
  15. dont know what you mean by breaking the bank, but i use 3 Canon XA10 semi-pro camcorders. they have XLR inputs and an internal 64gb memory with 2 extra slots for more memory. They are now 7-8 years old, but i love using these cameras live. New they were 1599. but they can be had for 500-600 on ebay. they also have a wireless remote and great zoom. the newer models are the xa20 and xa40 and are really overkill for just recording a gig. one thing i'll say about going cheap with a camcorder or dslr, the 1/8" audio inputs have terrible preamps. hiss and distortion even in the best situations. pro-consumer camcorders have excellent preamps and you can buy used for a great discount on a great camera. i've used 3 on live gigs. (one on each side of stage with a stereo direct line from the pa to one camera.) (and one in the back of the room on a high tripod above the crowds heads zoomed in to the stage) this video has 3 cameras that all work off the same remote. the front view was 120 ft away from the stage. i just set it and forget it for each set. you can easily record 3 hours on the internal memory
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