Friday, October 18, 2013

The Verizon Ice Storm

Every time we play in Grand Haven - yes, every single time we play in Grand Haven - West Michigan gets hit with a major winter weather event.  This dates back to the inception of the band.  Of course, it should be noted that we've never actually played in Grand Haven during the Summer months.

One early December night, we were headed West on I-96 to play at a local watering hole in what could only be called a horrible ice storm.  The police had asked that people stay off the roads.  The gig must go on though, and we were packed in the Trailblazer with the trailer in tow.  By Coopersville, the ice had built up so much on the windshield that we had to pull off onto the exit and into the gas station parking lot to get it off.  After a quick scrape with an old cd case we were back on the road and made it to the gig on time.

After we were set up, I reached into my pocket to check my phone.  No phone.

"Hey, anyone see my phone around?"

A resounding no from the band and I'm headed out to check the truck again and try to retrace my steps.

"Did I leave it at home?"

 No, I remember someone calling me while I was driving here.

"What did I do with the phone after I looked to see who was calling?"

I put it on my lap... then I forgot... and got out of my truck in Coopersville!  It must have fallen out in the parking lot and now it's being rained and driven on, or worse yet - picked up and taken.  My hearts racing now - I'm poor, I have no money for a new phone! Even the measly money I'm making tonight playing this gig wont be enough to cover it.  I quickly used The Popes phone to call the gas station.

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.


"Hello! Hey, did anyone turn in a phone to you in the last couple hours?"

"No, I'm sorry sir, they haven't."  says the gas station lady.

Dang - OK, totally weird request - I hope you can do me a huge favor!  I need you to go outside by so and so pump and look for a phone.  I think it dropped out of my truck when we stopped.  I'm so sorry, I know it's super nasty outside, but I'm desperate!  Can you do that for me?"

"Wait, what?" the confused gas station attendant replies.

UGH!!!  I re-tell my story, much slower this time, and the gas station lady reluctantly goes outside on a mission she doesnt really fully understand.  Plus, I'm sure she's thinking her life couldnt get much worse.  She's working at a gas station at 9pm on a Saturday night - and some douche bag is asking her to go outside in a horrible ice storm and aimlessly look for a cell phone that is surely destroyed by now.

I wait for what seems to be an eternity.

"I'm sorry sir, I didnt see anything out there."  Her words cutting through my heart like sharp knives.

Someone has surely taken the phone by now.  Man, it was a nice one too.  One of those brand new motorolas with the wide screen and the keyboard underneath.  The camera was 1.3 megapixels and that thing was SHARP! It even had a flash on it like a real camera!  Plus, you could check your email on it, AND for the first time ever - you could hook it up to your computer via a mini-USB, drag an Mp3 over, and make it your custom ringtone.  It was flippin' sweet, and now it was gone - forever.

I tell the boys the bad news, and we play the gig in front of zero people.  The ice storm proving too much for even the die-hard drunks to come out.  They would stay home, nestled comfortably in the warmth of their store bought booze.

After the show, we pack up and start to head home.  It's now starting to snow, but the ice has definitely taken it's toll on the roads.  It's still super slippery, but lucky for us - we are towing thousands of pounds of super expensive gear!

It's a post show ritual for us to stop somewhere along the way and grab some snacks and maybe a hot chocolate for the drive home.  Of course, this night - we had to stop in Coopersville and try one more time to find the phone that is either stolen or destroyed by the horrible wet weather.

We pull in, and The Pope makes the call from his phone to mine. If it's here, we'll hear it.


Nothing.  We can't hear a sound - but out in the distance, we see a patch of ice light up with a blue hue of awesome.  Could it be?!  Could my phone be there?!  Could it have survived this?!

We run over to look, and there it is.  Perfectly encased in a tomb of ice.  Frozen, and sealed off from the wet slippery layer on top.  The phone is ringing...and it's The Pope!

In the end, this amazing piece of technology - with the MSU Fightsong ringtone survived over 5 hours, frozen into a busy gas station parking lot!

Can your phone do that?


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sweet Home Chicago?!

This weekend we had the absolute pleasure of performing for Chris and Whitney's special day.  Whitney has without question been our most organized, and on top of it bride.  She booked us dang near two years before her wedding!  Plus, she gave us the songs she wanted us to learn so far in advance, by the time we played them at her wedding, we had already been performing them in our regular set all Summer.  That's quite a change for us.  Normally we are cramming them in during the week before a wedding!   One of those songs was "Sweet Home Chicago".  The Pope killed it.  In fact, he killed it so hard we were asked to play an encore of the song by the Father of the Bride.  THEN, he asked for it again.  It was the first time we've ever played one song - three times in the same night.

It was also, sadly, our last time performing at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids.  Because they are nestled into a quiet neighborhood, they will no longer allow bands to perform there.  Basically, the neighborhood doesnt want too much "awesome" happening there.   They still allow DJ's, but obviously they are really lame.

Besides that though, the entire night was excellent and we cant thank Chris and Whitney enough for having us play.  We have been really lucky all year to have such great couples.   We are continuing to schedule dates for our 2014 Weddings.  If you know anyone - dont hesitate to shoot them our way!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

We Are Nine Mile Smile


It's finally here! Ones of you have been asking for it - and it's finally here!  The Official Nine Mile Smile blog. I feel it's best not to start out a new relationship with a lie, so I must tell you that no one has actually been asking for it, and that by saying "ones of you" is a big stretch.  However, my hope is, that maybe someday you WILL be asking, "When will you post a new blog?"

This blog has been talked about for years.  The things that happen on the road, the people we meet - it all should really be video taped, and made into a hilarious documentary of mishaps, but until we get "MC Hammer" type money, this will have to do.   All of the members of Nine Mile Smile will be contributing here, and hopefully among the seven of us, we can remember some of our favorite moments from the past 4 years. Of course, Rex and I have been together for 9 years, and we've got some real doozies from the early part of our time together.

If you're a potential client, or even more important, a bride-to-be, this isn't a tell-all blog.  What happens at your private event, stays at your private event.  These are things that happen along the way, with some crazy early-years bar stories mixed in.

Things that we absolutely have to tell you about.
1) The "Goodnight Lieutenant Dan" Story
2) The "Raccoon-eyed Guitar Player" Story.
3) The "Are These Mic's Omni Directional?" Story.
4) The "Frozen Cell Phone" Story.
5) The "What Do You Mean? We are booked here tonight!" Story.
6) The "Where's the Fender? Oh, it blew off when the Tire Exploded" Story.
7) The "She Just Punched That Girl!" Story
8) The "What Do You Mean, You Want to Come Up and Freestyle?" Story.
9) The "We Have to Play in Pajamas?" Story.
10) The "Night We Played For 2 People, and Got Stiffed On the Check" Story.

...and many, many, many more.  The hope is you'll laugh along with us, because as we've found out, even the worst weekends together at the time, turn out to be some of the funniest in the end.

-- Kurtis