The Second Album, Part 5: Release
The big day was finally here: the release party for our second full length album, and the most important concert we'd ever done.
Waking up on a day like this is always kind of interesting. I've had this same day several times in the past, though it's completely new each time. I've tried to put a finger on it — I think the feeling must be similar to what it's like waking up on the day when you know you're going to die. Fate and time run together and you know it's your day.
Doretta our manager had strictly warned us to go to sleep early the night before, but nevertheless, I had found myself staying up with family members until 1:00 - 2:00 a.m. And now, just 6 hours later, I was pulling into the private loading area of the Charleston Civic Center.
Even though I had a long 11 hours in front of me preparing for tonight's show, I knew those hours would go by all too quickly, and if the past were any indicator, those hours would also have their share of small crises. Even after spending only a short time on the road touring, you start to learn that things always go wrong, no matter how prepared you are. Luckily, we have Gabe for resourcefulness, Micah for problem-solving, and me to keep everyone calm.
We had 3 deliveries of various equipment passed through the loading bay doors at the back of the Theater, including one truck with a broken refrigerator and a junk desk someone had agreed to loan us at the last moment.
This happened to be the first time the Redding Brothers have had official employees. Jim, our sound engineer, helped us setup and mesh our own sound system in with the theater's equipment. But as we plugged everything in to do sound checks, as fate would have it, there was just something wrong with the sound. After fooling around with the EQ and other settings, to no avail, Jim pulled us aside and said, "This isn't working."
Luckily a bad situation turned into a good one when we were able to locate a more powerful, clean-sounding speaker and sub system nearby, which we rented for a very reasonable price. Jim agreed to pick it up on his lunch break, and said we could probably have it setup just in time for the television news crew that was arriving after lunch to tape some pre-concert footage, so we agreed.
But again fate stepped in and said, "no, it can't be that easy". Jim arrived back from lunch a little late, and it took a little bit longer than predicted to setup the new sound system. When the news crew arrived, we were still sifting through a mess of tangled speaker cable trying to setup one system at the same time we were tearing another down.
The news people were understanding, however, and 15 minutes later we were powered up and running through acoustic sets in front of the camera. I heard we showed up on the news broadcast that evening, but I've still never seen the footage.
Our opening act, Bug Lilly, who is a local artist in the Charleston area, had initially been told sound check for them would be around 2:30. It was 2:30 already, and we were still working bugs out of our own stage show and sound system. Eventually they were pushed back to 5:00 p.m., but somehow were very understanding of the whole situation.
We finally finished up sound checks and rehearsals, and turned the stage over the Bug and his crew for their sound check. We headed downstairs, below the stage and loading areas, to our dressing rooms to get ready for the big show.
For the moment, everything we'd been doing for the last 3 and a half years of our lives had been leading to this night. Even I, who had been on stage performing in one way or another for most of my life, and who never really gets worked up about anything, found myself starting to get the butterflies as I walked down the concrete stairway in my socked feet. (I had removed my shoes earlier because my feet were starting to get sore from standing all day). Downstairs, Doretta had everything arranged for us, with snacks and water and even a special gift for each of us...awww :-).
Though we were within 40 minutes of starting, it seemed that for the first time in three months we were finally able to just relax and breathe it all in. We were all goofing off, throwing random objects at each other, and laughing about nonsense. From time to time, random people would step in an take pictures, but it was kind of all a blur to me. We'd been working so hard promoting, traveling, setting up and tearing down, coordinating press and media promotions, talking to fans, and making appearances, and now it seemed like everything just abruptly stopped. That's when I realized there was something I'd forgotten: where were my clothes?
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't standing around in the dressing room, talking to my brothers and having pictures taken of me in the nude, but the clothes I was supposed to wear for the show -- where had I put them?
I had some of our helpers run and find a bag of things upstairs on the stage area behind the curtains. Luckily we found my shirt and shoes in that, but still no pants. You can't very well do a concert with no pants.
Suddenly everybody on our whole crew was involved in finding my pants. Checking this box, that bag, his car, our van, etc. Somewhere in all the frantic hilarity, somebody found a stray bag hidden in the back of somebody's trunk with my jeans in it, just in time for me to throw them on and get back stage as the emcee started his introduction.
Just another day in the life...
Josiah Redding is brother to Micah and Gabriel, who collectively make up the band we know as the Redding Brothers. You can find out more about the band, sign up for their mailing list , and join the fan club at their highly-interactive website, ReddingBrothers.com. While you're there, subscribe to the band's "Making of an American Rock Band" Podcast, which is a companion to this blog.