Soul-Patrol Newsletter

SPN: Funk/Jazz/GoGo - New Release - Plunky B Drive It, Tour Diary, Internet Radio Broadcast
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Welcome To The Soul-Patrol Newsletter

So What's the Big Deal About Someone Named "Plunky B?"...

As most of you know, started out in life as a website called "The P*Funk Review." And as you might surmise from that title, the site was dedicated to the notion that "all that was funky was good." While that simple phrase might seem obvious to you, it wasn't to everyone here on the internet during the late 1990's. However it certainly was to Plunky B and he was one of the few for whom it was. Plunky B became a fan of the P*Funk Review website and I became a fanb of his music.

And now I want to give you the chance to become a fan of his music as well and I would like to do so in a slightly different manner than you might be used to. I'm gonna go "old school" on you for this edition of the Soul-Patrol Newsletter and let the artist explain EXACTLY why you should consider checking out their music. Recently Plunky B did a European Tour in support of his new release called "DRIVE IT" and during the trip he maintained a journal. We are going to let you read his journal. As you read you are going to get a feel for the passion and the reality that is the world of a working funk musician in 2008. As you read my suggestion is that you click on the following link:
so that you can listen to one of the FUNKIEST RELEASES OF 2008 as you read the words of one of the FUNKIEST ARTISTS ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW.

I promise, if you take my suggestions, you will become a better person for having done so...

Check it all out and let me know what cha think?

Thanks in advance...

--Bob Davis

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

Journal: Plunky B

Plunky - DRIVE IT CD December 1, 2008 - On the flight from Newark to Paris…

December 1, 2008 - On the flight from Newark to Paris…

I am not sure that I want to keep a journal on this trip. I am not sure I want to spend the time and the energy or share the introspection. My thoughts these past few weeks have been so personal that I am not sure if anyone else should be privy to them. I have been concentrating on promotion of my career, marketing my wares and pursuing personal and spiritual development so much that it seems I am self-absorbed. Maybe only others who are on a similar artistic journey or those in my personal musiclan would be interested in a blog about my experiences on this tour.

I have been working on a theory of musiclans - music clans - groups of people responding to and influenced by the same music. Those of us who are fanatical about George Clinton and P-Funk are in the same musiclan. John Coltrane music worshipers are a musiclan. Patrons who come to the Martini Kitchen & Bubble Bar on a regular basis are a musiclan. These are "tribes" who share a common cultural experience based on musical interaction. Sharing excitement, movement, inspiration and valuation of a genre, recording, performance, or composition of music. Deadheads, Beatlemaniacs, hip-hoppers, jazz lovers, Old school R&B audiences, line dancers, reggae groovers are examples of musiclans. Maybe this blog/journal will be for members of my musiclan - members of the I-Love-Plunky (& Oneness) Club. This one's for you.

We are going on our one week Drive It Tour of France, to include two performances in Paris at the New Morning jazz club and in Montpellier in the South of France at Le Jam club. My seven-piece band includes my brother and long time collaborator, P. Muzi Branch, keyboardist-vocalist Tonya Lazenby-Jackson, guitarist Carl Lester, vocalist Charlayne "Chyp" Green, New York based drummer John "Jozack" Zachary and my son on electronic percussion Jamiah "Fire" Branch.

After days of preparation, a weekend of performances at our home base club, The Martini Kitchen & Bubble Bar, and packing, repacking and constant up to the last minute online marketing and management duties, it was finally time to embark on this, my next international performance excursion. I had been ready to go since last Monday, a week early; having my repertoire and set list planned out, my musicians passported, booked and ready and my personal and business activities all lined up, budgeted and on auto-pilot for the duration of my trip. I was a little antsy, hoping that the final week of waiting to leave wouldn't allow for some mishap that would monkey wrench our readiness to go. No last minute flu or traffic ticket or court case or medical emergency or family issues or foreclosure on property. Well, in fact all of those things had come up but they were all resolved before that last week of waiting to leave. I didn't want any new things to crop up.

This trip kicks off a December that is booked with a solid line up of gigs:
December 3 & 4 - Paris, France, New Morning Club
December 6 - Montpellier, France, Le Jam Club
December 9 - Washington, DC, Zanzibar on the Waterfront Club
December 12, 13 - Richmond, VA, Martini Kitchen & Bubble Bar
December 17 - Richmond, VA, Toad's Place
December 19 - New York, NY, Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar Club
December 20 - Lynchburg, VA, Private Corporate Xmas Party
December 26, 27, & 31 Richmond, VA, Martini Kitchen & Bubble Bar Club

I got to the airport at 3:15 PM for our 5:30 PM flight and found that there would be delays. The ticket agent was going to try to get us on an earlier flight so we could get to Newark in time to be sure to make our connecting flight to Paris. Muzi and Carl were a bit late so we couldn't get checked in in time to be on stand-by for the earlier flight. So we had to wait until 6:40 to board for our original 5:30 flight.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

The Richmond Free Press newspaper sent a photographer to get a shot of us getting ready to board our plane. It was a nice that they deemed it newsworthy that we local celebs were going to perform in Paris. In the recent days and weeks leading up to this trip, our community and fans from all over have voiced their approval and excitement for this confirmation of our musical success. So many folks have said things like "I'm so proud of you," or "It's been a long time coming," or "You really deserve this!"

It seems that a getting to go on a tour on a tour in Europe or being submitted for a Grammy nomination are perceived as a validation of one's music; and they are, to be sure. But these things are as often as not, a confirmation of one marketing efforts and perseverance, more than an indication of the quality of the music. Though I guess those things often go hand in hand. This period of success helps to validate one's whole career and the efforts of so many who collaborate and help along the way.

We board the plane at 6:30 and then sit on the runway for another 30 minutes before finally taking off for Newark Airport. Our flight to Paris was scheduled to depart at 10:00 PM so when landed in Newark we had only a little over an hour to get from Terminal A by shuttle bus to Terminal C. There we met up with Reynald DesChamp, my French connection with whom I have worked for over 10 years, and John Zachary, our drummer for this tour. They both live in New York. We were all smiles; happy we were all together and on our way to Paris.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

The Paris flight was on time and uneventful, which is just the way I like them. The seats on this Continental 767 were smaller than on a Greyhound bus; a tight, barely comfortable fit for me, and an almost unbearable one for Tonya. Flying and especially landing in big cities always make me conscious of the magnitude of modern development: the highways and byways, the electricity and water requirements; the number of people and number of vehicles that have to be coordinated, is impressive if not overwhelming. So much energy, both physical and emotional. So much technology, both massive and micro. So many things working together to make things work together and so much of it unnoticed and taken for granted. The wiring of the runway lights and the wiring that make the airplane wing flaps go up and down and the wiring to the radar screens in the control towers and the wiring that run from the pilots brain to his eyes and hands and the wiring between minds in synch moving toward the same goals. A lot of wiring indeed.

On the flight we ate a meal, watched movies, read books and did a lot of other things to pass the 6 hour 11 minute flight. I brought my earplugs and mask to block out sound and light and proceeded to meditate and doze a little until the continental breakfast was served. Before too long we were landing in Paris. Entry and customs were a breeze. All our luggage and instruments arrived safe and sound. And we were here at last, ready to make music and good times happen.

Samy Elbaz, my main contact here in Paris, met us at the airport and we had a pleasant, post morning rush hour drive into the city. Paris is still a wonderful city; so vibrant, crowded but quaint at the same time. It looks like Brooklyn, the Bronx, London, New Orleans and Manhattan all at once. It is old, having been here for 23 centuries; and new at the same time, constantly reinventing itself and being on the cutting edge of fashion, architecture, music, dance and all the arts. It is the quintessential European capitol. I just love it.

We got to the Cambrai Hotel and our rooms were not ready. In fact, our reservations were made incorrectly - we were not expected until tomorrow. The hotel staff was able to accommodate us but it took an hour to get the band's rooms ready one by one. I made sure everyone else was settled and my room took two hours to get straight. I was completely beat and bummed out. I didn't like the hotel rooms because they were below our usual standard. I was really concerned about the ladies, especially Chyp, who is as particular, persnickety and as hard to please as anyone I know. But everybody went along with the program and settled in with no complaints. We were all so tired from the traveling we really just wanted to get some rest.

John Zachary and I walked around the neighborhood while waiting for my room to get ready. There were lots of stores, Africans, traffic and action all around. I went to exchange some money to have some Euros and I bought a phone card to be able to make calls by to the states.

By the time I got into my room, I had had to make three trips from lobby to take my horns, suitcase and other junk I had with me. I lay on the bed and nearly passed out with my clothes on. When I took my clothes off, I was too tired to fall asleep. I managed to get a couple of hours napping before it was time to get ready to meet our hosts to go out to dinner and sightseeing.

Samy and Reynald arrived to pick us up around 7:00 PM and we were driven to the New Morning, the venue where were would play tomorrow. We went to the club to make sure all the technical requirements would be met for our show. The sound engineer, Nadir, has done our sound mix for my previous shows at New Morning and he is really good as his job. Additionally, he really loves our music and respects what we do; and he willingly does everything in his power to accommodate us. There is a band performing at the club this night as well, and Nadir says that he will work on getting the stage set up for us after that show. He will work late into the early morning hours so things will be ready for us when we come back for rehearsal and sound check tomorrow.

Then we go all the way across the city to a small café to have drinks and dinner. All total there are 12 of us: the seven band members, three promoters, the MC and an extra friend of Samy's. The café was very typical and very active. We spent several hours there drinking red wine, eating, talking and singing happy birthday to my son, Jamiah, who turned 27 years old today. I am not sure if it was the grandest way to celebrate his birthday in his world, but it was pretty special. I am sure he will remember 2008 as the year that he spent his birthday week touring in France.

Our driver for the night is Hugo, a friend of Samy's who is a professional tour guide. When we left the café he took us on one of his patented drives around Paris, showing first-time visitors Jamiah, Chyp, Jozack and the rest of us Paris, the City of Light, decked out in all her Christmas decorations splendor. I had opted not to bring my video camera along on this trip because I have been here and done that before. But I forgot that this would be Xmas time and the lights and decorations were truly spectacular. We went to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs d'Elysee, the Arc de Triumph, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the red light district near the famed Moulan Rouge; and had an ooh la la sightseeing trip.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was midnight. Once again I was too tired to sleep. I lay awake going over the songs and the show in my mind. I meditated, looked at television and then closed my eyes for about two hours until finally I got up and took a Tylenol PM. Even so, I was awake for at least another hour. But then, the next thing I knew it was almost noon!

I got a croissant, yogurt, cheese and coffee for breakfast and then chilled out until 3:00 PM, when the driver, Stephan, came to pick us up to go to the club for sound check. Wow! Our ride was a black Mercedes-Benz minivan sitting on rims; classy and hip. What a nice ride! The band arrived at the venue in style.

The rehearsal went well. We went over the songs with Jozack, who hadn't played drums with us in years. I was a little apprehensive because I felt the tempos of the songs slipping or slowing down. This was largely due to his unfamiliarity with my show and his tentativeness caused by having to really listen to be prepared for all the changes I like to throw into the music without much warning.

At 5:30 we left the club to come back to the hotel to eat, rest and change clothes. We bought a lot of Chinese food right across the street from the club, took it back and feasted right in the hotel lobby.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

The show was really quite special! The opening act was a Ghanaian singer, Sophia Nelson, who spent time in London but now lives in Paris. She sounds like a mature and sophisticated Sade. Her band was composed of excellent musicians from Africa, Cuba and Paris and a background singer from Atlanta, GA. Their show was quite good and Sophia's music was as diverse and international as her band and her own background.

After her hour-long set the MC brought us on stage to a rousing ovation and we proceeded to funk things up. We opened with "More Than Meets The Eye," a jazz funk instrumental from my latest CD Drive It. Then we played "Follow Me" and "Hop Skip & Jump" from the Cold Heat CD. We performed old and new original songs and the audience seemed to really love the music. As we got funkier and funkier, they got more and more into it, dancing and screaming encouragement. By the time we ended the set they were screaming for more. We did an encore, left the stage again and thought that would have been the end of it; but five minutes later they were still screaming for more, so we went back out one more time.

After the second encore when we attempted to leave the stage one fan blocked the door to our dressing room not letting us off the stage. He would not move. The crowd was still cheering. He begged us to play one more song and even got down on his knees and offered me the ring off his finger. I thought he was too funny, but he was so exuberant with his protest that I relented and went back on for a third encore. Too wild! After that one Reynald, our road manager, propped door open so we could go right into the dressing room.

What a fun performance it was! The band really enjoyed themselves. Everyone was all-smiles and happy vibes ruled the dressing room as fans and friends and business people streamed through for picture taking and congratulations and expressions of how much they enjoyed the show. It was emotionally satisfying to feel the energy, support and love of these fans, our Paris, France musiclan. After the wind down and downing some red wine, our black Benz van drove us through the late-night, rain-wet reflective Parisian streets back to the hotel. All in all the night was a satisfying experience.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

Breakfast at the hotel the next morning was right on time. Though it was a light continental style with just yogurt, coffee, croissants with cheese and jam, somehow it hit the spot. I spent the morning resting. I surmised that even at my age I could do multiple nights of gigs in a row if I could spend the days resting. I am blessed to be able to make a living solely through my various musical endeavors: record sales, commercial performances, licensing music, school lectures, etc. Some musicians also hold down a day job while gigging most nights and that is a wearying proposition. It is imperative that musicians have a plan for how to develop their careers and businesses.

I made phone calls back to the states, used the Internet on my laptop from my room and generally had a pleasant day. The weather was again cool, rainy and blustery. But by afternoon the sun peeked through and lightened the mood.

I had a photo session for a jazz magazine and the photographer was an older gentleman who used two old Nikon cameras, one for color and one for black and white film. Amazing, not digital but film! I think the pictures will be like those old Blue Note Records album cover shots. I hope they will be cool. These days a photographer will often shoot 400 - 500 digital shots to get 10 good ones. This guy shot a total of maybe 30. We'll see how they turn out.

I bought a shirt and tie at a local shop on the block with the hotel. This is a bustling area with lots of inexpensive shops and restaurants. The neighborhood is right around the Gard Du Nord (North Train Station) and it teems with activity and a mix of races. We are comfortable here and don't have to spend a lot of cash to eat and pick up things we need.

Our driver picked us up to go to the New Morning around 7:30 PM and we already can see that the crowd will be bigger than last night. We are all relaxed and waited in the dressing room while Sophia Nelson and her band performed. I did go out to see some of their set, which was really polished, entertaining and urban. This second night confirmed my opinion that her international group with members from Africa, Cuba, France and Atlanta are all excellent musicians; and Sophia is experienced and attractive. Her warmth both on and off stage is readily apparent.

Our show was really hot, much tighter than the night before. Jozack on drums seemed a lot more relaxed and comfortable and funky. The crowd really loved the music and danced and swayed the night away. We took them on a journey through time and space and the music was our vehicle. Once again we had to do multiple encores. I had to really work my body to give the drummer a visual representation of where I wanted the energy level and the tempos. By the end of the night I was drenched in sweat. But everybody in the band felt like we did an incredible set.

Again fans came to the dressing room for autographs and photos. After a while all the flashes from the cameras started to blur my vision and I was happy when that part was done. I got so many comments from fans indicating that that they had been moved by the music and the show. One journalist whose name is Sheidia (which means Fragrant One) came both nights said she could feel our spirit and she was so impressed with our music.

Several people would clasp my hands or kiss both cheeks or hug me while giving heartfelt thanks for the music. I can usually sense when a person has been truly moved by the experience by the sincerity of their expression. I know how they feel because I have been that fan who has been truly moved by the music; like when I have heard Pharaoh Sanders or Sly and the Family Stone or George Clinton & P-funk or King Sunny Ade or John Coltrane or a moving gospel performer in church.

Some people in the audience seem transfixed by the proceedings, like they are having a spiritual experience. It is interesting because in some ways that is exactly what I am trying to do. I am trying to give my energy, my emotion, my very all, to try to transcend the physical by a sheer act of willful surrender to the moment, to create a transcendent moment in time. I am sacrificing myself for the greater good to create a special, timeless happening. I try to give my best in the belief that whether it is good or not, the performance will be uplifting by sheer acts of will and surrender. Even in a nightclub the musical experience can and should be spiritual. Because everything is, or can be…

After the show Sophia Nelson came to me to say that she could feel our positive energy from the moment we hit the stage and she was moved by it. She said that pure musical energy could not be faked; and she and I agreed on that point. She is a beautiful lady with a beautiful spirit. We talked for a few minutes and shared smiles. She said the next time she comes to see us she would have on a Plunky tee shirt.

One older French woman came both nights, bought a different tee shirt each night and wore them both, one on top of the other. One guy asked me when we would be coming back to perform in Paris and when I told him maybe as soon as April or May he literally skipped out of the club, like he was a kid and I had given him a small toy or piece of candy.

Tonya and Chyp talked about a woman in the audience near the end of the show that proceeded to strip her clothes off and security had to come to stop her. After the show when I cam out of the dressing room carrying two pairs of jeans a young women grabbed one pair and she and I were in a tug of war. She would not let go and I was determined to hold on to them because they belonged to the jeans company that was one of the sponsors and they had asked for the extra pairs to be returned. The girl even held on with her teeth. Then while holding on to the jeans with all her might with one hand, she proceeded to take off her pants, stripping down to her skimpy panties. So of course, at that point I let her have the sponsor's jeans. But when she put on the contested jeans they were way too large for her narrow hips. But I knew that they would be. She put her own pants back on while I and the few other people still in the place gave her a round of applause.

The ride back to the hotel was in the flyest car I have ever been in. It was a black Mercedes-Benz limo that had been tricked out with $35,000 in extra accessories, including 22 channel televisions with 5.1 surround sound, individual temp controlled air-conditioning for each seat, Champaign bar, and assorted other high-tech goodies. What a ride! The driver made three trips back and forth to shuttle us to the hotel. The band was gassed and so impressed. A fitting end to the night.

The soundman gave me CD's of the night's performance and I started listening to it on headphones in my room. I was mesmerized by the sound and the grooves we had pumped out at the club. I stayed up until after 4:00 AM listening to it. I had a hard time falling asleep even then, replaying "Hop Skip & A Jump" in my head and silently writing new lyrics to the groove.

The next morning, Friday, I woke at 8:00 AM but lay in bed with my eyes closed trying to get rest even if I didn't get more sleep. I got the continental breakfast downstairs and came back to the room to get ready for a video interview at noon. The interview went well and we had the rest of the day free. That afternoon I roamed around with Jamiah in the neighborhood shopping. We bought some hip Italian casual shoes and had Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. The KFC was the Blackest place in town, filled with Africans of all persuasions from the front door to the behind the counter staff. Chicken is the universal Black food.

Tonya stayed in and rested all day. Muzi, Carl and Jozack went sightseeing and Jamiah, Chyp and I went out on our own excursion. The weather was autumnal, but not at all unpleasant. We walked a couple of miles, then took a bus downtown to the Lafayette Galleries department stores area and did some shopping. There were bustling crowds shopping and sightseeing and watching the elaborate kinetic Christmas displays in the department store windows. We walked around some more, and then we took the Metro over to the Champs d"Elysee for more sightseeing and shopping and a lot more walking. I was cold and tired and my knees were aching from pounding the cold hard pavement but it was rewarding because I know that Chyp and Jamiah were having their first Paris experience and I was happy to be their host and guide.

Finally, we decided to come back to the hotel around 9:30. We took the metro but got off at a stop that wasn't the closest one to our hotel, which meant we had to walk several more blocks. Chyp hadn't eaten and Jamiah hunted up a Chinese restaurant that turned out to be great; or at least it seemed quite good to us at that moment.

"New Guestbook Entry on our Website - added Fri, 5 Dec 2008 5:50:08am EST: Name: Ben Still'a Comment:
Dude, guys, yesterday in Paris you simply FUNKED THE SHIT OUT'A ME!!!! I think it's the grooviest stuff I've ever seen on stage, seriously it was MIND BLOWING. I really really, really don't understand why the New Morning wasn't fully booked... THAT is unacceptable! Anyway we were there and we had sooo much pleasure feeling your groove. PLUS I'm a BIG fan of the old-school Chuck Brown style GOGO swings you gave us all night, that was the best thing ever. Hope you come back very soon in Paris. Peace.

We are leaving here at 9:00 AM in the morning to get to the train station for our 11:00 AM high speed train to Montpellier in the south of France; so I told everyone to pack before going to bed. I finally got to bed around midnight and slept only an hour and a half before waking up and not being able to get back to sleep until after 5:30 AM! I worried that I was blowing my chance to get enough rest before the gig that night. I was also coming down with a cold, with a sore throat and I was praying that I wasn't going to have any major physical problems for the final gig of the tour.

Tonya's call woke me up at 8:30 AM and that gave me just enough time to shower, shave and get a quick cup of tea before the driver arrived. Of course he was right on time so I was rushed. It took two trips in the van to get all of us and our luggage and instruments to the train station. Then we had an hour's wait before boarding the high-speed train to Montpellier. Of course, our train car was the absolute farthest down the track from the station so we had to walk forever, hauling all our gear to it.

Once we got on board, the ride was really out of sight. Our seats were on the upper deck of the train, which afforded us the best views of the French countryside as we sped across the farmlands and through the occasional small town. The three-hour ride was smooth and pleasurable. I got a nap. Muzi took pictures. Carl talked to Reynald. We all had something to eat. The sun was out. And before too long we arrived in Montpellier where the weather was delightful and our spirits were lifted.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

Matthew, our driver for the day, met us at the station in a van large enough to carry all of us and all our gear. We went to the hotel, got settled in and I got him to take me to the pharmacy to buy some cold medication. An hour and a half later we went to the venue for sound check.

Le Jam is a hot club. It is a concrete venue with a small amphitheater layout. The sound system is super and the engineers really know what they are doing. We had a really good sound check and everybody was feeling like we would have a good show. After sound check I did a taped interview with Ann, a young woman from Barcelona, which is surprisingly only three hours away by car. After that we all had a really good meal at the venue. We had great red wine, a salad, French bread, and a roast duck and gravy over rice; followed by cheese and more wine and capped with apple pear pie and coffee. We were stuffed and ready for a serious nap. But there was not enough for one of those before the show.

By 8:00 PM here were already people lined up outside so we had a really good house when the doors opened. But the time we went on stage at 9:50 the place was full. It turned out to be not a good crowd, but an excellent one, definitely the best one this week. But then, it was a Saturday night, the weather was good and the people were ready for some funk. And we gave it to them!

Our show went extremely well. We were hot! The audience was pressed right up to the edge of the stage and the room pulsated with our grooves. They screamed and cheered more and more with each song. Our show flowed nicely and built in intensity and funkiness as the first set ended with them cheering for more.

This performance was a hot example of what I have been saying for years: if we could just get to do our regular good shows that we do at home, in Europe, we could be an international smash hit. This was like one of our good shows at Martini Kitchen: hot and funky with good dynamics and making people move; but with this time with the French fans going bonkers.

We did the second set and the audience was even more into it, cheering our every musical move. That only encouraged us to do more until it was better than a regular show; it became a series of really special musical moments. We did two encores, the second only after we had been in the dressing room and they continued screaming for more for almost 10 minutes. We had to do it. And even after that, they wanted more. We made lots of fans tonight. No doubt about it. We made converts.

They seemed to love us collectively and individually. They cheered and whooped and hollered for all of us. They really dug Chyp singing "Just Know That I Love You," and Tonya doing "Nevertheless" and her hip-hop rap. They dug Muzi and Fire and Jozack holding down the grooves and making things funky. But they really loved Carl's rhythm and lead guitar work. Carl was sizzling and when he went out into the audience and played, they went wild!

I think they liked me too! I think they appreciated my energy and my role as the leader of Plunky's band.

The repertoire and the pace of the show were nearly perfect. We have great original songs plus we quote or touch on enough cover songs that the combination creates a show that is both new and familiar at the same time. The lyrical content and comments about politics, positive vibrations and spiritually is uplifting food for thought and a powerful concoction is created when added to the group's musicianship and tightness. Our committed energy mixing with that of an audience that's really into it creates a synergy that is more powerful than the sum of its parts.

After the show we had to sign autographs on posters. We had fans that kissed my hands. The people who promoted the show and who worked in the venue were sincere in their accolades. People thought it was a great show. We did a photo session, drank wine, and packed up our stuff while people continued to express extreme gratitude for our show. Ann, the young deejay from Barcelona, said she hoped to try to get us a gig in Spain.

"New Guestbook Entry on our Website - added Sun, 7 Dec 2008 7:19:58am EST: Name: Paulie Comment:
Hi Plunkers!!!! We were at yesterday's concert in Montpeller!!!! It was absolutely fantastic!!!! I loved every minute of it, it took me way back to my funking roots!!! 3 hours of simple aural pleasure!!! thank you so much, for your energy, your talent and your music!!! Looking forward to seeing you guys again!! love plunks!!!

Bruno, the head of the Cosmic Groove productions team who brought us to Montpellier seemed genuinely pleased with both the show and the full house. One downer was that we didn't sell any CD's. I had mailed a box of 30 CD's to Bruno so we would have some to sell at the gig and so I wouldn't have to carry them with my luggage. The box hadn't been delivered to him until this morning, but he didn't bring the CD's to the club tonight. So although I kept telling the audience from the stage to "buy two of my CD's, one for yourself and one for your mama!" and people wanted to buy them, there were none to be had. That's so crazy because my gross revenues for the Paris shows was reduced by 20%, so the 400 Euros from the sales here at Le Jam would have been welcomed.

But the good news from Bruno is that Cosmic Groove is doing a major festival here on the Riviera at an outdoor amphitheater right by the Mediterranean in August and he wants us to play at it. That would be so hot and really cool!

We got back to the hotel at 2:45 AM and the driver is supposed to come at 5:15 AM so we have said we might as well stay up. I am typing this blog. It's 4:00 AM now. Tonya and Chyp have taken showers and I guess I will get the others up around 4:30. We have 23 hours of traveling and layovers to do before we get back home to Richmond on Sunday night at 9:00 PM. Then we have a gig in DC on Tuesday at the Zanzibar Club, a Xmas party for a group of Black lawyers. I hope I get lots of rest before then.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

Our trip back home was one of my most arduous ever. The flights, the layovers and delays made for 23 hours of rest broken, butt-numbing tedium.

We left the hotel right on time at 5:15 AM and got the to the Montpellier Airport and went through the 45 minute process of getting us all checked in and our luggage checked through to Richmond. But the ticketing for three of us could not be confirmed from Paris to the states, so we had to do that in Paris.

When we got to the Paris Airport we had to go all around Robinhood's Barn to get our tickets and boarding passes straight and to get to the right terminal and gate. Though that took us an hour, we still had four more hours to kill before the next flight at 1:00 PM. We napped, shopped, snacked, napped some more, medicated my increasingly bad cold, and dealt with the boredom and discomfort of the airport waiting area.

We finally boarded the Paris to Newark flight right on time. But once on the plane, we heard the pilot announce that we would be parked at the gate for one hour and the seven-hour flight would take eight hours and 40 minutes due to strong head winds. While it was long, the flight wasn't that uncomfortable, because it wasn't full and each of us were beside at least one empty seat.

When we landed in Newark for what would have been a three hour layover, we had only a little over one hour to get through customs, recheck our bags and get to another terminal for the flight to Richmond. But before we could get through customs all their computers shut down, so we spent and anxious 30 minutes in that line and then had to rush to claim our bags. Muzi and Carl couldn't find theirs, so I rushed Tonya, Chyp, Fire, and Jozack on ahead. We found the bags and literally make a mad dash to the train to get to the next terminal, get through security and get to the right gate, with 10 whole minutes to spare.

Once on this the final plane we had to wait parked at the gate for 45 more minutes due to high winds and the back up of delayed planes. When we finally got back to Richmond, we were extremely happy to be home, however one of Muzi's bags and Fire's suitcase with his MPC instruments did not arrive. But those were delivered to our houses in the middle of the night.

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"

It may be hard for people who are not directly involved to realize how much planning and effort that goes into even a short tour like this one. I think even some musicians themselves would be amazed. I my case I have been working with Reynald for over 10 - 15 years, aiming to do dates in France, in a relationship that started with him distributing some of my recordings both here in the US, Japan and Europe. This tour was the third time in the last five years he and his friend, Samy, have promoted shows for us in France. In other words it took five years and a lot of perseverance to get the first gig over there.

For this tour we started planning nine months in advance, so it was like giving birth. There were lots of negotiations, emails, international calls, sending music, photos, web links, renegotiations, development of sponsors (like Edwin Jeans), working with publicists, journalists and photographers, arranging accommodations, airline tickets, flight changes, advertising, ticket sales, instrument and equipment needs, developing the repertoire, rehearsing the show, etc.

Then there are also the language and cultural differences. The French are often very excitable, argumentative, proud, edgy, and a little combative, even with each other, so any little misunderstanding can quickly escalate into a battle. A medium size change might mean war. Promoters in general think that their part is the most important and everything comes in second place after money, PR and ticket sales.

But artists are the ones who make sacrifices of time, money, family relations and many other things to create music and put on a show. In preparing for this Drive It Tour of France we contended with: producing and shipping CDs', passport problems, threatened house foreclosures, major medical issues involving hospital stays, personnel changes, family issues, day job scheduling, luggage lost and found, diet and allergies, hang-ups, arrests and court appearances; and all manner of human interest stories and spin-offs.

On past tours I have kept notes and journals cataloguing the coincidences and synchronicities that happen along the way; noting how much luck, and how many interventions and blessings that happen just when needed to allow things to proceed as desired. These days I have also been realizing how much depends on my own efforts, my own planning, my marketing efforts, my sense of purpose and willingness to persevere and get the jobs done. If you don't sow, you won't reap. If you don't dream, pray and work; you are less likely to achieve, acquire and inspire.

Gotta keep Moving…

--Plunky B

Listen To a Soul-Patrol.Net Radio Exclusive:
Plunky B - "DRIVE IT" (Funk/Jazz/GoGo)
hosted by "nightrain"


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