I Ate Vegan and Didn’t Die. On an Unrelated Note, I Also Met Someone Famous and Didn’t Make an Ass of Myself. I Didn’t Talk Either, so There’s That…

After my run-ins with The Bloggess, Dr Travis Stork, and other semi-famous people who I’ve made an ass out of myself in front of…you’d think I’d be used to dealing with this sort of nonsense.

Let me start from the beginning.

A few months ago, a friend of ours invited us to go see Toad the Wet Sprocket in Chicago. I thought to myself, “self, you really enjoyed Toad the Wet Sprocket in the 90’s. Remember middle school? That shit was the bomb. Dancing in a big circle, huddled up with your closest pals, swaying to the music and smiling at the boy you had a crush on? Go. Seriously. Go to this concert.”

So we made plans…and then magically, Saturday, it was Toad the Wet Sprocket. Our friend Will thought that dining at a vegan restaurant would be a brilliant idea…while my boyfriend and I…well…we had a lot of fun laughing about it before hand. Phrases like this were bounced around on Saturday morning:

“Fake cheese is an abomination.”

“Wait. Chicken wings? Why lie? Why not call them tofu sticks?”

“I can’t take this place seriously.”

And so we decided that we absolutely HAD to go to this vegan locale, because at the very least, I’d get a funny blog post out of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a terribly funny blog post, because I got the most stereotypical vegan entree (a salad) that contained no fake cheese or fake meat. F that. I did manage to try a fake chicken tender…which was surprisingly okay. Even if the texture was a little weird.

But the part about this visit that was particularly blog-worthy had nothing to do with the food at said vegan restaurant. And EVERYTHING to do with the Toad the Wet Sprocket concert that we’d be attending a block away.

One minute I was making fun of a fake chicken wing; the next minute Will is all, “What’s going on, man?” to this guy standing at the counter ordering. “We’re looking forward to the show,” he says…

What?!

Glen Phillips, lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprockets was getting ready to nosh on some vegan fair. And he was totally cool.

And I was totally speechless.

Our other friend managed to strike up an entire conversation with him, about how great he looked for his age (he really does look like he’s in his 20’s.) And I just sat there, barely saying a word. Thinking all of the things I wanted to say.

  • “Can I interview you?”
  • “Can I get your picture?”
  • “Can I touch your chest?”
  • “Your voice makes me want to have your babies.”

No? Probably shouldn’t go there on date night with the boyfriend sitting right next to me…right?

So I said nothing. And he smiled. And made us laugh. And then a few hours later, he was jammin’ out on stage. It was…pretty fantastic. By the way, if you dig on 90’s tunes, and have the chance? GO. Go see Toad the Wet Sprocket. They are JUST as amazing live as they are on the radio or an album. Super impressive.

Also?

I mentioned this before at the Wallflowers concert we attended a few months back…but it needs to be reiterated.

I seriously wanted to cut the bitch who was texting on her phone all night long three rows in front of us. Or the bitch behind us who kept taking videos and pictures. I was mostly impressed with the lack of visible technology because the majority of concert-goers had RESPECT for the other audience members…But the few that were all up in the video/camera/busy checking Facebook/texting world? Stop being douchebags. Turn your tech off for a few hours and enjoy the music.

And that’s why I have no pictures of said concert.

How was your weekend blog friends? If you’re in the central Illinois area (or anywhere in the midwest devastated by Sunday’s storm), my thoughts go out to you and your families. Even up here in the west suburbs it was terrifying…I can’t imagine what it was south of us.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Musical Chairs Featuring Chris Infusino

Today, I’ve rustled up something REALLY special for you guys. I am surrounded by beautiful musical people. I grew up around them and with them. Music has always been something important to me, even if I can’t tell you the name of the song or the band who played it. You bet your ass I’m still singing along to it.

In high school, I met an incredibly talented drummer. The drum line was way more fun than the football players…and usually more interesting.  Really, though…I met several incredibly talented musicians. So, hopefully (if you enjoy this), I’ll be able to continue this spot once a month for several months.

Chris Infusino The Vim Dicta

My Music Theory AP class senior year of HS. So much raw talent. So many amazing musicians. And then there was me.

Somewhere in the crowd of teenagers, you’ll find my friend, Chris. Who I invited to Turnabout my senior year. With my mom’s rules about me needing a date for any school dance paired with the previous Homecoming date FLOP, I knew I needed to go with someone who would be ridiculous amounts of fun. A friend that would rock out on the dance floor and not need babysitting. That friend was Chris. I was nervous about asking him (I remember internally panicking and then just…doing it) but he was all like, yep! Which, looking back makes me wonder if someone had already pre-asked him on my behalf in typical high school fashion…

By far the best date I ever had to a school dance, Chris was (still is) awesome. We were both social butterflies, so tearing up the dance floor with all of our different people wasn’t a problem. I recall (and this could be a foggy-it-was-more-than-10-years-ago memory/nostalgia) that we had a pretty fabulous time.

Chris Infusino

We were both smiley and adorbs for 17-year-olds. right?

I recently re-connected with Chris to discover that yet another of my amazing classmates was living their musical dream. And I needed to share that will you.

I do hope that you’ll welcome him into our little tribe here. Without further ado, I give you Chris Infusino (as answering questions that I asked of him).

I’m Chris Infusino, and I live life exactly how I wish to live it. I’m a professional drummer, currently in the band The Vim Dicta, living in Los Angeles, CA. Also worked as a session drummer in Chicago, Nashville, and most recently, New York City. I’m also a classic car nut, machinist, carpenter, engine builder, and professional ice cream tester.

Chris InfusinoI play pretty much anything one can hit…so versatile percussionist? I mostly play big ass rock & roll drums though, and is how I make my living. I do sing…and not just in the shower. I’ve been playing for 18 years. I’ve literally played all over the states, and also did a USO tour in the Middle East back in ’09.

So many stories to tell… I’d say playing Carnegie Hall was pretty sweet, doing a record with my current band, The Vim Dicta at Capitol Records Studios was off the hook!! Recording on Dr. John’s record in New York City. Playing festivals in front of 50,000 people….it’s all pretty amazing. I love my job! I JUST started writing with my band, The Vim Dicta.

The Vim Dicta 3Top 5 Musical Moments: Hmmmm……….

  1. Recording at Capitol Records Studios in Hollywood, CA w/ The Vim Dicta
  2. Carnegie Hall in New York City, w/ World Civic Orch. playing drums with a 175 piece orchestra.
  3. Recording w/ Dr. John on his latest record, with a good chunk of Bob Dylan’s and Saturday Night Live’s bands also on the record.
  4. Playing with Buddy Guy in Chicago back when I first went “full time”.
  5. Playing in my parents basement for years and to about 1000 records. Very thankful for this one…

Routines or rituals: I don’t “practice” drums too much anymore…I’m always playing with my band, The Vim Dicta or with friends!

Chris InfusinoI practice chocolate consumption, beer testing, drummer faces that don’t make me look like a dumb ass (if that’s possible) and letting life carry me where it will without any expectation of the future….OH, and I practice never EVER, EVER, EVER having to wear a suit…unless it’s a funky sexy one for the Grammy’s or something…

The Vim Dicta 2Musical Influences: My parents (Mom is a singer, Dad a drummer) Fave musicians, anyone, man or woman, that can move me and make me smile and dance.

Other influences: The world around me.

Success in the musical world or in general: Finding true friends, and getting to spend time or make music with them. I happy dance EVERYWHERE!! It spreads good juju to the masses!!

The moment: I was 16. Started getting asked to play in bands, also I was practicing like 8 hours a day, and saying “F*ck You” to homework…pretty much knew then I had to do this.

On a side note, thank you to my parents, guidance counselor, and the few teachers who believed in me enough to get my ass in gear so I could move on, and live my life.

What do I hope to communicate through music? Good juju and the want for women to do sexy interpretive dances…

Ultimate Plan: To never have a plan. I’m exactly where I need to be.

Want to connect with Chris and hear more music from The Vim Dicta?

The Vim DictaPretty cool cat, am I right?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

WTF Wednesday: You Are Exactly the Same As You Used to Be

The only difference
That I see
Is you are exactly the same
As you used to be
 

17 years ago this coming summer, my mom took me, and my three best friends, to see the Wallflowers and the Counting Crows at The Midwest Bank Amphitheater Tweeter Center New World Music Theater concert venue in Tinley Park, IL that has changed its name so many times in 17 years, that I don’t even remember what it was called back then. We were 13. Yes, 13. Our very first concert. My 8th grade graduation present. Because my mom had taken my then-sister, now-estranged-sister Deven to Bon Jovi when she was 13. I used that as leverage. And besides, my mom was rockin’ out to Jakob Dylan with the rest of us.

Remember how I told you that Katie used to wear band tee shirts? The Wallflowers and Bon Jovi were the only two band tee-shirts that I had. And I wore them with pride. (Side note: If I can dig up the shirt, I’ll snap a picture of it later today when I stop by my parents house.)

So when Brian came home two weeks ago (during a pretty rough week) and said, “Guess who’s going to be at the Tivoli (small OLD amazing theater in downtown Downers Grove)?” and I couldn’t guess right anyways…he told me, “The Wallflowers.”

And I was all, “That was my first concert.”

And he was like, “I know, that’s why you should be excited! Because we’re totally going. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.”

The Wallflowers

So last night, we had an evening with the Wallflowers. It was like a jam session. It was fucking awesome. Jakob Dylan sings better in a studio, but they rocked out the instruments like motherfucking rockstars.

The only other bands/musicians that I’ve seen more than once  were Bon Jovi and The Backstreet Boys (stop it. Stop judging me. You know you loved boy bands a good decade ago…)But last night was different. Because I started noticing things. And they weren’t good things. While Jakob Dylan and The Wallflowers were “exactly the same as they used to be,” the crowd…the crowd was not.

The Difference 17 Years Makes

The Wallflowers

Not the world’s greatest picture, but I was busy watching a concert. Just saying…

Sure, there were still people who had gotten super stoned…There was still that woman who did a little coke before entering the theater and obnoxiously jumped up and down while everyone else was sitting…And I was still the youngest person at the venue…But the crowd (myself included) had aged significantly. WHY DOESN’T JACOB DYLAN LOOK OLD?!

No one threw their bras at Jakob Dylan…

I remember being 13, and watching bras flying on stage, thinking to myself, I would TOTALLY do that…you know, if it wasn’t a 13-year-old’s bra. That’d be a little awkward.

Most people were sitting down…

I mean it was a nice theater. The seats were comfy. It was more of a jam session that a crazy pumpin’ concert. And I got old. And kinda liked it.

No one had lighters anymore…

Back in the day, you may not remember this, but people used to hold up lighters when a great song was playing. No one carries lighters around anymore…It’s a lost tradition that our children and their children will probably never know. I remember a few years later, people would hold up their cell phones with the lights glowing…but now that doesn’t even happen. Because the cell phones are now cameras…which leads us to my most important point…

Half of the crowd was NOT watching the show…

Because they were too busy trying to capture it on film. You’ll note that I have one picture from inside the theater. ONE. No videos. No crazy awesome snapshots. Because I enjoyed the concert. I swayed to the music. I danced to my favorite songs. I took everything in. Including the fact that HALF of the people in the audience were too busy videotaping the show with their phones to actually appreciate the concert. It was worse when songs like One Headlight were playing or super awesome instrumental solos were happening.

What The Fuck?

Calendar After Tuesday WTF

What the fuck, people? When did we worry more about capturing things in life than actually living live? Stop for a minute. And just let life happen. My friend over at the B(itch)log wrote a post about a self-imposed technology strike and how people are all about capturing everything on film and it really resonated with me. (If you don’t read her, you fucking should. She’s awesome.)

I watched as all of these people were watching the LIVE concert through their tiny cell phones and tiny cameras, blocking the views of the people behind them, so worried about getting the right angle for the shot, that they must have forgotten where they were.

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of snapping shots of my food. I want to show the world the delicious things I eat. Because, really, you need to understand why I’m a chubby kid, right? But I try really hard to live my life, and only capture on film what I need to. We take hundreds of pictures on vacation, but the really candid stuff? The things that happen that you just WISH you had taken a picture of? Those are truly the best moments. Because we remember them in our hearts and in our minds.

Another friend of mine is taking a social media break. FOR LENT. 6 weeks without Facebook. Or Twitter. Or cat memes. She’s blogging about her experience without social media, so you should ALSO check out her blog, Grass Oil. Instead of living life through Facebook and Twitter, she’s just living life.

So go out there, friends, and LIVE LIFE. Stop trying to capture it all on tape. Unless it’s some momentous occasion, like when I dreamed (two nights ago) that I was in Paris with Vince Vaughn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Nero, Matt Damon, and David Tennant…and you know what? I still didn’t manage to get my picture taken with any of them!

What was your first concert? What’s changed since then?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!