Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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Yesterday morning Matt had to get some bloodwork done, so we got up early (well, early for us) and got that taken care of, and then went to brunch.  When we got back, Matt said, "Oh man, I think I might be coming down with something. I'm not entirely sure... I just feel kinda off." That was around 1:30.

By 5:00 Matt had a 99.4 degree fever, and by 8:30 it was 101.7 and he was praying that the sweet lord would just let him die. He had the power-pukes of doom (though he admittedly felt better after Round 3), and the cold/hot/ugh of the fever, and this awful cough that came from the pit of his soul.

Around 11pm my pal Kerry texted me and mentioned that she had the similar plague the day before, but thankfully it seemed to be a 24 hour thing because she felt 89% better.  

Matt debated taking something to knock his fever down, but we agreed that we shouldn't mess with millennia of evolution, and that we should just let the fever cook out whatever it needed to.  We did give him a delicious Wal-Som to knock him out though, and he slept fairly well through the night despite a few puke-breaks.

He woke up this morning and his fever is back down to 99.4, and he feels better than he did yesterday but is still bed-ridden.

I am avoiding him as much as possible, which means I'm sleeping in the guest room, and staying out of our bedroom unless I absolutely have to go in there to bring him something.  Poor guy.

This wouldn't be a big deal, but this weekend is a Really Important Weekend.

On Friday, Matt has his very first gig with 53rd & 3rd, which is a brand-new Ramones tribute band that he's the lead singer for.  Matt has never fronted a band without also holding a guitar before, and he's nervous (though very prepared). He reaaaaaally doesn't want to be sick for this. I suppose the good news is that the gig is at Bar XIII, which is about 7 minutes from our house, and if worse came to worst, he could show up, sing, and leave.  This isn't what we want, of course.

On Saturday, Matt and I are part of this really neat show called "Shine a Light," which is a 50+ musician fundraising show that raises dinero for the Light Up The Queen Foundation, which raises money for Delaware schools that lost their arts/music funding. It also runs a jazz school, and does some other cool things, too.  It's held on the big stage downstairs at The Queen, and it's almost already sold out. Tickets are $125 each, and VIP tix are $250... so it's a pretty big to-do.  Anyway, each year's concert has a theme, and this year we're doing all songs from 1969. It's a prestigious thing, and this is our first year being a part of it.  As Freshmen members, we are singing backups and are in the horn section... so no lead singer or guitar duties, but honestly, we really like being right where we are. 

Anyway, Saturday's show is an all-day thing... we have to arrive by 3 so we can be all sound-checked and cleared off the stage by 6 because that's when the house opens for the VIPs.  The music starts at 8.

The downside to this show is that there are over 50 players involved, so there are going to be over 50 musicians crammed into the backstage area where there is not enough room for even 20 people, really... plus I'm sure many will be drinking throughout the day/night... and as an introvert it's hard to endure not having a place to be quiet where there isn't a person (drunk or not) trying to talk to you... but it's a billion times worse when you're sick.  So I'm thinking about bringing a pillow or some kind of cushion so we can sit in the stairwell where (hopefully) nobody else will be. 

As for me, I feel like my body is working really hard to fight something. I'm doing everything in my power to make sure it wins.

We were in Austin all last week for work and got home on Saturday, and then Matt had a Ramones rehearsal at 10:00am on Sunday because we had an all-day dress rehearsal for Shine a Light that started at noon and went until around 7 or 8-ish (can't remember).  So between travel, being on an airplane, being in two rehearsal spaces crammed with people and sharing mics and stuff and just running running running, it's no surprise the plague got a foothold.

So, we're hoping Matt feels better ASAP.

In the last bit of news: I'm typing this in procrastination, because I'm an idiot and always wait until the last possible second to get my books in shape in time for my accountant to do my business taxes and then my personal taxes. I see my accountant tomorrow at 2pm, and I am just now starting to hand-type in all of my bank and credit card transactions for the year, because naturally I am too cheap to spend the $9.95/month for Quickbooks access.

Anyway, if I owe you an email or some kind of reply, it'll likely be next week sometime. I've gotta get through this week and the weekend.

xo

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O lawd. Good luck kids.
Sending love and strength.
 

I forget if I mentioned here this ridiculous musical undertaking we decided to attempt: We are putting on Delaware's very first Beatles festival, and this festival means that we are playing every Beatles song ever released (and even two that were recorded and never released) over a course of six consecutive nights... this means we do two albums per night, plus any singles that were released around those albums.  There is one night we're only doing one album, and that's the night we're playing The White Album since it's a double-album... and one other night we're playing three albums because that's just how the math worked. 

The festival started tonight, and we were kinda expecting the lightest crowd tonight since it's a Monday night, and since we just kinda figured this is their less interesting material.  But holy crap, we had 130 people tonight, and the theater only holds about 250... so it felt very full, and the crowd was very enthusiastic. One of tonight's audience members was actually in the audience when The Beatles played on Ed Sullivan!! GAAAH!!  After our show tonight she said she was so happy she came tonight so she could actually hear the songs, unlike the Ed Sullivan show where all she heard was screaming. :-)

We've been rehearsing this material since January-- two rehearsals per week -- one a vocal-only rehearsal, and the other rehearsal was with the whole band. 

The name of the group putting on this BeatleFest is called "The Rock Orchestra," which is an tribute show organization headed up by Joe Trainor and Matt Urban. Joe and MattU (not to be confused with 'my Matt' (aka MattC)) choose what tribute shows they want to perform (basically curating a season's worth of music), and then writes all the arrangements, and hires the right musicians to play it. So there's no set band member list to The Rock Orchestra... but they have an extensive Rolodex from which to draw. :-)

This BeatleFest takes 40 musicians to play all of this music as true to the albums as we can, once you get strings, horns, traditional Indian instrmentalists, harmonica, harp, even sound effects... all in addition to the core band. 

Because we're playing these songs in release order, tonight was the "simplest" material, so we only needed the core band tonight.  But we've been rehearsing in release order, too... so our most recent rehearsals has been the REALLY complicated stuff requiring all 40 players.  We had two final rehearsals this weekend... Saturday was sound-equipment load-in, and Sunday was all 40 of us... and we played all of the hard stuff (we're even doing "Revolution #9" live!)  We intentionally left the stage set up with all the (empty) chairs for the strings and horns, all of my 73,000 percussion instruments were out on display, MattC's guitars and saxes and keys were all set up, even though we don't use them until Wednesday.  We really want the audience to watch and feel this stuff build in complexity as we move through the Beatles' catalogue and timeline. 

So tonight when we got to the theater for Night 1 of BeatleFest to play "Please Please Me" and "With The Beatles" and the surrounding singles, only the seven core band members were needed, and we were like "Where is everyone? Oh, wait, it's just us tonight!"  

We've got Joe Trainor singing mostly Paul McCartney's parts and also playing piano and keys; we've got Brendan Sheehan playing guitar and singing mostly John Lennon's parts, Rich Degnars on drums (he's amazing), Josh Dowiak on bass and some vocals, Joey Lopes on lead guitar (he is freakin' awesome), and then Matt and I are the utility players.  (Utility players are people who can sing and play many instruments, so they play whatever is needed.)  I sing backing vocals on almost everything (I sing lead on a few, too) and I play about 22 different percussion instruments (everything from simple handclaps to timpani and anvil and concert chimes to a motorcycle exhaust pipe), keys a few times, and I also handle all the sound effects (think the animal sounds in "Good Morning, Good Morning").  Matt sings whenever we need 4-part harmony (and he also sings lead on a few), and he's playing guitar, bass, sax, keys/piano, and percussion. 

Tonight was an easy night music-wise, and tomorrow night (Tuesday, Night 2) is also just the core band again because we're playing two more " simple" albums: "Beatles for Sale" and "A Hard Day's Night" (plus some singles).

Wednesday night (Night 3) is "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" (plus some singles). Wednesday night is when Matt and are the guest singers, so we sing lead on a few songs. This night is also when more band members arrive... Indian musicians arrive, some horns and strings...

Thursday night (Night 4) s the big night where we do three albums (‘Revolver’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and ‘Magical Mystery Tour’) and also the point when all 40 musicians are on stage through the rest of the festival!

Friday night (Night 5 of 6, also Matt's birthday):  Tonight we only play one album, which is "The Beatles," aka The White Album. It's a double album.  We'll also play any singles released during that time. And once we tackle that, we're brought to closing night, which is "Abbey Road" and "Let it Be," plus the singles. And that's it!

During the show, we have fun projections as a backdrop that sorta gives you an idea of what "era" of The Beatles we're in (in Hamburg, the Ed Sullivan stage, their psychedelic stage, the rooftop, etc... and we have another projector with a slideshow that displays the song name, album title, and a counter that counts up the number of songs out of the 215 we've played already.  

I'm really proud and excited to play this music with these people-- it sounds great, and best of all everyone gets along, so it's been a very joyful experience!  It's also been exciting new really exciting to feel how the songwriting got more interesting and complex as The Beatles' progressed, and also to note how they were able to do all the things they wanted to record thanks to advances in recording technology.  

There was more I wanted to type, but I've forgotten because I've fallen asleep a few times while typing this... haha... and it's now 3:55am so I'm gonna post this now. 

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7/17 '18 8 Comments
These shows sound amazing. Do your best Norwegian Wood for me, and Maxwell's Silver Hammer for Mr. Archer. <3
Thanks! Tonight is Norwegian Wood-- that actually features me and Matt (along with Day Tripper and Ticket to Ride.) Maxwell's Silver Hammer is tomorrow night-- I love that song!
I am not normally a tribute show person, but this would absolutely have drawn me in, especially the White Album night. Alas, I'm in Virginia Beach for the week. So I shall console myself with sun, surf, sand and ludicrous amounts of cozy time.
Thomas Boutell 7/17 '18
Both are equally magical. Have a fabulous time, sir!
It is absolutely killing me that I can't be there (or give Robbb the gift of being there). I hope you all break all of your legs!
Michele Grant 7/17 '18
Thanks, babycakes! It's very strange not having you guys here... you are both missed very much!
This sounds like so much GD fun. I can feel the glow from here.
Anne Mollo 7/19 '18
Damn, that sounds fun!!
Kate Haney 7/24 '18