I've done a number of double headers and have always enjoyed the exhausted satisfaction of playing two gigs in one day. This past weekend, I played my very first triple header. To make things more interesting, the minimum distance between gigs was 43 miles. This is my tale. Part One: Miller Park, Fontana Distance: 45 miles Downbeat time: 1:30 pm The city of Fontana is the butt of many jokes. It's looked at as a backwoods, podunk town. Heart of The 909, home of the Bros. Some go so far as to call it Fontucky...but not me . That may have been somewhat true 40 years ago but LA's suburban sprawl engulfed the area years ago and the northern part of the city is crammed full of similar looking houses, on similar looking streets, dotted by similar looking shopping centers. I was headed to Miller Park, which is right next to the Fontana civic center. The city is a strong supporter of live music and I've played many city sponsored events including summer concerts, car shows, senior center dances, salsa nights, and library openings with different bands. Hats off to the city for supporting live music! This gig was their winter festival with my cover band Bumptown. It featured live music, artificial snow sledding, Santa, the Grinch and Cindy Lu and a plethora of vendors hawing everything from crafts to churros. We ended up doing one 1:40 "super set". I had started the day relaxing with a killer cup of coffee, a hearty breakfast and some catch up time with the DVR. Later, I checked traffic and everything looked normal. I've played at Miller Park before and was familiar with the parking and load in so there was plenty of time to make it there. A quick stop and some foreshadowing. The place I had planned on parking was cordoned off so I pulled into the next closest lot and was lucky enough to run right into someone pulling out of a space. Score! Aaron (BL) on drums, Sal on guitar, and Ernie on sax in the back. Sal's a guitar tech at Sam Ash Hollywood so you might recognize him if you ever brought your axe there. Crowd participation time. After the last song, I began preparation for the coming gigs. I passed off an amp to Sal so he could set it up for me at gig #3 . I threw my Snark tuner in my pocket, packed my bass in its gig bag with one cable, packed everything else into my gear duffel and headed for my truck. Once there, I took my tablet of my gig bag and threw it on the front seat, loaded my EUB gig bag with one cable and one extension cord, then hopped in the truck for the next leg of the journey. I eyed a couple of fast food restaurants on my way to the freeway but figured there'd be food at the next gig. Part Two: Private Domicile, Newport Beach Distance: 61 miles Downbeat time: 6:00 pm The next gig was a private Christmas party at a house with Moonlight Jazz Quartet. Newport Beach, home of the Bluth Company and deep in the heart of The O.C. (as it came to be known) lay 61 miles southwest, the longest leg of the journey. Parking and load in in residential areas are usually easy peasy so I wasn't expecting any surprises. I checked traffic, chose a route, and cast off with plenty of time. Passing my exit. "Sorry dude, you have a couple more stops before you can go there" The house turned out to be in a gated community so I pulled up to the guardhouse and pleaded my case. The guard issued me a pass and I was off. I got to the house at 5:10, 10 minutes past the call time but with plenty left before downbeat and did a quick costume change. A light speed tear down and load out was critical to the success of the night so I planned accordingly. I chose my EUB over my upright since it's quicker and easier to transport, set up, and put away. The EUB, my amp, my tablet and stand were the only things I had to transport and set up. The "stage" for gig #2 with Norm (BL). Lots of people have Santa at their parties. This is The O.C., they had Mrs Claus too! It was 7:58 pm when two sets of standards and Christmas tunes ended so I threw my Snark in my pocket, tore down my skeleton rig, bid my friends adieu, then embarked on the most nerve wracking part of the journey. I never got a chance to eat so I figured it was time to crack open that Rockstar from earlier. I didn't really "need" it since I felt fine but cracked it more as a preemptive measure. Part Three: Four Points Sheraton, LAX (The Crux) Distance: 43 miles Downbeat time: 9:00 pm The last gig was a corporate Christmas party at the Four Points Sheraton near Los Angeles International Airport with Bumptown (double header for them). We were scheduled to play from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am. I typically like to get to gigs at least an hour before downbeat to keep Murphy at bay. According to that I should have already been at the hotel but Google Maps was telling me that under ideal conditions it would take me 46 minutes to drive the 43 miles to get there. Anyone who's driven in LA knows that "ideal conditions" usually occur at 3:30 am on Thursday morning. Strangely, reality matched the Google estimate and I was scheduled to arrive at my destination at 8:53 pm. It got even stranger when I started picking up time and my arrival time was updated to 8:52 pm then 8:51 pm. I pulled into the hotel parking lot with 9 minutes to spare before downbeat and quickly discovered that there were literally no open parking spaces in the whole lot. In fact, a couple cars were parked illegally! [EXPLETIVES]! As I was making my second pass through the lot, my college parking instincts kicked in and out of the corner of my eye, I spied a couple exiting the lobby. I immediately pointed my truck towards them then slowly stalked them, as quiet and patient as a crouching tiger. I followed them to their car, positioned my truck to block any interlopers, waited as they pulled out then pounced! I grabbed my electric gig bag which had been preloaded with a cable and dashed inside, preparing to shed the gig bag Clark Kent style and heroically plug into the amp which had been set up for me. At 9:01 pm, I rounded the corner leading to the ballroom where the gig was and ran smack dab into the BL. As luck would have it, the program had run late and they weren't ready for the band yet. I headed for the green room they had set up for us and found the rest band gathered at a table. I never got a chance to eat at the last gig and learned that I had also missed out on a chance of some grub at gig #3 . My consolation prize was a freshly cracked beer that the singer handed me. As I took a seat, I began to realize that despite the Rockstar, the Sandman was catching up to me and I was developing that calm, "faraway gaze". Apparently, the drive from Newport to LAX pushed me over the edge. We went on at about 9:20 pm I pushed through the the last three sets of a very long day. Drew took over on drums. Jericho took over on keys... Part Four: The Journey Home Distance: 32 miles Downbeat time: ASAP I was pleasantly pooped by the time we wrapped up the last set, tore down, loaded out, and packed up. I've experienced extreme physical and mental fatigue and I was nowhere near that. I was actually surprised how good I felt...until I hit the freeway and had to endure a very yawny, very bleary eyed, headachey drive home. I also succumbed to siren call of hunger and made one final stop before hittin' the pad. It was about 2:50 am by the time I got home and 3:30 am by the time I unloaded, ate, and went to bed. That's super late for a guy who usually knocks out at 11:00 pm. My head hit the pillow and I slept the sleep of the dead... Epilogue: Santa Fe Springs Swapmeet Distance: 8 miles Downbeat time: Noon I didn't get to take a proper beauty rest because the very next morning, I had to get up for yet another gig at the Santa Fe Springs Swapmeet with Bumptown. The Santa Fe Springs Swapmeet operates on an old drive in movie theater right off the 5 Freeway (or Interstate 5 if you're from the north). They have live bands every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that includes a lot of tribute acts like No Duh (No Doubt), Lose Your Illusion (Guns 'n' Roses), and Slaves Against the Machine (Rage Against the Machine). The beers are big, cold, and cheap and a lot of people pay the $1 swap meet entrance fee primarily for the music. The gig is three 1-hour sets broken up by two 1-hour breaks. That gives you a chance to shop for cell phone accessories, skinny jeans, or t-shirts with your city's name in a Gothicky cholo font or hang out in the green room (i.e. converted storage container) between sets. Ron joined us on congas. Andy (vocals) and Jericho.