These RockRoots gigs are far and few between and were once my main source of income. We’d often play three times a week, especially in the second half of the school year. Things have dropped off precipitously since the 2008 financial collapse. I also haven’t pursued the booking, letting YANJ take the lead.

We returned to Clinton Middle School, a mere 40 minutes away in western NJ. We’ve been here regularly and the staff and teachers are always glad to have us. 450 6th, 7th, 8th graders – a tough age to play for, in general, but can be quite excitable. I’m always somewhat insecure in my abilities to capture their attention and drive the show home. Thankfully, I have great sidemen who play strong so that the kids have no chance but see a good band. That counts for a lot.

The kids were great and, since we had a very tight window to do the show, we take it on to play a crisp show. I have to deliver the script and do what I can not over talk. I did better than I expected, with a small bump (the lads where there with the cue). The secret is to not stop and let the muscle memory take over. (With fewer shows, I don’t have the confidence that I use to have.)

Again, the staff was quite gracious and, as we were rolling out our equipment among the exiting students, several kids thanked us for the show. We seldom get to hear this feedback from the kids, and soothed some of the angst I feel when I’m playing for this age group.

I didn’t spend 3 hours on the road for a Jersey gig on a Friday afternoon. That’s nice.