4/11/2024: Santa Rosa, California with Josh Windmiller at Moonlight Brewing Company


Yesterday I was writing just before playing at Moonlight Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California. I lived in the nearby town of Sebastopol for about three years, from 2015-2018, so this should have been a familiar spot, yet I don’t recall ever having been to this part of Santa Rosa before. But, I saw a lot of family and friends here, which made the office-park environment where the concert was feel like home. I was playing with Josh Windmiller, who could be called Josh Wind-Pillar of the Santa Rosa music scene! He and my friend Bryce who work in music promotion in the area were so kind to remember me and set up this show. It was originally supposed to be held at a theater venue called the Lost Church, which opened up just as I was moving out of the area. But due to some technical issues the venue is not able to operate at the moment, and Moonlight Brewing stepped in just in the nick of time to save the show.

I arrived before the brewery was even open, wrote yesterday’s tour diary and meditated at a circular, concrete picnic table. When I came back to reality I saw that Josh had sent me a message saying that he was on site and thinking about where to set up the PA. I looked around but saw no sight of him anywhere and the worry arose in me that there were multiple locations of this brewery and I went to the wrong one. But no, Josh emerged from the obscurity of the taproom wearing a beanie and a horizontally-striped longsleeve t-shirt. In a couple hours, while he was playing, I drew a picture of him, and he said he looked like a sailor in the picture and that he had been going for that look.

There wasn’t a clear best choice for the PA to be set up, so we put it just outside a big open door so, we hoped, people inside and outside could hear the music. My sisters and mother-in-law and nephew and Julian, Anna, Charlotte from 33arts, Dean who used to play bass with me, and Beth – they are now married! – and Beth’s brother Cincinnatus wearing a Reds baseball jacket (!) all showed up and it was so wonderful to see them all!

Josh started playing around 5:30. He plugged his nylon-string guitar into my borrowed Vox amp and whipped out some wild dreamlike tunes with a lot of fantastic junkyard lyrics. Josh uses a lot of found instruments, including a heavy chain for percussion that he lays across a foot. I’ll try to put up a video to illustrate. His band is called the Crux and they really rip it up. I wrote about him earlier on this tour diary, about how he held a sort of communion at one of their concerts, passing out bread that he himself had made.

I followed up probably around 6:30, and played a set very similar to what I played in Santa Cruz. The sun was directly in my eyes for the first part, which I was very thankful for, because it was blinding. I think this is pretty common, but playing for people I know well often brings more nerves than playing for total strangers. I don’t know why exactly, but my guess is that because I know the usual facial expressions of family & friends, I notice it more, and I tend to look to see what reactions they might be having, knowing that they have the same familiarity with me, and this leads into the death-spiral of getting caught up in thought while trying to play music! But the sun was blinding me like stage lights, and I mentioned this and received a couple offers to borrow sunglasses. I think it sounded like I was being sarcastic and making a joke.

There was a guy with a bushy moustache I kept noticing. He would dance around in funny ways, kind of doing an interpretive dance to what I was playing. He was clearly enjoying himself a lot and acting silly and crazy – he gave me the weird and funny feelings I long for!! I took a selfie with him after the show and got his name, though I can no longer remember it.

For the most part, I think my folks liked the show, and some people who I didn’t know as well! But for me, I was a little disappointed because I forgot a couple of lines to some of my new songs. I also realized, in bed later that night, that I forgot to play “New Sadnesses.” At least – I think I forgot. Maybe I didn’t?

At the end of the night, as we were going back to Danna (my mother-in-law)’s house, I mentioned that I didn’t know exactly where I was, and Haleah, my sister-in-law offered to ride with me and give me directions. When I tried to start the car, however, I did not have the key. This is not actually a “key” but a “fob” which does not need to be actually inserted into the ignition. It just needs to be close to it. It was apparently not in my pocket this time! Since I am well-known for having things fall out of my pockets, I assumed it would be somewhere on the ground. Haleah and I searched everywhere I had been that evening, from the picnic table to the PA area to the bathroom. Those were pretty much the three spots where I had been. But there was no key to be found. I had already searched my catch-all tote bag twice and decided the key was not in there. But as I was searching the taproom Haleah went back to that bag, completely emptied it out and found the key. I am so grateful for that. We were beginning to consider having people come back and pick us up.

Haleah gave me directions back to Danna’s, which were very necessary, as I really had trouble remembering my way around what used to be my home. And guess who I got to see here – my old cat Abner, from Chattanooga! What a good boy.

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