Where to begin?
I’m still tired, but it’s a good tired. The type of tired you get from a great workout (which I haven’t had in a while), but later that evening where your burst of energy and enthusiasm led you to clean your house, revisit an old sitcom wondering if it holds up (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 100% does), and stay up too late to get up fresh-faced for work. But that’s my own fault and lack of discipline to blame for that. To be fair, I spent most of Sunday (after grabbing lunch with my buddy Evan, up from Atlanta…more on that in a second) in what could only have been described as an anxious haze. I’m still fairly unsure how to put into words how grateful I am for what happened on Saturday night. Shane Rhyne, Sean Simoneau, and I sold out the Pilot Light (and came relatively close at the late show to doing it twice).
“But Tyler, it was your album recording show! You should take more credit.”
Don’t worry; I’m ecstatic (relieved is probably a better word for it) that my sets were as fun as they were, and that they provided my friend/co-conspirator Saint Thomas “Audio Wiz” LeDoux with plenty of material to EQ into an acceptable product for sale (more on that shortly).
I did work my ass off promoting this thing, but it would have still been a waste of time if not for the friends both old and new who packed my favorite bar to the gills. I was also able to stir up hype because so many conduit-people were happy to help support local comedy. Striped Light helped print my invitations to mail and helped me letterpress my posters to hang around town. The Knoxville Urban Guy, one of the most important people in this city, welcomed me to his courtyard for a conversation and profile on Inside of Knoxville. The team at WBIR’s Live at Five at Four could not have been more fun and welcoming. Michael Shibley and Rowan Young both brought me on their podcasts for wonderful conversations. Jennell Pershing and Faith Held graciously invited me to call in to the Rocky Top Round-up. The list goes on and probably includes you (to some degree).
But let’s not bullshit ourselves; I owe this city so much for everything that culminated in this past weekend. I was happy to see people from so many walks of life (both mine, and general civic life) under the same roof, laughing at the same time. The Pilot Light has been my comedy home since I moved here in 2013, becoming even more so since The Well (my other local comedy home) closed in 2014. I can’t imagine the city or my comedy life without it. I’m grateful for all the work that comics before me have done to make it the most welcoming and open place in
downtown Knoxville. I’m grateful that Jason Boardman put faith in me, Shane, and Sean to fill up his bar on a Saturday night in the middle of the summer. I hope that the handful of people at the recording show(s) who’d never been to The Pilot Light realize how great it is and start coming back regularly.
I’m also grateful that Evan Valentine (of the legendary Ragnarok Volumes. 1-3, the last of which was our 2014 tour) made it up from Atlanta. As much as we’re both fairly disconnected from the scene that birthed us as comics, we both miss DC and think about it all the time. Granted, we’ve both made good lives for ourselves both professionally and personally in our new(ish) cities. Plus, Evan hosted the recording of my first album, and his wife Lauren (also one of my best friends) took the cover photo. Not for nothing, it was also on a beach – a coincidence that we noticed about an hour before the first show on Saturday. If I ever do a third album, Evan joked it should just be me flipping off a beach and called “Fuck You, Beach!” I may go with “I Don’t Want to Go to the Beach” to soften the language and continue my affinity for referencing bands that are great.
Thanks as well to Kate Nixon, who provided a cake that looked like a record player (with the record on it) and insanely good rice crispie treats topped with marshmallow fondant cassettes. My girlfriend saved one of the latter for me, which I held onto for posterity all the way until Sunday night, when I housed it. Kate has been providing delectable cakes of all kinds for Friendlytown for years now, and I’m so happy my recording had desserts there. The more mechanisms for bringing people together/making them feel like welcome, the better.
I wish I had time to write personal shout-outs and thank-yous to everyone who came to the show(s), especially to reach out to the folks who came because they found the show on the internet or saw me on WBIR. Unfortunately, I’m painfully backed up on work from this past month, and I want to publish this before anyone forgets that the show(s) happened in the first place. I’ll be back in touch next month when I’m trying to sell you this album, I promise.
So, what next?
A handful of things, once I get a decent night of sleep and catch my breath.
First, those of us on the production end have a bunch of work to do in the next couple weeks to get Modern Life is Awesome ready to order for proper release, but I’ll keep y’all updated on anything important. I’m planning to release the LP and the Tape via TDC Records, an arm of TDC Productions (more on that soon). Maybe we’ll see the birth of RainShine Records, too. Release date TBA as soon as I know anything more specific, but I’m hoping for late August.
Here’s the cover art, which I’m sure won’t come as a shock to anybody. Keep in mind that this is only the Digital album cover. Both the LP and Cassette versions will vary/be cooler/more worth your investment. But I’m just an analog loyalist dork; what do I know about marketing this stuff?
Second, I’ve got some handmade invitations and posters to the event left over. If you’d like one, get in touch with me or sound off in the comments! I’d love for these to go into loving comedy-ephemera collectors’ homes before I just throw them in the recycling bin.
Third, NO REST FOR THE WICKED. Friendlytown’s got great things on the near horizon, including a showcase starring New York’s Ryan Donahue and Mike Lebovitz on Friday, July 13th.
Also, me and some of the Friendlytown cohort are participating in a benefit show for WOZO Radio at the Pilot Light on Sunday, July 22nd, so mark your calendars for that, too.
Fourth, there will be an album-release show. I can’t promise all the formats will be available by then (I’m not in control of much of it), but there will be release shows/parties. At least one will (hopefully) be in Washington, DC later this summer/fall.
Fifth, I will be headlining the True Grit Comedy Showcase on Saturday, August 25th, at Sugar Mama’s. This may or may not have anything to do with the previous thing.
Sixth, check out Jon Pemberton’s new art showcase at Mighty Mud (Jennings Ave.) tomorrow night (First Friday) from 6-9. Jon and his wife Elisabeth chose to get a babysitter and spend a rare date night at my show, which was already awesome enough of them. He introduced himself and we talked about DC post-hardcore bands. I’m grateful it happened.
Okay, that’s it. I’m still tired and you all still rule. Let’s talk soon.