It’s a really interesting time to be on the road. I’m sitting at a park in Denver typing on my laptop in the shade; it’s hot so I’m wearing shorts and a hat, white and green tube socks and a pair of black vans that are almost too blown-out to keep wearing.When I started travelling at the beginning of this year, it was incredibly easy to connect with people, find where the musicians play, find places to stay, fill up my time with live music, jams, adventures, and really anything I felt like doing. As the country shut down and is now slowly starting to re-open (in spite of rising cases) it has become much more difficult to find safe places to stay. I was able to post up in Albuquerque for the entire month with a truly incredible group of people who I’m absolutely grateful to know, thanks to a connection with Alie Byland (check out @bylandmusic). I wrote a new song, filmed a video, tracked drums on an album, and practiced guitar all month while staying put in a beautiful house on a gorgeous property (HUGE thanks to Liesa Reece at @girliebirdco).
Now I’m in Denver, and my aunt and uncle had generously offered me a place to stay up in the mountains for the first week or so. I’ve been enjoying some down time, teaching lessons online, working on new material to record once I can get back into studio hangs. My intention was to find another small group of musicians I could join while I’m here, and I’m grateful to say I found a good spot with a couple of musicians who were down to let me chip in on rent to stay for a couple of weeks.
I took my van to a mechanic earlier in the week for an oil change and to check in on any maintenance it might need. They mentioned that the transmission might be starting to slip and put some additive in it. For the next couple days it felt like the van was having a hard time climbing hills, especially since I’m driving up and down a mountain. Last night on a hill the van was slipping out when I was stopped on an incline, jolting forward when it finally caught, almost rolling back into the car behind me at the light. I pulled into a parking lot nearby which was a firestone auto center and stayed with it overnight so they could check it out in the morning. I left it with them while I found a nearby cafe to steal some wifi from so that I could teach a video lesson (gotta get creative!) and when the mechanic called back he quoted me $4,119.27 for the new transmission. I took the van to a transmission specialist my uncle recommended, who tells me he can get me a transmission with a 3-year warranty for around $2,800: approximately twice what I paid for the van in the first place.
This isn’t the first or last of the car troubles, and at this point in my journey (and this being my EIGHTH van) I hardly even get bummed out by this kind of thing. It’s just part of the reality of relying on old vehicles. "You should just buy another van". No, any van you get for that amount is gonna have it's own host of mystery problems. Soon Tesla will come out with an electric van and I’ll see if Elon Musk will give me one (hey, who knows, he might want to!). Until then, looks like I need to come up with a few grand. I figure that’s 28 hours of studio time, or about 40 drum lessons, 280 albums, 467 new Button of the Month club members, or 933 new Launch Team members.
So now’s a great time, if you’ve been thinking about snagging a lesson from me, hit me up! If you want me to program a drumbeat for your new track or want to reserve some studio time for a later date, send me an offer at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to join my launch team or donate, go to www.heatherthomasmusic.com/launch-team and get access to unreleased demos/videos or join the button-of-the-month club (seriously, that one’s the most fun!). And of course, if you wanna send a few dollars, my Venmo is @heatherondrums
I’m gonna keep making music as long as I live and driving my old postal service van for at least a little while longer if I can. Honestly I’m not even that worried about it, I have been in this situation before (this isn’t even the first time I’ve had to replace this van’s transmission!). But I’ve learned it doesn’t hurt to let folks know what’s up, as there are often solutions to a problem that you can’t see until you get other brains on it. Anyways, that’s my update. Hit me up if you have friends in Denver who might want to connect or if you want to catch up! I think I’ll be in the area for most of the rest of the month, so there’s plenty of time to have a good time while following local/state health guidelines. Be safe, take care of each other, and keep doing the work you need to do in love!