July 14th 2010….It was a day that I was looking forward to since our trip to Australia together a few months prior. Because this particular summer day was when our friends Donavon Frankenreiter, Eric Brigmond and his wife Cat, Matt Grundy, Pete Winders, Craig Barnette and Tito would be touring through our town again.
Around 8:45am, I got a call from Donavon…“ALDERS!!…Wake up!..Get your butt out of bed and get down to the beach!”….He proceeded to tell me how he was going to be giving some underprivileged city-kids surf lessons in like 10 minutes. That's pretty much the most warning you'll ever get from Donavon, so I threw on some board shorts and headed to Asbury Park beach.
My friends Scott, Brad, Sarah,Jay and Derek from Original Skateboards met up with us for what was going to be a surf session, but instead we all watched and helped out a bit as Donavon and a group of volunteer surf coaches patiently taught a group of very appreciative kids to ride their first waves. It was a beautiful scene and I was really impressed with how great with kids Donny is.
It's always eventful when this particular batch of friends hang with us and this time was no different. Like last year, I had a solo art show at Langosta Lounge and I got to show everyone my newly finished painting, “Sweet Aspirations”. I had art on display throughout the restaurant as well as in the adjoining surfshop, Lightly Salted and got some really wonderful feedback from everyone who attended.
Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with our outdoor merch-area, but Donavon made sure we were able to move our entire set up to The Stone Pony where they were performing later that night. It worked out for the best and we had a hugely successful and supportive crowd who kept us busy all night. I was really appreciative to have Chelsea, Gabi and Alexa there to help run everything.
Before the show, I got to share some really nice conversations with roots reggae performer, Mishka who was on tour opening for Donavon. I had met Mishka last year briefly in Malibu,CA where we were doing an event together, but we didn't really have a chance to talk much then. So it was nice to have some more down time on this tour to bond. He showed me pics of his gorgeous family and got me psyched about kite-boarding which I can't wait to try.
We made some trips back and forth to my house with the band to do laundry and offer some non-bus time. Our friends, The Murrays were staying with us with their awesome children, so it was a fun time for us all to catch up. I got into some deep conversations with Pete and showed him my Line6 Variax guitar which he continued to plug in and shred the shit out of.
Back we went to The Stone Pony where Mishka opened the show and the sold-out venue was already packed full of surfers and beach-folks. I walked backstage at one point to hang out and grab a drink and was nicely surprised to have been given a very belated birthday present from Eric & Cat,Donavon and the guys in the band. When I say belated, I mean it. We celebrated my birthday and New Years eve with the band in Jacksonville, Florida back in January. Better late than never, I was really happy to add these signed vinyls to my collection!
Towards the end of the show, Donavon dedicated a song to me and my girlfriend, whom he so eloquently called my ‘wife', just to be an instigator…yeah, no pressure or anything…Thanks Donavon 🙂 ..My hometown crowd roared and I smiled from ear to ear.
It was one of those moments that I wish I could bottle and bring with me everywhere I go. I just looked around in what felt like slow motion…I was in one of the most legendary venues, The Stone Pony with people whom I love all around me, with some of my favorite musician friends on stage. Who could ask for more?