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TBills Blog: A South Dakota Kinda Weekend




Andy changing strings at truck stop while waiting for A-Ron

It was a South Dakota kind of weekend! Judd Hoos played in Aberdeen and Watertown, SD. We had a blast coming back to The Zoo and Shooters where we have many fans and made new ones. The Bills Bros woke up late to meet up with everyone to get on the road. But that wasn’t the only delay we would experience on this Friday morning. Our sound guy A-Ron’s car broke down in Sturgis and we waited at the truck stop in Rapid for him to get a ride there so he could ride with us up to Aberdeen.


Six guys packed in a mini van with a trunk full of instruments and a roof rack packed with luggage. I am not good at math, but when I was sitting in the back on the way to Aberdeen I was running the numbers through my head and that is a lot of weight in that van!! Shane Dawg ended up being the sole driver for this trip up north. It wouldn’t be a complete Judd Hoos road trip without gas station stops, 10 questions with Zak Fronce, and Chris working diligently on some project for work in the van.


Chris is hard worker on and off the road


We rolled into Aberdeen safely and went to The Zoo to get all set up. We had all practiced a U2 song during the week so we ran through it for sound check and it sounded awesome. We ended up playing it both nights during the show.






Calm before the storm at The Zoo in Aberdeen




After sound check we went to the hotel to check in and the front desk guy Dewayne had our room keys waiting for us. He wanted to get a picture with the band! Very nice guy and one of the easiest check in’s ever!




Dewayne makes check in easy!

Dewayne makes check in easy!




Our show at The Zoo went great! We all played well and the crowd had so much energy. Every set had the dance floor packed with people pushing up to the front of the stage. The stage at The Zoo is about 6 feet tall so it is crazy to look down at all the people going crazy over the music. Make sure you don’t fall off a stage that tall!


Don’t fall!

It was a great show. Great to see some familiar faces and I was even approached by someone who told me they liked my blogs, which was really great to hear. We loaded out into the cold and got everything torn down and into the trailer pretty quick. All of us were tired from traveling all day and being done with the work week. But that didn’t stop us from hanging out next door with some good friends for a beer. Back at the hotel we were hanging out in the hotel being innocent and very quiet when the front desk lady came knocking on one of our doors saying we needed to be quiet! This doesn’t happen very often with the Hoos. We had dummy locked our doors so we could get back in and she had closed them. So after she told us we needed to go back to our own rooms she had to let us back in them! I guess you aren’t a real rock band if you don’t get asked to be quiet in


Judd Hoos doesn’t have to worry about tickets

Aberdeen was great but it was time to go to Watertown when Saturday rolled around and we were rolling out of our beds before check out. At this point when we were waking up, Bob had been driving the truck and trailer to the next show already and was talking his way out of ticket!


Bob is quite the salesman as well as a great frontman. Shane, Andy, and Chris were all very excited to get over to a sports bar to watch the Nebraska Husker game. Us Bills Bros are slowly being converted into fans I think. We found a great little bar called Pounders with some excellent beers on tap and good food. Andy brought up that we should just start being hotel and restaurant critics with how much we travel and go out to eat. I think he is on to something! So if we were to critique Pounders I would say a majority vote of 4/5 stars. We got on the road for our short drive over the Watertown. The band had some time to relax before we had go set up and sound check. The check in on Saturday was quite different than the one on Friday. We each had to photo copy our drivers license and sign a paper (in pencil.) Shane had gone to his room and there was stuff in it! Devin had a hole going through his blanket and sheets and a weird brown stain on his pillow. At least there were no bed bugs! We think. Majority vote for this hotel, 1/5 stars.
After naps and relaxing a little we went to set up. Shooters is an awesome bar to play in but its definitely one of the smaller stages we play on. It was going to be tight on stage! I don’t remember how we fit up there last time. We all made it work and were sound checked and going back to the hotel in no time.

Are we all gonna fit!?

Are we all gonna fit!?

It is tradition that the band goes to Dempsey’s Pub for beers and some dinner before the gig. We had a great dinner and it was fun to spend some time together without having to worry about where we needed to go or what song we needed so play. Majority vote for Dempsey’s, 4/5 stars.

The show in Watertown was a blast! Literally. The dance floor got packed very quickly and the energy in the bar was very high. Everyone was digging the Hoos! I think there were at least three fights that I could see. They were all girl fights too. I see it happen so often. The audience will crowd up to the front of the stage and the people in the front row get pushed up into the stage and they push back. Before you know it you have pissed off drunk people pushing each other! And then the fights start. It is normal. There was one part of the show where Bob called security up to the dance floor and disappeared off to the side of the stage to help carry this lady out; all while we was still singing! We had a great response from the crowd. Our new songs went over well and we all played great. Load out went really quick with everyone working hard.

Packed dance floor!

Packed dance floor!


Back at our lovely hotel, we had a little jam session. It had been forever since Chris, Andy, Shane, Devin, and I had all played some songs in the hotel room after a show. It was really fun. Slowly but surely people snuck away to their rooms while Devin, me, and our Shooters friends were left. We hung out all the way into the early hours of Sunday morning. Somebody said something about there being some “red jelly” on the end of my mattress. Which ended up being blood! I don’t know what from. There are only so many ways you can get blood on the end of a mattress right? Grrrooosss. Such nice hotel rooms we had…Anyways, it was fun to wind down and hang out before getting a little sleep.

You could tell we were all exhausted when we got into the van a little after ten on Sunday morning. On our way back to Rapid City we picked up some cars from Bob’s car lot. The convoy was on our way back home. It was super windy but we all made it

Almost back to Rapid!

Almost back to Rapid!


So there you have it. Another crazy Judd Hoos South Dakota rock n roll weekend in the books. We have this next weekend off for Thanksgiving. It will be good to spend time with our families and learn a couple more new songs to put in the show! We are going up north again in a couple weeks, but this time even farther up to Bismarck, ND. Judd Hoos doesn’t get to come up to ND very often so we are excited to hit up this market and show em what we got! Thanks to all who came out over the weekend and made it special for us. Stay tuned for more on the road with Judd Hoos blogs!


TBills Blog: Judd Hoos a 7 piece band!?


It felt a lot longer than two weeks since our last gig. We hadn’t taken a weekend off in five months! So it was nice to be able to relax and spend time with our families. All us Judd Hoos boys were happy to see each other. Even though three of us work at the same place during the week and Devin and I see each other every day. The Bills Bros hadn’t seen the guys since we left from our show in Haxton, CO. Can you say band reunion?

We loaded up the van and all piled in to get started on the long drive down to Lincoln, NE. It was a beautiful day for traveling. Halfway through the trip Devin and Shane were having a conversation about Shane’s band history. This turned into a Judd Hoos history lesson. Which ultimately turned into a 5 hour long discussion from the first version of Judd Hoos to this last year where the Bills Bros had joined. Seriously, if I don’t do it, then somebody needs to write a book about it. Some of the things that happened for us to all be together is almost freaky. The coincidences are almost too perfect. Anyways, everyone shared their part of how they joined the band and their band history prior. Even after spending 10 months in the van together every weekend we hadn’t had this discussion yet and it was really fun to have.

We got into Lincoln and headed straight to Cappy’s to sound check quickly. The stage was set and Judd Hoos had an easy sound check. It was back to the routine: Go to hotel, check in, get something to eat if you can, iron your clothes, shower, change your strings, and load up to get back to the bar before showtime!

The show went really well. It was not as busy as we would have hoped, but the crowd that was there was great. We had people dancing on the first set. Even if there had been no one in the bar the whole night, all of us would have had a great time. You could tell that we had all missed playing music together and played really well. It is like riding a bike; you never forget how! Judd Hoos rocked Cappy’s and had a great time. Our crew guy, Q, and Devin even decided to take the show to the dance floor on a break and had everyone in the bar watching them dance. Thanks to everyone who came out. We love seeing our Lincoln buddies.

Tear down and load out wasn’t too bad considering we hadn’t done it in two weeks. We got out of there and back to the hotel were we decided to have a good ol’ fashioned Judd Hoos hotel room beer tasting. Grab your little paper cups from your rooms, cram into one room, and let’s place the beer bottles from best to worse on top of the TV. It was fun. It was a tie between a Shake Chocolate Porter and a Laughing Lab Scottish Ale. Yum.

The next morning we all dragged our bags down to the van. It was beautiful out again! The Judd Hoos boys headed to one of our favorite local eateries in Lincoln, Toast, with one of our favorite local buddies, Aaron Funk. We sat outside for probably 3 hours and soaked in the sun and talked about… well whatever six dudes talk about over coffee and burgers in the sun. It was a good relaxing lunch and it was nice to be able to take our time since our next gig was so close. We headed out towards Omaha and went straight to the hotel once we got into town.

We hung out for a bit until we had to head down to sound check. We were playing for some super fans, Justin and Amanda’s wedding reception. They had rented out a Firefighter hall and had it decked out for a rocking good time. Sound check ended up taking a while. Most of us kept getting shocked every time we would put our mouths up to our microphones. Not cool. So besides some power issues, we finally got a good line check in and hurried back to the hotel to get pretty for the gig.

This was not going to be a typical Judd Hoos show. We had a very special guest who was going to perform on stage with us. None other than the original guitar player for Judd Hoos and ultimate bad ass, Mr. Drew Lerdal. We had him all set up and ready to go for the second set. The first set was smooth and we boomed and rocked the hall. Not too many dancers but there was a little kid mosh pit going on at one point. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

The second set was epic. Judd Hoos was a 7 piece band! Drew ended up playing through almost the whole set. We played some of his favorites and had an amazing three guitar face melting solo during Folsom Prison. The night was only starting too. During the third set we had Drew get up some more and played some Judd Hoos songs that we hadn’t played in years and Devin and I had never played. Hopefully it sounded good!

Did I mention an open bar? Well needless to say it was a very fun night and not a normal Judd Hoos show. I remember getting down off the stage and watching the guys play. It took me back to when I had seen Judd Hoos in the past and thought to myself, “Woah it would be so cool to be in Judd Hoos.” Thank you so much to Justin and Amanda for having us be a part of your special night. It was a blast.

We got done loading up the trailer earlier than usual and went back to the bar in the hotel to enjoy last call and some interesting karaoke. Judd Hoos likes to jam after shows. But sometimes it is hard to find a place in the hotel where we aren’t disturbing other guests. I think we had gone to three different rooms and finally got the front desk knocking on our door. You are not a real rock band unless you get the management called on you every once in a while. In our last attempt to have a jam session and extend the party a little longer we went down to the lobby where we were turned around back to our rooms very quickly. Seemed like a good idea right?

Anyways, it was such a fun weekend. A great weekend to come back to after having some time off. The time off was much needed but I know personally I was in Judd Hoos withdrawal. We all crave performing and playing music together for the fans and for ourselves. I think we like spending time with each other too most of the time. haha! Judd Hoos will be going on the road down to cowboy-country-Laramie, WY this next weekend. In the words of Chancey Williams, “Somebody might die.” (In regards to playing two nights with his band during homecoming weekend at a crazy cowboy bar.) Should be fun! Thanks again to our friends in Lincoln, NE for coming out and supporting us. And a huge thanks again to Justin and Amanda. You guys rock. Until next time, stay tuned for more on the road with Judd Hoos!