After completing Songs of Serenity, publishing the book I put together to go with it, and playing the big show on my birthday, I’ve gone through some deflation in energy, perhaps inevitably. You build up to something so long and when it’s finally done and out there, you’re not only drained, but in my case, a little unsure of what to do next (other than record another album – which is going to happen very quickly).
I know what I did right after the show, which is coming up below, but after this quick trip to Vegas I let the foot off the gas, and lost some momentum when I should’ve been pushing and promoting this album with all my energy and enthusiasm. By month’s end I was finally ready to update with some pics and stories from that trip when suddenly October 1st hit and the city I’ve felt a growing connection to was in tatters, innocence shattered, a nation and world mourning — again.
In the immediate aftermath of that tragedy I didn’t feel my tribute to Vegas and its status as wedding destination was appropriate or timely. I shut down a little, lost my will to promote, and went through a period of depression that I’ve dealt with by jumping ahead to work on songs for my next album. But now it is time to pick up the threads of this musical journey again and return to the city of Las Vegas in sunny September when all was golden.
The main reason I wanted to return here was to revisit the location of my video for Say I Do, shot by Robert Riendeau in a whirlwind 24 hours in early 2017. I was already there (thanks to a reward trip for my team at Got Junk), so decided to fly him down and take advantage of being in the World’s Wedding Capital. My first challenge was getting a guitar to film with, as I wasn’t flying one of my precious babies down just for this. Renting one proved difficult so I ended up walking into the fabled Cowtown Guitars hoping to find something cheap that looked cool enough. Lucky me, they had one for $200 that fit the bill.
Robert and I shot some street scenes walking around with that guitar, but our plan to capture all the craziness of the strip at night fizzled and we ended up getting a lot more footage of me playing in the hotel room, an introspective mood suggesting a musician on the road, missing the love of his life. But early the next day we headed up the strip to the wedding chapels to at least get some footage in front of one. That turned out better than hoped as we immediately found the Little Vegas Chapel who were thrilled to have us shooting there as long as we gave them credit (here it is: they’re GREAT!)
After we’d filmed as long as we could, and had to get to the airport, I realized I didn’t want to spend extra money just to fly or ship another guitar I didn’t really need. I asked the Chapel if they wanted to keep it and they were thrilled with that too, as long as I signed it – see how great they are? So everything worked out perfectly, we got a video out of it, the Little Vegas Chapel got a little PR and a memento to display with all their Elvis photos and records.
Walking back in with Brandy, who had never been to the city, felt like a homecoming. The chapel owner Mike was in full Elvis mode and welcomed us with open arms. I gave him a copy of the finished CD, and played the guitar again (it looks better than it sounds, folks!). I was eager to finish signing it, as I’d realized after leaving I should’ve added the words “Say I Do!” to mark the connection more clearly (and of course, promote the song).
After signing it up, jamming and posing with the guitar and Elvis, the nice folks at the chapel offered to take a set of photos of us as newlyweds (though we are neither ‘new’ nor ‘wed’).
This is something you can do there if you’re already married: they renew vows, and also take pretend wedding photos for those who want to freak someone out back home!
I won’t pretend we really got married there, because to my mind we already are; 11 years in, we’re as in love as ever, and enjoying growing old together. But the photos were a fun way to wrap up our visit (see a gallery with more here), the folks at this chapel are lifelong friends, and all of this will form great memories we look back on fondly in years to come – not to mention a little backstory to this video: