ACM Awards & Tampa Recap/What the Heck is an ADU??
ACM AWARDS AND TAMPA RECAP
I know we’re already a few shows into the touring season at this point, but I’m a little behind on my blog so I want to do a quick recap of what that first couple of weeks was like for us. Between the ACM Awards and doing our first stadium show in Tampa, FL, there was a LOT going on!
For the ACM Awards, we flew into Vegas a few days early. There’s always a day and a half of run-throughs and dress rehearsals. I remember my first awards show that I did a few years ago in Nashville. I want to say it was the CMT Awards, but I can’t say for sure.
Backstage at the ACMs
What a crazy scene that was backstage! The ACMs were no different. There’s a lot of being shuffled from here to there, meet at this time, get in this van, go here, wait around, now hurry up to the stage, now wait again, now GO! When we do the run-through, there’s always big photo cards in the audience chairs to show where all of the celebrities will be sitting on the night of the show.
That’s pretty funny to look at when we’re playing. Oh, there’s Miranda in the front row! Hey girl! The show itself goes by so fast, especially this year because we were the first performance out of the gate. Talk about in and out! I had so many people ask me if I was going to stick around to watch the show. Honestly, I would if there had been a good place to sit. Backstage is chaotic and there aren’t really any places to sit out front. The best bet is to watch it on a TV from the dressing room, but who wants to do that!?
After the ACMs
After the ACMs, we flew straight to Tampa to load in at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers. They’ve got their own pirate ship! Which, we hijacked for the show.
Yep, we got permission to fly the old skull and crossbones, the No Shoes Nation flag up on the ship. So freaking cool! We were there for that entire week leading up to the show. Since it was our first stadium, there was lots to set up and tweak. We did a few run-throughs of the show to work on lighting and video cues and get the hang of being in a football stadium again.
Not that you ever forget how insanely big those places are, but it’s a quick reminder when you’re standing out on that stage looking into the stands. It always takes a minute to get used to the sound in there versus the rehearsal rooms that we practice in back in Nashville. Very different.
Setting up Camp in Tampa
For those of you who don’t know, this KC crew that I travel with is different from a lot of other crews. When we set up shop in a city, we MOVE IN! Especially in a stadium and especially when we’re there about 5 days early. We make ourselves at home, y’all!
They don’t seem to mind, though. We still respect the space. Always. But, I’m talking KC tour banners from past years covering every square inch of the production office and side stage, Christmas lights and music, jam room in the band’s locker room for those late night hootenannies, dart boards on both stage right and left (you can never have too many games going), the bar and grill lounge area complete with couches and bistro tables where Tom’s almost sure to be serving up dogs and burgers….I could go on and on.
The point is, we make it fun. It is still a job but we do try to stay in the magic of the moment as much as possible because it ain’t always fun and games. There are lots of people busting their butts out here to make the show possible.
In fact, I think my next BACKSTAGE post will be a tribute to the crew. Couldn’t do it without them!
Before the Show
The hours leading up the to Tampa show were full of energy and excitement. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that. First stadium show of the year is a really big deal. I wanted to see some of the opening acts to get a sense of the crowd. I missed Brandon Lay because he fell right at my dinner time (sorry Brandon!) but I was able to catch some of Old Dominion and Thomas Rhett. It’s really cool to be onstage and get to watch them all do their thing, especially knowing that we’re about to do the same thing.
You really get to feel the energy from the crown and you know immediately what kind of show it’s gonna be. Needless to say, they were ready for us. It had been a while since Tampa had seen KC and they were chomping at the bit. When Thomas Rhett finishes his set, the crew loads all of their gear off the stage and moves our set up while bringing the big banner down to hide the stage. This year, the banner is a beautiful tribute to the Love For Love City Foundation. About that time is when we all make our way onstage, start putting on our instruments and in-ear monitors and packs, checking tuning.
There’s usually quite a bit of goofing off, too. I should mention that. We’ll usually see Deanna Kay or Tambo from No Shoes Radio making the rounds and doing quick pre-show interviews. Everybody in the band and crew shares a quick fist bump and that’s about the time we take the stage. As soon as we hear that 1,2,3,4 of the click track, we’re in and it’s like an explosion of energy! The best feeling in the world.
On that note, it’s so exciting to be starting the tour year! We’ve had a handful of shows so far and they’ve all been great. Looking forward to seeing you all out there this summer!
So, I keep getting some great questions from you guys, which is awesome. I’m going to try to fit one in at the end of each blog if I can. This week, I’ve got one from Linda Haas.
She asked me – “who inspired you to play bass?”
The short answer is, Duff McKagan from Guns N Roses.
My best friend and I were huge fans in high school and when she got a guitar, I decided to get a bass. We had plans to start a band, which we never did.
But, the bass stuck with me after all these years. The longer answer is that my Dad has played music and written songs all my life, so I’m sure I was influenced by that. He played lots of great records when I was a kid by his favorite artists that have now become mine: The Band, The Beatles, Little Feat, Taj Mahal, The Stones, etc.
I think hearing all of these very rhythm heavy bands around the house maybe subconsciously got into my brain and I became a bass player! It’s always been what I hear first when listening to music; always the bass.
WHAT THE HECK IS AND ADU???
I’m sure you’ve heard that term before. Some people also call them “granny flats”. ADU specifically stands for “accessory dwelling unit” and it’s exactly what it sounds like – another livable space on your property in addition to your home. Awesome, right?!?
Ok, so I’m writing this post because I myself have experience building one in my backyard at my old house in Nashville. Well, maybe I didn’t pick up a hammer and build it myself, but I did do a TON of research to find out the best option for what I was looking for. The house I owned backed up to an alley and actually had a gate and a parking spot in my backyard.
Trailor vs ADU
After looking back there every day and watching the AirBnB market flourish in East Nashville, I knew we had to put something back there. I started out thinking that rehabbing an old Airstream trailer would be a cool idea. Has anyone looked into this before? I have one word for you: expensive! Yes, everybody has mad love for those little vintage trailers these days.
I get it. Scratch that one off the list! Then I found that there were a bunch of companies building tiny houses on wheels. It’s basically a house built onto the frame of a flatbed trailer, typically 18-24 feet long and about 8.5 feet wide.
They’re typically about 185 sf and usually have a loft bedroom with a pretty steep ladder. Now, they are cute as can be (if you’ve ever watched any of those tiny house shows on HGTV or DIY….I am addicted!) but there’s this whole weirdness with the bathroom. Do you get a regular flushing toilet with a black water tank that you have to dump, do you get one with an internal incinerator, do you get a composting toilet??
I admit it was more than I wanted to think about and take on, especially for short-term rental purposes.
After looking at tons of websites, emailing and calling, getting quotes, etc., I found a local builder that could do a semi-permanent structure on concrete footers that was about 250sf in size. Perfect! I think all in all it took about 4 months to complete.
I can’t say that it was a fully painless experience, though. Any of you who’ve ever dealt with your city’s codes department when building something onto your house or in your backyard knows what I’m talking about! There were certainly hoops to jump through and, ahem, rules to skirt around.
Don’t they say it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission? Yeah, I’m not great at that normally, but we tried it at the advice of a lot of other folks who had built ADUs in their backyard. But, in the end, it was a great decision. For us, it was a terrific way to add some supplemental income into the picture, assuming you’re good at keeping track of your cash and making sure that you’re paying estimated taxes. The IRS loves to come at you with a bill at the end of that lucrative AirBnB year!
I have a friend in Austin who has a small apartment in her backyard. She does long-term rentals in hers and it helps pay her property taxes every year, which are outrageous.
I’m one of those people who’s constantly thinking of new ideas and projects, long-term goals, and ways to become more financially comfortable using the tools and resources that I have. For me, real estate has always been one of the greatest investments and will usually yield more than any other option out there and more consistently. The house that I just bought in Austin already has a great little ADU in the backyard, so I’ve got some options on how I want to make that financially work for me.
AirBnB and ADUs
I think if you own a home in a popular or up and coming city, building an ADU in your backyard could be a great option, as long as your lot size and neighborhood dictate that it’s a go. I know that lots of neighbors have issues with AirBnB rentals, which I totally get. No one likes random people coming and going every couple of days! Even having a long-term tenant back there can be a great way to offset some of your mortgages every month. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to buy a second rental house. Just build a tiny one in your back yard!
I know that financing it is probably the biggest burden everyone will face. Not many of us have 25-50K just lying around! I found clever ways to finance mine and we were able to pay it all back within a year or so because of the AirBnB market. Once it’s paid for, you’re done! Everything from there on out is yours, after taxes, of course. 🙂
Should I build an ADU?
Every city is different, though, so you really need to dig into the permitting and codes department to see what they allow. Ask around to neighbors, reach out to local builders, just see what’s out there and what your options are if it’s something you’ve considered. Check the AirBnB market around you. Are there lots of places like that? What are they renting for?
Do they stay consistently booked? That’s exactly what I did when I decided it was something I wanted to do. San Diego happens to be pretty open to the idea of granny flats and ADUs, especially since the cost of living is rising and we’re getting a little short on space. I think the idea has been steadily catching on in different cities, which I love.
If you’ve ever thought about doing something like this and have questions about the process, shoot me an email! Happy to give you some advice as someone who’s been through the process before.