Alfaro pictured left, Bandits of the kitchen
I was recently going through my hard drive of restaurant and tour pictures over the last few + years and it's crazy to visualize how much has really happened. I hardly stop to think about it, because being so engulfed in the day to day, while trying to maintain creativity, keeps my mind so active I just don't have time to realize what I am doing. Things are just done.
One thing people never see is what actually goes on behind the scenes. Between being a bar/ restauranteur and musician, their lies a thin line between completely losing it and maintaining. Balance between work, creativity, and completely shutting off is essential when keeping my mind and body right. My state during recent years is essentially why I named my new album The Balance.
Someone recently expressed their observation of what I do and said… "You have the chillest life ever… all you do is hang out…do this, do that.. and hang out." From an outsiders perspective I can see how they can make that observation. I'm in no position to compare myself to others hard days of work, but I will shed some honest light on this matter. When I'm not in on the road somewhere as Free the Robots, this is what a day in the life is like at home.
By day, usually it starts by getting in the Ocean at about 8 or 9AM for our "board meeting." These couple hours paddling are crucial when the surf is good; the perfect activity to get our minds right. After the session maybe well scarf down some fish burritos and get a nap in. It's a bit after noon, and by this time I usually go strait into email mode handling all Crosby, Grilled Cheese Spot, and Free the Robots related duties. The bulk of this usually takes up about an hour or two and continues throughout the day. At some point I will turn on one of my music machines for a jam, or a little recording of ideas to revisit. At the same time, Photoshop would be open where a flyer concept is being worked on for one of the nights at The Crosby or the Grilled Cheese Spot. I switch back and fourth between music, emails, social media, designs etc. Unless there is a company meeting, I tend get carried away into the night with one, or all of the above.., not before another mandatory nap though.
As the evening comes on I head over to the Crosby HQ and start with my morning coffee at 7pm. I check in with reservations / dinner service and get right into floor manager mode, hosting along with my partners; greeting and directing patrons to their tables. When we're slammed, I'll help bus dishes, run food, and keep the place clean and streamlined. We have a crappy ice machine, so at some point before the late night hours a couple of us will carry an oversized iced chest over to one of the local establishments, and steal ice from them. If we're on point, usually this is a time when everything is running smoothly enough to segway into the post-dinner-latenight mode.
The lights dim down, the music turns up, and the night transforms as we strategically take out each of the middle dinner tables, one by one, to open up room for the night people. If I'm not playing one of my ridiculous 4 hour DJ sets, I go into artist hospitality mode to make sure whoever is playing that night is taken care of. Maybe we start with a pre-party meal, shot, smoke, music trade or all of the above. Whatever the situation may be, at around 10 PM, I level the sound system for opening set and switch to sound-man mode.
This is where I become the eyes and ears of the establishment. If you see me pacing back and fourth between the bar, back wall, dance floor and the stage, it means I am leveling the sound; not being a Lurk. Dj's tend to get too loud sometimes so I am constantly watching the red. During those journeys back and fourth through the restaurant it's also my duty to help with busing tables to keep the place clean and hazard free. Sometimes I am needed in the back bar to help with washing dishes and clearing finished glasses and plates from the bar. I'll get a text by at least 5 people right around then.. "Hey their is a line outside, can you get me in?" @friends if its a big night please come early!
At some point a shot of Whiskey is well deserved and I/we will partake. I repeat these duties throughout the night and observe the people, overall energy, and vibes in the process; just to make sure people are having a good time and there are no problems or potential problems.
By the end of the night I'll handle security and talent compensation, last minute shots, water bottles for the DD's, secret hi-five & handshakes, and the "hey guys that was dope; see you next month!". With everyone else on their way to an after party, we lock the doors for our after party, aka cleaning, restocking, and post work R&R. This usually lasts about 45mins to an hour + depending on how much fun we're having. After that, sometimes we roll out for some after-hours Mexican or Vietnamese food. Other times we just say "fuggit" and head home. Either way its about 4 AM by the time I hit the sack. Before passing out though, one of the crew will remember to check tomorrows surf report. If its good.. see you guys at 8AM to do it all over again.