You see, Eric had an idea for a band. Take classic Filk songs and set them in a hard rock context. He mentioned this in passing to gundo ... "let's do it, I play guitar, bass, drums". And Toyboat happened. It didn't really form, it happened. Jason was pulled in, and Memorial Day weekend 2007, Eric got Mike to come to a party at gundo's. Mike had said for years that he played guitar, but he sucked. Eric had heard him at Demicon, playing through Eric's gear, for a couple of minutes, and Mike most certainly didn't suck. Ask him that story. That weekend, Mike jammed with the rest of the band, and was informed that he was in the band. No, they didn't ask him, Eric knew Mike too well, and knew he would run. He was given no choice.
Toyboat terrorized conventions for the next four years. But Eric, now in his fifties, was having more and more problems with his hands and shoulders. It would take him as long to warm up for a show as it would take for the show.
After their stint as the house band for the Chicon Seven opening ceremonies (which was done as a talk show), Eric had to call it a day. He had four hand surgeries already, he didn't want any more.
In the meantime, he was slowing down playing solo shows. His last official solo show was at Windycon in 2011. That was where Tom Smith occupied the stage in protest of a lengthy intro to a song. Yeah, it was a good way to close that chapter.
But, just a few months before, he played his first show with his new band ...