Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Uncomfortable Silence Is Good TV

Hey Soul Mates,
I have a new favorite TV show: The Office. And it is hysterical. I'm sure the British production has an even drier sense of humor, but the American version is done well. There's no laugh track, no music. Just one camera. The dialogue is delivered well, specifically the malapropisms of the office boss, Michael (played by the relentlessly tactless Steve Carell). But the silences and takes are devastating. Tonight's episode focused on diversity in the workplace. The lone Asian-Indian employee had virtually no lines, but she stole the show with her reactions to her co-workers' and boss' off-the-wall comments. Priceless. Bryan and I talked about how painful those silent spots were. But they are funny as anything.

I'm still a bit under the weather, so I'm writing earlier in the evening than usual. Bryan actually came over to watch a little of the concert footage from our last show (and get a copy of the new demos). Thanks to Patrick & Rob for filming and editing. It looks really nice: 2 cameras! Hopefully, we'll get some of it up on the website for you to see soon. Bryan also played me a new tune he wrote; very jazzy. We've got new material for days...

Have a good week, all.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, March 28, 2005

A House Less Crowded

Hey Soul Mates,
just a note of condolence to the family of drummer Paul Hester from Crowded House. Paul was an amazing drummer for a brilliant pop group. I saw Crowded House once at the WOMAD festival in '93. They were amazing and had a really vivacious stage presence. During the act, they even built a human pyramid. "Don't Dream It's Over" ranks as one of the great singles of all time. His talent will be missed.

Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, March 27, 2005

For Blog's Sake

Hey Soul Mates,
just checking in with you on a busy Easter Sunday. I'm back from rehearsal. Thanks for driving, Bry.

We had a productive couple of hours packed in today. First we gathered here at my place for a session of playing through brand new material. We've got around 8 or 9 new songs; we managed to get through 3. Here's a scoop! 2 of them have titles: Next July & Everything My Heart Desires. Basically, Bryan and myself play guitars and Doug taps along. We demoed these songs to minidisc (sorry, no bootlegs, yet). They are still in rough stages. The arrangements and melodies are almost 100% now. Time to flesh out or flush out the words. I've mentioned this before, but I work towards a break-through. At that point lyrics come gushing out, til then, there are a lot of scratch vocals sung over the songs.

Then we drove over to the studio to rehearse with our full electric gear. That's always fun and challenging. Even though we play at the same place every week, the room never sounds the same twice. Having selected our set list for our upcoming show, we ran down the numbers and then worked a little on a newer song. The room was a little off tonight. Something in the power supply, I think. We did our best to cut through the dullness. Of course, by the end of the night, we'd built up a pretty good bit of steam. We spent a lot of time on A Talent For Loving, which we debuted at our last show. I'm still working out the kinks and I'm glad to get to play it several times in a row.

Well, that's Sunday. Have a great week everyone.
Love, Power, Peace.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

755

Hey Soul Mates and Sports Fans,
Non-musical note (ha).
I, for one, will not be disappointed if Barry Bonds doesn't break Babe Ruth's homerun mark, let alone Hank Aaron's record. I've seen Barry play a dozen times. Watched him crush a few homers at Chavez Ravine against my beloved Dodgers. Not sour grapes in terms of the rivalry. Just that Hammerin' Hank really had to maintain and focus to break Ruth's record; amidst death threats, no less. Bonds just hasn't earned the level of respect that Henry Aaron commands to this day. Poor Barry's caught up in his own legend, the steroid scandal and the shadow of his godfather, Willie Mays. But that's not sympathy from me you hear. Any one who knows me, knows I love witnessing history in person or on TV. This is one time, I'm rooting for the record to remain unbroken. I'm a pitching purist anyway. I would rather see one last 30 win season from a pitcher.

Love, Power, Peace, Play Ball!

The Bob Dylan Show

Hey Soul Mates,
Finally. After years of listening to the CDs, seeing the parodies and hearing the tales, I got to witness the Bob Dylan Show. It was rock and roll as imagined by David Lynch: all twilight, strange moods and deep primary colors. The curtain rose to reveal Dylan & Co. in matching western outfits, complete with cowboy hats. The band in rebel gray, Bob in black. Evocative of the Byrds and the Grand Ole Opry in one pass. Patchouli wafted out over the audience, an incongruous smell with the Western theme of the tour. The gig was at the Pantages, easily the most beautiful interior of all LA's old landmarks. Behind the band was a heavy red curtain, which slowly opened to reveal a starlit backdrop.

It was a masterclass of music appreciation. Of course, Dylan huffed and whined his way through the lyrics. Never again will I feel bad about mumbling or missing a line or making it up on the spot. America's greatest poet has been reduced, reduced himself, to a hustler of words. Almost inscrutable. The first obvious line I made out last night was "Don't criticize what you can't understand." Even after all these years, haters go to Dylan shows to complain about his incomprehensible, parodic performance. Deal with it. I got a lot out of it. It helps to know the material and accept that melody is not important to his performance.

I felt fortunate and a little self-satisfied that I recognized everything Dylan played til he pulled out a cover during the encore. I went in expecting to know 5 or 6 songs and understand half of that. It was a brief set 50 minutes or so. But the band maximized the time. My favorite moment was hearing Highway 61 Revisited. That song rocked. And I actually enjoy the material from Love & Theft, Dylan's latest. The songs off that record were well done too, especially Moonlight and Honest With Me. Dylan even played his Victoria's Secret number Love Sick.

The band was a crack outfit. They rocked and rolled. It was a 6 piece with 2 guitarists (one of whom doubled on pedal steel, mandolin, etc), drummer, fiddler and bassist. Bob himself stood behind an upright piano, hunching like a vulture over his mic. Every once in a while, he would emerge and gingerly walk tip-toe to the drummer. He'd check his hair and collar, without acknowledging his audience and bounce back to the piano.

Before the show's finale Bob actually spoke "Thank you, friends. I'd like to introduce the band..." And that was all he said that wasn't in song. The Bob Dylan Show went out with All Along The Watchtower. The power of the band rivaled the Jimi Hendrix Experience's apocalyptic cover version. And with that the group lined up to accept their standing ovation and shuffled off stage.

Over the course of the last 2 months, I picked up Dylan's latest records and dusted off the older material. I had forgotten how much I liked his work when I was in college. Stuck Inside of Mobile, Gates of Eden, Frankie Lee and Judas Priest... Wow. Wow. It was very cool to hear him play material from John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Highway 61 Revisited. If I had to recommend one Dylan disc for the unwashed it would be Highway.

Here's the complete setlist courtesy BobDylan.com

Los Angeles, California
Pantages Theatre
March 21, 2005
Drifter's Escape
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Just Like A Woman
High Water (For Charley Patton)
Down Along The Cove
Moonlight
Highway 61 Revisited
Love Sick
Honest With Me
Girl Of The North Country
Summer Days

encore
Sing Me Back Home (written by Merle Haggard)
All Along The Watchtower

The opening acts were newcomer Amos Lee and country legend Merle Haggard. Merle's set was a gas. Too bad we were sitting in a swank theatre. His music makes you want to get up and dance: slow or swing. Merle's set started with Big City (my personal fave). He was reunited with his old band, the Strangers. In a very cute move, when it came time to introduce the group, they shook each other's hands. Merle ended the set with two recent songs dealing with the current war and the administration. Hint, he ain't a fan. But it wasn't bombastic. Just solid writing, asking the hard questions and pointing out that the emperor's got no clothes.

Gotta run... like wild dogs.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, March 17, 2005

March Madness Sets In

Hey Soul Mates,
how are you? Happy St. Patrick's Day.

I've been busy here on the internet. I've been putting together the promotional materials for our upcoming show at the Gig on April 7. Updating our myspace group. Doing some publishing work with BMI online. It's been productive.

I'm still waiting for a break through on some of my new songs. The music is completed. Melodies are in place. Just checking all the frequencies for themes, thoughts and words. Those will come soon enough. Usually in a flood.

OK, so why the March Madness? It's March Madness Bay-Beeeee as Dickie V. would say. Who's Dickie V? Why Dick Vitale, the college basketball guru. The first day of the Men's NCAA basketball tourney began today. I managed to watch a tip off before running to work; a half of a game at lunch; and the various feeds after work. My brackets haven't been busted yet. All of my Sweet 16 teams are still in the running. We'll see how long that lasts. I actually finished "in the money" 5 years ago in a large pool. That would be fun to repeat. The teams I'm actually cheering for are Georgia Tech, my brother's alma mater and Wisconsin, my cousin Ben's old school. Having spent a weekend in Madison, I know those people love the Badgers. Their mascot, Bucky, is one of the best in sports. Don't know what his % is from the 3.

My old school is in the second-tier NIT. They tore up their opposition yesterday. And in the next round they are actually playing a meaningful game on campus. Something they never did when I attended. I was talking to my homeboy Chris during the games tonight and he's a Bball freek. I am too, usually, but this year, I haven't had as much time to devote to following hoops. Maybe next year: when my team's in the Big Dance.

I have followed the NCAA's (as they are lovingly called) since that fateful year Magic Johnson and the Spartans stuck it to Larry Bird's Sycamores. Each March since, I have enjoyed filling out the brackets and tracking the progress of schools that most people never hear about: Davidson; Bucknell; Manhattan; Pacific; Evansville. Or local schools with little chance of advancing: Cleveland State (which actually beat Indiana in '85); Jacksonville University. There would be colleges I'd latch onto midseason sure they'd be the chic pick: Mississippi State; Arizona; Pepperdine! I'm not sure why. Each year I followed selection Sunday and would try to keep pace by writing down the 32 first round match-ups. That's unnecessary now, 'cause the information is instantaneously released on the web. Science!

What makes the NCAA's so exciting in the early rounds, what no amount of technology can spoil, is seeing these unknowns all with a fresh chance to have an impact, to extend their season, to make history. It's like the beginning of the baseball season (more on that soon): hope springing eternal. Upsets are fun. As long as they don't ruin your brackets. Watching a favorite run the table is pretty awesome. Provided you picked 'em. Usually, events fall somewhere in between. Like tonight, when bottom ranked Fairleigh-Dickinson held #1 in the country Illinois to a tie game at the half. How exciting for the folks from FDU. For 20 minutes, they ran with the big boys. Or #10 seed Creighton giving the rock to their main man, Nate Funk, with the game on the line and he misses a trey at the buzzer. Ouch.

Every year a Cinderella, every year a Goliath, every year a Hero, every year a Goat. But what a rush!

Love, Power, Peace

(That's my cue to get back to work!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

For That Distinctive Edge

Hey Soul Mates,
how could I forget?

Last night we had a meeting with graphic designer & artist Dwayne Jones. He's working with us on a brand new logo and graphic representation for the group. We are looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. Bryan and I discussed with him the goals of the band; the image; the direction we want to take the group in artistically. Dwayne is full of ideas and has seen the RHS several times, so he knows what we are about. Our discussion covered business trends, existing band logos and the effects of branding. We brainstormed on motifs and styles. Some of the ideas we've had have been via your input as to what you feel the band presents and represents. Of course, the logo will wind up on all of our souvenirs, so it's important that we have an icon that you will enjoy as much as we do.
Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Our Newest Fan in South Dakota

Hey Soul Mates,
This is a long distance dedication to Spencer, SD. We'd like to welcome our newest member of the fan club: Jordon Franklin. It's a strange world, JF, best of luck.

Bryan and I went out tonight to collect the tickets for our next show. So if you see anyone in the band and you want Free tickets, ask us! Many thanks to the Gig for having us again. We are looking forward to the show.
Love, Power, Peace.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A New Look For The Spring?

Hey Soul Mates,
ok, Brown isn't necessarily for springtime, but I thought it was time to switch up the look. Stylishly.

The content is still the same. And check the titles of the posts for any links. The links are still active, as is the archive. Sweet dreams in cocoa...

Love, Power, Peace

Sunday Nite Report

Hey Soul Mates, what a busy little weekend I had.
I just got finished demoing 3 new songs to minidisc for the rest of the band to hear. 2 ballads and one midtempo, urban number. Bryan and I had a productive rehearsal. We put together the set list for our next show on April 7 @ the Gig. Doug was absent because he injured one of his feet. Send healing energy his way. We missed him today.

This weekend, I did a lot of cleaning. It's amazing what a spring cleaning reveals. Mainly stuff that you put away in October. LOL. I also had a rare chance to hang with my old college roommate, Rick. He was in town for a college-related event down in Carson. It was great to see him if only for an hour or so. Much love to Monchichi and the rest of my GU Posse.

2 days off weren't enough. But that's cool. Got a lot in, and barely left the house. Now, I'm going to relax with my glass of Airborne (it does work) and leave y'all be.
I hope you all had a good weekend.
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Weekend Update

Hey Soul Mates,
what a long week. Phwew. Thank goodness for the weekend.
Here's what I've been up to: lots of writing. Writing songs and my first published review (see previous blog). I am attempting to create some wallpapers and a screensaver of sorts for those of you who want to decorate your computer with RHS 4evah.

The band has a busy
weekend ahead. Rehearsal; some decisions on recordings have to be made; and (drum roll) writing! But that's a good thing. We do have a show coming up. And once again, we have free tickets for those who want to attend. Just hit us back and we'll get them to you.

More soon,
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hoosier Daddy

Hey Soul Mates,
I had a fun opportunity to contribute a review to DVD Movie Central for Hoosiers. One of my favorites, certainly. Thanks to my dear friend Mike J for the chance. Writing reviews is no simple task. I have a new appreciation for people who do it for a living. Be sure to browse around DVD Movie Central and check out the other reviews, info and links. Bookmark it for handy reference.

Love, Power, Peace

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Gig, March 2

Hey Soul Mates,
first off thanks to everyone who slogged through the heavy mist to come see us Wednesday. And thanks to everyone from around the globe who wished us luck. I tell you if we lived 2 hours North that would have been snow falling.

The set was a lot of fun. Of course, the Gig has the curtain so we can do a fairly dramatic entrance. We kicked off the night with Sucka; which we haven't done in some time. The show also featured our newest song A Talent For Loving. I finished writing it a day before the show and was still backstage memorizing the phrasing as the curtain was about to go up. There were 6 different lyrics for the song, but I went with the most lively set since the song has such a groove.

We had Patrick and Rob videoing with 2 cameras, so it will be interesting to see how we look to you all. Multiple angles and all. Patrick has become our semi-official videographer. Eventually we'll have more video on line for you to watch.



The crowd was great. You all were into it from the get go and there were lots of you there. Around 50-60 (plus those there to see the other acts). It's always fun to see everyone dance to Excommunication, sway to Everyone's Ingenue and sing along with Done Lost My Mind. The funniest moment came when we dedicated Ingenue to our buddy James aka Biggy, in Scotland. Bryan said that the song is about a "she." I said "well, I don't think I specify the sex in the chorus, do I?"

We got lots of good feedback after the show. There were several industry folks there that had glowing things to say and very constructive things to say. I couldn't be more pleased. The best is when you, the audience are into what we are doing on stage. That's the greatest compliment of all.

Here's the set list:
Sucka
Excommunication
Fall Out
Down By Love
Majestic Rejection
A Talent For Loving (debut)
Everyone's Ingenue
She Wants 2 Move
Done Lost My Mind
The Isolation
Love Someone

We'll see you back at the Gig on April 7.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Regarding Michael

Hey Soul Mates,
this is kinda cool. My good friend Mike who runs DVD Movie Central asked if he could post my Michael Jackson blog on his website. And there it is. Just click the link above. Of course, if you visit my blog with any regularity, you've read it. But if you are into movie + DVD releases his website is a must.

I'll write about last night's show shortly.

Love, Power, Peace

Last Nite

Hey Soul Mates,
No time to write but the show was great. Check the website for a few pix.
Love, Power, Peace