Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Freebird, Fla.

Hey Soul Mates,
the Rock Hall inductee class of '06 has been announced. Now, my high school mates (especially, Mike) can shut up about Jacksonville's own, Lynyrd Skynyrd making the Hall. Congrats to them. This is not my favorite group of Hall of Famers: Miles Davis, Black Sabbath, Blondie and the Sex Pistols. Of this batch, only Blondie was a contemporary presence for me. No disrespect to the fans of the other artists. Just not my cup of tea. I'm sure my buddy Mark though is still lamenting Chicago's absence from the Rock Hall.

The induction ceremony should be interesting though, because a lot of country-rockers are going to come out of the woodwork to honor Skynyrd. Blondie, Sabbath and the Pistols are all relatively intact so their performances will be highly anticipated. I'm particularly anxious to hear what the Sex Pistols portion of the evening will entail. Who will induct them? Green Day? U2? That's sure to be the highlight of the night. That, and Ozzy's acceptance speech: "Mummmble, errr. Uh, thank urrgh, I aaach. Wuh. Wuh. Gourds, galleons, gaaah. Who, mumble Sharon (indecipherable). Rubble, rubble. G'night!"

Miles Davis: much love, Miles - you had a rebel spirit, but you were never rock and roll. There are plenty of jazz artists who did heavily influence pop music, Miles isn't one of them. They would be: Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller. Even Coltrane seems to be a larger influence on pop/rock than Mr. Davis. Maybe if Davis' work with Prince gets an official release...? Yet, now he's a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer.

I'm bummed about Chic not making it. Grandmaster Flash has been robbed again. I can only truly imagine that the voters are waiting to make Run DMC the initial rap inductees. Mellencamp will probably have to wait a few more years. It's almost like he's still too active, but not enough a marquee name like U2 or Prince to put him in while he's still creating. The Dave Clark 5 (along with Chic) would have been sufficient motivation to try to attend the ceremony in NY.

Regardless, I look forward to seeing the new inductees getting their due and checking out their legacy at the Rock Hall.
Love, Power, Peace

Happy Birthday to Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Just Announced RHS & DeBarge

Hey Soul Mates,
just a really fast note to announce that Rush Hour Soul will be opening for '80's pop/R&B sensation
DeBarge featuring Chico & James DeBarge. They had a string of top R&B and pop hits for Motown including Rhythm of the Night, Who's Holding Donna Now?, and All This Love. The show will be on Weds. Dec. 14 at the Rumba Room on the Universal Citywalk. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets and at the door. The promoters are expecting this show to sell out. The Old School Concert series at the Rumba Room is sponsored by Hot 92 Jamz (Mega Old School & Today's R&B).

This is a great opportunity for us to open for an established act. And the venue is really hot. We hope that some of you will be able to attend. Tickets are $30. But don't forget, we've got our Free show on
Thursday Dec. 1 at the Gig, too.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sweet Dreams

Hey Soul Mates,
we were here last year, too. I'm going to put in my two cents about the American Music Awards. It was an entertaining show again this year for all the wrong reasons. The absolutely stunning (though thick) Mariah Carey opened the show. She really sang, but she nearly killed herself losing balance in her high heels. Girl, leave the dancing to Ciara. Things went downhill from there. Most of the performances were either bad or country. My appreciation for the musicianship of the country performers was elevated by the wretched pop performances.

Sad, horse-toothed Hilary Duff lip-synched her way through a "brand new song." Yawn. She practically tripped over her backing dancers and was clearly not singing. But she was preceded by the new brunette version of Linsday Lohan who did sing. Awfully. Her voice was weaker than diner coffee and the sound engineers did her no favors. Her movement was awkward and she kept her eyes closed for most of her routine. A clear sign that she was scared to death. It was like watching a kitten drown. Compelling, guilt-inducing and ultimately unbearable. As her song came to a close, I breathed a sigh of relief... until she launched into an inexplicable cover of Stevie Nick's Edge of Seventeen. What the hell?! And it went on and on and on. I thought I'd never see a performer more out-of-place or stroke inducing than Ashlee Simpson. My apologies Ms. Simpson, but you just got your crown stoled!! I still love Ms. Lohan as an actress, but this should be the swansong of her singing career. And go back to red hair.

Cedric the Entertainer was alright at the MC. Babyface introduced some hilarious clips that highlighted past broadcasts. The show need more of these. Or maybe less, because it punctuated the fact that last night's show was lacking in anything interesting going on or any compelling performances.

The highlights of the night? The ladies of the 80's. Cyndi Lauper did a wonderful acoustic version of Time After Time. But the show-stopper was Eurythmics. They came blasting out of the gates with Missionary Man, which segued into Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). They flat out rocked and Ms. Annie Lennox ruled the stage. She sang with more gusto than any of the macho country or hip-hop acts. Her vocals were authoritative and soulful. Of course, you have to credit Dave Stewart, the duo's multi-instrumentalist for keeping their signature sound intact. Their singles in the 80's are classics in my experience. I remember going to the record store and plunking down $1.99 for their 45s. And Eurythmic's lp Be Yourself Tonight is still a powerhouse. I really hope they tour behind their new greatest hits lp. They showed what a band should do on live TV. The only other "band" performance last night was All-American Rejects who gamely made their way through a song. We need more bands!

Of course, it's a sad state of affairs that the show had to be rescued by two 20 year old acts (even the Rolling Stones were boring via satellite). But they both made convincing arguments for their consideration for the Rock Hall. Ms. Lauper may only be nominated, but Eurythmics belong in the Rock Hall. Good God, y'all. I'm going to play them in the car today.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Love, Power, Peace and pumpkin pie.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

200

Hey Soul Mates,
it's my Bicentennial blog. It's pretty cool to have reached two-hundred. I don't expect any one to go back and count (I certainly wouldn't), but Blogger keeps up with the tally. So, what have I got for you? Big news.

Rush Hour Soul is now available at iTunes, the worlds largest retailer of music on the internet. All four tracks from the EP are on sale for $0.99. We hope that all of our fans will go to iTunes and purchase our songs. You've heard them on the various podcasts and snippets on MySpace, but now you can have them for your iPods and your harddrives. Now, you don't have to own an iPod to enjoy the songs. Anyone can download a free iTunes player from the site and use it to play music on your computer. The jukebox will work on both PC and Macs and it's easy to use. From there you can even burn your own CDs with our music. And it's legal.

We hope everyone will go get A Talent For Loving, Done Lost My Mind, Everyone's Ingenue and Down By Love (which hasn't gotten any exposure on the web, yet). Not only will you have our cool tunes, but you'll be helping the band. Much like Billboard, iTunes keeps a record of sales on a chart. We're not expecting to beat out Madonna and Fall Out Boy, this week. But you can help us make a splash. If enough of the Soul Mates purchase the songs, the industry will notice. And at only a dollar a pop, it shouldn't be too hard on the pocket book. Of course, you can download all sorts of music and video at iTunes besides us. I ask that you begin buying the songs starting Monday, Nov. 21 (The charts track from Monday to Sunday).

Finally, any one who purchases our new singles or the entire 4 song EP can write reviews of our music for the international music buying public to see. So, be sure to leave us some hype on the Rush Hour Soul page. You can do the same if you purchase our CD at CD Baby. There are already 3 fan reviews.

We aren't particular about where you get your Rush Hour Soul, so long as you get it. Thanks for all of your support. We are truly excited about being part of the digital age and being available on the download services. Now all of you out-of-towners will be ready to sing along and dance when we roll into town. I've created an actual shopping page for our website which should be helpful. If you have any questions about iTunes, the digital downloads, etc. please e-mail me. I want everyone to be hooked into what we are doing. I'm very proud of what this group has accomplished. Now we really get to share it with the world.

Let's see, I started this blog entry and the website work at 8:09 am today. It's now 9:41 pm. Whew. It took awhile, but there have been some major changes on our website. I hope you like them and that they streamline your visit a little. Any link to a site outside of ours will be created in a new browser window, so you can easily remain in contact with our site. Drop me a line if these changes are useful or not.

Have a great week. Now go get those songs!
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Learn To Work The Saxophone

Hey Soul Mates,
the last few evening were chock full o' culture. Last night, a bunch of us went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Pretty good. I still like the third movie best. The length of this novel seems to have made it very challenging for the director to tell the story properly in 2:34. But, it was entertaining. I'm only 2/3 of the way through the book. But that has been my MO with the Potter series. Read the first two "acts" prior to seeing the movie, so I know what the heck is going on. Then I read the end after watching the film. It's been a decent way to do it. I'd really rather not know how any movie is going to end when I see it, no matter how engrossing the book is. And Potter 4 is a quick, fun read at 700+ pages.

Thursday night, Bryan and I were busy trying to gain more friends on MySpace. We were doing pretty well, then we hit a ceiling to the amount of activity we could accomplish there. Kind of frustrating. But we did add 100 new friends in a 36 hour period. I want to welcome any of you who are checking out my blog for the first time, as a result. Feel free to leave comments on the blog or on MySpace. I enjoy the feedback. Sometimes I forget that anyone is even reading what I write. Ha Ha. Then someone will e-mail me or mention something at a show that I've written about. I appreciate your attentiveness.

Wednesday night, we went to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the Django Reinhardt Festival. The festival was less about Django than the style of music he played. Dorado Schmitt and his quintet played a lot of original material, but it was still enjoyable. The venue is breathtaking. It's basically theatre in the round. And the interior is like being in the belly of a wooden whale. Our seats were in a balcony that ran along the side of the stage. Fortunately, this being a small combo, they played to all sides. There was even a section of couch/bench seats behind the orchestra area. Very unique.

For me, the highlight of the evening was the presence and performance of guest saxophonist
Tom Scott. Tom is the genius behind the sax solos and horn arrangements on Steely Dan's Aja. Deacon Blues? That's Tom. The opening riff of Peg? Tom. To see him play in person was a treat. He certainly brought a burst of energy and comic relief with him. Helped that he was on his home turf. Four of the quintet were European and had little to relate to the audience between songs. Mr. Scott has also played with Wings (Listen To What The Man Said), Rod Stewart (Da Ya Think I'm Sexy) and Blondie (Rapture); he's just an inspiring player who's played some ferociously memorable solos. On Wednesday, he played some really hot alto.

All right, this is post number 199. Gotta have something good for the next one, huh? Well, I'm off to the dentist. Hope no more teeth fall out of my head. Then, it's a Saturday, it's a Saturday. What to do?!

Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Postcard From Los Angeles

Hey Soul Mates,
I know, I know. It's been a few days since last I wrote. What's been going on? Well, last night I was at the Clippers' trouncing of the Milwaukee Bucks. A friend invited us to a swank luxury suite at Staples. That was nice to see the home town win in fine fashion. Just wish the Clips would go back to wearing sky blue and burnt orange. Of course, they'll never replace my Cavs in my heart. Oddly enough, I ran into one of our venue bookers and was told that we'll have a date in mid-December opening for a nationally known music act. Details will follow.

Tonight, should be cool. We are going to the
Django Reinhardt festival at the Disney Concert Hall. I've only been in the hall once, when I spent a day downtown. It's a pretty fantastic building. I'm looking forward to the performance. I was really introduced the music of the gypsy guitarist Reinhardt in the Woody Allen film Sweet And Lowdown (my favorite movie of 2000). Then, when I was in France for a jazz festival later that year, there were several tribute acts who played his music. Seems like a lifetime ago. Django's "hot jazz" music is uplifting and soothing simultaneously. It's become a favorite of mine on down-time. The "role" of the late Mr. Reinhardt will be played by reknowned Djangophile, guitarist Dorado Schmitt.

I've been reminiscing a lot this week. A year ago was the trip to Italy. On this day, I was in Florence and got to see Michelangelo's David. David had just turned 500. Nothing on Earth like it. I've said this before, but if you wanted to show a non-earthling one work of art to explain humanity, the David would be it. Although I have a soft spot for Bernini's David, now. The journal I kept has come in handy. Rereading it brings back things I had forgotten about the vacation. My advice to any one is to keep a journal, diary, whatever. My grandmother is a great journalist and that's where I got the idea. Even if you only write down what you ate that day or what the weather was like, you'll be glad you did. My journals get pretty detailed and I can remember forcing myself to stay awake or fighting a bumpy bus ride through Tuscany to get extra thoughts from pen to paper.

In Rush Hour Soul news, I'd like to thank everyone again for participating so vocally in our 3 week stay on Next Big Hit. We are looking forward to the next big move for our career. I have mentioned in passing to some of our fans that we will be heading East in 2006. It's true! We'll be bringing the act to select cities along the East coast in the early months of the year.

At our last show we had a very major development and our trajectory may have accelerated. We'll see after our next showcase at the Gig. I hope you plan on being there. We will have new postcard flyers this week for the event. Want to see what they look like? I made
them myself. So I've been busy. Bryan and I have also been practicing quite a bit. The new bass has really gotten a workout the last few days. And we're starting to cultivate some new songs. We'll probably debut them in January. New songs, new year. Makes sense to me.

Thanks, too, to our fans who have suggested color schemes for upcoming shows. That's very helpful to know what you like to see us wearing. For the next show we will be bringing back the blues. Anyone who wants to dress in shades of blue for the show on Dec. 1 is welcome.

All right everyone, I'll be back very soon. Plus I'm almost up to my 200 blog entry. I'll have to come up with something good for you.
Love, Power, Peace.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Got A... [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
We had a really good time last night at the Gig. It was a hellzapoppin' show. Thanks to everyone who braved the forecasted rain. You made the place electric. I hope you will enjoy your holiday ornaments. We ran out, which is a very good thing.

Here's the first photo finished. It was taken just before the set last night. We look kinda sharp. Hit it to enlarge us. There are more photos up on the website. Dunno if the color combo worked like we hoped, but what the hell? You gotta experiment sometime. Any particular hue you'd like to see us in next time? Maybe that will be the poll on the next evite.



We kicked off the set with Talent as the curtain rose. We kept the pulse quick for the first 3 songs. Everything My Heart Desires has become a new favorite it seems. It's been getting a really good response. We pulled out an old cover in honor of the Stones' visit to the Bowl/the Red Cross drive I was involved with. My mic chose that moment to short out, so I got to sing from Bry's side of the stage. We finished the set with Excommunication. Last show, it was out of the set for the first time since writing it. A lot of people did the "X" choreography for the first time in a long time. To end the song, we did our 3 man flying leap and of course, I jarred my bad knee. Never a dull moment. It's not too horrible, icing it as soon as I got in helped.

The club was pleased with our turn-out and, once again, with how great our fans are. Thanks. We also had a very good response from our industry contacts in attendance. That's always a lift. I hope that we'll have some really good news for you in the coming weeks. It's the Holiday season, after all. What a gift that would be.

Here's the set list from last night:
A Talent For Loving
U Had The $

Sucka
Everything My Heart Desires
Everyone's Ingenue
Done Lost My Mind
Miss You (Rolling Stones)

Down By Love
Fall Out
Excommunication


Best of all, we can announce our next performance: Dec 1 at the Gig. This will be a FREE show (just mention us at the door) and it may be televised for cable. And seeing that it's so close to the Architect of Rock & Roll's birthday, a small tribute might be in order.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, November 07, 2005

Emotional Rescue

Hey Soul Mates,
it's a new day. The volunteering gig at the Stones' concert was a relative success. We collected several thousand dollars for the
Red Cross Hurricane Relief drive. Here's the deal: the Rolling Stones recorded a new CD single called Hurricane. We were given CDs and donation buckets. All we have to do is tell people: here's an exclusive new charity single by the Stones, donate what you can; $1, $2, $10 and the disc is yours. That's how my basic, self-prepared spiel went. You wouldn't believe the cool reception we got. At the flipping Stones show!

The band announced that they were collecting donations. They announced that the single would be the "premium" fans would receive in return. I got a lot of angry "I already gave's;" multiple eye-rolls; and "yeah, right's!" Now, we were within the policed perimeter of the venue. How can we be "selling" something that's not genuine? These people were making me mad. And I was shredding my voice for one of the best causes of our day.

Of course, real Stones fans and collectors jumped at us, gladly depositing a couple of bucks in exchange for a real rarity. But the majority of these well-to-do poseurs would have little to do with us. Sad, really. My highlight? Well, I sold a kiss for charity. A young lady walked up to me and said, "I'll make a donation, if you give me a kiss." It was for hurricane relief, why not? So after a moment's hesitation, I gave her one on the cheek and she plopped in the dough. The girls in our group joked that I should have asked for more money from her. Was she cute? I guess, but I couldn't pick her out of a police line-up at this point.

To quote our Commander-in-Chief, it was hard work soliciting donations at the Stones show. They will be doing this at every tour-stop, so best of luck to anyone else who volunteers. It's good juju and an eye-opening experience. Thanks to the Stones for the opportunity to help.

As for my band, we won our second consecutive week on the
Next Big Hit. Our vote total was even higher this time! Thanks to everyone who participated in the voting. We are only two victories away from the song being "retired." After A Talent For Loving's run is through, DJ Copperhead will hopefully select a new song from our EP to showcase. Be sure to leave comments on the Forum. That shows other fans that they aren't alone.

IN OUR BIGGEST NEWS THIS WEEKEND: Everyone's Ingenue made its FM radio debut on the Great American Music Hour. The show is broadcast on WRIR-FM in Richmond, VA. Listen to the podcast version of the show now! Just follow the links to the podcast and download or subscribe on iTunes. Be sure to write the DJ and let him know you like the song.

Finally, if you are a Soul Mate on our mailing list and you received the Evite, don't forget to RSVP. Even if you can't make it. And be sure to answer the fun polls on the Evite. We want to know what's on your mind.

Gotta run, the new bass arrives today!
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's A Beautiful Morning

Hey Soul Mates,
it's Sunday morning. Just chilling with a homemade cup of espresso. Gotta get the motor running. However, I'm hoping to get out jogging in a little while. Managed to do the loop over at Lake Hollywood for the first time in months yesterday. The knee is ready!

The voting on Next Big Hit got close last night and remains competitive, but our girls in NoVa put us over the hump for the time being. The voting for this week ends at 7 pm PST today. So if you haven't made your selection, now's the time.

Tonight, the girls and I are going to the
Stones concert at the Hollywood Bowl. This should be an historic event. It's their first appearance there since 1966. But, we're not going for the show, we are volunteering for the Red Cross to accept donations on behalf of the group. The Rolling Stones are being very generous (and considering their stature, and what they owe to black southern culture it's appropriate) and they are setting up donation collection centers at every tour stop. So, if you are going to the Bowl tonight, look for me and have that loose change ready for some hurricane relief. Remember, you can still donate on-line.

My brother Nate did a stint in New Orleans on reconstruction detail and said that the parish is worse off than one can imagine. What doesn't come through in the pictures and newscasts is the stench. Lots of work to be done there.

OK, Nov. 6 is an infamous day in history. 10 years ago to the day, evil, money-grubbing, no-good, jive-talking, two-faced manipulator Art Modell announced that my beloved
Browns were leaving Cleveland for no reason whatsoever. The team was losing money, he said. The stadium was no good, the city didn't appreciate him or the organization. He took that cursed team to Baltimore and won the Superbowl. But that's bad juju, man.

Of course, the Browns came back, the team is in the black, the new stadium is beautiful and they sell out every game (with a losing record). Why? Because the city LOVES that team like no other. Plus the natural rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers is still one of the best in all of sport. And the new rivalry between the Ratbirds and the Browns only adds to the fun every season. I did manage to go to the original Browns' last road game in Jacksonville, December of '95. The Brownies lost. And of course, I've been back to Cleveland several times to see them in the new stadium which is a lot more fun than the old Municipal Stadium.

Finally, I'm very excited to see Mr. Postman. My new
Washburn AB40 is on its way. Should arrive tomorrow. I am giddy. The last time I got to play one was at Rick Rosas' studio in Studio City. Schweet. And our promotional give-away for our next show is coming tomorrow too. If you are one of the first 20 people in attendance for our set on Thursday at the Gig, you'll receive a limited edition Nondenominational Holiday ornament from us to you. Consider it an early Christmas/Kwanzaa/Channukah/Whateva present. If you don't live in town and you want to order one for yourself, they will be available through Thanksgiving. After that, you'll find them on eBay. Ha Ha.

All right. I gotta run. Literarily. The hills are calling. Then, get ready to work the Stones' concert.
Love, Power, Peace!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Please, Please Tell Me Now

Hey Soul Mates,
I'm busy at the computer doing some design work for the promotional give-away for the next show at the Gig. Hope you are planning to attend. We have a special holiday something for our devoted fans.

Tonight, I went with the girls to see the premiere of the high definition film of Duran Duran Live in London. Pretty spectacular (they used about 50 digital video cameras) and very loud. So many people bought tickets that the screening was moved to a larger theater with a bigger screen. I really enjoyed the four Duran Duran shows I've attended and reliving it via film was a nice reminder of how much so. They of course tore through classics like the Reflex, Is There Something I Should Know, Wild Boys, Notorious and Girls On Film. Plus, they ran down a couple of highlights from Astronaut (my #7 LP of the year, 2004). That John Taylor is a monster on bass. Sorely underrated. The audience was into it, singing along, screaming at the boys in the band and applauding at the end of songs just as if we were at the concert. Good fun.

Well, so far, so good on this week's installment of Next Big Hit. We already have 50 votes. All that love. I hope we'll be able to return it very soon. We are looking forward to touring in 2006. Tomorrow night is your chance to hang out with us at the
Karma Coffeehouse for NBH's meet and greet. If you read my previous blog you are ahead of the game. If not, come on down to Hollywood around 7:30/8 pm and chill with us at the Karma.

Until then,
Love, Power, Peace