Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I Love L.A. 3

Hey Soul Mates,
what a fantastic "only in Los Angeles day it has been."
The back is aching ferociously, but that can't stop me!

This evening we went to the live broadcast of ABC's Dancing With The Stars. It's a lot of fun being in a studio audience for a live show. The taped ones tend to get tedious. But Dancing is a quality show and there's quite a bit going for it. Live music, celebrities dancing, coldhearted judges. Ah, the dangerous and beautiful world of ballroom dancing. Being on the VIP list helped (thanks, Michael W.). We had fine seats, but watching the tape of the show, there wasn't a lot of face time to be had. So, blink and you missed us. The show was done at CBS Television City. I hadn't been in there since my weeklong stint as deep background on Bold & the Beautiful. I did get to chat with Randy Pulley, one of the crew members, whom I've known for a decade. Everytime I go to a filmed event (Idol, EW&F) he's there working his tail off.

Memorizing Rapper's Delight in 5th grad pays off...
During the warmup for the show, they played lots of dance music and the warmup comedian went through his routine. Just before the start of the show, he had Sugarhill Gang playing and asked for volunteers to sing the song. The first girl he chose knew the first line and that's all. The second gal ran out to the dance floor set and babbled. Getting frustrated, he said does anyone know more than that, so I raised my hand. He came over with the mic and I dropped some mad science on that crowd. I worked it too, serenading the show's hosts Tom and Lisa and the audience. I got a very nice reception for my performance, thank you. In fact, after the show, we were hanging out and a gentleman from the recording industry approached me with his compliments. Snap!!!

We also spoke briefly with Ashly DelGrosso, the cute dancer who was partnered with Joey Mac from NKOTB. And I ran into her again this evening at Farmer's Market after eating at Johnny Rocket's. She was definitely miffed about being voted off the show. All the dancers and celebs work hard to learn the routines. She told us that hopefully the show is coming back and all the dancers will have a chance to do it again. I wouldn't be surprised if they get some even bigger names to be on the program next season.

In the town where I was born...

The evening actually got more interesting. After Dancing With The Stars it was all down to the El Rey Theatre for RINGO STARR!! I've already seen Macca, so this means I've seen 50% of the Beatles. Ringo packed the place and a splendid time was guaranteed for all. Next week, Ringo turns 65 and he's in good shape. He warbled and joked through a hit filled set: Photograph, Octopus' Garden, It Don't Come Easy, Back Off Boogaloo, Boys, I Wanna Be Your Man, Act Naturally, Don't Pass Me By, Yellow Submarine and several stabs at brand new material from his latest disc Choose Love. It was great to see the world's most famous drummer hit the skins, too. His energy level and mantra of "peace & love" really kept the crowd in high spirits. It's always a trip to hear anyone talk about "George" or "John" on such a personal level. Ringo however does it without grandstanding, name dropping or being overly sentimental. He's still the comic Beatle, by God, he just makes you feel good.

The highlight of the set was the finale. With A Little Help From My Friends was all that and more. Ringo invited some celebrity guests to sing the harmonies. Get this: Gary Oldman, Doug Fieger (from the Knack), TV wonk Pat O'Brien, comedian Richard Lewis & Jeff Lynne from E.L.O. came up on stage. Wow. Gary Oldman!? One of my all-time favorite actors. It was surreal. Jeff Lynne!? Mr. Blue Sky. The best part of the evening? I got to meet Jeff Lynne, a perfectly decent chap who said, "Nice to meet you, mate." If you are a Beatles' fan, Ringo's new songs are lots of fun and I recommend a trip to his self-run website. Lots of cute film clips there.

What a great day. I hope that yours was peaceful or fun or eventful or all of the above.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, June 27, 2005

New Live Shots

Hey Soul mates,
after a week, I've finally gotten the live photos up from our last show at the Gig. It took some extra work this time. I'm not sure why? All this technology and it's hard to get digital pictures to look on screen the way they look as raw files. Hope you like them. Man, now blogger has changed the way you attach photos here and this thing is hard to maneuver. Anyway, you can see us in our cold sweat in our cold threads!! Click the picture when you are ready.







The back is doing a little better today. Which is good.

The sessions yesterday went well into the evening. We tackled the mix on A Talent For Loving first. That went pretty smoothly. Chris had some good ideas already mapped out for it. Then we went through Done Lost My Mind. That song was the easiest for everyone involved. Very solid vocal takes throughout. Then we spent a good deal of time on Down By Love, which required some overdubs and lots of vocal layers that we Bryan and I came up with on the spot. Thank God, Chris is patient. There are still a few issues with each track, but I'd say the mixes are at 80%. And that's certainly a far cry from where we were 36 hours ago.

I spent a solid hour listening to the tracks this afternoon. You have to step away from them for a while. Listen to them sporadically, then immerse yourself by repeating a track about 10-12 times. Only that way can you really get inside it and be sure about all the parts. To quote a favorite source of amusement: It's hard work.

Hopefully, I'll have the energy tomorrow to post the fashion photos from our shoot 3 weeks ago. As you can see, I've updated my profile here with an outtake from the sessions. Love those stripes.

Have a good Tuesday!
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Weekends Were Made For Mixing

Hey Soul Mates,
hope that the weekend has been good for you so far. Me? I'm in severe pain from a back injury I sustained while cleaning out my car yesterday. Stayed in a cramped position for too long. Ow! So, I'm kinda hobbling around the apartment.

But the weekend has been fun, so far. Last night I went to see my friend
Micah McCain's one man show "Unshaven." It was excellent. Cabaret with some good storytelling and moving vocal performances. And when Micah tells a humorous anecdote it brings down the house. He's one of the most naturally gifted performers I know. But, it was closing night, so my recommendation will have to extend to his next project.

Today is mixing day at the Studio. Bryan, Doug & I are destined for Santa Monica this afternoon. There are a few more vocal flourishes to add, but just a few. Some doubling on parts, a harmony here or there. Then we'll begin the mixing in earnest. Chris our engineer/mixer has been working on some roughs that we've already heard and he's definitely on the right track. We should have new music for you all to take home before the end of the Summer.

Well, I've got a date with some ibuprofen.
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cruise Missile

Hey Soul Mates,
Never before have I wanted an interviewer to smack his subject so badly as I did this morning. Did anyone else see Tom Cruise on the Today Show? He's gone wild. He was dissing Matt Lauer to his face and even if Tom was making a few valid points, Lauer shoulda said "this my house, B****!" I think that anti-depressants are useful in some cases. And Tom should leave Brooke Shields alone.

Funny, but I think Tom has a movie coming out that he was supposed to plug. I bet Spielberg et Cie. are shifting bricks. Tom is sinking his career, disproving the old adage that there is "no bad press." I want to like Tom; I enjoy some of his movies and performances... But this is a case of stay on topic Tom: talk about your film.

If you want to see more of this train wreck watch the Today show on Monday, Matt promised more. Oh, mad props to Lauer for keeping an even keel when Cruise repeatedly insulted his journalistic credibility and professionalism.

Tom Cruise, ya'll. Tom "Crazy Eyes" Cruise.


Love, Power, Peace

Back from 3 Clubs

Hey Soul Mates,
went to check out Orson at 3 Clubs in H'wood. 3 Clubs is a hip, dark joint on Vine. They mix a mean vodka Martini. Chris, the DJ spun a nice mix of Prince, Oasis, P-Funk... Right up our alley. The stage is actually floor level, making it an intimate venue. It would definitely be a cool place to perform.

Orson rocked the house. They took the stage around 10:40; they kind of saunter in. This group has a batch of killer songs loaded with hooks. I've mentioned Orson before, but I hadn't seen them since last year. The set was mostly songs from their debut
"Bright Idea." [Check out my review for their disc on CD Baby] They did play some newer material as well. Orson is a 5 piece based out of the South Bay/Beaches area, I would take it. Musically, they are reminiscent of the Cure, Jellyfish and the Durans but with even more radio friendly pop skillz.

Last night, we went down to the Roxy to check out our buddies,
Teaneck. They put on a really good show. They are a 3 piece that I met at a Supergrass show several years ago now. Jeff, the drummer is a cool cat. Teaneck's bass player and Orson's bass player are both phenoms. I recommend both bands!

Time for sleeeeep. Have a great weekend everyone.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Show Announcement

Hey Soul Mates,
here's an exclusive announcement: our next show will be Tuesday July 12 @
The Good Hurt in W. L.A. Our set time will be 9:30, but we recommend that you get there no later than 9:15 to ensure you see the whole amazing set. I'm just back from the club after meeting with the booker, Alec Z. Also caught up with journo Peter Menocal in from Vegas with Feverbox, a band he's working with.

The Good Hurt is a cool locale for several reasons: they have a parquet dance floor, several pool tables and hot female bartenders in nurse's uniforms. The best reason to be there will be the RHS experience, of course. I can't stress enough how important every single fan's participation is. If we don't draw; we won't be welcome to play. Conversely, if we bring boat loads of people, the energy is better, the bookers are pleased and we make new fans of the other people at the club. Help us keep live performance alive in LA!

Tomorrow, Bryan & I will be working on some new compositions and hopefully at least one will be ready to debut at the show. The live pics are taking me a little longer than usual to post, sorry for the delay.

Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, June 18, 2005

If A Tree Falls...

Hey Soul Mates,
it's the morning after, time to check in with a recap of our show at the Gig last night. The lineup was all aces from us to Kingstreet to Get Licious. Lots of cool performances. Of course, no one looked as good as your Rush Hour Soul. Our set was slammin! We came out swinging with left-right combo of Sucka/Excommunication. Our new song, Everything My Heart Desires went over well. And we did an even mix of our hard funk pop and ballads the rest of the way. We dedicated our last number of the night, Everyone's Ingenue, to our Florida Soul Mates (who also requested the song, thank you). It was a great way to end the set with the "I love you, love you, love you's" ringing out.

We got lots of excellent action shots at the show. Our photographer, Patty Tokahuta, captured the sweat and the sweet of a RHS set. We'll have the pix up on our site by the end of the weekend, so keep an eye out. Yup, lots of changes on RHS.com. Got to make it look clean and cool.

The only downside was our draw. And it was very poor by our standards. Which is disappointing. Especially when you get the club asking "What happened?" We don't know. We just hope that more of you will be at the next amazing show, TBA. Our success is contigent upon your support! Thanks to all the Soul Mates in attendance. Hope you enjoyed the birthday Krispy Kremes. See you soon.

Here's the set list for last night's performance:
Sucka
Excommunication
Hold On, I'm Coming
Everything My Heart Desires
Down By Love
Fall Out
Done Lost My Mind
Love Someone
Talent For Loving
Everyone's Ingenue


Have a great weekend! And Happy Father's Day to all you Dads and to all of your Dads!
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 17, 2005

New Bubblegum Cards

Hey Soul Mates,
be sure to check out the new bubblegum cards on our website. Hope you saved the previous batch. We will be doing these every couple of months to keep things interesting. The new ones are on the
Bios page of RHS.com. There a lots of pics to choose from and we'll be putting up some freshy fresh ones on the actual bio pages this weekend.

Time to prepare for the show tonight. Gonna go grab a bite (greasy eggs and bacon). Try to shop for a new pair of pants. It's hard finding 32x34 pants for some reason. Then run a few errands. Have to pick up a mess of Krispy Kremes for the brithday celebrations at the show tonight. Get there early if you want some.

Love, Power, Peace


Try this on for size. Thanks to Bobby A. for the tip.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Labor's Reward

Hey Soul Mates,
it's been a long time coming, but a change has come. You've probably noticed a major face lift for our website. It was time. Thanks ever so much to my cousin Julie for her beautiful front page photo that graced our site for our first year. Now, we have this colorful picture of the group (taken by Patty Tokahuta) for you to see every time you check in at RHS.com. The News page has been updated for easier reading and navigation. Just run your mouse over the page. You'll find links virtually everywhere, esp. where the text is highlit [I think I just invented a word]. It takes a while to get these changes made, so I hope you enjoy them.

Yes, we have more pictures from Sunday's photo shoot on the way. Don't forget, we have a show tomorrow night. I need to get some rest. I'll do more web work in the a.m.
Love, Power, Peace.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Happy Bry Day

Hey Soul Mates,
it's Young Blue Eyes, Bryan's birthday. We had a busy day Sunday and got in some early celebrating.

First we rehearsed, running down the set for Friday's show. We will be debuting a new song "Everything My Heart Desires" and feel we've got a really strong set for you. Sadly, Adam Marsland is under the weather and won't be performing with us. Get well, soon, Adrock.

We hope that you will be attending the show. We are going to have a mini-celebration for our Gemini's Twins Bryan and Doug.

After rehearsal, we had a photo shoot near Lake Hollywood. There was a golden sunset and the band sure looked good. We hope to have some of the pictures up for you shortly. Watch our website and MySpace for new shots. Then we took Bryan out for dinner at our favorite diner. As far as I'm concerned it's always breakfast time.

Bryan has become such a great friend in the last 2 years. We started playing together in the spring of '03. Brought together by mutual friends. Thank goodness. He's an amazing player and he's really become a powerful stage presence, too. Those of you who have followed us will know what I mean. Bryan is cool and can quote just about any film, but don't put a quarter in the Napoleon Dynamite Jukebox. Ha Ha. Thanks for your commitment and friendship, Bry. I always talk about how special this group is, there are only 3 of us. But it's true. Bryan and Doug are my favorite musicians and dear people.

And my final thought for now:


Love, Power, Peace.
Happy Birthday, Bryan

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nelson

Hey Soul Mates,
today oughta be a National Holiday. It's certainly a day to celebrate an international institution and American Original:
Prince Rogers Nelson is 47 today.

Me: "That was a helluva show, sir."
Prince: "Thank you."
Me: "Thank you."
And he smiled the whole time. Not an earth-shaking exchange, but tonight I met one of my most cherished heroes. Prince performed a very private show for about 400 people at BB King's Blues Club on the Universal City Walk. Not only did I get to greet Prince, I watched his entire hourlong set from the balcony standing next to Morris Day, one of his musical cohorts. Quite an exciting evening. Morris was also very nice and I chatted with him briefly. It's a relief when people live up to your expectations or exceed them in their patience and pleasantness. By the way, I am a full foot taller than Prince and he was in high heels.

That was from an e-mail I sent to friends on Aug. 19, 2003.

I am in awe of Prince's contribution to popular music and culture. Not a day goes by that I don't whistle Christopher Tracy's Parade or mentally spin Housequake in my head. His influence on me cannot be understated. I do not try to copy him (all the time), but his stamp on my work is indelible. On my list of top 10 albums of all time he holds down 2 spots. If you expand that list to top 20 he's got 4. To run down a list of my 10 all-time favorite Prince songs would be unfair to another 30 songs. But, here's my attempt anyway. In alpha order:

D.M.S.R. from 1999
Gett Off from Diamonds & Pearls
Housequake from Sign "O" The Times
I Would Die 4 U from Purple Rain
If I Was Your Girlfriend from Sign "O" The Times
Kiss from Parade
Partyman from Batman
Pop Life from Around The World In A Day
17 Days from the B-Side of When Doves Cry
Still Would Stand All Time from Graffiti Bridge

This list, of course, discounts jams like Now, U Got The Look, Sexy M.F., Mountains, New Position, Gold, Musicology, Controversy, La La La, He He Hee, Eye Know, My Name Is Prince, Le Grind, Scandalous, Condition of the Heart, The Beautiful Ones. I better stop.

My favorite guilty pleasure movie of all time is Under The Cherry Moon. My college roommates and I used to watch that every Friday before we went out or threw a party. My homeboy, Christo and I can still run lines from it, like we did in acting class. I'm certain we were the first people to assert that there was acting going on in that film. It's a beautiful looking movie to be certain. A black & white screwball comedy sorely misunderstood in its time. Not a musical like Purple Rain, but a prolonged in-joke for the fans.



My favorite album of all time is Parade. As eclectic a set as any artist has ever released. If I could only own one album for the rest of my life, that would be it. Within 41 minutes Prince tackles pop, funk, R&B, jazz, cabaret, and psychedelia. It's never boring and it holds a special place in my heart. It was the soundtrack to a summer spent overseas, a first taste of independence. I, how you say, I wonder U? This CD doesn't even contain 2 brilliant B-sides Love Or $ or Alexa De Paris. Hands down, a record to be cherished.

I have a great appreciation for all of his works. I'm only missing one or two official releases, but I've made up for it. If you had to start with a random Prince LP, you'd have to get Purple Rain, followed by 1999, then Sign "O" The Times. This is if you own NO Prince records. Unlike Michael, for a decade, Prince released an album a year. So much great material put out at a very quick rate.

There was a time when you would hear a new Prince single unannounced on the radio and die for the next hour waiting for the DJ to spin the record again. There were 3 times in particular that this occurred and each time the song was otherworldly. Like nothing I had ever heard before. Like nothing any of us had heard before.

I can remember sweating in the Florida heat in our nasty old Chevy Nova, pulling into the parking lot of a local strip mall when this squall of guitar flew out of the radio. A heavily processed voice moaned "yeah oooh yeah ooh yeah oh yeah." It was followed by a light keyboard motif and the words "Dig if U will a picture" and I was gone. Glued to the radio. Floored by what I had just heard. Oh, we knew Prince from Controversy. 1999 had been a big hit around our old neighborhood and we still boogied to Delirious. But this was something entirely different. It was a new sound. Dammit! It came from outtaspace!

Two years later, my brother and I were doing yard work on a weekend. Probably preparing for hurricane season. Humidity. The boombox was poised on a planter in the front entry. There was no warning, no take a big gulp of breath, no "here it is!" Just a solo telecaster played through a wah-wah going Doodle Doodle Doodle Doodle Doo - "Uhn!" Work in the yard stopped. There was just this synth drum and a high pitched voice singing something 'bout "I just want your extra time and your * * * * Kiss." I fell hard for that song. It's a cliche now, but I think back on that first time hearing it and I get chills. Damn you, DJ! You shoulda warned a brotha.

The following Spring, I was getting ready for school. Little boombox in the bathroom to force me awake. The rhythm percolated through the airwaves. This song was past midway, but I caught "We'll call him Nate. If it's a boy." Oh Shit! That had to have been him. Had to!! That night, I ran to the record store afterschool and bought Sign "O" The Times. Then a few weeks later, I bought the whole album the day it was released.

On each of these tracks, Prince defied gravity and convention. The storytelling is immaculate, the production is sparse. The performances are legendary. The charge I got out of hearing a Prince single for the first time will be with me to the end. What's amazing looking back is that that was top 40 radio. Those songs are too far out now. Back in the day, they were literally revolutionary.

I've been fortunate enough to see Prince perform in person on 9 occasions. First saw him in Landover, MD on the Lovesexy tour. Then saw all 3 shows at the Uni Amp for the Love Symbol Tour in '93. Then I saw him at the Soul Train Awards and an afterparty gig at his former LA club Glam Slam. The Glam Slam show was exactly that. He played for an hour and a half and was joined on stage by Mavis Staples and Stevie Wonder. Owww-ah! Years later, I caught that private set at B.B. King's and then last year we saw the Musicology show. And lemme tell you, they were all great and life-affirming experiences.

His quantifiable achievements? Here's a refresher:
Three #1 albums
Five #1 singles
Three #2 singles
Four Grammys
And still most impressively an Oscar for Purple Rain in an era long before Springsteen and Dylan became regular nominees for middling material. Last year his induction into the Rock Hall cemented his legend, but he continues to write his own story. He is a role model, musical mentor and innovator like no other. Thanks for all the gifts. It's taken me 2 hours to write this blog. I could have written more...

Long Live Prince!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Nelson.
Love, Power, Peace


Now go put on a Prince record and dance!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Jam!

Hey Soul Mates,
it's been a long day running around Hollywood. Back and forth and back.

Started the day with the annual car washing. Ha Ha. And now the bumper is ready to proudly display a Rush Hour Soul decal. Took me long enough. Then I was in Hollywood at Iguana looking for some new pants. No luck. Yesterday was much more fruitful on the fashion front. Picked up a couple new ties at Barney's and down on Melrose.

This afternoon's rehearsal was really grooving. We ran down the set for our upcoming show. The material sounds really good. It was our first rehearsal since our recording sessions. Now, we've been toying with some covers to spring on you. But as we neared the end of our session, we cooked up a new slice of funkpop that will make you shake a tailfeather or two. My goal is to have it done in time to debut in 2 weeks. We'll also be playing our new original Everything My Heart Desires for the first time. If'n you like Done Lost My Mind, you'll dig this one as well.

Thanks to everyone who dropped Doug a birthday note. And don't forget, Bryan's Bday is next week.

Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Doug Day Afternoon

Hey Soul Mates,
it's June 1, a day to celebrate. Why? It's our drummer, Doug Gordon's birthday!
I'm just so thrilled to play with Doug. He's our anchor. His drumming certainly makes my bass playing infinitely better. No cat can drive like our dog. Ha Ha. (And if you've ever been in a car with him that has a double meaning.)

I've known Doug for about 5 years now and played with him for 3 of those. It seems like longer than 3 years, through ups and downs: Rock The Stones, personnel changes. But Doug has remained loyal and steadfast through it all. I just can't express how thankful I am for him.
Much love, Dog.

June 1 is a historic day in Pop music. Doug was born and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released by the Beatles. Needless to say Sgt. Pepper is the most important record in my reckoning. I learned to read by following the lyrics printed on the album's back cover. I'll have to throw that CD on today. There are albums that I prefer to it now, but that's the first LP that I can remember wearing out the grooves.

So, while you are on MySpace drop Doug a birthday note. Or better yet, come to our next gig and wish him a Happy (Belated) Birthday in person. "We hope you will enjoy the show!"

Love, Power, Peace.