Sunday, October 30, 2005

RHS Wins CLICK TO PICK

Hey Soul Mates,
bricks and chicks we're the winners of
Next Big Hit's Click To Pick. Why? Because you voted for us. Thank you for your support and for believing in us and the music we make. It's such a humbling thing, knowing how much you all enjoy the songs we play. We received more votes than any other previous winner (including American Idol's Jasmine Trias) and got 60% of the vote. Special props to our "college" fans. You know who your are.

Well, this means that A Talent For Loving will get another spin on this coming week's installment of the Next Big Hit (Nov. 1). And get this, NBH is coming to LA. That's right, NBH in conjunction with
Suite 108 (you know them: the Monday Show & Indie Airplay) will be having a meet and greet at the Karma Coffeehouse on Wednesday, Nov. 2. The "meet" will be from 6-8 pm. Following that, there will be acoustic performances and the audio will be streamed by Suite 108. Bryan and I will be attending (Doug is out of town, but may be there). So drop by and meet us if you haven't already. Or meet us again for the first time! Plus, we plan on playing a couple of songs. So it's a rare opportunity to hear us do an acoustic number or two.

Hope it was a good weekend for everyone. I spent a lot of time practicing my bass, hunting down that Washburn AB40 I want and catching up on watching episodes of Lost. That show rocks. It can be a bit frustrating, because the characters can do foolish things. But for the most part, I jones for Lost.

Have a safe Halloween. Still don't know what I'ma dress as. But I did get a $3 black mask from the party supply store. Maybe I'll be a lyrical gangster. Word.

Love, Power, Peace

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Chic Choice

Hey Soul Mates,
it's been a while since I just chimed in with a big opinion on something and wrote about it. Well, I've got something I want to say. Le Freak, C'est Chic!

Put CHIC in the Rock Hall. Recently, the list of nominees for the 2006 class for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was announced. There were some deserving hold-overs from last year (Grandmaster Flash, John Mellencamp), some no-brainers (Blondie, Dave Clark Five) and some head scratchers (Miles Davis, Sir Douglas Quintet). But one name popped off the page and gave me goosebumps: Chic.

Most people only know Chic for one thing. "One. Two. Aaaaaaaaaahhhwwwwww, Freak Out!" and if that was all I was known for I'd jump for joy. Chic was nominated once before in 2002, when they first hit the 25 year mark. This is a well deserving group that represents an underappreciated and underrated genre. Disco. Or dance music. Whatever offends least. Plus, there is a direct link between Chic and the best pop music of the 80's and more specifically the global rise of the hip hop nation. But let's simply start with their own merits.

This was a band. And they were funky. Pure and simple. In an era when most dance artists were anonymous groups (Heatwave, Hot Chocolate), acts updating their sound (the Jacksons, Rod Stewart) or manufactured (take your pick), they wrote and recorded their own productions. Chic had personality, savoir faire and musical chops to burn. Chic stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Earth, Wind & Fire as the standard-bearers for quality dance music. But EW&F wasn't even the chart-smashing juggernaut that was Chic. And Chic was certainly alone when you boil it down to disco only.



When Le Freak was released in1978, it became the biggest selling single in Atlantic Records' history. We're talking about the label of Aretha, Ray and Led Zeppelin. It held down the top spot for 5 weeks. I still get that surge of excitement upon hearing the intro to Le Freak. That was my jam, long before I knew what that phrase meant. I never owned a vinyl copy of the Le Freak 45 and had to be satisfied with hearing it on the radio. Nowadays, Chic is never too far from my CD player, specifically so I can hear that track. I'll go on record that Le Freak is one of the 10 most exciting recordings of all time. To this day, I don't know what the Freak looks like. Imagination is powerful, 'cause I envision it as the baddest dance move of all time.

Chic had this irresistible rhythm section of Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson on drums. Nile Rodgers' guitar playing was taut and angular, as much new wave as chicken scratch R&B. Then there were the beautifully layered vocals urging us to dance, dance, dance. Their choruses were dance floor battle cries. Valhalla!! Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson (much like Sister Sledge) were perfectly suited to Nile and Bernard's songs. I mentioned in an earlier blog about Luther Vandross' contribution to the Chic voices. Sweet.

The level of sophistication in everything Chic did was unsurpassed. No band sounded more uptown, no band looked more GQ. Their lyrics were all about the Savoy, clams on the half-shell and rollerskates. Say what?! Their music is catchier than anything else that has survived the disco era. The reason being, this wasn't just a producer trying to sell his latest song. This was a band trying to get over with the complete package. I certainly am influenced by what they did with their stage image and their musical purity. Tracks like I Want Your Love, Everybody Dance and Le Freak are classics. And I haven't even gotten to Good Times... yet.

Okay, you're saying 4 songs doth not a Rock Hall inductee make. But what about the Chic legacy and their historical impact? Here's where Chic wallops the shit out of all-comers for the next 20 years. Chic's own sound defined the late '70s. The core members' contribution as producers was unparalleled at the time. They gave the nation a theme song, We Are Family performed by Sister Sledge. They resurrected careers. Nile and Bernard single-handedly brought Diana Ross (Upside Down) and David Bowie (Let's Dance) back from the dead. Or at least back into the public conciousness.


Nile with Madonna @ Live Aid, 1985

Much like the Neptunes' sound, you could spot the Chic effect within 2 measures. The loopy bass playing, the sparse guitar and a hook that would drag you around the block. Nile Rodgers went on to produce the first massive Madonna hit (Like A Virgin) and Duran Duran's first number 1 (The Reflex). The rhythm section of Tony and Bernard were busy, too, cranking out hits in Power Station with Robert Palmer. Ok, ok, you can't be selected based on extracurriculars. But...

Good Times. Friends, without Good Times, this would be a very different world. Some would say for the better. Ladies & Gentlemen I give you my prime faciae argument for Chic's inclusion in the Rock Hall: Good Times. Without Good Times, there is no - NO hip hop. Not as we know it. I heard this story directly from Nile Rodgers a few years ago. Nile was out club hopping and the DJ put on a familiar groove. It was that jazzy bassline to Good Times. Nile was beaming from ear to ear. Good Times was on it's way to the top of the Billboard chart. But then the vocals came in. It wasn't the luxurious female vocals singing "Good Times, these are the Good Times!" The voice was a muscular male spouting nonsense. "I said a hip hop, a hippy to the hibby da hip hip hop and you don't stop rockin to the bang bang boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogity beat." Nile's reaction was "what the F#$% is that?! Who F#$%ed up our song?!" He was furious. But it was explained to him that these hip-hoppers had turned their groove into Rapper's Delight, which became the first pop charting rap song. Ever. Don't be surprised if the Sugarhill Gang eventually receives a nomination for the Rock Hall on the strength of one famous song alone. And you know who they would have to thank. Everyone born after 1960 knows the basic lyric and the bass part to Rapper's Delight. The bass part? Not many songs you can say that about.

At first, Good Times/Rapper's Delight just spawned sonic imitations, like Vaughn Mason's Bounce, Rock, Skate & Roll or Queen's sublime Another One Bites The Dust [sadly, some quarters thought Chic had ripped off Queen]. History bears out a more important result. Rap was officially born. By using a well-known riff to rhyme over, the Sugarhill Gang established the idea that became the root of all hip hop: sampling. They made rapping cool and everyone on the street knew the lyrics within weeks. As kids on the playground, we would recite it to each other a cappella. The Gang's success was quickly followed by smashes by Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash and the rest is history. Hip hop culture's seed had bloomed. Our popular culture is now based on it. Immersed in it. Everything: media, clothing, language. Like it or not Bill Cosby. Blame them or revere them, Chic deserve so much of the credit. They are still sampled frequently for urban numbers, recent hits by Biggie Smalls, the Beastie Boys and Faith Evans bear that out. By the way, Good Times is still the ultimate rollerskating jam on its own.

So I leave it to you, the voter. Or at least the listener. Check out Chic's Best of Chic: Dance, Dance, Dance for musical reference. For a decade the sound of Chic was dominant. The following time has been influence by what Chic hath wrought. Betta recognize. Chic was shortlived, but revolutionary. This isn't their first nomination and they may not make it this year with too many other acts that have been previously snubbed on this year's ballot. I just hope that Chic gets their due soon. Both Tony and Edward have passed on, though Nile carries the Chic torch and continues to perform. I got to meet Mr. Rodgers just once and he passed on some sage advice and was very generous about his experiences. He's a deserving brother and I'm rooting for him. You can view Chic as a precursor to Rush Hour Soul. Their cosmopolitan R&B and upscale visual style is a distinct influence on me. I'd love to give their introduction speech next year. I shall expect an invitation. Nile, if you're out there and want to produce Rush Hour Soul, drop us a line. We're in LA.

These are this year's nominees for the Rock Hall in alpha order. No act from 1980, the qualifying year for the ballot, was named. The ones I would pick are highlighted:
Black Sabbath (8th ballot)
Blondie
Cat Stevens
Chic (2nd nomination)
Dave Clark Five
Miles Davis
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious 5 (the first rap nominees)
J. Geils Band
Lynyrd Skynyrd (7th ballot)
John Mellencamp
Patti Smith Group (5th overall nod)
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Sex Pistols
Sir Douglas Quintet
The Stooges (5th nomination)
Joe Tex

Who would you vote for if you had access to a ballot? I'd like to know. You certainly read through my stump speech for Chic. Write a comment and tell the other Soul Mates what you think.
Have a great weekend everybody. Yowza! Yowza! Yowza!
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ah, The Show Went On! (Show Recap)

Hey Soul Mates,
It's after noon and I'm just now getting around to writing. Time flies.

The show last night was a success. After some initial issues with the sound at the Good Hurt, RHS started rocking. We began the show with a dedication to Rosa Parks, without whom (and countless civil rights activists) our band might not exist. Our opening song was, appropriately, Love Someone. We hadn't played that song in a while. The set included Majestic Rejection, a 50's style waltz-time ballad, which had also been absent. Rush Hour Soul was decked out! Doug sported a tie for the first few numbers; Bry had his black on black suit working; and yours truly was in bright orange and black. Happy Halloween! Oh, I did my strip tease to Isaac Hayes' Walk On By. Doug supplied the beat, I supplied the fuzz guitar vocal.


We had a nice crowd for a Tuesday night. I think that's the latest start time we've had for ages. Thanks to everyone who attended. You did a marvelous job of singing along on several occasions. Heck, I hardly have to open my mouth on Done Lost My Mind. That's a beautiful thing.

Here's the setlist:
Love Someone
Fall Out
Everything My Heart Desires

Sucka
U Had The $
Majestic Rejection
A Talent For Loving
Bad Penny Blues/Gold Digger
Done Lost My Mind
Everyone's Ingenue

In other news, we continue to do well on
Next Big Hit. Don't forget to register to vote for us. We do have competition for the title of Next Big Hit. They podcast from NYC. Nice to get that Manhattan love. We are going to be submitting another song to them. Which should it be? Done Lost My Mind or Everyone's Ingenue? That's a nice dilemma to have.

We are also going to be added to the
Great American Music Hour podcast and broadcast next week. Did I say both pod & broad, yup. They are an FM station (WRIR 97.3) based out of Richmond, VA. So, our fans in the area can actually tune in. I will keep you posted on the progress. We don't know yet which song they have chosen to play, so that's kind of exciting.

Special thanks to the fans who have left personal reviews of the EP on CDBaby. The songs will be on iTunes and the like shortly. Keep those iPods warm and save some space for us!

Finally, we have a new logo that you will see all over our website. It's our icon for popping from page to page. Hope you enjoy it. It will be featured on the postcard flyers for our show at the Gig on Nov. 10. That's our next show, so mark your calendars. I's gone be a barn-burner, y'awl!
So here's what the icon looks like:

They should be available as spinners on the '07 models.

Time to get to the dry cleaners. Last night we were the hardest sweating band in show business. Don't forget to listen to the music. And say a prayer for those in need. Love you, Gmom.

Love, Power, Peace

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Next Big Hit Play RHS

Hey Soul Mates,
at Midnight tonight EST or 9 pm PST (Monday Oct. 24) "A Talent For Loving" will be featured in the latest installment of the
Next Big Hit.You can download the podcast and listen in. Better yet, on NBH, you can vote for RHS to be the NEXT BIG HIT. Check it out!

They have a weekly contest for listeners to pick their favorite song in the show. The winner gets played again next week, and is eligible again. Voting ends Sunday evening, October 30th, and the winner is revealed in the following podcast that Tuesday. That means we could stay in their countdown for weeks on end. Time to vote everyone!

Just go to Next Big Hit and select the volume 17 podcast or you can subscribe at
iTunes. Anyone can listen on their computer or any portable player that plays mp3 files.

We hope you are all safe and have a great week. We've got our show tomorrow at the Good Hurt, but our thoughts and prayers are with are friends and family in Florida.
Love, Power, Peace

p.s. Shout out to Rosa Parks. Thanks, Ma'am.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

It Only Took A Month

Hey Soul Mates,
the photos are finished from our
CD Release Show at BB King's. There are 40 pictures in all on two pages. So be sure to visit each page to see all the pageantry. Several of the Soul Mates made the photo-spread. In action, no less: looking good.

It takes a while to prepare the photos for the internet. This time, I tried something new to save myself a bit of the headache of loading and creating a page for each individual pic. Thus, the thumbnails are attached to the pics only, not a designated page with other information on it. This should make it easier for your computer to load the snaps.

It's the beginning of the weekend. Last night, Bryan and I went to the Mint to catch a short set by
Rich Mahan. He's quite a good guitarist and writer. Bryan and I also discussed the feasibility and possibility of doing a mini-tour of the East Coast in early '06. Would our fans in WPB & DC like that? Details to follow.

Tonight, I'm going to my friend
Micah's one man show. He's always a laugh riot, even when he's not cracking himself up on stage. Micah is always supportive of what I'm doing. Gotta return the love. There are so few artists in town who aren't intimidated or feel some sort of competition with their peers. You have to show your love for your friends with talent and the gumption to live out a dream. Go, Micah. Plus his blog is hysterical (and he wrote some very complimentary things about us after our BB's show). I'm going to tune into Las Vegas simply to see him on TV.

Have a great weekend. And to our people in Florida: stay dry!
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, October 21, 2005

Soul Man #3

Hey Soul Mates,
today is Steve Cropper's birthday. Happy Birthday to Soul Man #3. Mr. Cropper was the guitar genius behind most of the major hits on Stax, working with Sam & Dave, Otis Redding and Booker T. & the MGs. That's him that Sam Moore refers to when Sam shouts "play it Steve!" on Soul Man. Of course, Cropper also joined the Blues Brothers' Band and John Belushi got the honor of saying that line on SNL. Steve Cropper's style is minimalist, but assertive. It's dirty and full of grit. Perfect for those Stax sides. He's also an accomplished composer (he co-wrote the massive hits Soul Man, (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, Knock On Wood) and an inductee of the Rock Hall. Yes! A true music pioneer, who just by playing helped integrate pop music.

Alright, you have this weekend to decide what you are going to wear for our show on Tuesday. The band is wearing orange and black. Which we actually picked before we realized how close we were to Halloween. You don't have to dress like a jack-o-lantern, but we have to discourage you from wearing a costume to the show. However you dress: look sharp! Ladies, I don't even have to tell y'all. Bless you.

It's Friday. Have fun.
Love, Power, Peace.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

PGR Highlights Now Available

Hey Soul Mates,
if you're reading this right now, you're home on a Saturday night. Or maybe Sunday morning. I've spent my evening editing my appearance on Pop Garden Radio into the Reader's Digest version. It took a while. Had to cut out the music that DJ Adam Waltemire spun, including ours, for legal reasons and to condense it from 2 hours to 19 minutes. Listening to it back, it's kind of revealing... and every bit as informal as our Monday Show appearance. I hope you will enjoy it. Just click NOW or on the title above and you can stream the track from our website. It will be available for a limited time. It's only 4 MB so it shouldn't take fast carriers too long to access. The compression makes it sound like how it would through AM radio (which it was broadcast on last week); but I do have a supremely clean version. If you want to hear the sweet digital version, e-mail me and I'll arrange it for you. Remember, this is streaming audio, please be patient. And I do recommend realplayer for playback.

There are pictures up on our website of my visit to WMEL. Check them out, too. That way you can put faces and places with the audio. Fans from MySpace and WPB, listen for that shout out. Hard to fathom that my visit to Melbourne was a week ago. Literally. This time last Saturday, Eastern Standard Time, we were just driving back to Vero from the station. I'm still jet-lagged.

We've been busy this week: sending out press kits and contacting and being contacted by numerous podcasters about being added to their shows. Stay tuned, we'll let you know which shows pick us up.


Managed to get a flu shot today. What a relief. Last year, I didn't get one and there was hell to pay. The Doc did give this bit of free advice: Saline nasal spray. Kinda like the Graduate... "Plastics." Anyway, he told me that a couple of hits of that each day will keep the flu bug away. So I pass that along to you.

Finally, I found a really nice Ted Baker suit deeply discounted. Nothing like looking good on the cheap. It's a classic grey, 2 button suit. Just watched Cary Grant in North By Northwest. Damn, he looks suave in a similar get-up. Watch out, y'all.

Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Coast To Coast

Hey Soul Mates,
just a quick, jet-lagged blog. After all, I woke up at 4 a.m. PST to go swimming in the Atlantic to watch the sunrise. We had a great family weekend in Vero Beach, Fla. Grandma really enjoyed the 5 day celebration of her 90th birthday. I spent a lot of time in the ocean with my uncles and cousins. Also got my butt kicked by a couple of waves. Especially, yesterday at low tide, the Atlantic was relentless. By this a.m. I had my sea legs back. It was great to see the extended family. The weather really cooperated, too. Hardly a cloud and only a few drops of rain this morning. Happy Birthday (which is today), Gmom.

The interview for Pop Garden Radio on Saturday night went well. I was on with DJ/host Adam Waltemire on WMEL for most of the 2 hour show. He played all 4 tracks from our new EP. We chatted on air, and off, about the LA music scene in particular. Adam is a big fan of several of the local pop bands that are friends of mine. I will try to edit a little of the broadcast so you can hear some of the interview. There are also some fun pix of yours truly at the station. It's your quintessential southern radio station: small brick building with a huge antenna outside, surrounded by tropical trees and little else.










Tomorrow is Sam Moore's (of Sam & Dave) 70th birthday. Much love, Sam. Hold On, I'm Coming! I wish I could tell him happy birthday in person. Maybe next year.

Time for me to go to sleep. I think I've managed to wash most of the salt, sand and chlorine out of my hair. See you in a few months, Florida.

Love, Power, Peace.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

RHS on Pop Garden Radio

Hey Soul Mates,
the new evite for the Oct. 25 show will be going out tonight. Hope to see as many of you there as possible. It's crunch time for Rush Hour Soul. We are reaching critical mass, the tipping point... Our name, faces and music are getting out there and we are poised to take over!

This weekend our music will make its debut on
Pop Garden Radio airing Midnight EST on Saturday night. Believe it or not, yours truly happens to be flying to central Florida tomorrow. Then, what do we get in our myspace inbox? A request for music from PGR, which airs live from (drumroll...) central Florida, exactly where I'm flying. The occasion is actually my grandmother's 90th birthday. Happy B-day, Gmom. But this also presents an opportunity to expand our audience. Should be fun. So tune in if you can, via stream, etc. Just check their site linked above.

Gotta get back to the evite and finish packing. Everyone have a great weekend. Thanks for keeping RHS close to your hearts.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, October 03, 2005

Back From The Nation's Capital

Hey Soul Mates,
I'm just back from a weekend in Washington DC for a wedding. DC is such a beautiful town. All those green trees. What a break from the dry, brown hills around LA this fall. I hadn't been back in almost a decade. Got to hang out with my posse from school. Took in a few of the monuments and a favorite Smithsonian museum on the national mall. Had lunch at the Tombs. Although I barely had time to visit old haunts, it was a successful and trip.


Myself and old roomie Christo on the rooftop of Village A

In the latest, we have posted high-quality streaming snips of our number 1 singles on MySpace. There's also a snip of the acoustic version of Everyone's Ingenue from our
iRadio interview with Sara Routh. You can hear the entire song in the interview. We are also adding lots of new friends to our MySpace page, so let me officially welcome you. If you aren't connected to us yet on MySpace this is a great time to do it. We have a different major label interested Rush Hour Soul and the more friends we have the better. Please feel free to post comments on our page.

For a limited time, our EP is available at
CD Baby. Once supplies run out they're done. Digital downloads of the EP tracks will be on-line soon, so stay tuned. Anyway, you can leave your own review of the RHS record on CD Baby. I'll check back with you all shortly.
Love, Power, Peace.