Friday, June 30, 2006

I Left My Heart In Monnow Valley

Hey Soul Mates,
we've been getting a nice response to our new
FORUM. Be sure to sign up and put in your two pence/cents.

Today's pictures for our website are from our first day in Wales. We drove straight from Huddersfield after our show to Monmouth. By the time we got there (around 4 a.m., the sun was on the rise). Monnow Valley Studio (MVS) is an amazing place. Special thanks to our Jo for putting us up and putting up with us. We absolutely loved MVS, lovely country and a brilliant studio. Just check out the photos. You'll get a sense of the natural beauty of the area. The house itself is an attraction, built in the 17th century or so. Narrow staircases, brick and wood.

The studio takes up half of the mill house. It is a large space with high ceilings. The main recording room is split in two by the famous door with it's mammoth millwheel. The end closest to the control room is where we did guitar and vocal tracking. The second half of the room is for drums and houses several keyboards and a grand piano.

My favorite picture in this group is the surreal shot of me at the grand taken from outside the studio. The reflection makes it appear as though the piano is made up of the small slabs of stone jutting from the hill behind.


As usual, special thanks to our official photog, Patty T for always capturing something magical. And there is lots to be said about the magic of MVS. And it's ghosts. But don't ask Bryan about his bed moving while no one was in his room. If you look closely at the pix, you'll see both Bryan and myself blogging. It had taken us a while to get somewhere to catch up with folks and our story on the internet.

It's hot as blazes in LA. We had a lot of unseasonable heat in Wales. Seems like we brought it back home. Been one of those weeks where you don't want to go outside at all. Here's to some cool relief.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, June 26, 2006

Say It Loud!

Hey Soul Mates,
lots going on for a Monday night in North Hollywood. Here's the run-down:

1.
Rush Hour Soul.com has a fresh, new look. It's brighter, funkier and altogether different. Check it on out! No more frames.

2. There's a new message board. Follow the link on our site to the FORUM. Sign up, it's free. Then tell the world about your love for Rush Hour Soul. Say it Loud, Soul Mates! The forum will be ever-evolving to keep up with the times, you know.

3. Tune into our interview with DJ Copperhead that was debuted tonight on
Next Big Hit. Look for "B-Side Vol. 124." That's us on the tell-a-phone. We had a fun convo with Copperhead. Since it was edited for time, you'll just have to ask Doug personally about the awesome fish nuggets in Barnsley.

It's been a busy afternoon/evening. Time for some tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Feeling Like Tom Glavine (#286)

Hey Soul Mates,
I'm rapidly closing in on my 300th blog entry.

Today, I've been completed photos for May 31st in Barnsley. Check them out. This was a fabulous night. Dave from SUPERfreak was there to meet us when we drove up to the Arches. Then we met some of the local neighborhood kids, who ran up to our magic Peugeot as we arrived. One shouted at me, "You're dead posh." Another pointed at Doug and exclaimed, "You're from Afrrrica!" Kids say the darnedest things. Then Doug and I went to get authentic fish and chips for everyone. Yum. Actually fish nuggets. Very nicely done. Back in the pub, two of the locals grilled me on why the American flag has thirteen stripes. I was pleased to explain about the colonies and name them. They were impressed. Kinda tough looking characters, they wound up really liking our music. Doug and Bryan relaxed by playing pool.

The Arches turned out to be a fantastic music hall. It was a night presented by Union. The sound from Fin was superb.
SUPERfreak, who supported us, also helped with the booking. They were lots of fun and set the tone for the night. SUPERfreak even had a guest MC, Lomax, from the closers Vibrations perform with them.

Of course, RHS rocked the house in our usual style. The major change to the set this night was our inclusion of Miss You. We hadn't pulled that one out, but this was a funky crowd and they enjoyed it. We made lots of new fans that night, including a group of kids brought to the show by a parent. These preteens have their own band and were brought down to check out the Americans. How cool!? We also had a quartet of fans who were at the previous night's show in York. Thanks for bringing everyone,
Bowieboy!

Set List:
Fall Out
Bad Penny Blues [Gold Digger]
Everyone's Ingenue
Done Lost My Mind
U Had The $

Miss You
Everything My Heart Desires
Sucka
A Talent For Loving
Love Someone
Hold On, I'm Coming

After us, Vibrations did a DJ set. We danced the night away with the locals and enjoyed some Newcy Braaarn. Working up a black sweat. While we were repacking the van, we sang Happy Birthday to Doug (who's birthday was June 1). Very excited about the response from Barnsley, we drove back to York.

In other news, we are doing a phone interview with
Next Big Hit this evening. We'll keep you posted on airdates. It should be on their next podcast. Also, Rush Hour Soul.com is almost ready to reveal its facelift. Just a little more tinkering. Time to turn off the computer and get ready for our chat with DJ Copperhead. I got up very early to watch David Beckham lift England to the round of 8. His goal was a sight to behold! At least Friday's match will be at a more reasonable hour.
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Homecoming Photos

Hey Soul Mates,
some of you can't believe that we are leaving. It's true! Me? I can't wait to get back and have more Lotus caramelized biscuits. Those are the bomb, y'all!

We'd like to thank everyone who has loyally attended our shows the past 2 years. Rush Hour Soul loves you. We hope you enjoyed the shows as much as we enjoyed entertaining you. But it's time for us to move on. We'll be back eventually, but for now, Los Angeles has shown us everything we need to know.

The pictures from our Homecoming festivities are up! If you missed the show, well... check out the photos. Keep in mind, you have one last chance to see us in SoCal. We know the true believers will be there.

Trivia:
Doug is sporting a
Celtic jersey (a gift from our Scotsman, Jimmy).
I'm wearing my skinny tie from Liverpool (see Strawberry Fields & Menlove pix for cross-reference).
Bryan is enjoying
Newcy Braaarn.

Bryan and I have been writing new material. We started jamming at the Bedford in London. Hadn't had lots of time to write leading up to the trip. We're up to 4 new songs that are ready for drum beats and lyrics. By the time we leave for the UK, we expect to have 12 fresh numbers to play. That's very exciting. Road testing new songs is a wondrous thing. We know that the folks in Blighty will be well entertained.
Have a great Saturday everyone. I'm off to a wedding downtown in the LA heat. Tonight, I'm probably going to see my man,
Adam Marsland and his Chaos band in Marina Del Rey. Haven't seen Adam since we left for our respective tours. The AMCB did the midwest swing. Gotta trade notes.
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 23, 2006

Paging Mr. Herman/Menlove Ave.

Hey Soul Mates,
it still makes me laugh at myself when I see a celebrity around town. Heart skips as I try to place the face with a name. Today I saw a handful. At the grocery store, there was Jon Cryer ("Two And A Half Men," "Pretty In Pink"). I should have said hello to him. Last time I saw him was backstage at the Beastie Boys concert. He's a charming guy. But, he seemed preoccupied. Channel 2 news personality, Lisa Joyner was also at the market. The best of the day however, was seeing Paul Reubens at the Galleria. I immediately called my boy, Mikey in Jax. The opportunity to ask Mr. Reubens for the word of the day just didn't present itself. Back in the day, Mike and I watched the
Pee-Wee Herman Show and would memorize parts to aggravate teachers every Monday morning. Good times. I was even Cowboy Curtis one Halloween.

Day 6 of the tour is posted. This was a very emotional day for me. Visiting John Lennon's childhood home in Menlove Ave. was a religious experience. To stand in his driveway and feel the pavement. To look up the street toward McCartney's house (Paul used to ride his bicycle up the road to visit John). To look into the upstairs windows and at the side yard. To touch the fence and smell the flowers. To know that John Lennon was surely taken away from us too soon. Yoko recently bought the property and had it refurbished. It looks splendid. I didn't know this picture was taken of me, but I can tell you that I was thinking of how much we, as a species, were blessed by John Lennon's art. Without him, I don't know if I would make music. Thanks, Johnny.


I talked to two school boys from the street who were tossing a ball on the sidewalk. They had politely stopped when the band walked up to the house. I introduced myself to them (Michael & Philip). They asked if I had "come to see John Lennon." I told them yes and gave them a brief history of Rush Hour Soul. They told me "lots of Asians, by the busload" come to see the house. I asked them if they lived in Menlove, Philip said, "yeah, right next to John Lennon." After our goodbyes, I thought to myself, how wonderful that these lads would refer to Lennon in present tense. It was all I could do to breathe and not let loose a mess of tears. Thanks, Liverpool.

We also got some great photos at Strawberry Field, just up the hill. I managed to turn into the actual drive of the orphanage, not the famous wrought iron gate. The groundskeepers were nice enough to let us park, so we could properly get some pictures. It's amazing, all of the locals are interested to know if we are in a band, where we are from, what kind of music we play and what we think of Liverpool. With pride, I tell them we played the Cavern Club the night before. They are impressed and pleased with their city at the same time. The picture of Bryan, Doug and myself standing at the Strawberry Field Gate is a favorite. Oh, by the way, Lennon added the "s" to Field for the song.

Later that night, we had our show at the Roman Baths in the old medieval town of York. We shared the bill with the WizeGuys, who were kind enough to have us on short notice. Thanks, too, to Mandy for liasing. The show was brilliant. What we thought was going to be an acoustic set quickly became a full-tilt electric set. I'd have to review the tapes to get the set list right. But I know we played Fall Out, Everyone's Ingenue, A Talent For Loving, Love Someone, Down By Love and U Had The $. I'm pretty sure we did Hold On, I'm Coming and Everything My Heart Desires. But don't quote me on those. The energy in the room was great for a last minute show on a Tuesday night in York. The band also enjoyed some local brews after and meeting the people. Good folks in Yorkshire.

Time to resume my Friday night. Pat K (another school chum) has been enlisted to help with the message board for RHS.com. It's coming soon. I promise.
All you need is Love (Power, Peace)!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cavern Club Photos Part 1

Hey Soul Mates,
the first half of the Cavern Club photos are up on our website. Our photographer, Patty, got some amazing pictures. They really convey the energy of the show and our sheer joy from playing such an historic venue. Just to stand on a stage that you know Paul McCartney played upon was quite a thrill. The fact that the crowd were into our music was icing. Supersweet icing.

This pic of Doug and me was taken right before we were announced. Confidence was high after our set at Lennon's loosened us up. Oh, the shirts Bryan and I are wearing on this night came courtesy of our tour sponsors
KS1 Security. Thank you! We looked mahvelous.

We were introduced by David Bash, the founder of the International Pop Overthrow Festival. At the end of our set he declared "A Talent For Loving has to be the catchiest song of the Festival!" Thank you, David.

I'm in the process of doing a major overhaul to RHS.com to make it more user-friendly (we are adding a forum for your thoughts and comments), easier to read and navigate, more colorful. And of course, we have video on the way, so the site needs to be ready for that.

Yesterday, it was down to the Fox and Hounds in Studio City, where we watched England draw with Sweden. The most disappointing thing was seeing Owen crawl off the pitch in the first minute. The match on Sunday is waaaay early California time. I might just watch from bed.
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Homecoming [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
thanks to everyone who came to our homecoming show at the Good Hurt, tonight (Friday). That was super. We felt really loose and relaxed. The room was energetic. Bryan was bouncing off the walls. His birthday show and all. Doug was decked out in his Celtic jersey; I had on my Liverpool finery. Bry suggested we start with Bad Penny Blues. I called Sucka and Fall Out to follow. This playing without a set list is fun. Keeps me on my toes. Our audience sang sweetly tonight. The girls were particularly in tune with Done Lost My Mind. We didn't play that song too frequently on the tour. The end of the set was slamming, A Talent For Loving and then, by popular demand, Supermodels. A good night. It was made extra-special having our Scottish mate, James in the audience.

Set List:
Bad Penny Blues (Ms. Jackson)
Sucka
Fall Out
Done Lost My Mind
U Had The $
Everyone's Ingenue
A Talent For Loving
Supermodels With Gatling Guns

FYI: Days 3 & 4 of the tour are up in pictures. They weren't remarkable days, other than the cool weather broke and the sunshine began. Day 3, we left the hotel in search of an internet cafe (aka the Golden Arches). Horrible for internet service. We quickly realized that we will need a laptop for our return to the UK. I actually got a headache trying to operate the stainless steel keyboard at Mc's. That was followed by a KS1 sponsored stop at TopMan for stage clothes. What a relief to find shirts that fit right off the shelves. I wore the last new shirt tonight (white with navy stripes). While I was at the store, I got the call from our team that we'd booked an extra show in York for May 30.

Day 4, we finally found the public library and good internet connections to catch up. We also had an extensive rehearsal to determine the set lists for Lennon's and the Cavern Club. So, as a result, there are very few pictures from these two days off.

Well, we have a little more time off until the next show, August 2nd. That will be our final show in L.A. in preparation for our next tour of Britain. Bryan and I have been working on new songs and Doug's been working on new beats to make you dance and shake it. I'm also working on adding a new message board to our website. I'll be sure to let you know when that goes live.

Again, thanks for a great night everybody.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Woolley Bridge

Hey Soul Mates,
day 2 of our tour is posted in pictures. This was a travel day. We drove from Sheffield to Liverpool. By this point, I was getting a little bolder with the roundabouts. Although, I missed a major turn in Liverpool and we took the long way around town to get to Albert Dock.

Along the way we wound through the mountainous Peak District, even getting into a thick fog that reduced vision to inches. The area was beautiful, green and hilly. We stopped in the Spring Tavern in Woolley Bridge for lunch. Most of the group did fish & chips with mushy peas. I did the sausage baguette. The couple who owned the place were very nice and told us the history of the building, which dates to the 1830's. I like the name Woolley Bridge, something very English about it. We saw enough wool bearing animals along the way, to be sure.

Just finished watching England win it's 2nd match of the World Cup, a decent nail-biter v. Trinidad & Tobago. After all the build up about Wayne Rooney's foot while we were in the UK, I can see why the British are excited that he's playing. Once again, I'm in my David Beckham shirt, so if you see me around L.A. today, you'll know why. Representing!

Poor US team. Don't even want to talk about them. Come On, England!

Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

If I Had A Photograph Of You

Hey Soul Mates,
it's an undertaking, but we wanted to get the pictures flowing to you. So what we are going to do is... pretend we are still on the road. For the next fortnight, we will post pictures of the tour on a daily basis. Each day, there will be a new batch of photos on
Rush Hour Soul.com. So be sure to check in for updates.

We start with the band departing LAX. The rest of Day 1's photos were taken inside and around the D'n'R Live in Sheffield where we had our English debut. Thanks to Hayley and Seaweed Biscuit for presenting us.




Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Come Together


Hey Soul Mates,
There are literally thousands of pictures to get through before we can post them on our website. But I wanted to give you a taste of our experience in the UK. This was the last group photo we took in London last Thursday after our visit to the EMI studios on Abbey Road. The zebra crossing looks a little different than it did in 1969 when the Beatles shot their album cover there. But yes, that is Rush Hour Soul on Abbey Road. We caught a break in the traffic and this was the last photo on the disc. No photoshopping involved. No slight of hand.

Don't forget that we have our homecoming show on Friday in Venice at the Good Hurt. We'll be celebrating our successful tour and Bryan's Birthday (which is actually tomorrow).
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, June 09, 2006

And In The End... [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
I'm writing from the banks of the River Thames. Bryan and Doug headed back to California this a.m. I'm here another 36 hours and very excited. England have their opening match in the World Cup tomorrow and the whole country has gone footie ballistic. I'm ready. Got my David Beckham replica jersey so I can blend in with the locals. London's bracing for a record day of beer sales. Haven't decided yet where to watch. There's a gigantic screen set up on the South Bank opposite the Tower of London. Nah, too hot to be out in the sun all day. Must have A/C and something cool to drink...

Rush Hour Soul wrapped up "From LA With Love" with a hot show at the Bedford on Wednesday. The set was unique for us. Because we spent the day filming a promotional video we had to mime playing "A Talent For Loving" in front of the live audience. We started and ended the show with live performances of the song; the lip-synched version followed the first. The shoot was the most professional thing we've done to date. Our director and director of photography did a masterful job of making the day productive and fun. I certainly learned a lot about making videos and how to perform in them. Bryan and Doug were both great, of course. So after two perfs of Talent we went into the rest of our set. The whole tour we've played for feel with out a set list (except for Liverpool) which makes it more fun for us. Hit and run. The Bedford is a neat venue. We performed in their Shakespearean Globe Theatre, patron on benches at tables around us.

Bedford Set List:
A Talent For Loving
A Talent For Loving (to playback)
Fall Out
Everyone's Ingenue
U Had The $
Everything My Heart Desires
Sucka
Bad Penny Blues (Ms. Jackson)
Love Someone
A Talent For Loving

London has been great but very hot. About 27 celsius, which is extraordinary for these parts. The band spent yesterday doing some site-seeing, We started the day with a private tour of EMI's Abbey Road Studios. We actually got to stand (and take pictures in) Studio 2 which is where the Beatles made 90% of their records. "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Help!," "Hello, Goodbye." All done there. It was as amazing as visiting Lennon's house. Maybe moreso. It's where all of that magic was put on wax. If you've ever seen the Beatles Anthology, you'd recognize the studio from the sequence where the Beatles are recording "Love Me Do" while producer George Martin watches from the control booth above. We also got to visit Studio 1, where the Beatles made "All You Need Is Love" and where John Williams conducted the scores for Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Harry Potter, etc.

We left the studio and went to the Abbey Road zebra crossing to take the obligatory band photo in the street. And guess what, we nailed it. Can't wait to get some photos up on the website and here to show you what's been happening. Doug then went down to Wimbledon, while Bryan and I went to visit the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, etc. We were pretty wiped by the end of the day. Battle fatigue, ha ha.

Then last night we did our celebration dinner at Bill Wyman's Sticky Fingers. Thanks to our sponsor KS1 Security Management, we had a fun, burger and ribs filled evening. I've been to Sticky Fingers everytime I've been to London since '96. If you are a Rolling Stones fan, it is a must. The food is great, but the atmosphere is tremendous. Wyman (the bassist for the Stones for 30 years) was the group's archivist. So, the restaurant is plastered with memorabilia, one of a kind instruments and vintage promo art and posters. The band made a lot of noise singing along to Rolling Stones' songs and hits from the 80's. Singing into spoons very loudly, led to yours truly doing the family spoon on the nose trick to our Czech waitresses delight (or horror).

We are sad to leave Britain, but we promise to return later this year. Things are looking great for Rush Hour Soul. All of our new fans have been tremendous. Thanks for all of your comments. We are not going to forget you soon. We will be expanding our touring radius, but we'll be sure to come back to those who loved us first.

Time to grab some supper and make the most of a Friday night in the Capital City.

Come on, England!
From London With Love

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Different Abbey Road

Hey Soul Mates,
we are preparing to depart Wales this morning. Lots to be done in preparation for our London debut. Mixing is going on as I write.

Yesterday, we took some time to check out the town centre of Monmouth. Another Summer day here. Very sunny. We picked up a mascot along the way. A small red Welsh dragon. After strolling up and down main street, we drove to Tintern Abbey just a few miles South. Tintern and its surroundings are dreamlike. The Abbey is simply stunning. Shafts of light burst through the skeletal remains of the 12th Century church. The air that rushes around it is filled with refreshing energy that fills your lungs. We had fish & chips and a pint of Brains in its shadow as the sun began to set about 7:30. It stays light here for some time after the sun sets. That's how far North we are.

When we got back to the Old Mill house here at Monnow Valley, we all sat down to do interviews for the film being made about our experience in Britain. It's been exciting. This studio has been used by Robert Plant (from Led Zeppelin), Oasis, Manic Street Preachers and many more. The main studio room is cavernous compared to other places we've recorded. Surprisingly or not, my voice has held up extraordinarily considering the cigarette smoke I've encountered. The recording should bear me out.

Normally, I've taken my morning cup of coffee to the stream behind the studio. Not today. Too much to pack up and do. On the way to London, we'll be stopping at Stonehenge. Insert Spinal Tap joke here.

I'll report back when we get to London. Probably on Thursday after the Bedford show. We will spend most of Wednesday filming around the Bedford. Weather permitting, we'll do a bit on the rooftop (like the Beatles' last concert!). I'm excited about that. Hopefully, the show will be webcast, but this is not a typical presentation. We will be miming our new recording for the music video portion to be shot "live;" like Top Of The Pops.

Britain, I love you. You have been so kind to us.
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Band's Session In Wales

Hey Soul Mates,
tonight's recording session went very well. After a dozen runs through the track we are doing, we took a five minute break and returned to lay down 3 blazing takes. The first and third are hot and one of them will be our master take.

The day was spent getting levels and sorting out issues in the studio. We finished our day around 12:30 a.m. Energy is superb and we jumped around the yard to 99 Problems to let off a little steam. The civilians in attendance all agreed that the track is slamming. Tomorrow we'll do a few overdubs, Bryan's leads and the vocals. I will be handling all of the vocals this go round.

Doug and Bryan are doing some great work. Our engineer/producer Jim has been very supportive and has pushed us forward, even if we have a little trouble understanding what he's saying. Ha ha.

We've noticed that many of our Soul Mates on MySpace are leaving comments. Keep them coming!


I'm going to go outside for a moment. Clear the brain and wind down for sleep. The Welsh sky is clear and star-filled, y'all. Sun will be up in a few hours (like 3 a.m.).
From Wales With Love

There Are Places I'll Remember [Tour Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
where to begin. It's been a tremendous week for us. We've played all over the North of England. Liverpool, Sheffield, York, Huddersfield & Barnsley. Right now, the band are in Monmouth, Wales at Monnow Valley Studios to record. We are thrilled to be here. It's been a hot and sunny day in the valley. We are surrounded by nature on all sides. This island has been very good to us in so many ways.

Nothing Is Real
Liverpool was almost too much. Being in the birthplace of the Beatles was a dream come true. Playing at their old stomping ground the Cavern Club was icing. Platinum icing. We began the bank holiday at Lennon's we played a short set there before moving across Mathew St. to the Cavern. The show at the Cavern was massive. We were introduced by the International Pop Overthrow Fest MC David Bash and launched into Fall Out and Everyone's Ingenue. The sound was pristine on stage. I've never had the privilege of playing a venue with such wonderful sound where I didn't have to scream a single vocal and still got out all the emotion I needed. The Cavern crowd grew during our set. When we finished the set with our Beatles' cover, the Word, the audience was completely with us. Many of them went to the merch stand to pick up copies of the tour EP. Must have been around 80 people in that tiny space. To play on a stage where Macca rocked the house was beyond belief. To rock the stage where Macca played? Priceless. We went over so well that we were called back to Lennon's to perform one more set! The hotness? A dozen people followed us across the street to singalong to the songs they'd just heard. That's right we played 3 shows in one night. And what song did Mr. Bash say from the Cavern stage was the "catchiest song of the festival?" A Talent For Loving. Thank you, Mr. Bash! We are indebted to you. Long live IPO.

Let Me Take You Down
The next day, the band hit the road to travel to York. On the way out of Liverpool, we drove to the suburb of Woolton. There we stopped at Menlove Ave. to pay homage at John Lennon's childhood home. That was overwhelming. To know that John had walked that drive and sidewalk. Touched the fence and the brick posts. I will never forget those few minutes at Menlove Ave. There are few artists who move me as much as John Lennon. I've known and loved his music as long as I can remember. His spirit flows through my music even where you can't hear it. I thought about my favorite Lennon compositions and reflected on his life and how it's impacted mine. It brought to mind several dear friends and family members who share or understand my love of the Beatles. I wish you could have been there to share the moment. I breathed the Woolton air in deeply and held it in my lungs in hope of bringing a bit back with me. Love is all you need.

I even chatted with the young boys who "live next to John Lennon." Everyone I've met has been pleasant and patient with me. From there we got in the car and drove up the hill to Strawberry Field, the orphanage that inspired Lennon's classic song Strawberry Fields. We managed to park at the orphanage and walk around to the main gate and snap some photos in front of the sign.

I hope to have those posted soon. In the meantime, it's back to the studio. I'll try to write about York and our adventures in Barnsley and Hudds soon.
From Wales With Love