Saturday, April 29, 2006

Oh My Dear Lord: More Star Track

Hey Soul Mates,
those G4 commercials for Star Trek are stoopid. Bry thinks Charlie Murphy is the voice of Spock. Watch Star Trek Cribs, see if he isn't right. These are the funniest stop motion cartoons since Davey & Goliath!







In band news, the photos from the Good Hurt are up on
RHS.com. There are a lot of great shots of Doug. Look for Bryan doing the "blazing solo" faces. If you are a friend of ours on MySpace, check out the new banners that are available. Use the html code to link directly to Rush Hour Soul's homepage or MySpace page. Cool.

Have a peaceful Saturday. Live Long and Prosper.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Plum Night [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
what a great show at the Good Hurt last night. You all sent us off in style. It was fun to play without a set list again. Your requests were fabulous. We had our eye on the first couple of songs, then we turned it over to the audience.

The sound in the Good Hurt was spectacular too. You can tell when the opening act is an industrial techno pop group and you don't need earplugs. That venue has been really good to us. Bryan's new guitar is simply amazing [And now we're twins. Ok, Fender, where's our endorsement? American made Fender Jazz is all the way live!] The player? We already knew he was the bomb. How'd you like that knee drop solo!? The rhythm section was slamming too! Doin' it Vulcan style, baby!!

The band did the stroll in our shades of magenta, fuschia and purple. Yes, a plum bunch. The pictures will be up soon, but here's a taste.


This is the set list to the best of our knowledge!

Set List:
Sucka
U Had The $
Everyone's Ingenue
Down By Love (requested by Tiffany)
The Word (requested by Rosanna)
Supermodels With Gatling Guns (requested by Adina)
Saffron Dancer (requested by Patty)
Fall Out (requested by Jana & Mari)
A Talent For Loving (by popular demand)


Now we have to shift gears into overdrive. Our next show will be in Jolly Old England in the heart of Sheffield. Nothing but pure excitement.
Needless to say, we are going to miss all of our dancing girls from LA. But we'll be back. And we expect to have them grooving across the UK!

I've spent the morning writing and playing at the piano. And the dog is tearing up my knee. She really likes the new ballad I'm working on and she stands up and digs into my leg. Guess it's the high notes!
Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"My Prerogative" Vulcan Style Baby

Hey Soul Mates,
Doug showed us easily the funniest thing on tv today. We must have watched it about 20 times this weekend. And everytime you watch it you notice more freaky behaviour on the behalf of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. Or maybe it's the Mothership Connection. This is a 30 second clip for reruns of Star Trek on a new cable channel. I used to have the Spock doll in question. In fact, I can remember being very upset when I lost his phaser and then Spock. All before age 7. Oh well. We'll always have Paris or karaoke. Watch and weep with laughter.


Courtesy of YouTube.com

See you at the show tomorrow. "Haaa! I don't give a daaaaammn!" Go, Spock, it's your birthday!
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Earth Day in NorCal [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
we've had a most relaxing weekend and a great time here at Free Heart. Our Earth Day performance last night was a lot of fun. We ran through a whole bunch of material and kept the peoples dancing even in a light drizzle. Spirits were not dampened though. It was our first time working without a set list, which was a challenge but really kept us in tune with what the audience was feeling. With when they wanted to keep dancing or bring it down a little. It was very much an all ages crowd, only a few members of the audience knew who we were or our original material. It's satisfying to know that we went over well with such a diverse group. Special thanks to the Rolstons for putting on the event and all of the love we got from the people up here. Thanks for coming to the show. Extra thanks to Jolly Roger for playing on the bill and supplying the sound. You rock!

Set List:
Everyone's Ingenue
Fall Out
Hold On I'm Coming
U Had The $

Everything My Heart Desires
The Word (yes, our Beatles' cover for Liverpool. Now that the video has spoilt the surprise. Ha ha.)
Down By Love
Done Lost My Mind
Miss You
Bad Penny Blues/Gold Digger
Supermodels With Gatling Guns
A Talent For Loving
Love Someone

As the set list wasn't committed to paper, I can't be sure of the order, but this was more or less it. We also had a really productive rehearsal today. We cranked up the machine and revved through the set for Wednesday's show at the Good Hurt. We also ran down our 2nd Beatles' cover twice, dusted off some older material and worked on our new song, Roosevelt's Revue, which will get its debut when we return from the UK. The afternoon was topped off by a very competitive round of bocce ball on the back 40. Congrats, Doug. Ah, country living.

The drive North to Esparto was really beautiful. Parts of it, very green, lush and hilly, reminded me of drives up the Ohio turnpike through Amish country. I half-expected to see a horse and buggy driven by a buttonless man in black. Oh, and everyone... boycott Yahoo Maps. They did us wrong and set us on a one-hundred mile detour. We could have taken the 5 freeway, virtually door-to-door to get here. Instead, they sent us due west for 60 miles to flipping Oakland, y'all. No joke. We stopped in Walnut Creek to get our bearings and realized that Yahoo owes us a tank (about $42) of gas. Then they had us doubling back toward Sacramento. So please, do not rely on Yahoo Maps. Thankfully, we were having a good time in the car and the destination was worth the effort.


Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, April 20, 2006

London Calling

Hey Soul Mates,
big news to announce. Our date in London has been confirmed. We will be storming the stage at the
Bedford, (77 Bedford Hill in southwest London) on Weds. June 7, showtime is 9 pm. More details to follow. Visit their website and check out the venue. It's a gorgeous house.

This will be a spectacular opportunity to cap our run of dates with a slamming show in the Capital city. Make your plans to be there. It's before the World Cup starts so all you footie fans can make it without having to set the TiVo. Shoot, it's before Wimbledon, too, so Doug will be there.

How's this? One of our promoters in the UK describes what we do as "Californian Sunshine Funk." I like it.

Got my hair did by our girl Monica tonight. Bry got his locks tamed last night. We both get puffy hair going when we aren't careful. Now we'll look really clean for our shows in Cali Saturday and Wednesday.

Have a great Friday everyone.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Meeting People Is Easy

Hey Soul Mates,
I must tell you I'm really looking forward to meeting all of our new Mates in the UK. So many fresh faces have joined us via MySpace. Too cool. Thanks for all the comments and wit. We're closing in on a month until our departure. There's lots going on.

We've just put the finishing touches on a special tour edition of our EP that has two bonus tracks and brand new artwork. Very stylish. Oh, that reminds me. If you haven't downloaded the free MP3 of Everything My Heart Desires, grab it! On May 1, there will be a brand new free track to download at RHS.com. It will be a scorching live version of
Fall Out.

We're also prepping for our Earth Day concert up north. That will be fun. It will give us a chance to go "casual." Ha Ha. No coats and ties. Hope the fans won't be disappointed.
Back to business.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, April 16, 2006

His Momma Named Him Cassius

**This blog was amended and a portion was added to correct the earlier post. NK, April 17, 2006

Hey Soul Mates,
Up to now my favorite arranger/orchestrator for pop music has been pianist Clare Fischer. He's done brilliant arrangements for Prince, McCartney, The Family, Tony Toni Tone and the Jacksons. Mr. Fischer's stamp is all over the score for Under The Cherry Moon. Sweeping strings and suspended counterpoints. Shoot, do I know what I'm talking about? Not really, it's just the feel. I've often told myself that I wanted Mr. Fischer to do arranging for Rush Hour Soul.

Well, I discovered another very talented arranger, named Cassius Richmond. He's a saxophonist associated with fellow Detroit jazzman James Carter. Richmond did some very lush orchestrations for Carter's disc Gardenias For Lady Day, a tribute to Billie Holiday. His work is very tasteful, yet full of unexpected strokes like Fischer's. Thanks to Bryan for my iTunes gift card, I've downloaded a couple of tracks from the CD and they are spectacular.


The Elusive Cassius Richmond.

I first heard a cut from Gardenias driving around Atlanta with my Dad a couple Christmases ago. It really stood out to my ears and I scribbled down the artist's name. The disc had just been released at the time or was about to be, so I just filed the info into the back of my mind. So this week, I was surfing iTunes and there was (most) of the record. Which brings up my beef with iTunes: license a whole damn album. Not just some of the tracks. Anyway, I've given repeated listenings to Sunset and Where Our Love Has Gone and Richmond's arrangements are breathtaking. Sunset is particularly evocative of a romantic, mid-20th Century that probably never existed. There's something of Gershwin, Bernstein and Strayhorn in his work, yet it has a modern sensibility.

**Credit for the string conducting and some of the arrangements must go to bassist Greg Cohen. Further research pointed me toward Mr. Cohen's contribution to the record. I've gotten several of the tracks and the strings are hot on all of the cuts, regardless of the arranger. Gotta give props to both of these wonderful talents.

There is virtually no info on line about Mr. Richmond and his listed credits are sparse. Mr. Richmond, if you are out there, I'm feeling you. We have some arranging we'd like you to do. Mr. Cohen, if you'll handle the baton...

Of course, the dream is still to hear Mr. Fischer's handiwork with our songs.

Happy Easter.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Heatwave

Hey Soul Mates,
I learn new things everyday. Like that bubblegum-pop singer Barry Blue produced Heatwave's biggest disco-era hits Groove Line, Always & Forever and Boogie Nights. Barry had a minor hit with a song called Dancin' On A Saturday Night that I loved as a kid. And who doesn't like Heatwave?! The singles were impeccable. Their arrangements were quite complex and like my favorite dance act, Chic, they were an actual band. The next "degree of separation?" Heatwave's keyboardist Rod Temperton went on to write huge hits like Rock With You, one of the greatest tracks ever, for Michael Jackson (this I found out about a year ago).

And in case you weren't aware, Heatwave was based in the UK. The two American brothers who sang were stationed in Europe. They put together an international group and got signed in Britain. A multi-culti dance band that stormed the UK? Sounds good to me.

That's rock and roll high school for today. Class dismissed. Now in band news...

We are shy one show in the UK. The Stalls in Harrogate had to cancel their date. We hope that any fans who wanted to see us there will be able to catch our show at either Huddersfield or Barnsley, which seem to be reasonably close. We will still be celebrating Doug's birthday in style, wherever we are on June 1st.

Our London date will finally be confirmed by the end of the month. I know our fans in the City have been waiting for an announcement. We are pretty pleased with the prospect and it should be a tremendous occasion for us. We're gonna bring a heatwave of our own to Londontown.

Stateside fans, you've got a limited number of opportunities remaining to see us before we go. First, we are performing an Earth Day concert up north at Free Heart Farm in Esparto, CA. That will be a fundraiser on Saturday, April 22. Second, we've got a show on Wednesday April 26 at Club Good Hurt. The evite for the April 26 show will be going out tonight. So check your e-mail. Not an official Soul Mate yet? E-mail mailinglist@rushhoursoul.com and get on board the Groove Line. Ha Ha. The results of the polls on our last evite were as such:
City in the UK you'd most like to see RHS perform - London.
British location you want to see RHS photographed at - Abbey Road crosswalk.

I'll check in this weekend. Until then remember, Boogie Nights are always the best in town.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Your Photos Are Ready

Hey Soul Mates,
Pictures from our throwdown at the Gig on Thursday are ready for your viewing pleasure. We got a lot of nice feedback from our fans from the UK and around the States about the webcast of our show. If you haven't seen the video yet, uh-oh. You can try this link: Rush Hour Soul at the Gig. It should open Window Media Player and start the program. No guarantee on how long it will be available through alternatv. We hope to have it available for you to stream again very soon.

Click on the pic below to check out the photos now!


It was a chill day. Went down to Melrose for a while. Didn't find anything interesting this time. Stopped into Amoeba and had to keep myself from buying a fistful of old 45s. Ha Ha. But the picture sleeves make such inexpensive artwork!
Have a peaceful Sunday, y'all.
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, April 07, 2006

Orange You Happy [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
well, as advertised, last night's show was slamming. We were on a really entertaining bill. The Mulhollands were punky and fun. Pillow Of Wrongness rocked and did their thing. And Steel Mullet was hysterical (a 80's hairband tribute act). Of course, we were on fire. The audience really got us pumped. Nice to see all of your faces.

We kicked off the show with a rearrangement of Fall Out, (did you notice?) that Bryan suggested as the curtain was going up. It really made the song even more dynamic. I surprised Bry though, by putting the Beatles' cover into the set. But it went over well once again. Even dedicated it to one of our biggest fans, Rosanna, who loves her some Beatles. Our work on the harmonies for Love Someone really paid off. Doug sounded great during the a cappella break down. Way to go, Dogg.

Watch the show for a limited time for free on streaming video via the GIG's website!

Set List:
Fall Out
Everyone's Ingenue
U Had The $
Everything My Heart Desires
Beatles cover
Sucka

Done Lost My Mind
Love Someone
A Talent For Loving

Thanks to everyone who came to the show. A lot of people hung out to see all of the acts. Each of the bands really appreciates that. We got swamped after the show and my apologies if I didn't get a chance to talk to each of you. It was a really big night for us and their are some huge opportunities on the horizon. I can't wait to share them with you all.

The Gig is a fun place to play. Love that curtain. And the staff are always complimentary. The waitress thanked us for playing and mentioned how much she liked us. And she hears a lot of music. So that was tres cool. It's nice when a venue likes the band and our audience. Thanks, Soul Mates.

Here's a little odd news. An old song I had a hand in is being featured on Las Vegas (NBC, 9 pm tonight, Friday April 7). Check your local listings. The song is called Sinking Stone, from the days that I was in a group called Idle Kings. I co-wrote the lyric, sang the harmonies and played bass on the version you'll hear on the show. I'll be setting the vcr.

Finally, I have to say Happy Birthday to my Mom!! Hippo Birdies. She's sailing through the Panama Canal today with crazy cousin Nan. Not a shock to know my Mother is doing something that far out for her B-day.

All right. I've got lots to do! Updates to the website will be posted shortly. Pictures at 11. Probably tomorrow a.m. Our next show is up North in Esparto on April 22. Our next perf in L.A. will be at Club Good Hurt on April 26. Check your local listings.
Love, Power, Peace

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sacrifice? Fly.

Hey Soul Mates,
ah, the things I do for the love of rock and roll. This is only the 3rd time in 10 years that I won't be attending opening day at Dodger Stadium. Nor did I get my usual seasons seats up top. All part of my self-imposed savings plan for our trip. I'm sure the Mighty Azul will do fine without me. I figure, skip the upperdeck this year: sit in a luxury suite with 39 of you next!

Have a great Monday everyone.
Love, Power, Peace and Nomaaah!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ashes & Snow and a Purple Idol

Hey Soul Mates,
we've got another one! We're booked into the Stalls Bar in Harrogate. It's in North Yorkshire. Coolest thing, it's Doug's Birthday! Lots of celebrating will be going on.

Yesterday, the girls and I went to Santa Monica to see the art installation
Ashes & Snow. It was fantastic. The temporary gallery (Nomadic) was elephantine. Appropriate, because a lot of the photography focused on elephants and animals in their natural habitats. The artist Gregory Colbert also showed several films featuring the same subjects. The show is pretty breathtaking and thought-provoking. It runs till mid-May.

Before we went to the exhibition, we stopped for lunch at Cafe Crepe on 3rd St. Promenade. As we were walking in, M. Night Shyamalan was walking out. Taller than I reckoned. It was the second time in 3 days that I saw a director whose work I enjoy. Thursday, I ran into Harold Ramis ("Caddyshack," "Groundhog Day") Of course, he was Egon in Ghostbusters. Big props to both.

After the beach, we went to see Adam Marsland's Chaos Band in Van Nuys. As we walked in, they were playing a very faithful version of Good Vibrations, until they saw me. They changed to the chorus to "Gotta keep those Norm Kelsey vibrations happenin' with her." Hilarious. What a versatile group. I also got a copy of their "70's Soul" boot. Lots of fun music.

OK, here's some wild news if it's true. Following in the footsteps of Stevie Wonder & Barry Manilow, Universal has enticed Prince into appearing on American Idol to promote his new record. Much like Shakira's promotional shot last week. If Prince is on AI, he'll smash some of their viewing records. This man hasn't been on a major network in primetime since the Grammy awards last year. And frankly, AI has a larger viewership. Think Prince won't stay at #1 on the Billboard charts? Ha Ha. 3121!

Time to get the day started. Daylight savings time in da house.
Love, Power, Peace