Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Weekend Of Thanks

Hey Soul Mates,
I hope that everyone had a nice extended Thanksgiving weekend. Ours was good. Bryan and I actually spent much of Thursday working on new material. Sitting outside playing guitars. Going through demos. Adding tracks to the harddrive. It was good to be productive. Our goal is to play at least one new song at our year-ending show on Dec. 13.

Friday, we went down to the Gig to check out the hip-hop/funk act, Ghost. We are aiming to play with them at the Gig in February. They do a really nice set that keeps the crowd dancing. And on a Friday night, that's cool by us. Their audience was a nice mix of folks all of whom were into what the band was laying down.

Yesterday, I finally got fed up with my hair. My regular stylist wasn't available, so I decided to go into the place across the way. It was closing time, but I rapped on the door and the barber, Alex, let me in. Called the Modern Barber Shop, it was anything but "modern." Alex, himself in his 50s, told me that the place had been there for more than 40 years (the wood paneling is at least 25 years old, ha ha) and that the owner has been cutting heads in the shop the whole time.

The local color arrived halfway through my haircut: a middle aged fellow named Sam, who regaled us with stories about working in the photo lab at MGM back in Sinatra's day. He ran through a dozen old Catskills' era jokes that killed, too. I think I'll have to become a regular there, just to see who shows up.











So here I is, in my shorthaired glory after an evening on the town.

The holiday season is definitely upon us. I'm certainly thankful for all of the wonderful things that have happened so far this year. December is shaping up nicely, too. Soul Mates, be on the watch for your Evite for the show on 12/13.

Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

Hey Soul Mates,
There is so much to be thankful for this year.

First off, let me give thanks for you gentle readers who care to scan my ramblings here. It's gratifying to get feedback from you. Or to simply know that you are keeping up with RHS and myself.

I'm extraordinarily thankful for my family. Couldn't do all this stuff without your support and love! I'll try to talk to as many of you as possible tomorrow. Friends, you too are vital to what we are doing. Some friends are older than others, or ha ha, have been around us longer, but we love you equally.

I'm thankful for my influences. Especially, those I've gotten to see perform in person this year. Including ABC, Bob Dylan and just tonight the Rolling Stones. The Stones' midset performance piece Midnight Rambler was particularly inspiring.

Finally, I'm thankful for my bandmates. We've made this a banner year in our musical career. Here's believing that the best is yet to come. It's been a tremendous 12 months. Lots of shows, traveling and plenty of adventures. Just the way I like it.

I hope that your Thanksgivings are filled with love, reflective times and lots of good food. Me, I'm up late cooking greens for tomorrow. Time to stir the pot.

See you all in the coming weeks at shows, during holidays, etc.
Love, Power, Peace and save me some cranberry sauce.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Shows! Shows! Shows!

Hey Soul mates,
it's the info that you've been waiting for a raft of shows from your friends at Rush Hour Soul. We're booked into the New Year and '07 is going to be even bigger than '06. And this year has been pretty dang huge for us.

Mark your calendars, Party People, here are the dates.

Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Gig Hollywood. 7302 Melrose Ave. L.A.
RHS hit the Gig for the final show of the year. Start your holiday season right. Get on down with RHS and a night of sweet soul music. Our set starts at 8:30 PM sharp! 21 and up. Cover is $7, but if you write to us (first and last name) we'll put you on the discount list for $5 cover. There will be an evite for Soul Mates to RSVP on, as well as discount flyers.

Friday, Jan. 12 at the Good Hurt. 12249 Venice Blvd. Venice.
Aw, yeah! Friday night at the Good Hurt, with the naughty nurses and Rush Hour Soul. The perfect combination to ring in the year properly. 9 pm showtime. 21 and up. Cover tba.

Friday, Feb 23 at the Gig Hollywood. 7302 Melrose Ave. L.A.
With Ghost and other funky folks. 21 and up. Showtime and cover tba.

There you have it. Press that shirt. Shine those shoes. Get that appointment to get your hair did.
Have a great Holiday week. I'll try to check in between now and Thanksgiving.
Love, Power, Peace

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bond Is Back

***No spoilers really, but if you want to be truly surprised, wait 'til you've seen the movie to read this.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
the real James Bond stood up tonight. Wow. Rock'em, Sock 'em. And he can actually act. Daniel Craig comes out guns a-blazing and doesn't look back. Neither does the Bond franchise. In my opinion, Casino Royale ranks with Goldfinger, From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service as one of the best Bond's ever. It is that good. From the monochromatic opening to the hyper-technicolor title sequence to the 10 minute "free-running" chase through Madagascar. Much of it has to be seen to be believed. It's got all of the exotic locales you expect; Italy's Lake Como especially looks like an Elysian dream. There are the dynamic fights, life-saving gadgets and a few good quips (though they went very easy on the one-liners). All the proper ingredients for a James Bond movie.

The real revelation is Craig, who actually looks like he could kick anyone's ass and do all the running and tumbling he does. Unlike the other 007's, you would absolutely not want to be on the wrong side of him. Connery of course, is the "original," but just as with Batman Begins last year, and Superman Returns this summer, Casino Royale works hard to establish the new actor as the character in his own right. And it certainly succeeds. Craig will make you forget you ever saw Pierce Brosnan as Bond, let alone Tim Dalton. And his Jimmy Bond would beat the crap out of Roger Moore. I haven't been this excited about a Bond film since the first time I got to stay up late to watch Goldfinger on TV.

For those familiar with the movies, some fine friendly faces show up along the way. Dame Judi Dench as M and Bond newcomer, Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Eva Green actually helps ratchet up the Bond Girl quotient as Vesper with real acting chops. But this is Daniel Craig's show all the way. He makes the World Tournament of Poker look as downright geriatric as it is. His gaming showdown (and gamesmanship) with the villain, Le Chiffre (Dane Mads Mikkelsen), is as tense as the action sequences.

Among the high-octane highlights is a wonderful Miami International based scene that is an obvious homage to first Bullitt, then Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which both owe much to the Bond franchise. And what fan of the series wouldn't love the final set piece in a crumbling Venetian palazzo or for that matter the last line of the film. Stupendous. I cheered through much of it and did my annoying "loud" applause as the film faded to black. I can't wait to see it again. I can't wait to see what Mr. Craig's Bond does next. And when they need a new theme song, we'll be around to provide it.

In band news, I will post the upcoming show dates in the a.m. Time for bed.

Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A New Voice: Tania Moran

Hey Soul Mates,
there's a new voice that I encourage you to check out. She's from Australia, so there are some obvious comparisons to previous pop idols from down under. But
Tania Moran is the real deal. Her new CD, Sanctity, drops this month. It's already up on iTunes Australia. Some of our friends and fans already know her. If not: Listen up. Tania's voice is simply stunning. This is a major star in the making. She's the new Olivia Newton-John for the 21st Century. But even that's putting it too simply. Tania is not just another angel faced pop star (although, she meets that criteria), she writes her own material and plays keys on her recordings. You can hear ON-J and Kylie Minogue in her vocals, but you'll also recognize the atmosphere of Seal and Sade in the production, which helps give it her own flavor. I've listened to her tracks on the web many times, I particularly dig "Changes," and I can't wait to hear the whole CD. Expect to hear her songs everywhere in 2007!

[That reminds me, I need to compile my rundown of the best of '06 for this here blog in a week or two. Gotta wait to hear what Hova brings this month.]

This is the beauty of the internet and some folks in the music community understand that you've got to support your peers and shout about it when you hear someone you like. Represent! Gone wit your bad self, Tania.

In Rush Hour Soul news, we are going to announce a mess of new show dates. Watch this space, true believers.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Clarification

I am aware that typically only hardcore Soul Mates and family (I know you love us and what we do) read my blogs. Tonight I have one for the ages. After speaking with Doug and Bryan by phone, I can simply tell you that I am fed up. The band is. Apparently, we are too polished and professional for our own good. This is the truth about Rush Hour Soul.

We have never been signed to a record label. We've never even been approached by one. If you own any of our CDs you might have noticed something called Mighty Ohio Music. That is the name of my (d/b/a) publishing company. That is our own imprint. No backing or money behind it. No clout. No distribution other than the grace of CDBaby.

We have never gotten a legit review. Not one single notice about a live show, the EP, our music video. Nada. Zip. No ink. No love, no hate. No recognition.

We have never had a manager. One sniffed close enough to know we are stars, but couldn't hack it. No representation of any sort has ever been a part of the RHS business model. The one lawyer we thought we knew has ignored us completely. So much for family friends.

Worst thing is, these people can't even tell us "no." Is that asking too much? They won't communicate at all. We've sent out lots of presskits, CDs and now, DVDs with all of our videos. To no avail. Very frustrating. We know the music is great, we know the live show is a popular entertainment here in Los Angeles and abroad. We want to be signed to a record deal. We want to be managed and represented. We want to be a global phenomenon. But frankly, we would rather be told to retire, than to be ignored wholesale. And that's what's going on.

Even after our music video, after all the shows, after our tour of England... this is still a Do-It-Yourself operation. Booking. Us. Management. Us. Website. Us. Promotion. Us. Publicity. Us. Finance. Us. If it says "Rush Hour Soul," we are doing it our own damn selves. Don't be fooled by how pretty we look on the web or on stage. We are in the wilderness.

The amount of time, energy, resources and money we've put into RHS this past year would make your head spin. It does mine. And we don't even get to rehearse. Doug lives so far away that we only rehearse the night before a show. You've seen how slamming the show is. The logistics for the band are a killer. We certainly don't get paid when we play around L.A. But we do it for the love of performing for our most ardent fans and because we love the music. Nobody else will play our songs, so we need to do it. Or do we?

Have we done as much as we can, but it wasn't enough? Somebody please tell me. While we are young. This is what I mean by "we look too pro." Casual onlookers think we are already signed and on the cusp of releasing an album, etc. What a wonderful perception, but it's 100% inaccurate. When we book a show, it's because I've hustled. When we get studio time, it's because Bryan hustled. When we get a new cover song together, it's because Doug hustled.

I've learned a lot in the past decade about being in a band. Playing. Writing. Performing. Booking. Publishing. Recording. Releasing songs. Image. Touring. Maybe I know too much? Make it look like we don't know what we're doing. Amateurs. Then we'd get signed. Play crap music and wear crap clothing. Cover of a magazine.

We got one gift this year (recording in Wales), but it was the product of a whole bunch of other very hard work and sacrifice. I feel thankful for it, but it was still a tooth-pull of Herculean proportion. It became a classic struggle to get the song edited and finished from 5000 miles away after months of dealing with someone else's nervous breakdown. And the band plays on. Because we are professionals.

Some are going to say this rant ain't cool or doesn't reflect a professional attitude. "F" it. The band agrees on all of this. We are tired of flakes. We are tired of people getting jazzed about helping us, then 24 hours later forgetting what they said. We are tired of being ignored.

So what next for Rush Hour Soul? I thought the trip to the UK would be our denouement. That was February. Here it's November and the fruits of our labor have given way to the same old bullshit. We go blindly on: booking one show a month, sending out CDs and DVDs, spending money on gear and flyers, hoping the right person is going to sign us at a moment's notice.

There's nothing I enjoy more than performing our songs for you. I can't imagine anything as gratifying. But perhaps I made a major miscalculation somewhere along the way. The choice is clear: keep on pushing or call it a career.

Stay tuned to find out what we've chosen.
Love, Power, Peace

Last Chance to Vote For Rush Hour Soul In YouTube Contest

Hey Soul Mates,
only 2 days left to vote (voting ends on Nov. 17, 2006) for your Rush Hour Soul in YouTube's Underground Music Video contest. We have three videos up in three different categories. Here are the links to each of our nominated videos:
A Talent For Loving (Over 2100 views, wawawowee!)
From L.A. With Love (Our EPK/tour doc, with over 1100 views)
Fall Out (Live at the Cavern, with almost 1000 views)

You can only vote for each video once, but please be sure to do at least that. Thanks for your support! RHS is going Mega in '07 and it starts with you, here.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Borat and Pirates: Cultural Booty

Jagshemash, Soul Mates!
Last night, we had an L.A. adventure. Spent the evening in a part of town that is not usually on my radar. Los Feliz!

First, it was moviefilm times at the Vista on Sunset. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Kazakhstan was the feature. It was preceded by a Pink Panther short, "Pinto Pink." I can't remember the last time I saw a cartoon in front of an R rated movie, if ever. Haven't seen the Pink Panther in years, period. The Vista is a beautiful, small (one-screen) theater, done up in a faux Egyptian motif. Lots of leg room in all of the aisles. Plus, a curtain that covers the screen until showtime.
Borat was simply hysterical. I will tell you nothing about the film except to say: wrestling. Oh, but it made me miss Tom Green. Where's your movie at, Tom? One of the nicest things about the Vista was it's inexpensive ticket price: $8 American for an adult at night. Wow, that's the cost of an adult ticket for most matinees around town. And the Vista's popcorn rocks (and I would know)!

Borat: A-Pluses for gradings moviefilm! It's nice.

After the movie, it was up Vermont to the Electric Lotus for some very nice curry. After all, curries are being proven to prolong your smarts and brain power. Sounds good to me. The ambiance of the Electric Lotus messed with my depth perception, but it was still cool. The clientele seemed to be Silverlake hipster types for the most part along with L.A.'s resident younger Indian crowd. An interesting mix. I must recommend the cheese & olive naan to anyone who goes.

Tonight, I was thrilled at the bookstore. My reading is usually nonfiction: autobiographies, biographies, interviews, histories, pamphlets, cereal box sides. But tonight, right there on the first table, like it was waiting for me was the latest installment in
Gideon DeFoe's Pirates! series. I'm pretty sure they aren't nonfiction. I hope so anyway.

I don't bother with those Caribbean pirates. DeFoe's are much more amusing and this time they are in an adventure with
Communists! Sure to be fun for the entire proletariat. It's helpful for me that DeFoe's volumes are short so I can actually finish a novel. See? He entertains and makes me feel good about myself. That's an artiste or at least an opportunist. I pray that his books are never turned into movies.

Have a great week everyone. We hope to announce our next show date this week.
Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day 2006

VOTE!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Jim Brown: G.O.A.T.

Yesterday, I met the Greatest of All-Time in his profession. It's not everyday that you see one, let alone get to interact. Of course, the encounter is nerve-wracking for the fan and probably tedious for the G.O.A.T.

Thanks to my friend Steve, we got to visit the field prior my hometown
Cleveland Browns' matchup against the Chargers in San Diego. I had hope to see some of the old new Browns and get some pictures. I also had a small bag with a couple of mini helmets inside it and figured, these guys wouldn't mind that someone actually cared for their autographs. As we walked around the sideline, I sized up my options. Not a lot of players on the field yet. And it was hot. Probably around 95 and I had on a jacket to cover up my vintage Brian Sipe jersey.

Lo and behold, who do I see holding court at the far end but the Greatest football player... Ever:
Jim Brown. A true legend. The man whole holds a record book full of milestones. Star of the silverscreen. Community activist. The best player to ever wear a Browns uniform (or the uniform of any Cleveland team in any sport). Brown is arguably one of the 5 best American athletes of the 20th Century, along with Ali, Jordan, Thorpe & Owens.

We all get older, and Mr. Brown moves slower (no more cutting around the right end or plowing past a nose tackle), but it's still Jim Brown larger than life. Oh, and I was nervous as hell from the minute I saw him. I decided that the best thing to do would be to hang back and just snap a picture, maybe ask to be in one with him. But then, some staffers crept up with footballs and paint pens. That was my break. I turned to Steve and said, if I meet him and I'm thrown out or arrested as a result, I won't care.

I jumped behind the crew with helmet and sharpie in hand. They apparently weren't supposed to be asking Mr. Brown for anything and he told them as much. I held my ground and asked him for one last autograph and after a quick glower he took the helmet and pen. Then I actually had a brief exchange with him. What I said? I have no clue, it all came out in stupid fan speak, half-finished sentences and mumbles. But dang it, I met Jim Brown! With photos and an autographed helmet on my desk to prove it. Thanks, Mr. Brown.





And Mr. Brown if you were worried that I was behaving inappropriately or that I would sell my helmet? First, my apologies; second hell, no! To paraphrase Charlton Heston, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. Anyway, I must have shook for the next 10 minutes while we walked around the rest of the field. Other autographs could wait till next year.

The
game itself was fun. Our seats were 5 rows from the field behind the Browns' bench. I'll have to watch the video tape to see if we made it onto TV. Cleveland actually kept it close until the 4th quarter. Kicker Phil Dawson set a team record with 6 field goals. Lots of odd calls and penalties against the home team and a half-time lead for the Browns made it worthwhile for me.

Oh, and I met Jim Brown. Greatest of All Time.

Love, Power, Peace

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rush Hour Soul's Thriller At The Gig [Show Recap]

Hey Soul Mates,
thanks to everyone who made it out to our show last night. It was blazing. Literarily. The stage was so hot, we each lost 15 pounds performing. The Gig was packed with the hottest clientele in Los Angeles.

Our set was preceded by a screening of our video, A Talent For Loving. As the curtain rose we launched into a blistering version of Fall Out. Bryan and I rocking the S-curls, Doug twirling his sticks. Yow! But no jumping tonight. Oh, that hip.

Mostly a fast-paced set, we slowed only once to perform our ballad Done Lost My Mind, which was dedicated to the lovely Mrs. Soontaree Simms. A truly joyful moment. The highlight for many was the unexpected cover song we performed at the end of the set. I won't tell you what we did, although there is a clue in this blog title, you'll just have to watch the free
webcast from the Gig up now! You will see how hot it was on stage.

Set list:
Fall Out
U Had The $
Done Lost My Mind (for Soontaree)
Down By Love
I Can't Cry For You
A Talent For Loving
Surprise Cover (debut)
This is a song I've wanted to perform live my entire life. I think we did it justice.

The Gig is such a wonderful place to play. Great staff and great sound. We hope you all enjoyed the show and that you'll continue to enjoy it via the webcast.

Have a great Friday all.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rush Hour Soul Apparently In YouTube Contest

Hey Soul Mates,
we ask you to visit our
YouTube page and vote for us in their Underground Video contest. Due to snafu's turns out we're actually in it. And in it to win it! So pass this message along to your friends.

There are three RHS videos you can vote for (but only once per video)
"A Talent For Loving," "From L.A. With Love," & "Fall Out (Live)." Visit each video and look for the Underground icon to the right of the screen. Then vote for Rush Hour Soul

See you tomorrow night at the Gig for some funtastic musical happenings.
Love, Power, Peace