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Top 10 albums of 2004 #1

Hey Soul Mates, it's a tie of sorts: #1 The Black Album ... Jay-Z; The Grey Album ... DJ Dangermouse. Both of these discs feature vocals by Jay-Z. One features work by the cream of hip-hop producers from Rick Rubin, Timbaland, Eminem, Kanye West, the Neptunes, etc. The other features instrumentation by four guys named John, Paul, George & Ringo. Swansongs aren't usually this focused or cohesive, but like Jordan's first retirement, we've already heard from Jay-Z since this record dropped. What's extraordinary is the dual nature of this pick. I read about the Grey Album and heard it prior to hearing the Black Album. It gave me a better appreciation of Jay-Z. I immediately ran out and bought the Black Album. Of course, the Grey Album doesn't really exist. DJ Dangermouse, as an exercise in production, sampled, looped and mashed the Beatles' White Album with Jay-Z's crooklyn flow. Thus White + Black = Grey. The Grey Album is not superior to the Blac

Top 10 albums of 2004 #2

Hey Soul Mates, #2 Think Tank ... Blur. This CD came out sometime in mid-2003, but it got lost in the shuffle. I didn't discover it until January and this is from one of my favorite bands. Think Tank is certainly the most difficult CD on my list. It takes several listens to get through the experimental layers and instrumentation. Pop albums usually don't employ Moroccan musicians or bedspring percussion. This is also the worst reviewed pick on my list and the one I figure the fewest of you have heard. Hypnotic is the single word I'd use to describe Think Tank. The opening chant "I ain't got nothing to be scared of" from Ambulance signals lead singer Damon Albarn's m.o. As long as he has love and the ear of his listeners he's ready for the journey ahead. Formerly a quartet, Blur abruptly became a trio during recording Think Tank. Times of transition are often turbulent, I know. The result is a moody album that got me through a very moody period. T

Tuesday Morning Thoughts

Hey Soul Mates, it's a very rainy day here in L.A. I'm battling a cold. Day 2. Not the flu, mind you. I hope you all are doing well. Only a few days left in 2004. I'll be glad to see 2005. This is going to be a big year for all of us in RHS and those of you who have supported us. We plan to get out of town for some shows/festivals/music conferences, etc . There are recording dates with Richard Bosworth. Lots to look forward to. I still have 2 more records to rank in my top 10. I will try to post #2 tonight. Ah, suspense. Off into the squall. Love, Power, Peace p.s. Send some good energy to SE Asia. That tsunami was no joke.

Top 10 albums of 2004 #3

Hey Soul Mates, we have come to #3 How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb ... U2. Like a fine wine, or a tired cliche, this band keeps making great music. Their first effort after 9/11, Atomic is a mid-tempo meditation on growing older and growing up. The opening rave-up Vertigo is a bit of false advertising. Vertigo is a brilliant, swirling bit of arena-sized madness which starts with Bono counting in Spaniguese "One, Two, Three, Fourteen!" The recording is what I consider a perfect single. In less than 3 minutes, U2 jump in, shout their piece, shred through a guitar riff and spit you out the other end. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah." Once again, U2 manage to capture the spirit of the moment. After that the disc smolders and sears into the brain. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own carries on the tradition of U2's longer than necessary song titles. But as usual, Sometimes is an effective ballad Bono wrote as a memorial to his father. Midtempo songs like Man a

Top 10 albums of 2004 #4

Hey Soul Mates, #4 Kish Kash... Basement Jaxx. I haven't been so attached to a dance album in years. Kish Kash is represents all that is right in the world of dance. The Basement Jaxx had the taste to bring guest singers on board and wring awesome performances from them. Based on his appearance on Kish Kash alone, I bought JC Chasez's solo debut (which flopped). But Plug It In, is one of the hottest tracks I heard in 2004. JC proved that with the right material and production he shines. Every time I hear Plug It In, it reminds me how indebted most artists are to classic Michael and how much promise JC has. The album is crammed with the Basement Jaxx's hyper-hydraulic beats and usually female vocals from the likes of Siouxie Sioux, who rips through Cish Cash like a banshee. Kish Kash opens with the grammy nominated Good Luck and Right Here's The Spot (with MeShell N'dgeocello). MeShell also appears on the album's paisely electronica closer Feels Like Home

Top 10 albums of 2004 #5

Hey Soul Mates, #5 Musicology... Prince. The hottest live performance of the year was accompanied by the release of my #5 disc, Prince's Musicology. The shows on the Musicology tour were a tour-de-force. The album is brilliant too. It starts off with the old school blast Musicology where Prince name checks Earth, Wind & Fire, James & Sly. It's the funkiest groove of the year. But this record ain't a party all the way through. Two ballads, the arena rocking A Million Days and sultry Call My Name, balance the funk of Life of the Party with its Diwali breakdown and hilarious story of Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance. Prince hits pop paydirt with Cinnamon Girl. Not the Neil Young song, this is a meditation on the life of a middle eastern kid driven to action in the post-9/11 world. The controversial video features Keisha Castle-Hughes from Whale Rider as the title character. Musicology is not a comeback. Prince has been releasing album after album the la

Dr. King

Hey Soul Mates, I'm in Atlanta visiting my Dad and brother for the holidays. Hotlanta is frigid. It was about 27 degrees outside. Still we made the trek downtown to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Historical Center. For those of you who have never been, it's quite moving. Dr. King was born in 1929 on Auburn street and the house he was born in is still there. Then down the street is the old Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached. And inbetween is his memorial. Dr. King's tomb is in a reflecting pool and even though it was arctic cold the sun blazed down upon it. There's also an eternal flame adjacent. I reflected on what Dr. King's accomplishments mean to me (what all of the civil right's movements participants did, frankly) . His message of love and nonviolence is as important now as it was in his lifetime. There are only a few non-musicians that loom as largely as Dr. King as an influence on me. Another major one is Jackie Robinson. Both of them passed be

TOP 10 of 2004

Hey Soul Mates, here you go. These titles get my whole-hearted endorsement. You will be entertained, moved or energized by these albums. Each one is worth the price of admission. It's very hard to rank them beyond the top choice; any given day #8 could be #4, etc. I will devote entire blog entries to the top 5. The "bottom 5" of the top ten are: #10: To The 5 Boroughs ... The Beastie Boys. This is a return to form with An Open Letter To NYC as the wonderous centerpiece. Ch-ch-ch-check it out. #9. This Is Not A Test... Missy Elliot. Missy brings some wicked beats with Timbaland. A straight up danceable disc featuring Pass That Dutch and some hysterical raps in Toyz and Let Me Fix My Weave. I never would have guessed I would enjoy Missy E so much. #8. College Dropout ... Kanye West. If this were a vinyl album, it would be all about side one with All Falls Down and the rap reverie Spaceship. Plus, Kanye's got the funniest skits on record this year: "Gonn

Happy Holidays from Rush Hour Soul

Hey Soul Mates, it's the holiday season and what better way to celebrate than to give out gifts. You will find our presents to you on the News page of our website. Follow the link above. Once you get there, look for the big box with the ribbon and open it up! We have posted two very special performance videos from our last 2 shows. We hope you will enjoy them in the spirit of the season. They are streaming videos and only require you to click the song title. My next post will be the first half of my top 10 for 2004. I promise. It's been a busy day on the website. Love, Power, Peace.

Rock Hall Class of '05

Hey Soul Mates, we figured it would be a no-brainer that U2 would make it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; but how could the voters leave out Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five once they had been nominated. All along, I had thought that Run-DMC would be the first real hip-hop act inducted, but when GMF&F5 were named on the ballot, it felt like we'd see Melle Mel at the ceremony. Too bad. I'm kind of curious about the other inductees. The O'Jays are a clear choice (except they weren't announced in the press as being up for the honor, so surprise there). But I'm not certain that the Pretenders are more important than GMF. I love Chrissie Hynde and she deserves the honor, but not necessarily in the context of her group. Percy Slegde and Buddy Guy are well-deserving. They all are, frankly. The concert/induction ceremony should be a lot of fun next year. Much like this year, where Prince wowed the crowd with a contemporary show, U2 will be using the sho

Top 10 of 2004 (intro)

Hey Soul Mates, it's holiday season and the end of the year, you know what that means... Lists. So, over the next few weeks, I will be posting my Top 10 CDs of 2004. Sadly, the number 2 disc on the list has been hurt by a bad experience with the artist this week and has been dropped out of the Top 10. Still a great album, but sometimes you have to be principled. The number 1 disc is a two-parter, one spurring on the other. There is a major comeback for one entry. I've been waiting to hear the disc for over a year since hearing the group debut songs from the CD in 2003. So, stay tuned and have a great Saturday. Oh yeah, in Rush Hour Soul news, stickers are on the way. After a Bat Country sticker showed up in a photo in the New York Times Magazine in November, we had to do a "rush" order. Love, Power, Peace.

Working Class Hero Is Something To Be

Hey Soul Mates, hard to believe it's been 24 long years since we lost Johnny Ono aka Sir Winston O'Boogie. My music listening today began with A Hard Day's Night. I nearly cried singing along with Tell Me Why. That song has always been a favorite and one my first band played. It made me realize how much influence JOL had on my musical career. I can remember going to the Heights Public Library as a 7 year old and checking out A Hard Day's Night on vinyl. The worn, red covered American issue featured many hits and some instrumentals but it was Tell Me Why and the title track that made me dance about the living room. That first band I was in adored the Beatles. More that half our set would be their tunes or songs they covered. Any garage performer worth their salt wanted to be a Beatle once. After that I listened to Lennon Legend. I transported myself to a time when the later singles were new and those days before Johnny was gone. No one could have guessed. I think if

Phew. The video is finally on-line.

Hey Soul Mates, the Rush Hour Soul video for "Excommunication" is finally on-line. Visit our website and check it out. There are 3 types of video files to choose from. There are 2 to download: Real Media and Mpeg for Windows. And one to watch as a streaming video for Broadband. The streaming video is the closest in visual fidelity to the actual video, but it requires DSL/Cable or faster connection. Don't try it with dial-up unless you've got lots of time. The downloads should take around 3 minutes for DSL, the stream takes about 4 or 5 to register. But it is worth it! There is also a hidden link on the info page to some stills on the old Magnavox. I will be posting pictures from our show at the Gig in a little while. I have to take a break from the computer. Maybe even eat! Love, Power, Peace

A Night In The Life...

Hey Soul Mates, it's been a busy 24 hours. I've spent most of the day working on the website. The music video is almost ready to post. There was lots of work to be done on the presentation. The video itself was compressed and re-constituted by our good friend, Dr. Rahuna. It looks great and is a different version from the one on the Commondeer site. This is the RHS cut. Earlier this evening, we went to a new place called Good Microbrewery in Silverlake to see our friends, Ricky Tubb & Tom Richards from the Waking Hours do an acoustic set. It's a nice space and the sound is appropriate. This time last night, I was at Ricky's for a gathering of musicians, friends and folks. Really good people. It's always a bonus to network and meet people that share common interests and goals. In this case, music. At one point we had a bit of a hootenany going on in one of the bedrooms with a small audience. Ricky & Tom, and Taylor Locke (lead guitarist for Rooney ) and I

After the show, it's the afterparty...

"Gather 'round children, gotta story to tell. Once upon a time Rhythm and Blues had a baby and they named it Rock & Roll. Well, tonight the prodigal child has come home and he sounds like this..." -Me, Dec. 1, 2004 Hey Soul Mates, last night's show was a hit! There were over 125 people at the Gig and most were there to see Rush Hour Soul. The night began with a screening of our video for Excommunication, which continues to get raves from our fans. Then we launched into Fall Out as the curtain rose. The set was Fall Out/The Isolation/Everyone's Ingenue/Done Lost My Mind/Excommunication/Hold On, I'm A Comin'/Sucka/Love Someone. The audience was great. I love it when they crowd toward the stage and start dancing. That gets us fired up. For once, my bass went horribly out of tune (during Ingenue), but after that it was smooth playing. The mix was good enough to bring out our a cappella vamps on Ingenue, Love Someone and Done Lost My Mind. I had

Showtime

Hey Soul Mates, well here we are: 3 hours 'til showtime. Things are getting exciting. Here's the latest. 2 of the band have the flu. Doug & Dennis are zombies. At least Dennis is on the upswing. Doug however is going to battle through tonight! The merchandise will be hot off the press. In about half an hour I will go to pick up the new shirts. It was touch and go, knock on wood, but we should have Tees galore. Gotta print up the set lists and then shower, shave, dress and primp. Gotta be clean. Love, Power, Peace!

Back from Staples

Hey Soul Mates, many of you know of my love for Cleveland's sports teams. Actually traveling to see the Browns and the Cavs and wearing all sorts of uniforms, caps and junk. Tonight, we went to Staples Center to watch the Cavs lose to the Clippers. Normally, the Clips are pathetic, but tonight they shot very well from the floor. Not the Cavaliers. Ugh. Too many jump (or rather standing) shots from 12 feet out by DeSagana Diop and Robert Traylor did the team in. LeBron never got going, neither did Drew Gooden, so the game was a wash from the opening tip. Only after the half did the Cavs light up the scoreboard. They tied it at the top of the 4th, then let it slide away. The highlight was a series of steals by LeBron that got them close. Maybe you saw me on TV. I, of course, was in my #7 Cavs jersey and cap. Didn't get harassed, though. The Clipper fans or what passed for fans don't really care. More people were sporting LeBron jerseys than all Clipper apparel combined.

A Day In The Life

Hey Soul Mates, it's been a busy Sunday for me. How about you? Get some time to relax? I hope so. What have I been up to? Pushing. You know. Today, I signed the group up with IFanz.com and Sonicbids. What are they? Marketing tools at best, a few bucks gone at worst. IFanz will take over our fan club information gathering. Hopefully it will allow us to better communicate with our fans. Too many people have their spam filters set so high that our e-vites and e-flyers wind up in the trash. Even Dennis has this problem with inter-band e-mails. We want you to know what we are up to and when we are playing. Sonicbids is an online service that will allow us to send EPKs (electronic press kits to festivals, showcases and the like). You can check out our EPK by clicking the link on our news page or on our link page. It will let you check out a short bio, pictures and songs. Then today when I was out walking, I bought a new journal for lyric writing. I'm used to tons of scraps of p

Thankful & Thoughtful

Hey Soul Mates, we want to wish you and your families a very Happy & safe Thanksgiving. We have so many things to be thankful for, and it starts with you. The people who care about our music. It's rewarding and fun to create new songs and polish the older material. But it wouldn't be nearly as exciting without such a receptive and enthusiastic audience. The band is thankful to have each other, too. We are having a blast playing together and we hope that it shows. If you eat too much turkey, come down to the show next week. We'll help you shed that. Shake it! Love, Power, Peace

Ol' Dirty. Too young to die, Too weird to live.

Hey Soul Mates, just heard that one of my favorite contemporaries passed away last week. (Where was I?) Ol' Dirty Bastard is a singular, stupid talent. His album "N***a Please" still ranks in my 20 favorite albums of all time. He was everything wrong with rock and rap. Everything that was excessive and dumb. But it was glorious to hear that kind of unapologetic stupidity in music. He was most effectively produced by RZA or the Neptunes, whose sparse & exotic beats gave ODB or Big Baby Jesus or Osirus or Dirt McGirt, whoever he was that week, the space to flail about vocally. Lyrically, tho' he spoke about real dis-ease. Mental illness. Drug addiction. Humorously. If you listened casually, he sounded like Richard Pryor doing a shrewd impersonation of the world's most idiotic entertainer and what he might rap about. The fact that Russell Jones lived that character is not unlike Elvis Presley being "Elvis." It is a testament to his commitment to

Back On The Air

Hey Soul Mates, it's been a week or two but the blogger is back. Things here are cooking as we prepare for our official debut as Rush Hour Soul. The show, again, is at the Gig, 7302 Melrose Ave in Hollywood on Weds. Dec 1. Hope to see you there. We are putting together some new material and polishing the act. Gotta get myself ready for rehearsal, ya'll get ready to have a great weekend. Love, Power, Peace.

Video Premiere

Hey Soul Mates, Ah, an antidote to the recent madness. Thanks to everyone who appeared in our video and everyone who turned out for our world video premiere for "Excommunication." The party, held at Wizards on Universal Citywalk, and the surprise performance were a complete success. It was thrilling to introduce the participants and the video. Seeing it on a real movie screen was a great experience for everyone. After the video was done, the screen rose up to reveal Rush Hour Soul launching into "The Isolation." We played a short set including: Fall Out, Everyone's Ingenue, Sucka and Excommunication. So cool to see people (including the RHS cheerleaders) dancing and performing the Excomm choreography. Many of the cast attended with three notable absences: Dave Portner, Vero Cardenas and Tristan Cortes. We missed you. Special thanks go to the Citywalk sales crew: Erick Long, Patty Tokahuta, Toby Fulp & JD Brown. They really put in overtime to make the

Lookin' Good, Good Lookin'

Hey Soul Mates, yesterday the band was very productive. We had our first photo shoot under the lens of Jason Rose. It was a beautiful day for pictures. The sun was bright and the air was pretty clear. The only trouble we had was with the Santa Ana winds. They kicked up pretty well in one location we used. The major locale was the Metro station at Universal City. There's some neat architectural touches over there. We didn't get hassled by the police, but a cruiser pulled up onto the sidewalk behind us as we did some head shots. Since it was Halloween, we didn't stick out too much. We also took some pictures on the 101 overpass. Everybody cleaned up nicely. Dennis however has this thing where he goes from hobo chic to looking like Bono. Kinda unique. Doug looked fresh in his double breasted eggplant jacket. Bryan was sporting black and charcoal. And I did black on deep red. Since Jason shot on digital we were able to briefly check the photos. From what I saw this is a good

Date Set For Debut

Hey Soul Mates, we have a date set for our debut. The gracious Russell Wiener of Pillow Of Wrongness has signed us on for the bill at the GIG, Hollywood for 8:30 PM Weds. 1 Dec . Mark your calendars. Time for Rush Hour Soul! This should be a fun show on a fun night. There will be Free Tickets distributed to members of the fan club, so make sure you have signed up. After those tickets have been claimed, the remaining Free Tickets will be distributed at random. So contact me, if you want to see the show! How often is there a FREE night anywhere in Hollywood anymore. Don't miss this opportunity. We are very excited and know that the scene will take notice of our opening show. Be there with us! Love, Power, Peace. And if you get a chance this weekend, go see "Ray." Tremendous performance by Jamie Foxx and a slew of great actors; and you get to hear that music coming outta huge speakers. Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. Earthshaking.

Note To Self.

Always. Always. Always. Know the words to your song before you go on national TV. It's bad enough that Ashlee Simpson was exposed as a fraud for singing to a track on SNL, but then she couldn't even recover and sing the song at all. Worst, she blamed her hired band who smirked after she "hoe-downed" off the stage. May this be a watershed moment and mark the decline of this blight on American Culture. Love, Power, Peace. And to quote Roger Daltrey, once again, "Gimme a bum note and a bead of sweat." Greatest Simpsons in American history (descending order): Astronaut Alan Simpson Animated star Bart Simpson Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson Animated couple Marge & Homer Simpson American Congressman from Idaho, Mike Simpson Animated, not bad, just drawn that way, Jessica Simpson Animated octogenarian Grandpa Simpson All-American, acquitted murder suspect O.J. Simpson and last and definitely least ... Abomination and musical aberration

End Of A Sunday

Hey Soul Mates, it was a beautiful Sunday here in L.A. Actually got to watch the Browns on TV at home and they almost(!) beat the Eagles (Rick, I wouldn't brag about Philly's ability to stop the run tomorrow). I had to tape the second half and wouldn't you know it, as I was rewinding the tape, I saw the last play of the game. I still had to watch the tape. It was an exciting game and the Browns looked good. Last night, went to Taix Lounge in Silver Lake to see my man, Adam Marsland and his Chaos band. They just came off tour. Sounds like they had a good run across country and the band was pretty tight, despite multiple cases of bronchitis in the group. I was glad to hear Adam has been encouraging people to vote this year. I will be doing my part, maybe at a polling place near you. I'll be volunteering to work at my local poll in some capacity. This year everyone has to be a part of the process, even if it is just voting. It can't be stressed enough how impor

Souvenirs & Premieres

Hey Soul Mates, many things have been finalized today. 1)We are moving on our souvenir order, so in a day or two you'll be able to order from our website. Initially, there will be 3 designs of Rush Hour Soul Tees and a number of pin designs. Keychains and baseball caps will have to come a little further down the road. 2) Our world premiere party is set for Weds. Nov. 3... that's right. The day after the election. Let's simply hope someone is actually elected outright this time. Anyway, if you were directly involved in the production of the video, you should have received an e-mail invitation tonight. If you were in the video, but didn't get an e-mail: I probably don't have your address. So hit me back with your e-addy. And as if things weren't busy enough in my life, I think I am going to undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge and write a 175 page novel during the month of November. A separate blog will be created for it. For those of you who care. As long a

Designing Man

Hey All, been busy since last I wrote. Just finished work on the first wave of the souvenirs (tees & pins) for Rush Hour Soul. Check out the website and visit the shop for a sneak peak. The shirts and pins should be available by the first or second week of November. Represent! Baseball caps will probably be done by December. All in time for the holidays. Please e-mail me if you have any other merch suggestions. Also, we will be having our video premiere party at a secret location on Universal Citywalk. If you were cast and crew, your invite will be arriving shortly. There will be a lucky few Soul Mates who will also be invited to the premiere. This weekend, I saw the first edit of the video and it's pretty wild. Hope you are gonna like it. Gotta jet. Love, Power, Peace

The Life of a Musician #1

Hey Soul Mates, There are definitely some cool small moments in the life of a musician. Being a songwriter (and your own publisher) you can actually make a few pennies from airplay and song placement in film and TV. I'm a member of BMI and get semi-annual reports on our airplay. Today, I learned that our song Bad Penny Blues was featured in PBS' "Red, White & Blues" TV programming. You may recall that last year was the Blues Centenary and PBS did a whole bunch of 2 hour films on the blues. And yours truly had a song involved. I am not sure in what capacity the song was used, although I suspect it's real background music and it may have been used in ads or bumpers for local PBS outlets. Anyway, if any of you saw said program let me know. When your song gets played over 1,300 times somebody had to hear it. The report also noted that the song was used by TBS/Superstation a couple of times. Anyway, I thought I'd share that cool bit of news with you. Last

Session Update #4

Hey Soul Mates, just got back with Bryan and Dennis from Smartso. We watched a few innings of the Dodger game together before they took off. Poor Doug is home with a cold. Get well soon, Dogg. The sessions were very productive today. We cleaned up vocal mistakes and added some nice harmonies to Excommunication, Fall Out & Saffron Dancer. Tried a couple of ideas for Excommunication that may wind up in the final mix. Dennis doubled one of his vocal parts on the end of Saffron. I added a harmony to that song, too. After that, we listened to Majestic Rejection and discussed arrangement ideas. I will work on some keyboard and piano parts to sweeten the track. Then we'll add all of the vocals. Richard was also suggesting that we record a cover. Hmmm... I have to think of something good that you all would be jazzed to hear us do. Richard, we found out, worked with Santana as an engineer/mixer on an album in the 80's. See my previous blog for my thoughts on Santana. Have a

Supernatural...perhaps

Last night, my quest to see all the living Rock Hall inductees continued. It was Santana's turn at the Greek Theatre. Carlos Santana is such a singular guitarist, possibly the most amazing, save Jimi Hendrix (He is Prince's main guitar influence). Only Santana could end the show on a vamp of 'Trane's "Love Supreme." His 10 piece band was brilliant and combined samba, rock and hip hop fluidly. The set highlights were "Evil Ways" and more modern hits "Maria, Maria" & "Smooth." Santana, after 40 years, is still a positive force for music and peace. By the way, my count is up to 24 Rock Hall acts. Love, Power, Peace

Sessions Update #3

Hey Soul Mates, back to music news. We will be returning to the studio on 9 Oct. to lay down more vocals and mix tracks. The sessions have been great so far. We are looking forward to sharing the tunes with you. As you can tell, we haven't had our video premiere yet. That's coming. Editing is completed and Commondeer is waiting for our final version of "Excommunication." The premiere will probably occur at the end of October and the premiere show for Rush Hour Soul will be the first week of November. Keep your fingers crossed. Details to follow. Love, Power, Peace

Dodgers Win! Dodgers Win!

" !!!" That's about the extent of the shouting I can do today. I have thwarted any attempt to record vocals this weekend by going to last night's dramatic game at Chavez Ravine. Out of the (literally) hundreds of baseball games I've attended this was the most exciting and had the most on the line. Walking into the stadium, I said, "Self, we want the Dodgers to win, but we also want to see a great game, don't we Preciousssssss?" And we got a pitchers' duel, on a crisp September evening, between Birthday Boy Jose "Lima Time" Lima and former Rookie of the Year Jason Jennings of Colorado. The game was tied 1-1 going into the top of the 10th. After an exciting swap of runs in that inning the Dodgers, the Dodgers came up with a chance to control the division in the bottom of the 12th. With 2 outs (and almost all of the subs and pitchers used, making the prospects of extra-extra innings daunting), Alex Cora was hit by a pit

Goodbye To Another Ramone

Wow, hard to believe the world is almost completely empty of Ramones. There are more Beatles left. This afternoon guitarist Johnny Ramone passed away at his home. Very sad. Just this past Saturday, there was a fundraising tribute concert for him and Ramones related charities at the Avalon in Hollywood. I never got to see the Ramones perform but I did get to hold the door for Johnny and his wife once. He was behind me, leaving the old Dave's Laser Disc Store on Ventura, back in '01. He mumbled "Thanks." But that was cool enough. That was right before Joey passed away. If you aren't familiar with the Ramones, they were the original punk poppers from NYC. Their signature number was I Wanna Be Sedated. Although, I have a soft spot for the Blitzkrieg Bop. Hey Ho! Let's Go! Appreciate artists while you can. Our culture seems to be doing its best to devalue artists & musicians. And there are very few originals left. Fortunately, Johnny lived to be inducted

Rock Hall Inductee Ballot

Hey Soul Mates, now I'm not a voting member of the Rock Hall, just a charter member of the museum, but boy if I were... The potential class of '05 was revealed when the ballot for the Rock Hall came out yesterday. I'm not going to recant my previous statement about Run DMC, but I was wrong. This year we have our first Hip Hop act up for election: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5. They should be a lock. Although they weren't the first rap act, nor the first to chart (Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow came before) but no one had as lasting an impact. The Message? White Lines? This is elemental hip hop. Grandmaster Flash was the first DJ to be a household name. His turntable skills are unparalleled. And his group, the Furious 5? Nasty! In fact, one of the first 12" records I purchased, back in the day was It's Nasty by GMF&TF5. The other no brainer on the ballot is U2. Easily the most important group of the last 20 years, although I'd listen to argumen

What's the time?

Hey Soul Mates, just checking in. Last night I was at the Universal Amp to see the Beastie Boys. Their new tour is being billed as a "pageant." No beauties, just Beasties. The night began with Talib Kweli (joined on stage by Mos Def). It was very refreshing to hear a sound mix good enough to hear what a rapper is rapping. In the past, I've had trouble making out what the heck the MC is trying to say. No such problem last night. Kweli and Mos (who go by Blackstarr when together) got the crowd on its feet and primed for the B Boys. They finished the set with a track I recognized, "Get By." It's very socially conscious hip hop. Kweli's new CD is called the Beautiful Struggle. Na' mean? In the intermission we went to the green room/backstage patio. Talked for a while with Palo Alto's lead singer James Grundler who was hanging out with Jon Cryer ("Pretty In Pink," TV's "Two and a Half Men). I saw Palo Alto about 4 times last ye

Feelin' like a Star Child

Ah, the Mothership Connection. Just listening to a little inspiring music to get on the good foot. The boys are coming over tonight (well, all except Dennis who's got a Softball Championship game to play) for a collabo session. I've been working on lots of new material. Got a couple of ballads ("Done Lost My Mind," "Next July") and some uptempo lyrics written. It'll help to have Doug here to give texture to the beats. Makes it easier to create on the fly. We are also working up a piece of Bryan's called "Step Inside The Soul." We want to have all kinds of new and funky things for you to dance to at the first Rush Hour Soul show. The last of the pictures from filming went up this afternoon. Check them out. Also posted cast credits for the video. Editing continues next week. Our director Asiel Norton had to visit his Father who is ill. Sending healthy vibes to the Norton's. Much love, Asiel. Finally, spent part of this morning at

Web Site update

Hey Soul Mates, we have a new front page on the RHS website. Hopefully it's easier for you to navigate. And they's a little musical surprise for you. A taste of what we've been cooking up for you at Smartso. Have a great day and walk between the raindrops. Love, Power, Peace

Video Update

Hey Soul Mates, just checking in to get you the latest on the Greatest. Editing has begun on our first feature length music video for "Excommunication." The men from Commondeer are putting their noses to the editing bays. We are hoping to have a premier party the first week of October and we are in the midst of scheduling our first RHS shows. The premier may be at one of the venues on the Citywalk @ Universal. We want an all ages place with ample video display capabilities. Did you have a nice Labor Day weekend? Hope so. My brother, Nate was in town. We went to see Nascar out in Fontucky. It was scorching here in L.A. Of course, we have family back east dealing with the hurricanes, so I won't actually complain. The race was great. Anyone watch it on TV? My favorite driver, Matt Kenseth didn't do too hot, but it's fun to see a race in person. I wouldn't mind a chance to go 180 mph in a circle. I'm sure some would say I already do. Finally, I'm

MTV VMA's

Hey Soul Mates, Roger Daltrey once said, "Gimme a bum note and a bead of sweat!" There may have been lots of sweat in Miami, and a few bum notes, but there was little that was authentic or interesting about this year's MTV VMA's. The show got off to a mediocre start with the otherwise exciting Usher lipsynching in a rainstorm. It's bad enough that he's lipsynching, but anyone with a brain knows that you would be thoroughly electrocuted attempting to sing with a live mic in a shower. They let Usher perform 3 songs to start the show and I don't think we heard him perform a note of it live. There was so much non-singing that when people with live mics showed up the mix was so bad that even Chaka Khan sounded awful (the producers should publicly apologize to her). Poor Yellowcard and Hoobastank were affected by bad sound, too. The crowd was only into it enough to boo John Kerry's daughters and Carson Daly for encouraging "young people"

Hand To Hand

Hey Soul Mates, just a short plug for a friend and esteemed colleague who has finished a major new work. Check out the website for the details of his new short film "Hand To Hand." The filmmaker is a visionary and a new voice to be reckoned with. I personally cannot wait to experience "Hand To Hand" on the big screen. I guarantee we'll be hearing more and bigger things from him. Love, Power, Peace And register to vote. I just re-upped after an address change. Now that's power.

Say What!? Sessions Update #2

Thanks for the positive energy everyone. With all of those good vibes heading this way the recording sessions have been a smash. Today we were back at Smartso digital working on our new sessions. Let me tell you, it's also a joy working with a producer who is nuturing and creative. Richard Bosworth's energy is perpetually positive. He's challenging, though, and makes me work to achieve some really great results. Our primary focus today was "Excommunication." I know what you are thinking: shouldn't that song have been completed before they shot the music video? Well, sometimes up is down and out is in. When it comes to art, there's little logic. The song came together nicely and I've been listening to the rough mix non-stop. I think you are really going to enjoy dancing and singing along to this one. The vocal tracking went very well. I managed to keep my voice intact for the whole day. Lots of tea & honey and a handmade wool scarf (Yes, even i

First Nighter

Hey Soul Mates, I don't normally have to be a first-nighter or buy something the day it arrives in stores. But, today was like Christmas in August. All 3 of Prince's theatrical films for Warner Bros. were released today. Graffiti Bridge was probably unnecessary, but the other two: Purple Rain and Under The Cherry Moon rank among my favorite films of all time. They influenced the way I viewed music/performance and the possibilities of having dreams and making them come true. Hard to believe it's the 20th anniversary of Purple Rain. I can remember going to see it with my older brother, Nate in East Lansing. Nice to sneak into an R rated movie. Of course, the musical numbers are what stay with you and what holds up to time (no pun intended). Under The Cherry Moon is an indulgence, a guilty pleasure. I think my old DC posse and I could recite the entire thing from "Once upon a time in France" to "Nope, I'm throwing you out onto the Miami streets!"

Sessions Update #1

Hey Soul Mates, we have great news. Next week we will be back in studio with our producer, Richard Bosworth , working on our latest recording sessions. We will once again be in the Smartso Digital Studio where we laid down the basic tracks. The songs we are working on are: 1. "Excommunication" 2. "Fall Out" 3. "Majestic Rejection" 4. "Saffron Dancer" As you probably know, "Excommunication" is the track that we used for filming the promotional video. It's an uptempo number about heartbreak. How's that!? "Fall Out" is a real funk workout and we emphasize the work and the out. And it's an ode to love and joy. "Majestic Rejection" is a recent song that is seriously about heartbreak. It's done as a waltz and the tracking was quite effective. Bryan did a guitar part that sounds just like an electric piano. Dennis and I played acoustic instruments. It was fun for me, 'cause it was the firs

Earth, Wind & Fire and Water, Lex Luthor & A Fresh Tie.

Hey, just back from the Earth, Wind & Fire/Chicago double headlining bill at the Greek. The show used an interesting concept. Even though they were filming the whole night for a DVD, both bands came on stage together and ran through a couple of songs. Then they actually flipped a coin to see who would "headline" and who would "open." EW&F lost the toss and took the stage first. Their set was pure joy. Lots of exuberance from their wild bass player, Verdine White and stratospheric vocals from Phillip Bailey. Sadly no appearance from founder Maurice White (Although, I did see Maurice last month at a screening of Fahrenheit 9/11). The songlist included "Fantasy," "Reasons," "Got To Get You Into My Life," & "Let's Groove." Intermission was spent in the VIP lounge (better known as the "Cheese Room"); chatted briefly with "Smallville's" Michael Rosenbaum. He plays Lex Luthor on the show a

T.A.M.I. Show Review

Hope you can stand my review of last night's feature. Seeing the TAMI Show on a big screen at the Arclight was fun. The film was presented as a glorified kinescope (it basically looks like a videotape of what was playing on a TV screen). Steve Binder, the film's director was on hand to tell some stories about the 3 days it took to film. The print we watched, he told us, was donated to the festival by none other than Quentin Tarantino. It's really a time capsule of a film. The line up included legends James Brown, The Rolling Stones, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Beach Boys (who appear briefly, but actually had their performance removed from the film because their manager thought it was beneath them), Chuck Berry, Jan & Dean and the Supremes; one-hit wonders Leslie Gore, Gerry & The Pacemakers; and no-hit wonders like the Barbarians. It was fun seeing Smokey, Marvin, The Stones and the Supremes on the verge of superstardom. This was 1964, so no

Merch #2 and the TAMI show

I've spent most of the day doing more design work on the logos that will appear on the new merchandise. It's always tough to figure out what people might like to wear that represents themselves and the band. I think I've made the right choices. One in particular should go over well with all the RHS cheerleaders out there. As mentioned earlier, there will be 3 tee shirt designs. Time to get out and get some air. Maybe pick up a new tie or two. Gotta be sharp. Tonight, I'm going to the Arclight (formerly the Cinerama Dome on Sunset) for a screening of the "T.A.M.I. Show." I've only seen it once, back in high school, but it should be fun on a big screen. the "T.A.M.I. Show" is a 1964 concert film featuring James Brown, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye and more. I specifically need to see the Godfather in his Prime. Owww! The first four of those acts, I'm fortunate to seen in person. Never got to see Marvin. One

Octopi and Merchandi

What it is? I've been busy setting up the e-mail accounts for the RHS website . Almost done. You should be able to reach everyone, 'cept for Bryan. He'll be next! It's fun, but hard work building a website from scratch. Tonight's highlight was a trip to Canter's Deli on Fairfax (they make a mean Pastrami on rye with sweet cole slaw in the sammich, known as the Brooklyn). If you were there, yes that was me in the bright red shirt and maize tie . The tie has tiny octopi on it. Got it in Nantes at a Jules Verne exhibit. Get it, squid-like things/"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?" This weekend the order will be placed for the RHS merch. I'm pretty excited about that. Hope you are, too. We are doing several items including baby tees, regular tees, keychains and baseball caps. The Rush Hour Soul logos will be different for the girlie shirts and the regular shirts. Sorry, guys, but the girls made their request a while back! Either way, be prepared to

The Blog Goes On

Hey Soul Mates. It took me a bit, but now we have this cool blog thing cooking. I hope that you'll comment on the site, via this blog. (For those of you unfamiliar with it "Blog" is short for "Weblog." I didn't come up with it, but it works) All the feedback is welcome. Some will be posted, so no guarantees. Thanks to Rebel Pat Kutac for the hookup with blogger. Right now I am getting ready to configure some e-mail addresses for the band so you can all hit them with fan mail and what ever else you like. There are lots of updates on the photo page with more to come. I'll be back tomorrow. Love, Power, Peace.

The Original Opening Blog Post

10 Aug. 04 How is everyone? It's been another long evening in the life. Up till 3 a.m. yesterday morning and here I am and it's 12:37 a.m. Tuesday! There have been plenty of new pics added to our photo pages. Hope you've been enjoying them. The original pics were not up to par for my friend and yours, Dr. Rahuna. So he doctored many of them. Now you can see the faces better. Thanks, Doc. I'd also like to give a personal shout-out to everyone who worked on our video shoot. Wouldn't have been the same without you. Thank you. So much talent. We'll have to see how Asiel and the Commondeer (it's already plural) edit the footage to the track. Of course, we need to finish the vocals. That will help them a lot. To answer your question: we have no target date for a video premier. But you'll be the first to know. Our RHS cheerleaders worked very hard with our choreographer to recreate the dance sensation that's been sweeping Southern California, the Exc