Thursday, May 31, 2007

If Marv Albert Says So

Hey Soul Mates,
off topic:

48 points in 51 minutes. Epic performance, bringing the Cavs home with a 3-2 lead.
This pic never gets old. Your Kid and The King, Cleveland 2002.

Love, Power, LeBron

I Pity The Fool!

Hey Soul Mates,
for his birthday, I got Doug his own Mr. T talking key chain. Grrrrr. So that's taken. If you want to send him a birthday greeting, post us a message on the band myspace or even here. His own myspace page has been acting up. His birthday is Friday/tomorrow, so don't forget.

Studio time was very productive. Doug got some choice percussion parts on. Shakers, cowbell, rain stick, tambourine, vibra-slap. Of course all of us helped with the soul clap on Fall Out. (I got to do the finger cymbals at the top of Roosevelt's Revue.) We were a lot like third graders in a music appreciation class, making a racket.

Best of all, Doug, who had missed all of the vocal sessions prior, got his voice on the record! We rerecorded the choruses on Roosevelt and Sucka to include Mr. Doug. Slammin! It was a real blessing, tho' to have Doug here tonight. Thanks for adding all that flavor.

Can I tell you how much fun the past month of session work has been? Adam has pulled out the stops with the keyboard parts. He better watch out or we might have to clone him for performances. Adam paid me a nice compliment tonight. He told me with all of the repeated listening that he has a new appreciation for the uplift and point-of-view in my lyrics. I know life ain't always rosy, but I like writing joyful songs. And I love being in a band that plays them. Nice to know there's a place for that still.

Bryan was in the process of putting down some shaker parts too when Doug and I had to jet. I was beat (caught my second wind) and had to get Dogg to Union Station on time. I don't think I've ever driven from Reseda to Downtown in under 20 minutes before. And I barely did over 75. Cause my car won't do it. Anyway, Bryan was cracking us up all night long with his mock indignation at having the short headphone cord and not being allowed to sing a part with Doug and myself. That boy loves his Red Stripe!
Doug and I had a fun afternoon watching a newly minted DVD of our arrival and first performance in Liverpool. Eventually, I'd like to share a lot of the material from the tour with all of you.

As per usual, here's a rare photo from the tour. It was taken a year ago tonight in York, before we drove to Barnsley and slammed at the Arches. Three fine young men dressed for an evening of entertaining... and fish and chips!

I know many of our fans in the UK are really heating up the questions about our return engagement. Especially those in the North. We miss you dearly. We are in serious discussions about this. We've had several false starts, for which I apologize. But, the record is almost done. In fact, by this time next week we'll have 98% of it completed. Minus mastering and manufacturing. At that point we will begin our quest to get support to tour Great Britain on a larger scale. Have no fear, Rush Hour Soul is here... or will be SOON!

Love, Power, Peace

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Liddypool After A Year

Hey Soul Mates,
our appearance at the IPO Liverpool festival last year was such a highlight. I'm listening to the audio from the Cavern Club show as I type. Certainly a highlight we'd like to repeat in the very near future. As a special gift to all of you, I will be posting a new Rush Hour Soul "Superboot" MP3 from the Cavern gig on Friday. So watch this space and listen!!!

As promised here are some more previously unpublished pictures of us in Liddypool. Ah, a Mersey-side Bank Holiday weekend! This is us wandering the high street, looking like no-goodniks from LA, for sure.

The best photos from IPO are up on our website, but these are certainly some interesting shots from the first of our three sets, 29 May 2006. These pics were taken in at Lennon's, the early show.

Photos by Patty Tokahuta

Tomorrow night, we are in the studio doing percussion and mixing with Mr. Marsland. We'll take photos, so you can see what we look like this week. I must tell you, listening to the tracks, they are slamming! True funk; true pop.

Happy Anniversary, Rush Hour Soul!
Love, Power, Peace

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Woolley Bridge, Anyone?

Hey Soul Mates,

here are some more "From L.A. With Love" exclusives. This first one, (me, seated on the pavement, Doug leaning on the Magic Peugeot) is from our first day in the UK. After flying for 14 hours then driving for nearly 2 hours, on the odd side of the road, my knee gave out. We arrived at our equipment pickup point and I sort of spilled out of the car.

Photo by Molly Gordon.

Our host booker Hayley and her family recommended that we drive from Sheffield through the peaks to take a very scenic route to Liverpool. No kidding. I don't think any of us had seen that much green before. At the bottom of the peaks was Glossop/Woolley Bridge. The Spring Tavern should definitely be on the official RHS fan tour of the UK.

After lunch, Bryan and I went to see the Woolley Bridge. That's me video taping Bry at the Equestrian Crossing. As we had no horses, we hoofed it on foot.

Preceding photos by Patty Tokahuta.

In current RHS news, we have just viewed our new music video. As mentioned here a few months ago, animator Andrew Ste. Marie began work on our latest in December. And I laugh out loud every time I watch it. Rush Hour Soul are a cartoon!!! You're going to love it. I won't give away the plot, but in it we perform Fall Out with a profound effect on world leaders! The video will debut in a few weeks, obviously once the track for Fall Out is finished. Thanks for the hard work, Drew!

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend all. And a big transatlantic shout out to the folks at IPO Liverpool this weekend. Wish we were there, but we'll be back soon.
Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From L.A. With Love: One Year On

Hey Soul Mates,

It was one whole year ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

Last year on May 24, Rush Hour Soul departed from LAX to begin our tour of the UK. It was a journey none of us will forget. In fact, I had a long conversation with Doug about it last night. We miss simple things, like green hillsides, Twinings Everyday tea, Starmix. But most of all we miss our fans in Great Britain.

Our current work is going to help us return in style. The work continues on the recordings. Our co-producer Adam Marsland has been adding lots of tasteful keyboard parts and editing. As I've mentioned before, mixing begins in earnest in two weeks. Just in time to split the difference between Doug and Bryan's birthdays!

So to commemorate and to get everyone in the right frame of mind for our return in Autumn, here are some never before seen photos from our tour. "From L.A. With Love!" I will endeavor to post some everyday during the next two weeks. This is from our first night in the UK in beautiful downtown Sheffield. It was exciting. All of us beating back jetlag to play the D 'n R Live for an appreciative crowd in our debut. Unforgettable.

All photos by Patty Tokahuta.

Thanks to everyone who helped us on the tour. You know who you are. We will see you in a few months!

Have a great day, y'all.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hello, Dali! (Now with 50% More Photos)

Hola, Soul Mates,

I'm feeling very jet lagged. Just got back from Espana. Catalunya and Andalucia to be more precise. I even learned Catalan (jo parlo catala, amics) and spoke it in broken fashion to amused natives. But wait, here's proof...

It's me at the Dali Teatro-Museu in Figueres on Salvador's birthday. The place is more funhouse than museum. This objet d'art was hidden in a stairwell. I call it "The Crowned Peacock Dreams of Genie."

Dali lived here. He's buried here. I'm being idiotic here. Genuflecting or posing? Felicitats, Salvador! It was his birthday and I was the only one celebrating. And yes, I did sing "Happy Birthday" to him.

Another installation that defies explanation. But it's got a real crocodile and a real light bulb and artificial limbs involved. What's not to like?

Seems like every town in Catalonia has some sort of memorial to John Lennon. This sign had fallen off (no, I did not keep it), so it made for a good prop. I'm not sure what the Lennon connection is... His second book was A Spaniard in the Works; he wrote Strawberry Fields Forever in Spain...

Here's the kid at the famous cafe, El 4 Gats in Barcelona. In Picasso's favorite seat. I made that part up. I will say that the folks at the Picasso museum are completely uptight. Not like the Dali staff who seem to encourage picture taking and merriment.

I also got to see the one of sport's greatest Ronaldhino score a goal in person at the FC Barcelona v. Betis draw a week ago. The match was equalised in the 89th minute. Very exciting, but not the result I was hoping for.

The food and people in Spain are awesome. Made a good friend, Don Alfonso Fenes, in Sevilla at Bar Campanario. His cook does a mean Patates Roquefort. And there is nothing like sangria at siesta on a Saharan afternoon, journaling and listening to the cathedral bells.

Watched the Sevilla futbol team make its triumphant parade into Plaza San Francisco after winning the UEFA cup final. That was mayhem and 50,000 Sevillistas fiesta-ing well past midnight.

It was nice taking some time away from Los Angeles with the better half. Hope you didn't miss me too much. I managed to NOT think about music the entire time. Wasn't until the flight home that I started mulling over things.
When I got back to the office our official invite for IPO LA had arrived. I'm pleased to announce that we've been given the plum spot of the festival. Saturday Aug. 4 at 9 pm at the Knitting Factory. Which means the show is for all ages. Mark your calendars.

We'll be going back to the studio for mixing in another week. More sleep! More sleep.
Love, Power, Peace

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Anniversaries Abound

Hey Soul Mates,
today marks the year anniversary of our RHS House Party/Bon Voyage in preparation for our 2006 tour of England. It brings back warm memories of a fun semi-acoustic performance and give-aways for our fans. In fact, beginning tonight, we'll roll by a bunch of anniversaries from our trip to the UK. All of them wonderful.

I'm going to take a few days away from the business of Rush Hour Soul, including our MySpace. A bit of decompression before our next round of madness/excitement begins. As previously noted, mixing for our new album starts in earnest in a few weeks. Then it's limitlessness. To the toppermost of the poppermost!

Love, Power, Peace

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Give It On Up To Omeletville: Album Sessions Day 10

Hey Soul Mates,
it was a long and productive day at the Lincoln Lounge. It was our last scheduled recording session for our album. We got to hear some preliminary mixes of a few things, including U Had The $, which is gonna take you back to 1982 in a good way. Adam Marsland has pulled out a few vintage machines to get some way-back sounds. Sucka is huge and Everything My Heart Desires (EMHD) also sounds spectacular. Though it currently features a Hammond organ, I'm lobbying for a piano part. Regardless, Adam has gotten his hands on a glockenspiel which will figure prominently on EMHD.

I had to redo the lead vocal for Fall Out. This time around I got a much livelier feel for the number and tore through it. Down By Love still presented its challenges, but we got through it adding lots of harmony and secondary vocal parts. Ladies favorite Done Lost My Mind was completed after Bryan and I did harmonies for the coda. I performed Doug's part, hope I did him justice in his stead. I also did a cool stack of vox on the bridge of Done Lost.

As you can tell, it's after 2 a.m. I was actually lapsing into sleep while doing multiple takes on the backing for Done Lost My Mind. I wasn't satisfied with my performance on that section, no duh, and we scrapped that part.

By midnight, we were all a little punchy. Bryan and I entertained Adam and Steve Refling with our imitation of our good mate, James "Biggie" Stewart from Scotland. Sadly, I cannot repeat the improvised dialogue here. But if you met James when he was here in LA last Summer, you won't have to stretch your imagination. James, we miss you!

Well, our next sessions at the Lincoln Lounge will be for mixing the first week of June. We have one off-site session for percussion and etc. for later this month. At that point all of the actual recording is finished. Then, we'll start leaking some snippets to you. I'll be blogging more in the meantime. We still have lots of homework to do with the mixes that we got this evening and more to come. Plenty of good listening.
Love, Power, Peace

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

All Tomorrow's Sessions

Hey Soul Mates,
I'm up a little late on the night before a session. In fact, tomorrow represents our last recording date for our new album. Originally, we were going to call it "A Talent For Loving," but some other names are coming to mind. I'll be heading in around 2 to record some vocal filigree. Bryan will get there in the evening to do his harmonies. Then we've got a weekend of mixing scheduled for the first week of June. Hold on, true believers!

Cheers to everyone who's been sending in their listening suggestions. This morning, though, I heard the new White Stripes single Icky Thump. It sounds nearly like Yes on crack. Ouch. Rocking the house. And in the lyric to beat, as I decipher it, Jack White channels Snoop Dogg:
"While Americans want nothing better to do,
Why don't you kick yourself out, you're an immigrant, too.
Who's using who, what should we do?
Well you can't be a pimp and a prostitute, too."

I can tell their new album is going to be as challenging and rewarding as the superb Get Behind Me, Satan. 2007. Already the best year in music in a decade! And one of my favorites from 2006, The Feeling's 12 Stops and Home finally got an American release.

OK, tonight on Bon Jovidol, we were subjected to the soul-free rock of the Idolers singing Bon Jovi. The best performer, hands down, was Blake Lewis, beat-boxing his way through You Give Love A Bad Name. A lackluster choice for a theme night. Nothing against Jon Bon Jovi or his band, but his songs are better recordings and don't make for good singing contest fodder. In fact, contrary to what Paula said, Jon looked mortified that Blake was going to inject some cultural relevance into the number. Where the hell is the Barry Gibb night mentioned at the top of the season? Or at least, "Judges' Choice" night.

I'll be checking in later today/or Thursday with the update from the Lincoln Lounge.
Love, Power, Peace