Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Skinny (Show Recap)

Last night's performance at Skinny's was a barnburner, if one is still allowed to burn the barn. International Pop Overthrow came to North Hollywood, literally blocks from my place. I got to walk to the gig; shades of Liverpool. The communal aura of IPO is one of my favorite parts of the festival. I was thrilled by Math & Science, the first band of the night. They were a lot of fun and I hope to check them out again soon. There are a few more must sees this week at IPO. But onto my recap...

There was an enthusiastic, large crowd packed into Skinny's living room setting. The vibe of the place is very cool. Feels like you're playing at home. The stage lights are bright and until I sauntered into the crowd during the vamp of our last number, I had no idea just how many people were in the audience. I could hear them singing along, especially on the ballads, however. It was a treat to see Ruth and Peter from Spygenius (who were here all the way from the UK).

The Inimitables were on point last night. Even with a back line (that can be blessing or curse, this time more blessing) and a short set, they were blazing. Kevin Jarvis kept me in time masterfully; Teresa "Baby Doll" Cowles' bass was grooving; and Evie Sands was doing her thing on lead guitar. The ladies handled backing vocals, too. It's always a trip to hear Teresa singing parts that are lower than mine. I love those ladies; and with Kevin, it's a powerful soul-machine. These are musicians who are notable in their own right, so I am privileged to have them in my band.

The set featured hit after hit from On The Rebound. We didn't want to waste any time, so I kept the chit-chat to a minimum. Oh, and I was playing my acoustic-electric Fender that has been on the road with me the last few years. But this was the first time since 1989 that I played rhythm guitar in a full band setting. It was fun and challenging. My style is all high chicken-scratch, inka-chicka-inka-chicka ripped offa James Brown records.

Here's the set list:
So Sophisticated
Our Love Is Known By Name
She's My Go-To
Supermodels With Gatling Guns
Your Majestic Rejection
Huckleberry Finn
On The Rebound
A Miracle Is On The Way

So yesterday was a big musical event day here. The show, the new single dropped and very importantly my new music video debuted. Thank you for all of the love you are showing Huckleberry Finn. In case you haven't seen it yet or want to see it again or want to share it, see below. Please tell your friends that Summertime has a new groove and it's name is Huckleberry Finn!

I am thrilled that from the time I walked to the show last night to when the show was over there were an additional 100 views of the video. I hope that it will become my most viewed work in short order. Thank you for your support of my art.

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guess That Makes Me Huckleberry Finn

Alright friends,

the moment has come. The official music video for my single Huckleberry Finn is up for viewing on YouTube! Check it out. Summertime has a new groove and it's called Huckleberry Finn. Yup, I even posted it to Mark Twain's facebook page. He was a major inspiration and his work ranks among my favorites. I might even dress in all white like Twain for tonight's show at Skinny's. You'll have to be there to know first. In the meantime, dig the video. Please share it. I love it. You will, too!

Monday, July 29, 2013

On The Doorstep

Yesterday was a musical one.

First, I had a productive rehearsal with the Initmitables in Venice Beach. It was nice to get out the Valley and into the cool air of the shore. We ran through the songs for tomorrow night's show at Skinny's and had a lot of fun doing it. We are missing our maestro, Adam Marsland, who is on tour; so the tunes took on a bluesier and more guitar driven sound. Kevin Jarvis and Teresa Cowles (Happy Birthday, T) are a rock solid rhythm section that will keep you dancing.

I am playing rhythm guitar in a band setting for the first time in perhaps 25 years. I would have to ask the archivists in Jacksonville. It is a gas playing along Evie Sands, anchoring the lead guitar, who is simply marvelous at all she does.

It's a festival set, meaning we have about 30 minutes to play. So we will be hitting the highlights from On The Rebound, including my latest single "Huckleberry Finn." Don't miss this show, as I have nothing else scheduled for the year. But that could all change with a little luck...

Last night, we held a premiere party for the cast of the music video for Huckleberry Finn. Everyone enjoyed the screening and the Yummy Cupcakes. Who doesn't love cupcakes? My favorite is the maple flavored mini cupcake; but I digress. The video will go live to YouTube and elsewhere at 8:01 AM/GMT and 12:01 AM/PST Tuesday. Less than a day away. I hope that everyone will enjoy the short and share it with many people.

My goal is to reach 3000 views by the end of the first day that it is available for viewing. With your help on Facebook, tweeting, and just telling a friend, we can do it! I want to maximize the exposure for the song and the video. I really believe that this is one of my best works to date and it wants to be heard. The cast of Huckleberry Finn really did their thing and I know you will enjoy their work as much as I do. Tons of credit to my collaborator and director Andy Shuford, of course. We missed you at the party.

I will be posting another blog tomorrow to go with the video release announcement. In the meantime have a beautiful day.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Huckleberry Finn: Day Two

We had a full day of taping Huckleberry Finn around the Valley. Burbank, Tujunga Village and North Hollywood. Never far from home, but apparently much closer to the surface of the sun than the day before. We started on the abandoned railroad tracks in Burbank that become the Chandler bike path, where Sunday's shoot took place.

Much more of the day's work involved me singing along with the track. My video collaborator Andy Shuford gave me a specific task for the timing of the vocal. I won't spoil the surprise here. It was challenging to remember the words I wrote and sang myself with the slight alteration; but the end result is going to be fun to see. Art pushes back on artist.

My cast was gracious again, with a special nod and bow to Gina Quintana. She played an expanded role in the video as my ethereal stylist. Gina performed all of her appointed actions with a dancer's elegance; it was choreography after all. We had fun with all of the wardrobe and props that were her domain.

In the middle of our six hour shoot, we spent some time at our first day bench location for pickups and a few runs through the singing the whole number. But it was hot hot hot. I could feel the new Morgan Freeman beauty marks blossoming across my cheeks. They add character.

The full second day cast assembled at North Hollywood Park as sun was setting. Most people are only familiar with the East side of the park; but the West side is serene, a nicely manicured (pedicured?) footpath and palm trees blocking the freeway. There, we did three full-length tracking shots of the entire song. The cast was marvelous working through the timing. They had less time to react to the change in the song than I did. I applaud their creativity and flexibility.

The park cast was fantastic: Scott Peat (who played my faithful roadie, along with Ava and Ashley), Mondo Fowler, Rachel, Phillip & Henry Mottaz, Julie Shuford and the multitalented Kristine Castano. Couldn't have managed it all, however, without the Missus. Thanks, Love.

Alright. On to editing. Andy got a lot of great material over the course of both days. I simply hope we can showcase everyone who lent their time and talent to the production. We have 3:37. Go!

I know you are going to enjoy Huckleberry Finn in video form. To borrow from my friend Mark Wiechman, we wanted to produce something that could have been introduced by Mark Goodman or Martha Quinn. Stay tuned for the next video update; and mark your calendars. My next show is Tuesday, July 30 at Skinny's on Lankershim in North Hollywood for International Pop Overthrow.

Thanks for reading. Spread the word.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Huckleberry Finn: Day One

Today was the first day of a two day shoot for my new music video for Huckleberry Finn. Our location was a tranquil spot in North Hollywood. This is my first time co-directing and it was a tightrope act with plenty of thrills. Fortunately, I am collaborating with a very talented director/DP, Andrew Shuford. He and I have combined on some neat ideas. Although there is nothing new under the sun, its our new and its our sun, and mercifully, it stayed under triple digits today.

The cast for today included some of my favorite local performers and personalities: Rob Z, Teresa Cowles, Camille Santochi, Parnell Marcano, Tara Varilek, Chervet McCain, Micah McCain (no relation), Gerry Katzman, and the mysterious William Draven.

Behind the scenes: Kristine Castano was invaluable, as were Patty Tokahuta-Kelsey and Kristee Laiva.

We got some great footage with all of the actors who were given a specific bit of business to perform with me. I can't wait for you all to see the results. There will be more adventures to be had on our second day as a new cast joins me for some surreal fun. This is the third live action music video I have filmed and the experience has been even more gratifying than before.

Time to sleep. You can find pictures from the shoot on my facebook music page.