AUGUST 1, 2K8-
got some of the shots from last week's photo shoot with ray gutierrez. lovin the look of some of them. i've posted a few on the "promo photos" page in the media section. in fact, the background of the site is one of the shots. very happy with them and can't wait to see the rest.
so, i had this project last week: find all the songs i've recorded and put them on a couple cd's so we can figure out which ones we want to use on the new album. several hours later i was looking at 6 FULL cd's. about 80 minutes of music EACH! and that didn't include any of the old stillwater black stuff or the blues stuff. it is hard to imagine that i've done even that much, and that isn't even nearly all the songs i've written. i gotta say it feels good to have so much to choose from.
i'm also looking forward to doing some gigs with this project again. it's been way too long and i'm really missing it.
yeah, that's about all i have. i've been obsessed with mafia wars on myspace. add me if you are playing. i could use the help. it's tough being a badass. :)
more to come.
JULY 21, 2K8-
i just noticed that i hadn't written anything since february...of 2007! i guess if anyone is still checking this site, here's an update.
pre-recording has begun for the new record. i'm also assembling a new crew. i don't want to mention names yet, but i'm hoping that i can pull together some of the top players from several different projects in so. cal. kind of an "all star" line up. i will say this, though: Q from Big Papa is on board. we're not sure yet exactly what his role will be, but he'll definitely be a staple.
i'm not sure yet just which direction the new disc will take, since i have about 4 discs worth of material, but you can probably expect more guitar playing, slicker sounds and much better quality. no more "polishing" or "fixing it in the mix." it will sound good the first time, or it will be redone.
i am also starting to book sporadic shows in between the plethora of Big Papa & the TCB gigs. i'll keep ya'll posted, of course.
as you can see, the site is getting an overhaul. i'm trying to simplify.
less is more...unless, of course, when more is more, in which case it's really just...more. ok, i haven't quite figure out which one it is. i'll have to get back to you on that one. the point is, i'm re-vamping the site a little. i hope it's pleasing to the eyes and the clicker finger.
okay, that's about all i have. check back soon.
FEBRUARY 22, 2K7-
it appears i've recently won an award from the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) for some work i did on a production of the play, LOVE TAPES, at California State University San Bernardino. i have to say i was quite surprised to find out, since i had no idea i would even be considered for an award. i was also pleasantly surprised to learn that since the play was selected to be performed at the regional festival this year, i would actually get a chance to see the show! when it was originally presented i was a very busy boy because phoebe had just been born.
probably the coolest thing about it was being able to see my "film acting" debut on the screens above the stage. see, i also played a small role in the show, which was pre-recorded. i was playing "kevin," the lead singer for the ficticious band, Umlaut. it was a blast. i only wish i had better prepared for the role. the poor crew ended up writing out my lines on large rolls of paper and held them up to the roof while i stumbled through the scene. add to this the complication of the huge swig of jack daniels i took during the first take ( which i though was really tea). i guess if they were going for a drunk, flakey rock star, it was mission accomplished.
it was a great experience. right down to the cheesy music video we also shot that day, complete with scantily clad women, metallic backdrop, and fog machine.
in other news, i took my first trip to the NAMM show as an offical endorsing artist, thanks to the wonderful folks at Levy's Leathers. i was able to spend a few minutes with the owner of Levy's, Dennis Levy. he was probably the most down to earth and welcoming guy i met all day. hell, maybe ever! i'm thrilled to be working with them again this year.
surprisingly, my work with BIG PAPA & THE TCB has really taken off. shoot, it's gone crazy. everytime i play with those guys we get offered bigger and better shows. i highly recommed taking in a show soon. we're filming a live concert DVD on march 24th at the FENDER MUSEUM in corona, ca. we also have special guests, hobo jazz, playing that night. it should be a blast.
well, that's it for now. thanks for checking in.
DECEMBER 20, 2K6- so, i was waiting until i had the official word to share this.
two songs from CHASING VENUS (starting over & impossible) will be featured in the upcoming short film, MY BUS STOP, written and directed by George Heredia.
in addition, a new song by BIG PAPA & THE TCB called, "MY WAY BACK HOME" will be featured during the opening credits.
if you get a chance, pop on over to the official site and give a look. with any luck, the film will score big at this year's festivals and find a nice niche on IFC...or maybe even HBO or CINEMAX. who knows???
as for other news, i've just extended my sponsorship with SAM ASH, and i'm looking forward to another year representing LEVY'S LEATHERS GUITAR STRAPS.
i've had a few musicians approach me about doing some full band shows and working on the upcoming cd, which is as yet untitled. so, if all goes well, i should be making some appearances in the near future with an all new crew of players.
the studio is nearly finished. as they said in Return of the Jedi, "that death star is operational!" recording should begin in the next couple weeks.
in addition, BIG PAPA & THE TCB are scheduled to record their new cd at the fender guitar museum and performing arts center. we're really excited and can't wait to get tracking.
well, that's it for now. i'll let you know as soon as anything interesting happens.
take care and have a great holiday season.
MAY 15, 2K6-wow! what a month or two i've had.
first and foremost, my amazing wife and i brought a beautiful, new little girl into the world. PHOEBE ISABELLA was born on april 27th. she was 8 lbs. and had a full head of hair. we had a couple of small scares early on, but both mother and baby are doing great and growing strong. it seems that i did, in fact, live to see myself in the eyes of my children.
on a musical note, on a whim i created a myspace page for my old band, STILLWATER BLACK. little did i know the buzz would be so overwhelming. this led to conversations with issac and sam. issac and i have decided to get together and see how it feels playing together again. unfortunately, ahmed and sam will not be able to rejoin the project, but several players who were in bands that we gigged with at the time have expressed interest in playing in the project. once things settle down on the home front, we will hopefully get together and see what happens. i, personally, have had a blast going through all the old rehearsal and gig tapes. i've even started writing a lot of new material and can't wait to see comes of it.
i will also be back at the white rabbit fairly regularly, playing a mixture of new and old material, both from my solo project and stillwater, new and old. i'm hoping that issac and some other guests can come by and sit in. it would be great to make these weekly/biweekly shows a much more interractive event.
with all of this, in addition to trying to finish my studio before the real heat waves roll in, i've been quite overwhelmed. and it is an amazing time to be alive.
much to the dismay of my wife, i have been consumed with rediscovering the band Live. in anticipation of their new album, i've listened the hell out of just about everything they've recorded. if you haven't heard it in a long time, you need to dust off your copy of "Throwing Copper" and get blown away all over again. for info on their new album, check out www.friendsoflive.com
MARCH 16, 2K6-though i feel like things have been rather slow lately, things have actually been really busy. i have been playing at least every other thursday at the white rabbit coffe co. in yucaipa, ca. in addition, other cool gigs just keep popping up at the last minute. i even did a full band gig at the Roxy in hollywood. lots of fun, and it was easily one of the best shows i've had. very high energy. big love to rick, chad and robby for "bringin' it." also, gotta give some love to jen tafoo and her friends and bevie broolie for coming out once again and showing some love, as well as everyone else who came out to have a good time.
i have spent a lot of my time working on the building of my new studio. i've got a bit of a deadline, so things are now starting to come together a little quicker. spent last night putting up a new wall with my cousin, matt. i'm excited to see how it's coming together. perhaps i'll post some before and after shots. who knows.
FREEBIES! oddly enough, it seems i've had a lot of free (or relatively free) stuff head my way lately. probably the biggest news i have is that i've signed an endorsement deal with LEVY'S LEATHERS GUITAR STRAPS. if you've never checked out their products, you need to do so now. they were one of the companies that impressed me most at this year's NAMM show. they have such a wide variety of styles. hell, they even have a strap made out of tire tread!!! no lie. actual automobile tires. so, from now i will be using only LEVY'S GUITAR STRAPS. if you get a chance, pop on over there and show them some love.
next, i picked up a couple guitar effects pedals, some more of those supa-cool monster cables with the gold tips, and some other little goodies...courtesy of Sam Ash Music. Love ya, Sam.
then, a really good friend of mine, Al Kelley, donated a couple bits of gear that he bought for use at the high school. since he has "retired," due to a vindictive district and school board, he passed a couple of these things on to me, and i, in turn, passed them on to my kids.
i also, thru the people at fender, acquired a Baby Squier guitar, for my daughter, absolutely free. i get a huge kick out of walking past her bedroom and hearing her banging away on that guitar, singing her own improvised songs at the top of her lungs. big thanks to ray gutierrez for the score on that one. you're still my hero, ray.
all in all, a very fun month. it's been like christmas...in march. i've been in contact with several other companies and hope that in the near future i will have more great news to report. incidentally, if anyone out there has friends at Carvin, Line 6, Fender, G & L or Taylor, i would love to sign an endorsement deal. :)
really soon, i will be taking a much needed break from doing shows so i can focus much more attention on my wife, daughters and the baby. so, from the middle of april to the middle of may i won't be taking any shows. but that doesn't mean i won't be doing anything music related. i'll probably put in some considerable internet and phone time working on the promotions end, taking the occasional break to change diapers and run to mc donald's for hot fudge sundaes (love you, babe). i also hope to make this site more interractive and fun; the place where people check in every few days to see what's new.
thanks for taking the time to read up, and for the support. i couldn't keep doing this without you. take care and i hope to see or hear from you soon.
FEBRUARY 10, 2K6- it appears i have been remiss again. i see that it's been a couple months since i've waxed philosophical here...or waxed at all, for that matter. so, like miyagi said, "wax on."
i've taken up residence at the white rabbit coffee co. in yucaipa on thursday nights (except for the fact that i've missed a couple). i have also taken on the challenge of booking the venue on friday nights...at least until we can add saturdays, too. it's a cool little place, but that isn't what gives it it's charm. the fact is, there is NOTHING else to do in the city of yucaipa...ever. so i think the shows at the rabbit could turn into a really good thing. i've had several local heavy-weights sign on, probably as a favor, for the first couple months. for instance, vanessa jourdan and all marbles played in january, bucksworth is playing tonight. in march, oso rey and hobo jazz start off the month. i even filled in a couple times when i didn't have acts booked, being that it's a brand new venue and all.
thursdays have been a little slow (but steady) which is expected. however, it's been great for me to stay focused and sharp. it's also inspired me to write lots of new songs. i'm hoping to gradually work them in at these coffee gigs, to see how they fly.
though it hasn't seemed to be very busy, my music really has been. first off, i learned how to create and post a podcast. i'm getting ready to do my second this weekend. the first is still available at the main page. i also posted three new songs at garageband.com, just to see how they would fare. surprisingly, the songs that i though would get reamed have made it into the second round, and the one i thought would kill, died in the first. like chuck said, "goes to show you never can tell." i've also been sending lots of press kits and cd's out for various reasons. i'm hoping to make a push into radio, etc. in the coming months. i see my gigging slowing down a little, for at least a month or two, but by the middle of summer i hope to be back doing shows with the band. that may all change once the new 'bundle' arrives, but at least that's the plan for now.
got invited to tag along at the NAMM show this year. in fact, it was my first trip there.
(for those of you who have no idea what it is, the NAMM show is a huge convention where all the companies who make music related stuff get together in one location and show off all their new stuff. think DIsneyland for musicians).
i really can't imagine that i've waited until now to find a way into this thing. i met some really cool people who work for some awesome companies, and even if i don't see any endorsement deals out of it, it was an incredible day. big thanks to ray gutierrez and the people at FENDER for the hook up.
speaking of endorsements, i want to take a second to recognize a couple companies that have been extra cool to me. the first is SAM ASH. i am officially "powered by Sam Ash." they provide me with some very nice things and i tell everyone how great they are. it's a pretty cool arrangement.
the other is SOUNDS LIKE... music, in riverside, ca. the folks at Sounds Like..., especially the owner, Don, have been very cool. they put CHASING VENUS on the endcaps and even agreed to put a copy in the listening station, which is often VERY expensive.
if you get a chance, pop in to one or both of these stores and show some love, and of course, let them know why you're there.
now, the two big challenges staring me in the face are the conversion of my "studio" into a baby's room, and the relocation of my studio into a bigger space. i'm hoping that my rugged, manly gene will kick in soon and i'll have few problems during the process, though i don't know if the odds are good.
though i'm really excited about the future, i'm starting to wear down a little. it's tough doing most of this music biz yourself. so, if there's anything you think you can do to help out, it would be hugely appreciated. even if it's putting me in contact with someone else who has a "piece of the music business puzzle." i'm making huge progress, but could really use a hand.
well, if there's anyone left reading...i just want to say thanks again for taking the time and caring enough to read this stuff. it never ceases to amaze me how cool, helpful and passionate the people who have given suppor can be. so, again, thank you. i hope i can do bigger and better things and be able to repay it someday.
see you at a show soon.
NOVEMBER 23, 2K5- as i near the end of november, i feel the need to look back and recap the busiest month i've had this year (at least as far as shows go). i would expect this page to be a little long.
i started off the month at borders in costa mesa. this was kind of a rough way to start. the place was full of people, none of which appeared to like music of any kind. actually, i take that back. there were a couple college guys who acknowledged my existence and one woman who looked up from her book from time to time. the whole experience was miserable and reminded me of why i haven't played in costa mesa in several years.
the next night i played with the band at the WHITE RABBIT COFFEE CO. in yucaipa. though i had all but given up on yucaipa, i booked this show anyway. this turned out to be the best show we've had probably since the cd release at b.b. king's. despite the bitter cold, the place was packed. we had to bring out nearly every chair from the front patio and inside the shop, and still people had to sit on the brick planters and on the cold ground. the band sounded great, frozen fingers and all. we even were lucky enough to have VANESSA JOURDAN do an opening set that just killed. the crowd simply loved her. i wouldn't be surprised to see her playing there again in the spring. overall the whole experience was pretty good and restored my faith in good ole yucaipa.
a week later i was back in the OC, playing the borders in newport beach. this was, BY FAR, the WORST place i've played...probably ever. not only were the people there not at all interested in hearing music, but several times i had little old ladies come over and tell me it was too loud. (did i mention i was playing acoustic???) had it not been for two things i wouldn't have made it thru the night. first: a really nice guy named brent came down to film for his cable TV show. he even did a quick interview, in which i sounded so grateful to play that miserable room. second: a few friends (tiffany, justin and sarah) came down and gave me someone to play to. were it not for them, it would've been more like a public rehearsal than a gig. the whole experience was miserable and reminded me of why i haven't played newport in several years.
after taking a week to emotionally recover from newport, i found myself at the borders in arcadia. for some strange reason i showed up over an hour early, which was lucky, because i spent almost that much time convincing them that i was actually booked to play there that night. sure, i laugh about it now, but at the time i was highly pissed. i found myself calling home to have my wife forward an email i got from the booking guy (that told them i was playing that night) to the store, only to be told that it doesn't make any difference because they weren't notified. i finally unloaded on the guy, telling him that i had just spent two hours driving there in rush hour traffic, that this whole thing was ridiculous because it didn't matter if i was on their schedule or not, THEY WEREN'T PAYING ME ANYWAY!!! apparently this set mr. manager off a bit, and he explained that my playing would require him being pulled away from what he was doing to set up the sound equipment (which takes about 5-10 minutes). i had no idea borders in arcadia was such a tight ship that five minutes would make that much of a difference! all that aside, mr. manager turned out to be a fairly cool guy. the booking guys, i have learned, had sprung performers on him three weeks in a row without telling him. i'd probably be pissed too. once we got past all this, the night went okay (especially compared to costa mesa and newport) i even sold a couple cd's! special shout out to kathryn at the bar who was really supportive. all things considered, i would play there again. the whole experience was pretty good and reminded me of why i booked the borders shows in the first place.
the next morning i was flying down the 10 fwy on my way to phoenix, arizona. aimee thibodeaux, a woman i met in northern california on the james taylor tour was 100% responsible for this trip. she and her family welcomed me into their homes, made a steak dinner, and even gave me a bed to sleep in. they were really great people. aimee hooked me up with one of her friends, david newton, of NEWTON'S THEOREM, a really tight band that plays all over the phoenix area. this night they were playing at the lounge inside the wrigley mansion. at first i was going to be the "opening act," because they were concerned that the energy would drop if i played between sets. i reassured them that wouldn't happen. they decided to have me play during their first break to see how i did. (remember, they've never seen me play before). so, i get up on stage and do my thing and the place comes alive. now, i have to admit that i pulled out all the crowd favorites in the first set, because i didn't know if i'd get a second. nevertheless, the place was awesome and the crowd really seemed to enjoy my set, so i was asked to play the next break as well. and just when i thought i was done for the night, david insisted i play the last break, too. in the meantime, aimee had been pimping the cd's for me, and everytime i turned around she was handing me 20 or 30 bucks! her sales skills are incredible! in addition, she managed to fill up an entire page of the mailing list. by the end of the night it became apparent that i have been playing the wrong places for a long time now. i have to give mad love to sky, aimee's husband. i don't know many guys who would welcome some stranger that his wife had met years prior into his home. he is an awesome guy and from one husband to another, much love and respect. i also have to say how great their kids were. kirby, ariel and summer, big hugs to all of you. (oh yeah, and for summer: hey you!) the whole experience was AMAZING and reminded me why i play music...and that i need to play in arizona more often!
finally, the next night i found myself back in the LA area, at the barrel in sherman oaks. cool little place. dead as can be. i was reassured repeatedly that the place would be packed after 11, but that never happened. though the place was dead most of the night (did i mention i played from 9 pm to 1:30 am???), the few people that were there almost the entire night were really responsive and appreciative. early in the night, pat and barb were there to keep me from running for the door. we ended up playing a round of "stump the songwriter by requesting songs he hasn't played in several years"...which was the highlight of the night. once they left, i was quite sad. i didn't sell any cd's because most of the people in there weren't very wealthy. i'd bet that most of them didn't even have jobs. but they were good, down to earth folk that actually enjoyed music...and believe me, i was pulling some random stuff to keep myself awake! needless to say, the big rush never really happened, and i chalked the whole night up to a bit of a loss. however, when you play such a great show the night before, it's pretty hard to top it. the whole experience was a bit of a letdown (but not anywhere near as painful as newport and costa mesa) and reminded me exactly what LA is like...and why it is usually a letdown playing out there, in spite of all the lights, glamour and hype.
so, what have we learned?
1. when bad people die, they go to orange county. (j/k o.c. friends)
2. arcadia doesn't like it when you show up unannounced, but will welcome you in once they give you a hard time about it.
3. unlike most californians, the people in arizona actually like hearing live music, and will stick around and listen to people other than their friends. phoenix rocks!
4. aimee, sky, kirby, ariel and summer have helped to remind me why i do all this. i am truly greatful and honored to have met them.
5. there are still a few people who actually read this journal. thanks for taking your time to do that. i write this stuff for you.
so, that was november. quite the roller coaster. i'm trying out a couple new venues in early december, then most likely taking the second half of the month off. so if i don't see you at one of those dates, i hope to catch up with you in january.
thanks for the love and support.
NOVEMBER 17, 2K5- the tireless promotion of CHASING VENUS continues. i've been hitting any and all media sources i can find, hoping to get a little action...or at least a mention of some sort. i know from my experience with submitting writing, either poetry or prose, that it takes a while for these places to get back to you. so i check my email and my mailbox religiously, hopeful to hear something.
in the meantime, i've begun an acoustic tour. i've set up shows all over southern CA and even have a show this weekend in mesa, AZ. it's exhausting, but worth it.
OCTOBER 21, 2K5- i gotta say, it never ceases to amaze me just how much time passes between journal entries. i really oughta be more faithful to this. anyway, here's what's been happening. most importantly, the new CD is out and we had two hugely successful release parties. the first was at B.B. KING'S in universal city. the other was at THE FENDER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS in corona, ca. i just want to give a quick shout out to the other artists who came out to help kick off the new disc. thanks cindy alexander, anderson hall, and brent cain. they were all awesome and really upped the bar. it was an awesome challenge having to headline.
also i'd like to thank, officially, many of the people who helped make this new disc happen. first of all, the musicians: kris afflerbaugh, chad patrick, oso rey, brian cockerill, adam elmore, bobby leon and brian price.
next, i have to give mad props to kelly mcguire for saving this cd. he took the tracks i brought to him and turned them into gold. he even did some playing and singing. guest artist, mixing engineer, co-producer. kelly, i couldn't have done this without you.
thanks to robert hadley and the mastering labs, and everyone at groove house records. they were VERY PATIENT with me. more so, i'm afraid, than i would've been.
i have to take a second to thank my wife and kids for putting up with the incredibly crazy schedule we endured putting the finishing touches on everything. they were very sweet and actually remembered who i was when i finally "came home."
and lastly, all the friends that were uber-supportive throughout this entire process. you all kept me going. (if not for any other reason but that i wanted to make good on my promise to finally make a decent recording of "long blonde hairs."- yeah, that was an attempt at a joke )
so, this thing is finished and out in the world. what now???
well, i've been hitting the press pretty hard. i'm hoping to get many reviews in the coming months. i've also started lining up a PLETHORA (good word, eh?) of shows, both acoustic and with the band, for the next few months. i plan on being a very busy boy for a while.
in addition, i've been shopping the songs to a ton of film and tv avenues. with any luck, someone will pick one of the tunes up. maybe "back to you" will be the theme music to some model video." maybe "impossible" will be the love theme for the new hillary duff film.
maybe "starting over" will be the soundtrack for the new extreme kayaking spot! the possibilities are endless. i'm just waiting to see who bites first.
i know what you're thinking (and no, it's not, "damn, this is a long journal entry.) you're thinking "i wish there was some way i could get involved. how can i help?"
there are some things that you, as a friend, can do.
1) obviously, buy the cd. either online or at a show
2) of course, go to a show
4) tell everyone you know about the disc, especially anyone at all involved in the entertainment industry.
5) host a private house concert. very easy, and a whole lot of fun. and you can make sure none of the "lame" people show up!
6) send good vibes (hey what can it hurt?)
okay, so i guess i don't have much else to say.
oh, wait, there is one other thing. i'll be a little busy next summer. i'm expecting an important delivery in may. wish us luck. (and, of course, good vibes)
thanks for taking the time to read this.
you're the reason i do it.
AUGUST 16, 2005- well, it seems that i've had a spot of good luck amidst a very difficult week and a half. logging on today to update the site, i was able to retrieve all of my old journal entries. thank goodness that i have this site on a couple different computers. yet another example of the value of making a backup of all your work. so feel free to pop on over and check them out. i've surely come a long way in the last couple years.
now, about my week. all last week i was scrambling to get all the artwork finished and off to the manufacturers, as well as trying to get a final mastered version of the album we were all happy with. much to my shagrin, it began to look like there was no way i would make the deadline of september 2nd (the show at the fender center). so, with a heavy heart, i was forced to push the release date back to SEPTEMBER 8TH AT B.B. KING'S IN UNIVERSAL CITY, and reschedule THE FENDER SHOW FOR SEPTEMBER 16TH. all in all, not a huge crisis, but it was incredibly stressful going crazy trying to get it all to happen on time, only to realize there was no way it would happen. we even considered putting the cd's together ourselves. add into this mix a flat tire, a broken windshield, a broken side window motor, a change of personnel in the band, etc. and you have the makings of a long weekend where you don't want to get out of bed. and probably what makes me most sad about rescheduling is that i won't be able to keep hobo jazz on the bill. they already have several all ages shows that week.
however, things seem to be back on track. the cd's are in the process of being pressed, the band is complete, my voice is slowly coming back to me, and the buzz about the album is really positive. you're not going to believe the caliber of musicians i have playing with me now. it's very inspiring. but i'll tell you more about that as the shows get closer.
something else made me quite happy yesterday. i read on myspace (of course) that fiona apple is finally getting her album released by her label sometime in october. i guess that means i can take the link to the "free fiona" website off my home page. in all honesty, i'm not her number one fan, though i do really like her stuff and have huge amounts of respect for her artistically. but my investment in this whole saga is more out of an artistic solidarity. it is really frustrating to hear stories of countless artists who are shelved for years at a time because someone making big money at a label says the album isn't commercial enough. such was the case with no doubt's "tragic kingdom." and now i come to find out that fem. singer/songwriter, poe, is having the same problem. it frustrates me to hear these great musicians being held hostage because they don't seem likely to be the "flavor of the week." very disheartening and makes the idea of signing with a major label very daunting. not that i have these problems. but who knows a year from know what will transpire.
MAY 13, 2005- I find myself in an interesting position. I've been scrambling to find a second guitarist to help fill in the sound, and pretty much to no avail. Since the unfortunate departure of Brian on keys and Danny on drums, things have been a bit chaotic. Though I know the changing of the guard is pretty much a given at this point, it is frustrating to be in limbo.
I even got to the point yesterday where I got a sub up and ready for the show on the 21st, only to find that he couldn't do the gig after all. Apparently it had something to do with a free car and a demanding father.
No worries though. Things will fall into place, I'm sure.
In yet another last minute save, Jeff Ellwood has agreed to sit in on tenor sax. If you've never heard this guy, you need to pop on over to his website www.jeffellwood.com. Jeff is a top-notch jazz player and his site has tons of helpful tidbits for all sorts of musicians.
It also seems that my painful seven-month wait for my refurbished flying V is over. After several heated exchanges between me and the unnamed guitar maker, I am scheduled to pick up the instrument today. Supposedly the unnamed guitar maker had to redo the finish five times. I haven't seen it yet, but for that kind of care, I'm sure it is beautiful. There is a good chance I will debut the V at the Orange Blossom Festival next saturday, provided everything works as it should.
Yesterday I caught "the death." I'm not sure exactly what I picked up, (maybe west nile!) but I haven't felt this bad since my bout with the Spaghetti Factory induced food poisoning. As my temperature hovered around 100 degrees for the past 24 hours, I began to wonder if this illness was more intense than others I've had, or if each passing year brings a diminished ability to deal with being sick. (Hey, I spent a good 20 hours in bed. Your mind tends to wander when you're bored like that)
Anyway, it seems that a May release date for Chasing Venus is now not going to happen. But I expect that by June, the disc will finally be available for purchase. Keep your fingers crossed I don't pick up Leprosy or the Bubonic Plague, further pushing back the release date.
Speaking of the record release, I have some exciting news to share, but I'm gonna hold off until I have 100% confirmation. I will say this, though: It's gonna be a sweet gig.
Well, that's all for now. I hope to see you all at OBF on the 21st.
APRIL 28, 2005- Crunch time begins. In the midst of planning and executing a wedding, I'm doing my best to keep the progress on the album moving forward. Sadly, due to time constraints and schedule conflicts, some of my "guest artists" have had to bow out. Hopefully I will have them on the next CD. But despite that, I've had a couple other musicians lend a hand. Adam Elmore came in and put down some piano tracks. Remember that name, ya'll. You will hear about him in the future. He's an amazing talent. I only hope i get to work with him again. I also was lucky enough to get Brian Price to come in last week to play a couple violin parts. Despite my lack of preparedness, he was able to add some amazing lines to "Long Blonde Hairs" and "I Fell." Next week I'm supposed to head in to the "mixdown" phase, if all goes well with the last bit of recording. Sadly, I don't think I will have the disc ready by Orange Blossom, but I am toying with the idea of running some free samplers and take pre-orders, that will be distributed before the actual release date.
In addition, I'm starting to assemble a new crew of musicians for touring. There has been great response to both ads and word of mouth and I'm excited for the chance to work with some amazing new players.
On an unrelated note, what the hell is going on? Has anyone picked up any of the "solo albums" recently? Curiousity got the better of me this week and I bought the new Gwen Stefani and Rob Thomas solo albums. It became painfully clear that, after listening to a few songs from each, that Gwen wants to be Blondie and Rob Thomas wants to be Justin Timberlake. Call me crazy, but I don't think the world needs more of these things (definitely not another Timberlake, anyway). Even Dave Matthews felt the need this last year to put out some solo material...which pretty much bombed. Even the hardcore DMB fans I know thought his solo album was weak. At least he wasn't trying to be someone else. He was just releasing the songs that were too boring or not cool enough to put on a DMB album. I totally forgive this guilty pleasure; this self-indulgence. I have lots of songs that I love, but not many others do.
And don't get me started on the guys from Hootie and the Blowfish. (Why the hell is Darius Rucker in a Burger King commercial dressed as the cowboy from the village people? "I will weep for thee; For this revolt of thine , methinks, is like another fall of man.") This still baffles and depresses me everytime I see it. I am subsequently boycotting the Bacon Cheddar Ranch Burger.
So what happened?
I do understand that artists have the need to pursue other ventures musically. Hell, I am constantly looking for other things to do. It helps keep fresh the love of what I normally do. But perhaps the mistake is that these artists expect that they can drop these alter-ego projects on their loyal fans and get the same reception, when they've completely abandoned everything we loved about them in the first place.
With Rob Thomas, it's not as big of a deal. He is the principal songwriter for Matchbox 20. Hell, the guy wrote "Smooth." I'll forgive this dance madness he put out. But Gwen? I still maintain that she is the best frontwoman I've ever seen in a club setting, but what makes her so great wasn't that. It was that she had an amazing band behind her, that took what she did and made it great. It was hard enough to lose their best writer, Eric. Sadly, left unchecked, she has produced such lyrical gems as "Take a chance you stupid ho" and the chorus of "Rich Girl" set to the tune of "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof. It took every ounce of restraint I had not to throw the thing out the car window. (By the way, I can't tell you how fun it is to play the track from Fiddler for a ten year old who thinks that Gwen wrote a really catchy and original song. Seeing the kid make the connection is priceless.)
However, since I consider myself a loyal fan of all of these artists, I'm willing to stick by them. Not because I think everything they do is great. Hell, I even bought the last Metallica album, as bad as that was. No, I stand by these artists because they are still trying to bring us music...and because no one can be great all of the time.
Besides, nothing is worse than a fairweather fan.
APRIL 14, 2005- The recording goes on. Re-tracked a couple drum tracks and i'm starting to fine-tune the vocal takes. It's slow going, but the progress is good. At this rate, things should wrap up in the next couple weeks. I'm almost at the point where I can bring in the guest artists. Then begins the task of getting a band up and ready for the upcoming shows and tour. Also, there has been a bit of debate over where to hold the record release party. I can safely say that, as of right now, there are absolutely no details whatsoever, other than the fact that it will be somewhere in the southern half of California. I'm leaning toward and LA debut, but I'm tempted to perhaps have a listening party in the ole Inland Empire. Then again, I'm just thinking out loud now.
In a last minute stroke of luck, it looks like I'll be playing for the folks at the Greek Theatre again this Sunday. No, I won't be on the stage, but it is a step in the right direction, I hope. It's a private party for some of the execs and box owners.
I'll drop some studio shots up here in the next few days to give you all a peek into the D.I.Y. approach I've taken on this record. It's been an interesting challenge, but an amazing learning experience.
Well, take care and wish me luck on May Day.
MARCH 17, 2005- the recording continues. it's funny, but i recently read an article about recording that described the "never-ending album." reading the story of my life for the past year written by someone else has really pushed me to stay focused and get this thing done. the only hang up at this point, other than losing a perfectly good drum track to the computer gods (don't get me started! i even had a dvd backup of the file that won't work!), is that i keep finding great new musicians to lend a hand. an extremely talented player, named bobby leon, has added several tracks of hammond organ and rhodes keyboard which have really brought some of the tracks to life. in addition, i've hooked up with chad patrick, a drummer and percussionist, and i'm meeting with a great slide guitarist sometime next week. i've also settled on a mixing engineer, kelly mcguire. some of you already know this guy and his work. if not, you should hop on over to his band's website and check him out. www.kellymcguire.com. i also got invited by the orange blossom festival to play again this year. this has always been a fun show, and i really look forward to playing the stuff off the new album there.
in the mean time, i have only one other show booked, so i can spend the next two weeks really focusing on finishing the album. this saturday, march 19th, i will be performing at THE VAULT in redlands, ca. this is kind of a special show because it gives me the chance to jam with my best friend, jeff ellwood. as a last minute change, he and i decided to bring in a couple of other musicians to spice up the night a little. kris afflerbaugh, as usual, will be playing bass and nathan highland will be sitting in on drums. nathan met kris and jeff at cal state fullerton and after jamming last weekend, we decided to just turn the night into more of a fun "jam." just see what the spontaneity brings.
oh, and one other little known fact: i'm getting married. kinda wild, eh?
well, that's all for now. thank you for taking the time to read these silly entries. more importantly, thank you for your support and help.
JANUARY 18, 2005- Here it is, the first journal entry of the new year. Let me wish you all a Happy New Year. A ton has been happening lately. Most obvious is the new look of the website. I hope you like it. It will continue to change and grow as I continue to learn more about the various programs I'm using to create this new world. Please be patient and feel free to drop in as often as you like to view the progress.
I don't want to jinx it or anything, but the album is coming along nicely. We're entering the home stretch and things are really starting to sound great. As things near completion I'll post bits and pieces here on the website. My initial deadline was the first of the year, but that just wasn't in the cards. So, I'm looking at a late winter/early spring release date- that is if I can fight the temptation to install the expansion pack for "Call of Duty, United Offensive" long enough to finish the recording. I'll let you know as we get closer.
I've had many people ask lately when I'm going to start playing live again. I was planning on taking time off until "Chasing Venus" was finished. However, I may do a couple here and there, just because I'm really starting to miss playing out. I have been tossing in some of the new songs at the various open mic's around the So Cal area, but I'm starting to get the itch to gig again.
Anyway, that's about all I have for now.
DECEMBER 16, 2004-merry merry and happy happy. the album is slowly starting to take shape. i'm very pleased with the direction the music is taking. it's been a constant battle to stay healthy. aside from fighting the common cold, yesterday i kicked our dog gate accidentally and most likely fractured the piggy that went "wee, wee, wee" all the way home. luckily, i'm not playing the drums on this album.
speaking of the album, i hope to have some rough tracks up in the next day or so. i'll swap out the newer versions with the ones on the music page.
i've been spotted recently at a couple of the local I.E. open mics, most often at the vault martini bar on wednesdays. though the crowd isn't always appreciative or attentive, the vibe is stil pretty cool. besides, many of my musician friends have been regulars there for a while now. spontaneous jams have been know to occur.
i want to extend special good vibes and wishes to my good friend, oso rey, and his lady as they await the arrival of their new "cub."
the c.t. street team is slowly growing. it suddenly dawned on me that any successes i've had in the past have been largely possible because of the help of good friends and people who believe in me and enjoy my music. therefore, i thought i would give those people an opportunity to be a part of the "team." if you are interested in being a part of the street team, click the link below. there are many ways you can help and all would be greatly valued and appreciated. i look forward to see you all again after the first of the year when the tour dates are back in full swing. if you live outside of california, please let me know if you would like me to come to your town on my spring and summer tours. as of now, the calendar is very open, but i anticipate that changing in the next couple weeks.
NOVEMBER 5, 2004- Wow, how time flies! The "recording break" is officially under way. The plan is to focus more on wrapping up the album and getting the ducks in a row for the coming tour in the spring. Things are coming along quite nicely. The hardest part has been to set aside the new material I've been coming up with long enough to focus on the recorded "new" material. You know, when the muse visits, you gotta invite her in.
I've been spending time around the Redlands Ranch,doing some home improvements and actually engineering a recording project for some up and coming artists in the area. it's given me a nostalgic feeling watching them stumble over the same hurdles i faced as a "rookie." but i figure it's the least i can do to offer my services. as far as i'm concerned, you have to give back.
anyway, that's what's happening in my neck of the woods. i would love to hear from ya'll. feel free to drop me an email if you have the time. Have a great holiday season and check back soon. i hope to have some rough tracks posted of the progress on a political note...if you are a religious person, now might be a good time to pray for the safety of people all over the world. i think we may be in for a turbulent four years.
JUNE 22, 2004- well, it's official...
the recording of the new album is underway. the first seven songs are nearing completion and i have to say that i'm very pleased with the progress. now it's just a matterof getting healthy so i can start laying vocal tracks. i've also been writing quite a few songs lately, some of which may have a chance at sneaking onto the album in the second batch of tunes. i'm batting around tentative titles, but nothing has grabbed me yet.it also looks like i'm making the big shift to more electric guitar in the live shows. that should add a little "umph" to what has already become a great show.i couldn't be happier with how the band has been sounding lately and it only gets better with every show. on a related note, there are several new t-shirt designs available, which i hope to have posted on the site in the very near future. i'm also playing with some new stickers as well.
has anyone heard the new Jonny Lang CD? if not, you must run out and buy "LONG TIME COMING" TODAY! another good one is "LOS LONELY BOYS." they are some amazing players.buy these albums NOW!
more to come...
November 1, 2003- nothing much to report today, except the new look of the website. working hard all week, thanks to closure of school due to those insane fires. not much of a silver lining, but at least the time off wasn't wasted. the other thing is that we are all looking forward to next saturday's show at coffee depot.it is going to be great sharing the stage with cindy alexander again. i HIGHLY recommend you show up early to catch her set. you don't want to miss it. also, i have a small confession.i realized this morning that i'm in love with edwin mc cain...well, not the man, but his music. if you don't know about edwin's music, do yourself a favor and pop over to his website and check it out. www.edwin.com Messenger is one of the greatest albums ever made! period!
SEE YOU ALL SATURDAY AT THE DEPOT!
October 20, 2003- Things have slowed down a little on the gig front, but that in no way means I have slowed down. In fact, I've been as busy as ever. The band has been working hard on some new material, which we are pretty happy with. I'm even getting Brian to be more active on the mic. In non-music news, I recently completed the first draft of my first novel, The Perfect Man, and I am about 150 pages into my second. As soon as I finish the first draft of novel two, I will do the rewrites for Perfect Man and I'm hoping for a release date of sometime in late February or early March. I will definitely let everyone know as the info comes to me.
Preliminary preparation has already begun for the next CD, which will, at long last, be a full lenght album. The short list right now is around 18 songs, but ultimately it should be between 12 and 15 tracks. That also should be in full swing sometime around February with a tentative summer release date. There will be a majority of new material ("Frayed," "She's Imagined," "Pixie," "Way She Looks at Me," "I Fell," etc.), but some of the "lost" songs on the short list include: "Give It Time," "Long Blonde Hairs," "Monsters," and "Learning to Walk Again." I'm not making any promises, but that's what we're looking at right now. One of the songs I'm hoping to include is a lullaby I wrote for my niece and my girlfriend's daughters called, "Running." It is a sweet little tune and if all goes well, you'll have that one to knock yourselves out late at night. The FDA has confirmed it is stronger than most sleep aids, including Nyquil. A must have for any parent.
This week we are making our Universal City debut at B.B. King's at the Citywalk (Thurs., Oct. 23rd). It is a beautiful club and the gig is only possible because of my old friend Jason Nutter (formerly of Domestic Blend- Stillwater Black labelmates). Special thanks to Jason and all at Grand Entertainment.
Other big announcements include finally getting Cindy Alexander out from Hollywood to do a show in our neck of the woods. She will be doing an acoustic band set with CTB at Coffee Depot on November 8th. She will be going on around 8. You don't want to miss this show.
Also keeping me busy is my new love interest. I'm doing my best to keep my art and my romantic life pretty separate, which is quite the task if you know me. However, I'm quite happy right now and I'm sure I'll keep you posted with new material either way.
July 5, 2003- Just got back for the West Coast Acoustic Tour. Oso Rey and I did shows in Northern California and Oregon. We spent a majority of the trip in Eugene, OR with one of Oso's good friends, Carlo. He and his family were really cool and gracious enough to offer us their home for this extended stay. We were also fortunate enough to do a couple TV appearances on the NBC affilliate in Eugene, KMTR. They were really nice and I was amazed at how intense the news program is. They are just non-stop the whole morning. Our first show was at a place called, Cafe Paradiso. As it turns our, Cindy Alexander was there playing exactly one week earlier. It would have been great to see Cindy out on the road. I had to settle for listening to her new CD. We also played at a music store, Music Millennium, in Portland, OR. It was a way cool place, but unfortunately, Sunday was kind of a slow day...at least until we were done playing. Then they got a bit of a rush. The irony! The best part about it was running into a friend from college who had moved to Portland. Great to see you Mike Bellinger!
Oso had to leave the tour a bit early and missed the also disappointing show at the Brown Bag in Modesto, CA. The best part of that show was playing with accomplished singer/songwriter/storyteller, Christene Ledoux. This girl is just amazing. She sold everything she owned and just lives on the road, stopping in Modesto to stay with her family from time to time. She is throwing caution to the wind and just living her dream, playing from town to town. Very courageous, more than I could be, that's for sure. We did a few songs together, and talked forever about the biz and songwriting and just about everything else under the sun. Cool people.
Just a little side story- on the way back down south, I was supposed to stay at a good friend's house in Sacramento. When I got there, I was sitting on his couch (he and his wife out of town, on a trip thru Europe), when I noticed a slew of fleas on my socks. The house was infested and I ended up sleeping in my car in his front yard, covered in flea bites. I woke up finally at 4 am and just decided to drive to Modesto instead of hang out there in my car, afraid to go back in the house!
The next day, while wandering the streets of Modesto with good friend and former Stillwater Black bassist, Sam Pierstorff, I was offered an opening slot at Modesto's largest concert venue, the State Theatre. I did the show, opening for 70's superstars, the Little River Band. Those guys were really cool and they sounded even better live, decades later, than they did on the CD- much like the Eagles do. It was really a funny twist of fate playing that show. I went from playing for 6 people the night before, to playing for 600! The crowd was very loving and I was propositioned (nearly attacked) by single women after the show, all offering to leave long blonde hairs on my floor. It was the perfect ending to a pretty cool trip.
As I drove home, I contemplated jumping back out there in the next month or so to do another small tour. It is such a lot of work arranging this kind of trip, and just isn't a possibility without the help of good friends along the way. I just wanted to say "thank you" to a few of the people who made this trip possible at all:
Thanks to Oso Rey, the Brigolas, The Links, The Pierstorffs, Christene Ledoux, KMTR, KVAL, Ms. Larkins, Dana Plummer @ State Theatre, Pat Ryan and Little River Band and all the new friends we made along the way.
Now, back to business. We got some full band shows to do!!!
June 17, 2003- Wow, a lot has happened. We've done so many interesting shows in the past two months. Possibly the most dynamic show was at the Renaissance Faire After Party. The folks at the Rat Race Party were quite possibly the most fun and full-of-love bunch I've ever played for. We also did some lame ass battle of the bands thing in Vegas. The best part of it was going to Vegas. That was a blast. Hey any excuse to go to "sin city." Orange Blossom fest was pretty cool, as usual. Got to see Leah again, but only for a hot minute before I had do run to my stage to play. Hopefully our paths will cross again. I would love to do a show with her someday.
March 14, 2003- Preparations have begun for this year's Orange Blossom Festival. It has been enlightening being a part of the entertainment selection committee. I kinda felt like the "Simon" of the group at times (particularly when I was getting hungry), but overall the quality of the submissions was pretty good. As expected, the majority of the acts fell into the "rock" category. One thing that I found difficult is not wanting to sway the committee when a band that I knew came to the table. Objectivity is quite the challenge. I learned last night that I will be playing twice on Sunday, April 13th- at 11:30 am on the Jazz Stage as part of the Riverland Project, and CTB will play at 3:30 pm on the Regional Stage (sponsored by Budweiser! this year). They booked the two shows on the same day so I could be the assistant to the head of entertainment, Dave Tillman(basically, i'll be his bitch) on Saturday. I'm not sure what that means, but I have a feeling I'm going to be tired at the end of the day.
The new line-up has been great. We are beginning to get comfortable with each other, and I'm, thankfully, starting to get the old sound out of my head, freeing me up to shape the music how it was intended to sound. It seems that we may end up playing "musical chairs" with the drum throne for a while, but hopefully we'll settle into a permanent face.
We had a very successful show at coffee depot on march 1st. The management informed me at the end of the night that the club "was at capacity." Apparently it was the biggest crowd I've had at the depot. Thank you to all who showed up.
Something else happened, that was exciting on a "fan" level. I took a trip, with songbird friend, Sarah Miller, out to hollyweird to see Leah Andreone. She was absolutely amazing, as I remember her being a few years ago around the time she was playing in support of her album, "Veiled." I was fortunate enough to talk with her briefly before and after the show. She was very sweet, and probably thought I was a total dork. For once, I have to admit that I was a bit star-struck. Anyway, she hipped me to a place to play in hollywood, and in return I hipped her to the Orange Blossom Festival. I learned last night that she, in fact, WILL be playing the O.B.F. this year. Sadly, though, the end of her set will overlap the beginning of mine. But if you get a chance, you should definitely check her out. You can find all kinds of cool stuff at her website: www.leahandreone.com
Oso Rey and I have been throwing around the idea of a small tour or two up and down the coast in the coming months (May and June), so don't be surprised if you see some "out of town" dates on the tour page soon. We are starting preparations for that this week.
February 15, 2003- Fate's fickle fingers have had their way with me again. However, this time, things have taken a turn for the better. I am sorry to announce that the former members of CTB (Kevin Swan, Robby Ruff, and Doug Williams) have left to pursue other musical ventures. Good luck fellas.
In a serendipitous stroke, fate has delivered to me three new faces. Joining me on bass is the incomporable Mike Adler. Mike is a phenomenal player, fluent on 4, 5, 6, and 9-string bass. He is also an accomplished guitar maker, and is well known for his amazing craftsmanship. I encourage you to visit the Adler Guitars website at www.adlerguitars.com. Also joining me on keyboards is Brian Cockerill. Brian is an amazing player, who plays better one-handed than most keyboardists do with two (Brian is getting the cast of his right arm this week. NO MORE SNOWBOARDING, BRIAN!) He adds a dimension to my music which has always been missing, a professional, polished quality. On drums is the "jedi master" of the kit, Joe Dawa. Joe does things on the drums I've only heard from the likes of Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band). His grooves add just the right vibe, which has only been possible in my head, before now. These are by far the best musicians I have ever played with and I'm terribly excited at the possibilities.
My decision to not search out a replacement for lead guitar has led me back to my love of the electric guitar. I dusted off the Fender and the Gibson and invested in some more Carvin gear, so don't be surprised to see me playing a lead or two from time to time.
Other fortuitious happenings have take place as well. Not only have I been asked to return and perform at the Orange Blossom Festival this year, but I have been asked to be on the committee who chooses the acts which will perform on the more than 9 stages at the festival. This has been a great honor and has really opened my eyes as to the immense talent in the So Cal area.
I have also been lucky enough to be invited to take part in a "coalition" of singer/songwriters in the Inland area, called The Riverland Project. It became painfully apparent the night I met the other members, when we played together at the Fender Museum, that each of these players had been hand-picked for his high quality writing and abundant talent. As each guy performed one of his songs, the bar was raised. Each player took the level to a new height as we made our way around the semi-circle. I was truly honored to share the stage with such talent. And the coolest part about it is that they are all very cool guys. We have swapped gigs and have pooled our collective resources to further each other's musical careers. As a matter of fact, many of us (CTB, Play Space, Well Spent, Oso Rey) are doing a show in April at the Hard Rock Cafe in Newport. Check back soon for more info on the Riverland Project.
Not to mention the release of the "Phoenix" cd. It has been long overdue, and has been met with rave reviews from the "regulars" as well as the new listeners. Those of you who own either the "Live at Hogue Barmichael's" or the "Postcards from Neverland" discs will notice a considerable improvement in recording quality. In fact, the only criticism I have received on the disc is that there are too few songs, and not enough of the new material. All things in time, my friends. I've already begun work on the next cd, which will be a full-length disc. Be patient. Until then, "Phoenix" is available at all the shows, or if you just can't wait, you can find it at such fine music proprietors as Mad Platter and Sounds Like Music in Riverside, or All About Coffee in Corona.
JANUARY 29, 2003- welcome to the new journal page. yes it is quite small, but have no fear, i will keep the entries from the past. Just click on me down there at the bottom left and it'll take you right there!
well, we are all riding pretty high about now after that last show at B.B. KING'S in LA. the band sounded better than ever and the turnout and response was overwhelming. if you missed it, have no fear. wewill be performing there again on february 18th.
it will be all ages again, but this time we will be going on earlier (8 pm) so our inland friends can make it home before bedtime. for presale tickets, shoot me an email and we can make arrangements to meet of i can drop them in the mail.
hopefully in the next few weeks, once i've settled into the new house a bit, i'll begin recording the new cd...and this one will be full-length.i look forward to seeing you all soon and hope that life is smiling on you.
November 4, 2002- Well, again we've received good news. We just confirmed today that we will be opening for STYX at Cal State University San Bernardino on Thursday, December 12th. We will be the only opener and will play at 8 PM. Tickets are on sale now, and are $50 for the expensive seats, and $35 for the rest.but, acutally the expensive seats are already sold out! Crazy, huh? Anyway, we are looking forward to that, once we get by the VIPER ROOM show. I was disappointed to learn that the Acoustic Coffee Lounge in Colorado Springs went out of business. I guess I am meant to just relax and hit the open mics in Denver that week. I have been doing lots of solo acoustic shows, especially in LA, and have had an absolute blast. Thank you to all who have popped in out there. They have been a great place to try out my new songs. The next step will be to take the new material to the band and see what works. Don't be surprised if you hear some new tunes in the upcoming shows. We have already work three or four into the sets. Well, that's all for now. See you Sunday.
October 13, 2002- Back on the gig trail! We played a new venue (well, new to us) last night- Spitfire Grill in Yucaipa. It was surprisingly cool. Not at all what you would expect from the small town of Yucaipa. We hope to return there sometime in January. The focus has again shifted to LA and Orange County. In fact, on November 10th, we will be featured at the world famous VIPER ROOM, in Hollywood, CA (Johnny Depp's club). Special thanks to my friend, Cindy Alexander for this one! I know I mentioned her before, but again, you need to visit her site:
As for us, well, you will see less and less of us in the "Inbred Empire." I guess after over two years of slugging it out here, we have decided to go where the industry is. As usual, we are in the middle of recording new tracks...which are still, of course, unfinished. We have new merchandise, new songs, and stickers on the way, probably in the mail as I'm writing this. Though band gigs will become more sparse, I will continue to do solo acoustic shows through the holidays, all over LA, Orange County, the I.E., and even a week in Colorado, ending the week at the Acoustic Coffee Lounge in Colorado Springs, CO.
Well, I guess that's about all for now. The lyrics to three new songs are up on the lyrics page for your reading enjoyment. I'm pretty proud of the new crop of songs. If you get a second, I'd love some feedback on them. Thanks.
Some parting words from Lao Tsu:
Words alone are not enough to inspire confidence in people. They must be accompanied by correct deeds.
August 25, 2002- The batteries are recharged again. I spent much time in Colorado and the surrounding states this summer. Did an open mic or two there and just overall had a great time. Something quite odd happened once I got back...I began writing lots of music. There is a spirit to those Rocky Mountains that had been foreign to me until now. Somehow spending some time there did lots of good, and I am back ready to move full steam ahead. After a virtually gig-less summer, things are beginning to pick up again. The band is playing two shows this week, in addition to my two solo acoustic shows. We are looking to venture into the void (Los Angeles) again in the coming months, and continue to refine the sound and the relationships within the band.
There are two major changes which have taken place lately.
The first is the departure of percussionist, Issac McCorkell. After 12 years of he and I playing together, he has officially left the band to pursue a gig drumming for the Backyard Pimps. You can check them out at www.backyardpimps.com. We all wish him well and hope he has lots of fun in his ne home. He will be missed around the CTB camp.
The second is the disappearance of our short-lived manager, Steve Robles. Having not heard hide nor hair from him in over a month, we have taken the hint and have picked up the proverbial pieces and have begun to collectively assume the managerial responsibilites. You know- if you want something done right, and all. I truly appreciate the help Steve provided and his insight and guidance, and we wish him well in whatever endeavor he eventually surfaces in...if he ever reappears.
We are all really excited about the changes in the band dynamic and the new material which has been pouring out. Yesterday, I did an acoustic home recording of a song tentatively called, "My Thousand Miles," and played it for a few of my family and friends. The response was great. My friend, Ron, said, "This is the best song you've written in 5 years," and "this is definitely a step in the right direction." Hopefully things will continue to go well and the new music will work its way into the sets.
Well, that's about all for now. I'm just glad to be back and happy to still be able to share my love of music and life with the other guys in the band and with anyone who comes out to listen. Thanks to all of you.
June 24, 2002- Just played our first mall gig last weekend. It seemed like a bad idea...until we got there. The Temecula Promenade is quite the cool gig. There is a stage set up in the outside courtyard area, in front of a movie theatre. The circular courtyard is surrounded by a grass area and several restaurants with patios for outdoor seating. I was amazed to see people show up to this place with their lawn chairs and blankets to sit in the grass. Apparently this gig is becoming quite a concert venue for that area. Of course, the "Tiffany" jokes were rampant. On a side note- Tiffany is playing at the Coach House pretty soon. Good to see she is still at it. I'm heading out tomorrow for two days in Laughlin, then on to Vegas for a night there, and finally up to Colorado. I just have to see what that John Denver guy is talking about. Although, I don't think we'll all be "around the campfire" with "everybody's high." If I can stay away from the forest fires, it should be a great time. I'm hoping to find inspiration amongst the trees and critters. So tomorrow begins my jouney ala Thoreau. Into the world of the Granola! See you all on the 6th!
May 19, 2002- Chuggin' away. I have been balancing the full band shows with some solo acoutic stuff. Things have been really busy. We have been doing 2-3 shows a week for the past month and a half. It gets tough to find time to live and take care of the B.S. involved in everyday life, not to mention the social life. In addition to all that, I have been writing a lot. Half way thru my first novel, several short stories, and a stack of poetry. I'm getting a taste of what it might be like to play five days a week, wandering across places unknown. The band is starting to really sound good. We have some really cool plans for the summer and I hope they turn out as cool as last year. The shows, and the pay, keep getting better. Still working on new recordings...that we can be happy with. I think we figured out the problem with the drums. It seems that they record better if they are nicer drums. Go figure! So hopefully those tracks will be done in the very near future. It would be nice to finally have a quality disc we can all be proud of.
March 2, 2002- On and on we go. It seems that just when I get things figured out, abundant changes take place. First of these are the new members of the CTB family. Doug Williams is now on drums. I have also signed on Steve Robles as my new manager. Things are starting to get a bit exciting. We played the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles last Thursday night. I'd like to give a special thanks to Cindy Alexander for showing up- even though she didn't hear me sing "Joei" in the breakdown of "Wishing Well." If you haven't heard Cindy, you definitely need to check her out. She is a great songwriter with the voice of an angel. I entreat you to visit www.cindyalexander.com.
We will be at the Falconer Pub tonight, celebrating their 3rd anniversary.
With each new week, things seem to gather more and more momentum. I spent most of the day yesterday working on mixing tracks for "Distraction." As each tune gets closer to completion and the list of past shows swells, the sense of accomplishment grows. Who knows what the near future holds, but the forcast calls for sunny skies and not a cloud in sight. Keep your fingers crossed, and who knows, you just might actually hear my voice on the radio again sometime soon...or God forbid, on the tube!
You can also expect several new tunes to surface in the coming weeks at the shows. I regret having to part ways with James Davis, and I am totally grateful for his hard work. He is a great guy and I truly wish him, and his family, the best of luck. But, the machine keeps turning, and time stops for no man. "Hold on to them hats and glasses..."
December 20, 2001- It seems that whenever you are ready to take a break, someone calls you up and offers you a gig that you just can't turn down. First was the Delta Sorority in Redlands. How could we turn down playing a private party for a couple hundred college girls. We would have to be stupid. So we did that one. Then was the Mission Tobacco Lounge. The shop is changing owners and we are unsure what will happen to live music there in the future. We were one of the last bands to play for Raul, the founder of the place. Ironically, the band to play the very next night was Loose Change, a band I played with right before doing this whole solo thing. I have no idea if they sound any better than they used to, but I wish them luck either way. So, now we are finally taking a breather for the remainder of the year and a couple weeks in January. However, chances are you can see me, and maybe a couple of the guys, out at one of the open mic nights. They are like going to karaoke, they are addicting. Last night, Wednesday, was the Falconer in Redlands. Then tonight is Coffee Depot, which is every other Thursday. I like going to these because there isn't much pressure. You just show up, play your couple songs hang out. There is no set up, no merchandise to deal with, no "business" because it isn't your show. You are a guest, as is everyone who plays. Kind of refreshing, ya know? So as I look back over the last year's list of tour dates, I realize that we didn't let this one just go idly by. We did a huge amount of shows, and I could feel it at the last couple, that we have begun to grow close as a unit. We have also begun to grow close with the friends who have supported us this year. It has been a great ride,and I am grateful to anyone who shared in it at all. God bless you and have a save and happy holiday season and a prosperous new year, filled with abundant love.
November 24, 2001- The holidays are raidly approaching. Members of the CTB camp have suffered hardship in the las few weeks. Issac McCorkell and his family lost almost all of their possessions in a fire that destroyed their place. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the fire. In response, we are doing a benefit show to raise money to help them thru this difficult time. Issac is a bit shy about the whole thing and feels a bit uncomfortable by all the attention, but we all would like to show him and his family that they mean a lot to us and we want to help them bounce back from this trying time. We will be taking donations at the show on December 1st, at Coffee Depot in Riverside. Visit the Tour Info page for details. We are also grateful to the local musicians, 4 Feet Deep and Micah Henderson, who have offered their time and talents to play at the benefit show. I hope that we can pack that place and do a little good for Issac, his wife, and their new baby. There, but for the grace of God, go I. Kinda puts things in perspective for me. Anyway, we all had a good time at the Coach House on the 16th. It wasn't really our crowd, but we nuzzled our way into their hearts anyway. As the year nears its end, I look back over all the experiences we have had in the last 12 months, and am truly grateful for the love and support of so many people who have come out to shows or have simply sent replies to the vast number of emails wishing us well in their absence. I would like to extend a warm thanks to everyone who has been there to share in a few fleeting moments when I was able to open my heart thru my music. Thank you for listening. It makes all the difference.
October 2, 2001- Well, we are back from the week-long trip to Northern California to do shows on the James Taylor tour. Had a really great time, despite small "discussions," Robby's "injury," and not-so-awesome accomodations. We set off Monday night for Stockton, then shot over to Sacramento on Tuesday to do the show at the Sac Valley Amphitheatre. I had such a cool time that, jackass that I am, I forgot to get paid. It was all good though. They paid us at one of the other venues. We spent Wednesday and Thursday wandering around Concord and San Francisco. Saw some old friends, made some new ones. Got propositioned by a "professional woman" who was really nice. Declined the offer, though, as you can imagine. Then we played the Chronicle Pavillion Friday night. Didn't have as great a time that night, but still got to watch the James Taylor show...again, as well as his sound check. Then on Saturday we did the show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. That show was wonderful! We had such a blast. The crowd really dug the set, and we sold a ton of those acoustic CD's. Although, after the rough night Friday, we have dubbed this the "Playing for the cows from behind the lattice tour- 2001."
Ask one of us sometime if you want to hear that story. So, now it is back to reality. Back to work. Back to being "normal" for a while...figuratively speaking. But we are looking forward to finishing the tracks we started the week before we left. They sounded really good and they may turn into quite a nice disc of new material. (Doesn't that sound familiar?) There is sooo much to write about. I guess I will just leave it at this and keep some for myself and those who showed up. Perpetuate the rock star mystique. ;)
August 28, 2001- We are all riding pretty high right now. We had a great show Sunday at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana. We were the opening act for the Bacon Brothers and Cindy Alexander. The crowd was very responsive and supportive. For some reason, "Long Blonde Hairs" continues to be the overwhelming favorite. Who knew that silly little tune would do so well?After our set, Cindy Alexander gave a solid acoustic duo performance, and the Bacons finished the night off "Footloose Style."
I must admit, we all found it pretty surreal to be shootin' the bull backstage with Kevin and Michael Bacon (not to mention Kira Sedgewyck). They were all very cool. And somehow Cindy and I ended up taking pictures in her dressing room shower! (It was all very innocent, actually. She is a great sport)
We are totally grateful for this opportunity and all the really cool people who came out and showed the love. We are back at the Falconer this Saturday, and then it is prep for the big Birthday Bash on September 18th. I'm hoping to make that one quite a big deal. That will be the last show before our "mini-tour" with James Taylor. Then it will be back to biz in October.
July 25, 2001- Hmmmm. Interesting show at Noise Attic. Very different vibe than the last couple joints we have played. Felt very similar to that first gig with "Voice of Reality" at Lamppost Pizza, back in 1989. Gotta love the all ages venues. We have a few bar shows coming up, then in september we will be doing a few acoustic nights in preparation for the James Taylor shows up north and in Phoenix. We also have couple cool showcase-type gigs in the works for August. And possibly a Redlands show at the Falconer.
It is weird, that when you write a song, you take what you are feeling at that particular moment and give it a tangible representation. The amazing thing is, even years later, the song will take on a life of its own. Its meaning will change depending on what is happening in your life. I noticed this the other night at an open mic. Very cool, I think.
We are planning on recording again at the Tobacco Lounge on the 11th. The tracks turned out surprisingly well the last time, so we thought we would refine things a bit and give it another go. Wish us luck. Two of those recordings are making their way onto MP3.com in the next few days. Be sure to go download "This Girl" and, at long last, "Long Blonde Hairs."
July 11, 2001- Many cool shows have come and gone the last three weeks. great fun. It is always a pleasure to play the Mission Tobacco Lounge. Actually, we recoreded the show on the 6th. Hopefully we will hear some songs that we all like amidst the 30+ tunes we played that evening. Who knows, they just might find their way onto MP3.com, or a new, much better sounding live recording. We'll see. We are also planning on recording the show on August 11th at the Mission Tobacco Lounge, so if you can make it down, that would be great to have the support. There are several new songs, including the newest: "Indifference." I have been writing up a storm lately. Other new tunes include: "Distraction," "Give it Time," and a full band, full tilt version of "I Hope." We also have had the luck to have Jeff Ellwood there on tenor sax for a few shows. That has been great. Hopefully we will see him at the August 11th show. Keep your fingers crossed. Well, that is about it. summer is in full swing, and I'm off to the pool.
May 28, 2001- Memorial Day. Well, we did our first of three long nights at the Mission Tobacco Lounge this weekend. I must admit, this is a pretty fun place to play. We had a lot of new and old friends come out to show the love, and made a few more. Thanks to all of you who were able to make it. We did a lot of new tunes, including "Distaction," "Give It Time," and a tune called, "A Case of You" that I wrote almost ten years ago when I was playing blues! We will be back there on June 29th. In the meantime, we will be at Lake Alice Trading Co., right next door, on Wednesday, June 13th. This will be an audition, of sorts, because the usually have coverbands playing. Since we only do a handfull of covers, we will need lots of support that night. Speaking of cover songs, we have tried out a few new tunes that are a ton of fun to play. If you wanna know which ones they are, you'll just have to show up on the 13th!~ :-p
There should be a new song, from the Postcards from Neverland CD up on MP3.com site in the next few days. It is an angry little tune called "I Hope," that as sort of a therapeutic outbusrt from last December. Jeff and I had both gone thru pretty rough breakups and you can just hear the anger and betrayal in the performances. We laugh our asses off when we hear it now. I hope you dig it.
May 18, 2001- Hmmmm. Interesting couple of weeks. We have since inked some really cool shows for the summer and early fall season. We will be taking a trip up to San Francisco in late September to do two acoustic dates on the Levi's First Stage before the James Taylor concerts. Then we shoot out to Phoenix, Arizona to do another of these shows the first week of October. I am also working on some great outdoor (and FREE) shows in Riverside for July and August. It is funny, for a couple months we had been playing all over Orange County and LA, and now we will be spending much of the summer in the hometown area. Too wild. I have been working on lots of new songs and hope to debut some of them at the Mission Tobacco Lounge on May 25th.
Well that is about all for now...other than being a single guy...again. Surprise, surprise. Well, I guess it was about time.
If you are surfing around, you should shoot on over to my friend, Regan's mp3 site and check out some of her stuff. It is very different than what I'm doing musically, but we have been talking about collaborating a bit. I'm pretty excited to see what will happen when the two opposite ends of the music world collide. We'll see if it is in the stars.
April 25, 2001- We have been working on some new tracks over the past couple weeks. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision, but we all agreed that we weren't happy with the recordings we had and were working on. So we scrapped it all and went back to the drawing board.
In addition to new studio tracks for some of the songs off the live disc, we are looking at a few of the cover songs we have been caught playing live. The hope is that we will complete a full length CD to be released sometime this summer. Keep your fingers crossed. This morning I was listening to the rough tracks for Equilibrium and Wishing Well. I am quite optimistic.
We also found a cool place to play in Lakeforest, just past the Irvine Spectrum, called, The Gypsy Lounge. Who knew? It is kind of a combination of Hogue Barmichael's rough bar atmosphere mixed with the posh, kick-back vibe of The Gig in West LA (basically, a bar with couches and paintings on the walls). We will be back at the Gypsy Lounge on June 7th.
Our next show is at Back to the Grind. I'm not sure if we are gonna do this one all acoustic, or 1/2 acoustic (2 sets w/drums, 2 sets w/o drums). But it should be a fun time either way. We will be playing there on May 25th, from 9- midnight. As always, admission is free. They have kickin' coffee and great baked treats.
Well, that is all for now. Take care.
April 16, 2001- Hmm, interesting couple weeks. First of all was the the show with Dread Zeppelin at 14 Below. Lots of fun. James had his trial run, and did a great job. Damn, that man can hit them canz! Then we did the show at the Coach House with Rockapella on the 11th. Absolutely loved the acoustic show. And the crowd seemed to really dig it. Never a letdown doing a show at the Coach House.
We also got together this weekend to begin some new recordings. We did some wacky tunes, in addition to some much requested material. We are still planning on doing Long Blonde Hairs. I am amazed how many people wanted a recording of that tune at the Coach House. I do need to get around to it soon.
This week we are playing in Lakeforest, at the Gypsy Lounge. I have heard great things about this venue. However, we are hoping to set up some Inland Empire shows in May. We'll see.
April 4, 2001- Well, things have changed quite a bit. We have nearly completed studio tracks we have been working on since last fall ( "Empty," "Bit by Bit," "Tokens," and "Tired of Waiting"). It seemed like we would never finish them! I am looking forward to getting back in and recording several of the newer songs, like "Long Blonde Hairs," "This Girl," "Postcards," and "Sweet Vanilla." Who knows?
Also, I have recruited James Davis to play drums for the upcoming shows in LA and Orange County (April 7- 14 Below w/Dread Zeppelin & April 19- Gypsy Lounge). We also have the special acoustic show on April 11, at the Coach House with Rockapella.
***I am hoping to do some travelling in the next few months. If you would like me to come to your town, let me know and I will do my best to find a venue in your area. Right now I am looking at San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, New York, and Boston. The east coast cities will more than likely be in the summer months.
Well, I guess that is all for now. If you get a chance, you should go check out the Righteous Babe Records Site, home of Ani Difranco. There are lots of great links and mp3's.
See you at 14 Below, the Coach House, or the Gypsy Lounge.