Monday, December 31, 2007

Real Guitars Are For Old People. Issue #30

A few nights ago I was introduced to the gaming phenomenon known as "Guitar Hero" through it's recently released offspring, "Rock Band". For those of you who don't know (and I'm sure most of you do since I'm kinda late on the bus), these games follow the system of a "dance dance revolution" type experience where you must match up your movements (Hitting a series of 6 buttons and "strumming" the guitar controller) with a patterned grouping of color buttons in the rhythm/timing of how they are displayed. In "Rock Band" you not only have a guitar controller, but also an electronic drum controller setup, as well as bass and a mic which actually can tell if you are off pitch or not. Once you have everyone on their instruments you are ready to rock through a series of songs including "In Bloom" by Nirvana, "Say it ain't so" by Weezer, and "Should I stay or should I go" by The Clash.

To quote a phrase by uttered by "Stan" last month on SOUTH PARK...

"Real guitars are for old people."

As we played (here comes the old man), I found myself wondering how many people would actually be interested in starting a real band after their "Rock Band" experience, and how many hours logged on this game could have translated into an actual gaining of real guitar skills. I assume some as you would gain some finger dexterity, rhythmic skills, and you would get better playing in time since you perform to the equivalent of a metronome. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's a waste of time because I loved it too, and I think it's probably more healthy considering it's "just for fun" and probably wouldn't turn someone in a head case like most of us musicians are.
Even cooler is where you get the "band practice" experience through the Xbox live service by logging in from separate homes for a full concert. Somewhere in America this conversation is happening..."Dude, Mike didn't show up for the gig tonight. I really need to know how serious he's taking this project. I want to take this all the way to level 99 and I don't know if he's in it for the long hall. Does a band talk work for you tomorrow night after I finish all the chores my mom gave me?" drama, even in a virtual world it manages to find it's way in...

All in all after playing it for a few hours I actually found it pretty hard and VERY fun. The way the programmers mixed the songs so that the guitar tones are HUGE really made it feel like you were playing through a big amp. I had so much fun in fact, that I told myself I couldn't get it do the fact I might lose my job by forgetting to write real songs and instead focusing on getting a "230-Note Streak" on the guitar solo to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive".


Might make a good story though. :)

See you in 2008!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays! Issue #29

Today is Christmas Eve and on behalf of the band and I, we want to wish you a very Happy Holiday Season! For those of you who are currently stuck in retail hell...get home soon. There are many things to be thankful for this year, and your continued support and interest in the music is a big part of those reasons so thank you! I hope you find time to relax this week, and please enjoy this stocking stuffer in the form of a video from the "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" CD Release show in November!

Happy Holidays to all!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crocodile Tears. Issue #28

In case you haven't yet heard, Seattle's own Crocodile Cafe shut it's doors for good abruptly last Saturday. The club opened it's doors April 30, 1991 and since then had become nationally known as one of the best rock clubs and places to see music in the Northwest. I've seen my share of shows at the Croc and though I unfortunately never played a bill there under my own name, I am thankful to have stepped on stage for a night while I was temporarily the lead guitar player for SWEET LOU in 2003.
I know that a lot of people are sad about this as it was a destination spot for music lovers who knew the evening would be ABOUT THE MUSIC (what a concept), but my reminiscing comes more in the form of what it symbolized to me as a young teenager in North Seattle...

When the Seattle Scene "exploded" in the early 90's, I was a 12 year old just starting to discover music (and my teenage identity) who every morning ate breakfast while flipping through the paper to see what exciting band was featured this week, and hoping there was a picture of what was sure to be my favorite new band (I didn't know many).
When you read interviews now with the popular Seattle bands of that time, they dismiss the "Seattle Boom" as annoying and unnecessary; an artificial hype that couldn't sustain itself and ultimately destroyed many bands in the process of unrealistic career expectations. I can totally understand that point of view if you were involved directly in that time, but for me as a young suburban kid looking into a yet unattainable world of music and art...I FUCKING LOVED IT.

SCREAMING TREES, SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM...these guys were like gods to me and still to this day I wish I was of age at a time which appeared to me like pure magic. It seemed like at the core of all this was a Valhalla-like club called the Crocodile Cafe. This was the place I always felt like would be my first destination of choice should it work for a 13-year old to get away with a fake I.D.
All the good shows seemed to happen there, and it seemed like THE place I needed to get into first when the time was right; a mystical realm where you were transported into rock and roll ecstasy.

When I finally did play there, it was exciting but I also had the feeling that I missed out on being a part of a different time and that no experience could be what I had built it up to be in the head of a music obsessed teenager. The Crocodile Cafe I will hold in my memory was the Candy Cane lane of music and the unattainable woman of adolescent dreams...

As stated in my good friend Patrick Porter's blog, it is very difficult to run a successful business, and even harder to run a good music venue. The Crocodile Cafe did it for many years and for that reason alone it deserves our respect. Still, I wonder what this means in the bigger picture of things. With more and more live music venues closing in the past 5 years, we see an increasing trend of live music seemingly becoming lower and lower on the entertainment priority list for the public at large.
You have to ask yourself (especially someone in my line of work) why this is. In the age of Netflix, iTunes, and everything clawing at your entertainment dollar while sitting at home; it appears that more and more live music is taking a backseat. I by no means am offering a solution or saying I know why this is, but more or less just throwing out the questions that need to be asked no matter how uncomfortable.

Does live music matter anymore? I think so, but then I'm also pretty biased. :)
I think here is also where some of the responsibility lies with local area musicians in any city that make up most of the weeknight billings in clubs like the Crocodile.
I know that it's a challenge for myself and ALL fellow musicians to get new people out for shows who have never heard your music before which is half the battle in expanding your fan base. It's not that these people aren't extremely talented (many times they are), it's just that many people have been burned on exploring the local music scene and not being "met halfway" in the relationship/live performance. I can completely understand because for years I too have tried to catch the random newly hyped local band expecting the best and found myself leaving disappointed. Does that happen all time? No, but enough that I can understand why "Joe Music" may have given up on supporting his local music scene. I also know that that's probably a pretty unpopular thing to say, but unfortunately that's what I feel may be an ugly truth and probable contributing piece to the puzzle of why more and more clubs close. I'm all for original art through and through, but there's a reason why even though we're force-fed "American Idol" groups against our will, we turn around and make them the biggest selling albums of the year. Why? I believe it's because people want songs they can relate to that tell a story and artists that they can believe in no matter how the artist reaches their success. If the average listener/show attendee got the same feeling from the majority of his/her local music experiences, I can promise you the Wednesday nights would be packed, clubs would be thriving, and "I work early" would be and excuse of the past.

With more and more venues closing and the corporate airwaves getting increasingly homogenized,I think it's a challenge for all of us (myself included) to up the local music game. This isn't a half-assed pathetic call to arms that so many of us have read over the years for "invigorating the scene" (I'm not sure there's even a scene anymore) that never happens, but more of a look into how we artists may be part of the problem. I'm talking stronger songwriting, I'm talking stronger performances, I'm talking about taking the time to learn how to sing the parts right (you'd be surprised), and I'm talking involving "Joe Music" in a way that I think people are wanting to be involved from the heart void of any "scene" or exclusivity. I'm not saying by any means that this is a responsibility to be filled my myself or ANY one band at all. What I'm saying is that we artists collectively have a responsibility to the venues we play to bring quality entertainment to the table and they equally have a responsibility to us to provide the environment where that interaction can take place between artist and performer. If one of those things is unbalanced, it's not working for anybody be it performer, venue, or listener.

"Build it and they will come?"

Maybe, maybe not; but we don't know until we do. I'm sure this will be a pretty unpopular viewpoint (A.K.A. piss some people off) of a what I consider to be a crucial piece in ensuring local music sustainability, but I encourage you to tell me why you disagree if you do for both musicians and listeners alike.

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Now What?/6-Month Recap. Issue #27

O.K., I am partially back among the living now, at least enough to write something that might be interesting. This has to be one of the worst flu bouts I've had in a while, and I am ready to be out it the world (shoreline?) again.

Hmmm...lot's I wanted to write about last week. Let's start with the "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" CD Release show at the HIGHDIVE. Lots of fun, and I hoped everyone enjoyed seeing new full ban lineup. Seems like there are lots of new people around that had never been to a LAYMANS TERMS show before and thought that I was just a acoustic artist and were slightly confused. That's funny because I always thought people were confused when I would just play solo which used to be the exception until the past year when that's how I've been playing mostly. I really enjoy playing with the new band, and I hope you got to rock out!

It had been about 5 years since my last CD Release show (LT's "Everything You Love And Hate"), and the event in itself has always served as a "Christmas like" event for me; something you looked forward to for months and put a lot of weight into thinking it was the most fun you would have all year. Not so much self-pressure was put into this one, and I think that is kind of representative of the way music has changed for me, probably in a good way. Instead of having it be the end all personal inventory event of the year, I viewed it as more of a snap-shot in time and more of a celebration of accomplishment with friends. I found the whole process of recording, promoting, and organizing the event much different experience-wise since it was under my name instead of a separate band identity. In some ways it was a lot harder being all on my plate, and in many other ways much more fulfilling when success's came and challenges were overcome in the process. A year ago, I thought a solo CD Release would be years away and for that I'm very thankful in having been given the tools to speed up that process...

That said, I've been thinking while sitting with a head full of goop on the couch this week (and watching "Keeping Up With The Kardashians"...I'm sorry) that perhaps I've let the focus of this blog slip a little bit. When I started it, it was all about the process and bringing readers on the journey of how the hell I was going to make getting back into doing music as a job. I think I've done that mostly, but I know I've let explaining the process (as short and painlessly for you as possible) get away from having print time. Maybe people don't mind, but until I get comments saying "STOP WRITING ABOUT THAT" I think I may explore it a little more....


A: First and foremost, I know many of you have forgotten where the record stores are in your area (what's a record store?). If this is the case for you don't worry, I've got your back....

You can find "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" on iTunes for $6 by downloading directly HERE!

If you would like a physical manifestation of the album, feel free to hop in your suburban northwest vehicle and go to EASY STREET RECORDS on lower Queen Anne, or your nearest SILVER PLATTERS. Stocking stuffers friends, stocking stuffers...

Here's a picture of my dudes and I before the CD Release show! I love this picture.

We also had local photographer Heather Canik film the show on her SUPER nice camera (2 shots still and roaming), for a nice video to be put together in the next month or so. I've seen the footage and it looks great! Now if we can only piece together enough footage where I'm not standing there playing while catching flies like a mouth breather. "Art imitates life imitates art imitates..."

As I stated last week, I wanted to do a little 6 month/half-way point re-cap for this year long deal I signed on for with ISLAND FILM GROUP. So far I've gotten to do some pretty cool stuff in the form of the following below...

#1: Record a solo album.
#2. Get a full performing band together and release the album.
#3: Sell a song to a T.V. show, "Beyond The Break" ("Thicker Than Leather" off SFTOR).
#4: Record and release my first produced E.P. for another artist in the the form of Gigi Edgley's "...SO IT SEEMS".
#5: Play a 10 date tour with TJ SHERRILL.

I feel that these things have set the path for what I am hoping to accomplish in the next 6 months. First and foremost, I need to do everything I can to promote the disc, and with that brings more touring, and more playing out of the Seattle area.
On top of staying fresh with my own material, ISLAND FILM GROUP has some projects coming down the pipeline I need to start preparing for and once I can share I will pass it on.

Gigi Edgley and I are also looking to do some performance dates in the late winter/early springtime, and TJ and I plan on expanding the tour radius as we step into 2008. As always, I'm sure there will be some unexpected steps along the way and I'm welcoming those too...:)

Next week I'll talk some more about COLLIDER and clear up the difference between that and the Kyle Stevens Band a little more in-depth...

P.S....hope no one got to flooded earlier in the week. My garage did a little bit and I became and expert in water diversion as my yard was dug up to create some different drainage paths. I was feeling sorry for myself until I saw pictures of our friends in Chehalis. NOT GOOD. Stay dry, and see you next week...


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Feeling Like Crap. Issue #26

Last Wednesday was the last of 2 CD Release shows for "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM", and thank you to all who helped us birth her @ HIGHDIVE. This the halfway point blog entry wise documenting my year development deal, and I had planned a big review of the show and summary of the year so far. Unfortunately, that wont be happening this week because I have the flu and I don't even know what I'm typing. You deserve better than reading the ramblings of someone half coherent, so I'll make up for it next week.

Also, if anyone took any pics of the concert please send them to, and I'll put them up on here next week.

See you soon,


Monday, November 26, 2007

Wolverine On Drums! Issue #25

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came out to the All-Ages CD Release show at THE COMIC STOP last night and helped make it a huge success! The band and I had had a great time and we hope you did too. Also a big thanks to The TJ SHERRILL BAND and their fans for coming out and starting the evening out right.

For a little over a year now the owners of THE COMIC STOP and I have thrown around the idea of doing a show there and it felt good to finally fully realize the concept. Hopefully it will be something we can do again in the future...
I am being serious when I say that playing a show where I can combine two of my favorite things on this Earth (rock music and comics) was a magical moment for me. I'm glad you were part of it!

Now the focus is on the Big CD Release show at HIGHDIVE on Wednesday night (11/28)!
We open the evening @ 9:00 sharp, followed by CARAVEL and HEY MARSEILLES.
Cover is $5 at the door...

See you there as we present "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" to the spirits of Fremont, but until then enjoy the photos from last night!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meet The Band/All-Ages CD Release (11/25)! Issue #24

I just got back from the chiropractor and I must say I'm feeling better (thanks for asking!). It turns out there was some wonkiness going on in this little frame from the car accident with Gigi that I really didn't feel until a few days ago, so I decided to check it out. All I can say is that it sounded like popcorn. Mmmmmm...melted butter.

So here's the deal, I think it's time I told you a little bit about my band who is playing with me at the CD Release shows, don't you? After all, they've tried VERY hard to not roll their eyes at me this week, and since that means they've earned not 2, but 3 gold stars for their efforts, I think they deserve a cookie in the form of a proper blog profile.

First up, Matt Edington...

Matt and I go WAY back to when we met at age 13. He had just gotten a acoustic guitar, and I had just gotten my 3/4 size "Harmony" electric for my birthday. Actually, that and Pearl Jam's "Ten" album. It was a GOOD birthday. Matt and I decided to start playing together since we didn't know anyone else our age who played (that we liked), and set out to "destroy" the Whitman Middle School Talent Show that was to take place in the spring of 1993.

Did we know how to write songs? NO.

Did we think we did? YES.

That started a musical marriage for Matt and I as we taught each other how to play guitar over the years as we started a band called A NEW BEGINNING (Deep...), that turned into AGAINST THE PILLAR (think Sharon Stone in "Sliver"), evolved in to AREA 51 (Matt was into aliens), and finally became LAYMANS TERMS. LT put out 1 album with Matt in the lineup before he left in 1998. Over the years Matt and I have stayed in touch as he spent years on and off living in Asia and drinking Foo-Foo drinks.
When he moved back in early 2006, we talked about playing together again and flirted with some song ideas over the next couple of months. Nothing seemed to be sticking as we both had pretty specific ideas of what we wanted to do that didn't exactly go together. In Spring of 2007, we just decided that the most important thing is to play together because of chemistry, and the band would develop it's sound natura This is how our other band COLLIDER came about, and we'll actually be playing a few of those songs at my CD Release shows as well.
Besides playing in COLLIDER and recording as a solo artist under the name FORCEFIELDS, Matt has also offered his services for my solo deal and enjoys trying to make mess up my vocals with a grab bag of ridiculous faces thrown at me while I'm singing. If you see him throwing these at me, feel free to throw things at him...

Next up, Mark Wooten...

I met Mark through my wife's family's church when I was approached a few years ago to help with a youth band called THE COVERALLS. The band was made up of High School students that belonged to the church that wanted to perform at community events/school fundraisers, etc...
Tim Jolin is a good friend who "runs" the band and he asked me if I would be interested in helping out. I said no problem due to the fact that LT had just
broken-up, and the kids were really nice and motivated to learn "The Rock". Tim told me about Mark and how he was looking for a new project to get into. I played with him in a couple of off-shoot Coveralls shows, and after a while told him that I was in the planning stages of getting a solo band together. He said he would be interested, to let him know when I was ready to pull the trigger. Mark was part of the early Seattle scene in a band called ZIPGUN, and politely tolerates my many questions about old-school Seattle Music and who he knew and played shows with. The best of his stories I heard so far was when he and his old band caught Cali Punk band BAD BRAINS stealing all his bands gear cause' they "thought it was theirs". Yeah...

Finally, Ian Caruso...

Ian is a funny guy. This is important in a drummer, especially since many times it is the only thing that will cover-up the annoyance of all the other "drummer-isms" that come with the territory. The good thing is, Ian doesn't have any of the "-isms" that I'm used to dealing with with drummers. He actually shows up on time, cares about what's going on in the other instruments, and can stop playing when people need to work things out. I keep telling him I'm waiting for something to surface...
Also, Ian knows someone EVERYWHERE, and seemingly a little something about EVERYTHING but not really in the annoying way. Growing up in the North end of Seattle and holding an array of past day jobs all over while never leaving for College, my wife had always told me that I knew someone everywhere. I see now that I'm not even in the same league of social whore-dom as Ian. I have much to learn...
Ian also owns many drumsets and has a cover-band fetish from what I can gather.
In closing about Ian, he and I share a similar past in that we both swam in High School. We also both made it to districts in our league, but he denies that I saw him having his back shaved pre-race in the locker room. Maybe it wasn't him (maybe), but Seattle Prep swim guys were pretty hardcore about that stuff and I did see the team doing that on more than one occasion.
If there are any witness to put this debate to rest, then please come forward...

I hope that everyone feels they know the band a little more now, and be sure to introduce yourself to them at the CD Release if you feel like it.

What...CD RELEASE!?!

Yep, it's been weeks of me stapling it to your memory and it starts this Sunday, November 25th with an ALL-AGES show @ THE COMIC STOP in Lynnwood!

The ROCK starts at 6:00 with TJ SHERRILL opening the evening and it's only $2 at the door. Copies of "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" will be on sale for $6, and we'll also have the new T-Shirts for $10

THE COMIC STOP is the best comic shop in the Metro Area and will be to date the closest I will have gotten to rocking out at the X-Men's Xavier Mansion. They won't return my calls...



Sunday, November 11, 2007

This Is An Album Cover. Issue #23

This week the P.R. caravan for "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM" has been in full effect and starting to gain some momentum. I thought I'd share the album cover with you (above), and let you know what we've got scheduled surrounding it's release. We now have two CD Release shows planned as I decided I actually don't hate people under 21, and thought it might be nice to include them as well.

Before that, let me tell you that the first sample tracks off the album have been posted on my myspace site HERE! The songs put up are "Sparkle and Fall", "Getaway Car", and "This Is Not A Love Song".


That said, the first show will be ALL-AGES on Sunday, November 25th, at THE COMIC STOP in Lynnwood. The show starts at 6:00pm with my buddy TJ SHERRILL opening, and the band and I following right after. Cover is $2 at the door and sorry drunkys no alcohol at this venue, but if you like good music, soda pop, and 7-layer dip then this the show for you!
Seriously though, if you've got kids and have been wanting to come out then know that this is a great family-friendly venue. THE COMIC STOP is the best comic shop in town, and if you disagree I'll fight you. I'm not trained, but I do read A LOT of comics so I'm guessing one of my "moves" will land...HARD.

As reported before, the +21 CD Release show will be Wednesday, November 28th, at HIGHDIVE in Fremont. People know it's my favorite rock club around, and they always treat us well here. The cover is $5 at the door that night and we'll be opening the evening at 9:00PM followed by CARAVEL, and HEY MARSELLIES.

This is my show to be at this year, so pass the word!

I've included a clip from last week's TOST show, and it was good to see some of you out there for a stripped down set with Matt and Ian. The song featured below is a new song called "Getting Better" that Matt and I wrote in August...

My old High School friend Bryant Moore just released his first video for his new single "Baby Can I Wear the Dress?"

I hoping to sneak on stage with him soon and jam out on it in the near future if he lets me...

Also, send good vibes to Patrick Porter of EXPLONE and Andrew Norsworthy as they continue their fall tour across the U.S. of A.

If you are in the New York are this weekend, Gigi Edgley will be appearing at BIG APPLE CON this weekend selling her new album, "SO IT SEEMS..", and "BLUE SHIFT" comic book. Also appearing will be the French-woman from "LOST, as well as the freaky "Ethan" guy who from what I hear is Tom Cruise's cousin. This is the only time you will see the words "Tom Cruise" in this blog, unless my mom hacks the site and posts something of her own...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Have Been To The Mountain (FARSCAPE Convention Re-cap). Issue #22

Last Thursday I caught a flight out to Burbank at the Dime-Slot of morning to play at the 2007 convention. If you have read earlier blogs, you know that I recently did a CD with Gigi Edgley who was one of the main characters on the show named "Chiana". Every year since the show has been on (and 4 years since canceled) there has been this HUGE gathering of people celebrating a show that they love and for many I found have a very personal or emotional connection with. I can attest to that as I myself am a self-proclaimed "fanboy" of the comic book world. Still my friends who you could say are even "geekier" than me said that I was in for a one of a kind experience. If they meant by that that I would meet some of the nicest people I have in a long time, then they were right...

I arrived at Long Beach Airport around 10:30 and Gigi met me to drive me into L.A. to pick up her comic she was going to sell for the con at the local UPS store. I noticed a large brown SUV swerving next to us in the right lane (if the freeway was 6 lanes wide and 1 is on the far left, we were in 2). I yelled to her to watch out for this guy, but it was to late and he hit us on the right side sending us into an Escalade on our left. We bounced off of the Escalade and proceeded to spin clockwise to the right until we were hit again and spun the other way. Though it was a complete blur, we both confirmed that we were hit back and forth 4 times and spun around 5 until cars stopped slamming into us. I honestly thought I was gonna die. As each car was about to hit us, I was wondering if that was going to be the one to seal the deal. I wondered when people would eventually stop hitting us as we ended up in lane 1 facing the other direction, and quickly (after making sure we were all there) got out of the car expecting to find cars littered on the highway. Surprisingly, everyone but the Escalade drove off including the brown SUV that started the whole thing. After walking across the freeway to the other side and picking up rims/ripped off mirrors off the road, we found the passengers were O.K. in the Escalade. Even the baby (oh, man) in the car had fallen asleep again. I honestly haven't ever been that scared before, and I don't know how we didn't get hurt extremely bad or killed. The police said that we were VERY lucky and that he usually doesn't show up to these kinds of accidents to very good situations as you can imagine. I really believe someone or something was taking care of us that day (insert religious belief, even Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster HERE).

As the arriving officer told me, "Welcome to L.A.".

After everyone got what they needed information wise and cars were taken away, Gigi's friend Rob picked us up and took us to the convention where I basically sat scared shitless in my room all day until we began to rehearse that evening. Thanks to all who talked to me that day as I worked it out...

The next morning we were to go to a special FARSCAPE breakfast in the courtyard of the hotel where it was featured that "Gigi Edgley and her Producer would be signing".


We set up the comics and the CD's to sell for the next 2 hours and I got the opportunity to see her in her element and meet some amazingly nice and interesting people. The convention reminded me of other comic cons I have been to, but this one was very different in that everyone was there because they really liked THIS ONE THING. I met school teachers from Texas who have been coming for years, couples from Germany who had just started watching seasons of the show on DVD and HAD to come, and some women from France who had actually come across my music and wanted to talk about my new CD. It was very fun, and everyone made me feel welcome. It was obvious that all of these people were SO happy to be there and get the chance to talk, and interact with Gigi on a close face-to-face level.

We spent the rest of the day getting ready for the "Cabaret" Friday night which was to be the debut of Gigi's music and her first live performance. It's interesting what our comfort levels are in situations we're not used to. For example, she's been in movies, TV, and can talk on stage with no problem. For the show though she was nervous, as was I when I saw the hundreds of people in the convention hall awaiting the performance. It was a reaction and a stomach churn that my body usual reserves for when I'm about to do Karaoke.

Mostly because Karaoke is TERRIFYING.

She went up to give the intro to a barrage of flashing lights from cameras and it was truly cult Sci-Fi stardom at it's best! Pretty cool, until she announced me and I made my way from the back of the stage only to get a little wrapped up in the curtain in front of everyone.

Again, NICE.

All in all, we played really well and I was pretty proud of her for her first musical live performance. I told her that the road is littered with crappy albums from actors/actresses/and athletes, but I think she's in the clear in that department. At the end, she got a standing "O" from the crowd and a flood of compliments backstage from her FARSCAPE cast mates and friends. It was enjoyable to watch her succeed in this project's reception, and got me excited for what future performances will be like.

After celebrating with a few beers and a few new friends in the hotel bar that night, I made my way up to my room only to be stopped by some of her fans asking me to sign some stuff. This turned into more people and more stuff including napkins, JACK DANIEL'S bottles, T-Shirts, and ticket stubs. I felt like someone was playing a joke on me, and I tell you this not to sound like I'm bragging, but because it was another surreal moment in a very surreal weekend. I think everyone hopes for some form of success in their chosen art field, and you hope people like what you do. Still, if that's all you go after, you are bound to be pretty unfulfilled and frustrated. Since stuff like this NEVER happens in Seattle, I felt kind of embarrassed until I just decided to enjoy it. I hope everyone gets to experience something like that in their life, because honestly if I'm being true to my inner 13 year-old who tried to dress up like Oasis...IT WAS AWESOME. :)

The next morning we spent signing CD's again and answering questions regarding my own solo work and if it's on sale in England..."No, it's not....BUT GET ME THERE!"

All was well when we were able to sell in the bar later that night, and again met some amazing people with huge hearts. I was actually sad to leave, because as I stated before, it had a nice family feeling in a world wind-weekend of positivity. Whether it was to cheer for someone when they won the auction of limited edition FARSCAPE prop guns, or have people come up to me to make sure I was o.k. when they heard about the accident, I felt welcomed into what is a very unique and loving group.

Who knows what the future brings, but I hope to attend next year and keep in touch with my new friends. The only thing is this year I was let off the hook when it came to dropping FARSCAPE knowledge since I had never seen the show. Next year, I know I have people holding me accountable. Time for some DVD watching...

Only a few more weeks before "SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM"!

Keep it real homies,


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

FARSCAPE Convention. Issue #21

Since I've returned from tour, I've spent the last couple of days and last week preparing for my Thursday departure to Burbank, CA to perform with Gigi Edgley. We'll be performing at the annual FARSCAPE convention which was the show she appeared in for a number of years. She'll be debuting her new album, "So It Seems...", for the fans and we'll be performing Friday night at the convention's cabaret event. I guess what happens is that that night each of the main actors have a 20-minute slot which is all theirs, and that's when we go on.

It's been a bit of a challenge figuring out how to translate these songs from what are essentially electronica-styled tunes to acoustic guitar and her voice (which is how we'll be playing them live this time). It helps a little bit though considering when I wrote the songs, that's how they were written before they had all the beeps and boops of production. Hopefully the audience will be able to appreciate the different interpretations, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will be received.

Like I said in earlier posts, it is the first time an album has been released by another artist that I have produced. I'm not sure if other producers end up (if at all) emotionally connected to artist's albums they've worked on, but I definitely am with this one. I really hope it does well, and I'm just as excited for her release as I am for my own later in the month.

I'll include a video to give you an idea of what these conventions are like, but imagine a slightly scaled down version of Star-Trek fanaticism. From the stories Gigi has told me, emphasis on the word "slightly"! Needless to say, I'm taking my camera FOR SURE, and expect to come back with some good stories.

In other news, I had a really nice birthday (28) last Thursday, and took some time to reflect on one of the worst, and best years I've had in a long time. The first half of the year was not what you would call good times, but that quickly changed when I found myself in the path of some very fortunate opportunities, and I was lucky enough to have my good friends and new ones help me move into an exciting new point in my life. Not wanting to sound preachy, but if you are feeling like I was 12 months ago, it is true that things can turn around in ways that you cannot imagine at the time.

"Everyone is worthy of amazing things if we continue to believe we are."

If that's hard for you to digest (or if you think I'm full of shit), know I'm working on that one too...

Thanks for reading, and see you next week.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Return Of The Mack. GIANT-SIZED Issue #19/20

Home Sweet Home!

Yesterday, TJ Sherrill and I got back from our 11-Day Tour that took us through Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. I knew that it was going to be a great trip if only from the omen I received the night before when I met Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam at a BRAD show at the Highdive. For those who don't know, that I'm a HUGE PJ fan, and this was like meeting Santa Claus for me (still hope to). His guitar style has had a massive influence on my own music since I started playing at 13. I told him this, and after setting down his guitar to shake my hand, you can imagine I was pretty much over the moon. Unapologetically, it was one of the few times I have had to resort to stalker-ish ways by following him out of the club on the way to his car to meet him. You gotta do what you gotta do...

Like I said, an omen right? TJ and I hit the road on Thursday morning early as we had our first show in Coeur D'Alene that night. A little over 4 hours later, we hit the "base camp" for the next 5 days in the form of his good friend's Tawnya and Zack's house. If you've been reading the blog the last couple months, you may remember that this is the house where they have all the cool paintings that I wanted to steal last time we stayed there. Zack is REALLY good. We luckily had a few moments to chill before heading the the MOONTIME CAFE, an "Old-Town Ale House-ish" like place (Ballard Fans, you know what I'm saying), that was kind enough to provide dinner for us as well as fair compensation for our services. This meal providing situation is something we encountered a lot on the tour and I have to say it makes a big difference in feeling like the club values having you there. I don't think I've ever experienced this meal "situation" in Seattle venues, and I think it needs to start happening for musicians across the board...EVERYWHERE. Hey Seattle, you say you're one of the most hospitable cities, huh? Let's start to act like it! (Rant=done).

TJ has a lot of friends in this area, and it was nice to spend the evening playing music for great people and getting a good first show under our belts.

The next night took us on a drive to Spokane to play at the CATERINA WINERY. This is what I would say is one of the best nights we had in terms of the crowd being into it without knowing us, and just a great overall experience. From the moment we walked into Caterina, it just smelled GOOD. It was that sweet fragrant fruity smell reminiscent of other wineries (and your girlfriend when you were in 8th grade) I have been to and that alone got me really excited to play. We met local booking agent Patrick Kendrick who has really been putting together good shows over in Spokane, and did an amazing job at bringing people out to see two singer/songwriters from Seattle who they hadn't heard of before. A really attentive audience who was into participating in the music for both TJ and I, and for Spokane local Mark Ford (think Damien Rice). We will definitely be making a stop back here next time, but I have to be honest and say I did not sing very good this night though, and that through me off a bit. :( I suppose I can blame it on people's cigarette smoke from the night before at Moontime, but more realistically it was because I changed the set list up on random shuffle instead of sticking with the five or so sets I know work pacing/key/feel-wise. Sometimes I'm like the that sticks his hand on the burner to see if its hot, but unlike the kid that learns, I for some reason keep doing it. This was one of those situations, and for a tour where we were playing many nights in a row, I decided to not do that again. That is until the next time...

Ambiance+Fun People+Good Wine=GREAT NIGHT!

Next up was a Saturday night show at IONIC BURRITO. Yes, that was the real name of the venue and we were told by the locals the night before that it was originally called "SONIC BURRITO". That is, until SONIC the burger-chain moved in last year and made them change the name accusing them of copyright infringement. Yeah...tell me how that sounds like the roommate who never buys anything for the house yet yells at everyone else when there's no toilet paper left.

It was funny cause it was like playing in a QDOBA but with a stage. No joke.
People would come in, buy a burrito, sit and watch us, and then leave when they were done. No messing around here, and no cheese sauce either (damn!). I did give some kids a few stickers and actually had people whoop and holler when I said I was going to play a SMITHS song. This never happens whenever I ask if anyone has heard of THE SMITHS. Who knew Spokane was down with MORRISSEY?

I did get an unusual burrito out of the deal called the "Blue October" (not like the band) which was a spicy chicken mess with Blue Cheese crumbles amongst everything else burrito-y. Not bad unless it sounds disgusting to you, which I completely understand...

Later that night, we caught up with Seattle local DAN PURSER at THE BLUE SPARK in downtown Spokane where he is a regular with a good following in that area. He invited us to play during his break where I quickly taught his band how to play "Billie Jean" by MJ, and "Hey, Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms. Not really the place where people care about original music, but more just want to party to songs they know. I decided to take em back to 7th grade with the Gin Blossoms cover and a few people came up at the end excited that someone else knew who the Blossoms were. It was nice to meet some other people who were trapped in 1993 as well...

We had the next two days (Sunday and Monday) off, so we had time to lay low for a couple afternoons to write, rehearse, and catch up on comics. Got some good reading in, and also got some good walks in around downtown Coeur D'Alene. I wanted to share some cool pictures I took of the trees all on fire and in their full "Fall-ness". This was also a big highlight for me on the tour in the way all the driving lent itself to some really good sight-seeing that made the long rides pretty enjoyable. We spent a lot time during these two days at the local coffee shop, JAVA, mostly because of the free Wi-Fi. It was like something out of a tv sitcom in that all the 20-somethings in town seem to go here and that they all somehow know each other...really weird, but I guess that's a small town. I kept waiting for the theme music, but it never came...

By Tuesday, we were ready to get a move on to our next show that night in Moscow, Idaho. We said our good-bye's to our gracious hosts (Thanks again Tawnya!) and set out fully loaded with a truck full of gear and some freshly done laundry. It didn't take us long to get to Moscow, and we were excited that we had a while before our show to see a bit of the town. Well, that took us 1/2 and hour and we wandered for a while wondering where the rest of the town was. After zeroing in on where the venues for the next two nights were (right across the street from each other), we checked into the very lavish and exclusive LA QUINTA hotel. Did you know that LA QUINTA means "Come Again", "You're Welcome Here", "We Take Care Of All Your Needs", AND "Welcome Home" in Spanish? I did not know this, but now feel that I am that much more able to communicate with the Latino community on a whole. After settling in, we packed up the truck and headed out to our new series of concerts which kicked off a THE NUART CAFE. We got to the club and introduced ourselves to the manager to find out one thing...we weren't playing anymore.


It turned out that the mother of the booking agent that booked us passed away a few weeks earlier, and that the funeral was that afternoon. He was to go on after us, so the whole thing was canceled. Only problem was that no one told us...
It was pretty sad to hear though, so it really was no problem and we decided to catch 3:10 TO YUMA at the very-local theater instead. Gladiator and Batman shooting at each other in the Wild West = Awesome. Next to the very exclusive LA QUINTA was the very exclusive APPLEBEE'S and after an unexpected turn of event's we called it a night.

The next morning we both felt like we were on the verge of possibly getting some kind of flu and just took it easy. That night, we were to be at The ONE WORLD CAFE and having heard good things about it, were ready to tear it up. My friend Michelle Markwood told me that our mutual friend that I hadn't talked to in a long time named Rose lived in Moscow and that I should look her up when I got there. We emailed a couple of times, and she showed up kindly for TJ and I that night. It was good to catch up with her and answer all the questions that one has about "What happend to..", or "Who is married to..." regarding high school friends that you haven't seen in a while. I talked to her about being our Idaho College contact from now on due to the fact that a few of our friends have had lots of success in that market. Next time we will for sure be adding some school shows to the tour. Good crowd response and good local beer.

We got up Friday at 5:00am and hit the highway for a 4 hour drive and an afternoon show at Grandview Community College in Yakima. They treated us like guests and did good promo for the show as well. We hope to be heading back that way for a big show in April if everything works out according to plan. They also gave us a big thing of cookies for the truck which is always a good thing (especially since the ones that my Grandma gave us for the road were long gone).

We had another four hours of driving ahead of us as we made our way to the ALBERA ST. PUB in Portland. A 3-piece Bluegrass band opened up for us, and I always get a kick out of bills I've been on that are weird pairings like that. Ironic in the fact that it's mostly just some guys getting together and playing, really casual, but also very obvious that speed and dexterity wise kick the ass of any rock band they play with. TJ and I almost stopped playing guitar right there, but alas, the show must go on!

Considering 8 hours of driving and having already rocked the house once that day, we felt that it was maybe the best we had played all tour. Oh adrenaline, you and your mysterious ways...
After the show, we crashed in Longview at TJ's In-Laws, a welcome warm home in contrast to cold Moscow and a truck that smelled like dudes.

Friday was a day off for us and after hanging around the house all day, I started to bitch about why we hadn't done a song together yet. You see, this was the goal months before we stared the tour, and for whatever reason, we had not met this one yet. After throwing a few ideas around, we come up a very cool Indigo Girls/Tracy Chapman-esque song called "Mexican Jail". They say write what you know...and we did. You'll be seeing a video of this in the near future on our sites, so keep a look out...

Saturday was the final night of the tour at THE GREEN ROOM in the Pearl district of Portland. My old high school buddy Manzell Blakely came out and it was great as for some reason we haven't caught up in 8 years or so. Also, my friend Jared (who moved to Portland a year ago) and ex-Ultraviolet guitarist Scott Bickham and his wife came to support. A sort of "this is your life" from random points of my life intersecting if you will. Scott was in a band called who toured with INXS at one point in his life, and whose song "Bottle Rocket" I tried to rip off when I was 14. I decided to fan-boy out on him and cover it that night just to mess with his mind. A lot of fun, and I may throw that one in the mix more often. I also wanted to prank TJ on the last night and did a quarter of one of his best songs "High Horse", leading into "Sparkle and Fall". I tried to do it justice, and was enjoying stirring the pot. It was a funny show in the fact that it's been so long since I've have had to sing in cigarette smoke since we've been spoiled in Washington/California. I forgot that it still existed...

Seriously though, I still think one of the coolest looks is a cigarette in a lead guitarist's mouth, head back, taking a solo. If you went to the Black Crowes concert earlier in the month, you know what I mean.

I told you it was Giant Sized Issue didn't I? I definitely learned a lot, figured out how to make next time even better, where to play again, and where to try to get into. We even walked away making money. For a first tour, that's pretty damn good...

Overall a GREAT tour and good time with my tour wife TJ. We got a system down in that he dusts and I vacuum. As for the dishes? Well, that's both of our responsibility, you know how it is...

Oh, you want to know the specs for the tour? I'm glad you asked!

Here's how she broke down...

# of miles logged in "Merlyn" the truck: 1,336

# of tanks of gas: 8

# of times someone tried to "save" me: 1

# of times listened to new Radiohead "In Rainbows" Album: 10

# of cool masks purchased for the rehearsal room: 2

# of times I probably really annoyed TJ talking about how cool it was to meet
Stone Gossard: Probably 15+ (on the first day...)

# of cookies consumed: 30 (thanks Grams)

# of times impaled in the neck by the truck canopy lock: 5

# of comic shops visited: 1

# of times woman asked me if I was "Superman": 1

# of kids eyeing my stickers on the merch table but ignored me when I asked them if they wanted one: 5

# of people who wanted me to turn the sound system down: 4

# of people I did it for: 1

Thanks for reading and see you next week! I'll be a year older (birthday on Thursday), so I hope I have many points of aged wisdom for you...or just one.

If you'll excuse me, I have some fighting with my dog to catch up on. :)