Monday, June 25, 2007

On The Highdive. Issue #3

This week I'm getting ready for my show at the HIGHDIVE in Fremont. My friend Greg of THE BRADBURY PRESS and 17th CHAPTER set me up to open for TREVOR RAS this Saturday for a early Happy Hour show @ 6:00pm. $5 gets you in the door, and I'm really looking forward to getting back as the last time I performed there was the one-shot show with ULTRAVIOLET. I still call it "Suite G" all the time on accident (the former name of the club) because LT would play there every month for a while there. It's going to be a blast to get back to one of my favorite places to play, and above is the poster my good friend BRIAN MEREDITH made for the event. Brian is a Comic Book writer/Local business owner who regularly helps me in making up for my lack of Photoshop skills. It took me a while to find someone who would be paid in microbrews and Aquaman pics attached in emails. They're hard to find...

I went down to the Highdive on Thursday to put up flyers, and also checkout my friend Patrick of EXPLONE play with Brinton Jones of PALOMINO. Brinton is in town putting the finishing touches on his new record, and a couple of months ago I had the chance to sit in and listen on one of their final recording days. It sounded great, and we're all looking forward to hearing the final tracks. Patrick also plays with RED JACKET MINE, a band headed up by songsmith Lincoln Barr. Their new record should be coming out in the next few months as well, and with a few friends having soon-to-be released albums, it really kicks and inspires me in a good way to get something out soon.

As we live more and more in the era of digital downloading, I find myself in a very different place perspective wise these days as to how I would like to release future recordings. All through the LT years, we would spend thousands recording in big studios and printing up beautiful packaging with lyrics, photos, etc.

Part of me still longs for the time of cassettes, but that's another story...

What I'm trying to say here is that I firmly believe in the very near future that CD's and record shops will be a thing of the past, and that album releases (not only physical) will be dinosaurs as well. You will be able to get ANY album, ANY song, ANY movie, ANYTIME you want. There might be some of you who say, "You can do that now, so who cares?" Well, it will also be LEGAL, and that leaves us musicians to question how will we ever make up for the 13 cents the record company would otherwise give us off of each album sold? Seriously though, I believe that fans of music and art will go back having more interest in live performance due to the anytime access of free media, and that will be a great thing. One side is the argument is that with the mass stream of free media we will become increasingly closed off to the outside world in a 24-hour bombardment of entertainment. Possibly, but I'm seeing people wanting to be even more connected in the physical way as a kind of a rebellion of sorts. Having good performances will start to hold more weight in the grand scheme of things, and more emphasis put on a real connection with the audiences in general. What is the artist really about? What do they stand for? What are they trying to say?

Does anyone else feel the same? Let me know...:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We Need A New Band Photo. Issue #2

In all the talk about my new my music endeavor, I realized that I had yet to tell you (the public internets) about the other new band I'm starting with my good friend Matt Edington. Unlike my solo material and band behind my name, this other project is very much a collaborative effort between he and I and more of a dedicated sense of "meeting in the middle of the unknown" rather than playing half of my style of music in a set and half of his. It's weird that I would say that if you knew the story of he and I and how we started my old band LAYMANS TERMS back in 1994. I had met Matt when we both attended Whitman Middle School in the Crownhill/Ballard area when his mom was an art teacher of mine. I worshiped Pearl Jam (still do) and he idolized Pink Floyd (still does). We were both one of the few skinny white boys who would wear band T-Shirts to school (the one's our mom's would let us wear), but weren't cool enough to carry our guitars everywhere with us. Remember back little (but now big) music dudes, you'll know what I mean...

We became friends and taught each other how to play guitar. Matt had gotten his a couple of months before me (an acoustic), and I had gotten a 3/4 size electric for my 13th birthday (thanks Mom!). We didn't know what we were doing, but knew we had a band we called "A New Beginning". So Heavy and Deep...I know.
Did we make band shirts on White Hanes T-shirts with Sharpies? Hell yes we did!
Our first show was at the 8th grade Talent Show. We played only he and I playing 2 original songs that were about 8 minutes each (radio friendly!), and was made to put on a dress rehearssal the night before by my parents. They made us do it over and over with me using a lamp for a mic stand. Embarrassing? Yes.
Naively Confident we did our best only to lose to our middle school rock arch-rivals because (in our reasoning) they played an NIRVANA song, AND they had a drummer. How dare they...

Years passed, and as LT went through different lineup changes, Matt and I stood steadfast in where we wanted to take the band playing all the necessary horrible first shows and talent shows in the puberty of a rock and roll band.
Matt left the band in 1998 (damn you stupid growing up rite-of-passage friend arguments!). Though he was not in the band anymore, we still maintained a friendship as he formed THE APOLLO PROJECT and LT released albums throughout the years.

Last summer when Matt returned to the U.S. after a living in Asia for a couple of years, LT had broken up and we began talking of playing together again. The idea was something we were both into and we began writing songs. Weeks later, we evaluated where we were and decided that it just wasn't clicking at the moment and left the door open for trying again in the future. In March, we began practicing again under the idea of forming a band with no preconceived idea of what it would sound like whatsoever. What I mean by this is how I referred earlier to "meeting in the middle". It doesn't sound like my stuff, it doesn't sound like his, and that's what I think we're both enjoying about it. It's interesting for me to see how people who started so much the same can end up so different, but still have that common thread between them of what worked in the past and how that can work in the present. The (as of now) unnamed band hopes to debut in Late Summer/Fall, and I will be playing with them as well as continuing to write and perform my solo material.

On a different note, hopefully you saw that I will be playing The HIGHDIVE on June 30th for an early 6:00pm show.
The cover is $5, and I will be opening for Trevor Ras. I've never played for the Happy Hour Series before, and would invite you to consider this an appetizer for whatever else your evening brings!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Prepping The Grill. Issue #1

Does a baker bake without sugar? Does a Grill-master grill without woodchips? The answer is no. That's what the past week has been about; getting my studio all ready to go, and gathering the tools needed to make it happen. First, I thought I would pick up the much anticipated OPTIMUS PRIME POTATO HEAD to make my studio decor complete.

Inspiration? Check.

As with anything regarding computer technology, if you try to keep up with the latest and greatest you will go After examining my setup, I felt pretty good about what I had, but what I did need was better studio monitors, and having researched them for a while now, had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to go with. Off to Guitar Center I went...

If you've never been in a Pro recording studio, you should know that the speaker monitors you're hearing your songs out of are VERY NICE, and can make your songs sound amazingly bright and crystal clear. What's interesting about this is YOU are the only one who is going to hear them this way, while everyone else (including YOU later) will hear them on their stock car stereo and iPod's. So, this means many quick mixes of your songs and runs to the car to see how your songs sound in "real world" environments. Basically, having amazing speakers doesn't equate amazing sounding recordings when you mix your songs to them. There's lots of trail and error involved regardless. Make sense?

Though I love new toys (both musical and action figures), I'm not a fan of music stores. Maybe it's that I'm not a crazy gear guy, but I always feel like everyone is trying to be your best friend. When it's genuine it's great, but most of the time it's not.

That said, when I talk to people there I (and many of my friends as well) experience what we call "Catalog Speak". That is, as how it sounds, a listing of terms and or answers to questions I ask with answers straight out of the catalog.
Talking with the sales associate, terms like "punch" and "tight specs" were used to describe the monitors. "But what about the response?", I asked.
"Oh", said the clerk, "Lots of response."
Right out of the catalog.
Though these are real terms, a lot of times these are the musician code words that are thrown out in describing something when you don't have much to say. Fellow musicians, sorry but most of the time you know it's true.

I left the store with no monitors, content to mix in headphones for now, and a better appreciation for my JBL Alien Speakers. Besides, you can't find monitors shaped like alien heads. I learned a lot in my research, but that purchase is for another day...

In other news, summer (though not officially) is here and that means lots of BBQ's and summer martinis with friends. Last summer I went martini (selection) crazy and had 10 different flavors to choose from. Dinner party books will say that many choices may overwhelm your guests, but I say it may overwhelm them in AWESOMENESS.
What I'm getting at it is that a few weeks ago a friend in a sermon he was giving described that when you have a meal with someone, you can get to know them a lot better and form a better friendship by doing so. This made me think due to the fact many of my best memories lately revolve around sharing a meal with older and recently made new friends. Realizing this inspires me to do it more often, and hopefully if you've been wanting to do so, will as well.

Well, thanks for reading and I better get back to the songs here before engineer Logan is done for the day. He's great in that unlike many studio engineers, he listens, cleans himself, and let's me figure out what to do when I'm stuck by listening and believing I can come up with my own answers. That's a good friend to have.

See you soon!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Welcome to my new Blog! Issue #0

Welcome to my new blog everybody! This is an upgrade from my myspace blog both visually and in function, so I hope you enjoy! I'm not abandoning the myspace site, but I think for what I'm trying to share and do this will be a lot better.


Well, I'm really excited because starting June 1st, 2007 I began a 1 YEAR artist development deal with ISLAND FILM GROUP (based out of Hawaii and L.A.) as a songwriter and solo-artist. This means they are providing me the means in which I can work/develop as an artist full time, as well as providing them with other songs I write for different genres and artists. For example: When I write a country song, better let someone who lived the life sing and enjoy it cause no one's gonna believe this city boy...

Things have already gotten off to a great start when I found out in early May that a few of my songs had been picked up for the 3rd Season of a show called "BEYOND THE BREAK". Two weeks ago, I had an opportunity to fly down to Hawaii (where it's filmed) and play a set before they premiered a handful of episodes to a beach packed with 5,000 locals. It was an amazing experience, and the episodes featuring my songs are set to air this fall as they are currently wrapping up Season 2.

Since I've been working towards this for a while now, I (after the prodding of my friends) thought it would be fun to chronicle a year in the life of a songwriter and all the (hopefully) interesting things that can come your way both performing and creating in an industry that you have to be somewhat "not right" to get into.
That's what the purpose of this blog is all about, to share the fun times and experiences I hope you will enjoy as well...

I look forward to you joining me!