Friday, December 26, 2008

Hanging With Razorbacks. Issue #82

Hey Friends, this week I'm out of town visiting family in Little Rock, Arkansas! You know, the home of Wal-Mart, Hot Springs, the best hush puppies you've ever had, and where you can kiss your cousin a couple of times without it being weird...

Hope everyone had a great Holiday and I also hope the snow is gone when I come back. Yeah, I said it.

See you next week,


Monday, December 22, 2008

Off To The Printers! Issue #81

Last week, Jim Demonakos and I had the final Mastering appointment for the KIRBY KRACKLE album and made a trip to the printers on Friday to have this thing shipped for production. That means...

IT'S DONE! Whoooooooooooohooooooooooo!

That's no exaggeration on the happiness meter, it really does in this situation consist of 23 "o's"...

We've been working on this guy for the past 6 months, and actually for the past 5 years if you count they inception of the idea back in 2004 with COMIC STOP co-owner Brian Meredith (who saved the day noticing a last minute printing spelling snafu) and I throwing ideas back and forth. The idea of "comic and video game music" can only be trusted to a few people that won't stare at you glazed over, and until life got out of the way the idea just floated around until the trigger was pulled in the spring of this year. It's really been an exercise of jumping into the fire without looking back since it's in a lot of ways a completely untapped genre with an over-abundance of subject matter to choose from.

Can you make "good" music with lyrical content revolving solely around comic books and video games? You'll have to be the judge when it gets released at the end of January (for real), and in the next couple of weeks I'm looking forward to sharing with you the very exciting promotion-driven traveling that we'll be doing to support the album as we share our version of a genre that has never been represented in this way. It's a big unknown, and that's going to be the fun part....

If you have a place to call yours and it's both warm and dry, you have to be thankful this week. The NW has really been hit hard by a weeks-plus series of snowstorms and freezing weather. It's also been a great opportunity to do nothing (if you've been able to) other than eat, drink, sleep, and throw the dog in the snow.

I hope everyone and their family has a wonderful Holiday and spends it with people that they love and care about. I know I'm gonna.

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

"So Long, Charlie." Issue #80

Hey, news for anyone that doesn't know...

IT'S COLD, yo.

Last year in Seattle was kind of a weak year for snow, but with snowboarding season in full effect and the kind of weather we've had last weekend I have to say I'm more in the winter mindset than I've been for years. Frisbee sledding here I come!

Thought I'd throw up some pictures from a show I had in Walla, Walla a few weeks ago, and after posting them was thankful that this past weekend wasn't the one for which I had to drive over The Pass. An Abominable Snow Monster may have heard some songs, but the fine folks at ISENHOWER CELLARS would for sure have not...

The title of this week's blog is "So Long, Charlie" because my fish Charlie died. Yeah, it sucked. Sure it's "just" a fish, but Charlie was truly the first pet that I've owned separate from the family dogs growing up and the first pet Wifey and I had owned as a newly married couple. I think it's probably more of a symbolic thing. Charlie was a red betta. Charlie wasn't very nice either. Every time I would feed him he would swim up to the front of the fish bowl and flare his gills; the way my scaly fried would challenge me for Alpha male status. Surprisingly, he never won that title. Charlie was also very old. Normally bettas only live for a year, but Charlie's anger issues took him to the ripe old age of three. After a month of laying on the bottom of the fishbowl and starting to turn white from what seemed to be a fungal infection, I decided that it was time to put him out of his apparent misery. Research showed that the most humane way (at least in 2008...thanks internets) to do so would be to put him in the freezer and let him slowly fade into eternal sleepy times.

So, last week after getting home from the studio I decided that it was time and feeling very guilty put him in a purple plastic cup and set him next to the OTTER-POPS for the night. It just felt I was a death dealer. Obviously somebody needs more experience with the life/death process, but as someone who still has all his grandparents I'd rather start this way...

The next morning I opened the freezer to see little Charlie laying in the bottom of the cup fast asleep hopefully dreaming of open waters with an endless sea of Bloodworm-pellets.

So long, were a mean mother, but you kept it real.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Lots Of Clams! Issue #79

Lot's of Clams in the ground, in the sand in Puget Sound
Lots of Clams on the beach, deep and low and hard to reach
Lots of Clams in the see, Lots of Clams for you and me
I've sailed a river of Tarter in dreams,
Clouds moving fast, like a Chowder Bowl steams
Full speed ahead says the Captain in hat,
a big white Mustache says we're heading for the Acres of Clams

A little over a month ago, a friend pointed out me that IVAR'S Seafood restaurant was having contest for people to write a new jingle/inspired song for their ad campaign and wanted songwriters to enter via a video performance of the song. Considering it was one of the most bizarre forms of generating publicity for a business that I've ever heard of...I fell for it hook line and sinker and thought it would be fun to enter and try my hand at writing a "jingle".

It's funny that no more than 10 years ago writing a "jingle" or song to be used for product placement was looked down upon in the music business; a dark corner to not be touched by anyone looking for indie-cred or respect. Yet, here we are in 2008 with the industry in a tailspin and where any band with a shred of business sense would give anything to have their song in a McDonald's commercial.

That would buy a helluva lot of "McGriddles".

I thought of theme songs/product jingles that have been stuck in my head MANY times over the years and compiled a list that was short, but strong spirit. It looked like this...

The theme song from "FULL HOUSE".
The theme song from "GOLDEN GIRLS".
The theme song from any sitcom I watched from 1985-1991...

The songs hawking product were all the ones you may have thought of as well...DOUBLE MINT GUM, CHILI'S, KIT KAT Candy bars; all of them songs or melodies that get stuck in your head like dog hairs in a pea coat. The more you try to get them out, the further they creep down in. Above all the rest though was a song from the now defunct grocery delivery company "" whose presence of commercials and strangely colored peach delivery trucks were inescapable during the early 2000's. I will forever remember the company's theme song as it has lodged like a traumatic memory in my cerebral cortex; I will never escape it, but I move forward acknowledging it's presence...

The song was called "Would You Like To Have Something To Eat?", and became synonymous with the company and it's business of delivering groceries to your door via online ordering. Ironically, the song was written by a band called THE DONNER PARTY and their song's subject matter mirrored their name as the tune documented the now famous story of a west-bound group of pioneers succumbing to cannibalism during a harsh winter.


Nevertheless, the song had the addictive power of a crack hit (I would assume having stopped using crack many years ago and not knowing the strength of the current markets product) and I would sing it all the time to the dismay of my then girlfriend (now wife) and to the delight of the company's P.R. Team. I thought it the perfect mix of nursery rhyme like fun, and pop hooks; the appreciation that one might find for a monster/massive weapon that though is evil and horrible cannot be ignored for it's beauty by simply existing. This is the song that I decided I should aim for in catchiness and sing-song ability, and so I set out to work on my entry...

Following still? Good...

I was really excited and tried to get all my musician buddies to work on it too to no avail, but I decided to get on it regardless. The restaurant makes it's thing about seafood and clams, so using the "write what you know" rule (and I'm running out of that stuff so teach me something quick please) I thought back to summers digging for clams with my family on the shores of Hood Canal in Washington. We would all head out in the morning for a walk down the beach to an area were the tide was really low and get to digging. Sometimes we had to look hard, sometimes they were right there, but always they were way down low and made us work for them. Later that night we would boil them and dip them in butter/pour butter in our mouths and gobble 'em all up. DELISH. A good childhood memory I thought made sense to use...

Secondly, I heart me some tartar sauce. If they made tarter sauce toothpaste I would use it. I love it. That said, I made myself laugh (and my wife roll her eyes) when the line came to me. "I sailed a river of tarter in dreams/Clouds moving fast like a chowder bowl steams". That FOR SURE had to go in. Lastly, like all jingles I like...THIS SONG IS ANNOYING AS HELL. And it should be; you should be humming it if it's doing it's job so make sure you send all hate mail via posting a comment here to let me know how it's given you a headache and or ruined your work day.

The result? Last week I received news I won 2nd place and a $500 gift card to the restaurant. Possible future radio promo/advertising with the song may take place as well so I'll keep you posted when I know more....

So there you go, that's the story behind "Lot's of Clams" and perhaps the most annoying song I've ever written. It sure was fun to do, and I hope to try my hand at more of this stuff in the future.

Though I have to be honest and say before I go that this isn't really the first tune I've penned for deep fried goodness. My song "This Is Not A Love Song" off of SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM is actually about ARBY'S.

Bet you didn't know go buy a BEEF N' CHEDDAR. ;)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Anyone Else Discovering They Can't Do Gravy Anymore? Issue #78

Last week was a blur! My parents flew in from Hawaii for a big family get together at my grandparent's house, and my brother came down for the first time since I put on his big boy pants and sent him off to a big boy indeed. Even crazier my sister and her fiancee flew in from L.A. for the holiday and that made it an official Galindez/Stevens reunion VOLTRON; the first time in 10 years we have all been together in our hometown. It felt really good to be around "my people" and it didn't take us long to drive my mom nuts and gross her out with sibling riffing and inappropriateness.

Maybe you're in a family situation like I am; everyone is getting older, traditions are changing and the tribe is spreading further across the plains. It's sad and o.k. at the same time, but if there ever was a holiday to send off the old ways and depart on a new path of family was this one. The "old school" was back I felt like a little kid again with the whole family around...

A HUGE thanks to EVERYONE who came out to the KISS CAFE and packed the place! It was a big love fest and I don't think anybody had a better time than I did having had it been a while since I played solo locally. It was great to play some older songs that had been changed up, and some cuts from the upcoming KIRBY KRACKLE and COLLIDER albums. The reaction to the debuted KK songs left me ecstatic being that they seemed so well received by a broader demographic than Jim Demonakos and I had envisioned and left us even more excited for the release.

I've been having very vivid dreams lately about my childhood and especially my middle-school years. I know a few of my postings of late have been about strong past experiences, and that nostalgia has seemed to kind of take a forefront theme in my blog for the past month. I think in a way it's connected to the fact that the KK material feels a lot like music did to me during that time in my life. A time of no rules, creativity, and discovery into an endless world of sound. Don't get me wrong here, I don't think I'm re-writing the book with the album by any means; it just feels good to create, and I love sharing that with people and seeing a smile when it's received as it was intended. THAT'S what it's all about.

I am and have always been a big WEEZER fan, and was stoked this past week when lead singer Rivers Cuomo released a 2nd installment of his "Alone: The Home Recordings" album series he's been putting out in the last year. It's an intimate look into the process of sketching sound and how someone's songwriting style develops over time. His home demos reach as far back as when he was 15 in his basement with his teased-up 80's do, and span the years until more recent times during his success with Weezer. The liner notes are almost my favorite part as he lists the inspiration of the songs and what was going on in his life at the time that would lead him to down the road of the lyrical content. Near the front of the tray booklet he decribes his feelings after reading Brian Wilson's autobiography, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE in a way that parallels my experience reading his works as well.

Cuomo writes:

"When I first read it in 1993...I strongly identified with the author's sense of self-doubt, creative struggles and passion for music. I particularly identified with his words, "My whole life, since I discovered music, has been about only one thing: about experiencing the sheer, pure, unencumbered, liberating happiness of the creative moment" (390). His words seemed to describe my life perfectly at the time. But now, fifteen years later, I see that my life has been about something else in addition to experiencing "the happiness of the creative moment." It's also been about learning how to achieve those creative moments. It's been about learning what to do...and what not to do."

Cool Stuff,


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last Local Show Of The Year! Issue #77

This Saturday, November 29th, I'll be performing my last local show of the year at THE KISS CAFE in Ballard. The show will be All-Ages, Free, and will have beer and wine available throughout the evening. It's going to be a pretty fun night for me aside from playing as many members of my family will be coming in town from Hawaii this year for Thanksgiving and subsequently will be attending the show. The Kiss Cafe will be celebrating it's 1-year anniversary in December and is a very cute little venue whose employees have hearts almost as big as their "100 beer" beverage selection.

I'll be performing from 9:00-11:00 that night and will be drawing from the sometimes overwhelming list of songs I've been lucky to accumulate over the last year through my work with COLLIDER, KIRBY KRACKLE, and my solo material. I'll be giving a preview of the new material to be released in the very first part of the new year, and plan on playing a few songs you may recognize as well...

Hope everyone has a relaxing Thanksgiving, and perhaps I'll see you on the slopes if you're out on Friday...and if we get a miracle snowstorm by then.

Pass The Gravy,


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The First Best Night Of My Life. Issue #76


Of course you probably do. It's kind of like your first kiss, first time driving on your own, or your first DICK'S Cheeseburger; the kind of experience that gets permanently lodged in you cerebellum and ends up as a defining moment in your life years if not decades later. Sitting here in my house after a day of yard work with the sun already setting at 3:23 has left me reminiscing of my first time being rocked by unknown forces and I thought I'd share my experience this week with hopes others might share their stories as well.

Freshman year of high school sucks and my experience was no exception to the rule. Matt Edington (current COLLIDER bandmate/songwriting-partner) and I had gone from being 8th Grade "Rock Stars" to just another band made up of skinny white boys in the Seattle Public School system vying for the much coveted "Lunch Time" show in my high school's Little Theater. Reality set in just a year after having received a PEARL JAM cassette for my 13th birthday and subsequently having my life changed forever. That year I also received my first guitar, a 3/4 size "Harmony" electric and along with Matt's newly acquired acoustic decided that our lives would follow a similar path starting ASAP. Now, there were no "real" bands in 8th grade other than guys that got together to play a few NIRVANA tunes now and then so you can see why for the last few months of middle school we considered ourselves quite the commodity. The summer between 8th and 9th grade was spent obsessively watching MTV, hoping for a glimpse of the new STONE TEMPLE PILOTS video or SMASHING PUMPKINS documentary. You see these were our Gods, and we had to get whatever access we could to them. At this point I had yet to attend a concert and for the foreseeable future felt the possibility of doing so was out of my hands both in terms of finances and my parents granting access. Five months into high school and personal hell, you can imagine how my brain exploded when my friend Josh Webb said that he had just gotten tickets through a connected friend to see a band I might have heard of perform for a pre-tour invite only show. The bands name?


Holy Crap. He was joking right? It turned out to be true being that his Mom's friend (if I remember right) was involved with the band's fan club and that a small show was going to be performed under another name on the night of February 6th, 1994. The only problem was that the 6th was my sister's birthday. "Oh no," I thought, "There's no way I can go now."

My mind raced to 20 years down the line when I would still have a grudge against my parents for ruining the first best night of my life. Nervously, I sat down with my parents and proposed my escape from my sister's birthday celebration. They told me that they had to think it over for a bit, and half an hour later came back with their answer. They told me it was fine (YES!), but also told me that my sister would have the final say since it was her birthday. SHIT. Looking back, that was a pretty twisted idea on my parents part considering the state of my relationship with my sister. Like all big brothers, it was my job to make her life a living hell. I felt it my personal responsibility to bring her just to the point of tears on a regular basis, and to (now regrettably) just be not very nice without much thought. Now SHE was my judge, jury, and executioner? Thankfully, she went ahead and gave the thumbs up right away. Did she not understand the power she held over me, or is she really just that dumb? Ha, I still got it...

That night we met up downtown in front of Seattle's Moore Theater and the awning read the night's headliner was called "The Piss Bottle Men". Brilliant, thought my 13 year-old brain. This was a secret show in the truest sense of the word and somehow I was on the in and in. If you've never been to the Moore, it's not as beautiful as the Paramount but for me it was perfect and at this point I was dying of anticipation. I don't even think there was an opening band, but the smell of old velvety seats and the unknown sweet scent of Marijuana (what's that smell?) wafted though the venue letting my senses know that tonight was going to be anything but a normal night at home washing dishes before homework. One by one roadies came out to double test the guitars, drums, and mic levels (is Eddie really that short?). Candles were lit, and the amp lights burned bright in deep reds and purples as the house and stage lights went down. The crowd started to cheer as shadowy figures came out from the side of the stage one by one and took positions like soldiers on the battle field. The lights went on, and there they were...


The drums burst through the P.A. speaker at simultaneously horrific and euphoric volumes as then drummer Jack Irons played the opening beat for the song "Last Exit". The song was the first off of PJ's just released album "Vitalogy" (knew it by heart), and set the tone for night. The duel guitar buzz-saw attack of Stone Gossard and Mike McCready blended perfectly like shots from an electric cannon as bassist Jeff Ament locked in the low-end that shook the walls of the theater. Then Eddie Vedder began to sing and that's when I knew that I would remember the night for a long time. There were my heroes right in front of me (once I ran up to the front of the stage), and though they have been heroes to many a fan, that night it was just them and I. For the next two hours the band blasted through a collection of hits, B-sides, and a few covers that I knew I'd have to find once I got home (and my allowance). The clothes were perfect, the stage presence was perfect, and it was all...perfect. At one point during "Blood" (off of "Vs.") Eddie took the base of the mic stand and in the bridge began beating in the floor of the stage to the rhythm of the pulsing bass drum. Once the hole was big enough, he crawled into it and after disappearing for a while crawled out covered with splinters and a big smile aimed at his impressed if not confused band mates. To this day I hope to do something so badass. After the end of the first encore (innocently thought there was only one) Josh and I began to make our way to the doors and try to comprehend what we just had seen when we heard Eddie's voice over the P.A. say, "We want to bring a friend of ours out". That friend?


WTF!?! It turned out that Neil Young had been in town recording an album with PJ as is backing band that two months after the concert was released and titled "Mirrorball".
For 45 minutes Neil's reverb saturated solo's filled the air with the already warmed up band behind him. Later on I found out that the band had also been experiencing a similar thing as me that night; interacting with an artist they looked up to and not believing something so cool was happening to them. Once the band was really done, the crowd flooded out into the night and my parents picked us up to take Josh home. "So how was it?", my mom asked. Though I surprisingly could hear her over my ringing ears (rang for 3 days straight), I didn't really want to talk about it or to anyone that moment. I didn't want the feeling to end or to be taken out of the mindset that I was in for the past 3 hours. I didn't want the magic to go away, and I knowing that it would was something I resented. The next day I would go to school, still have trouble with math, still be the low man on the totem pole; but for that night I was in my element and it was everything I thought I should feel all of the time. If there is such a thing as complete contentment, I felt I had reached it that night.

I truly believe that the evening held a profound influence on me as a developing young adult as I know music holds for many people during that point in their lives. Hormones are exploding, identities are being chosen, and no matter how poor you are the moment you put in a cassette and your headphones on you can be filled with other riches. Up until that point I had known that music was a path I was interested in setting my life upon, but after that night I decided to become serious once I saw the powerful exchange of communication that was something that as simple as sound but completely unexplainable at the same time.

Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate enough to meet 3 out of the 5 members of the band and have attempted to hold a normal conversation with them despite a shaky voice and clammy hands when introducing myself. I'd be a liar if I said that over the years I hadn't developed a script for what I wanted to say to them; a way to declare my excitement for how they've affected my life and influenced me though their music. Still, every time I meet one of them it all goes out the window and I only end up saying one thing.

"Thank You".


Monday, November 10, 2008

Kibbles And Bits And Bits And Bits. Issue #75

WOW. What a week...

No more than a week ago we saw for the first time an African American get elected to the highest office in the land, and simultaneously saw the the homosexual community get a huge push back in the direction of continually being treated as second class citizens. The paradox was very confusing; like we gained huge ground and lost it at the same time. Like we learned something and nothing at all. Whether you are excited about our new president elect or not (if not you probably stopped reading this blog a while ago :)) or agree with the outcome of Prop. 8, you can't say that it wasn't a powerful time for our nation and world in general. If you're like me you can't wait to see what happens next as our national consciousness is shifting and we're given another chance to show the world what the American people are about when represented by someone that actually listens to us. What a concept. Moving on...

I've included some pictures below of The Wifey on Halloween dressed up as AMY WINEHOUSE. It seems like many a 20-something girls had chosen this as the costume of choice this year, but did these women in question let their husbands draw Amy's detailed tattoos on them in multi-colored SHARPIE? I don't know for sure, but I would guess that wasn't the common activity of choice on Hallow's Eve which is why I felt extremely lucky to check a bizarre goal off of doing so. I don't know why so don't ask. It took me an hour to draw up "exact" replicas on her arms, and she was such a good sport about it. Even without the tattoos, I think she looked very much the part and freaked people out throughout the night. Lots of fun and for sure and she kicked my costume's ass. What was I? I can't take credit for the idea, but in the absence of all other creative ideas I chose to be a "Bar of Soap"....with a hair on it. Gross or sexy? I also found out that night that evidently my super-power is to create awkward silences when describing what I was...

Last Thursday, I packed up the P5 and set across the Mountain of Mordor (Snoqualmie Pass) for a few shows in Idaho. That night I returned to MOONTIME CAFE in Coeur d'Alene for the first time in a year and had an awesome time playing a 3-hour set and yelling back at hecklers. Strangely, I learned that with hecklers if you throw crap back at them in a teasing way they end up loving you. Bring 'em on I say. Wait, didn't George Bush say that? In that case I guess instead I'll say the evening felt like "mission accomplished" for an out-of-town musician. I give up...

The next day I set out for the city of Sandpoint, ID to make an appearance on 95.3 KPND which in format and local status is the equivalent of 103.7 "The Mountain" in Seattle. Getting to the station 10 minutes before my first radio interview/performance (not my style), I must've looked ridiculous running with my guitar in one had and Ukulele in the other for a few blocks in the rain (parked too far away). The DJ who interviewed me was a really nice woman by the name of Diane Michaels and she made me feel comfortable going into the new experience. I loved it. Adrenaline was flowing (stop shakey voice!) and though I had never performed an in-studio session before (on FM) I called on my hundreds of hours listening to in-studio performances to help me sound like I'd done it before (hopefully). It was nice because she had actually done a little research on me before and for the first time I heard how bizarre it sounds to be in 3 different bands one of which has a mission statement for writing songs about video games/comics. I had the opportunity to perform two songs for the session, "Sparkle And Fall", and "Zombie Apocalypse". The latter of which is a yet-to-be-released song on the up-coming KIRBY KRACKLE album, and possibly the world's first Zombie song played on Ukulele.

You can hear these on my Myspace page by clicking here...

The session was actually promo for my show that evening at Pend D'Oreille Winery, the local wino hotspot. The show also went pretty well and I really enjoyed the long sets as it enabled me to perform songs that I normally wouldn't including some re-interpreted LAYMANS TERMS songs and a few of the songs I wrote for GIGI EDGLEY'S album.

A really enjoyable weekend with long stretches of driving filled by listening to ECKHART TOLLE'S, "The Power of Now". I highly recommend it to anyone looking to dig a little deeper and if you're like me are looking for a way to enjoy the present a bit more in days filled with craziness.

"May You Always Live A Exciting and Constantly Interesting Life"
-Ancient Chinese Curse

With hopes for a joy filled week ahead for all,


Monday, November 3, 2008

Empower Yourself. Issue #74

"Go out and vote, it'll make you feel big and strong."

-Bob Schaefer's mother



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rotting Never Felt So Good. Issue #73

*Show alert!*

After a few dates in Eastern Washington in the first part of November, I'll be playing my last local show before the end of the year on Saturday, November 29th! The night will be at The Kiss Cafe in Ballard; a cute little spot that caters to the singer-songwriter sort (that's me) and pairs their entertainment with equally delicious food and drink. Being that it's Thanksgiving weekend (and no cover), feel free to bring out your out-of-town guests and all-ages crew with food served until 9:00 (that's when the show starts), and drinks until 12:00.

For my 29th Birthday, Mandi threw me a party and invited a few of our closest friends for a low-key pumpkin beer and carving extravaganza. We did the same thing last year but decided to spice it up a little with a twist and make it into a "Zombie Party".

Being a horror movie wuss and not a gore liking person, it surprised me a lot that within the last year I've really become obsessed with "Zombies", and the concept of the "undead" in general. Being a comic buff, a few years ago I was introduced to Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead" series by my friend Ian (go get it NOW) and it just kind of exploded into unhealthiness from there. I dream about them often, and when I do they mostly revolve around my grandmother's house and fending off an onslaught of ghouls while armed with guns and knives. Yes, I've talked to someone about this...

Everyone dressed and was a good sport about it in humoring my love of the undead and the costumes were really impressive! The phrase heard most throughout the entire evening?

"My face is itchy."

Enjoy the pictures!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Loud Guitars Been Berry Berry Good To Me. Issue #72

COLLIDER and I are pressing full and hard to complete our album in these past few months and on Sunday took a big chunk out of the work to-do list with a 13 hour day in Shoreline at engineer Don Gunn's studio.

With the state of today's technology and the progressive quality of DIY recording, most of the the overdubs and arrangements have been done at Matt and my respective studios after most of the drums early in the summer. Still, we found that though convenient to record at home, it really isn't the place to get BIG guitar sounds. This is the reason we decided to do it right and block out some time at a different studio.

Our drummer Ian had been in Europe for the past 2 weeks (let me tell you a story about eating a 1 lb. peice of veal in Prague), so putting practice on the back burner for that time Matt and I had been focusing on finalizing writing and recording final bass tracks to be plucked by our yet-to-be-hired new bassist (is it YOU?). Let me to you, I truly have been having a blast playing bass on the album and it's been almost freeing in a way to get creative on an instrument that though I do play, rarely have the opportunity to get this creative/collaborative on. Groove has been the rule of thumb during the recording sessions and I think we were successful in adding another dimension with the new low end ideas.

I also laid down some new vocal tracks with a few more to go next week before all is said and done. I've always had a hard time finding a vocal mic that I felt really suited me and got all the nuances that I felt were there but just wasn't hearing. Engineer Don introduce me to new one made by LAWSON that is my new love and it's gonna be hard singing into anything else for the foreseeable future! Ian also brought by a new toy for us to sample in the form of the Matchless "Badcat" amplifier; a bruiser that literally feels as heavy as it sounds. We wanted big guitars, and this was BIG. Smiles all around as I cranked out the chorus bar-chords of "Backdrive", and it was hard for me to stop playing. Thanks to JT for trusting us with his baby and I think that's worth many guest list admissions to shows in the future. Does that work as a barter system in general? Hmmmm...does anyone have a brand new tour bus they want to trade for drink tickets? Hit me up...

Lots of good final tracks laid down this week for KIRBY KRACKLE as well! As both of these projects come to completion I'm getting a clearer idea of how they are different and how fun it's gonna be when they are done. The KK album is shaping up to be 9 or 10 songs and COLLIDER is looking to be about 7 in length. I really really really want to put up some samples soon so let's hope, huh?

I've got a birthday coming up this Saturday which marks the starting line for my last year of enjoying being a 20-something. As my Mom would year older; one year stinkier. Hope to hit up a pumpkin patch, grab some Eggs Benedict and hang with people I love; all of which are all good for the soul. Well, that and HALO.

Mind on my Money and my Money on my Mind,


Monday, October 13, 2008

"Alex, I'll Take Homeless People Attacking My Car For $1000 Please." Issue #71

(Note: This week's previously advertised entry, "The coolest thing I learned all summer" moved to a later date due to the unforeseen events that occurred in the later part of last week. Sometimes bizarreness trumps all.)

You ever have one of those weeks? Sure you have. We all have whether it be the annoying douchebag at work, family drizama, or unexpected house issues. Well, what about the crazy crap that you can't even make up (and I know cause I've tried)? That's how this week has kinda been for me and it's my American right (for now) to vent about it. Here I go...

Well, first I want to keep it real and say that my head hurts in the equivalent of stubbing all 10 (in my case 11) toes at one time. This weekend I built a fence with my friend and neighbor Reuben (@1ara1317). Long story short, after two days of becoming one with my leveler we were 10 boards left to go in a fence put between our abodes when your's truly wasn't paying attention and stood up full speed to crack his head on a metal shelf.


I think not exaggerating that it was the worst pain I'd felt in I don't know how long. Luckily, I was wearing a baseball cap but after a few moments I felt the *pulse* and the warm vampire food leak out of my dome. Running inside I told Mandi to call 911 and managed to get blood all over the kitchen sink while she did. I went to sit down feeling like a dumbass because it wasn't the first time I had hit my head on that shelf that day. I know...DUMBASS. I guess an ambulance was in the area cause those guys were here lickity-split. Two guys came in and proceeded to get the full scoop of what happened before checking out the damage. It turned out that after all the blood was wiped away that it wasn't probably gonna need stitches as it was only a about a little over an inch long and not too deep. I guess scalp wounds bleed like your brain is gonna fall out no matter how big they are, and was told it was a good idea to call anyways. Slightly embarrassed for making them come out for anything other than a fence nail in my head, I thanked them and they told me to read some comics and rest.


I guess one guy was scoping my house while patching me up, and to be honest the whole time I was thinking he looked like "Samuel L. Jackson as NICK FURY" but I digress...
Other than a badass headache I'll be all good soon I think. I'm also not supposed to wash my hair for a few days which COLLIDER guitarist Matt said may be the worst part of it for me. HA, HA Matt...I'LL KILL YOU.

What was the other time 911 was called this past week? I thought you'd never ask, and ladies and gentlemen that is what in showbiz we call....a SEGUE.

On Thursday night my boys Brian (@microbrew) and Ian (@piglatin02) made plans to go see Brian's friend's band, THE POP-OFFS in Bellevue. Quick note, this is in a tie with my favorite cover band I've yet to see in person. Wanna see how 3 guys can destroy Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"? Go and see to believe. Moving on...

So, Brian and I rolled downtown to pick Ian up and made our way to the freeway about 8:00-ish. Sitting a stoplight downtown on the corner of "9th and Mercer" about three cars back, I noticed that there was a homeless man aggressively waving his sign in the windows of stopped cars...VERY AGGRESSIVELY. As far as I could tell, he was in his early 60's and seemed to be pretty toasty with a long white beard not unlike the monster Sea Captain's in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2. After he was done harassing the cars ahead of us, he approached my driver's side window and shoved his sign in my face as well. Now, for whatever reason I always think that even if you don't give money to somebody you should at least acknowledge them. I make a point of making eye-contact and nodding regardless because we all (maybe not all) have no idea how crappy it is to be homeless. Of their choice and doing or not, everyone has a deep need to be recognized. I nodded to him and waved a polite "no thank-you" for him to move on but he just stood there muttering. Ian waved him off as well and the lane started moving...THAT'S WHEN HE STARTED KICKING THE SHIT OUT OF MY CAR.

Now, nothing like his had ever happened to me before so it felt like a dream. Looking back reacting was more like a split second conversation with myself in my head along the lines of the following...

"Self, is a homeless guy really kicking in my car door?"

"Yes Kyle, yes he is. What are you gonna do about it?"


Leaving my car on, I unbuckled the seatbelt and stood up to yell, "DO NOT KICK MY CAR!"
Yes, it probably wasn't the most intimidating thing (mostly comical) to say but it was the best I could do at the time and obviously I was trying to get to the point. I'm a lover not a fighter, and I didn't really want any physical fighting to happen and especially when I got a good look at him I realized I didn't even want to touch him if I could help it. As I stated before, this guy was looking pretty badly and fantasies flew through my head of getting bit and getting Hepititis Q-412, or the worst blend of African-Malaria-HIV-Clamidia-whatever that I could imagine. Then he began walking toward me like he was going to try to take me down and possibly could have since he was bigger than me. I'm a small guy, but I might have untapped superpowers and fo sho can pinch and pull your hair to death if need be (just ask that kind in 2nd grade). Before he got to close my boys exited the car (this all happened very quickly) and he ran yelling across the street to a poorly lit park area behind a building.

Putting on my flashers, I called 911 and reported what had just happened. No sooner had I just given the assailant's description than I heard a yell from the direction in which he ran. Have you ever seen a group of homeless people running out of the shadows at you probably without your best intentions in mind? No? Well, then you're missing out.

911 Operator: "Hello? I asked you where is he now?"

Me: "Um, he and his crazy friends are coming at us."

911 Operaton: "I think you should move your car don't you?"

Me: "Um, yeah."

We drove a block and pulled over again still on the phone with the operator and was told to stay put for police to make there way to our location. Thankfully the group dispersed, and there wasn't any further incident. After being told the police would be there right away, we eventually drove off after it was clear the guy was long gone. I %50 believe in the capabilities of our citizens in uniform, but it was clear even if they caught the guy a night in jail would be all that could be done. As we drove away I think I even remember us saying, "At least it's a good blog entry". If that doesn't speak to the state "modern living" I don't know what does...

I think most people like the state of resolve and I'm no exception to the rule. It's clear that this is a situation where there really isn't going to be any due to any kind of enforced liability on this guys part, and it's something I'm feeling better about accepting every day. I'm pretty sympathetic to the homeless situation in general, but this was another level. Actually, today is the first day when I've started to feel a little better about it and mostly because it's made some people laugh pretty hard. Laughing's a healing thing, and so is handing the guy a lit M-80 stuffed in a sandwich. Sorry, slipped a little there...

Should I probably have gotten out of the car? In a clearer head and hindsight, no but I think I just got caught up in the moment and reacted without thinking. I'm actually pretty lucky he didn't have a weapon and next time hopefully I'll think a little bit more before taking on crazy energy like that. I hope you got a laugh out of it too, and remember if you're gonna kick something...kick a ball.


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Katka's. Issue #70

Thanks for all the kudos emails I received this week regarding last week's post announcing my "Thicker Than Leather" spot on BEYOND THE BREAK. Glad you all got a kick out of it and hopefully there will be more spots like that in the not so distant future!

I've really had my head in the ground this past week recording the KIRBY KRACKLE record, and seem to be focused on little else. That's good for getting stuff done but not for sanity so you can imagine I was pretty excited to let loose and dance it up at my good friend Noah Katka's wedding....

Noah's been a friend for many years and was gracious enough to invite me to live with him in his newly purchased house from 2003-2004 until Mandi and I were married. He's a firefighter for the Seattle Fire Department, and his new wife Shannon is a teacher at Ballard High School. Together, they make a cute-couple VOLTRON.

Yeah I know, every summer there seems to be a few blog entries dedicated to weddings but with all the craziness going on right gotta acknowledge the lovie times.

Next week? The COOLEST thing I learned all summer!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I've been talking about this one since my job as an in-house songwriter for ISLAND FILM GROUP (and this blog) began...and finally here she is!

In Spring 2007 I was happy to receive the news that my song "Thicker Than Leather" was to be licensed for a TV show called BEYOND THE BREAK which is shown on the WB version of Nickelodon called "The N" or "Noggin". Since then I've been patiently (and not so patiently) waiting to see it's episode placement, and feel what I found true to be the bizarre experience of your song being used in the opposite context in which it was created. Not yet having aired the new season in America, this footage was uploaded to Youtube by someone having seen it in Canada.

For a song written with the intention of creating dialogue regarding what is in fact substantial living vs. empty daily a surf montage post-hormone fueled conversation it works surprisingly well...


A BIG Thanks to BEYOND THE BREAK and the folks at Brookwell/McNamara for including me in this season...Enjoy!

(Feel free to watch the whole thing, but to go right to the goods skip to the 4:40 minute mark.)

K to the S

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dorms and Wine. Issue #68

My little bro Mateo flew in from Hawaii last week to spend some days in Seattle before Mandi and I moved him up to the Western Washington University dorms. On Friday, we packed the car full of all the necessary domestic supplies that he needed from the 100,000 trips we made to Target...

I never did the going away to college thing (Community College represent!) so it was cool to see how the whole moving in process worked. It seems like the school will be a great place for him and it was interesting to see what my life would have been like if I didn't pursue music like I did by staying in Seattle. I can also see why so many of my friends refer to going away to school as one of the best periods of their life, and in some ways always trying to regain that time. It looked like he's gonna have a great 4 years, and made sure I had the obligatory big brother talk regarding guys our size not trying to keep up with the big boys in terms of drinking if only for the fact that he will die if he does. Literally, we Stevens/Galindez boys are made of baby parts; I'm not gonna lie. That is also his nickname and how he will be referred to on this blog from now on. Sorry Mateo, some things were just meant to be...

On Saturday I had the first in my series of winery shows I have booked for this fall with a road trip to Moses Lake to perform at KYRA WINES. Bruce and Kyra Baerlocher are the owners of the winery and I was honored when they asked me to play for their first wine event after moving into their new and larger facility. The drive over The Pass was really beautiful and I'm seriously looking forward to more shows in Eastern Washington for that reason as well. It was a long day after the 4 hour drive, the 3 hour performance, and the drive back but was completely worth it and I look forward to returning for their future events.

Being that it was such a long show, I referenced my "Master Song List" that I'd been compiling over the past 6-months or so that contains every song I've written over the past 4-years including songs from KS Band, COLLIDER, and a few LAYMANS TERMS songs that I still enjoy playing. Not counting the KIRBY KRACKLE material that we're working on or the few covers I play, the existing playable material reaches the count of approx. 80 songs. Damn!

I had no idea I had that much stuff, and thankfully it allowed me to put together 3 sets for the show that I've listed below for those who are interested in that sort of thing...

Set #1:

Everyone (Instrumental)
Mexican Jail
With You
The Last Time I Was Bored
I Never Missed You More Than When I Was Not Around
Memories Of Us (Rodney Crowell)
Sun Takes You Home
Getaway Car
Hey, Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)
Vouch For Me
Blue Sky Thoughts (Gigi Edgley)

Set #2

Turn Another Page (Instrumental)
Getting Better
Thicker Than Leather
Japanese Girlfriend (New Version)
Big Green Wheels
Always Remember
The Actor
Sparkle And Fall
Anna Marie (Acoustic Version)
Always Love
Holding You
Big Purple Robe
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)

Set #3

This Is Not A Love Song
Roman Candle
Counting On You
Perfect Disaster
Backdrive (Acoustic Version)
Matches In The Walls
Tony Stark
River Valentine
Turtle Parts

Lots of songs, lots of fun, and if I keep playing sets this long the usual 45-minute show will seem like a blink of the eye me thinks.

I spoke to my new publicist the other day and there's been some really good album critic reviews for SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM coming in that I hope to have posted in the next week or so!
Kyle Stevens - Songs from the Orange Room

Hope everyone is doing well these and slipping in nicely to the new season by keeping a good book close and your lovies even closer...

See you in 7!