Monday, April 28, 2008

"Sparkle And Fall" Video Debut! Issue #47

This is a good week. Why?

The video is done!

So without further ado, here is the debut of my new video for my song "Sparkle And Fall" off of SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM. It was directed by Heather Canik, and the shooting took place over 3 days in late February.

We filmed the video in HD so if you want to see the non "YouTube-ized" ultra clean looking version, click HERE to be directed to my official site! Heather got some really beautiful shots and you owe it to her to see it in it's pure state.

You can see that the video also features many extras who are friends of mine that have supported my music for many years, and were nice enough to stand out in the freezing wind for hours.

In order of appearance, they are...Brian Meredith, Mandi Stevens, Shawn Kirk,
THE LOGI BEAR, Sharyn Wooten, Michelle Markwood, Joe Malek, Tim Jolin, Jessie Aumann,Lisa Schafer, Sara Grabko, Dan Fitzgibbons, Alex Bransky, Meg Jolin, Ian Menzie, Shannon Pierce, Tiffany Malek, Kai Malek, Ian Caruso, and Mark Wooten.

I hope you have as much fun watching it was much we did making it, and please share it with friends!

Next week I'll share some fun stories from the making of...


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Engaged! Issue #46

Not me (that is soooooooooo 2003), but my sister Deirdre! It's really gotten me in a good mood this past week and is an exciting time for my family. Deirdre (or "Deez-Nutz" as I call her) and I would drive to school together everyday of my senior year in high school and for some reason everyone thought we were dating. That's also my excuse for not getting asked out much that year...
I don't really know how that relates to Deird's engagement, but I disturbing story that I thought I'd share none the less. Congratulations to her and her fiance Josh!

I know I had promised the video for "Sparkle And Fall" this week but quality has no time limit. Good excuse? I think so. :) Next week fo sho!

That said, I thought I'd tell you about a show I played last night...
It wasn't listed on my show page because it was for a private event at NORTHGATE Elementary school with a volunteer band I play with called, "THE COVERALLS". The group is comprised of 4 musicians total and we play about 1 and 1/2 hours of cover songs for schools that need to raise money for programs. The reason I wanted to share this story was that it was a reminder I needed for the innocent excitement that is generated by music, the honest reactions of children, and the magic that happens when the two meet. I'd say about 99% of these kids had never seen a live band/rock show before, and the band and I always feel somewhat responsible because of that to deliver the goods and make sure that it is something they remember. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge of showing up to play in front of a crowd in a strange town that has their arms crossed and a look on their face that says "Prove it", but every once in a while it's nice to play for a group of excited kids that want to LOVE anything you do.

It was also a trip in that NORTHGATE was the elementary school I attended, and I felt like a giant as I walked the halls acknowledging how much it was different, and how much it was the same. I thought how it had been 18 years since I walked the halls of the school and how much I changed during that time as I wasn't the happiest little guy following my parent's divorce. I thought about best friends from back then who I feel I barely know now, and how my grandmother would pick me up and pack my lunch everyday. In the middle of "Summer of 69" I thought of how 18 years earlier I was in the same spot dressed up as a Stegosaurus and crying after forgetting my words in the school play. The school principle must have heard of my Alma Mater status because after the encore he called me up the stage to introduce me as such to about 200 screaming kids. It was a little embarrassing, but kind of made the evening a full circle event for me in nostalgia. After the show the band and I signed autographs on our posters and took pictures with the kids until everyone left happy. One future entrepreneur could even be heard walking away exclaiming, "I'm gonna put this on EBAY!"

(Sigh)...just one more kid I gotta sue.



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Respect Mang! Issue #45

I appreciate all the feedback I've received over the last week regarding my posting of the E.P. B-Side, "Big Purple Robe". I've gotten a wide spectrum of comments which include..."You should have included it on the album!", "Meh.", and my favorite "Cool song, but it sounds like it's written for married people by married people". :)

Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

The title says it all...I want to take this week's issue to talk about some pretty cool things that a few of my friends and colleagues have going on now and in the near future that I think many of you would like to know about. Spreading the love...

First up, Joshua Stearns...

Joshua is a Hawaii based photographer who met me in L.A. for a photo shoot a little over a year ago. One of the photos ended up being the cover shot for my E.P., and last week he launched his revamped website which now features an online store where you can purchase a selection of photos from his vast catalog. I was surprised to find that one of the night shots we did made the store as well...
Joshua is a BADASS, and I'm a big fan of his photography. He's also a HALO junkie so if you come across his name while playing...T-Bag him for me.
When you head to his site you can read his description of his works and how he rarely makes the picture about the individual themselves and more about how they work in the environment.
Cool Stuff!

Matt Edington (FORCEFIELDS)...

If you've been reading this blog for a while you know who Matt is. He's my songwriting partner/other guitar player in COLLIDER, and he helps me out as well in The KYLE STEVENS BAND. But did you know that his also goes by the FORCEFIELDS moniker? This weeks kudos to him is based on the fact that on of his songs has been getting play on C89.5 FM. The song is called "Battle Plan", and you can hear it by following the link above. If you are a fan of C89.5 then keep your ears out on Friday nights and let 'em know if you like the song!

Brian Meredith, Jim Demonakos, and the EMERALD CITY COMIC CON...

Before I got into music, I grew up with the idea that I would be a comic book artist. Every week I would earn 5 dollars from doing a selection of chores my mom would assign me, and that weekend I would head up to 7-11 and blow it all on comics. When I was 13 I got stopped reading (musicians didn't have time for such things), until 2001 when Brian and Jim got me hooked on THE CRACK again (this comes through in my performances with Wolverine action figures on my amp).
Brian and Jim own THE COMIC STOP chain, and every year put on the BEST comic con in the Northwest. This will be the 6th year for the show, and it's been really cool to see it grow and evolve in size and quality every year. If you enjoy movies, awesome art, toys, or just people watching at all then this is something you should attend the weekend of May 10th and 11th at the Washington State Convention Center. Geek out!


I have talked a lot about TJ on this blog before, and mostly because he's the best hetero-tour partner you could ask for. He still laughs when I repeat the same jokes, and makes a mean pot roast. A few weeks ago, TJ launched his new "Acoustic Demos" page on which he features new tunes so you all can sing along before he records a proper new album. To download the songs you need to have purchased his album and access them by entering the UPC, and if you haven't you can listen them on his myspace player for free. A few weeks ago he and his piano player Bryce visited THE ORANGE ROOM STUDIOS and laid down a song called "Bones".

I dare you to listen to this song twice and not get it stuck in your head all day....or days.
Damn you TJ...Damn you.

That's all for now, but before I go know that the video debut for "Sparkle and Fall" is just a week away!

Take care of each other...


Monday, April 7, 2008

Big Purple Robe. Issue #44

Last summer when I was finishing up the track list for my solo debut E.P., SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM, I was left with one song I wasn't sure if I wanted to include on the disc or not. The song was called "Big Purple Robe". Originally, I had planned to include it but when the time came to master the album I decided last minute to leave it off.


Well, even though I liked the song I felt that it didn't flow well with the rest of the collection of songs as a whole. I already had my ballad I wanted to include, "This Is Not A Love Song", which along with "BPR" was a sort of "against type" love song which chronicled the sometimes not very easy but none-the-less necessary up-and-downs of being in relationship. With "Love Song", I felt I had already covered the ground I wanted to lyrically and though "BPR" was a solid song in my eyes I thought it might be more of the same.
During the time I wrote the song I was listening to a lot of country and R&B, not so much to become influenced by the styles, but to stay away from comfort zones I might step into writing wise by listening to my usual "Alternative-esque" musical staples.

Though I haven't yet performed this song with the band I did break it out for nearly every show last Fall when I toured with TJ Sherrill, and each night experimented in performing the song in a different style. One night I would play it really slow, and the next really fast in an effort to see if the song might fully realize itself as a different animal, and in hopes I might discover why I hadn't been in love with it as much as my other tunes.
Despite my best efforts, I never came up with something that worked better than what you hear now. I also like it much more now after having taken a few months without listening to it, and will be getting it in shape with the band for the next show.

I chalk it up to an exercise/lesson in trusting my first judgment, and possibly a reinforcement of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"!

I hope you enjoy, and please feel free to download this
SONGS FROM THE ORANGE ROOM B-Side..."Big Purple Robe".


Girl, tell me I'm yours tell me you're mine
I know there's bills to pay, and I know it's heavy on your mind.
I don't want to fight, turn off the lights, sit by my side
Oh, we could die today...and I'd hate to miss this moment.

'Cause something we have has a tendency,
to build up and break like a wave at sea,
and hard as we try it may always be so why don't you put on
your Big Purple Robe...

Oh, my timing is cruel my timing is bad
I know just what to say, I just don't know when to say it
So here, give me your hand it's never so bad
There's always another're never alone when I'm with you.

'Cause something we have has a tendency,
to build up and break like a wave at sea,
and hard as we try it may always be so why don't you put on
your Big Purple Robe...


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lil' Bro Time. Issue #43

I have a new obsession.


My little brother Mateo flew in from Hawaii last Tuesday to visit colleges he may attend in the fall (UW and Western), and to get some good snow time in. When he and my Dad were in town in January, Mandi and I joined them up at Stevens Pass for snowboarding lessons and two days of falling on our asses. Being that it was all our first time trying the sport, it was a lot of work and pretty frustrating with little payoff in the fun department for me. I face-planted so hard that I almost knocked myself out and thought for sure I would be spitting out teeth. I swear that I thought I broke my nose (I did not), but I hit so hard that my nose still hurts. That may be the coke though so who knows...

Either way, this time was different.

We got up at the butt-crack of dawn and sped up there so we would be on the slopes when they opened. The two days we spent in January were super packed with people so we expected some crowds and figured we could get one non-crowded run in.


Not only that, but it was blue sky (which we heard rarely happens up there) and a blanket of fresh powder coated the runs as we rode the chair lifts with no one in back or ahead of us. It was really amazing to feel like we were the only ones up there for a few hours. Check naked snowboarding off the list...
The only problem was that when we got to the top, we realized we now had to get back down without killing ourselves like last time. Surprisingly, we did pretty good and even started to get a little cocky as the day went on building speed and with Mateo even getting some trick hops in.

The day before we went up to the mountain we stopped in at a boarding shop downtown and picked up helmets that had speakers for ear-flaps and a sub-woofer add on. If you're like me, you've no doubt heard the snowboarding/skating community say that music is 1/2 of the experience. If you saw how I did last time, you might warn me against any added stimulus to my attempts to stay upright, but we decided to go for it and you know what...we actually did better because of it. I think it was the distraction really, and when I wasn't rocking out I realized the sound of going fast was what would freak me out and send me off balance. I guess that makes sense for someone who reacts to sounds in sometimes weird ways (ask my bandmates how they impersonate me when I get excited about a hook), but the music really heightened the experience and made boarding a lot more fun. My suggestion for the music that works best? Well, when Janet Jackson came up in shuffle mode I was skeptical but found myself a full fledged member of the
Rhythm Nation by the time I was done.
Don't knock it until you try it...

Because we're 10 years apart and because he was 8 when my family moved to Hawaii after I graduated high school, it was the first time he and I had really ever spent any long period of one-on-one time together alone since he's been a teenager and has had my mental mindset and capacity (a teenager). Sad to say he'll be leaving me in the dust in that department soon so I have to enjoy the relating while I can...
I'm looking forward to him moving up here, and even though I feel like I've missed out on a lot of his growing up since the family moved, I'm looking forward to him being around for his college years.

Not really much to report on the music end of things this week, and I'm actually glad about that. It was nice to take a break from writing this week and I felt that for the first time in a while I took time to PLAY hard. Sure, performing and writing songs is one of my favorite things in the world, but it was nice to play hard with no purpose or without working towards any results (other than not face-planting). That may sound weird, but I think I realized up there that I need to make more time for stuff like that, and that it fuels the fire for art and being creative in general. Till next season...

Next week...Songs From The Orange Room B-Sides!