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!!!