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,