Tuesday, January 27, 2009

KIRBY KRACKLE On Sale...TODAY! Issue #86

Hey everybody, today's the day! The final colors above turned out pretty good don't you think? JUSTIN STEWART colors = EYE CANDY!

KIRBY KRACKLE goes on sale as of this morning and you can download it online by heading to Digstation where you can also sample songs from the entire album.

If you like your music in physical form, head over to the newly launched Official site at www.kirbykracklemusic.com where you can order a fully packaged album via Paypal. There you can find all things KK including photos from our session with Joshua Stearns in November, as well as the option to join our email list and street team!

Jim and I will also be performing for the KK CD Release paired with a comic signing for superstar-artist Mike Oeming this Saturday, January 31st @ THE COMIC STOP in Lynnwood. Mike will be signing from 1:00-4:00pm, and I'll be performing the entire album starting at 4:00.

It's all systems go for KK starting the first weekend in February as we head to NEW YORK COMIC-CON to set up shop all three days (6th-8th), and then off to WONDER-CON in San Francisco February 27th-March 1st.

Thanks to everyone for their support in the making of this album. Taking the moniker of "The World's First Comic Book Rock Band!" this album was made for fans of the genre and pop-culture in general. And even if you're not that familiar with that world, Jim and I invite you to check it out as we think it's a fun listen regardless!

See you at the release!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gimme Some Inks! Issue #85

Last week I showed you the concept sketch for the KIRBY KRACKLE album out January 27th, and here's the result of someone taking the idea up-and-running who can actually draw! Oooooohhhhh.....Aaaaawwww.....

Yep, that's me on the right and Jim on the left. Yes, he's holding the guitar upside-down symbolizing his musical self-deprecation. Giddy as a school girl I was when we received this, and knew we had a great cover. And that my friends, is half the battle (G.I JOE?).

What? You want to hear about the second half of the CD? Great idea!


One of the great thrills that I encountered in making the KK album with Jim was finally after 15 years finding a place for the music that became the make up of "Marvelous Girls". I wrote the bouncy riff back in 1993 when Matt Edington of COLLIDER and I were just beginning to write songs and over the years it's always been something that I've wanted to find a place for but never have. Honestly, it's forever been an orphan because from the time I first wrote it and showed Matt until just this past spring, ever band I've had I approached with it thinks it sucks! It just may, but I've always loved it, and couldn't believe my ears after playing it when Jim exclaimed, "That's Awesome!"


Originally called "Jamaican Girl", it was written when I was going through a hard-core "Weezer" point in my life and does sound like it would be something the band may have written in their earlier days. Now renamed "Marvelous Girls", the song is an ode to the women of the MARVEL Comics Universe. Some have gills, some have feathers, but all are beautiful. The curse is broken on the song that would never be, and simultaneously the world has it's first rock love song dedicated to races of women that exist nowhere except in a 4-panel world. Hey, you only live once...

Track #7 "TEABAGGED"

Hmmmm....how to I approach this one? Being an avid HALO fan, there are certain, um, "behaviors" that one notices in the gaming world that didn't exist during the days of simple old-school NINTENDO button mashing of yesterday. Since over the past 8 years George Bush taught me that the best way to tackle awkward/semi-controversial topics is to speak to adults like children, I think that's maybe the best way to deal with this...

"So Timmy, Mommy wants me to tell you what "Teabagging" is. Swell! Well, sometimes when Daddy is playing his games and Daddy gets killed over and over again by people that are really good, Daddy sometimes gets a little angry. No No son, not like when Daddy catches Mommy with other Daddy, a different kind of angry. Instead of spending hours and hours getting better at his game, sometimes Daddy knows that the best way to feel better is for when he finally "kills" someone, to just squat over their face a few times to make them angry as well. Yes son, that's why sometimes you hear yelling from the TV speakers, but don't worry...it's all for good fun. Now go burn some ants."

Well, that's the best I can do and surprisingly almost as awkward as telling my Mom who exclaimed, "Well, that's just great honey." A look into the dark side of video-gaming, and also the result of me getting a ukulele a few months earlier.

DON HO meets 2 LIVE CREW....don't judge me.


Besides being an awesome source of entertainment that more and more people are tuning into with the release of movies over the past 10 years, the comic book industry is first and foremost just that... a business. Like any good business, you need to make sure you have customers that keep coming back (i.e. readers). One of the techniques that does just that is every year or so having a storyline that claims "THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!!!" and inspire you to buy many other titles that your normally wouldn't but end up buying just to follow a story-line that seems at the time VERY important. What sometimes ends up happening is that the story and the immediacy don't live up to the hype and the buyer ends up feeling burned. This happens more than not, but is not always the rule. This song is a dedication to those allowance/paycheck draining "events" and the fact that though fans have been complaining for years, they (and I) still buy them in droves fueled by the promise of "nothing will ever be the same". This is deep geek territory. Move along, nothing to see here...


In February 2008 I participated in a social experiment that I blogged about for the entire month. The experiment was called the "RPM Challenge" in which songwriters were given the task to write and record 10 new songs of brand new material in 30-days. Readers of this blog know that it's purpose was to inspire unrestrained creativity with a focus on speed and letting go by creating music that no one had to hear, and was more just to see what the result was of compacted writing without over analyzing. Of those sessions, I yielded a few songs that have gone on to be more than what they were intended for...just me.
"VOUCH FOR ME" was released as an email-list only summer single in July, and "SUN TAKES YOU HOME" will be appearing on the new COLLIDER record due in early spring. The closer to the 10 song set was a tune called "COUNTING ON YOU" that was very simple musically, but was carried by what I felt was one of my strongest vocal hooks I had written for the experiment. Jim and I retooled it for the KK sessions after we were inspired by the chorus line that could be interpreted as the call from fictional citizens of a world where business as usual means making breakfast every morning as much as it does to see Heroes flying through the air saving the world. The lyrics to the verses were changed but the core of the song lies in the chorus originally sung as "I" and switched to the more inclusive "We're".

"We're Counting On You, to save us from the burning buildings. We're Counting On You, to follow us into the night. We're Counting On You, to pull us up when we are drowning. We're Counting On You."


I won't go into how much I love zombies and the genre in general as I have already dedicated an entire entry to that!
"Thank God", they say...

But, I will say that this song went through a few sketches musically most of which I'm glad got a *SMACK-DOWN* from Jim to bring you the final version heard here. The idea excited us; What would the Zombie Apocalypse be like for someone who wasn't scared but mostly just annoyed by the interruption to modern living and amenities? The kind of annoyance that one might experience if zombies were eating your family, but the fact that you couldn't get on your FACEBOOK page seemed like the more pressing matter. Dark comedy? Generation Y social commentary? A little of both to be sure, but maybe the core of the song could be found with an adjustment to one of my favorite quotes. A few years ago, someone shared with me the following quote that I chose to include on the back of Songs From The Orange Room by Dr. Howard Thurman. It read...

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because the world needs people who have come alive."

or was it...

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself if there's enough songs about Zombies played on a Ukulele and then go write them. Because the world needs more Zombie songs played on Ukulele."

That's the run down! Next week the cat's out of the bag with the full color-spectrum added to Jim Mahfood's inks by the illustrious man of color (not what it sounds like) Justin Stewart!

The self-titled KIRBY KRACKLE album hits the interwebs next Tuesday, January 27 as well as local Seattle stores Silver Platters and Easy Street Records!

And remember, my next show is tomorrow night, Tuesday @ TOST in Seattle as we celebrate the Inauguration of our 44th president! I'll be hitting the stage all patriotic like @ 9:45 (TJ SHERRILL opening @ 9:00) so see you there!

Seacrest Out,


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

KIRBY KRACKLE Month Starts...NOW! Issue #84

Hey Everybody! Before we get into the new stuff, I just want to remind everyone about my first Seattle show of the year next Tuesday, January 20th @ TOST in Fremont. On top of that, Tuesday is Inauguration day so come out and celebrate the day we've been waiting on for four years now! TJ SHERILL opens the night, followed by myself and UNCLE DOODAD closing out the night. Doors open at 8:00 with the show getting under way at 9:00. $5 gets you in...

So now what? Oh, yeah...

KIRBY KRACKLE month starts...NOW!

A year ago a challenge was set to create an entire album of songs dedicated to the life-long love of comic books and video games. Battle plans were drawn up, nervous breakdowns were had, and on January 27th Jim Demonakos and I get to show the fruits of our labor and hopefully excite fans of the genre in the process. As previously said, the album will drop locally and digitally on January 27th followed by the CD Release show on Saturday January 31st @ THE COMIC STOP Lynnwood location. The performance will be the closing to a signing day that afternoon by superstar artist MICHAEL AVON OEMING (Powers/Mice Templar). Mike will be signing from 1-4pm and KK gets it going at 4:00. We'll have the album and posters on hand, and hope to see you there!

Since artwork is a BIG part of what drives the comic industry, I thought over the next couple of weeks I'd share the evolution of the album art by all-around badass Jim Mahfood from our original concept design to the final beautiful piece. I'll also give a preview of the songs before they're posted in a few weeks...

Does it look like a bunch of scribbles? Well, it is! You gotta start somewhere, and that's what Jim and I did as we brainstormed on how the cover should look. We wanted the visual content to be based around what we were singing about, and at the same time wanted caricatures of he and I. If you look closely, you can see two figures holding guitars standing in-front of huge amps. Rock! You can also see some game controllers, people flying around, a secret code, and other paraphernalia surrounding us that will be much clearer next week when you see what Jim Mahfood did by taking a sketch into full graphic reality. Next week? Black and White inks!

Like I said, I thought it would be fun to give a quick description of the first 5 tracks on the self-titled disc so you can get a glimpse to what the spirit of the album is and what the hell I've been talking about for months now...

Track #1 "BACK TO THE BEGINNING (Mario Kart Song)"

If you're somebody between the ages of 20-35 (or younger really with the new Wii game release), chances are you've played your share of Nintendo's classic Italian plumber racing game...MARIO KART. This song is a raucous rocker that sounds like Bowser and Koopa Troopa are hot on your tail as you race across the rainbow bridge to victory. Our declaration of love to hours spent hiding from the summer heat in basements across Seattle playing a game that is first and foremost a whole helluva lot of fun! The first song we wrote for the album, BTTB sets the pace for the disc with big guitars and some 64-bit psychoanalysis thrown in for kicks.

Track #2 "ONE OF THE GUYS"

BEN GRIMM is the strongest member of Marvel Comics super-team THE FANTASTIC FOUR and has the most attitude to boot. Why? Well, if you were a hulking mass of big orange rocks that broke every chair you sat in you'd be pissy too. The song title comes from the desire to just be "one of the guys" while also acknowledging that it's nice to be able to kick ass.
Equal parts THIN LIZZY/ELTON JOHN/WEEZER, this song is probably one of our favorites as it goes from a chill and vibey verse to a chorus that we hope kicks your teeth in. Not that we think your teeth are fugly, but you know what I'm saying...

Track #3 "UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN"

"Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start"...the video game secret code that spawned an infinite of lives and taught kids in the 80's every cuss word there was if you couldn't enter it quick enough. In this song we used the code as a metaphor for breaking the "code" to a girl's heart...only this girl ends up seducing the guy into her apartment and cutting him up. I never said this album was for kids...

Track #4 "NAKED Wii"

Just so it's out of the way...no I never have. There...now it's not weird. But, I can imagine what it would be like. Jim and I wrote a song based around a couple who just want to play Wii...like that. The first version ended with the girlfriend breaking the TV cause she wasn't wearing the "Wiimote" wrist-strap and having to go buy a new one from BEST BUY, but we decided it was more lovings than that. The quietest I've put my voice to tape and simultaneously the weirdest subject I've sung about...


This is the song on the album that went through the most changes over the course of the recording sessions. Originally titled "VILLAIN SCHOOL", it told the story of a generic comic/movie-villain that graduated from the Community College of Evil (Shoreline?) ready to get down to brass-tacks with the superhero community. To those who are now asking themselves how I got someone to marry me, your guess is as good as mine...
It seemed a little ridiculous (even for us) and instead took on the moniker it goes by now and deals with the life decisions of a retired middle-aged villain contemplating getting back into the game. At one point dangling beautiful girls from rooftops and the other sitting on the beach "eating crunch berries and FRITO-LAYS"; this guy has some issues...but don't we all?

So there you go, the first five songs off of the KK album out on January 27th! Next week I'll run down the 2nd half of the album as well as some other cool KK and non-KK news.

Thanks for reading and be well!


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Is Old Becomes New Again...SFTOR Album Review. Issue #83

I had a dream the other night that I was in a far away land where WAL-MART could be found every 10 or so miles, where I ate deep-fried food every night, and where the wine tasted like melted TEEN SPIRIT deodorant. Oh yeah, that wasn't a dream...

Last week I was in Arkansas visiting the family and brought back about 5-8 pounds with me. The wifey and I had a great time and I was reminded how much I like it down there for many reasons including it's food and it's people. Well, maybe not the people who run the Confederate stores. The scariest thing I found? That was in the form of a bumper sticker rocking the Rebel flag printed on it the following...

"Yankees: 1 / Confederacy: 0.....Halftime."


There was even perfume with the flag as a logo called "Rebel-aire".
Hmmmm...."Eau De Racism" sounds more like it...

Don't let that represent the south entirely though; there you can find some of the nicest people you've ever met. Old school hospitality and manners never go out of style...

"Martin Luther King Jr.'s glasses and radio."

Readers of this blog know that for the past 3 months Jim and I have been hard at work on the KIRBY KRACKLE album (now in printing process!) and though I've been touring behind my solo album Songs From The Orange Room actively, the natural life span of aggressive promo for the disc is nearing it's end. That said, you can imagine how nice it was to receive this album review from renowned review website INK 19 to be published in a few weeks on it's site. I feel it's pretty accurate and fair review (especially about "Sparkle And Fall") and I'm always interested in hearing objective viewpoints regarding my work (i.e. people who don't care about my ego what-so-ever).


Seattle singer/songwriter Kyle Stevens inches toward the folky, Americana stylings that the Emerald City is gradually becoming known for without leaping full-bodied into it. Stevens is, first and foremost, a rock musician, and the fingerprints of Seattle's early '90s grunge heyday can be detected albeit in a relatively less noisy fashion. But there's no denying what inspired the guitar fuzz of "Getaway Car" or the brittle riffs of "Thicker Than Leather," which wouldn't have been too out of place on Pearl Jam's Vitalogy album. Stevens even sings with a deeper, more husky tone on "Thicker Than Leather," reminiscent of Eddie Vedder's arena-filling booming voice without self-consciously aping him. However, Stevens takes a rootsier approach than his Puget Sound predecessors, his songs expressing an obvious affection for Tom Petty and the Gin Blossoms.

The radiant opener, "Sparkle and Fall," sounds nothing like what follows, though. On this cut, Stevens veers closely to the incandescent New Wave of Echo & the Bunnymen. With its lush strings and ringing guitars, "Sparkle and Fall" could have been a killer Sire Records single circa 1988 when dreamy bands such as the Wild Swans and the Ocean Blue were championed on the college charts. "The Last Time I Was Bored" cranks up the amps while hinting at Stevens' direction towards Americana. By the third track, the kiss-off "This Is Not a Love Song" (no relation to the Public Image Ltd. post-punk classic although it would have been amusing to hear that given a country makeover), Stevens has embraced the genre, even having Patrick Porter to add pedal steel to the mix.

Although featuring only six tunes, Songs from the Orange Room doesn't feel half-full. Stevens doesn't cut us short here. Every track has a memorable hook or two, and Stevens is versatile enough to prevent singer/songwriter boredom from kicking in.

Robert M. Sutton

Cool, huh?

A nice little cap to the year pushing SFTOR and though supporting the album will continue to happen, we now turn our gaze to more pressing matters...KIRBY KRACKLE!

That's right, next week I can take the gag out of my mouth as we align the stars for our CD Release at the end of January and the announcement of some very exciting news regarding appearances in February. ROCK.

See you next week and until then enjoy some pics from the trip!