I love you.
There are certain experiences that you know the moment they happen will be something that you'll remember for the rest of your life. This past weekend was one of them when Jim Demonakos set up shop at the New York Comic Con for the convention debut of our comic book music project, KIRBY KRACKLE.
We took off Wednesday morning for a whole day of travel that began with a 10:45 take off and a final landing at JFK airport 11:30 that evening. Like I said...a LONG day. Being that this was my first time in NYC, I was hopped up on adrenaline and given the fact that Virgin Airlines didn't serve dinner we decided that finding food needed to happen stat. Luckily, Jim had visited the city a few times and knew what spots to hit up. CARNAGIE'S deli was the destination of choice and we ended up splitting at $24 turkey club ($3 xtra for splitting mind you) that let's me now say I've eaten a sandwich that was 8-inches high. For reals. Delish and goodnight.
The next morning we got up to set up our booth at the Javits Center near the water. Jim runs the ECCC (Emerald City Comic Con), a mid-size con that takes place in Seattle and up until now my only convention experience. Having no scale reference to what a big show was, it was quite a shock to show up and see an enormous floor space with hundreds and hundreds of vendors setting up everything from artist signing tables to video game promo booths; podcast alley's to sword and shield purchasing opportunities. And no, I didn't buy any....
After setting up what we could of our booth and cd listening stations, we took off for what was the other main reason for our NYC visit. A few months ago when the album was halfway done, Jim sent off a few preview tracks to a friend a MARVEL Comics to get a feel for how they would be received. The MP3's then made their way to Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada who is the main man at the company. He loved them, and requested that we stop by when we were in town for the con to get the staff copies of the final album.
Um...of course we will.
That afternoon we received a tour of the Marvel offices and gleefully handed out a backpack's worth of albums to the artists, writers, and staff. We were fortunate enough to catch Quesada in between meetings and handed him an album only to receive kudos from him regarding the subject matter (his company's characters) and the fact that he loved the songwriting as well being a musician himself.
Everyone we met at the office seemed really enthused/surprised that such an album existed and set us up for being even more excited to see how it would be received at the con. That afternoon Quesada even pimped KK on his Twitter Blog demanding that fans go and buy the album and say hi to us. A kind of "seal of approval" if you will neither neither of us expected, but it felt damn good! That night we caught an Irish band in mid-town Manhattan and hung with the Marvel guys some more before calling it an early night with a big day ahead of us.
The next morning we got up leisurely because the convention didn't start until 1:00. Oops, it started at 10:00! Leisure no longer an option, we bolted out of the hotel and made it there just in time to take the picture below and start a day of hopefully healthy sales and meeting fans. BTW, we don't know who's fur coat that is but it's not ours...pinkie swear.
Now, we knew we had a sort of mountain to climb with promoting this album being that saying "Hi, we're KIRBY KRACKLE, a comic book rock band from Seattle" hundreds and hundreds and HUNDREDS of times might not seem bizarre to a third of those folks, but it's where we needed to start. And start we did on our feet 9 hours a day handing out thousands of flyer cards with the website to be greeted by laughs, weird looks, and people stopping to talk and see what this freak show was. The good thing though was that as long as people stopped by to listen to it and talked to us, they ended up deciding they loved it. Women seemed to love "Naked Wii" and guys seemed to love "Marvelous Girls" which puts our demographic somewhere between 16 year-old Caucasian women and 53 year-old African-American men. Meeting folks from all walks of life there for the love of the same thing (comics/video games) is a pretty cool thing and one of my favorite parts of the trip. Lots of people said that they wanted to go home and listen to the album before buying it, and they did. Cooler than cool were the people that caught the plugs online the day earlier and came up and told us that "Joe Quesada said to stop by, so I'm here. Now what the hell is this?!?"
Friday night Jim his friends Laurie B. and Kandrix, and I went out for some authentic NY Pizza at JOHN'S PIZZA. I gorged myself, exhausted after a day's worth of talking myself almost hoarse since I've been getting over this cold...still. Laurie B. is a amazing artist of both pencil and personality and specializes in her own cute and unique brand of pinup art. I ended up getting to know them pretty well over the weekend, but maybe next time won't approach them saying, "Hi, nice to meet you. I see you have a picture of a semi-nude LITTLE MERMAID. When I was 10 I had a crush on her."
Yeah, that's a cartoon. Maybe not so up-front next time...
The next day was a long one (10-7) and since it was a Saturday the convention almost seemed double foot traffic. We met comic store owners from Baltimore who wanted us to perform at their shop, club kids from France who wanted to take it and burn it for their friends (go ahead), and met fellow Nerd-Core genre artist MC FRONTALOT. MC is in many ways one of the kings of the Nerd-Core music scene and it was cool to hand him a CD in person. Oh, and you know who else bought one? The GIN BLOSSOMS lead singer to whom I had profess my love for his music. Very cool guy.
That night, we met up with good buddy Alex Nackman at one of his favorite spots called BREAD TRIBECA. After all the times Alex has performed on bills with me and stayed at my house it was good to hang with him on his home turf. Dinner was delicious, and telling highly inappropriate stories in an establishment highly above them was even better.
By Sunday (day 3 of the con) I was pretty toasty. The combination of being on my feet talking all day and little sleep was catching up with me, but this little body had enough reserves to push through. Jim, on the other hand does the convention thing all the time and showed me that I need to find some stronger sea legs for this sorta thing before the rest of our shows this winter/spring. He took off for L.A. a early on Sunday afternoon for business, leaving me to close the last day of the show solo.
That night I had plans to meet up with Alex again after a dinner-for-one he suggested to me at a place called LIVE BAIT. The restaurant was pretty much empty and I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet time watching the Grammy's live and munching on catfish and candied-yams. Good thing cause I needed some marshmellows. Afterwards, Alex took me to a nice hole-in-the-wall cocktail bar that took their mixology very seriously called the FLATIRON LOUNGE. With drink names such as "Exotic Whisper" and "Carol Gardens" is was easy to get caught up in the 1940s-ish art-deco ambiance and decor that heralded back to an older New York that one could imagine. And yes, they were good at what they did. Licking the glass good.
The next morning I flew out half-conscious and exhausted but feeling good after an adrenaline fueled weekend of work and unexpected highs. The way this record has been received by the industry and the fans so far has been beyond Jim and my expectations (and be sure we had some) and hopefully continues to grow as it reaches new listeners of the genre. We're very much looking forward to the rest of the convention season as we get the full KK live band up and rocking. 2009 is gonna be a blast!