Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Rock At 8:00 AM. Issue #116

This past weekend Jim, the Kirby Krackle live band, and I went into the studio to lay down a song we were commissioned to write and record for the Long Beach Comic Con. I'll post the song in a few weeks, but I'm really happy with the way it turned out and plan on using it for the new album to be released in January/February as well. It's the 2nd time the live band and we have gone into the studio and had the goal of knocking out one finished song in 12 hours. There's check points that I've found we need to be at for certain points during the day but surprisingly we made it happen again without it sounding like a rush job. Pretty old-school feeling and can't believe they used to do that in one day for 10 songs. Wow.

Stylistically, I can already tell this next album will be a lot harder edged but still very melodic and fun like the last album. Think harder Ryan Adams meets Foo Fighters meets Flight Of The Conchords and that'll give you a more accurate idea. Bryce our keyboardist and Nelson our drummer are really helping raise the bar and the chemistry between all of us is at a really good place in understanding the roles we each have. Nelson keeps the beats deep and heavy, Bryce thinks of rhythms I never have, and Jim makes fun of me when I have to do a guitar take 20 times. We all have our roles...

This weekend KK heads to the FAN EXPO in Toronto, another city that I've never been too. We'll be there for 5 days and though I probably won't be able to see the city in the day like other conventions, I hope to experience some of what I've heard about the fun Toronto nightlife. And when I mean nightlife, I mean hopefully TCBY is open past 10...

When we return to Seattle, I'm on a plane two days later to open up for Norah Jones in Hawaii for the state writers conference. I'm pretty excited about that, and definitely have a few butterflies to work out before then. Will Ravi Shankar be there? Hmmmmm.

I've posted a few videos so you can see some of what happens in the sessions. It's not really coke and strippers as much as it's Naked Juice, skinny white legs and Doritos. We all have our vices...

See you if I return from Canada!

"You can do it, put your ass into it." - Ice Cube


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shootin' Up. Issue #115

Not what it sounds like, though I realize it's believable due the fact I exemplify the rock n' roll lifestyle of hard living and debauchery. Oh excuse cup of mint-chamomile just got done steeping. I'll be right back...

Ok, like I was saying about this week's blog title it more appeals to the fact I've been taking a lot of pictures this past week mostly cause I got a little obsessed with a new iPhone app called "Shake-it Photo. It's a Polaroid simulator that converts your mobile photos on the spot, even having you "shake" the photo to watch it develop. I think it's kinda genius, and the results are at least to my non-photo snob eye pretty cool looking. Picture of a toothbrush with a normal filter? BORING. Like a Polaroid? Cinematic?

Either way, for someone who has always wanted one but was to lazy to actually buy it...this is a 99-cent dream. Fun stuff and all the pictures in this week's entry use it.

I started trying to prepare healthy meals again this week, mostly due to the fact my system seems a bit off from stress. When LAYMANS TERMS broke up 5 years ago, I started to channel my creative juices into learning how to cook with my newly found block of free time. From BBQ to a disgusting (but Sunset mag endorsed) Cantelope soup, I tried my hand at eating well at home for a while until life started to get busy again thankfully. I don't eat like crap, but I can't say my body is a temple of raw foods. This week I tried a dish of rutabaga-turnip-parsnip pork loin with rosemary infused in it. Didn't taste as fancy as it may sound, but I think I'm gonna start experimenting again with stuff so if you have cool recipes for the kitchen novice please pass them my way! Betty Crocker can step...

I went to see TJ Sherrill play Friday at Willows Creek Winery in Woodinville. Kirby Krackle keyboardist Bryce also plays with TJ, and it was cool to hear them flesh out more and more the new songs on TJ's soon to be recorded 2nd album. He and I have been getting together occasionally and throwing around ideas for it and I think it's going to kick ass. Great songs and and definitely the next level sound for him.

This weekend I head into the studio with KK for the first recording date set to put the new album down on tape. Jim and I started down the dubious yet exciting task last week of writing for the new album and after a few days of staring at a blank screen we're starting to find our groove. The mantra of the sessions is "we can only get in our way", which is true. The "artist thing" is a real dilemma that most creative types face of trying to recreate what worked before, but move forward at the same time in an non-repeating way that evolves but brings your fans with you. It'll mess you up if you think about it too much, so like last album our goal is to write some songs that WE would like to hear and would make US laugh. From the start though we both can see that it's going to be much heavier both in sound and in some topics. It will be interesting to see how it turns out...

Oh, and the winner of the name my FAIL Blog picture contest? That goes to an anonymous (why no name?) entry with the title...."Don't eat the Gyoza."


Thanks for all the entries mailed and commented, and see you next week with a studio weekend wrap-up!

"Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?"


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FAIL Blog Submission. Issue #114

OK, I've been saving this one up for a while (*giggle*,*snort*)...

One of my favorite sites to frequent is called FAIL Blog; a site which features ridiculous photos, print ads, etc, that exist in the real world no matter how hard it is to believe they do. I've wanted to submit this picture for the longest time (about a year) so yesterday finally drove the streets of Shoreline, took the pic, and hopefully you get a chuckle. The only problem is I don't have a caption name for the picture when I submit it.

Will you please done help me out? Leave your best/worst in the comment section below and next week I'll announce the winner!

I only smell 5 sammiches,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

San Diego Comic Con Wrap-Up. Issue #113


A little over a week ago I flew back from the land of sun, surf, and for beer snobs like me, the home of Stone Brewing Company (didn't visit...*tear*). It's also the home of the biggest comic convention in the world and so you know Jim and I had to take KIRBY KRACKLE there for our coming out party on the international level. That's a nice way of saying...BUY OUR CD NOW. :)

I flew in on a Wednesday to meet Jim, Laurie B., her husband Kandrix, and the crew who had already spent the previous 4 days on a road trip down to the event. That afternoon we grabbed all of our albums and merchandise from the hotel and headed over to the convention center which was conveniently only a few long blocks from the hotel. It seems that someone had forgotten to turn on the A.C. in the place because the moment we stepped out of our minivan in the parking garage/venue we all broke down in sweat and overall grossness for the next few hours while we set up. Not a good way to start the trip but got better. Literally, it had to be 90 something in there. Rant over...

That night was industry preview night which meant Jim worked the room for a while and he and I sold albums to peeps in the biz like us who didn't want to walk around in the hellish (they were INSANE) masses of folks over the next couple of days. This convention is truly 10x's bigger than any other convention in the country and now I believe it after seeing for my first time and years of hearing the legend. I only walked the show floor once, but it literally took me over an hour to get from one end to the other. Amazing! That night after an ok dinner at a late night taco stand we all packed it in pretty early to prep for the next five days.

It took Jim and I a few days to get our convention "sea-legs" back after almost 3 months out of the circuit, but we returned to regular form. The hours fly by, and after all day talking to people and making sure you stay hydrated you learn some tricks. One trick is to change your shoes often. The other trick is that everyone wants to know where the PURELL is. This is due the fact that shaking fanboy's hands all day can get a little sketchy and all it takes is itching your eye after one sweaty hand shake to bring the trip down. This is not a fear of germs thing, this is a life skills/evolution thing. Don't hate the game...

That said, for the next 5 days we sold cd's, interacted with our fans, and met tons of new ones who thankfully made the effort to come by and tell us how much they liked the album after buying it online. We saw some con goers turned fans from San Fransisco from February who actually brought us gifts, some folks who have been graciously spreading the word in Canada for the past few months, and even a fan named Mario who came all the way from Mexico City to say hi to one of his favorite bands. WOW. I felt I had to give him the shop for the love, but he was such a nice guy and it was very humbling and special. I hope I never ever take situations like these for granted, and don't think I will after having worked so hard for many years to start to have experiences like this and hopefully spread joy with my music. As I've stated in previous blogs, the people who enjoy it and share that enthusiasm with us are so fun and amazing that I try to cherish every moment while I'm there. It's a great feeling.

This trip we also tried some new fun things with harnessing technology to take the convention experience to the next level. I love Twitter (@kylestevensband), and after getting my iPhone a month ago came across an app that let's you record video and upload it real time straight from your phone (Twittator Pro). All day we worked hard to provide content via our Twitter blog in the attempt to make fans feel like they were there too, and we had a great time doing it. One of the highlights from the trip was when Jim and I decided to harness this new power with daily contests. Each day we would post a first-come first-serve contest on our page when the show floor opened offering the winner their choice of a free shirt or album once the task was completed. One day, it was to sing the Mario Brothers theme song at the top of your lungs, and the other was to sing "Naked Wii" while slow dancing with Jim like in the video below. Katie and her boyfriend Aaron were great to meet and were good sports letting us film it to post online (Part of the deal)! It was so fun, and to the few people who accused us of maliciously abusing our fans via the contest? TOTALLY.

Many times, many of my non-comic savvy friends will assume that it's just a mass of 1,000's of folks dressed up. Well that's not true, but I'm probably not helping posting the pictures below.

The five days came and went and the crowd changed every day depending on what movie stars were there promoting their new flicks in the 6000 seat panel rooms (Iron Man 2, Twilight, etc...). Most pictures we took were of con-goers dressed up in kick-ass outfits that I'm sure cost a pretty penny and were made with love. Dressing up isn't my thang, but I have much respect for those who decide too and thus provide me with content to share. It's a love thing.

Over all the trip was great and I'm glad we did it while knowing what we'd change for next year's San Diego show to make it even better. Saw a few movie stars walking around (Thomas Jane, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Morgan Spurlock), sold an album to the guy from RENO 911 (shorty-shorts shotgun guy), and ate some of the best BBQ I've ever had (Phil's). We also met with a director that is very interested in filming a video for "NAKED Wii" that will truly be the most ridiculous and fun thing I have to this point made visually. I really hope it happens and I may have to shield by Grandmother from it. Oh never mind, I know she's seen some stuff...

After the convention I stuck around a few days to spend some quality time with the Malek's, my good friends who moved from across the street to SD last summer. Joe, Tiffany, and little Kai were great to have as hosts for the comic overload decompression and to reconnect with. Kai is the cutest and coolest little kid I know, and you may recognize him as the "Little Devil" from my "Sparkle And Fall" video last year. This time he surprised me by being able to sing his favorite KK song on the spot. I may soon need to find a new job...

Be good,