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Sunday July 31, 2005

 


Today was easy. I just edited and uploaded my Ben Folds / Kasabian pics to Retna and had my usual Sunday chat with Grandma. Don't know what I'd do without those talks. They keep me grounded. It's the only way my future is attached to my past sometimes.

In the evening Amanda and I took off to catch the Loggins & Messina reunion tour that everyone's talking about (uh-huh). When I got there, Holli notified me that there would be no photo pass. Well, that sucks! Then she asked how I was doing. I told her that everything was going so well that I can't help but think something really bad was about to happen. She said she's like that, too. I told her that I keep getting this feeling that something's coming. She comforted me and speculated that hey, maybe driving to Atlanta to shoot Loggins & Messina and not having a photo pass was the bad thing I'm worried about. You know, if that's the worst thing in my life, I've still got it pretty good.

I went on in to check out the show anyway. It was definitely cuddly and edgeless. I would've much rather heard Kenny cut loose with some "I'm Alright" or "Don't Fight It" but they stuck to the Loggins / Messina catalog - so no "Footloose", alright.

I got bored quickly. And then it happened...AGAIN! It started pouring down rain and my patience quickly dissipated. I couldn't even shoot and I don't want to sit through another night's downpour. And this one was almost as bad as the Carole King one last week.

Suddenly, they were playing "Your Mama Don't Dance." What? They've only been on for 50 minutes or so! That can't be right. I did enjoy this one. I've always liked '70s bubblegum rock. The crowd was up and dancing. Then they did the unforgiveable. INTERMISSION. Yeah - they're gonna leave us "sittin' in" the rain so they can go lounge around a few minutes. No thanks. Amanda and I left. I saw all I needed to see anyway. We waded to the car and got the heck out of dodge.

I would've stayed if I could've shot but this on top of that meant an early end to the evening for us. We were home by 10:30.

Good night.

 

 


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Saturday July 30, 2005

Ben Folds is proud of being responsible for the loudest profanity ever heard on the streets of Atlanta. Kudos, Ben...kudos.

 

 

 


I started early this morning reviewing songs for GarageBand.com. I wanted to "leak" some of our tracks so that we can get some reviews. Today I reviewed 120 songs to get the credits to upload 2 songs. I chose "Towel Cape Song" and "Into My View" to start with. Frank even reviewed a couple of the songs. Well, they're up anyway. We'll see what happens. But I'll be switching around and removing so if you want 'em, you've gotta be fast. Be sure to let me know what you think if you get a chance! Just click here!

Frank came over to do a little one on one rehearsing in line with our "little talk" on Tuesday night. To my surprise, he barrelled through "You Don't Know Me" which I couldn't even teach him a month ago. Then we pulled off "This Is The Night The World Changes" and it's pretty tricky! He's obviously been working hard and its already paying off. Just a couple of days and he's already better than he's ever been while a week ago he was the worst he's ever been. See how little actual effort it takes? I'm proud of him.

We then took a break of about 15 minutes to clean our ears (figuratively, not literally - eeeew!). I pulled out The Isley Brothers. Then I gave him the guitar and I took the bass. Within a half hour or so, we had written the first new DeFreese/McKay composition in a year or so. It's rather moody and sad. And today's Saturday so I dubbed it "Sadder Day." Now we'll see if I can make lyrics fit it.

In the evening, Amanda and I went out for another adventure with Downtown Rocks Underground. I tell you, I love the series but I HATE that location. It seems dangerous, cramped and just plain difficult. But Ben Folds is playing and he's my favorite "current" song writer so I had to go. Kasabian was opening and they're a buzzer as well so that makes them good to get. I was surprised at how much the singer for Kasabian looked like Ewan McGregor. After seeing Revenge Of The Sith last night, I couldn't stop thinking that I was watching Obi-Wan Kenobi fronting a Brit-rock band. They were good but that oddity made 'em seem even more interesting.

While I was backstage, Ben Folds was just hanging out signing autographs and taking pictures. As I said, I am a massive fan so you can imagine how hard it was for me to not walk up and say "hi". The PR people asked us not to do that for this concert series so as hard as it was for me to ignore him, that's just what I did. I'll get another chance to meet him, right? RIGHT?!

Anyway - I've heard a lot of grumbling about Ben's latest album and I agree with most of it. It's not as good as his other records. I was happy to hear "Jesusland", "Bastard" and "Trusted" as those are my favorites on the new record. He also did a much thrashier and improved version of "Gracie", which I don't care for on the album. I'm a big enough fan of Ben's to where there's no way he can disappoint or particularly impress me. No matter what he does, he has to leave out a favorite and no matter what he does, he'll play a bunch of favorites. That's nearly an anomoly in my fanhood.

I was quite thrilled to hear more obscure, recent EP tracks like "All You Eat," "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You" and "In Between Days" but the highlight for me was his deliberately exaggerated cover of Dr. Dre's "B*tches Ain't Sh*t" (shut up, it's a family site). This was one of the coolest revised covers I've ever heard. Get a copy of it if you can. You'll thank me.

I got a glimpse of the set list before the show so I knew that "Rockin' The Suburbs" was right near the end. So Amanda and I ran on up to our car (which was actually only a couple of hundred feet from the stage). First we listened from our car. That was odd. I didn't really like this song without the guitars but the interest of sitting in my car while listening to Ben perform it live made up for it.

Then about 3/4 of the way through it, we headed out onto the road with our windows down. For blocks we heard Ben. Then it happened...the loudest single instance of profanity in the history of Atlanta. "You better watch out because I'm gonna say..."FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU*K!" I was at a stop light like 4 blocks away and it was LOUD, buddy. Then he just kept shouting it. And the audience kept shouting it back. I could only wonder what people cruising through town with their windows down for a peaceful summer evening thought.

Amanda and I both appreciated it.


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Friday July 29, 2005
 

 

 


Alright, alright - finally a day to get partially caught up. I got this diary partially done, although this week will still take several weeks (if you don't know, don't ask). The truth is that this diary has become a major burden for me. I'm too busy to be doing this daily thing but I set it as a goal for myself to do it. I'll get to it when I can. Surely it'll calm down in a few days and I can get it caught up, right?

It was nice to have a Friday night off.

Amanda and I went to see Revenge Of The Sith finally. Yes, yes, it's the best of the 3 recent ones. In fact, it blows away the last two. But the operative phrase is "blows". These things are still juvenile and utterly embarrassing in their own way. I'm just glad it's (alledgedly) over.

The Empire Strikes Back is still the only actually pretty good one. But then, I'm not a Star Wars geek so whadda I know? I'm just a cultural observer, and as such - I had to see the last edition. I wouldn't have known how little I would've missed if I hadn't seen it now would I?

 

 


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Thursday July 28, 2005

 


 


Man, so much today that I don't even know where to begin. Not only was I approved to have the only officially licensed shots from the 2005 U.S. Duran Duran tour (so far anyway), I also got clearance from Destiny's Child (via Yvette) to post my pics of them (as long as I only post shots of all 3 of them together). That's big news for me. Granted, DD only approved 22 of 50 and none of my personal favorites but they still okayed me. Maybe that'll help supplement my income a bit over the next couple of months. I've fallen off a bit financially due to band costs and band time taking from shoots.

On top of that, I got fantastic word from home. My Mom and Vern settled their suit with a trucking company that nearly killed Vern a couple of years ago. The good news is that my Mom should never have to worry about money again. She deserves it. She's been through more than anyone should ever have to go through and it's time she was able to live how she wants to instead of having to serve a punch clock.

Enjoy Mom.

It's with all this overflowing good news that I went to TransMet to meet with the guys.

It was all good until the end. Then there was a bit of a power struggle. I don't even quite know what happened but it turned ugly fast. I think its due to the presence of lawyers and contracts and such. It's just made this thing (I hope temporarily) ugly. This thing always happens, I guess. I'm just honest enough (or stupid enough) to admit it. Plus, I think this is something we need to get through to make us stronger. Still, I left very hurt and upset. It's a drag. Everything else in my life is going possibly better than it EVER has and then this. "It's Always Something".

Again - I stuck by my guns. But it looks as if 2/3 of us are still on the same page. All of us are smart and self-secure. I think we can get beyond this.

I don't want to talk about it anymore.

 


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Wednesday July 27, 2005

Donna Summer doesn't still "Love To Love You Baby" but she "Works Hard For The Money," nonetheless.

  

Today was all about the ketchup. Editing pics, emailing, arranging, planning and all that other necessary dull stuff. In the evening, Amanda and I headed out to Chastain Park to see Donna Summer. I've always wanted to see her. I like cheese, you know, and I've missed her every other time an opportunity has presented itself. I'm glad I didn't tonight. I was completely blown away by her vocals and showmanship. Although this show was full of disco, this wasn't a disco concert. It was more like a torch / crooner show a la Tony Bennett or kd lang. In addition to the obvious songs, "She Works Hard For The Money," "On The Radio", "MacArthur Park," "Dim All The Lights," "Enough Is Enough," "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff" and such she did a heartbreaking version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile". She also dug out "Nights In White Satin", which was aided by the accompaniment of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra who also livened up the disco hits. There were a few misfires. I coulda done without her husband's solo and I REALLY, REALLY wanted to hear "Who Do You Think You're Fooling", "The Wanderer", "Heaven Knows", "Love Is In Control", "I Feel Love" and "Love To Love You Baby" but it wasn't to be. This was a surprisingly potent show and I had a blast...well, at least 'til the end. I'm so sick of rain. The weather was perfect all night. Then, just as we were all getting into "Last Dance," it all came down again. The mirror ball reflected lights into the rain but I didn't care. As great as the show was, I had to leave now. I know we need rain but I've gotten to know it too well lately.

 


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Tuesday July 26, 2005

 

 

 

 


In the morning, Tom and I had another meeting with the lawyer. The meeting was supposed to be about protecting each other's 50/50 investments in the financing of the CD and somehow Frank got pushed out of any say or sway in decisions. I have a problem with that. There were some other issues, too, that Tom and I can't quite get around. I hope it doesn't lead to a major bump. I'm standing by my guns. While the album is virtually mine and Tom's, Frank is a third of this band. And I'm not signing anything that says otherwise. It's all for one or me for none. And if we can't stay friends, I'll bail. That's the most important thing for me in this project. That's the reason it exists. I'd rather not do it than do it tensely and I've got to say - I felt some tension today. I didn't like it.

As for the record itself, today I took the bull back by the horns. I've been listening to the masters of C'mon, Accept Your Joy and I've gotta tell you. I'm not satisfied. There were problems in the transfers, image reversals, etc. I can't allow it to be released this way even if everyone who's heard it thinks its fine. Frank and I aren't satisfied. It must be fixed.

To that end, I went back into City Mastering today with Jeff Capurso. On going in he told me that he's "come to love" this album and wants it to be even better if I think we can get it that way. I do. We jumped right in on "I Know Too Much." I kept pushing, "more bottom," "more de-esser", "more depth", I wanted a lot "more." At one point, it started to sound pretty massive. He actually threw his hands up from the knobs. I said, "What's up? Why did you stop?" He said "I'm scared. We're going into uncharted territory and he didn't want to mess it up". I then asked if it sounded better to him. We a-b'd it with the old master and he started laughing, saying the difference between the new and old masters are "tremendous". We can do this. We can not only save it but we can take it further. We spent the next several hours taking everything to its extreme. I actually got it where it will very hard for someone to change the mix with their own eq's. It's so tight and patted down that there's not much you can do to it. That's an added bonus I must add. I started to get excited again, remembering just what cool stuff we actually have down on the tape. By the time we got to "Taking Its Toll" and "I'll Be Fine", I realized that we had crossed through the needle's eye. By that time, Frank had got there. He was shocked at how much better it sounded, too. After we finished, Jeff and I just got to talking and picking each other's brains about production. It was probably mind-numbing to the layman but it was an exciting chat for me. I'm looking forward to working with Jeff again on the next chapter!

As we were leaving, Jeff actually cut the amount that we owed him in half and thanked me for letting him work on the album. He called it a pleasure. It may be just my ego but I can't believe he gets that genuinely excited and into each product he works on. I hope it means something for us.

Jeff Capurso saved this album in my mind. I won't forget it.

As Frank and I were leaving, I decided to have a talk with him. I hate these discussions but, honestly, his performance last week was inexcusable. I let him know that we have people interested now. We have managers, lawyers, media and radio on us. We have to be able to deliver and back up what's on the record. We didn't do that at the show last week. I let him know that as vital as he is to the character, creation and performance of this band that what he's doing now is not enough and it would not be accepted that way in the future. He promised that he would pull it together and said that he realized already after that show what needed to be done. I believe him. I think his realization was underlined when he heard the new master, too.

Whether or not this gets us anywhere, whether or not we succeed or fail, we have made something that we can be proud of. C'mon, Accept Your Joy is special...even it's only to us.


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Monday July 25, 2005

 

 


My day today was spent trying to get clearance to use images of Destiny's Child at WireImage. 'Tain't easy, I tell you. Yvette, their publicist says she feels bad that Friday was mixed up and we wound up travelling all the way out there to Charlotte to review only to have no tickets! She said she'd try to see what she could do but the clearance would have to be directly from Destiny's Child. She won't see them 'til Thursday. Oh well - she's making the effort and that means a lot to me. She certainly doesn't have to and I'll remember it.

Speaking of which, I still haven't heard back from Duran Duran's management on image approval. I'm hoping they'll let me post to WireImage, too. Of course, they're also very image conscious so we have to have each image approved directly from management. I sent 'em about 50 shots and they've not allowed anyone to officially shoot the 2005 U.S. tour yet. I'm hopeful but can I really expect to be the one they do approve? I guess we'll see.

Click here for last week's festivities!


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