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Sunday April 17, 2005

 

 

 


Why can't I just have today off? Huh?

Today wasn't too bad. I really do feel awful, though. It's just my typical burnout. Too many late nights, too much unhealthy food and too little exercise get to me quick. Add in the energy draining anti-biotics (which ended yesterday) and the stress of the album and I'm completely ground down.

Still, we had rehearsal today. We kind of have to. We have a show on Wednesday and I don't know if we'd played together since our last rusty show. We haven't had time. We've been focusing on the record and I've been working extra hard to help pay for it.

Rehearsal was okay. We ran through the usual stuff first. Near the end I broke a string. Just to practice, I made it through 2 complete songs before I changed it. I had to re-write solos and everything but it wasn't too bad.

At the very end, I needed to goof a bit. We pulled out "Pepper" from the Q-Sign record. Tom has learned it and I showed the major bits to Frank. I think it's the first time I've played it since the final Q-Sign show. It was fun. Tom's going to sing it if we ever actually do it. It could be a good one for the arsenal but I'd still rather focus on the stuff written more with this band in mind.

Speaking of this band, CriticalDarlings.com is now up and atom. In fact, that URL leads you here to this very site's homepage. What a cool trick, eh? I just figured we need to own it since it looks like the name may stick at least a little while longer. So what does that mean to you? Nothing really - it's just I can announce the site that way and cause a little less confusion. And .com is always better than .net, right?

I am so tired. At least I can rest tonight. Oh wait - no I can't, I've got to be up at 5 a.m. to be in Atlanta by 7:30 on the set of Good Day Atlanta to photo Diana DeGarmo.

Yippee!

 


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Saturday April 16, 2005

 

 


Back in the studio and back on "The Towel Cape Song." After another 3 or so hours (which marked about 24 hours since we started it), we called it a mix. I was still not happy with it but couldn't improve it and (honestly) gave up.

Then work began on "I Know Too Much." Frank dropped in today so while Tom and Asa tidied drums up (and there are a lot of 'em on this song), Frank and I wasted time listening to mashups and the new Robert Plant album which I got on Thursday.

Amanda came up to the studio to pick me up for the relaxing dinner break that turned into the most stressful relaxing date in history. It took her nearly an hour just to get downtown and park. And I don't know what's going on but I've gotta say that every moron that's ever even visited Athens was there simultaneously. It was crowded and ridiculous everywhere. There were lines down the street. Instead of a nice dinner, we wound up in a diner...The Grill...an Athens institution / greasy spoon with vegetarian options (ah, Athens).

At least some friends were on the street, too. I ran into Josh Moore, Dan Nolte and Andrew from Slackdaddy. I haven't seen Andrew in years. It was odd, I think it was actually the first time I was recognized as the guitar player for Q-Sign. That didn't even happen when the band was together. Andrew and his band went on the road with us and played a few shows with us back in the day.

When I got back into the studio, Sarah Lee and her current beau (fixed up by Tom, no less) were there waiting to do their part. You see, we're planning on adding some ambience / crowd / hand-clapping / drunken choir stuff to the record eventually. Tom was so optimistic that we would be done that he invited everyone out via an email yesterday to come up tonight. By this morning, he retracted the email. But these two didn't get the retraction. They were good for a little additional venting from me, though. And I was glad to see 'em.

By now, I was on the verge of collapse. We were still mixing "I Know Too Much" around midnight. It was much easier than "Towel Cape" and I was happier much sooner. Again, we ended around the date change. I drove Tom home and collapsed in my own not long after.


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Friday April 15, 2005
 

Shirley Manson of Garbage got stretchy with it last night at a sold out Tabernacle.

 


And here's the visual evidence from last night...but that ain't today.

Today, the mixing of the Critical Darlings album began in earnest. We've been going so fast with the recordings, surely the mixing will be just as quick right? Tom even thought we could mix it all (or close to it) by tomorrow night.

Well, due to Asa's last minute tax day dash (which actually cost us money in the grand scheme of things) we got started around 3 p.m. mixing "The Towel Cape Song." Around midnight, we were all the way through...well, nothing. We were still on the same song, in fact. It was steadily improving but not where I wanted it. Everyone else kept saying it was fine but IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH! It doesn't have to be perfect...but I have to be satisfied with it. That's all there is to it. We'll just have to wrap this up tomorrow. I got home even more exhausted than before as one date changed to another.

This was another frustrater...but I don't know if this will have been ultimately successful.


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Thursday April 14, 2005

Omarion and Bow Wow at the "secret location" in Atlanta...

 


I'm definitely back on the job today.

After much back and forth and hemming and hawing, I finally got the call to get out to a church in Druid Hills (north east side of Atlanta) to go photo the Bow Wow / Omarion video shoot. When I got there, it was just a "base" location. I then had to get on a hired bus to be taken the two or three blocks to the "secret location" / aka regular person's house where the video shoot was taking place. Of course, the house was swarming with security, bodyguards and police but it was relatively laid back...for awhile anyway.

First off was a party sequence. You know the deal, the stars and their ladies (and a couple of male friends to make it seem less creepy) are dancing around to the song that this is a video for. At some point, someone bumps the DJ and the record gets scratched causing the song and video to stop momentarily while everyone glares in the direction of the DJ until he gets it bumpin' again.

Of course, since the sight line was basically the whole room, there was nowhere for me to be discreet. I went out and shot through a window for a while and got a few interesting angles but nothing stellar. Then I went around and plopped myself right between the director, DP and cameraman. They were actually really cool about it. The lights were fairly dark and consistent with actual house lighting so that was my first challenge. I propped myself up and made it through a take and a half. In between, I got a couple shots of the two stars goofing off and viewing playback. At some point, the guy who I think was the DP or an artist manager of something, decided I was hindering them somehow. He told me (a barely 130 pound wuss) that I was going to break this gigantic solid stone table that both he and the director (both big guys) were on and off of. He made it sound like he was concerned for my safety. I thanked him and repositioned. Then about half way through the next take, he lost his ever-lovin' mind. He actually stopped the next take in the middle yelling, "Yo! This photographer's got to go. I asked him to get out of here and he's not going." First off, he never said any such thing. He only mentioned that I should be careful and not get on the table. As I was moving and trying to leave he screamed even more and even threw in some profanity. He was a grade A (and I'll remove my own mental profanity) jerk who was clearly living in a distorted reality. There's always one in situations like this. I just wish I hadn't run across him so soon. I moved out of the way as quickly as I could by having to move directly through the shot (what a jackass!). Then as I was on the sideline, he caught a glimpse of me from a distance and started yelling again. To appease this giant oaf, the crew had to ask me to leave the house. Everyone else was really nice. I was pretty p.o.'d at this point. I didn't even really want to do this shoot and change my plans for the day to do it. The rest of the crew was super cool. I even heard the actual director say (he clearly felt bad about my treatment) that he'd have me back in later as I was being removed.

So I sat out on the steps with wardrobe and crew. Since my schedule was already shot and I had to be even deeper into Atlanta in a few hours, I figured I'd just wait and see what was going to happen instead of high tailing it back home like I wanted. Besides, I had what I was asked to get but I couldn't say I was really happy with the images so far.

About an hour later, there was a set change. They actually put some real lighting on a stairway, Bow Wow and Omarion donned sun glasses and mimed the song through a couple of quick passes. I think the song's called "Let Me Hold Ya" or something. It could be a hit - but it is tres generic, lemme tell ya! After these couple of takes, I felt I had everything I needed. By this point, I was ready to leave. I walked back to base, hitched up the old Saturn and headed downtown for my next shoot.

After a quick and lonely dinner at the CNN center, I ran over to the Tabernacle. The problem came up quickly. I'm not on the list. What is with this lately? This sucks. I could've at least stayed at the other shoot and got some different scenes if I'd known this. I sat on the front steps of Tabernacle freezing while the opening act played. Luckily, super friend and Clear Channel contact Molly Sandman was on the job. She withstood the run around and cleared the situation up for me and I got in just in time to photo Shirley and the boys. By the way, they sounded amazing. Just like the record but better. Unfortunately, I had to leave after 3 due to no ticket but I enjoyed what I heard.

I didn't really mind. I was tired. It was a frustrating but ultimately successful day.

 

 


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Wednesday April 13, 2005

 

 

 

Ugh...I had to begin today with antibiotics in preparation for the ever-so-delicate and lovely experience of a dental cleaning. Amanda and I don't comfort ourselves with the fast, tried and true, appointment takers that can get the job done in a half hour or so. We take it to Athens Tech where they spend hours and hours and hours grinding away at the inside of your mouth with shiny, pointy things. Don't get me wrong, I believe they do a better and certainly more thorough job here...it's just borderline traumatic because of the length of time. Add to that the anti-biotics (they always drag me down and make me feel out of it) and you have a recipe for the aforementioned Ugh.

This time was no exception. I got there around 2 and by 5:30 or so I was home with very clean teeth and having gained the experience of a slew of new pains in the mouth.

I also kept on pushing in trying to get cleared to cover Garbage tomorrow night. In "more proof that I'm out of the loop", I've been told that I cannot have tickets - only a photo pass. Well, that's a step up from the Moby non-experience so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

I've also been asked by Sony to be on hand to cover a video shoot by teen hip-hop stars Bow Wow (formerly Lil') and Omarion (formerly B2K) tomorrow in Atlanta. These things fall through a lot so I'll believe it when I see it. If I do wind up doing this, hopefully, the bucks will add up to offset the losses I've received this month via band-related stuff.


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Tuesday April 12, 2005

 

 


I guess my suspicions were true. I am out of the loop. I've been spending so much time on the band that the publicists are beginning to forget me...or at least not OWE me. I can't believe I didn't get cleared to shoot Moby. His people have always looked out for me in the past. Oh well. I guess I'll get some extra catching up time.

In fact, I have all the images ready for the next Concert Shots update. It's just a matter of getting them up online. I'd like to have a couple of reviews with this batch but it may not happen (again). It's all a matter of time as usual.

 


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Monday April 11, 2005

 


Man, oh man.

Here I sit, writing from the future. I'm so far behind now (at least 2 weeks) that I don't know how to begin. So I'll just do "what I can remember" at a time. As these past few weeks have probably been the craziest since I started doing this diary, this'll probably read more like an itenerary than a diary...especially since I'm going to have to skimp on even the stuff I remember to get through it all.

Today I edited my Mom's wedding pics from yesterday and caught up on all my diary related stuff from the last slacking session. I do remember feeling pretty out of it this day and just totally ground down.

I tried to make sure I was cleared to cover the Moby show tomorrow in Atlanta. I actually like him a lot and while I haven't heard the new album in its entirety yet, I like what I've heard. It's cool to hear him without samples and being more "live." It has more of the feel you get when you see him...of course, he actually rocks in concert.

The publicist basically gave me the run around and said to get back in touch tomorrow. Hmmmm....that's not usually a good sign. Am I really so out of the loop now that I can't get cleared to shoot Moby these days? It may be the case...we'll see.

 

Click here for the last significantly delayed update!


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