| Sunday November 7, 2004
Today was a little less crazy. I got up and went over to visit my neices and nephew over at my sister's (Mom's?) place. My new neice McKayla has grown so much. It's amazing. She seemed absolutely fascinated with Amanda but had little interest in me. Oh well...we gave her a little Flamingo Snow Globe from Las Vegas and gave all the kids Dream Catchers from the Grand Canyon. Then we had to head on again...
My nephew Robbie decided to come along for the ride, Nichole decided not to when she heard the word cemetary. I hope she's not an Oblivion in training! She's too smart for that. I'll choose to think she wasn't in the frame of mind at the moment. She's had a lot of her own to deal with lately.
Robbie and Amanda and I went and bought some flowers for Dad and his Dad. It's still a knife in the heart to see that grave but it's not as traumatic with flowers to let everyone know he's not forgotten.
I still dream about my Dad literally EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. It's unbelievable. I miss him every second. He's always there. And I'm still there for him.
For some reason, Robbie and his 11-year old mind wanted to go visit the historic Quaker Cemetary on the other side of town. It's fascinating out there. Gettysburg and all the other major battles of every war this country's fought since the revolution are represented. I remember going there as a kid. There was this one isolated grave at the front of the park that was inscribed "Remember, friend, as you pass by. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, you soon must be. Prepare for death and follow me." That one verse was a factor in my twisting. I've never forgotten it. Robbie thought it was "cool" and insisted that I write it down for him...so goes the next generation. Amanda even told him the little verse you're supposed to recite to the ghost of Agnes Of Glasgow (who we also visited) to get a vision / dream of your future mate.
Of course, we had to go visit Grandma, too. Again - it was way too brief of a visit as I had to get Robbie back home. Then Amanda and I went to drop in on our friends Shawn and Lori and their kids. Unfortunately, Shawn had just taken off for work. We spent a little while with Lori, mostly looking at Vegas / Grand Canyon pics (how domestic, if only we'd had slides!).
Again, the day was gone...and with this one, another week...
| Saturday November 6, 2004
Back to the state of exhaustion - then the state of South Carolina!
Amanda and I slept 'til about 11 since we didn't get in 'til 3 a.m. After doing a little picture editing, we jumped in ye ole Saturn for our long drive back to South Carolina. First stop: Grandma's. I haven't seen her in a few months now and I miss my family and that plot of land more than I can verbalize. It's home. It always has been and always will be. Grandma seemed to be doing okay today. Her health's not all that great right now but she's hanging in there.
After a too brief stop, we ran by for a quick visit to the cemetary to find that (once again), there were no flowers on my Dad's or Grandfather's graves. C'mon, people, you can do better than that. It was already almost dark so I didn't have time to remedy it today but tomorrow, that's my first assignment. I'm not allowing it to be that barren. One of my Dad's mortal lawn enemies, the fire ant, has taken hold of a corner of his stone...figures...
Then we had to rush on for the reason that we came home, to see Amanda's sister (for her family birthday celebration) and cousin (who's being shipped off to the Middle East soon). We had a decent dinner at Sakura, although it took forever to be served and I kept thinking I was going to collapse in the food while waiting.
Before long, the day was done and I was sleeping off the last several days. It's been a crazy week. It's good to be home.
| Friday November 5, 2004
The Darlings share the stage with Steve & Hodar during the free-for-all finale of the GMIA Showcase.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!
First off, it's been a rough year for my Mom. Her health has been faltering and she's been dealing with a lot of stress. But she made it to another birthday and I'm happy to say she's dealing with it all in stride and moving forward! I'm proud of her!
Today, I got notice that Rolling Stone ran a pair of my Los Lonely Boys pics last July. If anyone's got the issue, look through it and check up on it for me. I'd love to see it. That's my biggest complaint about the wire services that I'm signed with, I don't know where my work is until it's too late to buy it! Oh well, I can't really complain. I've gotten at least 3 pics in Rolling Stone in '04 so far! More magazine bought a pic of Joss Stone, too. It ran in the September issue. Again, if you've got it, please save it for me!
So - the rest of the day was taken up in preparations for tonight's show at Washington Street Tavern. As always, you can click on this here blue typed paragraph to read all the details. Check it out. It was an especially fun one!
| Thursday November 4, 2004
John Thomas Griffith of Cowboy Mouth / Red Rockers (not to mention my list of friends) does a rare solo acoustic performance in Gwinnett.
There was nothing much special going on today but in the evening, Frank and I drove out to Gwinnett to catch an interesting show. The Intimate Evening Concert Series continued at the beautiful Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. I had suggested a friend of mine to the promoter as a possible opener for A.J. Croce and Al Stewart and to my surprise, he wound up booking him! Cool! This friend is none other than John Thomas Griffith. Some of you may know him as the Texas Guitar Hall fame axe-slinger from Cowboy Mouth. Going back further still, he was the front man for an early '80s "new wave" band called The Red Rockers. I knew that Frank was a fan of the Red Rockers so I thought it would be cool to be able to take him out to meet John. When we got there, the promoter Mike, whisked us backstage where A.J. Croce (yes, he's Jim's son but he's an amazing singer / songwriter in his own right) was soundchecking. I walked on over to John and introduced him to Frank. We small talked and chatted for awhile. Well, within a few minutes, Al Stewart came out complaining about the delays and soundcheck problems in the most fey Scottish accent I've ever heard. He was downright prissy. It was really hard for us to keep a straight face during his temper tantrum. Before John's soundcheck, Frank pulled out his Red Rockers CD for John to sign. He was more than happy to do it. During soundcheck, he dug out the big Red Rockers song "China." It was definitely a lot different unplugged but still really cool. We then took off into the theatre as it was showtime.
John came out and did a set that really showcased his skills as a songwriter. With Cowboy Mouth's theatric's that can sometimes be overlooked there. Here, it was all straight from the heart. His voice was even stronger than I remembered and his guitar work is always exceptional. About 3/4 of the way through, he told a story about the early days of MTV and this band called the Red Rockers. He told it like he wasn't even in the band, which was kind of weird. Then he announced that he was going to do China "for my new friend Frank." How cool is that? A few tunes later, he dedicated a cover of the Stones "Happy" to me. He had no way of knowing that's one of my favorite Stones songs but I really appreciated it. Although, it did make me nervous when he said it! He also dedicated a song to his wife Tara who I somehow never did run across that night. My favorite song that John did was "Can't Stay Here." He did a keyboard version of it on a solo album and he even does it with Cowboy Mouth that way. When I first heard it, I did a home demo recording of it the way I heard it in my head, a lot more stripped down and raw. You can hear my version in the COVERS section of this site. The weird thing was that he did it amazingly close to the way I did it on this site which is a lot different than I've heard him do it before. I was singing along in the audience. That was the highlight for me. And it's such a great, meaningful and powerful tune, too.
Next up was A.J. Croce. I've got to say that I was completely floored by his performance. He's an amazing pianist and his vocal ability is equally as stunning. He was low-key and incredibly funny. He wound up playing much longer than expected, even garnering a couple of encores before it was over with. Al Stewart even came out to complain about the time. After he pointed at his watch a couple of times, even he was enraptured as A.J. tore through his version of McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed."
Al finally made it on after 10 p.m. He really is an underrated guitar player. The show lagged a bit when he told these long, arcane stories about European history that were somehow tied in to the songs. For a while, I hung out with John and A.J. watching. I decided that since I had a show tomorrow, I needed to get some rest, so Frank and I took off early. John insisted that I bring Frank to him to say goodbye. Of course, we wound up talking even longer. There's a chance that I may do some promo shots for Cowboy Mouth. We even mentioned the possibility of John and I doing some acoustic shows together. That would be really cool.
Later, Frank remarked something to the effect of "the 12-year old me would've never believed that John Thomas Griffith would one day dedicate "China" to me while wearing a cowboy hat."
Well, believe it, 12-year old Frank. It happened.
| Wednesday November 3, 2004
Gavin DeGraw presses the flesh in Athens.
Well, what can I say? George W. Bush won the election fair and square. To quote CNN, "America Has Spoken." Personally, I'm horrified, if not surprised. It seems that fear always wins over hope these days. Not with me and not with those who fought so hard for a change. We were hopeful. Of course, now I'm afraid (poetic I guess)! We'll just have to live for the rest of our lives with the damage that's been done since '00 and the damage yet to be done in a second term. I so hope I'm wrong. I hope all of us who supported Kerry were wrong. But as I said, now I'm seriously afraid 'cause chances are, we were right.
There's no use in going on about that. It's done. It's over. Hopefully, that's just the election I'm talking about.
I drowned my sorrows by commiserating in a thoroughly down Athens. It seemed like the whole town was out tonight, reaching for something...at least some fun. First I ran over to the Classic Center and shot Government Mule. They were rocking pretty hard to the hippy quotient. Then I headed over to the Georgia Theatre where upcoming teen-pop/rocker Val Emmich was laying down his pissed off Pete Yorn-like material.
After that, I wandered down to the 40 Watt to catch a bit of the Guided By Voices "Thrilling Conclusion" Farewell Show for Athens. They were really tight and rocking. Much better than I've heard they were. During their set, I spent a chunk of time talking to Patterson Hood from one of my favorite bands, Drive-By Truckers. He's gonna be a daddy soon. So I wished him and his wife the best. He also said the Truckers are taking off the first quarter of '05. After 1,000 shows since '98, I think they've earned it. At the 40 Watt, I also ran into Gordon Lamb (Flagpole, Kindercore Records). I had to thank him for the nice words he wrote about us in the 9/29/04 issue.
Even then, my running wasn't over. I jogged back up to the Theatre to catch Gavin DeGraw already in progress. Kevn Kinney from Drivin' N' Cryin' was watching from the bar. It's always strange to me to see how things change. I saw Gavin just over a year ago, bottom of the bill and pre-album release. He couldn't believe I wanted to take his picture then. Look at him now! I'm happy to see success for such a truly down-to-earth, nice guy! ...and the girls went wild.
Before I left, I talked to my friend Troy Aubrey (local manager / promoter and the man who attached us to the Zoso date). I had to thank him again. He in turn introduced me to the manager of The Blind Boys From Alabama who was there to check out Gavin 'cause he requested to do a "duet" with them. That probably ain't gonna happen but everyone thought Gavin was in fine form tonight!
Then I took off, fell into bed and crashed...too tired from local business to care about what transpired nationally within the last 24-hours.
| Tuesday November 2, 2004
An exaggeration? Maybe. But if there's not a change made today, I'll guarantee this won't be an exaggeration 4 years from now...if, of course, there's anything left to vote for...
For God's sake (and maybe even more importantly for your own) GO VOTE today. I'm not usually one to hit politics this hard but it's do or die this year. It does matter. To paraphrase OutKast and Macy Gray - GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING!
I got this email today that came from Scott Weiland (Velvet Revolver, Stone Temple Pilots). I usually don't place my faith in celebrity opinion but what the heck...I agree with almost every word in this...
...and if you're not riled up yet (either way is fine with me!), click here and read this.
Now, back to your own conscience...already in progress...
Monday November 1, 2004
My question for today is simple. What's up with the calendar spinning so out of control lately? Where did November come from? That's all.
I hate cold weather. I'm not cut out for it. The summer's can occasionally be unbearable but at least every night is comfy. Winter sucks and Fall's the gateway drug that winds you up in it. Yuck! Why do you think they put so many holidays during the cold weather? It gives you a reason to try to live through the miserable weather.
Anyway - as with most Mondays, there's nothing much to say today. I had to edit all the pics from Saturday, upload them to various outlets and try to catch up on some other stuff. I've got a slew of reviews to write again. I hate being under that pile. Eventually, I've got to start digging up through them. I also uploaded some pics for Pollstar for a potential cover and am negotiating a deal for pics of Ben Taylor to be included in a TV show about children of famous parents.
Click here to see last week with Critical Darlings and the meeting of Styx and "The Voting Priest From Georgia Who Takes Pictures Of Rock Stars."