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Sunday February 26, 2006

 

 

 

For the first time since the Critical Darlings name has existed, the band got together today with no impending shows. Yep, we've cancelled everything. I'm honestly just tired of this lineup trying to just retread what the old one did. This lineup is musically MUCH stronger but so far we haven't been able to show it 'cause we've been just filling out old obligations. I finally decided to just cut out for a little while and regroup. And after today's rehearsal, I know I made the right decision. Not encumbered by having to just make sure we knew the standards, we did whatever we felt. We rearranged songs, pulled out ones we've never done, goofed off and generally had the best rehearsal I think we've ever have. It's certainly the best with the 3 of us. The highlights for me were mostly the off-the-cuff stuff. We added a "jam" section at the end of "It's Never The Same" (which we also did for the first time today with Mike). The new version features the drums prominently. I just got the idea when running through it the first time, not expecting it to really work. But boy, did it. It's now got an extended ending a la "Phony" and "You Don't Know Me" but as this is a groovier song, it has a completely different vibe. And I just love when we don't have a clue where we're going or what we're doing but it still sounds together and good. I'm so proud of what we've done here. Now this song can be a centerpiece. Speaking of centerpieces, I also started experimenting with ambient noise. I'm trying to work up a noisy, feedback laden intro to "Phony". When I started, Mike jumped in on cymbals and Frank even added something to it. Again, I didn't think it would really work but it did. In fact, virtually everything worked today. My hope is that we can begin OPENING with "Phony" and still have a nice climactic buildup in the middle and again at the end. With these new things (and the upcoming new songs), that should be well within our grasp. The other high point for me was "Burning Down Yesterday". We haven't done it live since the last Star Zero appearance with Patrick. For some reason today, I just started the riff and Mike came in. Granted, Frank forgot the bass part to the last verse and I dropped some lyrics but I was surprised at how good it sounded. So don't be surprised if that shows up sometime (although I don't think it'll ever be a regular).

Anyway - the bottom line is that the creativity level of this band is skyrocketing and I don't really know why. In fact, when Mike stepped out of the room for a second, Frank picked up my guitar and played me 2 or 3 more of his new ideas, one of which is the start of a great melodic power pop song. I, for one, don't think you can EVER have too many of those.

Afterwards, I went back home and tried to chill out. I felt so much better today. It's the first time in weeks that I've felt strong and focused. It's amazing what one day's rest can do. Amanda and I dug into some Simpsons and capped with a Twilight Zone. It's been a while...

 


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Saturday February 25, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What can I say? Today was a nearly surreal, dreamy day. The sky was gray and it rained from the time I got up 'til I went to sleep again. It was one of those days when the sky felt like a blanket over everything. All the more reaon that I decided to do what I did, which was nothing more or less. In the process, I did something more important than virtually anything else. Amanda and I have spent so much time apart over the last couple of years. We're SO busy doing our own things that we just never have the time to do NOTHING together. Today we did. In the morning, I took some new promo pics for her before she went to an audition. When she came back, we just spent time hanging around together. It reminded me of when we first met, if only for a day. I still felt pretty exhausted but that only added to the dreamy feeling. We decided to go out to Johnny Carinno's for an early dinner. Later, I dragged out an old VHS of some ancient Saturday Night Lives and we had a relaxing evening with each other (and Toonces). I think this day of nothing will help me in the long run more than most any productive day. It helped me remember what I'm working for...

 


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Friday February 24, 2006
 

 

 

Man, do I feel bad today...again...

I've really got to pull it together. Between not sleeping and last night's lateness, I've already driven myself into the ground and haven't even really started back yet.

Today - we were supposed to play. Instead, I wound up talking to Mike and we decided to pull the plug on tonight's Washington Street Tavern appearance. Since it was an unannounced gig, I don't really feel like we're cancelling. It was so cool of them to invite us and the invitation remains open. We will take 'em up on it soon. So now is the first time we've had no definite dates booked in - well - maybe ever. It's an odd but freeing feeling. I can't wait to get in and reinvent this sucker.

Of course, my day was spent dealing with editing and uploading the images from last night. I'm quite proud of what I got and I hope Elefant jumps up to shock everyone with a big buzz in 2 months. I ain't crazy.

Also - I can't believe that I have the opportunity to go see Robert Fripp tonight and I'm not doing it. Of the King Crimson guys, Adrian Belew is probably more of an influence on me but you can't help but respect what Fripp can do. Of course, I continually hear what an insufferable jerk he is so it's just as well. Plus, he's just doing some free form, atmospheric mumbo jumbo anyway. Some of us prefer songs...

Instead, I flopped on the couch while Amanda tried to watch a movie. The movie wasn't so good and the two of us wound up having one of those State Of The Union discussions. You know what I mean, right? The dissection of past, present and future and how to improve it...yeah, one of those. I think it helped us both. I know it helped me. We'll see I guess.


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Thursday February 23, 2006


No use in ignoring the Elefant in the room...

 

 


I'm still not sleeping. It sucks. Even when I have the day off, don't stay up late and can sleep in, I can't manage to get the rest that I need. I keep staying awake late and getting out of bed early 'cause I'm not sleeping anyway. It's really hitting me hard today.

Luckily, Amanda whipped up some viddles for me when she got home and that gave me the strength to get out to the 40 Watt Club to do my portrait shoot with Elefant. They're starting to get a big buzz going in the UK and Retna mentioned that they needed portraits. So I set it up with their publicist.

When I got to the club at 8, the doors were still closed. Of course, everyone there knows me so I just walked in. Elefant was still doing soundcheck. I heard 'em do their new single "Lolita" as well as one of my favorites from their debut "Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid." As soon as they wrapped, the front man Diego Garcia, came right on out to sit with me on the couch. I told him what we needed while the other guys and the tour manager Mike got ready. I felt bad for Diego. He injured himself the other night in a flying leap from some speaker cabinets. That's why all the shots are seated. He was on crutches (which I kept tripping over) so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for him. Still, he was a great sport. In fact, all of the guys were. We shot in their dressing room, in the arcade area and in the green room. And they were all great to work with. It was so nice to have a band that easy to make look good. They just rolled with it. As far as one on one shoots go, this is probably my favorite so far just because the guys were so cool to me. After we finished, Diego freaked me out a bit. He walked directly toward me with an intent look in his eyes. He grabbed my head in both of his hands and kissed me on the forehead. It wasn't nearly as bizarre as it sounds. He is Argentinian after all...

Then I went back home for a couple of hours 'til showtime and just relaxed. By the time I got back out to the Watt I was feeling alright. As always, the whole staff was wonderful and helpful to me. I shot Elefant's opening set (the lights SUCKED tonight) and then I talked to Velena. We decided to just not do the show next week. We'll do it when we can really make it worthwhile. Also - I saw Todd Mathis from the band Capital (or Boxing Day - whatever you wanna call 'em). He came in from Columbia to see tonight's headliners Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. He officially introduced me to Andrew Rieger from Elf Power but it was kind of funny because we already knew who each other was - we'd just never been formally introduced. As for BRMC, it was possibly the most disappointing performance I've seen in a long while. I actually left after about 4 songs. At least I got to hear "No Easy Way Out." But when the feedback just kept on and on and the band was starting and stopping songs, I just had to leave. Besides, the light was even WORSE for them. I didn't get a single usable shot of 'em. That pretty much never happens. But I got what I set out for anyway. I was home around midnight. Let's see if sleep works.


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Wednesday February 22, 2006

 

 

 

 

  

Today I did a quickie update at Concert Shots. I added Kenny Chesney, Uncle Kracker, Marty Stuart and Pat Metheny. It's been a while since I've managed to get shows posted so soon after they occured. I'm tired of these long waits between updates. Of course, the time that I used would've been spent on this diary so it's getting pretty well out of hand with its lateness. Yes, I think about giving up on it every single friggin' day. Or at least just doing the occasional post like most people do. But that defeats the purpose of what I'm attempting so we'll see if I can maintain.

In the afternoon, another song popped into my head. This one actually required a lot of work. It's called "Like Children" and it's about 6 minutes long and rises and falls accordingly. It kind of reminds me of "Down" crossed with "Wayside." It may be too personal and folky for the band but I'll let them be the judges of that. I like it because it captures some memories I have.

Then I spent time trying to clear off the drives on my portastudio so I can begin doing official, full-fledged demos of all this new material. I don't know how I'm going to find the time - especially with concerts starting up soon. I'll have to make it.

And today is the anniversary of the first time Mike and I ever played together back in high school. It was around the same time Amanda and I started hanging around each other. Who'da thunk we'd still be spending time?

Oh yeah, and Amanda's parents notified us that they (and her sister) have picked out and up a new puppy for the house. Her name is Elsie and she sounds like a handful (or two). I'm looking forward to getting to know her.


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Tuesday February 21, 2006

 

 

 

 


Today I spent most of my day trying to fill out a bill for the potential 40 Watt show next week. I keep getting maybes that are then shot down. Ack! This is frustrating. But it's no big deal. If it happens, it does. If not, I get a night of rest...

Oh yeah - and we also got asked if we'd be interested in doing an unannounced "special appearance" at Washington Street Tavern this Friday. I talked to the guys and they said "yes" so it looks like its on. Just don't tell anybody. We only want you there. We're gonna do some 'sperimenting.


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Monday February 20, 2006

 

 


Today we were asked to do a semi-last minute gig at the 40 Watt Club next Wednesday (3/1). Man, I love playing there. I just don't know if I can put together a worthy bill. And if I can't, I'll just tell Velena and be done with it. I don't want to do it unless we can do it right. I gave her a tentative "yes" with just that caveat. Here's hoping.

Click here for last week with our debut live radio performance and Beau's last stand...


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