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Sunday February 12, 2006

 

 

 

The band got back together today. We've got our very first live-on-the-air-performance this Tuesday and if you read here, you know we don't get to rehearse enough these days. I'm happy to say that today was a good one. Mike hasn't played this well yet with us. I think he's finally settling in a bit. He pulled back and in doing so seems to be pushing us forward more. That's a great thing to behold. In addition to the usual stuff, we also worked back in "Worms On The Pavement." Strangely, it seems a little more pop with this lineup. You'd think it'd be the other way around. I made a mistake (seeing as how I haven't played it since October) that may make for a cool ad lib. Frank drops out at one point and I've never thought to do anything different there but when I missed my cue, I realized that I have several measure to go anywhere I want as long as I stay in A major. I'm going to have to exploit that! Now I need to learn as many classic riffs as possible in that key and relative tempo. Could be fun. We also got "You Don't Know Me" a lot closer. Mike had been playing the ending so that it sounded more like polka than rock 'n' roll. But today, he got a lot closer. All the staples of the set were alright too. Frank screwed up "Scared Of Myself" pretty bad, but I know he knows it so we're cool. It was just a temporary slip. Overall, he's playing better and more solidly than ever. Mike seems to be getting there too. I'm still not quite playing up to the standards that I want to be but I'll there before you know it. I'm playing the stuff right...but I want that edge!

When I got home, Amanda elected to watch my bootleg of Van Halen's 1983 US Festival appearance. While it definitely had it's moments, it was a disappointment overall.

And that my adventer...


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Saturday February 11, 2006

Kenny goes Bulldawg...again.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Today's another invite night. And I'm starting to believe that's just what I needed. Like I said about yesterday, when I get out and see so many friends and welcoming faces, it just makes me feel good about what I do. Tonight, I was invited to go photo Kenny Chesney's return to the 40 Watt Club. For those of you that don't know, Kenny's arguably the biggest country star on the planet right now. When he played Atlanta last summer, he managed to sell out 3 consecutive nights at Philips Arena. The Rolling Stones only pulled off 2. Paul McCartney only managed 1. That oughtta tell you more than I can. Anyway - every now and again, Kenny goes and does small college town gigs in clubs to raise money for charity (and ever so discreetly fill his fan base with younger attendees). This show had to be kept top secret. On Tuesday morning, Kenny's people took out one full page ad in The Red & Black only. At 10 am, tickets went on sale. At 10:10 they were gone. And that was from people walking up to the door of School Kids Records and buying them. And I'm lucky enough to be the only photographer outside of Kenny's organization to document the show. They turned down the Athens Banner-Herald cold. But I was asked to be the house photographer. So I got the exclusive live shots to be licensed as well as some backstage stuff. That pic to the left was taken just before showtime. Note the hat. He also had Uncle Kracker show up and do some songs with him but (to be honest with you), Kracker was so wasted and out of it that he didn't last all that long before he stumbled off incoherently. The show itself wasn't nearly as surprising or exciting as last time. It started with his greatest hits (and there's a lot of 'em already) and devolved into a cover jam. The thing is, they did exactly the same tunes as last time. And Kenny was indulging more than before, too. By the end of the night, he was flying pretty high also. And the quality suffered some. But it was still a good time and definitely lived up to the Keg In The Closet tour title.

Oh yeah - before Amanda got back from her bi-weekly solo trip to Atlanta, I was about to run some errands. Then suddenly, a verse popped into my head. I ran down, grabbed the guitar an hour later had a rough demo of "If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose)". It's power-pop but more melodic. Parts remind me of McCartney crossed with pop-country (what can I say, Marty Stuart inspired me). But don't get me wrong, it's not country in any way. I can just feel the influence of it. I won't lie, I'm even more excited about this one than the last several. The last several will make great live songs. This one, however, could be "the" single. I have a wonderful feeling about this. I think people are going to relate to it.

After Amanda got back, we went out to Johnny Carino's for a low-key pre-Valentine's Day celebration since I'll be performing on that night. It was a wonderful dinner with great company. Like I'll say for as long as I live, I'm a lucky guy...


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Friday February 10, 2006
 

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives backstage at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta.

 

Tonight, I had the good fortune of finally seeing Marty Stuart live. I've liked everything I've ever heard by him but never seen enough to really know what it is he does. My friend Scott Munn (who used to manage the Drive-By Truckers) has now moved on up to Nashville and is managing Marty along with a few others. I was honored that he invited me out to the show to shoot and do trade shots. So while I could've sat home tonight, I dragged Amanda out to the big ol' country show. The environment was wonderful (best I've ever seen it at Variety), the lighting was great (for a change), the sound was incredible and I even got to hang backstage for a bit. On top of that, I got to see Frank Mullen. He was doing the candid shots for Wire Image. It's been several months since I've seen him. But every time I go back to shoot after a break, I'm just reminded of how many friends I have in these environments. It's a good feeling. I also got another surprise when Scott took me up to say "hi" to Brad, the Variety Playhouse's manager. I knew we'd met before but again, I was surprised when he asked me how the band was doing. I can't believe that people are hearing about us...but again, I'm honored. He even volunteered that he'd try to slip us on a bill if he could! Wow!

 


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Thursday February 9, 2006


Bertis (tears) Downs (the music industry) at UGA.

 


Today was off for another lecture at UGA. This time it was with Bertis Downs who works as R.E.M.'s lawyer and sometimes in management with 'em. I still say that Dave Barbe's was the most entertaining that I've seen but Bertis had me riveted to his insights and insider knowledge and tips. I'm learning so much and I hope I'm learning even more through osmosis. Afterwards, I did the "trade shot" for the class and not only did Bertis remember me (we've worked a little together - but mostly by phone and email), he asked me how the band was doing! Amazing! I guess that's why he's who he is.

Today is the second anniversary of this here diary. I can't believe I've gotten this far without abandoning it. Granted, I think about quitting every day and it is sometimes a terrible burden. But when I wanna look back, it's definitely worth it. Click here to see how it all began!

Now if I could only get those couple of weeks from last summer entered (don't worry, I take shorthand notes to remember). And they would've been done except that I kept getting dragged into law offices for "negotiations" with my "friend." It got us right where I said it would. I hope it was worth it to him. Yet again, I was reminded to trust my instincts and DON'T do something for someone else if I believe it's the wrong thing to do. I blew that one trying to give someone whom I trusted the benefit of the doubt. I know, I know. What was I thinking? I was thinking of the "friend" thing. I was (to my still clinging disappointment) wrong in this case...


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Wednesday February 8, 2006

 

 

 

 

  

Ugh...I feel terrible again. And I was just starting to feel rested. For some reason last night was one of those nights when Amanda and I wake up at like 2 am and talk for a couple of hours. Now we both feel like zombies. Of course, I can take it easy if I want. She has to work all day then go to Atlanta for class.

I did take it relatively easy during the day but in the early evening, inspiration struck. I grabbed the guitar and started working on "Dancing In The Park". I realized that I didn't like the lyrics I had sketched out so I ditched 'em. Within an hour, the song had been renamed "Happy Here & Now" and was completely rearranged. The guitar hook only comes once now, right at the beginning but there's an actual chorus in its place during the body of the song. The songs more linear now, too. Honestly, I liked it being a little more unpredictable but I think it holds up a heck of a lot more now. Plus, I think it's going to positively smoke live. I guess we'll see. Let's hope it's soon.

After I did that, I tried to watch the GRAMMY's. I was fascinated with the 3-D/2-D Madonna / Gorillaz hybrid but neither song did anything for me. Well, Madonna's made me want to listen to ABBA but I doubt that was her goal. Good to see she's still as bendy as ever. I thought McCartney's performance of "Fine Line" was about as dull as it could get but was semi-impressed with his version of "Helter Skelter." I missed his "jam" with Linkin Park and Jay-Z but then, I just couldn't bear the thought of hearing that "Numb / Encore" thing again. And Jay, it ain't you. It's them Linkin Park boys that drive me crazy. I still just don't get 'em. I was most excited at the promise of Sly & The Family Stone. Of course, it was a huge let down. The only excitement came from seeing his current "look." When you make a room full of rock stars go "What the f---?", you're on to something.

By the way, I thought the fact that U2 won best album and best song was a mistake. I like the album and song a lot. But even though Kanye West's album was also a disappointment, he deserved it this year. And how could they have nominated McCartney for a good but not classic return to form without nominating The Stones in the same category? A Bigger Bang was more satisfying than Chaos & Creation..." Oh well, it's typical stuff. The GRAMMY's just can't get it right.

I still wish I could've been at the show. What an absolutely amazing lineup...

Amanda got home right as the GRAMMY's were ending. Soon after, we both collapsed.


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Tuesday February 7, 2006

 

 

 

 


Today I finished compiling (for myself), a couple of Prince's unreleased albums. I managed to find several unreleased cuts and some track lists for the Camille album and Dream Factory. Both were from 86-87. Some of the songs were folded into Sign O' The Times and a lot were used as b-sides but I've gotta tell you. Camille should've been released. It would've been huge. Killer, killer, funky stuff. It would've been seen as a return to form after Around The World In A Day and Parade (both of which I loved but only confused the general public). It's a shame it hasn't been heard in context. And Dream Factory was supposed to be the final Revolution album. Both are significantly better than The Black Album and Lovesexy which were released later. Whatever...at least I can enjoy 'em. Now if only I could find Roadhouse Garden...

 


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Monday February 6, 2006

 

 

 


What do you know? It seems there's one more reason to be excited about Prince's upcoming CD, 3121. I just checked out the video for the lead-off single. It actually sounds like it could be a hit. It's the first single he's released that had the possibility of getting airplay in the last ten years. It actually feels like Prince. Remember him? Remember that certain feeling you used to get when you heard his music? Well, check out "Black Sweat" and see if it doesn't bring it back...

I killed most of my day today downloading and burning (non-copyrighted stuff so no speeches please). I love these finds. They're keeping me excited about music. And I feel like they're about to start paying off.

At least I got last week's diary finished up today.

Click here for Coretta, John Keane and a whole lotta hooey.


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