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Sunday June 11, 2006

 

 

 

 

Ah, Sunday morning in Myrtle Beach. What are you gonna do? I started my day like I ended the last. Amanda and I sat on the balcony watching the waves roll in listening to old music. This time, my random pull from the "years bag" grabbed 1966. I listened to 40 year old music and looked out wondering what it was like in this very location way back then. I'm sure it was different but not that much.

We got up and moving in our own sweet time. We eventually made it to the Pavilion area. It really is the end of an era. To mirror my imagining of what it was like in '66, I tried to imagine what this place that's so ingrained in my memory banks along with family and friends ("some are dead and some are living") will look like in just one year. You see, they're tearing down the Myrtle Beach Pavilion to make way for progress. It's just wrong. It's like tearing down the Empire State Building or the Statue Of Liberty...or at least it is to me and millions of others who have such fond memories of the area. It'll never be the same. I actually felt an aching hurt the entire time I was on the property.

We wandered over to an arcade a few blocks away. We wound up (at Amanda's request) dumping some coins into a "rock star game". The goal is to hold this fake guitar and follow the instructions on the screen while the "crowd" responded. Needless to say, Amanda and I both got a massive choruses of boos and I believe a few hisses as well. Those digital people did not like us!

Then we moved over to Ms. Pac Man. Last year, Amanda actually beat me. This year, I recovered and wiped up the floor with her! The machine seemed to be in hyperdrive. God, it was fast. Somehow I did well. I was feeling a little bit more rested today so that must've been a part of it. I was up to the second banana board before I started to falter. At that point, the joystick started to stick (seriously). I didn't last long after that. We moved over to the pool table. I alternated between making incredibly difficult shots and blowing easy ones. Amanda - well, she wasn't so good this year. It was just my year. Last year, she even beat me at pool. This year, I just tried to marshal all that Dad ever taught me and it worked out more often than not. I could almost hear him teasing me about the easy shots I missed and congratulating me on the good 'uns. I noticed when I was shooting pool that I had a whole in my left pinky. Apparently, I was playing Ms. Pac Man so intensely that I rubbed the skin off it. So yeah - I have a Pac Man injury...in 2006. Can you believe it?

By now, Amanda couldn't stand not going in the water anymore. So we went back to the hotel and prepared as fast as we could. Before long, Amanda was out there. I was pathetically standing ankle deep with my body board trying to adjust to the cold, cold water a little at a time. (I usually prefer to go in August when the water's warmer.) Eventually, I made it on out there and for the next hour or so, we rode the waves kicked up by the far edge of tropical storm Alberto. I was having a great time. I went further and further out until I couldn't touch bottom at all when a wave would come. And there were some big waves. Every now and again, I'd catch a big 'un and jump into it just right. Then I'd ride. It was so much fun. On one particularly nice one, I managed to sort of "shoot the tunnel". I was inside of the wave and actually opened my eyes with it all around me. It sounded so freaky, dude (see - the surfer in me emerges).

Anyway - so I was minding my own, picking and choosing my waves. Then I saw a mediocre one breaking that suddenly turned perfect. I tried to leap into it from the side. Lemme tell you, it was not such a good idea. The next thing I knew I was pinned to the ocean floor under a board telling myself to not breathe anymore water in. Considering the panic that could've taken over, I was amazingly relaxed. When I came back up, I momentarily thought I was blind 'cause everything was white. After my eyes adjusted to the light, I realized that the waves had simply ripped off my sunglasses and ever-so-fashionable Gilligan hat. Amanda informed me that I had done at least one complete somersault in the "incident". I couldn't hear her at first as my left ear was totally occluded. My right ear wasn't much better. My left ear didn't get any better the rest of the day / night.

I tried to go back in for more but without sunglasses...nah, it didn't take. So I just flopped on a towel for a while and waited for Amanda to come in. It wasn't too long. She and I then laughed about the recent shark sightings and decided that since my hat and sunglasses were swallowed up in an instant by the ocean, we hoped there was some smarmy shark with my hat and glasses roaming around.

It was about dinner time and Amanda wanted a Mudslide from Uno's so we went out to Broadway At The Beach and stuffed ourselves absolutely full. It was too expensive. The Mudslide cost almost $8! It was filling, though. After dinner we walked around a bit. I had a temporary spell of weakness or something hit me. Maybe it was food coma. I sat down for a few minutes and I was fine. Of course, since we were out at Broadway, I couldn't resist checking in on the development of the KISS Coffeehouse (I don't know if this is the worst or best idea ever. I tend to lean toward "worst"). Nothing in the exterior was up but we peeked in (nearly done) and Amanda asked how it was going so they filled us in. It's all on schedule and ready to go for the grand opening on June 27. I'm considering attempting to cover it for Retna. For the record, I can sort of figure out what Firehouse S'mores may be but I can't for the life of me figure out what a Growler is. We'll all know soon enough.

We visited with some of the carp and ducks and swung by a Target (to replenish hats and sunglasses) on the way back to our hotel. We spent the rest of the evening just like the last...sitting on the balcony with our drinks (and some old music) watching the world go by.

 

 


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Saturday June 10, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I woke up this morning in South Carollina. I still didn't get a good night's sleep but I'm feeling a little stronger than yesterday. Amanda actually suggested cancelling our trip if I didn't feel up to it. But as far as I'm concerned, I can be sick and miserable at home and bored or I can be sick and miserable sitting at the beach. I choose the beach.

I swung by the cemetary and my Grandmother's, grabbed a quick LHOP lunch and then Amanda and I hit the road going east. The going was great until somewhere past Florence. There was a massive traffic backup and it looked like everyone was heading to the beach. I don't know that I've ever attempted to drive down there on a Saturday in June and now I know why. It was interminably slow for the better part of an hour but soon after, we hopped on that new Conway bypass and zoomed on into Myrtle Beach. After seeing the traffic on the way, I was shocked that the actual destination wasn't all that crowded at all. We decided to stay at the Crown Reef. The first time we went there was with my Mom several years ago. It's not exactly 5-star but hey, we ain't at the beach for the room. Anyway - it was perfectly nice, relatively quiet and in a decent location. Add in the fact that it's reasonably priced and we have a winner.

Soon after we got in, we decided to try and grab an early (and preferably cheap) dinner. There was this cafeteria about a block away. We walked in and there was a line to the door. It was jam-packed. We looked at each other and said "screw that." So we had our nice dinner at the Wendy's across the street.

We swung by a grocery store after that and picked up some snacks. Amanda grabbed a 4-pack of margarita coolers and I grabbed some raspberry lemonade for me. Before long, I was doing exactly like I said I hoped to be doing in my entry yesterday.

I was sitting in a chair on the balcony with a drink beside me (and some pretzels), staring out over the ocean as the sun went down. I had one of my old "Years" compilation CD's playing (tonight I heard stuff from the '60s and early '70s). It was so relaxing. We just sat there NOT talking about business or the stuff that's been driving us crazy lately. Karen Carpenter and The Temptations (among too many others to mention) were serenading us. It was darn near perfect.

After sundown, we went for a stroll on the beach. Yes, it was just as good as it could be. You know it's always a bit of a homecoming for us here. Just before we started officially dating (all those years ago) we wound up at the beach at the same time. We met up and roamed around together. This time, we arrived together. And we stayed together. And tonight we shared a lifeguard's chair and watched the reflections of the moon over the water. Up in our perch, my exhaustion slowly morphed into a weird form of relaxation. I still felt weird but the weird was becoming a good thing.

We crashed before 11 pm so I could attempt to get a full night's sleep for once.


 

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Friday June 9, 2006
 

Frank, Alec Wooden and I tickle the ears of Athens (and beyond) during our "feature interview" segment on WUOG's Sounds Of The City show .

 

Yesterday I spent the day editing photos from last night, dealing with publicists and catching up emails. By the time I finished all of that, it was nearly time to get across town for our big interview on WUOG. When Frank arrived at my place, he looked shell-shocked. He had some intense stuff going on in his life that's just jumped on him in the last 24 hours or so. I was proud of him for pulling it together and not letting it get in the way. In fact, I think this was our best overall interview ever. It doesn't hurt that Alec Wooden (who also plays bass in Beyond Tomorrow) is a friend as well as a fine DJ and interviewer. I was particularly honored that he invited us to be his first in-studio guests for his special series of interviews with Athens artists. I think we got a little deeper into our history than ever, discussed some of our actual processes and still came across just as ridiculous and over the top as ever. I thought that was a good mix and the first time we've managed to bring the "schtick" and the reality together in a way that satisfied me. We were on for nearly a full hour and tracks played included "Colors In Black & White", "Towel Cape Song", "Sometimes I'm Sam", "Scared Of Myself" and "Until The Road Ends". Things lagged a bit during the segment before last but I "hung a bell on it" and the rest was cake. This was easily the most relaxed and consistent interview we've ever done. Hopefully, I'll be able to post some clips here within the next couple of weeks.

I crashed before midnight as I knew today was a traveling day. In the middle of the night, I woke up feeling terrible and really sick. It was strange to have something like that hit me so quick. I figured my weekend (which is tripling as my 2006 "vacation" as well as Amanda's and my anniversary) would be ruined. I couldn't sleep but I basically begged the universe and any higher power in it to not let me be sick this weekend. At some point, I drifted off and when I awoke, all of the congestion was gone and I didn't feel feverish anymore. That was really, really odd. Of course, I'm still exhausted. I feel like I've been beaten silly but I don't feel "sick". I can handle tired. And maybe by tomorrow, "I'll Be Fine". I've been looking forward to chucking everything for a while. I plan on sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean with a drink by my side tomorrow evening.

Of course, I got an invite today for us to play in Savannah as the opener for American Gun tomorrow night. Usually, we jump on these type gigs but as much as I'd love to be able to do this one, we're just too scattered right now. And by later today, I'll have us spread out even further.

I will be heading back through home in SC later tonight. I'm sure I'll swing by my Grandmother's tomorrow before we make the rest of the journey. Please wish me a nice relaxing time for the next few days. I need a break.

I want to come back fresh and ready to tackle everything coming up...and there's a lot of it.

And one last addition before I hit the road. I saw this and it caught my eye. When I was a kid I was told by the Holiness / Pentacostal / Baptist type preachers and religious types where I grew up that animals couldn't go to heaven because they "don't have souls". Well, then, maybe if God would let animals into heaven, they wouldn't do stuff like this. So my next questions are, do morons have souls and will they be allowed into heaven? If so - I guess that's why God decided to not allow animals in. It would just be too messy...


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Thursday June 8, 2006

I don't know when Trent Reznor joined or left the Marines, but judging by the looks of him on the current Nine Inch Nails tour, it was recent...

 

 


It's weird that I'm telling you about yesterday under today's listing but that's the way I'm having to do it for the moment. What do you care? You can figure it out.

So anyway, last night Amanda and I went to see Nine Inch Nails at Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre. I can't believe it but I haven't been to that venue since '04. Tonight was a good night to return. The weather was absolutely beautiful. What better way to celebrate the perfect summer night than with pounding Gothish dance industrial metal? Well, there's one better way! And that's to have Bauhaus opening the gig. It was truly surreal to see Peter Murphy in all of his foppish funeral home director glory in broad daylight. The great thing was that it still worked. I managed to get some cool photos of 'em too. I was kind of surprised that I was the only photographer tonight but it was good as the pit was kind of cramped. When I got back to my seat, Amanda and I enjoyed the rest of the set. Most of NIN's fans didn't bother to enjoy the treat as they stood outside smoking 'til right before the headliners went on. They missed one of the best shows of the year. Bauhaus played about an hour and set the mood for Trent perfectly. They did a new song called "Endless Summer Of The Damned" that was better than most of the "classics". Of course, "Bela Lugosi's Dead" closed the night out with Peter Murphy using a cape to effectively create the illusion of being a bat. It was totally over the top and wonderful to see. Here's the full list.

Double Dare
In The Flat Field
God In an Alcove
She's In Parties
Adrenaline
Severance
Silent Hedges
In Fear Of Fear
Endless Summer Of The Damned
Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores
Stigmata Martyr
Bela Lugosi's Dead

Then it was back to the Bridge Gate to await my escort into the NIN set. I was allowed to shoot songs 3, 4 & 5 so I was kept in holding until it was time. I missed the first couple of songs but I could certainly hear them. At the beginning of "Sin", I was on my own to run in the pit, leap over Trent's mic guy and wind up on the other side. Trent looked like a friggin' Marine. He's a big dude, now! He sounded the same even with members of Marilyn Manson, The Icarus Line and A Perfect Circle onstage with him. And to my complete surprise, there was even enough light to get good, solid shots! I couldn't resist singing along. Unlike his usual assaults of the photographers, he only threw water at me once. I guess he's mellowed since The Fragile tour! He strapped on a guitar for a powerful "Terrible Lie" and led the crowd through the big sing a long. The last song that I was allowed to shoot was an incendiary "March Of The Pigs" that was as stomping as ever. Early in the song, Reznor tripped over a bunch of monitors and hit the stage hard. He looked dazed for a second before coming up swinging even harder. Then my time was up. I dashed out to the car and stored my camera before returning. "Something I Can Never Have" was just ending and "Closer" was kicking in as I approached our great seats again. I loved the chunk of "That's What I Get" that was thrown in. The highlight for me was hearing one of my personal favorites, "Burn" thrown in. I was disappointed to hear so few songs from With Teeth or The Fragile . As much as I like "Gave Up", "Sin", "Reptile", "Suck", etc, I've heard them so many times that I'm kind of bored with 'em. I've seen NIN on ever major tour now and, honestly, this was the least interesting one. I did enjoy the super cool 3-D effect when a metal gate-like screen came down over the stage. With projections in the far back, digital lights running across the front "gate" and the band in the middle, it created a dizzying effect that I haven't seen before. Even if it was just a hybrid of several things done by Bowie, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran and Alice Cooper, it was taking some of what they've done to a different level. And that's what Trent's always been best at, taking something that's been done and putting his spin on it. As evidence, late show crowd faves included his versions of Pigface's "Suck" and Queen's "Get Down Make Love". "Hurt" was nearly a solo piece with the band only coming in at the end. The evening wound up with the massive crowd participation of "Head Like A Hole". By the time the final chords rang out, Amanda and I were nearly in the car! We escaped the parking lot just as the throngs poured out of the gates. While NIN's set wasn't as masterful or cathartic as The Downward Spiral tour shows, it was still one of the best of '06.

Here's the full set list.

Somewhat Damaged
You Know What You Are?
Sin
Terrible Lie
March Of The Pigs
Something I Can Never Have
Closer
Burn
Gave Up
Help Me I Am In Hell
Non-Entity
Only
Wish
La Mer
Into The Void
Reptile
Suck
Get Down Make Love
Hurt
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like A Hole

So that was last night. Now look to Friday for Thursday...or something.


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Wednesday June 7, 2006

 

Billy Preston poses for me in Columbia, SC during an April 2005 performance.

 


Ugh, I'm exhausted this morning. Amanda had class and didn't get in 'till almost 11:30 last night. We were turned in by midnight but I couldn't sleep. And then I was up early this morning. Oh well, at least this diary's officially caught up now. I'm going to try to remember to double these updates by including my personal entries on my MySpace page and the all of the band ones (including show reports, etc) at the band's MySpace page. We'll see if I succeed.

I also talked to the leader of one of the "side-projects" I'm probably going to be involving myself with. I was offered the spot flat-out. The sooner the Darlings get back to full force, the better but 'til then, I'm playing on...

And I still have a couple of other collaborators to get in touch with as well.

I'm going to see Nine Inch Nails tonight. I still don't know if I'm going to be allowed to photograph. I'll gladly update you tomorrow on what happened tonight...

I hate to even type these words but Billy Preston died yesterday.

What an amazing, amazing talent. Even those who don't know his name know his keyboard playing. Ever heard "Get Back" by The Beatles? That's him. How 'bout "Let It Be", that's him on the organ. That's also him on about a zillion other songs by The Stones, Eric Clapton and any number of other artists. There's just way too many others to mention. Heck, he's even on the brand new Chili Peppers album on a song called "Warlocks". I guess it's fitting that he should appear on one of the biggest albums of his final year. I only got to see him once and it was only for a couple of songs before I had to run to another stage. In April of 2005 at Columbia, SC's now defunct 3 Rivers Music Festival, I got to hear him play "Nothin' From Nothin'" and a stunning solo version of "With You I'm Born Again". Amanda commented on the intimacy of the version. And as you can see, he even posed for me as I stood in the wings. I hoped I'd get a chance to see a whole show. As it is, I'm thankful for what I did see.


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Tuesday June 6, 2006

 

 

 

 


Welcome to 6/6/6!

From CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Nearly 1,400 Iraqi civilians died in a wave of targeted killings in Baghdad last month, according to a high-ranking Iraqi Health Ministry official.

The figure does not include civilians killed in insurgent bombings, the official said. Even so, the number is the highest monthly death toll in the capital since the war began three years ago.

In May 1,398 bodies were brought to the Baghdad morgue, the official said.

The number of Iraqis who have died in Baghdad alone in the first five months of the year stands at 6,025, or more than 1,200 a month, according to CNN's calculation.

If this monthly death rate continues, 2006 would exceed last year -- with some 10,150 bodies received by the morgue -- as the deadliest year in the capital since the war began."

In fact, since the war began in 2003, a minimum of 38,254 CIVILIANS have been killed. (Compare this to the statistic of 3,030 Americans killed on September 11.) And this war is supposed to bring peace to the Iraq region how? And this is supposed to make them allies of the US how? And this is supposed to make them not want to destroy all Americans HOW?

Multiply that 40,000 or so people by the number of grieving family members and friends left behind to piece their lives back together. Are they really going to trust the US? Are they really not going to want the revenge that we got (and not even on the actual perpetrators?). So far the US has taken out more than 10 times the number of people that were lost on 9/11. Have we any right to complain if those left behind in the Middle East feel the need to take 10 times the number that we've taken in return? It only seems fair, right? That would only be 382,540 Americans after all. We've got a population of 298,913,559 right now so we'd still have well over 298,000,000 people left to get revenge on them by taking 10 times the lives they took. That would be 3,825,400 of their lives that would be owed. Then we'd owe them 38,254,000 of our lives. Then they'd owe us 382,540,000 of their lives. Then we'd owe them 3,825,400,000. And that should about do it for us and them. But hey, the world population is about 6,520,525,317 so that would leave almost half of the humans on the planet. They just wouldn't be Americans. Or Iraqis. And the few stragglers from each culture that survived would certainly be too ashamed to admit their heritage, right?

There'd be a lot of Chinese, though! So the food would still be good.

If the goal of the Bush administration was to destroy good will, murder many times more people than were killed in the US on September 11 by retaliating against people who had nothing to do with it, then:

"Mission accomplished".

Remember how it used to be? Believe it or not, there was a time when the president that the people of the United Stated actually voted for was put into office. That changed with the election of 2000.

Al Gore - 50,999,897 votes (48.38%)
George W. Bush - 50,456,002 votes ( 47.87%)

But hey, at least we've got a Republican in office who knows how to control spending and not let things spiral out of control, right?

Ah, but enough about raw facts and truth. Those don't matter to most Americans anymore anyway. We've learned in the past 6 years that 2 + 2 can easily equal 5. We've learned that well. In fact, Ronald Reagan was ahead of the times when he declared "Facts are stupid things" in his 1988 speech at the Republican National Convention. Now, America has caught up with ol' Ronnie. We prefer religious ideas stretched to the edge of insanity to justify our beliefs and actions. Here's a little something that Americans should relate to - specifically on this most auspicious date. Please read and see the evidence for yourself.

So my question is, if you fight fire with fire, what's the best way to fight insanity?

Anyway - this link here has a lot more laughs (seriously). Where else can you find the number of The Beast's older brother and younger sister?

Oh yeah - this is a diary! I almost forgot.

Well, I've received contact from a new potential bandmate today (and what a great date to start).

For the record, the Darlings are doing just fine but, like I said last week, I need to play more often so I'm going to join up with at least one other project to keep me motivated and moving. Besides, it's inspiring to play with new blood. I'll learn some new tricks and bring 'em back into my band. I'll keep you posted.

I also put together and got most of this diary up to date.

Oh yeah - and Nine Inch Nails / Bauhaus tickets were FedExed to me this morning. So that's an appropriate way to start such an alledgedly evil day...

 


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Monday June 5, 2006

 

 


 

Today I spent my day once again trying to catch up this diary. I've really got to stop letting everything get so far behind.

At least some of my work is showing up in Pollstar again. Last week they used a Flaming Lips shot and the June12 issue is gonna have one of my Big Star shots. So that's cool.

I also put out the first feeler to get involved in another musical project. We'll see what happens...

In the evening, I watched the new single DVD release of The Who's 1996-97 Quadrophenia tour. While I don't really consider that version of the band The Who (Pete Townshend even says it's a "revue"), the commentary on this disc is amazing. It gives so much insight into the storyline. It proves just how incredible Townshend was (and is?) at making rock music into art. I'm blown away. Watching his and Daltrey's visual commentary was like getting a highly entertaining and even more informative lecture from the kings of the genre I'd like to be associated with.

Then I did a sampling session of Beatles solo videos and interviews for Amanda. She actually seemed to enjoy it. But then, she is a pretty good actress, isn't she?

Click here for last week with Jane Fonda, Rosie O'Donnell, more political links and not much else...


 

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