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Sunday March 19, 2006

 

 

 

It was another uploading, editing day today. I also spoke to my Grandmother. In the afternoon, Frank and I got together to work out the finer points of "Waiting For The Siren." We're hoping to work it up for the 4/1 return to Athens gig. By the time we finished, the day was pretty much gone and I was tired. Amanda and I fell into the routine that we always appreciate when we can make it happen. We lazed around with the Sunday night FOX lineup. How very domestic! How very needed.

 


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Saturday March 18, 2006

Ray Davies takes on the Variety Playhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 


I spent my morning mixing, dubbing and getting the five demos on disc for Frankenmike. The running order is "Happy Here And Now", "If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose)", "If I Never See You Again", "If I Could (I Guess I Should)" and "Waiting For The Siren." This is probably the first time I've ever supplied 5 where I feel like ALL of them need to be learned and added ASAP. Usually I feel as if about 33% are good enough and just pass them onto the band to see if they can convince me or really like 'em. This time, I'm confident with all of them. I'm proud of all of them. And I can't wait to work 'em in.

I played 'em for the guys before rehearsal and they seemed to be into 'em enough, too. That's an even better sign - especially coming from Mike. Frank's still a little ambivalent about some of the changes I made to "If I Could" but he did acknowledge that if he didn't start it and have specific things in mind that he'd be into it right off. Once he gets a little time with it, I think he'll dig it. He was the same with the changes I made on "Towel Cape Song" for a while, too!

During rehearsal (which wasn't very efficient or as good as the last one), we did manage to work "Creepy Jackalope Eye" back in. I don't know how regularly we'll do it but it was always a good one to have waiting.

In the evening, Amanda and I went out to Atlanta to see someone I've always wanted to see, Ray Davies of the The Kinks. Here's a sneak peek at the review I wrote that's going up on Concert Shots whenever I get it updated.

"The short list for the best concert of 2006 starts here. I went into this expecting a low-key “Storytellers” type show based around Other People's Lives , the new solo album from Kinks front man Ray Davies. With the opening blast of “I'm Not Like Everybody Else,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” and “Till The End Of The Day” I was immediately put right. Over the next two hours, I was treated to a generous helping of Kinks classics and obscurities that were held up with equally powerful doses of the new songs.

Perhaps what impressed me most was the way that every one of these songs cut to the chase and transported the listener to a place beyond the concert hall. “After The Fall” packed an unexpected emotional wallop only surpassed by a gorgeous late show performance of “Days”, while the acoustic section of the show featured chill-inducing versions of “Sunny Afternoon” and “Picture Book”.

Surprisingly, the new songs were equally as vibrant and inspired as the Kinks standards. “Creatures Of Little Faith” turned the microscope on the suspicions within a relationship and hit it with so much soul that it was hard not to sway back and forth. “Stand-Up Comic” started off feeling a lot like The Streets and wound up in a massive Kinksian chorus that blasted the back of the sold out room into submission.

I'm also happy to report that Ray Davies has lost nothing as an entertainer. He bounded around the stage like he was having the time of his life. He was generous with not only his music catalog but with handshakes and autographs. Davies smiled and played around with the enraptured audience, adding new light on old songs with his intros.

Of course, this being as close to a Kinks show as one can get in 2006, it wouldn't have been as special without some flat out rocking. The Spinal Tap-ish “Low Budget” may have rocked the hardest but “Tired Of Waiting For You,” “Set Me Free”, “All Day & All Of The Night” were all contenders as well. The only real misfire was a too slow encore of “You Really Got Me.” To make up for it, Davies and his crack band came out for one final number. A sing-a-long version of “Lola” capped a beautiful evening. I'll take the memory of that “c-o-l-a” with me for a while. This show reminded me of why I do this and it did it with depth and humor. I left feeling inspired and rejuvenated.

That's the power of pop, baby."

And it is powerful, 'cause I was kind of sick for a big chunk of the show. I would've left if I wasn't having a good time but as you can see, this was a good'un. Thank God. After Motley, I needed a reason to enjoy music again!


 

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Friday March 17, 2006
 

 

 

Q-Sign, Critical Darlings, "Waiting For The Siren"

Well, it's St. Pat's and that's traditionally been a very important time for me from a musical standpoint. I'm happy to say that today's no exception. Today, when I jumped back on the song, it was there. Within a couple of hours I had it chopped down to under 5 minutes, had worked up a danceable, commercial groove that I can also artistically be proud of AND came up with lyrics and a melody that suit it perfectly. This one now moves to the top of my personal favorites list. It's called "Waiting For The Siren" and I would LOVE if we could premiere it at our next show. I still have to come up with a new guitar tone to pull it off properly as I had to layer it for the demo. I'll figure out something. The guitar part reminds me of The Stones, the bass part reminds me of Duran Duran, the melody's nice and slinky and the drums are relentless. This could be something.

Oh yeah - and Q-Sign started on St. Pats. Frank also pointed out that the Critical Darlings started around this time 2 years ago. I guess that would be documented in this diary then. Cool. Yep, St. Pat's is good for my music.


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Thursday March 16, 2006

 

 

 


Today I uploaded and edited all my pics from last night. Despite the iffy lighting that Motley continues to have, I got a few that I actually like. Hopefully, some'll sell. Maybe in an article that's a warning about what should never be done to an audience. Sometimes, you SHOULDN'T go home again.

At least I finally got "If I Could (I Guess I Should)" done. I can't believe I worked 3 days on a demo. I don't know that I've ever done that. But it feels right to me although I think Frank's going to be surprised at how different it is. I hope he likes it and I hope everyone else does, too.

Then I began work on that Stonesy / New Romantic combo song that I started last December. My first demo wound up running close to 7 minutes and it didn't feel right. Why are these so hard? Usually getting these things down is a breeze. I gave up in the early evening. Maybe my non-active mind can remedy it overnight.


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Wednesday March 15, 2006

Vince Neil makes up for Motley Crue's Atlanta cancellation last year with the use of pasties and body paint.

 


ACK!

I worked a whole heck of a lot more on "If I Could (I Guess I Should)" this morning. I still just wasn't feeling it. So I did some drastic rearranging and came up with something I think may work. I recorded everything but the drum track today but ran out of time.

You see, Amanda and I have been looking for that Country Weekly for the last couple of days and couldn't find it anywhere. Amanda called around and they apparently have it at the newstand downtown but the issue comes off the shelf tomorrow! So I had to get downtown get it and get back in time to hit the road for tonight's little adventure.

When I got downtown, I didn't make it to the store before running into Matt Thompson. He and I have a tendency to ramble on and on about nothing even if we are saying a good bit. I still like the fact that he shoots straight AND doesn't mind when I do so. So we're a good conversational match that way. We talked way too long (as usual) but it was a good talk. I told him to get in touch so we could make an appointment to do it properly some time. Think he'll do it? Hmmmm...

Anyway - in the evening, Amanda and I went to check out Motley Crue one year on. We caught 'em a week or so into their reunion tour last year in Greenville. I thought it was embarrassing and humiliating. After tonight, I think Greenville was genius as the Atlanta show redefined humiliating and embarrassing. First off, I must thank the band for giving us incredible seats (6th row on Nikki's side) but man, oh man, was this bad. And I probably wouldn't have gone either but my brother saw them in Columbia about a month ago and said they were great compared to Greenville (which he also saw). So...I figured I'd trust him and take a chance on 'em and hope that they could make up for last time. It was a makeup show for Atlanta too as when they tried to play there last year, they had to stop after about a half hour due to Vince Neil pulling a hamstring. I didn't even try to go to that one but I figured that REALLY be on tonight in order to make up for last time. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was like they weren't even trying...talk about going through the motions. Yes, they had a totally over the top pyro and effects laden show but unlike KISS where it comes across as big, dumb silly fun and the band is in on the joke, this just seemed moronic, desperate and like middle aged men acting like drunken frat boys with money for effects. And is it me? Or is it appropriate for someone who was once married to Heather Locklear to be "acting all ghetto" as one person near us said. It was so embarrassing. At least he could play. Tommy played better than Greenville but man, he needs to just SHUT UP AND PLAY! He spent a good chunk of the concert berating the fans that came to see him. "YO! That ain't good enough, YO! This is the ATL! When I say Motley, you say Crue. MOTLEY (blank stares) MOTLEY (blanker stares)." At one point he refused to start the song in order to continually complain about the audiences lack of "into it"-ness. (Well, perhaps if they played a song...) He then finally settled back onto his drum stool and added "It's like a funeral in here. This is like a wake, man." To which Nikki Sixx mumbled "Lord, help us all." Yeah, it was like a wake for a once great rock and roll spectacle (notice I didn't say band). This was just pathetic on EVERY count. Nikki wasn't even trying to play. He'd just leave parts out in order to look cool. Which he did...for 1987. He just looked sad for '06. Mick Mars played tolerably well but stormed off at one point. There was five or so minutes of silence and darkness then Nikki said, "We seemed to have lost our guitar player." Then five or so more minutes of silence and darkness (which caused people to sit down and stay down while waiting). Finally Tommy said, "I think all the drama queens are back now." They played a song, then another 5 minutes of nothing that was occasionally interrupted by Tommy Lee yelling at the audience for having the nerve to sit down. It was sad. And don't even get me started on Vince Neil's voice. He worked the crowd pretty well and he even seemed like a decent enough guy who wanted to make up for the aborted show. His voice, however, was like a joke. In fact, if you did an exact version of what he actually did at this show in a parody, no one would believe you. They'd think you were being too hard on him. They'd be wrong. I actually wound up in hysterics during "Louder Than Hell." It lived up to its title but the "Some like it loud / We like it loud / We like it loud / We like it louder / louder than hell" came out as "slik-a-low, slik-a-low, lik-a-louda, loudaheyeahll." and the "ooh some like it, ooh some like it loud" came out as "oohsalikaLOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUU". Amanda said he sounded like a fly batting up against a window trying to get out. And she's right. This is just bad. And I'm more or less a fan of the band. I'm still a proud owner and occasional blaster of Shout At The Devil. But whatever it is they're doing (or attempting) these days is just embarrassing to everyone. I've never seen as many disappointed fans leaving EARLY. I guess it was smart of them to cut 6 or so songs from the set list I saw pre-show. Of course, with all the delays and pauses, the length was about the same.

You know I've seen a lot of shows - thousands no less. I've seen the biggest and the smallest. I've seen 'em come and go. I can honestly say that Motley Crue is THE worst live band to EVER headline an arena. I still love some of those early recordings (though Dr. Feelgood) but this is just bad. I hope the checks they're cashing will make it worth their while 'cause all they're doing is losing fans if every show is like Atlanta.


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Tuesday March 14, 2006

 

 

 

 


Today I worked hard to get some more demos done. I wound up working on the newest song, "If I Could (I Guess I Should)" which is the one that Frank started off this weekend. I've got lyrics that I like now but I just can't seem to find the right arrangement. I worked on it for hours in the evening and finally just wound up giving up. I'll take it up again tomorrow.

During the day, Beth from the 3 Rivers Music Festival kept corresponding with me. First it was about my own availability and then it became about me recommending some other photographers because I just don't know if I can do it this year. Honestly, some of that has to do with the security vs. city council vs. administration problems. If it was as hyper-organized as Music Midtown, I'd do it in a second but every year there are communication problems that stop us from getting what we need. And if I can't get what I need and what the festival needs, it's kind of silly to try. Still, I may make the effort if I can...especially since Beth (who's a good friend) is running the photog wing. Now there's even more of a reason because they've hired Jason Moore from NC to be part of the official team. He's such a cool, laid back guy. Just the fact that he's going to be there makes me want to go more.

Oh yeah - and Jason wound up getting the gig because he's the one that notified me about the Country Weekly appearance of one of my pics this week. He emailed me and that took him to the front of my mind which got him this gig. Ain't that the way it always works?

One more thing - The New Cars (that's 2 members of The Cars with Todd Rundgren on vocals, the bass player from Utopia and the drummer from The Tubes) have a new single out that sounds just like...well...a new Cars tune. Ever since I heard it, it's been in my head. I guess sometimes you can go home again. If this was the '80s still, this song would be huge. Check it out if you have even a passing interest in the music of The Cars or Todd Rundgren.

Click on this link and you can download the video for "Not Tonight" directly from the band's reps (they actually gave me permission to do this). I'm looking forward to going to see them with Blondie in June. So enjoy!

 


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Monday March 13, 2006

 

 


Well, I got most of Concert Shots edited and put together today but I didn't get it uploaded. I'd like to get a few reviews written first and just do a major overhaul. When will it actually get done? Who knows?

Oh - I got notice that one of my pictures of Kenny Chesney and Uncle Kracker is featured in the current issue of Country Weekly! Yee-haw! I've got to seek it out and buy it!

Now for the super-hard-bad news...

Amanda and I have lost another friend. I didn't even want to write about it last week when it happened and I haven't even had time to go digging through the archive to find a picture of the little guy but our crustacean friend Citizen Snips has died. It's hard to type and even harder to believe. We only had him for a bit over a year. He was such a tiny little Ecuadorian crab. He was molting and growing a lot and seemed in perfect health but molting is tough and apparently this last one was just too tough. We've lost too many friends this past year. It's been a tough one but losing this little tiny guy is particularly difficult. It may sound funny to you who don't understand but we are going to miss him terribly.

Click here for last week with The Silver Jews, Wilco, Ben Harper and whatever else.


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