| Sunday March 25, 2007
Well, we rehearsed with Joe Buck this evening. It was strange going back to having someone behind the kit that doesn't know the songs as well. Still, we have to keep rehearsing ourselves and since Josh is on the road this weekend, we had JB come in.
It was definitely a different thing. Joe tends to play behind the beat (as did our last fill-in guy) whereas Josh is usually dead on top of it. Since I tend to play ahead, you could feel the gap more than we're used to these days. Still, JB had a lot of cool, intricate little parts on hi-hats and rides that I liked. He's also a nice guy and we like having him around. I was impressed that he had learned a lot of the unreleased new songs from the demos. So we just tore right through "The Only Way" and "Sometimes I'm Sam" just like we have been with Josh. Some of the songs weren't quite there. As always, "Give Up Town" will beat up on you if you don't know it but all told, I have to give JB his well-earned props (Did I say "props"?) for coming in with a day's notice and knowing most of the songs.
Tomorrow, we get together again with Josh and then we try and wrangle up some shows!
| Saturday March 24, 2007
Boys Like Girls, Cartel and Cobra Starship rile up the 40 Watt!
It was another editing and uploading day for me. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as taxing as Thursday when I had close to 1,000 pics to go through. It was only lucky today because the lighting sucked last night. Personally, I'd rather have had great lighting and more shots to choose from but we work with what's put in front of us, no?
Here are the pics of each of those bands!
Today I managed to talk to Joe Buck about coming out and doing some rehearsals with the band. I told him exactly what the deal was and that Josh is our drummer but we could use someone to help us out while he's out of town or whatever. He said "yes" and made it clear that his goal would be to take the drummer's throne from Josh. Fair enough and I can respect that motivation. Of course, that ain't gonna be an easy thing to do but we all like JB and if anyone else around here should be sitting in with us, it's him. So yeah - we're getting together with Joe Buck tomorrow.
In the evening (and after I couldn't track down Frank), Amanda and I decided to get together with our regular Joe and his lady April. We went out to Johnny Carino's. I had me a nice lil' timballo (or at least half of it). It was good to finally get some time to get to know April. After dinner, we went downtown and hit the massive chains. First we grabbed some ice cream from Ben & Jerry's and then took up residence outside of Starbucks for a long, relaxed, meandering chat on a beautiful spring night. Aside from learning the difference between New Jersey woodpeckers and the Georgia variety, we also did some more brainstorming about a certain band. I even floated the idea of not speaking to the audience, instead taking banter from my bootlegs (the more inappropriate or over the top the better) and simply putting a mic up to a boom box and hitting play between each of our songs. I think it'll be amusing to do that on occasion.
Now I've gotta put together some discs of absurd rock star banter!
| Friday March 23, 2007
The Boys Like Girls boys in the hall of the hallowed 40 Watt.
'Twas another one of them days.
In the afternoon, I went out bright and early to the 40 Watt to do a candid shoot with Boys Like Girls. They were quite down to earth and easy to work with. When I was backstage with them, I noticed that they were scheduled to go on at 8:30...and they were second! I have NEVER seen a show start that early at the Watt. So I came on back home, edited and uploaded the portraits to Wire Image and then headed back out. You can see those special, exclusive posed shots by clicking here. By the time I was able to get back there, I had already missed the openers!
Boys Like Girls came out and rocked suitably. Fists were raised, voices were lifted and cash registers rang out with the sound of merch being exchanged. It was like the golden days of rock (at least in the way the t-shirts went out). It wasn't so good of a shoot since the lights sucked but I got a few usable pics.
Cobra Starship was next and you know what? I really had fun during their set. I could see some of the usual 40 Watt staff grimacing at the have-fun-or-else vibe but I was buying into it. I can't say I remember the songs but I liked 'em.
Cartel headlined and clearly the majority of the crowd was here to see them. I don't get it. It appeared to me to be a typical emo frontman backed by a metal band with the brains to know that metal ain't commercial these days. Whatever it is that they do, it strikes a chord with a whole lotta people.
While Cartel was on, Boys Like Girls' singer Martin came over to me. Earlier and while I was shooting, Amanda had gotten them to sign one of the pics that I took earlier today. Now when he came over, he was laughing about getting it printed so quick and called the picture "sick" (in a good way). He also asked me to come back out when they get back to Georgia and do a full-fledged shoot with them.
I'm'll do my best to take 'em up on that.
Thursday March 22, 2007
Last night at the 40 Watt with Robyn Hitchcock and his guitar player Peter Buck (Who apparently also plays with some other band from what I hear!).
I spent the whole day from the time I got up uploading. I forgot how tiring and mind-numbing that can be. I got the pics uploaded to WireImage with just enough time to run out the door and meet up with the band.
If you want to see the pics, click on the names of the ones you wanna see:
In the evening, we had the first "talk" with the new band. The good thing was that we can all take tough talk. The bad thing is that there are definite issues. The good thing about the bad thing is that they're not personal, which means they're all workable.
The bottom line for me, Frank and Joe is that, in our opinion, Josh is spreading himself too thin. He's playing with Wesley Cook here in town and Leaving Miss Blue in Chattanooga.
Yes, we knew that when he joined.
Yes, he's worth it despite that.
The thing is that several things have been cancelled or interfered with by his other commitments. We're simply trying to figure the best way to deal with it. The layoffs in rehearsal time are affecting the other 3 of us. Our immediate solution is to ask Joe Buck (another one of the drummers who auditioned that we all liked) to come in as Josh's "understudy". That way, we can still rehearse and do what we need to do with or without anyone else. I hate having to do that but it seems the only reasonable option. Thankfully, Josh understood and we all agreed that this would have to be the methodology for the immediate future until Josh has the time to do all that we need.
The meeting was good for me because it proved to me that this quartet is meant to work together. None of us take any crap and all of us are willing to see the light even if it's shone by someone else. In laying out our immediate future and the opportunities presenting themselves, I also saw for the first time just how much we have going for us. I've thought of all of the things that we have going for us individually but I never realized that everything is there and waiting for us. All we have to do is pick it up and run with it.
I was also impressed by Joe's enthusiasm. He and his infectious beliefs may be the thing we need to push us over the top.
I was exhausted and out of it when I got home but at least all the cards are on the table now and we appear to be pooling our hands for the best one possible.
| Wednesday March 21, 2007
Snow Patrol, OK Go and Silversun Pickups in The Arena At Gwinnett.
Today was a long, long day. Especially after not getting home from rehearsal last night until almost midnight. Neither Amanda nor I slept well and after a slow day, we had another even longer, later night.
Due to some questions lingering and nagging at me, I was feeling a bit down. It was just then that a tube arrived on my doorstep from the USPS. When I opened it, it was a poster of Marshall Crenshaw made from a picture I'd taken that Marshall had autographed to me. These kinds of things help a lot and gave me a smile when I needed it.
After work, Amanda and I took off for The Arena At Gwinnett so I could shoot Silversun Pickups, OK Go and Snow Patrol. Before I even got into the building, I had a phone call from Joe. He has some serious concerns about potential problems. I think he's seeing things as worse than they are but maybe the last lineup was so hard to deal with that I don't see how rough this one is because it's still so much better than before (How's that for a run on?). We'll definitely see.
On another frustrating note, due to schedules, we've lost tomorrow night's practice. We had to wait until today to be able to set it up for tomorrow. By the time we tried, the Space had already been booked solid. So there's another lost day. When I found that out, I had decided to go out and do another photo shoot. Instead, after Joe's phone call, I've decided to convene this lineup's first emergency meeting upstairs at TransMet for tomorrow night. We've got to see what page (and in some cases which book) each of us is on.
Once I got off the phone, I went into the arena. Alice from Playgrounds Magazine let me know what an amazing shoot I missed Monday. Then we went out and shot Silversun Pickups. I thought they were trying way too hard to be indie. There was a lot of feedback and technical difficulties, awful tone, no light and little presence or character. They did nothing for me despite the fact that they were trying so hard not to try. Maybe it's just my mood.
Next up was OK Go. Their lights were terrible this time. They had a nice backdrop but they were the second difficult shoot of the night. They didn't seem as into it or as much fun as when I saw them last December so I sat out with the other photogs instead of going in to watch them. I heard they did a cover of ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" (which would've probably given 'em some bonus points if I'd heard it).
Snow Patrol topped the gig and they did sound great. They were much, MUCH better than last time I saw them. The sound was pristine, solid and more or less perfect. The lighting was even good. I hated having to leave after 3 songs but even though we could've stayed, I had another shoot to get to in Athens and unfortunately, Snow Patrol waited 'til after 9:30 to even start.
So it was back on the road. The traffic was no problem tonight so I got Amanda home around 10:30 and got out to the 40 Watt. Frank met me at the door and as I chatted with one of the door people, I caught a rare appearance by Fred Schneider of The B-52's. It's rare because contrary to popular belief, The B-52's don't live in Athens and haven't since circa 1979. I've never seen him here but apparently he's in town working on a new album. The drummer for Pylon (who is one of the crew based in Hawaii for Lost) was also there. In fact, there were many of the old school Athenians in attendance. Who could bring 'em out you ask? Why Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 of course. Besides Robyn being the cult-legend that directed The Soft Boys and The Egyptians, his current band is made up of R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin (formerly of Ministry and current R.E.M. drummer) and Scott McCaughey (of The Minus 5).
Of course, I ran into R.E.M.'s manager Bertis Downs and got to say a quick hello. Since I was so late, I missed the opportunity to get a pre-show trade shot. I was still lucky as Robyn's tour manager Brian allowed me and only me to shoot the show while turning down others. I think the thumbs up from Barrie is what got me over that hurdle. Robyn's show was very quiet. I must say that I was so exhausted that I felt like I was going to keel over on occasion. Still, I made it through. Robyn was his usual twisted and hilarious self. The rest of the guys were definitely not much more than his backup band. By the time I had walked around the room and come back, Frank had already deserted.
Instead, I spoke with Patterson from DBT for a bit. We bonded a little about how much Robyn sounded like Al Stewart. He said that he'd always thought that and never heard anyone else say it. That comforted me because I thought I was alone in thinking it.
Velena asked me to stick around 'til post-show for the trade. I was so tired that I could hardly stand up but I hung around anyway. The Venus 3 came out and signed autographs almost immediately. I couldn't wait for them to finish to get a shot and since Robyn hadn't come out yet, I did to a quick shot with Velena, Barrie and Robyn. Right after we got the pic and had some small talk, Robyn went out to sign too. On the way out, I ran into Jeff Montgomery from AthensMusic.net. We chatted about the Darlings and he hooked me up with a copy of the Finest Worksongs CD to which I contributed some photos.
Then I went home and collapsed. It was some time around 2 when I got home but closer to daylight before the over-exhaustion would let me sleep.
| Tuesday March 20, 2007
Today is the first official day of Spring.
I love it.
In the evening, the band got back together for a practice. Just as I had figured, after more than a week of not playing, many of the things that were learned and cemented had been forgotten. It's not just that we haven't improved that bothers me. What bothers me is that the last day we got together was also a waste because what was achieved that day has been undone. I understand that Josh has many things that he committed to before joining the band that still have to be cleared up. In know that and I know that it won't continue to be an issue but it's still frustrating NOW.
There was also a weird conversation with Josh, Frank and Joe while I was loading out after practice. It seemed to rub some people the wrong way. Since I wasn't there, I can't really speak about it but it did have a negative impact on the others and therefore on the whole band.
These are the demons we must slay to become what we are.
Monday March 19, 2007
I had more frustration today. We were originally supposed to rehearse tonight. Josh got in touch yesterday and let me know that he wouldn't be into Atlanta until late in the afternoon. There was no way he'd be able to make it by 8 pm so I cancelled. The worst part is that I would've been shooting Lily Allen tonight in Atlanta if I'd have known about not practicing in time. That kind of thing drives me crazy. That's another (at least) several hundred bucks down the drain.
As it turned out, I got a call from him sometime around 11 and he still wasn't back to Athens so I'm glad we cancelled instead of sitting there waiting for someone to show (again).
So there's another day that we could've been working that we instead tossed away.