Sunday April 2, 2006




I spent today relaxing, chilling and recovering from a miserable previous day. Blech! Today was alright, I'm happy to say and I have nothing much to add 'cause I did very little. Here's to better days to come!





Saturday April 1, 2006

Watch us wing it at the Wild Wing!








Thanks for being there, thanks for the food, extra shelter, transport, loot and the girl! You've made the last hunk of my life a heck of a lot easier than it otherwise would've been. 'Tis appreciated and I hope you have a good 'un.

Besides today being the birthday of someone very important, it's also April Fool's Day (I hope everyone's gotten our little podcast ridiculousness and not everyone thinks that Bill Berry from R.E.M. has joined us - WATER U THINKIN?).

For me, today SUCKED! Really. It was just one thing after the other. And on a show day no less just to add extra drama and trauma - and a show day when we haven't done a full show in months, too, so I'm already nervous.

First off, I plugged in my guitar in the morning to run through some stuff. Good thing I did. I played about 20 minutes before it started crapping out on me. All indications were that my pedal board wasn't working. Now don't get me wrong, I can get through the show with no effects but it would be so boring and dry by comparison. And I'm used to the comfort and luxury of sounds I've personally created and built for certain songs.

I called Mike to ask if he could bring up a soldering iron just in case. He said sure but to open it up and see if I could see any obvious places. Easier said than done. I couldn't even find the right tools in our collection to get into the pedal board. Then I had an idea. I've got my Dad's truck outside with his tools. I dug and dug through those old oily things and guess what, I found it! I got in and I just couldn't see anything.Thanks, Dad but I don't know nothin' about nothin' about this here stuff.

Then I got the first call from Mike. He was broken down a few miles outside of Elgin. He thinks he bought bad gas at a store in Lugoff. He doesn't know how he's gonna get here or what he's gonna do. And I can't make my equipment work. Yep, tonight's gonna be good. Then the second call, he got his parents to come pick him up and they got it running. He's headed home on backroads and they leave him. As soon as they do, his car goes out again. He's trapped for a second time by noon. And I don't know how I'm gonna play!

Third call, he's packing up his stuff and his parents are taking it all back to Lugoff. The car's being towed. He checks with the gas station. Apparently several other cars have had the same problem. Mike was right. He gets use of his company truck but couldn't get it around in Athens anyway. Then I started thinking. Who could help us? I figured we were just plain screwed. Then it dawned on me. Who has saved me since I was a baby? My Grandmother. She's got a car in Lugoff and she doesn't drive it all that much. I called her and she said it was okay with her. Mike goes over, grabs the Grandmamobile and starts heading this way. By now, it's about 3. I still haven't been able to fix my problem and by the time Mike gets here, he won't have time. And I've got a photo shoot with Elf Power at 6 and I'm supposed to do one with Sun Domingo after that and before our soundcheck. Yeah - no stress at all. But at least Grandma relieved the biggest burden...just like the old days. I can't tell you or put into words how thankful I am.

But I don't have time to be thankful now. I started calling music stores. Nope, no one can help with a digital effects board - too complicated. Then Chick Piano says that if it's something simple, they can absolutely do it on the spot. I rush down there with some hope. I plug into one of their amps and guitars and it plays fine. I figured like this morning, it just needed a little time and it would go out. I played in that store for an hour. It was perfect. Well, I got some practice in anyway but now I'd pretty much given up on fixing the problem.

4:30, I'm back home. I plugged in my guitar and (big surprise here) nothing happens. So I unplugged the Hamer, plugged in the Strat and (VOILA!) I have sound. It works perfectly. So it's not the pedal board, it's the GUITAR! Now, I'm not stupid. There were many reasons why Mike, Frank and I all thought it was the pedal board...but now I know it clearly wasn't. So now I really start to panic. I can have my sounds but the Strat doesn't even have enough frets to do some of the stuff I do these days. Ah, screw it. At least I'll have a guitar and my sounds. That's an improvement. Still, I took the back off the Hamer and just touched all the connections, looking to see if there was something obviously loose. Nope. It all looked good. Then I plugged it back in. It worked fine. I was cautiously happy. At least it was working...but for how long? Still, I was gonna try and use it. Hey, it's a Wild Wing gig. No one'll probably even notice!

I had to get out of there and go shoot Elf Power. So I dashed down to the Georgia Theatre and met up with Andrew and crew outside. We had to wait a bit for Laura to get there and they kept apologizing but I was like, "Nope. I don't care. I'll wait all night. This is the most relaxing part of my day!" They found that a bit amusing. Laura soon arrived, I took a couple of dozen very non-artistic photos as my head just wasn't in it. At one point Peter Buck from R.E.M. walked up (his other band The Minus 5 is who Elf Power were opening for) and started teasing them for posing. This is historic to me because it's the first time I've ever seen Pete Buck in Athens. I've seen the other 3 guys several times but never Pete (he's lived in Seattle for years). So it's kind of cool to complete the collection.

No time to think about it, though. I got back home and Mike was waiting. He was exhausted and as stressed as I was. He also had a falling out with the girl he calls his "psychologist" and they'd apparently broken up...partially over travelling over here for the gig. What a crappy, crappy day.

Still, everything was in place for the show to go on. The first break came when Edgel from Sun Domingo called and said they'd prefer to just wait and do their photos some other day. Cool - that buys me a little more time.

By then, we had to get on down to the venue. We were there and setting up by 8:45 or so for a projected start time of 10. The place was jam packed full. We got in and set up on their teeny, tiny new stage while the patrons watched basketball. I ran around, talked to the few friends that had made it out, went out for my pre-show screeching, wretching and leaping and got back in just in time to go on at a bit after ten.

For the show report, you'll have to click here.

Mike came back and crashed at our place. I was just glad the day was over and we made it through. What a friggin' nightmare! If what doesn't kill you makes you stronger is true, we could give the circus strong man a run for his money right now.

By the way - while I was "rockin'" at the Wild Wing, Berry, Buck, Mills & Stipe reformed once again for a surprise appearance at the Georgia Theatre. They only did one song, "Country Feedback" and Berry played bass ("Mama sang tenor") but it happened. And I missed it again. Last time R.E.M. reformed in Athens was the night of our CD release party in October. Oh well - I always miss 'em for one reason or another.






Friday March 31, 2006



Today was nothing interesting again. I did more clearing out and such. I also got a lot more ready for Concert Shots so (I promise!), any day now the update will come and it's looking to be pretty big. Gotta show tomorrow so I drilled some of the material also - especially the new song. I'm looking forward to premiering "Waiting For The Siren." I hope it works.



Thursday March 30, 2006




Finally! I got the podcast uploaded and announced. I hope someone / anyone will listen to it. Now it's just a matter of "wait and see." I also sent out the announcement about it and a band update. It's about time. But I'd rather hardly ever do it than spam, you know?

In the mail today, I got Queensryche's Operation : Mindcrime II. To my surprise, it's actually pretty good. The original is one of the only albums from the hair metal days that I can listen to and this one, while not as good, retains the spirit of the first without being a duplicate.

And you know how I've been warning you about the return of Prince for a while now? Well, I found out tonight that the new Prince album debuted at #1 on the charts. He's never done that before. Nope, not Purple Rain, not 1999, not Sign O' The Times...none of 'em. That's what I'm saying. People are hungry for real musicians who can actually give you something to latch onto. When Prince wants to be the best, he is and no one can touch him. I'm glad to see he's getting refocused.

Now if only I could get the band refocused. I know I am. Frank may be and Mike may be too. But right now the Critical Darlings are not...and we need to be. At least we've got a whole half-album's worth of brand new material and several full albums worth of old unrecorded "favorites" and live staples to choose from. We'll see where it goes...

Also - I went to class today by accident. There was originally 'sposed to be a lecture for me to photo today but apparently the guy dropped out so it was just a regular class. Eh - I stayed anyway. Besides, I got to know a little more about Bruce (one of the instructors). Apparently, HE's even written a slew of number # 1 songs! Man, they're everywhere in Athens and you don't even know it! His biggest hits were apparently performed by Reba McEntire. I believe one was called "Rumor Has It" but I don't know anything by Reba except "Fancy" which still makes me laugh.



Wednesday March 29, 2006



Okay, this stupid podcast is driving me crazy. I worked on it all day. I had to edit, tidy, convert, reconvert, rereconvert, etc. And now I can't get it uploaded. AAAAAAAAUUUUGGGGGH! There's always something, innit?

Oh - my review of the new Prince album just came out in today's Flagpole. Check it out here if you're interested. Just go here and scroll way down the page for it.

In the evening, Amanda and I watched my compilation of clips from the first time we saw Pink Floyd. I've compiled it from bootlegs called The Calhoun Tapes and Omnipresent. It's got a full hour of the videos from their 3 night stand. I call it (drum roll please) A Momentary Lapse In Atlanta. Amanda, however, calls it A Mandatory Lapse In Atlanta so that her name is worked in. Who knows, maybe I'll have to change the name of it.



Tuesday March 28, 2006

Charlie Brusco lets class have it!




Today I had class again at UGA. I gotta say - it's still cool to be able to sit on these things. Today's lecture was by super-manager / promoter / industry guy Charlie Brusco. If you don't know who he is, let's just put it this way. When I went to the GRAMMY Heroes Awards last year, the recipients were Coretta Scott King, The B-52's, Usher and Charlie Brusco. I particularly like the fact that in the lecture today, he was brutally honest about the past and future of the business. I think he gave the students an insight that they might otherwise never had gotten. Oh yeah - and I got the scoop that Crosby, Stills & Nash will tour this summer with Neil Young. (Charlie manages Stephen Stills). It hasn't been announced or even hinted at yet. So there you go. CSNY is going back out. The last time I saw them all together was phenomenal. I hope I get a chance to see 'em again. The most interesting part to me was that he told us that he never uses contracts. If the artist doesn't like what he's doing, they can leave anytime. If Charlie doesn't like what the artist is doing, he can leave at anytime. All his business is done on a handshake and if he doesn't trust the artist and vice versa, what's the point? Well said, Charlie! Now - don't get me wrong...I know how necessary contracts are and helpful they can be. But I also believe if you work closely with someone, you should look out for one another. I'm also convinced that had a certain someone not brought contracts into the Critical Darlings camp, the original lineup would still be together. But that's enough about that.

In the evening, Frank came over. After a quick dinner at the luxurious mall food court, we got together and put together our premier podcast. It's pretty stupid. I hope some of you will like it. We had fun doing it but we've definitely got a lot to learn. If you've got any feedback, requests or ideas before we do the next one, just let us know. This one was based on Frank's and my audition with former KISS drummer Peter Criss. You think he'll work out as a permanent darling? Just listen in and see for yourself!



Monday March 27, 2006



Oof, what a boring day. This was one of those where I just have to spend the majority of it compiling stuff and clearing space on my computer and its backup drives...big fun, eh!

Click here for last week with Adrian Belew and class...