Sunday May 23, 2004



So...very...tired...again. That's okay. I understand tired. Got up, talked to Grandma as per each Sunday and headed out to rehearsal from 2 - 4. You'd think we'd have been down from exhaustion and shot for singing and playing. Honestly, we played better than I ever even imagined we could. We ran through a revamped set list (after using the previous night as a test) and just stomped through it. I was actually fairly impressed. After we tore through an hour straight, we went back and did the secondary songs. This is where the exhaustion kicked in. But when were doing the set itself, we were smokin' (figuratively ONLY, of course). I even hurt my knee a bit executing a Pete Townshend leap during the "Baba O'Riley" tribute we snuck into "Jewel Box." I'm out of practice, gotta remember how to land!

After coming home, collapsed on the couch. Later I caught the Sunday FOX lineup (King Of The Hill, Simpsons, Malcolm) and even worked in bonus episodes of KRP and TZ.




Saturday May 22, 2004

Here we are on the street in front of Buffington's in Milledgeville after we "played" in public for the first time. (Photo by Julia Barnes)



What a strange and (by design) inauspicious day this was.

Frank and I got out to rehearsal and ran through our songs with Tom from 1 - 3. Then we slowed down for a couple of hours. We did find that there were some songs we could not do right now.

We met up with Tom at 7 p.m. to head the 80 or so miles to Milledgeville. Buffington's is the kind of place that Star Zero could never play (and probably wouldn't have wanted to) but Q-Sign would've done just fine in. It was a restaurant. It did have a stage, drum riser, etc. It was still odd to just go up on stage in street clothes, open with a few laid back songs and not even try to adopt a personality. So strange in fact, that I had to break out a couple of rockers that weren't on the set list. It just felt too odd after so long playing a certain way. The nightmare moment came early. "(Save It For) Another Day" was second and I broke a string in the first chorus. Surprisingly, the Hamer stayed absolutely in tune. I got the band through the second chorus and tried to end it together. Unfortunately, no one took the bait so I left them to fend for themselves throughout (of all parts) the guitar solo section while I switched back to my old Fender buddy! We got through it. After that difficulty, we played almost all of the rest of the songs flawlessly. Even though our voices were shot, we pulled it all off great. A friend of Tom who is in Umpteen (who played after us) actually said it was "light years" beyond Tom's other bands in tightness, sound and playing. I took that as a huge compliment, especially 'cause this guy was in one of Tom's previous bands. Overall, for me personally, it was a mediocre trial by fire. I was trying so hard to just be me that I think I stopped being me! Does that makes sense? From now on, if I want to lay back I will. If I want to rock, I will. No limitations. Luckily (cause the other way 'round would be sad), I'm the harshest critic. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. All I can say, if they enjoyed that...wait 'til the see the first CONCERT. This was an open rehearsal. The Hamer era didn't even really begin. That was the end of the Fender era.

Just FYI - the songs that got the best response seemed to be "Colors In Black & White" and "Worms On The Pavement." I'm still blown away by the fact that those quirky little songs are doing so well.

Here's the set list and a 1 - 5 star ranking on how I thought the performances of each went down. (Warning: This is my totally biased and personally colored opinion. )

1. Sometimes I'm Sam ***
2. (Save It For) Another Day *
3. Into My View *** (N)
4. Phony ***
5. Until The Road Ends ***
6. Give Up Town ***
7. Haven't Got A Clue **** (N)
8. Goodbye Tuesday ***
9. Colors In Black & White **** (N)
10. Worms On The Pavement **** (N)
11. The Towel Cape Song *** (N)
12. Taking Its Toll ****
13. Creepy Jackalope Eye **** (N)

Obviously, this was the first time that the Critical Darlings played ANY of these songs but the (N) stands for NEW, meaning it's the first time I've ever performed the songs with ANY band. Geez, you know - that's a long set list for an opening act! We went off the set list quite frequently. For more (or less the same) info, click here!

Oh well - enough about that. We made it back to Athens about 2:30 am. Tired and with lots more understanding.

I've got to thank the guys (and girl) in Umpteen for inviting us out. To extend an invitation to a previously untested band was a daring thing to do. We won't forget it. See you on the 5th in Athens.





Friday May 21, 2004

Chris and a wary Marshall Crenshaw at Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

Again, nothing too special. Just trying to play catchup. Frank got into town about 6 pm and we headed down to TransMet for another Hungry Sasquatch. We were home by 9-ish. At least Tom proved to Frank that his wife Julia exists. He was beginning to have doubts.

Went to see Roger McGuinn and Marshall Crenshaw last night. I honestly thought it was a little boring. Marshall had the highlight of the show for me. It was a new song called "This Is Where Home Used To Be." It hit a little too close for my comfort.

Roger's set wasn't nearly as appealing as last time I saw him either. I was glad to hear "Hey, Mr. Spaceman" but other than that it was a name dropping, less than satisfying show.

Amanda and I took Tom backstage to meet them afterwards as he has always been a bit of a Byrds freak. He's also a big Crenshaw fan. Unfortunately, it was kind of a formal, walk down the line grip and grin so it wasn't as loose and fun as usual. Oh well. Amanda took a pic of me with McGuinn but it didn't come up so you'll get a shot of me with Crenshaw here today!

Time does indeed wound all heels.



Thursday May 20, 2004

Today's just an errand day. Doing stupid stuff that I'd rather not do. I've seriously got to get back to work on pics, though. Of course, no time today. I've got to finish up some quickies here (including this) before Amanda and Tom and I head out to Gwinnett to see Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) and Marshall Crenshaw do an acoustic show tonight. I'm hoping to be able to make a meeting between Tom, Marshall and Roger happen as he's a fan of both of them. We'll see.

Other than that, nothing.

In the meantime, you can see some of my pics and my latest (edited) reviews at Flagpole by clicking below at your choice!

The Big Show (5-19) (Of course, if you want the unedited full length review, go to Concert Shots.

Music Midtown (Other People's Reviews With My Pics)

Later days, Willie Mays.



Wednesday May 19, 2004


Well, there's a new press release up courtesy of the amazingly talented Sarah Lee. She's a local writer who also happens to be a good friend of mine. Thanks, Sarah! You can read it by clicking here!

Other than that, things are definitely speeding up fast. We're doing a "dress rehearsal" show at Buffington's in Milledgeville, GA before the upcoming performances. We're also doing more open rehearsals at Nuci's on this Friday and Saturday which'll probably find us playing to as many people as at some early shows! That's cool, though. I like this gradual build. So far it's all falling into place EXACTLY as I expected. There is a slight glitch as Frank doesn't like the band name. I'm afraid he's probably stuck with it. The fact is, he's the only person that's had anything bad to say about it so I still take that as a great sign. Plus - it fits.

By the way, I added a buttload of quotes to the PRESS page (finally, some content). Check it out. The BIO page should finally have a BIO by the weekend (again due to the unlimited talents of one Ms. Sarah Lee). Then all of the pages will be accounted for (well, almost).

I did nothing today except try and get things headed in the right direction for the band. Detail work, etc. I've got to get back on some of my photo work post haste, though. I owe some stuff to Caren from Midtown that I've got to get to her before I become completely swamped!



Tuesday May 18, 2004 nice to be back to a normal day of sitting behind the computer working on stuff that will (hopefully) one day become worth having worked on!

After a long day yesterday, I went to a meeting with Tom for our show on June 5 at Tasty World. Before we left, we had a show booked for this Saturday, May 22 in Milledgeville. Honestly, I don't even know the name of the venue yet. While it will technically be our first show, to us it's just another open rehearsal. Our first official show will be the Tasty World, June 5 performance. We're treating this Saturday as a dress rehearsal, fun type, getting acquainted show.

Also, we're hoping to have open rehearsals at Nuci's Space this Friday night (5-21) and Sunday afternoon (5-23). I'll give the specifics within the next day or two. If you can make it, please do. And bring plenty of opinions and critiques.

Speaking of which, we now have an official name thanks to Tom.

We are to be known as Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings.

Back to work on the press kit!



Monday May 17, 2004  

Today is a day that will live in infamy in the personal history of my history.

I woke up today feeling refreshed and stronger than I have since February. It was great. I even had Concert Shots updated by 8 am, (check it out). Then things got odd. A sore feeling in my back. No big deal, probably just from carrying around the camera and / or guitars, right? Ride it out. Fifteen minutes later I was talking to Ralph on the big white phone about whether I should call an EMT the pain was so intense. Not a sharp pain either. A dull but somehow extremely intense pain. Yep, when breakfast comes back up for a second visit strictly from pain, it's time to do something. Tried to call my regular doctor but she wasn't available. I called the EMT (who of course couldn't find my house, what a comedy of errors). By the time they got there, I was semi-functional again and didn't need them. Had to check my stats, though. They recommended strongly that I go in to emergency - VERY RELUCTANTLY I agreed. So then, Amanda rushes home and takes me to the emergency room after the pain subsided enough for me to NOT incur the charges of an ambulance. I went about a decade without having to call one of those things and now I've had to do it twice in a month. By the time we left, we'd figured out what was going on. The pain recurred a couple of times but each peak was a little less intense (thank God or what/whoever).

Got to the emergency room and after an endless wait, got in and well, let's cut to the chase. I officially feel old now. I've got kidney stones! This proves once and for all that my body has lost its mind. As soon as I get over one thing (within hours) something else happens. This Mourning Sickness has GOT to go...NOW!!!

Anyway, having never had a child, I can't speak for women but let me say that was one insistent SOB of a pain. Apparently I managed to out one of the culprits by the time I left. The CT scan shows (you've got to be kidding me) at least 2 more! I blame the Ibuprofen that I had to take for the pleurisy. I've got to blame something. My diet hasn't changed and nothing else has either. That's the only difference. The doctors recommended I take more (get this) industrial strength Ibuprofen to deal with it if it returns - AAUUUGGGHH! Enough!

I'm alright. I'm just incredibly frustrated. What's with all this stupid stuff? To quote Willie Nelson, I feel like I'm being "nibbled to death by ducks."

I would find this whole situation kind of hilarious if it didn't hurt bad enough to lay me out on the floor. So feel free to laugh if you need. If it was you, I might!

I debated over whether to mention this here. Not because of what it is but because I don't want it to become a daily log of my friggin' health. But it's a diary and that's to detail what's gone on in my daily life. The stupid hospital and pain were my day today.

In the future I propose more ROCK, less STONE!

Click here to see last week's updates with pics of Fleetwood Mac and Rick Springfield, etc.