Sunday November 19, 2006




Lori is my friend. She has been my friend since we were stumbling, bumbling children. I have known and been close to her longer than anyone that's not in my family and to be honest, Lori is closer to me than most of the people in my family. She's had a terribly rough, trying year and because of circumstances beyond my control, I haven't been able to get in touch with her recently. I miss keeping up with her and talking to her via the web. She is a great friend and has made a majorly positive impact on my life.

I hope you're having a great birthday, Lori. I'm thinking about you.

And while I was thinking about Lori, I bit down and finished up the vocals to "An Uncertain Flight".


Then I ripped the songs for volume 2 to CD and in the evening, I had them posted. The second batch is (as a whole) more introspective but the songs are strong and I'm proud enough of each of them to believe they need to be in the running. I don't want to color your opinion by saying which ones I like less than others but I did take into consideration the requests of a few participants in round 1. I added in a couple of songs at the urging of others that I otherwise wouldn't have put in. Let's see if you choose those. We need a handful more of high-scorers and we'll have a heck of an album on our hands...and I mean OUR hands. That includes you.


And please join us in round 2 by clicking here.




Saturday November 18, 2006











Now I'm flying!

Today, I dug up one of my favorite lost Q-Sign songs. It's called "The Only Way" and it's one that Tom O'Gorman started on piano. For some reason, we never finished it. During the latter days of that band, the song was a live favorite even though it was incomplete! Well, I finished it (transferring the piano hook to a guitar hook) after all these years and put it in the running for our next album. I'm running it up the flagpole and hoping you'll salute. I think it'll be a great addition to the live show and album but the choice ain't up to me is it?

Speaking of which, I have tabulated the results of round 1's battle of the songs and here are the verdicts!


1. Waiting For The Siren 4.065
2. Happy Here & Now 4.047
3. Give Up Town 3.98
4. Wide Bicycle 3.969
5. Scared Of Myself 3.964
6. If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose) 3.905

Possibles / Alternates / "B-Sides":

7. Green & Gold 3.8
8. You Don't Know Me 3.79
9. I Won't Stand Still 3.77
10. (Save It For) Another Day 3.758
11. Goodbye Tuesday 3.75
12. Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something 3.70

I guess nots:

13. Feel It 3.606
14. Things Got Weird 3.51
15. Something Real 3.494
16. It's Never The Same 3.38
17. If I Could (I Guess I Should) 3.37

Banished to the land of wind and ghosts:

18. Everybody's Trying 3.33
19. If I Never See You Again 3.07

I'm extremely proud that 4 of the top 6 are new songs with 3 of those 6 being written within the past year! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that one of my personal favorite newbies, "If I Could", got squashed and removed from the record but hey, it'll make a great b-side one of these days and I can still perform it live. Joe's songwriting and singing debut for us, "Things Got Weird", also didn't fare as well as I thought it would. But if I ignore the disappointments, I'll admit that I couldn't have picked a better, more varied and interesting top 6. Thanks for participating. As soon as the next round of songs is ready, they'll be posted here! Please join us for round 2. Judging from the judging job you did on the first batch, we obviously need you to choose the songs!

Speaking of the second round, I may make my deadline! I finished composing and arranging "An Uncertain Flight" this evening. I got the music done and hope I didn't go too far with some of my experimenting. This is my newest song which was finished being written today (Amanda even helped out on a lyric which is VERY unusual). It should be posted as a potential song to go on our next album within 24 hours (if I can get the vocals done tomorrow). Talk about fresh out of the oven. Ah, the wonders of the internet.

I don't know if "An Uncertain Flight" is a new direction for me or if it's a detour but it intrigues me. I hope you like it but I won't hold it against you if ya don't!





Friday November 17, 2006



Well, alrightey! The numbers are rolling in for the first batch of demos in the battle of songs. We're well on the way to choosing the final selection of songs. My guess is that about 6 or so from this first batch of nominees will make it. Then we've got one more volume to choose from and we'll be done. I never expected such an overwhelming and well thought out response. We've had music critics, producers, writers, friends and family get brutal with us and we've learned so much already. This process will wind up making the album what it will be. I know that.

By the way, if you don't know what I'm talking about, click here. I might as well open up "the secret page" to anyone who might be reading this diary. Feel free to join us for round two as the deadline for round one is today. Click the blue link above to join in the madness.

As I'm more rested, I'm getting a lot more done. Not only did I get the vocals to "Sadder Day" knocked out, I mixed it down as well. There's only 2 songs left to go. I may make my goal after all if I can buckle down over the next couple of days and just do it. "Sadder Day" is the latest of the DeFreese / McKay compositions. Frank wrote the guitar part that is the core of the song while I wrote the bass part, lyrics, melody, drums and arranged it.

I also had a long, fruitful conversation with one of the people in the running for the drummer job in the Critical Darlings. I was blown away and impressed by how hard he's working to get the gig. I wish we had time to get together this weekend but I must focus on my tasks at hand. After the Thanksgiving break, the drummer situation will become my number one priority!

2007 will be more than a new year. It's a new dawning. I guarantee it.

Tonight, I finally got to see Amanda acting in dinner theatre. What a strange environment...especially since I was alone. It was one of those "you eat dinner and figure out the murderer" kind of things. It's funny. I was suspected BECAUSE I was alone and I wasn't even doing anything! And what does it say about me that my answers on who killed which person were wrong almost every time. I always get stuff like that right. Not tonight. Why? Well, as it turns out, Amanda's character Crystal The Kazoo Queen killed them ALL! I guess I couldn't see past Amanda to the murderer. Oh well - good dinner, a little suspicion and some interesting entertainment. Who could ask for more? Although I think they might do better business if they called the series something other than "Deadly Dinners".




Thursday November 16, 2006

That's my pic of Panic! At The Disco on the left. What an honor for me to not only be among the photos of the week feature at WireImage (which I am on occasion) but to be on the actual icon to see the photos!




Okay, I feel like I'm catching up a bit. Things keep conspiring against me but I'm not letting it stop me. I had no email for the better part of the day. I've also heard that some of my emails aren't reaching their destinations and that I haven't been getting some of mine. So if you've written and I haven't responded, that's probably why. You can always try chrismckay55 at if the chris at doesn't work. One of 'em will make it to me.

My review of the Paul Stanley solo album went live today at Concert Shots. Check it out in the CD-DVD review section.

I hope to have a massive update there soon. If I can finish off these demos and get the other stuff caught up, I'll be on that!

Tonight, I had a long conversation with Eric Newcomber. He may be a new member of the Critical Darlings team. We're considering partnering with him for the second album as well as for some shows in early '07 (although we haven't clarified in what capacity). You'll know as soon as we do but I believe we got a lot closer to making something happen tonight.

Oh, and if you wanna see my pictures of Lionel Richie from last night, just click here!



Wednesday November 15, 2006


It's Lionel Richie and Amanda backstage at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.



After more laboring, I got the Flagpole article written and turned in. I wish I could claim it among my best but I'm afraid it's nothing more than competent. Considering the way I'm feeling right now, that'll have to do.

The weather sucked today. It was raining, windy and cold. Of course, we couldn't just stay in. We had a show to go to and I wasn't about to let Amanda down. She's always wanted to see Lionel Richie and for whatever reason, we've never had the chance. Tonight was the night.

By the time we got to the Fox, it was like a hurricane coming through. The weather had gone crazy. We were doused and cold but the Fox Theatre made a great shelter. We just barely got there in time for the meet and greet that the publicist had tipped me off about but there were no passes at the box office. For the next hour or so, we finagled around getting more and more irritated as I tried to call Lionel's tour manager and got no response. About 15 minutes before show time, I finally got through. Once I got him, he was great. He ushered Amanda and me backstage but I only had time to get the pic of Amanda with Lionel as he had to get on stage. So we got no autographs, no portraits and no picture of me with him but we got something. I did get a pat on the back and a handshake from him. Even more importantly, I got my friggin' photo pass that should've been at will call! I had to walk out on the stage to get to the pit and let me tell you something, that view from the stage is awe inspiring. Man, it looks like a dream. The Fox is the most beautiful theatre I've ever been in but I never realized just how glorious it is until I looked out from the stage. Just unbelievable!

That sums up the show, too. I've gotta say, Amanda can call 'em. I kind of wanted to see Lionel just to say I did but I had no idea what an incredible showman he is. And to hear all of those songs back to back to back to back. It went on and on and on! This was one of the best shows I've seen in years. He did everything from his Commodores hits ("Easy", "3 Times A Lady", "Lady (You Bring Me Up", "Sail On", "Still", "Oh No" and of course "Brick House") to his solo smashes ("Hello", "Endless Love", "Running With The Night", "You Are", "My Love", "Ballerina Girl", "All Night Long"). For over 2 and half hours he dished 'em out. Even so, he left out "Say You Say Me", "Truly" and a couple of others but when you've got so many, it's hard to do them all. It was a wonderful evening and I highly recommend you check him out if you get the chance. Every now and again, I forget how important the song itself is. Nights like this bring it all home.

Happy (yet another) anniversary, Amanda. I hope you had a good time!



Tuesday November 14, 2006








I'm a bit better today. And it's a good thing, too. My deadline for that Flagpole piece is today. I did email my editor and ask if I could turn it in tomorrow. He okayed that. So I worked on the article for most of the day. It's weird. Sometimes I can knock out articles in no time and other days it's like pulling teeth. Today's one of the tooth days. It's not fun. The bonus to getting this done, though, is that I'll finally have some new text content for Concert Shots. I've been updating the CD-DVD reviews there but not much else since the summer.

I'm still editing photos from July if that tells you how busy I've been!

As for the "polling" that's taken place in regards to our next album, it looks like it's going to come down to the wire. There are a couple of songs that are on the fence and I still have a few people sending in their numbers and opinions. A really high or low score either way will decide the fate of some of those songs. I'm intrigued with which songs are most consistent vs. which ones are love it or hate it. Cool stuff. And exactly what we need to know.

The results should be up by the end of the week.

By then, I need to have the next batch of songs done! So I did more work on "Sadder Day" this evening. Then I edited it down significantly. I wish I could've gotten the vocals done but I had no time to do it!

Can I possibly reach my self-imposed deadline?




Monday November 13, 2006




Well, I'm out of it again. There was no sleep again last night for me OR Amanda. I don't know what our problem is. I tried to get her to stay home today but she wouldn't do it. This insomnia thing really effects us negatively and it seems to come up every year around this time. It's especially bad for it to be happening right now as I'm so swamped with everything. We'll just have to muddle through as well as we can. Just like everything else, it's only temporary.

I got a little of the stuff here updated but I wasn't much good for anything else. Oof! There's so much to do. I'll get to it when I can attack it efficiently. Right now, I'm just going to do what I have to do.

Part of that includes a massive article that I have to write for Flagpole regarding some of the best shows I've seen over the last couple of months. I spent a chunk o' day today setting that all up but I didn't get anything finalized.

Maybe tomorrow!

Click here for last week.