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Sunday October 8, 2006

 

 

 

Something's comin'. I can just feel it. Something big...

I don't know what it is. I get this feeling every couple of years. It usually bears out. The problem is that I can't tell if this one's good or bad. Usually, I can tell or at least have an inkling. All I know is that this time it's big and life altering. I'm praying that it's in a good way. Like you, I could use some more goodness.

Instead of rehearsing with the band, I spent today by myself working on Joe's song "Things Got Weird." I feel strongly that it needs some lyric and melodic tweaking. I did get the instrumental tracks done for the arrangement that he and I completed the other day. Within the next few days, I hope we can get together, pull it apart, rebuild it and make it a Darlings song. The instrumental demo is certainly starting to sound that way. It'll be kind of cool to turn over the lead vocal mic for once.

I hope you like it when you hear it. The funny thing is that it may sound more like what you're used to as being the Critical Darlings sound than the new ones that Frank and I have written.

Hmmm....


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Saturday October 7, 2006

My second Pollstar cover in two months. This one's of Mat Kearney and I took it at StarFest back in July!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ah, that there Pollstar cover to your left is my latest national cover. I didn't think that shot was cover worthy but when you hold it in your hand and look at it, it looks pretty darn good. Apparently, cover boy Mat Kearney thinks it's news! I guess those Pollstar people know their stuff. If you dig into the issue, there are also two pics of mine of the R.E.M. blitz from a couple of weeks ago. I have a live shot in addition to a backstage shot with the band, Bertis, Velena and Barrie.

Oh yeah - and I got the zip discs that I got such a great deal on so I began clearing off hard drive space to begin recording the new Critical Darlings demos in earnest.

I got a check from WireImage today too. Unfortunately, I still haven't started getting pay from since I started shooting more in July. I need the money. Finances are dreary right now. By the way, I never got pay from Retna that I'm still owed. I'm on the verge of making some drastic decisions regarding them but I'm gonna take a little more time before I do that.

I almost forgot, I got another ASCAP Plus Award. That'll amount to a couple hundred dollars (sent in "royalty" installments). I've lost count of how many years I've won one of these. I'm still thrilled. It's nice to be recognized for my work as a music composer. Plus, it's paid for my membership dues (and then some) every year.

It looks like I'm also a member of the National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences (NARAS). So you can partially blame me for the choices we make in our little annual awards ceremony called the GRAMMY's.


 

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Friday October 6, 2006
 

Lindsey Buckingham proves that it's "Not Too Late" in Atlanta.

Remember the October Surprise I mentioned a while back? Well, check this. I ain't the only one a-thinking it!

Today was slightly ridiculous. In a frustrating way during the daylight and a super cool way at night. I did get a lot of my work caught up but it was in between "negotiations" to get into tonight's Lindsey Buckingham show. Normally, I wouldn't go to trouble like this to get into ANY show but I really wanted to be there for opening night of his solo tour. At this point, I'm not allowed to post on WireImage. There are a whole lot of other weird inconsistencies, too. Thanks to Brad at Variety Playhouse, though. I wasn't worried. I knew he was looking out for me. So even if I can't syndicate the images, I knew I could get in to see one of my heroes.

When Amanda and I got to the venue, there was a line that not only went down the block but doubled back on itself. When I was told to go to the back of the line to get in, I must say that I scoffed for once. It was then that I made a decision. Amanda and I thought it out. If I could syndicate, I could get in the back of the line, find a nice spot in the middle of the venue, use a long lens and be a photographer. But I can't. So I made the decision to be a fan. I followed the other photographer right to the front of the line, got my pass and waltzed right up to the no-pit-standing-room-only area. I leaned right up against the stage and decided to stay there. If I can't do my job like I like to do it, I'm gonna have a great time and remember what it's like to be a member of the audience.

In a little while, the lights went down and out came Lindsey with an acoustic guitar. By himself, he launched into "Not Too Late". The light sucked. It was all reds and oranges. So instead of being able to enjoy the first 3, I had to fight the light to get anything. Since I decided to be a "fan" tonight, I stopped shooting after the first 3. Even though the light improved, I still resisted the temptation to photo. Instead, I clapped, cheered and sang along. After solo versions of "Trouble" and "Never Going Back Again", the band came out. "Second Hand News" rocked. It was so cool to see those Fleetwood Mac songs so up close and personal. I also felt lucky to be in the audience the very first time that all of those brand new Under The Skin songs were performed live. During the flurry of guitar pyrotechnics that is the solo acoustic version of "Big Love", I watched from a couple of feet away to figure out just how he gets that sound. The fretting's easy enough. In fact, I can play it pretty well. It's just that finger-picking that I wanted to study. I watched. I was able to figure out absolutely nothing that I didn't already know. I was still awed from seeing it right in my face. The new version of "I'm So Afraid" is a lot more restrained than the Mac version. It's almost eerily quiet. Amazingly, the super powerful solo at the end was just as intense but in a more muted way. Nice harmonies were added by the other guitar player. I was even more awed because he left center stage for the first time during this solo. He proceeded to walk straight over to where I was standing. He was less than a foot away, directly in front of me. When he looked down beyond his strings, I was the first face he saw. Maybe that added to the intensity that I felt. And seeing just how gently he was trying to attack was endlessly impressive to me. I think "gently intense" may be harder than straight ol' intense and this was a masterful display of that. He did something similar with the beginning of "Tusk" but it wound up kicking in at the first chorus. Again, it was so weird to see this up SO CLOSE in such an intimate venue. I'm used to hearing this in a massive arena or shed from a great distance. There were a couple of songs that I wanted to hear that weren't in the set. I was kind of surprised that "Come" wasn't here. I also would've liked to have heard "Say Goodbye" again. Still, I couldn't complain. I've heard those. What I've never heard until tonight is "Murrow Turning Over In His Grave". I always forget what a whacked out song that is. It ROCKS, man, it ROCKS! Most fans of ROCK would disagree but as you may know, I love my ROCK with a twist. "Go Your Own Way" came next. Of course, the place went berserk. It was nice for me to be able to clap and sing along. During the solo, he went over to the audience and leaned out over them. When he came over to our side, he was wailing. He then leaned his guitar into the hands of the audience. Along with a couple of others (and at Lindsey coaxing), I reached up and touched his guitar. Then I began fretting it below where he was. One time he had to nudge my hand with a smile. He was still dead on. The hands stayed there, mine included as long as he'd let us. After stomping in circles for the big ending, he said "Goodnight." Then he actually started signing autographs for people right up front. I felt like kicking myself. I was gonna bring a photo that I took last time but I thought there was no chance of getting it signed. Instead, he signed the little notebook that Amanda was taking notes in. All I asked for was a handshake. He looked me directly in the eyes, smiled and granted that wish. He certainly didn't have to do that. When they came back, keyboardist Brett Tuggle was standing in the dark. He leaned in my direction and yelled (off mic), "Are you ready?" No one answered. He yelled it again and I said "YES, BRETT!" Then he said "Okay" and launched into "Holiday Road." I'll admit that I never thought I'd hear this (theme from National Lampoon's Vacation) live. I had heard that he hated it and never did it. Well, we got it tonight and it was great. There was another massive sing along. We even got the dog barks at the end that turned into a full on howl-fest. At the end, Lindsey smiled, began laughing and eventually collapsed onto his back kicking. He put everything into it. He looked genuinely moved by the response. The final song (the new single) "Show You How" was a little anti-climactic after "Go Your Own Way" and "Holiday Road" but it sounded great. What a night!

To complete my fan experience, we hung around the stage. Amanda scored a Fleetwood Mac guitar pick. So there! I may not have any syndicatable (my newly invented word for the day) images but I had an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life. I got an autograph, a handshake, a guitar pic and I got to be there for the new beginning of an already legendary guitarist, songwriter, performer and producer.

It's funny how few people know Lindsey's name when virtually EVERYONE knows his music. But it's "Not Too Late" to change that. I saw the proof tonight.

1. Not Too Late
2. Trouble (You can see me and the other photographer trying to work that limited light on the right side of your screen. I'm the closer one.)
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Second Hand News
5. Cast Away Dreams
6. Red Rover
7. It Was You
8. Big Love
9. Sardonic World / Go Insane
10. Under The Skin
11. World Turning
12. I'm So Afraid (big ending)
13. I Know I'm Not Wrong
14. Tusk
15. Murrow Turning Over In His Grave
16. Go Your Own Way (those are my hands you see clapping at the end)
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17. Holiday Road (Listen to that sing along. And if you look closely, you can see me AND Amanda in this one, too!) (Go Dawgs! Here's the barking Holiday Road finale!)
18. Show You How

When I got home I had an invite from Scott Munn (Shooter Jennings' point man) to come hang out with them all on October 19. I'm supposed to be doing an in-store appearance with Gene Simmons earlier that day but I think I'm going to take him up on it and cap the evening with Shooter and the boys back at the venue that I just left.


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Thursday October 5, 2006

 

 

 

 


Happy Birthday, Ed!

Here's to a good one. Thanks for everything above, beyond (and occasionally below) the call of duty. 'Tis appreciated. I hope we can get back home soon!

As for my day, I got a LOT of updating done. Every week for the last few weeks, I've made it my goal to get "my life" caught up so I can start moving forward again. Every week, things have come up to stop that from happening. I'm inching closer and closer, though.

And can you believe it? I pitched even more to TAXI.

In the late afternoon, Joe and I got together to begin working on a full-fledged demo for his song "Things Got Weird". I think we've got a great arrangement of it and I'm proceeding to help turn it into a cool little pop song. It's jumpier and more to the point now. I think we've trimmed all the fat and are about ready to go. He was having some trouble with his guitar and I was having some trouble recording it. He probably should've just tracked with mine. Still, we got an acoustic version done and that'll be the start for me to build a full electric demo around. As soon as I get those other Zips, I gotta get vocals on a whole slew of other "new" songs.

After he left, I wound up having to jump through hoops in the hope of covering the Lindsey Buckingham tour opener tomorrow. There are VERY, VERY few shows that I'd go to this much trouble for. I still don't understand why some artists and their management make it so difficult for us to give them good publicity! It doesn't make sense to me. I expect this won't be the end of the difficulties but hopefully Brad at the venue and my copies of emails and agreements will remedy any last minute obstacles. I'm still excited about the show but the rest is a total chore when it doesn't have to be.

Oh yeah, just before bed, I caught a repeat of last night's South Park season premiere. It's one that mostly takes place in the realm of the video game Warcraft. It's pretty friggin' funny. For me, the capper was the use of Paul Stanley's new single "Live To Win" in the place where they'd usually do "Montage". I especially like that they kept looping one part. It's funny just how perfectly the lyrics fit. It almost made me like the song better...almost. Check it out in good ol' YouTube form by clicking here.

YEAH! LIVE! WIN!


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Wednesday October 4, 2006

 

 

 


I'm tired. Surprise, surprise.

I'm also thinking a lot about what the band needs to do. Some of the necessary changes are slight and some are drastic. We've been in limbo more or less for a year now. It's time to find some more solid ground and get back at it in earnest.

By the way, I got a big chunk of the pics updated today. Check out The Band, Frank, Joe's brand new page and my page for the latest photos. I still have to get Joe's thumb and link up on the photos page but at least the actual page is up.

I also deluged TAXI with pitches. Lots of 'em. More than I had the money to pay for out of my own pocket. We'll see if any of the pitches hit their target.

Oh yeah - and I heard back from the keyboard player that I'm discussing options with. If I can persuade him, we may become a 5-piece. Oh - how I long to play some of those old songs that I haven't been able to play since the O'Gorman days. "Something Unseen", anyone?

And there's yet another R.E.M. pic of mine up at Flagpole. Check out Gordon's current Threats & Promises by clicking here.

 


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Tuesday October 3, 2006

And then there were four...

 

 

 

 

 


Today was about the show. I sent out MySpace announcements and began preparing myself for the electric debut. I went out in the afternoon and bought some new strings. When I got 'em on the guitar, I realized I'd made a big mistake. Since we have a second guitar now, I got steel strings to cut through more (I usually use nickel). You wouldn't think it would make that big of a difference but it does. The tuning's not as on, they keep stretching, there's inexcusable fret buzz and it just feels wrong. That's what I get for trying to change from something that I KNOW works to something that SHOULD work better. KNOW should always trump SHOULD. It's amazing how often I forget that. Of course, by the time I got 'em on and checked, the music store was closed. Oh well - that's what first shows are for I guess. We'll get through. At least while I was there I got Joe Guerzo's contact info from Ian (who plays drums with Joe in Vinyl Strangers). I really wanna hook up and do a show with them and a few other bands that I personally like and I hope like us.

Frank wound up joining me for dinner at the Dilly. He's had another totally miserable day. I really feel for the guy. He's trying but people keep throwing rocks at him while he balances on the line. He's tough. He'll make it but I hate seeing him with so much on his shoulders.

The other guys met us later. Our one-handed drummer showed up at the club way early (partially due to me) and wound up not-so-happily trucking on down to my place only to then be led out to Frank's only to then be led back to where he started only then to wait and wait and wait for the club owners to show up. I'd totally forgotten what it's like to be playing on an off night in Athens. A guy that works in the CLUB couldn't even get in. I swear, we've done a couple of good shows in Caledonia and I like the staff but I dunno if it's our place. Of course, as I consider this adventure with Joe a total re-beginning, I don't have a clue where our place is at all. We'll have to find it as we go. We hung out outside the venue listening to mediocre improv jazz from next door. At least we didn't come all the way from NYC to wait like The Station Myth did.

And again, April, GET SOME REAL EARPLUGS! You're a-gonna need 'em!

You wanna know about the gig itself? Click here to read it all.


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Monday October 2, 2006

 

 

 


Man, I found a great deal today. Zip discs are really hard to find these days and we need 'em for my current demo set up. Joe found a USED one last week for $10 (full price). So he picked that up to get us started. Today, I jumped on Ebay to see what was up when I came across exactly one auction ending in 9m 32s. I bid and got 3 brand new Zips for 3$ + 3$ shipping. Now THAT's more like it. New demos will be posted for your previewing within the near future!

I spent my day getting out emails announcing tomorrow's last minute show. Then I took a little more time snail - mailing trades out. To be honest, I'm nearly overwhelmed with my bootleg collection now. It's time to cut back after this month's overload. I started collecting last November and the only things that I knew I wanted then that I still don't have are Alice Cooper In Paris (from '82) and the 2/28 Plant & Page concert from Atlanta in '95 (I have the CD and DVD-audio but I wanna full DVD of that, too). There will always be more that I want but after one year, I have pretty much everything I set out to get and hundreds more on top of that! I wonder how long it'll take to watch and listen to 'em all.

Click here for last week with the Zombies, Woggles, Mooney Suzuki and trying to get the Darlings rolling again.

 


 

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