Sunday October 9, 2005




I feel very tired today but much better emotionally. Last night gave me hope again. We really did great. That was one of my favorite performances ever with this band. It was fun to do it a little more rock 'n' roll than usual. I think we pulled it off, too.

I spent the day editing and /or relaxing. I've earned it. Oh - and for those completists of you, August 1 - 7 is now up! That's the week that everything went crazy and Grandma got so badly hurt. It was rough. See for yourself.

More updates coming as I can get to 'em! Stay tuned.




Saturday October 8, 2005

Here's the whole crew at the end of the night...






Well, I didn't get much sleep last night and I'm WAY more exhausted than I want to be for such an important date in our band's history. Tonight's the night of the C'mon, Accept Your Joy CD release party at Nuci's and it's felt like it's been coming up forever. Too bad we still don't have the FINAL editions of the album's pressing thanks to more technical issues (maybe by the release of the next album?).

Today was just about tonight, you know? I'm so glad Tom seems to be back on track with everything. That helps tremendously. I was really worried all week. I don't want any tension or difficulties and I believe we're doing our best to do the right thing. I have to believe that, right?

Frank, Mike and Andy came over after lunch and we ran through a lot of the songs from last night. We also added in "Apartment Song", "Dead Flowers", "Skyward" and some other stuff I'm no doubt forgetting. It really surprised me how tight that stuff was after not playing together for a couple of years. Andy and I always complemented each other tremendously. I wish we still did. I miss that interplay. But both the projects we're currently in are doing better than the ones we were in together. I'm sure if we're both alive, we'll collaborate somehow. It's just a hafta. The same thing kind of goes for Mike. I can't imagine that we'd never play together again after tonight. But just in case, I want this to be a good 'un.

Mike, Frank and I left Andy watching the Zep '79 bootleg and went on a scavenger hunt for a fog machine. We found one that looked amazing, then found that it was broken. Aaaaagh! Seriously, today ain't the day. The three of us also went out to get tubes for my amp. We got 'em all in, everything was working great and then when we got to Nuci's, it was just as bad as ever. It was really killing my excitement for the show. Luckily, we figured out that it was just a jack problem and Mike and Andy went and remedied the smoke machine situation while I went to dinner. The big thing at rehearsal was that Frank seemed to have forgotten about half of what we tried! It was bizarre. I don't know what was up.

I went to dinner feeling totally defeated after the week's problems with Tom and this weird thing with Frank's playing now. I'm not one that ever gets depressed but I was massively depressed over dinner. Still - with Amanda's help, I pulled it together. I didn't know how I'd deal with my totally trashed vocal chords but I was going to do my best.

When we got to Nuci's, it looked great. The food that Tom had arranged for was laid out beautifully and people were there. Not long afterward, Allison Weiss went on. I listened to a couple of tunes from up front before going to sit in Room 8 by myself to think and get my head together. Allison sounded amazing. I liked her songs before but I didn't realize what a great guitar player she was until tonight.

Then Beyond Tomorrow went on and rocked it out. I only saw bits and pieces of the set but I was surprised that they were such a ROCK band. That's great to share the stage with us. I especially got a kick out of the behind-the-head guitar playing. That's one of the few tricks I haven't tried.

I was told at some point that there was no ice. Ice is part of my ritual. I need ice. Julia volunteered to go get some. That was so cool of her and really made a difference in the show. Then I went outside to run around the building and get my adrenaline up. Then I performed my "other ritual." By then, it was time.

Do you wanna know what happened? Click here for the pics and all the details!




Friday October 7, 2005





Today I spent a chunk of day trying to make arrangements for former Star Zero / Q-Sign drummer Michael Rietveld to be able to come up and "jam" with us tomorrow night at the CD release party. He and our old guitarist Andy Ainsworth are 'sposed to come up and join us for a second set after the Darlings finish up with "work." Andy's probably going to join us for the final 3 during the main set too so we'll have the guitar parts more like they are on the record. If we can make it work it will be fun!

The Darlings proper got together for 7-10 3-hour rehearsal again tonight. Unfortunately, my voice was significantly weakened from last night's rehearsal. We ran through songs that we've been neglecting lately and OOF!, they were awful. We've pretty much lost our chops on the non-regulars. It was especially depressing after yesterday's great rehearsal. About an hour or so into things, Mike showed up. He immediately noticed the irritating crackling from my amp. I've been trying hard to ignore it. I would've had it fixed by now but I keep having to jump when I'm told to finish the work of others so that's put me behind even more than usual. I have to fix it before the show. It's hard to put up with. Eventually, Tom came up to the lead vocal mic and Mike settled in behind Tom's kit. We did "Stay Away", "Twist", "Pepper" and those type songs. You know, the Q-Sign stuff. Then we attempted The Beatles' "Come Together" with Tom on vox and Mike on drums. I thought Tom's voice was pretty good for it. Before long, Andy showed up, too. Now we were a 5-piece. The problem was that we'd already eaten up most of the alotted 3-hours. So we decided to go an extra hour. During that time, Mike and Tom switched back and forth on drums with the other one on percussion. Andy and I took turns singing. We ran through stuff like "A Hard Day's Night", "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man", "I've Done Everything For You", "Drunk" and "Eileen" as well as having Mike on percussion and Andy on second guitar for "Sometimes I'm Sam", "Taking Its Toll" and "Give Up Town". Lemme tell you, those sounded MASSIVE with the extra musicians. And I couldn't believe how well Andy and Mike remembered 'em. So - the first 2 miserable hours of this rehearsal were salvaged by a fun final couple of hours. By now, I was exhausted. I needed sleep. Andy and Mike wanted to get reacquainted so they decided to stay at Frank's as they knew my house would be shutting down for the night when I got there. Man, it was good to see those guys again but now I needed rest.

I went home to have Amanda tell me that the air-conditioning was broken. Great - let's see if we can get some rest in the heat. At least it's October, eh?




Thursday October 6, 2005



Today was the same old stuff. I've pretty much spoken to Grandma every day since August 4 when she got hurt and hospitalized. She's been home for a couple of weeks now. I can't say how proud I am of her for not picking up cigarettes again. If you'd have asked me a year ago, I wouldn't have believed you if you said she consciously decided and successfully beat smoking all on her own. I'm SO proud! I'm also very thankful that my brother Benji and his girl April have stepped up to help. They're basically doing her day to day errands until she's cleared to drive again. Because of them doing that, they've allowed me to be able to continue on with my life...thanks again.

I was told to be at Nuci's for rehearsal tonight at 6:30. Tom was supposed to be set up and ready to go. I dropped everything and rushed out there. I made it about 6:15. When I got there, no one else was there except Nuci's employee Dan. Okaaaaay...what's up now? Dan said, "I have you down here but not 'til 7." Great. Then Tom called to let me know he'd be late. This is so frustrating! We've never been able to make it by that 6 or even 6:30. That's why Frank and I always say 7. Frank just can't do it, something almost always comes up for me and apparently Tom can't be there either - even though he's the one that's been choosing the times lately. Oh well - I sat there for a half-hour with Dan before Tom got in. Luckily, it wasn't too awkward after all of this week's tension. Again - he's being totally guarded and vague. If that's what it takes for us to get by, that's how it'll have to be. I'd rather have that than what we've had for the last week. Frank got there a few minutes before 7. Then we all got in there and (surprise, surprise) had what was probably our best rehearsal EVER. We smoked everything we touched. We even pulled out a couple of covers at the end just to see if we could...and we could. Maybe we can pull this show off on Saturday after all. We all worked together and had a great 3-hour rehearsal. It was a good night.

It gave me more hope than I've had in a while...



Wednesday October 5, 2005








It's Amanda's Dad's birthday today. I hope he has a great one (and I hope he likes the "extras" we got 'em for his birthday!)

Well, another day - another practice delay. Somehow, there was a screw up at Nuci's. It's gotten old FAST. We haven't really played together since our last show on September 17. If I know us, we'll be suitably rusty. This is so frustrating. Frank and I got together tonight anyway. The two of us ran through the necessaries and a couple of ideas for things that we may try to pull off.

I'm still editing photos for Concert Shots, too. I should have another update in a week or so. I've got to continually update it if I'm ever going to get it updated. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm not going to as many shows lately...

Oh yeah - and there was an article written about the band in this week's Flagpole Magazine that came out today. You can read it by clicking here.



Tuesday October 4, 2005





Ah, I'm trying soooo hard to catchup but it seems impossible. Every time I get within sight of the end, new things pop up that I have to do right then. That pushes back everything else back.

Well, I got another Concert Shots update in at least. Check it out. I added Destiny's Child, Mario, Tyra, Amerie, Backstreet Boys, Kasabian and Ben Folds pics from back in July.

The thing that's really bothering me is that I have about 5 songs that are ready to be demoed up. In addition, I have another handful of songs I wrote within the past couple of years that we could tackle successfully now that I'm getting some clear idea of not only what we do best but what audiences respond to. Maybe one day I can get 'em done. If not, they'll just gestate in my head and on half-scribbled pieces of paper until my life's ready to give birth to 'em.

Frank and I had decided to get together tonight but I simply don't want to. I don't feel like doing anything with or about the band right now. This isn't the first time I've felt this way and it certainly won't be the last. But, honestly, this is the least interested I've been with this project. And it has nothing to do with "creative differences", the music, our trajectory or anything else. That's all working just as planned. I just feel disappointed that I thought I had a better friend than I did. I hope I'm wrong but then I have been right about too many things I'd rather be wrong about...or something.



Monday October 3, 2005




I've got to tell you. I had a rough night last night. Between Pinchy dying and Tom's mountains-from-molehills, I had a terrible night's sleep. It's crazy. I've told him over and over, if there's a problem, he should just talk to me. There's no reason to send a demanding, over the top email. This is the kind of stuff that made me stop playing in bands all together. Even worse is the fact that I consider Tom a friend. As much as I hate to say it, it looks like he doesn't consider me one. How else can this be explained? Drummers are relatively easy to come by. Friends are not. And Tom Bavises are even harder to find. I want friends in this band. Otherwise, I don't want to do it. I don't even care if things are going better than they've ever gone. I get all the fringe benefits of being in a band from being a rock photographer. I don't need that stuff anyway. I sincerely don't get it. I really want this to work and I'll do whatever it takes within reason.

To top it off, he's now cancelled rehearsal tonight. We need it desperately but he says he's just not capable of being productive tonight. It just seems like passive aggressive power-playing to me. I hope I'm wrong. I guess we'll see. All I can do is hope for the best. Right now, the "Critical Darlings" are strained. But at least the "Chris McKay" part is still on point and the Frank part of the Darlings is on it, too.

I had to spend the better part of my day today driving to Atlanta to get our CD release posters made. I would've gotten them done earlier but others were supposed to be working on them. Of course, the responsibility wound up falling back to me. It wasn't easy but I got them done and I got them done better than anyone else would've so I guess it's for the best. I have to look at it that way.

In the evening, Frank and I met up to put up some flyers around town. We got 'em up in all the record stores and a few other important places. We'll see if it does any good. I've never seen flyers or posters do anything substantial but since this is a special show, it's worthwhile. Funnily enough, Tom returned Frank's call while we out on the street. He never did get in touch with me even though I specifically asked him to. (Again, I don't get it.) Frank eventually began getting frustrated and just handed the phone to me. I let Tom know that we needed to talk now and figure out what was going on. He clearly had no intention of doing it but eventually he agreed. We met upstairs at TransMet. Basically, he was maintaining that the band was going to be ruined by a TENTATIVE set list covered in question marks. Again - there's much more to this. Can that really be anything to get so worked up over? So at a little table with the three of us, Tom basically just said this was unacceptable, that was unacceptable, etc, etc, etc. Ironically, he was basically saying that his way was the best while saying that I was dictating. That's surely been the case on occasion and as the lead singer / songwriter / front man / lead guitarist / co-producer / co-financier / founder / band leader, I do reserve that right once in a while. Here, that wasn't the case. 2 / 3 of us were 100% together. And that's the saddest part to me is that Tom simply refuses to see that of 3/3, he was the only 1/3 with a problem and was making it hard on everyone for no apparently good reason. All I could do was reaffirm everything I've said from day one. This is how it is, this is what's happening and here's what's going to happen and that I really want him in the band. We are not the same without him. It ended with him basically saying that he wasn't going to do much FOR the band after the 10/8 CD release party but he was typically vague in what that meant. Maybe it just means he's going to stop knit picking every detail and just let us roll without the beaurocracy. That would be great. That's the way it should be. We shouldn't have to have a "meeting" to decide everything. Neither Frank nor I like that kind of stuff but we do it for Tom. If there's less of that and more overall communication, the project will be much better off. I don't know. Whatever his vague, veiled innuendo actually means, we'll figure something out. Tom is our drummer. I will do everything short of making the band worse to make him happy. But I won't do something less than what we're capable just to appease him or anyone else. That's just a bad idea and I won't do it. I guess we'll see what happens. Here's hoping...

The only good thing about today (besides the cool posters and knowing that Frank and I are united) was that I got that Generation X album Kiss Me Deadly. I've been looking for it for a while now. When Tony at Low Yo-Yo found it so easily I began to doubt my skills at CD searchery. When it got in my hand, I realized that it has just been remastered and re-released within the last month or two. So it wasn't available 'til now. It doesn't matter to me, I'm just glad I've got it. And it took me right back and relaxed me a bit. I needed that. "What do you want?"

Click here for Pinchy memorial, Elton, Coldplay and more...