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Sunday September 18, 2005

 


Today is the usual Sunday recovery day. I got the photos edited from yesterday and stuck around the house still trying to catch stuff up here. There's just so much that it seems never ending. I'm starting to knock some of it out pretty well now that I'm not having to go back to SC so much. Still, there's just so overwhelmingly much to do.

I'd better get back on it.

As an aside, today is a day that I would've loved to be in SC. For the first time in the duration of a generation, my Mom stayed overnight last night at my Grandmother's to help look out for her and make sure she's okay. The whole family even got together for dinner. Even though it was unbelievably strange to think of them all there without me (probably a first in and of itself). It was immensely comforting to know that life was going on and family had come together to look out for family.

That old house keeps all the most beautiful memories of my life right along side all the most terrifying and heartbreaking. I guess that's why it's home. I was beginning to wonder if the number of smiles left in it were numbered. But now there just may be some future...


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Saturday September 17, 2005

"I'm talking about freedom..."

 

 

 


Here we go again...we're back out there.

Today's gig was a strange one 'cause I had to be on the road to it by about 10 a.m. Even though the show was waaaaay out in the country, the signs and directions made the site easy to find. We were due to go on at noon. They had all the amenities of a major rock festival at what they were calling Freedom Fest. We even had our own private dressing room in the form of an RV parked just behind the band entrance. I tuned my guitars and prepared to take the largest stage I've ever played (I think). It was absolutely unbearably hot. Thankfully, we lucked into the RV with working air-conditioning. I've never been that hot onstage. I'm not a sweater but today...well, I backslid.

So you wanna know about the show itself, click here.

Afterwards (which was about 2 pm), Amanda scrounged up some food from the merch areas while I tried to regain a liveable body temperature. Before long, the door of the RV was being knocked on and Frank, Tom and I were called out to sign autographs on the brand new semi-finished CD's. It's been a while since I've done this. The best part of it was seeing the genuine excitement for our music from these people that we'd never seen before that day. From 10-year old boys to 60-year old women, we seemed to get good responses. That's gotta be a good sign.

As usual, Frank left first. Tom and I stuck around with our friends from Sun Domingo and the entire crew of this festival. It was an interesting day. By dusk, I was totally exhausted. Amanda and I finally ditched and wound up at Ryan's to gorge. I was home by 9 pm for the relaxing evening that followed an over-the-top day.

And back at home in SC, my Mom picked up my Grandmother and returned her home to stay for the first time in a month and a half. Her recovery is nearly miraculous, especially with the stressed added to her by certain family members who deserve terminal insomnia for their treatment of her (happy birthday?).

To those people, I have a message. We're doing okay. In fact, you should swing by some time. Grandma's doing physically better than she was before her accident. The house is finally getting the care it needs (and was promised but never delivered by others) and she's even totally stopped smoking. GRANDMA'S REAL FAMILY (i.e., my father's family) CAN NOT ONLY TAKE UP YOUR SLACK BUT DO YOUR JOBS BETTER THAN YOU WHILE STILL DOING OURS BETTER THAN EVER. I thought it would've been much harder than this. But between Benji, April, me, Missy, My Mom, Vern, Amanda, and neighbors and friends, it's not nearly as difficult as you pretended all that time, acting like that little bit of help you gave was soooo difficult. What martyrs!

And guess what, the only person that misses you in any way is Grandma. That's the tragedy in this. If you had a human heart, you wouldn't be able to stay away and cause such misery. No matter what has happened, you know how much she's done for all of you over the last half century. I hope one day, you'll be able to rise above your selfishness and be part of HER family again. That would give her some well-deserved comfort. But as for US? We're done. Have nice lives...just have 'em away from me. I can be civil but we'll never be family again.

In the words of Bruce Springsteen (edited for grammar), "A man who turns his back on his family just ain't no good."


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Friday September 16, 2005
 

 

 


Today was recovery day. I didn't get much sleep last night and I have to prepare for an extremely early gig tomorrow. I worked as much as I could but I got precious little actually accomplished. Oof! I'm worn out. I'm not used to the rock and roll schedule anymore. I must reacquaint myself immediately!

Amanda and I went out to Picadilly for an exhausted dinner before crashing early. Tomorrow's going to be a long and hopefully super-fun day. We must be rested.


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Thursday September 15, 2005

We was bearfootin'...
(photo by Angelina Bellebuono)


 


Today was the same old, same old. But tonight was an oddity. Yesterday, I pulled us out of the show with The Bearfoot Hookers and Sun Domingo at Last Call. I love those bands and it was a benefit so it was a hard decision to make. Through no fault of the other bands, things were just totally disorganized and chaotic. I didn't want to have to deal with us, so I removed us from the problem. The three of us did go out to support our friends, however. We also got copies of C'mon, Accept Your Joy to all of our core people that were there. What made tonight totally unique (to date) was the fact that within five minutes of me walking in the door (during The Bearfoot Hookers opening set), their front man Ty Manning literally took off his guitar, handed it to me and "persuaded me" onstage to jam. If you know me, you know I've never been a jammer but I took the bait this time. I was scared to death, literally shaking 'cause I didn't know what to do. Then Ty informed me they were turning the blues pattern around for me to take a solo. What? AAAAAAAGGGGHHH! Oh well, too late to back down. So I squeezed out a couple of awkward notes and then it just started to flow. I must have become a halfway decent guitarist. I pulled it off and soloed for about a minute before we ended it. It worked. It got the proper amount of applause and I went back out to drill everyone on whether I pulled it off or not. The concensus was that I did fine. Whew! Now, maybe next time, I won't be as afeared!

After that (Frank had already disappeared), Tom, Jonathan and I hung out. I updated them on what's going on behind the scenes with the band, including an impromptu phone meeting with one of our management contenders (Tony Rinaldis) before I came out.

Tom and I also spent a significant amount of time catching up with the Sun Domingo boys before their set. It was good to see 'em again and things are just getting bigger and better for them all the time. I know they've done better sets in our presence but tonight I was able to just sit back and appreciate it. And they were on...I love their original material (especially "New York's So Far Away", "Follow Me" and "All In The Business") but tonight they even managed to impress me with a cover (which is a rarity). They did a dead-on, full-length version of Yes's "Roundabout" with all the harmonies and Brian even dishing out all of Rick Wakeman's flashy keyboard licks on his trusty old guitar. It was inspiring to say the least. They are one of the only bands that we've ever played with that I enjoy just sitting and listening to and they may be the only band we've shared the stage with that I regularly listen to at home!

And we get to see 'em again for the benefit on Saturday. I'm looking forward to it!

 

 


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Wednesday September 14, 2005

 

 

 

  

There's nothing much really going on today. I've just been trying to update stuff. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like things are being updated but a lot of it will just explode in one big batch when it is finally caught up (like Concert Shots). I'm making headway everyday. It's just slow going. Again, I apologize but you have no idea how far behind I've gotten.

If this gives you an indication, I'm so far behind that I didn't even have time to put in for Paul McCartney, one of my heroes. He's performing in Atlanta next week and for the first tour that he's done since I was 7 years old, it looks like I won't be able to make it. It's driving me crazy. I heard he's doing "Helter Skelter", "For No One" and several other favorites that I've never heard.

The band has to take precedence. I have to just keep telling myself that 'cause missing someone like McCartney is super-hard to justify!

 


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Tuesday September 13, 2005

What's wrong with you? Can't you just accept your joy? Nope...not yet.

 

 

 


Well, today's the official release date of C'mon, Accept Your Joy. And guess what? We have 'em in hand and ready to go. Only things are quite that simple. There was a printing problem with the initial run and they just won't pass our quality control. So we will be using this first batch for promotion and the like until the final, totally redesigned inside panels come back in a few weeks. So what we have now is what someone has coined "the Ebay version". I can only hope that it'll be important enough to wind up there one day. This one has a totally different layout, altered liner notes, a different CD face and different photos from what the final one will have.

Some copies will be up for sale, however, we won't put them on store shelves until the finals come in. We will sell this initial batch at half price ($5) and here's where the cool part comes in...we will donate EVERY PENNY, not just profits, but every penny of the money we make on sales of the record from September 13 - October 13, to charity. How's that for being proactive? Most of the money will go to Katrina relief but we may donate a bit to the Armor4Troops foundation that we're doing a benefit for this weekend.

As for me, I celebrated our sort of release date by going out and buying the new Paul McCartney album. No, it's not as great as its coverage suggests but its moments are well worth the hype. "Comfort Of Love" and "Growing Up Falling Down", two of the best songs, were unfortunately removed and used as b-sides. That hurts the record some. But "Fine Line", "Jenny Wren", "At The Mercy", "Riding To Vanity Fair", "English Tea," "Too Much Rain" and a couple of others are right up there with tracks from his best albums. Too bad that "Anyway" is such a copy of "People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions. I guess Paul's due for one, though. Lennon had his knock-off in '69 ("Come Together" vs. Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me") and Harrison had his in '70 ("My Sweet Lord" vs. The Chiffon's "He's So Fine"). So Paulie held out for an extra few decades.

Honestly, my favorite thing from the record is the instrumental "medley" of "Riding To Vanity Fair", "At The Mercy" and "Anyway" that is called "Line Art" on the DVD. It's so peaceful and hypnotic. The perfect soundtrack to the changing seasons...

Tonight we had rehearsal. We've got "Everybody's Trying" smoking now. I wonder when it'll make it into a set. I hope it goes over as good as it feels to play! We'll see.


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Monday September 12, 2005

 

 

 


And still...

I'm trying to finalize details for the release of C'mon, Accept Your Joy which is supposed to happen tomorrow! Yes, we do have copies in hand but there are issues with the art work that must be worked out and I'm in the midst of that today.

I must admit that I've come up with some fairly radical and crazy ideas for the promotion, album and the band. They're not radical or crazy in an interesting way really...but I've never heard of 'em being done in the ways that I've tossed out to the guys. Tom's on board. It's just a matter of specifics. You'll hear about it within days here...my guess is by Wednesday we'll have something definitive.

And I got more of my backwards diary writing together. Those blank weeks should be filled within the next week or so. I've got to get onto the show reports and Concert Shots, too. Now that the album's (more or less) situated, I can get back to life.

Oh - I got word today from Dave Weinthal that we've moved up to #7 with "Towel Cape Song" in Chattanooga. It's one thing to be getting spins by a station to promote our show. It's another thing entirely for them to play it even more after the show. That means it's genuine if you ask me. I was thrilled before. I'm even happier about it now. Check in with WAWL to hear or request us. You can even stream it online.

 

Click here with Lew, Grandma and the rest...


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