Sunday March 28, 2004

 

 


'Tis a travelling day. I got back home about 5:30 to Athens to load all the pics into the computer from my travels. Then collapsed on the couch about 8:30 to wind down for bed.

Today was six months since I last spoke to my Dad. It was strange being the same day of the week and month and being in Grandma's house before we left. The grass is starting to grow up (again - no one seems to want to help her - I'll probably wind up having to do that, too). Dad would've never let it be that way. He worked in the yard on that Sunday even though he should've been taking it easy. He took a break that Sunday the 28th of September to talk to me.

That was the last day of the first part of my life. The last "normal"day. Every thing changed within 24 hours. It'll never change back. God, how I miss my Dad and the comfort of knowing that he's out there when I need him. Life isn't what it was when I shared it with my Dad. And I'm sure it'll be the same when the next one falls and the Big Hurt comes back to town with special guest The Long Night.

My only hope is that Nietchze was right about "what doesn't kill you" and that some strength can be gained from this.


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Saturday March 27, 2004

Beyonce in Charlotte (3-27)

 


So very tired, today - but going for it anyway. Spent the day the usual SC way (see entry below) before Amanda and I hit the road for Charlotte. I was surprised at how together the security is there at the Coliseum. Those guys were all super cool and helpful. The marketing girl wasn't on par with the ones I'm used to but she tried - even if she did misunderstand some things. I only got to shoot (literally) about 30 seconds of Tamia, only the intro to Missy Elliott (we were supposed to have the first song), oh...it goes on.

Luckily, the show was killer. Alicia Keys was amazing from a musical stand point. I do prefer her just wailing behind the piano over her attempts at dancing and fronting. She just seems more natural playing.

Beyonce was friggin' amazing. She is the Diana Ross of this generation. In my opinion, she's better than Ms. Ross. Unlike Britney, Beyonce was completely real-feeling. She was sexy without being sleazy, fun without feeling forced, over the top without seeming desperate and she actually sang (not lip-synching) the bejeezus out of the material. She wrapped the audience around her finger and never let up. The capper was a flame filled encore of "Crazy In Love" that featured Jay-Z himself rushing the stage to rap his part. The place was ecstatic. I haven't seen a crowd this into a show in years. This may have been the best show I've seen so far in '04.

One of the coolest thing was that Beyonce was given a ride from the soundboard on a chariot-type thing a la Cleopatra. When she was coming out, surrounded by security, I was right there and she bumped into me. Maybe, just maybe some of that talent and brilliance will transfer transdermally! Also ran into Jay-Z backstage. His bodyguard was (if I'm not mistaken) about 900 pounds and 16 feet tall. Needless to say, this little camera boy got out of the way and fast!


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Friday March 26, 2004

Liz Phair in Myrtle Beach (3-26)


Today, Amanda stayed with her family and Benji and I hit the road for Myrtle Beach's House Of Blues to shoot Liz Phair, Wheat and Rachel Yamagata. The staff at the venue seemed fairly clueless, there were screwups left and right. We got by, though and got what we needed.

Rachel was an exercise in bi-polar, singer-songwriter angst. She actually cried throughout a couple of songs. I almost felt bad photographing her! It was so intimate. Wheat was Wheat. They've got some pretty cool stuff and some hopelessly mediocre stuff. The crowd wasn't nearly as responsive on "Met A Girl" as last time I saw them, but "the Wheat guys" certainly get an A for effort.

Liz did the best set list I've ever seen, but the energy was lagging so it was probably the least satisfying performance that I've witnessed from her. Perhaps she was just too relaxed from having had a day off at the beach. She did all of the super-dirty stuff tonight, which she didn't always do. She even opened with "Flower". I wish she'd release the live arrangement. It's so much cooler than the original one - which is cool, too. I was really glad to hear "Chopsticks." She ended the show with "H.W.C." and had to smile and say to the audience, "don't be embarrassed" when trying to get them to sing along.

It was an okay performance, just not the best I've seen.

Before the show, I spent the afternoon at my Grandma's. Too bad she gets more visits from me than anyone else even though I live 200 miles away. What can I say, though? "It all returns" is all I can muster. I went to pick up a prescription for her and swung by the first place I ever lived with my Mom and Dad (in other words, right after I was born). I haven't been in that homely little trailer park alone in years and years. I just drove through and looked at where my Grandad used to play in the dirt with me, the spot where Dad taught me how to ride a bike, the place where I wound up with a pocket knife in hand and Mom took it from me, cutting herself and winding up with stitches, the corner where I'd watch the sun go down as I rode my Big Wheel, knowing that when it lowered to a certain point, I'd have to go in - at least sometimes Wild Kingdom was on. It was such a strange and distant feeling going back. It's changed remarkably little. There are new kids there now. I hope their world is secure as mine was for the brief period that I was there as a child. Today, I looked out over the now fenced in field that seemed like the mysterious, far edge of the world to a kid and wished it felt bigger now.


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Thursday March 25, 2004

Skye Sweetnam opens for Britney Spears in Columbia, SC (3-24).


So - I saw Britney Spears last night. What can I say? I was a bit disappointed. There was an aura of desperation that permeated her performances and not an instant where any of it felt real or genuine. It's sad. The girl's so hard working but she just can't be herself. If she'd ditch her handlers and actually start making some artistic decisions of her own ( a la Madonna), she might have a future. Otherwise, when the ten to thirteen year olds that made her audience get a couple of more years on 'em, Britney'll be gone the way of Jordan Knight. Coolest thing about the show was that my brother Benji was able to come out and sit with us. I'm sure he'll have a review up on his site before you know it. I think he enjoyed it a lot more than I did - possibly because he hasn't seen all the shows that she blatantly ripped off!

Unfortunately, Kelis cancelled. She was who I was really looking forward to. She apparently has a sore throat. In her place was Skye Sweetnam's backup band, Dodger. What a lucky break for them! Too bad they were like 3rd generation retreads of Sublime. Skye, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. She reminded me simultaneously of No Doubt, Garbage, Berlin, Blondie (she did "Heart Of Glass") and many other cool chick-fronted bands. She may be too advanced for teenyboppers (even if she's only 15 herself) but if there's any justice, she'll be huge by fall. Her album comes out sometime during the summer. Again, remember, you read it here first!

Also, I need to say thanks again to Laura Bundrick for being so freakin' cool. I look forward to anytime I get to work with you and can't wait to do it again! Skye's tour manager was also helpful (letting me shoot her whole set), so thanks to him, too.

As for today - well, I'm back in S.C. and I took today off. Was going to go out and see Drowning Pool at Myrtle Beach and I believe I was on the list - but there were some communication snafus from being on the road so I ditched and got a night's sleep. I did my usual SC drill. Go to the cemetary, my Grandmother's, etc. In the evening, I went to dinner with Amanda's parents and sister. Early to bed and uppenatom for tomorrow.


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Wednesday March 24, 2004

 


Well, it looks like the video shoot's a go for the first weekend in April. I've got all the principals and at least one location locked so that's good. Let's hope it turns out cool.

This is another of those early morning posts as I have a busy day ahead. Also, I'm going to be out of town for the next few so it'll be the weekend before I can update this blog again.

Today, I have to head out to Columbia, SC to photo Britney Spears, Kelis and Skye Sweetnam (she'll be huge by fall). Even though Britney's publicist "never received" my request to shoot, my friends Laura and Kim (at the Colonial Center and Clear Channel respectively) stood up for me to get me cleared. They rock!

I'd also like to thank Peggy Daniel from EMI for UPS'ing me that big bag of CD's last night. It was a nice surprise and those discs will make all the driving over the next few days a bit more enjoyable.

On Thursday, I might try and go shoot my old bandmate Jason Jones' live debut as the singer for Drowning Pool at Myrtle Beach's House Of Blues. Yesterday, I saw the video for their new single from The Punisher soundtrack (song's called "Step Up"). It almost seems like Jason's taken over the band to the betterment of all involved. The song / video feels a lot more like Jason than the Drowning Pool I remember. He's really working over time, too. Ben Moody (the guitarist and guy that wrote all of the songs for Evanescence but quit the band a few months ago) chose Jason to be the singer on his debut solo song (also on The Punisher soundtrack). Even though Jason and I haven't spoken in years, I've got to say I'm really proud of him for pulling off his dream. That Ben Moody song reminds me of how much Jason loved Queensryche way back when. I wonder if he'd cop to that today. It's all over that song, baby.

I'm still not sure about whether I'll actually be able to go shoot that show on Thursday, though. I may return to the Myrtle Beach House Of Blues the next night (with my brother) to cover Liz Phair's show. The final call hasn't been made yet - we'll see.

Then it's back to Atlanta to get Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott and Tamia on Sunday.

In other words...HERE WE GO AGAIN! I hope I'm healthy enough to handle it. I still have some remnants. If I start to relapse, I'll just stop wherever I am. I don't want to go back to that.

Today before I leave at about 1:30 (it's now about 8:45 a.m.), I need to try to write the next 1000 word Big Show column for Flagpole and get instrumental remixes done of "The Towel Cape Song" and "(Save It For) Another Day" for possible inclusion on the E.P. that will take the place of The Towel Cape Album when it sells the rest of the way out (certainly within a month). I never was happy with releasing them as they were. Of all the songs on the "album", those two feel the most like what they are - home demos. I just want to thicken them up a little bit.

Oh...and Concert Shots has been updated. Check it out.

Alright, I've gotsta get to work. Until I return this weekend, feel free to ponder this poem put together by a Washington Post writer made up only of actual quotes from our not quite duly elected Commander-In-Chief.

MAKE THE PIE HIGHER

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet
Become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.

I know that the human being
And the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
Where our wings take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!


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Tuesday March 23, 2004

 


Again, nothing much to add today. Just working on tentative plans. We may do some shooting for a video for "Into My View" the first weekend in April as well as some live footage for electronic press kits. We may even do some of it at Star Zero Productions (sound familiar?) in Charlotte. My brother Benji will be the director and it'll mostly be practice for everyone concerned. That doesn't mean I won't use whatever we get for all it's worth, though. So what's Ben gonna do?

"Down" is still reaching higher every day on the super competitive ROCK chart at GarageBand.com. I can't believe it's still climbing after about 4 months. Jeez, it's just a demo I recorded in my living room! You'd think that full production stuff would've ousted me a long time ago. I'm very proud of how that song's doing.

Speaking of which, The Towel Cape Album is almost sold out, gone, kaput. I've decided NOT to press anymore so that I can focus on recording a new, full-length, full production album with the band. We won't be doing all of those songs again, although I may release an EP of a handful of the tracks to tide over any interest until the actual album is released. I'm hoping maybe we can get something out by October. So...if you want a copy, get it now! It's fading fast. Oh, and thanks again to everyone who helped make that collection of demos such a learning experience.

Nothing else for today. Peace out, homes. I'll be in touch tomorrow. "It's only a day away."


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Monday March 22, 2004  

Just got time for a quick one today. Check out yesterday's update for a whole buncha pics and all the latest on how things are coming together. We're actually starting to toss around dates and field offers to play. It looks like it's going to happen sooner than later.

As for me, I'm almost back on track. I'm a little groggy today from spending over 8 hours straight behind the computer but, overall, it looks like I should be relatively fine within the week. No thanks to medication. 'Twas rest that saved me. The Cough has been downgraded to well below tropical storm strength and everything else is looking good, too.

I hope the weather's as beautiful where you are as it is here and I hope you've even been able to enjoy it.

Oh...I got my monster-super-bad-industrial strength lens today. So far it kicks. It's big, bulky and heavy but it gets heavy duty results so it's worth the weight. Maybe you'll see some results from it soon!


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