Sunday January 22, 2006




In the morning, I got Concert Shots updated for the first time since October. So check it out if you wanna see some photos. I got The Strokes, Elton John, U2, Institute, Cowboy Mouth, Feist, Magic Numbers, Bright Eyes and some confused little trio called The Critical Darlings.

Well, we got back together for a rehearsal today. Frank's been sick all week but he seems like he's just about better now. Mike was, of course, worn out from the trip as usual. At least we got started close to on time today. We ran through everything the 3 of us know. Of course, they're mostly the ones that I'm sick to death of rehearsing. I love playing "Towel Cape" live but if I never have to rehearse it again, I'll be happy. And don't even get me started on "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something"...especially after recording it on Tuesday.

Still, it was a decent rehearsal. I can see some significant progress. And surprisingly, Frank and I are actually not that rusty despite the lack of playing time lately. We've got to keep it off, too. I don't want to do our first live radio performance on 2-14 and not pull it off. While I'm happy to say we're making progress, I also have to add that I'm still disappointed that the progress is so slow. I honestly feel like we should have all of the ones that we do PLUS several newer ones should be airtight by now also. And that's just not the case.

Oh yeah, and we're working Mike out. I'm sure he wouldn't disagree with me saying that he's totally out of shape behind a drum kit. Before he did that special guest thing with the original lineup at our CD release party in October, he told me he hadn't performed live in a year. And while he's still smoking in the studio, playing live wears him out quick. Today we worked him hard enough to where he was laying on the floor of the Nuci's rehearsal space covered in sweat near the end. I'm not joking or exaggerating. Frank said, "It looks like you've been hosed." It did he was literally covered in sweat so that it looks like a fireman had sprayed him. After he got outside, he was wringing the sweat from his shirt and it was pouring, not just dripping out. Eeeewwww! We'll get him in shape if we don't kill him first!

Apparently, our other main lead in becoming our full-time drummer has flaked out on us. It's a shame. It seemed so potentially perfect. But I can't spend my time trying to track people, you know? And Mike's a heck of a drummer. Still, we've worked together many times before and something always comes up. So, while I'm extremely thankful for all he's done and contributed, especially this week...I'm also always on the look out for that other shoe...

Maybe this time is different. We'll see. And we're still looking.

I spent my usual Sunday evening getting ready for the week ahead.




Saturday January 21, 2006








This morning I was complaining about all my software difficulties and problems to Amanda. Since I upgraded everything after the massive December crash, I still haven't been able to get things working. The major problem has been with Front Page, ADDR Extensions and Concert Shots. When I was talking about to Amanda this morning, she asked me to show her what was going on in case she could help. I said, "Fine". I opened up Front Page, condescendingly said, "First I do this, then I do this, then I do this and nothing happens..." Except when I said "nothing happens", something happened. It worked perfectly. Hmmm...for over a month I've been trying everything and all to no avail. Today I logged in as usual and voila! So January 21 will heretofore be remembered as the DAY OF THE CONCERT SHOTS MIRACLE! Look for an update almost immediately! It'll be good to have things running again...

After the MIRACLE, I spent the rest of the day getting the rest of my photos edit for the said impending update. I even got most of the pages put together. Woo hoo! Dark days are over. Things are starting to work again. "Here comes the sun and I say, it's alright."

Oh, and I'm amazed by this so I'll share it with you. This is from Billboard.

"BACK TO THE END OF LONELY STREET: "Grillz" (Derrty/Fo' Reel) by Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali and Gipp is in control of the Hot 100 for a second week. That begs the question, can you imagine "Grillz" returning to the top of the chart in 2056?

It's not a fair question, because there is probably only one artist who could return to top a chart 50 years later with the same song, and he's done it this week.

That one person is Elvis Presley. His "Heartbreak Hotel" was released 50 years ago this week. It was his debut single for RCA after recording for Sun, and by April it was sitting on top of Billboard's Best Sellers in Stores chart.

RCA has begun reissuing all of Elvis Presley's No. 1 singles, starting with "Heartbreak Hotel." That title rockets 42-1 on Billboard's Hot Singles Sales chart this week.

Before he made his debut on Billboard's pop singles charts, Presley charted on the country tallies. His Sun single "Baby Let's Play House" debuted the week of July 16, 1955, giving Presley a career chart span of 50 years, six months and two weeks."

Just amazing....




Friday January 20, 2006




Today I got an email from Shut Eye Records requesting materials. That's kind of cool. They said they had us recommended to 'em by an intern. I asked and they told me his name is Justin. So thanks Justin! I've got to get 'em a press kit. If they like us, this could help us a lot with promotion / radio play and distribution. As with most things, I don't expect anything to come from it but at least its possible. And even better, they're coming to us!

I also got "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something" out and about.. I got in our submission for the AthFest compilation turned in. They prefer previously unreleased tracks so I decided to give 'em a brand new, unreleased recording. They've never included any of my bands on any of their previous editions and, honestly, I don't expect they'll like this poppy hard rock song for their indie-centric CD either. But the truth of the matter is that I'd love to be a part of the official AthFest CD. How many other bands make the effort to record a song SPECIFICALLY for submission to it? It probably won't do any good but we won't be out because of a lack of effort.

I also put up some DRUMMER WANTED ads since the last perfect guy disappeared off the face of the earth...




Thursday January 19, 2006


"Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something" is now live at our Broadjam page. Should I put it up on our My Space page, too? I'm kind of hesitant since it's more or less a rough mix. It is very close to final, though. I don't know. I'll hold off for a little while on that...or will I? We'll see I guess.

Remember that Strokes shoot I did a couple of weeks ago? I'm laughing to myself because Vogue Paris has downloaded one of the shots for potential use. It'll be hilarious to add Vogue to my list of publications...even moreso if it's Vogue Paris!

We were 'sposed to have been playing at Caledonia tonight but we cancelled it 'cause I couldn't put together the caliber show that I wanted. It's just as well as Frank is super-sick right now and Mike's probably just barely conscious (if he is). If we did it tonight, we'd be lucky if we all made it through without collapsing. Although, for once, I'm fine! You know, I wonder if anyone will remember us whenever we get to play again locally. Well, at least it'll be on the radio so maybe we can make a few people sound like a lot more if we need to!

And as for my whole downloading / hubbing fixation, I'm still on it. Now I'm onto some bit torrent sites. I'm currently downloading a pro-shot unreleased Who show from 10-20-82 that Pete Townshend is even promoting. I also found a video of Cheap Trick At Budokan. Yep, it's the very same show that was made into a career making album. It'll be cool to see what it looked like, too. Apparently, the original show was broadcast on Japanese TV in '78. The place I found it even left the original commercials in. Ah, Japanese commercials and Cheap Trick. This should be a delight!

"Mr. Sparkle banishes dirt and grime to the land of wind and ghosts!" (or something)



Wednesday January 18, 2006






Man, I feel crappy today. Not as bad as Mike probably. I hope he made it home okay. I keep thinking I'm getting whatever Amanda and / or my brother had. But it never quite kicks in. I guess that's good. Actually, I can't really say I feel crappy. That's overstating it. I just don't feel well. I'm still functional and all. I heard from Frank today and he's pretty much bed written from what I hear. So of everyone I know, I guess I'm the lucky one. Therefore, I will end my complaining about it until I get back enough to be justified. I hope everyone else feels better soon.

I got very little done today. I'm having more trouble than I've ever had getting myself in line. The break did me a lot of good but now it's hard to get back into the swing of things. When I do a day like yesterday, it makes me not want to do anything today. In the spring and summer of the last few years, I could go up to 14 days with no real chance to even breathe much less rest. I guess I'm just due. I am getting stuff caught up, though. Within a week, I may actually have EVERYTHING caught up for the first time in more than a year. So the little bit I did get done today contributed to that at least.



Tuesday January 17, 2006





I tried to get something done early in the morning before heading into the studio again. Not much happened 'cause at 10 a.m. sharp, Mike called to let me know he was already in town. Luckily, the studio was already open so I called up Asa and they loaded stuff in while I got myself dragged down there.

The reason we're going back in right now is 3-fold. First off, I want to see what this lineup will sound like in the studio. Then, we've had some requests from A & R people for more songs in an uptempo, rock / pop style. And thirdly, D.A.R.C. is doing a pretty good special for bands to come in and do some otherwise unreleased material for consideration to be on the AthFest compilation CD that'll come out in a few months.

We decided to do "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something." But we amped up the energy level considerably. Way back when I wrote it, I wanted it to be a rock performance with punky energy. We didn't get that in the Q-Sign days. First off, as much as I loved Tom O'Gorman's voice, it wasn't suited for this particular song. Secondly, we recorded it way too slow and we left in sections that I'd only intended to be done live so it was too long.

By lunch, Mike had already knocked out his drum tracks. I think we did 3 takes and the first 2 were only not good enough because of technical errors. Mike hadn't been to sleep in 30 something hours and he clearly felt miserable. He still nailed that drum part. And I didn't make it easy. I pumped the tempo up by 20 or so beats a minute and cut a couple of sections out of the way we do it live. Still, he never slipped a bit. He was on it. We also cut a drum track for "I Won't Stand Still" that we may or may not use for something. But I didn't want to focus on that today.

When it came time for me to track, I wasn't as on it as Mike. It took me a couple of takes to get into it and remember the specifics. I've been playing this in a one guitar band so long, it's hard for me to remember the different sections that should go in it. And it showed. I got it soon enough, though. Then I started layering. I added in a few different parts that Asa and Mike helped to sculpt. Then I added a bass part in. That was easy. Especially since we figured Frank would be in to do his thing later. It's a good thing I did it 'cause Frank never showed. We later found out that he was sick and couldn't do it. He said "Oh well, it was probably faster this way anyway." That he's right about it if for no other reason because we'd have had to wait for him to come in from work. By that time, we had begun mixing. By 10:30, Mike was a zombie, it was raining ropes and seemed like clouds were about to start falling and we had CD's to take home and check out.

Considering this was a one day job, I'm pretty happy with it. We recorded the vocals the way I wanted to this time which really helped. We did almost no work on it. I'm not quite satisfied with the mix of the guitars and bass. I'll have to go in and tidy 'em up at some point. But, if you want to hear the results of mine, Mike's and Asa's day, just click on the song title to download it.

Now I unveil the initial mix of the 2006 version of "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something."

And I'm proud to say it's down from 5 and a half minutes to 3:53. Now it could be a single with a little more tweaking. Yeah...let's call it the Critical Darlings Winter 2006 single! Happy, happy 2 U. Feel free to let us know what you think...

Meanwhile (and I've gotta mention this), our friends in Beyond Tomorrow who opened up for us at our CD release party in October were OPENING UP FOR BON JOVI AT PHILIPS ARENA IN ATLANTA! Talk about out of the frying pan... They won a contest through the radio station Star 94 to get the gig. That's totally amazing. I wish I could've gone. They invited me out to be their photog but I knew I had to be in the studio. I'm proud of 'em. So here's my official congrats to 'em. And my official announcement that yes, I'm jealous. But if it couldn't be us, I'm glad it was them. Maybe next time, we'll hear about that contest in time to join. Bon Jovi is doing 2 more shows within 100 mile radius of us in the next month which would qualify us. Now, if we can just weasel our way in...




Monday January 16, 2006




I'm slowly getting used to life in '06. Just starting to accomplish things here and there. That's why I came home early instead of spending today back in SC. I got my Rolling Stones preview piece done for Flagpole. It'll be cool to actually see my shots of them in print since it got bumped last time. It's more or less a concert review. I might even hit up their publicist and see if I can put it up on Concert Shots if I ever get it working again. My preview is more or less a review anyway.

Amanda's sick today so it's a good thing it's a holiday. I feel bad for her but I've got to admit that I'm also hoping I don't get it. I did my time last year on the sick couch. I don't have time to lay out now!

Click here for our Charlotte debut, The Strokes and a whole lotta ramblin'!