Sunday January 9, 2005




'Tis the birthday season, I guess. Jimmy Page is without a doubt responsible for a lot of the worst copycats of all time. Every guitar player wants to write riffs as strong as Pagey's. I'm another one. Just to write one with the guts that so many of his have...

I wish he'd get out and play some more. He's one of the only heroes I haven't photographed. At least I've been lucky enough to see him in concert with Robert Plant 3 times. Oh well, he's still around. Maybe that chance will come.

Well, speaking of "still around", so am I. I'm happy to say that I'm still improving as well. It's very slow going, though. While I haven't had any more of the excruciating pain (since Friday). I am still very weak and sore. In the afternoon, Amanda and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. The pathetic truth is that that's a big accomplishment for me right now. And now I have only 5 more days to get back together for the M.U.S.I.C. Project finals next Friday at Washington Street. Honestly, it's not looking good right now. Fortunately, it is still possible! So let's just keep hoping for a miracle.

Oh - I forgot to mention this with all the drama. On Friday, I got another check from Retna. I'm proud to say that I can add Guitar World, Country Weekly and Village Voice to the list of publications that my photos have appeared in!

Finally, a little bit 'o' good news for the beginning of '05!






Saturday January 8, 2005



My grandmother Lola died one week before I was born but she's still been part of my life. I would've love to have spent some time with her and if she'd been able to stick around, we'd've been celebrating a big one today. Happy Birthday!


There are a lot of people out there who hate Presley because of the caricature that he became. They're missing out. Not only do I like the hot Sun-era Elvis, I even enjoy the spaced-out "guilty phase" stuff from the '70s. What can I say? I think there's some gut-wrenching material there. Just because the guy wore really terrible suits and ate a lot of peanut butter and banana sandwiches doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve every bit of the acclaim he's been given. I disagree that he's overrated. In fact, I think his skills and music are underrated at this point! How can I say that? Because it's become so uncool to like him. All things in rock flow from Elvis, like it or not. They flowed into him from black artists, sure. But we sickly little white boys would've never even known what we were missing without Presley. (Thanks, man.)

Dig into his catalog (beyond the hits). I believe you'll be surprised at what you'll find. Just be sure to ignore EVERYTHING associated with a movie and you'll be okay.


Anyone that knows me also knows that Bowie's a huge hero of mine. I'm actually a fan of ALL of his eras. And he's still making great music (Reality, anyone?).

Anyway - back to my updating on myself.

I started on antibiotics this afternoon. They didn't even whack me out like usual. This Levaquin's good stuff.

After taking it, I kind of crashed. Amanda and I (yep, she spent the day on the couch, looking out for me) listened to the top 100 of 1964 and followed it up with some live Bowie and Mott The Hoople CD's. By the evening, I could feel some of the pain receding. It still hurts when I breathe but it doesn't hurt TO breathe, if that makes any sense. That's a huge improvement. I'm still plenty sore and weak. But I'm getting stronger for sure. I guess it was an infection after all. Still don't know what kind but as long as it leaves and never returns I guess I don't hafta know.

I just can't believe I'm not playing tonight. ACK! Oh well, I'm just not capable at the moment. I know that. I can't let myself dwell on it. But oh, how I wish I was able to do it.

I'm going to try to use my downtime to start pre-production on the upcoming debut Critical Darlings record. We're starting in the studio on the first Saturday in February! I truly believe that people are going to be surprised at what they hear when it's done.

To help get myself into studio mode, I watched a TV special on engineer / producer / scientist Tom Dowd. It was amazing to see how many things one person can Forrest Gump their way into. The man was involved in everything from inventing the A-bomb to "Free Bird."


Now...back to mending...




Friday January 7, 2005




Alright, this is from the mailout that I sent out today to everyone on the local list:

"I hope you're all doing better than I am right now. I just notified the club and the band members that I'm going to have to cancel tomorrow night's show at Washington Street Tavern . This is (believe or not) one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I've performed with high fever, pain and a lacerated liver but I can't do it tomorrow. I just left the doctor's office and while they're still not SURE what the problem is, they know it's just on the alive side of unbearable. They even had to give me a shot of pain killer just to make it so I could be driven home. Right now, Amanda's on her way to pick up my prescription of 3 medications (including Percocet). So - I had to send this out to you all before I go completely loopy from all of this gunk I'm going to have to take. I'll update you all as soon as I come out of my doctor prescribed narcotic haze and the fuzz of pain...

I don't cancel shows lightly. I've never done it before and I never want to do it again. I really hate this. Unfortunately, I've been called out of the game by my doc and I wouldn't even have the strength to disobey him if I wanted to. I WILL MAKE IT UP... I hope that I'll be up to par to finish out the battle of the bands finals next Friday at the Tavern. My apologies to Tom, Frank and everyone that told me in advance they were coming. I owe you all one for your patience and understanding."


I was feeling much better this morning. Just a little dull ache but nothing I'm not used to at this point. Around 11:30, I decided to try to play guitar and sing a little mini-set to rehearse and see if I'd be able to do it tomorrow. It wasn't too bad. My voice and guitar playing were there. It hurt a little on occasion but nothing unbearable. I actually thought I had a chance of making the show tomorrow.

I had a doctor's appointment at 1:15. They took me in for some x-rays. By the time I got off the table, the pain was back at full force. I sat in the room waiting for the doc and it got worse and worse... Luckily, I learned some biofeedback a few years back. I almost passed out 3 times in the time it took the doctor to get in there but the biofeedback pulled me back each time. I don't know how long it took the doctor to get there but it felt like an eternity.

When he finally did, it was evident that something was very wrong. He got me to lay down which was nearly excruciating. Then he ordered the nurse to come jab with me the "highest legal dosage" of painkiller they could give me. Now, I don't like being medicated. I avoid medicines unless things are dire. Well, they were dire. I've never allowed myself to be injected by a painkiller. Today, I didn't feel I had another choice. I was shaking like a chihuaha, my blood pressure and pulse were sky high and I was too weak to do much of anything.

I had to call Amanda at work to come pick me up. There was no way I was safe enough to drive home. They wanted to give me an injection on top of the one they already gave me. I also had been taking Naproxen for a couple of days. Even with all of that it hurt. But I was functional and bearable after the first injection so I passed on a second one.

The doctor says it's one of 4 things in his opinion.

A) A kidney stone that they (for some reason) can't see on x-ray

B) A fractured rib that they (for some reason) can't see on x-ray

C) Ripped apart muscles in the lung / rib / area (that wouldn't show up on x-ray anyway)


D) An undetermined infection that's inflaming the whole area.

So he prescribed me Percocet for pain, Finergan for nausea (from the pain) and some massive dosage of anti-biotics (is it called Levacin?).

Aside from the shaky, needly feeling when the injection wore off and the muscle pain where the shot went in, the really bad pain didn't come back tonight.

On the bright side, it seems like the weather is very nice! I'd love to enjoy it if'n I could.




Thursday January 6, 2005



Maybe the medicine's working. I'm about 75% better today (at least as far as pain goes). I do feel a bit weak and out of it but that's probably just from having to basically stay in one place so long. I've decided to do something rare by not really doing ANYTHING for the next couple of days. I've got to do whatever I can to get this thing under control. I've got a show to do this weekend.

At least I can breathe today. But I'm still in no condition to sing or perform.

If I'm as much better tomorrow from today as I am today from yesterday, we've got a chance.

In other bad news (when it rains, it pours), it seems as if my Grandmother may be in the beginning stages of bone cancer. As she's smoked like a chimney for at least the last 30 years or so, she's got no one to blame but herself but I still can't bear the thought of losing her. She's okay at the moment. She's a tough one so if anyone can hang in there, she can. Her doctor has zoinked some bone marrow from her and is checking the national databases for a match...just in case.

All we can do is wait, see and hope...

....And I head back to the doctor tomorrow.

On the whimsical side, Amanda and I watched Smokey & The Bandit tonight. What a terrible, terrible, fun movie that is. There's something about growing up in the South that makes this worthwhile and a distinct guilty pleasure. Plus, Jackie Gleason is fairly brilliant at conveying disgust and annoyance.

And suddenly, the diary is back up to date...kudos to moi.



Wednesday January 5, 2005



Okay, it's definitely NOT getting better. Today was incredibly painful. There were plenty of "OWs" to accompany the soundtrack of my day. Breathing in is like being stabbed (gently) in the heart. My whole left side from my rib cage to waist and all the way around to the middle of my back has this intense but dull throbbing ache. It's getting unbearable with the weight of the cumulative effect of pain for two weeks.

It didn't make it any better that I had to go out for tests today. First off was an ultrasound. It didn't take long for the technician to announce, "I think I've found your problem. You're going to have to have your gallbladder removed." What? What, are you kidding me? Panic was rising. A few minutes later, "No, sorry 'bout that - it was just a shadow." Geez! The technician was very nice. She even managed to not hurt me when probing with that thingy. That's saying something considering it hurts to breathe or move. Well, she said that everything looked okay to her so it was onto the next test.

Before that, though, I had to get something to eat. I was ordered to fast before the ultrasound and I'm not good at that. By noon, between starvation and pain, I was about to collapse. I swung by for a little fast food before the X-rays were to be done. For some reason, they had to redo the X-rays three times. It was big fun to have to continually stretch my hands up over my head. It sounds easy but, man, that hurts right now.

Throughout the day, the pain kept getting worse. I thought for sure I'd wind up in the emergency room before the night was over. I didn't.

Unfortunately, I did have to cancel rehearsal for tonight. That's 2 rehearsals I've had to cancel in my life due to health now. I've never had to cancel a show. I've got one in a few days. I'm hoping that I don't have to start now.

Amanda was merciful enough to go get my prescription filled (that's not a metaphor, it's literal) in the evening. I took my first Naproxen around 9 p.m. I love the warnings on these things.

"Possible side effects may include headache, dizziness, stomach bleeding, diarrhea, constipation and blood in vomit. If any of these symptoms become bothersome, please contact your doctor."

My question is simple. Is there EVER a time when any of these things are NOT bothersome?

Luckily, I believe I've avoided them all so far.




Tuesday January 4, 2005



Today was a doctor's day. I went in the a.m. to see Dr. Setia. She thinks the pain is NOT pleurisy, a stone of any sort, or the old liver laceration come back. She says it's muscular-skeletal in her opinion. Well, I guess if that's true it means I'm not gonna just drop dead from it (I'll just feel like I'm going to). She ordered a barrage of tests for me tomorrow so I'll spend a chunk of time at Athens Regional being put through the paces. This sucks. I don't know. This is a very odd thing. I don't like it a bit. Much of it does seem consistent with some sort of muscular thing but I think something else may be causing it. I hope I'm wrong. I hope it's a simple thing that'll just work itself out in a short time. The thing is, it's been almost 2 weeks already and it's only gotten worse.

She prescribed me an industrial dosage of an anti-inflammatory / pain reliever called Naproxen. I hate taking medication and avoid most at all costs. I always get the side effects without much of the benefits for some reason. I'll get it filled as soon as I can. It's not as bad today. Let's hope it's getting better without prescription drugs.




Monday January 3, 2005

Bob Chase and Jim Cook at the Clear Channel headquarters in Atlanta. (Bob's wearing jeans below that jacket.)

So it's back to the grind, eh? Amanda had today off but we didn't get to enjoy it 'cause I had an assignment from Billboard Magazine in the afternoon. I had to go photograph 2 Clear Channel Executives for a feature in the Airplay Monitor section of the magazine. One of the guys flew in from Seattle to be photo'd. It was funny. He changed into half a suit for the shoot, meaning from the waist down he was in jeans. I just did an Elvis on the Sullivan show thing to make them look much more corporate and professional.

By the way, both of the guys (Jim Cook and Bob Chase) couldn't have been nicer to me. I know it's not a popular or politically correct notion to say good things about Clear Channel (yes, I know what they've done to independents and it ain't right) but they've never been anything but wonderful to me.

So anyway, 'twas another good shoot.

Here's the problem I have for today. The pain in my rib area is back. It seems to be getting worse. It's on the left side which is very unusual. By the evening, it got pretty intense. I guess I need to go to the doctor. It's not going away on its own and I have shows coming up and a lot of stuff in the pipeline that I can't miss.

Click here for '05's humble beginnings...