Sunday July 23, 2006




Well, today's easy to write about!

I spent all friggin' day editing the pictures from yesterday until I could hardly see. Seriously, I literally spent from about 9 am to 6 pm. I would've done longer but Amanda's parents picked up my niece and nephew (That's Nichole and Robbie to you) and brought them up to Thompson where Amanda met them and brought the "kids" on back. By the time they got back I was a mess between working so hard and being so tired from yesterday. I couldn't even focus my eyes.

We took a dinner break and an evening walk. I felt a lot better after that. The two of 'em'll be with us for a week. Of course, it's an extremely busy week. That kind of sucks but I hope they understand. I'm going to try to do it all. I hope I can pull it off...

And thanks to Amanda's parents for picking up the slack and bringing the kids most of the way. 'Tis appreciated beyond words.




Saturday July 22, 2006

Pink even thinks I've been too slack with my diary lately! (OK, not really...)







Alright, today was the big day. I'm back on the job FOR REAL this time. I'm trying to not go into as much detail as I have been for the sake of getting it caught back up so here's the bullet points.

- Left just after lunch to get to Atlanta
- Wound up paying WAAAAY too much for parking at Atlantic Station
- Got into the festival just in time to catch The Whigs kicking things off on the main stage
- After about 10 minutes in the heat and humidity I felt faint from being out of condition (now I remember why I build up to these all day things).
- Sought out air conditioning in the Star 94 broadcast area.
- Wound up getting trade shots with Train's singer and shooting his interview while I was there
- Hydrated with cold, cold water
- Got second stage bands in the meantime
- One stage was 3 blocks and 3 flights of stairs from the other. I was the only official photographer. I was supposed to shoot everything even though many things were going on simultaneously. You do the math
- Amanda started helping out by getting sponsor shots, etc.
- Got Mat Kearney, Aqualung and a few more local acts
- Did some candids with Mat Kearney at the Star 94 VIP area
- Hung out with The Whigs for a while. Got candids of them, chatted more than I ever have with them.
- By this point, I was quite surprised at how everyone asked about the Critical Darlings. I didn't even know that a lot of people knew about us! I was impressed. I explained to them all that I was just about ready to pull the plug on it 'til Joe magically appeared. Like me, they all thought it was odd and a great sign...
- Ran around trying to figure out what Pink was up to. Was she doing the meet and greet? Was she not? She moved it. Really? Where to?
- Managed to figure out Pink's deal. She cancelled her interview but the meet & greet was on. It was moved to right beside her bus. Got it.
- Got there just in time. Played by the tour manager's exact orders (unlike the other photogs) so he not only let me get everything I needed, he allowed me to get a pic with her and an autograph on one of my old pics of her.
- Shot Aqualung signing autographs for the crowd.
- Waited for her to go on. Got a lot of good crowd shots. Managed to get more exclusive stuff of Pink backstage as she was heading for the stage. Shot Pink's set. Watched how a real pro deals with P.A. system breakdowns (a capella Janis Joplin with ad libbed lyrics).
- Got wide shots from the wings
- Took off back to the other stage. Chowed down on some amazing Japanese food that was being catered to the Star 94 radio crew.
- Started to pace myself a bit more as set times got longer.
- Shot Nickel Creek's set.
- Got over to Train's tour bus a little late and had some camera problems. Resolved them just in time to do the official trade shots with the Star 94 staff. I also shot their meet and greet.
- Wound up spending a few intense minutes with Train's Johnny Colt talking about his "other band" Asphalt Blaster. Johnny's a cool guy. I've met him a few times and it's always been a pleasure.
- Stood on stage while Train began their set. Johnny chose to bump fists with me for good luck just before starting.
- Amanda reminded me that I had to get Beyond Tomorrow on the side stage. Hung out with Alex, Steve and Hodar for a little while. It's good seeing 'em. I still think they need to have us open for them sometime. Alex seems to agree. I don't believe the others do.
- Ran back, did some more onstage stuff with Train. The lighting wasn't all that agreeable. Wound up with some more temporary camera problems.
-Amanda reminded me that I had to get the headliners of the second stage. So back up 3 flights and 3 blocks to get 13 Stories. At least they gave me something to shoot.
- Ran back yet again to shoot Train's finale. Decided to take off when they launched into a cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On".
- Wound up stuck at a stupid, stupid pay on your way out thing for parking.
- Hit the road and managed to get out in relatively good time.
- I felt tired, dehydrated, a bit out of it and successful.
- We got home a bit after 1 am.
- Collapsed.





Friday July 21, 2006




Today Joe came over to start working on material in earnest. I'm impressed at the homework he's already done. Of course, he's learned a lot of my parts because those are often times the ones you actually hear but I think we're musically very compatible. By that, I mean, our tastes are different enough to not be redundant but similar enough to where we speak the same musical language. I can't wait 'til we break these guitar parts into pieces and rebuild the guitar army that I've missed so much.

Of course, I wound up overloading him at the end with other bands he's not familiar with. I introduced him to Jellyfish, MUSE, Drive-By Truckers, King's X and a few others that I thought might aid explaining what we're going for in places. I've got to be more careful with that. He was a good sport about it and seemed genuinely interested in each. It was just a matter of too much at once (especially when he's still trying to learn all of these songs of ours).

And I'm happy to say that I managed to rehearse no less than 4 days out of the last week. If I could only find a whole band to do it, we'd be untouchable. At least I'm starting to feel like I'm back on the right track.



Thursday July 20, 2006





Well, I finally got the diary uploaded for public consumption and I linked it up through MySpace also. Some of the stuff that I posted has me concerned that it'll be taken wrong as text doesn't always display the good intent behind it but it's a diary and these are the things on my mind. Therefore, I'll let it stand.

I know there are several people who think I should not be putting my thoughts online. Of course, those people don't have the guts to tell me themselves but they know that the info will filter back to me and that's their intention when they leak it. It's OK. To each his own. I know this isn't something for everyone. It works for me. It's 2006 and fad or not, this is what we do right now. I'm proud of it. If you wanna know, it's there. It's transparent.

Speaking of what we do, I got the CD of my potential debut release from Side B today. Jerry took the time to compile a list of my songs that he thought would fit his company's modus operandi and fit nicely together. I've gotta say that this compilation is definitely something I never, ever would've conceived. It's so strange to hear tracks from Nowhere Society to Q-Sign to Perpetual Motion Machine to Center Of The Universe to more recent home demos back to back. And somehow it all works. Jerry even took it upon himself to edit one of the songs so it segues into another. He also did some mastering that makes some of the demos shine enough to stand up to the studio tracks. I don't want to mention the track listing here yet as there still may be some tweaking done but if this is a hint, it looks like the title of the album will be Second Sight . It'll be interesting for me to see what Side B can do with the project. Jerry done good.

I gotta tell you. I love being able to sit back and do my job of making music while someone else is doing theirs of making it accessible and available. I love that Jerry conceived of this idea and is seeing it through. I love that when I told him to “make it so”, he's doing just that. I love that he believes. As I keep saying, it's contagious and I need as many believers and things to believe in as possible.

Here's to beginnings…

Speaking of which, in the evening I got together with (yet another) Jerry and Aaron. I went out to Aaron's place; we all 3 talked shop for a while, and then sat around with our acoustics “jamming”. I joined in on a couple of their songs, then Jerry started pulling a few covers. And what strange, intriguing and wonderful covers some of them were. Keep in mind that HE chose these, not me. We ran through Alice Cooper's “Long Way To Go”, “Ballad Of Dwight Frye”, “Desperado”, “Dead Babies” and “Generation Landslide”, then The Who's “Tattoo”, “A Quick One While He's Away”, “Heaven & Hell”, “Young Man Blues”, then Zeppelin's “The Rover” and “Achilles Last Stand”. I also joined in with them (writing my own new part) for Radiohead's “Lucky”.

Now neither Aaron, Jerry nor I'm well-versed in the art of the jam but we did okay. I'm quite intrigued to see what the three of us can do. It's weird to be in a situation where everyone can sing lead and play lead or bass. It's what I've been dreaming of. The two of them are also killer drummers if you can judge by the demos they played me. AND they've got a great home studio set up that sounds better than a lot of the pro studios in Athens .

They asked me about Frank and if he'd be willing to join in. I told ‘em I'd talk to him and that he'd probably be interested. In the meantime, it looks like Aaron, Jerry and I may be forming something completely new and we'll all be switching off the lead vocal mic as well as the other instruments. We may raid our back catalogs (and I may go WAAAAYYY back for this project) but it's the potential for new material with these guys that I'm most excited about.

Now if only the Darlings could kick into gear, I'd be a happy man (from a creative standpoint) for the first time in over a year. And thanks to Joe stepping in, that just may happen too.

The only thing that's bugging me is that my next week is pretty much spoken for so I won't have as much time to get together. But after that, if I can be rehearsing or playing every night, I will be.




Wednesday July 19, 2006



So it's Wednesday, July 19, 2006.

I'm waiting for a plumber to come over and take care of a couple of around the house problems. How exciting is that?

Well, how 'bout this? I don't expect anyone else to truly care but I'm jubilant over it.

I have finally, after months and months and months gotten this diary caught up. It's 2:54 pm EST. I'm sitting here listening to Stevie Wonder perform for Berkeley, CA in 1973. Life is good. Another weight has been lifted.

Of course, it looks like I'll be celebrating this monumentous occasion differently than I had thought. I've just been told that Paul Simon has revoked all photo credentials for tonight. I'm not surprised. He did the same thing last time he came through with Mr. Garfunkel.

We also got invited to Butch Walker's private aftershow party in Atlanta via those fancy schmancy personal e-vites. I'm proud that we're wanted there and I thank 'em for the invitation but instead of heading out to the "secret location" and being out 'til dawn, I'm going to relax at home. I'll be thinking about all that's going on around me and trying to make sense of a week's worth of amazing personal developments and triumphs that totally seem to be flowing from nothing more than a positive attitude. Even the few bad things that have happened have wound up leading me to something better that I wouldn't have otherwise found.

I'm inspired and hopeful again. I'm excited because I've been in contact with others who are excited. It's contagious. I'm ready to get at it.

Of course, I've still gotta get Concert Shots caught up. It'll be the biggest update EVER when it's done. That may take another week. I'll try to get it done faster or maybe just update in increments but there's a lotta work left there.

When that's done, the new chapter of my life and experience will begin in earnest. I wonder who's going to write it with me?

In the evening, Amanda and I went for dinner and then wandered around the mall. She wound up getting a massage at their set up in the middle of the joint. She's their best advertisement. There was no one there when we got there. When we left, they had 4 people there waiting their turns...

Then home for a rare relaxing evening.



Tuesday July 18, 2006






Now that Syd Barrett is gone, his sister has lifted the veil. For those of us who have ever wondered, this is a comfort and a revelation.

I got my camera back today. I don't know whether to be happy or not. I've got that massive shoot coming up this weekend as the official photog for StarFest and it's good to have the option of the D-200 but I'm certainly hesitant to depend on it. I tested it around the house and it did seem improved. I can't say it's cured yet, though. Soon enough - soon enough, I'll know.

Oh - I got an email from Jerry Boyd from Side B today, too. He needs my address. The email had the subject "Album is finished". He says he's gone through the 42 "lost songs" that I offered him and he's sequenced and mastered an album from it. He's going to send it to me for my approval and / or suggestions.

Have you any idea how cool it feels to be told my album's finished by someone whose opinion I trust and hold in high regard? Even if I disagree with his choices, I believe I'm going to let him "make it so." I may make a couple of suggestions but if he's convinced, I am. In other words, it looks like there will be a "new" Chris McKay solo CD coming out (on a real record label) within the next few months as well as whatever else the band(s) will release.

In a not-totally-unrelated turn of events (especially since the thought just entered my own head yesterday), I got another response from my ad today. Jerry and Aaron recently moved here from Connecticut. I talked to Jerry at length this afternoon. They're multi-instrumentalists, singer-songwriters with their own rehearsal space and studio. From what Jerry said, they've been looking for me as I've been looking for them.

I can't believe how the tide is turning.

As if to underline the "coincidence / synchronicity / divine hand / whatever", their band is currently called Weird Beard. Yeah - it's goofy and good natured but that ain't the thing. You see, Weird Beard was the name of the first DJ to ever play my music on the air way back when in South Carolina. Weird was also the first to interview me (and Mike) live on the air. Of course, Jerry and Aaron lived in Connecticut. They'd never heard of our Weird. Weird.

What are the odds, really? C'mon, you naysayers. Keep saying nay. That's the answer that you'll get in return. I'm looking toward the positive response.

What do you believe?

I'm starting to believe in everything...even if I still doubt it all.

One last thing - I need to give a special thanks to my brother-in-law Dwayne for helping my Grandmother out today. She took her car in for some checking up where he works. Not only did he look after her, he saw to it that she got a nice discount. She went home with a working air-conditioner and she'll be a lot more comfortable now when she does all the things she has to do. Thanks to that little bit of effort he expended, another person's life has been improved greatly.

So Dwayne's my MVP for today! Thanks, man.



Monday July 17, 2006



Confirm or deny your geekdom here. How many of these do you have? I've got three. Can you guess which ones?

I got a call from Joe really early this morning. He prefaced the conversation with "I don't know how you're going to take this but..." I was worried. He put it in baseball terms. He said "On the album, (the Critical Darlings) are the Yankees but live (judging from rehearsal), you're the Orioles. You're still major league but..."

I interrupted.

"So what do we do to fix it?"

"You need to put yourself up front more. You need harmony vocals and rhythm guitar."

"Yeah - I know that. I agree completely. So how do we do that?"

The bottom line is that he offered his services. I'm taking him up on it. This could be the shot of adrenaline that the Darlings need. Joe could be this band's saving grace. He could also be the ingredient to take us to the next level.

And if it happens, I'll attribute it to my little experiment. It'll all come from a little piece of paper asking for something that had nothing to do with the Darlings.

I'm feeling good about the possibilities for the first time in months. This could be it!

Speaking of the experiment, I sent out a package to a fellow trader whose brother died last week. I know my old TV shows and stuff really helped me to cope after my Dad died. I hope this helps him get through the day.

When I got home from mailing, I had about a dozen new DVD's waiting. If I start gushing about 'em I won't be able to stop. It's unbelievable stuff. I swear to you, whenever I offer what I have, unrelated offers come to me. And they come in droves.

We also got asked to play on August 17 in Conyers. It's another Thursday. If we can get Joe in by then (or maybe even by the 3rd for Tasty World), I'll be one happy guy.

And I also got the new mid-year special issue of Pollstar with Madonna on the cover. What's the lead news photo item in it? Well, I'm glad you asked. It's the KISS Coffeehouse opening and a certain photog's image was used to get the point across.


I decided in the afternoon to take my guitar over to the guitar surgeon that some call Danny Esposito. I went to his house, he looked it over and there was nothing wrong with it. Simple enough!

On the way home, to celebrate this good fortune, I went by Best Buy to pick up the limited edition MUSE CD / DVD that I wasn't meant to buy last week. And guess what, I wound up getting $5 off of the price.

You tell me what's going on here.

I don't want to know. I just want it to continue!

Click here for last week with Peter Frampton and the possible beginning of the end of the last beginning's end. ("It'll be just like starting over.")