Sunday June 25, 2006




Today was built around rehearsal. We do, after all, have a show coming up. As I've found out over the past couple of months, that seems to be the only way to get the guys together for anything. So I'll take what I can get...for the moment. It's still not enough for me. I feel like I'm just sitting around waiting for other people to join me. I don't know what else to do. I'm extremely frustrated with the whole situation. The new material is killer. We're musically better than we've ever been. We have outside interest. Still, nothing seems to motivate the others to jump in and do it "right". I understand they have lives but my life is music. Granted, during that "waiting" time, I'm working my butt off. I usually work from 8 am to 8 pm on average each day between photography, writing, etc. But it's all to kill time while I wait to get together with the band.

At least it happened today. Of course, we couldn't work on the latest new material but the stuff we did was really good. We rocked harder today than we have in a long, long time. We even brought back "Colors In Black & White", "Until The Road Ends", "Down" and began reworking "I'll Be Fine"' (although Mike didn't know it well enough to get through the whole thing). I'd forgotten how much I like the Joy material that we've not been doing lately. I like the new songs even better but it's good to look back and know that we have those other cool songs in the wings and ready to go.




Saturday June 24, 2006








AthFest is going on this weekend. This'll be the first year we haven't played it since forming the Darlings. I didn't even try to book it since we have next Friday scheduled. Of course, with that being 4th of July weekend (and summer in Athens), I may have made a misjudgement but it's alright. We're still too rusty for my comfort anyway. That's one of the reasons I'm not booking more than I am. The band members are too busy with their personal lives to be involved in the day-to-day of the band's life. It's understandable but quite distressing to me. I've got a lot of figuring out to do.

But enough about that. There's nothing I haven't said. To put it slightly more cryptically and simply, the patient's not well. In fact, the patient's in the hospital in stable condition. Let's all hope for a speedy and full recovery.

It's interesting being Amanda's "Plus One" for a change. Tonight, she was a part of AthFest, albeit on the film side! She played a small part in This Movie Is Pretty Sweet. So we went to the premiere screening of it (plus a whole lot of other shorts). The movie was the finale of the TeenScreen Film Fest where Athens teens are encouraged to create. The whole thing ran about an hour and half. Yes, some of the shorts were tragically bad but for the most part, they were very well done. Amanda's role was in the "pro" movie that combined the talents of the teen team with "real" actors / crew / staff, etc. Of course, Amanda's was the best (seriously - it's only natural) and it played like a mini-tour of Athens featuring downtown and a lot of our famous locations to the point where the town was part of the cast. I enjoyed it.

There was also an incredibly inspiring preview of Darius Goes West. Check out the link. It can explain it far better than I can. It may be worth your time to look into this and help out if you can...

I also ran into JoE Silva (the host of Just Off The Radar) and his family on the way out. We chatted a bit. It was good to see him again.

We got home a little after 11. I was exhausted (again). We decided to stay up and watch a bit of Saturday Night Live anyway. Oof! It was bad. I mean bad like I can't put into words bad. Kevin Spacey was even made to look like he couldn't act. Not funny. Not funny at all. They oughtta hire the Sketchworks crew if that's the best they can do.

I gave up on it and went on to bed after about 45 minutes or so. I choose to think that SNL became hilarious after I went to sleep. Maybe the awful beginning was some kind of artistic and dry, performance art type joke that they let the audience in on at the end.

Yeah - that's the ticket.






Friday June 23, 2006

Amanda and Sketchworks go for laughs in Atlanta.



Ugh, I edited pictures all day and felt terrible. I don't know what it is but I was a sick puppy. I was very worried that I'd blown my chance to see Amanda's show as tonight was the last night. I couldn't let that happen.

I'm glad I didn't bail.

I told Amanda before the thing that in my opinion "90% of sketch comedy is crap". I wasn't trying to be discouraging to her. I just wanted to let her know that I think it's really hard to do it right. I figured this would be okay but not great. I couldn't have been more wrong. Out of the 10 or so sketches, only 2 felt like time-killing and even they had funny moments. The other 8 were as good or better than anything on Saturday Night Live. I was blown away by how good it was. I was laughing out loud (which is a rarity for me). Not surprisingly, Amanda was one of the most diverse actors in the group. In one of her roles, she played a sweet lady named Wilma in a sketch full of people whose lives were ruined by popular culture. Let's just say that she had to break it off with a potential suitor as it turned out that his name was Dino. There were also lobster children, birthday surprises and so much more. If you're in the Atlanta area and wanna see some comedy, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Sketchworks troupe. I hope we get to go back for more!

After it was over (and following a cast photo shoot) some of the cast, Amanda and I went to a little after show at a local restaraunt / bar. It was odd to be hanging out with these people I'd just met and having them seem like long time friends.

Very strange but nice...



Thursday June 22, 2006

Modern Skirts sweep up at the Athens Music Awards!




I was working on more reviews today. I'm trying to get that first half of '06 wrap-up done too. It's going very slowly.

Anyway - I got an offer to photo the NARAS (that's the GRAMMY people to most of you) Reception at the 40 Watt tonight. The pay's only passable but Amanda encouraged me to take the gig. It's good to be the NARAS photog and it's an easy enough job...especially since I've got a lot of friends at the 40 Watt. It also enabled me to go next door afterwards and shoot the Athens Music Awards, which I felt weird about missing after so many years.

Of course, I felt even weirder missing Amanda's onstage comedy debut. I feel really bad about that but again, she encouraged me to go ahead and take this job and go see her show tomorrow. So that's what I'll do.

Since Amanda's off to do her show, I invited Frank to come along (and fancy that, he happened to be in town). He got there late so I didn't get to introduce him to the VIPs...and there were a lot of 'em. There was a whole lotta the grip and grin. I shot Kalen Nash's acoustic set and did some trades. And that was that.

Then it was on over to the Morton Theatre for the Athens Music Awards. It felt like a family reunion to me. It's been a while since I've seen all of those people. I even ran into The Bearfoot Hookers on the way in. I went ahead and congratulated them for the victory in their category even though the show hadn't started yet. They seemed a little wary about my early congrats. Well, guess what? They won. So there. And they deserve it too.

The rest of the show was more solid than the last few. It lagged in places but the pace was livelier than it has been in a long while. It was weird not being the official photog. They had asked me to do it but I knew I had to be at Amanda's show so I recommended my friend Rich Merritt for the job. Since this was his gig, I just sat in the wings at let him do his thing. I did take some shots but I was experimenting with the still not quite right D-200 more than anything else. About halfway through the show, I did an impromptu backstage candid portrait shoot with Modern Skirts (who are probably the biggest band in Athens right now). I was glad to be able to do that for 'em. Their manager Troy has been very helpful to my bands over the last few years (he even got us the notorious ZOSO gig). He's been trying to get me to photo the Skirts for a year or more and our schedules never lined up. While this wasn't a proper shoot, it should yield them some stuff for their website anyway.

The weirdest moment came when a couple of the Skirts started telling me about a gig they did in Columbia, SC. While I'd never met the Skirts before tonight, apparently my name came up somehow when they played there. Some guy claimed to have been my roommate a long time ago. For the record, I've never had a an actual roommate other than Amanda so if you hear anybody saying that, they're lying. I would still like to know who this person is. Any ideas? A friend of mine named Grady (who I haven't seen in forever) did stay with me for awhile but the person they described couldn't have been him. Oh well - very weird.

As for the rest of the music awards info, you can read all about it by checking out Chris Hassiotis' report on it from Flagpole. Needless to say, the Skirts just about took the whole cake...



Wednesday June 21, 2006



I got some more reviews written today. You shall see them - but not too soon. My prediction is for early July. If you dig into Flagpole Magazine's reviews you might get an advance look at some of 'em before I get 'em on Concert Shots.

Amanda had more rehearsals for her Sketchworks show that starts tomorrow. So I spent another evening alone wandering the neighborhood (exercising) and digging into my boots.

Summer has officially begun and things are about to get crazy!



Tuesday June 20, 2006






WUOG has finally posted the podcast of our Valentine's Day live performance. It's got all of the songs (including the one that I removed from our pre-FM edit) but they removed a lot of the banter. On my edit, I had to boost the levels on every word Frank said so maybe it was just a matter of it being difficult to master and fix. It was for me. The cool thing is that this appears to be the FM version as aired, which means you get that cooler, squashed, compressed FM sound. Check out "Deuce" on this version. It sounds a heck of a lot heavier than our original posting. It's a lot more like it actually comes across live. The live mix still leaves a lot to be desired but this is a bit of an improvement. Here's a direct link to the mp3 of the show (and it's only 17.5 mb for the whole download).

I lost a lot of day running errands. I went by Flagpole to pick up a couple of more checks (that'll partially pay for the gas back and forth to Atlanta this week) and had to go buy Patton Brothers Automotive to get an estimate on the damage that I caused to the car last week. It's gonna cost $1351 to fix it. At least we only have to pay the $500 deductible but it's still gonna hurt us right now.

On the way to Patton Brothers, I listened to Mike Patton's new band Peeping Tom. It's supposed to be a pop album but if you know anything about Patton, you can probably figure what it'll sound like. It's nice to hear him back in the land of melody, though. He's just so great with 'em. 'Tis another good record that I'll be reviewing for my outlets shortly. If you're a fan of Faith No More or California-era Mr. Bungle, I recommend this whole-heartedly. Plus, you get to hear Norah Jones swear like a sailor on "Sucker". I was glad this disc showed up in my mailbox today. I almost bought the thing last week.

I've been working out a lot more for the last week. If I can keep it up, it'll do me a lot of good. It's probably not such a great idea to be lifting weights at 11 pm but that's when the time allowed it. I also went for a nice mini-long run at dusk. I checked out some bats and wound up caught in an early evening spider web as I tried to break back into the townhouse area.

Then I put on the James Brown concert that took place in Boston on April 5, 1968. It was the day after MLK was assassinated and the show was aired on local television in the hopes of keeping potentials rioters in their homes and watching. It worked. And even if the DVD was poorly put together (repeating parts directly from master reels), the concert and "the event" were amazing to witness. I laid on the couch with my guitar jamming along with "I Got The Feeling" and "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World". Amanda got home about 11:20 so it was still going strong. She watched the last bit with me before we crashed.

Both of us were so exhausted that we had trouble sleeping.



Monday June 19, 2006



I'm trying to build up my writing chops again. I wrote two CD reviews today. One was of Cheap Trick and one of The Futureheads. They'll be posted with my always impending Concert Shots update which I hope to finally get done within the week. And it'll be massive! I'm doing a big "first half of '06" concert wrap-up for Flagpole too, so that'll be a lot 'o' work.

I had a bit 'o' good news today. I finally got a check from Retna. It was a small one but it'll make a dent in this month at least. It's really been tough for the last while and I suppose it'll stay that way for a bit longer.

To get myself warmed up for the KISS Coffehouse opening next week in Myrtle Beach (which I'll be photographing), I downloaded a just unearthed pro-shot KISS concert from January of 1977. It's from the Rock & Roll Over Tour and looks like it'll be a great one. In the evening, I watched a show from the Dynasty Tour in '79. Man, Peter Criss was a train wreck. He didn't even make it through the words to "Beth". It's no wonder that 5 months after this show, he was out of the band. It was a cool set list, though. There were songs from each of the solo albums as well as the "Kiss-co" songs of that era. I enjoyed it. I love me some cheese, baby!

Of course, I watched it alone as Amanda was in rehearsals for her big, live comedy shows this Thursday and Friday. I also burned popcorn into bullets in our microwave. The house reeks. It'll probably take a week to get the "aroma" outta here. See what happens when she leaves me alone?

To try and make it easier on her, I'm missing covering shows every night this week while she's gone. Tonight, she got in a little about midnight And she was gone last night 'til after 11. And there won't be any time for us to see each other for more than a few minutes here or there until the weekend. That kinda sucks but it's an important thing for her to do. I'll be there to photo and / or video it both nights.

Click here for last week's passages...