Sunday May 28, 2006




Amanda went for a little horseback ride this morning and it looks like she came back with a broken hand. We're not sure but it doesn't look good. She's definitely in a lot of pain from it. She didn't want to go to the hospital as she says there's nothing to set. I trust her. Her Dad looked at it (he's a doctor, y'know) and he let her make the call.

Amanda and I wrangled up my Grandmother and went over to the birthday party for Nichole and Robbie (whose birthday is next Sunday) in the late afternoon. We had a good time with everyone, including Zipper and Two-Tone. My Mom was unfashionably late (as usual these days) but she brought my Aunt Louise along so that was a nice surprise.

When we presented Nichole with her $100 all A's award, one of her friends assumed it was fake. It ain't. She earned it.

My brother and I discussed the usual uninteresting to anyone else in the world stuff, Amanda chowed down on burgers (courtesy of the famous Dwayne Of Camden) and all went well.

Afterwards, I again couldn't resist the summer night and again, Amanda's sister came along. Tonight, we wound up in Hampton Park. We swung on the swings, slid on the slide and generally acted like children. I enjoyed it.




Saturday May 27, 2006








Happy Birthday, Nichole!

The girl turns 14 today. That's amazing to me. She's really gotten herself together over the past 6 months. A year ago, she was totally out of control. I was worried. I'm proud of her for coming around. In fact, she even made straight A's on this report card. Last year when she and her brother came up to visit us, they weren't doing so well. Amanda and I proposed that if either of them got straight A's, we'd give 'em $100 in cash. Well, she got us. And I'm proud to say that we'll deliver on our end of the promise at her party tomorrow.

Since we were in town, we did swing by her house to tell her "happy birthday" in person. The whole yard was swarming with teenagers and pre-teens. I rode bikes with my nephew Robbie and talked to my sister a bit, too.

We couldn't stick around, though, 'cause we had to meet up with Amanda's parents for dinner. The service was a bit slow at Sacura tonight but the food was as good as ever. Afterwards, Amanda and I drove her sister around to see the grave of Agnes Of Glasgow (and the famous "Screaming Gate"). We wanted to show her 'round the Quaker Cemetary but they've changed the visiting hours. It may seem a little weird but I spent a lot of time from 10-12 just hanging around that graveyard. The caretakers were friends of my Mom so we spent a lot of time there. I find the place incredibly peaceful, out of time and suitably creepy. It's also incredibly educational if you know some of the stories (which I do). I can't believe Amanda's sister hasn't ever been there and didn't even know much about the place. I feel as if I've failed somehow! We'll have to take her back out there when it's open. We also spent some time with the Camden Oak. Camden really is a beautiful place on summer evenings. The heat lighting always comes around 9 and the place is alive with the sound of insects, frogs and all kinds of other creatures.

No, there's no way I could live there now but it's nice to make some pleasant new memories to go along with all the old ones.

Of course, I also visited with my Grandmother for the biggest chunk of the day. Episode after episode of Bonanza played while we chatted. I know way too much about the Ponderosa now.





Friday May 26, 2006



I've finally got a little time today (after getting my editing and emailing done) so I got back in touch with Nikon. Yep, they've decided that my camera isn't working right so I have to send it to the factory. I just hope I get it back in time for the festival shoots I have coming. The gild is offa the D-100 now that I've seen what the 200 is capable of doing.

I didn't have time to get it packaged and sent out today. Amanda and I had to drive back home to SC for the weekend.




Thursday May 25, 2006

The Darlings Initiate The Symphonic Hall in Athens.



Today was all about the show. Amanda had another out of town shoot today so it was a bit more stressful for me than usual. I'm so accustomed to having her around to make sure I don't forget anything. I was on my own this time. She did make the show, though! In the afternoon, Frank and I got together to run through our ideas for the short, short set list. Mike wasn't able to make it. He's sick (again) and trying to get as much rest as possible before the show.

You can read all about what happened at the gig here.

Afterwards, Amanda told me about her shoot for an airport security training video. She got to go postal from what I hear! It should be a fun one. Someone on set told her that if she ever had kids, this would be a great way to scare 'em!



Wednesday May 24, 2006



I spent the day today editing photos from the backlog. It looks like the Concert Shots update will not only be massive but super-massive. I finally heard from Frank at about 10:30 pm. It relieved me slightly when he agreed to come over and run through some stuff during the day tomorrow.




Tuesday May 23, 2006





Ack! I can't get in touch with my band mates and it's driving me crazy. Apparently, Mike isn't getting his emails and Frank hasn't been returning calls. Ack! Ack! I say.

This "show" on Thursday is turning out to be a bigger deal than I thought. They've got some awesome prizes as well as some cred behind 'em. In fact, there was a news story about it today in the Athens Banner-Herald and I was quoted in it. To my surprise, I was the only musician participating in it that was quoted! Here's the article text. I'd just put a link but you have to create an account and all of that crap and I can't imagine any of you would want to do that. I wouldn't.

Rockin' for foster children
By Meesha Goldwire   |   Staff   |   Story updated at 1:52 AM on Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This week, six bands will compete to win the chance to record on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus while raising money for foster children. The Lennon Bus and Athens-Oconee Court Appointed Special Advocates will host Rock for CASA Kids - Battle of the Bands at the University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson Hall on Thursday. Rock for CASA Kids will include performances by William Tonks and Mike Mantione. JoE Silva of the WUGA radio show Just Off the Radar will be the MC.

CASA provides trained and screened volunteers to serve as advocates for children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect. Christian Orobello, executive director, says CASA provides different types of advocacy, legal and general to children in the Athens-Oconee area who are found neglected and then are removed from their homes.

"As recent as 2004, we served 225 children but were unable to serve 118 children. Our goal is to close that gap, so every child has a voice in court," said Orobello.

Orobello explained the battle of the bands will raise much needed funds to increase the program's reach.

"All proceeds will go to providing advocates and a voice to children, because the law does not provide that to them."

In addition to raising money, the Rock for CASA Kids - Battle of the Bands aims to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect in the community.

The winning band will record on the bus.

"The Lennon bus works to expose the power of music, which is a strength in the Athens community, but there's a weakness in awareness of abuse and neglect. We wanted to use a strength to expose a weakness," said Orobello.

The Lennon bus is a mobile recording studio that drives around the nation to different schools and festivals. The public will have a chance to tour the bus at Friday's event.

"Students can come on, write a song and make a music video to take home all in one day," said My-lan Beauford of JAG Public Relations, which represents the Lennon Bus. "What's interesting is the kids may not know each other, but each one plays a specific instrument or has a certain talent; they come on and snowball it from there." The Lennon Bus travels with recording and multimedia engineers to assist in the production process.

The six bands competing for the battle title include Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings, Maggie Smith, Someday Merry, Tangents, Timber and The Winter Sounds. The winner will be selected by a panel of local personalities to have a recording session and make a music video on the Lennon Bus' state-of-the-art recording studio the following day. The band will record in the same studio where Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas, Mos def and John Legend have all recorded.

Chris McKay said his band is excited to participate for a good cause and organization.

"We've done a few battle of the band things, but we wanted to do this one because it's for a good cause, and the John Lennon songwriting contest was just icing on the cake," said McKay. "Any kind of emotional support can only help the kids. Maybe if they feel they have a swelling of supporting people behind them, it will help them move forward."

The winning band will also receive 1,000 custom packaged CDs from Disc Markers, an entry into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, iPod Shuffles, a Roland Cube-60 guitar amp, a Maxell Prize package and more. The Lennon Bus will also raffle off an iPod shuffle to a lucky audience member.

Rock for CASA Kids is open to the public. Tickets are $10 and are available at School Kids Records on Clayton Street and in the Hodgson Hall box office. The Lennon Bus will also offer free tours to attendants from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and the battle will take place from 7:30 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit

If you go

What: Rock for CASA Kids - Battle of the Bands

When: The Lennon Bus will offer free tours to attendants from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the battle of the bands will take place from 7:30 to 11 p.m.

Where: Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall, UGA campus

Cost: $10

Call: (706) 613-1922

In addition to the article, one of the people that works with Amanda heard it announced on NPR with a specific mention of us! And when I opened Flagpole, there was a big ad for it in the ABC section. It makes it look like we're "headlining" it or something. Oh - the pressure. If the guys were around and we could rehearse, we'd be so ready for this. As it is, it's really stressing me out. I can't stand not being in contact. Especially when certain members have a tendency to forget where and when they need to be somewhere.

When we were asked to do it, I thought it would be a relatively low-key thing like most battles of the bands are. It doesn't look like that's the case this time.

I'm am proud of the fact that it's to raise money for such a good cause. Although, Athens is a ghost town during the summer quarter (which we're in now) and I just don't know how many people they're going to be able to get out on a Thursday night at $10 a head. We'll do our best anyway.

Amanda was gone tonight so I used the extra time to get more work done. I wound up dealing more with Nikon on my camera problems. A little after 10 pm, I got a phone call from Jerry Boyd. He's a partner in an indie record label that's interested in signing us. I like what he has to say. I have these conversations from time to time with people and I usually don't mention them here because they're meaningless and people tend to miscontrue these meetings as being more important than they are. This one didn't feel meaningless and there's a real chance of something happening with it. I'll keep you posted. And for those that don't know, Jerry is the guy that arranged and coordinated the Hurricane Katrina charity that had Brian Wilson (y'know Beach Boys, SMiLE, etc. ) call anyone who donated $100 or more. Now we're trying to arrange and coordinate something.

We'll see...

Amanda got in about 11:20. About an hour later, we crashed. But I couldn't. I tossed and turned all night. I'm stressed about the band (and lack of being a cohesive one at the moment) and the fact that we're on the verge of something. Even if I don't know what it is, I know it's there.





Monday May 22, 2006



So let's see if you can venture a guess as to what I did today...

Yep! I spent from about 7:30 am to 7:30 pm editing the photos from yesterday. Unfortunately, I'm still having some issues with new camera and it's forcing me to spend more time in post processing. I love the pics I got and the color and light capturing ability of this new D-200 is amazing. But I still can't get it tack sharp. And that's a problem.

At least I did already manage to find an audience recorded bootleg of last night's show. How weird is that? 24 hours after the show, I can listen to it again. And I'm glad I got this one even if it is an audience recording.smc

Well, that was my day. Exciting, eh?

Click here for last week with The Flaming Lips, Big Star, World Party, Southern Comfort, the Star Fest kickoff and more...