Sunday December 3, 2006




Today was the big day. Joe, Frank and I convened at Nuci's to begin auditioning drummers. I debated on whether I should not say what I thought of each in here or not. I think I'm going to say what I feel and just not mention their names.

First off, I liked them all A LOT from a personal stand point. These are all people I could work with and be happy doing it. That's huge for me. Of course, that's not enough but it's good that for the first batch of live tryouts, they were all cool people.

First off came the only female of the bunch. She was clearly nervous. Honestly, I was too. I've never done one of these multiple audition type things. We got through together. She didn't seem to know the transitions that well but what she did worked. My only real problem with her was that she was too quiet. I want my drummer to be felt. I lost her a few times. When she got done, she had to rush off to a gig with a jazz band at The Classic Center. I was impressed.

Our next appointment was late. If you know me, you know that's a massive strike against anyone. Our third appointment was already there...and that's a big plus for him. I was just about to call #3 in when #2 arrived. We decided to keep it in order and just cut down on his time. We're trying to run this as efficiently as possible. The late guy was very apologetic and nice. I liked him. Frank and Joe did too. He impressed me by knowing both the album versions of the songs as well as the video versions (where applicable). He also impressed me by trying to add some things that didn't work. Yes, he gets points for trying even if they were a little too much. I love it when the musicians I work with push the edges. He was doing that while staying solid (and solid is super-important). I enjoyed playing the material with him and hated that the audition was cut short. It was fun, though.

#3 was waiting outside when we got done. He had the most intense energy. He was animated and ready to go. He traveled in from a long distance, made it on time and knew the songs. He got big bonus points for all of that. Unfortunately, he evened it all back out with the fact that he's a smoker. That's a massive strike for us. We played longer with him than anybody and he turned it loose. He had the confidence and the guts. That was great. On the con side, his tempos were not dead on. He could definitely use some work with a metronome. That would be a problem for us in the studio. He was also a bit busy although that can be brought into line. Honestly, it seemed more like nervous energy than anything. For the record, I got a huge kick out of the straight-up stoner sounding version of "Colors In Black & White" even if I can't see us ever doing it that way live. By now, we were all sick of playing "Towel Cape Song", "Phony", etc. so we more or less goofed and vamped at the end.

We had fun and it was a learning experience for sure. I can't say we had one of those "That's the one" moments but (as I said) I could work with any of these people and be happy. We still have at least one more set of auditions to go through before we really start discussing options so I'm not forming any real opinions until I've heard my choices.

When I got home, I was very, very tired. I also got some very bad news on arrival. Taylor Barron, a close personal friend of Amanda's family died on Friday night. Let's just say he's been going through some extremely rough times lately. Every Christmas night, Amanda's family got together with the Barrons. Of course, Christmas night will never be the same for us. I don't have much to say about it other than what I have but he (and his Citadel cemented, Charlestonian accent) will be missed.





Saturday December 2, 2006











So the deed is done. Here are the final results of our big honkin' poll. It's hilarious to me that nos. 1 and 2 were recorded on the last day of tracking and recording. I didn't even finish writing "An Uncertain Flight" until the day it was tracked. I'm totally shocked that it's where it is. "The Only Way" is one I'm glad to see up there. It's an oldie but was never finished properly. I feel like it is now. Tom O'Gorman is mainly responsible for that one. The band split before we ever got to record it. I kept hoping that sooner or later we'd get back together and do it but I'm tired of waiting so like "Taking Its Toll" on the first album, I'm digging this one out now. (FYI - The opening guitar hook was originally played on piano).

I deem the experiment a complete and utter success. The listeneners definitely have crafted a different album than the band would've. It's almost hard to admit it but those of you who helped out created a much better collection than we ever could've. If you helped, I want you to know that hatever the album winds up being, it will be because of you. Thank you. I hope we do you justice!

To kind of celebrate the finishing of this big chunk o' work, Amanda and I went to see Borat. Yes, it was all it's cracked up to be. It wasn't as funny as I was told (I don't think that's possible) but it was easily the funniest movie of '06 and possibly of the last 10 years. Go see it and check your PC at the door.

Here's los resultos:


FINAL RESULTS - December 2, 2006

Definites to be recorded for possible inclusion:

  1. An Uncertain Flight 4.1533
  2. The Only Way 4.10666
  3. Waiting For The Siren 4.065
  4. Happy Here & Now 4.047
  5. Worms On The Pavement 4.01785
  6. Tonight Never Happened 3.989
  7. Give Up Town 3.984
  8. Wide Bicycle 3.969
  9. Scared Of Myself 3.964
  10. Sadder Day 3.91
  11. If You Try To Make Me Choose (You Lose) 3.905

Alternates / “B-Sides”/ Pacemakers :

  1. Looking For Home 3.8733
  2. When Running Turns To Searching 3.86
  3. Goodbye Tuesday 3.83
  4. This Is The Night The World Changes 3.82
  5. Green & Gold 3.8
  6. You Don't Know Me 3.79
  7. (Save It For) Another Day 3.776
  8. I Won't Stand Still 3.77
  9. Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something 3.7

I guess nots:

  1. Skyward 3.6233
  2. Feel It 3.606
  3. If You Want To Go 3.55
  4. Things Got Weird 3.51
  5. Something Real 3.49
  6. It's Never The Same 3.47
  7. Impermanence (Must Be Right) 3.45
  8. Always (Will We Be?) 3.43

Banished to the land of wind and ghosts:

  1. I've Got To Move 3.396
  2. Paper Airplane 3.384
  3. If I Could (I Guess I Should) 3.37
  4. Everybody's Trying 3.33
  5. Nowhere 3.27
  6. Water Colors 3.236
  7. Everyday 3.19
  8. Why Should I Care? 3.17
  9. If I Never See You Again 3.07
  10. Say Yes 2.92





Friday December 1, 2006



The editing and upping wasn't so bad today. Click here to see my little shoot from last night.

The big news today is that I spoke to Tom O'Gorman for the first time in many years. He's still the best singer I've ever had the luxury of working with and he and I made a killer songwriting team (see "Phony", "Down", "Taking Its Toll", "Scared Of Myself", "Give Up Town", "The Only Way", "Something Unseen", "Twist", "Stay Away", "Pepper", "She Walks", "Emotions To Free", "(Save It For) Another Day", "Someone's Trying To Tell Us Something" or any other of a number of our songs). We've contacted each other by email but it's been a long time since we've heard each other's voices (not on record). He was still living in America the last time. Now he's in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He's been listening to my new demos of some of our old songs. I was especially concerned with his opinion of "The Only Way" which was more his song. I said, "I just hope you approve of what I've done to 'em." His response was "You know I do." That meant a lot. The funny (and typically Tom) part was his saying "The only thing is that you need another singer." I responded by saying the truth. "I agree but the problem is that the only other lead singer that I want lives 10,000 miles away." There was a pause before he said "If you could get me a job in Athens, I'd be there tomorrow." That blew me away. Of course it got me thinking, too. Maybe too much. I long to work with him again or even have him join up with us as a keyboard player / co-vocalist. It may never happen but I can dream. Pretty soon we were disconnected but if only for a brief moment, we were re-connected...

In the evening, Frank came over. We strategerized (to paraphrase Mr. Bavis) and listened to some tunes. To tell the truth, I think we got as much work done as if we'd actually worked.



Thursday November 30, 2006

Joel Rasmussen discusses his film Before The Music Dies at UGA




Man, was I tired today. But it's cool. I had a lot of pics to edit and upload and I got it done. See below...

Little Steven's Underground Garage Festival pics from last night with the New York Dolls, The Supersuckers, The Chesterfield Kings, The Charms and Tiger! Tiger!

I had another shoot in the evening. I was still sleepy but this should've been an easy one. I left with about a half-hour to get to UGA which is about 10 miles away. It took me over an hour. Little did I realize that the Athens Christmas Parade was going on. When I got close to town, the police herded me into a parking lot, not even giving me a choice to go elsewhere...and I couldn't get anywhere NEAR where I needed to be. I wound up walking and walking and walking. It was a beautiful night. Nice and warm. It felt like spring. But I was in a rush. I had to get these shots and I was running way late. The shoot was for the GRAMMYs people. They promoted this special screening of a film called Before The Music Dies (aka B4MD). I missed the whole ever-loving thing. Well, okay, I saw about 10 minutes of it before it ended and the Q and A started. At least I made it in time to get what I was hired to do. That was easy enough. I got what I needed quickly, then did the trades. I was not looking forward to the hike back to the car. Not only did I lug all of my camera equipment but I was talked into taking a full pizza with me. I did. It kinda sucked. But I made it. On the way, the parade was in full swing. I've never heard "I want some pizza" and "gimme some pizza" more in my life. There are a lotta young people who feel they deserve things for free. I felt like a fogy. No one got my pizza 'til I got home and dug into it. So there. I didn't suck when I got a few bites in me!



Wednesday November 29, 2006

The New York Dolls bring Max's Kansas City back to life at the Variety Playhouse.


I was feeling much better today. I even got some work done here. It's a good thing, too because I had a shoot in the evening. I refused caffeine for lunch or dinner. I don't need that stuff. It does affect my heart rate. It's weird. I use it like medicine. When I have a migraine or have to stay up late, I "take" it. Otherwise, I try to avoid it. Lately, I've been taking it a lot. No one needs it. Personally, I think caffeine should be labeled as the drug that it is. I think it's messed up that a lot of people think it must be harmless since there's no warning or anything on it. It ain't.

In the evening, Amanda and I went back out to the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta for something I've been looking forward to since I first heard about it. The New York Dolls (what's left of 'em) live and in concert in Atlanta! I had to be there. It was another one of the Little Steven's Underground Garage sponsored shows and lemme tell ya...for my money, these are the best traveling rock shows for yer money.

Tonight we had Tiger Tiger, The Charms, The Chesterfield Kings, The Supersuckers AND The New York Dolls.

There ain't no way to argue with that lineup. It rocked...hard. During The Charms, I wound up spending some time with my friend Lee Smith from Creative Loafing. He gave me an earful about his thoughts on the song polls. He almost made me blush. It was nice. He looked up at the female front woman (she reminded me of a young Suzanne Somers) and said to me, "No one hear tonight has a single song as good as "Skyward". They may be cuter than you are but you've got better songs." He later said something like "R.E.M. could learn a thing or two from you". While I was totally flattered, all I could think was...yeah...I could teach 'em how to NOT earn money at music! Lee rules, though. I always have fun when he's around.

I also ran into Frank Mullen, one of WireImage's local photographers that I consider a significantly higher tier than me. He said he was there to just have cameras. And this would've been the place to do that...

...Except for one thing...

...The flashing lights....the terrible lights spinning in the faces of the audience....

Sometime during The Chesterfield Kings' confrontational and full-on rocking set, I felt the re-ignition of The Headache. I tried to ignore it. Amanda had nothing to help. Oh - if only I'd drank a glass or two of sweet tea, I'd be fine.

See what an addict I've become?

The Supersuckers were next. They rocked even harder but I found them to be a bit of a one trick pony. It was cool to hear "Creepy Jackalope Eye" by the artist we cover it from (click the link to hear our little version of it). They did a slower one tonight. It was only slightly disappointing.

The New York Dolls headlined and they were far better than I'd imagined. I figured they'd be some terribly sloppy, wreckless, proto-Glam, Stones throwaway. Boy, was I wrong. They were, in fact a WONDERFULLY sloppy, wreckless, proto-Glam, Stones throwaway.

For me, the biggest surprise was that their new songs (from the brilliantly titled One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This) may be better than the classics! "We're All In Love", "Dance Like A Monkey", "Fishnets & Cigarettes" and "Dancing On The Lip Of A Volcano" were all true in spirit and delivered with appropriate swagger.

The band looked phenomenal, too...("ringing a bell and looking like he should" - yeah, Rick, it matters sometimes.) One guitar player looked exactly like Steve Stevens and the bass player was Hanoi Rocks' guy (can't remember his name). Still, it was hard to take your eyes off of the only originals. Both Sylvain Sylvain and David Johanssen were themselves to the nth degree. And I was thrilled to finally hear those cult favorites in person (I'm a sucker for the first album).

Unfortunately, the lights in the face didn't stop and my migraine got worse and worse. It was hard to enjoy despite the fact that it was clearly amazing. I still sang along to the likes of "Pills", "Private World", "Looking For A Kiss" and so on. I was hurting bad enough to leave early but I COULDN'T until I heard my favorite, "Trash". To this day, I still don't know why I like that one so much but I do...and it was awesome. They segued that straight into "Jetboy" but I forced myself on out during that one.

Later, the aforementioned Lee Smith let me know that I'd only wound up missing one song. So he sent me a video of it. I wish I could've seen "Personality Crisis" but I didn't think I could make it. So now, courtesy of The Pope Of Pop (and the wonders of YouTube), let's all watch what I left a few minutes too early to see (by clicking here). Told you the show rocked!




Tuesday November 28, 2006








I got the 40 Watt shots turned in today. It seems as if these may be Velena's least favorites as well. It's crazy. I feel like I've failed 'em even though what I gave them is perfectly usable. Oh well - that's part of my disorder. I have to keep telling myself that they can't all be "the best".

For some reason, that headache returned today. It's making it hard for me to catch up. I tried to write this diary but just couldn't focus. I went ahead and got more caffeine (out of desperation) to make that pain subside. Why should I be graced with these migraines and why should I get 'em 2 days in a row? I'm sure staring intently at a computer screen with bad posture while editing, getting out and about and holding a heavy, heavy camera for hours at a time on my shoulder while squinting through a tiny lens, and watching a small TV screen from across the room for relaxation can't have anything to do with it...right?

In the evening, Frank and Joe came over. We discussed some of the song poll results and ran through some songs more or less for fun. It was - even though I was still hurting a little. Luckily, by that point, the caffeine was helping enough to get me through.




Monday November 27, 2006

The 40 Watt Club staff wishes you a Merry Christmas!



I woke up with a migraine today. That's not a good way to start. A bit o' sweet tea and some sugary foods put it right so by the time of my only real job today, I was okay. Today was my day to do the 40 Watt Club 2006 Christmas card. I got there early and waited while everyone filed in. Pretty much everyone (me included) was feeling burned out and exhausted. I know Barrie and Velena had just flown back in from Europe the previous day. Since we still had a little daylight, we took it on ourselves to do it outside for a change. It wasn't as easy as expected. Several people held up "20"s to represent the years this version of the club's been around. We got the job done and the shot works but this may be my least favorite of the cards I've done for them over the last 4 years or so. I just hope it works for them!

Click here for last week with THE WHO, The Pretenders, Thanksgiving and all the other stuff that's helping me stay so far behind!