Sunday November 12, 2006




I had to re-upload the pics of The Matches due to server issues at WireImage. They're live now. Clickety-click if you want to check them out.

Today I took the inspirations and ideas that Frank and I discussed and put together the musical demo of "Sadder Day". I think I captured what we're going for. I don't know if people that know and like what we normally do are going to go for it but I guess we'll find out with Round 2.

In the evening, Amanda and I both wound up all freaked out over a bunch of silly stuff that mounted up to the point of not being silly and, in fact, being life or death serious. It sucked. This sleep deficit's really getting to both of us. Even with last night's rest, we're on edge and not thinking clearly. Something's got to give.

Luckily, we have no reason to not rest over the next couple of days.





Saturday November 11, 2006











I slept late today. I'm feeling a lot better. Then I edited photos and upped them. There were more server problems but the +44 pics managed to go live before the problems got bad.

If you wanna see 'em , click here.

In the evening, Frank and Joe came over. We discussed a lot of things, talked over the numbers, the drummer situation and everything else. We didn't play much of anything. I played some additional demos for them in the hopes that they would help me cut some of them out of the running. Instead, they found more songs to add! It balances out, I guess. From things they said, I decided to cut "All There Is", "Potter's Field", "Pepper" and most of the other Q-Sign / Star Zero stuff from the list of possibilities. I don't know if it's the best decision but I know it's a good one. Does that make sense?

After Joe left, Frank stuck around. We discussed moods and ideas for our new song "Sadder Day". Frank brought the guitar part around a year or so ago and I wrote the bass line and a couple of transitions for it. Now it's starting to fall together. It's so loose that it's going to be hard to arrange but if we can pull it off, it should be a nice little mood piece. I'm hoping to tidy and finish it up before round 2 of our little song selection contest.





Friday November 10, 2006

+44 helps make me forget about Blink-182 (at one of their first shows ever).


Last night was still tough. I was so exhausted that it was hard to sleep. I had some rough patches but finally got some rest starting about 3 am. Getting the 5 or 6 hours I got made me feel much, much better. I still feel bad but I might just be able to make it through my work tonight!

My night apparently wasn't as hard as Matt Tong from Bloc Party. According to, he "keeled over" after last night's show. It turns out that he has a collapsed lung and is now in the hospital in Atlanta. The rest of their tour is off. I'm glad I fought the bad lighting they had to get some shots of him but that still sucks.

Of course, I spent most of my day editing and uploading photos. I'm quite happy with the Panic! pics. Along with the Chili Peppers, this shoot was one of the best of the year. You wanna check out the ones that made my final cut?

You can see the Panic! At The Disco pics here.

And the Bloc Party photos would be here.

In the evening, Amanda and I headed back out to the ROXY. We were late again due to stupid Atlanta traffic. They let me shoot tonight despite that fact. The opening act was called The Matches. They looked like a lot of other modern rock / emo bands but there was one significant difference. These guys were really good. I enjoyed 'em. They were closer to The Knack than Fall Out Boy (thank God!). And they rocked! I think I even heard a musical reference to Bowie's "Red Sails" if I'm not mistaken. After their set I spoke to their singer Shawn for a bit. He told me they'd be happy to do a portrait shoot with me if I'd stick around 'til after the show. I still wasn't feeling up to it so I passed this time since I knew I'd be leaving before the bitter end. He promised a headlining tour in a couple of months. I'll try to get 'em then.

The Blink-182 crowd were out in full force tonight. And they were excited. When +44 took the stage, I was surprised. Maybe it's the exhaustion talking, but I liked them. Knowing how much I hated Blink, that's a surprise but it was a pleasant one nonetheless. I could listen to this album. It comes out next Tuesday. I hope it does well. If it does, maybe we'll never have to worry about Blink again. By the way, Travis Barker is an even more amazing drummer than I realized. He did this show with a broken hand that he didn't use. He rigged up a foot pedal to play the snare and kept the injured hand elevated. You would've never known it by listening. And he didn't let up or take it easy. Travis Barker is a monster. With the right band, he could be a legend.

Amanda and I were out of there by about 10 o'clock and trying to get sleep by about midnight. We need it.



Thursday November 9, 2006

Panic! At The Disco brought their dog and pony (and contortionist) show to Atlanta tonight and the kiddies shrieked!




Okay, I'm in big trouble. I didn't sleep at all last night. Amanda didn't either. I don't know what it was but it's very, very serious. I do know that one of the times I was awakened, it was by a complete lyric to a song that Frank started a while back. I gave it a tentative title of "Sadder Day" and the lyrics that awakened me were for a song of the same name. I hope I can graft them together and I hope it was worth making myself sick over! I got up and wrote the lyrics down and never could get back to sleep.

I felt really out of it and terrible all day. On top of that, I had to shoot a couple of shows in the evening. Thankfully, Frank went along (since Amanda had her own work to do). I don't know what I would've done if he hadn't. I almost went over the edge on the way out to Atlanta. I thought I was going to faint. It was not a good feeling. But since Frank was there, at least I knew I wouldn't be stranded. I made it through. By the time I got to Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre, the work adrenaline had kicked in. I was barely too late to photo the opening, opening act. If the screams wafting to the Bridge Gate area are any indication, Jack's Mannequin is going to be big. Frank and I waited for nearly an hour before anything else happened. Luckily, everything was right on schedule and Bloc Party started right at 7:30. It was kind of sad. They had technical difficulties through all three of the songs I heard and the audience just wasn't that into them. When I got back to the Bridge Gate, there was another guy waiting there with Frank, the security guards and a couple of other media people. At first I didn't believe who it was. Then I heard his voice. Then I got a good look at his face. It was definitely him. He's blonde now but Frank and I wound up hanging out with Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. Apparently, someone had invited him but no one could find this contact and ol' Pedro couldn't get into the show. He's apparently in the area working on a new Revenge Of The Nerds movie. And while he seemed perfectly nice, I left him alone for the most part. If Amanda would've been there, I'm sure we would've gotten our pictures taken with him at least. I was too tired to really consider it, though. He never did get again.

After another 45 minutes of waiting, I went back in to shoot Panic! At The Disco. I hadn't heard many good things about them from people I trust but I haven't listened to them so I didn't have any opinion of my own. I will say this, I saw 3 songs tonight and I liked 'em all. They were straight up power-pop! I was surprised. I enjoyed 'em. Plus, they had a ridiculously over-the-top stage show. I like that too. At least they're trying.

The one bad thing was that I'm so exhausted that I look terrible. A teenaged girl in the front row actually called me "Sir". That was a bit disconcerting. Maybe her mama raised her that way. I looked in the mirror when I got back to the car and I looked about 50. Yeah - I need some sleep.

Speaking of getting back to the car, Frank and I then took off for the ROXY for Cheap Trick. Of course, they started early and I was too late to photo. So we went on in and watched the second half of the show. It was alright but nothing more. Of course, one of the main reasons I went was in the hopes of hearing "Auf Wiedersehen" which for some reason, I've always missed. They did that during the encore and it was the highlight of the show (at least the part I saw). I could've done without Sheryl Crow's guitarist sitting in with them but it still sounded right. I was satisfied. By 10:30, Frank and I were heading back to Athens.

By midnight, I had crashed.



Wednesday November 8, 2006






It's not a gloat as much as it is complete and utter surprise. I heard a Republican pundit saying that the Democrats didn't win, the Republicans lost. He's abso-friggin-lutely right. I don't care. I'll take it. It may be as close a win as the Democrats are capable of getting. But truthfully, I trust the Democrats infinitely more than the Republicans that we've come to know over the last decade and a half.

I also saw someone at Fox News that said, "Now the Democrats are going to mess everything up in Iraq and blame it on the Republicans". Can you believe that? I can. Sure, it's a mess and it's going to get messier but if the Republicans hadn't put us in a place that we had no business being, it wouldn't be an issue. PLUS, we'd be in a much stronger position to deal with REAL threats like Iran and North Korea.

I call the election progress. I have more faith in being an American today than I have had since the year 2000 when I was shoved off of "the bridge to the 21st century."

Back to what I've got going on. Today I got "Water Colors" mixed. And again, I'm cool with it the next day. Believe me, that's not always the case and it's a good feeling to me when it happens.

More drummers called, too. Again, I say, this is a good problem. It's going to be odd having auditions with 5 a day for multiple days but it may happen! Weird.

I also got cleared to shoot the new Blink-182 offshoot +44 (or Plus-44) on Friday. It looks like a busy weekend. By the way, I despised Blink-182 so I'm hesitant to go to this. But it's one of their first shows and I'd like to be there just in case. And I can't deny that Travis Barker is an amazing drummer!

I also got invited to go to Diddy's party (or Puff Daddy or Puffy or Sean Combs or whatever you want to call him) in Atlanta that he's co-hosting with rap's current hot property T.I. I don't know if I can handle all 3 days and keep the band stuff going so I've got some deciding to do. I haven't made much money from party pics. That'll probably be the deciding factor even though it would be cool. And with the BET Hip-Hop Awards in town, there's no telling who might be there. Still - I have to stay focused.

Tonight, Frank came over and he went out to Ryan's with me and Amanda for a celebratory (and relatively cheap) gorge. We also discussed some very, very interesting ideas for the future of the band.

Let's just put it this way:

Oh, the secrets that I WISH I could share in this diary and in interviews. But I can't. I will say this. They're all in the songs. You just have to read through the obvious to see it all. Are you up for it?



Tuesday November 7, 2006








I mixed "Worms On The Pavement" this morning. It's good when I still feel good about it the next day. I also did the same trick (only the opposite) to an old song of mine called "Water Colors". For this one, I mixed the music without the drums and replaced ONLY the drums. Then I added a little percussion. Even though its more or less the same recording, I went for a whole different feel for the rhythm. I decided to go with a Plastic Ono Band feel and leave the rest as hypnotic as possible. I guess we'll see if it worked. It seemed to catch Amanda off guard when she heard it but I like it better.

Of course, today we went to the polls to vote. And it was a miserable day out. It was like the weather was conspiring to suppress the vote. And as a non-Democrat / non-Republican, I did something I never thought I'd do. I voted straight Democratic. I felt slightly icky doing that BUT if I'd have voted for any Republican, I would've felt extremely disgusted. I did vote in a more conservative way for some of the initiatives but I want no part of anything that the Republican party has become. Now I can only hope that the rest of the country has caught on.

Oh yeah - and one day later, clearances are coming in! It looks like I'm good to shoot the Panic! At The Disco / Bloc Party show on Thursday. That one should make some money. I also put in for Cheap Trick the same night. That one's on the other side of Atlanta. Now it looks like I may be cleared for that too. They're being difficult with all of the hoops they're making me jump through to get official and they weren't that great the last 2 times I saw 'em. I'll decide how to handle this later in the week. But it's like a lot of things around me about which people have been saying, "That's a good problem to have."

I know. But it's still a problem.




Monday November 6, 2006




And still more drummers are calling...

I think I've lost count. Right now it looks like there are about 5 that will physically audition and a few more that have been counted out. It's crazy. I wish Mike could've just gotten out here and joined us but his life and commitments wouldn't let him and we can't wait anymore. We did wait a year and we nearly broke up in the process but we're gathering strength and momentum now. We're already stronger than we've ever been (musically) and can't wait to get out and show it.

For the record, Mike's still our fill-in guy at the moment but I wonder if we'll do any more shows with him before the next major shift. I have a feeling it's not the last that my music's seen of Mike (as it never seems to be). He's too good to ignore but the distance difficulties are simply insurmountable when it comes to keeping the Critical Darlings functional.

I did some more recording tonight. Following a "dishwasher delay" that found me re-sequencing the new WHO album, I knocked out the vocals to "Worms On The Pavement". I kept the original demo's drums but I sped them up to the current live tempo. Then I retracked all the other instruments. I knocked out the vocal in less than 10 minutes including harmonies. That was easy. And I think I caught the spirit of it this time! It's MUCH stronger than the original demo. But will it be favored or rejected by you? We shall see when the next volume of our ongoing battle royale is upped!

The current volume is getting a lot of well-thought out responses and critiques. The numbers keep shifting and it's interesting watching songs jump and fall on "the chart". It's any song's game now. I feel confident in these proceedings and am more confident every day.

I also put in for credentials for a LOT of concerts today. I've been behind. I probably won't get cleared since it's so late but I have to make the effort.

Click here for last week with a whole lotta ramblin'.