Sunday November 14, 2004



Ahhhh...slowly catching up but tired as usual.

First, let me apologize for not having this diary updated on time. If only you knew how much time I've been spending working (a lot of 12-hour days), you'd get it. I'm also working on a lot of band related things, doing some designing, on assignment for mags as well as doing my usual stuff.

A lot of you have emailed me recently. I promise I'll be getting back to you soon and thanks for your patience. I am just forcing myself to get caught up before I'm "allowed" to answer email from my friends. It keeps me moving forward because I REALLY want to answer you more than anything. I'm sure you understand.

Anyway - today I had my usual Sunday talk with my Grandmother. I had to cut it a little shorter than I'd like, though, because I had practice to get to.

Yeah - we reconvened with about 50/50 results. The bad was bad and the good was good. It evens out but it's still frustrating. We somehow still haven't managed to get to the point where it's all there all the time. I guess that's what happens when you're constantly learning new material and taking weeks at a time off. We're soooo close. I had to teach Frank parts of "I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)" for the third time. AAAAACCCCK! After that, the song started feeling right. "I'll Be Fine" is working really well. "Wide Bicycle" is passable but still misssing whatever's gonna put it over the edge. The standards are still alright. Frank also continues having trouble with his bass rig which drives me crazy! And Tom's and my harmonies are not dead-on as of late. We'll get it all together soon enough. And when we do? Watch out.

I think we're going to begin recording in the full-fledged studio by January. We'll probably start with an EP to be followed by a massive album for late next summer or early fall. It sounds like a long way off but when you see all the surprises we have coming in the meantime, you'll realize it's just around the corner. And when you hear it, you're going to be suprised.

And another week has fallen...




Saturday November 13, 2004

Metallica declares war on Georgia!



Well, nothing much to speak of today but the evening was a glut! Amanda and I drove out to The Arena At Gwinnett to catch the big Godsmack / Metallica shindig. I was told we didn't have tickets but lo and behold, they were there when we got there.

I've never liked Godsmack's music (derivative, post '90s pseudo-grunge with a mean streak) but they put on a heck of a rock show. They had fire, an amazing double drum solo between the actual drummer and singer Sully and a super cool in-the-round set up. The energy was high, the arena was sold out and everything was in place.

Metallica then came and ripped the place to shreds. I haven't seen them in years and years and I was shocked that they still were that intense. "Fuel" was the second song and between the flamethrowers and the crowd, the air actually did feel electric. Drummer Lars Ulrich (see the pic to the left) couldn't be kept behind his kit. He kept running up to the edge of the stage, goading the audience into further mayhem. His kit was almost on the edge and the whole thing rotated throughout the show so everyone got to see him up close. Pretty cool.

The set list was impressive, too. They hit pretty much every Metallica classic. You should've heard "Fade To Black," "Blackened," and "Fight." 'Twas intense, that's what it was. The pinnacle was the intro to "One." It came as an encore and to intro the war song, they simulated an actual battleground. The band couldn't have been onstage for it. Someone would've gotten seriously injured. One concussion bomb after the other tore through the building. Again and again for 3 or 4 minutes. It was nearly deafening, even with earplugs. By the end of it, I didn't see a single tough guy leaning into the stage. They were all cowering and holding their ears, looking away from the blinding fire - as was I. Not unlike any of us would be if we were dropped into a real battlefield. After it was done, Amanda just looked over at me. We were shell-shocked. All she could say was, "That was retarded." All I could do was agree. The point was definitely made, though. Yikes! For your ears' sake, if you're going to see Metallica, wear freaking ear plugs.

I'm kind of surprised to say that Metallica will probably wind up on my top ten concerts list DESPITE trying to blind and deafen me.

After the concert, we had to dash back to Athens to catch a friend who was playing at Tasty World. Unfortunately, we didn't make it back in time for Hey, Revolution or The Modern Skirts but we did catch Second Shift. I talked to the singer Jonathan for a few minutes before they took the stage and got some pretty cool pics of them.

Second Shift was good (as always) but the highlight of that event was running into Billy. He's one of the guys that was in the audience when we opened for Zoso. It was good seeing him again. He let me know that he'd downloaded the songs from this site and was enjoying them. Good to know. I didn't know anybody actually read this thing! So thanks to those of you who do!

Then I ditched out early and went to sleep.




Friday November 12, 2004



Okay, it's official. The first dates of our Washington Street Tavern (in Athens) residency have been announced.

November 20
December 11
January 8

These will be laid back, off the cuff, anything goes shows. If we continue the residency, we'll make it even more interesting as we go. Please come on out and yell out your requests. We'll play 'em if we can!

Also, don't forget, we'll be in Atlanta at the Peachtree Tavern on December 30. You can order advance tickets by going to the website and clicking our name on the calendar - remember, there's a 10-ticket max! We'll also be at the GMIA Showcase Finals on January 14. Check the SHOWS page to stay updated.

Concert Shots has been updated, too. They're all photo-only galleries but there's some pretty cool stuff. Dolly Parton, The Grascals, The Pixies, The Thrills and The Beastie Boys are now posted. Enjoy!



Thursday November 11, 2004

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It's Veteran's Day. I wish I was only looking at wars through the rearview. Unfortunately, America, Inc. has decided that it's profitable (to a few anyway) to continue with the world's real oldest profession. Did someone say "collateral damage"? It is an acceptable risk, right? Yeah - to you.

Anyway - I did the usual editing and uploading. I also started laying the framework to book shows for the first quarter of '05. Some of 'em look pretty promising. I wish I could go ahead and announce but things are very tentative.

It does look like we'll be doing a "residency" at Washington Street Tavern. We'll be using that venue for a more exaggerated version of our "karma shows." We'll be doing multiple sets, bringing out guests, doing acoustic stuff, maybe even throwing in some rock trivia. It should be fun. It'll definitely be a Critical Darling evening.



Wednesday November 10, 2004

John Fogerty tells of a "bathroom on the right" in Atlanta.


Well, same old crap all day. Of course, Amanda's got somewhere to be all day and night so I won't see her after she leaves at 7 a.m. 'til about 11:30 in the evening. I ain't sitting around tonight, though. Frank and I did a quick dinner at Piccadilly and went out to see John Fogerty at The Tabernacle. This show was really more appropriate for Tom than Frank, but Tom can't make it home early enough to get there because of his new job. In fact, John Fogerty actually started a little after 7:30 and Tom and I never could've made it. Frank and I got there about right.

I was shocked at how hard Fogerty rocked and how crowd pleasing his set was. I figured he'd hit a few of the major Creedence songs and then focus on his solo career. Nope, it was almost the opposite. He opened with "Travelin' Band," "Suzy Q" and "Green River." It was like that most of the night. I don't believe I've heard more classics performed at one time all year. He played 30 songs in just over 2 hours. While I loved hearing the new songs, the highlight for me was his new single "Deja Vu (All Over Again)." With images of Viet Nam and Iraq, he laid down his case against the current America. At least some people were paying attention to the lessons of the past. Unfortunately, those of us who did are still condemned to repeat the past because the ones in power don't remember it...or just don't care. Either way, the graveyards are growing. Anyway - "Old Man Down The Road" and "Centerfield" went over as big or bigger than any CCR stuff. After a Frank-pleasing set ender, "Fortunate Son," Fogerty came back for 2 perfect encores. First was "Bad Moon Rising." In it, he actually sang the often misheard lyric "there's a bathroom on the right" while pointing to it. Nice touch, I wonder how many noticed it. Naturally, he ended with "Proud Mary." He wasn't the most engaging performer but you can't argue with his playing and song list. 'Twas a great show.

Thanks to John's early start time, I even beat Amanda home. I walked in the door at 11 on the dot. Ha! She had claimed she'd beat me back tonight. Nope. I win.



Tuesday November 9, 2004



Today was an all-day-editing-pics day. And sleeping late. 'Cause I've earned it. I've also been trying to update this site but it's clearly going to take several days to get it caught back up. Nothing else special here.

I did get the the pics of Tom, Frank and me updated. Check out THE BAND and LIVE SHOTS for a bunch of new pics from last Friday.



Monday November 8, 2004

The Futureheads rock the record store in Atlanta.

Today was a hurry up and wait day. First we had our usual run-through Camden - Lugoff (visiting with Amanda's family, cemetary, lunch, Grandma's) before the long drive to Atlanta. I had to go out there because Retna needs pics of a hot new English band called The Futureheads for magazines like Mojo, Q and New Musical Express. They happened to be in Georgia so it's my gig to go get some portraits and exclusive shots for worldwide publishing.

When we got to The EARL in Atlanta, we had dinner. I think I ate fire. The cajun chicken salad was hot enough to cause the China Syndrome. The part I could taste was delicious but to quote Ralph Wiggum of The Simpsons, "tastes like burning."

With fire-in-belly, I asked one of the employees if the band was around. Nope, they just took off to Criminal Records for an in-store. What??? That's perfect. So Amanda and I took off right behind them. By the time we got there, the band had started. They were in this little cramped space in the back. They sounded incredible. I can't believe how tight they are. They may even be the best of the '80s revival bands, a bit of XTC, The Clash, The Strokes and a tiny hint of Devo. Good stuff. I liked every song I heard. Add the fact that their stuff was filled with 4-part harmonies and quirky arrangements and I'm hooked.

After the set, I grabbed their tour manager Ian. Apparently, their publicist Kip hadn't let them know I was coming to do portraits. Aaaaggh! Well, Ian and the band were nice enough to agree to do it. Just before showtime at The EARL. That means I had to sit around for hours and hours. Still, it was cool of them to allow it so that's just what I did. The backstage area was way less than photogenic and I only had about 3 minutes. I still managed to shoot about 18 shots in 4 different set ups. From that, I got 10 perfectly publishable portraits. I even stuck around for a little while to shoot the first 3 songs of the club set. Truth be told, though, the in-store shots are the most interesting pics!

Then, on the road back to Athens to see the crustaceans and get back to a (hopefully) more rested life.

(Click here to see last week with The Critical Darlings, John Thomas Griffith, Gavin DeGraw, the election and a whole bunch of other pointless rambling!)