Sunday October 24, 2004



Today was a practice day. But first, I went shopping again! Yep, I never give up. Today, I bagged my 3 shirts. Well, not exactly. I had to order them. I'm 'sposed to get 'em Wednesday. Still, I feel triumphant!

The Darlings got together for a 3-hour practice in the afternoon. We worked on "I Know Too Much", "I'll Be Fine" and "Save A Prayer" before practice proper. This was mostly a rust remover. We got through almost everything. We found out that "Skyward" and "Wide Bicycle" are not quite ready. "It's Never The Same" may finally be. We'll have to air it out in public soon. Otherwise, this was just an okay day. Tom seemed to be phoning it in, Frank had a few technical problems and I massacred the solo in "Taking Its Toll." Everything else was alright. I may be focused on the bad things here but considering that we do 30 songs now, that's a small average!

In the evening, Amanda and I watched Omen III: The Final Conflict. God, that movie sucked! Oh well, I bought the whole collection (Damien: Omen II scared the heck out of me as a kid and I still find it particularly creepy) so I'll continue. I can't imagine how bad the fourth one's gonna be!




Saturday October 23, 2004

R.E.M. angers and delights in Gwinnett!


Well, before I jump in on Saturday, let me hit Friday evening! Amanda and I went to see Team America in the late afternoon. I've gotta say, it wasn't as funny as I've heard it was but it was still pretty freakin' funny. If you're looking for something different, this is definitely it! It's hard to beat Kim Jong-Il singing "I'm So Ronery" but the vomiting scene and discourse on the 3 different types of people in the world might do it. I imagine that anyone who's a left winger will think this is right wing flick and every right winger will think it's a lefty. It's neither. It tears 'em both to shreds. Go see it.

Now to today. Amanda and I went shopping again for some new clothes for me that I can wear on and off stage. I've been looking for very specific things and I won't spend a dime until I get exactly what I want. We looked here in the mall and even went at Gwinnett Mall. No luck!

On to the show!

When we got there, we found that we had no tickets. Oh well, I'm not too upset about it. I saw 'em a year ago anyway. I went in to shoot Now It's Overhead (an Athens band that R.E.M.'s taken on the road for a few nights). It was weird seeing Clay Leverett on drums. I know him. Somehow I'd forgotten he played with them as well as Lona, The Chasers and whoever else he can be of assistance to. He definitely noticed me and we acknowledged each other. I tried to get a few shots of him. I got a couple but he was almost in complete darkness. Thanks to the new lens, I caught him. I liked the band but I only got to hear 3 songs before being herded back out to the waiting room.

We got back out for R.E.M. and I was completely shocked at the low turnout. I heard they sold about 6500 tickets in a 10,000 seat arena. It was a major disappointment for the closest full show they've done to home in over a decade. I couldn't believe that so few people showed support when this was only 45 miles away!

When they came out, they came out swinging! "Get Up," "Begin The Begin" and "These Days" were smokin! I hated to leave as they kicked into "Animal" but I had to tickets, you know? When Amanda and I walked out, who should I run into but Bertis Downs, who happens to be R.E.M.'s lawyer / manager / advisor! He asked why we were leaving. I told him, he handed me two tickets. Thanks, Bertis! We got back in at the end of "Driver 8." Unfortunately, the initial energy seemed to have dissipated. They sounded good and played well but it was clearly just another night. When they announced a four-song anti-Bush set, I was shocked when about half of the crowd booed loudly and viciously. Wow! What idiot bought tickets to this show thinking R.E.M. would do anything less than slam Bush? To the band's credit, they didn't back down. At times, Stipe even seemed to be taunting the crowd. They deserved as much. This was absolutely the rudest audience I've ever seen. Unless the band was playing "Losing My Religion" or "The One I Love," the masses blah blah blahed, chatted on cell phones or wandered back and forth for beer. Every time a non-hit would happen, it was like a mass exodus. It was shameful. "Walk Unafraid" turned all aggro at the end. They probably do this every night, but it almost felt like a reaction tonight. It was so maddening! During an otherwise sublime "Nightswimming", five people in the row in front of me were talking much louder than the music. I wanted to kick 'em all in the teeth one by one. I was glad that songs like "Life And How To Live It" and "Permanent Vacation" were louder than the crowd! Right near the end, they did a new song called "I Wanna Be A DJ." It was killer. I wish it was on the new record but it's a rocker so I understand why it didn't fit. I'll be waiting for the proper studio version. They ended with "Man On The Moon" which had all the yuppies interested for a few brief minutes. What a frustrating night! This was the least satisfying of all of the R.E.M. shows I've seen but I don't know if the band can be held responsible in front of those people! In fact, they may even deserve extra kudos for delivering 24 well-played songs for the few who cared while the other idiots had a tail gate party.





Friday October 22, 2004




I've got to back up a bunch of files from my hard drive today. That's going to take hours. I'm not looking forward to it. Maybe I'll just do it when I leave this evening. I was supposed to go shoot Morrissey tonight. I've got a feeling I'm going to regret not doing this shoot. He's been around so rarely, who knows when or if there'll be another chance. I think Amanda and I may just go see Team America instead. We've got to see what all the fuss is about after all.

Oh - the big news for today is that I got the Nikon 17-55 lens/2.8 lens! I can't believe it. You try to find one! They're all backordered for months and brand new. Rick Diamond had one and he kept laughing and saying how hard they were to get and how he had to go through very deep connections to get his. Well, you know me! I took it as a personal challenge! So 8 days later, I've got my own. I hope he's at the R.E.M. show tomorrow night so I can show it off to him! I told him I'd find one someway, somehow. He just kind of shrugged it off like I was a hopeless dreamer. Well, I got it...and cheaper than list price, too!

I still hate spending those kind of bucks on things but my camera and lens that I bought in the past year have already been more than paid for by my work. Therefore, I feel perfectly justified in making this purchase. Now maybe I can start keeping some of the money instead of reinvesting it! (He says like some other "gottahaveit" product won't be out within 6 months).

Oh well, I'm still the newbie but I'm getting closer...



Thursday October 21, 2004

r togetherness Th


Today was more of a cruising day. I got a whole lot of little things done that had been on hold, got some emails answered and just took care of that kind of stuff. Nothing much to it. I feel good to know that I'm finally getting things close to caught up again. I know it looks like Concert Shots is still way behind but it's actually not that far off. I didn't do much in September or October so far (except for that 4-day stretch last week).

In the evening, I watched "Beautiful Dreamer: The Story Of Brian Wilson And SMiLE" on Showtime. It was okay but not spectacular. It's interesting to see Brian talking about the whole thing himself and seeing just how ambivalent he's been about the whole thing. I recorded on DVD for Tom to borrow. He's about the only other person I know who may be interested.



Wednesday October 20, 2004 is my birthday. Yeah - don't make anything of it. "It's just another day."

To that end, I worked as usual. I even managed to finally get Concert Shots updated for the first time in a while. Check it out! I also took care of some business for my Mom. It's nice to be able to do something nice for her.

Thanks to everyone who's sent me a card, phone call, greeting or a well-wish! I especially appreciated the ones from Lori, True, Lauryn and Goldie! That may be the first birthday wish I've gotten that came from a dog (without their humans doing it for them anyway). I also spoke to my sister, niece and nephew. It was good to hear their voices.

I'm not really a birthday type person, though. I've got no use for 'em. But I do thank you for every positive thought. I can use 'em and I will.

Thank you.

In the evening, Amanda and I went out for dinner. For some reason, I got it in my head that I had to go buy a copy of The Moody Blues' On The Threshold Of A Dream, so I did. I've always loved that album. It's suitably grandiose, thought provoking and maybe a little depressing. My kind of record!

We also did some shopping for Halloween costumes. Since I may be playing on the 30th (more info to come), I have to have something that I can perform in. It's simple and basic. I'll be the priest...

It was nice to then just come home and relax. Due to my job being going out and getting entertained, I'm most happy to just "chillax" when the opportunity arises.

"...nothing but wings, baby!"




Tuesday October 19, 2004



Today was not the best day. It was just difficult all the way around. Another photographer (typically petty and regularly in trouble with the law) made some false claims about me that I had to straighten out. That's the nature of what I do. Every now and again, some jealous sap will try to push buttons to give people the wrong impression. Luckily, the people that matter know better and let me know that this will only reflect badly on him and not me. It's so pathetic when someone alledgedly established takes it upon themselves to try to hurt someone else. What does it prove? Besides, I'm the wrong guy to start with. I'm a nice guy and fairly easy going but when I'm pushed, I will fight back. This basically took place because he can't stand the fact that I'm respected and liked when he isn't.

Yeah, this is gonna help your case, buddy! Tell Cookie I said "Hello!"

Anyway - enough of that. It won't really impact me, my connections or my life in any way. It was just a minor nuisance on my day. Just like every time I've ever encountered said "person." The only difference is that there's no turning back with him now. I've given him the benefit of the doubt in the past. Those days are over - starting now.

So - that put me in a bad mood for rehearsal. It didn't help that this situation made me late.

We still made the most of our time. We hit on a bunch of stuff we haven't played for awhile. There was definitely some rust on "Scared Of Myself" and "Emotions To Free" while "Goodbye Tuesday" still doesn't have the oomph that I'd like. On the other hand, "Into My View" was great and "Worms On The Pavement" felt strong, too. We tried to work on "I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)" but Frank dropped the ball and just couldn't get throught it. Of course he knew "I'll Be Fine" and Tom didn't so I guess it evens out. "Wide Bicycle" is still coming together nicely although we haven't figured out an interesting enough ending yet. It's coming, though and it'll be worth the wait...

By the way, at least one additional show has been added. We've been invited to do a showcase at the Georgia Music Industry Association sponsored show at Washington Street Tavern in Athens on November 5. The weird thing is it's a competition. Hmmmm....



Monday October 18, 2004


I'm glad to say that this day was not too hectic. I'm trying to catch up on a lot of things and the next few days are the time to do it. I've got to get Concert Shots updated massively, I've got a lot of photo editing to do, I've even got some On The Bricks stuff I still need to deal with.

I've got to set up some more shows, too.

Speaking of which, we've added another date to the calendar. We'll be performing at a showcase / competition sponsored by the Georgia Music Industry Association at Washington Street Tavern in Athens on Friday November 5. If you're around, you know we could use your support. If not, we'll give you another opportunity to see us sooner than later...

I've also added the final of the four new demos (in the month long series of "premieres") to the RARITIES page. It's one of my personal favorites. It's called "Wide Bicycle" and you can check it out here. The most astute among you may also notice that some songs are disappearing and / or changing without warning or notice. That's part of the fun! Good luck keeping up.

Click here to see last week's frenzy with Brian Wilson, Beastie Boys, Dolly Parton and Pixies pics...