Sunday October 30, 2005



Blech...I spent my morning putting CD packages together. So all of you who know you've got CD's coming, they're gonna be sent out tomorrow. Of course, some of you don't even know they're coming...but they are!

In the afternoon, Frank and I reconvened at Room # 8 of Nuci's Space. Things were decidedly different as Mike Rietveld was on the drums. I'd be lying if I didn't say I missed Tom's particulars and his swing. He also played ahead of the beat where Mike plays on the backside of it. That being said, and considering the fact that he'd NEVER played most of the songs before, they were already CLOSE to ready to go. A lot of 'em were a bit slow. But obviously, we're just feeling 'em out again now. Some of them, though, were like riding a bicycle. And as Mike was the original drummer (pre-Critical Darlings) from my solo records and the Q-Sign album, some of 'em are back to the way they were intended originally. So as with all changes, some things will improve, some things maybe not. But overall, we will make this a good thing. We have to.

I'll admit to being terrified when thinking that we literally have only THIS ONE REHEARSAL before we have to go on stage 5 days later. My hope is that the only thing you will notice being missing are Tom's backup vocals. And we're working on remedying that, too. Since Tom left and things are being forced to change, we're considering permanently expanding the lineup to add either a second guitarist, a keyboard player or an auxilliary musician who can do both and add the harmonies. Who knows? But this is for sure. The first chapter is definitely over.

So if you come out and see us next Friday at The Ritz, it'll be Chris, Frank & Mike. And it will be different. Andy Ainsworth of Gbanjah may even come and sit in on secondary guitar again just to further shake things up.

In the evening, I finally got Amanda to sit down and watch the DVD release of The Who's Kids Are Alright documentary. It was another birthday present. As I've been drowning her in Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon for the last month or so, Amanda was a very good sport in watching it with me. I think she liked it. We both agree that those guys would've been incredibly annoying to have to deal with in real life. But, ah, what a beautifully horrible noise The Who made...





Saturday October 29, 2005







More catching up to do...but I will say this, since Tom's left the group, I'm getting a lot more done. I guess it's because I'm spending a lot less time trying to justify and explain what's going on. Or maybe that's just over-simplification. Either way, the fact is that things are getting done.

I called Mike up today to discuss the songs that he should focus on for next week's show. I'm torn. Part of me wants to go up and play the exact same set list that we last did with Tom just to show we can. The other part wants to totally delineate this moment as a new beginning. So maybe I should split the difference and do a little of each. That's probably the best plan.

Also - I got another big Concert Shots update done today. There are a diverse number of additions including Hot Hot Heat, Eisley, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Gabby La La, Trey Anastasio, Les Claypool, Mark Knopfler, The Bravery, Dead 60s and Second Shift. Ch-ch-check it out.

I'm thrilled to report that the most important news is this. Lil' McKayla came home from the hospital tonight and she's back terrorizing that Camden, SC living room. I wish I was there to welcome her home.




Friday October 28, 2005

Check it out...we make our national TV debut in disguise as the Inside Out Bork Experience...truly, truly bizarre.


McKayla is doing much better. She might even be able to come home from the hospital tomorrow. Here's hoping anyway...

And now for one of the weirdest things that I've ever fallen across. Tonight at about 8:15 Frank called me up with a weird tone in his voice. I could tell something was up. He hesitantly said, "Are you watching the Daily Show?". "Nope". He continued, "um...I think" "What do you mean?", I fumbled. "Well, I was watching the show when Jon Stewart was telling a joke about his first high school band and they showed a picture of us!". So I asked the obvious, "How do you know it was us and not someone that looked like us?" He just said, "that's my bass and your guitar's pretty distinctive, too." Remember, he builds his own basses. They're completely unique. And my Hamer's not exactly common. Still, I thought he must be mistaken. So Frank's girl Mollie went online to Comedy Central's site and lo and behold, the clip was up there. I got off the phone and checked it out myself. My God, it is, indeed us. The most weird part to me? Tom left the band for once and for all yesterday. At 11 o'clock the same night, this Daily Show thing happens. Not only that, but Tom was removed from the photo. I assume it was so they could make the kick drum and "logo" bigger. But it's very symbolic and deeply synchronous. A "moment of zen" indeed. So what you have in the pic is our first press photo which Amanda took at a rehearsal in March of 2004. I have no idea how the Daily Show got the photo or why they kept Frank and me intact while totally removing Bavis. What a strange coincidence. A sign? It is to me.

By the's the "official statement" on the Daily Show thing...

Athens, Georgia based band shows up on Comedy Central's Daily Show .

Who are you going to dress up as for Halloween this year? Jon Stewart of The Daily Show has apparently chosen to go as Chris McKay from the Athens, Georgia based group The Critical Darlings.

In the opening segment of the October 27 broadcast there was a bit about the resignation of Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers. A clip was shown of a confusing statement from CNN's Miles O'Brien where he referenced failed Reagan nominee Robert Bork and stated, “this is an inside out Bork experience.” To which host Jon Stewart dryly replied, “The Inside Out Bork Experience, by coincidence, was the name of my first high school band.”

At that moment, a shot of Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings appeared on the screen behind Stewart with Stewart's eyes and hair superimposed over McKay's. The Daily Show also added Inside Out Bork Experience “logos” to the guys' shirts and kick drum.

McKay and Critical Darlings' bassist Frank DeFreese were flummoxed as to how The Daily Show managed to stumble across their picture but as both are rabid fans of the show, it didn't really matter. McKay responds, “That's one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I don't care how they got the picture. Once the initial shock of seeing us up there wore off, I thought it was hilarious! I'm blown away by the places we seem to be showing up these days and to find ourselves on The Daily Show is a dream that I didn't even know I had come true. I mean, how many bands have you seen on The Daily Show ? And of all the bands in the world, they use us! It's just amazing!”

The footage of the segment can still be streamed at the Comedy Central Website. Go to the home page at , click on the “watch link” for the video titled “Scotus Interruptus”, then click “The Goodbye Girl” segment. Chris McKay & The Critical Darlings show up at approximately 1 minute and fifteen seconds!

Yep...curiouser and curioser...

And to think, I gave up an evening with Brooks & Dunn, Big & Rich, Pastor Troy and that whole crew to wonder in amazement at US on The Daily Show!



Thursday October 27, 2005



I just got word today that my happy and beautiful 14-month old neice McKayla has some form of the flu and was admitted into the same hospital that I was admitted into (with the same thing) when I was 18-months old. It's actually my first memory and it's not a good one. I guess it was just so traumatic that it stuck with me. So my first memory is of bright lights shining on me as I was in the emergency room with a team of doctors in masks hovering over me poking, prodding and putting me in ice (I'm not kidding) to reduce my fever. Big fun. My memory of it is very similar to those tales of alien abduction you've seen on TV. The doctor talk was jibberish to me as a toddler and it was just horrifying all the way around. I hope McKayla's in and out of there quicker and without as much drama.

Tom called and told me that he's "thought a lot about it" and decided it would be "best" for him not to play the remaining obligated dates with us. I'm not surprised but I am dismayed, disappointed and just dissed by it. I would never do that to bandmates. I wouldn't even do that to enemies if I had obligated my services. This is beyond unprofessional. But I guess this proves that he's right. We can't work together if this is the way it is. Still, I'll miss him and his contributions whenever we go onstage. And we will go onstage. It might be a bit rickety when we take the stage next Friday with only a few days to prepare...but we will go on thanks to the professionalism and dedication of a true friend, Michael Rietveld, who will be filling in until we find a permanent replacement for Tom. In the words of Frank, "Alas poor Tom, we hardly knew ye."

Tonight, I sat around and watched Amanda carve a pumpkin. It was such a small little thing. When she got through with it, it had more personality than any pumpkin I've ever seen (although you have to see it in person to appreciate it). It's not just a pumpkin. This is...PUMP-A-KIN! It's kin to a pumpkin but something more.

This is what we did instead of going to see one of my all-time favorite live acts, Nine Inch Nails at Philips in Atlanta.



Wednesday October 26, 2005






Today was a boring, boring day of the usual. I'm still updating things here (check the band members' photo pages) and I'm trying to get our first video clips together. They should be up within the next week or two and our store will be changed as will our press and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's time.

In the evening, instead of going to see either Billy Idol OR Neil Diamond (both in Atlanta tonight, across the street from one another), I stayed home and watched the 20the anniversary edition of Purple Rain with Amanda. Her sister gave it to me for my birthday. That album's one of my favorites of all time (maybe even 2 or 3) but man, that acting was rough. Still, it had its moments.



Tuesday October 25, 2005





Tom came by and picked up his batch of CD's today. When he did, he made it official that he is definitely leaving the band. Again, I let him know that I think he's making a terrible mistake and that his timing is particularly bad. He made it clear that he didn't want to leave but feels as if he has to. It's his decision and I respect it. I truly hate it, though. There's no other way to put it. It's just a bad move for everyone concerned. But it's his bad move to make. I mentioned again that I hoped he'd at least fulfill the obligations that the three of us made he said he'd "think about it" and get back to me within 48 hours. Hmmmm....

In the meantime, WXRY in Columbia, SC requested music from us so I quickly shot 'em an mp3 of "Towel Cape Song". Look for it on their station soon and if you're in the SC area, feel free to call and request it!

Tonight's show that I'm misssing is (drum roll please)...

Audioslave at the Gwinnett Arena.



Monday October 24, 2005




Finally, C'mon, Accept Your Joy is done for real.

The final, official edition of the CD's arrived today and they look great. I'm so happy that DiskFaktory worked with me to remedy the problems and make it right. They did a great job and I highly recommend them to anyone making CD's. They're an especially good value on short runs and thanks to our order causing them to upgrade their equipment (seriously), they have several other great deals available now.

Since I've gotten so far behind, I've decided to take time off from photography while I catch up everything. This week, I'll let you know who I'm NOT shooting but should be. Tonight's entry is Rob Thomas with special guest Antigone Rising. I won't be covering them tonight.

Click here for last week with friends, family, birthdays and reunions...