merry christmas from the bunker

Merry Christmas and have a safe and happy new year…more updates about recording, playing, and general band information after the new year. I’m working on having something to show you!!
Thanks everyone for your support over the last year. Looking forward to many more years entertaining you!

mountains…

That’s how much work there is to do (in my mind) on the record. Currently working on an old song, “who am i”, which the band usually starts the live show with. The song went through a transformation or two before it was born though, adding a bridge and swapping lyrics. The words are autobiographical hyperbole but are meant more like a sales pitch than arrogance or bragging. It has a very “pop” structure and I will try to give it a similar production. Just got to do them one at a time.

back to recording

Well, I’m back in the studio recording tracks for the new CD. The way I’m going about it is turning out to be rather time-consuming. Of course, I want to get the best performances possible, but having to stretch out the recording process over months and months makes this project seem huge. At first, I was getting friends to come in and push the buttons while I played whatever needed to be played. But seeing the amount of stuff I need to do, I have been reconsidering that and recording some of it without help. It’s not impossible to do, it’s just a big thing. It’s going to need a ‘one step at a time’ measured and scheduled process. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that once I start a project, it will almost always get finished; but sometimes I don’t know in what timeframe. This is one of those projects.

show hangover

The show went fine on Sunday, but I still ended up being a little depressed. Besides the small issues we had (my acoustic kept feeding back, etc), the show was good. But I was still 96% disappointed (that’s because only 4 people showed up). It’s just frustrating to do press, invite your friends, and prepare for a show which hardly anyone attends. The showtime probably wasn’t the greatest (11:30 on a Sunday night), but it was my birthday — we even had birthday cake. I’m not going to let it get me down though…I promised myself I never would let that happen.
We got a couple of pictures and some video for the show which I’ll put up shortly, however no audio is available as they changed the setup so I couldn’t get a recording. Check the myspace site and the pictures page for updates.

got ’em in

I went by the Elbo Room yesterday and put up some flyers for the show. They are a nice bunch up there. I also went by The Mutiny posing as the band’s manager, “Craig”. I told them all about how great the band is, and gave them a flyer about the upcoming show at the Elbo Room. For some reason, people who own venues don’t generally want to talk to people who are in the band; they want to talk to someone who represents the band. So that’s who I was. And it seemed to work fine. And when I told them that the band pulls 50-100 people (a slight exaggeration of course), his eyes lit up like bubble candy cane lights on a christmas tree. It’s definitely a dive.
Besides that, I saw this guy setting up for the band playing that night that had the most body modifications I’d ever seen. I was impressed..the nubs underneath the skin of his forehead was just the beginning…he was wearing some sort of codpiece with metal points jutting out of it..whoa. I can’t remember the name of the band or I would try to find some pics of this guy.

final push

This being the last week before a show, I usually go out and play as many times in public as possible. There are many open mikes around Chicago. I play my songs, then go around and give out flyers for the show and get people signed up for the mailing list. I don’t know that I’ve ever had someone I met at an open mike actually come to a show, but it’s not so much about that. It’s about trying to make this show as much of a show as possible, by going out and playing those songs, and getting them as practiced as possible. I’ve even written a song about it called “Spotlight”, which the band will probably play at the show Sunday for the first time.
There have been a couple of updates made to the website too. There is a clip of music on the intro now, a piece of the new song, “remember the time”, along with a new animation. The pics page now loads a little faster too, plus a few other things behind the scenes. Still working on a calendar – for now go to the myspace site.

who’s in, who’s out

My drummer and I were having a conversation the other day. I brought up that when you ask people if they are going to come to your show, that the answer they give must be parsed: ‘yes’ means maybe, ‘maybe’ means no, and the rare person that actually comes out and says ‘no’ usually means no. Bart said that he has been in similar situations, especially with coworkers, and that when they go back to work Monday, they usually avoid eye contact with him. What is the deal here? I don’t mind the truth. Do people not want to hurt your feelings? It’s ok, I won’t cry.
PS- We’ve got a show at the Elbo Room November 11th (the day after my birthday). Also appearing are Gaba Gavi and Return of Simple. We are headlining at 11:15.

out and about

I saw the band I met at the hotel in Boston at Schuba’s last night. They were surprisingly pretty good. (I say suprisingly because when I saw them it would have been surprising to me if they could tie their shoes.) It was pretty hook-ey, with some definite reggae inspiration in there. The singer / main guy mostly played an acoustic bass when he was playing an instrument, which I thought was fairly novel. I had trouble with a lot of the lyrics, that thick London accent is a little tough to decipher sometimes, but the band was pretty tight. After the show, they handed out some free tapes. I took one, but of course like most people, I can’t play it! I have a tape player, but it drags so it is not hooked up. Oh well.

slayer juice

OK, yesterday was fun. The place didn’t actually have a bowling alley, I was confused. But it was a nice room, in the back of an irish pub. Good sound, and the quality of the musicians was good. I even managed to have a little cheering section of people we met the night before. Even stranger, I met a college friend there. That’s crazy because the college I went to was tiny. And to randomly meet someone in one of the few places I’ve been to so far in Boston was just strange, but definitely very cool. I even met her a few years back on the street in Chicago!
So what is slayer juice, you ask? Well right now it’s Chinaco anejo tequila, residing comfortably in my slayer flask. So everyone last night was into the slayer juice — I mean that’s some good tequila, and as much as I drank, my hangover isn’t that bad. FUCKING SLAYER JUICE! When we got back to the hotel, I ran into this band called Jamie T and the Pacemakers, a bunch of brits doing a tour of the USA. They are playing Schubas on Tuesday the 18th, should be a fun show. I gave them some slayer juice. 🙂

slowly but surely

I tried to get t-shirts printed for the show. Really, I did. But every avenue just seemed to cost way too much. And come on, at this stage, this is a DIY effort, and I’m not rich. But, nonetheless, there will be some printed. It’s not like they’re super-cheap to make, but they are cheaper than what it was going to be. The design looks pretty fine. Thanks again for Peter’s help on this. Whenever they are done, they will be added to the site cart (on the music page) in case any of you would like one!
PS- The pics from the show are coming, this week has just been too busy to do anything! I will work on getting the pics pages finished next week.

Elbo Room show wrapup

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who came out and supported the band last Friday, new fans and old. It was great seeing everyone. As for the show, it was great. Our new drummer, Bart, did an excellent job in his first show (and according to him enjoyed himself immensely in the process). Also Elroy of course always brings it as well. I’d also like to thank the staff at Elbo Room, especially Matt the bartender, Matt the door guy, and Brian the booker/sound man. After my friend walked off with my car keys, they even let me store my gear in a safe place until I could come back and get it the next day. I’m in the process of collecting pictures from the show right now, I’ll update the myspace page and pics page once they’re collected. (I’m still working on the pics page, it’s coming along, it’s just taking a long time to do it right). We debuted new songs that are in various stages right now in the recording process, and did a Beck cover — “Guess I’m Doin’ Fine”. It was a lot of fun, and we will continue to get shows as I’m able to book them.

all about freedom

Last Friday I played the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum. It was a great gig, good sound, and I got a decent recording of one of the sets. An advertisement ran in the all the big papers around, but it didn’t mention my name. Bummer. Brad, one of the former drummers for the band ran the merch table for me, and we got a lot of people signed up for the mailing list and even sold a couple of CDs. I will put a couple of the tracks that were recorded from the gig up on the myspace page fairly soon. It was also one of my first completely solo gigs. I have played solo plenty of times, but not two hours solo; but I ended up being very relaxed and had a good show. I think I even made a few fans–a guy named Mike was very gracious (and a little tipsy I presume) after the show, but was very complimentary and said, among many other things, that I was able to understand the point that the artist was trying to make (in the case of cover songs), and stay true to that vision. What a great thing to say. And that’s definitely what I try to do.
That show’s over now–now it’s time to get ready for the show this Friday!

band graphics

The band now has a professionally designed logo which will be used on future merch and press items. Based on a sketch I drew, it is very slick and a shout-out goes to Peter who did a great job. It’s on the latest flyer and will also be on t-shirts and other merchandise that will appear in the future. Additionally, I’d like to thank Lawrence for designing the flyer for the show coming up August 3. The robot graphics are pulled from a Wagon Christ video (“Receiver”); here’s the video on youtube: “Receiver”. Thanks!

recent recording notes

My friend and former coworker Paul came in to the studio on Wednesday and brought in his Martin acoustic to record with and took care of a lot of the engineering aspects for an old song, “Who Am I”. This particular song probably won’t see the light of day until it is ready to release for the full album, but getting a guitar recording I am happy with will help me put down a good vocal and establish a structure on which to build around, since this song seems to deserve more of a “pop” production.
Alex came in Monday and engineered for a new song that will appear on the record, currently called “lookin out”, though it could easily also be called “scribbles on a chalkboard”, since that’s one of the lines in the chorus. This was my first attempt to try and record a song as soon as possible after writing. I had spoken with someone about that and we agreed that sometimes a song loses its immediacy after having been performed too many times. So I got a halfway decent guitar recorded and then recorded vocals on Friday. I think it was a good move.

steady workin’

The recordings for the record are going well. The songs will all initially be recorded with acoustic guitar and voice, to form a base on which the parts of the recording can be built. Some of these songs will be released as acoustic demos as a preview to the new album. The rest will receive productions suited to the type of song they are, with some doing well with a stripped down acoustic sound, and others to fuller scale productions. Props to Alex, JD, and Jesse for the work they have been doing pushing the buttons and sliding the faders.
You have probably also noticed the new site. What, you say? Where’s the technicolor site that you thought looked like a 5th grader designed it? Well it is getting a makeover. It is still a work in progress, with the images and intro section to be finished, and finish working on the music page. But it’s coming!!! Keep watching.

new record

thank goodness for friends. even though i could easily sit and record the new songs for the record at home by myself, my musical friends have agreed to come in and push the buttons, trim the faders, etc., for me. it keeps me immersed in the music, and away from the technical side of recording. they can also listen for things i might not hear. so they need a couple of crash courses on recording. no big whoop.
the record is as yet untitled. currently there about 12-15 original songs that i will record. additionally, there are another half-dozen or so covers which i will consider for the record. this isn’t going to be some long, sprawling concept record though. it’s just a collection of songs written by me over the last three-four years. they are seemingly pretty disjointed. a few of the songs i’d written a while back, but had just never gotten a chance to record them. hopefully i can pull their disparate styles together with my voice. we’d hope so, right?

good times

The show was a success. Thank you everyone who came to the show. We played with a new percussionist (new to this band, anyway), Dominic. He did a great job considering we only had one rehearsal. And people seemed to like the show, many saying it was the best show they had seen us do. So, thanks everyone, and stay tuned, more shows are coming!