Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tough times, that's for sure

Still here, still kicking around. What's that I sense?

A change, that's what.

I don't want to get into too much detail until who knows, when, but suffice it to say, this economy is not making things easy for us.

As Dad used to say, "Be alert! Be positive!"


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Facebook rip-off

Here's the lastest thing going around Facebook. If anything, they get you thinking.
Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you're over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wasu, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you're it! These are listed in no particular order of preference.
I will do as many as I see fit and though they were not necessarily "life changing", they are records that introduced me to artists/bands that I simply cannot be without anymore.

Here we go...
  1. Rush - Moving Pictures: I grew up listening to Top 40 stuff. KUBE 93 (before they went hip hop/R&B) way back in the day. When I got to high school and started playing bass, things changed. A friend of mine turned me onto Rush for some reason and when I got Moving Pictures, I had to have more. It began an unhealthy obsession with this Canadian band, but one that has been with me for most of my life.
  2. Rush - Exit Stage Left: Rush's second live album, though I got it on tape. I wore it out in my bedroom. I had my little Steinberger bass copy (Hohner) and would hit [PLAY], then [STOP] and [REWIND] to learn Geddy's bass parts. I spent many an afternoon playing through that record and then marveling at how bad I was and how AWESOME Geddy and Co. were.
  3. Boston - Boston: I turned myself on to these guys in high school as well. Don't remember why, but for whatever reason, I'm glad I did. I know there's people where their 70s were my 80s, and that they're sick of this band, but every time Boston comes on the radio (or mp3 player, or Rock Band), it stays on and I love it. It's incredible, too, that all the guitars and bass were done by one man (and some of the drums, for that matter), and that that record still sounds so good today.
  4. Juliana Hatfield - Forever Baby: In college, where my folks business was was right next to a Tower Records/Video/Books. They put out a monthly magazine called Pulse. In that magazine was a mention of a Boston artist named Juliana Hatfield. For whatever reason, I was intrigued by her and decided to pick up her solo debut. As I listened to it, something in her music clicked with me. I don't know if it was lyrics (usually I'm not a lyric guy) or the music (more likely the case) or the fact that she played bass (always a sucker for that), but I just loved this record. Listening to it now, I still like it, but it's a first record, after all, and it's me that's changed. Jules has matured a bunch too, and I still love her music, but this was my first intro to her and as with Rush, my obsession with her has continued through the years.
  5. Aimee Mann - Whatever: Another college discovery for me. In college, I knew who Aimee Mann was, of course. We'd all heard the song "Voices Carry" by Til Tuesday (hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry). Then (here's where the 6 degrees of Rush kick in) Aimee guested on a Rush record called Hold Your Fire. She sang some backing vocals on a song called "Time Stand Still" and "co-starred" in the horrible video that corresponded to it. I figured if she was good enough for Rush, she was good enough for me. I ended up picking up this record and just fell in love with it. So much good music, so catchy without being saccharine. As with Rush and Jules, anything Aimee puts out is a must buy for me.
  6. Muse - Absolution: A few years ago, possibly in 04, prior to me getting an mp3 player, I would listen to the radio. I heard a song on The End that was quite intriguing to me. It had this really cool fuzzed out bassline, this incredible build of a pre-chorus, and some major hook action going on throughout the song. After doing some research, it turns out the song was "Time Is Running Out" by a little power trio out of England called Muse. I seem to remember heading to my local Barnes & Noble to pick up Absolution, only to find it not there. But their first record, Showbiz, was there and I grabbed that. After that, I was on a quest for all things Muse. As with Rush, Jules and Aimee, Muse is another Day One band for me.
  7. Bryan Adams - Reckless: In middle school, this was a huge record for me. Sure, it was Top 40 material, but we all had to grow up sometime, didn't we? I remember how much "Kids Wanna Rock" just ROCKED. I remember not quite getting the "It's Only Love" duet with Tina Turner (TINA TURNER?) but now? What a great song! And the gravelly voice of Bryan Adams was something I could only dream about. 20+ years later, you gotta admit, Reckless is a pretty great record.
  8. Styx - Paradise Theater: The first record I ever bought (meaning Dad got it on a 12 for .01 Columbia House deal) was Cornerstone by Styx. I picked that at age 8(?) because I liked the cover. Little did I know that the most powerful of all power ballads, "Babe", was on that record. But I digress. I soon thereafter got into Paradise Theater and I remember being a little confused. Now, don't get me wrong; I was all about the laser etched side 2 of the record that featured the Styx logo. I just didn't understand the concept behind a, well, concept album. I knew all the songs were tied into each other, I just didn't know why. These days, Styx is good for a trip down memory lane. Just watch out for the really new stuff. Ugh.
  9. Rush - 2112: Speaking of concept albums, this little gem from Rush is the bee's knees, or something like that. I remember how much I loved the entirety of the 2112 side, and how much I loathed side 2, save for "A Passage to Bangkok", and that was from being exposed to that song from the ESL record. Playing along to it was always fun, until side 2, that is. These days, Rush performs this in drop-D tuning, which makes it sound kind of weird. Still good, but undeniably weird.
  10. Weezer - Weezer (Blue Album): For whatever reason, I had a copy of this CD. Picked it up used, I think, but at the time, I never got into it. I don't know why that is. Because a few years later, I started listening to it and I COULDN'T STOP! Sure, I'd heard "Buddy Holly" and seen the video for "Gone Fishin'" (starring the Muppets) from the Green Album, but it wasn't until I really gave the Blue album multiple spins in the car that I fell for Rivers and co. They've had some missteps (and I'm looking at the last 2 records), but overall, =w= is another band I'm thankful for.
  11. Damone - Out Here All Night: Ok, it's becoming pretty clear that this list of music maybe isn't so much "Records That Changed My Life", but more "Records From Bands I Really Really Love". This record is one of them. The story is much the same as the one where I discovered Muse. I heard this song, "Now Is The Time" on The End. Did some research. Saw they were a band out of Boston (what's with me and all the Beantown music??) and that their lead singer shared a last name with a co-worker. Turns out, the two were related and it was super weird and cool at the same time. Anyway, Damone is kind of party rock. Think Donnas with chops and you have Damone. It's pop + 80s hair metal and it's all good.
  12. Aimee Mann - The Forgotten Arm: I love this record. I blogged about it here. It's such a good record, I listen to it at least once every couple weeks. It's another "concept" album in that she's telling an overarcing story, but each song is independent of the others and it's JUST SO GOOD. YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THIS CD. Seriously. Love it.
  13. Lund Bros. - Tangents: Ok, this is kind of goofy. I play in this band, though I'm not on any of the Tangents songs. When I first hooked up with Chris and Sean, they sent me a handful of songs to learn. Once I heard them, I knew I had to play with them. Almost 4 years later, we're still on it and I'm still loving it, despite the drive. We have new CDs now and shows booked (or "show", as it were). I guess you can say that this is one record that did change my life.
  14. Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory?: I completely dismissed this CD and band. I had this CD somewhere in the stacks, bought used, and didn't ever listen to it. Sometime last year, I dusted it off and started listening. I fell in love with these 10+ year old songs. I think the 90s called and wanted their Oasis CD back. Anyway, I sought out the rest of Oasis' catalog and became a bonafide fanboy. Maybe it's the brother angle (see #13), maybe it's how Noel stands like a statue when he sings, maybe it's all the drugs (??), but I really dig these guys and songs like "Don't Look Back In Anger" really do it for me.
  15. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice: Trendy, yes, but don't deny you love "Love Song". I am a straight man and I love that song. And I was an early adopter, way back in 10/07. Seriously! Heard that song on the Mountain and did some research. 2 hours later, she was on my hard drive. The entire CD is fantastic and, though she's not from Boston (NorCal, I think), she's great. I keep telling a friend of mine she'd love Sara, but I'm not sure if she's hooked it up yet. D- if you're reading, get this CD. You'll love it.
Anyway, that's it. If it wasn't 11:50pm, I'd dig out the camera and take pix of the CDs I own and make this post even more self-indulgent. As it is, you're left with just my favorite 15 CDs. So, take that!

Armando: happy now???

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things I need, in no particular order

  • a haircut. It's been since early December since I cut my hair and right now, it's a stinkin' mess. But, haircut = $$$ and, therefore, it's not a big priority right now.
  • children who mind. It's not always, but almost every night, and right at bedtime. Riley has been really bratty right at bed. He pretty much does anything he can to stay awake. He'll come out of his room. He'll stall going potty and then go when he's about to pass out. He'll talk and then come tell us he can't sleep. Parents know what I'm talking about. We have his lock on his door so we can lock him in, but if/when we do that, he goes nuts and it's just a huge pain.
  • some customers. Work has been really slow of late and cashflow is very tight. Customers are cinching their belts tight and not spending like they used to. I'd like to do some advertising/marketing, but to do that, I need some $$, and $$ is what I don't have. Though I did have some ideas today that I'll try out tomorrow. Stay tuned.
  • patience. See above.
  • mad skills. We recently replaced our digital camera (somehow the LCD broke. I replaced that and the display is still shot. Bad video component, I think) and I've spent a lot of time taking pictures, reading books and really learning how to use it. It's not terribly fancy (not a DSLR), but it's nicer than the one we had. The pix I've taken are nothing special, but it is a lot of fun trying to give some thought to the photos, instead of just clicking away aimlessly.
  • better discipline. I started the year off working out again. The past two weeks? Not so much. I was going to tonight, but, alas, got sidetracked. Marci and I will tomorrow night. Yesterday morning, she was going for a walk, but it was too cold so she did a TV workout with Trainer Bob. I was so proud! So, we're gonna try it together tomorrow.
  • some perspective. As tricky as it has been at work recently, I still have it ok, I suppose. I get to wondering what to do when my creditors are calling and asking for money I don't have. Then I start thinking about people who have it worse than I do. I suppose their bad luck makes me feel lucky? Is that bad?
  • a time machine. That way, I could go into the future and see what the hell happens. All this talk of another year of crappy, or "horrific", as I saw in the paper this weekend, economy is kind of frightening. It is bad, no doubt, but it's going to get worse? Shoot me now.
There you have it. An update. I was going to write about how I'm still here, but just taking a blog break, and then this happened. It's profound, I know. I guess I just couldn't stay away for too long.

I think I hear Riley goofing around. I'm going to go kick his ass.

Figuratively, that is.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

How I ended up at the Comet with more Eastsiders than you can shake a stick at

Turns out there's a band playing made up of a bunch of highschoolers. From my alma mater, no less.

It just looks weird, being in this dive with these kids and their parents.

I am so confused.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Last Friday at the New Frontier

It's been almost a year since we last played Tacoma, so we figured, why the heck not? There's a new club there, cleverly named the New Frontier, and it was our CD release party. Plus, we hadn't gigged out since mid-October, so we were overdue for a show.

Sean had checked out the New Frontier and mentioned to me that it had much the same vibe of the Skylark in West Seattle. I will agree with him on that. It's a nice little place, with a stage on one end and a bar along the side of the space. The bathrooms are by the entrance, though, so if you gotta hit the head, the whole club doesn't have to see/know about it like they do at the Skylark, where the bathrooms are literally stage left.

Chris had set up this show and had gotten Girl Trouble on the bill. Way back when, GT kind of took us under their wing and got us in with some of the more established bands in town (see Unsmashable crew), so it was cool for them to want to play our CD show. Unfortunately, we had a hard time coming up with a third and went with a band suggested by GT, called the Drug Purse.

The DP was a 4 piece and they took the stage first. They had a real 60's/garage rock thing going, complete with snake lights on the drumset and a mood-setting rotating light thing on the bass rig. They were pretty loose and, well, garagey, and sadly, not too memorable except for the fact that the guitarist changed a string during the set. He sat on the floor and made it happen.

GT followed DP and they were a fun time. Their surf rock thing was energetic and KP was just great as the frontman... until he took off his shirt. Ugh. But, it was rock and roll after all, so no one minded. At one point, he put his mic in his mouth and barked like a dog. I mention this because one of us was going to have to sing into that mic later that night. Yikes.

After GT finished, we took the stage. We had a good amount of people, but I can tell you the amount of people who came down for little old me was zero! I wasn't expecting much, as it was in T-Town and not up here, so it was no big deal. I just hope the representation is better in Seattle next week.

As it was, Chris and Sean's friends filled the place. What was cool about it was they all seemed to know each other since high school days. They all grew up together and got married, etc, and it was just peachy! It made me a little green with envy; I have close friends from those days, but for whatever reason, the music connection wasn't there. Chris and Sean's friends are all into the tunes and have watched them perform for years.

Anyway, we got up there and played and, I gotta say, I think we played pretty well. I had to share a monitor speaker with Chris and the sound guy, Alex, had us dialed in really nicely. I could hear everything and sang with reckless abandon!

I also tried playing a little differently. I had my stage volume pretty high and tried to dial back the finger pressure. So often, when playing my beloved SB-2, especially on the bridge p/u, where the string is tighter, I get big ol' blisters. This time, being conscious about what I was doing, plus the louder stage volume, seemed to help that. In addition, I mixed up some of my basslines and tried to sprinkle some noodling in here and there. It kept me on my toes and hopefully was cool to listen to as well.

We played an extra long set, with some songs we hadn't played in many months, including 2 songs (Feel and New Horizons) which we hadn't even rehearsed. People got up and danced towards the end of the set and kept us entertained on stage.

It was really good to get out again and see the peeps and play some rock. 2.5 months between rock shows has got to stop. Luckily we have another show next Friday at the Mars Bar, once again for our new CD. I'm gettin' the word out to clubs for other shows, so hopefully we can play out more than 7 times this year (what we did last year!).

Up next: Mars Bar 2/13. Be there! It's the return of LLAMA!!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekend update

Just a quickie. A show review is forthcoming; I just have to sit down and write it.

Saturday was a "glasses" day, as in I wore my glasses all day after getting to bed after 3am in the morning. We looked for ways to clean puke from the Pilot.

Sunday I went to church and got my God rock on with Rob. That was nice. It's always a pleasure to play with him and even playing God rock is no exception. We spent the afternoon looking for more ways to clean puke from the Pilot, as well as a new digital camera. Our screen broke and the replacement I got for it didn't work. Boo.

Today I came to work and was promptly called by the love of my life. She had taken Rye to Children's for a follow-up to his surgery. So not only did he get checked out, but she did as well, after accidentally getting boiling hot (literally!) water on her right hand. A few moments of agony and a couple of drugs later, Marci's second degree burn is doing as well as it can.

Whoopee doo! Look at us!