4-12: Over a month, that's just pathetic. OK, I suck and I apologize, but nobody's reading this anyway. Things are not hoppin' so fast in DRB land. Allen is taking some time off to focus on his artwork, so Ernie and I decided to refocus as well. I'm trying to play more solo shows, and Ernie is now playing with a lady named Sophia Darcell, whose stuff I really like she's got a Sade/India.Ari thing going. I'm writing more. I recently shed a bunch of equipment that I don't need anymore and traded to a Godin A6 acoustic/electricguitar. It will work nicely for acoustic shows and sounds great plugged in, but like a detuned banjo acoustic. That's fine for me. I might have to start back up on the open mic circuit again. Last night, Larry had his Totally Savage CD release Party at Beale St. Pub in Marietta. Cool place. I got to play a few tunes with him and, let me tell you, I haven't played blues-rock in a while! I sang great but I couldn't play a lick. I felt worthless, especially next to a shredder like Larry. I actually started playing blues and really was into it, and still am. But I'm turned the corner to a more pop-funk-songwriter sort of thing and have lost the ability to play strait blues. I'll have to work on that.
3-8: Sorry it's been so long. This past weekend was eventful. I got a call on Wednesday form Sam Thacker saying that he and Fransisco Vidal needed some help running sound for a gig in Statesboro. I was thinking about gonig down there anyway, because they were opening for Angie Aparo, who is the shit. Anyway, on Friday, I took the day off from work, and we loaded up a bunch of my equipment and some of Fran's equipment and head on down to Statesboro (I will admit to listening to Taj Mahal's "Statesboro Blues" three times on the way down - I'm a loser). Anyway, we set everything up and it sounded great. I did FOH the whole night. Of course, it's tough to make either Sam, Fran, or Angie sound bad, although I tried hard. Other than some feedback a couple of times everything was great. Angie uses this Bullet harmonica mic every once in a while that is impossible to mix without it feeding back. I kept it muted the whole show and just watched for Angie to lunge for it before I turned it on. Risky, but effective. Anyway - packed house, good food, great beer, awesome music - that's worth traveling for! I also learned that Daisy has allergies, probably to pollen. Her right eye is all swollen so I'm having to give her eyedrops and Benadryl every once in a while. Also, her left side lip is swollen, bad enough that she is on antibiotics (just in case). It's kind of sad, but it's also really cute when she scratches her eye with her paw. I hope these drops help her out a little. Total medical bill tally for the year to date: Dwight - $0, Daisy $185. I'll keep you updated. FYI, Al had a big art show last week and has been out of commission trying to get ready for it for some time.
3-1: OK, political update: Bunch of dead US soldiers and Iraqi's and still no Weapons of Mass Destruction makes Dwight unhappy. Somebody screwed up big time, and I'm a big believer in "the buck stops here". George Tenet didn't do it. Karl Rove didn't do it. Condi (sorry for shortening the name but damn it's long) Rice didn't do it. Colin Powell (who's been one of my favorites but is losing ground really fast) didn't do it. Halliburton Cheney didn't do it. Rummy didn't do it. George Dubya didn't do it. It's either a case of lying or incompetence and there's just no middle ground on this issue. Prediction - Republicans stance on gay marriage will backfire before September and cost not only Bush his presidency (thank God) but also some seats in the House (probably not the Senate the way I see it). There is no chance of this becoming an amendment, and it shouldn't. My view - Marriage is a sacred institution that states shouldn't be involved in at all. I should be married by the church and engaged in a civil union with my wife, as opposed to married twice. Church does the marriage, state does the civil union - for everybody. Church's can define marriage how they want under their view of God. All states have to recognize the civil union, which has no gender associations whatsoever. It's a contract dummy. It says that I have responsibilities to my wife and she has responsibilities to me, and that's all. The sacred part happens in the church - Catholic, in my case, and they did a great job at the ceremony.
2-20: Ok, you'll love this one. We planned yesterday to get together tonight and jam. No worries, except our loveable but somethimes dim-witted drummer seems to have broken his thumb and can't hold a drumstick. Guess I'll be playing solo for a few weeks. Not much on the homefront to report. Work is starting to get busier. I need to release a platinum album pretty soon.
2-16: I've been playing a lot the past few days and seem to have my chops back. Can't wait to get back together with Al and Ernie this week. I think I have a few more songs finished too.
2-10: I've been having a tough time on the geetar lately. I've been spending a lot of time getting my voice back to where it was a year ago, but neglected to practice as much on the guitar. It's showed at practice, my rhythm playing is all goofy now. I just need a day of sitting down with a metronome. The past two weeks have been frustrating, it's tough to get a good gig in this town. Sure, we could play a tuesday night at some joint anyday, but I just don't want to do that. Friday night at some hole in the wall is almost always better than Tuesday at a nice club. That's why I like Saxon's so much. What a grat atmosphere.
1-28: Been keeping track of the Democratic primaries. I like three of them, and can't stand two of them. John Kerry, John Edwards, and Wesley Clark seem like good presidents. Howard Dean and Joe Leiberman, not so much. Dean's enthusiasm is a blessing and a curse. Leiberman just isn't that good. I actually like Kucinich, but he's not President material. Dean is the liberal version of Bush - my way or eat cake. That's not what governance is about. Don't get me wrong, I tend more liberal than even the most liberal (I'm the balanced budget, let government intervene only where the market fails type of liberal. Oh yeah, and keep your values to yourself, I've got my own - and a wonderful wife!). But I also realize that about 50% of the population is conservative and I'm in no position to put their ideas out to pasture (translation, I don't agree with you but we have to live together). That's my main reason for wanting Bush out. It's not a hatred of him (although I will admit a particular loathing for Ashcroft and Cheney) as much as a realization that he's only working with half of the country's views (less than half on issues such as media consolidation). Hey, I don't care what your beliefs are Mr. President, you've got about 50% of us out here who have other ideas! Your job is to broker the deal, not impose the other 50%'s views upon the rest of us. Get it straight. By the way, even if you don't like MoveOn.org, you have to be incensed about CBS's censorship of their ad (as well as PETA's) during the super bowl. Even conservatives who don't agree with MoveOn.org are writing in about this one. Maybe, when the Democrats are back in power, we'll censor political ads that put Osama's face next to decorated Vietnam vets - too controversial (Saxby, you listening?).
1-18: What a fun gig! It was such a relief to get out. I can still sing. The set was pretty short, but we made the most of it. Al and Ernie were dead on the whole night, and I didn't do anything crazy but played very solid. "Three Star Man..." is coming along nicely, which is nice because it sounds good solo too. Main Street East played an 80's set as "Van Reagan and the News". It was good, fun stuff that had the house rockin'. Sam played first, wow has he ever improved. He's going to be stud soon. After the show, I went to Buckhead with him to catch Fransisco Vidal - didn't get home until 4:30 AM. Ouch. Daisy was less than pleased with me, but Jessica was there so it was fine.
1-12: This will be my first full weekend back at work. I've been running a lot with Daisy lately. Not long runs, just 2-3 miles, but it'sworth it. I used to be a good runner, now 2 miles is near torture. It was only a few years ago I would go up to Kennesaw Mountain and run 15 miles for fun. I don't see my self doing that again, but I'd like to be able to run a few races. My cousin Christina got married this past weekend. I tried to warn her fiancee, but to no avail.:) It was a great wedding, very pretty and sweet. We also had a bit of an adventure. Daisy went with Jessica and I to Raleigh, where the wedding was held. During the wedding, we brought her over to stay at my uncle's house with my other cousin's dog, Hershey (a gregarious 100 lb chocolate lab). When we got back to pick them up, the side door to the garage was open and both dogs were gone - shit. So I called Daisy a few times and she came right back to me, doing what I like to refer to as the "I'm so happy to see my daddy dance" where whe wags her tail so hard that her whole butt wiggles. Anyway, Hershey was still nowhere to be found, so we drove around the block calling him. We found him, but he wouldn't come to me and kept running around in someone's back yard out of view. I had Daisy on the leash and asked her "Where's Hershey?", and she took me right to him every time until I got hold of him. It was pretty amazing. Daisy's not really trained or anything. This week, obedience lessons start Wednesday! I'm sure she'll be at the head of the class!
1-8: We've been rehearsing well lately so I'm really excited about the show. I haven't played live in a while, so there are some nervous jitters that I haven't felt in some time. Getting up on stage is pretty easy for me nowadays, especially since I'm representing myself now instead of a bunch of people. A few weeks ago, rehearsals were felling sort of flat, but we busted out of that rut in a hurry tonight. "Blame Friday" is really coming together nicely thanks to some suggestions from Ernie and Al. I also have a new song called "Math Anxiety" that I think I may just do solo for a while.
1-1-04: Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
12-30: Sam Thacker's aboard now, so I was able to get that bill put together. It's going to be a great show. Sam, if nothing else, can bring the ladies to a gig. Oh, yeah, he can play too (just messing with you Sam). I made out some posters to put over at Tech and GSU. It will be good playing with MSE again. The last time I saw them was about two year's ago when I was playing with Totally Savage at The Last Great Watering Hole. That's where I met Al too. We were looking for a bassist back then for TS, so I asked him if he was interested. He declined, so I had to start a new band to get him to play with me.
12-29: GIG TIME. I finally got a gig coming up on January 17th. More details later. Basically, Ron Louder (who used to work at the Cajun Kitchen) has a new club and asked us to play. The boys are all set to go, so hopefully this can kick start us a bit. Main Street East is on board, I'm trying to get a hold of Sam Thacker if he can play too. That would be a great triple bill. Tomorrow is the first time I'll have gotten together with Ernie and Allen in almost three weeks, I'm pretty juiced, I have three new songs I want to mess with.
12-21: My grandmother passed this past weekend. What a wonderful woman, it was sad to see her go - but I guess it was her time.
12-14: Well, we sound great, so now I need a gig somewhere. I'll probably have to do a midweek gig or two at first and really push to draw before we get any really good gigs, but that's the way it works. I'm looking at a Wednesday night hopefully at either Smith's, CJ's, or Ten High sometime in January. Of course, this is all contigent on Ernie making some copies of the CD so we can send out press kits!!!! Get your act together dude (just kidding, although calling Ernie out in public can be fun.)!!!!!!!!!!!! I just re-opened the book on an old song called "Anywhere". I was messing around in Open G and came up with this. I'm not huge on open and alternate tunings, but it's nice to try if you get into a rut or if you want to play slide. It's got major Zeppelin segue potential as well, but you'll have to come to a whow to find out how....
12-09: We got two rehearsals in last week, and what an electric atmosphere! We've been working on a new song called "Blame Friday", a real jazzy swing number. On Tuesday, we kind of got started on it and it just didn't want to come together, but Ernie suggested a rhythm interlude that sort of pulled it all together. It's really jazzing up now. We must have jammed to that tune for 20 minutes on Thursday. I'm sure parts of the jam will make it into the song at various times. It was great. After a break, Al went to the can and I started playing around with this major sounding chord progression. I tend to think in minors, so that's "outside the box" for me. Hell, even when I'm soloing over a major, I'm thinkin in it's relative minor. When Ernie and Al came back, we had just about written a tune out of it. I ad-libbed some lyrics, but they're still in the growing up phase. For me when I'm writing, the music comes easy, and usually in one sitting I can get some workable lyrics, but I'm real self-conscious about what I'm trying to say in a song. So I spend a lot of time polishing and perfecting lyrics. They don't always come out great, but I get the point across. Sometimes, like with "The Painter" it just happens. Other songs, like "Mt. Paran Road", it takes a few tries to get it where I want it. The more personal a song is to me, the more important it is for me to say everything I want to say just right. Also, with Ernie and Allen, I don't want the vocals getting in the way of the music, so it can be a fine line. Those of you who write music understand. Those of you that don't, trust me, the final product of any song you hear is the result of a lot of hard work - sometimes more so that other times. That's why I love open-mics like Eddie's or Park Bench or Emory where people play so many originals. There's so much work and, perhaps more importantly, soul put into some of those songs that it demands respect. You can tell a great one from something that was thrown together. The other concern I always have is that if I'm going to go onstage and sing a song to someone, I am the medium by which that story is being told, so I have a responsibility to tell a good story or I'll be associated with the crap that's coming out of my mouth. That's a big deal to me and it's one reason why I take so long to write stuff sometimes. Well, so much for my soapbox. I also learned a couple of new covers, including finally figuring out Clay Cook's (the guys Al used to play bass for) version of "Blackbird". I heard him play it at Eddie's Attic once and thought it was awesome, so I keep going over it in my head and trying to replicate it. That's tough, but I think I've got a close facsimile. I doubt I'l actually play it in a gig, but I learned a lot by figuring the song out. If you haven't checked out Clay Cook, you should - this guy rocks! He's got an album out called "Self Serving" on which he plays every instrument and the songs are amazing. The guy is a rare talent, and we've got him here in Atlanta. You can't pass that up when you get the chance. Anyway - later dudes and dudettes!
11-24: I went to visit my grandma in Alabama this weekend. She hasn't been feeling well lately, but Zac and I cheered her up a bit I think. I also brought Daisy down. She was awesome. I Stayed with my cousin who has the world's most playful 100lb chocolate lab named Hershey and Daisy was the total Alpha dog even though she's giving up almost 70 lbs to him! She got to go to the beach for the first time! It was good for her to meet Hershey. She needs to learn how to play.
11-21: What a great rehearsal today. We spent most of our time fleshing out the two new songs - "Three Star Man in a Five Star World" and "Blame Friday". Allen and Ernie are great at giving feedback on arrangements. Al suggested we drop the rhythm section completely out of one section of "Three Star Man..." and it really added to the dynamics of the song. Ernie put in a rhythm change in Blame Friday that really holds the song together. I've had to shelve one song called "Bleeding Windows" for a while because I just can't make the rhythm and the vocals work together solo, so I don't think there's any way we can do it as a band. That's a pet insecurity of mine. If I can't make a song work on my own, I rarely bring it to the band. Making progress. Dwight Happy.
11-19: Daisy is cute, but she's also has a smelly bum. She's not housebroken, so it's going to be a bit of a go of it before all wheels are running smoothly. That's OK, I knew what we were getting into when we adopted her. It's just going to take a little time. We go for a little run every morning (probably walk/run a little over 2 miles) before work. Then I go home at noon and walk her again. I try to get Jessica to let her out of the bathroom (our answer to a crate) after work so that Jessica gets some lovies from Daisy too. Then we feed her, walk her and sometimes go see the "Doggie Friends"(sounds like a Snoop Doggie Dogg lyric) in Freedom Park. We also walk her right before we go to bed. It seems like a lot, but I really like the schedule having a dog has got me on. I'm running every morning so I'm getting back into shape a bit. Maybe in a year or so I can start competing a little again. It will be a long road back in that respect, but I'd love to run another steeplechase one day. I miss track and cross country.
11-17: I've played a couple of solo shows and open mics, but the past 10 days has been pretty dead. Jessica's team ran regionals (my wife, Jessica, is the Georgia State Women's XC and Track coach) and had some good performances. I got to go to Auburn and see the race. Also, and most importantly, we adopted a dog! She's about a year old and looks like a smaller golden retriever, but she's definitely some kind of mutt. We named her Daisy and she's definitely the cutest thing I've ever seen. The first night she came home, she had a tough time adjusting, but she's doing great now. She's very exciteable but still a little shy around people. It's possible that she may have been abused before she came to the shelter. People that abuse animals are really high on my "I hate your guts" list.
11-6: Played Sam's Open Mic again last night and got a trip to finals. There was another guy there named Jim who was awesome and we both got voted in. Let me tell you something, this Park Bench open mic is going to go somewhere. They aren't filling it up yet because it's new, but this is a high quality open mic. I think because they're related to Grassroots Atlanta they get some good musicians to come out. I also met a guy named Nathan who has a studio up in Nashville. He offered to record a demo for me for free, so I might have to road trip. I also dropped off a CD at a new place called “The Five Spot” in L5P. What an awesome-looking venue! The stage is awesome, the sound system rocks, it's right next to Variety Playhouse, and they're committed to funk/jazz/blues reggae sorts of bands. With 9-Lives up the street, who needs another rock venue in Little 5, right? I think this place would be really successful. They're filling a need in the L5P community big time. I hope we get a show there. Since I live in that area, that would be a great home base for us. I'm going to check out a show there this weekend to see what's up.
11-4: First rehearsal in about a week. Every time I get together with these guys, I feel like we've got something special. Practice started out with me jamming on this groove and lyrics I've been fooling with, and in about 20 minutes we had a new song that I now call “Blame Friday”. I'm going to really start booking shows now. We're ready to play – NOW.
10-30: OK, the web page is finally up and running. There's a lot of content that still needs to go in it, but I'm happy with how it looks. My brother Zac, I've decided, is an internet genius. I'm really happy with how the page looks and navigates. Kudos to Z&T, the company he and his fraternity brother have put together to build web sites. They rock.
10-29: I played another open mic for friend of mine named Sam Thacker. Sam's a student at Emory and he works for Francisco Vidal promoting local music. More importantly, he's a great musician and a great friend. It's a new open mic and I'm pretty sure it will be popular. I played five songs: “The Painter”, “Rocketman” (Which I performed much better than last night), “Three Star man in a Five Star World”, “Belmont”, and I went out on “Sexual Healing”. The set was a lot of fun. I met this woman from Seattle who wants me to mail her a CD, which was a great compliment. One proud moment of the set was breaking in to a solo acoustic version of “Chameleon” during the guitar solo in “Belmont”. Also, I really like playing “Sexual Healing”, which I haven't played live in a while. Marvin Gaye is just the bomb.
10-28: Today was the most fun ever. Mitch from WMRE, Emory's campus radio station, has been asking me to help him put together a sound system for some live shows they put on. So I spec'd a few things out for him a few weeks ago. Well today we get to go to Guitar Center and actually look at the stuff and put the system together. Basically, it was the equivalent of going on a $6700 shopping spree with somebody else's money. Awesome! We ended up getting a 24 track Behringer board, which is a bit of overkill but it was so much cheaper than the Mackie 16 channel board, I couldn't visualize getting doing it any other way. I've always had good luck with Behringer anyway. The best thing is, I get to run sound for their events and play with this thing! On a more personal note, I went to the open mic at Limerick Junction in the Highlands today for the first time in about three years. I hadn't played solo in a long time, so it was a great experience for me. We got to play three songs. I started with “Belmont”, which is always a crowd pleaser. Then I played a cover of “Rocketman”. I forgot the words in the second verse and asked for some audience help (“All the Science, I don't understand…” – DUH!). My last song was the real reason I wanted to go out and play however. I finished writing “Three Star Man in a Five Star World” and wanted to play it live to get a reaction. It went over great, I have high hopes for my new baby.
10-27: I'm sitting here at my computer at work at 6:00 PM still trying to figure out how to put this web site together. I need a home computer that can do this stuff. My brother, Zac, will actually do the final design, but I want to have as much together as possible. He does this as a business and I'm getting the service for free and very cheap hosting, so I want to cut down on the amount of time he has to spend on this thing. I'm in the middle of a new song now. The lyrics should come to me soon I hope. Writing always happens in spurts with me. I'm just trying to be a mouthpiece for all the weird voices in my head….
10-25: I got to meet Gary Motley today! He's one of my favorite piano players ever. About a year ago, I was at Big Lots and they happened to have an CD called “Echoes of Brubeck” by Gary Motley, so I bought it since I was on a Brubeck kick, and I loved it! I didn't realize that he teaches here at Emory. I was running sound for Lullwater Day on McDonough Field, and the Jazz Club played. They jumped into “Chameleon” and it was everything I could do not to grab the guitar player's Guild right out of his hand and rip off a few licks, but I contained myself. Also, some of Emory's a capella groups sang. I wish I had done that in college. Han Oh, who was the overall Dooley's Den Open Mic Winner last year, was in one of the groups and did an incredible lead vocal take on “King of Wishful Thinking”. He's got a great, smooth voice. I've been told I have a good voice, but I always have to work for that smooth sound. Han seems to get it without trying, and I hate him for it.
10-24: OPEN MIC at Dooley's Den. It's Parent's Weekend here at Emory, and I always host a student open mic so that parents can come watch their kids play. We've got some good ones here at Emory. Alicia Adkins won the contest tonight. Talk about the voice of an angel, WOW! Since we only had four musicians, I had to play a lot of filler. I didn't bring my guitar, so I had to use Alicia's Baby Taylor. Nice Guitar, but REALLY SMALL and (note to self) not such a great instrument for playing SRV covers. I felt like I had landed in Oz, with dwarfs running around going “Follow the yellow brick road! Follow the yellow brick road!”. I tried, as a joke, to play “Pride and Joy” as a solo acoustic number on it. Bad idea, damn thing went out of tune on me after the guitar solo and just wouldn't go back in tune. Once I got it back in, I played “Mt. Paran Road” and “The Painter”. Much better suited to the Baby Taylor and now I sort of want one, but not until I get a Taylor W14es (Something about a walnut guitar I like). There was a really nice lady who said she has a daughter who works at Vinyl and that I should book a show there, so maybe I will!
10-22: Last Wednesday, we put together two new songs – “Three Star Man in a Five Star World” (LONG ASS TITLE ALERT) and “Bleeding Windows”. The grooves were awesome. Allen's great to write with because he's worked with Clay and Caroline and Steve Schuler from Main Street East, so he knows what makes a great song. He keeps me honest - “Three Star Man…” almost went way to damn long, but he suggested we cut it back. The older songs are sounding better than ever. I'm having to cover the rhythm guitar as well as the lead parts now, which is good experience for me. Being able to play exactly what I hear and sing over adds a whole new element that I'm still getting used to. It's much tougher that when Brian used to cover the rhythm parts in kool'haus , but the challenge is rewarding.
10-20: Ernie and Allen are starting to find each other already. I've been lucky to have played with some awesome bassists (Adam MacNeil and Paul Smith. Heck, I even got lucky and got to play an open mic with Taj Mahal one time at Northside Tavern!), and Allen is right up there with any of ‘em (except maybe Taj). We worked on some covers. No one was ultra-inspired until we did “Stormy Monday”. Something about that song always brings out the best in everyone.
10-18: This was our first time playing with Allen. I knew he'd love playing with Ernie, the man has some great rhythms on the drums. Every bassist I've ever known feels awesome with him. We played all the originals and they sounded great, although trying to teach anyone the arrangement to “Green Vinyl Seatbacks” is a nightmare – even Ernie misses it sometimes. The groove itself isn't tough, but the arrangement we use is a bit wacky. The song that always amazes me that people pick up on is “The Painter”. When I wrote it, I thought it would give people fits learning the arrangement because it goes from this Latin jazz thing into a straight rock beat into a sort of finger-picked bluegrass rhythm and then back. For some reason, people always get it right away. Hell, it's tougher for me to play it right and I wrote the damn thing!