12/31/2005 - I'm going to make this brief. I had a fantastic year, and ultimately it all boils down to my friends. I have the best ones in the world. So for that I say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support this year through my move to Atlanta, my constant travels, and my music. I simply cannot thank all of you enough for your outpouring of support, understanding and enthusiasm. I miss everyone in St. Pete but I am so blessed to have made such great friends in Indianapolis and Atlanta. Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you.
Have a safe New Year's Eve and I'll see you on the other side of the weekend with lots of pictures (A year in review!) and a run down of what I've been up to.
12/21/2005 - It's Wednesday morning and I'm just now catching up from a great three-day weekend in Albany. On Friday afternoon I headed to the Indy Airport, jumped a Northwest jet to Detroit, swapped planes, and within a few hours I was touching down at the Albany International Airport. Stace met me at the gate with a "Johnny Rock!" sign held aloft. She's awesome. It was a relaxing weekend with nothing on the agenda, and even though we squeezed a ton of fun into a few days, it was just the kind of break I needed. Albany is a great town full of brownstones, cool bars, and great restaurants. The weekend consisted of drinks and dinner at El Mariachi, walking the blocks of the Lark Street Neighborhood, with stops in the Lark Street Bookstore, Hodge-Podge Books, the Lark Tavern, and the appropriately named Bomber's Burrito Bar. I got to see the State University of New York at Albany, Washington Park, and The New York State Museum, which included an actual fire truck from 9/11 and part of the original set of Sesame Street! We walked the Empire State Plaza which features the Egg Theater, the underground, and some great modern art. We went to Savannah's for drinks and eventually stumbled down, but not in, the clubs on Pearl Street. Christmas trees were decorated, movies were watched, and frat boys slipped and fell on the ice. It was a great weekend. (Photos)
12/15/2005 - I got caught in the craziest 5 minute snow storm ever this evening. I'm out in Broad Ripple checking out the bookstores and music stores when the sky just dumps snow on me like a practical joke. BAM! Insane, and 5 minutes later it's completely gone. Hopefully the weather will behave this weekend while I'm in NY. I have a feeling it will be freezing cold with snow for the next few days. See you on the other side of the weekend.
12/12/2005 - OK, so this is going to be really quick as it's late on Monday night and I've got to get up early and head to Indy bright and early in the morning. Last week in Indy was full of Christmas parties, work, and an insane amount of snow.
I was supposed to head home on Thursday night but a storm dumped 7 inches of snow on me as I drove to the airport. It took me 3 hours to get there, only to find out that my flight had been canceled. Ugh. 2 hours in the car, back to the hotel. Such a crazy drive.
I finally made it back into town on Friday afternoon to attend a meeting at the new Georgia Aquarium, well, I made it back in time to hear the final speaker of the day say, "so in conclusion..." I still managed to get a free tour of the Aquarium though and I just loved it. What a great place! On Friday night I had some drinks with some new friends at Smith's Olde Bar, we chatted for hours, walked for miles, and piggyback rides were nearly dispensed. Alas, it was too cold and we were too drunk.
Saturday night I headed over to Tasty World in Athens to see Bain Mattox, Red Letter Agent and Kalen Young Nash rock the house. I hung with the guys, had some drinks and food, enjoyed the bands, and really had a good time. Downtown Athens has such an outstanding vibe.
Sunday I finally found a condo and put down a deposit! Hell yes! I'll be moving in in January, I can't wait. It's a modest 1-bedroom but the price was right and I love the neighborhood, lots of parks, cool bars and it's close to all my friends up here. It's in an up and coming neighborhood called Kirkwood and I'm hoping that it will be a good investment. OK, I'm off to bed. I'll catch up with everyone before the weekend is upon us.
12/04/2005 - Last week in Indy was standard fare, things were a little hectic at work but nothing out of the ordinary.
Friday night I flew into Atlanta to meet up straight away with Hugh and Carrie; they drove up from Florida for the X and Juliana Hatfield show. I picked them up and we headed down to the Masquerade, had a drink in Purgatory before the doors opened and checked the place out; I had never been there and it's a great club. The club quickly filled up and the opening band was rocking a therimin. Juliana played next and she opened with Sellout and closed with My Enemy. In between she played On Video, Necessito, Somebody is Waiting For Me, Get in Line, a cool version of Linda Ronstadt's When Will I Be Loved and quite a few others. After her set and just before X took the stage I got a chance to talk with her for a while when she was running the T-shirt booth. She was very approachable, super nice, and we just talked music for a little while. I was going to ask her for a photo together and an autograph but it just seemed silly. The night wound down after a blistering set by X and it was back out into the cold night for a quick ride home. It was so great to see Hugh and Carrie up in Atlanta, I hope they visit again soon!
Saturday I kicked around town, did some condo shopping, and Chris and I eventually ended up at the Brick Store for dinner and up at the Local with the guys from Bain Mattox for drinks and some funny as hell conversation. Oh, if you find yourself in the Local, check out the top of the Christmas tree in the corner. It's got a great decoration right on top of the tree.
Sunday was the big 99X Christmas Toe Jam at the Tabernacle. I helped tech for Bain Mattox and the guys ripped it up, the place loved them. Next up was the Violent Femmes who were excellent! They have so many great tunes and it was fun to see the place singing along with every word. Earlier in the day Kevin Kinney from Drivin' and Cryin' ("…I'm going straight to hell, just like my momma said… I'm going straight to hell…") popped into the dressing room and introduced himself, he played guitar with the Femmes on a few tunes and it was so very cool. Last up was O.A.R. but I didn't stick around, I'm up early and back up to Indy. (Photos)
11/29/2005 - I have to get up in a few hours to fly to Indy so I should be snuggled in bed, my covers wrapped tightly around me but I'm just now settling in from a great night out and a great show at Eddie's Attic. Chris and I rocked a few tunes, Tina took some great photos, and we had a really fun time hanging out watching different songwriters and having one beer too many on a school night. Good times. (Photos)
11/28/2005 - I knew I was in Florida when I saw my first metal ladder in the middle of the Interstate. My week in St. Petersburg is a blur, I'll just summarize... James and I rolled in on Sunday night. I worked all week from the new Accenture office in St. Pete. Tuesday night we practiced with John from Hankshaw. Wednesday night was dinner and drinks downtown at Moon Under Water. Yum. I spent Thanksgiving at my friend Brian's house with the family. Thursday night a few of us headed over to Hugh and Carrie's house for some cocktails.
Friday night was the acoustic show at The Globe with James, Scott Derryberry, Martin, Brian & Ed Wotil. Lots of friends came out. Mom heckled me. Fun Bobbie didn't pick up when I called her from the stage so Hugh left her a message of me playing A Plea from a Cat Named Virtue. I tried to throw Martin out for talking. Danielle and I hung out at Limey's and random people came up to us and recognized us from somewhere!
Saturday afternoon the rock'n'roll flea market at the Globe to benefit BAAMO was a good time. I got a great Neil Young print from Robert Phelps and I hung with Hugh for a while. There was tons of cool stuff to sort through. Flee mentioned over the mic that I was in attendance and everyone clapped. I have no idea why. The show at the New World Brewery show went great. We were joined by Milton from Hankshaw on keyboards; he played some swirly B-3. We rocked it. Morning Bell from Gainesville was cool, they had suits with Christmas lights in them. Mark Bustin did a great job of running sound. I talked to Brian Repetto from Dumbwaiters for a few, I hadn't seen him in ages. Mike from Swagger brought out some friends from Atlanta. I was so tied I didn't stay for Guiltmaker. Instead, I watched as people got their cars towed away as I walked to my car. Will Quinlan was out and about and Stacy took some great photos.
Sunday I headed over to Hugh and Carrie's for a Thanksgiving feast with the crew. Elen and I were hypnotized by the Denny's coffee mug that changed when it got hot. The turkey and dressing was amazing. Finally, with my belly full of turkey, beer, coffee and cookies, I headed back up to Atlanta.
Tonight I'm playing a couple of songs out at Eddie's Attic in Decatur at 7:50 PM. Swing by if you get the chance!
11/21/2005 - Thanks to everyone that expressed an interest in my house that was for sale in St. Pete; it's no longer available.
11/20/2005 - It's been a fun week and I'm looking forward to the week ahead just as much. Last week it snowed in Indy! It was no blizzard but it was fun to see the flakes falling and the dusting on the roads looked like chalk getting blow around by the tires and the wind. The snow didn't stick but it was still great to run outside and catch a few flakes. We must have had the locals shaking their heads. Last week at work was pretty stressful, but everyone handled themselves with grace and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I work with great people.
OK so what happened this weekend... I flew back home on Thursday night, grabbed some food and headed to bed pretty early I think. Friday night, Chris and I headed down to the EARL to see the Oranges Band from Baltimore but the show was sold out so we just had some beers and soaked in the vibes from the main room.
Saturday I went searching for a new home and I do believe I found it! It's a renovated condo in Kirkwood, not too big but really nicely done. I don't need tons of space quite yet, just a spot to rest my head. There's a big park a half block away, a new nightlife district with bars and restaurants about 4 blocks over, and the neighborhood is going through a gentrification process so it should be a great investment too! I'm going to put in an offer this week and we'll see what happens! I'll keep you posted.
Saturday afternoon I got together with The James Salter Band and we ran through all the tunes for the upcoming show at the New World Brewery this Saturday. Vic played drums, Scott (formerly of Pageant) played bass, Milton from Hankshaw played organ and James and I played guitar. Good stuff, it should be a fun night for music; I've heard all the bands we are playing with are great.
Speaking of great, it will be great to be in St. Pete all week to see family and friends. Folks from Atlanta will be down as well and the Friday night show at The Globe with James, Brian, and Martin will be a blast.
OK, I'm off to pack the car. I'll post some pictures at the end of the week to catch everyone one up and I'm sure I'll check in again before then.
11/15/2005 - Greetings from room 104 here at the lovely SpringHill Suites in Carmel, Indiana. ...untz, untz, untz... you can't hear it but in the room above me ...untz, untz, untz... there appears to be a dance party going on. ...untz, untz, untz... It sounds like a good time actually, I may have to get some beer and go knock on the door. ...untz, untz, untz... So OK, anyway, this weekend in Atlanta was pretty laid back, and pretty fun. Friday night, I grabbed some food and drinks with James, Vic and the gang up at the Thinking Man. ...untz, untz, untz... We played some Simpson's pinball and had a fun time. Saturday, during the day, I did some house hunting and went to the High Museum of Art downtown for their re-grand opening ceremony, for the additions that they've made to the facility. I especially enjoyed the featured artist Andrew Wyeth and the live music. ...untz, untz, untz... That night James, Ali, Mike from Swagger, and I went and saw a really great band called the Tender Idols at Smith's Olde Bar. Also on the bill that night was a band called Variac that was pretty cool too. ...untz, untz, untz... Sunday, James and I ran trough some of his tunes for the show at the New World Brewery next week, I can't wait, it's going to sound so cool! Eventually the weekend wound down at the Brickstore and then I was off to pack. OK, I'm heading upstairs. ...untz, untz, untz...
11/09/2005 - The cool air of Indianapolis has finally killed the colors of the Fall foliage. What was a vibrant tree line when I was here a week ago has changed into burnt sienna and dark bare stems. The flight up on Monday was pretty quick thanks to a 20 minute nap and an empty seat next to me. I think I had the only empty seat on the whole plane, so for that I'm thankful. I drove down to St. Pete last Friday night and met up with Martin, Elen, Pegs and a bunch of their friends at Limey's. We had some drinks and I enjoyed a good hang. From there Elen and I headed downtown and met up with Hugh & Carrie the newlyweds, Natty and Stacy. Fun times. I headed over to Legends Music on Saturday to meet with some guitar store folks and I was able to leave without buying anything. Amazing. I also officially put my house up for sale. I'll post a link as soon as the MLS listing is active. That night I met up with a friend of mine, Danielle, we enjoyed some drinks and some wonderful conversation. I loaded up the car Sunday morning with more of my stuff and headed back home to Atlanta. Chris and I hung out and then we headed over to Billy Goats to top off the weekend. Alright, it's late, I fly back to Atlanta tomorrow. I'm off to rumple some covers.
11/02/2005 - It's hard to believe it's November already. I'm flying out of Indy tomorrow night, back to Atlanta and some beers are in order. Saturday I'll be down in St. Pete for a day to put my house up for sale and to meet with some folks that may help me start my business. It's all so exciting. I'm not at all into typing this evening so I'll just throw some random thoughts down and head to bed. I need to clear the mental table. Taking off from the airport in Atlanta reminds me of catching the lift on the ski slopes that Stacey and I went to in upstate NY. Get in line, sit down fast, off you go. The fall leaves in Indy are spectacular right now. I must take a picture. It was 36 degrees this morning, no jacket, and I wore a short sleeve shirt to work. Apparently I'm mentally warm. If you are in Athens, GA on Friday night, go see Bain Mattox play. Yell "Chris Rocks!" every time it gets quiet. I've got a show booked at The Globe in a few weeks, I'm taking all requests, including "play something new!" Alright... goodnight. I'll catch with everyone on Sunday.
10/31/2005 - Happy Halloween everyone! I trust you had a great weekend and have a great week planned. I enjoyed myself thoroughly this weekend, it was the first weekend that I've had all to myself since I've been living in Atlanta. I flew into town on Friday night and I was Chris' guitar tech at the Bain Mattox show. All the guys in the band were very cool and they put on a great show! Well done and congratulations on the new CD. I kicked around town on Saturday looking at houses and music stores. I'm thinking about opening my own guitar shop up here, I think it would do well, don't you? Saturday night a big group of us headed up the the EARL to see Hankshaw rock the house, they sounded great and put on a hell of a show. Harold was dressed up as a whoopie cushion and kept making farting sounds into the mic. Awesome. Also on the bill that night were the Black Angels from Austin and fellow Atlanta band the Hiss. Good times and some darn good food! Sunday, I did pretty much nothing. Nice. So here I am, wrapping up. I took a bunch of pictures this weekend but I'm too lazy to post them. Deal with it. I'll get a few weeks worth up at some time. Oh, hey, I've got a new show at The Globe Coffee Lounge in November, see you there?
10/28/2005 - Our dear friend Michael Hoag, bass player for The Threads, Barely Pink and The Vodkanauts is in the hospital in critical condition after a motorcycle accident. Please keep him in your thoughts through this difficult time. If I hear anything more I'll pass it on.
Once again I'm sitting in the Indianapolis International airport waiting for my transportation home, home being Atlanta recently for those of you not keeping score. The week was fairly quiet and it's going to be good to be home for an entire weekend with not much to do. Tonight, I'll be Chris' guitar tech at the Roxy Theater. His band Bain Mattox is having their CD release party this evening and everyone is really excited and anxious about the show. I'll be tuning guitars, changing strings and trying to make Chris look good out there, not that he needs my help. It should be a fun time and I'm looking forward to getting out and meeting some new people.
Today was supposed to be my last day in Indianapolis but the project is being extended through the end of the year. I'm not sure how I feel about that but I'm going to try and use my access to airports for some travel as the year winds down. I'm thinking Europe for the weekend; who wants to go get lunch in Barcelona?. There will be lots of vacation time in the next two months so maybe I'll bump into you somewhere soon. I'll catch up with everyone on Sunday and hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to share as well.
10/24/2005 - So yeah, the last few weeks have been an interesting mix of disappointment, exaltation, revelation, heartbreak, admiration, stupidity, cleverness, frustration, gratitude, amazement, and a few other words that aren't coming to me at the moment. Mix all that with 6 or so trips to the airport, lots of work, some beers, shake well for consistency, pour, drink, and you have an idea of what's been rattling through the coffers of the cortex. Last weekend in Atlanta was spent house hunting, hanging with friends, having beers, catching a great movie (the Constant Gardener), and enjoying some great food.
I spent last week, as has been the case since January, in Indianapolis. Our contract ends this week but there's talk of an extension so I'll have to wait and see what develops.
This weekend was Hugh and Carrie's wedding and it was a wonderful gathering of friends and family that I would not have missed for the world. I flew in, with a cold, from a chilly Indy on Friday night. Stacey from NY arrived about the same time as me at TPA and Stacy was gracious enough to pick us both up. We caught up with the gang for dinner at the Chattaway and headed back to Hugh and Carrie's for a fun party on the patio. Martin and I busted out the guitars, took requests, and with Natty and everyone in the choir in tow, we fumbled our way through more songs than I can remember. The next evening was the wedding. It was beautiful, classy, fun, and a reaffirmation of so many things for me. Stacey and I danced, I sang karaoke (Closing Time!), we ate some great Polish food, drank champagne and I even seem to remember dancing with Hugh at one point. Oh my. There were too many great moments to mention and I could not be happier for them. Travis and Charlene threw a world-class "after party" where toes were soaked in the pool, more food was eaten, drinks were drunk, and to everyone's disappointment nobody got pushed into the pool. Eventually the evening dissolved into gray, then black, people packed up and headed out to sleep it off, drive in a designated manner, or slip down through back roads a few miles with fingers crossed.
So, with hurricane Wilma pelting the house with wind and rain, I'll wrap up this evening... I've left about a million things out of this journal entry on purpose, I usually do, like the fact that I bought a new guitar, for perfectly good reason, and I'm leaving out the reason as well. Some things ended suddenly for me and for others in the last few weeks. Yet, at the same time, an equal number of new ideas, people, guitars, and plans have rushed in fill the sudden vacuum. A new cycle has started/ended and it's with wide-eyed wonder that I'm riveted to the page. The New Year is just around the corner, and much like the last one, there are some big changes coming for me. A new house, a puppy (or rescue Scotty!), my own business, lots of shows, traveling to Europe again, a writing gig, and finally, me, living-working-sleeping and starting a new life in one town.
Oh, and if I didn't return your phone call this time... well... it just seemed like the right thing to do.
10/10/2005 - Someone dared me to say "I hate hippies" over the microphone at the Neil Young Tribute Show at Skipper's Smokehouse on Saturday evening. While every part of that is absolutely true, I declined. Instead, I took it up a notch. No, I didn't profess my love for the Republican leadership of the country; I said "WMNF hates women." Now, let me tell you how I got there. Natty was thanking WMNF for having us play but in doing so quite correctly pointed out that in fact, out of all the tribute shows that WMNF has put together in the last 5 years or so, not one of them featured a woman artist. That's when I threw in my two cents. Funny. I also told half the crowd they were ugly. I was kidding. During our set we told jokes for longer than we played. This is typical. We do this in practice too. We're entertainers; it's not all about the music. I like to think we're the Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr. of Tampa Bay. Sing a song, have a drink, tell some jokes, repeat. I had an absolute blast and it was great to be part of such a fun and worthwhile show. A few local artists had their rock and roll paintings on display too, our own Hugh T. Williams and Robert Phelps had some great pieces for sale and dammit I forgot to pick up one of Robert's prints. All the acts sounded really good and despite a few torrential rain outbursts it was a great, great time. Saturday night's show at Dave's was hilarious as always. Rebekah and Rob played a great acoustic set to get things rolling and the place filled up with friends pretty quick. Sparky's hit the stage for a fun first set full of jokes and tunes as usual. It was great to see so many familiar faces out and about dancing and having a good time. After our first set Hugh asked me if the John McNicholas Band wanted to play a few tunes, and with Frydaddy there we hit the stage for three fun songs. Rob jumped up to play bass on No One Would Miss Us and it was great to play with Martin and John again, such a solid rhythm section. We're going to try and schedule a show on the Saturday after Thanksgiving somewhere, maybe the Emerald. I'll keep you posted. Photos (check out the new sign at Dave's!)
10/07/2005 - Now that it's Friday I feel a few notes about my trip home on Thursday night are in order. Thursdays are, to me, a weird night to travel for work. It's like getting up at the seventh-inning stretch of a baseball game and going home to watch the rest of the game on TV. The biggest thing wrong with Thursday is of course, Friday. Thursday is not a day things come to their conclusion. I know, college kids would disagree, but I always had a Saturday morning class to look forward to. Thursday isn't the day the credits roll or surprise endings are sprung, that's reserved for Friday too. Without Friday, Thursday would be Friday, but it's not, it's Thursday, you know? Thursdays at the Indianapolis Airport are dull in an exciting way. Explain. The airport is buzzing with people heading home from their busy corporate, professional, soul draining jobs (guilty to some degree). People are on their cell phones closing last-minute deals, hurriedly finishing last-minute tasks on their laptops and sending last-minute messages on their blackberries, palm pilots, and secret decoder rings. Only, it really doesn't matter one bit. Why? Friday, of course. Friday, Friday, Friday. You still have one more day to get all that crap done. Just to change the subject for a minute, the guy next to me is falling asleep on the plane and his head is performing a bizarre dance, a weird bobble and weave, much the same way a baby tries to hold their giant head upright before the neck muscles are interested in participating in the whole growing up experience. Where was I? Oh yes, airports, Thursdays, etc… Anyway, the flight home was horribly delayed last night thanks to a hurricane with a name that starts with "T". Trouble? Tactless? Travel interrupter? Coming into the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta the wind and rain were lapping heavily at the plane, and I swear to you, the clouds and fog outside the windows looked like bad movie fog. It really did. I half expected to look out and see a guy with a fog machine or a bucket of dry ice and a fan. It almost lent credibility to all those whack jobs that think the moon landings were faked in the 60s. Fools, we all know the world ended in the 60s and this is just an astral projection created by our alien dictators. I digress. The flight was bouncy and all I had to comfort me was this laptop, a can of chicken noodle soup and my copy of the new Tom Robbins book of short stories. Robbins' new book, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards, has a cool piece on the Don Caesar Hotel on St. Petersburg Beach; I never knew he was a regular visitor to the 'Burg. The laptop provided an opportunity to keep working, I mean there is always Friday but why waste Thursday night not working. The soup is for later, but thinking of it now makes me less hungry. I'll be in St. Pete all weekend. Two shows on Saturday and lots of hanging out with friends. Maybe I'll see you out and about?
10/04/2005 - If it's Wednesday I must be in Indianapolis again. It's 4 weeks until my travels up here wrap up and I've had a great time. I will miss everyone. Where to next? I'm hoping it's Atlanta but there's always Cali and Dublin on the horizon, so exciting. One of the folks at work wants me to go to China for a few years, that would be amazing but I going to pass. Not much happening this week in Indy but last weekend in Atlanta was a blast. No sense in giving you the play-by-play, but a disjointed recap is in order. Out to 10-High on Friday to see The Swear (missed them dammit!) but saw CypherCell. Looked at houses Saturday. Had drinks with Tina, and friends of hers from out of town at the Thinking Man. Engaging conversations about geography, jerks and an attempt at Bluetooth web surfing with Janet. Searching for cell phones with Erin. Random dudes from Arizona and Denver at the loft party. Dancing to the Cult. More lost phone devices. The Hilton is where? Sleeping in. A delicious dinner at the house. Dinner and drinks with the gang at the U-Joint. OK, enough. This weekend I'll be in St. Pete for a few shows with Sparky's Nightmare at Skipper's and Dave's. Check the shows page for details. I can't wait! I will be great to see everyone. I've missed you so.
09/28/2005 - I'm in Indy again this week and I just wanted to touch base with everyone and say hello. I had a fun weekend full of house hunting, horse riding, guitar playing and little to no sleeping. First off I want to say happy birthday to Natty and Tina! Woo-hoo! I got into Atlanta late Friday night and met everyone out for dinner and drinks. Saturday morning I spent house hunting and I saw quite a few places that I liked. That evening we had practice and worked on On the Line, 22, Gone for Good, All Hail this Town, and a few other tunes. It's sounding very cool. Later that night Chris and I headed over to Harold's from Hankshaw for their dog's 10th (I think) birthday party. The guest of honor had a shirt that said "Bitches Love Me" and he was smoking and playing cards at the poker table. The night closed out with dinner and drinks at The Supper Club. Yum. On Sunday Nicole and I headed out to the stables, it was a beautiful day and I even got do a brief bit of riding, sans saddle, very fun indeed. Monday night a big group of us grabbed dinner to celebrate Tina's birthday at a nice place called Wahoo!
09/22/2005 - The week is slowly winding down up here in Indy and the weather has been great. Some of the trees are starting to lose their leaves and fall feels like it's just around the corner. Last weekend Chris and I got together and recorded about twenty tunes live in the loft and worked out a set that we're going to play out. Last Monday I had dinner and drinks at the U-Joint with Nicole, Walter, Natty, Chris, Tina, and Ali with Natty's broken foot on a chair with a cup of ice on top, ouch! The previous Friday I got a chance to go to the Georgia Dome, I got a tour of the place and a bunch of us even played some football out on the field. The Astroturf is pretty cool. I looked at houses a little bit and on Monday night Natty was using Tarot cards to see if her foot really was broken. When I picked up the deck one card came flying out, Natty said "that's your card." The card? It was the Fool. "Yeah, that's about right." No big plans for the weekend yet. We'll get a practice in and I'll look at some more houses and hopefully get some time to kick back and relax.
09/14/2005 - Hey there, long time no see. Greetings from Indianapolis, six weeks and counting and rumor has it I'm getting out of here this time too. We'll see, you never know with this job. What's on the work horizon? Two options are beginning to make themselves know, California and Ireland. I won't go into details, I don't want to jinx it. Stay tuned, I hope to know more soon, and notice I said and, not or. So what else is new... Chris and I got together last weekend and ran through 15 plus tunes and it was so fun to be playing again. This weekend we're hoping to get together, play and discuss some upcoming gig opportunities. I can't wait. It's been so long since I've written I'm not really sure what else I've been up to, let me consult the calendar.. I had drinks with Jermaine O'Neal in the house at Champps tonight. I waited in the longest security line ever at the Atlanta airport. I played golf, poorly I might add, with friends from work. I chased dogs and cats through the neighborhoods of Clarkston. I missed someone. I looked at houses. I had dinner and drinks at the U-Joint. I listened. I gave advice. I enjoyed the Bitterest Pill. I sang. Someone made me breakfast. I smiled. This weekend Natty is heading up to Atlanta and I'll be looking at some houses too! Keep yr fingers crossed, oh and I promise to catch everyone up with some new photos soon. nite!
09/05/2005 - The week in Indy was a quick one. Lots of work and not much play last week except for a fun time on Wednesday night, out with friends for a few drinks. My flight back to St. Pete on Thursday night was a long one, I connected in Atlanta and had a two-hour layover before heading home.
Friday I worked a half day and attempted to make it to the funeral in Palm Bay, but traffic thwarted my plans and I'm so sorry I didn't make it. That night I headed out and had dinner and drinks with friends before calling it an early night.
Saturday I headed to Atlanta after lunch with Mom. The drive up was quick, thanks to some podcasts from the Bitterest Pill, and I rolled into town about 8pm. It was Chris' birthday so a big group of us headed over to Chris and Tina's new loft for lots of drinks and lots of fun. Most of the guys from Hankshaw were there as were many other friends. The party stretched into the wee hours of the morning and everyone had a great time. I hope the Sparky's Nightmare show at the Globe was a success tonight, I would have liked to have been there.
Sunday I kicked around town a little bit and got my bearings. So many new things to learn. I need a map. That night Hankshaw played the EARL so we all headed out for dinner and drinks before they played. The band had some tech issues but they sounded great. Also playing that night were The Marsh, Taylor Hollingsworth and a band called Aloha on Polyvinyl Records, I really enjoyed them, very cool eclectic stuff.
Monday I went to IKEA and encountered sensory overload, Nicole and I had Swedish meatballs and I didn't buy anything but I did get lots of ideas. OK, I've got one more day off this week and then it's back to Indy for a short week. There's talk of band practice next weekend! Hope everyone had a great weekend. I'll catch up soon.
08/31/2005 - My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in my family over the sudden loss of my cousin Trish. I remember, as a kid, her playing guitar over at my Father's house one summer evening, I was mesmerized.
As August crashes to an end it almost feels like the end of an era, and in a big way it is. I'll be flying out tomorrow night from Indy, back through Atlanta, and eventually I'll arrive in Tampa a little after midnight, as long as there are no canceled flights and plenty of gas in each airport. Friday I'll be all over the place. Work in St. Pete, a funeral in Palm Bay, packing up back home, and eventually a final evening gathering with friends. I'm anxious and excited about all the changes and it feels great.
08/28/2005 - Once again the weekend is winding down and I'm digging through closets in preparation for my move next Saturday. I'm throwing everything out that I haven't seen or used in a year. The weekend was fun, Joe Popp was in town and the band played Saturday night at the New World Brewery. It was a benefit for the Jobsite Theater in Tampa. They sounded great and everyone had a really good time hearing the tunes one last time. The banter was hilarious as always. Martin won two of the raffle prizes and everyone was taking whisky shots on stage. I had an exciting drive out to the show, my front passenger-side tire blew out right in the middle of malfunction junction, luckily there was nobody immediately next to me so I was able to keep the car under control and pull over and change the tire. Good times.
08/27/2005 - The week in Indianapolis consisted of late-night work, Nora's garage sale and Batman shoes, watching Hurricane Katrina, dinner at the Brewpub, and late-night phone calls. Currently I'm rocking the iPod, listening to the Moggs this very second, at 37,000 feet in a Northwest jet on my way back to Tampa for my last weekend in town for a while. Weird? Yeah maybe. Anxious to pack? Not so much. Anxious to get to Atlanta? Yeah, definitely. I'm back in the Burg a few times in October and possibly before then depending on what's happening with me and mine. I'm looking forward to the weekend, especially the Joe Popp show at the New World Brewery on Saturday night. Hopefully the hurricane will stay away and we can all enjoy some fun under the stars. See you there?
08/26/2005 - A year ago this week we were all sitting around wondering if Hurricane Francis was going to come knocking down our doors, well this year it's Katrina and if my math is correct that means we've had five more storms this year than last year already. Yikes. Anyway I'm in Indy, getting ready to jump a midday plane to the southernmost state in the eastern time zone and I have no idea if the airport will even be open in Tampa. Maybe we'll have to divert to Atlanta, Orlando, or Jacksonville. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's Atlanta. I owe someone a coffee for breakfast. Anything going on this weekend in the Burg?
08/22/2005 - I had absolutely no plans to turn my computer on during the flight from Tampa to Indianapolis but once airborne I was completely overtaken by the most beautiful sunset and scenery that I think I've ever seen from a window seat. Unbelievable. The mountains north of Chattanooga through the low clouds, a rainbow from 38,000 feet, the sunset, wow. The soundtrack in my headphones was provided by friends in the form of some iTunes gift certificates that I cashed in before my flight, which brings me around to another point that I failed to address earlier. My friends absolutely fucking rock. I don't know if I picked them or they picked me but I am very lucky. I had such a great time this last weekend. Because of my friends... I laughed incredibly hard while trying to solo, bought drinks, felt part of something so much bigger than myself, felt sympathy, let someone buy drinks for me, was given unconditional support for my move, laughed, smiled, offered advice, missed someone I barely knew, and realized how much I miss all the people I know already. Thank you. OK... who wants to go watch football or wrestling, geeeeeez.
08/21/2005 - Once again my bags are packed and I'm ready to head up north for work. The weekend came and went really fast and there isn't time to go into great detail, but what a fun weekend it was. We'll hit it highlight style...
Thursday - I got in a little before midnight and headed to The Uptown Lounge. Hung with friends, got birthday drinks, and eventually we all headed over to Limey's where the Cuban Sandwich Crisis was playing for last call.
Friday - Sparky's Nightmare played at The Emerald with The Dillusionaires and a really good DJ for Jim Hood's new art show. I got some Birthday cupcakes on stage, we rocked a good set, I stuck the Les Paul into the ceiling tiles and Travis joined us for the Hunter. After the show we all headed back to Hugh's to close out the night.
Saturday - Dave's was as funny as ever. The Peabodies opened the show and Gina entertained the crowd with wit and humor. Lots of friends make it out tonight which was great. Luscious got his shirt ripped off by Joey, there was some hot dancing, requests for Skynard were honored as was a rare one for John Prine that we were going to play anyway. Eventually the night closed up with everyone on stage and final drinks were drunk. Hope everyone had a great time, I know I did.
08/18/2005 - Greetings all from 28,000 feet, Southwest Airlines, seat 23A. The entire plane is silver, never seen one of these before. I've flown in Shamu but nothing like this one. The week in Indy was too short and lots of fun. I had a birthday on Wednesday and a great group of friends got together to make some food, play some pool, drink some drinks, listen to some music, and have a great time. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I work with some amazing folks. The soundtrack for the week consisted entirely of Juliana Hatfield's new CD and it's really growing on me. It's pretty raw but I dig it. I'm really looking forward to the two Sparky's Nightmare shows this weekend, Friday night at the Emerald and Saturday night at Dave's. Rocking out with the gang is always fun and I'll miss doing it on a regular basis, but with me being gone as much as I am already I miss it now. Come on out if you can, I hope I see you this weekend.
08/14/2005 - As the weekend winds down I need to pack my bags for the trip to Indy this week so I'm keeping it short. I'll be back on Thursday night in preparation for the two shows this weekend, one at the Emerald and one at Dave's. A big group of us helped Stacy move on Saturday and later all of us headed down to the Art of Rock and Roll art show opening at the Bank We enjoyed the paintings, the conversations, and the music by James from The Mercy Seat. Hugh had a bunch of great pieces as did Robert Phelps and a few others. I even bought one. A group of us headed downtown but we decided to take the party home to make Margaritas, drink rum, and talk and laugh all night. Oh, I'm going to be getting rid of some things in the next few weeks before I move so check back, I'll post some photos.
08/09/2005 - OK, so let's catch up. I was in Atlanta last weekend, well, part of it at least. I got into town on Friday night and went out for dinner and drinks with the gang. After dinner, Tina, Nicole, Chris and I headed over to The Thinking Man for a few more drinks and of course some rock-wall climbing at 3 AM. I mean, what else is there to do except head down to the local kids park and climb walls in the middle of the night, right? On Saturday a few of us headed out to do a little driving around the neighborhoods and we grabbed lunch before I headed south to St. Pete. Sunday went by so fast, so fast. The Yappy Hour show at the New World Brewery was really fun. Patti has organized a happy hour for people and dogs and it features three acoustic performers and tons of dogs howling along, seriously, howling along. I played my first solo set in 4 months and had a great time. It was nice to take a break and it felt great to be singing again. I played some requests, but sadly I had to turn down a request for Life in Museums by my 80s new wave band Parade in Paris. I'm still not sure who shouted that one out but I played the riff for a moment and they clapped. Scott jumped up to sing backups with me on a request for Coward off the first Spiller CD. Fun. Scott played next and sounded great and the Rancid Polecats played last and were really fun. I had to head up to Skipper's Smokehouse for the Sparky's Nightmare show so I had to leave early before the end of the show. Skipper's was hosting a fundraiser for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Association and I was grateful to be a part of the event. There were lots of friends from St. Pete and even Indy! We played a fun set with lots of energy, jokes and of course self depreciating humor. The crowd dug it as they were dancing most of the set. Did anyone notice the big chicken flying around in the trees? Where did that come from? I almost dove off the stage by accident, I walked up to the front of the stage, stood on the bamboo corner of the stage and it completely gave way. Oh so close to completely busting my ass for all to see. The night wrapped up and we all headed home. I headed home to pack for Indy and as we speak my plane is starting it's decent into Indianapolis. I'm signing off.
08/07/2005 - I have to catch a plane in a few hours so I'm not going to wrap up the weekend just yet, besides I've got some photos to post and stories to tell and I don't want it happening all out of order. What started out in Indy and Atlanta ended up in Tampa and all points in-between over the last 4 days. So, sit tight and check back in a few for all the fun from last Friday until late Sunday night as I'm typing this up. The shows were fun, there were dogs, rain, beer and great friends everywhere. Oh, and at one point there was a chicken... you'll have to check back though if you want the whole story. For some photos of the last few weeks of my travel here's some photos I promised you last week from around the USA. Enjoy. Also, I condensed all my Ireland photos into one small album and put the journal entries in the Journal.
08/02/2005 - The weekend in Atlanta was a great time. I got back from Chicago on Friday night and Saturday morning I headed north. When I got to Atlanta I heard on 99X that Ben Folds was playing a free show downtown at the Underground! Woo-hoo! Chris and I headed out on the MARTA to meet with Tina and her friend Nicole. Drinks were drunk and so were we. We headed home. I couldn't get my seatbelt fastened until we pulled up to the house. We threw abandoned bicycle tires down the street. We talked all night, and oh by the way, I'm moving to Atlanta. As of September 1st I'll be a resident. Work has given me the chance and I'm taking it. I'm very excited at the new opportunities that I'll have in my newly adopted home town for work, music, and for personal reasons. So, a few more shows in Florida, a few more weekends in town and then I'm off. Here's to change. I'll post some photos early next week of all the recent shenanigans, check back.
07/29/2005 - Things I learned while working with a great group of people from all over the world in Chicago this week.
1. People with German accents aren't funny and they'll admit it. "Thank you for laughing at my joke, I'm German, we're not funny"
2. Girls from Belgium have the best smiles, much better than the English, it's all in the hygiene.
3. The French admit to being rude to Americans. They also admit to being rude in general so don't take it personally. "We're rude to each other, why should you be any different?"
4. The temperature in Chicago can get up to 102 degrees and it did while I was there.
5. Fuzzy Bunny is a really fun English drinking game, I'll show you.
6. The English drinking game, Bear, Ninja, Hunter is brutal, I'll show you.
7. The English know tons of drinking games.
8. "8, 8, I forget what 8 was for and..."
9. People from Italy seem to smile constantly because their country is so pretty, "Except for Naples, it's a third-world country".
10. I'm lucky to know and work with such amazing people.
07/24/2005 - It's Sunday evening and my bags are almost packed for my trip up to Chicago. The weekend flew by pretty fast, so fast that I never really caught my breath. I met up with friends on Friday night for dinner and drinks and on Sunday we headed over to the Emerald to celebrate Hugh's birthday. His band was playing a rocking set until Travis blew up his amp. We packed up and headed to an after-show party where drinks were raised, presents opened, and good times were had. If anyone is interested, my house is going to be for rent in the next few months. I'll post some info and photos in the next few weeks so check back if you're interested.
07/22/2005 - The week slows to an end and I'm flying back to sunny, hot Florida as I type this. The week in Indy was fun, lots of work and not enough hanging out but I was a little under the weather all week. Sorry! I'm really looking forward to the weekend though, there are some good shows to see at The Emerald and Saturday is Hugh's birthday! Happy Birthday Hugh! Sunday night I'm headed up to Chicago until Friday and then it looks likely that I'll be back to Indy for a few more months of work, fun, and hopefully some fall foliage starting the following Monday. Maybe I'll see you out and about this weekend?
07/18/2005 - The week that will be. Last night I headed up to Indianapolis for one week to help crunch some numbers, spread some sheets, word some documents, and catch up with Nat and all my great friends. It's been a few weeks and I was anxious to see everyone. In my line of work, consulting, the people you work with really do become like family. You spend more time with them than you do with friends and loved ones at times so it's an honor to work with such amazing people. At TPA before the flight I talked with my friend Lisa, we talked about my trip to Ireland, (Hi Lisa!) and in the name of public safety she was able to provide me with a seat upgrade. (Thanks Lisa!) The airplanes need to be balanced so they need to fill up first-class with warm bodies. Willing and able. I grabbed the window seat and read Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea from cover to cover. I loved it. So from 32,000 feet over Chattanooga, seat 2A, a bottle of red wine in the rearview mirror, I need a new book to read. I brought a book of poems by W. B. Yeates that I picked up in Dublin at Eason's so I think I'll dig in and enjoy a trip back to Ireland. I read James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man before I went on vacation so maybe Yeates can bring the entire trip to a tidy end. Still, I need a novel, any suggestion?
07/17/2005 - It's Sunday afternoon and I'm just packing up for my trip up to Indianapolis for one week. I'll be up there until Friday and then the following week I'm off to Chicago for work. The Sparky's Nightmare show at Dave's last night was lots of fun. We had a good crowd out and it was already rocking when we got there. We celebrated some birthdays, JoEllen's and Terry's, and played some tunes. Dank made a special appearance at the end of the night. As the crowd filed out we packed up, chatted up friends and loaded out the gear.
07/16/2005 - Pretty cool, I went to the PO Box today and got my first check from iTunes for songs that people have downloaded! Last night Lance and I headed down to the State Theater for the rock show. The place was pretty damn packed. World Leader Pretend were cool but not my thing. Eisley were awesome, great tunes, great tones, great singers. They were funny and sweet on stage too, goofing when they forgot words, talking to the audience, and just charming everyone. They hung out at the merch counter after their set and talked to everyone, so nice to see. Next up was Hot Hot Heat and by that time the room was about 120 degrees. They were rocking, the sound was a little bright, especially the guitar, but they put on a great show. We headed over to the Emerald afterwards but all the bands had already played and it was so smoky you couldn't even see the back of the room. Later. I'm looking forward to tonight's show at Dave's with Sparky's Nightmare. Come on out if you get the chance.
07/15/2005 - Heading out to a killer show tonight, Hot Hot Heat, Eisley and World Leader Pretend. If your looking for something to do tonight, this is the show. Also it's JoEllen's birthday weekend so I hear a bunch of people are headed over to the Emerald after the show. Had a fun practice with Sparky's Nightmare last night, we sounded good and it was great too see everyone.
07/13/2005 - Ireland was amazing, simply amazing. I kept a journal and I've posted pictures and most of the scrawled journal entries as they were written for each day, misspellings fixed, and grammar corrected of course for your enjoyment. Check it out here.
07/10/2005 - Sunday
9:17 am - I'm sitting in Dublin Airport right now waiting on the 10:30 am flight to board. Checking in and going through customs was amazingly simple and not at all the headache that I heard it could be. There might be something else when I get off the plane at JFK but I think I'm done. I guess if I had gone to Amsterdam there could have been a strip search involved. Hopefully it won't be a jam-packed flight and I can get some rest on the way home.
4:55 PM - New York Time - I'm sitting in the plane for the last leg of my trip back to Tampa. Hopefully we'll get out of here on time. The flight from Dublin to NY was quick and comfortable thanks to a five-hour nap. I woke up 20 minutes before we landed so hopefully I've diverted some of the jet lag
Ireland was wonderful, just what I needed.
Where should I explore next?
New York City
07/09/2005 - Saturday
8:45 am - Saturday morning. Well, it's my last full day in Ireland. I'm sitting in the wonderful dining room of the bed and breakfast. The sky is overcast and gray but I keep seeing little hints of blue through the clouds so I'm hoping the sun will burn this junk away and I'll be able to see the Cliffs of Moher from top to bottom. I'm in no rush today, I'll just soak in the sights, sounds, and smells and end up in Dublin when I end up in Dublin.
11:00 PM - I am going to sleep so well this evening. I headed to the Cliffs of Moher after breakfast, backtracking all the way, hoping, praying that the weather would break so I could see the cliffs. The drive out was promising, the blue sky was making an appearance and I was hopeful. Just as I pulled up the hill to the visitor center the fog was rolling in but it looked like wouldn't stick so I waited. I didn't have to wait long, the fog lifted and the cliffs were spectacular! I must have spent about two hours there. Amazing.
Back in Dublin I picked up some souvenirs and walked around town one more time.
11:17 PM - Heading out of the city and I got lost again but I kept heading towards the airport and eventually I found it. The search for a place to stay that night took a while but eventually I found a room a few miles from Dublin International. Now I'm all packed and ready to go. I'm looking forwards to getting back but I look forward to returning here someday soon.
07/08/2005 - Friday
8:00 am - Friday morning, completely awake. I had, and apparently needed, a good night's sleep. Right now I'm having some toast and coffee before heading out our for the day. Dinner last night was especially good. I was hungry.
12:50 PM - Kinvara, Co. Galway - Stopped for coffee in Kinvara, south of Galway. Next door was a great little guitar shop that had an old Gibson L4 from the 1920's. It was in beautiful shape. Well, the Cliffs of Moher were completely covered in fog. You could barely see the visitor center from the road so I just kept driving. Change of plans for the day, I'll head up through Galway and up to Kiltimagh where the McNicholas clan is from and then maybe Kylemore Abbey, if there's time, before returning to Galway for the evening. Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be clear so I'll head back to the cliffs early and then off to Dublin to spend the night before my flight on Sunday morning.
10:45 PM - I haven't written all day because I've been exploring. The day started off at Bunratty Castle, the weather was overcast but I really had a great time. I stopped at Dunguaire Castle and then headed to Kiltimagh.
Kiltimagh was wonderful. A quaint village with "McNicholas" on a few storefronts. Cool. It's also the sponsor city of Puerto Rico in the Special Olympics. From there I headed west to beautiful Kylemore Abbey. I missed the last tour of the day but I got a chance to wonder around. The steps to the top of the hill were closed because of rain that day unfortunately. On the drive out the scenery was more beautiful every second as the sun set lower.
I pulled into Galway, in the rain, and headed downtown to the shopping district. I saw the Oscar Wilde statue, I had a drink at Taaffes, walked the docks, and had one more drink before heading out to look for a B&B south of town. Most everything was full but I finally found one, or rather, it found me. One of the B&Bs I stopped at called around and somebody came and got me. An redheaded guy name Peter picked me up and we headed off to a great little house just around the corner. I stayed up and watched the news about the London bombings and the Hurricane. Looks like it's going to miss us but not by much. My fingers are crossed.
I should be up reasonably early for my drive back out to the cliffs and then I'll head across the Midlands to Dublin for my final night.
07/07/2005 - Thursday
8:00 am - I'm up pretty early this morning to get a head start on the day. Had a few beers last night and enjoyed a local folk/pop group. A cozy little bar. Came back to the room and watched some of the final Live 8 concert before passing out for the night.
10:15 am - Stopping for coffee at the Thatch Cottage, a great little spot with a real thatch roof. So cool. The Ring of Kerry has been wonderful so far, very scenic. I'm about two-thirds the way through it at the moment. The roads are so much better than what I was driving on yesterday. I would love to spend more time is this part of the country next time but for now this is perfect.
11:25 am - Just finished up driving the Ring of Kerry, very beautiful but not as raw and rugged as yesterday's drive. There was some amazing scenery.
5:00 PM - I just missed getting into Bunratty Castle by 15 minutes so I'll try again tomorrow. After a bit of a drive I spent the majority of the day in Limerick. I wanted to love the town but it just seemed a bit dirtier and less friendly than the other places I've been, especially Cork. King John's Castle was nice and I accidentally stumbled on the University of Limerick which had some pretty grounds and buildings. I picked up a bottle of Mead at the castle to enjoy, or maybe I'll just hang onto it until I get home. When I stopped at the main shopping mall downtown after parking my car I saw the news of the London Bombings on the TV. They are saying 33 dead so far, so terrible. I was hoping no one would blow anything up just a few days ago. Could a certain redhead be involved? I must keep an eye on the hurricane at home too. Looks like it's going to be in the Gulf about the same time I'm getting home on Sunday. Good times. Only two more full days left.
Close to 8 PM - Headed back to Limerick after stopping in Shannon. Drove around Limerick for a while looking for a B&B but the city just didn't appeal to me. Headed back to the Bunratty Castle area, through a traffic jam, and came across and really nice B&B right by the castle. I'm currently enjoying a Guinness and a huge hamburger as we speak at a place called the Creamery Bar.
12:15 am - Wrapping up for the night and making plans for tomorrow.
07/06/2005 - Wednesday
8:00 am - I'm up early and I'm just now sitting down for breakfast at the B&B. Yum. The plan for the today is to hit Blarney Castle in Cork and then explore the Beara Peninsula.
11:15 am - Blarney Castle was awesome. I got there pretty early before the big crowds and walked right in, free, with a group that was getting off a tour bus. Yes! Haha! I kissed the stone, took lots of photos, and walked the grounds. Time to gas up and head west.
8:00 PM - After spending a good while at Blarney Castle making out with the stone I headed for the Beara Peninsula. I grabbed lunch at a great spot in Castletownbere called MacCarthy's that caused either lunch or breakfast to disagree quite severely with my stomach, or maybe you're not supposed to actually kiss the Blarney Stone. That can't be sanitary, right? The weather was overcast most of the day with the occasional burst of sunshine. The views were breathtaking and the driving was insane. The roads were incredibly narrow and twisting on the north side of the peninsula. I got stuck in two traffic jams, there were no cars involved, only cows.
I'm very tired tonight so I stopped for the night in Kenmare instead of driving in to Limerick. Tomorrow I'll see the Ring of Kerry and then head up to Limerick. I caught a local group in a pub next to the B&B that I'm staying in and really enjoyed them. Not too traditional, some covers, but done wonderfully, reminded me of a mix between Low and Ida at times. Wonderful singers and a great mellow vibe. Also, I was able to check my e-mail for the first time in a week at the Post Office to see that there's a hurricane headed towards Florida. Nice.
Oh, I've also determined that there are not enough cameras in the world to take all the amazing pictures that need to be taken of this place, so beautiful.
07/05/2005 - Tuesday
"The sun comes up, it's Tuesday morning, hits me straight in the eye, guess I forgot to close the blinds last night" ~ Cowboy Junkies. Well, not as such this morning unfortunately. It looks like it's going to be rainy and overcast for most of the day. Hopefully the weather will cooperate enough for me to get around and have a good time. I've got a quite a bit of ground to cover if I want to make it into Cork by this evening. Oh, last night, I saw the coolest pair of of Converse Chuck Taylor's. I may have to come back for those.
Dublin to Powerscourt House - N11 south to R112 West to R117 south<
12:10 PM- Just now done with Powerscourt House and Gardens and waterfall. Crazy roads and beautiful scenery. Saw some old ladies and one in a wheelchair come flying down this steep, wet, gravel path. I have no idea how they all hung on and didn't crash. They were laughing too, so I'm not poking too much fun.
12:45 PM - Stopped at Roundwood, the highest village in Ireland to do some shopping. On to Glendalough.
Midnight - Today was a whirlwind that ended up with me drinking pints at the Thirsty Scholar across the street from the University of Cork. It was singer/songwriter night and I enjoyed hearing all the performers. I talked to a few of them and they asked me to play but I passed, I just wanted to be a spectator tonight. Cork is a big college town and I'm staying right across the street from the front gates to the University. The room is small, pink, and cozy. I did a bunch of driving today, a little more than I expected, so I'm looking forward to a laid back day tomorrow if possible. The only thing I have planned tomorrow is kissing the Blarney Stone. It rained almost all day today, just a sprinkle, not enough to seek an eve to huddle under but enough to keep my jacket wet all day. Umbrellas are of no use in this climate at times. With this kind of rain you just get wet.
I really enjoyed Cork, I'd like to spend more time here when I come back.
07/04/2005 - Monday
Hey baby, it's the 4th of July. A few words about driving in Dublin. "Fuck this". I think I may have said that eight or nine times in the first few minutes as I was headed north out of town. Somehow I managed to find the N3, the highway that heads north out of Dublin into the Boyne Valley, and make my way out to my first stop, the Hill of Tara.
12:25 PM - I have fallen in love with all three of the girls that work at the Hill of Tara bookstore/cafe. The charm and friendliness of people out here in the countryside is overwhelming and wonderful. The view from the top of the hill was breathtaking and I enjoyed the hike despite the complete saturation of sheep droppings at every step and the slippery terrain.
I had lunch at the cafe, coffee and scones, absolutely delicious. Looking back on it now, this was probably the most delicious meal of the trip. So simple and good with fresh jam, cream and warm scones.
From Tara to Kells - N3 north
2:30 PM - Kells was nice, the church in the main square was beautiful and the walk through the town was charming.
Kells to Slane Castle - R163
4:00 PM - Slane Castle was beautiful. It's where U2 recorded quite a bit of their Unforgettable Fire album and I could recognize certain parts that they used including the grand ballroom and the outside balconies. So cool. A bit geeky sure, but I soaked up the vibe. Our tour guide Diane gave a great tour and took my picture at the end of the tour. Joining us on the tour were some crazy redheaded kids that liked to jump up and down on all the beds and chairs. Nice. Again with the redheads, and not a pack of Camel cigarettes in sight to meditate on.
Slane Castle to Newgrange - N2 South
4:13 PM - Pulling up to Newgrange - the road between Slane Castle and Newgrange was harrowing.
6:45 PM - Leaving Newgrange. Simply amazing and quite the entertaining tour. My favorite part was when the tour guide threw a guy out during the recreation of the winter solstice for taking a call on his cell phone. Who knew you could get reception in there. Heading back to Dublin for dinner, drinks, drinks, and to get all packed for tomorrow. Tonight is my last night in Dublin before I head out south and west.
Newgrange to Dublin - N51 east to M1 South
8:00 PM - Holy crap I got lost in Dublin on the way back from Newgrange. Getting back on the Interstate was simple enough but once I was in town I missed the Gardiner Street exit, if there is in fact such an exit. Still, I'm so glad that I'm not on some guided tour. I love getting lost.
1:00 am - Just in from Temple Bar, tonight the live music was wonderful and apparently the ultra-trendy folks from all over the world have headed home from the weekend. Today was spectacular and I'm really looking forward to getting out on the road. There are a list of "must sees" while I'm here so I'm going to try and stay on schedule.
07/03/2005 - Sunday
Got up at 9 am. No breakfast! The Pembroke was closed! Walked past the Natural Museum of Ireland, the National Library and over to Trinity College where I saw the Book of Kells, so beautiful, and the old Library's Long Room. Took a break on the square and wrote a few postcards.
2:46 PM - I'm sitting on top of the Guinness Storehouse drinking my free pint of Guinness and talking to a guy from Arizona who's getting his Ph.D. at London College. Took the long walk from Temple Bar up here and really enjoyed the tour. The jet lag is catching up to me today. I hope to call it an early night and head north in the morning.
4:50 PM - Almost 5 PM and I'm just wrapping up a quick meal, nothing heavy, just something to keep me moving. I want to call it an early night tonight so I'll head back towards the apartment pretty soon with a little shopping on the way. I need a better map of Dublin and the countryside if I'm going to be doing a bunch of driving this week.
9:02 PM - I was going to be diligent and sit down and figure out where I'm going tomorrow but I think that's going to get skipped, I want to go grab a beer and soak in some atmosphere. Tomorrow is the 4th of July.
1 am - I can go home now. I headed down two blocks from where I'm staying to a pub called O'Donoghue's. It was amazing. There was a group of musicians in the front corner playing traditional music, people singing along, people from all over singing and swaying to the music. The craic was mighty. What a great time. The rain came and went and for the first time I stumbled home from and Irish pub in Ireland. I'm off to bed.
07/02/2005 - Saturday
7:18 am (Dublin time) - The flight was quick, thanks in part to some beef and potatoes, some peas, and my new inflatable neck support and eye cover that conveniently came with ear plugs. I was out light a light for 4 hours.
I'm currently sitting in front of Latchford's of Baggot Street. I headed straight here from the airport just to see if I could find the place and check in early. I did and I can't. God knows how but I basically drove straight to it. Oh, the car? A Citroen C4 stick shift. Yeah, the stick is in the middle where it should be, me however, I'm on the right side of the car. The directions here were vague at best, but I literally drove right to the place only attempting to swerve to the American side of the road once. Trying to make plans for the day...
The first song I hear on the radio is a Coldplay song follow by 50 Cent and then and old Michael Jackson song. This kind of randomness will continue for the entire trip.
Just around the corner I find a great place called The Pembroke that serves the full Irish breakfast and some great coffee. I had some coffee and watched the Lions get pounded by New Zealand. Every time the Lions made a mistake some guy yelled "OH FUR FUKS SAKE!" at the top of his lungs. It's 8 am, I'm having breakfast and they're drinking beer like it's free OJ.
I mailed out a bunch of postcards from the General Post Office today and now I'm sitting in Temple Bar watching U2 and Paul McCartney open Live 8 with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, then Beautiful Day, Vertigo and One. The bar goes crazy. It's like I'm at the show only louder.
6:30 PM - Once I got checked in today I headed down to Trinity College, stopped at a few music stores before crossing over the River Liffey to roam around Dublin's northside. I started at the O'Connell Street Bridge and headed to the Spire, a giant needle-like structure. Next was the General Post Office, a major site in the Easter uprising of 1916. You can still see where bullets struck the original columns out front. At the GPO I mailed a bunch of postcards and studied the paintings that told the story of the uprising.
From there I headed north to the Gate Theater and the Garden of Remembrance before ending up at the Dublin Writers Museum. Next was the James Joyce Center for a look around. I missed Bloomsday by a few weeks so I headed over to the site of Molly Bloom's fictional home at 7 Eccles Street. From there I headed back south towards the Spire, cruised all the stores on Abbey Street and got my picture taken by the statue of James Joyce. I then headed south, back over the Liffey, through the Temple Bar district and saw tons of street musicians, comedians, and one guy dressed up like a sexy nurse. Not sure what the theme was there, but there he was. I grabbed a Guinness at Temple Bar just as Live 8 was starting. I checked out Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle and the shopping district on Exchequer St., Wicklow St. and Grafton St. before walking back to my apartment through St. Stephen's Green. I've got blisters on my feet.
On a side note, I finished reading Tom Robbins' book Still Life with Woodpecker while I was waiting for my flight at JFK and I find the symbolism striking when I think of all the redheads I've seen and all the times I've said "Yum" today. Hopefully nobody will try and blow anything up while I'm here.
12:15 am - It started to get dark about 10:30 PM and the rain has been falling for a little while. I headed down to Temple Bar for a few drinks and to meet some people. Surprisingly, Temple bar turns into Ybor City on a Saturday night. There was no live music to be heard in the big pubs downtown. There were amazing street musicians everywhere though, and all sorts of bachelor and bachelorette parties roaming the pubs dressed up in costumes. I saw Playboy bunnies, Tiki goddesses, and about 20 cowgirls with the bachelorette lassoed and being led around completely wasted. What time is it? I'm off to bed.
7/1/2005 - Friday
Indianapolis International Airport
United Flight 7702 Indy to DC - 8:30 AM
United Flight 5322 - DC to NY - 12:31 PM
Aer Lingus Flight EI104 - NY to Dublin - 6:00 PM
11:30 am (EST) - The Flight from Indy to DC was quick and uneventful. I read through my Fodor's book on Ireland and talked to a guy, a student, sitting next to me about his travels in Ireland a few years back. "A lot has changed, you can't smoke in the pubs anymore." Seems there's this new thing called "smirting", it combines smoking and flirting outside the pubs. Apparently people are starting to smoke just to hang around outside and meet people. I'll bet nobody saw that one coming.
The day stared early for me. I spent the night in Indy, did some laundry, ate a big meal, a sub from Jimmy John's, and crashed out early. Up at 6:30 am, showered and out the door. Light traffic on the Interstate through the construction zone but the airport was jammed packed with travelers. Thank goodness for on-line check in and no checked bags. Hopefully JFK won't be too crazy when I'm switching airlines and going through security again.
3:30 PM - I'm sitting in JFK waiting for the little hand to hit 4 so I can work my way through security. Food is really expensive here but the people watching more than covers the cost in entertainment value.
6:40 PM - Aer Lingus Flight EI105 - We're underway, the seats are small but they recline nicely. I'm sitting next to a guy that works at Sun Microsystems so we chatted about work, traveling for work, how traveling for work sucks, and work. We just took off in a healthy rainstorm; I hope it's the last bit of weather we have during the flight. The plane is "fairly full" according to the pilot, which apparently means there isn't one square inch of room left on the plane. It's a 5 1/2 hour flight and I'll be getting in at 5:30 am.
06/28/2005 - I'm completely exhausted. Damn. I'm fighting a fever, and this, only two days from my trip overseas, will not deter me one ounce from having a great last week in Indy. This last weekend was a blast, Nat and I squeezed in as much fun as we possibly could. We dog sat, we took Bruno, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever for a swim in the White River. We rode the waverunners, we bar hopped on Friday night down in Broad Ripple at the Brew Pub, Brugge Brasserie, and finally a closer at the Wellington. Sunday we celebrated Nat's Mom's birthday with a great meal, we played some guitar, and just relaxed. This week at work saw us celebrating with dinner and drinks and get-togethers of all kinds. Not sure where I'll be after my vacation but I'm sure I'll know for sure soon enough. I'll catch up with everyone in a few weeks, there will be lots to see and say.
06/24/2005 - The weekend is here and it's my last in Indy for the moment. We'll try and squeeze in as much fun as we possibly can in the next 48 hours and smile and laugh as often as possible which I suspect will be all the time. Beers will be had, dogs will be sat, fireflies will be chased, and good times will be had with family and friends. Next Friday I head to Ireland and then back to St. Pete for some vacation time. I expect to see all of you when I get back and I'm thinking that it's about time for a second annual House Concert. Maybe I can squeeze that in before I head to Chicago. OK, I'm out. See you all next week sometime. I'll catch up before I head out.
06/19/2005 - Greetings all. I'm just sitting at home in sunny St. Pete, killing a few hours before my plane takes me up north again so I thought I'd catch up. I had a fun weekend, the Sparky's Nightmare show at the Emerald on Friday night was cool. We hadn't played in a while but it was fun none the less. I jumped on a table and stuck my guitar through the roof and only flubbed a few changes. Pretty good considering the last time we played was two and a half months ago. Michele Ari & Jeremy Gloff and Orange Envy from Charlotte, NC played that night too. As a bonus we saw George escort a lady out that was so drunk they had to load her in a wheelchair and dump her outside. Saturday afternoon was Bob Anthony's wedding, the entire crew headed out and it was a beautiful ceremony with lots of friends. Saturday night I headed downtown to the Independent where I met up with Stacy. From there we headed to the Bank where we met up with Jon Harrison, had a few more and watched Lake Audition, featuring former members of Helium Bomb and the Boats, rip through some tunes. An early night was called and I headed home. OK, enough of the wrap up, I'm out of here soon.
06/13/2005 - Hey everyone, I'm back in Indy after a great weekend down at Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee. We stayed on a houseboat, ate, drank, swam, kayaked, rode waverunners, skied, got a sunburn and had a great time. Saturday night was especially fun with some of Nat's Dad's homemade beer and wine. Noah and I played acoustic guitars and swapped tunes back and forth. We rocked some Journey, Violent Femmes, Nat and I sang Sarah Harmer, Noah and Holly sang some great original tunes, Sloan, the Shins, Noah and I rocked Iron On by Superchunk, Pavement, and I ran through On the Line. This weekend I'm really looking forward to the Sparky's Nightmare show at the Emerald. It's our first show in a while and it should be loose and fun.
06/09/2005 - I've posted some snazzy new photos from last weekend's good time with the Giraffes at the State Theater. There's not one of me however, I kept ducking out of the way. I'll post more if anyone sends me s. Anyone got any photos from the show at the Uptown last Saturday night? Well, for me the weekend is here and I'm headed south for a little R&R. Not rock & roll but rest & relaxation. A few days on a houseboat in the middle of Dale Hollow Lake should be fun. Hopefully Tropical Storm Arlene will miss us and we can enjoy a wonderful weekend. Later gator.
06/05/2005 - Two days, they came and went... there was a fun Sparky's Nightmare practice on Friday night after which Carrie and I headed down to the Emerald for a few drinks and conversations with old friends before calling it a night. Saturday night a group of us headed down to the State Theater, first time I've been there in over a year, to see the Giraffes and catch a few songs from Local H. The Giraffes were drunk, they rocked. Check out their video here. Saturday was Stacy's birthday and Elen was celebrating hers one day early so we headed over to the Uptown Lounge for a few drinks and some secondhand smoke to celebrate the occasions. My bags are packed again...
06/03/2005 - Friday Morning, half awake. Last night I flew in a plane painted like Shamu. My friend Ken and I had drinks, we had a few more. The sunset from 33,000 feet was spectacular. The wine was bad, again. I worked most of the flight but took some time to jot down some notes, hum a few tunes and peruse the scenery from the window seat. "Three whole seats to myself, I'll lie down and stretch out", Juliana Hatfield sings that, and occasionally I do too although it's been a while.
"Will you sit in a window seat, when you say good-bye to me this time?
Will you smile?
Will you cry?
Will you even say good-bye?
From the wind seat you just closed the blind"
Will the itch return? Yeah, I imagine it will. In due time, in due time.
06/02/2005 - This weekend? I'll be in St. Pete, going to shows, practice, hanging out with the gang, I can't wait! The last few weeks? Let me summarize. I got to see some of the Indy 500 last weekend at night. Last Friday night was spent having drinks on the tiki barge and eventually we ended up at the White River Yacht club for more drinks and we got to see The Flying Toasters. Nat and I rode her wave runners on the White River too. Enjoyed a great cookout for Mitch's birthday on Memorial Day, which included a late-night boat ride and another stop on the tiki barge. Because my rental car, a hideous Chevrolet Malibu, has a broken radio, I am enjoying the new Stephen Malkmus CD. I finally got around to reading the latest issue of SPIN magazine with My Chemical Romance on the cover, only to notice that Hugh and I are in one of the SXSW photos! There was some dog sitting, complete with dog vomit and even some cat sitting and gardening. There was a fast-paced 11-mille bike ride on the Monon Trail. I restrung Nat's old 1960s Epiphone acoustic and we sang harmonies to some Low and Sarah Harmer tunes. And finally, the Euro continues to sink against the Dollar making my trip to Ireland even cheaper! In a few hours I'll see the Interstate, the airport, my seat, New Orleans and eventually home. I'll see some of you very soon.
05/21/2005 - Trying to type in the tail end of a bouncing 737 high over the Gulf of Mexico between New Orleans and home reminds me of the time my Mother drove us through the beautiful winding roads of North Carolina in the summertime. The sun was setting and golden rays of yellow, red, and orange were filtering through the lush green maples and oaks. The rays skittered off roadside streams like diamonds between the leaves. The scenery was beautiful and breathtaking and it was everything I could do not to throw up because of motion sickness.
OK, I've been busy, busy with all kinds of stuff not related to music and it's been a nice break. I've been up in Nap town for a few weeks soaking up the springtime weather, seeing the sights and working hard. I spent last weekend in Indy with Nat, she had a big crowd over for her graduation party and I got to meet some great friends of hers from Chicago, Erica and Jesus. Not the Jesus, think "hey-seuss" and you've got it right.
I (finally) wrapped up James Joyce's, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and it was a great read. A little heavy on religion at times but the story soared at the end. I can't wait to walk those same streets in Dublin that he wrote about.
Humm... let's see, what else, what else...
Martin wrapped up the artwork for my new EP "Silver" that I'll eventually put out. I'd like to be in one place, physically, so I can be around when the UPS truck drops them on my doorstep. 4 snappy tunes, 5 bucks, such a deal.
Wow, the turbulence at the moment is so bad it just knocked my awful $3 chilled merlot off my tray table... damn... hang on... somehow it completely missed my computer so I'll continue.
This last week a bunch of us from work headed down to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the practice sessions for the Indy 500. It was such a cool experience! The race track is HUGE! We walked all over. We saw famous drivers. We got autographs. We drank beer. We watched the practice session. We had a great time. If you ever get the chance to go it's a unique experience, I was amazed how close the stands are to the track and it was unbelievable how loud the cars were. I can only imagine that on race day you could hear it from the other side of town.
Well, we're in our decent into TPA so I'm shutting down...
05/09/2005 - Last week crumbled one day early for me, the sheets were pulled back, bags were packed, work was completed, stones were kissed and I barely made my flight due to heavy traffic on I-465. While I was headed to New Orleans and eventually Tampa I was missing Ben Folds at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis. Nat called me, held up her cell phone and let me enjoy Still Fighting It while I was waiting for the 737 to deplane in Tampa. On Friday I worked in St. Pete, attended a day-long work meeting and ended up drinking with old friends and new friends including folks from the Dublin office. We talked Irish music, places to play and things to see while I'm over there. Saturday night I headed downtown to meet John, Natty and Stacy for drinks before she heads off to NY for work. Practice on Sunday got canceled but Lance and I headed up to the House of Blues in Orlando to see Paul Westerberg. It was a great show, Paul was drunk and the band sounded great. He smashed a Les Paul Junior, told jokes, signed autographs on stage and everyone switched places for the end of Can't Hardly Wait.
05/01/2005 - What a difference a few days off makes. The week ended with a big ball of stress being rolled down the hall and as it picked up steam over the weekend Nat and I headed up to Chicago to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. After seeing that exhibition I've only got two words for you, "body slices." My god, that was the craziest thing I have ever seen. I'm not sure I can do it justice in words so check out the link to the site above. There were so many cadavers, if that's the right word, in various poses, on horses, cut into thin "slices" and posed artistically, that it boggled the mind. We spent the whole day standing in lines, looking a bodies and, hey, they have a really good snack bar... Anyway, it was fun and the weekend was relaxing and serene, just what the doctor ordered. Nat and I spent most all of Sunday kicking around Indy, ate lunch at Three Sisters Cafe in Broad Ripple, got kicked out of a thrift store, went for a walk in a park on the campus of Butler University and had a great meal with family and friends on Sunday night.
04/29/2005 - Have a great weekend everyone.
04/24/2005 - Zzzzzzzz
04/17/2005 - Right now I'm in sunny St. Pete but I've been back in Indianapolis, among other places, enjoying the company of great friends, the beautiful spring weather, the blooming magnolia and dogwood trees, and cold beers at the Brew Pub in Broad Ripple. It's nice to see the town without it being tucked in under a cozy blanket of snow. In music news I'll finally be putting my new CD EP out soon. It's going to be four songs that I recorded in Atlanta last Summer. It's been done for a while but the time feels right to put it out now that the my head is clear; I'm sure we'll throw a party to celebrate it's release. Check out the Discography page for more info on the CD and a look at the cover.
Friday night I ended up at MacDinton's to see The Paper Stanley's rock the shiny-shirt crowd, JD was absent so I jumped up for a few tunes and had a great time singing and playing guitar, thanks for having me.
Saturday night was spent at the New World Brewery celebrating their 10-year anniversary. The Boats, Hankshaw and Auto, Automatic! rocked all night and it was great evening for music and catching up with friends.
04/03/2005 - I feel like I'm missing a hour... and I am, this whole "Spring forward" concept always throws me, I much prefer the "Fall Back" part of the equation. Saturday Night's show at Dave's was really fun. My band kicked off the night and rocked through about nine songs, both new and old. We sold some T-shirts and CDs and everyone had a good time. Next up was Sparky's Nightmare and we were celebrating the release of our new CD, Hangovers and Heartbreaks. As always Dave's is hilarious once the liquor starts flowing. We rocked through the first set and we're joined in the second set by Luscious P. singing Angel of the Morning, Barefoot Jerry singing Dead or Alive by Van Halen, Marcus played some bass, and Travis jumped up for a Dank tune. Sunday was the third annual ACL Rock and Roll Flea Market and all of us headed down for the beer, the bands and the great friends. All the bands sounded great and it was nice to catch up with so many people I hadn't seen in months. I didn't take any pictures this weekend but I'm sure someone did so I'll post a few when they turn up.
04/01/2005 - Come see us rock Dave's this Saturday night!!
03/28/2005 - First off, I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend. I had a great one, Nat was down from Indy and Chris and Tina were down from Atlanta. I enjoyed a week off and we had a fun show at The Globe on Saturday night featuring the very talented Brian Merrill from The Threads and Martin Rice from our beloved Sparky's Nightmare, who by the way, played a fantastic version of Alice Copper's "18". Chris played electric guitar with me that night and he sounded great! Practice, who needs to practice. I hope we have a chance to do that again real soon. Chris and I played a few, and I played a few by myself. There were three-nipple dogs jokes (you had to be there), forgotten words and lots of chatting. After the show quite a few of us headed over to The Emerald and enjoyed The Bad Touch and Jeff Wood's new band. Drinks were drunk and so were we.
03/21/2005 - SXSW 2005 - I'm back and I'm tired, here's the rundown of how the week went!
Monday - A year ago tonight I was in New Orleans. It was a windy and chilly night, Bourbon Street was relatively quiet and I had almost completely lost my voice. I had to sing in Austin on Wednesday at Club Deville and an early night was unfortunately the best idea. This year the Big Easy sung with a different energy. The weather was in the high 60s, the wind was on vacation and speaking of vacations, the Spring Break crowds were out in full force on this crisp Monday evening. A relatively early night was still on the menu but a few drinks were enjoyed along with a wonderful meal and a full walking tour of the district was thoroughly enjoyed. Boobies were flashed, people threw up, horse-draw carriages navigated the narrow crowd-filled street through the tits and frat boy puking as if it was the most romantic ride in the world. Oh, and despite my best judgment and most misguided efforts, I only lost $4.95 at Harrah's on the slots.
Tuesday was spent in the car mostly. I got off to a late start thanks to the big-ass beer that I bought last night. The drive to Austin was an exercise in hazardous driving conditions; Houston was gridlock and it rained heavily the entire time, only briefly letting up just as I rolled into town. I did a quick run by the Yard Dog to check out the venue and drove around downtown to stir up all the wonderful memories of last year before checking in at the hotel.
Wednesday - Everyone met up at The Magnolia Cafe for breakfast and then it was off to the Florida Bandango @ Yard Dog. It was freezing cold all day and running around looking at all the art was an excellent way to keep warm. The show started with with a great set by Freight Train Annie. Next up was Four Star Riot who put in a blistering set. Squirrels Gone Wild fought through some bad technical problems in their set. The Beauvilles turned in a great set with some excellent guitar tones. I entertained between sets with a few acoustic tunes and had a great time. Sparky's Nightmare closed out the set with a rocking set, broken strings, fake cell phone calls and lots of jokes. After the show we grabbed some dinner at a great Mexican place where we were serenaded with La Bamba from a strolling guitar player. After dinner Sam and I headed to La Zona Rosa to see Elvis Costello and Glen Phillips but the $50 ticket for Sam had us scurrying down to Bigsby's to see Sam Champion, the Giraffes, and Abra Moore. Next, I headed to Stubb's where I stood in a long line with real nice guy from Bunim/Murray Productions and thanks to him I got in the backstage VIP area to see Billy Idol rock the crowd! Next up was a quick walk to Emo's where Sleater-Kinney tore through a ferocious set.
Thursday - Happy St. Partick's Day! This festival is just getting started and I'm exhausted already. Here's the readers digest version. Got up early and hit the trade show. Talked to folks from Ireland and the UK, publishers, indie labels and nice folks from all over. I talked guitars with Jimmy Atchey from First Act custom guitars. I saw Lou Barlow play a few tunes at the acoustic cafe. I bumped into Mike Peters from the Alarm and I got to see Robert Plant. The experts loved my tune Alright in the demo critique panel and will defiantly be in touch, so exciting. One of the guys said later, "I'm still singing "Alright!" Very cool indeed. I caught up with Martin, Hugh, JoEllen, Flee and the gang to see Magnapop at Emo's Annex. They sounded great. Next it was over to see Biirdie play, they put on a cool set and Devin from Bloom was there too. Had an amazing steak dinner with Martin and Hugh. That night I caught some of the bands at the Irish Showcase including Mono Band and Bell X1. I stood in line for an hour with some folks from Chicago to see Hot Hot Heat but eventually bailed to go see Clem Snide instead. They had some great tunes and lovely embroidered white tuxedos. Mary Lou Lord played on the street among the drunken St. Patrick's Day revelers. There were drunk people in green everywhere. Pizza from Rappollo's was enjoyed at 2am. Bands I missed today: Hot Hot Heat, Kathleen Edwards, Death from Above 1979.
Friday - Again, recap style... Got lunch with Hugh. Hit the Polyvinyl Records showcase where I saw Picastro and Ida. The SPIN 20th anniversary party at Stubb's BBQ was fun. Hugh and I saw The Hold Steady, Louis XIV, The Futureheads, Bloc Party, and The New York Dolls! Also in attendance were Gibby Haynes from The Butthole Surfers and Leah and Sabrina from Birds of London. Briefly talked to Steve Malkmus in line before he played at the Matador Records showcase where Dead Meadow, Laura Cantrell and Stephen Malkmus debuted some new material. Saw James Salter and Derek Murphy who played with Teitur at The Drink when The Blue Van was rocking. Also I caught a few seconds of Of Montreal down the street. Bands I missed today: Shonen Knife, Ash, The Ravonettes, Centro-matic, Rainer Maria, Pedro the Lion, Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three and James Iha.
Saturday - I feel dirty on the inside, the free beer and BBQ is starting to extract a physical toll. Hugh and I talked about playing chess by mail. I headed down to the seminars on Publishing and songwriting. I hit the day parties one last time for some MORE free BBQ. At the ASCAP party I enjoyed Matt Costa and Kate Earl. Quite by accident I stumbled upon Flatstock 6, a concert poster exposition. I bumped into Greg Reinel (Stainboy) there and enjoyed all the artists, I wish I had bought a bunch of posters, next year for sure. Bands I caught at the Day shows included A Fir-Ju Well, The Good Looks, The Witnesses and Supersystem. It rained like hell for 30 minutes and the cooler weather returned. That night at Stubb's I hung out with James, we caught the John Butler Trio from Australia, and Aimee Mann. Aimee had a security guy who's sole job was to tell people not to use the flash on their camera. Good stuff. As the night wound down I caught 33hz and had a final slice of pie at Rappollo's. Bands I missed today: Son Volt, Nada Surf, Brazilian Girls, Nashville Pussy, American Analog Set and Ben Lee. Best band name at the 2005 festival goes to Holy Fuck! My god I'm tired. What a great trip it was. Thanks to everyone involved, I can't wait until next year!!
03/11/2005 - Ah yes, my last day in Indianapolis or "Nap Town" as some people call it. It's Friday morning (Half Awake), the snow was coming down pretty hard for a while outside but now it's just a dusty mist. Last night's show at the Rock Lobster down in Broad Ripple was a great time. About 30 people from work and some of Nat's friends and family made it out to sing along, meet new friends, and wish me bon voyage. I really appreciate everyone coming out on a cold and snowy night. After the show Nat and I stopped in at the Alley Cat across the street for one last drink before heading home. Not too much more to say today so I'll save my strength for SXSW next week. I'll post some photos from last night's show soon.
03/10/2005 - Hey everyone, this is John's brother Josh filling in. John is out of town and he won't mind me posting a brief journal entry. The new issue of TBT is out and there is a story about Sparky's Nightmare in there. Funny enough, the same weekend that they did the interview John was out of town so I went down to fill in and answer some questions. I learned things about the band that I never knew, I never knew that Sam liked Jade's Music. Good stuff. Here's the article ~ Josh
03/06/2005 - The weekend dissolves and the new week begins. I spent the better part of the day today being a tourist in my own town and had a great time. I biked around town for about three hours, got a little sun burnt, took some pictures and just enjoyed the wonderful weather. Last night's show at Dave's was fun. Experimental Pilot opened the show and sounded great; the Vessenmeyer brothers played some tunes and the harmonies were flawless. Sparky rocked a few sets, loose and fun as ever, with lots of random requests and plenty of heckling. This week will by my last official week in Indianapolis, hopefully I'll get extended for a little longer, right now Thursday's show at the Rock Lobster will be the last show I've got booked up in Indy.
03/03/2005 - Forgive me, with everything that's been happening with me I've completely neglected to mention that the Sparky's Nightmare CD entitled Heartbreaks & Hangovers is done!!! We'll be getting it back next week and we'll have them with us in Austin at the SXSW SMLG Showcase so all the big industry types can start the bidding war. I'm holding out for a cool million bucks, non-recoupable of course. Click on over to the Discography page to see the cover and the track listing. You can also check out the MySpace Site to hear a few of the tunes. Enjoy!
03/01/2005 - It's hard to believe it's March already and even harder to believe it's almost time for SXSW again. A year goes so quickly sometimes. Last night's show at Birdy's was fun. A bunch of people from work made it out as did some of Nat's family. There were supposed to be three performers but one guy "just got out of the pokey and nobody's heard from him" and the other guy was going to "try and make it out." So it ended up being just me for the entire night. It was a snowy night but the mood was warm and toasty inside as people sang along, shouted requests, the one for Superchunk from Noah got filled with Iron On. Take it Off was played, and once again I threatened to drag people on stage to play No On Would Miss Us. One of these days someone up in Indy is going to go for it. After I played the night wound down pretty fast as everyone slushed out to the cars before the roads became pulled up sheets of white with white lines hidden underneath them.
02/27/2005 - This weekend... where to start, it's not even over and I'm completely worn out so I'll just kick it highlight style... A late-night flight from Indianapolis with a James Joyce novel. An early morning, Tangelo's for lunch, a soy misto, looking at houses, taxes, an acoustic show at The Globe with Susie, Mike and Bob and a call to Indy to play a Shins song. Girl's Night at the Emerald featuring a few drinks, great bands, tons of friends, an interview with Aaron from TBT, amp stands, Sparky's Nightmare rocks a set, and I break a glass. Sunday was paradise in sunny Florida with wind, rain, a flat tire, a tornado watch, more taxes, laundry and me finding $20 in my pocket from who knows where
02/20/2005 - Low's new CD "the Great Destroyer" has been the soundtrack for the weekend and I also picked up an new EP from the Florida-via-New York transplants the Caulfield Sisters from Luna Music to push the weekend along. Saturday was absolutely beautiful all day long so Nat and I headed downtown, parked in the circle, and went up into the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial. The elevator was rickety but not nearly as bad as the stairs that led to the top. The $1 view from the top was worth every penny and some photos were taken. The next stop, unintentionally, was the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art on our way to the Canal Walk. We parked right in front and enjoyed a quick jaunt through the multimedia newspaper creations, movies, and alias-musician paintings. From Canal Walk we headed over to IUPUI where she's finishing up her Master's Degree this semester for a quick tour of he campus. The sun sets early in the westernmost state of Eastern Standard Time so we headed off for dinner and called it a night with Napoleon Dynamite. Idiots! I spent most of Sunday running errands and sightseeing at the Indianapolis War Memorial & Museum and I even swung by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and (surprise) a few music stores. The evening wound down and Sunday was topped off with a great dinner with family and friends.
02/18/2005 - Like a slowly spinning coin, the week makes its final few turns before collapsing onto the weekend. I could use a few days off to recharge the batteries and see the sights so I'll be staying put this weekend. The weather up here in Indianapolis has been pretty wonderful. Some days the temperature got up into the 60s, we'd get some snow at night and then another beautiful day would emerge just as quickly to brush away the dusting. This weekend is supposed to be especially nice and I'm going to spend it kicking back with no plans and no agenda. I need to avoid the airport at least one weekend a month, right? There's always too much running around followed by too much sitting around. A new book has been keeping me occupied on those sitting around moments though; I picked up James Joyce's, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. I'm headed to Ireland this summer and I need to start soaking in the atmosphere before I go. Next on that agenda is to pick up a good book on Ireland and start making plans. So what else is new… I'm really getting excited about SXSW, I just found out today that I'm getting a pass to the SPIN party! Very exciting. This week's show at Barley Island in Noblesville failed to materialize, I had to work late and we never did get around to making it out there. I've rescheduled for next week and I hope a bunch of friends from up here will join me. Have a great weekend everyone and I'll see you soon.
02/13/2005 - So much to catch up on and so little time, where to begin. The week cartwheeled by so awkwardly and quickly that before I knew it it was Friday and I hadn't even had a chance to write a setlist for the show at Birdy's that night opening up for Jeffrey Gaines. In between changing shirts, packing my suitcase and looking for my phone charger a setlist was scrawled. We headed down to the club and settled in. There was a nice crowd on hand for the show and joining Nat and I that night were some of her friends and a some folks from my work. I played first and had a fun set, I tried to pull people on stage, ad-libbed a few things, took requests and had a great time. Thanks to Tim Wilsbach for loaning me a new 9volt battery for the show. Tim played next and turned in a fun, groovy set. Jeffrey Gaines closed out the evening with a soulful set of originals and covers including his current radio tune, Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes.
Saturday I flew up to Chicago before heading back to the 'Burg for the Skipper's Cash for Ca$h show. I rolled into town at 6PM and by 7PM I was at the venue. It was a fun show, the weather was cool and the beer was even colder. I think I ate seven hot dogs to the disgust of the vegetarians in attendance. Sparky's Nightmare played a rocking set consisting of Tennessee Stud, Lonely Before, and Ring of Fire. It was fun to see April, Travis, and so many people that I haven't seen in a while. I don't think anyone took any photos tonight so you'll just have to use your imagination. OK, I'm flying out of town again this afternoon so I'd better run, er... fly.
02/08/2005 - At one point last night the jokes were so bad I was writing them down as fast as I could so I could post them here on the webpage, but alas, I lost the pink flyer that I was scrawling them on. It was Open Mic night at The Melody Inn last night in glorious Indianapolis. Nat, my tour guide to all things Indy, and I headed down a little early to sign up and grab a pint. We were joined by Alfred, Andrea, Gina and Melissa and we proceeded to take over the bar. I played two sets, they yelled requests, I tricked Alfred into singing "Alright!" really loud. It was a fun time.
02/06/2005 - The week careened into the weekend like a wounded duck on it's final landing. OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic but I've been flat worn out this week and I can't shake this cough. Work was busy but there was time to mix in some fun with Nat out at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub before heading to Florida on Thursday night in the biggest emptiest jet I've ever been on. Everyone had three rows to themselves; no wonder ATA is pulling out of the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport. Friday was a blur, so much stuff to catch up with here in Florida that before I knew it it was midnight and I was off to sleep. Saturday I headed up to the Vintage guitar show in Orlando. I left the credit cards at home and thankfully I didn't see anything that I couldn't live without. The prices of vintage Jazzmasters have really gone through the roof and there were some beautiful custom colors at the show. Next, I headed over to Palm Bay for a stop, only to discover that an uncle of mine had passed away recently and I had no idea. I must get a card out this week. Saturday night was a typical (hilarious) Sparky's Nightmare show at Dave's, that place never disappoints. Kate Bradshaw joined us and played a couple of great acoustic sets. She's got such a wonderful voice. Charlene, Rob and Rebekah crashed the stage for Straight to Hell and everyone had a great time.
01/30/2005 - Stacy asked me if I had walking pneumonia. I'm pretty sure I don't but the way I felt last night maybe I did. I was under the weather and by all accounts should have stayed home. Last night's show at The Globe Coffee Lounge was well attended, well performed, joke filled, and fun. Keeping an eye on us from the broad inner right-hand wall were all the great works of art featured in Hugh and Carrie's closing of their art showing tonight, well, most of their works were there... Several nights earlier (and I'm guessing several double espressos later) a customer went berserk, grabbed two of Hugh's "Beat Poet" paintings off the wall, locked himself in the bathroom and proceeded to beat Jack Kerouac against the porcelain sink. Lance Rowland filled in for the ailing Billy Soma and played a great set of original tunes off of his upcoming CDs. Susie Ulrey and Mike Waksman played next; Susie's voice sounded better than ever and Mike sounded great on guitar and piano. Brian turned in an excellent set and treated us to a great version of Never Tear Us Apart by INXS. He should have made the finals of their auditions! I jumped up next and despite the lack of a voice turned in a proper set. After a brief intermission Sparky's Nightmare kicked into an hours worth of rock and JoEllen only told us to turn it down once. We sounded pretty damn tight for not having played together for over a month and the enthusiasm of playing again really showed. Thanks again to everyone that made it out, we'll do it again soon.
01/28/2005 - The lights of the Greater (is there a lesser?) Midwest at night from the back of a 737, row 27 seat A to be exact, shine like a lite-brite with too many pages of paper on top and not enough holes. They'd rather go to sleep, who wouldn't, and cease their endless enthusiastic enlightening of city roads in Bloomington, front porches in Seymore, empty shopping center parking lots in Bedford and the snow covered soccer fields of the Eva Bandmam Park on the shore of the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky. They should be motion-activated, that way if everyone stood real still we could see the stars so much better at night. So in this limbo at 20,000(?) feet I have two sets of twinkling lights to study, one above and one below. What causes the twinkling is probably a matter of scientific fact but I like to think it's some sort of communication between them, some undiscovered language, perhaps some obscene joke that zips through the air in space-morse code. I'm going to open and close my airplane window real fast and see if I can get their attention.
01/25/2005 - Greetings all! Last night's show at Birdy's was so much fun. A ton of people from work made it out as did some great new friends from the local area. Birdy's was basically one large room, similar to the Rubb/Twilight in Ybor City with the stage situated at one corner, high ceiling, and an upstairs area. It was a cold night and we got there about 8pm, just before the show was getting ready to start. We talked to a few of the people that were also performing that night and settled in. The most interesting performer was Grogh. He had a black death metal outfit on; black hair, chains, boots, and he had his face painted red with upside down black crosses painted on it. Nice. All the people from work enjoyed his performance. The other solo acts were good and I threw out a fun set of mostly-rockers. I started with Maria, my friend Melissa yelled "Take it Off" so I played it. I also heckled a few people answering their phones and my friend Ryan as he played Golden Tee. I finished up with On the Line and the crowd-pleaser-sing-along Alright. The set went well, people danced, CDs were dispersed and as soon as I got off stage I talked to a few of the people who booked some of the rooms locally. I'm in the process of setting up some shows, most notably one on February 11th with Jeffrey Gaines. That one should be fun, I'll have to come home and get some more gear to rock with. I miss my Gibson Hummingbird. After my set a band called Fontaine played. I really enjoyed them. Cool tunes, great musicians, and super nice guys. They sounded like a mix of Luna, Pixies, and the Shins. They asked me to open up for some of their shows so hopefully I'll get to play again sometime soon. Eventually the night was dispersed. Conversations were closed. Tabs were paid. Smiles were exchanged. I walked new friends out as old friends had skittered home a little earlier under the stars and over the slick blacktop. I'm gonna like it here.
01/23/2005 - The weekend is fighting a losing battle with the week as I catch up with everyone here from the comforts of home. It was good to be back for the weekend yet it's good to be packed and ready for the flight tomorrow morning. I had a fun night out with friends at the Emerald to see Rebekah Pulley on Friday night. Sam threw a great party on Saturday night at his place. It was a perfect night for a party too, cool temperatures and great friends were enhanced by the warm fire pit by the water, the refreshing brief rain shower and some damn fine Guinness. Sunday's reluctance to motivate and inspire was enhanced by spending time with friends, some football and great conversations. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's show at Birdy's in Indy; rumor has it that the last time Prince was in town he played an after-show set there. Maybe the vibe is still hanging in the air and I can soak some of it in. Hey, if you're in Indy come on out! I'll catch up with everyone in the middle of the week and maybe I'll have a few photos from the show.
01/17/2005 - What a great weekend I had! I flew out of Indy on Friday afternoon to see my friend Stacey in the bustling metropolis of Elmira, NY. The flights were quick, the layover in Detroit was brief, and the weather was cold and crisp. I got the guided tour of Elmira, which is where Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Prince and the Pauper in his Summer home. It's also the birthplace of Tommy Hilfiger and it's where he first started his men's fashion business by traveling into New York City to buy jeans to resell in rural Elmira. Interesting. That night we headed out for drinks at an Irish pub called Patrick's and spent time with family and friends. Saturday we headed out to ski at Greak Peak which was just north of Ithica. Cornell University is located in Ithica and the campus strikes and impressive silhouette up on the hill, even from a few miles away on the highway. Skiing was amazing; it was the first time that I'd ever gone and I think I did pretty damn good. I only busted my butt a few times, and thanks to Stacey who gave me some excellent pointers, I had a great time. I can't wait to go skiing again. That night her work threw a party and we had a wonderful dinner at an old converted firehouse called the Number 5 in Binghamton. I met some of her friends from work and we had a great time. I can't wait to go back.
01/12/2005 - Hilarious. Fun. Anarchy. It was like a scene out of a movie at The Melody Inn on Monday night. The Melody Inn is a very cool little indie-rock/punk-rock bar just north of downtown Indy. The decor oozed local-band clubhouse, autographed cymbals mixed with busted autographed Danelectro guitars and Squire basses to create a cool, kitchy, and intimate feel. The entertainment tonight was organized by Otto, a comedian/musician who's sponsored by the Math Channel. I'm not making that up. There were half-baked acoustic jams, great/terrible comedians, guys making out with guys in the men's room, and a sweet bartender that just seemed pleased that we bought a few rounds. Some friends from work joined me and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a night that will be remembered for quite some time by all of us. I got to rock a few tunes and I had a great time, mission accomplished. Staying true to form I heckled the comedians and the locals. You can take me out of the 'Burg, but you can't take the 'Burg out of me. In other news, I finally got a contract on my house tonight, it's sold! I couldn't be happier.
01/10/2005 - Well it was quite the fun weekend. A friend from work and I drove up to Chicago on Saturday morning. When we headed out we discovered that it had snowed about 3 inches overnight but by the morning the snow had stopped and roads were clear. The drive up to Chicago was a quick one, just under three hours all the way to our first stop which was the home and studio of architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the Oak Park suburb just outside of town. The guided tour was incredible and the two of us made up the entire party. It was personal and fun and the house was absolutely amazing.
From there we walked a few blocks in the snow, through the neighborhood, where we stopped by Ernest Hemingway's birthplace home where he lived until he was six. It appeared closed and when we knocked on the door we thought we must have come to the wrong place by the way the woman opened the door, "Yes? May I help you?" Next, we slushed down a few blocks towards the Oak Park shopping district where we stopped in at the Hemingway Museum. I picked up a old, used, 1952 copy of The Sun Also Rises for $5 and we decided that the next stop should be Caribou coffee.
The shopping district in Oak Park is charming, there are a number of mom-and-pop shops of all types and everyone was friendly, warm and helpful. I quickly found the local indie-rock record store called Val's Halla and picked up a copy of Luna's last CD, Rendevouz. Next, we stopped in to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple. This church is still operational and when we inquired inside about a tour we were turned away because there was a service that was about to begin. We shrugged our shoulders, took a few photos, and headed back to the car.
Music stores in big cities can have an amazing amount of mind-boggling guitars and amps and the two shops we visited were just incredible. Midwest Buy and Sell was stuffed to the ceiling with great guitars and vintage amps and Chicago Music Exchange had so many rare guitars I had to quickly leave before my brain overloaded.
We drove by Wrigley Field, grabbed some food, and went downtown to check in into the hotel before heading up to Evanston to hang out on the way to the open mic that I planned on playing in the Park Ridge neighborhood at a bar called The Blarney Stone. Evanston was fun, traffic was bad and The Blarney Stone was a bust, no open mic tonight, just snow, slush, four guys playing darts, and both of my gloves fell into 3 inches of freshly thawed snow.
We closed out the night at Kitty O'Shea's, a Irish Pub I discovered three years ago when I was in Chicago last.
Sunday was an altogether less-ambitious day that would be just as exhausting. We hit the Field Museum, The Art Institute, Millennium Park, lunch at the Hancock Building, and a few stores on Michigan Avenue's miracle mile before calling it a day heading back to Indy.
01/05/2005 - New Year's weekend is still a blur. There were parties, starting on Thursday, going all weekend long. There was the "Yay Meat" party for Fun Bobby, Martin and Natty's annual New Year's Eve Party, Allen's Black Shirt Gang party and finally JoEllen's New Year's Night party. It was quite the blowout weekend before I headed out.
On Monday the flight up to Indy was about as non-eventful as you can get. I was kept company by Tom Robbins' Another Roadside Attraction and Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain kept me in good spirits the entire trip up, even if I did have to listen to it three times. I need more Miles Davis' in my iPod. I brought a guitar with me and despite a tense few moments and it being the last piece of baggage to make it out on the luggage carousel, it made it safe and sound. Once into town I met with friends and went for drinks at an Irish pub. Several Bass later it was last call (at midnight!) and we headed for the hotel.
By now it's Wednesday, and despite the fact that I've only been here three days, I haven't seen the sky since leaving sunny Florida. The Ohio River valley has been blanketed consistently by low gray clouds since before my arrival and there's no end in sight this week. They cover the sky like your favorite comforter on a rainy day, begging you to stay inside underneath its spread to read a book. The sun never stands a chance above them as they cast a dull gray shadow on the blue/gray cars, the leafless sticks impersonating trees and the now line-less slick roads acting as the vital arteries that get me around town. I'm hoping to check out to an open mic this evening but if the weather keeps up I'm going to take the clouds advice and read.