Wednesday, July 25, 2007


It's official, and it only took me about 3 months longer than I said it would. I've finally confirmed the first 2 out-of-state legs of the Su Casa es Mi Casa tour of tiny venues.

Here's the first one:

Sept 6 Stillwater, OK
Sept 7 Clever, MO
Sept 8-9 Wichita, KS

***I'd be happy to do a house show in OK or KS on the 5th or the 10th. Anybody interested? Let me know asap.

And here's the second one:

Sept 18-19 Reisterstown, MD
Sept 20 Reading, PA
Sept 21-22 Chesapeake Bay, MD
Sept 23 Lancaster, PA

That's all I can do in the NE area on that leg, but I am definitely planning on going back in November. So those of you who missed out on this one, be patient as I try to fit you in on the next leg. Either way, let me know if you live in/around any of these areas, and I'll get you more details so that maybe you can check out a show near you. Also, all you NY and northern PA folks, I didn't forget about you. I'm just trying not to be out longer than 7 days or so, and with travel, this tour is about maxed out.

Hey, I can't thank all of you enough for encouraging me thru this process. The tours haven't even started yet, and I'm already really affirmed and excited. Keep coming around and giving me feedback.

That's all for today. Next thing on my tour planning list is working out Texas shows. Also, I'm still trying to see if the Florida tour is going to work. It's been the toughest one to organize, but I still have hope. I mean, it's Florida, so I wanna go.

Until then, Buck Savage (above) says "thumbs up." And that, I know, gives comfort to us all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Okay, fine.

My pal Johnny “tagged” me. Boy o boy, do I hate stuff like this. But I love Johnny, with his super-good drumming and his deep-theology-talking and his martini-drinkin’, so I’ll do it for him. But all I’m doing is posting the facts. I’m not following any of the other rules. Like a good theonomist, Johnny loves the law. Not me. I’m free from it.

Two warnings. First, some of these are pretty crazy facts. One of my friends once told me that I’m the “great unintentional one-upper,” because I have so many weird stories and such. I told him that, if it made him feel any better, most of the weird stories were miserable experiences.

Second, I don't write facts in bullet-point sentences. I write them in narrative essays. Hey, I'm a writer, and if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it my own way.

At any rate, here are my SEVEN RANDOM FACTS:

1) I have a decent-sized comic book collection. Probably around 300-400. Haven’t bought one in about 20 years, but from ages 10-15 or so, I was a full-on geek, hanging out in comic bok stores talking about how DC was lame and Marvel was the coolest (no duh). In many ways, I still am the geek (no duh).

1) I have a weirdly good ability to do nunchucks (or, nunchaku, as they are known in the martial arts world). During that above-mentioned time period of geekdom, I was also into ninjas and stuff (it was the 80’s, and I was a stuttering kid who sucked at sports), and I thought it would be a cool thing to try and learn. Thad has video somewhere of me doing them at the ComChurch Talent Show a few years ago. Yes, my church has a talent show, and yes, nunchucks were my act.

3) Three years ago, I ran over someone with my car. This fact has the potential to sort of “trump” the whole thing, because it’s really like 15 crazy, random facts in one.
a) I hit a teenage girl, and she lived, and only sustained relatively minor injuries, even though I hit her with a suburban going 45 miles an hour.
b) She sued me, and it went all the way to court, so I had to actually go sit on a witness stand and all that stuff that people usually only experience on TV. In the end, I was absolved. It didn't make the experience much better.
c) I had to ride in a police car.
d) I’m pretty sure I encountered an angel that night on the road, while waiting for the cops to work it all out. She was black and elderly, and very much like a kindly grandmother, only she spoke with authority and supernatural knowledge about the circumstances of the accident. See? Random.
e) I had to have a blood test (sobriety). I passed it, and the hospital charged me $1000. Cool.
f) I had to hire a lawyer for one day (the day after the wreck), and it cost me $1400. Cool.

4) On Halloween night several years ago, I was hit by a drunk driver. It was like one of those pseudo-wrecks in TV car chases, when the good guy tries to knock the bad guy’s car off the road. I was the bad guy. He drove right past me and slammed into the side of my car as he went. I was fine, but my Nissan truck was pretty smashed up. I gave chase, and when we finally pulled over, another car pulled in, and a dude jumped out and started beating up the drunk. Apparently they had history. It was weird.

5) I only have about 70% of my hearing in my left ear (and I own a recording studio, by the way), and when they first discovered it, they thought I might have a brain tumor. I had to lay down in that MRI machine and everything. Not a tumor. Just can’t hear perfectly in one ear.(This is why Keith does the mixing at The MixLab.)

6) I have actually used the “barf bag” on a plane (see above photo). The plane was taxi-ing, about to take off when it happened, and the flight attendant (a very feminine male wearing eye make-up) started screaming like a girl about viruses and stuff, and they parked the plane and made me get off. For several flights after that, I was “flagged” by the TSA folks and searched during security. (For the record, the bag holds about three heaves of stomach stew before overflowing, which mine did. Also for the record, the flight attendants keep plastic shopping bags around in case of overflow.)

7) I once got in a fight with a dog. Long story, but I’ll give the highlights. 14-15 years old. At the house of a friend-of-a-friend. Great Dane. Nobody in the room but me and Marmaduke, who takes a rather erotic liking to my leg. I “resist” (no means no). He perseveres. I continue to resist, and growling/hostility ensues. In a panic, I punch him, pretty hard, in the ear, 2-3 times. This apparently has some affect on his sense of balance, and he backs away, looking stunned and dizzy. Dog owners enter the room, confused. I avoid the randy mutt for the remainder of the day. True story.

Strangely, I’m leaving out tons of story-worthy stuff, including a life-and-death whitewater canoeing incident on the Rio Grande, a fistfight at a funeral, a massive river rat fought – but not killed – with a tennis racket in my first apartment, a mouse in my bed (and on my back!) in my second apartment, a front-end loader bucket landing on my head, and getting kicked out of a Baptist camp for defending a preacher’s from-the-stage use of the word “penis.” All true, all random. I’m living la vida loca, for sure.

I won’t officially “tag” anyone, because I’m too cool for such nonsense, but I will say that I’d love to see what kind of hilarious fun Thad could have with this. Thad, do what you want with that. The rest of my blog pals are off the hook. Johnny, tell Jenni that I’m “breaking the chain,” and please pray that bad things don’t happen to me because of it. Isn’t that what usually happens here?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

spittin' distance

That's how close I am to finishing this crazy record. Kids, I've somehow worked myself into a summer that had only 3 normal "camp" weeks (I usually do 6-8 weeks), and is still as busy as ever. Between finishing this project and planning this tour, I'm feeling a little looney. But we're on the home stretch.

In fact, this past week has been kind of a clean-up time. I've been finishing up vocals and acoustics. Below are some pics from a couple of sessions:

My friend Greg Smith gave me a free guitar last year (this isn't it). Now he just shows up every once in a while with something really expensive and says, "try this one out for a while." The above pic is me tuning the limited addition Breedlove that he's trying to sell (it costs more than my car, and isn't as comfortable to sit in). It's really a finger-style guitar, so it actually didn't mesh that well with my basher-smasher style of playing, but I used it on a few of my slower tunes. Guitar nerds: begin salivating!

Look at the above pic, if you dare, and gaze upon the razor-sharp intensity of a 4-chord-playing, super-fast-strumming psycho-genius of indie soft rock.

This is my hottie wife rubbin' the funk on it. All aformentioned salivating must now cease. Cease, I say!

Keith Sewell, my studio partner at The MixLab, editing some of my vocals, probably trying to figure out how hard the AutoTune plug-in is going to have to work to keep me from sounding like William Hung and Stevie Nicks' illegitimate lovechild.

All in all, good sessions, good results. I keep saying I'm going to get you guys some rough mixes, and I really intend to, but forgive me for being a little nervous about showing my unfinished work. OK, I'll make this promise. The people who frequent this blog will have first chance at hearing some of this stuff. Deal? Deal.

And I really will have the tours worked out soon. I'm on the very cusp (the cusp!) of finalizing the first PA/NY/MD leg, the OK/KS/MO leg, and the San Antonio shows. I'm ready, but I'm waiting on contacts from a few folks (Lance! Rob!) to get back to me.

That be all.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

trying out some stuff

Don't know if this blog template is better or worse than the black. don't know if there's anything less important in life than that question. just trying to keep things interesting around here.

Also, waiting on one phone call and one email to have the OK/KS/MO and PA/MD/NY tours finalized. I'm definitely going to have to go to the northeast more than once, unless I want to stay for like 10-12 days at a time. As a husband of a hot wife and a father of two squishy dudes, that option es no bueno.

Finally, check out the pic. This is from my photo session with Ari (see older post to read about my diva-like antics in front of the camera). Staci brought the kids along, and after we were done getting 100's of shots of me looking cool and ripped, Ari offered to get a couple of me looking cool and ripped while my kid is on my shoulders. I won't use this one for the CD cover, but i thought it was cool anyway. We did something like this with Sam on Famous 2, so my wife thought it would be cute and all.

Hello! She was right.

Monday, July 2, 2007

File under "Juicy Details of the Rock Star Life"

Here's something I wrote today while trying to get home. I don't promise that it's interesting. Only that it's true.

Picture this:

It’s around noon on Monday, and I’m in the Tupelo Regional Airport. I’ve been here maybe an hour. The airport, that is. I’ve been in Tupelo since Saturday afternoon. Too long. Not because of Tupelo or the work/ministry I’ve been doing here. That actually went really, really well. Just too long because Tupelo isn’t home. Too long because I stayed in a hotel room by myself for a couple of nights. And too long because I missed my flight going out this morning. I was scheduled to be landing in College Station around 12:30 in the afternoon, and instead, because of a couple of dumb mistakes on my part, I’ll be flying out about that time and arriving home tonight.

So, too long in Tupelo. Make sense?

The airport is under construction, so it’s kind of a mess. After going thru security, I found myself in the “waiting area” (conveniently marked by a sheet of 8x11 paper with “waiting area” written in Sharpie), which is a essentially an oddly shaped temporary room with unfinished sheetrock for walls and some kind of net for a ceiling. I don’t know what the net is for. The real ceiling, which has a surprisingly lovely skylight, is a few feet above it. The net, held together by plastic ties and green nylon cord, does not help the look.

There are maybe 30 chairs in the waiting area and, including me, 11 of them are occupied. Here’s the demographic breakdown, just because I’ve got some time:
4 elderly (65 or older), 7 non-senior adults, no kids.
3 women, 8 men.
8 white, 3 black, no latino, asian, or other.
1 cliché redneck-ish dude (see below), 1 member of the armed forces, 9 people who could be anybody (unless you single out the 1 self-indulged, wannabe-celebrity goofball typing on his computer, judging people without their knowledge).

Decent cultural breakdown. Considering the image that Mississippi has been known to have (fair or not), I’d say one possible redneck out of 11 isn’t bad. Go Tupelo.

Directly across from me sits the poor fellow whom I have unfairly stereotyped – though not unfondly – as a possible redneck. He is significantly overweight (just a fact, kids, not a criticism), and he sports a camouflage cap and mirror shades with that "someone spilled oil on these" look (fact and criticism). He is asleep and, I’m not kidding you, he is snoring as loud as any snoring I have ever heard. Every few minutes, one of two things is happening. Either his snoring wakes him up, at which time he looks around and sniffs a little (Why? What does he smell?), and then he promptly goes back to sleep. Or, and this is where things are getting really fun, he has these short bursts of what I will now call Super-Duper-Sonic-Rain-of-Death snoring. It’s a long name, I know, but you’d have to be here to understand. This dude sounds like he’s trying to cut down a sapling with a push mower on a wet day.

It is, in a word, awesome.

Nobody wants to talk about it, by the way. The snoring, I mean. Several times, I have burst into laughter, quite loudly. People look at me when it happens, as if that’s the weirdest loud noise that they’ve heard all day. As if mega-loud snoring in public is apropos, but noticing it is faux pas. Far as I can tell, the only other people free enough to laugh are the black people. This only goes to support my longstanding theory that, at least in America, the black culture is a great deal more liberated, honest, and fun-loving than we whites, who tend toward an over-emphasis on pretense, phoniness and unnecessary manners.

So, every so often, 4 of us are having a good laugh. Since I have no control over how long I will sit here, and since Camo Cap shows no signs of nasal wellness, I have hopes that before it’s all over, the laughers will convert the non-laughers and all will be one, united in our humorous enjoyment of one poor soul’s public sleep habits. It’s a cruel world, indeed. But when you’re stuck in Tupelo, you gotta laugh to keep from crying.

Okay, time to board. That concludes our discussion of the mundane.