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Showing posts from August, 2010

To sink or swim

I've played in many bands in my life. In only one of them I knew going into the final show that it was the final show. That band was the Pull Tabs as of last Friday night. The great thing was, the show wasn't an awkward, painful, or estranged sort of matter. The band got together as a fun outlet for playing music and I'm happy to say it ended that way too. And I'm really happy to say that the door is still open for Mike and I to play with Kyle again. When that will be, I don't know, but I'm glad the door is still open. Many years ago, I distinctly remember the first time I felt a certain sinking feeling about a band situation not working out. I was at a large pro audio place with my father as he looked at buying some gear for his business. There was a lot of time to wander around, and there was plenty of space to wander about. I kept thinking about this "band" I had going where three guys I knew came over to my house with guitars and we jammed. At n

A dog/cat's life

There was an ongoing joke in my house growing up: if I ever wanted to tell my mother that she wasn't welcome in my house, I should get a cat. Because of allergies to cat hair, my mom would have a hell of a time withstanding a visit. I kept that in mind but I always wanted to her to visit me. I never wanted a cat growing up. We always had a dog when I was growing up. The dog was a wire-haired fox terrier and he stayed outside. From J.W. to Rocky to Bailey, there was a dog in the backyard. Now that I've lived in a house for six years always with a dog in the house, I have a different sense of closeness to a pet. I've never as close to Victory as I have been with any other dog. And as of the last few weeks, I have never been so close to a cat. Diana recently took in a stray cat that had been hanging around our area for the past few months. The cat, an 11-month-old male who has been dubbed Mimo, really clung to Diana right away. I liked him too, but I've always been cau

First draft

Still keeping in mind my September 15th date to have a first draft of When We Were the Kids , I have to take a step back and wonder what exactly is a first draft. What constitutes it? Should it really reflect the final draft? Given the scope I have of this book, this proposed first draft is more of a look at what I have so far. What more should I add to the story? What should I subtract from the story? I still think you should have a lot to work with in the editing process instead of wishing you had more to work with. In other words, editing down 400 pages is better than editing down 100 pages. So far, I have the main outline of the book fleshed out. There are key events that happen, hopefully giving a sense of closure by the end. I also have plenty about what happens in between those events. A house isn't just a slab and a roof, you know? Writing any story, fiction or nonfiction, is easier to finish when you have an end in mind. I keep wondering whenever I read something, "

Staff Trax

This week's edition spotlights a song by Love Spit Love, a band I heard about back in the 1990s, but didn't get around to listening to until a year ago. As I went through Jason's CD library before he moved out, I found "Fall On Tears" on a CMJ compilation and it really struck me.

Vs. the World

This past Friday night, I did something I had not done in ages: see a movie on its opening night. I've seen a few matinees of films on their opening day, but the whole, see-it-with-a-packed-primetime-audience thing had been a while for me. (I think the last time I did that was when The Two Towers and The Return of the King came out.) The film in question? Scott Pilgrim vs. the World . While it was on people's minds yesterday that the film did lackluster business at the box office, that was definitely not on the mind of the packed audience I saw it with on Friday. When Diana and I, along with a couple of friends, pulled up to the theater, I was surprised to see long waiting lines for Eat, Pray, Love and not for Scott Pilgrim . This is a teenager flick with all sorts of modern and vintage (read, circa 8-bit Nintendo), right? And what do a lot of teenagers like to do on a Friday night? See a movie, and preferably not a soon-to-be-forgotten Julia Roberts star vehicle. Only o

On ice

Last week I got a phone call that has traditionally meant that I'm fired from a band. I've received that call a few times, where a bandmate that I don't normally talk to tells me I'm a great drummer but still has to fire me from his band. Turns out, Kyle (who I talk to regular outside of band stuff, by the way) called to tell me that he had landed a job in Oklahoma City and would move there in a few weeks. In short, that means the Pull Tabs are on extended hiatus. I can't say this is a permanent hiatus because I'm still friends with Kyle and completely understand his predicament. He landed a pretty good job in a place that he has friends (and it's not too far away from Dallas), so it's not like he's moving to New York for the rest of his life. As sad as it is to put the band on ice for the moment (or, maybe permanently), I'm not going to make negative, revisionist statements about my experience. There was no waste of time or hurt feelings. If

Library surge

Roughly two weeks ago, I looked at the handful of shelves nailed into a wall in our reading/sitting room. Filled with many books by Stephen King, along with a few books on mixed martial arts, as well as The Passage , I Am Legend , Let the Right One In , and The Ruins , I decided I had enough books to read for a number of years. Aside from a one-off purchase here and there, I thought that's all I needed. That was, until last weekend. Whenever I go into a Borders or a Barnes & Noble these days, I hit up the bargain bin and stock up. I don't think I'll ever have a lack of curiosity about books, and when decent-to-mint copies are available for less than five dollars, I can't say no. Even though my library has grown significantly in the past year, I really like to have a variety of options when it comes to the next book that I read. I can't read Stephen King all the time. Rather, it's nice to have an alternative to this stuff, like a Joe Strummer biography or

This ain't no nostalgia

As I dive into finishing up the first proper draft of When We Were the Kids , there's something I want to make abundantly clear: this is not some nostalgia trip. Nostalgia trip in the sense that everything was so much more innocent back then and everything is horrible today. I might think a lot about the past, but I strongly disagree about its supposed "better time." I want to put forward how certain things were different from today, like how teenagers got into bands that weren't on the radio. Whether through seeing a T-shirt, hearing a song on a Sunday night radio show, or having a record that someone's older brother had, I think there is value in talking about those pre-Internet days. But I don't want to wallow in those days either. What I'm aiming at is the idea of playing in a band that "never makes it" in terms of mainstream or even underground success. If playing to hundreds of people in a big bar and selling a few thousand copies of cass

"I don't listen to the radio. I listen to NPR."

For as long as I've worked in the non-college radio world, whenever I tell people that I work in radio, I hear some variation of, "I don't listen to the radio. I listen to NPR." Before I turn this into another rant about semantics, I'll just say that makes about as much sense as saying, "I don't listen to rock music. I listen to indie rock." I can understand the implication that "radio" only equates high-powered FM and AM signals, but for as long as National Public Radio can be found on radio, it's radio to me. Sure, NPR might not have the quick and fast bumpers and jingles found on a Hot AC station, but it's still an option on the radio dial. What's interesting is that I myself don't actively listen to the radio at all outside of work, except when I'm riding in Matt's truck. And that includes NPR. I still prefer to listen to CDs when I'm driving in my car. I never have the urge to turn the radio on. I prefer

"Come on drummer, tighten up on the drums."

Something I've been a little too aware of for the past few years is how hard I hit my drums. I was once unceremoniously sacked from a band for playing too aggressively and I've been mindful of that ever since. Even though it might drive sound men crazy, bartenders up the wall, and certain band members up the wall, I always play my heart out. I don't try to play rambunctiously. When it's time to chill out, I chill out. When it's time to rock out, then I rock out. I like to play rock music, and I've always been inspired when a band (or band member) throws all caution to the wind and plays like it's the last show of all time, pre-zombie apocalypse. Think about the perspective of the average audience member. He or she has probably never sat behind a mixing board, doesn't know what EQ is, and has never known what "wet" vocals sound like. All that technical jargon aside, this person has probably seen amazing bands and terrible bands. I'd prefe