The musings, politics, frustrations and triumphs of an extrovertedly introverted musician from Philadelphia, PA.
Next shows: Blue Scheme: Wed., November 12 (blue scheme on last), Grape Street Pub [Manayunk], w/Lazlo and Secret Society, 105 Grape St., Philadelphia, $5, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Wed., November 19 (blue scheme on first) Malokai's/Club 218 South [Center City], w/TBA 218 South St., Philadelphia $6, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Fri., November 21 (blue scheme on second) Tokio Ballroom [Center City], w/Wellstar and Heather G 122 Lombard St., Philadelphia $5, 21+. Doors at 8:00 pm Yellow Brain: Saturday, December 27, Fergie's Pub, 1214 Sansom, Philadelphia, 9:30pm
At regular points in my life, I tend to feel that I've reached some new level of musical awareness or understanding. I think that I'm searching for whatever that is and not quite doing it. It's on the way, I think, but usually it's unconscious and I let that new knowledge wind its way through me until it's been completely absorbed, until it's no longer a discrete pearl unto itself.
To be unable to do or hear certain things is overwhelmingly frustrating, to the point where my body shuts down. Even now I'm fighting it. But new seeds are sown and the root systems are established and I feel the plant flowering inside. Now I just have to pick that flower.
In news of interest to someone other than myself, I'll be playing with Muhabla at the Mill Creek Tavern on December 18. The band is fronted by Mike T of Gigglesticks fame and his wife, Patricia, plays guitar. I'll be adding some keys to the mix. The City Limits crew (ex-Fathead flowosophists Herbie D and freAKAnature, Chuck Treece, Kevin Hanson) are at The Fire this Friday and I'm going to go see them. I might sing backup on stage with them, but I don't know for sure yet.
Ugh. Sometimes there are days, like this one, where my senses are completely dull and I can't get anything done. Musically, that is. I can do my day job to its fullest, but I feel devoid of any creative impulse. I don't even feel as though work has sucked it out of me...this time. I'm not looking forward to going home to work on music. Thinking about it tires me out.
I suppose this is part of the process. This happens every now and again, and I come out of it eventually. Hopefully, much stronger than before. But right now, it's hard for me not to think of music as pointless and I question how much it truly makes me happy.
Right now, music seems better suited to someone—anyone—but me. But I have to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking.
But what sane person would keep walking in the dark, unable to see what waits for them with each step?
:: Anam 4:28 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, November 24, 2003 ::
So we did it. Five shows over a ten-day span. For many bands, that’s not really that big of a deal, especially if they’re touring.
But for us, it was. Especially since they were all in Philadelphia. Not really the best of ideas, I know. The potential to stretch our fan base thin was pretty high. But two of them were fill-in gigs on short notice, and we didn’t promote the next-to-last show at all, although I did tell my uncle and aunt about it.
The Grape Street show mentioned in the previous entry was the first of those. That Saturday, we played at Doc Watson’s. Embarrassingly, we didn’t draw very well, especially for a Saturday. But we played well. I think it was my best show of the five, although the rest of the band thought our last show was the best. That may be. But the energy was highest on this night since we got to play for a lot of fans of two other bands, Project Hill and Venus Fly Lounge, two bands definitely worth checking out.
The next Wednesday we were back at Club 218 on South Street, a night filled with passing showers. We actually drew decently given the circumstances. That surprised the hell out of me. We opened the night and we were followed by Miss Argentina, a hard rock band I really enjoyed. They’re fronted by a very cool, energetic lead singer named Mercedes. I got to talk with her and the band for a while. Although our styles are fairly different, I think it would be fun to play another show with them again. They were followed by a band I liked called Race Car.
The Thursday show was at the Mill Creek Tavern. Our friends in Audiophyle asked us to open for them. Opening proved to be a little harrowing for us as Noah, who had to work in West Chester, didn’t arrive until the last two songs of the set. Thank God I also play keys. I could laugh about it after the fact, but beforehand I was fairly angry, especially since he’d told me he’d be there in enough time. His ride didn’t leave there until about 40 minutes after he thought they would leave, which is why he was late. However, I’d told him time and time again that there were a couple of us who were willing to pick him up to counter just this kind of problem. Why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me? Sigh.
So I played keys for the first few songs on Thursday. Then Noah did the last couple of songs. But during the last song, the sound system wires shorted on Noah’s keyboard, so he had to switch to mine halfway through. Fun times. But we got through it.
I met the owner of Mill Creek Tavern and he said that both he and his wife loved us. Hopefully, that means we’ll be able to come back there at some point.
Friday we played at the Tokio Ballroom, a new venue for live music above a French-Japanese restaurant. Our friends, Wellstar, who headlined the show, invited us to play. Heather G opened the night. Greg and I had seen her play at Fergie’s Pub before and thought she was great, so we were pretty excited to be in a lineup with her.
Sorry if this reads more like a summary of facts than an honest-to-goodness blog entry. But I wanted to get the facts out there first. Perhaps at some point in the near future, I’ll touch more on one of these nights.
The Scheme had its first gig at Grape Street Pub last night. I think it went well, all things considered:
We were on last on a Wednesday night. We had a sparse turnout. Tim, the bassist, is still recovering from a throat infection. I’d just gotten my voice back two days ago. G. Posey, the saxophonist, felt so bad he wondered if he could make it through an entire set. And neither Tom nor Noah were particularly healthy.
But we sounded pretty good. If they judge us based on that alone, hopefully we’ll get invited back and get a better day. Thursday would be fine. People feel like they can go out on Thursdays. Wednesdays? Not so much.
I’d missed the first band, Lazlo, because first, I hadn’t eaten anything all day except for soup and coffee and I had to eat something before going on, and second, since no one could get in touch with Noah and knew when he was arriving. So Tom, G. Posey and I went to wait for the 10:57 train. Thankfully, Noah was on it. His cell phone had run out of juice.
With anyone else, one would assume that their phone ran out of power and not sweat about the possibility of your main keyboardist not making it to the show. Noah? A different story altogether. In all fairness, I’m fairly scatterbrained myself.
But Noah's on a whole 'nother level.
Hopefully, I’ll get to hear Lazlo live at some point. The second band, Secret Society, was quite good. I really enjoyed them and wished they’d had a larger crowd to play to. All of our bands were in the same turnout boat. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are tough nights anywhere in Philly, unless there’s an event that people plan on. Grape Street Pub has Tuesday Night Music Club, which is broadcast live on Y-100 FM, and draws rising bands and their fans from the region. Other places have their own things that draw people out regularly. Some places do Quizzo on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Some do Karaoke. Some do Open Mics.
But the best part that they all have in common? They all do Alcohol. That’s what I do.
I can't begin to imagine how many blog entries begin "Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."
Well, honestly, I can begin to imagine it, but I'm not going to spend a lot of sleepless nights pondering it.
I've missed writing. I've missed being as creative and productive as I envision myself. So the return to my blog and the beginnings of new directions in ways of thinking and ways of doing.
I have been busy and I have had much on my mind. In August, my grandfather passed away and I had and still have much work to do regarding his affairs. In September, I played in the Fourth Annual Collective Voices Festival, a festival featuring avant-garde, progressive, and forward-thinking jazz with Keith and Pete, my two comrades in Yellow Brain. (Yellow Brain should also be two words, not one as I've been writing it.) In October and into November, I served on a jury for nine days in an attempted murder trial. I'm also dating the extremely hot blonde mentioned in the previous entry, which I posted four months ago.
I am generally happy, but still restless and searching for new challenges. I'm trying to push myself, but first I must decide on a direction to travel, lest I walk randomly as likely to hit as I am to miss.
There are hundreds of songs inside me waiting to get out. Hundreds of stories. Hundreds of pictures (once I learn to paint). Hundreds of ideas.
They'll get there, in due time, but sooner than later.
Blue Scheme's CD is mastered, but needs a bit of tweaking done. It's pretty good, but a little bass heavy. I still have some concerns about the quality of my vocals, but it's my own fault so screw it. We live and learn.
Yellow Brain played a house party show on Friday at Temple University that got shut down by the campus cops. I have a healthy amount of respect for real police officers. It's a tough and often thankless job, with long hours and incredible risks. As for these Temple security folks...hmmm. Since I don't have anything nice to say, I won't say it at all.
But before we got shut down, the show was pretty good. And the shows will get better. We covered the spectrum from ambient soundscapes to hip hop grooves, so I think the promise of Yellow Brain is definitely still there. I've got a lot of work to do on my own to hold up my end of the bargain.
Blue Scheme is playing a lot recently. Tomorrow, we're at the Grape Street Pub, in Philly's Manayunk section, for the first time. And not a moment too late. I just got my voice back on Sunday. All of us had been or are sick. But without my voice, I feared that we were going to be gearing up for an instrumental set. Not the best way to premiere somewhere.
But in case anyone's counting or caring, I'm more or less back to stay. And if I plan on disappearing for months at a time, I'll let you know. Hopefully it will be because I'm on tour.
Now that I've got your attention, hello again! That title has nothing to do with the rest of this entry, although it is a reference to a joke a friend and I often bring up about fictional Bryn Mawr College dance parties. It doesn't look funny, but it actually is, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
In an effort to get back into writing in my blog more often, I'm going to start writing. In my blog. More often.
Easy as 3.14159.
Bad jokes aside, why the hell is pie so easy? Is pie really all that easy? Is it easy like a Sunday morning? Or is it only easy when in the presence of Jason Biggs?
Yuck. I hope not.
Anyway, Blue Scheme is back in the studio again tonight, mixing the last batch of songs. It will be nice to get this done. It will also be nice to get some more shows.
I'm getting the opportunity to play more shows these days, in spite of myself and in some cases, sight unseen. Or sound unheard, I suppose.
Yellowbrain's got a show next week at L'hexagone, which should be a good time. I made up a flyer that I think is kind of cool. And the week after, apparently I'll be playing with Pete from Yellowbrain and James "Super Duper" Cooper from Old Roy with rhymes by Herbie D, formerly of Fathead.
I must mention that James recently came back from gigging with Les Nubians in Orlando, New Orleans, and another southern city I don't remember off the top of my head. What an awesome gig. I'm overwhelmingly happy for him. That had to have been a great experience. I didn't get a chance to talk with him at length about it, but I imagine I'll probably get together with him at the Last Drop Coffeehouse or something, and he can tell me more about it.
This coming Thursday, I'm playing at the Dawson Street Pub. I have no idea what I'll be playing, but I know that I'll be there, as will Pete Gaudioso. This guy Bruce (not to be confused with Bruce Torres, a Fergie's regular) asked a bunch of us to play a show here this Thursday. How he got a show there, and why he's just now securing the musicians for it, I have no idea. There's also some such about a tour bus and being rock stars for a night or something or other.
Obviously, I know what's going on.
But a show's a show, and music is fun, and at the very least, if it leads to an interesting story to tell friends over coffee that doesn't end in my untimely demise, I'll take it.
Anyway...in news regarding life-changing events, I met an extremely hot blonde (in reference to Nammy karaoke, the entry from June 12).
:: Anam 2:25 PM [+] ::