Archive for the 'Crazy' Category

Day 92- 4/01/2008 – Life is Too Short

Day 92- 4/01/2008 - Life is too short

Yesterday wasn’t like any other day in a long time for me. It was one of the best days I’ve had in ages. Work was engaging, my heart was singing, and the weather here in Atlanta was amazing after the early morning rains that we so desperately need.

After work I headed home and walked Molly around the neighborhood. It was so beautiful out. The neighborhood dogwoods, flowers, and “purple-flowery tress” were going crazy with pretty. I picked some yellow wild flowers and dandelions and stuck them in Molly’s collar. People laughed and smiled. I said “Oh, isn’t she beautiful!”

After a fun walk I headed off to band practice with the Good Graces.

It was at practice that I received the call that a friend of mine here in Atlanta had “collapsed” and that the ambulance was on the way. I quickly packed up and loaded the car. I got an update a few minutes later that the EMTs were there and that they were taking him to the hospital. I sped out to meet everyone there.

As I pulled up I got the call. He didn’t make it. He died.

From this point forward my memory is fuzzy, the details are heartbreaking, and the events were of coure, life changing.

So, I just wanted to say this. Love the people in your life with all your heart. Life is short and everything can change in a heartbreaking second. Please say some prayers for his family and friends today. They lost a loved one way too young. He’ll be missed by a ton of people that were really lucky to have him in their life.

Love,

John

Wish List!

Someone please buy me the following books. Thank you in advance.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stray-Shopping-Carts-Eastern-America/dp/0810955202/


http://www.amazon.co.uk/People-Dont-Know-Theyre-Dead/dp/1578632978/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Avoid-Huge-Ships-John-Trimmer/dp/0870334336/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Book-Lesbian-Horse-Stories/dp/0758202547/

SXSW 2008 Day 3 Recap

SXSW 2008 - Obama 08

03/21/2008 – SXSW Day 3 Recap – By Friday morning I was finally in the swing of things. It always takes a few days to get your schedule lined up with your endurance. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all. I slept in a little bit and then headed down to the convention center to grab some food and drinks at the Australian BBQ and then headed over to the Paste party to start the day of rock.

When I arrived Lightspeed Champion had already started his set. I really enjoyed his stage presence and his original songs. He’s made a challenge to himself to play a different Weezer cover at every show, and today he played Perfect Situation off of Make Believe.

SXSW 2008 - The Weakerthans

After their set I was ready for my second show by The Weakerthans in about 14 hours. Yes, they we’re up next and I couldn’t wait. I positioned myself right in the middle and rocked out the entire time. They played a slightly different set, and it was great. NPR was there recording the show. You can stream it HERE.

Next up I headed back of to the Australian BBQ and caught The Vines before heading over to check out the Spin party at Stubb’s and She & Him at the Yaris outside stage. That was completely packed so after a song I went over to Emo’s a got to see a fun set by Bon Iver.

SXSW 2008 - Vampire Weekend

Back at Stubb’s I got to see a handful of songs by Vampire Weekend, and while I really like their new CD I was not blown away by the live show. Maybe 4pm on a hot and dusty friday afternoon is not ideal view conditions.

SXSW 2008 - Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman was playing across the street at Club Deville, a place I played in 2004, so I hoofed it over there for his set and bumped into Kim. Really dug his set as did the entire patio full of people.

I made it back over to Stubb’s just in time to catch X rock the crowd. They brought the rock and Billy Zoom’s smile never left his face the entire time.

SXSW 2008 - Franz Nicolay

Super Deluxe was having a night party so I swung by there and helped put up a few posters and fold some shirts. Putting up posters, we spotted Franz Nicolay from The Hold Steady parked on a corner playing some tunes on his accordion. Very inconspicuous my fiends, what a cool idea.

SXSW 2008 - Jonah Ray and Ben

As we were watching Franz play up waled Jonah Ray and Matt Braunger. We walked it down to the Fader Fort to meet up with the guys from Human Giant where they were getting interviewed (video here).

OK, I’m tired, but the night parties are just getting ready to start. I headed to the Parish with Kim for the Merge Records showcase. I’ve always loved this label and nearly everything they sign so I knew I was in for some great music.

SXSW 2008 - Portastatic

Portastatic with just Mac solo was up first and he played a short but fun set of tunes. Wye Oak was up next and I really dug them. The drummer played drums (duh) and bass on a keyboard with his left hand while the singer also played guitar. A big sound from the two folks from Baltimore.

SXSW 2008 - Shout Out Louds

The Radar Brothers hit the stage next with some great tunes followed by a loose-but-fun Shout Out Louds from Scotland. She & Him we’re clearly the buzz band of the night and they brought a beautiful and charming set to the Parish.

SXSW 2008 - SXSW 2008 - Todd Berry

At the end of their set I headed back down to the Super Deluxe showcase. On the way I got a text message from Atlanta that said “Kirkwood has power and seems fine. Cabbage Town hit hard, Downtown hit hard.” Turns out a tornado just slammed through town and all the Atlanta folks were really concerned about home.

Several of the folks from work either lived in hard hit Cabbage Town or nearby. It was a surreal way to end the evening and I hurried back to the hotel to check the news for the latest info.

Day 3 complete. (Photos)!

I’m doing this…

It’s crazy I know.

http://www.rpmchallenge.com/

Happenstance 2007

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

12/20/2007 – Sorry this is so long… The last few days have been full of rock and roll, and as my habit of late, it’s taken me a few days to spill my guts.

Last Saturday was Happenstance 2007. Take 30 musicians, assemble them at 10 AM in a bar, and have them draw names out of a hat to determine what 6 new “bands” that they will be in. Next, have them go away for the day and write 20 minutes worth of original songs and learn one cover. Sounds easy right? RIGHT?!

I rolled into The EARL at 10 AM, signed in and grabbed some coffee. As more folks arrived, I got more and more excited. Jenny and Mike from The Eyes were there. Mary O. Harrison, Tracy Clark from The Preakness, Blake Guthrie, and lots of other folks were there and ready to rock in the early morning.

Quick enough the 6 “front persons” took center stage and pulled names out of 5 baseball hats, one each for guitar, bass, drums, and one for an auxiliary player, that could be any instrument.

Jenny Hutton from The Eyes was up first and drew Mike Goldman, her guitar player’s name from the hat. There’s a rule you can’t play with anyone you’ve been in a band with before, so she had to draw again. “John McNicholas.” Cool! I was really hoping to get a chance to play with Jenny and I was equally as excited when she drew Tracy’s name from the sweat-stained PBR baseball cap next! The other players would be Harry on drums, and Allen on guitar and keyboards.

The other bands were quickly assembled. We picked our Journey cover tune, and then everyone gathered outside The EARL for the official group picture.

The band headed back to the Harry’s practice space, which as luck would have it, was three doors down from the room that The Yum Yum Tree uses at Thunderbox. When we arrived, Harry unlocked the door, looked in the room, paused and said, “one sec.” A few minutes later he came out, “Hang out for about 10 minutes, there’s a guy sleeping in here.”

He shares his space with 4 other bands, and one of the guys got kicked out of his apartment and was couch surfing in the space. Literally. There was furniture.

With Sleepy out we began the process of coming up with three tunes. Allen’s keyboard was D.O.A., so we took a short break while Jenny ran and got her keyboard as a replacement. By 12:30 PM we were ready to rock.

I had had an idea on the way over about a song with a Lee Renaldo-spoken-word style verse and a catchy chorus, so that was the first song attempted, and the first song quickly aborted.

Jenny and Allen had an idea for a song with a 50’s progression that we all jumped right in on, and it sounded great right off the bat. Jenny decided to compose lyrics about the guy that was sleeping in the space. Fun!

I started messing around on guitar and Tracy said, hey, that’s good for the song that you wanted to do earlier. For the next hour and a half we worked on what would become a song called “One Great Song!” It’s a fictional story about how all the guys in Journey met. I love it.

Next up, Tracy suggested we work up a fun and funky tune. We did, and we called it “It’s Your Thing.” This one quickly became a favorite of the other bands in the space, as I later heard how much they were digging that one at 3:30 PM in the afternoon from the rooms next door.

We took a break for pizza, told some stories and attempted to clear our heads. We did, we cleared them so well we could barely remember the songs.

Back at the space we ran through everything a few times, worked on Tracy’s tune and Jenny finished up the words to what would become “Practice Space Surfer.”

Next up was the cover, Journey’s “Wheel in the Sky.” Awesome, yes I know. We stripped out all the hard parts, and rocked it with guitar solos and vocal harmonies. Yes, it was glorious.

Suddenly it was 8 PM. We had to be there by 9 PM. We ran to our cars through the rainy parking lot and headed home to change/nap/eat before load in.

I ran home, changed, and got back to the EARL a little before 9pm, met with Liz and brought my stuff inside.

The order of the bands was randomly decided, and we were picked to be second. This was perfect, let the first band break the ice and we could play before we forgot all the songs or had to many beers!

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

The first band sounded great, Mary O. was on keyboards, and they sounded damn fine. The bar was set high. We were up next. Guitars we’re quickly thrown on stage, tuned up, beers refilled and before I knew it we were being introduced. “Will you please welcome to the stage ’27 Vagrants!”

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

We started with Tracy’s song, “It’s Your Thing,” and the people were dancing. So far so good! Next up was Jenny’s “Practice Space Surfer,” and after a few false starts we were off and rocking. Tracy and I were hitting the backups hard and Jenny’s lyrics were great. I’ll have to provide a transcription soon.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

My song was third, and “One Great Song!” was rocking from beginning to end… not so much in them middle, but hey, it was rocking and nobody noticed, right? I told the story of 4 musicians in the 70s, rocking and rolling their way to rock and roll history.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

For the grand finale we rocked The EARL with some Journey from 1978! “Wheel in the sky keeps on turning!” Jenny switched over to keyboards and we ended the tune with an arena-rock ending, Tracy fell over, Allen and I pulled out some rock moves and then we burned the staged to the ground with pryo. I made up that last part.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

In just the blink of an eye our day was over. It was a quick day, a quick set and now we would sit back and just enjoy ourselves for the rest of the evening.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

Blake Guthrie headed up the next band, featuring Leanna from the Georgia Fireflies on drums with some other fine folks. They sounded great and the words were top notch.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA
 
The fourth band consisted of Regina from Cowboy Mouth and others. They started of by jumping into the crowd with a rocking surf instrumental and the intensity only went up from there for the entire set.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

Band number five feature Mike from the Eyes on guitar and Yum Yum Tree drummer Alex. They rocked. The best joke of the night goes to the unknown drummer in the audience that used his sticks and did a “One, Two, Three, FOUR!” and the entire band started except for Alex. Fantastic.

Happenstance 2007 @ The EARL - Atlanta, GA

Finally, band numero six hit the stage. I don’t know any of these folks, but they rocked it and rocked it good. It was a fitting way to conclude what was one of the most fun and memorable days.

What an amazing event, with an amazing group of talented people. Thanks to Brian Fletcher of Luigi and everyone else that made this evening happen. (photos)

The Happenstance 2007 – Tomorrow night at the EARL

Hey everyone,

Come out to the EARL tomorrow night for Happenstance 2007. I’ll be playing guitar in one of the 6 new bands that we’ll form tomorrow. It’s for charity. All your friends will be there! You will have a great time!

The Happenstance is a yearly musical event in Atlanta, Georgia. We select 30 musicians, make them meet us early in the morning at a local rock club, randomly divide them into 5 piece bands, and send them off to create a 20 minute set of music which they will perform that evening. It’s thoroughly entertaining, entirely random, and more than a little bit insane. Oh yeah, it’s for a good cause. Past charities include The Atlanta Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and The New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund.
Come watch some of the best independent musicians in Atlanta create something unique, fun, and for a great cause.

Happy Holidays!

John

The MILF Sale!

Why didn’t someone think of this years ago? People that know what MILF normally stands for will laugh, those that don’t won’t even blink an eye.