Friday, December 29, 2006


Cut off your hair, leave me alone I can't believe I thought you'd still come home No one should have to live like this I can't even remember the last time we kissed I can see your face Hangin' round this place Hangin' like a weight Pulling me down down down Down Down Down


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Down Down Down

Chewed up the sky, spit out the stars Never told anyone I was scared of the dark All of my love keeps fading away I lose a piece a myself just about every day I can see your face Hangin' round this place Hangin' like a weight Pulling me down down down I'll run with the river in dreams of gold I'll fly with wings been bought and sold To touch the birds that sing your name In the ruby blue I'll do the same I can see your face Hangin' round this place Hangin' like a weight Pulling me down down down


Saturday, December 23, 2006


We made it through the darkest of days... and with flying colors. Now it's all downhill from here... And then uphill, and then downhill, and then uphill... And then downhill. And then uphill.

I didn't realize Thursday was the winter solstice until Friday, but it made sense in retrospect. A lot of my writing lately has been about that moment just before the dawn, the time when it's darkest and there seems to be no hope for things getting better... and how you have to take that moment, feel its weight, and turn it on its head. And push through until (inevitably) it does get lighter, and things get better.

So... on Thursday I awoke when it was still dark and headed over to the gym. My goal for the winter is to try to maintain the shape I was in after the half-marathon in October... which I finished in under two hours at a pace of just a hair under nine minutes a mile.

Despite the abject pain I was in for several days following the race, I have visions of doing the full marathon next October. I'm hoping to do three five mile runs on the treadmill a week over the winter, which is challenging because I hate the treadmill. I hate running inside. Ugh. But so far, I've been pretty consistent with it, adding on a good weights regimen to boot. I digress.

After a decent workout, I headed home, cleaned up, and popped by Doc's to pick up some posters he made for our big show at Metro next month. Burn Rome Burn has been on a bit of a hiatus due to Barret and Aoife traveling a bunch the last part of the year, so I've taken the opportunity to cobble together a group of songs that aren't Burn Rome Burn songs... mostly quiet acoustic tunes and stuff that doesn't really fit the BRB sound.

Some older tunes, like Travesty in Blue, Look Alive, and December Static, and a bunch of songs written in the last 5 months, like When You Left, I Won't Turn My Back on Love, and Come Home. I've started working with Jay (who plays with the kick ass band Buddy Nuisance and also works as a producer/engineer around town) on getting these tunes down in some form with the goal of having a full-length record together early in 2007...

We've started working in an attic that overlooks the highway out on Irving Park... I laid down acoustic versions of the tunes, and Jay has started bringing people in to record various parts. So Thursday, I headed over to the studio space and... what happened was one of those moments that just makes you remember why you struggle to create and make music.

Jay and Darren (drummer for Buddy Nuisance) had spent last week laying down drums for the tunes that need drums and then turned their attention to fleshing out the song Look Alive, which is a bit older tune that Burn Rome Burn had taken a cut at, but not really been able to dial in.

Bearing in mind that the last time I heard the song it was just acoustic guitar and (poor) scratch vocals along with a click track (a computerized metronome)... what I heard coming out of the speakers on Thursday morning blew my mind. Darren had dialed in a drumbeat that was straight off of The Police's Spirits in a Material World. Jay had laid down a pulsating, McCartney-esque bass line. And finally, the two of them had collaborated on a wild keyboard hook using a Korg synthesizer, which swooped and darted throughout the song.

Jay had said that we didn't need to keep the Korg synthesizer and we could recreate the hooks on a more organic sounding organ or piano, but the sound immediately took me to one of my favorite Flaming Lips' songs, "Do You Realize?" I suggested that we borrow (i.e., steal) from the Lips, and I try laying down a couple different simple acoustic guitar strumming parts to push the song along and fill in the middle of the sound spectrum, and maybe we would keep the Korg sound after all.

Working quickly, we soon had the parts written, and I knocked out two parts in two takes. Feeling emboldened by how kick ass it sounded, we decided to go for the vocals, and I managed to get a great take in about 30 minutes, which was easily a record time for me. After recording some multiple vocals for layering and a couple of harmonies, Jay did a rough mix and we sat back and listened... And I can't express the feeling I got listening to what we had just put together.

It's simply the most positive, uplifting music I've ever been a part of... all wide-eyed hope, all triumph over tragedy, all pushing through the dark to get to the dawn, the winter to get to the spring.

We listened to it a few times, and each time I felt more and more moved... again, I can't really put it into words. Although I guess I just tried.

I cut the vocals staring out the attic window at the highway, looking at the grey trucks and dirty cars crawl northwest and southeast, all the while singing about hope, about faith, about grabbing onto what's ahead and using it to pull yourself through the dark, rather than letting what's in the past pull you back from the light. And that's the feeling I got listening to this rough mix.

The rest of the day was a blur, but I managed to knock out a lot of holiday shopping and then teach for 4 hours. As I drove home from Deerfield, I again listened to our day's work on the CD Jay burned for me.

As I barreled towards the city, I remembered a day back about 3 years ago, when I was barreling down that very same highway in my old mustard Volvo (may she rest in peace) on a bright Sunday, and the very song we tried to emulate, Do You Realize?, came on the radio.

I remembered how I smiled then. And on Thursday, in the solstice dark, I smiled that same smile.

And I thought that, instead of calling this collection of songs "When You Left," I might be tempted to call it "Look Alive!" And look forward, rather than backward.

And look to the summer solstice.

And Look Alive.

Look alive The lights are shining In your eyes And the way is clear For you to see That love can cure this Misery And wipe away you tears But it all comes down To you But it all comes down To you Look alive And count the days since Summer died Spring is almost here And certainly The rains will come and Quietly Wash away our fears But it all comes down To you But it all comes down To you 


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Things are abuzz with activity. Nothing like facing down the winter storm by peeing your name in the drifting snow.

Now, quick, everybody fire your paper arrows into the air and we'll see where they land.



Sunday, December 10, 2006

Still Holding On

The leaving is easy But then comes the letting go I'm running on empty But too proud to let it show And waiting for daybreak To shepherd away the night Alone in the darkness And trying to will the light And then the silence fills the spaces in my chest And then the morning sets a crown upon my head I'm still holding on I'm still holding on I'm still holding on To you And into the skyline I'm dreaming of growing old And riding the train cars I'm turning into the cold Spending the winter Making some new ghosts I lean into the pain Right where it hurts the most And then the silence fills the spaces in my chest And then the morning sets a crown upon my head I'm still holding on I'm still holding on I'm still holding on To you


Monday, November 20, 2006

At Night...

Sometimes, the voices sing a little bit louder. Sometimes, the ghosts don't haunt you, they make themselves ham sandwiches, grab some beers, and use your credit card to order products from cable TV infomercials. Sometimes, the pictures on your walls scream like banshees. Sometimes, your animals know exactly how much you need them. Sometimes, your silent phone is a little too silent. Sometimes, you lie awake waiting for something to happen. Sometimes, you start to fall asleep watching football. Sometimes, the heater conceals mysterious songs. Sometimes, you wonder about the future. Sometimes, you replay the day over and over. Sometimes, the room spins because you drank too much. Sometimes, your calves cramp. Sometimes, you plot your next move. Sometimes, you breathe in and pause. Sometimes, the blue light plays off the window panes. Sometimes, you resist the urge to get up and check your football confidence pool on the internet. Sometimes, you think about calling in sick. Sometimes, you wonder if you actually remembered to take a sleeping pill. Sometimes, you listen to a dog sigh and mumble. Sometimes, you worry... and worry... and worry... that it won't get any better. Sometimes, you drift off to sleep and dream of big buildings, of songs, of pain, of loss, of sex, of drugs, of rock n' roll, of more sex, of still more sex. Sometimes, you always wake up and it's always tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Big Crapple

My trip to New York last week was a resounding success with respect to just about everything but sleeping. But New York is the city that never sleeps, and I guess one can't be expected to sleep much if one's very locale is setting a bad example. Also, if one is out until 4 am every night. I'll blame that on the city too, or maybe on my completely insane friends. The consumption of massive amount of beer, I guess I have to take responsibility for myself.

Anyway... After arriving late last Wednesday due to bad weather and seeing Queen Latifah in the Newark airport, I made my way to Colin's apartment on the upper east side of Manhattan, where he lives with his sister. We had a late dinner and some beers and then crashed out. I read Busting Vegas and it seemed like I'd barely closed my eyes when my alarm went off at 6:15 am.

I headed downtown to meet Baker's New York Office HR Manager Kristina at the Broadway Millennium Hotel for a conference on I-9 Enforcement. After a scintillating two hour lecture, we headed to the Baker New York Office and I got settled into my office for the day. I met with a couple of clients from whom I do work, and the day passed without much excitement, save the beer I drank at lunch. And that wasn't really exciting as much as it was a harbinger of the evening to come.

After work, we went out for awhile, and Colin and I wound up in a German beer garden at about midnight, babbling at empty pitchers of strong German beer and empty plates of German sausage. Friday was nothing short of stunning. After sleeping in a bit, I wandered down to a breakfast place in Colin's neighborhood, and proceeded to have a leisurely meal, drink coffee, and bask in the New York Times' reporting of the Democrats' triumphant retaking of both houses of Congress.

Following that, I plunged into the perfect fall weather and did a six-plus mile jog all the way around Central Park. After cleaning up, I navigated the New York subway down to the East Village and stopped in on my friend Hannah's boutique on 4th street. Hannah's husband-to-be, Pete (also a great friend from high school), met me and we proceeded to kick off an evening's worth of festivities which began with drinking, then there was some drinking in the middle, and I believe we finished off with some drinking. We also may have drank at some point.

Colin and I wound up in an all-night diner at about 4 am, shoveling rice pudding into our mouths and drinking hot chocolate. I have no idea. Saturday was another beautiful day, and we walked around the West Village checking out some stores and just generally enjoying ourselves. After a short semi-nap during which we watched The Hitcher 2 and Cabin by the Lake, we headed back down to the West Village to eat at Wallse. Our friend Cornell joined us, and a good time was had by all.

We walked back east, and while I foolishly stayed out to meet a friend for drinks, Colin and his girlfriend Judy went home. I cursed myself as I stumbled home at (all together now) 4 am, and fell asleep with dreams of Sunday night football dancing in my head.

After an uneventful rainy Sunday afternoon, Colin and I head out to Cornell's in Brooklyn to do some inside tailgating, aka ordering pizza, drinking beer, and watching football. A bit before six, we piled in Cornell's car, picked up Colin's brother Seth and Cornell's cousin Sean in Manhattan, and made our way out to Giants' Stadium in New Jersey. After drinking a couple of beers (notice a theme here?) in the parking lot, we walked to the stadium and took our seats up in the upper deck.

Words cannot fully describe the difference between the first 28 or so minutes of the game and the final 32, but let me try to break it down in fairly complex terms:

First 28 minutes: Sucked.

Final 32 minutes: Rocked.

As we huddled together under our cheap ponchos in the rain and 45 degree temperatures, we watched the Bears go down 13-3 and look like shit. The Giants "fans" in our section hurled down verbal abuse, which included broad assessments of not only our sexual preferences, but also the Bears' in general. 

Of course, as the Bears somewhat improbably pulled to 13-10 at the half, and the rains ceased, and the Bears definitively went up first 17-13, then 24-13, then 24-20, then (thank you Devin Hester, thank you) 31-20, and finally 38-20... the stadium emptied of Giants "fans" and the triumphant walk back to the parking lot felt like Soldier Field as we mixed with a thousand Brian Urlachers and at least as many Walter Paytons, all screaming Bear Down Chicago Bears at the top of our already hoarse voices. 

Monday morning was a blur. I dragged myself from train to train and somehow got on my flight at 9:30. Instead of sleeping, I powered through Running With Scissors, pondered my whirlwind 5 days in NYC, and drank a beer. Just kidding about the beer.

The energy... the feeling of being in a big city... I don't get that anymore in Chicago. I know my little world here too well to ever feel truly overwhelmed by the size of Chicago, even though I know it's big. New York, however, continues to take my breath away with its sheer size, its possibilities, its people... 

As I curled up on the couch at home with my animals for what turned into an almost 16 hour night of sleep, I faded in and out of consciousness and I imagined that I was standing on top of the Empire State Building, singing a song to the world:

Looked across The water blue And saw a sea Of tears As darkness fell I thought of you and When You Left Couldn't tell Where the city ended And where the night Began The buildings sang A silent song like When You Left I can't Believe You're Gone


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gone Bearin'

If you're watching the Bears-Giants game this coming Sunday, be on the lookout for me sitting somewhere in the Meadowlands. I'll be the one getting pummeled by the Giants' fans up in the cheap seats. A fitting cap to a 5 day trip to NYC, which starts in T-minus 6 hours.

Keep an eye here for a, um, blow by blow.



Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Falling Into

I have walked up to the edge I have pushed through the storm Found some comfort in the night As the city cried forlorn Seen the Tower come to life As the day began to bloom Held a candle to my hand In a dark and empty room I have stood beneath a sky Colored with the changing leaves As the birds escaped my eyes I felt the fall begin to breathe Left my heart out on the stones For you to find, for you alone It still beats in perfect time For you, it beats in perfect time And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm falling into... When the skies are getting dark And the wind is blowing cold When my voice is getting faint And the fall is growing old When the ice has reached the Drive And the waves are crashing in I will hold onto that night When you first let me in And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm falling into...


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Again and Again

Meet me beneath the moon We'll hang our worries On the powerlines And forget about the days When we lost our way And start over again And again And again And again Meet me beside the lake We'll wash our faces In the waters And dry our swollen eyes In the golden sun And start over again And again And again And again Meet me in the bed We'll burn our fears With a midnight flame And scatter the remains With trembling lips And start over again And again And again And again And again And again And again


Monday, October 30, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #6

Date: Wednesday, October 18

Place: 5th Street Billiards, Royal Oak, Michigan

The luxury of sleeping in one's own bed after 4 nights in strange surroundings... We planned to leave Chicago at about noon to head east to the final gig of the tour in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. I got my ass out of bed and proceeded to take a five mile jog, my third such jog in four days. In actuality, we didn't leave until close to 1:00, but still made good time and rolled up to the venue about 6:00.

The load-in was a little tricky, as we pulled our gear through the kitchen into a freight elevator. 5th Street Billiards is a pool hall (duh) with a nice-sized music room on the second floor. We were to open for Greenstreet, a Detroit-area band with whom we'd played before in Chicago. After the load-in, we killed time by eating pizza and drinking beer.

My cousin John, who lives in the area, was there, and it was nice to see a friendly face. Soundcheck went smoothly and the room sounded great. We started playing about 10:00 to an ample crowd. Immediately, things went a little off course... I broke a string on my primary guitar on the first song and had to switch to my back up.

My back up guitar is a 1999 Fender Strat (gear talk alert!), which is nice enough, but is nowhere near the workhorse my 1993 Gibson Studio is... so I felt a little exposed and a little off. Also, I think we were just plain beat, playing our sixth show in six nights. But we soldiered through the set and held the crowd's attention pretty well. Afterwards, we hung around, sold a couple of CDs, and loaded up the van.

We had decided to drive back that night, which was a bold plan given the length of the drive. I climbed into my familiar perch in the passenger seat, and for the first time during the tour, felt completely drained, unable to keep my eyes open. The drive started out easily, but about two hours in I awoke suddenly from a shallow sleep to heavy rain, and white-colored leaves littering the highway as we blasted along in the dark at 70 miles per hour.

Jeff, our driving champion, was holding steady and piloting us safely home. We pulled into Chicago at about 4:00 am, unloaded the gear at Barret and Aoife's, and Jeff dropped me off at home at about 4:30 am. I sat there on the couch, between my animals, watching poker on TV, and trying to get my head around the preceding week.

The travels, the shows, the fun... the feeling of doing something you love every night of the week, in front of strangers... the feeling of proving that you can do exactly what you've dreamed of. The feeling of hoping that the future can be exactly what you make of it and that determination and hard work pays off in time.

It's only time, after all.

Love, jbg

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #5

Date: Tuesday, October 17

Place: The Chicago St. Pub, Joliet, Illinois

This date was an unknown going into the tour. We were holding out hope that a show in Champaign would come through last minute... but none did. So we called up our good friend and fellow musician John Condron who owns a nice little bar in Joliet called The Chicago Street Pub.

We figured since we were out on the road, had all our gear, and had to be in Detroit the following day, we might as well stop in Joliet and play and impromptu show for the Tuesday night regulars at Chicago Street.

Morning in our southern Illinois hotel room was slow in gaining traction... and we finally got on the road towards Chicago a little after noon. The drive was without incident and we made a quick stop at the Guitar Center in Joliet (so I could buy a new case for my guitar) before heading over to Chicago St.

After unloading our gear, I wandered off to kill some time at the Harrah's Casino in scenic downtown Joliet. Amazingly enough, I walked out an hour and a half later having won $150 playing video poker.

Burn Rome Burn Fall Tour '06: We Gamble, We Win.

Good times.

After some dinner, we set up and started playing on the early side to a suprisingly big and responsive crowd. Again, rather than feeling rundown from playing our 5th show in 5 nights, my voice felt strong and got stronger throughout the set.

As a band, this show was probably the best of the tour in a lot of ways, and the crowd seemed to respond to what I thought was a kind of precision and ease that comes with being on the road. We all felt it, we all heard it. We all loved it. After the show, we hung around for a couple of beers and to talk to the crowd, and then loaded up the gear and hit the road.

We rolled into Chicago at about 3:00 am, and I walked in the door at home to a frantic, funny puppy who seemed to have missed me desperately. As I did him. Sleep came quickly and soundly. And was accompanied by a cat parking herself on my chest for a good part of the night, a welcome stop home with one show left to go on the We Gamble, We Win Tour.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #4

Date: Monday, October 16

Place: Off Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri

It occurs to me that I haven't spent a lot of time writing about the actual shows we played on the tour... The truth about being a band on the road, which I've read over and over from touring bands but only now experienced for myself, is that most of your time and energy are not spent playing the shows. They're spent driving, unloading, setting up, waiting, breaking down, loading, and driving. And sleeping in hotel rooms and eating in chain restaurants. The playing part of the tour happens for about 45 minutes a night.

And the challenge is to make sure that all the getting around, getting set up, etc., doesn't detract from the reason you're on the road: to play as good as show as you can, every night, regardless of the day, venue, or crowd. So part of the reason I haven't been writing much about the content of the shows, is that I think we did a great job of getting up there every night and playing as passionately as we could. It was a given pretty much every night.

Were some of the shows better than others? More well attended? In nicer venues with better sound? Sure. But I think that we, as a band, came out every night and played like it was a Friday night at House of Blues in front of 1000 people. And that felt great.

The other thing I've read from touring bands, is that once you're on the road, you tend to lose track of 1) what day it is, and 2) where you are. And on Monday morning, as I stirred in some shithole of a hotel room in some shithole of a town... I had no idea where I was or when it was.

Slowly, I became aware of Jeff noisily snoring in the other bed. Slowly, I realized I was in a shithole of a hotel room in a shithole of a town in Indiana. Slowly, I realized it was Monday. Seeing that we had about 2 hours until checkout, I decided to go for a little 5 mile jog. I headed out to the road and began exploring Shithole Town, Indiana. There wasn't much exploring to do. I was through the town and onto some country roads before I turned around and headed back to the Shithole Motel.

After cleaning up, we hit the road towards St. Louis. For the first time, we hit some inclement weather, but Jeff handled the Dodge Grand Caravan with aplomb. We stopped in Shithole Town, Illinois, and ate at Shithole Chain Restaurant (actually, a TGIF... same difference). We hit St. Louis relatively early and headed to the venue. As we walked into Off Broadway, we were immediately struck by the fact that it was the nicest venue we'd played yet.

In great shape, with a great sound system... just fantastic. After chatting with the owner (great guy named Steve), we unloaded and headed down to the riverboat casinos to do a little gambling. Taking the gambling torch from Barret, I won $40 playing video poker... and promptly spent it on beer and food. Natch.

We got back to the venue around 7:00, and immediately went across the street to a sports' bar to watch the much awaited Monday Night Football game between the Bears and the Cardinals. We left the bar at halftime, demoralized by a 20-0 Bears' deficit, and returned to Off Broadway to show our support for the other bands on the bill. Both were quite good (especially the ska-punk opener from Baltimore), and we were further buoyed by a rash of text messages and phone calls indicating that the Bears had miraculously rallied and won the game 24-23 without scoring an offensive touchdown.

Although it was after 11:00 when we took the stage, we played well and the sound was great. And most of the people from the other bands stuck around for our whole set, which was a nice boost. Additionally, local St. Louis legend Beatle Bob was at the show and danced to our whole set. Not kidding. Couldn't make it up.

As we packed up, Steve mentioned that we had a home at Off Broadway any time we were out touring, which warmed our hearts. Our hearts were further warmed as we loaded into our hotel rooms just across the border in Illinois, and watched the highlights from the Bears' game on Sportscenter.

The last thing I remember seeing as I drifted off to sleep was the ump-teenth replay of Devin Hester breaking what would become the game-winning touchdown on a punt return... a great end to a successful fourth day on tour.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #3

Date: Sunday, October 15

Place: The Melody Inn, Indianapolis, Indiana

Can I overstate the joy of waking up on the road in a quiet, sunlit bedroom, by yourself, and walking downstairs only to be greeted by a table full of cereal, fruit and coffee?

No, I can't.

The Lyons' house was empty on Sunday morning, as I perused the paper and had some breakfast, reveling in the glow of a good night's sleep. Soon after, I set off on a five mile jog through the Lyons' neighborhood and out onto the country highway. The weather was crisp and perfect for jogging. And since I ran the thirteen mile half-marathon at the beginning of October, five mile jogs have seemed easy and pleasant.

When I got back, I was greeted by Aoife, Aoife's mom, and Barret, who had all been at church(!). I was told we'd be having lunch at about noon, so I cleaned up and took on Jeff in a game of pool in the basement.

Actual exchange: (Joe hits a tight shot) Jeff: You must have been good at geometry... (Joe hits a perfect safety, screening Jeff from any sort of shot) Jeff: And an asshole.

After lunch, we got all of our things in order (so we had them) and, with sad goodbyes to our gracious hosts and beautiful accommodations, headed out to Indianapolis. We had one stop to make before hitting the road. As it turned out, Barret's $15 wager on the ninth horse in the ninth race the previous day had won! So, we were obliged to hit the drive-thru wagering booth (natch) at Keeneland to pick up his winnings, which totaled somewhere near $100. How about that... the power of nine strikes again. 

The drive to Indianapolis was about 3 hours and to kill time before our load in, we headed downtown and had some food while watching football. We arrived at the venue at about 7:00 and loaded in and right onto the stage. The Melody Inn is a small but very cool little rock club on the north side of the city. The owner, Dave, is an incredibly nice guy who also serves at the lone bartender and the soundman.

He bought the club with the idea of turning it into a place that small touring bands could stop and play, and the vibe speaks to care, sincere investment, and a love of all things independent music. Also, there's a PBR Lounge in the back with all sorts of PBR memorabilia.

We had a brief soundcheck and I wandered off to find some tea for my aching throat. At about 9:00, we took the stage. There were some people there to see us, and we started with a slow building rendition of Bottle Boy. In general, we started most of our sets on the tour off with quieter tunes, in an attempt to pace ourselves and to get an idea of the sound before we started into our louder more frantic material. Bottle Boy was strong, and again, I was able to clear the cobwebs from my voice almost immediately.

We continued on through what I thought was our strongest, most varied set of the tour. After the set, we loaded up the van and returned to the venue to catch the two bands after us. They were both quite good, and we finished the night hanging out with our new friends in the PBR lounge.

On our way out, Dave took us aside and said that we always had a place to play at The Melody Inn, and all we needed to do was let him know when we were coming through again. We drove for about half an hour, and found a cheap hotel. Barret had decided his winnings would be spent on getting a second hotel room, and he negotiated a pretty good rate for two rooms with a late checkout so we could sleep in.

Exhausted, I closed my eyes and was almost immediately asleep as we reached the halfway point of a successful tour.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #2

Date: Saturday, October 14

Place: The Dame, Lexington, Kentucky

When we last saw our heroes, they were sleeping in a cheap hotel room in Ohio. Our alarms started going off around 10:00 am, way too soon after our 4:30 am bedtimes. I had slept well, albeit for not long enough. I did vaguely remember waking up at one point because I thought Barret was clapping and yelling in his sleep.

As it turned out, that was not a dream. Barret's clapping and yelling were an attempt to get Jeff to stop snoring, which apparently Jeff did for the entire night less than 5 feet away from me. Although I had slept right through it. I decided my ability to sleep through such an immediate cacophony was akin to being in the eye of the hurricane.

We somewhat haltingly got our things together and trudged to the van. I went across the road to get coffee at a BP... and had this exchange with the attendant: Attendant: That'll be $1.56. Joe: ... (staring into space) Attendant: ... (waiting patiently) Joe: Uh... where are we?

We got on the road and began the trip to Lexington, where we were to stay at Aoife's parents' house. The drive was going well, until we decided to take a bypass highway through Cincinnati (275), and ran into construction, which added nearly an hour to what should have been a brief trip. Undaunted, we pushed on and got to Lexington just in time to have a nice lunch with Aoife's parents.

The contrast between our cramped Budget Motel room of the previous night, and our separate bedrooms and sushi lunch provided by the gracious Lyons' family... was striking. And wonderful. After lunch, we headed over to the Keeneland racetrack to catch a couple races. We met up with my friend Gretchen and had a good time hanging out making small unwise wagers. Barret won about $15 on one of his bets, and immediately put his winnings on the ninth horse in the ninth race. We headed out and got to The Dame around 6 o'clock to set up for our early show.

The Dame is a beautiful club with great sound right in downtown Lexington. Our show was sponsored by the local Kentucky Ale brewery, and after the cracked-themed graffiti and incomplete PA of the previous night, we seemed primed for a great show. After soundcheck, I wandered off to try to find some tea for my throat and, sure enough, there was a Starbucks just down the block.

I was a little worried about my voice... I had a busy two weeks with six performances of the Odyssey, a couple of gigs and a couple of rehearsals, and doing six shows in six nights would give me no chance for recovery. I knew on tour I would learn a lot about the stresses of being on the road and how I needed to prepare for so much singing. The fact that it was only the second show and my voice felt a little ragged... did not bode well. 

When I got back to The Dame, there were already people in the club. We started playing around 8:00, and played a strong set. The most striking thing to me was that, for all my worries about my voice, once I began singing, all the soreness and concern melted away and I felt great about my performance. I felt like I had found a slightly different way to sing, from a slightly different place in my throat and face. A good omen.

The crowd was very receptive and there was a lot of talk of bringing us back for another show in the spring. Gretchen and her boyfriend Jude came out and it was great to hang out with them and talk. After the show, we went out for some pizza and beer, and then back to the Lyons' house. Exhausted, I crawled into my comfortable bed in my quiet room, and was asleep immediately after an eventful day and a successful second show.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Burn Rome Burn Tour, Day #1

Date: Friday, October 13
Place: Oldfield's on Fourth, Columbus, Ohio

Jeff picked me up at around nine o'clock Friday morning. Columbus is a good 5 hours from Chicago plus you lose an hour to the time change, so we proceeded to Barret and Aoife's to get them and get on the road.

Two things: 1) Our touring vehicle was a Dodge Grand Caravan, and 2) Jeff and Barret have a history of... "disagreeing" over the best way to pack equipment. So I decided to just stand back and let them wrestle with how to get all our instruments, amps, and suitcases into the van. Within 30 minutes, we were ready to roll with little controversy. After a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee and breakfast, we were off and... sitting in mid-morning traffic on the Dan Ryan. Oh joy.

This turned out to be an omen for the tour. But once we got out of the city, we started making good time through Indiana, Most of riding in a van packed with a lot of gear and four people involves keeping yourself amused. I did this by 1) reading, and 2) snacking. I read The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook. I snacked on granola bars. 

We decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel in middle-Indiana for lunch. Actual exchange at lunch: Waiter: Can I get you something to drink? Jeff (looking over menu, then looking at Joe): They don't have beer here? Joe: Doesn't look like it. Jeff: Then why did we come here? Waiter (under breath): That's a good question.

After lunch, the final two hours or so flew by and we were rolling into Columbus. We weren't sure what to expect at the venue, but things seemed a bit grim as we pulled up in front of what appeared to be a complete dive in a more than seedy neighborhood. We did a drive by and circled around back and saw... graffiti that read "I 'heart' crack." And next to it, some sort of swastika. Not kidding.

An inauspicious start. The inside of the bar wasn't much more promising. The bartender was nice, but he revealed that the venue had a PA system, but no microphone or stand. That's right. We managed to contact the owner of the bar who directed us to another bar where we made contact with a sound guy who promised to meet us a little later with a microphone and stand. Crisis averted.

Now, there was the question of whether or not there would be anyone at the bar to listen to us. The bartender said that the crowd was usually college kids and was late arriving so we set up our gear and got some food and beverages. Jeff and I ran out and met the sound guy and the PA was complete, although a little lean.

Around 10 or so, the bar started to get busier and the atmosphere improved by leaps and bounds. 

Actual exchange: Jeff: I saw Rod Stewart on Leno the other night, and he was lurching around the stage like he had lost a hip. Barret: Didn't you hear? He gave his hip to Barry Manilow.

Around 11:00, we got up and started playing and the crowd was positive and attentive. We played for about an hour and half, hitting almost every song we knew. After a half an hour break, we got back up (at this point, the bar was pretty full) and rocked through a few more tunes including impromptu versions of a couple of covers.

I thought we sounded really good and really showed that we can play well in less-than-ideal circumstances (the PA had no monitor, so I couldn't hear my vocals very well). All in all a good show and a good recovery from what seemed like it could be a disaster. Additionally, we made contacts with other venues that might suit us a little bit better when we return to Columbus.

After selling a couple of CDs, we had the van all loaded up and were ready to get on the road by a little after two o'clock. We kicked around driving the three hours to Lexington, but settled on driving an hour and trying to find a cheap motel. This proved harder than one would think. It seemed like every hotel between Columbus and Cincinnati was booked.

When we did find a vacancy, it was at a "Budget Motel" (no shit) that had (I kid you not) what appeared to be gallows out front. We continued on. At this point it was nearly four o'clock in the morning and we were beat. We finally found a suitable and inexpensive room about 20 minutes north of Cincinnati. My head hit the pillow and I was asleep instantaneously after a long, somewhat harried, but ultimately successful first day on the road.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Whispers in the Dark

So the road beckons.

Starting Friday, Oct 13 (!), Burn Rome Burn is heading out for a week of shows in the Midwest. Check Burn Rome Burn for details. I'm excited. I need the road and we need to do these 5 shows (at least) in 6 nights.

Once we're back, things will get a little clearer. Plans will be firmed up. Futures will crystallize. And I will resume blogging with a vengeance. I've got plenty to write about.



Friday, October 06, 2006

Moon watching

If you're hyperventilating, it means you're still breathing.


Thursday, September 14, 2006


The moon's not a lot But it's all that we've got And the sky is painted in chrome When the light shines Maybe we'll find The difference in being alone Time is passing as we sleep The days are falling into weeks And I'm still disappearing Slowly All hope is lost All the lines crossed It feels different than before "Love is still here" Is written in tears But maybe love's not enough anymore Time is passing as we sleep The days are falling into weeks And I'm still disappearing Slowly


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dream Rabbit

September weather in Chicago can eat you alive. Some people thrive on rainy, windy 60 degree days. But these days also fill some of us with unrest. Of course, some of us thrive on days full of unrest... I awoke last night at about 2... the TV was still on, muted, and the screen cast its ever changing patterns of silent blue-tinged light upon Hendrix, asleep on a chair in the bay window.

The wind hissed through the cracked windows. Hendrix twitched, letting out a muffled sleep-bark, no doubt in response to some dream rabbit. I fumbled with the remote, trying to change the channel from a real estate-themed infomercial to something more suitable for sleeping... like televised poker.

The sleeping pill I popped 4 hours earlier rallied and I closed my eyes just as John Juanda made some sick call and spiked a pair of aces on the river to win a big pot. Just before I drifted off, I remembered the song I was working on earlier that night before I fell asleep...

I heard the chorus in my head, loud and clear. I imagined I was singing it in the studio and at some point, imagining became dreaming. I wondered if I was twitching in my sleep, chasing my own dream rabbit...

SLOWLY Time is passing as we sleep The days are falling into weeks And I'm still disappearing Slowly...


Monday, September 11, 2006

A Dog's Life

On the anniversary of what is surely the worst day most of us have lived through, I thought it might be a good idea to break my silence and write about some of the positive things that have been going on for me lately...

But before that, I'd like to share one simple personal memory of September 11, 2001: I spent the day wishing that I was my dog.

You see... to Hendrix, that Tuesday was as good as it gets. I came home from work about 7 hours early and sat on the couch all day watching television, with him curled up next to me, scratching his head. He was thrilled. He could do that every day.

To him, 9/11 was an absolutely wonderful, peaceful, serene day.

Oh, to be Hendrix. Except for the part about being neutered.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lovesick Blues

Well... I know there are at least a few of you who read this so...

Let's just say there's been some pretty heavy shit going on in my personal life that has rendered me... unwilling, unable, uninspired with respect to blogging. I think it's all getting better. Slowly. Not quickly enough. But getting better nonetheless (can't get no worse). Nobody's dying, nobody's injured... it just feels like it.

Anyway, all this pain and darkness are (as pain and darkness tend to do) obscuring the fact that there's a lot of exciting positive stuff going on... plans for not one, not two, but three recordings to be completed by the end of the year... an EP of new BRB material, an EP of other material not suitable for BRB, and the long awaited realization of a quality recording of The Odyssey.

Additionally, good shows are in the works, many of them out of town. So... I guess it's darkest just before the dawn. As many foolish wise-people have written. Kisses. And tears.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

I Won't Turn My Back on Love

Whispers in the dark The wind is calling out To all the lonesome hearts Flickering in starts The big star's burning low And soon it will be gone When love is overcome When love is on the ropes Don't turn your back on love I won't I won't turn my back On love I won't I won't turn my back On love Under purple skies Chicago's crying out It echoes through the streets And settles with the dust Along the silent lake Beneath the silver moon I won't I won't turn my back On love I won't I won't turn my back On love


Fight (A Hymn): Verse Two

Silence comes Like a knife Cuts you up Before your eyes The pieces fall Down and down and down An empty heart Broken strings And empty songs For us to sing So go our days Until the summer ends Anything you do I will fight for you


Friday, August 04, 2006

Skeletonsskinandsky (redux)

One night I had a dream That I walked out onto the sea And into the sun as the waters, they swallowed it whole And when the flames burned to black I woke from the stinging ashes And open my eyes and felt the hope spark in my bones Skeletons skin and sky Most days I just get by Why does it have to go away? And when the morning fades We drown in the wide open spaces Though the night may be sure, it's the daylight that makes our hearts hurt So I keep writing these songs These songs about time and the sea And angels and dawns and singing them in my sleep Skeletons skin and sky Most days I just get by Why does it have to go? Why does it have to go? Why does it have to go away?


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fight (A Hymn): Verse one

When the time Is running down And what's lost Can't be found Be it you By my side And the tears Of the night Are revealed By the light As silent prayers Falling on deaf ears Anything you do I will fight for you


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Burn Run Burn

You can't spell "fucking running" without the word "fun." Actually, I guess you can't spell the word "fucking" without "fun" either. I have recently committed myself to running a half marathon in October, so the last few weeks have been spent getting into a training schedule that will allow me to complete this endeavor with some measure of success, i.e., not passing out or throwing up in the course of said race. So far, so good.

I was already running a bit this summer, so I started pretty far ahead of where the training schedule dictated. Essentially, you run or do some sort of cardio 5 days a week, culminating with a "long run" on Sunday. I've also been working in a couple days a week in the weight room for good measure. The long run for last Sunday was supposed to be 4 miles, but I've been running 4 miles pretty consistently, so... Terri (our tenant who goaded me into signing up for this race) suggested we run down to Carmichael's Steak House where Dave (her husband) works.

It's about 6.5 miles down there, but as a reward we could eat a steak, drink a beer, and hitch a ride home. We set out just before 8, right at sunset, just as the temperature was dropping from its daytime highs in the upper 80's to the much cooler upper 60's. We strapped on our iPods and turned east on Irving Park, headed southeast on Lincoln, and then south on Ashland. Right away, I could sense that this was going to be a good run. The week's training seemed to have really expanded my endurance, and the Gomez pumping in my ears coupled with the wind cooling my skin had me feeling great. We pushed through the halfway point and then strange things began to happen.

Just north of Division, we bumped into Burn Rome Burn's web designer, and then a block later happened upon my sister and her fiance. Talk about serendipity. Buoyed, we set off southeast down Milwaukee, going slightly out of our way to Halsted where we cut south, and finally finished with a two block sprint back west on Madison.

As we walked up to Carmichael's, Dave notified us our 24 ounce Porterhouse steak (with sides) was ready, and the bartender added a Guinness and a glass of water to the spread. Then (I kid you not), Ozzie Guillen walked in. All in all, quite a successful little jaunt. And my runs this week have been more or less strong so I feel like if I can keep this up I should be in pretty solid shape for the race in October.

Remember, you can't spell half marathon without the words "ham hat."


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fortunate Son

You ever have one of those things happen that makes you want to call the people you love just to hear their voices? And go home and hug you spouse and your dog and cat? My sister recently had a friend who was robbed while she was home sleeping. Luckily, she wasn't hurt but still... if makes you aware of how easily things can happen to people you love, people who are integral parts of your life and heart.

Take, for instance, this Friday. I got to work expecting that my boss would be out of the office and therefore Friday would go by quickly, efficiently, and without incident. Instead, at about 9:30 a.m., we got an email that she would be coming through the office in the afternoon and then out for half of next week, the reason being that her brother had died of a heart attack at the age of 56 on Thursday night. The exact circumstances are so heartwrenching I'll spare you the details... but it really hit me like a ton of bricks.

My life has been one of incredible fortune when it comes to the well-being of those closest to me. I have two living, married parents. I have three living grandparents. The fourth, my paternal grandfather, died in the 60's when my dad was in his late teens. Of a heart attack. I believe he was in his late 40's. I just can't imagine having somebody that close to me walk out of my life one day and never come back. I just can't.

Living with whatever was left unsaid, whatever was left undone, whatever stupid fight or disagreement will always be the last memory you have of someone you love. I know life is loss and everyone will have to deal with loss at some point in his or her life. I know that anyone, anyone, no matter how old or young or sick or healthy can be gone in the blink of an eye. I know that I should try and live life with this in mind, to let this guide the way I treat my relationships and the people I love.

Hopefully, I can embrace it fully and head off regret at the pass. Hopefully. And now, back to your regularly scheduled bullshit.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Come Home

It's been barely a week Since you left me to fight alone So I face down the nights and then Watch the sun rise again And I sing myself sick Lose my voice to the swollen sky When the rain hits an open wound The pain let's you know you're alive I know you're coming home I know you're coming home I hope you're coming home Come home... Come home...


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Misc. Filing

File this one under the category "Apocryphal Stories about Artists." 'Cause you have a file for that, I'm sure. I remember hearing that Tennessee Williams would get up and write from 5am to 7am every day, regardless of where he'd been the night before (a bar) or where he had to go that day (often to a day job).

Now... do you think there were times he stayed in bed and slept off his drunkenness? I would say so. But the point is... work ethic. Craft. Regimentation. Discipline. I've been hung up the last few weeks thinking about art and specifically songwriting as a craft. I've really been struggling with finishing songs... a lot of good ideas, a lot of things I like, but few complete songs.

And I realized that I just haven't been putting in the cold hard time to finish these ideas. Which is frustrating. So this week, I decided to really focus and grab every little bit of time I could towards writing and practicing. It helped that on Tuesday at rehearsal we put together a new song, St. Scarlet, which I'd had lying around for a bit. I wasn't sure if St. Scarlet was any good, but we nailed down a strong arrangement almost immediately, managing to incorporate a number of elements we haven't really used in previous songs.

So that fact helped me take the rest of Tuesday and yesterday to really hone a couple of other songs and the results have been good. Tuesday night especially, I stayed up until about 2 woodshedding lyrics and working on a tune called "You Were." Even fell asleep basically sitting up with my pen in my songbook.

And Wednesday, I did my best Tennessee Williams impersonation (including a hangover) and got up early before work to try to crystallize "You Were." It worked. On my train ride home from work yesterday, I sketched out the words for the bridge and then started working through the entire tune tweaking the lyrics. And the beauty of songwriting is that, just by doing it, just by having a guitar in your hands and by getting words out onto the page, you often wind up with new ideas that aren't necessarily good for the particular song you're working on, but might inspire a new song or a new idea. So it's been a good week so far. The results...

YOU WERE So I'll try and stay At least until the dawn Until the stars give way And the dark is gone And when I leave you in the morning I'll always think of how You were You were And how the light embraced you while you breathed The songs I wrote for you Won't see the light of day They're just ghosts in blue That rise and float away But if I catch one in the morning I'll always sing of how You were You were And how the light embraced you while you breathed (bridge) The ending came without a warning But I've never felt so sure That if I catch you in the morning You'll still be just as You were As you were As you were As you were


p.s. Happy anniversary to my mom and dad... 37 years! Holy crap, that's impressive.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Digging out

So it's not that I haven't been writing posts. It's that I haven't been posting them. Kind of the blog equivalent of writing songs and then never playing them. I guess. And... frankly, the posts have been shallow and hastily written so... (you're saying "how is that any different from the usual?")

It seems like I've just been having trouble dialing in coherent, cohesive thoughts. Mostly it's that there's been so much going on... so much to do and think about that it's been completely mentally and physically exhausting and not conducive to then sitting down and expending energy crafting my usual witty missives.

Ha. Ha.

Anyway... I'm back, bitches.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Memo to Self

Ian Scott is a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears. Scott Ian is the guitarist for Anthrax. They are (as far as we know) not related. jbg

Thursday, June 22, 2006


If good things come in threes... then I've got a set. (Yes, that's an attempt at a poker reference.)

1. Gina graduates from The French Pastry School tomorrow. 2. My great friends from high school Pete and Hannah got engaged. 3. My little sister and her boyfriend Will got engaged. Whew. 

All excellent. My sister and Will announced their engagement on Sunday at Father's Day brunch, which was attended by us, my parents, and my grandparents. I am so happy for them. The protective older brother in me knows that my sister has found a truly fantastic person who respects her and loves her the way a spouse should. So I don't have to kick some ass. Not that I'm the ass kicking type. Or the type that wins ass kicking contests. I digress.

Tomorrow, Gina will graduate and in two weeks she'll begin a six month stint back at school as an intern. 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. She finished up working for Gary Lee last Friday, so we've officially begun a half year of being a single income family. Okay... now that I've written that sentence, I'll go (as my Grandpa would say) change my shorts.

But I know we'll be okay. We've been planning for this and we do have some options to cushion the impact of going from two earners to one. And having that one earner be a musician. And... another change of shorts.

Maybe the stress of this change has been on my mind lately, but I've been feeling exhausted and worn down. But I am looking forward to playing at Pontiac Cafe tonight as part of MOB Fest. We'll be playing acoustic, with me on acoustic guitar and Barret playing Bodhran and couple of other auxiliary percussion instruments. We've been rehearsing in this configuration for the last couple weeks, and it's been fun to reinvent the tunes in a quieter setting.

The show tonight is free and we play at 9:00. More info at our website. Now... I gotta head out to Target and pick up a couple of things for the weekend. Including some new shorts.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"I am your Father"

So I finally bit the bullet and saw the final installment of Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I know what you're saying: where have you been for the last year? Well... I was avoiding seeing it for a couple of reasons...

First off, I was afraid it would suck. And I've been so disillusioned with the first two episodes, that I figured Episode III would be the nail in the coffin. Second of all, I think it represented the end of an era for me. Is that a little melodramatic? Maybe.

But I think a lot of people use movies, songs, and TV shows as markers in their lives. And an age difference of just a couple of years either way means that you remember different movies, different songs, different cartoons... etc. And for those of us born in the late seventies... well, there was nothing much cooler or bigger than Star Wars.

In fact, Episode IV came out the year I was born and I know I'd seen all three of the original movies by the time Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. And I had all the action figures. And I still think Darth Vader is the best movie villain of all time. I had nightmares about him well into my 20's... I guess he had a pretty deep and lasting impact on my psyche.

So... I think I was a little anxious about closing the most lasting and important chapter of entertainment of my lifetime. And the verdict on Episode III?

I don't want to say it sucked... So I won't. But I had problems with it. Not with the story. I love the way the plot and story of the Episodes I-III was constructed. I love how the Emperor slowly consolidates his power by playing both sides of a manufactured conflict, and manipulates people into giving him more and more power until he's in a position to take control. It really resonates with how figures in history have grabbed power. I liked the tragedy of the fall of the Jedi and how brutal and absolute it was. I liked Obi Wan and Anakin's final battle and the savagery of it.

So what didn't I like? Let me count the things (pushes glasses up in nerdly manner)...

1. The dialogue.

2. The dialogue.

3. The dia- you get the idea. George Lucas is such a hack when it comes to putting exposition in characters mouths. And it kills me. Don't have Yoda tell us he's going into exile. Just go into fucking exile! We know he's going into exile! But Lucas feels the need to pound details into our heads by having characters speak them. Argh. Give the audience some credit.

4. The direction. I can only surmise that when good actors like Samuel Jackson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman get all mumble-mouthed and robotic that it has something to do with the direction. Thanks again George Lucas. Why didn't he let someone else direct?

5. The special effects. They were good but overused. The movie felt two dimensional. There was no, ZERO, dirt. Compare it to original three Episodes, or better yet, The Lord of the Rings.

6. Darth Vader's "Nooooooooooooo" at the end of the movie. Oh. My. God. I've seen less contrived staging at junior high school plays. Broke the momentum of the last 30 minutes of the movie. Ruined it.

All that being said, there are some nice resolutions which set up Episodes IV - VI and make them even more poignant then they were when they originally came out. I like the fact that everyone mourns Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader because he's supposed to be the "Chosen One" who brings balance to the force, but he does eventually fulfill that prophecy by destroying the Emperor in Jedi. I like how the conditions at the beginning of Episode IV really speak to 18 years of Empire rule... technology and order are breaking down, things are really in disarray. Good stuff.

So... sigh... I guess that's it for Star Wars for me. Seeing Episode III also seemed pertinent in light of Father's Day... as Anakin/Darth and Luke have one of the most storied father-son relationships in history, right up there with Laius and Oedipus. Of course my dad is like the anti-Darth Vader. In that he's not trying to kill me. Although he probably felt like it a few times when I was in high school (and there were times I probably deserved to be killed).

But in all seriousness, I couldn't ask for a better father. I can only hope to be for my children something like the mentor and friend that my dad has been for me. Now I better go sharpen my lightsaber skills. And that's not a euphemism.


Friday, June 16, 2006


You ever get to Friday and feel like you've been holding your breath all week? Yeah, me too. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I just have this feeling like something is about to happen. Something big.

This weekend? A lot of good things going on this weekend... but I think it's coming in the next few weeks. Hmmmm. Stay tuned.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Once in a Lifetime

Every once in a while, I have to put on the "big suit" and ask... How did I get here?

Some notable examples:

Spring of 1997, with Ben and Greg at a party in the backwoods of Kentucky with a group of kids we just met. Owner of the house was 18. Crowd was surprising diverse. There were shotguns and oreos. I brought the house down with renditions of Scuttle Buttin by SRV and (a heavy favorite) Sweet Home Alabama.

Spring of 1997, with Colin, just obliterated at 1:00 in the afternoon on an Amtrak train between Chicago and Ann Arbor, having beers with ex-Steeler CB Harvey Clayton.

Summer of 1997, with Ben and Dave, walking down State Street in Madison, shirtless, with water pistols in our belts. Being accosted by a bachelorette party. You can only imagine. It was eXcellent. 

Spring of 1998, with Ben, at a disco bowl in San Francisco after seeing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, stoned to b'jeezus. Hadn't showered in 7 days. I bowled 110 in the first 5 frames, but couldn't break 200.

Fall of 2003, with a host of friends, sweating at a Russian Bath House in New York. Very strange. 

And add to that list, going to the Windy City Rollers bout in Cicero this weekend. We went to support the Hell's Belles and cheer on our friend Belinda Scarlisle. And it was pretty awesome. Those chicks are tough as hell. Tons of hits. Great, capacity crowd. I don't completely understand the rules but... it did not detract from enjoying the event.

Unfortunately, the Belles lost to the The Fury. There's a bout every month, and I would imagine that we'll be return spectators.

And you may find yourself, at a Roller Derby in Cicero...


Thursday, June 08, 2006

J. Gump

Yeah, yeah, I know. See... I had a post for Tuesday... and then I accidentally erased it and got frustrated and didn't write another one. Take that, technology. I sure showed you.

I'll sum the erased post up like this: While you're busy making plans, shit happens. I think I was quoting some amalgam of John Lennon and Forrest Gump. Anyway, we played in Chicago on Friday and up in Madison Saturday. Both shows were okay, but I thought the Madison show had better sound and I think playing in different cities gives us a new energy and a new approach which translates to better shows.

Getting out on the road is so good for us, musically, as performers, and just interpersonally. There's something about getting up and playing in front of a room of mostly unfamiliar faces... I think I could do it every night. Actually, I know I could do it every night. Which is in the plans for the fall.

Of course, you know what happens while you're busy making plans...


Thursday, June 01, 2006


I think I'm attempting some sort of pun on the word apocalypse (and no, I didn't watch the Spelling Bee), but I can't be sure.

You see, I'm at the end of the week, staring down a loaded weekend. There are good parts (two BRB shows, a birthday party) and not so good parts (work all day tomorrow, teach Saturday). And then there's the fact that I took my nightly Ambian about 45 minutes ago, which means... Morpheus is banging on my door like an angry creditor.

So before I give in to the inevitable, it bears mentioning that my plans to do some acoustic recordings of both BRB material and solo stuff are taking flight. I've got the man for the job and an approximate time frame. What I'm struggling with now is picking the material. I've got 14 to 15 tunes. In a perfect world, we'd do them all. But we don't have the time or the money.

So the next week will be about sorting through the songs, prioritizing, etc. Maybe even writing a new tune or two just for fun...

Such as: Skyscrapers of My Heart Woke from a dream where I was trying to get to you And save you from the next attack I've been knocked down and fixed so many times before I gave up awhile back While I'm sleeping They're all leaving me gone Another day has gone and left us in its wake Another week is in the past And as the waters fill the spaces in my chest I know these times will never last While I'm sleeping They're all leaving me gone


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I'm still feeling the effects of a long weekend, even though we really didn't do much of consequence. Friday night was spent in the backyard. Saturday night was spent sleeping. Sunday was spent in the hot sun working on the backyard. Sunday night was spent with friends, hanging out until much too late. Or early. Monday was spent recovering.

And now, it's already Tuesday again. This week seems like it'll be over before I know it, with rehearsals, work, teaching, and gigs on Friday and Saturday nights. So maybe it's just anticipating how busy it'll be, but I feel a little off today.

Like something is lurking... not sure if it's a good or bad thing but... I feel like it's coming soon. I've been banging around a ton of songs ideas, a couple of which I'm very excited about. Just haven't quite honed them to where I can really start working on them. Which is a little annoying.

But what I've realized is that even when I don't have the time and/or discipline to sit down and write, I'm to the point where I can work almost anywhere, at any time: riding the train, driving to teach, walking down the street... I can cycle through ideas and modify them without having a guitar in my hands. Which is nice.

It provides a certain freedom. Of course, there's no substitute for a quiet room, a guitar, and a tape recorder... but sometimes you just have to make do with what you have. I guess that was kind of the message of the movie we watched last night, The Weather Man. I thought it was pretty good. A little American Beauty-ish, without necessarily being quite as profound.

And the Chicago geography was pretty cool, if not a little disjointed. Kind of like this blog.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Page Not Available

I spent the morning wrestling with our internet connection, but thanks to some Comcastic help, it's up and running again. But the whole episode has left me a little lethargic and cranky. So I'm going to just take it easy until I have to teach.

This week is shaping up to be pretty good... we had a meeting with our manager last night in which we laid out a plan for the next 6 to 12 months, which involved getting out on the road to about a dozen cities in the Midwest, continuing to shop the disc, and looking forward to another recording.

Our manager also got us up to speed on a bite from a well-established producer who is interested in remixing a couple of songs from Bottle Boy, and possibly working with us on a new recording in the future. This guy has worked on projects from Stone Temple Pilots to Talking Heads, and had a lot of good things to say about the album.

We now need to decide how, if at all, to proceed with him, and what involving ourselves with him would do for us. I will say it's just great to get positive comments from somebody who's been successful on the scale that this guy has. It's also great to be featured again on the ever growing empire that is Insomnia Radio. Props to Jason for all he's done and will continue to do.

With a new plan in place, both realistic and aggressive, I think things will start to pick up a bit over the summer and into the fall. And just in time. So now... it's off to the park with the dog to enjoy an hour or two of May sun. Chin up.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Quoth the raven

Another week, another great article about Burn Rome Burn. Yeah. Cause that happens all the time.

But seriously, you gotta love good, nay, great press. Brightens an otherwise gloomy week a bit. Other than that little nugget... not much happening. Work, teach, play. Repeat. Have got a couple of strong songs simmering... haven't quite honed them to the point where I know how to proceed, but, one in particular entitled "Skyscrapers of My Heart," seems like it has the potential to be something special.

Kind of a combination of Van Morrison and David Byrne so far... if that says anything. One of the things I've been working on lately, with little success, is writing songs in different sequences. That is, trying to write the chorus first, then the verse. I tend to write in chronological order, starting with the verse, from beginning to end, and I think it would change things up a bit if I were to write the chorus/hook first, and kind of work outward from there.

Easier said than done though. It all goes to the idea of continually challenging yourself to do something different artistically... something I know I've been very cognizant of recently, and it seems like the band has been, too.

We've been trying to create different sounds, different structures, different textures, all while still sounding like Burn Rome Burn. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't. But I guess that's a good comment on life in general.

That and "It's not rocket science, it's rock and roll."


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grist for the Mill

Another weekend come and gone... Friday night was a chance to relax at home. Saturday night was spent at a brilliant 60th birthday party in the suburbs. Sunday was spent seeing the various generations of mothers in our lives.

And now, we're back to the work week. I picked up two new albums last week: Paul Simon's Surprise, and Gomez's How We Operate.

 Surprise, at first blush, is quite good. Some immediately obvious positives: Brian Eno as Producer; Tchad Blake as Engineer; Herbie Hancock on Keys; Bill Frisell on Guitar; Steve Gadd on Drums. Wow. That is an all-star lineup of music people. I'm still getting into the substance of the album, but it seems like a return the ideas of Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, but instead of using South African or South American music as a production and arrangement framework, the singular electronic/ambient production of Brian Eno is the key element. And the lyrics... well, it's Paul Simon. His worst lyrics are better than most people's best. I'll still need more time to decide whether or not I think Surprise is really really good, or merely interesting. But it certainly is cool to hear a guy who's over 60 still trying to make urgent music with integrity, still challenging himself.

 How We Operate, however, has really caught my ear and heart right off the bat. I've never been a huge fan of Gomez, but I've liked a lot of what I've heard in passing. And HWO has demanded the majority of my listening time over the last week. The title track (which I heard last night coming from the TV in the other room... actually, heard it mixed with Gina's sobs as she watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy) is a truly excellent piece of dynamic rock songwriting and I've been working my way through the album with that song as my reference point. It seems like a perfect example of a band just focusing on making a solid, tuneful, interesting album, and benefiting from that focus. Not trying to be groundbreaking, but just trying to do something that's already been done, but do it really well. If that makes sense.

Gomez is apparently on ATO Records, the home of the last band I got obsessed with, My Morning Jacket. Also, Gil Norton produced HWO. My one critique of the album is that the lyrics are sometimes a little lacking in depth... but it's by no means often or extreme enough to ruin it for me.

Getting new music is so good for the ears... I'm so often inspired to write just by hearing something new, just by gathering more ideas for sounds, for arrangements, for lyrics... So on that note (middle C?), I'm off to scribble illegibly and sing out of tune.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Rolling along

Just before the story ends When the clocks are running down What's broken we will mend What's lost will be found And skeletons, skin, and sky Will fall into one And the days of getting by Will finally be done Remember when It was just a game Remember then It all changed So I'll keep writing songs Of time and the sea And angels and the dawn And singing while you sleep But I'd throw them all away Just ask me to If it meant another day Here, with you Remember when It was just a game Remember then It all changed


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Everything's comin' up Axl Rose

And from the "hell freezes over department," we find this tidbit. Nothing I read about this album surprises me. Hell, I even almost believed this April Fools' review in Spin Magazine last month. The bottom line is, Axl Rose is crazy. End of story.

Next question. Yes? What did I do this weekend? Well, I'm glad you asked. On Friday, I went to a wedding. My friends from high school and college, Greg and Kirsten, got married in Oak Park in the late afternoon, and we proceeded to head downtown to Spiaggia (on North Michigan Avenue) for the reception. A great time was had by many, and there were a bunch of people in from out of town to celebrate.

Saturday night, after a brutal day of teaching, I headed out to Oak Park again to hang out at Greg's parents' house, the site of many, many nights of craziness in college. Greg's parents are moving this year, so there was some anticipatory nostalgia going on. After staying up way too late again, Sunday saw some breakfast with friends from out of town, and some rocking and rolling with the boys from Stylus.

It looks like I'll be starting to play with Stylus as a second guitarist now and then. They are a great group of guys and the music is spectacular. Dave, the drummer, is the engineer who recorded both our EP and full-length. They asked me to add some guitar work to their upcoming record, and we've been getting together every now and then to fashion a set on which I can play live. Good times.

BRB gets its usual rehearsals this week, which is a good thing. We're being interviewed this morning for a profile in a suburban paper, and we also have a fairly important meeting with our manager to discuss the next six months and how they are to unfold. Lots to think over, lots to clarify, and lots to do.

Finally, I've been exploring the idea of recording a solo acoustic album or EP in the next few months. I have a bunch of songs that seem to fit the solo acoustic format rather than a band format, and I may take a shot at doing a quick and dirty weekend recording of a bunch of them, just to see if I can get something I like enough to put out.

Of course, it may not be as good as Chinese Democracy, but... what i-, uh, will be?


Thursday, May 04, 2006

St. Scarlet

Her last breath came and went In darkness and alone I put her in the ground But her ghost was free to roam All memories and bones And St. Scarlet spoke to me "Save the last light Save the last light for me Save the last light It's everything you need" I heard she was in town My senses were at war I watched the fires go down On the empty shore There must be something more And St. Scarlet spoke to me "Save the last light Save the last light for me Save the last light It's everything you need" The train tracks were the veins Running straight into the heart Of the cautious mounting flames So uncertain from the start I'm just dirt and spark And St. Scarlet spoke to me "Save the last light Save the last light for me Save the last light It's everything you need"


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

chirp... chirp... chirp

Hunh? Blog? What blog? Oooooohhhhhhh. That blog. Yeah. Gotcha.

Sometimes, the week slips away with nary a spare moment to tap out a public missive. Alas. Last week saw some rehearsing, a couple of shows, and just too much to do.

The shows went well. Thursday in Joliet was one of those shows that by all rights should have sucked. For one, it was at Harrah's Casino in Joliet. Natch. For two, we had to be down there around 7:00, which meant leaving the city in miserable rush hour traffic. For three, as we were loading in to the show, I heard a noise from my amp and one of the vacuum tubes that creates that warm rockin' sound came rolling out the back, broken. Right.

Actually, the whole night showed me how far I've come as a professional performer and how far BRB has come from some of the previous projects I've been involved in. In the past, a setup like the one described above would have resulted in 1) moping, 2) panic, and 3) a disastrous show. Oh. I forgot one thing: we couldn't drink at the casino. Not kidding.

So after load in, we ducked out and ran to a bar down the street to let off some steam. I managed to get my amp up and running, albeit at about half power, and a strange thing happened: for all the trial and travail, we started playing and sounded pretty good. Not great. But we just got up there and played. And had fun. I think that set a good tone for Saturday's show at Double Door.

I got my amp to Todd, the guy who does work on my musical equipment, on Friday night at about 8:00, and he had it ready for me at 5:00 on Saturday. The Double Door was already pretty full as we started playing, and it continued to fill up during our 45 minute set. In terms of performing, I thought it was as good a show as we've played. We all seemed relaxed and energetic. Our tempos were solid. And I personally felt like I fronted as good as show as I've ever fronted.

Musically... well, you just never know. There's always a weird balance between energy and accuracy. I know it wasn't my cleanest show musically, but I felt like the performance aspect outweighed whatever mistakes I made. And a few people, my "barometers" for our performances, were overwhelmingly positive. Which meant a lot.

So, after a show like that, this week was bound to be a bit of a let down. Plus, I just have too much to do. This morning, I've got to run the dog to the vet for his yearly check up, go to rehearsal, go to the gym and grocery store, and then get up to Deerfield to teach. Ugh. 

At least I'll sleep well tonight. Thanks to Ambien.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Today is the first day in about five that I've felt right. I managed to go the entire winter without a serious illness, and then... just as the thermometer began to creep up, I got that virus that moves from throat to head to sinuses to nose... and it's not the most gracious guest.

But I think a weekend of doing little other than watching the Bulls' lose their first playoff game of 2006 helped out and I've rallied to get back in the game. We also spent Saturday and Sunday (well, Gina and Terri spent Saturday, I joined them Sunday) putting our backyard back together from the winter and augmenting our front yard with additional plants and landscaping. I was in charge of edging and mowing. Which I'm good at.

Of course, after putting a substantial amount of flora in the ground, the Chicago spring has failed us and we're looking at a frost tonight... which is great for plants I hear. They love being frozen and thawed. So I'm off to Home Depot to try to improvise a solution. I do love the Depot. As one of my friend's once said, you go in to buy some lightbulbs, and leave thinking you can build a fireplace.

To top it off, it's a busy week for Burn Rome Burn. Yesterday afternoon, Barret and I spent two hours at Fearless Radio guest hosting The New Music Binge. We were the featured guests on NMB a couple of months back, and the folks there were nice enough to invite us back to serve as guest DJs. We joined with Kris, Jen, and producer Jason (a fellow OPRF Class of '95er) to waste a couple of hours bullshitting, playing music, and plugging our upcoming shows.

Barret and I played a couple of new tunes with Barret on bodhran (did I spell that right?) and in spite of my vocal health (or lack thereof), I think they went pretty well. All in all, a great time. The five of us had good chemistry, laughed a lot, made fun of famous people, took some phone calls, and just generally had fun. It looks like Kris and Jen are going to be the new hosts of NMB on a full time basis (Rocco, the previous host, is focusing more on film than radio now) and I think they're going to do great. And Jason is a natural in the producer's booth. Good times.

Thursday, we play down in Joliet at Harrah's Casino as part of a Battle of the Bands. That's right. I will then proceed to lose our life's saving at a Texas Hold 'Em table. Just sayin'... Saturday, we're at Double Door as part of the Shoeshine Boy Productions' 6th Anniversary Party. Should be a great time. If anybody in Chicago is interested, I've got discount tickets for sale for $10. Buying the advance ticket from us not only gets you in the door for cheap, but it also entitles you to attend the FREE HOUR OF DRINKING from 8 pm to 9 pm. Free Jim Beam and Absolut drinks for the entire hour. And then we play at 9:00 followed by three other great bands. How can you beat that? With a stick I guess. 

Anyway... email if you're interested in tix. So things are humming along... I'm also doing an interview this morning with The Daily Herald, a suburban paper, which will probably run on Friday as part of a preview of the party on Saturday.

Finally, I just found out that my best friend from high school, Ben, is a daddy. A Big Daddy. He and his wife April are the proud parents of Austin Richard and Aspen Rose and I couldn't be happier for them. Brother and sister were born a bit premature and are in the ICU as a precaution but are otherwise healthy and doing well. Here's to their continued health and well being. And the sanity of their parents, what with twin babies and two Pugs in the house.

Good morning and good luck.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

On the Subject of Literacy and Drugs

So Thursday... eh? I don't know how I feel about that. The blur of multiple holidays, the fatigue of travel, the throb of gout, the dull pain of boredom from getting stuck listening to an elderly relative tell you about every car she's ever owned, in detail... it all adds up, dunnit? Well, it's nothing I can't handle.

Been kicking around some song ideas this week... but I've found myself being pretty selective, throwing out a lot of stuff I might otherwise keep. And no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I've broken free from my standard 2:1 ratio of completed songs to keeper songs... well, it seems to come back those numbers without fail. C'est la vie.

One of my resolutions of the last few months has been to start reading more fiction... reading is such a powerful source of subject matter for lyrics... from overall themes to specific words. I think I've mentioned it here before, but one of the ways I write lyrics is by "collecting" words (or sometimes phrases) that I find attractive and finding the right place for them, whether that be as titles or actual lyrics.

Or course, sometimes it takes me literally years to find the right place for them. Case and point: "drugs." For awhile, I wanted to find a way to use the word "drugs" in a song. Not in the sense of "Hey, let's go score some weed," but because the word is so evocative, so emblematic of so many different facets of human behavior and interaction.

Also, it seems like a good number of my songwriting heroes, from Aimee Mann, to Jeff Tweedy, to David Byrne, have found creative ways to use "drugs." In songs. And probably otherwise. For years, every time I tried to use "drugs" in a song, it sounded forced, synthetic, and amateur.

But I was patient and finally, I managed to slip it into the song December Static, which I first wrote about here. The last verse goes: The winter left us black and blue And the drugs don't work like they used to I didn't mean to let you go To walk alone into the snow

I think (if one can ever be an objective critic of one's own work) that this is probably the best writing I've ever done. Anyway, the upshot of this story is that I've been trying to read more and find more words and phrases for my list. I just finished the book Kite Runner, which was quite good, and I'm on to Cosmopolis, which a friend lent me a couple of years ago and I just haven't gotten around to reading. Kite Runner fit in nicely with the theme of redemption I've been writing about and so far Cosmopolis is proving to be a cornucopia of poetic prose.

To be continued...


Friday, April 14, 2006

I forgot

Blue by Joni Mitchell. Jeez. That's another heart-pisser-on. Man.


In the mood for moods

Apropos of my mood this week, the details of which I'll spare you, I've been seeking out depressing music to console/embolden my feelings of despair. Okay, so the feelings aren't exactly up to the level despair. Maybe more like... extreme grumpiness.

Anyway... I got to thinking about sad music in general and I started compiling a list of what I think are some of the most heartbreaking songs in my collection.

1. My Mom - Chocolate Genius Any song about one's mom getting Alzheimer's... well... 'nuff said.

2. Family Life - Blue Nile This one I discovered fairly recently, but... wow. Like a ton of bricks.

3. Pink Moon - Nick Drake (entire album) Ever wondered what an album recorded by a guy so depressed he couldn't stand up would sound like? Well, now you know.

4. Lover You Should Have Come Over - Jeff Buckley Another album that is full of pathos, if only because it was his only complete one. This song, in particular, does something to the heart. Like tears it out of your chest and pees on it. Triumphantly.

5. Anna Begins - Counting Crows Is this song sad, or just cathartic? Or tragic? Hmmmm. I'm leaving it.

6. Dear Chicago - Ryan Adams Something about his voice on this song... something about how it cracks at the end. Makes you feel like the world is cracked.

7. Angel - Jimi Hendrix (Demo acoustic version on an old tape from high school) One of the most delicate examples of the fact that Hendrix was really a kick ass singer. Another song about a dead/dying mom. A sure tearjerker.

8. Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan Really, the whole Time Out of Mind album, but this song in particular, with all its connotations of mortality. And somehow, he's still kicking.

9. Mercy Street - Peter Gabriel There's a lot of pathos on this album too... and in no song more than in this one.

10. Keep Me in Your Heart - Warren Zevon How can you not feel it when a guy with terminal cancer records an album knowing it will be his last? Good god.

11. Hold On - Tom Waits I think it was my sister that said that this song sounded like a classic from the first time she heard it. Like it could have been written 30 years ago. Lyrically, just amazing.

So... if you're in the mood for moody music and haven't heard some of these tunes... track 'em down. And you might also want to pick up some Prozac.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


That's the number of posts I've managed to put together since I debuted BurnBlogBurn exactly one year ago today. Not too bad. I thought about going back and doing a "best of awards" entry, but that stuck me as the height of narcissism.

Me, giving myself awards, for my own writing, in my own blog. I could call them "Joes." And the "Joe" for "most uses of the word ghost" goes to... Joe! I'm sure I'd be objective about it.

Anyway, I did go back and skim my entries a bit to try and see if I could find any development, any improvement, in how I've approached writing here, as well as any subconcious (or otherwise) changes in why I write and what I'm trying to accomplish with BurnBlogBurn. Which, of course, brings us (the editorial "us" that is) to the question of why we (the editorial "we" of course) do this little exercise in semantics with regularity (apparently, an average of a little over once every three days if numbers are to be believed).

What strikes me about considering this question now, is that it's really the first time I've thought about it. A year into writing BurnBlogBurn, I'm finally really thinking about why I'm doing it, what I'm trying accomplish, and what it means. And I guess this goes to a larger question of why people Blog in general. I think, for me, blogging dovetails with the act of writing songs in both form and function. I don't even know if that's the right way to say it.

BurnBlogBurn has helped me make sense of the last year, has helped me stay disciplined about being creative, and has kept my brain working in a way I think is valuable for other aspects of my life. It is also somehow connected to the whole idea of leaving a record of oneself, leaving an artifact of one's thoughts, feelings, presence... which is a purpose it has in common with writing songs.

Additionally, I often think one of the wisest sentiments I've ever heard expressed is that life is lived forwards and understood backwards. I forget which philospher said it, but it rings truer and truer to me with every passing year. And both songs and BurnBlogBurn are tools I use to help me try to understand life a little quicker. To help capture experience as it happens, accurately.

Songwriting is much more visceral and impressionistic, blogging is more cerebral, concrete, and episodic. And both processes serve to keep me honest. I can always go back and sing what I felt, read what I was thinking... and it's much harder to practice the revisionist history that we so often practice with our own lives when it's written down in cold black... uh... 1's and 2's.

So there you have it. That was heavy. Now... back to lips and assholes. (from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again) Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lips and Assholes

Our house has been an infirmary the last week and a half or so... Gina's been stricken with some sort of virus that's given her everything from a fever to a harsh cough, and it's happened to coincide with the week she has exams at school.

So I've been running around, trying to nurse her back to health, and hoping that I don't catch said virus. I also just finished reading Jim Derogatis' love letter to The Flaming Lips. It's a pretty good read. The nature of the book brings to mind Frank Zappa's quote about (I'm paraphrasing) music journalism being people who can't write, writing about people who can't talk, for people who can't read.

Actually, that's not completely true: singer Wayne Coyne can definitely talk. And the whole arc of The Lips' career is truly inspiring from the perspective that Mr. Coyne was over 40 before he got his first gold record, and along the way, he and the other Lips (!) never really compromised for anybody. They always (at least if the book is to be believed) pretty much operated the way they wanted to, and made music they wanted to. With integrity. And that's what's important.

And in the Department of Serendipity, I turned on the TV Sunday night to find that Austin City Limits was replaying a 2004 episode featuring a spirited performance by The Lips, complete with dancing animals, confetti, balloons, and fake blood. Good times.

So that's the "Lips" portion of this entry... Now for some "Assholes": Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Charles Krauthaumer (sick) (sic), Dennis Hastert.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hello, hello, hello...

How-low? Anyone there? Yeah, I'm here. A bit lacking in the "free time" department, but here, nonetheless. Shit has been flying fast and furious, mostly on the law firm front... which is good for money, bad for energy.

If it's one thing I've learned from doing this split-schedule thing for... over three years now, it's that things go in phases. One job will pick up, one will mellow a little... and then the reverse. Although I'm a bit scared of the end of April, which will see a bunch of BRB stuff, a (traditionally) busy time for teaching, and most likely continued craziness at the law firm. Should be a fun ride.

So if I seem even loonier than usual (I know, hard to imagine)... you know why. And what sucks is that I've had a lot to write about lately, just no time to write. What with my bedtime and all. 

Oh, well. Whatever. Nevermind.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Easy Like a Sunday Morning


Any time you can work Lionel Richie into your blog, you have to smile... and then throw up.

 It's a sunny Sunday and I managed to sleep until almost noon... mostly because I was out until about 3:00 in the morning celebrating the fact AJ got into U of Chicago business school. Good... nay, great times.

Then, on the way home, Greg and Kirsten and I stopped for tacos at Taco Burrito Palace. The jury is still out on whether or not that was a good idea from a digestive standpoint.

But you might say that we almost stayed out "All Night Long" (All Night). (Smile) (Barf) We celebrated down at AJ and Sarah's place in the south Loop, and it was a good collection of people including a talking bird that didn't talk.

People weren't getting too crazy... it's not like they were "Dancing on the Ceiling" or anything. (Smile) (Barf)

Okay, enough of that nonsense. Today holds some music and some relaxing. The writing continues to happen at a fairly furious pace. And the band's reaction to the recent tunes I've brought in has been strong and positive.

It looks like what we're working on now will turn into another full length album, which will come after the EP we'll be trying to record in May. Being this productive is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it excites me and keeps things moving in a forward direction. A curse because I've got about 8 or 9 new tunes which most likely won't be recorded until... who knows when unless somebody decides to give us some money to record.

Hmmmm. I'm hoping to finish up this new tune called "St. Scarlet" this week. I'll post lyrics when they're sufficiently crafted.

Until then... "Goodbye." (Smile) (Barf)