Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Chicagoan Splendor

Some people hate Mondays. Some people really hate Mondays. And some people hate Mondays in the same way they might hate someone who killed their mother. Normally, I fall into the first category. On Mondays after a weekend on which we've played a show or hit the studio, I fall into the second category. And I can now say that on Mondays after a weekend in which Burn Rome Burn was played on the radio, I fall into the third category.

That's right. On Sunday night at approximately 7:55 pm, WXRT 93.1 FM in Chicago played the first song on Bottle Boy, Nothing's Changed . It was pretty damn cool to hear us on the radio. The DJ, Richard Milne, even said some very nice things about us and plugged the CD release show this coming Saturday. Additionally, we've been told that on Wednesday, February 1, at 9:45 pm CST, and Saturday, February 4, at 4:45 pm CST, Burn Rome Burn will be on WXRT 93.1 FM again as part of the Local Anesthetic Capsule feature.

If anyone outside Chicago is interested in catching us on the Capsule, you can stream WXRT at their website (linked above). After we listened to the broadcast Sunday night, we walked over to the Thai Room, which is right across the street from our house, to celebrate with Barret and Aoife. So needless to say, going to work yesterday was not all the fun, a situation exacerbated by the fact that I wound up having to stay until after 6:00 making copies of a filing. Indeed.

I felt like Harvey Pekar back in the file room after going on Letterman. Just on a much smaller scale. 

But there is a larger point here about progress and reality. It's really easy to get bogged down in the day to day things you do to get by when you're building a career in the arts. It's easy to get depressed, especially when success seems to happen at a glacial pace and you've made the decision that you want to succeed artistically on your own terms making your own music.

But if I step back and look at the arc of Burn Rome Burn and how it compares to other bands I've been in and other bands I see around the scene... well, that brightens even the worst Monday.

It seems like every time I turn around, we're doing something for the first time, something I've never done, or something very few bands get the chance to do, e.g., playing the Double Door as our first show, playing Metro 3 times in the first 9 months we were a band, playing big summer festivals, getting out of town for club shows, playing House of Blues, playing Summerfest, opening up for Cracker, getting played on 93.1 WXRT, and, most important of all, recording a full length album that I feel like will still sound great 10 years from now.

When you look at it like that... we are defining success on our own terms and succeeding without compromising. Another first: tomorrow, Wednesday, February 1, at 5:00 pm CST, we'll de doing an hour long preview of the album and interview at Chicago's best little internet radio station, Fearless Radio. So that should help push us into the CD release party and we're hopeful that more press will show up towards the end of the week.

Ah hope. So easy to find, so hard to sustain.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Look Alive! (II)

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 back To you But it all comes back To you


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lizards on my Mind

Damn. Is it Thursday already? How does that happen?

Man... Well... I guess it's been a fairly productive week so far. BRB didn't have rehearsal this week, which is bad in terms of, you know, making music, but good in terms of getting a few more hours of sleep. Another thing that's good for getting a few more hours of sleep is Target brand sleeping pills. I should get an endorsement for 'em. We tried the Whole Foods "natural" sleeping pills... which had, like, lizard penis in them or something... but all they did was make me attracted to that Geico gecko so... back to the good old chemicals.

Today, everything is pretty quiet around the house, which is nice. A chance to get a couple more advance CDs mailed out to people in the business. A chance to maybe take Hendrix for a walk to the park to play some frisbee. A chance to sit down a do a little bit of writing.

Writing... it's been a bit hard to find time to write lately. One of my unspoken (the best kind) New Year's resolutions was to get a little more disciplined about writing. I've been better about it at work (teaching) and those occasional half of an hour breaks have proven quite fertile. But at home, I still have to get better. And the thing is... I feel like there's something good coming down the pipeline.

We have a group of songs we'd like to record in March for a quick little EP... and then there's another group of songs I wrote in the fall/winter 2005... but what's been coming out lately seems like it's of an entirely different character, one I think I like more than anything else I've written. It's more honest, more direct, but still poetic and pretty sophisticated lyrically. Musically, it all seems simple, but I think once the band gets its hooks in it, there will be tons of room to overplay. I mean, explore.

So I'm thinking of junking the fall/winter 2005 songs for scraps, and trying to really focus on this new group of songs... try to expand them into enough for a full-length album while maintaining the character in the original 4 or 5 I've got started. The other thing that's striking me about these new songs is that the lyrics seem to be very cohesive, very thematic. What's the theme?

Dunno. Can't quite tell yet. But so far, all the songs have an almost... religious imagery that I seem to come back to over and over again, trying to frame it in a slightly different way. It all has a very searching, honest quality that I really like. And the nice thing about scrapping the old group of songs is that I can use some of the old lyrics in the new songs. I can see where I was already thinking about some of the current stuff I'm writing about, so the older lyrics, although nascent, should work well in some places thematically. Anyway, enough of that.

Our new website is up by the way. You can hear the entire album there. I like it that way. Now... why can't I stop thinking about those sweet sexy Budweiser lizards?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the Asses of Cats

For you regular readers of this blog (all two of you), you've probably noticed that over the last month or so posts have been short in frequency as well as shallow in content. Sigh.

Basically, as I alluded to in a previous post, things have been completely crazy and finding the time to think through and write anything substantive has been a challenge. So what you get is a couple of song lyrics, a couple of advertisements, and a couple of promises to write more which, honestly, are meant more for me than for you... because I think I get more out of these little exercises in wit (or lack thereof) than anybody else. Is that selfish or self-deprecating? I can't tell.

I'd like to say that this recent spate of posts is a pseudo-post-modern-Camus-ian (!) attempt to portray a fragmented, unconnected world but... hold on, I think the Bullshit Police are at my door.

The recent story is this: Since New Year's, my weeks have been end to end nuts and so have Gina's. It seems like even the cat's really busy... sleeping and licking her ass. Too much information. Well, I call them as I see them.

Anyway, my schedule is settling into the following:

Monday: work downtown;

Tuesday: workout at 8:30 am, rehearse with BRB from 9:30 am until noon, teach from 3:00 to 9:00 pm;

Wednesday: work downtown;

Thursday: workout at 8:30 am, rehearse with BRB from 9:30 am until noon, teach from 3:00 to 9:00 pm;

Friday: work downtown;

Saturday: teach from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm;

Sunday: watch Bears get their ass kicked, go on 12 hour bender to cope. Okay, so that last part only happened once (thankfully), but this Sunday, for instance, we spent the bulk of the day installing new light fixtures, switches and outlets in out recently rehabbed front hall. So there was little rest.

When you mix in the fact that we've been sending out and following up on all these press packs for the CD release... things are just plain crazy. The fact that we don't have rehearsal this week because Barret's out of town for a gig is actually a blessing in disguise I think... gives me a couple of hours to get some things done.

I also shifted my gym visits to Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, which will not only give me an extra (much-needed) day of working out, but also make my Tuesday and Thursday mornings that much less hectic. Blah, blah, blah.

As busy as that sounds, Gina's schedule is even busier. She's working at Gary Lee from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, and then heading down to The French Pastry School for class from 1:15 to 7:15 pm. So far, school seems to be going great and the results she's brought home to taste-test have been... nothing short of incredible. This week: croissants. Mmmmmm. I'm like a French Homer Simpson.

So that's the score. A lot of encouraging things already in 2006... obviously Gina starting and enjoying school and learning to manage her schedule for the next six months has been huge. And on the music front... a lot of positive things already with the album. We've been contacted by a couple of publications already about running stories on us, both in print and on-line. Our guy at Insomnia Radio has told us he'll spin it. On Wednesday, February 1, at 5:00 pm CST we'll be doing a live in-studio interview at Fearless Radio, Chicago's best little internet radio station. And we've also received some indication that the crown jewel of Chicago broadcast radio stations, 93.1 WXRT, is going to spin the disc in the next few weeks. Nothing definite yet but... we're crossing our fingers.

It would be huge. More news as we get it. Add in the fact that our manager has been getting the disc out to labels both big and small for consideration and... it's been a busy, productive month for us. So here's to thinking positive thoughts about 2006.

And working our asses off.

And licking our asses.

Whoops. Damn cat.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Look Alive!

Look alive! The light is shining in your eyes But the way is clear Can't you see? That love can cure this misery And wipe away the tears But it all comes back to you But it all comes back to you


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hey Sportsfans!

If y'ain't in Chicago and coming to our CD Release party on February 4 , get yer copy of Bottle Boy through Awarestore. It'll ship the week of February 7, the official release date. If you don't like it, it'll make a nice coaster for your hot or cold beverages.


Skeletons, skin and sky

On my knees in the surf The waves are my church The night is the light when I'm blind Understand that I need To sing while you sleep While you breathe, while you bleed, it's all the same Skeletons, skin and sky Most days I just get by Why does it have to go away? The dreams of the years Are the seeds of our fears And we cry til our eyes disappear The night becomes sure With skies black as dirt It's the daylight that makes our hearts hurt Skeletons, skin and sky Most days I just get by Why does it have to go away?


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Yeah I know. I been missin'. As I wrote a couple of months ago, the activity in this blog is indirectly proportional to the substance in my life. So draw your own conclusions about the last two weeks. Read: there's been a lot of shit going on. Most of it good, all of it time consuming.

On the music front, I continue to believe this is going to be a big year for Burn Rome Burn. We spent last week finalizing our CD release party (Saturday, February 4, 6-9 pm, Martyrs', Chicago, IL), our CD release date (Tuesday, February 7), and online distribution (awarestore.com). We also got about 30 advance copies and press packets to all the Chicago media types as well as some national on-line zines, radio stations, and podcasts.

Barret and I spent all of last Thursday on a "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" around Chicago, doing a guerrilla press drop. I drove, he ran. Good times. Heck, we were actually included as one of the 2005 listener favorites over on Insomnia Radio. Check it out if you can... the guy who runs it, Jason, is extremely cool and passionate about what he does. More good times.

Anyway, we're pushing forward. The next step will be working on digital distribution through CD Baby and working with our agent to start shopping the disc to labels for wider distribution. And hopefully get out on the road a bit more as the year goes on. Package that with our biweekly morning rehearsals and all the other usual work and it's been pretty damn busy around here.

Hence the lack of words here. But I'm fixin' to change that. Starting now.

Happy New Year.