Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Ole Sugar Face. . ." or "Why I Oughta!!!"

Today Master Hornsby decided to "show-out" he did this whilst cruising around the house when The Pigg and I were getting ready and had the door shut. . .we heard a sort of rustle then silence then another rustle. . .I go to the door and Bruce slinks by me looking VERY guilty. . .I enter the living room to find a bag of sugar had been ripped open (with VERY little sugar in it mind you). I go back into the room to express my anger to Bruce and discover that his face is fairly caked in the sugar on one side so that he now resembles a jelly filled doughnut of sorts. . .needless to say this makes it hard on one to be mad at the dog. . .but I tried. . .

anywho, that's all i got for today. . .



Friday, September 17, 2010

"Listen to the Tears Roll. . ." or Microwaved Coffee Is Still OK. . .


So I haven't done one of these in awhile. . .many things to report since last I typed in the "blog-o-shpere". . .

1. A new . . .Trail of Dead record is done and is coming out early in 2011. Recording occurred in Southwestern TX and Upstate NY. I think it will surprise some and will "reinvigorate" some others. Apparently there are some pretty extensive art/packaging ideas being hashed out right now for the several versions that will be available so keep your eyes peeled for it. . .We're also heading to China for a festival appearance and then doing a mini-tour of TX, LA and AR around Halloween. . .hope to see youse there!!!

2. There's a new addition to the Foster House Family. . .everyone welcome Bruce Hornsby!!! He's a 3 yr. old (we think) Rottie-Mix who likes long walks at sunset, Martinis EXTRA-DRY and Peanut Butter. His turnoff's include: Not getting treats and his leash whilst running. The Pigg and I had wanted a doggie for a long time and this guy is perfect. As I write this he's laying on the couch (in his favorite spot) right next to me with his blanket for a pillow. . .doesn't get much cuter.

3. "The Great Going On Of The Job Market 2010 Deluxe Edition" has begun. Stacey is finishing her diss. whilst checking out the job lists and preparing her materials for what, I'm sure, will be one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding times she's ever had. I'm so happy to be here and be a part of this with her. . .and to answer your questions. . .YES there are some jobs near most everyone that we know and NO we don't know if we'll be at any one of them particularly. . .BUT she/we do have a SPECIAL list of jobs that we both seem to like more than others. . .MWAHAHAHAHA!

4. I have officially made the decision to go to Culinary School and get what the crazies these days call "a degree" (WHAT?!?!). At some point after we move in the next year I'll know the when's and where's. . .

5. I've been writing LOTS of music for what I hope will soon turn into a recorded work of some kind. I recently bought an amp and all the other things that are needed to play guitar and have it sound nice and have even been working on MELODIES AND LYRICS!!!??? To some of you this will not be a shock of any caliber or import but to those that have played musics with me in the past it might be a little shocking. It's been a fun exercise in challenging myself to get better at writing memorable melodies and lyrics that aren't embarrassing. Basically, I've just tried to learn everything I could form all the great songwriters that I've had the pleasure of working with through the years. . .hopefully I've done a good job of paying tribute to some of what you've taught me (whether you know it or not).

I guess that's about it for us up here in the north lands. . .the days are getting shorter and the temps are getting lower which means that Winter is coming. . .with Autumn right around the corner The Pigg and I increasingly wanna eat warm comfort foods. . .I think a White Chili is soon to be in the pot here at Foster House. . .you should come over.

I hope this finds all of you well!!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Screamin' at the top of your lungs or floor toms might be my favorite of all the drums. . .

Whilst on tour this last run and with my now GREAT friends in Future of the Left, an observation was made by Andy their lead singer. . ."I've found that in my experience drummers are VORACIOUS LISTENERS." Andy went on to say that he himself (a guitarist, keyboardist and singer) didn't really listen to that much music anymore. I assume he meant that he spends a great deal more time writing his own music as evidenced by the amazing body of work he's amassed. . .but what he said did stick with me. . .ARE drummers more voracious listeners? I know that I sure do listen to A LOT of music and try to gain inspiration from ALL of it. . .usually I have little to no idea how/when that inspiration is gonna find its way into my playing or how its gonna shake itself out into what I'm doing at that exact moment but rest assured it ALL improves my ability to "move" within the musical situations I find myself in. . .

There are definite moments when I rather sullenly withdraw from listening to much music. . .I kinda consider these moments "digestive" moments where my brain and even my body is REALLY trying to absorb what my ears have been fed (and that usually goes something like this: Herbie Hancock>Drive Like Jehu>COMMON>F.Y.C>George Strait>Willie Nelson>Superchunk>Funkadelic>SLAYER>Peabo Bryson etc. etc.) its a lot for this brain/body duo to take on and make sense of but it slowly happens. I've also noticed that it's these moments that make me feel the most "out-of-whack" and not really "with myself". I think there's something in my DNA that longs to hear notes played and melodies working together and a rhythm section REALLY holding it all down. . .it just makes me feel better.

I'm saying all this to say that I DO voraciously listen to music and I do so ACTIVELY trying to glean as much from each song/album as I possibly can. . .and I must say that I think this makes me better with every passing year. I feel more in control of all the inspirations and aspirations I have for my abilities whether its songwriting or composing a drum/percussion part for a song I'm about to record. . .

I think usually the natural inclination for a songwriter is to try and listen to as little music as possible to try and steer his/herself from overtly ripping off someone else's jams. . .and I guess that what I'm trying to say in some way is that from hearing how others have done it I feel like I'm gaining a glimpse into how I want to go about doing what I'm trying to do/say. . .and add to the overall "conversation", hopefully in an interesting and musical way. . .

So I guess my own answer to the question posed earlier would be a YES. Most every drummer I know, myself included, is a voracious listener and hopefully a better, more understanding musician because of it. . .



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here comes the argument. . .or FEEDBACK!

So after watching one of the worst things I've ever witnessed happen on TV this morning (a performance by a band called PARACHUTE?!!?) my brain was set on fire to write a little about the state of "rock-n-roll" as I see it these days. . .

There was a time when there was a danger to rock-n-roll. . .a time when not only would things happen outside of gigs, i.e. drug use, drinking, vomitous deaths, dismemberments etc., but when at a show you didn't know WHAT or WHO was gonna happen. . .I think the thing I miss in today's musical "climate" is the unknown. . .the X-factor we could call it. I think at one time the musical movement known as Hardcore supplied the danger. . .the music was dangerous, the people playing the music were dangerous, the very speed at which the music was played was dangerous (both to the crowd and the musicians). Where did the danger go??? Why is the majority of the music that people are paying money to see so safe, so "unrisky"??

Apathy, my friends, APATHY. When Hardcore (and i use this as only one example) was beginning in the early 80's people were pissed off about the dawning of the Reagan years. . .people were afraid that an Orwellian future was right around the corner. . .and the music, hell the arts in general, reflected that. It seems to me that right now everyone is sooooo happy to have a Non-Bush White House that we're just giving politics a pass and not being actively critical about policy making or govt. at all in art. Sure, there are economic reasons for the apathy and sure when unemployment is high its hard to be excited about something that seems so trivial as going to a show or being in a band or part of a community that is trying to present something to the public that is actually both "entertaining" and "enlightening" but if you look back into the not-so-distant past (al la the 90's) where we had a recession and high unemployment we ALSO had some GREAT music being made and some GREAT things being said through it. . .where'd it all go???

I, for one, am tired of everyone selling themselves or feeling like they have to sell themselves as something you'll like if you like something else. . .i.e. "Like Kate Bush?? then you'll love blah, blah, blah." So you're automatically saying that you're ripping someone off?? REALLY???!! (by the way, that was a REAL music ad up on that AMAZING barometer of pop culture, FACEBOOK) What happened to NOT wanting to sound like someone else or spending a great amount of time at least TRYING to not sound like someone else??? Too many of today's bands seem to start up under the premise that "No, we WANT to sound like this band, this band and this band so that we can sell records. . ." After being on the road for most of the year I can attest to the fact that I've seen A LOT of bands who seem to be based around that very idea. . .and its so very sad.

I know this sounds like a crotchety old man grumbling about the "olden days" or like I have nothing better to do (both of which are more than slightly true) but as a music lover and a musician who loves this thing called rock n roll like crazy I fear that we're reaching a breaking point of some magnitude. . .a point where music's ability to engender change or at the VERY least challenge a mind to some thought is weakened beyond repair. . .this scares me. I think my friend JayLeo was very prescient when he said that the music "scene" was gonna go back to a more regionally local level. Where bands and fans would be more about what was going on in their respective "backyards" than in the rest of the country. I think this is a good observation. . .maybe its time to start over, push the reset button and give each of our local communities a little love in the rock and roll dept. Maybe that'll start bringing shows back to more locally run venues and a more DIY approach can be allowed to creep back in. . .which just might also allow some of the danger back in as well. . .who knows???

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Well here we are again or How I lost all my hair in about 15 mins. . .

Hello all! Been a long time since last I posted but due to SOME popular demand. . .here I is! Been back from tour about 3 days now. . .this last run was 6 weeks of N. America. We toured with 2 AMAZING bands on this run The Secret Machines in the east and Future of The Left in the west. . .lemme tell you tour is made much easier by having GREAT touring companions and these lads lacked nothing in the GREAT department. . .

I think in total we spent about 8 & 1/2 months on the road this year. . .a personal longest for me. . .so many crazy things seen and done. . .many firsts this year. . .first time in Australia, New Zealand, Calgary and Alberta and my first time seeing Dubai. . .only for a layover. I can't even really process this year at all except to say that it has brought with it some of the highest highs and lowest lows. . .its been the most manic depressive year of my life and that can only be properly defined over many cups of coffee and a few hours. . .hehe!

So now I'm back in Lansing and enjoying the downtime with the LadyPigg immensely. Missing a loved one could possibly be the second biggest toll taker on an extended tour right next to the sheer exhaustion you feel of having your routine interrupted by strange time zones or early (late) load-ins (or outs) etc. . .I've always described the touring life as the largest/weirdest experiment/dare you can put your body through and I feel as though that is EXACTLY what i just did. . .PHEW!!!

Anywho, I'm plotting my next world takeover here in Lansing now and trying to get plugged into some local flavor. . .also gonna try my hand at this great states fly-fishing in the coming weeks so watch out steelhead!!!

I hope all is fine and dandy with you whether you're right up the street or halfway 'round the world!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just say no to the shot or RELEASE DAY!!!!

you can stream the new Trail of Dead record today at Spinner. my oldest boy, Mr. Aaron Ford (@fordsie on twitter), my freshman roommate, member of my wedding party and surrogate uncle to my boys, played drums on this record and is touring non-stop this year in support of this album. he makes me proud. from what I’ve heard so far it reminds me of Source Tags which is a very good thing. check it out if you’re a fan. especially if you were a fan. you will like.

so the new . . .Trail of Dead album The Century of Self came out today. . .big news!! there are tons of good things being said about it and we're about to embark on what will be the most touring i've done in one year EVER. . .thanks to all the peeps for the well wishes and here's to hopin' you enjoy the record as much as i'll enjoy playing it every night for the rest of my life!!!! hahahaha!!

i'll try and keep this thing more up to date on the road and whatnot. . .well i can dream can't i?!



Saturday, January 31, 2009

The waiting is the hardest part or FACE/OFF

hiya. . .sittin in a coffee shop in the good ole EL. . .things are clicking right along for the tour. . .my checklist is now done. . .drums sent, sticks received, cymbals ordered and new peeps met and "brought into the loop" now its time to wrap my brain around the fact that i'm gonna be away form home and loved ones for quite awhile. . .this is always the part of touring that seems to take the longest to reconcile within yourself no matter how many times you do it. . .i'm actually listening to the new record as i type this and it seems alien to think of these songs being played live. . .though i can't wait to do that. . .i absolutely love hearing/watching the songs change and take on a new shape live and i feel that this time we really have a group of folks going with us who are gonna be just as interested in watching that happen as we are. . .

man i'm full of hot-air. . .