Thursday, December 3, 2009

Running on empty

Sitting here watching an old Jools Holland rerun that I tivo'd and one of the guests is Jackson Browne. It's been a while since I've seen a performance so inspiring as when he just played "These Days." It was sobering, really. To hear him sing "These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do," and "Don't confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them," makes me look back over the last decade with a little regret. I think, "did I work hard enough?"

It can be so confusing when you realize the thing you thought you were meant to do, might be holding you back from the rest of your life. How in the world can you cut ties with what you love? I don't think I'm supposed to, but it is sad to see Jackson Browne celebrating a beautiful song that he wrote years ago, and for the first time think, "i might not ever get where I want to go."

I've always had high hopes for me and music. I always thought the the best was still to come. Maybe it is, but this is the first time in my life that I doubt it.

Maybe I should take a lesson from Mr. Browne, "Gotta do what you can to keep your love alive."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

more on drums...

I guess it should come as no surprise after writing a blog about musical skill, that I sit here humbled in Blackwatch Studios in Norman, OK. Levi and I made a weekend trip to start work on his new solo record.

For the few of you who have never recorded drums in a studio, the process is simple. Levi records a "scratch track" as a metronome keeps him in time. After that, I sit down and play along to Levi's track and the metronome. Then the engineer, Chad, performs a sort of audio surgery, in which he zeros in on and corrects each beat that is out of time. It turns out that my performance was stuffed with those things.

Chad's extended time fixing my out-of-pocket rhythms certainly put me in my place...which is a good thing. I'd like to work on that area of my drumming, but in the meantime I will console myself by taking a lesson from my last entry.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art vs Ability

I'm a professional drummer... well, semi-professional. It sounds braggy until my part-time job at Starbucks enters the equation. When I'm not slinging lattes, I can usually be found behind the trap-set in several capacities. I play at churches. I play in bars. I play in studios. I play for punk bands. I play for pop bands. There is nothing I'd rather do than play the drums.

I cross paths with a lot of musicians with different ideas on what makes music "good." Many of them can be found on the wrong side of the battle between Art and Ability. 

People devote their lives learning how to shred like Steve Vai. The drummer for Dave Matthews Band spends most of the song letting you know that he is better than you at the drums.... and for some reason people love it. Unfortunately for these misguided souls, somewhere along the way they forgot that music is not a sport. 

But, those of us who are not so great at our instruments (true story) can breathe a sigh of relief, because music is art. That means Flea can slap his bass guitar until his fingers bleed and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still bad.

I'm not saying that skill is a bad thing. I'm saying that it's not the most important thing. Ever since the Velvet Underground's debut, musicians have been shaking off the idea that you need skill to make great music. 

From the mom that hums as she sweeps the floor, to the little girl who sits in the back seat of the car and sings a weird, out of tune song, great music is all around us. It's usually not coming from the people we call Virtuosos. Heck, the Beatles were not great players, but they are the fundamental artists of pop music. 

If I want to watch someone with great skill, I will watch Tony Romo throw a football... er, nevermind.

Until then, tune in next time for my take on Art vs Commerce!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My ghetto history with technology

When I was a kid, all of my friends had compact disc players, nintendo, cable television, and cordless phones years before I did. I remember the embarrassment when over at a friend's house one day I was asked to put a CD in the player and I put it in upside down.

It's no wonder that I'm just now getting an iphone, but there's a catch: it's not activated, nor will it be. My brother gave me his original iphone when he received his iphone 3GS in the mail the other day. 

I'm not sure how long my pockets will tolerate so much technology with my ipod, normal phone, and now the iphone, be we're going to try to make it work.

I'll keep you updated.... riveting stuff I know.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dallas Observer Review

Here's a link to a review I wrote for the Dallas Observer.

For me it's kind of like the first time Radiant played at Trees. I wanted to play there since I was fifteen, and when it finally happened, I was ecstatic. Hopefully there will be more to come.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Plan

Recently, I've decided that I'm going to take my writing to the next level. I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but my short term goal is to get one article published per week. My long term goal is to transition from my job at Starbucks (which has been a terrific place to work) to a serious writing job by 2010.

I'm not sure how this is going to happen. In the meantime I'm hoping you'll see more articles by me in various newspapers and magazines around here. I love you. I'm tired. Goodnight/morning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Air Review- Concert Review

Air Review might be the best band in town, but there’s a reason you haven’t heard of them. They’ve only played one show. 

Last Friday night, Air Review took their place in a short line of Britpop-inspired Dallas bands as they played in front of a full room at the Curtain Club. I had forgotten that the balconies were lined with Cabe Booth’s brilliant paintings of Dallas’ top bands over the past few decades, which created the perfect atmosphere for Air Review’s first concert. This showcase was an opportunity to prove that they are already just as good as any band up on that wall, and that’s exactly what they did.

As the first few notes were played, it was obvious, these guys aren’t joking around. Each member of the band is a seasoned player, every note was deliberate, and everything down to the lights went according to plan. The arrangements resembled Radiohead’s darker side, while lead singer Doug Hale summoned the energy and drama of Muse’s Matthew Bellamy. This is the first time I have ever seen a band’s first show when every part was so calculated but they still maintained a sense of spontaneity and energy.

There were a few lulls, however. More than once the chatter from the audience was loud enough to match the band during mellow moments like on the intro to “All Because.” But the band always managed to fight back with huge hooks and choruses, often with all five guys shouting their guts out into the microphones, like on “Chasing Corperate,” which is an obvious choice for the first single.

With their next show on June 5 at the House of Blues, and an album release set for sometime this summer, Air Review is already generating a lot of buzz around here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've been TERMINATED!!!

as a sheltered kid, there were certain things i was barred from. smurfs, he-man, rambo, anything that occurred past 9pm,  pg13 and r rated movies, etc. being barred from these things only made me more curious. 

i found myself daydreaming about being rambo's sidekick. i frequently organized round table discussions about freddy kruger, just to hear what i was missing.  

all this to say that i finally satisfied a desire that laid dormant since the 1980's. i finally saw the Terminator. it was amazing! despite bad special effects, cheesy violence, and ostentatious one-liners, the story gripped me instantly. 

i can see how cyborgs sent back from a nuclear war torn future might be a little heavy for a 7 year-old, but for a 28 year-old man....just right!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

my first published work!

i wrote an article about black tie dynasty and it was published!!!
here's the link:

it's on the front page, but probably not for too long!


Thursday, March 19, 2009


in the past 8 days, i've eaten at the angry dog 3 times. i might be obsessed. i'm convinced it's impossible to put a better burger in front of me, than the one from the angry dog. if the demise of deep ellum ever reaches the dog, it will be a sad, sad day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

my brother in-law and i have had an ongoing debate for nearly a decade, and we both continue to hold strong to our opinions. of the songs "born to be wild" and "bad to the bone," we are debating which song is better. while "bad to the bone" is one of the greatest catch phrases of our time, "born to be wild" inspires a full body spaz-out consisting of a windmill air guitar solo followed by a feat of strength.

this is why i think "born to be wild" rules...


Sunday, March 8, 2009

green room antics

sitting in the backstage musician chill-out zone talking about nothing. caste systems, illegal movie downloads, india, marriage, injustice, red light districts, and white people. more on this later.

sorry this post is kind of a mail-in...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

my wife and i.
my wife and i, only seconds after being pronounce man and wife.

crooked necktie

last night julie, stephanie, justin, jesse and i went to natalie kriefels twenty third birthday party. it was only minutes after we began our descent into the bowels of rockwall, when a woman in a chevrolet suburban full of kids flipped us off in a most unsavory way. i'm sure we added fuel to her unexplained fire when we simply laughed it off as we pulled into the chick-fil-a drive-through. one thing was certain about last night: it was going to take a lot more than one redneck to derail our good time.

once we got to the party we ran into several old friends and had a great time catching up. i quickly shuffled over to the drink station, where i decided to pour whisky into my sweet tea. the first sip was like an epiphany... the ramshackle cocktail nobody thought would make it to the second gulp was delicious. i knew it needed a name, so i gathered our small group together to form a think-tank. 

justin's contribution was "cock a doodle tea," i came up with "texas joose," and stephanie, whose contributions were mostly names that censorship laws will not allow me to publish, came up the the winner: "crooked necktie."

so next time you belly up to a bar and the bartender assumes you're going to ask for a sarsaparilla, tell him you want an ice cold crooked necktie...he will probably have no idea what you are talking about.

Friday, February 6, 2009

sometimes my wife calls me boo

i think it's pretty funny.

i feel like i may have been made for this domestic bliss lifestyle... but i'm not completely sure yet. after years of living in beer bottle and pizza box laden bachelor pads, it is a breath of fresh air to have a tidy, well decorated place of our own.

my wife is a very cool and interesting person. she's an artist. she makes me laugh and does things that are very unexpected. i love her. she lets me hang out with the guys...she lets me play the drums. she doesn't make me cut my hair or shave. she doesn't make me wear the latest styles from j crew, but is quick to let me browse around urban outfitters. she buys me beer, and is always sweet to me. she is my best friend.

marriage...i highly recommend it!


Monday, February 2, 2009


last night i attended a superbowl party with loads of old friends. we were piled high and deep completely preoccupied by scott's brand new fifty-two inch tv, while hoards of kids (all under the age of 5) ran around trying to get away with as much bad behavior as possible. i spent most of my time sipping cowboy cold bottles of liberty ale, eating more tacos than any one human should, and teaching one particular two year old how to say "booya!"

we have all been a pretty tight knit group of friends since long before any children arrived on the scene, but last night there were so many of them we could barely hear the game. i guess i'm getting old, but in a few years i'll be teaching my own two year old how to say "booya!"

Friday, January 30, 2009

there is a fine line between green and jaded....

actually, the line is pretty thick, but somehow without realizing it i've managed to ford my way across to the dark side. in a certain light it looks like my band still has opportunities to hit that breakthrough we've worked and sacrificed so hard for these last eight years. but in many more lights any hope of making a living doing this seems futile. there was a time when a record label would express the smallest hint of interest, and we would flip our lids to do whatever we could to see it through. nowadays, those interests are met with laughter and yawns. you would need jumper cables to get our hopes up again.

despite all of this, i spend a lot of time thinking about where the band has taken me. we have been to four different continents, traveled across america several times over, met some weird and interesting people, seen some unbelievable stuff, and been on loads of adventures. much of it was a blur. and there are many more to come. possibly another few trips to europe...maybe a trip to brazil.

salim nourallah has this quote that i think is one of his best lyrics. he says "youth is a prank...." i look back at myself when radiant were at our peak, and i think "what an ungrateful idiot." we were being met all these amazing opportunities and i was never satisfied. we would take one big step and my focus would immediately shift to the next one.
i wonder if it's too late to get back to the other side of that line. in the meantime, i am working on that living in the moment thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

sometimes i beat the weekend

...but this time the weekend beat me.

my band radiant had a concert on friday night at the granada theater, and i played drums in the support band as well. it was pretty tiring with no help from my friend johnny walker. the next day and night destroyed me. we drove to play a less than stellar show in stillwater, oklahoma. dragan and i left immediately and drove through the night to get back for our church gigs. 

i spent most of the day trying to come down from various caffeine rushes, but it was actually pretty fun because julie and i just sat around watching the bob dylan documentary "no direction home."

i am also beginning to try my hand at the culinary arts, which was more miss than hit today but more on this later.

don't judge my grammar mistakes too harshly. i'm on 1 hour of sleep.
zoom out

Thursday, January 22, 2009

wii tennis champion

one of my favorite movie quotes comes from a scene in mr. deeds when the guy stands up and says that as a little boy he wanted to be a ping pong champion. well, that's how i feel right now. i've just spent the last 2 hours destroying the computer in wii tennis (including a short break to calmly but assertively confront a guy from sprint).

i am just realizing how boring my day has been so far.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

i have channeled the inner blogger

and he doesn't have a whole lot to say.

recently, due to the series of twists and turns my life has taken, the opportunity has presented itself to me to start writing again. despite my understanding of computers being limited to checking my email (i even have a hard time with that) i manuvered my way through the blogspot sign-up process and here i am.

i checked the availablity of the names "disastronaut," "technicolor," "splitting atoms," and i'm still on the fence about "year of holidays," but i think "i hope you win" is pretty good too.
assignment america: tell me whether this blog should be called "i hope you win," or "year of holidays."

so far i've given you the play by play of the blogspot sign-up process....riveting stuff i's a little tid bit to start this blog off right.

since the last time i blogged (you can see my previous ramblings over at, i have:
1. gotten married
2. turned 28

that's it...2 things that i can think of right now. i'll catch up with you guys at the next post.