W-E-L-C-O-M-E to my little corner of the planet. Take a seat, get comfy. You're among friends, so please feel free to comment. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my ramblings. Be sure to scroll all the way down to get the daily puppy ~ they're so cute!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good things come to those who wait

I'm not going to waste a lot space with an intro except to say that my love of music and musicians is well known. Music is good for the soul! This week we have a dual interview with two of my favorite musicians in the business, and if you haven't checked out their music yet, you are missing out!  Most folks know Brian Blush from his famous signature guitar licks and riffs with the '90's band "The Refreshments", who had their first big hit with the single "Banditos" and also wrote and recorded the theme song for the television show "King of the Hill" (which, btw, does have a title, it's called "Yahoos & Triangles").  Jamon Scott is the vocalist/guitarist for the Tennessee based band "The Toluenes".  Jamon has much of his music influence from '90's music and "The Refreshments" especially.  It's a dream come true for these two to hook up in a band together and it shows in their music! Perfecto :-)

Visit "The Toluenes" at www.thetoluenes.com where you can get more bio info and buy any of their great CD's.

I haven't edited any part of their responses to my questions, except as noted. And, now on with the show!

K: Tell us how you two hooked up to make great music. 

Jamon:  I was a huge fan of the music Brian made with The Refreshments.  He always says it makes him feel old when I say this, but those two records were a big influence on me as a writer.  Not to mention the fact that the band name comes from a song Brian wrote for “The Bottle & Fresh Horses” called “Heaven Or The Highway Out Of Town” – ironically, the one line in the song that he didn’t write.  Otherwise, we’d have been called The Gasolines.
Anyway, Dan (editors note: Jamon and Dan Crawley had been recording together many years) had left the band right after “Off the Wagon and On the Lam”, so “Cervezas, Senoritas, Etc., Etc.” was basically just me with a couple of studio musicians.  When I got ready to do the follow-up, I wanted to take a different approach.  I made a short list of musicians I wanted to work with, one of which was Brian.

Brian:  I was living in South Bend, Indiana where I had started a pretty cool band called "The Southslope Cutthroats".  The drummer in the Cutthroats told me that this band from Tennessee was interested in having me play a couple of solos on their upcoming CD.  I checked out their website and really liked what I saw and heard.  So, I contacted Jamon and had him send me the new material that he wanted me to contribute to.  The first song was called "Her Way Or The Highway" and it instantly reminded me of early Refreshments material and I loved the vibe.  I laid down a hook & some lead work on it and it was magic.  I felt right at home with the song and it just flowed.  The other song was called "Dead Horses". (Editors note: "South Slope Cutthroats" recorded one CD together, "Teets" and is available for purchase. Contact Brian @ brianblush_thetoluenes@live.com for details. I highly recommend it! It's an awesome CD) 

Jamon:  When I heard the rough tracks he did for those two songs, I sent him another one called “Kitty”. 

Brian:  As I worked up a guitar hook for the song I started to think about asking Jamon if he would consider having me JOIN the band.  Those first 3 songs impressed me so much and I really felt at home in the musical context of the band.

Jamon:  That was a pretty easy decision for me.

Brian:  Jamon invited me to come down to Nashville to jam with the other guys and go into the studio to track the parts I had written for those songs.  After a killer recording session with Jim Allison at the console and an incredibly fun jam with the whole band up on Boogertown Rd in Gatlinburg, I was totally prepared to join the band and move to Tennessee to start rehearsing & finish the new CD-"Quatro Hello".  The initial move was a little bumpy, but as time progressed, Jamon and I discovered that we definitely were kindred spirits and we were very much musically simpatico.  Since then we have continued to develop into a band that I am proud to say I am a member of.

Jamon:  I guess you could say Brian is the musical equivalent of the proverbial stray dog that never leaves once you feed it.  We asked him to play on a couple of tunes and he ended up joining the band. 

K: What has been the best part of getting together as musicians? 

Jamon:  For me, it’s been the instant chemistry.  I remember when I first heard that “Blush sound” on “Her Way Or The Highway”, I thought, “this just feels right.”  I mean, with three records behind us, we had pretty much established what we were about.  Brian was able to bring his distinctive style to what we do.  The result was unquestionably The Toluenes, but better. 

Brian:  There is always a new kind of energy and vitality created when you collaborate or even jam with new, “like-minded” musicians.  Working with Jamon has re-invigorated my desire to make fun and interesting music.  After a pretty brutal decade, it’s amazing to lay down a good hook riff to a killer story-based song.  Jamon and I aren’t exactly cut from the same cloth, musically or philosophically, but we compliment each other’s pathos.  He’s got a hella nitch for some great one-liners, but he’s deeper than some of the songs show.  I’m looking forward again, instead of back. 
K: Any surprises from each other after you started playing together in the band?

Jamon:  The biggest surprise to me is how easy it’s been to work together.  I mean, I’ve been told I’m not exactly the easiest guy to work with.  Then you bring in a guy with the body of work Brian has.  I was fully prepared for him to be an arrogant fucking asshole like me.  There was every chance that we’d end up killing each other.  Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had some arguments…but I don’t think any of them have been music-related.

Brian:  It’s true that Jamon and I don’t always agree on some items, but we have enough of a common thread to respect each other’s ideas and influences.  It’s good to not be too kissy face; it stretches both of our creative identities…and, for the record, he’s pretty easy to work with.  I’m always impressed by his wit and intelligence mixed with fun in his lyrics.  I almost always hear a hook line over his progression and that’s a great feeling. 

K: What's on your iPod, or mp3, cd player...turntable...lol!  What do YOU listen to? 

Jamon:  Okay, I have two mp3 players.  One of them has mostly new music from bands like Rooney, The Shins, Phoenix, La Roux.  The other one has almost every song that ever hit the pop charts in the ‘80’s.  I’m a huge fan of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham!, Culture Club…and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Brian:  I LOVE Phoenix.  That’s my new fix.  I’m also a HUGE fan of the Old 97’s – any of their records at 11!  Ryan Adams – Rock and Roll, Slaide Cleaves’ “Brokedown”.  I gotta give Jamon some real credit for introducing me to some stuff I probably wouldn’t have stumbled onto on my own.  He’s got me listening to the new Rick Springfield…and liking it! 

K:  Is this the best time in life for you?  Are you having the most fun ever? 

Jamon:  Well, I can’t speak for Brian, but I’m having a blast.  We’re planning to hit the road this fall, but I can’t imagine that’s going to be any more fun than the past few months playing right here at home.  As much as I love the energy of the band shows, nothing can compare to the intimacy of the acoustic shows Brian and I have been playing this summer.  There’s just something about the connection we can make in that setting.  It’s actually less of a show and more of a party.  We get to meet and talk with practically every single person at every single show.  The added bonus is that Gatlinburg, TN is this amazing little place that draws visitors from all over the world.  We can literally play the same bar every night and meet people from all 50 states and every country in the world.  I remember one night we met a couple of lovely ladies from Ireland.  Did you get their phone #’s, by the way?

Brian:  Every waking day is the best day of my life.  I’ve been dead twice – way overrated.  I’ve met great people over the years and I’ve fallen from grace at least more than once, but without going through all of my fuck-ups and selfish bullshit I wouldn’t, couldn’t have become who I am today.  Maybe not the “most” fun ever, but life is good and I’m smiling more each day. 

K:  "Quatro Hello" was so well received by both seasoned "Toluenes" fans and fans of Brian's from "Refreshments" and his former bands/solo days.  How can you top that?  What's up next?  Give us a teaser of what's coming up! 

Jamon:  Well, for one, we’re working on a Christmas song.  It’s a tune called “Hola Santa”.  I wrote it a few years back and have meant to record it every year since then, but I always wait too long.  I think this year is going to be the year, though.  We’re hoping to get into the studio in the next couple of weeks to lay it down.  We’re also in the process of narrowing down a huge pile of new songs into what will, ultimately, be the next record.

Brian:  It’s a slice o’ Heaven laying into some of these new tunes.  I got some sass back in my fingers and Jamon’s a top-notch lyricist & songwriter.  I’m grateful people still give a damn to hear ol’ Brian.  Makes me smile.  Next record will be incredible.  Can’t wait to get it cookin’.

K:  I asked fans if they had any questions to ask.  A fan at RCPM message board "Detroiter" asked this of Brian:

I'm pretty sure Brian grew up in the metro-Detroit area, and I know he played in a two piece band here in recent years called Luck and Trouble.

At any rate, I'm curious what his fonder memories might be of the Detroit area when he was younger. Did he play with any local bands in the area? Did he have any favorite local bands in the area? Favorite venues he played or visited?

Brian:  As a kid I grew up on the east side of metro Detroit and what I remember fondly of my younger days was going to BOBLO ISLAND on the famous BOBLO BOAT. I also was a big Tigers fan and going down to Tiger stadium was always great. Of course the music of Motown to Iggy and the Stooges had a huge impact on my musical psyche. As far as favorite venues, I loved SMALLS in Hamtramak and THE LAGER HOUSE in Detroit. I loved going to see THE REFERMEN @ Fifth Ave Billiards. Detroit is a kick ass music town and I have so many fond memories of living there. 

Much thanks to Jamon and Brian for going along with my adventure.  I appreciate your time, guys, and we'll be working together soon!  I've got lots of irons in the fire for road trip dates for them, so all you "Refreshments" and "Toluenes" fans be on the lookout.  They might just be partying in your town, or near your town, very soon and you won't want to miss the fun!


Wasn't this worth waiting for?  Music is such a huge influence in my life and it's fun to get to talk with the musicians that make the music we love so much.  And, getting to know more about bands that I work with is a real thrill for me.  I spend so much time working on the details, that sometimes I miss the personal aspect of getting to know them behind the music. 

I'm still open for any other bands, musicians, artists of any kind to be featured here.  If you have an indie CD, a self published book, an art gallery showing, any art of any kind would be welcome here.  I do have several authors to feature in the near future, my problem has been finding the time to read their art before I can even begin an interview. With "Bright Lights" in the can now and just waiting for release at Amazon and the usual e-reader outlets, I'll get to that hopefully in the next couple of weeks. 

Next week, I'll be off as I'll be in Vegas for "Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers" show and my next blog September 11 will feature a complete review of that event (including other great fans we meet up with) and hopefully the official release of "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey". 

I'm still throwing in a copy of "LifeLoveLust" if you order "Random Encounters" at my website and one lucky person will get an advance copy of "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey".  It'll be random, of course, so get your order in and you might get lucky! Shux...I'll even autograph it for you  :-D 

Hug somebody today!

Lyrically yours,

~ K

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Feels like the first time

I'm always puzzled by people who use this phrase describing something new that happened and say it...'the *very* first time'. There's even a song by Foreigner with those lyrics (things always come around to music for me).  No matter how many adverbs or adjectives you put in front of the main subject to emphasize, there is only one first time.  After that, it's not a first time anymore, so simply stating the first time is adequate, IMO.
There are first times for everything.  I'm in awe of young children, the toddler age group, who are seeing and experiencing something in life for the first time. Their pudgy little fingers pointing up to a bird flying over.  Their saucer big eyes watching a bug crawling, the shock of cold water when a sprinkler splashes in their face, a flower blooming today that wasn't there yesterday.  Little things that we as adults take for granted and no longer have wonderment about.  It's so cool to see the awe in their faces when they see it (whatever it may be) and see the pure innocence in their eyes.  It's almost sad that as we grow up, we become so accustomed to the simple first times in life that we don't notice them anymore, or they just become a part of daily life and we aren't in amazement of them.
It seems we spend our adult lives trying to recapture that first time.  The euphoria of the first kiss, the butterflies in stomach feeling when our head spins with the high of being in love.  As life progresses and our first times change to things like our first child being born, the second and subsequent are not the same as the first, are they? It gets easier, we know what to expect and even though they're all different, it's still not the same as the first time.  For athletes, ask them the most special and memorable event and most I know will say the first tournament win, or the first super bowl win, or the first world series win. Because first times are more special and memorable than what comes next.  The first landing on the moon is another example.  Most people can tell you what those famous words of Neil Armstrong were, after that, who remembers? I don't.  It's not the first time anymore, so not as special and memorable.
It's a challenge to make events that come after the first time as special and memorable as that first time.  Is it possible?  I remember my first read of a Lee Child "Jack Reacher" novel.  I was so enamored with his style of writing, his ability to not only grab my attention from page one, but hold onto it through the very last page.  With some authors, I'm tempted to read a few pages, and then skip forward to satisfy my curiosity of what happens next.  Not with Lee Child.  I devour every page and don't skip a single word, it's that good.  But, now that I've read several of the "Jack Reacher" novels, even though I love them all, there's nothing like that first one.  Now I recognize his style of writing and I'm not surprised anymore, even though the story still holds my attention, it's not "new".  Been there, done that.
This is a momentous first time in my upcoming release "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey".  It's the story of a bar band who aspires to bigger and better things. My hero Jack Hamilton is a 29 year old guitarist/vocalist who feels his life is slipping away without him having made any milestones, and he's not making much money playing in the band, either.  Bassist Blake and drummer Tom round out the three man band.  They scored an opening slot for a nationally touring band and Jack feels his dream of bigger and better propelling them into the limelight is coming to fruition. An excerpt describing their first time at a big arena show:

~Blake drove through the gate marked event staff only at Crocker Field.  Hells Fury had a big bus and it was parked right in front of the stage entrance door, of course, so Blake parked as close as possible and they could proceed to unload their gear.  Jack got out of the van and stood for a moment to look all around.  He took a deep breath and soaked up the early evening sunshine.  He wanted to remember this moment. It was their first big gig on the road and it was a milestone in their careers.  He knew this moment would never come again. For just an instant he wanted time to stand still so he could take it all in.  Everything was suddenly going by so quickly, he didn't want to miss a single memory of this juncture.  The exhilaration of realizing his dream was overwhelming.  Without any conscious effort, there was a huge smile on his face just thinking about how far he and the band have come in the last few months.  It was gratifying to know his determination of furthering his own personal goals since Tara left him were coming to fruition.  There was a great sense of accomplishment in meeting his set goal.
"What's up with the Cheshire cat grin?" Blake asked as he walked by and gave Jack a hearty pat on the back.  Counter to his usual wisecracking and barking orders, Blake was actually helping unload equipment from the van. 
"Oh...I was just soaking up this warm sunshine.  It's nice to be here.  Ya' know? Really nice to be here.  Don'tcha think?"  Jack was still smiling as he spoke to Blake, and Tom had unloaded his drums and joined them.  They stood together for a moment to take in the feeling that everything would be different for the band after tonight.  Collectively they seemed to know that, and wanted to remember the time and place everything changed for the better.  This was a big stepping stone on the way to their ultimate success. ~

What first times do you remember in life?  What grabbed your attention and there's nothing else that measures up? "Random Encounters" is my first full length book and it will always be special to me. "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey" is next and will be ready for reading in about two weeks, give or take a few days, nights, late...late...late nights of editing and proofing, but I promise it will be here soon.  Meantime, you can order "Random Encounters" and I'm still throwing in a copy of "LiveLoveLust" just to balance out the drama with some lighter reading for you.

www.lulu.com - for e-reader or paperback
www.smashwords.com -  for e-reader only 

I had lovely conversation with Jamon Scott of The Toluenes this last week and he assures me that interview is on the way! Hopefully, I will have it up here by next week.  Meantime, I do have a list of authors and their new releases I'm going to be featuring here in the near future.  The response to my request for authors to be showcased has been a little overwhelming and I haven't had much time to preview their art, or to get the interviews done what with my own project getting finished.  I'll get back on track with that real soon. 

Hug somebody today and share the love!

Virtual hugs, 

~ K

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

Ever have a period of time in your life when things seem askew? I love that word, askew.  It's an accurate description of things that ties in with last week.  Certain things out of my control, and the frustration that goes along with that.  I had about two weeks where things just weren't right.  I blamed it on Mercury being retrograde, and according to my astrologer, it was on the horizon.  Mercury in reverse motion messes with everything that has to do with communications, whether it be written form, electronic form, or even face to face conversation (how primitive!).  It causes our words and expressions to be misinterpreted, and I had that happen with a close friend.  The words came out of my mouth intended one way, but went into his ears in another that was not in a positive way.  I was dismayed, to say the least.  When that sort of thing happens and it is called to our attention, it then appears that since we obviously offended the other party we backtrack and try to take it back, or hurriedly explain that's not what we meant.  In the meantime, the damage has been done and it's still a sore spot.  At that point, an apology is in order, but it's hard to take it genuinely by the offended person.  We always do the best we can.
About that bright future...Mercury will be turning direct August 26, we can relax and get back on good terms with any offended parties (hopefully).  Our computers will be working properly again. In the case of my office, our postage meter will work again.  Maybe my dumbphone will behave itself and stop causing me so much aggravation.  I have many projects in the works and am only sorry for the fact that I cannot bring any of them to you today.  I have interviews with several self-published authors lined up, I just need to read the material to conduct the interviews, and unfortunately I'm still waiting for Mssr.'s Scott and Blush to get back with me on their interview questions.  That will get in here in the near future, I promise.  Rock stars march to their own tune, pun intended...ok that was 2/3 of a pun...P.U.! In any event, I have about half of what I need to get it up here and will continue to stalk them to get it.  I am proficient at stalking!
Another bright spot...I'll have a brand new website soon, a little flashier and more up to date than my webs.com site and it will include my blog, so this place will be moved as well.  I'm correlating all of that with the release of my third self published novel, "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey!". It's a story I originally wrote back in 2006 and just now feel the time is right to reveal it to rest of the world.  I have a few more glitches to work out with it, then everything will get tied together nice and neat, like a beautiful gift package.  Next, my winter project will be to get "If I Weren't So..." which is the longest novel I've written thus far, in print and will follow it up with its sequel "Still Wanted", which isn't quite finished.  Somehow, in between working on my own writing I will find the time to assist in coordinating a project for the History channel titled "The Cult Code of Nostradamus and Leonardo Da Vinci ~ Exposed".  It's an intriguing documentary about the cult Grandmaster, a painter who ensconced the code into a series of paintings that linked the cult to the Catholic Church back in the 16th century.  It's an honor to be invited to work on it.  Target on air date is January, 2012, so I'm thinkin' I need to hunker down and get workin' on that script! Talk about a bright future!   
What are the bright spots in your future? I would love feedback, comments, anything you want to say here even if it's anonymous.  I know people are reading my blog weekly, I see it in the stats.  I was surprised to find I have readers from all over the world in places I didn't even know had internet! Ok, not many places don't have some kind of internet even if it's s-l-o-w dial up.  C'mon, Germany, Malaysia, Norway, Canada! I know you're all reading every week, so let me hear from you.  And the rest of you right here in the good ol' US of A, too.  All I know about you is you are avid readers, but no voices.  Sound off!
My favorite quote of the week:
"Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible" ~ The Dalai Lama.
Like the busy little squirrels I see scurrying around storing up food for the winter, now is a good time to start stockpiling your winter reading material.  I still have a few gratis copies of "LifeLoveLust" and will throw one in when you order "Random Encounters" at my website. http://www.lifelovelust.webs.com/, for e-readers, http://www.lulu.com/, or http://www.blogger.com/goog_1073747889

Hug somebody today! Share the love the universe shares with you.

Kindly yours,

~ K

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What...me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman was famous for those words back in the 70's.  As "Mad" magazines resident image, his face was described as someone who didn't have a care in the world. He made us laugh at our uptight society, and at ourselves.
Which brings me to the subject of worry.  Stress.  Unrealistic expectations. Or, even realistic expectations, and how disappointment rules our psyche.  We get so wound up and bound by worldly expectations.  It's part of our human design.  How do we combat that and live stress and worry free?  Good question.  My previous blog on "Goodology" is a fine example of people finding positive ways to make a difference.  How does that apply, you say?  Seems I've jumped from one subject to another, but I really haven't.  One thing I find helps me cope with what I see as daily issues that bog me down, is to give.  Give of myself to people, to causes, to animals.  It takes my mind off of any stresses I'm feeling and helps me see that it's not always all about me.  Other people have their own stresses and you never know who you'll meet up with everyday that has big problems of their own to deal with, maybe bigger than your own.  Like, a client of mine who comes in regularly to pay her bill and catch up on her insurance policy coverage just to be sure something hasn't been missed.  She looks fairly together.  She speaks eloquently.  She drives herself to my office, so she's obviously transportation worthy.  However, I found in talking with her that she suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and although she appears to be in good health, her memory was affected.  So, every time she gets her bill, every renewal that comes up, she comes back into my office and I repeat the same information to her that we discussed the last time.  I don’t' mind, it's my job and it reminds me that helping others who are in need is good for my own soul. 
I've worried this past week over things I have little or no control over.  My dear mother has been very ill, she's far away and there isn't anything I can do to help her except offer comforting words.  Some of my writing projects have been delayed, or changed completely to the point that I just need to sit, revise, re-work and review.  Again.  It's a little frustrating, especially when I thought I was near completion.  My insurance company is screwing around with approval of my very necessary meds that keeps me able to walk.  Again, nothing I can do until they go through their internal process and my dr. has convinced them I truly do need the very expensive medication. Our country is in dire financial straits, the well being of a lucrative 401k hangs in the balance, waiting to see what happens with our economy if our government can get it's butt in gear and solve our economic worries.   All things that I have very little or no control over, so stressing and worrying is of no productive means whatsoever.
So, today I will give.  I will clean up a spare room I've been trying to organize for some time and purge myself of items I no long have use for and haven't even seen in a few years.  I'll give them to the local homeless shelter or donate them to a church charity that I know will pass them on to less fortunate people who will use and appreciate them. It's not a huge difference, but it will feed my soul the necessary nourishment I need to stop stressing about things that will eventually resolve, instead of giving me heart failure for worrying so much!
What...me worry? Not a chance! And, remember...somebody you meet today will need a hug.  Share one and let the love of the universe flow through YOU!

p.s.  The interview with Jamon Scott and Brian Blush was delayed for this week (I'm not worrying...) and I'll work diligently to get it here for you next week.

Peacefully yours,

~  K

Buy "Random Encounters" and "LifeLoveLust" @ www.lifelovelust.webs.com and maybe I'll worry just a little bit less *wink*