Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Tonight Jacki and I are going to Nava in Atlanta for New Year's and our anniversary. Its hard to believe its been 5 years, and what a fast five years it has been.

You may have noticed on the navigation to the left I added a new link with Past Events. This logs many of the events I've been to or participated in, and if available you can see concert tickets, mementos or even pictures from the events through the years.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Studio Day 7

Drums for Can't Say No are complete. We finished the overhaul on the arrangement tonight and collectively came up with some great changes. It took the better part of the night and my final drum track was pieced together from 3 different performances but it is rock solid.

Mike G, the bass player, will have some changes he'll need to make to his parts since he was out tonight and outside of any concerns he may have we have consensus from everyone else on the arrangement.

Next Tuesday we will lay rough basic tracks (rhythm guitars, bass), put together a rough mix and then tackle the drums for the next song. 1 down and 5 to go. We completed arrangement and drum takes over the course of 2 nights, so if all goes well we should be able to knock out 1-2 drum parts a week and be completed with drums and basic tracks towards the end of January.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Top CDs of 2004

Here is my attempt at a top 10 list. Just like last year the same rules apply, these are from the list of cds I bought in 2004, and may not have necessarily been released in 2004. Once again not in any particular order.

  • The Thrills - So Much For The City - released in 2003 but I had not heard of them until an instore at Tower. Jacki, Darian and I got to see a small acoustic set and got the cd signed afterwards. Neil Young meets the Beach Boys with a knack for pop melodies against folk songs. Also this album is much better than their second release that did come out in 2004. Highlights Big Sur, and One Horse Town
  • Damageplan - New Found Power - RIP Dimebag. This cd was one of the ones I listened to most in the first half of 2004. And with the tragedy in early December the disc as well as other Pantera music has been in strong rotation. The cd is good, not as great as Vulgar or Far Beyond but definitely one of the better metal releases of the year. Standout tracks Breathing New Life, and Pride.
  • Norah Jones - Feels Like Home - What can I say. Although I don't like the production on this release as much as on her first disc, I do really enjoy the music. This one has been in heavy rotation in my car since its release. The Deluxe Edition has some nice extras, but is probably not worth the extra cost. Standout tracks Toes, and Creepin' In.
  • Ryan Adams - Rock N Roll - Great disc. Much more rockin' than his previously released material. Some of the songs have the production values of U2 circa 1982. There are some standout tracks on this disc, highlights include This Is It, Wish You Were Here, The Drugs Not Working
  • Bob Schneider - I'm Good Now - The best artist no one has ever heard of, at least outside of Austin. Bob continues to amaze and his song writing seems to get more creative and polished over time. One of Darian's favorites on this disc is Piggyback. Favorites of mine include Come With Me Tonight, I'm Good Now and God Is My Friend.
  • Killswitch Engage - End Of Heartache - By far the best metal release of 2004. The band caught my attention last year but they brought it home with this release. Rose of Sharyn, and the title track, The End Of Heartache are worth the purchase alone.
  • Dave Matthews Band - Live At the Gorge Box Set - This set gave me renewed interest in live DMB material. 6 discs is quite a bit to absorb but these performances from 2002 have some great moments. The 2nd of the 3 nights has the best performance with Loving Wings -> Where Are You Going and Two Step back to back. Carter plays some great drums on Loving Wings which is included on the 2cd/1dvd set available in stores. The dvd and box set also include my all time favorite DMB tune Seek Up. The box set is only available at
  • Green Day - American Idiot - This may get the vote for best cd of 2004. I think when the grammys come around in February they will bring home multiple awards. Buy this disc for Jesus Of Suburbia. It calls back to some old school riffs including the Crue, The Who, Sex Pistols all with Green Day's stamp on it. This song is one of those mini-epics in a similar vein to The Who's A Quick One.
  • Frank Zappa - Quadiophiliac (DVD Audio) - This is disc Dweezil put together with the help of the Vaultmeister Joe Travers. These are the quad mixes FZ put together through the years and now with the advent of surround sound the Zappa Family Trust has been able to put this disc out in DTS and the high-res DVD Audio format. I've only heard the PCM stereo mixes and the DTS mixes and I've got no complaints. Chunga Basement is a rehearsal recorded in Frank's Basement and Rollo, as Dweezil states, is bitchin.
  • Kings Of Leon - Youth & Young Manhood - After seeing them at Bonnaroo I was hooked. I had never heard of these guys and came away a believer. This was another release from 2003, and much better than their 2nd release which did come out in 2004, although as import only. Tracks to check out Happy Alone, Red Morning Light, and Wasted Time.
I'm now out of my top 10 but I'll go ahead and make a few honorable mentions.
  • Mike Keneally in some shape or form released 3 cds and a dvd this year. The DVD that accompanied Dog is some of the most inspirational playing I've seen in some time. Seeing him jam with the Mike Keneally Band in a living room with minimal set up and taped with standard home video cameras makes you wonder why can't anyone put out products like this. Check out the following from
    • Dog w/DVD (The dvd is better than the cd)
    • The Universe Will Provide (classical music with solo electric guitar)
    • Steve Vai's - Piano Reductions Volume 1, performed by Mike Keneally (Mike arranged and performed some great Vai tunes for solo piano)
  • Bon Jovi - 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong - Much like the DMB 6 disc set, this 4 disc set with dvd is quite a bit to digest. The remarkable thing is 38 of the tracks nearly 3/4ths of the material is previously unreleased. These songs represent some of the rarities and outtakes through the years. The clincher is many of these songs are better than those on actual Bon Jovi releases. Yes there are a couple of duds (sorry Tico), but overrall you'll discover some great Bon Jovi tunes from the Slippery Days all the way up to their latest release. Jacki and Darian have accused me of being gay going through a Bon Jovi phase, but thankfully I think I'm out of it.
  • Primus - live releases from - between the Bonnaroo show, the Atlanta show I attended, the Roseland show I bought from last year's tour and the DVD release of the final US show in Chicago Primus shows that it has the chops live. Maybe even more so than their studio releases. Check out
  • Umphrey's Mcgee - Anchor Drops - Another Bonnaroo discover although indirectly. There was a huge buzz about these guys but I ended up watching Primus the night they were on stage so I missed their set. Nothing like a listening station at Tower Records to hook me.
And a few that require some type of comment.
  • Velvet Revolver - Contraband - It's good but it should have been better given the talent. Check out Big Machine
  • Col Claypools Bucket Of Bernie Brains - Another Tower Records listening station purchase. Check out Junior (Yee Haw!)
  • U2 - How To Dismantle A Bomb - Vertigo is up with American Idiot for best rock song of 2004.
  • Marc Broussard - Carencro - Once again listening stations really do work! Check out Home.
And the most overrated disc of 2004.
  • Deathcab For Cutie - Transatlanticsim - Numerous people at work couldn't stop raving about this disc. I just don't get it. And as I've always believed my friend's music sucks :-)
So all in all you get 20 recommendations from me and one advisory!

And there it is for 2004...

If you have read this far please provide comments or suggestions of your favorites for 2004. I'm always looking for an excuse to check out new music.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Studio Day 6

We got back into the studio tonight and completed working on the drum sounds. It took another hour or so as expected but I think all of us are happy with they way things are sounding. I tightened the top head on the snare, left a little ring/overtone, loosened the bottom head, and muffled the head slightly. A nice wet snare with a tiny bit of ring.

For the toms I moved the mics farther back from the heads which oddly gave more clarity and definition. It is getting more of the stick and less of the drum.

We worked on the drum part to Can't Say No. Spent about an hour or so working out bass drum patterns and putting together a consistent part that locked with the bass. Quite a bit of work that I'm hopeful will pay off in the long run.

On Thursday we will record my track and if time permits begin working on the next drum track.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Studio Day 5

Last night we got focused on recording. We spent about 3 hours working on drum sounds using Can't Say No as our guide track. So far we are pretty pleased. We have much better fundamental sounds on the recording than we have had for any of our previous demos. We still have a little more work to do, possibly close mic'ing the ride cymbal and the snare has a little more room for improvement.

Oddly enough letting the snare ring and loosening the snares gave a much better recorded sound than naturally what sounds good to the ears in the room. However it doesn't matter what we hear it matters how it sounds on tape, not that we using tape, but recording to a hard drive doesn't sound right.

Mike G and Katie left around 10 or 10:30 but Mike V and I talked a good bit more about arrangements. We had some good ideas about letting the song breathe a bit more and altering the changes and breaks so each one isn't identical and predictable. He warned we may have a bit of a struggle convincing everyone to change parts but I'm pretty confident it makes the recording much stronger.

Not sure if we will get together on Thursday or not but if we do it will be another hour or so of working on drum sounds, maybe trying an alternate snare, and playing with the ride cymbal. Once complete I should be able to start recording tracks. By the end of next week I should have some tracks completed.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Back in the States

I got back from Korea yesterday. With the time change I actually landed before I took off. My departing flight was at 10:05am and I landed around 9:30am 13 hours later. It took about an hour to get through customs and out of the airport.

I got home about 11am, checked email and snail mail and got ready for the day.

My band The Superlatives played a charity event for Toys For Tots last night so since we hadn't played in over a week we got together around 3pm to rehearse our set list. Something like 10 songs running about 55 minutes. Strangely enough this was probably one of our best rehearsals, no problems with tempos, very few wrong notes and one of the first times Mike G and were locking in tightly as a rhythm section. We finished up about 4:20pm and decided to meet around 6:30pm at the venue for a 7:20pm start time.

The venue was a bit of a dive but not far from my house so it was fairly convenient to get to. I picked up Jacki and Darian, we went to Moes, and then got to the venue around 6:15pm or so. As usual with Butchy Rhythm productions (he coordinates these charity events) he was running behind schedule. Thankfully we were the 3rd band so the delay didn't keep compounding for us. We went on about 8pm and played our set. It was a good performance and we had a good crowd, quite a bit of cheering, some dancing occurred and it sounded like people were having a good time. With the lights and being behind someone else's drum kit I could barely see over the top.

Butchy likes to give our band and all bands for that matter an encore so we held back our last song and sure enough Butchy asked us to play more. Well he asked us to play 2 more, we added an unrehearsed "Too Far" to the set and closed with "Rejected". Great response to our finish and since we were probably going to be the best original band for the night we were asked to play yet another song. This was tougher but we ended up adding "Silver Lines" that went over well for the final track.

All in all we played about an hour and fifteen, and added 2-3 songs at the end of the set that weren't necessarily going to be played. For not playing live in 6-8 weeks this was a good and fun thing to come back to.

Today the plan is to catch up on rest and get ready for Christmas. Its good to be back home.

Monday, December 13, 2004

In Korea

I'm back in Seoul for another week. The trip yesterday was easy and uneventful. Left Atlanta with no issues and we got in about 10-15 minutes after our schedudled arrival. Today the first of a week of all day meetings focused on IT / Billing / CRM.

Someone says it might snow here tomorrow. I'll be sure to post some pictures if it does.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Horrible shooting of Dimebag Darrell

I just read that Dimebag Darrell from Damageplan and Pantera was shot and killed on stage last night in Columbus Ohio. I have many good memories of going to Pantera shows through the years in Texas. I saw them a couple of times in Houston in the early 90s, on one of the first Ozzfest tours and the highlight was a secret show in Austin at the Backroom to celebrate the release of their Far Beyond Driven album.

Darrell Lance Abbott August 20, 1966 - December 8, 2004

Rest In Peace and prayers go out to all of the families and friends of those killed at the show last night.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Studio Day 4

This past Monday we spent another day in the studio preparing for our recordings. We completed the scratch tracks (guitar, bass, vocals) that will allow me to lay down my drum parts. It went pretty quick and we ended up using the last hour of practice for rehearsal.

We usually practice on Tuesday and Thursday but with birthdays, first mine on the 7th and now Mike G's (bass player) on the 8th we are taking the middle of the week off. And of course I'm still busy with work so if we get together again this week it will probably be Friday night.

When I get back from Korea I'll start working on getting a good drum sound, and I'm hopeful I'll get one or two songs completed by Christmas.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Birthday proved to be a long day. I ended up getting up extremely early so I could get in some extra work. I was in the office about 7:15 which for those people that know me is 2-2 1/2 hours earlier than I normally get to work.

After working till 7pm I met Jacki and Darian at The Cheesecake Factory, ate too much and headed over to Tower. And low and behold a celebrity sighting. We saw Mike Mills of R.E.M. shopping for cds, in fact he was in line right in front of me. I wasn't able to check out what he bought other than the fact he probably purchased between 10-15 cds in one shot.

And off he rode as a passenger in a new BMW.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Motley Crue

The original Crue is back. Check out their press release in all of its glory.

Its a bit odd how they've been downplaying the upcoming of this reunion. In many ways it is very similar to the Swine reunion back in '97. Or was it '96.

It looks like Atlanta won't be until the Summer but maybe I can use some frequent flyer miles and catch the first leg of the tour somewhere.

The new single is posted on AOL's First Listen Site. Click the first link to hear the new single If I Die Tomorrow

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Studio: Day 3

We recorded scratch tracks for Lonely One and All About You tonight. We set tempos for the other songs. Next Monday we will finish the scratch tracks just in time to take a break for another one of my trips to Korea and a gig for Toys For Tots on December 18th. Probably the week before Christmas we will start fine tuning mics for the drum recording.

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