Monday, December 31, 2007

The Best Of 2007

As an annual passing I've been listing my favorite music and concerts of the year. Here is my 2007 recap! Music wise this wasn't the strongest year for new releases but this was one of the best years of concerts I've attended, although no KISS this year :-(

Favorite CDs of 2007 (in no particular order)
1. Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times
2. Rush - Snakes And Arrows
3. Valient Thorr - Legend Of The World
4. Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild
5. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May
6. Ian Moore - To Be Loved
7. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss - Raising Sand
8. Heaven & Hell - Live From Radio City Music Hall (CD/DVD)
9. Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains The Same (CD Reissue)
10. Chris Robinson & Rich Robinson - Birds Of A Feather (CD/DVD)

Best Concerts of 2007 (in order!)
1. Rocklahoma - Pryor, Oklahoma- July 13-15, 2007
2. Van Halen - Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA - December 14, 2007
3. The Wildhearts - Key Club, Los Angeles, CA - October 21, 2007
4. Bob Schneider - Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA - November 3, 2007 (sorry no review - trust me this was Bob solo on acoustic at his absolute best)
5. Mike Keneally - Rosalie and Alva Performance Art Gallery, San Pedro, CA - July 5, 2007
6. Rush - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA - July 23, 2007
7. Foo Fighters - The Groove. Orlando, Florida - March 27, 2007
8. Great White - Key Club, Los Angeles, CA - January 27, 2007
9. Dream Theater - Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA - July 27, 2007
10. Valient Thorr - Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA - November 8, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rockband and Rock Bands

Today I picked up Rockband for Xbox 360. Guitar Hero has nothing on this game. Rockband has all the guitar of Guitar Hero, Drums and even karaoke style Vocals. I played for a little bit this afternoon and Darian even sang Blitzkreig Bop. Hopefully this will be fun for the entire family.

And as I get my virtual rock band on I'm now getting active in the LA music scene. It looks like I'll be in 2-3 bands. The first is a singer-songwriter named Eric Levai. He has a number of good songs and I'm helping him put together a band as well as do some recording. Tad Ro a friend from work has played bass and then tonight we are heading to Dean Truitt's studio to do some demo recording and possibly have Dean play guitar.

The second band is a garage alternative sounding band. A little punk, a little rock and a very garage. This band is called Spidersuit and at this past weekend's rehearsal they pulled down the looking for drummer flyers. So I'm officially in that band now. They have 3 cds up on iTunes. We are focused on learning new songs but we are playing some of the older material of their album called The Owl.

The third band I may end up joining is a hard rock band based in the Valley. They are called Outlaw Engine. I auditioned this past week and they emailed me to tell me out of all the drummers they have auditioned they like me best. So the next step is for me to learn their set of originals plus their two covers of CCR's Traveling Band and Metallica's The Four Horsemen. They invited me to come out and see them perform on January 4th with their old drummer for one of his final shows with them.

I'm looking forward to working with some new musicians after nearly 3 years of hiatus from The Superlatives. My only expectations are to play some gigs in LA, hopefully on the Sunset Strip, and maybe even record some material with the different groups. And in the meantime I can play with my virtual rock band on Xbox at home!

Friday, December 28, 2007

We're Back

We made it back to LA about 1am Wednesday morning. We had a full Christmas weekend seeing Jacki's family in Port Lavaca, meeting my Mom, Marvin, and Lisa, and I was even able to drop by my Dad's on the way back to the airport on Christmas. Jacki's friend Janice even stopped by briefly to drop off barbecue from Austin.

On Monday we made it to Victoria and ended up spending most of the evening at Jacki's sister's house. We had a good time, had good food and even sat around a bonfire for a few hours.

Here are some of our pictures from the trip.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Texas, here we come!

We are now officially on our Christmas vacation and only hours from our red eye into Houston. Yes, a red eye. Hopefully it won't hurt too bad tomorrow. We will be spending most of the time in Port Lavaca visiting Jacki's family. See everyone soon!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Van Halen

Last Friday the family made it out to see the Van Halen reunion with David Lee Roth in LA. Being a Friday afternoon traffic can always be tricky to deal with so Darian met me at my office and then we picked up Jacki from her office on the way to the show.

After scoring $7 parking we made it into the venue and met up with a friend of mine from Helio and his girlfriend. After some quick food in the concourse we headed in right at 7:30pm for the opening act, Ky-mani Marley.

Yes, one of the Marley kids. He played an ok set of reggae if that is your thing. It wasn't mine. A few reggae standards and a couple of what I suspect were originals and then his 30 minute set was over.

Between the set changes the VH crew launched two blimps that flew around the arena. The crew was flying them via remote controls throughout Staples center. This kept the crowd entertained. Shortly before 8:30pm VH hit the stage for a two hour set.

Right before the show we saw Jerry Cantrell, and William DuVall from Alice In Chains. Darian spotted John Mayer walking in front of us and then it turns out Steve Vai was sitting just a few rows in front of us. When Steve was looking for his seat he walked by our row and I was able to quickly say hi to him. And to think David Lee Roth's guitarist after VH didn't have seats any better than ours, although he did go down to the floor once the show was underway.

I've been asked by many people how was the show. The show was great, however I expected it to be great. DLR was a fantastic front man and not the awkward Vegas-like act mess he was when he did the tour with Sammy Hagar. Yes, he was over the top, flamboyant and grinning from ear to ear but that is exactly what I wanted to see.

This reunion featured Eddie's son, Wolfgang "Wolfie" Van Halen on bass. Darian immediately attached to him considering the two of them are both 16 years old. His vocals were great and he played bass well. You could tell he was a guitar player first. He held and attacked the bass like a guitarist and was able to nail the classic VH songs. He even enhanced some of the parts above what was on the original albums with some extended breaks and even some finger tapping.

This was the second of 4 sold out shows in the Los Angeles area and I don't think anyone left the venue disappointed. They played a great selection of hits and deep tracks. I hadn't seen Jacki have this much fun at a concert in years.

If you ever liked Van Halen then go see this tour. This is one not to be missed, and considering the personalities involved there is no telling how long this line up will continue.

As far as the music went the songs I was looking forward to hearing "Unchained", "Hot For Teacher". Although they didn't catch me like I was hoping, however hearing Dave say the line "Heard you missed us, we're back!" from "Hot For Teacher" was priceless. Some of the deeper tracks "Romeo Delight", "So This Is Love?", "I'm The One", "Little Guitars" proved to be the highlights of the night. The band also stretched out a few of the songs adding a line from The Who's "Magic Bus" and even using the "Smoke On The Water" riff at one point.

The only moment that didn't work was during "I'll Wait". It was as if the band couldn't hear the keyboard track on stage. The beginning of the song sounded like a narrow miss of a train wreck and the middle of the song also had some rough moments. I've heard some live versions of this song and it seems that this is a common problem with this song. Maybe rearranging without keyboards might be an option. Jump on the other hand sounded fine.

Van Halen
December 14, 2007
Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA

You Really Got Me
I'm the One
Runnin' with the Devil
Romeo Delight -> lyric from Magic Bus
Somebody Get Me A Doctor (w/ DLR on harmonica)
Beautiful Girls
Dance The Night Away
Atomic Punk
Everybody Wants Some!!
So This Is Love?
Mean Street
(Oh) Pretty Woman
Drum Solo
I'll Wait
And the Cradle Will Rock... -> Smoke On The Water riff
Hot For Teacher
Little Dreamer
Little Guitars
Jamie's Cryin'
(Dave telling story about growing up in Pasadena just down the freeway)
Ice Cream Man (w/ DLR on acoustic guitar)
Guitar Solo (w/ 316, Cathedral, Eruption, etc)
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love


Monday, December 10, 2007

Metal night at the Rhino Store

Tonight was Metal Night at the Rhino store. It was fun for the entire family. The Donnas, Darian's favorite band, were DJs for the event, and then many of metal's icons were there to autograph cds. The only downside was they wouldn't let us take pictures so Darian and Jacki tried their best to sneak some.

f you are in LA and like music you need to check out the Rhino store. The store is only open for the month of December and so far it has been very good to us. The day it opened they gave Jacki a free shirt, I was able to get the Heaven And Hell Rhino Handmade edition of Live At Radio City Music Hall (now autographed by Dio), and I even won last Tuesday's Old Release Tuesday contest. The winning item was a box set collection of 70's soul titled Can You Dig It? The best part is the box set has a faux cover in the shape of 8 track tapes.

Tonight Darian got a couple of pictures with The Donnas and one of her items signed. I was able to get autographs from Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Warren DeMartini (Ratt), and Ronnie James Dio on my recent Rhino purchases.

I told Jay Jay and Geoff I saw them at Rocklahoma. As Jay Jay was signing my Twisted Sister DVD he asked what my favorite part was and I mentioned the live concert. He said he had fun doing the interviews. He said maybe they will release an uncensored version of that concert in the future, they just found a copy on Laserdisc and they are contemplating future release. He also told me to come see them this Thursday at the House Of Blues. Jay Jay was also Jacki's favorite so she was excited to see how much he talked to us.

A fun night out which we capped off with breakfast for dinner at the Grove.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Birthday

Well today was my birthday. I had a pretty good one getting many great birthday wishes at work, in emails, calls, SMS, and myspace messages. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a good day for me. Tonight Jacki, Darian and I had dinner and when we returned home Vh1 threw 24 hours of KISSmas, for my birthday of course!

I think this next year is going to be good one. Now the question is how many years can I get away with being 29 :-)

Sunday, December 02, 2007


My Aunt Shirley passed away very early Friday morning. All of us were able to travel to Arkansas in October to see her. We were able to spend time with family and say our final goodbyes. She was in good spirits and stood strong knowing she had little time to live. We knew this day was very near but it is still hard to know you will never get to share a new moment with them.

Aunt Shirley - We loved you dearly and we will miss you.

Shirley Rose Howard Litchford
(June 12, 1946 - November 30, 2007)

Graveside services for Mrs. Shirley Rose Howard Litchford will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 3, 2007 in the Rush Chapel, Glenmora with Reverend Gary Richerson officiating. Interment will follow in Amiable Cemetery, Glenmora under the direction of Rush Funeral Home, Oakdale.

Mrs. Litchford, 61, of Horatio, Arkansas entered eternal rest on Friday, November 30, 2007 in her residence.

Shirley became an educator late in her life and thoroughly enjoyed her new career. She attended the Horatio Assembly of God Church. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, daughter, cousin and friend. She leaves all of us too soon and will be greatly missed. Heaven has acquired its’ newest angel.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John Lois and Crecie Bond Howard; one sister, Judy; her paternal grandparents, James David Howard and Susan Adeline (Addie) Wiggins Howard and her maternal grandparents, Joe Vander Bond and Hattie Bond.

Survivors include her husband, Earl Litchford of Horatio, Arkansas and his children and grandchildren; her daughter, Donna Krissette Langford Kotler; her grandson, Greg McCarroll; her granddaughter, Katie Kotler; one brother, Billy Ray Howard, Sr. of Houston, Texas; her beloved nephews and niece, Billy Ray Howard, Jr. of Horatio, Arkansas, John Lee Howard of Florida, David Christopher Howard of Santa Monica, California and Lisa Erin Minor of Houston, Texas. She is also survived by former husband, Benny Langford; special sisters-in-law, Paulette Langford Nelson and Martha Anne Bonner (Howard) Pierson; aunts, Lucille Wiggins and Marlene Bonds Fergurson and many cousins. Her extended family and friends mourn her passing.

Friends may post online messages of condolence for the Litchford family by visiting

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot RIP

Kevin Dubrow (1955-2007) of Quiet Riot was found dead in his home yesterday. I was able to see Quiet Riot twice through the years, most recently at Rocklahoma this past summer. Here is my review of that performance.

Kevin was one of the most over the top and entertaining front men I've ever seen and has been an icon on the hard rock music scene since the release of Quiet Riot's Metal Health album.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Down at the Fonda

On Friday night I saw Down at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. The show was originally scheduled at the Santa Monica Civic Center but was moved a few weeks back. I arrived around 7:30 for an 8:30 show time. When I arrived there was a line to get into the club that was running about 3/4 of a block. It took nearly 45 minutes to get through this line.

The show was supposed to kick off at 8:30 but I'm assuming because of how long it took to get into the club things were delayed about 30 minutes. Just as Down did on the last tour there wasn't an opening act but instead an opening video that featured live performances from a number of 70s classic rock and hard rock bands. Between the live clips the movie showed footage of Down on tour and backstage. Some of the bands included in the opening video included Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, KISS, Deep Purple (w/ Coverdale), AC/DC and a few others.

As the movie ended the video screen went up, smoke filled the stage, and Down came out and played a 2 hour set. They hit the stage at 10:05pm. I was seated the first row of the balcony, and considering the pit was active on the floor I was in a good place. As has become standard for LA the sound system was good and I had a perfect view of the stage.

Phil Anselmo looked great and was probably the first time I had seen him in concert where he was visibly sober. He was extremely interactive with the crowd and seemed much less pissed off then previous times I had seen him with both Down and Pantera. The band has a great live sound and were very tight live.

I must admit that their new cd Over The Under hasn't grabbed me like their first two. They ended up playing 7 tracks off the new album so I wasn't as familiar with the songs as I would have liked. The new material came off well live so I'll have to give the cd another chance. Since I wasn't as familiar with the new material it made for what felt like a long set.

New songs N.O.D., and Three Sons and One Star, and older songs like Stone The Crow, Lifer and Temptation's Wings were highlights of the set. During the final song of the set a group of females, possibly lady Down?, came out and took over the instruments and closed out Bury Me In Smoke. They actually sounded pretty close to the real band. All the Down guys were still on stage taking pictures and Rex was filming everyone with a video camera. At the end everyone did their final bow and only Phil was left on stage.

Phil led the crowd a capella through a lyric of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love - "Way down inside, you need...."

Henry Fonda Theatre
November 23, 2007
Los Angeles, CA

The Path
Lysergik Funeral Procession
Lifer (dedicated to Dimebag)
Three Suns And One Star
Hail The Leaf
I Scream
Ghosts Along The Mississippi ->
Learn From This Mistake
Lies, I Don't Know What They Say But...
There's Something On My Side
Temptation's Wings
Beneath The Tides
Losing All
(Lowrider - cover with Pepper and Phil screwing around)
On March The Saints
Eyes Of The South

Stone The Crow
Bury Me In Smoke (lady Down ended the song)
Whole Lotta Love (Phil leads "way down inside" lyric a capella to close out the show)

Playing music again

This past week I played drums with a singer/songwriter named Eric Levai. Jacki and I went to see him on Tuesday night at the Fox and Hounds in Studio City. Jacki said this would be someone she would come out to see. That is always a good thing.

On Wednesday night Eric and I got together at West LA Studios and worked on 4 songs over a course of 3 hours. Same, Revolution Baby, Doing Fine, and One. Check out his myspace page for samples. Very productive session. We will probably get together again in the next few days. Hopefully he will add a bass player and possibly another guitarist into the mix.

As I'm beginning to feel out the music scene in LA I have scheduled an audition with another band for December 1st. They are more indie power pop. Think an indie version of Cheap Trick with a female singer. There is one other band I might attempt to play with, but they want me to learn the Metallica song "The Four Horsemen". Playing the parts aren't a problem, however remembering all the changes for a 7+ minute song is. I've worked through half the song so far. But do I really want to be in a metal band?

At this point the goal is to try out a few situations and see which one I like best.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Before the show I grabbed a quick dinner at the Rainbow. I had a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich just like I did last week before the Vayden show. After I wrapped up dinner at the bar I walked out to the front and the guys from Hellyeah were sitting at a booth. I did a double take and Vinnie Paul acknowledged me and said hey.

I asked if he would mind if I took a picture and he said go ahead. Just at that point world renowned photographer Neil Zlozower walks up to the table and says hi to Vinnie and the band's dinner arrives at the table. At that point Vinnie posed for a quick picture and I said I'd see them over at the show.

I finally got into the show right as Bloodsimple was wrapping up their set. I had seen them previously open for Mudvayne so I knew I could miss their set. Otep was interesting. Great band with a female singer. The crowd was really into this band and Otep probably had the biggest crowd of the night. They played a solid set, although I couldn't tell if I liked the singer or not.

After a short set change Hellyeah took the stage. It was great to see Vinnie Paul back on drums. At one point he had everyone yell Hellyeah loud enough so Dimebag to hear. A very cool moment.

Their set clocked in right at one hour. They played their entire album plus a cover Stone Cold Crazy. I noticed that their music sounded better live than on the cd. Their cd was not able to capture that live sound in the studio. The guitars and drums sounded much better live. However as much as I like Chad, his vocals are oftentimes unintelligible when he is in his shouting/growling mode. He also has the same problem with Mudvayne live. Regardless it was a good set, short and sweet.

After a dry spell with guitar picks I was able to get a pick from both Greg Tribbett and Tom Maxwell.

November 14, 2007
W. Hollywood, California

Matter Of Time
Rotten To The Core
Stone Cold Crazy (Queen / Metallica)
In The Mood / Star
One Thing
Waging War
Thank You
Alcohaulin' Ass
You Wanted Know

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lenny Kravitz Starts A Love Revolution

Last week I received an email from Virgin Records inviting me and a guest to a taping of a Lenny Kravitz show in Los Angeles. I sent a follow up and was confirmed for me plus a guest. Upon confirmation I found out the event was for a taping of Yahoo! Music's Nissan Live Sets.

The directions had us park in a garage in Century City and stated that buses would take us to the taping. Jacki and I arrived separately to the garage and met up around 5:15. We made it to the site of taping around 5:30. The event was filmed on one of the sound stages at Fox Studios.

After what seemed an enormously long wait they finally let us into the sound stage. After some camera tests, and warming up of the audience Lenny finally hit the stage.

This was my fourth time to see Lenny and he always has a great band with him. On this outing he had his core band (guitar, bass, drums) and had keyboards and a trumpet and sax player. The band performed flawlessly except for the false start on Mr. Cab Driver when the drummer thought they were playing Let Love Rule instead.

However due to the logistics of taping the show the energy of the performance was all over the place. Let Love Rule was not a great opener to getting a crowd going, and then Lenny followed up with a new track that very few people knew. Once he launched into Always On The Run the crowd started to get more into the show as did Lenny and band.

The other odd aspect was the breaks for audience Q&A. Just when the band and crowd were beginning to feed off of one another the entire flow of the show was disrupted for fan questions. I'd recommend moving all of the fan Q&A to the end of the show, or just having one block of questions so as not to disrupt the performance. Even with the disjointed flow I must commend Lenny for providing some great answers and stories for some of the audience questions. As odd as the situation Lenny really tried to connect with the person asking the question and offered sincere responses.

Once again this is an event experience you could get by living in Los Angeles. Look for us on Y! Music Nissan Live in the near future.

Lenny Kravitz
November 13, 2007
Y! Music Nissan Live
Fox Studios
Los Angeles, California

Let Love Rule (Lenny ended song early due to a guitar problem)
Bring It On
Always On The Run
Where Are We Runnin'?
Q & A Part 1 - from audience with Lenny
Love Revolution
Mr. Cab Driver (w/ false start)
Let Love Rule
Q & A Part 2 - from audience with Lenny
Dig In
Are You Gonna Go My Way?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Midnight Fog

As I walked out of the gym a midnight fog had rolled in. My gym is about 2 miles from the ocean but the fog smelled like salt water. First time I had experience the smell of salt water so far from the beach.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Supagroup and Thorriors Unite

This past Thursday I was able to see Supagroup once again. This made show number 3 for me since I first saw them at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta Georgia. The tickets said doors at 8:30pm with the show starting promptly at 9pm. Since Supagroup was the first band on the bill I made sure to arrive early. After a late start from work and nearly an hour on the road I made it to Spaceland right at 8:30pm.

As I walked up to the front door Chris Lee and Leif Robinson Swift from Supagroup were standing out front with one of the guys helping them out on the tour. A quick re-introduction and reminder of me seeing them at the Keyclub show about a year back. Chris seemed to remember meeting me from that show and Leif introduced himself to me. I asked if they were going on right at 9 and they said no the second band canceled so they wouldn't be going on until 10 or 10:30.

Chris and I talked briefly about the new album, working with Kevin Shirley, Chris mentioned Kevin is up in the Bay area trying to get Journey's career back together, and the start of the tour. I asked why was "What's Your Problem Now?" on the new album and he said it was because the record company didn't want to make another video. He said he thinks Jailbait will be released as the next single.

He and Leif left and said they'd see me inside.

Once inside I grabbed a beer, an LA Weekly and set up at a table right in front of the stage. It was a long hour and a half but Valient Himself, the singer from Valient Thorr, was playing DJ and was playing tons of great music I had never heard. The only song in the hour and a half that I was familiar with was "Just What The Doctor Ordered" by Ted Nugent. Supagroup went on stage at 10:30p sharp.

They ended up playing without a setlist and proceeded to call out audibles for the next song throughout their set. The show omitted material from their first release. If you aren't familiar with Supagroup they are a band rooted in the music of AC/DC and have the antics of a bunch of teenage party band on stage.

Highlights were Hog Wild, Promised Land, Wasted, and Invncible Me.

November 8, 2007
Los Angeles, CA

Ready To Go
Born In Exile
Hog Wild
It Takes Balls
Promised Land
Let's Go (Get Wasted)
Bow Down
Lonely At The Bottom
Invincible Me
Roll In Smokin'

After their set I spoke briefly to Benji Lee and mentioned the Keyclub show to him. He said he remembered it was a good night although no one was at the show. He also recalled the event where one of the guys from the Giraffes dropped his pants and was almost kicked out of the venue while they were on stage. I couldn't believe he recalled that night.

The quote of the night was from Chris. On stage he said that when they arrived the Thorriors were already lining up and word came out that the second band canceled. He said one of the Thorriors said "Good... One less band to sit through."

Next up was Valient Thorr. The crowd was full of Thorriors. What is a Thorrior you ask? It is a kid with long hair, wearing a ratty blue jeans jacket with the sleeves cut off and a giant home made looking Valient Thorr logo on the back. Look here for the official word on becoming a Thorrior. After seeing the band's set you can see why they garner this type of loyalty.

Their set was an unforgettable experience. From the opening of the set with Valient Himself pumping up the crowd to the encore chant of Valient Himself threatening not to play the encore if the crowd didn't know the encore chant. Unaided the crowd launched into
"P-A-R-T-Y We don't need no alibi!" Encore achieved.

I hadn't heard their material prior to their show but from their new album they did play both Heatseeker and Exit Strategy. I've since picked up their second album Legend Of The World and I think I have a new favorite album for this year.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vayden at the Slash Book Signing

Before the show I met JP from Vains Of Jenna. He was handing out flyers for their show at the Knitting Factory on November 17. We talked about the recent tours including the tour where they opened for Poison and Ratt. I mentioned I had already planned to see the Knitting Factory show with some family and friends and would see them then.

About 9pm I finally was able to meet up with Bruce, the drummer for Vayden. He was getting me a ticket since the Slash book signing event cost so much. After a quick introduction I made my way into the show.

The first band up was called Aces and Eights. The drummer was the worst drummer I've seen in LA. And then to top it off Slash got up on stage with the band for several songs including a mediocre run through of the Sex Pistols Problems, and our horrible version of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Pride and Joy. Even Slash couldn't make up for how bad this band was.

Next up was Vayden. I saw them a little over a year ago at the Keyclub and have been looking forward to seeing them out in LA ever since. They sounded even better than I remembered. The new bass player and guitarist were great additions. Highlights of their set included Karma with an amazing bass rumble triggered by the drummer and Anthem, my favorite song off the ir cd.

Unfortunately since the first band ran long Vayden's set was cut short by 3 songs.

November 7, 2007
Whisky A Go Go
W. Hollywood California

Just The Tip
Karma Is A Professional Wrestler
Anthem Of The Used
Hanzel and Gretel? or Sweet...?
Come Together (Beatles)

Songs not played but were on the setlist
Hanzel and Gretel? or Sweet...? - I'm not sure which one they played
Save The World

The last band I stayed for was 72. The guitarist and drummer made the band. They reminded me of Sum 41.

After the Vayden set I talked to their singer Curtis. He came over to me and thanked me for coming out. I mentioned that I first saw them a little over a year ago at the Keyclub.

I can't say enough good things about this band. Curtis is a front man on the rise and once Bruce is known he will easily be in all of the drum magazines. As Curtis says on his Myspace page"
My name is Curtis Casey lead singer of your next all time favorite band, Vayden." No exaggeration.

Another good night out for live music. Go see Vayden if you ever see them in your town. If you like your music a little heavy with great musicianship you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Where There's Smoke...

Last night Jacki and I were eating dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant with our favorite waiter. As we were wrapping up dinner we saw a combination of heavy fog and smoke roll through the street. When we walked outside after dinner we could smell a hint of smoke mixed into the fog so we decided to drive up the PCH to see if we could see any of the remnants of the Malibu wildfire.

We drove north on the PCH about 10-12 miles and passed Pepperdine University, one of the areas that was threatened. Although we never found fire we did see an orange clouded sky in the distance above Topanga Canyon. We didn't drive through that canyon but when we cut across Malibu inland we reached the top of one of the mountains and had our visibility cut to less than 20 feet while driving as a very thick smell of smoke entered the car. We had to be close. All of this was just a little over 10 miles from where we live in Santa Monica.

During the week the smoke from the fires blocked out the sun in the early evening. This time of year it begins to darken at night around 7pm. When the Malibu fire was at its peak sunlight stopped coming through shortly after 5pm. It was hard to believe that smoke alone could block the sun. The news has slowed in LA about the Malibu fire but as we saw on our drive last night the fire is still having an impact on the area.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Night With The Wildhearts

Sunday night The Wildhearts played at the Keyclub in LA. The Keyclub has quickly become my favorite venue out in LA, great sound system, clean club, and we always seem to have a great time at that venue.

I first learned about The Wildhearts when they opened for The Darkness in Atlanta. I had heard the band name but had never heard their music. Ever since their performance than night I've been hooked.

Ted, a friend of mine from college came out to visit this weekend so I took him out to the big rock and roll show on a Sunday night along with Darian. Before the show we grabbed a quick bite at the Rainbow Bar and Grill hoping for a celeb or rock star sighting. We didn't see anyone we knew but saw a couple of people that looked like they could be somebody. After the fact I realized that the bass player from The Wildhearts, Scott Sorry, was sitting at the bar while we ate. After a quick dinner we made it over to the Keyclub around 8:30.

First band up was Locke And Load. The bass player and guitarist looked the part, although the guitarist / singer struggled with the lead guitar parts. The drummer was a guy named Richie Rivera who I had previously seen with a band called Touched. I'm not particularly fond of his playing although he was probably the best musician in this band. With all of that said the band pulled the best stunt ever. I was up at the stage and the singer asked me to hold my right hand up and make a right "devil horn". Then he had all the people on the front row hold up their fist and the person on the far left made the left "devil horn". So instead of a typical \m/ horns up it looked like \mmmmmmmmmmm/.

Second band up was Liars N' Cheats. Music was much better than the first band and they came off as a GnR inspired band with a modern rock and roll look. They kept throwing out cds during the set so I was able to listen to the one Ted caught. They were much better live than on cd. This is a band that if I see playing again I may actually check out. The highlight of their set was the end when the bass player destroyed his bass and the drummer trashed his drumset. The first time I had ever seen a non-headliner destroy their gear. Very rock and roll!

The final band of course was The Wildhearts. These guys rarely play in the US so it was nice to see them out in LA. The crowd knew a lot of the lyrics so it was nice to hear a great crowd rocking out and singing along to nearly all of the songs. Considering how hard it is to find their cds in the US I was surprised to see how many people knew the material.

The opening of the set with Greetings backed with Vanilla Radio w/ the great chorus of "Where's My Elvis" couldn't have been any better. The band was extremely tight and were jumping and running all over the stage. CJ, the guitar player stayed on his side of the stage, but Scott and Ginger were ripping it up like they were in an arena.

Other highlights included Weekend, Someone That Won't Let Me Go w/ the audience singing the guitar riff, 29x The Pain and I Wanna Go. I Wanna Go had the crowd chanting just like on the Tokyo Suits Me live cd. The band didn't disappoint and neither did the crowd.

The set had no encore, after I Wanna Go the band left the stage and after several minutes the house lights came on. Crowd was hungry for an encore but we will just have to wait until next time.

The Wildhearts
October 21, 2007
W. Hollywood, CA

Greetings From Shitsville
Vanilla Radio
TV Tan
Caffeine Bomb
The Revolution Will Be Televised
Nita Nitro
Destroy All Monsters
Sick Of Drugs
Love You Till I Don't
The Hard Way
Rooting For The Bad Guy
Someone That Won't Let Me Go
29x The Pain
My Baby Is A Headfuck
I Wanna Go Where The People Go

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Look I'm on TV

I had a bit of a surprise when I arrived at work today in Korea. Taeho who helps me navigate SK Telecom while I'm in Korea told me I was being filmed and interviewed today for SKT'sinternal television network. The topic of the interview was to highlight a content management system for mobile that SK Telecom and Helio worked on together. My team launched the product about a month ago.

It was funny to see how nervous I was for something that will be seen by so few people. Definitely an experience I won't forget.

The first run at the interview was disastrous, lots of umms, I was looking off into the distance as I thought of things to say and even made the mistake of looking directly into the camera.

After a couple of rehearsals and revised talking points we were able to nail it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Radiohead - In Rainbows

I didn't expect it but I received my download code from the Radiohead website for their new album In Rainbows. Considering I paid nothing I didn't expect them to process my order. They kept up their side of their deal and now I'm listening to the music. Maybe if I enjoy it I'll check out some of their older material.

The download was packaged as a 48MB zip file with 10 tracks encoded in MP3 format at 160kpbs. And of course all DRM free.

Go and order yours now!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Trip Wrap Up

I cannot imagine the trip with family being any better than it was. We arrived a couple days before everyone else so I was able to spend great one on one quality time with Billy and his family and with Shirley and family.

Now let's continue from where I left off from day one.... On Friday we were able to sleep in a bit and start the day a little later than the day before. Billy's kids went to school and Trey made it to work so Jacki, Darian and I got to hang with Billy most of the day. We looked through photo albums and shared with him some of the pictures I had posted online from out last trip out there in 2002. Later in the day Jacki and I made it to De Queen to do a Walmart run. This was the first time I had driven un-aided into De Queen so it felt like a minor accomplishment.

Friday evening Billy grilled chicken, sausage and burgers. I don't know what Carly and Darian put on the burgers but they were fantastic. We had a great time eating with the kids and I was able to meet one of Billy's half-sisters, Tina, and her family. We got to talking and quickly found out both of us were at the same high school in Houston. She was a senior the year I was a freshman. Although we aren't blood related I felt like I met a new sister for the first time. Darian affectionately called her my quarter sister. Haha

At one point Earl, my grandfather's brother, showed up at Billy's unexpected asking for directions to Shirley's. He looks just like my great grandfather. Lisa and Jeff arrived and were able to join us for the end of dinner. They were staying in Texarkana so we took them down to Shirley's before it got too late. As Jacki, Lisa and Jeff visited with Shirley and Kristy I kept Katie occupied. She read me one of her Spongebob books and we chilled on the couch.

We got back to Billy's and Lisa and Jeff headed to Texarkana. And this is where the fun began. As we walk into Billy's he and Tina are sitting in front of the tv singing karaoke. Billy did a stunning rendition of Stand By Your Man which was hilarious. He had all of us on the floor laughing. Carly and Tina even did a duet together.

That night Tina, Jacki, Billy and myself end up talking for a couple of hours out on the front driveway. It felt great to really connect to Billy and will be one of those nights of visiting you'll never forget.

The next morning I got a call from Lisa right when I woke up. Their car's battery was dead so I drove down to Texarkana to pick her up. Not often that I get one on one time with Lisa. We grabbed an early lunch at Popeye's, talked to Mom on the phone to catch her up on the activities, and headed back to Horatio. We talked about ma-maw and pa on the way back and talked about the great times we had at Shirley's when we were growing up. You can't go wrong with video games and a hot tub.

A group of us headed over to Shirley's to visit with everyone. Lisa brought a painting Kristy did for me when I was a child. Now we are giving it to Katie. One of Billy's friends I hadn't seen in probably 20 years was there so I got to listen to him and Billy tell hunting stories with my Uncle Earl from Louisiana. Kristy prepared a great lunch with chicken, turkey and some seafood gumbo. Right as we finishing our plates my Dad and Rose arrived. We weren't sure they were going to make it so it was great to have so much of the family together.

I was taking people back and forth between Shirley's and Billy's. On one of the trips Carly and her boyfriend Craig rode ahead of us on a 4 wheeler. Craig has no fear and had been popping wheelies on the 4 wheeler the day before. After he dropped off Carly he was riding back towards us and was riding the wheelie like he was the day before. Then all of a sudden the bike got to upright and he flipped off to his left and the bike went off to his right. As we slowed down to help he jumped up off the ground, flipped the bike over, and gave us the thumbs up like he was ok. About 30 seconds later we got to the house and he was hurting. He ripped up his knee bad. He ended up at a Texarkana emergency room with 11 stitches.

After we saw Craig off to the hospital a few of us headed back to Shirley's. Once at Shirley's we spent the remainder of the evening sitting on the porch talking and telling stories. Another one of Billy's friends, Lawrence, also came over. Once the end of the night came it was hard to say bye to Shirley. When we talked alone Thursday night I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to do or see and she told me she would like to see Niagra Falls. When she hugged me as we were leaving she told me that maybe she will take that trip to Niagra Falls after all.

Jacki and I headed back to Billy's and got to say bye to the kids. Dad and Rose came by for a few minutes. We got a few pictures with everyone and then they left back to Texarkana for the night. After they left Tina and her husband Bobby came over to see us out. She brought over our old Lamar yearbook and we were able to confirm we were there at the same time. We got in some laughs about the big 80s hair as well as how goofy I looked.

The journey back was harder than I thought it would be. We left Arkansas about 12:30am and got to DFW a little after 4am. Along the way I had to stop a couple of times for my eyes to rest. Jacki was great and stayed up with me the entire time.

It would be great to get Billy and kids out to LA at some point. We are hoping Trey gets to come out to LA in the near future to check out some of the music scene and to hang with Darian. It was pretty remarkable how similar their taste in music was and how well they got along. For now I leave you with many of the pictures we took. For me this trip will hold some great memories and we can't wait to get back to see everybody again.

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