Friday, June 22, 2007

A little something-something

Let me add onto that last post, a mere supplement that wouldn't have fit with such inspiration of the previous post.

Two things, one good, one bad.

Item A: On Tuesday, myself, Chris, and Mr. and Ms. Juice (who are up here for awhile), attended a party at The Milkhouse studios, recently opened by Shane. You remember Shane, he produced that nifty little track of MK and I singing together last fall, "Like Secrets Beneath." Anyhow, we've been talking about doing our next project together, and I'm feeling it. I like the vibe of the space, and I think Shane and Kevin are great technicians. So, consider us in for sometime in the future to do some recording. Also, at said shindig, I caught some great bull stories from the Kalvin Koolidge boys, in advance of their mission to conquer the mechanical bull tomorrow night. Let's just say that Tom, in Mexico, participated in a 3-on-3 game of soccer with a bull running wild. You get the gist.

Item B: In planning post-7/7 shows, I've been sort of selective. Do we keep playing headlining slots or play more shows opening for bigger acts? I'd say we've been there done that on the first part. We need to be exposed to bigger audiences, I'd say. So, that's the key. Anyhow, while I realize that the band isn't in a position to demand whatever we want, I do think we can ask about payment, testing the waters of compensation. That blew up in my face this week. Apparently bands should be happy with what they get -- true -- but also, what's the harm in asking? My point exactly.

Labels: , , , ,

Treading water/white wine

I tell you, man, I couldn't live without a planner. It's great. It's got my life in there, and my whole week has been thrown off by the purchase of a new planner that doesn't start until next week. This means my last planner ENDED, my next planner has yet to begin. So I'm floating through life without direction until the next planner tells me what to do. What to buy, what to sell.

July 7 is fast-approaching. I don't know if we have the time to make the night into an extravaganza with all sorts of gimmicks and games. Believe me, I'm all about it. And yes, I believe that crazy shiz enhances the rock experience rather than detracts. But I should have booked extra stuff long ago. Long, long ago. Now, we're working with two weeks, one of which I'll be out of Boston/tending to guests, and that's it! So, while it would be cool to have sword-swallowers and mechanical bulls like the Three Day show this weekend (which, let's face it, has cornered the market on awesome shiz), we don't have the resources...or time. It's all about time. It's gonna take time. Don't worry.

Honestly, it all comes back to the rock. If I had to choose between having a rock carnival that was a decent show or a straight-up face-melting rock show, I'd think for a second about games and gimmicks, and then go with the ladder. Ten times out of ten. Now, that isn't to say you can't have your cake and eat it, too. But we just explored why this isn't an option. So, the focus SHOULD be a ridiculously sweet, wolf-howling, grave-cursing, blood-curdling ROCK AND ROLL SHOW. The kind where your toes are curled for a week and you have to walk on your heels to avoid the pain. Can we do it? Yes. Will we? I'm thinking yes, again.

This isn't to say that 7/7/7 will be devoid of festivities. What I can wrangle up, I will (and we do have confirmation that this shindig will be co-sponsored by Miller Lite beer, which is simply so that their street team will help promote it. The trade-off is that one of us has to wear a Miller shirt onstage. So that we weren't complete shills, I bargained to wear my longstanding "Buy that man a Miller" shirt, which used to be an ironic statement of sobriety, not to say it isn't any longer. But apparently Miller is different than Miller Lite, and the powers-that-be say if we want the help and free drinks for the guests, we'll wear a Miller Lite shirt onstage. I just assume it will be Matt). But I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I will lose sleep over the perfect set, the kind of set that you'll go infertile just merely viewing its titles on a sheet of paper. The perfect set. (OK, now I may have crossed the line).

I need to write about this in my planner.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Confusion prevails

Our focus of the summer is July 7. It's our first time playing the Middle East Downstairs, a big venue that we've wanted to play for a long time. And we put in our time to earn the spot, and finally, we're not only playing it, but headlining it. So we're psyched. Kids are coming from across the country to this show. We're brainstorming how to make it the party of the year.

Anyhow, it hasn't been without its stresses, though unintentional by all parties. We lost the initial opener, the club picked a new one, who we're happy about. But now there are concerns about draw after the other bands are playing close to the date. I personally trust everyone involved in the planning of this show enough that I believe it will be a total success. Our goal is to sell it out, and I honestly hope we do. I think it's a perfectly tangible goal, but we won't know until the date comes.

Anyhow, today I printed out these flyers and soon we shall canvass the city. The push begins now. Any ideas for how to make the show huge? We've got the Miller sponsorship, and a few ideas, but I need something big...


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another mischievous New York night time

This was one wild trip. Actually, it's the most fun I've had in NYC in awhile. I think everyone else would agree.

Yeah, so Blaggard's Irish Pub isn't the flashiest venue. I don't think it's a venue at all. But this sort of confusing Battle of the Bands does have its pay-offs. Here's their description:
The Original Sessions National Band Search is a talent search in which one band, will be chosen to receive full sponsorship and 14 others will receive partial sponsorship as runners up!

# Complete Sponsorship and prizes include: $50,000.00 Production value professionally produced Music Video shot on Film, HD & Mini DV. Edited on Final Cut.
# 1 song featured in indie film
# CMJ Music Marathon OriginalSessions Showcases in NYC
# SXSW OriginalSessions Showcases in Austin Texas
# National band status and gig swaps with bands from other territories
# 1,000 manufactured CDs
# Cobranded merchandise
# National promotion in an OriginalSessions CD compilation
# Photo spread and feature story on FMFB and other media outlets
# The winner of the annual competition will also be presented with a development deal from Vinvarg Recordings & Management

So, it appears we have won the spring competition. Three trips to NY and we pulled it off, this time going head-to-head with Stainless Steel. Those guys were cool though. Very cool.

Anyhow, we played pretty well, good energy, some standing on tables, good banter, all that stuff. And I really like the set (check the embedded picture for some alt titles).

SET LIST: You'll Be Crying Soon / NEW UNTITLED TUNE / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Debts / Shotgun Wedding / Loose Lips / Six Hours / The Nadir / Shine A Light

It was a jam for sure. Anyhow, practice is canceled for the next two days, due to some conflicts with Matt and Scott's schedules. So Mike and I will team up to work on the new material in play and get our ducks all laying the same beautiful eggs. Oh, baby.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

For the record

I'm in the midst of wrapping this story, just waiting for a couple sources to call back, which gives me a wee bit of time to chat.

So, I'm still trying to iron out the details of the demo recording this week. Yes, we PROBABLY should practice for our show this weekend in NYC, but we've been sounding pretty solid lately, so I'd rather get this new stuff prepped. Anyhow, the guy says he will lay down drums in our practice space (we'll see how that goes) and maybe bass at the same time. My hope is to take an hour or so out of Thursday's practice to get down the shells of about six songs. My hopes to record (meaning the strongest material or ones that I'd most like to have): Shotgun Wedding, Loose Lips, She's A Bright Light, Six Hours, You'll Be Crying Soon, and this new one I've got (the "Folded Flags"/whatever song). Yes, I realize it may be a bit premature to record that last song, but actually, it sounds really solid and I think doing a demo of it will actually improve the song just a bit more, as we can work out better harmonies and everything. It's worth a shot, I figure.

Anyhow, after Matt and maybe Scott lay down their respective grooves on Thursday, my hope is to get Mike and I over to the guy's house to do the guitar work Saturday morning/afternoon before we leave for NYC. Yeah, none of this demoing will be done in the studio, but who cares? Well, maybe vocals. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The important thing is it's all free.


Monday, June 11, 2007

On deadline

I'm back in the writing game, doing a story due tomorrow in the midst of a busy day of classes, piano, and band practice. Also, I can't forget to send out a Father's Day card this week. So plenty to do, but blogging comes first (sort of)...

The band is going to start doing some rough demos this week. Just a couple of the new songs, maybe to do nothing with, maybe just to have, or maybe to post on MySpace. It will just be nice to have a version of these songs, especially ones that have been swimming around for almost six months now ("Shotgun Wedding" and "Loose Lips"). When I hear a recorded version of the song and can hear the piece as a whole, I always hear little gaps that can be improved or where a cool instrumental part could go, or even where lyrics could be changed to fit better. I always, always preach demoing an album before making it, but due to time, money, and effort, it rarely happens. And while I like the rough, off the cuff sound, I'm not certain it works for us a whole of the time. It actually works best when we know the song's intricacies so well that then we can reshape parts of it. Anyhow, as much as I'd like to even throw down rough versions of the rough songs we have (newer material), I'm not sure we'll have the time. We'll see.

Here's a working list of new tunes, that I can think of:
Shotgun Wedding
Loose Lips
Six Hours
Untitled 1 (a revamped "Gloria")
Untitled 2 (tentatively titled "Folded Flags," but I'm not fond of the name)
Like Secrets Beneath
She's A Bright Light
It's Gonna Take Time
You'll Be Crying Soon
Hum & Fade (a revamped version we've been trying lately)
Mike's 2 new songs (still a bit rough, unsure of titles)

Wow, that's 12 new songs -- almost a full album's worth of material. Expect to hear a few of these new songs at our big July 7 show at the Middle East Downstairs (speaking of which, the club has recently selected Why Twist The Hair to open that show... should be sweet!). I'd actually like to play a fair amount of new material, but we'll see how it goes.

Also, thank you to everyone who voted for us in the A-List Poll. The winners aren't announced until June 13, but we were a distant second at last count, so I'm not too optimistic. Even to place second amongst those bands is incredible though!

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Adventures of Glenn Glengary and Gary Glengary

Last night's show in Winchester was really special. It was a rare experience, not because of how we played, who we played for, or anything else about the performance. No, it's because for the first time since we rented a 15-passenger van almost 15 months ago to drive to New York City, the entire band has traveled to a gig together in the same car (including SXSW). It's been even longer since it was ONLY the four of us in a car.

And you know what? It was awesome. Part of the fun of being in a band is spending time with your closest pals, those that are closer than brothers (or so I imagine, since these are the brothers I never had). We haven't had that, for whatever reason. Not to say we don't appreciate the help of others driving us around, since we simply don't have a car big enough to fit all of our stuff and four grown men normally (last night, we were able to fit it all because we didn't need to bring drums and a couple amps), but this was a welcome change. For the first time in a long time, we were all able to feel a part of it together, laugh at the same jokes, talk about what's going on. I know that sounds simple, but believe me, when you've been without it, you realize it's very special.

Anyhow, as far as the show goes, it was OK. I'm always happy to do a benefit, and this was the Concert 4 Chris, raising money for scholarships for Winchester kids in the memory of a boy who died a few years back. So, if the cause is right, I'm right there. The opening bands were cool, many of them cover bands (if we didn't have to close the show with the mandated "I Shall Be Released," we would have been the only band to not play a cover -- but I'm glad we did the Dylan tune, too). There was a whole lot of Neil Young on this night, which I really dug, for obvious reasons. And some really talented young musicians, which is always inspiring. I don't think anyone took pictures, though there was some rudimentary audio recording going on, so some lost tapes may emerge someday. By the time we took the stage, last of five bands, the room had nearly emptied out -- not surprisingly. Who cares? You never know what to expect at these small-town benefit shows, where people come to support their friends. When I went to The Max in high school to see a friend play, I'd leave after that friend's performance. Yes, I'm ashamed, but hey, that's honesty. So, who are we to expect a bunch of kids with active social lives to stick around for a college group they don't know? That's just how it goes. But one enthusiastic dancer did stick around: this guy, Peter. Honestly. Remember him? Also, we got to hang with good buds Wonderful Spells (who are responsible for the title of this post), except I bought a shirt from them (labeled medium) to come home and find it's a child's medium. So now Tara is wearing it.

Anyhow, we played pretty well, from what I can tell. The sound was pretty rough, probably because this town hall had ridiculously high, cavernous ceilings that made everything reverberate like crazy. I couldn't tell what I was hearing. But there were two personal highlights: the debut of a new song, currently untitled, that just might have been the best song we played all night AND the everyone-on-stage sing-a-long of "I Shall Be Released." That was cool. I couldn't stop smiling; I was having a good time by that point.

Either way, a good night for the most part with good laughs with good buds. The way being in a band is supposed to feel. Am I right?
SET LIST: She's A Bright Light / Shotgun Wedding / Loose Lips / On The Lam / Trouble From The Start / NEW SONG UNTITLED (Debut) / Six Hours / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / It's Gonna Be Alright / I Shall Be Released

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Powerhorse Ultimate Power

Howdy gang,
Not much to update you on since last we spoke, just getting ready for a practice tonight in preparation for tomorrow's show in Winchester. Should be pretty cool... it's in Winchester Town Hall, and it's a benefit, and we're supposed to play a Band-esque version of "I Shall Be Released" a la The Last Waltz.

For now, I'm going to study for a midterm and draft up a setlist for the show on the train ride to work. Fun!

Anyhow, I recall someone (Scott? Mike?) telling me this video got posted a month or two ago, but I didn't view it until today. Check out this video of us performing "It's Gonna Be Alright" at Rubber Gloves in Denton, Texas, en route to SXSW. Also, coming soon (hopefully): some live songs from our Comcast taping in December.

Finally, check this Herald article out for kicks. It features a familiar face -- literally. Old friend/Barn frontman Tod Shaffer. My favorite part is that in the photo, Tod is wearing a Puma sweatband... to play a "prehistoric" game. Pretty sweet.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 04, 2007

Behind shake

Hey there,
I'm going to try to keep it a bit more regular on the posting front, but for now, no promises. Things are nuts! But considering I have a huge block of time, what with a canceled class and all, I will post to my heart's delight.

Just a quick update: As Mike told you, practices recently have revolved around developing new material. Mike introduced a new one last night, a blues standard... not sure of its title. We've also been tuning up a couple that aren't quite ready for the bright lights yet -- oddly enough, a song called "She's A Bright Light," as well as "It's Gonna Take Time" and a newer one (which actually isn't that new, I've just been saving it up) without a title, but that is a tasty groove to munch on. Plus, we jammed out a little ditty I've been fooling with lately. I'd like to get a couple harmonies going in these new songs now, because they seem to have fallen by the wayside without acoustic practices. Even "Shotgun Wedding" would benefit from some other voices at a certain part. But all in all, pretty cool stuff.

We may do some recording soon. Apparently, we can get a block of time, probably for free, and push out some decent sounding demos. Hopefully this month. Then, I can post them to the old MySpace for all to learn. At this point, I'd have to guess that we'd lay down "Shotgun," "Loose Lips," probably "Six Hours," and maybe a couple others. We'll see.

Also, before I forget, as almost a note to myself: I am terrible at mailing out CDs these days. I've reallllly fallen behind. Tonight, package four CDs with inserts and send them out! Do it, Glenn!

Finally, I have fallen behind on posting others' words about Cassavettes. Here's Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald before our TT's show (also take a look at the permalink for a Slow Century mention!):

You are what you listen to. Thankfully this local band has been listening to a lot of Neil Young and alt-country (and maybe a smidge of jazz). Expect lap steel and, if you’re lucky, some mouth harp. Fellow good-rockin’ locals the Appreciation Post and Self-Righteous Brothers round out the bill. Tonight at T.T. the Bear’s Place, Cambridge, 617-492-2327.

Boom, baby! Also, here's my most recently published musical musings, if anyone is interested. And, if you're even more bored, here is an article with a few quotes from me on the future of journalism. Read and be merry.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 01, 2007

TT's too long

Sorry things are still moving slowly in my blog land. I've finally got computer service in Somerville, so hopefully posts will improve. Anyhow, since we last spoke, only one major development: Our May 25 show headlining TT the Bear's Place. Good golly, it was fun! Don't believe me? How about this write-up in Blast Magazine. You know what, this Daniel Peleschuk-penned article is so nice, I'm posting the full text right here.

Someone once told me that the best shows around are the local ones.

Up until May 25th, I had always taken that with a grain of salt. But by midnight that evening in Cambridge, Mass., as local favorites Cassavettes were roaring through the middle of their set, it became clear to me: it’s the hidden gems that always rock the hardest.

The Boston-based indie darlings, now approaching 2 years in the running as a full lineup, appeared that night as the headliners at T.T. the Bear’s in Cambridge, along with Logos Business Systems, Self-Righteous Brothers and The Appreciation Post.

Riding on the recent release of their first full-length album, It’s Gonna Change, the relatively young quartet re-energized the seemingly drowsy crowd in the half-empty venue, and kicked some life back into the room.

Cassavettes broke the ice with “You’ll Be Crying Soon” and “On The Lam,” and by the time they blasted into the chorus of their third song, “Carolyn Don’t Leave” – a crowd favorite – they had almost instantly won the affection of every kid in the room.

With three-quarters of the group hailing from Texas, the band seems to capitalize on its twangy Southern charm; every other song possesses an endearingly sweet quality that leaps into the listener’s chest and plants a little seed of country love.

Apart from their musical assets, the group features a few aesthetic values that boost their live performance. Among them, perhaps, is Glenn Yoder’s (Vocalist, Guitar/Piano player) gleeful grin peeking through his slightly disheveled muff-top hair, or Scott Jones’ (Bassist) playful interaction with the crowd.

The real crux of the show, however, was the crowd’s impeccably personal connection with the band; the audience members loved Cassavettes and Cassavettes loved them back. Every song brought with it at least 20 wildly dancing fans, pumping their fists at the band and screaming every other lyric, nearly drowning out the band’s own vocals.

By the end of their set, the band had finished something which they had only 40 minutes earlier created: an almost illegally entertaining local show that shed a glimmer of massive future potential.

Here's the set list from that fateful night:
You'll Be Crying Soon / On the Lam / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Trouble From the Start / Debts / It's Gonna Be Alright / Loose Lips / Shine a Light / Shotgun Wedding / ENCORE: The Nadir

Other than this show, we're just getting all our ducks in a row for the July 7 Middle East Downstairs show. That means promo, party favors, what have you. It needs to be the most fun night this town has seen all year. Maybe ever. Although unless this performance somehow makes the Red Sox win another championship, I doubt it can be the best night for Boston ever.

For more updates, check this post Mike recently put up on the old MySpace.

Labels: ,