October 20, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

Hello, Hello, Hello...: (just nod if you can hear me)

Hi all, how has everyone been? (No answer.) Well, its me again, up to my old tricks, blogging at work. (Can you see me? Are you still after me? I hope not, we're friends now, right?)

Looking Back: Just re-read the blog post I put up last October about "taking the next calendar year" and being a professional musician. And boy, has it worked well!

I started going to two new venues for open stage. Docksider on State Street and Creekside in Waterford. Met a great bunch of new friends and musicians who feel like I have something special, which is very cool. Playing with heart gets you a long way, apparently.

These Status Reports, Ugh: I realize that blogging every three months is pretty much useless, I email everyone, I don't know why I do this. I need to get in better habits of writing. I had/have a cool music blog that I started a few months ago but it never got off the ground because I made a format for it. Maybe I should go back to that, hell, I don't know.

Between buying this house and getting ready for music shows and packing and still working forty hours a week and cleaning the house and all that, I never really have time to do these things. Or maybe I do, who knows, geez...

August 05, 2009

Pirates vs. Nationals, Aug 3 2009

My view at the Pirates game on Monday, August 3, 2009. Beautiful way to watch a game. Why do we insist on making these seats so expensive?!?!! :)

My Political Views, circa 2009

These Change Everyday, Or Should
I took a few minutes and took a quiz to see what sort of political stance I do have with world views. I guess I'm a little more libertarian than average and a little more left than average, but that probably had to do with my open views on gay marriage. I almost BET on that.

My Political Views

I am a center-left social libertarian
Left: 2.78, Libertarian: 4.31

Political Spectrum Quiz

August 04, 2009

Not Lead, But Follow

Confidence Lost In Space
Not exactly sure why, but I don't have any self confidence for my solo guitar anymore. I'm considering shelving the lead guitar endeavors completely until I can figure out a new avenue. George Harrison basically reinvented himself from a rockabilly guitarist to a blues rock guitarist in the Beatles to a solo slide guitar player in his later years. I'm thinking I might chuck out the pentatonic scales for a brass slide for a little while. We'll see.
I went to Clancy's Pub tonight for the first time in a few weeks to 'jam' and there was only two other guys there; Rob, an older guy who can play quite a bit of things, and Chip, an aging singer who has a very loud, belting voice. We couldn't figure out what to play for the longest time, and then when we did, I just didn't know what I was doing with the soloing.
The more I 'jam', the more I realize how far down the road I'm getting with the 'singer/songwriter alone on stage' routine. Clancy's is not a place for my style any longer. I can't sing Oasis covers there. So we move on, try new things, and maybe come back when I'm feeling a little more...confident!

Yes, Its Back

The Question Is, Where Have YOU Been?
Currently, I am working part time at the hotel, I have started my music career in earnest, and Amanda and I are expecting a baby in April of 2010. I have rededicated myself to my fanship of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I am really looking forward to hockey season this winter as well for the Pittsburgh Penguins title defense. I am still weighing the options of giving over to being a Steelers fan, but I'm not a huge football fan so I don't know if that'll stick. For now, I'm feeling pretty damn good about my life and I hope that you are all doing well.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, and Tony Kellogg.

In 1988, I was playing tee ball in Erie. MYAA. Sponsor? The Beer Mug. Yeah, I've got pictures. 1989? Sammartino Home something or other. That year, I got a “baseball card” made, and on the back of the picture is two questions and answers...FAVORITE TEAM : PITTSBURGH PIRATES and FAVORITE PLAYER : BOBBY BONILLA. I was collecting baseball cards like mad; I was a massive fan of Andy Van Slyke and his diving center field catches. Doug Drabek, Jose Lind, Jay Bell...

My first game was in 1988 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at Three Rivers Stadium, and I still remember the awe I felt sitting in that seat in that stadium, seeing the tiny specks that I watched on TV play the game that I loved. 1989 brought me back to see the New York Mets come to town. Bus trip from Ridgway. My mom's side of the family were huge Pirates fans; my grandma knew all of the players and there were times that we'd sit and watch games together. We were watching a lot of games together that summer; my parents marriage was crumbling and my little brother and I spent a lot of time at my grandma's house.

The turn of the 90's finally brought the Bucs their first division crown in a decade, with guys like Van Slyke, a skinny kid named Barry Bonds, Mike “Spanky” Lavallier, Sid Bream, Lind, Doug Drabek, Neal Heaton..the list goes on and on. Those tight polyester black and yellow jerseys, the high bouncing grounders on Three Rivers' artificial turf, the ghost lines of the football gridiron crossing the field like a giant cat ran his paws across it.

My parents were living in separate homes by then, my mom with a new guy; my dad, alone. Dad wasn't much of a baseball guy, but Bill, my mom's new dude, was. So I still spent a lot of time watching games, seeing Chris Sabo and the Reds tear through the Pirates in the 1990 NLCS on their way to surprising the Athletics in the World Series. The next year it was the Atlanta Braves outlasting the Bucs, and then the heart wrenching seven game National League Championship Series in 1992 against the very same Braves team...

A line drive to center...Bream around third...throw home from Bonds...

Suffice to say it was pretty hard. The Bucs, as widely known, haven't been in the playoffs since. In fact, that year I turned 12 years old, was the last year that they won more games than they lost.

The rest of the 90s was an awkward, confusing time for me; my home life was choatic at times and I stopped collecting baseball cards and watching as many games. The Pirates were a mess too, losing like they didn't care. They lost all their players to free agency or trades; Bonds went to San Francisco, Bonilla went to the Mets, Van Slyke moved on...the team was just dead. In 1995, I fell in love with a guitar, a deceased Texan blues guitarist and five rock musicians from Manchester, England. Baseball was falling off the radar for me.

The Pirates almost left town too; they were saved pretty much at the last minute by an ownership group and the new group promised a new era of Pirates baseball, including plans for a new grass stadium. Around that same time, Erie got a new ballpark and ended up being an affiliate of my favorite team. I saw Aramis Ramirez, Jose Guillen, Chad Hermansen, and a bunch of Pirates players that ended up on the 1997 “Freak Show” team that almost won the National League Central division but came up short and still didn't win more games than they lost. In 1998, the Erie SeaWolves became an affiliate of the Anaheim Angels and we didn't see any more future Pirates. Jeremiah Konetsky took me to the last game of the season the year Jim Leyland decided to leave the Bucs, and I remember choking back tears when he came out of the dugout for a curtain call at the end of a hard fought extra inning loss to the Cardinals.

Jeremiah also gave me the opportunity to go to the very first game of the final year of Three Rivers Stadium in 2000. I was feeling pretty good; just finished my first year (well, ¾ of a year) of college and we went to see them play Houston in the season opener. Unfortunately, it was rained out. Thats a long trip to make for a rainout, but it was worth it to say that I WAS there.

PNC Park opened in 2001, and I got to go to the very FIRST game (albeit exhibition) against the Mets. Saw Mike Piazza hit the very first homerun into the left field stands. The new stadium was absolutely beautiful too, a real sight to see.

A few months later, I went down to Pittsburgh and stood on Washington Hill to see Three Rivers Stadium be imploded. I thought it would be a fun time with my friends, it was freezing and we stood out there to watch it. The stadium was stripped of everything but the concrete; it looked like a circular tombstone. I looked at it hard, and remembered the smiles and the memories of those games in 1988 and 1989, and I took a step back from my friends and swallowed hard, trying not to cry. Even as I write this, the hairs on my arms are standing on end.

I went to a couple games that year; but even though the “new era” that was promised ended in a 100 loss season, it felt like brighter times were on the horizon.

Boy was I wrong.

The team was on a virtual never ending carousel of losing. Just when you thought they were picking up, they would trade off their best players at the deadline for “prospects” who nearly NEVER made the majors. They were drafting players that weren't the best ones available. It was very upsetting. My grandma, who I still managed to visit a couple times a year at most, said that she stopped watching games because she didn't recognize any of the players. This was a very dark time for the Pirates, and I personally stopped watching them after just a couple years. I still followed, but it was always pretty much a joke; they traded away everyone every year, signed free agents that were WAY past their prime years in the game. They never finished higher than next to last place.

In 2006, I met a guy at Sears who had been a big baseball fan but stopped watching because it had been getting too big. He is a really funny guy who has very hard nosed opinions on the world. His real love is writing, and he turned me on to a guy named Jim Bouton who wrote a very important and controversial book called “Ball Four”. The book was written about Bouton's comeback season as an aging pitcher for the Seattle Pilots in 1969. He wrote about the locker room talk, the trading politics, drugs, alcohol...the “realities” of the life of baseball. And boy, did I get hooked.

So I took a new interest in the game that I loved as a child. And a new interest in the Pirates. Unfortunately, they were still losing like crazy. We had a few really great players; Jack Wilson, Jason Bay, and the eventual batting champion that year, Freddy Sanchez. But the management just wasn't there, and they continued to lose. But I kept on the love interest. I got into a new job at a hotel and realized that working second shift afforded me the chance to start listening to games on the AM radio again, and I just loved it. It was wonderful. The team stunk, but I was still screaming when Matt Stairs crushed another pinch hit home run into the crisp summer night, or when Mike Gonzalez struck out another last batter to save a rare win for the Bucs.

In 2007, I started realizing that I didn't want to follow a team that wasn't going to commit to winning games. They traded away players at the deadline yet again, and signed some over the hill players to small contracts, yet again. But at the end of the year, the Pirates owners fired the General Manager and the team President left to pursue new duties.

2008 saw a new era begin with the addition of former Cleveland Indians assistant GM Neal Huntingdon take over the reins of the GM spot and former MLB exec Frank Coonelly became team President. They came in and told every player they were on the hot seat and that they needed to prove their worth. They got rid of a few big contracts that they didn't need, but the team still didn't win. They traded away the Pirates big player, Jason Bay, to the Boston Red Sox. But we received a few guys who have been at least average everyday players, so it wasn't like the 'prospects' deals the old regime had made. The Bucs still finished last.

2009 was supposed to be the new big thing. The Pirates were #11 on the Power Rankings on CNNSI.com in May. 14-11 record. Pretty good things going on. But a few weeks later, they shocked the baseball world by trading 2008's surprise star Nate McLouth to Atlanta for a few other players. My friends and I were shocked. What the heck were they doing? Then a few months later, they traded away fan favorite Nyjer Morgan to the Washington Nationals. Rumors abounded about the players they were going to get rid of at the deadline, and that nobody was safe. I swore to my friends in an email that if they traded away Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson, that I was done being a fan.

At the deadline, the Pirates traded away Freddy and Jack as well as almost every member of the 2008 team that finished dead last. Seven players gone...and I was upset. Called myself a “fan free agent” and was totally dejected, leading a toast at a bar to “screw the Pittsburgh Pirates!!” that was met with smiles and laughs.

My aunt Betty wrote me a text message mentioning my now deceased grandma, how sad she'd be at the current state of the team. My mom writes on Facebook that I'll always be a Pirates fan in my heart. And it brought back a flood of memories about how much I truly love this team. How sad my grandma would be that I gave up on them. What team was I going to raise my child watching?

It got me thinking. Maybe this isn't so bad. I analyzed the deals. Seven players gone, three major leaguers received, but 25, TWENTY FIVE prospects, including a pitcher who San Francisco coveted like Gollum coveted the Ring of Power. Maybe this ISN'T so bad. Yeah, my team is going to finish under .500 for the record breaking 17th consecutive season, setting a pro sports record. But I'm going to be there, and my heart isn't broken. If anything, I am really looking forward to the next couple years watching this young, speedy team gel into what could be another few years in a row of winning baseball.

We can only hope. But hope is what we have as Pirates fans. Hope.

Hope, and maybe a little luck.

March 09, 2009

PMBD post 3/9/09


The Tony Times V2.00

Ok, back to regularly scheduled programming.

But for you technogeeks, bookmark my music blog. I missed not being able to talk about the person that doesn't always sit in the studio...the one that works at a hotel and gets pissed off in traffic...

February 21, 2009

What Kind Of Artist Am I?

I'm writing this basically off the cuff so if it doesn't sound edited or rehearsed, its because I only have a few minutes before the next person shows up at work.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what sort of artist I am. Most of you that have heard my music know that its not exactly headbangers music. I identify a lot with guys like Ray Lamontagne, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, John Prine, Jim Croce...etc. My first CD that was pretty big (Kelso Drive) featured all pretty slow balladry.

My first show (and only, so far) that I played, I played "Put Your Hands On Me" which is basically a blues-rocker in the Stevie Ray Vaughan vein. But honestly, that isn't the type of song that I end up starting out trying to write. It always ends up being a downtuned, droney rainy day sort of song and the lyrics I write usually feed that. If there's any evidence for me not being able to do party music, see the lyrics for my song "Get Up And Move It". Not exactly earth shattering.

Anyway, at this show, my songs that I feel are my better ones, "I'm Nobody Without Myself", "Little Sister", "As Long As Time Allows", among others, didn't go over well. I decided that night that I wasn't going to focus on those types of songs. I started playing more covers at open mic nights, playing more Hendrixy solos, that sort of thing.

But I've noticed something. I don't feel like I'm being true to myself. Even my solos are softer than the normal bombastic guitar solos you hear on most blues guys records. Doug, the other guy at Clancy's that is always there, says I make his songs about ghetto blues "prettier" than they should be.

Maybe he's right. Maybe I should add this little Hendrixy thing I do (more "Angel" and "Castles Made Of Sand" than "All Along The Watchtower" or "Voodoo Chile") to the softer songs that I write. Whats wrong with having music to chill out to? Jack Johnson has made a career out of that!

Amanda says I always make a lot of "life decisions" that never stick around very long. I know this is one of my bad traits...but I feel thats where my heart lies. Music to chill out, kick up your feet, and relax too.

Clancy's Pub is in a lower East side neighborhood and its not really a market for "cup of coffee" music like that, so maybe pulling out of my original songs in favor of Foreigner covers isn't the best idea. Over the next few days, I'm going to retry to write some new songs, more like Kelso Drive stuff than anything else. Looking forward to having (yet another) goal.

Amanda plays pretty too...so that always helps. I'm thinking about shooting a video of her and I playing one of the songs she just learned, but I'm not sure which one yet. I'll post it here, of course.

February 19, 2009


Ladies and gentleman, I'd like to annouce that I have gained a new band member. You may also know her as the assistant general manager of another local hotel...

my girl Amanda !!!

Yeah, she has decided to pick up the guitar again. Man I'll tell you what, she picks that back up after what seems like a year or so and she's making jumps left and right! Its exciting!

I taught her a few new chords, which led to teaching her three new songs.

1. "The Weight" by The Band. Its her favorite song!
2. "Gravity" by John Mayer. (Once she masters that C to Gminor barre chord move, of course)
3. "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. (Fingerpicking aside, which will come, I am positive)

Still working on "Stay" by Sugarland.

"Crazy On You"...well...maybe next year. :)

Its nice to have a rhythm guitarist. Keep up the good work babe... :)

February 18, 2009

Coldplay Syndrome

Yeah, the whole no more email thing kind of ran its course.

So I have been listening to some of my music lately and I realize that it sounds a lot like, well...nothing. Its too basic. Bothers me. 

I listen to Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and I can play it on the guitar, but it doesn't sound like it. I understand that there's more instrumentation, but what is it that makes it so different from what I'm doing? I know my songs are better than just okay, and more than fine. Why don't I believe that they are? 

Musicians Jam went great last night, by the way. I played "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne (yeah, a hip hop song) and everyone loved it. I might try to do that every week, some obscure hip hop cover that everyone will get. We'll see.

I just wish I could write some new things. I don't want to write about my own life and sound precocious either. What happened to the lyricist in me!

February 16, 2009

Making Progress in The First Day

Made some progress today! Although it took basically two hours to get the rhythm guitar right for "I'll Try", I got it mostly done except for a vocal part. I also took another stab at "Little Sister", a bit of a speed up and clean up effort from the original recording. 

I'm planning on getting four songs completely done by March 1st for a new unveiling on my MySpace page and a brand new Facebook site for my music. 

Tomorrow night I plan to play a little more professionally than I have in the last few months, try to engage the crowd a little more than I had in the past, at least so people know who I am. I know that I don't play the type of music that some of the patrons like, but I'm going to try my hardest. 

Then Wednesday night I might stop into the BayBreeze for their open mic, since we were invited there by kind folks from two weeks ago. Amanda works in the PM on Thursday so we could at least get some duet stuff on.

Plus she's been learning some guitar! Might have even written a song last night! Maybe I won't have to re-record old stuff after all !!!!

another genesis...?

Woke up this morning, feeling just a little bit groggy. I went to bed a little earlier than I had in about a week, but I still slept until 10:30. Oh well. 

I'm still feeling pretty ambitious this morning, I just want to start recording and get it going. I'm tired of putting the shit off. Just need to do it. 

Today's the day.

February 15, 2009

A Change of Gears

During the lifetime of this blog (less than a year) I've been writing about just about anything. Its been fun, but sometimes I itch for having some sort of subject other than just my life.

Lately, I've been getting more and more serious about my music. Yeah, its been slow. But each day lately I have woke up with a fire of practicing and getting some new life out of some of my older songs. This being said, I'm going to blog here about my music for a while, and nothing else, unless it pertains to something that may affect my music. Which, I know could be anything, but, we'll see how it goes.

I am also no longer going to email this blog to everyone, I've decided that there are sometimes I want to write something but I hold back because of the fact I'm emailing it to everyone and I don't want it to seem a bother to those folks I have in my auto-mail list. 

So bookmark the site, write it down, whatever, you can check out the website whenever you want to at thetonytimes.blogspot.com. 

Off work tomorrow (Monday 2-16) so I'll be getting some major music time in. I'll check in from time to time tomorrow. 

February 13, 2009

Revisiting Pet Peeves

Had a nice dinner tonight with my dad, Amanda, and Townsend...at the 8th and Pittsburgh Avenue Pizza Hut, no less. (Yeah, everywhere else was packed.)

Anyway, food was fine, service was good, no big deal there.

I went in to the bathroom to take a leak and wash my hands before dinner, and now we've come to the point of this story.

Do you know someone who chews tobacco? If you do, please tell them to leave the room. 

What is it with spitting the tobacco juice anywhere and everywhere? I mean, in every walk of life, spitting is regarded as semi-offensive, tobacco juice nonwithstanding. Why is it so much better to spit tobacco in public? I know smoking has become this taboo subject, but for god's sakes, if you HAVE to spit...


Taking a leak into a urinal with dried piss on it is disgusting enough, especially the half-flushed, stained hole that you are going into. If thats not bad enough, someone had the horrible aim of spitting their tobacco juice onto THE TOP OF THE URINAL, in which it had a nice curved line, little bits in tow, all the way down the side and onto the floor. Whoever does that sort of thing might as well just park their ass on top of the thing and drop a turd right on top. At least it will curtail the stench of the orange dried pee on the lip of the urinal.

When I worked at Sears, I don't know how many shelves and endcaps I had to clean tobacco spit off of. There are disgusting things, and then there is dried tobacco juice in conspicuous places. I'm just sayin'. Its nasty. I know we're terrible aim at peeing, but at least we have some sort of aim with spitting. Keep it in your mouth. 

Oh and one more thing --- you gum chewers...put it in the garbage. The thoughts of what that chewed up ball of Big Red is soaking up just makes me want to vomit. 

February 12, 2009

My First Sports Talk Radio Call

I've been listening to sports talk radio for, oh, about two years now, but only really seriously for the last few months or so. I enjoy listening to Jim Rome, Petros and Money, Andrew Siciliano, and the best one, Mike and Mike in the Morning.

A new one I've sort of become a fan of lately is a local program on our AM 1260 The Score station, called Chico and Company. Chico Bormann hosts it, and its pretty much open lines the entire time, at least as long as I've been listening to it.

I've listened pretty intently this week and he has talked a lot about Alex Rodriguez and the steroid scandal and people have some good input. I almost called on Monday to talk about the previous note I wrote ("Don't Wait Until You Get Caught"), but I chickened out.

Now to the point of the story.

Yesterday, Chico came on and was talking about a story he'd read on CBS Sportsline about former Cleveland Indians shortstop Roberto Alomar, who has been out of baseball since 2003. Apparently, the story is about a former ex-girlfriend who is suing Alomar over the fact he had unprotected sex with her for the four years they were living together (2002-2006) during which time Alomar knew he had HIV, and if I remember correctly, she was unaware he had it, hence the lawsuit.

I decided it was time to finally make that call.

If you are a sports fan and remember the name, thats because Alomar was busted back in 1995 or 96 for spitting in an umpires face after a controversial call at home plate. John Hirschbeck also claimed that Alomar said some comments about his recently deceased son in the ensuing tirade after the call. Hirschbeck later forgave Alomar for the incident, but not after the media dragged Alomar through the mud, and probably fragmented his chances of making the Hall of Fame. And while it is tragic that Alomar has HIV and its not really a laughing matter, I am a firm believer in karma and people getting what they deserve. You spit in a man's face and make derogatory remarks about another man's dead kid, thats pretty low.

So I made the call into Chico's show because I felt that there was 'another side' to the story there.

I called and got in pretty quickly, next in queue. He says "Caller go ahead" and i said, "I wanted to make a few comments about the Alomar thing. First off, I wonder what John Hirschbeck has to say?"

Chico immediately hung up on me and I remember hearing him say that it wasn't even funny to joke like that and that if I had spent a half hour trying to come up with something like that I should never call his show again and that I should "go back to my cubicle."

I felt sort of bad because I probably should not have started out what I was going to say like that, but I did have a point. We're so quick to throw these athletes under the bus for the steroids issue, but this man made a very public fool of himself and did something morally disgusting to that umpire, and I lost a lot of respect for him. Yeah, it sucks the guy has HIV but looking at what type of guy Alomar was, sort of makes you wonder what kind of guy he was off the field, and somehow, him having HIV doesn't really surprise me.

I wrote an email on the AM 1260 website to Chico's show, which I have yet to hear a response from, although not expecting one, but I feel that I had somewhat of a point that should have at least had the light of day.

February 09, 2009

Don't Wait Until You Get Caught

Over the weekend, Alex Rodriguez was "outed" as a steroid user back during the 2003 season. He admitted to it in an interview with ESPN that he used steroids for three years, starting in 2001. He totally denies using since then (even though he totally denied using at all a year ago, which one is it, man?) and that he's "sorry" for "being stupid" and "naive" during his time as the Texas Rangers shortstop.

What have I learned? Its sort of odd, but hear me out.

Most of us do not live in the 30-35 cities that are "major league" cities. A LOT of us live in cities that have smaller teams in them.

I live in Erie, PA, where we have major junior hockey (OHL's Otters), double A baseball (EL's SeaWolves), a brand new NBA Development team (BayHawks) and even an arena league football team (RiverRats). We have four really great and competitive colleges (Gannon, Mercyhurst, Edinboro, and Penn State Behrend) and a LOT of high school sports.

I think everyone out there should rethink their fan hood of major league sports; those that have come down as a major business and turned blind eyes to this sort of behavior, and start supporting your local teams rather than these cheats and jokers.

Instead of buying that $35 Yankees hat that is colored purple and yellow...spend your money at a minor league baseball game, watching the guys that are living the dream, hotel to hotel, bus to bus. 

Instead of buying that $200 authentic Lakers jersey, maybe spend it on a ticket to an minor league hockey game...high school basketball game, anything...but don't spend it on a league or team that encourages and lets guys like Rodriguez get away with it.

Alex, man...if you wanted us to really forgive you, you should have gone back on 60 Minutes with Katie Couric, brought along Bud Selig, and professed your complete and utter allegiance to the game of baseball and said you would have helped in ANY way to clean up the game. Don't do a padded interview with Peter Gammons about being sorry you got caught. If you "respected" the game, you'd have come out last year when the steroids issue was first catching serious flight.

Then, and ONLY then, would I consider you a hero.

LISTEN PEOPLE...if you are doing something you shouldn't be...don't wait until you get caught. Be real. Own up to it. Get it off your chest. Probably will help your health, probably will help you sleep at night. Think about all those lies you've told. Most likely, it won't be the end of the world if you tell the world your secrets BEFORE you get caught, unlike A-Rod.

January 30, 2009

I Live On The Writers Block

If you found a map of Writers Block, you'd find that its outside of town, right on the border between the suburbs and the country. You know where I mean, that nice paved road that bends to the right, but only sort of ... you could still go straight on to Writers Block, but its on a dirt road. Most people don't want to drive on a dirt road, so I am stuck there.

The little cottage has yellow walls, a dirty white carpet, and a few couches. It hasn't been cleaned in years. Ironically, it hasn't been cleaned since I last wrote a song that I felt was any good. Yeah, in this cottage I write my songs. I don't play guitar here, thats somewhere off the ground. Sometimes its more grounded, like in the rickety tree house out back, and sometimes its way up there on that mountain, where everyone can hear me but noone can actually see me. 

I really, really want to clean this place up. Its a mess. Full of oddball memories, like this duck pillow, an old lawn tractor, and strangely enough, a laundry center with a dent on the corner. (its blue, if you must know.) There's a St. Patrick's Day shirt in the corner, but I don't dare pick it up because thats where my cats used to pee. Every once in a while I look at that birthday card slash coloring book page that my sister once made for me and I smile. But then I remember that time, and I think about how I used to sit in this room alone, staring blankly out the window, saying nothing, phone unhooked from the wall.

Do I have any reason to continue writing music here? I mean, I'm still a strong young man, I don't need this cottage anymore. Cell phones have made staying disconnected rather pointless. Unless you leave it in the car. Why would I leave it in the car? 

I guess it doesn't ring much anyway.

So I walk into the kitchen and there are dishes there, white Corelle dishes with a green design ringing around them. The floor still has that shiny brown hue with the odd design. The walls have a velvety texture to them, a reddish color. Reminds me of a house I used to have nightmares about as a child.

Anyway, a redesign?

Maybe I should do as every artist does (or should) and throw out everything he knew/knows and start again. Light a match, end this cottage's existance. 

I think I'll do that.

The duck pillow isn't important anymore anyway. 

January 29, 2009

How Frustrating A Day In The Studio Can Be

Don't let anger steer you wrong.

Over the last few months, I've been sort of itching to get some real recordings out there. As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, I really would like to find a studio to get five songs or so down on real, gosh-honest CD format. And actual sales-piece. 

I sent a letter to another musician, Ray Lanich, who lives down in Cochranton. Him and I were at Docksider the same night a little over a month ago. His CD, "I'll Play A Song For You" seems pretty professionally done and I was curious where he did his recordings at.

"I do them at home."

So, I decided to start again today, give it another shot. After all, I have a really good microphone and a very expensive guitar pedal that features on-board recording technology, so I should be able to get something good, right?

Not so fast, apparently.

I decided that I'm going to start this process with a song called, "Little Sister", which as most of you know, is a 'lullabye' of sorts to my sister Kori. I really like the song; I recorded it about four years ago one night within an hour of writing it. A true "genesis" recording. Very good. 

I would like to recreate it with a little more feeling and a slide guitar in between all of the parts, which would be very tasty, in my humble opinion. 

So I sit down into my "studio room" to get going around 1 pm. I get everything set up and play the song the first time through, this time through a microphone plugged directly into the pedal. 

Not loud enough.

Tried again, this time playing the guitar THROUGH the pedal. 

Sounds like its recorded in a tin can.

After two hours of wrestling with it, I took a nap.

Woke up at four, and the last two hours I've been wrestling with the sound levels, playing it through one time, transferring the data to the computer, and it still sounds like crap. I don't know if I'm my own worst critic or something, but I tell you what, I just can't get this stuff down, and its extremely frustrating.

But I suppose its not as frustrating as working at that hotel. But anyway...

January 28, 2009

A Long Vacation

Blues, blues, blues.

Its now been what, 31 days since I've written? I'm so sorry for not doing so. I just get in these funks and I just don't feel like writing. But I'm pretty sure if there wasn't folks I directly emailed this blog to, nobody would read it anyway. 

Not that I need to prove anything. 

Anyway, so far, 2009 has been nothing about control and preparation, as I wished it had been. Oh well. New Years resolutions are for suckers anyway :)~ . 

As most of you know, I played my very first show on the 17th of the month at Clancy's Pub and Pizza, where I also smash the strings on Tuesday nights. The show went off pretty well, some hitches, but nothing terrible. The owner was pleased (although he was out of town, so much for impressing the guy.) I played some of my originals (some I'll never play in public again) and some covers (that I forgot some lyrics from, oh well) and I just noticed I use parentheses way too much.


Work sucks. Hotel sucks. Its just a job. Its all screwed up now.


Amanda and I are doing great! We have had the opportunity to spend a lot more time together and I think its been good for us. We're both talking a lot about "redecorating" our apartment at the least cost possible. (Anyone have any cool places to get nifty furniture?) Since we're not going to be moving any time soon (see "Work."), we are going to try to make where we live cool. 


Anyone locally know of anyone with a studio? I'd like to self-produce/record, but if I could pull off a small five song demo-style CD for a small price, I'd rather do that. 

I'll try to have a little better format next time. Not sure if this one worked out.