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.