Takin’ It Easy

Not a good day, all things considered, but Pam and I, sis, Joe and the kids, and Mom are trying to make the best of it. Two years today since we said good-bye to Dad. Feels like forever sometimes. Feels like just yesterday at others. Sucks either way, but it is what it is and we’re hanging in there. Not much choice, when it comes right down to it, is there?

Back in May, I pulled off a surprise for my Mom with the help of my best friend Billy and another good friend, John Fairfield. Kathleen and I snuck Mom out to BackStreets under false pretenses, and I played the final set with Billy and John—the first time she’d ever seen me play guitar. I dedicated one tune to my Dad, and this is the one we closed the night out with. Mom’s a big Eagles fan, and this is the one I’d originally approached Billy about joining him on stage for. (That quickly became two songs, which then turned into four, and then the entire last set). Oh well, at least no one threw drinks at us.

 

Anyway, tonight we’re doing movie night again. Last year, it was Die Hard, a movie Dad took us to back when it was first released. Tonight it’s a comedy. Uncle Buck, which Dad loved and all of us got a big kick out of. Pam’s putting out a big taco and quesadilla spread—a fave of the family back when we lived up North—and we’re going to make fresh, movie-theatre popcorn in the popcorn machine, gorge ourselves on Raisinettes and Sno Caps, and break at the halfway point to make ice cream sodas and toast Dad with ’em. I wish he could be here for this. Wish he could’ve been there at Backstreets. But we’re gonna try and get around that as best we can. Takin’ it easy, so to speak. The way he’d want it. MYD.

 

No Broken Dreams Here.

As we’ve gotten the sound mastering and mix-downs done, we’ve been uploading a number of music videos to YouTube. The latest from my gig at Backstreets is a cover of Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. Billy Martindale on vocals and guitar, John Fairfield on lead bass, and yours truly on electric guitar. This was probably the most complicated song we did, given the amount of pedal work and quick changes, but it came out great, so if you dig it, hit Share on FB or tweet the link out to your friends. I think we did a pretty good job on it (especially without a drummer). We’ve got one more to post after this, so check back to see what tune we closed out the night with.

As for broken dreams, plenty of us have ’em. To be sure, I never thought I’d be able to play guitar in front of an audience.  The gig at Backstreets was more like ‘dream-come-true’ kind of stuff. Thanks to the internet, I can share what we did with friends and family spread out all across the country. Heckuva night, it was.

Hey Eminem, Call off the bots

Pam and I worked on one of the videos from last month’s Backstreets gig on Wednesday and Thursday, getting it ready for the 4th. (When you watch it, you’ll know why.) So, we get it uploaded, wait forever for YouTube to send us the link, and whammo—make it live.

Which lasts all of an hour. Pam got to check it out, but that was
the only hit we had when it got yanked. Yup, yanked. Apparently, Eminem’s people have a bot crawling YouTube looking for word matches to bitch about.
Sure enough, the song we covered, entitled When I’m Gone, matched, and so YouTube got a complaint, saying we didn’t have the rights.

Guess what, Marshall? You don’t, either. Because this wasn’t your
freaking song. And, in fact, there’s several songs that have the same words in the title and would trigger the match your bots (or your reps themselves, assuming they were stupid enough to complain about a song that isn’t yours) got a hit on.

Next time, Marshall, how about having your bots or reps actually
play the video in question before flagging it? Because this one got a
reply with the actual copyright holders named, meaning if YouTube actually pays attention to its stated policy, the black mark goes against you guys, not yours truly. Better luck next time with someone who actually gives a damn about your songs.

So anyway, song went back up the morning of the 5th, dedicated to
our servicemen and women in the armed forces. Recorded Memorial Day weekend at a club which is a member of BMI/ASCAP/SESAC (also made quite clear, except for Eminem’s reps), we followed up 3 Doors Down’s video dedication and sent this one out to the troops.

Hope you like it. Would love it if you’d share the link with all of your friends or family who serve, or have served. Billy really knocks it out of the park on this one.

As well, for you classic rock enthusiasts, we did Southern Cross, by
Crosby, Stills & Nash, and I have to say, I think we more than did it
justice. But don’t take my word for it, hit PLAY and decide for yourselves. I just hope Eminem doesn’t have the words “Cross” or “Southern” in any of his songs, we may have to wrangle with YouTube over nonexistent copyright issues if his bots mis-crawl again.

First Gig

Started runnin’ into the same lung problem I had in November a couple weeks ago. That Wednesday, in the midst of a coughing fit, Pam says to me, “Time to go to the hospital?” To which I respond, “Not ’til Sunday. Death is the only thing that’ll keep me off that stage.”

That stage refers to the Backstreets stage, where the plan was to join Billy and John for the third set, and, finally, give my Mom her late-late birthday present. See, back in November (Black Friday, to be exact), we were going to pack the bar, sneak my Mom out for dinner, and then bring her to Backstreets, where I was going to pull this exact same stunt. She’s never heard me play, except on YouTube, so this was going to be quite the surprise. Unfortunately, a viral infection floored me the week of Black Friday and put me in the hospital for a week. Since my release, we’ve been looking for a reason to put this all together.

We came up with another cover story, got Mom out to the bar, and surprised her exactly as planned. She hung out for the second set, had no clue I was going to get up there, and then it was time. Billy brought me up, I strapped on my electric and played for Mom-and a packed house.

Here’s the first three videos from the gig.  Keep checking back, we’re going to be posting the rest over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy ’em. Mom sure had a good time.