As some of you may have noticed, I’m scaling back social media for personal reasons. While I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of great people through Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, I’ve found that lately I’m just not into it like I was before. For those interested, I will still be posting here, hopefully on a regular basis.
This last week has been a nice reminder of how good life can be in the real world. Eric and I saw a great set by Bishop Allen downtown at Holy Mountain. If you like quirky, smart pop, I recommend checking them out. The Broken String is on Spotify. Give it a good listen and tell me I’m wrong.
Tuesday was another great musical endeavor when I saw the ACL taping for J Roddy Walston & t he Business at the Moody Theater with Jaime, Tim, and Candyce. J Roddy is everything rock and roll should be right. It’s like Lemmy fronting Lynyrd Skynryd. It’s like when Kings of Leon had balls. Take a listen to their self-titled. You’ll be hooked before “Don’t Break the Needle” ends. Or you’re soulless. Either way, you’ve learned something about yourself.
In non-music related news, I’m still a writer. I entered one of my latest scripts SWEETHEART in the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition. I’ve never really done much in the way of contests, but too many people offered to pay the entry fee to say no this year. I ended up making the second round, which is the top 15%, and got a nice handwritten note tacked onto the bottom of my letter that read:
“P.S. Our readers loved your characters. They are well-developed, defined and realistic. Congratulations and keep writing!”
So, I guess I’ll keep writing. This script is currently out in LA looking for some traction, so if you’re interested in sexy thrillers with a dark sense of humor, throw it a dollar or two.
Until next time, keep your hands in your pockets like you’re scratching your balls.
For about twenty minutes, back in the 1990s, I was pretty cool. I’m still trying to come to terms with the two miserable facts that 1. my best years are long behind me and 2. they really weren’t that good. I can still take solace in knowing that I have the music to keep me company, so I’m going to run down my top 10 albums of the 1990s.
A couple things to keep in mind, these are MY favorites and also, I’m limiting any given band to one entry, otherwise I could fill up a list this short with like two bands. That being said, I encourage you to share your favorites and also to explore the bands and find out what else they have to offer.
August and Everything After – Counting Crows
This has been my favorite album for twenty years. Twenty years from now, it will still be my favorite album. While the singer/lyricist from this band is often quoted as saying that songs and poetry are not the same, I will note that he is sometimes wrong. This is one of those times. A good number of these songs could very well be spoken word pieces. Find the lyrics to “Round Here” and read them out loud. Just sayin’.
“Round Here” – Counting Crows
Being There – Wilco
My best friend and I have a long-standing disagreement regarding Wilco’s best album. I choose Being There over Summerteeth because there’s just more there to love. It’s a double-record. (And in case you forgot, it was a double-record the band insisted be sold for the price of a single-record.) Another reason I give the nod to Being There is it’s the clear bridge between the alt-country roots of AM and the more experimental pop/rock of Summerteeth.
“Outtasite (Outta Mind) – Wilco
New Miserable Experience – Gin Blossoms
One of the greatest musical tragedies of the 1990s was the death of Doug Hopkins. Hopkins may have the been the best songwriter to hide the darkness of life in a pop hook. Unlike others, he doesn’t quite get the recognition he deserves, but it can be argued the best songs on Gin Blossoms smash-hit debut album were the tunes penned by the man who was booted from the band due to his personal demons. (He was also forced to give up half of his publishing royalties, as well as his mechanical royalties to the guy they replaced him with.) If nothing else, what he left behind were a handful of songs that can still rip me apart.
“Found Out About You” – Gin Blossoms
Nevermind – Nirvana
The wave of change to the musical landscape brought on by Nevermind is so overwhelming, it can’t even be quantified. Were there other bands doing what Nirvana was doing? Sure, but like Elvis and The Beatles, Nirvana was the act the brought it to the suburbs, so to speak. All of our youthful angst was finally on display for everyone to hear and nothing has been the same since then.
“Lithium” – Nirvana
The Colour and the Shape – Foo Fighters
I was tempted to put Dave’s first FF record here, but I think the second album was more of a realized concept with an actual band, and that resulted in a more well-rounded sound. I bet there are people out there who have forgotten or never knew that he was the drummer in Nirvana. It would’ve been a shame if he never had the opportunity to showcase himself as an artist aside from that band.
“Everlong” – Foo Fighters
Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy – The Refreshments
Perhaps this is the biggest surprise on the list, but honestly, I listen to this album as much or more as any other album on here. It’s catchy and fun and clever. Though it was overshadowed by Seattle, the “Tempe sound” was a great scene in the 90s with Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop, and the Meat Puppets. Plus, try not to smile while listening to “Banditos.” I dare you.
“Banditos” – The Refreshments
Grave Dancers Union – Soul Asylum
Come on, they even got invited to play one of Clinton’s Inaugural Balls. Seriously though, one of the few bands to survive the Minneapolis scene of the 1980s and achieve success in the next decade. They had good records before and one or two after, but this one was the crown jewel and every kid with an acoustic was trying to learn the chords to “Runaway Train.”
“Without A Trace”- Soul Asylum
Superunknown – Soundgarden
Before Nirvana signed with Geffen, Soundgarden had been on a major label for a couple of years, but they didn’t get the acclaim until this album spun off a slew of hits. It can be argued that of all the Seattle stars, Cornell was both the best singer and the most handsome.
“My Wave” – Soundgarden
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
Is the album about Anne Frank? Maybe. Sadly, I don’t think it’s as widely-appreciated as it should be, but I encourage you to get this album, perhaps smoke a bowl, and then lie in the dark and listen to it start to finish. It’s a beautiful, noisy meandering masterpiece.
“Holland, 1945″ – Neutral Milk Hotel
Too Far To Care – Old 97′s
After two indie releases, the Dallas quartet signed with Elektra and put out what should’ve been the biggest alt-country album ever. Unfortunately, the popular music scene never fully shifted toward alt-country, but that didn’t stop the 97′s from cranking out a ton of great music.
“Big Brown Eyes” – Old 97′s
Ten That Didn’t Make It In:
And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid
Electric Larryland – Butthole Surfers
Either/Or – Elliott Smith
It’s A Shame About Ray – Lemonheads
Ten – Pearl Jam
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – Pavement
The Bends – Radiohead
Definitely Maybe – Oasis
Pinkerton – Weezer
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road – Lucinda Williams
After an extended hiatus due to some technical and life difficulties, the site is up and running again. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve posted anything. I guess that just goes to show how quickly the days will slip past you if you’re not paying attention.
So, what’s going on you might ask? We’ll cover some of the highlights…
1. No Disco–I’m currently working on a music project with Scott Thompson (of Tallahassee) and Andy Mullins, who we just added. We’re currently in the song-writing phase of things, but maybe we’ll have some demos for you to sample soon. It’s great to work with talented people who also happen to be genuinely great people. I think that can really foster the best possible music we can make. I think you’ll like it.
2. Working on getting a podcast together with my best friend, CL Bledsoe. It will be funny, topical, relevant, rambling and sexy.
3. Last and certainly not least, I’ve devoted my life to the pursuit of my eternal dream of becoming a baby deer.
See ya soon with more updates!
So, my last post was about the dream coming together. It’s weird how things can pick up steam so quickly.
I just wanted to give another update. While nothing is official, we do have three amazing talents attached to the project as our lead characters.
From top to bottom, Bonnie Wright, who most of you might recognize from the Harry Potter films, Cameron Monaghan from Showtime’s awesome series Shameless, and Eiza Gonzalez, who is a fabulous actress/singer from Mexico.
It’s insane that we’ve been lucky enough to have these people say they want to do the project. Just knowing that the read a script I wrote and said, “Yes, this is good.” is really validating as a writer.
Hopefully, I can post more updates soon. Until then, keep on dreaming, kids, cause dreams can come true.a
Did you forget I had a blog? Me too, apparently. Life has been going non-stop with work and writing and concerts and putting on Nekkid Armadilla Summerfest, which was a rousing success and a hell of a lot of fun.
But this post is about something else. If you didn’t know, I also write screenplays, and last year, my longtime friend Adrian Cervantes asked if I had a script that he would be able to shoot for not a lot of money. I said, “Of course.” and sent him what was then titled Bumbershoot & the Squash Blossom Queen, which I had started writing in 2009 when I was living on the road out of hotels at the time.
The script isn’t anything groundbreaking, but I suppose nothing really is anymore. It’s a story about tragedy and loss, about growing up too quickly and not fitting in, about not knowing what you want out of life and at the same time, knowing exactly what you want. I’m proud of the script. Adrian helped me shape it up and then he started showing it to people, including Kevin Tostado, who had produced a documentary on Monopoly called Under the Boardwalk. (If you didn’t see it when it was permanently lodged on the Netflix Most Popular last year, you should find it and watch it now.) Once Kevin got on board, it went from a project that we had talked about filming for $50,000 (which was an unfathomable amount) to a film that would have a budget with seven figures.
It’s weird because it feels like we started this so long ago, but then things happen in little bursts that make it seem like it’s all going so quickly. That’s kind of what happened over the weekend. Here’s the deal, when I get a new follower on Twitter, I will check them out because I’m curious of it’s a real person or whatever, so I got a new follower and their last tweet was a retweet of a conversation Kevin and I were having, very vaguely, about the film getting listed on Slated.
Naturally, I wanted to see why this person had retweeted that so I started stalking a little and found they were carrying on a conversation with other fans of the actress slated to be one of the leads. One thing led to another and I soon realized there was a bit of a buzz growing about the project amongst fans of the actors we had cast.
There have been a lot of surreal moments in the last year or so because of this story I wrote about a simple kid who believe he was unremarkable until he figured out that everyone has their chance to shine and they just have to take it. Granted, we’re still not in the clear. There are still funds to be raised and deals to be made and a million details to be ironed out, but it’s these moments that make me realize that the people in this film truly are a projection of me, never quite fitting in but still finding a way to make myself heard in the end.
It’s been a good ride so far. I don’t think it’s over yet. Hopefully, I’ll have more news soon. Until then, I’ll keep looking at the IMDB page, the Slated profile and all the fansites, keeping the faith that it all works out in the end. Just like a movie.
Hey, are you thinking about coming to Nekkid Armadilla Summerfest? Is there a band you would just love to see play there? Would you like to help make it happen?
Well, now YOU can sponsor a band!
Sponsor a Band – $100 – $500
If you would like to sponsor a specific artist/band your donation will go to one band in
particular. You can determine the amount of investment you would like to make. In exchange
for your band sponsorship you will receive the following.
- Verbal mention from your band during their performance
- Logo or name will have placement on our printed materials for distribution (posters, flyers, etc)
- Mention on the bands social media pages prior to the event
- Mention on the event website
- Signed CD from your band
- Access to the hospitality tent at the event
- 2 seats to the VIP brunch Monday September 2nd (details provided at a later date)
If you are interested in this type of sponsorship we are requesting the following donation
1. Gas card or HEB Gift Card
2. Accommodations for 4 the night of Sunday September 1st in Palacios
3. Of course money is nice too – any monetary donation will be made directly to the
It seems like forever since I’ve updated. Well, looking at the calender, it actually has been quite a while, so I’ll catch you up on that last cliffhanger post. Thanks to some meds, some therapy and a LOT of support from great friends, I feel like my head is right-side up again. I can’t express to those people how much their help meant to me, but I hope they know and understand.
Now, onto a recap of the last 3 months and a look into the future!
As you all know, SXSW has come and gone. Each year, it’s a little bit different for me. A lot of this year was different because I wasn’t drinking, and I STILL had a good time. For those unaware, my good friend Tim Slusher and I put on a showcase called the Nekkid Armadilla Extravaganza. I think we put together a pretty amazing lineup with some bands that you’re going to be hearing about soon and for a while to come. You can see and HEAR these artists on our website http://www.nekkidarmadilla.com/ but I’ll give you my take here.
First up was Coby Brown. I came to know of Coby’s music because his song “Hospital” was covered by Counting Crows. He sent me his full album and it’s simply beautiful. He opened the show, doing a stripped down set with Jake Owen on lead guitar, and though that’s a tough spot to play at a SXSW show, it was a beautiful set. I don’t know if FRENCH EXIT has officially been released yet, but as soon as you can get it…well, you know, get it.
Our second act of the night was our Reverb Nation contest winners, My Body Sings Electric from Colorado. They brought a nice contingency of fans and the energetic set was fun to watch. It was nice to know we picked a band who wanted to make the most of every opportunity they could get.
Next up was a band that almost didn’t play the show. We had our lineup pretty set early on, with backups in place, so when the guys from This Is American Music asked us about a spot for the District Attorneys, we had to say no. Through a series of unfortunate events, or fortunate, depending on how you look at things, bands had to pull out, backups had to pull out and when we were about to give up and just go with one less band, I got another contact, just to make sure…and YES, we do have a spot. I’m so glad, too, because the DAs are amazing live. One of only two bands I made a point to go see a second time during SXSW. (I saw them the next day at This Is American Music’s showcase, which was amazing, bands like Water Liars, Glossary and the Pollies all put on excellent sets.)
Following the DAs was another band we kinda lucked into, Swear and Shake. We had contacted a booking agency about one band, which wasn’t going to be at SXSW, and they gave us a list of bands that were coming and we jumped on S&S pretty quickly. Definitely a band that’s destined to break out big in the next few months.
Of course, we couldn’t put on a show without local flavor. If you follow me at all, you know Austin’s Little Brave is one of my favorite artists, (even if she hates me), and she wowed the crowd with her unique style and talent, accompanied by Daniel Thomas Phipps (The Kinfolk) and K Phillips (K Phillips & the Concho Pearls).
All the credit for American Authors goes to Tim. He heard them and liked them and
went after them. When I first listened, I thought, they’re not bad, but the more I heard them, the more I liked them. By the time I saw them play live, I was a full-fledged fan. They’re starting to pick up steam on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation Countdown. (I believe they’re number 2 this week.
We came back to the homegrown talent for the next set with San Antonio’s The Rosedale Highs. They’re eclectic and fun and I always describe them as “Barenaked Ladies, when Barenaked Ladies write good songs.” It’s always great to see them play live.
One of only two bands returning from last year’s lineup, (the other being Little Brave), Austin’s Mobley whipped the crowd into a frenzy like only Mobley can do. Anthony Watkins II is easily the most engaging frontman I’ve ever seen live. You will never leave a Mobley show not being a Mobley fan. Also, the band has a song coming out on the new True Blood soundtrack.
We always say, “No one should ever have to follow Mobley,” but this year, we had a young band out of Jacksonville, FL, called The Pinz and we thought, this is the band that can do it. Unfortunately, the crowd thinned out a bit by the time they took the stage, and those silly bastards missed a hell of a performance. Even with a diminished audience, The Pinz powered through a set of smart, pop-punk that incited Ryan Spaulding and I to start a mini-mosh pit up front with a few other enthusiastic fans. Made me feel like a young man again. They also happened to be the other band I went out of my way to see again at SXSW.
If you look at the website http://www.nekkidarmadilla.com/, it lists Tim and I under the Info section, but really, it’s so much more so I really want to thank not just Tim, but Candyce, Dana, Jacob, Christina, and fellow music-blogger Jennifer Holmes http://tophatsbyjennifer.blogspot.com/ for pitching in and making it all work. Also a special shoutout to my good friend Melissa Brawner for taking so many fabulous photos of the event. I’d also like to thank Lucky Lounge for being a great host venue.
And now, we look to the future! September 1st in Palacios, Texas, we’re putting on the 2nd Nekkid Armadilla Summerfest! This is a FREE outdoor event in the Shrimp Capital of Texas with lots of great music and food. The event takes place on the Sunday before Labor Day, so you have a long weekend. Why not make the drive and have some fun? If you need any information on the event check the webpage, find us on Facebook or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also looking for sponsors, so if you have a business or just want to help sponsor a band, we have packages with benefits!
But honestly, I hold back so much, not just online, but in real like, too.
I don’t feel like that today. Actually, what I feel like today is hard to describe, but let’s try anxious, sad, depressed, tired, nauseous, angry, defeated, broken, and generally, like shit. I don’t know if that even gives an accurate portrayal, but maybe it sketches out the picture a little.
What I’m talking about here is crazy. Literally crazy. Not that flippant “woohoo, that guy’s crazy” but actually mentally unbalanced. Crazy comes in a lot of forms and varies to great degrees. I’m crazy. I’m not say, Charles Manson crazy, but I bet if we did a side-by-side, we probably have more in common that anyone would like to admit.
If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the fucking point already?”
Well, I don’t know if there is a point, but let’s start with this, if you feel like you’re life is spinning out of control, reach out to someone.
Currently, that’s how I feel. It’s not something people like to talk about. Not people who really have a problem. It’s embarrassing. There’s a stigma. There’s fear that people won’t believe you. I’ve dealt with that all my life. As a small child, I compulsively blinked. My mother took me to the doctor and was told my eyelashes were too long and that’s what was causing it. So, she trimmed them. The actual problem was my parents were having marital troubles and my tiny child brain couldn’t handle it. Throughout my childhood, I dealt with stresses like that at home and at school where I was bullied because I was fat and poor. These things manifested into physical symptoms that I won’t go into…you know what fuck it, I will go into it. Somehow, my digestive system got so out of whack around 4th grade, that I lost control of my bowels, or in laymen’s terms, I shit my pants. This lasted for a few years. So, I became THAT kid in school. I remember going to the doctor and having him explain to me that my colon was like twice the size it should be. I took laxatives, had to drink castor oil, enemas…you get the picture. Even after it stopped, that’s not a reputation you can shake. At one point, I skipped nine days of school in a row because I couldn’t deal with going. I was living with my father at the time and he was oblivious. Finally, the school called my mother and she came over and made me go back, but we never talked about it. We never talked about any of it.
I guess maybe there was just something inherently about me that made me a victim, because even after moving to a new town, I was still tormented by bullies until finally, I snapped. I remember the first panic attacks I had. It was a history class, right after lunch. The room was crowded and I would feel so sick and just anxious. First, the teacher let me sit by the open window so I could get some air. Didn’t help. Then they moved me to a library aide for that period. The school nurse tried to tell me and my mother that it was because I wasn’t eating a good breakfast. I remember going to the DMV to get my driver’s license. Again, the nausea and the rapid heartbeat. I left and told my aunt I didn’t feel well. I came back a second time and same result. Finally, I went to a therapist. for four sessions. That’s who my dad’s insurance covered. He put me on Imipramine. I didn’t like it. It gave me the shakes. I remember coming home after leaving half-way through the school day and telling my mother we had to get me home-schooled, or I was quitting.
I finished high school on a homebound program, like they used to do for pregnant girls. I wouldn’t have graduated otherwise. The thing is, even at this point, no one really believes you. I heard everything from “You were just trying to get out of going to school.” to “It’s all in your head.” Well, yes, I was trying to not go to school, but did you ever wonder why? And yes, it was most certainly in my head. I’m not sure if people are just selective about what they see because they have preconceived notions about who you are, but I gave up a lot for someone just trying to get out of going to school. I spent three years holed up in my bedroom dealing with every fear you can imagine. I stopped watching the news because every time something was mentioned, my brain convinced me that I had it, from cancer to flesh-eating bacteria.
Eventually, I was able to work my way out and back into a somewhat functional life, but it was very conditional. I had to know every escape route. I had to show up to things incredibly early. I had to convince myself I had total control over every given situation or it was a no-go. This led to quitting a lot of jobs over the years. In college, I started having panic attacks again and a professor urged me to get on medication. Paxil. This was the mid-90s. No one had really even heard of it at that point. It worked. I was able to do things I had never really done before. It didn’t last. I couldn’t afford to stay on it. But for the most part, in my 20s, I was able to survive and when things flared up, I self-destructed and quit my job and moved on somewhere new.
I suppose that’s enough rambling to paint a picture. That brings us to the here and now. I have a job I like. I have friends. I have a girlfriend I love. Sounds great? Well, every morning, I wake up paralyzed. I decided I had to do the smart things. As soon as my insurance kicked in, I went to the doctor and got some pills, but honestly, I was feeling worse. Today, I went to work, and I started feeling it. I got some hot herbal tea and sipped it to calm my nerves. I muttered to myself I was okay and I could make it. And then I promptly went into my boss’s office and had a fucking meltdown.
I’m actually impressed with how well he handled it. It’s not something you expect when you go to work, this giant of a man blubbering out of control. He talked to me and hooked me up with Employee Assistance to get some counseling and sent me home with as much assurance as he could give me.
So that’s where I am. Home. I called my doctor and she’s switching my medication. I’ve put out calls to a couple of the counselor’s and hoping one can fit me in soon. And even after all these years, I’m still blanketed with the feeling of shame and guilt of it all. Like I need to prove to everyone that it isn’t just all in my head and I’m not just trying to get out of doing something.
I just want to feel normal.
It’s been far too long since I’ve made a post on here. The New Year is a time for new beginnings for a lot of folks, and this year was no different for me. My job went from contract to permanent and in the transition, I ended up working like 11 days straight, most of them 10-hour days. On top of the, we decided to move, since our apartment was on the exact opposite side of town and between the lady and I, we were commuting 200 miles each every week. It sucks to give up living so close to downtown, but bigger place and close to work has been a good trade-off, so far.
In other news, we’re finalizing the lineup for the Nekkid Armadilla Extravaganza, our show during Music Week of SXSW. I’m pretty damn excited for the roster of artists we’ve lined up to play. You should head on over to the site to see our amazing sponsors and hear tunes from some of the bands. Of course, the whole thing would not be possible without Tim and Candyce Slusher. The things that those two do for the sake of music is amazing and I hope people will recognize that.
Once SXSW is over, I’ve set my sites on September 7th. That’s the 10th anniversary of Warren Zevon’s death. Warren has always been an inspiration of mine. The dude was truly an artist’s artist. He knew he had flaws and he did the best he could with them. So, I’m trying to get together a tribute show here in Austin. As of right now, I’ve got some great musicians who have expressed interest in taking part in the show: K Phillips, Stephanie Macias, Daniel Thomas Phipps, Jackson Parten, Luke McMaster, Nakia and everybody’s dad, Jeremy Menking. I’m hoping to add more talent soon.
So, yeah, that’s a glimpse of what’s going on in my world. Hope everyone is staying safe and maybe I’ll see you at SXSW!
I sat down last night with bassist Charles Murphy from Aloud to talk about…well, stuff. We cover everything from the band to his feud with the president to our intimate personal relationship. Check it if you want to…or not…but no, do it.
For more information on Aloud visit http://www.allthingsaloud.com/
Also enjoy a live performance of “You Will Know.”