Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turn Of The Summer

Sometimes, life throws you curveballs. You step into the box, you
eye up the pitch, you take a hard cut but you can't connect because
the bottom of the pitch dropped out like 12th grade shop.

Everyone has their own crosses to bear and their own pain to get
through. The beauty of community is being to able to support,
encourage and admonish one another in the midst of that. I long
for community - and it seems to happen everywhere I go even
when I don't think it's there.

I've been playing a lot of softball and hanging out with a lot of
folks in the Northumberland region lately. It's been kinda refreshing
to have good times in the actual place where you live. Oddly
enough, I am leaving this region in September to go back to
school in Ottawa for a 2nd degree in Journalism.

I had a fire with some friends last night. I have softball practice
this afternoon. I have good friends and loved ones around.

Life is alright for the moment. The equinox has set.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thanks For The Memories

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Half A Year In

Ya know, I'm halfway through another year of this blogging 365
deal and I must say that writing really takes its own shape as it
progresses. If you asked me a month ago about blogging, I'd say
'it's for shit' or "I'm sick of it' but now, as things have progressed,
I'd say it's a lot like journaling (only much more random and a lot
more metaphorical and less personal).

I think I'm gettin' the hang of this garble.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Take A Block From The Bottom

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Daze

I named my acoustic guitar Caroline a long time ago. The
name came from the fact that Caroline Records was the record
label that released 'Gish' - the first Smashing Pumpkins album

I've grown a deep affection for Caroline over the years - and
I rarely call her by name. I usually just grab her and start
strumming, picking or smashin'. She's been with me through
many loves, many trials and many dark nights of the soul. I
bought her used from Jason Verburg in 1994 for 200 bucks.

Caroline came with me on a trip across Western Canada last
year. She's been there when others haven't - or couldn't.

Here's to you Caroline and 17 sweet years of your glorious

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Want To Set My Heart On The Rail

Friday, June 24, 2011

Waiting For Slow Songs

This is a picture I took last summer at a rented cottage in Calabogie.

The clouds were picture perfect. The sun was just peeking out.

The water was glass.

This past week has been a doozy but oddly enough, I think I'm
getting back on my feet again. The cover show was pretty brilliant
although a few awkward faculty speeches wrecked the vibe for
the evening for many - but that didn't stop the serious dancers
from cutting a rug under the big top.

I'm trying to write some new songs and get my head out of a non-
creative fog. It's not easy, and like anything, music can be a job
that you don't want to do - a discipline.

I'm learning to get it right.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Art Of The Cover Band

There is something kinda refreshing and joyous about playing other people's
music - it's not your own and you can have fun with it. In an interview I
did with Jim Bryson last year, he talked about the difference between
being a frontman and playing your own music and being a support player
while playing someone else's music. I think I'm starting to see the
importance of that dichotomy.

Playing your own music is such a serious thing. The hours you've spent
crafting a song in a bedroom and the translation of that to include
other players in a band, and the furthest extension from that in playing
it live for other strangers, is a massive process and one that requires a
lot of head space. Playing as a support player (which is basically what I'm
doing in this cover band as a bassist) is a pretty fun thing. You can move
around more. You don't have to worry about the microphone so much
and how you appear to the folks in the audience.

You can have fun with it and get the energy level ramped up.

Tonight is our second cover gig. We are playing for a bunch of wild
teachers who want to dance the night away.

I'll let ya know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sometimes You Have To Get Wet

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reviews A Comin'

Recently, I'm getting back into writing for my music mag (which you can find
here) and I had the chance to interview David Bazan (pictured above).

Please go read it and get ready for a slew of reviews coming your way. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mike Schank and Mark Borschardt


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week Long

The hours roll by.

The minutes tick past.

The seconds flutter in a fan rotation.

You know where you want to be in the future.

And you know where you've been.

Where are you right now?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Barely Kingstonian

Today was a day of reckoning - a day of taking stock. Lately, I've
been living a theme of appreciation and I got the chance today to
appreciate a city that I've spent many hours of my life within -
Kingston. And I had the chance to do it with someone who has
become a good friend to me.

Kingston will always be one of those enchanted cities for me.
Though it definitely has its very dirty and dilapidated sections, it
is like a second home. For many a summer season, Kingston was
the closest 'real' city to a summer camp that I grew up within.
It's hard to believe how much time has passed since those listless
teenage days of spending hard-earned, blood & sweat camp money
on t-shirts, video games and movies with no remorse or fortitude.

Today, I met up with a good Kingston friend - Taylor. Taylor is one of
those guys who is a serious hippie-looking dude (I think he could
grow a full, thick beard at 15) but who also has a childlike spirit of
amazement and wonder at the things around him. Oddly enough,
if it wasn't for the aforementioned camp, I don't think we would
have ever become good friends. Even though I am more than a
decade older than Taylor, we get along and pass time together
well as we are both deeply into music, writing and philosophical

We've been through some serious times of conversation and
pondering over the past few years - and some epic moments of
side-cramping silliness. He's been great to have on the wing.

Sometimes, life throws us good friends in the form of folks we
would have never expected. Tay Tay has been a welcome

God bless friends. God bless Kingston. My city by the lake.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Judas In All Of Us
We want so badly to be righteous - to appear good. But we
forget our roots. We forget our flaws. We forget the inner
conflict and start coasting on fumes.

No one can make you do it differently - you have to do it
the way that you know best.

Then, and only then, can the path be beset.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rock Out With Your Dock Out

It's that time of year where you can walk around with a shirt off.
You can trade your pants for shorts and your stress for relaxation.
I associate the summer season with music for some reason and in
an undefinable way, my listening ears come alive in the summer.
In the winter, I am critical. I am highly expectant and I am usually
never enthused. In the summer, I can let myself go in the storm
of the instruments. I can wade into its depths without reservation.

I'm going to be reviewing a bunch of albums here and I'd encourage
you to come along for the ride. At the worst of times, I think our
souls are devoid of song. At the best of times, we are absorbing
every note in vapour form right out of the stereo.

Take a drive, tonight. Play your favourite songs. Remember why
you like them. Soak them in.

Continue on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hometown Rockdown

Tonight, I am in my hometown. I am in a place where I feel
at one. I don't need to be anywhere else. I don't need to dream
of anything else. The grass does not look greener - in fact, I'm
not sure what colour it is - because I don't care.

I am here.

David Bazan is playing for the second time in my home city of
Ottawa. I will be at the show, scribbling and retaining. Watching.

Off to Minglewoods with Bazan himself for an interview before
the show.

I love this town.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Sometimes in life, despite all of the monstrous shit and horrendous
acts that engulf us and our fellow comrades on this planet, you have
to step back and say 'fuck it' and relish the notion of being alive.

We live in a cynical, cold world that is full of depressed people
(some of whom don't even know they are depressed) who rely
on medications, hallucinogens and altered states to get them
from point A to point B. We stew. We brood. We whine. We pose.
We fail.

When we do ever really have exactly what we want?


I want to scream it from the highest peak. I want to move past the
self-focused bullshit and just live. I want to breathe. I want to
run. I want to sound my barbaric yawp tonight by the fireside.

Cynical and hyper-critical thought run rampant in our society and
stifle out goofy creativity and the ability to relax and just laugh.
When did everyone get so damned serious?

I thought about being exactly where I was by the fire tonight. I
thought about my friends. I thought about my family. I thought
about 34 years of fun, sun and a band on the run. I thought about
night drives, blasting my favourite music and getting past the
whiny, hipstery 'Unh - it's not their best album' guise.

I thought about the words of Conan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Teenage Dream

If you ever really dive into a Katy Perry song (whilst singing into your
comb in your bedroom with extra-glossy lip balm on and doing 360
hip swivels), you might actually hear some melody.

Teenage Dream is one of the most over-produced, toxic hits of the
top 40 these days - but it's smart. It's catchy. It crawls inside your brain
and lays eggs and stays there for a days. I played bass for this song
(with a phazer pedal) on saturday and I actually felt myself getting
into the groove of it.

There is no breakdown and there are 3 notes you play on bass, over and
over and over.

But it just feels right.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

These Violent Dreams

Over and over again, in a cyclical pattern, I have dreams about horrible
weather, seas crashing on to shores, giant tidal waves and the end of
all things. I suppose that this is somewhat normal as it is something we
all secretly fear and need to experience from time to time to enjoy
all that we have.

Most recently, I had a dream about a bear escaping on to the property
of camp iawah. In the dream, though, many folks and full time staff
called it 'a killer bear'.

Nowhere in the dream did I ever actually encounter the actual. I was
mostly filled with fear, running from building to building, and hearing
distant growling sounds.

Kinda Beowulf-esque, I suppose.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Band Saturday

Today is the day. For a few weeks now, I've been rehearsing a set of
23 cover songs with 3 other guys here in Port Hope. We are playing
at a charity event tonight and actually getting paid for it. The songs
are mostly top 40 material (with smatterings from different decades)
but it has been a bit of a new and challenging endeavour for me
to play covers.

My brother has played in cover bands many times (which illustrates
his stronger financial sense than my own) but I've only ever really
played original music in a live setting. It's quite an undertaking to
study, learn and adapt the playing techniques of others into the
instrument that you play.

I've enjoyed the process and tonight should be a lot of fun (thank
heavens it's an open bar event). Many hours of walking through the
'Billie Jean' bassline and straining my voice for motown harmonies
is all culminating to this very evening.

I'll let y'all know how it goes.

Thunder growls in the distance.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ghostbusters 3

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Truth Tea

I said at the start of this year that I wanted to be more truthful.

I think it's safe to say that I have failed.

I get on this damn blog and I don't know what the fuck I should
write about anymore. I fake it until I make it. I grab video clips and
play 'catch-up' to stay on top of the daily chore without really
saying anything.

I've got a lot on my mind and little patience to spell it all out.
And to be honest, I'm not sure if the puzzling centers of my
brain could really unravel the rubik's cube of my thoughts these
days. The colours are askew and someone's been peeling off
the stickers.

I suppose, at the base of it all, I feel pretty useless. I used to be
a guy who connected people. I used to be a guy who had a positive
view and a bright outlook. Now, I'm just another worldly chump
who says 'fuck this' and 'fuck that' and I'm exponentially more
bitter than I was at 25. I'm the loser at the bar who parents tell
their kids not to turn into.

I am Holden Caulfield - the man who strove so hard to rid his
life of the phonies when, underneath it all, he himself is the
biggest phony of them all. I've lost touch with good friends. I
have ended relationships out of spite and snap decisions. I am
floating on a sea of turbulent tides in a dingy made of out of my
own cursed stagnancy.

These last 2 years have been weird as hell. I feel like I'm losing
grip of everything and as the seconds tick by - as the days roll
out on a factory sheet metal press - as the aenima beats on and
the consciousness catches up - I am powerless.

2 years ago, I was a happy, fearful and diminutive man who
worked 3 jobs, walked everywhere and spent a lot of time with
people I loved in a city I adored. For the past 2 years, I've been
shut-in, lazy, removed from friends, yelling in the silent ears
of employment and throwing my fists at the heavens.

Sure - there have been bright spots along the way but in the end,
I feel homeless. I feel thoughtless.

Even now, typing this in the din of my bedroom, words evade me.

I know that I have a faith, in the recesses of my soul, but I've
seen so many friends walk away from belief that it leaves me
feeling cold and lost. These are friends who stood with me on a
threshold of something so beautiful and awe-inspiring that it was
unmistakable in its essence...

...and yet, they are all gone. Vanished. Swallowed.

And yet, in the same breath, there are those who have stayed the
path and for the most part, I want nothing to do with them.
They say their lives are not about rules and regulations but in
reality, that is all that they cling to - any mystical, mind-defying
childlike sense of wonder is gone. They know the songs. They
speak the words. They wear the clothes. They have bad breath.

I'm mad at a lot of people and I bet there are people who are
mad at me.

I'm interested to see how it will all work out.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Time Code

It feels like this summer never really had a starting point. All of a
sudden, it's just fully here. It is thrust upon us. The heat. The allergens.
The humidity. All of it.

In the movie Strange Brew (which consumed many a friday night
in my teens), a lab geek talks with Brewmeister Smith about time-
coding certain security cameras so as to keep things strict and
easily documented. I wish there was a time-code on life so that
we could have perfect recall of the moments we want and a throw-
away system for the ones we could do without.

But we get it all.

I've been hiding in Port Hope a bit. Hiding out. Ducking the pressure.
Saving gas money. Saving my lack of money. Playing Sega Genesis.
The weeks rotate through like dreams that you barely remember.
Nothing really noteworthy - just flecks on a screen with a lot of
colours and high pitched sounds.

I've been dreaming a lot but barely remembering what they entail.

There's a reason for that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Cyclical Ravings

Sometimes I go through stages in life where I feel like I'm feeling the same
things I felt a few years (or even a few months) ago.

I feel stuck and I'm somewhat pissed about the situation. If you are faint
of heart and can't take a strong serving of truth tea, then please don't
read on. If you can stomach the bitter bite of the truth leaf once it is
fully steeped, then please continue.

I haven't had a real job for almost 2 years. Yeah - I run a booking business
for bands but I hate it. Actually, that's incorrect - I loathe it. I despise
being a go-between for retarded artists and cracked-out venue owners.
I hate the deservist and expectant attitudes that artists have about playing
live music - but on an equal, and maybe slightly more elevated level, I
can't stand the phony 'promise-of-fame' venue owners who think that they
have carved out a little slice of power and then wield that power like an
a-bomb over every struggling artists head.

You think Canada is a great place to get your music out there? Think
again. I've never seen more of a powerplay than I have in the words of
slimy venue owners and bookers who have kicked many an artist (including
Graven) to the curb while letting their friends play shitty shows over and
over again. The care for up-and-comers is fading fast. No one knows
what the hell they are doing in this business. Everyone is a copycat.
Everyone acts so tough while cowering underneath.

If you run a venue or a bar or a nightclub or a music lounge or a theatre,
you are god incarnate. You are accountable to no one and you believe
in nothing but the power of your own revenue stream.

Even worse than the monolthically terrbile actions of the venue owners,
though, is that the artists, instead of getting inventive, go home, sulk
and drink the night away because they 'failed again' and dream harder
and stronger until someone bails them out.

I'm tired of the whole scene.

I love making music but I hate the stage and I hate the characters.

I despise the game.

More to come.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Dinger Time

And so it goes.

Tonight is softball night. Going forward, I will now be known as
'Sports Guy'. I will spend the summer in shorts and I will be
sweating on 70-75 percent of most days.

See you on the field.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Ultimate

Tonight, we played our 2nd ultimate friz game of the season. Compared to
last week, it was a light workout as we had 15 people (and the rules only
allow for 7 to be on the field at one time). So the girls rotated in 2 shifts
and the guys rotated in 3. It was a little too packed for my liking, making
any sort of rhythm with your line-mates rather unattainable.

Regardless, it was still nice to run around on a grassy field.

I laid all out for a hard play on defense and got sacked by an old man
in the process.

That's life.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Entrance Of June

Somewhere along the way, June showed up. I'm not quite sure how
we went from a dismal end of February to where we are now, but
here we are. Living. Breathing. Surviving.

The summer brings with it a tinge of hopefulness. Promise. Long
days. Mosquito buzzing. Outdoor sports. Water. Sun.

Lots of sun.

June has been a month of Vitamin D so far. It's always encouraging
to wake up to a bright window with a deep blue coating lining the
frame. This year has been an interesting one. At times, I've been on
the highest mountaintop of experience, and minutes later, at the lowest
moraine of the valley. I really don't know what the answer is.

Obviously, I'm searching...but I'm not sure what I'm searching for...

When I find out, I'll let ya know.

Get outside, kids.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Zappa Was The Man

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Green And Clean

It feels good to get caught up on blogging. It is somewhat
of a labour of love but it is also a menial chore that helps me
to stay organized and focused. Unfortunately, I have realized that
I am a writer who needs clarity in my mind and in my life to
properly dictate my thoughts. When I write in the messy times, I
scatter. My words spray out in stinging pellets from the shotgun
shell of my brain. When I write in the clean times, I can focus. I
take aim with a 40 cal of diction and hit the bullseye of a thesis.

I'm feeling clean today.

Although I am relatively unclean and unshowered, I feel like my
thoughts are my own and no one else's today. I spent the night with
my cousins in Toronto after watching a series of documentaries
about green schools in Toronto. My cousin Ben has been working
with a company called Ecospark and he actually helped 5 teams
of students from 5 different schools produce and edit their
documentaries. Various schools in the Toronto region are now
implementing strategies that allow the schools to use green
energy and track their waste and usage. Each documentary
showcased specific interests and needs within the schools but all
of them sparked thought.

It was pretty inspiring to see students in grade 11 and 12 who were
actually geared up about the environment. Most of them seemed
genuinely interested in making Toronto a better and cleaner place
by starting right in their schools. 

Now don't get me wrong - I have little patience for the bleeding
heart leftist Green movement as it's become a trendy wagon for
folks to jump on. But to see our future leaders, especially in such a
sprawling city, taking a genuine interest in cutting down waste,
monitoring power usage and even installing solar panels was a
refreshing, hands-on epiphany.  

Ben and I rode the streetcar home and felt a little lighter. Various
Wednesday night drunkards and wasteoids boarded the Dundas
car as the sultry evening air gushed in through the windows. I felt
clean. I felt hopeful.

I'm still feeling clean.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Choose Your Weapon

website statistics