Category: Actor/Musician

22
May
2003
9:38

Wow. Where to start…

So as some of you may have read on my wife’s page, ahead lies potential life upheaval, but in a good, adventurous, yet crap your pants kind of way.
We were planning to move to Austin in August. Then I get this email about these people who are in Hong Kong for the next 6 months, and need a house sitter because their current sitter can’t do it anymore. This house is in Roundrock (which is practically part of Austin. North Austin just merges into Roundrock). So they need someone, pronto.
Now this is just the largest in a series of events that seem to just be custom tailored and handed to us. We’ve known for some time that we wanted to probably move to Austin, and then I emt Craig Davis who has become one of my best friends, and musical collaborators, and who lives in Austin. So already musical things were lining themselves up in the big A. Now this house sitting possibility, which is just perfect. Six months of rent free living in a 2400 square foot house. We would pay the utilities. Since we have our apartment here through August, this would allow us to just slowly and casually move all our stuff in stead of having to do it all in one big go. I still have lots of band gigs here, so I figure every weekend we come down to play, we’ll also do some more packing and moving.
In addition, I could actually pursue acting, film crew, and music opportunities in Austin, because there actually ARE opportunities. Craig, who has never worked any “normal” jobs, but only done jingles and musically related things like that, thinks I could definitely find tons of work as a musician. There’s one particular guy who Craig has worked with over the years who owns the company which Craig has written many jingles for. We’re talking pretty big stuff like major beer companies and such. The company has several in house studio facilities, and Craig thinks that I could probably start picking up work there as a musician, jingle writer, voice actor, etc. All my various talents could probably be put to use there. We’ll see how that pans out. Additionally this same guy is also really good friends with my uncle.
Not to mention Craig and I are recording a new CD, which will probably come out under the band name “The Toreadors”, and we’re working on a project of his called “Mr. Hobs the 3 legged cat” which will be a children’s story, with an bunch of original songs, and possible voice acting tasks for me. He already has some parties interested in it. Not sure what form it will take yet possibly a book/cd combo with the book voiced on the CD along with the songs for the book.
He also, nonchalantly, told me how he met with a guy from Maverick records (Madonna’s label) and this guy is trying to get 3 of his songs recorded by another artist.
So now I’m waiting on the email back from the house sitting people. If they haven’t already found someone, then I will be putting in my job notice immediately and in a week or two we will be living in Roundrock, unemployed with the world on a platter before us. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

30
Apr
2003
15:27

Remember that movie I did?

Probably not. However I totally forgot to relate this really cool story from when we were in Dallas. We were at The Angelika Theatre, a really nice movie theatre, to see “A Mighty Wind“. I was at the concession stand to get some goodies when to my left I suddenly notice a mounted poster on a stand that’s touting the grand premiere of The House Of The Generals at The Angelika on May 15. There’s a Los Angeles premiere on June 12 at The Regent Showcase Theatre.
This is the movie that I did when I lived in Dallas in 1999. I had a small role as a Russian Tank commander. Here is a picture of me sitting in a tank. It was quite wild, and sort of exciting for me to just randomly stumble upon that by pure chance of being in that particular theatre 3 weeks before the premiere of a movie that I was in 3 years ago! Of course, if my “Walker, Texas Ranger” career is any indicator, my part will probably end up on the cutting room floor. I guess we’ll see!

30
Apr
2003
9:07

Adventures in band gigs, last night edition

Last night we played at a place called “The Hall Of Fame” for a big party for a bunch of photographers. Since they all work on the weekends doing weddings and such, they have their annual party on a tuesday (we’ve played it for several years now). I really love playing this place because it’s big, and has a great built in sound system meaning everything sounds huge and good, and we don’t have to bring our own system. It also has a band dressing room with couches, and it’s own bathroom with a shower (not that I’d ever use it since it’s kind of icky)!
I’ve got a new toy by Line 6 called the Pod XT. This little unit simulates 32 guitar amps, tons of speaker cabinets, microphones on the speaker cabinets, and has tons of built in effects. So between my Variax and the Pod XT I now have a room full of guitars and amps in one tiny compact little setup.
Since the Pod emulates all parts of the guitar amp chain, you get the best results running through a “full range” system like a P.A., or a keyboard amp, so I ordered a supposedly great keyboard amp which should be in next week. Our keyboard player had also ordered one because his old one is kinda flaky, and these new ones were a real good deal. He offered to let me use his new amp until mine comes in since it doesn’t really make as much difference to him as it does for my guitar stuff, and he still had his old amp to use.
We get to soundcheck and I set my stuff up through his new amp, and it sounds awesome. I can’t wait to get mine now. Jess and I left to get some food and such and when we returned before the gig the sound guy said “your amp was making really weird noises so we turned it off”. I go to investigate, and sure enough every time I turn it on it makes very weird noises and kinda smells funny. Eventually the weird noises stop, but at that point all I can get out of it is a weak distorted sound that obviously indicates the amp is dead. It’s getting shipped off for a replacement today. Luckily I just plugged my Pod into the P.A. system and had it turned up in my monitor so I could hear it on stage.
The first set was really rough. Everyone was making little mistakes here and there, even me which is highly unusual. 😉 There was one point when Angonia called out a certain country song to do, and I proceeded to start a completely different song much to the surprise of all the band. My excuse was that all those country songs sound alike, and both were about drinkin’.
The rest of the night went pretty well with the exception of some obnoxious and annoying people, Angonia old keyboard amp going back to it’s flaky ways, and our drummer breaking one of his cymbals and hurting his arm on the way back from the bathroom. He had to pee really badly so he ran to the bathroom between songs, and on the way back he ran into this big metal piece of electrical machinery in the hall. It tore the sleeve of his shirt, so during our break he just ripped the sleeves off and made it a sleeveless shirt.
An amusing anecdote about one of the annoying people:
these two girls came to the stage and started asking if we knew all these songs. It went something like this…
girl: Do you know “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger?
us: No, we sure don’t.
girl: (indignant look) What? If you don’t know that song , you guys suck!
rest of band (who are drooling over themselves at the pretty girl even though they are all married, and apparently think that playing this song will somehow instigate some fantasy sequence where the pretty girl goes to the dressing room and pleasures them): Well we could probably do it!
me (knowing full well that we could do it, and in fact have done it before, but not wanting to do it because it’s an overplayed clich� and apparently being the only one not under this siren’s spell since I don’t care if she’s pretty or not, she’s a bitch): [dirty look at band] No, we can’t!
girl: What about “The Cotton-Eyed Joe?”
us (normally we just play a recording of this during our break to save us the agony): No. We don’t have a fiddle player.
me (as girl, again, looks disgusted with us): but we know this…
I then launch into our next song to end this little exchange of obnoxiousness.
Ah, my glamorous rock star life. Then there was the guy who wanted to sit and play drums with us.
I’ll end with two important pointers:
1) it’s OK to ask if we know a song or 2, but don’t cop an attitude, and don’t sit there for 5 minutes listing through 20 songs that you want us to play. While we have a very extensive set list that could probably fill 6-8 hours if we played every song we knew (and more if we played all the songs we could even fake), that leaves approximately 9,876,678,155,984,278 hours worth of music that we don’t know.
2) Don’t ask to play or sing with the band. This isn’t karaoke.

13
Apr
2003
12:43

The latest band gig

So as you may have read about in Jess’s blog, my gig last night was good, but a bit draining for me. First off, about 30 minutes before the gig I find out that Donnie can’t make it because he’s hellaciously sick. This really bummed me out because one of the things I think really stands out about this band is the incredible vocals and harmonies and many of them just aren’t the same without Donnie, especially songs where Craig is singing lead and Donnie and I are singing some echoing backup part or some ooohs or ahhhhs. We didn’t get to start until later than expected so our set would have to be pruned a bit, and the first several songs were spent more as fodder for getting the sound system all set right. We didn’t get to practice before this gig so we were quite sloppy. Many mistakes were made by all and endings tended to be incredibly loose.
That being said, we still rocked pretty good. Everyone said we were great, and that it sounded like we had been playing together a long time, when in fact it was only our third gig. I just know what we’re capable of and how good we can be, and thus know how sloppy we were last night, but all in all it was still a pretty good gig. Thanks to all of Eden Automatic for letting us open for them and get another gig under our belt. They’re an awesome band. Check them out.

19
Mar
2003
8:56

I am the music man.

And I don’t mean Robert Preston. Much musical…(looking for a word that I can’t find; something like shenanigans, tom foolery, skullduggery, damn it’s just not coming)…stuff on the horizon. Tonight we have a full band practice for the Craig Davis gig tomorrow at the Northgate Music Festival.
Sidenote here: Every year there is a nationally renowned music festival called South By Southwest held in Austin. It’s huge thing where hundreds of bands fill every club and venue, and people are there scouting new talent and such. Here in College Station they started having “North By Northgate” music festival the week after SXSW. Northgate is an area near the college where there’s a strip of bars restaurants and such. It’s the main hangout type area for nightlife. Well SXSW actually threatened to sue NXNG if they didn’t change their name. The organizers didn’t want to deal with it so they changed it to Northgate Music Festival. However we all agree that SXSW really wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on with that lawsuit. We figured next they would start suing anyone who used the terms “south” or “southwest”. From now on, you can not go south, you can only go anti-north. Anyway, back to the main post…
Thursday we do acoustic sets for a live radio performance, and for an in store appearance at a local record store, then we have the main show Thursday night. Friday, I just picked up a 2 man acoustic gig with one of the guys in my cover band for a small unplugged gig outside a restaurant. Saturday, the cover band plays at the Northgate Music Festival at the primo time of 11am. Somewhere this weekend we need to do laundry, and then Monday we’ll probably get up at like 5am to drive to Houston for the big INS trip to get Jess’s Employment Authorization Card. I kind of like being busy. Makes me feel like I have a life!

17
Mar
2003
8:11

The newest hit from Craig Davis and Heath Allyn

So the weekend was fun as usual when we go to Austin. The 2 gigs were underwhelming, unfortunately. Very small little outdoor things with pretty much no one there. The studio was quite fun however. Craig ended up singing the lead vocal and one harmony part at the end, but aside from those he left it entirely in my hands. I programmed the drums, played bass, all guitars, and sang the rest of the vocals. It still needs some work, but things are looking good!

08
Mar
2003
21:17

Musical things are a-brewin!

So next weekend I have 2 gigs in Austin as a duo with a Craig Davis. One at some South Austin Arts Festival which is supposedly some big Woodstock type thing with tons of bands and food and crafts and such, and then a songwriters showcase at a club later that day. They’re supposedly going to record one of our sets for possible inclusion on a later compilation CD. Then, on Sunday, Craig and I are going into the studio for 3 hours to record one of his new songs. I’ll be playing guitar, bass, singing harmony, and possibly programming the drums in my drum machine. It’s all quite exciting. The week after that, We’re doing our first full band Craig Davis gig since the initial (and only) one which is how this whole wacky thing started. It’s for the Northgate Music Festival which is sort of a smaller “South by Southwest” music festival. I made a set list, burned CD’s of the set list in order, and distributed them to the band guys to learn by March 20th. Also on that day we are doing a live radio appearance and possibly an in store performance at the local record store. The 22nd, my cover band is playing is also playing the same festival. This is all quite exciting for me! It will be fun to be back in the studio and end up with a recording of our efforts. Craig and I work really well together, and I really think this could go somewhere, especially when we move to Austin and it will be much easier to actually get together to write, record, and play. He has a woman managing him who is absolutely awesome too. She really busts her ass and gets all these things happening. Exciting things are cooking, gentle readers!

04
Mar
2003
11:15

So how was your weekend?

Mine was pretty damn good! We went to Austin on Friday, and spent the weekend with my cousin. There was much video game playing and eating. However the reason for the trip was to make some musical appearances on Monday. As many of you may know, I’ve been playing with Craig Davis, a musician out of Austin. Monday morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am (an hour which just shouldn’t even exist, honestly), to go perform on the Fox-7 morning show. It was quite cool being in a TV studio watching them do the live show and preparing for our appearance. We did 2 little 15 second teasers as they went to commercial, then performed one full song. We then played about 30 seconds at the end of the show too. It was quite a cool experience indeed. That night we did a 4 song set at a club where there they were doing an open mic night combined with featured artists (which we were one of the 3). I think we blew the roof off the joint. up until that point it had been a very folky, coffee house type vibe with performers to match. We got up and did some rockin’ pop songs with strong harmonies. It was quite a contrast, but we were very well received and it took me a while to actually get out of the place since I was stopped by someone every 10 feet to tell us we were great. I also had many inquiries as to my kick ass new guitar which stunned several people since it looks like an electric guitar but yet was producing perfect acoustic guitar sounds. All in all it was a cool weekend, and I think things with Craig are really starting to get rolling. I’m going back in 2 weeks for another set at the same club during “South by Southwest” a HUGE music festival that takes place annually in Austin. Check out some clips of Craig’s music on www.cdbaby.com

02
Feb
2003
17:43

I Have The Power! Alternately: The First One Always Hurts The Worst.

So I got my new guitar in last week. It’s the Variax by Line 6. It has electronics within it that digitally model 28 different classic vintage guitars. Electrics, acoustics, 12-strings, banjo, sitar and more. It’s absolutely phenomenal. Add that to the fact that I also use a Line 6 amplifier which digitally models tons of different guitar amps and effects, and you’ll see that I now have the power to invade small planets. So now with one amp, and one guitar, it’s as if I have a room full of amps and wall full of guitars, all of which are classic, very expensive, often rare, and very high end. I love technology. My bandmates were particularly tickled with my banjo playing this weekend.
Now for the pain. I had 2 gigs this weekend. My brand new guitar made it through a grand total of…1 of them before getting a ding in it. Sometime at our gig today I acquired a small little dent in the face of my brand new guitar. It hurt me. I hurt. I feel pain. I obsess. It totally soured my mood which was already not that great since we got 4 hours of sleep before having to go to this all 8-4 gig for the Bridal Show, where we pay them to set up a booth and ply our wares along with caterers, photographers, florists and such, trying to get all the future brides, who pay to get in, to hire us for their wedding reception. For the rest of the day my eyes were just magnetically attracted to that tiny ding in my guitar. On the slight upside, I was planning on having a sticker made up of my musical yin-yang logo to put on my guitar right over where the ding is. Still it stresses me. Silly, I know, but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

24
Jan
2003
9:24

Back in the Saddle Again

So I seem to have gotten back into writing my screenplay. It’s only been a year or 2 of laziness. I feel a lot better since I’ve been writing. I feel like I’m doing something. Making some kind of progress in at least a small way towards getting somewhere. I’ve already started entertaining fantastical thoughts such as some Hollywood studio being interested my script, and what I will do then. I’m definitely writing it for me to star in and direct, but what if some studio offers to buy it for scads of money, but doesn’t want me to star or direct? Do I stick by my guns and say “nope, that’s part of the deal” or take the money and be happy that I just got paid for a screenplay and get to see it made? Yes, I’m way ahead of myself, but like I said, I’m a dreamer. I was going through a conversation in my head yesterday, pitching this to a studio executive. I figure it’s a good deal for both sides. I would get to have my movie made, and they could make the movie for far less money since I am an unknown star/director. They would save millions, or tens of millions even by letting me star and direct. Yes I often have imaginary conversations in my head. This is one of the reasons I think I’m a good writer. My brain is constant inventing imaginary scenes and such.
When I’m done with the first draft I will need feedback on it. The first draft will need lots of re-working I’m sure, but if anyone would like to read the first rough draft when I’m done (which won’t be for a while yet, I’m only a little under 2/3 done) let me know and I’ll be happy to let you critique it. I’d like as wide a range of feedback as possible since 10 people can give 10 different opinions of the same movie.