Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

So where to start. I’ll start with the conclusion; Loved it. That is not to say I have no nits to pick. I’ll get to those, but I just wanted to get it out of the way up front that I loved this movie, and it is a classic that stands far above the vast majority of movies. Now to the details.
I thought “Fellowship of the Ring” was as good of a movie version of the as was possible. Every change that was made, every part that was left out, I could totally understand why it was done. I’m pretty sure I even agreed with all the changes. I can’t say the same about “The Two Towers”. It was a bit slow to get going, and the flow and pacing was not as good as it could have been. There were definitely far more liberties taken this time around than on “Fellowship”. Again, I’m not against liberties in principle, and sometimes they’re even necessary to make a story work in the film medium, but some of the changes from the book just seemed pointless and unnecessary. Never the less, I found it enthralling, and destined to be a classic. I’m sure I will go to at least a few more showings, and will buy the DVD on the day of it’s release. I just hope Peter Jackson and company pull in the reigns a bit for the next movie and don’t get quite so loose with it. I never questioned anything about the first movie, but this one did leave a few criticisms with me. Still highly recommended though. I wait eagerly for “Return of the King”.
The Specifics
Let ye be warned, thar be spoilers ahead! Big nasty spoilers with pointy teeth!
I could spend endless amounts of time and space going over each bit but here are the ones that jump to mind:
Gandalf: The whole story of exactly what happened to him was highly confusing and surreal. He’s falling into a crevice, wait he’s on a mountain top battling the Balrog…
Admittedly, it was equally confusing and surreal in the book.
Wormtongue: I actually really liked Wormtongue although he was very obviously a bad guy. As soon as you see him you think “well there’s an evil dude”. I thought it probably shouldn’t have been so obvious.
Theoden: The whole bit with Saruman actually “posessing” him was a bit odd. not necessarily bad, but yet it didn’t quite sit right with me. Especially since Wormtongue “influencing” him doesn’t work with that scenario. Why would Wormtongue be whispering persuasive words if Saruman was in control of Theoden anyway.
Faramir: He was not much more than a Boromir copy, while in the book it was his contrast from Boromir that gave him such character. The entire journey to Osgiliath with the hobbits was not only completely fabricated but pointless and unnecessary. This was one of the changes that left my wife and I truly scratching our head.
The Ents: After their long decision, the Ents are supposed to decide to go and take Isengard, but instead they decide not to go, only to change their mind later when Pippin tricks them into seeing all the trees that had been killed. Again, a bit pointless to me. In the book, the Ents are already quite outraged at Saruman, and it is their own decision to go to Isengard and do something about him. I personally think this would have been a much better way to go.
Aragorn: The fabricated Warg attack scene was fine, but having Aragorn fall off the cliff to his apparent doom felt a bit contrived and unnecessary.
Arwen: I like Arwen’s increased role in the story, as opposed to barely being mentioned in the book, but was a bit confused when Elrond was lecturing her about how if she stayed, she would have to bear Aragorn’s death, and watch as those around her all died. This confused me because the whole point is that Arwen was becoming mortal herself if she stayed with Aragorn so she too would eventually die. The only sense I could make out of it was that maybe Elrond was saying that even as a mortal elf, her life span would still be much longer than humans, and therefore she would have to bear Aragorn’s death, plus many more before she herself died.
Helm’s Deep: Brilliant scene, but why the gratuitous company of elves? There was never a company of elves who showed up at Helm’s Deep. Not to mention they were led by Haldir, a lothlorien elf, but yet they said they came from Elrond (true that is possible that they were collaborating, but still an odd choice). I agreed with the change of Gandalf showing up with Eomer instead of the original character from the book. This played up the drama of Eomer’s banishment and provided a good conclusion to that angle, while also eliminating the need to introduce a new character just for that one scene who had no other purpose.
The Ending: While I can’t say I really have much of a problem with where they ended, I do think it would have been better to end where the book does. A big, cliffhanger ending where it looks as though all is lost. It just lends itself perfectly. This is why “The Empire Strikes Back” is such a strong movie.
Also check out Jess’s review.

Christmas is Dead. However for $19.95 you can have this collectible replica of Christmas!

So I have this friend. Every year, his family all basically tell each other exactly what to get for Christmas.
“You get me X, you get me Y, you get me Z”. If in fact someone decides to be spontaneous and get a gift that was not specifically asked for, chances are it will get returned.
So yesterday another friend of mine comes into work carrying a big box. It turns out he ha just returned from buying his own Christmas gift. He told his wife “I want this for Christmas”, but since she didn’t know the exact specifics and details involved as to exactly what to get and where to get it, he just went out and bought it for himself. When I brought up the subject of how I thought that was kind of lame, and against the whole spirit of Christmas (and how it reminded me of the first friend I mentioned) another co-worker chimed in and agreed with the other guy that it wasn’t lame but indeed was cool. Apparently he and his wife had also already gone and bought their own gifts for Christmas. The Christmas Spirit is officially dead. OK, I don’t really believe that but all these people make me feel that way. Christmas is supposed to be about giving. I like to get people gifts that I think they would like but that also say something about me. Something that they would want and yet that has a bit of my personality to it. I like to receive such gifts as well. I don’t mind giving possible suggestions as to gifts, and even getting things I’ve suggested, but I don’t want to just say “Ok, you get me this” and know for a fact that’s what I’m getting, or even worse yet just go buy myself a gift. Video killed the radio star, and commercialism killed Christmas. Apparently it’s now all about stuff. Junk. Things. Crap. Christmas isn’t a day which you show other people that you care, and that they mean something to you. It’s about having a special day when we can all go out and get ourselves something big that we want. In fact, don’t even wait for the day, anytime within about a month will do apparently.
“Merry Christmas! Here’s my present to you that you went out and bought yourself a month ago! Enjoy!” Evolution must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. This just reiterates my theory that the human race aren’t nearly as evolved and enlightened as we think we are. Can I go back to a saved game somewhere in history and try again?

“Alternative” Thanksgivings and the Changing Seasons of Life

So first off, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was nice. My uncle and cousin came up for Thanksgiving day (and getting my cousin to actually come visit is a miracle itself), and since no one really wanted to make a big fuss and spend eons preparing stuff, we ordered food from The Black-Eyed Pea. Much easier, and still good. Then on Friday, my cousin, my wife and I all piled in my little truck (very cramped indeed) and headed to Austin for Thanksgiving 2.0 with my aunt who couldn’t come up with my uncle because my other cousin had just had her wisdom teeth out and was having a really hard time. We decided that since none of us were all that crazy about “traditional” Thanksgiving food, that next year we wanted to have a totally non-traditional Thanksgiving with pasta or something like that. On a random note, we also went to the Alamo Draft House, this kick ass movie theatre that has every other row of seats replaced with a long table, and you can order food and drinks and such while you watch the movie. Very cool idea.
As I was laying with Jess on our makeshift bed on the floor of my cousin’s guest room, I suddenly had a strange thought. Now first you must understand that my cousin and I are like brothers. We grew up spending most of our school holidays, and summer breaks, etc. together. Whenever we get together, it’s always just pure fun and decadence. Junk food, all night video game sessions, and generally just hanging out and laughing and being incredibly silly. All my life, even into our adulthood, whenever I would visit I would make a little sleeping area on the floor of my cousin’s room, and whenever we did finally go to bed at some extremely late hour, we would usually lie in our respective beds and continue talking and being silly for a bit until we started to fall asleep. I realized that this will rarely if ever happen again. Now don’t get me wrong, as I told Jess, it’s not regret or longing that I feel. I’m much happier going to sleep with my arms around my wife, but never the less, there is a sort of wistfulness when you realize that something has forever changed. This isn’t the first time this has happened of course since things are constantly changing and most people will encounter these little episodes many times throughout life. Like “sleepovers” with your best friends. My friend Andy used to spend the night at my house as often as we could get away with when we were kids, and we would stay up all night playing games, walking to the convenience store to buy soft drinks and candy and such. At some point that just naturally changed (most likely when we could actually drive ourselves and therefore would just go home at the end of a night’s fun).
And so a new era has begun. An exciting, happy new era with my wife. A wife who happily takes part in silliness, and video games, and hanging out with my cousin. It’s even more fun with the three of us now. I suppose more than anything, I hope that my cousin doesn’t wax nostalgic like I do, because he has the raw end of the deal. I get to go to bed with my beautiful wife, while he just loses those times when he and I would lay there in the dark being silly until sleep took us. Who knows, maybe he’s celebrating that he now has that much less time that he has to put up with me. I guess the whole point is that even when things change for the better, you sometimes still get a bit wistful as you look behind you and watch memories fade into the sunset of your mind.

Mawidge…mawidge is what bwings us togewer today

I now have a wife. Cool, eh? We got married at 11:40 am on November 9 2002 at Texas Renaissance Festival. It was quite wonderful, and I don’t really know what to say about it. It was a long, but great day. There were so many people there which was fantastic, and yet I wanted to spend time with them all which proved impossible. Being that this was the first nice weekend in about a month, the festival was PACKED! We quickly found it was nearly impossible to try and keep more than about 5-7 people together at any one time. After the wedding we immediately bought Jess some comfortable shoes since hers were rubbing blisters on her feet. We spent the rest of the day mostly looking for people or resting because we were so damn tired. We wanted to peruse shops and such but were just too tired. We’ll have to go back some other day when we’re NOT getting married. There were tons of people taking pics of us. We felt like stars posing for the paparazzi. As the pics roll I will update the “Photos” link above with links to all the pics. It all seemed to happen very quickly and the whole day is quite a blur. We are happy to be married and yet a bit shocked that we really don’t feel any different at all. Jess is now off to spend the week with her family seeing some sights around Texas, and unfortunately, I can’t go because I have no vacation time left, and work won’t let me use my sick days, plus a few other stupid work things that piss me off. Oh well, we plan on going somewhere together for the 4 day thanksgiving holiday. the biggest thing is getting used to calling her my wife…heheeeeeeeeeeeee
I have a wife.

The continuing story of my new band

The full story of Craig Davis and the Invaders
On our previous episode…
Dawn Lee had wanted Craig to come play a gig for a series of outdoor concerts. Craig had recorded 3 cd’s but used studio musicians and didn’t really have a band. Dawn Lee said she would find him a band. She called some local musicians to recruits them for the project including Donnie, the keyboard/guitar player for my band. Donnie didn’t really think he was up to it (he underestimates himself) and referred her to me. I was then hired to play keyboards. Turns out, the bass player had a previous engagement so I took over bass guitar and pulled Donnie back in on keys.
The conclusion…
Once we started rehearsing Craig wanted me on guitar since that’s my primary instrument and he liked my playing, so I switched to guitar. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be a train wreck without some severe and quick organization, so I found myself quickly being appointed the band leader by everyone else involved which was cool with me. The drummer knew a bass player so I called him, and he said that he thought the drummer and him were already booked. I called the drummer, and he didn’t think they were, so he went to sort that out. Turns out they WERE booked, so with only about 3 weeks until our debut gig, and 30 songs to learn we suddenly had no drummer of bass player. I knew of a couple, but there were some conflicts and questions about aspects of their reputations and reliability, however it soon became apparent we had no other choice so I hired them in. I burned CD’s of the set list for everyone, and Craig was driving down from Austin every weekend to practice. We never got to practice with the drummer or bass player but they had the CD’s to learn the tunes. The week of our gig, it was pissing down rain here, and since the venue was outdoors, they decided to postpone the gig until the next week, when my other band was going to play, and then we would just do a big double bill, which was cool for me and Donnie, because that meant we only had to set up once, but got to play and get paid twice. Well with the gig being moved, our bass player was not available for the new date. This left us with only one choice. The bass player for my other band was in Europe vacationing but would return about a week before the gig. I wrote out all the chords to all 30 songs so he could have some assistance, and when he got back from Europe we had a grand total of 2 rehearsals to run over the 30 tunes we were playing.
Friday November 1. Gig day. 7:00 am. It’s raining. The drummer calls to see what the plan is. I tell him we’re going through with it one way or another, and that it will probably clear up anyway. I make some calls and find out that we have a back up location in case of rain so all is good. The rain clears up and the weather turns pretty damn nice, so that’s bodes well.
4:25 pm. We are scheduled to set up at 5:00 and start playing at 7:00. The drummer calls me to tell me he’s hung up at work and wants to know if I can get my other band’s drummer to do the gig. I tell him that Craig (the other drummer) has not even ever listened to these 30 original songs. Remember those conflicts and questionable reputations I mentioned earlier? This was what I was referring too. This drummer had developed a big reputation for being very unreliable and flaky, but he had never screwed ME before so I didn’t want to be prejudiced against him for things he’d done in the past that didn’t involve me. I was determined to trust him until he gave me, personally, a reason not to. Well here it was. 30 minutes to set up time and he was trying to bail out. I talked with Craig and we both agreed to just do the gig and pray for the best and I told the first drummer to just forget about it, and that Craig would do the gig. For the record, the “work” he was hung up in was actually another gig he had committed to first, then tried to bail out on them to play with me, but then when the other band couldn’t find another drummer they told him “look, you committed to us first so you need to play with us”. I will not be calling him for any more gigs.
4:30. Craig and I have about 30 minutes to go over 30 songs. He starts making notes as I fast forward the CD’s to major parts in the songs such as “tempo change here”, “half time here”, “different beat here”. We work out some body language signals that I can give him to guide him along so he can watch me for stops, tempo changes, etc, while we’re playing. We end up cramming until about 5:30 then rush to set up. We bring a portable CD player, and thank the gods for the fact that I had thought to burn CD’s of our set list in the exact playing order, because before each song during the gig, Craig puts on the portable CD player and listens to the first 10-15 seconds of each song to get a clue about how it goes. During the gig I’m playing lead guitar parts, singing harmony parts, and simultaneously directing the entire band with signals, gestures, and body language. I feel like I’m walking a tight rope while juggling and spinning plates. The gig actually goes very well, especially considering the bass player has rehearsed a grand total of twice, the drummer has never even heard the songs before that afternoon, and the rest of us only rehearsed maybe 4 or 5 times. It’s rough, but by no means a train wreck. In fact, we come off very well, and end up sounding quite good and impressing a lot of people. We play from 7-9, and then my other band plays from 9-12. The second gig was pure gold. I would rate it as one of our best gigs ever. Everything sounded great everyone played and sang their asses off and it was on of those nights where I impressed myself and couldn’t believe how absolutely incredible this band is. Even despite the fact that is was a bit cold outside that night we had a good crowd, and put on a hell of a show. By the end of the night me and 3 of the other guys had played a grand total of 5 hours between 2 bands. I went home, showered, and promptly collapsed into a coma like sleep. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a wild rock star. Showers and sleep, baby. We hope to continue rehearsing and begin playing in Austin and elsewhere. Notlame records has been very good so far and sold a lot of Craig Davis’ CD’s and put him in touch with some good people including the guy who mentioned us possibly playing the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Chicago. Who knows where this might lead. You can go to Notlame Records and search for Craig Davis and listen to some sound clips if you like. Good stuff. I’m quite excited about this project. Maybe we’ll be coming to a city near you soon!

Ruminations on my last day of bachelorhood

I highly recommend getting married. It’s a win/win situation. First of all you get to have a day that’s all about you and your loved one, where everyone gathers and celebrates your love. You get to tell the whole world how much you love each other and experience the happiness of knowing that you’re both entering into a new life together. Then on top of all your happiness and excitement, people give you stuff. Money, presents, congratulations, etc. I feel almost guilty. Almost.
This week has actually been very pleasant (albeit very busy). We’ve spent lots of time with the family, who have all been very pleasant, jovial, and pretty much conflict free as far as I’ve seen. We have been out to eat every night to different places, and just generally had a good time spending time all together. I got my thigh high leather renaissance boots in and they actually fit this time. My hair is bleached practically white, and although it seems on the brink of death it looks fabulous if I do say so myself. The new band we’ve formed with Craig Davis out of Austin (more on that at in a separate my next post) seems to have some good opportunities popping up for us, the most exciting prospect being possibly playing the International Pop Overthrow Festival in Chicago at the end of March.
But most importantly, Jess is as beautiful and wonderful as ever, and will be my wife tomorrow at 11:30 am. Everyday we grow closer and life gets better. We integrated our CD collections. That’s love.
Life is beautiful, and I love you all.

The Wedding is Nigh!

I shall be marrying the most incredible and beautiful woman on the planet on November 9, 11:30 am, at The Texas Renaissance Festival in an english garden area named “Titania’s Bower”. Everyone is invited.

Screw IE, Mozilla, and all the others! It’s Crazy Browser!

So like 90% of the web surfers out there, I have been a long time Internet Explorer user. For quite some time I have heard about what a great browser Mozilla is, too. Well recently I heard about how Mozilla (a free open source browser) had the “smart pop-up killer” ability. Basically this prevents any unwanted windows from popping up, but still lets windows pop up if you request them (like if you click a link that opens a new window). So I decided to give Mozilla a try.
Mozilla is built on Netscape’s engine, so it pretty much looks like netscape. The smart pop-up killer worked great, and was very cool. However as I sued it I noticed more and more quirks. The first thing that bugged me is the complete inability to customize the toolbar at all. When I run IE, I completely reconfigured the tool bar to be very efficient, and compact. With Mozilla, you get the layout they give you, and that’s it. Now I know they are working on this for future releases. I also like to install the Google toolbar so I can search directly from my browser’s toolbar. Luckily there was an equivalent available for Mozilla. However, Mozilla did crash on me quite a few times, and any time it needed to open a “browse” window, such as when I wanted to save a file, the browse window took ages, and ages to open. Now, note this only happened on Windows 2000, but still annoying. The final straw came when I found I couldn’t use my online banking at all. The page was just totally screwed up in Mozilla. Now this most likely isn’t Mozilla’s fault, but the web designer’s fault. However, regardless of blame, I couldn’t use my online banking. One BIG advantage of Mozilla (and several other browsers) is “Tabbed Browsing”. This allows you to have only one browser window running in your taskbar, but within that window you can have as many windows as you want, which each show up as a “tab” in the window. Just click on each tab to go to that browser window. This is especially nice for people like me who like every window that opens to be maximized instead of opening up in a smaller window. Why IE has not implemented Tabbed Browsing, and Smart Pop-up Killing (which is very simple to do) baffles me.
So having had one too many quirks in Mozilla, I went back to IE. I then decided to see if there were any plugins or anything that would allow Tabbed Browsing, because it absolutely rocks. This is when I stumbled upon pure gold. Crazy Browser. This has everything I liked about IE and Mozilla, plus more. Now it does require you to have IE installed. I’m not exactly sure on the whole technicalities of how it works, but basically, it’s a stand alone program (not a plugin for IE), but yet uses certain components from IE to render web pages. It is so utterly customizable, your head will spin. I easily moved my toolbars around to my liking, and customized what buttons and menus I wanted. I told it what I did and did not want to open in a new “tab”. For example, by default, anything you click on in your favorites menu, anything you type in the address bar, and several other things all open in a new tab (basically a new window within the browser window). Well I unchecked a few boxes, and then it behaved just like I wanted and only opened a new tab for things that would normally open a new window when clicked on. There’s also an option you need to click if you want to be able to run more than one instance of Crazy Browser. For example, let’s say you’re researching llamas, and looking for web pages about giraffes. You could have one Crazy Browser open with 5 pages about llamas open (each having their own tab within the browser) and then open another browser and have 5 pages about giraffes open there. Of course if you wanted to you could also have all 10 pages open in one browser with 10 tabs. The important thing being that if you do want to run more than one instance of Crazy Browser you must check a box within the options.
You can also save “groups” of tabs. Taking the example above, I could save my 5 different llama pages as a “group”. then in the future I could click on that one entry titled “llamas” and it would open all 5 pages, each on their own tab. Let’s say you don’t always want to open all 5, but sometimes you do. Then you could just save each page individually in your favorites, and put them all in their own folder titled “llamas”. Now when you open your favorites, you see your “llamas” folder, and you can either click on any individual web page OR click the handy link at the to of the folder labeled “open all links” and open every link in that folder (in this case, our 5 llama pages) just like a group.
Now since Crazy Browser is it’s own program and not a plugin for IE, you can’t use the Google toolbar. At first I thought I would miss it. I don’t. It’s own built in search feature is very nice. You open a little sidebar, type in your search and click on which of the many search engines you want to search. The results then appear in their own tab in the browser. I did miss being able to just click on my search term in the Google toolbar and have it highlighted on the page, but this is a minor quibble which can also be accomplished, albeit not quite as elegantly, by hitting ctrl+f to bring up the “find” box.
Pop-ups are virtually extinct. I have had a few which fooled the browser and popped up in a new tab, and a few of those annoying ones that appear on the same page you’re browsing, but all in all, my browsing is almost pop-up free now. The smart pop-up killer works incredibly well.
There’s also cool drop down menu beside the address bar that lets you translate websites from one language to another using Altavista’s Babelfish function.
So far the only “flaw” I have found (and it’s only a flaw if it bothers you personally), is that you can’t re-order your favorites. They appear in alphabetical order. If you want to do anything with them, such as rename them, change their properties, or delete them, you have to go into the “organize favorites” menu. Also, if you have more favorites than will fit on a page, you have to click on the arrow at the bottom of the list to scroll it. It won’t scroll if you just hover over it like IE will.
Aside from the weakness in the favorites menu I have not found a single flaw. I’ve been to web pages using Flash, Shockwave, etc., and it appears that if the plugin is installed in IE, then Crazy Browser will work with it.
In my opinion, Crazy Browser is everything that IE and Mozilla should be. It is hands down the absolute most incredible web browser I have ever seen. I think that some of the default settings (such as almost everything opening up in it’s own new tab) could initially annoy you, but if you take the time to customize the settings to your personal preferences, I think it quickly becomes the perfect browser. It is completely free, and therefore does not have any kind of official technical support at all, so if you have a problem, you’re pretty much on your own, however I don’t see this is as much of an issue really. It’s preformed flawlessly for me, and I’ve had no problems figuring out all the options for myself without even looking at the help file included with the program. Give it a try, tweak it, and give it some time. Once you’ve gotten used to the change, you’ll never want to go back to any other browser until they get on the ball and put out something of this caliber. I haven’t been this impressed with something in a long time.

So you want to sing “Hey Jude”…

Ok, then, listen up. This is important. Hey Jude is one of those big, feel good, everybody sing along songs. You can just feel the tension rising as all of us wannabe Beatles lie in wait like hungry predators for that grand finale of an ending where everyone sings “Naaaa naa naa na na na naaaaa, na na na naaaaaaa, hey Jude”. However, here’s where we run into the worldwide epidemic. Let me demonstrate…
“Remember to let her under your skin, (the anticipation begins, the wolves are salivating) then you begin to make it better, better, better, better, (people are on the verge of aneurysms now…here it comes) BETTER, BETTER, YEAH!”(YES! Finally!)
Naaa naa naa na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaa, hey Jude”
>>>JUDE JUDE-A JUDE-A JUDE-AY JUDE-AY JUDE-AYYYOOOOOWWW! YOW!<<< That guy. That guy just ruined it. Anyone know why? Anyone? Bueller? Because Paul doesn't shout that for another 3 rounds. However, that guy just can't wait to yell JUDE "JUDE-A JUDE-A JUDE-AY JUDE-AY JUDE-AYYYOOOOOWWW! YOW!" so he pounces to make sure no one else gets it first. Premature e-Jude-ulation. He has just completely ruined that line. In the song the line is placed perfectly for artistic effect. It just feels right. You spend three rounds slowly building up the tension, and then on that fourth round the horns and strings kick in, bringing things up yet another notch, and then at the end of the fourth round, Paul explodes in the orgasmic frenzy that is "JUDE JUDE-A JUDE-A JUDE-AY JUDE-AY JUDE-AYYYOOOOOWWW! YOW!". Ahhhh. It feels so much better when you wait. The perfect ratio of tension to release. Too early and there's just not enough tension to release, too late and it misses it's window and falls like a badly timed punchline. So, everyone practice along with your CD, record, tape, 8-track, mp3, or whatever you happen to have: "Remember to let her under your skin, then you begin to make it better, better, better, better, BETTER, BETTER, YEAH Naaa naa naa na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaa, hey Jude (Stop it! Not yet! Wait for it!)
Naaa naa naa na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaa, hey Jude
(That’s it! You! Out!)
Naaa naa naa na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaa, hey Jude
(*glares* I see the twitching…don’t even think about it)
(horns and strings come in now)
Naaa naa naa na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaa, hey Jude
…and there we are. Practice until your willpower allows you to exercise enough restraint to do it right. Then you can get your official “Hey Jude Police” badge. Be vigilant. The only way we can stop this is together. Knowledge is power. Thank you, good night.
*Beatle bow*

Craig Davis and the Invaders (A Tangled Musical Web)

So here’s the scoop on my newest musical project…
Backstory (bear with me here):
I’ve been playing with a cover band called The Rock-A-Fellas for about 8 years now. At one point I moved to Dallas for a year, and made the 3 hour drive back whenever we had gigs. We recruited Mike Holleman to take over my duties as lead guitar and lead singer. Now this is already interesting because Mike is actually a drummer who had played drums and sang with the Rock-A-Fellas for many years before I ever joined. He later moved away, played for Sheryl Crow, and made a living playing the Vegas Casino circuit before moving back to College Station because he was tired of living out of a suitcase and playing casinos where the music was nothing more than wallpaper to unappreciative patrons. So now here he was playing guitar and singing (he’s also a hell of a guitar player) preparing to take over my spot so I could leave now that I was living in Dallas. Well after a year in Dallas I decided to move back because the band was doing quite well, plus other boring factors. Mike was playing in several other bands and since we didn’t really need him anymore, we parted ways. During this time he had told me about how he was going to Austin on some weekends to record with a guy named Craig Davis. Turns out I kind of knew of him because my aunt and uncle had been good friends with him during my childhood, and when I would go stay with them to visit my cousin during school vacations, sometimes we would go visit Craig. Small world eh? But wait, it gets smaller…
So about 2 weeks ago Donnie Angonia, who plays in the Rock-A-Fellas with me, told me that a friend of the band, Dawn Lee, had called him to recruit him for keyboard duty. She was organizing a series of shows at The Palace Theatre (formerly a normal theatre whose roof collapsed, and was consequently made into an amphitheatre. Incidentally I was in the cast of a production of Oklahoma that was in the middle of it’s rehearsal run when the roof collapsed. Luckily it happened during the day when no one was actually there.) Dawn wanted to have Craig Davis come play a show, but the problem was that Craig didn’t actually have a band. He just got guys together whenever he wanted to go in the studio and record. She had put together a band of local guys and wanted Donnie to play keys. He had a prior commitment, and therefore passed my name along. She called me to play keys and sing backup and I agreed. After listening to some CD’s of his music, I really wished I was playing bass or guitar instead. Then Donnie ended up being free after all, so I called Dawn to tell her he was free, but if the other bass player couldn’t do it or anything then I could move to bass and Donnie could play keys. Dawn was elated to hear this since the other bass player had just realized he was going to be out of town! So I took over bass duties (which I was totally excited about since it’s a blast to get away from my normal lead guitar duties to play bass. It’s an entirely different thrill to me), and Donnie came on board as keyboardist. This was also handy since Donnie and I play in a band together, and we could also get together and work up backup harmonies.
So we now have until October 26th to learn 3 hours worth of music. I have been listening to 3 CD’s (with 14, 17, and 22 tracks of music!!!) non-stop to hammer Craig’s original music into my brain. I’m basically doing the equivalent of musical “cramming”, learning bass parts, lyrics and harmony parts. Craigs’ music is absolutely great. Very 60’s rock influenced. Like The Beatles and Tom Petty in a big musical orgy with elements of The Byrds, The Beach Boys, ELO, and Pink Floyd thrown in, plus occasional other musical spices. I’m very much looking forward to this gig.