Friday, December 30, 2011


There were two things that I intended to accomplish in December 2011.

The first was to not drink alcohol. Unless something really unexpected happens in the next 40 hours, I think I will manage to accomplish that. It seems like a small not drink for an entire calendar month...but it is a small thing that I don't think I've accomplished since...well probably at least since 2000 and probably more like since 1997 or 1998. It gets easier and harder every day and it probably will for a while yet until it just isn't as big a deal anymore. At least that's where I'm hoping things are headed.

The second thing I meant to do I did not accomplish...though I made a decent start and I should probably not be too hard on myself...give my self some credit...for making that good start. The goal was to multi-track record...all by myself playing all the parts...covers of about 15 Breeders songs. I first mentioned it here on October 21st, though I'd been thinking about doing it for a while before that. I don't really remember when the idea first hit me. Somewhere between being pissed at one of our early CJ shows probably in 2010 when someone said I should start a Breeders tribute ("dumb ass" I thought..."I can't play guitar or sing well enough like Kim Deal to pull that off...and I don't even think that I like their music") and when bought and started listening to the records likely in early to mid 2011. Though it is true that I DID suggest covering "Cannonball" to the grunge band back in late summer my brain was starting to turn anyway.

I've recorded full tribute albums twice before, so I knew that I could do it. Usually this involves me learning a couple of songs over a long period of time...and then deciding to do it. After that it is a month or two of relatively concentrated effort to learn all of the parts to all of the songs (sometimes only moments before recording them) and then laying down tracks. And then all the bullshit with getting the tracks together right. This last step I've never been good at. As per the cult of done...there is no editing stage. I never said that I did things well...I just said that I get them done.

So I've been sort of absent-mindedly learning the parts to the songs since October or so I guess. A real sticking point was fear of my equipment. I have a Boss 1180cd multi-tracker. It has served me well. But it has always been a bit of a black box that I feared. At some point a few years ago an effect got stuck on that I couldn't turn off, rendering it useless. This fall I finally figured out how to turn it off...making the Breeders project possible. But I was still afraid of the thing. And it is just old enough of technology that it is hard of hard to use. Very user friendly for its it is...well a black box. And the only way to get the data out is via burning to the internal cd (which takes forever and adds an unneccessary step) or to record to an external device via RCA connections (I don't have an external device to record to...and this still doesn't convert the files to something my computer can use and, say, post on the internet. But last night everything changed.

Yesterday, for some unknown reason, I started wondering if I could use the free software program Audacity to multitrack. This had never occurred to me before. I've only ever used the program to edit mp3s that I've chop up a full concert performance into individual songs...or to cut off the noise at the start and end of a track. I mostly use it to clean up rehearsal recordings that I make with my $100 Zoom H1 Handy Recorder so I can email the files to the band or practice along with them on my laptop. But I thought to google "multitracking with Audacity" yesterday at work (work has been slow over the holidays) and *boom* the world opened up.

Still not believing it could be so cheap and easy (I've been debating buying a microphone/laptop interface and software for years) I went home last night and tried it out with "Do You Love Me Now"...a recent addition to the planned track list. I recorded rhythm guitar, vocal, and lead guitar separately with my Zoom and imported the mp3s each into Audacity. They come in as stereo tracks...but you can split them and delete one side. Then...line them up...clean up the noise...export as WAV or mp3...and you get a finished stereo file out the other end. I had a song done in less than an hour (though it was a scratch track totally and will have to be redone). I recorded the rhythm and the lead guitar on both electric with distortion through my GK Backline 115 bass amp and with an acoustic direct to air. I still have to work on how to keep the level of the recorded track high enough without clipping the mic...but it is an easy enough adjustment to make. Today I'm gonna goof with the test song more and see about adding effects and such. Last night I was able to remove the background noise and delete coughs and such...already way more than I was ever able to figure out with the Boss.

I know that people (including Kim Deal) bemoan the rise of Protools (Audacity is essentially a cheap version of the same kind of software). It makes it too easy to create an artificial performance and it allows people with no talent and no business recording music to do it. But I think it is pretty awesome. I'm not trying to make great art...I'm just a plumber with a keyboard.* I'm just passing time on earth and trying to amuse myself. For years I couldn't find bands to play with...and so I played music alone. Multi-tracking allowed me to be my own band. And that's better than getting drunk alone any day of the week. I bet even Kim Deal could agree with that.

*Footnote: The plumber with a keyboard. I had a music teacher in college, Michael Iautaro. He was a composer. In addition to playing cello in the school orchestra under him for four years, I took pretty much any music classes he offered. Theory...recording...a few other things I think. One day he went off on how the world was coming to an end because "now adays" even a plumber could make music in his basement with a keyboard. He thought this tragic...that no talent hacks would muddy up his precious performance and composition world. This really pissed me off...and in a subsequent paper I debated the fact with him. In the grading comments he wrote "Give you a soapbox and you take it home!" I've always remembered that. Mike's dead now. Cancer I think. I didn't always agree with him and I can't say that I'm aware of him having a HUGE influence on me as a musician...but none the I am a plumber with a keyboard. And that's the most important thing in my life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Song of the Year

I believe that the song of the year for 2012 will be *drum roll*...Heart Beat Faster by Anna Vogelzang

(listen to it here)


Some background...I thought I had reposted this somewhere safe, but it only seems to live on a long dead reposting here...

Since I was 14 years old I've had a New Year's tradition of picking a song to represent the coming year. Sometimes it is a pessimistic song...sometimes it is an optimistic song. Sometimes I am not even sure why I pick the song...but they almost always end year have been an excellent representation of the previous year.

The song is supposed to be the first song that I hear in the New Year (and the previous year's song is supposed to be the last song that I hear in the previous year). Of course, logistically this is not always possible, but usually it is.

Why do I do this? Who knows! But no sense in ruining a perfectly good tradition...

1985 Kids from Fame I Still Believe in Me
1986 Go West Don't Look Down
1987 Outfield Taking My Chances
1988 Police King of Pain
1989 U2 Where the Streets Have No Name
1990 Erasure Hideaway
1991 Aztec Camera Stray
1992 Erasure Home
1993 Kirt Kempter Standing on this Bridge
1994 John Wesley Harding End of Something
1995 Poi Dog Pondering Postcard from a Dream
1996 Indigo Girls Watershed
1997 Poi Dog Pondering Complicated
1998 Michelle Shocked The Hard Way
1999 Ani DiFranco Fuel
2000 The Nields Giving it Back to Susan
2001 Barenaked Ladies Falling for the First Time
2002 The Nields This Town is Wrong
2003 Fleetwood Mac Landslide
2004 Barenaked Ladies Go Home
2005 Barenaked Ladies For You
2007 The Motor Primitives Favorite Dream
2009 Barenaked Ladies Testing 1, 2, 3
2010 Barenaked Ladies Maybe You're Right
2011 The Breeders One Divine Hammer
2012 Anna Vogelzang Heart Beat Faster

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Last night I sat down to try and play "Always Touched By Your Presence Dear." It's a Blondie tune that didn't make the set cut...and it was just as well because I couldn't get it. The thing that tripped me up was the hi hat foot. It's one of those things that, if we'd played it, I could have faked that part. But it bothered me that I never was able to do it. I did better at it last night, though still not perfect.

I haven't yet really figured out how to balance myself when playing the left foot. I think that I lean that way a bit and stabilize myself with my left leg being planted into the floor. If I only need to open the hi hat every so often, I can...but if I have to open it on every 8th note even for a stretch of three or so I lose my balance. I've been trying to work on playing all 8th notes on my left foot and on getting the independence with my other limbs while doing it...though mostly I've been air drumming this. To do it on the kit is still just so daunting and ridiculous.

I've also been trying to do some pad exercises. I've been having a hard time forcing myself to go to the kit over the last few instead I've at least demanded a bit of practice pad time. Just the basic Trying to get my left hand to catch up to my right. Get it stronger and more consistent...and improve the technique. Not PC I know...but my left hand is retarded...truly. It is a spaz.

The saga of the bass pedal continues. I thought for sure I'd posted about this already...but maybe not. So I went along forever just fine using a Pulse bass pedal on my kit at home. And then one day it stopped working so well for me. It started feeling like I was bottoming out. Like I was banging metal against metal and the bottom of my stroke...and it was making my leg and knee hurt. I checked...and indeed that is what was happening...I was wearing the metal away. I tried various things to adjust the pedal, but came up that the chain needed to be shorter, and since it was a cheap pedal, that wasn't adjustable. So I got a different pedal. I had been eyeing up this Tama Camco 30th Anniversary Limited Edition pedal (at like $130), but ended up going with this Gibraltar Velocity 3311S strap drive pedal instead...on sale for like $29 at Guitar Center. I really like strap drive and I really like an open bottom frame it was a no brainer.

I like the new pedal a lot. It's great. But now...I'm having a bounce issue. Basically my bass drum (and the attached rack toms) is bouncing too much. It's either the puffy carpet underneath or the bouncy old floor boards...but the thing is out of control. I've tried all kinds of adjustments and have managed to minimize it by raising the front spurs up so that the front of the hoop is off the ground. It works okay for mid-tempo songs...but for a fast punk tune with double kick type's really hard on my leg. There's a bunch of energy dissipating in the's like you hit the moves away from the beater...then it comes back. I'm debating some kind of riser or platform to press down the carpet, but I worry that it is really just the floor itself. I don't get why this started happening all of the wasn't a problem literally for about 5 years.

Anyway, that makes me not want to play at home and makes practicing fast pedal work difficult.

Update: Huh...this is interesting. They talk about muffling with blanket, etc (have one small blanket) and adding a port (already got one) to reduce bounce. Also they mention that if you bury beater (I do, unfortunately, as it isn't great technique) bounce will be worse. I had already though that if I could bury it less the bounce would be more tolerable. I hadn't thought about adding more muffling to increase the WEIGHT and hold the thing down. Might be worth trying. They also talk about loosening pedal spring.

Hmmm...they also talk in a different place about using a two ply head to reduce bounce. They are talking about beater bounce more than kit bounce...but still. I totally forgot that I not only changed my tuning (I think I've tuned up...which will increase bounce)...I changed my drum head. I used to have a coated Emperor...that's a two ply head. Now I have a Powerstroke 3 (it came with a set of Pinstripes in a propack)...which is a single ply...and not coated. That might have made a difference. I have a falam slam on the Powerstroke3, and also had one on the Emperor, but it wasn't affixed as tightly because there was a sticky patch from using other brands of dots that didn't stay stuck.

A Powerstroke 4 would be two ply...or just going back to a coated two ply. Interesting.

So before I build a whole freaking new floor:
1. Detune batter head a bit. Screw around with different resonant/batter tuning combos (maybe test on that little 12 inch tom I have to see how bounce changes with different combos...cause tuning the bass drum is a pain with all the shit on it)
2. Add stuff to inside drum
3. Loosen pedal spring (don't really want to do this though)
4. Return to a 2 ply head.
5. Go with a fuzzier beater (but might reduce volume too much)

Pixies Bass Fakebook Update

A week alone in one's office can do strange things to a person. Like make you work on projects that you've been putting off since, apparently, last February (according to the last dated copy). I spent a ridiculous amount of time today updating the Pixies Bass Fakebook. There's still a few things missing or wrong (I'm in the process of revising my part for Mr. Grieves to more closely match the recording, for instance, but it isn't finished yet, so I left it in the Fakebook the old way). At some point I should double check all of the old standards from the first three records to make sure that the tab in the book is what I actually play...but after hours of working on the thing today I got to a point where I just couldn't look at the damn thing any longer.

Still, the thing is getting pretty close to done (or as done as it ever will be). I don't know exactly when I started working on it, but it was probably around January of 2010...since that's when the idea of being in a Pixies tribute band was first put into my mind (though not realized until March of 2010) and I bought the greatest hits record and sat down and taught myself Nimrod's Son by ear after listening to it on the bus on the way home from work. So yeah...two years spent working on learning and tabbing 89 songs.

For sure having tab to start from on most of these made things much easier. But I've poured a ton of work into it just the same...since the tab was pretty much wrong in part I'd say 100% of the time. Of course, some will say that my tab is wrong too. But the songs are playable this way I assure you.

Of those that are incomplete yet, only a couple are must-haves (aside from a perspective of ridiculous completeness)...which is to say there are only a few that the tribute band are ever likely to play. Those would be Lovely Day, and Weird at My School. The rest are entirely unneccessary and not even the Pixies are ever likely to play them again. Ain't That Pretty At All cracks me up and I'd play it if anyone was willing and we could figure it out...but this seems unlikely.

Remaining songs that are incomplete (17 songs):
Lovely Day (the only album based song left)
Rock A My Soul
Make Believe
Weird At My School
Velvety Instrumental
Bam Thwok
Boom Chicka Boom
Brackish Boy (unreleased)
Evil Hearted You (Yardbirds)
Theme from Narc
Wild Honey Pie (Beatles)...this is pretty close to ready
Ain't That Pretty at All (Warren Zevon)
I Can't Forget (Leonard Cohen)
Born in Chicago (Paul Butterfield Blues Band)
Hang on to Your Ego (Beach Boys)
I've Been Waiting For You (Neil Young)

A footnote: There are a fair number of the 89 songs that the band hasn't learned and played as a group yet aside from the 17 listed above. We know and have played live 51 of the songs and are adding three more (Bird, D=RxT, Blown Away) starting next week. That leaves the following that I've got ready to go that the band has yet to start or plan to start (18 songs):

All Over The World
Bailey's Walk
Cecilia Ann
Dancing The Mantra Ray
Hang Wire
In Heaven
Lovely Day
Motorway to Roswell
Navajo Know
Rock Music
Stormy Weather
The Happening
The Thing
Wave of Mutilation UK

True too that most of these aren't the most popular of their songs...they'll be needed to complete the albums and the more well known B-sides though. And we do stuff for no good reason, frankly.

UPDATE: Over nye weekend I finished Weird at My the only meaningful song left to tab is Lovely Day

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking for Breeders Chords


Son of Three



Driving on 9

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Online Classes

Just a reminder here for me about the ArtistWorks Drum Academy. It's video lessons, but there is a bit of back and forth with the instructors. It's cheap...but I took a look and the sample lessons don't seem that helpful. I think that there are other people out there doing this better. After I finish my first Berklee class I should take a look at what is out there. If I can get video lessons for free or less than $50 per month...I should look into it. It requires more personal initiative...but Berklee is really pricey. Even if I like Berkleee and want to continue on...I might not be able to afford to take 4 classes a year (one per session). Other kinds of on-line video lessons could be a good gap filler. Less stressful than taking live lessons and possibly more helpful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

CJ, Frequency, 12/16/2011

The night after the Mr. Roberts gig, we played a benefit for Dane101. The lineup went like this:
5:15pm The Shabelles
6:00pm Bob Koch
6:40pm Bes Monde
7:30pm Prize giveaway
8:00pm Crackity Jones (Pixies Tribute band)
9:00pm Nick Brown
9:30pm Caustic
10:10pm Naked Girls Reading
10:45pm The German Art Students
11:40pm Prize giveaway
11:50pm Murder of Crowes (Black Crowes Tribute band)
12:30am Tiger Clutch

I was sick. I had taken the day off of work...pretty sure the entire band had the day off in fact. EH played the Shabelles kit (it was tiny and fancy) and I played through Tiger Clutch's bass amp head (it was loud and vibratory). I was in weird shadow on stage and couldn't see the dots on my bass neck...which I guess that I rely on more than I thought I did. I missed the same measure in Wave...don't know what that's about. Flubbed Mr Grieves, but doubt it was obvious. The rest was ok I guess. I had meant to do the Kim Deal banter from the Doolittle shows...but spaced most of it largely due to my cold. I did think to embarrass EH a bit before La La Love You though. Silver went well for the second time...I think RS was severely delaying coming in with the harmony, giving me plenty of time to nail the note. We'll probably never play the song again. We're taking time off until Jan 4th, but we discussed next tunes to learn and it'll be Bird Dream, D= RxT, and Blown Away. I cranked them all out today and will have them committed to memory in no time. Had good talks these last couple of days. I am thankful again for the boys and hope this ride continues on a while.

Best audience comment of the night: "I wasn't so sure about about coming to see a Pixies cover band. I didn't know what it was gonna sound like. But it sounds like the Pixies." Nice.

Also, a woman came up to me in the middle of the show to tell me that there was a piece of lint on one of my bass strings. I left it there just to spite her because it was such a ridiculous thing to interrupt someone on stage about.

I Bleed
Here Comes
Mr G
La La Love
No 13
There Goes

Here's the pre-show interview I did with Dane101:
Dane101: How did you come up with the name of your band?

Dar from Crackity Jones: We did a web search to see what other Pixies tribute bands had called themselves. Most of the obvious ones, like Nimrod’s Son, had been taken. We were trying not to duplicate. We wanted a song/album title or lyric. We looked at the list of songs and Crackity Jones was on it as a candidate that it seemed like no one had used yet. The song starts off “Jose Jones told me alone his story. He got friends like Paco Picopiedra.” I think Paco Picopiedra means Fred Flintstone…but we coopted it as our stage names. So we play under the names Jose Jones, Paco, Pico, and Piedra. Once that fell into place we had to go with Crackity Jones. Also “CJ” looks like a backwards “P” so it ended up making a nice play on the Pixies flying P logo…but that was just a happy accident.

Who is in your band and what are their backgrounds?

Dar: Well, as mentioned… Jose Jones, Paco, Pico, and Piedra. Jose, Paco, and Pico have been playing in bands together for over 15 years and all went to college together in Minnesota. Most recently, before Crackity Jones, they were The Escapists. Jose and Piedra also currently play in The Drain and The Seven Stone Weaklings.

If your band was a snack, what snack would it be and why?

Dar: Arby’s for sure. Because our practice space is near Arby’s and we regularly abuse our bodies there.

What was your favorite gig you played in Dane County and why?

Dar: That’s a hard one. Before Crackity Jones I think that all of us had grown accustomed to people just not giving a shit about our music. You would bust your ass to prepare for and play a show and no one would show up except your close friends. But pretty immediately when we started playing out as Crackity Jones the whole attitude was totally different. I remember at our second show ever at High Noon people sang along to “Where Is My Mind.” This wave of “oooo” hit us. That had never happened to me, or to any of us, I think before. It was surreal. People just love this music. We’ve had a great time at all of our shows, but I have to say that Mickey’s is like a second home to us. Liz has given us great opportunities there to play huge setlists and the crowd is always amazing.

What other bands/musicians/artists are you interested in checking out at the Fundraiser?

Dar: Tiger Clutch or German Art Students probably, though the whole lineup is awesome really.

Why have you decided to play this fundraiser for free? Is it simply for the free food?

Dar: Wait...there's free food? Is it Arby's? But seriously...we like to play this music. Simple as that. And we haven’t played the Frequency since our first gig in April 2010. We played all of Surfer Rosa at that first show. This time we return to play all of Doolittle. It comes full circle a bit.

You are preparing a special treat and playing the whole album "Doolittle." What do you like about that album so much?

Dar: To be honest I think that Surfer Rosa and Come on Pilgrim probably started off as bigger favorites of most of ours. Doolittle is just so popular in general that we’ve had to learn all the songs off of it over the last year and a half (except "Silver," which we’ll debut at this show). We’d never bothered to play them together before though. The return to the Frequency seemed like a great opportunity to do it. And plus, if playing the whole album is good enough for the real Pixies than who are we to turn up our noses? It is a truly great album for sure.

Do you have a youtube link we can post?

Dar: Our entire second show was filmed and is out there (as well as other performances here and there), but I think something more recent is probably a better representation of our evolution. Here’s a link to “Dead” from “Filth” at the Inferno this past spring.

CJ, Mr. Roberts, 12/15/2011

We played Psychoacoustics 20th birthday party at Mr Roberts. The Forward Marching Band opened and Beefus played last (Beefus...a kind of jokey funk great. I forgot that we've played with them before. The drummer smiles the whole time. It cracks me up). We did 30 minutes live on air and another 45 to the room only. Let me tell should never listen to a recording of yourself singing if you can avoid it...especially if you had a cold when you were singing and were nervous. Performance is best enjoyed in the moment....watching the game tapes will break your heart.

That said, during the show I thought it went ok. We had a kinda rough start. I was nervous and goofed up strange the intro into the second verse of Wave. But nothing so major that I think anyone noticed. Lots of people told me my vocals were awesome...which is really hard to believe listening to the recording. I was too loud in the mix and my voice is really shaky from the cold.

Towards the end of the first set I started to settle down and I wasn't too nervous at all for the second set. More and more I think that I sound terrible singing Into the White and I wish that we wouldn't play it anymore. I just can't hit the low notes. I probably just need to rearrange the part so that I don't have to do that. Maybe I'll watch a hundred versions of her doing it live and see if she ever changes it up. Truly it is a stupid song to begin with and Charles probably would have thrown a guitar at me too cause I would have hated doing it every night for a million city tour. But the boys love it and it gives RS's voice a rest.

I was sober...had a head cold and a bad day at work. Ate McDonald's for dinner and later a salad. Had a little coffee right before we started. Been down in dumps all week but have had plenty of rest as a result. We loaded in at 6:45pm and didn't play until 10pm...but we went over to Monties and the boys ate from 8-9pm and that was good for us I think.

CT is starting to ask about Halloween more and more. Not sure how I feel about it. But I do dig playing with these I'll probably concede to the greater desire if they'll have me.


Set 1:
Here Comes

Set 2:
Into White
Is She W
Head On
River E

file pending upload

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Tonight and tomorrow I've got back-to-back CJ gigs...

I have no sense of how tonight and tomorrow's shows will go...but if experience is any guide...from past back-to-back or nearly back-to-back gigs...tonight will suck a little and tomorrow will be better (though tomorrow I will be really tired). That said I'm utterly prepared except for being freaked out that my wild ear will fuck with me during Silver. If it took me a year and a half to get the harmony right on Ed is Dead I suppose this shouldn't surprise me if it happens though...and I should realize that #1) I survived fucking up the Ed is Dead harmony a dozen or more times live and #2) probably after tonight and tomorrow...I'll never have to sing Silver live again (unless we have a reunion tour in 20 Kim Deal thought the same thing once upon a time). Anyway...there's no accounting for sudden brain farts and memory lapses...but I can't say that I wasn't prepared. I know the songs now as well as I ever have.

This week has been totally bizarre emotionally. Work sucked today. I have a cold. If I were drinking I'd be ready to get drunk...but I don't have the desire at the moment (hopefully that will hold throughout the weekend). I don't know how these things will affect tonight and tomorrow...but I know that CJ is in the top five list of best things ever to happen to me. And for that reason I'm happy as hell to have these two shows. Some day this chapter of my life will have passed in all its nastiness...but CJ will have been a bright shining light long after it has ended no matter where it goes from here. Don't forget. Be glad.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SSW, Mickey's, 12/9/2011

Opened for Damidol and SirNoSir!

I borrowed a kit from SirNoSir's was a nice 4 piece Gretsch...but the hardware kind of sucked. He had the left cymbal stand also supporting the "rack" tom and that made it really hard to adjust. And then that cymbal stand wouldn't hold solid so my splash kept moving and I had to tighten and adjust between every song. I brought my snare, throne, pedal, and cymbals. The cymbal stands on the right worked ok except they were reverse what I'm used to (the way I USED to play before Halloween, so I was able to adjust but it was still weird). It took forever to adjust the kit and as a result we got started way late. I was crammed against the wall in the center of the room. I was pretty distracted by the problems with the hardware and such, so really didn't have the energy to get nervous. I was sober and think that was good. The whole "increased headspace" effect of being sober more often and playing in rehearsal and out sober more often is just multiplying as time goes along. Two Pints, Too Drunk, and Suspect Device were stupid too fast and I'm not sure if that was my fault or not. I don't start any of these seems like it wouldn't be my fault...though I might have sped up too much too soon on Two Pints. I think I played well considering the circumstances...and don't feel too responsible for the mistakes that I DID was circumstance not lack of ability or prep. I sang a greater number of songs at this show, in comparison to everyone else, than I ever had. Not my idea...but I suspect this will become more the case in the just feels like the way that the wind is blowing.

Hate & War (D)
I Hate Rich (J)
Mr Suit (R)
Helicopter (D)
You Stupid Fucking Liberals (J)
I Am a Cliché (D)
New Rose (R)
You Drive Me Ape (J)
Teenaged Kicks (D)
One Track Mind (R)
Too Drunk (J)
Suspect Device (R)
Two Pints (R)
Warsaw (D)
We Are the Ones (R)
Fucked Up (J)

Friday, December 9, 2011


Have been busy of late with self-improvement exercises, travel, work, and rehearsals. Apparently not reflecting much.

Something important to stop and note. At this week's TD rehearsal I felt like I was pretty in control. I was actually able to try new things and not get totally tangled up. It was a sensation I don't recall feeling before. Like I'd internalized the beat and could good around a bit. This is where I's like to grow towards...relaxed control and independence. Maybe it was a random thing that happened. But maybe, just maybe not drinking when I play is finally starting to pay off. At first not drinking made it harder...made it feel impossible...but now that it is becoming more a normal state I feel like the payoff is pretty huge. There's more available brain space. It's kind of remarkable. It IS harder to stay out of my head now...but that too is getting easier.

I've noticed a similiar thing with the bass. Extra head space. I notice things happening around me while I'm's weird. But it makes total sense.

It's good that I'm getting those effects...because I've not had much actual practice time lately. I feel like my days are scheduled to the moment and practice time hasn't made it in. But it is good for me to be scheduled right now. With the holidays will likely come time off from maybe I'll start getting real practice time again.

There's been no time to work on the Breeders recording project either...but it is still on my to do list when I can start to carve more time out. Though that kind of time will soon be hard to find because...

A month from today I start classes via Berklee online. It was a fantasy that I'd been having for a while to take classes this way...but I never thought it would happen. And then I decided there was no reason not to try. With some significant financial aid from the sweetie I'm giving it a show and taking "Fundamentals of Drumkit". Time to get all the basics I never had. In theory at the end of 12 weeks I'll even be able to play some latin beats. Maybe the class won't end up being that good or won't work out for me...but it could be the beginning of something huge...the next stage in my development as a drummer and a musician.

It'll probably overtax everyone involved and backfire (well, everyone but me...I feel like I could play CJ all night every night and never get sick of it)...but we're doing 2 days of CJ shows back to back...3 sets in week. I'm pretty happy about that. And there's talk of learning the rest of Bossanova and Trompe in spring...and I'm all for that as well. I think we're all a little burned out on Halloween...there's been some talk about next year...but I think at least 3 of us are leaning away from it...though not totally closing the door. Halloween was a good experience in many ways for me...but also really stressful and time consuming...and it kind of halted all forward movement on everything else for many months. It is the kind of thing that I might like to do every OTHER year...but every year might be too much. We'll see where things lead over the next few months.