Winter Vacation - Day Seven

We got up at ten this morning. That translates to about six hours of sleep. I guess it's better than nothing. We practiced a few songs, but couldn't get the acoustic loud enough to keep up with the drums without tons of feedback. And Jeremy didn't have a way to amp his vocals. All in all not very productive. However, that was just to kill time until everyone met up at BMH for the Celtics game.

The Celtics game started at 3:00pm on this New Year's Eve. We headed out at 2:00pm, but traffic was really bad as people headed into the city for various festivities. We missed most of the first quarter. As predicted, it was a tight game, if only because the Celtics and Wizards are equally mediocre. Celtics 108, Wizards 103.

After waiting in the parking garage for about a half hour, we headed to nearby Brighton to see Carl's apartment. Carl was there, and Erin, and I got an electric guitar and another amp. Have to return it briefly tomorrow, but will have it back for Sunday practice. It seems lots of people Carl knows need guitar for shows they're playing.

In more detail than before, I pitched Carl on the Chinese Movie. Carl will have the lead role in the film within a film Jeremy is making. He's on board now, and we're going to shoot that film late Sunday night. That was the extent of the progress on that project today. Jeremy wasn't really game for anything else.

We got back to Franklin, unloaded into BMH and back into the car to pick up JAG at Jeremy's house. We played some more indoor basketball and football games, and I played a half game of NBA Live 2005, and failed miserably.

We went from there to Vincenzo's Trattoria in Bellingham. This new restaurant is trying desparately to be classy, but beyond the classy prices, there's not much substance, though JAG liked his dish.

We went back to BMH and I ran through the AS220 with Micah, noting the structure and dynamics of each song. We practiced a few of the songs Micah wants to play at Zeitgeist Gallery, but got a little too loud for Angie's taste and shut it down for the night.

Just now I put High School Sucked on a CD for the Random Kate video shoot tomorrow. We have four versions: normal, slow, fast, and super-fast. Each one has been time shifted to allow us to do some special effects. We'll shoot a scene with the slow version and speed it up, and so on, for some serious time bending effects.

I've got to get Jeremy motivated on the Chinese Movie project again. We're running out of days!

Winter Vacation - Day Six

Even though I got to bed at two last night, I set my cell phone alarm for 9:00am because this was the best day Jeremy had to shoot footage for the Chinese Movie. Molly was at work all day, and no other commitments. We got up and Jer came over to pick us up.

First, we went to the Franklin Public Library. Now, I am obligated to mention that sometime while Ben Franklin was still alive, they named this town after him. He was so flattered that he donated a collection of 160 books to the town. It was with those books that the first public library in America was started. They still have the books, on display, in the library.

The library is a decent enough looking granite, cube-like building near the center of town. Other than it's monlithic stature, there isn't much to say about from the outside. Inside, this place is spectacular. It's one of the nicest libraries I have ever been in, including the Boston Public Library and libraries at various universities. It is all wood-paneled with a great room with a huge fireplace, leather chairs, three stories high with murals around the whole room.

I actually asked, and was granted, permission to shoot. We headed up to the third floor to get some privacy, shot some scenes in the stacks, improvised a dolly from a library cart, shot some more, found some books on Chinese culture, and shot some more. Then, in looking for a good spot to shoot a first person interview segment, we stumbled onto this back hallway with a magnificent staircase and did it there. This was all for scene 2 of the movie.

Angie was hungry. Jeremy was hungry. Me, when I'm working, I can go all day without eating, as I did Tuesday. However, I must yeild to these little ones. So we had breakfast at James' Roadside Cafe. "Creative American Cuisine" they call it. I had a fancy omelet.

From there it was back downtown and a quick change (I can't say what, it's a suprise homage) to shoot scene 4, the movie theatre scene. We went into the Cinema Zeotrope, and, again, I took the bull by the horns, asked for the Manager, and for a few minutes to shoot scenes in an empty theater. No problem.

Another change, and out to the streets to shoot scene 3, location scouting. We roamed about and went in and out of local businesses with Jeremy looking for cool angles. We finally settled into a laundromat, which should be a familiar location to those that have seen the Cleary "Time Is My Crisis" video. There is just something about laudromats. They are bursting with untapped potential. So, we decided to use this laudromat to shoot Jeremy's film within the film, the abstract, metaphorical, voice-overed, subtitled masterwork. We'll probably shoot that on Saturday or Sunday.

We went back to BMH, busted out the guitar and practiced our Zeitgeist Gallery setlist. Definitely some loose ends that need to be fixed up.

We lost track of time, and had to rush out to meet Micah at Stop and Shop. We escorted him back to BMH and helped him settle in, and unload his drum kit and other gear into the basement. We got ready for the meeting early, and got dinner with mom and Darrell at Friendly's (no ice cream this time). Off to the meeting, and trying to stay awake after so many long days.

When we got back home, we converted the storage room to a practice room, and quietly (mom is in bed by eight, nine max) practiced quite a few songs with Micah on drums. He's taking us to new dimensions, he's really amazing! His anticipation and intuition are unmatched. I want to stuff him in a bag and drag him back to Phoenix with me.

Now, we heard that JAG's flight was delayed, with an expected arrival time of 1:30am, as if the original arrival at midnight wasn't bad enough. We got in the car and head out a little early to check out AS220 on the way, but took a wrong turn, and, frustrated, jumped right back on the highway and made it to the airport. There a little early, I shot footage for Chinese Movie scene 5, and confused a lot of people as to why exactly I was shooting their luggage.

We hit massive fog on the roads on the way home, and, desite this, we headed past our normal exit in search of late night sustainance for JAG. We got really goofy on the way, could barely see, and had to settle on McD's. Two double cheeseburgers always sounds like a good idea when you're ordering it, but anyway.

Here I am, it's 3:53am, just going to bed, and I already have my alarm set for 10:00am. Ugh! At least I have more than half of the movie shot, and three quarters of a band together and practicing. It's progress!


Winter Vacation - Day Five

Up this morning and headed back to Dean College to sign the paperwork. No questions asked. I even forgot the check and they said to leave it with Security on Saturday. It couldn't have been easier.

I headed from there to Norwood, MA to check out the Camera Company store. Wow, I haven't seen a place like this in the Phoenix area. All kinds of stuff for still and video photography, lighting rigs, color-correcting gels, tripods, all kinds of filters in all kinds of sizes, and lenses and cameras, of course. I was checking out wide angle lenses, thinking it would come in handy for the Random Kate video, but the ones that had that would fit my camera were only 0.7x wide angle factor. I was looking for at least 0.6x, preferably 0.5x, so I didn't bite. Real nice service, though.

When I got back to BMH, my grandparents were there. Grandma is up to get her hair done. So, we hung out and chatted for a while, and had some Lipton noodle soup for lunch. I expanded on my notes for the Chinese Movie.

Eventually, Jeremy and I cruised around to find wrapping materials for an anniversary gift. We got those and I expertly wrapped it. I'm one bad wrapper, yo! We also got some chocolates for everyone at the Green Mountain Chocolate Factory headquarters. Interesting, because there are no mountains, green or otherwise, in the vicinity.

Dinner with the family, then off to Jeremy's house. We cleaned up the place, and shot the interview portion of the first scene in the Chinese Movie. Molly came home, opened her gift, then we practiced TMINM's AS220 set acoustically. On second thought, Jeremy may need some help in remembering the lyrics to these songs. Even the first word of each verse might be enough to jog his memory. From now on, we're practicing with the lyric sheets handy.

We sped off from there to meet up with the Random Kate guys in Bridgewater. We met them at the Blue Star chinese restaurant, and headed over to Ben and Brittney's apartment. I got my first taste of the new album. It's phenomenal, they really took things to the next level. Lots of great surprises. I couldn't be more pleased. We knocked out the album design and got their ideas for the video. We may need that wide angle lens after all, but all in all everything is working out.

We headed home, it's very late, and we've got lot's to do tomorrow, including 75% of the Chinese Movie shooting, and picking up Micah and JAG.


Winter Vacation - Day Four

The longest day so far...

Up early and out in service with Jeremy and Molly. The temperature was somewhere in the twenties. Bracing! We got a little something warm to drink at Meldiva, and I got to finally check out the place we were supposed to play our acoustic warm-up show. Nice place, hopefully we'll tape a scene there shortly.

We parted ways and headed over to Dean College to meet up with Jainie from the Facilities department. She had returned my pre-departure voicemail looking for a place to shoot the Random Kate video. Wow, what a contrast to all the high school staffers I have been talking to. She, and all the other Dean staff we ran into, just bent over backwards to accomodate us. It was like it was a done deal before we showed up, and we would only have to pick which buildings and rooms we'd like to use. And they did it in our budget, too!

While talking to Fran we noticed the office next door, with the name Vincent Bravoco. Hey, wait a minute, Vincent Bravoco was the long-time drummer for The Moon Is No More, was he not? Indeed! However, this turns out to be Vinnie "Rocko" Bravoco's father, who we had heard about for a long time, but only now got to meet. Is there any further doubt that this is the perfect place for the video?

Fran took us on a tour of the campus, in search of the perfect locations. We finally worked our way to the older buildings, and the Memorial Hall, with it's rich wood paneling, high ceilings, and neo-classical architecture will be the centerpiece to this video. Think of it as private school students go wild! We'll go tomorrow and sign the paperwork. No one will be around for us to bother or worry about, just the campus facilities staff to let us in and lock up afterwards. Sweet!

After that we head out for a half hour drive south to Best Buy in Attleboro, MA in search of a decent on-camera microphone. The web site reported that the store had two of the Sony ECM-MSD1 we were looking for, and so did the in-store computer, but there were none to be found. So, we headed out another half hour further away, fighting traffic and hunger all the way. This Best Buy, in Warwick, RI, did have the four microphones they reported to have in stock. Now there's a surprise. I had bet Angie that since the computer said they had four, they might have one, two max.

We got in the car and unpacked the mic on the way back. Not five minutes out, and probably with the Best Buy still in the rear view, we realized someone had absconded with the tiny battery that was supposed to be in the package. No matter, I was not turning around and fighting the insane, and inexplicable, mall traffic. We'd find a battery when we got back to the relative calm of Franklin. An hour later, we hit CVS and found a battery. Five bucks for this quarter-inch round piece of metal!

We headed over to Jeremy's to begin rolling on the Chinese Movie. It was like starting over, I had to sell Jeremy on the idea all over again. And it was his idea in the first place! Beyond not seeing the point, he doubted we would be able to pull it together in the tight schedule we have. He may be right, but we wore him down, and he was throwing out great ideas after not too long. However, he had a talk to write. So, I headed out to buy some refreshments (San Pelligrino Aranciata orange soda, Pepperidge Farms Mint Milano cookies, and Dole sliced Pineapple rounds (that's for the film!)). By the time I got back, prepped the equipment, and cleaned up the house's little details to get the look and lighting I wanted, Jeremy was almost done and ready to start shooting.

So, we shot about a half hour of footage, improvised some good things, and basically got Scene 1a shot. In tearing down, I realized that I hadn't turned on the power to the hard-won new microphone, so we have no audio for the footage. Fortunately, the audio is not as important for this scene, or I'd be jumping out a window after all we went through today. We worked out a rough schedule, and it looks like we can get most of the movie shot by the end of day on Thursday.

After this, we headed out to Bertucci's in Holliston, MA for some dinner. The waitress didn't speak English very well, and there were lots of mess-ups besides the food simply not being quite what it used to be. Time to scratch Bertucci's off the list of must-eat restaurants on our East Coast trips. We worked out some ideas for the Random Kate video while we ate, and put together a practice schedule for TMINM. Wow, is this going to be tight!

On the ride home, Jeremy pulled up some of the rarer TMINM songs on his iPod (with iRadio, or whatever the in-car radio broadcasting accessory is), and we all sang along loud. Good memories. Dropped Jeremy off at home, said good night to Molly, and it's off to BMH to turn in.

Let me break this down in case you didn't catch it: I didn't eat a thing until 9:00pm today. I had a beverage at 11:30am and 7:00pm, and that was the extent of it. I'm pretty punchy, and I feel burned out. I can only compare it how I felt after twelve hours in the Phoenix sun waiting in line for the Pumpkins surprise Machina show in 2000. Burned out!

I'm going to try to get some pictures up for future posts. Hey, Jer, when does that new digi cam of yours arrive? I guess I could take stills with my camera, if I got a memory card.

Random thought, you can make anything sound intelligent and important by using a learned (that's learn-ed) British accent. Try it, say "I'm spicy." (Warning: This may not work in Great Brittain and her various territories.)

Yikes... good night all.


Winter Vacation - Day Three

Slept in again today, but not nearly as late. Mom made scones for breakfast. I spent two hours writing the book, made good progress. Went out to do a little shopping. Jeans and gloves at Old Navy (sorry, Brock), blank CDs at Staples. Back home for some fried chicken, studied and went to the meeting, some Friendly's ice cream on the way home. Monday Night Football.

Tomorrow is a big day. We've got limited time before it warms up and the snow melts. Got to get a lot done tomorrow.


Winter Vacation - Day Two

The plan: Wake, head to Natick to catch the Assembly at lunch break and see old friends, back to Franklin in time to see the Patriots vs. Jets at 4pm.

The reality: We were awaken by the phone when Jeremy called at lunch break to see where we were. Check outside and the snow is here! I was so excited, I grabbed the camera and headed out to get some shots around the house, without the benefit of gloves, a coat. No accessories to speak of, really. After about fifteen minutes, Angie is yelling at me to get ready to go. OK, new plan.

We headed out. The roads were starting to get bad. Stopped at La Cantina for a mid-afternoon lunch. Chicken Parmigiana, as always. Off to the Assembly as it was ending. Saw all kinds of people I haven't seen for years. Lauren Buckman, Jon Clark, Jay Duval, Brian Perkins, Doug Capen, Rob Wells, Paul Gavin, and all their families, plus my family and the extended Praetsch family.

After that we headed to Wellesley to check in with Eric Liversage AKA Skippy, the other half of Cleary. We got his number from Jeremy, and caught up with him at CVS, where he's a Shift Supervisor. He was quite inked up and punked out, maybe even more than I expected. He's headed out to New York for a few days, but will be back in time for the shows. Can you say "surprise special guest appearance?"

By now the Pats game is starting, so it's back on the road, for what is normally a twenty minute drive back to Franklin. Except it's been snowing all day now, and the roads are getting really bad. It's twenty miles per hour, max, and the freeway is reduced to one big lane, for safety's sake. Even at that, we had to pull off twice to get ice off the wipers. Couldn't see a thing. Two hours later, we're back at Big Momma's House (BMH) to catch the last couple minutes of the game (it's OK, the games are on pristine FM radio out here), but we headed back out across town to Jeremy and Molly's place.

Jeremy and Molly has just done a 180 degree spin in traffic on the main road in Franklin, scratched their plans, and headed to the comfort of home. We watched bits of Nappy D. and JP3, played some indoor basketball and football, went back out for corn dogs and San Pelligrino Aranciata (what a combo!), and back to BMH. By now the snow is so thick we couldn't get up the driveway, and had to get out and shovel just to make it to garage.

Off to the computer to type it all up, click Publish Post, and...

Winter Vacation - Day One

For a long time, I looked at non-stop flights as a bonus. I guess when I come prepared, it's not so bad. The flight from PHX to PVD is 4:30. I read through all the TMINM artifacts I brought along, ran my laptop until the battery died (15 minutes!?), read the in-flight magazine cover to cover, and I still had two and a half hours left. Argh! I had to go searching just find a magazine that didn't have the crossword puzzle already completed.

Dinner at Big Momma's, hung out with Jeremy and Molly. Busted out the guitar and hopefully surprised Jeremy that I knew all of the songs on the setlist. I think he surprised himself in that he knew most of the lyrics. This is going to work.

It's cold, but no snow on the ground. It's coming soon!


Crazy Idea

Check out this concept for Fatigo's album art.

To see this correctly, you'll need these two fonts: Loki Cola and Pentagon.


Winter Vacation - Day Zero

I figured I'd get in practice blogging the trip by starting now.

It's day zero. Our clothes are packed. Our ride is arranged. I'm still getting together all the gear, and hoping I don't forget anything.

We are going to have way too much luggage. Three bags for clothes, probably two for equipment, plus an acoustic guitar. Oh, and a laptop case. Yikes!

Well, back to work.


Debris Hide

The Moon Is No More live at TCAN 11/29/02

TMINM fans, hold on to your heads, we have determined the setlists for the upcoming shows. We painstakingly reviewed our available songs and split them into two groups, older and newer.

At AS220, we'll play most of JLA straight through, with classics like Implode, Room 203, Part I, and Such Things to Such People in the mix.

01/03/05 AS220, Providence, RI

  1. Implode
  2. A Homo Sapien's Mass of Flesh, Bone, and Muscle
  3. Come and Gone
  4. A Good Conscience Is One You Have Yet To Find
  5. Pity Versus Sympathy
  6. Last Resort, Part I
  7. Room 203, Part I
  8. Such Things to Such People
  9. It's The Children That Are Hurt The Most, Part II
At Zeitgeist Gallery, we'll play newer (relatively speaking) material, including songs that might have only been played one or two times before. While the older songs are true classics, I feel the newer songs are more varied, weirder, but overall more precise and well-crafted. In fact, we're even going to play 1 1/2 Bad Larry songs and a song from the never-finished Schoolyard EP (Did we ever figure out if Schoolyard was a band in and of itself, or if it was just an extension of TMINM?).

01/05/05 Zeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge, MA

  1. An Automobile's Mass of Rubber, Steel, and Plastic
  2. An Ambitious Attempt At Failure Before One's Birth
  3. Pitying Bowls of Saucy Lovelessness
  4. Standard Issue
  5. Heaven Express
  6. $545.78
  7. Popularity
  8. Quality Over Quantity
  9. A Common Path to a Common Problem
  10. The Substance of Nothing
  11. Anti-Global Rotation
That's right, folks, no repeats. A completely different set each night. Twenty different songs we have to nail down. And there are other songs we could have played but omitted to hit our set times.

My kingdom for an acoustic warm-up show.

So It Took This Long

I just got a call from Ben Racicot, insane drummer for Random Kate. I got the news I've been waiting two years for: Random Kate's debut album "So It Comes To This" is finished, as of 6:30 EST.

It has been an immeasurable strugle to get this album done. Personal problems, marriages, equipment failure, illness, missing guest performers, voicemail and emails to the studio not returned, budget overruns, you name it, it happened to this album.

"So It Comes To This" is a punk rock album about school, girls, boredom with small town life, being an outsider, and other concerns. Typical? Hardly. I signed these guys because of their dedication to quality songwriting. These aren't your typical two-minute youthful punk songs.

Random Kate bring an array of styles to the table, referencing punk, ska, rock, hip-hop (Beastie Boys, not Jigga), and, more recently, a slice of emo, a little drama to mix it up. They write songs with a variety of parts and solid musicianship. They move a crowd like you wouldn't believe. That is why I'm proud to have them on 727 Records!

Even though I knew it had to get done, so we could shoot the video next week, I'm still surprised that it's finally over, based on all that has happened. From here we shoot a video, send it off for mastering, finish the design we started two years ago, and get it out there. I can't wait!

Review This!

I stumbled onto a new site today, Review You.

Are you desperately trying to promote your music and can't get the major zines to write a review? Review You appreciates your desperation! For "less than the cost of an average CD ($19.99, where do these guys shop, Virgin Megastore (I could obviously throw a link here, but I just can't support that)?)" they will guarantee a review by "professionals in the music industry" within two weeks, posted to their web site.

Man, what a scam! These guys are nothing special on the writing front. We're talking unoriginal gramatically faulty three-paragraph reviews here. Just another in the long line of people looking to take money from musical artists.


Winter Vacation

I've gotten by most of the year without dipping into vacation days, and these last few months have been a time to splurge. Bridge School, Florida, and now Boston for two weeks. I do need the decompression time, there is no doubt about that. The trip will be busy, but it's all in good fun.
Brock, it would have been awesome if you could have come. Beyond being able to check out Boston and the surroundings, your input in terms of creativity and professionalism in the projects is going to be sorely missed. I'm going to really hustle to get all of this stuff done, as a tribute to you!

Here's what's on the lineup:


I booked two shows for The Moon Is No More. The venues are pretty cool, comparable to Modified and The Paper Heart. On January 3rd we're at AS220 in Providence playing with Quiet Life and Shumai. On January 5th we're at Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, with Ship High In Transit opening for us. Jeremy has called a stop to booking any further shows, but there is always a chance Meldiva or Cafe Espresso will return my emails and we'll play an acoustic warm-up show.

Now, as you know, TMINM is basically a bi-costal recording project at this point. Getting a band together and practiced will be the biggest challenge. Jeremy has to warm up those pipes, and I've got to remember all these songs. Hopefully, Carl will have time to practice to join in on bass. We do have Micah on board to play drums (Vin is on lockdown, ya heard?!), but we'll have to get him and his gear off the Cape, and set up in Jer's house to practice.
It sounds like quite an undertaking, but I have supreme confidence in all of the band members abilities to pull it out. These aren't terribly complex songs, and these are some talented people. I mean that sincerely. I'm not sure if Jeremy's hesitancy to book shows and perform is a sign of a lack of self-confidence, but I know the guy who wrote these 39 songs in a matter of days can come through with other miracles.

Other issues involve getting the proper instruments together. Will I have to bring everything out with me? Can we round up gear from friends? Will Jer's downstairs neighbors be bothered by the practicing? Can we find a violin for a breathtaking live performance of Standard Issue?

The two shows will work well. We have about 40-45 minutes set time at each show. I'm going to check out the bands playing at AS220 and try to come up with something appropriate. That may mean leaving the weirder material for the Zeitgeist show. An acoustic show would have been very cool for some of the songs. The ideal situation would be to play all of the finished material over the course of three shows. An album a show, even.

TMINM Documentary

Understanding all of the challenges above, and the general insanity of trying to pull this off while on vacation, and promoting a band that barely exists in reality, I really want to document as best as possible this whole endeavor. Brock would have done an excellent job with this, getting inside people's heads and finding the right story angles. It'll be tough for me, as an insider, to capture the drama, but I'll do my best. Gabe is providing the B-camera (thanks, Gabe!) for close-ups during performances and anything else Angie can dig up.

TMINM Music Video
If we can come up with a good concept and find the time, it would be great to do a music video or two, so we have something to put on the forthcoming release. This is a lower priority project.

Random Kate Music Video

Random Kate is mixing their album on Wednesday, and we'll be shooting a video for the song "High School Sucked (Locker Blues)," a high energy super-fast punk song with a Beasties Boys-esque rap breakdown at the end. The location will likely be the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, if we can secure it. They're putting out a call to their fans to show up for the video. Hopefully, there won't be any damage. I'm envisioning classroom, cafeteria, and hallway hijinx, with the classroom being turned into a mosh pit by the end of the song. I see the drum kit up ont he teachers desk, and the band members up on desks, wired up to amps on other desks.

Also, I'm putting together some timing effects for the hallway. Picture a shot down the hallway, lockers to each side. We'll have song at 50%, Gabe walking directly at the camera, lip synching. The extras will be milling about at full speed. On playback, we'll double the speed so it matches the vocals, and everyone is moving at the speed of light, all the sudden. Reverse that with Gabe moving normal and everyone else at half speed. We'll see what we can do. I've got Jeremy on board as a co-Director, and he always has soe interesting angles.

Chinese Movie
Then there is the movie I'd like to make about Jeremy, as an grand visionary Director trying to make a film in Chinese with English-speaking actors, or some such nonsense. The possibilities are endless. Translating the script (based on Sans Hands?) by hand to Chinese, casting, scouting locations, getting a crew together, talking to the local movie theater manager about screening, all that good stuff. And the whole movie is really a tribute to Wong Kar-Wai, with subtle homages throughout. Got to brainstorm some more on this one.

Everything Else
Have I left anything out? Rebecca Kinkead has an exhibition opening while we are there. We'll be sure to check that out. There's brunch on New Year's Day, jamming with the Debue crew, time on the Cape with grandma and grandpa, hunting down the "man-child" Skippy, and maybe a Random Kate show. I'm starting to think the 20 blank tapes I bought won't be enough!


Bane of My Existance

Try avoiding this! Adding to my Restriced Sites security zone...