Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm quietly judging you...

I'm not sure what you call it when babies try to talk, jibber jabber maybe, but in the past few days Harper has decided that she loves doing it. It is adorable. I can't wait until she can actually talk. Though, I guess I'll have to start watching my language around her soon, which will be annoying. When she's old enough to reason with, I won't have to, but it wouldn't be good to have a two year old shouting "SHIT!" with abandon. Although, you and I both know how hilarious it would be.

Our show on Friday was a pleasant end on an otherwise frustrating day. The show was great; lots of people there, lots of fun being had, four great bands, etc. I didn't get to watch Courier because the hot dog place we ate at took too long, but Royal Forest was great, as I expected them to be, and Oh No, Oh My was fantastic. I meant to get both bands' records, but alas, I did not.

The next day we were offered (and we accepted) a show with Bob Schneider at the legendary Nutty Brown Cafe on the 4th of July. That will be a huge show and we're really pumped about it. Combine that with the 3 shows with the Toadies, and the Rooney show and we've got a big few months coming up.

We've started booking our Fall tour. Hopefully, it will bring us close to some of you that we don't get to see regularly. So if you live in, or near, any of these towns, keep your eyes open.

Sept 17 - Friday - Tyler, TX
Sept 18 - Saturday - Little Rock, AR
Sept 20 - Monday - Chicago, IL
Sept 21 - Tuesday - Cincinnati, OH
Sept 22 - Wednesday -Nashville, TN
Sept 23 - Thursday - Memphis, TN
Sept 24 - Friday - Shreveport, LA
Sept 25 - Saturday - Houston, TX

Leah and I stayed up too late watching Magnolia last night. I was kind of hoping that we would cancel band practice tonight and I would get in bed at 9 or something, but that's not happening.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This is what my brain is often busy doing.

Just got back to work from being on the radio. At 12 we were on KGSR with Andy Langer and we played a couple of songs (acoustic versions of "It's Better To Spend Money..." and "How Do You Do It?") and did a bit of chatting. It was a good time. Then we went and grabbed a bite at Subway with Mark, the music director, and came back to the same building but to a different radio station. At 1 we prerecorded a show with Trevin on 101x, which will play tonight from 6-10pm. So if you want to hear us be awkward, tune it to that shit.

It was a lot of fun and we really appreciate everyone at KGSR and 101X that helps us get played.

Both interviews spent some time focusing on this:

What that is, is a lunchbox with $1200 in ones, covered in blood and "blow."

Matt has never been paid for recording our EP and so we finally decided to start doing that. Paul and I thought it would be funny to pull the money out of the bank in all ones and put them in a brief case like in the movies, but then I decided to take it a step further. I just love picturing Matt depositing this money. Oh, the blood is real. It's my blood, actually. The "cocaine" is just flour but the effect is nice. I even smeared bloody finger prints on some of the bills so there's a real sense that it was gathered up in a panic. Attention to details, my friends. It's important.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where will Phil Collins spend eternity?

I'm not going to go through listing off everything Leah and I did this weekend, because Leah already did that. It should suffice to say that I had an amazing weekend with my wife.

My second Father's Day was pretty great too, save for the obnoxiously friendly waitress at IHOP that just would not leave us the hell alone. Here's some advice for those people who have absolutely no understanding of personal boundaries: Don't ever try to pick up a stranger's baby...You idiot.

The show on Saturday was OK. Not great, because I think everybody had some tiny fuck-ups throughout the show, but fun, nonetheless. I think I was dehydrated or something, because I had been drinking a ton of coke and very little water for the last few days, and my voice started feeling dry and weak and my hands started trembling when I was playing piano. So I'm trying to drink mainly water for the rest of the week so our show at the Ghost Room doesn't suffer for my gluttony.

The Target by my work didn't have the Mixed Berry flavor of green tea that I'd been drinking so I got Pure Green Tea instead. No, sir. No, this will not do. Good thing I got a big box of it...

I was walking my dog last night and listening to Switchfoot. I love that band and I know I've written about them before so I don't want to write a repeat blog but I had a thought as I listened last night. So many of their songs are about how lousy the world is and how lousy our culture is and how we're all imprisoned by it. I actually agree with a lot of what they say about our culture, where the two of us disagree is that they think the answer to the problem is faith, and, more specifically, faith in Jesus. So here's my thought: In America, easily 75% of the population professes faith in Jesus Christ (according to Gallup). Is that not enough to make a difference? If Christ's teachings are in opposition to our culture (and they are), then why does our culture thrive while faith diminishes when the majority of people claim to live their lives by those teachings? Switchfoot has a lot of records and they're still singing about the same stuff so, clearly, they haven't seen any improvement either. Personally, I think it's because, while most people still haven't figured out what works for them, more people are figuring out that Christianity simply doesn't. I hope I don't regret asking this, but what do you think?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy 4/7 year anniversary, me and Leah.

Leah and I have been married for four years, today. As of yesterday, we've been together for seven. (We planned our wedding the day after our anniversary so we didn't have to bother remembering two different dates. Neither of us actually remembered to notice the seven year mark yesterday, though. Oh well.)

Without a doubt, these have been the best seven years of my life, each better than the last. She is my best friend.

I remember when we started getting serious, it was a problem for my friends at the time. I think they felt like I wasn't giving them enough face time, or something. I imagine it is a sort of rejection to essentially have someone say, "I'm sorry, there's just never a time when I'd rather be with you than her. I'm always going to choose her." This is probably a big part of why we have almost all different friends now.

Seven years later and there is still no one else I'd rather be with at any given time. It's such a cliche, I know, but I really do feel like I love her more every day.

Also, my sperm and her egg made a beautiful spawn.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Matt suggested that my love for the Taqueria El Lugar is purely nostalgic, if it hadn't been his birthday the next day I would'a punched his throat in

Success is a funny thing. There are, of course, many ways to be successful, not all of them contingent on wealth or fame, but we all know that that's the kind we like the best/want the most/etc. The prospect of a real record deal looming has me thinking, somewhat philosophically, about success. What does it mean? Why do I want it? What does it say about me that I want it? Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices to have it?

I like to think that success comes from maintaining artistic integrity and keeping your voice honest and true. If you can manage that, that's a win.

I also like to think that if you can make your voice heard and manage to connect to other people, any other people, then that's a win.

It's also true that there's definitely something admirable in managing to keep your artistic endeavor financially and emotionally self-sustaining (if not profitable) so that you can, at least, achieve a sense of longevity while countless others fail, or quit, long before you do.

But who am I kidding? At the end of the day, I'm just like everyone else, and there is, at least, some part of me that wants to be famous. It's true. Makes me feel like an asshole, but it's true. That being said, I'm the first to tell you that if you ever think you've met a truly humble musician, you haven't. It doesn't exist, it's an oxymoron. Which isn't to say that we're not nice people, most of us are. But humble, we ain't. We crave the stage, the attention, the constant validation. In the right light, we're disgusting creatures. But what would the world be without us, eh?

Anyway, these are mad times, right?

Leah went to Tyler this weekend to shoot a wedding, leaving Harper and I to fend for ourselves. So on Saturday, after she woke up from her first nap I took her to Toys R Us and just let her run around and explore. She had a great time, and I picked up some tacos from a local taqueria on the way home. The one good thing about Leah being away is that I can eat at places she doesn't care for.

When Harper woke up from her second nap, we went over to Matt and Jeff's apartment. Matt is currently recording somewhat of a farewell EP/album for Jeff's old band, Ethan Durelle, so we wanted to hang out with those guys a little bit. We all went and ate at a place called Pho' King, which is pretty pho' king funny....and delicious.

While Harper was sleeping this weekend I watched Justice League: The New Frontier, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Oh God!, and a little bit of an Avatar: The Last Airbender marathon.

I think DC is a superior comic company to Marvel, which I expect a lot of people to disagree with me on. But I think one big indicator of their higher quality is their cartoon series...serieses....series'...(What's the plural on that?) True, Marvel has had some good ones, but DC has had ALL good ones. I can't think of any recent (from my childhood on) DC cartoons that aren't pretty great. Especially all the Justice League and Batman cartoons.

On Sunday, my beautiful bride returned to us. That evening, Robin came and kept Harper because Leah and I were invited to our friend Liz's work skating party. So we went skating and it was a blast. I only fell twice and pretty quickly regained my grace, though Leah will undoubtably mock me for consistently cocking my arm everytime I turn. I don't know why I do it. Just one of those things, I guess.

Anyway, ended the weekend on a high note.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wrote this, and forgot to post it.

There is a high school garage band that practices at a house down my street. A few days ago, they were playing "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters when we walked by. The drummer and guitarist aren't necessarily awful, and maybe one day this band will be good, but right now, it doesn't look like it's in the cards. Their singer is awful and I'm sure he's plagued with all the low self-esteem induced inhibitions that I was at his age. All this to say that Leah thinks it would be funny to walk in to their practice one day dressed in my suit and tell them I work for Columbia Records and that they're great.

It would be funny. And evil. But mostly funny.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Big-hearted and tall enough to cover you

One of my favorite records of all time is World of Noise by Everclear. It was apparently recorded as a demo and wasn't originally intended to be released at all, let alone as a full album. But alas, it was, for whatever reason, and it fell in my hands long before "Santa Monica" made them a house hold name. My friend Casey's sister worked in the newspaper business and let Casey have promo discs of things they didn't plan on reviewing. Of all the bands to be thrown in that refuse box, the only two I still listen to records by are Everclear and Pink Noise Test.

Anyway, most people know who they are now, but not a lot of people have this record. There were no singles off of it, really, and the content is pretty different than what we've all come to expect from an Everclear release today. Nowadays, an Everclear song is all, "I used to do a lot of drugs, it really sucked and almost ruined my life," while the songs on World Of Noise are more like "I do a lot of drugs, it sucks and is ruining my life." Maybe it's that difference that makes World Of Noise shine with a lo-fi tenacity that they've never reproduced. It's gritty, it's raw, it's noisy, and it's perfect. The two following records, Sparkle & Fade and So Much For The Afterglow, are great records that I've listened to incessantly, but to me, they've never done anything as pure as World Of Noise again.

There's no real reason for the celebration of this record today, other than that I was listening to it on the way to work and thought "This record deserves some celebrating today." I met Art Alexakis at a Rooney show in Nashville once, and thought he would enjoy hearing about how World Of Noise was one of the more important records in my life. He didn't care that much and was a bit of an ass, which could probably help us understand why he's now the only original member of the band left. No matter, you're defined by what you love, not what loves you back, and I love this record.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A day of free meals

Yesterday, a vendor took me and a few other guys in the office out to lunch. We went to a place called Bone Daddy's. It's, essentially, the same concept as Hooters but I think the girls are maybe a little younger and more scantily clad. Leah went there once with these guys when she had my job. I'm sure that when she went, she was probably the only female eating there. The food was actually pretty awesome, but looking around at the waitresses I couldn't help but think about that episode of South Park where they go to the restaurant that's like Hooters for kids called "Raisins." All the disingenuous flirting is pretty comical when you realize that that's exactly what it is. These old farts eating there really do seem to think they're being charming and these girls are clearly seeing nothing but dollar signs. Me, I couldn't help but think of better names for the place. "Butterfaces" or "Tramp Stamps" came to mind. However, that pulled pork sandwich and their "tailpipes" (which are a kind of southwest egg roll type of thing) were pretty badass.

And that was my first free meal of the day.

At 6:35 PM, I met Jeff, Matt, and Paul back at my work and we all drove downtown where we met Tommy for a meeting at/with New West Records. Apparently, they've been watching us for a long time and have decided that now is a good time to try and make us famous, or at least successful. We're excited about the possibilities, but my main priorities are being a good father, and a good husband, so we're being careful about what sort of thing we commit to and not taking anything lightly. It may work out, it may not, so we're not putting any proverbial carts before any proverbial horses. We chatted for a while at the office and then headed over to The Woodland, which I'd never eaten at, but there is a tree in the middle of the restaurant. Paul, Gary (The New West guy), and I had the evening's special, which was chicken fried steak with green beans and mashed potatoes, and it was delicious. I mean ridiculously good. It was also a surreal experience actually having a label treat you the way you've always heard labels treat bands they want to sign. I'm excited, and terrified, and nervous, and incredibly stressed about the possibilities, but the worst thing that can happen is that nothing changes, and I'm not unhappy now, so...we'll see.

And that was my second free meal of the day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

After all, shouldn't it be the goal of the feminist to be punched in the face the same way a man would be?

Last night we had rehearsal and learned and relearned "Jezebel" and "Our Sun is Always Rising." They both came together nicely and should be ready to go at our show On June 25th at the Ghost Room. That will be a really fun show, I think.

Tonight, we're going downtown to meet with fancy people.

I thought I felt like blogging today, but it looks like I don't, after all. I have a lot of things that I want to say but few that I should. Cryptic and annoying, I know.

So it goes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The problem with most books, really, is that very few of them feature teenage wizards.

We have a show tonight at Threadgills, which is apparently kind of a big deal. These are the worst kind of days though, because on days like today, I don't get to see Harper at all. I usually get to see her at least a little bit in the morning. She, typically, wakes up right before I leave for work so I get to go get her out of bed. She's always so smiley in the morning and it is, simultaneously, the best and the worst way to start my day. So it goes.

Leah, will periodically, go have "girl's nights," to which I and my penis are uninvited. I'm totally cool with her doing her own thing, but last week I started thinking, "Hey, when do I get a 'guy's night?'" She said, "You have band practice every Monday." I tried to explain to her how, while we do have a good time at band practice, it is work, really. Work that is done in a small, incredibly hot, room. It's not the social event that some may think it is. So I decided that I would plan a "guy's night." So what was on the agenda at last night's "guy's night?" The band met at the practice space, went and ate some wings, and then came back to the practice space to work on music... Maybe I suck at planning social events, because on paper, my social event looks uncannily like practice.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Harry Potter and the Busted Tire.

We had two poorly planned shows this weekend. It's our fault, really. When Cody told us that he couldn't play the shows because he was graduating, it should've made us think that maybe other schools were also graduating, and that would probably affect attendance negatively. Oh well, live and learn. The Tyler show was still OK, just not nearly what it should/could be. The Denton show was par for the course, as Denton shows go, and by that I mean it sucked ass.

However, aside from the trailer tire blowing out, and Matt and Tommy having to stop and replace it and being late to the show Friday night, everything went swimmingly. We played really well, sold decently, and the people who were there seemed to connect, so we'll take it. We had a good time and my parents fed us tons of meat. It was great.

Leah, Harper, and I rode to Tyler together, but I left with the band to go to Denton so she could stay and hang out and do a couple of photo shoots. I got back to my bed at 6 AM on Sunday, slept about 2 1/2 hours and got up to try and finish some yard work before Leah and Harper returned. I was tired. I'm often tired. So it goes. I don't remember what else we did that day. I think that was the day we watched The Messenger, which was good but made me sad for every single soldier that has to see combat.

Then it was Memorial Day. I don't see myself as terribly patriotic, really. Both of my Grandfathers saw combat in WWII. My father's father stormed beaches, even. I forget which ones, specifically, but he was apparently is some of the bigger, more crazy, beginning-of-Saving-Private-Ryan type of battles. Kurt Vonnegut, who served in the same war and was a POW in Dresden when it was firebombed, wrote somewhere about how the men who saw the real face of war and survived were generally the most kind, gentle, and humble men and whenever you meet an arrogant military man, it was most likely someone who had never been in the shit. That made me think of my grandfather. He wouldn't even talk about the war. He never told me one war story, and I think my father could say the same thing. Dad says that the only thing he would ever say about it was that, if Dad were drafted, they would take him over my grandfather's dead body. I get the impression that he never thought of war as heroic or glamorous. It was necessary, and he did his part, but I think he saw it for the atrocity that it really is. He had been part of the atrocity, after all, and I imagine that he probably spent the rest of his life trying to separate himself from it.

But as I said before, I don't feel like a terribly patriotic person. In fact, most days, the idea that there are some invisible lines drawn on the dirt somewhere, and those lines make me an American and another person, Iranian, or Spanish, or Italian, or whatever, seems strange. Those lines, like most things that divide people, only exist in our heads (and, obviously, on our maps). I have a hard time being patriotic for that reason. That being said, I am so thankful that the universe spit me out when and where it did. There are a few countries that I would be just as happy to live in, sure, so I'm just glad to have landed in one of them.

Yesterday, Leah, Harper, and I finally got to meet Todd and Hollie's new son, Micah. He is adorable and healthy and they're taking to parenting very naturally, it seems. We're very happy for them and happy to know them.

And then...


We went to eat with our friends, Glory and Matt, and I ate Sushi, and I actually loved it. It was all cooked (I'm still very leery of eating raw meat), but who knew I'd actually love the thing I've been staunchly opposed to trying for 28 years. It's a new day for Taylor Muse, people. I'm drinking green tea, I'm eating Sushi, it's CRAZY!

On the way back from Denton, Jeff and I were talking about the weekend, and Jeff had had a really drunk friend try to witness to him about Jesus. So we were talking about that and Jeff was talking about the power of words as ideas, or something and he pondered, "What if there is some obscure tribe that know one has ever heard of and they GET forgiveness and love more than anyone ever has before, but they've never heard the name 'Jesus.'" It's a small twist on the "small boy in Africa" problem, as we always called it in Sunday school. So we started talking about what the point of Christianity was. The point is not to make people good. We know this because not all good people are Christian, and not all Christians are good people. Also, if the book is to be trusted, the book of James more or less spells out how they view the relationship between goodness and faith. Ideally, goodness should be indicative of faith, but faith can easily exist without goodness. So Christianity isn't about what you can become here on earth. So it must be about what you can become after you've left earth. So it's about getting into Heaven. I realize this is an oversimplification but it's not wrong. The book says that "No one comes to the Father except by (Jesus)" which means, essentially, that it doesn't matter what you do, or what you don't do, or why you do or don't do it. All that matters, really, is who you know. So the moral of Christianity, is essentially the moral of the story of Paris Hilton or any other talentless socialite who's famous for the sake of being famous. It's celestial nepotism, where heaven is the A-list Hollywood party, and it doesn't matter if you've never contributed anything of value to society, if you know the bouncer, or if your daddy's rich enough, you're getting in.

When you simplify it, the message of Jesus is similar to the message of show business (or any business, I guess) : Nepotism > Talent. Nepotism > Character. Nepotism > Hard Work. It gives me the impression that Heaven could very well be an incredibly smarmy place. The difference is that show business does seem to be more forgiving in that formula, as it does allow in a handful of real talents annually.

Things are funny when you simplify them. I think that when we simplify, we can see that there is a big difference between thinking rationally, and over-thinking.