Bands

What is “Normal” anyways?

Watch me play an acoustic version of “Normal Day,” a song I wrote for my band The New Limits. This song has been a staple of the band’s live set for the last couple of years but has yet to be recorded. The song, written long before the COVID-19 pandemic, is just a wish for the mundane and uneventful. It served as a bit of a response to the cliche punk song praying away the 9-to-5. I wrote it in the midst of a particularly chaotic and stressful week at work.

The last thing I want right now is a return to “the way things were.” If we don’t walk away from this with better healthcare, stronger unions, and a stronger public safety net, we’ll have learned nothing.

Doing the Quarantined Music Thing

Watch me play an acoustic version of “Dead Weight,” a song I wrote for my Boston ska band, The New Limits. It’s been a regular part of the live set for the last couple of years but we haven’t gotten around to recording it. The song, written long before this devastating pandemic, is largely about cutting toxic people out of your life. Take care of yourself and those around you but don’t be afraid to end relationships with the folks who don’t return that care. I’m not sure it counts as irony, but that’s the last thing anyone wants to be doing right now.

The Best Bass Line: A Tribute to Bernie Worrell

Photo By Manfred Werner / Tsui (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I played air bass in high school. Not in the air guitar championship sense (yes, that’s a thing), but when all of my friends were playing air guitar or air drums, I was playing air bass. I don’t remember when exactly I started, but it would have been somewhere between 6th and 9th grade. I couldn’t tell you why I chose bass. Something about bass lines in songs immediately grabbed me and it was what I wanted to imitate in the safety of my bedroom walls.

Parliament Funk EssentialsThere were three songs in particular that I used to loop ad nauseam and never quite lose interest in “playing.” One of these songs was the classic funk song “Flash Light” by Parliament. I don’t remember exactly when I first heard it, but I know that I was first introduced to Parliament, and P-Funk in general, at summer camp between 9th and 10th grade (Thanks, Matt!). I returned home and started collecting. My first CD was a greatest hits collection with “Flash Light” opening the album. I was hooked. Somehow the 5-minute jam (or the 10-minute mix from another compilation) wasn’t enough. Parliament had become one of my favorite bands with an unquestionable favorite tune. (more…)

My NPR Tiny Desk Contest Entry

You might be familiar with NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Typically, it involves a musician or band performing at or around a desk in NPR’s offices. Part of the appeal is the band performing in tight quarters. NPR ran a contest this past January asking bands to submit their own Tiny Desk Concert video. One of my bandmates from The New Limits saw the opportunity and suggested we enter. The project contained the right amount of urgency and flexibility. (more…)

Reinventing the In-store Appearance

Once upon a time, it was fairly standard for a band to appear at a record store while on tour. They might perform in some capacity, they might just sign records. They were typically seen as great opportunities to connect with local fans and obviosuly boost sales for both the artist and the record store. As physical music sales took a dive, so did the frequency of these once common in-store appearances*.

This past April, my band The New Limits was involved in a promotion between Boston Scene Party, a collective of music web sites, and Sound Lion, a high-end audio store in Harvard Square. (more…)

Commence “I’m on a Boat” Jokes

Every summer, New York City ska band The Slackers plays on a boat cruise around the Boston Harbor. I’ve been to two of these since I moved to Boston. I went to 2 or 3 of them when I lived in NYC. They’re a ton of fun. This summer, I have the honor of opening the show with my band The New Limits. We made this short video to make the announcement: (more…)