Gigs

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…)

“Music Self-Played Is Happiness Self-Made” and More Thoughts on Songwriting

You’d think in the 13 (or 14?) years I’ve been playing music, I’d have written an entire song by myself. The fact is I hadn’t. I’ve written lyrics here, put together a chord progression there, maybe even came up with a hook. In most cases, I’d come up a chorus vocal line and some chords or a bass & guitar rhythm riddim and then worked with a bandmate to build it out into an entire song. This wasn’t a problem I liked it that way. In fact, I really enjoyed  writing music with other people. I was always happiest with the material that was the result of the most collaboration. (more…)

Born To Drink: Joining Hannah vs The Many for Two Dates in Boston

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New York-based cabaret-punk act Hannah vs The Many is traveling to Boston this weekend and I have the privilege of joining them on bass for two dates! Earlier this year, HVTM released All Our Heroes Drank Here, which I also played bass on. I was bummed I couldn’t make it to NYC this weekend to catch them at CMJ. Joining them/us this weekend on the Born to Drink Tour will be glammy power-punk act Haley Bowery & The Manimals. I caught them at one of the last New York gigs I played with Hannah and they’re a helluva show. They’re also promoting the release of a split 7″ put out by Drink More Records (only 100 made!). (more…)

Solo Performance Band Aid: Ripped Off

Sort of. I overuse the metaphor of ripping off a band aid anytime I have to do anything remotely painful, difficult, or just plain annoying. It usually results in me going into something somewhat unprepared, as gung ho as possible, while somewhat bracing myself.

Tonight I attended what will likely be the first of a monthly salon hosted by Matt Healy and Cozy Josie, the folks also behind The Spoon and Trowel. The food is always out of control good at their functions so I never pass up an invite. Here was their email pitch:

We want to take our creative pursuits seriously, and having an audience helps to do that. Nothing adds fuel to the creative fire like having to show what you’re doing to other people and hearing what they have to say about it. Put more simply: having a thing to make something for is easier than making it for no reason. This is a thing your thing can be for.

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The Summer Gig and Show Post Part II

Since I first wrote my first post about summer gigs, I’ve played a few shows, been to a few shows, and booked a few more.

I still can’t get over how much fun I had with The Hard Times when we played a set of blues covers and classic ska/punk tunes with Vic Ruggiero of the Slackers (videos and more excitement here). I caught Common in Ft. Greene at a festival. It was great to finally see him, but he played a very short set, half of which was a cool (yet, too long) medley of classic hip-hop tunes. The opening acts were also pretty lame and I missed Soulive entirely, who I was there to see in the first place. I caught The Aggrolites with The Have Nots at Highline Ballroom, one of the few all ages venues in Manhattan where you can see bands that aren’t big enough to fill Irving Plaza and the like. The Have Nots killed it and A.G.G.R.O. played a great set, though I felt like the whole night was a little bit better a year ago, when I saw the same two bands and one more at the Mercury Lounge. It’s a smaller, more intimate venue, though not all ages. A few nights later, I caught half a set at the pizza place near me (Two Boots Brooklyn, nothing like Two Boots in Manhattan, go right now) from a new project called Grand Concourse, featuring Kevin Batchelor of The Skatalites, Rhianna, Batchelor Party, the list goes on, Johnny Meyers of The Stingers ATX, Gideon from Westbound Train, and Eddie Ocampo of The Stubborn All-Stars and The Jammyland All-stars, as well as some other amazing musicians I know I’ve seen before. They KILLED it.

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NYC Hearts JWM (And Vice Versa)

Check out this lo-fi clip of The Hard Times, me on riddim guitar, playing the rock ‘n’ roll classic “Kansas City” with Vic Ruggiero, lead singer/songwriter and keyboard player for The Slackers. He also played keys for Rancid and countless others.

Only in NYC and Brooklyn would something this crazy happen. I can’t tell you how cool of an experience this was given how many times I’ve seen him play with The Slackers (and solo for that matter) and at so many different venues. But here in NYC, these things just seem to happen to me. Ageny Jay (guitarist for The Slackers) was spinning all night which just added to it.

I’ve had the chance to play with members of The NY Ska-Jazz Ensemble, King Django, Victor Rice (playing songs like “Simmer Down” and “Drum Song”), The Scofflaws, to name a few, just because I’ve hung around late enough at the Knitting Factory. WTF?

It’s gonna take a lot to ever get me out of this town. More clips below the jump.

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The Summer Gig Post

Summer is pretty much going to rock. This past weekend was The Slackers CD release show, The Specials are playing at the Central Park Summer Stage, Warped Tour has a handful of bands I’m psyched to see, The Aggrolites hit NYC the end of June, and most importantly I have a whole mess of gigs with more on the way.

Hey Stranger began recording back in March and will be working through the summer; stay tuned for details on that. Hey Stranger is also currently in search of horn players and a 2nd guitarist/vocalist. Email the band if you’re interested. The Hard Times finished a recording session recently and is the midst of mixing.

THE HARD TIMES

Friday, June 11, 2010, 7pm
Eastern District, 43 Bogart St, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, L Train to Morgan
with The Forthrights, Royal City Riot, 1592, Silver Dollar, 100dbs
Facebook Event

Friday, June 18, 2010, 8pm
Rock N Roll Reggae Show
Death By Audio, 49 S. 2nd St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
L Train to Bedford, JMZ to Marcy
with Vic Ruggiero (The Slackers) – Solo performance of R n’R, Blues & Country
The Heavy Beat – PA. Reggae, Soul, Ska, Dub
& Vic backed by The Hard Times and guests for a set of classics by The Clash, Hank Williams, The Wailers, Elvis Costello, The Nods!
Agent Jay (The Slackers) spins Rock n’ Roll, Reggae, Rhythm n’ Blues & Ska!
Facebook Event

Wednesday, July 7, 2010, 8pm
The Forthrights Tour Kick Off Show
Eastern District, 43 Bogart St, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, L Train to Morgan
with Vic Ruggiero, Chris Murray, The Forthrights,  The Bandulus
Facebook Event

Thursday, July 10, 2010, 9pm
Dirty Reggae Party VI
The Lake, 258 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY
L Train to Montrose
with R-Tronika, The Bandulus, The Frighteners, Crazy Baldhead Sound System
Facebook Event

HEY STRANGER

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Version City Party
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY
L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan
Details TBA

More to come! As per usual, I’ll make a dozen changes to this once it’s posted as I get more information and catch mistakes…