Friday, July 29, 2011

Of Amy and Oslo

What do you say?

There was the guy who looked like he probably fronted a metal band in a land where the music flourishes. There was the kid who looked like one of my students - he was only 14. There were the girls with the trendy haircuts, and a fellow who looked like he was just having a rough time working downtown.

They're all gone now. Just like that.

There was Amy. Slow suicide is different than a terrible rampage, but carnage nonetheless. What an awful feeling it must have see the ground rushing at the window of the crippled aircraft, and not being able to pull out of the dive.

What do we do with it all? How do we hold it? Is it possible? It certainly won't bring them back...would it prevent future tragedy? What can we do to keep from going insane? I can't imagine being a parent or sibling. I was just involved with a youth leadership camp myself. I wonder how the other camp counselors are holding up. We had a strict "buddy system" in order to make some nobody wandered off. I could see myself unwittingly herding them right into the line of fire, trying desperately to do the right thing, and bewildered by the chaos.

I think all we can do is cry. It's something about that sound. But crying doesn't always have to be with eyes and tears. It can be with guitars or paint, words or clay or pictures.

My brother told me about a Flickr group for the tragedy.

Perhaps you've recorded a piece of music, or written a poem. Pass 'em along, and I'll put them online here. I think that, in our darkest hour, artistic expression is a mighty cry and dazzling light to give us the slightest glimmer of hope.

Feel free to share.

- Josh

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who says it's hot outside?

It's all in your head, man!

The east coast of the states is in a pressure cooker right about now.

ComradeTV brings you a holiday concert as a strategy to cool down.

Stay cool, comrades!

- Josh

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sell it!

Hey Comrades!

You know what I love about my business? I get to be totally me. I'm rewarded for my epic failure in matching clothes, and often strange haircuts. People come by to see the show that is Josh. I started wearing ties one day, and my students really had a problem with it. "Why are you wearing a suit, man? You're turning into a real teacher." "These are just khaki pants, man!"

"No, it's a suit!"

We all have quirks of our personality. I think artists are especially blessed, because in order to be truly successful, we need to be purely unique.

I bet, no matter what our field, we could apply this concept to distinguishing ourselves. Well, maybe distinguished isn't the right word for me to use today. I have orange-ish hair that's all frizzed out, plaid shorts that match, an Annoying Orange shirt with Grapefruit on it saying "Wanna watch me flex?" and forget a five-o-clock shadow - it's more like a nine o clock shadow! I've had too much mountain dew, and let me tell you, my students are getting good lessons today!

Maybe we can cut through the clutter by running with the quirks, instead of trying to forget them. Be it a unique guitar tone, a neat way to use pinched harmonics, a special pair of shoes you like, or a tendency to tell elephant jokes - see how the traits can boost you to new levels!

See if you can bottle up your personality, and sell it, instead of casting it into the ocean for some kid to find on a beach one day, open it up, and say, "wow, what a weirdo!"

Rock on!

- Josh
PS. Are you my friend yet on Google +? Send me an email if you need an invite!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Already it begins!

'Sup, Comrades?

LA has been infiltrated by two new comrades of the Revolution jamming on "Iron Man" at Guitar Center.

North Carolina and South Carolina are on the radar screen of two other comrades about to take a trip to the southland.

The Revolution is spreading! What are you gonna do to overthrow bad music? For starters, check out my new YouTube series called ComradeTV.

And what am I doing? Why, I'm only setting up shop to record a holiday EP! I'll be launching a new promotion drive soon with details and all that stuff. Right now it's studio set up, dusting the cobwebs out of the corner, and having fun finding old notes from the Signalman sessions on the shelves. Next up is working on some cool arrangements for these tunes. I'll be blogging about the process of the sessions, 'cause it's gonna be fun! There might even be some video in there, too.

Anyone have any favorite Christmas/Holiday tunes they'd like to see recorded? I think I've got a track list pretty much set, but I'm always open to suggestions.

I'll tell ya, while recording Signalman was the hardest thing I've ever done, I can't wait to get back and do some engineering, recording, arranging, and artwork! It's gonna rock, and you're gonna love it!

But blah blah blah...Here's the important news: If you haven't gotten a thank you note from me yet, you will. I'm slowly making my way through the list, and you're on it! In fifty years, you can sell it on that era's version of eBay. Until then...Well, I hope you're not wilting too much in this July weather.

For my last feat in this mostly self-centered blog post, I will announce that I'm about to get my hair dyed. However, I will try to make a cool video out of it where I'm the object of the joke, and therefore makes it funny and entertaining instead of just more noise.

I hope I don't get bleach in my eye.

- Josh

Friday, July 8, 2011

Too much history

I guess my brothers are right. I have been reading too much WWII history.

We all went to see Zoo Keeper, which is effectively Mall Cop II. It's awesome. They should really call it Zoo Cop. Or Mall Keeper. Either way, it was an inspiration. Move out of my way, comrades, because I'm the alpha male, here, got it, funny face?

Pulling up to the movie theater, we were caught in a mega rainstorm. I mean, this rainstorm was like something out of well, a movie!

We were going to wait it out, but then mom said "hey, let's just go inside, you wimps." All of a sudden, I felt like we were in an amphibious landing vehicle, about to storm a beach in the pouring rain. Everyone readied themselves for a mad dash to the I said "Hey man, it's like D-Day!" (Note to self: check to see if it was raining on D-Day.) I yelled "go go go go go!" I ran by my brother. He was walking upright like a normal person. I ran in a crouch, keeping low. "Imagine if people were shooting back!" I yelled. Some other drowned rat person in the parking lot probably thought I was crazy. Maybe it was because I was making gun sounds.

Almost immediately, there was a casualty. My faithful, dear iPhone fell out of my pocket, and lay writhing in a pool of blood, calling for it's mother. "STEVE! STEVE!" (as in Jobs.) Actually, it wasn't writing, but it WAS on the parking lot, which was a puddle.

"OH NO! Man down!" I ran back to him. "Speak to me, little buddy! It's gonna be OK!"

I dried him off, and thankfully, he survived. He's still saying "this accessory not optimized for iPhone" at random intervals...But hopefully he'll get better. I excitedly stared off on a history lesson, telling everyone within earshot how the beaches were scattered with the soldier's belongings on D-Day. Nobody was listening. Before I could get offended, the conversation turned to something else...And then I saw the movie poster for Puss in Boots of Shrek fame. I'm so there!

As far as music goes: Play your song like you're the alpha male.


'Cause I said so.

- Josh

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You have got to be kidding me!

Hey Comrades!

See the title of this post? You've gotta imagine it in THIS voice:

It's been a crazy day! I got to skype with a comrade "across the pond", as he would say,
teach in my new office, learn from an expert that men should never wear sandals (mandals), and launch my new YouTube series, ComradeTV.

So, I was plotting the Revolution with Comrade Coben in the UK, commenting on his cool accent, and doing my best redneck impression complete with a trucker hat. "Howdy, neighbor!"

He was telling me that his band, Violent Karma, used a nifty promotion method with great success. You know how Facebook event invites annoy us all? He printed up a bunch of personalized invitations, and mailed them to his fans for a CD release party. Coben got a 50% turnout! FIFTY PERCENT! That's UNBELIEVABLE! When's the last time a cold impersonal facebook invite has worked out that well? I'm so doing it next time I've got a big gig. It's such a great idea, and I'm so glad he shared it!

It tied right in to a theme that I've been thinking of lately. I believe I mentioned how I heard a great speaker who's also a Google employee say that, to really stand out in today's digital world, go analog! Handwrite stuff, send thank-you notes, and take the time to really see things through.

I think we can forget what an honor and privilege it is to have people listen to our music (or look at art, etc.) We can also forget that it's nice that people take the time to talk to us or to make life a little easier.

I left my office building at about 9:30 pm this evening, and there was a carpet crew there with a few hours of work left ahead of them. When they finish, they'll be driving six hours back to North Carolina. These guys, besides being quality craftsmen, are super nice. They worked with me to make sure I could teach without interruption, and they really didn't have to. They chose to, and I so appreciate that. I left them with some mountain dew, as I disapprove of pepsi when it's a mega job. It just doesn't work!

So, this personal connection stuff has been rattling around in my brain lately. I arrived home, and got this on facebook from a local person:

Thank you so much for your ongoing support! Due to the overwhelming number of requests and friends, I will no longer be using my personal Facebook profile. I would love for you to follow me and interact with me on my Official Fan Page! Here you can stay up-to-date with all of my exciting ventures, and I would love to hear back from you as well!

Click the link below and "Like" my page today.

Hey dig, it's a form letter telling me how to receive more form letters!

If I ever thank you for your ongoing support in a form letter, cut 'n paste this blog, print it out, wrap it around a dead fish, and mail it to me. Priority mail, please. With delivery confirmation.

I know that sometimes, logistically, it's impossible to keep up. I'm bad at returning email. I mean, REALLY bad. But I'm gonna get better. This is an example for me.

And, since I really am thankful, I'm going to email every follower of this blog, and every fan on my facebook music page and say "thank you!"

I should probably hand write some of 'em notes. But my writing's terrible, so guys, I'm really doing you a favor!

Technology's great, because we can have friends we never could have had before. But I, for one, am going to be extra careful that I don't lose the personal connection.

THANK YOU for listening!

- Josh