I Am A Man

June 30th, 2007 |

I am a man. Want to know how I know? I did lots of manly things today. That’s how.

Within ten minutes of getting out of bed this morning I recorded a cowboy song. I’ve found that my voice sounds its coolest as soon as I get up. My range is horrible but my tone is cool so I took advantage and recorded myself sounding cool like a cowboy.

After that my wife fixed me breakfast. A hot breakfast mind you. Manly.

After that I smoked some meat on my new smoker – one turkey and a slew of chicken breasts. The turkey took nine hours of manliness and everyone on the block could smell me being a man. (Wow I really just set that one on the T didn’t I?)

I cut the grass. Manly.

I lifted weights. Manly.

I watched baseball. Manly. However, watching the Cardinals this season is actually more of a manly minus 1.

There are a few manly things that I didn’t do because I didn’t have the time. For a truly successful man-day I would have had to kill an animal for no reason. I would also have had to work on my truck.

I don’t have a truck.

I have an Escort wagon.

I made fun of my Escort wagon just to be manly.

No Smoking

June 27th, 2007 |

The church we go to is also a pre-school. One of the classes did this whole series of posters against smoking and hung them outside their classroom. Angel and I were checking them out tonight and they’re pretty hilarious. Here are a couple that I really liked. Angel has some more of them on her phone. I’ll check those out and maybe post them tomorrow.

Home – The Lost Demo

June 26th, 2007 |

I found a short demo of Home today that I never knew existed. Not like “Oh hey, wow, I totally forgot about this.” I mean like, I have no recollection of ever recording this. It kind of freaked me out when I heard it.

I don’t know what is with me being mister super stylized singer on some of my demos but it drives me crazy. I sound like a total amateur. Whatever. It’s only a demo right?

Download the demo here

Sara Bareilles

June 25th, 2007 |

I’m not sure if any of you ever pay attention to the free songs iTunes offers, but one of them this week is really worth checking out. It’s called “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. So open up iTunes, go to the iTunes Store, scroll down to the FREE ON iTunes section and it’s the first song you’ll see. Excellent, bouncy pop. If Ben Folds had been born a girl this is who’d he’d have been.

Angel is sitting over at her computer drooling over my recently re-discovered baseball card collection. Not because she knows who Harmon Killebrew is but because she sees that people on the web are willing to drop lots of cash on some of the cards I have. I had sort of forgotten about my cards until the other day. It dawned on me that I may have enough money is baseball cards to pay off our credit cards. Visa takes Rickey Henderson rookie cards, right?

The Week In Review

June 23rd, 2007 |

New Glasses

I went to the eye doctor today to get a new Rx and to order some new glasses. The new glasses look almost exactly like the ones I have now but a little bit smaller. If it ain’t fixed, don’t broke it. I figure that having smaller glasses will make my head look bigger. Then the size of my head will appear to be the same size that people think it is.

During the exam the doctor gave me some eye drops to dilate my pupils. The last time I had that done it made me extremely nauseous. This time it wasn’t so bad. The totally rad inserts the doc gave me made it all worth it. I rocked these suckers for the better part of the day.

Drew Johnson

New Smoker

When we got home I took my new smoker for its maiden voyage. A few weeks ago I was telling my mom how much I’d like to have a smoker but I didn’t want to shell out the money for one. She suggested I put a wanted add in our church’s classifieds saying that I was looking for one just in case someone was wanting to get rid of one. I was certain that there was no chance that would work so I didn’t do anything about it.

A couple of weeks later one of the guys in the church came up to me and said “I hear you’re looking for a smoker.” That kind of freaked me out. How did he know? My mom is in charge of the classified adds. That’s how.

He said he had a brand new smoker still in the box that he had never even put together. It was just taking up space in his shed. He said if I’d come haul it off he’d give it to me for free. Holla! The thing is awesome. I don’t know how much he paid for it but it’s super nice. Thanks mom.

So I started off with something easy and smoked some chicken today. Pretty stinkin’ good. Needs some work but definitely a nice start.

New Perspective – Invention of the Wheel

A few days ago Chris Gustave mentioned that he was hanging out with John Dear and that John had The Drew Johnson Band’s song ‘Fall Fights’ playing in his car. That reminded me that I hadn’t heard that album in a long time so I dug it out to see if it was still good.

I listened to the whole thing all the way through and there were a few spots that made me smile with pride. Things that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed. Here they are.

The guitar tone in ‘Downtown’ is killer. Strat + Matchless + Tube Screamer = Crazy delicious.

The “shout chorus” at the end of Liberty is very cool. (I always considered the “Let your light shine” part a shout chorus) The vocals sounded cooler than I remembered.

The Ballad of War’s End is still my pride and joy. I like all of it. All of it.

The vocal harmonies on the chorus of Blues for Serena are super cool. They definitely made me smile. I also like the vocals in the pre-chorus, the “Kurt gonna grant you everything you lack” part. Those vocals are highly stylized so they sound a bit weird. They were meant to resemble some of the female background vocal stuff that Zappa did. It’s at least in the ballpark.

Those were the things that stood out for me.

Here are a few things that I didn’t like.

The reverb I used on the drums sounded natural to me when we mixed the record. It doesn’t any more.

The doubling (tripling actually) trick I used on most of the lead vocals sounded subtle to me when we mixed it. I thought it fattened it up just a smidge. Now it sounds slick and chorus-y. Bad call.

Dino and I have talked about doing a commentary on Invention of the Wheel like directors and actors do in the special features of a DVD. I think that would be fun. There are many, many stories from the making of that record that I think people might find interesting.

I’m still very proud of that record and I’m glad I can listen to it without cringing. I think we did a lot more right than we did wrong.

Riley’s Prayer

June 21st, 2007 |

We were watching “Extreme Makeover” before we put Riley to bed tonight. Some of the plastic surgery scenes sent Riley running from the room screaming. I was too lazy to run from the room so I just screamed along to show my support. When we put him to bed, this was his prayer:

“Dear God, please help scary shows not to come on TV any more and please help me heal my lip faster than lightning.”

The Story

June 20th, 2007 |

I haven’t listened to much music over the last few years. I’ve never been one of those people who has a huge music collection and knows who produced every Elvis Costello record or other fan-boy fodder. I’m just not that guy. I’m not a music fan, I’m a musician. But over the past few days I’ve really been craving music. So I dug out the same albums that I’ve been fascinated with since 1993 and started back in.

1993 was in many ways the defining year of my life, until last year. 1993 was when I quit college, moved to Nashville, decided that God and I were officially through, met Angel, discovered Tom Waits, discovered Jellyfish, and discovered The Story. Last year kinda trumped ’93 because I gave my heart back to the Lord. There is no event in my life more important than that. Without that, life was completely pointless. Eternally pointless.

So, about The Story. When I was in Nashville I worked at a record store where we received an In-Store-Play version of The Story’s new album The Angel In The House. This album became the soundtrack to my life for the next few years. I listened to it incessantly. It was some of the most beautiful songwriting and singing I had ever heard, and still is.

I got out my copy of that album today and was listening to it in my work truck. I was overwhelmed with sadness. Not only is this album very heavy-hearted lyrically but 1993 was one of the loneliest and saddest years of my life, so the emotional nostalgia that hit me came coupled with the sadness of the lyrics and just made for one very sad listening experience.

Some people like to sit down and have a good cry every now and then. I don’t even know what that means but I would guess that listening to The Story today was my version of a good cry…except I didn’t cry ’cause I ain’t no stupid pansy!

Yolanda Adams

June 18th, 2007 |

A few weeks ago I talked about a group that came to our church called Heartsong. To recap – they totally blew me away. This is one of the songs they did. It’s by Yolanda Adams and it’s called ‘Victory’. This fills me to overflowing with hope for Christian music.

Macarena Shoes

June 16th, 2007 |

Since I decided not to re-install the audio plug-ins I’d stolen, that means I have to start from scratch and re-mix all of the music I was working on for my solo album. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I started with Macarena Shoes and it’s really starting to sound rather cool. Having a new keyboard has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me also. The keyboard is used sparingly in this song but I think it definitely adds a new depth to the tune. This song is also much more dramatic than the way I usually write. I think it’s cool but it seems (understatement alert) a little one dimensional without a real drummer.

Get the mp3 here.

This is the first time I’ve posted this tune in its entirety so don’t laugh. Some of the songwriters may notice that the melody could be improved by shifting a couple of notes up a half step. I am going to re-record the vocals sometime in the near future to take care of that. The way I sing this song in my head and the way I sang it on the recording are two different things. The change is extremely subtle but it will strengthen the relationship between the melody and the underlying harmony. If you don’t notice what I’m talking about – good. Pretend I never said anything.

Dino will be adding the drums in the next couple of weeks. Then it should be done.

Speaking of Dino – I went with him, Christopher Gustave, and Kristopher Curtis to the Jonny Lang concert Thursday night. I was completely blown away. I told Gustave on our way there that this was the first concert I’ve been to in a long, long time that had me all giggly and excited. I can honestly say that there in not a single person on the planet right now who I’d rather hear sing than Jonny Lang. All the incredible vocal stuff he does on the album, he does live. It’s pretty amazing.

It was great to get to hang out with the guys too. I think it had probably been a year and a half since the four of us had been in the same room at the same time. I really value my friendship with those guys. We’ve certainly seen some stuff. I don’t know how else to put it.

Taco Belled

June 13th, 2007 |

After a trip through the Taco Bell drive-through tonight I decided that it would serve society well for someone to write a Taco Bellian to English dictionary.

There is a new trend in drive-through speak that I find infuriating. Apparently “How ya doin’?” is Taco Bellian for “Welcome to Taco Bell, may I take your order please?” I learned that “How ya doin’?” doesn’t really mean “How ya doin’?” after I answered the question with a “fine” only to sit in utter silence for a good minute waiting for the keeper of the window to say something more. He didn’t. So I did. Then I repented.

I also learned that when they hand you your food and you say “Thank you”, a response of complete silence or a “No problem” both mean “Thank you and please come again.”