Rush Concert

June 29th, 2008 |

Yesterday was a good day.

I didn’t even have to use my AK. – Ice Cube

Yesterday morning my new PC arrived. Yeah so it’s like totally really fast and stuff. And quiet too. Good grief. Now I don’t have to have the sound of a screaming CPU fan in all of my acoustic guitar tracks any more.

So I’ve spent hour after hour yesterday and today getting everything installed and set up which has not been without moments of panic. Most notably was the incident today when I was trying to install some Waves plug-ins and right in the middle of the installation I got the blue screen of death (or whatever it’s called…it was blue…whatever) and an immediate, involuntary shut down. Upon rebooting it got about half way through the boot cycle and up pops the same screen as the screen where my last PC died. The one that says “You are doomed. Something has gone horribly wrong and yes, it was your fault. Would you like to boot Windows in safe mode…” and on and on. I chose to boot windows normally (the least ominous sounding option) and after staring at a blank screen for what seemed like and eternity, it did boot like it was supposed to and everything was fine. Thanks Bill Gates. You’re the best.

I said yesterday was a good day – not today. So let’s talk about yesterday some more.

A few days ago Jeff H (frequent commenter around these parts, who was, by the way, one of the guitar players for the Fugitive Popes – that band I played in in Nashville – although Jeff’s stint in the Popes and my stint did not overlap – we’ve met once) emailed me and said he and a couple of buddies were coming to St. Louis to see the Rush show last night. He asked if I’d be interested in meeting them for pizza at Imo’s before the show. I was very interested. We email each other all the time but have never really hung out.

Then yesterday morning another friend of mine, Joe Y, called and said he and a couple of buddies were coming into town to see the Rush show and they had an extra ticket and wanted to know if I could go. Could I?!? Yup.

So I met Jeff and his crew at Imo’s and we had a great time talking music for a couple of hours and exchanging our best nightmare gig stories. He won.

Then I met Joe and his friends for the Rush concert which was pretty phenomenal I gotta say. Those guys still got it that’s for sure. They played for three hours. Three hours!!! Do you know how hard it is for thousands of drunk people to dance in 7/8 for three hours?

Of course they made us wait until the end to hear Tom Sawyer and YYZ, which I guess I should have expected. I kind of got the chills a little bit seeing Neal Peart play the eight bars of drum solo in Tom Sawyer. That’s, like, the eight bars that launched a million drumming careers. Very cool.

The Farmer In The Dell

June 24th, 2008 |

Everybody go ahead and get your booing muscles warmed up. Ready? Good.

I bought a Dell.

It’s the XPS 420 with an Intel Core 2 Q6600 Quad-Core processor, 4GB of SDRAM at 800 MHz, and a 750GB hard drive. There’s really nothing fancy about it. Just good old horsepower, which is all I need.

The thing that made me decide to go with a Dell was the fact that I couldn’t find anybody that could get the price as low as Dell and also offer 12 months free financing. So I’ll trade some cool points for affordability any day. I should have it next week I think.

My Computer Died Again

June 23rd, 2008 |

I’m writing this from Angel’s PC. See how boring and slow it is?

My PC died its last death yesterday. I’ve poured way too much good money after bad into that thing bringing it back from the dead at least twice. I’m done. It’s time for a new PC. I attempted to order one tonight but ran into a bunch of hidden costs and got mad. I’m pretty sure of what I want to do but I need to sleep on it.

Isn’t buying a new computer supposed to be a joyful event? Isn’t it supposed to be fun and exciting? Well I’m not too happy about it considering that I have exactly zero dollars budgeted for a new computer. But a computer is an absolute necessity for me considering that it’s the musical instrument I play the most often.

So I believe I’ll be placing my order tomorrow and hopefully by this time next week I’ll be re-installing and re-booting to beat the band. Oh, and speaking of bands… ahh forget it…I can tell you about that later.

New Software – Komplete Classics

June 17th, 2008 |

I recently picked up some overtime at work and agreed to let Angel and Riley spend the money on me for Father’s Day. They got me the Komplete Classics sample library from Native Instruments and I am completely blown away.

I had read some really glowing reviews of this package and everything I read turned out to be true. These sounds are absolutely phenomenal.

I spent some time tonight putting together a little demo thing of some of the tones so you could hear how great this software sounds. The first thing you’ll hear is me basically improvising on the Steinway piano. The next thing is me playing what sounds a lot like Beck’s ‘Two Turntables and a Microphone’ on the Wutlitzer A200. Then next is me playing the ending keyboard riff from ‘Lunar Beams’ on the Fender Rhodes. And lastly is me goofing off on the Hammond B3.

Check it out.

Download the mp3 here.

Overwhelming Colorfast

June 13th, 2008 |

I found something really cool on YouTube today. It’s Overwhelming Colorfast’s version of The Beatles’ “She Said, She Said.” What’s so cool about that? you ask. The Drew Johnson Band covered Overwhelming Colorfast’s cover of The Beatles’ “She Said, She Said.” This song was in our set list for years but I don’t think people ever knew that it was a cover of a cover.

I don’t really remember how I came across this band. I know I had a cassette of their album so it was probably a promo copy I got from one of the record stores I worked at.

I normally don’t like covers of songs that are drastically different than the original but this is an exception.

This brings back great memories.

Back From Texas – Not That You Knew We Went

June 11th, 2008 |

Last Friday morning we flew to San Antonio, Texas for my stepsister‘s wedding and my brother‘s high school graduation. We got back into town yesterday afternoon sunburned and tired.

This was the first wedding Riley had ever been in and he did surprisingly well. He was the lord of the rings and he looked rather dashing.

We had a good time.

There may be some music news coming soon. There are a few things going on in the next couple of weeks that might yield some exciting possibilities, sorry for the vagueness.

And Now For A Real Miracle

June 4th, 2008 |

A few moths ago my step-dad Ed received some very bad news from the doctor. One of his kidneys had a sizable, not-so-benign tumor and the other kidney was bleeding. This would require two separate surgeries. The first surgery would be to fix the bleeding kidney, the second would be to remove the other.

The first surgery was a success but was very painful and the recovery was anything but pleasant. The doctors wanted to give him plenty of time to recover before diving right back into another surgery.

Today he went to the doctor to begin the whole process leading up to the second surgery. The doctor did an MRI and found that the tumor was gone. The doctor consulted the head MRI guy for a second opinion and it was confirmed that the tumor is nowhere to be found. There will be no need for a second surgery. To God be the glory.

My post yesterday may have left some with the impression that I don’t believe in miracles. That’s not true at all. I absolutely do. I just don’t believe in faith healers.

Ed’s miracle was not the result of someone kicking him in the face. It was not the result of some $1,000.00 “seed” he planted into a TV ministry. It was not the result of some red-faced evangelist calling down angels from heaven to carry away the disease. It was the result of God’s mercy. The answer to many prayers offered by God-fearing Christians.

Lakeland Revival

June 3rd, 2008 |

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a man who goes to a church here in town. He was telling me about a trip he and some of the people from his church took to Lakeland, Florida. He told me about this gigantic ‘revival’ that is going on down there and how God is doing amazing things. This was the first I had heard of the Lakeland revival.

There have been a couple of occasions since then where this revival has been brought up, the most recent of which was Angel telling me that Hank Hanegraaff had done a whole report on it. Angel said “We’ve got to find this stuff on the Internet. You’re not going to believe some of the stuff this Pastor is saying.”

So Angel did some searching and found the clip Hanegraaf was using to incriminate (and rightfully so) this Pastor. Hanegraaf’s broadcast about this can be found here. Under “Recent Broadcasts” click the “Questions and Answers” link next to 6/2/2008.

Here it is.

There is a whole slew of this garbage. If this guy is of the Lord then why do I feel like I’m watching Satan himself mock God?

The website for this revival claims that eight people have been raised from the dead. I watched a video where a guy claimed that both of his legs (amputated at the knees) had begun the grow back during the service and that he could now see through his glass eye.

I have watched countless videos of various ‘faith healers’ who bring people up on the stage who claim that they were healed during the service. But why don’t we ever actually see the healing? Why don’t they bring up a woman with a withered arm and let us see God make it whole? Why don’t they ever bring up a burn victim and let us see God make the skin smooth again? Why don’t they ever raise anyone from the dead on stage?

It would be like going to a magic show where the magician sends his beautiful, young assistant into the crowd for the set-up to his first trick. She goes to the back of the auditorium and finds a top hat with a rabbit in it. She then grabs the rabbited top hat and races to the stage claiming that when she first saw the hat it was empty but when the magician waved his wand she actually watched the rabbit appear in the hat. The crowd goes wild. Everyone believes. Magic is real.

Then she runs back stage and brings out a guy who she claims was sawed in half only seconds before but now look at him, he’s completely all together and stuff. Once again the crowd goes totally berserk. Now he’s going to make an airplane disappear or whatever. You get the idea. But here’s the thing, this magician is selling out stadiums every night with these amazing tricks. He’s on the news. He’s on TV. Criss Angel has a tattoo of the guys face on his chest. And to all of this the rest of us offer a thundering “Huh?”

There are many people who think that these signs and wonders will once and for all prove that God does exists and that it will lead many unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ. But here’s what I know to be true; if God Himself came to earth and walked and talked with us most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth and raised the dead most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth and healed the sick most of us wouldn’t believe. If God Himself came to earth we would murder Him. If He rose from the dead most of us wouldn’t believe. I know all of this because it actually happened. Even the people who walked with Him and talked with Him and touched Him and ate with Him; the vast majority of them didn’t believe. So what is to make us think that a guy kicking people in the face is going to yield different results?

The apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It’s the good news of Jesus Christ that will bring people to belief, not miracles, and certainly not assault and battery.

If the Lakeland folks want to see lives changed, here is the message: Jesus Christ is God Himself in human flesh. He came to earth to seek and save that which was lost. He lived a perfect, sinless life obeying all of God’s laws. He was crucified and suffered the punishment for our sin. He died and rose again on the third day. He appeared to many and told them that He is going to prepare a place for us. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God and makes intercession for us.

Without Christ we are without hope. If we repent of our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved, saved from the punishment we deserve for our sins. There is no other way to inherit eternal life. When we believe, God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, and God imputed our wickedness to Christ on the cross. The great exhange.

Did I hear any of that in any of the videos I watched of the Lakeland thing? No.

So why is it that I believe in Christ and so few others do? Is it because I’m a simpleton? Is it because sex, drugs, and Rock-n-Roll just didn’t really hit the spot for me? Is it because I sat down and weighed the pros and cons of Christ verses everything else that might help me sleep at night? No! None of that. I believe because God has granted me belief. God has opened my eyes. God has given me spiritual life. That’s why I believe. It wasn’t anything I did. God showed me His mercy and I’ll never be the same.

Don’t look at the psycho evangelists, look at me. Look at the miracle God has performed in me. I was dead and now I’m alive. Christ did not come to make bad men good. He came to make dead men live.

Christopher Gustave Pictures

June 2nd, 2008 |

I was sneaking around in Christopher Gustave‘s Photobucket page the other day and found some pictures of The Drew Johnson Band I’d never seen before. I asked Gustave if he’d mind if I post them here and he said “Mi bucket es su bucket.”

Most of these are from the soundcheck for the George Harrison tribute show we did at The Pageant a few years ago.

This show was far and away the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of as far as music goes. We had a twelve-piece string section, a four-piece horn section, Tim Redmond (from Cobalt Blue) on keys, Sean Garcia (from Three Merry Widows and Tinhorn among others) also on keys, Lliam Christy (I don’t even know what to say here, it’s just like totally Lliam Christy of Lliam Christy fame, and a long time ago he played in The Stranded Lads) on guitar, and The Drew Johnson Band rounding out the the whole thing.

Steve Nowels (bass – The Drew Johnson Band) gets all the glory for pulling this whole thing off. Dave Kalz had asked us if we would play in this Harrison tribute he was putting together and of course we agreed. I assumed we would just tackle it as a three-piece just like we had always done. Then Steve came into practice with the idea of putting together this gigantic band and he said he would write out all the scores and rehearse the orchestra and the horn section and the whole nine yards all by himself. To this Dino and I gave a resounding “Pfft!” It was a wonderful idea but we knew there was no way we could ever pull the thing together in a few short weeks. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if Steve didn’t pull it off.

The whole thing didn’t come together until the soundcheck because we couldn’t find a way to rehearse such a huge group. So we had to use the soundcheck as the only rehearsal where everyone was there all at the same time. I was stunned by how well it all came together. Huge kudos to Steve for having a vision and seeing it all the way through. His incredible work ethic made for an unforgettable experience for everyone on stage.

I think the thing that made me the giddiest was that Steve was able to get Lliam Christy and Sean Garcia to play with us. Those guys are legends around these parts. I went to college with Lliam and always saw him as this enigmatic super-human guitar wizard so to get to play with him was really an amazing thing for me.

Here is an mp3 of us playing ‘Here Comes The Sun’ at that show if you’re interested in hearing how the whole thing sounded.

All photos are by Christopher Gustave.

This is Sean Garcia.

This is me with hair.

Dino Nicastro

This is me trying not to giggle about the fact that I’m on stage with Lliam Christy and he’s actually talking to me.

Me and Lliam again.

Sean Garcia with Tim Redmond and the Magical Mystery Orchestra.

Steve Nowles – the brains behind the whole thing.

These next two aren’t from the Harrison show, I just thought they were cool so I stole these too.

Me and Steve.

Here are a few other pictures I happened to have from the Harrison show. These are of the actual performance. These are not by Gustave. These are not very cool.

Man I really wish I still owned that Les Paul.

Random Stuff

June 1st, 2008 |

Check out this Ian Moore video for a second. Well, at least try to get to the chorus.

If you don’t know who Ian Moore is he happens to be one of my musical heros. At the beginning of his career he was one of these impossibly-good-looking-Texas-blues-guitar-player-stud types. He also happens to have one of the most awesome singing voices I’ve ever heard. The Drew Johnson Band opened for him a number of years ago and I got to hang out with him after the show and pick his brain quite a lot. Definitely one of the highlights of my musical “career”. But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that he’s wearing a ton of glammy makeup in this video. I was shocked when I saw this being that it seemed so incredibly out of character for him.

That got me thinking about something that I’ve considered many times before: how does a band make the decision to wear makeup? There have been a few bands around town that I’ve known and gigged with who have worn makeup and I always wanted to ask whose idea it was. I always imagined a band rehearsal where one guy finally works up the courage to say “Hey dudes, what are your thoughts on lipstick? Because, I like, totally think it’s right for us.” Maybe that’s not how it works. I don’t know. I just think of the severe beating I would have gotten had I suggested such a thing to any of the bands I’ve played in.

Next thought.

Here’s a video I found of Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, and Nickle Creek singing “Tonight, You Belong To Me.” I love this song and I happen to think that this song provides the most touching moment in The Jerk. I wish I could write songs like this.

Next thought.

A bizarre string of Internet searches this weekend led me to a picture of the store Angel and I worked at in Nashville. It was the Sam Goody at Harding Mall. It was this very store where Angel first cast her gaze upon me and my long, golden locks. She was walking by the store (this was before she worked there) with one of her friends and saw me standing behind the counter and said to her friend “That’s the guy I’m going to marry.” That is the honest truth. So she picked up an application and the rest is history.

Here is a link to the picture. It’s the second store on the left with the pink neon sign.

Next thought.

Angel had a wonderful opportunity this weekend to show just how much she really loves me. This story is rather gross so I’ll try to be as Christ-like as I can in the telling.

We were watching TV Friday night and I got this really bad itch on my left cheek…and not the one on my face. I didn’t think much of it because I happen to be a bit of a bug bite collector. But this itch was pretty intense and there was quite a lump to boot. Angel and I went in the bathroom and closed the door so she could take a look; possibly the most un-flattering moment of my life. She said “There’s a big black spot right in the middle of it.” I told her it might be a tick. I’ve never had a tick before but the thought just jumped in my head.

I’d always heard that tick-removal involves heating up a needle over an open flame and then using in to politely encourage the tick to step away from your skin. We didn’t have a needle handy but Angel grabbed some tweezers and got them red hot. At this point she was pretty sure it wasn’t any kind of creature, she just thought it was the head of the bite. When she touched the tweezers to the thing she immediately became convinced otherwise. I could tell by her repeated screems. “It’s legs just moved!!!” Ok well now we both agree that it is in fact a tick.

The digging and grimacing went on for about five minutes. Ticks have quite the little grip.

She was finally able to remove the thing from my rear. My first point of business was to make sure she still loved me after such an incident. She did…a smidge.

After some Internet research she informed me that the particular type of tick that had violated me didn’t really pose much of a threat as far as diseases go. The Internet said that it would continue to itch for about twenty-four hours and then everything would be fine. That has not been the case. Now the skin around the point of entry is all hard and irritated and it itches like nobody’s business. I’ll be going to the doctor tomorrow since I not only collect bug bites, I also collect humiliating incidents in the presence of women.