Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Home

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Betcha

Tina Fey should win an immediate award for this performance. As in they should create one, special for this occasion. She's always been funny, but now she's crossing into Julia Luis Dreyfus levels of brilliance. And Amy Poehler's no slouch either - she's, like, next-level funny. But Tina Fey is nailing this up and down.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Rich

I’ve been buried in the studio this past week and a half, doing menial shit. But I've been close to greatness the whole time. I have two bass heroes in life, one is dead (J Jamerson) and the other is alive and buried here in this same studio with me, playing his ass off. His name is Pino Palladino. This morning we ran into each other in the break room and geeked the fuck out about D’Angelo's Voodoo and about music of all kinds, and the source of soul. And I feel rich.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Friends in Thai Places: Nicolle Medina, Girl Friend


One of the best things about this trip to Manhattan has been the chance to spend some long-needed QT with one of my closest friends, Nicolle. She changes a little bit every time I see her and the girl is all city now. I've been crashing with her while here but this morning she had to leave town for a job and now I've got her pad all to my lonesome self. Which sucks because we really needed at least another week of catching up and I still need someone to wake me up when I sleep through my alarm. But it's been fun, and Nic did the right thing: knowing that last night was our last together for a while she took me to some dive in Hell's kKitchen and got us both good and drunk. At one point she was going to the bar and I asked her to snag me a water. She came back to our table with shots. I said: "Where's my water?" She said, "Oh, right! Well, this is whiskey..."

Nic and I have been friends for almost five years. The first time we met was (fittingly) at a bar, where we were introduced by my then-roommate, Max. The three of us were part of the same company but worked out of different offices. Nic had mentioned she grew up in the suburb of Northville, which I imagined being in total BFE, and I remember making lots of great jokes about her extreme rural upbrining. I came away thinking, "That Nicolle girl is fun. We had a great rapport." Nic came away thinking, "What an ass." But bad first impressions couldn't stand in the way of a great friendship that was meant to be. She ended up getting transferred to a desk two cubes down from mine and, well, hilarity ensued. Nic taught me the term "cropdusting" (farting as you walk down an aisle of office cubes), and I taught her about religious iconography when I accidentally nuked a veggie burger in the floor microwave that, after the charred fact, we both agreed looked remarkably like a silhouette of Jesus rising from the tomb on Easter morning. (We put it on ebay as a miracle for sale, but unfortunately there were no takers.)

I was a big supporter of Nic's decision to move to New York and study acting rather than toil away in an account position that totally didn't suit her and I think this brought us closer. After her move we talked more than ever and became lethal phone pals. Actually, the length of these calls became a bit self-defeating for us: Sometimes, if too much time passed without checking in, each of us would then avoid calling the other for even longer because neither of us ever had the necessary free three to six hours it would take to catch up.

Nicolle was the first true Girl Friend that I've ever had. She proved wrong a long-held belief of mine that women make terrible friends if you're not dating them (I know, that sounds terrible to say but it was based on many failed case studies). I never had a sister growing up and, with Nic, I feel like I finally know what that kind of relationship is like. There's something extremely comforting and essential about having a friend of the opposite sex with which your sex is beside the point. It's the best of both friend worlds. They never want more from you than your support and camaraderie, and yet you can still enjoy the compliment of contrasting male and female essences.

I should mention that becoming Nic's friend reminded me how freaking funny I used to be. Seriously, I was a funny kid. A phenomenal class clown. Just, really, really funny. And then I got older and sadder and... suddenly I wasn't so funny. The clown was a tearful clown then, you could say. But with Nic it's like a competition to make the other person laugh, and I got my old skills back and then some. Just ask Kirsten, she'll tell you I'm a flat-out riot. But seriously, becoming Nic's friend did help me come out of a shell I had crawled into without knowing it. And for that I'll always be grateful.

Beyond restoring my comedic powers, Nic saved me in more tangible ways. When I was at my most destitute, after returning home from tour broke and jobless years ago, she sensed trouble and loaned me her car indefinitely until I could get my own, which allowed me to sell the car I had and pay off some serious billage. In turn, I later built her a website for her burgeoning second career as a portrait photographer. Car/Web site. Fair trade, I think.

Speaking of her photography, yesterday I snuck her into the studio I am working at so that she could snap some high-quality pictures of me which I could then graphically defecate on for album art. We used the roof, where the engineers sneak off to during the day to smoke their designer weed. I told her: "Nic, I've been thinking. I should smile in my pictures. Look at photos of Al Green, or Otis Redding. They're all smiling. It's better than frowning." She said, "So... you want to look Jolly?"

"You're right," I said. "Nevermind."

But she managed to snap this shot of me that is actually a very accurate picture of what I look like smiling. It's funny how childhood insecurities can linger. My brother CHRIS used to make fun of my smile for being "all gums" when I was young, and to this day I feel weird about my gummy grin. But in spite of the massive gummage, I like this shot because it's real, and it's fitting that Nic took it because this is what I look like almost non-stop any time we're hanging out.



P.S. The next time any of you run into Nic, ask her to tell the story of her 9/11 date. It's pa-riceless!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pablo, Killing It

I bought a copy of The Captain's Verses to plug some love back into my brain during all this monotony. And wow. Pablo doesn't play.

"September 8th"

Today, this day was a brimming cup,
today, this day was the immense wave,
today, it was all the earth.

Today the stormy sea
lifted us in a kiss
so high that we trembled
in a lightingflash
and, tied, we went down
to sink without untwining.

Today our bodies became vast,
they grew to the edge of the world
and rolled melting
into a single drop
of wax or meteor.

Between you and me a new door opened
and someone, still faceless,
was waiting for us there.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Actual In-Studio Footage

I'm assisting a record that's getting recorded in Manhattan. This is actual footage of the exciting life of a studio assistant. Blink and you'll miss the fun!

video

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Regis is Shorter and Orange-er in Real Life

I have to say, I am really feeling New York this time. It's the first time I've been here on foot, not in a passenger van, and the difference is huge. I should have brought better shoes, but whatever.

Here's something new I wrote for Metro Times about a fetish magnate.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Trees Hate Me

Oh yeah. So...

Remember when I missed getting flattened by that tree this summer?

There was another brush with disaster Saturday. It had been raining all day and I guess it got the best of one of the big trees shading our house because a giant branch cracked off and nearly missed the house and my jeep.

I'll let Kirsten tell the story.

Finshed, now leaving

I woke up this morning to Claire's smiling face and I could tell she is going to miss me and might have even been thinking about it while she was smiling at me. I could barely keep my head up I was so tired. My head felt as heavy as a sandbag. I stayed up past three finishing a last-minute assignment from Metro Times, and I've been racking up too many 3 a.m.s this week as it is. Actually I filed the MT piece around 2 and then sat on my couch and listened to my new record, in its entirety. Because – and I can't believe I'm saying this – it's finished. FINISHED.

Finished.

I needed to make it, and then I needed it to be done. Now I need people to hear it. But that is a sweet-ass feeling, let me tell you. To just sit there and be outside of it, after being in it for so long. And know it's done and sounds the way you wanted. Even better than you wanted it, really.

But I don't have much time to bask. For now I'm running around the house trying to get things in order and spend a bit of QT with the bear as I prepare to get on a plane for New York tonight, where I'll be working for a few weeks assisting on a recording session.

I haven't left home in a while, and even then my home wasn't so... homey. Most of the long trips and tours I've gone on, I couldn't wait to get out of town. I know this'll be good for me on a couple of different levels, but it's hard not to feel a little apprehensive. I'll miss my ladies.

At this very second we're watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This shit is insane!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kanye West Just Blew My Mind... Again

So now he's singing? And nailing it up and down? There are no limits.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A-Rock-a O-rama

I'm not going to elaborate on my cynicism about this presidential election. It's practically Christmas around here in white liberal Whoville and making cracks about whether or not Obama represents real change makes me feel like the Grinch. But when McCain countered the Democrat's monopoly on aesthetic appeal (Obama: handsome, cool, biracial) by putting Sarah Palin (attractive, woman) on his ticket I had a hunch and did something I haven't done in a long time: I turned on NPR. And listened to those intelligent, poised and generally even-handed newspeople lose their shit . The media isn't even pretending anymore that they haven't chosen sides. Not even pretending.

Today I picked up Claire from her third day of Kindergarten and tried to make small talk. It's like pulling teeth to get any details out of that girl. "How was your day?" "Good?" "Yeah? What did you guys learn?" "About butterflies." "Butterflies? Cool. What about them?" "Just butterflies."

After this went on for a few minutes and dead-ended in silence I turned the radio on for more Obamathon. I don't know why but I still assume that things like news radio are not being picked up on Claire's little anttena. But a few minutes in she announced: "My mama is voting for a-rock-a-o-bama."

"Oh, that's cool. It's actually pronounced BA-rack Obama."

"A-rock-a-o-bama."

"No, BA-rack Obama."

"A-rock-a-o-bama."

"Nevermind. So who are you voting for?"

"I'm not voting for anybody. I'm not old enough. But if I could, I would vote for a-rock-a-o-bama."

"Why? Because your mom is?"

"Yep."

"Is your mom right about everything?"

"Yep."

"More right than me?"

[enthusiastically] "Yep!"

"Fair enough."

[silence]

Claire: "That old guy only cares about rich people."

"That old guy's name is John McCain."

"I know that."

"Why do you call him 'that old guy?'"

"Because he's old."

"True. Well, would you vote for him if he was Santa Claus?"

"But he's not."

"He could be Santa. Nobody knows who Santa really is."

"He's not Santa Claus. He has short hair and no beard."

"Yeah, well, what if he is. I mean, Santa only has to do that job for about a week a year. He could grow his beard around Christmas and cut it the rest of the year. And besides, he's magic."

[she thinks]

Me: "Would you vote for McCain if he was Santa Claus?"

"No."

"Santa Claus! You wouldn't vote for Santa Claus?! After eveything he's done for you?!"

"Nope."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No Looking Back

It's been a month of big changes, the first of which was that, after eight years in my little rented shack on Horton Street, aka "The Manor," I finally moved. The new place is a palace in comparison, with such luxuries as central air, ceiling fans, an extra bedroom where I can make music with the benefit of natural light, and ample counter top space for Kirsten to cook us all fantastic dinners. And there's more room so that Kirsten, Claire, Tobias, Lucy and I can stretch our legs a bit.

The Manor had its charms. Its simplicity was a virtue, a constant reminder, to me at least, not to get too comfortable and that a house isn't an end in itself but a shell in which to make things like love and family and art. The house offered little relief from the heat and the walls were thin so it always felt a bit like camping, which suited me.

Still, the place was a little cruddy and, more importantly, had too much mixed up history in it. I stayed there longer than any other one place in my life, including my childhood homes, and during that course I had eight different roommates. There was Mikey, Charlie, Courtney, Max - who ushered in The Manor's finest era - Timbo, Chris, Kirsten and, of course, Claire. Plus all of the girlfriends of those guys. That's a lot of people, a lot of living, a lot of stories, a lot of changes in perception that happened while I was there.

During my last visit, after hauling all the junk I wasn't going to keep to the curb, I took a minute to stand in the empty living room area and stare at the bare wood floors and walls. I wanted some nostalgia, some tingles. I had a vivid memory of Claire rolling around all over the place in her walker, and of Keith sleeping on his back all stocky like the furry tubesteak that he was - but beyond that, I couldn't summon anything beyond a smeared feeling. Instead I just felt certain that I had stayed in that place too long. It was time for a fresh start.

I've never had much of a sentimental gene. I mean, I'll be the first guy to well up at the movies, and I've got a major sissy poet streak, but when it comes to looking back I'm not much for it. For good or bad, I'm very much an "in the moment" kind of guy. I don't reminisce, I feel uncomfortable when tangential acquaintances from 10 years ago contact me on Facebook, I have a lousy memory and an even lousier ability to visualize my goals: I'm not much of a planner. That's the bad side. The good side is that I'm adaptable, comfortable with change and couldn't hold a grudge if I wanted to.

I think that Claire got my "now" gene. She started Kindergarten this morning and it went off without a hitch. She had expressed some concern about meeting new friends, but when it came time for her mom and I to leave her with her new class and teacher, she hugged each of us, made a quick wave and turned away. She is one emotionally healthy, happy and excited child. If those of you out there looking in think that Claire seems like she'd be hilarious and elevating to be around, all I can say is you have no idea.