Okay, maybe I'm just getting sappy here... Maybe it's age mellowing me... But I had a couple of run-ins with family (both my own and my wife's) in the last few days, and I had a really good time!
This past Sunday, we went up to Washingtonville, New York to my wife's Uncle Bob's Surprise 75th Birthday Party.
Now, Washingtonville is a beautiful little town in southern New York state. Sheila's cousins Rue and Alice both live there, as well as her Aunt Carol and Uncle Bob only one town over. The town is known for once having the oldest winery in the country (until a fire several years ago) as well as being the hardest hit hometown as far as loss of civil servant lives at the World Trade Center catastrophe.
I love going up there. It's quiet, it's clean. Lots of farms and fields and trees, my kind of outdoors. (I am SOOO not a beach guy...)
So we all go to Alice's house and wait for Uncle Bob to show up. Now, unbeknownst to him, his son, Robert, who hasn't been up here in about six years, was there with his wife and kids, up from Hotlanta.
It has been so long since he has been up here, I have never met him. And I've been with my wife eight years now.
So this all turned out to be a great party. Everybody sitting around and talking, having a good time. The weather was perfect so most of us congregated to the back deck to drink beer and bullshit. Good food, good drink, good weather and good company. A better Sunday you couldn't ask for.
Now this past Thursday, I had my cousin Emma Jean and her husband Joe and their daughter Tina over. Tina was going to F.I.T. here in New York City, so I would ride the train out with her. Thursday, she went with me to my stop, Maplewood, and I drove up back to my apartment. Her parents showed up right about when Sheila got home from school.
I fired up the grill and made a great shish-kebob dinner with rice and corn-on-the-cob. Then the girls all went inside, joined by another cousin of mine, Michele, who lives a block away. Joe and I sat out on the patio for an hour or two just shooting the breeze.
In general, another good time.
So why do I tell you this? Simple. How many times do you find yourself or someone you know bitching about your family? God knows I do enough of that myself. Well, then what's wrong with simply telling you about a couple of good family experiences I had?
My sincerest apologies are going out to the following, in no particular order...
Jerry Scioscia, owner or Stage Left Studios. I was supposed to go in there today and record, and woke up about a half an hour after I should have been there. It was a shitty thing to do, and I'm not gonna use having a gig last night as an excuse. That's a cop out. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to do this.
To any and all people whose requests my band has not gotten to at any show. Also, a big thank you for your understanding that we take requests all night long, getting anywhere from 50-100 per night. (Since we can only play about 40-45 songs in a night, some requests are gonna have to get left out.)
And finally to you, the reader of Potch's place, because I have been a busy little bee, rebuilding the website almost from the ground up, learning how to use Photoshop, playing out an awful lot, working and trying to keep up with my baseball league. I haven't been writing anything for you good folks to read. And my initial thought was to write something EVERY day...
Thank you for understanding and please continue to come on by. I promise to post more often this week.
Folks, sometimes being even the smallest of rock stars has its perks.
Now, when I say the smallest of rock stars, I refer to the guys who play in that crappy lounge act you see every Thursday at the Holiday Inn out on the interstate, or that classic rock cover band you see once a month at your favorite watering hole or even the guy with the keyboard or guitar, a mic and a canned backup band on cd you might see playing a coffee house or even your local Barnes and Noble.
Basically, I am referring to myself. (See Classic Rock cover band at local watering hole... Yup, that's me... Hi...)
What kind of perks?
Some good, some great, but all appreciated.
Like when you have that first or even one thousandth person come up to you and say, "Man, you guys are fucking AWESOME!"
Yeah, that rocks!
Or when you actually have someone recognize you when you're out shopping or renting a video.
That's pretty freaking cool too.
When you get your first, bona-fide fans (meaning someone other than your family and friends, someone you earned), that is good to knock your socks off.
When a fan from one bar travels more than a half an hour to see you, man, you feel honored.
These are all great situations that make you just rock harder, give a little bit more, play until your arms are tired, your dripping sweat from everywhere and your voice is about to give out. As your way of showing your appreciation.
And then there are the fringe benefits.
Some fans of ours baked us some cookies a few weeks ago. They were great!
An unexpected treat!
But then there are the intangible treats you get.
Now, mind you, I am a happily married, faithful man. As is my drummer. Our bass player has been with his girlfriend for a decade now.
Our unattached Road Manager has a field day, though. Especially since we do request all night and he gets them for us. He has actually told us he's not doing it for the money, he's doing it because we've given him an excuse to talk to every woman in the place...
But still there is the women...
How, you may ask?
When certain young, attractive women get to a certain level of inebriation, they lose their inhibitions.
In the last five years, I have seen some pretty wild stuff from the stage. Women dancing together (always fun),. women kissing each other (talk about stopping the band cold...), women doing the bump and grind with their men (yowza!).
Then there are the women who just come right up and dance, alone right in front of the band... Well, for the band, more precisely.
And the women who get up on the bar and dance...
And the ones who flash their breasts at you while you're playing...
Or who moon you with a coy smile...
Or who wear the tightest clothes possible and wiggle their shoulders at you, moving their breasts back and forth...
Or those who throw their bra at you...
But last week, one took the cake. If I am lying about this, may the Lord take me now.
We have several... Groupies... They are fans, but they are about 22 years old, gorgeous (one used to be an exotic dancer), and come to like every show. Thus, they have been dubbed, "The Groupies".
Well, last Saturday, only one showed up. But she decided to put on a little show for us...
She asked us to play American Pie. So we obliged. She grabbed our drummer's cousin and danced with him. About halfway through the song, she turned her back to him and danced back to front for a while. Then, out of nowhere, she grabbed his hands and placed them on her tits.
It was all I could do to keep singing...
When the song ended, she sat down and put her feet up on the chair next to her. We went into another song.
About halfway through, the drums just stop. Cold.
I turn, Blair, our bass player, turns. Danny, the drummer is staring over at the groupie. So we look over and she's smiling. Danny picks it back up and we finish the song. Blair and I turn to him.
"What happened?" I asked him.
"She Stone'd me." Danny said.
Now, Danny is a recovering addict... Well, he's been clean 12 years, but still, having grown up with him basically most of our lives, my first thought was drugs.
"Stone'd me. You know, like Basic Instinct..."
"Basic Ins..." I stopped. I instantly knew what he was talking about. The scene in Basic Instinct where Sharon Stone flashes her bush to the cops... Awesome. Loved that scene. It was... WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE!
"Hey, what about us?" I quickly ask the Groupie, half kidding.
Then she Stone'd Blair and I...
God, I love being a musician. Thank you dad, for teaching me how to play "House Of The Rising Sun" all those years ago and giving me this love for the guitar. It has paid off in so many awesome ways.
What they will be is approximately 1 million well-placed individuals who will work for the government and report any suspicious doings. All in the named of "fighting terrorism." This program is looking for volunteers and begins next month.
I have to wonder why the liberal-leaning media is not having a field day with this one.
Why, I am willing to bet that most people have not even heard of this.
This idea is the beginning of Big Brother, folks. How scary is THAT?
Allow me to quote two of the most famous Americans there ever was.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one" - President Thomas Jefferson
Folks, let me say this before I am villified by some of you: I do not want to see another terrorist attack.
Hell I work In New York, the biggest target in the whole fucking country, okay?
I watched the Twin Towers fall with my own two eyes down Fifth-fucking-Avenue, okay?
But this is abolutely wrong! This is completely giving up our freedom and our liberty for a temporary idea of safety.
Damn it! I don't want to die, but I'd rather die prematurely as a free man than live a long but watched life.
I admit that after Sept. 11th, I was scared shitless to get on a train and go back into the city.
But I did, and I do, every damned day of the week. So does millions of other people. We are all considered to be in harms way. Why do we do it?
Because we have to. Because if we don't we are not free anymore. We will be like prisoners in our own country. We owe it to the millions of Americans and everyone else in the world who have died fighting for liberty and freedom to live our fucking lives and not the bastards get us down!
But we ALSO need to tell our increasingly tyrannical government that programs like TIPS is completely unethical and immoral. What's next, new interment camps for Americans of Middle Eastern decent?
Folks, I mean, if the mother-fucking PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE is unconstitutional, then surely the TIPS programs is as well. Stand up and fight back, or in the next few years, we're all gonna be reading Newspeak and looking at pictures of Dubya with captions saying "George Dubya is watching..."
Lee 7/16/2002 11:10:00 AM [+]
Monday, July 15, 2002
Overtimeonline.net Under Construction
Okay, so you surfed onto Overtime's Website and things look different... And some things aren't working...
Welp, chillun. Doing some construction to that thar site. Should be done in a few days. Just keep tuned here for when we're back up and running at full steam.
I was lucky enough to get a listen to the first 9 of the 16 songs on the new Chili Peppers album, By The Way.
Consider the following a warning.
I love the Chili Peppers, and I have since around the time when Hillel Slovak, their original guitarist, died of a heroin overdose. I have loved every album they have made to this point, but I find it hard to like what I heard on the new album.
Granted, I still haven't heard 7 of the songs. Granted, I am also going to buy this cd no matter what (I have a thing for having complete collections). However, I can tell you that without a doubt, this cd marks a massive change in sound and style for the Peppers.
First is the apparent lack of bass on the tracks. Unlike most Chili albums where Flea's bass is right up front and in your face, here it is hidden in the mix. Excepting, of course, the lead single and title track, By The Way.
Second, the vocals. Kiedis is fine, as always, but Frusciante and Flea have taken much larger roles now. Hell, they even have (gasp!) harmonies! Honestly, the vocals are good, but sound very reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz.
Third, Frusciante's guitar is rather... Understated. He focuses more on chords and arpeggios (i.e. rhythm guitar) than on his solos. In fact, the only lead that impresses at all is on By The Way. I find this disappointing because Frusciante has long been acknowledged as the Peppers best guitarist, and here he just doesn't do much other than some really great rhythm playing. (Note: The solos are all tastefully and fit the songs, but they just aren't... amazing.)
Fourth, There are strings, piano, studio sound effects and synth (SYNTH!!!) on the album. A LOT of them. I found this disconcerting, as it really changes the Peppers sound.
Fifth, the decided lack of funk. The Peppers have always been known as the funkiest band of white guys around (they're not P-Funk, but then who else is?), but here they go for a mellower, poppy sound. This is my biggest problem with the album. Most of the 9 songs I heard are slow ballad-like songs. And almost all of them have a big "change" in them. Meaning, they are cruising along, doing one thing and then suddenly a left turn, complete change in vocal sound, guitar sound and the beat.
Which gets me to my final thought on what I have heard so far. This album reminds me an awful lot like Van Halen 3.
Van Halen 3 released it's first single, the absolutely awesome "Without You", about a month before the cd was released. It was the highest requested song on rock radio for that month and actually was even the highest requested VH song ever.
Big hype! I couldn't wait to heard the album.
I bought it the day it came out, brought it home and played it twice. I have played it (other than the occassional listen to "Without You") four times since.
Van Halen 3 broke my heart. Another band I have been into for years, since about 1982. One of my all-time favorites. The first single was one of the best songs they had ever done, and then... BLAH! The rest of the album was basically an Eddie solo album. It was very experimental, it had a very different sound. It remains their only album to not go platinum, and that is despite the "Without You" hype.
"By The Way" is easily one of the best Peppers songs ever. But the other 8 songs I heard were not. I'm not saying they're bad songs, they're okay. Perhaps they'll grow on me. But for right now, I would say I am dissappointed in what I have heard from the Peppers.
Hopefully those other 7 songs rock like mother-farkers and make me look bad, because I really wanted to like this album.
I would advise caution in purchasing the new Chili Peppers cd, as this is definitely not business as usual for them.
See if you can download a few songs and listen to them before buying it.
Or if a friend of yours has already bought it, see if you can go to his house and listen to it with him. Bring a few beers and make a night of it.
Inspired by Entertainment Weekly Magazine's yearly "It" list, Media Yenta (another fellow I went to Montclair High School with, but I didn't know until now... Thanks Rob!) has come up with his very own "Fake It" list!
Media Yenta is a rather irreverent, definitely sarcastic look at our media in all it's shapes and forms, television, movies, radio, news, even Regis...
About two weeks ago, when Media Yenta announced he was putting together his own "Fake It" list, I immediately applied. And to my amazement, I just found out I was chosen to be one of his five "Fake It's"... Okay, not so much as chosen as I was one of the first five to apply...
So go to Media Yenta and check out the "Fake It" list, featuring: my friend Rob Matsushita, a playwright from Madison, WI, Pope Buck I, the Most Influential Personality Of Our Time, Susie Felber, a comedienne from New York City and CBS's Becker, the sitcom everyone is watching but no one knows why!
It is an honor to be on the list, and a priviledge to be on there with such star power...
Okay, those of you who know me, know that I am the ultimate New York Yankee freak. Baseball comes second to that team to me. (And I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE baseball!)
But I also am a big fan of Hockey (as well as boxing). My team in hockey, like both of my bandmates, Blair & Dan, is the New York Rangers. Okay, I actually, honestly root for the Rangers, Islanders AND Devils, but the Isles and Devils can jump in a lake compared to my feelings for the Rangers.
I watched and listened with baited breath in 1994 as they charged towards the cup. I agonized over letting Messier go. I cheered bringing him back.
Now, tonight, July 1st, I get two for the price of one, with both of my teams!
The Yankees picked up former All-Star and Gold Glover Raul Mondesi for a AA reliever. AND they don't pick up his entire contract for next year! (They pay only 7 of his due 12 million.)
Now, Mondesi has been slumping, but he is a power-hitting right handed hitter with an awesome arm and great speed. Besides, even if he continues to slump, the Yankees powerful lineup can absorb a weak bat, as long as the player is not station to station on the bases and has a good glove and a cannon for an arm. My guess, Mondesi fits in rather well.
Second, the Rangers went out and got Bobby Holik tonight as a free agent, stealing him away from the Devils. All I will say about this is that I smell a playoff run! Now just re-sign Richter!
Way to go Sather and Cashman... Course, when these moves potentially backfire, I reserve the right to forget every word I just said and rip you both new assholes...