April 10th, 2004.

I haven’t looked forward to anything as much as I’ve been looking forward totonight’s show in quite a while. Sharif and I have been just sort of jamming around on and off for about two days now, and – it reminds me of being in high school, when I had first discovered bass guitar – how I’d just keep playing and keep playing and something NEW kept coming out of my fingers.

btw – I’ve ripped down most of the website’s menu (in case you haven’t noticed) – all the material exists up there but I want to figure out a better way of organizing everything, cause I’ve gotten a couple of complaints recently about how confusing it is to navigate… work work work.

Thursday night we hit up the New Deal Cafe open mic - Alex Colvin was there and got some backup from the Greenbelt Jazz Trio (they had a specific name, but I don't remember it...) and Ace's music suddenly found it's niche. It's the way he ought to sound ALL the time.
Thursday night we hit up the New Deal Cafe open mic – Alex Colvin was there and got some backup from the Greenbelt Jazz Trio (they had a specific name, but I don’t remember it…) and Ace’s music suddenly found it’s niche. It’s the way he ought to sound ALL the time.

April 18th, 2004.

The New Deal festival was… wonderful. The whole day was wonderful. But we’re back “home” in Owings Mills, and my body feels like it’s been beaten by large men with sticks. I’ve spent the whole day being social and friendly and on my feet and in the sun, and I didn’t realize how tired I was till we got on stage, which is the absolute worst time to find out you’re exhausted.

So, we saw JR and Waverly, and they were awesome, and Symbiont was great, got to introduce Heather to a Chapman stick… all sorts of good stuff. At around 10pm we managed to excuse ourselves and run off to the College Perk so I could catch up with my old friend Jonathan Ratican (“J-Tron”) who was playing over there.

Unfortunately, we missed everything but his last tune, but then an even OLDER friend – Andre Cutair took the stage. I hadn’t known he was playing tonight – and I’d forgotten how … I don’t have another good word to describe it… heartbreaking his voice is. His new act – the duo Fortunate Accident is beautiful. I’m definately looking forward to playing a show or two with them. I want to sit and drink them.

Yuck, most unfortunate. Hot day today. I’ve been out on the sidewalks this morning, saving worms like my mother taught me. Happy Birthday mom!

March 5th, 2005.

Last night was a rough night. We played the College Perk, perhaps for the last time… that’s not a jibe at the Perk, that’s just an acknowledgement that they’re building a new venue in their backyard, and I’m eager to move into it. Before the gig, however, I went over to my parents to drop in and say hey.

My Dad transferred an hour plus of home videos to DVD a little while ago, and gave me a copy for Christmas. However, it was given with the disclaimer that I ought to wait and let my Dad narrate.

Well, we sat down for about an hour before I had to run over to the College Perk, and my Dad walked me through a collage of 8mm films beginning sometime in the early 70’s. I think we got about as far as 1977 or so, where my brother is still nothing but a squint-eyed lump sleeping on the floor, a puddle with a patch of hair on top that I toddle over to and poke periodically.

These dollar bills and three others like it were left in our tip jars at the New Deal Cafe. They declared “Life”, “Humility”, and “When will I be aware of your Love again?” All sorts of good stuff. A number of lines in what Heather recognized as Hebrew, as well. I’m going to have to look around and figure out whether these are specific lines or simply phrases scrawled on bills.

I must admit, looking at 30 year-old images of my parents tugs at me in a way that’s hard to explain. There’s a visceral knowledge that I’m seeing them then at the same age I am now. My mother is so beautiful, and my dad’s invisible, constantly behind the camera. Half-remembered textures swim out of the washed out colours on the tv screen and suddenly become almost tangible. Things like our old couch, or my old highchair – things that I don’t even remember that suddenly leap back into my skull…. things I haven’t seen since I was two years old.

So, I start thinking about my Life. I’m intensely thinking about where I am in my Life, if I’ve done enough, where I’m going, if my parents are proud of me, et cetera – not where I needed my head to be just before a gig. I was really upset, had to pull over on the way there.

So, arriving at the College Perk, I was trying hard to be personable, to be a happy fun rob, but it was hard enough to focus. And then I broke 6 strings.

This note was left in our tip jar at Java Mammas in Reisterstown this Saturday. I want to be banging. Sigh. I mean… not neccessarily with the Amandas – I mean as an adjective. Not as a verb. Or at least, well… now that I think about it….

Snow from last week. Heather got to romp around as it came down. I have any number of shots of this streetlight in the rain from when I was in highschool. It's one of my favourite light/tree combinations.
Snow from last week. Heather got to romp around as it came down. I have any number of shots of this streetlight in the rain from when I was in highschool. It’s one of my favourite light/tree combinations.

The Rabbit Army marches on Hyattsville. Has anyone else seen stencils like this?

Not all at once, of course – but still, it’s a record. Between that and Heather’s guitar going crazy, not to mention the fact that my new boots are slightly wider than my old boots, it was a night of chaos and discomfort. The second set was awesome, but the first set was an excercise in Hell.

Of course, what I’m forgetting to talk about was Seth Horan‘s set.

Now, I must admit, I didn’t get the chance to watch Seth’s WHOLE set. Rob the violinist popped up at the beginning of the night and I dragged him away to learn him some tunes (later, he sat in with us on Will, Molotov Swell, and Spiral).

But Seth is truly spectacular. We got to see him on Tuesday night during the open mic, and I even ended up driving him back to the Metro station – got an opportunity to really see him as a human being, as opposed to a touring singer/songwriter creature.

Coincidentally identically dressed ladies of Perk. Methinks that Rachael, Heather and Mitzi ought to form a girl band.
Coincidentally identically dressed ladies of Perk. Methinks that Rachael, Heather and Mitzi ought to form a girl band.
Russ, formerly of Milk Machine, showed up at last week's College Perk open mic. Haven't seen his unique stylings since the Java Head.
Russ, formerly of Milk Machine, showed up at last week’s College Perk open mic. Haven’t seen his unique stylings since the Java Head.
Ed Sheets on the left, and on the right, one of the most amazing bass players I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. Seth Horan, our opening act from last Friday night - in mid-wail.
Ed Sheets on the left, and on the right, one of the most amazing bass players I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Seth Horan, our opening act from last Friday night – in mid-wail.
After the gig, I had no choice but to attack miss Amy Law. You know, for the sake of my sanity after all those technical difficulties. Not to mention my general overflow of post-gig tension. Poor Amy, she should've known better than to leave so much lap space available.
After the gig, I had no choice but to attack miss Amy Law. You know, for the sake of my sanity after all those technical difficulties. Not to mention my general overflow of post-gig tension. Poor Amy, she should’ve known better than to leave so much lap space available.

On Friday, he went ahead to demonstrate that he’s just a great performer. Everything his website claims and more. I think there’s some excellent mutual admiration going on there, and I’m really excited to play with him again. He just broadcast these rolling waves of 5 string thunder that roiled aroudn and through me. And then he threw his voice right through the middle of it. Definately someone you’ve GOT to experience.

Amy is the Imperious Leader that commanded this Centurion to bring me flowers. I can only imagine it must've been part of some vast anti-humanoid plot. Amy must be nuts. (HA!)
Amy is the Imperious Leader that commanded this Centurion to bring me flowers. I can only imagine it must’ve been part of some vast anti-humanoid plot. Amy must be nuts. (HA!)

April 24th, 2005

Heather wearing her official Firedean sunglasses. I'm hoping that SOMEONE got a shot of Heather and I performing with Fire in the glasses. The actual performance was, perhaps, a bit rough.... but we were, how you say, "styling".
Heather wearing her official Firedean sunglasses. I’m hoping that SOMEONE got a shot of Heather and I performing with Fire in the glasses. The actual performance was, perhaps, a bit rough…. but we were, how you say, “styling”.
Firedean at the New Deal Cafe Crazy Quilt Music Festival.
Firedean at the New Deal Cafe Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

It’s a shame that one of the things that cameras simply can not capture is that gorgeous contrast of grey and green that you get on a day like today.

Rowan setting up at the New Deal Cafe for the Crazy Quilt Music Festival.
Rowan setting up at the New Deal Cafe for the Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

Luckily, we were early enough to play outside. Later in the night, Symbiont moved inside cause it was too cold. Pansies. Wilting pansies, man.
Luckily, we were early enough to play outside. Later in the night, Symbiont moved inside cause it was too cold. Pansies. Wilting pansies, man.

We departed under the omnipresent threat of rain, and continue between concrete barriers that stretch that grey down to the ground. An impatient New York blonde is busily flashing her lights at us from her trendy mini. Presumably she hasn’t noticed the cop behind us yet.

There’s a feeling of levitation, almost. Departing Maryland, and trying to depart all that it holds, if only for a little while. The images from my dreams last night, of medical slabs and cutting, had me lying sleepless till dawn. Through no fault of his own, I think my Father’s got some haunting to do, and it has nothing to do with the way that he Lived.

Pennsylvania is throwning squalls of rain and speeders at us. Heather’s got an Amy disc that’s perfect for the weather, and I’m looking forward to collapsing into the arms of Providence.


Yeah, Pennsylvania just ABOUT drowned us in construction and traffic… on to New Jersey, which Heather introduces with a hearty “welcome to the Land of Smell”! So far so good. The only thing really negative so far has been the God awful font they use on their signs. A little bit of sunshine… unfortunately, no really exciting radio like the stuff we had when we were through last time, returning from Sleepy Hollow.

Our brains are kind of revolting against the idea of how much time has passed since we were last here. It seems like it should’ve been just a couple of weeks ago (wasn’t it JUST January?!?), but we haven’t been along this particular route since December, racing to beat the snow home.

A spider bill found amongst our CD money.
A spider bill found amongst our CD money.

September 19th, 2005.

Ugh. Well, I knew it… I can only go without sleep for so long before a cold will step in and knock me down. I have so many fluids forming up inside of me…. everybody better just take a step back and let me watch the Incredible Hulk marathon.

I feel like crap. Runny, sticky crap.


It’s been quite a weekend. Friday night was very, very cool – the golden walls of Java Mamma’s reflected our noise nicely in on ourselves, and though a couple of people complained that we were a little loud, well… we know about that. We’re rock stars, we’re used to the complaint.

Saturday night found us at the New Deal Cafe and dealing with typical New Deal issues. I Love that place to death, but there’s always some issue or another – the sound system is in pieces and there are parts missing. Richard McMullin and Jeff were both there to help us out – slowly a sound system was materialized for us, and Jeff actually got the best sound we’ve ever had at the New Deal.

The New Deal Cafe is expanding. The windows of the expansion are papered over with posters of performers and photographs of musical instruments. I'm a little bit jealous that there are pictures of Rick and Audrey, and We're About 9, and even Chelsea and Beau - but no ilyAIMY. We've been there FOREVER!!!
The New Deal Cafe is expanding. The windows of the expansion are papered over with posters of performers and photographs of musical instruments. I’m a little bit jealous that there are pictures of Rick and Audrey, and We’re About 9, and even Chelsea and Beau – but no ilyAIMY. We’ve been there FOREVER!!!
Even after ten years I haven't learned my lesson about TELLING Richard what to write! Though still, it's always fun to see what he comes up with. This one reads: "ilyAIMY - the band of dangerous gypsies ravages the New Deal Cafe... Rob has captured two young boys from far off Pennsylvania who will be forced to perform odd and melodious tasks before the gathered throngs (please no thongs) Thus we will be exposed tothe opening duo: Transcendent Third". Well, they're from West Virginia, and I didn't force them to do nothin' that the wouldn't have willingly done on their own!
Even after ten years I haven’t learned my lesson about TELLING Richard what to write! Though still, it’s always fun to see what he comes up with. This one reads: “ilyAIMY – the band of dangerous gypsies ravages the New Deal Cafe… Rob has captured two young boys from far off Pennsylvania who will be forced to perform odd and melodious tasks before the gathered throngs (please no thongs) Thus we will be exposed tothe opening duo: Transcendent Third”. Well, they’re from West Virginia, and I didn’t force them to do nothin’ that the wouldn’t have willingly done on their own!

It’s always a sort of homecoming to return to Greenbelt and play the New Deal Cafe. It’s weird to realize that I’ve been playing there off and on for about a decade. First as a bass player for Audrey, and then as a solo performer, and then with different bands, various partners. It means that part of me has this warm fuzzy feeling for the New Deal, but there’s part of me that also maybe – is it a brand of failure that I end up back there time and time again? I guess not since you could chart a graph of the money we’ve made there and it continues to climb. We’ve expanded to other places, but still, it’s not like we even pack the New Deal… there are people standing in the back, but you can’t be sure that that’s not just the line to get food. I wonder what Richard thinks as I continue to return there… there was a time perhaps, when he thought I would go places, but as I return to the cafe year after year, and continue to think of the tips and sales there as a high point…

Man – whoever thought it was a good idea to continue using a talking baby to advertise for Quizno’s is on crack. Talking babies are fucking CREEPY. At this point I apologize… I’m still sick and there’s a substantial amount of Nyquil coursing through my system. It’s disrupting any sort of remaining thought process…

Transcendent Third working their special charm at the New Deal Cafe.
Transcendent Third working their special charm at the New Deal Cafe.
Audience at New deal.
Rowan and Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD.
Rowan and Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD.

But I’m going to get through this…

Still, despite any weird personal hang-ups, the New Deal is always like coming home. Here are people that have supported and Loved me for almost ten years. I remember when it was a place without chairs and I had to invite people to bring their own cushions.

The show went great. I Love performing when I’m that comfortable with people. We were charming and high energy. Transcendent Third really was the perfect opening act for the night – they had the right sort of energy for that night.

My mom, tactless as ever, came over as we were packing up and asked me if it made me sad going home alone. I suppose I could’ve turned that back on her, but that would’ve assured me time in Hell.

My mother’s just coming to terms with Heather and I being broken up and, well… I guess she’s her son’s mother, isn’t she? And doesn’t know when to keep certain comments to herself.

The drive back to Rowan’s was mercilessly short, but filled with the hint of mists and almost autumn and the best music I’ve packed into my disc changer yet. I’m falling back in Love with my Saturn, and rediscovering a passion for driving fast at night, throwing my poor beaten car into turns that would’ve rolled my old Volkswagon, and that I’d be afraid to try with Heather’s modern little toy. Power steering makes me feel soft. I Love my car.

The DC Dance Collective getting their collective groove on at Nolan's in Adam's Morgan, Washington, DC. The guy in the foreground just made me think of Ryan Montbleau in a way that made me wish I was gay. Well... and that he was too, I guess.
The DC Dance Collective getting their collective groove on at Nolan’s in Adam’s Morgan, Washington, DC. The guy in the foreground just made me think of Ryan Montbleau in a way that made me wish I was gay. Well… and that he was too, I guess.
Firedean and the Torpedoes doing another dance special for Fire's video release party.
Firedean and the Torpedoes doing another dance special for Fire’s video release party.

Sunday was a different sort of day. I’ve been fighting a cold since California. It’s been creeping up on me, testing my defences. I think it belonged to Dave Pahanish, so at least it has a good lineage. I knew it was eventually going to catch up with me since I haven’t been sleeping. The last few days have blended into one long mass of hours rather than a convenient separation of night and day. When your Life is divided by gigs rather than by dreams, you know you’re going to eventually run into trouble.

As we set up at Nolan’s in DC, I could feel it creeping over me – at first I mistook it for the misgivings I had about the space, the sound and the gig in general, but eventually I recognized the distinct and different sensation of my throat growing itchy and uncomfortable.

Sharif, Heather and I performing at Nolan's in DC on Sunday night. Rowan had to duck out at the last minute, which was probably for the best - he has a good deal less patience for sound difficulties than the rest of us do, and he might well have walked out after the first couple doses of really hideous feedback. I may have fucked up both my ears AND my amp in one night. On the other hand, the cold-induced ear juices may well have saved me.
Sharif, Heather and I performing at Nolan’s in DC on Sunday night. Rowan had to duck out at the last minute, which was probably for the best – he has a good deal less patience for sound difficulties than the rest of us do, and he might well have walked out after the first couple doses of really hideous feedback. I may have fucked up both my ears AND my amp in one night. On the other hand, the cold-induced ear juices may well have saved me.
Firedean doing a little dance at Nolan's in Washington, DC.
Firedean doing a little dance at Nolan’s in Washington, DC.

In general, Nolan’s was pretty rough. We didn’t have good sound support (ended up playing through our own amps through a lack of sufficiant cables). The lights kept going out because we had to plug everything through one outlet… since we were playing through amps and not going through the PA at all, we didn’t have effective monitor support… it was really a disaster. We played well, but it was hard to coordinate with Firedean during his set – he was nervous and we couldn’t hear one another.

His fans Loved him, but I hated that semblance of non-professionalism that comes with insufficient set-up.

Tonight I’m sitting watching Friends, drinking tea, and floating above my body from the effects of the Nyquil. Heather and I went out and did a little book shopping so that I didn’t have to lie in sickness alone, and I think that my brain isn’t even going to support television and Journal writing for much longer. I’m going to have to retreat to children’s books and blankets.

One of the other good things about leaving late today was that we got our t-shirts in! This was just an experiment, but they turned out pretty nice. We've only got a couple....
One of the other good things about leaving late today was that we got our t-shirts in! This was just an experiment, but they turned out pretty nice. We’ve only got a couple….

December 20th, 2005.

I remembered thinking, right as we were racing the setting sun home from California, PA this last time, about how the landscape surprised me. Traveling the way we do has a habit of detaching you from the seasons. You miss the first flutter of one, the final gasp of another. There were still little isolated patches of color then, like birthday candles missed in that first wishing exhale, dotting an otherwise chocolate landscape. But they didn’t survive a second blow, and the white icing and chill in the house that I can’t seem to escape anywhere except the rumbling laundry room are the signs that winter is really here.

At the College Perk Open Mic last Tuesday, the rhythm guitarist from my very, very first band showed up – Eddie of Common Threads. It was very cool to see him. I’ve seen him about once in the past ten years. Bizarre.

It always amuses me that winter is the time I have to send out all the press kits to be considered for summer festival bookings (By the way, if any of the fans out there know a great local festival to them that we should play, e-mail me.). Even with those applications in front of me, I can’t remember how warm it was late May in Texas, or how humid it was in pre-Katrina New Orleans. They say 40 percent of downtown is still without power. I wonder about our hostel, the Asian Pacific Café. The couple that owns one of the coffeehouses sends out e-mail updates about the rebuilding to their mailing list, which I find VERY informative. I’m so personally torn about whether they should have Mardi Gras. Yes, it is in somewhat poor taste considering the state of the city and it’s people, but in a way, the tourism dollars might be the ONLY way to actually get some money into the local government to start rebuilding, helping those very people to whom the party is a kind of insult, and to remind outsiders once again that the place is still standing, still there, that there are still people in need in it. I wonder if it would be more or less popular . the novelty of being able to say you were there, at the first Mardi Gras the city had in the aftermath an added appeal, maybe?

rob tuning at practice. I think this is my new favourite picture of me. For the moment. I like pictures of me. Sometimes. (taken by Sharif)
rob tuning at practice. I think this is my new favourite picture of me. For the moment. I like pictures of me. Sometimes. (taken by Sharif)
Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe at our best fucking show EVER. (taken by Sharif). The night's energy was simply amazing, and though I've liked playing in front of the big mural in the main room there for the past several years, moving over to the new room just provided so much space and yet so much intimacy all at the same time. I Loved being so close to people, and on top of that, I was close to a lot of people that I knew well, some of which I hadn't seen in a long time. Generally acknowledged by those who saw us as simply the best show we've ever done.
Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe at our best fucking show EVER. (taken by Sharif). The night’s energy was simply amazing, and though I’ve liked playing in front of the big mural in the main room there for the past several years, moving over to the new room just provided so much space and yet so much intimacy all at the same time. I Loved being so close to people, and on top of that, I was close to a lot of people that I knew well, some of which I hadn’t seen in a long time. Generally acknowledged by those who saw us as simply the best show we’ve ever done.

We too are kind of drawing in a big breath right now, which is why we’re not writing much. Everything is all preparation. Work in the studio progresses. Our most recent session completed all the guitar and vocal basic tracking for the songs. Less than a handful of recording additions remain. We have two mixing sessions scheduled for this week, and I’m looking to post the last five songs to ebay by the end of the week – Just in time for New Years.

Damn, that reminds me, I only have a few days to learn me a couple Christmas/Channukah songs on guitar .I also gotta say I’m still a little glowy over the New Deal Show, which might have been one of the best gigs we have ever played. Gina DeSimone and her fantastic trumpet/harmonica player were a great fit as an opening act, and it’s really refreshing to see a woman play guitar like she does – not flash, but true elegance and suave subtlety.

And we … we were funny, and we played really well … and I made someone cry, and we all learned you should never leave chocolate unattended for more than about two hours. Jeff rocks for coming out and doing sound for us. The New Deal rocks for expanding. I love my bandmembers, respect them all as musicians, like them all as people.

All of it’s a good thing, I promise. I didn’t make someone cry because I ate their chocolate or anything.

December 24th, 2005.

I’m sleepy. Satisfied and sleepy. My fingers are sore from playing a nice, relaxed almost-Christmas gig up at Java Mamma’s tonight. Had some surprise guests, and a number of friends from far away.

It was perhaps a little TOO relaxed, I must admit. We were sl… mostly I was sloppy – losing lyrics, losing a good number of strings… I played Joni Mitchell’s “River” for the first time and sort of wished it had been as magical as I wanted it to be. Still – had a really good time.

My friend Whitney came down from Boston and made sugar cookie tongues for Christmas.

This house is always alarmingly lit for Christmas. Around the corner from my mom's house, the rest of the street is dark in recognition of the fact that they just can't compete.
This house is always alarmingly lit for Christmas. Around the corner from my mom’s house, the rest of the street is dark in recognition of the fact that they just can’t compete.
Something amusing obviously just occured here at the New Deal Cafe. I think that might be a snigger on my part, but that's definately a full-out Rowan guffaw.
Something amusing obviously just occured here at the New Deal Cafe. I think that might be a snigger on my part, but that’s definately a full-out Rowan guffaw.

Quiet, relaxed. I’m back at my mom’s house, so that state of affairs isn’t likely to last for very long – still – it’s Christmas Eve and I’ve got the quiet, quiet house to myself. Yawwwwn. Me and those cats. Think I’ll go find one and grab it by the head and give it some Love.

March 27th, 2006.

California is its usual rollercoaster, and we pack as much in as we can. Sleeping little, some nights we’re out too late, all nights we’re up too late, I Love that town. Wednesday afternoon we played the student union at Cal U and tried to catch the harried eyes of rushing students. As always it’s sort of awe-inspiring to watch Holly at work, capturing passer-bys and telling them where they’re going to be in the future. I’m always amazed at the sheer number of people she knows. If I had that capacity for names and faces and details we could make everyone feel special. as it is know I let too many fall through the cracks.

I don’t know how this didn’t end up in the Journal the first time – but my friend Katy back in NC is kind of amazing.

I’m finally getting to know some of these people a little better. I always feel awkward, knowing that I don’t know them as well as I should. I’ve been a frequent enough face recently. It’s p rob ably time to back off a bit and let some time pass, but it was a lot of fun being on the campus and watching THEIR everyday Life pass around me. It’s like – putting Holly and Crystal and Kimmy, Bill, Alex – whoever else passed by – putting them in their proper context, it fills in some lines in their portraits. It also reminds me how glad I am went to an artschool, and at a time when some of the priorities were very, very different than they are now. I don’t miss college, and I don’t miss the masses, but I miss those tiny communities that we form. and sitting there in a common space on the California University campus, it sort of really weighs on me that that’s a point in my Life that’s passed.

The first thing I noticed upon getting back into California, PA and climbing the stairs to Jozart Studios was that they had an awesome art show up. Centred around the concept of violence against women, a lot of beautiful work surrounded us during our time there.

I couldn’t stop giggling. Otherwise there might’ve been a much more interesting picture immediately after. You know, the one where I faint cause there’s no blood left in my skull? Something like that. For a night that started out so promingly, it ended quite poorly.A couple of drunk girls wandered through the stage, tripped over a mic cable and slammed Heather’s vocal microphone into her face.

On the way back we stopped by one of our favourite local restaraunts and as we’re finishing up our wondrous meal of deep-fried macaroni and cheese, I overhear (just barely over my screaming arteries) the woman behind the counter talking to a friend about

[interesting note – suddenly there’s a gap in saved photos, from here to June the original files are missing… – rob 4/14/18]

placing their menus online and getting a website. I figure I’ll step in and see if I can pick up some work and before our open mic that evening I’ve built a website and charged a fee. Nothing fancy, nothing I’m necessarily even that proud of, but it’s done, I’ve helped and that’s the important part. I’m a little worried because they’ve not followed up, and the whole thing is still sitting on my computer rather than having been posted to their server so far – but that’s the way my Life really ouughtta be, right? Overhearing some problem or another, stepping in, solving it and walking away with cash. All too often nowadays you step in and say “I do websites” and they say “yeah, I do to”. and you realize the room is FULL of web-designers.

Back in Baltimore City, wandering around with a friend – I encountered a building I’d never seen before! 16 pseudo-windows or so, painted over with exciting scenes! Not pictured is the man running away from the monkey…

Andrew Luttrell opened for us at the Pour House in Westminster, MD. It was great to see him again – I’d always credited him as someone who inspired me and partially taught me the basics of guitar. I sort of wish we’d played our version of Little Wing for him, as he’s who initially taught me that song.

Sigh.

Anywho – worked out right on Wednesday.

We went to see V for Vendetta Sunday morning before heading into the studio. I was horrified to see the video games booting up on a Windows platform!

That night we played the Jozart open mic – by coincidence Common Thread showed up that night too – bizarre coincidence – they are ALWAYS there when we are, but we rarely communicate about it. Wednesday was just lucky, I guess. Matt, as always, just ripped through his rapid-fire vocals. He even backed up his Dad doing some mandolin. I think it was the first time I’d seen his father really performing (I’d watched them the night we met them out in West Virginia, but he was somewhat under the influence and the performance was perhaps not as fine as it could’ve been). He was really, really good – talking to him about their family, about how they have banjo players and mandolin players running back on both sides of the family off into the Appalachian Mountains , it all comes together. What could I have been if I’d had some familial background? If I’d picked up guitar before I was 20? Who knows.

As always, for me – the star of the show is Aaron. His percussion is just so fierce, so infused with different stuff. Of all things, he always reminds me of the gogo bands that used to infuse our neighbourhood when I was in high school. They’d always throw these huge parties and all you could hear were tonnes and tonnes of cars rolling up, and that fierce rapid rhythm ricocheting like syncopated machine gun fire.

How he came out of West Virginian Appalachia with gogo in his blood, I’ll never know. Next time we cross paths I’m going to HAVE to ask him to play with us, just so I can get a contact high off his sheer spectacularnessssss.

Very, very tired day in the studio Sunday night. We are exhausted puppies.

That night – well, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up at karaoke again. It was a tiny, tiny thing – I watched a couple of women perform a Spice Girls song (the wiggly leader of the band is who later knocked the drink onto me) and Corey went up and did an Iron Maiden tune. He was everything I expected him to be, and so I strained my throat giving him a heart-felt rob -scream at the end. Running for the hills – well, it never sounded so good. For the next hour or so, Holly fed me chocolate-based drinks from the bar (ok, something was vanilla, and I think something was something else – but they were sweet, they were heavy, and they weren’t citrus. we’re going to call them chocolate) and I slowly slid into my funk until I had to make a run for it. That’s what I described in the last entry, I think. That funk kept with me for a bit, and has left me running to keep up.

What I didn’t mention was Heather’s solution to my mood. She downloaded funny cat videos. I suggest that anyone who’s depressed go to video.google.com and do searches for “funny cat”, “evil cat”, or my favourite – “cat attacking children”. Oh. so good. My face was sore from laughing. So very, very good.

Driving around, Heather has a cute new top and we’re discussing lipstick and then she launched into a grand singing escapade that resulted in this high-spirited tongue motion.

Tinsmith setting up to open for us at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD. Brooke’s hair and Rowan’s ass. Is it any wonder I’ve had erotic dreams about BOTH of these people?

 

April 2nd, 2006.

Last night was an amazing show. Alex, if you read this, I hope that this fact keeps you up at night, fretting about how you missed one of the best damned ilyAIMY shows there ever was.

Meredith brought her crue for her almost-birthday to the New Deal Cafe to watch us perform last night. Brian is on the left and bought a necklace from Heather. 

A hugely full house. Overflowing actually… even in the big room at the New Deal Cafe we were way over fire-code and out of seats. We opened the doors and people spilled out on to the sidewalks.

Some more of the crowd at the New Deal Cafe. Twee!

I wish I knew what the secret was. With that kind of massive crowd we couldn’t help but give our all in response. (new band motto “If you’re gotta bring it… Bring EVERYTHING!!!”) Not that we could keep doing that at the New Deal – quarters were far too tight and we can’t go to a venue PLANNING to get them in trouble with their legal capacity thingie… but I wish I could guarantee all those people would come to another show at another venue and translate that into a steady gig at a place slightly larger.

Scrap that. I just a slightly bigger New Deal. I got one. Filled it. Want a bigger one.

Watching Tinsmith was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I had a lot of running back and forth to do – I got to run sound, I got to talk to Richard about booking and contact and our future shows at the New Deal, I got to flirt (ah, my hard Life), I got to work the room – I didn’t get to just sit and watch Tinsmith (the fact that there were no chairs left to sit and do this IN is a moo point).

I think their set was probably the perfect length – just as people started to get antsy and started asking me when ilyAIMY was going on, I heard Rowan say “well, we’re going to play one more song”. Switch over, ilyAIMY takes the stage – ah, poetry in motion.

We played well. As always, there were bugs and problems – and I NEVER feel like we’re loud enough and Rowan always thinks we’re too loud. During “No Place is Home” I was so distracted by the sheer fantasticness of us that I forgot to sing. It happens. Generally I’ll be way into whatever Sharif is playing and I won’t be paying attention when the chorus comes around. During “Drown” I played the instrumental from the duo version that we play on the road while the rest of the band switched chords and swung on into the full-band version, leaving me shivering and alone… Aaand in “Speaking Louder Now”… the song was beautiful. Sharif was making Love to his piano, expressing my lost Love eloquently through his fingers. Heather’s harmonies were perfect… Rowan had JUST come in on the drums… and I broke a string. I tried to continue a capella. That was horrible. I tried to continue on bass. That was worse. Finally we had to end the song, which was very, very sad.

And yes. All the problems were MY fault.

Sigh.

BUT ITS MY BAND!!!


Morning after… shoulders are cramped, body hurts… photoshoot. Ploo. Today Heather and I gathered at the College Perk to meet our friend Rachael and throw her in the dirt and dress her in a little girl’s dress and sprawl her hair everywhere and twine her in flowers and chains.

It was very, very nice.

Yup. Heather in a skirt as we hunt for flowers and vines for our photoshoot. A little odd. Is the last time I saw this skirt at my Father’s funeral? Not sure.

This is all stuff for the album cover. Heather and I have been tossing ideas back and forth for quite a while, and at one point looked up from our lamenting our lack of long-haired, slim-figured, light-haired friends to look at Rachael. We proceeded to beg. Her roommate Alice wanted to know what the fuss was about and then SHE got to beggin as well. Though SHE felt that SHE would be a better candidate. She told me she could wear a wig… would get extensions… that… Hell… wouldn’t it be hotter if there were TWO young women in chains on the cover? Sigh. I told her that yes, it would be hotter, but that it wasn’t reeeeally what we were looking for.

In any case, I backed the Saturn into a tree to angle the headlights right, climbed up the outside stairs of the College Perk, balanced my tripod on two milkcrates and a railing to get the angle right, and we went at it.

It’s been a long time since I photographed anyone I didn’t really know very well – and the light cascading down on Rachael – well, I think I fell a little bit in Love with her. She’s angellic in these pictures. Absolutely beautiful. You can see a bit here… IF you’re an ilyANGEL… HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Testing the wrappy qualities of chain and ivy. We hunted all over the University of Maryland campus for good photo fodder.

This band was playing at the College Perk after our photoshoot. Though I was thoroughly exhausted (this is still just the day after the New Deal Cafe show) I get pretty drawn in by them and hang out for a while. I’m not positive that the name they were going under at the time was neccessarily “2nd Story“, but that’s what the card said – at first I was really taken in by Meagan’s Taylor bass – beautiful, beautiful instrument… and then I was taken in by Geoff’s immense pedal board. I stuck around for a while and just really enjoyed their smooooooth playing. It was the perfect end to a very long, long weekend. Eventually it was time to drive “home” and pack for Philadelphia.

 

April 13th, 2006.

My heart’s in a weird place today. Amplified by some of Namoli Brennet’s tunes I’m just feeling really, really sad. That skin tightening sadness that makes me think of the description of raising a shield in Dune. I feel it like a tightness on my face, like a tightness in my chest. It’s stress and it’s loneliness and it’s the edges of depression.

Dan Zimmerman and his WOMAN! Their parents also came to the show and got to sit at a picnic table eyeballing one another.

We finished the album last night. There’s tweaks, and there’s mastering – but we’ve scheduled the last of the time, and it’s finally all within reach, and that’s somehow got me a little down. It’s almost anticlimactic, coming out of the studio last night – I’m also at my mom’s house for a couple of days and this place always makes me uneasy – unsettled, and my mom, with my father’s death’s anniversary coming up fast, is particularly off-kilter.

Might Could performing at the New Deal Cafe’s Crazy Quilt Birthday Party in Greenbelt, MD.

God, have we really been working on this so long? I remember thinking that I wish we could get the album done for my Dad to hear, so we must’ve gone into the studio not long after I found out how sick he was.

I think there’s an additional fear there. After Myxomatosis Failed the old band didn’t take long to go their separate ways. It feels like the last episode of Friends and I’m sort of afraid of what happens next. We’ve put all this work into it – what if it’s not as good as we think it is? What if it doesn’t garner the attention we need? With the way gas prices are we can’t continue to work at this level forever. Projections of $4 a gallon are probably almost as much of an exageration this summer as they were last year, but we’ll get closer and we’ve got to do better…

ilyAIMY playing there too. We were the last act to play and somehow I’d been dragged into running sound. You’d THINK I’d have sussed out all the difficulties by then! God I miss Jeff!