July 20th, 2004.

Tonight we brought home a stray. Not a kitten bent on flight and skies, but a fellow rockstar.

Daniel Lee has been on the road for four years – and for the past several months I’ve been hearing about him from Brennan, from Mitzi, from Amy. He’s spectacular, and deserving of a better following than he’s got. But I base that on the fact that his following is made up merely of people that have heard him. I don’t think there’s a human alive that can listen to him and not be moved. He makes me want to set my guitar down and step back from it slowly, nonchalantly… as if to say… who me? I don’t play guitar… why?

Daniel, Gail and I eating sushi on the streets of Baltimore, waiting in line for the Funk Box open mic.
Daniel, Gail and I eating sushi on the streets of Baltimore, waiting in line for the Funk Box open mic.
Daniel Lee on stage at the Funk Box.
Daniel Lee on stage at the Funk Box.

He asked me if I wanted to join him on a song – I’m glad I didn’t. I Loved being able to wander the Funk Box open mic and watch people’s reactions. People didn’t even notice me as I moved through the multicoloured light, they were transfixed by Daniel’s ferocious onstage presence.

There was a moment at the end of a song when he brought his fist down to his strings like a death blow. Silencing the feedback like he’d knifed the guitar.

Far better than Jimi Hendrix and his pansy-ass guitar torching.

We played the Funk Box open mic tonight, and by chance ran across Daniel, as well as Prout of Hudson & Prout from Mick O’Shea’s. Prout showed off what he does solo – lots of reverb and spectacular looping tricks… he turned a Howie Day cover into a techno tune worthy of a rave.

But we’ve retired from the muggy Baltimore night and have retreated to the Lloydholme. Daniel’s making three foot tall Love letters with which he plans to woo someone at dawn. Heather and I are reciting Lord of the Rings lines and getting the CDs together and being branded geeks by the Love-lorn Daniel.

And we’re ALL soooo high on marker fumes.

July 21st, 2004.

What an amazing night. The Funk Box was worth every moment of angst. What an amazing night. Best gig we’ve ever played, perhaps. Two djembes beat out drum kit any night. And well air-conditioned. Score. I want to play THERE forEVER.


Sitting later that morning, listening to Underfoot with Daniel, we Love to be able to Introduce incredible things to one another.

Rocking out at the Funk Box. I think it was just such a relief after everything that had gone wrong, we really let loose. It was like a soap opera leading up to this gig – both personally and professionally, and then tonnes of things with the Lloydholme (and on top of everything else, David’s truck’s air conditioning just died!)… it was such a relief just to get up there and play. I’m going to have to write it all in the Journal eventually, but I’ll have to exclude names, or SOMETHING… I don’t know. It’s just… so much as to be unbelievable.

I’m still recovering from the sheer power of last night’s gig. Getting to play the songs that MEAN so much to me, rather than just our typical “bar set” was spectacular. The fans and friends who’ve missed that really responded – much flipping, cavorting, and general joy. A good time was had by all. AND we made our quota for the night, so hopefully we’ll be returning in a couple of months.

July 26th, 2004.

I’ve got to admit, I don’t even feel tired. At the moment. It’s closing in on 4am, and my mind is whirling. I was exhausted moments ago, but the computer screen perks me up a bit. I AM tired of being up all night (and there’s the balance – I can feel the fatigue creeping in) – I’ve been tossing and turning for days (well, nights) it seems. Since my last Journal entry, perhaps, I’ve been unable to get comfortable, and my brain hasn’t SHUT up to allow me to sleep. I’m lucky, I get to sleep in, but there’s something a WHOLE lot less than satisfactory when you “go to bed” at 2am, but are still fully conscious for sunrise. By the time you wake up, you realize that you’ve spent the past 10 hours in bed or something, but only 3 or 4 actually sleeping. And those hours are fitful, and you wake up with the traffic, and with the birds.

We got to play Pocketing to a big room. Not usually an option. An amazingly freeing night. It's perfect with the piano and Rowan's brushes.
We got to play Pocketing to a big room. Not usually an option. An amazingly freeing night. It’s perfect with the piano and Rowan’s brushes.

The four-piece act seems to be the new favourite. The sound was crisp, clean, and thunderous when both Rowan AND Heather were on the djembes.

Insomnia is nothing new to me (I know, I know – I can’t really claim “insomnia” if I’m still getting a whole 4 hours). I ALWAYS have trouble falling asleep, always have. I hated having a bed time when I was younger because I knew I’d just lie there in the dark… waiting. My head’s always full of THINGS. I remember I used to lie awake in terror because I didn’t want to be conscious when midnight came. The first time I realized I was going to just HAVE to see the Witching Hour, I covered my head with my pillow so it would look like I was a victim of foul misdeeds. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I think I spent much of my early childhood believing that the Headless Horseman (as visualized and animated by Walt Disney) would ride out of my closet at 12 o’clock and strike off the heads of whoever he found.

By now, it almost feels like I’ve seen more midnights than noons, and almost ALL of the daybreaks I’ve seen, despite the romance, have been involuntary.

So, tonight my brain has it’s teeth into monetary fears, Living plans, and the Future. I have an insurance bill due at the beginning of next month, and it will scrape me dry.

Now, I’ve been scraped dry before, and I know that I’ll recover. I’m not really afraid of running out of money – because things always seem to work out. I have Gallery moneys coming to me, and uncashed checks, but there’s still that nagging feeling that things are undone, and that I should be doing more. That launches me into wondering if I’m doing the right thing, if there’s any future in what I’m doing. I start thinking about how much I wish I’d never sold my Volkswagon, how nice it would be to have a camper of some sort.

I’ve been looking online, finding prices – and wishing I had a spare couple of thousand dollars. I’d kill for a new Vanagon camper, and seriously maim people for just about anything with a bed in it – as long as it runs, looks like it’ll be running for some time to come, and preferably has air conditioning (cause I’m SPOILED!!!)

Jason takes flight during Bulldozer. We've got to rearrange some of our set to take advantage of the sheer exotic acrobatic nature of some of our fans. There was a moment where we're waiting to go to the fast part, and I'm pounding on my guitar, and the djembes are pounding, and the bass is just pounding - and the crowd was stomping and clapping and I'm screaming at Jason "NO - YOU COUNT IT!!! YOU COUNT IT!!!!!" It was like Metallica screaming "DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!"
Jason takes flight during Bulldozer. We’ve got to rearrange some of our set to take advantage of the sheer exotic acrobatic nature of some of our fans. There was a moment where we’re waiting to go to the fast part, and I’m pounding on my guitar, and the djembes are pounding, and the bass is just pounding – and the crowd was stomping and clapping and I’m screaming at Jason “NO – YOU COUNT IT!!! YOU COUNT IT!!!!!” It was like Metallica screaming “DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!”
Daniel's crotch at the "after party". This WAS going to be a really AWESOME ass shot - but... he moved. Sigh.
Daniel’s crotch at the “after party”. This WAS going to be a really AWESOME ass shot – but… he moved. Sigh.

It would just be nice to never have to worry about where I was going to sleep ever again, you know? AND my stomach’s bothering me, AND my boxers are riding up, AND my shoulder hurts…. man, moments like this, I wish I could still be in school. I envy Justin his pending departure. I never appreciated it at the time, but MICA was SUCH a haven from the real world.

Daniel Lee on the phone and preparing for home. It was good to see that he spends his days much as we do. Watching some tv, making some phone calls, and IMing friends from home.
Daniel Lee on the phone and preparing for home. It was good to see that he spends his days much as we do. Watching some tv, making some phone calls, and IMing friends from home.
Spider Living between David's truck antennae and the garage. Damn the flash, he was actually yellow and black and quite fierce.
Spider Living between David’s truck antennae and the garage. Damn the flash, he was actually yellow and black and quite fierce.

 

November 24th, 2004.

So tired. The weather is throwing me. The afternoons are looking too much like twilight, and I wake up honestly not knowing whether I am entering the day or leaving it. But hell, I get to wake up in the afternoons, so I suppose I don’t have all that much to complain about.

John and Ash, two new ilyAIMYites. I think we've got to write a really danceable tune so that we can keep jamming on it so that John and Ash can have a big dance-off with Jason and Cat. Now THAT would be a cool night. Sigh, it would HAVE to be at the Funk Box though, with those spring-loaded floors... yum.
John and Ash, two new ilyAIMYites. I think we’ve got to write a really danceable tune so that we can keep jamming on it so that John and Ash can have a big dance-off with Jason and Cat. Now THAT would be a cool night. Sigh, it would HAVE to be at the Funk Box though, with those spring-loaded floors… yum.
ilyAIMY at the Funk Box on Tuesday night. I was wired up and apparently played everything really fast - which would explain how I fit a 12 song set into an hour AND talked as much as I did. I think I told stories about the fire hydrant from earlier in the day, the story of Valeree getting hit in the head by a big steel moon, my old bass player bringing home women in trios, AND managed to advertise CDs, our next two shows, our mailing list... yeah. Was a little wired. Must've been crack in that there sushi.
ilyAIMY at the Funk Box on Tuesday night. I was wired up and apparently played everything really fast – which would explain how I fit a 12 song set into an hour AND talked as much as I did. I think I told stories about the fire hydrant from earlier in the day, the story of Valeree getting hit in the head by a big steel moon, my old bass player bringing home women in trios, AND managed to advertise CDs, our next two shows, our mailing list… yeah. Was a little wired. Must’ve been crack in that there sushi.

The Funk Box show was fun, sounded good. Thanks everybody that came out. It was definitely a labor of love, though, because what looked very crowed was actually very much not, and then on top of everything they docked us payment for two more people because they assumed we’d used all 4 of our comp tickets instead of the two we actually used. I’m done being bitchy about that now. Sigh.

Speaking of dancing. "Oh Damn" brought romance into the Lives of many, it seems. Jason and Shawn getting it on. SO much dancing at the Funk Box. The earlier frenzied almost-mosh (will we ever get to full mosh? I'm not sure if I hope for it or not - maybe JUST to say that we're an acoustic band and had a mosh pit) inspired me to reorganize the set-list a bit and throw some heavier stuff in like Storm and Steel...
Speaking of dancing. “Oh Damn” brought romance into the Lives of many, it seems. Jason and Shawn getting it on. SO much dancing at the Funk Box. The earlier frenzied almost-mosh (will we ever get to full mosh? I’m not sure if I hope for it or not – maybe JUST to say that we’re an acoustic band and had a mosh pit) inspired me to reorganize the set-list a bit and throw some heavier stuff in like Storm and Steel…
Something I've learned to really Love - if you look carefully at matched lips, what I saw clearly from the stage actually shows up in this shot that Mara got (also during "Oh Damn", I think. Jason and Cat are singing along as they're dancing. Nothing like having a room singing "hey sweetness"... Maybe I'll try getting the audience to sing along at the College Perk gig... (hint hint)q
Something I’ve learned to really Love – if you look carefully at matched lips, what I saw clearly from the stage actually shows up in this shot that Mara got (also during “Oh Damn”, I think. Jason and Cat are singing along as they’re dancing. Nothing like having a room singing “hey sweetness”… Maybe I’ll try getting the audience to sing along at the College Perk gig… (hint hint)

I love when people dance and get into stuff. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like I’m giving people something. That people come out to see us still feels like a gift.

The band we opened for at the Funk Box, the Mosquitos. Very nice act, sort of like a wired-up version of the Combustible Edisons. The reminded Rowan and I of Frente, perhaps coupled with early, early Police.
The band we opened for at the Funk Box, the Mosquitos. Very nice act, sort of like a wired-up version of the Combustible Edisons. The reminded Rowan and I of Frente, perhaps coupled with early, early Police.
Good energy, short set. I liked the wiggly woman upfront, Zsou Zsou was what it sounded like. Brazilian, singing often in Portugese - they are from New York City and I'm jealous of whatever distortion their bass player was using.
Good energy, short set. I liked the wiggly woman upfront, Zsou Zsou was what it sounded like. Brazilian, singing often in Portugese – they are from New York City and I’m jealous of whatever distortion their bass player was using.

So the solo show, looks like it’s going to be awesome. Perhaps so awesome, in fact, that I should have been more bold and opted to host it at a larger venue when I was thinking of places to have it. I figured I wanted it kind of small and casual. I mean, this time WAS supposed to be band vacation, after all. So this thing is supposed to be fun. In thinking of it that way, I completely forgot that lots of other people might think it would be fun, too, and oh, I don’t know … come see it. Duh.

Still, we should all have such problems. Anyone who wants to come, come on down and we’ll make it work. If I can pack the car, I can pack a coffeeshop. Oh, and turns out Brian Gundersdorf of We’re About 9 is doing a solo show the very next night at the old Jahva House in Ellicott City. My first appearance of any kind with ilyAIMY was a couple songs at the Jahva House the last night it was open under that name. So that shows you how new and how old I am to the ilyAIMY tradition. Anywho, Brian’s trying to get them to bring music back there. So why not make a weekend of it, everyone? Solo Shows and Turkey Leftovers Weekend. Brian and I shoud get some joint T-shirts made. Anyone got a solo show on Sunday?

November 24th, 2004.

So, don’t I know the rule by now? If you wake up from a bad dream, you never, ever go back to sleep – because the next dream will be worse. By all means, attempt to return to slumber in the case of interrupted dreams of phantasm Lovers, or hit snooze to avoid your mundane employer – but if your dreams are nightmares of horror and distress, don’t let the pillow capture your skull again.

Last night was decent enough – Hell, we played the Funk Box – and that’s always awesome. I didn’t bother to bring my effects pedal because I Love the way my guitar sounds through their sound system. I’m still not sure if it’s the sound guy’s aesthetic or just the way the system’s set up, but some one Loves bass, and I Love it too, and my guitar – and for that matter – my whole band just sounds so MASSIVE and full there. And the audience Loved us. It sounded so large! Imagine my horror when I finally went and looked at the numbers for the night and realized we’d only had a draw of 18! Ouch.

I can tell myself that that’s not too bad for a Tuesday night before Thanksgiving on a week’s notice. But on the otherhand…

A lot of friends in Frederick on Monday night - here's Jeff Gerlach and Karyn Oliver of Symbiont playing with a background of Christmas lights. Hehe... <body bg="xmasLights">
A lot of friends in Frederick on Monday night – here’s Jeff Gerlach and Karyn Oliver of Symbiont playing with a background of Christmas lights. Hehe…
My first real hint of Christmas decorations for the year - other than that stupid frat house in College Park - We played Frederick Coffee Company Monday night, and the place looked like the coffee house personification of Christmas! (my favourite season!)
My first real hint of Christmas decorations for the year – other than that stupid frat house in College Park – We played Frederick Coffee Company Monday night, and the place looked like the coffee house personification of Christmas! (my favourite season!)

But we did well. I’ve really got to thank Liz – she went around pushing the mailing list, and the returns on that were massive. So, thank you thank you Liz, I hope you’ll be willing to do that again. And not that she’ll ever read this, but I also DO have to thank our sometimes agent, Diana of Moore Music, who landed us our Funk Box gigs. I feel bad disappointing her, perhaps. I don’t know how hard she works on getting us gigs – I think we actually tend to be much more of a last-minute choice, it seems. But someday I hope to turn that around.

Andre Cutair at the Frederick Coffee Company - it was cool to have so many friends there that night - Andre I've known since 95 or so - I think I met him through Will Schaff in college, perhaps just around the same time I picked up guitar. His beautiful voice and delicate chords rang through the Frederick night... I was really flattered by how blown-away HE was by our performance. I've always felt that my oldest fans/friends are my most important critics. They are the ones that I've got to keep impressing - "your set was like a sucker punch and this morning i feel moved and humbled. fuck: you guys blew shit up." Sucker punches are ALWAYS good. (don't get any ideas, Heather)
Andre Cutair at the Frederick Coffee Company – it was cool to have so many friends there that night – Andre I’ve known since 95 or so – I think I met him through Will Schaff in college, perhaps just around the same time I picked up guitar. His beautiful voice and delicate chords rang through the Frederick night… I was really flattered by how blown-away HE was by our performance. I’ve always felt that my oldest fans/friends are my most important critics. They are the ones that I’ve got to keep impressing – “your set was like a sucker punch and this morning i feel moved and humbled. fuck: you guys blew shit up.” Sucker punches are ALWAYS good. (don’t get any ideas, Heather)
Lea was the featured performer of Steve Key's Frederick Coffee Company Singer/Songwriter Showcase. I think she'll also be recording one of Steve's songs - I'm not sure of the title - the one that goes "We're just here for the runnin... that's all" - great song. Anywho, she sang it with him Monday night.
Lea was the featured performer of Steve Key’s Frederick Coffee Company Singer/Songwriter Showcase. I think she’ll also be recording one of Steve’s songs – I’m not sure of the title – the one that goes “We’re just here for the runnin… that’s all” – great song. Anywho, she sang it with him Monday night.

And of course, huge thanks to everyone who came out. There’s pictures later on – thanks to my parents for coming out to a smokey bar (I hope you had a good time despite that) and thanks to Heather’s parents for coming out (and Mara for taking pictures… more of those later on).

Lea also counts as an old, old friend. She came to play at MICA perhaps a little before I met Andre, somewhere in my... well, must've been my junior year or so? I later bought my first Takamine because she'd been playing a Takamine Jasmine and I Loved the way she played. An amazing player, she's all beating her poor guitar and slapping it around. Jazzy bassy. Heather's having her "solo" show with Sharif and Amy and asked me if I could have the same sort of set-up who I'd choose... After much thought, and after she told me I couldn't have Eddie Van Halen - I figured I'd want Lea on bass and vocals and Brooke Parkhurst (from Tinsmith) playing banjo and guitar and whistle and her beautiful, beautiful voice.
Lea also counts as an old, old friend. She came to play at MICA perhaps a little before I met Andre, somewhere in my… well, must’ve been my junior year or so? I later bought my first Takamine because she’d been playing a Takamine Jasmine and I Loved the way she played. An amazing player, she’s all beating her poor guitar and slapping it around. Jazzy bassy. Heather’s having her “solo” show with Sharif and Amy and asked me if I could have the same sort of set-up who I’d choose… After much thought, and after she told me I couldn’t have Eddie Van Halen – I figured I’d want Lea on bass and vocals and Brooke Parkhurst (from Tinsmith) playing banjo and guitar and whistle and her beautiful, beautiful voice.

So, a good night on that front. Had an early load-in, which meant an early (and easy) sound check – I like dealing with professionals. i.e. – the other band was on time (despite being from New York!), the venue opened it’s doors to us on time, the sound guy was there on time, we were there on time – professional! Even as the opening band, we got a thorough sound check – everything was smooooth like baby ass. We had time left over to run and get sushi, and that was good too.

Sushi, Funk Box – lots of friends AT the Funk Box… parking ticket. Fucking Hell. Second fucking parking ticket in a week.

But, that won’t get me down.

Because everything was professional, and everything started on time, we got out on time, and I LOVE getting out of a venue at 11pm on a weekday. We got home, I ate lasagna, and eventually turned in. Sleep was long in coming, so I took it out on Heather in the form of a giggling pillow fight. Quite nice. Rambled about quarks and the brush strokes of God to lull her back into complacency, but then fell asleep before I could take advantage of that complacency with another darkness-stealthed night attack.

I woke up this morning at 9.30am. That’s a rarity. Almost an obscenity. I no longer believe in the AM as morning – it’s the second half of night. Rain and mist had filtered the morning light into a grey murk that did nothing to dispel the cobwebs of dreaming. In my head there were still air-raid sirens and destruction.

A (perhaps surprisingly) a-typical dream of science fiction monstrosities had stalked through my head, rampaging over the Earth, destroying cities. I remember that Heather and I were hidden in ruins, watching things disintegrate. Trying to survive a nuclear winter while still justifying the guitars strapped to the top of the car. Moving inland away from where the extra-terrestrial wrought terror lies. Packing friends into the car, rearranging the gig baggage so we can fit four people in the mighty post-Apocolyptic Saturn. (Don’t know why we couldn’t get rid of the gig baggage).

And I woke up out of that to hear the reassuring sound of traffic outside. Muffled by the damp, but amplified in it’s way by the car-tire swishing that I still somehow associate with my Grandmother’s old yellow house on it’s hill in Pennsylvania.

Lulled into a sense of security, I failed to resist the warmth temptation of the bed, rolled over, and dreamt Holocaust dreams.

Living so frequently in a Jewish household, having just been to the Spy Museum where so many exhibits were devoted to the fight against Hitler, having just seen a stage version of Anne Frank’s diary…. maybe these things somehow all coagulated in my head this morning.

Hiding Heather for what seemed like months, and people accusing me of “smelling like a Jew”. I tried to at least walk the streets with Rowan in this modern day version of World War II – but we got thrown out of a pizza joint, the owner yelling that Rowan was “darkening his doorstep” – the police were called and we were running through slush that dragged at our footsteps.

Dressed in rags, there wasn’t much any place to go. Everyone knew. I remember the house being ripped apart, chains and whips. Heather being beaten down in the street and my usually monochromatic dreams took great advantage of the melodramatic red blood on snow imagery.

I finally woke up out of that – everything warm and quiet and serene. Grey outside, still drizzling murk. This time I knew it was time to get the fuck up.

While loading for the Funk Box, I watched this van lose control, swing up on the curb, and ram a fire hydrant. Contrary to the Lethal Weapon movies, water did NOT come shooting out like a geyser, and much to my disappointment, merely gushed and pooled. I haven't called 911 since I worked security at school, I think.
While loading for the Funk Box, I watched this van lose control, swing up on the curb, and ram a fire hydrant. Contrary to the Lethal Weapon movies, water did NOT come shooting out like a geyser, and much to my disappointment, merely gushed and pooled. I haven’t called 911 since I worked security at school, I think.
THIS IS NOT OUR SATURN - merely a photograph taken in sympathy for another Saturn. And then we saw another on route 95 heading towards the Funk Box. SO sad. Saturn should have a recall, replace those corner windows with big steel slabs.
THIS IS NOT OUR SATURN – merely a photograph taken in sympathy for another Saturn. And then we saw another on route 95 heading towards the Funk Box. SO sad. Saturn should have a recall, replace those corner windows with big steel slabs.