Moving Day: A Dark Comedy for the Living

This is simply a story I had to share.

Earlier this week one of my oldest, dearest friends Steve reached out to me asking If I'd help him move furniture for an estate sale.  It was an excuse to make good conversation, a quick hundred bucks, and to get out of my cave for a few hours (I'm a bit of a shut-in these days).  I happily obliged.

Steve, a full-time pilot and part-time handyman, puttered up in his ancient and seemingly invincible Toyota pick-up truck.  On the way we caught up in the fashion of old friends. Quickly and enthusiastically.  No details necessary. 

We arrived at our destination a few minutes later.  It was a retirement home.  The man had died a few days earlier and we were moving his furniture to be sold at estate.

As we began our work, I was distracted by the various types of retirees passing through the halls.   There was the out of place strident gentleman with shirt pressed and shoulders broad, the fragile hunched man refusing a walker out of pride, and two chatty women, hell-bent for coffee in the recreation room.  

From behind me a woman yelled softly, as if she were speaking underwater.   "Is someone moving out?", she asked.   I paused, not sure how to respond..."YEP!",  I replied.  She smiled and went back into her room.

Steve and I went about our business.  I brought up my exchange with the woman, and the  way it made me squirm behind my eyes, as if she were my fourth grade teacher asking me to write something on the chalk board.  Steve hypothesized that perhaps "moving out" was just what people there called dying.  I agreed that might be true.

Moments later, we happened upon a resident nurse who asked the very same question, "Someone moving out?".  This time, I chuckled awkwardly and said, "yes mam".  "Where they moving to?", she asked.  That question struck me as funny in the way that David Lynch films do. I laughed and replied, "Not sure that's our call".  There was a brief, hearty laugh between the three of us after which Steve and I committed ourselves to a minute of silent laughter in the man's former bedroom.  

As we finished our work, I walked over to the phone and picked up the receiver.  The digital display read: 9 Missed Calls.   I thought about the timing and motivation for those calls.  Friends?  Family?  Was this a man who simply didn't answer the phone? Perhaps the truth was far more solemn.   Steve disconnected the base and the display went dark.   

As we left, we looked around to see if we'd missed anything.  I thought of all the times I'd moved on from a place. That last moment. Saying goodbye to a room.  Leaving  behind whatever demons found me there.  I wondered if the resident had said goodbye in a similar way, albeit,  from a vastly different threshold.

We departed, and as we walked down the brightly painted hallway, a woman rounded the corner in a wheel chair and asked, "Someone moving out?".


Thus Far, Some Fantastic News

I'm quite pleased with the press and support "Counterfeit Arcade" is already receiving.
As of today, the album is being played on 40 college radio stations in the US and Canada, and has received the high honor of "New & Noteworthy" on the iTunes Alternative homepage.  Not to mention Filter Magazine's video premiere of "Weight of the World" and MTVHive's song premiere of "Diggin' Up Hatchets",  and that was all in just about a week. 

iTunes Feature

 Watch The Video

A Halloween Story: The Boy & The Tractor

It was Halloween day many years ago.   There was a cold snap to the air as the sun searched for a tear in the grey muslin clouds.  A young boy of platinum hair and less than two years rode happily upon a tractor with his father.  The task at hand was hauling firewood from the far end of their property to the red barn near the old yellow house.   Before embarking on their final lap, father decided to idle the tractor and step away for a few moments to have a pipe.   He took the boy in is arms, climbed down from that growling throne, twirled him once around, and set him down on a nearby tree stump. 

The boy's youth rendered the sky a vast mystery, and the tractor a massive sleeping dragon.  In the distance the swing-set shrieked with joy as the boy's sister, four years his senior, swung back and forth relentlessly.    The boy turned to the concrete front steps of his home and giggled at the sight of the freshly cut jack-o-lanterns.   He and father had carved a clown in the smallest one, and dipped their hands in finger paint to stamp it's colorful hair.  The boy returned his gaze to the tractor.  It was orange of color and he thought the front resembled the pumpkins upon the stoop.  He stood up in the wobbly way that children of that age do and toddled forward to get a closer look.  With each step, the tractor looked more and more like a smiling face; two headlamps on either side, with openings in the steel grill that resembled a nose and mouth.   What was inside he wondered? From where was that growl coming?   He stepped closer and peered through the nose.  Belts and blades moved together in a fascinating mechanical dance. Curiosity got the better of the boy. 

He inserted his tiny hand through one of the openings.
The scrape of the fan-belt against flesh.
The shattering of knuckles.
A Scream.

Having heard the brief squeal, the boy's sister launched herself from the swing and ran to see from where that curious sound had come.   She approached her frozen brother.  His arm still inside the mouth of the shuddering beast.   She ran to him and pulled him backward.

Flesh and nail gone.
Skin twisted.
Exposed bone surrounded by char.

Father returned and saw what had happened.  
He scooped the frozen boy up frantically and called to mother.

"Get in the car, we're going to hospital" he bellowed.
"Whatever you do, don't look at his hand"

A true story Sinners.  I bare the scars proudly.  Though my hair is far from platinum these days.

Happy Halloween.

24 Hour Music Video & Foburg Fest New Orleans

While in New Orleans for our Foburg Fest performance in March.  We were selected as one of 13 out of over 120 performing artists to be part of "The 24 Hour Music Video Festival".

My miscreants and I were nursing hangovers at the New Orleans St. Patrick's Day parade when I received a phone call explaining to me that we had in fact been selected as part of this music video competition.  The catch:  The yet to be assembled film crew would need access to us for 24 hours.
Obviously, we thought it was a terrific idea.  So we along with our hostess the lovely Ariane Trahan of Easy Apple Promo and No Correct Way Radio Promotions, headed back to her home to prepare for our Foburg performance, and what was now certain to be a very, very long night.

We arrived at AllWays Lounge for sound check at around 6pm and performed around 9pm. Which is precisely when Director of Photography Rob Davis arrived at the venue to begin our 24 hour video.  He spoke with me briefly before we took the stage and began filming.  After the performance (which was absolutely fantastic)  We spoke with Rob, and followed him the the crew's rendezvous point.  We were greeted by Director, Simon Marthinsen and he pitched concept for the video.   It would be of the song "Life Is Beautiful" and would revolve around the concept of my drowning and a ghostly second-line through a cemetery and into the streets of New Orleans.    These solemn scenes were to be cut together with a sunrise performance on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain (the same lake I was asked to drown in.   After speaking with further with Rob, Simon, and Producer Jared Serigne, we headed back to Ariane's apartment to await our call to begin filming.

At around 2:30am, we received a call to meet the crew at Beth Israel Cemetary No. 1.  We arrived to an eerie glow from behind a tombstone where the crew was ducking down to avoid being spotted my officials.  The moment they were aware of our presence, a high energy gal handed me white clothes to wear and I changed clothes among the dead.  That alone would have made my night.

We had less than 15 minutes to film the cemetery sequence, so by the 5th take we were on our way to the next location, Frenchmen St.   We arrived there around  4:00am  and began filming. A fully populated second-line was nearly impossible to gather at that hour so the crew opted for the progression to feature only myself, Mr. Gillespie, Dusty Bones, and Dante Edmont.   At one point I was asked to proselytize the song on a dark street-corner.  I happily obliged.

After a bit of downtime and a change of clothes for me, we headed to Lake Pontchartrain.  When we arrived, the scene was fully set with a generator, small jib and a camera dolly.  We set up our instruments and waited for the first glimmer of sunrise.   Our window was small and we filmed for only 20 minutes.

After completing the live performance sequence, I was asked to jump into the lake along with some debris the crew had gathered from a curb somewhere. They asked me to drown.  Again,  I happily obliged.

We finished filming at just about 8:30am.  The fellas and I had a house party to attend and perform at so we forwent sleep for a bit of coffee and breakfast supplied by Ms. Trahan.

12 hours later, we all gathered around to watch the unveiling.  An absolutely stunning music video that rivals videos made with days worth of filming and a formidable budget.    So, with out further jabbering,  I give you the 24 Hour Video of "Life Is Beautiful".  Planned, filmed, and edited in 24 hours.