The STONE SUMMER Story
(ORIGINALLY PART OF A 7 PART BLOG – I COMBINED ALL PARTS SO I COULD ADD ANY MISSING INFO AND TO MAKE A MORE COMPLETE PICTURE)
There is a great article on the internet written by Steve Albini called the problem with the music industry today and it was written in 92-94 and this is when I would of been trying to really make it.
I think why STONE SUMMER (me) never made it. I had the songs and I tried to get a look for myself but after that, there was really no thought.
I start this blog with mentioning the Albini article and then laugh as I can see me making every mistake he is talking about, I would of sign the napkin with intent and then been stuck. I read this article in the 90s and took it as a sign, pheww glad I didnt persue music but now looking back on all this in 2017 as a 47 year old guy, I dunno. Yea it would suck no making any money but just to get the kind of touring experience and doing the thing you want, I feel now would make up for the lack of money and whatever. Its also kind of odd how Albini, who shouldnt feel like a money matters guy, is all about here. But anyways, the dude is a legend. and where is STONE SUMMER.
Shit really makes me mad looking back cause I had no direction what so ever, even though I seemed to have crossed paths with people who did have direction and did something in music.
I look back at the first band I ever played with. I barely knew how to play instruments but this guitarist Ring needed a bassist, and I told him Ill do it and instantly Im playing with a guitarist that could play any Eddie Van Halen licks you wanted. For instance I remember I brought him over a copy of Van Hagars Live without a net and the next practice he was whipping out those solos. The drummer for the band was Wyatt. He was an excellent drummer and playing with him as my first drummer spoiled me. We started playing gigs pretty quickly at parties and local high schools. Surveillance also finished 2nd in a battle of the bands, losing to another local band, Der Tanz.
Memories I have recall from that time:
- Rings dad telling us (in true republican form), Business is business and that comes before any body in the band
- While warming up before the battle of the bands, I almost kicked Ring in the face
- I drove Wyatt to see Journey on the raised on radio tour
- During a gig at the Oconee County High School, by strap lock screw came out and I had to prop my bass up with my leg, actually have a picture of this.
I got kicked out of the band for another bassist, which caught me by surprise and pissed me off at the time but they were way above my league at the time. Ring knocked up his girlfriend in 87 and joined the army and never to be heard of again LOL. I crossed paths with Wyatt one other time in 88-89 at UGA as we had some classes in the same building but I had other bands going then so I never try to reconnect, wish I would have. Searching Wyatt was easy as he has built up an impressive body of work. He has played drums in the Kelly Clarkson Band (there is a you tube clip with him playing with her on American Idol). He lives in Nashville (which is Ironic since my wife told me in 1998 I needed to move to Nashville if I want to do rock music aka new country music) and this guy is on a totally different level now.
UPDATE: I reached out to Wyatt in 2017 on twitter and he at least remember me and this point in my life thats enough to give him a THUMBS UP!
Needless to say Surveillance was an eye opener of the differences between playing with good musicians and playing with bad musicians. Keep in mind, this was my first band. The next few people I went thru 87-88 was agonizing at times, drummers who would speed up and slow down and I keep thinking something feels wrong. I remember this one dude had a double bass drum rig with every bell and whistle possible (think Alex Van Halen setup). This guy couldn’t even get thru a basic 4/4 song without fucking it all up. But at this time I was hustling through players trying to find good fits and such and I started slowly writing my own material. Also when I was Surveillance, I was the bottom vote so after that any band I was in, I made sure I was the top 1 or 2 vote.
SURVIVING MEMORABILIA: Pictures from a birthday part gig and a high school party gig. No music
SONGS FROM CATALOG: Come Back to Me and Bad Woman
So after playing with Surveillance, it took me a while to finally get a whole band reformed. I ended up playing with a slew of oddballs. Manque Laughter wanted me to quit high school and play with them, though I dont think that would of worked. Hooked up some players in the dorms of UGA, one who went on to play with Old Scratch. Even a heavy metal band with some bad ass Mexicans playing. How can you forget the classic
FUCK THE LAW!!!
Shattered Glass formed in 1987 with Mapp, Tommy (something) and a singer who told me he sounded like Joe Elliott (Thought he meant the one in Def Leppard, LOL). We played some gigs but one gig in particular was a mess. I had gotten us booked to play and first our drummer quit on us or Drew and I kicked him out, Cant remember the guys name, interesting red headed guy that lived in Winterville. I had to hire a drummer. Things even got crazier on this gig when our singer just disappeared the day of the gig. No contact what so ever. I had to ride all over Athens looking for him hoping I got back to the gig on time. WHAT A MESS and I should of just did the vocals since he got scared and proceeded to fuck up every song he did, even Rock and Roll, how is that possible. As a finally FU to me, before we had even finished the gig, our bands name was off the marquee and my old band Surveillance had replaced us on the marquee. UGGGG!!!!!
UPDATE: Found Mapp on Facebook but haven’t reached out as of 2017, he looks like he is stilling living the rock and roll lifestyle
Memorabilia: Setlist, Band practice recordings including one very hot version of Fine Line featuring Jimmy Bowen on drums (a drummer I tried really hard to get to join Shattered Glass but couldnt seal the deal).
SONGS FROM CATALOG: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, Fine Line, Aim for the Heart, Cant Go On, Empty Promises.
JOHN CONOLLY OF SEVENDUST WAS MY DRUMMER IN 1988
One way to find musicians pre internet days was to post up ads at college commons areas. Here is where I hooked up with a band ass drummer named John Conolly rounded out with Anthony Rowell on guitar and Jane Porterfield on vocals. While we stayed together for 5 months, Conolly decided to leave the band to move Atlanta to join another band called the Piece Dogs. It sucks, I just never kept in touch with John after that. I was more focused on getting other band members. John on drums released a CD with Piece Dogs on his never ending pursuit to making it. He ended up a guitarist for Sevendust. Sevendust has been a touring band for 20 years now. Reached out to John a few times but he’s never responded probably doesnt even remember us jamming Shark Island and Impillitera in his Tivoli apartments. I also credit John for getting me into Janes Addiction. Damn I cant believe me and Conolly used to have band talks in my supra and look at him now. I remember Jane telling me, Hes going to make it, he wants it the most. She was right and I guess that what its comes down. ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING TO MAKE IT. I make jokes to this day that I should begged John to take to Atlanta with him (really I should of followed that blue print and went off the Atlanta myself, as this is one of the problems in my evaluating my music career).
Memorabilia: Band practice recordings mostly of cover songs with 1 or 2 originals
Songs from Catalog: Come Back to Me and Living in a Shadow (Unreleased)
PISSES ME OFF THAT I NEVER TOOK PICTURES OF THIS BAND BUT HERE ARE SOME MEMORIES:
- I remember we used to cover Rushs’ Tom Sawyer and Conolly would quit mid-way thru the song to inform me that if I wasnt playing the bass part right that he cant play it right LOL, I couldnt play it right
- I went to see Ace Frehley in Atlanta in 1990 or 1991 and after the show, the Piece Dogs had put fliers on many cars to advertise one of their upcoming gigs and I was wondering at the time if Conolly was still in that band and it appears he was, Wish I would of went to that show.
- in 1998, while reading though a revolver magazine, my wife started asking what was the name of that guy I played with Athens since there was a guy of the same name in the band sevendust. After she told me that they were from Atlanta, I started searching the internet and backtracked him from sevendust to the Piece Dogs.
- Reached out to Connoly in 1998 and recently in 2017 but hes has never responded.
Anthony and I regrouped with Whitehead on Vocals and Chasmin on Drums. We played one gig but I still hold baggage about this band and it broke up after the one gig. I do have many cover songs from band practice for this band. Whitehead is still playing music in Athens as of 2017. I wish I would of felt Whitehead out a little more as I didnt realize he was so serious about music at the time. As for Chasmin, FUCK OFF!!!!!
Rowell was my guitarist at the time and he was very good at playing other people licks but all his originals sounded the same. I was starting to realize around this time that I could write songs and I knew what the vision for my songs where and this is where I started to coming off playing bass and trying to focus on all original music that I wrote.
NUFF NOIZE ASYLUM
The last band I played bass for in this period was NUFF NOIZE ASYLUM. This was a cover band featuring Scarborough, Rives. While I enjoyed playing with them, I was really starting to hate playing bass in cover bands which is a shame, because we were actually getting some gigs with the biggest being FIRST NIGHT NEW YEARS ATHENS. After a few months I quit to focus on STONE SUMMER MUSIC ONLY.
Scarborough was an interesting story besides being lefty. About a year and 1/2 earlier, I had met Scarborough and brought him into Shattered Glass. The only problem was, he couldnt play at all. Fast forward a year later and he calls me up wanting to be in a band. I wasnt sure since I hadnt seen him in so long. I went to his house and was blown away. He was able to play very well. So I jumped at the chance of starting a band with him.
MEMORABILIA: A lot of pictures from an arcade we played in Madison County and primitive computer made flier for the band.
UPDATE: I recently reached out to both on facebook in 2017. Rives replied and even remembered events that happened at one of the gigs we did at this arcade. A fight had broken out and Scarborough had a wireless unit and went outside (mid song) to see the fight. Also some guy rode a motorcycle through the arcade as we were playing a song. So the fact that Rives remembers me and something to do with our gigs is a DOUBLE THUMBS UP!!!
Scarborough did not reply in 2017 but he did call me in 2000 or 2001. When in the band together, we split for a pair of EVs for our soundsystem. After I left the band, I used these EVs for my DJ’ing business SOUND WAVES. Every time Id speak to Chris, his first question was, “How are those EVs” and true to form in 2000, that was his first question. At the time, he told me that he had gotten into a band that was gigging fraternities all across the south. I havent spoken to him since.
It seems both have stayed active in music.
RIC NILO ERA
I was starting to find a little groove in my songwriting and that’s one thing Id like to point out. I always strived to a pop artist as I look at my music like Journey, Foreigner, etc. I also am looking for good flows to albums, while I know in 2017 this is such a moot point since people arent really about WORKS anymore, just mindless singles. But when Im working on new groups of songs, I always try to focus on making it a WORK. I try to balance my albums with hits, rockers, ballads and the oddball pieces to offset everything else. So many times I know I have to be writing different formulas or else everything on the album will sound the same.
This one my main reason from switching from bass to guitar. Most guitarists I dealt with could play other peoples licks spot on but then have nothing original or just bad copies of stuff they learned. On the other hand, I cant play other peoples music at all. The few times I tried to play originals as a guitarist was just a joke. Also this goes back to the fact, Im a songwriter and spent more time writing tunes and knowing what I wanted each instrument to do rather than perfecting just being a guitarist.
OK back to the story…..
I meet up with a drummer, Rick Nilo and WOW WE CLICKED. This dude could play and he also really like the originals tunes I was showing him. We played about 15 of my songs and, in fact, when I get the music up, you will be able to hear these demos as they are the only copies I have of some of the songs off EPIC OUT OF PROPORTION. One cool thing about Nilo, he had this red bass drum that he says used to one of the Appice’s tom tom drum. As usual things took a unexpected turn one day when Rick out of the blue says hes going back to Denver. I was bummed about this since he learned a lot of my songs, liked them and then just leaves as I was hoping we would of gotten this thing gigging. I told him if he ever came back to town, hit me up
Now in one of those fucked up situations that may or may not have been a bad detour. I picked up some new players and they wanted to do covers so we got some covers in the mix, with keeping some of my originals in the mix. I had another athens player, Todd White who seems to be a gigging bluegrass player. Now in some fucked up irony, I switched to guitar to get my originals going only to end playing more covers and guess who gets back in touch
Nilo moves back to Athens and whats to resume where we left off (like 6 months later). Now I have this band going with more covers than originals and the first practice we had with Nilo, really screwed up any interest he had in playing with me. And I really had no interest in playing with the people I had going but I have this stupid loyalty thing going even though very few have ever been loyal to me and kept going nowhere in the cover band and Nilo disappeared. Its may seem like a dull story but every musician knows how hard it is to find people who like your original music and want to be part of it and I feel I really fucked up not trying to start something with Nilo.
Basically a few months later, all the musicians are gone again and Im off the races writing more stuff. You have to look at the fact that I have over 100 originals and most of them were written in this time frame 90-93. Ideas were starting to flow as I started the next chapter in the STONE SUMMER story, WHO SAID THERE’S TROUBLE.
The reason for writing the Stone Summer story is Ive really had to stop and soul search as to why I never even got off the ground but have a music catalog few can touch. YES I BELIEVE IN MY MUSIC THAT MUCH. As you can already see Ive listed about 10 different bands and semi bands Ive played with and I think I was already fucking around to much and not trying to get out there, even if it was just me and my guitar. Isolated in the woods of Watkinsville was furthering my career. Sometimes I wonder if I should of just tried to sell my songs back then (But I had to product to take me places). Plus I had another major band hangup. I always wanted it to be a 4 piece (like the Van Halen sound) with just bass under solos and stuff. Late in the game like years later, me and freddy dean thought about prerecording bass and just him and me try to gig. FUCK THAT, IMAGINE A 2 person band with just a drummer and guitarist that would never work. SOME OF MY SHORT SHORTSIGHTEDNESS KILLS ME.
DIRTY DUCK – CIRCULATION UNDERFLOW
As I mentioned before, pre interent you had to go and physically paste adds to message boards LOL. At UGA there was the Tate center and that was where most people put their ads. One day I get a call from a drummer named Fred. We get together and click almost instantly. Most of the bands I had played with I never had a person who actually could give me great input and ideas for my songs and new ones I was writing. Where as when I write a song I know pretty much what I want everyone to be doing and like a machine Fred was laying down all the and we amassed a ton of my songs. Basically a good 50 or so originals were done. We were having a bitch of time finding other musicians though, bassists dont fall off tress and good vocalist are really hard. Basically if you find a player that clicks with you and actually feels your music, DO NOT LET THAT PERSON SLIP AWAY. Its really hard to find people on the same page with you.
SO LETS DOUBLE SIDE NOTE RIGHT HERE: at this point Fred and I should of taken full control and done the vocals ourselves and just tried to go with what we had. This is a major flaw of mine as you hear bands say we had 4 songs and started gigging. Well We had over 50 and werent gigging and I always felt that I had to have a good 2 to 3 sets of material ready to go before playing out. SO DUMB, basically any bands reading this, GET YOUR SHIT OUT THERE NOW and then get it fine tuned cause you can sit in the woods of THE BOONIES stroking yourself all you want but ITS JUST WASTING TIME and now at 47 trust me, its true TIME IS LIMITED.
But instead of taking the bull by the horns, I needed it to be a 4-some, it had to have a Van Halen look. So I recruited a guitarist, Hale (who btw plays much better than me) and Lusk to be our vocalist. To this day Im not really sure if he hated my songs, hated my lyrics and wanted to change everything but even though we starting getting some gigs out this band, Lusk never really dove in 100% and many times seemed like he wasnt ever gonna learn the songs. I do know though once he changed Southside into Southside Girl, that was one of the songs he could nail but for the most part we were never on the same page. I felt like he could of really lead the group but maybe coming into a band as a singer with songs and lyrics complete, it might be harder than it sounds.
Hale. on the other hand was a complete surprise and then a bad surprise, at first the guy learned all the songs so as a band we had close to 50 songs ready to go. He was reliable at practices and was reliable for gigs until the LIVE ODYESSY GIG of 92. For some reason he chose to quit playing while remaining on stage playing, so I dunno what he was playing. Then he deserted the gig at some point. I guess the final straw with Hale was when he started going behind my back to Fred to bitch about my songs and stuff. So that marked the end, The thing is I guess with both Lusk and Hale is that I dunno what they expected, I had my style, sound etc and they came in knowing that, it was a finished product. I also dont know if either ever had intentions of getting out Athens to tour.
But the Dirty Duck years were really good. We got tight as far as cool stuff to add to the songs and stuff. We starting doing some gigging out. If anyone knows Athens, we played at Pippinos, Club Fred, Odyessy, Nowhere Bar, New YEars First night and many other gigs. Another kickass thing about Fred was that he worked at the local paper and was able to get us a write up also and that felt really good. We went out to do photo shoots. It really felt like we were doing something but we werent.
I also started going thru life crisis here and THIS SHOULD BE A LIFE LESSON TO PEOPLE WHO REALLY WANT TO DO MUSIC. I started going to DeVry and after graduating immediately moved to Charlotte for my life in corporate America. This was like a death nail into doing music as a job even though I didnt realize it at the time. I started making some money and fucking dropped the ball, so what Im saying is FUCK EDUCATION and all that shit if you want to do music. Figure out the path and try to make it work somehow. If you never have money you never really get trapped by having money. Meaning you can figure out how to survive on nothing if need be but once you start making money its really hard to say Im going to give the money up and start perusing the dream I should of never quit on. This is something in hindsight, I wish I would of just hit the road and tried to tour.
OK KIDS – Make you sure you discuss this type stuff with your band
Fred and I would have discussions on the music, the image, logos and all that stuff. BUT NOT ONE TIME DID ME AND FRED EVERY REALLY SIT DOWN AND DISCUSS what are we doing. To this day (and trust me If I ever get in contact with Fred again I will ask him and blog the results) but to this day, Im not sure if Fred wanted to be in a touring band meaning did he ever have any intentions of leaving Athens to tour. Then the questions comes to me, DID I. Neither of us know this answer cause we never discussed it. We had a song catalog that would work in a lot of settings and so many songs we could always have new sets but WHAT WAS OUR GRAND PLAN. Makes me sad to this day cause Im not sure and we had so much going for us at the time. But cant look back everyday and think WHAT IF … cause that moment in time is gone and there is no way to recreate it, esp in 2017.
The Freddy Dean years represent 91-93 as far as actively playing and gigging. During late 93, after David starting going behind my back to Fred about my songs that I decided to dump Hale and Lusk and try to figure out where to go next. Of course I was deep into school study now and getting near graduation also.
So after Dirty Duck (BTW I hated that name as it represented a lot of that shittier late 80s metal that ruined the shine of the early 80s metal), we tried it out hat at being a 2 piece Acoustic and tambourine playing band. Just to show we were ahead of the NU METALERS of the late 90s. We were doing covers of Faith also LOL. We would goto parks and play our acoustic sets and even re-worked some of my songs but really nothing ever became of all this. Two things happened after we got rid of the DUCK. I was already knowing I had job in Charlotte and had to focus on moving (Graduated on Friday started work on Monday type deal). Fred wasnt as hyped about everything either now that we didnt have a full band. It does suck knowing you have to start from ground zero with new players. Around this time, we decided to drop the DIRTY DUCK name and go with CIRCULATION UNDERFLOW aka CU.
AHEAD OF OUR TIME, I remember telling Fred around this time that we should pre-record the bass for the songs and just play as a 2 piece band and maybe even use these lifesize beer girl cutouts and put a bass on them to give the illusion of a hot bassist. Look as silly as ideas seem, as long as you’re getting your product out there, you are at least doing something positive. I mean goddamn if I known I could of gotten 5-6 guys and where crazy masks and just make noise (aka slipknot mushroomhead) and become a musical force. Some ideas work.
So lots to learn from this, but basically make sure everyone in the band is 100% on board and GET ON THE ROAD.
The Dirty Duck years represents the WHO SAID THERES TROUBLE, BLACK GUITARS BLACK EYES, WHICH R U!, CANDY CANE, and all the ideas for future albums and also learned a lot of stuff from the first 3 albums. YES WE HAD A LOT OF ORIGINAL SONGS, Just sucks to know very few people have ever heard any of the stuff
MEMORBILIA: A lot of pictures and band practice recordings, live recordings, newspaper articles.
UPDATE: WHERE THE HELL IS FRED, I havent spoke to him in 16 years. I have left tons of voice mails for him in the 2000s and have left messenger updates on facebook in 2017 but he doesnt seem to log into FB.
I found Lusk on FB in 2017 but as of yet havent reached out to him
ROCKET SOUNDS and CHARLOTTE
I guess this is where reality meets the road. As I mentioned in part 4, I had decided to goto DeVry and try to get some kind of career because really I had nothing to fall back on. KIDS IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FALL BACK ON, WHO FUCKING CARES, DONT DO WHAT YOURE ABOUT TO READ.
So in June of 94, I graduated and the following Monday I had to report to Charlotte for work. So now everything is on a fast pace to nowhere. I knew in Feb 94 I would be moving in June and my man Freddy Dean was there to help move. In a funny story, living in the woods of Watkinsville, GA. I lived down a winding dirt road, we had to use Freds pickup to move all my stuff up to the Uhaul at the top of the dirt road. I had this old Sears rolling tool case and when we where trying to put in on the U-Haul it slipped and almost chopped off one of my fingers. So Stone Summer could of been done here. Looking back in hindsight, I dunno, yea I got a good job but what about the music.
Once in Charlotte I had every intention to keep the band going with Fred and was going to drive back to Athens every weekend or every other weekend. Hmmm..well that worked out for like 1 month and I was over that drive. At this time we decided to record a few tracks at Rocket Sounds in Athens GA. I have a few observations here that I never even thought of at the time. But basically we recorded 2 songs and working in a studio can be pretty stressful. I was handling guitars, and bass and most of the vocals. My experience really came to light quick when I broke a string and didnt have a replacement and we had to basically hit a closed music store to get some. He didnt care, he was getting paid by the hour. Carefree Freddy Dean also had a couple issues (basically nerves) and we had to take a few breaks to just talk relax and say HEY MAN WE GOT THIS. We laid down SATURDAY NIGHT and I SEE IT COMING EVERYTIME. To this day when I listen to these, its like, I need the whole collection done like this. Now here is the fuck up part, I never even considered this at the time. I should of paid for more time and had us lay down instrumental and rough mixes of a ton of the songs. We never returned to a studio again and it was problem more of a symptom of me being in a new town, basically new life, and I hated that drive from Charlotte to Athens. I think its the last few hours on just back roads which really sucks.
Freddy Dean, I believe, wanted to keep things going to as he made way more drives to visit me than I did from like 95-98. I wont lie the new job had me working over night shifts and really at this point I started to not be very musically active. I just dont get it, here I am in the big city of Charlotte, new venues, new people and I never even thought of looking for musicians to play with or finding a practice spot for me and Fred. I do remember Freddy Dean visiting us at some apartments we lived in and we tried to do some acoustic jamming and some bitches above us called the cops. So I guess it was a few things, coming from the woods of GA, that I wouldnt be able to practice in my apartments ( No shit dumbass), and It wasnt until some bands I played with in 2007 did I ever even realize you could rent practice space. All this is to say, Stone Summer was dropping the ball on music big time here. I started to become one of these job lifers at only 1 year in. First time living away from home, First apartment I ever lived in, First real job I had that I couldnt just quit, so many first that music just took a backseat, or I expected it to come to me, not me go to it.
I EXPECTED IT TO COME TO ME, NOT ME GO TO IT. This sounds like the same problem when I had bands going. I had the practice space and I really dont know what Im saying other than I should of been way more mobile. What may seem weird now since its so ingrained into everyday life now. In 1994 I just bought my first Gateway PC and found myself online all the time instead of focusing on what needed to be focused on. TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS.
Ill close the book on the future years with Fred. Looking back from the years of 1994-2001. I probably wasnt the reliable friend I should of been with Fred. As I said he came out to me more than I ever went to him. He came to Charlotte and also came to Daytona after I moved there in 98. There is one event I remember when Fred wanted me to meet him in Savannah (I think he had family there) and I wouldn’t for some reason (laziness) and after that everything was different. Im very sorry about that. I get so self absorbed sometime that It was until 10 years later that this dawned on me.
The last time I had big plans with Fred was around 2002. I had bought a sweet fostex 8 track recorder. I started redoing all my music on it and the quality was pretty good. But now I was doing all the instruments and using drum pads to try and play drums. If you dont play drums, it hard to understand what drummers do and these recorders showed that. I had all the plans set up with Fred to go to Athens and redo all our tracks and I was gonna mike his drums and all this stuff. I had plans to do this over 2 weekends to start and had to do a ton or re-arranging schedules at work to make this happen. I was hyped telling my boss that she is gonna hear some hot tracks when I get back. I go to schedule a hotel in Athens and everything is booked up. What I failed to realize was I had scheduled all this on a UGA football game so there wasnt going to be any hotels. There was no way I could re-arrange the trip cause the ways we rescheduled me at work. I call Fred and tell him Im going to stay with him (which I thought was a easy done deal) and the first words I hear are “you cant stay at my place” and I was like dude, WHAT we have all the plans. So then we even discussed me sleeping at his moms garage since that was the practice space but I dont what happened here. Fred turned to ICE on me and so I got a case of the ass and said fuck all this and cancelled all of. The worst part about all this is I just finished up my latest album work LIKE A HOLIDAY and had 7-8 bad ass new songs ready for him. Also this was the most hyped I had been about music in many years and was looking at rebooting me and fred. To this day Im not sure why Fred didnt want to work with me over these weekends and when I think about it, these were probably the last times I have ever spoken to him. I know I left him ton of voice mails but I dunno. My boss wasn’t happy when she found out I didnt even make the trip, after she had really did me a solid by rearranging my schedule to make this happen. All this really sucks at this time period because I had a beach house and we could of practiced and set up shop there. I guess after I moved, the logistics werent there anymore, IT JUST SUCKS.
Fred did start playing with a band called cookieman. He sent me an article on the band and I recently re-read it in 2015 and one statement hit. Something to effect he said, a lot of bands I played with never get out the practice space and this band is already playing out. That sort of sums up my feelings I stated in part 4, did we ever have any intention to try and get on the road. Of course thinking of this in 2017 and the reality of things in 1993, maybe Im looking thru rose colored glasses here.
I do know I have been actively searching for Freddy Dean. I know in the mid 2000s I must of left him 20 voice mails and he never returned any of them. Also people of our generations dont really put too much personal info on the internet so my searches for him have been very limited. Who knows maybe in the future Ill hook back up with MY MAIN FREDDY DEAN, DAMNIT SON I WISH WE WOULD HAVE JUST LEFT ATHENS AND TRIED. JUST FUCKING TRIED. but anyways, this will close the book on my years with Freddy Dean.
I will say I very much trust Freddie Dean even to the point that I tried to reconnect with people in Athens and also trying to get the both of us to join the band Scary Garcia. At 47 Ill be mobile and told my man Lee Swindle (an Athens legend), that if he gets this shit set up, we can try this over the internet practicing and I can come up if we can get gigs. ALSO been trying my damndest to find Fred to to be apart of it (my latest attempt was this morning, some band in Athens tag him in a photo 4 years ago, so I reached out one of those band members to try to get Fred to contact me. Id really love to get all my collection redone, but in 2017, I probably havent played guitar that often for the last 7 years. BUT IF THE STARS EVER ALIGN AGAIN, IM SURE I CAN PICK UP THE CHOPS AGAIN. But enough old man dreaming LOL.
Throughout the mid 90s thru the late 2000s I was still doing music. In part 6, I will discuss a band I played bass for in Charlotte and one of the coolest venues I ever played. Then the move to Daytona. Then the work of redoing the collection. Then crashing into a total brick wall. Then trying to revive myself playing for bass for bands in Orlando. So get ready they ride is still going strong.
SPOONFED – THE HELL IT AINT
1997 – THE HELL IT AINT
The year in 1997 and the place is Charlotte NC. As I mentioned in the last part, I wanted it to come to me and not have to goto it. Through some luck at the workplace, I hooked up with a new music partner, Jay Jarrell and I joined his band as a bassist (it fell into my lap, as I wasnt actively searching to joing bands or looking for musicians). Jay had some killer original songs which surprised me, how poppy and audience friendly his songs were. In a much more streamline approach, we had this band ready to gig in about 2 months. I cant tell you any of the other players from the band, but the biggest gig we had was on New Years Ever 1996 at the City Canter near Fat City. BTW Fat City, best chili around, if the place is even still around. Hell STEVE FORBERT played in this venue. After the gig, the band fell apart. WOW.. Jay and I were like oil and water and I feel in a good way. We had 2 major arguments, one time on the golf course and one time the night of this gig and we would get pissed at each other. The next day everything was ok. I really wish me and Jay would of explored music together as I feel we could of collaborated on the some killer tunes. Guess what though, Jay was in the same boat as me, working for big business and feeling like … fuck you have to work, which of course makes making it a really hard assignment. I just feel Jay and I had some major fire and water type connection and could of made some hot music. Once again, we never talked about any future for this.
SPOONFED played the new years gig and it was a disaster. The band was fine but our guitarists girlfriend (who was also our harmonist) got totally wasted and just went into business for herself and wouldnt stop ruining all the songs with her non stop blowing this harmonica. Even the songs she wasnt in, she was ruining by being in. Just a sad affair. Earlier everyone but Jay had been drinking and Jay I guess knew what this girl would do and tried to get everyone to stop drinking. Though his non stop bossing everyone around about just pissed me off big time in which me and Jay got into a screaming argument with each other in the van waiting for the gig to start. Jay was right, but his approach wasnt good LOL. Anyways it got more hilarious as the time got closer to midnight. The owner of the venue wanted to be center stage for midnight to count it down but our lady was making sure she was right next to him on stage. At one point the owner, trying to get this girl off the stage, said but this is my place. The best was still to coming, as we start counting down to midnight, she take over and starts counting down at the wrong time and starting yelling happy new years about 30 seconds before and when the owner said its not time she goes “THE HELL IT AINT”. Got some pictures and some actually recording of this countdown, so check em out. But this was awful, the nicest place Ive ever played, the biggest stage and the worst outcome. Wish Id or recorded some of the band practices to show how good some of Jays songs were (one song in particular, Hurricanes was awesome). SHOUT OUT TO JAY, MISS YOU BUD!!!!
ENJOY THIS AS THE OWNER TRIES TO GET DONATIONS
& COUNTDOWN TO NEW YEARS
BUT OUR HARMONICA PLAYER WASNT GOING TO BE DENIED!!!!
One thing really sticks out, I hated moving the equipment, setting up the equipment, breaking down the equipment and waiting hours before actually being able to play. At this point in my life I was still doing the corporate america thing and the thought of doing all this work just to gig (esp in freezing cold charlotte weather) made me question weather I wanted to even be a gigging musician. Looking back now in 2017, I SHOULD OF BEEN QUESTIONING WHY I WAS WORKING FOR THE MAN FOR HIS SLAVE MONEY instead of following what I really love. So everything gets conflicted here, if I didnt have the job would I feel any different about all the work it took setting up the gig and everything.
I remember there was the band Asphalt Ballet and we bought a bootleg show of theirs. At the time they were playing small clubs across america and this VHS tape was really interesting as the first 3 hours of the tape was just the band in the parking lot of the venue and around the just killing time. This explains why rockers have so many tattoos, if this tape was the norm for touring bands then there is so much downtime its unreal. I would go so far to say as you would have to very disciplined not get strung out or drunk out waiting for all this. But as Im also finding out, the bands that really make it far, might sing about partying and drinking but they dont do it (cough cough Gene Simmons).
Im doing this multipart series on all the phases of my songwriting and gigging out as a retrospective look to see if I ever had the will or chance to make it anyways. Looking back 20-25 years after the fact, is like living in the past, but its giving a lot time to reflect on it all.
The next part we cover moving from Charlotte to Daytona, the LIKE A HOLIDAY sessions, the Dale Earnhardt tribute releases, the STONE SUMMER website and some bullshit concept music I tried plus my girl tried to tell me in 1998 … GOTO NASHVILLE but did I listen. 1997-2007.
Earnhardt Tribute – Like a Holiday Sessions
In 1998, I took a job transfer to Daytona. The type of work I did in Daytona was much more intensive and required a lot more responsibility. Which meant more training, which meant less time for music.
ONCE AGAIN KIDS, if you never have money, you dont miss it. ITS ONLY WHEN YOU FUCKING HAVE IT THAT YOU MISS IT. So pursue those dreams.
Another situation where I had all the time in the world but didnt even attempt to form any bands.
Another observations, I had gotten married, I was doing well, and I found all this effected my ability to write songs. I mean I couldnt write a song to save my life in this period. Just 6 years earliers, I had the conveyor belt songs going but now, just blanks. Which leads me to believe that if you are happy in life, its almost impossible to write songs
CASE IN POINT, HANK WILLIAMS III, claims he had to divorce his wife or girlfriend of 6 years so he could be sad enough to be able to write songs again. Do either of these scenerios sound different.
Around this time, my wife also suggested that my music would probably be better fit in Nashville. Remember this is 1998 so I was like fuck that (ONCE AGAIN my logic is why Im where Im at). Keep in mind this is the same year that the wife also suggested buying apple stock in which I replied, Apple is over these fruity Imacs arent going to make this company big again. Wish I would invested every cent I made into apple and then I could afford to tour and even do pay to play LOL. I know you cant look back at stuff like that as barometers of your life, but damn, STONE SUMMER IN NASHVILLE with EVERYTHING INVESTED IN APPLE. Imagine what 2017 would of looked like compared to how it is.
I was actively trying to promote my music by recording a lot of the stuff Fred and I had done and giving it out at bike week, in hopes someone important would hear it. In 2001, I tired to really get myself in. The death of Dale Earnhardt in Daytona no less at the 500 no less. I re-recorded and changed the lyrics for HAVE WE REALLY COME SUCH A LONG WAY and renamed it FOR DALE. I put out no less than 500 CDs of the song at the memorial that was building for him days after his death. My plans were for NASCAR to use the song. In the end over 1000 CDs were made, and I only know of one that got to Phoenix, AZ.
IN 2002, I had purchased a new recording rig. A cool 8 track 8 input with 2 bounce tracks fostex recorder and started re-doing all my old material to try and get cleaner sounded copies. All the copies I made with Fred were, guitar and drums only and I later added the bass and it sounded like it. The only problem now, I am doing all the drums on drum pads and I am not a drummer. Thinking about this now, I dont know why I didnt actively look for drummers. I had a sweet beach house and could of made all the noise possible. I really wanted to reboot a band with Fred at the time. Even (re-read part 3) getting everything set up to record in Athens but to this day still dont what happened. Even now, Im still searching for Fred for some reason. I guess I didnt realize that its been 17 years since I have seen him but I have a loyalty problem sometimes and I guess at time I wanted Fred in my band.
I started writing some new songs which would be the LIKE A HOLIDAY album. Songs still werent flowing like water but I was able to get a super solid albums worth of material. LIKE A HOLIDAY, 4 U, RIDE, CALENDER, SACRIFICE, HAPPY, and a few others. I was able to make some decent recordings of the first 4 but lost recordings of the last couple as my life was starting to slide off the rails somewhat. For 2 years I was re-recording a lot of my material trying to make better copies. I started getting more dis-illsuioned with work, started going down paths I shouldnt of. Life took a total collapse in 2005, by 2007 I was so bitter and mad, I made a stupid concept album (keep im mind I WAS BITTER AND MAD AND THE SONGS WERE FOLLOWING AGAIN). The problem is, I burned most of the riffs and leftovers songs I had on this stupid work. Now its a time in life I never want to revisit (wish my mind understood this). I recall hearing in an interview by either Korn or Tool, that they have hard time playing some older material cause is so personal and they dont want to relive that. I remember thinking at the time, that is so stupid. I never want to play those tunes again even though I blew some good riffage on that shit.
BITEBOY – 1ANAMOLY – KEITHS COVER BAND
In 2007, I decided that, I needed to get in a band. I wanted to prove to myself I could travel and decided to audition for bands in Orlando and Palm Coast (places over an hour away). I always had my style of music and didnt follow the trend of 2000s metal of downtuned guitars and such. Some of the bands I played with like 1Anamoly were all about this downtuned shit and I hated it. There is one band I wish would of gelled. I feel this guy had some killer songs and killer idea and NOT DOWNTUNED SHIT. Rick Namely and his band Biteboy. We jammed a lot of his stuff, GIRL IN THE WINDOW, GHOST. This guy had vision and really did some cool shit (most notable was driving in front of Casey Anthonys (look her up) house on a flat bed truck doing their song Wine Sick Mind, wish I would of been on that flatbed). DAMN BITE BOY we should of been on the road for 10 years now, not sure what he is doing now. I also tried my hand with older guys in Port Orange who’s model was, one hit is all we need but gawd these guys were in their 60s. I always said that Im a songwriter and not a kick ass musician. So my next stop was with a spot on cover band in Palm Coast. I actually played with them for a few months, until I realized the singers wife had more say so in the band than I did. At this point, I realized I still hated playing in cover bands. I hated playing in downtuned hell metal bands. But if someone had tunes I believed in, I was really liked it aka, biteboy. I also found I HATED DRIVING OVER AN HOUR AWAY TO PRACTICE. In the end I quit the cover band and the other bands were people much younger than me, so I didnt make the cut LOL.
So where are we now in 2017. It really blows my mind that I have been basically inactive for 10 years now. Im 47. So what now. I have reached out to some old Athens friends like Lee Swindle and talked about playing bass for his Scary Garcia band. Athens is only 12 hours from here LOL. I sometimes think, I want to go back in the studio and re-record all my songs properly but I havent played the guitar for any length of time in over 7 years. Sometimes I feel I need to just ditch the internet all together because it sort of bums me out that people I played with in the past are still doing something musically (Drew, Chris , Tommy, Derek, John, David, Fred and on and on). I have this hope someday, Fred and I will reconnect but thats looking like it will never happen. I did see he was doing something musically as late as 2013. Then I think, fuck all this, why even worry about music (many merits to this). Where would I be If i did try to go on the road in 89. Knowing me I would be dead from a drug overdose (one of those LAST LEGIT DECADE STORIES of the 90s). I dont know but life if a very weird balance thing. Jobs can ruin all your dreams but make you comfortable. Money comes and goes so I wish I would of put less emphasis on money earlier in life. Today I try to live a very minimalist life. I have thrown away 75% of my belongings. I dont have or ever wanted kids, but damn lived my life like I had to save up for someones college fund instead of getting out there and doing it.
I’ll add more to this later, as I know im the only one reading it.