This is just a little corner of the web that I use to steer people towards my real, nefarious, purpose: Selling music. My own music, mostly, but some others too. There are probably better ways of doing it, but this’ll do for now. Sometimes I’ll throw out a free tune or two, so watch out for those, but I’d really like you to buy some… or even just listen. This stuff ain’t cheap. Click on my face. C’mon… cleek on eet!

I don’t have a record contract, though I did in the past, but I don’t really want one anymore. Considering the state of flux of the music industry now, record companies may be extinct before long, so I do this stuff myself (with some help from various reluctant investors). Still, it’s expensive to make, so pony-up. Don’t make me bark like a dog and do tricks. Go to iTunes and grab a track or two, or go here to CDBaby and get the whole damn MP3 for about half the price at iTunes. “Old fashioned” CD’s are available there too. Or I could come to your house and poop on your lawn. Those are your choices. Choose wisely, young Jedi.

On another note: Down below here I’m going to be telling the occasional story, ramble, etc., as time, and my rapidly advancing Sometimer’s (a chronic form of Alzheimers) permits. Check back periodically for that. If you remember.

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HOLD UP

GUN

NO ALARM!

And thus started my big time crime carreer.

I was in the Wilshire & Ramparts branch of the Security First National Bank in sunny L.A., California, and I was presenting this crudely scrawled note to the totally terrified teller. If I ever get the chance, I’m going to apologize to that teller. I didn’t mean to traumatize her, I just wanted the money. I think it was a toss-up between who was more scared… her or me. The reason I wrote the note in big block letters was because my hands had been shaking so bad when I’d written it moments before that I was worried she wouldn’t be able to read it otherwise. That would have been embarrassing.

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(This first article was originally published at Sivers.org… a sort of musician’s guide to promotion. If you’re an indie musician you should check it out — lots of good tips there, and Derek Sivers is a good guy with LOTS of experience and know-how)

How I got instant airplay on 100 radio stations and MSNBC with one phone call and some frequent flyer miles.

Imus In The Morning” is a nationally syndicated radio talk and entertainment show broadcast on about a hundred stations around the country, to about 15 million listeners.

Imus decided to do a live show from The St. James Theater. It seems that he is friends with the Tony Award-winning director Jerry Zaks. His play, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,” was enjoying a good run there. Since the radio show plays in the morning and it wouldn’t get in the way of the play, Mr. Zaks was happy to provide the venue.

The basic idea was to get some listeners who had always wanted to be on Broadway to call in to the Imus Show. They’d audition to be at the studio that Friday for the pre-audition to the ‘real’ audition. This was to be held at the St. James Theater the following week with Jerry Zaks playing “The Director”.

My friend Mike called me and said I should try-out for this. “But I don’t even have a phone on my boat,” I replied. “I’d have to get up at three in the morning, drive down to the phone booth at the marina, and stand in the cold and rain. I’d probably freeze to death just trying to get through. Even if I did, I can’t afford to fly to New York right now, anyway!

“Gee,” Mike kept at it. “Its too bad you can’t stay with somebody in town.”

“Well, now that you mention it, my brother is in Portland this week. I could stay with him, but I still can’t afford a tick…hmmm. You know, he flies a lot. I wonder if he has any frequent flier miles saved up?”

“Why don’t you call him and find out? I really think you should try out for this.” Mike had a gentle but relentless way about him.

“OK, I’ll give him a call.” I knew he had me. Shamed me into it. If I didn’t at least try it would disappoint him.

I called my brother Jesse. He had a ticket! Now all I had to do was win the phone-line lottery. If only one out of a thousand people listening to the show tried to call in, it would mean that I would be one of about 10-15 thousand vying for a slot.

Even if I did get through I would have to be good enough to make the cut. In the three days of calls so far, only one caller had made it.

I woke up at 2:00AM, drank a pot of coffee, went to pee three or four times, and started dialing the show at 2:45, standing on the balcony chain-smoking menthols.

I made another pot of coffee, drank it, ran back and forth to the bathroom a dozen more times, hitting re-dial hundreds of times.

I developed a massive case of double phone-ear, chain-smoked more menthols for another three and a half hours in the chill night air, hitting re-dial again and again.

Long story short: I got through, did a quick Joe Cocker impression over the phone, and made the cut!

Fifteen minutes later I was on my way to the airport. Made it with two minutes to spare. I had the only copy of my just-recorded CD with me.

First thing I did at the WFAN studio was find the engineer, and have him make a “radio cart” of my song, Leather Whips and Rubber Underwear. As busy as he was, he found the time to do it, and also put a “thumbs up!” post-it note on it for the producer to read, if I could get it to him. This all may not sound all that difficult, but If you’d ever seen the barely-controlled mayhem that goes on behind the scenes on a show like that, you’d understand.

I then took the cart, tackled the show’s producer during a break and practically begged him to PLEASE give it a listen. He did.

Imus played it, and everybody fell down laughing. I was in!

A week later I was onstage in front of a packed Broadway theater.

This is what it sounded like live that day. Sorry for the AM radio quality but all I’ve got is a copy of a cassette a friend of mine recorded on his boom-box at work. Clicking on my face up there will take you to a sample of the song as it was recorded for the CD.

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Bruiser

These Bruiser stories will have the newest entries at the top of the page. In other words: Here~~~~~~~~~~~~

(01/18/2009)

Bruiser was a handfull. Even today it’s hard to imagine the tide of  his irrepressible, energetic bulk. Combined with his size, the goofy clumsiness of puppies that age, and the costs of the various and sundry items/landmarks/automobiles he was destroying along the way, he was starting to get on my nerves. It was time for him to go to school.

We spent the next seven months together getting Bruiser (and me) a first-class education for dogs. Schutzhund training, actually. In German, “Schutzhund” means “protection dog”.  Who gives a shit.

Anyway, it was a big training facility for that sort of thing, and all the local police agencies trained their dogs there too. During the week it would be private lessons for the various owners and their dogs, and then on Saturday it would be the big group thing in this horse-arena building.

I am training my dog in the same place where all the cops are training their dogs. Bruiser has taken to his lessons so well, and he’s also so damn sexy, that  we’re always being called out into center ring to demonstrate the proper commands/responses for a police dog.

In the meantime, in my spare time, I was on the other side of the law. I also spent a lot of time on the other side of the border. You figure it out.

(12/14/2008)

We had looked at all the dogs we could see and were about to leave when a Humane Society employee asked if we were interested in a puppy. Of course we were interested in a puppy. I wanted a puppy. A big, gigantic puppy. And the pact that I’d made with myself  dictated that I’d train that big puppy. Thoroughly. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. You owe it to society to keep your dogs in check. Especially big dogs.

So the Humane Society employee brought out this puppy. At three months he was almost the size of a full-grown, Golden Labrador. Same color, too. He was actually a cross between a German Shephard and a Great Dane. These things happen. Two dogs from adjoining farms had escaped their cruel confinement and managed to hook up. I can see how this could happen. I was young once.

So we took him home with us. Heidi, our Spaniel-mix wasn’t too keen on the new guy. She didn’t like sharing the back seat of HER car with him on the way home, so she bit him in the face several times. This established the pecking order right then and there. From that moment on, she was the boss. That never changed. She was the boss — all 15 pounds of her — and that was that. Forever.  (12/14/2008)

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There are many tales to tell about Bruiser, my now long passed-on dog. It’s hard to figure out where to even start, so I guess I’ll just start at the beginning…

One sunny day, in the autumn of 1980, we all went to the Humane Society to look at dogs. “We” being myself and my longtime girlfriend, Cristy, along with her little daughter Andrea, and then “Heidi”, our spaniel-mix, Queen of the Universe (if you asked her) dog. Try to keep up.

I was on the road a lot, back in those days, and Cristy didn’t like the feeling of being alone and unprotected with Andrea when I was away. I didn’t blame her, but there was no way in Hell I was buying that crazy bitch a gun.

So I was looking for a big, friendly-yet-vicious dog. A dog big enough to bite your leg off, but still nice enough to run for help afterwards. That’s the kind of dog I wanted. A dog that was so badass he could disable a Buick, but still smart and caring enough to recommend a good garage where you could take your Buick to have it fixed afterwards. That kind of dog.

I was looking for the .44 Magnum of dogs, but with the added feature of being able to call the bullet back, mid-flight, if need be.

Bruiser turned out to be all of that and more. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

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When I was born I was very young, and things headed downhill from there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Other people have had it a lot worse than me. Unfortunately for them, they’re all dead. That’s why I decided to write this. Before I’m dead.

But seriously folks… (to be continued)

Or I’ll come out there and give you something to cry about…

One Saturday when I was about five, the stepdad (Ed) gave me a chore to do. Probably my first ever. My chore: fill the kindling box next to the stove. Not a difficult chore, as the box was the size of a small wooden fruit box (and probably was just that), and the kindling was already in a pile not far from the back door and all ready to go.

All I had to do was fill it up, which should have taken all of two minutes. Should have. Problem was, I highly resented having to do this awful chore and to show my displeasure I was taking one little stick of kindling at a time and grumpily taking it inside and dropping it loudly into the box.

After about three trips Ed met me on the way back in, grabbed the stick I had, and whipped my ass with it. They’d probably call that child abuse today, but I didn’t have a lawyer back then so all I could was cry. It wasn’t a big deal, really, maybe three quick swats followed by a demonstration of how to carry an arm load at a time, and an admonition not to be a lazy ass, or something like that.

So, still crying, I filled the box in the two minutes it should have taken, and then I sat outside on a stump by the woodpile and continued to show my umbrage by sniffling and blubbering way longer than I should have.

Ed could hear me from inside and shouted out through the bedroom window that if I didn’t stop crying, he was going to come outside and give me something to cry about. I didn’t know what that meant, yet, so I just kept on loudly whimpering. I think he even warned me a second time.

Finally, he’d had enough and out he came, grabbing me by the wrist with one hand, and a piece of kindling with the other. This time was no joke. He whacked my ass hard with that stick. I think I counted seven whacks. Maybe eight. Whatever, he’d made his point. Or so I thought.

I was crying like a wounded banshee, but my punishment was not quite over. Now Ed sat me down on that stump and told me he wanted me to keep crying just like I was, and not to stop till he told me to or he’d come outside and whip my ass again. I think that’s called the Incentive Plan.

So cry I did, for awhile. It’s actually hard to cry that hard for very long so, after a couple of minutes, I started slowing it down to just whimpering/blubbering. Not good enough.

“I can’t hear you!”, he yelled from inside. Instantly, I remembered the Incentive Plan.

“WAAAAAAAA-snif-snif-WAAAAAAAA!!!!”, I answered as loudly and earnestly as I could.

“That’s good”, he said, “Now don’t stop till I tell you to”!

So I kept crying at the top of my lungs till I got tired again and slowed down, and he would yell out and remind me of the Incentive Plan. This happened maybe twice more and lasted about 20-30 minutes total till he finally came out and told me I could stop now. I felt relieved, to say the least.

And just to make sure I hadn’t missed the two lessons he’d just taught me, he explained them to me in a calm voice, not angry at all, and told me not to let it happen again. It hasn’t.

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