I’ll admit it: I’ve been off the radar for some time now. It wasn’t anybody’s fault–including my own–so this post will not be about dishing out the blame. Rather, this post will be a celebration of what has been, what is now at the moment currently, and what looms over the horizon–a horizon filled with mountains of opportunities, an ocean of hope, and a sunset of blessedness. (It’s apparent that I still need to shake the rust from my writing skills.)
I will get to the point. This summer, I spent a lot of time either 1) loafing around, 2) meandering about, 3) and/or playing music. In the post-Disconnect release days, I briefly went to Montana, and shortly upon my return to Seattle, Andrea Desmond and the White Lights disbanded, for Andrea decided to move to L.A. to further pursue her dreams (though the distance proved no hinderance to recording one last song as a band, “Number One“). I was both excited and saddened for the change–excited for my band mate’s/good friend’s next step to stardom, and saddened that our two years of playing together was at an end. For now, at least. But we had some great memories, and this blog attests to that (read “Andrea Desmond: The Cupboard Sessions” and “Behind the Scenes: Andrea Desmond’s ‘I Can Wait No Longer‘”). To commemorate the awesome run we had, watch our final video together for my personal band favorite, “Dawn Breakers.” The video alone deserves a blog post (or two), but in these days of limited writing time, the video itself will have to suffice. Doesn’t this make a great Seattle tourism ad?
It was late July at this point, and in my jobless, school-less and overheated state, I decided it would be best to try and be in one band—that is, Mariko’s band— for a time, during which I would begin writing and rehearsing for a prog-rock group in the vein of Pink Floyd, Flaming Lips and/or Peter-Gabriel-era Genesis, a band that I would likely front. The task of once again being a band leader was more daunting than anything, what with how difficult the leader position was back in the Newsfeed era. But, because I saw no alternative, I was reluctantly preparing for a return to the pre-Andrea days—a time of compulsive solo, acoustic open mikes, and forced, madness-inducing songwriting sessions—though this was to be a gradual process while I continued playing with Mariko. For the time being, I figured I’d try my hand as a one-band man.
That lasted for about a week.
Around the time I was recording guitar overdubs for the upcoming Mariko EP (expect a blog post on that in the future), drummer William Mapp, who I’ve played with in Andrea’s band and P:e-o/p;l,e, asked me if was interested in jamming with one of his groups—Lowlands. I’d seen Lowlands once before, and was really impressed with their set: their songs were very intriguing, well-written and unpredictable, which are definitely qualities I like in a band. Not only that, they were solid musicians, and I could sense they were good people before even meeting them. The fact that they wanted me to jam with them was a major compliment, and eventually, I joined the group and we recorded an album together (more on that as well in a later post). Check out our first public performance:
I was perfectly content with being a two-band man, but this phase also didn’t last very long. A few weeks after joining Lowlands, my good friend and fellow-Greek-Orthodox-Church-of-the-Assumption goer Chris Kouldukis invited me to play bass with his band, Anxiety Fair. I’d known Chris for a couple years prior to this as the choir director for the above church, and knew he played music, but didn’t know he and his band rocked so much. When they asked me to step in on bass for Chris’ college-bound brother, Constantine (who also has some great stuff), I graciously accepted the offer to rock and/or roll, even if my only previous bass experience has been with either worship groups or Metal Face. Since joining, we’ve played a couple of head-banging shows (as it were), and although our wonderful drummer and guitarist John and Russ Thornburg of the excellent Asterhouse decided to part ways, the future looks bright for Anxiety Fair, as evidenced by their debut EP “No Front,” which you can stream below:
All of the above considered, there are indeed some exciting musical things afoot. This may also justify my recent lack of blogging, but here I am blogging, nonetheless. Before I go, however, and leave you to your succulent turkey dinners and/or riot sidestepping on Black Friday, I would like to impart unto you an early Christmas present: Wanna?’s International House of I.H.O.P.P. EP. The Wanna? gang— Charlie Ray, Edward Longo, Alex Miller and myself—recorded this special collection of songs in Nutter Boulevard Studios last Christmas vacation. We were a bit short of musical equipment at the time, so all the amplified instruments were run through the same bass amp. We were also a bit short handed physically, with Charlie in a sling after having recently undergone surgery, but you can hear his excellent one-armed keyboarding skills in the title track. You may notice the first and last songs are a bit harsher and more avant garde than most Wanna? songs, but the middle tracks are true to Wanna? fashion.
It saddens me to say that Wanna? is also at a bit of a crossroads, as Charlie’s family moved to Austin, Texas, which means Mr. Ray will not join us for our annual Wanna? session this year. And with Alex now at a full-time job in Bozeman, our Wanna? window appears to be ever shrinking. If we can cut an album this year, we will, but if not, maybe Wanna? will go on hiatus like we did between the release of The Statue… and 1-800-WANNA?…, only to return all the stronger. Until then, satiate your Wanna? cravings with International House of I.H.O.P.P.
So for those actually reading this on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that you decided to visit my humble blog and its meek posts. While you’re finishing the last of that giant turkey leg or going back for your third helping of cranberry-pumpkin pie, know that I can’t do this without you, and you can’t do this without me…I think.
God bless you on this day and always, and research some about Sarah Hale, the Godmother of Thanksgiving. My mom would be proud if you did.