Go Your Own Hemingway

In the wake of a three shows in three nights a celebration was mandatory. Something to say, “this happened and it didn’t suck.” An event; a happening. I mean, there was a celebration after every show… Ones that had meaning and couth to them too. But, this one was different; eerie, in fact.

We found ourselves in Ketchum, Idaho… which just so happens to be the resting spot for one of the greatest American writers ever; Ernest Hemingway. The last time we found ourselves in Ketchum for a show it was for a Kentucky Derby party… late in the night one of our band members wanted to show us Ernest Hemingway’s grave. It did not happen. The group as a whole was ready to go back to the condo… the excursion would be just that; an excursion…

In this, the return trip to Ketchum aka Sun Valley, ID, we decided that we for many reasons had to see Ernest’s grave. Maybe it was in defiance of the last time. Maybe it was to define the moment. Maybe it was a lot of things, but the 10 of us, the band and entourage walked 15 minutes to a cute, old styled, cemetery; “The Ketchum Cemetery.” The air was cold, but it seemed colder in that last trip, which was late in the spring of 2019… maybe our bodies were now in winter mode. Maybe it was the drugs… who can know?

The entourage was in factions; 2-4 at sometimes, but as we entered the cemetery under it’s arched entitled entrance we amalgamated into a single group. The grave was elusive. We came off the main path, another arch, a number of times. We were trying to follow our cellular, digital GPS underneath the stars that were as present as Ernest would eventually show himself to be. Eventually, between and under two giant, coniferous trees; there it was. A flat grave that had trinkets and items of homage lied upon it… Coins, cigarettes, plus, beer and weed eventually found their way there in honor of the long deceased, alcoholic, American writer.

The youngest and most disconnected players of our group asked, “so, how did you know this guy?” An uproar of their ignorance came from the remaining 80% of the group. We had officially become old asking, “what has happened to the intelligence of the youth of America.” This led to chuckles and then faded into the white noise of the dry, cold Ketchum air.

“Should we have a prayer?” I asked… I’m not religious, but, it’s something that the band will do before shows. The drummer, Micah, will give us a Mormon prayer in Italian… for me it’s more ironic, but at some level I believe it. I’m not sure what it is for the others, nonetheless it’s a galvanizing thing that we do. The moment seemed like it would be complete with that. Micah conceptually clears his throat as we join in a huddle around and slightly on top of Ernest’s grave. As Micah is about to deliver his first piàne, brother, not my brother, Ryan starts to speak with a confidence and calm urgency that we’d not heard from him until this moment.

The speech was short and simple. At first it was just brass tax of the situation; it’s tribute and it’s solemn, but special meaning. And then, at the end there was a brief bit of humor that seemlessly concluded the speech… I can’t help but to think that Ryan was possessed by Ernest. I’m not saying he isn’t a forthright person that would give a speech, but there was something about it that to me suggest that it wasn’t quite his usual tone… It had an heir of the 20s, that’s the 1920’s to it’s utterance. It sounded like he was on stage at a secret brothel in Chicago; black and white, flappers and all.

I then reached into my pocket and flipped my half dollar coin with JFK on one side of it. I asked Marshal, heads or tails and flipped it. He guessed correctly, “tails,” however it’s decision had no weight. The universe that it lands on heads is likely the exact same.

We then led ourselves out back through the arching cemetery gates under the stars that presented themselves like pins poked plentifully into the sky above us. We carried on with our celebration, at first together. The youngest of the entourage had driven to the grave yard. They’d got their first and parked. Rita turned around and grabbed the car. At first, Pepper and I were going to let them fly solo, but then we separated from the group with the young ones. What they all did? The group; I don’t know. What we did? It Is non-consequential. Then, the four of us, the youngsters, Pepper and I ascended to our luxurious second floor hotel room, which held a comfortably robed Tyler and Alexa.

Oh, DAve,” Tyler said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”…“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

(Br)ing It (Ba)ck

(!Warning!This blog is basically one big spoiler)

John Oliver made a joke on his premiere episode of the new season of “Last Week Tonight,” this past Sunday in regards to Netflix and how people spend 40 minutes trying to choose what they are going to watch. It was being leant against how the current health care system’s touted benefits are it’s many options… It was funny, watch it. But, me, personally, I don’t do this. I don’t wade through the Netflix catalogue. Instead, I just go for what I know… fucking “Breaking Bad.”

I dunno how many times that I’ve watched it all the way through now… maybe 8 or 9 times. It’s kind of sad, I guess, but add up all the time you’ve spent choosing something to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime or whatever you watch shit on… maybe it’s the same amount of time. For my sake, I hope it is, but actually, I think it’s pretty sad that I’ve watched so much ‘Breaking Bad.’ It’s just so good though. It’s modern Shakespear. It’s like William met Charles, had a sexual thing, then a relationship, and then adopted a son that became a soap opera writer. That’s Shakespear and Dickens fyi… Oh, and with a little bit of James Joyce watching over the adopted son between the ages of 8-13… as like a nanny.

Anyways, the more that I watch ‘Breaking Bad’ it makes me believe that it’s just not over. And, it’s like, stupid that we are sitting here thinking that it is over. There is still story to tell. Maybe not endless story, but there is still some to go. Here are my three reasons for why ‘Breaking Bad’ should be and can be brought back.

1) Walt’s not dead…

He’s just not. Yeh, I know we see him shot in the gut, but, I dunno, Hank seems to have gotten over that fine. RIP Hank. This moment though is his, Walt’s utter transformation. The show starts with him talking about the chemical aspects of transformation and when that camera is moving upwards for what will be the last shot of Walt; that is the moment that Walt truly breaks. It’s only scenes before his “death,” that he admits to Sklyer, the audience and maybe even himself that he did it all for him.

Even at the end of Season 4, Walt is still fucking around with the idea of being the King(pin)… He wants it, but it isn’t until he comes back that he truly claims his territory. I know it seems like he is burning all of it and going down with the inferno, but I don’t think so. I think he is just leveling the playing field… changing the game.

It is this moment in a lot of TV shows that I see writers scared to tackle and move forward… It’s because the character literally changes. In this case, it’s not going to be the same Walt that we grew to know. He’s now… fucking, basically Tuco… or the Walt version of Tuco. And, it’s like, I think a lot of these mainstream shows don’t want to have a protagonist that is truly evil. Like, nothing in their way; evil.

I really love, “Dexter,” the show about a serial killer who only kills other killers in Miami… Loved it. I thought as much as I love, ‘Breaking Bad,’ but that just is no longer the case. And, it’s mainly because in season 5 (SPOILER), when Dex’s wife Rita gets killed by Trinity, at that point Dex just like, keeps going on as if he’s the same person. He like, sticks to his “code,” and just keeps going… I dunno. I don’t buy that that is what a person or that person would do.

That moment would fucking break a person… I believe that Dexter would become a full blown serial killer after that… like the ones that he followed; like his brother, Brian, The Ice Truck Killer. And, although America likely didn’t want to see and follow a character that’s evil… I think that everything after Rita dies is just inauthentic to the character and America could tell and the show is and was worse for it.

Now, like, there was a lot going on between Michael C Hall and his wife, which played Debra, his sister on the show. I feel like the tension between them really fucked up their focus on writing the show, but putting that aside, if they’d just turned the show and truly developed the character, by completely altering Dex, I think it would have held up and become so much better. But, America doesn’t want an evil protagonist…

On that note, quickly, yesterday I was listening to an interview on NPR done in 1999 with this guy that turned Ernest Hemmingway novels into made for TV movies. With each one of his novels the TV Studio would make him write “happy endings…” Hemmingway’s response according to this guy that was being interviewed was… (paraphrasing) ‘Shakespear didn’t ever have to change his endings.’

2) It’s not Breaking Bad anymore…

It’s something completely different. Like, The Hobbit versus, the Lord of the Rings… It’s a Tarantino universe… undefined, but iconic. New characters could be added. Old characters referred to… it’s not endless, but there is plenty to go off of. However, “El Camino,” was an example of how each character is limited in their development. Even Jesse, a key character couldn’t stand in front of a camera for a whole hour and be interesting and develop, because he doesn’t develop… ever. It’s a show that the whole cast makes the show great… and Walt… or the idea that he is coming or going at some point… transforming. No one other than him really does this transforming though and this is why I brought up James Joyce earlier… paralysis. Albuquerque is perfect for that concept at this moment in time.

Anyways, this is why the whole cast needs to be brought back; including Walt. The are awesome characters and the transformation of Walt has only in the middle, which can only be seen with the contrast of the people around him that never change.

In conclusion of this point… I’m just saying like, if Vince Gilligan doesn’t want to make ‘Breaking Bad’ anymore… it’s just not even ‘Breaking Bad’ anymore since Walt broke. So, rename it. Rebrand it, but don’t act like Walt is fucking dead. He’s not. He’s too smart for that. Fucking Gus had a surgical team ready for him stepping into a bullet (so-to-speak; poisoning himself)… Walt would do the same. He is the new king… pin.

3) Gretchen & Walt… Grey Matter

It seems like Vince Gilligan is more comfortable with telling the story of the past. I say this in regards to the creation and success of “Better Call Saul.” What a great show. What a good follow up. But, notice I didn’t say ‘great follow up’… It’s not because anything about BCS is bad, it just isn’t the story we want and now we need it after BCS. The story we now need is of why Walt begun to break… And, I believe that soul lies in Grey Matter.

Pepper; I watch a lot of Breaking Bad with my girlfriend, Pepper Rose. So, naturally we talk about it a lot. She is the one who pointed out that Jesse or the characters around Walt don’t really change. They are kinda plot devices for the transformation of Walt. But, she also mentions that really what Walt and Jesse’s relationship is, is a rehashing of Walt’s relationship with Gretchen… his original life and business partner; the woman who he thought he could trust with his genius. We all really just want that story… So, Vince, tell it.

Maybe Bryan Cranston isn’t even in the show and it’s like a young Walt… He’d have to absolutely murder it in his acting performance, but just remember, Bryan Cranston was an anti-semetic dentist on “Seinfeld,” 15 years before being Walter White. You know, so, I think someone less known than Shia LeBeouf but a better actor than him could be condored up… and, please, not the fucking guy from Twilight.

I think Gretchen is the only other character that also transformed and to see this transformation in Walt that we watch we NEED to see Gretchen’s. It causes Walt’s. We see these glimpses of their past together and how Walt had a very idealistic view of what they were doing. And, when we see Gretchen with her Walt replacement that became just another corporate chemical company that fucking just takes advantage of society… you just know that she wasn’t that and this before something happened. What was it?

Was it her family pressuring her? Was it Walt? What was it? Maybe this question is what keeps ‘Breaking Bad,’ exhilarating, but at some point, it needs to be addressed. Or else, Walt becomes just another hollow vague character like fucking Holden Caulfield… what a let down. So, Vince, show me, tell me… what happened to Gretchen.

Plus, I feel like ‘Breaking Bad,’ and everything that happens is really just a big fuck you to Gretchen…

Anyways, here is 1600+ words on why ‘Breaking Bad’ should and will come back… when the time is right. And, I’m telling you, the time is right. AMC is fucking up right now. The Walking Dead is just that; DEAD. They need VG to do something new…

So, in honor of helping here is a possible new name… “Broken Bad.” I know, it’s terrible, but so is what mainstream America does to our beloved characters of modern literature.. I mean, TV.

Happiness Is A Fish You Can Catch

Today I sat in a cafe across from an older lady. She had a pamphlet from some Zen Master dude that was talking about finding happiness. I looked back up at the older lady and thought… has she really not found happiness yet? Fuck.

What if there was a place that you could go and it would enter you into the reality that you are the happiest. Regardless of if you believe in the multiverse theory you still have to be willing to believe that a life is decided by the choices that one makes. So, if that is the case then what if there was a place that landed you in the place that you made all the choices that brought you to your happiest. Would that be what you want? Or, is it adversity that we thrive upon? Is happiness tangible? I’m not even sure that I prefer it over contempt…

When I think about the times that I am and was the happiest I feel like I was on acid a lot of those times. But, is it because those are moments that I carved away to forget about the minutia of the regular mundane? Is it because it puts your brain on overdrive as far as dopamine goes? Who the fuck knows…

There is a moment when you orgasm that your go into this void, mentally, and you forget everything similar to when you are on acid… or when I’m on acid. Nothing matters except that one thing, which is in that case, in that moment is cumming. There is not nothing like that. I feel like a lot of people get to this moment of reptilian focus doing what they love to do. For me, of course, that is playing music amongst other things.

A number of my female friends say that they don’t know what that thing is that brings them happiness. Or, they don’t have a thing that they do, a hobby. Alcohol and sex and aggression or risk taking can bring that, but our society pushes you to find this happiness in a tangible way. For me that is playing music… but, I’m not even sure that that is really what it is that makes me happy as much as the control that it helps me to have. That is something I value.

People look at me and say that I am lucky to have a thing that makes me happy in music. But, it also makes me so mad sometimes. Happiness, I don’t think it comes from what you do, but instead from the ability to release the strong hold that your frontal lobe has on you. Driving, eating, fucking, creating can occupy your frontal lobe and let the more base parts of your brain gain back the control that they are constantly fighting for.

People always say, what is my purpose? Is that even real? Do you need to have a purpose. Does everything need to, or is existence enough? This is why I drink beer. I love it’s taste. I indulge in it in an acceptance of a purposelessness that is masked by purposefulness.

Someday we will all no be. It’s not that happiness is a choice as much as happiness comes from a choice of understanding control is no where and where there is nothing, right next to it there is everything. Zero’s and One’s…

Now, to conclude this blog. It’s name comes from an Our Lady Peace record, which is entitled, Happiness is NOT a Fish You Can Catch… although in this blog I think I argue that opposite. Check the record out. It’s real depressing 😉 Also, keep in mind, Our Lady Peace is where my band Spirit Machines got our name…

Cold Colorado Omelette

It’s crazy how this Utah cold just doesn’t fuck with me. Man, I can remember hallucinating because of the cold wisping through the buildings of downtown Boston as I stood on the corner of Boylston and Tremont at Emerson College. It touches you like a needle tattooing your whole body and you remember the pain as such. It lives in your skin and bones for days on end far past the time that you get into the heat. Water that is in the air literally lives on and in your body and contracts with the air’s cold. It’s insane. So, when people complain about the cold here in Utah, I just laugh. Right now, it is rather cold, but not Boston cold.

One night behind the Middle East Nightclub, back on Green Street (I say, “back,” because a few blogs ago entitled, “Kick In The Mix,” I wrote about Green Street), it was the coldest night of February and I was loading out the backdoor. That load out as I’d mentioned in that previous blog is treacherous and with the 0 degrees + wind chill that we were dealing with; it was fucked.

I was in a good mood despite the night’s piercing air. The show earlier had gone well, especially considering the weather and fuck, it was over; and it’s always nice to have a good show that yields a chuck of cash. But, all of this only made the cold bare-able.

So, when this guy came by and asked if we needed help I said, “why not?” Now, I knew what he was really asking. This dude was really asking if he could have a ride in trade for a hand… Usually, I’d tell him to fuck off, but people die, people fucking die in that kind of weather. Like, people die here in Utah and it’s not even that cold. That temperature was murderous… So, I indulged his help.

The Prius was loaded up and then Kristina drove the stuff down the street to the old WEMF studio, which was in the EMF Building on Brookline Street in Cambridge. I believe it is still there, but now in condo purgatory. This guy and I walked from the club to the radio station with some extra things that wouldn’t fit into the car. The walk’s conversation was steril. I said things, but not much was said in return. The air became colder.

Eventually, everything was loaded into the freight elevator and put into the studio the way I liked it and the night was onto it’s decent; the trip home. Naturally though, the guy was still waiting downstairs and outside for that ride that he insinuated. Something didn’t feel right…

When I got down downstairs, to the parking lot of the EMF building, my wife at the time, my drummer at the time and I game planned for what was next. Chris had his new car and it was on the table for Kristina and I to meet him at IHOP, but again, something didn’t feel right. I sent Kristina off with him to meet me at IHOP. At which point I drove this dude through Fenway to Mission Hill… Mission Hill.

I knew shit was weird when we crossed the BU Bridge into Boston. I looked east across the Charles and toward the city skyline and asked the Pru for some help, after all that city was my god. The guy then made a demand… I can’t exactly remember what it was, but he aggressively wanted me to like, go a certain way, or maybe turn the radio on… or I don’t remember, maybe put the windows down. But, at this moment, I could tell that the dude was going to be a problem… and I was driving to Mission Hill.

We get to Roxbury Crossing, actually past Mission Hill and take a right onto Colombia Rd and then a quick left into these hills a little left of the t-stop. Maybe that’s not Mission Hill, but I know that area and it is not great. Those winding streets are so inconveniently small and hilly that anyone who would be on those roads would really need to be on them… As we dip, up and down through the troughs and valleys of some of Roxbury’s sketchiest apartments I prepare myself for literally anything. We stop in front of what I believe is his house. I start to say, “alright, well…”

At this moment the guy pulls a switchblade on me and says, “I’m taking this!” He grabs the Shure PGA48 that was in the Prius’ coffee mug holder. Now, I believe I placed this mic there as collateral. I had so much money on me. Like, $800 in cash from the show earlier at The Middle East. I think I put that mic there so he’d take the bate and “steal,” the mic. So, I bluffed…

“No man, not the mic. Ok, ok… (whimpering) it’s yours.”

“Damn right, mother fucker,” he says as the blade approaches my neck. He then turns and gets out of the car. I speed off with the door open… I jut to the right to let gravity close the door and fucking burn some rubber out of Robury.

I met Kristina and Chris at IHOP a little later than they expected. That Colorado Omelette never tasted so good.

Solo Dolo

Before I booked shows, like not before I booked my first show, but before I booked rock shows on a regular basis as a, I guess job, I would have parties at my mother’s yoga studio. After the teenagers would rage into the night on the hard wood floors spilling bits of weed, beer and nicotine I would clean the place to a T. I’m not really sure what that saying means, but I’d would go pretty nuts making the studio look like it did before the party. I’d mop the floor. I’d take out all the trash to the dumpster in the back of the old mill building that the studio was in. In Massachusetts there are ton of mills that were created during the industrial revolution that have been repurposed a number of times since their creation in the late 1800’s.

I’m not saying that I loved these moments when I’d clean. In most of the cases that it was happening and I was doing it I would be so fucked up or hung over. So, it usually wasn’t pleasant, but it was a moment that I had to myself. Sometimes, and really not often someone would help me. More often than not, someone would be like 62% conscious enough to have a very undetailed conversation with me, thus, keeping me from digging so far, too far into the depths of my thoughts; my head. That person was usually my former best man, JC.

I remember the last time we had… well, the last time we had a party while we were in high school. It was the night before he went to college. That’s a special night, so naturally we had to celebrate extra hard. And, that we did and it was reflected in the more expansive clean up that I had to do. As I collected empties, swept, mopped, cleaned the bathrooms and whatever else detailing I had to do, the sun rose for JC and I. He was slouched over in a folding chair set in the middle of the room. He, knowing that he only had hours until he would move his life into Bentley College, was entertaining a conversation about… pshhh… probably, the Red Sox, or the party the night before. Who knows what was actually said, but that was one time that it was nice to not be solo dolo.

The yoga studio was the first place that I really started to clean up the party, but it definitely wasn’t the last. Flash forward to me carrying a bass cab up the dingy flight of graffiti covered stairs from The Middle East Downstairs’ back door up to Green Street, a bland, brick, backstreet in Cambridge, MA.


I woke up today buzzing off my first Sundance Film Festival show with Scenic Byway last night at Flanagan’s in Park City. The show was fun as hell. Thanks to everyone that came out! We had a number of Salt Lakers that rolled through, which helped to make the show super special.

But, what I do want to comment on here is performing at these festivals… and what you’re told is gonna happen versus what does happen. As I scroll down my facebook feed today I see a few of my friends and bands that I’m connected to have announced that they are official SXSW artists. And, that is sick; congrats to all of them. But, there is a dark side of that that I again experienced last night in Park City…

I want to think that it’s just the hype that I and we as musicians have to be a part of something that is way larger than you like Sundance and SXSW, but there is another reality to it. That is that, these entities act like they are more important than they are for your career or whatever you want to call in. Like, I went to this SXSW “Meet Up,” that was held in SLC 2 months ago and it was pretty much a sales pitch for why going to SXSW would make your careeer better. I mean, I saw this kind of promoter to band sales pitch back when I was 18 and playing in my high school band. At that time, we were persuaded to pay $5k to play a festival called, “Locobazooka,” in the hopes that “top record execs would be there,” to see us play. We played the smallest stage on the other side of the festival…

In an overall, bird’s eye view reality, it’s just a fun show to play somewhere other than your usual watering holes… for me now, that’s The Urban Lounge and The Metro Music Hall, which is fun as hell, but that’s what is happening for me at the moemnt. If you look at these festival shows as that, then they are amazing. But, if you look at them as your big chance; you’re gonna be upset.

Back in 2012, I had a band approach me that wanted to play SXSW. Even then, like 2 years into doing SXSW, I knew that it was a blowfish. It isn’t the set that makes your career. In fact, I’m not sure that any one set makes your career, but SXSW definitely isn’t that set. Nonetheless, this band wanted the opportunity to go down to 6th Street in Austin to rock, and that they did. They rented one of those Cruise America RVs and drove us and all the equipment to do this show down to Austin. It was a deal in a half for me. I got transportation for me and my equipment and they got… to play SXSW.

The pressure built up the whole trip. Between me knowing that their expectations wouldn’t be met and them probably hoping that that wasn’t the case, tensions grew. I’d told them that I was only booking them a show in Austin, but when we were in New Orleans the band expected to play. I did find us and them an open mic at the Hi-Ho, but it was low key. It was awesome, but low key and their rock n’ roll hunger was only growing.

When we got to Austin, well, SXSW is a shit show. It was the very bit of insanity that I needed to subdue the tensions that were developing between this band and I, but really between the bass player’s father and I. He never confronted really what he felt, as any Bostonian wouldn’t, but I know he was not into my intentions. And, what were those intentions exactly? I dunno, just to fuckn’ put on a SXSW showcase. It’s fun as hell… but at the cost of their voyage there. To be honest, people pay $500- $1000 or even more to play this festival. That doesn’t even include the cost of travel and food and everything. It’s sad, but that is real. Their deal was fair in the regards that it’s an unfair situation.

It’s not that SXSW or playing these kinds of festivals isn’t a big deal. It’s a large commitment and I respect that. All the bands that make the time to go down there and play an awesome set really does set a band at a different level of organization, but that isn’t the dark part. It’s the expectation that a set at SXSW or Sundance  or whatnot is going to elevate you quickly… I think it can elevate you with your own fans and your fans’ friends and your fans’ friends’ friends. It makes a band appear more legit… because as I said in the beginning of this paragraph; you are more legit.

When it came to the 6th Street showcase for this band, I had them scheduled to play earlier on in the showcase… which, is cool, but it’s definitely cooler to play on 6th Street in Austin at 7pm – 10pm, as you’d expect. That’s when the street starts to really pack up. But, honestly, I’ve been to a number of sets on a packed 6th Street that only 10-20 people were at. It’s like, there is so much traffic that sometimes it’s easy to be over looked by other shows or even street performers. So, when this band got off stage from their 4pm set the discouragement that I had planned for set in…

A hole in time, an opening in the schedule allowed for me to stitch the situation up enough to get this band home with a smile on their face from the performance of a life time. It was crazy, what happened next. This seriously happened…

A Canadian band ended early. Their super indie set up with a lot of acoustics and a glockenspiel was just not working in this pseudo-sports bar. It added 25 extra minutes to the schedule to which I knew I could fit the band I was traveling with in for a few more songs… So, I did, but then something crazy occured…

At 8 PM, Pauly, yes, Pauly Shore walked in and asked me… well, he didn’t ask me, directly he asked the sky if he could emcee for the next few acts… and that he fucking did. So, not only did this band get to rock 3-4 more tunes to a packed venue on 6th Street, but they were also introduced by Pauley Shore. Seriously. It was… ridiculous. And, I found a video from it…

Ok, yes, this story ended with a happy ending… not as happy as some other stories I have of massage parlors in Norther Austin, but nonetheless; happy. But, don’t disregard that this band no longer exists. That, although amazing performance, was part of tough week long or maybe more voyage from Boston to Austin and back that  resulted in a performance of the lifetime and a really really really stressful trip. And, yeh, maybe that is worth it. To me it is… but, this band was really looking for it to change the course of their band and their careers. That was not the case. And, now they are no longer a band.

I’ve seen the stress of SXSW end bands. It’s a lot… I mean, just to take the time off work to make it happen, pay for the flights, maybe even have to pay for the slot… and, for what? A moment. But, isn’t that all we really have at the end of life? Just moments that we can sift through that were real? Maybe…

This article or blog or whatever this is is really about expectations. And, yeh, I know, if you plan to fail then you will fail or fail delicately. But, there are some parts of reality that we just have to be ready for. I feel like this band just didn’t have the right mindset. After this I would travel with bands and book bands for SXSW explaining this expectation. It made for a better boundary to set and honestly made the musicians happier with their experience at and with SXSW.

And, even as I say this, I still look at my performance on Thursday, tomorrow back at Sundance in Park City as a show that maybe makes my career. I mean, I don’t think I’ll wake up on Friday and have a record deal or anything, but I do think that it’s an opportunity to show people and myself that I’m more than just a booking agent, radio host, blogger; I’m a sick guitar player 😉 I’m not sure Boston, where I made music for most of my life really knows that… Sundance will though ;<) [which goes against everything I just wrote about… but, we can all hope our families will see us for who we really feel we are]

{this is just for you to laugh at for a minute… a bit from my first SXSW showcase}

Rock Clubs Die… Live With It

When I first started playing music… well, not even when I first started. Ok. When I first started to play music in different states, you know, like really getting out of town to play, I got a show for my high school band at this place in Providence, Rhode Island called, The Living Room. If you knew this place I’m sure you’re not only laughing at who you were when you used to go there, in addition to smelling the unique scent of urine that that place stunk of.

Fuck, The Living Room was punk rock at it’s… like, peak of dwindling. Like, this was a time that the punk bands of Boston ala The Dropkick Murphys, Darkbuster, Big D… and many more were at the end of the peak of their underground fame. Yes, all would go on the have resurgenes that would rise even higher, but it felt like with Blink 182 and soon forthcoming “American Idiot,” by Green Day that punk rock was selling out. And, it was. So, The Living Room was a dying extension of a once viable and versatile subculture of America… or at least one that paid to get in on a pretty nightly basis.

When I played there it was only weeks after The Station Fire when 100+ lives were lost to faulty pyrotechnics by a shitty 80’s hair band I care not to mention. So, when my bassist and I went down to Providence to put up and pass out flyers, people were astounded that rock shows would even continue to happen. Kids at Brown, RISD and just normal shoppers and whatever all felt this way. So, it wasn’t surprising when the show was very very lightly attended. Actually, the only person that I remember really being there was my dad.

Sal. I think I can count the amount of times that he’s seen me play on 1 hand. But, maybe that isn’t true. Maybe that’s only true for like the past ten years. But, how un-punk rock is that that the only person at your show is your dad. Or, actually, is that the most punk rock?

Regardless, to play out of that full sound system was sick. I wonder how bad we actually sucked. Like, at what level of suck did we come in at. Only my dad is really to know… and I don’t trust his opinion on the matter either.


After we loaded out… oh, fuck, oh yeh… Brendan was also there. Brendan S. He fuckn’ came to all of our shows. But, as I remember it, Brendan didn’t actually make it to the show because his car broke down. The motherfucker just upright didn’t change his oil… ever. So, his engine just stopped working on the off ramp of 95 South that heads west towards West Providence. So, after the show we assessed how fucked Brendan was and then drove him home. Brendan then just left his car in Providence… I think.

Rock clubs go and come. It sucks when they close and whatever, but sometimes you got to move on from places. Like, there is good energy and also bad energy that has been created in a place and specifically a rock club. In a lot of ways that energy; it sticks around. Sometimes you gotta just get away from that and start that energy over elsewhere, or put it elsewhere. Just think about how many people sang songs on that Living Room stage about heartbreak, lost ones, not knowing who you really are or even worse, knowing who you really are, but not feeling like it’s not safe to show it… Sometimes the best way to rewrite history is to do it somewhere else; somewhere new.

Kick in the Mix

Sometimes I remember the speed of my life just 2 or three years ago. The sleepless sleep that prepared me for the linguistic battles, negotiations that I would have to go through to make rock shows happen. But, I dunno, I don’t remember what drama or really even the shows. Right now I remember walking outside and being alone on Somerville Avenue in Union Square on Saturday afternoons during all ages matinees. The sun would fill that treeless street up. It’s like, there are trees, but they were only planted 5 years ago when Union Square was shitty… or maybe a little more. So, the leaves aren’t on the trees and blocking the street like parts of town that are older… The buildings are also quite short.

When the Saturday matinees were wrapping up I’d return outside. Usually to think about splitting the money up or how I’d have to potentially explain where money was or wasn’t going. But, really, it was to be alone to watch the sunset down Somerville Avenue. Especially in August, that view was beautiful… I assume it still is.

If you looked east, you’d see the older patrons of Sallie’s, the bar next door also enjoying the sunset, but really enjoying their lives. That place is a haven for some old tyme rockers that have found refuge and maybe even retirement in Boston… Sometimes when you find yourself around older people, you know you are in the right place. They spent their whole lives where they didn’t want to be… but not now.

Then the nights would turn over and Somerville Avenue wouldn’t be so lonely at night… sometimes. But, when the moon was full I could forget the passerbys by just looking up at the moon. And then, it was just me and the moon together, as if Somerville Avenue had been eradicated of all of its’ night crawlers for a moment; alone were I and the moon.

It’s hard for me to remember the music right now. It’s kinda the same way that I can’t remember playing baseball as a kid. But, I hear the constant rumble of a kick, snare and bass in the background. It’s as loud as my subconscious yammering away and I avoided it like such, yet while still listening for the correct amount of kick in the mix.


Top 5 December Spo Shows since 2014…

This time of year is such a cognitive dissonance. We have this vision of it being white and snowy and everyone being happy because after all we are going to get to be with our family come the 25th of December. But, I look out my window and see sun, and no snow… well, there is on the mountains, but that was there through July this year. The most arbitrary part of this time of year is the best of lists that I see and have been a part of coming out. Why point at things now? I mean, I get it, the year is about to turn over, but I just feel like the awesome things that happen at the end of the year get forgotten. There is like a certain part of the year that is perfect for releases and if you are before or after that you missed the wave.

So, in this list that I’ve compiled, it is the top 5 December shows of my last 5 years…

Chali 2na 12/30/18… Last year I played my first show opening up for a national act here in SLC when I took the stage with Scenic Byway at The Metro Music Hall. I honestly, can’t remember too much about this show other than we fucking killed it, but, I do remember shaking Chali 2na’s hand and fuck does he have huge hands. The artist/rapper is in my eyes an icon of the independent scene that is a well kept secret in America. This dude is doing it himself and packing medium sized venues across America. He’s brought Scenic up to Portland, OR where we rocked too. I think that show is why this one is a little hazy… when we drove up to Portland to play with Chali 2na, that crowd was insane… to play a sold out show in another state… WTF… a first for me.

Spo @ Kilby 12/14/18… Just a few weeks before that Charli2na show last year Spo was still pretty active and Pat Rutchaplee had kinda just got to Salt Lake City, UT from me driving him here from Boston. He’s since gona, but one of the last shows that we played with him… maybe the 3rd to last was this show at the infamous Kilby Court. Spo had played at Kilby earlier in 2018, but this one was notable because we were opening up for Western Mass’ own, Potty Mouth… The Boston Music Award winners were an act that I had interviewed at The Boston Music Awards in 20… maybe 2014. They definitely didn’t remember me and the city of Boston didn’t understand the importance of this show for me, but it was just like, Spo would have never been on a bill with Potty Mouth in Bean Town. But, here we were, new line up and rocking this bill. Penny, Zach, Pat, new member at the time, Andy and I, we played well and soon recorded 8 songs that have yet to see the light of day… Hopefully in 2020.

WEMFalalalala 12/22/17… The last show I played in The Middle East Downstairs. I mean, hopefully it’s not the last time, but it was the last time to date. I don’t know if I knew this was going to be the last time, but I sure made it count. Spo released a song about Gordon Hayward’s then recent injury and I wore a Kyrie jersey on stage in honor of that song and Christmas Green. Mikey Shake was Santa that night and I rode him onto the stage where Spo rocked a really emotional set. I played guitar on a few songs, which I didn’t usually do, but at that moment in my life when my divorce was becoming a reality and my discontent with how things had gone with music in Boston I put it all into that set. I woke up the next morning wondering if I could top that… I picked a tarot card from my mate at the time Mariah’s living room coffee table. It was The Hermit card and I knew it was time to go. By the way, don’t touch other people’s tarot deck’s. Moments later a tree branch almost hit Mariah. I definitely believe it was from the energy of touching her deck.

(Me riding Santa Shake)

This show was packed as fuck though and really an awesome way to start to say goodbye to my time in Boston. Winona and The Riders played and killed it in addition to I believe Scotty & The Gang, which will be back there at The Middle East for a show I put together next January; 1.18.20 with Color Channel & more.

SCISSORFIGHT 12/30/16… This show is an interesting one for me because I guaranteed Scissorfight way too much money for what this show ended up drawing. So, in the end, I lost money, but it didn’t feel that way. I remember hearing about Scissorfight on the radio when I was listening to Boston Emissions on WFNX, the former local independent alternative station in Boston. There was always an anecdote about Scissorfight and how they would capture Massholes and put them in their van. Then drive them to the woods of New Hampshire and leave them there… whether or not that was true; it was local rock lore. I later met their original singer, Iron Lung at his record shop in Provincetown when I was running the P-Town Rocks Music Fest for Martin Doyle… I hope to blog about that at some point.

So, booking Scissorfight for a headlining gig at The Middle East Downstairs was just part of my childhood coming back around. Although it wasn’t lucrative I booked a sick line up including Protean Collective, See This World and more of course. It was a heavy show, which is not what people expected out of me, but I do all kindsa shows and then move them to the center of their genre… for better or worse; that’s what I do.

“The Mouth of the South,” JIMMY HART introduces Robby Roadsteamer 12/13/14… This list has gone chronologically, but I think this show was the biggest and best. First off, the date is awesome. Look at it! In addition, ZipTie Handcuffs rocked this show. Listen to them now!

But, the real story of this show is Rob Potylo. This motherfucker, which has since transplanted to LA got “The Mouth of the South,” Jimmy Hart, Hulk Hogan’s ex-manager to introduce his alter-ego, Robbie Roadsteamer. This dual stage show went back and forth between amazing bands, but then when Robbie got introduced this happened…

Pits are illegal technically in Boston & Cambridge. But, whatever; that was great. Rob also had a video series that came out in promotion of this show. It was fucking hilarious and I think I make a cameo in it too. Here it is…

As for the Spo set, I think we were technically still called, DAve Crespo’s After Party. We rocked the side stage and did it with honor. I think it’s fitting that this was 5 years ago as my newest project, DAve Crespo & The Dudetastics will be doing a similar thing at another dual stage event, but this time in Salt Lake City. We too will be rocking the dual stage, the side stage, and I did that in 2014 and next year on 1.4.20 at The Metro Music Hall to make people see that this side stage is cool. Like, sometimes during these dual stage shows that I produce the bands playing the second stage are less enthusiastic, but I like to show them that you can do some fun and cool things with the alternative stage especially when climbing things… If you saw then, then you know. If you didn’t, you’ll see, SLC.

You’re wondering from this list… What about 2015… I will give an honorable mention to this show. It was 12/5/15 when Spo first rocked with our friends of Snow Day. Sam Pitino also joined us on this bill with his band, Answerman at the hooka bar in Worcester, MA called, Electric Haze. This night had the magic in it that you dream of when it comes to music. It was one of my first ventures outside of the show’s I was booking for WEMF. One that was for me & us, that us being Spo. Spo had released PULP PUNK earlier that year, so I put together some shows outside of Boston to help support the record and this show definitely did that. Snow Day and their brother band (literally), The Other Stars rocked their hometown and brought all their friends down. They stayed till the end too when Spo played. After it all Snow Day and Spo ended up in the basement of Electric Haze rolling blunts, counting money and finishing out last beers of the night. Maybe it’s hard to describe these bonds that happen between musicians that are peers, but it was one that I think both bands respected what each other brought to the table and we cheers’ed over that. 4 years later Snow Day found themselves on The Boston Local Music Festival on City Hall Plaza.


December is a hard time of year for people. If you have family it’s hard to deal with them. If you don’t that is fucked up too. So, often people need to lean on the local music scene as a community to feel a part of something. Local music is great for that. But, also, touring is slow at this time of year, so I would and will always get access to venues that I won’t get access to in peak times of the year. Venues are hard up and will take more chances on local music. This is why I’ve always taken these opportunities year in and year out to make sure that local music helps to keep these clubs afloat. And thus, these two circumstances help to make this list possible. Thanks to everyone who played these shows, came to these shows and helped to create them with me.

The Art of the Spo

Saturday’s show at Gold Blood Collective… it was a fun, invigorating, but interesting night for me. I felt withdrawn and on the outside of this show for a few reasons. The first of which was, I hit my head on a drawer (pronounced “DROOR,” in my accent) earlier in the day and definitely wasn’t going at 100%. Secondly, it was a show that I helped to align a bill with a venue. So, I was kinda just a liaison to the show. I met the dudes from California Queens before it on The Spo Show and they felt like I played a big hand in it happening, but really it was Matt Skaggs and The Cold Year that were the brains of the night. He and they lined up the bands and even local artists to display their work. They even helped to get a great write up about this art display aspect of the show in City Weekly. Check that out HERE. So, it was fun to be less of the creator and more of the facilitator and producer.

Gold Blood Collective is a crazy place. These DIY, all ages venues are so prevalent in SLC. You really don’t see these spaces succeed in other places because of the lack of alcohol. It reminds me of what Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, MA did before they got caught in a sexual abuse scandal. Before that though, they were a DIY, all ages art gallery that had shows on the fucking regular. It really had become more of a venue than an art gallery and was prospering in being that. In SLC, that is so common though. I’d say for two reasons, 1) it’s cheaper and more cost effective and 2) going to shows without alcohol is part of growing up in a community dictated by Mormon views. It’s crazy, but I definitely remember going to the VFW shows that I put on and drinking and smoking at them. There were specifically straight edge kids, of course, but that was an outlier. So, I hooked this sweet punk, alcohol free, screen printing-by-day // venue-by-night, venue, The Gold Blood Collective with Skaggs and The Cold Year.

I knew I wasn’t the guy running the show at a moment when the venue was young in it’s bitter & awkward, florescent light and it’s uncomfortable lack of house music during the load in. The room was asked what the set order was by a member of California Queens. Skaggs announced the order in an objectively true way. I was triggered by the moment from years of having to be that guy in that situation. It wasn’t a terrible trigger, but someone’s gotta be that guy and it stresses me out.

But, I felt the most on the outside of social circles outside when I was literally outside and I watched friends of the bands enjoy cigarettes and each other’s anecdotes. Like, I interjected here and there and made myself present, but you know what I mean. Like, these people all knew each other. That is what a scene is created by; people who know people that know people who know people that play music… together. Good shows are when those 5 degrees of separation hang out together and watch local bands. And then something crazy happened…

At the beginning of load in this guy and two girls that were to say the least scantily clad walked by the venue toward Piper Down, SLC’s local Irish pub. I don’t know if they were more drunk or more naked… the answer soon came.

In the pre-show hang when house music was finally filling the room up and gearing the attendees up for the first band the threesome returned walking this time away from Piper Down. It appeared that one of the ladies dresses had malfunctioned. I think I know who stopped them, but that doesn’t matter, but someone made an innocent comment toward the sexy passerbys knowing very well that that would stop them in their tracks… and, it did.

And minutes later after the wardrobe malfunction was addressed by everyone… after all, it was a tad nipply out that night… burrr… The threesome was dancing a, must I say, beautifully choreographed rendition that they had specially prepared for this on the sidewalk performance of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas.” It was… well, only topped by the male’s even more sensual serenade of, I don’t know, something he thought he was singing well. So, it was at this moment that I was watching groups of friends interact with a small group of friends that were totally separate from them in all ways. It was like a social science project that had not gone wrong, but felt like it was wrong. I mean, it all looked consensual, but again, it just didn’t feel good.

Then the show happened. It was real fun. The young, I don’t give-a-fuckers of, California Queens started the night off with a bang. They really are just that, fun, unadulterated rock n’ roll by guys that just became adults…

The Cold Year then tore the roof down, which was scary because before the show, Mitch, The Cold Year’s bassist, pointed out a sword in the rafters of the Gold Blood Collective. They were shredding so hard that it worried me that this sword might fall from the raters and kill the scene 😉 No, but really, this band writes catchy, heart wrenching songs that make you feel, but then think. This led nicely into the grooving, rock n’ roll supplied steadily by Unholy Ghosts.

Lead dude, Taylor Millet, locally known tattoo artist, “Sailor Taylor” and crazy party thrower crushes it with dual VOX amps with Jaron playing the role of Patrick Carney, both of which are rocking out in cloaks in front of an unawkward, super cool fluorescently lit cross… as opposed to the awkward fluorescents earlier in the night during load in. It was cool. And, in regards to the dual amp fullness situation that they have, I love it. It’s full riff rock. No Bass Needed… Straight forthright bassism. It’s wrong, but felt so good.

So, the awkward florescent lights went back on, and I got the bands paid by the venue, and Skaggs got me home. On the way out, The dudes from California Queens further thanked me as I again thanked Skaggs for at that moment them getting my PA system and I a ride to Suite J, a mile away. Matt and Emma, thanks again!

The whole bill was fantastic. Like I’d mentioned in the beginning, my head was messed up, but once again, rock n’ roll helped to provide the adrenaline that I needed to feel like everything has a place and purpose… even me 😉

Helping to make a show happen is like being an obstetrician. With some babies you gotta push a little harder, and others you just need to catch them… haha. That’s disgusting. Anyways, maybe you understand that. This coming weekend I have a similar situation where I’ve helped the awesome dudes from Beach Death do a show, which is, I believe, their yearly Holiday Party entitled, “Beachmas.” It’s this Saturday at Kilby Court. It’s gonna be a really sick event. You should check it out and if you want cheaper tickets hit me up via facebook. I however, that night will be in Park City rocking with my dudes, Scenic Byway. Maybe I’ll leave that for another blog, but anyways, see a show this Saturday, Salt Lake… you too, Boston and fuck it, even Portland and New York… all of America. See a show this Saturday!