I have been in New York state for roughly two weeks and will be here for roughly two more weeks. Needless to say I have been doing lots of driving and plenty of road trip music listening. As I get older and grow up with fellow musicians who are also getting older and moving on to other interests in their lives I feel like it is more and more important for us to support one another. Many relationships I have with folks started because we played a random show or two together. I have moved past just being music friends with many people into relationships that continue to add substance to my life. This could not be more true than with the fellas in the Pink Balloon band, especially their front man Ian.
I actually cannot recall the first actual moment that I met Ian. I know that it was at a show that one of our bands was playing and I know that I loved PBB from the very first time I saw them. The point of all this lead up is to stress again the importance of taking time to listen to what I am going to call small music. Guys and gals with jobs that are somehow for the life of all of them finding time to practice, write, record, and play live shows in the very little free time that I know all of us have access too. Realize that all the guys in PBB and all of us in TDR and all the other guys in so many great small, local bands have other jobs and other obligations. The facts are that even though we would all love to write full time, it isn’t the reality. What makes it worth the time for bands like mine and PBB? I do not mean to speak for PBB but I am sure they would attest to the importance of peers really enjoying what they are playing and how they are playing it.
I realized this during maybe the 100,000th conversation about music that Taylor and I got into about writing songs and lyrics the way that we want to hear them in our own songs. I realized that we are not writing for anyone other than ourselves, for the moments we get to sweat those songs out in my “band room” upstairs or on stage with all of our friends who continue to support us. But this is what makes the songs mean so much to anyone who gets a chance to listen to them. I remember hearing Dan’s band, Big Money and The Spare Change, long before he became a member of TDR. The one line I will always remember from his live shows is, “God damn, take it like a man.” Does anyone write a line like that if they are writing about something someone else is going through? Would it had been so captivating watching Dan sing that line if it wasn’t coming from a hard time in his life that somehow was able to be wrapped up in seven simple words? Maybe as listeners we are able to be faked out, to be swindled into believing a story that is not personal, but I give us all the credit.
I don’t think anyone really cares that California girls are unforgettable in their daisy dukes. I think that for a brief moment in our lives we want to cut loose, not think about what we are hearing, and party to top 40. Take it from someone who has had many dance parties letting loose to top 40 pop jams. It is important to seek out music from individuals who are still writing because sometimes writing a song about a great time or a terrible time is what it takes to get over it or re live it. I know that when I have heard, “Two Dollars Only” play over and over and over again through my car speakers I believe what Ian is saying. There are so many bands writing music right now that means so much, it helps that some of them are my friends and that we are going through the same things together, even though much of it is extremely personal. I know that I have been experiencing a whole new world and a mess of new faces and personalities in my time in New York and believing that Ian wrote this song with care and passion has helped me get through with inspiration.
So I will leave you with a link to just one PBB song and this is because I realize that it is difficult for anyone to listen to a whole album anymore, even if it is only seven songs long.
I know, I forgot we had a website too. As many probably already know, we have slowed our roll a bit over the past year. Life gets really busy, opportunities present themselves, priorities start to tip the scale one way or another, and time flies by. However, I want to take this moment, right here on this website to let everyone know that as long as Dan, James, Taylor, and myself continue to live minutes from each other, we will continue writing new music. For those of you who are musicians, you know that it is just what you want to do, it is soothing and therapeutical to brave a new song and come out in the end with something that is appealing. Chances are most bands probably like their music better than other bands, and I am not different, part of the reason I keep writing is because I still feel like there is a void of good, loud rock and roll music on the radio waves.
For those of you who are still listening, thanks, you are probably the ones still coming to shows and thanks for that too. It is a good feeling to be a part of something that has gone on so long and continues to go on, I just hope we are better now then we were years ago, but who really knows.
For those of you who have seen us play the last couple shows, thanks for coming out. You have no doubt recognized that we have added a new guitar player. His name is Dan and he has been a friend of mine and a supporter of our band for a few years now. I want to thank him for taking the time to seriously learn Chad’s parts from our newest album. When I talked to him about possibly playing with us he told me that he would be very serious about learning the parts because he wanted to do justice to what Chad had written. I had a conversation with him after the first show we played after Chad passed away, the one that we played as a three piece, and he told me he thought the show was great, but we needed those other guitar parts. We struggled with the idea of having another guitar player in the band, but in the end we decided we wanted those songs to be heard live as they are heard on the album. Dan is turing out to be a committed addition. He is no stranger to life with us on the road as he spent a week with us filling in on bass when we went out East a couple years ago. We will be moving forward with Dan, so be nice to him and spray some beer on him next time you see us play.
With that said, I want to thank everyone who has been to the most recent shows for coming out and supporting us and Dan. The truth is, we don’t know where this band is taking any of us, or where it takes any of you, but we all love playing music and are hoping that you love hearing music. As long as we get to be a gathering point for a drunken Saturday night for a group of friends, a reason to call some buddies to go out and have fun, we will keep on playing as long as we can.
– see you soon
Wanted to let you in on a little news, we are playing at The Brass Rail on July 26th with a band called Black Actress (https://www.facebook.com/blackactresschicago) Check them out. Apparently The Brass Rail is throwing a block party during the day before our show, so plan your Sunday around hanging out, drinking drinks, eating food, and then listening to The Dead Records that night.
We have also just recently booked a show in Canton, OH at Buzzbin. Buzzbin is the first place we played in Canton about 4 years ago. It is wild to think that we have been traveling back and forth from Canton for that long of a stretch, but every mile has been worth it and we love going out there every time we get the chance.
We will be playing both of these shows with another guitar player. Our good friend Dan, from Big Money and The Spare Change, has taken the time to learn our songs and practice with us. Luckily he knows what it is like to be on the road with us as he spent a week filling in on bass last October when we traveled out to Boston. He is a good guitar player and has made it a point to learn the guitar parts and play them to the best of his ability in honor of the great work that Chuck did on every song he wrote with us.
We are hoping these will be two very energetic and fun shows, so come on out and do some singing… hopefully by this time you are familiar with the new songs. If not, do what Taylor does and make up your own lyrics.
see you soon,
Our new album is FINALLY available. It was great to have such a fun and amazing night to release the new music at The Brass Rail. It was an emotional night, but I think it was good for everyone to get out and listen to some rock and roll music. I know we were trying to play as hard as we could and I think everyone made a point to sing as loud as they could when the time came. So if you didn’t have a chance to get the album at our show then you have a serious problem… you still don’t have all of our new songs. The entire album will be available for download on Bandcamp today and will be available on ITunes and Spotify within a week or so. I hope that everyone is enjoying what they are hearing out of us because I know we are enjoying what we are playing and at the next show we would love if people were singing our new songs. We are going to keep working and keep working and work some more to get our music to as many people as possible, but for the meantime we are so happy and fortunate to have such an amazing home base to play shows. I know this show meant a lot to us and I know that it meant a lot to many different people in different ways. We are here to stay and as long as we are still a band we are going to continue to play hard and have fun doing it.
– see you soon
As everyone who follows us as a band knows Chad Briner (Chuck) passed away two weeks ago. Obviously Chuck had many friends and family that were and still are very depressed about how quickly and out of nowhere his death was. It was hard to think about our band and music in the midst of the craziness that was going on, but have had time to figure out how we are going to approach The Dead Records. Chuck was without argument the most talented musician in our band and really formed the sound that everyone will be hearing on our new self titled album. To say we are going to replace him is insane. Chuck will never be replaced. We are going to be finding another guitar player who can learn Chuck’s parts from the new songs so we are able to continue to play shows with the songs that we all agree are our best yet. It has been strange and awkward practicing without Chuck, but after talking to so many people that we have formed very strong relationships with simply through music, the general opinion is that Chuck would not want us to stop and we will not. Unfortunately we had to cancel a couple shows that we had booked in April and have cancelled everything we had booked in May. This was necessary, as the songs are impossible to play without Chuck and to have someone else feel comfortable with us as a band will take time. The support from everyone throughout this whole deal has been overwhelming. All the times spent playing empty bars, sleeping in parking lots, and eating nachos for dinner pay off when we get a chance to see the great community of musicians we have been able to become a part of.
See you soon
As some of you may know already our next album will be self titled. Everything is in motion and copies will be available in early May. It has been quite an experience recording this album and we literally cannot wait for everyone to be able to hear our new songs. Matt Riefler is one fella that I want to thank a billion times for his work on this album. Matt has been tirelessly working on mixing our songs over the past couple weeks with the help of Robert Lugo. These are two local guys that are very good at what they do and they have been a big part of our songs. I plan on posting at least one song off of the new album once the mastered versions become available to me and before the physical copies become available to everyone, so be looking for that.
By the way, our last local show was so awesome. It truly does astonish us every time we play in town and people are still there to support us and get rowdy. Some of you have been there from the start and hopefully everyone will continue to be here to see it out.
We have not played a show for quite some time, but that is all in good reason. We have been working very hard to get some new material written. We will be in the studio February 9,10,16,17 to record our brand new EP. I don’t have much to say about it other than it should be 6 of the best songs that we have written to date. It was nice to have a solid core of four guys who really all had a say in the writing process. We were all at the top of our creative game and I hope that can be heard in the songs.
We have two shows coming up that I am very excited to play. It has been far too long since we have played a live show. The first will be in Grand Rapids at The Pancake House. We have never played at this particular house, but if it is anything like the other house shows we have played in the Michigan area it will be great. I don’t know what it is about people from Michigan, but they still do house shows right. We will be traveling back from Grand Rapids to play on the 22nd at the good old Brass Rail. We will be sharing the stage with The Frankl Project and Jake Simmons and The Little Ghosts. I have not had the opportunity to see The Frankl Project live, but they have played at The Brass Rail before and whenever I tell anyone who was at that show that they are coming to play with us in February I have gotten the same response, “Those guys are fucking awesome.” That must be a good sign and I personally know that JS&TLG are a great live band to see, so what I am saying is make plans to come to The Brass Rail that night. If none of that makes you want to brave this insane winter weather and come to the Brass Rail then maybe this will. We will be playing many of our new songs as they will be fresh in our minds and instruments from recording. It is always fun to hear some new shit.