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I think we missed the train to mars

There is a single moment from this trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I will remember that it was between nine and ten in the evening, and that Phoenixs’ weather had treated me to a mid 60’s day. I will remember that this weather in December just didn’t seem right to me, and probably never will. I will remember that there were no clouds, I will remember that I know this because I wasstaring up at the stars. I will remember that I was doing this because I was lying down, and that I was lying down on a gigantic beanbag chair. I will remember that I was in a VIP Area, acting very un-VIP-like, because I really didn’t care. I remember hoping I could keep every detail fresh in my mind forever.

But I know that I won’t….because the clearest detail is already starting to overshadow the others. It’s easily brushing those other memories from my mind, erasing them because it overpowers them.

The reason I know that I won’t clearly remember all of those things is because I know that I’ll only remember one thing about that night……..I got to see Counting Crows, and it was f’ing phenominal.

Other than that, the Phoenix trip was totally and completely, mindblowingly awesome. The people in Arizona have nice weather that is perfect for….well, reptiles. However terrible it must be there in summer, it really is great in December where someone like me can go and enjoy a day that tops out at 70 degrees…..just a few f’ing weeks before Christmas! I love it.
Another thing that’s different about Phoenix is it’s total lack of green. I happen to like grass and trees, but when you live in the middle of the desert, you don’t see much of either. They actually have grass FARMS where they have to grow it for the golfs courses, businesses and lawn-mower industry. Grass farms. Wierd.

However odd Phoenix seemed to me, it did have at least one thing in common with Cincinnati; at our show there were about a kajillion people singing along with Normal Life when we started playing it. Now, don’t get me wrong; there were definitely a few who were singing along to ALL of the songs, and definitely a few who weren’t singing to ANY of the songs. However, when we started playing Normal Life, there was a decided shift in energy among the people in attendance. A decided upward shift.

And it was good.

That’s really all the rambling I’ve got. We’ll see everyone in Memphis, and then in the big Cincinnati show. Anyone who comes to the Cincinnati show should probably bring protective headgear, because that night is going to be so awesome that I’m liable to flip out and headbutt you just because I’m having such a good time. You have been warned.

Magnetically Yours,
S

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180 degrees

happy thanksgiving! thought i would drop by and say that. and a few other things while i’m here.

i took some artsy shots at practice the other day. i am hoping these will make up for some of the really hideous photos that have shown up here on the journal in the last month or so. i am working on my skills as a photographer. actually i am working on not having a lack of skills, as is currently the case. i realize these are dark, but dark is better than bright ugly blue. right? those are the only options when it comes to photos in the rehearsal space (no flash or flash).


and introducing…


Drew on bass. Drew is formerly of Pay the Girl, a now-defunct Cincinnati based pop/rock group. Pay the Girl released one album on TVT earlier this year. Pay The Girl toured many of the same places we did, and made friends at many of the same radio stations. in other words, we’ve got a lot of professional common ground with Drew, and we’re getting along famously. or almost famously only in certain places, if you want to be picky.

to see him without the harsh back-lighting, come out to the madison theater show and the all ages cc’s middletown show in december.

i finally saw the bob guiney TV ad featuring girlfriend. neat. kind of strange to be sitting in my living room seeing that. during a CNN headline news commercial break, at that! my world just gets weirder. i am getting more e-mail recently from JFK fans who i’ve never heard from, in response to the commercials and shows and all that. so that’s always good to hear from fans you didn’t know you had.

i really was hesitant to bring it up in a journal again. i know some of you may be tired of hearing about it and seeing it plastered all over message boards. just had a few lingering thoughts.. i want to stress, this is an awesome thing for me. as a songwriter, there really is no greater compliment. i hope it does well for bob and makes me at least a few bucks. i can really use the money right now. of course making music is about making music and sharing it. i would make music if it was impossible to make money from it. cross my heart. hope to die i would. with that said, it would be a hell of a lot better to be getting paid for a song i wrote than to be working at mcdonalds. i like to just lay it all out there for you guys, as i really have nothing to hide. i want to keep this whole thing in perspective.

for those of you who i’ve been directing to this journal for more information on girlfriend, see the post at the bottom of the page. for anyone else who is still having trouble wrapping their heads around this, read up on compulsory lisences and buy Carole King’s Tapestry. i get the sense that in the early 70’s, artists borrowed songs and were more open about it more freqently. maybe i’m wrong.
occasionally i’ll hear a great song, and research the writer. sometimes i’ll hear a song i’m already familiar with via the original writer, as was the case with Faith Hill’s “Cry”, originall written and released by Angie Aparo. but this is certainly a brand new perspective on the whole thing. first person present tense i think. cool stuff.

anyway, i hope you stuff yourself with turkey. remember, at 180 degrees, your poultry is done. be sure and push the thermometer in deep. and it’s good to have a choice of two pies. use some extra brown sugar and marshmallows on the yams for me.

yummy,
joe

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The Bachelor

this one is juicy.
i figured i should write something about this sooner than later. Bob Guiney, ABC’s current bachelor on the reality TV show The Bachelor, is releasing an album on Nov 25 on Wind-Up Records. The first single is “Girlfriend”. as of today, the buzz on the net (and on some radio stations!) has begun. You can listen to his version now at www.bobguineymusic.com, and on some radio stations throughout the country.

here are some insights and answers to questions i’ve been asked:

yes, i’ve known about this for a little while, and Wind-Up was kind enough to give me a heads-up and ask permission (just so you know, you usually don’t need permission to do a cover. as long as the royalties are being paid to the appropriate parties–writers, publishers–nobody can stop you).

i’m sure this is a little weird to most of you, and is certainly weird for me. but it’s a huge opportunity for me as a songwriter. my ultimate goal is to be able to sustain myself by writing songs. if girlfriend is a big success for bob, i may be able to focus less on how i’m going to pay my damn cell phone bill, and more on writing more songs. and hopefully those songs can be successful for US!

bob says Girlfriend is “One of two songs on the album that we collaborated with other writers on, building from original compositions. This song jumped out at me immediately because it resonated with how my life has been lately. I added some verses and a bridge that helped it really come full circle, and feel more like a part of me personally.” (from bobguineymusic.com)

first, it’s flattering that the song resonated with him. secondly, while we never sat down together, he does explain his definition of collaboration as “building from original composition”. as i expected, he changed it a little to make it more of his own. and that’s totally cool. the song was pretty personal, and i wouldn’t expect someone else to sing it exactly the same.

so anyway, like it or not, this is a cool thing for me, and i’m excited.

Andy Patalan (formerly of Sponge) and Joel Ferguson (The Verve Pipe) played our guitar parts. and didn’t change them much. that’s cool too, as i have a lot of respect for both players.

We have a history with Wind-Up Records, as you may know. We nearly signed with Wind-Up years ago, when they first discovered girlfriend and thought it was a hit. the deal fell through at the last minute, and we ended up with MCA. so i know they’ve always believed in the song, and me as a songwriter. as i’ve been saying, i’m pretty much through with girlfriend. we recorded it twice, and we’ve played it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. songs are meant to be shared. i’m happy that someone else has found a use for it. it’s served us well.

and that’s the scoop! i told ‘ya it was juicy!

love and peace
joe

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say can you see

i’m back. it’s nearing 3pm here in vegas. i’m in the hotel room. yesterday was awesome.

we got to the park around 5:30, and roasted in the sun for a while. 110 degrees is hot. we had a little trouble with the rental gear. and some of our own stuff shifted during the flight… but we eventually got everything together. and went on a few minutes late.

it took a song or two to get relaxd, but the rest of the set was solid. it didn’t feel nearly as hot as the sun was going down. it was manageable. no one passed out or died.


even the kids were rocking. thanks to Andy for taking these.

here are some more.


a big stage


a big crowd




yours truly





t gets more rock every day.



Sam and Travis

and introducing…


Amos Heller. Amos may be playing with us for at least a little while. He from Virginia, and moved to Ohio to go to college at Miami University. He’s smart, nice, funny, charismatic, attractive, and a killer bassist. I have a crush on him.

after the set, we signed autographs for an hour or two and watched Hammer (formerly MC Hammer). Hammer’s set was fun. he did too legit and can’t touch this.

here’s the shot you’ve been waiting for:

Travis and Sam with Hammer. Together at last.
then backstage before the fireworks, we met the “Birdman of Las Vegas“, Joe Krathwohl. He is, among other things, a master falconer, America’s only non-zoo breeder of condors, and the owner of Alex, this beautiful bald eagle.



This bird was so amazing. I’ve never been that close to a bald eagle. they’re pretty awesome. must have a four foot wing-span. they eat beef hearts. This particular bird was shot in the wing when he was one year old. it was in a zoo for a while, and eventually ended up in the care of the bird man.

last, we saw some fireworks. this is what fireworks look like.


the fireworks were good. it was a big show. unfortunately, i wasn’t able to find any good fireworks to do myself. but i did stop in tennessee on the way home last weekend and bought some. just coulnd’t bring them on the plane. so maybe i’ll have my own show some other time. it’ll be an un-birthday for the USA.

today, we’re going to Wet N Wild, a waterpark, to do an acoustic show for Mix 94.1. then we’ll play on waterslides. and tonight, we’re eating steak.

I am one spoiled dude. lucky me.

except when it comes to the slot machines. i think i’ve lost about twenty bucks so far.

i hope you are well, and that you had a good fourth of July, wherever you are.

take it easy

joe

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legit

i’m getting ready to send a mailing. i must admit, newsletter night is never fun. i’m doing things kinda old fashioned: deleting all the unsubscribe and undeliverable addresses by hand. it’s a pain. but the hard part is over. now i will try and come up with a good way to say as much as i can in a concise way. i figured i should write a journal first, to get some rambling out of my system. that way, the newsletter will be just the facts. if you read this journal and you’re not on the mailing list, please sign up on the main page of our website. thanks.

just a reminder–saturday is our last show with Aaron Thomas. bummer.

next saturday, we’re playing memphis with Nate from Blue Karma on bass. big thanks to nate for agreeing to this on short notice. nate is great. and so is blue karma, old friends of ours from Dayton.

this just in: We’re playing Las Vegas on July 4th. for the county. so that’s cool. i don’t think a county has ever asked us to do a show before. i will give you three guesses as to who we’re playing with. wrong, wrong, and wrong.

MC Hammer

whoa… i never thought the day would come. i never even thought about it, really. but now that it’s approaching, looking back, even if i had thought about it, i wouldn’t have thought it would come.

as long as there’s fireworks, i’ll be fine. Middletown, Ohio, our old stomping grounds, is not doing their annual fireworks show this year. i think it’s the first time they’re not doing it since i’ve been alive. so we jumped at the opportunity to get out of town. it won’t be the same to be here and not see fireworks.

every year, after the show, we would go to someone’s house (usually mine) and set off roman candles, bottle rockets, shells, and anything we could get our hands on. including last year. two years ago, we almost killed Travis. i LOVE fireworks. since i could hold a lighter. i don’t know what the laws are in vegas. but i know you can’t take fireworks on airplanes, and i guess you can’t mail them either. but somehow, we will apprehend some for the 4th. if you live in the vegas area, and you know how i can come by some really awesome fireworks, and where i can set them off without being arrested, let me know. i’m dead serious about this.

what else is new… we auditioned a guy by the name of Amos today. Amos used to play for Oval Opus. He played well, and seems like a cool dude. so we asked him if he wanted to fly to vegas with us. and he said “yes”. and we said “cool. we’re booking flights tomorrow. what’s your last name?”. and that was that. Three shows, three bassists. Weird. Hopefully Amos will want to stick around for a little while. our live show photos won’t be so confusing for ya’ll. but it’s good that we’ve managed to stay relatively busy, and have been fortunate to find people who could do gigs. we really haven’t had to pass up much of anything.

i wrote a song the other day called “invincible”. i might play it acoustic at the frog. we’ll see.

i hope you’re well.
see ‘ya.

joe

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Recover

We are home again.
The last few days have been so much fun. Here’s a few good stories.

So we went to WZZO in Allentown and did a live interview/performance the other day. It was short; T and i answered a few questions and played “Normal Life” acoustic. When the song was over, Chris Line (the DJ) began clapping. As he was the only one participating, he said “c’mon guys, you can clap for yourselves.” And we did. What happened next will live forever in infamy as an ongoing inside joke at band practice and on the road. Sam, who had been silent for the entire interview and performance, in a moment of completely uncalculated sam-like spontaneity, exclaimed

“Those guys are f***ing sweet!”.  I can think of a hundred scenarios where the
f-word is inappropriate–at a wedding, at a funeral, when you’re around five year olds, when you ARE five years old, when you’re having dinner with the in-laws, et cetera, et cetera. In case you weren’t aware, you can put “when you’re live on the radio” near the top of that list.

The control room fell absolutely silent for a moment, turning slowly into nervous laughter and jokes. As embarassing as it was at the time, we had a good laugh about it for the rest of the trip.

The shows in Allentown were big events, filled with memorable moments. Kevin from Fuel came out to see us! (and all of our mutual friends) That was so flattering and nice. He’s a cool dude. I know there’s a picture of him and Sam floating around somewhere. I’ll get it up here when i snag it.

The Sterling is kind of a family business. It has that Cheers (the tv show) sort of vibe–everyone is cool, friendly, polite, and helpful.

In the day, when the bar was closed during soundcheck, we spent some of our time with Dave, the owner, and his family and extened family:

little Matthew and his favorite chair

little Matthew and his favorite chair

auditioning new drummers

auditioning new drummers

Our last night at the Sterling ended in the Karaoke bar with Sam and Aaron (separated at birth) singing the timeless “Fortunate Son” by Credence Clearwater Revival. I love this photo:

We ended up with tons of great shots from the last few days. Here’s a few from Allentown, all taken by Aaron and Mary:

Last night in Cleveland was a good time too. We were happy to see some familiar faces, and again, some people who drove from faraway cities, as far
as Detroit to make it out. Unfortunately, we got caught in a snowstorm on our way through Pennsylvania yesterday and missed soundcheck, but it all came together nicely and ended up being a cool night. In addition to the regular set, we played Blue, Meteor Flower, and some new stuff, something we’ve never had time to do at a Cleveland show before.

Okay i’m done. I am going to spend tonight  recovering and relaxing. This week i’ll try and get a new image gallery
together. Thanks to everyone who’s been taking and submitting photos.

talk to you soon.

joe

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Michigan

Hey there. last night was an awesome night for us. We reunited with our friends Nine Days, and played a solid set for an extremely energetic crowd in Mt. Pleasant Michican. We were happy to see people singing along and getting into it. Here a composite of the photos of the crowd i took from the stage
(click photo for larger image):

click for larger image
Look how happy everyone is! Must’ve been the balloon. If you’re one of these fun-loving people who came out and made us feel so comfortable, thanks.

Now for an account of our day. The drive was uneventful (i slept), and upon arriving in Mt. Pleasant, we took our usual extra half-hour finding the place (i slept).

Here’s the venue at around 4:00pm:

After load-in, i embarked on what turned out to be an hour long search for coffee, while the guys played two-hand-touch football with John and Brian from Nine Days:

Thanks so much to Eric Stewart, my good friend/videographer/photographer/recording engineer/stage hand/etc. for coming along and taking these.

Later, after sound-check, Sam decided to wreak some havoc in Nine Days’ dressing room. While they were out, he put around fifty little signs on everything in their room, saying things like “JFK’s Dressing Room”, “JFK’s Table Only”, “July For Kings Iron: sorry, you’ll have to deal with wrinkles”
and on and on. Here’s a peak at the end result:

While we were performing, Nine Days came to our room, opened the windows, turned the air conditioning on full-blast, and dragged two enormous fans into our room. The joke of course, was that they were our “biggest fans”, and our
room was about 10 degrees when we got off stage:

We also received the Nine Days computer virus:

As i’ve said before, in most bands, acting stupid and childish is a part of daily life. Sound-check lasts about an hour, our time on stage is usually under an hour, and we’ve got to do something to entertain ourselves the other 95% of the time:

While i enjoy posting about random events off-stage, i know you may be more interesting in the actual show. Here’s one of my favorites:


And another:

We’ve got some more great shots where those came from. I think i’m going to save them for a new image gallery. Hopefully that’ll be up in a few days. I think i want to start doing smaller galleries, and updating them more often, rather
than waiting for photos to accumulate and posting enormous ones.

thanks for reading.
joe

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Holly Jolly

Merry Christmas! It’s Christmas Eve. Two days ago we returned from New Hampshire; two days from now is the big Bogart’s show in Cincinnati.
The show in Manchester, New Hampshire was fun. Props to openers Sean McCarthy (solid acoustic singer/songwriter), One Down (straight-up rock covers and originals), and Brian Vander Ark (singer from The Verve Pipe).
On the way home we got to hear “Normal Life” on the radio. And THAT was cool. I did a little dance. And almost wrecked the van.

Two days ’til Bogart’s. Today i was so excited about it, i got my hair cut. Ladies, if you need your hair did, Amy, our usual hair stylist at Salon Nouveau in Middletown, Ohio will do it up right. (513 424 8085. Shameless plug = free haircut…can you blame me?) And seriously, what guy wouldn’t want to have Travis’s trademark Billy Idol do? (don’t answer that. just joking trav. you rock. mony mony.)

Thursday, we’re going to be updating this journal about every hour. Giving you a “live” commentary about what’s going on as it happens on the way to the show, during soundcheck, and from backstage throughout the night. I know it’s not as fancy as a live video feed or anything, but we thought we would do something a little goofy for all you internet freaks, from us internet freaks.

Have a very happy holiday!
with love,

joe

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back in Vegas

T and i are back in Las Vegas, after a wonderful show with The Counting Crows in Phoenix, AZ. We received a wonderful introduction from a couple new friends at The Zone, phoenix’s coolest raadio station, and at sunset, played for a few thousand people. The crowd was fun. And plenty of people were singing along to Normal Life, thanks to The Zone’s continued support of the song. We had a blast on stage; i think it has gone down as one of our most fun performances.

A friend from Syracuse just sent me some awesome photos from a show we played with SR-71. Here’s one:

Cool photos from Rebecca Clark!
To check out the rest, click here.

I just blew a bunch of money (well a bunch to me) on slots and blackjack. T was trying to teach me how to play…gambling is not exactly my thing. I would rather throw pennies in a wishing well all day. Probably have better chances of coming out on top.

We’ve got one more day to kill here before an acoustic show for Mix 94.1, and then we’re headed to Memphis. Three exciting cities in a row. T said to me the other day “i like to travel”. I just laughed and said “it’s a good thing”. We talked about how our interests and lifestyles were always condusive to this sort of job, before we were in a band or on the road. Like we were just naturally cut out for it or something…shortly after, we came to the conclusion that most everyone likes to travel, stay up late, and rock. (well maybe not EVERYONE likes to rock…)

anyway, i’m going to try and find something to do that doeesn’t involve throwing my money on green tables.
take care.

joe

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Rock Island of Rock

Sitting here at the Rock Island Brewing Company in Rock Island, Illinois. We’re getting ready to set up and sound check. Tonight we were supposed to play with Bif Naked, but their van broke down and they couldn’t make it, so it looks like we’re headlining.

Yesterday was fun. We went to Q104 in Cleveland, and played acoustic for them. Then we did a brief interview, scheduled to air this Saturday morning 11/23 between 9:00am and 9:30am and Sunday night 11/24 between 11:00 and 11:30pm. To help the DJ, our new friend John Connor, remember our names during the interview, we made special signs for him. Check it out:

Then we went on to Jillians in Akron, Ohio to play with Nine Days, Elliot Sloan (from Blessed Union of Souls), and Stereofuse. All the bands played acoustic, for an extremely receptive, older crowd. Being a 21 and up show, we had some fans that ended up showing up and couldn’t get in. As we sometimes do, we hosted a 20 and under sidewalk show outside. It was cold, but fun. We played an old song Breathe, Meteor Flower, Normal Life, and a brand new song we’ve been working on, Too Fast. All in all it was a good time. Thanks to Mix 94.1 for having us out to play for them again, and thanks to our new friens in the Cleveland and Akron area.
Looks like i’m needed at the stage.

Talk to you later

Joe

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