Archive for December, 2013

NYE 2014 – Details, Details, Details

December 27, 2013

Is anyone coming to my party? I always get worried about these things. What if I promote too much and too many people come? What if I don’t promote enough and not enough people come and I can’t cover my expenses? In that way, throwing these parties is like gambling for me. I made 50 advance tickets this morning which will guarantee entry. There will also be tickets available at the door, but I can only accommodate about 250 people at a time, so if you don’t buy an advance ticket I would recommend arriving before 11:30 or coming after 1am, but whooo knows how it’ll go? Get in touch with me if you’d like an advance ticket. $10 @ the door, $15 after 1am. LIMITED CAPACITY!

I started setting up the geodesic dome in the backyard last night. I pulled a giant tarp on top of it, and will be putting up a couple other tents today, where the acoustic acts, curated by Fat Fat Sounds, will be playing on NYE. I’ve got LUKA, Noah Mintz, Stephen Prickett, Alan Snoddy, and Jesse Bellon all scheduled to play a few tunes.

The night will start off with a sing-a-long in the living room at 10pm with my dad and I. All classics like Wish You Were Here, the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Perfect Day, Night Moves etc…

The loud bands will perform in the basement. The Green Ray will play at 11pm.

Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs will play at midnight. The video below is from their basement performance on NYE last year!

The band I play drums in, Soft Hell, will perform at 1:30! We got a great review from Joe Strutt/Mechanical Forest Sound this past week. I’ve known Joe for a few years, but until last week the other guys in the band hadn’t met him, they’d only seen him around. When we first started jamming in July they were talking about ways to gauge when you’re a “real” Toronto band like when you see a stranger on the street wearing your t-shirt, when you get a write-up in Now or the Grid, or if Mechanical Forest Sound gives a fuck about your show. We still need to get t-shirts made, but at least we can check 1 of those 3 things off our list!

As for the main floor and upstairs (the FOG ROOM), I’ll have Wayne’s Girls 10:30 to 12:30, DJ’s Jay Share-it and Giles Farnaby 12:30 to 2:30, and DJ’s Joel French and Pat McCormack from 2:30 til ???.

Here’s a walk-through I did around the house last year the night before NYE:

The bar and $2 coat check will both be upstairs. BYOB.

A Special Christmas Message

December 24, 2013

I feel much better today after posting yesterdays’ 2-years-in-review including the ex-roommate rant. I hate having to write these rants online because it probably makes me look crazy or like I have bad luck, neither of which are attractive qualities in a person but I read somewhere last week that it’s bad to hold negative feelings in, because then those feelings just fester. Whether anyone reads this shit or not, I’m glad I have an outlet to sound off.

I was talking to someone at a Christmas party the other day about my NYE party, and saying how if it were up to me to choose what I’m best at, I’d wish I wrote amazing songs that inspire people or was the best musician of some sort, but the reality is I throw a really great summer BBQ and NYE party at my house and at this point in time, those are the 2 best things I do! I do live sound, I take photos and shoot video, I write an entertaining/irritating blog, and I play in some bands and I’m pretty good at all of those but I don’t think anyone is losing their mind over my bass playing or my piano covers. I’m happy I get to participate in those activities on whatever level I do and somehow scrape together a living from all of it, and I’m happy that at least something I do is considered by many people to be THE BEST, even if it’s just throwing parties a couple of times a year at my house.

I don’t see myself as having bad luck. I’ve found myself in a variety of situations over the years both positive and negative, and though I suppose it’d be nice if I’d already found success in some more traditional ways like having a steady income or sharing my life with someone I love, I’m very thankful my life is interesting, it isn’t boring and that I get to be true to myself allll the muthafucking time. Each and every one of us have our own tragedies, failures and disappointments we have to suffer and struggle with, balanced against whatever things in life we’re thankful for or excited about or family and friends we love that motivates us and makes it all worth it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to have cut so many people loose from my life, that I could have more friendships that go back 20 years, or even 10 years, or even 5 years…but the truth of the matter is YES it’s a painful process but the more people I tell to fuck off, the more my own visions and dreams and hopes keep manifesting and actualizing in my life, and as hard as it’s been to be around me at times the past couple of years, better people whom I respect, people who like me for who I am, keep coming into my life. I don’t think anyone who’s been cut loose is mad at me or can blame me. Though my mental health has gone up and down the past few (several?) years, it’s all pretty circumstantial. It’s my belief that if I ever gain some stability in my life, my brain and emotions will be juuuussssst fine. And other than spending 2005 with a crippling reoccurring case of tonsillitis, I’ve enjoyed strong physical health for most of my life.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m even sober right now and the tangents still never end, but I wanted to say something…I wanted to say I’m thankful for and proud of how my life is even though it’s fucked up sometimes. I do my best to be a nice, kind, reliable, good person, even though I’m an asshole sometimes. I’m following my bliss, and not everyone can say that.

What am I even talking about?! Doesn’t matter. Merrrrrrry Christmas everyone!!

2012-13 in Review

December 23, 2013

It’s time to play catch-up. I’ve been writing this blog on and off for the past 13 years and started writing a year-in-review 5 or 6 years ago. You can check out 2010’s year in pictures here, and 2011’s year in review here. I didn’t write a 2012 recap until now, but I can sum it up really quickly: January through June 2012 were working on the George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Show 10 hours a day 5 days a week, Choir! Choir! Choir! on Tuesday nights, and doing sound at Parts & Labour 4 to 6 nights the rest of the week.

I was go-go-going literally ALL the fucking time from January until early June, capped off by my annual 159 Manning BBQ a few days after my CBC contract ended.

Below is playlist from the BBQ put together by Joe Strutt from Mechanical Forest Sound.

From July onward, the next 6 months still involved Tuesday nights with C!C!C! on Tuesdays, and many evenings spent in the Shop beneath Parts & Labour, but my days were free and for the first time ever since I moved here in January 2005, I lived alone at 159 Manning. I chain-smoked joints all day everyday in an attempt to decompress and taught myself to play piano. The first song I learned was Chelsea Hotel No 2.

I ended the year with my annual NYE party.

2013’s been a mixed bag. I somehow ended up with ANOTHER worthless piece of coked-out human garbage (whose addiction issues I was previously unaware of because I only knew him professionally, issues which would have been no concern of mine if he hadn’t literally made it MY PROBLEM TO DEAL WITH) living here in 159 Manning from mid-January until the end of July. What a piece of shit, it was a disaster and severely disrupted my ability to concentrate or even function on a day-to-day level being surrounded by such toxic parasitic vibes. Feeling powerless, unsure of how to deal with the situation, embarrassed and defeated to again find myself in circumstances so similar as to what I’d lived through 2 years earlier; I dealt with it by continually voicing my concerns to this piece-of-shit and his friends in a kind and calm manner “I like it quiet here/I had a nervous breakdown 2 years ago living with a dealer bringing 30 people through the house a day/your bedroom was empty for 7 months before you moved in because I was worried that whoever moved in here would want to party all the time and bring people here”, chain-smoking joints in my office all day everyday, and transferring aggression by writing nonsense rants on my blog, none of which really helped things. It was resolved in late June when I wrote the problem-roommate a long clearly-worded email ccing his business partners and my father, calling him out on everything he’d been doing since moving in and threatening to write a giant rant on the internet about him if he didn’t clean up his act immediately and stop bringing people back to my house to “party”. Wellllll, that’s what did the trick! WOO-HOO!! It’s been 5 months since he left, and I would really prefer to put all this behind me, but considering how much of my consciousness and brain power in 2013 were sapped and overwhelmed by the situation, this would be an incredibly inaccurate year-in-review without mentioning it. Dealing with that guy’s bullshit; the Grand Complimenter, Master of Constant Apologies and Insincere Promises, and trying to rise against the unholy trinity of anger, depression and anxiety was unfortunately the focus of my year, and pretending it wasn’t won’t do anyone any good. That’s how it was. I also believe writing about it (even without mentioning names) will ensure that scumbag-ex-roommate and his vapid loser friends will know to steer clear of me in the future, to turn their heads when I’m around. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all these years of blogging, it’s that when you write something about someone on the internet, they will read it. Especially if it’s bad. Really, I’ve got no use for any of them in my life, and I don’t care what any of them think or say about me. May the bridges I burn light the way.

I started running 5k/day in late September, and stopped smoking weed 2 months ago, and I finally feel like I’m on the right track again, and it’s sustainable. Fingers crossed.

Ok, enough about the bad shit. As for good shit this year, I’ve been playing more music than I’ve ever played before. I started playing bass in Fill Spectre in January.

We played a lot of great shows like Tess Parks’ photo opening, and some well received NXNE slots at the Silver Dollar and Crawford.

I played piano at Fucked Up’s Long Winter Vol 5 in March.

I hosted an afternoon show at 159 Manning during CMW with performances by the Darcy’s, Michael Rault, Reuben and the Dark, New Hands, and Language Arts.

I hosted, provided the PA and did sound, but the event was wholly organized and curated by Kate Snack, Musi Artist Development and Last Frame Pictures. Credit where credit is due!

In May I acquired a Presonus console for Parts & Labour which has allowed me to start recording of all the bands that have played in the Shop since then.

Here’s a recording a did of Tess Parks & Good People playing their hit single Someday.

In June I threw the 5th Annual 159 Manning BBQ, which was a huge success.

For the most part I kept up with Shape Note Singing at Bloor Street United on a monthly basis…

…and I sang and shot video for Choir!Choir!Choir! nearly every Tuesday of the entire year.

We sang at the Polaris Music Awards, filling in for Tegan and Sara, and then topped off the year singing for Jian Ghomeshi on Q.

I’ve kept up with my piano playing and keep getting better and better. I’ve been continuing with covers all year, but I’ll start writing my own songs soon.

In July I started playing drums with Soft Hell, and we’ve consistently practiced twice a week since then. It’s the first band I played drums in since Moral Outrage back in 1997, and I feel like our regular practices were key in helping me get my chops back so quickly. I’m playing better than I’ve ever played before!

I started playing drums with Jenna Rogers AKA Only Child in November, and it’s been posi vibes even though the songs are sad.

This past month I started a 5-piece karaoke band called Good Enough with Jesse, Samson, Craig and Fraser that I play keys/synth in. We had our debut at the Hoxton a couple of weeks ago, and we’re starting a monthly Thursday in February.

Lots of other good things happened this year, and now that I’ve gone through my blog it doesn’t seem like it was all that bad. It’s been an incredibly tough year in my head and there’s still some missed/fucked-up opportunities that I hope I can fix or make up for, but despite all that my life is definitely turning more and more into what I’ve always wanted it to be. Despite the struggles I’ve been going through, good people who I hold in high regard who are really nice to me and treat me with a mutual respect have been slowly infiltrating my life the past few years. As for this next week, I’m focusing on my NYE party. I’m looking forward to 2014!!

Soft Hell

December 16, 2013

Soft Hell played our first real show on Saturday at Cinecycle with Marine Dreams, Dilly Dally and Dog Day.

We actually played a show a couple of months ago at Kops Records on Bloor, but our name was Castle Garbage and NOW our name is Soft Hell so that’s why we were calling it our first reallll show. Personally I prefer the name Castle Garbage but I was outvoted by the other 3 members of the band so we changed it. NOW Magazine printed both names in last weeks’ write-up about Dog Day, so I think Carla agrees with me! Maybe we should just have a bunch of band names?

We got pins made for Soft Hell, so I guess that makes it official? We’ve got merch!! We’ve only got 2 weeks left in 2013, and 80 more pins to sell, but we’ll just pretend it says “Soft Hell Est. 2013”. Or you could think of 2013 as our year, like ’77 punk, or Spirit Of ’69 as a skinhead thing.

I thought it was very synchronistic that we were added to this bill. A few months ago I played my roommate Josh a recording of Only Child that I made with Jenna Rogers and he said “Have you heard Dog Day? This sort of reminds me of them you should check them out”, and then 2 weeks later Vince said “Hey, have you heard of Dog Day? They have really cool pictures of their jam space” or something like that, and then Pesci booked this Dog Day show and asked me to do sound. So I was all “HELL YEAHHHHHH!!” I took this picture of Dog Day playing on Saturday.

Their new record seems to be doing well, it’s number 1 on Exclaim’s Earshot charts.

I ended up buying a copy of their 2011 album Deformer because that’s the one that a few people told me was really good. It is pretty good, I’m listening to it right now!

EDIT: Choir!Choir!Choir! were featured on the National tonight. My parents just called to tell me they saw me on TV!

Since we’re on the subject of me being on TV, I’d like to take this opportunity to re-post my original debut on the CBC; a comedy sketch from Season 8 of the George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Show, in which I got to wear my Notorious B.I.G. jacket, act sketchy, and use the words “condoms” and “porno magazines” on national television. Boo-yaaa!!!

Tired Of Being Alive Redux

December 4, 2013

I used my iphone to record another take of me singing and playing Danzig’s Tired Of Being Alive this morning. Don’t worry, I’m not singing this song because I feel bad. I’m not depressed anymore! I just really like the song. Every day that I go for a 5k run (5 to 7 days a week for the past 10 weeks) I shed a thin thin layer of anger, depression and anxiety. It’s strange, because this is the season depression should start hitting me hardest…but it’s not! Knock on wood. Exercise is my answer! Don’t ever let me stop running.

I bought myself a new Adidas jacket the other day. Total impulse purchase. I was walking through the mall on my way to Walmart to buy some Sportin Waves, and I saw the jacket hanging on the wall in Foot Locker. I knew it had to be mine!! I got lots of compliments on it when I wore it to Choir!Choir!Choir! practice last night.

I totally agree with this guys 4-minute-long in-depth review of Sportin Waves: