Category Archives: News

2020: Year in Review

2020 year in review

Can we just all be happy 2020 is over, and then never speak of it again?

Despite being… well, the WORST… I am somehow managing to end this year as alive as I started it, and despite being, again, the WORST, this year did bring something of a creative burst or two.

In the early days of the lockdown era, I played a living room concert broadcast on the fantastic It was so much fun that I later released two more living room shows of my own: Live at San Quarantine, Volumes 1 & 2.

You can stream, download, and purchase both volumes of Live at San Quarantine over at Bandcamp. New stuff – old favorites – new versions of old favorites, including a milestone update to “Pushin’ 40 Mid-Crisis-Life Blues” – and the Medley to boot. Will there be a Volume 3? Only 2021 can say. But frankly I don’t trust that guy just yet.

I also managed to find a little bit of time to knock out two new issues of the loooong-running zine News From Around the Bend, which you can go download and/or read for free at your leisure at (How long is “loooong,” you ask? Our 30th anniversary is coming up in February 2021.)

And finally, I also managed to finish writing all the songs for the long-awaited CARDIAC ADVENTURE piece. The last two songs’ lyrics were finished written on a plane the second week of March. Just under the proverbial wire. I also worked on writing the connective-tissue talking bits for that set, and the visuals, and I’m hoping to end the live-performance hiatus by debuting that show sometime in the coming year. (If the coming year decides to allow such things.) At the very least, the “album version” will be in the works VERY soon.

So that’s my year and a quick look at the coming one. If you’re still here, or even if you’re not but you were for a while – thanks for being here. Hang in there and maybe we can do this in person again soon.

Living Room Concert Tonight!

Living Room Concert April 3


Check out a live ACOUSTIC ROSS show without leaving the safety of your home!  The lovely folks at RSU Radio 91.3FM in Claremore, OK, invited me to kick off their stay-at-home concert series, and my set is running TONIGHT. Older songs! Newer songs! Mutated cover song! BRAND NEW SONG!!

Here’s a quick description and link from RSU Radio:

We miss concerts as much as you do. That’s why we’re putting together a series of performances from some great local and national musicians. Instead of seeing these musicians in person, you can listen to them from the comfort of your own home.

Acoustic Ross kicks it off with some hilarious and poignant anti-folk. Listen on 91.3 FM or at Note: When listening on our website, tune in from a browser other than Chrome. We’re still working on making Chrome work with our stream.

Facebook event here with details.

P.S. If you’re new here, welcome! Feel free to poke around, but if you’re looking for music, either click on the ‘Music & Pictures’ tab at the top, which will turn up some good stuff including a few otherwise-unreleased tracks, OR head straight over to Bandcamp to stream or collect my entire back catalog: Acoustic Ross on Bandcamp.

P.P.S. Someone had a question about live tipping tonight. While I think it’s awesome that you asked, if people feel compelled to drop a coin or two, I’d prefer they donate to one of their local food banks or another charity that’s helping people out. I’m lucky enough to have a day job keeping things afloat right now and there are so many others less fortunate that I’d rather pitch in to help out.

Happy Defibriversary!

December 7, 1941 was the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, launching the US into World War II.

December 7, 1941 was the day my Dad, then 8 years old, had his first surgery.

December 7, 2015 was the day I had mine: the implanting of an Internal Cardioverter Defibrillator.

The ICD – call it a defibrillator, a defib, The Little Box That Lives In My Chest, or The Reason I Have That Little Scar Below My Collarbone – is still there, connected to my heart with a couple electrical leads, monitoring the situation. If my heart rate ever drops way too low, or accelerates way too high, its mode switches from MONITOR to ZAP, delivering an electric shock to reset my heart, which will ideally put things back to normal.

It doesn’t shout “CLEAR!” before delivering that shock.

I found that out for sure about a year and a half ago, when my heart rate suddenly skyrocketed one spring morning – new personal record: 261 BPM – and because this little box does exactly what it’s supposed to do, I’m here to tell that story.

That little zap last year barely even affected the little guy’s battery life.

So Happy Defibriversary to you, Little Box That Lives In My Chest. Here’s to many more years of MONITOR, with as little ZAP as possible.

Further reading:

My original blog about my diagnosis and ICD: My Heart May Or May Not Go On

My blog from March of last year describing that time I got the ZAP: My Heart And The Real World

New Music in 2019: Part 3


The story so far: After a 4-year hiatus, we are approaching The Coming Out Of Some New Things, so in the coming months, I’m releasing odds & ends that fell through the cracks during that gap.

Today’s entry is (FINALLY) our first original track in this series. It’s a demo of a track I’ve been playing live for a while, and it’s also a somewhat shocking true story.

In early 2006, Russia finally revealed that late one night, more than 22 years earlier, their missile defense early-warning system (named Oko, old Russian for “Eye”) reported five missiles coming in from the US. The supervisor on duty that night, Stanislav Petrov, read the warnings and determined it was unlikely to be a real attack. Had he followed orders (as most of the military folks who rotated on that shift would have done), it could have meant the end of the Cold War in explosive fashion. Fortunately, he was right to ignore what turned out to be a false alarm. (Which falsely alarmed repeatedly that night.)

Stanislav Petrov saved the world, and you never even knew about it. The whole story around it is nuts, and Wikipedia is a good place to start digging into it.

So my love of history gave me the idea, the blues gave me the structure, and the Beatles and the Russians gave me the title. Check it out here: The Ballad of Petrov and Oko.

New Music in 2019: Part 2


The story so far: After a 4-year hiatus, we are approaching The Coming Out Of Some New Things, so in the coming months, I’m releasing odds & ends that fell through the cracks during that gap.

Today’s entry is another cover: “Whipping Song (Who’s Gonna Whip You),” originally performed by the CRIMINALLY underrated Sister Double Happiness. I worked on a handful of covers and originals for what was to be a sideshow/carnival-themed EP, including this, “Two Headed Boy” (our previous entry), my own “Make It Crispy!” and feat-of-strength medley, plus a number of other original & covered goodies. That EP never materialized, but a few things did get completed, so here’s one of those nuggets.

It was a great excuse to break out my old MATH LAB growl. That’s me on all instruments here, including the acoustic bass I had just snagged from a pawn shop right before recording. I was a bass player long before I played a 6-string, and it’s always nice to let that guy out again for a bit.

(It was also fun to bash the crap out of that hi-hat.)

Check it out here: Whipping Song (Who’s Gonna Whip You).

New Music in 2019: Part 1


Hi folks!

After a long hiatus (4+ years), we are finally approaching The Coming Out Of Some New Things. Over the next few months, I’ll be releasing some odds and ends that fell through the cracks during the gap.

First up is a cover of a Neutral Milk Hotel classic, “Two Headed Boy.” Recording was pretty straightforward, other than a double-mic / bounceback / reverb thing I did on the vocals. I sung into two mics, adjusted differently, at different distances (one of them in fact moving throughout), in a corner behind a door and a pair of Zappa posters. Those vocals were smoothed out and blended by doing sort of a double-wide mixdown, some layers with and some layers without a slight room reverb.

It all seemed like a good idea at the time, as did recording it a half-step low. Over time, the downbeat sounding flat started to get on my nerves, so I finally pitched it all back up that half-step, and here we are.

Check it out here: Two Headed Boy.

My Heart and the Real World

On March 11, 2018, I had what we can call my first Cardiac Event.

Specifically, around 9am, while opening shutters to look out the kitchen window, I suddenly needed, then received, my first automatic shock from the little defibrillator that lives in my chest.

(note to self – write children’s book: The Little Defibrillator That Lives in My Chest)

About 2 ½ years earlier, I had been diagnosed with severe dilated cardiomyopathy, a fancy name for a certain type of heart failure. My left ventricle had been underperforming, pumping less blood than it should be. When that happens, the left ventricle begins to realize it’s weakened and underperforming, and it tries to compensate by growing larger and thicker. Which makes it perform worse. Which makes it grow larger and thicker. Which makes it perform worse.

You see where this becomes an issue.

By the time we caught it, this had been going on for perhaps 2 years, perhaps longer – it’s hard to tell. The cause may be a virus, may be hereditary, may be neither – it’s hard to tell. The answers to Why and For How Long have never really been important to me – I have it, that’s pretty much the part that matters.

(for more of this backstory, start here)

Since my diagnosis, I’ve been on medications to lighten the load on my heart, and in December of 2015 I was implanted with an Automated Implantable Cardioverter/Defibrillator (AICD). It has faithfully resided near my left collarbone ever since, monitoring and tracking my heart’s behavior and keeping stats, uploading data to be analyzed by the team at my cardiac rhythm specialist’s office, waiting for a time when my heart rate would drop extremely low or rise extremely high, when it would kick in with a jolt to reset my heart’s rhythm.

I’m typing this because that’s exactly what happened on March 11.

I stepped to the window to open the shutters, felt my heart suddenly start racing, felt a little lightheaded, felt VERY lightheaded, and had time to briefly think I might be about to lose my balance or pass out.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a pile on the floor.

Gloria was standing nearby when it happened, including the part where I apparently reacted verbally to the shock, with an “oh!” that I don’t remember. She saw me go to the floor in medium-slow motion, first slowly leaning back onto a cabinet and slowly lowering toward the wall beside, until I just dropped the last few feet. My eyes were open the whole time, but I wasn’t consciously experiencing any of it.

I woke up quickly after hitting the floor. Gloria called 911, and within about 2 minutes the EMTs were in the house checking me out. We told them what we each saw and experienced, and our theory that I’d perhaps gotten a defibrillation. My chest didn’t hurt, which I’d expected, and I never felt the shock, but the circumstantial evidence seemed pretty conclusive.

My blood pressure was pretty high (for me) when they first checked it, and I was sweating buckets, but both soon started to ease up. After a quick EKG, I changed into “leaving the house” pants and walked, with help, to the ambulance. Within 30 minutes of opening the shutters, I was in my own room at the ER.

The ER tag teams – I saw no less than 10 different nurses, doctors and specialists – did lots of tests and blood work, another EKG, an x-ray, and a technician came in to interrogate my defibrillator.

(note to self – write industrial/metal song: Interrogate My Defibrillator)

Sure enough, just before the defibrillator zapped me, my heart rate – normally around 75ish bpm – spiked up to 261. The defibrillator noticed, and administered a shock to reset it, and it started beating normally again.

In other words, The Little Defibrillator That Lives in My Chest did exactly what it’s supposed to do.

I mentioned to the technician that, a couple of times in the last 6 months or so, I’d felt a very brief similar heart-racing feeling, so brief I didn’t think anything of it at the time. He looked at the data and was quickly able to tell me the exact dates – one in October, one in December – right there in the readout.

The Little Defibrillator That Lives in My Chest has a good memory.

I spent about 4 hours in the ER, returned home by dinnertime, and took a few days off work. The ER doctor added a new medication to my daily routine, one that’s supposed to help keep my heart from getting into that state again. A few days later, I had an in-person checkup at my cardiac rhythm specialist’s office, and a few days later got my new ‘restrictions’ list: no driving for 6 months (rideshare companies, prepare to love me), and no air travel for 2 months.

Because I asked about air travel, they were careful to clarify that I will never be permitted to fly a plane myself.

(note to self: change plans regarding flight school in no way whatsoever)

As I type, it’s been almost 2 weeks since that Sunday morning, and I’m feeling good. Although it did take a couple days until I was comfortable opening those particular shutters again.

My energy for the day-to-day stuff is back, I’ve been cleared to return to the gym (which I needed to do anyway), and the only real side effect of the new medicine is very dry hands. Gloria introduced me to First Aid Beauty brand Ultra Repair Cream, available from your local Sephora, which turns out to be wonderful for that.

I haven’t had another shock, nor have I felt my heart flip out like that again. And in a few more weeks, I’ll be walking once again in the 2018 Heart Walk for the American Heart Association. If you’d like to chip in for a great cause, you can do so here:

my HeartWalk page

(dead link removed… which sounds bad in this context but is not actually that bad)

As we may have previously discussed, I’ve been working on a one-man “talking and singing” show & album about these cardiac adventures of mine. It’s a song or two away from having all of its music written, leaving the visuals and some storytelling bits left to finish. The show is coming together, and I’m hoping that by the end of 2018, it will be ready for public consumption.

This month that show gained some new material.

More importantly, it did not gain an ending.

– RmG3      3/26/18

December 7, 2017

December 7 is a lot of things.

It’s Pearl Harbor day, the anniversary of the attack that brought the U.S. into World War II, back in 1941.

It’s also the anniversary of my Dad’s first surgery – same day, same year. He was 8 years old.

And it’s the anniversary of my own first surgery too – December 7, 2015. That’s the day I was fitted with an ICD: Internal Cardiac Defibrillator.

That’s right: today is my defibriversary!

Two years I’ve had this little box in my chest – two years in which it has had to do nothing but sit there taking readings. And give me something to warn airport screeners about. And give me a reason not to keep my phone in my shirt pocket, or hang headphones around my neck.

One thing it HASN’T had to do is to defibrillate me.

I had a fresh echocardiogram recently. No surprises and no changes – my numbers are the same as they were two years ago, the same as they’ve been since I was diagnosed in August of 2015. That’s when I found out that the reason I’d been coughing non-stop all summer had nothing to do with my lungs, and everything to do with my heart. Specifically, severe dilated cardiomyopathy. Sounds bad, right? Well, it’s not really about numbers, it’s about quality of life, and I can’t really complain about that these days.

It’s been more than two years now since I found out I have it. Most likely I’ve had it for at least twice that long – I can track early symptoms at least as far back as December of 2013. December 10, specifically, so almost exactly four years now. I remember coughing uncontrollably through an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable Mike Keneally Band set and a wonderful Dismemberment Plan reunion set, during that week’s work trip to San Francisco.

At the time, I thought the coughing was caused by too long a walk up and down too many of the city’s hills with my luggage, on the way to my hotel on the chilly night I’d arrived.

Hindsight sometimes changes old assumptions.


It’s been four years since that work trip to San Francisco, and two since I got this little metal thing installed. I don’t think about it much, sometimes I forget it’s there. Then a cat steps on it while I’m lying in bed and I remember very quickly.

But it’s just been sitting there, minding its own business, for two years, and I’m thankful for that. Hopefully we can keep this streak going for a good long time.

Happy defibriversary, everyone!