updates from 2002, including pre-AcousticRoss.com stuff
DOES THIS MAKE ME A NOVELTY ACT?
And if so, is it Thomas Conner's fault?
So I entered me a contest. Yup. See, back in September in his Tulsa World column, Thomas Conner mentioned a songwriting contest being staged by Duck brand duct tape, with $2500 going to the author of the best original song incorporating duct tape in the lyrics. I probably wouldn't have even thought about entering, but Conner explained in the first paragraph that he was only mentioning the contest "because I can think of several local musicians who'd have a serious shot at the prize (hey, Ross, eyes front)."
How do I shrug off a challenge like that? It took a while to write, it took a while to record (and edit: the original version was nearly 30 seconds over the 4-minute limit), and I got my entry in the mail just under the wire.
Curious? Well, you can't vote, but you can go hear my entry, and like 150 others, on the official website. Go here to see the lyrics and listen to the best I could do. You can browse around and check out the rules and judging criteria and such while you're there, or go here and check out all the other folks who had nothing better to do this fall. As of Sunday the 15th, they still haven't posted all the last-minute entries, but here is my personal favorite so far, although I admit I've neither listened to the song nor read the lyrics yet...
Anyway, it's all up to the judges now, and I should know soon if I've won, if I've placed, if I've received an honorable mention, or if this is in fact The Greatest Injustice Since The Engine Hearts, Ira, Tom Skinner and I All Lost At The Spot Awards. I'll let you know.
-- RmG3, 12/15/02
Addendum: The Duck Tape Club folks have now finished posting the entries -- all 163 of them -- and have also posted this message:
Due to the overwhelming interest and participation in the Rock about the Roll contest, our judges have requested more time to fairly review each individual entry. Therefore, we have postponed the announcement of the winners of the Rock about the Roll contest until Thursday, January 2nd. In so doing, we have given the judges ample time in between the holidays and their other Duck Tape duties to evaluate every submission. We thank you for your patience and understanding - we think you'll agree that the judges have a very difficult decision ahead of them! In the meantime, Happy Holidays!
So I guess I'll let you folks know as soon as I know, sometime around the first of the year. Stay tuned.
-- RmG3, 12/20/02
WHAT, ME WEBSITE?
A brief word from Le Ross Acoustique
(that is, the geek on the right)
Hey folks. Welcome to The Site. It's new, it's raw, and I don't have the first clue what I'm doing. All of which should be pretty obvious right now.
As the Year of the Ross comes to an end, it seems like it's finally time to get some web presence, especially since I've been promising it for months... and after a brief incident involving acoutsicross.com, here it is.
Eventually, I'll have all kinds of great crap on display here, including all the News From Around the Bend stuff I've been threatening for years to put online.
For now, I'll be putting up relevant show dates as they find themselves becoming booked.
I'll be updating weekly (well, weeklyish) or more often as needed. So come on down to a show sometime; meantime, stay tuned.
-- RmG3, 11/15/02
In the early part of 2002, before the first CD was finished, before I decided to start AcousticRoss.com, in fact even before I allowed that stage name to completely take hold, I toyed with the blogging thing over at Diaryland.com. My pages there are long gone by now, but here's what was on them, in reverse order as always. I don't think many people ever went there, and most of the ones who tried wound up at Dairyland.com instead anyway.
Another fun show tonight at Enzo's.
Kind of the end of an era, really -- it's turning into a sit-down restaurant, and is currently under massive reconstruction toward that goal; when all is said and done, I don't know if they'll still be booking music in there or not... so this may have been one of the last shows there.
Fitting lineup, then: The Darlings, Special Purpose, and Acoustic Ross -- same lineup as the Harley night last June, my first experience with the Enzo's crowd and the beginning of my friendship with both bands. Ira came into the picture a little further down the road, and those four groups have always been, to me, the core of the 'Enzo's Scene.' Two-thirds of Ira came down to the show -- they had played earlier at the Cain's in Urban Tulsa's 'New Voices' show (I went, it was a good set), and Dylan had also played with a brother/sister team called Joe & Ellen. Dylan is now also playing in the Boondogs, which is a great hting both for him and for the 'dogs.
Next weekend I'm driving to KC again, to see Ira play with namelessnumberheadman in Lawrence. Probably will have to be a short trip... we're in desperate straits on the Chyron front at work, in fact I'm filing in myself tomorrow, and I'm more or less expecting to cover a day each weekend for the next several months. Good thing I'm already working on getting a new place of business...
Anyway, good to see everyone at the show tonight. Had a little group from work there, and Jen & Jesse, who I hadn't seen in ages, and Annie's sister Emily, and Jennifer G even stopped by briefly, and I ended up doing the 'social butterfly' thing and bopping around from group to group all night. Always fun for me, despite my antisocial nature*.
[*Really, I think this is the way it works with me: social participation is all or nothing. I'm either bouncing around the room talking to everyone, or I'm sitting in the corner hoping no one comes anywhere near me. Just one of many nifty contradictions in the puzzle that is Acoustic Ross.]
So, anyway, my set was sloppy as usual. Despite ACTUALLY PRACTICING IT, the thing I butchered the worst was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." It's not a true Acoustic Ross show until I've (1) broken a string, (2) forgotten lyrics to my own songs, (3) second-guessed the set list, and (4) played something too fast. And this was a true Acoustic Ross show. (1 = 'Safer Than Driving'; 2 = too many to count, but 'Idiot' stands out; 3 = skipped several, including several newer songs and two debuts; 4 = 'Mirror,' which I played by request late in the set and did at about 1.5 times normal speed). I hadn't been practicing much until about 2 days ago, and the result was sore fingertips. Sore fingertips, plus a BIG welt on my right forearm where it crosses the guitar. It looks a little worse than it probably is, because I usually get a little black goo on there from the electrical tape, but either way it looks like someone wailed on my arm with a grapefruit or something.
Guess the only other update is that the legal troubles are finally, completely, weirdly over. It's still a little strange to think about... so I try not to think about it much. I'm counting my blessings, let's leave it at that.
Got a lot of new books to read. Six in the last week. Probably should get on that.
2002-04-28 - 2:19am
Is It April Already?
Wow, it's been a while. Still recovering, to some degree, from the frantic four-week span that was March 2002. Watched a lot of hoops, including four games featuring my alma mater (go Flashes), played three gigs and a guest appearance (in 8 days), officially released the CD, worked my ass off at the station, cranked out the 11th anniversary issue of the NFATB, and took a quick trip home for Easter. And that's only the short version. No wonder I'm still tired.
So, almost mid-April now. Last weekend I went to KC and caught namelessnumberheadman again, a great show with the Hillary Step (HS's last show) and the Mates of State. All three were excellent, and Jason played me some excerpts from the forthcoming nmls#hdmn CD. It's gonna be huge.
Came home tonight and found a small (6 or 7 inch) garter snake hiding in the music room. Groucho defended his territory, and eventually I got the snake into a big box and took him back outside. He ran off down the driveway in that cool way snakes run.
So, where everything stands.
Work: same malaise I've been struggling against for over a year, not really getting any better. Reading a stack of resumes this weekend for the current opening in my dept. Gerald gave me a cool book called Lincoln on Leadership, about Abe Lincoln's management style and practices... I'll probably forward the favor by getting a copy for someone else who's in the same mid-level management spot as we are.
The Accident I Didn't Have: Still unresolved. The guy's lawyer is still pressing the issue, despite his client's admission that the damage to his car doesn't match what he himself put on the accident report. I finally got a copy of the report today, so at least I know who this guy is now. As the claim investigator had told me, there are a couple things in the description of the vehicle that don't match mine... you'd think that with all that, plus the proof that I was at work until an hour after the accident occurred, we wouldn't still be dealing with any of this... and yet...
The CD: As of tonight, except for the 3 copies on consignment at CD Warehouse, I've sold or given away the first 50 copies (about half and half). Gotta get some more cases, then package up the next 50.
The Shows: On the 27th I'm playing a show at Enzo's with the Darlings, good friends of mine from what I've come to think of as the Enzo's scene (the Darlings, Ira, Special Purpose, me, Tony Romanello, Aqueduct/Epperley, etc.) Picked up a CD single & EP the Darlings have out, both good -- like the rest of the bands on this scene, they continue to be better every time I see them, and I'm looking forward to playing with them again. Working on a few new & revived tunes to throw in, plus a mostly-new or all-new version of the Medley. Gotta make some time next week to work on that, and spend next weekend getting the chops back.
The Shows II: Also in talks (well, phone tag) with Arnie's about a rotating songwriter thing on Wednesdays, with me, Sarah Wagner, Jeff Graham, and others rotating week to week... and Mary and I are negotiating with Arnie's for AntiFolk FootStomp II, to be held at the end of June. This time it's me, Adam, and Sarah, should be big fun. Couple other places in mind if Neil decides he doesn't want us, but I think we'll convince him. Just kind of annoying to have to start from scratch again.
Almost 5 now, lots to do tomorrow, including driving to Stillwater for Damon's party. Could be another interesting weekend.
2002-04-13 - 4:59am
Show Us Your Shorts!
This has been a pretty amazing week. Well, musically it has: work has been naught but annoying. To say the least. But the music stuff has been great.
Tuesday I stopped by the Deadtown to see Sarah Wagner play. Towards the end of her first set (well, the one that was going on when I got there) she noted that there were some 'all-stars' there... in the next set she invited the four all-stars she was talking about to each come up and do a few tunes. Although I've never played there and didn't really know anyone else there besides Sarah, it turns out I was one of said allstars, along with Brian Parton, Jeff Graham, and Neil Dirickson. Sarah said to do my most offensive stuff, so I chose 'Over You Now' and 'Idiot.' It was big fun, and they didn't seem to hate me. Sarah sounded excellent - I noticed the bartender was wearing a Sarah Wagner & the Pop-Adelphics shirt - plus the draft beers are huge and dirt cheap. Definitely have to look into playing there, and doing some shows with Sarah somewhere along the line.
So tonight was the Show Us Your Shorts film festival, put together by Me Head and held at the Nightingale Theatre. The original plan had me doing about 5 songs, interspersed between the films, then as the show went on Michael (Mason, the editor of Me Head & MC of the event) asked me to do a few more. This was one of the best crowds I've ever had, which is extra cool since it was kind of a captive audience situation. Got to meet Tom Skinner's son Jeremy, who in fact won the competition with a very fun little piece. The other films were great too, and tough to follow. During the intermission, one guy asked if I was pro-Woody Guthrie ot anti-Woody Guthrie, based on the slogan on my guitar. I told him pro-, and that I was just glad someone caught the reference (Thomas Conner from the Spot caught it too, obviously, since he referenced it in the article he did on me last month).
Anyway, I had a great time tonight! Broke a string about 2/3 of the way thru the medley, then had to kill time telling & hearing musician jokes while changing & retuning. Sold four CDs, gave 2 away (one to a nice guy named Wilhelm Murg, who wants to review it for one of the many zines he writes for), got four new names on the mailing list. Not too shabby at all. The nice folks at the Nightingale have invited me back, as did Michael from Me Head, and Jeremy told me I should call his dad about playing another Science Project show soon. (Will do!)
The new folks on the mailing list will probably get a release party reminder tomorrow after the Kent State game if I remember... also I need to put up some flyers for the last show of the week, because I've been slacking on that front. One more gig this week, then a short break to catch my breath, and to catch up on all the other stuff in my life I've been letting slide. That is to say, all the other stuff in my life.
OK, better finish this beer and get to bed so I can get up in time for the game. (ahem - Go Flashes!)
2002-03-14 - 1:38am
Enzo's Anniversary Show
Man, that was big fun.
Great crowd, great music, not to mention the anniversary cake (supplied by the one & only Joey Z). Big fun all the way around!
Tony Romanello & I started the night, in that order, each doing about a 30-minute set, then Special Purpose did a set and the Engine Hearts finished the evening off. Lots of familiar faces around, and some new ones as well. Each band kinda had their own entourage (except me, but I know most of SP's core group too so it wasn't like I was sitting in the corner by myself or anything...)
I'd heard Tony play before, and I've got one of his CDs, but I'd never SEEN him play before tonight, and that made a big difference. He's really got some amazing chops, and the acoustic setting really fit well with the emotion he puts into his songs.
Next up was me, and I was not terrible as far as I can tell. Set list experimentation continues -- this time I didn't prepare a list, just used the master list, and managed to forget to play a lot of things I wanted to. Ended up doing a greatest-hits set, but threw in a few curves and a few covers. Mirror, Over You Now, Grumpy (somewhere along the line tonight I decided I'm going to start calling this History Lesson Pt. 3), Ed's Secret Identity, Earth to Grandma, Idiot, Tribute Album, Nothing Ever Happens, Hey Man Nice Shot, When Bobby Comes Down, and the Medley. Pretty sure I've never played my country version of 'Hey Man Nice Shot' for an audience before (they got it). NEED to start working in more new/revived stuff, give those album tracks a rest for now (except the ones I don't play as often). Next week I'll plan a list but keep the master list off to the side. I think I actually did it that way for a while... we'll see if it works.
After I did the Medley at the Arnie's show, I was lamenting to Adam & David that the medley can't really expand to hold more songs, since it's in the 4+ minute range, upon which Adam suggested that I come up with a VERY long version, enough material to play it for 15-20 minutes, then rotate which sections I do in the live show. That way, it's always different, and even the returning audience members don't know what to expect. This, to me, is brilliant. I've got most of one verse added now, with ideas for another, so hopefully next Saturday will see the debut of some new sections, unless I don't find any time to practice this week. Which, the way work has been lately, is completely within the realm of possibility. Anyway, I had fun tonight, and didn't do anything too stupid, and the crowd was great. And I sold two CDs. Who could ask for more?
Special Purpose was up next, with an almost completely new set. GREAT new stuff. I begged them to play 'Behind the Door,' but didn't really mind missing it in favor of lots of new material. These guys continue to sound better every time I hear them. eventually I noticed that the new bass player plays left-handed but strings it the regular way, so the lower strings are on the bottom. It was kinda mesmerizing for the old bass player in me to watch...
The Engine Hearts were also fantastic. Power pop, pop-punk, whatever you call that high-energy loud stuff, they're great at it. Even in Enzo's small stage area, they found the space to flail wildly about & jump around (Justin - vox/gtr - jumped high enough to get tangled in SP's Christmas lights and pull one set down - we'd been making jokes all night about getting electrocuted, as a few of the SP guys had been shocked at the gig we did out front last summer in the rain, and I'd commented tonight that it would be just like me to get electrocuted while playing an acoustic guitar...)
Anyway, EH made me think a lot about following thru on that side project idea I've had for ages (three-piece group called Dead Language, doing nothing but 70s-80s punk covers, I'd play bass)... their set reminded me of Gaunt in its heyday, the 'Yeah, Me Too' era in particular, and that ended up being the first CD I threw in after getting home. It's now cycled around to the new Hanson Brothers (nomeansno side project) disc, which came today. Synchronicity note: the Hanson Bros disc has a cover of the 70s classic 'Get It Right Back,' another cover of which found itself playing over the PA system while we were tearing down tonight, so I've heard that song like 4, 5, 10 times today...
Guess I should sleep now. Two more gigs within the next seven days. Callouses sure to be rockin' by St. Pat's Day.
2002-03-10 - 2:32am
Another CD update
The CD: First 50 copies packed & ready. Freebies start going out Monday.
The inevitable finally happened last night -- slashed my left middle finger while cutting inserts, on cover number 47 or so. At least I didn't have that many more to cut with the band-aid on...
Gearing up now for the next set of shows.
- March 9 @ Enzo's Anniversary Bash
- March 13 @ the Show Us Your Shorts film festival
- March 16 @ CD Warehouse
Gonna be a busy week. Hope this cough goes away by then, or Hall's MenthoLyptus will be my corporate sponsor again. Ah, memories of the Springfield days.
OK, lots of writing & cutting & pasting to do for the 'February' issue of the NFATB. Better go.
2002-03-02 - 1:40pm
AntiFolk AfterMath pt. 2: it's here
The CDs arrived yesterday.
I mean, the CDs arrived yesterday! Woo hoo!
Got the first batch ready to go. Already on my second exacto blade after cutting inserts for the first 30... good thing I bought some new blades. Been using a plastic ruler as a straight edge, and I've hacked it up quite nicely by slipping with the exacto somewhat frequently. Haven't cut myself yet, though, which is an accomplishment.
Also decided that after recent set-list pains (looking down at the list and seeing a bunch of songs I don't feel like playing) that I'm going to go back to the old no-list format, just keep a master list of everything on the guitar and pick the set as I go instead of planning in advance. We'll see how that goes.
OK, back to work.
2002-02-27 - 3:40pm
AntiFolk AfterMath pt. 1
THAT was a great show.
I was so freaking nervous by the time it was showtime, I blew thru a 40-45 minute set in about 30 minutes and quit way too early. Idiot. GOTTA start wearing a watch to gigs. Or maybe find a little one I can stick on my guitar.
I realized on Thursday night (actually very early Friday morning) that there was no way the CD would get here in time. Damn. My own fault, I thought their turnaround time was 3-5 days from dupe, but it's actually 5-7, which gets it here sometime this coming week.
But this week I landed a gig playing at CD Warehouse, three weeks from tonight, and I think that'll be the official release party too. Seems like the right way to do it, and it'd be good business for CDWh too.
Anyway, despite my brevity, and despite my not having any merchandise to push - I made a note promoting the CD, saying it'll be available at the Enzo's show in two weeks, and stuck a copy of the cover to it, then put that with my mailing list on the merch trunk - it was still an EXCELLENT show.
David & Adam were awesome - great to hear Adam play live, and great to hear David again, forgot how strong his voice is - and the crowd, albeit the peculiar kind of crowd you always see at Arnie's, really dug it. David & Adam both had some great ideas for The Medley, which I plan to implement ASAP.
David & Mel invited Adam & Mary & me back to their place after teardown to hang out for a while, which was very cool. Before too long David got his guitar out and we each did a tune or two (I did 'time for one more' since I hadn't done it at the show). David even played washboard on a couple of Adam's tunes.
Really, the only downside for me was that more than a couple people I know came out to hear me and I had already quit by the time they got there -- and if I'd played all the way to 11 like I was supposed to do, they'd have gotten to hear me. I suck. Hopefully they're not so disappointed that they don't come out to the next show, Enzo's Anniversary on the 9th, because they're all good folks and I'm curious to find out what they think of my stuff.
5:10am now and I ought to get some sleep. More later.
2002-02-24 - 5:10am
T minus 5
So the cd is done.
The master is in Vermont, being copied, and if they hold to their advertised turnaround I'll have it by the end of the week. I bought cases on Saturday, enough for the first 50 copies, which ought to last a while. Finished designing the cover & insert art & finished writing the liner notes on Saturday as well. Now to decide how I'll go about the duplication for the cover. Everyone wants an arm, and Kinko's wants a leg too, so I'm calling around. Think I've found the place, probably hit them tomorrow and take care of this thing.
I gave myself a release date of 2/23 for several reasons, one of which was that the AntiFolk FootStomp gig that day would be a good time to sell a few; but the main reason was that I knew having a firm release date would force me to finally make the damn thing.
It was a great idea six weeks ago.
But right now I'm just tired. T minus 5 days. Then maybe sleep.
Yeah, sleep would be nice.
2002-02-18 - 11:20pm
The First One
Hey folks, it's Ross here, aka Acoustic Ross, Uncle Idiot... each of my distinct personalities seems to want its own name, so I humor them this way.
Not much else to say tonight. Really just needed a test entry to see how this looked. Finishing the CD packaging tonight and tomorrow... then maybe more news.
2002-02-16 - 9:00pm
"Acoustic Ross" & "News From Around The Bend" © 2002-3001 Northcraft Entertainment Organization. All content not otherwise specified is also © 2002-3001 Northcraft Entertainment Organization. While we're at it, "Northcraft Entertainment Organization" is also © 2002-3001 Northcraft Entertainment Organization.