Since posting some of the tunes to Jango, a few people have become fans of our music, hailing from all over the globe. So I thought it would be a cool idea to keep track of all their locations and I created a friends map. And to those of you who have recently become fans of our music, welcome aboard.
A few days ago, I received an email from the online music store CD Baby in which they were promoting a free trial with Internet Radio Jango. Jango is a free internet radio source which allows artists to upload their songs, hit target audiences as well as targeting geographic areas.
So last week I decided to upload “Anything You Want” just to test the waters. Although the reporting on Jango is probably not as robust as others, I was able to see that my song was played 100 times, what types of people listened to it, and what types of music they listen to. Who would have guessed that fans of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix would also like “Anything You Want?” Oh, and I managed to pick up a few fans along the way, from CA to CT.
I’m not sure how far I will go with re-releasing these songs, but it’s definitely encouraging to know that there’s an audience out there.
Here is but another false start in a series of false starts over the past 3 years. But FWIW, Gabe, Mingo and I will be jamming this Labor Day weekend, mainly for pleasure, but I guess the old adage “Never say never” applies here.
And to add to the recent “reunion” theme, I’ve also gotten in touch with our original guitarist Hank, which I’m sure those of you who attended our gigs at Old Town Pasadena will remember. Here’s a snapshot to jog your memory:
Okay, so the search for a reliable bassist without an ego in the LA/OC area has proven to be a fruitless task. My most recent encounter with another j*rkoff bassist who managed to take the fun out of jamming, while simultaneously offending me, the other guitarist, and drummer has inspired me to re-evaluate my goals.
Therefore, I’ve decided to just take on a guitarist to accompany me on gigs at local open mics, coffee shops, etc.—someone to work with on new material, covers, or whatever, just as long as we jell and, more importantly, start gigging again. I’ve recently met with a voice coach and I’m curious to know how I’d perform without having to worry about strumming the guitar at the same time. So where’s my Johnny Marr? Any David Gavurins out there? Please, someone, help pull me out of this funk!
A few people who have come across the band’s music and explored the lyrics have picked up on the “spiritual” aspect and have often asked about it. While I make no attempts to carry the banner for any particular set of religious beliefs, I cannot deny who I am or from where I come. So, to help shed some light, I thought I’d share a recent episode I had with my eldest sister this past Easter.
“Hell is full of good intentions or desires.”
- St. Bernard of Clarivaux
A few weeks ago, just toward the tail end of the Lenten season, my sister came by to visit and share a recent experience she had. She is a devout Catholic and is very active within her church. Aside from singing in her church choir, she periodically attends events in which her church is involved. One such event was a youth retreat in which several “tweens”+ gathered to share their experiences of being a young Catholic in today’s culture. Clearly, my sister was inspired to see young people speaking so passionately of their beliefs.
As everyone was getting drunk on the word of God and passing the cup to his neighbor, my sister found the opportunity to do what I consider to be one of the kindest things a person can do for another, and simulaneously managed to drive a stake through my heart.
“I said a prayer for the men in our family last night. I prayed that you, Dad, and [our brother-in-law] would develop a closer relationship with God.”
Saying a prayer for someone, in my opinion, is the ultimate way of showing them that you care. It’s a way of saying, “You’re in my thoughts, I’m pulling for you, and I only wish you the best.” So how can anyone ever be offended by such an act of kindess?
It’s not rare to come across a person who was born and raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, attended mass regularly as a child, but somehow grew apart from the church. In many cases, they may have even attended Catholic school, and though they haven’t attended mass in several years (aside from the occasional wedding or funeral), they still consider themselves to be part of the Catholic community. Admittedly, I am one of these people…
I was raised in the Catholic church, attended Catholic school for 6 years, and by many accounts was considered a very devout Catholic. When I was old enough to drive, I was going to church on my own without being urged by my parents. I was definitely of my own mind when it came to my religious beliefs.
Those strong beliefs carried into my college years, and for a fleeting moment I even considered entering into the priesthood. But it was in college that I started to really ask questions about my faith, the Catholic church and the Judeo-Christian Tradition. It was not long before I found myself engulfed in new ideas, challenges, and criticisms, all of which seemed to excite me and draw me deeper into the subject matter. In a few years, I would graduate with a Master’s degree in Philosophy with a concentration on the Philosophy of Religion and Continental Philosophy.
Ironically, at a time when I felt that I was gaining a better understanding of God, man’s existence and the Catholic church, I was also finding myself being drawn away from the need to “clock in” at mass every Sunday and go through the same old rituals that had somehow become stale and redundant. Keep in mind that I mean no disrespect to the belief in transubstantiation or the Eucharist. But I couldn’t help thinking that the people who go through the motions every week, clocking in every Sunday to receive communion in hopes to earn their way to heaven, were somehow missing the point.
So after heading out on this trek to find my own personal answers, and putting much thought into the the role of religion and its impact on the human condition, I found it somewhat offensive that my sister would approach me in such a manner. Apparently, to her, one cannot have a close relationship with God unless he attends church every Sunday. Otherwise, by what criterion is she judging me in order to come to the conclusion that I do not already have a close relationship with God? To make such an assumtion was to completely disregard everything that I had done and simply dismiss it as an insignificant phase in my life in which I may have just strayed from my original path. Clearly, she didn’t realize that in order for someone to delve so deeply into the issues and ask the tough questions, he must first have a genuine passion or desire to know.
So there you have it. A glimpse into where I am coming from with regards to the spiritual aspect of my lyrics. And while I consider The Innocence Mission a great band, I do not wish to be pigeonholed as a religious songwriter, but rather, a songwriter who happens to be a Catholic. And a damn good one at that…
That’s right. I’ve decided to get off my proverbial arse and start gigging again. And speaking of proverbs, I’m reminded that “the longest journey begins with the first misstep.” But as my cousin once admonished me as he was teaching me how to serve a tennis ball a la Agassi, “Don’t hold back. If you’re gonna fuck up, fuck up big!”
Well, here’s to fucking up big. In May, I will be playing my first gig in nearly two years. Granted, it’s just a couple of sets of cover songs to be played at an OC backyard party, but the songs are vocally challenging–and those of you who’ve seen some of our shows in the past know that I am vocally challenged, so it may be a good fit.
Sigh! Just when you thought you’d seen the last of Counterpush, or have been wondering “what ever happened to those guys?”, well, rest assured you haven’t seen the last of me yet. I don’t believe I’ve gotten my second wind yet, but I can definitely feel something trying to creep up from the muck within. The stars haven’t aligned, but they’re definitely flirting with one another. And this is just the first of what I hope will be many posts to get my creative juices flowing one more time, and hopefully crank out some meaningful tunes in the process. Stay tuned…