Take The Red Pill Neo

I see more and more lamenting on the faithbook about their ongoing plan to further monetize their gazillion dollar entity and virtual crack site. The more I think about it A, I am not surprised. The greed of its founders seems to be only matched in zeal by the millions of us who cling to it, as a way to constantly feed the ravenously hungry egos of those who must have attention. However petty and superficial our insecurities and obsessions often tend to be. And B, the more indifferent I am becoming about it. I have grown quite weary of it to be honest.  Long ago I came to recognize my own passive aggressive pleas for attention, which in turn opened my eyes to just how much those around me were as well. And I started to feel very self conscious of it, and somewhat ashamed I’d say was my reaction. While so many others I saw reacted the opposite, and fed into their narcissistic and egotistical dark side. This is where I feel the crack analogy is fitting. Some of you people are pretty fucked up. Don’t get me wrong, I fully acknowledge my own bottomless pit of desire to be seen, heard, and glorified. In fact, I embrace it, you have to own it I figure. But I’ve tried to channel it to my endeavors that require a public audience by nature. MY SHOW, my band, my coffee, and the peripheral events that come with these territories. I feel somewhat successful at this, others may disagree I’m sure.

With all that in mind, and coming back to the opening statement, I am kinda relieved. Almost like awaiting release from incarceration, or any other type of emotional and mental imprisonment. I have maintained all along that it is still true, that direct contact with people makes for a much more lasting impression, than what the online McFacebook Matrix can offer at this point in its life span. Its almost like the proverbial scenario offered by Megadeth some years ago, “Einstein said, we’ll use rocks on the other side” I think we have devolved so far we have to start all over from the beginning. And learn how to honestly interact with each other again. Go back to how we did it all 25 or so years ago. Get out there, meet people, and use whatever devil tongued salesmanship you can craft. There is so much stuff online now, its near impossible to live in both worlds, virtual and terrestrial. There is no balance anymore.  You are either cut off at large fro the “mainstream” world, or you are lost in the matrix. But in the music world, me and my kind have always been in the underground, and quite content as a whole about it too. When the internet was still shiny and new to most of us in the late 90′s, we were struggling, but thriving at the same time. And Ive had this argument with a few in the industry, and they seem to stick to their business guns on the matter. You cant exist without major social media presence. Well, I am starting to disagree with that, because we did it before. And some things in life, the old way is still the best way. It has come full cycle and I am rather excited for me and my band. I want to get out and play, and meet people. Meet other cool bands to play with and share this wonderful gift we all have and enjoy. And if it means I wont move lots of “product”, or make a dent in the “market” so be it. But I can guarantee I will play lots of music to a varied audience, and meet lots of people. Share lots of stories, tap lots of glasses, and yes, shake hands and kiss babies so to speak. And that’s enough for me I guess… Everything else is gravy,  I am already a rich man in spirit. Everything else, you cant take it with you, and no one will care about your money when you are gone. But however many people you touch in some way, if you reach out and share some part of you that affects them, they will remember you. And that makes you immortal. And if you don’t believe me, put on Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix. Try to email him and get back to me.

itsmyshow667@gmail.com

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MY SHOW LIVES

Had quite a week, brought 4 great bands to town in the last week or so. Shot the latest and upcoming episode of MY SHOW Live last week with King Buffalo, really cool band from Rochester NY. Then had Lionize, Kingsnake, and Lorg in for a show the other night. And in related news, my band King Dead, also played with King Buffalo on the shoot, finalized and put our 1st record into production as well. All this was done live at The Living Room on Main Street in Stroudsburg, a room I think that has some of the best natural acoustics in the area when leveled correctly. Which is why we insisted on recording our record live there in fact.

In unrelated for the most part news, I also experienced my 1st live performance on a theater stage in a live stage production. Probably the most terrifying 5 minutes of my drumming career ha!. I thank Kevin Gallagher and producer David Schappert, the producer of The Irish…and How They Got That Way,  for this both wonderful and harrowing experience. Truly challenging and thrilling all the same. Its running at The Shawnee Playhouse Theater until 3/23 I believe, check their website for details and info if you are so inclined.

But back to the point, MY SHOW Live… Its starting to gain some traction, not only with people in attendance, but also with support of The Sherman Theater, and with the level of talent I am seeking to bring in. Im in contact with some “bigger” acts to hopefully have in over the next few months and summer, and they are going well. Which leads me to the focal point of what I am trying to say here in this commentary, and with MY SHOW Live in general really. Its a thought that keeps running in my head all the time when pondering the ins and outs of a live rock video show, “Good isn’t good enough, it has to be great”. And I think I’ve set a pretty high bar for the show with the featured acts already. The Atomic Bitchwax, Kingsnake, Alax Rasputin and Co., The Stargazer Lilies, and the soon to be produced King Buffalo episode. All amazing bands, who gave great performances, wonderfully mixed by my partner in show, Dave Reiser of Rock Hard Studios. My childish posterior motive to having such incredible talent on MY SHOW being, I want upcoming bands to be thinking, wow..we better get our sh*t together if we wanna be on this show. And thats how it should be. Its how I feel when I have these bands on, or work shows at the theater, that wow, we have to get our shit together so we can play with these guys someday. And I think our 1st record is a big step in that direction. But I digress…
There is another component to all this that keeps coming back to me, that I’d like to impart. I strongly feel that in the larger sense, this is the mission of both The Living Room and MY SHOW Live. To bridge a gap between the large venue in our town, and the lack of smaller venues in the area for an original rock band to play. And in our case, be broadcast online captured in their truest and most sincere environment, live onstage, or floor to be precise. With great respect for what makes a band great, their music played live. No smoke and mirrors, no diversions or distractions, just live up close and very very personal. Its friggin musical Nirvana to me. And this gap I mention, contains a whole universe, of unknown to the masses, fantastic musical entities. Who are great enough to be displayed, but still feasibly affordable to procure. I’ll confess here, that my long term hope is some of these bands remember us as they ascend the concert hierarchy, and come back to return the favor so to speak. Which also brings me to my next point in a somewhat veiled way.

While it’s true we have definitely grown in attendance and local presence, and lets be honest, how can I not know my target audience around here…its a pretty small community compared to some areas. I do find it odd how many people I know of that dont come out to MY SHOW. A lot of these people are the same people who chide the area about having nothing good to do around here, or used to complain that “the good bands dont come here” for the first bunch of years Ive lived here. ALl I can say is what the hell more do you need? Small room, intimate show to say the least, more often than not on MY SHOW, free door and $3 Sam Addams beers. These are also the same people that often claim…the Sherman screws over bands. But then say “Im not paying to get $5, 8, 12 bucks to go in there”. Well, the door reflects on how much the bands might get paid, and the bar definitely helps me justify to the powers that be that MY SHOW is worth their while beyond the “feel Good helping the locals” thing, actually it helps keep the lights on. For me personally its certainly worth my money invested to bring such killer talent to the Burg and show them we are great hosts all around for small traveling bands. And I can’t stress enough, the theater some bash as a greedy exploitative monolith, lets me put on free shows to shoot, and lets people enjoy the experience for nothing but a smile, or sometimes the half the price some venues charge just to walk in the door(Beer incl).
I dont know, maybe this little essay will make some people think, what a dick. Maybe some will come out to MY SHOW next time around, which would be awesome. If there is one thing I want to people to think when they see my hat on a flier is, hey that guy always has great f*ckin bands on his show. Which is true, just check out the episodes here. Either way, one of the most important things I’ve learned over the last 6 episodes is, you have to do what you love. I love live bands, and I love sharing them with other like minded people. SO either way I love the sh*t out of what Im doing. Ive certainly wasted my money on much lesser things, and would be inclined to do so if not for MY SHOW Live I figure. So if you are on the fence about coming, try it next time. I promise you, I will bring you an incredible musical experience. One that you will feel a part of on a deep level, and possibly wind up in the episode in some manner, which is kinda neat too right?  And you will also be a part of something bigger for the musical community here. And thats just awesome! I hardly ever feel prouder than when a band member looks at me, shakes my hand and says, “I really had fun playing here tonight, thanks for having us”.  Except when I watch and listen to the episodes of MY SHOW Live of course…heh

ucst

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My Job My Life My Music

Sometimes, like most of us will do, I just get caught up and lost in the endless day to day to day stuff . Its a lot like running downhill. Gravity carries you faster and faster, until you are going at such a speed, that any hesitation or pause will bring you head over knees. And everything around you is nothing but a blur. But sooner or later Ill hit the bottom and take pause. It is then that all that momentum finally catches up to me and I can breathe, and I also can reflect a little on what I just did coming down the mountain so to speak.
I had one of those moments on my way home from work tonight. While listening to the rough mix of our King Dead record for 8000th time. All of the sudden it dawned on me…oh shit I’m finally making a record. Which then lead to this thought, for the 1st time in over 15 years I’m actually in a band again. One I like enough to put my heart in it, I haven’t felt this way since my 1st and only other significant band a couple of lifetimes ago. And we never got that far, to put out a record. We recorded, but that was it. Played a bunch of fun shows sure, but it all ended too quickly for me, and not long after for the rest of the band. Everyone went on to other things, musical and not, and went on with their lives and all. Life happens right?
And the thought train rolled on, like a freight train really. In just a few weeks, 3/8 in fact, we will be not only playing with band I really like, I will be shooting the 6th episode of MY SHOW Live with King Buffalo. Like, holy sh*t, I shoot and record my own rock video shows now. If you had told me I would be doing all this back around 1996 I would have thought you were nuts! At that point rock video shows were just artifacts of a bygone era. The best you could hope for was a decent video clip tor two on  crappy MTV. And that was going to be lip synced and back tracked no doubt. LAME! As someone who grew up working for live bands, and watching great live rock shows on regular TV in the 70s, I always lamented the absence of that in recent decades. But I’m going to change all that, or least that’s my goal. To bring back live rock video shows, featuring great bands, whether you’ve heard of them or not. Believe me, I could spend my money on much more sensible or practical things, according to many around me. As far as I’m concerned, Ive wasted my money on much lesser things, trust me. Because at the heart of it all, or at least at the heart of all Ive ever been about, is the music. And that’s what I am bringing to you people out there reading this, all 7 of you or whatever, great bands playing live, and shot/recorded with respect to what its all about. The Music. Thats not just MY job, its MY life…music. Real music, loud music, heavy music… oh and $3beers! But seriously, who could want anything more?!!? Well, I could use a few new cymbals. But I digress heh
Rock lives!

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2014 Agenda

I can’t stop thinking big…
I keep coming back to that line, from Rush’s song Caravan off Clockwork Angels. It rolls around in my head all the time lately. And with that of mind, I am pleased to say that 2014 is already gearing up to be a big year for me, MY SHOW Live, Rock Hard Productions, Rock Hard Radio and my band, King Dead. All the groundwork of 2013 is starting to take root I feel.

With MY SHOW Live, so far Ive gotten 2 episodes a year out. Mostly due to last years adjustment to working semi full time at The Sherman Theater. But unlike the previous 2 years, I already have 1 show booked and a few others in the works. King Buffalo , a really cool band from Rochester NY for 3/8. Working out of our new home, The Living Room is a pleasure to shoot/record in. The walls provide a different background of unique and local artwork for every show is a wonderful aesthetic, and the room sounds just amazing recorded. But more on that later. I just hope bands in the area start to take advantage of what Rock Hard Productions has to offer as far as live recording and video shoots. I think our previous episodes showcase that more than aptly here MY SHOW Live . But my goal remains the same here, to bring to Stroudsburg the best damn rock video show I can make, with great bands near and far. Another thing I keep saying in my head as I write this, good aint good enough for MY SHOW. It has to be great. Take that to band practice with yas kids…

Rock Hard Radio is still chugging along, thanks to my DJ’s who have picked up my slack. With all that’s going on, and coupled with working for a concert/event venue, I have been just too busy to do MY SHOW on a consistent basis at this point. MY SHOW will be returning in the next month or so as a monthly, centered around a feature interview most likely. More announcements to come there. I also have a few new shows lined up to join in over the next couple months.

King Dead is already wandering outside The Burg and booking shows, starting with a show at The Rattler in Pittston PA 2/1. Plus we get to play with all the cool bands who play on MY SHOW Live…win-win! We are also recording finally what should be our 1st release at The Living Room 1/24-25, as I said, the room sounds amazing for live recording so I cant wait to hear how it all sounds when we actually take our time and record stuff live.  Much more in a developmental stage now too, so check back with us. We now have our own youtube page with some videos up here KING DEAD youtube

Plus Ive already started working on another musical project to hopefully unveil very soon, Ill keep yas posted for sure. So that’s where I’m at, only 2 weeks into the year so I’m pretty excited to say the least for 2014. This is going to be a great year. Like I said to start, I can’t stop thinking big!

all the best ucst

itsmyshow667@gmail.com

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MY Christmas

In 3 minutes it will be Christmas 2013. I just finished watching the rough cut of the next episode of MY SHOW Live at The Living Room, featuring The Stargazer Lilies. Because that’s what everyone does on the biggest holiday of the year right? Obsess over something like a 2 second blank gap of video at about the 30 min mark, thus causing a halt in a 9 hour render some 3 hours into it. But fear not, glitch corrected and I have started the rendering all over again. With any luck,when I awake tomorrow morning, Christmas day, I will rise to find the gift of another episode complete. All the endless hours of editing, syncing, and rendering will have all been worth it. And this one truly is a gift, I think it might be our best production to date. Not taking away anything from all the previous episodes and their performances, because they are all exemplary. I specifically have chosen the bands I’ve featured with a high bar of talent level for a reason. And it comes down to this simply, good is not good enough for MY SHOW. I want great, and I think so far, Kingsnake, Ajax Rasputin’s Leviathan Variety Show, and The Atomic Bitchwax have more than shown that. To be honest, I dont know if I could ever get anything on MY SHOW to rival Bitchwax’s 20 plus minute live Local Fuzz. Aside from RUSH doing Bytor and The Snowdog or Hemispheres maybe.  But I think this next episode is really special, because I think the band is special. Its not often that a band can have that much of an effect on me, at this late and jaded stage in the game. But every now and then one sneaks up on me. The Stargazer Lilies did just that with their overwhelming ambient tsunami of sound. It really needs to be felt to be appreciated, but I think we did the best anyone could do to capture that on this video. With that in mind, I hope to pass along their gift to others, to appreciate it as I do. And for my intents and purposes, I can think of no greater gift, than the sharing of music in its most honest and intimate relationship. Between a stage and audience. Thats what MY SHOW Live is all about. So look for this episode to go live online sometime in the next few days, you will find it here http://youtu.be/jcC9MP4tW94 . If all goes as planned, I have several other bands lined up for the new year, all unique and dynamic in their own ways, to showcase for us all. Right here at The Living Room in Stroudsburg, where you can watch so close you can feel the music. Oh and get $3 quality beer, cant forget to mention that bonus!. Or you can always listen and watch at your own convenience online. Just do yourself a favor, try to play MY SHOW with headphones or some serious stereo speakers, laptop and phones will just cheat you out of a lot of depth to the recordings.  And that would be a musical shame.

Merry Christmas everyone!

ucsteve

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The Meaning Of Life

That is the question that seems to plague all mankind the world over. And so far the best anyone has ever put forth on the subject was conveyed by Monty Python with their movie bearing that title. But I think I finally figured it out just a few years ago with some sense of clarity. Its really a simple concept unto itself, it’s just the application that is very complicated and demanding. Allow me to explain what The Meaning Of Life, or MY LIFE at least, means to me.
Lets start off with just saying I am almost 47 years old(I know, scares me too!), but the big bang of my universe came to me when I was around 12. Before that there was void, random elements just kind of floating in space for lack of a better expression. That was when I got my hands on the RUSH album Hemispheres, and my whole world changed. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I became aware of the most powerful force throughout the history of mankind, the universal truth…music. It predates language, fire, indoor plumbing, so on and so forth. It was then that almost all of my waking hours for the rest of my life, music was the focus of my attention. Now obviously, there is a lot of history I could go over here, but I think I’ll save all that for future compositions. Otherwise this blog could stretch longer than the Black Friday retail lines. So we’re going to jump ahead about 3 decades.
I think I moved here around 7-8 years ago, from my home of 39 years, the cradle of my existence North Jersey. Suffice to say at that point I had pretty much train wrecked my life for the most part. All my reindeer games had caught up to me, and I had really hit bottom for a number of typical reasons I wont go into here as well. But I was out of options, I had to suck it up and admit I had grounded out, and humbly ask to squat in my Moms basement. I had nothing and nowhere to go, nothing to do, no plans, no dreams, and a backpack of problems to bring with me. It was time to start all over from scratch and try to rebuild, or re-invent myself for my own good. And to makes things worse, just as I started to make my way here, the entire economy dropped like a rock in a pond. Not an easy time to do all this I figure.
But there has always been one constant, one prevalent factor that still glowed in my shell, music. Somehow I still managed to keep at least one foot in the water so to speak. I still shot bands for a while here and there, still kept my relationship with my home publication The Aquarian, and of course…listened to a lot of music.I was also very lucky to make my first friends here at The Main Street Jukebox, and Dreamland Creations. The definitive hub of all that is music there at the time in Stroudsburg. Dreamland was a very musical atmosphere to hang out and work in. I shared and experienced a wide variety of music with owner Myke Maldonado, Artist Sherley Escribano, and in the years to come Artist RenDi Young there. The Jukebox Owner Tom LeFevre and crew, Laura Bee, Steve McDaniel, Charlie, Joe, and a rotating cast of special guest stars I see on a day to day basis there, quickly became core base of my life here. And for that my gratitude knows no bounds.
I was lost, I had absolutely no idea what the hell I should do in this next stage of my life. I drifted though a few jobs over the 1st few years, nothing was clicking. And then a small light started to glow. With the advancement in technology, I started to experiment with recording podcasts with my de facto brother from NJ Wes Ehnert, about the one thing I truly know…music. That led to my foray into online radio, at PIBCO for the next almost 4 years. I finally felt like I was actually onto something. And I was! It came utterly natural to me. I would routinely turn a 3hr show into 5-6 hours of broadcasting live online every Friday night. No scripts, no playlists, just winging it more often than not. And for the record, missing in that run maybe half a dozen shows, usually for the occasional CLUTCH show. I loved it, I lived for it. While muddling through several half assed jobs during that time, even my whole work day my mind would mostly be on, “what can I do for MY SHOW this week?” And this the way it was for a while, but even that had to change.
Something I didnt mention earlier, that bears mentioning now is one of the things I cherished most growing up. Don Kirshners Rock Concert is one, Midnight Special, In Concert, and other live musical performances on TV such as Saturday Night Live. Nothing beats having a band play live, and it was free to all who had TV in that day.
I lived for those shows, as the focus was pretty much purely on the bands representing themselves in the most honest medium, live on the stage. No net, no rebates, no do overs or backtracks. The way ROCK ought to be! That seemed to have gotten lost along the way, even the most popular ROCK show on TV now, really has very little to do with the very point of being in a band in my opinion. Playing Live. And that embryo of thought had been conceived in my mental womb and was starting to gestate, slowly and progressively. One of those back of the mind dreams that routinely gets shuffled and shelved amongst the everyday blather of stuff to do. And then something happened, something started to feed the fetus and it began to grow.
That was reuniting with a long time ago fellow band crew member Dave Reiser. Who it turned out was running a studio not far from here in Easton. He came in to MY SHOW one night, and it was there that I must have mentioned the idea for a live ROCK video show. He was the guy who could do it, and he wanted to. Again my life changed.
And so we shot our 1st episode with The Atomic Bitchwax almost 2 years ago now. The we brought in my friends Kingsnake from Philly, and things started to take a little shape. As this was beginning too build, I had been working on and off(mostly off). Desperate for any work, I wound up approaching the only other thing I know, stage/loader work at The Sherman Theater. They let me work a few shows, and gradually I became part of the staff crew there. Not without almost killing myself first. Atrophy had set in over the hard years to say the least. To that I thank my fellow crew guys for picking up my slack on nights when my body would just give out, literally. In time I would slowly acclimate to the demands of major stage and rigging operation, I am amazed I survived to be honest.
Needless to say in the entertainment business, work ebbs and flows. Sometimes the hours are sparse, and then you have months like this October, where we had some 16-17 shows in one month. Plus the day to day upkeep and various concerns that a large theater built in the 1920′s or 30′s can require. I came to a crossroad of sorts. Do I look for another job that will no doubt help me earn more money, and obviously affect my role at the Theater? But here I have everything I need as far as access and resources to make MY SHOW Live a reality. Do I side step that to live a little easier, get another job I will ultimately hate and find a way to get fired, quit, etc because the only thing on my mind is music? The same pattern I have repeated since the mid 1980′s. Or do I embrace the fact that this is where I belong, and I have to find a way to make it work.
I love doing what I do. I love being around bands, I love talking about bands and music, I love meeting different musicians and crew members, and sharing experiences. I know our crew certainly gets a kick out of my vast supply of storied experiences heh. I have rarely felt more of a sense of accomplishment than having a national act crew member shake my hand at 2-3 in the morning, and say thanks, you guys are great here, we loved working with you guys. The only thing that tops it is when I finish producing an episode, and it dawns on me that I did it. I have somewhat taken the torch that Kirshner and the others left for me, and I am carrying it forward to light up the night with great music and conversation. I have 2 more episodes under my belt, the local ensemble of brilliance from Ajax Rasputin’s Leviathan Variety Show(featuring Lenny Kaye-Patti Smith Group) and one of my first gigs with my new band King Dead(well, new for me). Oh yeah, I’m back to playing drums again, after a Rip Van Winkle like absence. I think a new embryo has started to develop there as well, as we are already recording stuff to hopefully be released soon. I have the next episode of MY SHOW Live currently in production, with The Stargazed Lilies. A band that has to be seen and heard to be believed, and you will see and hear them on MY SHOW soon!
So here I am, Thanksgiving 2013, writing my 1st blog ever. Ive written hundreds of articles over the years but that’s a bit different. SO I am very thankful to know The Meaning Of Life now, for me anyway. I work in music, I work at a great venue, with a great staff. I have my own growing video ROCK show, I do online radio when I want to and about whatever I want, I am making music again and re-learning to play drums again. Here’s a perfect example of how great my life can be at times, I can talk to the drummer I most look up to since I started listening to RUSH 35 years ago, who Ive worked professionally with for years as a photog/writer, I can call him my friend, and I get to set up his gear at our house next month and work for him in a way again.
I may be broke more or less, but I am a very rich man that just earning money couldn’t achieve in my life. I work in music…the most powerful force in human history.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
ucst

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