'

Do It Your F'n Self

...Because no one else will
JUNE 22ND 2015 - ANDRE THE GIANT

Do we have any control over what happens in life or are we just pawns in a grand scheme or a game?  Or do we have control yet in hindsight justify the results of our actions as fate. Just as we have no say in where we are born do we have a say in who comes in our lives? To some degree we can force it I'm sure, but may I believe that a common energy attracts one to another?  In 2011 after years of writing grants and begging any orchestra to play my first symphonic composition, I was ready to give up.  Looking back, I'm really glad some second-rate Texas orchestra didn't steal my money and put forth a half-ass performance. But it's easier to feel comfortable when looking back but when you are in the moment, damn it can hurt.  So here is a quote from Andre in one of our first email correspondences ... 

(NY: Left & Center photo 2012 : Portugal: Right 2015)

"I would be glad to take a look at your score and help you in any way I can. I am always looking for modern composers to work with and I would do that free of charge. I am in a place of my career where I can not say no to "score premieres"."   This was the first positive response I had received but inside I was so certain that it would fall apart.  This email came in February of 2011.  We did not record until May of 2012 and I'm smart enough to know that while you need that much time to plan, it's just as likely that something can go wrong.      A few snags in the road did pop up but I wouldn't be here...
blogging about this, if all had turned out well.  And we even have a successful documentary that was acquired by Gaiam TV that captures the beginning of what is now an amazing friendship.  Andre is like a brother to me. We want to help each other but I feel like I owe him so much.  He has given so much to me that I think about it on a weekly basis of how I can use an opportunity that comes my way, to give back to my friend.  He has since moved from New York to Baltimore and now to his home land in Portugal.  He invited me to write a few pieces for a new orchestra he is conducting in Fatima Portugal.  So here I am in Portugal!!!  Premiering new music and sharing conversations with one of my best friends.  And he is such a kind soul.  Ok, so he does have a potty mouth (sorry Andre but that totally makes you who you are) but he has such a generous spirit.  He encourages me in my development but critiques me in a way that doesn't allow me to become complacent in my writing and experimentation.  That's what I love about classical music is that for me it's so new as if I was in a candy store for the first time!  And then I find out there is a secret cellar below the candy store that I haven't even scratched the surface of!  So here are some photos of my trip in Portugal.  I hope to release a recording of some of the music performed in the future.  And I hope to give back to Andre ten fold for he was the first to give me an opportunity and give me hope that there is a path out there for my crazy dreams...


       







JUNE 16TH 2015 - Digging a Hole

I can't help but think of the Beatles.  Of course my mom played Sgt. Peppers on repeat every night for what seemed like a year.  But I can't really remember the lyrics anymore.  I became a Beach Boys fan and got tired of the Beatles.  I think about Brian Wilson quite a bit and all he went through. At such an early age having such great success coupled with his past...and oh ya...drugs.  Anyone that know me knows Pet Sounds trumps all.  I actually popped it in recently and heard something entirely new in the lyrics!  But I digress.  I'm digging a hole in me.  I'm digging deeper inside than I've explored before.  Its painful.  But its honest.  Maybe too honest.  But what happens when you keep digging?  Does your shovel hit a rock and it ends there?  Can you dig so deep that you can't see the light shining in?  Can you dig so deep that you can't get out?  Do you reach the core?  Man, I have a feeling no matter what this is really going to hurt...


JUNE 14TH 2015

I never watched the end of ground hog day but I LOVE the movie.  Does it have a happy ending?  Why can't movies have multiple endings?  Or would that water down the artistic and entertainment value?  What if you are stuck in a vicious cycle of life?  We have it ingrained in our psyche that history repeats itself so do we have no control of our future?  Will the rabbit ever win the race or does he have to become like the turtle.  Its been ingrained in my psyche that I'm the rabbit and my brother is the tortoise and its becoming a cycle I want to change.  Wait does the rabbit even cross the finish line in the story?  I love my brother and he can win in his race in life but I'd like to win in my life on my own journey.  Or at least cross the finish line...


JUNE 6TH 2015 - Barcelona

What is going on!  I am struggling inside.  I was robbed in Barcelona.  I can't get the images out of my head of the people that blindsided me.  I am angry at myself for letting guard down but also at these people that do this.  I should forgive right?  I should wish them well as I don't know their situation right?   But it is difficult.  Paranoia has set in.  My friend Simon whom I was with has really encouraged me in a weird New Zealand type of Zen way by not saying too much or too little.  Having him around has been a blessing as I may have fallen in a dark hole.  Simon is also a composer.  A fantastically brilliant one might I add that I met in Bulgaria for a project in 2013.  We talked about the correlation between composing and life and being in a moment that you can't see past the fog.  You can't put aside your emotions and rationalize.  I started meditating on this journey through Europe for various reasons but i feel this incident exposed that I'm still in an infantile stage.  Is this a setback or check point?  And I am grateful for the blessings in my life but internally I feel close to rock bottom but I am not paddling against the current.  I have tossed my oars in the water and fading downstream with the current.  I know I have to come to shore and build a stronger raft with a rock solid foundation.  Something I should have done years ago but I've been afraid of the dark.  Images swirl in my head and heart of what being in a black hole must feel like.  Much like the images of those to men that robbed me, that are etched in my memory in the dark streets in Barcelona.  The unknown can be frightening... But I know I have to let go...


MAY 29TH 2015

Sitting at a cafe in Prague waiting to catch a bus to Munich.  I don't really have a lot to say today. Much like writing music.  What's the purpose if you have nothing to say?  Notes are notes.  Anyone can learn to write notes but can you learn to have something to say?  I think only the world can offer that to you. I've had so many impressions lately as I trek from city to city but what do they all mean and are they important?  I've journaled a lot (which is rare for me) and I started a new piece for opera.  I'm considering releasing my journals alongside the music so people can get inside my true thoughts and emotions.  It'd be the most honest and personal thing I've put out there because I'm exposing raw thoughts and emotions that most would hide.  But I like real.  I like knowing what my favorite artists "really" went through and what they "really" though.  Besides, it's easy to hide and be fake isn't it?  That's what social media is for right?  

       


I wrote them in the moment and I can reflect on them along with pictures to flush out the opera when I return home.  It's nothing crazy.  Typical love, longing, loss, confusion, frightened, and ranting.  Speaking of pictures, I added some photos to my Flickr because it's really hard for me to post pictures on this blog sometimes.  I suck at html...bad! But here are a few pictures and here is the link to many more - FLICKR





MAY 25TH 2015

My birthday past and present. Today I find myself in Pristina, Kosovo.  It's my birthday.  I'm
not big on birthdays and I usually get away from my hometown for the occasion.  But I'm  sitting here realizing the two memorable birthdays for me are ones I spent with loved ones. By far the best birthday moment for me came three years ago in Wuhan China.  I was on tour with my group, The Noise Revival Orchestra, and we had trouble at the train station. Half of the group made the train and four of us were left stranded.  We had to book a flight a few hours later and taxi it across the city just to make the flight!  We rushed and barely made it to the show.  I actually still wonder how the others members that made the train got to the venue because Wuhan was a chaotic city and few foreigners compared to Shanghai. None the less we blasted through our set with an
Click to see video
amazing energy. But what came next will last with me a lifetime. I walked off stage and the   crowd called for an encore and then...the band busted out with a rock version of Happy Birthday.  The crowd joined in and some came on stage and danced.  Afterwards there was an insane line of fans wanting a photo with us and then we danced the night away!  It was so special.  And I spent it with my then girlfriend whom I had only been dating for five months (center of photo).  We were thrown in to a whirlwind of intense traveling and we realized we were at our best as travel companions.  Our theme for the night was throwing up the "W" with our hands and you can see the band demonstrating this in the photo.  In the back with a beer bottle wedged in his mouth is Tyler our drummer and translator!  Standing to the left of Anita is Vince! And on the right of the photos with his head cut off (wearing a tie) is Josh. So here I am in Kosovo.  The sun came out after weeks of the rain following me
Bill Clinton statue in Kosovo
through Europe. It's an interesting city. The economic situation is grim but people  here talk about hope.  I met a  woman that shared with me how she love America because her children can grow up without an on going war. But you still see the remnants of the war.  So many buildings are tattered and torn. It really makes me stop and think about my life and how we all come from different environments and how they play a role in our lives.  I got choked up when the lady was expressing her feelings. And as I walked away I began to wonder what I would take home with me from this trip to Kosovo. Would it be like a great movie or book that inspires me but then also deceives my emotions?  When I get back home or back working with the orchestra in Portugal will I feel

the same or will I be distracted?  Whatever it is I know I'm changing and growing.  I feel foolish and ashamed to barely realize the important people and blessings in my life that I have taken for granted.  But that's life right? We only get one of them and we can't go back in time to fix things.  The trail is behind me but my decisions have surely altered my course.  But we do get second chances sometimes.  In my case I may need a fifth or sixth chance for some things.  I would at least like a last chance...



MAY 18TH 2015

I'm in Paris at the moment.  I'll be honest as I told myself I would for this blog.  I wish I was
Click to go to Gaiam TV
sharing these moments together.  But here I am alone in my thoughts.  Reflecting.  Always dreaming. Trying to accept who I am.  But anything I accept I will eventually rebel against. And so the cycle continues.  I wish to cease thought but this week I was reminded of a time when I was at a different crossroads seeking more for my musical soul.  The connection I want with someone in my experience in Paris and in life is similar to the connection I wanted in my musical journey.  I decided to take a risk.  The result?  The story is still being told.  But the beginning phases of writing a symphony despite no formal training were captured in a documentary, The Curse and the Symphony. What began as a personal dream is something I was afraid to believe could turn into a full-fledged career.  After a year long film festival run that included screenings at over
Click to view Trailer
25 film festivals and winning awards for Best Documentary and Documentary of Merit, The Curse and the Symphony is now in the hands of Gaiam, who will feature the film on their channel.  The company’s streaming video subscription service, Gaiam TV, features films dedicated to yoga, fitness, conscious media, personal growth and spirituality and most importantly it lines up with my values.  So as I dream up the next portion of my life, go visit GaiamTV.com for more information on checking out The Curse and the Symphony and other inspirational films (Gaiam TV is available on a variety of platforms including Roku, iPad, and iPhone).  And maybe next time my special someone can enjoy my adventure with me.  At least I'll dreaming so!!!



MAY 6TH 2015

I first came to SPOT FESTIVAL in 2010.  I lived in a castle for 4 days to connect and write with songwriters from different parts of Europe (Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, US).  We performed newly written songs a few days later at the festival.  It was an interesting experience but less so for the music.  It reemphasized and motivated me to push myself even more into orchestral explorations because I was disappointed that with so many different artists thrown together from exotic countries, that all the music and ideas were bland.  I felt that I was lying to myself by saying I had interesting ideas. Plus it was a bit corny and cheesy…like summer camps can be.  But what I took advantage of was being
Click for photo gallery
at SPOT.  I made a point to meet as many new people as I could which have now led to some of my most amazing friendships.  Some are musicians and music industry related but not all.  I have even helped a lot of them with artistic and logistical matters in Austin when they have reached out.  But I have never expected anything in return, so when I received the letter from SPOT with support to record and premiere my 2
nd symphony, NEON HEAVEN, I was blown away!  I remember sitting at a café in Minneapolis a few hours before my film, The Curse and the Symphony, was going to have it’s film premiere, not feeling particularly well.  I was stressed out about many issues with finding a venue (wait until I blog about the venue fiasco), orchestra, and funding for NEON HEAVEN.  Then I got “the” letter.  Wide-eyed and drunk with laughter I looked in the sky and sat in awe and rang up my Mom to share the excitement.  And a lot can fall apart or not come to fruition, but now – 14 months later here I am.  In Denmark.  At SPOT.  Learning to let life unfold organically.  Thankful.  Excited.  Ready.   


And now I get to meet even more  people.   One in particular, conductor Mathias Sorensen, 
Click for Gaffa concert review
who was the one conductor in Denmark to see a high value in my music and  an opportunity to build something.  Of course he is a thoughtful and wonderful person in addition to his fine conducting skills, so that makes it even more enjoyable. I truly got to work with the orchestra.  I got to meet each one and talk individually with them about their part.  It was so much fun to be in this setting and watching the piece evolve.  We even laughed and talked trivial matters just to get to know each other, which in this “classical music” world is rare.  I often wonder if I simply come off as annoying because I am so curious to know all the members.  At one point a musician expressed that they were embarrassed that they did not rehearse the piece with perfection, but I told her she was crazy!  It’s the process I enjoy just like getting to build a friendship.   





APRIL 21ST 2015
Off to Europe!  Next stop is my second home, Denmark, where my 2nd symphony, NEON HEAVEN, will premiere at the SPOT Festival!  Here are a few excerpts of the symphony that I'm excited to share.  I tried to chop them up into small samples for this short attention span generation. Show me some love!  It'll make my day if you take a listen.





APRIL 14TH 2015
 
The ebb and flow of life can be a bit confusing at times.  You don't really have time to stop and figure it out as life just keeps moving on.  Here I am...dare I say...a composer!  I still don't feel like one, but having two premiere's of symphonic works I've composed must mean something right?  Or does it have to be by the London Philharmonic to mean something?   
PHOTOS from the premiere of The Curse the Cross & The Lion in Chagrin, OH - Feb 14 2015
    


Live in the moment.  Cliche?  Profound?  Moments come and go by the minute.  That's the beauty of them, right?  Life had been stressful leading up to "Indie Orchestra Night", an idea I have wanted to pursue for years that would blend indie singers backed by and orchestra and choir.  I have always felt like it's my duty to contribute something new to my city that has given me so much.  I started The Noise Revival Orchestra as a model of this grandiose vision I had and I just stuck with it.   

 Photo's from Indie Orchestra Night in Austin TX - March 10 2015

The most rewarding part of it all.  My friends.  My family.  My fellow colleagues/musicians on stage.  The overall sentiment was one of an unexplainable magic in the air.  
Hearts & lives were truly touched. My friends responses sum it up best.  Because I realize what  I  love  about  music  is it opens  up this platform to share  stories  and  meet  people around the  world.  I care about people and I cherish every  friendship  I have made along the way.  It's  such  a  blessing to be in a city and world that is  full  of caring, creative, and passionate people  that  inspire  one another. 

Not a week goes by (2 months later) without running into someone who tells me it was amazing how we pulled off hip-hop and orchestra!?  Or how Dana Falconberry made them cry.  Or how they had always dreamt of hearing Shearwater songs backed with a full array orchestral instruments.  And to think we are all deeply moved by something as simple yet complex as music.  

So here I am.  Living life as a dreamer.  An adventurer.  A risk taker.  A COMPOSER who just had two different symphonic works premiered in less than a month!  And I have two more coming in Europe in May and June.  Heck ya I'm excited about it because there were days when the rejections letters bore heavily.  While the New York Phil isn't knocking on my door (yet) and most of my opportunities seem self made, I really wouldn't have it any other way.  This is my adventure and like the title of my blog says...I got do it my F'in self...why? That's right!  Because nobody else is gonna to do it for me.  

     
MARCH 24TH 2015

Check out this fun interview I did while I was in Ohio last month for the premiere of my 1st symphony, The Curse the Cross & the Lion!  This originally aired on WKYC Cleveland a few Saturday's back.  It was such a blast getting to kick it and meet Myra Rosario (host) and her producer Trina!  They were extremely sweet.  








MARCH 12TH 2015

If you missed the show, you missed out! Tears were shed, smiles were cracked, and joy was spread...Oh what a magical night it was!  I'm so thankful for The Texas Choral Consort and creative director, Brent Baldwin for believing in the idea enough to team up with me and Don Haynes for his generosity in opening the doors to his theatre!  So many people came together to make it happen. Here is a review by Austin 360 Arts of "Indie Orchestra Night" and photos of the show taken by photographer, Ashley Bradley of the blog OVRLD.  





MARCH 2ND 2015


I had a blast today visiting the KUT studio's in Austin and talking to John Aielli on the air, alongside conductor and co-collaborator, Brent Baldwin about Indie Orchestra Night.  Listen as John rants about highway 183! & skip ahead to the 8 minute mark for a first listen at new excerpts from my yet-to-be-released 2nd symphony, NEON HEAVEN.









FEBRUARY 24TH 2015

HUGE show you HAVE to come to on March 7th!  I don't just use capital letters for nothing! So why is it big? Well, an excerpt from my 2nd symphony, NEON HEAVEN, is being premiered BUT I'm also producing the show and trying to bring something unique to the city I grew up in.  Together with the Texas Choral Consort, we are presenting 4 indie artists from Austin and backing them up with a 120-person choir and orchestra!  It is going to EPIC and GRANDIOSE and you don't want to miss it!  

But tickets HERE
Click on the poster to go to the Facebook Event page.

Date: Saturday March 7, 2015 - 7PM
Address:  The Don T. Haynes Theater (LBJ High School); 7309 Lazy Creek Drive
Tickets:  www.txconsort.org/product-catalog
Featured Artists:  Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, Dana Falconberry, Zeale,
The Rocketboys, & Nathan Felix’s symphony #2 preview





FEBRUARY 22ND 2015

HUGE Feature by The Austinot who interviewed me about Indie Orchestra Night, the show I'm producing featuring Texas Choral Consort plus an orchestra backing up 4 killer artists from Austin - Shearwater, Dana Falconberry, Zeale & The Rocketboys.  A movement from my 2nd symphony, NEON HEAVEN, will also premiere.  Read the full story HERE or by clicking on the image below.




FEBRUARY 3RD 2015


What ever happened to Keith Van Horn?

Remember the long socks? And the glory days at Utah?  I mean, when will Utah ever be a force in NCAA basketball again? To me Keith Van Horn is synonymous with my childhood love of basketball...and Kerry Kittles...and long black socks (Note: Kittles only wore one sock high)!  LOL!  You may be asking yourself "So why Keith Van Horn?".  Well, the third movement of my 1st symphony, The Curse the Cross & The Lion was featured on at PBS show called Daytripper.  


The episode was about the town of Van Horn!  Have you heard of Van Horn?  Well if you have ever taken the trek from Central Texas out west to California you may have missed it!  Broken Down the Walls!

I stumbled on it one night when I ran out of steam and booked into a dingy hotel room in the middle of nowhere.  I woke up to a ghost town and almost picked up a grave digging job!  Ghost towns like Van Horn are beautiful.  Now I stop every time I head west.  That's the beauty of Texas.  The open roads and the big blue sky.  They have this junkyard out in Van Horn...also known as an "antique store" that I always go in and look at.  I love rummaging through the old books, mason jars, cactus inspired art, and their Pepsi machine from the 1950's!  If you haven't been to Van Horn you can learn all about it on the PBS episode of Daytriper.  And when they get to the haunted house...yep!  That's my song. 






JANUARY 12th 2015

Nothing is easy.  Every day is a struggle and I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing.  Every day I get some email or call with someone canceling on me or shifting gears.  I often get down when hearing any initial bad news.  But I adjust.  I calm down and shift gears when necessary.  I don't know if it'd be better or as gratifying to have everything fall into place the way I imagine it?  All I know is there is no turning back... 



JANUARY 9th 2015

FRIDAY FLASHBACK (Iceland - 2012)
It's been a crazy 1st week of the new year mainly because a lot of cool things are falling into place for past and future projects on my plate.  It's overwhelming in that exciting way.  I had to take a walk on the hiking trail today.  It was beautiful as I was the only one out there.  Being out in nature and hearing that heavy water stream reminded me of a trip I took to Iceland a few years back to play music.  It turned out to be a memorable experience.  I wanted to share it on my blog.  Stay tuned for a handful of updates. Until then, here is the flashback...


Alone, cold & a bit scared.  I am unsure if I should turn around, or move forward.  Mountains are to my left, the ocean to my right and I see no signs of civilization in front of  or behind me.  I’m on a bike, with 2 bottles of water, some bread, and a banana and somewhere between 18 & 25 more miles to go.  Up to this point my trip to Iceland has been one of the worst trips of my life, but I won’t get in to the reasons why.  The plans and aspirations I had coming here, quickly withered and now I’m isolated in the suburbs.  But everything happens for a reason, right?  Was I to find myself or learn something from this?  Out of something bad can rise something beautiful, right?  On the outside I could tell you that I was learning about the human race and how I needed to be more careful on whom I trust.  Or that this was a sign that I was plateauing in my life and career and it was time to further disassociate myself with the “non-contributors” in my life.  Anything to make myself feel better right?  But I already know these lessons and they weren’t going to help me for the next 20 miles!
So let me back up a bit.  Two days in and it all becomes apparent that this trip was a mistake.  I couldn’t fly out early, so I decided that it was up to my trusty steed, to show me the way!  The day started out way later than I would have liked it to, but I had this urge to get there.  I knew I had until 9 pm and with it being 3 already, it was now or never.  I jumped on my bike and headed out.  It was a bit rough from the get go.  I was stopping every 5 minutes to ask for help because the street names often changed and I was a bit nervous from riding a bike on the highway!  I did encounter some unusual characters along the way.  For instance one guy I stopped said he would not help me unless I smoked one of his cigarettes.  He then told me that he wanted me to try mailing him small amounts of drugs and he would mail me back something special from Iceland!  Hah!  The girl he was with then pulled out this tube of special lotion that she bought one time that was to be used at the Fountain of Youth.  She said “I will never make it there, so please take this and make good use of it”.  From that moment I knew my trip was of destiny.  I had to make it there for this reason alone.  Everyone of course looked at me like I was a complete fool and often reminded me that it was 34 miles away!
Eventually I made it out of the city and it was a 25 mile ride in the mountainous terrain.  I kept those legs churning and it’s here where it was just me all alone, with my thoughts, with nature, with God.  I thought many thoughts; I screamed, I laughed, I cried, I hoped, I cursed, I remembered, I pleaded.  I really don’t know the point of why my body and soul was being broken down so badly.  Oh wait, it was to make it there to use the lotion, right!  Running out of water, I knew I had to get there soon.  I couldn’t be another senseless American tragedy in Iceland!  In the distance I saw a sign that looked like it said Fountain of Youth in Icelandic, so I went with it and exited!  Now it was only 3.5 miles to go, but I could see it in the mountain ahead, so I used that as motivation!
When I arrived, I could barely walk.  It was cold, desolate, and quiet.  I don’t know if I was expecting something brighter and more enlightening, but I felt alone again at this moment.   But if there was ever a contrast between light and dark, this was it.  I continued down an isolated trail and when inside the fountain, it was like discovering the Garden of Eden of some sort!   For 3 hours the physical pain relinquished itself to the natural beauties of Iceland.  I can’t really explain any more from the moments I was in there.  Let’s just say I got lost.  I wanted to stay lost because I was fearing the ride home.  I won’t bore you with the details on the ride back but know that I mainly cursed!  Whoever invented the bike seat should be punished!  Oh and I got my first real scare.  I was chased by a sketchy guy wearing a hoodie and riding a scooter!  He tried to trap me!  Be careful in Rekyjavik at 2 in the morning even when the sun is out!
So Iceland ended on a positive note.  Our show at Faktory was well promoted, the crowd was very warming, and we sold out of our CD’s.  But the best part of it was we had the pleasure of gracing the stage with my new favorite Icelandic band, Nolo.  They were fantastic and I’m excited to see where they go and possibly help them out in Austin sometime!   Until next time Reykjavik!




NOVEMBER 14th 2014


MAGICAL TOUR IN TAIWAN...AND JAPAN!!!

Magical is the best way I can describe how my recent tour to Taiwan and Japan felt.  Here I am once again on a plane returning home.  A little worn out but feeling revitalized.  I'm already happy in life but I feel I can tackle more and that the future is even brighter.  I went all out on this tour.  I lived every moment like it was my last breath.  No regrets!  I'm getting choked up thinking about the new friends I've made, the random encounters in the streets of Osaka, Taipei, Tokyo, Lure, etc that I'll remember forever, and the amazing crowds who I had the privilege of entertaining.  (Side note:  I'm also wondering why I always get choked up when I'm in the air?  I'm watching "Finding Vivian Maier" and it is warming my heart.  A must watch.  I feel even more inspired).  On that note, I have never had more fun playing live than I did this time.  Maybe I'm out of my shell.  Maybe I don't care to please anymore.  Or maybe I just look at it less seriously and more of way to entertain to bring people together.  There is a problem though.  I've become addicted.  I want more.  I thought I had hung up my cleats after my 2012 China tour and then this offer to play in Taiwan and japan came out of left field. 

And now I want more.  And now I will find more.  Why can't I be the rock n roll composer?  I can rock out at festivals a few times a year as a break from orchestral composing, can't I?  Dream big right?!!!  You never know where it will get ya! 


My trip felt like a dream.  There is no doubt I get to see unique parts of new countries and cultures as a touring musician more so than a tourist/visitor.  Anyone can travel but not everyone gets to get sucked into whirlwind of an adventure like you do when you tour.  And this one all began in Taichung, Taiwan. 
DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?

Before this tour the biggest crowd I had played to was about 400-500 on a handful of occasions.  But even those shows weren't as fun as shows I've played to 200 sweaty kids jammed in club and dancing their tails off.  Quality over quantity right?  Mmmmm  maybe.   But what if you can get both!?  I just did the jump from playing for 500 to 30,000 and then 50,000 the very next night!  Man what a rush.  I don't care how great an intimate crowd can be. It pales in comparison to the roar of 50,000 strong!  I stood at the edge of the stage, pumped my fist in the air, took a deep breath and soaked in the energy of that roar.  I still have goose bumps.  I still remember the crowds surfers going up and thinking to myself WOW!  I use to crowd surf at festivals and now people are crowd surfing to my music!!!  And then at the end, the crowd rushed the stage and we truly danced the night away during our encore.  I thought the stage was going to cave in!   I love you Taichung!!!  My heart will always remember you as the first.  But...you will not be the last...

                                                     
  

WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG!!!
It has all come together.  Screw the serious indie bull shit i tried so hard to shove down peoples throats when i was younger.  I found my audience.  I can compose for orchestra when I want to get serious but when I'm on a stage I'm not a musician.  I'm an entertainer. I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out!    Something just comes over me.  Anyone can play songs.  But I now enjoy interacting and getting the crowd involved because I love having a crowd at my fingertips and excited to see what's up my sleeve.  I don't even know what's up my sleeve.  Its all improv which is scary when I sit back and actually think about it.

                       
JAPAN
I remember walking outside of Osaka at maybe 6ish in the morning one time and stillness around me.  The moon was gorgeous and every step echoed of the covered passage ways.  I could smell something cooking afar.  A smile and a deep breath made for a beautiful memory.   And the culture in Japan was beautiful and rich.  The people are beautiful in this respectful sorta way.  I need more.  So what is next?  I need to let this soak in.  It could be another trip I look back at as simply being a fun adventure but I think it has the potential to be a trip that alters the course of my life when all is said and done.  Too many special moments happened on this trip that I'll never forget.  Ya know?  The ones that seem to be part of your destiny.  The ones your gut tells you are happening for a reason.

  
For now I have a full plate!  Both my symphonies are being performed in 2015 in the USA and abroad!   Spring will find me in Portugal and Denmark and then summer in Paris.  But what does any of it really mean?  Who cares what we do.  Does it mean anything?  Deep down it's funny because I'm that same 14 yr old shy, awkward, scared boy.  But why?  I guess im still figuring out that part. For now ill excuse myself by saying it's me respecting the moment.  But none the less, somehow I have to find time to get back to Osaka for a significant amount of time.  There is something cool happening in that city and I need my finger on the pulse!





NOVEMBER 12th 2014

Woohoo!  I just took home 2nd place at the Fresh Minds Festival in College Station, TX for, Broken Down the Walls, the video collaboration with Blake Weaver.  Broken Down the Walls is the 3rd movement from my first symphony, The Curse the Cross & The Lion.  The symphony is still going strong a year later as this video, the documentary, and the music is still getting recognized and offers for screenings and performances!




JANUARY 15th 2015

I have a date for Valentines Day!!!   You know that day where "true-love" meets consumerism, obligation, and un-met expectations!?  I have some horror stories from previous Valentines days, but I've had a few cool moments like that time it snowed in Austin when I was kickin it with my best bud dt or that time NPR chose a song of mine for their song of the day.  

This year will be my finest date.  I'm already sweating and getting that queasy feeling in my stomach.  I was actually asked out on this date.  That's a first!  I'm already thinking about what I'm going to wear.  It's not black tie affair for me.  2015 will be a year of excess and exotic for me.  

So who's the lucky one, you may be asking yourself?  The Chagrin Studio Orchestra, conducted by Steve Eva, will be my date as they will premiere my symphony, The Curse The Cross & The Lion!!! That's right!  I'll be taking my talents to the Buckeye state to the community of Chagrin Falls outside of Cleveland (Seriously I'm the lucky one).  I get to see all my friends from The Chagrin Doc Film Festival and The Valley Arts Center!

NOW MY GOAL is to scrounge up enough funds (around $800 for a roundtrip flight) to make the flight to Cleveland and I'm hoping all you lovely people out there will help me and enjoy the World Premiere of my symphony with me.  I have a bag full of goodies (Cd, Vinyl record, Symphony picture book, poster) that I'll gladly share for any contribution made.  Heck for a huge donation you can be my special guest to all the events for the entire weekend!


Donate via paypal via this button or sending directly to my paypal account at thenoiserevival@gmail.com



This is a truly going to be a special moment for me, so I must thank everyone that has helped me in my journey over the last decade and beyond when I had that crazy goal to start writing symphonies.  You all know who you are!  Much LOVE!  




OCTOBER 31st 2014
Just a quick update!  I thought I'd have more time to post more often but things have been insane.  Here are a few photos of the festivals we have played.  And wow what amazing food in both Taiwan and Japan!
   
         
OCTOBER 15th 2014

It's time to leave...Much to my “Chagrin” Falls, OH

The last time I was in Ohio, I left with a sour feeling in my spirit.  I’d say it was around 2006 while touring with the original inception of The Noise Revival, when it featured my brother, Stephen and best friends Adam and Eddie "Money"!   We had an important show that our friends from the now defunct, The Story Of, booked for us in their home town of Athen, OH.  (BTW: The singer from Story Of has a rad new jean company, Noble Denim, that you need to check out if you are a fashionista).  Plus my Mom went to school in Athens so I thought that was kinda neat too! It was important because it was specially organized with bands that had a strong draw in the area and that meant that we would make more money from the door.  On top of that, we knew we could probably sell a lot of our new CD at the time, To The Seven Churches in the Province of Asia.   


For whatever reason, I had an off night.  An off night reading the map correctly.  And as my band mates knew, I was the one that was organized and really ran the ship.  I took one wrong road and somehow or another by the time we figured it out, we couldn’t simply alter our path, but we had to turn around and go all the way back.  It had something to do with crossing the wrong river.   We desperately tried to speed to get to the venue but I vividly remember arriving right as the last band was finishing and a few hundred people scurrying out.  We were too late.   It hurt us financially, exposure wise, and didn’t give us an opportunity to work our magic and find a locals’ pad to crash at.   I took it hard.  We got back in the van and just started driving to the next city in Michigan.   Adam and my brother were quiet in the back and soon passed out.  Eddie was at the helm, driving and I grabbed our bottle of Scotch we were saving to celebrate with, and Eddie and I began to drown our sorrows, when Journey’s, Don’t StopBelieving, came on.  I will admit that I hate that song because it’s overplayed at karaoke and at bars but that night we belted our lungs out like we were representing a fraternity!   Eddie said the song was appropriate and that we have to move forward.  In the end, it actually STILL bugs me that we missed that show in Athens because I can’t figure out why!   But that memory I have with Eddie is one that I’ve never forgotten and one of my favorite moments with one of my best friends.   Maybe I needed that memory more so that a great show experience.  After all, it was after that tour that I returned home and began my journey as a composer.  Here's to the original inception of The Noise Revival and to my 3 brothers who helped me get my musical feet off the ground, that I traveled the US with, and have so many special memories.  




2ND TIME IS THE CHARM?

So I finally make my return to Ohio this time for the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival.  This time in Chagrin Falls (suburb of Cleveland).

I’m on a plane leaving as I type this and after 5 glorious days I feel like an honorary citizen of Chagrin.  I can honestly say that this trip to Ohio is one of the most memorable and exciting trips I’ve had thus far in my music career.  I won’t even begin to try and explain all the moments.   I think it’s too personal.  They came at the right time in my life, just like that Journey song did a decade earlier.  And I talk in a lot of my blog posts about the friendships that can cultivate at film festivals, but this was something different.  There was an energy in the city and in the community.  They really rolled out the red carpet for ME (literally and figuratively!).   But like never before have people responded to the music and passion behind it all.  Chagrin got “it”!  It was so beautiful to share the film 4 times with large audiences and then get to be all quirky and uncomfortable at the Q&A’s.  There was so much encouragement that I leave feeling so inspired to keep going strong and even turn it up a notch.  OH (get it), and then I really can’t believe we won the award for Best Documentary Short

 
What on Earth is going on!   2 awards at the last 2 festivals!  It reminds me that so many people have dedicated hard work to make this successful and I really hope that it means a lot to the director, David Schulte.  I can’t think of a better guy to receive recognition for his work.   

While in Chagrin, I made a little trip in to Cleveland for a radio interview with Mark Satola at WCLV and I wanted to share it with you.  Just click on the photo if you want to hear it!  

And it turns out I might be back in Chagrin in the new future as there was an offer to perform The Curse The Cross & The Lion sometime in the future with the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and maybe even record my 3rd (say what)!  Getting back would mean a lot because that’s when friendships really begin to develop.  And plus I still regret that I promised all those kids in the Faroe Islands that I’d return to play some more shows and I still haven’t :/

Special thanks to the Kusiks, my new friend Laurie, Katie the non-volunteer, Steve Eva, Jamie and Heather, Dewey, Mary L, so many more and of course Mary Ann Ponce!





OCTOBER 7th 2014

HELLO CLEVELAND!   

I'm live on the air this Thursday at 2:30 (CST). Tune in to 104.9 FM in Cleveland, or stream from anywhere at wclv.org.  I’ll be interviewing with WCLV’s Mark Satola about the short documentary film I'm featured in, “The Curse and the Symphony” by David Schulte.


AND


The Cleveland Movie Blog
reviewed The Curse and the Symphony, David Schulte's documentary about my 8-year journey into classical music after years of rockin' out!  The Curse and the Symphony kicks off the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival tomorrow (10/8)!  Chagrin Falls is just outside the Cleveland city limits, so if you are in the area go check out the film!  Click here for a complete list of showtimes.  Click on the pic below for the full review.  WARNING:  Spoiler alert!




Oh!  and I decided I was going to bust out the jacket once again and see if Cleveland/Chagrin Falls can handle my Kenyan flare courtesy of designer, Patricia Mbela!  Lebron better watch out!  


Why ask Why? - The Catalina Island Fever Experience

Life is really starting to heat up & I can feel myself falling into that nervous stage. I'm juggling numerous film scoring projects,  while traveling every other week to a film festival to screen The Curse & the Symphony, still recording small parts of my 2nd symphony, and my month long tour to Asia with The Noise Revival is a few weeks away.  

I wouldn't change anything, sans a few gray hairs.  And I really hope that I can get into a lot more film festivals in the coming months (although I licensing deal is in the works) because I love meeting so many talented and friendly people from all over the world!  This weekend was no exception as it was the perfect way to get to know Catalina Island.  The adventure started with an uncertainty as to where I would sleep while on the Island but the day before I got word from The Catalina Film Festival that I'd be staying at the home of a local, Val. Val was a sweetheart and saved me from sleeping on the beach and being all grungy!  And this was not the festival to be grungy at.  Being an "L.A. based" film festival, gave this experience that extra flavor of glitz and glamour.  I'm not big into stargazing but it's pretty cool to be on the red carpet with the likes of William Macy, Andy Garcia, Emily Rossum, and Danielle Fishell, etc. 


Speaking of Danielle Fisher aka Topanga from Boy Meets World aka a childhood crush of mine...the film she starred in wasn't that great (think a mix between a Hallmark and Lifetime movie), but it introduced me to a composer, Hamed Hokamzadeh, who highlighted numerous scenes with his unique music stylings.  I ended up kickin it with Hamed throughout the rest of the festival and proud to have a new hilariously funny friend!  Check out his stuff sometime.   And that was the real value in the festival; meeting young filmmakers and creative talents.  Another being Muzappar Osman, who not only gets an award for coolest name, but for best film I saw this weekend (and he actually won an award from the festival, and not that awards matter but he was actually robbed of the best short in his category as the winner had to have paid to win because it was the worst film I saw at the festival and I wasn't alone in thinking that).  Nothing beats meeting down-to-earth, interesting, well-traveled people.  His film, Money Box, isn't on his site yet but look out for it.   

The Coolest Part of the Festival...
Was winning an award!  The Curse and the Symphony won the award for Documentary of Merit and I never win awards (see the bottom of this blog for my initial blog post to prove it)



The Worst Part of the Festival...
Stepping outside the awards ceremony at the worst possible time.  Yes, you guessed it!  I walked out for a few moments when I won an award!  What luck?  I felt completely embarrassed.
So the lesson learned is...When in doubt, Don't go out!

  

Coolest non-film related moment...
...was meeting a cheery fellow named Lamont Carr.  Don't you just love being around people that bring that upbeat energy and ear-to-ear grin everywhere you go.  But that wasn't the unique part of Lamont.  Lamont was on the last team at Virginia basketball to win an ACC championship 35+ years ago (before they recently did it this past year).  How cool to hear stories of Dean Smith, Ralph Sampson, and the ACC in the 70's.  You see, I grew up loving sports, but ultimately I lost that connection with the culture surrounding them (and the annoying media).   I love to sneak in a game once in a while because it completely relaxes me and takes me out of my constant world of hobnobbing about music and/or film.  So thank you Lamont for crossing paths with me!

Virginia Basketball alum



"Flashback" non-film moment...
Oh the frightening powers of advertising.  There is no reason one of my memories from my childhood should be a catchy phrase from a beer commercial.  OR maybe it primed me for THIS moment as an adult when the phrase "Why ask Why" comes sputtering out of the mouth of a filmmaker sitting next to me!  And I can finish it off with "TRY BUD DRY"  I've never had a Bud Dry as it never caught on (although the filmmaker Sam said they sell it in a few random select place in the US...And the hunt begins for me!!!)   but Finally I can get this phrase out of my soul that has haunted me!!!!!  Remember, you never know when your name is going to be called on!



And guess what, that creates this snow ball effect reminiscing about other strange products like Crystal Clear Pepsi!   Does anyone remember?  As much as I love the nostalgia of Crystal Clear Pepsi, it also introduced me to Van Halen, which actually my ears could have done without.



Ending Credits 
So thank you Ron for believing in The Curse and the Symphony and giving me the opportunity to be part of the festival.  You threw an amazing event and have an amazing energy!  Thank you Val for opening your doors for me, Karyl for taking care of me at the festival, and Xamara for continually expressing how The Curse and the Symphony was one of your favorite films.  That meant more than you know!  Goodbye Catalina (for now) and get ready Chagrin Falls where The Curse and the Symphony will open the festival in a few weeks.  The story continues...


SEPTEMBER 30th 2014

VETTA MAGAZINE featured me in their October edition. They highlight the recent film festival success for my documentary, The Curse and the Symphony, my upcoming tour in Taiwan and Japan, and more!  Pick up a copy in Austin or check it out online HERE.





SEPTEMBER 20th 2014 (Just droppin' N)
I'M HOMELESS...  SOS!!!


Trouble is looming and I find myself ignoring the inevitable.  I will be homeless on September 26th.  Why oh why do I get myself in these predicaments!   OK OK, it's not as bad as it sounds.  Here's the scoop.  

Not such a bad place to be homeless!
One can find anything on the internet these days, correct?  Well not when you are looking for a place to stay on Catalina Island!  For those unfamiliar with Catalina (as I was), according to Wikipedia it is a rocky island off the coast of California, located about 22 miles south-southwest of L.A.  I'm going for the Catalina Film Festival which I'm overly stoked about!  Ya my documentary will screen again, but I'm all about the wine tastings, red carpet events, cruise boat galas and more that the festival has organized.    But what I didn't realize is it's difficult and nearly impossible to go back and forth from the island to L.A.  So I'm forced to stay on the island for a weekend which is not a terrible thing, only I don't have a place to stay and everything is booked with a week left to go (unless I want to drop 400/night like I'm Nicholas Cage).  I actually bring up Nicholas Cage because he is being honored with and award at the festival.  Even more reason to get excited, eh!?  Other attendees include Emmy Rossum, Jordin Sparks (who I'm told is a singer?), and Danielle Fishel (who I had a crush on as a kid).  I suck when it comes to knowing who celebrities are but everyone in L.A. is a celebrity, right!?  And of everyone on Catalina Island I will most likely be the token homeless guy.  I am trying to fix the situation by reaching out to filmmakers that may be attending for the screening of their films and asking if they have any space so I can crash on their hotel floor.  I hope this doesn't come across too weird?  But I'm desperate!  The reprecussion of me asking is I could become "that guy" everyone is pointing their finger at and whispering what a creep I am.   I'll keep you posted on the developments & incorporate this into a full adventure blog of a homeless guy!



Docuwest Film Festival - Denver CO - September 16th 2014 (Blog Post 3)
NEVER FLY FRONTIER!  EVER!

Things are off to a rough start to say the least.  Missing your flight is never a good thing. 
My mom always tells me this story of how as a kid I would throw my toys against the wall and she would tell me that if I did it again I would get punished.   I guess as a kid I couldn't help myself so I'd keep throwing the toys.   Now that I'm older I can kinda relate to that kid I was.  I love throwing toys against the wall, but it doesn't really get me anywhere.  Still, I can't help myself.

So I miss my flight because the bar code on my ticket didn't scan properly and the airline staff apparently peaced out early so no one could print me another. I'm livid. You don't want to be around me at this point.  I'm that guy that would embarrass you at the airport =/  In all this rage, Jiminy Cricket appears on my shoulder and wisely reminds me that you catch more flies with honey..But I don't listen.  I'm looking for that toy to throw.  So I lay in to the "floor supervisor",Jasmine & I'm scoring no points. Apparently calling bs in a polite way is offensive, no matter the context?

I mean she is calling me a liar.  Remember I AM THE CUSTOMER.  At one point I ask her what she has against me and that I need to speak with someone else.  She says she is the only supervisor and there is no one to talk to and I have to pay more money if I want to get on another flight.  She actually tells me there is a flight a little later but she didn't know when, (which ended up being a lie) just to trick me into waiting. Yeah right I say!  Well actually I think half the words from there on were cuss words.  If they do record those phone calls, I'd never be able to run for public office.   So I won't bore you with the rest of this story as I'm sure everyone has experienced these types of situations.  Ill just say that I got the last laugh.   Call back + talking to another floor supe Ken + honey = TAKE THAT JASMINE!  I got another flight for free.  But nothing is for free right?  

I hope Jasmine never reads this because she may have gotten the last laugh.  The odds are slim as I'm not sure if anyone will ever read this far!!!  I have forgotten my outfit I was going to wear for the screening!  Do you knew how much this sux?  And to make things worse I forgot my belt, which is like a 2 year old losing his teddy.  And while I really have no one to blame but myself, I continue blaming Jasmine as all this rage from yesterday is still lingering. The only thing that can possibly calm me out of this funk is coffee...


KARMA

In my heyday, when I toured Europe on my own, I was in an airport in Amsterdam and I grabbed my bag to board my flight only to find it's sopping wet on the bottom and oozing this nasty brown gooey drink.  Only it smells less like coffee and more like carpet that has never been cleaned after being shat on.  It seeps through and stains some of my clothes and don't you just HATE ruining or forgetting clothes when traveling!  Who could just leave this mess?!  And I wonder what I did to deserve this?  I'm a good person right?  Well actually I don't consider myself a good person, but that is to be discussed in another blog (or just read the previous paragraph).

Flash forward 5 years (to today) and I FINALLY realize why this happened to me.  Reverse karma, baby!!!   
I hate when people tell me I'm getting what I deserve because karma has caught up to me.  Ok, mostly mean people tell me that and it's crushing to my spirit and probably says more about myself as to why people feel they can open their mouth and tell me such a rude thing!  I digress.  But now I realize it's different.  I JUST NOW SPILT MY COFFEE.  I could have cleaned it or left a note but I was mad and needed to replace this coffee.  I'll just grab a new coffee and then come do the right thing.  5 minutes later I see a lady sitting there and her bag is smack dab in the middle of this huge puddle of coffee!  And my karma revelation hits me.  So now when something bad happens to me I won't try and think of a similar situation where I wronged someone.  I'll know that it's because I'm going to unknowingly wrong someone in the future.


Ok so here I am finally on board to Denver.  Writing this all out is quite cathartic for me as I've finally calmed down.  Although it could also be the coffee.  Life is truly so much better with coffee.  I wish I would have at least started drinking it in college.  Maybe I would have been less angry...Although I blame my anger on the alcohol.  I used to think I was a lush drunk but my friends said I was an angry one.  Maybe the tides are turning and I will have the last laugh instead of Jasmine!  Stay tuned...

DOCUWEST & DENVER

It's my first time to Denver.  First impression is that the airport is reaaallllly far from the city.  Like reallllly far!  I actually thought my Lyft driver was taking me the back way just to add time onto the ride to make more expensive.  He was cool though.  He dropped me off at a book store called Tattered Cover where I met Sam who blogs for Your Older Brother's Music Blog.  This felt less like an interview and more like catching up with an old friend as we kicked it over coffee and geeked out over music.  I even had my first opportunity to confess my new found obsession with Big Audio Dynamite and how I'm going to have the Noise Revival cover The Bottom Line in Japan!  If anyone ever finds a B.A.D hat, I'll buy it for any price!  Two hours later, I had a new friend and I definitely plan on keeping in touch with Sam and his writings.

Docuwest is the 5th or 6th film festival that I've attended.  While not the biggest film festival, it had this certain charm that came off as if it wasn't trying to be a poser.  It seemed to created an environment that made for more genuine relationships.  Wade, the director, was a hoot and really made you feel special.  In the total D.I.Y style that I'm accustomed to, he hosted a handful of directors at his house.  Apparently he made the offer on his FB page which is a bummer because I don't have a FB anymore.  Otherwise I would have jumped on that opportunity!  Instead I was staying at a house that our producer, Denise, rented.  So after the end of the first night when everyone went to Wade's place, I started looking for a LYFT ride.  Being a prime time hour for LYFT requests, the price was 75% higher than normal, so I took the advice of Peter (director of The King of Size) and walked a few blocks while the price went down.  A few blocks turned into ten and then twenty.  I stopped in a 7-Eleven for a water, that I never got because I had left my credit card at the bar, and the woman inside said I was only about a 15 minute walk away from the address I showed her (1234 Clarkson).  If I can ride a bike 60 miles in Iceland and hours across Copenhagen in the middle of the night, then I can surely make my way in Denver!  And she was correct, it only took 15 minutes!  BUT I wouldn't be writing about my walk home if there was a twist would I?  So I get to the house and there is no number on it.  I was warned about this and instructed to walk around the house and through the back fence and down to a basement.  So I start trying to jump over the fence because I can't find a door in the dark.  Eventually I realize the fence is too high for me and I get frustrated and then spooked as some passerbyers probably start to wonder if I'm trying to break in.  So I walk back to the street and check my phone to see if I have the right address.  All of a sudden I notice this little "S" in front of the "1234".  My heart sinks.  I re-enter the address in my navigation app, with an "S" this time, and my heart sinks even more.  I'm 59 minutes away now!  By this time I've already been walking for 2 hours so I put myself out of my misery and just call LYFT.  Thankfully there wasn't a 75% added fee at 4 in the morning!

So back to the festival.  A highlight for me included "No No a Dockumentary", that was a film about Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis who is known for having thrown a no hitter on LSD.  It was about much more than that.  Simply a beautiful well put together story.  And it got me thinking how much I love baseball and it's the one thing that my brother and I share a passion for.  Since we were kids we have always made a point to like the opposite of each other, but not baseball.  Maybe I'm getting sentimental, but it's making me realize my brother needs to come see more Dodgers games and I need to see more Mets games (yes I hate the Yankees!) next year and throw back a few cold ones.  I also enjoyed a doc about a bank robber called The Evolution of a Criminal by Darius Monroe, whom I got to meet and hang out with.  I saw a handful of other great films and I also got bummed out because I didn't get to see some films of other new friends I met!!!  I also enjoyed the enthusiastic response to our film, The Curse & the Symphony, but I still can't stand seeing myself on a big screen!!!   Towards the end the festival, the Narc, also know as Richard Bert (yes he really was a narc in NYC back in the 80's for some of the biggest drug busts!!! and he took the B&W photos in this post) said "We need to have a reunion one day".  That's to show you the degree that our friendships were developing in such a short span.  And even as snobby as most film directors can be there was even a Snakes on a Plane positive reference!  

CLOSING
I'm left reflecting whether or not we will have a reunion.  And maybe the beauty of this experience is better left in this moment in time.  Moments like this have been something I've been trying to wrap my head around for years now.  Ever since my experience living in a castle in Denmark (which I'll post a blog about for an upcoming Throw Back Thursday this month).  I struggled for years handing my emotions with amazing connections you can have and have that chance that you may never hear or see from that person again.  But that's the beauty i'm starting to realize, that in that moment you had something special and it'll always stay in that moment.  Nothing can change it.

P.S. - If you know me well, when I fall in love with someone's story, I preach it to the world, even though most of the time no one cares.  Like that one time I met the lifeguard that woke from a coma after 15 years!   So I met a director, Michael Galinski, who had an amazing story (IMO).  Michael and I (pic below of the 2 of us) first shared tour stories of crashing on floors and the amazing adventures we'd get into after every show on the road.  Then he told me he and a friend took this trip in 1989 and shot people in malls all across the US (And I want all the clothes everyone was wearing in those photos).  He never did anything with them as the trip was tainted after their car was broken into in SF.  But 22 years later he posted those photos on FB and they went viral!  Every major publication posted them and they were reposted and reddit'd millions of times.  It even got published.  Isn't that amazing?  At the least, you gotta check out the photos HERE



SEPTEMBER 10th 2014 (Blog Post 2)

WAY BACK WEDNESDAY ...
I'm heading to Denver tomorrow for the screening of the documentary about my symphony at the Docuwest Film Festival but I can't get Asia off my mind!   So in honor of finding out this week that I'm touring Japan and Taiwan this fall I thought I'd post my story of touring China in 2012.  I thought it was my last tour and a glorious tour it was!  I haven't played in a band since as I've gone full force into composing for orchestra (and a little film), but I must say that I am most ecstatic about performing on stage!  And going to freakin' Japan!   So here is a flashback...


One More Song (China Tour - Summer 2012)
I won’t lie.  After the 1st show, I’m a bit nervous about the rest of the tour in China.  I’ve only been here for a little over 24 hours.  Stepping off the plane I felt like I walked into a scene from Fritz Lang's Metropolis.  The airport dwarfed even the bigger stadiums I’ve visited in the US.  Skyscrapers engulf the skylines for miles.  For me it stimulated a child-like imagination.  With the simplest of tasks getting lost in translation, I knew I was on my own to observe, learn, and soak up this fascinating culture.  Oh…and avoiding the crazy drivers and bikers was a real life Frogger experience!
There wasn’t much time to waste after getting checked in to our hotel.  A quick dinner, meet & greet with Chinese Noise Revivalers, & it was off to bed for an early call time to rehearse.  4 hours of rehearsing in a dungeon with no A/C was trying but exhilarating, hearing our Chinese drummer, Tyler, blaze through the songs and destroy his kit, like Animal from the Muppets.  I sensed a high-energy explosion at Yiyitang that night!  We walked to the club & briefly sound checked with our horn section and additional cellist.  Wall of sound!
It’s show time.  We left it all on the stage.  The crowd screamed, the cheered, the danced and we delivered with an energy like no other Noise Revival show ever!  8 songs in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  I’ll never forget the crowd.  The moment.  The love.  Walking off stage and hearing a slightly lisp-y chant of “One More Song” that sounded more like “Juan Mo Sawg”.  Why!  If only we had rehearsed an extra song!  Who knows why it ended like that?  The club owner put it best.  “Next Time”.
Busking in Shanghai
Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!  But what a joy it was to walk around the tiny alleys in Shanghai and play 3 or 4 songs, then walk to another corner and do the same.  EVERY time we played crowds stopped.  And not just 5 or 10 people.  At least 25-30 each time & a lot of times 50-60.  And who know how many camera’s have our “mugs” on them!   I love that about the Chinese and how they get so excited and take photos of everything.  We even made money.  The 1st night we made enough to have a feast at an amazing Japanese restaurant.  The 2nd night photos of the group playing on the subway made a blog and eventually landed us on the front page of the Shanghai Post on the internet!  It was retweeted over and over and eventually the Chinese government chimed in!  They said to look at this as an example of what not to do on the subway and to make sure to follow the rules!  Gotta love it!
Ambassador
There is no better feeling that representing your city.  Being from one of the most creative and vibrant cities in the world is something I am proud of.  Being able to grow up in Austin and then be a music ambassador is something I’ll cherish forever.
I had the privilege of meeting members of the Foreign affairs office in Shanghai.  My involvement in The House of Songs and the numerous meetings and events with City and State officials, diplomats, ambassadors, etc really prepared me to talk about collaborative possibilities between the 2 creative cities.  I was also fortunate to be escorted to the National Flag Museum in Shanghai.  I was treated like royalty and I owe a lot to Troy Campbell & Don Pitts for these opportunities.
5,000 Miles
Like most, I’ve made the mistake of over packing on trips.  It tends to be something unavoidable.  So over the years I decided I’d comprise certain luxuries for a healthier spine!  Last year I learned not to pack a pair of shoes that is a size too small!  Getting blisters after a few days was one thing, but having to walk with them for a month longer was a lesson well learned!  Riding a bike 60 miles in one day was another good example of a lesson well learned!  So this year I decided that I was going to pack the least amount of clothes possible and see where it gets me.  5 shirts; 2 jeans, 7 socks, 7 boxer briefs, 1 jacket and 1 pair of shoes.  Half way into the trip, I’m already thinking how to better prepare for next time.
Thirty One:
I always seem to start all my posts while sitting on a plane reminiscing on my past travels and pondering my future adventures, which after a glorious week in Shanghai, they look to be all over the world in hand with my amazing angel by my side.   This post should have started sitting on a train to Wuhan, but it now begins in transit in a cab traveling across Shanghai.  Guess why?  Yep!  Half of the group missed our train to Wuhan, which happened to be the only one of the day!  Lost in China!   So how did we get here?  Well, let’s just say that everything is moving slower here in Shanghai.  I’m awe of the structures, the nooks and crannies of stores, the hole in the walls around every corner.  I’m in no rush.  I take every moment to breathe in the smog, to smell the pollution, to gag at the dog on the menu….ok!  I’m going too far!  But it’s all there!  I’m sharing the whole city with hands locked and hearts in tune, which is the real reason for strolling instead of speeding,.  No experience compares.  But this experience is the basis for why we missed our train.  Oops!  Maybe we should have walked a little faster to the metro.  Packed the night before.  You get it.  10 minutes to get to the train, 1 escalator, 400 Chinese people in the way (Did I mention the pace of the people here?) and 100 pounds of luggage each.  We tried.  We sweat.  We really sweat.  We failed.  Only two made it.  Now we are altering our plan and rushing to the airport hoping to get flights to make the show!  Damage Control indeed!  Mission accomplished?  I’ll follow up with another post.  Did I mention it’s my birthday?
Here’s the follow-up to my birthday!  As you can tell, we made the show!  The crowd in Wuhan was amazing.  So was the band in more ways than you think.  I walk off the stage and the crowd screams for an encore.  Of course we have no extra songs.  I hear Josh get on the mic and start to tell the crowd it’s my birthday & the crowd goes wild!  At this point I’m in the crowd and they are rockin’ & a rollin’ “Happy Birthday!”  From the crowd I jump on stage and encourage the crowd to jump on stage.  Ten to fifteen people climb the rail and start dancing and bobbing their heads.  I get a chant of “Wuuu – Hon … Wuuu – Hon” going!  This was the best birthday I’ve ever had.  We danced the night away for hours and truly lived it up!  Thank you Wuhon!  Thank you Josh, Anita, Vince, Tyler, & Michael!
Changsha
Bright.  Lights.  Sleek.  Exhilarating.   Too bad we only had the opportunity to stay in Changsha for 1 night.  Every building was trying to out “light” the next with crazy flashing neon signs.  It enthralled my senses like I was in Blade Runner.  I swear that movies backdrop was based off of Changsha.  Around 8:30 pm we squeeze into the venue.  Literally!  I could barely get up the winding stairs without hitting my head every turn.  We set up and the speakers don’t work right as we are supposed to begin playing (9:30).  The crowd is quiet and to themselves but I assume they are antsy.  An hour later we grace this tiny stage called the Freedom House and the crowd came forward.  The room looks as if it holds 100 people max, but the owner said they could fit twice that.  We tonight the floor shook and the stage almost caved in.  I forced this crowd to come up on stage for our encore.  (Yes!  We finally rehearsed an old Lil Blokes song, Rolling, for an encore!)  They finally let loose and danced, jumped, and even moshed!  Their appreciation soon followed as we stayed on stage and they lined up for photos for almost an hour!  Thank you Changsha!  TNRO loves you!!!
Chongqing & Chengdu
Chongqing & Chengdu were nuts!  Crazy times in China I tell you!  I can’t emphasize how much more difficult & longer it takes to get around China with a language & reading barrier, especially in these lesser-known cities.  I had heard and even assumed that we would see westerners everywhere, but that was not the case.  It was 99.9% Chinese all the time.  So we missed our early trains both days!  We had to rush to the venues for quick sound-checks, check into our hotels, & we were lucky to get a bite of food before taking the stage.  But that’s all ok.  Because the stage is where we belong.  Where we feel at home.  Where for 40 minutes there is no language barrier.  The Chongqing crowd danced, clapped, did the wave, and came on stage for our encore.  After the show a 30-minute photo session ensued.  Michael was told by 2 Chinese girls that they loved him.  Josh was offered a Chinese fathers’ youngest daughter.  Chengdu was even crazier.  We showed up & only had 30 minutes before we had to play.  We were dirty and had our luggage and just fumbling about.  Little Bar was packed.  The crowd was more relaxed but let us hear it louder than any crowd, after each song.   It was the only city we didn’t get an encore, but it was my favorite crowd.  I knew they were loving it because I had their full attention with every word.  I was saddened that we had to rush out to make it in time for our hostel reservation.  I would have loved to hang out with the crowd.   Now I’m off to Beijing for the finale.  I’m overwhelmed by the crowds.  The new fans.  The new admirers.   I love the New Noise Revival!
Beijing – The Final Transformation
My friend Fernando lived in China for 5 years.  He called me when he heard I was touring in China.  While excited for me he said he didn’t think my music would go over well in China.   Well, we took China by storm!  Like a flaming chariot!  Beijing was the final litmus test.  Every city we played we won the crowd over the moment we walked in the venue.  Beijing was more foreigners and they were all sitting.  3 songs in and they were charmed.  They danced more than any other crowd and this was the final transformation.  This tour was the most exciting tour I’ve ever been on.  We bonded as a band in a special way.  Who would have thought that our metal drummer, Tyler, from Shanghai would have worked for the Noise Revival Orchestra?  Well it was the perfect ingredient.  Most likely the missing ingredient that Fernando didn’t know we had up our sleeve.  Our stage presence and charm sucked them in and our music sent them home smiling.  I see a brand new rock n roll record in the future…and I see a lot more of China in the future as well!
Special thanks to Tyler Bowa who was more than just our drummer.  Without him I can’t imagine how we would have communicated or not gotten lost.  Nichols & Zangnan Promotions for doing all the preplanning and being the main catalyst for our coming to China.    Rose for being cool.  Michael & Todd for playing horns with us in Shanghai.  Troy for letting me work abroad and follow my calling.  My beautiful baby Anita for capturing all the content for the band and putting up with the hectic touring schedule.  24/7 for the amazing interview.  Clement for the hospitality at Temple Bar in Beijing.  German guy at the hostel who acted as our translator and waited forever as we tried to book flights on the phone our last night.   Shanghai Post for putting us on the cover.  The TNRO fans from Austin that are now living in Shanghai and came to support.  Not the guy who gave Josh chocolate at Temple Bar.  All the people who helped us get a bass guitar for Michael in every city!  The organizer in Changsha who took us out to eat late night after our show.  Josh & Vince who took the risk in me and in the tour…wasn’t it the trip of a lifetime guys!  For Michael for being in on the China trip from the get go!   All the promoters and people who helped spread the word!   The lady who warned us before we were about to eat cat!  Kaye at Lazy Bone who was the most friendly host ever!  We hope you get to visit the UK & the US one day!  Don Pitts, Troy Campbell, Ashley Buchanan, & Charlotte Huskey who provided me with the opportunity to be an ambassador for Austin and it’s sister city of Shanghai.  Sarah Kendel for running my Facebook and the bands FB while I was in China.   Clayton Lillard for having my back in Austin.  My sisters M.I.T roommate, Erin, for supporting with such last notice.  I love connecting the dots around the world!  My beautiful Anita again.  This time for still going to The Great Wall after I spilt juice all over her 1 minute before the bus was leaving :/  Tyler Bowa again!  This time for putting up with me being a diva.   I’m sure I forgot a few, so I’ll continue to update this blog as the memories pop up in my head!

SUMMER 2014 (Blog Post 1)

IN THE BEGINNING...

A teacher once told me that if you you are thinking something during class, chances are that many others are thinking the same thing.  Well I can't really seem to find a composer that thinks the same way as I am thinking.


I read on every damn composer's site that they are an "award winning" composer and paint this picture of success.  Then you listen to what they are doing and...  


Well I've never won an award for anything besides a creative writing contest in high school that my journalism teacher entered me in, without telling me.  I threw away the award..


And don't get me wrong, I've definitely experienced some amazing things in life because of music so it really paid off to learn a few instruments!  Although now people tell me that I have certain successes because of my personality?  WTF!  I guess I have my moments, because I certainly love people and I love listening to stories.  I think I have my moments where I really connect with people because I'm also certain there is a list of people that would say my personality does not attract people but more-so turns them off.


Back to music...so eventually I learned that any ole' Joe can pick up a guitar. That's why I hated playing guitar once I was in college.  I needed a new fix.  I hit the road touring the U.S. with my brother and best friends in a tribute to the D.I.Y touring culture of the 80's.  This was a blast and I highly recommend this to anyone coming out of college.  Why get a job when you can travel, play music, get in trouble, have adventures, and see all the unique pockets our country has to offer.  After 3 or so years o this I started growing and transitioning into a cinematic sound and outgrew our little punk band.  I started a large orchestra based band and eventually started composing for film and now symphony orchestra.  It took around 8 years to make that transition and even now I'm facing new challenges.  The challenge of academia.  Maybe I'm too amateur?  But it's comparable to being in the twilight zone or in a bar of "independent" minded people all wearing the same black outfits.  I mean, every composer I meet that has gone through the academic route in learning composition thinks, acts, and sounds the same.  They have to know this right?  I even hear the same with film composing in that the music or sounds composers use as they sound obviously sampled and will eventually sound dated.


Maybe everyone has it figured out but I don't. I'm still on the journey but maybe one day I can look back and truly answer that question.  I hope with this blog that someone else out there can benefit from what I have to say.  Although I'm not really sure what I have to say.  But who cares.  It's the wild wild west out there and the world keeps spinning.  Someone else might have the deal or the money or the popularity but if you read between the lines I just described Milli Vanilli, Backstreet Boys, David Cassidy, etc!  Make the music and do everything your self...


I'll rant here and there to keep things spicy.  I tend to stick my foot in mouth but sometimes I'll also try to be politically correct just in case I decide to run for president one day.  Don't expect perfect punctuation but do expect a ton of run ons!  I'm about producing and less about waiting until something is perfect.  That's why my family calls me the rabbit.  Oh, and I meant what I said about loving stories!  So if you actually scroll this far and want to tell me your story, please do!  I would love to hear from you