Lots of fun acoustic shows for you to enjoy! Come on out! June 29th is my birthday and that is me playing with a number of other talented Sacramento musicians as an All-Star jam. It will be a fun night!
Or if you like 90's alternative (and you should), check out Total Recall:
THUNDER VALLEY CASINO
G St Wunderbar
G St Wunderbar
El Dorado Saloon
El Dorado Hills, CA
G St Wunderbar
Or if you want original music (you do), Lift is where it is at:
My relatively new band is playing around the Northern California area and if you want to check out what we sound like, here is the deal:
Total Recall - 90's/Alternative cover band that plays hits from bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and tons more! You can find us at totalrecall90s.com
Lift - The same member of Total Recall, but playing our own original music. I can't tell you how much fun playing with these guys is and I'm very proud of the music we are creating. Check us out here: lift-music.com
Feel free to contact me for booking or if you have questions. Rock on, everyone and see you at a show soon!
For those who check in from time to time on what I've got going on, there are some big things in the pipeline. I'm in a band that has two versions.
First, there is Total Recall - the 90's/Alternative cover band that boasts a stout catalog of over 60 songs (and growing.) Follow us on Facebook and ReverbNation!
Next, we have Lift, which is composed of the same members as Total Recall, but this the moniker we will use to release original material. We are very excited about the songs we are putting together, so to get samples of what we are creating, you can check in on our Facebook page! We've already posted our first recording of "The Happiest." Check out it and let us know what you think!
Total Recall is playing 2/9 at the G St Wunderbar in Davis (228 G St, Davis, CA) at 10pm. No cover and 21+. Hope to see you there!
I had a fantastic time playing at two events today! I'm pretty sure that 7.5 hours of playing music in one day is a record for me, so thank you so much to the two groups that chose me to play at their events. I really appreciate it!
Please note that if you'd like to contact me, my current email is: email@example.com so feel free to email me there. You can also "like" my Facebook page at facebook.com/tonybataskamusic
A new updated schedule will be posted soon... stay tuned...
Greetings! I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season. I'm just checking in to give a quick update on why this site has been so stale since it switched over to being tonybataska.com...
I've been tremendously busy and most of it has not been focused on music. While this Summer was one of the busiest for music that I can remember, the last quarter of 2011 has been filled with day-job/career exploration activities that have taken time away from music (unfortunately.)
- The uncertainty of my day-job status has been quite stressful. In conjunction, I've been working harder than ever with less resources (the story of the 21st century) to do the best job I can do. I feel proud of the work accomplished, but I know that change is a-coming. This change could be positive or negative for me personally, but the uncertainty is what really gets me. I believe Pippin from "Lord of the Rings" says something about how he'd sooner be in battle rather than be in a holding pattern waiting for it (paraphrased, obviously.) I feel this way to some degree, but know that in the end, whichever way things go, it will all work out.
- After much contemplation, I have begun taking Accounting classes at a local professional school. I finished my first class and get a strong A. I likely will take two classes next quarter, giving me less free time (and again, affecting the time I can devote to music) but in the end, I plan to become a CPA. This is a highly attainable goal which may be difficult, but I will complete this challenge.
- I do have some scheduled shows at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville:
January 6 at 9:30pm
February 24 at 9:30pm
March 16 at 9:30pm
The Donkey is a great place and I am thrilled to continue to play shows there. If you haven't come out for a show there, what are you waiting for? They treat me great and I'd like to thank Joe and the rest of the staff for being top notch! You will enjoy yourself there! I'm sure I'll have more variety of shows when Spring rolls around, but I doubt I can play shows at the pace I did last Summer. Come out when you can!
- Given all of these challenges, I'm sure I'll be writing some new songs soon. I already have enough material for a new album, but I have no idea when that will happen. As you can see, my schedule is getting the best of me, so starting a new record might be the death of me. I may do some acoustic YouTube videos or demos that I can release. Stay posted and like me on Facebook to get any new info that I release in the coming months.
Over the last 7 years, I've gone from a regular at the Sacramento area open mics, to someone who plays regular shows, makes money doing it, and is relatively well respected as a local musician. I really appreciate EVERYONE who has supported me as I improved as a musician and gave me opportunities to succeed. I will continue to play as often as I can, but please bare with me as I am going through these uncertain times. Juggling all of my responsibilities has been no small task, but I want to continue to make my small contribution to the musical community whenever I can.
This post is not meant to be a "woe is me" type post. Far be it for me to play martyr when their are plenty of people struggling during this holiday season. The intention of this post is to thank you all for the support you've given me throughout the years, and to explain to everyone why music and shows coming from me have been slow going recently.
Some of you have already purchased the album and have it in your hot little hands. I thank you for that. Your support means a ton to me. This album took years to complete. There were ups and downs, delays, scheduling conflicts, songs written and re-written to get things right. During all of this, there were budgetary considerations (footing the bill for all of this is no small task.) But here are some behind the scenes stories and facts that might interest you about the album.
The original album started years ago with four songs. I laid down the skeletons of "As You Wish," "Astronomy," "What's Inside," and "Kids Playing Guns In The Street." I knew I wanted "As You Wish" and "Astronomy" to link together in some fashion, so I went with the feedback in F# at the end of track 1 into the beginning of track 2. (Note: Most of the album is played 1/2 step down. At times capos are used to go higher, but in general, I use 1/2 step down because it creates a fuller/grittier sound and it also gives me more vocal flexibility.) (Other bands that use 1/2 step down regularly- Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, and The Killers.)
After the basis for these four songs were laid down, I continued on. I recorded three more skeletons using my drum machine as the backing. These songs were "This Time Around," "For Better or For Worse," and "Dial Me Up." The latter two songs did not end up on the record because I didn't think the recordings/arrangements were all that great. Even this initial version of "This Time Around" was scrapped and re-done. I changed the click track from 105 beats per minute to 136. That improved the groove immensely. That session was not my best use of cash to say the least.
I took some time to re-evaluate which songs to use on the record. I tested some out at shows and received good feedback. Eventually, I went in to record "Neon Sign," "Shallow Water Blackout," "Saturday Boy," and "50 Stories." These came together quickly and nicely. I also wanted to re-record "Second Rate Song" because I felt that song had so much more to offer than the acoustic version from "Tonight I Confess."
Later, I went in and laid down "So Far Away" (this was after it was requested by a high school friend at a Pyramid Show- I wrote the song in 1997) and "What's The Past Got In Store?" The final track, "You're Not Just Another Girl" was done in one day and didn't take terribly long. I wanted to make sure there was one track that brought the "Tonight I Confess" vibe to the new record and bridged the gap between the two.
Once the skeletons were done, I brought in Bart van der Zeeuw to lay down the drums. He knocked out something like 9 songs in one day. He laid down the remaining songs during a separate session. We did multiple drums on "Saturday Boy," "Shallow Water Blackout," and "Kids Playing Guns In The Street" and put them together during production. This is how we had a much heavier sounding drum kit that comes in during the second verse of "Shallow Water Blackout."
Eventually, I realized my bass skills were not exactly what I needed for some of the songs and I recruited Dusty Miller to lay down some bass tracks. He did a fantastic job. He saved "As You Wish" in my opinion. He also took "50 Stories," "This Time Around," and "Second Rate Song" to new heights. The rest of the bass on the record is played by me.
The other fun and challenging thing that added a lot to this record were the backing vocals. I had never been great at harmonies and with the help of Karl Metts the back up vocals are great. Bart did back up vocals on "This Time Around" and Karl helped here and there, but mostly it is me singing along with myself. Some days were quite challenging (by the sixth hour of a session, my harmonies would turn to crap) but it was totally worth it for the end result.
When it is all said and done, there is probably less interest with the process, and more about the songs. So here is a track by track listing of some facts on each song. I reserve the right the omit whatever I want about the songs, but I'll try to be as forthright as possible. (Note: I realize many of the influences mentioned may be hard to hear within the songs, but that's what makes this so interesting, I suppose.)
"As You Wish" - The obvious reference in the song is to the movie "The Princess Bride." At some point I decided to work in that saying into a song, and in the end, I built a whole song around it. Musically, this song was influenced by "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" by Wilco. I was fascinated by how they wrote a song with three chords but still made it interesting by building the song up, tearing it down, and using a lot of interesting layers the whole way through. Thematically, this song is first about getting rejected after putting yourself out there to someone. It could be at a bar asking out someone you don't know, or even at a marriage proposal. Any level in between. It switches gears at the end to talk more about a break-up (so just a different flavor of rejection.) I love the uses of piano during the last portion of the song.
"Astronomy" - I actually wrote this song out of nowhere. I had opened up for a few bands and seen unusual usages of minor chords within a few songs. I wanted to write a song placing a minor chord in an unusual place. The second chord of the song/verse should make your ears perk up because it is a minor fourth in a major key. I'm hoping the lyrics are subtly clever but they aren't about a specific person or time in my life. Oddly, the overall famous musicians that I would credit with influence on this song would be Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Jason Mraz. I have no idea how this song even sounds decent (but I think it does!)
"Neon Sign" - This song is heavily influenced by Bright Eyes and (oddly) Mitch Hedberg (the last chorus was influenced lyrically by one of his bits.) I wrote this during the period in my life where I was playing at the G St Pub in Davis each and every Sunday with Adam Donald. I got to know the bartenders, door people, regulars, etc. I guess you can think of it like a "Cheers" atmosphere or something like that. Those Sunday shows helped shape my craft in a major way, so I'm glad there is a song to carry those memories on.
"Shallow Water Blackout" - I credit my best man Sean with giving me this idea. He is a scuba diver and he came home one day and told me about shallow water blackout. It's essentially a way for people to hold their breath longer under water. (DO NOT DO THIS) You hyperventilate before going under and it expels the carbon dioxide from your body. You have less of a need to breath because of the lack of CO2 in your system. The catch is, that most people quietly pass out without realizing it, and it leads to you drowning. I took that concept, applied it to a love metaphor, and gave it a piano base. If there is any musical influence, it would be DJ Shadow's "Blood On The Motorway."
"50 Stories" - I wrote this song soon after meeting Mrs. B. I was through the moon in love with her and wanted to write her a song (I still am through the moon in love with her- I'm more referring to the "spark" stage of the relationship.) I was unimpressed with the song at first, but decided to play it for her anyway. She really liked it and encouraged me to keep playing it. Good thing too because I get lots of compliments on this song from people at shows. Musically, I think Muse's "Starlight" and The Smiths in general probably influenced this song.
"What's Inside" - After purchasing a new guitar (which I subsequently returned to get the one I have now), and having recently opened for Matt Costa, I wrote this song. I thought about writing a song that girls might gravitate to (like a Jack Johnson song or something) and I don't think I accomplished that in this song. It's a pretty dark love song. However, the result is still pretty good even if it was unintended. My favorite part is the harmonica solo in the middle of the song.
"Saturday Boy" - This song came out of doodling during some sadness. Years before I met my lovely bride, I was allowing myself to be more or less a booty call for a girl on many Saturdays. This girl didn't deserve my time or attention. This song adds sweetness to that situation along with an almost romantic view of it. The song is too good to change but I don't recommend getting yourself into that situation. The funny thing is that one of the lines was actually given to me by a different random girl who wanted me to make out with her friend after one of my sets at G St. She said, "Do you want a girlfriend or a wife?" And I said, "No." So she said, "How about just for tonight?" I laughed it off, but it led to a pretty good line in the song.
"This Time Around" - I literally wrote this over a period of years. I had the verse and chorus for quite awhile, but it never felt finished. The slow bridge during the last half of the song completed the song years after it was started. It was initially written about the "grass is greener" scenario of liking a girl, but she doesn't like you and vice versa. Not a terribly original concept, but I think it works within the framework of the song. Also, it's probably the most fun song to play live. I don't remember exactly who influenced me on this one, but I have a feeling Sacramento artist Jackie Greene had something to do with it.
"So Far Away" - Written in 1997 about a girl from basketball camp. This has Oasis influence written all over it. Half the time I start playing it, people think it is "Wonderwall." The first two chords are similar, but the timing is completely different. I used to play this song my our high school band, and it still stands up today as a decent song. I'm just glad to finally release it!
"What's The Past Got In Store?" Influenced by Wilco and Death Cab For Cutie, this song exceeded expectations once we started recording it. I love the recording and recently the band has put a new spin on the ending which should give it a new level of awesomeness. This song is pretty much about repeating the same mistakes even though you have past history and should know better.
"Kids Playing Guns In The Street" - Another Bright Eyes influenced song, though some of the backing vocals add a little Soundgarden influence to it. This song is about as political as I get with my songwriting. The layers of percussion are well thought out and were fun to track. The second verse is actually inspired by visual images of me playing in the driveway in Napoleon, OH (520 Buckeye Ln in the house!) and my mom calling me in for dinner.
"Second Rate Song" - This song was obviously on my first album, but in much different fashion. This version is much more dynamic and falls into the Alternative Rock genre. I really like how much this song has grown over the years. I'm not exactly sure of the original musical influence, but I can hear some of The Killers and Muse in the bass line that Dusty laid down. It totally adds another great layer to the song.
"You're Not Just Another Girl" - I wrote this around the same time as "Last Train" from the first album. This song needed a little more time to mature and develop some extra nuances. I think there is actually a little Bruce Springsteen influence (from "Devil's and Dust") and maybe a little Ben Harper. This song is really not so much a love song, as it is about telling a person who can't see their own greatness how much they mean to you. It could be a significant other, a parent, a friend, etc. One last fun fact, I edited out the F-word from this song and from "Saturday Boy." Both songs dropped F-bombs in the original lyrics. I decided against recording it that way because I didn't want to keep alerting people of the profanity when I sold the CDs at gigs. I occasionally curse during the songs live.
So there is some extra insight into my brand new album. There are definitely some things I wish I could've done had I had a few extra thousands of dollars, but overall I'm very proud of the effort. If you haven't purchased it yet, get on it! You're sure to enjoy it and you'll be helping out a struggling artist continue to make music!
The brand new album is done. I have a release date set for 9/21/10. More than likely I'll put up a "limited time only" shop button that will allow you to buy the album in advance. More details will follow once I have all my "ducks in a row." As you can see, though, I've changed my blog's look to more closely match the new album artwork.
If you buy a copy and want it autographed, just send me an email or message with the purchase, and I'll autograph it before it goes out. If you need something personalized, just let me know exactly what you want it to say and I'll get it done. I'm not cocky enough to believe that everyone/anyone wants my autograph so you've got to let me know!
The album sounds great, and I'm very proud of it. I'll write up an in-depth post of the process, hurdles, and my favorite aspects of the album. In the meantime, collect your pennies and get ready to help me pay back the company that pressed the CD for me!
The Damnwells are easily one of the top 5 bands that I enjoy listening to. Whenever I acquire a new gadget (iPhone or iPad, something like that) it is an automatic move to transfer The Damnwells' discography to said hypothetical device.
All that being said, I had never seen Alex Dezen and Co. live before, so when I found out they were playing in San Francisco, nothing was going to stop me from going to the show (not even the God-awful traffic getting into town... remind me to never complain about Sacramento traffic ever again. I bite my thumb at you Highway 101!)
No one from Sacramento was game for a Thursday night romp to The City, so I went solo and arrived soon after 7pm. I met up with commenter Rae and we had a few drinks at Cafe du Nord (where the show was- it started at 8pm with excellent singer/songwriter Josh Fletcher, then Harper Blynn played their own set before playing back up band for Alex Dezen.) It was great to see Rae and we had excellent conversation about a number of random things, but mostly how much we hate the Oakland Raiders. Eventually, fellow singer/songwriter Pete Holden showed up with his date Becky and we did shots of Patron (what?! That was not planned!) It was a lot of fun because Pete and I have to be the biggest fans of The Damnwells that each of us have ever met. It was great to go to the show with someone who loves the band just as much as I do.
Pete clued me into the fact that Alex Dezen was just hanging out across the room (Pete got his ticket stub and "Golden Days" DVD autographed), so I went to go investigate. I found him, said hello, gushed about how much I love his music, and got a picture. He was super cool the whole time. I never thought I was one to get starstruck, but in situations where I love someone's music so much, it is hard to not get a little nervous. Here's the pic:
Yeah, I'm grinning like an idiot. Hey- I was excited!
We went back to hanging out at the bar and awaited The Damnwells' set. They opened with "No One Listens To The Band Anymore," which was aa appropriate and rocking opener. Pete and I were giddy and Pete snaked his way up front. I'm very self-conscious about how tall I am (6'6") and I normally don't move up front at shows, but I couldn't help myself for this one. Pete motioned for me to go up there and I had to go. I was literally in the front and my foot was tapping the stage as it moved with the tempo of the songs. So sick- I loved every second of it.
I didn't track the exact set list, but let's see what I can remember (I'm not promising a correct order):
No One Listens To The Band Anymore
Feast Of Hearts
The Great Unknown
(Harper Blynn took a break and Alex played some acoustic tunes, Josh Fletcher sang harmonies on a few)
Like It Is
(Harper Blynn came back to stage)
You Don't Have To Like Me To Love Me
She Goes Around
I've Got You
I Am A Lever
I Will Keep The Bad Things From You
I'm hoping that's relatively correct. If you were at the show and have any corrections, just leave it in the comments. After the show, I was drilling glasses of water at bar and I saw that Alex was standing right there talking with people. I had purchased a vinyl copy of "One Last Century" but didn't have a pen to have him autograph it. Oops! Instead I walked up and said, "Hey, Alex- great show man. Sorry about earlier. I think I lost my shit when I first met you."
He replied, "No man, you were cool. It's all good."
And then, of course, I gushed more about how great he was. I had also just seen a Facebook message sent to me from a random person about how my CD was included in a geocache and they had found it and were listening to my music at a rest stop in Colfax. I tried to explain this to Alex- how great it was to see one of my favorite bands while at the same time having someone random enjoying my music at a random rest stop- however, I probably did an awful job explaining the scenario, but Alex was gracious. I think what I was trying to say was that I had enjoyed the show so much, that to then find out that someone was enjoying my CD was like icing on the top of a fantastic night. My enjoyment of music and my production of music had collided in a moment of pure happiness.
In the end, I left and was giddy with the fact that I had finally seen The Damnwells and been able to actually meet Alex Dezen, a singer/songwriter I have admired for years. What a fantastic night! If they come back around, I'll be there. Mark it down and book it!
Thank you to everyone who came out last night at the Fox and Goose in Sacramento! I had a great time.
Since I had played a number of shows where cover songs rule predominantly, I challenged myself to play a full set of 14 original songs to start last night's show. I even played a number of songs off my first record and an unreleased track. Challenge accepted and completed!
So what's up next? Well...
June 29 - It's my birthday and I'm playing at Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek from 6:30pm-10
July 1 - Boxing Donkey in Roseville, CA 9:30pm - 1am
July 2 - Back at Pyramid Alehouse Walnut Creek - 7pm - 11pm
I'm realizing that the teeth are getting slowly pulled out of my blog. I'm already decently tame when it comes to the content in this blog. It's not like I want to be overly obnoxious or obscene, but I feel my own brain questioning the things I'm writing about constantly. Running a not-so-anonymous blog can be dangerous these days if someone wants to call you out on something you said to be funny rather than serious. It can also be extremely boring if I leave out many details that I'd rather keep in (like I did with last Monday's post.)
So here's what I'm thinking- this blog can stay up and be devoted to posting about music stuff. My own music, shows, projects, updates, and random posts about music I like. Otherwise, I'm thinking of starting a new anonymous blog that will be secret and crop up when you least expect it. I won't be tied to my real name at all and it will probably be more sports driven. I haven't worked out the plan, but I feel more and more handcuffed with what I can talk about here. I'm fairly certain it makes for pretty boring reading, which is not my intention.
The main point is- while I set up another blog, the posts here might be sporadic. Also, you may have to direct message me for the new web address since I'm not going to leave any evidence here of my new website. Everyone cool with that? Excellent. Then here's the weekend recap.
Mrs. B. and I left work an hour early on Friday to get home and wait for Comcast to fix our internet. For the most part we have been satisfied with their service, but recently our internet ran like we were on 1998 AOL dial up. Regular Facebook pages wouldn't load, let alone my MLB.TV games (sidenote: this was probably for the best as the Cubs have been TERRIBLE.)
They gave us a new box and router and our internet connection is much improved. After threatening cancellation, they have decreased our bill by $40 a month and gave us free HBO for 6 months (not too shabby.) Movies I've watched since acquiring HBO and snapshot ratings of each:
- Book of Eli - Denzel is a bad-ass. Very entertaining.
- How To Train Your Dragon - Shocked that I enjoyed this kids' movie as much as I did.
- Commando - This I watched on a different channel than HBO, but I had never seen it from beginning to end. It's a horrible movie, but the unintentional comedy of Arnold's dialogue is well worth your time. "Remember when I told you I'd kill you last? I lied." [Drops bad guy off cliff.]
- Equilibrium - Christian Bale does a decent job in this Martix-esque film. Good to see Robert Le Bruce from "Braveheart." Didn't know he was still around (besides his one episode of "Tilt.")
I'm sure I'll catch up on many more movies in the near future. I also want to give "Game of Thrones" a shot, but I haven't had the time just yet.
Later that night, it was off to the Boxing Donkey for another magnificent show. I had been working on "Everlong" recently and it definitely came in handy this weekend. If I'm not mistaken, I played it twice on Friday and twice on Saturday. I try my best to not play the same song twice at shows, but money talks. Let this be a lesson to everyone that most musicians are typically $5 away from selling out, albeit for 4 minutes at a time.
Everyone was friendly at the Donkey and I even got a nice message on Facebook the next day about how I made a 21st birthday party "that much more memorable." These types of messages make me feel great. Watch it though, too many more and my ego might get out of control... [NOT! Being a musician, there are plenty of things to get you down off your high horse.]
My show at EJ Phair in Concord was fun. However, it was not without drama. Here are the highlights:
- I met my Mom's boyfriend, Rick, for the first time at the show. He seems like a great guy and I'm happy for her. Mrs. B. got more face time with them while I was playing and she also thinks he's solid. We're happy for them as they seem happy.
- Mid-way through the show, a group sat down right in front of me. They were very enthusiastic and making lots and lots of requests. This was great. The downside was they were decently drunk. I was trying to cater to them as much as possible without alienating the rest of the people in the place. EJ Phair in general carries a consistently supportive crowd. There is typically clapping after every song and people are eager to make requests.
Anyway, one of the women at the table who was attempting to be helpful said she would bring around the tip bucket through the restaurant to gather up more money for me. This, in theory, is great. In practice, there are some flaws with the plan.
The main problem is that I don't know her at all. I had never met until their group sat down. She was pretty drunk, so if she's getting pushy with customers, the people might her money for me while she's at their table- however, they also may now hate me and have a bad impression of the establishment I'm playing at. This is a quick way to get my banned from getting more shows. I love tips- people who give them really make my night. But you know what I love more? The guaranteed money I get for showing up. I know people may need encouragement to come up to where I'm at and drop a dollar or two in the tip bucket, but while you're eating do you really want a drunk woman bothering you for tips for the musician? Probably not.
Hilariously, I let her do this once and the first table she goes up to haggle with was... you guessed it! The one with Mrs. B., my Mom, and Rick. Awesome.
I'm ok with having someone walk around and encourage tipping, but they have to be EXTREMELY tactful and must be someone I KNOW. It cannot be a drunk person that I meet while I'm playing and then they represent my meager brand around a place that hired me to play music. Probably not the best plan, as I have learned.
The second problem with this group occurred when I began playing "Sweet Caroline." The crowd was excellent with singing-a-long [Bom, bom, bom!- you know how it works.] But one of the guys at this particular table gets up and starts dancing. He feels like he needs to get up closer to me so he's dancing in front of where I'm playing. This ok until he trips (due to either clumsiness, drunkenness, or both) and falls into my music stand. Now, over the last year I've put all of my lyrics on my computer so I can field more and more requests (no, I don't have time to memorize the lyrics to "Wicked Game" but I'll play it if I have the words in front of me.) So, on my music stand rests my computer, usually a drink and some harmonicas. The harmonicas went flying, but the computer and water magically did not topple to the ground. I stopped playing mid-song and checked to make sure all of my equipment was ok. Once I was certain it was, I continued on with the second verse.
The guy was embarrassed and went back to sit down. It was pretty rough, but I'm going to chalk this one up with "no harm, no foul." I don't know what would've happened if my computer was thrown to the ground and shattered to pieces. I probably would've had to end him Sub-Zero style from Mortal Kombat. Luckily, everything was ok.
In the end, the show was successful and like I said, "no harm, no foul." Two fairly successful shows makes for a great weekend.
Mrs. B. and I decided to see "X-Men: First Class" on Sunday. Overall I'd recommend this movie. I'm a fan of the X-Men and enjoy the movies based on the source material. This movie goes back to the 1960s and mixes the Cuban Missile Crisis with the comic book fiction in a very entertaining way. It's also nice to see how the relationship between Magneto and Professor X developed and why they still consider themselves friends. My one complaint is the casting of January Jones as Emma Frost. Frost should have been MUCH hotter. More blond bombshell, less... umm... pale and not hotness?
If you like the X-Men or comic book movies in general, then definitely check out "X-Men: First Class."
And that about does it for my weekend. It was fun and successful. Can't argue with that!
Before diving into Fantasy Baseball, let me remind folks that I'm playing tonight (Friday) at the Boxing Donkey in Roseville (9:30pm) and tomorrow at EJ Phair in Concord (7pm.) Come on out for a fun time and you can yell for "Freebird" until I smash my own guitar in rage. Seriously though, don't do that.
My Fantasy Baseball team has been a struggle this year. First, let's look at my keepers:
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
2B Chase Utley
OF Carl Crawford
SP Roy Oswalt
RP Jonathan Papelbon
Before the season, this crew looked much better than it looks now. Mauer was "healthy." Morneau was coming back from injury, but should've been fine. Utley was also reported to be mostly healthy (deadline for keepers was around March 1.) Carl Crawford had just signed a new deal to go to a park where he should have quite an advantage. Oswalt was aging, but still should be solid on a fantastic team. Papelbon is always pretty consistent.
In reality, ALL of these guys have either gotten hurt, been hurt for longer than anticipated, or severely underachieved. Not to mention that I traded my #2 pick for the #12 and #13 picks in the draft. These picks turned into Shin-Soo Choo and Edison Volquez. A DUI and trip to the minors later (respectively) and those picks look horrible.
But fear not! I haven't given up hope, so I decided to wheel and deal. Here is my latest trade scenario that went down last night.
I looked over our "On The Block" page to see which players were theoretically available via trades. One team was looking for Outfielders and Starting Pitchers and had Jose Reyes and Clayton Kershaw on the block. I didn't totally understand why, but I figured I'd see what I could do. So I offered:
Crawford, Oswalt and Elvis Andrus FOR Reyes and Kershaw
This was rejected, but the guy's counteroffer was as follows:
Crawford, Oswalt and Andrus FOR Reyes and Jered Weaver
To which I said- you got yourself a deal, sir!
Earlier in the year I had picked up Alex Gordon so he'll slot in at OF (with Choo and Drew Stubbs) while Morneau can move from my bench to Utility (Paul Konerko is my 1B now because he is awesome.)
My line up will now be:
C Russell Martin
3B Alberto Callaspo
OF A. Gordon
And my pitchers will be:
SP Anibal "The Cannibal" Sanchez
SP Zach Britton
SP Daniel Hudson
SP Aaron Harang, Freddie Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Fausto Carmona, or Edison Volquez (should get called up soon)
RP Jose Valverde
RP Jon Papelbon
So we're getting there. This is a 12 team head to head points league, so I'm hoping I just improved my team. Next move is to figure out an upgrade at 3B. I have Howie Kendrick coming off the DL so many I can trade him for a better 3B. Maybe I can trade Russell Martin when Mauer comes back as well. He is the #4 Catcher in our league at the moment!
I need my team to perform better because there is literally no hope of the Cubs turning their season towards a positive direction. That is one thing I'm sure of. Have a great weekend!
Thank you for being so awful that I've stopped caring about baseball season already. This is no joke. I have the MLB.TV package, the At Bat application on my phone, and I have barely been keeping track of the scores this past week. It's so depressing that I'd just rather not know that you lost... again. And if you win, I think, "That's nice- now they are only X# of games under .500. It's still hopeless."
(Related to the first note) Thank you for sneaking your way into EVERY single Cubs' players' contracts. What's that Jim Hendry? You want to have a fire sale and let the young guys play? Guess what- you can't! You've overpaid ALL of these underachievers and they all can veto trades that you propose. Inept is only where I would start when describing Jim Hendry as a GM. Stop handing out no trade clauses like candy, just stop it!
Thank you for kicking off with rain storms. I wonder if you are mimicking my emotions with weather because by the end of the month, I'll be 30. It's probably not that bad though, can't you say crazier and crazier things as you get older and just blame it on your age? Ah yes, 30 year old Tony is so stuck in his ways... we'll let that one slide... Ha!
Thank you for being a little pocket for me to fit all of my stress inside. You don't look great, but it's better than having an ulcer, I suppose. No, I will not name you like Screech named his pimple (before he accidentally invented a pimple cream that cleared up acne, but eventually turned skin red- Go Bayside!)
Thank you for living up to the hype. It looks like you might win a championship in your very first year as a Miami Heat. If nothing else, at least I won a ridiculously bad-ass contest at my favorite casino due to spoofing your "Decision." It's literally the only positive thing I can come up with if you actually finish this Championship off.
The Smashing Pumpkins are a fantastic band. They are also a band that I'm at a slight disadvantage writing about. You see, when I was growing up, I didn't enjoy the Pumpkins as much as I do now. I'm extremely familiar with their hits, but going really deep into their catalog will be a little more of a challenge. I'll do my best as this is officially post #700. That's a lot of writing! One would think I should've been writing a novelization of my life instead. However, since my capability as a writer pales in comparison to Snookie- there is no chance that I too could be a best selling novelist. On with the tunes!
"Siva" - From the Pumpkins' first record, "Gish," "Siva" has quite a rockin' groove. It breaks right into a heavy riff and Jimmy Chamberlain's drumming carries the song all the way through. Not a bad way to break onto the scene if you ask me. Does anyone else think that John Hamm would be the perfect person to play Jimmy Chamberlain in a movie about Smashing Pumpkins?
"Disarm" - One of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs. I'm certain Billy Corgan would not be pleased to know I've started playing the chorus of this song at the end of "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, but hey- what am I gonna do? I needed something to balance out the fact that I'm playing Lady Gaga acoustically.
"Mayonaise" - I really like the slow build up of this song and the way the guitars build off of each other. I know I could've chosen a number of other songs off of "Siamese Dream"- but this song rules.
"Zero" - What dirty guitar riff! This song doesn't quit hitting your ears with this most pleasant distortion. Put this one in the same category as "Bullet With Butterfly Wings." I enjoy them both, but I like "Zero" just a bit better.
"Bodies" - Putting out a double album was a brave choice to follow up on "Siamese Dream." Back then, you'd need kids/teens/fans to make a $30 commitment to buy the album. By the time you finish with the first disc, you wonder, "do I even need more?" Then you hear "Bodies" and you realize "yes- yes I do need more!" The album is 9 times platinum in the US, so it obviously worked out.
"1979" - You want the song that is quite possibly the Pumpkins' biggest, most defining hit? Ok- here it is.
"Perfect" - I think "Adore" is an underrated album. Oddly, I owned this CD, but never owned "Siamese Dream." I'm unsure how I pulled that off, but it's the truth. "Perfect" is a calming song that is so well written it makes me jealous. It is not a bad song to listen to when stressed or when needing to relax. Great stuff.
"Eye" - You almost thought I was going to forget this one, eh? Nope. The use of synthesizers in this one puts on a clinic! From the "Lost Highway" soundtrack (that also features "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails)- this weaves its way through different moods and gives the listener a great overall experience.
"The End Is The Beginning Is The End" - It's hard to really support this song since it was part of the "Batman and Robin" soundtrack. Everyone involved with the production of that movie deserves 10 lashes in public. However, the song rocks and is worth a listen.
So there you have it. What are your favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs? Did you enjoy my list? How is it possible I've made it to 700 posts? These questions answered and more in the comments section...
That was a solid weekend! Besides the Cubs being just a terrible, terrible baseball team- the rest of the weekend was fun.
I played music at my friends' wedding in Placerville. Jenelle and Dustin had an extremely fun wedding with great food and a Chicago tribute band! Pretty sweet stuff. I played a little bit during the ceremony, then ran down to the reception site and played during the cocktail hour. After that, I was free to hang out and mingle which was a lot of fun. I'm proud to have been involved and congrats to Jenelle and Dustin!
Moving forward from the home buying debacle, we are rearranging our apartment to give us a fresh living space. So far so good as we've been putting ancillary items in storage and utilizing the space more effectively. I have to give Mrs. B. a lot of credit, she's quite the interior designer and it really hasn't broken the bank.
Later in the day, we went to Katrina and John's for a quick snack, then it was off to Roseville for some roller skating. Wait- what?! That's right, roller skating. In an event to recapture our youth, I purchased a Groupon that gave us entry, skate rental, pizza and soda. Hilarious stuff. Skating was ultimately fun, but unfortunately, none of the skates were great fits for our adult feet. I know my ankles were a bit swollen the remainder of the weekend.
After doing a kiddie activity, we had to redeem our adulthood by going to Thunder Valley Casino. I had never been, but my impression was pretty much the same as any other California Indian Casino- not as good as anything in Nevada. On par with the others, there was no real Craps, no sports betting, and no free drinks while gambling (all California laws- I'm sure they'd have it if those things were legal.) Video Poker becomes the #1 game because I'm still not down with Blackjack or any of the other card table games.
The gaming was ok. I got down a decent amount and then got a 4 of a Kind to come back to almost even. In the end, we drove back to Katrina and John's, had a few drinks and went to bed. Good times.
Sunday was fun because it involved sleeping in (we spent the night at K & J's) had an awesome breakfast, got to go swimming, John and I jammed on the guitars, then we BBQ'ed and watched baseball. Solid day for sure. Sure my fantasy baseball team is pathetic, but at least I could distract myself from that fact with fun activities.
Mrs. B. and I went to the gym at 9am on our Memorial Day. After getting in a solid workout returned home to keep working on our apartment. It's looking much better than before and it allows for more overall space than before. Mrs. B. also called Comcast because our bill keeps going up while our internet connection has regressed to 1998 dial up. They gave us 6 months of HBO which is nice because I plan on catching up on Game of Thrones.
The weekend was fun and relaxing- just the way Memorial Day should be. This coming weekend I have 3 shows in 2 days so I'm sure I'll have more interesting stories, but for now I'm content with the fact that my boring weekend was just what I needed to recoup some energy.
The title sounds epic, but I truly don't have much fire power left to really give a full review of the Bulls' season. I'm going to give a quick list of my biggest impressions of the baby Bulls' 2010-2011 run.
- Derrick Rose took his giant step forward into super-stardom. The MVP of the league is only 22 years old. He will only get better and better.
- I did NOT expect the Bulls to grab the #1 seed in the East. Before the season, the 3 seed was the ceiling that I believed they could achieve. They proved me wrong and exceeded expectations. This is a huge positive step in the right direction.
- Taj Gibson will be a great player. Not a #1 guy, but a great third piece on some team. It would be too bad if the Bulls have to give him up...
- Speaking of which, now that the season is over for the Bulls, rumors of Dwight Howard being available need to be followed up on by the front office. I know the Lakers could be the more likely destination, but word is that the Lake-Show won't give up young big man/stripper Andrew Bynum in exchange for Superman. Good luck with all that, LA. Come up with a competitive package Bulls, and get it done.
- Joakim Noah is a great defender, but his goofy offense allows defenses to sag in, crowd the lane and create problems for Derrick Rose. Also, Noah did not pay attention to Kobe's commercial about not using homophobic slurs. He could be trade bait as part of the package that gets D. Howard.
- Carlos Boozer is overpaid. Sometimes I like his post moves, other times I'm annoying by his slow, overhead shooting form. He should have spent a summer with my high school coach- his shot would've been much, much improved.
- Tom Thibodeau is a very good coach. He definitely is the right guy in Chicago. Unfortunately, he was actually out-coached by boy wonder, Eric Spoelstra in the Eastern Conference Finals. I'm interested to watch the adjustments that Thibs will make next year.
- I'm now cheering for the Mavs. I really, really hate the Heat.
In the end, I'm more interested in NBA basketball than I have been in years. Once the Bulls won 6 championships in the 90s, I never thought I would be able to enjoy basketball again. How could I ever feel attached to a team when I already experienced the greatness of Jordan and Pippen? Well, this Bulls team got me. I was emotionally invested and their loss to the Heat hurts. In a way, it's a good thing. Not good that they lost, but good that my love for the Bulls has returned to distract me from the Cubs terrible season thus far.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend and I'll see you back here next week!
Unsure when I will stop being thankful, but soon we'll find a new Thursday schtick... for now- Jimmy Fallon's sketch is stolen again. (PS: Don't forget to buy the Thank You Notes book on Amazon.com at 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern today.)
Thank you for breaking up. I had no idea you were still together. I like most of your material, but didn't feel like there was much of a chance of your playing the CA State Fair, which is probably the only place I'd go to see you these days.
Thank you for beating the OKC Thunder last night. I promise I will cheer for you if the Heat beat the Bulls tonight (or in any of the next 3 potential games.) This would be a complete role reversal from 2006 when I watched a finals game inside the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas and cheer for D. Wade and Shaq. Any Heat sympathy has sailed this past summer.
Thank you for offering to pay for any college bills accrued by Bryan Stow's two children. That is a sincerely nice gesture and really goes a long way during this horrible predicament the Stow family has gone through.
Somebody wants to earn some good will to get into the Hall, eh,
There's no thank you here- just get better. Holy crap you got lit up at the plate! That was a bad collision. Maybe... thank you SF Giants, in advance, for changing Posey's position in the field after he's better. Ouch.
Thank you for potentially being as good as the first one. I know that is probably not possible, and that I will ultimately set expectations too high before going in to see it, but it does give me something to look forward to.
Radiohead started their rise to stardom in the 90s. With the release of under-rated "Pablo Honey," no one could have predicted where the band's natural evolution would have taken them. Today, we'll focus on my favorite 90s songs by Radiohead that I love. I'm not taking into account whether the songs were singles, hits, or even b-sides. Hopefully I can do this band justice.
"You" - The opening track on "Pablo Honey." Hello world, meet Johnny Greenwood and his dirty guitar licks. Just try to listen to this song and not rock out. The simple intro guitar riff breaks into solid alternative rock.
"Anyone Can Play Guitar" - "I wanna be, wanna be Jim Morrison!" Most people can relate to that. This is just another great example of what alternative rock should be. Hey, I love "Kid A" as much as the next guy, but there's nothing wrong with this type of straightforward rock.
"I Can't" - I still find myself warming up for shows, occasionally, by playing this opening riff. I know most people can relate to the lyrics when they get into a rut. The juxtaposition of the major key pop rock with the sad lyrics is what gives this song such a great balance.
"Just" - BEST VIDEO EVER. What did the guy whisper?! The world will never know.
"My Iron Lung" - At first listen I thought this song was relatively similar to "Creep," but when you listen a little more carefully, this song tops it in a number of ways. The guitar riff to start is clean yet complicated songwriting. The slick riff transitioning to the chorus is perfect rock. The chorus itself is dirty and I still don't know exactly what the meaning of the lyrics are, but it doesn't matter. Just rocks.
"Black Star" - Probably my favorite Radiohead song. Check out this acoustic version.
"Killer Cars" - Such a fantastic b-side. It's almost unreal this isn't on a regular LP, but it makes sense that Radiohead has more awesome songs than room on albums.
"Airbag" - When I got "OK Computer" in 1997, I had no idea what to expect. "Airbag" opened the album up and I knew it was going to be a great ride. The drum and bass working together in the middle of the song is so phenomenally impressive I can't even stand it.
"Paranoid Android" - This video is quite trippy as well. Not up to the "Just" level, but extremely... ummm... interesting? The song itself goes through movements, almost like a classical music piece, that meld together many different styles of music. It is a modern masterpiece.
I love Radiohead. It's obvious that "The Bends" is my favorite record by them, but all of their music is addictive. Call out some of your favorite Radiohead tunes from the 90s and as always, feel free to debate the merits of my list.
Everyone complains about Interleague Play during the MLB season. It seems like every sports website I view or sports radio show I listen to have their own opinion about why Interleague Play should just end. Here is how many of these arguments go:
[sarcastically] "We've got a great match-up between the Pirates and Blue Jays- of course everyone looks forward to that classic match-up!"
Ok, we get it. It's an unusual match-up with ZERO rivalry involved. But this is a TERRIBLE argument. Why, you ask? Because this very same argument works for regular match-ups as well. Watch-
[again, sarcastically] "We've got a great match-up between the Mariners and Royals- of course everyone looks forward to that classic match-up!"
See, you wouldn't care about that stupid game either. So what's the harm with having fresh games that don't happen all that often? What's wrong with having pitchers hit and not be able to run the bases? What's wrong with allowing natural Interleague rivalries develop (A's/Giants, Cubs/White Sox, Yankees/Mets, etc.)? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Oh, so baseball is supposed to ignore the inflated attendance numbers during AL vs. NL games? Yeah, I love when businesses go away from profit to adhere to tradition. It's that kind of backward thinking that drives our country into the ground. "It's always been like this, so we can never change!" That attitude never got us anywhere and it doesn't work in this situation either.
The next argument is unfair scheduling. For example, this year the Cardinals play the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Rays from the AL East while the Brewers play the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. People will argue that this is unfair because the Yankees and Red Sox are much better than the Blue Jays. I say- who cares? These kinds of things happen in all sports. What if the schedule was made like this and the Yankees and Red Sox happened to have off years and it actually swung into the Brewers favor? This type of scheduling shenanigans happens in the NFL all the time. I believe if your team is good, they will beat whoever is on the schedule. If they are bad, they will lose. Even the Cubs managed to beat the Red Sox once, so it can be done, NL Central teams. Back in 2003, the Cubs beat the Yankees 2 of 3 at Wrigley and it was no coincidence that the '03 Cubs ended up in the playoffs. Beat teams on your schedule and stop whining.
I like Interleague Play. It keeps the schedule fresh and the rivalries I mentioned up top are typically very good (A's and Giants fans exhibited great rivalry this past weekend even though the Giants swept the A's- it just adds fuel to the fire.)
Feel free to disagree, but the fact remains, schedules may not be fair if one division happens to be weak one year versus the next. Imbalance is always going to happen and it's not Interleague Play's fault. Fan attendance, interest, and money does not lie. It's good for the game.