Friday, June 24, 2011

Upcoming Shows

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

Hope to see you all out there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Upcoming Shows

June 17 - Pyramid Alehouse in Walnut Creek, CA 7pm

June 18 - Prickly Pear Cantina in Danville, CA 6pm

June 23 - Fox and Goose in Sacramento, CA 8pm (David Wallace Opening)

For more show info: CLICK HERE

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

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.

Friday:

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.]

Saturday:

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.

Sunday:

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."

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And that about does it for my weekend.  It was fun and successful.  Can't argue with that!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Update

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
1B Konerko
2B Utley
3B Alberto Callaspo
SS Reyes
OF Stubbs
OF Choo
OF A. Gordon
U Morneau

And my pitchers will be:

SP Weaver
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!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thank You Notes

Stealing from Jimmy Fallon once more- buy his book to make up for me jacking his material!

Dear Chicago Cubs,

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."

Until next year,
Tony B.

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Dear No Trade Clauses,

(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!

Happy trails (or not),
Tony B.

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Dear Weird Al Yankovic,

Thank you for your video "Headline News."  It's even more hilarious now because the current events stories you chose are now extremely dated.  Here, see what I mean:



See what I mean,
Tony B.

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Dear June 2011,

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!

See, I'm already crazier,
Tony B.

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Dear Pimple On My Face,

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!)

That was quite a tangent,
Tony B.

---

Dear LeBron,

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. 

I'm not a fan of you,
Tony B.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

90s Music: Smashing Pumpkins

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...