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Dreamers, You Are Here

Happy Release Day to Dreamers!  Today, their sophomore EP “You Are Here” premiers on-line and will be available for sale on digital outlets tomorrow.  Remember, one way to support bands is to drop your coin on their music.

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Cookies always sound like a great way to celebrate.  Inspired by the cover, here’s my rendition of their EP You Are Here in a sweet treat.

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Everyone loves discovering new music that makes you feel it has real potential to be one of your favorites.  Immediately, you sing along with the only official single they’ve released.  You follow them on every social media outlet to make sure you’re an authority when you gush about them to everyone who will listen.  You may even track them down for a live show to stand front and center at the stage’s edge when they play to a hundred people in a small bar on a weeknight.  You know, deep in your heart, they are special.

So, what can little ole you do to make sure they keep making music?  You’re just one fan, in one city, in one state.  Is there a way you can help support the band in which you’re smitten as they continue their adventure to grow a fan base?  Here are 10 simple steps you can take to help support the band you love.

1.)  Buy their music.

This may seem like an obvious step, but in the day of pirate downloads and internet radio stations it’s starting to become the exception, not the norm.  Remember, the artist spent months, if not years, creating the product you now enjoy.  While I’m sure they’re excited you like the art they spilled blood, sweat, and tears on, I doubt they wanted to gift it to you.  Even though it doesn’t sound glamorous, this is their job.  Pay the people!

2.)  Tell your friends.

Word of mouth still remains one of the most effective marketing tools with very little cost to the artist.  Keep bragging to your friends about how much you love them.  Hopefully some of your passion will rub off.  And they’ll start telling their friends.  And then their friends.  I think you get where I’m going.

3.)  Go to shows.

Tickets are still a way bands make money (although I’m curious if there’s good profit margin there) and they appreciate you dropping the coin on seeing them in the flesh.  There’s nothing like the feel of a live show.  If you haven’t experienced it before, put that shit on your bucket list.  If you’re lucky enough to catch a band on their way up, you may even have the chance to chat them up at the merchandise table if they’re cool and you’re lucky.

4.)  Buy their merch.

How people can go to a show and not buy gear, I have no idea.  Each place always gets a shirt purchase out of me no matter what.  I will even forgo lemon drops if that’s what it requires.  Not only do I take home an awesome memento, Hubs turns into a walking billboard for my fave band when he wears it.  Do you know how many times people ask “Who are The Airborne Toxic Event?”

If you really want to give additional support by throwing them more dollars and advertising, check out their websites to buy a whole wardrobe.  (I’m looking at you, G-Man Super Fan.)

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Amazing gear photo by Deborah Gliva documenting her stash.

 

5.)  Gift it to your friends.

Don’t you have that friend where it’s always difficult to buy them the perfect gift?  While I wish there was a way to send them the album, I go with the next best thing — gift card.  Encourage others to buy the music by gifting them the funds to do it.  You can gently encourage they try out your awesome band by constantly singing your favorite lines.

6.)  Talk about them on social media.*

Social media gives such a wider audience to deliver your message.  You usually are connected with people who share similar interests and may really enjoy your recommendation.  I have found so many new bands this way.  Two things to remember when using social media to promote your favorite band:  First, don’t be that guy who only uses his social media to hawk gear.  You know the one.  That guy who never posts a status, but finds all the time in the world to tell you what to buy.  Second, use the social media you’re comfortable with.  There’s nothing more awkward than someone trying to jump to a social media outlet they don’t understand.  You hear things like, “I twotted about this last week.”  Ugh, terrible.

In case you have a blog, put an easy link for others to try out some new bands you love.  Oh, look what I’ve done here…

 

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7.)  Tell your radio stations to play them.

This may be an traditional process, but heck, it still works.  Instead of only being stuck with your hometown station, satellite radio will help your band get to a bigger audience.  Stations also tend to be on-line and want to hear from their customers.  Alt Nation regularly promotes their listeners to tell them what they want to hear through Twitter or Facebook.  Use your voice.  Get them on the air.

8.)  Buy them coffee/drinks/dinner.

I recently read a tweet from a band talking about how they shouldn’t have to eat Top Ramen all the time.  The sentiment was a thank you to fans for buying albums, tickets, and merchandise.  I also have been reading the hilariously realistic “Hitless Wonder” by Joe Oestreich where 5 guys sharing a hotel room and eating Taco Bell dinners are common.  If you get to see your band, buy their drinks, deliver treats, or appreciate them with a gift card to a decent meal.  I understand the job is to perform, but you can thank them for being good people, too.

Warning: This is not a way to trap your band into hanging out with you.  Be genuine in doing something good for them.  My God, they sacrifice a lot.  It’s not all about you.

9.)  Buy their new album in the pre-order stages.

While we talked about buying their music above, there is a better time to do it than others.  Purchasing in pre-order if available helps with first week sales.  In our world with split-second decisions about if something is a success or not, the first week can make or break a new track.  Lay down your cash to let everyone know they’re worth the investment.

10.)  Write reviews.

You love your band.  You buy all their albums.  You tell all your friends about how much you love the band.  Why, why, why don’t you write a review?  People seem hesitant like they need to be labeled a critic to have an opinion.  Positive reviews drive sales.  If you don’t think so, when was the last time you bought something and didn’t check out the star rating.  Tell the world why you love a song, the album, and the band.  This will help that hesitant person to press the Buy Me button and put another fan in your band’s pocket.

These are only a few steps to get you going in the right direction.  If you have any great ideas how to support your favorite band, feel free to include them in the comments.

*Don’t worry, one day I’ll do a blog breaking down some of the social media outlets that help an artist the most.  After I figure it out myself.

 

 

Steadfast in 2016

It’s that time again where I sit down and tell the world what I resolve to do in the new year.  Coming off a year with few successes on my resolution list has me more determined than ever to commit to my goals.  At the same time, I want something with purpose.   You know, something more than an easy lob where it’s simple to get the job done.  I want to stand on the other side of 2016, look back, and scream, “fuck yeah, I did that!”

Write and query my best book.

I’m upping the game this year.  Since I didn’t finish a manuscript in 2015, I’m determined to reach a finish line in 2016.  However, I don’t want to stop there.  I want to edit, revise, shred the thing, and make it into something I’m proud to query.  It’s been a long time since I’ve put my writing out there to be rejected.  Which means it’s been a long time since I’ve put myself out there to be accepted as well.

Keep pretending.

I started this in 2015 and there hasn’t been a whole lot of success to document.  I tried some techniques, but I let my insecurities get in the way.  Instead of working towards being a more powerful supporter of my girlfriends believing in themselves, I was over-worrying about things out of my control.  I gave too much importance to situations that shouldn’t rule me like they did.  I’m re-committing at the beginning of the year to continue to pretend to be the person I want to be.

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Love my lady friends.  Always.

Try crazy ideas.

Crazy ideas pop into my head at a regular rate.  They usually fall out of my mouth in this sentence, “Wouldn’t it be funny if…”  That’s usually where it ends because my mind races with all the reasons the idea won’t work, or it’s not funny after all, or I already have a million other things going on. The result is my funny invention dies on the idea vine.  What if I didn’t invite reality to the party and tried a few?  Maybe fun things would take off into new innovations and end with the confirmation from someone else saying, “That is so funny.”

Example:  Today’s awesome idea is “Wouldn’t it be funny if I did a vlog series called Drunk Interview and somehow I convince bands to let me interview them while we’re both drunk?”  Who wouldn’t want to see that, right?  Open for bands to volunteer.

Read more.

In 2015, I cut back on the reading.  This is a bad thing when you want to be a writer.  While I can’t commit to the 25 books I did a couple years ago, I resolve to read more and from different genres.  This means I will still be completing Baked Books when inspiration hits and hopefully have more success than I did the last year.

Compare Less.

This could really read “be less jealous” or “be happy with your accomplishments.”  I compare myself to others all the time and then beat myself up for not having their successful results. The problem with measuring ourselves against other people is it’s as reliable as a fun house mirror.  The success stories others talk about usually leave out the gory details about how much sacrifice went into it.  Therefor, I’m going to try to reduce how often I compare myself to others and be satisfied with the journey I’m forging.

As always, this is a pretty tough list.  Wish me luck!  And feel free to add any resolutions you might have in the comment section.

Ending 2015 with a Vlog

It was on the resolution list for 2015 and now it’s real.  Here’s a vlog to wrap up how I did on my resolutions, this being one of them.  (Apologies for the angled camera work but I wasn’t doing it again.)

 

My 2015 Concert Wrap Up

I’ve been super fortunate this year in my concert escapades.  If you didn’t already know from my constant whining about not having any local shows, I have to drive at least 5 hours each way, take time off of work, and spend the night when I want to attend a concert.  This makes it extremely challenging to see very many in a single year.  If I lived in Portland or LA, I would be at a show every night.  Some of my concert friends who live in those areas see 2-3 a week!  A week!  So jelly.  However, since I do not have those same opportunities, I have to be selective about which ones will fill my concert dance card.

Usually my concerting revolves around The Airborne Toxic Event.  Sadly, they were one band I didn’t see this year.  I mentioned last year the Seattle show might be my last and so far, it has been.  This did leave more time and dollars to diversify my concert viewing portfolio.  In true 2015 year-end wrap up fashion, I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights and the disappointments from this year’s shows.

Best Visual Performance — OK GO

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My picture doesn’t do this amazing image justice.

No question about it.  OK GO rocked my world.  I was a little worried because their videos are so creative that their live show might be a letdown.  Uh, they schooled me.  I’d never seen anything like what they put on.  They had a floor to ceiling transparent screen which allowed them to project giant images at times or see through it for their live show at others.  And don’t even get me started about that confetti cannon.  Oh my God, it was a thing of beauty.  To this day, I can hardly talk about the experience without dying a little on the inside for being in the balcony and not in that pit.  Ugh.

Would I go again?  In a heartbeat

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Do you see the confetti love being showered over the pit?

Best Party — Matt & Kim

It should no surprise the two of them can put on a show that will fucking blow your mind.  They perform the same way you see them during interviews, in videos, even their Snap Chat stories.  They look like they LOVE life.  And damn if their show doesn’t make you love it too.

The Crystal Ballroom bounced the entire time.  People were singing every word, crowd surfing, and even flashing Matt their boobs.  Everyone knows this because Kim said Matt messed up the words because of it and then said he’s been looking at her same ones for thirteen years.  Aren’t they adorable?  I love them extra because they liked the cookies I made for them, Snap Chatted them, and even gave a personal thank you. <swoon>

Would I Go Again?  Abso-fucking-lutely

Best Overall Night — Dreamers

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You may have already read herehere, here, and here about how much I adored my Dreamers’ concert night and fell deeply in love with them.  In contrast to the two above, this show was very small.  The kind where you don’t have to throw elbows for a 12 inch standing square.  In fact, you can get so close you could reach out and touch them while on stage, although I wouldn’t recommend that.  This doesn’t mean they bring any less heart.  They evoke a great live energy with their genuine excitement and crowd interaction.

Their smaller stature makes them very accessible.  Many attendees gush about getting to talk to them after the show.  They pose for photographs, sign gear, and chat up each person who approaches.  A constant theme is they are nice people.  They mirror this on their social media presence as well, if you like to tweet.  I will vouch for both.

I recommend if you’re thinking about seeing them, you get on it quick. I doubt those small, intimate shows are going to be available for much longer (if you can even find one now).  They recently announced big things in 2016 including lots of touring, a new album, and celebrating a place on Alt Nation’s top 36 songs for 2015.

(And yes, I did notice Oregon is not on the tour list…yet!  I promise Oregonians, I didn’t ruin it for you with my tom-foolery.  They say they’ll come back even with the knowledge I will be there.)

Would I Go Again?  I’m trying, dammit!

Biggest Disappointment — Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse (Tie)

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Even this photo is boring.

Maybe it was the 25,000 person venue or the fact I’d roasted in the sun for 8 hours.  Or it could have been the couple of terrible Budweiser Margarita tall boys I’d choked down throughout the day.  Whatever the reason, these bands were terrible.  Slow, boring, and all around sounded like shit.  A stark contrast to Panic at the Disco who performed on the same stage only an hour before.  We left halfway through Modest Mouse.

Would I Go Again?  Nope, not a chance for either of them.

Best Surprise — The Vaccines

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I hadn’t even planned to go to their show.  I was in Portland for a writing conference and discovered they were playing in a smaller club down the street.  A concert friend from England said I should go because they were terrific live.  So after a day of learning about writing and a night of drinking with writers, I stumbled over to the Wonder Ballroom to catch their set.  They were terrific!

It was a completely different experience for me to be standing in the back of the room and only know a few songs.  Seeing the others geek out and getting sweaty in the pit gave me a giant case of FOMO.  I came home, bought more albums, and have been enjoying them ever since.

Would I Go Again?  Likely

Most Sought After — The Limousines

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They’re the whole reason I went to Live 105’s BFD in San Jose.  I love them.  I pressed against the barrier and finally got to hear the live versions of songs from Get Sharp.  It made my heart smile.   I wish they toured more.  I’ll say it again — I love them.  This terrible picture captures the exact moment before that big white ball in the corner hit me in the face.

Would I Go Again?  I will travel far and wide for The Limousines.

Just Okay — Twenty One Pilots

I looked forward to Twenty One Pilots for six months.  Hubs bought the tickets as an anniversary gift from Stub Hub so you know we got royally screwed on price.  I wanted them to be more than awesome.  And they ended up being “just okay.”

I’m not sure if I was still coming down from my epic Dreamers’ night the week before or if Twenty One Pilot’s odd concert style with song montages  instead of the complete versions were to blame.  I will say their high energy stage presence with back flips and crowd surfing the drum kit are amazing.

I could go on with what I loved or hated about each show.  Live music is like nothing else in this world.  I’m still trying to find a way where all I do is travel around, listen to bands, and talk to all the fans.  Hopefully in 2016 I’ll continue to get around and have a chance to meet you.

Here’s my complete list of bands seen in 2015:

  • OK GO
  • Elle King
  • Panic at the Disco*
  • Meg Meyers*
  • The Orwells*
  • Misterwives*
  • Atlas Genius*
  • Cold War Kids*
  • The Limousines*
  • Of Monsters and Men*
  • Modest Mouse*
  • Sheppard*
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket**
  • Smash Mouth**
  • Tonic**
  • Dreamers
  • Twenty One Pilots (2x)
  • Saint Motel
  • Matt & Kim

*Live 105’s BFD

**Jacksonville’s Britt Festival

Can’t wait for 2016!

A few weeks ago I started one of my 2016 resolutions early.  I made the commitment to focus on decreasing insecurity and self-doubt by pretending to be more confident.  This is no easy feat for me even though most equate extroverted with confidence.  While I can be loud, talkative, and even sometimes (dare I be so bold to say) funny, there are days where I’m crippled with doubt and succumb to my crazies.

I started this resolution with something I’ve been working on for a year.  After my mother-in-law’s suicide, I told myself I would share my feelings with other people in the moment instead of “waiting for the right time.”  It was a little piece of something I could do in a situation that left me helpless.  I’m talking about telling people the true good feelz, too.  You know, the deep kind where you put your exposed heart out and pray you don’t die.

Why would I want to torture myself by being completely exposed if I didn’t have to?  Because if we are brave enough to share our true feelings, we can create the most amazing relationships.  Who doesn’t want to know how they’ve positively impacted someone else’s world?  Aren’t we all looking to be something special to someone?  How will we ever know if it’s working if no one is brave enough to stand up and share their feelings?

You might be asking:  If it’s such an awesome-feelz party, why is it so hard for you to do?  Because it’s scary as fuck.  DUH!  Insecurity weaves its way into my consciousness with things like, “they don’t care what you think,” “you’re nothing to them,” and “you’ll look like a idiot.”  Self-doubt mixed with fear stops me from thanking people who were thoughtful enough to show me something beautiful.  Maybe I imagined this nice thing?  Or I’m blowing a simple gesture into some kind of big deal.  If I tell them, I’m going to look stupid, like a chump, or a desperate loser starved for any attention.  I convince myself no good will come from sharing my personal thoughts.  In fact, the only thing I know will happen is I will inevitably be crushed.  Oh my gosh, this sounds so dire.

Even after that downer paragraph above, I have made some strides in the past year.  More often, I tell Hubs I appreciate the way he loves our children, explain to the kiddos the specific ways they make me proud, and remind my best friends I couldn’t live without their friendship.  But even yesterday while talking with Gal Pal on our girls’ trip, I fumbled for the words as I tried to appreciate the amazing person she is.  And these in my close circle are the easy ones.  I trust them.  Although there’s some vulnerability in looking like an over-emotional sap, I have the pretty safe bet they aren’t going to laugh or say the dreaded “I don’t care.”

Gal Pal and I waiting for Saint Motel.

Gal Pal and I waiting for Saint Motel by saying nice things to each other as girls should. Isn’t she beautiful?

However, I’ve come to the realization what good will I do if I only share my feelings with a trusted core posse?  Aren’t I appreciative of a larger group that I come into contact with in passing?  Shouldn’t they know their simple smile, nice words, or considerate company had a positive impact on my life.  Or the fact I appreciate their generosity by paying it forward to ten more people in their honor?  I have to work through this fear if I expect anyone else to do the same.

So, I’m doing it.  Putting myself out there in a vulnerable place with feelings exposed. Pretending I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry about what the others think.   Telling myself I’m not weak for appreciating people who may not care.  Trying to convince myself I shouldn’t be ashamed.  Acknowledging I want to get to the place where I don’t have to pretend anymore.

Even though it’s so uncomfortable to take the first step, I have to admit no one has been cruel.  No one went out of their way to try to make me feel like shit.  In fact, a few may have even said they appreciate it.  Those small successes are what make this whole thing worth it.  They may not silence the insecurity demons screaming in my head each time I decide to stand on the ledge to look over into the unknown.  But they do light the path to the place I want to go.  The destination where I can walk up to that same ledge, spread out my arms, and fall forward because I know good people will catch me.

I encourage you to be brave and do the same.

Let’s Pretend Ladies

In the last couple months, I’ve seen a troubling trend in my female relationships.  Don’t worry, this isn’t a cat fight thing.  I adore these ladies.  They’re beautiful, smart, driven, hilarious women.  Even with these wonderful qualities, there’s been a consistent and troubling message underlying our numerous conversations, chats, and texts.  They’re settling for something less than they deserve.

Although I’m channeling this topic from four women in particular, it doesn’t mean the same insecurities don’t affect married women or men.  However, each of my lovely friends have voiced they worry they will not find a successful relationship.  To help with the despair, they have put up with:

  • Dating a man who refuses to give his last name.
  • Communicating with an adverb abusing sexter.
  • Taking back a straight up liar.
  • Accepting being forever a “fuck buddy.”

These situations are all unacceptable to me.  Don’t get me wrong.  If they were satisfied with these things, I would be cheering them on.  Remember, I’m the chick who still wants the business where male hookers look like your favorite celebrities called Dopplebangers.  (Oh, how I love that name.)

The reason I find the above things the absolute worst is because these situations are connected with statements like:

  • There’s nobody better.
  • I worry I’ll be alone forever.
  • I’m incapable of love.
  • I must not be good enough.

Kills me to write those words when I’m thinking about these amazing women.  But we all do it, don’t we?  Tell ourselves we’re nothing special.  Resign ourselves to accepting what “is” instead of changing it to what we want.  Apologizing for being ourselves because someone else might not like it.  Hell, I recently did it when meeting a band.  How many times have you read my posts about insecurity and self-doubt.  That’s the beast at the core of this problem.  So how do we fight it?

“How about you pretend you’re a different person?” I said.  “You know, one who is oozing with confidence and takes the world by storm?”

“I’m not a good liar,” she said.

“You’re not lying.  That’s really who you are.”

I think this is where she stopped listening.

I’ve thought about this for several days; pondering my gal pals regular response of “you don’t understand.”  I disagree.  When you approach anyone for a relationship, romantic or not, you’re putting yourself out there.  They don’t know that first moment you’re speaking to them if you’re about to ask them out or to pass the salt.  In that moment, we all face the same fear of rejection.

So what am I going to do about it?  Pep talks only go so far.  I need to take more action!  I’m challenging myself for one of my 2016 resolutions to “pretend to be confident.”  I will put myself out there to tackle some of the toughest challenges my lady friends face.  I’m going to try things which will be very uncomfortable, such as:

  • Not assuming the worst.
  • Keeping eye contact even when I feel inferior.
  • Approaching strangers to start a dialogue.
  • Believing I’m worth the time.

Then I’m going to write about it.  Maybe even ask the other person what they thought about it.  I’m going to tell you how each challenge goes and hopefully inspire you to channel your inner confidence.  I’ll even go one step farther and if there’s something you want me to try on your behalf, I will.  It may take me a while to work up the courage, but I’ll get it done and get back to you.

Is this easy?  Hell no.  I’m scared shitless.  I’ve tried to talk myself out of it twenty times already because I’m not really sure I can do it.  My paranoid mind “awfulizes” the most innocent situations and turns them into “Oh my God, why didn’t I do it better?” memories.  This is going to be fucking crazy.

Even though this is a 2016 resolution, I’m starting the challenge today.  I thought about waiting the additional month and a half to give myself more time to back out.  But my lady friends need to start changing something immediately.  Because they are beautiful, smart, driven, hilarious women.  And they need to start believing it now.

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I’m using this picture because all blogs should have a picture. This is an example of the hundred Snap Chat attempts I made today. (Of course, with people making fun of me the entire time.)  I lost this photo and now just found it on my phone. Also…my Snaps are blurry on a regular basis.

 

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