Archive for the ‘Weekend’ Category

Bitter Rock

Rusted Hero at The Bitter End

I had quite a “bitter” treat earlier this month when Rusted Hero was invited to play at The Bitter End – the famous, long-running New York City rock club. Some notable acts have played there such as Carly Simon, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and, yes, Lada Gaga before she was famous.

Making the experience even better was a trio of intrepid Virginians who made the trip up to NYC. Steve, Brandon and Richard all showed up for a little rocking, a little drinking … and, unfortunately, a lot of rain. The show was great (though I had a little trouble with tuning at times), but afterward, we all got stuck in a torrential downpour. Worse, we were in a godawful karaoke bar as it came down!

It was a wild weekend and I loved every minute of it … ok, being absolutely soaked wasn’t so hot. But what was hot was “Shine On You” from the end of our show!


Site Updates:

  • Took down The Bitter End gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Run-D.M.C. (1984) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Prince Of Persia [PS3] (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [PS3] (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool (1957) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Rested emoticon Rested

July Bullets

McCutchen at bat

Photo © 2011 Stan Syckes

Blah, I’ve been busy, want to update the blog about it all, but don’t really want to write long prose. Here are some magic bullets. Enjoy. Or don’t!

  • For my dad’s birthday, Stever and I picked up Pittsburgh Pirates tickets for the three of us. I grabbed a Bolt Bus down to DC, then all three of us drove up to Cumberland, Maryland where we visited several old sights and downed some local food (Coney Island hot dogs and Old German beer – not bad)! Then we recreated our Pittsburgh trip from 2002 – down to staying in the same hotel and recreating a photo in the PNC Park bar. We had a great time and all of the dirty details are here.
  • I beat my latest game (to me), BioShock. It’s a first-person shooter with survival horror elements, but the attribute that is most prevalent is the mood. The game takes place in an underwater city that was built in the 1940’s by a millionaire who no longer wanted science to be stifled by politics or religion. What happened is people began to mutate themselves and something went horribly wrong. A premise that is equal parts fascinating and ho-hum, but the execution of the unfolding story is excellent. The combat is a little on the weak side – especially towards the end of the game – and I did play through the whole thing on the Easy setting, but I highly recommend this one to anyone who wants to play a great, eerie game.
  • Rusted Hero traveled to Cedar Knoll, New Jersey where the headquarters of WDHA 105.5 FM is located. There, we recorded two of our songs acoustically and did a quick interview as well for their Home Grown Spotlight blog. I’m not sure if either of these will be played over the radio, but we did a great job (ok, so I was definitely a little nervous during the interview) and I’m really proud of what we accomplished for this great honor! Then, we had another song off our EP played that night on the station! This was the first time I got to hear us live on the radio (I was on a plan for the first play) … an extremely satisfying experience. Don’t worry, I’ll update everyone when our acoustic performance gets put up.

Site Updates:

  • Removed BioShock [PS3] (2008) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow II (1974) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Prince of Persia [PS3] (2008) to Currently Enjoying
  • Took down acoustic performance at WDHA 105.5 from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Updated blog IDs for December 2007

Current Mood: No emotion! emoticon No emotion!

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  • Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 12:18 | #1

    Why was being on a plan stopping you from listening to the radio broadcast? Was it an anti-radio plan?

  • Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 14:03 | #2

    Ugh … I meant plane 🙁

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Surprise of the (Three) Decade(s)

Two thirty-year-olds getting the surprise of their lives

Photo © 2011 An Unnamed Air Force Officer

The first week in April, I traveled back down to Virginia to see some folks and catch a MLS game. Or so I thought!

I took off that Friday to avoid the weekend travel blues and split my time between Cassie’s parent’s house and Stever Manor. I got to see Cassie’s dad’s crazy, new movie room, ran on her 20-year old treadmill, played some acoustic guitars with Richard and Steve at a Guitar Center, ate a ton of shitty food, watched a handful of random 21 Jump Street episodes … basically, it was turning out to be a nice, lazy Northern Virginia weekend.

As usual, we also scrambled to put together a night where all of our friends would get together for a dinner and drinks in DC. By the start of Saturday night, the restaurant had been selected, the people had been primed, and Steve and I set off to Brandon’s for a ride into the city.

On our trip into DC, I got a call from Cassie who said she had arrived early to the restaurant to discover our reservations had been messed up. Basically, we now had an hour to kill so Brandon casually mentioned we could hang out and have a couple of drinks at his new, nearby office while biding our time. His passengers were Steve and I (are there two more laid back people when it comes to planning?) so of course we obliged.

Brandon “unlocked” the door, we stepped into the darkness and suddenly … surprise! The lights flipped on and high up on the balcony above us were all of our friends and family. It was such a shock that I feel like I just froze and had to wait several seconds to compute what was going on. It turns out Cassie went nuts and planned a secret, surprise birthday party for Steve and I … almost a full month after the real date (purposely, to throw of us off her trail). What followed was a lot of food (I had very little), a lot of booze (I had a lot), and ended up with a giant beer pong competition (I lost many, many times).

What can I say? It was was the perfect celebration. Turning 30 is a huge milestone and it was wonderful hitting that terribly, terribly high age amongst the people I love. A great night, thank you everyone!

    Site Updates:

  • Posted June 9 journal entry (complete with comments) to The Shack: 10th Anniversary: 2000-2010
  • Took down Bar East Battle of the Bands gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Put up Mexicali Live gig on Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Three Dog Night (1969) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Long After Dark (1982) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Ben Folds – Sunny 16 (2003) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Awolnation – Megalithic Symphony (2011) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Batman: Season 1 (1966) from Currently Enjoying
  • (Re)added Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake [MSX] (1990) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Surprised emoticon Surprised

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Let’s Talk Turkey


I did my usual southern trip to Virginia for Thanksgiving recently and hit all the major tour stops: my grandmother’s house in Harrisonburg, my brother’s house in Arlington, Mom’s house in Woodbridge, and both Cassie’s parent’s house and Dad’s house in Clifton. Yep, as usual, it was a whirlwind but I had a lot of fun.

Right after work Wednesday (the 24th) I grabbed a MegaBus for DC. Yes, I’ve commented in the past about my woes with this infernal franchise, but all of the Bolt buses (my preferred means of travelling between states) were booked and I wasn’t about to pay $200 for an overcrowded train ride. Luckily, we didn’t crash into any bridges and I made it to downtown DC in pretty decent time.

El Stevedore did his usual bang up job of picking me up and we crashed at his place. Then it was a crack-of-dawn drive to H-burg where we met up with all of the Mills. We played a lot of tv show trivia games (Seinfeld, Full House and Saved by the Bell) and I ate a ton of stuffing and then I drove mom’s car back to her place (where I fed Mila and then promptly fell asleep! What a cool Thursday night!!!!!).

Maybe it was for the best as Friday was designated TJHSST reunion night! I had gone to my tenth year reunion last year and this year was Cassie’s so a lot of the pressure was off me (I admit to a last-minute 3-mile run before heading out last year), but I still recognized many faces and found myself in awkward conversation. Unfortunately, the class of 2000 had a strange and contested history of getting this bash together and, with such little planning, had only managed to book the event for 3 hours. So, at the strike of … 11pm (!?!?!) the place closed and everyone was pushed out into the cold Clarendon streets.

Of course, the drunk Colonials demanded more reunions so Cassie and I shuttled between several bars (in freezing weather, may I remind you!!!) to continue drinking and socializing. It was a fun night out, but I definitely broke my no-cold status of 2010 (that’s right, I went almost 11 full months without a cold).

Saturday was reserved for the Man Cave – where Steve(r) and I tried out Dad’s new PS3 move. I have to admit I liked it a lot better than his old Wii, even if it does reek of “late to the party.” But, it’s just another display of how Sony makes video games and Nintendo is in the toy business. Anyway, after a couple hours of revelry we went to his local haunt, the Bonefish Grill with Cassie and Karen in tow. Then Steve, Cassie and I headed back out to Clarendon where we grabbed a whole bunch of friends (the Cretzes, the Joneses, Michelle and Richard Killiam 🙂 ) and had an awesome night. Yes, even though Richard spilled his beer into my chair!

My final day in Virginia was spent shopping with Mom and making the obligatory pilgrimage to the Olive Garden. Then, one final sleepless night with Ripley later, I headed back to New York. I was exhausted, but glad to be back in the Big Apple.

    Site Updates:

  • Took down The Delancey gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Took down Crash Mansion gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed The Dave Matthews Band – Remember Two Things (1993) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Mogwai – Happy Music for Happy People (2003) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Vintage NBA Basketball: The Pioneer Era (1946-56) (1996) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Elton John and Leon Russell – The Union (2010) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Took down L.I.C. Bar gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Added Celebrity Rehab: Season 4 (2010) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Coughing Up Fun Phlegm! emoticon Coughing Up Fun Phlegm!

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Birth Of A Hero: Part 4

Bad asses

© 2010 Honora K.

Man, I’ve really got to get these Rusted Hero updates out the door. These updates are nearing two months old already!

Sunday, August 15

Day 2: Overdubs, vocals, Dr. Pepper
– 10:49 AM Aug 15th @rustedhero

We started day 2 slightly earlier than day 1 as everything was already set up for us. On the agenda was to overdub the guitars to thicken out the sounds of all songs and to finish all of Matt’s vocals. It seemed relatively easy in theory, but I would soon find out how fast time flies when the spotlight’s on you.

My first mission was to set up a new amp for this day’s recording. For the previous day’s live, full band recordings I used an amp that had less distortion. This was due to the fact that I wouldn’t have time to switch out amps and sounds for each song and since each tune has slightly different requirements as far as heavy and light guitar sounds I just chose a middle-of-the-road approach. For overdubs, however, I’d be dialing in either super heavy distortions, crystal clean tones, or atmospheric effects.

The Dr. Pepper reference is about Adrien who consumed something like 5 or 6 Diet Dr. Peppers during the previous session and was whacked out of his mind by the end of the night. While Matt had been “laying down some tasty pipes,” Adrien was kicking, jumping and singing risque, alternate lyrics in the control room to hilarious effect!
– 11:24 AM Aug 15th @rustedhero

I set about recording guitars to all of the songs in the same order that we had recorded them the first day. For “Beg” and “Haunt Me Still” I went with the default distortion from the new amp I was using (can’t remember what it was … but it was some old beast from the 70’s). I also convinced the co-engineer to bring in his exhaustive guitar pedal collection and added a watery, phased tone for the dream-like bridge to “Haunt Me Still.”

Meanwhile, Adrien was being the social media maven that he naturally is out in the hangout room. He set up Rusted Hero on six or seven social media sites and was keeping up the live-tweeting. Here, he sends a link to a YouTube video he was enjoying.

Stan’s laying down some more guitar tracks. You know what time it is…
– 12:03 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

“Shine On You” is the closer to our gigs as well as the demo CD, but it was actually recorded second (after “Beg”). I used the same distortion for “Shine On You” as I did for “Beg” (and would for “Haunt Me Still”) and luckily knocked out the solo in only two takes. I have been playing the song since 2003, though …

The “you know what time it is” reference is to a Flight of the Conchord’s skit entitled “Business Time” that Matt and Adrien turned me on to. Emphasis on the words “turned me on!!!!”

I posted 6 photos on Facebook in the album “Recording. Aug 13-15, 2010”
– 12:51 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

“Lit Up, Let Down” is a song of ours that has a very different beginning – the chords, melody and lyrics are the same as the chorus but everything is slower and clean. So, I had to do a couple takes for this one to handle everything. I had constructed the solo to be a blistering run a la Jimmy Page mixed with the melody of Slash (high hopes, indeed) and I hadn’t really been practicing it in rehearsal (or anywhere else for that matter). So it took me several takes before I was happy to get through this one.

Outside, Adrien began posting pics up to our Facebook page.

Holy crap…Stan just laid down the solo for “It’s a Trap”. BLAZING!
– 1:34 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

For “It’s A Trap!” I wanted the dirtiest guitar tone we could muster. Ryan, the assistant engineer, concocted this really distorted, clunky sound that also would clip when pushed to the extreme. I liked it! I was getting into the recording groove at this point – I was knocking take after take out on the first try and probably pulled off the ad-libbed solo to this tune in 2 takes.

Adrien actually lived in Albany for a long portion of his life and had a few friends visit this day. My plan for the session was to get all of my overdubs recorded as fast as possible to give as much time to the vocals that we could get. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t really get to meet or interact with any of the visitors. At one point during my overdubs Adrien came in with two guys, they looked at me for a while (I was in mid-recording with headphones) and then left. I wonder who they turned out to be …

Just uploaded a video from the past couple days of recording! Check it out:
– 3:07 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

Here was the official posting of our recording session behind-the-scenes video. While I was recording guitar overdubs all day, Adrien had put together this five-minute montage from all of the video we shot. It turned out great.

I was finishing up the final two songs, “Safe In My Skin” and “Sun Kissed Sky.” Both were our slower, quieter songs so I just picked a nice sounding clean tone and knocked both out quickly. “Sun Kissed Sky” would need an acoustic track, as well, but that would have to be recorded in the vocal booth. Since it was nearing 5pm, however, (and I had originally planned on finishing at 4) I decided to wait until Matt had completed all the vocals before adding it.

Guitar tracks done. Matt’s in the booth belting out the vocals. Every layer added makes this sound even more…
– 5:47 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

Matt set up shop in the vocals booth and started down the line of our songs again. He wasn’t too happy with his recordings from the previous night so he did several of those takes over and then added harmonies and doubles. It was a painstaking process and one that I tried not to get involved in. Instead, I went outside and just explored the area, I goofed around on the computer, and I just played the guitar for fun. The last thing I had wanted while doing my guitar overdubs was for people to be sitting and watching me so I wanted to give the same respect to Matt.

At one point, Matt took a break so I jumped into the vocal booth and did my background vocals and acoustic guitar in two takes. Both were quick as I knew exactly what I had wanted to do for the acoustic part and I was still in the zone while my vocals weren’t going to get any better with further takes.

I posted 2 photos on Facebook in the album “Recording. Aug 13-15, 2010”
– 9:02 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

Around 9pm we had finished recording and started to pack up. John and Honora had to head out so we all did a group photo with Brett and Ryan (above). I made a quick statement that I’d be showing off my guns like Adrien was in his sleeveless shirt and suddenly that became the theme to the entire photo shoot. It was a funny way to officially end the weekend of recording. Oh, and then Adrien revealed his ass to the camera in the “outtake.” Unfortunately, that picture shall be kept from the public!

It’s a wraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!
– 9:53 PM Aug 15th @rustedhero

I typed in the final tweet – words sung to the tune of “It’s A Trap!” Matt, Adrien and I packed up our stuff, grabbed the preliminary mix CDs that Brett had burned for us and headed out. We waited a good half hour before throwing one of the CDs in and listening to the fruits of our labor. Rusted Hero had been born!

    Site Updates:

  • Took down Arlene’s Grocery gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Put up Desmond’s Tavern and Crash Mansion gigs to Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Junior Boys – Last Exit (2004) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Private Parts (1993) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die (1994) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Mooney Suzuki – Electric Sweat (2002) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Boardwalk Empire (2010) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Accomplished emoticon Accomplished

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Birth Of A Hero: Part 3

The mixing room at North Sea Studios

© 2010 Adrien G.

Saturday, August 14

7:30am wake up call to “Elmo in Grouchland.” Our gracious host happens to have a 2-year old! Rock begins at 11 …
– 9:53 AM Aug 14th @rustedhero

I woke up with a hungover singer next to me on the pull out couch. The mattress was pretty thin so I was a little sore but the worst part is I had fallen asleep directly beside the air conditioning unit so I was frozen upon waking up. Still, I was actually rested and glad I hadn’t gone out to drink the night before. I was ready to rock!

Well … as ready as I could be at 7:30am! Amber, our host for the weekend, and her little daughter were up and watching a Sesame Street movie as three grumbling musicians (and weirdly morning-person, Adrien) slowly got up and shook the dust of sleep off. We split up into two cars – John and Honora would hit up Dunkin Donuts while Matt, Adrien and I drove to a Wal-Mart. I had forgotten to pack socks and desperately needed some. We also decided to stock up on some serious recording snacks while there.

Enjoying Adrien’s blistering set of beginner guitar songs as drum tech and engineer set up the recording room!
– 11:52 AM Aug 14th @rustedhero

Even with all of the shopping, we still beat Brett to the studios. We finally got inside at 11:30 and then just kind of hung around for a while as Brett, Ryan (assistant engineer), and the drum tech guy who’s name I forget set up the recording room. The band hudled around my computer watching funny YouTube clips, ate breakfast, and listened to Adrien playing my acoustic guitar. It was interesting that every song he played was a song that I had learned during my first year of guitar. Including “My Friends” – the first full song I learned!

Laying down the first tracks …
– 1:53 PM Aug 14th @rustedhero

The decision was made early on to record all seven of our songs with instruments live, so Adrien (bass), John (drums), and I (gut) set up shop in the recording room. Even though we had been playing for months, the songs felt alien to me as soon as Brett said “go” – I was a little intimidated and uncomfortable by the recording process. It was strange to focus so intensely on the songs – in practice, we’re trying to hear ourselves, rehearse the performance and have a good time. This was serious and we were making sure all of our parts were as perfect as we could get them.

We’d run a song until we felt we had a good take. “Beg” was the first song and took about 4 tries, followed by “Shine On You” which took about the same amount. By now, I was starting to settle into the process even though I was still a little uncomfortable. We decided to stay “heavy,” so “Haunt” and “It’s A Trap!” were next. They each took maybe 2 or 3 takes.

I’m sure Matt was pretty bored as he had to just chill in the hangout room for most of the morning, but there were times when we asked him to come into the studio and mime his parts. You notice a lot of things while recording that you take for granted when just practicing – for example, we take queues from each other at certain spots in songs and we were missing things without Matt being in the room.

Food break. We’ve got the live tracks to 4 songs in the can!
– 4:09 PM Aug 14th @rustedhero

With more than half of the songs in the can (instrumentally), we took a much needed feeding break. Ryan ran out and grabbed us all subs and we once again camped around the computer and talked music.

Live tracks for all 7 songs: DONE! Up next is punching in a few parts
– 6:34 PM Aug 14th @rustedhero

It’s inevitable. After a little while of being in the studio you hit “the zone” and start to just knock out tracks. It had taken us nearly four hours to go through the first four songs. When we returned to the recording room after lunch we breezed through the final three songs in two hours.

During the last few practices leading up to this weekend I had started to notice that my playing was very sloppy. I don’t mean that I was hitting wrong notes, but that I was starting to get a little wild physically. I was banging my hand around the guitar and had a few, small injuries. Realizing these injuries would only get worse with two straight days of playing, I concocted a plan to armor my fingers!

I found some tape in the studio and covered my thumb, pointer finger, middle finger, and edge of the palm on my right hand. It looked a little like the infamous Michael Jackson tape-job. After a while I realized I was over thinking things and took most of it off, but the damage was done. Little specks of the tape had come off and now coated my strings. This wasn’t a problem now but would come to haunt me on the second day of recording.

Ladies, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Matthew Jones is in the vocal booth!
– 8:13 PM Aug 14th @rustedhero

I actually don’t remember doing any overdubbing this night even though the tweet says so. Instead, Matt finally got into the separate vocal booth and started to record. Unfortunately, as a result of drinking and not sleeping well the previous night, he wasn’t totally up to his usual standards and started to get frustrated. We called it an early night around 10pm and headed out to a nearby diner. Then, Honora, John and Matt went home while Adrien and I went to see The Expendables: a ridiculous ending to an awesome day.

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for February 2009 posts
  • Put up The Delancey and L.I.C. Bar gigs to Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed World Without a Superman (1993) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Junior Boys – Last Exit (2004) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Bleary Eyed emoticon Bleary Eyed

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Birth Of A Hero: Part 2

The North Sea Studios recording room

© 2010 Adrien G.

When last we left, two of our Heroes had arrived in Albany safe with musical equipment – but devoid of shelter! The other two would have to brave the working world for one more day. Would the band survive? Would the recording session even begin? Would Matt and Adrien ever leave their love nest that is the Albany Holiday Inn?

Here’s part two in this exciting series to answer some of these questions and raise just as many more!

Friday, August 13

Follow my band’s twitter account … I’ll be tweeting all the action from our recording session this weekend in Albany @rustedhero
– 1:03 AM Aug 13th @stanSyckes

Pretty early on I knew I wanted to live-tweet the entire weekend. Finally, I had something worthwhile to blab about on Twitter and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity escape me! Plus, this would give me something to do during the downtime as well as keep me inspired and motivated. Therefore, my laptop was a definite travel companion for this trip.

Another item that I tagged to come with us early on was a video camera. I wanted to capture a few, random candid moments throughout the recording and also wanted it in HD in case it ever went on YouTube. Luckily, John had one and brought it up.

Anyway, I’ll cut most of this boring day out as John and I worked a little and then made our separate ways up north. John drove up in his truck with fiancee, Honora, and our guitars while I took an Amtrak train. I have nothing interesting to report from my trip and it sounded like John’s was equally as uneventful. Meanwhile, Adrien was attending his father’s wedding while Matt slept all day (a common theme?).

Adrien picked me up from the nearby train station and we arrived at North Sea Studios at around 9pm. The building looked like a giant, run-down warehouse from outside but was pretty newly decorated upon entry. Walking in through the front door brought you directly into the hangout room – complete with two couches, a table and some lamps. We used this as our main headquarters while we weren’t recording. This room branched off into three exits – one to the mixing booth, one to the recording room, and one to a closed-off kitchen. There was also a small bathroom in the hall leading to the recording room. Everything had a half-finished, do-it-yourself charm as the studio was the weekend passion of Brett – our record engineer for the weekend and owner of North Sea Studios.

I got to talk to him while John – who had just arrived before me – was setting up his drum kit. Brett was a slightly older (than me) guy who dressed like an upper-middle class musician: basically looked like he just rolled out of bed and went to work, but managed to have really nice clothes on before he had fallen asleep. He was really easy-going and knowledgeable and didn’t seem to mind my complete lack of knowledge in the hardware department. After helping me try out a few amps and picking the one I liked we headed out.

Tonight we set up the gear and will be checking out the Albany nightlife. Tomorrow: demo recording begins!!!
– 12:12 AM Aug 14th @rustedhero

We drove to a local brewery where we met up with Amber, our innkeeper for the next couple of days, and pigged out. Afterward, we drove back to our room, passed around a bottle of whiskey and got ready to go out. Then, age struck! First, Adrien decided he was going to just grab some sleep as he had been running around all day and wanted to be fresh for the morning. Then, at the very last moment, I decided to bail too as I didn’t want to be hungover for the long day of recording ahead of us. So, I drove John, Matt and Honora to a nearby bar, headed home, and passed out.

The morning’s session was to start at 11am and, damn, that was approaching fast! I huddled under a tiny blanket on the pullout couch and tried my best to fall asleep.

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs (2003) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Death of Superman (1993) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Squirrel Nut Zippers – The Inevitable (1995) from Currently Enjoying
  • Took down Lit Lounge gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Added World Without a Superman (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Private Parts (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2000) from Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Procrastinating emoticon Procrastinating

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Birth Of A Hero: Part 1

A fisheye fly on the wall in North Sea Studios

© 2010 Adrien G.

Remember how last time I promised you all some actually interesting blog posts? Well, here they be!

Rusted Hero, my band of gentleman musicians, was essentially born two weekends ago. First we tripped up to Albany to record our 7-song demo album and then Tuesday the 17th we had our very first live performance at Otto’s Shrunken Head. It was an intense, exhausting and ultimately fulfilling couple of days but it took me a week away from it all to finally process everything.

Now that all of that nonsense is done, however, I’m going to shit it all out for you in a couple of awesome* posts (* validity of this adjective to-be-determined). We live-Tweeted the whole weekend so I’ll throw those in to sort of drive this narrative, but I’ll make sure to populate all of this with my legendary witty commentary. Ahem. Let’s begin!

Thursday, August 12

Practice just ended. Adrien’s car is loaded up. Recording weekend has officially begun!
-10:54 PM Aug 12th @stanSyckes

We had our regularly-scheduled practice this night, running through the set a couple of times and working on some last minute preparations. Afterward, we loaded up Adrien’s car with John’s drumkit and John’s truck with our guitars and other equipment. Adrien and Matt took off in Adrien’s car to reach Albany early Friday morning. They would meet up with Amber, our saintly shelter provider for the weekend (saintly because she offered her 2 bedroom apartment to us just days before our arrival when our original plan fell through).

Unfortunately, Adrien and Matt got in so late that Amber was passed out. And she was in such a deep sleep she never heard her phone so the two Heroes had to pony up cash for a romantic hotel room! It was an auspicious beginning (for them!) to the weekend but more (or less) interesting things were to come!

    Site Updates:

  • Added The Music Business (Explained In Plain English) (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997) from Currently Enjoying
  • Took down recording dates from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Took down Otto’s Shrunken Head gig from Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Freakonomics (2005) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Beavis and Butt-head: The Mike Judge Collection: Vol. 2 (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs (2003) to Currently Enjoying
  • Put up Lit Lounge and Arlene’s Grocery gigs to Rusted Hero sidebar section
  • Removed Superman in the Eighties (2006) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2004) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Jersey Shore: Season 2 (2010) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Death of Superman (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Created Rusted Hero blog category

Current Mood: Rested emoticon Rested

Bringing Things Up To Date

Drunks in front of a car

© 2010 Andrew R.

I’m forcing this one out. Beware.

I’ve been so busy that I have been physically unable to work on any new posts for some time now. I hate having to admit that almost as much as I dislike living it, but that’s the truth. I’ve got some really exciting band news to blab about so, unfortunately, I’m going to have to condense the last whirlwind of a month into an underwhelming blog-list. Here we go!

  • Jungle Juicerz Atlantic City Bachelor Party
    Pictured above! For the weekend of July 9-11, I was in the beautiful twin cities of New Jersey: Pleasant Point Beach and Atlantic City. The reason was simple: celebrate Jeff’s final days as a single, gay man. Ok, so there were still 8 weeks left before his wedding. And, ok, so he’s not really gay. But we did have to celebrate! 7 other of Jeff’s closest friends all showed up and we had a blast drinking, dancing, playing football, hot tubbing, and drinking a little bit more. We ripped up the kiddie pool at our White Sands Oceanfront Resort & Spa hotel, drove in style via limo, ate at the fancy Buddakan restaurant in Atlantic City, and crashed the MIXX club in the Borgata. And, even though I left with way more scars (both physical and emotional) than I had going in, I had a great time.

  • Staycation
    I hadn’t taken any vacation up through June so I decided to take a week off in the middle of July and do … absolutely nothing! I just slept in, played video games, worked on a whole bunch of projects, and played music all day for a week. This was right around the time I made my last real post on this site. No coincidence that this was right around the time my life went into hyperdrive.

  • Upper East Side Bed n’ Breakfast
    In the month of July we actually had 3 guests stay at our place! First, Janelle came up while I was in Atlantic City. This was probably for the best for all involved as it sounds like it was a very girly weekend. Then Jeff and Megan crashed here to attend a JMU Alumni booze cruise. That was a lot of fun (open bar!) and we also did a few typical touristy things that were actually enjoyable. Then we did the whole thing again the next week when Cassie’s parents and sister, Tori, crammed into our small place. Needless to say, Tito (not the friendliest cat to guests) was a hit (literally) with all of our visitors.

  • Celebrating One Year of Terror
    And speaking of that bean, happy 1st birthday to Gatito (Jun 17)!

  • Hot New Sound
    Based on talks with the Tone Jedi I met a while back and some research I bought a tube amp head – a Marsh 25/50. Unfortunately, even though I’ve had the amp for a month I have yet to actually play the damn thing!

  • Pap
    I lost another family member a couple of weeks ago. My grandfather on my mom’s side passed away rather suddenly and, although it came as a bit of a shock when it happened, it unfortunately wasn’t altogether too big of a surprise. It was an emotional and hectic two days as I was on the road for 14 hours just to get to Harrisonburg, VA and back but I was glad to participate. It was my first time being a pallbearer and, to be honest, it actually was a bit therapeutic as it satisfied my natural thoughts of “wanting to do something.” Steve wrote an excellent write up of the event on his site, and I’m afraid I probably won’t be able to get to doing one here. We’ll see, though for now, I’ll move on.

After that I had my wild two weeks at work where I sunk in 65+ hours one and 50 the other. It wasn’t cool. Luckily, things started to take an upswing as Rusted Hero (my band!) ran into the recording studio over the weekend and will be playing our first gig tonight! But those will have to wait for other blogs (that I promise to get to)!

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Superman in the Sixties (1999) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Lionel Richie – Can’t Slow Down (1983) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Streets – Original Pirate Material (2002) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Ryan G. Van Cleave – Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The Civil War (1990) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Freakonomics (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Jay-Z – In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike (2004) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The New Batman Adventures: Season 1 (1997) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added Superman in the Eighties (2006) to Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Accomplished emoticon Accomplished

The Lost Word

Hmm ... any type of theme being portrayed here?

© 2010 ABC Studios

Warning: I’ll try to steer clear of spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the final episode you may want to wait to read this blistering [stanus.butt] review.

In case you weren’t already aware, I’m a Lost lover, so naturally last night’s final episode was kind of a big deal. Unlike the last, huge tv-ending event (Sopranos), I was emotionally invested in all the characters from Oceanic flight 815.

To celebrate the grand closing, Cassie scored some tickets to a meetup Lost group that was having a huge party in Brooklyn. One of the members had actually secured a famous “lost” Brooklyn subway station as the venue and we would all enter it in a hatch-like way (via a manhole in the street). It sounded really interesting and cool so I was a bit stoked.

We took the hour-long ride from our place to downtown Brooklyn and managed to find our way to the designated intersection but we didn’t see anyone who looked like a Lost fan. Worse, we didn’t notice any manhole-lifting equipment around, either. Well, to be honest, we had arrived just 2 minutes before the time said we were supposed to get there so we thought maybe they started early. But then … why would the equipment be gone? It all seemed fishy.

Cassie called the number on the tickets but the person answering stated they had no involvement with the event. Ok, weird. Now we thought we had fallen for a scam, so we took the ride back home. Quick side note as Cassie later discovered the event had been cancelled as of Monday and she had somehow missed this small, insignificant detail.

So we watched the final episode on our hot tv – half an hour into it to burn the ridiculous amount of commercials – and it was just as cool as some silly, Brooklyn subway viewing. Far more appropriate, anyway, as we had started this series watching on my laptop alone in my New Jersey bedroom. Even though Lost was a super-popular show I never really watched it in a party setting – it was best served isolated and in the dark much like the survivor’s setting.

Regarding the actual show, itself, I was pretty much pleased with everything. Sure, it was a bit too melodramatic in the relationship department for me – as final episodes all seem to be – but I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t attempt to answer all the questions. Why should the final episode be any different than the others? I was always kind of let down by the big reveals throughout the run of the show and enjoyed all the cliffhangers so much more, anyway.

Even though I’m very non-religious, I didn’t mind the Christian overtones to the whole closing. Just because I’m not into it doesn’t mean some artist can’t believe it or put it in his or her work. Whatever, it was interesting even if it was silly. A belief in an afterlife certainly wasn’t sillier than polar bears on a jungle island and smoke monsters!

I’ll wrap it up here even though I haven’t said a whole lot. Basically, it wasn’t as different or disappointing as the Seinfeld episode, nor was it as pretentious as the Sopranos. I’m trying to think of a better series ending actually … maybe Quantum Leap? I haven’t had a show be as big in my life as Lost in a long time, which is saying something, so it’s a little bittersweet to see it go.

But, fuck, now I have a lot more video gaming time! Thank you, Oceanic Six ;)!

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for July 2009 posts
  • Removed Mary J. Blige – What’s The 411? (1992) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Cheap Trick – Sgt. Pepper’s Live (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998) to Currently Enjoying
  • Posted May 19, May 20, May 21, May 22, and May 23 journal entries to The Shack: 10th Anniversary | 2000-2010
  • Created Photos page for The Shack: 10th Anniversary | 2000-2010
  • Removed Cheap Trick – Sgt. Pepper’s Live (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Kanye West – Late Registration (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Lost: Season 6 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The National Basketball League: A History, 1935-1949 (2009) from Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Applause emoticon Applause

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