F IT

Hello true believers!  

Before I go into one of my manifesto blog posts for the month, let me just preface this by saying although this post to some might be one of those negitave “woe is me” entries, once you read closely you might realize that actually it’s quite the opposite. 

So as many of you read on the last entry things were finally starting to look up and turn around for your hero. I introduced two new members to the family last month and after a few rehearsals, things were really starting to gel and the band was sounding better than ever! Adding Benny and Noah to the mix really filled out the sound and it’s been a joy to just grab the mic and just concentrate for the first time on just my voice.   

Sure sometimes I get “instrument envy” when the band is cranking and I want to pick up something and rock along, but at the same time I keep telling myself “nope this is what you wanted, sit back and embrace it!” Which I have been emmensely. 

Fuck it  

But of course as luck would have it (which seems to be the course of how things have been this year as a whole) things can’t be all daisies and sunshine. 

Just as we were about to debut the new lineup at one of our favorite places to play, with one of our favorite bands to play with Blue Alien Mystic while literally sitting on the floor at the girls’ cheer competition after watching and being amazed as they both excelled on the mat, I get a text from my pal Barry....

 

IMG_2015.JPG

the scene of the incident  

IMG_2082.PNG

After I got over the initial shock the two of us start investigating “what the fuck? They just had shows that weekend and now out of nowhere their social media is shut down and they are closed?”  

To this day, I still don’t know why and I really hope that things are ok and they reopen again but as of today one the only few great local places to play original music is now closed... 

FUck IT

So as usual, we picked ourselves up, patched our wounds and continued to search for new venues for us to play while at the same time, rehearsing the set with the 6 of us ( or as my pal Barry likes to call it now because there’s so many of us “GregKnot” 😛) 

I figured since the club scene isn’t knocking down our door to play gigs (yet) I started to look back at what I have recorded so far for “Elephants...” and started thinking “ok the Winter and holidays are approaching so maybe the best thing to focus on right now is getting this album I’ve been sitting on literally for the whole year done”

I had everything recorded like I've said before except for live drums and a good vocal recording so now my plan was to think about that. At this point I’ve already started working on new songs for new releases in 2018 so I really wanted to finish what I had since not only do I love the album as a whole, I've been working on it and we've been playing most of the album live now for A WHOLE YEAR. 

FUCk IT!

But as most of you know, even though we have the technology these days, recording a professional and "proper" release is still not cheap.

You want a professional vocal sound? Either spend thousands on a good microphone (and know how to use it) or book studio time. You want to record live drums? Same thing. It's easy to plug a guitar in a laptop and get any great sound you want, but recording live drums is a whole different animal. 

So I was speaking to a few studios, weighing my options and deciding on how I was going to a) get it done and most importantly b) afford the damn thing. I got a great deal from a close friend for studio time so now I started racking my brain on how I'm going to execute both parts. 

Do I spend the money out of my own pocket and hope to recover as much as I can back? 

Do I do one of those crowd source fundraising campaigns to raise the money for it? I've seen success with those from other people, but for some reason I always saw it as me standing on the freeway holding a cardboard sign shaking a tin cup. 

poor-homeless-beggar-street-35828272.jpg

So I'm trying to think of how to afford studio time while at the same time, trying to pick a date to get the drums and vocals recorded. As I've also mentioned in the past, getting one or two people in a room to work on music (let alone 6!) with everyone's family and personal schedules (mine included) has been almost impossible. This year and even year's before we would be on a good run playing shows monthly and rehearsing but then, months would go by with nothing. 

We would look at each other after practice and say "hey, let's pick some days or a weekend to knock this out" and the reply is always "yeah yeah definitely" and then the next thing you know Santa is coming, it's been a year and you are looking at an almost completed album with each song tweaked 100 times with no end in sight. 

So after listening to the album carefully the past week, listening to what I have done already and doing some final tweaks on it I finally decided....(say it with me) 

FUCK IT! 

Now like I said way in the beginning, this is by NO MEANS me crying the blues at all! However, being a musician for more than 1/2 my life, I am also a realist especially in today's musical climate. 

For an independent artist in 2017 not only are the days of recording contracts from a label exremely hard to come by, so is the revenue stream for said artists. Think about it, when is the last time you went to a record store, or bought a physical CD or even paid for a full album on say I-Tunes instead of streaming on Spotify or even You Tube? Trust me, I am a big culprit of that too, we all are. 

For me, when it comes to original music from either myself or in any project I've been lucky to have been a part of It's NEVER been about the money. It's about the SONGS and the MUSIC first and it always will be. In the end. Even to this day if one person besides myself listens to a song I wrote and enjoys it? 99 cents or not, that's a win in my book.

Even though HEAL did not sell .a ton of copies and dollars were not rolling in, sites like numberonemusic.com looking at my page I've had over 3,600 plays of the singles from the album. and 5,000 profile views since I put it up there, with e-mails coming in from all over the globe commenting on whow much they like the songs. Could be bullshit, but to me that is valuable. 

However....you can shine my balls all you want, the bottom line is and I've realized now doing this on my own the past few years, praise does not pay the bills. 

So I've finally decided after thinking about it for over a year, the album is going to be released as is and a release date will be announced as early as next week. 

Is the album recorded with state of the art equipment with expensive mics in a fancy studio with everything being 100% "human"? Nope. Is the album going to sound as great as it can be with killer songs from beginning to end with no filler? 

You're goddamn right it will be. 

Like I mentioned above I started listening to all of the songs I have done for it on the commute the past week or so and since I have a "free weekend" this weekend there's a few things left to tweak here and there that I want to do, which I will get done. Then comes the final mixing/mastering, then it will be set up to be posted on all platforms. and I will have an actual release date to announce. 

I'm also hoping to release the first single from the album Resurrection before Thanksgiving. I'm picking that one since it pretty much shows the whole vibe and "theme" of the record. "The resurrection of me all falls on the burying of you" In order to rise and be a better person, you need to bury the negitave. 

After listening to these songs over and over and over, even though I have 12 songs recorded, I'm planning on narrowing it down to 8 with an intro/outro to make it a nice even 10 songs total.

If you have been to any of the shows, or watched my YouTube channel it will have all of the songs we;'ve been doing live for awhile like Awake, Get Out The Door, Soursome, I've Talked To The Devil, Leftover Romance and of course a few others. 

I'm extremely proud of these songs and album overall and I can't wait to share it with everyone. My goal for the next year is to really push these songs to as many outlets as I can, with limited edition CD's being pressed for sale and to anyone who manages acts, books shows, plays songs on the radio, all of that. The Critically Ashamed is ready and I am hoping to play as much as we can to promote the album. 

To everyone who reads these novels, came to our shows, purchased any music in the past and has supported me the past few years both personally and musically I cannot thank you enough!

Things sometimes are never going to be 100% what you want it to be, but in the end you just gotta say..

FUCK IT

 

 

 

 

The Tide is A Turning

To quote the great John Oliver "Welcome welcome welcome!" 

 

Hope everyone is enjoying the leaves, pumpkins and sweatshirt weather of fall! Although I must admit it hasn't really been that chilly. The last few outdoor gigs I've been playing with the cover band I'm in, as early as last week I almost got sunburnt! Damn global warming. 

Mid-Late October and It's 75 degrees? 

Mid-Late October and It's 75 degrees? 

 

So if you are reading this latest update I'm sure you noticed the new look of the website. Figured since we are almost coming up on a new year and lots of new happenings with the band, why not give it a new look? I actually really like the look of the site now and I hope you do as well. 

It's amazing sometimes how much difference even a few weeks can make on a mood and outlook. If you read the last entry about HEAL turning 2 years old, I'll admit my attitude and mood on the band, upcoming album and just everything music although seemed promising on the surface, I was feeling a little bleak and uncertain on the inside.

As it happens when you get to this age bracket, the days of being young, dumb and carefree are pretty few and far between. After our last gig in August at The Fez (which we played well but response was kind of eh.....Moroccan food and metal don't really mix well I guess) the "core 4" were not able to get together and play music for almost 2 months, which even though I was lucky to be playing gigs and rehearsing with the cover band I'm in Split Decision, for my own music I was getting down and frustrated. 

I remember back in my late teens and early 20's being in bands there was a time we would literally play music every single day. I'd get out of school or some crappy part time job, get picked up at my house (or even play music in my own basement of my childhood home) crack a few dozen beers, smoke something and just jam and jam and jam. Even in the POS days when I was in college, we practiced at least 2-3 week AND played gigs on the weekend missing birthdays, anniversaries, we didn't give a shit except our music and "making it". 

But when you are living on nothing and have zero responsibilities you can do things like that. I remember even when I was out of college, POS went on a US tour for over a month to promote our album with ZERO support from the label and I literally walked into my job saying "well I'm leaving on tour for a month. I'll be back and if you want to take me back, great if not? Oh well...." I lived on $20 a day (if that) with three other smelly guys in a van, saw the country, slept on floors and had the time of my life. 

Ahhhh the days of cheap beer, Sega Genesis, no name cigs and long hair.

Ahhhh the days of cheap beer, Sega Genesis, no name cigs and long hair.

 

However, when you get married, have kids, have a mortgage, bills and a "real job" those times to get together and be creative can be few and far between. With everyone having responsibilities to their families and loved ones, even to get in a room for 2 hours a week can be a big challenge. I can't complain, family always comes FIRST over playing music no matter what, but like an addict, when you don't have the thing that gets you off you can get pretty ornery. 

So as it turned out, like I mentioned the band hadn't rehearsed since August, which was well over 2 months. Progress on the new album stalled since we could not even find the time to records drums and vocals (let alone pay the costs to do so) and I really started to think to myself Fuck, this is over isn't it? You start to get down on yourself thinking nobody cares and thinking why am I still doing this after 46 years? At least I am still playing covers with Split Decision and having so much fun, maybe I just do that. 

But then in less than a month, all of a sudden the skies opened up and the tide turned. 

I spoke to Vic, Helene and Shawn and it looked like we were finally going to be able to get in the rehearsal studio and start jamming again once I got back from England. During the time off I was chatting back and forth with Noah about the possibility of having him come in and play keyboards with us. We had reconnected after he came to see us play and even played a set when we did the acoustic show in Mahopac. I was blown away after seeing him perform I thought "he gets along and is really cool with the band, I'd love to have this guy play shows with us and I can get off the keys and just play guitar and sing" 

This year I have been jumping back and forth from guitar to keys while singing and although since these are my songs, I like playing music and was really starting to get back into playing the 6 string again my initial goal with the band was I write the songs, I record the music and the CAB would play it adding their own style to the songs when we play live. As much as I love the sound and playing on HEAL and the new stuff on record, when you see us live it's almost a completely different animal .I think it's neat and gives the listener a different experience. In this YouTube, streaming time we live in I want to give people a reason to get off their I-Pad and have loud amps in the face. 

Then, right around the same time out of nowhere I get a message on the band's Facebook from Benny. 

IMG_1974.jpg

 

Once Shawn joined the fold and we went to just the four of us after Pete left, I went to my bandmix profile and did a little update on it removing the bass need and basically saying what I've been yapping on here for months "We are a solid band of four, but are always looking to add new people to the mix".  Benny had seen the page, liked the music and took the time to go to this website to contact us and expressed real interest in playing guitar. I thought "man this dude did more steps than I would have to contact me, let me respond and see what he's all about" so I sent him the links to the music. 

Within days, not only did he reply to my personal e-mail (which good work man, that's some good detective work!) but he sends me a recording of him playing along to I Wish I Had You Forever. I'll admit, being the jaded musician I am I thought "fuck that takes balls and initiative" which sold me right away.

There’s nothing worse than having a band member who just sits there going through the motions acting like his presence is doing everyone a favor. My name might be on the albums and this website, but I like to treat every member like they are an equal contributing factor of the music regardless. You want to be the star? Go be one I’ll support you 100% but as Jay Mohr says on his podcasts “I’m putting my name on it” because I worked very hard and this is my own music which I take very seriously.

 I will shine a light on you more than you want to if you got the goods regardless of who’s name is front and center because anyone who can put their ego aside, play their instrument well and help me with my music deserves it.  It might sound ego driven, but I’ve been the guy in the background doing the work and staying out of the limelight taking no credit for many projects cause I didn’t want it. I just wanted to play my bass, do my part and contribute. Now though? Fuck that, it’s my time to show what I can do….

Not everyone can be Angus...sometimes it's just as cool being Malcolm 

Not everyone can be Angus...sometimes it's just as cool being Malcolm 

So since our triumphant return to Barking Dog to rehearse was coming up, I decided to throw them both to the wolves and invite them to jam/audition on the same day. Figured after a few months even the Core 4 would be rusty so it was almost like we were all going into the room on an even playing field. Sure the others have been playing these songs for a while, but what better environment to introduce new people when everyone (including myself) is sitting around going "hmmm how's that go again? What note is that?"  Trust me, I've been in a few situations in my day where the band is going 100mph since they know the stuff and you are hanging on the bumper trying to figure it out because you are the new guy.  

After a few handshakes and "hey, how you doing?" in the room, we finally get to make noise! I felt like I was almost naked because for the first time in the history of playing with the CAB, I literally walked in the door carrying NOTHING. No bass, no guitar, no keyboard, not even a microphone since it was already there I just gabbed the mic stand, looked around and said "Ok, here goes nothing" 

Needless to say, I was shocked and dumbfounded....

Sure, we hit a few clams while we were playing. I even blanked a few times on lyrics mostly because I kept thinking to myself “holy shit, I don’t have to do anything but sing!”  During a solo or break in the song I literally would walk in the other room, get a drink of water, come back and jump back in.

But next thing I know, Benny in his classic NY/Brooklyn accent is yelling “What about this Soursome? Let’s do that!” even saying “Hey, can I solo on this song?” and jumping right in with the rest of us cheering on. 

Then you have Noah who not only is playing the piano better than me trying to fuddle through it while singing, he’s throwing harmonies in songs like “I talked to the devil” that I never heard in my head and on songs where there are no keys like Soursome he looks at me and says “I’ll just play mandolin on this” and it sounded awesome!

By the end of practice, just for fun we start just jamming on Roadhouse Blues by The Doors goofing around and Helene runs to her case, pulls out a friggin harmonica and starts wailinnnng.

Needless to say after practice after our usual time of hanging outside, Shawn and I chain smoking and shooting the shit with everyone by the time I got into my car to drive home I felt like I just snorted an 8 Ball I was ecstatic.

Even though I have been playing music in bands as young as 14 and have played in numerous really cool projects over the decades with some really amazing players,  ever since I could remember being a little child growing up on the mean streets of Bay Ridge I would dream of fronting my own band and playing my own music. Most kids would be playing Star Wars or Army in the woods (which sure I did that too) but I would be sitting in my room, drawing logos of pretend bands and album covers saying “this would be my third record…” and playing air guitar or singing in the mirror as little as 7-8 years old to a packed crowd in my imagination.

IMG_2552.JPG

 

I might of took till my mid-later 40’s, but to actually not be shielded by an instrument, standing front and center surrounded by great musicians with just a microphone saying “this is a song I wrote” and to have people react positively or even just the people in my own band responding with “wow, I really like that song” is better than any drug, liquor, cigarette or blowjob you could ever get in your life.

The past few months during the downtime I’ll be honest, I gave up hope for a bit. Bad habits creeped back in and it showed on the scale and in my personality. My rule of “no booze while practicing” turned into “I can have one or two”, the bad food I used to eat that I gave up was showing up on my plate again and it was depressing me.

 By the time I got back from my trip from England, although I had an amazing time, when I got back after days of pints,  Scotch Eggs, Sausage and whatnot I jumped on the scale and saw my 240lbs I’ve been maintaining for 2 years jumped up to 251lbs.

I’ve been back for two weeks now and two practices with the band I’m back down to 240lb again. nobody is going to keep me down fuckers….great things are a coming.

 

IMG_4094.JPG

The Terrible Twos!

Leave it to Social Media to help put things in perspective sometimes....

Coming into the office this morning, I was a little bit down and off today. Could be that I spent the weekend running around in the blistering heat for cheerleading and playing a gig with the cover band that although both very fun things, just wore me out. Could be that I woke up feeling tired and depressed, which looking at the scale before a shower and seeing I gained a few pounds over the weekend (which honestly, goes back down after a few days, but I'm obsessed). Could be that the band and the new album has kind of hit a standstill and we haven't practiced in weeks. 

But then this morning after looking at my Timehop I realized something...

IMG_1791.JPG

It totally slipped my mind, but my debut album HEAL came out today two years ago!

Two years...damn, seems like time as you get older and older goes by way too fast. 

I tend to be a pretty nostalgic person in the fact that when certain events come up like birthdays, anniversaries and that time around the end of the year I like to look back and think to myself "what has happened since then? Has it been good or bad? What can I do to make it even better?" 

As anyone who has followed this website and the HEAL Blog that came before this one (which you can read below if you want to catch up at the end of this post) although I might be feeling blue right now, things have certainly changed a lot since 2015:  

When I started writing and recording this album at the beginning of 2015, I was really in a bad way. I was over 300 lbs, drinking constantly, depressed/anxious, popping pills and had just given up on myself. That year recording the album, through watching my calories, doing yoga 3x week and not ingesting crap on a daily basis, by the time the album was released in September I had lost over 60 pounds, cut down my drinking considerabily and was feeling the best I had felt since college! 

By the end of 2015, I had assembled a group of musicans affectionaly called The Critically Ashamed Band (my own little E Street Band perse) and at the end of the year around November we had played our first gig. 

I thought to myself "holy fuck...I did it!" 

I was so happy at the end of 2015 because for the first time in my "muscial career" I set a goal and acheived it. I recorded a full length album writing all of the music/lyrics on my own, started a band with a bunch of great friends old and new, lost a ton of weight and was on my way. 

However, from the end of that year to now have been some of those most challenging times of my whole life. 

I was going to sit here and write a whole timeline of what happened those past 2 years, but I’ll save you a lot of scrolling and will include the highlights 😛

Since HEAL was released there has been a lot of bad, but also some good that followed.

I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression in the beginning of 2016 after a trip to the ER for a massive panic attack, which through the help of medication has really been a game changer in helping me cope with issues I’ve had more than half my life.  

The band had a few lineup changes and it was a struggle sometimes to keep it together, but in the end of 2016 we ended up with “the core four” with me switching to rythum guitar for the 2017 shows and although I felt restricted by the bass, playing guitar live really gave me a new “challenge” to tackle like I did when I started playing keys in the band.

Although we had spent most of 2016 essentially starting from scratch, we got back on the stage around the Fall, even finishing out the year playing The Chance which is something I haven't done with ANY band since the 90's, let alone my own "solo project" 

Big props to my pal Jeff jumping in on guitar and as usual nailing it! 

Big props to my pal Jeff jumping in on guitar and as usual nailing it! 

This year we've played @ 6 shows, mostly at local places (and for some reason mostly Stamford) and the shows/crowds have been a lot of fun! The only thing that has really been plaguing me music/band wise is finishing my latest album. 

By the time HEAL was done I had lived with it for so long, I was ready to start something new. I wrote about 12-13 songs and recorded everything on my own except for the usual live drums and vocals, but getting those last puzzle pieces done consists of me relying on others and also getting the finances to finish it properly. 

It's nobody's fault, at this age we all have jobs, family, kids, mortgages, life it's difficult to get everyone in a room to practice together, let alone spend a full day recording and trust me folks, going into a studio is not cheap!

I am super proud of this new album and I am anxious to get it done and out.  I am hoping to launch an IndieGoGo campaign soon so be on the lookout. As much as I'm not really a big fan of crowd source funding, at this point in order to get it done properly to where I am proud of it, I'm going to need some help. 

Just like the majority of subject matter on Elephants Bury Their Dead, i want to take all of this music, release it and move on. 

Beleive it or not, I have much more song and direction ideas for 2018 and since the Winter is coming soon (if you can believe it!) my plan is to hunker down and write, write write at my home studio and see what comes. I'm also hoping to make the studio at home more of a functional studio where I can record live drums and vocals so I'll be able to churn out content easier. 

For everyone who has listened, read, shown up at gigs and especially supported HEAL and my music these past few years THANK YOU! 

much love, 

G2

 

 

Beach house update!

Hello true believers!  

Hope everyone is enjoying their Summer! I'm currently relaxing at the Ocean City beach house on the last day, sitting on the deck with some free time so since it's been forever I figured, let's finallllly do post! 

 

image.jpg

Ahhhhh sun, deck, iced coffee, smokes and crocs what more can you ask for? 😛 

Anyhoo, if you have been following the Facebook page (both personal and the band page) this year we have been popping up here and there playing some great shows to some great supporters. The band (aka The Core Four) has really locked in and we are enjoying hanging and playing shows together more than ever! We've had a few tweaks to the lineup here and there, but now I feel like we have finally gotten our footing and it's been really great the past few shows especially this year.

Each show has been unique whether it's doing special shows like the all acoustic show in June or changing the sets for each gig to make it a different experience each time.

Sometimes we will do our "shock and awe" set of no keyboard songs, just pure guitar driven/heavier stuff or the "just the tip" set where we put more of the "mellower" jams and the majority of the keyboard songs are back in. Plus even in those two versions we switch the set order each time and we have been adding more "new songs" to the list each time which I feel gives the people who show up a different experience at every gig, which keeps it interesting.  

 

IMG_1468.JPG

one of our favorite places to play Seaside Tavern!  

So the plan is once I get back from vacation tomorrow starting next week I NEED to book time so I can finally finish my new album! The majority of the album is recorded, I just need to book two more sessions to have the live drums and vocals recorded and we will be good to go. Then once mixed, mastered, etc. I'll probably be shooting for a Fall release date.  

At this time, if you have been going to our shows you've probably already heard the majority of the album already since I think we do more songs from there than HEAL at this point! But I am anxious to get it done and out there for people to hear.  

Bands/artists always say "it's the best stuff we've done so far" when a new album comes out, but in this case I feel the same way. As much as HEAL will always hold a dear place in my heart and as much as I love it to this day, this new one I feel the songwriting, playing and overall sound has really progressed. I feel like I am finally comfortable as a songwriter/lyric writer at this point and I feel the confidence shows.

  

FullSizeRender.jpg

also very comfortable playing guitar in a band for the first time ever..it's fun! 

I'm also excited to "kinda announce" the new album will be produced/engineered this time by the talented and awesome Ritchie Kennon at Barking Dog Studios in Brewster NY!

He recently took over the studio we rehearse in weekly and I've known him for decades so I'm excited to get in there, finish the drums/vocals and see what we can do together. We've played numerous shows together when he was in SubZero and it's been great reconnecting with an old friend to work on this project.

Not to mention the dude has a serious pedigree of his own working with a lot of major artists recently before buying this studio. My favorite quote from him recently when we were hanging and talking about working together "hey man, even Sting had to use auto tune in the studio once or twice" 😛

I've heard some of his work and it's amazing. He once recorded our rehearsal with this new boom type mic he had in the room and once I heard back I said to myself "man if he can make us sound killer just doing that I can't imagine what EBTD will end up sounding like!" 

 

IMG_1564.JPG

So I hope to have some more news on the progression on the album starting in August.

Another plan which you will see soon is I'm debating putting up a crowd source funding campaign to help with the costs of recording the rest of it.   

My last album although thanks to the brilliant Darrell Long helping me out and recording the majority of the tracks myself, to put it out on Front Street, between travelling to CLE to record with Darrell, some recording at Brewster, packaging/printing cassettes and the overall costs of mastering and putting it out online I'd say I spent easily $1.200-$1,500 total on recording/releasing HEAL. Compared to some professional recordings that's pretty cheap, but still that's out of my own pocket.

For me, when I approached HEAL I wanted to finance it myself cause my philosophy was always "if you don't invest in your own art, who else is gonna?" I wanted to fail/succeed on 100% my own dime and terms.

But looking back for this release I wanted to switch it up a bit now that the name is out there and the band has more traction. People now know what they are getting into if they decide to "invest" this time.

Not that I am complaining by any means, let's break it all down for you shall we? 

Just on releasing the album on cassette (which I still to this day lovvvvve that I did): 

To press each cassette cost roughly $5.00  

i sold the cassetttes on my website for $10 so that's double the $ right? 

Well remove the cost of the pressing, we are at $5  

i agreed to pay $2 per sale to my pal for recording/producing on his own time $3 left

taking sales on my site, they take a merchant cost of 60 cents per transaction = $2.40 left 

cost to put in the mail and ship out orders? @ $2 😛 

So technically I made 40 cents on a $10 sale 

But thats not counting streaming sales though right? As some will know, right now that is the Wild West and streaming services aren't exactly paying a ton of royalities to the artists:

 

IMG_1565.PNG

Its getting better, but Think of this next time you cry about purchasing music. I heard recently the majority of people now listen to music on YouTube? I get it, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?  

As corny as it sounds, it's never been about money for me when it comes to music.  For me it's always been about putting out good quality products so I can look back at it and say "yeah I did that" and be proud of it.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to see it take off and have gazillion of downloads, but at the same time as long as I enjoy it and some others I respect do too? It's all good 

so....be on the lookout in the next week or so for he launch of my crowdsourcing campaign for the new album which will be done exclusively ON MY OWN WEBSITE! 

The way I see it is, I'm only going to be preaching to the converted for this so why use a service when I have the means of doing it on my own?

There will be a ton of really neat incentives for donating and that way besides the card transaction fee (see above) the majority of the revenue generated will be going to US and the incentives.

No inflated goals, no nonsense if you want to contribute and get some cool stuff for doing so? Please do and whatever is generated will go 100% to putting out the album and will be 100% transparent 👍

So that's it for now, expect the launch of the campaign along with details on upcoming shows, recording, stage show and more! I will try to write more entries more frequently from now on  

much love,

G2  

Where've you been fool?

Greetings!!!

Looks like I finally have some free time to actually sit down and write, so I'm taking advantage of it to catch you all up on the latest happenings with myself and the band. To quote that cheesy Staind song "It's been awhilllle".

I couldn't beleive going through this site today and peeking at the blog it's been almost 5 months since my last post!  That's OK since this new bloggy blog is more about getting the music news out than updating you all on my HEAL process as it went on.

Just a quick recap on that, things are more of the same. Not gained, not lost I am maintaining which is a good thing. I do hope to ramp it up again soon once it gets warmer and try to lose the #Last40 which once I do, I'm sure you will see me blab about it. I'm looking into new yoga programs (hearing the same routines over and over again for over a year can be annoying) and who knows maybe something more in line with martial arts, MMA which is something that seems to be peaking my interest lately. Blame it on UFC and Iron Fist I guess

But I'll get there. Like I mentioned before the New Year my real journey in 2016 and beyond has been not only fixing the health and body, but also fixing my brain and overall mental well being. 

Unfortunately, I had to give up my therapy sessions last year due to my wacky schedule, but just last month marked me being on medication for anxiety/depression for over a year and what a  difference! Anyone who says taking meds dulls "your edge" isn't taking or doing the right thing. 

Not only has it been helping me deal with things now that used to be crippling, I have never been this creative in what seems like years! It seems like I've been writing music and coming up with fun creative ideas on a frantic pace and it really has been rewarding.  

Right now I have 12(!) tracks written for my new album Elephants Bury Their Dead (well 10 full songs with one intro and one outro) and the majority of the tracks completed. Just need to have live drums and proper vocal tracks recorded the next month or two then it's on to mixing and mastering. We got some oldies but goodies (Awake, Get Out The Door), ones I've been playing live with the band  the past few gigs (Leftover Romance, I've Talked To The Devil, Ressurection) one I released as a single this year (MuddFukk) and a bunch more I can't wait for everyone to hear (Soursome, Serendipty U and Me, Kiss Me I'm Dead, etc.) 

I know most bands and/or artists when they release something new they say "oh this is the best work we've ever done" but I can say that I am extremely proud and love the songs on this one. It's so funny when you finish an album you basically start from scratch and say "fuck, what am I going to do now?" but next thing you know ideas start to come out of nowhere and before you know it (or at least in my case this past year to today) you have more songs than you know what to do with!

Listening to what I have so far in it's entirety (which by the way, anyone who wants to listen to the demo version so far let me know and I'll send you a code. I would love to get feedback from people I respect!) I can honestly say I'm really happy with it. The direction of this album compared to HEAL is.....dark and pretty heavy. 

With HEAL I really tried to write an album not only containing snippets of what I was going through trying to get healthy at the time, but I also tried to write a real happy, positive album. The majority of the songs I played all the instruments including keyboards, which is something I've never done before and I loved doing it! My father was a big influence on my musical tastes growing up and some of his favorite artists were Elton John, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Billy Joel and stuff of that nature. I always wanted to write and play piano driven songs of that style and even though I am NOT EVEN CLOSE to being that proficient on piano as those artists the songwriting went in that way for HEAL and I loved the challenge.

After finishing the album I said "oh shit, now I'm going to actually have to play this stuff live!" and it forced me to buy a keyboard and really dive into it and I'm really glad that I did. I still remember being at my sister's house recently, sitting down at her piano playing some of the songs and my mother turning her head saying "oh wow, is that you playing?" I'll tell you, my mother is my biggest critic sometimes when it comes to music (which I love cause she doesn't just give me lip service, she is always honest) and to have her turn around and be impressed gave me a little pep in my step.

The songs were about love (Absolutely Everything, I Wish I Had You Forever) overcoming addictions (Clear, These Three Phases) and making ammends (Goodbye...Clean Shaven Villian). Sure there's some angst like "The Terrible" but overall when I listen to it, for the first time in my "carreer" I felt like I put out a really positive, uplifting and dare I say "mellow" piano driven album which is something I've never done before. Usually it's me and my bass cranking away and screaming my guts out full of piss and vinegar at everyone and everything. 

Well, this year get back to hating my music again mom... LOL 

Elephants Bury Their Dead is pretty different than HEAL, in fact it can almost be the exact opposite of it sonically. Sure, there is some piano in there and some more laid back songs that are "HEAL like" in a sense but this allbum I went back to my guitar, loud amps in the face roots perse and it's dark, heavy and angry...but in the same way just as positive.

This time I almost took songs like "The Terrible" and "Awake" (which I released as a single along with Get Out The Door a few years ago when I was figuring out what I wanted to do) and made that the blueprint of the direction of the album sound wise. You can literally listen to the last song on HEAL "The Terrible" and go right into this new one from the beginning and it would flow right along. Honestly it's something I always like to do with albums where you make the last track like "OK this is where I'm leaving off and where I'm going for the next one...follow along with me" 

But also like HEAL, it's very personal and the theme of the record is like I said taking those elephants in the room, facing them head on and burying them once and for all. Once I started taking the path last year of dealing with my anxiety/depression/addictions head on of course it leaked into the writing process as it always does. But where HEAL was almost like "It's tough but it's gonna be OK, you're clear and healthier and full of love"  EBTD is almost like "Fuck you! I'm gonna take care of myself and not let you bring me down anymore! Will it be OK? I don't know maybe?"  HEAL I was looking to the heavens with my hands up feeling the sun, EBTD is me being trapped in the corner swinging my arms fighting my way out. 

It's funny, whenever I write songs it always starts with a riff and a title or just one line. Lyrics to me are always the last and most stream of thought process in the fact that I sit down, type away lyrics on my phone, save it and it completly leaves my brain. I have to literally record vocals, listen to it over and over in the car and learn it like I'm learning another person's song and I WROTE IT! But when I look/listen back to it after the fact I  always end up saying  "where the hell did this come from?". When I look at it on paper at first, I hate it and doubt that it will work, but once I sing it and it's recorded? I love it. 

IMG_0638.JPG

I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or being conceited, but I'm really impressed with not only the lyrics, but the songwriting and my playing on this album in general. Even though I've been a bass player and that has been my main instrument for decades, I'm really getting into playing rythm guitar and a lot of these songs I'm playing solos too which is a first! Biggest compliment I got was when my pal Barry heard "MuddFukk" he said "Wow, so you got Shawn to do a blistering solo for this?" to which I replied "Nope...that's ME motherfucker!" Shawn is an amazing guitar shredder so to be almost compared to him, like my mom hearing the piano was a huge compliment and made me feel great. 

IMG_0849.JPG

So....the plan is to finish up the album starting in April and then while we are finishing it I'll be hitting the watering holes more and more starting in late Spring/early Summer to promote with my awesome friends in The Critically Ashamed Band. We've already had some great shows in Feb and March with great response/attendence and I hope to keep that going with more shows in Mahopac again, Poughkeepsie and anywhere else that will have us!

Once we got the band down to "The Core 4" and I started playing rythm guitar and keys, the band has really gotten so much tighter and the chemistry has been incredible! No egos, no drama it's four friends all on the same page and I love them dearly. We've also been playing a lot with Blue Alien Mystic which is Barry's band and both bands get along really well and it's a good mix. To see Barry and I go from being in a band together to both doing our own thing and still being good friends means a lot to me too. 

That's enough blabbing for now. I will try to write more when I can to keep you all up to speed on the album progress, new gigs, new happenngs and all that stuff. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for supporting me and my music. 

Much Love, 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Elephant Diaries!

Welcome to the NEW blog! 

Hope everyone is enjoying getting ready for the upcoming holiday season! Only a few short days until we stuff ourselves with way too much food, Santa shows up at the end of the parade and we are ready for Christmas and the end of the year. Maybe it's because I am getting older but it seems like it just turned 2016 yesterday and in a few weeks we will be in 2017! 

I also hope that all of my readers are enjoying the new look of the website. Figured since HEAL has been out since late 2015 and I am working on a new album for next year, it was time to change it up a bit and give the site a makeover. Anyone who wants to still check out the HEAL Blog and all of the writings I put up there documenting my "transformation" of sorts can click on the bottom with all of my other social media links. 

Just an update on that, this whole year I was able to maintain my weight and have been walking around at @ 235-240lbs. That's down from over 300lbs in the beginning of 2015! Although I will admidt I gave up on doing yoga this year and have slipped here and there calorie and alcohol wise I am still rocking my FitBit, entering everything I put in my mouth good or bad daily and am feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in a long while. To go from size 40 jeans and XXXL shirts and and having them still being snug to size 34 jeans and XL shirts (I do still love the big ass shirts though they are comfy) has been an eye opener for me. There are times I still look at a shirt or outfit and go "no way this is gonna fit" to putting it on and it being loose sometimes!

It's been a long time since I've been able to wear one x  

It's been a long time since I've been able to wear one x  

I do intend on stepping it up more the beginning of this year finding a new exercise program that fits my schedule, being more active and stopping all of the "bad habits" even more. I feel great, but I know if I kick it back up I can lose another 40lbs and be under 200lbs for the first time since college! 

However this year has been not only about getting the music and the band out there, playing gigs and having a good time. It's also been about getting my head together and focusing more on the brain this year to go along with the skinnier jeans and shirts.

If you read one of the last blogs I posted earlier in 2016 after a trip to the ER in February from a diagnosed severe panic attack I started seeing a therapist and was put on medication to deal with issues I had going back on more than half my life. The medication has definitely been a game changer for me and has definitely helped me with handling "stressful situations" as well as my overall well being. Things that used to go over and over and over in my brain worrying are not a big deal for me anymore and it has definitely helped me focus more on taking care of myself and MY feelings instead of worrying about trying to fix everything. 

So that kids is what this new blog is going to be pretty much all about. 

.As you haven't guessed already looking all over this hew site my new album for 2017 is going to be called Elephants Bury Their Dead. It's an album title I came up with awhile back going back to my days with The Dalliance and back then I just thought it was a cool name for an album. I heard the phrase mentioned on a podcast I was listening to where they were discussing how elephants when one of them dies the others in the herd will show emotion, shed tears and will actually bury their own departed. The podcaster said it in passing like "You know elephants bury their dead?" and I don't know why It just stuck with me and thought "man that would be a cool title for a record" 

But once The Dalliance never got around to recording another full length album and we disbanded I was going to use it for myself for my first solo album. Then the whole HEAL idea came about and I decided to go with that full steam ahead. 

E303C5C3-EF68-49DF-84AD-3BC1DE1BFC8A.JPG

So when it came time to thinking about recording another album of course this title came back up but the more I thought about it and looking back at this year with the struggles I had with my anxiety/depression this title took on a whole new meaning for me. 

Where HEAL was more about me trying to heal myself and become better physically, these songs and the theme for this new album are more about taking those "Elephants in the room", or the heavy weights that can be on your back and burying them once and for all. IMHO it's important to be a good person and to help the ones you care about the most, but if you are killing yourself both physically and mentally in the process? That's not OK and I slowly started to realize you are not being an asshole or selfish if you give yourself a little TLC as well. 

When I put out HEAL and put together this band to promote the release, I'll admidt there were some people who told me "why would you call the band by your name? That seems pretty selfish to the other members of your band" which honestly kind of threw me back because I NEVER ever thought of myself as being selfish in the slightest...

Before The Dalliance ended I always said to myself "well if this doesn't last, the next thing I'm going to do is going to be 100% me". I've always been known to write pretty personal lyrics and songs in other projects like Brady Bastards and Dalliance, but HEAL was different for me.

For the first time in my life I was going to write all the songs/lyrics myself, sing all of the songs, play the majority of the instruments on there from guitar, to bass, to keys and release the album completly on my own dime. I was super fortunate to have my dear friend Darrell Long play drums on the album, as well as mix/master/engineer the project for me but when it came time to put it out I was going to do it on my own. Even designing the artwork that heart was a picture I took with my IPhone of a heart Zoey made for me. I didn't buy any stock photo even the album cover was 100% me. 

To put it all out there, if I had to calculate cost of making HEAL from traveling to Cleveland to record, mastering, putting it out  on all platforms, packaging the cassette version it was cheaper than most professional recordings, but I must of put probably @ $1,200 to $1,500 of my own money to release it.

I didn't want to do a kickstarter or GoFundMe or anything like that I kept saying "invest in yourself". As much as those sites help fund a ton of great awesome things, I felt like I would be shaking a can in front of people going "hey, gimme money so I can make music". To me If you can't invest in yourself, who else is going to? 

By the time HEAL was released I was super proud of it and myself for finally putting out an album pretty much all on my own. It was pretty well received and got some nice reviews, but as most things in "the biz" these days I didn't get even close to making back what I put into it money wise. 

Am I crying the blues? HELL NO. To me the fact that anyone would pull out their card and plunk down money these days on original unsigned artists, especially little ol me is a HUGE compliement.

To me, music has never been about getting rich or making a buck, it's just been about putting out a quality product and sharing it with whomever wants to listen. Of course I would love it if gazillions of people listened, purchased or downloaded my music I'd be lying if I didn't say that. But if it's just me and a few close friends listening that's ok too. 

So where am I getting with all of this babbling?  

I hope that just like the HEAL blog you check in and take the journey with me on recording this new album, the latest happenings with the band and anything else I want to write about.

Although it took a few personnel changes, false starts and other obstacles we finally got out there and played a few awesome gigs this year, most recently The Chance this month! I figured I would be destined to play small bars, maybe a club or two but here we were and the fact that we were able to pre-sell tickets and have so many of you come out and support the band for that show was a big deal for me so THANK YOU. I keep saying "me,me,me" in this but without Vic, Shawn, Helene, Jeff who stepped up and played with us with only 1-2 practices (and killed it!) to John who handled all of the business stuff at The Chance and became my "Les Grossman" and everyone who supported me and the gang this year at all of the shows, It means the world to me. 

I remember looking around on this big stage where I've seen many other local and national acts perform, seeing the band tearing it up and I thought to myself "damn, I'm on a big stage in front of a bunch of people playing songs that I wrote all on my own and they are digging it!" 

Put my name on it? Damn right I will