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!
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.
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