Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gig Tonight: Soul Track Mind at TC's Lounge 10pm-1am

The busy guy post-Copied from my Facebook Event Announcement.

Hey it's Austin Fashion Week!

After voting for Avant Salon and Connie Strang Fredericks ( or any of the fabulous Avant Talent) for Austin Fashion Awards on Sunday and attending whatever swanky party your going to on Wednesday evening, come get loose with Soul..

It was hot last week. The floor was quakin', bodies were shakin' to the sticky sweet, soulful beat.

Yeah we got some more for you, too.

Remember! Antone's Sun 8/2 Battle of the Bands gig. Tickets are $8 adv/$10 door.

We are offering a special for our loyal TC's customers:
Loyal paying TC's customer will be able to pick up tickets for the Sun 8/2 Antone's Battle of the Bands show for $3!
All of the band members have tickets, so come see us before the set, in the break or after the show each Wednesday leading up to Sun 8/2!

News for the Soul:

1. Demo mastering is finished! We planning to get it press up in the next couple of weeks and we will post the tunes on Myspace and Facebook as soon as possible.

2. The photo shoot to show off our total sexiness, is tentatively scheduled for this weekend. Yes, you want to see more of us.

3. Follow us on Twitter!

We will be having giveaways that only our Tweeps will have opportunities to win.

4. Updated with updated gig pics.

We are working on getting all the media updated-New website, Facebook Fanpage, new swag with our fabulous new logos, coming soon...

As always-

Folks, the SOUL TRACK MIND express is gaining steam....

Jump aboard! All are welcome!

Follow us on:



It's a Soul Track World and you'll love livin' here...

For the Professional Party Person...

Every week:
$5 cover.
BYOBooze....They have beer...
and sometimes there is free food.

You can take East 12th street all the way to Springdale Road. Cross Springdale Road and proceed to Webberville. Make a left on Webberville the soul shack is on the right-hand side.

The link to the map:

Soul Track Mind:

TC's Lounge:

To quote Don Cornelius
"We wish you love, peace and soul!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beat Don't Lie.

Bands are some of the most intimate relationships people can have. Music is like the raw energy of love/conflict/pain/joy flowing simultaneously. A band trying to lock into the vibe of that energy is often on the edge of volatility. If one person in the band is not focused, the energy will blow up. The stage is the eye of the storm, the center of the vortex. The audio experience for the audience is always different. The center of the vortex could be collapsing and the audience can be oblivious to this action. A dropped beat, a missed cue. An audience of die-hard fans or trained musicians will notice the hiccups. The lack of focus of one band member will create a black hole, growing and ever expanding.

I say this because at when all is said and done, we as musicians have to respect our craft. We should love to listen, study those who inspire us to play, track down and investigate sounds and get consumed in the sound of our instruments. Learning how to practice and what to practice is essential. Developing the focus and concentration to be a positive part of band energy comes from practicing well.

I thought about long and hard over the last weekend because of STM's last TC's show. The crowd was into it, but our vortex was collapsing, falling into the same traps, missed notes and beats that have plagued us for the last 2 months. We all need to concentrate and not fall for the biased opinions of our friends and fans. In the end, musical sloppiness catches up to everyone. To paraphrase basketball prophet Rasheed Wallace, "Beat don't lie".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gig Tonight: Soul Track Mind at TC's Lounge 10pm-1am

Every week, Austin's Best Soul Dance Party is in effect. Come check us out at TC's Lounge.

After last Friday's Momo's gig, we went back to the woodshed to work on some tempo and groove issues. Donovan, our singer, sent an open email to all of us about some of the issues we had at the Momo's gig. Let's see if things lock in better this week. More details tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hey Ritchie, Happy Birthday.

I know Michael Jackson's tribute is all over the web today. After the last few weeks of fallen celebrities with troubled pasts, I want to celebrate one who is alive and well and lookin' good for a 69 year old man.

Is he the greatest drummer ever? Of course not (you could make an strong argument that Paul McCartney and even his son Zak are better drummers.) Drumming and overall musicianship is more than technique. It's about feel, it's about knowing your role in piece of music or a song. It's about what you play and don't play. It's about playing space and letting music breathe. Ringo did all that. His unique drum fill style came from the fact he is left handed and played a right handed drum kit.

Ringo Starr has always appreciated his position in life. I have never seen him in public, angry or surly. He is always positive when speaking about his past and he uses the word love more than most musicians. Yes, he was lucky to be in the Beatles, but wasn't John lucky to have Paul and vice versa? Wasn't Paul lucky to have a friend like George for John to meet? The Beatles are my favorite band and served as the gateway to music for me. The Bealtes, Motown, Stax/Volt and Miles Davis were the soundtrack my father and mother played in my youth. I am lucky that they encouraged me to become the best musician I can be.

Happy Birthday Ringo Starr, Peace and Love.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gig Tonight: Soul Track Mind at Momo's Tonight-12:45am $5

This was a last minute call by David Cotton, talent buyer for Momo's and The Saxon Pub here in Austin Texas. Some band dropped out at the last minute and Cotton had been sitting on an old demo Donovan gave him a few months ago. Celebrate liberty or the resignation of Sarah Palin tonite.

It's funny being a musician or in a band. We hop with a phone call. We hate missing any opportunity, it's worse than drugs. In every music scene, there is an elite musicians try to impress-tastemakers like bookers, writers and more successful bands. It's a private mafia of decision makers that can change their minds on a whim or make a lasting decision on you and can effect careers. The (successful) music industry is actually pretty small and tight, like any other professional artistic community. It's the "making of the sausage" and the kabuki dancing that makes it fun and infuriating.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gig Tonight: Soul Track Mind at TC's Lounge 10pm-1am

Tonight is The Weekly Soul Shindig. The Best Soul Dance Party in Austin Texas. TC's Lounge 10pm-1am. $5 and it's bring your own booze.

I love this time before gigs. I like to relax and concentrate on the show. On this gig, I play bass and singer back up. I warm up on bass and vocals. I have some solos so I work out some ideas on guitar. Since it's a weekly gig, we use the 1st set as a lab. We work on new tunes and new ideas. This week the new tune is "Ghost of Soul" It was written by our lead singer Donovan. It's a pretty good groove. The nature of this gig always depends on the crowd. We get a loyal college following. We have to be careful, though. We play covers and originals. We want to make sure the kids don't think of us as a cover band, so each we add more originals to the set list. Right now it's about 40/60 originals to covers.

C'mon out, if you are around...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rebirth of the Blog: The Mechanisms of a Musician

Today is a good day to reboot the blog. Yes, today is my birthday.

The voice of this blog has never really been focused. I am interested in a plethora of subjects and I wrote about them-the economy, Obama, Presidential politics, TV, film, race, sports, pop culture etc. This lack of focus started when I began the blog in September 2007. I was finishing my MBA in Finance. Back then, I was writing papers about a variety of subjects. My mind is a sponge and I'm an information junkie. Oh, I have an opinion about everything and I'm not shy about speaking my mind. The Presidential race was gearing up, the economy started tanking (we pragmatists studying finance saw it coming back then), race and gender were everywhere as the dream of a black or female President grew in country. In addition to all of that, I started dipping my toe in the deep pool of social media. In other words, I was trying to write about a lot of things and sound competent on everything by researching and linking articles. I realized that I was just regurgitating better writers and smarter people on certain subjects.

I did write some good and not so good posts as I navigated finishing graduate school, working in accounting at the Austin American-Statesman, becoming a delegate for Barack Obama, getting into fantasy football (don't get me started) and becoming a member of a group on called the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen (I'm the Paul Schaffer of the podcast.) I wasn't really performing music like I did in my past. I felt the murmur of music under my skin starting to get a little louder. I recorded a one song demo at a friend's studio in July 2008. I cut the vocals, bass and guitar for my song "Augustine". The music murmur turned into an internal conversation.

That same month, I got robbed of a position that was promised to me in accounting department at Statesman. It caused a rupture in my program. Years of schools and piles of loans invested to qualify me for this promised position swept away. Yes, I was very angry and had somewhat of an existential breakdown. I took a sabbatical from music to pursue a straight gig and I still get screwed? My information junkie mind started commenting and writing about a lot of stuff on this blog to quell my anger. I was trying to get out of the Statesman because I didn't see anything else I was qualified to do there. The internal music conversation was getting louder.

Fall 2008, I started my current position at the Statesman, Competitive Media Analyst. This position in the marketing department is the first job, other than playing music, that I really like. It feeds my information junkie habit. My job is to stay engaged in media, pop culture, economic policy, race, politics, etc. I use all types of information to assist our sales reps in selling advertising. Plus the marketing department is the most open, idea generating department I have every been involved with. I really felt it today with the non-traditional Happy Birthday salute people in the department receive on their birthday. It's strange, but very cool. So I can exchange, write, talk about, analyze and debate ideas all day. The internal music conversation became external when I joined Soul Track Mind. It's the first band I have been in since 2004. We play every Wednesday at TC's Lounge in East Austin from 10pm-1am. We are rebuilding the website, mastering our demo and doing the things bands do as they reach for success. Now the focus of the blog is clear to me.

This blog is going to be about my life as a musician. I'm a 38 year old black man from Chicago, Illinois with a BBA in accounting and a MBA in finance. I'm a musician first. I've flirted with the idea a few times in past posts, but now the voice is clear. I'm going to share the trials and tribulations of being in a band, being a solo artist, writing songs, singing, playing bass, playing guitar, being a session man and everything in between. The mechanics of musical life. Of course I will have my lists of favorite songs, albums, musicians, etc. Since I'm in Austin Texas, I will post pictures and videos of shows I attend. I will try to be honest about musical acts I see and hear. I will also try to stay in the loop with new acts and music culture trends. I want to make clear my thoughts as a musician when looking at other musicians and commenting on music culture. There are some raw emotions, ego bruising and jealousy about success-perceived or real. This is a tough business and everyone thinks they're great and I'm no different. If musicians don't believe in their work, stop playing and go do something else.

I believe the voice of this blog will be different than other music blogs because I'm a fan, but I'm an insider and an expert. A lot of fans, writers and critics really don't understand the what it's like to create music. A lot of musicians aren't the most articulate in talking about the craft of music, the mechanics and the business. The conversations and debates about music I've engaged in the last couple of months motivated me to really dig deep into my relationship with music. I realize my life has wrapped around music. This blog will become my voice to talk about the journey.

These pictures are from my room in my parents house back in 1989. In high school, I wore my passion for music like a badge. My walls were covered with CD long boxes (remember those things?) and posters from the bins of bootleg record shops. This was the room that began my journey. I use to devour Musician Magazine and my life's dream was to be featured in that magazine. I was an primarily an alto sax player, then a bassist. Sitting in this room I practiced, wrote and dreamed. After 20 years, it's time for me to document, explain and bring an audience into this world.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Always in the Mood For This

Sometimes at night, my mind runs back to when my life was simpler. When all I ever wanted to do was be on the cover of Musician Magazine. That magazine was the best American music magazine, ever.

I would stay up late and read the magazine with MTV on as my companion. This was when MTV always played videos. Videos started getting very interesting and kinda strange. MTV start August of 1981. Initially, there weren't enough videos (they didn't really start playing videos from black artists until Michael Jackson's Thriller took over the world in 1983. Then Prince had Purple Rain in 1984, but I digress). To fill the gap, older artists were making videos for their new albums. The 80's are littered with awkward videos from established stars like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie (well, the videos from Let's Dance were pretty cool), The Rolling Stones (Harlem Shuffle, anyone? Yet Undercover is one of the greatest videos ever), Glenn Frey as a dope dealer?

One video that I always loved was Robert Plant's In The Mood. The song always let me drift into a simple state of listening to something beautiful. The video is like a dream. Even though Plant has bad 80's hair, I like the dream of the scenes. Break dancers boppin' to a melody guitar & keyboard solo? The watery guitarlick, the flash of "Mad Men" chicks lip syncing the backgrounds, the fun Plant has when he join the band lip syncing the backgrounds, the horse running to the damsel in the empty house in some latino paradise, the oil on the plastic wire simulating running water, the mirrored sheets, the close-ups of Plant...

I could go on, but this is why You Tube was invented.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This Feelin' Never Gets Old....

The feelin' right before I hit the stage.
I know the band is tight. Everything is everything
and it's alright.

The feelin' when we hit the stage.
The crowd is in the space. Everything is everything.
My band owns this place.

The feelin' after we burn the stage.
Givin' them good love. Everything is everything.
Now ya'll know what we made of...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Schedules, Schedules, Schedules

No, the swine flu did not get me.

It has been a great and busy couple of weeks. Let's do a recap, shall we?

1. LEOG recordings.

2. Gigs with Soul Track Mind

3. Various competitive media projects...

4. Practicing bass and guitar. Putting money down on a new Fender Precision Bass. Also, branching into teaching bass.

5. Performing in a video for work. I will get the outtakes and post them. I got some pretty tasty guitar licks.

6. New tires for the Funk Wagon.

Now that I'm on twitter, I am basically micro blogging all the time. I am finally working on my website that will included this blog, all of my social media connects, my ongoing music projects (audio and video), my writing (papers and poetry), photos, calender, etc. I really want everything in one place with different channels. I look at myself as a media creator. I think of my body as the tree and the branches are my ideas.

My goal is to blog everyday. I have a lot to say and I think of the blog as a column of my thoughts. Reports of my life. I must schedule time to write like I do to workout or practicing.

Other thoughts:

Happy 100 days to President Obama.

I was immersed in the 7 game battle my dear Bulls lost to the Boston Celtics. I needless to say, I was happy to see the Celtics lose yesterday.

Congrats to LeBron on his MVP Trophy.

R.I.P Dom Deluise.

Two Words: Treasure Bath! Treasure Bath!

24 has gotten bizarre, but I will ride it out. Plus, I feel I'm the only one who watches this show I know. So I stopped doing the 10 Observation post. I started to track Soul Track Mind so I stopped the Damages 10 Observations posts for that. I enjoyed the season finale. It was neater than last year, but still left me wanting more.

I really want to keep up my 10 observation posts for 2 other shows coming back: True Blood and Mad Men. Make that 3, I have to include Entourage.

Great job by the Divine Jill Scott in #1 Ladies Detective Agency on HBO. Plus congrats on the new baby boy. I love this show because of the light touches and the positive images of Africa.

Yes, I like HBO.

In organizing this blog, I will create subject posts (10 Observations, The Mind of a Music, Social Media, etc..) on certain days. I will add more video, pictures and audio to the blog. I am trying to make the jump to really getting my media life together. I just need to schedule, schedule, schedule...

I appreciate anyone & everyone that takes the time to read my posts and journey with me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spector got Jokes!

From Alex Leo of the Huffington Post.

Many people don't know this, but Arlen Specter fancies himself a funny man. In 2007 he competed in the "Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest." He finished second after Joseph Randazzo, assistant editor of the "The Onion," but ahead of Ana Marie Cox. [VIDEO BELOW] "Arlen has always loved stand up comics," says Joan Specter. "If he has the chance to go to a comedy show, that's his first choice."

Sometimes this jovial nature gets him in trouble, like when he cracked some Polish jokes at New York's Rainbow Room while speaking at the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Club. The "New York Post" reported that Specter began by asking if anyone in the room was Polish. At that, around 10 people raised their hands. He proceeded to tell a few jokes about Polish people until one guest interrupted him, saying, "Hey, careful. I'm Polish!" Specter responded, "That's OK, I'll tell it more slowly." This was met with grumblings of tastlessness, and Specter eventually apologized saying it was a mistake.

Here is some video of senatorial humor that went over better with the people around him. It's from the aforementioned competition in which he mocked Trent Lott saying:

"Trent Lott was really despondent after the Hurricane hit. He had a lot of property damage but the thing he was most concerned about was that it destroyed his entire library. Both books. And Trent wasn't even finished coloring one of them."

Monday, April 27, 2009

That's teeth cleaned. Damn touchscreen....
Testing the blog texting ability. Hopfully this works while I wait to get me teech cleaned.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Humbling Awe...

It is always very nice when people respond to something creative that I have the honor of taking part in. It can be with bands and musicians I play or have played with. In this case, the love was given to the group I play with on Spill. Now the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen is not for the faint of heart. It is for hardcore comic readers and gamers. Here is an earlier blog post about Spill.

Why am I there, since I don't know jack about comics or video games? Beside being the Paul Shaffer of the show (I play guitar behind the musings), I get to hang out with very intelligent and funny fellows on at least a bi-weekly basis. To enter this League, you have to be quick, smart, strong and cunning. For me, it is really an honor and privilege to hang out. On the website, the League Lounge just past the 1000 member milestone this week. I believe it is the largest group on Spill. To celebrate this milestone a great artist, graphic designer from the Puerto Rico, Jagr created this piece to honor the achievement:

This is another piece he did earlier:

Thanks to Jagr for his great artwork. It's always cool to see oneself in animation.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And There Goes Maude...

The very funny and talented Bea Arthur passed away today of cancer at the age of 86. New York Times writer Bruce Webber wrote a nice retrospective here. When you think about revolutionary television roles, most actors would kill for one. She had two. I still watch the Golden Girls and I still laugh my ass off. Maude was a great show also. Remember the theme, song by the late great Donny Hathaway:

Maude TV Opening Theme - video powered by Metacafe

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clicking with Social Media

I love the moment in life that "it" clicks. For me it is how to maximize my social media usage. My social media imprint so far: Facebook, Myspace, Spill, AfroPunk, LinkedIn, Twitter and this blog. I didn't hyperlink the myspace because I'm still switching my regular myspace to a music myspace. There is a link to my Twitter to the left of the posting space here on my blog. I will add buttons for my other profiles in time. Plus I will update my link on the side to include all of the blogs and news sources in my Google reader. The one thing need to get a grip on is sending articles, videos or what have you through services like Digg, Yahoo Buzz, Stumbleupon, Delicious.

That's the key for me. I have to be able to put a social media app into my everyday flow. I have been using social media for years now, but I always felt it fragmented my persona. Friendster for this, Myspace for that. My mind streams in a more linear fashion. I don't see my musician self any different from my competitive media analyst self or my runner/athlete self. The drive and love of competition, for instance. I believe as the web converges, I am becoming more efficient in informing and being informed. For me, it is the learning process that ties it all together for me. The way I studied music going up is the way I studied for my MBA or tests in school. That process of learning and teaching others was the same to me. I just adapted for the stage or the job or the class room. That's why I like to my minimize the places I input and maximize the places I output. For instance this blog feeds into my notes on Facebook, my Spill and my Afropunk pages. I don't write anything here that I wouldn't say to my boss, my family or my friends. I like to reference a multitude of different things because as I have said before, I am fascinated with the human condition. One great website for social media is Mashable.
This is a great one-stop information resource about the constant mutation of social media.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1st Gig Down: Soul Track Mind

Yours truly with his triumphant return to gigging with Soul Track Mind. With Jonathon on guitar, a hiding Raymond on alto saxophone and a hiding Ryan on drums. Band members not pictured are Donovan, lead vocals and Joe on trumpet.

The gig tonight was great. December 2003 was the last time I played a live gig. I took a sabbatical from music to finish my BBA and MBA. I was a little nervous. There was a huge birthday party at TC's Lounge on the east side of Austin, so it was nice to come back to a full house. Over the last month, I have been practicing Mondays with the fellas. I learned 30 tunes for the gig. There were rough patches, missed keys, missed beats. Over all it felt good. I played with the regular drummer for the band tonight for the first time. We had a few miscues, but we got the people up and moving. We just found a new drummer we have been rehearsing with recently. The current drummer is going to be gone for the summer. I initially learned the tune with Donovan, the lead vocalist, on drums.

All the familiar senses came back: reading the crowd, my cross-legged trance stance when I'm in the groove, watching the hands of the Jonathan the guitarist as I followed his lead, following Donovan and picking up his cues, listening for the kick drum, the feel of my fingers caressing the strings, the weight of my bass with the 2Tek bridge, my amp being ok and my sound coming off as a little hollow, the excitement, the thrill of creating live art that moves people to dance.
And now my bed is calling, another sense from live gigging being the reason-tired workday afters from magic nights.

I love this stuff.
I'm back to my core calling in life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Mom Goes Existential On Me.

Today is my mother's birthday, so I called her to chat a bit. In the middle of our conversation, she got sublimely deep on me. We were talking about my childhood. She once gave me Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss to read to my sister. She said I told her "This is stupid, there is no such thing as green eggs and ham!" During our conversation today, my mom told me I was always a "literal" child. My mom and dad never spoke to me as a child, so my imagination developed in a different manor. I never was and still not much of a reader of fiction. I have read most of the classics in school, but I never go out of my way to read new fiction. I love biographies and I always marvel at our literal world. I love history. That is why I love the human condition. It also explains why I'm a news junkie. When I write songs or poetry, I write about literal worlds-time and places. My abstract thinking comes from imagining what if people made different choices in their lives. How would a person react if put in a situation. I was never a fantasy world type person. Comics, D and D, and even video games have never really interested me. I appreciate the passion for those things.

One of the things I love about music is that is real and abstract at the same time. I can play notes, read notes, sing notes, play with rhythm, listen to recordings. Yet you never actually see music. You feel it. The imagination behind songs, compositions and bands. The myths and legends behind the creators of music are my comic books, my fantasy worlds. The great thing for me is that I can be part of it. I can create my own world and collaborate with others.

This leads into my thoughts on religion, since this is Easter weekend. The greatest gift my parents gave me is a sense of self. They always respected my autonomy and let me think for myself. Now music to me is my way to connect with the spiritual. Whether playing or listening to my favorite music of discovering new bands, I connect with a higher power. I respect a person's faith, though I will never get around how some organize religion is used to separate and marginalize people. I never believed in a middle man to tell me how I should live my connection to the spiritual. I am very glad I didn't grow up with some of the constraints organized religion can give folks. My sense of self lets me know its ok that I get my connection with the spiritual through notes and beats. When I need to connect, I pick up the instrument closest to me or play a recording.

All the green eggs and ham talk made me think of this reading by Jesse Jackson.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Understand The Feeling

Getting dumped. Fired. Let go.

Even when I knew it was coming, it was hard. So as I sit in the crowd and watch the gentleman I'm replacing in Soul Track Mind, I understand.

Getting dumped by a band is like getting dumped by 4 girlfriends at once. I understand the sunglasses on stage. I understand loose , sloppy playing.

Don't worry the right band will come around. It always does.


The teaser digital remasters:
Yellow Submarine Soundtrack
The Beatles: 1
Let It Be: Naked

I have been waiting for this for years. Just listen to Nowhere Man from the Rubber Soul CD and compare it to the Nowhere Man for the Yellow Submarine CD. Beatle fans, we are in for a treat. I might even break down and buy a video game console to play the Beatles Rockband.

The Beatles are the largest influence on my life outside of my parents and my godparents and my friends.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Michael being Michael

Goes third person-$0
Reminds Stockton that he beat him in 1997 and 1998-$0
Reminds the world that Magic never beat him in the Finals-$0
Michael Jordan-Priceless.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Old School Video Shot

Cruising my YouTube favorites and I find this clip. This is the Screaming Headless Torsos at the Knitting Factory in New York City in 1996. This is still the most unique band I have ever experienced. If you look closely at the zoom in at the 8 second mark, you will see me standing next my Japanese friend Yumika. I'm glad the zoom in is a little blurry, because you can't really make out the hideous shirt I was wearing or my terrible mustache.

Back to the Blog

It was a nice week away from one aspect of my computer life. This last week has been pretty interesting for me and I guess culture in general. Here is a rundown of things of interest to me:

1. How progressive is Iowa? First, the 2008 Iowa Caucuses gave President Obama the springboard to get into office. I'm still amazed by that. Now, the Iowa Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage. This should make Californians feel ashamed.

2. The Obamas in Europe. Do they cut a figure together or what? Their mere presence is doing a lot to repair the US world image. The fact that President Obama didn't get more economic stimulus from European countries makes perfect sense. Those countries possess the social safety nets to help their citizens. The United States does not have universal health care or cheap access to higher education. Michelle did what any human being would do if a someone gives you a hug, she hugged back. Get over the Queen thing people. Steve Jobs must love the fact the Queen has an iPod. I can't wait to see the commercials. And she gives the French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy a Gibson guitar. Who said music the music industry is totally dead?

3. I haven't really commented on the economic crisis. There are enough people taking all types of potshots at the Stimulus Package, the Bailout of the Banks, The Auto Crisis and so on. I am worried like everyone else, but it doesn't overwhelm my thoughts. I feel lucky to have finished my MBA in Finance from Summer of 2006 to Spring 2008. That education gave me the tools to understand the problems and the knowledge of where to go to research what I don't understand. For everyday tracking and simple understanding of these complex issues I recommend these resources:

NPR: Planet Money the Blog and Podcast

Slate: The Big Money
Marketplace from American Public Media

Check out this podcast from Fresh Air featuring Frank Partnoy. Great explanation of derivatives and the other financial instruments that have push us close to the edge.

4. Speaking of close to the edge, the newspaper industry is getting hammered by everyone. I work for one of the successful newspapers, The Austin American-Statesman. What irritates me about the discussion is the omission of 2 key facts with the newspapers that have failed. They papers were either in 2 papers towns (Seattle, Denver) or the ownership had the had massive debt (Tribune Company, Philadelphia Newspapers). Since the Statesman has been up for sale, there has been a lot of speculation and rumors. Over the past month, there has been a back and forth between the Statesman and the Austin Chronicle about what's going on. That will be a separate blog post.

5. We are getting a nice tax refund.

6. The Bulls are in 7th place in the East.

7. The Bears got Jay Cutler! Yes, I'm excited and I'm going to draft Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Greg Olsen in my fantasy league next year.

8. Damages had a great season ending episode. Season wrap-up post this week.

9. Opening day in baseball never gets old. Steroids, expensive stadiums be damned. Does anything ever really stop baseball, expect the war and baseball itself?

10. The latest LEOG is up. Check it out, if you dare...

11. I will be joining Soul Track Mind either this week or next week. Depends on how the bass player reacts to his dismissal.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pimping the Product: Austin Amerian-Statesman 10K Crew

I have to give much love to my peeps at the Statesman. I work in the marketing department and I saw all the hard work and red tape the crew had go through. It amazes me how fast "Keep it Weird" Austinites get all NIMBY with a race that is an Austin tradition going on 32 years. All we do is raise money for charity. Speaking of charity, special shout out to all the volunteers and other organizations that help the crew.

Ten Observations: Running the Capital 10K

Ok. I know I haven't kept up with my Ten Observations post for 24 and Damages. The season finale of Damages runs an hour and a half Wednesday April 1 and I guess 24 ends sometime in May. I will do my season ending Ten Observations for each show. Never the less, I like the Ten Observation format. It helps frames my thinking for certain events, like my Cap 10K run. Here it goes:

1. The weather was perfect. As I type this post it is 57 degrees in Austin and sunny. The timed race started at 8:45 am and I think the temperature was about 45 degrees. Here is a map of the race course.

2. The starting pen was great. Not to crowded. The bib numbers were color coded by speed. The elite runners were yellow and purple, faster timed runners wore blue, other timed runners wore red, untimed and fun runners wore white. I had a blue bib. I couldn't find anyone I trained with or any other friends, so I just chilled and meditated on the race I wanted to run. I warmed up prior to entering the pen. I train with music but never race with music because I like to hear the rhythm of my feet, the crowd noise and it helps me focus on my body. I like to visualize my race.

3. For those people who have not been to Austin, it is very hilly here. We have places with great views (The Oasis really does have the best sunset in Central Texas) but it makes running here challenging. I live in the northwest hills section of Austin, by the Green Belt on top of a big hill, so I run a lot of hills. That being said, this course is very hilly, sweeping through downtown and west Austin. Check out the elevation map.

4. Mile 1 is up the gradual hill of Congress Avenue, right toward the Capital Dome. The trick for me is not to go out to fast, don't let the adrenaline and the racers pull me faster than I want to go. especially since there is a hill after making the right from Congress to East 11th Street. My legs felt good and I got into my stride. My watch is not really good with splits so I'm not sure what the time is. Since my watch doesn't track mileage, I don't like to look for mile marker signs. It distracts me from focusing on my running.

5. Making the turn onto East 11th was were I saw the 1st casualties of the "too fast 1st mile". The hill on East 11th up to the left turn onto San Jacinto is short but pretty steep. One thing I always suggest is the run the course if you can. My training group ran the course 2 times so I knew the hill was coming and I adjusted.

6. Once on San Jacinto, there is a short, steep downhill. I try to keep my stride consistent and not over step and let gravity pull me from my stride. I like to run easy. I like my heart beat to be averaging in the 160s. My goal in training is to get my mile ideal mile time at the effort that keeps my heart rate in the 160s.

7. From San Jacinto the course turns left and heads west down 15th Street. This is hilly and about 2 miles. To me, this is make and break goal time stretch of the race. I felt good going over the hills past the cross-streets of Lavaca and Guadalupe. The uphill traveling west on 15th street, passing the cross-streets of San Antonio, Nueces and Rio Grande, is gradual then peaks at West Street. When I reached West Street, I looked back at the view of runners. The sea of colors, the flow of people was great. Then I headed downhill and ran toward West Austin

8. I headed up the continuing hill as West 15th Street became Enfield (crossing Windsor, Lorrain, Marshall, Murray, Lynn, Pease, Woodlawn,Hartford and Wethersfield). I realized I was not going to make my goal time of somewhere in the 51 minute range. That would require to me to run an 8:13 to 8:22 mile. I was slower than that. My legs were getting tired because of the hills. I stopped for water only once so far. Since it was not too hot, my hydration was solid.

9. The rest of the race was ok, though I know I was slower than I wanted to be. From Enfield, the course turns left and heads south on Winsted. This is another steady hill that can bite you. I used this stretch to adjust my stride and keep my pace. This is where the power of my legs can in handy. I have strong quads and glutes, so I muscled my way through this part. At the end of Winsted was Mile 4. Left on Veterans, traveling east, running past Austin High School on Stephen F. Austin. This is my least favorite part of the course. Right when you hit a wall, the scenery is kinda drab. I grab water for the second and last time. This was gut check time. Time to push through whatever walls I had for myself.

10. Mile 5, 6 and the .2 were hard yet gratifying. Most of mile 5 was on Cesar Chavez heading east. The course runs parallel with the Townlake Hike and Bike Trail, so this is familiar territory. I drive this road almost every day and again, it is sneaky hilly. My quads wanted some mercy, so I dug deep with my arms to push my legs, like pistons. I was breathing heavy. I was trying to figure out where to start my sprint. The course made the right onto the South First Street bridge and I was still bidding my time. right before the right turn on Riverside, I started to haul ass. I sprint in a controlled burst. I get my legs and arms pumping in rhythm. The screams and cheers of people are totally cool and really got me jacked. I couldn't tell what my time was officially but it was around 55:00 which is about a 8:50 mile. At least I hope so. Overall, this was a good race for me. It is my 1st race since I finished my MBA last May.

Preparation Recap:

My training was good. I really have to work to get into shape because I am about 10lbs heavier than my marathon weight. When I started training, I was about 20lbs heavier. My ideal running weight, at least I think, is about 155lbs. I am going to continue to train and I plan to do a half marathon in the fall. I want to hit my goal weight by my birthday, June 30. My recoveries we good. I really concentrated on eating the right food at the right time. I also make it a monthly expense now to get massages. That helps tremendously. My shoes are lighter, (Mizuno Wave Elixer III) and I know I don't like wearing regular running shorts for racing. I like racing tights. I know I want to upgrade my watch to record pace and I want to do some more lifting so I can get stronger.

Overall I am pleased with my effort today and I am pumped to maintain this activity. I will get back to swimming and I want to do a triathlon soon. Between music and sports, I need to rob a bank to finance all this stuff.

Cap 10 Feelings

The easiest part was driving and parking. Because I work for the Statesman, I used the parking lot. Plus I have access to the bathroom for on last clearing of the bowls. Hey, better now than during the race, right?

Big Morning: Capital 10K

Today is the Capital 10K here in Austin. I am running it with the goal of 51:00. The weather is perfect and I feel pretty good. I would love to tweet or blog how I feel each mile, but I'm running for a time. I will post as soon as I'm done.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Funk Brother Down

Drummer Uriel Jones died on Tuesday March 24 at 74. He was one of three go to drummers in the Motown heyday (Benny Benjamin and Richard (Pistol) Allen were the other 2). Along with the immortal James Jamerson, he was the backbone to many hits. From Wikipedia,

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" - both versions, by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell in 1967 and the 1970 remake by by Diana Ross, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye, "Cloud Nine" by the Temptations (in which he was augmented by "Spider" Webb), Jr. Walker's "Home Cookin'," "I Second That Emotion" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder.

I had the honor to be at the premiere of Standing in the Shadows of Motown here in Austin at the Paramount Theatre. Uriel was there along with other Funk Brothers. They played with local Austin musicians after the movie played and had a question/answer session. I had them sign my original Standing in the Shadows book, which was a straight up bass book focusing on the style of James Jamerson.

The world is a little less groovy today...

Man Crush

I can watch LeBron all day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Picking Up Another Man's Woman

That is what it's while I'm watching Soul Track Mind.

It's the knowing, sly eye play with Donovan, Ray and Jon. The longing for the deep groove I have shown them in the rehearsals. It's not their current bass player is terrible ( other than when massacres the classic bassline to Let's Get It On). It just I listen and understand the band's needs. I just "get" them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On the Scene: Perez Hilton-Pics

These are pictures from a few acts at Perez Hilton's party in Austin on Saturday March 21. The show moved at good pace and the room sounded good. Here is my review of what I saw.

Magaret Cho: I don't get her. I think her humor is just vulgar without any depth or relevance to anything meaningful. She is like Sarah Silverman, a potty mouth lady that thinks talking about sex in graphic terms is humor.

Indigo Girls: Quite a surprise. They were good.

Ladyhawke: I know she was getting a lot of buzz this year and her performance proved the buzz might be understated. She was great.

Thunderheist: They were ok. She was trying. I always feel it is hard for a DJ based group to follow full band becuase of the sonic differences. A good full band beats a DJ everyday.

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head: Overrated. I read about this band in an article about the origin of band names. I knew from reading the article this band care more about the band name than the craft of creating great songs or becoming good performers. They are young so hopefully they will get better.

Solange: Great. This woman has got the moves, the show, the tunes and the attitude. She has the charisma her sister lacks.

Margaret Cho:

Indigo Girls:



Natalie Portman's Shaved Head:


Sunday, March 22, 2009

On the Scene: Perez Hilton

This party is what parties should be. Engaging host, free booze, great DJ, good bands, great arty crowd. Prior to this party, I have only heard of Perez Hilton and never read his blog. I have become a fan. This party reminded me of dance clubs I use to go to in the early 90's in New York-Tunnel, Limelight, Shelter,Webster Hall and the Palladium. The feeling I had was of a little wonder and adventure, though this party was a lot tamer than New York club action, especially back in those days (Peter Gatien, Michael Alig anyone?)

My friend Belinda got me in as her plus one so I thank her for that. We didn't stay for the whole thing so I missed out on Kanye West. My crush on Solange was continued as she brought the house down for the second night in a row. We left after her set. I must give special props to the DJ Aaron LaCrate. The brother brought it on the wheels of steel...

Again, in my younger days I would have partied all-night. Perhaps with a little help, if you hear what I'm saying.

His blog post about the Austin party is here. Here are some pics. I'll post my pics of soon and my reviews of the performances up soon.

Aaron LaCarte-


On The Wall For All-

Me the Swinger-

The Most Interesting Men in the World-


Perez Warhol-

Perez is Hot-


Crowd Man-