Lots of water under the bridge. But my most recent thing? Been doing more acting! And I'm thrilled to be involved in a new production of an amazing theater project called "Charlie Victor Romeo". It's a play based on recordings from actual cockpit voice recorders from air disasters.
It's been put on in New York, Edinburgh, Japan...all over the place. They just made a movie of it so now they're staging it in NYC for an "encore", and I have the privilege of acting in it!
Here is a link with the location, dates & times. Hopefully you'll come and check it out. Thanks!
So I'm living upstate now with my fiancee, 2 1/4 hours from the madness we knew before. We've got a nice house, two new puppies, and my new studio is under construction. I can tell you that it's been an insane year. I have neglected blogs, accounts, books, friends, foes, pursuits, the works. I can't give you the details but this "dropping out" has been for a very very good reason. I'm finally really and truly out of some of the darkest woods I've ever been in, and there's nowhere to go (musically) but up.
Naturally, the plague of every forty-something singer-songwriter who can't seem to get much traction, coupled with an influx of cash from my regular job, is an illness called GAS -- or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Perhaps you've heard me mention it in the past?
It's a slippery slope. Traumas hit me like a ton of shit, I stop writing, and then I think that buying gear will be a substitute for booking gigs.
(Of course, booking gigs in NYC is about as fun as taking ones own eyes out with a fork, unless you're a chick, and/or under 22. Or unless you wear a trucker-hat and have no ass.)
So I get my eye on the next microphone, guitar, amp, etc. and soon I feel like I have to have it. It's the musician's mid-life crisis. And it's silly. Meanwhile, I'm another year older and less "marketable." Ah, fuck 'em. Marketable. Whatever that is.
Music. Why the hell do I do it? Why do I even think it? I don't know. It's a compulsion. A nagging pull in my head. The best night I ever had, I broke even. But what I'm hooked on is having a sound exist in my head -- and having it come into existence. Hearing it in the air. Maybe it feels like a tree falling in a desolate forest, but I hear it. So I keep going. People ask me if I do it because I love it. You know what? I don't love it. Love can go sour. This is past love. Do you love air? Water? You'd breathe shitty air if that's all there was to survive, right?
My dog Sonny died a few months ago. Hence the new pups. I thought going dogless for a while would be good. But soon, you miss little feet, little noses, little poops. I put pictures of the new girls up in the photos section -- Lindy and Pepper, from the local shelter. Dolls. Beauties.
So, here we are -- 2011. One year until the Mayans say the world is going to end, 11 years after the Millenialist Cults said it would. I'm not taking an easy breath until 2013. Until 2013, I'm buying ammo.
So I'm taking Nicole on a vacation in February. In these four-plus years I've never taken her someplace warm. Well, I'm making up for that, big-time. So that's on the horizon and very cool.
Other than that, folks -- getting my chops back up. Looking to play some gigs in the spring. My cohorts are in and out of town, but I keep in touch with most of 'em. When the weather warms up we'll rear our heads again. Alright. Gotta break up a fight between two puppies. One of my resolutions (aside from the food and the exercise) is to update this sucker more regularly. Feel free to write and complain if I don't!
Happy New Year, everybody.
Hey gang -- - September 27, 2009
It's been a rough year. Mom's health getting worse. A herniated disc for me. But I'm turning a corner and finally starting to play again. Just wanted to touch base and say a collective hello. I'm down but not out, and I'll be appearing soon!
NEW BLOG - August 25, 2009
Hey all -- I've decided to try my hand at a real blog. Not sure how things will go, but if you want to visit, it's at www.orblogger.com. Enjoy!
I'm a lazy bastard. - August 21, 2009
Ok. The dog ate my homework. My mom's been sick. I've had a herniated disc. Two of those three are valid reasons not to gig.
That said, I'm starting to get a little loopy...
AT LAST! NEW CD WILL BE AVAILABLE BY THE END OF DECEMBER! - December 7, 2008
Well folks -- after budget shortfalls, logistical snafus, and more crossed signals than the keystone cops on peruvian marching powder, "Secession", the new CD, will finally be available for FREE download or hard copy purchase by the end of this month.
I know. I can't fucking believe it either.
As you may have read here, making this sucker has been a long, difficult process -- but I'm very pleased with the results and I know you'll dig it too.
Looks like I'll get 'em delivered on -- snif -- Dec 24th! Thank you, Santa.
Check here for more details.
NEW RECORD IN PROGRESS! - March 3, 2008
Hey folks --
You've probably heard me talking about the "next project" -- well, it's finally taking shape. Graham, Stew, John, and I will be heading down to Puremix in NYC to lay down the rhythm tracks for the next CD, tentatively titled "Secession." After getting those done, we'll take the hard drives up to my home studio and do the rest there. Anyway, it's been far too long since "Safely". I've hit a few bumps in the intervening years but am finally ready to move ahead with this. I hope, when it's done, that you'll dig it as much as I look forward to making it.
Check back here for release date/release show info, as well as links to where you can download it!
All the best,
'08 a minute.. - January 27, 2008
Well, another year has come and gone. On to better things. Below is the video blog of my esteemed bassist, John Montagna -- after the first couple of minutes, there's a clip from the show we played at TOAD up in Cambridge, MA.
Truthfully, it could have gone better. The folks before us finished late and dawdled, and we didn't go on until almost 11 (on a cold wednesday). We also seemed a little out-of-step with the evening in general -- the vibe was more folkie and laid-back, and the fact that we had a drumset almost felt like an affront. That said, we still smoked! The stage was tiny and poor Johnny had to stand on the floor because there wasn't enough room for him. But the guys really played their asses off. I mean, we drove 200 miles and no one seemed to outwardly give a shit, so we figured, "fuck it -- let's just play!" The result was a looseness and freedom that was highly addictive for all. Too bad so few saw it. Oh well. During the song clip (about halfway through the video blog) Stew starts his solo, then turns and whispers something in my ear. He said, "I'm gonna get my money's worth on this one..." and he sure did. It was one of the best solos I'd ever heard him take. His remark really typified our feelings about the evening. Some of these are glorious, others are a chore. But we can still enjoy expression and communication with each other regardless. Documented for your pleasure. Enjoy. Thanks again, John Montagna, for making the video!
xo to you all
December already.. - December 4, 2007
Hey folks --
I know. Another long gap in entries. Do forgive me. I'm not much of a blogger! I spend so much of the day running around trying to make stuff happen that by the time I get home, I'm damn near a vegetable. Still, this radish will give it another shot.
I've still been in the throes of making my home studio click on all cylinders, and it's really coming together. There are pictures of it up in the "photos" section if you want to have a look.
We'll be playing at least one show in NYC in January of '08, on the 4th at Googie's. Check the "shows" section for details. We'll be up in Boston at The Toad on 1/16...details to follow on that as well.
Things are good....a little back pain, juggling bills, all the fun stuff that comes with adulthood. I hope everybody had a nice Turkey-day (or turkey-less day) and I look forward to seeing you on 1/4!
GOOGIE'S LOUNGE! - November 2, 2007
Just to let you know, we got a last-minute chance to play at Googie's Lounge (above The Living Room) Wednesday, November 7th, at 1030 pm. For info, check out the "shows" page. Hope you can make it!
Home Studio Madness - October 31, 2007
Hope you're all having a reasonable fall. I've been a little slow on the gig-booking front, as I've been trying to get my home recording studio together. I wanted a facility that would handle serious music recording and mixing as well for voiceover work. So far so good -- except that I wouldn't wish Verizon on my worst enemy. Getting ISDN from them has been a waking nightmare. Absolutely Kafka-esque. Almost as bad as the New York Department Of Buildings.
Anyway, all of the other elements are coming together, which means we will be rolling on the next album in a matter of weeks.
Hoping to book a gig somewhere in town/out of town soon enough. If you'd like us to play at a venue you like, put in a good word for us!
Happy Halloween. I'm going out as a catholic priest....what I'm coming back as? Who knows!
Upcoming stuff.. - August 6, 2007
Hey all --
Another ridiculous gap in entries. It's amazing how real life encroaches so rudely into cyberspace. Anyway, some recent news:
We're playing a little cluster of shows, both in and out of the NYC area. You can find all the nuts-n-bolts info in the "SHOWS" section. We're playing a show here in town at Mo Pitkins' on Wednesday, August 29th at 730PM. We last played Mo's back in July and the show was a great success, both musically and attendance-wise. Thanks to all who came out! Anyway, we hope to do as well or better the next time out, so if you're around I hope you'll make it.
We're also playing two shows out of town -- one at Dockside Pub in Mahopac NY. on August 31st, and one at The Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier, Vermont on September 5th. Both of these venues are cool joints that feature great music, and we're pleased to be making our debut at both of them.
Two out of three of these shows, we will NOT have John Montagna with us on bass...(snif)...but as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. And, in this case, the silver lining is none other than the fabulous Paul Frazier, who I'm thrilled to be working with again after over a year. This badass lefty came to us through Graham, who worked with him in David Byrne's band. Paulie is a fantastic player and it will be great having him aboard at Mo's and in Vermont. But John Montagna will join us at the Mahopac gig. I know, because I'll be driving him there! That's going to be a fun trip. You should hear us rant.
Other news? Well, as you know, in my continuing quest for my perfect guitar sound (it had begun to resemble an Arthurian trek around the known world for a certain holy cup, seen only in visions) I have found a new hope -- in the form of the Acoustic Image CORUS amp.
This little bastard knocks my socks off. I had initially bought it as an amp for my new Eastman archtop Jazz guitar, as the CORUS is billed as a jazz guitar amp. Of course, the Eastman sounded RIDICULOUS through it. But I wasn't prepared for what followed:
Just for the hell of it, I decided to try putting my other guitars through it. My Paul Reed Smith hollowbody sounded incredible through it. I couldn't put the sucker down. The airy top-end, rich bass, and pristine clean sound were just delicious. With my Strat, I got some great rhythm tones, both jazzy and rock-flavored. The amp has no distortion or overdrive at all, but if you put an overdrive pedal in the mix, it just sings. And the coup de grace was when I plugged my ACOUSTIC guitar into it. The J-45 sounded better through this amp than the Schertler UNICO, which was specifically designed for acoustic guitars! So, on a sheer whim, I find myself the proud owner of an amp that is twice as powerful than the UNICO, which weighs 13 punds LESS than the UNICO, and can handle all my other axes to boot.
(Like I give this stuff any thought.)
Anyway, the fact that I can use the same amp for all my axes, and it's lighter, easier to carry, and better sounding is just great.
On another matter: THE NEXT RECORD.
(LOUD ORCHESTRAL BLAST)
I know that many people have been asking when I'll be making another recording. This is coming closer to happening. The main delay has been, honestly, a shortfall in new material. I have 7 new songs that I deem fit for the next record. While I could certainly "toss off" another 3 to 5 just to get (what I deem to be) enough for an album, I much prefer the idea of quality over quantity. I want to put out the best grouping of songs that I can, and in the spirit of this I've taken my time. I want you to hear the best I've got, not "filler". There's enough "filler" in the world, and I try my best not to add to it (voluntarily, anyway). But steps are being taken. The tunes are nearly done, the budget is in place, the title, overall concept, design ideas, etc. The other important elements are also in place, and/or improving: the band members I've played with have continued to work with me over the years and our affinity for the music and each other has grown. I believe the next album will be more cohesive and musically unified, with a lot more of an organic, inter-personal vibe. We also have an engineer, studios, and a recording strategy in place. My home studio set-up is becoming much more viable, which will save me a bundle of cash in the vocals/overdubs phase. That way we can tweak to our heart's content without watching the clock and freaking out over dollars.
Or, to put it plainly? Don't worry. We're working on it, and it won't be much longer!
Thanks for your continued support. Remember to check out the "SHOWS" section to see where we'll be next!
A slice from the Rockwood - May 10, 2007
Hey folks --
Please forgive the gap in entries. I have no excuse. I've been lazy, and in a mildly self-deprecating funk. In those moments, I find it hard to fathom that people would want to read my salty ramblings about lugging my rig from venue to venue. But Having just gotten a video clip from my friend Avril of our show at the Rockwood on May 1st, it tickled me, and I thought I'd share it with you. It's a little out of sync, but who isn't these days?
Enjoy the first minute or so of "Rule Of Three."
Thanks. : )
Scranton - January 17, 2007
I know it's been a while since the New Year's show in Scranton. I got the damned flu again after getting back into town, and was also swamped with a lot of voiceover action. But now, for anyone interested, here's the lowdown:
The show goes down in my personal history as good for two reasons: it was our first New Year's Eve show, and it was the first show I played where I actually ended up taking home some money! That's right, for one brief shining moment, Chris Orbach was in the black playing his own tunes.
(Anyone got any smelling salts?)
It was also cool because we were playing alternating sets with my guitarist Stew Cutler's jazz group. I love his original tunes and it seemed like a good mix.
Anyway, the driving arrangements were different this time. Stew took his wife and his drummer in his car, John drove in his Rav with his darling wife Jill, and Graham and I crammed into my Volks. We got to the Scranton Hilton, where the city was kind enough to put us up. Nice rooms, big soft beds. I had enough time to have a snack, lay down, shower, vocalize, etc. We all met in the lobby at 5 and headed to the venue.
The venue, as it turned out, was an auditorium in a bulding of the University Of Scranton campus. It reminded me of a junior high school auditorium: shellacked floors, chairs at the sides, hard walls and ceilings. I half expected to be pre-empted by an 8th grade production of The Mouse That Roared, or something like that. Sonically, the room was, shall we say, "challenged". But at least the sound guy, Rob, was very nice, and seemed to sympathize. He brought a good P.A., but in that room I knew it would be murderous. It was, on stage anyway. Felt like singing into a wadded-up tube sock. What was also hilarious was the fact that the circuit box for the stage lights was LOCKED, so we basically had the house lights and two bare bulbs, and that nearly all of the a/c power outlets were painted over. We still managed to set everything up.
I don't know, maybe it was because our room was a little off the beaten path, but initially, very few people showed. Still, it's amazing how much less that seems to hurt when you're being paid, and not losing a grand or two! Same with the sound issues -- yeah, it was a pain, but I took it in stride, and I think we put on a good show anyway. It was the third gig that I played with my stripped-down acoustig rig, and I'm still really liking it.
The first sets for me and Stew's bands were pretty light attendance-wise, but things picked up nicely towards the end. I sold a few CD's and made a few new friends. Not bad.
Another issue was that there was nothing to eat! See, I always have a tendency to over-prepare. If you've ever seen my suitcase for a gig you'll know this. Inside I have a duplicate of every cable and connector I use -- plus an exra strap and even an extra wireless transmitter, so that if ANYTHING fails I have a backup. This adds 5 lbs to my rig, but the peace of mind is worth it. Well, in the same vein of this over-attention to detail, for long drives I tend to bring bottles of water and some snacks for myself and for whoever I'm riding with. These extras proved to be lifesavers as me, John, and Graham hung out backstage during Stew's first set. When I pulled out a tin of mixed nuts and a bag of Sun Chips, and my rhythm section's eyes widened with glee, I just thought, "Ah the GLAMOUR!" By the way, our "backstage" was essentially a mop room -- a small room with a sink, a washing machine, and a wooden frame with all these mops drying on them.
But sitting back there with Graham and John while waiting to go on, eating mixed nuts, and slices of apple that Graham cut with a pocketknife and handed to each of us, I realize how much I loved all of it.
The last set ended at 11, giving us just enough time to get back to the hotel. We rang in midnight of 2007 in the lobby bar of the Scranton Hilton, in which "Deuling Pianos" captured and held the distinction of making Billy Joel tunes sound even worse than the originals. And as for food, our only option was, god help us, Domino's pizza. But there we were, the band, plus Stew and John's wives, ringing in '07 with pizza, wings, champagne, and diet coke in the lobby of the Hilton, giggling like kids. It was pretty surreal and nice.
All in all, I liked playing in Scranton. The people who organized the event were very nice, the accomodations were comfy, the folks were enthusiastic, and it looks as though they want us back next year. I just wish to god I could play out of town more often. I'm trying to set that up. I mean, sometimes the voluminous bullshit around playing in NYC feels like bashing your own head against the wall just to hear the sound it makes. By comparison, playing out of town -- even in strange rooms -- feels like a pretty nice shot in the arm.
By the way, I actually did a production of The Mouse That Roared, in 8th grade. I played the President Of The United States. In the script, the President got one of the most succinct and clever character descriptions I ever saw: "He is an imposing man in a dark suit."
Somerville - December 17, 2006
Hey folks. Just thought I'd write a few words about our trip to Somerville Massachusetts. We played at the Somerville Theater, opening for the fabulous James Montgomery blues band.
Stew and I decided to head up one night early, friday night. He had a gig here in NYC that night, so he didn't pick me up until about 1145pm. We drove up in his car, the amazing "Big Blue", a '92 Chevy Caprice with a 'vette engine. You'd never look twice at this car, but it's a remarkable machine. A gigantic, rear-wheel drive behemoth. Anyway, we piled into that and made our way up, arriving at the hotel (in Medford MA) around 430am. The Amerisuites is a fantastic deal. Two-room mini-suites with little kitchenettes and everything. The underground parking garage, however, inexplicably smelled of shit, day and night. Happily, we weren't sleeping down there.
The next morning (or should I say afternoon) Stew and I hit the lobby at about 130pm. We asked the gals at the front desk if there was anyplace to get breakfast. They looked at us like we were a couple of extraterrestrials. It was quickly becoming evident that eggs in Medford MA after 11am were something of a rarity. Undaunted by the desk staff's tacitly judgemental inability to help, we drove into town and pounced on the first thing we saw. Yes, folks -- there ARE eggs in Medford after 1pm, but you get 'em with cold weak coffee, and NO BATHROOM. The place had the smell of death about it: empty steam tables behind decades-stained plateglass, hand-written signs in high-school girl magic-marker script about foodborne illnesses, and three people coming in after us who got their food before us. Oh well -- "Any port in a storm", as my brother is so fond of saying..the eggs were halfway decent, and neither of us got sick later. Mainly, I was pissed at myself for not going online for five minutes and researching the possibility of something better.
Graham and Johnny arrived a couple of hours later. Graham checked in around 330 - 4pm. Johnny called me from the road -- he was lost. An alumnus of Berklee in Boston, he began spewing hilarious obscenities about how badly the streets were laid out in the area. I was just glad I had my laptop in the hotel room. With Mapquest's help, I triangulated his location, set him straight, and he ended up checking in just in time to hit the can, wash his face, and head to the venue with us. It was the first time I saw him sporting his new glasses (for driving) and I have to say, they suited him very well.
Anyway, with the help of my GPS we got to the venue. For some reason there was an ass-load of traffic, but we made it. The funniest part was that we missed ONE TURN that would have led us to the rear loading dock of the theater, and ended up caught in a loop of no-outlet streets. We had to take all these insane stupid double-back turns to get there. I called Graham (who was in the other car with John) and the first thing he said was from Orson Welles' drunk voiceover outtakes tirade: "What, in the DEPTHS OF YOUR IGNORANCE, are you doing??" Then in his own voice he said "are we just doing this to waste gas?" What made it even funnier was Stew's mounting anger. After about 10 minutes of more turns than a Sufi-fucking-dervish we found the back of the theater and loaded in.
Amy Kantor was already there, making things happen. As many of you may know, Amy is a very good friend who lives in the area. She's a big fan of the band, and with no previous experience in such matters ended up booking and co-producing the show. I can't thank her enough. At some point during the process, she told me about how she was feeling a little out of her depth, as she technically wasn't in the music business. I told her this: "You return calls. You show up on time. You do what you say you're going to do, or, if you don't, you explain as soon as possible what the problem is. That IMMEDIATELY puts you streets ahead of %85 of all the people in this racket -- many of whom are in it just to get drink tickets, do coke, and meet chicks. Don't worry about a thing." I could tell she took this to heart. It's amazing what one person with his or her head on straight can do in this crazy business. I have to say too, that big thanks have to go to Victoria Florea, James Montgomery's manager, whose enthusiasm and help made things even better.
We had our sound check at around 6. Graham was thrilled that he didn't have to bring a full kit (he used James' drummer's kit). He just brought some cymbals and a snare. The sound check went well. I'd never played in a room that size through a system that big, and it felt nice. Recently, Ive taken to playing the acoustic again. After countless incarnations of the infamous "live rig", which had previously involved a PRS Guitar with two outputs -- the magnetic pickups going one way and the acoustic-flavored pickup going another, I opted instead for something simpler. I'm back to my Gibson J45 acoustic, through a little, loud, clear, and fantastic Schertler UNICO acoustic amp. The only pedals I use are a Carl Martin Chorus, a Sansamp classic overdrive, and a Boss GE-7 EQ, plus a small Shure wireless set-up, a tuner, and the amp's own reverb. Bottom line is, I get all the sounds I need, with the feel that I like, and it all takes one trip to get it from the car to the stage, which Graham says "is KEY."
Downstairs in the dressing room, we met James and his guys, who were all really nice. Of course, my band, all seasoned pros with more trigger-time than me, were as relaxed as hindu cows before the show, whereas I was the usual bundle of nerves hitting the can about 87 times. It's funny. I'm always a wreck BEFORE the show, but once we START, I'm fine. I've decided not to put myself down for being nervous, as it means that I care. As long as it doesn't adversely affect the performance.
Anyway, we went out there, and I must say it was pretty cool. I wasn't my usual chatty self on stage. I kept verbally quiet. I thought I'd let the tunes and the band speak for themselves. Hearing the music in that big room was great, and we could really lean into things dynamically without worrying about getting too loud. This also has the obvious benefit of making the quiet parts quiet! Sonically and performance-wise, I was pleased with the show. Except for my guitar going out on the first half of "Stone Saints" and me forgetting a verse of "Fleet Footed Dan", we did great. Stew sounded awesome. He played balls-out solos on "Rule Of 3" and "The Jet Age" that were, to me, his best yet on those tunes. Of course, on everything else, he played great. Or, as Graham would say, "He MELTED IT." Johnny sounded and LOOKED awesome (he put on this snazzy shirt for the show that made me feel woefully under-dressed). He played a great solo on "I Outdid You" and sang his ass off too. And, of course, Graham took me to school, again. Sometimes he breaks up the time or does something tricky, and if I don't hang on tight I can get lost. There were a couple of moments when I had an idea what Coltrane talked about while playing with Thelonious Monk -- he said something about "stepping into an empty elevator shaft." Granted, it was all dead-on musically. I'm just finding out that it's just up to ME not to let it throw me.
On my song "All Away", Graham did something at the rehearsal that initially I couldn't process, but during the show I realized how special it was. At the very end of the song, he circled the cymbal in such a way so that it made this weird creaking sound. When I asked him what that was, he said "It's the ferris wheel creaking." There are two lyrics in the song about a ferris wheel. This is why this band is so priceless to me -- musical decisions are made on THEMATIC and lyrical terms, and if there's anything to make a songwriter happy, it's that. It gave me chills.
To top everything off, it wasn't until the second song that I noticed a very old, stately gentleman in a white suit sitting ON the stage, just to the left of us. Turned out it was Weepin' Willie, a blues singer who was going to sit in on James' show after us. He was bopping and grooving to our whole set, and even hollered some words of encouragement to Stew on a couple of his solos. I think he was good luck for us. Thanks, Willie!
There were several friends (or friends of friends) in the house. Carol Goldberg came up from NYC and hooked up with her friends in the area. She took some pictures. So did my friend Avril's friend Jen. You can see these in the PHOTOS section. She also took a little video snippet that you can see above.
All told, a good night. We made some good connections with people who book a lot of shows in that area, and I'm confident we'll be back up there a lot more in '07.
The next day, Graham and John left early, and Stew and I stopped by Amy's place for a breakfast fit for kings. I also got to visit my dog Sonny who was staying with her, and I could finally see how happy he was up there. There are two other dogs in the house, and they're all chums. It was all happy sweet dogs, coffee, omelettes, guacamole, chips, and fun. To top it off, Stew pulled out The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore from Amy's vinyl collection, and he made me hear "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed" for the first time. I'm sorry, my hippie friends, but "The Dead" can go fish...The Allman's are the SHIT! Especially Duane's solo on that song. Ridiculous. Scary. Majestic.
With full bellies and big smiles, we said our goodbyes and headed home, stopping once at a truck-stop, where Stew, to his delight, found (of all things) a DVD of Steve McQueen's Nevada Smith (one of his faves!). It was smooth sailing back home until, of course, we hit the city. Then we were trapped in fucking AMBER for an hour just to get downtown. Oh well. Goes with the territory.
Hope all is well with you, and you're having good holidays. If you're in town on 1/10, come down and see us at Mo Pitkin's!
Video Clips - November 21, 2006
Here are a couple of clips taken at a couple of shows. Both were shot by our friend Avril Korman. They are out of sync, but fun nonetheless. Enjoy.
The flu, and the circular flow of energy. - November 4, 2006
Hey -- here's some of the latest. I lost most of October to a three week flu that just wouldn't leave. I'd like to thank Netflix for making that stretch bearable.
Here comes the cold weather in NY, finally. I actually really like it. The flow of loud, drunken knuckleheads staggering to local clubs below my window is stemmed somewhat, and I occasionally experience this delicious phenomenon called "sleep", which I have to say, feels pretty good. I can definitely see myself wanting that on a regular basis. It's exactly a week before my (gulp) 38th birthday, and in the immortal words of Oscar LeVant in the movie "An American In Paris" I'm really beginning to feel like "The world's oldest child prodigy." Ack.
One of the little musical surprises of the month has been the discovery that my drummer, Graham Hawthorne, is a pretty amazing straight-ahead jazz drummer! I had only every heard him in a pop, funk, and world-music context -- but when he told me he was playing a jazz gig in a lounge at a local hotel I had to check it out, and it was a treat to hear him play (so well) in this very different context.
I went to hear him do it again just last night -- it's a place called the Lexington Lounge in, of all places, the Shelbourne Hotel on Lexington Avenue. It's a funky downstairs lounge right out of the 50's, with atomic star mirrors and dark blue tablecloths. No cover, 2 drink minimum. The crowd is an odd mix of old folks, college kids who are probably staying at the hotel with nothing else to do, and friends of the band. It's actually a lovely vibe, and here's the kicker -- people are actually listening! I can't tell you how many lounges I've been to where the band has been dubbed as little more than an organically-based stereo system. Most people don't shut up for jazz unless they've paid 40 bucks a head at The Vanguard or the Blue Note, and they feel obligated to get their money's worth. But people at this lounge seem to get into it. Okay, it's not zen, pin-drop quiet, but there's definitely some respect paid. Last night it was an extra special treat because the piano chair was manned by none other than Tim Regusis, the monster player who I was lucky enough to have on my CD...I'd never heard him play straight-ahead jazz either, and while seeing him onstage last night was a surprise, his musical depth was not. On bass, the legendary Bob Cranshaw was playing! This guy's played with everybody from Billie Holiday to Sonny Rollins, and at 74 still sounds and looks fantastic.
Graham and I were talking about different mindsets that you need to have when performing jazz or pop, and he said something really interesting. In pop, the energy goes OUTWARD, to the back of the house. In Jazz, the energy is CIRCULAR, and it flows between the musicians. The audience is less of a participant and more of a guest, invited to observe what's going on. Of course the more intense that circular energy is, the more compelling the show. I thought it was an interesting take on things, because in my shows, I naturally split the difference between the two. Now I'm the last person who would ever claim to be anything close to a jazz musician, but I do find that elements of that circular energy flow exist in my band, and the music benefits enormously. As the front-man I have to be somewhat "out there", but when I sing I try to just be "in the song" and let the audience watch that rather than jump down their throats. It's probably why I play for 50 people instead of 50 thousand, but who gives a shit? If all I cared about was money I sure as hell wouldn't be playing music. I'd have gone for an MBA long ago.
Just some of the stuff that gets talked about while munching chips and salsa between sets.
In other news, looks like I'll be taking november off from gigging. Being sick for three weeks sort of put a dent in my booking chops. But there are a couple of shows in December and a whole bunch of stuff planned for early '07. I have a hunch that in addition to local stuff, we'll be hitting the road a little more.
I want to take time to thank Amy Kantor, for putting together the upcoming Somerville show. Also, Amy, Carol Goldberg, and Avril Korman for taking great shots at the recent shows (many of which you can find in the photos section here).
Please note that the "guestbook" section will be turned on and off at irregular intervals, due to the spam it's been getting. Really -- someone's been posting all of these links there to insurance websites, online pharmacies, and casinos. Why can't these pimply-faced hackers leave us alone?
Trivia question: What is this line from:
"Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt...
The Latest - October 2, 2006
Hey folks. Here I sit at the dreaded terminal, bopping to Steely Dan's "Your Gold Teeth". I've been fighting off a flu for a WEEK now, and after Netfilx-ing the first season of "Lost" (which now, goddamn it, I'm completely hooked on) I thought I'd take the time to finally write a new blog. I may have to stop a few hundred times to blow my nose, but I'll do my best.
The past few shows have felt good. Due partially to scheduling reasons and, well, let's face it, economic reasons, full-band gigs have been a bit rarer. But the duo gigs have been feeling better and better. As some of you may know, Stew Cutler and I gig together as a two-guitar duo, occasionally joined by John Montagna on bass if he's available. Anyway, these shows are a nice way to keep things going.
On 9/28 we were part of David Poe's salute to CB's Gallery. We started off the event, and I played a few songs. Stew and John joined me for this one, and in a departure from what I've normally been doing, I decided to play my acoustic instead of my electric. It was a very good sound. I was playing my J-45 through this funky little acoustic amp I have, called a Schertler Unico, and it was pretty sweet. I may be using that set-up more and more with the band. See, I've been mentally fighting against using the acoustic, mainly because of the way I've always felt the sight of an acoustic guitar is perceived by civilians. I mean, you walk up there with an acoustic, and a lot of people immediately think "folkie" -- even if you play the jazziest, hippest inverted overkill #5/#11/b13th concoction you can think up without breaking your wrist. But maybe, at some point, you have to embrace who and what you are. It really seemed to suit things very well, and both Johnny and Stew gave me that "look" about the sound, which was a good vote of confidence.
The rig is also much easier to carry, which may end up being the deciding factor anyway.
I was right in the thick of my flu, but I got a magic shot from my throat doctor the day before and vocally things were fine. I paid dearly the next day, though -- in the morning I was doing a great Miles Davis impression.
I've been trying to get us some more gigs out of town, and the result is, you know, "waiting to hear". But Thanks to our friend Amy Kantor, we'll be at the Somerville Theater in, you guessed it, Somerville Mass. on Dec. 16th with blues-pop great James Montgomery. We'll also be playing New Year's Eve at First Night in Scranton, PA. Another friend is trying to hustle us a show at a really cool neighborhood venue in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I'll post about that if/when it's official. The rest of the time, I've been looking for, or doing, voiceover work. The summer was DEATHLY slow in that department, worst it's been in a while. But it seems to be picking up.
Other than that, I've been writing, chilling with the famous dog and cat, and riding shotgun with my boys through their trials and trevails. I've been checking out John Montagna's shows around town and they're really something. His band, "The 418 Machine", is fantastic. But lately he's also been playing solo shows -- that's right, voice and electric bass only! These shows are dynamite. You really get to see just how sick he is on that instrument.
I also check out Stew when he plays around the area with local artists, and certainly with his own band. Sometimes a ride up to the Bronx for Italian food has to happen, making up obscene songs on the way and nearly crashing the car from laughing.
Graham Hawthorne, our illustrious drummer, has been neck-deep in home improvement hell, so we're more likely to gab about brickwork, dust, and the evil department of buildings than anything else. but he's doing well.
This all results in a lot of late night talks, supporting each other through this insane journey we're on, trying to find our way.
There are a couple of more new tunes, and it looks like I'll finally be starting work on a new CD in a couple of months. I'll certainly keep you posted. Thanks for coming by!
Radio, radio.. - June 30, 2006
Stew and I just got back earlier today from Pittston, PA. There, we once again got to work with George Graham at WVIA -- which is an NPR affiliate that serves Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and the surrounding area. We went out there again to mix the live recording we did there with my quartet, just over a month ago.
It's amazing what a few hours of sleep and a couple of weeks of perspective can do. When I had left there a month ago, after the recording session, I wasn't sure if we'd done anything too decent. I had had a lousy morning that day, doing a last minute buck-eighty job that, upon reflection, I shouldn't have taken. It made my morning a lot earlier than it would have been, seeing as how I knew the WVIA session was going to start late. You see, George has a radio show that doesn't end until 10PM, so we couldn't start work until after that. So, all of us ended up being pretty fried from the late hour and the drive. We plowed through 7 songs, all live. We did no more than two takes of each tune. Granted, to the uninitiated that may not sound like it would take a long time, but when you factor in placing mikes, getting sounds, false starts, fits of laughing, too-fast or too-slow count-ins by an exhausted bandleader, and listening to playbacks, time gets eaten up very quickly. By the time we finished, it was well past 3 a.m. and I was practically haluccinating I was so sleepy. As I hit my uneven bed at the Days Inn, I was dismayed, because I was sure I'd screwed the pooch.
But, lo and behold, going back and hearing it, and making a few tweaks here and there, I realize now we did something very cool. The tracks have a good energy and a lot of vibe. Starting at about 1030pm, me, Stew, and George got everything mixed by 230am, and we still had time to do a quick interview! We said our goodbyes to George, who's about as cool a guy to work with as you could ask for. Anyway, THIS time, hitting my uneven bed at the Econolodge, I ate a few Ranch Flavored Soy Crisps and watched part of a Bogie movie with Rita Hayworth, and thought quite rightly that things seemed to be looking up.
This morning, Stew and I hit another Perkins "cake n steak" for enough eggs and pancakes to sink the Bismarck, and shot back to NYC, this time in MY car, dubbed lovingly by Stew as "The Baltmobile"...(he calls me Balt. It's too long of a story to relate here).
George has granted me permission to make and sell CD's of this live recording, on the one condition that I wait till after the show airs. Easy enough.
We managed to get 7 songs down -- five of 'em new! George will be playing them, plus a brief interview with Stew and I, on Tuesday July 11th. You can hear the live stream via the internet, at www.wvia.org . Stay tuned here for when you can buy the CD.
Hope all's well.
The Latest - June 9, 2006
Whew! Sorry for the L O N G gap in entries. Been a bit of a basket case of late. But things are good. We played a duo show back on May 8th, which, as it happened, was also my nephew's birthday! It was at a new venue for us, Plan B, down on 10th st. near, you guessed it, avenue B. Stew and I tried the electric duo format for the first time, and I think that's the way we're gonna keep the duo from now on...the sound is just more interesting and can go more places. It was a good show, and we tried a brand new song out, "Long Lost Son", which Stew insisted I do ALONE. Now, for me, playing solo is like pulling my pants down, but I did it anyway, and people seemed to dig it. Afterwards, our friend, singer/songwriter Joe Shane took the stage with another long lost friend/cohort Mick Gaffney, to play Joe's delicate and lovely tunes. Joe's voice is so good, I wanna smack him. And Mick plays his butt off. Interestingly, Mick Gaffney is the only other lead guitar player I've ever used! Back in the infamous Red Lion days, Stew couldn't make a show so I worked with Mick. He's a great player and a lovely guy.
We're doing another duo show at Plan B on monday, June 26th, at 830PM..no cover! Hope you can make it.
Anyway, back on the 24th, I took the quartet out to Pittston, PA, where there is a great NPR-affiliate station, WVIA. George Graham, the music director/DJ there, has had my CD in his top 20 for several weeks now. He invited us out there for a live-in-the-studio recording. So, me, Stew Cutler, John Montagna, and Graham Hawthorne went out there and did it. It was pretty cool. It was nice, first of all, to finally meet George, who is a true believer in and champion of obscure, hard-to-find music. It was also just nice to get out of town. We couldn't start recording until after 10pm (George hosts a radio show that ends at 10) so we went from about 11 to 3am, laying down 5 "new" tunes (that is, tunes NOT on the CD) and two old ones.
All in all, the session went well. Graham brought his full-size kit, which meant keeping my car home in favor of Stew's bigger ride. Afterwards, we staggered into the Days Inn in Wilkes-Barre, and then hit a Perkins' "Cake & Steak" the following morning. In a rare turn of events, the band bought ME breakfast! It was actually, in the specific context of the situation, a very sweet gesture.
So, that's the latest. We're hoping to do a show in PA sometime in mid-late july to dovetail with the radio broadcast. Regrettably, John will be on the road with Alan Parsons during that time, so I'll have the opportunity to try out a new bass player. I'm hoping to get either Gene Torres, a monster player who works in Stew trio, or Paul Frazier, also a monster, who works with Graham in the David Byrne band.
Hope you're all well, and I hope to see you on the 26th!
Syracuse - April 11, 2006
Well, here's the report on our first trip out of town...it was pretty cool! We played at a nice little black box called The Redhouse, and the folks there could not have been nicer.
My car was on the fritz, so I ended up riding with Stew in his gigantic '92 Caprice, which is essentially a TANK. It's a former cop car and it's pretty beat up, but boy is it quick and comfy. Graham wanted to get some white housepaint and write "BLUESMOBILE" on the side of it. Stew was not entirely adverse to that idea.
Anyway, stew and I went up a day early to do a quick appearance on the morning news show up there, which was fun. The people were very nice. We also met a fellow named Scott Sterling, who books The Dinosaur up there, and he was a sweet cat. He helped us get a couple of CD's on the shelves at Sound Garden, a local outlet, and will get us a better deal on hotel rates next time we come up. Also got to meet Dino, the big guy from the Bronx after whom the club is named. He and fellow Bronx native Stew swapped some great stories about the BX back in the day.
Even though it was one gig I learned a lot. Stew is really a seasoned road-dog, and his little bits of advice were a big help. Remember that scene in "Platoon" when Charlie Sheen is going into the jungle for the first time? He's there with all of his supplies and crap, and Willem Dafoe comes up to him and says "You don't need this..and you won't need that..." etc...just taking unnecessary shit and casting it off. That's kind of what it felt like. I had a pretty major epiphany vis a vis my live rig...it's just too damned much. When I got back, I figured out a way to lose three pedals and still get all the sounds I need. Plus I'm abandoning the gigantic pedalboard from hell in favor of a much smaller piece of plywood with some velcro on it. I think the key thing is that I'm getting over the fear that my tunes and my playing aren't going to be enough, that I have to have all this stuff to play through to compensate. I'm afraid I'll still have to play through the behemoth JC 120. Still, minus the old pedalboard and extraneous effects, my live rig has just lost 40 POUNDS. That's my dog and cat combined!
Anyway, Graham and John came up in John's Rav4 day of the gig and we spent a lot of time at the venue getting ready. There was the inevitable vacuum period of 45 minutes, staring at cables when we could have been eating, and by the time we finished the sound check I was ready to start shooting, I was so hungry. But that was taken care of soon enough and we went down to business. The venue actually had dressing rooms and a backstage area (really nice and clean too).
The room itself was a bit brittle sonically -- no fault of the PA or sound system or soundman. A black box is essentially a lot of hard flat surfaces, and it can get loud in a hurry. Because of that, I think we held back a little initially. As Stew put it, it was hard to "dig in". And while there were no vocal train wrecks, I did get a little tentative in a couple of spots. Even so, there were a lot of really great things that happened. It was the first time in a while that we played just as a quartet, and I really felt like nothing was missing...that it was just enough. And, it was great to play two long sets, extend all the solos the way we wanted to, and to even have time to talk to the crowd, talk about the songs, etc.
We basically played every Chris Orbach song we all knew..and the audience demanded one more! So, we played a Stew Cutler original instrumental called "Ardell's Theme" which was fun to do. A blast.
Steve and Sue Martinak drove in from Binghamton and it was great to see them there. And Kevin from the "The Schwagcast" also came. He did a really nice piece on his last show about us, which was cool.
After the show we ended up at a nearby bar and hung out for a little while, but we were all totally fried. So, we made an early night of it at the Comfort Inn.
It was definitely fun to be on the road with these guys, even a little bit, and I'm aching to do it more. The subjects of conversation at the lobby breakfast buffet alone were priceless and hilarious. You couldn't have asked for a riper scenario: four salty New York City musicians smack in the middle of the West Point women's Lacrosse team. I mean come on.
The kicker was, on the drive home, Stew and I started making up a song that made us laugh so hard, Stew had to pull over. We laughed on the shoulder of the highway for about 15 minutes straight.
Well that's the gist of it. Hope we'll get to do something like it again soon. Stay tuned! Hope to see you at The Rockwood on the 17th.
Onward and sideways - March 5, 2006
Hey folks. Thanks to everybody who came out to the March 2nd show at the Gallery. The damned weathermen made it sound like the WORLD was coming to an end, so I know a lot of folks stayed home, but for those braving the slush -- thanks! Friend, super-fan and pup savior Amy Kantor drove down from the Boston area in the slush to come hear us. God bless her.
Anyway, after some par-for-the-course logistical silliness before we started, things got going. I had seven pieces this time -- Stew Cutler on guitar, John Montagna on bass, Graham Hawthorne on drums, big brother Tony Orbach on tenor, Paul Vercesi on alto, Kevin Batchelor on trumpet, and the same sad-sack I always hire on vocals and rhythm guitar..ME! :0
Anyway, due to the late start we couldn't do the stretch-out set that we'd hoped to do, but we still managed to play most of the newer stuff, including a brand new tune played for the first time, "Rule Of 3", which came out well. It's funny. Usually, the first few times I play a new tune I'm finding my way through it and it doesn't feel comfortable. But that wasn't the case for "Rule Of 3". It felt like I'd been singing it for a couple of years. Stew, for his part, sounded like he'd been playing it for years, too. His solo in the middle was absoltely gorgeous.
Another new-ish tune, "The Jet Age", got better by several notches that night -- thanks to a couple of choice horn parts and a suggestion by Graham at rehearsal to add a high vocal harmony to the bridge. I was very hesitant to try and do it -- I thought the notes might be in a tricky part of my range. But Graham, being a skilled producer as well as a slamming drummer, suggested I try it. What sold me on it was when he said that it didn't have to be rock-solid, it just had to match the urgency of what the words were saying...even if it was approaching a "Bob Dylan and Neil Young moment" -- his words exactly. Well, once I got comfy making the jump up, I took the high harmony, and John took the low part, and it was just what the tune was missing. I was very pleased with trying that and not chickening out on it. And John -- thank you again for learning those cumbersome lyrics!
All that by way of saying the best way to get me to change something musically is to justify it thematically.
Another thing I noticed developing was a freer atmosphere in the band. One of the things I like about my band is how the tunes are never played quite the same way twice. I like the idea of writing a tune that's solid enough lyrically, thematically, and harmonically to be malleable in certain other ways. I heard the word "jazz" mentioned to me a few times after the show. Now, I would never presume to call my music jazz. But I guess I'm betraying myself as an avid jazz fan...I always loved the idea of having certain elements of jazz living in a pop-ish context. In any event, it's certainly nice to hear it happening around me.
My apologies to the horn section: the poor guys couldn't really hear themselves on stage that night, and with a thirty-second sound check that was one of the things that slipped through the cracks. they still sounded great though. I threw a lot of new parts at them too.
So, all in all, not a bad night.
In other news? Well, my day gig, voiceovers, is still going well. Thank goodness for that...it helps me keep doing this! The CD's radio play is increasing a little more each week, thanks to the work of Peter Hay at TwinVision. We're getting some good airplay all around the country. I've been hoping that this would eventually lead to shows out of the city, and it looks like this may be the case. I'm working on getting us booked at a lovely venue in Syracuse called The Red House, possibly on 4/8. Check back in the SHOWS section for details.
I also want to say a quick hello to Steve and Sue Martinak! I'd met these folks about a year or so ago when I went to hear John play with Alan Parsons at B.B. King's. Since then they've become big supporters of us, too. I ran into them a few days ago when I went to hear John playing with the Parsons band out at Canno's Swiss Tavern in Lynbrook. It was great to see them again, and chat about music. It was fun watching John too -- it was a George Harrison birthday tribute show. John played bass, sang, and also played some slide guitar -- all beautifully. You know, he also plays keyboards, and writes great songs himself? Anyway, if I found out tomorrow he could also fly jets and make ice sculptures it wouldn't surprise me.
So, thanks for checking in. I hope everybody's doing o.k. Check back for the Syracuse date, and also, Stew and I will be doing another duo show on Monday, 4/17 at The Rockwood Music Hall. It's no cover in a great sounding little room! Hope you can make it.
xoxo (x 100)
1/26: Duo Show at the Gallery, and other news - January 27, 2006
Hey folks. First off, a big thank you everybody who came out in the bitter cold to hear us. It was a fun show to do. Extra big thanks to Amy Kantor, who drove all the way down from the Boston area just to see the show..god bless you, angel!
I like to say that the duo shows are for "people who like the lyrics." There's a better chance that you may actually hear them. The format is also a good test -- if the tunes stand up with less, they can stand up with more. Another thing about duo shows is that they are sometimes logistically and financially easier to put up! Graham and John are in demand and can't always work with me...(snif..shudder...sob).
The promising news is that after a pretty shitty year of circling my wagons and trying to keep body and soul together, I've finally decided to push ahead with the business side of things, and, to that end, I've hired a radio promoter. So far, the results are promising...we've been getting airplay in about 15 states! I hope this will mean some gigs out of town. It's certainly nice that some stations are into the record we did and some people out there will get to hear some of it.
Anyway, after the show last night I went to dinner with a few friends, and then went home and crashed. The thing is, I'm usually a pretty bad sleeper. I normally get 5 - 6 hours a night. My body's gotten so used to it, that if I sleep more than 7 hours it messes me up. I ended up sleeping 9 & 1/2 hours, and all day today I hobbled around like a clubbed seal. I couldn't even talk for three hours.
It was beautiful.
So long, '05 -- and don't let the door hit ya in the ass! - January 5, 2006
Thankfully, 2005 is over. 2005 sucked. If 2005 were a person, who would it have been? Bill O'Reilly, probably. That's how much I disliked it as a year. Good riddance!
So, looks like Stew and I will be doing an acoustic(ish) duo show on January 26th at CB's Gallery. This will give folks a chance to, uh, hear the words (if you're into that sorta thing). And it'll give me and Stew something to do while our rhythm section is out of town. We should be doing another full band show (also at the Gallery) in late February. I'll post the date as soon as I know what it is!
In other news, I'm working with a great radio promo guy named Peter Hay, of TwinVision, and I'll be doing my very first radio promotion push. I should have done this a year ago, but, hey -- doing it now.
Life's o.k. The voiceovers keep rolling, and I get by. Hope everybody's well. I'll write more when there's more to tell!
November, month of my birth - November 3, 2005
Hey folks. First of all, thanks to everybody who came out to CB's Gallery on the 28th to hear us. The show was a benefit to raise money for their cause, because if CBGB's ends up closing down, let's just make the world into one giant Starbucks and shoot ourselves. Arrrrgh!
Annnyway, now that some bile has been let out, hi there! (grin)
The show was a nice one. It certainly felt very good. It was my first show on my current no-meat experiment and I think it was a success. It was also the first time I drove my new car to a gig, and, can I tell you? I love that little bucket of bolts even MORE! It turns out that even though it's a small VW GTI, I still managed to get my behemoth JC120 amp, my overkill pedalboard, and my suitcase with all the cables and CD's for sale, all into the little trunk without putting the back seat down!
Since it was my first time driving to a gig, I can now trade stories with Graham, John, and Stew about parking. Graham won the parking contest for the evening, though. Securing a spot right in front of the club, Stew called it "The Saddam Hussein spot"..as in, "The Mother of all parking spots!"
Yes, this is all well and good...but will he talk about music? Well, as Graham likes to quote Miles Davis, "Talking about music is like tap-dancing about architecture." So, let me get my hat and cane, Mr. Pei..
The show, musically, was cool. I think my voice was a bit more open than in the past, and my actor buddy Adam Trese told me that I've been connecting to the songs better. We also managed to introduce three new songs to the set -- a ballad, "All Away"; "Victoria Page", a rock number that Graham added a sort of tribal/early Elvis Costello vibe to that was pleasantly unexpected; and "The Jet Age" -- a sort of latin-tinged folky thing with some decent words. I had a major guitar clam during that one -- so I guess I won't get the Jeff "Skunk" Baxter award for best rhythm guitarist. Anyway, they all seemed to go over well. I think the extra rehearsal (we had a whopping TWO instead of one) really helped. These guys I work with are such badasses. It's frightening.
We also had the luxury of playing a double-set, so we went at it for about an hour and a half, playing all the tunes we wanted (including a cover of The Specials' "Nite Club" in honor of CB's) and still had time to crack jokes and act stupid, which I think I liked most of all.
I managed yet another table jump on the last tune. Brought to you by glucosamine and Advil.
Afterwards, we hung out. I talked to a bunch of people, and then ended up at Round The Clock with Tony, Adam, John, plus number one fan/photographer/buddy Avril Korman. Also there was her friend Andrew Marks, who took some great shots of the show as well, which you can see here in the "Photos" section. I had a bean burrito and laughed my ass off with everybody. Not a bad way to end the evening. I ended up driving Adam and Avril home (they live up in the Bronx) and also my friend Meg who came to see the show on a whim. We actually met at a New Year's Eve party 15 years before and I hadn't seen her since! So that was very cool.
Anyway, thanks again to the folks who came. Love to all regardless. I'll keep cranking 'em out and playing for you if I go broke, even if I'm under the stinking radar forever.