Friday, December 22, 2006

Top 5 Albums of 2006

This is is an annual event for us where each of the band members deliver their Top 5 Favorite Albums of the Year to you, the reader.
As always, the disclaimer still stands: These are our favorite records of the year, we are not saying that they were the best. Otherwise you, the reader, would probably disagree.

So without further ado, I bring you the tunes that we rocked out to in '06.
Feel free to post your favorites in the comments.

JoAnna's Top 5 Records of 2006:

5. Saves The Day - Sound the Alarm
After I finish my daily dose of metal, I manage to put in Sound the Alarm, Saves The Day's newest release. Again, this album took some getting used to, but I began to get used to it after five or six spins. This album strayed from the path that Stay What You Are and In Reverie led, but rather went back to the styles of Through Being Cool. Sweetness.

4. Bury Your Dead - Beauty and the Breakdown
I recently started listening to these guys and I wasn't too fond of them at first. I gave the album a second chance and realized they had an awesome keyboard as well. It's like Bleeding Through meets Hatebreed. Two very good bands that should mate and have babies. Babies that rock!

3. Bleeding Through - The Truth
This album came out at the beginning of the year and honestly, I don't listen to it as much as I used to, but one look at the "most plays" list on iTunes and it's easy to see that I listened to this way more than anything else this year. Again, adrenaline pumping, fast paced... yes, I love it. Seeing them play at Hard Rock Live with Every Time I Die was the icing on the cake. After seeing the keyboardist (FEMALE!) rock on stage, I gave them extra credit, just because (What? Who's biased?).

2. Thursday - A City by the Light Divided
Okay. So everyone hates this album because of the quality of the recording. GET PAST THAT. If you can actually listen to the tracks as they were intended, you'll hear beautiful songs and gut-wrenching tracks that make me listen to it over and over. Lovesong Writer is an extremely slow song that is way out of my style, but I am entranced by it. Yes, this album was recorded "live," but it's one more step in the right direction for the band.

1. Unearth - III: In the Eyes of Fire
Oh. My. Goodness. This album kicks ass. Like, OMFGROLFAACD, aka - Oh My F**cking Goodness Rock Out Loud Amazing CD. From track one to the instrumental ending of Big Bear & the Hour of Chaos, everything blows me away. I don't care that I can't understand a word he's saying, the raw feeling of the album is nothing less than incredible. If you can make my adrenaline jump that high, you've done your job well as a metal band. Perfect 10.

Honorable Mention:
Streetlight Manifesto - Keasbey Nights, Vol. 2

Doug's Top 5 Records of 2006:

5. Good Clean Fun - Between Christian Rock and A Hardplace
This is how melodic hardcore is supposed to be. Loud, fast, catchy and funny are just a few of the words that could be used to describe this album, and all of them would fit. This is one of those bands that will forever refuse to fall in line with whatever subgenre is hip these days and will always stick to their guns. I get the impression that I will never be surprised by what I hear from a Good Clean Fun record.

4. Rocky Votolato - Makers
It had been a while since I'd heard a great "one guy and an acoustic guitar" type record. This is the next great one. This isn't Rocky's first album but it's the first one where his potential really becomes fulfilled. I'm really looking forward to seeing how he follows this one up because it's gonna be hard.

3. Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
One of the few albums I've ever heard where it's the lyrics and not so much the songs that make it great. Brand New has reinvented themselves in between every single album they've released and their albums always challenge the listener. Very few people can honestly say they enjoyed either Deja Entendu or this album on the first listen, but they become great. Keep listening if you gave up on this record you will be rewarded.

2. The Format - Dog Problems
A great example of a band evolving without forgetting why they became popular in the first place. Catchy songs. This band got more mature on this release and this sounds like the album they wished "Interventions and Lullabies" could have been if it weren't for major label interference. The title track might be the song of the year in my opinion, but we'll see I haven't made that list yet.

1. Blackpool Lights - This Town's Disaster
The Get Up Kids were great, everybody knows that, but Jim Suptic's first post-GUK project is better than all but one Get Up Kids album. This album has some of the greatest pop songs I've ever heard. Didn't leave my CD player for at least 4 months and that's good enough for number 1

Honorable Mention:
I discovered the Smoking Popes recently and I would encourage everyone to go find a copy of their 1997 album "Destination Failure". The Popes have recently reunited and I can't wait to hear what they come up with next.

Bert's Top 5 Records of 2006:

5. Saosin - Saosin
4. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II
3. Rory - We're Up to No Good, We're Up to No Good
2. Unearth - III: In The Eyes OF Fire
1. Breaking Benjamin - Phobia

Wes's Top 5 Records of 2006

I'll be completely honest. I spent most of the year listening to music from 2005. There were only a handful of records for 2006 that blew me away and commanded my attention, so I guess this would be them.

5. Taking Back Sunday - Louder Now
I had a difficult time deciding who would take the number 5 spot on my countdown. As you can see, Taking Back Sunday won out. I owe a lot to TBS. As with most people in my age group, they were one of the bands to really expose a lot of listeners to the current scene and I'm so glad they are where they are in their careers. When I first heard their debut, Tell All Your Friends, I was just beginning to write songs and by listening to that record it gave me an idea of how meaningful lyrics could still be over face-melting guitar riffs. When half the band left to form Straylight Run, I really didn't want anything to do with them anymore. The second album Where You Want to Be really kind of dragged and seemed like a band releasing their first record all over again. At one point I read an article on the band in Alternative Press and kind of gained a new found respect for them. There was an interview with Adam Lazarra and he talked about the situation of two band members leaving and how they really did throw together their second record so they wouldn't be dropped by their label. I was very hesitant to even listen to Louder Now but when they released the single "MakeDamnSure" I really felt it was a throwback to their original style and I was welcoming to the new members once I realized that their new singer/guitarist Fred was a heck of a writer. I can listen to this record start to finish without skipping a track. I've never had the pleasure of seeing these guys live, but I have seen a ton of live video on the internet and they are the rockstars for this generation. I hope they're still releasing records in ten years.
Standout tracks include: Liar (It Takes One to Know One) / Twenty Twenty Surgery / Error Operator

4. Action Action - An Army of Shapes Between Wars
I was really looking forward to this record from the second I heard the release date. Action Action is definitely one of those bands that has their own sound. There's really no one who sounds like them, regardless of what Victory Records tells you on their stickers. Sometimes their songs are catchy as hell, other times the songs are just noise, but regardless of what sound they happen to be recording, they do it well. This record was released back in January and the fact that it is still in constant rotation on my iPod speaks volumes of it's quality. I've learned a lot from their music that I would love to incorporate into our own. Plus I'm just a sucker for bands who do cool things with vintage synthesizers. Also, I read that they even built some synths and guitar pedals of their own for use on this album. That's just freakin' sweet. As with both CD's from this band, they flow very well and segue amazingly from song to song with short poppy electronic interludes. Some people don't like Mark Kluepfel's voice, but I find it very haunting which matches the music and lyrical content nicely. People who have reviewed "An Army..." had a blast giving this record a 1 Star review, but I give it a 5. For me, great records bookmark a certain time in your life and whenever you listen to that album you are transported back to exactly where you were when you first listened to it and it brings back all kinds of emotions and memories. This is one CD that will take my mind on quite a trip if I let it. Apparently I'm sentimental after all. Who knew?
Standout tracks include: A Tornado; An Owl / The Game / 120 Ways To Kill You: An Illustrated Children’s Book

3. Inkwell - These Stars Are Monsters
Inkwell rose from the ashes of My Hotel Year, one of the best local and live bands I have had the pleasure of seeing. After they went on one of those Hip in '06 "indefinite hiatus" breaks, this project popped up a few months later with their first disc "Chaos Reveals Rhyme", but "These Stars..." went above and beyond that disc in every way possible. The songs themselves go everywhere but where you expect and you can hear the passion in singer Travis Adam's voice burning in every line of every song. Seeing them live was amazing. I saw them in a tiny little venue and yet felt like I was at an arena rock show. But back to the record, it's awesome to see a band who's not trying to follow any trends, but instead blazing their own sonic path through the local scene. They were quickly picked up by local label 111 Records and soon after, hopped on tour with Mae. There's a reason that they rose to the top so quickly. Listen, and you'll see why. There are definite Death Cab for Cutie comparisons to be made, but the two brains behind Inkwell know how to craft a pop song in true indie rock fashion. You'll go start to finish, not skipping a song, and hit the Play button again once the disc has ended. Inkwell has solidified themselves as the best that Orlando currently has to offer.
Standout tracks include: Just Take the Monkey and Leave / No You Drop It / These Stars Are Monsters

2. +44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating
This dark horse was released in mid-November and solidified itself at the number two spot simply because I listened to it non-stop at work for about 2 weeks straight. Not only did it drive my co-workers crazy, but the songs embedded themselves in my brain and I think it's some of the catchiest songwriting that I heard this year. Every song on this CD with the exception of two could be hit singles. Now THAT'S how you write a record. My only complaint is that it's over too quickly. I told myself that I wouldn't count any records released in November/December in this countdown, but this one is too good not to. Mark Hoppus, you are the man, and this showed me where the real talent was within Blink-182.
As a sidenote: Sorry Mr. Delonge, your Angels & Airwaves record was painful for me to listen to and I would like a refund.
If this is only the first record for +44, then I cannot wait to hear what happens in the future.
Standout tracks include: When Your Heart Stops Beating / Little Death / Make You Smile

1. The Progress - Merit
I don't know what I can say about this band that I haven't already said 8 bazillion times. So I'll say it again. These are some of the nicest and most talented individuals that I have had the privilege of listening to, hanging out with, and sharing the stage with. I picked up this record, hit the play button, and never looked back. I wouldn't dream of skipping a single song on this release as I would only be doing myself a disservice. Once again, my only complaint here is that it's over so quickly. Some songs barely clock in at over two minutes, but they do what they do, and they do it quite well. If I had to choose a record as my "Soundtrack to 2006" then this is it.
The sound quality is impeccable, the call-and-response vocals are spot on, and I think both Mike McNelis and Evan Weiss have very original sounding voices and are easy to listen to. Another major highlight is that the theme for the record is very easily overlooked. You just expect bands nowadays to write about broken hearts and impossible love, but this record is all about friends. I'd give anything to find out the secret to their songwriting, but until I do, I'll just shut up and keep listening. They recommend you listen with headphones.
Standout tracks include: Nightlife: Tornado Alley / Paper And Ink / Merit

Honorable Mention:
My choice for honorable mention is the band Say Anything with their disc a Real Boy. Sometimes in life a record comes into your ears right when you need it most. This record taught me a lot about myself and music in general. I highly recommend giving it a listen if for some odd reason you have not, and please go see them live if you can since they definitely put on the best live show that I saw in 2006. I'd love to tell you some standout tracks from this record, but just listen start to finish and you'll hear them.

That's it for our end of the year round-up. Be sure to check out our individual MySpace pages for additional Top 5's, Top 10's, and general randomness about the year 2006 in music.

It's vacation time for us, but stay tuned as we may have interesting stories from our Holiday destinations.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Return of the ENY

Right, so we played a show this past weekend. Our first show in almost six weeks. Were we a little rusty? Maybe, but we did a ton of practicing over our break and things sounded good. It was one of those nights where the sound was great both on stage and in the crowd. We were the opening act at Back Booth, supporting Auto! Automatic!!, Inkwell, and History.
First off, I have to admit that this show almost didn't happen for us. Doug and JoAnna were both under the weather and JoAnna was slowly getting worse as the day went on. By the time we were loading up the van to head into downtown, she was on her hands and knees in the yard unloading her lunch onto the grass. Sorry JoAnna... hope that's not embarassing for you.

We started off the night around 9:30 to a reasonably packed house. We had planned for nine songs but only managed to squeeze in eight. We made that difficult decision of not playing Girl Like Her. That's always scary not playing that song since it usually is the deciding factor on how many CDs we sell in a night. Somehow we only managed to play three songs from "Sarcasm" and instead decided to focus on jamming out our newer, stronger material. We even debuted a brand new song called The Sick Charade and honestly, it was probably one of the best songs in our set. Even with JoAnna barely able to stand, so made it through the entire set without missing too many beats. She's such a trooper.

Auto! Automatic!!, from Tampa, were up second and played some cool instrumental songs. I'm usually not into that type of thing, but they had song structures that were like normal songs, and you never really noticed that no one ever really sang. I must say that they were really nice dudes. Really nice dudes who love to party, apparently. They had never played the Back Booth before so they were all walking around with big smiles on their faces. Their drummer talked to me forever and updated me on all the cool places to play in Tampa and Ybor. Once we were finished playing he caught me at the bar and was telling me how much we reminded him of Piebald. That was probably the best compliment I received on our music all night.

Inkwell was set to play third and as always, decided to bring 600 different intruments to the stage. They had 2 drum kits, many many guitars, a keyboard and an instrument that may or may not have been a farfisa. They rocked out a great collection of new and old songs and the crowd went nuts. It's always so much fun seeing those guys live. They just get on stage and make noise and the crowd just eats it up.

History played last. What a band. These guys and girls are definitely doing their own thing. They also have a Moog player and a gal playing another synth and manage to stick lots of crazy sounds into their songs without sounding cluttered. They're all very nice people as well and we had blast hanging out with them throughout the night.

Overall, we met a ton of great people and heard a lot of great music. Thankfully JoAnna pulled through and is getting better, and I'm currently the ill one. Thanks to anyone who came out to the show, hopefully we'll be back at Back Booth for their New Year's Eve show and rock the place all over again.

On Saturday we all jump on planes and head our separate ways for the Holidays and then we come back, have less than 24 hours to practice and then get our butts to the next show. Good times all around.

Lastly, my next entry here WILL have our Top 5 end of the year lists. So tune in to see what the members of ENY have been rocking out to as of late.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I almost stepped on her!

Why do things always get so crazy in December?
It's coming down to the end of the year and everyone has ten million things to think about and process within their brains.
Did I get all my holiday shopping done?
Did I forget anyone?
Do I still have time to book a flight to Antarctica... er, Ohio?
How long will I be gone?
Do I want to be gone that long?
How many ENY shirts do I have to take with me?

On top of all that I'm trying to get our show itinerary in place for the new year. As far as that goes, things are going very smoothly. We'll be playing some great shows with a few more to be added to the calendar in the coming days.

Last night we hit the streets of Orlando to promote our show on Saturday. We headed to The Social for the Kiteline CD release show. As we got there, some band with the word "King" in their name was mid-way through their set. We worked the room a bit trying to find both targets of our flyer assault and familiar faces. I saw some guys from Pop.Culture.Clash. and another band I can't remember the name of. Wow, why did I even bother mentioning that?
Orlando favorite Cori Yarckin played second. She's so short that I almost stepped on her as she was making her way to the stage. She's one of those pop girls with a backing band. As far as I could tell she wanted the crowd to focus more on her abs than on her voice.
Between the Trees rocked the house once she had finished and played a really solid set. When we played with them a few months back I was so concerned with talking to people and packing up gear that I only half-watched their set. This time they got my full attention and I was pretty impressed. We got to chat with them after they played and it was a fun little reunion.
Kiteline was up after that and did a half hour or so of tunes from their new EP which came free with admission. I'll get around to checking that out eventually, but I grabbed a copy of the Between the Trees record at the show and I've been spinning that instead.
After that we ran down to Back Booth and unloaded a few flyers and then dragged Doug out of the venue so that we could leave even though there were two more bands to play and it was already midnight. He was bitter and drunk, but we're pretty used to that by now.

Show. Saturday. Soon.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Eastern or European?

I've been waiting for a chance to get back at this thing and I finally found my opportunity. The last week was full of band practices, holiday shopping, and sitting around hitting the Refresh button on our PureVolume page. Speaking of PureVolume, our reign has now ended but I think we picked up a few new fans and got a lot of great feedback. We'll keep an eye on the numbers to see if our promotion campaign was worth it or not.

Also, last week when I was out picking up the new Gwen Stefani record, The Sweet Escape for Amanda (that record is halfway decent. If you were a fan of the first, pick this one up too, but don't expect to be blown away. New No Doubt record, please?) I happened to pick up another record on a whim. I was walking the aisles of Best Buy waiting for something to grab at my attention. Finally something did. So not knowing much about the recording and being familiar with only one song, I grabbed the FBR release The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch by Cute is What We Aim For.
Did I get the title of the record right? I only read it in the store.
Since I've had a few days to digest this album I quickly developed a love/hate relationship with it. First off, their singer has a halfway decent voice and is able to hit a lot of good notes. The music is very simple, but everything is very catchy. Each tune got stuck in my head after I heard it.
HOWEVER.... the reason that I cannot fully appreciate this CD and quote it on my MySpace and AIM Away Messages is because I cannot in any way, shape, or form relate to what is being said in the lyrics. I completely understand why this one was such a hit with the kids, because everything is seemingly written to cater to 16 year old girls. All the songs are about things that I stopped dealing with about 6 years ago. A solid release, perhaps next time they'll have something worthwhile to say. Quite forgettable though, because as soon as I remembered that I had the new Piebald record, that re-took over the assault on my eardrums.

Also, I saw the movie Lucky Number Sleven. I remember this being in theaters but really had no idea what it was about. Amanda and I just kinda went for it (since it was the only movie on the list we were familiar with) and I'm glad I watched it because it's possibly the best movie I saw all year.

Okay, I got all the news out of my system. Tonight the band is heading down to The Social to see Between the Trees and Kiteline play. We'll be handing out flyers for our gig this Saturday, so you might catch us wandering the streets if you happen to be out and about tonight.

Have a great week. I'll say more when I know more.

Top 5's of 2007 coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

PureVolume Power!

Yesterday began our reign of terror on the front page. We actually managed to nab very close to 5,000 plays in our first 24 hours on there. We smoked the rest of the bands holding Promo Spots (with the exception of the Major Label acts) by about 2,500 plays. It was enough to kick us up to #2 on the overall unsigned charts and #1 on the Powerpop and Emo charts. Awesome.
We had done this same promotion technique a year ago and didn't quite recieve the response we had hoped for. We only had our EP available for listen, so this time we decided to send our song Lifeless into battle in order to rock the listener and hopefully get it stuck in their head so they would come back for more. I guess we'll see how everything goes, but we're hoping to widen our fanbase a bit and gauge how people are reacting to some of our newer music.

Also, we've added another show! This one is on January 20th in Gainesville, FL where we'll be opening for our buddy Josh Mccabe at the 1982 Bar. His music project, Along the Sidelines, is releasing a CD and we get to party with them! If you're in the area, stop on by.

Guess that's it for now, keep listening and we'll keep creating.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Killer Show!

Yesterday I recieved some of the best news we've had...well...ever.

Over the last couple Blog entries here I've spoken about our upcoming show on Saturday, December 16th at Back Booth in Orlando, FL.
We finally got the full line up and let me tell you, it's breathtaking.

Not only will we be taking the stage at some point in the evening, but joining us will be Tampa's Auto! Automatic!! and fellow Orlando Moog-rockers History, not to mention 111 Records Artist Inkwell who recently did a tour with the band Mae. This is going to be a killer show and you should not miss it for the world.

Sometimes you just get lucky.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Their misery is my amusement.

Today I'd like to share with you one of the perks of my job.

Often times, in order to get away from staring at a computer I step outside to enjoy the sights. I live in Florida where it's beautiful almost year round, so why not enjoy it?

Right above the office where I work is a therapist that does counseling sessions for couples. Often times I get to see them arrive for their appointments and they never fail to amuse me. The couples show up, meet by the staircase leading to the counselor's office and then proceed to head in for their session. Most times the couples arrive in separate cars and spend five minutes arguing with each other before heading in, sometimes they rendezvous in complete silence. For these moments I am either forced to witness their bouts of anger and get an understanding of just why they need this therapy, but when they are silent I take the liberty of making up my own assumptions about them and their current situation.
If I happen to witness a really good argument, I will make a mental note to be back outside an hour later to witness them post-counseling. I'm sick and twisted like that.

The very first couple I witnessed, Jack and Joan (the names are made up because I don't actually talk to these people), met up and Joan proceeded to yell at Jack at high volumes because the previous night he had gone to a bar after work and arrived home an hour later than usual. This lead Joan to assume that he had hooked up with approximately 18 high school cheerleaders over the course of that hour. Jack was adamant about trying to get her to calm down since they were out in public and I was standing a mere ten feet away, but that only forced Joan to continue her slander to both Jack and everyone else within a five mile radius.
I saw this couple more than anyone else. They eventually stopped showing up. I had to assume that Jack had probably taken his own life from having to deal with her.
And so it goes.

Another couple I witnessed were Rick and Robin (again, these are false names). They were a couple that arrived in silence and left in silence each taking their own vehicle to their own destinations, which I'm guessing were not the same place. This is one of those times where I had to make up a reason for them needing counseling. Since Rick was short and fat with a bad case of hair loss, I assumed that he probably wasn't hooking up with many cheerleaders these days. Robin was several years younger, stern looking, and always dressed like she was going to a funeral. Perhaps in the end, she was. From what I could gather, Robin was middle management at a semi-successful company and was weary from being passed over for every promotion. In her eyes, she would never fully succeed in the "man's world" that is software engineering. She was a feminist who owned sixteen cats and had an insatiable lust for "Cherry Garcia" ice cream. Rick was a narcoleptic hypochondriac with an insatiable lust for Big Mac's. As irony would have it, the trigger for his narcolepsy was cats.
You can just see the drama unfolding in your mind.

Sure, there have been other couples and other stories and I really wish that I had time to tell you about Sarah the vegetarian and Seth the butcher. They were a good couple.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I used a lot of quotation marks.

I wonder if it bothers anyone that I change the look of this blog every few days.
I wonder if anyone who is not in Early Next Year reads this.
A guy can dream.
Regardless, I will continue to vomit randomness and useless facts onto this until someone changes the password, preventing me access.

Now that I've had over 24 hours to digest the Piebald record "Accidental Gentlemen" I will go so far as to say that it is more enjoyable, accessible, and catchier than Brand New's "Devil & God..."
Yes, I totally went there.
Congratulations Piebald, there are a whole bunch of standout tracks on this disc and the little ditty entitled "Oh, the Congestion" might just be their best song since "American Hearts." were this record released in 2006, it would go right to my Top 5 albums of the year.
Speaking of the Top 5 lists. They are coming soon. Very soon.

I really wish I had subtance here. Maybe one day I'll get all deep and talk about depressing things and post black and white photography. Until then I will continue to write about insignificant things and make fun of Doug's mother.'

Yeah, that'll work.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I used a lot of hypens.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd we're back!
Well, everyone but Bert is back. He comes in just in time for a Tuesday evening ENY rock-a-thon. That was my fancy way of saying band practice. I had a great mini-vacation in Port St. Joe, FL with Amanda. The little town is located up on the panhandle near Panama City. We spent Thanksgiving eating way too much and spent the rest of the time in the middle of nowhere being generally lazy. The beach was a convenient two blocks away, so Thanksgiving afternoon my toes were in the sand, and the sun in my eyes. It was a lot of fun, but now I'm back to reality where I have to work to make money in order to pay gobs and gobs of superfluous bills. A six hour drive there and then a 7.5 hour drive back since we had to ditch I-75 and take the backroads home from Ocala. Why do I always end up lost in Ocala? It's a curse.

Upon returning to Orlando, Doug gave me the best Christmas present a guy could ask for. Somehow he got his hands on the new Piebald record called Accidental Gentlemen which isn't due out til mid January. What a guy! I've been spinning that pretty non-stop and I'm really enjoying the new songs. They took what was great about We Are the Only Friends We Have and All Ears, All Eyes, All the Time and smooshed them together into one big super-album. Not a lot of slow stuff, everything is pretty upbeat and catchy and they even brought the piano back for a few tunes and they are some of the stand out tracks on the record. So pick that up when it gets released. Or be really nice to Doug or Myself and maybe we'll hook you up with an illegal copy. Sorry mom, I broke the law by accepting stolen music. I'm such a bad son.

Onward and upward...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brand new Brand New.

Yesterday was an action packed day of working 8 hours and then moving for 2 and emptying bins/bags/boxes for an additional 3. My arms feel like jelly. Maybe I'll develop some muscle. Although, that's probably about as likely to happen as Jimmy Walker becoming the next American Idol.
On the bright side of things, before jumping in the van and starting the moving process I opened the mail box to be face to face with the brand new Brand New record. Bert and I spun that in Van Diesel but mostly talked over it. Good background noise. I've listened to it all day at work today, and I thought I would take the time to review it here just in case you were thinking of picking it up.

Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
It took me a while to get into BN's first record Your Favorite Weapon. After a while I thought it was amazing. It took me a few months to get into their second major release Deja Entendu. Once I did, I thought it was absolutely phenomenal. After hearing the original demos for their new record and seeing them live just weeks before it was released, my expectations were quite high.
For right now, I can only hope that this record will eventually grow on me and change my life because as for right now I can sum up the record with one word: Eh.
I'm not going to tout this release as the greatest thing since sliced bread because in all honesty, aside from the tracks Sowing Season, Millstone, Degausser, and Archers, everything kind of drones on and seems like one song all the way through.
By all means, pick this record up. I'm sure that I will feel differently about this record in a few weeks, but for right now, I'm gonna listen to Deja.
3.5 Stars out of 5

Only a few more hours of work and then I can go eat some homecooked food and answer to no one.

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's a cold, cold world.

Doug is off to Ohio. Bert is soon to follow.

I spent my weekend helping Amanda pack for a big move across town. Actually, I was more of a supervisor in that I watched her pack while standing around making snarky comments. It's what I do. Tonight is the actual moving process.
What is up with this weather? It's FREEZING!
Florida has ruined me. I spent 19 years living in Ohio where cold was 20 degrees below zero. Now it gets to be 60 degrees out and I shiver like a lap dog. It's 59 out right now. Ridiculous. Enough weather jibba-jabba.
That was a Mr. T reference.
Generation gap?

I got to play the Nintendo Wii last night as our house-friend Jeremy managed to snag one and it was immediately plugged into Bert's big screen TV. So he, JoAnna, Bert, Amanda, and myself spent some quality time trying to Box, Bowl, and play baseball by waving our arms around like maniacs.

I've still been listening to and heavily enjoying the +44 record. I wish it were a little longer. Seems like it's over just as it begins.

We have an official "comeback" show on Saturday, December 16th at Back Booth in Orlando. As per our new policy, we were only going to take shows that matter during our hiatus. This one matters. We get to play with our friends in the band History. If you are not familiar with them, please research immediately. They have a Moog player as well. Hopefully he'll be starstruck when he sees the Little Phatty hit the stage. Of course, I'm starstruck when I see him rocking the Opus-3. Alright, enough geek talk.

I wrote a new song in my head today. I'll probably have to wait until next week to record a demo of it, but I think it's going to be a real interesting combination of music styles. I've had a lot of weird music ideas lately, so I've just decided to go for it and see how it sounds. You may or may not hear it one day.

I'm in town for another day and a half, so expect to see more droning about nothing.


Friday, November 17, 2006

This is a thing of beauty...

What are you looking at in this picture?
You are looking at Moog Music's warehouse where the FINAL 35 Little Phatty Tribute Editions have just come off the assembly line.

That's it. No more of these are being made.

Do you hear that? That noise?
That's the sound of my investment climbing in price.
I'm such an elitist.

As you were.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Psh. Like you could do it any better....

I go through these phases where I completely forget that the ENY blog exists. Big apologies and big thanks to Doug for keeping the scene alive!.... or something like that.

We've got plans. Big plans.
If all goes according to plan then you, the listener of all things ENY, will be getting a special treat. But we're awesome at making empty promises, so hate on me if this all falls through.
Since almost everyone will be out of town next week for the holidays, we're squeezing in practices whenever possible trying to shake off the rust and get these new songs up and running.
So far things are sounding pretty good. Instrumentation is almost squared away and then we begin the task of getting the vocals oh so perfect. This becomes difficult when you're not a good singer to begin with and then have to vocalize over instrumental lines that do not in any way, shape, or form go along with the beat to which you're singing. That's my beef anyway. Makes things interesting at least.

What else is happening?
Nothing of note, really.

Anyone checked out the new +44 record When Your Heart Stops Beating?
I've been iSpinning it for the last couple days. I have to look at it as a new Blink 182 record since it's the closest thing we're gonna get at this point. It's quite solid, very catchy, very surprising, and kicks the crap out of Angels and Airwaves which was possibly the biggest disappointment of 2006.
As Doug mentioned below, we'll be sure to share with you our Top 5 Albums of 2006, probably the second or third week of December. We have a lot to think about and he and I have already discussed how insanely difficult this task will be.

Moral of the story? Pick up the +44 album and enjoy it thoroughly.
Also, be sure to pick up Brand New's The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me next Tuesday. I'm hoping to a higher power that my pre-order will make it here before I leave town.
I was able to catch Brand New when they came through Orlando last week. Amanda and I went to see them at the UCF Arena. So did about 10,000 other people. We got to see the band jam out a few songs, mostly new stuff, and then hit the road before Dashboard Confessional took the stage because honestly, who gives a crap about them?
Bert and Doug got to see them at a headlining show show in Jacksonville the next day. Go check them out if/when you get the opportunity.

Why do I always walk around with so much loose change in my pocket?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More of the same

Hey everybody. It's still a slow time for Early Next Year but we don't want any rumors of our demise spreading around so we'll try to keep this thing updated every few days. We are planning a couple practices this week to keep ourselves sharp on the old material and further hone our skills at playing the new stuff. This has been said before but we are all really excited about the new songs and feel they are a giant step forward, so we can't wait to play them for you as much as we know you can't wait to hear them. It's getting to be that time of the year where there seems to be a new holiday every 3 days so the 4 of us will be in and out of Florida over the next few weeks eating a ton of food, spending time with our families, and at least in the case of myself, Bert and Wes, freezing our asses off. We have declared that 2007 will be the year of ENY so please help us make it that way and join in the celebration. Until then here's some music that you should all listen to to help pass the time until we give you some new tunes.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (yes, seriously)
Heavens - Patent Pending
Foo Fighters - Skin and Bones
Latterman - ....We Are Still Alive
Me First and The Gimme Gimmes - Love Their Country

Enjoy those and we'll see you all Early Next Year (pun definitely intended)


P.S. It's almost time for our annual year ending Top 5 albums lists, and it's been a great year for music so it's gonna be REALLY hard to do that.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I wish I could leave this blank.

Here's the part where I fill you in on all the exciting stuff that happened over the last 4 days.

This concludes my journal entry.

Joking. I felt like after that last deep entry I wrote, I needed some humor on here.
Last night Doug and I took a look back at some of the demos we did in the studio and re-recorded a few guitar parts for Lifeless and Something That I Miss. Everything is sounding pretty rad. Over the weekend I think we'll be re-recording some bass lines and then hopefully mixing a few of these tracks for our own personal use. Mostly so we can listen to them on our iPods while no one else can. Muahaha!
They're good. We sound like we know what we're doing. I guess playing the songs for a year doesn't hurt either. After recording, I headed over to Amanda's place where we watched the movie Hard Candy. It was bizarre. Watch it if you're into really really REALLY messed up movies. It was almost like a second cousin to the Saw movies.
Bert bought a massive TV a couple of days ago. It's freakin' huge. Maybe he'll start locking the front door now. Oh, snap.

Keep an eye and ear out for some newer demos. Full band stuff. None of that Wes-plays-everything-over-crappy-sequenced-drums stuff. I'm telling you, we're gonna blow some minds. And if we don't blow minds, maybe we'll at least get a new fan or two.

My world of music has been interesting as of late. I've found lots of inspiration in the following albums which have been digitally spun on my iPod in recent days...
Action Action - Don't Cut Your Fabric to This Years Fashion
Moth - Provisions, Fiction, & Gear
The Progress - Merit

Speaking of The Progress, they have some interesting side projects going on lately. Check out both Emergency! and Relief.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Time to Face the Music

I started writing this blog on July 11, 2006. I feel that I'm finally ready to post it.

I look at our debut EP "Sarcasm Is Your Friend" as a generic poppy, punky, immature stroll through adolescence, experimentation, and pure luck. I had never written a CD before. I just wrote songs. I never knew what it meant to write an album. I had no idea what I was doing. Most days I still don't, however I feel like that's been changing over the last few months. I went through a period of time where I was really pressured to write new music and have it be a certain length in a certain style, with certain instrumentation and certain melodies. This pressure wasn't from any outside sources, it was all coming from myself.

Nothing's certain in music.
I'll probably say that 100 times throughout this rant.

I have a complete understanding for why bands will release Sophomore records that their fans hate. As songwriters we figure out what we like, what we don't like, have ideas on what we'd like to try, what works, and what doesn't work.
Sometimes I want a challege, other times I know what's safe to write and I don't get in over my head. In the end, I'm writing music that I want to listen to. I don't write it for you, I write it for myself, and if you happen to dig a song here and there, then bravo. That makes me feel good about what we do and gives us some purpose.

Maybe no one will like it. Some days, that's how it looks.
Nothing is certain in music.

For a long time I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish with our next CD. Our first full length. Our first album. I've become so sick and tired of hearing records that sound exactly the same the entire way through, and I'm sick to death of listening to CD's where the songs don't have any kind of collective feel to them.
I've listened to a lot of styles of music in the past year and a half, tried a lot of new things, some which worked, others which tanked, but I feel better about what I can and cannot tackle musically.

I decided very quickly after "Sarcasm" was released that I wanted our full length to be very cohesive. I want it to have hooks and melodies you cannot get out of your head. I want it to have tracks that you'll skip over but mean the more to me persoanlly than they ever could to you.
I want it to sound more mature.
I want to write about real things.
Real people.
Real events.
I want it to be real.
I don't want to sugarcoat anything anymore.

I feel as though my writing slowed down simply because I was afraid to say what I wanted to. I don't want to offend anyone with the music. Especially people that I know. I feel as though my songs represent a moment in time and not how I feel all day every day. A song is like a picture. You look at it, get some sort of vibe and that memory comes back to you. It's like an audio photograph. Or this blog. Much the same. Just because I hated someone for a 24 hour period and wrote a song about it doesn't mean that person should be offended when they hear that song months later.
I felt like if everyone would just assure me that nothing I say would get to them, we'd be three albums deep at this point. Instead I use metaphors. Metaphors with a catchy guitar riff behind them. Everyone wins.

I once even had delusions over writing a whole concept record. I love them. I think that when done well, they are the best pieces of music. Music usually tells a story. It's insanely hard to tell a coherent story over 11 or 12 tracks, so I always give kudos to bands who manage to pull it off. Green Day, Say Anything, Armor For Sleep, and even The Early November who just recently released a massive 3 disc concept album. Bravo to them all. I tried to gear my writing towards this for the longest time, but I don't think I'm ready to tackle it, so instead I'm sticking with the theme album idea.

I have a vision. The rest of the band is cool enough to baby me and deal with my little tantrums and occasional music-nazi attitude. I don't know if they see and support what I'm trying to accomplish, or if they just deal with it and trashtalk me when I'm not around, but it's cool that they appear to be supportive of this vision of mine and give me the time I need to create it. Never do they say "Hey Wes, how come you haven't written a new song yet?"
It took me 11 months to complete 3 songs and I ended up writing the bulk of them in 5 days. Pressure apparently brings out both the best and worst in me.

For a while there I thought that maybe the well ran dry.
Now I feel like the well is backed up and overflowing into my neighbor's yard. And they're pissed.
See? I just used the well as a metaphor from the mystical place that I draw my lyrics and melodies from. I would name that place if I could. It could be a planet or something. I think it's more of a black hole. Ever try to walk around all day with a melody in your head just waiting to get home so you could play it on the guitar and then when you get to your house you have forgotten the melody? Happens all the time. That's why the "Voice Memo" function on my cell phone is jam packed with snippets of my humming, singing, and reciting various lyrics and melodies that I am desperate not to let slip away.

It's gotten to the point lately where I'm really starting to feel like I've centered myself with certain ideas that I'd like to accomplish. I have songs in mind that I know my bandmates will hear for the first time and laugh because they'll think it's a joke. I want it to be a CD that I'm proud of. That the band is proud of. I want to release a record that I look back on and love. I'll be completely honest here... I can't even listen to "Sarcasm" anymore and really don't have much desire to play more than two or three of those songs live. I've grown. I've moved on. I think all artists feel that way. You love it when it's fresh and new, but here I am now, 22 years old still singing the same old songs about stuff that was relevant to my life when I was 18 or 19. I need to talk about where I am now. What's happening now. How I feel now.

Were this blog posting a movie, this next part would be a flashback.
Of course, were this a movie, the plot development would probably be way quicker and the characters more interesting.
Oh, and I would be played by John Cusack.

I recently took a week long vacation off of work. It was getting to the point where I had so many music ideas in my head and little time to get them out that I thought I was going to explode. So during this week off, I hunkered down in my bedroom and recorded three new songs onto my computer. I recorded these songs as if I were in a multi-million dollar recording studio. I used all sorts of crazy effects and other bells and whistles that will never happen in a live setting, but again, I wrote the songs that I wanted to hear. I'm so proud and happy about how they turned out and it makes me excited to one day hear the finished product if/when it gets recorded in a real studio. Nothing is certain in music.

End flashback.

As things stand right now I feel that we have six really SOLID newer songs that I would be proud to put onto a record. Obviously six songs isn't enough for a full length release, but I'm confident that I can pump out an additional five or six others before the end of the year. When I played the 3 newest demos for my bandmates, they met the songs with a positive outlook and I know since then that JoAnna has been working on making the drums beats awesome, Doug has had some of the tracks on constant repeat to absorb them, and Bert has added his own style of flair to bring you some wicked basslines. I work with good people. There's definitely an advantage to living with your bandmates. You get to create music with your best friends and everyone gets to play an instrument they love to create songs that they also love. It's an amazing thing.

We've had several different opportunities pop up lately and have quite a few ideas on where we'd want to record an album, and who we might want to record it with, but due to the fact that currently we don't bring in a lot of cash means that we have absolutely no budget for recording at this time. We are lucky enough to have access to recording studios here and there and will be recording and re-recording demos as much as possible to make sure that these songs are exactly where we want them to be.
We hope to get these demos into people's ears who might be able to help us out with getting our record recorded and released, but in this industry, there is no certainty. All of our newer demos will be held tightly under wraps and if they leak then chances are I will scrap them and write new material to replace it. There will already be songs on our next record that people have been hearing live for almost a year. That's cool. If you know three of the songs already, then you've gotten a taste of where we're headed, but I want the rest to be a surprise and blow your mind.
But then again, nothing is certain in music.

We hope 2007 to be our year. Help us make it that way.

Ding Ding Dingy-Ding.

Saturday was our last show.
For a while anyway.
November and December are host to a bunch of holidays and since we will have bandmembers in and out of town for them we have decided to take the final two months of 2006 to hunker down and finish up our new record. I say all of this very loosely. We'll be practicing 2-3 times a week in our kitchen getting these newer songs ready for public consumption. We've been working on the newest 3 for a while, but we're trying to get them to where we feel like they are second nature. We've been playing songs from Sarcasm for almost 3 years now and they've all become embedded in our brains, so we want the new tunes to be just as solid.

I say that we're taking a break from shows, but this isn't entirely true... we're going to take any good offers that come our way and will mainly be focusing on getting the word of ENY out there both locally and nationally. We need to build some hype if we're gonna release a new record, so we have to build up some steam.

That's really all I have to say about things at the moment. Big thanks to the Ocala kids who came out and supported us on Saturday with our friends Along the Sidelines and Pop.Culture.Clash. Hopefully everyone had a good time and we'll see you again in the near future. Also a big thanks to everyone who picked up one of our newest shirts. Sport them well.

My minds kind of all over the place, so I'm gonna end this now before I get in over my head.

A more coherent blog to come, I promise.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Hey everyone!
We have some new shirts that are now available for purchase at shows and online at the Early Next Year Webstore.

Check them out and be sure to let us know what you think!

Both designs are $10 and come in sizes Youth Large, Small, Medium, Large, and XL!

Trailing Stars Tee

Berries and Cream Tee

Tonight we head up to Ocala to try to sell the majority of these shirts. Should be a great time.

Also, turns out that my sister is 27. My bad.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Studio Wrap Up.

We just finished night number 2 at the studio. Since we got most of the instrumentation out of the way last night, we were all about the vocals, Moog, and weird noises for this session.

I may post one of the tunes on MySpace if it still sounds good in the morning, so keep an eye and ear out for that.

Below are a few random pics taken at the studio by one of the engineers.

Here's me thinking about a new Moog part for a song:

Actually, that's a lie, I was just kind of sitting there looking for something to do.

Instead, here's me recording that new Moog line on the Little Phatty with Bert and JoAnna cheering me on. Don't they look excited?

That was true.

We're quite photogenic. In poor lighting.
Pictures are always fun though. Sometimes words just don't do life justice.

Ocala show on Saturday.
We might have new shirts by then.
They will blow your mind.

Also, a very big Happy Birthday to my sister who turns 26 today. I think.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From the director of "Seven"

Last Friday I went to see Saw 3 with Doug and Amanda. It was grand. If you were a fan of the first two, then please go see this one. It will answer most of your questions, thrill you with a nail-biting storyline, and even open up a whole new set of questions that will likely go unanswered.

On Saturday we played a show at a tiny bar in downtown Orlando called Central Station. Aside from Doug blowing out his amp twice during the set we played quite well and since we don't pull a crowd in Orlando, we were fortunate enough to have a Pub Crawl come through just as we took the stage, so we had lots of costumed folks dancing around us while we played. Once we finished, they all left. Sorry second band. I was sick all Friday night so I wasn't really feeling up to sticking around for the rest of the show, so once we collected our money we were out like shout.

We spent our Halloween evening in the studio where we tracked drums, bass, guitars, and synth for some updated demos of Send A Letter and The Extra Twenty tonight we go back to do vocals. Hopefully we'll have something we can toss up onto MySpace in the coming days.
It always amazes me how different a live show versus the studio are. Completely different animals. When we're playing live we're there to have a blast and just rock out, but once we're in the studio paying attention to every little detail of each song it makes you realize that maybe one song is amazingly tight, but you also start to hear little things that sound bad that you never really heard before. It's awesome that we have access to some great studios and we can get in there once every few months to see how we're progressing.
Hearing yourself play like crap is definitely the best way to tighten up as a band and force yourself to become better.
Hopefully next time we get some studio time we'll be able to record some of our new jams. I'm looking forward to seeing how those turn out once they're recorded as a full band.

More on this as it develops.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We aren't that scary but these movies are.

So I'm told it's Halloween, and as you all know that's the best time of year to scare the crap out of yourself, and with my self appointed title of "Biggest horror movie fan in Early Next Year". I thought I'd use this day to recommend a few good horror movies for you to check out tonight and really whenever you wanna feel uncomfortable for an hour and a half. Some of these you've probably seen and some of them maybe you haven't, but they are all worthy because I said so.

1. High Tension - This one came out of France a couple years back and ended up doing really well enough to warrant an American release (and it must have done AMAZING over there for Americans to release something from France, but that's another blog entirely) and I'm glad they did cause I might have missed out on it otherwise. Anyway all the elements for a great horror movie are here. Slowly rising suspense that builds to the boiling point by the climax of the movie. Fantastic gore, special effects make up, and a twist ending that would make M. Night Shyamalan realize that it's just time to give up (seriously dude, you made 2 and a half good movies hang it up). So this one tops my list for this year.

2. Audition - The director of this film, Takashi Miike(whose work was considered so extreme that Showtime refused to air his installment into their Masters of Horror anthology) has been been unfortunately omitted from the flood of Asian horror to make it's way to America in the past 4 or 5 years since "The Ring" came out and made people think it was OK to make horror movies that were rated PG-13. Not that I didn't enjoy "The Ring",I did, but the movie itself better be damn good to cut gore in favor of tickets sold at the box office to 14 year olds looking for a way to spend their paper route money. Alright enough with that rant and back to the business at hand. Takashi Miike's "Audition", this is the most uncomfortable a movie has ever made me feel. If you'd like to see where Eli Roth got the inspiration to make "Hostel", look no further than "Audition", and prepare to cringe during the final act. This is probably the most famous of Miike's films but a very honorable mention also goes to his "Ichii The Killer".

3. Halloween - King of all the slasher movies, the title is Halloween, and there isn't much scarier than a mental patient with a butchers knife in a William Shatner mask. Need I say more?

On a side note the original Halloween is playing in certain theatres tonight (Oct. 31st). If you have one of these screenings in your area please do me a favor and go see it for me. Early Next Year is going to be in the studio tonight, thus rendering me unable to be there.

4. Dead End - Who says direct to DVD movies all suck? Well, normally I would and this one is definitely the exception to the rule, and it's fantastic. Here's a quick synopsis. A family is driving to grandma's house for the holidays when Dad decides to take one of his famous "shortcuts". The family ends up on a road that never ends, and strange stuff starts happening. A good portion of this movie is set inside the car which really gives sort of a claustrophobic mood to the whole thing. Scary stuff. Rent it wherever you do that sort of thing.

5. Alkaline Trio: Halloween Live at the Metro - Ok this DVD really isn't scary at all, but this is the Trio at their best in their hometown. This was filmed on Halloween of 2002 I believe so all the songs are predate the band's two most recent albums "Good Mourning" and "Crimson". So if you've gotten into the Trio more recently pick up this DVD and brush up on their early material. Great B-sides and rarities are peppered into the setlist some highlights include "Hell Yes", "Queen of Pain", "My Friend Peter", and "Private Eye". I wish they would have done "Enjoy Your Day", but that just wouldn't be appropriate for a Halloween release now would it? If you are asking yourself right now if I'm aware that I'm typing over the head of anyone who isn't an obsessed Alkaline Trio fan like myself, the answer is yes I'm aware of that, and no I don't care.

So there you have it. Five DVD's that will make for a bone chilling and face rocking Halloween. If you start finding them and watching them right now you should just be able to finish up before the clock strikes midnight.

Happy Halloween everybody!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This calls for a suckerpunch.

I hate Martha Stewart. I've said time and time again that she's the only woman on planet Earth that I would punch. Maybe it's her deep voice, overly-masculine vibe, or the fact that she's famous for doing arts and crafts on TV so that lazy, obese people can sit around watching her do arts and crafts.
She did go to jail though. Funny stuff.

THIS JUST IN: I've just added someone new to the list of women I would punch.

Now, before I begin, I do realize that this blog is going to make me very unpopular with most of the universe. Punching women is not funny, and I would never actually do it, but I think it's so funny to talk about in this scenerio that I have no qualms about putting it out there. I was raised on good morals and won't ever be accused of domestic violence. (end legal red tape here)

First, allow me to introduce some interesting backstory in order to make my final punchline even funnier...

This story takes place in my car.

I've always had this thing about turning right during a red light. In most cases, it is completely legal to do so, and in Orlando it could totally get you killed, so when this situation arises I prefer to look at the situation and proceed with caution. If I do not feel safe turning right while the light is red, I will not.
For some reason though, people will waste no time in honking at you if they see the area as clear even though they are six cars back. Do not force me to go when I am not ready. I will make poor judgments and harm myself or others. Wow, it's almost like I'm a good driver, right?
A few days ago I was introduced to a new experience that I found to be equally annoying to the situation I just described. I was sitting in my tan 1994 Geo Prizm (AKA - The Broke White Boy Car) waiting in the left turn lane. While I waited, I did what I always do and gazed into my rear-view mirror in an attempt to spy on the person behind me and possibly catch them doing something silly. The woman behind me looked to be middle-aged and was perched behind the wheel of a blue Dodge Caravan. Come to think of it, she kind of looked like a soccer mom. And not the good kind of soccer mom. The kind where she's on the sidelines yelling at her child and punching out referees who make poor calls that she doesn't agree with.
I refocused on the the road, wondering why the light had not turned.

Now, once in a while with lights in Orlando, they take a while to turn green and sometimes your mind goes other places while you're waiting. If you're first in line at a light, you had better not drift off because you have about 10 people behind you just waiting to be somewhere very very important and they will honk if it takes you more than 15 seconds to begin moving. When I'm first in line at a turn light I become completely paranoid of this occuring so I focus on the light. I become one with the light. I know that as soon as I see green, I'm going for it!

At this particular light, I was first in line. FInally, after what seems like months the light turns green and I move my foot to the gas pedal. Keep in mind this light has not been green for more than a 3 seconds. Suddenly, from behind me, the soccer mom begins to lay on her horn. I glance into my rear-view mirror and watch in horror as she slams on her horn repeatedly while foaming at the mouth. Actually, she wasn't foaming at the mouth. When I say "foaming at the mouth" I really mean "being a complete bitch."

So what do I do?
I don't go anywhere.
The honking gets louder and I... well, I just don't care.
She may as well have been honking while the light was still red.
So, to the lady in the blue Dodge Caravan: Screw you.

If I see you again, I'll probably punch you.
You couldn't wait 5 seconds for me to put my foot on the gas.
You gave me 3 seconds.
And now I hate you.

Enjoy your kids soccer game. I hope his team loses tonight.

Monday, October 23, 2006

MeWithoutYou is not fun live.

It takes a lot to drag me out to a show that's not ENY related.

These are my 3 stipulations for going and paying for a show:
1. There has to be at least 2 bands on the bill that I know that I will like.
2. It has to be at a good venue.
3. The door charge cannot be higher than my expectations.

On Saturday there was a show that I actually went to. A show off mass proportions that I had been eagerly anticipating since the moment tickets went on sale.
The entire band ventured out to House of Blues to partake in a show consisting of the bands Days Away, Piebald, MeWithoutYou, & Say Anything.

Sure, I was really only there to see Piebald and Say Anything, but I figured I'd give the other bands a chance. I'd never heard of Days Away and found them to be very forgettable. They played a quick 20 minute or so set and took off so that Piebald could play and so that Wes would be happy.

Piebald was up second but only had 30 minutes to control the stage because MeWithoutYou was coming up after them to put everyone to sleep. I'd never seen Piebald live before so this was a fun experience for me. They had fantastic energy and sounded really solid. A good mix of old and new songs, drawing mostly from "We Are the Only Friends..." and "All Ears, All Eyes...." they even tossed in "Grace Kelly With Wings" and their newest tune "Getting Mugged and Loving it."
They pretty much played everything I expected and it was a great time. They also had the best merch of the night. Myself, Doug, and JoAnna all walked away with something from their table. They need to come back to FL more often. Glad that they made it onto this tour. They deserve big things.

MeWithoutYou was up next and made noise. I don't get the band or their music and I was a little ticked that they got to play longer than the 'Bald. I spent the majority of their set outside with Doug making fun of them. I'm such a terrible person. Actually, no I'm not. How can I be expected to tolerate nine minute long songs with each consisting of a drum circle midway through each tune? Ugh.

Say Anything was the obvious headliner and played for nearly an hour and a half. They managed to play every single song I've ever heard by them with the exception of about two. It was awesome. The band was super tight and barely missed a note. The crowd was rowdy and almost everyone was singing along with each word. I didn't realize just how popular that band was. Crazy that they released their record 2 years ago and are just now picking up some steam. It gives me hope that it can happen to other bands, not to mention us.

I left a happy camper. Then we got back to the house and the gunshots started... but that's a story for another time.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I'm Having a Candy Dinner!

I'll admit, I really like the fall season. Not because of the cooler weather or the sights of Pumpkin sellers on every street corner but because of the massive surplus of candy that seems to be everywhere I go.
Let me tell you, candy has gotten way cooler since I was a kid and I intend to sample anything and everything I see. There's nothing more perfect than a bite-sized 3 Musketeers bar. Mmmmm.

Halloween is on a Tuesday this year. That's kind of lame. The people who invented the calendar and the holiday should have teamed up to ensure that all national holidays occur on weekends. Except for Columbus Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, President's Day, and generally any other day that actually gets me a day off of work. Those need to stay put.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas should always be Saturday Holidays.
Back me up people! We can start a revolution!

We'll be spending our Halloween evening in the recording studio laying down some tracks and re-recording some songs. New demos are currently high on the priority list, so we'll see what we can rig up.
Intense practices starting soon.

Blah blah blah. Go eat some candy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

One more record to check out.

Didn't get this one in yesterday but I've had it on repeat all morning.

Circa Survive - Juturna

I think I might be late to the party on this one but it's fantastic.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Listen... to these CD's.

Here are some recommendations for ear candy directly from 3/4ths of the band:

1. Emery - The Weak's End
2. Tourmaline - Strange Distress Calls
3. Blindside - Silence

1. Sugarcult - Lights Out
2. OutKast - Idlewild
3. Say Anything - a Real Boy (yeah, for the 100th time)

1. Hit The Lights - This Is A Stick Up....Don't Make It A Murder
2. Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - Love Their Country
3. Bayside - Sirens And Condolences

That's it. Short and sweet. Go listen.
More news when there is news.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Recording Wrap-up

I almost didn't write this blog due to inner turmoil over whether or not the title of this blog was correct. I couldn't remember what to do when you combine the words "Wrap" and "Up" together to form a word. It didn't look right smooshed together and I didn't like keeping it separate so I instead chose to go with the hypen there in the middle.
Okay. Moving on...

My 5 day recording binge was a complete success. I completed the writing and recording of three new jams. Plan B, Say Hello, and The Sick Charade are being heavily guarded in hopes that they won't be leaked out so we can have songs for an eventually album that you haven't heard for a year beforehand. I think at this point the song count is up to 8 as far as new tracks go. We're close to having a complete record. Woot. Everyone was receptive and seemed to like what they heard. Good thing too. If they hadn't liked it, heads would have rolled. Well, maybe not that, but a lot of time and effort went into them.

So somehow this bit of news slipped my mind and I figured better late than never, right?

A few weeks ago we went into the studio for 2 nights recorded some updated demos of Lifeless and Something That I Miss. They were a bit rushed, but we wanted to see where we stood as far as how well rehearsed the new songs were. Sounding good.

So lots of good news overall in the ENY camp. New shirts will soon be a reality so everyone who was deathly offended by the black shirt design will be able to rest easy.

If you don't care about non-ENY related things, this would be a great place to stop reading.

Other Ramblings:
During a free trial of NetFlix I watched a lot of movies. Here's what I saw that was new to me:

Highways: At least, I think that's what it was called. It starred Jared Leto and Jake Gylenhall. Or however you spell it. Anyway - good flick. It made you feel like you were on some drugs while watching it. It was one of THOSE movies. But good. Check it out. Older film.

Everything is Illuminated: Starring Elijah Wood and some other guy I vaguely recognized. It was about Jews and collecting random things. I didn't get it and don't have any real desire to do so again.

X-Men 3: Lots of action, lots of killing major characters. They were killing mutants as fast as they were introducing them. Better than the last. Director Bret Radner is still a tool.

Underworld Evolution: Did you see the first Underworld? It was pretty much the same. Vampire Girl and Werewolf-Vamp love child Guy run from the bad guys. Oh, and then I feel asleep.

To everyone who came out to see us in Daytona Beach. Um... thanks. And sorry. Again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

2.5 in the bag.

Bloggers and Bloggettes....

I bring news. News I should have reported long ago, but didn't. My bad.

First. We lost the Bamboozle Contest. Big surprise right? Turns out didn't actually send judges to the shows, so they based the winners off of who brought the most amount of people to the show. I feel bad for the band who came from Jacksonville who brought five friends. Although, I think that's more people than we brought so whatever.

Second. We're not going to be on the "Rocking Idol" show anymore. We got bumped due to lack of space on the bill. We won't be making our television debut anytime soon.

Wow, that was all bad news, eh?
Guess I'll balance that out by letting you know that I officially finished 2 new songs this week with a third close behind. The new tunes are "Plan B" and "Say Hello" and the new one is yet to be named, but I bet it will be something really simple and not incredibly long and having nothing to do with the song's actually message or meaning. I even have half of a fourth song recorded but have little direction on where I want it to go or how I want it to sound. I was attempting to write as I went and realized it doesn't work for me too well. Live and learn.

So 3 new songs in the bag? Looks that way. Soon enough anyway. I'll try to finish up the untitled gem tomorrow. Just needs vocals and some guitar elements. They're all stuck in my head. That's gotta be a good sign.

Tomorrow I believe we're playing a show in Daytona Beach. I'll be honest... I've been so busy recording that I've really done absolutely no promotion for this show. I usually hit the MySpace hard and let everyone know, but I didn't do that. My bad again. There's three other people in this band. Maybe one of them did something. No clue.

Time to wrap this up as I have places to go, people to see and music swirling around in my head.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I'll admit. I totally forgot about this thing.
Perhaps it's because my mind has been other place. Perhaps I wasn't in the blogging mood. Or perhaps the mafia threatened me to not blog if I cared about the lives of my friends and family. Actually it's just because I've been on vacation all week!

What am I doing for my vacation?
I'm locked away in my bedroom writing songs, editing video, and recording demos.
It's been a blast. It's been my goal to record 3 new demos for the week. 4 if I get super ambitious. Although, spending two hours writing the Moog parts for one of the tunes really killed my productivity.
So far I've completely recorded one new tune I'm calling "Plan B" and have half-recorded another tune I'm tentatively calling "Say Hello."
That has drums and guitars recorded, just waiting on the vocals, bass, and moog polish to be complete.
I'm going to try to build one song pretty much from scratch and another tune just needs a bridge to be ready for the record button.

More on this as it develops. Chances are these demos won't be posted anywhere, but you just might hear the tunes live sooner or later. Who knows.

I'm off to demo. Again.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Why Not?

Thought I'd just give a quick rundown of the Bamboozle Left Break Contest show that we played on Wednesday at The Social.

In 3 words or less?
It was awesome!

We arrived at the venue at 6pm, an hour before the doors opened. As we hopped out of the van, the promoter was quick to let us know that we were late. Ouch. We hate being late. Once we loaded in our gear we found out that the only other band that had arrived and loaded was Between the Trees. They were set to play last, and we were to take the stage in the 3rd position, right before them. We were the two locals on the bill. Harloe from Jacksonville had to bring 2 or 3 cars for all their stuff so they all arrived 20 minutes or so apart and Fallen From the Sky who was supposed to open the show had to drive up from Boca Raton and blew out a tire on their way. Somehow they arrived at the venue right as they were supposed to play and the show went on as normal.

Fallen From the Sky had fantastic energy and a very punk sound. Everyone was jumping around like crazy and they had a lot of fans there to help them sing and scream.

Harloe took the stage second. You could tell that they were an upstart band, so I'm sure this show was big for them. They brought some friends with them who rocked out down by the stage, but overall I wasn't really feeling their music. It was all screaming. Nice guys though.

We took the stage third for a fairly big crowd. We had time to jam out about 10 songs and did so like it was our last show. Doug had a few problems during the course of the show, but only because he was rocking out so hard that he would accidently step on his tuner and cut off his guitar. Only happened a couple times. He also broke a string during Lifess, which never happens to him, and after setting his guitar down after the set he managed to break off a tune roff his guitar. If you don't play guitar, or don't know anything about them, let me just tell you it's not good. Poor guy can't get a break.
We had a lot of friends in attendance who took pictures, Amanda got some fantastic video of our set (which we will release online at some point as a new video series) and the crowd was great about giving us feedback and helping to keep the energy up while we played. All around, it was a great time. Lots of new friends and fans.

Between the Trees played last and did their thing. Everyone was pretty much there for them, and they delivered. They played a solid set. We had never met those guys before but they turned out to be some of the nicest dudes we had met in a while. We hope to share the stage with them again in the future, but they could blow up big any day and we may never see them again.

We spent the rest of the show chatting it up with everyone around and JoAnna "celebrated" her 21st birthday.

Lastly, if you've seen us in concert before then you know that Bert jumps around on stage like a madman during the shows. Our unofficial photographer Tiffany finally managed to catch Bert in one of his many rock poses and forever made his year.

Thanks to everyone who came out and supported. We had more fun than a barrel of monkeys ever could.

Did that make sense?


Monday, October 02, 2006


Well - I for one had a very relaxing weekend. After finishing up my latest stint on the Real World I decided to just chill and hang out with my favorite people in the world. My girlfriend and bandmates.

Okay, so I wasn't really on the Real World, but we are determined to get this rumor all over the 'net.

Friday night Amanda and I went to see the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Hilarious. Check it out of you get the opportunity. Perfect DVD rental material. On the way into the movie some guy outside the movie theatre hollered "YEAH! EARLY NEXT YEAR!!!" really loudly at me. I quickened my step.

Saturday I did a lot of sleeping and then Amanda and I braved the perilous lanes of the Aloma Bowl where we both attempted to break 100. I never succeeded. She had the unfair advantage of having been bowling at least 3 months prior to this excursion. She even has her own ball. Yeah. She's that cool. Does YOUR girlfriend have her own bowling ball? Didn't think so.

On Sunday, ENY did our first real photoshoot with a fellow by the name of Andrew Tremblay. Good guy and great photographer. We hooked it up so we could invade Park Ave. CD's... a little indie record store here in Orlando and shot stuff all through the store then ventured out to a baseball diamond and took photos in the grass, the bleachers, and in the shady looking alleyway behind the record store. We even invaded the most pretentious coffee house in the state and were photographed while sipping on $1,000 coffees full of imported spices from Mars.
We should have the photos soon and look forward to sharing them with everyone. It'll be nice to have REAL photos. Then we can get some wicked posters made up to promote ourselves all over the place. It's gonna be neat.

I mentioned us playing a battle of the bands thing a while back at the AKA Lounge in Orlando. We actually tied for 7th place (out of 20some bands) and will get to play the next round at the Hard Rock Live down near Ft. Lauderdale on the 22nd of October. That's coming up. It's for a TV show that will (possibly) air on FOX called Rocking Idol. So you might see ENY on national TV. Maybe. We'll see. Empty promise, really.
We have to play a cover song for this event. Yeah. A cover. I'm not thrilled either.
We're going to be playing for some "celebrity judges" and if they dig our cover, we're gonna get to bust out one of our tunes. What's the cover? We're keeping that under wraps for now, but we're scambling to put it together and will likely give it a go during our set at the Coffee Connection in Daytona Beach on the 13th of October.

So. Crazy things all over the place. I feel like I've mainly typed in senteces fragments for this blog. I'm truly A-OK with that.


Had to get that plug in there.
Enjoy your evenings.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Things are getting WEIRD!

Alright. Fasten your seatbelts for this is going to be an odd blog.

A lot of times I forget that I have my own MySpace account since I primarily run the profile for the band which leads to my forgetting to log in to my personal account from time to time. Today I did. I happened to find an interesting message in my inbox, so let me share this anecdote with you.

I recieved this particular message from a 41 year old woman based out of Pennsylvania. An avid fan of College Basketball, Classical Music, and the Bible, she seems to also be fixated by MTV Reality Shows - in particular The Real World and those MTV Real World/Road Rules Challenge shows where all the former house brats compete at mindless tests of strength, endurance, and smarts for a chance to win obnoxious amounts of money. Oh, and they film all the drama and broadcast it out to people who choose to live vacariously through these twenty-somethings as they learn together the secrets of life, love, and the effects of excessive alcohol consumption.
Throughout the course of the show they all have the opportunity to scheme, lie, cheat, and steal in an effort to vote out the other brats so that they are able to live out their fantasies of having no friends, but being insanely wealthy. There are catfights, sloppy drunken brawls, and F-Bombs going off as if they were weapons of mass destruction. Or in this case, It's white trash kids just being themselves.
The more I think about it, the more brilliant I think this is. Take a bunch of spoiled brats from "different walks of life" stick them all in a house together, add gallons upon gallons of alchohol, a quick sprinkle of lust, drama, and tears... now dangle $500,000 over their heads and let the cameras roll!

Anywho. I got off track there for a minute.
So at one point or another, there was this guy on one of these challenges named Wes.
He looks like this:

He's your typical jocky frat guy who grew up on the mean streets of Nebraska husking corn and wrasslin' pigs for cash. On the weekends he would strap on his beer helmet and cruise from bar to bar trying to get women with his failsafe pickup line: "OH MY GOD I'M SO WASTED!" It would work everytime. Nebraska isn't a big state, so I'm sure he had to venture elsewhere after he'd mistakenly hooked up with all of his cousins.

My name is Wes. This is me:

I'm your typical skinny white guy who grew up on the mean streets of Ohio sitting in my room alone, playing my guitar. I also have a cool hat in that pic, but that is completely unrelated to my main point here.

Do you see any similarities between these two Wes's?
I don't either.
So imagine my surprise when a 41 year old christian woman from Pennsylvania sends me an email thinking that I am the guy from MTV and the Real World Series.
That's right. She thinks that I am that jocky frat guy with the beer helmet.

Let's take a look at the letter that she sent, shall we?

"Hi Wes,
I'm just an ordinary fan, who watched you on the Real World and Fresh Meat. I thought it was great, not that they sent you into Exile every episode, but you kicked ass every time!!!! People said during Fresh Meat that you were conceded, self-absorbled, but I saw it more that you were filled with confidence, there is a difference, wouldn't you agree? I hope to see you on more challenges, they are my favorite shows, and I look so forward to when they are running. You don't seem like some "skinny guy", I found you more one of the most fit guys on Frest Meat. I just loved when you would kick their asses!!!! I can't stand Tina's trap, and I loved the episode when you guys were standing on those logs, and you gave it to her good. I'm not a person full of hate, but Tina really ginded on my nerves. I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt that way.
I hope things are going well with Johanna,forgive me if I spelled it incorrectly. She is a beautiful woman and you two fit together it seems, so I hope that part of your life is great.
Best of luck with your band. Something I didn't know about you until I check out My Space. That's totally awesome, best of luck to you. Take care Wes, and I hope this note finds you well. Sincerely, Danae (last name witheld)"

So, there you have it. My first fan letter and it's not even technically to me. This letter caused me to have a moral dilemma. Do I just ignore the letter? Should I respond and tell her she has the wrong Wes? Or better yet, should I respond as this guy and make her day?
I paused to consider which would be the most fun for me, so I've decided to respond as if I were Wes. The other Wes.
Here's the response I plan on sending:

"Hey Danae!
Thanks for watching The Real World and Fresh Meat! I'm a true attention-whore, so it's nice to know that people were tuned in and noticing me. As far as people calling me conceded or self absorbed, I can understand why they would say that. Mostly because it's true. I'm cocky and won every exile because the others were weak, unintimidating, and drunk half the time. You say it's confidence, and I'm glad you saw that. I'm confident that I'm the man. I'm going to keep coming back for these challenges because it's good money and I don't ever want to have to get a real job. I find that bickering, drinking, and busting heads here and there are the most effective ways to garauntee a paycheck, so I'll keep doing them until I lose an arm or leg. And even then I will still try to participate, because as I said earlier, I am the man.
Thanks for saying that I looked fit on the show, but please remember that the camera adds 60 pounds. I admit, I did some conditioning before the show. One steroid shot in the butt and one snickers bar in the mouth really keeps a guy energized. In fact, that was my secret to winning. Please don't tell anyone. If they know I do steroids they won't invite me back next season and then I won't be on TV, and people will forget about me. I'm the man, remember? How am I supposed to be the man if I'm not being broadcasted into 5 million homes each week. If nothing else, it's a way to make ends meet. I have to pay a steep rent on my studio apartment where I keep my 6 cats and live with my Grandmother. Plus she has this glaucoma problem and counts on me to provide her with the medicine.
I'm glad that you saw through Tina. She really isn't a good person. Nobody liked her and when I was watching the episodes back on MTV, they didn't show the best part. I know you remember when I got her on the logs, but what they didn't show you was when I tied her to a chair in the sun, cut off her eyelids with a scalpel that one of the cutters had, and then fed her an entire bottle of sleeping pills. That was AWESOME! She really learned a lesson there!
Johanna is doing well. We're seeing other people. Well, I'm seeing other people. She doesn't really need to know that. After getting voted off the last challenge she developed a nasty Twinkie habit and is now 95% bedridden. It's sad.
My band is going very well. We're gonna hit it big one day and perform on one of the challenges. It's going to be an event called "EXTREME Name That Tune."
My band will jam out a song, and the other brats will have 30 seconds to guess the name of the song or they get decapitated by a large saw blade spinning around at high speeds. Plus, all we know how to play are foreign underground punk songs, so no one's getting out of the next challenge alive.
Thanks for the all the kind words, and be sure to stay tune to see what happens.
And remember, I'm the man!

There you have it. My response.
Let's take a poll now - am I going to hell?
Guess we'll find out.

Poor gal never knew just what she was getting into.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Reviews, Sweiver.

The shows this weekend were grand.

Saturday in Ocala was fun. Always good to see familiar faces of people who want to see you, as opposed to those familiar faces who always happen to be at the same bars around Orlando. Fans are fun. Wish we had more of them.
We cranked out our new song, "Right Here (With Me)", and surprised the crowd by covering "Waiting" by The Rentals. Probably wasn't the best idea in the world to play two songs in a row that no one knew. Oh well.

Sunday we were briefly at the AKA Lounge in downtown Orlando. We set up, jammed out 5 songs, and took off. It was a Battle of the Bands, or an audition for a TV show, or something. I'm not really sure. But there seems to be money and instant fame involved, so we're waiting to see if we placed/won/whatever.

I got some new and not so new music that I've been listening to lately, so here's some quick reviews:

Ok Go - Oh No
Lots of people at shows and on MySpace have suggested I check out this band. The only thing I'd heard from them was that "Get Over It" song, so I picked this disc up for real cheap and decided to give it a shot. This album has some real catchy tracks on it including the single "Here it Goes Again" along with the tunes "Oh Lately It's So Quiet" and "Crash The Party." Most of the other songs seem pretty interchangeable, and I don't notice when one song ends and another begins. It's definitely a quirky album and I do like that, but not catchy enough that I can't stop listening.
I give it 3 stars out of 5

Angels and Airwaves - We Don't Need to Whisper
Tom Delonge hyped the crap out of this album. Sure, it was genius marketing because by advertising yourself as the savior of rock n' roll, people are going to listen. I finally got around to listening. There's one word that really sums up this record well: YAWN.
With most songs clocking in around 5 minutes, having the same structures and same buildups, this CD gets the awards for "Most Overhyped Album of 2006" and subsequently "Biggest Letdown of 2006."
If you disagree with my review, then you are wrong.
It's good ambient music. Perfect for work where I can't really listen anyway.
2 out of 5 stars

Sugarcult - Lights Out
I loved the "Start Static" album. I could listen to it beginning to end.
I loved the "Palm Trees & power Lines" album. I could listen to it beginning to end.
I love this album as well. I can listen to it beginning to end.
Congratulations Sugarcult, you have released another solid album and continue to be extremely underrated.
I'm not saying that this album is amazing, as many of the tunes use similar song structures and chords that you make you think you're hearing an older tune, but everything is catchy, fast, and hard hitting.
This one is on repeat in my iPod.
Pick this up if you liked either of their other records. Then track me down and we can argue over which of their CDs is actually the best.
JoAnna says nothing can beat "Start Static," I say that "Lights Out" just did.
4 out of 5 stars

Time to go elsewhere and do other things.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

You can't take it with you... or can you?

Van Diesel is ALIVE!

See you soon, Ocala.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


For the last few days we've been keeping a big secret, but now we can finally let it out. Our band, this band, the band you secretly like, Early Next Year, has been selected to play the Bamboozle Left Break Contest sponsored by What is the Bamboozle Left Break Contest?
Let me tell you.

This year, they wanted to give an "unknown" band the chance to play the festival alongside bands such as Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, and tons of other bands that everyone loves. It started as a simple submission process. I read an article on about accepting submissions for the event. So I sent an email with a link to our MySpace to some dude.
They said they would be holding 16 shows around the USA with up to 4 bands per show. There was only one Florida date to be held downtown at The Social. The best venue in town. So they chose 4 bands from FL to play. We were picked. Awesome.

Out of all 700 submissions, we were one of the 64 bands they chose for the contest, so we'll be playing a show on Wednesday, october 4th at The Social. We'll be sharing the stage with 'Harloe' out of Jacksonville, FL and 2 other locals: 'Fallen From the Sky' on JMB Records who have made quite a buzz locally, and another band, 'Between The Trees' who just released their debut CD, have been featured on, and even played some dates on Warped Tour.
So in comparison, for a little band like ours to get noticed and get an opportunity like this is unheard of.
We're going to need all the support we can muster for this show. Time, cover, and age limits coming as soon as I get them. Keep an eye on the MySpace.

The show will be judged by representatives from based on categories such as originality, stage presence, and musicianship.
We're kind of the underdog here, but we still intend to go and rock the place to get some exposure and to play this great venue again.

We'll have banners to add to your MySpace in support of this show soon!

In other news, I've been listening to Ok Go's newest album, Oh No and find myself really enjoying it. It's random and quirky. Two adjectives I like to use in describing myself. I've also been iSpinning OutKast's Idlewild. Solid CD, I'd still like to see the movie.

I also began reading a book I've been wanting to for ages. Matthew Good's At Last There is Nothing Left to Say. I broke down and started bringing it to work. It also is random and quirky.

I highly recommend everything I just mentioned. Whatever that may include.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Free Beer, Flying Bodies, Sewer Grates, and Snake Attacks!

What a weekend.
Boy, was it ever.
There's one question that rolled continuously through my mind on both Friday and Saturday night: "Why, oh why, did I forget the video camera?"
Actually, I shouldn't even place the blame on myself. Everyone in the band has a brain and a mouth, anyone could have said something.


Friday night after we all got off work we hopped right into the van since we had a 2.5 hour drive down to Bradenton to play at the venue Rockerfellas. Let's fast forward a bit here... two and a half hours later we arrive in Bradenton and realize that the directions I had printed out from good old Google Maps are completely useless. This was the first time we'd ever come to a fork in the road and both sides of the fork had the same roadname. We ended up having to just drive around for 30 minutes going back and forth trying to find the venue. We called them and they provided absolutely no help. We continued to wander. Eventually Bert and Doug (who had taken up post in the front seats) got so utterly frustrated that we had to stop at a gas station (that we had passed 5 times going both ways) to ask for directions. JoAnna ran in and thankfully, the guy at the counter had some idea of where the bar was and gave us a decent description of which roads to follow. We then went down a nice selection of dark alleyways and back streets until we ran across the venue. We then did our load-in thang and waited a while. Then we soundchecked. Then we waited some more. This is probably a good time to mention that we played first. The crowd was sparse, but receptive, and they seemed to have a good time. People actually came up to the stage while we played. That never happens.
We played our set and life continued as normal.
The local band "Stalling Dawn" played after us and were very good. JoAnna compared them to Thrice. I trust her opinion there because she knows Thrice music very well and probably likes them more than you do.
During the last band whose name escapes me at present, we found out that the venue was not going to pay us the money we had been promised, and instead decided to pay us in drinks. Fantastic. Last time I looked, drinks didn't fill up the van's gas tank. Doug took heavy advantage of getting paid in drinks and became a walking, talking, shell of a human who had nothing interesting to day. Mid-way through that band's set, JoAnna, for some reason unknown to humanity, decided it would be a good idea to tackle Doug in hopes of starting a moshpit. She got some running distance from the other side of the Pool room and collided with Doug at high velocity. I think I heard a break in the sound barrier. As I'm watching, I see JoAnna leap through the air, hit Doug, whose feet also leave the ground and they collapse into a heap on the floor. JoAnna gets up, and runs off in fear of retaliation while Doug lays on the ground wondering what happened. It took everyone in the bar a second to figure out what had just happened, and the band on stage was laughing so hard, the members could barely keep playing. This all brought JoAnna a lot of praise, and we started selling CDs. I think she'll have to do that more often.
Bert stayed sober and drove us home. We made some good time, but didn't make it back to Winter Park til nearly 4am.

Consider this your intermission, as we still have to talk about Saturday night's show at the Liquid Cellar in Orlando.
Go pee, get yourself a snack, whatever, but come back and keep reading soon.

We'll continue on to night #2.

Saturday evening we pull up the Liquid Cellar. I had driven separately, planning to leave after we played to go visit with my girlfriend. As I was walking into the venue, my cell phone began to ring. On the other line was Doug telling me "Uh Wes, we have a little bit of a situation here."
I headed through the venue and out the back door to see my 3 bandmates crouched down looking under the van. So I'm wondering to myself what they hit, what the van could be dragging, or who might be trapped underneath. Turns out none of the above.
As I walk closer, I see that they aren't looking under the van, but instead at a water drainage grate that the van is parked over. Doug approaches me with a defensive smile to let me know that our van key is no longer in our possession, but down within the depths of this grate. Great.
So with no idea of where the grate leads or how deep it goes we start to put together a battle plan to retrieve it. Bert claimed to have heard the key hit something within, but is unsure as to whether it hit water or something solid. At this point in the evening, the sun had gone away, so there we are in a dark parking lot, the three of us staring into an abyss that holds the key to our transportation. Pun intended. We devise a plan to lift up the grate and attempt to locate it. Bert is the only one manly enough to lift the piece of metal, so JoAnna holds it up against the van while Bert and myself try to locate the keyring. We quickly find out that there is not actually a lot of water in the bottom so I figure we should be able to see it with the naked eye. But remember, it is dark outside. We start waving our cell phones around in the dark, the faint light giving us nothing to work with, instead looking only like the worlds cheapest Rave party.
The pit of doom isn't exactly deep, but it's difficult to reach the bottom without lying flat on our stomaches. I decide it might be a good idea just to jump down in there to look around. So I do.
Within the pit I'm greeted with the stench of trash, dirty water and old cigarette butts. Kinda reminded me of the ENY house, to be honest.
So there I am, waist-deep in this grate waving around two cell phones trying to find our key. I notice a small pipe within the pit running elsewhere. I can only imagine what might be running around down there. After sticking my hand into several of the random puddles, I finally locate the key. Upon pulling it up to ground level, water starts to drain from our electronic keychain which arms/disarms the alarm on the van. Great.
See, our van has this little, incovenient twist to it: While the alarm is engaged, we cannot start up the engine. This comes to our attention as we're all attempting to shower in the venues sink. We head back out to the van, hoping that our biggest fears weren't about to come true. Sadly, the keychain is dead and we cannot disengage the alarm.
At this point we do what everyone else would do and begin to panic. We are so good at panicking. It's quite possible that we're better at panicking than playing music.
We head back into the venue and Bert begins dismantling the keychain in hopes that he can dry it out and bring it back to life. Sadly, those attempts are in vain and the situation has not improved. While all of this is happening, the first band begins to play. We are up second. Luckily, we can still get into the van, though every time we open one of the doors, the alarm goes off causing people to come out back to see just what the heck is going on.
I start calling people to figure out what to do. My father laughs at me, Amanda tells me to check the car's manual, and I rig up a few ideas of my own. Once again, I leave the venue through the back door, preoccupied with my own thoughts and despairs, when all of a sudden I see the ground in front of me begin to move, and I am face to face with a random snake in the middle of the parking lot. We lock eyes. We size each other up, and then I run around it like a little girl. I take perch in the front seat of the van, the alarm blazing, thumbing through the manual to the van. At some point in it's life, I'm assuming that the manual was dropped into a puddle itself because the pages are just tearing out as I turn them. It's at this time that I notice JoAnna coming toward me. I tell her to watch out for the snake. She sees it and also runs away like a girl. She keeps a careful eye on the critter while I continue to scan the manual, finding asbolutely nothing about an alarm system. Apparently it was added in by the previous owner.
I'm reading and accidently ripping out pages while JoAnna gives me a snake update. The enemy has now perched itself under the van, right below where I'm sitting. It had slithered around for a bit even entering and exiting the grate where my skinny non-snake-proof body had been just minutes before.

Alright, let's pause for a minute and re-cap what has occured during the course of the evening, just so you're up to speed: (1) The van keys were dropped into a grate. (2) We cannot disarm the van alarm and it keeps going off. (3) We cannot start the ignition of the van because the alarm is not disabled. And most importantly of all, (4) THERE'S A FREAKING SNAKE TRYING TO GET ME.

Good? Good.

I begin calling Triple-A to see if I can't get some kind of service. Turns out all that they can do is tow it. JoAnna gets numbers for some locksmiths and I collect a few as well. No one can help us. Nobody in the Orlando area deals with keyless entry.
Oh crap, we have to go play a show. Everyone is once again panicking, but this time over the random snake. Bert decides to be proactive and tries to tries to move it with a piece of cardboard. It doesn't want to move.
I'm standing a safe distance away from the van on the phone with Triple-A the other 3 are loading our gear into the venue, and I'm doubling as Snake-Watcher. I was supposed to call out if it moved. I'm pretty sure that I was far enough away, parked beside a row of air conditioners that they couldn't have heard me even if I had a megaphone.
So we go in to play the show.
In all honesty, we played pretty well. Not much of a crowd but we had other things on our mind. That may have been the first show where we were so crunched for time that we willing dropped "Girl Like Her" from the setlist.
After playing, we headed back outside. The situation had improved only by the snake wandering off to harass other innocent bystanders.
Prior to playing, JoAnna made arrangements to have her friend Jeremy come to the venue with his gigantic truck to pick up as much of our gear as possible. I called Triple-A for the third time that evening and arranged for a tow. We stuck as much stuff into my car as possible and put everything else in other random cars and trucks. Bert and JoAnna took off to get the gear safely back to the house. Doug and I were left. Left with a two hour wait time. Doug then went off to another bar to drink with an old friend. I was left in the back alley waiting for the tow truck.
Just me waiting in the dark with a broken van and a snake hiding in the shadows.
Around 2:30am, the towing company called to say that they were in the area. Doug had wandered back by this time and we were sitting in my car listening to some tunes.
Luckily, the guy who came to tow the van back to our house was awesome and he built a giant contraption around Van Disel that lifted up the front of the van, and he stuck extra wheels on the back since we couldn't get the thing out of park and into neutral. Around 3am we were on our way home. Finally. Upon arriving back we were greeted by Bert & JoAnna plus a few others. The guy who towed took another 20 minutes to dismantle the monster he had created to lift the van. By 3:45 all was said and done. We were home, the van was home, but the alarm still activated.
If anyone has ANY ideas on how we can possibly fix this situation, please feel free to email them to me immediately.

Now, after reading all of this, I sincerely hope that you can see why I spent these nights wondering to myself: "Why, oh why, did I forget the video camera?"

This is the kind of stuff you only read about on the internet.