Thursday, May 27, 2010

No Next Times

Nine years ago woke up and didn't know where I was. Didn't know who I was with. Didn't recognize myself in the mirror. It was then and there that I realized I was going to die soon if I didn't change something about me.

This morning, nine years later, I woke up in my bed, with my wife and my youngest daughter in our home. Like every morning, I thank God that I'm alive. I'm grateful to have two healthy children, a loving, beautiful wife and a second chance to live.

I don't dwell on the whatifs anymore. They had their chance and lost. Instead, I look forward. To birthdays, holidays, weekends, Mondays, 2:45pm, car rides to the store, times on the stage at my shows, hearing my songs on the radio.

Not bad for a guy that should be dead. So I make the most of this second chance. I make the most of this time. I tell people I love them, and mean it. I wouldn't want something to happen and never have taken the opportunity to express how I really feel. There aren't any guaranteed next times. I'm not afraid of people think of me. My wife and kids think I'm pretty cool. That's all that matters.

Three years ago today an incredible woman took me as her husband. I am a lucky man. I am a blessed man. I know this. I love this. I love you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Tattoos are awesome. I love them. I have 9, currently, and can't wait for more. But I've noticed an evolution in tattoos over the decades...

Years ago, tattoos were pretty much only found on bikers, inmates, sailors and whores. They weren't a mainstream thing, mothers and daughters didn't get them together for their birthdays and athletes didn't have them.

Then, in the 90's, they became something people were getting more often. You'd see a guy in a suit next to a guy in a golfing outfit next to a biker in the lounge of a tattoo parlor. The big thing in the early to mid 90's was to get the tribal work done. Usually an arm band or something down the back. For the ladies, the tramp stamp started to make its presence felt. And Dennis Rodman happened, also.

Let's talk about the tramp stamp for a minute. It became known as the tramp stamp for a reason. It was a tattoo on the lower, or small, of the back. In the late 90's, if you were at a club talking to a woman, and she showed you her tramp stamp. You were pretty much guaranteed to take her home and do what you want with her. Not really the case anymore. Now, the lower back tattoo is present on all types of women.

The tribal arm band, or any armband in general was a tattoo that guys got to because it was thought to be tough. Like barbed wire around the bicep. Nothing said, I should be the captain of the football team like the barbed wire tattoo around the bicep. Not so much anymore. You don't see a lot of guys coming out with armbands anymore. Now, it's the sleeve on the forearm or upper arm or the entire arm.

So tattoos pretty much were reserved for the arms and upper backs on guys and lower back, hip and ankles of girls. Not so much anymore...

The bar continues to be raised. The Sailor Jerry style is in full effect(there is even a rum available called Sailor Jerry) and guys and girls both are getting full neck tattoos along with tattoos on the face. Hands and fingers have found their way into the mix as well. No part of the body outside of the bathing suit area (think speedo) is off limits. Even the insides of the mouth. Even athletes are fully engulfed in ink.

What does this mean? It means the body is a canvas and tattooing is an incredible art. It isn't even permanent anymore. With laser removal or cover up work. Can't wait for my next one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things That Didn't Succeed

I've decided to create a new series devoted to things I believe would not succeed. Not to be negative, just for a laugh. Each one will be on a different topic.

Today's topic: Potato Chip Flavors
1) Owl Flavored
2) Spackle and Cream Flavored
3) Dental Cleaning Dust Flavored
4) DVD Flavored
5) Liver and Onions Flavored
6) Golf Club Handle Flavored
7) DNA Flavored
8) Chum Flavored
9) Petri Dish and Salt Flavored
10)Embalming Fluid

I'm sure they were all tested, and failed. Feel free to add your failed flavor ideas...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Day In The Life Of the Stay At Home Rock Star

There is nothing more fulfilling then sniffing out a bogus lie from someone who has worked hard on their "sincerity". Pleading for sympathy for knowingly committing a crime by making themselves out to be the victim. I don't have a lot of sympathy.

I'm waiting for my point of contact to get me into a parking garage downtown yesterday. I was brought down to perform during a wine tasting event at a downtown community and the buildings have secure, underground parking. As I'm waiting, a woman with her small child comes walking quickly out of the garage on her phone. She looks distraught. At first I surmise that someone who she is to be meeting is running late. Then I realize it must be worse.

MY POC gets in the car with me and we roll down our window to ask the woman what is going on. She says that there is a man sitting in her car down in the garage! She happened upon him, inside the "secured" garage, while holding her child! We park my car in my assigned spot and I quickly run back to her, asking where her car is located. She points me in the direction and says her husband is down there and that she is scared because she thinks this guy may be with more people. I sprint down the ramp and find the car.

Sure enough, a man is sitting in the passenger seat. The owner of the car is speaking to him from the back seat door on the drivers side. As I get there I notice a backpack on the ground. The owner of the car says to me that the guy claimed to be homeless and hungry... So I ask him what's in his backpack, he hands me a small satchel. Saying his passport was stolen, he's here from France and he is hungry. I ask him how he got into the garage. He said the garage door was open. About that time, the cops arrived and took him. He's in jail, his French accent probably doesn't exist anymore...

In my years living downtown, I was aware of numerous break ins in downtown garages. Groups of thieves would steal the "fobs", the garage remotes, and go into the garages and search for unlocked cars. This occurred all the time. This so called "homeless" guys story was so full of bs. If you live in or are visiting downtown and parking in a "secured" underground garage, make sure you lock your doors. ALWAYS LOCK YOUR DOORS! These criminals are lazy, that's why they steal. If you leave your doors unlocked, they will get into your car.

So after the adrenalin rush wore off, I went upstairs and played a fun wine tasting event. The community was a group of awesome people, neighbors and friends, that put together a really cool event. It wasn't all thirty somethings, either. The ages ranged from early 20's to the 60's. They all mingled well. It was very cool.

Moving along, last night-or very early this morning, I should say-I received multiple phone calls within a 15 minute period from an unfamiliar number. When I get woken up I don't go back to sleep. I texted this number to ask who the hell was calling me at this hour??? They responded with "Cynthia?". I wrote back that they have the wrong number. They responded with "Wild" then "woodys?" then "Phil bar fight".

Feel free to call (619)942-6277 around 2 in the morning and then text them inane bullshit. Drunk dialing a wrong number is garbage. Thinking it's funny is even a larger heap of garbage then dialing the wrong number. What would be funny is if people would return the favor. It probably wouldn't be so funny to this person. They'd probably take exception to it. They should rethink their life.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Target Market

One would assume that I might be speaking about Target...

There are times when I can't sleep or I'm woken suddenly, as abruptly as a body decelerates if falling from a building and hitting pavement. Sorry, couldn't think of a better way to describe it. That is what I was trying to avoid this morning when I woke up at 3:30am. Deceleration trauma. What a horrible nightmare that was. Clinging to a slippery mattress at the edge of a 60 or so story building. Freaking out, on the verge of a heart attack.

Years ago, I would have these and wake up and turn on the TV. It was then that I would ponder the question, "who the hell is the target market for this infomercial???"

3:30 in the morning and a 30 minute commercial for male enhancement pills is on. There is a panel discussing its proven formula. Really? This is the time slot? 3:30 in the morning? You're targeting single men that can't sleep? What good is "enhancement" for someone who ain't gonna use it? It's like advertising Levi's to the Amish or OroWheat Bread to a Cylliac. While you're at it, advertise diapers to the infertile that have been prohibited by the courts to adopt.

Moving along, in my smooth transition style, to one of my all time favorite movies. Monty Python and the holy Grail. To quote Dennis, "I'm 37, I'm not old"

Advertisements I would like to see:

A) A pill that makes excessively, chronically hairy people become the exact opposite. You know the people I'm talking about. The ones that look like they have insects legs poking out of the tops of their shirts... on their backs! Usually, this person is a recently captured member of Al Qaeda or an individual that is on vacation here in San Diego from some remote location. Maybe I'm the one with the problem, but the hair shirt is odd and arm hair that can be combed belongs in the deep recesses of the Pacific Northwest and Ft Benning , GA. (if you're keeping up with this, you know of what I refer to)

B) The old cereal commercials. They were awesome. Cereal is awesome. It needs no more explanation

C)A bad breath detector that you can wear like a necklace. If you encounter bad breath, an alarm goes off. Therefore, it's not like you're telling someone they have bad breath-which can be very uncomfortable to do- it would be the device. And the person couldn't argue with the technology. Usually, the first sign of someone that doesn't brush their teeth is them licking their teeth when the subject of brushing said teeth is brought up.

D)A "You ain't gonna like this" warning device. A device you can program to know what your likes and dislikes are. So when you come across a foreign food or a foreign film, for that matter, or the Lifetime network, it will go off and warn you. So that you don't have to lose that part of your life. Just don't keep it on your person when entering certain places like the DMV, or a Rob Schneider movie, as this is already a given.

Thank you for bearing through my sleepless ramblings. As always, take with a grain of salt and lighten up, will ya? :-)

For some more hilarious musings, check out my friend, Comedian Rajan Dharni, at

P.S. If you stare at his picture, you'll notice his beard growing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poncho and the Creepy Thing

There are all manner of creatures that give us the willies. Creepy-crawlies, spiders, spider webs, silver fish, joom bugs, stink bugs, centipedes, millipedes, snakes, ugly dogs, Kerry Steigerwalt's eye...

So here I am, the lone man amongst many women. The 6'5" 225 pound former Infantryman, one time bouncer, one time practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Shi Do Kan Karate. The go to guy in my house when something creepy walks up the wall or across the floor. Let me tell you, coming from a family that is genetically predisposed to cringe at the sight of spiders, this is not a fun position to have. Spiders freak me out. Watching those 8 legs move independent of each other is just skin curling. I almost always have to fast forward through the scene in the Return of the King where Sam and Frodo encounter Shelob, the tarantula.

So you can imagine my trepidation when my then 4 year old daughter screams, runs out to me and says "Daddy! Poncho's creepy thing!"

Ummm... what is that supposed to mean? Did my little Rat Terrier, Poncho, get attacked by spiders? Is he crawling with centipedes or fleas or mites or Kerry Steigerwalt's eye?


Some say red rocket, others call it lipstick. My daughter called it "creepy thing". For some reason, my dog got "excited". So much so that it wouldn't go back in. He stood there, embarrassed look on his face, with his back hunched. He could barely walk. My wife began to laugh. We now knew what the creepy thing was.


There was a knot toward the base of his "creepy thing" that wouldn't allow it to go back in. He began to whine as if in pain. I felt really bad for my little buddy. He even looked like he was embarrassed. It was as sad as it was funny. It took some work to get it back in but he is happy and healthy to this day. And every time I hear the word "creepy" I can't help but get a mental image of my poor dog, hunched over in embarrassment, with his lipstick stuck on the outside.

*On a side note, check out my friend Zoltan's comedy at As I did not outright steal his Kerry Steigerwalt joke, I was definitely inspired by Zoltan to poke fun.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I find it funny that fast food restaurants have websites with nutritional information. Why? I half expect to type in the web address and have a single page pop up with nothing but the word "none" positioned prominently in the middle of it. A Times New Roman font with a letter size of 36 so that nobody misses it.

First of all, who is going to a fast food place for nutrition? Really? Here's a hint. If you order food through a speaker, and your food is shoved at you through a hole in the wall in a paper bag, there is no nutrition. NONE. Don't try to justify it by saying, "It has lettuce and tomato" or "I ordered the salad" or "I got a diet Coke".

The "vegetables" that come on fast food are fairly suspect. The salads seem as real as a McRib and Diet Coke isn't going to offset three double cheeseburgers.

Let's face it, this sh** is just tasty and addictive.

I get fries at Golden Arches. Because they friggin' taste good. I get double cheeseburgers because I'm a carnivore and I love that stuff. Throw bacon on it and we'll be new best friends.

Subway makes me questions the choices I make in life i.e. the time I spend standing in line watching gloved hands handle this supposed good for me food. I can't get that time back!

I guess it's true that we don't always love the things that try to love us...

Having a nutritional website for fast food is like the BS premise of being "earth friendly". Stop pretending like you can save the earth. You can't. It doesn't need you. It heals itself. Start speaking in truths such as : Let's preserve ourselves! Let's find a way to help us live longer here. We as humans need these resources, not Earth. They are Earth. They're fine. The only thing we need to sustain is our ability to thrive. You'd get a lot more people to act in an "earth friendly" way if you labeled it differently. Ask them to behave in a "Save your OWN ass" way. Watch how many people start recycling after that.

Last question about this. Why is it that things that are "green", "organic" and/or "sustainable" cost so much green? I'd have to sell one of my organ(ic)'s to get enough green to sustain my family. I call bullsh*t on the whole thing.

Oh yeah, try to sell global warming to the people that live in the heart of this country, suffering through -30 degree temperatures. Hot enough for ya?

Take it all with a grain of salt. Don't get involved with cock fighting and love the people around you... or at least try.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I'm asked all the time to describe my music to people I meet for the first time that haven't heard me yet. Usually, they're looking to pigeon hole me into a style or genre. I've looked at all the genre's and don't know that I actually fit entirely into any of them.

A little rock, a little acoustic, a little blues, a little reggae, a little ska, a little hip hop and some folk. I don't really know what Indie means but you can throw that in as well.

So I've decided to take matters in to my own hands and create a genre that best typifies what I do. I call it Street Level. On the Street Level of life, you find truth, you find grit, you find some dirt and trash. You see graffiti and you see hardship. The gravity of life culminates on the street level. As opposed to the Penthouse level of life. The place where economic conditions don't matter. A place where fast food is something your chef whips up in 30 minutes instead of an hour.

No, street level is the level of the people. It can be ugly sometimes but it never lies and you will always find a time in your life that you can relate to it.

Street Level, the genre, is the best way to describe my music. The front porch story tellers and the street corner prophets. The barber shop big mouths and the fly on the wall. I tell stories about life that make you laugh and make you cry. Make you feel the pain of loss and the joy of birth. It's real life brought to your ears over a simple chord arrangement that you'll hear on the street.

Street Level... it's what you hear when you listen to me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kullers, Colours, Colors

When my parents were growing up, there was no color. Everything was in black and white. What??? Are you an idiot? (you ask yourself) Nope! I have proof! Go watch Nick at Nite. The Honeymooners, Leave It To Beaver... must I go on? They lived in a world where "Shucks" was a curse word. Everybody tucked their shirts in, kids wore their hats correctly and lawns were all neatly manicured. Boys asked girls to the sock hop and shared a soda or a malt (because they tasted different back then and were good for building strong bodies and minds. On occasion, kids from a different school, and you knew they were from a different school because of their Letter Jackets, would show up and a rumble may occur or a race down a wide and unused street would settle a score. People would find out about it days after by word of mouth or telegram.

However, when I was growing up, everything had a kind of washed out sepia tone to it. Kids hair was getting longer. We wore our hats backwards kept our shirts untucked and rode skateboards. We crashed hotel parties after the prom and snuck out of our houses, taking our parents cars. We'd meet up in fast food parking lots and get in gang fights. You knew who your friends were by the colors they wore. And we could reach those friends by pager or phone.

So what are my daughters gonna do? Obviously, they live in an HD, 3D Liquid Crystal Display world that can be paused at anytime. Thousands of opportunities at their fingertips. Will they choose the boy they like because of how cool his hovercar is? Will they only date boys whose parents have time shares on the moon? Will they congregate with their friends at WiFi cafes, synchronizing their handhelds and DMing each other because "talking is soooo 2005". It's a crazy fast hi tech world we're in and it's only getting crazier. My girls don't know what a cassette tape is. My dad had to tell me about the phonograph.

What will our kids teach us about? From black and white to super 3 dimensional high definition liquid crystal display, one thing remains constant.

We all have to do stupid homework...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I have no idea. No idea whatsoever to write about today. I could tell you how I finished up two songs yesterday that I'm stoked on. I could tell you about the dream I had where I was on tour in a camper van but every road I tried to drive down was closed off. I could tell you how my youngest likes to sit on my shoulders now and calls it "back pack" instead of piggy back-even though it's not a true piggy back. Or how my older daughter is just about ready for guitar lessons. She can already sing.

So I don't know where to go with this. I think I'll just get off of here and practice. Good lord, Barney just came on... a purple dinosaur teaching Spanish to kids.

Oh, I know what I can say. Here's something that maybe I shouldn't spend any emotion on but I saw a little scooter take up an entire parking space. I felt like that was complete garbage. There's motorcycle parking everywhere. Why waste an entire space on a quasi vehicle??? Then a woman driving toward me (which was the wrong way as I was on a One Way) was yakking away on her cell phone and wanted me to get out of her way!?!?! DO you ever read bumper stickers that piss you off and you start hating the person in that car? Haha. But what if someone who believed the exact opposite of those stickers messages was just borrowing that car. Then your Spy Hunter like Oil Slick would be wasted on them.

I realize this has taken a turn for the worse. Oh well. Since I'm heading down this path, I will leave you with this one thought. On Mother's Day, mom's come first, but I'm pretty sure they became mom's because daddy came first. You're welcome...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Don't Judge Me

January in Ft. Benning Georgia is freaking cold! It was 1992 and I was finishing up Infantry School. It was the last week of January, we were on FTX (Field Training Exercise) and it was just after chow(that's Army for dinner). I was standing around with three other buddies and we were sharing stories about whatever it was we did or would do if we were back home and not in the middle of a forest freezing our balls off. Sorry for that colorful language. I can't think of any other way to best describe how horribly cold it is out there.

So a fourth buddy comes running from the treeline, where he just went to pee. And he's frantic. He starts saying that there is a "monster or some shit out there... it was watching me. I could hear it". He didn't see anything but heard something he described as sounding very large and breathing heavy. It was heavy footed and didn't try to be stealthy. Being the good, caring friends that we had become to this guy, we laughed at him and called him an idiot. He swore up and down he wasn't kidding.

In the meantime, one of our buddies snuck off in to the treeline, started snorting and stomping around on all fours, sounding like a beast was out in the treeline. The buddy that claimed to encounter the beast while peeing began to freak out and was about to turn white as a ghost when our friend emerged and we all had a big laugh at his expense. But he didn't laugh.

That night our squad went out on a recon mission. We returned some time around midnight. We talked about the mission and then went to our hasty fighting positions where we would wait out the rest of the night. A hasty fighting position was two helmets wide by my body length by 6 inches deep. Then you build up a mound over it to look somewhat like natural terrain. The idea is that an approaching enemy wouldn't notice it at all. you build one along side your battle buddy. About an arms length away. Then you have this pairing of hasty fighting positions create a perimeter for your platoon or company or whatever.

So to get some rest, you take turns sleeping. I'm awake, staring out at a treeline and nothing else going on. The moon was out, casting some light on the earth. I had put out trip wires that were OD Green. It was made from 550 Chord. It was dark enough to where an approaching enemy wouldn't see it and trip on it, setting off flares and alerting us to the movement and allowing us to see where they were. This is important to mention. And here is why.

I begin to hear something making a lot of noise as it approaches us (I knew this because the noise was getting louder) I at first thought that maybe it was a deer or something of that nature. But I couldn't really see because it was still in the treeline. When it finally emerged from the treeline and slowly headed my way I really didn't know what I was looking at.

I first tried to imagine which person in our platoon or company was THAT large. Was it our Drill Sergeant? He was a large man. But he wasn't that tall. Was it some local Deliverance type indigenous hillbilly out looking for opossum? No way. This thing was as big In the chest as it was tall. It had long nappy looking hair, almost like Predator, and it had a face that jutted out. So was it someone in a Gas Mask? Nope. It breathed. More like snorted. You know how when it's cold outside you can see your breath? It exhaled so heavily that a plume of air shot out and then lingered before it dissipated. I began to realize that this might be the thing that scared our buddy earlier. I gripped my M-16 tight then realized I only had blanks. I nudged my battle buddy who I heard whisper the words "what the f**k is that?"

This creature approached our position, and stopped. It looked down at where our trip wire was set. Something I don't believe any human could see. It looked back up and stared right at us. All I can remember is dark orbs where the eyes were. It spun around, again, when it did this I could see how physically massive it was, and plodded back off into the treeline. Long lopey steps. Very heavy footed. Not human.

Had to be a Bigfoot.

Most people who have encountered Bigfoot talk about the smell. I don't remember a smell. Most likely because we had been out in the field for about a week with no shower and we stunk so bad we couldn't smell ourselves.

I'm not insane, I just saw what I saw. Some people believe. Others don't. I don't care about theories and whatever else people conger up. That thing was real, it was in Ft Benning, GA, which is also Columbus, GA which is the South and West area of the state. It is very remote and full of wild stuff. No, I haven't been abducted by aliens, too.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stay At Home Alone II

So here I find myself, Saturday morning, house to myself. What do I do? Well, so far the bathroom is cleaned, laundry is half done, the baby's room is straightened up and the dishes are done. This is the second time in years that I've had this situation. I say in years but I should also mention that the last time this occurred was a couple months ago. Last time I had designs of getting songs written. Instead, A movie marathon occurred. It was awesome.

However, today, a couple songs are already in the works and I am hoping to get to more of the new movie. Due to back to back to back performances, I haven't had writing time at night. That wasn't a complaint.

Home Alone with the Stay At Home Rock Star. You best believe I'll say that it was a party. So really it's up to the reader to define exactly what a party is.

And it's only a half day alone, I'll be playing the happy hour at Hennessey's Gaslamp downtown from 5-7pm so there will be some adult interaction. Come by and interact with me

Friday, May 7, 2010


Last night I was playing at a club in downtown San Diego. The place is best described as sexy with a vampire feel to it. Since I have fangs, I feel right at home there.

I get placed on a stage that is over 5 feet off the ground. The back wall is all LED lights and when it is all lit up it is awesome! I play for the supper club. A two hour period where they have an incredible deal where you can get three items from the menu for $20. The menu is insanely good. I think they lure people in with their food so that the vampires can feed on the diners later on. Awesome!

I had a group of friends in last night making lots of noise which makes me a very happy entertainer. The two hour set went by way too fast. When it was done they began to get ready for the night time crowd and the DJ's. It was my time to exit.

But not before I got a chance to catch up with Kristen Renee. She is the lovely young lady that books me for these gigs. We talked about the fact that she is also a singer/songwriter. Long story short, she'll be playing with me on May 21st at Java Jones Coffeehouse. It shall be a fun night.

This is the original social network. Where people actually speak face to face and create opportunities for each other. I have fun being part of both types of the social networking realm- online and face to face. However, I have contemplated leaving the world of online networking because it can be a grind but ultimately, I think it is too beneficial to ditch all together.

Walking down 5th avenue in the Gaslamp is like walking through a lineup of the cities most beautiful people. And by beautiful, I'm not just speaking of the long legs and sleek bodies. I'm also talking about the people that are looking for food, money, work by claiming a corner early on and performing for the passersby. There is a haunting beauty in each of their stories as well as tragedy. The broad ends of the spectrum remind me of my life. The celebrity like times on stage where people want to get to know me, and the times I've been sitting on that corner where people want to avoid me. We're all the same in some fashion. It's the difference between a paycheck or two, and that's about it. Be thankful for what you've got.

And finally, home on the couch with my best lady. Quiet time together, the girls both asleep. Watching the Marriage Ref which turned out to be quite entertaining. Then a nice 2:30am wake up call by a cranky toddler.

I gave up on sleep, but not on hope. I gotta whole lotta love at home and I feel a lotta love from the people that see me perform.

I'm a lucky vampire

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Please Respond

You know me as a singer/songwriter and a stay at home dad. The Stay At Home Rock Star. But did you also know that I am a veteran of the United States Army Infantry? My MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was as a front line foot soldier. Qualified expert in most weapons, communications, basic medic functions. I volunteered right after the first Gulf War. I went in to be an Airborne Ranger. I was 18 years old.

I ended up serving my time in the MDW (Military District of Washington) area. I was a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. I was honorably discharged from Active Duty in February of 96. I was fortunate to not have to serve in a combat environment. However, the reason I went in to serve my country was the opposite. To go to combat. Looking back now, I'm fortunate that I did not. I am proud of my service, I was available to get where ever they would send me. I was ready to fight and I was ready to die. I was also ready to kill.

For the first 15 weeks I was in a total immersion environment. Being programmed to think the way of the Infantry. To look out for the guy to the right and left of you. To be ready to give up my life for them. To be ready run into a hail of gunfire the life of a brother without the thought of my own safety. After the 15 weeks was the graduation.

And a completely different human being than anyone knew 15 weeks prior.

So why was it that, they would take the time to wire me into a lean mean killing machine but not take the time, 4 years later, to return me as an adjusted citizen, able to take on the tasks of civilian life. Where was the decompression? I have friends that I served with who could never quite cope with life back in the civilian world and turned to alcohol and ultimately took their own lives. There was nobody there for them. It's as if they were used up and spit out and forgotten.

Today, in a federal prison, sits a young man that served his country. As a US Marine. He served multiple tours in the Middle East, in intensely stressful combat situations. He experienced the horrors of combat and charged forward.

After returning to the states, the nation he served, the nation he wrote a check for in the amount of "up to and including his life", he experienced what numerous combat veterans experience. 50 years ago it was called Shell Shock. Today it's called PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of this experience this veteran committed a crime. And now he sits in federal prison.

Let me tell you why this doesn't sit well with me.

This man gave up the freedoms we enjoy every day to serve. He served honorably. But now the government just forgets about him? Here's what I would like each and every person to do.

Write your congress person. Tell them that you want to see implemented, immediately, a "decompression" program for those who serve our nation. There is a basic training coming in, there should be a basic training going out. It should be mandatory for all combat arms veterans and be done while in their last months of active duty service. It should be a program that helps these people adjust back to the civilian life they left behind. This time should be used to remove the edge from their psyche and reintroduce compassion that is devoid from combat training. And any of our service men that have experienced these problems and are now behind bars should be removed from these prisons immediately and sent to proper treatment facilities where a real rehabilitation process can occur.

I'm sending my letter now

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's My Story, I'm Stickin' To It

Every time you listen to one of my songs, you're listening to a piece of me. You're listening to an experience from my life. You're listening to my hopes, my dreams my anguish. Not just random words strung together for fun, with the exception of 3am Vampire. I haven't had a vampire proposition me at 3am... yet.

It is the soundtrack to my life. I have always hoped that the soundtrack to my life could find meaning in your life. Stories that you could relate to. Some of the stories IO hope you won't have to, like Dead Man Walkin' or House Ain't A Home. Other stories I hope can remind you of good times in your life, like We Got Love or I'm A Daddy and She Don't Know.

Being a songwriter, I am fortunate to have the many things in my life to inspire me. Being a Husband, a father, an artist, an athlete. Having compassion and a sense of humor and balancing the two. Sometimes it can be heard. Sometimes the humor can tip the scales on the compassion. Sometimes it's the other way around. All I know is this, we have to seize every moment, every opportunity to live. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow. Our only guarantee, really, is that fact that we are, in fact, at some point going to die.

Track 5 of We Got Love is called Best Start Livin'. I won't take for granted all the things that I've been given and we're all gonna die so we best start livin'
It's very true. Live it up. Laugh it up. Clap it up. Howl it up. Don't hold back and wonder what could've been. Make the moment happen and be present in the now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Long Ago, In A Galaxy Far Away...

I don't know about you but those words were pure magic to me as a kid. And by "as a kid" I mean yesterday when I was watching it... again...

Today is May the 4th. Kinda sounds like May the force. Like May the Force be with you. On Twitter I saw something funny. It was my friend Scheff that had posted that today was Star Wars Day because of "May the Fourth Be With You". How awesome is that!

Now, I realize that he didn't make this up. But he is the first person I heard it from. So how can I claim to be such a Star Wars nerd if I didn't ever put that one together? Good question. Allow me to dodge it.

Few movies still give me hope like Star Wars. I hope I can get into the Starfleet Academy. I hope I can fly an X-wing fighter. I hope I can battle the Empire. I wanna play in the treehouses on Endor.

Do you think there are steroids on Endor. Like there's an Ewok gym where there are some massively buffed out Ewoks that have no sense of humor? Like, if you asked them "Hey Ewok, how's it going?". They'd just look at you and be all huge and in a monotone, Michael Clarke Duncan like voice say "Yub Yub".

I have free time sometimes. I don't always use it wisely. But lately I've been writing a a couple new songs- oh, by the way, I'm done talking about Star Wars- AND I'm writing a killer new screen play. It's not about a killer. I'm just excited about what it is. I envision a red carpet walk for this one. Be on the lookout.

Movies and Sich

I used to write screenplays. As in for movies. I wrote four. Never sold one. Never tried to sell them. I didn't know the first thing about trying to shop it around. That and constant inebriation prevented me from making anything of it. However, I recently found my screenwriting software.

I got an idea...

I'm currently writing a new screenplay. Let's just say I'm excited about it, so you should be as well.

Mothers Day is approaching. Sunday, May 9th is the big day. I'm excited to honor my mama and the mother of my children. I'm surrounded by awesome women. Women of substance. Women with a backbone and a sense of humor. To all the mothers out there, may your day be special and filled with loved ones!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Felt Like Harry Chapin

Growing up I remember my parents, one of the last things they did as a married couple, going to a Harry Chapin concert. I remember the t-shirts they bought. They had the half silhouette of a guitar and Harry's name on it.

Cats In The Cradle is a more popular tune by the late folk singer but the ones I remember most are the ones my dad would sing fervently in the car. The song about the mashed bananas called, 30,000 pounds of Bananas. Or A Better Place To Be. Or one of my very favorites, Mr. Tanner. A song about a man who finally gets a venue to perform the music he loves only to be panned by critics.

I saw a documentary on Harry Chapin once. It talked about him, even well into his fame, showing up at birthday parties to perform songs for kids and adults. Then going off to perform some larger concert venue. I always thought that was really cool. As a singer/songwriter, I dreamed of the day when I could do that. To be able to entertain people. To have people want me to entertain them as well.

Last night I was fortunate to play a dual birthday party. It was at a house in North Pacific Beach, a neighborhood in San Diego just a couple blocks from the Pacific. We set up on a jacuzzi deck and performed for an hour and a half for a wide range of people. Ages from early twenties to well into the sixties. It was an awesome group of partiers who had a great time dancing along to what we were playing.

Once we were done it was time to break down. I had to get to another part of town to close out a very special night for a friend of mine.

My friend, Tanya Susoev, was having her first public gallery displaying her photography that she had shot while travelling around the world. She had originally asked if I could play this event but I was already booked. But I said I would definitely be there for the last hour of the event. She has been such a big supporter of my music that I really wanted to give back to her in a supportive way as well. So introduced her to another singer/songwriter I knew who turned out to be a big hit! I knew I could count on Brian Bosen to do a good job.

When I arrived, Brian had taken a break from playing. I saw Tanya and a few other people I knew there and a bunch of people I did not. It was awesome to see all the people that came out to support her. I played the last half hour or so of the night, getting the ladies up, dancing to Two Nickels and a Dime, All I Have to Give and Bumper Stickers.

As I was leaving the venue, I thought to myself, Wow, this is what it must have been like to be Harry Chapin. To show up to places, share your stories in song and then off to wherever else. In my case, it was off to be with my best lady. But not before I was sent on an errand to get coffee creamer.

I felt like Harry Chapin, and the Stay At Home Rock Star. I am truly blessed