The West

If you haven’t already heard I’ll be playing some solo shows from Vancouver down to San Diego in June. Come out and hear some new tunes and old favorites!

Violent Femmes vs. The Long Vacations

vfems_frontI was 14 years old and about to start the 9th grade. I had just recently moved in with my father who was a drill sergeant in the US Army. He was stationed in Ft. Benning Georgia which intersects with Columbus, an unfavorable part of the country.. Although I had spent the summer prior visiting there, I was not ready for the punishment a small freshman midwestern boy could take in a predominantly black high school like Columbus High. It took months for me to get the guts to sit down at “nerd” lunch table. That’s how scared and shy I was. Like all misfits longing for community I joined the Ft. Benning swim team after school and met a cool guy who had just been shipped in from Rhode Island. He was a skater and wore little yarn “friendship” bracelets and polo shirts. He asked me what kind of music I liked and it was mostly just radio hits with a few underground rap songs thrown in( the Roxanne saga anyone)?
The next day he brought a 3rd generation copy of the Violent Femmes first album and I hung on every fucking word. Mind blowing for a 14 year old living in a military household. Needless to say 27 years on I still know all the words and the music brings me back to that moment in my life. I will be singing these timeless, horny, angst ridden anthems with the Long Vacations in April/May in Spain. Full circle.

Cataluña in March

Hola Chicos,
I’ve got some solo dates in small venues at the end of March in Cataluña. I’ll be playing songs from my back catalog as well as a few new ones I’m currently recording.
Also have 10 more dates to announce with the Long Vacations doing the first Violent Femmes record from start to finish in April/May. Thanks to those at Houston Party that helped pull that together.
Also, I’ll be on the West Coast of the USA in June. Dates will be announced in March.

I’m On Top!!!!!!!!

Crazy as it seems, I actually won the Goya! Thanks to my family, friends and everyone at the Academy. That’s what I should have said but I had no speech prepared…I didn’t think I had any chance at winning it. Life is full of surprises!Unknown-1

Award Nominations

I’ll be going to two awards ceremonies in the next few weeks. Looks like I’ll have buy some “casual chic” and “Gala” apparel. Los Premios Goya are the equivalent to the Oscars here in ol’ Spain and my song “Do You Really Want To Be In Love” is nominated for best song in a movie. You can listen to the whole soundtrack on Shmerspizify for free.
I’m also nominated for best film score at Los Premios Ferroz (Golden Globish they told me). Fun times! I might wear a cowboy hat.
Daniel Sanchez Arevalo directed and wrote the film that has the MOST nominations this year. Way to go Dani! I’m proud to have been part of it.

2013 on a green plastic Ikea plate

This year started off hectic. The film I was doing the music for needed to be finished before rehearsals started for THW tour. I was not aware that mixing in 5.1 was so time consuming. Good friend and drummer Robert DiPietro called a month before the tour and said he was offered a full time job with health benefits, I told him in this day and age in the biz you MUST take it! He was missed and sad he couldn’t do the tour but it gave me the opportunity to reconnect with Marc Pisapia. Marc was in top form and a great travel companion, always positive even when hungover. Thank you brother. With the Long Vacations(Xema Fuertes, Cayo Bellveser) we rehearsed twice and started 4 months of touring.
Spain shows were sold out(except for Valencia, where I Ilve) and enthusiastic. I hadn’t been to SXSW in Austin since 2004 and wow, it has become a branding competition. I had a wonderful time seeing old buddies and eating well. I left with a suitcase full of useless freebies(except for the backpack). That said, I’ll be returning for sure. The weather and atmosphere on South Congress is worth it. Not to mention the songwriter workshop with Richard Thompson.
I also hadn’t done an “official” tour of the US since 2010 so I made it a point to go out after the shows to meet or reconnect with some of you. Thanks for sticking around to say hi! Quit asking me when I’m going to move back. I was surprised that most of the same clubs that I’ve been playing in for 10 years were…the same! It’s comforting, like visiting an old friend.
East coast opener Eleni Mandell was classy and dedicated to driving her 2 year old twins around with her. She’s a brave woman.
We had the soulful Sean Rowe in the splitter and on the stage with us for the UK run, please check him out. I’ve been playing the UK since 98′ and it juste get’s more enjoyable every time. The variety of sandwiches keeps broadening, I think you can actually get a ginger squirrel with rocket and curry mayo.
Flew to Philly in May for one night and reconnected with Jay Farrar whose book I had just read. I can relate to Jay, must be the midwestern boy gone artist thing. No flash, all song.
Speaking of midwestern boys we had Field Report out with us for the West Coast run and they were gentleman. Prince came to the show in Minni, yes Prince, unfortunately he only saw Field Report’s set and left in the intermission. I was devastated.
Bought a hat at the Doug Fir lounge in Portland and enjoyed chatting with Chuck Prophet and Mark Kozelek in San Fran…lifers baby, inspiring.
KCRW had us back for the 6th time in Santa Monica, great people. I actually went back and watched some of my past performances online and my interviews were not so good. The music had a few moments but I probably should not drink coffee before these performances. It’s like speed folk.
July was spent with the family visiting in Nebraska. Saw Mike Mogis’ and Conor Oberst’s studio, first rate. It’s in Omaha which I’ve just recently started playing these past few years. I like it, manageable, no crazy traffic, big yards, good eats.
In August we did some Spanish festivals in smaller towns and I loved the laid backness of it all, I think we started playing at 2am at most of them which puts the groove where it should be.
In Sept I did a run of solo dates and decided that my next album must be performed in that way. Don’t get me wrong, I always have wonderful musicians who want to play with me but I notice a stronger connection with the audience when I’m by myself. I also realized most of the music I listen to is one person and a guitar and a memorable/meaningful song. So there you go.
October, Halloween
November soundtrack release and concerts with the Long Vacations here in the “crisis” country. Great turnouts. For all the talk about crisis, people are still going to see live music.
Here we are in December and I’m thinking next year will be quiet and reflective. A trip to Rio Bravo now and then, the boys will turn 3 and 5 and myself 42 in the spring. Another year…the embers of time!