Author Archives: Stick

Happy New Year from the Stecklers!

Hey Roadies, thought I’d spread a little holiday cheer and whip up a little remix for your New Year’s Eve party mix. June was kind enough to add a little translation and of course, the obligatory pics of the kiddos. Enjoy! (If you want to download it, click the little down arrow in the Soundcloud player.)

Auld Lang Syne (Stickmix) by Brian Steckler


Hensley Buzz:

Hensley Buzz: Worship Leader Magazine has put a nice review in the issue that just arrived. SongDiscovery.com has a free download on their front page. The CD release party was great (thanks to June) and we sold a nice pile of discs. And now, everyone that reads Addison Road is about to order their copy at http://www.thestickhouse.com.

Side note: any of you artist types every tried Facebook ads to sell your record?

It’s that time of year.

Christmas record time!

So, I’m doing a little solo record. It’s the first time ever for me. It’s an interesting process for a guy that is always trying to help someone else do their music. I’m not sure what I sound like on my own. So, I basically gave myself a narrow niche to fill, and dove in.

It’s a instrumental piano record, but not “solo piano” music. I’m building loops and grooves and “production” out of sounds I’m creating by playing, hitting, strumming and plucking our little Steinway. The vibe is pretty chill… the idea being that it’d be a nice easy background to your Christmas party. But, since I want to be able to market it to my church and some of the Worship Leader Mag connections, I’m keeping it all sacred Christmas hymns. So, no ‘Grandma Got Run Over’ on this one. And harmonically, it’s pretty consistent too… lots of add 9, add 4, plenty of minor 11, and an occasional plain ol’ major chord.

And since everyone that makes a record these days has videos of the process up on YouTube, I figured I’d better get with the program. Hopefully they’ll be somewhat interesting since I’m doing more than just sitting at the piano playing pretty. So, the first two vids are up, on YouTube and on my website. And of course, here.

Intro to the Christmas Record

Meet the Steinway

Behold, Emmanuel

So, this guy I know wrote this really cool choral piece for men’s choir.

I’ve gotten to know a very cool local choir director (she’s Zane’s piano teacher too) who roped me into playing percussion for a couple choir concerts, as well as doing a recording of her community choir singing last Christmas season’s program.

Like most music majors, I sang in the big choir at school, and was exposed to some pretty cool music back then. And like most “commercial” musicians, I don’t hear or write that sort of thing in the course of my typical pop/rock record production gigs.

So, inspired by this reemergence of “serious” choral music in my life, I thought maybe I should give it a try. Janine, the aforementioned choir director encouraged me to write something for Christmas, and offered to have the choir sing it, assuming it passed muster.

I came up with this.

behold_emmanuel_DEMO_071009.mp3

Behold, Emmanuel

Obviously this is just a demo… Thanks to Michelle, Alissa and Ryan for singing the parts I couldn’t.

Janine seems to like it. She’s offered to show it to a bunch of mucky-mucks she knows in that world, so who knows where it’ll go. I’m sure I’ll be losing all sorts of street cred as a hip pop/rock producer by dipping a toe in the choral music world, but I figure in the spirit of “lots of irons in the fire” it can’t hurt.

Let me know if you’d like to see the score… I’ll email it to you.

I worked on a ’74 Fender Rhodes Mark I …

I worked on a ’74 Fender Rhodes Mark I over the last couple days. Fixed a sagging key, tuned it by sliding the little springs around, voiced it by screwing down the tines and sliding the pick-ups forward and back. For a guy like me who’s whole career has been with a computer and software emulations, it was an interesting experience. My computers and emulations don’t have much soul. This 35 year old hunk of wood and metal does.

I know Mike is all about the old school keyboard gear, and that Chad is playing Mike’s Rhodes. Well, I guess I feel like I’m in the cool club now ’cause I know how to take apart a Rhodes.

Clash of the Choirs

Ok, so I know it’s reality TV approaching a level of absurdity hard to imagine, but check out Clash of the Choirs on NBC tonight and/or tomorrow night. The director of the vocal jazz group I played keys and piano for in college is the “behind the scenes” director/arranger of Nick Lachey’s Cincinnati choir. At some point, I bet they do the arrangement of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” that was the big closer/encore that we did every show when I was in the group.

Chike

Has anyone seen the movie, The Holiday? Hubby and I agree that in said movie, Jack Black is a cross between Chad and Mike. We’re watching it and calling him Chike.

100 Things about June, posted by Stick, but written by June

Sorry I’ve been slacking while in another country, and after June wrote this and sent it to me to post for her, I promptly neglected it. It’s fun to read for me… It reminds me why I love her so much. (Not that it requires a list of things about her to remind me, but well, you know what I mean.)

Enough about me… here’s June:
1. I like lemons so much I can eat them like you eat an orange. I just don’t much for the sake of my tooth enamel.
2. When I was nine, I lived in El Limon, Venezuela.
3. I got glasses when I was five years old. I wondered how in the world all the other kids knew what was on the chalkboard when the teacher asked us questions in regard to what she’d written on it. Come to find out, I’m near-sighted like water is wet. On the ride home with my first pair of glasses on, I looked out the window and saw the tops of tall fir trees for the very first time. Up until then, I had assumed that they were so tall, that no one could see the tops and that they just faded up into the sky. With a fair amount of astonishment, I mentioned the fact that I could see the tops of the tress to my mom. She started crying.
4. I was a butt model when I was about 14. My dad was a farrier and had invented a handy-dandy little invention called the Whoa-ring which, as he put it, would “change a horse’s attitude right quick.” One of the perks of the Whoa-ring was that it fit in the back pocket of yer (no, not “your”) jeans. Thus, the butt modeling for a Western Horseman ad.
5. Although neither of my parents played any instrument, they realized their young daughter was quirky and creative (that’s what they called unsocial, maladjusted children in the 70’s) so they had me start piano lessons at age 7. I was so shy that when I couldn’t play something at a lesson, I’d start silently crying and swiping at my tears which made my fingers slip off the keys and blurred my already bad vision even more. I took lessons until I graduated from high school. Now I can play about half of three Bach etudes and that’s it. But, I don’t cry about it any more.
6. Tomatoes and/or onions make almost any food taste better.
7. I think different hues and shades of green can be used more successfully together than those of any other color. I wonder if the appeal of mixed greens is inherently appealing due to the vast array of greens simultaneously occurring in nature.
8. Green is my favorite color. But barely. All color is Good.
9. My parents decorated their house with giant, presidential-sized baby portraits of my siblings and I. My grandfather was a professional photographer and so the portraits were amazingly well-done…sepia-toned (back when sepia-tone was real and not a mere Photoshop filter) and with cool, retro (now) frames. It must’ve seemed weird to visitors though as our house was a 1500 square foot tract home in the suburbs.
10. I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
11. As a child, I would create elaborate, imaginary stories that always ended with me saving someone’s life.
12. I didn’t like salad dressing until I was about 23.
13. I cringe everytime I hear someone say “It’s a God thing.”
14. Be Thou My Vision is perhaps my favorite hymn.
15. I’ve always liked my name. I was born in August. Most people give me a nickname about 15 seconds after they meet me. These include but are not limited to: Junebug, Bugsy, Buggo, Buggums, Junie, June-tune, Juniper, Junettes, Junester… Occasionally, people ask me how I spell my name and I can count on at least one person saying “It’s your month!” during the first week of June every year.
16. I didn’t like living in Nashville, but I like using “ya’ll.” I consider it my souvenir from my three years spent in the south.
17. I think it’s understandable but ridiculous how moms are seemingly incapable of not sharing their own birthing stories with pregnant women.
18. I’m not sure I’ve ever been that friend who says what someone ‘needs to hear, even if they don’t like it.’ I’m the friend who says “Ohh…I’m so sorry…that must be really hard…that really does suck…I’m so sorry…here, let me give you a hug.”
19. My first job was picking filberts (aka, hazelnuts) off the ground.
20. I hated babysitting. I did it only for the cash. It’s still not my favorite thing.
21. If I had the means, in this order: housekeeper, personal trainer, once-a-week nanny, personal chef, gardner.
22. I wish I took more delight in keeping house and cooking for my family.
23. I worry that I’m going to become a little butchy from living with three males.
24. I didn’t really like the color pink, mostly on moral/social grounds, until about four years ago.
25. Know-it-alls make me crazy.
26. I don’t think the political opinions most people hold are very informed. Basically, aren’t most of us are choosing who to listen to and believe more than doing the hard work of being accurately informed. But, is it even possible to get accurately informed? I wish I could trust someone, anyone, for accurate information.
27. I went to a different school every year up until sixth grade.
28. My best childhood friend and I continually “challenged” each other for first chair flute from grades 5-8.
29. I had my appendix out when I was 12. When the doctor asked my mom if my menstrual cycle had started yet and she said no, he said “Oh, ok, because these pains could just be from that.” Being that I was doubled over in excruciating pain and puking my head off, I thought to myself “No way….really? Could this really be from THAT?!” I thought he must be exaggerating. Little did I know, I would in fact spend one day of every month for the next 20+ years in that kind of pain due to Aunt Flo. They say there’s no medical reason. Thanks Eve.
30. From ages 12-14 I looked like an alien.
31. If my high school to college boyfriend had asked me to marry him, I might have said yes. Perish the thought.
32. Tribe alert: I grew up believing that losing your virginity before marriage was just about the biggest sin any child could commit. In order of severity, it was above assault and battery, just below murder, tied with smoking. The original part: After hearing my parents comment that “these things happen” when a friend we knew was expecting, for years I thought that pregnancy was a spontaneous and unpredictable condition. My mom never had “the talk” with me. Instead, one day she said “there’s something for you on the table” and upon looking, I discovered a small book entitled “Almost Twelve.” It explained how babies came to be and that when husbands and wives loved each other in a baby-making way, it made God very happy. I was thirteen when Mom gave me the “Almost Twelve” book. I learned a lot.
33. In 8th grade my GPA was 3.95 so I didn’t get whatever certificate all the 4.0ers were given at “graduation.” This inspired a mental shift in me that carried over into the present day: Who gives a freaking flying frikkity-frak about math anyway?!!
34. I don’t remember my SAT score but I know that the verbal was exceedingly high and the math was frighteningly low. When I applied for AP English my senior year of high school, the teacher cornered me and said “Well I’m just concerned because scores of this much variance usually indicate a mind that is truly unbalanced.” In retrospect, I think he was joking but at the time, all I could muster was “I’m just really bad at math.” He said “Me too” and I was in. I aced that class.
35. Apparently I need to teach the rest of the world how to put a roll of toilet paper onto an empty spindle.
36. I like it when my house is clean but at the end of my life, I don’t want to look back over the years and list ‘making things very clean’ as one of the primary ways I spent my time.
37. I’m still not sure we shouldn’t have named our second son Ezra. We were afraid it might seem like we just rearranged our first son’s (Zane) name. But, I dunno….
38.  Before I married my musician husband, I only dated three guys. They were: an overly sensitive boy who became a writer/English teacher/spiritual nut case, an artist and an aspiring poet.
39. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I like Kelly Clarkson’s music.
40. Outside of the obvious issues (contentment, reasonableness, closet space, charity, etc.) I can’t have enough: shoes, purses, clothes, jewelry, dishes.
41. In some ways I’m a girlie-girl.
42. My parents didn’t have a tv in our house until I was 16. This made my siblings and I feel like freaks and we’d watch ANYTHING on tv whenever we had the chance. We have three tv’s in our house presently. (But one is in the closet.)
43. In college I was stalked by a lesbian at a gallery opening.
44. I wish I’d chosen an instrument other than the flute to begin learning at age 10 and to minor in at college.
45. I think people’s praise means too much to me.
46. I’m not always open to suggestions on how to raise my children.
47. Everyone said I was mature for my age throughout my entire childhood. I was quiet, not mature.
48. I had zero study skills when I went to college.
49. I know people really don’t know what to say when, upon learning that I paint, they say “Oh, so you’re an arteeeeest!”
50. A young man who meant very much to me, who had told me I was the only one for him, was killed in September of my senior year of college.
51. College sucked for me.
52. When I met Brian, I was buff and tan from an out of character back-packing and canoe-portaging trip. I misrepresented myself…and he fell for it.
53. I take a strange, reverse-snob delight in finding cute clothes in unexpected places. I recently bought a skirt at Rite-Aid which everyone “just loves!”
54. My parents traded their couch for a nice camera for me when I was in college so I could take a photography class.
55. I excelled in all aspects of color theory and application in all of my art classes. I totally sucked at life drawing and 3-D anything. It probably didn’t help that at my conservative Christian school the life drawing models were required to wear bathing suits.
56. When I had it, I thought the title “Creative Director” was kind of cool.
57. Outside of the joy of getting a baby, I hated being pregnant.
58. Beautiful music moves me to tears. Quickly.
59. I grew up hearing my Dad’s cowboy music. I can quote Little Jimmy Dickens lyrics off the top of my head.
60. I can do a decent fake of auctioneering. My dad used to practice his skills by pretending to sell off us kids.
61. I have classic, undeniable SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
62. One of my more embarrassing moments was when I didn’t quite hear what Brian said when he whispered “May I kiss you?” before our first kiss.
63. For about the first four dates, I could never remember what Brian’s name was. About an hour in I’d realize that I’d forgotten again and he’d be talking about something and I’d be thinking “I know it’s something common, and I know it’s not John…hmmm…Todd? Mike? Jason?…oh man…”
64. Our wedding photographer caught on fire at our wedding. Her sweater, specifically.
65. One of the times I’ve felt most loved by my husband was when I was terribly ill, in the ICU and quite helpless. His care during that time spoke love to me in an entirely new way.
66. I’ve found that everything I ever heard about being willing to die for one’s children and feeling like your heart is walking around outside your body once you have children to be entirely true.
67. If men knew how appealing they are to women when they’re carrying a diaper bag, the stores would not be able to keep the bags in stock. What women see when they see a man carrying a diaper bag: a guy who is confident enough to not care, caring enough to help out and most likely, interested in having kids. I also like it when I see a man carrying his wife or girlfriend’s purse. To me it says that he’s not hung up on looking silly but more concerned with what small thing he can do to help his wife/girlfriend at any given moment.
68. My 30’s are immeasurably better than my 20’s were…so much so that these years make my 20’s seem like some kind of purgatory.
69. Only recently have I become comfortable with referring to myself as an artist. For so long it just seemed too presumptuous.
70. I think my experiences of our family barely making ends meet when I was a kid have served me well in my adult life.
71. I’m realizing lately that I’m sometimes intimidated by friends with loads of cash. I’m surprised at this and disappointed in myself.
72. When I was 17, I didn’t know what, by definition, “graphic design” was but I picked up a printed piece from the local symphony at my boyfriend’s house and was utterly taken with the combination of words, imagery and content (specifically, music) and I knew that I wanted to do that—to create things which had that combination of elements. I didn’t realize that would mean sitting behind a computer. It took awhile to adjust to that fact, but I did.
73. I find a lot of life very humorous but I think I have big melancholic tendencies.
74. I go back and forth between liking my nails really short and practical and simple and earthy looking and liking them long and elegant looking. (See #41)
75. I get unreasonably angry when I can’t find some random object that has been misplaced in the house.
76. Certain sounds my children make with their mouths make me instantly irritated.
77. After seeing the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof” when I was about 14, I desperately wanted to learn to play the violin. My dad bought me a half-wrecked one at a garage sale and then he and my mom made unsublte comments about me teaching myself.
78. When I was 17, I worked as a cashier at a Target. Some guy bought a box of condoms and when I realized what they were when I was holding the box, I dropped it as if it was a live rattlesnake and used both hands to shakily point the scanner gun at the upc. (See #32)
79. If I have to cook dinner, which I do, I’d like a glass of wine and jazz playing.
80. I’m certain I did a pretty lousy job of teaching for three semesters at Pepperdine.
81. Generally speaking, I have to hear or read things more than once in order to retain them but I can quote movie lines from years ago. What’s with that? (Name that dumb flick: “She’s boldy cast aside a slew of stale ideas!”)
82. My dad is like a character out of Silverado. I often marvel that I’m his offspring. He grew up riding and raising horses in the desert (but his dad was a photographer…go figure) and having all manner of novel-worthy adventures. He served in the Navy, worked a heap of odd jobs and rode bucking broncos in rodeos before he married my mom. He went to Oklahoma Farrier’s College and the Montana School of Auctioneering (both certificates hung on the walls of our home throughout my childhood) and supported a family by horseshoeing full-time for 30+ years. He’s presently in Louisiana, helping rebuild. Brian and I call him MacGyver…give the man a pair of pliers and a roll of tape and he’ll build you a house. He and my mom were totally supportive of me being a writing major and then switching to an art major.
83. At age 37 (one year older that I presently am) two of the disks in my mom’s spine deteriorated and she had major back surgery followed by every medical complication known to man. She spent a lot of my middle school years lying down, recovering from it all. When I was in high school she was nearly debilitated by an ferocious case of endomitriosis which almost killed her. I learned to cook and clean and budget and shop when I was not yet a teenager. I was shocked when I went off to college and some of my peers didn’t know how a washing machine worked. My mom got more and more able-bodied but it took me years to get over the urge to do things like tie her shoe for her if I noticed it had come undone. As a young adult, I’d cringe as I’d watch her bend over as that had been an impossibility for some years. I still have to look away if she gets up on a stool to reach something or tries to muscle something open.
84. I think Apple should make a “Mom-Mac”—a laptop encased in a shock-absorbing case with as water-proof as possible of a keyboard and other mom/small child friendly features. They could get tons of sponsors by having each Mom-mac pre-programmed with all kinds of kiddie games, store ads, links to parenting sites, etc. etc. etc. It needs to have a carrying handle too or better yet, a strap like a messenger style purse. (Wow, I put a slash between mom and small child…as if they are one and the same. Wooow.)
85. I love my children and I have a great life. More often than I’d care to admit though, the actual duties that make up my moment-by-moment life are alternately mind-numbingly mundane and utterly irritating. I think this has more to do with my character than with my actual life. I hold out great hope for my general improvement as a person.
86. I take great joy in the sheer cuteness, innocence and childishness of my children.
87. My children’s childishness is sometimes almost more than I can take.
88. I don’t get really sophisticated jazz. It’s boring and annoying sounding to me and the players sometimes act snobby. I guess I like jazz for slobs and idiots. I think that’s a category on iTunes, isn’t it?
89. I sometimes feel like people take a mental half-step back from me when they find out that I paint.
90. I have trouble answering the question “What do you paint?”
91. I like being tall but I do feel a little awkward when talking with adults who are significantly shorter than me. I slouch or if at all possible, sit.
92. I sprouted an extra molar when I was twenty-something.
93. Living in a house while remodeling it, with a toddler and a baby, was one of the more challenging times of my life. I started to wonder if I embodied ANY fruits of the spirit, to ANY degree. I’m still not sure what I think about all that, other than, I never want to do it again.
94. My first car was a Pontiac Sunbird that my older brother had left for dead. My dad rebuilt the engine for me but it still wouldn’t start whenever it got above 70 outside. This was a real problem in the summertime. It once started smoking from the dashboard and another time the entire drive train (or shaft? That long thingy that runs the length of the car, underneath. See #41) fell off on the freeway. My dad always made sure I was an AAA member.
95. When I was in college, my dad would find me a car before I came home each summer. He usually found them in fields and would trade some horse-shoeing for them since they were always vehicles that someone had long since given up on or had forgotten were there at all. He would haul the car home, breathe life into it (barely) and I would drive it all summer. When I went back to school in the fall, he would sell it and make a profit. The last car he did this with was a Chevy Malibu. That thing had a giant engine, a heater that would cook you in seconds and not much else. He gave it to Brian and I when we got married and then when we didn’t need it, he bought it back from us. Heh.
96. When I got super sick and was lying in the ER a couple years ago, my mom dropped everything and flew from a conference she was at in Minneapolis to L.A. and was at my side before they’d even put me in a room. Having my mom appear like that did kinda make me feel like I wasn’t long for this world but it was also really great because, ya know, she’s my mom.
97. I was grounded for a month (all of March) when I was in high school because I was home by my curfew but not actually in the house. Sitting in your boyfriend’s car, chatting (we should’ve been doing something to at least make it worth it, but no, we were actually chatting) does not, apparently, count as being home on time.
98. I met Brian’s grandmother on our wedding day and the first thing she said to me was “You can’t marry Brian…you look like you could be his sister!”
99. For the past few weeks I’ve been pointing out the “popcorn trees” to my two small sons. This is what I called blooming, flowering trees when I was little because that’s what they looked like to me. I haven’t yet taken the time to explain to my children that popcorn doesn’t actually grow on trees. I might do it whenever one of them asks for some popcorn from a “pink popcorn tree.”
100. I’d die without sunshine.

100 Things, mostly about stick

(Ed: Stick left this as a comment on a previous post, but we have a house rule about comments not being more than 93 pages long, so I bumped it up to make it a post.)

Ok, so June wrote this for me. For the most part it’s very accurate. This is a good marriage excercise. Of course, guys, if you can only get to like #12, maybe it’s not such a good thing.

1. I started playing the piano because I was six and my parents decided I should take lessons.
2. If I hadn’t gone into music, I would’ve studied architecture.
3. I lived in the same house growing up – my parents didn’t move until I went to college.
4. I got really sick on a trip to Poland and on the endless flights home, was nearly brought to tears by a Herbie movie.
5. I really like technology….just for technology’s sake.
6. Eating is ok, but I’d be ok with not eating too…like, it would be handy if I could just take a pill like they did on Star Trek.
7. I’m 35 and feeling it. I feel alternately young (and like it when people think I am and are therefore especially impressed at how good
8. I am at what I do) and old (and hate it when my body hurt when I think it shouldn’t and I know that the main reason I’m good at what I do is because of how long I’ve been doing it.)
9. I can paint straight lines. No taping necessary.
10. I’m handier than most: if it’s broken, I can probably fix it or at least figure out why it needs to be fixed.
11. I wasn’t allowed to listen to pop music or even CCM as a child.This is not especially handy now that I’m a record producer.
12. For years, my first instinct, when asked a question, was to give a fairly positive, fairly vague answer. Because of my wife’s influence, I’ve learned to think about what I really think/mean and now give more accurate answers to questions asked of me. She still says that I’m not as in touch with my feelings as I could be. She’s probably right, but man, it takes so much energy…and golfing is way more fun than thinking about how I feel! Hey….I feel like golfing!
13. I attended Catholic church through my first communion. My parents then started attending an Assemblies of God church. I’m hyper- sensitive and overly critical of anything even remotely resembling spiritual coersion thanks to the Assemblies folks. Because of this, I’m rarely, if ever, comfortable being in the congregation during the “worship” (music) portion of a service. I pretty much have to be playing an instrument as part of the worship team or I’m fidgety and distracted and dissecting the music in every way. It’s partially a vocational hazard but might have some spiritual aspect to it as wellin that perhaps I’m not comfortable with music in church unless I have some control over it. I don’t know.
14. I can read really fast. I like reading almost anything but self-help books. Especially if they are Christian self-help books. (Yes, I realize the irony of that last sentence. You know what I mean.) I would really be content to eat a total of 10-20 foods. (see #6)
15. I don’t like listening to music when I’m not working. It’s what I do all day. When I’m not working, I’d prefer it to be quiet.
16. I once brought a very new girlfriend two dozen roses because when I stopped off to get just one rose for her, they were having a sale on a dozen and then there some special deal thing where you could get two dozen for an amazingly low price. She thought I was REALLY into her. I wasn’t. Oops.
17. When I was in high school, I performed a few concerts for my friends and family where I talked and sang from the piano. I wrote all the lyrics and all the music.
18. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of times spent with my grandfather in Montana.
19. I took a class on National Parks in college and can tell you a lot about any given one of them to this day.
20. I like rocks. I can tell you about different kinds of rocks and how they got to be where they are.
21. I had straight A’s almost always.
22. I dated a senior girl when I was a freshman in high school.
23. Sometimes I literally can’t think of a single thing to say to people in social settings.
24. If I could, I would golf every day.
25. I seriously considered becoming a ski bum after I graduated from college.
26. The car I had in college got flooded…along with the parking lot it was sitting in.
27. A good friend of mine (we were later business partners) and I alternately dated the same girl in college. We remained friends throughout.
28. I nearly break out in hives if I have to go in a Christian bookstore. I’m a Christian and I like books but I find that usually when Christians create environments for other Christians I feel like…I dunno. (See #11)
29. I love my children but at their current ages, they also drive me nuts.
30. Whenever people learn that I’m a music producer they almost always say, “Oh!” This is usually followed by a pause and then one of the following: “So, you do that full-time?” …”Have I heard anything you’ve done?” ….”What does a producer do?”… “What kind of music do you…uh…make, er, do?”
31. I have a birth mark on the iris in one of my eyes.
32. When I scored a highly lucrative national jingle my first year out of college, I thought that making money in the music industry would be no problem.
33. The piano teacher I had when I was in junior high and the beginning of high school took me to a music camp in Colorado that affected me greatly. I saw the Rockies for the first time, heard Steve Taylor talk about contemporary Christian music before it was called CCM and collected McDonald’s monopoly game pieces for thousands of miles. (No purchase necessary…we’d go through the drive-thru and ask for them.) [These were actually two separate stories with the same teacher.]
34. I’m not great at sight-reading.
35. I seriously impressed my wife-to-be by playing her my senior recital of Pictures at an Exhibition while driving her to see the sights in Chicago. The fact that I played that piece and could tell her about each “picture” is, perhaps, why she decided to marry me.
36. I think I could make a decent to good solo cd. I just need 30 hour days.
37. I can hardly remember a thing from before I was around age nine.
38. I really liked my high school nerd herd. I wonder what they’re each up to now.
39. I grew up believing that losing your virginity before marriage was just about the biggest sin any child could commit. In order of severity, it was above assault and battery, just below murder, tied with smoking. (This is a direct copy of #39 from a friend’s list. Apparently, there are many of us from the same tribe.)
40. Golfing and hanging out with my wife or skiing and hanging out with my wife is a perfect day to me.
41. I have trouble taking people with a Southern accent seriously.
42. I don’t drink coffee.
43. I feel like I should be able to quote more Bible verses than I can.
44. I find relating to people to be fairly exhausting.
45. I find musical history fascinating.
46. I like modern art, even when I don’t get it. I don’t think “getting it” is crucial.
47. I couldn’t fall asleep while laying on my back if you paid me but I’m told that I end up in that position frequently.
48. I’m currently preparing for my third trip to Poland where I produce an Irish recording artist in a Russian-built studio. [Actually, he’s Scottish and would be HIGHLY offended if you called him “Irish”.]
49. The most alcohol I’ve ever consumed in one sitting is half a glass of wine. [I had a whole glass of Dom Perignon once.]
50. I’ve never smoked a cigarette.
51. My wife thinks I own a lot of gear. There’s always room for more.
52. When my wife was in labor with our first child, I threw up.
53. I like movies. Because they are the quintessential cheap thrill to me, my expectations for them are low and I’m therefore content if there is anything even remotely entertaining/thought provoking/funny/ weird or different about them.
54. I can’t stand talk-radio shows with callers. The lack of intellect and logic of the average caller makes me want to hurl myself off a cliff.
55. My wife and I spent more money on our honeymoon than we did on our wedding.
56. If I had the means, I’d probably drive a really fast car.
57. I’m sure I’d be a better pianist if I’d grown up with more music happening around me.
58. I can run countless computer programs at the same time, whilst simultaneously IMing and talking on the phone but when my wife is trying to talk with me while the boys are making a ruckus, I seriously can’t focus on what she’s saying.
59. I love my parents and admire how they raised me…but I’d go seriously nuts if I had to live much of my adult life as they lived theirs.
60. Sometimes I’m jealous of other people’s money/skills/opportunities.
61. I want to go to Alaska.
62. Even though working in the music industry has not been how I expected it to be, I’m still glad that I do what I do.
63. I like almost anything made out of wood.
64. Right after I proposed to my wife, I bought her a car. Always good to seal the deal.
65. I might pursue a spot on The Champions Tour someday.
66. Looking at art in galleries is fun only because I married an artist.
67. Attending a Pampered Chef party is akin to getting kicked in the crotch.
68. I took two college courses—Interpersonal Communications and Calculus— the summer before my freshman year of college. I got an A in the communications class and a B+ in calculus. The prof in the interpersonal communications class would urge me on, saying things like “Yes, what Brian is saying is right on!” This is perhaps The Most Ironic Fact of my entire life. And, if I weren’t so honest, my wife would simply not believe it to be true.
69. I make barely audible scoffing sounds in my throat when bad musicians/ vocalists perform at churches.
70. I know my wife will always tell me her honest opinion about the music I create.
71. I think most people assume I make more money than I do.
72. I still cringe when people around me use swear words. It’s a remnant of my conservative upbringing. (Again, a copy. See #39)
73. Reading, in order of preference: spy novels, science fiction, anything golfy, historical fiction. [I’m not sure I’d use the term “golfy”, but the sentiment is right.]
74. I’ve always voted Republican, but at this point, I’m at somewhat of a loss.
75. I sometimes like to wash down a heap of cookies with a soda.
76. I remember my dad’s 30th birthday party.
77. I can’t wait until my sons are old enough to go golfing, mountain- biking and skiing with me. And they stop whining.
78. I’m surprised at how often in life one is simply winging it.
79. Sometimes I’m not sure whose family is weirder: mine or my wife’s.
80. If I lived alone, there would be a lot of blue in my house.
81. I have no desire to be a runner.
82. I basically didn’t listen to pop music until I was in college.
83. I’d go a little nutty if I had to live in a giant city.
84. When I was ages 6-8, my mom gave me a new Hot Wheels if I practiced the piano every day for a week. It was a sweet gig.
85. I’d rather give piano lessons to an advanced teenager than to a child who is just beginning to learn. Maybe that will change.
86. If I got to ski with any regularity, I’d get good at it fast.
87. I admire Michael W. Smith.
88. I don’t get the appeal of porn.
89. I’m grateful for my in-laws and their abilities.
90. I think my grandfather was one of the coolest men ever.
91. I’d do just about anything to help out my parents.
92. I suffer from allergies every stinkin’ spring.
93. I like telling my sons things like: “The car is making that sound because it’s powered by giant lizards and right now they’re really hungry!”
94. My wife thinks I could play nearly any instrument in the world.
95. I’ve learned how to build great fires.
96. I rarely feel anxiety about things I can’t do anything about.
97. I know I should generally be more ‘up on things’ but it takes more will power than I usually have to wrap my mind around anything that I don’t naturally find interesting. Basically, I could live a fairly simple life and be quite content with it.
98. Even though I love what I do, about half the time I’m still stressed about income and partially annoyed with how my career has gone thus far. But, being partially annoyed only about half the time is not so bad really.
99. I’d buy almost anything made by Apple.
100. The inside of my dresser looks like someone shook it.

Switchfoot in concert through the eyes of a 16 year-old

switch concert.jpg

I went to see Switchfoot in Santa Cruz with my 16-year old niece (remember this?). So, of course, she’s practically a groupie, so we had to run in and try and get as close to the stage as possible. So, imagine me, (I’m 6’3″) in a sea of teenage girls who, generally speaking, are about 5 feet tall, trying to look at least semi-cool while Switchfoot is rocking out. Now, I’m not exactly the “rock-n-roll” type (not so “world tour” more PGA Tour)… though I did really enjoy the musical and visual aspect of the show. The worst was when Jon, the lead singer, would come down close to where we were, all these girls would crush into the stage to try and grab him. I didn’t really enjoy that part. I could practically see John looking up at me going, “dude, you need to get a life”.

Anyhow, Switchfoot really can play. And the “live concert experience” from about 7 feet from what must’ve been the biggest subwoofers ever was shall we say, moving. As in, I could feel my internal organs moving from the sound pressure from the subs. And the guys were pretty cool… behind the club before the show we “happened” (yeah right) to walk by Jerome, the keyboard player, who graciously put his cell phone call on hold to say ‘hi’ and take a pic with Alissa. And then after the show Alissa got to talk with Jon for a minute, and even gave him CD with “Take Me Away” on it to check out. And even though I’m sure he must get countless CDs like that, he was very cool about it.

And though I’d probably rather sit up in the balcony or stand back by the console to actually hear what’s going on, it was a good experience to get a feel for what it’s like to be a hard core fan for a night. We had a great time.