Category Archives: current events

The Ongoing Dailies Production Blogging Experience

Still at it!  

Go read it.  This one’s kinda cool, I think.

Also, in case you’re not someone whose in my Facebook or MySpace loop, and if you’d like to be, feel free to email us at thedailiesmusic@gmail.com, we’re excited to announce our official CD release show has been booked at The Hotel Cafe on February 28th @ 11pm.  We’re over the moon at the invitation to play there.  Hope you can come if you’re in the greater L.A. area.  Come see Mike and Corey (and Dana and Rosy) ripping it up with us.  

I know this is a bit desperate, but seriously go read it, or at least follow the link and then don’t read it.  I want to make sure we’re top ranked on Google, as I’ve started to work the intertubes in earnest, emailing music blogs and media sites.  

Thanks, roadies.

Three Cheers for Sully

Forgive me for jumping on this bandwagon, but I want to post my praise for Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III.  

This dude landed a crippled jetliner in a near freezing river in the middle of the most populous city in America, and everyone walked away.  Everyone.  

I get all charged up watching people who are good at their job.  I know nothing about the man.  He may be a terrible father, husband, co-worker, or human being.  What I do know is that he’s damn good at his job, and that meant that 155 people get to go home with a hell of a story to tell, and a new lease on life.

America needed a hero yesterday.  We really did.  I needed a hero.  It’s all crap and doom and gloom and who will save us and pooh pooh this and blame that.   Half the country is betting the farm that Obama can save them and the other half is terrified that he’s going to throw the throttle full speed ahead into that iceberg.  

Obama’s not the solution, kids.  Sully is.  Sully and every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally, Janie, and Nancy who are just out there doing their thing, and doing it well.  Sully makes me want to say, without a hint of irony, that I am ecstatic about being an American today.  Sully makes me want to be better at my job.  

HIP HIP!!!!

(go on… say it… don’t be shy.  say it out loud.  dude landed in a river.)

HOOORAY!!!  Repeat 2x.  

Thanks, Sully.

Clergy love.

Disclaimer: My thoughts on the following topic are not my most articulate.  Please do not throw tomoatoes.

On New Year’s Day, a white BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer fatally shot a black man after a fight had broken out.  On Wednesday night, riots in Oakland destroyed the businesses of, ironically, black people.

The officer who shot the bullet resigned his position just before he was otherwise required to issue a statement.  One of many theories is that he thought he was reaching for his gun-shaped tazer.

My heart breaks for everyone.  The victims and the shooter.  When I read that dozens of clergy were willing to meet with the officer, I thought, That is a step in the right direction.  That guy needs some love.

Then I read that the clergy were outraged with him, “demanding answers”.  At that point, they were no longer “clergy” to me.  I could not distinguish them from “everybody else”.

One of my earthly heroes is Sister Helen Prejean.  She came to speak at St. Mary’s College when I was a student there, and she revolutionized the way I think about our justice system.  One idea she has shared is:  “The only way I know what I really believe is by keeping watch over what I do.”  She is beautifully and artfully able to entwine herself in complicated and tragic situations, loving the victims and the accused.  In my heart, she has earned the title “clergy”.  Clergy love.

Signal Chain :: Evolution of a Song

Hey all, and a happy new year.  

I have to tell you that I fear that Facebook and iPhones and the holidays and offspring are sucking the life from Addison Road.  We need a mobile app, Mike!!!!  

In the spirit of the new year, and new starts, I wanted to let you all know that I’m starting a new series of posts over at The Dailies’ Website, journaling the evolution of each of the songs from our new record.  I had a lot of fun putting this together this morning, and I wanted to share it with you.  

Hope 2009 is treating you all well, thus far, and we look forward to opening up our musical heads for you all now that the Christmas Miracles are all done.  

Here!  Click me!  Click right here!  Yeah!  This one!  With the little blue line under it!  CLICK IT!!

Mike’s Hottness, or Why Young Bohemians Need Dudes with Mortgages in Their Band

Ladies and Gentlepersons,

Last Saturday night, We witnessed an hour of great music. There have been offhanded references over the years to our friend Chris Steffen, who is the house engineer at El Dorado Recording studios. His girlfriend is named Abby Miller, who with her friend Jen Trani form Jen And Abby.

Chris helped them record their album, working his magic at El Dorado. He invited Mike to come and participate in the recording process sometime early last summer, and all went well, as reported by all parties.

Several weeks ago, Mike played a gig with them at a place called The Hotel Cafe. The Hotel Cafe has become something of a flashpoint in Los Angeles, a throwback to the days where playing a good set at the right joint could actually launch your career. Several well known acts, like Sara Bareilles, and The Weepies, and Ingrid Michaelson, and Meiko, have been broken in part because of their exposure there.

It’s the kind of joint that I thought didn’t exist anymore.  One where you can show up on any given night and catch not one but several good sets of music.  A joint where the audience has come to actually hear music, remains quiet and focused, and is self-regulating.  A place where the food and spirits are actually reasonably priced.  Hotel Cafe has become a brand of sorts.  You might think of music that could be played over an iPod commercial, and that’s sort of the sound.  It’s a place that The Dailies will play in 2009.  I’m word faithing, here.

Anywhoo, back to Jen and Abby, and Mike.  I actually don’t know how old the ladies are, but let’s face it… they look younger than us.  Mike and I are both keenly aware of the fact that we’re no longer in our 20′s.  We’re also growing keenly aware that cruel, cruel father time didn’t see fit to allow us to hit pause at 30.

Mike tells a story of the 1st time he sat in with Jen and Abby.  He told me that as he was leaving the stage, and passing through the crowd, Abby said something like, “Let’s give it up for Mike Lee, wasn’t he wonderful,” just as Mike passed what looked to be a tragically hip young lady in her early 20′s who, at that moment, looked right at him and said… “Meh.”

Aaaah, youth.  The freedom to be a total a-hole and not feel even remotely remorseful.

So, back to last Saturday.  Erica, Gretchen and I sidle up to the very front of the room as the sets are swapping out and people are making potty and beer runs.  We were mere feet from the performers as the set began.  The other band members all had that tragically hip vibe, all looking to be in their mid to late 20s, all cool and stuff.  Lemme put it this way, there was exactly one pair of hands on that stage who looked to be regularly wiping poop off of toddler’s bottoms, and that person was Mike.

I’m convinced that having kids ages you.  People who are my same age but don’t have kids seem younger to me, and I in no way mean this in a derogatory fashion.  It’s not even a physical appearance or beauty thing, either.  It’s just…  intangible.  Kids, should you choose to actually raise them, make you grow up.  I think and hope that Mike won’t be offended if I say that he looked a little out of place on stage at The Hotel Cafe, at least on the surface.

But then the set began.

First, a little bit about the rest of the band.  Abby is a great frontwoman, a delightful mixture of vulnerability, cute-girl-giddiness, and strong-willed assertiveness.  Jen sticks with her Martin acoustic most of the time, standing at all of about 5 feet with her strong features and straight hair, with that dreadnaught looking almost too big for her to handle.  Of course, it takes but a few strums for her to show you that she’s fully in charge of her instrument, thank you very much.  The bass player was a girl that I’d never met, but did a great job doing what the bass player is supposed to do, which is groove to death and never, ever miss a note.  The drummer was wonderful, tasty and tight, moving between mallets and sticks for effect and throwing a shaker into the mix when appropriate.

And then there’s Mike.  Within the space of a few bars of music, dear friends, our humble professorial hero transformed into a churning, hemi-powered, fuel-injected, tricked-out, hipped-out force to be reckoned with.  You have to understand that Mike is fully incapable of keeping his ass planted on the seat when he’s feeling it.  Oh, he might be sitting at the beginning of the phrase, but then by the end he’s halfway up and hunched up and over the keys.  Then, he’ll get out right as the 2nd verse drops, sit back down, and exchange one of those, “Oh hell yeah that chorus was happenin’” look with the drummer, who himself is wearing the unfaked grin of a musician who’s got his own mojo workin’.

Mike’s energy should in no way insinuate that he was out of control, or overstepping his musical bounds.  Quite the opposite, which is why it was so damn fun to watch.  For 7 1/2 bars, lets say, getting through a prechorus or something, he’d just be perfectly content to lay out, or comp chords that blend into the picture.  Then, in the last 2 beats, just as the drums start to fill and the chorus is a-comin’, he’d just go ahead and drop a little tasty treat into the whole mix, which would then just lift the whole enterprise up another few percentage points.

Again, this isn’t a story about how my buddy totally saved the day for this band that didn’t know what the hell they were doing.  This is a story about how things aren’t always as they seem.  This is a story about a couple of artists who already have a great band and great songs and a great vibe who have stumbled across a great sideman, and I can tell you from my own experiences that truly great sidemen are hard to find, and are even harder to get along with.

Anyways.  It was a great night of music, and I knew Mike wasn’t gonna brag on himself… at least this time.  Congrats, Jen & Abby, on your success.  It deserves to continue.  Also, if you try and steal Mike from The Dailies, I will totally fight you both in a dark alley.

A Growing Sense of Impending Doom

I had an odd sensation today, sitting in a meeting, talking about how our university is hunkering down for the ongoing financial crisis. Hiring freeze, budget reductions, program cuts, firing the masseuse in the faculty day-spa, that sort of thing.

My thoughts on the economic crisis have been the thoughts of someone mostly isolated from its effects. We don’t own a home. We don’t have a crazy mortgage. Most of our money is in a good old-fashioned savings account from ING, earning a very respectible 3%. Where we are invested in the market, it’s in stocks and funds that are positioned against the market, so when the dips happen, we are protected.

More than that, I find myself employed in jobs that are not likely to be impacted by the economy. When times get bad, and when people are in crisis or transition, they often look to long-forgotten childhood faith, to the hope and community it provides. When people are laid off, some of them choose to go back to school to complete unfinished degrees, to explore new careers, or to advance in their field. I feel fortunate that I’m not out hustling a car lot, or managing a retail store, or trying to run a company these days.

All of this taken together means that most of my thoughts about the economy are the thoughts of a slightly smug, self-righteous and disinterested observer.

Something changed today though. I’ve had a growing sense of impending doom. The US markets dropped almost 9% today, giving back all of the irrational exuberence it exhibited over Thanksgiving. The Asian markets followed suit, down almost 8% and still falling, and investors are already hedging on a European tumble when those markets begin to trade in the next few minutes.

Banks have stopped making loans. Housing prices are tumbling. New cars are piling up at the Port of Long Beach and Port Hueneme, with no room to put them on the car lots. Unemployment is up. The Fed has decided to buy up bank holdings in car loans, student loans, and small business loans using money that they simply … created.

Today, for the first time, I started to think about how bad things might actually get. I’ve already seen armed guards blocking the doors to a failing bank, when Indy Mac went under. I wonder if I might have to stand outside my bank, pounding on the door to get our savings out. I wonder how many banks have to fail before the Fed has to start printing money to meet its FDIC obligations, and the dollar loses value so fast we have to push a wheelbarrow full of cash to the market to buy food. I wonder if I might find myself standing in a bread line sometime in the next few years.

I wonder if things will get so bad that I look back on cell phones as a frivolous luxury, and regret every dollar I ever wasted at a Starbucks.

I look at everything now through the lens of being a father, and I know there’s a long list of things I would endure on my kids’ behalf. My dignity is in seeing them fed and clothed, warm and safe, and whatever I have to do to make that happen borrows it’s dignity from their well-being.

That said, I wonder if we will look back on this year with longing, and thing, “We didn’t know how good we had it. I wish we had known it would get this bad.” And this feeling keeps growing.

Predictable…like dry turkey.

Ok, so this question is as predictable as cranberry sauce and Uncle Hensley’s snoring that starts 3 seconds after he settles himself on the couch, but still…do tell…what are you thankful for?

A friend said to me today “So what is at the top of your thankful for list…no, too obvious, what is 5th?” For our purposes (yes, we do have them. I think.) here on Addy Road, I’ll take anything from your top 10. Oh, and my number 5 was art or music, it’s a toss up. My friend rejected that answer and made me get more specific, so I said “that I’m healthy enough to paint and learn to play cello.” I’m not as picky as my friend, so you can be obtuse or specific here…I cast a wide, wide thankful net.

Fire Season 2008

We got to church this morning to find everything covered in a layer of ash from the Yorba Linda fires. A few families from the church were evacuated, not sure yet if anyone lost homes. Is everyone safe?

Ron Paul on Where the Republicans Went Wrong

CNN has gotten over her post-coital election blush, and is now starting to delve into the process stories. One of the questions many people are asking is, “Where does the Republican Party go from here?” Nobody is answering that question better than my man, Ron Paul.

In the rise and fall of the recent Republican reign of power these past decades, the goal of the party had grown to be only that of gaining and maintaining power — with total sacrifice of the original Republican belief in shrinking the size of government.

Read the rest here.

7.8 Earthquake will hit LA on Thursday Morning!

How prepared are you for a large earthquake? Like, walls of Jericho, power out for days, freeways torn up, gangs of rabid Lutherans wandering the streets looking for dogs to eat, that kind of thing? A bone-crushing 7.8?

How much emergency water do you have stored up? Canned food? Ummm … can opener?

Fire alarms working? Know where the main gas shut-off is for your house? Is your iPhone stored in such a way that you can quickly grab it, and some decent headphones, on your way out of the house? If I’m spending 3 weeks sleeping on a cot at the local shelter, I’m not doing it without my jamz, yo.

This Thursday morning, Southern California will be holding the largest earthquake drill in history. 5 million people participating, so far. If you want to be one of them, register at shakeout.org.

So. How ready are you? We here at the Lee family … are absolutely not prepared. Please don’t tell my scoutmaster.


The Power of Going Solar

Since public schools so often get a bad rap, I thought I’d share one reason I love our public school. After salaries, the second-biggest cost to schools is energy. Rather than holding a bake sale, here is a more creative solution to current economic woes. It reduces our carbon footprint, and actually puts energy back into “the grid”. I have no hand in this program’s creation or evolution, but it is inspiring to be around.

Victory Song?

President Elect

President Elect

“Baaaaa-rack! Ohhhh-bama! Barackobamarackamaba, Baaaa-rack! O-bama, ooooh-bama!” was sung over and over again by Sophia, age 3 as we shopped in Target today. “Honey, do you know who you’re singing about?” I asked her. “No, not really, but I like to say it, it sounds fun.” Nice. You listen to a little NPR while on errands, you change a little history for the country, you get a little fun song. Again I say, nice.

Whether you voted for him or not, I think I can say this is a “well done” step for our country’s history as a whole. I’m excited for the world (to a degree) that my kids are heading into. One where this sort of thing isn’t out of the norm.