So, after a couple of years of waiting, along with much pain, personal anguish, and money spent, we’re now to mid-2016. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been bad… There have been some really good moments, but they’ve sure been interlaced with a lot of trying times. I had made a couple of previous posts back in 2014 around Winter NAMM, but I decided to go ahead and delete those and start new with this blog. My goal is to post blog entries more frequently and hopefully condense my usage of social media. There have been times over the past few months that I’ve wanted to just drop social media completely, but my obligations to the musical companies that I endorse have kept me from doing that, along with it being the only way I have to communicate with certain people. I’m a little less disheartened now than I was, but I’ve tried to be better about being on it less for many different reasons. I’ll try not to go too in depth about some of the negative experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years. Instead, I’ll try to keep things mostly positive while catching up to present day events. On that note, I decided to make my first new blog post on the eve of my 33rd birthday to get things kicked off anew, so here it goes…….
One of the biggest things that I’ve been working on over the past couple of years has been constructing my own studio. We moved into a new home a few years ago, and we were fortunate enough to find a property with a couple of separate outbuildings on it. After a few different opportunities to work at other facilities fell through, I decided to take matters into my own hands and build my own small studio on my property. I decided to get a consultation on a studio design, and began construction to convert one of the outbuildings into a small, two room studio, with a live room large enough to record drums, and a control room. Like most things of this nature, it all started off with a lot of positive thoughts and creative vision. However, like most construction projects, it quickly turned into a project riddled with unforeseen setbacks and a lot of headaches. It also turned into a project with quickly diminishing finances, while the expenses were growing exponentially larger at the same pace. I won’t go into the reasons why or the specific hiccups. All that I’ll say is that over midway through the project, I was informed that I needed to get someone else to finish construction, and the more that person worked on things, the more things wrong he continued to find, to the point where he concluded I’d have to basically start everything over from scratch. The building had to be gutted all over again, and thousands of dollars of building materials and supplies had to be bought new once more. Needless to say, this was extremely depressing. I had to swallow a pretty bitter pill, but after another year, things are finally close to completion. There were some good things that came of it, despite the headaches. The design is more open now, and there’s more ceiling height in both rooms. The electrical wiring is better and more conducive to a recording studio’s requirements. The walls and ceilings are better insulated and up to code. As terrible as the experience was, it allowed for a much better design with a lot fewer flaws than before, so I’m hoping that it pays off. As of this writing, everything is done minus the trim, doors, and another coat of paint. The rooms will also need to be tuned, but things are very close to being done. It’s been a long two years, so I’m looking forward to utilizing my studio for my personal projects and bringing in some cool friends later this year to JYM Studios! I’m also going to try to make more YouTube videos and other blogs/vlogs, so I’m hoping to bring more love to the companies I endorse and bring awareness to another new place to record and put out new records! More to come on that soon…..
Speaking of the companies that I endorse, I’d love to give a shout out to Warwick basses, Bartolini pickups, Telefunken microphones, and Locustom pedals. I also just became an affiliate of Pivothead, a company that makes glasses with hi-def cameras built into the frames. I strongly recommend that anyone who is in the market for any of these types of instruments and accessories look into these companies and their products. Their logos/links are all on the homepage here on my website. The bottom line is I don’t endorse or try to build relationships with any companies whose products I don’t believe in. They’ve all treated me very well and have taken care of any issues I’ve had along the way, so I definitely encourage everyone to check them out. As a matter of fact, in regards to Warwick, I’m extremely excited to get the opportunity to attend my first Warwick Bass Camp in Germany next month! I was very humbled and excited to get the invitation recently, and I’ve been preparing some material to do some promotional videos with the instruments and amps while I’m over there. I’ve felt a lot of different emotions about going, ranging from pure excitement all the way to “oh s$*T, what have I gotten myself into!”, but I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity. I can’t express my gratitude enough to Hans-Peter and the rest of the Warwick crew for making another bucket-list goal and dream a reality, and I can only hope I can repay the kind gesture by helping them out while I’m there in any way I can! It’s truly an honor to be able to hang with and mingle with some of the most renowned musicians in the world, so August 30th can’t get here soon enough!
In regards to the status of my musical projects, I do have some things in the works. My current band, On the Shoulders of Giants, still has a lot of demo material, and unfortunately, over the past three years since we recorded our debut EP, we just haven’t had a lot of time to put out anything else. We all live in a logistical nightmare for a band, and this has been the biggest thing keeping us from doing more. I live in Indiana, Matt lives in Wisconsin, and Dean and Mike live in Florida. As you can imagine, this makes getting together to rehearse and write material for live shows and recording almost impossible. We’re able to collaborate on Skype periodically, but without some kind of financial backing, getting together long enough to play shows and even record for any length of time is just plain difficult. However, we’re trying to change that this year. Hopefully we can get the stars aligned just right so that we can at least manage to release a new single or something. It’s long overdue, and we’re all bummed about not being able to do more, but that’s just how it goes with our situation. Matt is currently touring a lot with his new band Audiotopsy, and the rest of us have typical family and job demands that go with having typical lives. We’re trying our best to figure out how to get more material out for you all, so in the meantime, just please keep trying to be patient with us and we’ll continue to try to bring you all something new before the end of 2016! I’ve also started a new acoustic project with my longtime friend and former bandmate from a previous project, Alex Morgan. I’m excited to get this project going finally and it’s been kind of a nice change of pace. We actually have our first show at Parks Fest here locally in Evansville, IN on September 10th. We’ve also started putting together songs for our first album, which will be recorded here at my studio when it’s done. In the meantime, it’s just rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more for Germany when I can get the spare time….
And spare time…. Well, there’s not been much of that to be had lately either. Besides my music endeavors, I’ve also been working towards my DDP Yoga Instructor Certification, and that has been time consuming, but manageable. Luckily, a lot of the requirements have been met by practicing it like I do almost every day anyway. I’ve been doing DDP Yoga for almost two years now, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my overall back health and flexibility. If you’re having any kind of muscular or back issues, I can assure you that it’s worth looking into. I got to the point where I could hardly bend over anymore from heavy weightlifting, so I was willing to try anything new to get rid of the chronic pain I had almost every day in my lower back. After doing it routinely for about three weeks, I was able to not only bend over again, but almost put my forehead to my knees. I haven’t been this flexible since I was in third grade, and I know I couldn’t have gotten back to that point without starting DDP Yoga. I knew they had an instructor program, but I didn’t make the final decision to pursue it until I met the man himself, Diamond Dallas Page. I was a fan of his growing up watching WCW and WWE wrestling, and when I finally got the chance to meet him at the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention back in March, I was pleasantly surprised by how genuinely energetic and real he was to talk to. In retrospect, it’s not surprising to understand how he became so successful. His attitude and personality are quite infectious, and I can honestly say experiencing it was the tipping point in determining to pursue certification. I look forward to crossing paths with him again sometime, and I should hopefully be certified by the end of September and regularly teaching classes!
September should be another busy month, because I’ll also be training a new Harris hawk for my other new endeavor: the sport of falconry. I’ll be starting the second year of my apprenticeship in September, and I’ve grown to love this sport as much as any of my other hobbies and trades. There’s nothing else in the world that’s like it, and getting to learn the sport has been truly rewarding. I’ll also be putting my Vizsla dog, Shae, to work in the field for the first time, so I’ll have my hands full trying to get my hunting team of a young dog and hawk to work together. I’m looking forward to the challenge though, and it should be a very fun season! It was a hard decision to let my first bird go earlier this week, but it’s comforting to know I helped contribute to the raptor conservation effort. Hopefully I’ve helped Vader, who is a male red tail hawk, live a longer life by hunting with him last fall and helping him to catch 34 rabbits during our partnership together! For more info on the sport, please refer to the falconry page here on my website.
Man that was lengthy….. Sorry about that, but that’s most of what I’ve been up to the past couple of years besides working as a respiratory therapist and doing normal family things. I know I’ve left out a lot of other things, but those are the main points in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires the next few months, and I’ll try my best to write on here regularly with new announcements, news, thoughts, or whatever might come to mind at the time. Until then, thanks for your interest in my career endeavors, and whether you’re a fan, potential client, fellow falconer, bassist, or musician in general, I wish you the best in all of your endeavors as well!
See you around…. In the meantime, happy playing, hunting, or whatever the hell it is that brings you joy and happiness in our crazy world! I hope the rest of 2016 treats you kindly!