Music-related events for this particular week of April 2014, and how many letters can fit in this little title box before it just cuts off words? I am wondering this as I’m typing, but it’s still letting me add words to this area as everything scrolls to the left. This is probably going to look really weird on the page, but it still has not cut off the title of this blog post. Wow. Will it end or will it just take up the entire page with a title? Still going… for real… not even kidding… this is the longest title I’ve ever tried to use on this blog. More words… stuff… things… OK. I give up.

Well, that’s a long title.

If you’re still with me at this point, there are a few things to talk about, but in reality, they may be shorter than the title of this post.

Anyway…

For the folks in the Birmingham area tomorrow (Wednesday), there is a meeting for anyone interested in volunteering to work this year’s Secret Stages festival, which will be held the first weekend of August. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Matthew’s Bar and Grill. More details here. (If you’re interested in volunteering, but can’t make the meeting, send a message through their Facebook page.

This Friday in Montgomery, the Sanctuary will feature the debut show by The Heavy Children (which features Adam Davila of Hail the Titans and Fall of Adam) along with a couple of other friends of mine (Hi, Joe and Eric, if you’re reading this.) They will join a lineup that also features …and the Lawyers and the Owsley Brothers. Details here.

The Sanctuary is at Jubilee Community Center, 432 S. Goldthwaite St. in downtown Montgomery. A great venue, and many thanks to Helicity Montgomery for supporting original art in the Capital City.

Also this weekend, I’ll be joining my friend Mike Slaten for a weekend of craft beer and music. We’re playing acoustic sets – Friday night at the Straight to Ale brewery and Saturday night at the Blue Pants brewery, both located in Huntsville.

*UPDATE* Just found out that BPM is playing at AlleyBAR this Friday night (which will start after the show at the Sanctuary, so you can do both!)

Oh, and also… Deftones:

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“Dear customer!”

While checking my email, I glance down to see the subject line “Unpaid surcharges #2855384.” A sense of panic sets in; the room feels warmer; sweat begins to appear on my furrowed brow.

“How on earth could I have missed paying my surcharges #2855384?” I ask myself. I mean, who in their right mind could possibly miss paying surcharges (all of them, because it’s plural) #2855384?! I must be slipping these days!

I must find out more! So I open this email, which I’m sure contains a way for me to rectify this dire situation with the urgent immediacy it requires.

Dear customer!” (hey, that’s me!) it begins, letting the lone exclamation mark convey a happier tone of the message, almost as if to say that they’d be willing to work with me, or be more understanding of my utter forgetfulness of failing to pay surcharges #2855384. It seems friendly, and that exclamation mark helps to calm my nerves.

You have the forfeits for property tax.” Ho.Ly. Shit. I had no idea that I have the forfeits for property tax. How long have I had them? And why did they wait this long to tell me?!

The summary is in the attached ZIP-file.” Well, that’s a relief. All I need to do is click the ol’ “download” button and get this taken care of.

You gotta check out it before June 29th 2014. Your account number: BHN/11995.” I like that official legal notices are becoming more hip to modern lingo. It also helps me to be able to read it in a John Travolta voice. “Hey, Mista Kotta, you gotta check… out… it… you know, before some day in June.” But at least I’ve got some time. Relief.

Otherwise you’ll receive additional punishment.” Well, shit. John Travolta’s voice doesn’t help that one as much. It’s also kind of vague…

Yours very truly, head of Police department #155.” What a polite closing from Mr. head of Police department #155. The head of Police department #154 never gave that polite of a closing. They seemed to have gotten better PR. Good for them.

I think I’ve written something similar to this post before…

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‘Death to the World’ Montgomery screening – this Saturday!

This Saturday night, the folks behind Foolish Henry Films are screening Death to the World at the historic Capri Theatre in Montgomery, Ala. It starts at 9:15 p.m., and standard Capri ticket prices apply. Click here for the Facebook event. And if you haven’t seen the trailer it’s on YouTube and Vimeo.

Painting by Tracy Tapley based on photos by Missy Gillis. Logo/font and layout by Brandon Marvin.

This project has been over a year in the making.

Director/co-writer Shane Gillis and producer/co-writer Rick Gardner had the script ready by the end of 2012, and a chance encounter with Shane during an after-work trip to the grocery store began my involvement with the film.

A teaser was filmed one weekend in January 2013 to begin fundraising for the full production. Even with the fundraising and generosity from a number of great people, the film was still being produced in the “no budget” category. (Apparently, “micro budget” films start out around $7,000 to $10,000; the budget for this film wasn’t even close to that.)

What Shane and Rick called “Hell Week” was in April 2013. Filming began on a Wednesday night and went almost non-stop through the upcoming Sunday. Who needs sleep, anyway? We’re making a movie!

After the initial “Hell Week” came a “Hell Weekend” with some pickup shots and a very frantic scene in the film. (When you see it, you’ll know – just remember the house alarm.) And after that were a few more pickup shots and a couple of re-shoots.

During this time, Shane began editing, handling post-production duties and then scoring. (Seriously, when viewing, take in the score; he did a fantastic job.)

The initial cut of the film was about 2.5 hours, much longer than the approximately 90 minutes that was assumed from the 90-something page script. Unfortunately, some scenes had to be cut – some really good stuff with great performances – but those cuts and more editing got the film down to its current time of 124 minutes.

So after more than a year of work, work, work (mostly on Shane, admittedly), the nervousness of the cast and crew is gearing up as the product of that work – the final version of this piece of art – is ready to be seen.

We hope you’ll join us this Saturday night for a one-time showing in full HD 1080p, 16:9 format, in the way it was intended. Thanks for the continued support, and we hope you enjoy it.

*EDIT* Disclaimer: while the film is not rated, it would most likely get an ‘R’ if it were, in case you were thinking, “Oh, let’s bring the kids to a local movie night!” There is blood, violence, strong language and nudity – all the things you expect from a horror film.

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‘Death to the World’ trailer + more film news!

The official Death to the World trailer is now online at the Foolish Henry Films YouTube channel! Some language/images may be NSFW (one F-bomb and some blood… no nudity.) Enjoy!

In other film news, Lindsay Garrett (who is currently handling makeup duties for Four X Productions on a music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones) and I joined a “gang” for the film Red Season this past Saturday. It’s a zombie film currently in production in the Birmingham area. A great team involving director Chance Shirley, Jim Roberson, Michael Shelton and Mike Cunliffe (and others whom I don’t know… sorry, y’all.)

Also, there is some pre-production going on for two other films I’ll be involved with – a drama and one that sounds like it may be sci-fi (or maybe horror?). The drama is a story by Adam Riggs (director of the “Ghost of a Town” music video) and the other is being filmed in the Birmingham area… or at least mostly in the Birmingham area. More details coming soon.

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Music I think you should hear, vol. 16

Back in December, in one of my “Randomness” posts, I mentioned this about Jeff McLeod:

“If you’re a fellow musician who wants to compete with how many quality releases Mr. McLeod can release, good luck. (And you should know, he always wins.)”

(And yes, I just quoted myself.) But, in proving me correct, Jeff has yet another great experimental release available, the first of his Joyless Noise series.

 

Another great musician from Alabama, Kenny Johnson, has released a new song that is absolutely wonderful as well. (I’ve really been digging the instrumental solo stuff he’s been releasing recently. It seems very jazz-inspired.)

 

And then heading over to the ATL…

Swank Sinatra has released a couple of songs from their upcoming Sober Cobra album. This band is always fun, and definitely see them live if you can.

 

And DAMS has also recently released their new self-titled EP. Click here.

 

Both the Swank Sinatra and DAMS releases are releases from Blood Drunk Records.

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Glorious 70mm ‘EXT – SNOWY DAY’

Last month, I introduced my new music/film score project Glorious 70mm, and today, the debut EP titled EXT – SNOWY DAY is officially released. Click here.

The pricing is “name your price” for personal use. If you’re a filmmaker and would like to use any of this, please contact me for licensing. I would love to work with you.

 

For anyone who may be interested in the equipment used to record this EP, here is a quick rundown: it’s all layers of guitar. I used a Fender Telecaster through an Ampeg J12T, along with some effects – delays, chorus, reverb, boost, looper, volume pedal, Ebow.

I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening.

 

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Music I think you should hear, vol. 15

Yes, I’ve talked about this band before, and I’ve even posted about a related side project of this band (click here for that), but I’m excited that the new album by Swedish post-rock band Moonlit Sailor, titled We Come From Exploding Stars, is out today! The album is available from Deep Elm Records.

 

Also, yesterday, Josh Washburn (ex Nigredo) released three songs from his new solo project Dear Woodland Creatures. Back in October I had the privilege of seeing him perform some of this stuff live for the first time, and I highly recommend it. (In fact, if you’re in the Atlanta area on Monday, March 24, you can catch him at 529 – details here.) You can hear the new songs on his SoundCloud page.

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Introducing ‘Glorious 70mm’

It’s no secret that I love music and film. A couple of years ago, I was able to combine those loves by acting in Gut Munchers and recording some original music for it (click here to listen.)

albumcover_250In some recent downtime, I decided to begin experimenting with some musical ideas, sounds, looping and layering, making music that I think might work well as part of a film score. So next month, I am planning on releasing a 3-song EP under the name “Glorious 70mm.”

The EP, titled EXT – SNOWY DAY will be available on Bandcamp (link coming soon.) I’m setting it up as “pay what you want” pricing for personal use, so if you can spare some change, awesome, and if not, that’s OK, too.

If you’re a filmmaker and would like to use any of the pieces from this project in a film, just contact me to discuss licensing and crediting. I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, if you’d like to keep up with this project as it develops, please click “like” on the Facebook page.

Thanks!

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The ‘I’m Sorry’ response

The recent debate between Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ and the Creation Museum’s Ken Ham has once again brought into public discourse the subjects of science and religion, and with those subjects again in the public discourse, atheism is inevitably brought up.

But this post isn’t about the debate. It’s about people.

Last year, I was walking toward the entrance to a grocery store one evening when I was stopped by a young woman. There was a table in front of the entrance with some anti-bullying literature.

The woman informed me that they were asking for donations to continue a private, anti-bullying campaign in schools, led by a local singer. I asked if there was some literature I could take and read over so I could learn more about them and what they’re doing. As another lady went inside the store to make more copies of their fliers, we continued talking.

During the conversation, a question came up that will be no surprise to my fellow Alabamians. It might as well be the first thing after “Hello” in this state, or maybe the second thing since the first could possibly be “Alabama or Auburn?”

She asked, “What church do you go to?”

It’s not the first time I have been asked that. I’m sure it won’t be the last. And I gave an honest answer: “I don’t go to church.”

She politely asked why, and I answered simply, “I’m an atheist.” Without any hesitation, her immediate response was “I’m sorry.”

I don’t remember ever getting that kind of response before. I grew up in church, and yes, at one time I was a believer, so I understand her position based on her faith. I don’t think she intended to come across as condescending. But it wasn’t a response I had gotten, even here in the South.

Soon after that exchange, we parted ways. I entered the store to do a bit of shopping and she continued her fundraising. I kept thinking about the “I’m sorry” response.

It made me think back to something I had read a couple of years ago. In late 2011, a study was published that made headlines. Psychologists at the universities of British Columbia and Oregon released a study that they say shows a “moral distrust” of us non-believers. The headline from USA Today: “Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists.”

Did she think that way? Was that the reason for the “I’m sorry” response? In her mind, was I, because I don’t believe in her god (or the many others that people worshiped before), on the same level as a rapist?

I finished the little shopping that I needed to do, and I happened to have a couple of dollars left over (it was between pay days… you know how it goes.) So on the way out, I stopped by the table, handed them to her and said, “I know it’s not much, but I hope it helps. I’m against bullying, too. I care about people, and I hope you’ll think differently the next time you run across someone who doesn’t share your beliefs.”

She said, “I definitely will.” I hope so.

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This week – shows! (And more)

I’ve got a couple of acoustic shows this week:

This Thursday, Helicity Montgomery is presenting a show featuring me and Rae Fitzgerald. The show is at “The Sanctuary” at Jubilee Community Center, 432 S. Goldthwaite St. in downtown Montgomery. It’s an early show: doors open at 6; music starts around 7. Cover is $5.

Rae is an Americana artist from Columbia, MO that is touring through the area. You can hear her album Quitting the Machine here:

On Friday, I’ll be playing at McLeod’s Publick House in Dothan, AL with Michael VanDusen. This show starts at 9, and there’s no cover.

Now on to other news…

If you missed the Montgomery Film Festival this past Friday night, you missed some great event. The films ranged from dramatic, artistic, funny to outright bizarre, but it was a fun time.

Also, some local commercials were made for the intermission. If you haven’t seen them yet, check them out on Vimeo:

The Capri Theatre is showing the film Dallas Buyer’s Club from Jan. 31 – Feb. 13, but this Saturday, Feb. 1, one of the actors – Michael O’Neill – will be there to introduce the film and take questions afterwards. That is at 7 p.m.

And apparently, it’s supposed to snow in Alabama tomorrow, so… be safe and try to enjoy “Coldpocalypse 2.0.”

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