Me and the Dog
A mix of rock and urban-influenced songs for electronic-rock fusion.
Our dog's name is Jackie. We got her in December of 2013 and named her after Jackie Kennedy. She's part Jack Russell, part beagle...maybe has some corgi or dachshund in there, too. Basically, she's put together out of spare parts. It's all good, though - she's 100% attitude. Don't let the short legs fool you, either: she can haul the mail!
She's good to hang out with and puts up with road trips, strange hotels, and my small apartment in the Valley. She loves (and I mean LOVES) Griffith Park, the North Whitnall Highway Dog Park and the Studio City Recreation Center (which isn't off-leash, but don't tell anybody), but somehow she can't stand the UCLA campus...not sure why.
My wife, Natasa (pronounced 'Natasha' - she was Serbian) and I got her when Jackie was about 2 months old. She was a great companion from day one. Natasa was fighting her second bout with breast cancer at the time, but Jackie really was an immediate friend and a comfort. Over the next nine months, Jackie would hang out with her all the time, and growl at me when I got too near (jeez...with friends like these...)! At the end, three weeks into a stay in the ICU, the head nurse broke the rules and allowed us to bring Jackie in to be with Natasa. But a few days later, something happened: Natasa's decline reversed! Instead of 'hospice,' they were saying 'halfway house,' and 'outpatient treatment.' She was recovering. The last two weeks of her life, Natasa was actually eating, getting stronger and healthier...but it was all still too fragile. She developed an infection due to having an immune system that was crushed from chemotherapy. Any healthy person wouldn't be affected by it, or maybe at worst get a mild cold. She died just after noon, August 11, 2014.
I am thankful for that last two weeks. I'm thankful for Jackie bringing Natasa some comfort. And I'm thankful to be able to hang out with Jackie over the past few years since Natasa died.
This album is about recovery. I don't know if I'll ever really, fully, recover, and I know Jackie feels it when she smells something that belonged to Natasa. But recovery is easier with a friend like Jacko. Friendship transcends species: I'm thankful for Jackie's friendship.
Must make notes on a few particular songs...
I wrote around two dozen sets of song lyrics driving 2400 miles to California in 2015. Six months later, I started to derive music that fit those lyrics using a Korg Electribe and a guitar. I soon realized that the Electribe was pushing me into an unexplored area for me: the mix of dance/electronic/hip-hop inspired rhythms with whatever I was doing on guitar. It wasn't working...at least not at first! Somewhere in there, however, I got into a music production class with Adam (see below), and I was able to figure out how to put together the song "Close," which has changed very little since that class.
"Drifter" started off its life drifting, to say the least. All I can say is: "less in a song is more." And if ever in doubt, just snag a fat 808 kick sound.
And, just so you know: it's a 2400 mile drive from where I grew up in Georgia to Los Angeles. After the first 1000 miles, you kind of get in touch with some sort of higher consciousness or something; it inspires whatever it is that generates lyrics. Too bad you can't get it to take the wheel for a while.
A huge tidal wave of thanks goes out to my Producer, Mentor, Executive Music Guru, and friend, Adam Moseley. There's no simple/graceful way to put this, but it's just extremely cool to (a) actually encounter and (b) get the chance to work with somebody whose name occurs multiple times in the liner notes of albums that started influencing you in...like...middle school. How often does THAT happen? What an honor!
A flood of sincere thanks goes to the staff at Fairfax and Seven Corners Guitar Center locations who got to know me because my wife died and instead of staying at home or trying to go to some freaking bar on Friday nights, I'd roll on in to one of those two stores. The same guys working there, each week, would see me come in, give me a wave, and leave me alone to just kind of escape for a while.
Thanks in bucketloads to George at Ventura Music, and all the friends who came out and listened to the music I wrote and helped me figure out which songs worked the best. Thanks also to Eddie Van Halen, who apparently was watching from outside and George got up and ran out to talk to during my set. I guess EVH opted NOT to come in while I was playing because he knew my set would be over if he had!
I have no idea if any of you guys who I'm thanking will ever read this stuff, although it's my sincerest hope that you at least hear about it: not because that might be due to any success of my own, but instead because I just really appreciate it.
END BREAST CANCER NOW.