District 97 at Molly Malones June 13, 2019




I’ve been following District 97 since their inception 10 years ago. To me they represented the future for fans of progressive rock. Led by drummer Jonathan Schang and Lead vocalist Leslie Hunt, their triumphant return to Los Angeles did not disappoint. 

This was the last show of their "PreScreening" tour to promote their new album due out in the fall called "Screens". Their compositional finesse combined with virtuoso musicianship all the way around, makes D97 a "musical freight train". Heavy as hell and impossible to stop. 

They played their new album "Screens" from beginning to end, and it sounds like a winner. Guitar giant Jim Tashjian, keyboard magician Andrew Lawrence and Bass monster TIm Seisser (seriously - his playing and tone was insanely great) filled the room with rhythmic and melodic thunder showing LA exactly how it should be done. 

All superlatives aside there really was a lot of amazing musicianship on display last night. And as one of the DIY acts out there they brought it on every level. And it was a joy to FINALLY see this unit live. Leslie Hunt's vocal prowess along with her sexy dance/yoga movement and poses were a joy to watch. Jonathan Schang, is one of the best drummers in the Prog Rock genre (or maybe any other genre)

This band is clearly having a great time playing together. 

My only criticism is that the venue didn't sound better and it's a shame that an amazing musical freight train like District 97 is relegated to playing tiny venues like this one. This writer can only imagine hearing them in a venue like The Rose or Canyon Club: venues specifically engineered for live music. Hopefully some heads up tour manager will discover this "best kept secret in music" and give them the tour exposure they deserve. 

Their previous albums and current album Screens can be pre ordered at




End of Year Sewage

If you're wondering about the title of this post, I e-mailed it to myself from my iPad, and the auto correct changed "Message" to "Sewage". In many ways, when you look at the end of the year like this, it really is like purging sewage, so I kept the title. The original message I wrote on New Year's Day is below. 

I guess it's human nature to look back on a year when it comes to an end. Even though the time boundaries are man made and the Universe REALLY doesn't know one second from another, I guess by virtue of the fact that man made time boundaries exist here on our planet, they have some effect on our lives and actions. But this post really isn't to talk about time and the universe, it's to look back on the past year. Which for us, has been a doozy. 

We lost two animals this year. Patches and Ditto. Both were completely unexpected. Cancer sucks. It took both of them. We miss them both. 



We got a new pooch, Tonka, and he is an unending source of entertainment.

We also made three new friends in the adoption process. Greg and Molly Wooton whose "Molly's Mutts and Meows" rescue organization found Tonka for us. They do so much good in saving these animals. Donate or adopt from them if you can. We also met Teka Martin, Canine Behaviorist Extraordinaire who trained Tonka. She's awesome.  

Cheryl and I were blessed with work this year, and there's really nothing to say about that other than, thank you Universe! We get to do what we love and get paid to do it and that's a blessing in itself.

A word about a word. The word being "Blessing(s)". I use this non denominationally and more in the sense of "good things that came our way".

We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary, and got to spend an amazing Thanksgiving week with my family in NJ. We had a terrific time. These trips always leave me missing my family, but more importantly realizing how important they are to me. 

December arrived in the form of a wind storm that destroyed much of our property. Three 100 foot trees came down on our property from our neighbor's yard.  Luckily, our residence was OK but our pool house was completely destroyed, part of our garage was damaged, and much of our fencing was destroyed.

We're still accessing the damage to the pool, which is a lengthy process. Luckily insurance covered most of it, but we'll see just how much as we maxed out our policy. There's a lot to rebuild. It'll be a journey, but "when a door closes, a window opens". Our property will never be the same. In some ways I'm sure it will be better when we're done with the journey. So out of tragedy comes SOME good. Luckily, we weren't injured, the animals are OK and so is our house. We're thankful for that. 

Cheryl and I are both looking forward to new professional challenges in the New Year. 

Cheryl and I are so lucky to be surrounded by the most important things in life: family and friends. And we never forget it. You all enrich our lives and make it full. We thank you for being there for us. We probably don't say it enough, but we love you all.


Have a terrific 2012.


Thank you Mr. Jobs.

I originally wrote this the night Steve Jobs passed.


It was New Year's Eve 1982. I bought my first personal computer.

An Apple II+.


I didn't NEED a computer. I REALLY didn't know what I was going to do with it.


I was already using a Mini Computer at work called a PDP11/04 which was the CPU for one of the first (if not the first) computer editing systems called "The CMX 340X".
I had learned rudimentary programming (BASIC) in highschool so I wasn't really a stranger to computers. 


Somthing told me that this was something I needed to do. I knew that eventually computers would be commonplace, so I'd better get comfortable using them.
I loved gadgets and tinkering, and being a single guy in Los Angeles on the night shift, it would give me plenty to do during the day. 
It didn't even have a graphical user interface or pointing system (mouse). Just a keyboard.


Since then my life hasn't been the same.


Not only has an Apple computer been a fixture in my household since then, it has helped me become the creative person I am today.
I'm not sure I would be in the same place personally, professionally, or artistically that I am today without it having been part of my life.


Mine is just one of millions - maybe billions - of stories like this.


To that end, I thank you Mr Jobs.



Kristeen Young at The Hotel Cafe, May 16, 2011

Kristeen Young's performance last night at The Hotel Cafe was nothing short of amazing.

A little back story here. Kristeen Young is one of the new generation of DIY recording artists melding technology and talent in a most elegant way. Her act used to be just her, keyboard, sequencer, and a drummer (affectionately referred to as "Baby Jeff"). Since her drummer had a baby and is now out of the picture, it's just her, keyboard and sequencer. 

It's all her up there. Literally.

Last night was the third of a four show "residency" at The Hotel Cafe and having seen almost the whole residency, (there is one show left on May 24 - don't miss it) it's amazing to see her transform from roadie to Kristeen. Technically very proficient,  she sets up her own gear and that's part of her DIY charm. From what I understand, she even creates her own wardrobe.

Whatever keyboard she uses, she's a master of that particular model. In addition to her torture of that poor keyboard (I'll bet the keyboard secretly enjoys it though), her feet are going as well, activating damper pedals, and whatever other stuff she has going on down there. She ekes sounds out of that thing during a single tune that create a palette that never gets old. It can't because it's constantly changing.

It's amazing that it's just her and her gear. You would think to yourself, "how big could she possibly sound?". All I can say is get out of the way, or at least hold on when she transforms from roadie to Kristeen. 

You're going to get killed by a wall of sound. O, but what a way to go. 

Most of her show during this residency has been made up of songs from her new EP "V the Volcanic" which is seven songs based on the supporting characters from seven films. A bio on her website explains this in great detail and it's fascinating. The EP is terrific, but we'll save that for another review.

She needs to be seen live.

Last night's show was kind of interesting as the first part of the show was fraught with technical difficulties including: a fall (yes, and she kept singing - no - belting it out from the floor), microphone falls, and a complete microphone outage.

I've never seen a performer so ELEGANTLY deal with so much in the first few minutes of a show. Like a warrior she shook it off and came back to the battle even stronger!

Her vocal performances (especially on the "torch songs" ) "Why Can't it Be Me?, and "Everybody Wants Me to Cry" were the high points of the evening. Kristeen's voice assaulted the room with a confidence and power that left the audience spontaneously breaking into applause on more than one occasion. 

She looked like she was having a TERRIFIC time up on that stage as well. And why shouldn't she. It was HER room and she knew it. Her stretched out her tongue roll at the end of "Touch Tongues" was just one of the "tidbits of tension" that she sprinkled into her performance. We were hers and she was teasing us in the most delicious way. 


They say that performers have nights of magic. 

Last night at the Hotel Cafe was surely one of those nights.



The Power of Music

I just watched a YouTube clip that actually caused me to have a physical reaction. The hair on my arms started to stand up. I was being physically moved by a virtual intangible. I started to wonder about this.

Actually, I'm not so sure it was the video, but the circumstances of the event, and more importantly the music that caused me to have a physical reaction. 

Is it possible, that something as intangible as a sound can actually cause someone to react physically to it's very presence?

I think so. I've often said "nothing moves me like music", except maybe a woman. But you can hold a woman. Music is something (to me anyway) that pretty intangible. You can hear it. But...

You can't see it.

You can't touch it.

Yet it can cause a physical reaction. This amazes me, I don't know why, it just does. 

The video in question (after the jump) is the performace of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" at the O2 Arena in London during Roger Waters' "The Wall" tour on May 12, 2011. I guess what made this particular performance special to me is that it is the song "Comfortably Numb" which IMHO has one of the great guitar solos of all time (did I mention that I've been playing guitar since I was 8?) and more importantly, the solo was played by the original purveyor of said solo - David Gilmour. And he hasn't been with Roger Waters as Pink Floyd (except for a single performance a couple of years back) for quite some time so I'm sure that was a component as well. 

David Gilmour has been a HUGE influence on me musically and more importantly, my playing. I know artists aren't supposed to do this, but if you listen to my 2001 album "The Apostle of Reality" (available on Itunes, CD Baby and every other digital download site) there is a tune called "The Fire Won".

I was having a terrible time finishing this tune. I wanted it to have an "epic" ending.

And then I heard "Comfortably Numb" on the radio, more importantly, that glorious guitar solo., The idea hit me, "Do YOUR take on that solo". So I did. I didn't rip it off. Actually, it sounds nothing like it, but I wanted to capture that vibe in the solo. A feeling of release.

DOES music move you?