The European tour is pushed back yet again to possibly March, as this timeframe seems more agreeable to some of my contacts. Sigh....

Little in the way of rehearsing this month, as we are in full HOLIDAY mode. I also learn that liberals hate Christmas, thanks to the likes of Bill "Say-Baby-Put-Down-That- Pipe-And-Get-MY-Pipe-Up" O'Reilly. Double sigh...

One bit of good news: Markus Stauss, the Swiss sax player from ULTERIOR LUX, SPALTKLANG and others, wants to be a part of the European touring band! I'm quite excited about this offer, as I have been enjoying his music since discovering it only a few months ago. But this also means I'm going to have to score these damnable tunes out in a reasonably legible manner. Triple sigh...



A quote: "the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."---H.L. Mencken

Nothing much to report for now...Jeff and I attempt to get back into the swing of things after the intensive rehearsals we had with Chris focusing on the 2 songs we eventually recorded. Funny how a month off from working on tunes we thought we had internalized can wipe out all muscle memory. But they're slowly coming back...

We had also added some new gear when Chris was here [notably a BBE Sonic Maximizer, and a Digitech bass effects unit], but somehow our basement recordings got WORSE in the process. So considerable time is spent reviewing the channel routings. At some point we really ought to label this junk!

Now that we've recorded a couple new things, we still have 2 more tunes that haven't really been rehearsed yet. Until now. Pheewwww.....what were we thinking when we wrote these? No wonder we saved 'em for last!

European tour plans crystalize: Italy good; Portugal looking good; Madrid good, but still 2 more to confirm. We may have to push things back yet again. But it's all part of the territory, eh?

Chris Smith arrives in Louisville on the 4th and proceeds to knock out a HUGE chunk of FTV9. In slightly over 2 weeks, we:
a) Mix "2004 ESPN EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4" X 4" BATHROOM TILE INSTALLATION", to everyone's grudging satisfaction [I still suspect we will be re-mixing it somewhere down the line].
b) Chris records all guitar tracks for "MY LITTLE CICADA", and nearly all guitar tracks for "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!" . "CICADA" undergoes a fascinating personality change for the better, and seems to grow into its title nicely.
c) Chris, Jeff, and I jump into the studio and record from scratch two new songs: "SKA FACE" and "MOSQUITO MASSACRE". 'SKA FACE" immediately jumps into the live set, joined by possibly "CICADA"---we're quite proud of these two particularly. Overall, Chris' contributions are a bit more noisy and raucus than usual, and I find myself listening to these tunes more than I usually do. Warren seems quite happy with what we've done, and expects to finish his tracks for "CICADA" and "SKA FACE" by the end of the year. This will make me a very happy boy.

Tour plans for Europe continue to limp along, but progress seems to be made. Getting tour dates in Spain in particular seems to be a tough nut to crack, but hope remains.

(left) Chris Smith presents his detailednotes on the new French TV composition"SKA FACE". This will be included on the soon-to-be-published French TV songbook
DOWN?", published by WhatthehellisthisMusic.


A pleasant afternoon was spent at ProgDay in Chapel Hill 9/5. ALL the bands this Sunday were outstanding; no weakpoints whatsoever. Much as I loved the music from all the bands, I have to say the moment captured on the right  was my favorite. Aaron got to meet "the guy in the dvd", and even yodeled for him a couple of times, which tickled Mr. van Leer immensely. Hats off to the ProgDay organizers and to the many people I met.

If you live long enough, you will see anything and everything: On Friday, September 17th, Nektar and Caravan play a gig I help to arrange right h'yar in Louisville. But I ought to think twice about claiming credit for the show, as there is a crap turn-out: about 70+ people. Special sarcastic thanks to Headliners, Ear X-Tacy, and WFPK for doing absolutley NOTHING to help promote this show; indeed, it's not out of the question to accuse them of sabotaging attendance. Ah, well. Despite all this, the lads from both bands are absolute gentlemen about the circumstances and still manage to put on a dazzling show. Special thanks to tour manager Mark Powell for his attitude and perseverance.


Warren and Chris continue to bash away at recording overdubs for "2004 ESPN EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4"X4" BATHROOM TILE INSTALLATION" [I wish somebody would talk me out of this title], and in fact Chris finishes all his guitar tracks. Warren targets a 3rd weekend of September completion date. The plan is for Chris to fly to Louisville to mix this with Jeff avec moi in October.

Jeff and I continue to bash away [I strongly believe in the recycling of literary devises] at 6 of the newer tunes. Since the decision to expand FTV9 [possible working title "WHERE'S THE FIRE?"] into a double cd, a number of possible approaches to recording the 2nd disc are still being discussed. The idea is to take our usual approach to the 1st disc, but to take a different tack with the 2nd. These ideas include:
a) Cut down on the electronics and utilize more horn-based arrangements.
b) Have all the members record "live" in the same room, possibly augmented with additional musicians. This could also be filmed as part of a future dvd.
c) Have junior keyboardist Mike Sary record more of the keyboards.
d) Utilize the gorgeous vocals of Natalie Nichole Gilbert.
e) Some combination of all of the above.
No decision reached so far, but at the rate Jeff and I are nailing these tunes, we have to figure out something soon.

The possible European tour has been pushed back to late January 2005. Live and learn: NEVER attempt to book a European tour during the summer when all your contacts are on vacation at the beach for a month or two [a concept foreign to us serving our masters-oriented working-class Americans]. Since this will be during the winter, the new plan is to stick to the Mediterranian and play 2 dates in Italy, 2 in Spain, and 2 in Portugal.

Our Italian touring keyboardist Paolo knocks our a few more FTV renditions.

Guy LeBlanc sends me his dazzling keyboard tracks for our version of Frank Zappa's "Son of Orange County" that Shawn Persinger, Chris Vincent, and I have recorded. Shawn also sends a few short solo ideas he has recorded as well. Some are crazed computer-mutated sketches--very uncharacteristic!

Jeff and I fight the elements and appear on Lexington's "THE TRIP WITH CLAY GAUNCE" and do a good impression of babbling idiots.

JULY 2004

Not a lot of news to report--Jeff and I finess the newest tunes, amid much giggling. One tune's transitions are a bit troublesome, so re-writes are in order.

Warren and Chris send new demos of their contributions to"2004 ESPN EXTREME COBALT-BLUE 4"X4" BATHROOM TILE INSTALLATION", the leftover track Jeff and I recorded for FTV8. Funny how impressions on a song change a year or so later after you haven't listened to a track for so long. It wasn't that the tune was bad or anything; it just wasn't as far along as the other tunes, and we decided to go with a cover tune [the French medley] to save Warren some work and hurry the project along. Anyway, the tracks they've sent are THRILLING and, as usual, up to their creative and dexterous standards.

The European tour is looking very much in doubt for this year. Some of the venues we'd hoped for are already booked, and I'm running into a lot of dead ends with the alternatives. Also a lack of replies to e-mails, possibly due to contacts summering at the beach.

JUNE 2004
French TV 8-PARDON OUR FRENCH! reaches my claw-like hands June 7th. No indoor baseball on the porch for the forseeable future. Also, I am not greeted warmly at our local post office, particularly around lunchtime.

We cut "COLOURLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY", "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!", and "MY LITTLE CICADA" on the 21st. The session goes horribly at first: We begin with "COLOURLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY", and I'm sloppy in places, but the most troubling aspect is that I find myself forgetting the arrangement and getting sections out of sequence or skipping them altogether. After the 4th take, I'm at my wit's end and consider trying one of the other tunes instead.But I notice that I've set my stool about 15 feet away from Jeff's drums, and it occurs to me we might be missing a cue or two because of the distance [with our basement set-up, I am normally about 5-6 feet away]. The difference after I move closer is immediate, and we nail the tune on the next take. Sometimes it's the simple things...

"MY LITTLE CICADA" is next, and if memory serves, mission is accomplished on the 2nd take. "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!" is patched together from 2 takes, but during the second take with 30 seconds remaining, DISASTER STRIKES! I break the top string, and NO REPLACEMENTS ARE AVAILABLE! I attempt grafting 2 different G strings instead, but they both snap in the process. Ah, well-so much for the chords on the ending! All in all, a fine session---32 minutes of music cut for FTV9!

Work also begins with Jeff on the newest tunes. FUN FUN FUN!

Aaron Isaac Overdover Sary makes his T-Ball debut, and immediately becomes a fan favorite [paricularly his 3rd base coach dad]

MAY 2004
Most of the month is spent prepping FTV8 for pressing & printing and waiting for contact from the factory. The 5/14 promise looks more and more remote.

Another portion of the month is spent editing older improvs by Jeff & I on SoundForge 5-looks like we have another cds worth of tunes! So far, we're not sure whether these will go towards French TV or a Mike Sary solo cd.

I think I'm running out of ways to phrase "more rehearsal on main 3 songs for FTV9 with Jeff". And I think we'll be taking them to the studio soon.

APRIL 2004
Warren journeys to Louisville to oversee re-mixes of "Creampuffs" and "Mexico"- the guy has an audio stamina I can only imagine. Too bad he's only in town for a day and 1/2-we coulda done so much more! As it is, we discuss 3 of the tunes for FTV9 and the setlist for this year. We also discuss whether to attempt the European tour, since the Swiss fesival gig fell thru [ultimately Warren signs on, but I think we'll be moving the tour back a week later than planned].

Less than 24 hours after Warren leaves, Shawn Persinger arrives for a few days to work on a side project he, Guy LeBlanc, former FTV drummer Chris Vincent, and I have had up our sleeves for awhile now. Shawn, Chris, and I spend a week working on a series of mostly short ideas for this thing, and record at Howie's on 4/20. Sort of hard to classify, but lately we've been refering to it as "A GUITAR HERO RECORD FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE GUITAR HERO RECORDS". Of course, Guy's participation will mutate this concept further.

Two days later, Howie and I master FTV8 after Warren finishes his final mix of "Tears of a Velvet Clown" in San Diego. ALL HAIL THE BBE SONIC MAXIMIZER, THRU WHICH ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

After the usual last minute art files hi-jinks [including a frantic 2 days of trying out a dozen or so graphics conversion programs], I send the final cd + art to Salt Lake City's ONEOFF MEDIA-looks like they'll have it finished 5/14 [crossed fingers].

More work with Jeff on the main three tunes for FTV9, "Hummin' anna Strummin' [working title] takes some particularly bizarre turns.

MARCH 2004
A temporarily final mix of "Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs" is accomplished. A few synch problems rear their heads, and we end up having to split the difference on some questionable sections. Hmmmm...

Usual work with Jeff on FTV9 tunes, along with a few interesting improvs.

I acquire a nice acoustic Fender 12 string from Dan's Cash America [the French TV pawnshop of choice!]. It subsequently refuses to leave my hands for the next few weeks.

Finally, congratulations to Volare keyboardist Patrick Strawser and his lovley wife Tonya on the birth of their 1st offspring [a boy] last month! The photos are impressive, and someday, I hope to find out his name.

Obviously, we have a new website.

We receive an offer to play at a festival in Europe in the fall [I don't want to give any more details until things are firmly in place]-this raises the possibility of a European tour. Hopefully more news on this development soon.

Warren and Chris begin laying tracks on "Creampuff" and what I've heard sound STUNNING. If all goes on schedule, they will be finished by the end of February.

"EVERYTHING WORKS IN MEXICO" is re-mixed to everyone's satisfaction-violin MUCH more detectable.

Jeff and I continue to hack away at 3 new tunes, 2 of which acquire new names: "LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS! LOOK AT THE BEARS!" and "COLORLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY".

Warren's News Feb 2004
Released a CD under my own name titled "The Burden of Duplicity" in January, & it features me playing keys, winds, and mallets. The tracks are varied in style and instrumentation. There is one Avant-Circus track that includes fellow FTV conspirator Chris Smith, Trap's Gary Parra, and Expose's Pam Thompson, two tracks for processed sounds and soloist, two tracks performed by the San Diego contemporary chamber New Music Ensemble, and two tracks that are electronic (ala Synergy).

Created a simple website to launch the release of my solo CD. The website is rudimentary now but watch for more info and sound samples to be added over time, including an "anatomy of a song" page that shows the progress of a Progressive Rock tracks over time.

Will be playing saxello as a guest with Arti e Mestieri during their BajaProg 2004, Saturday March 6 performance. I briefly met the boys at ProgDay and sent them e-mail offering my services as a reed player after hearing they were confirmed to play BajaProg this year. I'll be playing (at least) four songs from their more jazz-fusion "Giro di Valzer per Domani" period: the tunes Mirafioro, Dimmensione Terra, Valzer per Domani, and Necropoli.

The French Medley is finally finished! Natalie Nichol Gilbert and her sister Denise cut the french vocals and do a mighty fine job of it. I suddenly have an urge to cram their vocals onto all the other tunes on FTV8. We mix the whole thing [all 17 minutes] in a 7 hour session. Holding up quite nicely.

Chris re-cuts his acoustic guitar section on "Mexico" due to a wayward click track discovered while mixing it last month.

Jeff and I continue refining the lastest tunes. We've narrowed our work down to 3 tunes and will pick up the other 3 after these are recorded [hopefully in March or April?]. Lots of recent improvs, but nothing particularly interesting.