Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Year & a Half Later? Come on Brian

Holy crap. I have neglected the blog for well over a year. Wow. Sad. Let's see. We have a new president. People have been shooting people. There was an eclipse. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot of [tragic] things on the world circuit. Needless to say, a lot has happened!

Let's see, since May 2016...

Well, shortly after my last blog posting I concussed the hell out of myself. Bicycling to the Above & Beyond Acoustic concert at the Waikiki shell, my tire fell out from underneath me and my face smashed the asphalt pretty hard. I didn't know who or what I was for a couple hours. Needless to say I did not make it to the concert... I still have some orbital damage under my right eye but whatever. Such is life. Take dings.



Also in May, I had a gig with Ignite the Red for the Station's last show. I was originally brought on board as a guitar player, but being that their bass player was unavailable for the gig, I had suggested that I hop on bass for a better sound experience for the audience. I believe I had only been playing with them for about a month at that point. The night of that gig was a close one too, I had a gig with Shar that was slated till 10pm... but it dragged on and on beyond 10pm and I got to the gig at the Station with only minutes to spare really. It was too close for comfort, and a lesson learned. Just don't double book with Shar. A month later Ignite the Red would have another gig (that I didn't know about, and thusly didn't perform at). I didn't really know until a mutual musician months later asked if I was still playing for them because they were doing rehearsals [that I wasn't aware of]. I said I thought I was still with them being that I wasn't told otherwise, but I guess I got kicked out of the band unofficially? That's the music biz...



I was also approached by a singer-acquaintance to form a power metal cover band some time in May as well. I remember seeing some general postings of his out to the world of facebook before then -- not really thinking it was directed to anyone, however, he eventually reached out to me. This would -- as months went by --  grow into a fully fledged 6-piece band. We later would call ourselves the Power Metal Group for obvious reasons.




The Shar band was also in full swing. At some point during the summer we opened for Kenny Loggins and got to meet him. High---- way---- to---- the------ danger zone!



Drummer was not incarcerated. Or at least, not yet. Leviathan -- as it crumbled away -- would have its last gig with him in August 2016. The bass player had already left the band by then, and by September, the drummer was incarcerated; one week before Metalfest where we were slated to play next.



Instead of withdrawing from the Metalfest (in my opinion Honolulu's most important amateur and pro-am concert series) because we [Leviathan] had lost our drummer and bass player, I stubbornly kept the booking and subsequently muscled a newly recruited drummer and a temporary bass player into gigging shape during August, for the show in late September. Unfortunately due to everyone's conflicting schedules, I found myself at the rehearsal studio many times a week ($$$) with different combinations of members; never a full line up. On any given session it would either be the new drummer and myself, or the new drummer the temporary bass player and myself, or the new drummer the other guitar player and myself. The common denominator? Me, and never a full line up. I was putting in some time for this performance, and sadly we never met as a unit until the night of the gig. I can't stress it enough. The gig went okay, but, I didn't leave the venue that night feeling satisfied. I was disappointed in myself, but also relieved it was over. The whole experience of rehearsal training boot camp with the various musicians left such a sour taste in my mouth that -- for the first time in my entire life -- I sincerely didn't want to meet/rehearse. I was over it. My own original shit. Completely over it. It would be months after keeping everyone on ice before I finally reached out to those who were part of the Leviathan Metalfest gig. I have yet to do anything Leviathan related since then, but, thay may change in the next couple months. Leviathan fan(s) stay tuned...



 The BRGA logo has also become a reality since the last posting.


I got scuba certified after a two day program. I can now officially breathe underwater, however, I prefer freediving mainly because you don't have to worry about all that dang equipment! Still... cool to have.



Got a new president. Hey.



B.R.G.A. had its first recital in December of last year and it went fairly well! The only down-side was I was booked for a Shar gig that same night (lessoned learned part 2 -- don't double book with Shar) so I had to bail on my students. Lame. Won't do that again... I suppose the most shocking and unexpected thing was that my family from Kaua'i had come to surprise me, and surprise me they did. I was on the mic emceeing the event where I found myself at a loss for words when I saw them waltzing into the venue. Unbelievable. Unfortunately this year I won't be holding one mainly because the venue at which I had it last year lost its permit for live music. Next year I'll be on the hunt for a new location similar to the one I had at Osoyami.




During the holidays I found myself working 27 days in a row this year at the surf school. I think the previous year I had done 28. I want to try and go for 30 this year...



Then 2018 arrived...

After 4 years of SOLID gigging with Shar, she had decided to take a hiatus to regroup and get grounded again. Her EP release would be the last of the performance with her for months, and the last of the consistent gigging weekends. I'm actually quite happy with her decision as an artist, but as a contractor semi-reliant on the income, the news kind of came like one being laid off. Admittedly, I had mentioned to the band previously that I believed we gigged a little too much, mainly at the shitty bars, so I was sort of glad for the news in that respect, however it has been two extremes; from gigging almost every single Friday and Saturday to gigging once a month if that. In response to this, much of 2018 has been spent scratching to find some other sort of working musical enterprise now that there was/is this huge vacancy in time and income. The catch? No license, no money, and no car...





NO MONEY: I went to Vegas in January and got utterly destroyed at the Blackjack tables thus solidifying the end of my semi-professional Blackjack career. I am now on a personally enforced ban on Vegas, only allowing a once a year excursion.

NO LICENSE: in March, after months of being unlicensed, I went to the DMV after waiting out my SR-22 insurance period only to find out that WA state had indeed put a stopper on my license due to an outstanding warrant. In order to be legal again, I would have to spend 30 days behind bars.

NO CAR: I was sold a lemon of a truck although I have no resentment about that, it was a pain in the ass to find out. It was a whole process, but I couldn't get the truck to pass a safety check without pouring more money into the vehicle than the vehicle itself was worth. I let the truck sit for months in my paid parking spot only to eventually give it away to a hassle free throw away towing company. The same thing I had done with my previous vehicle for the same reasons. Is this my trend with cars? Perishable goods?

But, from out of the ashes one becomes reborn, or dies. The beginning half of this year was turbulent and tough, however, a couple different musical enterprises were taking form and some were even taking flight.

After working for just under a year on the Power Metal Group project, we finally had our first gig! Judging by the facebook videos I was tagged in and watched, it sounded like we were pretty good so that was great. Unfortunately, shortly after the gig, there was a pretty big disagreement with the band dynamic and this gig pretty much marked the beginning of the end. After months of squabbles the Power Metal Group would have one last gig and eventually [unofficially] disband some time in May when one member quit the band, and another moved away -- which I had to hear [again] through the grapevine and not the horse's mouth. What is up with that shit? Is this what dating is like when people go radio silent after saying "yeah, let's meet up again."


Sadly, this meant that the unraveling of P.M.G. meant it would most likely take a very precious side project band with it (that was 80% comprised of PMG members). Months later I would find this out to be true (after being put on ice for months), which, is the biggest travesty in my opinion. But whatever.

Anyway, I was sloppily street busking and taking on 3 hour gigs as a BASSIST on Tuesday nights with a drummer and guitar player/singer. That lasted for a few months but would eventually fade away too when the singer/guitar player had to leave the country.

In April, Shar was back! And we opened up for the national country act Lonestar! She when then later go on TOUR! Holy shit! So, coming back swinging. Awesome.




Fate/destiny is a funny thing. Years ago I had the idea to begin pursuing a youtube kind of career (I guess). I mostly wanted to keep myself accountable and musically active by putting guitar covers of various songs and what not. I had grand plans, but only released about "one season's" worth of material. Much of it was video game music material, which I was having Leviathan humour me with at the time so I had a vessel to get my Video Game Rock Band concept out into the public. Years later (more towards present), I received two very peculiar comments on two video game covers I had done.



I would eventually agree to meet with this youtube commenter after exchanging some facebook chat dialogue. After meeting with him, jamming, and chatting about Leviathan and future creative endeavours, I invited him to start a video game cover band with the assistance of a keyboard friend who I knew would definitely be on board (if available).



I also finally got messaged back by a singer-chick who I had found through bandmix.com, although it took months to finally get a response mainly because 1) bandmix.com doesn't allow you to contact other musicians on their site unless you are a paying premium member (which I am not) and 2) facebook doesn't notify users of messages from people who are not their friends. We would eventually start working with each other in the hopes of creating an acoustic duo for work the purpose of getting working gigs.


So here I had a start up recreational band, and a start up working band (duo), in the midst of all the other endeavours crumbling apart, at least I had some embers still going and wasn't completed snuffed out. It would be a lot of work to get these things up off the ground, but, I needed it. A little about me, if I don't have something musical going on in my life to pour my time into, I am a miserable fuck.



In June I finally registered B.R.G.A., and am now accepting credit card payments [and paying taxes]. Holy cow.

I also found myself working with Rebecca again. It had been at least two years since I last performed with her/them, and I was very thankful to be doing so again. They were very accommodating to my NO MONEY, NO LICENSE, NO CAR situation... whether they were aware of it or not. Hopefully I'll be working with them again some time in the future; their music is pretty substantial and fun to play. Lot's of original material, which I dig.



Fourth of July was spent on Kauai with the Shar band. We got flown up to do a performance at the fireworks show. A pretty big deal for Kauai!



Towards the end of summer my boss at the surf school flipped the fuck out at me for whatever reason (still don't know) and basically forced me to quit. So, after 4 years of loyal service, I left the surf school..................... for a couple weeks, only to return with my tail tucked between my legs... that was a pretty shitty period as well.

Then in August, as fate would have it, I auditioned for another VGM band. I didn't think there would be more than one on Oahu; I thought I found all the guys available for one. But here I was, about to join another. I wound up joining them as a drummer though. So now I'm in TWO video game bands.



And then September. Oh September. Remember those 30 days of jail I made mention earlier. Well, I had decided that September would be the best time to serve my time. Just getting to jail was a process in and of itself. But as luck would have it, I only had to serve 5/6 days of my sentence and was promptly released. It was nice to be in Seattle (where I had to do my jail time). Post-jail; Oysters never tasted so damn good, and it was trip to wander the city I had lived in for many years, mamy years ago.



I carved 30 days out of my life to do this sentence, and was "rewarded" with pretty much 3 weeks of [forced] sabbatical. I could have chosen to return to work sooner, but I didn't. Unfortunately I had no money. If I did, I probably would have went to Japan or something with all that time off. I think the last time I had that much time off I was trying to find work in 2008 (similar situation; no money). Anyway, I found myself doing as many tasks and plans as possible with the time I had. Organizing my life, writing, practicing, etc. This meant finally utilizing my medical insurance!

I recently went to the dentist, and $2,000 later, I finally have gotten all the dental work I needed to get done for the past 10 years. I'm also hitting the dermatologists (still) for my foot warts...



In October, I started working with yet another singer-chick with pretty much the same goals in mind as the other singer-chick. So here I am now with 2 singer-chick duo's, and 2 VGM bands. Pairs on pairs?



I also had a wedding to attend in the South. Had to buy a suit, and wound up cutting my hair after three years of not cutting it. Someone mistook me for a girl at the airport, so I took it as a sign. Now is the time to apply for a new job! Haha.





Also bought some suits, and spent my Halloween in Vegas on my way back from the South for my homie's 30th birthday. I gambled as a skeleton and won some moolah. Hell yeah.




Here I am now...

So I'm hunkering down for the holidays. Currently I'm in the process of getting my four various bands/duo's gigging and ironically they all kind of seem to be in the same boat. Working on making a press kit in order to acquire legit/paying gigs. So tonight, after I'm about to post this blog, I'll be making my way to an open mic where 2 of my 4 various groups will be performing 3 song sets and getting precious footage to use as leverage for a press kit. For the first time, I'm hustling the open mic circuit...

Still...
Have foot warts
Back problems
Knee problems

Future...
Getting the bands off the ground and
[As always] try to do these once a month. Realistcally, maybe once every 3 months? But definitely no more than that [I hope].

See ya at the open mics!!! (Never thought I'd live to tell that tale).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BRGA'd

Leviathan still hasn't had a rehearsal since we were given the news that our drummer is still with us, which I find to be pretty lame that we haven't met in light of present circumstance. The members have gotten quite busy (myself included) with their lives... Luckily the Shar band has stepped up the rehearsal game so we've been rehearsing during this Leviathan void, so that's kind of cool, at least I'm pre-occupied.

B.R.G.A. (Brian Roberts Guitar Academy), has had a steady drop out rate since I claimed I was nearing maximum capacity, tragic prophecy haha. This is inverse to how much time I've put into BRGA since my last entry. As a growth/investment measure, I've registered the domain www.BrianRobertsGuitarAcademy.com which, takes you straight to my host website; www.TyrannyStudios.com/lessons.html clever right? No more tranny studio jokes yay. In addition to that I went on a graphic design tear and came up with logo ideas. Bumper stickers, logos, business cards, banners, picks, etc. See below.



Even Brian Roberts the Garden Isle Guitarslinger wasn't safe from the graphic design tear!


So, as you can see, without a rock band for my to exude some creative energy, I've allotted it to other things. I have even begun scoring a guitar showcase track for the new BRGA promo video. An updated version complete with it's own original soundtrack as composed by me! I'm going to use Guthrie Govan's "who plays it best" track as a guideline, and replace the generic improv I did over a Joe Satriani style backing track, and hopefully showcase multiple styles to attract a bigger pool of potential students. I've finalized the first 25 seconds of it so far.


The guitar pilgrim quest is ever-going. I've since had a few auditions, and I think I landed a spot with the local rock group Ignite the Red. I've known some of the guys in the band for at least 7 years and I got an official gig with them at the end of the month. I'm pretty excited about it, and I'm hoping it can help pacify some of my Leviathan frustrations.

Attendance for the N3 Podcast is at an all-time-low, so I'm tapering back its frequency yet again; every first Sunday as opposed to every other Sunday.


With one eyebrow raised, I also signed myself up for a surf lesson app/website called www.gosurflife.com and had a call with the entrepenuer based out of Canada. I'm hoping to operate on the fringe hours of the surf school I currently work at to pick up some extra, low-stress cash. Supposedly this will launch in June or July or something. We'll see how it goes. Coincidently, I've taken the first step in acquiring my "blue card" from the boating department of the DLNR Honolulu to legitimize my surf-teaching. Supposedly there's like a 7 month waiting list or something.

Using my friend's Amazon Prime account I purchased a bit of stuff for the music and the house and everything arrived a couple days ago. Yay! I spent probably 2 hours among other things trying to install some stupid surf racks in the backyard. Very frustrating. But, I'm pumped none the less. I haven't bought anything for myself in quite some time, so it was about time! Plus, I'm sharing my space with another now and they need some room, so I'm freeing up some space with these little upgrades.



Flew back home at the beginning of this month for my niece's first birthday party. It was cute and quaint. Perfect for my liking, and yet another quick Kauai zap.

Over this past weekend I had a friend from Seattle whom I hadn't seen in probably at least 4 years fly into Oahu, and I met up with them on Monday, and although it was brief and extremely low-key, it was quite nice to reconnect even in the quaintest and uneventful of ways. I'm not sure our plans will afford another meeting but that's fine. I'm happy I got to see them!

The truck is fine, but already having some issues (damn you Chris! Just kidding). I think the reverse lights have gone out and one of the turn signal lights is burnt out. Minor inconveniences, but it's nice to be able to go through the mountains again and have that freedom.

That's all for now. Spend more time doing and less time talking. Peace out!