Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Never Have I Ever Forgotten a Guitar... True or False?

Didn't get around to the Brian Monthly last month, so here I am making up for it. It's 1:38am in the morning and I've been unable to get to sleep -- tossing and turning since 10pm (yesterday) -- and none of my usual tricks have been working. So I figured I could get to blogging? Might as well be somewhat productive I guess? Let's see, now where did we leave off...

I had my second post-operation orthopedic follow up appointment in late June. News is: I have now been given the blessings to run, but I also learned that swimming -- to my physical therapists incorrectness -- was something that I should in fact NOT be doing. Like many things in life, discord runs rampant between inefficient compartmentalization; the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Anyway, since then, I've been trying to run. For any of you that know me personally you'll probably figure out why I put that in italics... I've always hated running for the sake of running, and since June 20th, I have ran at least 5 times. This is not trying. I know I've ran a little more than that though, but I have only starting to take log of my runs (and run times) recently.

When I set out to do something, I do it, so... in reality I'm becoming a living breathing full blown excuse factory "but I'm fairly busy with all my different artistic/craft pursuits," "it's hot as shit right now," and "I had a cramp in my left calf that didn't go away for about a week" so that didn't help things along. I gotta stop fooling myself. I did go for a run tonight though, right after my last guitar lesson finished, I hit the road at 7:15pm-ish, maybe that's why I'm still awake? I ran for a whole whopping 22 minutes, and then Biki biked home, which has kind of been my new thing, run one direction until I gas out/whimp out/cramp out, and then biki home with my ego deflated.

The Aloha Karaoke Band, a live band karaoke concept I co-founded and (co-)direct went live for the first time during June. I called it the "mini tour" because we went from a band that had been rehearsing in cover of secret in the rehearsal hangar since March of 2018 (hey a year before my surgery!) to a band that not only had one gig, but two! We did the Dragon Upstairs in Chinatown and Boardriders in Kailua. Honestly, the most fun I've had doing a 4 hour gig ever. Since then, just a couple days ago on August 3rd we did another performance and it too was a blast. I'm now in the process of collecting and editing down a bitchin' promo video (which I'll link to the blog whenever it's ready), but for those who don't know what video editing is like, it's hellaciously tedious! For now, you may enjoy this rough and raw unedited single shot provided by an iPhone.

After owning this beater of a car for at least year, I finally broke down and bought an after market music player for the vehicle I co-drive with my partner. It had been a few years since I installed a deck (I think 2013 was my last installation), I was feeling confident, but, this thing kicked my ass. It was a pretty big fail, after hammering away at it for hours and being without music for weeks, I reluctantly conscripted my friends to help bail me out of the mess I had made of the dash and wiring systems of my car. After a blown fuse, multiple attempts of wiring, sweaty afternoon hours, and multiple hardware store runs, finally, I now have my own music available in my car! Yay.

Didn't end up working for my car, had to strip the wires...


I had a truly embarrassing first during these last two months. On my way to an across town gig which I was already cutting pretty close time-wise, just minutes prior to arriving to the venue, I realized that I had not put my guitar in the car! I did manage to bring an EMPTY guitar case halfway around the island before realizing that I fucked up, bad. No, I wasn't drunk, I wasn't hung over, I was tired due to one of the aforementioned Karaoke Band gigs keeping me up till 4am, but I have NEVER done anything like this before in my entire life. Or at least that I can remember... Knee surgery life has gotten me feeling older and slipping into senility it seems. I did manage to get a friend to help loan me his guitar last-minute for the gig, nice save, but even with that I was still at least a half hour late. I don't really remember how late I was because by then I wasn't really checking my watch for time stamps. Turns out, the PA wasn't set up nor was there a sound guy, I guess the sound guy was late? Oh yeah, the sound guy was me. The singer whom I was working with seemed understanding and forgiving of the situation but was rightfully anxious and annoyed with me (I would be too), the singer had already arrived -- on time -- and without having any knowledge of live sound, continued to stand by helplessly while I tried to figure out the PA system, which really needed to have been figured out many moments before-hand, but wasn't, because I didn't load my instrument and was running around Ewa trying to hunt down a replacement guitar.

I barely got the PA system working after at least 15 minutes of troubleshooting, and being that we were probably already one hour late into our two hour set without any option to push the end time back, a "decent" soundcheck was pretty much out of the question (not my decision). This only further solidified that it was to become one of the worse performances I've lived through to date. It was already pretty bad, but somehow it got worse. During the wait, the singer had eaten or drank something that gave them an allergic reaction. Minutes into our performance the allergic reaction started to hit hard and the singing was noticeably affected by it. At this point we should have just bowed out gracefully, took our defeat to the chin, but, we pressed forward. It was rough. As we performed, I tried to work the PA system, I didn't think we were audible due to the lack of sound check, and especially because there was pretty much ZERO applause between songs. I even had to step in to sing a couple songs to cover for the singer as they tried to make a last-ditch attempt to collect themselves and clear the allergen in vain. In short, as a performer it was a nightmare come to life. Unsurprisingly, we were informed that we were no longer going to be considered for future bookings at this venue. The irony is that we had a gig two weeks prior that went unusually well  ($$$), but, I guess life has a way of reaching balance. With the highs, come the lows. Weeks after the super-late/allergic blunder of a show, we did perform at a small gig -- which had already been booked prior to the fiasco -- but, needless to say, I doubt I'll be getting that first string phone call from the singer anymore, and I don't blame them. I was ensured that this wasn't the case when we last spoke, and that mistakes happen, but, as it stands, I have yet to receive another booking... So sad. But, like I mentioned before, I fucked up, bad. Such is life.

I checked out Mike Lewis' show night at Jazz Minds upon invite after running into him at a field-research mission at Workplay. It was great little show and I'm glad I went. I recommend.

Shar Band got re-invited to the 4th of July fireworks show this year, and so I spent the 4th on my home island performing for my fellow Kauaians. I decided to make a little stay of the booking and had some much needed down time with my ole friends and family. I tried some fishing -- per usual -- but had 0 luck this time. Only caught a sunburn, which I'm a whole lot more sensitive to now that I'm cooped up indoors all day.

After one terribly unsuccessful attempt at recording drums for Console (the drummer didn't show up -$100 and -4+ hours of life), Console managed to reschedule another recording session and successfully recorded 8 tracks out of our 13 song catalog. We're also slated to finish the last 5 songs at the end of the month on August 31st, so stay tuned for the final product. I'm excited to actually be producing an album of my own in over a decade!!! Holy cow. I wonder if a video game instrumental group could get nominated for a Hoku? Probably not...

Amidst all my medical situations it was highly encouraged by my dentist to visit an Endodontist to address the blackening of my front tooth. Depending on the angle, you can see how black/dead it had become...

Having had braces for four years has made me very aware of dental anomalies, so needless to say I'm the first person to notice any peculiarities of one's teeth, be it my own, or someone else's. So for me, the above picture actually looks more like this.

Anyway, already being destitute from the new medical bills and insurance payments I've been racking up, -$900 later I had a root canal -- which wasn't as bad as people around me had made the procedure out to be (the smell was pretty bad though) -- and now my tooth is a normal color! I feel less like I look like a homeless crack head now, and more like I look like I'm just homeless. Moving on up in life, hell yeah. I find myself smiling with confidence a whole lot more now, it's nice. Is this my version of a breast implant? #SexistJoke

Hours after procedure the left side of my face still numb

I still have some follow up appointments, but I think for once, my teeth are finally at baseline healthy state, after all these years of maintaining my diminishing teeth without dental insurance. I swear, deciding to take the path of guitar-ing should also come with a disclaimer *you are actively taking a vow of poverty, like a priest or a monk or some shit. I'm actually fine with that, it's the world around me that isn't.

Hitbox Music Ensemble called upon me again for this years Comic Con which was held over the weekend of August 2nd-4th. Thankfully we didn't tackle any new material so I wasn't overloaded with work between my various bands and this pop-up gig. We did a slightly modified version of the "Meme show" again, to an empty house sadly. I did film the performance and should have access to 6 angles so the promo video that I will eventually make should be a good one! Stay tuned for that. I also one-upped myself from our last performance with referals. At the Kawaii Kon I had one person join the group, this Comic Con I had two people join the group! My unbeknownst role as a music community networking agent is still going strong? I guess it's all the CraigsList-ing I've been doing through the years, that this is what I'm becoming, in addition to many other things.

Note the empty seats in the top left

I was also invited to do a panel discussing video game music the next day with the director and a handful of other musicians from the community orchestra. Shockingly there was probably 4 times as many people at the panel than the performance. I guess that Friday [the day before when we did our performance] was just a dead time? Who knows. Anyway, it was fun, then I zipped away to perform with Aloha Karaoke Band that same night. Boy was that party! I even managed to get some new windward friends I made through Hitbox to come through, which was warming to see them in the crowd.

"Hey wait a minute, how come Console didn't play at the Con?" I know that's probably what you've been thinking. I was asked a few times from various people; acquaintances and strangers. What the heck happened? Well, hot off the heels of the Kawaii Kon in April, upon proving ourselves at the 2pm Friday slot [no one was there], I registered Console as a panel for the Comic Con in August. I received only one automated email. And that was that. As the Comic Con drew nearer, I asked around to colleague's band's if they had received word, in which they said that they did. I guess Console got lost in the mix, and I didn't have a way to really get in contact with anyone. Anyway, at the con I got in touch with the events director and ensured that Console would not get lost in the email matrix again... hopefully.

In other news, at some point my final foot wart fell off. HOLY FUCK! After 5+ years of battle those suckers, it's finally over. Probably has a lot to do with not working at the surf school recently, to be honest.

August 6th is the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by the way. Well I guess for us in Hawaii it's August 5th because of the international dateline magic time warp thing. Anyway, as you may or may not know I've been studying Japanese for most of my life and went to Hiroshima for the first time last year. I was greatly moved by the experience, and so, today is a #WorldPeace kind of awareness day for me.

As far as things to come, I get to play Uncle Brian this weekend as my sister's family from Kaua'i comes to visit to see the Phantom of the Opera. It'll be the third time I've seen Phantom. More importantly and symbolically though, Phantom was the last big and special thing my family did as a family before my parents split, so I have fond memories of the experience, and hopefully that gets transferred to my nieces as well, whether they know the backstory or not.

After all Aloha Karaoke Band's hard work, we have just achieved our goal of establishing a residency at a venue in town on a weekday early in the evening! From hence forth A.K.B. will be performing at the Dragon Upstairs every first Thursday of the month within the hours of 6pm-10pm. Set it and forget it!

August 30th is a date of interest as well, I'm double heading with Console and Breaking Anchors. I'm pretty excited that Console got the booking and that we can present our act to a different group of people, not just nerd convention patrons.

Thrice is September 7th, fucking PUMPED. I never would have imagined Thrice getting back together, nor touring into Hawaii, but, allegedly this is all going down September 7th.

And finally, comically, as fate would always have it, I set the date for the Brian Roberts Guitar Academy Recital for December 8th months ago, and guess what? My seasonal band Rock Opera Theatre went ahead and booked the same date, same time, and same venue for their annual Christmas show. Furthermore, they booked Hitbox to open, so I've gotten triple booked for Sunday December 8th. This is an example of what I believe in called "mental gravity" that as soon as something is thought, said, or placed, for some reason that creates a gravitational vortex. Guess that's the universe testing you to stay strong or bend in accordance to what matters most to you.

I decided to move the recital date a week later to December 15th, rather than trying to do too many things at once on December 8th, or having to cancel one or the other. Subsequently I said fuck it and asked if Console could get booked for December 8th as well, why not make it a mini-Brian fest?

Anyway, my last recital in 2017 went well, but I failed in that by booking myself a gig later that same night; everything was quite rushed. So, to avoid making that same mistake again, I just decided to move this year's recital to a week later, rather than biting off more than I can pull off comfortably. Hopefully people are still in town before the holidays, but, whatever, I'll live. Thankfully the venue has been kind enough to move things around, I guess that's the benefit of being uncommonly organized so in-advance in order to make these spazzy kind of changes.

Anyway, that's all for now, see you next month!