Friday, May 30, 2008

Location: Seattle
Mood: Happy and content
Purpose for being in Seattle (other than the fact that it is my favorite city in the US): John Frazier's wedding celebration

Wednesday at noon we rolled into the studio for the last day of our session at Drexel. At 5:40 A.M. we were loaded out and on our way to the airport for our 6:20 flight. We missed it. We did have the fortune of getting placed on a 7:30 A.M. flight so it all worked out fine. We arrived in Seattle and finally got to sleep in a bed.
Last night we went out on the town for John's bachelor party and had a great time. We received the royal treatment and had a wonderful dinner followed by drinks and cigars in the traditional fashion. It was a wonderful night and it was an honor to be part of a night like that with such a great friend. Congratulations to John and Laura!
The wedding is Saturday and they have asked us to play a show in their honor, which is why we are playing Sunday night with Anberlin. If you are in Seattle, stop by and say hi to us and congratulations to the guy in metal diaper and ball and chain (pictured above ;)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday morning in the glorious Philadelphia. Our days begin with lunch and end around 5Am. I am tired and I am happy. It feels good to be digging deep again. The music is flowing. The ideas are stimulating. The stories are being crafted. The melodies and rhythms are moving through us as if guided by an invisible hand. Maybe we are just the instruments. I have to be the first to admit that it comes through rather than from me. Have you ever had a moment of creativity that you can't take credit for? That is art.
The weather is even playing its part. The sky looks like a symphony every day. It unfolds and wraps the buildings in deep shades of light and cloud. The air is a strange and pleasant cool warm like the Atlantic Ocean on a September afternoon.
When do you feel most aware of the larger story that we are all a part of? When do you feel most enraptured by connection of all things? When do you feel most grateful to be alive? When do you feel peace? When do you choose not to give up hope? When do you feel like the art that you are?
You have been crafted and you are a work of art. Allow yourself to see everything for what it is an be humbled by your own role in this masterpiece. You are important. You are beautiful. You are art.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Current location: Sheraton 4 Points in Philadelphia, PA.
Current time: 4:16 AM
Flights since yesterday morning: 3
Hours slept: not enough

The Bourke and Bethany wedding was really special. It was held in the back yard of a beautiful Spanish style mansion that Bethany's grandfather, Max, had built several years ago. It was glorious; the kind of property that takes your breath away as you move into view of it.
The wedding took place as the sun sunk low into the horizon. Purple, red, and soft blues and peach yellows adorned the sky presiding over the festivities. Candles lit the gardens and covered the layers of giant stone and cacti. Water trickled down between the rocks and painted gentle ripples in the pool.
The smell of fine Italian food filled the air like music and a cool, happy stillness encompassed everyone not engrossed in pleasant conversation.
The ceremony itself was short, traditional, sweet, and to the point. As the best man to the groom, I had to make a toast after dinner. I was a bit nervous but it went fine and I even got a few compliments later in the evening.
After the cake and the dancing, several of us headed back to the Marriott resort for an after party. Bourke had served as the spokes person for the Children's Miracle Network and developed a friendship with Bob Marriott. Bob was kind enough to offer the suite for the party. Thanks Bob ;)
We hung out by the fire pits and on the private balcony in the room until 3AM. I took a nap until 3:30AM and got a quick shower before departing for the airport. My flight left Tucson at 5:05 AM and connected to Norfolk via Houston. I was in a rush because Mae was performing outside Washington D.C. and I had to make the 4 hour drive from Norfolk to D.C. and be on stage four hours and 15 minutes after landing. Talk about pressure!
When I arrived in Norfolk I had an urgent message from our tour manager/sound engineer Tom. I called him back right away and learned that I now had a last minute flight from Norfolk to D.C. because I didn't have enough time to make it.
All things worked out and Dave picked me up at the airport and we made it to the show with 45 minutes to spare.
The show was wonderful and the weather, the staff, and the fans made the night complete. We stayed the night in town and left for Pa this afternoon.
We will be recording some new ideas at Drexel University all this week. Chris Frangicetto of the magnificent band, Days Away, is joining us in the studio as we hash out some new stuff and I can't wait to play with him tomorrow.
I am tired but happy. I hope you are well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I love the analogy about light and the horizon from the chapter in God's Debris. I woke up for a few moments on my flight into Tucson and got a couple of great sky views. This almost feels like you are in space, looking down at the curvature of the Earth.
If light is truly as mystical as the physics suggests, is it any wonder that God is described in scriptures as "light."
1 John 1:5 says, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
Hmmm. This is interesting. I really like the idea that God is trying to be described in terms that humans can understand. If you are trying to explain a complicated concept to a child, you tend to try to put that concept into some kind of form that the child could relate to. That is the only way that the meaning can be conveyed. Isn't that the most important thing about communication? Isn't the point to allow not just the knowledge, but the understanding of that knowledge to be transfered in the communication process?
So, what is light?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Its a little after midnight. I leave for Arizona at 5AM and I am quickly approaching the line where no sleep is better than some sleep. If I sleep for two hours, I will be more tired than if I wait and sleep on the plane. Hmmm. The dilemma.
My brother and friend, Bourke, is getting married to a lovely lady named Bethany. I am really happy for them. It should be fun catching up and celebrating this new chapter if their lives. The wedding is Saturday night and this is where the problem is.
We are playing a festival show Sunday in Louden County VA and my flight lands in Va Beach at 2PM. Our set time is 7PM. The drive will be aprx 4 hours. Fortunately my other brother Paul will be driving me there at top speed and we will make it work :)
From Louden County we head to Philly for ten days of recording at Drexel University and we fly from Philly to Seattle for another wedding and a show with Anberlin (who will be opening with an acoustic set).
I love "time off."

How are you? Have you been to any weddings? Any good wedding stories?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


"Consider light," the old man said. "Our world appears infused with light's energy. But what is light?"
"It's made of photons," I said, thinking that was a start. By then I should have known better. I think he ignored my answer.
"If you were in a spaceship racing a beam of light, and you were moving at ninety-nine percent the speed of light, how much faster would the light be?"
"About one percent of the speed of light, obviously. I don't know the miles per hour."
"Not according to Einstein. He proved that the light beam would be faster than your rocket ship by the speed of light, no matter how fast you are traveling."
"That doesn't make any sense. But it sounds vaguely familiar. Did he really say that?"
"Yes, and it is accepted as fact in the physics world."
"That's, ridiculous," I said. "If I'm traveling ninety-nine percent as fast as the light beam, in the same direction as the light, the light beam can't be faster than me by the same speed as if I weren't moving at all."
"It's ridiculous indeed. But scientists claim it is proven."
"What if two rocket ships were racing the light beam and one was ninety-nine percent as fast as light and the other was fifty percent as fast? The light can't be faster than both of them by exactly the speed of light."
"And yet it would be."
"Okay, that's just plain crazy," I replied. "You see, the light beam should be speeding away from the slower ship. That's common sense."
"It's common and it's wrong, according to scientific tests," he argued. "It turns out that time and motion and the speed of light are different for all observers. We don't notice it in daily life because the difference is very slight for slow-moving objects. But as you approach the speed of light, the differences become evident.
"It is literally true that no two people share the same reality. Einstein proved that reality is not one fixed state. Instead, it is an infinite number of unique realities, depending on where you are and how fast you are moving.
"If you were a passenger in the slow rocket ship that you used in your example, I would observe you pulling away from me at high speed. But from the perspective of the light beam, neither of us is moving at all. Both versions of reality are verifiably true, yet they are absurd when considered together."
"So what the heck is light?" I asked.
"Light is the outer limit of what is possible. It is not a physical thing; it is a boundary. Scientists agree that light has no mass. By analogy, think of earth's horizon. The horizon is not a physical thing. It is a concept. If you tried to put some horizon in a bucket, you couldn't do it.
"Yet the horizon is observable and understandable. It seems to be physical and it seems to have form and substance. But when you run toward the horizon, no matter how fast you go, it seems to stay ahead of you by the same distance. You can never reach the horizon, no matter how fast you move."
He continued. "Light is analogous to the horizon. It is a boundary that gives the illusion of being a physical thing. Like the horizon, it appears to move away from you at a constant speed no matter how fast you are moving. We observe things that we believe are light, like the searchlight in the night sky, the cloud-red sunset. But those things are not light; they are merely boundaries between different probabilities.
"Consider two plants. One is in direct light and the other is in perpetual shadow. The lighted plant experiences more possibilities because it lives longer and grows bigger and stronger. Eventually it will die, but not before it experiences many more possibilities than its shaded counterpart."
"Okay," I said, "I'm having trouble imagining light as not being a physical thing. How can it influence physical things if it isn't physical itself?"
"There are plenty of nonphysical things that affect the world," he said. "Gravity is not physical, and yet it seems to keep you from floating off the earth. Probability is not physical, but it influences a coin toss anywhere in the universe. An idea is not physical and it can change civilization."
"I don't think ideas are an example of something nonphysical changing civilization. The brains of the people involved are physical things, and they influence our bodies, which are physical. I don't see how ideas really enter into it, except in the way we label things. Ideas don't float around in space by themselves. They're always associated with something physical in our brains."
"Suppose I write a hurtful insult on a piece of paper and hand it to you," he replied. "The note is physical, but when you look at it, the information enters your mind over a pathway of light. Remember that light has no mass. Like magnetic fields, light exists in no physical form. When the insult on the note travels across the light path from the note to your eyes it is completely nonphysical for the duration of the trip. The insult encoded in the light is no more real than a horizon. It is a pure transfer of probability from me to you. When the insult registers in your mind, physical things start to happen. You may get angry and your neck and forehead might get hot. You might even punch me. Light is the messenger of probability, but neither the light nor the message has mass.
"When we feel the warmth of sunlight, we are feeling the effect of increased probabilities and, therefore, increased activity of our skin cells, not the effect of photons striking our skin. Photons have no mass, the scientists tell us. That is another way to say they do not exist except as a concept."
He continued. "You might have heard it said that light is both a particle and a wave, sometimes behaving like one, sometimes like the other, depending on the circumstance. That is like saying sometimes your shadow is long and sometimes it is short. Your shadow is not a physical thing; it is an impression, a perception, left by physical things. It is a boundary, not an object.
"Light can be thought of as zones of probability that surround all things. A star, by virtue of its density, has high probability that two of its God-dust particles will pop into existence in the same location, forcing one of them to adjust, creating a new and frantic probability. That activity, the constant adjusting of location and probability, is what we perceive as energy.
"The reason you cannot catch up to a light beam, no matter how fast you travel, is that the zone of probability moves with you like your shadow. Trying to race light is like trying to run away from your own thoughts.
"The so-called speed of light is simply the limit to how far a particle can pop into existence from its original location. If a particle pops into existence a short distance from its original position, the perceived speed of that particle will be slow. If each new appearance is a great distance from the starting point, the perceived speed will be much faster. There is a practical limit to how far from its original distance a particle is likely to appear. That limit is what gives light an apparent top speed."
"My brain hurts," I said.

A perfect show.

Off to my sister Addilynn's graduation party. Didn't get home til 6am so I am a little tired. But so, so worth it!

Has anyone else seen this tour yet and care to comment?

Friday, May 09, 2008

I am leaving this morning. I am climbing into a car with one of my best friends, Paul, and headed to Charlotte, NC to see Radiohead. The weeks I have spent in anticipation of this day are now being traded for the joy of the departure. I have no idea how this event will change my perspective on music or on life. But I expect it to be profound.
I will keep you posted :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What a weekend! We departed Virginia at 6AM Friday morning headed for three secret shows. Friday evening's Hoodwinked Festival and Saturday afternoon's Bamboozle Festival both took place in the parking lot of Giant's Stadium where the weather was moody and cold. Sunday night was a last minute college show in western NY with our friends in Switchfoot.
Festivals are both awesome and terrible. There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing hundreds of people you know and care about all gathered in one place. The downside is disorganization, chaos, and the fact that there is never enough time to see everyone you want to see.
The highlight for me was getting to take this picture Saturday night as Jimmy Eat World closed their stage. The rain had started to fall and the temperature had dropped significantly after the sun went down. There were about forty people huddled backstage waiting for JEW to play. Right as the band took the stage, the security guards blocked the entrance and no one could watch. Our booking agent, Eva, was somehow able to get Dave, my lady and myself all onto the stage to watch the entire show. It was magical :)
Thousands of people were engaged in the show and waited until the very end to leave. Right after they finished Snoop started playing on the other main stage and we went to watch for a bit. I had been hanging for most of the evening with our A&R Louie and a long time friend Randy Nichols. We had some good discussion about the music industry and the current state of affairs. We finished our night at the Red Bull after party and ran into several good friends including Andrew McMahon and the Jack's Mannequin crew. I got a great update on the film and things are starting to pick up momentum. They are hoping to have it out by September! Keep your fingers crossed that things don't get bogged down in red tape and hopefully you will finally get to see this fantastic story.
The Switchfoot show was a lot of fun and those remain some the most humble and genuine people I have met in this business. They put on a wonderful show and we talked of the possibility of a full tour together at some point in the future. It would be fun.

I am on a film and book rampage these days. If you want to discuss any of the following, please throw in your comments.
Film (watched since the weekend)
1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
2. Helvetica
3. 10 Questions for the Dali Lama
4. Biography of Salvidor Dali
5. Stay
6. Mozart and the Whale
7. Pollock
8. Abre Los Ojos (the original film the inspired Vanilla Sky)

Books (currently reading)
1. The Music Lesson (by bass god Victor Wooten)
2. Musicophilia (by Oliver Sacks)
3. God's Debris (by Scott Adams)
4. Philosophy in a New Key; A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art (by Susanne Langer)