Sunday, November 15, 2015

Amazing Night: Beach Slang and Lithuania Rock L.A.

The Boys of Beach Slang, L to R: Ed (Bass), JP (Drums),
James (Vocals/Guitar), Ruben (Guitar)
 Last night my girlfriend Teri, our friend Todd and I went to the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles to see the sold-out show of Beach Slang.

The first opener was Brooklyn's Worriers, who play a great set.  Next up was Philadelphia's rock trio Lithuania, who really blew me away.  I bought their new record Hardcore Friends after the show and am now a fan for life.  I highly recommend checking them out.  That record is available now on iTunes.
Then Beach Slang, a four-peice band also from Philly, came out and delighted the packed house for what must have been at least 2 hours.  They told us that they played every song they knew of their own, added in four great covers, and then played two of their most popular songs, "American Girls and French Kisses" and "Punk or Lust" a second time each to close out the incredible show.

It was a special treat for me, because I've known James Alex, the frontman and primary songwriter for the band, for years, dating back to when I was in my old band Victor Bravo, and James was in one of his early former rock outfits Cordova.  From the first time I ever saw him play at the old Knitting Factory in lower Manhattan, I've known what nearly everyone who has ever seen him knows - that he is an extremely gifted and talented songwriter and rock performer, born to be on stage and thrill audiences.  He also happens to be one of the sweetest, nicest and most genuine guys I've ever met.  A pretty incredible combination.

I was so happy that Teri, Todd and I could be there last night to witness such an amazing show.  Beach Slang are officially big, with their most recent record getting rave reviews from SPIN magazine, Stereogum, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone Australia. But it's reasonable to assume that they will continue their incredible journey and get bigger still, and in my opinion they deserve every ounce of success coming their way.

If you haven't heard their music yet, check it out and buy their 2 amazing EP's, Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? and Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street, and their brand-new LP, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, all available now on iTunes.  Hear for yourself this band's infectiously catchy rock music and James' raw and magical lyrics.

I hope Beach Slang and Lithuania come back to L.A. again real soon, so I can rock out with them again.  Until then, I'll be blasting their records and singing along.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Awesome Shows!

I had an amazing time playing my first L.A. show EVER at Elderberries Cafe on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on Saturday. I played 5 songs from the new album I'm working on: 

1. You Can Go Home Again
2. Quiet Cries
3. Fly Baby Fly
4. 20 Faces of Love
5. Landed

I had SO MUCH FUN!!!  It was wonderful to be up singing and strumming on stage for people once again.  I am so grateful to everyone who came out to be a part of it..special thanks to Teri, Corey, Ashley, Esther, John, and Todd for being there. Big thanks to Todd Pate for booking me, Brad for assisting me with set-up, and Elderberries for hosting the show. And extra extra thanks to my amazing partner-in-crime Teri for taking photos and shooting video. I'll be posting some of those soon! 

 Also wanted to elaborate on my last post - the Corey Landis and The Attacks show at The Viper Room Sunday Oct 11 was incredible. I've been a fan of Corey's for many years now, but had never seen him play live, and had never seen him with his band. The Attacks' drummer Mike and bassist Ryan are awesome, and the trio put on a high-energy show that had the whole crowd rockin'. I was very glad I could be there and be a part of such a great night. They're starting work on a full LP and I want to buy it already.  After the show was done at The Viper Room, Corey and many of his friends and fans went to dinner at the legendary Rainbow, up Sunset a bit near The Whiskey-a-Go-Go, which put the perfect stamp on a fantastic evening. 

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Show Tomorrow at Elderberries Hollywood

The Corey Landis and The Attacks show at The Viper Room this past Sunday was off-the-hook. I hope to write a more lengthy post here about that in a bit. Also... I am playing my first-ever L.A. show! It is tomorrow, Saturday Oct 17 at Elderberries Cafe, 7564 West Sunset Blvd. I am SO EXCITED! Show starts at 3:00PM, I am scheduled to start playing at 4:00PM. SO HAPPY to know I will be playing for real-live people in about 24 hours!! WOO-HOO!!
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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Upcoming Show: Corey Landis LIVE at The Viper Room L.A.

I'm super-excited about a live show I'm going to tomorrow at the Viper Room in Hollywood. My friend Corey Landis and his band the Attacks will be performing.  I've been not only friends with Corey, but a huge fan of his music, for a long time, but he's always lived and done shows in L.A., and up until recently I've always lived somewhere else!  So this is the first time I will watch him play live, and I am stoked.

I've worn out all four of his amazing LP's.  If you've read my series here on my favorite album covers of all time, you'll see the covers for his first two records on the list.  He is incredibly talented and has a really unique songwriting voice, and he writes kickass songs.

If you happen to be in L.A. this Sunday night, I highly recommend this show.  It's gonna be pretty epic! The listed start time is 7:30PM.

You can check out Corey's music at


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Update: Music Video, New Album and Shows

Recently I began collaborating with my girlfriend Teri Temme on a music video for "Landed," one of the songs that will be on my next album.  We've been shooting footage in different parts of L.A., and it's been really fun.  I look forward to showing off the finished product in the near future!

A while back, I settled on the 12 songs that will comprise my next record.  I spent a day working with my good friend Corey Landis to discuss possible arrangements for each of the twelve.  It's clear we need a full back-up band to do what feels right.  So I have been working for quite some time on raising the money to produce the record, and I am still in that process.

Several people have asked me if this will include a crowdfunding effort, using Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or some similar site.  At this point I'm not sure.  I'm not ruling anything out, and I feel like the right next step will become clear at the appropriate time.  If you enjoy my music and have any thoughts on this topic you think might be helpful, feel free to e-mail them to me at

Teri has also been assisting me in revamping all the different components of the web presence for my music....the website here, my Facebook page, Twitter account, Soundcloud page, Bandcamp site, Instagram account and YouTube channel.  We're simplifying various elements, to make it easier for people to navigate around and find cool stuff on the various sites and pages.

Right now I am very excited to play live for people, so I am exploring lots of different opportunities to do so in Southern California.  Of course as soon as I have something booked I will post all about it here.

As always, thank you for visiting here and supporting me and my music!  Keep rockin'!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

San Diego to L.A.: Part 5, The Conclusion

Performing solo on tour in Vancouver, Washington
So I don't know if you've noticed yet, but this is a 5-part series about my move from San Diego to Los Angeles, we're up to the final part here, and I STILL haven't told you anything about the actual move yet.

I also haven't really told you WHY I moved to L.A.  I told you a bunch of stories about stuff that happened in San Diego and L.A. in August of 2013.

A new friend of mine here in L.A. of course knew that I had recently moved here from San Diego.  But she also recently found out that I have moved A LOT in my life.  Several times within my home state of Maine.  Maine to Washington, D.C.  Washington, D.C. back to Maine.  Then did those 2 moves each a second time.  Then Maine to Athens, Ohio.  Athens, Ohio to Cincinnati.  Cincinnati to New York City.  New York City back to Cincinnati.  Cincinnati back to New York City!  New York City to New Hampshire.  New Hampshire back to Maine.  Maine to San Diego.  And lastly San Diego to L.A. Whew!  A lotta, lotta moves.

Performing on tour with
Victor Bravo in Dayton, Ohio
So my new friend asked me four questions:

1) Why have I done so many of these big moves in my life?

2) Was it scary when I did these big moves?

3) What did I do to prepare myself for them?

4) What advice would I have for other people who wanted to do a big move, and/or were seriously considering one?

I'll give the simple answers first:

1) To follow my dreams

2) Yes

3) Not much - although I did get better at having money saved up and/or a new source of income in the new place BEFORE I did the move

4) DO IT!! (even if you're REALLY scared!)

All the stuff that happened in August 2013 was really just a bunch of awesome things echoing or reminding me of something deep inside myself.  Since I was a little kid, I had always wanted to live in Los Angeles, deep down.  I don't know exactly why.  What seemed to spark it was when I went to see Star Wars (Episode IV, the original) in the movie theater when it was first released, and I found out that a man named George Lucas did this for a living.  He made movies.  That was his job.

Performing on tour with Atomic Shotgun in Washington, D.C.
I thought Star Wars was the best thing ever made, ever.  So I decided I wanted to do that, make movies.  And I heard somewhere that everyone who made movies lived in L.A., and all the jobs for making movies were there.  And then I heard that there was a college called UCLA, and it had a film school you could go to.  You would learn about making movies, then you would live in L.A. and make movies and be very, very happy.  (I assumed for years that Lucas and Steven Spielberg had gone to film school at UCLA, years later I found out they went to USC.)

So I decided my whole plan for life.  I was going to get a summer job when I was in high school, and save all of my money.  I was going to buy my own Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, drive to L.A., go to UCLA Film School, become a filmmaker, settle in L.A., and live happily ever after.  I remember telling my Grampa Soucy this and him thinking this was really great.  He told everyone else in my family about my grand plan.  He thought it was fantastic that I had it all figured out.

Now I didn't do anything close to that plan.  As I grew up and the years went by, my heart and soul issued a bunch of different callings to me, and I answered them all by following wherever they led. I  In high school, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer or a history professor, so I went to college starting to focus on those things.

Then when I got to college, I got interested in politics, journalism, and theater.  So I ran for Student Government President and won, and became President of the College Democrats on campus.  I won an internship working in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., and worked on campaigns for people running for the state legislature and Congress.  I took a course in writing for the media and wrote articles for the campus newspaper.  I took classes on playwriting, directing plays and acting, and did all of those things.

When I was doing my internship in Washington, my heart really wanted me to get more into theater.  So I went and got a Master's degree in theater, wrote and directed more plays, and did more acting.  By the end of that program, I really wanted to focus specifically on acting.  I thought of moving to New York or L.A. and just diving in, but I wanted more experience and training before doing that.  So I went and got a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting, and got exactly what I wanted - a resume full of roles, training and experience on stage.

The first time I moved to New York City, I got a powerful lesson in the next thing I needed to work on - getting my financial house in order.  I had been in college and grad school for years, and hadn't really learned how to take good care of my finances.  So I moved back to Cincinnati, where I had finished my Acting degree and made lots of friends, and where life was a lot less expensive!  I worked really hard for two years there, still acting and writing plays on the side...and that's when I really started to realize I could write songs, and that I really enjoyed writing songs.

Once I got my finances in great shape, I moved back to New York City - I thought at first to get back into theater.  But soon after, my passion for songwriting took over, and I started my punk rock band, Victor Bravo.  That band, as you may know, had an exciting six-year run, making records, playing New York and Boston constantly, and touring across the U.S. multiple times.  In what turned out to be the last year of Victor Bravo, I started a second band, Atomic Shotgun, which had a great couple of years together.  During that time, I lived another dream, taking four months and traveling all around the U.S. by myself, doing solo shows and experiencing many parts of the country I lived in for the first time.

After a year of regrouping, reflecting and recharging back in my home state of Maine - and the first fun-filled season of my livestreaming music show LIVE from The Basement, I at first thought I wanted to finally live the dream I had when I was a kid, and go to live in Los Angeles.  But after recently leaving the largest city in the U.S. after eight wonderful years, I just wasn't ready to move to the second largest city in the U.S.  I needed a transition period, and had heard amazing things about San Diego.

So I moved to San Diego and all the amazing things I had heard were true!  It was beautiful, calm, relaxing, and friendly.  I made lots of great friends and did a ton of performing, doing open mics all over the area.  I wrote a lot more songs and was ready for the next chapter of my life...until that weekend in L.A. with Mike.

I realized what I had experienced in L.A. that weekend was really a reminder from my heart and soul that I had at least one more great calling to fulfill in my life.  I couldn't go be an undergraduate film student at UCLA, and I bought a 2002 Honda Civic, not a 1989 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  But I could definitely go build a life in the City of Angels.

With amazing help and support from many friends, both in San Diego and L.A., I moved to L.A. on October 25, 2013.  Since then, I have commenced building this exciting next chapter, making money, finding my first home here with my great housemate Kelli and my two feline friends Frankie and Mister.  I've been learning my way around, making friends, going to see some great musicians, and exploring the many things L.A. has to offer.  I did a second full season of LIVE from The Basement, and wrote many new songs which I've posted here and on my YouTube channel.

And now my next full album is written, and I am working hard on raising the money needed to bring it to a fully realized set of songs for you.  I can't wait to start recording it.

I can say quite honestly that I love my new life here in Los Angeles, and I continue to be excited about whatever happens next.  I am living proof that if you follow those inner callings from your heart and soul, you will get a fun, exciting life filled with the friends, fun and experiences you truly desire.  Nothing may go exactly as planned, and there probably will be many surprises along the way, but that's a big part of what makes this life great and worth really living.  Even if a bunch of other callings have happened, and a lot of time seems to have passed, it is never too late to go follow a dream.

I suspect my new friend who asked me the four questions above asked me because she has a dream within herself.  Something her own heart and soul is telling her to do, that might bring her great joy and fulfillment if she takes the plunge.  But she may be experiencing some fear and resistance to following this dream, as we all do.

My friends will tell you - I am a brave guy who has taken a lot of chances and done a lot of risky things, but they did not happen without fear and resistance!  I had a lot of fear about moving to New York, moving to San Diego, moving to L.A.  I had fear about getting my degree in Acting, about taking my band on stage in New York City for the first time, and then across the country.  I had fear about traveling all across the U.S. completely by myself.  But each time, I felt the fear and did it anyway.

So to my new friend who asked me those great four questions, and to you reading this right now, I say: GO!  Do that thing you dream of doing.  Take that risk.  Go for it!  Yes, you may need a reasonable amount of preparation.  But don't try to prepare perfectly, there's no way to do that.  And don't keep putting it off with the excuse, "I'm still preparing, I'm just not ready yet."  It may not go at all as you planned, but if it's a calling that comes from your heart and soul, you can't go wrong.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.


Thanks so much for visiting and reading.  I truly appreciate it more than I can express.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

San Diego to L.A.: Part 4

Really quickly I just want to mention that the site here hit 30,000 page views yesterday.  That is amazing to me, and I just want to thank each and every person for coming and looking at and reading my stuff here.  If you're a fan, a friend, a family member, or a stranger who wandered here off a web search, thank you so much.  Any artist needs an audience, so thank you for being mine.  Now, back to the story!

My 4-day weekend in L.A. hanging out with my friend Mike Wamser in August of 2013 was a surprising whirlwind of exploring, hanging out with great creative people and just plain fun.

The Party at Claire's House, L to R: Isaac Nippert,
Shannon Michael "Mike" Wamser, Stephen Eshenbaugh,
Corey Landis, Yours Truly
My first night there was the Magneta Lane show at The Viper Room on Sunset Boulevard.  I got there early and found the drummer Nadia, the guitarist/singer Lexi, and their friend, Lindsay Michelle Becker, an awesome rock journalist from Toronto who made the trip down to California with the band.  They invited me to sit with them, and I had an incredible time just hanging out with them.  It was even more strange than the San Diego show the weekend before.  This time, not only was I seeing them play live, I was just sitting around talking with them like it was no big deal.

At one point, Lexi and I were talking about songwriting, and I told her how much I loved the Gambling with God record, and she shared with me her own thoughts about what she was satisfied with and what she wasn't totally happy about the songs on it.  It was a "pinch me" moment for me, I was like, I have loved this band for years and years, and here is the lead singer and songwriter talking to me like an equal.  And then I was like, well, this is how it should be, really...I am a rock songwriter too and I've written a lot of songs and made records, and I knew exactly what she was talking about.  It was still super-cool.

At the Dodgers-Red Sox Game at Dodger Stadium,
L to R: Yours Truly, Mike Wamser, Katie O'Brien,
Andrew Goulet, Dave Holstein
I watched the whole show standing next to Lindsay, who was also a huge Magneta Lane fan, so it was cool to have someone to share in the glory with.  The band played an amazing set, I could have watched them play for another two hours.  The highlight of the show for me was a kickass performance of their song "22," my favorite of theirs.  I was in Rock Heaven.

The next night, Mike and I had a party at his friend Claire's house where he was staying for the month.  I went on Facebook and invited everyone I knew who lived in L.A.  A ton of people showed up and all had a fantastic time.

I met Mike's friend Katie O'Brien, a delightful actor, writer and producer.  I heard all about the comedy film project Mike, Katie, and their other friend Mike Piccirillo were working on.  I hung out with my friend Corey Landis, an amazing musician and actor.

A bunch of us went to go see the Boston Red Sox (my team) play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.  I was having conversations about theater, film and music non-stop for four days.  At the baseball game, I came up with an idea for a new play I wanted to write, and talked about it with Mike.
Yours Truly with Larry Bates and Mike Wamser

Then Mike and I went and hung out with our mutual actor friend, Larry Bates.  I had just recently reconnected with Larry after keeping in touch on Facebook, but not having seen him in person for 12 years.  Larry was in an amazing production of the play The Mountaintop about Martin Luther King, Jr. at San Diego Repertory Theatre.  He and I hung out a couple of times in San Diego during the run of that show.  But I believe Mike hadn't seen him since working with him as an actor 12 years ago.  Larry is a great guy and the three of us had a blast hanging out.

Driving back to San Diego, I was absolutely buzzing from all the fun I had enjoyed in L.A.  At first, I still assumed I would continue to live in San Diego, and maybe try to make a point of visiting L.A. on some sort of regular basis.  But in the days following that amazing weekend, something started to shift within me...

Read the conclusion of the story in Part 5!  Thanks so much for visiting and reading!

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