First off, Those Mockingbirds released a new song today. You are looking at the cover art for it above, and if you click it, it’ll download the song for you. Hope you like it.
1. Nick Wilson
The Last Time We Spoke: When we ran into each other on a street corner in Austin TX, at SXSW.
When I Called Today: I know Nick thru the Tiny Giant Artist Collective, via his now former band, Escape Directors. We chatted about the demise of the group, and what he is up to now, filming weddings and making music videos. Nick said the band ceased because they didn’t love doing it anymore. I told him thats the time to stop… you should always ask yourself, “if i look back on my life when im dying, am I going to be happy that i tried to do what i loved, or will i be happier settling for something less?” Nick agreed with this statement and said it sums up why they stopped. We wished each other luck and got off the phone.
2. David Eupana
3. David Fagin
4. Annamaria Fasciana
5. Jennifer Fein
The Last Time We Spoke: Approx 5 years ago, if not more.
When I Called Today: This was an extremely odd coincidence, please try to follow. I called and Felix answered, but his accent was a lot thicker than I remembered. He couldn’t remember who I was, so i named our mutual friend Eric to jog his memory. Felix said “yea i know Eric, did I drive you somewhere before with him?” and that just sounded totally bizarre to me, because Felix definitely would remember me, because for a long time we didn’t get along, and why would he simply mention driving me somewhere when we have hung out a number of times? At this point I stopped trying to remind him of who I was and began trying to figure out what was going on here. Turns out, this is an entirely different Felix than the one I was expecting. The Felix I knew changed his number at some point and a completely different Felix ended up with his number, completely by chance. HOW WEIRD IS THAT?! Anyway, I told this Felix about the blog, and he seemed concerned with one thing, and that was offering me an affordable price on a limo when I need it. I told him I probably couldn’t afford it and then he said “this is Affordable Limo Service, in Edison, you can afford us”. I thanked him and told him I would talk to him next time I need a limo.
The Verdict: I couldn’t have made this up if I had tried.
Yea, I skipped the calls this weekend. My father is still in the hospital, and I got badly injured on saturday. I needed it.
1. Frank DeFranco
The Last Time We Spoke: Frank and I spoke on the phone a few weeks ago about Tiny Giant matters. He and I are admins of the Tiny Giant Artist Collective group, and we often chat to discuss ways to make the group more beneficial for everyone.
When I Called Today: Look, I’m going to just be straight here (i’d be frank, but i think Frank already has that locked down! hare hare). This conversation was way too boring to transcribe. If you must know, we talked “business” for twenty minutes, bookended with a joke about Dave Grohl. I know you guys don’t want to read about what Tiny Giant admins talk about, and what we think could “maximize the usefulness of the future messageboard” so I wont put you thru that. Here is a picture of Rick Santorum on the cover of The Advocate.
The Verdict: Frank rules, but I must have mercy for my readers. Oh, Frank plays in one of my favorite bands in NJ, Holy City Zoo!
2. Walt DiCristina
3. Nick DiDomenico
The Last Time We Spoke: Nick is one of my best friends, and has been in my family-like circle of friends for almost 15 years now. I never go more than a week or so without at least corresponding with him somehow.
When I Called Today: My conversation with Nick took place in two parts, unfortunately neither was with his alter ego, The Berg. Part 1 of this chat consisted simply of me telling Nick about how I hurt my leg very badly this weekend giving a triangle choke hold to one of our good friends, Eric Pace. Pace attempted to reverse the hold on me, and fell while doing so, landing on my leg, and bringing my closer than I have ever been to needing crutches. Nick was highly amused by this, of course. To kick off part two of our chat, I asked Nick what he would be up to today and he told me he was going to go home and relax for a bit by playing the original Legend of Zelda. Nick and I talk about either video games, beer, or music. Thats it. I went on a long rant about Zelda, telling Nick that while I adore the games, I loathe the fact that they have attempted to tie all the games into one single storyline, as if that was the plan all along. Nick somewhat agreed, but backed off in disgusted shock when I threw down the blasphemous gauntlet… I said “The makers of Zelda are simply doing what George Lucas did by making three more Star Wars movies, and pretending he was planning it all along. He wasn’t, and neither is Nintendo, fuck them both”. Nick was having none of this, as I spoke so lowly of Nintendo, comparing them to such a bastard like George Lucas. He told me he had to go.
The Verdict: Nick knows I’m right, and as has happened time and time again in our history, he will tell me 6 months from now that he agrees.
GUYS! Wrestlemania is this weekend! Enjoy the calls and have a great weekend.
1. James Damion
The Last Time We Spoke: I met James thru Tiny Giant Artist Collective this past year. He is a fantastic writer and runs the blog, United By Rocket Science. When we originally met, he wasn’t sure what to make of me it seemed, but after getting together a few times, at shows, and just for chats, we now get along really well. I last spoke to James in person about a month ago for an interview he is planning for Those Mockingbirds, but we have spoken via text and Facebook much since the interview.
When I Called Today: James called me back from a voicemail I left him yesterday and told me right off the bat that my blog has inspired him to call 2 or 3 different people everyday, who are important to him, who he hasn’t been in touch with recently, just to let them know that they are still important to him. In fact, the reason he didn’t answer when I called yesterday was because he was in the middle of what turned out to be a 2 hour phone call with someone he’s been friends with for over a decade, but had only kept in touch via txt over the last few years. James told me that he had me to thank for this, and that I am making a difference in this world. I was beyond flattered to hear this, and somewhat startled. I started this blog because I was feeling restless, I had what I thought was an interesting idea for me personally, and with the nudging of my friend Angela, I felt this would be a cool experiment. I did not in any way whatsoever forsee ANYONE wanting to read this thing other than myself, let alone someone be so inspired that they made a change in their own life. I cannot put into words how awesome that feels, so I wont even try, i’ll simply say what I said to James… “thank you so much”.
The Verdict: James is a very real person, in a rare way. When you meet him, there aren’t layers to peel off before you get to the true core, because he wears his core on his sleeve, and its fucking awesome. I try to live my life like this as much as I can as well, but meeting someone like James, who truly does this all the time, gives me something to aspire to. James lives in the now, tells you what he’s thinking, for better or worse, and you can always know that if James Damion tells you something, he means it. I couldn’t be more pleased to hear that I inspired someone like him.
2. Jonathan Crane
The Last Time We Spoke: Over a year ago, verbally, when auditioning members for the great Those Mockingbirds lineup change of 2010/11. We have kept in touch at times since via Facebook, and share a mutual love of the music of Janet LaBelle.
When I Called Today: Jonathan called me back from a voicemail I left him yesterday. We started talking almost immediately about the fact that Jonathan is writing jingles now. I was very intrigued by this, as its something I’ve always wanted to get involved in, but could never quite figure out how to get my foot in the door. Jonathan gave me a few tips, but mentioned that in a lot of ways, its even more competitive than being in a band. Yikes. He also pointed out to me that he’s wondering what the next trend in jingles will be, stating that right now its all ukeleles and bells, when a few years ago it was kinda like, Moby-styled. Interesting point, I hadn’t really given it much thought, but yes, just about every song on a “hip” commercial these days has bells or ukeleles in it. Jonathan asked me where he can purchase Those Mockingbirds new vinyl, so I told him and then we got off the phone.
The Verdict: I wasn’t expecting such an informative chat from Jonathan, I don’t mean that in an offensive way of course, but I was happily surprised to walk away from this with new information.
3. Dave from Dave & Marissa
The Last Time We Spoke: On the first Those Mockingbirds tour in the summer of 2010, we met Dave, when we played with his group, Dave & Marissa in Rochester NY. He let us stay at his place that nite and it was very gracious of him.
When I Called Today: Dave mentioned that he was in New Paltz, NY, going to school for Jazz Studies, which I found very cool, especially considering that from when I last heard his band, there wasn’t much Jazz included. Dave still makes the 4 hour commute back to Rochester to keep up with Dave & Marissa, which I found rather admirable. I kept saying Syracuse during this chat, when referring to his hometown, and finally caught myself and apologized, saying that I think I mix up all the cities in upstate NY because the only ones that are known have colleges, so maybe my brain sorts cities by whether it has a college or something, I dunno.
The Verdict: Dave and I had a lukewarm and short chat. Glad to have spoken to him though.
I am fighting INTENSE tooth pain as I type this. I have nothing witty to say for the description. <3 u guys. Todays calls are all gems in their own way.
1. Amanda Cobell
The Last Time We Spoke: Over a year ago, outside of Maxwell’s in Hoboken, Amanda passed me while I was smoking a cigarette outside and stopped to talk for a few minutes and introduce me to her boyfriend.
When I Called Today: I started off with the usual, asking “whats been up?”. Amanda told me she is teaching kindergarten now, which she loves doing. I asked Amanda how her boyfriend is, referring to the guy I met the last time i spoke to her, and she mentioned that they broke up, however, she met her current boyfriend the nite I last saw her. Things are going well with them, however he just had a major surgery, I told her I was sorry to hear that and asked what he had done, she replied with something that has been stuck in my brian for almost 24 hours now, he had his stomach removed… Let that sink in… I asked Amanda to repeat herself about three times because I was certain I was mishearing her, but I was not. I had NO idea that could even be done, but apparently, in some extreme cases, it must be, and the person can go on living a normal life. I asked a number of questions regarding how hungry the person could be after this point, and while Amanda might not have known the answers exactly, she did her best to tame my racing brain, and I appreciated it. After we finished discussing that topic, and she assured me that he will be just fine, we made tentative plans to get together sometime soon.
The Verdict: Mind blown. Hoping for the best for them both and hope to see Amanda soon.
2. Columbia Bank
Rang and Rang and Rang… it was the weekend.
3. Charles K. *
The Last Time We Spoke: At least a year ago. I have this persons number because they asked me to keep in touch about Those Mockingbirds show dates. I have changed this persons name because I don’t have permission to use it.
When I Called Today: Charles answered the phone sounding perplexed, either about who I was, or why I was calling, or both. Once I explained that it was me, and why i was calling, the conversation didn’t warm up one bit. I awkwardly asked what they were doing, and they told me they were watching Crank Yankers, to which I expressed surprise, in that any station was still playing that show. I continued to make a few more attempts to spark conversation, but none really stuck. We ended the call after Charles interrupted my final attempt by saying “well, its been great but I gotta go”.
The Verdict: Most awkward call yet. This person definitely didn’t care to hear from me whatsoever. I never forged a relationship with them to begin with, but it was still quite cold.
4. Andy Cooper
Number Disconnected - I very much want to talk to Andy, so if anyone sees this and knows him, tell him to contact me!
5. Adam Copeland
The Last Time We Spoke: I spoke to Adam just a few days ago, via text, to set up some recording time with him to do some demos for Those Mockingbirds. However, I don’t know if he and I have ever actually verbally spoken before today.
When I Called Today: Adam was at work when I called, which surprisingly turned out to be the topic of our conversation. Adam works as an anonymous man, lurking in the shadows, and pulling strings… he runs the email server at Montclair State University. Just think for a moment, how many times you have used a college website, for email or registration and you became livid and wanted to choke the person who put it together, well you now have a name to hunt, Adam Copeland. In all seriousness though, Adam shouldnt be hated because of his job, as its not his passion, he is a killer musician in the band Black Water and a sweetheart.
The Verdict: Good chat for a first time talk, I think we are hanging out later this week, so I am looking forward to that.
That little girl sums up exactly how I feel right now… and on a Friday no less! Ugh.
1. James Cho
2. Zac Clark
The Last Time We Spoke: Other than interacting on the Tiny Giant forum, I last spoke to Zac in February, at a Tiny Giant showcase featuring Those Mockingbirds, Brick + Mortar, The Everymen and the Nico Blues. Zac and I mentioned that nite that we were glad to finally have a full conversation, as we had never really had one before.
When I Called Today: Zac told me he was procrastinating quite a bit on an article he was working on, due to the magnetic pull of the television. My calling wasn’t going to help things one bit. Zac and I talked a lot about his new band, Warface, and how he finds it challenging remembering all the words to new songs. Welcome to the club dude, I have trouble remember the words to songs i’ve been playing almost every day for 2 years now… Zac then told me about how his boss pranked him this morning, telling him that he needed to come in ASAP because the bar was crazy busy, so Zac dropped everything he was doing, called a cab, got dressed and as soon as he was about to leave his boss told him he was just kidding. I’d have punched the guy in the noggin.
The Verdict: I dig Zac a lot… he’s one of those guys that I feel like I would never talk to and who would never talk to me, but we do because of Tiny Giant, and its awesome. Glad to know him.
3. Nat Clover
The Last Time We Spoke: Over a year ago, when Those Mockingbirds were re-forming it’s lineup, we asked Nat to audition for guitar. He wanted to, and would’ve been a perfect fit, as he had already done the “Honest? Honest.” remix as a bonus track for our first release, but he was in a transitional point in his life and wasn’t sure if he was going to be staying in the northeast much longer.
When I Called Today: Nat answered and I told him it was me in case he didn’t have my number, and he immediately said it was good to hear from me. Nat thought I might be calling to play music together, so he warned me he had moved to Nashville with his girlfriend, and I immediately got bummed that I didn’t call him last week, because I passed thru Nashville twice and would have loved to have seen him because we get along really well. Thats about it.
The Verdict: Good to know I have a buddy in an awesome city. I will bug him next time I’m in town.
4. Kati Cimmino
The Last Time We Spoke: I haven’t spoken to Kati in about a year, and the last time was when my ex gf was shooting her engagement photos at an orchard. Kati asked that I tag along cos she wanted to see me, and I obliged, but was in a terrible mood the entire time.
When I Called Today: Kati is always super cheery, its quite infectious. She was really psyched to talk to me after so long, and asked me about the band first. I caught her up on it and then she asked about Jenna… Kati didn’t know we broke up many months ago. Kati and I had a long discussion about it, and I assured her that we were still on good terms, and had in fact seen each other recently and all was well. During this conversation Kati brought up the day at the orchard when we last saw each other, and mentioned that she had been pretty upset with me for awhile afterwards due to how bad of a mood I was in. I hadn’t even realized that this was probably why we didn’t talk for awhile. I apologized. Kati then asked how my mom’s dog, Chessie was, I told her unfortunately Chessie had passed away last summer… Kati was bummed about it, but reminded me about the time that Chessie saved my life when my house filled with carbon monoxide, and he was the reason I noticed at all. I then asked Kati about her upcoming wedding, she mentioned that its only about 2 months away, and she is totally ready for it, and excited. Glad to hear it. She will be honeymooning in Jamaica, which sounds fantastic to me. Good luck to her and Ulysses!
The Verdict: Kati is one of those friends who I will talk to a whole bunch for awhile, and then not at all for awhile. We’ve always maintained that cycle. Maybe this is the start of us being close again? Who knows… we did make plans to hang out next week. It’s always interesting though, making these calls as I am, and finding things out that I may not have otherwise known, such as Kati being upset with me for awhile…it allows me to learn more about myself and improve as I go.
I’m leaving for SXSW tonite, and will be making my calls as I go, however, my posting will rely on internet connectivity. So there is a chance that I will be making posts that cover numerous days at a time. Who knows? It’s a wild world we live in…
1. Amanda H.
The Last Time We Spoke: I don’t really remember, but its been months. We’ve always been casual friends so we don’t talk very regularly.
When I Called Today: Amanda was locked out of her car, and asked if we can talk another time because she doesn’t want to take her irritation at the situation out on me. Fine by me!
The Verdict: Very kind of her to protect me from the wrath that locking your keys in your car can muster.
2. Eric Moeller
The Last Time We Spoke: At the Tiny Giant Artist Collective’s first meeting a few months ago.
When I Called Today: Eric didn’t have my number saved, which has happened a few times now, and is always interesting to find out, but we started talking about his real estate company that he’s been working on since he was 17 or 18. I did not know he did this, pretty neat. Next we got onto the topic of the Brick City Sound Riot, which was a festival that he put together in 2011, which Those Mockingbirds played. He said he is currently working on getting another one going, which will be even bigger than the inaugural. Sounds exciting, I hope we play it again!
The Verdict: Nice chat. I only know Eric as a show promoter, and have only interacted with him a few times, so it was a new experience to find out anything at all about his life.
3. Jen Schwartz
4. Brandon Asraf
5. John Tacon
6. Bridgette F.
The Last Time We Spoke: I don’t remember the last time I actually spoke to Bridgette, we have known each other for years now because we had a mutual MySpace friend and just kept in touch, mostly via text, or nowadays, Instagram.
When I Called Today: Bridgette’s Georgia accent greeted me, and I immediately told her I was glad that it hasn’t faded. She then denied having an accent, which EVERYONE who has one does. (FUN FACT: if you’re not me, you probably have an accent too, get it checked out if you don’t believe me). Bridgette informed me that she recently moved to Atlanta, and is currently babysitting THREE girls, all under the age of 4, and that the experience has shaken her desire to have children. Which is a shame because I think Bridgette would be one of those awesome southern belle moms, oh well. I then told Bridgette that I was leaving for SXSW in a little bit, and she told me to watch out for a guy she knows who will be spending the entire week as a character. We both said it was a pleasure as always to talk and hung up.
The Verdict: I like that Bridgette and I keep in touch. She’s a great example of why I wanted to call everyone in my phone in the first place. I hope to finally see her in person again soon!