Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dressed Like Aces, 1926, and Orale

In 2005, I wrote a song. The song, entitled "Dressed Like Aces," contained a bass line and keyboard part that I fleshed out into three songs (Dressed Like Aces Part 1, Part 2 and Undressed Like Aces) as a part of an unreleased EP by the same name.

I brought these songs to my then band The Pax Romana.  The songs themselves were not necessarily compatible with the style of the band, but the bassline and keyboard riff stuck. After some jamming about, the guitarist, Jay Ziegler and I worked up a slightly different arrangement with a different feel and a modified bassline. The song resonated with the band and it became one of our best. Jay is a master of arrangement and composition, and his progressive dynamics completely changed the song.

The new song, entitled "1926," was subdequently released on our independent self-produced album "Force Majeur."

The band broke up in late 2006.

Having kept in touch over the years and even working on a side project in 2008 called King Cobra Triangles, Jay and I continued collaborating off and on. In fact, Jay was the keen ear that turned the phrases "progressive garage rock" and "garage prog" in description of my developing personal style.

In 2013, I recorded Jay's song "Botox Killer," as part of The JackKnife Barbers album Blood On The Ivories as an homage to the Mighty Jay (as I had begun referring to him). It had been a fun simple song that we had played in some form in The Pax Romana. Jay had finished fleshing out the lyrics in 2009 for my then band The Jackknife Barbers. I was diligent at the time to credit Jay and thank him for sharing his composition.

In 2015, I was playing in the Charlotte-based band Careless Romantic. In the interest of trying some new ideas out, I introduced them to portions of the elements of the "Dressed Like Aces" and "1926." I've always been a fan of poaching previous material from my compositions; I think of it as being "self referential."

The song, "Orale" (pronounced "Odelay") was born.  This was recorded and published on Careless Romantic's debut album "No Heart To Break."

Regrettably, I did not insist on crediting Jay for his role in re-writing the song. In my defense, I was bereft of creative control during the recording and publishing process of this album, having to remind the bassist twice to just to get my name spelled correctly on the back cover. The album was published hastily and largely without my creative input.

For my lack of giving credit to Jay for his creative contributions as well as his support and inspiration, I regret the resulting publication.

Jay has remained a gracious and forgiving friend and fellow musician over the years and I sincerely appreciate the role he has played in my life and my pursuit of music.

 While I can't edit the album credits, I can credit Jay Ziegler here on my blog. It's official, it's on the internet, it's a document.

Thanks again, Jay. Keep rocking.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

You Won't Believe What Matt Stache Said About Click Baiting Headlines

Something I had set about to do with both my blog and my band's social media presence was to be more socially conscious and speak out on issues that I believe in.  The band is currently on hiatus, and while I make plans to reform the band and potentially pursue other musical projects, I surmise that it is about time that I attack that aforementioned goal.

In my eyes, a great problem with the world is people who live a formulaic and unexamined life.  For instance, I've edited the first paragraph three times just because I felt like some of the phrase I used were cliches.  I'm even somewhat unsure of using the phrase "unexamined life," and "for instance."

This scourge is no more evident than in the rampant use of "click baiting" headlines.  "Click baiting" is wording a headline in such a way that the reader must click the link before actually knowing whether or not the content and topic of the article is worth reading.  Often, the headline itself is completely misleading, sounding much like a prime time spot for the late night news -- stay tuned for the rest of the story at 11:00.  Such headlines often contain phrases like "At first I thought... but now..." and "You'll never believe what..."  These headlines lure the reader in, often with content that isn't worthy of such a melodramatic headline. I can confidently say that such activity truly is "viral" in all senses of the word.

To compound matters, most people who share these articles via social media barely editorialize the link when posting -- adding only such things as "So true" or "OMG."  I recall a month ago seeing an NPR article posted multiple times regarding something on a dam; it wasn't until three weeks passed that finally someone shared the link with the helpful explanation that it was mountain goats on the dam.

One of the greatest offenders in these scheme is  By Googling the phrase "I hate click baiting," I found an article that I thought was going to be critical of Upworthy's tactics.  However, the author spends most of the article praising Upworthy's socially conscious position (a bias with which I proudly side), and explains away their success by the value of their content.  The dismisses the dismal tactic of click baiting with an "aww shucks," attitude toward this practice.

I'm no journalist, and I'm sure I'm only a mediocre blogger, but click baiting strikes me as poor form and sensationalistic journalism.  I urge my readers to not click on click baiting headlines, not share click baiting headlines, and offer critique and spoilers on such headlines shared by their friends.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Sunday Feeling on a Thursday Morning

Last night was about as epic as you get within the limits of the law and reasonable human behavior. We rocked the house at The Saloon at NC Music Factory with our good friends Wood Head and SnuffalufaFUNK.  We made some new friends and had a blast.

I was lamenting the other day that no one has dollar beers any more. It turns out The Saloon has dollar mystery beers every day.  They're not really "mystery" beers because they totally straight-up tell you which beers they are and you're allowed to choose.

We arrived around 6:30 and unloaded, finding The Saloon packed wall to wall with business folks in suits. By the time Wood Head took the stage, most of the pre-show crowd had started to drift off from their happy hour networking session. Until the rain came.

We actually retained quite a few people from the happy hour crowd due -- a bit of a captive audience. We made some fantastic new friends and met some wonderful people. At least one guy was able to find something danceable about every one of our songs. Which is impressive since some of our time signatures are questionable if not entirely ill-defined.

The band, the other bands and the audience all expressed that they believe it was quite possibly our best show ever. The sound was fantastic and the energy was high. We're very much looking forward to returning to The Saloon at NC Music Factory in March for our show with The Sexual Side-Effects.

Once again, we'd like to thank Matt the Sound Guy, Callie the bartender (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong) and the entire staff at The Saloon for a wonderful evening.

I'd also like to extend a personal "just wait until next time" to Jasmine (one of the servers) to whom I seemingly lost an extended battle of got-you-last due purely to attrition.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Suck and Draw

It's a realistic question, and I don't pretend to not know why it's asked, but I feel there should be more conversation, more getting to know you, and maybe dinner or a movie before it's asked.  At least pretend you want something more from me before you ask the question.

"How big is it?|

"How big is what?"

"Your draw. How big is your draw. How many people do you think your band can bring out?"

I know why you're asking. You're asking because you want to make sure the house is packed and you can make money selling over-priced drinks to my friends and family.  But it's getting old when that's the only question that matters.

But there's another factor. How hard do you suck? Ask me that. Some people don't like our sound, some people love it. That's the nature of being a "local band," and being unsigned and without management. But we're not bad, and we do everything we do for the purpose of expressing ourselves, challenging ourselves, getting our rocks off, and connecting with the audience in a way that leaves them entertained and potentially recovering from permanent liver damage.

If you really want to see how big our draw can get, give us reasonable opportunities to expose ourselves to your audiences.

In my opinion, suck and draw are not mutually exclusive traits of a band. A band could have amazing draw but suck really hard. Other bands are really fantastic, don't suck at all and simply don't have much of a draw for whatever reason.

To battle the question of "how big is your draw," I'd really love to figure out a way to form a band that really sucks. A band that will make the bartenders hate life, the sound guy pull his hair out and the promote cringe in shame... but have a huge draw. The band would do no actual damage to anything, but simply be incredibly bad, distasteful and rude, but we'd find some way to back a venue with a fire-hazard sized crowd of well-tipping drinkers.

I was approached by the merch bitch of a local band at a recent show. The band is at least partly made up of kids who look like they might have just graduated high school or gotten out of juvenile detention; they have that wispy downy, three-day goatee action going on. They play absolutely horrible metal covers and have a huge draw. They have no reason to be insecure aside from their entire approach to music.

 He lamented "Man, I just heard someone talking shit about our band in the bathroom. They need to recognize. We're awesome. Look at how much merch we have. We have t-shirts and stickers."

He didn't elaborate further, and I wish he had, because what I just quoted sounds so shallow and beside the point that it almost sounds like I'm exaggerating. Statements like that prove nothing about the awesomeness of your band. It just proves that you have the money to buy t-shirts and stickers.

While this is an extreme example, too often, this mindset pervades the music scene. Many young start-up bands feel this way, and even established cover and "working" bands. It's just stupid.

Get over yourself.  Get over your draw. Go practice and get better at what actually matters. The music.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Scrambled Eggs and Champagne (An Update)

The JackKnife Barbers had a wonderful time at the final round of the Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands.  We would especially like to thank (Snuff)alufaFUNK and their fans for sticking around to cheer us on.  The energy was high and it was probably the best show we've played in Charlotte.

Despite our small crowd, we managed to tie for third place out of 12 bands.  Ultimately, however, we conceded defeat because I was more interested in heading home for scrambled eggs and champagne than sticking around for a tie breaker.

We're very much looking forward to working with Gorilla Music again with their future bookings in the Queen City.

What's on the horizon for The Barbers now?

We've got two upcoming shows at The Saloon at NC Music Factory as well as a show in the NoDa district of Charlotte at The ROUX! with some old friends from Florida. The first weekend in February is still set aside for recording our first album, so look out for that.

As always, don't forget to check the website for updates and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Reverbnation.

Monday, January 7, 2013

An End to the Battles

This Saturday is the final round of the Gorilla Records Battle of the Bands at Tremont Music Hall.  We really need your help. Once again, our time slot is based on ticket sales, so we really need you to buy your ticket from us ahead of time. Tickets are $10 and you can buy yours by going to with your credit/debit card or PayPal. Alternatively, shoot me an email at and I'll coordinate with you to get you your ticket.

So, how did this past weekend go?

We had a fantastic time rocking out The Saloon at NC Music Factory. We met Bryan Peterson of Peterson Productions (the company hosting the show) and hung out with some great musicians. The band I had initially worked with when I moved to Charlotte, "BAKKWOODZ" played immediately after us and put on a great show filled with some fantastic country rock.

Although we won't be going on to the next round of Peterson Productions Battle, we look forward to working to Bryan again in the near future with his other Charlotte bookings.

At the end of the night we loaded up our gear (the parking valets at NC Music Factory are world-class dicks), and headed over to Mattie's Diner for some post-show grub. Mattie's recreated for me the infamous "Stache Dog" that I'd grown to love at Voodoo Dog in Tallahassee. It's basically a Chicago dog (mustard, lettuce, tomato, onions) with guacamole, cucumbers, jalapenos, cheese and chili.

After such an energizing weekend, the Barbers look forward to rocking your ass once again for fun and profit at Tremont Music Hall on Saturday.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Albums and Merch and Shows, Oh My!

Of course, you already know that we have a show coming up tomorrow, January 5th at The Saloon at NC Music Factory. We'll be going on at 9:15PM, so we'll see you there.  The next show is next Saturday, January 12th at Tremont Music Hall. Tickets are still available for both shows at

What else is new?

We have tentatively set a date for recording our first full-length album over the first weekend in February.  The recording will be done at Dan's house in Fort Mill, SC, and we've decided to just spend the whole weekend there. It will be a veritable band vacation -- waking up in the morning for coffee and recordings, breaking for buffalo wings and beer, and doing overdubs until the BBQ is ready.  It will either be an incredibly positive bonding experience or we'll hate each other by the end.

Or, it could be a combination of the two.

The recording will feature some old favorites that I've been doing for years, a good handful of tunes that the Barbers have never before recorded, and at least one old favorite that has been completely re-worked into a progressive masterpiece.

Additionally, I just got a quote from a local screen printer for t-shirts, ladies t-shirts and ladies boyshorts.  There is a new design featuring the new logo, so if you have one of the old "Matt Stache and The JackKnife Barbers" t-shirts, then you can still upgrade your wardrobe with our new merch.

We look forward to many scantily-clad ladies sending us photos of their rear-end in our boyshorts, emblazoned with "The JackKnife Barbers" across the rear.