September 4th, 2012
I’ve received some much-deserved inquisitions regarding my blog inactivity over the past year. Lyrics, Discography and Tour pages have gotten periodic updates, but my last blog entry was Dragon*Con 2011. The short story is that I focused my energy on Nick and The Grooves instead. We released Adapter, our debut record, in July. It’s an EP with four killer tracks, available on iTunes, Bandcamp, etc.
The medium-length story, which relates more to this entry’s title, goes like this: hired a graphics guy to redesign/code the site; he designed only the Home page and none of the coding; I looked into hiring other graphics guys to finish the job but they were only interested in starting from scratch with their own look/feel; I did not pursue with the proper energy because of the aforementioned project which has monopolized my time until now!
Plans are to slowly but surely update this website before Dragon*Con 2013. It’d be great if I could get it done by NYE but I’m trying to be realistic. If you’re a graphic designer looking for a gig, email me (try the Contact page).
Thanks for your patience as I work to improve your browsing experience
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September 15th, 2011
I had an awesome time at Dragon*Con 2011! My decision to attend was rather abrupt but I felt prepared, having seen the PBS documentary. I’ve also had my share of music and numismatic conventions . If you go, use their nifty iPhone app to navigate the plethora of panels and hotel maps. There were a TON of simultaneous events and over 40,000 people; you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. If you plan to buy merch, many dealers accept plastic but bring cash too – it’ll save you time. Also, you can save up to 50% by getting your badge in advance [online].
I thought my favorite part would be the celebrity guests – and seeing William Shatner, Carrie Fisher and more! was super cool – but I actually enjoyed cosplay and people-watching the most. If you haven’t heard, cosplay is short for costume play (think Halloween). The annual D*C parade – like most parades worldwide – is an excellent example of cosplay en masse. At first, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed donning my newly-acquired Starfleet uniform, complete with comm badge, pips and phaser. But once I reminded myself how much I’ve always loved dressing up in suits and tuxedos, it made perfect sense. See my modest collection of D*C photos on Facebook
If you have never been to a convention before, or don’t enjoy large crowds, I don’t recommend making D*C 2012 your first experience. Also, unsupervised kids is a bad idea. This is not a place to drop-off 12-yr-old Timmy for a few hours.
Now, I have seen many Con names hyped these past two weeks post-D*C. The pros (experienced Con-ners; Con-artists like myself) are all debating which Con to attend next – we need our fix! For my own sanity, I decided to compiled the dates and URLs into a chronological list. I only included those that interest me. I won’t get to most of them, but it’s fun to put it out there! Comment with corrections or additions:
Note: Don’t let distance prevent you from supporting the Comic and Sci-Fi Arts. Most Cons offer “Supporting Membership” packages for patrons who can’t attend.
Oct. 13 – 16 = NYCC, super mega huge comics event,
Oct. 28 – 30 = Vulcan Events (Orlando, FL) everything Star Trek!
Nov. 26 = Anime Day (ATL) check the site for other cities!
Jan. 28 – 29 = Wizard World’s Comic Con (New Orleans) comics!
Feb. 17 – 19 = Mega*Con (Orlando, FL) comics, Star Trek and Sci-Fi
Feb. 17 – 19 = Con*nooga (Chattanoogah, TN) Dr. Who and other Sci-Fi
TBA, Spring = Imagi*Con (Columbus, GA) Sci-Fi literature, TV and film
Mar. 16 – 18 = Wonder*Con (Anaheim, CA) huge comic con
Mar. 24 – 25 = Wizard World’s Comic Con (Toronto, Canada)
Apr. 20 – 22 = Trek Trax (ATL) everything Star Trek!
May 19 – 20 = Wizard World’s Comic Con (NYC)
May 25 – 28 = Mediawest (Lansing, MI) Memorial Day Weekend
June 1 – 3 = Wizard World’s Comic Con (Philly, PA)
Labor Day Weekend = Dragon*Con (ATL)
scenic-city.com/sfrg, awesome webcal of every Con that exists!
geekcal.com, another neat webcal
upcomingcons.com, another webcal
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June 2nd, 2011
Some very interesting things happened online today.Twitter launched a photo sharing service. Simfy beat Spotify to Facebook. Facebook’s behavior re: Pages brought some artists to reconsider their methods of fan interaction. Creative Commons is now on YouTube. Overall it was a great day of progress, introspection and optomism.
The Twitter photo sharing thing doesn’t suprise me, honestly. NPR did an exposé on Twitpic’s Terms and Conditions clause recently, which generated a bit of negative buzz. Even Ellen DeGeneres announced she would never TwitPic again. So naturally Twitter has seized an opportunity to play hero. More suprising is Simfy! Talk about the underdog. Nobody predicted this: German music streaming service Simfy launched their Facebook player just a week after news broke that Spotify was working on FB integration. Awesome.
So, is Facebook commandeering mid-level artists’ Pages? Some successful, non-major-label artists such as Zoe Keating noticed their Pages have been reclassified (not replaced) as “Community Pages.” The official status they previously held has now been granted to a new, Wikipedia-fed Page. While it’s not clear whether the Wiki Pages were auto-generated or made by FB staff, this mystery doesn’t stop at reclassification. When I type “Zoe Keating” into the search bar, her Page doesn’t even show up! That’s right. When I do a blanket search for her name, select “show all results” and narrow the search to Pages, it does not appear. Since it’s been a few hours, this is unlikely due to propagation delays. Weird. Unsettling.
Update: Keating’s Page was restored to “Official” status hours later, after hundreds of emails and tweets and comments had been published. Other affected artists are still struggling. Luckily this did not affect any of the Pages owned by NESS Records.
In other / better news, the creative commons license - first discovered by this artist via the European community Tribe Of Noise – has now become so mainstream that YouTube offers it as an alternative to standard copyright. YouTube announced today that it now supports Creative Commons licenses and launched a huge library of 10,000 CC videos (read the official press release here). Awesome, yes. In no way do I wish to diminish the awesomeness. However, this illustrates one HUGE way that major-label artists, major news orgs, etc. will be and have always been separated from us independants. Those 10,000 videos in the library. They are from major networks. Part of the launch, the coverage, the hype. With me? No? Look at iTunes: major artists get iTunes Exclusives and other special extras. Major artists get first crack at major breakthroughs in social media and tech. Dave Matthews had a custom Page and vanity URL before any indie artist, for example. This will forever be a hurdle that indie artists attempt to jump.
I fondly remember the days when being on iTunes was impressive. It was brand new … most people still didn’t have iPods … smartphones were only found in the hands of businessmen. Telling people your music was on iTunes gave you instant street cred and often times, before you could finish uttering the sentence, you’d converted strangers into fans. Now, everyone and their brother has their music on iTunes. Who knows if an opportunity like that will present itself again?
… now, who doesn’t wanna watch Bill Cosby playing piano on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno?!? http://bit.ly/cosbyonleno
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May 23rd, 2011
Had an awesome time playing Center Stage with The Grooves on Saturday night! Super excited to see the HD video footage by Copperdog Photography, and hear the audio mix by Newt Carter. Soon as editing is done, a DVD of the show will be released. So if you don’t live near Atlanta / weren’t able to attend the show, no worries! We’re bringing the show to your living room.
Big thanks to the bands that followed us, Jaffa Road and the incredible Sway Machinery who came all the way from NYC! Pics below by Webb Roberts:
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May 23rd, 2011
If you follow my Twitter, you may have noticed that I began playing a new game in April. Words With Friends – essentially Scrabble with slight alterations (probably just enough to avoid a lawsuit) – has become my favorite iPhone game. I’m not addicted, but I do average ten simultaneous games. Avoiding insanity is easy: one major difference from the boarded version of our childhood is that after you move, you close the app and essentially walk away. Instead of waiting five boring minutes for your sister to place her word, you can proceed with real-life activities while she delibarates. Push notifications announcing her moves, and when a convenient time presents itself (grocery store checkout, bathroom, etc.) place your next word. Days may pass between moves, but the app neatly keeps track of the games for you … this is the genius of iPhone, isn’t it? The only real question here is that age-old nag, “Why didn’t I think of this?”
Most of the other modifications lend themselves to inflated scoring: some key letters have increased value; bonus squares are in different locations; I’m sure this factors into my enjoyment.
Up for a challenge? Warning: I’ve won over 90% of my games and have experienced point spreads so great (+150) that my opponents forfeited! If you don’t plan on throwing in the proverbial towel, my username is NickGrooves. See you in cyberland
~ read part one of Word Wars here ~
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March 27th, 2011
Tuesday, January 25 2011 @ Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN:
Nick and The Grooves performed second, between Michigan duo The Spektators and Nashville natives Ingrid Salas y su Grupo Black Shadow. Their first performance ever, it was quite the debut. Wildhorse is the largest non-arena venue in Nashville, located downtown across from the Hard Rock. The band received a strong ovation after every song from the hundreds of attendees on the floor and two balconies. Check out the photosby Sara Speert Photography.
Ryan Smith of Shure’s Artist Relations department announced the winner later that evening – us! Each member of the band received a special Shure SM58 microphone with the Give It Voice Tour logo imprinted upon it, and an official Tour shirt. After our win, we celebrated at a local restaurant and headed home. We were thrilled to find dozens of congratulatory emails on the home PC, including some from fans of the other bands. Thanks to all who supported Nick and The Grooves on their Music City outing – the first of many to come!
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February 10th, 2011
Last night, during SoCalled’s concert at The Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta Jewish Music Festival executive director Russell Gottschalk announced the official lineup for AJMF 5771 (that’s 2011AD to all you goyim).
Nick and The Grooves are thrilled to be on the schedule for AJMF’s “Closing Night Party” at Center Stage on Saturday, May 21st.
If you have never been to Center Stage before, it’s quite possibly the best venue in Atlanta. Imagine the largeness of Variety Playhouse with the intimacy of Eddie’s Attic! We’ll be offering all sorts of cool, promotional ticket packages so keep a lookout – and MARK YOUR CALENDARS! This will be our biggest ATL show of the year. We’re going all-out and want you to share in the experience with us.
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January 27th, 2011
I’m going to give you the secrets of success. As I tell my students, this may be the most important advice you ever receive. Sure, I still have goals to achieve - but I’ve reached some and am confident you’ll find this post helpful. It was inspired by Tuesday’s event in Nashville, where my band won regionals in the Shure SM58 Give It Voice Tour:
Two bits of wisdom – well, one biggie in two parts. #1: Talent is code for strong work ethic. There is no substitute. The FX pedal shown here does not exist. You have complete control over your talent level. People often think of talent as being assigned by G-d, but it’s time and effort. Every athlete is born with the same muscle and skeleton structure. Every guitarist had to learn how to play at some point. When I began singing, I was horrible. Like, really bad. I worked on it. I got better. On Tuesday, a gentleman from Shure said I had “an amazing voice” (they make microphones). Look at Larry Bird, who was probably told as a kid that he could never play pro basketball due to his height. Work hard, practice, improve your game and you can achieve any goal. You may have to work harder than anyone else – not everyone has the same hill to climb – but you’ll reach the top eventually. Which brings us to #2, the formula for distance: Time x Effort = Distance.
The harder you work, the less time it will take to reach your destination. If you only practice once a week, it will take you seven times longer to [play guitar well] than your classmate who practices daily. Sometimes my students are discouraged by this part; they want that Talent Simulator. I think it’s because American pop culture encourages quick fixes – microwaves, magic diet pills (or liposuction), tanning salons … I’m sure there are better examples but you see my point.
The harder you work, the farther you will go in the same amount of time. Rat Race? No worries when you are working harder than your competition; you will go farther. The only risk is burning out. Recall the astronomical metaphor commonly heard when famous people die young, “the brightest stars burn fastest.” This may be true, but with moderation you can avoid becoming a burnout. Moderation is key. Everyone has different limits, everyone has different struggles. Maybe the tools you need are not available? Maybe you have it harder than the next person. But maybe you can work a little harder and focus more on what really needs to be done to achieve your goal(s).
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January 25th, 2011
Nick and The Grooves have arrived in Nashville for what has already become a momentous occasion. In less than 3 hours we’ll load our gear into the largest club in town – 66,000 sq.ft. known as The Wildhorse Saloon – and battle for a slot at SXSW. I’m writing from the van, where Bill and I are resting and recharging. Andy, Aaron, Tim, Bryan and Sara are exploring Broadway and thereabouts. As I sit here blogging, listening to street sounds, I can’t help but question if I made the most of this opportunity. Part of me wants to grab the local Indie Bible white pages and invite more booking agents. Part of me wants to visit Gruhn Guitars and play. My experience says I need to stop blogging and nap.
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January 22nd, 2011
That’s right kids, we wanna know which song is your fave. We have five planned already but need a sixth, and it’s gonna be your Fan Favorite. Plus, we’re letting you decide the order! We’ll have 30 minutes to wow the judges at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon (this Tuesday, January 25th) and want to open with the song that got us this far – “Foolin’ Yourself.” The rest is up to you! Leave a reply, tweet, Facebook post – whichever platform you fancy most. Click on a song title to stream it free via Bandcamp:
- Foolin’ Yourself
- Collusion Collision
- Steal Me
- Fan Favorite
What will the order be?!? Check back in a couple days to find out plus discover which song was chosen for slot #6 ~Nick, Aaron, Andy, Bryan, Bill and Tim a.k.a. Nick and The Grooves
PS: Thanks to Live Fix for being interested and inspiring creativity
Posted in Tour Diary | 2 Comments »