chris jones
updates

Update: 12/27/09

Congratulations on a Life Well-Lived... So Far

Looking back on this year fills me with a deep sense of satisfaction for having lived out so many dreams and seeing so many people and places all over America. For the first time in forever I am living up to my potential and doing what I love with integrity and honesty. As usual, a lot of disappointments occured, but all hurdles were overcome and led to better things eventually. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of travelling throughout America with people that I considered to be great friends as well as awesome musicians and artists. Now I can say I've done that. While we unfortunately are not playing together today, my experiences in Strangefeather inspired me to continue on another path with new friends and expand the family that is such a vital part of why I make music. For all of these things I am so grateful to the fans, supporters, musicians, club owners and staff, who all play a vital role in keeping live music alive all over America. If I was ever without hope before, it is now completely restored.

Just listing the accomplishments of this past year makes my head spin: Played 100 shows in 25 states accross America on three seperate tours, with as many as 52 gigs in one 65-day period, reaching thousands of people's ears along the way. Released "Interstellar Lounge Music" and played on albums by Monsters are Not Myths and TV Mike & the Scarecrowes. I've also written about 120 new songs and cut some new tracks in LA with Jenni Alpert and Eric Boulanger. I held down a steady job during all of this, too, which wouldn't be possible without my awesome, accomodating bosses. I've been places and seen things that I never even thought existed, and met hundreds of wonderful new people along the way. I've learned things about my self that I never knew before and pushed both my physical and mental limits beyond their capacities. I'm glad to say that I'm still crazy after all of this.

A lot of people admit that they would never be able to do what I do. To get things done I've had to rough it a time or two. Lots of sleeping on floors and in the backs of cars, waking up cold and going days without a shower. Living off of only the most basic of gas station fast food for weeks at a time. Being constantly broke for days on end and staying in sketchy situations with questionable people. Getting ripped off by bars and fixing broken buses and bass amps, playing at puppet shows and chinese food buffets, drinking other people's beer, being asked to play "Free Bird" again, and lifting lots of heavy stuff are all part of the job description, and none of it really bothers me in the least. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I've learned a lot of what not to do, and I feel like I am ready to start being wise now. Because there are no financial rewards for surviving all of these hardships, there is a sense of adventure in everything I do, and it's ultimately more satisfying than making a heap of money. Of course, I am now learning how to do both at once. I must admit that there were moments in the past year when I wanted to give up on everything and just be normal, but it was from these darkest moments that I gathered the perspective to continue onward, and am stronger because of it. For a long time I've thought I have what it takes to be a musician. Now I know it's true.

My goals for next year are simple. Instead of playing so many shows, I want to play better venues with better sound and for more people. I want to perform and write with as many successful and talented musicians as possible and make better records. I want you to be able to turn on the television or radio and hear my songs playing. I want to tour with different bands and see what works. I want to take more airplane flights and I want more guitars and recording gear (maybe even unlimited studio time?). Most of all, I want to make a name for myself as a solo artist and continue to express how much I enjoy what I do. Again, I have all of the wonderful people in my life to thank for such a priviledge. For now, I am content with sitting back and reflecting on my accomplishments and taking it easy for a little while. Happy New Year!


- chris

Update: 12/27/09

"16 Days", "How Can Anybody", "I'm An Alien" and "Lay Me Down" From Record Release Party 11/29/09:

- Thanks to RB for these

Update: 12/3/09

Record Release Party a Success!

Interstellar Lounge Music

The Lil' Old Record Release Party for "Interstellar Lounge Music" turned out to be a success, and I have all of my faithful friends and fans to thank for it. It was amazing to see so many people from so many places in the past mixed with new ones, reminding me of that Kinks song, "All of My Friends Were There". I have many people to thank for their support. First off, Loretta Lynch and The Bang are both awesome bands that I have played a few shows with before, and their music just plain rocks! Not only that, but everyone was wonderful to work with, and brought such a positive attitude to the table. I wish more bands could learn to be friendly with one another, it really does make everything more pleasant and meaningful for everyone involved. I love working with people who get that shows are about entertaining everyone by having a good time.

I also must thank Bunny Whiskers for her amazing album artwork and support at the show, and my roommate Mike for his conceptual contributions towards creating the gift bags with all the fun crap inside, and running the merch table with amazing persistence. He helped bring a fresh perspective to the stale concept of a record release party, and added to the fun. The plastic saphires were an especially big hit!

Then I have to thank Charlie and Brian for working so hard to make the music the best it could be and support me, despite the fact that I am a little scatterbrained. Charlie has given me the courage to try new material and always has great ideas on the drums that add something extra to the song. Brian really came through on his first gig with me, and it's been a long time since I've played with a new bassist since parting ways with Bill Cramer. He also fixed my dad's guitars and is just a really great person to work with.

Next up is all the musicians who came to support that night with their presence. Eric and Paul from the Careless Hearts, TV Mike from the Scarecrowes, Evan from Monsters Are Not Myths, and Rusty from Jackpot were all doing what so many musicians don't do often enough (myself included) by coming out and supporting their friends with smiles on their faces. I couldn't want or ask for anything more.

I'd also like to throw a shout-out to the newlyweds. Gerry and Carla Thomas tied the knot in October. Strangefeather played its final gig at their wedding (it was at Bimbo's!). Ryan and Stephanie Vaughan have been great supporters of me for a long time, and I had the privilege of performing with Ryan at their wedding as well, also in October. In this crazy world it is great to see such wonderful people teaming up together, and it's great to have them in my life. Now, how about some grandchildren already!

I want to thank all of the people who worked that night - Chris did an amazing job on sound, and the people at the Make-Out are always easy to deal with, that's why I love playing there! Thanks to James and Deb and La Bartendress Extraordanaire. And finally, I want to thank all the people who just came out to enjoy the show and got a CD. It's always wonderful to see so many friendly faces in the crowd, and it's such a great feeling to feed off the energy of the audience and give it back. For the musician, it's like being spun on a gyroscope that exponentially goes faster and faster, and then - BLAST OFF! Into the realm of the Interstellar we go. I hope you all enjoyed the lounge music. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much;)

A couple of other things. One, I am leaving to play a few shows in the Pacific Northwest next week with my friends Rives and Jesse, and I can't wait to get back to that cool mountain air. Second, I wanted to let you know that the recordings I'm working on in LA are coming along nicely, and it won't be long before we are in the mixing stage. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, it was awesome to see so many old friends during this special holiday. See ya soon!

Interstellar Lounge Music

Interstellar Lounge Music

Update: 11/11/09

New Album, New World

Interstellar Lounge Music

The last few months have been dizzying. After surviving the not-so-cool breakup of Strangefeather in August (the day before our tour, might I add), I set out to reinvent my solo thing which I had kind of left on the backburner to tour with a rock band, which has always been a dream of mine. Luckily, I already had a solo record finished since March '09 called Interstellar Lounge Music (it's about the Summer of Two-Thousand and Great!), and so I am just now getting around to putting it out on a limited-run basis, and it will eventually be available for download, too. I've decided to create a few handmade copies of the CD and give them out at my upcoming record release party (Nov. 29th @ Make-Out Room) - so come and get yours! Charlie Note is still in the band, and I'm happy to announce that Brian Michael, from San Jose band Careless Hearts will be playing bass for this show.

The breakup of a band is always hard, especially when the people in it are your friends that you have spent years working, sleeping, travelling, and partying with. The worst part for me has been explaining to all the fans of our music that we are no longer playing shows. But the good news is that I have grown and learned so much from my experiences that I am now ready to go out there and apply all that energy to my own music. A brief Pacific Northwest tour has been planned, and I'll be visiting Portland, Seattle and Roslyn around December 9-15th. I will be playing some shows with Power of County (Portland) and Rives, the band's guitarist, will accompany me on the tour. I'll post more details as they become available.

I'm very excited about the new direction my music is taking. In 2009 I have played 90 gigs (so far), will have done 3 tours, and released an album, all while keeping my job and some sanity to boot. I've got tons of great material in the works, and am recording four songs with Jenni Alpert and Eric Boulanger in LA. I hope to have another album ready this time next year and tour the southern states of the US in March (I've already got a SXSW date lined up, too). A lot of changes always bring new beginnings, and it's all a part of the growth process. I'm not giving up on playing music any time soon, so look out for me somewhere on down the line.

Update: 8/29/09

Tour Memoirs

The last day of the tour = good times

A couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to tour with one of the bands I'm in (Strangefeather), but there were all sorts of problems. First, we had access to a beautiful 1964 International Harvest school bus, but no one in the band felt capable of driving it. So I looked for a driver, but everyone we knew that could drive a bus was unable to do it. When our friend Randy heard this, he immediately decided to take 2 weeks off of work and volunteered to drive for the tour. Then, the day before we were set to leave, two of the band members sent separate emails explaining that they weren't going to be able to make it! This of course sent me into emergency mode. On one hand I'm thinking there is no way I can put together another band in 24 hours, on the other hand, the tour is booked and there are people who were excited to see us perform that would be let down. I couldn't do that, so I decided to do the tour on my own with help of my friend and painter, Jesse Mosher.

Jesse Mosher

Thankfully, my friend Joe from Bad Assets and Dark Skies was one of the first people I called, and he immediately hooked me up with a friend of his in Portland named Rives who plays with Power of County. Finally, another friend of mine had agreed to play drums, and I thought everything was on. At the last minute the drummer wasn't actually able to make it, we had no ride to Chico to meet Randy, and I almost had to cancel the tour again. Another reassuring phone call from my friend Randy was all it took to convince me that we must continue onward. After countless frantic phone calls to everyone I knew, it was decided that Jesse and I would rent a U-Haul in the morning and drive to Chico to meet Randy. I would play the first 4 shows by myself, and then we would meet up in Portland with Rives for the rest of the tour.

With my mind somewhat at ease, I went to a birthday jam for my friend Pat at Different Fur Studios, and began to unwind with some whiskey and beer. Next thing I knew, we were all jamming in the studio until about 3 in the morning. I stumbled home and packed my bags and prayed that tomorrow would go smoothly. After less than 3 hours of sleep I skated about 3 miles to the U-Haul place and picked up my ride. Somehow it ended up costing over $200 for a small truck, but I ate the cost and hoped that I would get lucky somewhere down the line. I picked up Jesse and we were out of the city by 8:30am just as planned, and trucked it on up to Chico. Randy met us with our ride there - it was an '84 Ford Centrurion with a camper shell of the back. Truly a beautiful beater, though not as elegant as the bus, it did get over 15 miles to the gallon, and was reliable.

The command center of the Centurion

Randy trucked it straight up to Central Point, Oregon, just beyond the border with California. We pulled into the Touvelle Lounge just in time to set up and play for 4 hours straight. It was tough because I'm not used to playing solo for more than an hour or so, but I made it through the gig with only a few hours of sleep and no money for beer. Thankfully the bar let us sleep in a covered area on the outdoor stage for the night. Rising early, we headed out to get some breakfast and relax for the first time in several days. Prior to the tour, Randy had been up in the mountains around Chico delivering supplies and reinforcements by bus to the firefighters dealing with annual outbreaks of forest fires. It's his busiest time of year, and Randy took the time off to hang out with us. God, I was thankful, because I'm not much of a driver or a mechanic. After breakfast we headed down to the river to relax some more, and then headed to Grants Pass to get ready for our gig at the Trove. This was an all-ages show, and when we got there we met 3 other bands of younger guys from Boise, Idaho who were headed up to Washington to play a festival. There weren't many people to see the show, but these guys were all very supportive and sounded great. We hightailed it out a little early to spend the evening in Medford, which turned out to be a big mistake. The downtown was crawling with obnoxious college drunkards that made me feel like I was back in Davis CA. It took a while to find a decent bar, but the evening turned out to be fun. I would rather have gone to Ashland, but what can you do?

Outside the Touvelle Lounge

We spent a second night out behind the Touvelle Lounge, and Dave the owner pulled up in his truck the next morning and said, "You could have told me first". Well, it wasn't like we had a plan or anything, we were just kind of rambling. I played all day Sunday there on the outdoor stage, and met a lot of great people. It was my first electric guitar solo set ever, and I worked my ass off. Luckily, a saxaphonist and harmonica player stopped by and helped me out. I must say that the Touvelle has great food and a kind staff, and I'm glad we played there. After that, we headed straight for Eugene and stayed with our friend Liz Babbs for the evening. She provided hot showers and cozy comfort for us - thanks to you!

Northeast Portland hang sesh

Next morning we headed up to Portland to check out the downtown (not good for busking, by the way), and Randy stopped into Powell Bookstore and got him some Beat literature. We met up in Northeast Portland with our new friend Rives. He brought us to his house where we got to meet Bruno and Winky, his cat and dog. Originally, the plan was to play at Music Head in Medford that night, but the show got cancelled, because we weren't going to make money. This is the first tour I have ever done on my own, and it was a great learning process dealing with clubs one-on-one and trying to make the best of a bad situation. I learned a lot about the subtleties of communication and how to be diplomatic. Anyway, having our first (and only) night off we hit downtown Portland to have some drinks and blow off steam. Immediately Rives hit it off with everybody, and the next thing you know we were having a great time! Jesse met up with his new friend Didi, and the rest of us headed to our new temporary home with Rives.

The Oldsmobile at Rive's house

The next day was spent rehearsing and preparing with Rives, and we headed up early to Pop Culture in Vancouver, Washington. There we met Kristen and the band she manages, Love Trucker. These guys are all very young and super-talented, and have a great vibe about them. I immediately was intrigued when we pulled up to the venue and they had a school bus parked out front! They are headed out for a US tour very soon, and I wish them the best of luck. Dan, the owner of Pop Culture, and Heidi, our lovely hostess, are awesome people who truly provide a great service for young musicians and fans of music. When I was under 21 it was very difficult to get bar gigs, and none of our friends could come anyway. I feel like young people need something like this to help them develop their talents and have a great time without having to throw renegade parties that get broken up by the police too soon (like we did when I was underage).

Jesse in Eugene at Liz Babb's

Next, we headed back to Eugene. We got some dinner at Papa's, an amazing sould food place with good corn bread, fried okra, collard greens, and (my favorite) pulled pork! Stuffed to the brim, we headed over to Luckey's. Strangefeather played a successful show there on our previous tour, and some people who came back to see us were thoroughly confused (some of them also showed up late and missed the show). It was difficult to explain to everyone that I was playing without the band because a couple of the members had dropped out last minute. I just told everyone that we had a family medical emergency and they had to leave the tour early. This was just enough to keep most people happy, and we had a good show anyway. We headed back to Portland for the night, and it wasn't until the next day that I realized I lost my sunglasses, some CD's and mailing list there! Darn, I'm an idiot sometimes...

Rockin' at the East End (Rives on the right)

The next day was spent relaxing and recovering, and then we headed over to the East End in the Burnside district of Portland. This is an awesome club that Strangefeather has already played a couple of times, and Gabe (the owner) is one of the nicest, most considerate people I have met in the club business ever. He was understanding of my situation, and already was friends with Rives to boot. My friends Dave, Renee, Chelsea and Eric all showed up, and it was great to spend time with them and catch up. I only wish I had more time to give. The show went very well, the best by far of the tour up until that point, and I met so many wonderful people from the scene. Playing after me were the Hang-Ups, a group that features Charlie and Rob from Dark Skies. They are awesome, check them out!

Jesse leaves his mark

Rives and I talked about the gig the next night at the Eagle Creek Inn. He introduced me to his fellow drummer named Andy Bacon from Power of County, and we decided to have him come along for the gig and just wing it. Unfortunately, the bar was empty and there never seemed to be a real crowd, even though it was Friday night in a small town. We still played our asses off, and a few people showed up at the very end to catch the best part of our set. Luckily, I was still paid my guarantee, and we headed back to our home base with a sigh of relief. The next night Rives had another gig with Power of County, so he and his drummer weren't able to make the second show in Eagle Creek. I had to come up with something quick, so I called the owner of the club and gave him the option to cancel the show on Saturday night. He agreed, so instead I went with Rives to Forest Grove and played at the Half Moon Bar as an opener for his band. First we stopped into his band mate Matt Stark's farm and met his family, and I saw the most amazing thing there. Loudly squawking starlings from all around the area had come to roost in a group of about 5 trees in the back yard. Along came one of the neighbors with his gun and fired multiple times into the air. When he did, the entire sky turned black with escaping birds. It looked like locusts, and as soon as they flew away, they swarmed and swirled in beautiful patterns, landing back into the trees again. This time they were all completely silent - I wish I could have caught that on camera. The gig turned out to be a great night of music, with some important lessons learned. Talking with people from the audience has been very helpful for me because I'm learning how to present my music better and appeal to a wider audience. Both criticism and praise have helped me grow so much already. Don't be afraid to tell musicians that you like what you think and ways they could do it better - we need your input to develop!

Jesse on tambourine at the Pastime

As soon as the show was over we headed back to Portland to sleep for a couple of hours, only to rise again at 7am to pick up Jesse and drive straight to Roslyn, Washington. It was our friend Sarah Stahl's birthday, and she had set up a show at the Pastime Tavern downtown for Strangefeather. She seemed very concerned when I told her the band couldn't make it, but was enthusiastic nonetheless. We got into town in time to play the farmer's market, which turned out to be a great experience and many CD's were sold. Thanks to Jonine for organizing the market! As a surprise, Josh Cook from Strangefeather came up for the show with his new drummer, Ryan. They opened the set up with a bunch of his new songs, and I was thoroughly impressed. Sometimes when bands break up, it forces the survivors to try things that they were afraid to do before, and it's always great to see growth come out of change. The crowd was really having a good time that night, and they danced all the way through Josh's set and mine, too (even though I didn't have a drummer). After this all passed, we took a break and came back united, with Jesse live painting (he sold 7 pieces that night!), Ryan on the drums, Rives on guitar, Josh on guitar and I played acoustic. Rives started playing the riff from "Bitch" by the Rolling Stones, and from there the rest is a blur. We had the greatest time jamming for hours until the bar closed, and it was by far the greatest experience of the tour. Thanks to Sarah for putting together such a great musical night together with so many wonderful people. Also thanks to Angie for the pictures, Marci on paintbrush, Dan on harp, Tammy and Stan and John and Alan, and most of all, Sonny, for showing us a good time. Sarah's family is so awesome, we don't know what we would do without people like you to support our music.

Our friend Dan on the harp, Ryan on the drums, and Rives on guitar

Left to right: Randy, Josh, Me, Ryan, Random Beauty, Rives, and Sarah Stahl

Totally burned out, we stopped back by the Pastime around noon for breakfast, hung with Sarah's other son Sky who is already a great guitarist at such a young age, and hopped in the truck. We drove all the way to Portland, dropped off Rives, said our goodbyes, and made it almost all the way to Grants Pass before crashing at a rest stop for the night. Keep in mind that the only driver on this tour was Randy, and the only reason I haven't mentioned him more is that I already dedicated my first entry in "Legends, the Series" to him. The whole time he pretty much drove his ass off and was reliable, friendly, and a great person to be on the road with. Jesse had a great time, and it was also great to have him on the road. Our final day was spent driving all the way to San Francisco where Randy dropped us off at Jesse's. I spent the night there and headed home the next day to sleep off the post-tour blues. Now I'm back on top of things and looking forward to hitting the road again soon. I love the feeling of the open highway and all the great personalities and places I get to interact with. It helps a lot to play every night and develop my solo show. I need the confidence that touring gives me to continue onward alone since it is pretty uncertain at this time whether Strangefeather is still a band. I can't wait to get back out there and see more friends. Until then, stay tuned.

L to R: Randy, Sarah, Josh, Jesse, Stan, Alan, John, Myself, Rives, and Ryan

Update: 7/13/09

Tour Announcement

Strangefeather (who also has a new Facebook), will be going on a West Coast tour in August up through Oregon, Boise, Utah, Nevada, and back through California. It will be much shorter than our previous Spring tour, and we can't wait to get back to the Southwest, South, Northeast, and Midwest again soon! We sincerely miss all the wonderful people that we are still in contact with from tour, and it's great to hear from all of you!

Oh, and I've started playing solo again. I have just finished a new album called "Interstellar Lounge Music", which isn't quite ready for the world yet. Or is it that the world isn't quite ready for it? I can't tell, but I promise that this particular release will be special in that it will be promoted differently and more imaginatively than anything else I've done.

Update: 6/8/09

Strangefeather Pics and Videos

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Update: 5/29/09

Strangefeather Tour (part 3)

I'm finally back in San Francisco (although currently homeless until the end of the month), and the adventure of the tour is still racing through my blood, keeping my eyes open and my perspective hopeful and clear. But really, I don't know what to do with myself. I mean, how can you spend almost 70 days on the road playing more than 50 gigs in 26 states without feeling a little bit of a letdown? By the end of the tour I almost wished that it would never end, or that another one would start again in a couple of weeks. I've proven to myself that I can do this and wonder why I didn't do it sooner. This is what I want my life to be. Through my travels I have met so many amazing people that opened their hearts and homes to the band and I just want to say thank you so much for unselfishly sharing your wonderful worlds with us. I'll never forget all of these wonderful people, and can't wait to come and visit you again.

I left the last update off in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, and it seems like that was years ago. We played the Dead parking lot in East Rutherford, New Jersey two nights in a row. I got a horrible head cold for the second show, and could just barely enjoy the beautiful women dancing on top of the bus, cute children playing all around, and a great crowd of people checking out Shakedown Street before me. I do remember sleeping during all of the thirty-minute intervals between sets and thanking the stars that I survived. The show in Ardmore, Pennsylvania was one of my favorite from the tour. We rolled up to the Villanova Campus radio station in the bus and did a guerilla pitch on the air, which helped result in a packed house full of music lovers who knew the all the words to our cover songs and danced like there was no tomorrow. Thanks to our new friend Mo for setting up the show - she is a true rocker, and Philly is a rock and roll town! We played the Dead lot at the Izod Center and I have never seen so much nitrous (hippie crack is what they called it) in my life! I guess Philly is a nitrous town, too. There's only one way to learn about these kinds of things about a place, and that's to just go there and experience it first-hand.

And experience we did, as we rolled through Cleveland and into St. Louis, where our friend Farrell took care of us and generously gave us two last-minute sets during his open mic night. We met our new friend Lindsay there, and hung out with her and Josh's mom until 10 in the morning drinking honey meade wine. Lindsay then came on the bus with us all the way to Denver in order to learn about life on the road. I think she got the idea, and I wish the best for her in her musical endeavors. It was great to have her positive, youthful energy and smiling face with us for that time. The Dead lot in Denver was another highlight of the tour, especially since we got to meet our road wizard Scotty's twin brother, Jeff, see our old friend Brian Dean, AND got a surprise visit from our good friends Blueberry, Kendra and Kristi Jennings from the Bay Area. I hadn't really seen anyone from back home in a long time - it was quite revitalizing. It was also fun to walk around the beautiful downtown of Denver and have people off the street recognize us from previous shows.

As we rolled into Salt Lake City I felt renewed hope. We said goodbye to all our friends and travelers in Denver. Our first night in town was great, SLC was nothing like I thought it would be. It was clean, quiet and safe, but the city is not conservative by any means. Beautiful Punk rockers and hipsters exist, gays and lesbians are accepted and omnipresent, and everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) has tattoos! Plus, there are stands everywhere that sell 2 tacos for $1.50 - you can't go wrong with that. It was here that the bus really started to have problems. Scotty spent countless hours adjusting the engine to no avail while we sat in the Sears parking lot for three days. Add to this the fact that we didn't really have any gigs set up and were out of money. Plus, it turns out you can go wrong with $1.50 tacos if you eat them exclusively for several days. In any case, the momentum of the tour had worn off and I was definitely starting to feel the burnout. Touring is a series of extreme highs, followed by some very extreme lows and there is nowhere to run. Everyone is in your space all the time, and there really is no room to be moody or passive-aggressive, especially when things are bad. I know this because that's exactly what I did, and it wasn't until we left the state of Utah that the whole band let me have it, which resulted in an emotional and hearfelt intervention that left me a better person, and our band a more unified team than ever! It's funny to think that just prior to that I was contemplating hopping on a Greyhound bus and leaving everything behind. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't.

By the time we got to Portland things starting coming back together, and we had a great show with NY Rifles and Lonely H, both of which are worth your attention. There were some problems with people stealing our cd's and paintings (why would anyone want to do that?), but if someone really wants our stuff that bad, then I guess they can have them! It was great to see my old friends Dave and Chelsea and Eric again, even if it was for a short time. We headed up to the Gorge in George, Washington (yes, that's right), and showed up to the largest parking lot of all the Dead shows. After playing 3 sets in the early afternoon sun, we decided to move everything to a location just off Shakedown Street and wait for the Doobie Brothers, Allman Brothers, and the Dead to do their thing until about 12:30 at night. As people began returning to their campsites, we starting playing what was to be the greatest moment of the tour. In complete darkness we managed to gather all of our energy and play until 4 in the morning. It all seemed like a dream, but beneath a star-saturated sky people danced on the bus while we ripped on hollowbody guitars filled with glowsticks, surrounded by literally hundreds of people who were genuinely enjoying themselves. At key moments I can remember the flash of fireworks exploding in the sky perfectly timed to the music and I knew the excitement that all musicians must feel when they have finally come this far in the game. It was as if the spirits were patting me on the back and encouraging me with this accomplishment, and it makes all the hard work worth it to have that feeling, if only for a moment.

We left the Gorge the following day and by the next day our bus broke down for real. Our alternator failed and we were stranded in Cle Elum, WA until the morning. It was out of complete destiny that a wonderful woman by the name of Sarah drove by and recognized our bus from the Gorge show. She stopped and immediately offered to help us out. Not only did she give us a place to clean up and rest, she also got us a great meal at her restaraunt and secured us a gig at the legendary Marko's in downtown Roslyn (where Northern Exposure was filmed) on the bar's closing night! Needless to say, the place was packed with awesome people, many of which had already seen us play at the Gorge, and were very appreciative of our presence. The next morning Scotty fixed the bus and we high-tailed it to Eugene and hung out with our friend from last tour, Liz Babbs. Randy, the bus's owner and head mechanic, left us in Denver to attend the SF Acid Test Anniversary, but showed up again in Eugene to do some much-needed repairs to the bus. It was great to see him again - Randy is a like a father, brother, teacher, and friend all in one and it is an honor to know him and to have travelled with him around America. I hope we can do it again soon.

Upon reentry into California Scotty was forced to navigate the treacherous roads into Hayfork with failing brakes and some steering issues. Once there our friends Steve and Lucy set us up with a great show, cooked us great food, and gave Nick a very special vintage Slingerland snare drum which he is currently using. They were so generous, and it was just another example of bringing positive energy to a town and getting it back in spades. Our last gig was in Arcata, and it was a fairly anticlimactic ending to an otherwise amazing tour. Don't get me wrong, it was very eventful, but the energy wasn't on the level that we'd been experiencing prior to that. With the tour being finished, we immediately headed down to Old School Studios in Mendocino to record with my friend Calvin Turnbull, who did a great job of capturing the energy of our live show in the studio. It was probably my favorite recording session of all time, just because we were able to use the momentum of the tour to really get our best sound, and I'm excited to mix the songs and finish the album.

So that pretty much sums up my adventure, although there are a lot of stories that didn't get told which I hope you get to hear sometime. I would like to just send out my sincere thanks once again to all the wonderful people who shared their lives and homes with us along the way, we can't wait to come back again and play music for you!

Update: 4/27/09

Strangefeather Tour Update (part 2)

I had typed out a day-by-day recounting of what's happened on tour since Austin, but after a little thought I'd like to just get to the point and take you on a little journey throught the highlights. Houston is where it all begins with a double-header on Main St. that ended with break-dancers and a tour of a sudo-abandoned and definitely haunted department store that closed in the 1960's, complete with unsold shoes, art by Jim the owner, a dilapidated child's bedroom, toys and refrigerators from long ago, plus many other strange items with voodoo in them. New Orleans is a city that is still recovering from the hurricane, and with respect to all Katrina victims I tell you that there is a morbid beauty that the destruction of nature can cause. There is a positive sense of rebirth here that is inspiring. I had the greatest night of my life wandering the streets of the French Quarter for the first time, staring up into wrought-iron balconies and thinking that maybe I was finally home. A few drinks and a blown tire later, my newfound friends and I finally took a cab home and called it a morning (more or less). The next day I spent all my dough on oysters and crayfish without regrets and said hello and goodbye to the Mississippi River.

In Pascagula Mississippi we rolled up to the prototypical southern roadhouse and blew the doors off the place all night long without incident. Oh, except for the fact that the power steering pump blew out on our 1964 International Harvester bus. Randy, the driver, didn't seem to mind, he just took the corners slower and kept on rollin'. We did a two-day stint with Stone Avenue in Mobile, Alabama and then Pensacola, Florida. After drinking, jamming, and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, we played our drunkest show ever. Having learned our lesson, we continued to Auburn, Alabama and played our biggest show of the tour (so far) at the newly-renamed Independent. The California members of the band got to experience their first southern thunderstorm, complete with quarter-sized hail and tornados. I remember sitting at the radio station while sirens went off just above my head.

Athens, Georgia was a mellow gig. We picked up our first rider named Jet, and Bill and Jesse got free tattoos from some members of the audience who liked the band and owned a place across the street. In Greensboro, North Carolina we hooked up generators (thanks, Capt. Jack!) and played in the parking lot at the first Grateful Dead show of their US tour. You can search "Strangefeather" on YouTube to see a video from that day. We picked up MJ, our second rider there. Next we headed up to New York City where it took us four hours in rainy rush-hour traffic to get from the Lincoln Tunnel to the East Village. It really was a pain because the bus still didn't have power steering, so Randy had to get on his loudspeaker and yell at people in order to make things happen.

Our next adventure took place at a biker bar near Albany, NY in a place called the Tank (a giant oil tanker converted into a bar). The following three nights we played at the Barn (owned by our new friend Phil and family). The second night was by far the best show of the tour, we played until 6am and the spirits controlled our every movement. Unfortunately, my favorite touring guitar fell off the stand early on in the set and it broke the headstock clean off. The next day my acoustic guitar got sat on and it was broken, too. Fortunately, I was able to glue the first guitar back together and sink a couple of bolts in the neck to make it secure, so "Patricia" is back in action (and looks like the Bride of Frankenstein, too). After this swing of bad luck, we took off to Jesse's parents house in Shutesbury, Massachusetts for a welcome break. Randy took the bus on tour with the Dead for a few days while we collected our thoughts in the beautiful forests of Western Massachusetts.

Bill's bass amp had conveniently stopped working by this time, so we bought another one on the fly in a town called Palmer. From there we headed to Portland, Maine for a two-day art show at the Arm Factory, run by our friend Dom. We had all our stuff set up the first night to play, when Josh came up and asked if there was supposed to be a fire outside the window. We immediately called the fire department and evacuated all of our instruments and art outside the building! Someone in the woods behind us had accidentally started a brush fire, and the firefighters were able to put out the blaze within a half hour and no one was hurt. Then we brought everything back into the space and played a great show. The next night was even better without any drama, and our friend Matty traded his PA for a couple of Jesse's paintings, so now we've updated our PA system and bass rig in one swoop.

Tonight Jesse's parents are hosting a party and we're going to play in their garage. We're pretty far out in the forest here, and I can't think of a better way to say goodbye to Shutesbury. Tomorrow we are headed to East Rutherford, New Jersey to play in front of the NY Giant's stadium before the Dead go on two nights in a row. I'm having the time of my life out here on the road, I don't think I ever want it to stop. Sometimes you get tired of eating out of a can and sleeping on wooden floors, but for the most part people are very giving and we never go without anything we need. Plus, we've got the bus which has two beds in it just in case. I can't wait to start heading back to the west coast, though. It's starting to get humid here and I love the California weather. I'll have some pictures and video to share in the near future, but right now I'm too busy playing music and living free to sit in front of a computer for too long. Until next time, have a great day! I miss all of my California friends.

Update: 4/3/09

South By Southwest and Strangefeather Tour Update (Part 1)

chris jones

I was in Austin a couple of weeks ago for the traditional South By Southwest events and to play a couple of shows at the 121 Bar on 5th St. Thanks to Jenni for putting together such a great weekend of music, and thanks to Greg and Destiny for being great bar owners who really care about what they do. I wandered the streets and saw hundreds of bands playing at once. It was quite overwhelming, really. What really struck me was the incredible amount of people who were really into live music and just enjoyed themselves. I have never seen so many friendly faces enjoying all kinds of different music without borders and genres. I felt really at home in this environment.

I'd also like to thank my new friend John LeBlanc for showing me around and Kali for the banana blueberry pancakes. The best moments for me were seeing Bart Davenport (OAK), Chris Pierce (LA), and John Paul Keith & the One Four Fives (Memphis), but there was so much more that I just can't get into right now. I saw a couple of celebrities, like Janneane Garofolo and I had a shot with Matthew McConahey. Mainly it was great to be a part of such a positive musical event and I'll never forget it. I can't wait to go back next year!

Actually, as I write this I am once again sitting in Austin about to play a gig with Strangefeather at Headhunter's. The day after I flew back to SF from Austin, I hopped onto our 1964 International Harvester school bus equipped with enough beds for everyone with all of our gear and clothes for 2 months to begin our "Get on the Bus" Spring '09 tour. It's been going great so far and I'll just give you a quick run-through of what the last 12 days have entailed:

We started in Sacramento at the Press Club and it was a solid first show. Nothing dramatic, just a harbinger of things to come. Tuesday we played at the Boardwalk Bowl in Santa Cruz. Jesse got his painting equipment stolen, but it was great to see Roro, Sarah, Kim and friends. Wednesday was Monterey Live on Alvarado St. and the gig was great. We had a bus full of beautiful women singing along to songs on board the bus after the show was over. Our road manager and bus driver, Randy, got stereo kisses from two blondes! Thursday we were down at our friend Joe's farm (he is now in Dirty Nails, used to be in Dark Skies), with John, Josh, Alexi, and Elizabeth in San Luis Obispo. They had pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, dogs, and peacocks and their place is rad. Thanks to them for supporting us at the Z Club and sending us home with many strange peacock feathers which we've been handing out to people along the way!

Friday things got interesting in LA at Molly Malone's. Thanks so much to Bertolet for opening his home to us! It was his birthday and he got up on stage with us to play "Cold Rain and Snow", which has definitely been a tour highlight thus far. It was great to see Jenni and Charley at the show rocking out - whoever says LA ain't got soul doesn't know what they're talking about. Saturday night was our first one off, and Sunday found us in Phoenix at Hardtailz Bar. Buster gave us pulled pork sandwiches, my Aunt Jenny and her boyfriend John came out with friends and there was a bikini bike wash that we had to compete with for attention. My newly engaged friends Ryan and Stephanie were there to witness the whole thing, and if you look up "Strangefeather" on YouTube you can see a video of us that Ryan took. We had a great night, and that's where things started really taking off for us. Since then we have played Burt's Tiki Lounge in Albuquerque and the Tin Star Saloon in Santa Fe. My old friend Chris brought out some folks, and thanks to him for the shower and burritos! It was awesome to hang out with his 16 month-old son Henry and Kate, I am very lucky to have his support. Last night we were in Lubbock, Texas playing at Bash Riprock's on the Texas Tech campus. It was good times all around. Now I'm back in Austin and they told me that we go on at midnight.

I have never been so satisfied in my life because I'm doing what I love every night and am part of a great group of musicians, artists, and a road crew that keep it real. I feel like we are spreading a positive message to all the people we meet, and at the same time continuing a musical heritage of the travelling rock band that is much-needed in these hard times. I can't tell you how many people have come on the bus and shared their experiences with us. Everyone seems to be happy to see us wherever we go, and each new town brings great surprises and new viewpoints that we can feed off of and express in our music. Strangefeather is learning the ancient craft of being travelling performers, and it's a great undertaking that I am totally up to. Of course, I've been very tired at times and the schedule is exhausting, but it's all worth it and I don't want to be doing anything else. Let me assure you that live music is alive and well in the US, and wherever we go there is a demand for what we are doing. It's all been very worthwhile, and I can't wait to see you on tour. Come out, support live music, and get on the bus!



Update: 3/3/09

Epiphone Likes Us, They Like Us a Lot

chris jones

Today Strangefeather is featured on Epiphone's website. You can see the blurb here. They've given us some guitars to play at the Red Devil Lounge this Friday night, and they look really cool. Thanks go out to Jim Ferber, Motogirl and Pat Johnson for hooking that up. Strangefeather loves Epiphone guitars because they are well-constructed, great-looking, and cost a fraction of the price of other high-end instruments, so you don't have to cry every time you bump the guitar into something!

More dates for Strangefeather's "Get on the Bus Tour" are up on the gigs page, and things will start right after South By Southwest. Chris will be at the festival, too, so if any of you are in Austin during this time, be sure to check out his set(s).

Lastly, it's time to announce Chris's next record, which is still in the works, but should be out sometime in the next couple of months. It's called Interstellar Lounge Music, we hope you like it.

Update: 2/9/09

SXSW Showcase and Strangefeather US Tour Announced

Lots of news! First off, Chris will be playing two nights at the Spin it Indie Showcase during South By Southwest in Austin on Friday/Saturday March 20th/21st. Second, thanks to all of you who came out last weekend to celebrate Chris's birthday at O'Neill's on Saturday, and the Milk Bar on Sunday. It was a blast. Third, Strangefeather is announcing the first dates of their Spring 2009 "Get on the Bus" US Tour. They will be covering the entire country in a 1964 International School Bus for two months straight to spread rock and roll throughout this great land when it's needed most. Tour dates will be added as soon as they are confirmed, so keeping checking back for more details. Thanks to Wicked Annabella Productions for doing such a great job so far. Please support all their shows because they book awesome bands!

If you would like to check out some clips from the Strangefeather show last Sunday, here they are:

You can see where the Heckler comes in about halfway through and Jesse pushes him off of Josh. That was his warning.

At 2:07 you can see a glimpse of the same Heckler, followed by a shirtless Jesse chasing him out of the club!

Update: 1/6/09

2009 Begins, and So Does the Change

Everyone is talking about change this year with our new president and a failing economy on the brink of collapse. People are preparing for the worst and anticipating what will happen next with great anxiety. For the musicians and artists out there, we are ready to do our part and relieve the pressure as much as possible. After all, those of us who are devoted to the arts aren't strangers to poverty and displacement, and our senses for adapting to a dynamic environment are sharply honed because we don't rely on comforts or consistency to define our happiness.

The first change of the year worth taking note of is that Kidd Cook has officially metamorphosized into Strangefeather to adapt to the turmoil and chaos in the world today. This evolutionary step allows the band to float to more distant reaches of the Earth as the winds of change howl through the canyons of the classes, turning rich to poor and poor to poorer. As the storm progresses, Strangefeather will travel thoughout this great land to spread a message of hope and inspiration to those who need it most. A tour of the United States will begin in March and end ????

We are all looking forward to the inagauration coming up, and it will be interesting to see just how much difference our new government and president will be able to make in changing the attitudes and habits of Americans. The problems of our country do not lie solely in the way our government conducts business, but they also dwell within the same dreams and motivations that helped make our nation what it is today. Thirst for wealth and irresponsible consumption are the two largest demons that people must face individually, and it now seems necessary for humans to ration and conserve materials on international levels, much like we have done during World Wars and the Great Depression. Individualism ought to give way to communities where materials can be shared and used more efficiently (i.e., sharing washers/dryers, lawnmowers, cars, etc.), and let those who are weak rely on the strengths of others to help them through tough times. Doing this would allow people to preserve their way of life and dignity without continuing to overconsume.

There is a lot of evidence to support that no amount of conservation will save us from running out of our dangerously depleted resources, but it could also be argued that through the practice of moderation we can learn more readily to live without the things we now depend so heavily on, like crude oil, beef, and fish, for example. But it takes a personal responsibility from each and every individual and this is still a choice that people may choose to ignore. So if you really want some change, go out and make it happen with your friends and family today by consuming less and supporting businesses that are not nationally traded on the stock market, instead of chains and megastores. Buy less and consume with reverence instead of over-purchasing to get a "deal". You'll end up spending the same amount of money and you won't be as fat. And, whatever you do, don't wait around for a president to make things better - because without your help he will never be successful!

Update: 12/29/08

A Personal Message from Chris Jones

Hello,

I would just like to tell everyone that 2008 has been a great year and I am so appreciative of all your support. By purchasing/listening to the music and coming to shows you have helped myself and my fellow musicians survive and do what we love. Through your feedback and encouragement I have learned to become a better performer and give you the best experience I possibly can.

My goal for 2009 is to play twice as many shows as i did last year and travel all around the country making music for as many people as possible. I want to spread a strong message of love and hope that is badly needed in this country right now. With all of the difficulties we face in this new year, music will be there to inspire and help us deal with anything that lies ahead. It is a wonderful gift to be able to share music with so many wonderful people. It is my pleasure to give my greatest effort at every show and on every recording. The more I give, the more I get back from my audience and this is what makes playing music such a special experience for everyone involved. So thank you for all you have done and I hope that I can count on your continued support in the future, because without you I couldn't do what I do.

Sincerely,

Chris Jones

Update: 12/5/08

Frieda Faye - A Big Fan

chris jones

Thanks to Paul for sending in this picture of Frieda. She's a future star and current Chris Jones fan. Rock on, Frieda!

Update: 11/25/08

Record Release Show a Success - Thanks to You!

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported at Chris's record release show last Saturday, there was a great turnout for this very special show and it can safely be considered a success for Chris and everyone who helped make the show possible.

Thanks to Deb Zeller, CVS, and the Make-Out Room for great venue support, James Finch Jr. and his band for opening support, Kerry Johnson, Miss Anne, Jenni Alpert, Charlie Note, and Bill Cramer for musical support (and so much enthusiasm and dedication, too:), RB at Coast Range Records for label support, Bunny Whiskers for the T-shirt design, Jennifer Rose at iTunes, Joe Goldmark at Amoeba SF, SF Bay Guardian for ad support, and Jesse Mosher for just being Jesse. Without your help this would not have been possible!

Chris will be spending the next few months working in the studio on several projects with the Scarecrowes, Monsters are Not MYths, and others. A new album is in the works, too. There are so many things to look forward to in 2009, please check the site regularly for updates.

chris jones

Update: 11/17/08

Underneath the Sun now available on Amazon.com, iTunes and more

Just wanted everyone to know that T-shirts are now for sale sporting the above logo in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They will be available at the record release show on Nov. 22nd at the Make-Out Room.

If you would like to order your copy of Underneath the Sun, you may now do so by going to Amazon.com. You can also listen to samples and download the album at iTunes, Amazon's mp3 site, Rhapsody, Napster, eMusic, LaLa and Shockhound, too. Amoeba Records in San Francisco is carrying some copies in the Rock section under the letter J (you can always ask for help finding it - the staff is very friendly:).

Of course, you can always get your copies by coming to the shows, so come on out and get your CD and T-shirt!

As soon as the CD becomes available in more places you can find updates here. iTunes is next!

chris jones

Update: 10/13/08

New Album - "Underneath the Sun" Debuts

It's been a long time in the making, folks, but it's finally arrived. I got the first copies of "Underneath the Sun" yesterday, and am very pleased to announce that the album will soon be available for sale at shows, in stores, and online. I'll make announcements to let you know how you can access the album as progress is made. You can always come to any of the shows on my gigs page and I will have cd's for sale at less than retail. Come to think of it, come to the show next Sunday at Thee Parkside, where I'll be playing in Peacemaker and opening up for the Pine Box Boys and be the first on your block to have a copy of the new record.

"Underneath the Sun" has been a labour of love for me. It is a self-produced effort that includes my best songs to date. Included are performances by Chris Guthridge and Bill Cramer from Ride the Blinds, plus the engineering and production of Calvin Turnbull (Leon Russell, Eric McFadden, Sheryl Crow) of Old School Studios in Mendocino, CA. Important contributions were also made by Rick Perez, Jimmy Gallagher, Rich Corsetti, Steve Schadle, and Gwenyth Moreland. The amount of up-and-coming talent on the record is unbelievable. I am very satisfied with the whole experience thus far, and can't wait to see what everyone thinks of the music!

Remember to be on the lookout here for information on how to get the album online if you aren't able to come to a show. RB at Coast Range Records says that everything has already been submitted to iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody, Amazon, CDBaby, LaLa, Napster, and more. There are also plans to distribute through major retail stores in SF, including Amoeba Music, Streetlight Records, and Aquarius Records. In other words, expect to be able to purchase the record online and in stores in the next couple of weeks.

Update: 8/22/08

Videos for You

My buddy Ryan took these videos of me and Jenni Alpert playing for friends at his house in LA after Kidd Cook played Safari Sam's. Thanks to him for capturing the magic on camera!

Sing Me Home

I am a Child

Update: 8/11/08

Kidd Cook Tour a Success

Thanks to all of you who came out to support the Kidd Cook "Summer of Two-Thousand-Great" Tour. It was a huge success and we actually don't hate each other after being crammed into an '86 Toyota Chinook with a brown Datsun camper shell towed in the back. A special thanks goes out to Road Wizard Scotty, who held everything together when times got rough. It was great to see so many old friends and make so many new ones on the road, and I can't wait to get back out there and do it again. I also want to thank Wicked Annabella for booking some great gigs and promoting our shows so well. If you would like to know more about Kidd Cook and buy our hot new cd, check out www.myspace.com/kiddcook.

I'm still waiting for my new cd, "Underneath the Sun", to be finished, but in the meantime I am already starting to lay down tracks for a new double album that is inspired by Native American vibrations and my recent experiences with the spirit world. Kidd Cook is also working on a bunch of new material. There are so many great things happening right now, I hope that you can take the time to peek your head in and check it out every once in a while.

Update: 7/24/08

Peacemaker Lives, Kidd Cook Tour, and More

I'm writing this on my way out the door to go play pedal steel with the Scarecrowes at the Hemlock, but I just wanted to let everyone know that all is well and also to give a little update because it's been a while. I know. Where do I start? I want to say thanks to my new friend Rhett Smith of Ocean Wave Studios in Monterey. He treats musicians like people, and that's not to be taken for granted in my experience. I'd also like to thank Miss Anne, Brenton Forrest, Jesse Mosher and all the people who are using their skills and creativity to make some beautiful things happen for the people of San Francisco: Your contributions are invaluable, and it's great to see you shine!

Bill and Nick Cramer are the best rhythm section in town right now, and we've formed a new group called Peacemaker that is going to kick butt and make us legends. It's got sort of a Goldrush-Wild West-Gunslinger image with heavy southern rock as the soundtrack. We all have gun names in this band. Bill is William Winchester, Nick is Nicholas Remington, and I am Christopher Schofield! Get ready for this band - we're going to kick ass this Sunday at Thee Parkside. We'll be sharing the stage with Norton Money from London, too. The band is headed by my friend Dan Beaulaurier , and this is his Swedish bassist's first time in the States. Dan and I just played at his sister's wedding, and I am so glad to have finally met all of his family (there are a lot of them and they are all wonderful)! Hey Dan, when are you going to buy a Martin instead of all those old Gibsons?!

Next order of business is the Kidd Cook Tour. That's right, I'll be on tour with my friends, plus a driver and Jesse Mosher, who is going to paint pictures at all of our shows and hopefully make us laugh a lot. We just finished our first record, Dolores Sparks, which will be sold exclusively at shows, so you have to come out and get a copy as soon as we get to your neck of the woods. We'll be headed up to Sacramento, Portland, Eugene, Seattle, Fresno, and of course, LA. I'll post the tour dates below. It's gonna be a great time, and this band is really cookin' right now. I'm looking forward to it very much.

Finally, I'm going to be releasing my own album very soon. It's called Underneath the Sun, and it's the greatest culmination of songs I have recorded. I'll let you know when it's ready. All right everyone, it's time to go, have a great weekend and I hope to see you all very soon...

Update: 4/27/08

Typewriter now available on iTunes

After much anticipation and the standard roadblocks that come with releasing a first commercially-available record online, I finally present to you "Typewriter" in it's entirety. Click here to buyChris Jones - Typewriter:

Go to the audio page to download the artwork and album info.

Go to the words page to download the lyrics for songs.

Update: 3/31/08

Radio Show Podcast Now Available

Ok, the radio show I did with Bunny Whiskers on Pirate Cat Radio 87.9fm is now on the web for you to listen to and enjoy! It was a great show, and thanks to Tessa for coming out and joining me and talking about love. I also want to thank Monkey, all the people who were there, and of course, the lovely Bunny Whiskers. Ya'll rock! Ok, here's the link (be aware there is some strong language and adult content):

http://www.nerdnetworks.org/pcr/BunnyWhiskers-20080320.mp3

Here is Bunny Whisker's Radio Page - the show is 3/20/2008:

http://www.piratecatradio.com/playlist.php?dj=bw

- Chris

Update: 3/16/08

The Rock and Roll Revolution has Begun!

Sitting here on a Sunday, I feel the satisfaction of so many months of hard work and dreaming finally coming to fruition before my very eyes. Ever since I was a young soul, my dream has been to make great music with a family of friends and create a movement that would help define my generation, which has (until now) toiled in obscurity for lack of accomplishments and suffers from a general apathy towards the world in which we live in. It's no secret that we are thoroughly engrossed and distracted by our cell phones and cpu's, and everyone has been more than happy to sit back and let American Idol tell us who our next promotional sacrifice will be. In a way, we have reverted to a sort of digital Mayan madness, and it won't be long before the next Cortez rolls onto the shore to obliterate us while our spirits are at their weakest. Before you know it, we will be possessed with the Demon of Possession himself.

But that's not how it's going to go down. I still believe that America has a fight left in it. I still believe that we can gather ourselves in time to find a new meaning for the world we live in, and it has to start with the purest of intentions in an almost militant form. In short, it's going to take a revolution to get back what we have left behind. It seems like everyone I talk to these days wants a world where commercialism doesn't define our tastes, where people return to what was originally so refreshing and wonderful about the music, art, and expressions of the past. Cultural icons rush to the mind, such as Dylan, Hendrix, Keruoac, and Ginsburg, just to name a few. A revolution begins with the sound of a primitive drumbeat, and it follows a path through the creative arts into the souls of all people who long to escape the confines of their oppressors. And it cannot be stopped.

Nowadays, our own government is our worst enemy. Political debauchery on all levels has made a lot of people realize that it's not going to just take the change of a president to make things good again. It's going to take some rock and roll. Things are going to get shaken up, and it's going to come first from the progressive cities where living conditions are the worst and there is the most desperate need for immediate change. A revolution does not necessarily include physical violence, but a great change requires a violent upheavel from within, and that can only be manifested in so many ways. No one can be sure how it will occur, we cannot control that aspect of the revolution.

My good friend Bill Cramer has recently seen this change. He has been possessed by his own need to be free, and what he has seen is what he now shares with us all. He knows that upheavel is on it's way, and has taken control of his destiny and decided to help kickstart the revolution himself, despite the many criticisms and doubts of others who are afraid to do the same. He has gathered around him a core group of talented, inspired people who have also forsaken their immediate material needs for the sake of the greater good of mankind. And it's giving them energy and momentum that cannot be stopped. They are called "The Mission Festives Artistic Collective", and you may have seen them celebrating the Rock and Roll Revolution down at Dolores Park every Sunday for the past month.

Or perhaps you have seen them walking the streets of the Mission, talking in bars or playing shows any given night of the week, making their solidarity and unity known to everyone around them. And perhaps you have you been invited to join them. Perhaps you have said yes, because you need something more in order to give something more. It's all happening in San Francisco, and for all I know it's probably happening in Pittsburgh and Miami and Memphis, too. It's definitely not happening at South by Southwest, though. Guess what - it's not going to happen there, or at Burning Man, or at any preconceived spot on the planet. It's going to happen everywhere all at once. In the backs of schools, on big grass fields, in your garage, on your neighbor's roof. Anywhere that isn't already somewhere, because that's the only place we can still be free.

I've seen a lot in the past few months, and it has opened my eyes to what is happening around me. For once I feel a part of the collective conscience, and for once I have something to give that is appreciated and welcomed by all. Playing music has been my passion all of my life, but until now I haven't had the avenues to express my passion to the world around me. Well, that's about to change. Today I was able to finish my greatest accomplishment to date. It's a record I call "Typewriter", and it's going to be available very shortly for you to hear. Just last week I was also able to finish another great album, which is called "Underneath the Sun". It's been more than a year in the making and is the greatest collection of songs, musicians, and engineers that I have ever encountered. I personally am onto something, but what really gives me satisfaction is that I'm not the only one. Chris Guthridge of Ride the Blinds has been recording some amazing music, and Ride the Blinds is playing their first show again since last November. My good friends Josh Cook and Nick Cramer are working on the first Kidd Cook demo right now, and it's something that I have been very fortunate to be a part of. Charles Gonzalez is making great records on his own and with Stonar (Brenton Forrest) and Willow Willow. There is so much talent in this town, you're crazy if you think the music scene is dead right now. And it's not trendy - everyone is playing their own music, no one is trying to sound like anyone else. We are all free from the shackles of peer pressure here.

And that's how the Summer of 200GR8 (pronounced 'two thousand great') begins. Who knows how it will end, or if it ever will. In the meantime I'm going to release some albums and play some shows and be at the places where people gather to do their thing. Because I believe in the revolution, and I believe that we can make a great change without relying on Barak Obama or anyone else to do it for us. If you want to complain about how crappy our president is, go ahead. You'll probably also tell me how Darren is going to be the next American Idol and how Cindy is definitely going to marry Chad for money on the Bachelor for sure. Meanwhile, you will go on living the same way you always have because it's good enough for you. But if you ever change your mind, you know where to find us. I know you can, and we'll all be happier when you do. And if you can't make it there physically, you can listen to us on Pirate Cat Radio 87.9fm or buy our records, and use it as the inspiration to start the revolution in your hometown. The choice is yours, don't be late. The Festives await your arrival.

With Pride, Courage, and Humility:

- Chris Jones

Update: 2/7/08

Ok, Here we go now...

The last few weeks have been crazy. I'm working three jobs at the moment, trying to finish 2 albums, and starting a new band all at the same time. Needless to say, there hasn't been a whole of time for sleep. The good news is that I just finished mixing my first "real" album, which is set for release in April of this year. It's tentatively titled, "Underneath the Sun", and it features the best material I have written over the last 10 years or so (that makes me sound old). In the meantime, I am putting the final touches on my newest record, "Typewriter," which is 99% complete and will be available for sale on the internet later this month (if everything goes as planned, of course). I'll be sneak-previewing some stuff off both albums next week on Bunny Whisker's Radio Show on 87.9FM Pirate Cat Radio. The show airs on Feb. 14th at 6pm, but I will have a downloadable mp3 of the broadcast available on my site soon after if you miss it. It will be a Valentine's Day theme - so make sure and tune in with your loved one(s).

This weekend I will be playing at the Beat Museum, and then I am going to take the rest of the month to work on the records and get my new band started. Right now I've got the Cramer brothers on board (Nick and Bill), and we're searching for the right guitar/wurly/pedal steel/singer, or whatever, to round it out. Know anybody? Let's see, what else is happening - oh yeah. I'll be at the Caravan Lounge in San Jose, along with the Careless Hearts, on Mar. 7th, and on Public Access TV on Mar. 8th playing with Charles Gonzalez and the Stereo Glitter. Mar. 23rd I'll be returning to Thee Parkside, and then it's another month break to get ready for a tour to support my "other" new record. Yes, I like to do things differently. I'm gonna make this thing work one way or another - even if it's the hard way. I hope to see you at a show soon, and I hope you get a chance to purchase the new album(s) when they come out. If downloadable sales of "Typewriter" are good, then you can expect to see it available on CD at shows, online, and in stores. I know you'll like it if you've read this far.

- Chris

Update: 1/3/08

Happy New Year!!

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year, and to say that 2008 is gonna be just swell. My friend said that this year we can visualize anything and it will come true, and I guess we'll have to see if he is right. Chris was featured on Pirate Cat Radio 87.9FM last week, and he played a few exclusive new tracks from the upcoming album "Typewriter". Check http://www.piratecatradio.com/playlist.php?dj=bw to see the setlist and hear the entire Podcast. You can listen to Chris's section of the show here. Thanks to Chuck G. and Bunny Whiskers for havin' me on as a special guest.

I am looking forward to the show at Cafe Du Nord with Charles Gonzalez and the Stereo Glitter, it's gonna be a great night of music and you can expect some great special guests. Also, Chris's solo show at the Plough and Stars is gonna be something to see. Rumor has it he will be debuting some new material, and we hope you all can make it. Chris is now wrapping up recording on his next two projects, and he has some very special plans in the works which I can't talk about just yet. Finally, I would like to thank all of the great people who came out and supported the cause in 2007, we are so excited to bring you new albums and shows and good times. Keep on rockin' in the free world!

- Barry the Bum

Update: 12/12/07

Website Updated

The website has been updated with new pictures on pics page, as well as new lyrics posted for some of your favorite Jones tunes. Plus, the friends page has been updated, too. Be sure to check them out, hope you enjoy.

Update: 11/28/07

Great Things In the Works

Alright, I'm back with some news for all of you people wondering what's been going on in the last month. Well, things couldn't be better, because I've been playing a lot of shows and working on a bunch of new recordings that are almost finished. I find myself not having time to get tangled in complex personal relationships that impede my progress. Er, I mean I've been very free and easy as of late. Like a mojito on the nude beach I guess.

I have been enjoying my residency at Thee Parkside very much, and there has been such a great turnout for these shows that I will really miss doing them once they are over. Last weekend I reunited the High Life Band with new drummer Charlie Note (the Winechuckers), and it was amazing. We're playing again this Sunday (this time with Rick Perez on drums), and I am looking forward to many more great shows with my brothers.

After this weekend, I will be in Mendocino finishing up some recordings with Calvin Turnbull, which will be released in February in CD form and online. This will be my first professional release and will be available at the shows for you to buy and enjoy at home:) Also, I am finishing up work on another recording entitled "Typewriter", which I made at my home and 2 Sumner with my 4-track and an sm57 mic. This will be available on the internet very soon, details are on the way.

I've also been playing with Charles Gonzalez and the Stereo Glitter at a few venues, and this has been a great experience for me. A couple of weeks ago we played with Nicky Bluhm (Nicky Chambly) at the Hotel Utah, featuring Tim Bluhm on the drums and Jackie Greene on the bass. That was a great show, and I hope you can make it to future Stereo Glitter gigs.

I am dedicated to ending the year 2007 with a bang, and I am so appreciative of all the encouragement and support I have gotten from fans and friends over the last few months. 2008 will be very special, but I plan on taking a little break at the beginning of the year from playing so that I can get the new material finished and put together a record release show or two. Lastly, I would just like to share that my long-time friend Chris Taylor just had a baby with his wife Kate, and his name is Henry Burleigh Taylor. This is my first experience of having someone close to me start a new family, and I am very excited for them and the new adventures that await. Maybe one day I'll settle down and have some kids of my own... or maybe I'll just keep playing music and living life like a rambler. Only time will tell.

- Chris Jones

Update: 11/6/07

Does it Ever Stop?

Just wanted to give a shout out to my good friends Chris and Kate Taylor, who are probably celebrating the birth of their brand new baby boy as you read this. I myself feel like a brand new baby boy as I write this, because no matter how far you get in life there are always moments of innocent rebirth that bring you back to the start of everything and make you forget all that you have learned in the past. Halloween was awesome this year, even though the Castro thing isn't happening any more, and I really don't know how to explain the extent to which the festivities rise this time of year. Happy Birthday to my Momma, who is awesome, and Happy Birthday to Marcia, who I miss very much. The past two weeks have been an insane experience of so many different scenes and people, I don't even know where to start in explaining it all. Instead, I'll just get to the point.

Last weekend was amazing, as I had the chance to meet the photographer Jim Marshall at the Make-Out Room last Saturday night. He is the man who personally photographed and befriended the greatest musicians of the last 50 years, including Otis Redding, Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, just to name a few. His photographs are legendary, and my childhood hero was nice enough to buy me a drink and share with me some of his experiences over the years. It was such a wonderful section of time for me. The only question is, where is the next Jim Marshall (and where is the next Jimi Hendrix)?

I played bass with Charles Gonzalez that night, and for some reason everything worked out perfectly, and so we had a wonderful show with lots of beautiful people. Sunday was great as well, because I got to open for the Careless Hearts and David Serby. For the first time since Dave Gleason left the Bay Area I was able to feel that country music was still alive and well in my favorite town. I mean, who would have thought that Thee Parkside could attain the levels of greatness it once had in it's hey-day? Well, I'm looking forward to playing there again real soon, so get ready people.

After Thee Parkside began winding down I went back to the Make-Out Room and saw Pat Johnson. There's not much I can say about what happened that night, but one thing is for sure - Pat is a great songwriter. And I'm sure that Pat is gonna hate me for saying this, but I really loved hearing him play his songs, and I just wish that he could know how great I think he is, even when he's fuckin' off and just having a laugh. He's just another hero of mine, and a man's gotta have heroes, or else he can't expect to amount to much more than what he already is, I reckon.

Right now I'm moving so fast in life that I don't have time to tell everything like it is. I'm just gonna let you know that I've got a residency at Thee Parkside, where their letting me open for all the Country Sundays, and I love it. I'm making a good wage, entertaining people, and just having a damn good time doin' what I was always meant to do. I"m working on a lot of new recordings with my trusty BR-532, and the new album (which I'm calling "Typewriter"), is going to have a lot more rock and a lot more drums than past efforts. I also want to let you know that I am polishing up some recordings with my new friend Calvin Turnbull in Mendocino. It's complicated how this all came to be, but I am thankful that I met this man. He has done such a great job so far, and I can't wait to get these songs out to the masses. Also, I have plans to release a new album with the recordings of Chris Jones and the High Life Band, with Chris Guthridge and Bill Cramer from Ride the Blinds, and Rich Corsetti. This is a great album, and I can't wait to release it so that people can hear how hot this band is!

Lastly, I would just like to say that Brendan Daly, owner and proprieter of the esteemed bar Ireland's 32, passed away in early October, and we are all mourning his loss. Whatever the case, Brendan was a fine man, and should be remembered for his kindness and willingness to help young musicians on the scene (like myself) have a place to play without worries. He was always stern at first, but at the end of the night, Brendan would treat me with respect and dignity, and we could look one another in the eye and drink a shot of whiskey to commensurate the fact that we had a good night, and nothing can ever take that memory away from me. God willing, may you rest in peace, Brendan. Thank you for all that you have done for me and my brothers. May God be with you.

- Chris Jones

Update: 10/10/07

A Little You Tube Love For Ya

Mark Manuel filmed these for his show, which I'm told is on rotation (along with Megan Malera's appearance) on Burlingame's Public Access. Hope you enjoy them:

Click here if the video doesn't load

Update: 9/17/07

Chris Jones joins Stereo Glitter, Opens for Mother Hips

Chris has recently joined Charles Gonzalez and the Stereo Glitter, and this weekend they will be opening up for the legendary Mother Hips at Sweetwater Saloon. This place is very intimate and will definitely be sold out. Also, Chris has been recording a new album with Calvin Turnbull at Secret Studios in Mendocino, CA. This one won't be free, but the release can be expected in Spring 2008. In the meantime, please come out to one of the shows and support Chris. We've got some good ones coming up for you.

Speaking of shows, Chris is also starting a residency at Thee Parkside's Free Country Sundays beginning in November. The first show will also feature the Careless Hearts and Dave Serby. Don't miss this series, 'caus you know the best cure for even the toughest hangover is to listen to country on a Sunday Morning Coming Down.

Also, some local people have been spreading the word and posting some comments about Chris lately, here are two you should check out:

Thee Parkside - Aug. 26, 2007
The Starry Plough - Sept. 13, 2007

"Gone are the days we stopped to decide where we should go. We just ride." Crazy Fingers, by Robert Hunter

- barry the bum

Update: 8/14/07

New Album Available for Free. Everyday Stranger Calling it Quits

Chris's rock band, Everyday Stranger, is officially calling it quits after 2 1/2 years of playing together. They released their first album in January of this year on K&H Records, which is still available on CD Baby. And now the show must go on, so Chris is releasing a new album of original material recorded on his trusty four-track in the comfort of his Mission home. You can download it for free here. Several solo shows are lined up for the near future, and new recording projects are in the works. Stay tuned.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 12/12/06

The World is Coming Back Slowly

I don't mean to sound crazy or anything, but I am back. and I would like to let the world know that I was gone for a while on a strange journey. A series of temples amid thick forest, carved into the stones, became my home. And I sat for a while, trying not to think. And apparently I turned my mind off for a couple months. But now I'm back.

So, I have an announcement to make, so let me write it in bold:

Everyday Stranger finished their album today!

The final steps for "Everyday Stranger" were just completed and I am the lucky guy to be holding a prototype in my hand. It took over six months to complete, but this labor of love will represent the hardships that the Stranger has faced over the last couple of years. Struggles aside, it's a great first album, and today Paul Stubblefield mastered it from tape to disc. The record will be available in stores beginning March, 2007 (don't worry, I'll let you know when it happens). We'll also have it available on the website. Also, a huge record release party is in the works for all you locals out there. Yes, I'll keep you posted. Do you get my emails any more?

Also, Chris Jones will be playing with the High Life on December 23rd, plus drummer Jon Payne will be there, too. It's all part of the annual Ride the Blind's "Christmas in D" Party. Yes, you'll see all your friends jamming it out like there's no tomorrow, so don't miss it for the world, darling. Do you hear?

Lastly, I just want to say that Cat Power is my newest, favoritist singer/songwriter/fox. I know she's a hipster, but you gotta respect a woman that can sing like that. Plus, she's gotta have some schtick to get the shallow people to buy it. Well, let them follow. I'm just gonna be listening back here...

- Barry the Bum that is Back

Barry finally came back, but he has yet to reveal exactly where he was or what he was doing there. Frankly, this makes me suspicious. But I'll take what I can get when it comes to Barry's antics.

Update: 10/23/06

Travels Without Barry

Hey, this is Chris. Usually Barry does all the updates for this website, but he is camping in the woods with some friends at the moment. He says he's sorry for not having written in so long. The last month has been a trip. Right now, I'm listening to an old Norman Blake record and thinking back on my trip to the South. This guy is someone I grew up with all my life, and the album I've got playing is "Home in Sulphur Springs", which refers to a little town in the north Georgia Mountains. I know every song 'caus my daddy used to play them for me when I was real young and in doing so passed on a love for the folk music of mountain people, too. It's one of the many secrets he has shared with me over the years, including giving me my first guitar at 1 year old and getting me into to other albums like "After the Goldrush" by Neil Young, "Years Gone By" by Albert King, and "Are You Experienced?" by Hendrix.

Wed. - Fri, Sept. 20th/21st/22nd - Nashville, TN

It was with my father that I first revisited the South. I flew into Atlanta from SFO at about 5:30 AM, then hopped into a rental car and headed for Nashville. Stopped into the Waffle House when the sun started coming up over the mountains. I ordered coffee and hash browns served scattered, smothered, diced and chunked - just the way I like 'em. At 10am I arrived just outside of Nashville, hitting a bit of traffic, so I stopped on the side of the road and slept for an hour. Then I woke up, drove to the convention center across the street from the Ryman Auditorium (home of the original Grand 'Ol Opry), and met up with Dad at the '06 Americana Music Conference. We soon made our way to a bar that served barbeque and both agreed that it was great to be in Nashville.

I had plans to meet up with Kim Richey that night, who is an amazing singer and writer, but instead passed out in an early-afternoon alcohol-induced slumber that made life seem alright for a little while. I woke up a couple of hours later and we headed out to the Cannery. It's a live-music venue with two bands and two bars happening at once! That was where I saw some awesome music. Mountain High has got to be one of the hottest bluegrass bands around right now. We also saw Charlie Louvin (the Louvin Brothers) and local SF favorites the Waybacks, plus the great Al Perkins(played pedal steel with Gram Parsons and the Stones), playing with a bad-ass band consisting of nothing but Nashville cats called the Hillbilly All-Stars.

Woke up Thursday and immediately started drinking again. Met a nice girl in the bar and had a good talk about music. I walked around the convention and saw a cool picture of Townes Van Zandt. Went to Gelb guitars like I always do when in Nashville and stared at the Martin guitars but couldn't bring myself to play any of them. We went to a couple of different bars that night and saw the Duhks, Amy Speace and Mindy Smith, plus the amazing Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Man, that guy has got the best band around. Lucky him. This ended up being the "chill night".

On Friday Dad and me went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and saw the new Ray Charles and Ray Price exhibits. It was great to see all those guitars and cars and Nudie suits, but god I wished that I had some of them. I wish them guitars weren't sittin' in glass cases just suspended in time like that. They oughta at least take Bill Monroe's mandolin out for a spin once in a while. I thought about breakin' in and stealing Hank William's guitar and trying to drive out in Webb Pierce's custom cadillac after it was closed. Also saw the premier of the latest Gram Parson's documentery. Heart-breaking and utterly inspiring. My eyes were lit up in flames and I was singin' along...

Something strange happened to me as I walked back to my hotel to get ready for the night. As I passed by the Ryman Auditorium, I could feel ghosts coming out of the doors and grabbing at me. It was Hank Williams that was the leader of them, but there was also Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash reaching out and trying to pull me in. I could feel the force of their hands on my body, and my mind felt like it was being jerked sideways. Their spirits are still alive in there, I guess. That night, I returned to the Ryman for the Americana Awards Ceremony, but not before smashing 4 whiskeys and actually getting the last drink served to me before cutoff! I guess I am lucky sometimes... Well, the awards ceremony was amazing, especially since the house band was Buddy Miller with Sam Bush and Al Perkins and a other assorted heavies. Charlie Daniels played a song, as did Marty Stuart (did I mention he has the best band?), Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Elvis Costello, Allen Toussaint, Roseanne Cash (I saw her Daddy in her shadow reflected against those red curtains), and Jerry Douglas, to name a few. After the show it was more drinking at the bars and listening to music. Saw LeRoy Parnell and headed over to check out Jim Lauderdale, but ended up meeting someone and talking late-night over chicken and waffles at Ernest Tubb's Record Shop. Anyway, I'd heard enough music at this point and was eager to start playing some shows.

Sat. and Sun, Sep. 23rd/24th - Knoxville, TN

Got up early and left Nashville behind to go back to my birthplace of Knoxville, Tennesee. I was actually born in the UT hospital in the early part of '79. I remember one night not long ago, when I was partying with a band from Nashville called the Lee County Killers, and I met this girl who was born in that same hospital during the same year, just a few days later than me. Pretty strange. Anyway, my family all lives in Maryville - a town about 20 minutes outside of Knoxville, and got to spend some time hanging out with my Grandmas and saw my cousin Jim's rock band play a gig. Yeah, my family has a lot of music in our blood. It's just the way we all grew up, I guess.

The next morning, we watched my Aunt Mary, Uncle Benny, and their kids singing at the church service. It's shown on TV every Sunday, so they are kind of local heroes I guess. That night, the whole family came out to see my gig in Knoxville. They were very kind and patient, and I hope I didn't seem too much like a sinner to them. A friend of a friend named Jonny Sexton was kind enough to help me out with a gig - thanks Jonny. It was his 25th birthday that night, and we were all having too good of a time. I do remember a real sweet girl who was a massage therapist looking at me with deep eyes and telling me she was Cherokee. That night I got pulled over for speeding. I was totally lost and had a rental car, and was a few beers deep, if I'm not mistaken. Luckily, I got off with a slap on the wrist and good directions home. But when I got near the house I was staying at, I couldn't find my way through the fog. I tried for two hours to find that house, but eventually gave up and crashed in the car.

Mon. and Tue, Sept. 25th/26th - Atlanta, GA

At about 8 in the morning I heard a tap on my window, and it was the person whose property I was parked on. He didn't look too happy, and asked me what the hell I was doing on his property. In the South, someone can get shot for doing something stupid like that. I told him who my uncle was, and he said he knew him, and pointed me in the right direction. Turned out I was only about two blocks from my destination! Haha! Well, I came home and my family wasn't too amused. They looked a little worried, actually. They should have known they don't have to worry about me. I always find my way home somehow. I jumped on a Greyhound bus and headed for Atlanta. I met up with a person from my past named Mimi, who is actually my Dad's best friend's daughter. We went on some sailing trips together back in the day, and it was such a trip to see her again after all these years. That night, we went to Eddie's Attic, which has got to be the "best" open mic in the country. I'm not a big fan of the open mic scene, or the singer-songwriter scene for that matter. I did, however, really enjoy hearing Daltry Bean play. That girl was doin' it right. I played a few songs, and had a few drinks and crashed like a mofo.

The next morning, my oldest and best friend Chris from Statesboro, GA picked me up and we played a game of golf. I worked on my swing and got back into the rhythm again after not playing for so long. That night I played at Smithe's Olde Bar and it sounded pretty good. Saw a songwriter from the past in LA named Adrianne. Very strange and small world the circle of songwriters is. We took off early, and headed back to Mimi's to party it up. Had a great talk about 'Love' (I defended the argument that love does not justify the pain it causes). Then the road started calling me again. Wed-Sat, Sep. 27th/28th/29th - Statesboro, GA and Home

At about 4 in the morning we left for Statesboro, stopping at a Waffle House in Macon. All of my shows were over, and all that was left was to relax and enjoy the next few days off with Chris and his wife, Kate. We played golf all day, drank a few beers at night and basically enjoyed life. On Friday we all went to Savannah, GA to check out a jazz festival that was happening there. I spent a lot of time in Savannah as a kid, and it was so eerie to back there, with the river and the Spanish moss in the trees. The weather was so beautiful, it was like living in a dream of my old childhood. I remember staring down into an alleyway of dilapidated red brick that was behind some of the shops there by the river and seeing a pathway to the past and wanting to go down that way. But someone pulled me back and woke me from my slumber.

On the last night of my trip we got drunk and played night golf. It's just like golf, except you steal a golf cart full of beers, glow-in-the-dark golf balls, and tees and start riding around hitting the ball into god knows where. It's kind of like when they went night surfing in Point Break, only way more redneck. The next morning I woke up and jumped in a car and headed back to Atlanta, where I caught an early flight back to San Francisco. But I was first distracted by good friends Ride the Blinds, who helped me deal with the post-road downs by having me over to play guitars, drink beers and forget the past and live in the moment. Let the good times roll.

- Chris Jones

Barry is on a spiritual journey right now somewhere in the Mendocino Hills. He'll be back when his Spririt Guide tells him to. In the meantime, have a Pabst Blue Ribbon or two and chill out.

Update: 9/18/06

Goin' Down South

Hello again, everyone. After such a long absence, I feel obligated to play a little catch-up and give you the scoop on what's been happening lately. I've been rambling around my usual route of San Francisco to Santa Cruz and back (sometimes twice in one week). I can remember going down on a Thursday night recently, and being so tired that I fell asleep in my driveway. I wokeng up just in time to go back to work the next day. There hasn't been a lot of time for liesure, although I did spend last Saturday completely naked in bed. Those are my favorite days, and I miss them dearly. Naked Time really does it for me. I saw 4 movies and got up to eat McDonald's and drink more water. Except for last Saturday, I have been extremely active and haven't regretted a moment. A couple of weeks ago the Stranger played at Grant and Green in San Fran, and it was another great show with new material(!) and friendly, attractive faces. I love the fans who come out, they are great people and I am never disappointed. You know who you are.

Prior to that I saw Chris get together with some old friends and play bass in the band Western Arms at Ireland's 32. Headed by Dan Beaulaurier, this trio was on fire and it was great to see Dan coming all the way from London to make great music. I am sure he makes it great over there, too. Check him out at www.danbeaulaurier.com if you don't mind. A few days after the gig we journeyed up to the Yosemite area for the second annual Mountain Jam at buddy Tom Wood's cabin for the Labor Day Weekend. In case you don't know about this place, let me describe it to you: Imagine the side of the road in the middle of nowhere out somewhere near Yosemite, where you can still see the stars in perfect solitude while hearing Coyotes yelp in the distance. Now imagine a hand-built two-story cabin that has showers, a full kitchen (with dishwasher and refrigerator and microwave), and plenty of room for friends and strangers to congregate and have a great party. In addition, picture a garage with a top floor that is used for nothing but setting up a band and making great recordings while entertaining all the guests. It's pretty cool. Everything is powered by solar energy and a diesel generator, and I didn't leave the place for 3 days straight. It was great to hang out with the band, consisting Rich Corsetti, Dan, Chris, and Tom Woods, to play and sing some of our favorite tunes. We had huge feasts, smoked and drank to our hearts' content, hiked, shot guns, sat around campfires and lit buckets of grease on fire (this is a great pastime), and genuinely had ourselves a blast. I can't go into all of the details, but I enjoyed the company of Sarah, Stacy, and Jason, who kindly gave me a ride. Thanks for that. I paid in ass, gas, and grass. No one rides for free.

It was hard returning to reality, and I've been doing everything possible to get back to that place. Chris and I leave for Nashville tomorrow to shop some of his material at the Americana Music Conference. There will be a whole lot of free shows, and should be educational and exciting. After that, we head to the town where Chris was born - Knoxville. We are staying with his family, who is a blast, and he'll be playing a show on Saturday night. Next stop is Atlanta, GA, where Chris grew up. We are staying with an old friend and partying downtown just like the wanderers we are. Lastly, we'll hit up Statesboro, where's Chris's good friend (and new wife) will show us a good time. I love travelling, and can't wait to get on the road again. Every morning when I wake up I have the desire to go to a new place and experience something outside of the normal routine. Sometimes I feel like a caged rat, stuck running back and forth between Santa Cruz and San Francisco, and this is how I'm going to deal with this feeling. I think it will be great to see the South again after so long, and there are so many good people that I will meet on my journey that I know I can't go wrong. And I'm usually very negative, you know, but it's time to let go of that and suspend the notion of excitement. It's good to know I'm still excitable.

I have some bad news, which I have saved for last. Everyday Stranger didn't win the Monterey Battle of the Bands. They lost to a crippled guy who played guitar with his crutches. Second went to a heavy metal hair band, and third went to a ska band with a cute 16-year-old girl singer. They sang Blondie covers with a ska twist. So that was kind of a bummer, but the bright side is that the band got to play 4 songs for a crowd of about 800, and played their asses off. I just don't think it was the right audience for what they were trying to do. Looking back at my previous update, I wrote that they would definitely win, which wasn't true, and I'm slightly tempted to say that I was a bit hasty in my claims. But I also said that the show would, "prove that there is no one else out there that is anything like this lovable, unique, and understated rock group", and I still stand behind that statement. Where does a band like the 'Stranger fit in? Do they have to? I'd rather prefer they not, and they stay outside on the fringe of popularity for now. Maybe I'm selfish, I want the Stranger to myself. It's mine and you can't have it. Okay, maybe we can share. I'm ok.

Okay, well I better get some sleep before I work a full day and jump on a plane to Atlanta and probably sit next to a squirming baby, then drive to Nashville and have some business fun. Tomorrow should be real exciting. I'll see you all when we get back, and I'll be sure to have an update (as soon as I have a moment to sit in front of my computer. Have fun at work.

- Barry the Terrorist (is the government paying attention?)

Barry is not a terrorist because he can't even remember to shave in the morning, much less put a bomb in his shaver and try to sneak it on a plane and detonate it. But it is sometimes just fun to say things that might get you in trouble. So that's why he said the "T" word.

Update: 7/14/06

And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'

Hello, everybody. It's me, America's favorite stranger indeed, Mr. Barry T. Bum. I have been behind the scenes, standing in the shadows, and watching the world go by for quite some time now without anyone being the wiser, and I figured it's time to come out again and share what I have observed with the rest of you folks. For starters, I am broke. And so is everyone around me, except for the rich people. But they are also worried about money, and so we have all been sucked into this endless vacuum of consumption that requires constant feeding. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it means that the more money we make, the faster it goes down the tubes, and the harder it is to hold onto. Remember that game show where the lucky winner got to stand in a tube while money dropped all around them and they tried to hold onto as much as possible? That's me and everyone else, except that is our own money that is falling in the tube, and we only get to see a small portion of it. The rest just flows through the Magic Money River, and we never really get to enjoy it. So that is the reality of life. I accept this.

Another reality of life is "The Man". We all know that sometimes the government intervenes in our happy little lives, and screws up our happy little plans by taking our happy money from us. This happens in the form of late fees, tickets, penalties, higher interest, increased taxes, registration fees, and, my favorite, "Fees to Reconsile Government Employee Screwup, To Be Paid by Citizen on Receiving End". There is no way around this. Just when I start to pay off all my debts and have everything together again, and finally start spending some money on things like vacation time and fun toys and so forth, I get pulled over by a cop. Now, I am a pretty safe driver. I haven't been pulled over in at least 6 years, and my record is totally clean at the moment. I have the cheapest insurance known to man. Barry likes it that way. Unfortunately, I got behind the slowest human in the world the other day while I was lost in the city and was late to a job. I did a bit of fancy tailgating and tried to go around the slug, but to no avail. Instead, I found myself apprehended by a motorcycle cop who let me commit three offenses before finally pulling me over. That's right. He just watched me commit three infractions before putting on his sirens. I guess he felt that three was the magic number. So I get the ticket, thinking that I will have to pay for a stop sign run or something. Then the cop tells me that he is going to be nice by not impounding my car and taking me to jail for reckless driving! A few hours later I checked the ticket, and he has me written down for, not one, but two stop sign runs and a tailgating charge! I can't win.

Prior to this, things were going well. I have really cut down on the drinking, and instead of partying every weekend, I am accomplishing all of the things I said I was going to do in my last update. I got a new bed, a tv and stereo, fixed my car, bought 400 thread-count sheets (absolute heaven) and pillows, got a nice Wurlitzer electric piano and helped my roommates clean my place up. I also put a lot of John Brogan's art all over my walls, bought some plants, put candles everywhere, reorganized everything, bought new clothes, etc... I think you get the point. I was doing good. Good dog now doing bad. I don't know how much that fucking ticket is going to cost me, but I guess I will find out after I take a day off work to sit in court and beg the judge for mercy. Sounds fun, doesn't it? But I'm not saying I have it bad. It's just the timing of the whole thing is uncanny. How "The Man" has a knack for hitting you when you're either already down, or just getting back up, I don't know. I'm sure they get you when you're on you've been standing on your feet for too long, too.

On the lighter side, I did find a $10 bill on the ground today. It bought me a (small) bag of cashew nuts, cigarettes, and some watered down, unsatisfying tea beverage that was supposed to taste like pomegranite and ambrosia licked from a beautiful island woman's stomach. But it just tasted like Koolaid without the sugar to me. That's what $10 will buy you these days. Other than that, nothing really great has happened in a while. I will say that laying off the drink has made my Saturdays much more enjoyable, and is steadily helping me to achieve some sort of balance in my life. I am getting more done now than ever before.

Ok, enough about me, though. It's time to tell you about the Stranger. They are finalists in the Monterey Battle of the Bands at the Monterey County Fair, and will compete this Saturday. So come on out and see them win, will ya? This is a big show, and it will finally prove that there is no one else out there that is anything like this lovable, unique, and understated rock group. Nothing. Don't make me say it again. The album is also coming along nicely, and the mixing process has begun. I have been privy to the most recent recordings, and things are really coming together now. There will be more information on this in the upcoming weeks.

Also, Chris will be heading back to the South to play a fews dates and attend the Americana Music Conference in September. He is going to visit some old friends and family, and play some tunes for his people. I will make sure you know what the dates are, and if you live in the South, we will see you there. More details will follow on this as well.

Well, I hope that's good enough for now. I really miss seeing all of you, but I've got some things to take care of right now, and I'm pretty sure I'll be back. Or maybe I won't, who really cares? One last thing. I just wanted to say that a certain crawdad named Eddie, who was very dear to my heart, died a few weeks ago. We found him belly-up in his brand new fishbowl, apparently suffocated from eating too much. I suspect diabetes. But the important thing is that Eddie's gone to a better place (no, we didn't eat him), and my roommate has since bought a much larger holding tank and added 15 new crawdads to create the Ultimate Crayfish Prison Camp. You have to see it to understand what I mean. Or maybe I'll just write about it someday in one of my updates.

- Barry the Terrorist (is the government paying attention?)

Update: 6/26/06

Long Hot Summer Nights

I know, I know. It's been almost a month since I have written any updates. That's not because nothing is happening, it's because too many things are happening. Plus, I think most people are too busy out having fun in the sun to actually sit at their computers and read stuff on the internet. Well, if you are reading this right now, I salute you. You are most likely one of the few people who hates sunlight and the beach and margaritas. I, too, am one of those people. Don't get me wrong, I love going to the beach and being out in the sun for short periods, but it's only because that's what hot girls seem to like also. They wear less clothes at the beach, and so I am forced to go where the action is. I don't mind so much, it's a small sacrifice to make to feed my addiction for the female form. But it just so happens that my British-Isles heritage keeps me from ever getting a tan, and I sweat like a pig even when I am sleeping. Nothing I can do about that. The more suntan lotion (or sunburn lotion, as I call it) I apply, the more I sweat. So I am constantly needing re-applications. Add to this the fact that no woman likes to touch a sweaty guy's back, and you have instant sunburn. No, the sun was not made for me. Today is the hottest day of the year so far, and I am sitting at my computer typing right now. I am a freak.

I am currently making a desperate attempt to get my life together. I just want to know what it feels like to have everything working at once. I recently got a desk for my computer (prior to this I had the CPU on a shelf and typed on my lap. The mouse was on a chair next to me). Last week I bought a bed with box spring and frame, instead of the previous setup which was just a mattress on the floor. I cleaned my room, took inventory of everything I needed, am currently throwing out everything I don't need, and I bought new clothes. Unfortunately, my car is having troubles again, as well as my guitar amplifier which has been in the shop 5 times now. They can't seem to fix it right. I have refrained from drinking and smoking for the last couple of weeks (except for one episode, which I will tell you about in a minute). All of these things have been extremely difficult to accomplish, and I feel as if I am starting to get burned out. Of course, I am hoping my quality of life will improve once everything is worked out, but in this life there are no gaurantees. I am sure once I have my life together, something will happen to bring me back down again. Oh well, at least I am trying. It's just that I'm getting older, and everyone around me seems to have something going for them. I am still sitting around working at $15 an hour, writing for pennies, and waiting for my train to roll in. It feels rather pointless. At least I am single right now, and I don't have to worry about anyone else. That would make things a lot more difficult I think.

Recently we had a roommate change and my good friend John Brogan has relocated from New York to live with us here in the Mission. I think he likes San Francisco so far, and because he is a painter, he adds even more artistic funky-flare to the house. It's awesome living with good friends. Everyone is very excited about the change, and now it is anything goes in the house. San Francisco life has become even more fantastic, and I believe that one day our house will be featured on rock posters and written about in history books. Our home is the epicenter of the New Golden Age of San Francisco (1849, 1906, 1967, and 2006 will all be memorable dates). A couple of weeks ago we all went down to a Ride the Blinds show on Mission and 21st. Immediately after the show, I jumped up on stage and announced that the after-party was at our house. The entire bar came over. Everything was going well until people started pushing each other on the kitchen floor because it was slippery with beer. I walked out into the malay, awoken from a drunken slumber in my underwear, and was immediately taken to the ground. All of the sudden there was a camera in my face, and one of my roommates punched a guy for no reason. Several fights broke out, ala Wild West 1849, and the gas stove was ripped out of the wall. Gas began pouring out of the line throughout the house, and the place was evacuated so fast that no one had time to think. I awoke the next morning and promptly puked the San Jose burrito I had purchased the night before onto the street below. Pigeons ate it. Good times. If you want to see a picture of the world I live in, go to Ride the Blind's website. The picture you see was taken out my front window. Cool, huh?

Last Wednesday the Stranger played at the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz. This place is legendary for their $1 beers and Jagermeister shots, and is somewhere that I have been escorted out of quite a few times. It was great fun, even though it was a weeknight, and the Stranger played their asses off. Those who came out were mostly strangers themselves, and I think they walked away most impressed and a little bit more educated about the art of Rock and Roll. The weekend before this, the Stranger also played at the Lester House Party in Oakland. Yes, this place is still going strong, and I think this was the best party ever thrown there. (I have been to every one of them, but I can't remember much). I remember Chris Jones and Chris Guthridge jamming with some black dudes from Oakland, playing guitars and rapping and having a good ol' time at 7 in the morning. The band got cut off around midnight in the middle of their last song, and one of the police officers (who was also a beautiful female), told us she liked the music. Too bad her weasel counterpart shut it all down. Well, we are used to haters, but it doesn't bother us. We just keep rockin' on. That sounds cheesy, but it's true. I like cheese.

I also wanted to mention that the Stranger is still in the studio recording their album and things are coming along nicely. Chris is throwing down the overdubs now, and the mixing process should begin shortly, bar any inevitable delays. No one has been allowed to hear anything yet, and it's being kept very secret. But I will let you know as soon as something becomes available to the masses, ok? I will also try and write in here more often. I promise you will see more updates, as soon as I get my life back together. Ta ta for now.

- Barry the Journalist

I think today was very hot. I like camels. The summer brings stupidity and fun. Let's party! Ok, I'll leave you alone. Or maybe I won't.

Update: 6/20/06

They All Went to Mexico

Well, where do I begin, folks? So much has happened over the last month, and I have been dreading the moment when I sit down and try to remember it all. Now the information has become such a burden, that I fear it even more. And the longer I wait, the bigger the ball of fear becomes. Ok, I'll get to the details now.

First of all, Eveyday Stranger recently began recording their first album, and everything was pretty much cut live. The weekend was spent at MARS Studios in Aptos, CA. Set in the hills below Santa Cruz, the air was very relaxed, and we all had a great time. Thanks to Ken and Herbie from K&H Records for helping make the dream a reality. Pretty soon you will be able to see the Stranger again, as they will be playing in Oakland at 432 Lester. This house is known for all-night jam sessions and good times pretty much every time. That will be on July 8th, so be sure to make it out for that one.

One of my roommates moved out recently, opening an availability for Jon Brogan to move in. He will be here at the beginning of the month. Right now he is painting one of the rooms, sleeping on the floor. and generally getting acquainted with the Mission insanity. I remember back on Memorial Day weekend when we had a huge barbeque on the sidewalk of 24th St. below our house. The cops didn't come until after midnight, and they just made us take it inside. I think that party is what prompted my roommate to leave. I don't think he could handle the intensity of so many scary little friends let loose in our house at once. We'll miss you McBowls.

Last weekend was amazing, because my friend Mike and I went on a 3 day cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. Now I've always heard that cruises were fun, but I never realized that stting in the sun with a bunch of girls in bikinis all day, eating as much free food as I wanted, and letting waiters bring me cervezas and bloody marys all day could be so much fun. But it is. My only complaint was that we were only actually in Mexico for about 8 hours, 4 of which I wasted trying to recover from a hangover the night before. But Mike and I made it on land just long enough to drink ourselves silly, have a great time, and return to the ship to drink more. It was ridiculous. There were so many lovely ladies, I just had to admire the views and variety of different wormen that surrounded us. Next time I go on a cruise, I would like to travel for 7 days or so, and I'd like to go to some more exotic locations. But if you were every wondering how much fun a cruise is, I can tell you that it's a great time for all. It's definitely more fun to be single, though.

I can't remember if I ever mentioned this or not, but I recently changed job positions again, and now I am a personal assistant for my boss and roommate and friend. It's pretty insane, I work 12 hour days no problem, and have adjusted to not sleeping. Of course, I am in a car all day, so I am gaining a little weight and my health is fading fast. But it's great to be hanging out with my buddy, even during the stressful times. I basically ride around in the car with him all day, answering phones and taking notes, dealing with customers and employees and vendors and people who work for a living, too. That's the best way I can describe the situation.

So that's my story up until this evening. It wasn't too hard to write after all. There's a lot more that happened, but in hindsight I think I pretty much got to everything important. The last thing I wanted to say is that Chris is putting out an album of home recordings he made for free on his website. That's right, you can hear 9 new songs for free, and all he asks is that one day you let him sleep on your couch (or in your bed if the feeling is right). I'll make an update once that is up and running, most likely in the next week or so. Now I am going to lay my weary head down and try to get some sleep before the personal apocalypse resumes itself tomorrow morning at 7am sharp. For once, I feel less like an opinion columnist and more like a reporter. And that's all the news I have to report tonight. You stay classy, San Diego.

- Barry the Journalist

Update: 5/19/06

The End of the Last Seduction

Lately I've been feeling especially lazy and today I took off work to relax and recollect myself. It's too bad my personal life cuts into my working life, but that's the way it goes. Things aren't meant to be perfect. My buddy Mike is in the other room, lying on the floor in his boxers with one foot in a bandage and the other in a sock and sneaker combo. He had surgery on his foot about a week ago, and they removed a piece of bone about 3 cm long from his big toe. So now he is lounging around the house, asking me to do stuff for him, taking painpills and walking on one foot. He jumps around the house like a human pogo stick and I can hear him coming from 3 doors down. Just now, he asked me to call his phone for him. I am taking my time. Yep, Mike is a character, just like everyone else I know. It is best to observe them in their natural habitat.

Last weekend was a riot, because I saw Chris and Jon of the Stranger playing with Bill and Chris from Ride the Blinds at a bar in San Mateo. A lot of parents were there, still proving that parents, though not considered "hip" anymore, are the best people you can have in your life, and your biggest supporters. Not everybody has parents, but I think everybody did at one point. The band was called "Ride the Stranger", and we're pretty sure it was fun. They played some great Neil Young and Stones covers, and ended the night with a drunken "Sing Me Home". Everything was cool, except for one of the bartenders kept complaining with her hands over her ears the whole night, saying that the band was too loud. Funny, none of the audience seemed to mind. We rocked out in Brogan's back yard until 5 in the morning. One of the asshole neighbors called the cops on us, and there was a brief but intense face-off betweem the guys and officer Vega. Yeah, things got a little out-of-control that night, but we weren't hurting anybody. It used to be we would hang out in Brogan's backyard for hours and no one would mess with us. Seriuously, it's like a jungle back there. Oh well, I just feel like I'm getting too old for this. And by "this", I mean the cops treating myself and my friends like shit. Somehow no matter what we do, we're always on the wrong side of the law. Damned Law.

Since I didn't have to work today, I am in a decent mood. I still love my life, I still love my dreams that never come true, and I still fear death too much to commit suicide. Everything is as it should be. And thinking of things that are where they should be, I considered getting a tattoo the other day and luckily came to my senses. I mean, who wants a message on their body that they will have to stick with for life? The reality is this: No one feels strongly about something for their whole lives. There are times when something speaks less about who you are at the moment, and more about who you were in your past. I'm talking about things like marriage, children and your work, which all are moved to the side when you need to deal with something else. Sometimes I don't feel like writing or reading or even seeing a book. I love writing, but sometimes I can't face it. Sometimes you get sick of your kids, and escape from them for just a little while. You have to take a break, or you will go insane. But a tattoo sends the same strong message all the time. You can't get rid of it very easily, and it just seems like after a while you would get tired of having it there. You have the tattoos because at one time you thought they were cool. I don't believe in committing to anything for your whole life as being cool. I want to be able to change my mind at any moment. And what if you change? What if? You could, and you should, just like lizards and snakes and crawdads do. You have to be able to shed your skin at some point in life in order to be able to grow.

Mike is hopping down the hall again. He makes a sound each time his foot hits the ground that resemebles a frog choking and having sex at the same time. Now he is singing about how much he loves his babycakes. I think I better go for now, before he gets too close. I think he just fell. Talk to you later.

- Barry the Changeling

Alas, summer is coming. Barry anticipates girls in bikinis and sweat dripping down his four layers of clothing. Barry does not tan, but would like to learn how, or date a woman who works at a tanning salon. If you have any leads, please stand underneath the window at 24th and Mission and scream. Barry likes screaming.

Update: 5/10/06

Travellin' Blues

Summer is nearly here and the heat is stirring the souls of everyone around you, awakening us from our exalted slumber and throwing our souls back into a pollen-infested wonderland of unearthly sunburns and the desire to sleep in your shades. Just kidding, I welcome the great weather. It's sexy. Or at least I feel more sexy. Speaking of sexy, Everyday Stranger made their LA debut last weekend, playing with Ride the Blinds at the Lava Lounge in Hollywood. We all crashed in a 1 bedroom hotel room in Santa Monica that kind of looked like Melrose Place (I have never actually seen that show). We bathed in the sun for a couple of days, thanks to Jon and Liz who let the world crash and party in their beautiful little hotel room. Man, the place got trashed. The gig was very successful, as there was a huge crowd and I got to see many old friends who I love and miss dearly. Special thanks to Ryan and Stephanie for coming through with the amplifier. It sounded killer. The support was great, and the band looks forward to returning to Lost Angels in the near future.

A couple of the highlights were going to Venice Beach and buying crap, hanging out with Terrance, Ryan, Steve, and the whole crew after the show, seeing an old lover and saying hello, hearing Mikey Bobola's voice again, checking in with Tiff and Natcha, seeing fake tits again for the first time, and riding home with a bottle of jack and Hank Williams. Thanks for the ride home, Dave. I never would have gone back to work without you.

My most fond memory of the weekend (besides eating at the legendary Bay Cities Deli multiple times) was partying with Bill Cramer from Ride the Blinds and Chris until the daylight came up. We were asked to leave the hotel because we were singing Hank Williams at 7 in the morning. But the hotel manager did complement us on our singing. We left unabated and headed down to the coast, Santa Monica and Highway 1 to be exact. Larry David runs there I think. We didn't see Larry David, but we were greeted by a kind gentleman who gave us $40 for singing him the blues. Thank you very much, stranger. Whoever you are. The good times were rollin', and it took me a couple of days to recover. I certainly had the blues for a while there.

But now I'm back on top and ready to rock (in a manic-depressive kind of way), and soon there will be another weekend that I can sink my teeth into. This Saturday, Chris and Jon are going to play with Chris Guthridge and Bill Cramer from Ride the Blinds down in their hometown of San Mateo. Their is a legendary bar there called McGovern's (which Matt McDivitt is not allowed into), and it is sure to be a night of drunken happiness (which is way better than real happiness). Yes, somewhere in between the beautiful people and the ugly ones is where I fit in. So come on down. Or up. Or down. It doesn't matter.

SUNDAY IS MOTHER'S DAY. DON'T FORGET THAT YOU HAVE A MOTHER.

Beyond that, we have some information regarding the recording of a new album by Everyday Stranger for K&H Records. Recording will begin in early June, and I will have all the updates. This shit has taken forever to coagulate, thank you for your patience. We are on the road to becoming legends. I swear. Ok, I've used enough charm for now. Let me say thank you once again to all the friends and lovers who came out to the show in LA this weekend, we love ya, too! See you again soon. And to all the northern Cali fans - don't worry, we'll get to you very soon as well. Lataz. I can't believe I just wrote that word.

- Barry the Immaculate Make-Out Champion

Alas, summer is coming. Barry anticipates girls in bikinis and sweat dripping down his four layers of clothing. Barry does not tan, but would like to learn how, or date a woman who works at a tanning salon. If you have any leads, please stand underneath the window at 24th and Mission and scream. Barry likes screaming.

Update: 5/1/06

Another Phase Begins

Hello, strangers. So good to see you again. I have been through hell and back, and I gotta tell you, I am still alive. That doesn't mean I'm really enjoying life or anything, just getting through the days one by one. It all started with a sinus infection. I know, it sounds nerdy, but I was seriously out of commission for a good two weeks. I missed some amazing parties. The only way I got through it was to stop smoking and drinking for three weeks. It was an intense recovery period, and all of my energy was taken from my body. I never thought something as simple as allergies could fuck you up so badly. I am still kind of recovering, but for all intensive purposes I am back in action once again. Did you miss me?

A few things I have to let you know right away, because they are pretty exciting. Th first is that Everyday Stranger is going to LA this weekend. They will be opening for RIde the Blinds at the Lava Lounge, and the show will be promoted on the local rock station. It could be something really exciting, I hope all of you living in SoCal that are fans can make it. The second thing is that Everyday Stranger signed a record contract just today, and will finally begin recording their debut album. I know I have said this type of thing before, but this is for real. It's the beginning of a new phase for the band, and they are glad you are coming along.

Last week I took a few days off of work to attend my friend's wedding in Georgia. I was actually the best man. Can you believe that? Those are two words I rarely hear used to describe me, let alone hearing them both together like that. You would think it would really boost my self-esteem, but it didn't. The truth is, I am a little skeptical about the concept of marriage and how it affects the behaviors of those who are involved. Sure, my friend seems to be "in love", but he looked like a deer caught in the headlights the whole week. I tend to think that true love is more a feeling of blissful confusion than a real feeling that two people share. It's a gorgeous mirage to me. Maybe one day I'll change my mind, but for now I'm sticking to my stance. Anyway, the wedding went off without a hitch, and last I heard, my buddy is doing fine. It's the aftermath of all this that I'm curious to see.

What makes two people join together against the world? Forming an entity definitely has it's ups and downs, maybe some people are afraid to face things alone. I know I am. Perhaps there is a need to feel wanted and to try and return the favor. A reciprocation of sorts. In that case, marriage is really a business contract. The forming of a partnership under the eyes of the law, family, and neigbors that may be paying attention. A friend of mine has a theory that women need marriage more than men, and that traditionally marriage has represented a lockdown of financial and physical security for a woman. A man offers his services to a woman, and she, in turn, offers the promise of children that will carry the heir to the family legacy, thereby continuing the proliferation of one's contribution to the collective genepool of mankind. This description may offend some people, especially women who say they marry only for love. But I just can't justify in my mind marrying for love only. There has to be a more visceral reason. After all, marriage is just a ceremony that represents the union of two souls before their loved ones (and some wierd aunts and uncles). You could always just throw a really big party and skip the marriage aspect, couldn't you?

Don't get me wrong. I respect and cherish the ceremony of the wedding. It reunifies family, gives people an excuse to eat and drink, and opens the possibility of making out with a distant third-cousin (twice removed). I think the main thing about the wedding party that works is that everyone is paying attention to a couple of other people, and it allows them to take their minds off of themselves. People are typically less self-conscious at weddings and show their best side forward. That's a great thing. For most people who get married, they really love that it's all about them. They are in the spotlight for a second. The more vain people are, the more weddings they tend to have. If you've been married 5 times or more, you should probably consider keeping it simple and marrying yourself.

Ok, I'll take it easy on marriage for now. Please take my comments with little comedic grains of salt. The other thing I wanted to say is that I stayed in St. Simon's Island and Statesboro, Georgia. The weather was about 90 degrees every day, and I got to play some golf, which is a great lazy man's sport. You ride around on a cart all day, hit balls with clubs, and chug beer. It's a sexy waste of money. You should try it sometime. I also went skinny-dipping. That was great, too. Very refreshing. My favorite experience was hanging out and sharing a few with the more "in-touch" people from the wedding. My favorite was Betty Jean (her name has been changed). She walked into the room with big eyes, southern charm up the ying-yang, and enough energy to knock down an elephant. She lit up the place real nice, and I hope she knows that she's a badass. This one's for you, Betty Jean.

Work has been stressing you out, and you are probably sneaking around on the job looking at this website. You should be ashamed of yourself. You just wasted five minutes of precious working-time. Bad monkey, get back to your tasks at hand.

- Barry the Worst Best Man Ever

Barry's life continues to spiral endlessly out of control. He is a drama queen, and he wrote this. You can see Barry if you just close your eyes. Barry is in you. Barry isn't me.

Update: 4/10/06

Fear of the American Idiot

I can subscribe to Mike's suggested method of relaxation for one reason only. And that is that no one can make any money off of telling me to relax. Advertisers and doctors and physical trainers are always suggesting some sort of answer or remedy to your problems. They explain how something can revolutionize your life, only to find out that they simply want to sell you drugs and brainwash you so that you are a non-thinking follower. If I just relax my body and mind and take it easy, no one makes any money. The excercises my buddy showed me are so simple that I don't need a trainer or guide to help me through it. I like the fact that I'm not being sold anything. Always be weary of things that cost money.

Exercise is another one of these things that I believe really changes your life without making some asshole rich. Anyone can run, swim, lift weights, or do manual labor. That's all you need. This Tai Chi and Pilates and yoga stuff is just created to make money off the masses. They aren't teaching you anything revolutionary, or especially of any practical use. Maybe they can get you in shape and keep you from hurting yourself, but you could just read a book or rent a video from the library and get similar results.

The Atkins diet works because it forces you to quit shoving sugar down your face. Try not eating sugar and excercising. You will lose weight. You don't need a book or special meal-plan to do that. All of the information is online. Of course, I understand that most people are not really convinced in their mind that they want to do something, and they think that if they throw money at the problem it may give them some sort of false feeling of accomplishment. They feel like they are taking the first step, but have no intention of following through. That's what all of these "self-help" industries are based on - People who lack conviction, self-respect and love for themselves. Remember: There is nothing and no one who can save you but yourself. Meanwhile, you continue to struggle with your damaged egoand bad family relationships, and generally can't figure out what you are doing here on this earth. You are so tired of the fighting and confusion, so you resort to consumption. Boy, do I have the product for you. Make me ritch!

The things that we are most afraid of are the things we must face eye to eye. Only then will we truly be free. Because everyone knows that once you face something you fear, it is never as bad as what you thought it would be (I'm not saying it's enjoyable, either, by the way). One of the best things I learned while being a construction worker was to face my fear of heights. Every time I got out on scaffolding it made me sick and I shook like a leaf in the wind. On my second day I remember leaning out of a window 2 stories up and having to come down. To be honest, I still get a little dizzy thinking about being up high. But at least I got up there and did it. Now I can rationalize my fear a little better and I don't need to feel horror every time I lean over the edge of a tall building. I also learned hard work, which makes you forget a lot about the troubles in your life. I'm not saying we have to work hard all the time, it's just something I don't think I've done much of in my life. And now I'm definitely not afraid to do it again. I remember waking up for work each morning, wondering what scary shit I was going to have to do on that day. I woke up in fear. But by the end of each day, everything was fine.

And I guess that's my point, if I have one at all. You can make fear go away, but it always comes back. It's creative, like your cousin who always finds new ways to annoy you. It's a constant battle that we will fight for the rest of our lives, and it's actually a necessary part of who we are. It is our ability to win battles with fear that makes us great, and without such strife we would all be living the easy life. Fear is there to keep us in check. Sure, governments and special-interest groups use fear as propaganda, but that doesn't mean we have to submit to it. If anything, shoving fear in my face only makes me question you more, and doubt your message. I don't think fear works to everyone's advantage. If you use fear to control someone else, you do not have my restpect. You are taking something that's already there, and using it for your own agenda. That makes you weak. I try my best not to submit to fear, but at the end of the day I still do.

Ok, people. It's time to hang up the writer's jacket for the night. Sorry I haven't been writing lately. I hope I can start doing it more, but it's not something that I can really control. which is why I probably would have a hard time being a regular columnist for a newspaper. Or maybe I just am fearful of success. I hate Green Day. Ciao.

- Barry the Day-Dreaming Derelict

Update: 3/22/06

Another Great Mission Story

I just realized that it has been almost a month since I have last written here. Jesus, the time has just flown by, hasn' it? Well, I continue to live in my own little world here in the Mission, and things have been pretty good. At least I get some love every now and again. Life has been a series of ups and downs, but I want to start this thing off with my ultimate Mission Up-and-Down Story as of yet.

Last Friday was St. Patty's day, and in true Irish fashion I decided to get drunk and pass out in all my clothes at 6 in the morning. Well, it turned out that something malfunctioned on my car that night and one of the locks didn't lock. I was going to give Jones a ride to the gig the next day, and I had his amp in my car overnight. Well, you can just guess what happened. I showed up late the next afternoon and all my stuff was gone. Someone broke in and stole my glasses (both perscription and sun variety), my hammer, and most importantly, Jones's amp. Well, I felt pretty bad, and for a moment Barry was a sad bum again. So I went back home to drown my sorrows in beer and cigarettes, when out of nowhere I saw one of the local bums carting the amp across the street!

I, of course, sprung to immediate action and approached the bastard, telling him to give me the amp back. This guy is one of the more pathetic bums around, and it really would have done no good to get in a fight with him. Seeing as how I have been in a similar position to him before, I felt inclined towards empathy and pity. My roommate came down and threatened to call the cops on him - thanks McBowls. And the guy wouldn't budge! He just sat down on the amp in the middle of the street, with his arms crossed and demanded money for the amp. Cars were honking. He started off asking for $10, but I finally whittled him down to a dollar. That's what I call good negotiation skills. And I got most of my other stuff back, too. Except for the glasses... and the Creedence tapes. But I wasn't holding out for them. Ah, the Mission. I can laugh about this only because I got the amp back.

So, I just wanted everyone to know that last Saturday was truly spectacular. Everyday Stranger rocked the Grant and Green, along with Ride the Blinds, and there were quite an amazing number of people out, considering it was St. Hangover's Day and all. Thanks to all who came and helped make it one of those great times when everything seems just right! The show was promoted through the Bone 107.7, the SF rock station that played Ride the Blind's song on their locals night a few weeks back. The station also played, "Is this What You Wanted?", a song that featured Chris Jones from the 'Stranger on guitar. He played an unplanned set with Ride the Blinds in the late-night at Grant and Green that was truly rare experience, people. But I don't have to tell you that. You were probably there yourself. Oh, your weren't? Well, you kind of missed out, didn't you? I'm sure you had something better to do. God, I am becoming more of a smart-ass every day. Deal with it.

So, I kind of have a new job now. As you know, I previously was working construction for a friend of mine. Recently, he needed someone in the office to collect bills, and based upon my education and office experience, told me to put my khakis back on. It's no dream job or anything. It's actually very hard. I loved doing construction, though I must say that I wasn't very good at it. I guess the office is just what I'm good at, but I would way rather be outside getting excercise, cussing, and checking out girls on the street. Anyway, now I spend my days on the phone and typing on a computer, and the hours are very long. I am coming home very late at night, and this is causing me to go crazy. My whole world is upside down, and it has definitely taken some getting used to. Now all I have to do is get a raise. I'm afraid to ask for one, considering I've screwed up so many times already. But things will get better, I just know it. They have to.

My life has entered yet another new phase. Now that I get lovin' from the ladies, I am finding myself much more comfortable being alone and without love. It's very easy to live like this, and it took a long transition period to get here. I am extremely prolific and hardworking right now, and I find that this is a great time in life to really buckle down and create as much as possible. Basically, I feel as if I am at the prime of my life as far as being able to work on things that I love, and those "things" are definitely getting better for me. I feel as if life is going past so quickly that I don't even know if I'm happy or not. I don't think about what happened yesterday. Come to think of it, I can't even remember what I did yesterday.

Unfortanetely, this has it's downside. I am always in a hurry, and sometimes I make careless mistakes. For instance, I am going to my best friend's wedding in Georgia next month (yes, Barry is actullay going to be the best man). I ended up buying my tickets for the wrong dates. It was a $200 charge to change them to the right dates. Don't use CheapTickets if you are drunk. It's so complicated. Things have been very up and down. Wait, didn't I already say that? See, I'm delirious now. Well, I better go. But I have just one more little tidbit to tell you before I do. Chris Jones put a new song up on his website. Check it out, if you have the chance.

- Barry the Hard-Working Man (boring)

Update: 2/26/06

Hecklers Beware

Another great weekend passed for the Stranger, though it was not without it's share of sketchy moments. I saw it all from a bird's eye view. Henfling's didn't go as planned, but there was a good crowd and the mood was right. The next night was Friday at the Santa Clara University bar, and that's where things got hairy.

First off, there was a great crowd of 200 or so people, all getting real drunk. But the opening band, whose name I won't bother mentioning, lagged like motherfuckers and the Stranger didn't go on until 11:30. Someone tried to play Jon's drums without asking, and Chris threatened to smack him in the head with a microphone. Even then, I don't think he got it. Then there was the heckler. Actually, there were several hecklers at first, but as the show went on, they started to enjoy the music and relaxed. Except for this one asshole. He screamed the standard "Freebird!" requests and demanded that the band sound like Lynrd Skynrd because that's probably the only band he knows. Standard heckler talk, really. One of the Stranger's fans approached him at one point, and he began yelling at her and giving her the finger, too. Soon, he found himself bombarded with female fans who appropriately laughed in his pathetic face. Eventually he gave them all the finger and things came to a head. I think I saw Jon and Chris get up and get ready to beat the living crap out of him just before he left on his own voalition.

Elliot, or whatever your name is - this is for you. You are a half-hard, bed-wetting bitch who can't hold his liquor. Furthermore, if any of us see you on the streets we will promptly beat the living shit out of you, you coward. It's really mature to make fun of people when they can't fight back, and are busy using their talent to entertain people, instead of using their stupidity to spread hatred. Way to go, you pathetic little momma's boy.

Ok, enough ripping on the heckler. Things are going well in my world, I haven't slept well in weeks, and I am still kind of sick. Thanks to Jen for letting me crash on her couch this weekend. An old friend of mine, Jon Brogan, is in town from New York, and we spent the evening drinking in front of the fire and living easy like fat cats. I wonder if that's what we're supposed to be doing. These days are kind of a blur. Life keeps getting more complex, and all of a sudden it becomes clear that I am not going to follow in the footsteps of my heroes like I thought I would. As I get older, I realize that my path is going to be my own, and I'm learning to rely less on other people who have come before me to tell me where to go. Now adays I just let the road go where it wants to, and slowly but surely the details are unfolding and an entertaining story is being created that I hope someone will be able to tell someday. I like the idea that when I am dead there will be some interesting twists and turns in my life that may make someone else smile, or at least be entertained for a brief time.

Well, I am going to have to try and get some sleep now. This sleep deprivation thing causes some interesting hallucinations that I could really do without at the moment. Also - be careful when eating a lot of fiber. That stuff is dangerous.

- Barry the Insult Comic Bum

Barry is back on the horse again. Wasn't that amazing, folks? How did he do that? He can show you in just 3 easy steps if you purchase his new book, "Bury Your Depression with the kittens and the Litter", out in stores February _th. Don't read it - Barry can't help you. But he can get you some burritos from El Farolito if you're hungry. Do you like Pollo Adobado?

Update: 2/20/06

I am sitting here in my room at 11pm, thinking about my life and the words that can express it. I am doing alright. For the first time in my life, I am actually ok with being free. Before I would always long for something more in life. But for now, I am happy with what I've got. I have good friends and family, good times, and some rough times as well. As I add up the pieces of the past, my mind wanders into places where I used to walk and love and run. These days I just drift haplessly from place to place, reminding myself that I am still on this earth every once and a while. There has been much learned, that is true. But there is much to be learned, and it isn't by looking into the future. The future is coming and there's nothing you can do about it. So you might as well just enjoy the things you have, so bittersweet, that make you a human. For once, I can look upon the world and be amazed, hearing a song that I've never heard before. Music is key in all of this, and yet, I feel as if I could listen to and appreciate most any kind of music in my life.

This weekend I had the privilige of riding down with Ride the Blinds and Chris on their way to LA. Things went slow, as traffic was terrible, but I had the chance to see some old friends from back in my LA days (yes, I used to inhabit that place). Once the show went down, I discovered a rowdy crowd that was thirsty for rock and roll in it's purest form. Afterward, we drank 'til stupid all the way back to SF. It felt good to be home.

Neil Young is a fucking genious. Listen to Prarie Wind right now. Go. I mean it.

- Barry the Dreamer

Update: 2/7/06

Birthdays are Comin'

Well, as I slip my brown work shoes off and settle down for an after-dinner apertife to the sound of sidewalk cleaners with pressure washers drowning the scum off the streets of the mission, I realize that I have it made. Yes, Barry admits that he has finally come into his own and discovered a world of infinite possibility. Sure, most days suck because you either work too hard or not hard enough, but I have recently learned that life is going to be there whether you want it to or not, and you may as well just attack with a slow and sloppy hand that keeps beating away at it until you figure out how to make a sharper weapon to pierce the skin of reality.

In fact, I have begun to dig this life so much that I sound like a dirty groovy just talking about it. That's because I've taken on the Mission swagger; a kind of non-affected leaf floating in a bin of fighting cats, dodging the strikes and utilizing airflow to guide myself loosely about so as not to be taken down. I am the ultimate frustration to the lives of the rock-grabbing hanger-oners, and though no one knows what to make of me, I still just continue to be.

If you found the last few sentences to be a bit too flowerly and overly-trying to be deft poetry, I agree with you wholeheartedly. That's why I wrote them. Because I can. I was thinking the other day, and not to blow my own bubble or anything, but how many people get to write their thoughts out onto a website? How many have the opportunity to spill their guts in front of the world? And I know what you are saying - "Millions of people are blogging every day, and they are doing just what you are." I can't disagree, but I would say that none of those people are half as interesting as I want to be, and none of them have the same odds of failure that I do. They may seem pathetic, but people, let me tell you that I am the Most Pathetic of Them All. And you thought the last two paragraphs were silly?

Ok, now to the point. Everyday Stranger is gonna rock the Windjammer on Friday night. It's Chris's birthday (we are actually born one day apart from each other, and he is a day older), and there ain't no reason why you can't rock out the crappiest dive bar in Santa Cruz with style. Then they are going to play Henfling's on the 23rd, and then they are gonna play in Santa Clara on the 24th. Nothing is for sure, only the sound of ineveitability. Are you still following me? Soon, the Stranger will be back in the studio to start recording an album that will give small children siezures (but we'll do a good cover-up of it all so no knows). Ok, I am existential tonight. There's more where that came from, you know I'm just giving you a few details.

Last night I saw Chris play with Guthrige at the Hotel Utah open mic (thanks, El Zachador), and it was a cool thing. We were all hanging out at Guthrige's apartment, listening to them play, and thinkin' this is sounding good. Then we decide to head down to the local bar per Feather Face's command (Feather Face is a friend of mine). Thanks to you on that one - good times.

To finalize this rant and give a peace out to all my Mission homies - let me spin one last yarn, would ya? Thanks for lending me your eyes, people. Once upon a time there was a kitchen. And in that kitchen was a Great Big Table. And in the kitchen were also Three Big Bears. One Big Bear had a camera, and the other two Bears had feet and claws that destroyed things everywhere they went. One day, the Table in the Kitchen attacked one of the Big Bears with pouncing force, and so the Big Bear retaliated. He viciously tore the legs off of said "table" and took it to the ground. While the Table was going down, Table grabbed Poor Mr. Vacuum and Mrs. Toaster, too! They all screamed, as the Big Bear's Brother came in and used his Big Bear Feet to crush the Big Ass Table like I cruch beers, and the Third Bear with the camera joined in, yelling, "Come on, kill it, come on yeah" over and over, while taking pictures of everything! The Table and Poor Mr. Vacuum and Mrs. Toaster were all massacred to death, and the Big Bears lived happily ever after, bathing in the glory of grandeur. This is not a commercial.

- Barry the Optimistic Critter

Barry is back on the horse again. Wasn't that amazing, folks? How did he do that? He can show you in just 3 easy steps if you purchase his new book, "Bury Your Depression with the kittens and the Litter", out in stores February _th. Don't read it - Barry can't help you. But he can get you some burritos from El Farolito if you're hungry. Do you like Pollo Adobado?

Update: 2/7/06

Birthdays are Comin'

Well, as I slip my brown work shoes off and settle down for an after-dinner apertife to the sound of sidewalk cleaners with pressure washers drowning the scum off the streets of the mission, I realize that I have it made. Yes, Barry admits that he has finally come into his own and discovered a world of infinite possibility. Sure, most days suck because you either work too hard or not hard enough, but I have recently learned that life is going to be there whether you want it to or not, and you may as well just attack with a slow and sloppy hand that keeps beating away at it until you figure out how to make a sharper weapon to pierce the skin of reality.

In fact, I have begun to dig this life so much that I sound like a dirty groovy just talking about it. That's because I've taken on the Mission swagger; a kind of non-affected leaf floating in a bin of fighting cats, dodging the strikes and utilizing airflow to guide myself loosely about so as not to be taken down. I am the ultimate frustration to the lives of the rock-grabbing hanger-oners, and though no one knows what to make of me, I still just continue to be.

If you found the last few sentences to be a bit too flowerly and overly-trying to be deft poetry, I agree with you wholeheartedly. That's why I wrote them. Because I can. I was thinking the other day, and not to blow my own bubble or anything, but how many people get to write their thoughts out onto a website? How many have the opportunity to spill their guts in front of the world? And I know what you are saying - "Millions of people are blogging every day, and they are doing just what you are." I can't disagree, but I would say that none of those people are half as interesting as I want to be, and none of them have the same odds of failure that I do. They may seem pathetic, but people, let me tell you that I am the Most Pathetic of Them All. And you thought the last two paragraphs were silly?

Ok, now to the point. Everyday Stranger is gonna rock the Windjammer on Friday night. It's Chris's birthday (we are actually born one day apart from each other, and he is a day older), and there ain't no reason why you can't rock out the crappiest dive bar in Santa Cruz with style. Then they are going to play Henfling's on the 23rd, and then they are gonna play in Santa Clara on the 24th. Nothing is for sure, only the sound of ineveitability. Are you still following me? Soon, the Stranger will be back in the studio to start recording an album that will give small children siezures (but we'll do a good cover-up of it all so no knows). Ok, I am existential tonight. There's more where that came from, you know I'm just giving you a few details.

Last night I saw Chris play with Guthrige at the Hotel Utah open mic (thanks, El Zachador), and it was a cool thing. We were all hanging out at Guthrige's apartment, listening to them play, and thinkin' this is sounding good. Then we decide to head down to the local bar per Feather Face's command (Feather Face is a friend of mine). Thanks to you on that one - good times.

To finalize this rant and give a peace out to all my Mission homies - let me spin one last yarn, would ya? Thanks for lending me your eyes, people. Once upon a time there was a kitchen. And in that kitchen was a Great Big Table. And in the kitchen were also Three Big Bears. One Big Bear had a camera, and the other two Bears had feet and claws that destroyed things everywhere they went. One day, the Table in the Kitchen attacked one of the Big Bears with pouncing force, and so the Big Bear retaliated. He viciously tore the legs off of said "table" and took it to the ground. While the Table was going down, Table grabbed Poor Mr. Vacuum and Mrs. Toaster, too! They all screamed, as the Big Bear's Brother came in and used his Big Bear Feet to crush the Big Ass Table like I cruch beers, and the Third Bear with the camera joined in, yelling, "Come on, kill it, come on yeah" over and over, while taking pictures of everything! The Table and Poor Mr. Vacuum and Mrs. Toaster were all massacred to death, and the Big Bears lived happily ever after, bathing in the glory of grandeur. This is not a commercial.

- Barry the Optimistic Critter

Barry is back on the horse again. Wasn't that amazing, folks? How did he do that? He can show you in just 3 easy steps if you purchase his new book, "Bury Your Depression with the kittens and the Litter", out in stores February _th. Don't read it - Barry can't help you. But he can get you some burritos from El Farolito if you're hungry. Do you like Pollo Adobado?

Update: 1/23/06

Barry Bounces Back

I took a little break because my updates were getting too depressing. I figured if I don't have anything good to say, then I shouldn't say anything at all. So I waited for something good to happen. And I waited. And you know what, folks, something good did finally happen. A bunch of good things happened. Some bad things happened, too, but they didn't seem to matter as much with all of the positive distractions in the way. It takes a long time to come around. It seems like forever. But when the smoke does clear, you feel like there never was any smoke at all and that the world is just fine.

We all know that life is a struggle. It is a daily battle, and sometimes that battle gets the best of us, because it never ends. Sometimes it gets easier, and sometimes it is just really difficult. I've nothing to add to this, this is pretty the summation of life for all living things. It is this cyclical nature of life that makes it bearable, otherwise we would either be overwrought with hopelesness and kill oureselves, or succumb to comfort and become bored and unenchanted with life (and kill ourselves with OC reruns and TV dinners). For some people the lows are lower and the highs are higher, but everyone experiences the tidal motion of existence to some degree.

So on to the good things I go, forgetting the past and looking forward to the future. Everyday Stranger has been gathering steam after a quiet holiday season, and their Jan. 18th show at the Last Day Saloon (now called the Rock-It Room), was one of their best to date. The group is changing and stretching out more on stage, and the fans are very positive and supportive. Thanks, people. We love you. Another gig is in the works there, this time with a lower cover charge and some more advance notice. Thanks to the Richmond Kings for hooking that up. Two shows are coming up in the Santa Cruz area next month. One will be Chris's birthday show at the Windjammer on Feb. 10th and the other will be at Henfling's on the 23rd. Come and see them. New songs are in the works and will be unveiled. More rock and roll will be delivered.

Also, the band is finally in negotiations to finish the album they started with K&H Records last July. This means that you will soon be able to purchase the Stranger's music online and in stores. More details about this will follow, so stay tuned. I'll let you know. After all, you're my friend. Aren't you?

My life has been a personal roller-coaster the last few weeks (and years, I guess). I am getting older, and soon I will be really old. I like being old, it's fun. Especially the later years when people who don't get paid very much do everything for you, and you can pretend that you don't know what the hell's going on so that people feel sorry for you. Of course, most of the time you don't know what's going on, but when you are old people have lower expectations and you are allowed to get away with a lot more.

Things got going a couple of weeks ago when I went to Santa Cruz for a night of drinking in exotic places. Barry met a lady, and the lady was a free spirit. She showed Barry how to dance again, and he liked that. A few days later I went to go see Chris Jones and Chris Guthridge perform at the Revolution Cafe. It just so happened that the place booked two bands on the same night, and Jones & Guthridge got the short end of the stick. But that short end quickly changed into free beers for the band and their entourage (which included me and Feather Face, the band's manager, plus others). No one really seemed to mind that the boys would be playing after the first round was over. Then we all went out to dinner (thanks for the Carl's Jr., Kristi). A couple of days later I found myself feeling better and better. Then, of course, my car broke down and I had to pay $200 to fix it. I had the hangover of the century, and I puked inside the dealer's showroom bathroom. I don't think they noticed. That night I went to go see Ride the Blinds play with ACDShe at Slim's in SF. It was a trashy good time. Things went well and the weekend ended with a bang. I spent Sunday morning coming down with a smile on my face for once.

SO I am slowly crawling back out my cave. I hope that you have found my personal struggles to be somewhat akin to the way you feel at times, complete with the exaggerated negativity and pathetic self-loathing. Perhaps you gain solace from knowing that you are not alone. Perhaps you are just annoyed that I am so positive and upbeat while you still feel horrible. I feel as if I have crossed over a boundary from one way of life to the next. Two weeks ago I felt internalized and negative. Nervous and frustrated. Now I feel fine and mellow, like iced tea on a hot summer's day. No longer do I look at myself in the mirror and hate what I see. I feel confident in public and don't think about everything before I do it. I smile at little children being chased by abuelitas down the street. I laugh out loud and share a love for life with everyone I meet. Beautiful women have started noticing me again, and I feel as if a veil has been lifted from my head. And when I really think about it, that veil has been there for an awful long time. I would say at least 8 months. It took me leaving Santa Cruz and getting readjusted to life in San Francisco before I could feel better again. I didn't think it would ever happen. Of course, life itself isn't really treating me that much better, I just have a new attitude about how I view the world.

Part of the change was a conscious one within myself to be more positive and to improve my life. Part of the change was encouraged by friends and family who showed their support. They may not have been there in the darkest of hours, but their kind words and warm faces remain in my heart always, and I love 'em for it. Mostly the change was brought about by circumstances that were beyond my control, and this factor you cannot depend on. Somehow the light just started to shine in my favor again, after so many dark days of being in the shadows, untouched by any hope. I became isolated and untouchable, and my withdrawn self had fewer opportunities for great things to happen as a result. I always get mad when people try to say that if you want to change you can do it if you try. That's not the full story. It takes that and a whole lot more. You must also have good support and outside influences that help you see the way. You have to have so many things happening at once to rise from the pits of despair, and our individual destiny is something that we as humans are not able to control. It's all a part of the struggle, brothers and sisters, and it ain't never gonna change. So keep your head up and be ready for your day to come and go. You never can tell when that change is gonna come. The only hope you have is that it inevitably will, and you just have to hold on for the ride. Yeehaw!

- Barry the Optimistic Critter

Update: 1/5/06

Facts about Barry

Barry is a bum. Most bums are bums because they are either lazy, insane, or drug addicts. Or a combination thereof. Barry is a bum.

Barry suffers from severe mood swings. In the past, Barry has succumbed to mental breakdowns and has seen ghosts, hallucinations, and the true meaning of life. For this reason, Barry is most likely insane.

Barry is lonely. He doesn't get laid. He goes to a lot of regular events, like house parties, art exhibits, concerts, and coffee shops, but meets no one. He is insecure, and because of this, is unable to genuinely interact with the world around him.

Barry is a drunk. He often drinks a few beers to alleviate the stress in his life, and often finds himself overly ecstatic about life and everything that exists. Soon after, he finds himself laying in a pool of sorrow, lamenting his loneliness (see previous paragraph) and wondering why things don't change. Then, in a suprise turnaround, he drinks more.

Barry is disconnected from society and the world in general, yet feels the immense pressure of humanity beating down upon his soul, the same way the raindrops fall on a dead calf's back. He is often feels people misunderstanding and judging him. He is alone in an exciting city, which is the loneliest place a person can be.

Barry is me. I am Barry. But I cannot bury (cannot stress the pleasure I recieve from writing this word-play) the person that I am. I wish I could die, but but then I think I would miss being alive.

Other facts about Barry: Barry likes burritos. Barry likes women. Barry doesn't think about tomorrow, because he can't remember what happened yesterday. Tonight, Barry spent all his money at the bar, and was around a lot beautiful people. Some of them were interested in Barry. But for the most part, none of Barry is interested in them. One last fact about Barry. Barry shouldn't write updates when he is wasted, and/or depressed. Or maybe he should. For one amazing moment, Barry is inspired again, and feels the gentle close-up chalk-driven colors that remind him of his darkest days. Barry doesn't look back. As he typed this last sentence, he hit backspace 10 times. Barry is not Bob Dylan.

In summarization, Barry is insane. Barry is a drunk. But he's not lazy. He's just lonely, and he likes it that way. So leave Barry alone, so that he can go to work tomorrow. Ok, that's enough.

- Barry the Self-Loathing Republican

Barry continues to do what he does, and just when life seems like it's getting better, it gets a little worse. He is probably on another low-point in his depression spiral, which tends to happen every few months. He will write something nice very shortly - just as soon as he has something nice to say again. Until then, this caption will rest beneath his most current updates.

Update: 1/2/06

New Year, Same Problems

Welcome everyone to a new year, full of fun and suprises I am sure. Hope everyone had a jolly good Christmas and a New Year's party to forget. I personally was very ill with the flue throughout the entire break, but still managed to drink enough to kill a small furry cat. I think I do this because I hate myself and am afraid of being normal. And you know, so many people are just wanting to party during this time of year, and they don't want to get any work done. So I did a lot of partying/recovering/partying/recovering, playing a game to see if I could beat the sickness, and for the most part I lost. If I had just taken it a little easier I probably would have been better a long time ago, but what are you gonna do?

I think I already mentioned that I don't like Christmas that much, but I also don't like New Year's. It symbolizes another year of uncertainty, confusion, and makes me feel overwhelmed with pressure to accomplish something in my short and meaningless life. It makes me question where I am heading, and yet I feel helpless to stop it. I think about another year of being alone, or worse, being drunk and alone. But I'm not really like you, I guess, and it seems that most people don't share my fears. A few even email me from time to time, telling me that I am depressed and I should do something about it. Others just decide not to read my updates any more. After all, who needs to hear about someone else's problems? But I also know there are a few of you silent ones out there who know exactly what I am talking about when I write of the general human misery that I experience in my everyday life. Suffering, after all, is the universal burden of mankind, and I have always loved great art because it is an expression of suffering that I can relate to. Think Van Gough, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Yoko Ono (that one's not serious), and anyone else who makes feeling bad sound or look good.

I don't really feel all that connected to the changes happening in our world - the repopulation of the Gaza Strip by Palestinians, the Muslim/Hindu conflict in Kashmir, the war in Iraq, or the AIDS epidemic in Kenya. I hear about these terrible things on the news, then I hear about some child abduction in Sacramento, or the recent news that a Palestinian man slit the throats of his 3 daughters while the mother watched because one of the girls committed "adultery". These are all horrible stories, but I can't help but shake my head in disbelief. I can't stop any of this from happening. I can't end suffering by promoting peace like John and Yoko tried to do. So I pretty much just disconnect from the outside world and pay attention to what is going on in my own little world: It's been raining a lot lately and my street flooded. I have a mouse that keeps coming in my room. A few days ago I was walking down the street and unknowingly stumbled into the center of a small gang-related brawl. There were a couple of guys outnumbered by about 10 others and they were getting hit with small bats. That's about as much reality as I can handle at once. But I honestly do have sympathy for all people who suffer in this world, and somewhere the desire to end this exists within me. But what is there to end? All evil? You can never destroy evil because it is not a physical, thinking entity. It's just like this magic pixie dust that floats through the universe, inhabiting the minds of hapless humans who manifest that evil into physical acts of debauchery and violence. It has always existed, and will continue to exist within our societies, no matter how advanced we might become.

I really don't want to be the most depressing person ever right now, but I do have a lot of energy pent up inside of me and I wish I had a positive means of letting it leave my body. The tension has wound my neck up and twisted it like an old redwood. My toes are aching and bruised, and my throat feels dry and raspy with little growths forming along the inner lining. My mouth is infected and swollen, and everything tastes like vinegar. My heart is heavy with the heaving of my lungs, and there is no place to let my raspy cough escape to. Surely this is the aftermath of a serious sickness that I am going through. In any case, I feel a little uptight these days, and I thought this holiday season would be a vacation. There is little relief for me these days, and I feel like I am growing old. In fact, I am kind of growing old. I'll be 27 very soon, and to me that's old. I remember as a child telling myself that I would get married around 27, but that I would wait until I was at least 30 to have kids. Instead I am finding myself alone and without prospects of finding anyone else, with little hope of bridging the ever-widening gap between myself and the rest of the world. I have become an isolationist, much like my favorite uncle, the great Uncle Bud.

Let me tell you what I know of Uncle Bud (is anyone still reading this?). He died of lung cancer at about the age of 72. I can remember that he battled with it for at least 12 years, because throughout most of my childhood he had a hole in his throat and used one of those wierd talking devices like the guy in South Park does. Uncle Bud was an unsuccessful dairy farmer, and his brother (my grandfather) had loaned him a small farm on his property so that he could continue to lose money. He would get a good year in here and there, but after the cows were past their prime, he could never sell them for beef to the local market because he loved them too much. He used to say that all he had were his cows and that he was going to farm until the day he died. And he did just that. I also remember that he had about 25 cats that would collect on his front porch, and my grandfather would have to routinely catch a bunch of them and send them to the pound to be euthanized because this all became a health issue. One time Uncle Bud peed on his electric fence, the same one that I ran into full speed as a kid and laid in for about 30 seconds before pulling myself out of the shock zone. Uncle Bud would always be sitting at home alone, watching television and drinking Folger's coffee with his canned pork and beans. He never really had any girlfriends, unlike his brothers and sisters, and was the only one in the family to have never married. My grandfather described him as an eccentric. He might of been gay, too. I don't think there would have been any way for him to know, considering he grew up in the Tennessee hills during the Depression and I don't think it was thought to be a natural thing in his society. Uncle Bud was pretty quiet and kept to himself, mostly, except for the occasional rant on the rising prices of hay, or the fact that his tractor was acting up again and he was going to have to pay some ripoff mechanic a bunch of money to fix it.

As a child I can remember fearing Uncle Bud, partly because of his strange talking machine that I could never understand, and also because he was a lonely old man that had a hard time relating to other people. But nowadays I kind of look at him as this curious character who may not be too different from me - he died alone and was dedicated to what he loved more than having a social life or a family. He was never financially successful, and actually left behind quite a bit of debt when he died. He didn't own anything, it was all borrowed, with the exception of his tractor and an old Chevy truck that didn't run. So I kind of see him now as this prototype of who I might be, and it kind of scares me, but also makes me realize that I am not the only person out there who has nothing and is lonely. In the end, I perhaps feel a little better about my own situation, regretting only that I didn't get to appreciate Uncle Bud as much when he was alive. So, Uncle Bud - I salute you, and in a way I empathize with you.

As for the rest of you, I hope that you are not as disappointed with life as I am right now. I hope that you had a good New Year's and all the rest. And I apologize for not including any information here about the Stranger. I went very underground for the last few weeks, and have mostly been keeping to myself in the dark where I belong. I'll see you when I see you.

- Barry the Loner

Update: 12/20/05

Christmas is Funny

I'm sitting at home right now with a bitter cold, trying to rally my strength to work tomorrow and get ready for all of the intense pressure and stress that Christmas has to offer.

A lot of people are getting stoked for Christmas this year. I personally enjoy some of the traditions associated with this pagan holiday, but for the most part I'm not amused by the seemingly endless barage of advertisements and stressed-out yuppies trying to get the coolest new toy for their spoiled children. I enjoy the family/friends aspect of it, and I like the food. I hate the gifts. I hate buying presents, and always seem to get everyone the wrong present. They smile to my face and say, "Thank you", but underneath I know they are truly disappointed with what they got. I personally really hate getting a gift that I can't exchange, and for some reason it always brings out the self-absorbed asshole side of me. As a kid I used to wake up at 4am just to see what my presents were - the adrenaline rush was huge. I would always be dissappointed, and to this day I don't think I've ever really gotten what I wanted, and I caused myself plenty of unneeded stress. These days things are more mellow, and it's mostly about getting clothes from stores like Mervyn's and JC Penney, then returning them for christmas underwear (which goes on sale big-time the day after Christmas). Yawn!

I don't like the gift-giving system at all. It's not that I don't like getting gifts every now and again, but there are always those few relatives who you don't really know that will send you a jumbo multi-flavored popcorn tin, or even worse, the dreaded fruitcake (my brain wiggles just thinking about it). I typically get things like ugly socks, disposable hand-warmers, silly gloves, puff-paint sweaters, fondue kits, too many rolls of Lifesavers, and some assortment of crap that I could totally live without. In fact, I end up giving most of it away if I can so I don't have to drag it back to where I'm staying. It's very rare that I get something I actually need, and let's face it, getting underwear or a raincoat is not exactly what you would call exciting.

Yes, it's true. I am probably one of the last remaining Christmas grumps that upholds the beliefs and values of characters like the Grinch, Scrooge, and maybe a little Gargamel for good measure. I hold my stance with the utmost courage like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. They didn't show the part where he gets tarred, feathered, and scalped at the end of that movie. But he did. I guess I will have to start keeping my comments to myself.

Well, things are a bit slow for the Stranger right now, mostly because of the holidays. They are in negotiations to finish their first album, and it is taking far longer than anyone should ever have to wait. In the meantime, there have been a few successful gigs and some new material has seen the light of day. The band is looking to have some great news for you by February on new shows, album release info, and other pertinent information. I am being very forthcoming with this information because I love to gossip. There isn't enough gossip in the world. It's so fun. Ok, well, I am going back to sleep because the HighQuil is starting to do it's damage again. Have a Capitolistic Christmas and a Hedonistic New Year!

- Barry the Grump

Barry is now working construction in order to get by. It's a new thing for him. Life is tumultuous, but rewarding. Don't cry for Barry, he's doing just fine.

Update: 11/8/05

Humming for Peace

Hello, how are you doing? Well, I am just about to write my third update for this month, and am feeling pretty good about myself. I mean, I haven't descended into a shame spiral for the last week, partly because T-day (short for Turkey Day) kept me well-fed and happy. Many adventures have happened in the last few weeks, and I would like to talk about most of them here (there's a couple I can't write about due to some legal implications).

It all began with a little late-night party on a local rooftop in San Francisco a couple of Fridays ago. The weather has been extremely pleasant lately, and so a group of young bohemian derelicts and myself climbed a ladder to enjoy the view in SOMA. All was well throughout the night, and I passed out with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and the next day's hangover in the other.

All of a sudden a huge *crash* was heard (at 7am) and everyone slowly roused themselves from deep slumber to find that one of our friends had fallen from the ladder and dropped two more stories to an alley below. The authorities were quickly notified, and our friend was promptly removed and taken to San Francisco General Hospital (the poor-man's hospital). Apparently our friend had attempted to climb the ladder from a balcony to a roof and had fallen backwards all the way to street level, hitting a barbed wire fence on the way down with his head. The first thing I saw as I looked over the edge of the drop was his hair and scalp hanging off the barbs, and him struggling on the ground immediately below.

Needless to say, this was a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Except for our hapless friend, who I will refer to here as "Jesus". Miraculously, he suffered no debilitating injuries and only missed one day of work and a piece of his scalp. We all thought he died. Some may call it a miracle, I just call it baffling.

You would think that all bums are alone on Thanksgiving and should be pitied, but no pity is in the eye of the beholder. A lot of the guys I work with don't have family in the country, and many spent Thanksgiving by themselves drinking at the bar - and none of them really seemed to mind. I am fortunate enough to have lots of friends and family, but I know that some bums are not that likeable. Plus, I don't think I can call myself a bum anymore since I cut my hair, got a job, and rented an apartment. Instead, I will temporarily refer to myself as a social outcast, and remark that being homeless is a state of mind as well as a lifestyle choice.

I have been enjoying my time in San Francisco, and am finally beginning to settle down into a routine. The long days of construction work are tiring, yet rewarding, allowing me to get a lot of physical excercise without trying. This is very different fromt the other jobs I have worked in the past, and my outlook on work is slowly changing for the positive. I am a little mad at myself for not trying this sooner. Well, you never know until you try. I think a lot of it has to do with being single in San Francisco and finding so many things to be interested in and excited about. These are good times. I definitely don't sit and think as much as I used to. I just do things now.

Plus, I just bought an IPod knockoff and I love the thing. I am quickly becoming a low-level consumer, and although possessions don't bring you happiness, they do create a lovely diversion from reality. Now I have thousands of songs whenever I want them, and music is something that can't have a price put on it. Even when you do put a price on it, you still find yourself whining about how expensive it is, though. I have been purchasing more records, such as Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as the White Stripe's newest offering. I love that stuff. Last Saturday I got wasted and went to a show at the Cafe du Nord. John Cale, from Velvet Underground fame, whose numerous star-studded production projects have landed him a pretty big following, was playing, I never saw him - I was already too entranced by the opener, Kelly Stoltz, who absolutely rocked my world in a non-rock-n-roll sort of way. The setup was very mellow and he pulled it off beautifully. Check out his album, "Antique Glow" - it is amazing.

Gigs Well, I have no more to write and rant about for now. Everyday Stranger is playing a show this Thursday at Grant and Green in SF. Come check it out if you can. Plus, Chris will be playing a set at Santa Cruz's Cafe Pergolesi on Thursday the 8th with Dave Shankar as a special guest. Not to be missed. I will keep you in touch of other updates, as there are some inside-only plans a-brewin' as we speak. See you on the flipside of things.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 11/29/05

It's been a long time, been a long time. Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time (yes it has)

So, the real reason I am writing this update is because I am bored. I kid. I just figured we were well-acquainted enough by now that I could say that and you wouldn't take offense. Like the first time you fart around a new girlfriend. But I digress. So I was thinking a lot about relationships the other day. I don't have much experience with these things, but it seems like the people who do have relationships are miserable. I mean, seriously, having a relationship is no guarantee that you will be happy. Of course, without one most people feel lonely and long for someone to share their lives with. But when I think of being in a relationship with someone, I think of having to listen to their problems. Having to leave a restaurant because they don't like the food. Having to deal with another person's annoying little habits. Isn't it sometimes better to be alone? It seems like everyone I know wants to be in a relationship, but I can't see any pleasure in it. Except for the regular sex. Maybe I am callous because I haven't had a lot of luck in love, but I feel like being alone and not worrying about anyone else is a beautiful thing. There are going to be pros and cons to any lifestyle, but being able to go where you want, do what you want, and act like you naturally act are invaluable assets that I would never want to give up. I propose a relationship revolution. If you agree with me, give up your stupid relationship ASAP and pretend that you enjoy being alone. Or don't, I don't care. I can do this alone without you. You probably can't do it because the person you are involved with doesn't want you to. You are trapped, and you are a loser. And I'm pretty cool for a bum. Confusion...

But back to the lonely part. It sucks to have no one around to give you a back rub when you are sore. It sucks to not be able to call someone and bitch about your job or how you are so mad at your friend right now because they screwed you over. But honestly, I never got a back rub when I really needed one anyway when I had a "significant other". No one has ever been able to satisfy my needs. And now I realize that being lonely is a healthy way of channeling my frustrations about life into an easily understandable feeling. Seriously, at the end of the day you can only really rely on yourself - I defy you to tell me otherwise (because we are so close these days), and being in a relationship allows you to forget this and live in your own little fantasy world.

Look, I totally believe in love. Can't you tell I'm a hopeless romantic? But until someone proves to me otherwise, I have only my own experiences upon which to base my synopsis. Perhaps this is why I do not consider myself wise yet. Yes, people, you are reading the words of a fledgling writer, who with all intentions good, hurls his uninformed, passionate opinion into your sails and prays that you are blown safely into the Harbor of Peace. Now I am starting to get drunk. I like the way words roll onto the page when I get this way.

So, the Stranger is playing at the Brainwash Cafe on Friday. I will be working that day, so I look forward to letting loose and drinking some beers with young friends and old enemies that evening. I hope to see you there.

As for Love - I have a bone to pick with Love. Why do you lend yourself readily to the attractive and charasmatic, but hold yourself heartily from the cold and gloomy sceptic? Love isn't fucking blind at all, people - the beautiful faces find it anywhere, and all of us ugly bastards get some leftovers if we're lucky. It's true - people who are more attractive have imminently more opportunities to fall in love than those who are beaten with the ugly stick. I include myself in the latter category, I have never considered myself an attractive person. But let's not lie to ourselves. Life is blind, and doesn't give a damn what you look like. It does what it wants to do. But Love applies only to those who are loveable. The rest of us (the poor, the tired, and the hungry) can just sit in the shadows and get accustomed to cooking for one. Fuck you beautiful people. I love you. Hahahahahaha... (author descends into madness, frustration, and bitterness. You watch helplessly).

- Barry the Bum

Update: 11/2/05

Dia de los Muertos y Noche de los Ninos

I'm sitting in my room right now on 24th and Mission, listening with the window open to the street sounds. You see, it's Dia de los Muertos tonight in San Francisco, and the parade will roll by my street corner in a little while. I am recording the events as they transpire on a minidisc or something, and am feeling the vibes of the night with my drink and cigarette. The sound of me typing is picked up by the microphone as I write this. I worked very hard today, and being a construction worker isn't so bad once you get used to it. The money's good, the hours are long, and it's hard work. That's pretty much all I can say for now.

Actually, I'm lying. I can always say more. I have found that even though I do physical labor all day, I still have energy to do things like skate, play music, and party. It's a great feeling, and for once Barry's not depressed. You see, I'm quite a down fellow most of the time, and working actually makes me more cheerful. Plus, I am experiencing so much great action since moving to the city. There is something going on almost every night, and if there isn't I just go to Santa Cruz. Last weekend was one of the best Halloweens ever. Everyday Stranger played at the Final Coffin House Party. It was Nick's Birthday, and everyone was dressed like a beautiful idiot. I liked the guy who was Duff Man because he gave me beer when I needed it, though I find the Simpson's pretty trite these days. The band was ultra-smokin' that night, and it was one of my favorite gigs of all time (the copious amounts of libations were somewhat responsible for the good time.). Jon, the drummer, dressed as Rick Allen (the one-armed drummer from Def Leppard). Also, Theis sat in on bass, and DIDN'T dress up. I awoke the next morning in my cowboy outfit and hit the road. I had places to go and shit to do. Kendra, Nick and Dallis: thanks for a good time.

Let me take a moment to say that the band is doing well, and will be playing a show on Saturday, November 11th at the Brainwash Cafe. They are playing a lot of new songs right now, and it's giving them a different sound. Everything benefits from change, imho (I did not just write that, lol). Fuck. On Monday night I went to the Castro and celebrated Halloween in style. People thought I dressed up as a cowboy. Little did they know that's how I always dress. There were beautiful women everywhere and many were very nice and showed lots of love. Frisco ladies - I love you, too. Van de Kamps Man and Chewbacca rated among my favorite costumes. There were literally tens of thousands of people on the street, and it kept me very happy for quite a while.

Now it's a Wednesday night, and I am about to go out and have a blast. The first sounds of drums are echoing down the street, and the city is calling me. I gotta go this thing with these people... Basically, I am having the time of my life right now! I hope to see y'all real soon.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 10/18/05

"A Week in My Life", by Barry

It's again been a while since I have last updated the site. When this happens it is usually because I am busy living life and not couped up in my room being a loser on the computer all day. These times of extreme living are useful in providing good material for me to write about when I finally get around to it, and there is a quality-over-quantity factor that's at work here.

As you already know, I am now living at 24th and Mission in San Francisco. If you don't know the area, I can tell you that it's a very action-packed environment, chock full of gang members and bums that tend to be a little crazy. It's exhilirating being here. Of course, my car was broken into the first night I was here (my cd's and some change were stolen), but that's just life in the City. Things are a little rough around here. I just saw a cab driver back into a cop's car this morning, and quickly drive off while several people on the street watched. Nothing happened to the guy. The other day I looked out my window and saw a bum get beat up by a gang of other bums in broad daylight, while people just stood around and curiosly observed the situation. When the bum was chased by his enemies around the corner, everyone turned around and went back to what they were doing. Such things are commonplace in this area, and it's quite an eye-opener and very different from the safety of Santa Cruz.

I haven't talked about the Stranger yet. They are doing fine, and the recently-completed demo has been sent to several A&R people associated with Navarre records, which (for you music-biz people) is a national distribution company working with over 150 mid-level independent labels. So the band is just waiting to hear back from these people to see if they will be offered a record deal. In the meantime, feedback has been good from fans, friends, and family, and demos are being sent to venues all over the Bay Area. Stay tuned for more info on this.

Also, get ready for the big pre-Halloween bash in Oakland on Saturday, Oct. 29th at the Kofin house. Drinks and refreshments will be served. Contact us if you are interested in attending this event. We hope to see you there, my scary little friend.

I will also say that my pet project, "Legends, the Series" is coming together nicely. A few essential contributions have been made by a top panel of Legends Experts, and version 1.0 of this project should be ready shortly. I am doing my best, so please be patient.

Finally, I would like to digress with a little vignette about my life. It is aptly titled, "A Week in My Life", and goes a little something like this:

Monday: Woke up at Guthridge's place. Went home and ran errands and hung out (smoked pot) with roommates. Fucked around on the computer until all hours of the morning. Boring night.

Tuesday: Went back to Guthridge's place. Met Theis and went to Portera Park and threw the frisbee/checked out girls. Came back to Guthridge's place and watched Theis (bass), Chris (guitar), and Guthridge (drums) jam out some tunes. Went to Lazlo (21st and Mission) and listened the notorious Chuck G work his DJ shift. He got drunk and let the record skip for a minute straight. Afterwards, we continued to drink (free) beers in the closed bar, and took a taxi 3 blocks to El Farolito (great burrito joint at 24th and Mission). Chuck bought everyone Al Pastor Super Burritos with Extra Meat (probably the title of my first spoken-word album), then jumped in a taxi with all of his records and disappeared. Guthridge, Chris and I crashed on my bedroom floor. Good times.

Wednesday: Watched Guthridge and Chris record most of "Candyman" (Grateful Dead) for their upcoming demo together. Beatson came back from Costa Rica looking a little worse for wear, so we all partied at the Rojo Diablo (a href="http://www.ridetheblinds.com" target="_blank">Ride the Blind's studio) and stayed up until dawn waiting for our pizza to arrive. McDivitt missed work for the first time in a month and lost out on a free trip to South America because of it. Poor bastard.

Thursday: Cleaned my kitchen for money. I spent 3 hours on it and didn't even get to mopping the floor. I live in squalor. Went to Mike's mom's birthday party at the legendary Celia's restaraunt in San Mateo and ate good food for the first time in several days. Drove back up to the City and saw Ride the Blinds play at the Rickshaw Stop. Drove back to Burlingame and slept at Chris's parent's house.

Friday: Hung out in Burlingame most of the day doing nothing. Around 5:30pm we pre-partied at the Cramers' house and then drove to Bay Meadows Race Track. It was this year's final Friday Nights Alive Event, and the Mother Hips were playing. It cost a $1 to get in, and beers were $2. The band would play 4 songs, then a horse race would happen. Then they would play 4 more, and another race would occur. This went on for hours until everyone was shitfaced and satisfied. Guthridge won $260 on a $1 Trifecta bet, and we all went to McGovern's (local San Mateo bar) to celebrate. Guthridge almost got in a fight by offending some local locos. Took a cab back to my place in the City (Beatson cheaped out on his fare) and listened to records/smoked joints until dawn. Great times.

Saturday: Watched Chris work in Santa Cruz at the Catalyst. Saw my friend Ruth and hung out for a little while. Drove to SF with Chris and saw Ride the Blinds play at the Brainwash Cafe. McDivitt got pepper-sprayed by a metrosexual who he managed to piss off during the performance, and locked himself in the bathroom for an hour. Went back to Rojo Room and post-partied with friends, where we wrote a song dedicated to McDivitt called, "P-P-P-Pepper Spray. Liste-eeay.Listened to records until dawn with Guthridge.

Sunday: Woke up at Guthridge's and watched Bio Dome in it's entirety (worst movie ever), and some of Problem Child (greatest movie ever). Went to Bottom of the Hill and saw the Hot Rod Hot Chick Stoner BBQ show. We got in for free, and it was all-you-can-eat BBQ on the house made by hot stoner chicks. What more could a bum ask for? Nick from Ride the Blinds played drums with the Nagg, and AC/DShe made a special guest appearance. Awesome tiempos. Great week. Rock on.

Well, folks. Hope you enjoyed my week as much as I did. Take care.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 9/27/05

Ruminations Upon Nature

This is one of those updates where I try to kill as many birds with as many stones as possible. First off, the demo is finally done! The three songs featured are "Jesus", "Closer", and "Bad Self", and can be found here. Awesome! The next step is to secure some sort of label interest and get an advance to record an album. I will let you know how this goes. There is a new photo page, chock full of pictures from the studio. A recent photo shoot by Liz Dobson took place, and there a couple of pictures from that on the main photo page. The rest of the photos from this shoot will soom be added to the site as well. Also, the friends page has been slightly updated.

In addition to all of this good news, the Stranger has secured two gigs in the upcoming months. One will be at Nick Coughin's house the night before Halloween, and the other will be at the Brainwash Cafe in San Francisco on November 11th. Go to the gigs page for more info. The band continues to work on new material, and things are moving at a steady pace right now. There will be a lot more surprises in the near future for you folks, so stay tuned.

As for myself, I have been hiding out in the woods for the last week with Chris. He has been working on a recording project with Rich Corsetti, Tom Woods, and Dan Beaulaurier near a small town called Bridgeport (near Yosemite National Park). The band, called Western Arms, is yet another ensemble of Burlingame Legends. These guys have found a cabin on 300 acres of land that is set miles inside of the Toiyabe National Forest. They've been playing as loud as they want until whenever. The official name for this event is Mountain Jam 2005, and is being documented by Nathaniel Higgs. It's one of those exclusive inside events that I am lucky enough to be a part of, and the serene setting has given me a chance to live rent-free in complete solace without the trappings of society, such as advertisements, money, idiots, and anything else that I can't think of right now.

The other day we all took a daytrip to Bodie - it is one of the last untouched ghost towns left in the world, and is truly a bum's paradise. The town struggled after all of the gold was mined from it, and was abandoned around the early part of the twentieth century. It looks about the same as it did 100 years ago. The band brought a banjo, guitar, and dobro, and we all a had a ho-down while the ghosts of the original proprieters watched on in earnest. It was sublime to say the least. There isn't really much out in this part of California, and it reminds me of what a great state this is, and how much of it still remains close to it's original form. I had such a great time that I'm going back to the cabin next weekend for a final party, and it's going to be a blast.

In the meantime, I came back to civilization to take care of some business. I have a new job lined up in San Francisco, and am in the process of moving in with some old buddies of mine. It should be quite an adventure, and I am looking forward to the change. Plus, I will be down in Santa Cruz to clean up some loose ends and visit my friends down there. Just because I'm a bum doesn't mean I don't get around. Every day I wake up and am thankful for my family and friends, because without them I would probably be a degenerate. It's a miracle that they still put up with me after all these years. That reminds me, I should tell you that I am still working on my little tribute to them. It's about half done, and I am going to get that rolling as soon as I move up to the City and get secured. My sister just moved away to college and she is giving me her computer, so I will be able to make updates more often now without getting in trouble with my boss. It's kind of funny to me that my little sister is giving me something.- it's what us bums like to call the hand-me-up!

You may have found it odd that I haven't made any comments about the whole Hurricane Katrina fiasco yet. I figured that so many other people were already talking about it that there was nothing original left to say. The whole fiasco has been a real downer for everyone involved, and no matter who you blame for not cleaning things up faster, the fact is that it is one of the worst debacles to occur in the history of America. There's really not much anyone can do about it. I am going to let time settle things a little so that I can gain some perspective on the whole situation - I think we all should. Americans tend to have the attention span of fleas with this sort of thing, and I guess Hurricane Rita is in the limelight this week. The fact is, if Katrina and Rita got in a fight, Katrina would kick the living shit out of Rita. And the two of them together turning on the US and beating the shit out of us (pun intended) is really something. All I can do is groan, shake my head, and not forget. This is something that will be on my mind for a long time to come.

Well, fellow surfers, it's time for me to get back to livin'. I really do enjoy the opportunity to speak to all of you, and with the way things have been going in the past couple of weeks, it will undoubtedly take some time for me to get back in the swing of things and truly reflect on the all of the life-changes that have occured recently. There is so much going on that I just don't have the energy to talk about right now, but that's what it's like when you're living for the day. I leave you with a little song I wrote about Bodie. It's a tale I call the "Ghost of Bodie" (sung to the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky"):

There was a man from New Orleans who lusted after gold
A rush was on in Bodie town, or so he had been told
So he gathered up his shovel, and took off without care
To find that town of Bodie and make his fortune there

He arrived in Bridgeport where he met a lady fair
He told the tale of Bodie and all the gold that they could share
They set away on horseback into the Western sun
Never thinking twice about the journey they'd begun

A week they searched the desert bare, but couldn't find the town
They surveyed every hill in sight, they looked all up and down
Until they met a silent stranger, pointing with his hand
Who cackled at their weary sight and slowly turned to sand

Bodie's streets were shiny and gold lay everywhere
The woman stole it desperately, she didn't even care
The man began to fill his pockets 'til he heard a sound
The rumble of a thousand cries were rising from the ground

They trembled and they froze aghast at the sight that they did see
Bodie's streets quickly changed, it was not what it seemed
The sranger's voice let out a shriek and he began to cry
"You've stolen from the town of Bodie, and both of you will die"

The lady fainted straight away, and quickly lost her soul
The man just shook inside his boots, he'd finally lost control
He looked in horror at the town with ghosts at every door
The gold was dry, the people gone, and Bodie was no more

The man grew pale, his skin turned cold, he trembled in the wind
And as he turned away to run, the stranger spoke again
"Those who steal a stranger's gold must die here by his hand
It's the curse of Bodie to wander o'er this land"

To this day the lady moans each night into the wind
The man must wander Bodie streets and punish those who sin
For greed is why he left his home and greed is why he came
There's nothing here but death and fear, and they are both the same

So if you find yourself a wanderin' these Bodie streets
Best leave all that you may find exactly as it be
For if you take away a piece of this town so old
You'll end up like the Bodie Ghost who traded life for gold

- Barry the Bum

Barry is charging through yet another transition period. He is having a great time, and avoiding reality at all costs. He has had no trouble sticking to his vow of celibacy, and has found the power of prayer works pretty well to help bail his ass out of trouble.

Update: 9/9/05

If You’re Going to San Francisco (be sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)

Well, you are never gonna guess why I haven’t updated this site in so long. It’s because I have decided to leave Santa Cruz and move to San Francisco! That’s right, after losing my job and returning to bum status, I am selling my car and moving to the Mission District with a couple of old friends. It was time for a change, and I guess I can never stay in one place for too long. That being said, I will still be visiting Santa Cruz to see the Stranger and to continue working freelance jobs that I acquired in my brief tenure there. Kim, Jon, Liz, Ruth, Rhiannon, and Elewyn – I promise not to disappear on you.

The band is finishing up their demo right now, and the mixing is coming along at a good pace, although a little slower than originally planned. That gives us time to do it right, and we all see this as a good thing right now. As for the release date, the end of October is a good bet. There will be plenty of notice when the demo does arrive, and you can bet that you will find it here.

I should also mention that I am undertaking a new project in my spare time. It is going to be added to this site very soon, and will be a tribute to all of the rascals involved in the Stranger’s world. Each character will have a picture and a profile, and I plan to entitle it, “Legends – the Series”. You may not understand now, but you will. Oh, you will.

So I have a new place lined up, a new job, and a new attitude that is fresh and crispy, just like my tacos, which I will be eating a lot of in upcoming months. That’s because I will be in the heart of Burrito Country (just north of Crack Town on 16th and Mission, and east of Hipster City on 18th and Valencia). There should be a lot more action there, and a lot of other bums to interact with as well. This should lead to some great tales, which will, of course, unravel right here. See you when I see you.

- Barry the Bum (of all bums)

Barry is taking another stab at the Bum thing. He wasn’t getting laid when he had a job, and so there really was no incentive for him to continue doing that. He feels free again and would like you to know that he will call you soon and ask to crash on your couch. He recently went on a date and was pleasantly surprised. No, she wasn’t a bum. Now get back to work.

Update: 8/26/05

You Can’t Keep a Good Bum Down

So, another long-awaited update is finally here. I have an excuse this time as to why it took so long. Well, it turns out that I am leaving my current job to resume my previous bum status. Why, you ask? Well, as I have mentioned in previous updates, my desire to hit the road and get back to real living has been calling me for quite some time. I tried my best to ignore it and join you (and everyone else) as an active participant in reality, but to no avail. I would love to be able to just work and be ok with that, but my brain is built a little differently than yours. I don’t expect you to understand, but perhaps there is a little part of your brain that feels the same way, too. Aren’t I condescending?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “This guy thinks he’s special and that he doesn’t have to work for a living like the rest of us”. I have heard this criticism a thousand times. Just so you know, we are all special, and you choose to work because you want money and possessions and security and safety. You work to propagate your own survival and want the “best” for your children so you can feel good about yourself. This message applies to you if you answer “no” to any of these questions:

Are you without a family?
Do you like the work that you do and want to be good at it?
Does your line of work benefit society as a whole?
Do you feel good about the services you are providing?

Whatever your reasons are to justify why you work, those don’t apply to me. I don’t want money. I don’t like security. I already have enough possessions to worry about. I don’t have kids, women, or excessive debts to tie me down. Plus, I don’t think any of the work I have ever done for money changes the world in any way. The fact is, I have given up a lot to be able to live the way I do. I am lonely and suffer and rely on the kindness of others, just like people did back in the Depression. But there really is no way I can justify my own actions to you, all I will say is that life is what you make of it, and I am making hobo stew.

As for the Stranger, things are looking mighty fine right now. They played a great show with new material at Henfling’s Tavern in Ben Lomond on Thursday, the 25th. There were several new songs debuted, as well as the same old tunes you know and love. Chris Jones did his own acoustic set, too. The stickers finally arrived, and they are awesome. You can get one, too, if you come to a show. Also, Mars will soon be closer to the Earth than it has been in several hundred years (before you were born), and will be almost half the size of the moon in the night sky!

In addition to all of this great news, the Stranger will be finishing their demo, which is scheduled for completion on September 10th! This is very exciting. I have sat in on most of the sessions for this project, and I have to say that these recordings represent the best the Stranger has to offer, and will surely be included on their upcoming album. This means a lot of development is on the horizon. Many thanks to Ken and Herbie from Mars for making all of this happen. The Stranger appreciates all you have done for them.

Also worth mentioning is a recent recording done by Chris Jones, Dave Shankar, and Jon Payne from the Stranger. Last Sunday the 21st, they went into the studio and cut three Americana tunes for a demo that will be taken to Nashville and given out like candy to music biz people in hopes of expanding operations. Bob Jones is responsible for making this happen, and many thanks go to him (website coming soon). Lisa Burns of Sidesaddle played wonderful stand-up bass, and Ken from Mars engineered the whole thing brilliantly. Overdubs were done this week, and included Dave on piano and Chris on the guitar, banjo, and pedal steel. The finished recordings are on the music page right now. Check them out!

Well, I better wrap things up. A lot of good stuff is in the works right now, so stay tuned, because soon I won’t be working (I’m still finishing my two-weeks notice) and will have more time to attend to your every need. Bonjour, people!

- Barry the Bum (at heart)

Update: 8/3/2005

Smoothness Unmustered

This week is off to a decent start. Last night I saw Chris play at the Catalyst, and he performed an impromptu set with Coles Whalen. She is loosely based out of LA, but interestingly enough, her and Manager Grant Rice live out of their Winnebago and tour the country for most of the year. They live a refreshingly rent-free existence, which sounds totally awesome. Coles is extremely motivated and has a great attitude. She also has a great business/promotion mind, something I admire and am far from possessing. I gotta say that she gave me some hope. Her and Grant were the cleanest and most appealing bums I have run into yet, and it made me think that being homeless can work for you if you want it to. Don't tell anyone I said that.

Last Saturday Chris hosted the afternoon local showcase at the Catalyst, and we got a suprise visit from Jan Brommer(sp?), an artist who rocked. Coles also did a show there, and the afternoon proceeded into a wonderful evening of talking, eating and hanging out with strangers. I am ok with this, because every one is a stranger to me. So things were quite pleasent and did not involve any drunken debauchery on my part, which is extremely refreshing considering the burgeoning spiral of depression that I normally send myself into as a result of intaking libations. Did you catch all that?

Last night the guitar overdubs were added to the Stranger's demo. All that is left are the vocals and some minor touch-ups, then it is on to the mixing process. Bet you didn't know that recording was such a pain in the ass. That's the way it goes in the music world.

Well, I hope you can make it out to one of the Saturday afternoon showcases at the Catalyst. Chris would appreciate your company. As for me, I'll be at the bar in the back shoveling as much free pizza and beer down as I can until the evening comes.

- Barry the Bum (at heart)

Barry is pissed off lately because he can't get laid. He continually tries to reach out to the lady bums, but once you have been cold for so long, it's hard to get the fire ignited again. He is slowly accepting the fact that he may die a lonely man. Pray for Barry.

Update: 8/1/2005

Site Revamp

I updated the website graphics a little and added the words for four new songs - "Misery Loves Company", "Saturday (You Know Me Better than that)", "Beyond the Dream", and "Seventeen". These songs will be featured at the upcoming gig at Henfling's on August 25th, so don't miss the show! Also, the Hammond B3 organ parts have been overdubbed for the demo, and I am going into the studio tomorrow to take care of the guitar overdubs. The recording is right on schedule.
- Chris

Update: 7/25/2005

Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays

This weekend was a great one for the members of Everyday Stranger. Your favorite band was in the studio, beginning work on their first demo, which is scheduled for completion on August 30th of this year. Of course I will post an update when the demo is ready. The songs will be on the website soon after. I can't tell you exactly which tunes they are doing, but I can say that "Two Pills" was done in two takes, and it rocks!! I actually had to take two aspirin after that experience to calm my shaking nerves.

They did it all at MARS Studios, located deep in the hills of beautiful Aptos, CA. We will post some pictures of the event as soon as possible on the pictures page. Steve Malcolm was the engineer on the scene, and he has a resume like you wouldn't believe! He used to work at Wally Heider studios (now Hyde St. Studios) in San Francisco. I had to chance to speak with him about working with Rod Stewart, Tom Dowd, the Grateful Dead, Dizzy Gillespie, Sly Stone, Steve Miller, and so many other great musicians and engineers that you and I love dearly. He is currently in town to prepare for a gig with the White Album Ensemble, who perfectly imitate the Beatle's music and not their looks. Let's just say that Steve is a legend, and the band learned so much working with him. Thanks go to him for all of his kindness and patience. Also, thanks go out to Ken and Herbie, who set the whole thing up and made sure all went well. The band is off to a good start with all of this, and there is so much more to come, people.

Also of noteworthiness is the fact that the Stranger has booked a gig at the newly-revived Henfling's Tavern in Ben Lomond. That's right, this happening spot is now reopened, and will feature live music 5 days a week. Please check the gigs page for more info.

Well, it's time for me to ride off into the sunset once again. Due to popular demand, please note that you can leave comments for me through the link at the top of this page. I gladly welcome criticism, since there is nothing else going on in my life right now, and I already know that I am better than you. Just kidding - sort of. I need some excitement to make my life more interesting, so don't be shy. Self-expression is a great way to relieve stress, especially when no one will sleep with you.

- Barry the Bum (at heart)

Update: 7/19/2005

Struggles Aplenty

Well, I am back again to say hello to all of the loyal readers out there who remind me that the site needs to be updated more often. It is an honor to have you demand things from me. I need you. Last night I saw a great film called American Splendor, starring Paul Giamatti (from Sideways) as Harvey Pekar, the loveable grump who created the original American Splendor Comics with artist R. Crumb. This movie is a brilliantly crafted documentary/recreation of Harvey's life, and let me just say that it is not a happy story. Harvey is a notoriously depressed and gloomy writer who spent most of his career working as a hospital filing clerk and writing about the banality of ordinary life. His work is hilarious, but also very telling in its ornate study of the Common American. Suddenly I don't feel so alone. The fact that this man appeared on David Letterman multiple times (kind of like Richard Simmons did) as a joke guest, and then finally told Dave and NBC to piss off on live TV (he got banned from the show), is pure genius. You know he just went back to his regular day job the next day and continued being pissed off at the world. Harvey Pekar is my new hero.

I thought I was the only one who worked a dead-end job and had dreams which were slowly and consistently crushed until I realized I was too old to do anything about it. Now I know that it's not just me who is savagely bored with life in general, and has no illusions of the fact that this is all there really is - forget about you people who think that life is what you make of it. There are moments of bliss, sure. Like when you fall in love. Or when you almost die from cancer and get a second chance to live. There are times when you are successful and the world is looking your way for a moment. Then it gets old and you realize that positive public opinion is one of the worst things imaginable. Who wants to be well-liked? I don't. So once you get off your ass and see American Splendor, you will find that I'm not the only super-pessimist out there.

I just want to have my little poke at Californians for a second here. I am not originally from CA (my origin is unkown), so I feel entitled to let you guys know that you are all full of crap. Why are you guys on such a high-horse? Why do you feel that you are superior to the rest of America (like them dumb-racist Southerners and those yokel-Okies)? Someone sent me an email proclaiming that California would like to secede from America, claiming that Californians have the best food, drugs, wine, weather, countryside and culture, and the rest of the country can go to hell. That person is an idiot. California has the worst school system in the entire country. It has Los Angeles and Arnold Schwarzeneggar for a Governor. Half the State doesn't have health insurance, mostly because the population of illegal immigrants is higher here than any other state in the US. California has the most expensive gas and electricity in the nation, the worst public transportation imaginable (Amtrak sucks, Bart is ok), and, worst of all, the most actors/Scientologists/hippies (basically all the same thing) of any state. The person who wrote me that pompous bullshit insulted the rest of the nation with his ignorant email, and I hope he burns in California!

That being said, I love California. Having lived in other states, this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Everything I could ever want is here, and the weather is, for the most part, gorgeous. You can't beat that. People are fairly accepting and open to new ideas in CA's major cities, but they are also obnoxiously self-entitled. Of course, I am generalizing and stereotyping. That's what bums do best. I would like Californians to just remember that no one is better than any one else - we all suck. Most people who claim to be Californians didn't actually grow up here, and those people probably have the best perspective from which to understand what I am trying to convey. The rest of you will just get defensive and write me hate mail.

So next time you set in to telling everyone how great California is, just remember you ain't all that (followed by 3 snaps in a circle), and that at any moment your precious little state could seperate from America via giant earthquake and plunge into the sea. Oh boy! I hope Los Angeles drowns first, because it's about time Hollywood stopped making shitty movies and bad rock n'roll. Lick me.

- Barry the (I don't wanna go back to the loony bin) Bum

Update: 7/7/2005

Good News in Hard Times

So, I have a few announcements to make at this time. First off, the demo contract with M.A.R.S. Studios was officially signed today, which means the Stranger will be in the studio beginning July 22nd, after a whole lot of struggle and strife. They are glad. Also, they have a new domain name that they can be reached at www.everyday-stranger.com, which is a bit easier to remember, I think. This will be featured on the new stickers, which look like this:

You can only get the stickers and the demos at the shows, so there’s yet another reason to get your booty out and see the band. There are definitely some shows in the works at this time, and of course you can find out about them right here.

In other news, Barry (that’s me), continues to struggle. The Fourth of July was relatively uneventful, and this year I didn’t get to see too many fireworks. I would say that’s how my life is right now anyway – not seeing too much action. I have continued to write articles and pick up a bit of extra work here and there, but it hasn’t been enough to keep me going. I was going to go down to LA this weekend, but the plans fell through due to previous engagements. People, I wish I had something interesting to say, but all I really have is the blues, and I think it’s better if Chris plays what I am feeling right now. We’ll talk again real soon. I promise.

- Barry (wishin' I was) the Bum

Barry has finally settled down on his own little island, and is barely getting by. At the sound of a railroad train, he has the strong desire to throw all of his possessions into a sack and hit the road rambling again. Ladies - Barry has given up on you. We'll see how long he can keep this up for.

Update: 7/1/2005

The Landscape is Slowly Revolving

Ok, it has been awhile since this site was updated. So sue me. I've been a busy working monkey, developing my own solo project (called the Strugglers), and doing the day job thing so I'm not homeless anymore. The Stranger will sign a contract with M.A.R.S. Studios and begin recording their demo in about 3 weeks. More on this, so stay tuned.

I never thought I would say this, but I actually liked being homeless - at least better than what I have now. Sure, I was a burden on everyone and a general nuisance, but at least I wasn't so alone. Working all day and then coming home to TV and steak sounds great at first, but it soon becomes old when you have no one to share it with. I was raised with a feeling of community, and I can't live without people around me. Especially good friends and beautiful women. Each day I come home and am reminded that I have all of the comforts I could want, but all I really want to do is spend time with someone I love. And half the people who do have someone they love to come home to take it for granted - don't ever be one of those people. Without those friends and lovers and children, your televisions, couches, computers, and other luxuries would become meaningless.

I guess I just have to get used to life being this way. Being a recovering bum means that the ladies won't be scratching my door down to get inside - I would probably chase them away if they did. You have to really learn to love yourself before anyone else can love you. And I have sinned so much that I find it very hard to love myself. Therefore, I have purposely spent more time alone to try and work things out with myself, and I have found a few faults along the way, which I would like to profess to you now: I am a proud, self-absorbed man who talks too much and likes making people uncomfortable (read: a critic). I am stubborn and I like to learn things the hard way. I am extremely self-conscious and have low self-esteem, that's why I tend to be so critical of others. I am medium-selfish…

Ok, I'm going to stop there. This is pathetic. I just want to be, I don't want to analyze any more, although I think that I would make a very interesting subject for any psychologists out there who would like to do a free consultation. The bottom line is, when the curtain falls and death and life are revealed for what they really are, I think I will realize that I came into this world alone, and will leave it alone. There is no escape from that. So many people are alone throughout the middle, too, and it's sad. If you know someone who is suffering from being alone, put your arm around them, give them a massage, and tell them, "It's gonna be ok". They know it won't be, but at least you can take the weight of the world off their shoulders for a little while, and help make their life on this Earth a little less cold.

To all my fans: I will start updating the site more often, thanks so much for your patience and support.

- Barry the Working-Class Schmuck

Update: 4/24/2005

Home Again, Home Again, and Still Advertisement Free

"The world is turning, I hope it don't turn away" - Neil Young

I think I am proud to announce that I am no longer homeless. Yes, Barry the Bum now resides somewhere in the crowded jungles of Capitola with two working men and a dog named Alice. After all this time I feel ready to reinsert myself into society, thus ending my blissful non-working misery once and, hopefully, for all. Though I have very little cash I will make it somehow. I must be brave.

I went to a wedding this weekend, and had a great time. Great food, free booze, and dancing late into the night. I spoke with my friend, the groom, and he brought something of importance to my attention. No one I know who works full time really seems happy. They are not poor. I am. They rely on themselves. I rely on the kindness of others. They go home after work and drink. I drink. These differences are what makes me question our very existence. Why is it that we have to work so hard to make money, thus missing out on the important things life, such as family and friends?

If everyone was homeless like me the world would be a horrible place. I salute the working man for his sacrifice and dedication. Except for those who work in the advertising business. As Bill Hicks says, "just kill yourselves, because you work for Satan". Seriously, I have more respect for the cashier at McDonald's than I do for the entire staff of Mcann-Erickson, or whatever advertising agency is currently sucking away my life-blood.

Seriously, folks. Someone needs to say something about this. It's not right. Some people are against war. I am against advertising. Some people say, "imagine a world without war, where people don't have to live in fear of being killed at any moment". I say, "imagine a world without advertisements, where people could take a piss without being told to consume, where people weren't constantly reminded of their insecurities and fears, and where people could decide for themselves what the hell it is they really want?"

At least people who go to war believe in something, no matter how far-out or idealistic it may seem. Advertisers believe in nothing except money and wasting my time. Think about how much better TV would actually be if we didn't have commercials or useless product placement everywhere. How much paper would we save if Vogue (or any other magazine) was advertisement free? Of course, some might say that these mediums can't exist without ads, but how many more people would actually buy a magazine or watch TV if they weren't bombarded with advertisements? And how many shitty TV shows and magazines would be out production because their success actually depended upon people liking them instead of how much money the advertisers were shelling out? Why do you think people pay more for HBO? How much less expensive would it be to produce a magazine without ads? How about if we replaced commercials with reruns and prerecorded live concerts, sports events, plays, etc? No, the American Public would never stand for that. No.

Well, the world most likely won't change because of me, and chances are you're already addicted to the OC or Survivor or some crap like that. I hate to tell you, but while you sit there on your lazy ass and watch that shit, you're uselessness on this earth becomes more apparent. While you sit there and drool you are being brainwashed to buy things you have no use for that probably aren't good for you. Add to that the fact that you are inadvertantly perpetuating the advertising industry you claim to hate so much. Most of all, you waste the short and precious time you have left on this planet when you could be speaking with someone you love, building something, or writing what is inside of yourself. You could be doing anything to better your life and the world around you. Instead you sit and wait to die.

My point is that those of you who work in an office all day making someone else (or yourself) more money should remember that there is more to this life than enjoying your digital cable and HDTV. Don't feed the beast. If you are intelligent enough to comprehend what I am saying, then please tell me I'm not crazy.

- Barry (who you callin') the Bum

Barry the Bum is in a transitional phase right now. He used to spend his days in a bathrobe writing for no money. Now he wants to become Barry the Bookkeeper or something like that. We'll see how it goes. His membership in the Scary Little Friends Coalition is up for renewal, and his writing career is slowly becoming a reality. He has given up on true love and is now on the prowl for a sugar momma.

Update: 4/03/2005

Homeless, Homeless, Homeless, Homeless

My world is constantly changing, and the last month has been a whole new set of waves that come crashing down upon my wretched soul. Don't you feel sorry for me already? Well, after borrowing a car for a couple of weeks (and locking the keys in it twice in two days - thanks AAA!) I was finally able to get a new one with my first paycheck. It's a snazzy little Volkswagon Jetta, and is considerably better than my previous vehicle. I have been fervently searching for a place to live, but everyone I meet is scared of me. I think this is because I always explain to them that I have been homeless, but that I am now ready to settle down. No one wants to live with a homeless guy. Or maybe it's when I tell them that I hate rich hippy liberal hipocrites (more commonly known as Lippyribolcrits). There tend to be quite a few of those down in Santa Cruz.

Everyday Stranger recently had their practice space broken into and Chris's guitar was stolen, as well as their bass amp. If we find the person who did it, we are going to put a boot in their eye! The band has taken a little time to regroup from this tragedy, but not to worry - they will be back in action very soon! Chris also got a job at the Santa Cruz Sentinel writing live show reviews. Look for his first article next week.

The Stranger has a new logo which is now featured on the site. The pics page has been revamped and improved. Check it out. The band is currently in negotiations to begin their first studio project, and are in seach of a good entertainment lawyer. If you have any suggestions on this, please email us. In the meantime, I will continue to provide you with comprehensive updates, though I don't have as much free time as I used to.

- Barry (soon not to be) the Bum

Update: 3/10/2005

The Times, They Are a Changin'

Last weekend represented the end of an era, and the dawn of a new one. Lots of changes are in the air, and you can bet they will all be told here by me. On Saturday, Chris played a solo show with Jenni Alpert in Santa Cruz, and the next night they were in SF playing with a bunch of artists from LA at the Hotel Utah. The show was amazing because of our many fans who stayed late to catch the Stranger. Thanks to all who made it, and as your reward you now know the secret that we are not revealing to anyone else - not even here. The next night Chris was back in Santa Cruz, playing drunken country songs at the Catalyst. We got to check out the main stage for a bit, where an amazing Jonny Lang (just 22 years old!) was putting on a hell of a show. Thanks to Kevin and Kage from Got Local Music for making the night happen.

Then, the changes came. I bought a car off of a friend for $500 recently (paid for with Unemployment $$, of course), and had gotten myself a nice little job (thanks to Josie for cleaning me up). Well, last Monday was my first day, and I got about a mile from the location, when my car died on me. My boss had to pick me up and drop me off. Luckily, a friend of mine gave me a ride to his motor home, where I have been living in the lap of luxury for the past few days. I know this can't last forever. If I am ever going to raise myself beyond bum status, I have got to get it together. So with a job and some money I hope to get another $500 car and a place to stay. I figured I could kill two birds with one stain and stay in a, "Van down by the river"! I am betting this will not be far from the truth, people.

The Stranger is just finishing up their logo, and are finalists in the Quilted Fish Contest. The prize? A $4,000 production deal. Not bad, we'll see what the outcome is. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates. Also, let us know if you want to go to the Oaktown Private House Party coming up in a few weeks. We hope to see you there.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 2/18/2005

So Close, Yet So Far Away

Thanks for all of you who came out and supported our good buddy Chris at the final round of the Zelda's Songwriter Competition. He was definitely a favorite of the crowd, getting them all to sing along on "Sing Me Home" (I know you remember that one). It looked for a moment like he had it in the bag, but instead he took a suprising, but respectable, second place behind a guy named Brett Williams. Not the best outcome, but Chris went home with a $350 gift certificate for recording time at Mars Studios which will be put to good use in the near future.

Hope to see you bastards at the Last Day Saloon show tomorrow night. We love you.

- Barry the Bum

Barry the Bum is a staff writer for the Scary Little Friends Coalition monthly zine. You can't get a copy anywhere. He is happy because he has no material possessions and lives life on his own terms. He is single and looking for the right lady to make him happy. He is homeless.

Update: 2/10/2005

Getting Ready for More?

So, as this week draws to an end I realize it is time for a change. Yes, after avoiding a *real* job for the last two years, it is finally time to face the music and work again. I have started by updating my resume, adding my experience as a web writer for this site and as a small business-owner of Barry the Bum, Inc. Now I am kinda sending out the resume. Well, I have sent at least one so far. At least. The fact is, I kinda feel scruffy and stinky whenever I walk into these jobs to get an application. Plus, I am a master procrastinator. Perhaps this is why I am still a bum. That, and the fact that I don't really care about money and possessions. I am such a bad person.

Well, Chris's birthday was a couple of days ago. He played at the Zelda's Songwriter Competition Semifinals, and miraculously won first place! Certainly a nice birthday treat for him. The finals are next week, and the winner of that will get free studio time. So of course we are all excited for him. Thanks also to Jon and Liz and Kim for the suprise party for Jones, complete with cake and booze. I was there, eating up leftovers and drinking alone in the kitchen.

The Stranger is currently preparing for the gig at the Last Day Saloon. This is going down in a couple of Saturdays from now, and is sure to be a huge show with lots of hot girls and friends that you actually want to see. Click on the image above to see the flyer.

So let me just remind you again that we are going to have a crazy two weeks ahead of us. We hope you can join us for the Zelda's gig and the Last Day gig as well. The logos are still coming along, I should have something for you by the next update.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 1/31/2005

Hell's Angels Party a Success

I just recovered from another great weekend with the Stranger. This time it was back at the Aptos Club for their first weekend gig ever. It turned out to be a Hell's Angels Red and White Party, which was just fine with us. A lot of you probably think the Angels are violent, scary dudes that will kill you at the drop of a hat. That's what they want you to think. Actually, everyone was really cool and I didn't get my ass kicked (although I should have a few times). Thanks to them for showing us all a great time. It turned out to be the biggest and best crowd the Stranger has played for so far.

I know there are some of you out there who dislike the Super Bowl. Not just girls, but guys, too. Maybe you just like the commercials, but then realize that such propaganda is designed solely to brainwash Americans and get them drinking light beer, eating fatty foods, buying expensive cars, and generally throwing money at their problems to compensate for their innate fear of death, suffering, and loneliness. No, the Super Bowl is not an event for the thoughtful philosopher. So Everyday Stranger would like to invite those who don't give a flying fuck about football to come and see some live music at the Cherry Bar in San Francisco this Sunday at 6 pm. You will probably feel a little uneasy not following the pack. But trust me, it's quite rewarding once you start.

The Last Day Saloon gig is looking even more appetizing, considering that Lolita will now be opening up the show. This band is led by frontman Nikki Taschjian, who also runs White Lighter Recordings. Also, keep an eye open for the special ad for the event in the music section of the Bay Guardian. Looks like another mind-bending event that will destroy all preconceptions and change the San Francisco Scene landscape forever. Watch out.

Last but not least, know that the Stranger is getting a makeover. A new logo will be finished very soon by Ryan Kerrigan, and our good friend Steve Marchand is working on a great new icon that will be distributed in the form of stickers around our local bars and signposts. As soon as these are ready I will unveil them here, so stay tuned.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 1/22/2005

The New Year is Rollin'

Well, I guess I should start by saying thanks to all who came and supported us at the Hotel Utah last Tuesday. It turned out to be the best gig yet for the Stranger. Also thanks to Ride the Blinds and Jenni Alpert, who are helping us tie multiple music scenes into one. There is already another show scheduled at the Hotel Utah, so check the gigs page for more info.

The Stranger is indeed launching into Phase Two of operation. The gigs are getting better, and the recording has been further delayed so that they can properly prepare for these events. This will ensure the highest quality when the first CD is served. A band logo is being drawn up as we speak by the great Ryan Kerrigan. Pictures of the Utah gig will soon be added to the site. There are many other secret plans that will be unveiled in the upcoming months, so stick around and keep us on your dial.

In other news, Chris Jones has successfully won the first round of Zelda's Songwriter Competition! Next are the semifinals, and the winner gets free recording time at a great studio. You will want to check this contest out, so come on down when you are ready for some action. He also managed to spend some time at 15th Street Studios in San Francisco recently, finishing 20 solo songs that could culminate into a new album. Thanks to Nikki Taschjian and Todd Narruhn for sticking through a grueling, yet rewarding, session. All he needs now is another $200 or so to finish the job. Anybody out there interested? We'll keep you up to date over at www.chrisjones.info on that saga as it unfolds.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 12/26/2004

Further Developments

Well, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are planning on living through whatever New Year adventures you pursue. You would think this would be a time of rest and relaxation for all, but for a bum like me the holidays can be pretty rough. Look at you, laughing and having a jolly time with your relatives while I sit out in the cold drinking frozen egg nog and eating someone's leftover burrito. A man cannot survive on leftover christmas fudge alone.

Well, I just wanted to say thanks to Chris's family for letting me "come in from the cold" as it where. This year I hurt my knee real bad (tripped on a curb) and haven't been feeling myself. They took me in and sang Christmas songs and let me sleep on their couch. They even gave me presents. You guys are great.

So, the next month is looking stellar for the Everyday Stranger. They are playing the Aptos Club on Jan. 6th, the Hotel Utah on the 18th, and planning to record by the end of the month. The Hotel Utah gig is going to be extra-special because it will also feature the great Jenni Alpert and AJ Roach, and will signify the first time that the Stranger will share the stage with hometown legends Ride the Blinds. It is probably going to be the greatest show of all time, so don't think you can skip out on this one.

As for me, I am in desperate need of a job. I don't have email, so email Chris if you know anyone who wants to hire a 25-year-old bum who hasn't worked for over a year and is generally incompetent.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 12/13/2004

I updated the words page with more lyrics. - Chris

Update: 12/10/2004

Long Time, No Update

There hasn't been an update for awhile, I know. Things have been crazier than usual, and I have been running myself silly trying to keep up with what is going on. Right now the Stranger is in rehearsals working on their material so they can make an album that you will no doubt want to purchase. In the meantime, Chris and I have been bumming around SF with these guys, Ride the Blinds. I have probably mentioned them before, but this is a good time to elaborate.

From the same hometown as Chris and Jon, Ride the Blinds consists of Chris Guthridge on guitar, Bill Cramer on bass, and Nick Cramer on drums. They are a tradilional rock/blues band remeniscent of classic Cream and Rolling Stones. Chris made a guest appearance with them last Saturday night at the Edinburgh Castle. You probably already know this, because if you are even somewhat in tune with what is going on in the music world you were there. It was one of the greatest rock shows of all time, and they are scheduled to play a show with the Stranger very soon. Check out the new promo video on their website, and look for the numerous references to Everyday Stranger within. A music scene is being born.

In the meantime, get ready for more shows in January from the Stranger, both in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Things are getting crazier and I don't know how much longer I can last...

- Barry the Bum

Update: 11/12/2004

Heaviness Explodes

Are you wondering what you should do this Tuesday night? Try something different, escape from the safety of your boring home, and come to the show at the Aptos Club on November 23rd. The Stranger is going to back off on the gigging for a little while in order to work on some new songs and prepare for the studio. That's right, it's time for the first album to be created, and I am going to leak bits of information about the Stranger's debut on this page. The album's scheduled release is early March, so keep your eyes peeled for more tasty tidbits.

There are four new songs from the show at Joe's Pizza on UCSC Campus on the audio page. A new logo, designed by the incredible artist formerly known as John Brogan, will soon be ready for making stickers and T- shirts! We will be giving them out at shows very soon, so watch out all you crazy people!

- Barry the Bum

Update: 11/3/2004

The First One's Free

Welcome back to our world, fellow Strangers. For those of you who are new to the scene, come on in. Everyday Stranger had yet another action-packed weekend, and I saw it all go down first-hand. I am telling you, get out of your safe houses now and venture out to see these guys play while they are still doing it for free, because pretty soon these free gigs are going to be a thing of the past.

The weekend began with a gig at Joe's Pizza on UCSC campus. This may not sound like a glamorous gig, and it was n't. It was just another chance to scare apathetic young college students and get them involved in what we are trying to accomplish - great music without underlying materialistic motives. Can you dig it? The gig went well, so the Stranger headed down to Monterey to play at the Lava Lounge - a bar inside of the Octane Club. While eager pre-hallowieners sported assorted bondage gear in the club, Everyday Stranger catered to the outcasts and drifters looking to escape the cheesy dj and expensive drinks. It turned out that there were a lot of those people. This turned out to be what I think is there best show yet, and I was sober enough to actually get a recording of it. Perhaps some songs will pop up here on the audio page. Chris lost his mind at the end and violently tossed his guitar to the ground as the boys all walked off stage. The receptive audience was amazed and confused. Tentative clapping followed. Mission accomplished. Fade to black.

And did I mention that everyone dressed up? Yeah, Jon was a caveman living in modern times, Dave was a prison inmate, Chris was a cowboy, and most humorously, Christian was Howard Stern in a wetsuit. See, you have to be at these events for something like that to really make sense. But it was hilarious, I can assure you. The final gig was on Saturday at the Catalyst. Again, people were getting their afternoon drunk on in style, and Chris's parents came to support his music (thanks Bob and Martha). Also thanks to Kage and Chas, who have been helping the Stranger climb the ladder to success.

This next weekend will be utilized to work on a few new songs and woodshed, but make no mistake - the Stranger will be playing very soon near you. Plans are in the works for their first San Francisco show, so keep your eyes peeled for that. A recording session is also in the near future, as well as some better paying gigs. These guys are working hard. Don't you think it's fair they should start seeing some reward? We hope you can finally put your excuses aside and stop avoiding the inevitable - come see this band. If you could see the Doors before they got famous, wouldn't you jump at the opportunity? Hey, these guys ain't trying to be the Doors, but they are definitely shattering a lot of boundaries real fast and bringing something totally new to the table. Well, I can't say anymore about this band. I will just let the music speak for itself. For now I gotta get back to work fixing Chris's new car for him (an '89 Ford Taurus, powder blue (with rust coloration) - thanks for the favor, Guthridge.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 10/24/2004

The Horse is Kicking Back

Future plans include TWO Halloween Pre-Parties in ONE night! That's right, the Stranger will play at Joe's Pizza on UCSC Campus next Friday, and again later that night at the Lava Lounge in Club Octane at 7:30 in downtown Monterey. They have a death-wish, and they want you to dress up and watch them fulfill it. After that, they will take a two-week mellow-out period to work on new songs and perhaps play a gig or two in their constant search to find new minds to blow.

So I spent another extended weekend in Santa Cruz, dancing away my sorrows to the tune of "Time is Moving Fast", or something like that. It was another successful weekend for the Stranger, as they continued to hone their sound and obtain more lucrative gigs for me to write about in my entertaining emails to the mailing list.

The weekend began with another Aptos Club show. Thanks to Kage and Brad and Doug for their support that night. The first recording of live Stranger was made, though I don't think it will be released. A last-minute gig was added at the 418 Project on Saturday night, and it gave a lot of teenage kids the chance to hear the up-and-coming band blow some windows open and walk out without a scratch. Finally, a showcase at the Catalyst rounded out Sunday afternoon. I danced with some nice older folks while the Stranger played "LA Woman". It felt good, dammit.

Other than that, I pretty much too k it easy this weekend because I am still recovering from a recent mishap. Last weekend I was walking around the Mission District in SF late at night, minding my own business, when suddenly I was accosted by two young scrappers. We inevitably locked eyes and a challenge was born. Being a man of honor, I had no choice but to let the two men beat me senselessy in the nearest alley and leave me for dead. Luckily, I was too drunk to fight or feel pain, and I stumbled back to my cardboard hotel to find someone to complain to. I guess I'm lucky. I could have been stabbed, shot, or even worse, preached at by skinny bald Hare Krishnas for an hour.

- Barry the Bum

Update: 10/13/2004

Up and Running

If you are reading this right now, that means you have stumbled upon the beginning of something special. Everyday Stranger played their first shows last weekend, and are ready to attack the scene in a major way. It all began on Thursday, with their premier show at the Aptos Club. They actually had to turn down a gig the next night in order to prepare for the Porter College gig on Saturday. The Aptos Club was great, and they rocked the house. I am suprised you weren't there. I ended up in a ditch behind the club and Chris had to pick me up and brush me off and bid me farewell in the middle of nowhere .

The Porter College show also went suprisingly well. A bunch of freshman UCSC college students gawked at the band and played hackey sack while I got drunk on a nice grass field. The next day they played the Catalyst Showcase on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. People stopped in to have their minds blown, and this is only the beginning of what is looking to be an impressive streak.

More gigs are in the works, so check the gigs link to your right to make sure you are a part of the beginning. Don't you want to be one of the people who can say, "I knew them way back when they were playing in small clubs. I saw one of their first shows!"?

You want to be one of those people. Christian held down the bass lines throughout without flinching, Jon kept the motor running the entire weekend. Dave splattered beautiful synthesizer madness all over the crowd, and Chris blew people's minds that weren't quite ready for what they got. Check out this band while you can get in for free, and look for me, the drunk bum, hanging out in the darkest corner of each show. See you soon, people.

- Barry the Bum

 
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