An interesting question came up the other night while having a conversation with my girlfriend about “the future.”
She asked, “And what about the music… Do you have a plan? What’s the plan?”
I can’t remember my response verbatim, but let me share the essence of my answer with you. I trust you won’t laugh. ;-)
Ever since I was a little kid, and I mean like 2 years old kid, I’ve loved music. My earliest memories are from when I listened to The Partridge Family and Shaun Cassidy records, the ones with the silver and black Atlantic logo in the center of the vinyl disc. I thought every record that had that silver and black was a Partridge Family or Shaun Cassidy record (another story). Apparently those songs from Shaun and Keith got me through my operations at Newington Children’s Hospital when I was a toddler. I couldn’t remember a song now if my life depended on it, but I honestly remember loving the music.
I’ll spare you the details of my formative years, but let’s just say that as a kid, I got a healthy dose of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Kenny Rogers from my dad, opera and show tunes from my mom, and Journey, Def Leppard and The Go-Go’s from my sister. Then sprinkle in some Motley Crue, Metallica, Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers in my teens… Well, it’s enough to make your head spin.
Suffice it to say, I love music. I would even go so far as to quote my friend Gerry, who once told me, “I didn’t choose music, it chose me.” Yeah… I think that’s about right.
Through school, jobs, relationships, a college education, and economic downturns, I’ve been playing music with the intent for it to one day sustain me on both an artistic and financial level. Artistic, so far so good. Still working on the financial thing.
Which brings us to the relevance of the initial question… “Do you have a plan?” The answer is yes. The plan is to never stop.
Look, I realized long ago, that this is a rough path. I never dreamed of multi-millionaire stardom (maybe I should’ve aimed higher?). I just wanted to be happy with what I was doing, artistically. If I could somehow translate that into putting food on the table and keeping a roof over my head, then I’ve succeeded. Realistic, grounded, attainable goals. I don’t need the magazine covers, the sold out arenas, the induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, or the fancy cars. Again, if I am happy with what I am creating, and who I am creating with, and I can make a few bucks along the way, that’s great.
But one does need goals and plans… Fortunately, I have both!
I plan on keeping on with creating my art until I meet the goal of being able to do this for a living… to at least be making what I make at my day job now, and to one day have making music (making records, touring, co-writing) be the thing that I focus on 8, 9, 10 plus hours a day. Again, I don’t need the fancy cars, luxury hotels, or private jets.
I am happiest when I am making music - touring and meeting wonderful folks throughout the country sharing laughs, emotions, hopes and fears together. You see, these things are worth more to me than any material thing on the planet.
So yes, I have a big, giant, encompassing goal that involves a bunch of other little goals. It all revolves around music.
That little two year old that discovered music and loved it? Still here.
Do what makes you happy, right?
I don’t know what possessed me to think of this old blog post, but I thought about it, searched for it, found it, read it, and it’s still relevant. More new stuff later.
May 14, 2008
So, I’m on my way to Asbury Park NJ about a week ago. The previous days’ rain storms have passed, it’s sunny outside, and I’m reflecting on where I am in my life. A 3 hour trip to from New Haven CT to Asbury Park NJ may be a hassle to some, while others may see playing a show in another state as a really cool thing. I fall somewhere in the middle. I’m ecstatic to be proactive with my music, which often requires me to trek from town to town, often far from the comfort of my familiar surroundings. I know that many people don’t have that opportunity. On the flip side, the cost of gas is well, you know, outrageous. Traveling/touring almost always incurs a monetary loss. And if I’m playing a free show and I don’t sell CDs, it gets expensive.
So I have these two diametrically opposite feelings to contend with… luck and loss… on levels that aren’t even mentioned above. I’m pacing back & forth, over & over again in my head. Meanwhile, the drive is simply fulfilling the luck… or the loss.
I’m driving over the Tappan Zee, crossing into New Jersey and what comes on the radio?
“The screen door slams
Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey thats me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again
I just cant face myself alone again”
And I am alone on I-87, but Bruce is on the radio keeping my company. A pioneer, perhaps, of the Asbury Park music scene, his song is on the radio and I think to myself “It’s going to be a good day on the Jersey Shore.”
And I can’t stop. I can’t ever stop. Music is my Mary. She is dancing in front of me, appealing to me… teasing me… I am always working for her, wanting to be closer to her. If were to stop, I wouldn’t be able to face myself. Through all the “what ifs,” “are you ever going to settle downs,” “you’re not making any money, why are you doing this,” and other indications of disapproval, I can’t stop staring at her… desiring her. She gives me purpose.
I continue driving. Bruce made 3 albums on a major label before he had any “big” success. He kept driving too.
I arrive at my destination. Guitar in hand, the weight of cables, a microphone, a notebook, pens and other items in my bag weighing on my back, I walk into the cafe with the hope of affecting somebody with my art today. It’s completely egocentric. I yearn for approval. I’m kind of a shy person, and music is my initiation to conversation. I set up my things, and begin to play.
It’s a far cry from a sold-out show, as there are only 4 people in the cafe on this particular Saturday afternoon. It’s too late for lunch and too early for dinner, and to “middle of the day” for coffee I guess. But I meet the approval of the folks there, including the guys that are playing after me. It relieves the tension of performing in front of a small audience.
I hang out for a while, listening to the sounds of Sean Cox. He’s got some great songs, and we share the same work ethic. That is, to travel far from home for a chance of sharing our art for 30 minutes is completely worth it.
I’m driving back home, surrounded by some tranquil spots on the Garden State Parkway. Once again, I’m alone with my thoughts, wondering if what I just did will have any impact on my career. I think in some way it will, even if I can’t see it now.
This whole trip is indeed, a Thunder Road.
“Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my cars out back
If you’re ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The doors open but the ride it ain’t free”
So come with me Mary… Music… I’m ready to go, even if the journey isn’t free. It’s already cost me more than money… friends, relationships, family… But I still have to do it.
“On the wind, so Mary climb in
It’s a town full of losers
And Im pulling out of here to win.”
And that’s a big reason why I have to do what I do. I grew up in a town that was reclusive and yielded to the safeties of the status quo. I never wanted a part of that. I’ve always wanted to be something bigger than where I came from. In some ways, I feel I’ve succeeded because I left. But I still feel like I’m in the process of leaving.
Still driving on the Garden State Parkway, almost at the I-87 exit. And you won’t believe what comes onto the radio again: “Thunder Road.”
And I’m still driving…
This past Tuesday, Gerry and I joined John Philips-Sandy (one of the organizers for Downtown Rocks for Newtown - http://www.facebook.com/downtownrocksfornewtown) on our local ABC affiliate, WTNH 8 on the CT Style show, hosted by Teresa LaBarbera. As a guy that wants to see this benefit event succeed, and as I guy that loves performing, I jumped at the opportunity to help.
There is something different about Television however. It’s a tremendous medium. While playing the song, I realized that I was under a powerful microscope. To that knowledge, I frantically thought to myself, “Did I get enough rest? My voice isn’t warmed up! Am I doing a good job? Does this outfit look ridiculous? Is this song appropriate? Concentrate on the moment, Seth!”
Begin the sweating…
Taping for television is far different from live performance, at least for me anyway. If I mess up, there are no conversations taking place in the background, no clanking bottles, no seconds on the clock to publicly point out that I messed up, have a laugh, and move on. Nope. This is a do or don’t situation.
About halfway through the song, I listened to the last thing I mentioned above: “Concentrate on the moment, Seth.” After all, this is a song about recognizing a ‘Troubled Time’ and letting oneself be in the moment and breathe.
Guitar solo comes (thanks Gerry) and I have a moment to relax, to breathe, to ‘get in’ the moment. Things are getting better.
So this is a rare admission of nervousness to you. And man, was I nervous. Funny how the song ended up coming in handy in the whole 3 minute plus performance.
Check out the performance below. But before you do (or even after), be sure to get your tickets for Downtown Rocks for Newtown. Tickets are available here: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/206063
Stage 8 Presents: Dowtown Rocks for Newtown
I sent out a newsletter. Rather than reformatting it for the blog, just click on this link to open it up as a webpage.
Hope you’re doing well! More “real” blogging to come…
In case you didn’t see my “Happy New Year” wishes on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else…
Just want to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is absolutely fantastic for you!
I usually post a “year in review” type of thing, and I still might get around to that… soon.
For now, enjoy what the clean slate brings. Make it happen!
Yes, greetings from Chicago! So good to be back on the road playing music again!
This road trip had an interesting start. That is, leave it to me to leave packing, taking my dog to my folks house, picking up the rental car, showering, etc., to be done in the time span of 2 hours. But, I did it! And then I realized as I was leaving, that I forgot the GPS components (charger, bracket) - turn around to Radio Shack. Then I realized I forgot to deposit a check - turn around to the bank. Then I realized I forgot the E-Z Pass. Turn around to go back home. See y’all, this truly is the rock & roll lifestyle (insert sarcasm).
After about 8 hours, we finally arrived in the “Pop-Up” city, Pittsburgh. I found out from my friend and Pittsburgher (not Pittsburghian, or Pittsburghite) Maureen, that they call it the “Pop-Up” city because you’ll be driving along, through a very hilly interstate highway, and the city just “pops up” as you come around one of the bends. This is true… I’ve seen it. Having never been to Pittsburgh before, I found the geography and the construction that adapted to it over the years quite fascinating. Outside of having many hills, there are 3 rivers that meet together in Pittsburgh. Thus, there are many bridges throughout the city.
Then there’s those pictures you get of PNC Park (where the Pirates play) when you have a camera in your hand and can get a shot of it while driving (don’t do this at home kids).
The show at The Park House was fun. Unbelievably kind staff! And while the city was kind of quiet that night, we did manage to introduce ourselves to the best softball team in Pittsburgh, in a folk-rock sort of way.
Rest stop in Ohio. I couldn’t decide which hat with an “O” I wanted… Wait a second… how did that hat with a “G” get in there?
Next up was Columbus OH. John and I got into town early, so we walked around the Ohio State University campus. Holy shizzle, it is huge. If you’ve ever seen some “crazy college kids” movie with frat houses, sorority houses, insane amounts of beer, and general debauchery, I have to say that it does exist in real life. (Side note… I robbed myself of that “youthful” college experience, having skipped college after one semester when I was 18. So, walking by this stuff and seeing it first hand was thrilling for me.)
Our show at O’Sheckys was away from the above stuff. Interesting place… When we walked in, we noticed the walls were filled with all this “metal” memorabilia (Ozzy posters, crosses & skulls, etc.). I was a bit nervous that we wouldn’t go over too well. Well, I was wrong. The folks that came out, including all the other bands, were really nice and totally receptive to what we did. Happily, we received a lot of compliments. And, I’m waiting on a picture of a modified “Seth Adam” t-shirt that a young lady bought. I’ll let you know when it arrives. ;-)
A guy by the name of Seth Adam”s” played here too.
Got this beautiful Ohio skies show, somewhere on US-30…
So, now, greetings from Chicago… again, my “photographer behind the wheel” work…
I really love Chicago. It’s beautiful here. There is so much to do, so much activity, a lot of music, festivals, parks, and great food. If I had to choose a city other than NYC to move to, I’m pretty sure this would be it.
John took this one for me.
I think this may be the most random blog I’ve ever posted. Kinda whooped from all that driving…
Off to play the Elbo Room tonight. I’m really excited for this one! For now, we’re going for a run, making a trip to Chicago Music Exchange, and perhaps some deep-dish pizza…
I’ll check back soon,
Years ago when I was in Green Inside, prior to the days of the MySpace explosion, the Facebook intravenous line (insert sarcasm), and the oh-so slightly invasive notion of text messaging (yeah, it was that long ago), there were these things on the internet called message boards. Remember those? I had a lot of fun using message boards, communicating in a public forum, thanking folks for coming out to the show, or flirting with someone cute (wait a tick, kinda sounds like Facebook).
I also used to use the message board to do what I did last night - write a long “end of the year” wrap-up. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time (writing the “end of year” thing), and last night was the first time in a long time that I’ve done so.
After working around 13 hours, getting home late, taking Wilson for a walk, eating dinner, and trying to wind down with a glass of wine, I used my organizer, flipped through the pages, recalled the highlights and wrote the wrap-up. The risk one takes in writing those types of things, is that it’s inevitable you’ll forget something - or even worse, someone.
That’s where the big oops comes in.
It dawned on me today (with a little help from some birdies) that I forgot someone very special in writing last nights wrap-up. Someone who facilitated many of the highlights I enjoyed last year. That person is Joel Cobden.
I was introduced to Joel in late 2010. Shortly thereafter, I was employed by him. Having recently graduated from college, Joel gave me a job in his screen printing facility (pretty lucky considering jobs in my field are a little tough to come by in this economy). Knowing full well that I have a lifelong dedication to the pursuit of my musical art, he allowed me the opportunity to work and to take time away from work to tour, to give me pep talks, to look over my shoulder and make sure I was making sensible business decisions, to pick me up when I was feeling down, to tell me to take as much time as I needed after Chico passed away, and most importantly, to believe in me. He has not only given me opportunity to grow within his business, but considers me a valuable asset to it as well. There were times over the past year that that last sentiment actually helped me make it through the day. For realzies. :-) Knowing you are needed can help to keep you in the game.
So thank you much Joel. As I said, a lot of last year wouldn’t have happened without you.
Now, on to conquer 2012: finish new songs, make a record, and take some more time off from work to tour. ;-)
Right off the bat, what a year! Amazing. Did things I’ve never done, seen things I’ve never seen, and played a whole bunch of music in between. Here are some highlights:
December 2010 - Release of “Amplify.” Yay! (still so very proud of this record). Remaining days of 2010 were spent stealing John Jackson and bringing him into the band. Done.
January - Had a fun 3 day run up north, including a stop in with our friends at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls MA. We were all seriously surprised at the turnout - a packed house. But I say this not to brag, but to share my lesson learned. That is to say, some hard work of promoting, sending out press releases, and sending out more press releases really helped the draw. It was like a business 101 lesson learned. Valuable. Indeed. - Somehow landed on The Rock Boat - even managed to get up on a stage one night to play a song with my friend Brian Fechino. Met a TON of cool people. As a matter of fact, met a lot of seriously nice folks I got to see again out on the road over the spring and summer. More on that later. Loved The Rock Boat. Saw bands. Traveled outside the United States for the first time (Costa Maya, Mexico). New notch in the tree for me. Made mama proud.
February - Cursed Valentine’s Day like the single dog that I am. But, I did have a Yoga date with Gerry. At least I wasn’t alone AND I saved money on going out to dinner!
March - Once again did graphic design work for and sang at my dear friend Joe Hurley’s annual St. Paddy’s Day extravaganza, the Irish Rock Revue. The annual event is a fine “revue” of traditional Irish gems and some timeless Irish rock. The event also raises money for a charity each year, so it’s not just some drunken circus. Looking forward to 2012’s Irish Rock Revue!
April - TOUR! Finally… I toured. Went to Cleveland OH, Chicago IL, Ann Arbor MI, and a bunch of other lovely stops as well. Now, some of you travel currently or have traveled in the past. Outside of The Rock Boat thing, and trip to Canada when I was 17, I never really left the Northeast. Being out on the road with Gerry and John, playing music to new folks, and listening to a ton of Son Volt along the way, was a truly spiritual and enlightening experience for me. I have grown because of it, and will continue to travel more.
May - Gerry’s Birthday month! Fun dinner with Gerry and Gerard.
June - June started off with a bang when we opened for our dear friends, The Alternate Routes here at home in CT. At the time, we were managed by the same company. And actually, since the beginning of 2011, I’ve become good friends with these guys. The particular show we played with them at Daniel Street in Milford CT was simply amazing - the crowd, the sound, the atmosphere… All 100%. I think there is some video footage here. Later on in the month, we played at The Legendary Dobbs in Philadelphia - a city I absolutely love! Dobbs is one of the best places we’ve ever played because of their organization, hospitality, and promotional efforts (not to mention absolutely killer sound). That one was very special for me in particular because we all left the stage feeling like “Holy shit… did we just do that?” It’s an amazing thing to play music with friends. And when you really connect, you REALLY connect. That night was a “firing on all cylinders night” and I’ll never forget it.
July - This month was loaded with highlights. First, we toured down South, something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. My dear friend and current roomie Jess Mueller, came along with Gerry, John, and myself to take care of merch duties. She’s an awesome, awesome person. Top notch… First class… And a lot of fun! Touring down South was another fun and spiritually fulfilling experience for me, as once again I was able to see and visit places I had never been. And once again, met some amazing people out on the road. When we came back home we played shows opening for Vertical Horizon and Grammy winning blues guitarist Robert Cray. The Robert Cray show was particularly special because we opened for him in our hometown of New Haven on the green (another lifelong goal of mine - met). So umm… yeah… July was pretty darn good to us!
August - Spent some quality time with Amy Gerhartz and Todd Wells - 2 singer/songwriter friends of mine that were up from Atlanta, playing some shows here in CT. I highly recommend checking them both out. They are both amazing and I was humbled to have spent an entire week with them!
September - Had the opportunity to play an amazing event called the Brooklyn Indie Music Fest. Headed by a fellow named Bennett Miller, the 3 day festival brought some incredible music to Brooklyn. I can’t say enough about how well run this event was. And the people we met were the best. Such great folks. Please check out their site and learn about this wonderful event. - As many know, September was particularly difficult for me as I lost my dog, Chico, to cancer. It’s something I’m still dealing with - even months later. I miss him so incredibly much. Somewhere there’s a song in there.
October - We were supposed to go out on tour again this month. But due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we were forced to cancel. It was particularly heartbreaking for me because I really needed to get away. But alas, there was that one special night that made up for it; we played World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. John and I opened up, once again, for our friends The Alternate Routes. The show was a benefit for a wonderful organization called Music4More, which raises money and gathers instrument donations for music programs at schools throughout the country. Some video of that night here.
November - Had a lot of fun playing bass for The Alternate Routes’ guitarist/bassist Mike Sembos’ band The Backyard Committee. It was a great way to step away from singing and playing guitar. Instead, I got to be part of the rhythm section for some tunes here and there at their residency in New Haven. Please, please, please… check out The Backyard Committee. The album is GREAT!
December - Played our last full band show for the year at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (one of my favorite rooms, I might add). It was truly a great way to end the year.
And now… if you’re still reading this… I just want to say THANK YOU for all of your support. This is all simply not possible without your involvement. 2011 was an amazing year. I learned a lot. I’m very lucky to play music and to play it with some incredible friends. 2012 will bring more touring and a new record for this project. Thank you for listening and for spreading the word.
Happy 2012 friends!
Peace, love, rock & roll…
So this is going to be the new blog page. I always said I would do something about the blogging, but didn’t get the motivation to do it until 9:57am this morning in a hotel room in Emporia VA. Sometimes inspiration strikes in the strangest places.
Please excuse the layout/colors/feng shui of the page until I get back from tour. When back home I will decorate and adorn the page like a mo-fo… or probably more like a graphic designer, ‘cause that’s what I do in my other life. Come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure what a “mo-fo” does. Not a good comparison I presume.
This little diatribe comes to you from Emporia VA at a fabulous Best Western. No, really… it’s fabulous! Usually we stay at cheap hotels that have duct taped windows, kerosene heaters, and old fans that constitute “air conditioning.” Somehow, we’ve landed in the lap of luxury on this one because it actually has a bathroom! I’m excited…
In all seriousness, tour’s been fun so far. It’s a small 8 day run down to some Southern states in parts of the country I’ve never been. I always wanted my life to be full of some adventure and travel, and I always wanted music to do that for me. Well, after holding myself back for too many years to remember, I’m finally doing it (actually started in April with our Midwest tour, but it’s a blog… do we need factual interruption from me? My OCD says yes… okay? Okay).
Tuesday was a great kick-off with our friends the Leify Green Conspiracy at the Glass Grill in Baltimore. What a great way to start things off. Leif is one stand up guy… everybody’s friend with a huge heart. Folks that came out were absolutely great, rallying to the end of a late evening even though it was the day after July 4th. And some kind folks too. It was a real pleasure meeting y’all!
Last night we were in Norfolk VA. I had always heard about this crazy bridge/tunnel/bridge thing in Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Well, I finally went through it! Pretty neat. Modern engineering marvels are quite wondrous. Consider driving a vehicle hundreds of feet below water… with ships passing overhead. Yup… I could crap myself too when the claustrophobia kicks in. But still cool. And hey, Gabe & the crew at The Taphouse were awesome! If you’re ever in Norfolk VA or nearby on vacation, stop in. It’s a great tap room. He’s got a great rep for bringing in live music too, so the crowd was made of music aficionados, which is always welcome by us. Johnny Jackson was on FIRE with his vocals last night. I hope he reads this and gives me a pat on the head…
Oh, now I’m being silly…
Okay, gotta hop in the shower and load it up again. Off to Winston-Salem NC. Y’all have a great day!