Friday, August 28, 2009


No Matter what, Rocky loves us....

I love this one I found on Mike's page ( Makes me want to jump up and yell with fists flying>>> 'Yeah bring it on! Frustrating frequency I can't find! Funky neck on the new tele! Old amp sounding weird! Yeah come on, whatelseyagot!?"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Updates and triangles.

Busy week, even though we're not doing a lot of recording per se, we are working on getting Melissa's cd out to radio etc., finally getting the website done up, the new Christmas site as well, which will lead me right into the Christmas album.

Uhm...what else, working on a few smaller projects that keep falling by the wayside, (but that are no less important to us!), my Uncle Gerry's EP, Richard King's Gospel project 'Burning Soul', and yes, recording scratch tracks for Melissa's next album.

Our 'time off' never really materialized, but we have definitely made some decisions about how we work, and we are trying to make an effort to get to bed before 6am.

Getting some great feedback on Melissa's album ( &, and that is a joy.

On another note, I have so many blog ideas to post! While looking at a million websites for ideas, I am coming across all of the blog ideas I have saved up over the last little while. Here is a great one I found on Vanessa's Tinland site (

People are so clever and interesting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I wanted to keep up the Sharkwater post, but was losing you - so here's to keeping it fresh.

We LOVE PS22, and they'll be singing on Melissa's song 'Away' this year, we can't wait!

Please enjoy Elijah, he's the man, and don't forget to watch Sharkwater - it will change you.

Will update with all the news tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Make a wish / Shark Fin Soup

When I was a kid, I watched Jaws through my fingers. When I was a teenager I watched Aliens and Amityville through my fingers too, and last night (how many years later?) I watched Sharkwater the same way.

Now, I have seen a lot of stuff in my time, I was a member of Greenpeace and am still a member of Amnesty, but last night, the combination of the viewing horror coupled with the shame I felt for being so blind, was enough to have me up half the night wondering what the heck we could do to make a difference. So here is.

Step one - Tell you.

Watch Sharkwater- Get involved in your world - Don't eat Shark Fin soup

Step two - Hook up with Rob Stewart or Paul Watson -

Rave On signed on to do what we can to save sharks. I know you are probably reading that asking yourself ' Save sharks? Give your head a shake Ashton!', but trust me, I'm right about this.

Step three - Possibly a large order here

Try to make sure that Vancouver's Asian community bans, boycotts and blacklists any restaurant or importer of shark fins or prepared shark fin soup. I know there are groups already working on this in Vancouver, so please do your part and if any of you want more information I'm on it. Write your local government check your local Asian food place do what you can. Can we create an embargo? Put on a live music fundraiser? Write me at and we'll work on it.

Sometimes I am so disappointed in myself. I fell for it, hook line a sinker as a matter of fact. I fell for the media hype and fear mongering, and I never stopped to ask myself - is it true? I have always been afraid to swim in the ocean, and when I do, I always look for fins, whether I am in Hawaii, the Cooks, Tahiti or just over at Sandy Beach in West Van. I was had.

My wish tonight is that I will no longer hold my hands over my eyes afraid of what I might see.

Be careful with your ocean. Pass it on.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When your fans do this..... know you've made it.

"@trevorhallmusic Met an awesome 8 yr old girl in Denver that knew practically all my songs on guitar! Clip of her playing Origami Crane."

United Breaks Guitars: Song 2 - Support Dave!

Monday, August 17, 2009

How to Make Money in Music

Not sure if any of you read Ariel, but if you don't you should. She's always got something of interest to the up and comer.

Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR
389 12th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

I'm going to copy here, one of her recent articles on Rick Goetz, from: I know it's lazy blogger syndrome again, trust me, it's not that I have nothing to say, it is that I am so swamped with the album and it's vortex that we are barely finding time to eat these days...but this will calm down by next week. (Hadn't I said something about time off!!??).

So here you go, and more soon.

Feature Article: Three ways to Make Money While Making Music

Playing covers, Playing Sessions & Playing Live

Rick Goetz, is a kindred spirit who has just launched a brand new consulting firm for artists called Rick, like me, has spent his entire adult life in the music business and he is DEAD ON when he says: It is essential that you spend your time building your own business rather than asking for help from corporations based on your talent alone.

But how do you build your own business and what specifically works? I got Rick to share a few of his best peals of wisdom I asked him to tell me three things that actually can help an artist begin to build revenue: Playing covers, being a hired gun and working harder on your live show and live show promotion.

Selling $.99 singles isn’t the answer. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in today’s marketplace your single is little more than a business card and your album is just a resume. Both are extraordinarily important but both are just a loss leader for your business. Recorded music is now simply a means of promoting your live show and your songwriting and producing skills. For my $.02 the biggest challenge of being in the music business is staying in the music business without starving.

We can all point to an artist who made it big on a single and blew up over night but what about the majority of musicians out there who have been making a living? From what I have seen and experienced the challenge for the working musician just starting out is finding ways of sustaining himself while building his fan base. Complicating matters even more is that usually means finding a gig that has the flexibility that musicians require, the paycheck that covers their basic needs and if at all possible provides something that will help move their dream career forward at the same time. It’s hard as hell...but this is what I’ve seen work.

1. Covers

It’s easier to fill a room playing songs that people already know. I realize many of you are likely wincing at the notion but remember The Beatles started off as a cover band. Do I really have to drop any other names? It’s a great way to keep your chops up and it really does help to gel a band. Further, it gives the members some more time in with each other with more likelihood of playing successful shows earlier in their career. It also levels the playing field when it comes to the writing process in a group dynamic, which can be challenging at times. If you feel like you are selling out, then sell out only until your own work hits its stride. If you want to make a living selling your own songs to people remember this is just a means to make enough money to put towards that dream while improving your showmanship and range of flexibility on your instrument. Once, when playing a wedding gig, I felt pretty dirty when the cry went up for the Macarena and I delivered as requested but the cash I was paid to play weddings kept my band’s rehearsal space paid for that month.

2. Hired Gun

You want to be as great at your instrument as possible so don’t treat your main band like you would your significant other, cheat like a motherf***ker. Play with anyone and everyone who will have you (provided you are able to carve out enough time to give your main project the time and respect it deserves). You want to play music for a living the trick is to start playing as much as possible with as many people as possible. Be it live or studio just get out there and play. Do it for free at first (if you have to) but get that experience and get as many people to see and hear you play. Every performance and every recording is another trail of breadcrumbs that leads people back to you. Write songs with anyone and everyone you know whose writing you respect. Songwriting is a skill that can be developed just like learning guitar. If you are a vocalist consider voiceovers and do background vocals on as many albums as possible even if it means swallowing your pride and playing second fiddle to someone with less talent than you. I will warn anyone considering this route to be wary, as session cats can become very jaded and cold which ultimately does effect your playing. I don’t know how to advise you against this except to always have a goal for yourself beyond the next paid gig. Being a hired gun is a means to get your music where you want it on as close to your terms as you are able to in the present.

3. Live Shows

Hopefully you have enough people coming down to see you live and if this is not the case and you are not getting repeat customers at your gigs you should re-evaluate your show. Look at everything from stage show to songwriting to delivery and ask a cynical friend who has seen you what needs improving. The cynical need no prompting to offer up the awful truth. Be as communicative as you possibly can be with the venue owners where you play even if it is on amateur night. The simple act of introducing yourself and asking how you can help promote your own show with put you in better favor with whoever books the room. Make sure you have some means of collecting email addresses from those who show up and make sure your name is visible on stage (get a banner and hang it up behind you) and you can’t make a banner make sure to say your band name at least a few times during the set.

If you like what Rick has to say I highly suggest that you spend some time on the phone with him…. You will be one step closer to reaching your dreams with a great new team member to help you along.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Searching for the melody

Well, it's been a long week! The mastering is finished and safely on a courier's truck, artwork is finished and delivered, digi download preview in the process of being tested (thank you to everyone who is participating!) and I am in the process of tying everything together, websites, MySpace pages etc....

It's all very tiring, but has to be I was VERY thankful to receive an email from Kerry M with links to this program on Bill Evans. Watching it was so interesting and confirming (does that make sense?), that it was like having a cool drink on a hot day.

You don't have to be a jazz cat to understand his concepts, his philosophy is solid and is adaptable to any system or life experience.

I was never a huge fan of Steve Allen, so if you can get through the first half of part 1, you'll do well, and by part 3 you'll be hooked (if you can get around the out-of-sinc audio). Bill is being interviewed by his older brother Harry, so it's nice that they have that connection. (It made us think about other brothers, Stevie and Jimmie Vaughan, Robben and Mark Ford....and the differences between 'talent' and 'genius', and well, it made us think of a lot of other things too).

So thanks Kerry M, for the breath of fresh air....we're nearly done our heaviest work of the year, and now finish it up with a renewed interest.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just because it's far away, doesn't mean it doesn't matter..

Just checking out Jason's site and saw this..please spread the word!

(Jason Wilber is one of our guitar players, we share him with John Prine - Melissa's latest album is our 4th project together.)