Winter Wasteland: Out of Anger

My second show with Gorilla music. For some reason I wasn’t as excited to play with this group as I was the first time. I don’t know if it was the fact that we had some opportunities coming up that felt bigger or what. I’ll fill in details later. 

1:30 pm

I met Waylen up at the venue. We turned in our tickets. Last time we had 23 and were the highest selling. We had 18, and there were 4 bands left to check in. One of us had to stay until we knew what time we were going on, so I volunteered.

While I waited I heard a conversation between the lead singer of Out of Anger and the girl taking the tix and organizing the show, we’ll call her GG (Gorilla girl). I don’t know if she works for gorilla, but we will assume so.

The singer had asked how much it costs to run something like this. GG and GD (gorilla dude) were telling him there was a lot going into these shows; renting the venue, tax per person there, security, tickets, paying the bands, advertisement (ok, but for a small show like this they really don’t advertise)

I kept asking if the other bands had checked in so we would know a time. We wanted later, it’s always better. They finally gave me a ball park guess of around 6:00 or 6:45, and then said “These shows are always unpredictable. Some bands only have a 10 minute set so that will bring everyone else’s time earlier. If you’re down for 7 you should have your people show up at 5 so they don’t miss it.” I got my time, 6:45 so I let everyone know and left.

5:00 ish pm

I got back to the venue and when the next band got on stage I looked at who they were and where they were on the lineup. We were 10 minutes ahead of schedule.  Brandon had a soccer game at 5, in Layton.
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Out of Anger sounded good. It reminded me of Bon Jovi mixed with Metallica. The lead guitarist had talent, and they had good harmonies. On the downside though, I thought the drummer needed to do a lot more. It felt like a pop drum beat. I know I have no room to talk, I suck at drums. They also had some balance issues; the vocals were drowned out by the guitars and the rhythm guitar had too high of distortion for the type of music they were doing. All in all, I liked their music and I hope they make it far.

5:30

Silent Sorcerer was setting up. This the band just before us. I was getting more nervous. So far the only ones there were me and Kevin, he texted the other three to find out where they were. I was worried that Silent Sorcerer would finish and we wouldn’t have a band here to play. Brandon, Andrew and Waylen were all on their way. Brandon was saying “tell them we will be there on time according to the schedule. We are pros and won’t be late”

What’s gonna happen? 

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Argyle Gargoyle

At the end of my 2 year mission in Nicaragua, the last missionary I served with had a guitar. I would spend every little minute of free time teaching myself, basically a couple hours one day a week.

I had tried a few times to learn guitar but got frustrated and quit. This time I used my knowledge of music theory and figured out fingering for several chords. As I returned to the states I found the best way to stay motivated in learning guitar was to write my own songs. I would play chords in a ton of different rhythms and patterns and then start singing what I was thinking about.

Soon enough I had a handful of original tunes. Despite my dream of becoming a rock star, I had no idea how to do it. I’d sung, taught myself guitar, and even written songs. I didn’t know how to make the leap to playing stadium shows and being played on the radio.

Around this same time I had a class with a high school buddy, David Cline. He was in the process of starting his own band Argyle. They were recording a demo with an independent producer and started playing house shows and coffee shops.

David and I would talk about our endeavors in music. I was jealous of the traction he was getting. I couldn’t even find people to form a band. Check out this song by Argyle 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLIX_HWAsZw 

Words make a difference

I don’t know how I knew it, but it was a couple of years down the road. Everything had that old soap opera haze. Then I saw her, her blonde hair hangs down to her shoulders. She smiles, today was the first time we’d seen each other in years. Suddenly everything flashes to a night a few days later and we’re walking slowly, as if to savor every minute spent together. I take a breath of courage and finally ask “Would you like to go on a date sometime?” She said no. She didn’t say that her reason was because I used the word date, I just knew that somehow.

I woke up. After a dream like this I was disappointed to see I was in Nicaragua and would be for a year and a half. I was bugged. How annoying is it that despite feeling a certain way someone could be put off by a simple word or label? As I showered I had inspiration. I softly sang the words to myself so I could remember them without anyone else in the house hearing them and making fun of me. I hurriedly pulled out my little notebook intended for lyrics and wrote them down

How come I didn’t see this happening?

She never looked like this before

She stands before me in her beauty now

It’s something that I can’t ignore

Her hands in mine

My hands go numb

I start to shake

And I lean in

She’s more than gorgeous now

(backup: but that’s not it, that’s not it)

She’s my sensation now

(backup: but that’s not it, that’s not it)

She’s everything I want

And more than everything I need

And every time we meet

She makes my world

Complete

 

Within the hour we had a small meeting and I started to tell my buddy about the dream, and the song, and how when I came back to the states I would start a band and this song would be famous. He laughed and then looked at me and said “is it funny that I actually believe you?”

The heartbeat of Central America

It’s a hot humid day, the banana plants and palms combine with the soggy sweaty heat to make you feel like you’re at the beach but you’re not, you’re at least 2 hours drive from the coast. You wake up sweating because you forgot to turn on the fan last night. You don’t even notice the mosquitos anymore, or maybe the constant layer of sweat keeps them at bay. You pick up the bucket and dunk it into the tub full of 2 day old water the mosquitos made their home, it was running low, tonight must be water night. In this area you only get running water for a few hours from about 2-4 am. Standing in the shower with your bucket of water you hold a small bowlful above your head. It doesn’t matter how hot you were when you woke up, you never get used to this. Within 2 seconds you go from dying of heat stroke to hypothermia. Showers are never that short in the states. Suddenly with this cold splash to reality you can hear the world wake up.

The neighbors turn up the music. I had grown fond of reggaeton, it takes the average dance-pop beat and throws a Latino twist on it. Change everything from English to Spanish and add a few sirens and you’ve got yourself an entire culture, like Latino hip hop and dance. The beat had the same rhythm in just about every song, I knew because as I would walk street after street the songs and lyrics changed, but the beat stayed constant. You feel like you’re always at a party, it’s a happy tropical type of music. Suddenly the economic troubles and the corrupt governments don’t seem so bad. It was almost as if it were ingrained in the atmosphere, right there with the humidity, the palm trees and banana plants. Here are a few examples of this kind of music. Lemme know what you think

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbQHGVE4Vpo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83H9wnFQw7s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BTjG-dhf5s

Nicaragua: Meeting Enke

               During my stay in Nicaragua I made many friends from many countries, including; Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, and Peru. Among these friends there was Robert Enke (He comes into play a few years later). My first encounter with Enke is kind of funny. There was a big meeting with a lot of missionaries, and we were sitting down to eat. I sat down next to a large, yet young looking missionary. He got up to grab something, and while he was gone I noticed I didn’t have a fork with my plate, so I took his. When he came back he was all distressed. Once he found out I was the one who took his fork he didn’t like me.

                A few months later we ended up serving in areas close to each other. We would have smaller meetings and as I got to know him I found out he was pretty cool. He wanted so badly to do everything right and make no mistakes. He was stressed and unsure of himself. I just tried to help him have fun and realize that we’re always going to mess up even when we try our hardest to do everything perfectly, that’s how we learn and grow.

                As I was about to head home he made sure to tell my parents how much of an influence I was to help him make the most of everything. I feel like he overstated it, but who knows. Who knew that even though I was a dick to him when we first met, down the road we would actually become good friends? I didn’t realize that I might have been a huge part of his mission, but I had no idea then how huge he would be in my music career in the future. See? Look at that guy with a legit goatee and glasses

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Welcome to Mojo’s

                “It sounds like we’re gonna headline at Mojo’s on the 27th!” I told Ry’lee excitedly. “Wait, the 27th as in a few days from now?” “No no, not till January 27th” I clarified. “Isn’t Mojo’s like a high school hang out for the Ogden kids?” She asked. “Uh… I don’t know, I’ve never been there.” I said.

                A few days later, on December 27th I got a text from Kevin “Yeah there was some confusion. Ron meant tonight. Never mind” “So… no show?” I asked. “Unless everyone can” he added. It wasn’t much longer before everyone was last minute planning for the show. We were headlining, which means we were the most popular band playing at the show. It only really means something if you’re a huge band anyways.

                Honestly I was more nervous for this show than the first one we did. We hadn’t even gotten the whole band together since the last show. December is a tough month for small bands, and I would guess all bands. I ran through lyrics in my head to make sure I was still solid. We had almost no time to invite our own people so I was preparing to sing for people I didn’t know. Luckily we were the last band to play that night so we had a little extra time after work to prepare.

                When we got there we went straight to the back of the building. I felt legit. There were people moving equipment in and others moving equipment out. The building was small, and had writing and stickers all over the walls from many bands who had come through there. The bathroom was dirty and looked like your stereotypical 7-11 or concert venue bathroom. There was a younger woman sitting by the hall that connected ‘backstage’ to the main area. I could get used to this sorta thing. I was pumped.

                I walked into the area where the stage was and finally saw how small the hang out actually was. The band before us sounded like every other screaming band that’s been playing these local shows lately. Despite my thinking we sounded like a lot of other rock bands out there, I feel like we’re the only local band that doesn’t scream. Watch, now at our next show we’re gonna be just like everyone else.

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                The time came; we set up the gear and did our sound check. By now there were about twenty, maybe thirty, people. A few high schoolers who show up all the time and some people my girlfriend invited. We began to play and most everyone was standing or sitting, no moshing. There was one kid though who kept pacing back and forth like he had some weird disorder. We did a few of our slower songs, which I didn’t exactly expect much moshing, but when we played Don’t Give Up I actually thought there would be moshing. Instead the one kid paced a little quicker as if agitated with a phone conversation.

                After the 25-30 minute set we had pre prepared both us and the crowd felt like we should play more, but there wasn’t much more that we as a full group had prepared. The high school kids requested a few songs, a few members from the band knew some but not quite all of us did. This was the part that made me feel the need to write more songs and probably prepare a few more covers.

                The night came to an end and most the people had left. I loved it.

                

The only true failure is giving up

I’m sure by now you’ve seen and heard a lot of people talking about their New Year’s resolutions; lose weight, get out of debt, eat healthy, never lie again, be nicer, etc. I’ve seen a lot of this over the years. It wasn’t until last year that I spent New Year’s with my wonderful girlfriend that she got me to look at it in a different light. Instead of setting unreasonable goals, why not use this as a good place to stop, take a breather, and look at where you’re going and how far you’ve come. Look at your life goals you may have set last year or in years past. Have you reached them? Why or why not? What are you going to have accomplished by this time next year? How are you going to reach that goal?

A lot of things can change in a year, most of which we can’t control, but that doesn’t mean it’s all out of our control. Last year I was working with my good friend and producer Robert Enke. We were recording pop punk music and trying to finish an album. Over the course of the year progress faded and eventually crashed. Who is to blame? We both are in multiple ways. I had set my own goal to release an album within the year, play 10 shows in Utah, 1 show outside of Utah, and hear my own song on the radio. I didn’t think Enke and I would stop working together. That doesn’t mean I stopped trying for my goals I had set. I just barely looked through and pulled out about 30 of my best song ideas I came up with this last year. That’s my 30 best out of a lot more. Sure, maybe not all of the ideas are radio worthy, but I still kept writing. I auditioned for and started singing for the band Geppetto, and we’ve started playing shows together. Nothing on the radio yet, I’ll keep ya posted. What I’m trying to get at is, for reasons out of our control we might not reach our goals, but as long as we don’t give up we won’t feel like we’ve failed. The only true failure is giving up.

This year, I hope to propose to my beautiful girlfriend and hopefully plan a wedding (shh don’t tell her). I would also like to release an EP, and who knows, maybe it could be a full on album. It would be great to hear a song I write or sing on the radio, but I won’t stop playing shows or writing new music.