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  • Noise for good – contact: TheNoiseRevival@gmail.com

    I can’t remember if it was a phone call or an email we received out of the blue one day.  It was from the filmmaker, Juan Carlos Piñeiro Escoriaza.  He mentioned that he had seen the Noise Revival Orchestra perform a year or 2 before at SXSW when we were the “Experience”!  He had purchased our music when we were selling it on a USB drive and he asked me if he could use an older song, Le Cri, for a film he was doing about hacky sack wars, called Full Hack.  At that time I didn’t really see why not, and after I said yes, he said “Good!  Because I actually already included it.  But of course I need your permission”.

    He went on to say that he was working on a PSA for an organization that focuses on self-initiative democrative approach to education, and that the founder of the organization, Dana Bennis, would like to hire TNRO to provide music for the PSA.  Our song, Days n Daze was used and the video for the Democratic Education “Make Your Voice Heard” PSA,  which was selected for a non-prof film festival in Austin, called Lights Camera Help, and I was honored to represent the film for a quasi-panel discussion.  I’ve since had the privilege to get to know both Dana & Juan over phone conversations, and they are both amazing people that I support and hope to cross paths with again.

  • Faroe Islands

    What an amazing trip!  The abrupt landing from the clouds was to be a precursor for The Noise Revival Orchestra’s trip to the land of Faroes!   Immediately we jumped on a bus to the capital of Torshavn.  On the plane I had seen a guy with a guitar bag so it was my goal to meet him and tell him about our visit.  I met him (Jon Klaement) on the bus and turns out he knew the friend that was hosting us!  I soon learned that everyone knows everyone..& I learned that everyone knows my friend, Gudrid Hansdottir!  When you are on the front of the paper when you are getting married, that says something, no matter what island you are from!  At the bus station Gudrid whisked us away to the house we were staying and said we had 1 hour to shower and be ready to meet our Faroese band for rehearsal.  The rehearsal was magical from the get go.  It reminded me of the first time a year or so ago in Denmark, when I first tried out playing behind different backing bands in different cities.   The chemistry was instantaneous.  In particular the drummer Andreas Dalsgaard, had a the “IT” factor.  He’s someone I would love to figure out how to have him perform with us all over Europe.  Rehearsal is cut short because we have to rush over to sound check.  We run through each song once and then cram our gear in the corner at Sirkus.  By the time we set up, we maybe have time to run a song or 2.

    The band before us was performing their first show and their last because half the band was moving to Copenhagen.  It’s a shame.  They were pretty brilliant.  It’s our turn to go on and we are excited because you can barely move in this bar as it’s packed and people are crowding the stairs trying to get in.  I want to refrain from using the term “magical” so often, but in the Faroe’s much of everything is so.  And Sirkus is that magical venue, that I’m sure has not always been there.  I heard only amazing things about the owner, Sunneva, who has really pushed to give a place to hear new music and a place for the punks, hipsters, etc feel at home.  The show was not perfect, but that truly is the beauty of playing with a different band in each country.  It adds that excitement and room for interpretation.  We churned through the set and ended on the rocking number, Days n Daze.  From that moment they cheered for more and more!  We stood there knowing that we could leave on that high point or risk playing an unrehearsed song.  They continued to cheer and it was thrilling.  We were to play 2 days later, and that was to be our encore.

    After the show we were all congratulated and continually asked what a Texas band was doing in the Faroe Islands!  It won’t be the last time we are there, that’s for sure!  Outside I met 3 young fellas, that had come to film us that night.  The 3 of them, Peter, Runi, & Bjarne, would become some of our closest confidants, and that night they expressed their desire to film and document our entire stay.

    It began at 7 in the morning the next day.  We arrived at the national radio station, Kringvarp, where we first greeted Petur on his scooter waiting in the cold.  I asked Petur how he managed to wake up and he replied “I didn’t”.  He had stayed up all night to make sure that he was here to film us.  We performed our soon to be new US single, Dance the Night Away, in a stripped down version of 2 acoustic guitars, violin, cello, and flute.  I did a short interview on the air with Gudrid Hansdottir to promote our final show at Perlan the next night and off we went.  We had a few hours to kill before we performed at the local record store, Tutl, so we walked around the city with our new friend Petur.

    The in-store performance was also a stripped down affair.  We were blessed with beautiful weather and as a result had a lot of walking traffic come in the store to hear us.  We sold more than a handful of CD’s and were asked to sign 4 of them!  It was great promotion for our show the next night.

    The show at Perlan was an 8 band bill that went all night!  We were scheduled after midnight which was great, because in the summer, apparently people don’t come out until after midnight!  This was it for us so we wanted to leave the crowd with something they would remember.  1 minute before I walked on stage I randomly overheard someone saying they were a singer and wished they could grab the mic and start singing.  I pulled him aside and asked if he wanted to jump up on stage and do a group vocal.  The girl next to him asked if she could as well, and I said “Sure, anyone can!  Tell any of your friends.”  Four songs into the set and I yell over the mic for the guy to come up on stage and he gives the signal to all his friends as well, and a flock of singers jump on stage.  Everyone on stage was having such a good time and they all sang along to the catchy chorus of our new song, Songs of Forgiveness.  This got the crowd going and after a couple more songs, I just let it go.  I told the crowd to just get back on stage and dance around and be a part of the band.  We took it from there!  I know it’s on video somewhere!   What a way to go out!

    Getting lost and missing your flight…that’s right it wasn’t all over just yet.  The last 24 hours was a crazy 24 hours.  In the afternoon Gudrid took us on a hike around a mountain.  It was such an amazing view and experience.  I felt like I was back in the 1500’s or something!  The town that we walked to had only a handful of old houses and an old cathedral that was never finished.  But it was here where we realized that Alexa was missing!  Josh said he saw her walking pretty far behind but figured that she would see us descend down from the mountain.  It was getting rainy and cold, so who better to call then our camera crew!  Josh was to walk from the ending point to the starting point and I gathered the camera crew to go on a journey of looking for our lost violinist.  6 hours later we got a phone call that she had crawled down a mountain and asked a Russian tourist to just drive her to the nearest town.  How she communicated, I’m unsure, but we had started to worry.  Now it was Josh’s turn to pull and Alexa.  As we were going down for bed at 2 am, Josh pulls me aside and tells me that he never bought his ticket from the Faroe Islands to Iceland.  But he said not to worry and that he would just buy it at the ticket counter.  Can you guess what happened?  Yep, he got left behind!  It was an issue with his card apparently.  It’s one of those moments that you think only happens in the movies.  I mean, you never want to leave your friend hanging in a foreign country with no money!  It just adds to lore of The Noise Revival Orchestra coming to the Faroe Islands.  It makes me wonder if coming back would ever top our infamy, for whatever reason we are infamous!  But seriously, a special energy and gravity is tugging at my body and soul to return!  The story continues…

  • Iceland

    Alone, cold & a bit scared.  I am unsure if I should turn around, or move forward.  Mountains are to my left, the ocean to my right and I see no signs of civilization in front of  or behind me.  I’m on a bike, with 2 bottles of water, some bread, and a banana and somewhere between 18 & 25 more miles to go.  Up to this point my trip to Iceland has been one of the worst trips of my life, but I won’t get in to the reasons why.  The plans and aspirations I had coming here, quickly withered and now I’m isolated in the suburbs.  But everything happens for a reason, right?  Was I to find myself or learn something from this?  Out of something bad can rise something beautiful, right?  On the outside I could tell you that I was learning about the human race and how I needed to be more careful on whom I trust.  Or that this was a sign that I was plateauing in my life and career and it was time to further disassociate myself with the “non-contributors” in my life.  Anything to make myself feel better right?  But I already know these lessons and they weren’t going to help me for the next 20 miles!

    So let me back up a bit.  Two days in and it all becomes apparent that this trip was a mistake.  I couldn’t fly out early, so I decided that it was up to my trusty steed, to show me the way!  The day started out way later than I would have liked it to, but I had this urge to get there.  I knew I had until 9 pm and with it being 3 already, it was now or never.  I jumped on my bike and headed out.  It was a bit rough from the get go.  I was stopping every 5 minutes to ask for help because the street names often changed and I was a bit nervous from riding a bike on the highway!  I did encounter some unusual characters along the way.  For instance one guy I stopped said he would not help me unless I smoked one of his cigarettes.  He then told me that he wanted me to try mailing him small amounts of drugs and he would mail me back something special from Iceland!  Hah!  The girl he was with then pulled out this tube of special lotion that she bought one time that was to be used at the Fountain of Youth.  She said “I will never make it there, so please take this and make good use of it”.  From that moment I knew my trip was of destiny.  I had to make it there for this reason alone.  Everyone of course looked at me like I was a complete fool and often reminded me that it was 34 miles away!

    Eventually I made it out of the city and it was a 25 mile ride in the mountainous terrain.  I kept those legs churning and it’s here where it was just me all alone, with my thoughts, with nature, with God.  I thought many thoughts; I screamed, I laughed, I cried, I hoped, I cursed, I remembered, I pleaded.  I really don’t know the point of why my body and soul was being broken down so badly.  Oh wait, it was to make it there to use the lotion, right!  Running out of water, I knew I had to get there soon.  I couldn’t be another senseless American tragedy in Iceland!  In the distance I saw a sign that looked like it said Fountain of Youth in Icelandic, so I went with it and exited!  Now it was only 3.5 miles to go, but I could see it in the mountain ahead, so I used that as motivation!

    When I arrived, I could barely walk.  It was cold, desolate, and quiet.  I don’t know if I was expecting something brighter and more enlightening, but I felt alone again at this moment.   But if there was ever a contrast between light and dark, this was it.  I continued down an isolated trail and when inside the fountain, it was like discovering the Garden of Eden of some sort!   For 3 hours the physical pain relinquished itself to the natural beauties of Iceland.  I can’t really explain any more from the moments I was in there.  Let’s just say I got lost.  I wanted to stay lost because I was fearing the ride home.  I won’t bore you with the details on the ride back but know that I mainly cursed!  Whoever invented the bike seat should be punished!  Oh and I got my first real scare.  I was chased by a sketchy guy wearing a hoodie and riding a scooter!  He tried to trap me!  Be careful in Rekyjavik at 2 in the morning even when the sun is out!

    So Iceland ended on a positive note.  Our show at Faktory was well promoted, the crowd was very warming, and we sold out of our CD’s.  But the best part of it was we had the pleasure of gracing the stage with my new favorite Icelandic band, Nolo.  They were fantastic and I’m excited to see where they go and possibly help them out in Austin sometime!   Until next time Reykjavik!

  • London – Jesse & Andreas

    Our London trip was highlighted by a fantastic show and crowd at the Dublin Castle.  I wish we would have had an extra song to please the crowd.  Next time!   But it wouldn’t have been as memorable without Mr. Jesse Boyce and Mr. Andreas Jensen.  If you don’t know Jesse, you should.  Stand up guy with an amazing eye for design.  He co-runs This is Lethal & he also manages one of my favorite instrumental bands that doesn’t sound like Mogwai, The Good the Bad (DK).  Jesse gave me the low down in London, which I needed.  While Josh and Alexa saw the sites, Jesse took me Underground!

    With Andreas I got the laughs.  Just being around him cracks me up.  Part of my project was to write an EP with different songwriters from different countries.  Andreas is going to make this EP make absolutely no sense, and I dig him just for that reason.  The guy can write a melody with the best of them.  I came up with this synth dance riff and it ended up a catch dub-step song about traveling the world.  We were undecided about 2 lines that the other came up with.  We had to compromise, and I think I got the short end of the stick!  He insisted on having a particular line that kept cracking me up.  It’s somewhat a reference to Denver, CO (that’s just a hint).  Soon you will be hearing the Noise Revival Orchestra dub-step style!  Stay tuned!

  • Noise Revival Orchestra custom Nike Dunks!

    “Here are some custom Nike Dunks we painted for our friend Nathan who heads up the band The Noise Revival Orchestra. These were done just in time for his tour to Denmark, the U.K., and Iceland…needless to say we needed to get these kicks thoroughly ready for the rocker’s trip.

    Nathan requested some graffiti like letters and bright colors, so we did it up as well as added a silver flake clear cloat gloss so that the stage lights would have these kicks really shining. The birds in the toebox is from the band’s booking company’s logo, which we thought added a nice song bird touch.” Via MOFOZ: Streetwear.

    Custom NikesTNRO gets foot loose!

     

  • Peace & Love

    After a 5-week tour in Europe through 4 counties (that is well documented in my previous blog posts), the last thing on my body’s mind was leaving Austin again, 5 days later to head out to Sweden and London.  Little did I know that this would result in one of the greatest experiences in recent memory for me.For the few that truly know me, which are very few if any, they know that I constantly work hard on some sort of project, and rarely take a moment to eat or sleep.  When I do sleep, I sleep sitting up because it wakes my body up after only a few hours out of discomfort.

     

    Is that Even a Good School?
    Troy & I landed in Stockholm early Tuesday and were greeted by a P&L driver, whom was to drive us 2 hours north to Borlange.  Drowsy and half awake, I really didn’t feel like talking about the usual topics of the US and Texas and how we aren’t really cowboys, blah blah blah, so I gave the brief version and soon looked to pass out for the majority of the trip.  It was almost over, when the driver, (whom I forgot the name of so we’ll call him Anders), Anders, dropped a carrot I couldn’t resist.  “I lived in Alabama for a year when I was 17.” He said.  Whaaaaaaaat!  A Swede in sweet home Alabama?  In the heart of the Bible belt.  Where racism doesn’t just still live, but still breeds.  Fascinating!  Anders starts to smile as if the memories are coming to life for him as he explains how surreal it was to live the “Lifetime/90210” American high school life.  He joined the football team and wore his jersey to class on game day and carried the cheerleader’s books!  Ha!  He of course was the kicker for the football team.  He was also on the soccer team and said that he was the best player on the team and won MVP and all sorts of awards.  He was even offered a scholarship to play soccer at some school I didn’t recognize.  And this is where is got interesting.  He then mentions that he was also offered a scholarship to play football but he thought it was foolish to play football because “It’s so easy that anyone can kick that little football between the yellow poles”.  So I asked him where the offer came from.  He could barely pronounce it and it sounded like Orber or Arbu\or.  So I think Alabama…hmmm…..”Auburn?”  “Ya that’s it.  Auburn,” Anders says.  “Is that even a good school?” … Wait a second?  This guy had never played football before, comes to America, kicks a ball around for 4 months so he can pretend he’s in a teen American movie and then gets offered a full scholarship to play at a Division 1 college?  And turns it down!!! Glad I stayed awake =)   Oh, and Anders goes on to say that it was one of the best years of his life and still has tons of friends from Alabama, which doesn’t include a German foreign exchange student that found his “exchange parents’” shotgun the first week he was in Alabama and blasted a huge hole in their bed.  No, they weren’t in the bed at that time!

    Lars
    We arrive in Borlange a few hours later and I’m still wishing Anders would have said yes to Auburn.  Those thoughts quickly subside as we see our great friend Henrik with Peace & Love!  I hit it off with Henrik, Jesper, and a few others during SXSW this year, and building these friendships and learning more about the vision of Peace & Love in their eyes is why I was in Borlange.

     We are escorted through the barren festival grounds, which felt like walking through the calm before a storm.  Henrik begins to explain that his friend Lars will be in charge of us and will make sure we are accommodated with an apartment, food, wristbands, you name it.

    Lars was Lars.  A gentle giant.  A poor mans Conan the Barbarian/Thor.  Stalky…pony tail…never wore a shirt…shoes came and went…walked like he was on a mission to kick someone’s ass, but always had the huge smile…and he made us feel like we were his top priority.  Anytime we needed something he was there in a heartbeat with a smile.  Even when it seemed grim, he always promised, “I’ll figure out a way to make it happen.”  Lars is the guy.  My home is his home now.

    Peace & Love
    The 2 words being so ambiguous, can easily be overheard and overlooked, but after my week at the P&L fest, I feel they have come into more focus for me.  I was privileged to see the festival from multiple angles as an artist, a guest, a supporter, and even in some ways as an affiliate.  Of course this got me in to more than v.i.p areas where I could see the work in action, and I tried to soak up every moment.

    The first day was highlighted by my friends Giana Factory being at the festival!  They have become such sweet and amazing friends of mine and of course they are an amazing band that Jesper discovered at SXSW at the Roky Erickson Ice Cream Social.  Seeing them perform is always a treat for me, and the night (that never got dark) was capped off in Eden, which was the after hours “VIP” garden lounge.  It was probably a combination of the alcohol and the euphoria of beautiful weather and music, but boy was this portion of the festival a blast each night.  It’s here where I met the most people and honestly felt like the beginning of friendships were started.  Danny with Carlings, kept me intrigued with our similar ties to Native Americans and how he has a cool gig to drum with a German star to crowds of 65,000+, but had to overcome rowlfing on himself during each performance.  Lin fascinated me with an overview of Sweden underground music, their flagship artists, and other insights.  Patrick talked of taking me to visit Cliff Burton’s memorial.  But it was Jesper, the visionary at P&L, which captivated my attention the most. Jesper thinks bigger than big and I admire and relate to him.  You can’t walk 5 seconds with Jesper in Eden without someone pulling his attention away, but at 5 am when all were kicked out of Eden and I was sitting on the curb with a few new friends a few blocks away, it was Jesper who stumbled into our holy trinity.

    You’ll hear festivalgoers say that it’s just a music festival with no real connection to peace or love.  Or at least that’s what some said when this Texan prodded.   But I thought that response was a copout.  Similar to people saying they don’t pay attention to advertising so it doesn’t affect their decision-making.  You see, I can’t count the number of times my mind was wandering off when I’d see some unique expression of the concept of P&L written or tattered on someone’s shirt or bag or sleeve, and almost every time it brought my mind back and thinking and aware.  People of all different backgrounds, expressing their beliefs and showing that there is this unity for a common belief and hope.  It makes impressions, no doubt in my mind.  To Jesper, Peace & Love Festival is not a Swedish festival.  I can see that.  Sweden is his foundation but his outreach to Cuba, the USA, Spain and other countries shows that the festival, like true peace and love, is international and has no walls.  Without belief you have no peace nor love.  Jesper believes…and I’m in his corner.

    I’m sure a lot of people come for the music and the bands, and that’s probably why a band like Kings of Leon has to be on the bill, but that can’t be the only reason P&L is rapidly growing and their base of fans are returnees every year?  I know for me, parts of my soul and spirit were fed and I feel the gravity pulling at me to come back simply to be around Jesper & Henrik and be inspired.  To be an inspiration next time?  I can only hope!  Do I want find Peace & Love?  What’s the saying…Be careful what you look for. You just might get it?  Well, I’ll take my chances!

     Character of the Cast

    Mattias was just another dude riding up elevators with a bearskin vest, baring his chest, playing the bongos, sporting a tiki (for lack of a better word) mask, and building human peace signs every day.  You know…THAT guy!   Props!

    Quote of the trip
    “I only know America through ‘My Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Made’, and ‘I’m 15 and pregnant’.  (pause)…So is it true that all guys in America play baseball, love their Mom, pray, and have nice bodies?”

  • Songs of Forgiveness “Video Release” Party 10/27/11

    Come celebrate the “Video Release Party (VRP)” for The Noise Revival Orchestra at Lamberts on  Thursday October 27th!  TNRO will be releasing the video for the title track to their latest release, Songs of Forgiveness, that  was produced by Danny Reisch in early 2011. The video was magnificently shot and edited by  Minnesota transplant David Schulte.

    Also featured will be Paul Banks & the Carousels and Burgess Meredith. And it’s all for $3 at the door!  The first 30 paid entrants get a numbered poster that was magnificently designed by Ethan Love!

    Drum back line sponsored by P Ellis Drums – www.pellisdrums.com

    + Catch TNRO on KXAN performing Songs of Forgiveness on the KXAN noon show on with an 18  piece choir from Khabele

    12:00 – The Noise Revival Orchestra
    11:00 – Burgess Meredith
    10:00 – Paul Banks & the Carousels

  • Recording – The Curse the Cross & the Lion

    Emotionally exhausted.  Physically drained.  Mentally challenged. All 3 seep in as I sit here in Terminal 5 awaiting to board a plane to London, for the beginning of a 4-week tour through Scandinavia, Europe, & China.    The result of one of the most rewarding experiences in life thus far.  The seed was planted over 8 years ago, with the last 4 years spent writing a symphony, and the last 2 years spent searching for anyone that would listen.

    So where shall I start?   Everyone has dreams and epiphanies…right?  Everyone is on a mission…right?   So big deal.  I love classical music.  I didn’t know I loved it until it found me 8 years ago.  I’m not trying to change the world.  Break down a few walls?  Sure!  Everyone wants to be a hero…right?

    I’ll take you to the end.  Or is it the beginning?  To the moment.  The moment I couldn’t hold back any longer.  The moment I sometimes envisioned while driving in my car listening to midi music.  The moment time slowed down.  The moment no one was watching.   I stood.  I watched.  I closed my eyes.  I listened.  I felt.  With every emphatic trust of Andre Lousada’s baton, roared a majestic brass section, bringing the Curse the Cross & the Lion to life.

    From the control room, Erik Wofford had asked Andre to run movement 1, one last time without stopping, and that would be it.  This was the first piece I wrote.  My baby.  My homage to the greats that came before me.  This was the 6 minutes of Heaven, that made the previous 8 years worth every second. I choked up.   The timpani struck thunder down my spine, leaving my soul helpless.

    And I know the journey is not even close to over.  But this IS the beginning.   Honestly, I’m very happy for myself.  I’ve been telling people about this for years!  It feels great to see the steps on the ladder.  And sure, there were a lot of people who said I couldn’t do it.  But there were many more that said I could and encouraged me.  This is for them.  This is for God.  This is for my son.  Lesson of the decade?  Be the vessel.

  • China Tour – 2012

    One More Song

    I won’t lie.  After the 1st show, I’m a bit nervous about the rest of the tour in China.  I’ve only been here for a little over 24 hours.  Stepping off the plane I felt like I walked into a scene from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  The airport dwarfed even the bigger stadiums I’ve visited in the US.  Skyscrapers engulf the skylines for miles.  For me it stimulated a child-like imagination.  With the simplest of tasks getting lost in translation, I knew I was on my own to observe, learn, and soak up this fascinating culture.  Oh…and avoiding the crazy drivers and bikers was a real life Frogger experience!

    There wasn’t much time to waste after getting checked in to our hotel.  A quick dinner, meet & greet with Chinese Noise Revivalers, & it was off to bed for an early call time to rehearse.  4 hours of rehearsing in a dungeon with no A/C was trying but exhilarating, hearing our Chinese drummer, Tyler, blaze through the songs and destroy his kit, like Animal from the Muppets.  I sensed a high-energy explosion at Yiyitang that night!  We walked to the club & briefly sound checked with our horn section and additional cellist.  Wall of sound!

    It’s show time.  We left it all on the stage.  The crowd screamed, the cheered, the danced and we delivered with an energy like no other Noise Revival show ever!  8 songs in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  I’ll never forget the crowd.  The moment.  The love.  Walking off stage and hearing a slightly lisp-y chant of “One More Song” that sounded more like “Juan Mo Sawg”.  Why!  If only we had rehearsed an extra song!  Who knows why it ended like that?  The club owner put it best.  “Next Time”.

    Busking in Shanghai

    Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!  But what a joy it was to walk around the tiny alleys in Shanghai and play 3 or 4 songs, then walk to another corner and do the same.  EVERY time we played crowds stopped.  And not just 5 or 10 people.  At least 25-30 each time & a lot of times 50-60.  And who know how many camera’s have our “mugs” on them!   I love that about the Chinese and how they get so excited and take photos of everything.  We even made money.  The 1st night we made enough to have a feast at an amazing Japanese restaurant.  The 2nd night photos of the group playing on the subway made a blog and eventually landed us on the front page of the Shanghai Post on the internet!  It was retweeted over and over and eventually the Chinese government chimed in!  They said to look at this as an example of what not to do on the subway and to make sure to follow the rules!  Gotta love it!

    Ambassador

    There is no better feeling that representing your city.  Being from one of the most creative and vibrant cities in the world is something I am proud of.  Being able to grow up in Austin and then be a music ambassador is something I’ll cherish forever.

    I had the privilege of meeting members of the Foreign affairs office in Shanghai.  My involvement in The House of Songs and the numerous meetings and events with City and State officials, diplomats, ambassadors, etc really prepared me to talk about collaborative possibilities between the 2 creative cities.  I was also fortunate to be escorted to the National Flag Museum in Shanghai.  I was treated like royalty and I owe a lot to Troy Campbell & Don Pitts for these opportunities.

    5,000 Miles

    Like most, I’ve made the mistake of over packing on trips.  It tends to be something unavoidable.  So over the years I decided I’d comprise certain luxuries for a healthier spine!  Last year I learned not to pack a pair of shoes that is a size too small!  Getting blisters after a few days was one thing, but having to walk with them for a month longer was a lesson well learned!  Riding a bike 60 miles in one day was another good example of a lesson well learned!  So this year I decided that I was going to pack the least amount of clothes possible and see where it gets me.  5 shirts; 2 jeans, 7 socks, 7 boxer briefs, 1 jacket and 1 pair of shoes.  Half way into the trip, I’m already thinking how to better prepare for next time.

    Thirty One:

    I always seem to start all my posts while sitting on a plane reminiscing on my past travels and pondering my future adventures, which after a glorious week in Shanghai, they look to be all over the world in hand with my amazing angel by my side.   This post should have started sitting on a train to Wuhan, but it now begins in transit in a cab traveling across Shanghai.  Guess why?  Yep!  Half of the group missed our train to Wuhan, which happened to be the only one of the day!  Lost in China!   So how did we get here?  Well, let’s just say that everything is moving slower here in Shanghai.  I’m awe of the structures, the nooks and crannies of stores, the hole in the walls around every corner.  I’m in no rush.  I take every moment to breathe in the smog, to smell the pollution, to gag at the dog on the menu….ok!  I’m going too far!  But it’s all there!  I’m sharing the whole city with hands locked and hearts in tune, which is the real reason for strolling instead of speeding,.  No experience compares.  But this experience is the basis for why we missed our train.  Oops!  Maybe we should have walked a little faster to the metro.  Packed the night before.  You get it.  10 minutes to get to the train, 1 escalator, 400 Chinese people in the way (Did I mention the pace of the people here?) and 100 pounds of luggage each.  We tried.  We sweat.  We really sweat.  We failed.  Only two made it.  Now we are altering our plan and rushing to the airport hoping to get flights to make the show!  Damage Control indeed!  Mission accomplished?  I’ll follow up with another post.  Did I mention it’s my birthday?

    Here’s the follow-up to my birthday!  As you can tell, we made the show!  The crowd in Wuhan was amazing.  So was the band in more ways than you think.  I walk off the stage and the crowd screams for an encore.  Of course we have no extra songs.  I hear Josh get on the mic and start to tell the crowd it’s my birthday & the crowd goes wild!  At this point I’m in the crowd and they are rockin’ & a rollin’ “Happy Birthday!”  From the crowd I jump on stage and encourage the crowd to jump on stage.  Ten to fifteen people climb the rail and start dancing and bobbing their heads.  I get a chant of “Wuuu – Hon … Wuuu – Hon” going!  This was the best birthday I’ve ever had.  We danced the night away for hours and truly lived it up!  Thank you Wuhon!  Thank you Josh, Anita, Vince, Tyler, & Michael!

    Changsha

    Bright.  Lights.  Sleek.  Exhilarating.   Too bad we only had the opportunity to stay in Changsha for 1 night.  Every building was trying to out “light” the next with crazy flashing neon signs.  It enthralled my senses like I was in Blade Runner.  I swear that movies backdrop was based off of Changsha.  Around 8:30 pm we squeeze into the venue.  Literally!  I could barely get up the winding stairs without hitting my head every turn.  We set up and the speakers don’t work right as we are supposed to begin playing (9:30).  The crowd is quiet and to themselves but I assume they are antsy.  An hour later we grace this tiny stage called the Freedom House and the crowd came forward.  The room looks as if it holds 100 people max, but the owner said they could fit twice that.  We tonight the floor shook and the stage almost caved in.  I forced this crowd to come up on stage for our encore.  (Yes!  We finally rehearsed an old Lil Blokes song, Rolling, for an encore!)  They finally let loose and danced, jumped, and even moshed!  Their appreciation soon followed as we stayed on stage and they lined up for photos for almost an hour!  Thank you Changsha!  TNRO loves you!!!

    Chongqing & Chengdu

    Chongqing & Chengdu were nuts!  Crazy times in China I tell you!  I can’t emphasize how much more difficult & longer it takes to get around China with a language & reading barrier, especially in these lesser-known cities.  I had heard and even assumed that we would see westerners everywhere, but that was not the case.  It was 99.9% Chinese all the time.  So we missed our early trains both days!  We had to rush to the venues for quick sound-checks, check into our hotels, & we were lucky to get a bite of food before taking the stage.  But that’s all ok.  Because the stage is where we belong.  Where we feel at home.  Where for 40 minutes there is no language barrier.  The Chongqing crowd danced, clapped, did the wave, and came on stage for our encore.  After the show a 30-minute photo session ensued.  Michael was told by 2 Chinese girls that they loved him.  Josh was offered a Chinese fathers’ youngest daughter.  Chengdu was even crazier.  We showed up & only had 30 minutes before we had to play.  We were dirty and had our luggage and just fumbling about.  Little Bar was packed.  The crowd was more relaxed but let us hear it louder than any crowd, after each song.   It was the only city we didn’t get an encore, but it was my favorite crowd.  I knew they were loving it because I had their full attention with every word.  I was saddened that we had to rush out to make it in time for our hostel reservation.  I would have loved to hang out with the crowd.   Now I’m off to Beijing for the finale.  I’m overwhelmed by the crowds.  The new fans.  The new admirers.   I love the New Noise Revival!

    Beijing – The Final Transformation

    My friend Fernando lived in China for 5 years.  He called me when he heard I was touring in China.  While excited for me he said he didn’t think my music would go over well in China.   Well, we took China by storm!  Like a flaming chariot!  Beijing was the final litmus test.  Every city we played we won the crowd over the moment we walked in the venue.  Beijing was more foreigners and they were all sitting.  3 songs in and they were charmed.  They danced more than any other crowd and this was the final transformation.  This tour was the most exciting tour I’ve ever been on.  We bonded as a band in a special way.  Who would have thought that our metal drummer, Tyler, from Shanghai would have worked for the Noise Revival Orchestra?  Well it was the perfect ingredient.  Most likely the missing ingredient that Fernando didn’t know we had up our sleeve.  Our stage presence and charm sucked them in and our music sent them home smiling.  I see a brand new rock n roll record in the future…and I see a lot more of China in the future as well!

    Special thanks to Tyler Bowa who was more than just our drummer.  Without him I can’t imagine how we would have communicated or not gotten lost.  Nichols & Zangnan Promotions for doing all the preplanning and being the main catalyst for our coming to China.    Rose for being cool.  Michael & Todd for playing horns with us in Shanghai.  Troy for letting me work abroad and follow my calling.  My beautiful baby Anita for capturing all the content for the band and putting up with the hectic touring schedule.  24/7 for the amazing interview.  Clement for the hospitality at Temple Bar in Beijing.  German guy at the hostel who acted as our translator and waited forever as we tried to book flights on the phone our last night.   Shanghai Post for putting us on the cover.  The TNRO fans from Austin that are now living in Shanghai and came to support.  Not the guy who gave Josh chocolate at Temple Bar.  All the people who helped us get a bass guitar for Michael in every city!  The organizer in Changsha who took us out to eat late night after our show.  Josh & Vince who took the risk in me and in the tour…wasn’t it the trip of a lifetime guys!  For Michael for being in on the China trip from the get go!   All the promoters and people who helped spread the word!   The lady who warned us before we were about to eat cat!  Kaye at Lazy Bone who was the most friendly host ever!  We hope you get to visit the UK & the US one day!  Don Pitts, Troy Campbell, Ashley Buchanan, & Charlotte Huskey who provided me with the opportunity to be an ambassador for Austin and it’s sister city of Shanghai.  Sarah Kendel for running my Facebook and the bands FB while I was in China.   Clayton Lillard for having my back in Austin.  My sisters M.I.T roommate, Erin, for supporting with such last notice.  I love connecting the dots around the world!  My beautiful Anita again.  This time for still going to The Great Wall after I spilt juice all over her 1 minute before the bus was leaving :/  Tyler Bowa again!  This time for putting up with me being a diva.   I’m sure I forgot a few, so I’ll continue to update this blog as the memories pop up in my head!

     

  • Tour in Asia

    NOVEMBER 14th 2016

    MAGICAL TOUR IN TAIWAN…AND JAPAN!!!
     
    Magical is the best way I can describe how my recent tour to Taiwan and Japan felt.  Here I am once again on a plane returning home.  A little worn out but feeling revitalized.  I’m already happy in life but I feel I can tackle more and that the future is even brighter.  I went all out on this tour.  I lived every moment like it was my last breath.  No regrets!  I’m getting choked up thinking about the new friends I’ve made, the random encounters in the streets of Osaka, Taipei, Tokyo, Lure, etc that I’ll remember forever, and the amazing crowds who I had the privilege of entertaining.  (Side note:  I’m also wondering why I always get choked up when I’m in the air?  I’m watching “Finding Vivian Maier” and it is warming my heart.  A must watch.  I feel even more inspired).  On that note, I have never had more fun playing live than I did this time.  Maybe I’m out of my shell.  Maybe I don’t care to please anymore.  Or maybe I just look at it less seriously and more of way to entertain to bring people together.  There is a problem though.  I’ve become addicted.  I want more.  I thought I had hung up my cleats after my 2012 China tour and then this offer to play in Taiwan and japan came out of left field.
    And now I want more.  And now I will find more.  Why can’t I be the rock n roll composer?  I can rock out at festivals a few times a year as a break from orchestral composing, can’t I?  Dream big right?!!!  You never know where it will get ya!
    My trip felt like a dream.  There is no doubt I get to see unique parts of new countries and cultures as a touring musician more so than a tourist/visitor.  Anyone can travel but not everyone gets to get sucked into whirlwind of an adventure like you do when you tour.  And this one all began in Taichung, Taiwan.
    DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?
    Before this tour the biggest crowd I had played to was about 400-500 on a handful of occasions.  But even those shows weren’t as fun as shows I’ve played to 200 sweaty kids jammed in club and dancing their tails off.  Quality over quantity right?  Mmmmm  maybe.   But what if you can get both!?  I just did the jump from playing for 500 to 30,000 and then 50,000 the very next night!  Man what a rush.  I don’t care how great an intimate crowd can be. It pales in comparison to the roar of 50,000 strong!  I stood at the edge of the stage, pumped my fist in the air, took a deep breath and soaked in the energy of that roar.  I still have goose bumps.  I still remember the crowds surfers going up and thinking to myself WOW!  I use to crowd surf at festivals and now people are crowd surfing to my music!!!  And then at the end, the crowd rushed the stage and we truly danced the night away during our encore.  I thought the stage was going to cave in!   I love you Taichung!!!  My heart will always remember you as the first.  But…you will not be the last…
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    WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG!!!
    It has all come together.  Screw the serious indie bull shit i tried so hard to shove down peoples throats when i was younger.  I found my audience.  I can compose for orchestra when I want to get serious but when I’m on a stage I’m not a musician.  I’m an entertainer. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure that out!    Something just comes over me.  Anyone can play songs.  But I now enjoy interacting and getting the crowd involved because I love having a crowd at my fingertips and excited to see what’s up my sleeve.  I don’t even know what’s up my sleeve.  Its all improv which is scary when I sit back and actually think about it.
                           
    JAPANI remember walking outside of Osaka at maybe 6ish in the morning one time and stillness around me.  The moon was gorgeous and every step echoed of the covered passage ways.  I could smell something cooking afar.  A smile and a deep breath made for a beautiful memory.   And the culture in Japan was beautiful and rich.  The people are beautiful in this respectful sorta way.  I need more.  So what is next?  I need to let this soak in.  It could be another trip I look back at as simply being a fun adventure but I think it has the potential to be a trip that alters the course of my life when all is said and done.  Too many special moments happened on this trip that I’ll never forget.  Ya know?  The ones that seem to be part of your destiny.  The ones your gut tells you are happening for a reason.

     

    Japan 2014 Tour
    For now I have a full plate!  Both my symphonies are being performed in 2015 in the USA and abroad!   Spring will find me in Portugal and Denmark and then summer in Paris.  But what does any of it really mean?  Who cares what we do.  Does it mean anything?  Deep down it’s funny because I’m that same 14 yr old shy, awkward, scared boy.  But why?  I guess im still figuring out that part. For now ill excuse myself by saying it’s me respecting the moment.  But none the less, somehow I have to find time to get back to Osaka for a significant amount of time.  There is something cool happening in that city and I need my finger on the pulse!