Thursday, September 30, 2010

Greg Giraldo

Heard it on Facebook and didn't want to believe it until I heard it from another source but Greg Giraldo passed away yesterday at the age of 44.

I never met Giraldo but saw him once at Comix. He was everything I'd expected, political, smart and cynical but warm, relatable and an everyman at the same time. Listening to his latest material, we all knew he was going through a tough time. But I never realized it would have come to this.

He will be missed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

50th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul

Oh boy. A Les Paul for the same price it costs to waterproof my house.

Yes the '59 Les Paul is the most coveted guitar ever made. But hasn't every Les Paul since tried to capture that look, sound and feel? This one looks a little nicer than my 2001 Les paul whihc I've made even less like an original burst.

But if you want one, you can learn more about them here.

Monday, September 27, 2010


We played a surprisingly decent show at a bowling alley/ bar in the north suburbs Friday night. 33 songs learned in under a month. It was almost as high pitched as work.

I brought tons of stuff including four guitars, my massive pedal board and a Marshall half stack. It sounded great but I don't know how long I want to fill the car with equipment, especially considering the fact that we can't leave any gear at our rehearsal space.

Last practice we tried running our sound through headphones as if we were in the studio. It added a precision I'd rarely gotten in a live setting. Everyone was happy enough with the results we're considering abandoning the p.a. at practice. If that's the case, the new HD line from Line 6 might be the way to go on Wednesday nights. My back thinks so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Slash Rig

I'm loving this age of guitar tech videos that walk you through someone's live rig. We've seen the Edge's setup and Mike Campbell's gear and now it's time for Slash. Looks like he's maintaining his reputation as a Les Paul man.

Check it out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Won an Award!

Awards in advertising are like a TV credit in stand-up. After a while, you're expected to have one.

That's why I'm glad and relieved to have won the 2010 WEBAWARD For Outstanding Achievement in Web Development for the original Droid launch. If I was in NY with my team I'd buy them all a round of drinks.

Back to work now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

new Rickenbacker

My local guitar store had this 360 hanging for a while. They know I'm a huge Rick fan so they called me as soon as it came in. It's a 2001 modded by Mark Arnquist who even took the time to strip the finish off the fretboard so it feels like a Les Paul.

I played it all summer, every time I stopped in the shop. I loved it but I couldn't justify the cost. I loved my 330/12 and that was the Rick sound I always wanted. I also just bought a white Gibson SG for my band.

Last week when I was in NY and got a call. They dropped the price $200 for me. I picked it up as soon as I got off the plane home and haven't stopped playing it since. Took it to practice and although it wasn't right for Nine Inch Nails, that Fastball song sounded perfect.

Here are both Ricks together. 330 vs. 360. 6 string vs. 12. toasters vs. high gains. Mapleglow vs. fireglow. If I have to have two, I want them as different as possible.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jonathan Frakes: Still Cool

Wal-Mart had Enterprise: season one for twenty bucks on DVD so I'm watching it again. I'm struck by how much promise the series had. The premise is interesting and relateable to new audiences. The cast is strong and gung ho (especially in the case of Scott Bakula, who's always good). And the episodes are all fine, the start to a potentially great series.

Unfortunately, the writing staff, who had been on Star Trek for decades was tired and it showed through the warmed over Voyager plots, which were themselves warmed over TNG stories. By the time it ended, the franchise went with it, leaving the playing field open for J.J. Abrams' reinvention.

I hated the bored second season and quit but fans really despised the finale, which guest starred Jonathan Frakes and Mirina Sirtis on the holodeck. Looking back, Frakes hated it too:

Let’s talk about that last appearance, because it was pretty controversial in Trek circles. A lot of fans felt it diminished Enterprise to fold not just the series finale, but pretty much the entire series, into a TNG holodeck sequence. What were your thoughts about it then, and how about now?

I’ve said this publicly, but I thought everyone on Enterprise, especially Scott (Bakula), was so gracious about having actors from another show come in and put his show to rest. It was sold to me by Rick (Berman) as a “valentine to the fans,” and it was anything but. It was, I think, one of his rare mistakes. It didn’t work on so many levels. I don’t think the Enterprise cast was happy to have us. I’m frankly not sure the fans wanted to see us there. It was great, obviously, to be with Marina again and a lot of the crew were people I’d worked with on Next Gen. So the fun part was there, but the legacy of it… I don’t think it was our finest hour.

Frakes is down to earth enough to call it as he sees it. He talks about how grateful he is to have become a director while many odf his castmates are "struggling". Once he transitioned to director, he made the phenomenal "Star Trek: First Contact". After following it it up with the lackluster "Insurrection", he seemed to fade. Turns out he's a very busy television director, knocking out episode after episode of Castle, NCIS and Burn Notice. And his beard still rocks.

Check out the interview on

Monday, September 13, 2010


Somebody stole Tony Iommi's guitar.

Not a good year to be a member of Heaven and Hell. The only way this can work out well is if Dio faked his death and shows up at Tony's door playing "Holy Diver" on it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pod F. TompKast

Good gravy, the Pod F. Tompkast is here!

It's been promised for over a year and now there's two of them. Each has made me laugh out loud within minutes.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Comedy is NOT Pretty

I'm in NY for the weekend and cranking at the old office today. Missed it.

I'll talk about the events of the last three days when I get back (it's been gooooood) but in the meantime Ed Murray, as is his wont, sends us this piece of genius. It's hilarious, absolutely true and full of wisdom you never learn until you experience it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

R2-D2 Droid

This has launched so I think I can talk about it.

Verizon is doing a limited edition R2-D2 Droid phone and we've done all the advertising.

We started talking about this in May and for the last two months I've been submerged in "Star Wars". It's like being 9 years old again, those heady days before Hasbro relaunched G.I. Joe and George Lucas was the center of your universe.

Join the twitter feed for the whole experience. It's the same account I wrote for the previous contest and I did most of these. It will also lead you to the best part of it all; the C3PO translator.

I pushed to include C3PO and not only did I get to write his dialogue, we got Anthony Daniels to read it. He even sent along a compliment about how much he loved the writing. So in my mind, I am now one of the greatest Star Wars writers ever.