Cousin Affect – University of Arizona

Well I said I was going to put up some footage from our show at the University of Arizona…about 5 months ago…please accept my apology! Sometimes things get too busy and priorities shift, and once you’ve been away, it’s always harder to come back.

The setting, the stage, the weather, and obviously the band were all beautiful this night in Tucson, AZ back in October. For not having a show in quite some time (and having no practice), we were surprisingly sharp. The show went off without a hitch, and the T-Locs (Tucson Locals…U of A term…) were very accepting of our sound. It was an incredible experience for me personally since I attended school there from 2002 to 2006. Here’s a little highlight video I put together. Enjoy!

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He Shoots! He Scores! Hey, Goalie…

On Sunday I played ice hockey for the first time in my life. Any of you who are close to me know how huge of a hockey fan I am, and now the rest of you have been warned. I’ve spent lots of time on roller blades, but very limited time on ice skates. I hadn’t skated in about 5 years. Needless to say, I was a bit behind these guys that had been taking this instructional class for a few months, but I’ve always wanted to play. With all the things coming up in my music career this Spring, I see this as perhaps my last time for awhile to get out there and make it happen.

This is me standing in front of the goalie. A player out of the frame shot the puck towards the goal, and the object of the drill is to deflect the puck with your stick past the goalie. In this entertainment industry, I have noticed that lots of people take themselves way too seriously. Sometimes you have to take a step back, and have a solid laugh at yourself. And why not share an opportunity for others to laugh AT you?? So enjoy.

I will go on record to say that the puck WAS deflected…and that it DID go into the net. Check the goalie. He looks behind him. If you’re wondering, it’s my sister laughing mercilessly at me. I love you too.

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The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

This is not all about music. This is hockey. And this is why I love it. That’s all.

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Lights. Camera. Action!

The last two weekends we have held shoots for the music video we are working on. The song is called “Radio” and will be released on the next Cousin Affect record set to be out late winter.

The amazing thing about this is that these extras have all volunteered their time to come help our cause. I included these two group shots from each shoot so you could all see these wonderful folks. Both shoots took about a half a day with lots and lots of standing around. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a way around that. But we have heard no complaints. We have been amazed at how flexible they have been with helping us our realize our vision for this video. On top of that, we have heard resounding consensus that everyone had a great time at both shoots. There really is no bigger honor than having the music I write bring people together. That is what’s happening at these shoots. People from all different backgrounds, different colors, sexual orientations, even a relatively wide range of ages have been coming together to have a great time and help us shoot this video. For this, Kenney and I are so much more than the word grateful describes.

Two shoots down. Eight shoots remain. The vision is grand, and sometimes it seems impossible, but we have been hacking away. By the time we are finished, we will have brought 200 strangers together to help spread the positive vibes of Cousin Affect to the world through the power of video. I can’t wait to see the finished product…more because I’m a fan than anything else.

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Bear Down

I can only imagine how much you all have missed me! I know you just hang on every word of this blog, so I must apologize for my extended absence. But I am here to assure you that I am back! So fear not and rest assured and any other cliches you see fit.

I took a trip home to my beloved Phoenix for a friend’s wedding and for a few shows with the Cousins. The weather was immaculate (of course), and it made it difficult to come back to Chicago. On Friday, October 19, we played a show in Tucson on the mall at the University of Arizona. Having gone to school there, this was a special experience for me. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for that city, and it’s really where I cultivated this dream that is now Cousin Affect. To go back and jam there felt quite full circle. These are just a few pictures from the show at U of A.

After the show, I ended up watching a close friend play with his band at the Hotel Congress. They are on tour and just happened to be in Tucson the same night. I ate at the Subway I must have eaten at a million times during college. I drove by the places I used to live. It was really cool being back in that city. I loved going to school down there. I will be posting some video from the show this week or next so stay tuned. We also have lots to update you on regarding the music video we are getting ready to shoot. The first of many shoots is this coming Saturday. It has morphed into quite the production so wish us luck. This is our first go around with this grand of an idea for a video. We have that feeling you get when you are slowly going up to the highest peak of the roller coaster…weeee!!

Happy Halloweeeeen!

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The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

Thanks for everyone’s patience! I’ve learned that working out video editing glitches can be quite time consuming. In any case, we have seemingly solved the puzzle. If there is any discrepancy between the audio and video, just know that it wasn’t due to my lack of attention to detail (2005 throwback). That’s just how technology can be sometimes. But on the computers I’ve checked it on, it all looks good!

This is the first time I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on a cover song. I have mixed feelings. Unfortunately, in the age of The American X Factor Idol Voice, no one seems to be very interested in hearing original music anymore. Most local music scenes are even pushing out original local artists for cover bands. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cover band, but if we aren’t careful, cover bands might be playing the same set lists in 30 years! At the end of the day, I had to make this song my own a little. It’s just the only way I know how. Everything you hear was recreated or created in my studio. In relation to the time I put towards my original music, this endeavor pales in comparison so I hope you enjoy what came of it. I am happy with how it turned out. If you like what you see/hear please comment or, more importantly, share with your friends! There are links in the video to my original music. I still have this dream that someone will be covering a song I wrote someday.

Until then…

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She’s No Katie Peterson

I know I told everyone I would have the video I’ve been working on up today, but I’ve decided to wait just one more post. It is, in fact, finished, and I’m really happy with it. However, due to all the technical difficulties I’ve had, I want to put it through a few more tests before I launch it on the blog. As a result of this, I may or may not be creating a Vimeo account immediately for any and all videos to follow. YouTube just isn’t the place for high quality video!

In lighter news, this is an incredible video I saw recently. It hits me on more than a musical level as well. This song always reminds me of my sister, Kate. She would sing this song to get the family laughing when I was a kid (was?). When she’d hit that long high note, my mom would lose it. For any of you that have seen my mother take laughing to the next level, you know what I’m talking about. She just can’t hold back. There are a few things I can remember vividly making her do this, and this is one of them. I love my mom and sister.

Let’s get serious though, this girl is ridiculous. Seeing videos like this makes you realize how much talent is out there…just walking around in Walmart (ish). It’s scary. She’s the real deal, and I have absolutely NO idea who she is. Anyway, I love this song, and I’m not afraid to admit it. If you don’t get goosebumps watching it, then…don’t watch it anymore. I do feel sorry for most of you though. Trust me. This girl is good, but she’s no Katie Peterson.

The new video will be launched on the blog on TUESDAY (instead of Monday) at 4pm EST. Looking forward to it.

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Allen Stone – Unaware

Hey folks! I had a very different idea of how this post was going to look. I looked forward all weekend to putting up an original video of mine, but it was not to be. I’m currently having some technical difficulties with the audio. Although a majority of people probably wouldn’t notice, it is the curse of being a perfectionist when it comes to things like this! I was up all night trying to make it happen, but to no avail. I will figure it out before Thursday. I will figure it out before Thursday. I will figure it out before Thursday. Just psyching myself up.

This is Allen Stone. He’s an incredible singer. He sounds like something completely different than he looks. He’s one of my biggest inspirations in music, and this is the first video I ever watched of him singing. Thanks, Daniel Park (for showing me this video). I have seen him live, and he’s just as good. Watch it through to the end. There’s pay off. There’s no way I could have a “Inspired to Inspire” section and not include this guy. Enjoy everyone! I will figure it out before Thursday. I will figure it out before Thursday…

Ok. Back to work.

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Embry Riddle – Prescott, AZ

I am back in Chicago, and I already miss the group. I can’t wait to get back in October.

The time leading up to showtime is often hectic and hurried. Lots of times there is a band in front of you frantically (or as is the case with lots of bands…taking their sweet a** time!) trying to clear their gear off the stage. More often than not, you set up your stuff, you plug in, you do a quick sound check, and you’re off and running. Most audio engineers (apparently they don’t like when you call them “sound guys.” found that out the hard way) use the first song or two as their sound check. I always adjust my set lists accordingly. I’m certainly looking forward to the days when our sound checks are more like this one. Once we got set up, we were able to jam for a solid 30 minutes to make sure everything sounded perfect. It is such an advantage when schools allow us to do this, and I feel like the show experience is exponentially better when we’re given this opportunity. Most bands will agree, but I think it’s especially important for the Cousins to have perfect sound. This is a video I put together using the “sound check jam session” as the backing audio. It’s nothing special, but I feel it gives a little insight into how much the 7 of us love being around each other and how honored we feel to be able to play music for people who want to listen. Check the video out in HD 1080p (HD settings are under the video, on the wheel icon closest to the center). Make sure to watch all the way to the end for “Timo’s Final Thought.” See you again in October, Arizona.

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Extended Family

The Cousins are playing tonight in Prescott, AZ for the first time since the IndieFest in Vegas on April 28th. I have been in Chicago working on new music and other creative ideas to further the Cousin Affect project since the beginning of May, and I never could have been prepared for how much I would miss playing with these six people. Over the years, we have had some different lineups come and go, but these people you see here…this is Cousin Affect. I can’t begin to describe in words how much I enjoy playing music in the live setting. On top of that, to be able to share that experience with the unbelievably talented people in my group is almost unreal.

Scotty C. is one of the most talented kids I know. His energy and charisma on stage make it impossible for our fans to not have a good time watching us play. He’s my longest friend in the group and it’s been incredible building so much musical chemistry over the years. When I first started producing music on my own, I was always jumping at the opportunity to get Scotty C. on a track. The kid always kills it.

I’m not sure I would do her singing ability justice by trying to contain it with the English language. Jessica is soul. She’s an unbelievable talent, and I’m lucky enough to now call her one of my best friends. She has an awesome husband and two wonderful kids, and their family has been so much a part of Cousin Affect. There’s nothing better than writing lyrics knowing that Jess is going to be the one singing them in the final product.

Sax man is one of the best people I know. He has been an extremely positive role model to me and to the rest of the Cousins. Dan and his wife Denise have done so much for this project and my appreciation for that is endless. He puts in long hours for the success of this project and doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves. Aside from that, he is the most talented musician in our group. Sax man can take over a show. I feel so lucky to be able to play shows with that level of talent and call him one of my closest friends.

Timo. We’ve been playing shows for about 4 years now, and I’m not sure any of us could find a time when Timo messed up. He just doesn’t ever mess up. He’s such a rock on the low end for us. I always feel like his talent isn’t recognized enough. Timo on the bass is a huge part of why Cousin Affect sounds like Cousin Affect. I knew from the second I saw him pick up the bass that he was perfect for our sound.

D believed in this project when no one else did. He was there in the beginning. He was the one up on stage with me embarrassing ourselves at our first few shows. He has always believed. That’s given me so much confidence and strength spearheading this project forward. He’s an ill emcee and a fantastic writer. He’s a great story of perseverance. When this project gains the success I know it will, D will be there.

The first experience I have of Meche is him dunking all over my face on a fast break in a men’s recreational basketball league. And to make it worse, he was so nice about it. So I couldn’t even secretly hate him inside. Tragedy. He’s also an incredible talent on the drums, a good man, husband, and a solid father to his kids. He may play it cool back there on the drums but trust me, he’s having the time of his life. Don’t be fooled.

As this project moves forward, I’m not sure if the lineup will always stay exactly the same. That’s something I’ve learned about the business. It’s a tough industry. Unfortunately, it forces you to make a lot of poor life decisions in order to even have a chance for success. I know because I’ve made them. Not everyone has the opportunity to put themselves out there like that. I understand that. I have so much appreciation for these six people for embodying this project and believing in it. In a perfect world, the seven of us will play to sold out arenas all over the world. I have hope because sometimes things work out perfectly. But even if the lineup changes in the coming years, I will never forget these six people. We share something indescribable. If you’ve been to a show, I hope you’ve felt it. I’ve been in the music business for a long time, and I’ve seen countless bands play live music. I’ve never seen a group have more fun on stage than us. At the end of the day, as cliche as it sounds, that’s what it’s all about.

We’re playing a few shows in Arizona in October. I will keep everyone posted. And I’m going to try and post some video from the Prescott show in my next blog entry. Show day.

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