Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Guitar rockin' (with a band, too!), Spartan Sprint and Warrior Dash, Monty Python in London, NIN and Soundgarden, Tori Amos... 2014 is shaping up to be a busy year, with no time for foolin' around. And that's not even counting events already past like the No Pants Subway Ride, the play festival at Tachair in Jersey City, the Dave Barry book signing in Paramus, and a Dessoff Choirs performance (not to mention kicking the year off with Gogol Bordello).

As you may have already heard, I'm now in a band with one of my best friends, Jon, and two of his other friends; we're calling ourselves Greta's Unmentionables. No, that's not an April Fool's gag. We were tossing around name ideas one night, after I'd suggested that we should call ourselves something, and that one came to me and everyone dug it. We've got two or three song ideas already, and are fleshing out one called "The Bite" built around a riff and a lyric verse I put together two weeks ago. Two hours jamming together at Aarius Studios in Old Bridge, NJ definitely had us feeling like this was shaping up to be a really good thing, and we're heading back to the studio later this month.

Andy, Anthony, Mike, and Jon: Greta's Unmentionables

The extended guitar with the Unmentionables (which led to a blister on my fourth finger) has motivated me to keep playing, and I rearranged the living room the other day to make it a lot easier for me to: a) pick up a guitar and jam; and b) switch on the Ozonic and record. I'm liking the way "The Bite" is turning out, and I'll be thrilled if we get it (and other songs) fully recorded, but my "solo career," such as it is, isn't going to be put on hold. I need to crank out some of my own tunes, too... and I'm going to play at the wedding of my friend and colleague Rhonda's daughter this month. I may even do Make Music New York again in June, though I haven't decided yet.

Then there's the runnin'. I'll be doing the Spartan Sprint and the Warrior Dash this year with some other colleagues, and while I'll not be breaking any records anytime soon, I have bumped up my game enough to manage a ten-minute mile. I'm not as young as I will be (or used to be; this linear time is not as easy as it sounds), and it's not always going to be easy to manage, but I'm determined to run every morning and play guitar every evening, when physically possible. The (popped) blister's turning into an ugly callus now, so it didn't stop me from jammin' with Jon Saturday night or on my own last night, and I logged two miles on the treadmill this morning. I just need to keep the momentum going. Jenn and I tried our hands - and feet - at indoor top rope rock climbing last month, and found that we both loved it, so we'll be going back to that at some point, too, hopefully with more friends.

I didn't realize it until after I'd already paid for both, but I somehow got a ticket to see Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden at the PNC Bank Arts Center several hours after I'll be doing the Warrior Dash. As exhausted as I might be after dashing through the course and then dashing down to Holmdel, though, I doubt I'll sleep through either of those bands. It's amazing to think that I'll be catching NIN again 23 years after I first saw them at Lollapalooza. That was a terrific set, though the Self Destruct tour was even better, and with Marilyn Manson opening to boot. I'm going to see Tori again this year, too, and I'd have to guess this will be the fourth or possibly fifth time since I first caught her in 2002, in the company of a redhead named McCall.

Then there's London and the Monty Python reunion in July. No, I'm not going to be in the reunion, merely partake from the audience with my friend Barbara. It'll be incredible to see them live (mostly), and it'll be great to step foot in old Londinium again, even if only for a few days. I've also been urged to visit friends and relatives in California, Florida, and Nebraska; those trips will come, but I'll be needing some breathers with all this activity. Still, the blur can be fun, and though I am alone, I am determined not to sit at home and mope about it. Any more than I already have. Life needs to be lived, and I've played the fool long enough. (Which is not to say that I'll never return to the role...)

And what are you up to now that warmer weather appears to have finally sprung upon us?

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