Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas from North Dakota!

That's right. North Dakota. Megan, Seth, and I drove 14.5 hours on December 26th all the way up to our friends' house from Wheaton, IL. It was ridiculous. Only twice in my lifetime have I ever heard of United States interstates being shut down. My second experience was yesterday, driving in blizzard conditions. North Dakota issued a travel advisory for the entire state, suggesting that people travel only when medically necessary.

"Interstate 29 has been closed between Fargo and Grand Forks," the North Dakota travel information line, 511, states. It continues, "Roads are closed only when conditions present a serious risk of death to the motorist and roads are impassible." Unbelievable.

We didn't even know that I-29 was closed until we got on to I-29, leaving Fargo, and discovered a giant gate crossing the entire road, with a giant "road closed" sign. Leaving the highway, we stopped at a gas station and talked with a couple of locals, who suggested an alternate route.

We were only an hour and twenty minutes away - if we were able to take I-29 - but now we were tacking on an additional hour. We'd take Minnesota Rt. 75 to Rt. 2, into Grand Forks.

The closer we got, the more I realized that my buddy Dave wasn't kidding: "They don't plow or salt the roads up here. They basically just let the wind blow everything around." The wind blowing the snow over the road played tricks on my mind. It looked like we were driving on clouds. It was tough to stay focused on the road. Of course, that could have been the effects 13 hours of driving.

The snow drifted in to piles on the road. As the car ran in to them, the vehicle slowed and pitched to the left or right. It was an adventure.

And finally, we arrived. Safe and sound.

Okay, it's time for another nap.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Computer on its Way

Hey! I just wanted to let everyone know that I just ordered a new computer. An iMac, to be exact. Okay, it's no Mac Pro, but I wanted to buy a computer that I could use on stage, for my live shows. I looked at the MacBook Pro's, but ultimately, I was looking for more bang for your buck, and I realized that the portability of the MacBook Pro wasn't a big enough factor to go that route.

I'm looking forward to loading it up with Logic Studio 9, Reason 4, and Record. Let the party begin (in two weeks, when I get the new machine).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fridays Update

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the whole Friday's incident from a few weeks back. After several weeks without a peep from the restaurant chain, I got a phone call a few nights ago, from the location's general manager. He apologized, of course, but also said that he would send us $30 in gift certificates, to "make things right". Well, it doesn't, but I'll take the certificates anyways. Who knows. Maybe I'll go back for a burger or just give them away as a Christmas gift.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am Thankful. Are You?

Those who know me best know that from my lips often comes a phrase that I once heard from another good friend. It goes something like this:

One asks me, "How are you today?"

I respond, "Better than I deserve."

And, of course, it's the honest truth. I have so much to be thankful for and I often fall short of living in the reality of that thankful attitude. This year, I resolve to remind myself - every day - that I have much to be thankful for. I have more than I deserve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Diamond is AWESOME!

Okay, so I understand that many of you probably have no idea who Black Diamond is or what they do; but, for starters, you just need to know that they are awesome. Okay, so who are they? Black Diamond is a manufacturer of climbing, skiing, and mountaineering equipment. Here's their website:

Now let me tell you why they're awesome...

In 2001, while I worked for Galyan's Trading Post (later bought out by Dick's Sporting Goods) I purchased a tent from Black Diamond - an I-Tent, to be exact. The I-Tent is the standard in mountaineering. Check it out, here:

Just a few weeks ago, I went on a rock climbing trip to Jackson Falls, in southern Illinois, and I notices a rip in the tent, near the zipper, in the corner. I was bummed. I had never noticed the tear before, and I don't even know if I had ever inspected that part of the tent before. Obviously, with the tent being eight years old, I had little hope of a fix.

When I got back from my trip, I promptly emailed Black Diamond, and, to my surprise, I received a response less than 24 hours later (the same can't be said for TGIFridays, from whom I still have not received a response). Here's what Mike at Black Diamond had to say:

My apologies for your trouble with your I-Tent. Regardless of the cause or timing of the tear, we can certainly repair it for you at no charge. You would, obviously, need to send us the tent. A retaping of the area should take care of it nicely.

It was unbelievable. I was dumbfounded. In a word, I was happy. Could it be that there are still companies out there that stand behind their products and do all that they can to make situations right with their customers? Answer: Yes. Black Diamond does.

And for this very reason, I urge you to purchase Black Diamond, if ever there is an opportunity to do so. If you're looking for climbing gear, a new tent or shelter, skis or boots, consider Black Diamond, and make sure you have a compelling reason why not to buy BD.

PS: No, I have not been paid by Black Diamond to write this. I'm just that excited about getting my tent repaired - free of charge!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TGIF: Great to be Friday, but Not at Fridays

The plate of food to the left was served to me this past week at TGIFridays, in Bloomingdale, IL. What a sorry little plate at a ridiculous price. The presentation is horrible, and the flavor made the dish almost inedible. The price tag? $9.50. Unbelievable.

As I pulled in to Fridays, I actually said out loud, "Wow, I haven't been to this place in a really long time. I don't know why. I like the atmosphere, and I think they have great food, too."

Obviously, I was given a very good reason never to return to the restaurant; and given the face that their customer service department hasn't responded to my complaint yet - after several days, I don't think I'll be going there for a long while. Okay, maybe just for their potato skins. But still, beware of the Key West Shrimp and the Half-Rack of Ribs!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Have You Ever Imagined

Have you ever stopped and imagined what it would be like to not be alive? Or maybe even to not exist at all? Every few months, this thought crosses my mind, and I get a particularly strange feeling doing it. Has this ever happened to you? Please tell me I'm not crazy - that I'm not the only one.

I get this strange empty feeling, like after I die, I'll just stop existing - no soul, no reincarnation, no floating personal paradise, no heaven or hell. Of course, that's what a lot of people will try to lead you to believe.

But I refuse to believe that these 100- years I spend on Earth are all that there is going to be for me. That these are the only years we have. You can even look at modernism today and see the despair in it - the futility in it. Isn't it a sad, hopeless thought to not think that there's no more to life than what we see right now?

It's weird though, because that strange feeling I get doesn't sync with my worldview. I have the feeling, but I don't trust it. I once heard it said that people who have strong faith don't fear death. And I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a little scared. I've also heard it said that people - presumably like me - are afraid to die because they aren't sure if they'll have to pay for all of the things that they've done wrong - presumably to a higher power.

But I don't think that's it at all. I think the reason for fear might be simpler than that: we don't know what it "feels" like to not have a living body, assuming that we live on somehow in spirit.

And more than that, I think there seems to be something unnatural about dying. I think inside all of us, maybe the reason we can't imagine being dead is because we know we're really not supposed to. Maybe we can't imagine it because we never do die (spiritually).

Okay, as you can see by the time stamp on my post, it's late. And I'm rambling. Goodnight.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mute Math Live at House of Blues

This past Sunday night, I saw the best live show I have seen in a really long time: Mute Math performing at the House of Blues, in Chicago. The energy from the band and from the crowd was chemical, explosive, ingestible. This concert reminded me of why I love performing - and why I want to perform at the House of Blues - soon. Here are a few pics from the show:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roundhouse Show - Thanks!

Thank you so much for coming out to my show at Roundhouse last night! Your support always amazes me. I'd like to give a special thanks to a few new friends I made, and to a few new fans: Brian at the door, Ashley the waitress, Leroy the manager; and to Matt, Bill, Susan, and Brent for signing up on the mailing list!

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Pocket Camcorder

My family just bought me this awesome, new pocket camcorder (the Kodak Zi6) - for [maybe] obvious reasons. For one thing, I know my brother will miss my beautiful face this coming school year; and for another, I didn't have a camera that shot HD video. And there are more reasons, too.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know that, from now on, I'll mostly be using that to post to my YT page, here:

If you aren't a subscriber yet, you really should be. Check it out! Thanks!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Vlog Posted

New video posted here:

and here:

Vlog: Upcoming Show, Glimmer Share and Download

Jay Mathes promotes an upcoming concert at La Spiaza Coffeehouse in Wheaton, IL, and talks about a sweet new promotion for his new album, Glimmer, called "Share and Download". Share Jay's music with three friends and download his new album for free! Here:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I love writing, performing, recording and practicing music. I dislike promoting my music like I'm trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat.

Over the last three months, I've started to hone in on a little problem I have:

Promoting music on the internet, though effective, is also a bit boring and impersonal. In fact, I'm promoting my music right now, and it is definitely hard just sitting here in my apartment, typing away, staring at a screen, feeling the tendinitis in my elbows flair up, and hearing the birds chirping right outside my door on a beautiful afternoon...

Much of my days are spent alone in my apartment, and I think that's really the rub for me of promoting my music on the web.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share...

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Unique Chicago Music Industry

There's a great article about this here:

The Chicago music scene is uniquely Chicago's because here, artists aren't pursuing record deals or publishing contracts. They're pursuing independent, entrepreneurial success. Artists in Chicago expect full creative license, and assume all of the risks that assure that license. But they don't always do so knowingly. For most bands in Chicago, the DIY way is the only way they know - it's the way they grew up with, the way they saw their friends in bands pursue, and the thought of pursuing a "record deal" is, in their minds, quite honestly, a foreign, make-believe concept.

Somehow, Chicago has, thus far, escaped the fate of L.A., New York, and Nashville. But is it for the better? I think the verdict is still out on that, and we'll have to make our own assessments, based on the quality of music that Chicago produces in *our* prime - what kind of music *we* produce.


What do you think?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Because You Can

Alright. So I've been thinking. (Maybe that's a bad thing.)

So there is a *ton* of music out there these days. More than there ever has been? Yeah. For sure. Why? Simple: access. To what? Technology. Everyone has a computer. And nearly every computer is powerful enough to run an audio recording program like Pro Tools, Live, Record, Cubase, Logic, Nuendo, Acid...

So I've asked myself something: is any of it any good? And if the answer is yes, how do we wade through the three feet deep, thousand mile wide swamp of mediocrity to find the real gems? Or maybe a better question to ask, from my perspective, is how does a band rise above the festering marshland to a status of known and beloved? I have two insights.

1. Because of the ubiquity of social networking websites and the internet, in general, the internet alone is not enough to make loyal fans. True fans come by true relationship: fan-band interaction. Granted, this can happen online, but it doesn't happen naturally, or even easily. True fans also come to your shows, where fan-band interaction is obvious.

2. In order to succeed, a band has to remain true to its own sound. The bottom line is, there are a hundred indie bands out there that sound like any one, major label band: Mute Math or The New Pornographers or Cartel or even John Mayer. The difference is not in the music a band puts out, but in the people who have a financial interest in their success. And that's okay.

Bottom line: a band can never, ever be so proud as to think that they have a unique, amazing sound that everyone should (and will) enjoy. And, never be jealous of another artist's successes.  If you've ever seen Fight Club, "You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake." You're just like every other band out there - some working harder than others.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A New Band to Check Out

After you check out the recordings from my new album, Glimmer, check out these guys: Pretty excellent stuff going on there. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with down the road here. Some serious Jars of Clay influence, really good songwriting, great guitar sounds, good production, but probably a bit over-tweaked in the studio. Check 'em out. They're one of the best new bands I've heard in a while. By the way, Alex Mrackovich and I were in youth group together, but he was a few years younger than me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Security Questions on Facebook

You know that Facebook is beginning to go the way of MySpace when every time you want to make a comment, you have to enter a captcha phrase. Yes, it is true. Today, I entered my first-ever captcha phrase on Facebook. Bad news I say. That's why my entrepreneurial mind is trying to figure out how to develop a better way. Oh yeah, and I'd make millions of dollars by starting my own social networking website. And of course, my ultimate goal would be to take over the world...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baseball Season Already

Yes, it is true. I am a baseball fan. And to anyone who has a problem with it, or says that it's boring, I have one response for you: well before the first American football player was in diapers, pitchers were pushing off the ole rubber to guys with wooden bats. Don't you ever forget the sport of America's past-time.

And so begins another season of Cubs baseball. We've started out pretty well here, winning the first two of three, and losing that middle game in an extra innings outing against the Astros. That's okay. It's early, and the bullpen didn't perform. They'll only get better.

It's already 10 AM here, and I've wasted enough time online... It's time to get back to work on my recordings... And, of course, I can't forget to bug my brother about getting his account info for Gameday Audio...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snow in Spring, Rain in Florida

So this past week, Megan and I went to Florida for a couple of days. And yes, you may have noticed that there wasn't a video because of it... We had a great time, traveling all over the state: from Daytona to Cape Canaveral, to Orlando and Disney, to Tampa, on the Gulf. We were able to catch up a little with some good friends of ours, spend some time at the beach, and eat. And eat some more. The only downer, you see, is that it rained for two and a half days of the six that we were there. But at least it was in the seventies...

We came home on Saturday to 40 degrees and a snowstorm in the forecast. Completely unpleasant, and absolutely unnecessary. And as our pilot said, "Apparently Chicago still hasn't gotten the memo that it's Spring."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wearing a Retainer at Age 26

"Yes," is the answer. I went to the dentist a few weeks ago - just for a regular check-up and cleaning, and it conveniently coincided with the week I chipped a tooth. Yeah. I wasn't doing anything crazy to chip it - it just kind of happened. If you want to know how, it was pretty simple: I was chewing a piece of gum!

So anyway, I went to this dentist in Glen Ellyn. I had never seen her before. Actually, I've never seen a female dentist before either. I was hoping for someone a little bit more caring/gentle/whatever with my teeth. Let's just say I was pretty happy with her performance.

When she saw the small chip (and I mean very small), she said it was probably caused, in part, by some natural shifting that was going on in my mouth. She could tell I had braces when I was younger, and suggested that I might try to wear my retainers again. Maybe by re-correcting the bite, she thought, we could prevent any more damage to the tooth. Yikes! Yeah, you can say "painful."

So this past week, I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, along with the metal and plastic of my retainers, and put them in again for the first time since high school. As you can imagine, I'm in some pretty serious mouth-pain right now, but I'm expecting it all to pay off. Also, I have to be honest: I didn't really think I was going to get these things in again at all...

Looking ahead to the next few weeks, even with my teeth all out of wack right now, I'm looking to finish up lead vocals for the new album. No, I won't be singing with my retainers in! I couldn't imagine the horrible lisp I'd have!

So wish me luck as I "thsths-ing" my heart out!


Do you have an interesting experience with your retainers? Post about it here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Grapefruit Stitched Up

In high school, when my grandmother lived with us, I used to eat a grapefruit for breakfast on my way to school. My grandma liked them, so I thought I'd give them a shot. I liked them. I thought it paired well with an extra-sweet, three-sugar coffee. No cream. I didn't eat grapefruit again for nine years.

Today I ate half of a grapefruit for breakfast. It was the best grapefruit I have ever had in my entire life.

And while I was eating the best grapefruit I've ever had in my life, I listened to a song for the first time ever - a tune by John Mayer called "Stitched Up." It was awesome. Probably one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. This man never stops amazing me. If you've never heard the song before, find it, and savor every note.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pushing the Envelope

I just received an email from a buddy of mine who owns a studio in Villa Park. He has the next two weeks available, and he's willing to book me at a super-discounted price for mixing. The only problem is that I'm not finished tracking yet. ("Tracking" is the process of recording each instrument and "composing" the parts of a song.) 

If my estimates are right, mixing should take no more than five days. And if my friend still has Monday, February 9-13th available, that means, if I want to mix with him on this, I have ten days to finish tracking everything. 

It's doable, but it will be tough. It means that I'm going full-throttle every day for the next ten. It means putting a few other things on hold. It probably means only performing one show that week. My only concern is that I confuse working efficiently with working sloppily - that I rush this process, and that I'm ultimately unhappy with the final mixes on February 14th.

Wish me luck. Here we go...

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Rise and Fall of Facebook

Take a look at this picture, then read what I have to say about it:

If you need any proof that the fall of Facebook is near, look no further than the advertisements on the right-hand side of your Facebook pages. There it is in all it's glory: the moral decay of Western civilization. Yes, fellow citizens of an other-worldly kingdom, Facebook is going the way of It is now only a matter of time... 

The only question is: what social networking site(s) will replace I believe these days are slowly coming to an end - days when people put on their superficial masks and pretend to be online friends with people whom they despise. The non-exclusive, open-arms "friends" lists are coming to an end. The successful social networking sites of the future will focus on specific interests - users will flock to websites that rally around their own interests: "Winter roller coaster riders" and "people with single-jointed baby toes". The question is: will you be creating your very own profile on ""???

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Dream of an Entrepreneur

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a type-A individual. I dream big dreams and I have an extremely hard time letting go of them. Over the last few weeks, I've had some time to think about my dreams - my goals - and to really contemplate the feasibility of living out those dreams. For those of you who haven't heard, I'll lay it out, plain and simple:

My dream is to perform, record, and write music for a living.

This is the same goal that I have had since my 18th birthday, with a few, very minor changes in it's wording.

In thinking about this singular goal, my mind eagerly makes connections with the reality in which I now live: How am I living out this dream now, how can I in the near- and long-term future, and how can I take steps now toward reaching that dream?

Well it seems now that the time is right for another, slight modification of this goal. I think that the phrase "for a living" implies that music is the only thing that I "do" to make money. I think part of the appeal of my goal has always been the prospect of working for myself, and maybe that's more of the sense of what I mean. Maybe I should drop "for a living" altogether. 

There are, of course, a million ways to earn a buck, and maybe I have what it takes to build a business or two that I can oversee, but don't run on a day-to-day level: a guitar lessons business, property rental and management, or even something more philanthropic: think a local lawn care business managed and operated as a part of a business class at the high school down the street...

So maybe my dream has gotten a little bit simpler this year:

To write, perform, and record music.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

America Longs For Change

I'm a very opinionated fellow, but I try not to get political. And trust me, I'm not getting political now... The antagonist inside has awoken, and it has asked me to ask you a simple question:

Are the events of today, Tuesday, January 20th, 2009, truly historically significant?

I propose that they are not; and that a new president will not change the world in the ways which we all long for.

Now let me explain... It's quite simple, really. Since the genesis of humanity, the world has misappropriated and misplaced its hope. Cain hoped in his own strength, mountaineer and writer John Muir hoped in the goodness of nature, and many throughout history have hoped in the goodness of humanity itself.

Today, many in America hope in Barack Obama. They hope that through his leadership, we can make a better world. And to a very small extent, I believe he can, too. But though he may initiate it, many more will have to join his ranks to see the job through.

Ultimately, our deepest longings will never be met by the work of our government. These things we hope for (peace, health, happiness, prosperity), are only echos of a deeper longing for eternal belonging. We know that something about this world just isn't right. We know that we crave something bigger than ourselves. We stuff things like poverty and equality in to the holes of our souls, hoping that by thrusting ourselves upon the cause with all our hearts we might fill the vacancy.

Some call this vacancy within our souls a "God-shaped vacuum" - a hole that can only be filled by Him. All of our longings can only be satisfied with the peace that He brings. This satisfaction, this change, this is what we long for; and it can not be satisfied by any president.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ignorance is Not Bliss

This past weekend, I performed at a bar in Chicago that played pornographic videos on TV screens during my performance. Did I know this was going to be the case before I arrived - or even before I booked the concert? Nope. Would I have booked it or performed if I had? Nope.

I guess, judging by the title of the place, I should have known what it was all about, but I didn't catch on. The thought never even crossed my mind that places like this one even existed. Alas, the depravity of mankind! I should have known better! So, I would just like to briefly, but in no uncertain terms, apologize to all my friends who came out to the show. I guess from now on I have to ask venues beforehand "will you be playing pornos during my performance?"

So I guess the moral of this is if the bar name sounds even remotely sleazy, it just might be.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Website Woes

Okay. So maybe this isn't a common problem. And maybe this isn't even something that you, reader, can even relate to. But this is a true story about something I'm dealing with right now...

The short version is simple (which is all I will give you, unless you ask for the gruesome details):

I forgot to pay the domain name renewal fee on one of my websites, and the name got purchased by another party. This other party is now, essentially, trying to con me in to paying a very high price to buy the name back.

I know this all probably sounds very abstract; but, in a nutshell (if you're not familiar with this sort of stuff), you can buy website names just like you would buy real estate. If the demand for a certain lot is high, the seller can ask for more money. The same is true for websites. And, just like with real estate, people can (and *are*) investing in the domain business - buying domains they have no intentions of using, and selling them for more money than they paid for them.

Is it a scam? Well, maybe only because it's happening to me. I made an honest mistake in not renewing the domain name. The company that I use to renew names with is notorious for sending unmanageable quantities of emails to its users, and I just assumed that the several emails I deleted from them were just loaded with advertisements and junk I didn't need to read. Unfortunately for me, they were trying to tell me that they were putting my domain name back on the market.

Though I should have read those emails, I do have one more very good excuse: I have three credit cards on file with my domain name renewal company, it is difficult, using their website, to navigate to the "my account" credit card info section, and once there, users can't even delete old credit cards that don't work any more! Furthermore, I received a letter in the mail from the company that simply said "your domain will renew on 11/22/2008" - with no information about payment method. And finally, I have used two credit cards to pay for domains, but the company chose to use a third card - one that I haven't even used with the company since 2007! My most recently used credit card should have been used to make the purchase.

Alrighty, folks. Let's here your thoughts. Is this whole thing my fault?

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Say what you will
Say what you want
I'm not givin' up.

I am
I am lost with your love.