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   Part 4




SPIRALLING ABOVE THE ABYSS

January 2004 - While starting the vocal tracks for the Bootlegger - 200 Proof album a problem arises seemingly out of nowhere. I have a 24 channel hard drive recorder hooked up to a 24 channel mixing board, and when we started to record the vocal tracks and guitar overdubs, intermittently various tracks would not play. I could see on the hard drive recorder that they were there, but they wouldn't play or show on the board. This was bad enough, except that it was different tracks at any different time. It was maddening. This significantly slowed our recording process down.

March 2004 - Using the songs mixes that have most of the tracks, I begin to put together some demos to send out to booking agents to try and get the band some gigs. There's vocals and guitar overdubs on about 5 tracks, 3 of which by month's end I have decent mixes on with most of the tracks coming through. I still don't have a CD burner so we send them out on cassettes. It becomes that we either can't ever get the club booking agents on the phone, or they say they haven't listened to the recordings.

Ken and I have an old friend who has a recording studio back in the old neighborhood. So Ken takes our demo cassette over there and has the complete songs put on disc and gets a few copies made. This at least allows me to put the songs up online and to resend to a few of the Atlanta clubs in hopes that maybe someone will listen to our music.

April 2004 - Ken hooks us up on a gig at Sweetwater Inn out in Austell for a Battle Of The Bands benefit for a metro children's hospital. Most all the other bands were blues bands and of course it was a free show as far as pay went. It was great to get out and play alive again! Kilgore forgets to hook his microphone up on stage so we had no backing vocals; about half way through our set the club's soundman keeps the gain up on my microphone so that all you can hear is feedback. He does this for the better part of three songs. I guess maybe he wanted this punk band off the stage so that the blues groups could get back on. Regardless, the set is well received by the audience and we actually come close to the top on the voting on the winner of the battle of the bands at the end of the night.

Spring/Summer 2004 - The mixing board thing had me and the band completely pissed and it seemed like it was getting worse. This on top of the fact that The Gore was eating Oxies like they were candy and Ken and I couldn't get him to shut the hell up with some insane blathering about some wild dope fiend ideas. We still couldn't get through to the clubs, which after all the years I worked with bands struck me as patently ridiculous. I remember one day in early summer getting through to a half dozen clubs agents, two said they were busy and would call me back, two said they didn't book our kind of band, which was a load of horseshit, and two said they'd never heard of us. It was starting to get extremely irritating.

There were not that many clubs in metro Atlanta so it was beyond frustrating trying to book Bootlegger. Other problems started to become overbearing. My wrist was like glass and after 30-40 minutes of practice it would swell up all nice and red and where I could barely move it. We had moved on from the song list we had been rehearsing from the first album to writing new songs for our second, to be called Big Beat Boogie Woogie. We were moving in a more hard rock/blues feel and putting in some hours. It pissed me off to no end that I only had so long after starting to play when literally, I could not play anymore. I resisted for the most part hittin' up the Gore for some of his oxies, but after a while I'd drink more to mask the pain and rock on some more.

By mid summer we were bored of writing new stuff and jamming in the studio. I by this time had replaced all the wires hooking up the board to the recorder and it took me months because it cost a poor man a large fortune. When that didn't work I had opened the board only to see one huge curcuit board. I tried to get schematics and there were none online. So I couldn't do anything with that. Finally I had wired up my old Tascam board but now the problem was we only had 8 tracks to work with at any given time. It would have cost me more to have went somewhere to have the gear repaired than it was worth or that I could afford. We were pissed, very, very pissed.

August 2004 - Everyone in the band is getting restless so we decided to finish the final tracks on the Bootlegger recordings, which was a royal pain in the ass with tracks deciding on their own when they wanted to work. I decided all the vocals sucked and needed to be redone. The greatest weakness throughout the career has been the vocals, because I'm no singer. I wanted these recordings to be my best yet so I kept trying to do new ones or do overdubs and from one take or play to the next I could never tell which track would work. This became overly frustrating so I tried to mix without vocals thinking maybe I could get these damn tracks with most of the music onto a good recording mix somehow and do one live vocal track over them to cut down on having any more tracks to have to mix. When the drums would miss the high hat on one play, the bass drum or one of the guitar tracks would be gone the next, I seriously thought about throwing the mixing board out on Hwy 140 and setting it on fire.

Fall 2004 I tried to talk Ken into driving the band out to Los Angeles, telling him this placed was cursed with all the stupid shit going on and the messed up recordings. Ken had a new truck and would make it easily, even if all three of us had to squeeze in the cab. The Gore is like 6'4" 300, Ken is a big dude and I'm low on the totem poll but was back to pre-LA weight, so that is no small taters. Ken worried about getting out there and getting stuck, he had heard my tales of woe. We both knew the Gore was in bad shape and probably couldn't hold a job out there and we both knew we couldn't afford to feed and house the Gore. For the rest of the year though I tried. I was more than ready to get out of here.

Ken though I think got really anxious about it, he really did want to make it in a rock n roll band. We were a good band, more than ugly enough, and no one was getting any younger. Ken didn't drink or smoke, but for a while now he had a xanex script and he'd tell me often he had anxiety attacks, which from the outside the dude "usually" was calm. I remember later in 2005 at the Warped Tour Ken on a rampage workin' a merch booth, but that was about the only time I seen him lose his cool. When I was 14 and played in a band called Storm Trooper I cut grass to make side money for gear and stuff. I cut one yard behind Ken's who lived on another street, he'd come back to the fence and we'd talk about rock n roll. He had already graduated high school then and was on the scene. I always thought it was wild how he saw my sign out on the road and we played together in a band.

December 2004 - The gig front is looking hopeless so we decided to host a New Year's party at the studio. Since the spring I had been on the Myspace social networking site and began to use that to get up a guestlist. I had already been on things like Friendster, Bebo, made Yahoo groups and offsite forums, but Myspace had the multimedia integration where you could design your own webpage look that was cool. I had missed out being on the site much earlier when Tom who started the thing invited me in to beta the service before it went live. At the time I was busy enough with my sites so I never signed up. Hindsight is 20-20 ya know?

I also finished up experimenting with feedback for an album project I wrote called Quintessence. I didn't bother making anything but live jam cassette recordings of it because of all the frustration with the recording set up. We did go ahead and finish the last recordings for the album and I was tackling the mixing. That irritation aside the year ended with a great party and a decent recording we got New Year's. Another cat from the neighborhood Donald "Cool Breeze" Hayes came up and engineered the recording. With the help of Myspace we had a good crowd of new people and everyone had a good time.

February 2005 - Bootlegger was slated to get on a couple of open-air festivals later on in the summer, so that was something to look forward to. Later on though those would fall through. At the time it gave us something to work towards, and I had figured out a way to record live using my old Tascam 388's mixing board so we could digitally keep copies of our rehearsals and new stuff. Some of the tracks I began to work into software like Garageband to form a foundation for the new album. I also figured out I was going to have to somehow dump the 200 Proof album tracks onto the computer and get them into 1's and zero's if we were ever going to finish the album. Since it was on 24-tracks I've had to do 8-tracks at the time and then synch them up through the software. It also meant every 8 tracks I'd have to switch cables on the 388. I didn't start doing this to get stuff off the 24 track machine until much later, but at least there was a way.

March 2005 - I'm fed up with trying to mix with this fucked up equipment and don't even want to mess with setting up gigs. Ken and I try to find someone to book for us on spec or commission but everyone wanted an hourly wage and the few friends I had who might do it were a waste of time. We try to do it as an internship for Underground Records but couldn't get anyone reliable there either. At months end I go ahead and set up another party for the studio the next month to try and relieve the pressure of going nowhere.

At this point Ken was regularly jamming with a blues band, who'd he played with from time to time the whole period we'd been a band together. This took something from our band time so I began to look around for players to reform Rebel Messiah because I had plenty of music that wasn't Bootlegger style stuff to work on. I started to get some of my older non-completed recordings off a couple of old computers and put those into Garageband. I had plenty of work to do with the zines and was beginning to try and set up Rockfest as a franchise event to get more people involved and have numerous events nationwide. I also began to put out feelers to get Rockfest to happen somewhere outside the US.

April 2005 - I meet a promoter online who is having a festival in Brazil. She and I talk about my Rockfet as roving festival concept and she decides to come on as the Rockfest for Brazil. This wouldn't go past the one-off, but it gave me some fire to try and make Rockfest 2005 happen in a series of great shows like never before. While I wouldn't make anything off the Brazil festival, at the time it seemed sponsoring something like that was the way to go. There were numerous other Rockfest concerts now, and of course I'd cuss everyone of them, especially since every time I start to talk mine up and set something up, the other shows would either be confused or take interest from mine. I had never had the money for a proper trademark, so by now this was severely affecting being able to have an unique event. I hoped the co-sponsoring of other events would give me the opportunity to rebuild my brand.

Towards the end of the month Bootlegger plays the second party at my place. From the online promoting through Myspace a lot more people showed up, enough so that we got enough complaints that the police were called. You would expect with me being the focus of the county budget that it'd been an all out raid. The uniformed guy wasn't part of the wrecking crew though. He was cool and said just to keep the door shut and keep the traffic from backing up on the highway, he had no trouble with us having a party. We rocked on!

May 2005 - The Gore was starting to nod off in rehearsal and Ken and I both could just look at one another and shake our heads. It was a rough time.

There is pain throughout my wrist constantly which is hampering creativity and my ability to find work doing music in working bands. I am totally frustrated with not being able to finish neither the Bootlegger or Rebel Messiah albums because of a piece of shit mixing board that mysteriously only works when it wants to, and half assed at that. The Tascam's reel-to-reel function has now went on the blink and I can't get anything off the old tapes to remaster and digitize. It's total bullshit that I have over 30 albums on reel-to-reel to remaster and put on the net and I can't even fucking mix the bitches. WTF???

June 2005 - I set up a 4th of July party for the studio to record and use for a new live album and to do another round of trying to get an agent and get booked. I'd been working on the mark-up for the Jambone zine for a long time now, with nothing but a few one-sheeters to show for it. I finally got to it amongst the clutter of happenings and put it out the second week in June. By now I was getting so tired of the work load on the zines I was seriously thinking about quitting doing most of them. So I decided to begin figuring out what to cut. I often think if I'd had some help what that might have become. At times being a one-man show as been really hard. I thought it was time to cut back.

July 2005 - The 4th of July party at the studio wasn't as big as the one in April. I had done RSVP for invitations so that helped to keep the numbers down instead of promoting the party as an open invitation. Donald was back behind the boards and I had set the mics up to get most things better sound wise. Kilgore moved the bass mic while he was adjusting his amp so after the show I found out we had no bass recorded! It sounded way off. There were also problems with the guitar mic which weren't caught during the set; it was up against the speaker mesh so you got a nice loud buzzing throughout the recording. Basically, the recording was useless. Kilgore and I tried to put overdubs in for both the guitar and bass, but the results were unsatisfactory to use as a marketing and promotion tool.

That really seemed to cool the band. All in all everything we'd tried didn't work out. Soon, in a matter of days we'd be over with, though sporatically we'd jam every once in a while even into 2006. In 2005 though I had a few songs for various e.p.'s, albums and projects I had started on outside of the band, so I finished up writing for those but didn't do any recordings besides a few demos because I was fed up there too, on recording things, because I felt like I had more than a few recordings already in process that needed finishing. The year would come to an end for me musically working in new directions and once again looking for a new band.

There was plenty of crazy though, outside of rock n roll, goin' down for all outside of me to act like a fuckin' idiot. You have to remember the time frames here, decades and ongoing. Here is another series of wacked out psychotic incidents which puts the best of sci-fi to waste!

In late summer I was in the local Food Lion when coming down the isle was a really wild eyed guy and some girl who wouldn't look at me. I just figured they were tweaks until they stopped and the guy told me I needed to be careful. I asked him careful of what and he told me I was playing with the wrong people. At this point I couldn't really play dumb so I just took it he was part of the party. Strangely though a few days later at the post office some other guy said I needed to give those people their money back. He wouldn't talk to me either when I asked what people, and what money.

About a week later I was up at my cousins. We call her Bulldog and she's a sight. She always seems to be in the middle of all kinds of crazy shit. She asked me what I was doing now and I told her about the band and trying to get up a new one, and that maybe I was gonna take a cruise since I was the local crime lord, rich and famous and maybe I'm even call the band that next time around. She laughed and said yeah she'd heard about my international crime ring, so I asked her, please, tell me more.

She said she had been getting meth from some guy driving a jeep who told her he was a big cat with the biggest motorcycle gang here in Georgia. Said they were pissed at me cause they'd left a load of shit in my parking lot in a car and that I had found it, sold the dope and kept the money. Suddenly Bulldog's tall tale seemed very interesting. There indeed had been a car left in my parking lot for over 5 days a few weeks before. I had finally called the police and had it towed off.

Bulldog said they wanted their dope AND their money back, which happened to be $50,000. She said they told her if I didn't at least get the money back, I was a gone gobbler. Bulldog teared up when she told me this and I knew then and there serious threats were being made to commit violence against me. I also knew I was being extorted. Since I had, I suppose, been a waste of time and pissed off the gods of law, I needed to pay for the party now. I told her to tell her friend to come talk to me during the day and if he had a problem we'd deal with it. I told her tell him not at some crazy early morning hours because I had been getting knocking on my door late at nights for some time now. I followed up with her a week later to ask if she's told him, she said she did but she couldn't get in touch with him now, he was supposedly out of town, but that she'd sure like to because he had the killer crank and she was in need!.

Well, Bulldog can tell some tales, but honestly she's not that smart to have made that up, and since other people were warning me about dangerous people who I "owed" money to, I believed her intricate story. Only a damned fool would have thought it all BS. Just too many pieces from too many angles, fit. I decided violence or some fucked up take down was surely any day. It was a fabulous way to live life! She told me they wanted to know how I made my living, since they were watching my websites and knew I didn't make any money with my "band". She said they knew I wasn't in the mafia 'cause they'd checked that out. She said they were mad some gangster was gonna out gangster them, she said he was adamant THEY owned the streets, here and worldwide and that I should stay off their turf. Arrows were all kinda pointing to the same target.

It however, was not "just" violent biker gangs, if at all. This criminal horseshit was being created and coming from, law enforcement.

Late fall 2005 - After the load of dope bullshit I knew my life was being directly threatened and had had enough. I went to the ACLU.

Now, the ACLU may do plenty of good things for people, yet they won't hardly take a case like mine to offset "potential" violence, they'll wait till AFTER you get the living shit beat out of you or attempts have been made on your life. They wrote back a few months later and told me I needed video, affidavits, and maybe some other kind of evidence before they'd consider my case. I wired up a game-boy mike from my studio to the other side of the store where the squad liked to park. It was hell to hear anything but it worked good for an alarm for a few months, I could at least hear people pulling in. Video was a problem and besides just the cars it was hard to tell who was in them. In early 2006, someone ripped the microphone off the wire and I didn't bother to replace it. Nice I thought, real nice.

Winter 2006 - I began around the turn of the year trying to book a tour for a french band called Moonstone who wanted to come over and tour the US. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into booking other bands and hoped to get a band together to open for them. Another act, called Turn-21, were interested in having me represent them planned to come up from Brazil to tour here around the same time. I decided to set the whole thing up using the two foreign bands with my new band opening.

Quickly I remembered why I hated trying to book bands and shows. Long distance calls were expensive and I was having trouble just even keeping phone service on. Neither band was known in the US hardly at all, and even though they both could send me promo stuff in bulk, making the kits up and then mailing them from my end was real expensive now. I could get some dates but no secured money, though the band from France said that didn't matter. After a few months though I had spent money I didn't have and didn't have any more than a hand full of no-paying club gigs. I told them I wouldn't be able to book their tour.

I played a few parties with members of the Road Dogs as my backing band the first few months of 2006. It wasn't that good but it wasn't that bad. They all had paying jobs and other real bands so they wouldn't quit them to try and do anything with me on the road. I was thankful though to be able to play a little bit.

April 2006 - I had been going back and finishing up some older recordings from albums I had pieces and parts of. I really needed to get my gear fixed and get some stuff replaced, both of which took money. I started looking for any kind of extra job and even tried to learn some cover music and maybe try out for a working band. My wrist was against long hour so I got disgusted trying to learn songs and quit. As spring came on I began to bring up the old knowledge I had of the earth, because I knew without money the only way to treat my injuries was with stuff I could grow. As spring began to come on I began looking forward to collecting herbs and seeing if I could get the medicines to help me.

I had plenty of words of prayer with the Lord during this time. I came to see it wasn't this "place" that was fucked up, it was the systems that had allowed, funded, and expanded the bullshit I'd been through for well over half a decade now. Even as far back as the late 80's, eveidence would eventually show. I felt bad for our nation, because it should not be like this. I knew too that lots of big things in big systems take place for end results. I knew too that someone like myself that is taken advantage of by some of these same systems is not positive, in any way. Of couse people in power or having delusions about their greatness will never see it this way. I knew only God could say otherwise, not a little man, so I asked him to forgive these people and these systems. He said no.

May 2006 - I'd gotten a job as a cook at the new Cracker Barrel in town to try and get out of debt and maybe get some kind of reliable vehicle. Another one of the cooks (the legendary wrestling promoter and best grill cook in Georgia, Hawkeye) asked me what I thought about Sparky's Dad (Sparky was what the head of the Bartow Task force was called, cause he was "a live wire") getting arrested. I didn't know what he was talking about, so I researched it online and found out in fact it was true. I thought that was weird as hell, since just a few days before the local paper had ran a big article on his Dad proclaiming him a hero and praising his efforts and work for the state and law enforcement. Later on the next year I ran across a few more articles, and I suppose lots of folks had been partying mightly along for many, many years. Obviously, my "fantasies" and "paranoia" had been well placed. Later that summer, the father would plead guilty to what I take as being one of the "lessor" crimes going on during the party.

Things racketed down only slighty with the "Fuck Todd" squad. There were still plenty of players left in the game, though long ago my little one man team had got tired of the game. You can't quit though, by God in America you're gonna stand up for the team, for the nation. It didn't make what had happened, and would would continue to happen, ok by anyone in their right mind. I began to see how God had things under control. I would never accept what went on as being ok, whatever things I'm supposed to have done or been involved with, which seems to be not much of anything, ever come miles close to being as bad as what has/is being done towards me. Yet I knew, long before I ever got here, that's the way the devil works.

June 2006 - I set up a gig at a local swimming hole with another band but had the production crew cancel at the last minute because they were afraid without a permit we'd get shut down. I had it with booking other bands and decided to just concentrate on one show a year and that was Rockfest. Hawkeye and I decided a Rock/Wrestling Fest would be a good thing and decided to do it in Trion where he put on wrestling shows. We set the date for August and I began to get up the bands and promote the show. I made the stupid mistake of trusting the PA guys who had abandoned me at the creek party. Since we were at an actual venue I figured they'd be on board and they had the gear. It would turn out to be another big mistake.

Summer 2006 - All summer long I enjoyed working with and learning about medicinal herbs. I began spending more time outside and being there with nature was relaxing. it didn't so much feel I was trapped here anymroe, and I was more grateful for small things. My old Soul had an intense warmth when it came to the Gifts of the Earth. I thought about the ancient Angelic Wars and things my enemies did then, and could see the darkness reflected in the things the humans liked to pass out as goodwill. I wondered if I should get directly more involved and use those things against them. I decided to let God handle it and just try to help myself and others with his love and knowledge, both of which he has been more than generous of with me.

I decided to invite some people from all over, government as well as religious leaders, to my place and we'd talk about God, The Word, and how things were going in this nation, and in other nations. The world economy then was in a fantastic go-go place, and I am sure my invitation got ignored or perhaps even the wrong idea. I never got real responses from my invites. I expected that. Things were too good for them to consider maybe in reality they were not. I was sure in time, they'd find out things they didn't want to know.

August 2006 - Time approached for Rockfest 2006, less than 3 weeks away and once again my production guys pull out on me. They said they had paying gigs and unless I could come up with similar money to pay for them to do Rockfest they would not be setting up. I told them the deal was to split the door and I was not selling tickets presale, so until the gig happened I didn't have any money. This didn't seem to matter, so finally I had to try and reschedule Rockfest and just cancel the Trion event. I was by this time sick of it all and decided Rockfest 2006 wasn't in the cards. I instead concentrated on looking for new band members and finishing up a few of the Angel Of War soundtrack numbers to post online.

Late 2006 - I finished out the year trying to find members to gig with under the Rebel Messiah name. I continued to work on remastering older music that had not been up online and decided to finish the Angel Of War sountrack since I had newer movie script ideas and wanted to work on new material for them. I held a few tryout sessions for the band but nothing came of them. I asked the Road Dogs if I could get some dates playing with them to maybe earn some money. They said they'd let me know.

Winter 2007 - I had been putting up some recordings ad-hoc from a never completed album of mine called Damn Telephone every so often since 04-05ish. It was some of the over four hours of answering machine stuff I had recorded over the past few years, with ambient and feedback guitars fleshing out the soundscapes. In early 2007 I got most of the album finished but never got much of anything else mixed down. Maybe one day, but don't count on it. A few of the tracks, like "Jersey" were released in 2009 and later on the 2014 compilation Sidestage.

March 2007 - I had been putting the Trip 248 show up online for almost as many years as I'd been online. There was enough growing traffic downloading and streaming the show now that numbers reading my online blogs about the show were really growing; I decided once again to start doing the show monthly. I also began to look at some of the live streaming services that were springing up all over the internet. I began to think about doing a weekly show also.

Spring 2007- Mostly in early-mid 2007 I was concentrating on trying to finish and update some older recordings. I had a few new songs I'd work on occassionally but there were years and years of stuff already written, recorded, and a mass of online stuff that needed to be archived, so I had plenty to do without even thinking about new stuff. Though the Underground Entertainment portal hadn't really got off the ground, there were hundreds of web pages that needed to be updated. The portal was supposed to have been a one stop for musicians and music lovers, but I began to think I should discontinue and take most of that stuff down, since over the past couple of years better, well staffed and funded websites had taken up the slack and proved all the info I had, usually in a better, more professional way, and then some.

July 2007 - New music was coming to me and I decided to work some of it up for a new album. As I started putting in the time I noticed my wrist was worse than ever. It wasn't a nusance so much as a straight out disablement anymore. I had insurance at work so I went to see a doctor about it, finally. My wrist had been shattered I was told. To get it fixed with no guarantee it'd be more funtional or without pain, plus the fact the insurance wouldn't pay for it because it was an old injury meant it was way, way too expensive to happen. This completely pissed me off and gave me a worse attitude than I'd had before. I cannot tell you how it is, words cannot describe. Angry? Completely Devastated? Those terms hardly come close.

August 2007 - Wrapped up writing for the Papyrus album. The stuff I had done live while jamming ended up being the only recordings I made of the material on the written for the album was some of the looser ambient stuff I had ever done. I was really beginning to be limited in what I could do on the guitar, so where stuff in the past might have been fast with a lot of jamming; the latest stuff was mostly single note strikes with effects and feedback. Forming and holding chords was painful, using more open chords and single notes or simpler chords allowed me to play more with a little less pain. It wasn't the best stuff I had written, but listening to some of it now the change in my playing style around this time is utterly profound.

Also in August I started my weekly live show through a service called NowLive. The quality was basically AM talk radio, yet it gave me a chance to help some of the bands, past, present and future, get some exposure and airplay since besides the internet most of the print media ouside of indie zines and all commercial radio had been mainstream for a while now. The internet was offering many new ways for bands to market and promote themselves and I wanted to do the live show to do my part for the underground. The first five years the weekly show featured an in-studio crew of myself, various friends and bands. The show did call-in interviews with bands and listeners and some shows drew hundreds of listeners. After then, the internet as a whole fragmented more and the creeping death of politics brought out more conspiracy theories than you can ccount. At first though, it was just on my end, mostly rock n roll.

I decided to try and reform the label and do internet only releases, but have Rockfest as a focus point. I decided when I got to that point to call the new company Rockfest International and put what was left of the Underground Entertainment Network site skeletons in the pit with the rest. I began to think about re-releasing all my old stuff, the unreleased recorded stuff and any new stuff out on the Underground Records label.

September 2007 - I rode out to California with some friends of mine who were going to some big dance parties, had a blast and thought about relocating again. Yet I had no money and not even a way to get there. I was really enjoying working with the plants now and life seemed half-way peaceful back in A'ville so I decided against moving. I did meet some people still in the music industry while I was there and actually got a couple of low paying job offers. I said I'd think about it. I updated the blogs and stuff while on the road and saw it didn't really mater where I was as far as online stuff went, and knew in cali the new weekly show might have a better chance of breaking out and definitely there was a real music scene there. My son was getting ready to graduate high school in the spring then get ready for college and the rest of my family were getting older, plus now looking back I can see there was more in the the works than I knew about. I suppose now I should have moved then or soon after, no money, and just went for it.

November 2007 - I had got fed up with a new manager at the Barrel and left. I had worked there for well over a year and had only gotten one real raise. It wasn't the easiest work and we were under-paid somewhat. After our original good manager left to take another store over they moved in a major asshole who was more interested in getting his bonus than getting along with his employees. After he turned me down by two points on a grading scale to get a raise and told me I'd need to wait 6 weeks to think about trying the tests again, I basically told him off and left. Now I was completely broke and trying to put together something in the way of a business to try and live. Things were harder than they seemed.

December 2007 - Lucked up and got a job at a local truckstop fuel desk. Pay was terrible but it was a job. I almost didn't get the job because when they did a background check the truckstop manager told me the local law dogs who did the check were shocked and asked her why I was going to work there and why I needed a job. I guess in their minds it was amazing my extensive crimminal enterprises had not let me retire by now. She said their reaction almost made her rethink about hiring me, that she thought I was a narc they were putting in there for some reason. I didn't think it was funny, at all.

January 2008 - After I decided Rockfest would be the focus of my new company, I had began in the last part of 2007 looking for venues to host the event and for others outside my region who I could network with on having the event in other areas, and in other countries. I had a promoter on the east coast whom I thought was going to work with me on doing a Rockfest in Philly, and my new friends in California said if I'd come out we could do one or more there on the west coast. I'd also met via Myspace a promoter in Australia named Karen who was interested in doing one down under. We confirmed the date for Rockfest OZ to take place in June and I began looking into getting her some media support and a sponsor or two down there. Things looked promising.

February 2008 - Finally began to take the time and transfer the Bootlegger album from the hard disc recorder onto a computer. It was slow going but over the next few months I'd get most of the album transferred and release a few fullly mastered mixes out online. It was good to hear the old stuff again and there was another couple of albums of mine on the hard disc recorder that needed transferring. I had to rewire everything though when I'd do my live weekly show, so after I got most of the Bootlegger transferred I got lost in other work and never finished it, nor transferred the other stuff. One day, maybe, it will all get done.

March 2008 - Talking to someone who had some land a few counties over about doing Rockfest there. They called me up later that night and they said they had seen online another event was going to happen the next month called Rockfest. I followed the link info and sure enough, someone was having one in Georgia, which would not help mine since I'd be promoting and selling tickets to an event of the same name. I got in touch with the bands and the promoter insisting they change the name to something else. Of course I just came across like an asshole, yet I was tired of crazy stuff like this happening year after year and hurting my event. I finally told the promoter to go ahead and have his event and wished him well, and just send me some tickets. I asked him please to call his events something else in the future. Of course he'd do no such thing I'd see later on.

April 2008 - I decided to discontinue doing the Underground Top 100 charts, which I had done most of the past 12 years. It had helped spotlight an unknown number of new bands and music, yet it was really time consuming and I began to feel I needed to work on my own stuff, no more than one webzine, and Rockfest. I think the new weekly show was a better format to turn people on to new music. I had already quit doing the other zines besides The Underground Sound, so I'd do the charts for a little while longer, but an era there was coming to an end.

As spring went on I decided to offer the herbs I grew via online mailorder. It was a slow start which after it was all said and done never made any money. Like many other things though I know they help people and it's just not about "selling" something. On sunny days I'd get my jars and containers out and have them on the porch on the store. It was still full of my sister's stuff so I had to clear out a little spot to put the table with the jars. It was no big thing, yet it was relaxing and I could share what I'd learned and knew and maybe learn from others. I decided in May to register my little farm so that I could deduct what I spent on raising the herbs off on taxes if I ever made any money. I was proud of my little herb farm, and I think God was too.

Summer 2008 - I began to round up bands to play my open-air Rockfest here in Georgia, and made plans to go out to California riding with one of the truckers that came through work to get things set up out there for a fall event. The LA Downtown Authority was hell on street parties now but I'd made contact online with someone who lived in Riverside country that had high-desert land and plenty of it. It was turning into a lot of work but I think it was gonna be cool, or so I thought.

June 21st Rockfest 2008 was in Cairns Australia. My son Raven had the opportunity to go down to Australia with a scholastic group and would be there at exactly the same time. I had hoped to go for the event myself, but whatever money I had would go towards his trip. I figured if it went well I'd go down next year. I told him to go by while he was down there on his trip and check out the show, which he had exactly no interest in doing. It was wild though he got to go to Australia when Rockfest happened down there, and I didn't. As it turned out Karen had a rough time with things, so it'd been doubtful me showing up would have made anything better. I am sure she didn't want to be involved with Rockfest again so I didn't even approach her about it again the next year.

August 2008 - Put out ads online and did flyers at clubs trying to find members to play with me on a tour I wanted to do in 2009 to celebrate 30 years of being in bands and the music industry. I jammed with some folks but it seemed they either want to play older style music or they were much younger and wanted to play emo. It was frustrating. It didn't help that the day after my birthday a week before Rockfest in Georgia the land owner decided since we weren't doing presale tickets that no one would show up and he wouldn't make any money. He pulled out and since our deal had been sealed with a handshake I had no recourse.

I knew better, but again I trusted people, and got screwed. I got absolute hell from the bands, some of whom had set up complete tours just to be here to play Rockfest. I lost interest in trying to do any more events for 2008, and started concentrating on having something better planned, and bigger for 2009.

For the rest of 2008 I kept up trying to get with new players for the band. It seemed like the ads I put out didn't get any response at all. I can look back and see for the better part of the past 20 years, from usenet through today's online social networks, except for short months or years when I had a band, I kept an ad running either looking for people to form a band or looking for a band to join the whole time! I did a couple of sit-in's with the Road Dogs, and somehow I kept the juices flowing, barely!

Winter 2009 - Things looked kinda bleak as 2009 rolled in. We kept hearing that the truck stop was going to close which kept everyone uneasy. I had decided to try and network with some of the other Rockfests instead of just being the foil guy. I contacted a few that were on the horizon and began doing some ads and flyers for them online. This seemed a better, less tense senario that just blasting away at the competition without any money and no good events to showcase. I started looking right away for the right place to host an open air festival in the local, surrounding area.

By February I was again having tryouts for Rebel Messiah. Like the times before not many responded and even fewer were people I could play with. The Road Dogs said they were going to split up soon, retirement they said, and that if they got any gigs I could play with them and maybe earn some money. I was tired of working on recordings by myself in the studio and deeply wanted to get back in with a band. Soon I would discover that basically, I wouldn't be able to work full time as a musician anymore.

A truck driver who also lived local had told me if I wanted a good watch dog he'd hook me up, and indeed he did in early February. I really didn't want a house dog with all the equipment and stuff I had laying around, but Spike was so cute I took him home anyway. Within a few weeks he had so much stuff torn up I was thinking about giving him away. He got to understand though my house wasn't his to tear apart, though for most of his first year he was a holy terror.

I set a target date for Rockfest to take place August 15th. I contacted the largest developed park around which was Ridge Ferry Park in Rome Georgia and told them what I wanted to do. It sounded good to the girl who was the coordinator for special events there. She said it sounded great and she'd get up the contracts for me. I thought it sounded good but was concerned about the cost, plus the place took all the consessions which wasn't good. I planned on getting sponsors for this year's event and had good leads on those too, even in a bad and getting worse economy. I planned on multiple stages and at least 60 bands.

March 2009 - I began getting my beds ready for spring on the farm. I also hooked up with T-Bone who worked with me at the truckstop and was a drummer. We started jamming and holding tryouts for Rebel Messiah. It seemed like things might finally work out somehow, maybe something positive for a change.

At the one month mark I still did not have a contract with Ridge Ferry Park and couldn't get anyone on the phone or return my phone calls. I didn't like that atmosphere of non-communication so I went to the Rome-Braves Stadium to see if that was a possiblity. I had a pretty good meeting with the woman there who did the events and she said she'd have me a turn-key type contract to look at in a few weeks. Once again presale tickets and Rockfest merchandise were the main ways to make money since they too took all consessions. I didn't really like this consessions horseshit but the place had power, plenty of parking, and she told me they could help with the staging and sound production if need be. I didn't hold my breath and was glad I didn't. Never heard back from her and once again my calls were never returned.

In April I knew I had to get cooking on Rockfest if I was going to make the August date. Against my better judgment I started approaching music venues in downtown Rome for a multi-venue one-day series of showcases. Right away everyone seemed to want to be part of Rockfest 2009. I'd had problems in Rome before doing shows, but the vibe seemed good, if not a little strange, so I went forward 100% with plans for Rockfest in August.

Last of April NowLive cut out all it's free shows so I had to find a new place for the weekly Live At Underground show. A friend from Spain told me his band played live on Ustream so I set up an account for the show, and in March I started to broadcast through that service. Immediately it was better. Better sound and with a fully functioning widget I could use to promote the show. The number of listeners began to steadily climb. My old computer wouldn't run a camera to broadcast online so that part of the service was useless to me. Still, for a while Ustream worked great as the home of Friday night's Live At Underground Records.

May 2009 - I put together the first pasture party of the year down below town in a pasture where we'd had parties in the past. It was a bit off the road down a private drive and on private property, so we could have cool gigs with a minimum of hassle. I wanted Rebel Messiah ready to play the gig, but T-bone and I still didn't have a full time bass player (we'd already went through one who came to a few practices and then quit coming altogether) and a friend who was going to sit in with us at the gig had a family emergency at the last minute, so we didn't get to play. Great party though and a nice crowd. It was kind of a bummer not getting to jam.

Summer 2009 - I was working all day long out on the farm and working on the webzine and websites at nights. Slowly, very slowly I was getting some nice herb beds in and was approaching the 8 acre mark having it sewn in wild and domestic herb beds. I'd spend a lot of time outside and now really appreciated the earth and locations. I was thankful I had been given the opportunity to develop this little farm for God and though it was nothing special, I figured within a few years and some hard work, it might be. In June the truckstop had closed down so basically as far as a real paycheck I was unemployed again. I had two businesses registered with the state so I began trying to get them functioning as real companies in hopes of getting some kind of income stream. With the depression hitting hard it was beyond rough.

T-Bone and I were still jamming and still reaching out to try and get a bass player. He was getting restless and so was I. By early June he had gone on to jam with some other people so I was basically back to square one. I went to try out with some other bands who mostly played covers because I desperately needed the money. First couple didn't go so well because I had always played my own, original music for the most part. I didn't know all the classic rock and new songs the other bands did. For my third shot I had the band send me a list of the songs they played and I sat down to try and learn them.

As I tried to teach myself the cover songs, many of them using drop tuning, I came to realize the hours I would need to play to do the job learning close to 100 songs were going to be excruciating. Within 30 minutes my wrist was swollen, turning red and locking up. After a few days I simply could not stand the pain and quit playing. I emailed the band and said I wouldn't be back to try out. The last couple of years my herbal treatments had helped my hand, but with it being so messed up inside the low grade inflammation was affecting my whole body. Putting a work load on my playing hand for anything over 45 minutes of hard playing was becoming impossible. It pissed me off to no end.

July 2009 - At the end of June I had a break and met an old friend online, whom I had jammed with a few times over the years who was jamming with another bass player and I went over and jammed with them. They knew a guy that had a great place and threw huge parties near Lindale, Georgia. We worked up a set of my originals and jammed on some new songs I had, plus a couple of sets of punk and metal covers I could half way fake. On July 4th we played at the place in Lindale with a couple of other bands. Since I practiced with the other guys twice (actually only one full practice with the bass player) it was a rough set, but it felt good to play live again. We only had time to do the set of my new songs I'd worked on the last few months for an album I was calling Massive, and that was fine given my hand problems. We called ourself the Booze Hounds since the drummer's wife told had us years before when I first jammed with him that we weren't a band, just a bunch of hounds looking for the free booze. It was appropriate, and for the 4th of July gig, we lived up to the name!

Rockfest started having serious problems the second week in July. Originally I had six clubs set up, one with two stages and was in the process of booking 100 bands to play the event. Already one venue had called and said they had messed up and cross-booked another act, who was a national, and that they'd have to pull out. One of the bands I had booked L.I.E. asked about the shows being all ages. I wasn't sure so I told them to contact the club where they would be playing. They came back to me and sent me an email where the club said they weren't involved with Rockfest. This was news to me! I began calling and emailing the club. After a few days with no response I went to the club but missed the owner by a few minutes I was told. Finally over a week later the club owner returned my email and said he had cancelled the show, forgot to tell me. Yeah, I was pissed, not only at the club but at myself for not making up a contract. I trusted people on a handshake, and once again I got fucked.

The damn place was actually in the same location as the club years before that had messed up Rockfest. I should have known! Even though the club had the best stage and in fact was the one club with two stages, I still had 4 venues to work with and began swapping out time slots to get all the bands a spot. I had already spent over $400 on printing tickets, VIP laminates and flyers. Not to mention time and gasoline. I was concerned about the other venues so I sent out an email and started calling making sure everything was a go. It wasn't.

The production crew I can set up to do the 2 stages at the one venue were getting paid by a percentage of the door. Now that they were down a venue they wanted to be paid in full to do the third stage they were handling at another venue. I told them I couldn't do that and basically offered them the full door at that venue. It was a smaller place and they came back and said no deal. As I began trying to work all the bands into three clubs, the team handling the production at one of the venues went out of business. When I asked to rent the gear for the night and I'd do all the production work I was told they had sold their gear off. Another venue came back and said they had never said they would take part in Rockfest, but still had not said they weren't either (???). Once again my stupidity shone in not having a written agreement because I said are we all set? He said yeah, we'd shook hands and once again I was wrong to trust people. The owner kinda got hot saying he hadn't heard from me since April but I had emails I'd sent him through May and into June with the lineups and listing his club. Called a couple of times in June too but he was always too busy in the restaurant to take my call. Whatever man, whatever.

So I was now down to one venue, which I had paid rental for, but didn't have a sound crew. I thought about using my old beat up stuff to piece together something that would work and told the bands about the situation. Most dropped out and of course a few went the rounds making sure everyone knew I was a "rip-off". I really didn't need this so I decided to cancel the event. One of the bands emailed and said they could do the production at the remaining club. At this point I was like fine, let's do it. A week later though the guy came back and said he had a death in the family and they wouldn't be able to do the show. So finally, Rockfest 2009 had went from five venues and 100 bands to nothing in less than a month, cancellation. It sucked.

For the rest of August I put ads up online to try and get a band back together, since the guys in the Booze Hounds could only do an off-gig every once in while because of their jobs. In the studio I was back to messing around with half or not working equipment. The tape machine was long unusable for lack of parts to repair it and the Mac G-5 I was using as the studio machine began to experience stability problems. Why some of these severe electronic equipment problems were taking place might have been coincidental, a decade later I would not be so sure.

October 2009 - Halloween 2009 The Boozehounds played another great party that was over flowing with people near Stoner Chapel road south of town. It was probably the second bigget crowd of people I'd ever played for. I tried to talk the guys that night into cutting my new stuff with me in the studio and they said we'd talk about it, but it seemed more than likely possible. I wanted to book some more shows but everyone else had good jobs and with things like they were with the economy, no one wanted to have to ask for a night or day off and possibly cause trouble at work. I understood, but I was ready to play, regardless how rough we sounded because of lack of practice, there simply is nothing like playing live in a band, in front of crowds of people.

The final quarter of 2009 I had also started working producing a local rap artist called C.A.M.O.. I was hoping to finish his album and once again have something to put out and work on the Underground Records label. It was sounding good, and I'm not the biggest rap or hip hop fan, but I began to see that CAMO and many more in St. Elmo had something there. There was a good chance, with the right work, and luck, we could break something out of there. Luck had been missing from my projects for the most part for a long time. It felt good to be helping a new artist do their first real recordings, and helping them to fulfill their dreams.

January 2010 - I started off 2010 with stacks of lyrics to over 50 of my older albums which I had never typed in and published online. I began to do one or two of these a week and had actually started in late 2009 by redoing and putting back up many of the album lyrics I had once had online but in my last server switch over years ago had never put back up. I put up the ads again for band members, but wasn't in such a hurry, because I had enough lyrics and unfinished music to keep me busy for a few years. I decided if I had the chance I'd put a band together, but I was determined to get alot of these loose albums compiled and placed online. I dove into the old album's lyrics sheets and came face to face with a fact I already knew; I had more stuff written than most artists do in two careers, and it was time to somehow do this music. I began to look forward to a day in the near future when I'd spend massive amounts of time on this.

February 2010 - I put out the last call for stuff I never could find the owners to from the days when I took stuff on consignment. I don't have the room to continue to hold the stuff and will soon get rid of it. I hate to do it because these bands and labels trusted me with their stuff. I was actually surprised one of the bands came forward after 15 years to claim their stuff. Now if I can just get the money up to mail the stuff back!

I got kicked off of Ustream after complaints about some of the music I was playing. I put the show up on Stickam and tried to get either an analog-to-digital converter to use on of my old ancient video cameras, a camera that will work with my old computer, or possibly build a new computer or find one cheap enough to buy that will run a camera.

Gcast quit adding new streams to it's online podcast service during February. I had been streaming the Trip 248 Show through GCast since the Winter 2007 show. It was another end of an era, if indeed a short era. I'm testing out some replacements, but for now though folks will just have to download the shows directly. The economy has really hurt alot of streaming services. I saw where my original Friday night live service, nowlive.com, was trying to remake itself as some kind of entertainment venture.

March 2010 - I've looked at a few places to do an open-air Rockfest. One spot looks good if I can secure the permits. Money will of course be a problem, yet I hope when I hammer down the right location and maybe get some help I can get a few sponsors. I'm looking forward to writing and recording again. Got one song from Massive finished w/ me solo on everything, all tracks done except the guitar, and all that's lacking there is inspiration, but I haven't played alot in a long time, so it's about time.

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