Toward the end of our recent tour with Reverend Horton Heat, I asked Jimbo (bassist) what was the greatest piece of advice he ever received in his musical career and how he utilized it. His answer came as we parted on the last night:
“Be humble, don’t be a rock star, and don’t take this shit for granted.”
Those words truly hit home because Koffin Kats won’t be touring as heavily as we have in the last year and a half. I finally began living out my dreams, and the foot already is easing onto the brake pedal. While it’s going to be a bummer to not be out on the road with Koffin Kats as much, the upside is I’ve got more time to be productive.
It’s about time I wrote again. I said I’d update more often, but every time I sit down to write, I begin thinking about all of the other “more productive” things I could be doing, that I believe I am doing. The truth is, I haven’t been productive. Sure, I’ve been “busy”, but that doesn’t mean I’ve actually produced anything other than posts on social media (this one included!). This fact bugs the hell out of me. I preach: be proactive and not reactive; focus on “is” rather than “should”; act your way into feeling, not the other way around; don’t waste a moment. I need to practice more of what I preach.
So, due to the lighter touring schedule and the return of good sense, I will be operating on several musical fronts…
1. Power Trio – I haven’t really played my drums seriously in over a year, and the 4-year old me would kick my ass if he heard me say that. So I put together a group with my two former Bat On Fire bandmates, Mike (guitar) and Wolf (bass), and we’re gonna play a show on Thursday, May 14 at Simon’s in Allen Park, MI. We’re getting together tomorrow to rehearse some material we know, and we’re writing and recording a couple of original tunes to be released at the show. Click here for the Facebook event page.
2. New songs – While out on the road, I’ve been writing snippets of lyrics and brainstorming on different musical ideas. I’ve postponed working on and releasing new stuff until after I get my 10-song solo album mastered. But that’s still a few months away at least, and I’ve not released ANYTHING other than the first single from that album and the Talking Heads cover I did with my pal Joe. That was right before I started touring. Screw it. I’m not waiting any longer. I’ve got songs almost ready to go which aren’t a part of that album, and I plan to finish them myself and put them out there for you to hear. Plus, I’ve been inspired greatly in the past couple of weeks and have been penning new songs which I’m eager to begin recording. Creative juices are certainly flowing. Lots to come.
3. Studio services – Being on the road so often with Koffin Kats, while eminently rewarding, severely limits my availability to produce and mix for budding artists. Now that we’re reducing the amount of shows I’m happy to say that Stu Stu Studio, my personal home recording studio, is wide open for business again. I’m currently scouting for artists who need their songs or album mixed, and I’m open to producing and recording artists as well, as long as our schedules match up. The sooner a session is booked, the sooner I can tell Koffin Kats I’m busy. Shoot me an email at email@example.com and let’s talk about your project. I’m here to help!
4. Live sound mixing – Back in 2009, when I first returned from audio recording school in Arizona via an all-analog studio in Nashville, I freelanced as a live audio engineer. I was on call at a couple of venues and worked nearly a year before returning full-time to my studio efforts. New talent is always popping up in Detroit, and I’ve met some amazing musicians, clients, and friends as a result of mixing live shows to their immense satisfaction. I’m looking forward to getting out there again and mixing live shows a couple of days each month.
5. Drum lessons – Many people have told me “you should give drum lessons” throughout my life. I generally dismiss the advice, mainly because I have no desire to be another one of those guys at the local music store who makes you practice all 40 rudiments for 6 months before taking you to the next level — I understand that approach, but it seems very “industrial” to me, and I believe the drums run deeper than rudiments. (This personally happened to me. Still, those instructors are correct…learn the rudiments.) As an mentor of something very profound and personal to me, I would approach each potential student differently and determine their skill set before creating a program to help them further develop. Lessons can take place via Skype or FaceTime or even in my studio if you’re local. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s start smacking some skins!
Time to roll my sleeves up and get to work. That’s enough to get started actually being productive, I hope. Thanks for reading. See you soon?
P.S. I’m on the prowl for musicians in the metro Detroit area interested in performing a one-night-only showcase of my solo material. Looking for a drummer, bassist, guitarist, guitarist/keyboardist, and percussionist, three of whom need to be able to sing low/high vocal harmonies. If you’re interested in details, please contact me via email with the subject “JK Solo Show”. Serious inquiries only.