Category Archives: Uncategorized

One Word: Katahdin

“When do we start? ;)”

…the text that started it all.  The one that meant that there would be mere hours between me and :: pauses :: A Whole Lot of pain!

See, my friend Ed has been climbing the beast that is Mount Katahdin for about ten years or so.   I’ve always wanted to go, but I was either never free when training time was going on, or I just didn’t have the guts to “pull the trigger”.  Over the last few years I’ve been slowly building the cahones to make this happen though.  But like any “extreme challenge” in life that first step is a doosie and this sure as hell was no exception.

I don’t know what it is.  I mean I have jumped out of a plane at over 10,000 feet so this should have been an easy choice right?  Well as I look back upon skydiving that first step was actually pretty easy…Sure, once you’re up in the air, there is no turning back; but the actual first step was only a step onto a plane, something that I’ve done many many times.   Even the actual jump out of the plane was easy  :: pauses :: although that was more about the instructor telling  me that we were going on three, counting to three, but subtly only rocking forward twice before hurling us both through the sky Johnny Utah style,,, but I digress!

There were really two things that made the choice to climb Katahdin easier.  The first was knowing that my friend Wade did it.  I didn’t really consider him to be much more or less fit than I, and I figured that if he can do it so can I.  And then when I recently saw some pictures of another friend of mine dominating some massive peak…. the text had to be sent.

So there I was in the middle of the first of three training sessions to prepare me to climb what has been hailed as the most difficult climb east of the Mississippi.  Barely able to move my legs at times, and just feeling what can only be described as almost a frustration that it was taking all that effort to move over a rock that some 3 year old could climb over with ease…when my dreams were almost dashed… See I got a little more insight into that trip with Wade.  Turns out that it did not go smoothly at all!  A third of the way up the mountain Wade had drunk all the water, and Wade’s feet were so blistered that as the were coming down every thousand feet or so Wade had to take his socks off and ring out the blood.  :: gulps to himself ::

Well, after 4 hours of climbing I had finished the training, gone about 35% of the distance that we would have liked to go, and had been given clear instructions to do some training during my “off time”….the off time that starts tomorrow!  My end goal is to climb about 8 miles in about 4 hours (about 30% faster then the other day).  but we shall see what happens.  When I do my final “guided” training with Ed, I’ll give him a pretty big say as to how well my level of fitness fits with the task at hand.

So will I be dominating the Knife Edge in a few weeks?  Time will tell!

Platinum Records in the Oval Office: Livin’ the Dream Part 2

“Previously on Smashing Happy…” My last post was about how I have this little dream of changing the world.   Not like I’m an overachiever or anything haha In all seriousness, it has been my goal for a long time to help inspire people through music.  I shall blog about it later, but there was a “let there be light” moment in my life that I can directly attribute to music.  I ‘m not going as far as to say that music saved my life, but it had such a profound impact on my world that I happily felt obligated to do what I could to recreate that moment for as many people as possible. It was slow at first. :: inserts comment as to how Rome wasn’t built in a day here :: There was broadcasting school and then commercial radio… and then the point where I realized that commercial radio had no room/potential to achieve my goals.  Long story short, I have spent the last fourteen  years of my life in the trenches, passing out/mailing/posting flyers, writing news articles, hosting a local college radio show, booking bands, oh yea and I may have kinda-sorta made a several thousand band t-shirts at some point in there. So as I’m looking at my resume last week I started to think that I might actually be “livin’ the dream” right now.  I started thinking about all those bands that I helped out in college, how some went on to play all over the world, and how some bands I have worked with over the last seven years have gotten to play huge-multi thousand seat venues. But as I write this now I sit here and contemplate on whether I even have the right to be thinking that I had an impact on any of that at all.  I start trying to quantify my “help” in comparison to the ass-kicking, hard-work, the blood, the sweat, and the tears that all those bands had to put in just to make it to where they are (or where they were if they have broke up by now) Well. think I have an answer.   I came to the conclusion that to give myself credit for something  like the Rationales playing The Pavillion, simply because I made shirts for them over the years is well, to say the  least, “absolutely absurd”.    I dunno, I guess I just have to look all the different things I have done and understand that they all have different levels of impact.  Sure, I have made shirts for a multi-platinum selling artist (and on a side note The President of the United States as well), but I’d be sure as hell to bet (that as minuscule of an impact on their careers it was) that the shirts I made for The Rationales had way more of a relative impact than the much larger runs I did for Paula Cole.  Or to be a little more realistic, booking bands like Harris and Aloud in the Fox Common at UMASS Lowell back when they were just getting started had a bigger impact on their careers than tons of of other things I’ve done. I guess there is no real way to tell when, or if anything I have ever done, has been big enough to have  had an impact…but I sure as hell am giving this world a run for its money! I was going to end this post with that last line , but I just want to say thanks to every band I have ever worked with/for over these years. From Will Brierly and the Roller Holsters and Will Dailey, to  Life Electric and elusive Evil Us’s.   I actually pay myself sometimes to do this, and I couldn’t have done it without them…and yes even the crappy “something-big-has-come-up-so-we’ll-tell-you-when-our-set-is-going-to-be-and-how-long-we-play” type bands. I guess after reflecting on this I can say I am half living the dream… I mean I’ll never really be able to tell if I’ve had any serious impact on much, but I feel great knowing I’m trying to do my part, and that I’m closer every day to the point where all that effort is paying for itself. Thanks for reading this… talk soon!  I think I’m going to tackle one of the 8 virtues I hold to heart….either Honesty or Humility… if I get any request in the comments I’ll just do whatever gets the most comments will be the one I do. Till then… Buenos Nachos! :)

2 More Than Averagely Awkward Moments in Cover Song History

1. Easy – Faith no More: The moment when Mike Patton made some strange ewww sound…

I’m not quite sure what to think about this one…did he really just “drop a deuce” on the audience?… cause there, right before the solo starts good ole MP just busts out a big ‘ole nasty, right out of an Ernest Movie, “ewww”  was he just disgusted that he had to sing as wussy as he did in this one?  That The Commodores actually broke up in the first place?  Maybe it was that he wished he got stuck with better looking crossdressers in his video… oh wait?  Did I just see Dee Snyder in there?

Whatever it is, does anyone else find it odd that when he sings it that he looks like he’s actually taking a crap on the audience?  Oh GG Allin would be rolling around in his grave if he ever saw this one!

If you don’t want to watch the whole video click here for this pretty much cued up More Than Averagely Awkward Moment… although I will say that this cover is pretty fantastic and worth the listen!

2. Johh Hiatt and Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend: John makes it obvious that he really has no clue as to what he is singing

Ever have that moment when you’re talking at a show and all of the sudden you sound like the biggest idiot cause the music stopped and whatever you were saying was obviously taken out of context (NSFW).

Well this was John Hiatt’s (and Matthew Sweet’s) moment when they were “covering” Sweet’s “Girlfriend” as a duet.  Just like on the record the tempo slows for the last vocalization of the song’s title word.  Hiatt tries to slow down, but only after it is awkwardly too late…. he’s left hanging on a prime-time mid 90′s VH1 special, and Matthew was left to share a laugh between he and his drummer at John’s expense.

The whole song is below, but to go right to the scene of this More Than Averagely Awkward Moment just click here

So What More than Averagely Awkward Moments in Cover Song History make your list?  Any Ideas of other bastard lists like this one?  If you do just put them in the comments!

Thanks for checking this out enjoy…you guys Rock!

…And Get a Real Job! Part 1: Scratching the Itch and Forgetting the Money

A real genius/great philosopher (no not Val Kilmer in Real Genius) once said “[When you find something that you really want to do in life] you do that;  and forget the money…. because it’s better to have a short life that is full with the things you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

I was going to put the following video as a link in the above paragraph… but this one needs to be embedded here.  The guys name speaking is Alan Watts and he rocks!

How would you answer that question?

As inspirational that I find that, I’ll be honest.  I don’t really know how great Alan Watts really was as, aside from skimming his wiki page, this is the only thing I have heard from him.

I saw that video a few years ago, and upon looking it up again I found a lot of other great and seemingly relevant topics to click on (which I will do at some point), but before busting out the word “great” I just had to vet my source.   What surprised me was that I found out that he died at the age of 58 in 1973.  I had to pause as that lecture sounds so relevant to today.  I got no sense of it being dated and I really think that is one of the not-so-obvious things that makes it as impactful as it is.

Well my personal answer to that question is an easy one… hands down,  it is to help inspire people (kids in particular) to do great things (specifically through music).  See, I don’t really care how it happens or who I am able to inspire, but if I could inspire kids somehow through music I’d be happier than ever… for the purpose of this post I won’t go into details, but I will say that it defines me as a person, how I act, who I want to be, and in general the virtues I hold myself to.

See, for the last 6 years I’ve been doing my best to get my t-shirt company (Audio Cotton) to a point where I didn’t have to focus so much on the operational things, but was more able to work on using it as a platform to help more people get exposed and inspired through local musicians… before that, I did whatever I could to learn, build a resume, and just completely immerse myself in whatever I could do to hopefully inspire or help inspire.  To help bands “make it bigger” and hopefully inspire people.  Inspire people to want to do all sorts of awesome things… just to put people in good moods, take people’s minds off of things, and all the other awesome things music can do.

My first stop?  The Connecticut School of Broadcasting…yep I am totally a CSB grad.  Well let’s just say after a few years, a local (cable access) “radio show”, and an internship at the Late-Great WFNX, I realized I wasn’t the best fit for being an on-air talent.  Sure I might not have had the “best” radio voice, but I still would have trained that thing harder thaaaannnnn A Wagon Fulla Pancakes training for the Champeenship!  My lack of fit was more than that, it was that my distractive nature wasn’t the best fit when one needed to be as sharp as a nail, and in a “split-second of a split-second” make things happen exactly when they need to.  Aside from all of that, my time at FNX taught me that commercial radio isn’t where bands “break”.

So with that path taken, I then took a step back went to school for Music Business, during which I interned/volunteered/worked at lots of places,  NEMO and the BMA’s, I managed a venue at school, hell I even got to be the PR Director of the largest student music association in the world!

All I knew, is that I wanted a resume before I graduated…. and when I graduated; a resume I had.  But there was one thing holding me back… at each of these above places, I would work hard, do the best as I could, but my lack of self confidence was telling me, “Dude, you are kinda sucking right now.  Do you really think they’re actually going to pay you for this?

Flashback to one of my first jobs.  It was a retail job selling shoes, and when I got there I was clueless, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off instead of actually providing any real help to the customers, I didn’t feel like I fit in, and I almost quit just as many times as I thought I was going to get fired… and then it happened….

A pit in my stomach formed… one almost as bad as the time in the 6th grade that I got rejected by a Elizabeth when she found out that I had a crush on her…I’m talking “got hit with a bowling ball out of nowhere kind of thing” here….

…the store manager Keith told me to come into his office as soon as I was done with my customer…

I was so nervous, I must have been sweating worse than the time I was a big shot… hell my palms were sweating, and my palm’s Don’t sweat!  I close the door, and it is quiet for what seems like an eternity.  Just me and him and and an upside down piece of paper on his desk.  I just wanted this to be painless, rip the Band Ai… ::cough:: I mean “adhesive bandage” off, as fast as you can, tell me about the rabbits George, just lay it on me damn it!  And just when I didn’t think I could stand the pressure any longer… he says something like, “I need to give you this”,  takes the paper and hands me….

To be continued….

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Thanks for reading guys! If money were no object what would you do?  To find out what happens to our “hero” stay tuned to, “Grab That Cash, and And Make a Stash!”

And if you haven’t voted on “Get a Haricut“….” Do it!  Seriously, do it…vote on that puppy  we’ll blow it away” haha

Talk soon everyone!

-Kevin

It always helps…

…when you have an opportunity to learn the basics of a subject before, you start attempting to dominate the scene with it.

Well… in good news I finally got to launch this site with it’s official “primary domain” none of the lame something.smashinghappy.com. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the launch, and in some part what this all was even going to look like. I mean I made an outline, but I was a little less “structured” with this one and didn’t write an actual business plan for it. All I knew, was that I wanted to write, learn some more web dev, and I needed a place to do it.

What I didn’t know is that during the process of getting registering the Smashing Happy domain, I’d end up with a different, faster, and reliable web server. I also didn’t know that my WordPress installation, would have to pretty much be done from the ground up again. Sure there was an auto installer, but eff that! I not only want the most control over what happens here (wiithout having to code and maintain an entire CMS myself), and I want to learn more about how it all works.

And while sure I’ve written about getting cracking on my learning path, get more technical with the back end code and learn how to make this work in some pretty bad-ass ways… but for now I’ll say this again, “Till then

::pauses::

you’ll take it and like it!” haha

Thanks again for reading!