Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 680 - Wreckage Game

Ballad time. Another new (old) song from 2008's unreleased "Those You Trust".

CLICK HERE TO HEAR "WRECKAGE GAME"

Mark Schwaber - vocals, guitars

Joel Stroetzel - guitars

Ken Maiuri - piano

JJ O'Connell - drums, percussion

Paul Kochanski - bass

Sara Gomes - vocals

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 678 - New website coming soon?

Hi all,

I'm hoping to have an official website up and running again soon. Thanks to the wonderful Matthew Larsen. Until then, please feel free to *like* this page if you wish to have access to constantly updated news about music, shows, recording, online music, and writing.

Click here to follow along!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 677 - As You Were

CLICK HERE to hear another unreleased song from 2008.

"As You Were"

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 668 - Those You Trust

As promised, here's another unreleased song. From 2008's unreleased record "Those You Trust", here's the title track. Listen now for free by CLICKING HERE.

Mark Schwaber - vocals, guitars, bass, drums Ken Maiuri - keyboards Sara Gomes - vocals

Feel free to share away! Let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 665 - The Silent Rounds

I will be releasing a new song from this unreleased record every couple of days, so stay tuned!

Hi all,

I'm so unbelievably appreciative of how patient you've been with the release of my new record. It appears that we will wrap it up within the next two months.

In the interim, I've decided to release my previously unreleased record from 2008 entitled "Those You Trust" on Soundcloud. There are already 3 songs from the record on that site (Revelation Day One, To Be Better, Let It Lead You). This is the 4th. "The Silent Rounds".

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 525 - The Fisher King and The Moral Minority

Just revisited The Fisher King for the first time in, what must be, nearly two decades. It's such a monumental victory across the board. Bridges (who, at this point, must be considered my favorite actor. Alongside Oldman), Williams, Ruhl, and Michael Jeter (also forgot that Tom Waits makes a bad ass cameo) are simply wonderful. The writing is so aware, so real, and so wise without being pretentious. The cinematography and direction are a dreary pitch perfect. It's one of the most loving things ever captured on film. It should be shown during the studies of empathy in Psych classes. It's depth, mid-Atlantic.

Of course, it stirs very deep pools for me. There are substantial parts of who I am that can relate to numerous elements of every character. And a portrait of my own growth (at least that's how I perceive it). There's the derision of mental illness, the subtle monster of the illness itself, the suicidal inclinations, the unbridled fantasy world, the deep hatred of humanity, the addictive solution, love forsaken and pursued, hilarious antidotes, the calm knowing voice of altruistic reason, and the seemingly endless pursuit of peace. And that's only a small selection of notions captured. It's a film that resonates at a higher frequency.

So, I find myself still reflecting on Robin Williams. It hasn't really ended, just taken on a different shape. Because his life, and death, were far too complicated for a twitter worthy world of here today, gone in an hour (anyone remember the 200 Kenyan women? Yeah, exactly). I've had some really great discussions about the man himself, and the subjects that he continues to raise (like any great figure) from beyond the grave. Many in depth, articulate, and even punchy moments. None finer than this. Sent from someone incredibly important to me. I print it here anonymously, as I feel it applies to everyone on a organically profound level. I hope you allow yourself to read this openly. And most importantly, with empathy.

"The problem is pretty simple, IMHO. The society views the artists and creative types as weak, and rolls their eyes when they hear we're depressed, tell us to buck up and get a job.

Meanwhile, the truly mentally ill- the soulless, value-less, the sociopaths march happily through business school and unleash their shit world-view on everyone. Those lucky enough to be too dumb or unobservant, just nod their little bobble-heads and chant, "Well, that's the way it is so we gotta do it, derpy derpy doo!"

Meanwhile it grinds on the more astute, who eventually grow weary, and, being decent folk realize they kind of can't go sticking steak knives in the aforementioned sociopath's temples. Bad form and all that. So they say, "Fuck it. Give me the pills" or whatever.

We're encouraging mental illness. We're curing sanity."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 513 - My Gentle Companion.

I cried for hours when Miles Davis died. And for a good ten minutes when Elliott Smith left us. But that's about it for those that I never knew. I do remember feeling morose when people like Philip Seymour Hoffman passed. And Hank Gathers. Len Bias. Walter Matthau. Burgess Meredith. But never tears. Just Miles and Elliott.

When I was young, going to the movie theater was a magical romp. I loved absolutely everything about it. The butter wafting, the gathering of milk duds and popcorn in military lines throughout the burgundy carpets (having parachuted unwilling out of overstuffed containers), the over sized door into the theater from the lobby, the Christmas lights laid in rows on the floor (leading you to whatever magical two hours were ahead of you), that first sip of soda, the speakers erupting to life, the fading of the ceiling lights, my Mom, and Dad, and brother, and I all in a row.

We didn't go often. Making it all that much more when we did. Star Wars was the anomaly. I believe we saw the first one three or so times. The others that stood out from the period (late 70's through the early 80's) were Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Time Bandits, Six Pack, and Popeye.

Popeye starred the guy from Happy Days. The guy that played the Alien. He ended up having his own show. Mork And Mindy. And holy cow did he look Just. Like. Popeye!! I was 8 years old that year.

In 1989 and 1990, I was wrapping up high school. I was questioning everything about the machine. I listened to hardcore, dressed up oddly on purpose, instigated the people I thought were cogs, and reveled in guitar playing and general mayhem. All while maintaining that child-like wonder about the movie theater. That never changed. I loved reading, and I loved going to the movies. And now I can watch them at home on VHS tapes too. During this era I was absolutely floored by many films. When you're 17 or 18 everything is electric and swirling. Everything much larger than it will be at any other time in your life.

Silence Of The Lambs. The Fisher King. Awakenings. Goodfellas. Dead Poet's Society.

Dark, serious, foreboding, melodramatic, and triumphant. This was my young adulthood developing before my eyes.

In 1998 Good Will Hunting hit the screen. I was 26 years old. I had lost my first girlfriend to a bipolar drummer who moved them to Portland OR via Austin TX. My first real band parted ways (rather violently), and I had met someone new. I moved into my first real apartment with that someone new just the year before. In a brand new town to me. I was about to connect with some of the most important people in my life (it was the first year I went to The Brass Cat). I was watching the Red Sox, playing in a then 2 year old band (hospital). I rented GWH one night in early '98. I watched it three times that night. And then again in the morning before I had to return it to the video store (next to where I worked) in Westfield.

Drunk, wiser, calmer, hopeful, and reflective. This was the development of my adulthood.

That's when Robin Williams became an ancillary character in my life. I no longer ran across his fireballing stand up routines. But I did get caught up in his plunge into bravely silly depravity. The early 2000's brought wonderful, cryptic characters in One Hour Photo, and Insomnia. And every time I ran across him I would be reminded of the movies that I saw, and had a special (almost secret) relationship with. Jack. Hook. Mrs Doubtfire. And on and on and on. And I would think about all of the times he made me chortle with laughter. His riff on the creation of golf, for example. And that was as recent as 2010. The more I thought about it, every time I even saw a picture of him I think I smiled. I'm not sure I was even aware of it. But there was always something that made me feel like the 8 year old in 1980. Skipping around the meddled, sugarbutter military, and the cheap Christmas lights.

I read countless stories today, in private rooms of online AA that I subscribe to, from San Francisco AA'ers. These stories are all true. I believe every word. Because if there's one thing that they want you to do in recovery, it's tell the fucking truth. For the first time in your life. I can't tell you how unbelievably relieving and rewarding it is. Anyway, here's some of the things I read.

Robin Sponsored 5 or 6 guys during his 20 years of sobriety. He constantly left movie sets to pick up distressed AA newcomers who feared relapse. He gave his phone number to every new kid in the room. Every week. He even got burned twice when his number leaked. When asked about what he was going to do, Robin got wide eyed, and stared for a pause. Only to answer "Change my fucking number!". He then grinned that famous squinty grin. And winked. And he did change his number. The following week? He stood as a greeter for the meeting and handed out his number to roughly eight newcomers. He often arrived early, made coffee, and set up chairs. He continued all of this activity (including the handing out of his phone number) for nearly two decades.

So there he is again. At the present day of my life. And at the end of his. Running side by side, in some freakishly relative nature, with me. Turns out the fucking beast caught him though. He fought. Off and on. But that, and other illnesses, finally won. He finally got out of the fire for good. Leaving a trail.

It took me an hour today to figure out why, at 11:30 this morning, I had to pull the car over for the 3rd time, and openly weep for a man I never met. For only the third time in my entire life. And I was baffled at why it wouldn't stop.

And then it hit me. Robin Williams has been with me since I was 8. That's 33 years. And he was never a front runner, or one who stole any attention away from my life. Never a distraction. Never a boost. But always a welcome smile. Brought on by a squinty little wink.

Robin Williams was a gentle companion in my life. Whispering a joke, or a heartfelt sentiment, from the corner. Never wanting to intrude. For nearly my entire fucking life.

And from the outpouring of stories, soliloquies, and remembrances, it is painfully obvious that I am not alone. Not by a long shot.

Hey man. Thanks. Thanks for absolutely everything you did. For me, and the other millions. Absolutely everything.

Your move, chief.