Thursday, April 29, 2004

not a bad score

Open my Eyes has gotten a flurry of good reviews lately at garageband.com and it up to 4.1 stars out of 5, which is pretty darn good if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Comcast... Finally

Well it is about time. I called comcast about 2 and a half months ago to come fix my cable (my internet was not working). They said that someone would be right out. After 3 weeks of my calling and bothering them, they finally did send someone out. That guy said, "Yup, it's broke... I'll have someone come out to fix it." Call me an idiot, but I thought that is what a cable repairman would do if he came out... Whatever. Anyhow, he said he would have somebody else here whithin a couple of days to fix it.

After another month and a half, with me calling in every week, somebody is here today digging a new line. Thank God... Thank Comcast. My free AOL is about to run out and there is no way I am going to pay for something that slow. I am one happy man right now because I will have real internet access again. I can finally send and receive big files, surf the internet without it taking minutes for pages to load, buy songs from itunes, watch homestar-runner cartoons, and... Oh Yeah... Work and school. I can do those properly again too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Scam and a Half
I've been looking for venues for the Look Machine to play, because we really want to play live more. A found one that looked kind of promising -- the New York Music Fest . I love New York, I love music, I love fests, so what's not to love?

I send an application in and get a call from "Nicole" that night -- already I know this is suspicious because legitimate places just don't get back to you that quickly.

I wasn't around, so I called her today. She's kind of weird, like trying to butter me up, saying she's sure I have this great band but I know she's never heard any of our music. She asks me why we would waste our time recording a demo (after she asked me to send her a demo, go figure), and playing live shows when we could go straight to getting a record deal through her fest -- where 300 major label reps are just dying "to be blown away and sign some bands, they do it every year."

OK, OK, so why is she making this fest sound so great? I know that most venues don't have the time of day for you when you're just another band to them?

Well, here's the kicker.

Me: "Ok, so where do I send that demo, what's the address?"

Nichole: "Yes, well you can just send the demo and $945 to. . . "

Me: "Wait, did you say nine dollars and forty five cents??"

Nichole: "No, I said Nine HUNDRED and FORTY FIVE dollars, which is much less than the $3000 that most festivals ask for. . . Do you want to fax me a copy of your check so I can hold a place for you?"

Me: "Um. . . well I need to talk to the rest of the band about it, I'll let you know about it later. .. "

Man, talk about a scam!!!

The sense of it all

Those of you who read my last post about my logic class will remember that I had just about given up on the idea of getting another 4.0 this semester. You will be glad to know that I decided to give it a little effort and I got a 98% on my most recent exam. I guess it does pay to do homework sometimes. I like to think that I don't need to do all of my homework to learn, but this class is an exception. It is stinkin hard (but jase got an A in it and I can't have him beat me).

Enough of the dork stuff. We went into the studio last night and Jase put down 2 incredible vocal tracks for "all our hands" and "Fanatic." Those songs sound great now. Jason is a very talented lyricist. The new recordings are so beautifully crisp that you can hear all of the words and they really show off his talents for poetically and passionately communicating thought processes about deep issues (No, he did not pay me to say that). I have not put down the harmonies yet, but I think that will be fun to start concentrating on putting BGVs into our songs. We are going in again soon to finish up.

I was reading my school newspaper today and there was a big write-up of the march for women's rights in Washington over the weekend. It really made me sad to read about it because it made a big deal about the few "Christian" pro-lifers who showed up to protest what was going on. Apparently they were chanting things like "God hates you babykillers" and "Murders like you go to hell." I didn't know whether to be infuriated or to cry. I think that those people fall into the 5% that Jason discussed last week in his very long post. I am a Christian, and I definitely think that unborn children are real people who deserve to live just as much as you or I do, but in my opinion, those who represented that view couldn't have missed the mark more.

The Bible says that God is love. As Christians, our job is to literally be like Jesus... to be love to ALL people. Love is patient... kind... it does not judge... it keeps no record of wrongs... The list goes on and on (read it for yourself in 1 Corinthians 13). I do not think that is loving or even the least bit true to say that God hates anybody. God loves all of us equally whether we are happy-go-lucky christians, abortionists, pastors, or just regular people who happen to want abortion to remain legal. What do people think they are going to achieve by telling someone that God hates them? That kind of action will only broaden the gap between opposing views and prevent people from dealing with the issue in a rational and thoughtful way.

I don't pretend to know the answers to all of this, but I do know that none of has a right to shout judgement (let he who has no sin cast the first stone). Honestly, we all screw up every single day and do stuff we wish we could take back. That is no more rightous than having an abortion. I know somebody who had abortions several years back, and not a single day goes by that she does not mourn her decision. Many of the women at the march have doubtless had abortions and they are looking for justification to ease their pain. A big dose of damnation certainly is not going to help them in any way.

I hope I didn't sound too preachy, it just burns me up to hear about stuff like that. The few radical people who go out and make a big stink get into the news and get an entire side of an issue branded as hateful. It is a shame that anyone who believes in rights for unborn children is autimatically perceived as a hater and someone who wants to oppress women. Something needs to change.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Back to work

Tonight Jase and I (and it sounds like Darby too) are going back into the studio to finish up recording. This whole experience has been really cool, and the results should be incredible. Even just the rough mixes sound so good, if that was all we got out of it, it would be worth it.

Jase wrote some harmonies for me to sing on at least one of the tracks. I am excited about it, but I am also scared senseless. I do not consider myself to be a singer, and I am a bit nervous that what I contribute vocally won't be up to snuff (I guess Darby will be there to tell me if I sound a little off). I am always excited about trying something new, so I guess I just have to file this in the something new category. Having BGVs on our songs will be one of those little touches that makes music just so much better. That is the thing that I am most excited about with our new recordings... all of the little touches that we added here and there. The production / intense practice that Josh (Jason's brother who is the gutitarist form Boy Sets Fire) helped us with made such a big difference in our sound. We ground through each song and changed dynamics, took out repetition, and added new parts to create a much more polished sound. It was really nice of Josh to work with us (and really fun too).

So, if you liked our music before, get ready, because (in my entirely UN-objective opinion) things just got a whole lot better.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

The music I listen to
We've been asked what we listen to, and I found a site where I could send information from my iTunes/iPod and it would allow everyone else to see what genres and songs and artists are part of my collection and how often I've listened to them.

Check it out!

So that's kind of the definitive answer except it doesn't really represent what I used to listen to before I had an iPod. Like in the 7th grade I used to listen to much more classic rock then I do know, so in terms of influences classic rock is not really represented enough. . .

If you'd rather see the whole list, just look here

Recording update
Another late night last night but we're not quite done yet. Everything basically but the vocals are now done though, and we're getting together again on Monday night to finish those up. Personally, I think everything recorded so far it pretty outstanding. . . I'm really hoping that my vocals will be up to the level of the songs.

We like being in the studio and we're now leaning towards having these 3 be the beginning of a full length album project, which is pretty exciting. We would use these 3 to get shows and stuff in the meantime (and for the Wind Up Exec), but maybe not release them really until the whole proper album is done. Well, I do think we would probably reprint if i knew what to say with this new version of Fanatic on it since we're sold out and it's good to have something to sell.

Speaking of stuff to sell, we'll soon have buttons and stickers in addition to those shirts. That should be fun.

I'm going through this weird thing right now where all vocals sound off key to me, not just mine by everyones' -- like I was listening to a U2 song and Bono sounded off. It's all mental right now, like an anorexic's body image, only with the voice and hearing. That's why I'm having my wife come into the studio with me on Monday, she has almost perfect pitch and can tell when something is just smidge off. I'm like a blind person who needs a guide dog. (No I didn't just call my wife a dog).

Man I need some sleep I'm exhausted. . . didn't get in last night until 4AM.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Pictures from recording
We'll post in more detail later, but here are some fun pictures:
Make sure to read the descriptions

Studio

It is just after noon. I just woke up. That is really cool.

We went into the studio last night to work on recording some new songs and to get a better version of fanatic. It was so much fun. We started at 7 pm and finished at 3 am. I think that we are planning on those same hours tonight. It was a great experience to be in there working on our music. We got a lot more done last night than I thought we would in one session. David finished all his drum tracks for all 3 of the songs and Isaiah is all but done putting his Bass tracks down. Tonight we are going to do guitars and vocals.

Being in the studio really makes you play and hear the music in a different way. I was playing the guitar while David was drumming so that he could hear in in the headphones and know where we were in the song. We started out playing to a click track (metronome). That is SO hard. It is really tough to play your music and try to be perfectionistic and mathematically accurate on all of the timing, but still feel like it is art and expression. It is different to try to put your feelings into something that is that regimented.

I am going to go. I just thought I would give you all the update.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A funny story about dropping off the files for the shirts

We're getting the shirts printed at a place called Teamworks, which is actually a school program of the Christina School District for challenged students to learn skills. I think this is pretty cool, and the place is run by some very nice instructors or help the students create the shirts, take the orders, process the invoices, learn life skills.

Today while I was sitting with the lady going through our photoshop files, making sure she had what she needed, all of sudden a felt a warm embrace from behind. When I turned to see what was going on, I saw a teenage guy with Down's Syndrome, just hugging me. Hmm, I thought, this is kind of different?

One of the other guys in the shop said to him, "Ricky, don't hug that guy, you don't even know who he is!"

To which Ricky replied, "Yes I do, he's my husband."

He hugged me about 3 times more before I left. . . .

Shirts are on their way
Today I stopped and dropped off files to get shirts printed. I posted the design below. We're excited about them. And yes, we're getting girls' t-shirts too, not all guys. I even have to start working, because we can get some hoodies printed too, and I think they need a new design. I think we'll be selling the T-shirts for around $10 and the hoodies for around $25-30. . . Come on, you know you all want one!

Anything (well almost), but not Everything

Hey all, here's another little thought that you might want to hear. It's about my life.

I am a person with an extremely high internal locus of control. I have always thought that I can do literally just about anything that is humanly possible if I wanted to bad enough and I worked hard enough. For example, I once thought that it would be cool to bike (yess... the kind you pedal) 100 miles in one day. So what did I do?... I rode down to Cape Henlopen from my house in PA (101.3 miles). My butt hurt and I was sunburned, but I did it. Another time I saw this really strong looking guy wearing a shirt that said "I benched 250." I thought it would be awesome to be able to benchpress 250 lbs. (far more than I weigh) so I went to the gym at school 3 days per week with my brother, Nathan, until I could bench 260 lbs. (those success stories are in my past now and there is no way I could do either of those things right now without working out a lot first). Other things I have decided to do and then just done them include all kinds of goals like learn guitar... learn graphic design programs... get A's in school... Hitch-hike 500 miles in one day... fall asleep standing up... Collect over $200 in state quarters... And hold my breath for 2 and a half minutes (I did that one in algebra class in 10'th grade).

I don't mean to sound like I am boasting. That is not my intention. I am just trying to show that I am a person who feels like I can do anything in the world and that has a lot of positive consequences in my life. So on to the point of this story.

I have been getting streight A's in school for the past several semesters, and I really wanted to end this semester with another 4.0. However, I signed up for a Logic class at school (described by the prof as an upper level calculus class with letters and symbols instead of numbers). Math has always been the hardest subject for me, but I was sure that I could get an A in this class. Well, right now, I have a B in the class. I was getting really frustrated until I had this thought in the middle of the night. I am working 2 part time jobs, I am in college full time, I am married, I don't live anywhere near school, I have mono, I am in a band... Basically, although I am a college student, I have TONS of other stuff going on in my life right now. I like to do everything that I do to the best of my ability. I love spending time with my wife, and I refuse to sacrifice that for logic. I love doing graphic design, and that will probably be a lot more important in my life that this class so I'm not going to cut back on that either. The band is so great and it is a dream come true, so no way am I going to not do something with the band so I can study for an exam. I also love to see my family and Lindsay's family whenever I can.

In the words of dear Bilbo Baggins "I feel like butter spread over too much bread." Please don't think that I am complaining. I chose to have all of these things in my life and I love them all. I also know that if I REALLY wanted an A in the class I could get it, but frankly, I like the rest of my life too much to sacrifice any of it for one grade. So here is the kicker... I still think that I could do just about anything if I was dedicated enough to do what it takes, but there simply is not time in the day to do everything and do it as well as I would like. It is a liberating feeling really. my new theory is that my life tends to seek it's own level of busyness until something starts to suffer, then I stop taking on more until there is room in my schedual.

After taking the time to write that post, I have to go so that I can do some graphic design work, some stuff for my other job, get ready to go into the studio tomorrow night, have lots of fun with Linds, and Oh yeah, I almost forgot... I need to study for my logic exam tomorrow.

updates
Well there is a mix of good and bad and funny news.

The bad:
Our download on Amazon has fallen down to the 900s. . . it's like we're old washed up rock stars now, one hit wonders. Just kidding. But our reign of terror there is seemingly over.

We got 3 negative reviews in a row at garageband!! Ouch. And the latest one said I sang out of tune. Man that hurts. Oh well . . . I'll just keep on croaking. I'm getting better at handling negative reviews, but honestly that one is tough to swallow. It makes me hear my own voice differently (if you're a singer, you know that one of the hardest obstacles to overcome is just the shock of hearing your own voice and being able to declare it good. Comments like this make that mental game harder!). But I'm getting past it (see my post below).

The Good:
We've had 2 straight nights of great practices and we are ready to go to Target Studio on Thursday for some great recording. I'm really excited about it, we're sounding very good (once I can get past my nagging doubts about my voice being out of tune). We'll be recording 3 songs, hopefully have it done by Monday. It's $40/hr, so hopefully we'll be tight and knock them out quickly and beautifully. Man I want to be done these songs so we can start working on some new stuff because it seems like we have new songs busting out of the seams but have to pay attention to working on these old ones that we need to record. We have more to say and play!

The funny:
A co-worker of mine's daughter is going to be in the Ms Junior Teen Delaware pagaent. She had asked people at work if anyone wanted to sponsor her with a donation -- and told me specifically that if the Look Machine wanted to sponsor her they could get an ad in their program. I told her that maybe we would like to play at their after party or something like that (thinking hmmmm . .. . we could use more fans, so maybe this wouldn't be a bad opportunity). She called the director of the program, who then called me.

Turns out that they don't have a party, but they do have an exhibit hall where we could set up a table with our music and stuff so the girls could hear our music and find out about us. BUT -- in order to get a table, 2 of us would have to be judges in the pagaent. And they have to be over 21, so that leaves just me and Collin to be judges in the pagaent. One of my favorite movies is Drop Dead Gorgeous, which is a satirical documentary about beauty pagaents, so the idea of me and Collin being judges just cracks me up.

We would have to interview them. I've already prepared my questions:

"So which one of the Look Machine's songs is your favorite?"
"Tell me, what do you like most about Ian's guitar work?"
"Given the choice between the two, would you rather have world peace, or attend a Look Machine concert?"

BUT, it's on Mother's Day, and the Look Machine loves their mothers, so it's probably not going to happen. Darn, we really could use 100 more fans between the ages of 9 and 19 -- those people buy CDs and shirts and love music. . .

Would it tarnish the image of the Look Machine to have us be beauty pagaent judges?

That's it, I have to go to bed.

Monday, April 19, 2004

a very long post from Jason
I just played basketball so my heart is beating fast and I'm not going to be able to fall asleep for some time, so I'll just write.

First, here is an incredible message we received from one of our great fans, which I thought I'd share you with all. The fact that someone would take the time to write this long of a message to us means a whole lot, I love this guy. And he makes some great insights. I didn't post everything here, left some of the very personal parts out, but let me know what you think. I think he's right, that true artists have to just fan that tiny God given flame of creativity while the world basically tries to blow it out. . .

hey look,
how's everyone? everyone out of the hospital? good. lemme cut to the chase... awhile ago, you guys wrote in your log about getting a few not so favorable reviews, and how difficult it is dealing with them.

in a show of solidarity, i scoured the house and threw out all my mittens, every last filthy one of them. and not an easy thing for me to do, for my collection, if i may say so myself, is (uh, was) the envy of all odessans, and we odessans take our mittens very seriously. but wait, i digress...

forgive me if this all sounds trite, if you've heard it all before or if you knew it already. but i thought i'd try to encourage you, for this is something i've struggled with for thirty years. we all know we can't please everyone, but we can please One, and what's cooler than that? i'm not even sure "constructive criticism" is all that it's cracked up to be. would the beatles have created revolver or sgt. pepper? would hendrix have broken the ground he did if he listened to popular opinions? just write for Him, play for Him, as if He were the only one in the room. if you can, try to lock into Him, and imagine how He's responding. is He smiling, bobbing his head, tapping his birkenstocks (possibly old school high top cons), or wind-milling around the room looking for the nearest mosh pit? His response is truly the only one that matters.

something i'm trying to do lately is locking in to Jesus even when i'm just practicing, especially when i'm just practicing. i figure if it becomes second nature then, it will definitely be easier to be lost in Him while performing in front of ten or tens of thousands. i'm in no way advocating some quiet, reflective stage presence, far from it. how ever you lock into Him, standing still, wind-milling, running around like banshees, do it all out. as if this was the last time you might play for Him. if nothing is held back, either during the writing, practicing or performance stages, then all is right with the world. there'll be no reason to look back or second guess. it won't matter what anyone thinks or says, christian or heathen. was Jesus diggin' you? yeah? cool. job well done.
now, on the other hand, we all hope that people can relate to, get touched by and enjoy what we do. God also desires us to run the race to win, to be the best we possibly can. but He doesn't want us to dwell on successes or failures, glowing reviews or slams. it's a deadly thing to do. i know first hand. the last time i played was up at villanova around 1988, at their commons, hosted by one of their church groups. since it was in a very public place, people were watching tv, i think something like the simpsons were on. it was time for me to go on, the tvs were turned off, and i was met with a chorus of boos. great start, huh? i never really got going after that, i forgot words, forgot music and in general had a horrible time. oh yeah, and during, i was occasionally heckled. how bad was it? people came up afterwards and told me they loved it, were blessed by it yadda yadda yadda... but that's neither here nor there. the only thing that matters is how i responded to the performance. and it wasn't pretty. i remember screaming at God, "no more, this is too painful". yep, i threw me a righteous little hissy fit. just because some didn't like me, just because i got heckled, i questioned everything. was God in this? was i supposed to be doing this? etc. etc. on and on for the next 15 years or so. man, 15 years right down the crapper. wasted. just because i thought too much. too much about everything that doesn't matter one bit to God. but my guitar never gathered any dust, for i wrote constantly. problem was, i never shared it with anyone, not even my wife. how sick is that? i became so self-concious that i refused to play for even one person.
so now i'm 48, and going to give it another try. why? because God is in this and i'm supposed to be as well. what have i learned in 15 years? to play to Him with reckless abandon. pure and simple. to write, arrange, practice, record and perform with reckless abandon. to Him and only Him. if i can do that, then i'll have nothing to fear when He asks me what have i done with the talent He lent me. did i turn a profit or did i bury it.
the only reason i told you of my own experiences (and risked looking like a total geek) was to try to keep you all from making the same mistake i made. don't think, just play. don't put much stock in anyone's comments, good or bad. and that includes my own comments. if this email has missed the mark, i apologize. my sole intention was to encourage you guys and to let you know i'll be praying for you, uh, with reckless abandon... i'm looking forward to seeing you again, hopefully soon.


He's totally right. What matters is that the Look Machine is true to ourselves, our roots, who we are, and our Creator. And this kind of knowing can give us a confidence.

Now we do not consider ourselves a Christian band, even though we are all Christians. There are 2 reasons for this. One, we have the desire to have everyone hear and enjoy our music. And when bands are labelled a Christian band, it's basically foreordained that they will only play to Christians. That's cool and all -- we want that, but we also want to be on the Howard Stern show, we want to play huge festivals where people are lighting up, we want to play in bars where people may be getting drunk to forget about their lives. Unfortunatley, Jars of Clay just doesn't get to do this. We want to be there because we believe that we have a message of hope. A message that life can be better. A message that life is hard for everyone, (except Collin!), but that there are people, and a God, who would like to help out, like to make things better. .. .

I remember many years ago when I saw marilyn manson close the MTV video awards, he said something about declaring the fascism of Christianity over because all Christians are assholes. And the crowd cheered. And it just made me sooo sad. See, I understand why people would feel that way. I really do. Many Christians are sadly guilty as charged. I mean really. And Marilyn is certainly allowed to feel that way (though it's all really just an act, one to make him money).

But I couldn't help but think, where is the other side? Where is the voice of the other side? There was none. I think POD does a good job of projecting what Christianity should be about -- loving others, caring for the needy, living a righteous life. But I really do think they are about the only ones (although I love what Bono is doing in Africa in the name of God.) I want to put the Look Machine up there along with POD as examples of musicians where people can say, "Well, Marilyn is wrong, not all Christians are that way." And beyond that, I would LOVE it if someone was in despair and they would turn one of our songs on and it would be used to soothe their soul. I once had a dream of my (and my wife's) music melting chains off of people like a flame melts wax. I know that sounds kind of dorky, but at the same time this is what music can do for me sometimes, so maybe I can return the favor.

And really, I know many many christians, and I'd say that honestly only about 5% of them are horrible people. It's just that they are normally the LOUDEST ONES and also the ones MOST LIKELY TO EMPHASIZE THAT THEY ARE CHRISTIANS.

You know what I'm incredibly sick of? The dehumanization of the Christian. What do I mean by that? I mean that once I tell someone I am a Christian, I risk them forgetting that I am a person with my own thoughts, beliefs and emotions, and soul, and all of a sudden I'm thrust into this category where I support guns rights and vote blindly for George W., and hate gays and want to shoot abortionists. And I don't even get a chance to discuss any of these things. I risk no longer being a person worth getting to know in some peoples' eyes. THIS is the reason that at times I am not eager to share that I am a Christian -- not people I'm ashamed of God or Jesus or anything. That kind of rolls up into reason #1 why we don't want to be known as a Christian band.

Reason #2 is that I think that Christian bands are normally required to then write Christian songs -- WHATEVER THAT MEANS! I write human songs. Written from the perspective of someone who has a relationship with God, but very human. One is about the desire to believe more, to just give up my need to understand everything before I pick a side and jump in. Another about a strong desire to stay in someones life because I think that I can actually make that life so much better, but I'm fearful they don't realize that. Another about the liberating thought that I can walk away from a bad relationship, a bad situation -- that I can run away from it and never look back. Another about the pain one feels when what once was the most comfortable, most familiar group of people all of a sudden becomes hostile and painful. .. but you know you shouldn't abandon them, and you stay, torture yourself and look forward to the time you'll be close again. Another about being sick of hearing everyone say they've figured out all the problems in this world, and of course they are caused by people other than themselves. Another about breaking away from a person who was instrumental in forming who you are, but then you realize that you don't like who you are, so you don't really like what they did.

Are these Christian songs? I don't know, but they're my songs. They're where I was at a certain time, and they are things felt deeply in my heart. And I don't want to have to deal with the fact that they aren't directly written to Jesus or they aren't love songs for my savior, which I think would be expectations of a Christian band. I can't deal with what I see are limitations placed on Christian artists.

But this fan is right, I think that because these are honest expressions of my desires and pain, that Jesus is completely enjoying these songs. And that's what I should truly care about. And to be completely honest, writing them and singing them is helpful for me, because there is a whole lot of stuff in my life that is great, but there is some stuff that is really difficult too, and this music makes my burdens lighter. So who cares if filthy mittens doesn't like it? It's like medicine for me anyway.

All of a sudden, garageband doesn't seem as important, although it's still an addiction of mine to check it out.

To switch topics, someone asked about "the look machine" -- the origin of the name. When my daughter was 2, she would constantly take construction paper and roll it up (like a telescope) and then put a million pieces of scotch tape on it. The she would christen it a "look machine" and give it to someone special. I thought the idea of a look machine was very cool -- like this invention that forces you to look at things. Because honestly, I think that many people (myself included) live life on automatic often, not really perceiving or seeing or hearing or feeling what is going around us, until maybe a crisis occurs, or something really dramatic. I think that is sad, because we miss out on a lot. So I stored this little phrase away as a "potential good band name." (others that are still store away incidentally: Mosaic, Unveil). Then one day when Ian Collin and I were all talking about potential names I mentioned it, and they liked it a lot. And I like it as a potential mandate for the band -- we're to make music that kind of forces people to look at their lives, to feel something, to do something, to live.

Anyone who is still reading deserves a medal. Goodnight all.

We're recording on Thursday and Friday, wish us luck, pray, whatever you do. . .

Friday, April 16, 2004

Day by Day

So here it is... 6:30 in the morning... I've already gotten up eaten breakfast, had coffee, talked with Lindsay (my wonderful wife) for a while, played guitar, checked my email, and now I am here posting things online. I get up really early every day because Linds has to be at work at 6:30 each morning and I want to be on the same schedual as her (if I slept in for a few hours each day, then I wouldn't be tired when she's ready for bed). I try to do things like have the early classes at school, but an 8:00 class is still like 3 hours after I'm up-n-at-em. Usually I am very busy between course work, papers, exams, and graphic design work (that's how I make my share of the bucks), but I just had an exam yesterday, and even though I have 2 more, I feel that post-exam lull where checking email and doing other little things is an absulute necessity.

Lindsay and I are care-takers of a property outside of Chatham PA. What that means is that we do work around the property to keep it looking nice. Consequently, we live for free in a beautiful little house on 8 acres of georgeous land out in the country (I love my life). Our landlords / masters (just kidding...I never know what to call them) are 2 of the nicest and most giving people I have ever met. They live in a big house on this same property. They go out of time for like 4 months at a time and Linds and I hold down the fort. They have been gone since like mid-December, but they are coming back today. I think that I am going to go out and do a little yard work before they get here so that it is looking really nice when they pull in.

So there's a peek into my life outside of the band. I have a lot of fun in life. Actually, I think I am almost always having fun. I love working (graphic design), I love school, I love taking care of the property, and I love being married. I also love traveling, I love nature nature, all of the seasons, and every kind of weather. I have this philosophy you should enjoy everything in your life. If you chose something to be a part of your life then you have what you want and that is cool. I think that everybody has a remarkable amouny of say in what happens in their life. Everything that you have no control over... well there's just no point to being grumpy about that stuff that you can't change now is there? It is much easier and much more fun to just choose to see the good in all situations and truly enjoy this short life (do I sound like an old man or what?)

I know that I wouldn't make a very good rock star because I am too positive and happy. I don't drink and do drugs and talk about how much life sucks... If the look machine ever makes it big (i mean WHEN the look machine makes it big) I still will be a positive, happy, fun-loving guy who tries to see the best side of every situation. I wouldn't fit in with the other rock stars, but maybe I could make them laugh.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

This is my Life

So let me tell you about my life. You know how normal people have jobs and are really busy? Well, I don't do that. I'm a senior in "high school," but I go to a really rockin' school that only makes me go one day a week. The rest of my week I spend "doing homework" and whatever else I want to.

The great thing about being a senior is all of the spring breaks. This year I have three spring breaks (two down, one to go) and graduate a week early. So this week I am off, and thoroughly enjoying it. This summer I will be working construction full time and then I'll be off to the U of D, so I am trying to spend this year having fun and enjoying my last year of freedom from responsibilities and work.

So today, I slept in till about 10, then hit my snooze button about 5 times. Then I got up, strapped a canoe onto the roof of my van and took Shane (that's my brother) down to the Big Elk Creek. I've been wondering for a long time where it goes, and instead of looking at a map we went exploring. We put in where Appleton Road meets Elkton Road, and just went from there. We wound through the woods for a few miles, then went through the middle of down town Elkton. West of there, the creek becomes tidal, spreading out gradually into mud flats that smell horrible and are really hard to canoe through at low tide. The Big Elk Creek meets up with the Little Elk Creek and together they become the Elk river. It winds several miles through the marshes and mud and then it turns huge, and eventually flows into the Chesapeake Bay. We made it to the C and D canal today, but stopped 7 miles short of the bay. Don't worry, in the words of California's fine governor, "I'll be back."

I love creeks and rivers. I find it intriguing how settlements and civilizations have grown up around the waterways. Now as America relies more on roads and airplanes for transportation, creeks slip almost unnoticed through people's back yards. You see a different part of the country from a creek. It's all the backs of things, what people try to hide from everyone passing in front of them. It's perhaps the easiest place to see the interaction between man and nature and the struggle for mutual existence.

Thanks for the good laughs...

I really have to say that I love this weblog. It is a lot of fun to read all of the comments. I am sitting here in the U of D library (that is where I get online since my internet has not worked in month) and I am laughing out loud. I love to look and see what people say in response to the posts and the other comments.

Shout out time... Fatty, you are one strange person. Keep it clean on here, most of our fans are like 13. oooommm paahhhh, you should get a new name. JD, you are one of the nicest and most loyal commenters in the world. You are a cool guy. Random Guitarist, you know a lot about musical equipment. Who are you, or if you wish to remain anon, how do you know so much? Snake man, you have the coolest name. El guapo, I know who you are and your comments crack me up (especially the one about poking the man). Sorry if I left you out, I have to go to class.

So... Thanks for all of the good times. Oh yeah, thanks for caring about the band too. You guys all rock.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

William Hung CD

What the heck is the deal with this? I mean sure, it is pretty amusing, but a whole cd of this guy? His singing is almost as bad as the Rn'B remix of Hotel California on his cd.

Why would you want to listen to a whole cd of this guy? I said it was amusing, but for only about 2 songs, not 11. Plus, I think there's plenty of people who sing just as bad as him. I guess it's the asian accent/lisp/physical appearance of him that gives him the edge, kind of sad. But hey, Americans love to make fun of people and be entertained.

Mr. Hung gets tons of money and millions of people get a laugh out of it, but there still seems to be something really wrong with it all. Anyway, maybe he can get some braces with the money he's making.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

552
Fanatic is up to #552 overall on Amazon.com . .. this is fun. Keep downloading it, I want to crack the top ten.

******ALERT********
WE'RE DOWN TO #574, we need more downloads!
******ALERT********

We're practicing again tonight getting ready for recording. It should be fun. Working through Fanatic actually.

We've booked time at Target Studios next Thursday, Friday and Monday to record 3 songs. Let's hope it goes well.

Oh, and we've gotten some more nice reviews for our music, and one particularly nasty review too at garageband.com, (click here to read them all).

It's actually kind of liberating to get negative reviews, because each additional one makes you care a little less, kind of toughens you up and grow some kind of inner self confidence. Like I don't care at all that VSSrecords felt the need to say, " Well this song turned out pretty lame, more diverstiy boys, more DIE -VERSE- TEA?

What does that mean anyway? Oh I know what it means, they are art rockers and their music is actually kind of. . . weird. Sorry if we like to sing on tune with melodies and play something resembling songs.

But honestly a week ago that would have upset me, now I'm learning not to care.

Anyway, these are exciting times, and we're working on getting more shows so you'll get to watch us play our newer stuff and our older stuff and it'll be fun.

Oh, last thing. I kept bugging delawareonline.com to add us to their local bands section and I finally found the right person and check it out, we've got the best position on the page. Hopefully we'll pick up some fans through that.

another thought from Collin

I just thought that all of you would like to know that Ian and Laura got my Les Paul fixed. I also recently got my fender amp fixed (the combo of a fender amp with a les paul creates a beautiful sound) and I have a new pedal on the way. I am rapidly getting back to my rock roots and I am really excited to play again. It is a joy to play with such equipment. I know that most people probably don't care at all what kind of stuff a band uses, but I assure you, it makes all the difference. I promise that the result will be more Look Machine music that you will love.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Referrals to our site
A strange phenomona is occuring. I can check by our website's reporting where visitors come from (don't worry, I don't have any idea who the visitor is) -- the referral to our site. Lately, it seems that some of the referrals are porn sites. Do we have fans in the adult industry???

Without naming the sites precisely, there is a site about britney spears, about paris hilton, and celebs in general, about amatuers. . . seriously there were about 5-6 sites that you can tell from the names are porn sites. I don't understand!

It's a mystery, really it is.

But let me just say that if people into porn in one way or another are finding some kind of comfort in our music, then that makes me really happy. You see, I know it's cool and all these days to act like porn is ok and liberating and mainstream. Like if you're into Rock N Roll then you should be into porn too.

But personally I think it's lonely and sad and carves you out from the inside. Seriously, I'm not a puritan but I think it's dangerous to the development of your soul. So I think that people into porn, or people creating porn, if they are attracted to our music, well that's good because maybe our music can start filling some lack in them.

Or something like that.

Anyone have any idea why people are visiting our site from porn sites?

Sunday, April 11, 2004

New Drumset.....maybe
Well everyone I'm thinking of getting another drumset. It's not just any drumset, it's the one I've been wanting for the past 2 years or so. I know there's going to be people giving me a hard time about it if I get it seeing as I already have 3, but I don't really give a crap. What can I say, I love drums.

The drumset is on ebay right now. The only hesitations I'm having are the color (cranberry red) and having to send a money order. The set is a Pearl SRX Session Custom. It's 100% maple. A super sweet sounding kit. sizes are 22 in. bass, 10, 12, and 14 in. toms. Once I get it I'll probably keep an eye out on ebay for a 16 in. floor tom.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=64441&item=3717173489&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

My current kits are - (first set I got) Sonor Force 3000 100% birch set. sizes are 22, 12, 13, and 16.
Ludwig Maple Classic Maple set which I think has an inner ply of poplar. sizes are 24, 10, 12, 16.
Mapex Orion Maple set (gigging set). sizes are 22, 10, 12, 13, 16.

Now that I've bored you to death I'll be quiet about drums, but I'm tired of people asking why I have so many drumsets. Maybe by looking at all the different sizes and the woods they're made of everyone can start to appreciate the different sets I have. They all have a very different sound from each other.

Now for Cymbals, Snares, Heads, and Hardware........j/k.
The only person that will probably even read past the first half of this post will be Shane, but that's ok.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Let's Change the World
I've been thinking lately, the world we live in is really great, but it could always use some improving. Maybe together we can change this place! I plan to think of a new way to change the world every month or so and post it on our website. You (the adoring fans) can work with me to put smiles back on the faces of all the grouchy people that mess up our world.
So Here is the plan for this month (and it will cost you $$$): Have you been in the grocery store lately? It's a mess in there! There are a bunch of hyper-active kids and stressed out moms driving each other crazy! I have to say, I know I've never been a stressed out mom, but I tend to sympathize with the kids. I know that I was a handfull to deal with when I was a hyper-active little booger.
Do you remember walking past all of the gum ball machines? Do you remember checking every tray looking for a forgotten candy? Do you remember getting you whole arm stuck inside that trap door, trying for all you are worth just to "borrow" one gum ball. Together we can remedy these problems and brighten a kid's whole day! Let's try to carry quarters in our pocket and whenever we are around a gum ball machine, put a quarter in and just leave it. Immagine how happy you will be making someone! Think about the difference that you made in the world!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Recording the demo
I'm slowly learning how things work.

Remember the Wind Up Exec who got our demo? He wants my brother to help us re-record it because then it will be more what he is looking for.

When it comes to to this Wind Up Exec, all he cares about are songs that will (or at least could) do well on the radio. Before a band can record an album, even when they are signed, they have to submit a 4-5 song demo to the label with those songs they think could be radio hits. This is the process that a certain major label band that I know of is going through right now for their next album. A person in the band actually told me that he knows of a band that has recorded and submitted 45 songs trying to get the label to greenlight their next album -- all without one being approved. They are still working on it. . . can you believe it?

If you listen to the 4 songs that this certain major label band that I know of (to remain nameless -- I just got in trouble for mentioning them by name) just recorded for this submission, (and I have them on my iPod, how lucky am I?) they are still sounding like this bands' songs, but they are very different then the other 6-8 songs that will make it onto the eventual album — they are much poppier and radio friendly.

This is what Wind Up SVP wanted. They had originally recorded 8 other songs, all of which Wind Up SVP turned down (well, one got changed a whole lot and is now one of the 4 radio potential songs), saying they would be ok for the album eventually, but they need to get some bonafide radio songs together.

Knowing this, this is why even though I love a song that we play like Wanderings, I don’t think we should lead with it on the demo. The same with some of our other acoustic stuff. I think (a new song that we're working on) "stop the bleeding" will be one of our best songs, but I wouldn’t put it on this demo for Wind Up.

These songs will be favorites among our fans -- treasures for those who appreciate our music. But they aren't the songs that will get us signed to a label that wants to sell large amounts of albums. I even think though that these songs could be hits after we're established, but they aren't songs that "break you" into radio play.

So this is why we're going to be putting our most "radio friendly" songs on this demo, and then also for good measure add some of our acoustic stuff to show our range and what we're capable of. . .

Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Cracking One Thousand
We're up to #970 on the Amazon.com download chart. . . #35 on Indie/Lo Fi and #94 on General Alternative. Hey, if you haven't downloaded it yet, why don't you go ahead and do it? Actually, even if you have already, go ahead and download it again. (You can never have too many identical files on your computer). Oh yeah, and we've been stuck on 4 reviews for a while, and 2 of them are from the same person. . .

Find gigs and other updates
I've already heard back from Solarcult and another band I had contacted that I found on garageband.com called tapping the vein. Both were very nice, Solarcult said they liked our music (especially Fanatic), and would like to get a Philly show together with us (and a band from NY) at Grape Street Pub and wanted to know how many people we could get there. YOU ALL WOULD HAVE TO SHOW UP! I told him 20-50. I don't know if that's the kind of numbers he's looking for, but I didn't want to over-promise. . . we'll see.

If it works out, then he would also let us play with him in Baltimore (which is kind of their home base), and then do these kind of swap shows once a month. Cool?

tapping the vein is currently recording a CD and not doing shows, but they will let us know when they do, Heather their vocalist said.

Also, the fan mail below is confirmed to not be from someone we already knew. She heard us first on garageband.com and really likes us alot. Wow. That's great.

And on Amazon.com we're up to #1115. . . keep downloading that song.

Trying to get shows
I spent time today sending email messages to local bands (whose music I liked) asking them if we could play with them as some point. I have no idea if this will work, but what's the harm in trying?

So if things go well maybe you'll be seeing us playing with daughter darling, red number 40, no vacancy, JParis, solarcult, , or ike. . .

Does anyone know of any other bands that we should try to play with?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I just thought that this should be on our website since it is the first picture you find when you search the Look Machine on google.


Updates -- recording and Amazon and garageband.com
Tomorrow night for practice Josh from boysetsfire (my brother) is joining us to work on pre-production on 3 of our songs. Then he's going to help us get studio time in the area to do a full on proper recording of those 3 songs. Good news, eh? We're excited about it. . .

On Amazon.com we're up to #1298, which is pretty darn good, but I think we can do better!! Keep downloading that stupid song. . .

We're up to #38 on the Indie/Lo Fi Chart, which I think is great. .. and we're still HOT ( of course you all knew that, right Snake Man, or whatever Ian called you?).


For Garageband.com, fanatic has 3 positive reviews, one negative -- and open my eyes has 2 positive reviews and 4 negatives. But overall the negatives might have some good feedback that will help us improve the song, this one especially gives me good things to think about.

Good ideas and performance, but doesn't seem to go anywh
Excellent production and good guitar work. The guitars are playing distinctly different figures, but blend really well. The single note (nylon string?) stuff that's introduced with the heavy reverb is very good. I really liked the pickup in the guitar arrangement around the three-minute mark.

The problem I had is that that's where the song, as a song, actually seems to get *good*. For the first few minutes, the song and the melody don't seem to go anywhere. I hesitate to use the word "boring," because I don't think that's totally accurate, and not what you were going for, but it's a little monotone. I kept expecting the vocalist to really go somewhere, but it wandered instead around a really narrow range of notes.

That last minute-and-a-half were really good, but the rest of the song just didn't do it for me. Also, the vocalist has some pretty deep harmonics to his voice, and in places I felt like the bass was interfering with his vocal


Since we've gotten some consistent feedback now on this song that maybe it takes too long to get to the "good part" -- almost all agree that the end is good, even if they didn't like the song, maybe we need to rearrange it a little to get there sooner and highlight it better. We'll work on that one.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Today has been a freaking bad day. I got up about 7 to do a bunch of schoolwork that I hadn't had time to do all week cause of work. Well while I was reading a bunch of statistics for my worldview class I fell asleep. When I woke up it was about 10. I still had a bunch of long boring articles to read for worldview, two papers to write, and a bunch of articles about game making for computer class to read. Of these things I had to do I think just about the only thing I got done was the reading for computer.
Thankfully, I had a fairly uneventful day at school. the next problem I came across was with my awesome 4runner, only today it wasn't acting so awesome. I barely made it to Napa before it broke down. Turns out my alternator fried. This wouldn't have been a huge deal except for the fact that my transmission has some weird electrical shifting system. So I couldn't get my truck to go in gear to get home. I tried to put a new one($110) in at Napa but in order to get the stupid thing out I have to drain my antifreeze and disconnect a coolant line. So I wound up calling my brother to give me a tow home.
I have also been having problems with my phone lately and when I got home I couldn't get it to charge at all. So now I have to buy a new phone too. And as if this wasn't enough for one day, my mouse just died. No I don't have a furry little mouse, I'm talking about my computer mouse which is much more expensive then any little stupid live mouse.
So there's my super crappy day, enjoy.

The Rocking Good News
Hey everybody. I got an Ipod last summer. It didn't really work right, so I sent it back and got a new one. When I got the original Ipod the smallest one Apple made was a 10 gig. Now, however, the smallest one they make is a 15 gig, so when I got the replacement it was larger than my original! That rocks, I got a free upgrade and a totally new product! I'm a happy man.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Hello from Collin

Hey there look fans. I want to begin by saying that I am sorry that this is my first Blog. My internet has been down for almost a month (that makes life a bit difficult when you work and do lots of school online). Anyhow, it is up for now and I thought that I would send out a quick hello.

I have been thinking a lot recently about music and what an interesting form of expression it is. It can be so powerful and so personal at the same time. It can be an open window into the writer's soul that begs the listner to gaze in and contemplate the contents. Having our music up on the web for people to download and rate with a system of stars and numbers is such a vulnerable situation. Obviously, we want people to hear our music or we wouldn't put it up on the net, but at the same time, it stings when someone is a little harsh.

I was also thinking about bands and what they have to say. I think that when you see a band in concert, you remember them by what they have to offer aside from their music. There is no way you could possibly remember the lyrics and chord progressions after hearing the songs played one time in a crowded, smokey little club. What you take home with you is the passion (or lack there of) of the bandmembers for their message.
For instance, when Jase and I went to the Thrice show a couple of weeks ago I didn't know much of the music that was played, but Thrice just had such a drive in their hearts and such a kindness in their persona, I walked away thinking that they were a really awesome band. One of their openers, on the other hand, had nothing to say except that they would really like to see Drive-through-Porn become commonplace in America. They were vulgar and apathetic at the same time. Any musicianship that they posessed was overshadowed by their lack of character. How sad.

Well, that was a little bit heavier than I intended it to be when I began typing. I will not always be that way.

I would also like to thank those of you who take the time to read our random thoughts and musings. I love to read the comments. And also, thanks for downloading our songs and reviewing them. We have gotten some very kind and encouraging feedback. Look Machine Fans Rock!!!

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Let us play a show
If you know of anywhere that would like to have a rocking good time, please let us know, we'd love to play more live shows, but it's harder to get that together than you would think. . .

Rejection
Why in the world does just a little bit of negative feedback have so much affect? In addition to filthy mittens, another person kind of dissed our music on garageband.com, and a third was so-so. Now stacked against 5 totally positive reviews, I should be feeling better, right? But no, those 3 not so upbeat reviews are what stick in my mind, what I think about.

Why?

I think part of not giving up is the ability to just move on and not dwell on the negative voices, because they will always be there. Even some of the best music gets skewed by critics, (see for example, this review of boy sets fire from buddyhead.com, which is 100x crueller than anything said about us on garageband . . .

There are almost 293,000,000 people in the United States. To have a very successful album, we only need to sell, oh let's say 3 Million. That means for every 3 people who love us, there could be 290 people who hate us and we'll be just fine. . . and from our reviews so far we're doing much better than that.

So we're going to keep on writing music, even if someone doesn't think it's catchy, and keep on recording it, even if someone thinks the song is long and boring. . . because we love to do it, and we just need to find the 1% of the population that loves to listen to it.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

FAN MAIL
We got some fanmail from someone we don't even know. How freaking cool is that? (note: I, at least, do not know this person. It's very likely that perhaps this is one of David's secret friends that he won't talk about or introduce to us -- there are too many to count.)

To the Artists of The Look Machine,
     I just wanted to let you guys know how incredible I think your music is!  Keep the faith and you will go far, you guys have the makings to be great.  I especially love Open My Eyes!  What a powerful and heartfelt song.  Do you guys have a link to your lyrics?  I hope to see you guys from the stands one day. 


Thank you -- after filthy mittens (see below), this is exactly what the Look Machine needed.

Amazon.com Update
Very cool news, our song fanatic has rocketed up the Amazon.com Free Download chart, from around #8000 to #2788. Whew-hoo, we're number 2788, we're number 2788! There are only 2787 songs more popular than ours. If someone wanted to listen to one song a day to work their way down the chart, they would hear Fanatic by around Summertime, 2011!

And someone "a customer" they call themself, gave us a 5 star review. Thanks. . . you're the best!

Now I'm curious how many downloads it take to get into the higher parts of the chart. I think they update the charts once a week, and one week ago we had 4 downloads, and today it showed that we have 12 (I'm referring to some special secretive reporting that I have to login to see). By getting 8 more downloads we moved past more than 5000 other songs.

Can you all please be part of an experiment and download it a bunch more times, like a whole bunch? Aren't you all a little curious to see how much the song could rise?

New Guitar
Hey, I finally got my electric guitar! I ordered it off of eBay two and a half weeks ago, and just got it today! Oh well, it's here now and I can rock and roll! For those of you who care, it's a Carvin dc-127. It's a very good looking guitar, all natural finish with gold hardware. It's got the neck thru construction so it can hold a note for about a year. I'm ready to stick it to the man!!!