RIP Justin Proper

My friend Justin was sick when I met him. He was sick as long as I knew him. It was his sickness that brought him to Ohio way too often, where I would visit him at the Cleveland Clinic not often enough. On Monday 11/10/14, Justin Proper died following a long battle with a condition I could never pronounce or understand.

New Cover

Substream Magazine Issue 42 quote

Today, Substream Magazine announced the cover of Issue 42 featuring Yellowcard. This is the second issue in a row in which I penned the cover story.

Like my previous story with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth, I talked to Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key about his life, his family, and the band's new direction. I'm very proud of this story.

In Spring of 2013, Ryan's wife Alyona - who was poised to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi - suffered a terrible accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Their story is one of chance, tragedy, and love. It will take you from day one of their relationship to the present, where Alyona is recovering and Yellowcard are preparing to release Lift A Sail, their forthcoming album on Razor & Tie Records.

I hope you take the time to track down a copy of the issue to read about Ryan, Alyona, and Yellowcard. You can buy a single copy of Issue 42 here or subscribe to Substream Magazine here.

Substream Magazine Issue 42

New Podcast Appearance

Haulix Logo

I was recently asked by former colleague James Shotwell to join him on an episode of the Inside Music Podcast which is presented by Haulix, a company I really love.

In the show, we catch up on how we met, how I got into writing, whether or not you should go to college for music business, classmates having babies while you've had blogs, and much more.

You can listen to the stream below.

New Cover

Substream Magazine Issue 41 quote

Today Substream Magazine announced issue #41 with Columbus, OH's Beartooth on the cover. I'm happy to say that I wrote the featured story.

When I started at Substream, I didn't expect to be involved with the print side of the brand at all. The website was my domain and I had more than enough to deal with there. Still, the opportunity arose to interview my friend Bradley Walden for the magazine. A two-page piece on his rise from fan to frontman of Emarosa. I sent that in while in Nashville and figured that was all I'd have in this issue. Then things changed.

The artist we had lined up for the cover originally pushed back a few months, so we needed someone to fill the slot. We chose Beartooth, the new project from Ohio's own Caleb Shomo. I spent the 2 days notice I had researching his past and preparing for our chat at the Cleveland date of the Vans Warped Tour. The interview went very well.

In the interview, we talked about Caleb moving on from Attack Attack! and using Beartooth as an outlet. We talked about working with John Feldmann and his new relationship with Redbull Records. We also touched on his personal life as a husband on the road. There are a lot of good bits in there that any fan of Caleb will like to read.

Having then just 2 days to transcribe, write, and edit the piece, I blocked off the weekend and cranked it out. After sending it to some friends for edits and suggestions, I sent it off to the design team very happy indeed.

I never expected to write much for Substream Magazine, especially not the cover story. In fact, I never expected to write a cover story at all. This is a really exciting opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting a copy for myself (and for all of my family members, apparently).

If you'd like a copy of the issue, you can purchase one here. I hope you enjoy!

Substream Magazine Issue 41

New Cities

This is long overdue, but I did want to write a short synopsis of my two weeks in Nashville last month. It was my first time in the city and I had an amazing time. I met a lot of great people and made a lot of new friends. Here goes...

After a 9+ hour drive in 90+ degree weather with no AC, I arrived at the apartment of my friend Amy Meeko. She not only graciously invited me to stay in her home, but allowed the 5 members of Shapes & Colors (plus Manager) to take over her living room for the two weeks they were there recording with Aaron Sprinkle. It wasn't an hour after I sat down there that the band showed up and chaos ensued.

Also staying with Amy were Bradley Walden, a long-time friend of mine and her boyfriend, and their new puppy Jazz. Jazz was a foster puppy we all fell in love with and I reluctantly could not adopt. It's my understanding that they since have and she's sticking around to play with on future visits.

On day one of our stay, the band and I trekked downtown to see the sights. We experienced Broadway in full. We ate BBQ for lunch, visited all of the bars, and drank quite a bit. We spent some time on the bridge, around the stadiums, and in a tattoo shop where nobody had the guts or money to get anything done.

The following two weeks were spent in the studio with Aaron Sprinkle. As fans of bands like Anberlin, The Almost, Acceptance, Relient K, and more, we were all pleased to have met the man behind so many of our favorite records. Spending so much time with him was more than worth the money the band spent on his production services.

Aaron did some amazing things with this band. He told me on several occasions that Shapes & Colors is one of the best groups of musicians he's worked with in years and his favorite project in at least the past three. His confidence in the group went beyond the boards too. He took $2,000 of his payment and allocated it to JR McNeely to mix the four song EP he recorded. JR is also behind records like Acceptance's Phantoms, a fact that had the entire group completely geeked.

When I wasn't hanging around the studio, I was meeting up with friends and colleauges I've made in my years as a music industry professional, but had never personally met. I had lunch with Sam Callahan from Warner Music Group (she also put up the band for their last 3 nights), another lunch with former classmate Annie Gullo who now works at Provident Label Group, a Christian subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment, and Punchline singer, BADBOXES manager, and overall awesome person Steve Soboslai.

Steve introduced me to Alex Mohler, who is the Manager of Dinner and A Suit and also behind the scenes at AltarTV, an amazing live performance video production company out of Pittsburgh who I have worked with several times. He also invited me out to a party which happened to celebrate the birthday of a member of celebrated a capella group Streetcorner Symphony.

Sam took me to the Frothy Monkey, a Nashville hotspot for the hungry and famous. I did not see Ben Folds the 2 times I went there for grub, but that's ok. He did some important things that week. After that, we visited Music Row which is comprised of two streets of homes converted into the headquarters of some of the music industries most lucrative management businesses and labels. There we went to a rooftop patio party at Warner Music Group's HQ. I didn't care much for the music, but the atmosphere was really quite cool.

On July 4th, we went back to Broadway to watch the Nation's second largest fireworks show. An orchestra played on the sectioned-off street and I got ash in my eyes. It was cool.

There are a lot of other people I would have liked to meet up with, but two weeks is only so long. I spent a lot of time listening to Shapes & Colors crafting their best songs yet and I got to spend some quality time with some good friends in the process. It was a great trip and I'd love to return very soon.