June 20th, 2007
Today I impressed someone with a skill I didn't know that I had. I was able to draw a very accurate Garfield picture. Now if I can just master the witty dialogue, I'll be rich in no time. Mondays. Lasagna. Etc.
April 14th, 2007
For the most part, music and sports tend not to mix. But I can't go on living a lie. I am a big time NHL fan and I play hockey on a team with Steve and Paul. Chris is the norm: a music man who has mostly disdain for jocks. Don't tell him that the three of us play hockey.
Anyway, my rant is this: last night I watched the Anaheim vs. Minnesota game. The guy that scored two goals for Anaheim (Francois Beauchemain) was a breath of fresh air. Both times when they showed him on the bench after scoring he was NOT looking up at the Big Screen to watch his own hilights (highlights?).
It has become the norm to see the goal scorer on the bench gawking up at his own highlight (hilight?) as if he doesn't have access to hilites (highlites?) later on in his 2 million dollar mansion.
Just an observation that no one will listen to that I needed to post here.
February 24th, 2007
You know what I've been noticing a lot of recently while watching movies? The over use of a certain cliche that I've never once seen in real life. You know the one, it's where a character will say something important, and then in a more pensive way, repeat it more to himself than anybody else.
Like when someone says "Well that was a crazy day" and the other guy says "It sure was, Bill, it sure was".
I'm going to make a conscious effort to include this in my day to day conversations. Watch for it.
February 1st, 2007
Last night at practice, a conversation occurred that The Setbacks may not be able to sweep under the carpet. Some things were said that has made one member of the band isolated from the rest, alone on an island of no respect.
I sincerely hope these words can be forgotten, for no apologies can take it back. I don't even think that I will ever be able to look this guy in the eye again. I know that the other guys feel the same way.
When you pour your heart and soul into a project, the happiness derived from it is indescribable. It's like your very essence becomes that much closer to reaching Nirvana (the state, not the band - and not the state as in the regional jurisdiction, I mean the actual state of well being - and by that I don't mean Maryland, whose slogan is 'The State of Well Being').
Anyways, I've wracked my brain trying to decide whether to reveal the offending words on such a public forum as our website. But the mission statement of The Setbacks has always been "Reveal All To Everyone At All Times". So as a result, I will now let the public decide if this is worth breaking the band up over:
Last night Chris Saracino, drummer for the Setbacks, revealed to the band that he thinks the movie Norbit looks awesome.
(pause for dramatic effect)
It's true. I will keep you all apprised of the situation. If this breaks up the band, this will be the place to read it.
January 21st, 2007
Last night we played an album release show for our latest platter "Bless My Soul" at the Dominion Tavern. What follows is a top to bottom (but probably very incomplete) recap of the evening's events...
After unloading the gear at the club and getting acquainted with the sound man, we downed the requisite bottle of 50 while we tried to warm up our frozen bits and pieces. When we finished our beers we stood around and stared at the empty stage for a bit. It sure was a sight to be seen. Unfortunately we couldn't locate the sound guy so we didn't know what we were supposed to be doing, so we decided to grab some grub instead and hoped that everything would work itself out while we were gone.
So we went out looking a fitting establishment where we could celebrate our accomplishments as a band on this, the evening of our album release show. I was gunning for Zak's but no takers so we settled on one of the 6000 pubs in the market instead. I can't remember which one... Donny O'Molly's Double Pourlander I think.
Anyways, Chris got right into it and explained to us for half an hour why he systematically regretted voting for Larry O'Brien for mayor. While his arguments were reasonable and valid, I couldn't help but wonder how Mr O'Brien keeps his Lex Luther-like dome so shiny. Was it turtle wax or some kind of specially formulated polish recommended to him by Howie Mandel? That's one for the ages. After chowing down on fish and chips and bangers and mash, and listening to Trevor recount the story of walking into the bathroom and being faced with a guy in a cowboy hat pissing into the urinal "side saddle" so that he was facing Trevor but pissing sideways, we decided we should head back to the club to see how things were going.
On the way back we just about got run over by some jerk in a station wagon. Looked like it was a band, but I didn't get a good look at them. Anyways - soon after we got into the club to find JP setting up his monster Gretsch kit, Garaga walked in telling us some crazy story about almost hitting some jaywalking yoyo right in front of the club.
Fast forward to 10:30. The aforementioned Garaga hit the stage and give the Dom crowd a double guitar kick in the face. This was their first show ever but you couldn't tell. They were some kind of tight and their seriously grooving (and sometimes metal-ish) tunes had the place kickin' for their full set. If those two girls' homo-erotic dancing right in front of the stage was any indication, Garaga's material was very well received.
Next up was Tokyo Sex Whale. On the geetar we have Yogi (of Yogi's Meatlocker, who recorded "Bless My Soul" over the last 8-9 months) and on drums we have JP (of many, many other bands and head music man at local rag Upfront). On bass we have a lady that can play a mean 4-string and has some serious pipes to back it up. TSW haven't been around too long but this was the 2nd time I'd seen them. Their heavy stoner sound was a big hit and I was quite impressed with how good they've become in such a short time. They play like a veteran act, but with a lot of balls and bite.
Trevor, realizing that we had very likely been upstaged by our two opening acts, pleaded with me to sneak out with him and bail on the show. After a fury of face slaps he came to his senses and ordered a rocket of 50... which he began to pound with a brand new resolve. The old Trevor had returned. And by old, I mean he's 30 now. Fuck that's old.
Anyways, it was getting late and we didn't want to kill the momentum so we quickly set our gear up on stage and prepared with our usual hand holding and trust exercises to get us mentally, physically and spiritually equipped to handle the show.
We hit the tiny stage and started peeling through tunes from the new record and our EP from a couple years ago. The energy was good, the strings weren't breaking and as far as I could tell people seemed to be digging it. The on-stage sound was a bit shite and I basically had to point my amp at my head from about 6 feet away so that I could hear my guitar. At the time it seemed like a good idea but today I'm realizing that human ears weren't designed to handle that kind of sound amplitude for a solid hour. On top of losing 90% of my hearing in that ear, I can't balance myself any more and I fear that I will never be able to swim underwater in the deep end again.
About two-thirds of the way through the set, during our song "Bleedin' Heart", Trev and I had planned this stunt inspired by the Sadies where we basically play each other's guitars at the same time. We each pick our own strings but we have our hand on the other's guitar neck. The visual pizazz and trickery of this maneuver is something to behold and when done properly it looks pretty kick ass. To prepare for this, Trevor and I had been practicing diligently - I walk up behind him and we snake our arms around each other's guitars and BAM... magic happens. Anybody who's seen a Sadies show knows what I'm talking about. This move rules.
So, the time came for Trev and I to attempt this ourselves. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous. This was a difficult stunt and between the nerves and mine and Trevor's moderate inebriation, I knew it would be really tough to pull it off smoothly. I positioned myself behind Trevor to begin and we gave each other the nod to go for it. I reached under his guitar neck and grabbed onto his strings and... SHIT!! ZAP!! At first I thought it was the awesome rock energy of this riff-switching stunt that was coursing through my hand... WRONG... it was 110 volts of electricity. Some kind of polarity or grounding problem on stage had created a pathway for for the current to pass between our guitars... via the conduit provided by my fingers and arms... SON OF A BITCH THAT HURTS!! I could only assume Trev was experiencing the same crippling pain as we tried to play through it like the dedicated showmen we are. No dice... we pulled out early and regrouped. We tried again, but same deal.... BAAAMM!! YOUCH!! We got a couple good bars in, so all was not lost.
However, for the rest of the set every time Trev would wander over to my end of the stage and his stray guitar string ends would brush against my arm it was like a venomous snake bite... SON OF A... man that hurts. A small pittance for the pleasure we get out of delivering 100% pure unfiltered rock to the masses.
We wrapped up the set with the title track from the new record. We gave it a 110% and left it all on the stage. But the audience demanded more... so we dug deep and saw what we could muster for an encore. We went with "Born on the River", an old favourite of ours from the EP that we had left out of the set. It's a high energy number so we figured it'd be a good one to end the night on. Trev elected to go sans-guitar for the 2nd half of the song and we even attempted a successful rock'n'roll totem pole during the breakdown. Apparently when Trevor dismounted there was a large indentation in my hair where his twins had rested. Likewise, on his pants there was an imprint of my sweaty head in his crotch. I'm assuming it was sweat. Either that, or he relieved himself on me... which, knowing Trev, I wouldn't count out. He has a very small bladder.
When it was all said and done we'd played our hearts out, sold a few albums and had a hell of a good time. Fortunately, those in attendance (at least the dudes in front) also had a hell of a good time. We rock, they roll... it's a simple formula.
After the Dom had emptied out, I received some advice from one of my wife's co-workers in attendance: "Lose the wedding rings. Girls don't want to see that. It's not rock'n'roll." Somehow I think our wives might take issue with this idea, but I'll bring this up at the next Setbacks board meeting.
Special thanks to Garaga, Tokyo Sex Whale, CKCU and Birdman Sound for making it a big success!
September 18th, 2006
The band known as the Setbacks, rock and roll sooperstars extraordinaire, are soliciting quotes for CD manufacturing of their latest platter (tentatively titled "Bless My Soul"). The scope of work will include disc replication, packaging and assembly of five hundred (500) albums. Bidders must meet the following mandatory criteria:
- An ability to manufacture 500 CDs
- An ability to deliver said CDs
Qualifying firms will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Overall cost (50%)
- Customer service (25%)
- Proximity to my house (15%)
- Number of employees named Chris (up to a maximum of 10)
The Setbacks are an equal opportunity organization. However, preferential treatment will be given to bidders that employ visible minorities.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, September 29th at 11am EST. Contact the Setbacks at email@example.com.
September 12th, 2006
I know I promised to do a bunch of these on regular intervals, but that obviously has not happened. Time to pick up the slack again.
I consider myself to be a keen observer of people, places, and things. I also consider myself to be an expert in almost every field. Being such an overall expert, I am allowed to have an opinion on many things. That being said, from now on when I have a thought concerning everyday things, I am going to offer my opinion here. You can agree, disagree, agree to disagree, or even disagree to agree, but most likely you will not have an opinion on these things.
I'm sure that you, like I, have fond memories of a childhood spent locked in a broom closet with nothing but play d'oh to mold into food in order to survive. Recently I had the opportunity to play with the popular molding clay again (this time on a table, after eating real food - that part was a nice change). I don't want to burst your bubble, but it is very difficult to make anything of substance with play d'oh. Sure, it was fun, but I had a lot of trouble getting the soft clay to maintain it's shape once I'd formed it. I'm going to try again in a week or so. Maybe it was just an ultra fresh batch.
I find myself eating a lot of Bite Size, Round Tostitos recently. I sat down to figure out why that was. In reality, these salty bits are less exciting than most flavoured chips and aren't even the best corn based chip. Still, they are very salty and fill me up just right when I'm hungry and lazy. Plus I always have some around so I can make Lazy Man Nachos.
This is just two mundane reviews. I plan to add more sporadically.
This has been Trevor's One Minute Reviews.
August 4th, 2006
So I thought I’d do a quick wrap up of our attempt at winning $300,000 last Friday in the Live 885 Big Money Shot. I will preface it by saying we did not win, as I don’t want to give any false hope to our faithful fans and readers.
The evening started as one would expect, with Chris weaseling out of hauling gear. But this time, I was getting a ride from him, so I got to ride on his coattails and also not haul gear. Now I see why he does this every time. Anyway, Steve and Chet get to the club on time, and are the only band there (or half band). By the time Chris and I get there, more bands have shown up and people are setting up gear. We will be doing no sound check, as there are 5 bands, so we head out in search of some grub and beers.
After Chris finally finishes his plate of mustard and ketchup, we head back to the club to watch the other bands and to get our drink on. The first 100 people through the door were offered Big Money Shot t-shirts. As we walked in, they were offered our way, but Chet dismissed him totally, waving his hand saying “save them for the fans”. This left the guy handing out the shirts very confused. The rest of us shuffled by, shrugging at the guy to tell him that we’re not really that cocky.
Quarter Life hit the stage first. I was hoping I’d see my cousin Tyler in this band. But apparently he was busy and so was replaced by some other keyboardist. They played pop rock well. Like the Counting Crows or something.
We taped an interview to be played on Live 885 during our set. We joked our way through all the serious questions, leaving no doubt as to our drive and determination to succeed as musicians.
After that it was our turn to hit the stage. Our plan was to destroy the place. No energy was to be taken off stage, the plan was to give it our all. We yelled motivational slogans into each other’s faces from close range, then ran onstage. We started with some new songs, and the crowd was digging it. People moved closer to the stage, which is always a good sign.
The set was heavy on the kicks and jumps, and the crowd was eating it up. I think our high energy set was just what the Thirsty Scholar needed that night. During the last song, we even made our second attempt at the Rock and Roll Totem Pole. We tried this on one other occasion (there is a video of it on our newspage). This time the stage was taller, so when Steve jumped down into the crowd, I just had to slide onto his shoulders. Easy as that. Unfortunately, while mounting him, I kicked the pick right out of his hand. It was a precise kick, touching no fingers, just pick. He played the rest of the song with his fingers.
Just as I was about to start singing the last verse from atop Mt. Palmer, we got sprayed with beer. This encouraged other people to do the same and we were immediately soaked. One lucky sprayer aimed his spray with laser accuracy directly into my eye. But I kept singing, and Steve kept playing. Eventually, Steve got bumped by the swelling crowd, backed into the stage hitting the back of his knees, and we tumbled hard onto our backs. Amazingly the song kept going, and Steve did not miss a single note on the searing solo he was tearing into. Faces were melting all over the crowd.
We then wrapped it up and attempted to unravel the mess of patch cords and microphones we had created. We got some serious cheering and made a lot of new fans/friends after the show. It was safe to say that we had no gas left in the tank, the motivational slogans had worked.
We spent the rest of the night watching the other bands, thinking maybe we’d destroyed the place enough to win this contest, even though the radio station sponsoring it doesn’t even play the bands we try to emulate. After Tympanic played their mellow songs, The Second Glance picked up the pace again with their awesome, super tight set. Then Eppiphane came on, finished the night, and was declared the winner.
In all, a hell of a fun night despite the fact that there were no beer tickets.
March 20th, 2006
This past weekend, the Setbacks were in total lockdown at the Bomb Shelter Studio in Ottawa with Yogi Perogi manning the buttons and switches, to begin recording a new album.
I will have to preface our studio adventures on day one by saying the evening before was St. Patty’s day. I hosted a get together at my house that both Steve and Chet attended, and they can confirm that I indeed went to bed early in anticipation of a big day in the studio. Yet still I felt quite hungover when the phone rang early the next morning. That is where this story begins…
Day 1 – Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It
I emerge from a thick fog, realizing that the phone is ringing. I manage to put my hand on it and answer. Unfortunately, my mouth and throat are dryer than the Sahara. My tongue seems to have solidified and it takes all my strength to get it moving. I get a croaked ‘hello’ out of the trap and find Steve on the other end. Apparently he had finally gotten in touch with Yogi, our esteemed studio guru for the day. There was a fear that he had died, or at the very least went into hiding as we had been unable to reach him for days.
Steve quickly informs me that we are meeting for breakfast, and need to be in the studio for about 1:30. Time to kick it into high gear. High gear apparently includes a 45-minute shower. I get out of the shower completely refreshed and ready to go. Chris calls and says he’s picking me up at 11:30. He’s good on his word and the Healy Disc jeep pulls up on time. I notice Steve is in the front seat, so I get in the back. Chet is back there too, but he is crying because I didn’t return his waves as I walked up to the jeep. I spend a good part of the ride attempting to explain the concept of tinted windows to him. A misunderstanding resulting in someone crying will be a constant theme over the next two days.
At breakfast we talk about the daily news, as copies of the Ottawa Sun are everywhere in Local Heroes. The waitress takes our order, and Chris does a complete spit take when I order chocolate milk to drink. When my tears finally subside, Steve orders a Super Stack, which makes me laugh, which leads to Steve crying. To make him feel better, I also order it. Chris then orders a cranberry juice. No one laughs.
Turns out that breakfast is quicker than we thought, so there is enough time to go to Chet’s apartment and play Halo 2 for a bit before moving the gear. Chris prefers to go through all the shoes in Chet’s entrance, demanding to know whether they are expensive or not.
We finally arrive at the studio (late of course) and load our gear in. The studio is tucked in the basement of a house off Main Street. It consists of one room for recording, and another just off it that houses all the knobs and switches. The main room is plain, with mics standing at the ready. The button room is plastered with all sorts of local show posters that we can go through during all the waiting involved with recording. It also has a plethora of recording magazines and a well worn copy of Penthouse Forum – 7th Annual Wife Watchers Edition.
We set up all the gear and then Yogi goes through each instrument and mic to get the right sounds. He’s got a good ear for the rock music, as evidenced by introducing the band to Sir Lord Baltimore by blasting it over the sound system while we load in, so it does not take as long as I thought it would. Soon we are ready to record. This is the time we refer to as Magic time.
We blast through Music is the Medicine. The first attempt is pretty loose and messy. A lot of finger pointing happens. All the fingers (even mine) are pointed at me! I dry my tears and we try again. Second take had a similar outcome, only this time it wasn’t my fault and yet the fingers continued to point. We needed to get in the groove. My theory was that there was a Super Stack sitting in my stomach weighing me down. Time for a serious sit down. Unfortunately, the Shelter truely is bomb proof: no toilet paper.
So we work out the kinks by jamming, doing finger and arm exercises, and using ancient bowel restraint techniques. We’re ready to try again. BANG. MAGIC. Gentlemen, you’ve just recorded your first number one single! Yogi cues it up, and it sounds great, much to our relief.
The rest of the afternoon continues similarly: screw up once, blame somebody, make them cry, try again, MAGIC!
Soon Chris sneaks off for dinner and to fuss over his pregnant wife, so the rest of us order a couple of wheels from Preston Pizza and settle in for some serious letter reading from Penthouse. While we were suspicious of a lot of the stories people had sent in, Yogi assured us it was all true. Penthouse has fact checkers to make sure they don’t print anything that is simply made up.
While Chris was out, we had him pick up a case of beer. Apparently he had never been to a Beer Store before, because he refused to pay a deposit saying it was unfair. When we explained to him that only 10 cents a bottle is returned, he flipped saying his Seagram’s coolers fetched far more when emptied. He cried about the injustices in the world, but we cheered him up with some Penthouse Letters.
The beer lubricated us enough to get 7 full bed tracks on tape before we shut down for the night. We’d return to the studio tomorrow, ready to attack overdubs and vocals. Yogi burnt us a cd, which we road tested by blasting it in Chet’s truck. We picked out a couple of songs that might need redoing. Then it was off to our pal Munch’s birthday party.
Would Day 2 be as successful? Stay tuned for the next installment.
March 3rd, 2006
Tonight I saw Tricky Woo at Babylon with my good buddies Paul, Brett, and Munch. It was absolutely phenomenal. They are so good. It moved me.
After the show, I sat back, closed my eyes, took a sip of my beer, and just thought about how awesome music is.
Fuck. It's so good.
Let the good times roll.
Contact the band at band[at]thesetbacks.com