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Wednesday

I was experimenting with watercolors this afternoon, staring out at the vast expanse of ocean…I was listening to the near final mixes of the new album, ‘Middle of Infinity’…and after months of composing, refining, recording and producing them…which translates into hundreds of listens…they had started to sound like levels, textures and frequencies rather than actual songs. I get too close sometimes and have to step back…if I can…and I need to do it in order to experience the work with some objectivity–you rarely get full objectivity though. Though I didn’t really step back today…perhaps the watercolors and the Citrique blunt I smoked provided a different perspective…bringing me back to Malibu Lagoon where I wrote many of these songs and the lush summer vibes I was marinating in during the composition process. The universe is a strange and amazing place. It was like hearing the mixes the way a person might hear them for the first time…and I can tell you that they are filled with warm summer vibes…but there’s something more than summer vibes, there’s something long lost in there too…some nostalgia like a memory you’re not sure is something you have or something you’ve lost; but it’s beautiful and lush and warm and full of wonder. I realized today for the first time in a long time what the point of this album was…and those who let these songs in will experience those warm soothing vibes. And that’s what I offer you all with this new one. 

Monday

It’s like an awesome wave of vitality has washed over me. I’d hoped to get two songs completed by today and in fact have finished three–Baby Jane, Heartbreaker and Marina Del Rey. I drove around in the car today listening to the mixes on the car stereo; always a good test. Baby Jane is perfect…not sure how I can get it sounding better…so I’ll leave it as is. The others need a few small adjustments but are nearly there. I do wonder what the state of things will be once the virus that originated in China is eradicated and music venues open up again. Already I’ve heard that the Satellite is done…the Satellite–one of LA’s most illustrious music venues…gone for good. I guess new venues will open and there will always be outdoor shows…but you can never really replace a venue like Satellite. I try to see it this way; before it was Satellite it was just another disco club…no live bands, just incidental DJ’s which it certainly won’t be remembered for…it was what came after that made it a legend…in the 90’s…when it became a hub for Silverlake indie bands. It’s a lot of history and ten new venues can’t really take the place of one old venue like Satellite. And though it was an actually famous venue–it kept a low profile. It wasn’t the type of place that had an in-house photographer running around snapping pics of clout seeking posers with underarm sweat rings and ironic t-shirts behaving as if it was their very first night out on the town…it wasn’t trying to be a Value Village version of Studio 54. It was dimly lit, low key and hosted live bands all night–from open till close…and that’s what made it cool in the truest sense. It was a venue that really believed in supporting original live bands. Hoping we don’t lose too many more.

Friday

Looking north up Gower st.

Spending tonight in the studio again. Haven’t slept all that much–been navigating this production hard and loving every second–as always. My plan is to spend the weekend working on Marina Del Rey and Baby Jane. I want to finish them both by Monday. Tracking Marina was a definite undertaking…kind of an epic work–mainly because the composition of the song is very reminiscent of old school Phil Spector recordings and so I figured I’d try to give it a Wall of Sound production. Which means having to record several takes of the same instrument or layering a piano with a harpsichord and vibraphone for instance the exact same way. Duplicating the same track four times won’t create the desired effect, that will only create a strange flange effect–you have to rerecord the tracks individually…EQ them all slightly differently to balance the scale. I was at East West Hollywood one evening with Rhys and some of his crew…we were in studio 3 where the Beach Boys recorded their Pet Sounds album; sacred ground in the studio world. Rhys was explaining the secret recipe for the Wall of Sound approach through demonstration. There are few rooms in the world that sound better than the studio 3 control room. Put together the right way, the sounds nearly vibrated–it all made sense when I heard it in that room. I’ve never tried this before mainly because the process seemed daunting as it is…but after such involved tracking sessions I felt I owed it to the song. It seems to be working…Marina Del Rey is sounding like an old Phil Spector recording on vinyl…castanets and all. Issue is there are so many tracks and frequencies going on that it has to be synchronized perfectly…that’s the challenge; the synchronicity. I’ll figure that out this weekend one way or another.

Wednesday

Tracked the vocals for Heartbreaker tonight. Very stoked with how smoothly it went. Usually when I’m in there I sing a number of takes and use the best lines from each take. For Heartbreaker though, I got set up, warmed up and was prepared for at least an hour and a half just to record the vocal and bgs. I recorded two practice runs as further warm up–you always record those just in case…and in this case, they were enough. From two warm-up takes I got the entire lead vocal line…took a couple more takes to get the backgrounds. Half an hour later I was mixing them into the song. Love when that happens.

Monday

Today I tracked the vocals for the second last song on this album. Song is called ‘Marina Del Rey’ and there is a bit of haunting nostalgia in the colorfast of melody. The previous song I was working on, ‘Baby Jane’ turned out to be a bit of a challenge, but Marina went so smoothly. I’d have never guessed as much being that Marina is full of complexities, layers, a string section and some extra percussion. Smooth is better for sure and I really produced it exactly the way I initially heard it in my head when I was writing it. In any case, I’m stoked to make this record available to the modest and loyal base of JTB fans who get that I’m emulating singer-songwriters from the 1970’s. Certainly I’ve been asked by some why my recordings don’t sound more digital–even though they are recorded digitally. It’s because I record digital and then painstakingly remove or add frequencies and filters to achieve a more analog texture. Why not just record analog? Well…though it’s warmer, analog is sort of a pain in the ass. I’ve devised dozens of presets though that can usually erase alot of the digital from a digital recording and add a bit of analog warmth. Middle of Infinity is going to be exactly that kind of album–a 1970’s soft focus sativa buzz. 

Tomorrow I’m going to track the vocals for the last song on this album. Song is called Heartbreaker and it’s perhaps my fave on this album, aside from Marina Del Rey. Out of all the albums I’ve written and recorded over the years, this one is infused the most with Los Angeles sunsets and endless summer lanes. You’ll know what I mean by that when you eventually hear the album.

Saturday

I’ve got something real special for y’all this weekend. I’m talking about Tales from Truman Park episode 7. If you’ve been following this series, you’ll remember episode 6 was a barn burner. Jam packed with authentic 90’s nostalgia, episode 7 is all about the fallout and there are a few shocking developments.

Tales from Truman Park – series

Wednesday

Coming around the corner on this new album. Production on most of these songs has been pretty smooth. Some mixes however, for whatever reasons, are harder to perfect. For the last number of days I’ve been working hard on ‘Baby Jane’…it’s been a super delicate balancing act. I think part of the issue is the guitars, vibraphone, organ and piano sitting in the same frequency register. I normally try to avoid this by playing organ in higher range, guitar in mid range, piano in lower mid keys and the vibraphone usually fits nicely panned opposite the guitar. Modern Stereo EQ has been helpful…but it’s been a bit of a puzzle on this one and the deeper I wandered into it, the harder is was to see the way back out. The engineer I’m using suggested subtracting an instrument or two from the mix–to make some space for everything–but I can’t lose any instruments–they are all equally as important. The vibraphone would be the obvious choice to subtract, being that the song really can’t do without the gritty Hammond organ…but at the same time it can’t do without the vibraphone either…really without the vibraphone an entire layer of ambiance is missing…and this batch of songs is so much about the nuances. Finally though, after a number of intense mix nights, I’ve wound up with a wicked mix. I can’t wait to share this album with people…it’s like a soft-focus sativa buzz from 1970’s Hollywood. One more song left…

Friday

I’ve been heavily immersed in two ongoing projects–the final mixes for the ‘Middle of Infinity’ album which is sounding as dreamy as a 1970’s sativa buzz–should be out in December. I’ve also been spending the wee hours in a wash of 1990’s reminiscence writing Truman Park episode 7 which I’ll post here in the near future; the plot doth thicken. The series is shaping up to be ten episodes…so it’s coming down to the wire. 

Monday

Read about how this album I recorded was almost never produced and the turn of events that made it possible. Details in video description. Really I listen to this album twenty years later and can’t believe how ambitious the project was and how far deep into the jungles of contemporary composition the odyssey took me. 

Thursday

After searching for a designer to create a cover for the new album, I finally found one who delivered–and really it’s the perfect cover for this collection of songs. We’re rounding the corner on the recording–ironing out some finishing nuances at this point. Should be ready by December.

Interesting note about this album. After spending months writing it on piano and guitar, I wanted a change of space to track the vocals. A friend of mine has an uncle who owns a vintage Airstream travel trailer in the Mojave desert. I left the sanctuary of the city and rented the Airstream for three weeks and spent my time there writing lyrics and recording the vocals for this album–amidst the scorpions and rattlesnakes, the cactus juice and the whispering of constellations; the desert is an entity unto itself. While ‘lost’ in the desert, I became acutely aware of infinity stretching out in all directions…like nothing I’ve ever really experienced. I named the album accordingly–Middle of Infinity

Friday

I first saw Eleanor Coppola’s brilliant documentary Hearts of Darkness in the mid 90’s and have seen it several times since…I own the video tape. Brutally sincere, riotously funny and even a bit disturbing…but never pretentious; this doc illustrates the divine madness of artistic vision that used to exist in cinema–it’s an element that has become extinct in recent years. If you can find the entire film somewhere, I highly recommend seeing it at least once.

Wednesday

Not messing around…will be watching this tonight. I have this film on a drive, but there’s something about watching films on a moving reel with the trailers and all.

Monday

Just posted a **revised** version of Tales from Truman Park episode 6–original draft I posted wasn’t the completed one. Buckle in…it’s a barn burner.

Tales from Truman Park – series

Wednesday

Yo, check out the new music video for ‘Mary’.

Wednesday

What he meant to say was: Realizing we’re standing on the Strip next to the tragic spot where River Phoenix died. Grinning about a comment made about the dude with woman hair in the background. Smoking blunts like they’re going out of style…a wondrous madhouse Hollywood is and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Friday

Me in the 90’s…skater boy, showing off my new Sex Pistols shirt.

Monday

New song, “Never Wanted To”.

Monday

Silverlake freedom.

Wednesday

I spent a couple years writing a novel called Waiters. I was working on revisions with a mainstream literary agent who is from NYC…did that for 8 months. Here is the author’s cut–the raw cut and you’ll only find it here.

Waiters – a Novel

Wednesday

‘Before long I was back on the 10 heading east…I passed the 405 and instead looped through downtown and swung back up onto the 101 to get back into Hollywood—I needed some time to think…I needed some time to fit things back into rational perspective. I took the Vermont exit and followed it north until I was finally feeling a bit more level. Hollywood; she knew what I felt as she always had and I could feel her breeze through my window, soothing me as the darkened shop fronts went by on either side…at least I still had her, my beloved Hollywood—though she changed, she was always the same and she always knew just what to say to me.’

–excerpt from ‘Waiters’. Coming soon.

Sunday

Unbelievable…was looking through a box in storage and found this photo of me with my first guitar. I didn’t realize I had a photo of that guitar. I’m 12 in this picture, playing along to a Sex Pistols album in my mom’s basement. I was totally obsessed with the Pistols at that point…learned Never Mind the Bullocks on that guitar and started writing my own songs as well. I remember how nice that guitar felt…intonation was perfect…low action…so easy to play. No idea where that guitar is now. She was the first though, and very special.

Saturday

Traveling from Los Angeles to Vancouver to Seattle, Jarrod Tyler and crew investigate the endangered state of contemporary arts & culture in the digital age and showcase the many citizens who fight to keep arts & culture alive in their neighborhoods. This is my public service announcement contribution to the arts.

Wednesday

Check out the official video for Fallout Shelter.

Monday

Not sure about Spotify…I don’t even bother with a proper Spotify profile…still, here is my best of album…in case you don’t want to pay for it on iTunes. I’m not a used car salesman, or an art dealer or a real estate agent–I’m an artist.

Tuesday

“Tin-eared Graph-paper brained accountants Instead of music fans Call all the shots at giant record companies now The lowest common denominator rules Forget honesty Forget creativity The dumbest buy the mostest That’s the name of the game But sales are slumping And no one will say why Could it be they put out one too many lousy records?”

–Jello Biafra

Tuesday

Brentwood Country Mart…this shit ain’t Grandma’s Apple Fritter.

Tuesday

I’ve received a few emails about this show…assuming this is going to be rescheduled. I was waiting for the booking agent to get final word from the organizers and alas…I regret to inform that this show is going to be rescheduled.

It wasn’t just this show though…there were other shows  in the coming months we had booked in Santa Barbara, Long Beach, San Diego and one was lining up in Vegas before the world was infected by the virus that originate in China. Fuck…a…duck…

Tuesday

Echo Park

Sunday

Hello, hello…it’s good to be back, it’s good to be back.

Sunday

Getting off work on Melrose…what to do…too many options.

Friday

Saw this at the Satellite on a week night…these guys were pretty good…they looked like UCLA frat boys but then they started playing crazy punk rock–sort of reminded me of punk bands I used to go see in college…the singer pulled off his hoodie during the first song…he was wearing a Beyonce t-shirt…he jumped down into the crowd and started a mosh pit. He sang a song about growing up in Virginia and crashing his car and how the crash rattled his brain and made him crazy. I’d hoped they’d kick over their amps at the end, but I guess amps are expensive. They were selling shirts afterward for a buck. I assumed punk was dead…guess I was wrong.

Wednesday

Tuesday

Venerate our grandfathers who turned the tide at Normandy.

Monday

One of my favorite things about LA is that you can wander into a live music venue on a Sunday or Monday at midnight and the place is packed for freaky indie bands.

Tuesday

Us lefties are forced to exist in a world that is largely designed for the right-handed majority who all seem to have drunk the same Kool-Aid. How can anyone blame us for being complete misfits?

Sunday

Great show last night in Encino…thanks to everyone at VCF for putting this one together and also my band of badasses who rocked out in the SoCal heat.

Thursday

Stoked.

Tuesday

Coolest high school ever; Jack Tripper and Jeff Spicoli went here…

Monday

I posted a montage from the Warner Park show yesterday.

Thursday

My good friend Rhys Moody passed away on Wednesday evening last week. I didn’t even find out about it until Tuesday night. I’m still a bit shocked. Rhys was an engineer at East West Studios in Hollywood and a damn fine producer. He co-produced three of my albums, “Fides Veritas Eruditio”, “Don’t Let It Go” and “Auburn” and really helped bring them to the next level. I learned so much about music production from Rhys…he had a way of passing on knowledge. Last year when I was in LA playing the club circuit, he rented a room in his house to me and so we were sort of like frat boy roommates for a number of months. Man, we had some great laughs and some epic bike rides around Burbank…lot’s of smoke breaks in between.

They held his celebration of life last night in Studio One at East West. Such a nice service, he’d have loved it; his friends and family in such a legendary room telling stories and playing music. Though it was sad, I’m glad I was there. He’ll be missed.

Saturday

Just got word that we’ll be playing an outdoor concert at Warner Center in Los Angeles July 21st and we’re totally stoked for this show.

Saturday

Rhys and me, touching up some of my songs in Studio 3 at East West Studios Hollywood. Studio 3–where Brian Wilson recorded Pet Sounds. Abbey Road studios is the only other studio in the world that carries that sort of history and you can feel it when you in there; the wood grain surfaces have absorbed spirits of legends past.

Wednesday

This is an interview I did last week with Nick at 101.7fm Civil Radio.

Thursday

I’ve always said, forget Music BC, forget about stuffy Vancity cliques who could have done more to support their dying venues but were too busy taking selfies…and what’s with the contingency of weakly constituted, stringy haired, skinny jeaned, cover-crooning dress-up boys who are as boring as televised golf? If everyone is original in the exact same way–then nobody is really original–which is kind of like chips without the salsa. Though I don’t buy into any of it and have been basically blacklisted in Vancity…I was offered this show at the ‘new improved’ Railway and for old times sake–we’re going to play it; I guess it’s a good a space as any to stage my Vancity sign-off. That’s right…I’m choosing this as my very last performance in Vancity…so drop by and take in the spectacle. It’s gonna be a doozy.

Monday

I was into the Replacements when most of you were probably still pissing in your diapers. I say this because bands such as the Replacements meant more back in the day because they hadn’t quite become legendary at that point–you had to seek them out and order their records usually–from pretentious little shops with pretentious little owners–pain in the axe. Of course, these days it’s easy to embrace shit that’s been deemed cool thirty years later…but at the time even less people knew about the Replacements or the Minneapolis Twin Tone era…the kids in my grade 7 class thought the Replacements sucked and they let me know about it…however they felt George Michael was tops.  

Friday

If you haven’t already, check out my most recent documentary. A must see if you’re a Twin Peaks fan.

Thursday

All you have to do to understand what’s gone on in Vancity is google search ‘live music venue closures in Vancouver’. It’s part of the reason why in the last year, the bulk of my shows have been in LA, or Seattle or Portland…by the way they don’t start bands at 7pm and have them off stage by 10pm in those other cities–all bands all night.

Monday

This is an interview I did with journalist Nick Pannu at Civil Radio. We talked about my new documentary “Road to Twin Peaks: A North Bend Story”.

Monday

Here’s a video of me and the boys tearing it up at the Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles. The place has been one of my fave hang outs since I can remember. A great venue that is a true supporter of original live music.

Wednesday

Sunday

It felt real good to rock out for a couple thousand people on Kits Beach last night for the fireworks.

Wednesday

Sunday

Check out our new video for Audrey–it’s one of the songs we will be playing tonight at TR!P. If you’re looking for a great night of music, TR!P is the place. For my friends in Hollywood who said Santa Monica was too far to drive–uh, you’re pussies…and I guess I’ll see a few of you at the Kibitz later–I may be sitting in on the piano for a song or two with one of the bands. What did Jackie Wilson say?

Thursday

A friend of ours snapped a few pics of our show at the Kibitz Room. One for the books!

Wednesday

We are playing a set at TR!P Santa Monica this weekend–July 15th. Our last show at TR!P was a bit ill-fated…had to cancel on grounds of a bad cold.  Hard to sing when you sound like Al Pacino from Sea Of Love. If you’re driving in from Hollywood on the 10, it’s LEFT on Lincoln; had someone email me saying they tried to find TR!P and wound up in Brentwood. So, head south on Lincoln…or just do what everyone else does and use GPS?

Tuesday

Great show tonight at the Silverlake Lounge. Thanks again to T-Roy for having us…was a blast. Silverlake Lounge is another of those venues that has a history. Mostly you don’t really think of the history–then you realize; holy shit…that all went on here. Pages in time–snap shots. Tonight we played hard and sweat all over the stage–literally; took our place in those snap shots.

Monday

We are closing the evening with a set tonight at the Kibitz Room; a truly legendary venue. What can I say about the Kibitz? If Barbara Eden popped out of a bottle and told me I could pick five venues to play at; the Kibitz would be on that list, just under the Bronze in Sunnydale. The Kibitz is beyond illustrious, yet it’s got to be one of the most unpretentious, coolest bars in LA.

Anyway, we’re on at 11pm. If you miss it–catch us tomorrow night at the Silverlake Lounge–gotta love this town.

Sunday

To our LA friends; don’t miss us July 10th at the Silverlake Lounge – one of LA most legendary live music venues.

Saturday

Walking by Y-Que on Vermont today, I saw these two books on the shelf outside the store–was meant to be.

Friday

Yes, this is for realz.

Tuesday

We are looking forward to this Thursday at The State on Sunset. Thanks to our pal Kelly McGarry for including us on this bill.

Sunday

Great rehearsal at our usual jam space this afternoon. Yes, it may be ‘hood’…but the guy who runs the place is a real mensch and often gives us a nice deal. Today we even got a room with A/C; appreciate the simple things.

Thursday

Our latest single Audrey is selling like hotcakes on Apple Music/iTunes. Just when I thought nobody is buying music anymore.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/audrey-single/1356634307

Saturday

A cool photo sent to me from a woman who’d been in the audience at our Mint show.

Friday

‘Listen, Jon, if I worried about what the people cared about I’d never write anything.’”

-Charles Bukowski, “Hollywood”

Tuesday

Another great night at the Echo. Man, Echo Park crowds are my kind of folks…they are die hard live music fans…a week night and they’re out in droves to see a four band bill and they stay until the end, grooving out to a band they’ve never even heard before. That’s what I call supporting your local live music scene. What’s more, there’s a serious 60’s 70’s vibe going on at the Echo these days…I can only hope this trend catches on and spreads to the rest of this vast continent…it’s an exciting thought. Gotta love this town.

Monday

Snapped this photo last night while walking back from a movie at El Capitan. Though I’ve walked by the Chinese Theater many times, I’ve never stopped and looked at the hand prints before…most are recent and whatever. However, this one struck me. Natalie Wood; one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ladies of cinema. Such nice writing too. What struck me was how tiny she was–tiny but mighty somehow. Who would have thought she’d pass away two decades later under mysterious circumstances. Tragic.

Sunday

‘The chest opens with a creak and from it Nancy produces a number of glasses bearing stained glass designs which catch the sunlight like a prism, casting a colorfast over the beige wall as she talks calmly, looking him in the eyes as she always has. The world is lost without her kind and that is why her kind is recreated time after time; someone has to maintain values. For this he feels an admiration creeping into his chest, where Nancy so easily fits.’

Wednesday

We’re gearing up to play a show at TRIP in Santa Monica on the 19th. They feature burlesque dancers once a week…and bands pretty much every other night. We’re going to rock the hell out of that place–beach style.

Tuesday

Man, did we ever have a great time last night at the Silverlake Lounge…Next stop TRIP in Santa Monica February 19th!

Thursday

Wednesday

Sunnydale – Class of 99′

Sunday

Busy week…aside from recording–played a set at the legendary Kibitz Room on Fairfax–one of my fave places to hang out…Jakob Dylan used jam there back in the day, before he wrote Bringing Down the Horse (produced by T-bone Burnett)–one of the best albums of the 90’s. Anyway, about piano singing, there is something about the way the voice and piano tones blend–the sound is like an instrument unto itself. Really enjoyed it. Also, started rehearsals at the Musician’s Institute on Hollywood Blvd. Amazing atmosphere to rehearse in.

Friday

Only in LA…

Thursday

Back in LA… Will be doing some writing and recording in the coming weeks and will post some updates. It’s amazing how bright it is here…especially after all the weeks and weeks of rain up north. By the way it’s my birthday December 31st…so a big shout out to my fellow Capricorn/Tigers–feliz cumpleanos.

Thursday

Thanks Substation…last night was a blast! Four bands, no noise regulations…gotta love Ballard.

Wednesday

Had a great time playing at Dante’s last night. Such a great sounding room–ideal for live music. See you again soon Portland!

Back wall of club

We’re not in the habit of traveling with a photographer…but a woman who was in the audience last night was nice enough to email me a couple snaps she took…