Friday, August 29, 2008

The Day I (Almost) Burned The House Down Part II

If you read my post from a couple weeks ago on this subject, you know I came home to find an electrical outlet melting in my living room.

The electrician swapped out the outlet and fixed some of the wiring behind it, so now it's OK (mostly). It turned out that the continuous air conditioner running on that same circuit was overloading some bad wiring behind that outlet.

As you can see, disaster was close at hand:

The Day I (Almost) Burned The House Down

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beatnik Turtle Is Heading Out to Dragon*Con

A Beatnik Turtle “away team” will head down to Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2008, the largest multi-media, popular culture convention (focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film) in the US.

Tom Roper will be bringing a guitar, but the team is mostly hoping to meet and re-meet all the great podcasters they’ve come to know through their project. They’ll also be bringing a recorder so they can get promos from as many podcasters as possible to help promote them through Beatnik Turtle Radio.

Additionally, Jason and Randy will be sitting on a panel discussing Creative Commons, Copyright, and other legal issues that face podcasters and musicians as described more fully in their book, The Indie Band Survival Guide.

Follow the team's hilarious misadventures at!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Playing For Keeps

Last year, we created a theme song written by Randy for our good friend Mur Lafferty's amazing podcast audio novel called Playing For Keeps. Here we are, almost a year later and today, Playing For Keeps has been released from Swarm Press as a full-fledged printed book!

To prepare for the book's release, Mur held a video contest asking fans to create footage of themselves and their friends singing, dancing and playing air guitar to the theme song. She edited together the clips she received from her fans and created this way cool video of our song. I must say - all of you who participated in the video did a FANTASIC job - we love it!!!

Don't forget to check out the podcast audio novel here.
And Buy the book at Amazon.
And, to celebrate the release of the book this week, we are presenting an encore run of the theme song at The Song Of The Day.

Congratulations Mur! I can't wait to receive my copy from Amazon. They say it's sold out at the moment and I hope they get more in quickly :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beatnik Turtle Threatened by Rival Band

After Beatnik Turtle became a featured artist of the week on ReverbNation, the Turtle-neck Beets, a rival nerd-rock band from the Skokie, IL, has declared an "all out band war" on Beatnik Turtle. Several of the Turtle-neck Beets band members, Jacob Payton, Rudy Trechbul, and Tim Lasso, called Beatnik Turtle on the evening of August 19th, 2008 from basement of Payton's mom's house, where they hang-out.

Payton said, "You stupid Beatnik Turtles have gone too far! We are the innovators - Not you. We deserve to be featured band of the week on ReverbNation. We rock - You suck! You started The only after me and Rudy said there was no way you could do it - so that's ours. And that lame book thing is sooooo lame! Once we get a web site up and figure out how to use the internet, we are so gonna' trash you butt-heads."

"Yeah! Trash 'em!" added Trechbul.

Randy Chertkow of Beatnik Turtle then pointed out that the "lame book thing" explains how to get on the web and create a web presence. He also referred the Turtle-neck Beets to the Indie Band Survival Guide web site for more information. He went on to point out that a band must be on ReverbNation to even have a chance of being an artist of the week.

"Shut up!" responded Payton. Trechbul also added, "Yeah! Shut up!"

It was at this point that Lasso began chanting, "Band war," repeatedly in the background which continued until the end of the call.

The call concluded with Payton declaring, "an all out band war," and advising the members of Beatnik Turtle to, "Watch your backs the next time you’re on stage."

"Yeah! Watch out!" Trechbul confirmed.

When asked what that meant exactly, Payton and Trechbul began giggling feverishly and hung up.

If anyone sees or has information on the whereabouts of the members of the Turtle-neck Beets, please do not approach them and contact Beatnik Turtle immediately.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh George... Why? Why, why, why?

Why does Lucas torture us like this?

Okay, okay we get it. You don't care about your core audience: Understood. You march to the beat of your own drummer: Whatever. You wear a tin-foil hat to keep the aliens from controlling your brain: To each their own.

But to do it over and over again (now with The Clone Wars), its like watching a family member who can't quit the hard-stuff.

George, you used to be so good... Remember StarWars: A Film Like No Other? Remember Raiders? American Graffiti: those were happy days. Come on, we want the OLD George back... Not some crazy, out-of-touch hermit who keeps shoveling out to the magic money machine.

What we need is an intervention. Can't Spielberg send in Jeff VanVonderen?

George, please, will you get help today? And the Skywalker Ranch doesn't count as a rehab center.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hey, Where's My Indie Band Survival Guide?

DON'T PANIC, we've got you covered like a warm towel. "The Guide" for musicians is still around and available, but now you can get it in two fantastic formats. Buy the updated book here or download the original PDF here.

The Day I Burned The House Down (Almost)

The gig last night was a blast! I played stuff from All In A Day's Work, The Song Of The Day, and Sham Rock. The sound system sounded fantastic and the crowd was awesome. The other musicians playing before and after me really rocked: John Mahoney, Chris Campbell, John Kuczaj, and Bernie and Mike (f.k.a. Zero Love and also Beatnik Turtle Alumni). I'd like to extend a hearty thanks to all the friends who came out to cheer us on!

What does this have to do with almost nearly burning the house down you ask? Well when I got home, I went upstairs to get ready for sleep and I noticed, in the dark, a weird glow behind one of my electrical outlets. I thought to myself, "that's weird - I didn't know there was a night light inside that outlet." Then I came to my senses and realized that there is NOT a night light in there. I looked closer and it was a orange hot glow inside the outlet and the thing (and the surrounding wall) were hot enough to cook waffles on. Amid an adrenaline rush complete with pounding heartbeat I managed to get to the breaker box and start shutting off circuits. Once I hit the circuit with my AC, the orange glow immediately went away. I took the outlet apart (still stovetop-hot) and poked around inside making sure nothing was actually on fire. The outlet itself and the wires around it were charred and melted. After waiting for about a half hour everything was cooled down again (except the room because the A/C is now off).

It's weird to think of the alternate thread of execution life could have taken last night. If the lights hadn't been off I wouldn't have spotted that orange glow. I would have gone to bed and not noticed a thing, maybe awoken by the smoke detector or my alarm system or smoke or flames. Or worse. This all sure conjures thoughts of how life is just a string of luck - good and bad...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Giggin' Tonight!

I will be playing a 20-30 minute set of Beatnik Turtle songs tonight at The Acoustic Showcase at Sylvie's Lounge, 1902 W. Irving Park in Chicago. John Kuczaj of Atomic Shop booked seven of us Bad Dog Tavern open mic regulars to play tonight. The music starts at 8:30pm.

Also performing will be Bernie Navarro and his good friend Mike Hernandez. Bernie plays a mean uke and Mike, if you're familiar with the name, is a Beatnik Turtle alumnus, having played bass on our first four albums.

As for my set , it's just me. And my guitar. Just like the Wednesday night open mic! It should be fun...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weather And Friends

Actually, what I don't get is this odd connection between a couple of my friends and the weather.

A number of years ago, I went to my friend Uditt's house for a mid-summer barbecue. While flipping over burgers and steaks on the grill it started raining. We pulled the grill into the garage and watched as hail started coming down. Then the wind got nasty and the storm sirens sounded - all while we were still making sure the steaks didn't burn rather than taking cover in the basement. We were young and stupid - what else can I say. The funny thing is, this same incident repeated itself a few years later. That led to the obvious conclusion that when Uditt barbecues, there's gonna be a huge storm.

Fast forward to last year. During Song of the Day production, Jason and I took a number of weekend trips to Lake Geneva to record drums with John. I swear - EVERY time we set out for Lake Geneva, we ended up driving through blizzards or downpours or hailstorms or even huge wind. One time, we even drove through some food poisoning (but that's another entry some day). NOTHING would stop us from completing our mission. But we started equating being on the road to major weather disruption.

Tonight, Chicago was subjected to a monsoon. There were high winds, major rain, and the storm sirens were blaring. Just a minute ago, I spotted Jason's tweet on our shiny new Beatnik Turtle home page (not quite live yet). It read:

Safely home. Now to unpack. Night all!

OF COURSE! Jason was on the road. It all makes sense now! Jason on a road trip = major storm passing through. Now I wonder if Uditt was barbecuing...