Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Transform and Roll Out!

Tomorrow night I'll be headed out. I am so giddy with anticipation that I can hardly contain myself. I'm off to my own personal Oz, a wonderland filled with fun and excitement.

Some make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Some go to the tops of mountains. But me... I go to BotCon.

I've known about BotCon since I first had access to the internet. I've read about it and wanted to go for YEARS. But it has always been just too far to drive or to expensive to stay over. But for one glorious time, it is close, and it is where I can crash with my cousin and eat all his food. Ok, well maybe not all. But I'm sure we'll wreck a pizza in there somewhere.

Oh there will be toys. There will be so many toys. And art. And cartoons.

And there will be the movie. Yes, indeed, the movie. The one that I have watched so many times since 1986 that I can recite it without any prompting. I will be one of the first to see it again as it was meant to be seen, fully remastered and in its widescreen glory, on an actual movie theater screen.

And there will be Optimus Prime. Oh sure, you may know him as Eeyore from The New Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh or as K.A.R.R. from Knight Rider, or from any number of the literally hundreds of characters and cartoons he has voiced. But for me, Peter Cullen is and always will be Prime. You can have your John Waynes and your Chuck Norrises.

So, as I cruise off to my own personal Inner Child Fest, I hope that you will all find something that reawakens the child in you, glory in it if only for a day, and use it to make the rest of life more bearable.

Until that day... till all are one...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sometimes You Just Gotta Rock

Every now and then, there comes a moment that you just need to find a way to get it all out. You know the moment: it's when you realize that you'd rather superglue your butt cheeks to a lit charcoal grill than go through one more day of drudgery. Tonight was that moment for me.

It's been a crazy week. For one thing, I have had a difficult time at work. It's not that I'm doing badly or anything, it's just that it's... well... work. I'm still learning a lot of things and trying to find my niche there. For another thing, I'm balancing out the nuances of a new relationship. Again, it's not that it's bad (mwah, Kelli, it helps that you're hot, y'know...) it's just that it's different and takes some getting used to. And with a combination of many things, I didn't get my show produced this week, which is not only a letdown to those of you who listen, but also to me, because I enjoy doing it more than most things that I do during the week.

And, of all things, I missed this site's birthday. Which, by the way HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, MUSICAL RAMBLINGS! There, I said it. Now my blog can quit pouting in the corner and acting abused.

So it's Tuesday night, and what are ya gonna do to just let it all out and get the stress where it needs to be?

That's right, you play basketball. And Tuesday nights just happen to be the night me and my guys get together and hoop it up. Or rather they hoop it up, and I just sort of throw the ball up and hope it lands somewhere in the same zip code as the hoop. So I put on my shorts and laced up my Chuck Taylors and got ready to pound the hardwoods and sweat like a thing that sweats a lot.

But alas, only three of us showed up. And there's just no way to play a good game of b-ball in a full-sized gym (with a beautiful hardwood floor) with just three players. Particularly players that are leaps and bounds better than me. So after horsing around a bit, shooting a few threes, and gabbing, we split for Dairy Queen. Stress not solved. On the other hand--those of you have had any sort of sandwich from Dairy Queen will know what I'm talking about--I ought to be fully cleansed by morning.

So what was left? Well, my sister called and said that she was in town and that they were going to watch this band that a friend of hers plays bass in. And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. And there was my answer. Stress? Not anymore. It's time for J.D. to rock out.

I wasn't sure what kind of club I was going to. I had never been to the Rally Point in Memphis, but I kinda knew where it was, so I thought I'd chance it. I wasn't exactly inspired with confidence when I rolled up and saw three or four police cars congregated outside the main entrance. I took some comfort in the fact that there wasn't active gunfire.

As clubs go, I've seen worse dives in my time, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind. There was some different species of human in here. Not hating on anybody, but these weren't exactly the kind of people that were aspiring to run Fortune 500 companies. These were the type of people whose grand achievement of the night would be to hold their heads up while finishing off their blunts. Probably the weirdest site in the club was this one huge wall-sized bald guy who was wearing, of all things, a boy scout master uniform. And just when I thought that was weird, an actual boy scout emerged from behind him. I kid you not. Twelve if he was a day. I mean, I know I didn't get carded when I went in, but one would think it would be fairly obvious that the person in question had not technically developed hair elsewhere than his head and possibly his eyebrows. And speaking of hair, I was quite amazed at the lengths that stoners and rockers will go to with their hair to make it look like they absolutely have no hair style. It's like all they really have to do is not comb it for a week or two.

Not that I'm hating. I went in with my heavily spiked hair. I'm just sayin'.

The acoustics were crap, and the band that was playing as I paid my five dollar cover charge was worse. If they had been playing in the toilet, the crap would've booed them. It's not that I don't enjoy hardcore music. I do. But even the most hardcore music has to have some sort of technique other than just taking a 900 dollar guitar and beating on it like it was a twelve dollar ironing board.

But I wasn't here to see them.

Unfortunately, though, I had to. The band's name was The Avenue, though I'd venture a guess that their first name wasn't Madison, because these guys were anything but marketable. It's hard to listen to a band that doesn't do much more than Silverstein knock-offs and scream too much. Again, I don't mind screaming, don't get me wrong. It's good when it's done by Silverstein, who don't technically suck.

Anyway, after The Avenue got done spanking their guitars and pretending to be a band, it was time for the band I did come to see.

They were a different story. Check them out. Their name is Hey Heidi Rae. The aforementioned venue wasn't great for acoustics, again, but these guys played with energy and vigor. You could feel the vibes going through you. The lead singer knew how to work a crowd. And they had the motley crowd of oddities rockin'. I bought their EP, but you can check it out on their Myspace. It's worth a listen. They'll be opening soon for The Afters, which are a favorite band of mine, so they've definitely got something about them, and I'm not just saying that because my sister hangs out with the bass guy. Jack, I think. Who, by the way, can make a bass sound VERY very good.

I feel a lot better now, and I feel a bit more focused. And who knew all it would take is listening to a good band and rocking out on a Tuesday night. Try it sometime.

I hear The Avenue is playing at an empty mall next week.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ah, the Power of Sleep...

Just so everyone knows, I had EVERY intention of being awake for most of Sunday. Intentions... That word almost always brings to mind two quotes: (1.) "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions," and (2.) "It's hard to rely on my good intentions when my head's full of things that I can't mention," which is a lyric from Toad the Wet Sprocket.

So to clarify, I didn't get up from my Sunday nap. At least not anywhere near the time that I intended to. On the up side, I feel rejuvenated. On the negative side, I missed getting together with friends at church, not to mention doing work on the Idol Waves show.

I guess all this going-and-going has finally gotten to me, and the sleep I've lost has hijacked my body. At least that's the impression I get from the dent I left in the mattress. I wonder if gravity is stronger when you're sleeping well, because it sure is harder to get up from a sleep like that.

Anyway, I guess I gotta get on the ball with the Idol Waves show, which will as usual be premiering on Tuesday on Idol Waves Radio and then here on this site on Wednesday.

Unless I fall asleep first, of course...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Idol Community Remembers: Denis Fedorov

This is a bit belated, but I'm just now catching up on my emails.

I got a note from Deborah over at the Anthony Fedorov fan forums that a tragedy had happened in the family. Then I went over there, and found this post from Anthony:

Hey everyone. I am sorry that I have not posted anything for a while. I have been very busy trying to help my family.

I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your prayers and good wishes and you have been sending my brother's way. Unfortunately our prayers were not answered. My brother passed away last night around 11:30pm. The funeral will take place on Tuesday. (9/19/06)

All I ask is that you pray for him on that day so he can be happy and healthy in his next life. I want you to know that our family will be alright and we will get past this. We are very strong, and the love that is in our family will get us through this. The most important thing now is that Denis is not hurting. That's the one thought that will always keep a smile on my face. I want you all to smile with me. Let's not mourn his death but let celebrate his life that he lived.

I will keep you guys updated and I'll be putting together a concert in his memory. As soon as things clear up a little bit, you will know all the details. Once again, my entire family and I send you nothing but love and gratitude for all of your support.

Anthony, the Musical Ramblings community also sends its thoughts your way, as we know it's still fresh on your mind. And may God bless you and your family as you pick up the pieces and move on.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Personal Note To The Readers of This Blog

Hi guys, it's me, J.D.,

I know you guys have been missing a lot of the flavor that made Musical Ramblings great over the past few weeks. I feel like I've been slacking on blogging, and I don't mean to. I have been very busy lately, and I feel like I owe you an explanation.

For one thing, I had a lot of down time at my previous job, wherein I could write a lot of blog posts. It was either that or watch King of Queens, and while my love for Kevin James knows no bounds, you can only listen to him tell Leah Remini to go to Shuttyville so many times in one day. At my new job, I have barely any down time, so any writing that I do here is after hours. And when I say "after hours," I also mean "after the better part of my energy has been spent." I've also taken on several different activities outside of my job that demand my time, including some service projects. Fall softball season is also now starting. (I'll probably post pictures of my forth-coming injuries, so stay tuned.) There's been the Idol Waves show, which has been received so well. And to top all that off, I've decided to start getting out and dating again. Yes, actual girls. I'll not bore you with the details.

For another thing, there hasn't been a whole lot happening in the music biz worth writing about.

But I am going to do better for you, because you guys deserve it.

What do you have to look forward to, you ask?

(1.) BotCon 2006. Those of you who are in the know are already excited about it. For those of you who aren't, it's THE Transformers convention. Yes, I know, it's horrendously geekage, but darn it, it's MY geekage. Besides, you guys, OPTIMUS PRIME will be there this year. That's right: legendary voice actor Peter Cullen. And I am beside myself at the prospect of meeting him. Also, they usually have a good musical guest. Plus there will be Transformers stuff. And they'll be sneak-peeking the new release of the 1980's Transformers Movie DVD there. I am thinking about the prospect of finally after all these years getting to see it on a large screen. I tell you, it's almost too much for a fanboy to handle.

(2.) A major Idol Interview. With a winner from one of the five seasons. I'm not telling which. I don't have the green light on it just yet, but I think it will happen. I'm hoping to snag chats with others as well.

(3.) More good stuff. I'll think of exactly what later. Just know that I am going to be redoubling my efforts to bring you good stuff!

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me, even though I've slacked on commenting on your blogs and I've posted lightly. You guys rule. I'll be around soon!

Hugs and kisses,

Monday, September 18, 2006

Talk Amongst Yourselves...

I want your feedback.

If you were making the perfect mixtape for a date, what would you put on it?


Friday, September 15, 2006

Stevie Scott, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Just thought I'd share this with all of you. A face like that deserves to be seen.

As for Stevie's near future, she will soon be releasing some mp3s that you'll hear both in my podcast and on Idol Waves, so stay tuned for that.

I don't know what else to say about her. The girl has talent, looks, sweetness...all that. So what are you waiting for? Go over to her Myspace profile, download or stream the songs she has on her page and enjoy one of the most beautiful voices God ever breathed life into. They may be older tracks, but they certainly get me ready to hear what's coming next!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Info on the American Idol Texas Mini-Tour

First off, a belated happy birthday to Ruben Studdard!

I got some much needed info on the concert series. I want to emphasize that this information did NOT come from the Vegas VIP Group, as they are a CRAPPY organization, and I highly recommend that nobody ever does business with them again.

The information I have comes directly from Shirlyn Makar, Will's mother, and on behalf of all the interested fans (and myself) a million thanks go to Shirlyn for all the research she did on this today. Some info also comes via Rob on the Anthony Forums from Anthony Fedorov's manager.

Tickets are supposed to be available via Ticketmaster, however I caution that I haven't yet been able to find Ticketmaster links for all the venues. Those that I have are mentioned specifically below. If anyone else turns up any further information, please pass it on.

All locations are now confirmed. Be aware that for the outdoor venues, most tickets are non-refundable and the event will be held rain or shine.

10/3 San Angelo - The show is being sponsored by radio station KIXY 94.7 (phone number 325-949-3333) and KMDX Mix 106 (phone number 325-947-0899) For Foster Field, San Angelo, Oct 3rd- tickets range from $25 to $90 and can be purchased at the San Angelo Colts website--- (or their telephone number is 325-942-6587). Their site includes a radio promo.

10/4 Laredo - This show is being sponsored by radio station KNEX-Mixx (956-725-1000) The venue for this show is Veteran's Field (home of Minor League Baseball's Laredo Broncos, at 2200 Santa Maria Avenue. You can contact the stadium at (956) 723-BASE.) This show can be ordered online through E-Tix by clicking here. Please note that this is an outdoor venue, and that there is a no-refund policy on tickets. Show is rain or shine. Tickets are from $25-$90 apiece, depending on where you sit.

10/5 McAllen - Info on this one is slim. The show is being sponsored by KBFM radio. Their phone number is (956) 973-9202. UPDATE: Find out how to get tickets by checking the Edinburg Coyotes website

10/6 Corpus Christi - The show will be held at the Concrete Street Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue. Tickets may be ordered through this Ticketmaster link. Times and prices are listed there as well.

10/7 Beaumont - The venue is the Beaumont Civic Center, (409) 838-3435, and it is an indoor venue. This show is being sponsored by KTCX and KRWP. Their phone number is 409-951-2515 and the station manager's name is Brandon. UPDATE: Ticket info is at the Beaumont Civic Center events website.

Confirmed Idols:
-Ruben Studdard - Season 2 winner
-Will Makar - Season 5 finalist
-Kevin Covais - Season 5 finalist
-Justin Guarini - Season 1 first runner-up
-Anthony Fedorov - Season 4 finalist
-Melissa McGhee - Season 5 finalist
-Olivia Mojica - Season 2 finalist
-Brenna Gethers - Season 5 finalist
-Lindsey Cardinale - Season 4 finalist
-William Hung - Season 3 Contestant

So, while the promotion of this concert series is probably the worst I've seen EVER, please go out and support these young artists, and show your love.

Hand Me Some Pliers, I'm Pulling Teeth

Okay, many of you have been coming here to find out information about the upcoming American Idol mini-tour in Texas. I've been passing along the information as it has been made available to me, but I've come to a stalemate as to (a.) what venues are being played and (b.) where to go to order the tickets. So, on the advice of Will's mother, I contacted the concert promoter.

What a HUGE mistake. I have never EVER in my life run into a bigger group of addle-brained jerks.

I sent a simple email letting them know that I knew of the shows, I knew which towns they were in, and I knew which performers would be there. ALL I needed to know were the venues and the ticket ordering info. Should've been ONE simple email. Instead, I got this email back. "What is your phone number, web site address & your business address??????"

Oooooookay. Never had to do that before. Not really keen on doing it now. You see, phone number is sort of a private thing for me. I responded simply: "You can contact me here. My web site address is"

I mean, it's not like I'm asking for nuclear arms secrets here.

Then I get this in response: "Sorry bro, need a name & phone number. We don't operate with people we don't no... If you can't be called then we don't no who we are talking to on e-mail. Please do not post anything until you speak with me at
727-xxx-xxxx, Scott"


First clue this guy has terminal moron is using "no" instead of "know." I almost feel sorry for him at this point. But then again, he IS the one selling a concert, and ALL IN THE WORLD I'M ASKING FOR is WHERE THE FLIPPIN' THING WILL BE.

Exasperated, I mailed him back again, giving him my phone number, and saying "All I'm looking for is the name of the venues for the American Idol tours and where tickets can be ordered. I have fans hammering me wanting to know the info, and there are several nationwide who are planning on flying to Texas to catch the show. So, I mean, y'know, releasing the information early and all might be helpful to your bottom line."

And the fans are wanting to come. This from the Anthony Federov forums: "it's getting kind of late and its nice to have time to book a good deal with the airlines. I think you get a better deal if you book way ahead. I wonder if these venues are inside or outdoors, what do they cost, where do you get tickets? What about motels and how close are the cities, if I couldn't do all 5 I wouldn't bother and is Anth at all five?So many questions, no answers. I have this feeling we're in for a dry spell concerning his appearances, such a shame."

Hmmm...sounds like fans are chomping at the bit.

But not so, according to this stupid promoter. "Sorry bro, No bottom line here, these are promotional shows with sponsors. People aren't flying in from all over the conuntry to see this, maybe one or two groups, that's all... We really aren't interested in any national exposure on this but I put in a request to get you all locations you wanted/requested."

So basically what he's saying is "screw you, I don't need your coverage." And he's saying to fans "don't bother." He's already been paid by his sponsors, so he doesn't care if the show is a sell-out or if nobody comes at all. Basically, he feels like he's doing the world a favor by existing.

Um, sorry Scottie, but according to the FAN FORUMS, people ARE wanting to fly in from all over the "conuntry." And they would. I've seen it happen before. (There's this little thing called the American Idol tour that makes millions each year. And you should've seen people flying in from New York to Tennessee to see Jessica Sierra this past June.) The only problem is THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO. And they don't know HOW TO SEND YOU MONEY.

So I'm putting it out there from here on out, because I especially want you former Idols to read this: Vegas VIP Group is a CRAP group of poseur promoters. You can count on them to abuse and mistreat your fans, be aloof, and care nothing about you or promoting you, so long as they have their money in their hands. They're basically everything you hated about 19 Entertainment, minus all the good stuff.

If I get any further information from these guys about the concerts, which I doubt, since apparently Scott has a debilitating case of the butt-head, I will post it, but from now on, I consider communicating with Vegas VIP Group a bad investment, and I discourage all performers from using them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

This Week on Idol Waves Top 20 Countdown

You've probably noticed that the countdown podcast has been taken down for today. That's because the one that's been playing is now history, and we're on to a new week of new hotness.

Mosey on over to and click on play. My show will air there once again Tuesday, September 12, 2006 at 10 AM (11 AM Eastern), 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM, and again at 2 AM (for those of you who are overseas. All times listed are CENTRAL time. Except, you know, the one eastern one I said.)

So check it.

As for what's new on the countdown:

Remember Ayla Brown from this past season? Well turns out girly can SANG, and she's got a brand new single to drop on ya from her new CD "Forward." It's HOT.

David Brown from season 4 gets on the chart with a killer R&B tune.

There's a new Number 1 this week. Who will it be?

New hotness from Elliott Yamin on the show this week!

And check out the horrid song that was Simon Cowell's first production! Only on IWT20.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

We Remember...

You're listening to a song that I re-cut the day after 9/11.

Take some time today, remember those who are lost, and remember why we must remain free.

American Idol mini-tour in Texas

Since you've been wondering, here's the line-up and dates for that Texas mini-tour, per Will Makar:

10/3 San Angelo
10/4 Laredo
10/5 McAllen
10/6 Corpus Christi
10/7 Beaumont

Confirmed Idols:
-Ruben Studdard - Season 2 winner
-Will Makar - Season 5 finalist
-Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais - Season 5 finalist
-Justin Guarini - Season 1 frst runner-up
-Anthony Fedorov - Season 4 fiinalist
-Melissa McGhee - Season 5 finalist
-Olivia Mojica - Season 2 finalist
-Brenna Gethers - Season 5 finalist
-Lindsey Cardinale - Season 4 finalist
-PLUS SPECIAL GUEST, too good for IDOL: William Hung

Friday, September 08, 2006

World Trade Center

I was going to reserve this post for the eleventh, but I just got back from watching World Trade Center. Wow. That's all I can say.

Sometimes you need to be reminded of things.

I paid attention to much of what was going on in the periphery of this movie, because I was visualizing in my mind exactly what I was doing as the events of the film unfolded. I can still remember that day as clear as if it were yesterday. I can remember hearing some of the newscasts the first time.

The night before, I had been watching the news from our local ABC affiliate, because I was about to start work there at that station the next day. I had never worked in TV before, and I wanted to see what the station was like. I wanted to see how their news staff did things. So, while watching the 10 o'clock news, I fell asleep on the couch. The TV remained on.

As I woke up the morning of September 11, 2001, the first thing that broke through the sleepy haze was Peter Jennings' voice and a picture on the TV of the Twin Towers. Smoke was coming out of one of them, and before I was fully awake smoke was coming out of both of them. I reached for the remote and turned up the volume, sitting up on the sofa, wondering why the trashy talk shows or fake courtroom shows weren't on.

A plane had flown into a skyscraper, they said. You don't hear that everyday. Still, it just seemed like it could have been an accident. And surely it was just a twin engine prop, not a 747 or anything like that. No, wait, two planes... that's no accident. I watched for about fifteen minutes more. Then, flashes of the Pentagon afire...

I picked up my phone and called my dad. "Are you seeing this?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said. "I heard it on the radio while I was in my truck. I turned around and came back home to watch what's happening." That's when I knew something was really wrong. It's not everything that would make him turn his truck around from what he was doing.

And then the towers came down. Nobody on TV knew what to say. I sure didn't. Peter Jennings didn't even know what was going on. The cloud rose up, and they were still jabbering about something else. Peter stopped a second and asked "what are we seeing here?" If he didn't know, who would?

I got onto the internet and there were more stories than I knew what to do with. Most of them were wildly inaccurate. They were saying that another plane had been headed for the White House and had been shot down by US military. Others said it was a freak crash. Still others said that it hadn't even happened.

One of my friends sent me an instant message. Some idiot was selling what were supposedly chunks of the World Trade Center on eBay. That's the thing about tragedy. It brings out heroes, but it also brings out scumbags.

I logged off and sat there, unsure of how I should feel about it. For sure, nothing was ever going to be the same again. That sense of security that we children of the 70's and 80's grew up with, that invincibility that we thought we had was gone within less than a 24 hour period. It was our Pearl Harbor. Someone, something had attacked us. Had used our own planes full of our own people to strike a building. At the time, a terrorist act of such grand proportions seemed unlikely, or so we thought then, before our world view was turned on its ear.

Time for work came sooner than expected. I tried to find a radio station with calm music on it, just to take a break from all the coverage. No luck. Everybody was either broadcasting their own version of the news or simulcasting CNN's newscast. I turned the radio off, and my thoughts went to the families of what must undoubtedly be thousands of dead. I cried for them in sympathy for their sorrow as I drove, and I cried a little bit for where I knew that we as a people were going to have to go in the days to come.

As I walked into that TV station for the first time on that Tuesday, I didn't know what to expect. "You picked a whale of a day to start," one of the news directors told me in passing. But there was no time to process, no time to learn. Just time to get on the floor, point the cameras, and play it by ear.

Few days in life have been longer than that. That being said, though, none of them have been longer than the time that officers McLaughlin and Jimeno spent buried in the wreckage of the towers, not knowing whether they would live or die. As I watched these two suffer throughout the movie, I wondered if I would survive in such a situation. I wondered if I would have had the guts to volunteer to head up in Tower 1, into Hell's Mouth, just to save a few people.

I must give high praise to the film. Not because Oliver Stone spectacularly re-created the events with dazzling special effects, because he did not. The planes hitting the towers all happened off-screen, as did the collapsing. I praise it not because it serves a political purpose, because as hard as it is to believe, the movie is not biased at all. I praise this movie because it reminds us of the heartbreak and human drama, the heroism and the bravery of those who served, and the way we can all pull together when the time is right.

While we live, let us never forget those that gave their lives in search of others. And may we pray that if one day the call comes for us to lay down our lives to save another that we would have the same fortitude as those who perished that fateful day when the world as we know it changed forever.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Help Will Makar's Sister Win

Apparently Will Makar's sister, Anne Hudson, a television show and radio personality in Austin TX, is in a competition with her fellow broadcasters to see who can get the most hits on their page.

I'm passing this along to you for two reasons.

(1.) Will's a good enough guy and he asked me to.

(2.) His sister is ridiculously hot.

So click away. Go to, click on JOCKS, then on Anne Hudson.

Have fun!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Be You, Do What You Do

I was called a celebrity for the first time in my life today. Someone who heard my radio show the other day was apparently very impressed with me and the music I played.

Of course there was the split second where my brain attempted to go into Ego Mode, but then the portion of my brain that's cordoned off as a "Reality Check Zone" immediately reminded me that I'm anything but.

Still, it was nice to be called that, even if the credit's misplaced.

It did serve a purpose, though. It reminded me of things that I've been thinking about lately. I've actually been having an internal monologue with myself for several weeks now. It all started when I was talking to a friend about a relationship problem. We were talking about how some things hold you back and make you be less of a person than you know you can be.

And there's not just one thing that can hold a person back. It can be pretty much anything: a job, a relationship, a friendship, a habit, a mindset... anything.

I spent four years in a relationship that held me back. I don't blame her, because she's a good person at heart, and she didn't mean to. But this girl wanted me to settle down, and when I say "settle," I don't necessarily mean it as in finding a niche in life, having a family, and whatnot. I mean "settle" as in "accepting less of a life than what you could have," or "sacrificing your potential for a safe level of mediocrity." It wasn't the only part of the relationship that was holding me back. There were several things. But at the time, I just didn't realize it.

I was also held back by my previous job. Part of that had to do with said girlfriend demanding that I keep the job and not look for a new one (so as to gain longevity and supposedly stability.)

But more than any of those, I was holding MYSELF back. I can't really blame the ex or the job in anywhere near the same degree as I blame myself. Because, honestly, if I had found the drive to succeed, I'd have told them both to get lost a long time ago.

99 percent of the people in this country live in complete mediocrity and are happy with it. They're content to do what it takes to get by and little more. They ignore their potential to the point where they forget that they have it. They sit back, settle in, and accept less. As time goes by, so do they, and in the end, they die without having lived.

And of the 1 percent who are not satisfied with mediocrity, half of those are nothing more than TALK. They want a larger station in life, but they spend all their time discussing it (and often boasting about it, as though it had happened already) and never actually go about to achieve it.

The remaining 0.5 percent of America are the ones you know. The ones that actually make the world turn.

I remember having this thought when I was young: "I wonder how people can stand it not being famous?" Because my intent as a youth was to become a famous person. Growing up, I let circumstances and laziness on my part change those ambitions. It got to a point where I repeated my previous thought in tones of derision, mocking myself.

For a long time, I thought the following things about myself:

(1.) You're just not good enough to do it.
(2.) You're going to be beaten out by other talented people.
(3.) Don't sing so loud. Other people might hear you.
(4.) Hide your writing. Nobody's going to like it.
(5.) You're second best. Everyone around you is second best. And that's the way it'll always be.

It never occurred to me that the following things had happened throughout my life:

(1.) I graduated high school with a 4.0
(2.) I was published before I even finished junior high.
(3.) People were begging to hear me sing.
(4.) People (the collective noun and the magazine) read my writing.
(5.) There were folks that REALLY liked my writing.
(6.) Magazines REALLY liked my writing.
(7.) I write a blog that gets read by thousands of people each week.
(8.) I can do one radio show and have people thinking of me as a celebrity.
(9.) I once held my own writing a song with someone who has now gone on to win ACM Song of the Year.
(10.) Musicians and American Idols now contact ME to have me interview them.

There are more, but I'm not trying to brag. These are just things I realized about myself, and I am willing to bet that each of you reading out there, if you would sit down and think about it, could come up with a similar list. But these are the things that have been revealed to me, and I'm no longer satisfied with being just so mediocre.

As Mikalah Gordon from American Idol 4 told me, at some point in life, you either have to grow up and work on yourself, or die from the excruciating pain. The only option is really to move forward.

I'm here to tell you that the only thing that is keeping you from being a superstar at whatever you choose to do is yourself. If being a marketer is what you want to do, then the only reason for you not to be the most asked-for marketer in the world is sitting in your chair. If you're a singer, then the only thing keeping you from getting out there and tearing up the charts is your own drive. If you're a lawyer, the only reason you can't be Perry Mason is if you're ruling against yourself. I truly believe that. Of course there are going to be hardships and obstacles, and it will be hard not to give up and difficult to surmount them, but I believe that if you have the drive to do it, you can.

So that's my challenge to you all out there. Don't just be the best you can be at what you do now. Strive for the mountaintop. Transcend where you are. Rise above. Make sure that when the day you die comes about, you'll have actually lived your life.

Let go of those things that are holding you back, too. If it's a relationship, then you have to tell that person goodbye. You can't sacrifice who you are as a human being and what God meant for you to be on the basis of dating someone. If it's a habit, let that go too. The rest of your life is worth more than a guilty pleasure or immediate gratification. If it's a job, find another one. If you work means nothing to you in the grand scheme of things, what have you accomplished when you pass on to the next life? If it's you, let yourself go. Let go of all those negative thoughts. Let go of those fears that keep you hanging on white-knuckled, too fearful to put yourself out there, too scared to actually make a difference. Let go of the voices in your head that tell you you'll never amount to anything. Let go of those around you who downplay your importance.

Live. Waste not that precious moment called life, lest it be over before you've had a chance to make it count.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You're Listening To...

The new podcast. You can stream the entire 2 hour show here, or you can subscribe to my feed at


Alrighty, everything is all set!

Check out my new show on Idol Waves Radio. (The show is hosted through Live365, so you may need to download their player, which is quick and painless, but it can also be run through Windows Media Player and a couple of other options.) It's a great station, run by an awesome guy, so if you're at work or at home, give it a listen, even if it's not my voice on the tracks.

Idol Waves Top 20 Countdown makes its premiere today, Tuesday, September 5, 2006. It will air at 10 AM (11 AM Eastern), 2:30 PM, 7:30 PM, and again at 2 AM (for those of you who are overseas. All times listed are CENTRAL time.) So that gives you four chances to tune in! Be sure to check out Idol Waves for other programming too. There are lots of good songs in the playlist, and I should know, because I went through several of them like a kid in a candy store. But for sure check out my show!

If you miss it, you're in trouble (though I'm sure we'll work something out.)

UPDATE: I posted the wrong Eastern time earlier, because my brain was pretty much fried. It's corrected now. But just so it's clear, the new shows will air at the following Eastern times every Tuesday: 11 AM, 3:30 PM, 8:30 PM, and 3 AM on Wednesday mornings for our international audience. Sorry about the mix-up!

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Podcast Is Now in the Can

My first show for Idol Waves has wrapped. You have no idea what I've just been through.

Production is always a wacky thing, no matter what you're doing. If it's a TV show, radio spot, a play...whatever... SOMETHING is going to go wrong. In my case, this time it happened to be that I got through with all of my voice tracking, was editing in the music and sound fx when I realized that halfway through the show, I had said the wrong person's name when announcing a song.

Not that you'll ever know it, should you choose to listen. I went back, cut it all up, patched it back together, and you can't tell that I didn't do it all live. But trust me, there's a reason why Casey Kasem and Rick Dees and all those guys pre-recorded their vocals.

As for the music, it was great, with the minor exception of one song that didn't want to cooperate with my player/editor. That was quickly accounted for though.

And that the show is wrapped and fully produced...the file size is too large to email...oh the agony!

I'll get it up to where you can hear it soon, I promise! The show is 1 hour and 45 minutes, so it's no lightweight!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Gedeon McKinney Hosts a Workshop

American Idol semi-finalist Gedeon McKinney has found his way of turning his brief Idol time into cold hard cash.

Today, at Memphis's Doubletree Hotel, Gedeon put on a workshop. I didn't cover this earlier, because frankly I didn't KNOW about it. This is largely due to the fact that I didn't see the flyers posted around town in rather obscure places and I tend not to read our raggedy newspaper. I happened to be getting fuel about 45 minutes out of Memphis when I noticed the toothy grin of a familiar Idol staring at me from one of the convenience store's windows.

Gedeon promised coaching on vocals, stage presence, and public speaking.

So while I did not get to attend it, I'm sure it was eventful and stuff. At 17, the young singer can be a bit precocious, and it's never been a secret that he has complete confidence in himself, as evidenced by the fact that he's the sole lecturer at a vocal workshop. It's further evidenced by the fee for this workshop: a whopping $75 for a three hour group session.

I wouldn't pay that much unless it was for Kelly Clarkson herself, but hey, if the man can make money, let a playa play, I say.

Having met Gedeon earlier this year, I will say this: if the man put on a clinic about how to dress impeccably, I'd be there. Ditto if he taught a class on how to get a hot girlfriend.


On a side note, I'm still waiting for somebody to let me tag along to the Memphis auditions. Not looking good so far. Hopefully there will be some way for me to get in on this!