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Michael Massimo
Michael Massimo


12/12/05: Massimo State of the Union

9/8/05: band/booking update / G.O.F. video / R.C.B. airplay / MASSIMO & D.Wilcox

7/5/05: Update: new songs, new thinking / Rainmaker doesn't / strange gigs

4/10/05: Spring is here / band update / bad reviews / 5 sec. lottery win / His Royal Patness & JBro

2/9/05: musician search / reviews & airplay / set list adds / ATHF / football fan agony

1/3/2005: update / cover band downloads / Skytide Music hires interns

11/8/04: update / You know you're old when / TM no longer flying / boat ride from hell

10/22/04: Massimo now a trio / CDs being pressed / social Darwinism / more fun with Jewel

9/30/04: CDs COMPLETE / CD Release date set / The Lord giveth...

9/15/04: Summer wrap up / CDs finished (almost) / band lineup complete

3/26/04: J.Brooke at Anspacher / CD(s) progress / TM is back / show don't tell

2/24/04: MM meets Jonatha Brooke / Rolex washout / scary Quizno's commercials / random emails

1/9/04: Happy New Year, X-mas truth / CD update, band auditions / TM on hiatus (again) / R.I.P. Elliott Smith / hiding from police / deli terror cell

11/17/03: fall update / when squirrels attack / new music commentary / Metheny @ State Theatre / LBI Chowderfest

8/22/03: demo being mixed / cross-country trip highlights / happybirthday to me

8/6/03: Kenny's show review/demo status + new full length album possible/Massimo fans at Wal-Mart

6/13/03: upcoming shows/PR help/lottery philosophy/Al DiMeola @ Iridium

5/22/03: Brighton postgame/Recording almost finished/Acme teaser/Massimo's Day Off/Eating skate/Goodbye to the 'Hawk/The story of "It's All Good"

5/13/03: Continental booked/Massimo goes back to school/Stanley Jordan at Crossroads

5/1/03: going into thestudio!/Brighton Bar booked

4/1/03: booking update/Bitter End MP3s posted/t-shirt design

3/10/03: Bitter End postgame/demo plans-booking update/"The Oscar goes to..."/writing "from the heart"

2/14/03: Florida trip/MM teaches seventh grade/new songs on the way

1/28/03: Superbowl/Bitter End date change/How cold is it?/new songs coming/Free $20 from major labels?

1/15/03: Bitter End postgame/Jets' season end

12/30/02 JETS ARE AFC EAST CHAMPS, rehearsals going well

12/23/02: Jets post game, Baggot post game

12/18/02: new Bitter End date set

12/16/02: football sadness, more Baggot show details/girls with guitars, new strategy, Puddle Of Mudd please please die

12/12/02: Solo Acoustic Show Booked, Endorsement Deal With D'Addario Resigned

12/04/02: Goodbye to old songs, possible solo acoustic gig, winter blues

11/18/02: tape of the show not so good, descriptions?

11/15/02: day after Bitter End show wrap up

11/1/02: the Ride gets bumpy, band/website coming along nicely, MM sick before the gig as usual

10/16/02: band begins rehearsals, west caost trip #2, no California dreaming for MM

10/2/02: BAND FINALLY TOGETHER, the 9-5 cam, band name?

9/25/02: Bass player here and gone, well dressed homeless, searching for "covers"

9/24/02: 1st Bitter End show date set

9/23/02: 1st band rehearsal cancelled, Massimo a dirty old man?

9/20/02: Massimo gives thanks

9/17/02: 9/11, theology, WWF, Massimo begins to panic

Previous Flipsides

6/13/03: upcoming shows/PR help/lottery philosophy/Al DiMeola @ Iridium

Sooooo much going on. Items of interest: Booked the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken for Tues. 7/1 @ 8:30PM and Kenny's Castaways (more on that later) on Tues. 7/15 @ 10:30 (Expect a long set and a couple of new songs. Could be the last show until Sept. at best).

Going into the studio all day Sunday to finish tracking for the demo (completion to be determined by future budget or delay by lack thereof).

Went to a networking meeting hosted by the folks at CD Baby for the artists on their site and I actually had fun doing the networking thing. I met tons of people and got as many CDs which I still have yet to finish listening to. Met many interesting and talented musicians that I hope to be doing shows with in the future. It's nice to know there's other people out there living the same crazy life you are.

In my spare time of which I have none, I designed the CD insert for a friend's demo. His name is Pete Garcia, he's a piano playing singer/songwriter and I would describe his sound as "Jackson Browne meets Marc Cohn". No website yet to introduce him to you but I'm thinking of doing a Bitter End show with him in Sept. if the club says OK. That would be a great night if I could swing it. No one's heard Pete in a long time so his peeps will all come out and I'm thinking of not booking anything for Aug. so a Sept. show could be big. We'll see. Actually, I've been thinking about taking an indefinite hiatus after the 7/15 show due to the financial restraints of keeping this thing going; I simply can't afford it anymore. God knows when I'll have the money to finish this demo and we're not going to get much farther without it. I find myself having to make decisions like "Do I buy food or book a rehearsal today?". Unfortunate. Things have been going so well. I just can't figure out how to do this music thing without going completely broke, insane or both. It's truly maddening to not be everything you know you're capable of. This isn't a 3 yr time out like last time; just doing some emergency budget control so I can keep a roof over my head. We've come too far. Now about that gig at Kenny's...

So I work with this girl who also has a band (Kilsy, also her name. See Klisy.com, kind of a retro punk, 80's thing. Hard to explain. Very much about the groove and the slinky, hot chick front woman. 2 bass players, no guitar. Interesting. See her at Kenny's the night we're there. Anyway...) and she's been bringing so many people to her gigs that clubs are calling her unsolicited to book shows. As this phenomenon has never happened to me, I decided to pick her brain about how she gets such great attendance. She suggested I work with a PR person. (No kidding. Who has the money?). The girl she works with does everything for free (that I can afford!). Turns out the girl is from Jersey and mainly works with Jersey-based singer/songwriters. She (Hi, Emily!) started doing it so she could group talented acts together to share the stage with a songwriter friend of hers, Sam Bisby (good idea! strength in numbers! I've been thinking the same thing!). She says she has connections with The Saint and the Stone Pony in Asbury Park (I've been meaning to book shows there, waiting for the new demo) and other places in NY/NJ as well. Also, she's putting together this Heineken sponsored show at Kenny's Castaways and 'would I like to be a part of it?'. You mean there's a chance of actually playing to an audience of more than the bar staff? Color me there. A few days later a bunch of us go to talk to the guy who's booking the thing about the show. We show him press kits etc. He sees mine and says "Massimo? As in Michael Massimo? Where've you been? You used to play here all the time!" I can't believe the guy remembered me after eight years! I guess I do tend to leave an impression on people. Pretty cool.

On a whim I bought a scratch-off lottery ticket the other day (Win For Life, natch). I usually never buy lottery tickets and here's why. I won $2 which I of course spent on another ticket that was a loser. The thing is this: I am genuinely disappointed when I don't win the jackpot. I fully expect that because I chose this specific point in time to buy a lottery ticket after never really doing so, that naturally I should win for life. I'm honestly shocked and sorely upset when I don't win. I even have millionaire fantasies before I start scratching off the ticket. I know what the odds are, I just don't care. I feel that jackpot is rightfully mine, I'm entitled to it somehow because I want/need it so badly. Luckily I broke the chain after that losing ticket. Until next time...

Saw Al DiMeola at Iridium in NYC last Sat. For those of you who don't know him (which I'm assuming is 99.9% of you) he is a jazz guitarist who made his name in the 70's playing fusion with the band Return To Forever before embarking on a solo career. He taught Steve Vai and Joe Satriani if that gives you any idea of his chops. Plus, he's another Jersey boy (Bergenfield?)! While I enjoyed the concert (great band, nice grooves, impressive solos, good sound!) I will say the same thing about him that I said after seeing Stanley Jordan at Crossroads: where's the song? I enjoyed listening to the band, but there were no melodies for me to latch onto. His technique is flawless; rips like no one else I've ever seen, his hands moving so fast that they are literally a blur, fascinating to watch. But I didn't leave humming anything he played. Even for the greats, a melody is a hard thing to write. In contrast, Pat Metheny composes movements (even in his solos) and links then together seemlessly. Not to mention the fact that the DiMeola ticket was $40 and he only played for 50 minutes. I've paid less to see Pat from the 6th row and listen to him for 2 1/2 hours. Again, just two reasons why Pat's The Man and everybody else is just visiting. He remains the only musician I've ever seen to get a standing ovation just for taking the stage.

In the CD player lately: Coldplay, Sublime, Patti Griffin, Norah Jones (I think I'm getting a crush on her), Bruce Hornsby, Bill Withers (still. If you can't get happy after hearing "Lovely Day" then there's something wrong with you) and yes, Zwan (still. I can't stop playing "Ride The Black Swan" over and over and over again. Totally a song I wish I wrote.) Can't wait to get the new Steely Dan!

5/22/03: Brighton postgame/Recording almost finished/Acme teaser/Massimo'sDay Off/Eating skate/Goodbye to the 'Hawk/The story of "It's All Good"

Had a great time playing the Brighton on the 15th. It wound up being a lot better than expected. I figured we'd be playing to no one (11PM on a Thurs. in Long Branch?). But we actually had some poeple show up for us which was pleasantly surprising. Thanks to all who came out. Looks like we'll be back there again. Hopefully with a better time slot next time. And warmer weather (the place is just blocks from the beach).

WE MADE A DEMO!!! Finally! I'm very pleased to announce we completed basic tracks for our demo. Woo! I just need one more day in the studio to add vocal harmonies and some more guitar tracks (then mixing/mastering) but basically, we're done. Expect it to be complete by July. You'll hear it here first. Songs we recorded: Anywhere But Here, Daylight, Wasted, Accident, Mountain. I plan on maybe adding a solo acoustic version of Deliver Me, too. We just ripped through recording. 5 complete songs live in 6 hrs is pretty impressive, I thought. Things went really smoothly; we were like a well oiled machine. (Although Roger may remember things a little differently from the previous day's rehearsalsession. I kept changing tempos and previously agreed upon drum parts on him. He's sure to roast me on his site www.slammingrooves.com. I can change my mind, can't I (Roger's note - no!)? They're my songs after all. You just examine things a lot more closely when you're going to commit to recording them). It's a real privilege to work with professionals. Pictures from the session to be posted soon. Special thanks to Charlie at Word Of Mouth Studios (www.WOMstudio.com). He really helped keep thngs going. And to my friend Matt from The Guest List for recommending him (www.theguestlist.com)

Getting really psyched for our show at Acme next Wed. Serendipitously, we're opening for a band that's doing a major label showcase and a video shoot that night (In Spite Of. Their website seems a bit pretentious but what do I know. They're the one's showcasing for a label. Cool. Another opportuninty to show a label who they really should be signing. Of course, it wouldn't be the same without you. (Please join us: Wed. May 28th, 7PM, Acme Underground, 9 Great Jones St., NYC, www.acmeunderground.com). Plus, the food there is awesome. Some of the best cajun in the city.

So after all the rehearsals, recording, shows of the past several days, I was physically shot. So I did what any red blooded Amercian would do - I called in "sick" Tues. Let me tell you, it was one of the greatest things I've done for myself in a very long time. Rest and relaxation is so underated. I felt fantastic. Spent the whole day just celebrating myself, writing, singing, cranking the stereo and laughing at everyone who had to go to work (most likely, you).If you haven't taken one in a while I highly recommend the "me day"; you deserve it. You've been working too hard. Just tell your boss it was my idea, I'm sure he'll/she'll understand.

Went fishing a couple of weeks ago in Moriches Bay, Long Island. Caught this:



It's a skate/stingray. People usually throw these back, but we've been catching so many of them, I've been thinking of eating them. I had skate once at the Manhattan Ocean Club in some kind of sherry sauce and it was very tasty. If I wind up making a good meal out of one, I'll post the recipe.

And now a moment of silence for a dear friend who has left for good:



Had to sell my motorcycle (an '82 Honda Nightwawk 650, it was just getting too old. It needed too many things) last month and I miss it so much. Not only because it was my Dad's bike but because I like riding sooooo much. Now I'll have to go back to pedal power on the mountain bike. Oh well. I guess that's fun, too, in its own way. Next up: a 1999 Triumph Adventurer. Next year. Right now there's studio time to pay for and a band that need promoting...

So from time to time I like to keep people abreast of the inside jokes that pass between band members. One such item is the fact that no matter what you talk to Jess about, it's likely he'll respond with "Its all good". For a while it was fine. Then I started to get the impression that you could say anything to him and he would respond with "It's all good". Like, "Hey, Jess I just cut off your hand, burned your house to the ground and killed your dog" and he would say "It's all good". Finally I asked him why he says it all the time and he regaled me with the following story. I hope I'm telling it right:

In a time long ago there was a king and his assistant. One day they were hunting in the jungle and the assistant handed the king his rifle but had accidentally put too much gunpowder in the chamber and the resulting explosion took off one of the king's fingers. The king was so enraged he banished his assistant to the dungeon for several years. Some time later the king went hunting by himself and was captured by a tribe of canibals (I have no idea where this story is supposed to take place) They were all ready to eat the king when they discovered his missing digit. Because of their policy of not eating any meat that has any imperfections, they let the king go. Immediately the king released his assistant and thanked him for saving his life. He responded "It's all good". The king couldn't believe his ears. "All good?! But I wrongly imprisoned you all this time! How can it be all good?" and the assistant said, "True but if I was with you on that trip they would've eaten me instead." Something to think about. See you soon - MM

5/13/03: Continental booked/Massimo goes back to school/Stanley Jordan at Crossroads

I guess some of our work has been paying off. Booked the Continental in NYC in June. On a Monday (the 9th). But at 7:30. I like that that we have 3 shows on the schedule now; things moving along. And probably more so after this demo gets made. It's all happening...

Got a letter from my alma mater, Wagner College, yesterday. It seems they're having a first ever, weekend-long alumni gathering in a few weeks and they'd like yours truly to join other performing graduates in a concert at the campus coffeehouse. How nice that they'd even think of me. I know I don't do the coffeehouse thing anymore but I think it would be cool to go be back on a stage I haven't been on in years and blow the froth off their cappucinos with one of the new rocking songs. So I said I'd do it. If you're in the area (Staten Island) and you need a caffeine fix, the show starts at 8 on Fri. June 6.

Saw the legendary jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ last Fri. Crossroads is a nice place, a pretty intimate venue to see someone of Jordan's stature. It's a supper club really. Food and drink is kind of pricey and you have to make reservations to guarantee a seat. Kind of like a Jersey Blue Note.

For those of you who don't know Stanley Jordan (and it's sad many don't. He's a hometown boy from Plainfield!), he is an extraordinary guitar player, one of a kind really. No one does what he does and what he does is this: while holding chords down with his left hand, he taps the keyboard with all the fingers of his right like a piano. And fast! Amazing to watch. Sounds like 2 people playing at once. But first I had to sit through a blues band, decent though they were (I hate "the blues". 1-4-5. 1-4-5. It never goes anywhere. I know people can play ripping solos to it and that's all well and good but after you're done admiring what a good player they are, where's the song? It just bores me to tears.) Then we had to sit through an endless, droning speech by Mr.Jordan's personal assistant (back fat oozing out of a dress way too small for her. Lady, cover up! People are trying to eat!) about what a genius he is, how we should show him the proper respect, how he demands complete silence during his performance (I heard he walked off last time he was here after 5 minutes because people were too loud), and how later we'll be treated to a set of new music from Stanley's latest album, 5 years in the making, of raga music resulting from a collaboration with some famous sitarist I'd never heard of (as if any sitarist beside Ravi Shankar might achieve any Western fame; and he only did because he hung with the Beatles). But first a solo set from Stanley.

And it was good. He doesn't write much, mostly does interpretations of standards that become unrecognizable when he plays them, like "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" or "Sounds Of Silence". It was impressive. But after a while it became novelty and I wanted to be moved by a composition or a groove that takes me somewhere instead of just being awed by his talent. This is probably why he doesn't have as large a following as he might. And why Metheny will always rule supreme in my book.
In the CD player: Zwan, Zwan and more Zwan. It gets better every time I play it.

5/1/03: going into the studio!/Brighton Bar booked

I have been so busy lately; there's a lot going on behind thescenesin Massimo-land.
Booked a new venue for us - The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, NJ (www.brightonbar.com). It's about time we started making the rounds in S.Jersey. The show is on Thursday, May 15th, 10:30PMish. Don't forget our other May show at Acme Underground in NYC (Wed. 5/28). Expect us at The Whiskey Bar in Hoboken and The Continental in NYC soon.

I'm happy to announce we're FINALLY GOING INTO THE STUDIO on Sunday May 18th to cut a new, long-overdue demo. Songs we plan to record: Anywhere But Here, Daylight, Deliver Me, Mountain, Accident.


In the CD player/on the turntable lately: Zwan, Bill Withers, Billy Joel, America, Incubus, Ricki Lee Jones, Bruce Hornsby, Sublime. Looking forward to getting the new Steely Dan!

That's all for now. Hope to see you all soon.

4/1/03: booking update/Bitter End MP3s posted/t-shirt design

I'm sorry to report there were noshows for March and now it's lookinglike there won't be one for April either. Been working hard, though,trying to get other venues; I'll spare you the gory details. NEXT SHOW:WEDNESDAY 5/28, 7PM @ ACME UNDERGROUND, NYC. Upstairs you'll find some ofthe best cajun food in NYC. Downstairs, a great listening room with usplaying in it! Check it out: www.acmeunderground.com. Unfortunately,our show at the Baggot Inn on 4/25 has been cancelled. Please, pleasedon't ask me why. Other clubs on the horizon: NYC - Continental, CuttingRoom, Mercury Lounge, Arlene's. NJ - Whiskey Bar/Maxwell's (Hoboken),Court Tavern (New Brunswick), Stone Pony/Brighton Bar/The Saint(S.Jersey). Of course we'll need a demo to give to all these clubs;we're going into the studio next month to record one! I can't wait.

I've finally posted some live MP3s of us at the Bitter End, soon to be properly located on the music page of the site, but for now go here: http://www.michaelmassimo.com/demo_mp3.html

And T-shirts are coming! (see design below) And by popular opinion, they will have no pocket on the front. As soon as they get made I'll be giving a few away at future shows along with discs of select Bitter End tracks (see link above). As always, feel free to write in and have your rants/pictures/artwork/links etc. posted on this site. Hope to see you/hear from you soon.




3/10/03: Bitter End postgame/demo plans-booking update/"The Oscar goesto..."/writing "from the heart"

So the show last week at the Bitter End was OK. I must admit to not paying much attention to who was on when because when they called my name as the next band, I was a little taken by surprise. I thought I had waymore time. Big rush to get ready to go on, everyone a little frazzled.But we're professionals, right? (Right?!) We played pretty well. I had tokeep reminding my self during that show that everything was OK - it felt like we were running off the rails the whole time. But whatever. The crowd was happy. Including two people I met that that thought we were excellent. And it was great hanging out with them, getting to know them. And unfortunately finding out later it could've all been just talk. One girl said she got signed to (or was about to be signing) a deal with Sony (she was invited up to sing with one of the bands later on in the evening - she was talented) but failed to make good on invitations to be with her in the studio and sing with my band (She left me a bogus number! It's been a long time since that's happened to me. Ouch.). Her friend, while also very complimentary, gracious and apparently rich (buying CD's and paying for my drinks all night) had me convinced he owned several clubs in NYC and would finance future Massimo projects. Which I suppose could still be true but following up with this guy has proved too impossible to be real. Anyway....

I must give credit to a fan who, on his own, had a Massimo t-shirt made from pics on the site! (Thanks for spreading the word, Joe!). It made me think maybe I should make some t-shirts of my own. So that's what I'm going to do; I've been designing some ideas. Look for free t-shirt giveaways at future shows. I'm working on it...

I called the Bitter End too late this month to get something for March so we're looking at early April for the next MM show. Still in contact with someone about doing a showcase at the Continental. In earlier Flipsides I had mentioned doing a recording of broadcast quality for our demo. While I still think that is a good idea, I am so desperate to make a recording of any kind just to get us more/better/any gigs. So I'm looking into just doing a one-day live recording session to get whatever we can to make us a booking disc. Who knows? With added overdubs etc. we night actually get something suitable for release. I'm working on it...

So I was speeding home the other night when I got pulled over (I totally deserved it - 86 and accelerating on wet roads in a 55 MPH zone on 287 South). As soon as the trooper gets to my window I switch into hysterical mode, saying that I was coming back from dropping my sister off at my Mom's house. We had been to see my Mom at the hospital - she might die from having a heart attack earlier in the week etc., etc.. Man, I was just going for it - I simply didn't want more points on my license which in NJ are really hard to get rid of. (It's the Facist State, don't you know). Incredibly, after some preliminary questioning (and me making up answers on the spot) the officer took my credentials and went to check everything out. I thought I was done. Surely he would check to see if and when my Mom was admitted to JFK hospital and discover I was totally lying out of my ass. But he didn't. He just gave me a ticket for careless driving and warned me to get off the road. Given my emotional state, I was in no position to be driving (2 points, no insurance increase. Nice. Crisis averted!) A few days afterward, I began to receive letters from local attorneys lobbying to take my case to court (little did they know I was happy enough to receive the ticket I got, given how blatantly guilty I was) One such mailing looked like this:



Notice the type at the bottom: "The person pictured above is an Actor" (with a capital "A"). So great. I can just imagine the law firmdressing this old guy up like a judge to take this picture. (OK, moremenacing, I'm not feeling scared of you. Point your finger. Yeah, likethat! Perfect!)

I was figuring out the exact tempos for all my songs the other day. I noticed that most of them are between 72-82bpm (beats per minute). I wondered why this was and Roger told me it's because that tempo is closest to my resting heartbeat. Our heart beats in waltz time, BTW (beat, BEAT, rest). Interesting, that.

So I know I keep saying they're going to post soon, but I apologize for not getting any new live recordings up on the site. Sadly, the original minidisc of the only show where the quality was halfway decent, was lost. I'll keep trying. I also want to get some more pictures up in the gallery as well. My webmaster became a little distracted with some other things in his life (like there could be anything more important than my website?) so there's been a backlog of changes that need to get made. Again, I'm working on it...

2/14/03: Florida trip/MM teaches seventh grade/new songs on the way

So, I did wind up having to flee this weather and took a trip to Florida.Now before you start getting jealous, know that it only broke 70 degrees maybe twice the whole time I was down there. It was actually cold. OK, not freeze-your-nuts-off cold like it is here, but definitely see-your-breath-in-the-air cold.

The thing few people realize about FL is that aside from its coast, there's a whole lot of nothing there. And I mean nothing. It's really just one big swamp with long, straight, flat, desolate roads to nowhere. So if you're not near a beach and you don't like to fish (I do but it just didn't happen), there's not a whole lot to do there. And I was staying in a large patch of nothing (Palm Coast/Flagler county). Near a beach, yes, but the weather prevented any real sun-on-the-skin time. But boredom makes for creativity which was one of my reasons for getting away so that was good. The Rolex 24hr race at Daytona was awesome as usual. Hot girls, cool cars, slot car racing (I placed in the top 5!), grilling food, fire pits in the infield and a sports car race going on all around you the whole time. Expect pictures to be up on the gallery page sometime soon. (Or not. It'll probably be some time before I get them all developed and retouched, scanned, etc. Even then, who knows how long it will take to actually get them on the site. Yes, Doug, I'm talking to you).

Taught a seventh grade class (!) while in FL. The wife of the friend I was staying with (Dave and Denise Skinner. Thanks so much for the hospitality!) invited me to talk to her class about advertising and NYC in general. Unbeknownst to me she'd been hyping my visit for days, introducing me to them as Mike From New York. You can't imagine the battery of questions these kids asked. Wonderfully inquisitive. Everything from "Can you get me tickets to Shea Stadium?" to "Do you get mugged on your way to work?". Funny story: the next day she took the class on a field trip and one of the girls was crying on the bus ride there because a boy had broken up with her. Denise told the girl to toughen up and be strong and she replied "Like Mike from New York?". If only. Classic.

Also did some motorcycle riding (thanks Dave for the use of your Triumph Thunderbird 900) and yes, managed to get some writing done. Almost done with "Big Idea" (which I should've finished months ago but sometimes songs are just uncooperative), started two new songs "Just Three Words" and "Anything For You" (strange how you write mostly love songs only after a relationship fails. Don't worry; they rock), and reworked "Music" (the lyrics of which I've grown tired of) into a new song called "Anyone". So definitely making an attempt to deepen the song catalog. Expect the debut of two songs you haven't heard yet ("Reckoning" and "Bonnie & Clyde") at the next Bitter End show (Thursday 2/27, 9PM). Still trying to nail down a Friday at the Baggot Inn. Right now 4/27 at 7PM is tentative. Thought of another cover for us: "The Difference" by the Wallflowers. What do you think?

Happy (?) Valentine's Day. Might as well name it Feel Sorry For Yourself Day for those of us who are terminally single. Curse you, happy couples...

In the CD player lately: 1000 Kisses - Patty Griffin (I never tire of hearing her voice), Audioslave (his neither), A Rush of Blood To The Head - Coldplay (they're growing on me. As usual I like the songs not released as singles best), and on endless repeat: One By One - Foo Fighters.

Hope to see you all on the 27th.

1/28/03: Superbowl/Bitter End date change/How cold is it?/new songs coming/Free $20 from major labels?

So the Bucs won the Superbowl. Yeah, Raiders; eat it. Justice is served! I heard angry fans rioted in Oakland after their team lost and had to be put down with tear gas and rubber bullets. Perfect. "Our team didn't win so let's trash our own city!" Fools. Only in Cali would you see something like that. They love their riots out there, don't they? Geniuses.

The date for the upcoming show at the Bitter End has been changed from Thursday Feb. 20th to a week later, Thursday Feb. 27th, 9PM.

OK - I expected this winter to be cold, but there's cold and then there's "I almost can't breathe because the air hurts my lungs" cold. I've had it. I'm going quite mental from it, actually. Might be time for another trip to Florida (Hi, Dave). Could be good for me - I need to write more songs and haven't been able to do it here in Antarctica (AKA: New Jersey). I've been thinking about writing yet another album just to have one on reserve. 12 songs does not a catalog make. We need more. Way more. And you never really stop writing anyway. It's ongoing. It just hasn't been going on much. Plan on hearing two new songs at the show in Feb.: "Reckoning" and "Bonnie & Clyde". And as for covers, I've been thinking of doing "Angels of The Silences" by Counting Crows and/or "In The Blood" by Better Than Ezra. I think they would fit in nicely. Always taking suggestions...

Here's something interesting from our friends at CD Baby:

Have you collected your $20 payment from the major record labels & retailers yet? They're forced to give $44 million back to consumers, but since most people don't know about it yet, it's going mostly unclaimed. Read this article from the AP newswire, Then CLICK THIS LINK to file your claim.
Cool, huh?
It seems only fair that musicians should get as much of this $44 million as possible! There's some kind of poetic justice here.

Just one of the many reasons why CD Baby rocks.

PS: Oh yeah, and the new Foo Fighters? Don't ask questions - just buy it now. It, too, rocks.

1/15/03: Bitter End postgame/Jets' season ends

I just want to say that we absolutely rocked last week at The Bitter End. 180 degrees from the last time we played there. I'm not saying we were perfect, but we put on a really good show. If I walked in off the street and saw us playing, I would've been impressed. One observer put it thusly: "I gotta admit, seeing the first performance of the Mike Massimo show at the Bitter End was definitely different from their show tonite. Massimo sings with a grasp that asks you to think about why you do the things you do. Inspirational harmonies reflect the discordant lifestyle of the young artist as he solidifies his music. The band as a whole performs well when accurately portrayed by the sound personnel at the establishment they're performing. Guitars work...as do bass guitars, but nothing will bring cohesiveness but the man up front, the one they look to for music. Good show tonite dude..."

I concur. Unfortunately, this person was only 1 of ten on my list to actually witness the show, but the club didn't seem to mind; we'll be back on Feb. 20th. Also unfortunately, the recording didn't come as as good as I hoped so no sound files from the show will be posted to the site (I know. You're still waiting for me to post "Daylight" from the last show. Some things are beyond my control.). I'll be sure to work out any recording snafus before the next show. At the very least I hope to splice together enough good bits to make a live snippet disc I can put in the press kit to get more gigs. I've been noticing an interesting trend in audience members that like our performances - they're not from around here. They're from Iowa, England, South Carolina, and yes, even Podunk, PA. Guess we'll just have to tour! While sitting near the front door, listening to New Blood Revival after coming off stage, this exchange took place:

Miss Podunk: "Great show! You should be out there networking." (an impossible task while NBR was playing) Unsolicited comment from bar patron: "He was; you didn't see him before. How much networking do you need to do anyway? Did Ghandi have to network?"

What a great quote, I thought. Not only because a conversation about me referenced Ghandi, but because I wondered whether or not Ghandi actually did network. I think all he did was network, walking around spreading his message. Maybe that's why he's so famous. He should've been a rock star. Rockin' Ghandi. Great band name.

Still kicking around ideas for a cover song. Latest suggestions: The Ocean - L.Zeppelin, Hard to Handle - B.Crows. PLEASE email me any ideas if you have any.

On the horizon, I'm trying to book a Friday at The Baggot Inn for March (7th or the 14th @ 8PM, still waiting to hear back from the club). Met with that producer Roger was telling me about. Cool guy, does good work at a fair price. I think we'll be using him in the future. The drum & bass tracks need to be recorded someplace else, though (he doesn't have the facilities). Which is fine. Well rehearsed, we could spend one day and get the basic drum & bass tracks for possibly the whole album (I'm targeting late Feb.). Then I can build the songs on top of those tracks, one at a time, as time and money allows. All told, I'm looking to spend 2-3 grand on recording 3-5 songs (by Spring?) then spend a few grand more promoting the release, future shows, getting reviews etc. Keeping us high profile. I think 10K would get us where we need to be. Now that I have a rough dollar figure, I'll be writing up a business plan to solicit startup funds. Anyone have any rich friends that might like to invest in a rock band?

So the Jets' season is over, ending in Oakland last Sun. Sadness. Disappointment. What else can I say? They were just too tough, never giving The Chad enough time to be the talented quarterback he knows how to be. Hopefully next season it won't take us until 2-5 (W/L) to get our act together. We will meet again, Raiders. Oh yes, we will meet again. Great billboard for ESPN spotted in Penn Station: "Even without sports, New York Would still be better than LA."

What to do until the season starts again in September? NASCAR, baby!

12/30/02 JETS ARE AFC EAST CHAMPS, rehearsals going well

Who would’ve believed it in week four, but the Jets are the AFC East Champs! What a game against Green Bay last night! Of course the only thing better than winning the division is doing it with the help of New England. Thanks, Pats! Bring on the Colts!

Had our first rehearsal since the show a month and a half ago and while we sere still a bit rough I was real pleased with how things went. We’re sounding better every time. I’m confident this next show will be way better than the last. And when is that show, you might ask? THURSDAY JANUARY 9th, 9:30, The Bitter End. Be there! (please)

12/23/02: Jets post game, Baggot post game

Like I said last week, the Jets would win against New England. Awesome game. It of course means nothing unless we beat Green Bay next week and New England beats Miami. Both not probable, but possible…

I’m gonna pat myself on the back here and say that I did a great show last night at the Baggot. See? I can be happy with my performances. Although barely anyone from my camp was there to see it, I did OK returning to the solo acoustic format which was all I really cared about. Being the token guy to open up an all-female showcase, I was about as popular as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest but I didn’t care (no offense to professional ass-kickers or one-legged men). The guy who ran the showcase was impressed with me and said he’d like to have me back, might pass me of to the guy that books rock/pop. Maybe I’ll get the band a Friday or Saturday there. The place is around the corner from the Bitter End, though. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t want them competing for attendance and getting little at each venue. Still, it’s always good to have another place to play and if I space the dates out right it could work. It’d be nice to play a Friday for once. I’ll keep you posted. As far as the "industry" part of the night goes, let’s just say no great strides were made there…

Have a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

12/18/02: new Bitter End date set

The Bitter End actually called me today. That’s a first. I guess we weren’t as bad as I thought last time there. All the Fridays were booked already and the rest of the month was going fast. I thought it was really nice of them to think of me before the whole month was gone. They (really Ken Gorka, great guy, a real pro, one of the few) offered me a Thursday night opening for a band that just got signed to Atlantic (New Blood Revival, from Jersey, I think. I haven’t heard of them yet either.) Seems he really wants to work with me to put me in front of people that matter. Really nice of him, I thought. Thanks for the support, Kenny! Of course if helps if all of you don’t make a liar out of him and actually come to the show; please don’t disappoint. We won’t: THURSDAY JANUARY 9th, 9:30. See you there!

12/16/02: football sadness, more Baggot show details/girls with guitars, new strategy, Puddle Of Mudd please please die

So, it seems the Jets do actually suck. I wasn't sure for a while but now I am. Further research in Chicago last night proves it. Yes, Chicago. I knew they were going to lose that game. They'll probably wind up winning in New England on Sunday (but seriously...) but no one will care. I still have nothing bad to say about Chad Pennington. But I digress...

Got more info on Sunday's solo acoustic industry showcase show with Karen Schleifer at the Baggot Inn (Patty Medina will unfortunately not be joining us). Seems not only is it an industry showcase but it's an "all-female" industry showcase and they're kind of just squeezing me in so Karen and I can play which is cool if not a bit ironic. While I am really happy to be on this bill and am looking forward to playing on Sun. night, I’ve about had it with the "all-female" nights that seem to be everywhere now. The truth is girls don't need any extra help getting noticed - they're girls. That's right - I said it and I'll say it again. They can get away with so much more talent and content-wise because of their physiology (is that a word?). It's just the way the world works. I'm OK with that and guilty of the lust that perpetuates the stereotype. Sex sells, no question about it. But what bothers me is having it be a classification at all. It should just be "singer/songwriters". But these days you always see shows being billed as "female singer/songwriter night" and the like. It's like a musical Affirmative Action. You never see guys having a "male singer/songwriter night" and if we did we'd be called chauvinists. It exclusionary. It all started with Tracy Chapman in '87 with "Fast Car" (which I do think is a great song, BTW). Suddenly there was this tidal wave of estrogen washing over the entire Billboard chart. No one wanted to hear from male solo artists. Or if they did they couldn't go by their own name; they had to create a "band" (Dashboard Confessional, Bright Eyes, Badly Drawn Boy - all current 1 man "bands"). So, many girls took their cue from the radio, bought guitars, taught themselves how to play and set out to do their best Jewel impersonations.

Now take it easy, everyone: I can already hear the feminists typing away. Please don't get me wrong: I have nothing against "female singer/songwriters", a lot of what I listen to would be classified as such (Patti Griffin, Jonatha Brooke (absolutely love her!), Fiona Apple, Shawn Colvin) - there are some very talented singer/songwriters who just happen to be women. But being a cute girl should not by itself be a license to get up on stage. Learn your instrument, learn to write a good lyric, a good song, even, before assaulting the public. Otherwise go be a model instead. Yes, I know I should be encouraging to all but in my opinion there’s been too much coddling; it’s time for some tough love.

I don’t mean to cheapen the words "singer/songwriter" by using her as an example because she really isn’t one but I but I just have to say Avril Levigne needs a beating, like, yesterday. Surely it's not her stellar songwriting skills that got her where she is today. "Sk8er Boi" ? Please. Like that song isn't annoying enough by itself; the title needs to be spelled in some bullshit ghetto slang. I'm sure that makes it a much better song. She's not even hot enough that she should be allowed to be as annoying as she is. Read any interview with her (see the RS "Women In Rock" issue) and you'll know exactly what I mean. And let’s get back to Jewel (who's voice I actually happen to like). I’m not sure anybody would’ve listened to her sing about making a smiley face with her eggs in the morning ("You Were Meant For Me") if she didn't fill out her dress so well? A good "what if" topic for debate. (Everyone who listens to music is not in first grade, Jewel. Please go back to writing bad poetry; at least it’s silent.) It's performers like these that detract from and undermine those women who really are good at what they do and don't cater to the lowest common denominator to make the quick buck. Hey, I have nothing wrong with female singer/songwriters using their sex appeal to sell records and have a career; it's part of the program. I just want them to be talented enough to justify it, dig a little deeper. Yes, the same could be said for certain guys as well (Justin, I’m looking in your direction) but it seems girls get away with less more often because they're easier on the eyes. Maybe it’s just me.

But solo guys might finally be making a comeback after years of waiting for the Wave of Estrogen to recede. There have been some male artists out there in the marketplace peeking through now and then (John Mayer (!), Ryan Adams, Pete Yorn, David Gray, Elliot Smith) mixing things up a bit, fighting for what little space the charts and radio playlists afford them. We need more like them.

And not like them, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, who am I to say anything about anything? I'm just some guy with a guitar, an opinion and a website with unlimited space to write any damn thing I want to. Please tell me how wrong I am – I’d love to hear from you. Anyway, all that being said, I want to state again that I actually can't wait to play on Sunday and I'm really looking forward to sharing the stage with some talented performers. I don't care what gender they are and you shouldn't either. OK, enough petty cynicism (for now).

In other "news", I've been trying to rebook The Bitter End. I’d like to book some other clubs but I don't have a recording of anything new to put into a press kit to give to them. I was happy enough just to see if I could bring people to the Bitter End first before trying anyplace else. Maybe I've been a little hesitant. It’s just been really hard to getting the band to fully realize what I hear in my head with all the vocal arrangements and everything. I think the only way I'm going to do that is to make a recording. Then I can have the band just replicate what I've recorded. So, while I will continue to play out with them, the major focus is going to be getting us into a studio ASAP. To that end Roger (always a big help) is going to introduce me to someone he knows who has a major label quality studio and a lifetime's worth of recording experience working in the industry on big name projects. Evidently this guy is willing to work with us for way less than he's worth. That's good because as of right now my recording budget is zero. Maybe even less than zero. I really need to work on that. Donations anyone?

Just made the mistake of turning on the radio right now. OK, Puddle Of Mudd? You need to die. Right Now. Waste no time. Assemble the firing squad. I’m convinced their execution is necessary for the continuation of the human race. I'm so not kidding. I just heard a song so bad on K-Rock (AKA: Amateur Night) that I thought it was a joke. Total rip off of REM's "Stand" riff with lyrics that could've been written by an elementary school student. I think the song was "She Hates Me" or something like that. "She" hates you, alright, and soon so will everyone else. So, so bad and so, so annoying. Why does it not surprise me that this is their song? I'm sitting there waiting for the announcer to tell me who the band is and then it's like, "Oh, of course. Who the fuck else would it be?" This is the same band that brought us the radio gem "Control" with such lyrical nuggets like "I like the way you slap my ass". If you're wondering why it's so difficult to continue in the popular music arena you need look no further than this band. This is why radio sucks. Hard. It rewards the talentless and programs to 11 year olds. And it is, of course, no shock that we have none other than record company "executive" genius Fred "Wurst" to thank for signing this insufferable testament to just how bad a band can be. He knows all about how to put a shitty band together; we're all familiar with his contribution to the music world, that band of Einsteins known as Limp Bizkit. ("Limp" is right. At least their guitar player knew to distance himself from that project. Don't think it's an accident they can't find a replacement for him. If there is God, he can't let this band reassemble.). But back to Puddle Of Piss. Who is buying this crap anyway? As Roger would say they are "relentlessly mediocre". As in, there is no escape from their onslaught of mediocrity. Run and hide but it will find you. Every single time you turn on the radio. To sum up: Puddle of Mudd - possibly the worst band ever. Thank you. Oh, and while I'm at it, the Chili Peppers need to retire. Today. Anthony Kiedis, you can't sing. You never could. Even your band knows that. Stick to rapping if you must continue making music.

OK, that's plenty for now; I need to settle down. Let me have it if you feel the need; I'll post your responses. I just like to test if people are reading this at all.

And BTW, Audioslave rocks! People say it only sounds like the lead singer from Soundgarden singing for Rage Against The Machine. And? Your point is?

12/12/02: Solo Acoustic Show Booked, Endorsement Deal With D'Addario Resigned

So wonder of wonders, the Baggot Inn (82 W.3rd. St., www.baggotinn.com/baggot.html) was nice enough to find a spot for us (me & two LA singer/songwriters: Karen Schleifer and Patty Medina) on Sunday Dec. 22nd at 6:30 just before their INDUSTRY SHOWCASE. OK, I know what you're thinking. The words "industry showcase" usually really mean something to the effect of "I invited some A&R guys and if their cars happen to break down nearby, they'll be there". But supposedly some A&R person from Sony is expected to attend. Whatever. I just want to do a show I can be proud of. I'm really looking forward to it. (I'm so bipolar sometimes. See last entry) As much as I'm all about the band now, there'll be something comforting about playing some of these new songs in the solo acoustic setting that I know best.

Still waiting for the Bitter End to start booking January. I'm hoping to get Friday the 24th at 8 or 9...

Resigned my endorsement deal with D'Addario strings today. This doesn't mean much except for the fact that I get to order strings at a discount, have my artist profile up on their site (www.daddariostrings.com) and can continue to put "Michael Massimo uses D'Addario guitar strings exclusively" on all my literature. No big deal but it sounds kinda cool anyway.

Going to my first NFL game ever Sun at the Meadowlands (thanks, Sal!): Giants vs. Cowboys. Not very exciting football, I know, but who cares? I'm psyched to go. If only to see Dallas get beat (I hope). Of course my heart will be with the Jets in Chicago...

12/4/02: Goodbye to old songs, possible solo acoustic gig, winter blues

I have been trying very hard to breathe new life into some of my old catalog but the truth is I'm just not feeling it. It's hard enough to get back into the same mind set that I was when I originally wrote these songs, and even though I feel I can say things better now, I'm not so sure some of those songs had content worth writing about in the first place. I may keep the music to songs like "Music" and just write completely different lyrics over them. So aside from "Asylum" and "Precious Seconds" (that we played at the last show) it's all about writing new songs. It's kind of freeing in a way. Of course, the flip side to this is that now I don't have half the songs I thought I had. I better get busy writing some new stuff fast! May even throw in a cover now and then (the other day I was thinking Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" might be good. Ideas anyone?). Should have 3 or 4 new ones at the next show that no one's heard yet.

A friend who used to live here but is now in living LA (Karen Schleifer. Also might bring another LA s/s with her, Patty Medina) is coming into NYC for the holidays and wants to do an impromptu solo acoustic show here somewhere. I don't know what's available now (Dec.'s completely booked at most venues already) but I think it'll be a good thing to get back to my solo acoustic roots no matter where we play.

It's been hard to keep moving these days. I don't know about you, but I am turning into the biggest Scrooge with each passing year. I don't start feeling Xmas cheer until maybe Xmas eve. I think it's the weather most of all. I really just hibernate from Nov. until March. I feel like your life is on hold until you get through the holidays. It's hard to see through to the new year until it's actually here. And the holidays just magnify everything, good and bad. For example, if you have someone special, it's even better. If you don't, it only highlights that you don't. But that's why have mistletoe and the New Year's midnight kiss!

And forget about trying to write right now. I'm lucky if I get enough motivation to buy food. It's been hard finding my "voice". I mean, what really makes a good song these days anyway? I think I'll just try collecting some raw material for later use instead of trying to write a whole song. I get so torn about this whole "career" of mine. Some days I really like it, singing, jamming on my guitar. Other days I get terminally cynical and wonder why I started this all up again in the first place. Believe me, the more you know about this industry, the more you wish you didn't know. There's always more reasons to quit than there are to keep going. But what would I do instead? I guess it's true, though - if everyone could do it, they would. But doesn't it seem like everybody and their brother is these days? Wow, I'm just so inspiring today, aren't I? But you never know what you're going to get with this part of the site. You get the good and the bad. There's no editing. If you want fairy tales, go talk to Mother Goose.

Musicians - we're such a stable lot. I think you really do have to be crazy to be in this business.

I guess I belong after all...

11/18/02: tape of the show not so good, descriptions?

Roger came over today with a CD of the minidisc recording of the show. People always say I'm hard on myself and the show wasn't really that bad but the proof really is (or isn't) in the pudding. Boy, were we rough. I had so many vocal "clams" I could've been serving them on the 1/2 shell. The potential here is obvious, though. This is a great band, just need some more polishing. "Daylight" seems to be the only song I don't have major issues with so it should be up on the site soon. The recording itself is decent quality but not good enough to put in a press kit. We have to get into the studio soon so I can have something to send to clubs.

Still getting some good audience feedback. While one person likened the band before us (Greg Tannen) to Tom Petty, they were hard pressed to find someone who you could use to help describe our sound. It's nice to be unique, I guess, just really difficult to market. So I'm always interested in finding accurate ways to describe our sound. If anyone who was at the show thinks they've pinpointed it, please email me. It helps when answering the dreaded question: "Who do you sound like?" Lately I've been telling people I sound like John Mayer just way edgier and with a higher voice. Also, I find out now that the whole show was being webcast through the club's website (www.bitterend.com) so anyone who couldn't make it out could've seen us on the web. Just as well. Being our first show I can pretty much guarantee the next one will be better. Besides, I'd much rather have people some see us in person. The club doesn't count "virtual" attendance when figuring out how many people we brought.

Calling again today to get a Dec. Bitter End date. Gonna try for a Friday at 8:30 this time. Maybe more people will be able to make it. Can't believe they don't have all of Dec booked already. If they do, I'll just have to wait until January. Gives us more time to work on our sound which we need. Once I have something booked to work towards we'll get back into a regular rehearsal schedule. But today I'm just going to work on putting my life back in order; I let a lot of things go while prepping for this show...

11/15/02: day after Bitter End show wrap up

So the gig was pretty good last night. I'm not feeling like I thought I would today, though. I thought I'd feel all triumphant but instead I'm feeling....I don't know. I guess the word I'm looking for is anticlimactic. I just thought last night would've been bigger than it was. That's what I get for building things up in my head too much...

First of all, I'd just like to give a monumental "FUCK YOU" to the cop who gave me a $70 (!) seatbelt ticket as I was sitting in traffic on 40th St. after coming through the Holland tunnel. Blew my whole profit margin for the gig. That ticket plus parking and tolls had me down $100 before I even played a note. He was sitting in his cruiser having breakfast and had to put down his doughnut to come out of his car to give me a ticket. What is it with me that I inspire this kind of behavior in people? You know for a fact he wasn't pulling over anyone with NY plates. I would've appreciated it more if he just held a gun to my head and said "give me $70 dollars now". Next time can I have a little lube when I get reamed? It's not enough I pay higher taxes as a commuter to work in NYC? The City is on the verge of bankruptcy these days so watch your wallet if you intend on visiting. I'm sure writing a ticket for spitting on the sidewalk wouldn't be out of the ordinary. But I digress...

Turnout for the show was OK but I thought there'd be more people for all the promotion I did. And considering my Mom and her friends accounted for 6, it really wasn't a very good draw. Well, what do you expect after not having done a show in # 1/2 years (!). As far as how we played, opinions differ. There's my opinion and then there's everybody else's. Everybody else thought we rocked and absolutely loved the new tunes. Me personally, I think I could've been better. Could've played better, sung better, remembered lyrics I wrote (!). True, I am always my worst critic but it's not like I'm never happy with my performances; I just always set the bar really high. How else can you find out what you're made of? This being the first show in a long time, I will admit to being somewhat nervous. I'm sure the next show will be better (date/time TBD). I just have to learn how to play like I don't give a shit.

And as far as taping the show goes, the Bitter End's tape deck died before we went on so all I have is Roger's minidisc recording which I haven't heard yet. If it's any good, I'll put the best bits up on the site. And I forgot all about taking audience photos; it was all I could do to just get through the gig. I almost couldn't wait to get off stage. Man, I was nervous. Nothing a few more shows can't fix...

I do want to say "THANK YOU" to everybody who showed up. (And all the new people who signed the list - Thanks, Sharon!) I couldn't do any of this without you. It was great seeing everyone and I hope to see you all again soon. I'll have more new songs for you next time around. Hopefully with harmonies.

Now to the pub to cure this raging hangover.....

11/1/02: the Ride gets bumpy, band/website coming along nicely, MM sick before the gig as usual

OK. So it's always a pain in the ass getting the newsletter out but this time it was worse than usual. Aside from the writing of it and laying it out on the computer (which I don't really mind) it's over 700 pieces that need to be copied double sided, addressed (more on that later), tri-folded (thank you Kinko's), taped closed with tabs (by hand) and have postage put on them (by hand, again).

But first I had to edit the list that's been neglected for so long (took off people who aren't at their radio station/publication/organization anymore, never came to shows, added in the TT list and deleted doubles). This took a few days (I do have a day job as well). When I tried merging all these addresses into a document that would print them on the already printed newsletters, it wouldn't print. Neither would the old MM list. So I did what I'm good at: I panicked.

I tried everything: increasing the memory to the printer, cutting and pasting the whole list into a new document in case the document was corrupted, shortening the list in to smaller pieces, putting the document on a disk so I could print it from another computer, checking cables, sending it to a different printer. This took hours. Nothing worked. I began to get concerned that my data files were ruined somehow. Called my computer genius cousin for help (thanks Anthony) and he had no trouble with the files on his PC (which only generated more Mac-hating rhetoric from him. He hates Macs). So I decided to go to sleep and try it tomorrow.

I determined the problem was the document itself and after trying a few things, I finally got it to work. I needed to "fake out" Word into making a "custom envelope" instead of maiking the envelope it was programmed to make. ANNOYING! Anyway, now onto the postage dilemma.

The initial merge document I created (the one that wouldn't print) had 1487 pages (one for each address). While I thought that was a lot (my list has never been that long) I never questioned it at the time and went ahead and bought 1,500 stamps from the FDR Post office (53rd & Lex). What I didn't discover until later was that Word, in its infinite wisdom, decided to put a blank page in-between each address; the actual list was only 740. So this left me with roughly 8 rolls of 100 stamps I didn't need. That's a lot of money I could have back ($296!), so I tried to return them. Waaaay more of a hassle than you might imagine.

The woman at the post office told me it's USPS policy not to give refunds (this is stated nowhere in the entire post office. You would think someone might mention that to you when you'e spending over $500 on stamps). I remained calm and asked to speak to a supervisor who told me the same thing only this time with a really smug attitude. My calm promtly left me, never to return. After pleading with him (Kenny Wappinger. Please crank call him if you want: 212-330-5597) for several more minutes I was handed a customer service flyer for the USPS that had an 800 number he suggested I call. I left extremely angry, shouting to everyone in the place as a public service announcement that there is no refunds for stamps. (Cops eyed me warily. I can be very unnerving in situations like these.) When I called the customer service line I was told there is no such policy (!) but there was nothing they could do. I asked for a supervisor who referred me to Consumer Affairs, who referred me to the retail division of that post office, who referred me to the same fucker who wouldn't give me a refund in the first place! So I tried again thinking I might get a different result. I got Consumer Affairs to open up a case file (!) on the matter and they promised someone would get back to me within one postal business day. (I'm still waiting for the phone to ring.) Knowing this was a road to nowhere I thought I might try getting a different result at a different post office. I called the Edison Post Office where I live (home of Skytide Music's PO Box 141). They said it would be no problem. Just come in when the supervisor was there and she would take care of it. I filled out a simple form and was handed my refund in cash. How easy was that? Thank you Jersey.

So of course I had to call back Mr.Wappinger and give him a piece of my mind. The conversation went something like this:
"Hello. Can I speak to Mr.Wappinger please?"
"Who's calling?"
"Fred Sanford."
(short pause)
"This is Kenny Wappinger."
"Hi. I called yesterday regarding the refunding of some stamps I bought and you told me it was not your policy to give refunds."
"That's right. It's not our-"
"Then how come I just got a cash refund at a different post office?"
"Well out pol-"
"Listen to me very closely. Fuck you. You can take your fucking policy and shove right up your ass sideways."


I found that to be an extremely satisfying conversation. Anyway, the newsletter will finally go in the mail Monday morning. All's well that ends.

Meanwhile, then band is coming along very nicely. My guitar player (Jess) came over last night to work on parts and we got a lot of work done. Getting together on Sun. as well to work on sound. The website should near completion this weekend as well. It better. If everyone that gets the newsletter promoting the site actually goes there only to find the old one up, they're going to be extrememly unimpressed.

Boy, am I going broke fast. For anyone who's never done this let me tell you there's a lot of expenses in putting together a project like this: paying musicians for the show/rehearsals, studio time, postage. Then there's equipment (new tubes for the amp, strings, volume pedal) getting the new headshots done, paying the web guy. Sure, some of these are one-time fees but still. Me and my credit cards are getting very intimate and I am not someone who's very comfortable with debt at all. So some to the show so I know this isn't all for nothing!

All this pre-gig stress has worn me down to where I'm finally getting sick. Great. Just what I needed. I never get sick. At least it's happening now and not 2 weeks from now or I would have to kill myself just on principal. I'm such a joy to be around when I have a cold (note sarcasm). I get insane when I can't sing. I'm going to get some much-needed rest. Hope to see you soon.

10/16/02: band begins rehearsals, west caost trip #2, no California dreaming for MM

So I've had a couple of rehearsal with the band(minus the bass player for now) and I must say I'm getting a little excited. We're starting to sound pretty good and these new songs are beginning to sound like what I had in mind when I wrote them. The new guitar player, Jess, is really good and a nice guy, too. It's one thing to play with talented musicians but it's even better when you like spending time with these guys too. I mean, this is supposed to be fun, right? We're getting togther this weekend at my apt. to work out all the guitar parts. With any luck we might even start on harmonies next week! But maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here…

Went to Cali last weekend again (to see a girl, long story…). Didn't actually spend much time in LA, though. Went south to Laguna Beach (sadly NOT where Laguna Seca racetrack is), a rich little beach town. Beautiful coastline but the economy was a bit too expensive for this musician's bank account. Went farther south through San Diego to the town of Imperial Beach, just 10 min. from the Mexico border and got a room right on the beach. This town I liked a lot. Just a cute little beach town in its off-season, not too crowded, nice shops. Bought a 400 million year old sea creature fossil. Watched people catch Mackerel off a pier. (I know, this is really exciting for you.) Then went to San Diego's Gaslamp district for dinner. Good food (the Dakota) and hopping nightlife there. I recommend it although I didn't even see half of what the city has to offer. Then to Tijuana the next day. What a trashy town that is! There's basically 4 main businesses that repeat themselves block after block: taco stand, silver shop, nudie bar, pharmacy. That right, I said pharmacy. Because in Mexico, no prescriptions necessary! For anything! Don't think I didn't come home with a few "souveniers". And tequila, of course. Then back to LA to walk through some museums (including the Petersen Auto Museum. Really cool. Complete with cheesy dioramas depicting a certain time frame behind every car) and the world famous La Brea Tar Pits! Woo! Not that exciting really. Just a couple of pools of tar with methane gas bubbling through them. If that isn't a place to take a date, I don't know what is. Now about LA…

First of all everything they say about driving in LA is absolutely true. I got lost a few times (me, the Eagle Scout. Can you believe it?) and I blame it on the sorry state of signage on the entire LA freeway system. I was doing 85mph and traffic was pulling away from me (!) except when it slowed down without warning because somebody had to read a sign. In my opinion all the signs on LA freeways should say one thing: "You Just Passed You Exit" or "Good Luck" as in "good luck trying to find out where you're going because you'll get no help from us signs". You get about 1/2 mile warning at best before any exit if you get any at all. So if you're in the left lane of a six lane hwy doing 85 so you don't get run over, you get only a few seconds to cross the entire hwy to make your exit, provided there was even a sign alerting it to you in the first place. Piss poor city planning. There were many times I made lane changes and just prayed for the best. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who absolutely loves to drive.

Besides that, I just get a really weird vibe from LA as a whole. And I want to like it because I'm out there pretty often visiting someone close to me. Yes, the city itself has a lot to offer. I'm talking about the people. There's hardly ever anyone on the streets there and if there were, you don't get the impression you'd want to talk to them anyway. It's a kind of sublte hostility I can't put my finger on. There's no sense of community. Very every-man-for-himself. Everyone just keeps to themselves and only seems interested in you in as much as you can help them further their careers. It's like the whole city is one big movie set but there aren't any cameras rolling. I'll take NYC any day of the week. If you ever think you hate NYC, just go to any other city for a while and then come back. You'll have a whole new appreciation for it. At least this town has a pulse. And maybe you won't like what people say all the time but at least you'll never have to guess where their coming from. I'm gonna stay for a while…

10/2/02: BAND FINALLY TOGETHER, the 9-5 cam, band name?

I am pround to announce I finally have a band! It's about fucking time, too. Roger, God bless him, has found me 2 of some of the best freelance player around. Both Berkeley grads, too, I believe. They've all played together beforeand have nothing but good things to say about each other. The bass player is so in demand that I can only get him for two rehearsals before the show. I'm anxious to see what we'll sound like. View this space for details in the future. I don't what you were all so worried about. I told you everything would be fine, didn't I?

And the website is finally coming together as well (although by the time you read this it'll be done already). A friend of mine had an interesting idea for the site: a 9-5 cam! A webcam that would sit on top of my computer at work incase you ever wanted to see me working my day job. I'm sure my IT administrator will never go for it but I think it would be funny if I actuallycould set it up.

I've been thinking that it's easier to break a band name than it is to sell a solo artist. There are many "bands" out there now that are really just one guy (Badly Drawn Boy, Dashboard Confessional, anyone remember NIN?). So should I call this new project by a band name and if so what name? I'm thinking just "Massimo". It's what everybody calls me anyway. When I call someone on the phone I don't say "It's Michael" (because then they say "Michael who") I usually say it's "Massimo" and then they know exactly who it is. I had an English teacher in high school who only called people by their last name for this very reason. It's more unique. And it's not like it hasn't been done before, using the last name as the name of the band. To use some poor examples: Bon Jovi, Hanson, Winger (!), Nelson (enough with the 80's bands already!). Then again there's the problem of mispronounciation. I think I'm gonna stick with it for now and use the full name for any solo gigs I might do (or maybe not? Just use Massimo all the time? Like Cher? Like Madonna?) Opinions anyone?

9/25/02: Bass player here and gone, well dressed homeless, searching for "covers"

OK, now I'm really beginning to worry. The bass player I had online tobe in the band has been hired to do a recording project with someone elsefor more money. While I can understand he's gotta do what he can as a freelance musician to make money, I'm really panicking about the prospect of not having a band for this show that just booked yesterday (!) Not only that, the website isn't any closer to done than it was 2 months ago. As it stands now, I'm preparing to have to cancel the gig, have no band, no website and become prettydepressed for the holiday season. Can someone remind me why I'm doing this?OK, I must try and remember that there's probably a very good reason I don'thave this bass player anymore. Maybe there's a better one around the cornerthat I just don't know about yet. I'm trying to stay positive. As Voltaire writes in Antigone: "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

So I'm walking to work the other day, and I see a homeless man wearing a brand new Chaps by Ralph Lauren sweater. I can't even afford those clothes. And I work for their ad agency! Since when do the homeless dress better than me? Maybe he was just a narcoleptic account executive that needed a nap right there and then…

I've been thinking about doing a cover with this new band. Maybe a few of them. It occurrs to me that many new bands have been broken by doing a remake of a popular song first before introducing their original stuff (The Lemonheads' "Mrs. Robinson", Limp Bizkit's (I fucking hate Fred Worst) "Faith" etc.) But what song to do? It's gotta be something that was a big hit a while back but not so long ago that no one would remember it. And something that harkens back to my singer/songwriter roots. Maybe amped up versions of "You're So Vain" ? "Summer Breeze"? That might be funny. Please send me any ideas you might have.

9/24/02: 1st Bitter End show date set

Just talked to Kenny at The Bitter end. It looks like our first show there will be Nov.14th at 9:30, Greg Tannen will be opening. OK, now I'm beginning to get nervous. Time is ticking so much louder now. "The clock is laughing at the only joke he needs…"

9/23/02: 1st band rehearsal cancelled, Massimo a dirty old man?

Antar called yesterday and cancelled today's rehearsal. Glad I drove myself crazy all weekend arranging vocal parts so I'd have things ready for tonight (these new arrangements are going to kick ass, though!). Whatever, it's all gotta get done anyway. While I do understand he is a freelance player and needs to make his money when he can (he's getting paid to record with someone) it's just that this doesn't help to alleviate the anxiety I'm already feeling about this whole project. I still don't have a guitar player. Or a definite date for our first show at the Bitter End. Or a respectable website. Yeah, yeah, I know. Bitch Bitch Bitch. But that's why I have the Flip Side in the first place. So you can see the other side of the story. And so I can have a forum to say whatever the hell I want. I'm sure everything will work out fine. At least that's what I keep repeating to my self like a mental patient…

Went to my alma mater's homecoming over the weekend (Wagner College, class of '##).

I go almost every year and I always have a good time but things were different this year. While the beers were still free and it was good seeing some old friends, I was now the oldest alumn of my friends in attendance. It sure took long enough, but I finally feel old. Wagner is now an almost Ivy League school at this point (it sure wasn't when I went there) and as a result seems to attract a hotter student body , so to speak. I know it's not just my age, and maybe the girls are dressed more provocatively these days but, there a way more hot girls attending that school now and all my and my friends could do is stand around and stare at them like the guys on King Of The Hill just sipping beers and saying "Yep". The problem is I still think I can successfully hit on these girls because in my mind I'm still 21. To these girls, though, I look as old to them as people my age did when I went to school there saying "Who brought the dinosaurs?". The only thing I could do was stand by my friend's new BMW Z3 and tell anyone who asked that it was mine. That seemed to work for a while. Doesn't matter. I couldn't score when I was younger either. Some things never change. It occurs to me that the only difference between a horny young man and a so called dirty old man is only about 10 years or so. One interesting episode: watching a sorority girl puke in the parking lot, go into the woods to pee, completely fall down a hill and wipe out and have to be carried out by her limbs. Ah, those were the days… And let's not mention those Jets this week…

9/20/02: Massimo gives thanks

So I was on the elevator at work today and a guy got on with NO HANDS. Not just missing one, but both. I was thinking "Damn!" but I didn't say anything. He didn't look too pissed about it either, just talking with a co-worker of his like everything was cool. I guess he's a better man than me because I don't think that's something I'd ever get over.These are the things you should think about when you're getting annoyed aboutsomething trivial. So today I thank God I have my hands!

9/17/02: 9/11, theology, WWF, Massimo begins to panic

Man, last week was a drag here in NYC because of 9/11. It wasn't helping that I couldn't stop watching all the coverage of the anniversary on TV. Some of the stories are just unbelievable (like the 14 people who survived in stairway B of the North Tower after it fell down on them! Incredible.) The best story from last Wed.: the winning lottery numbers for the Pick 3 were 9-1-1. You can't tell me there isn't some higher power at work. Some things are just beyond coincidence. Of course there will be some people that will claim it was fixed because they can't deal with the reality of what it might mean if it wasn't. Then they might actually have to believe in things they'd rather not because it make life easier not to. I personally like the fact that our Pledge says "One nation under God..." and that our currency says "In God we trust…"

Caught a brief moment of the WWF while channel surfing last night. If you need proof that the minds of Americans are turning to mush, that the mean intelligence of our country is plummeting, one need look no further that the performance atrocity known as the WWF. I can't believe there is a market for this. It's a national embarrassment. Anytime someone tells me they're a fan of wrestling and they're above the age of 5, my opinion of them goes through the floor. Then I apologetically ask them if they're retarded.

OK, I am severely beginning to panic about this upcoming show (date still TBD! I'm calling the Bitter End today). While I do have my drummer (Rog from TT - www.slammingrooves.com) and my bass player (Antar Goodwin) I'm still missing band members (I NEED A GUITAR PLAYER ASAP! IF YOU KNOW ANYONE, WRITE ME), the website isn't nearly done, none of the songs are arranged yet, one more needs to be written, I need to get prints made from my photo shoot, need to practice on my Strat etc. Plus, I accidentally gave myself a deep cut on the tip of my middle finger on my left hand yesterday so being ready to play for our first rehearsal Monday is questionable. Good thing I recorded a tape of all the new songs for the band over the weekend. (Hearing them back, I'm getting excited - Ireally, really like this new crop of tunes) But, man, I can't wait until thisis all done.

Just be happy you're not my girlfriend right now.

Time for lunch. I'm getting a beer…



Michael Massimo

Skytide Music, PO Box 141, Edison, NJ 08818-0141 (732) 841-7764
Mmassimo@aol.com www.michaelmassimo.com Massimo Mailing List

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