ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jun. 14th, 2016 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(See bottom of post for info on a special fanworks call…)

Jordan Travers dropped by the next day while Ziggy was there and hung around for about an hour. He’d freshly shorn down his hair and was looking sharp overall. We hobnobbed.

Three important things were conveyed in the course of the hobnobbing. One, Jordan told me they were doing a thing as a publicity stunt where the record company was going to release the soundtrack album for the OKC film as if it was just a genuine punk album by a band from Oklahoma City. I pointed out that given punk’s anti-obsession with posers, this was likely to backfire, but he assured me we were far enough past the actual punk era that this would be seen as a cool retro move. Um, sure. Two, I told him if he ever gave Ziggy X again I was never speaking to him again.

That might seem kind of like an overreaction but I wasn’t angry about it–it was just a fact not a threat–and Jordan took it in stride. It was like with Jordan I could skip all the explanations and go right to what mattered most to both of us. In my case: Ziggy’s health, in his case: access to both of us.

I can’t remember what the third thing was.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jan. 5th, 2016 08:50 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Happy New Year, everyone! If you missed the 2015 “DGC Annual Report” hop back to last Wednesday to read it. We’re up to $35.75 a week now via Patreon! Almost halfway to the first goal! Cool!! And thank you all so much for your support!! -ctan)

I never understood the expression “it never rains but it pours” until the day I had to have five different meetings, two of which spawned the need to have MORE MEETINGS.

I know. After basically a week of fucking off (or fucking on, if we want to be technical about it) and pretending I didn’t have music business stuff to deal with, all of a sudden I not only had to finish negotiating what exactly I was doing as musical director for Ziggy, but also figure out what was happening with the Surprise Album (working title), sign some paperwork relating to the punk soundtrack, Artie wanted me to come by the office to talk about more promo for Tracks, and I think I’m forgetting something in the list there…

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Nov. 19th, 2015 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I had always attributed the buzz in a room when Ziggy and I walked into a place to the fact that Ziggy is like that. He draws every eye to him like a beacon. I didn’t have to be there for that to happen.

But maybe it was the fact that this was supposed to be my thing, or maybe it was all the incessant digging from the media about whether he and I were getting back together, OR BOTH, but this time it really felt like people reacting to the appearance of both of us. Use whatever cliche you want: a ripple went through the crowd, a murmur, whatever. I had thought a New York crowd of mostly industry people wouldn’t be affected like that.

I was wrong.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Feb. 3rd, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Then there was the day Jordan and I had a fight.

That day we had moved from the regular studio where we had been working over to Electric Lady, which if you don’t know it is pretty awesome. The Jimi Hendrix connection isn’t just the name: he actually founded the place shortly before he died. I promise this isn’t a chapter about musicians dying from drugs so don’t read anything into the Hendrix reference. No, this is a chapter about the creative process.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jan. 6th, 2015 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I woke up with one of those hangovers that feels like a railroad spike through the eye socket, but I didn’t much care because I had an armful of warm, sleepy Ziggy under the covers with me and I was too out of it to really remember where we were or what year it was or anything. Maybe it’s stupid, but it was moments like that, where I couldn’t remember there was anything to be anxious about, and his skin smelled familiar and everything felt right about having him cuddled up with me, that made me think there was something worth fighting for there–something I was thirsty for, something I needed–even if once I came to my senses we’d start fighting again.

But right then I didn’t come to my senses. I dozed despite the headache.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jul. 8th, 2014 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

You might have noticed when Ziggy went off to have a one-night-stand with the lead singer of Sugargum, he didn’t ask me what I was going to do. That would make you quicker on the uptake than me, since I didn’t think of it until later. It was a lot of new stuff to deal with, you know?

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Jun. 10th, 2014 09:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Before you read this chapter make sure you caught up on both Saturday and Sunday’s posts! -ctan)

Digger and Mills weren’t wearing matching suits but they might as well have been. No ties today, but button-up shirts undone at the top.

“Doesn’t sound like his highness is too happy to see you,” Digger said, as something else hit the door. “Tony, would you escort our friend here to the street?”

“Wait,” Mills said mildly. “Now might be a good time for us to talk over some recent issues. Why don’t we go somewhere a bit quieter?”

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Apr. 26th, 2014 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(Bonus post triggered by Kickstarter donations! Add your contribution now? Here: http://kck.st/R31kCx)

Christian came home a little while later, in jeans and workboots that were obviously covered in plaster dust. I was sitting in the living room at the time, reading through a stack of TIME magazines that were sitting there and feeling like I’d been not just in another country but on another planet.

“Hey,” he said, looking a little startled to see me.

“Hey.” I looked him up and down. “Helping someone renovate?”

“Um, yeah.” The pseudo-guilty way he said it smacked me like an unexpected wave. He didn’t want me to know he was doing construction work? He didn’t think I’d approve? He was shy about it? Ashamed? He cleared his throat and spoke with forced casualness. “How was your trip?”

“Long.” Now I was the one who felt guilt-ridden. Was it my fault Chris was acting so skittish again? Was I gone too long? What had I missed? “You, um. You okay?” I cringed inwardly. Wrong question and wrong way to ask it.

“I’m fine,” he huffed. “Be down in a bit.” And he ran off to take a shower.

The phone rang. I picked it up and was glad it was Carynne. “So when do I find out everything that’s been going on?” I asked.

“I just talked to Bart. He’ll come over tonight. We’ll get takeout and catch you up. Tell Chris when you see him.”

“He just came in.” I coughed nervously. “Um. Is he doing all right?”

“What do you mean?”

“Is he working construction again?”

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you said we were okay for money for a while.”

She was quiet a moment and my heart sank. “Let’s talk about it tonight,” she said.

“How soon is tonight?” I’d forgotten how anxiety made it feel like a rubber band was winding up tighter and tighter between my shoulders.

“I’ll be over in like an hour. Just chill until then, okay?”

Sigh. “Okay.”

I went back to the pile of magazines, wondering if Chris was going to dare poke his head out again.

Understand that when I was in Spain, bits of news did reach me. But since I couldn’t read the newspaper and pretty much never even looked at a television except once in a while when it was on in one of the bars, and even then I couldn’t understand what was being said, I had missed a lot of fairly drastic changes in the world. Communist Russia had fallen? The Cold War was over? Holy crap. I’d known about some of the little communist countries, but Russia? Nelson Mandela had been freed. East and West Germany were reuniting.

Oh. And we were going to war. Iraq had invaded Kuwait just a few days ago and the US military was mobilizing to their defense. I turned on CNN and wallowed in war porn until Bart came in, turned it off, and asked, “Are you okay?”


“Jet lag?”

“More like culture shock.” I shook my head to clear it. “I was only gone for months, not years, but it feels like… I don’t know.”

Bart shrugged and sat down in the armchair across from me. “It’s like the world woke up and said, holy shit, it’s not the 1980s anymore, we better get with the program.”

“And what is the program?”

“That remains to be seen.” He shrugged. “So how was Spain? Are you, like, a flamenco master now?”

“Pretty much, I guess. The week before I left, the flamenco school where I was working asked if I’d start teaching classes.”

He chuckled. “How did I know you’d end up doing something like that?”

“I’ll show you some stuff later, if you want. So how’s Michelle?”

“She’s good. She’s in New York this week. Which is just as well since the contractors tore our kitchen out yesterday.”

“Wait, does that mean you bought something?”

“Yeah. Beacon Street. A townhouse.”

“The whole thing?”

“Yep.” He looked a little sheepish in that way I knew meant Bart didn’t like to show off that his family was made of money. “Terrace view of the river and everything. We took possession of the place right before the Fourth of July and had a big party up there even though we hadn’t moved any furniture in yet.”

“Wow.” That meant I had been out of the country two July Fourths in a row. I started wondering if we were ever going to do one of those big summer tours again or if we were dead in the water. Part of me was saying that was some trivial shit to be obsessing over when we were dropping bombs on other countries, but part of me was freaking out over the possibility that everything we’d worked so hard to build with the band could be gone.

“Do you think there’ll be a draft?” I asked, but he was already walking away from me.

Bart opened the front door and there was Carynne, coming up the front steps. I had been so deep in thought I hadn’t heard her car.

I hadn’t had thai food in like a year, so we got thai food delivered, and I scalded my tongue on coconut milk and dried red chili pepper soup and packed my guts with tangy, starchy pad thai noodles. Courtney came and ate with us. I was dreading the band meeting by then but also hypereager to finally find out everything I didn’t know yet. Chris barely said a word while we were eating, and neither did I, but then again both our mouths were too full to talk.

When we were done, and the containers all in the fridge or the trash, Carynne started the meeting. “Okay. I’m going to try to bring you, Daron, up to speed, while also giving everyone some news I’ve been sitting on for a couple of days. So try not to interrupt me so we can get to it.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Let’s see. The timeline on this. BNC declared the album unrecoupable near the end of the year.”

“Actually, it was like August,” I put in. Wasn’t it? That day when Mills showed his true colors and I fired Digger in Los Angeles.

“Okay, August. We put the wheels in motion to audit their books. They stalled us until the end of the year.”

“Meanwhile, though, you did the thing with the Christmas video and the sales of the Charles River inventory,” I added.

“Yes. Yes, that’s true, but Daron you said you wouldn’t interrupt me.

She gave me one of those “if looks could kill” looks. I shut my mouth.

“Anyway. Audit happened. We found a few little things, but nothing on the level of outright fraud. Some numbers got moved from one column to the other but nothing that changed the fact that the record just didn’t sell anywhere near what it should have. In fact, when all was said and done, they moved fewer units than Charles River moved of Prone to Relapse.”


She glared at me.

“That was an interjection, not an interruption,” I said, in my defense.

“I repeat,” she said, “BNC sold fewer copies of 1989 than Charles River sold of Prone to Relapse. But they manufactured far more copies and that’s one piece of what’s killing us. We’ve been through all that. Anyway, we’re now at the point where we’ve each threatened the other with a lawsuit, neither of which have a ton of merit, but–”

“Wait, what’s the basis of the suit?”

“Theirs or ours?”

“How about both?”

She made an exasperated noise and put her hands on the table. She tapped each finger moving from her left pinky to her right pinky, as if she were playing a keyboard, as she enumerated each point. “Ours: they made internal decisions that we are paying for. Like they paid bonuses to executives based on high laydown but now are penalizing us for excessive inventory. And that they incorrectly are charging us for tour support costs that they promised to pay. Among other things. Theirs: well, for one they’ll sue to recoup the tour support they claim we owe. Which is bullshit, by the way, except maybe we can’t prove it, because Digger’s an ass.”

“Can we make this a drinking game?” Bart asked. “I think meetings will be more fun if we have to drink every time someone says Digger’s an ass.”

“Be my guest. In fact, give me a beer.” Carynne waved impatiently toward the six pack of Sam Adams at Bart’s feet. He opened one for her and put the rest on the coffee table.

“Okay,” I said, since there seemed to be a pause in her story, “but neither of these lawsuits has actually happened yet?”

“No.” She took a long swig of her beer. “The whole point of our threatening to sue them was to try to get them to negotiate. Well, I think I finally know what they want.”

I held my tongue. I bit my lips and waited for her to spell it out, whatever it was. Our fate.

“If we want to do another Moondog Three album, which we’re technically bound by contract to do, they won’t front a dime for it. But if we want to bankrupt ourselves to get them a product, well, then, that they’ll deign to put on the shelves for us.”

I couldn’t stay quiet. “And they’ll do such a great job, like they did with the last one? Fuck that.”

Carynne was nodding. “Exactly. They’ll let us take all the financial risk. Even making the record on the cheap? Tape alone is going to run ten thousand dollars, you know. We’ll probably have to market it ourselves, too. We’ll have to make our own videos. At fifty thousand minimum each. Like I said, they’ll let us bankrupt ourselves, and for what?”

Bart cut in. “Would they let us out of our contract after that?”

She sighed. “Technically they would have the option on one more record. Only an option, though, and if they decline to pick it up, that would be it. But,” she held up her finger. “But there’s a new twist. They’ve floated an idea I think you’re going to hate, but I really wanted you to hear and discuss before throwing it out.”

Bart and I looked at each other, then at Chris, then back at Carynne. “Okay, what’s the idea?”

“Mills is talking about the possibility of… re-branding the band.” She cringed a little as she said it and I knew she was trying to make it sound better than it was. Carynne could never keep up bullshit for more than a few seconds though. She gave it to us straight the second time. “He wants Ziggy as a solo artist. He wants to break him out as a pop singer and rename the band Ziggy and the Moondog Three.”

There were so many reasons why I hated that idea that I couldn’t even pick one of them to start with, so my mouth hung open for a few seconds.

Bart said, “And that helps us how?”

“Well, if you wanted to get out of working with BNC, this would be one way to do it without a lawsuit and without owing them any money,” Carynne said.

Bart again said what I was thinking. “How would that get us out of working with BNC?”

“Ah. Because you wouldn’t necessarily have to be ‘the Moondog three.’ Mills wants to replace you with session musicians.”

ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Dec. 3rd, 2013 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

When your lawyer calls on the Saturday of a holiday weekend, it’s rarely a good thing.

I took the call sitting on the overstuffed leather couch in Remo’s living room with the cordless phone tucked on my shoulder.

Carynne and Feinbaum were on the line together. I wasn’t sure if they were in the same office on different extensions or if it was some kind of three-way call. I didn’t ask. I had other things to worry about.

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Nov. 13th, 2013 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

Daron here. Kind of quick liner note today. ctan’s too busy to do her part, so I’ve just got some various things to share with you.

First, check it out. We installed a chat room here on the website. It’s at http://daron.ceciliatan.com/chat-room, and we’ll be hosting a live Q&A chat with me and ctan this coming Saturday, 5pm to 7pm. It’s easy to hop into the chat room, no complicated registration necessary, though it’s cool if you use your Twitter or Facebook account because then your avatar shows up and everything.

Remember to leave questions for the anniversary chat in comments below or email them to ctan at ctan.writer @ gmail.com. There’s a “Rafflecopter” below also to win a full set of the ebooks for either leaving a question, or following me on Twitter or Facebook, or tweeting about the 4th anniversary. You’ll see when you get down there. (Anyone who already follows me on Twitter or Facebook you can click and it will count you without you having to re-do it.)

Then from 7-9pm she’ll be on uStream and–with any luck–Google Hangouts, to do a live video portion, where she’s going to read from either Colin’s story or Ziggy’s, and maybe a scene from the recent chapters, and, you know, be her usual entertaining self.

So there has been a lot in recent chapters about lawyers arguing with lawyers, and I thought I’d clue you in on what level of stupidity these kinds of battles can get to, and how it can harm a musician’s career. Check this out:

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ceciliatan: (darons guitar)
( Oct. 22nd, 2013 10:00 am)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

When I got home there was a message from Carynne saying she was on her way to my house to bring Chris up to speed and hang out a little. “I usually like you to be the first to know things, but after you didn’t call back, I called Bart and talked to him. Call me at your place, though, and we’ll put you on speaker, okay?”

Carynne didn’t sound that different from usual, but somehow I could tell there was an edge in her voice. It couldn’t be good news no matter what.

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