TJ Burgess / Blog

Losing someone close

I just found out two days ago that someone very important to me passed away. Without Toney Busby in my life I seriously doubt I would still be playing drums today.

Toney was the manager of my first band. He was possibly our biggest fan and even after that band broke up he stayed one of my biggest supporters. He was who I looked to as a father figure for a couple of years when I was having a hard time with my home life.

Everytime I saw him, he went out of his way to make sure that I knew that he loved me and was proud of me for everything I am doing.

He made sure to invite me over evertime I saw him and I never took him up on his offers, and that hurt a lot. I will always think of him when I hear Todd Snider and will always think fondly of him.

I can honestly say that I will miss him a lot and I feel so bad for him family for the tough time they are going through.

Pissed at myself....

Last night we (Artifas) played in Clarksville TN at a venue that I really liked...

The problem is that I thought I could handle about three pitchers of beer (one of which was during a beer pong game) before I played.

Turns out I can't. I never drink before I play (except for two or three beers or a shot or two right before I go on to take the edge off) and last night was a perfect example of why.

I feel like I wasted an opportunity to play a good show for some new people and feel like I let my band down.

I guess it's just another one of many lessons to be learned but it's another one that I already knew and I am upset with myself that I made it......again.

A new year

I guess it is about time to make the obligatory new years blog.

This last year has brought on a few significant changes. Just about all have made my life better.

Some of the major differences between last year and this year are:

Last year I was less than a month into a new relationship. I am still with her now and couldn't be happier.

This time last year I was still playing drums for This Tragic Day. I am currently playing in Artifas and have been having a great time.

This time last year I was still in the Arkansas National Guard and now I have been out for about three or four months.

The relationship is still going great. I honestly didn't think a relationship could be as good as ours is and I can't imagine this ever ending. I can't say enough how happy I am with her.

The band thing has worked out great too. Since the end of my time with TTD, I have managed to sit in with them one more time at a show and my band also played the show. There are no hard feelings between us, I still love those guys like family. I hope that we play many more shows in the near future.

The army thing is a bit different. I loved my time in the army and am very proud of it. The unit I was in had some of the best people I have ever met. The only problem with it is that it is impossible to run a band in an army setting. So many people said "we are not an army band, we are a band that wears an army uniform" that I thought of that as the unofficial unit motto.

For whatever reason, the someone in the chain of command decided they needed to make an example out of me. Perhaps it was because I was learning the truth about our unit from outside sources. Perhaps it was because I was seeking to better myself and no one in the unit liked the thought of having to salute me. I am 100% sure that the fact that I was the only outspoken atheist in the unit played at least a part in it...

Either way, I was demoted because of a mechanical failure of my truck. Other people have been late (and even the very next day was late) or has missed drills with very little to no punishment. When I do it due to a breakdown of my truck, I get demoted.

That didn't cause me to leave the unit, or the army, but it definitely sped up my decision. To be clear, the main reason I left was because I don't really have a home right now. I spend so much time between Martin Tennessee and Louisville Kentucky that I feel like I am already living in both of those places. The long distance made it financially impossible to continue in the unit and add to that my personal life had changed so drastically that it was causing a stress... it was a choice that would have had to be made at some point, but the biased, discriminatory actions against me greatly sped up the decision to act.

Having said that, I don't mean for it to sound like I hate anyone in the unit, or even dislike them. I don't dislike anyone, for that matter. I respect them all for what they do and still consider many of them to be very good friends.

I miss hanging out with those guys (and girls) and hope to see them again soon.

I had also spent some time with the ROTC department at ASU and I loved the short time I was with the program. I met some of the greatest people while in the program and some officers and enlistedmen that I have more respect for than most anyone else I know. I have only positive things to say about the program and that is one of the few regrets of how this all went down is that I did not get to finish my time and become a commissioned officer.

But, the things that have happened for my band made it necessary to leave a lot of that stuff behind and I would not change a single thing if I had to do it all again.

I am very happy with where I am at in life right now and can only hope that this next year turns out to be as good as this last one was.

Looks like we're about to tour....

First, I hate typing on my phone but that's exactly what I'm doing now. So try to forgive any typos that may occur because I'm not very good at typing on the phone. Not to mention the "amazing" auto correct feature.

We are setting up a tour starting in January and going through at least February. We will be playing with Sintonik who are good friends of ours from Nashville. We are booking this pretty much on our own but are getting help from a booking agent. We are not sure if we will use this agent exclusively so this is kind of his "audition", so to speak.

I am really excited about this. We will mainly be staying in the southern states, at least as of right now.

We recently were able to get a van and a trailer and we can't wait to start using it!

One of the shows we are playing is in Memphis on December 10th. We were added to an already amazing line up of Aurora, Evolve Through Scars, Surrender The Fall and This Tragic Day.

I will also be performing with This Tragic Day at this show. TTD was the band I was with before Atifas so this will be a lot of fun. We have already started rehearsing and it has been going great. It didn't take long at all to remember the old songs and we are doing a cover that is a lot of fun and I think will go over great!

All of this is really exciting. I am not sure what this means for our recording. I am sure we will finish this, I just do not know exactly when.

I am really excited about everything. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I can't wait to get out and get this started!

Getting some work done

We finally were able to start recording some more drum tracks. We managed to get two more songs done tonight....well, the drum parts recorded I mean.

It was fun working doing the parts because we recorded two new songs and were able to really figure out a good drum arrangement for them and I got to really stretch my playing and even show off a little bit in a couple of spots. I like being able to do that and it feels good when I finally nail them in time.

Things are also getting a little weird around here... I really wish I could explain more but I really can't go into to much detail except to say that it has just been different than I expected. But, the fact that we are getting back to work is a big improvement and I just can not wait to get this album finished.

When will I learn???

We played Nashville again last night and yet again I managed to learn another lesson.... I need to stop equating having things go wrong with having a bad show.

I am always upset after a show because I am a perfectionist but I really thought that last nights show was a bad one for me. Especially the drum solo.

I was able to watch the video from the show today and it was WAY better than I thought it was. Things did go wrong, but I was able to recover from them to the point to where my band didn't even know that anything was wrong....

Maybe I learned my lesson and will not let things like that mess me up in the future..... Maybe....

It's hard to update without a computer.....

Sadly my computer has been out of commission for a few months. It is supposed to be repaired by now but the problem is when you have someone do it for free on their spare time and that person stays busy at work constantly it is hard to complain about it taking so long.

As I am typing this I am back in Louisville and we have started working on a new song that I am really excited about. We are working on a song with R. Prophet from Nappy Roots and Hugo (obviously from Tantric) and so far it sounds really good. We have the chorus and one verse so far and it sounds great. I am not sure when we are going to finish it because Hugo is about to leave to go on tour with Tantric.

It looks like we SHOULD (and I stress that I mean "should") finally finish up with most of the recording of our album sometime in the next two to three weeks.

I think we will break for Thanksgiving if we are not done yet and then try to finish before the start of December.

This is all tentative but that is the way it looks to be happening as of right now. (Sadly, by the time anyone reads this, chances are the plans will have changed...)

We are also trying to put together a tour (probably just a short three week tour) starting around the middle of January, probably with our buds in Sintonik.

In even more news, we have been in regular contact with an entertainment lawyer and will be making a move to get a management agency and probably a booking agency.

As soon as it is confirmed (hopefully within the next week) we should be announcing our New Years Show and I think it is going to be a great one!

A pretty good break

After this last show we all pretty much had some time off. It was nice getting to stay home for a couple of weeks, I really enjoyed spending time with my family and friends.

I guess it didn't really hit me how much I would be gone because of music and how much I would miss everything. The reality of this sacrifice is just hitting me since I had to leave again two days ago.

I am not sure how long I will be gone this time.

Things are getting a bit more difficult now, I am all but out of the military which means what little income I did have is now gone. Of course it is taking a while to get my discharge approved so I am kind of in limbo with the military now.... always a fun thing to be....

The point is that I have no income and with constantly having to go back and forth between Louisville, Martin and Bay it is impossible to get a job. I need to either find a work from home job that I can make a little bit of money or become a drug dealer....

The shitter is to be a drug dealer you have to have money to buy the drugs first!!!!

I am sure I will figure something out.... I hope....

I am also trying to figure out how I can post another song on here but am having such a hard time doing this.... just my luck!

Lessons learned....hopefully....

I heard someone say once ( I don't remember who) that there is no such thing as a bad show as long as you learn from it. I guess this is similar to the thought of there is no such thing as a mistake as long as you learn from it....

Anyway, this is what I am trying to take away from yesterday. I know it is not very professional to go and bitch about everything that goes wrong at a show. I know that there is no such thing as a "perfect" show.... but seeing as how I am talking (probably just to myself) about mistakes and learning from them I hope this does not come across as bitching but more like teaching...again, probably just myself....

We found our selves in a very un professional atmosphere yesterday playing a show that was thrown together at the last minute. We were told to be there between noon and one and sound check would be no later than three. We were scheduled to go on at 5:30.

We were still on stage doing the sound check at 5:20 because apparently no one thought to inform the sound guy that we were playing....

We finally got everything set properly but when we went back out on stage the monitors were not turned on so we couldn't hear anything.

Add to that the fact that I, for some unknown reason, just made a few mental errors that I have no excuse for. I am sure it happens to all of us, but it still bothers me when it happens....

What is important about those mistakes is that we covered them on stage pretty well. After watching part of the video I realize that you can barely tell that one of them was a mistake.

I know that I let the situation get to me and I did not perform to the best of my abilities. I have heard other band members say the same thing. We let things affect (or effect... never can remember which is the right word to use) our performance that should not have. That is what made yesterdays performance really unprofessional.

I look at yesterday as a learning show. Hopefully I learned my lesson... I hope we all did.... We are a young band and have a lot of things to learn and I am sure this will not be the last show that we walk away unhappy with.... I just hope that we manage to learn from them all.

It's been a while....

I know, I have slacked off on updating on here. I just have not been around a computer on a regular basis in a while and have not been able to get on here a whole lot lately.

The album is coming along great! The stuff sounds really good. We are getting ready to do our first official show tomorrow and will be playing for some potential investors to help us out.

We did an unannounced dress rehearsal Saturday night at a bar here in Martin. It went much better than I expected. Not that I thought we would be bad, but it was the first time we did a complete run through and I was expecting there to be a lot more kinks to be worked out. I was pleasantly surprised!

We knew that we was not going to win over the crowd, so the fact that we did get a few people sign up for our mailing list and sold a few shirts was a major win in my opinion.

I really don't expect tomorrows show to really be our crowd either, because we are playing at a fair before an over hyped karaoke contest. But there will be people there that we need to impress so I can promise we will play as if we are playing to a crowd of thousands!

We will also be making a major announcement at the show tomorrow.

We have a few more shows coming up in the near future as well. I think this is a trend that will continue... at least I hope!