Greg Reed / Blog

1st L&L Show - Success!

Lions and Lanterns had a FANTASTIC show this weekend. For the specifics on that, visit the L&L site. There was quite a bit of work involved prior to showtime, and I made a 5-stop errand run on the bike before coming back to the apartment for some housekeeping duties. It was a mad rush to burn 50 CDs, make 4 lyrics booklets, play Settlers of Catan, and get ready for the show.

We got a late start (as these things typically happen), but once the show was rolling, there was no stopping it. A bunch of great people came out, and I spent entirely too much money on drinks. We had 76 pay at the door for us. Not bad for the 1st show, eh? Freakin' awesome is more like it!

We finally got out of the place around 2a and headed back up to our apartment in Andersonville for the after party. I think I brought out the Tequila shot tray cerca 4a, and the sun was definitely peaking up by the time I finally kicked everyone out around 6:30a. We enjoyed many a compliment and a few critiques, and overall we were really happy with our performance, the crowd, the other bands, the bar - pretty much an epic night all around.

The next morn, Randy (drummer for L&L) awoke and decided to hit the bike path. It could've possibly been the best day of the summer yesterday. The white sails against the blue of sky and water, over the vista of green and concrete at the Belmont Harbor entrance...the stuff dreams are made of. Everyone and they're brother's dog was out enjoying their boats before the winter rushes to kill us. At Navy Pier, we turned west and had a stop for some deliciously refreshing Argo Tea, then got our fair share of city riding all the way back up Clark. Of course we gave a nod to the Underground Lounge as we rolled through Wrigleyville. I rounded out the evening with a delightful meal with my family, and slept like a babe last night. What a great weekend.

Fall is here - it must be recording time! Dollar Store Xylophone, which made a brief appearance during Zach's UL show, is already one track in and looking to complete another tonight. We're on a 1 day a week schedule, and we'd love to have something ready to handout by the time of our next show. In other news, L&L is FINALLY getting the recording wagon train rolling again! We have all the drums tracks and I'm set to head into the studio tomorrow. I'm still toying with the idea of a solo album #2 before heading out next year, but I don't have the patience to record with the Fostex anymore. I might have to pony up the cash for a way to record straight into the comp. But seeing as I'm tied up as it is, maybe I'll wait 'til it gets a wee bit colder.

Summer, How I Love Thee

"The summer came and left me wonderin'"

Some sample lyrics from Lions & Lanterns' very own Brian Miterrer. We're in the heat of recording now, and with all the drum tracks complete, we're looking to tackle guitars, bass, and keys this upcoming weekend. We'll see how she goes. Cliff and Randy were able to get through everything in 2 marathon 10 hr sessions, and we're hoping to accomplish a similar feat.

In addition to recording, we're gearing up for live shows. A new layout in the practice space should help us accomplish a more realistic stage setup. We've also thrown in a few new covers to spice up the set, including some Petty and one of my all-time favs 'Son of a Preacher Man'. I'll let Megan sing this one, but I secretly wanna belt it out every time I hear it.

Speaking of, I recently listened to that song while bounding down a dirt track in a Jeep in TN. We just returned from an amazing week there, filled with rest, relaxation, drinking, gaming, boating, cliff jumping, tubing, skiing, caving...the list goes on. Ben Cober graciously hosted myself and a few friends at his parents' beautiful retirement home built on the hills overlooking Norris Lake. That's right - Chuck Norris took a leak and created a huge lake in the hills of TN. Or it was created by the TVA (think 'O Brother Where Art Thou").

Dollar Store Xylophone, after a series of emails, played a short n' sweet set at The Elbo Room last month. The audience was nice enough to stay for the entire set, which didn't start until 11:15p on a Wed night. The next move for DSX is recording, which we'll be doing at home with Zach's Laptop. We've got some good tunes to get on there, and I'm excited to play with FX.

On the lone Greg Reed side of things, I've been itching to do another batch of recordings. I'm looking at putting together a bunch of older tunes (and some newer ones) that people have been asking to have a recording of and that I just wanna get down on plastic (or mp3 as the kids love these days). Lookout for 'Light Bulb Laser Beam' to hit the digital shelves this fall. I'll be doing this one at home with my own stuff, and it should sound something akin to the "Bow On" recording I made a month back. We'll see how this stacks up to Folklore Troubadour.

Let There Be a Name

It's always hard to head back to the office after a fantastic weekend such as this past one. On Friday, the group now known as 'Lions and Lanterns' met at my apartment with the sole purpose of naming ourselves. Although we had a lot fun, drank much beer, and played a great game of Settlers of Catan (my 3rd night in a row), we did NOT accomplish our goal.

Although not music related, Sat consisted of going to a Cubs game (they lost) with siiick free tickets that Katie scored from work. 4 seats right at 1st base. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but we were 9 rows from 1st base. And I don't care who you are - Wrigley is the quintessential American ballpark.

We finally came to name consensus after a very productive and successful Sunday practice. The words are simple, plain English, and actually pertain to what we sing about. Sounds pretty good to me! Plus there's a plethora of imagery to pull from, so design work should be a little easier.

In other news, Dollarstore Xylophone (duet project w/ Zach Bonnan aka Shovelfoot) will be having its first performance at the Underground Lounge on May 5th. Should be a short n' sweet little Wed night set. We'll see how much new material we're able to get down before showtime, especially now that he's got xbox 360 and hockey. In a word: addictive.

What I've Been Up to

After a long absence, I'm ready to return to the Chicago scene with full force. The last show I played was at Mahoney's with Certain Company, and that was indeed the public show for the group. Which is kind of a shame, considering we had just completed our first full album and it sounds pretty good (www.gregreedmusic.com).

The group I'm with now (STILL to be named) is gearing up to do a full album recording of our own. We're set to do this thing around the 2nd week of May. The music is great, the parts are all assembled, and after much discussion we're finally ready to get it on plastic. Our first show should come sometime in May, and we've been itching to perform for a few months now.

Zach, THE Shovelfoot of Certain Company fame, and I are set to embark on an epic quest in music, space, and time. We're heading up to the Peshtigo river in WI for a weekend of song creation. Starting from scratch, we will be writing a complete album's worth of tunes. We will bring these nuggets back to Andersonville and hone them into well-crafted pieces of awesome. We live too close to not be working on a performance together. Once completed, Dollar Store Xylophone will hit Chicago's open-mic and underground with vigor. We leave at 6am on Friday, and I haven't been this excited about waking up early since...well it's been a while.

A few weeks back I joined the Ravenswood Community Orchestra. Although it's been a complete wake-up call, I have to say I'm impressed that I can still read music and keep up with the other violins. Until we started playing Wagner. Holy shit that dude has some crazy ideas. Either this will hone me into a much better violinist, or I'll fall flat on my face. After a few rehearsals, it's clear I'm going to need some solo time to iron things out. But the rest of the group is fantastic, especially the brass and woodwinds. And they still need more violins...when does THAT ever happen?

In other news, I think it's time I begin getting my second solo album assembled. It's been a year and a half since 'Folklore Troubadour' was released, so by this fall I'd like to have another. I can't decide if I want to have it be all new material, a collection of old things, or a fine mix of both (most likely the latter). If I could get an album together every 2 years, that would be an excellent achievement. I'll get started working on that shortly.

Time to get personal: Everything else in life is moving along swimmingly. A welcome change from my disposition at the beginning of the year, when in Feb I hit a quarter-life crisis pretty hard. But now I'm happy to report that things are looking up. Katie (the GF) and I are training for a triathlon sprint taking place in Champaign later on this month. I've been running, biking to work (18.2 mi / day), and lifting at home. I feel much better, and finally losing some spare flab I've been growing since college.

We've also made a plan to live in New Zealand next year. That's right, finally living in a foreign country. We'll have to save about 4 grand to do it, but we're pinching pennies and picking up spare work. Who knows, maybe people will wanna buy music out there?! I've decided to stick with the job, because as Katie says, "you can do ANYTHING for a year." We'll see about that.

It's Coming....

12/4/08 It's done. It's finally done! Sure all over this infant website it says crazy things like "it's coming soon"... I'm actually still truthful. I'm not releasing it - not even to family or friends - until I have the physical disk in my hands. Of course if you've already been by the music/lyrics section you've probably already heard them. But now I have to deal with the technology of getting my disk replicated. Fun times!