Mike Peters: Declaration of One Guitar (Concert Review)

13764475665_d0e6f945bf_bI’ve written on my blog many times about my memories of the Alarm, now I’m writing about THE LATEST SHOW: Mike Peters in California at the Coach House, April 17th, 2014. It was remarkable, he was like a one man Alarm. Having been an Alarm Mike Peters fan since aged 14 (1984), I have an experienced and seasoned point of view to give. The truly amazing concert began with a tremendous dark hued silk screened banner that read “The Alarm Declaration” in a circle around the now mythic poppy. It proceeded at high pulse through the entire album with intermittent early Alarm hits between. Every song came with a story. One of my favorites was the one about how the Alarm snuck up on stage uninvited to open for the Stray Cats. They were impersonating the opening act and managed to play for 20 minutes! Genius duplicity!

Mike’s acoustic guitar was black with a matte finish. It had 2 jumbo chrome pickups. It sounded loud, articulate, and bellowing at the same time. He pulled of Spirit of 76 like a champion. I was at the UCLA free concert in 1986 and heard the glory then (and at many concerts after). I would have thought he’d need a telecaster to pull that sound off. Not the case. He played the chords AND single notes deftly. My friends know I pay huge respects to Dave Sharp’s lead guitar work, but Mike pulls all the Alarm songs off fiercely in his own way and on one guitar. He played for hours. Some women around us were crying. It had a lot of emotion.

13763953443_a9a6924655_oMy wife is a latecomer to the Alarm. Still, she was entertained and highly impressed. Her favorite song played was “Rain in the Summertime.” I count myself lucky to have been at this gig. I could say that about every Alarm gig. Mike added high fidelity to his “one guitar” with a kick drum and a variety of smaller instruments. My wife called him a “one man band” and I have to agree. It shows you don’t need to add much when you have an amazing song as a foundation.

I liked every song but We are The Light had some very odd chords. I wonder if he made a mistake changing D major to minor. That was a bit like scratching a blackboard for me. My favorite rendition I think was Howling Wind. He used a delay loop and really brought out some rhythm like a thundering stampede. I am so thankful to Mike and his family (and entourage) for bringing his show to me in San Juan Capistrano. It ‘s spreading the light of talent that makes a different in this dark, dusty world. High five from California Mike. Like you, I am “One guitar” and I learn tons from you.


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View all the latest Mike Peters photos here.


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The Book of Mormon, the musical (a quick review)

20140419-152622.jpgI was surprised to see the Mormon church had bought ad space in the Playbill. I had heard this was a spoof making fun of Mormonism. I also heard it was from the makers of South Park. Weren’t they profane and irreverent? My wife bought tickets because it was playing at the Pantages where recently we’ve seen Rock of Ages and Steve Martin. We thought we knew what we were in for. We didn’t. I thought of quoting a few lines but I’d hate to spoil it for you. Oh, if you’re going to see girls, there is only one (virtually). Yes, it’s an almost all male cast. It’s a story of two 19 year olds doing their 2 year mission in Africa. They deal with the likes of General Buttfucker and other lovely characters. If that name shocked you, be prepared for songs with lyrics that include clits and. “Fucking God in the ass.” Set this to lively musical song and dance and you have tbom. The amazing part is I haven’t even given it all away.

Taking the metro to our hotel room was more fun.

I did laugh a lot though and I enjoyed it more than anything South Park. The cast can sing and dance with the best of them and the songs are really catchy. The only trouble is I don’t want to get caught singing at the teacher boxes singing “fuck a frog.” Well, it’s something like that. So there you have a little more 411 if you are in the dark. I kind of wish I would have had this.

As I close, I’ll note that this was the first event seating type thing we’ve been to where the lines to the men’s room were longer, much longer, than the lines to the women’s. This was the opposite of what we usually see. Without doing a head count, I think it’s safe to say this musical is being frequented by men mostly. Why? I don’t know, just a stupid thing I chose to close this review with it. If you are into South Park humor and modern musical song and dance, The Book of Mormon is a treat, have fun!!!

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Seeing Mike Peters tonight: remembering the Alarm

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Alarm. It was in 1984, I was 14, and they were playing on Rodney Biggenheimer. The sound of Dave Sharp’s melodious guitar on “Where We’re You Hiding When the Storm Broke” along with Mike Peters’ British voice made me a lifelong fan. I learned and performed all their songs. I never learned to type correctly because during typing class I was search and plunking Alarm lyrics.

At age 22 I got to work with Dave Sharp. I’ve seen them 6 times live. So much to say … Their music is powerful and inspiring . Tonight Sarah and I are seeing the lead singer, Mike Peters, at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. It’s been 30 years since that first album. Mike is playing every song and then some. Destiny calls! She says “Come on down and make the Stand.


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Smart and Awesome Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

tumblr_mhs0adnmKE1qj6juso1_500I read an infographic today by my blogging friend Corinne. She lists some ways that truly help promote a blog post. I went through and sifted out the stuff I wouldn’t use and thought I’d share the rest with you here. You really can do “smart” things to build your readership. Here are some ways from her infographic that I think are awesome (in no particular order):

  1. Schedule it 2-3 times a day on Twitter for the next 30 days. Change the title.
  2. Create a Pinterest board for all of your blog posts.
  3. Share it on Google+ to your circles and Public.
  4. Create a Stumbleupon account and Stumble (submit) your posts.
  5. Submit your post to Digg. This is a tested and proven way posts get discovered.
  6. Reddit.com is a must!
  7. Join a blogging community and share ach others’ posts. (I’ve been terrible at this, flaking on good people but I believe it is valuable).
  8. Check out micro syndication sites like: IFTTT, AllTop.com, Syndic8.com, and Outbraon.com

There are several other suggestions at her site linked above. As for me and what I do with y blogs, these 8 things are a good focus. I’d love to get some of your ideas in the comments. Maybe we can get enough new ideas here to make another infographic!


Posted in Blogging, Productivity | Tagged blog promotion, Blogging, post promotion, social media, web promotion | Leave a comment

A 271 Word Tale With Aliens in it

coyote-roadrunnerA 271 word tale. Note: I rarely drink. How we caught the roadrunner. There was once a couple who had challenging days. Each time the other heard from the other they realized people were pretty much shameless losers out to destroy the earth and not build up anyone but themselves. Lucky for the couple, it was their date night so they escaped the war temporarily, went to eat and drink  and talk about “the day.” As the man ate and talked and listened (though he could stand to listen more) he realized that all the people they had been annoyed and/or offended by were really just aliens who didn’t mean to do any harm. He envisioned them landing in their backyard and giving them some synchronized and pre-planned hand signal of peace. This was curious since he had imagined giving them the middle finger sign a few times that day. He realized they were innocents or a sort just playing their role in a cosmic soup kitchen.

After a few drinks, the couple’s harried state was assuaged. While they hadn’t won the war, a race of sorts was placed in. Letting go of the aliens’ stupidity caused him to see her as a delicate fawn and himself a protective elk. He even wondered at why he got so upset. He struggled with very little guilt as well because he had INDEED ordered his rum and cokes diet. Now, with a clear mind and laughing spirit he will dare go into the jacuzzi and before bed if all the planets are in alignment, which they are supposed to be, he may … and I stress MAY … peel and share an orange with his true love … and it’s only Thursday. The End.

Posted in Humor, Journal | Tagged fiction, flash fiction, sense of humor, writing | Leave a comment

Practice Doesn’t Count

The Grind Sun Aug 12 with Eric - 1For every great presentation, a lot of silent practice must have occurred. I was vacuuming my pool when I heard my girls playing a game. They were pretending to be in a “fish catching competition.” My youngest, 6, claimed she had caught 10 fish when my oldest, 9, corrected her with “Practice doesn’t count.” I thought this was applicable to e in my life. If we do not practice to become adept at what we do, we stagnate. A muscle will atrophy if it is not flexed with resistance. Practice is the key to a winning presentation. These things take time. Think of how much better a roast in the slow cooker tastes than one that went through the microwave. The point is like that.

Here are a few ways that I am skipping practice: new teaching styles, presenting my music to the world, sharing my practice runs and walks on Facebook, writing music, having creative dates with my wife … and more. My therapist told me to “sleep on it” before releasing things online. This is grea advice. Unfortunately my lack of patience often prompts me to hit the “publish” button prematurely.

Just like in my daughters’ game, life practice doesn’t count. You got to suck it up when you’re preparing. In this age of social media, you have got to be strog enough and patient enough to do that. You get to decide when you’re ready to get into the game. The practice should equal the task attempted. In other words, a status post on Twitter about your day can be through through fairly quickly whereas a work of art like a song or painting should rarely contain behind the scenes sharing. As Abraham Lincoln said, “I will make myself ready and one day my chance will come.” Practice doesn’t count.

(Note: If you think I am saying you shouldn’t practice at something, go back and read it again. For every great presentation, a lot of silent practice must have occurred.)

Posted in Personal Growth | Tagged art, creativity, life, music, social media, work | Leave a comment

“They don’t have a stage, they don’t even have a light. Big talent at the open mic.” -Lyrics from…

“They don’t have a stage, they don’t even have a light. Big talent at the open mic.” -Lyrics from the new song I’m working on.

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Good thought for Monday

Good thought for Monday

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Smarter Balanced Change: readiness for college, career and life

Smarter Balanced Change: readiness for college, career and life:

New at my teaching blog

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