Music

I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me - like food or water.

-Ray Charles

Without music, life would be a mistake.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

From a really young age, I've been a fan of music in the most literal way -- fan being derived from fanatic. I'm constantly listening, searching out new bands and genres. I'm a self-taught (read: not terribly great, largely owing to a lack of self-discipline) pianist and guitarist, and have played my own music and with bands since the early 90s.

My personal stuff falls under the moniker of Frames Per Second, and can be sampled to one's heart's content at SoundCloud (download away!).

A (mostly complete) list of my accomplishments and appearances:

  • Played bass for Full Moon Blanket (1998-2002) and The Exhibit(s) (2003-present).
  • Assistant engineering experience with Daniel Farris at Denial Labs (1993-2003)
  • Session guitar work for Fischerelle, Barbie Williamson, Daniel Farris, Lunasect, including appearing on Lunasect's Points of Departure and a Radiohead tribute, Anyone Can Play Radiohead (track 13, 'How To Disappear...')
  • Scored short films of my own (Goodnight Moon) and for Crewless Productions(Seven Year Switch) (both with Daniel Farris)
  • Along with the Exhibit(s), contributed most of the soundtrack for Crewless Productions' Hide and Creep
  • Frames Per Second's 'Theme For An Imaginary Revenge' featured in Crewless Productions' Interplanetary
  • Provided the score (based on Frames Per Second's 'King of Shadows', reworked with The Exhibit(s)) for the 2011 Sidewalk Film Festival trailers

Writing

Like everyone else in the world with a rampaging sense of narcissism, I have a blog. It is probably of interested to no one outside of the voices in my head, and stalkers. If you fit one of those two categories, or have a terrible case of insomnia, it can be found at the Dairy of a Madman. Keep the expectations low. Seriously.

Here -- have another list:

  • Videogame reviews and columns for ANT.com (1999-2001)
  • Columns and reviews (sci-fi and horror related) for RevolutionSF.com (2000-2002)
  • Music and film reviews, interviews, feature articles and assorted columns for Birmingham Weekly (2000-2009) and WELD Birmingham (2009-2012)
  • Published articles for Spin and Mental_Floss
  • Sidewalk Film Festival 'Best Screenplay' finalist (The Beauty of Distance, 2005)
  • Sidewalk Film Festival Sidewrite winner (for short screenplays) (Muckfuppet, 2006)

Moving Pictures

Because I have to get my hands into a little of everything, I ended up making a few movies. I'll blame that on Chance, who was making shorts that made me laugh. I like to laugh, I thought. Maybe I can make me laugh with short movies! Also, as it turns out, cringe.

I've done some more work with Chance since then -- as a production hand and audio engineer on Hide and Creep and Interplanetary, and for a couple of 48 hour film crushes called 'Scrambles', where everything is done in 2 days , from conception to completion. I've made a couple of shorts that I'll probably never show anyone again, and a couple that I totally will (see below), including a documentary on street art (also a scramble). I've dabbled in music videos, too -- something I hope to do more of in the future.

This short script won the 2005 Sidewrite Short Script Grand Prize at the Sidewalk Film Festival; I shot it the following December. It was the last thing I ever helmed, movie-wise. I figured that, having finally gotten a movie right, it was time to quit while I wasn't so far behind...

The cast -- Scott Ross, Melissa Bush, and Donna Littlepage -- were great (and easy to work with!). Ditto the entire crew and the extras that helped fill out the diner (formerly Courtney's, one of my favorite Birmingham meat 'n' threes that has sadly since shuttered). Chance Shirley, in particular, has sort of served as a mentor through almost all the film work I've done -- I worked with him on Hide and Creep and Interplanetary (as well as a couple of his short films), and he was instrumental behind the camera. His cinematography and Chris Hilleke's lighting made it look all the more professional.

We shot the entire thing in about half a day, and it was edited over the course of about a weekend. I actually spent more time struggling with the decision to put music cues in, at the beginning or end -- music pretty much is constantly playing in my head, and there was a specific song that fit this well (I'm hesitant to say too much, but in the likelihood that I'll forget, it was a cover of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by a group called Ra) that I thought, while writing the script, would play well over the credits. Turns out it was too heavy and completely broke the mood, and so I went without music cues, in the end.

The film played at the 2006 Sidewalk Film Festival, in the Alabama Theater. It's the largest audience I've ever had for a film, and it's nice to be able to say that I made it to that historic Birmingham venue, under whatever guise.

Created as part of the 2006 Sidewalk Scramble. A goofy little story about -- well, the title says it all.*

Starring Shanda Bizzle, Melissa Bush, Mia Frost, Michael Shelton, Kevin Van Hyning, and Liv Von Oelreich, music by Eric McGinty, camera by Chance Shirley. Also helping make this fun piece of 48-hour film were Kevin and Liesl Finney, Stacy Shirley, James Brown, Gerry Rose, and Chris and Christina Tudor. 48 hours from conception to finalization.

No animals were harmed in the making of this film.

*The title roughly translates to "2 Plumbers and 4 Hot Bitches".

Documentary on the Red Bull graffiti competition.

Shot, edited, et al, in about 27 hours (as per competition rules).

Web

I stumbled into this accidentally, and couldn't be happier about it. While many of my friends and family are wondering what they want to be when they grow up, stuck working jobs that they can barely tolerate, I've managed to find a field that I love, even in less-than-ideal (read: corporate, Southern, conservative, etc.) environments. And I hear there's a future in it, so there's that.

It all started either with a Commodore 64 when I was 8 or 9, or at TapeSouth, where the graphic designer quit and I ended up dabbling in designing and laying out CD covers for local bands. From there, there were bits of ad designs and cover layouts for Birmingham Weekly, and then the Internet, and an additional degree in CIS, and here I am.

There's an article that I read not too long ago that recommended -- to younger or lost people, I assume -- not to follow your passion, but to "Be so good they can't ignore you." (Steve Martin's words, if I recall.) I've worked for the past twenty or so years to be the latter, and am fortunate that I discovered a passion while I was doing so.

For my complete resume, you can visit my LinkedIn page (see Misc tab). Some clients I've worked for over the years, though:

  • Southest Toyota
  • Mohawk Flooring
  • Command Alkon (building web-based applications for use in the concrete industry)
  • Birmingham Weekly
  • Bud's Best Cookies
  • Intermark Group
  • Dorothy McDaniel's Flower Market
  • AIDS Alabama
  • Birmingham-based musicians including Stuart McNair, Lava Lamp, Lunasect, and The Exhibit(s)
  • Kingfisher Editions / Beth Young

Note that many of these sites have since been redesigned by others or no longer exist; the list is presented to show the range of clients that I am comfortable working with, rather than live design capabilities.

Radio

Since 2011, I've co-hosted and curated a specialty show on Birmingham Mountain Radio. Specialty show is far less impressive than it sounds -- what it translates to, loosely, is "Shit that doesn't really fit our format, but the guy that hosts it has taken my family hostage and demands a weekly forum for his inanity."

Note that I did say loosely translated. I've never taken an entire family hostage.

Too much work, honestly.

So what's my specialty? Well, music, atmospheric, particularly of the heavier or darker nature. If you'd like to get a sampling, you can tune in on Monday evenings between 8-10pm CST (107.3 FM in Birmingham, as well as over the Interwebs via that ^ address, and we've got fancy free apps for Android and iOS, for those of you on the go). Alternately, if you're too busy burying your face in WWE or 'The Big Bang Theory' to block out time in your busy Monday night, you can head over to the show's homepage and see past setlists and download archived shows.

The Creator Has a Master Tape
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