Okay, so after our show at Mo’s Tavern at the end of March, the band went on hiatus until tonight. Jordan and Tyler have been pushing hard for months to get their cartoon/community website up and that’s been taking up their time and focus. Meanwhile, Foster is officially out of the band because Jordan is a diva who has problems with sweating the small stuff.

It’s going to be tough trying to recreate our sound; Foster’s synth really filled things in and made songs sound bigger, and it’ll be interesting to see if our leaner five-man arrangement can pull off the sound so many people raved about. I’m sure we’ll get things figured out, and it’s nice not having the tension in the band, I guess.

Foster: Australian for “not in the band.”

It sounds like our new focus, among other things, is going to be getting more originals written rather than continuing to incessantly tweak the old ones. The main exception will be rewriting the lyrics to Circus (they were sort of filler to begin with) and the verses to Waste (Jordan can’t remember the lyrics, and he didn’t like them anyway). We also plan to record something soon now that Jordan has some drum mics. It won’t be anything totally professional, but it’ll be better than the shitty audio of Ghost (ripped from a camcorder) that our MySpace is currently sporting.

Tonight was mostly about getting everyone together in one place again and at least cementing the social bond (woo Quizno’s… you can tell Jared and I are in synch as a rhythm section because we both ordered the exact same sandwich but with no black olives, and also selected the same chips). We played through everything we knew (except Robot, which was Foster’s song, and Surrender, which I think everyone but me forgot that we knew. I didn’t say anything, though, because I think it’s kind of a boring song) to see exactly how rusty we’d become, what we’d forgotten entirely (I think Tyler and I were probably the only ones who still remembered how to play every single song), and what sonic space we’d have to fill without big blaring synthetic chords (not that these were bad). I think things will end well.

I’m so very glad to be off hiatus….

I guess the title has double meaning: it can refer both to the band and also to the fact that I’m basically copying and pasting this blog from the one I posted on our band’s MySpace. For those of you who’ve lost track (or never knew) because I haven’t posted in a while, this blog is dedicated to the genesis of my band, Casanova Dega, and our various trials and tribulations as we rise from complete obscurity to almost-complete obscurity.

Okay, so we haven’t kept up with this thing quite as much as we should have. I’m not sure how many people read band blogs anyway, so I suppose there’s not much urgency to it. Here are the salient facts concerning what Casanova’s been up to since December:

- Our first (and, so far, only) show in Indy, at The Emerson. Solid show, except for not being able to hear each other so well due to not being provided with monitors. Robot got a little screwy for that.

- Our new song, Circus, is officially in circulation (as long as Ian’s playing that night). I hope you like gypsies!

- Gigs! Mostly in Muncie. Mo’s Tavern, The Launching Pad, Muncie Mardi Gras. Good times, although the LP show in February was a little rough. We haven’t been able to get together as many practices lately.

That’s the pitfall of having band members spread over an hour apart: we don’t get to practice as often as we’d like. Things have been a little slow lately… fewer practices, fewer new songs, not so many gigs (although the two at the tail end of February helped up the number). We’re looking to pick things up, dust them off, and take it up a notch now that we’re getting into the spring and summer. Look for new things, more gigs (next gig is at the 4th street apartment in Lafayette, probably the week after Easter; tell all your friends!) and maybe even some studio time (*gasp*) so that we can get rid of that god-awful recording we have up on our main page. Make sure you subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss anything! Good times will be had by all.

So that was my State of the Band address last week. I didn’t post about the random dramas between Jordan and Foster (for obvious reasons) as their egos collide and they each alternate between hating and liking (or at least standing) the other. Practice was solid and we started on some new stuff. I’m pushing hard for twice-a-week practices, but it can be hard when our members (har) are spread between three different cities. If you can really call Upland a “city.”

Okay, time for an update of sorts:

Our Indy debut went well, really. We blew the other three bands out of the water despite a hiccup at the beginning of Robot (lack of monitors = guitarists not hearing the synth intro properly). We also brought in more people than the other acts combined even without any Mojo support (I assume this was because The Emerson doesn’t serve alcohol). To top it off, Magen pulled off a pretty sweet merchandising coup by smuggling in a case of silly string with our band’s poster miniaturized and stickered on the outside of the can:

Voila, awesome and creative merch! (Jared, seated to the right, was a total rock star on stage… long flowing hair plus Goodwill sunglasses plus a bass guitar equals “badass”)

More adventures in the Big City will have to wait, however. Apparently our ADD singer can’t concentrate on more than one thing at once, so we’re passing on one or two gigs (Muncie on the 12th and Plainfield on the 19th) to pump some life into a couple of new songs we’ve come up with. We really haven’t had a new original since October, so it’s definitely time. One song with the working title “Gypsy Parade” (not actually about gypsies, but sounds pretty cool) is getting to a respectable point and will help cement what will eventually become our signature sound (for the few of you who’ve heard our songs, it leans closer to the Ghost end of the spectrum rather than Robot or Waste). Jordan’s also come up with a nice-sounding 6/8 riff that has a lot of potential and has been fun to play with.

Our next gig is Muncie Mardi Gras on February 2nd, in a nice heated tent with (hopefully) lots of exposure to the Ball State kids. Check it out if you happen to be in Muncie for one reason or another.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now, except maybe for heaping some good-natured guilt on all those Mojo folk who told me they were coming out but in fact did not!

Later….

Our most recent gig at The Venue was kinda nice. There were a few hiccups and things each of us felt we could’ve done better, but hey, we’ve only been playing live for just over a month. We had people dancing (and they even caught on to the waltzing during the 6/8 parts of Ghost) and having a good time and that’s what counts. Then we hung around out in the cold and exchanged dirty jokes with the guys from Springload for a while. All’s well that ends well.

Going back to my brother’s art for a moment, his posters sold well. Even for a person who’s never heard of the band (or one who doesn’t even like us), the poster itself kicks enough ass to sell for $4. We were a little caught off-guard when some people asked us all to sign it, but luckily Mike was prepared with the appropriate writing utensils. Oh, Mike.

Our next show is this Friday, the 14th, at The Launching Pad in Muncie.

A Rocket to the Moon has also been added to the bill, so plenty of music for those inclined.

7:30 – Casanova Dega
8:30 – Long Plastic Hallway
9:30 – Dead End Drive In
10:30 – A Rocket To The Moon
11:30 – Oddly Enough

DEDI apologized for our early stage time, but really, we kind of expect that. We’re still the new kids in town.

The big news, though, is playing at The Emerson on Friday the 28th. Dead End Drive In posted a bulletin on MySpace asking for a couple bands to fill some slots for other bands that had dropped out, so naturally we jumped at the chance to make our Indianapolis debut. I think I’m the only person who’s never heard of the place, but the list of bands that have played there includes a lot of big names and people seem to be making a bigger deal of this than I’d expected. Naturally, extra practices are called for.

Months ago I said that, when I finally got my new apartment, I wanted all my visual arts friends and family to create something I could put on my wall… a photograph, a poster, a painting, something creative and personal and unique. Needless to say, no one ended up doing that. Until my brother totally came through for Christmas.

How is this band-related? It’s a badass poster for the group, of course. I’ll try to get a larger image later, but here’s a mini one:

Let me know if this means anything to you visual arts folks:

GrandmasterFaze (10:34:09 PM): what “mixed media” is it?
OMGdamien (10:34:29 PM): the background is paper that has an aged looking print of sheet music
OMGdamien (10:34:37 PM): i splashed some watercolor over that
OMGdamien (10:34:44 PM): then glued it to the canvas
OMGdamien (10:35:05 PM): then i used some white spraypaint and held it upside down to get that dripping look in the background
GrandmasterFaze (10:35:06 PM): sweet, i wanna see it close up
OMGdamien (10:35:32 PM): then the large black area is acrylic paint and the rest of the white and black was done with poster paint markers
OMGdamien (10:35:42 PM): the frame is black duct tape

(that “aged-looking print of sheet music” looks pretty cool in the background, with the musical staffs going vertical. I’m also a fan of the little robot in the upper left!)

The original concept album for the band was a 7-song story (we’ll obviously have more songs on any full-length album), and that story featured some factory and robotic imagery (I’ll get into the story some other time). I’d say the art fits the theme and the band well.

We should easily be able to use this as a concert poster as well, putting the venue name, date and time in the other dark areas.

Merry Christmas to me!

I’m a pretty lazy blogger (let me go on record as saying that I hate the words “blog” and “blogger,” and if anyone uses the word “blogosphere” around me I might explode), so I never did talk about the Muncie gig. In short, despite a couple minor hiccups (hey, it was our first time), we did unexpectedly well and got a lot of kudos from other bands, random people in the crowd, etc. Obviously not from the bartenders, though, since I stood at the bar for an ungodly amount of time waiting to be served. Ungodly.

I think we each made $11 off the night. Doesn’t exactly cover that night’s expenses.

Anyway, for those interested (since no one seems to be willing to make the trip out of town, I’ll assume “nobody”), here’s our upcoming schedule:

Saturday, Dec. 1st: Marion
Friday, Dec. 7th: Lafayette
Friday, Dec. 14th: Muncie

Hotbox me for any details. Note that I’m not really expecting anyone to do that.

I’m still working on getting a show in Indy, but all of the good places want some high-quality demos and we haven’t even been in the studio for ONE yet. We’ll have to find some open mic nights or something. At any rate, I’m pretty satisfied with our progress and our ability to get bookings despite our “newbie” status.

Okay, then. Looks like our first *real* show will be this Saturday, the 17th, at Doc’s in Muncie (see the happenings calendar for more info). Cheap white russians and cheese pizzas, two fellow bands that sound pretty good (James Brown Car Alarm and Know More Robots), and good times for all concerned.

http://docsmusichall.com/calendar.php?q=node/13&eventID=180

Also, here’s a crappy concert poster. When we get my little brother designing these for us, the quality and creativity will shoot way up.

In other news: we finally have a song up on MySpace: the first we wrote, Ghost. The sound quality is pretty bad because it’s just the audio track ripped from a camcorder recording us playing at the Zombie Dance Party. It feels like we played this song slightly faster than we normally do, but you can at least get the gist of our sound now. MySpace!

Also, because I’m a lyrics guy, here’s a transcription of the lyrics:

one last breath as i slowly slip away
one last step into permanent decay
lying here in my hospital bed
the darkness surrounds me, i’m dead… deadeadeadead!

no where left to run
on a double dead end drive
a cemetery’s so alive your blood runs cold
and i’m told that when you die you don’t cry
but my tears keep falling

no time left to beg or borrow oh woh oh oh
i’m the ghost of tragedy, haunted by my memory

CHORUS:
mourn me, forget me
i’m lying in my bed as i walk amongst the dead
regardless, i’m nameless
another casualty among the bodies on the scene, woh oh

nothing’s left, only hopeless thoughts remain
nothing’s changed yeah but nothing stayed the same
on and on like a voice in my head
the echo of knowing you’re dead…. deadeadeadead!

standing all alone
on a double dead end drive
you’re left so suddenly filled with regret
and all you get is paradise for the price
of your second chances

no time left to beg or borrow oh oh oh
i’m the ghost of tragedy, haunted by eternity

CHORUS:
mourn me, forget me
i’m lying in my bed as i walk amongst the dead
regardless, i’m nameless
another casualty among the bodies on the scene woh oh

BREAK (sung by Foster):
you’ll find relief in the things you believe in
but don’t you believe what you’re told
it’s more realistic that you’re a statistic
whose soul has already been sold
[[choir ahhs ]]
(please remember me, if just to forget me
please remember me, i’m begging you please)

CHORUS:
mourn me, forget me
i’m lying in my bed as i walk amongst the dead
regardless, i’m nameless
another casualty among the bodies on the scene woh oh

mourn me, forget me
i’m lying in my bed as i walk amongst the dead
regardless, i’m nameless
another casualty among the bodies on the scene, woh

—–

I should make mention of the fact that Ghost is the second song in a seven-song storyline. This is the song in which the protagonist, fed up with his seemingly meaningless life and the way society apparently manufactures us to all be the same, kills himself. I don’t really agree with the views of the story, but the songs are fun to play!

Oh man, the last week has been full of goodness and feel-good-ness and beers and general taking care of business. I’m in one of those “so tired I don’t really know what I’m doing” states, so I figured it would be the perfect time for a bit of a band update:

I. A name, by god, a name. Every time we come up with a band name, I field test it on people I know. For a while I even kept a spreadsheet with band names at the top and people’s names down the left side, and I used Xs (nay) and Os (yay) to denote whether or not that person liked the name. Xs all ’round. Unfortunately (well, not really) the Zombie Dance Party was coming up, as well as a couple of other gigs, and we needed at least a working name. Jordan and Tyler were pretty hooked on having “Casanova” in there somewhere just because it rolled off the tongue easily and brought happy thoughts (I guess). We could never agree on what word would come after (or before) that, though. Casper Casanova? Everyone but Jordan hated it. Casanova Kicks? Ian’s idea, vetoed by everyone not living in Indianapolis. Finally the Muncie guys just put up a MySpace with the name Casanova Dega, which I’m not crazy about, but it does have the advantage of having one person actually say they liked it (hi Natalie!). I’m not going to fight it because I don’t want to go through this whole mess all over again. Find us here. Friend us, hear us, love us.

Actually, you can’t hear us yet. We don’t have any music up. More on that later.

II. Zombie Dance Party
Like I said before, this was definitely the party of the weekend, and I know that various Halloween parties were taking place, as well as the Club Tres party. You missed out. Girl, you just don’t know! At any rate, this was our first full-length live set (having played a whopping three songs at the James Dean festival) and we were very very well-received. It was gratifying after all our hard work these past few months to hear the crowd calling for an encore (which we didn’t have prepared because we’d already played everything we knew as a band), and extra gratifying to hear all the compliments later (especially when Ian said his friends were asking, “Man, who was that drummer? He was awesome!” I’m way too self-critical of my crappy drumming I guess). There’s a metric shit-ton of great photos in Band Photographer Magen’s Facebook profile (the band is still pretty impressed with these photos), and a few up on our MySpace as well.

III. Open Mic Night
So last night we played at Doc’s up in Muncie. Probably not our best renditions of those songs by any means (plus we were missing Ian due to illness), yet 30 seconds after our set ended they offered us Tuesdays. As in, a paying gig every Tuesday for as long as we want it. Well, hell. For a band that’s only been around three and a half months that learned half its set just a couple weeks before, I think that’s pretty damn good. And this isn’t some backwater venue desperate for quality acts; Voltaire played here just a couple weeks ago (and then went out with Jordan and Tyler and got hammered. I loves me some Voltaire). Stereo Deluxe played there last week. I think I saw The Elms on the calendar for tomorrow (sup Thom!). We’re hellishly psyched about this. Hopefully I can get some people to come up this Tuesday so we can at least show up with a monster crowd in tow. That would seem more impressive, yes? All of you come Tuesday. Yes, all of you. Just this once. Please?

IV. We’re finally thinking of getting into the studio soon to record our first and most-polished song, Ghost. People keep asking what we sound like and there’s no way I can really describe it (not that I’m such a perceptive wordsmith to begin with). Yes, all of our songs sound different (but still “us”), but this would at least give people some idea and also give us something to put online.

V. Michael changed our MySpace background to Jordan’s crazy zombie picture and I think it’s hilarious.

EDIT: We’re not playing in Muncie this Tuesday because it was short notice for the other bands we were going to be playing with (and no matter how good or bad we may be, we don’t exactly have three hours’ worth of material just yet). So Tuesday, Nov. 6th, would probably be the start of our weekly rocking.

Before I move on to the salient details concerning what, exactly, we sound like, our never-ending quest for the perfect band name, and why Jordan wears so much makeup, I figure I should introduce everyone to the starting lineup:


Jordan
I met Jordan when he was my little brother’s dorm roommate at Purdue back in the day. I’d see him every once in a while when I was visiting their room from off-campus, but I didn’t really get to know him until my friend Natalie Abell (last name always included because she’s not the “main” Natalie) decided she wanted to be a rock star before she graduated and that it was my job to assemble a band. I recruited Jordan and also a guy named Joe Ray (whom we all came to intensely dislike) and we played some stuff in my garage for a semester. This was the period during which Jordan wrote Exhausperated, but I’ll get to more on our songs later. He’s the first to admit he has a big ego, so I don’t think there’s any problem mentioning that here. He and Tyler make up our main songwriters; Jordan is also our singer and he trades off lead and rhythm guitar with Tyler.


Tyler
I don’t know too much of Tyler’s history, but I’ve known him off and on for a while and I know that he and Jordan have been friends for quite some time. Whereas Jordan can be a little emo and pessimistic sometimes, Tyler always brings the energy and is ready for some rocking at a moment’s notice. Tyler, as mentioned, does lead and rhythm guitar bits, and also backup vocals.


Michael
I know even less about Michael’s past other than that Jordan and Tyler met him while they were working at an Old Navy in Muncie. He’s a good guy who always gives me a big hug, calls my parents “mom and dad” when he’s at my house, and likes his women early and often. Michael plays the more synth-sounding keys, as well as backup vocals, toy accordian and trumpet.


Ian
Ian was included in the band at my little brother’s suggestion. I’d met him only a few times before, but I did know he made wonderful brownies. He’s also a musical history genius, the type who can tell you about the different musical movements and why they went the places they went. He also knows a ton about esoteric bands and their labels, especially if it’s older punk or garage rock. Ian plays pretty pretty piano for us, although he started out on bass for the first few practices just because we had no bassist.


Jared
Jared is Jordan’s little brother. He was there as Jordan and Tyler first conceived our initial songs, but he was also the last to take an interest and join the band for whatever reason. Jared plays bass and sounds a lot like Chris from Family Guy.


Matt
This is me, obviously. I’m the lazy drummer who sits back and twiddles his thumbs while the guitarists teach the keyboardists the chords they came up with. Then once we’re ready to go I play whatever first comes to mind and hope that it works (it usually does).

Also:


Mike
Mike is my little brother and an honorary band member. He’s in charge of graphic design, creative consultation, and is also our head (and only) roadie. Look for his contributions when we start getting concert posters (he’s done some top-notch ones for bands in Lafayette), album art, etc. He’s been lazy in getting our James Dean festival pictures to me, so here’s a photo of him in Galway, Ireland this past May.

I’m not really using this blog for anything. I tend to keep my deep thoughts to myself because I’m sure they’ve all been had before. I don’t write about every minor or even major life decision or event because I doubt that anyone cares all that much. But I do feel the urge to write something from time to time, so I’ve decided to document some of the goings on concerning my as-yet unnamed band and its members (even if only for my own reference).

I’ll update with bits and pieces on what we’ve done so far (not much, since we just formed in July), introductions to our various musicians (there are six of us), and maybe some summaries of the gigs we play (up to this point we’ve played a grand total of three songs in front of an actual audience).

To everyone who’s received the answer “Er, I really don’t know” to the questions “What do you guys sounds like” or “What kind of music do you guys play?” our rhythm/lead guitarist Tyler tells me:

So I talked to Caleb, my brother, ’cause he knows a lot about music and I asked him how he would categorize our music according to our song Ghost that he heard us play in Fairmount. He said he would put us under “aggressive experimental.” He says we’re super catchy and we don’t sound like anything he’s ever heard before.

I still don’t know what that means. At any rate, we’re playing October 20th at the Zombie Dance Party in Lafayette (check out the Happenings calendar) and actually headlining over other musical acts that have existed longer than three months. We should have about a dozen songs (about 2/3 covers) ready to go. Come on out and see us, or at least have some beer on the roof.

More later.

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(Left to Right: Ian Johnson, Jordan Miller, Matt Fortress, Tyler Wright, Jared Miller, Michael Foster)