Sail.

You never really know if you’re important to anyone. Yes, I provide services that some people might find incredibly difficult to live without, but how important are we really? In any situation everyone can be replaced, no matter how deep the heartbreak. 

I split time between two different households growing up; being an intelligent and mature preteen meant I took care of myself as the older step-siblings garnered the parental attention. Straight-A’s were never the accolades I ever strived for, just ones I gifted to some socially-proud family members, and having a job from the age of 12-on was just more proof I was the child my parents wouldn’t have to worry about. 

I was 14 when I started driving in a small Texas town. I was 15 when I was kicked by a horse. 16 I picked the bass back up and got a drivers license. 17 I threw away architecture scholarships for music and for the first time felt the steel of a pistol on my forehead (the cocking back of the hammer sounds completely different from that position). 18 I first understood that bands fail and the final breath of a friend buries itself in your subconscious. 21 I learned to not mix scotch and vodka drinks. 23 was when Grammy’s appeared in my life and hard drugs made friends disappear. 28 I found out break-ups were expensive depending on the greed level of the two parties. 30 is when I finally realized I had a lot to learn. 

You never really know if you’re important to anyone. And maybe you’re just important to people for small sections of your time on this Earth. But you have to actively decide to be important to yourself. The wind might constantly change directions, but you should always be taking care of your sail. 

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Help.

In my eyes

Indisposed

In disguises no one knows

To say I was kicked in the gut this morning is an understatement.  Fucking pummeled.  Over and over again.  I got through my day concentrating on the records I’m in the middle of, but as I walked through my door and started listening to album after album, it really sunk in.

Mr. Cornell was an artist.  And having had recently moved from the east coast to the panhandle of Texas, “Superunknown” spoke to an adolescent alien trying to make his way through a cloud of “you talk/look/act funny.”  Those songs showed me I wasn’t alone.  Music kept my demons at bay and at 15 years old, screaming lyrics and cruising through cotton fields was sometimes the only solace anyone could ever find.

Times are gone for honest men

And sometimes far too long for snakes

As life has a tendency to do, everything changes.  You leave one set of surroundings for another.  People come and go.  Mistakes of yesterday become the learned lessons of today.  But what never seems to change are those demons.  Those insecurities.  Those fears.  Those soul-draining voices/vices that stop you in your tracks.  And again, music was there.  Fearing I was the only one going through this, music reminded me I wasn’t.

In my shoes

A walking sleep

And my youth I pray to keep

And as time goes by, life gets harder.  Is it more responsibilities?  The fear of gained knowledge?  Maybe the passage of time is directly proportionate to the weight of a loss?  It could possibly be all of that and then some.  But I do know all of these feed the demons.  They feast as our mind famines.  And maybe the things we turned to in our youth to help us beat the demons (i.e. music) just can’t seem to cut it anymore.  They might take us back to a special place, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

Help.  We may not want to admit it, but we all need it.  And that’s the thing.  There is help.  You are not alone.  Remember.  YOU.  ARE.  NOT.  ALONE.  I know the weight of the world is debilitating.  I know you feel like there’s no where to turn.  I know the demons are telling you all the things you wish you couldn’t hear.  And I know you can’t fight it alone.  But remember, you are not alone.  There’s help.  There’s people to turn to.  The battles might not be in your favor, but you don’t have to lose this war.

Talk.  Reach out.  Do not sink into yourself.  I know how difficult it is, but it’s not impossible.  As a musician we have wonderful organizations like SIMS, helping those of us in need.  There are countless other places we all can turn to.  Please.  Just please.  Click.  Call.  Get help.

Today we lost someone who literally changed the musical landscape of the world.  I don’t know where that 15-year-old Texas transplant would be if he hadn’t listened to “Superunknown,” but I’m sure glad Chris was there to give him and the rest of the planet that album and countless others.  And he reminded us, we are not alone.

I love you all.

Heaven sent hell away

No one, sings like you anymore

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Scalping (the world’s second oldest profession)

I’m almost positive that since the very first time a show or spectacle charged a fee for attendance, scalpers have been in existence.  Take an event everyone wants to see, buy up a group of tickets, and sell them for more money than the initial cost, keeping the profit.  Through the years it has been fought; artists, sports teams, broadway, even the government has tried to make it illegal, but nothing seems to stop it.  Some try to fight it, some just embrace it (ask Van Halen and their manager Irving Azoff about reselling their own tickets).  Personally, I’m for the former, and apparently Eric Church is too.

Announced yesterday, Eric Church has cancelled 25,000 tickets held by secondary market websites.  Using his own people, they’re tracking each sale, ticket by ticket and finding out what tickets were bought illegally to be resold.  Now, how does this effect you?  What do you care?  Isn’t he rich and touring stadiums?

See, in simple terms, it’s like this:  some people work hard, day after day, and dedicate their lives to providing for their family.  Some people dedicate their lives to creating art and showcasing it in a live environment.  Those two groups of people every once in a while come together for a fantastic evening of entertainment, be it clubs, theaters, stadiums, etc.  A scalper (or website) is someone who comes along and interjects between the worker and the artist, buys as many tickets as they can, and sells them to the worker at a profit to only the scalper.  What if someone bought up all of the milk at a grocery store, stood outside, and tried to resell it to you for twice as much?  I bet you’d want to punch that person in the face.  Well, Eric is starting to swing, and as an artist, I love him for it.

I never liked scalpers to begin with, and now we’re all accustomed to it.  Websites like StubHub and TicketsNow, just to name a few, are our go-to places knowing that Ticketmaster is already going to be sold out.  Why?  BECAUSE SCALPERS BOUGHT ALL THE SEATS ALREADY.  And now companies like Eventellect come along and try to work with artists and sports teams to maximize profits on resale websites.  It’s just gross.

Last week I read a sympathy article about an old school scalper, and honestly, I have no love-lost for him.  Whether it’s an old scalper on the street or one of a hundred resale websites, on one side they’re taking people’s hard-earned money to make a profit, and on the other side they’re keeping fans away from seeing their favorite bands/shows by over-charging.  That’s how they make their living.  Think about that for a second.

They make their living by buying up something you want and selling it back to you for a higher price.

Now I’m really sick.

And what’s the answer?  There’s a lot of entities involved in ticket selling and reselling, but as a consumer, try and not purchase from these resale websites.  Go to the source.  As an artist?  Do as Mr. Church is doing.  Fight.  Fight for your fans.  Fight for your own business.  And most of all, fight because it’s the right thing to do.

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Grammys, 2017

Tonight I turned from HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” to see Adele win her “Album of the Year” Grammy and the plethora of folks that were involved in making that happen packed on stage with her. I congratulate her, all of them, but more importantly, I congratulate all my friends and peers that have been nominated and won tonight. You all have earned the accolades, and I hope you win many more.

Most of my friends who are nominated and win are a part of the Grammy’s that are awarded earlier in the day. I call them the “Recording Arts and Sciences” part of the Grammys; before it was called “The Recording Academy,” the Grammy Awards were hosted by the “National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.” An organization that origins come from deciding what people in the music business should be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a group of people representing all the major record labels in the 50’s came together to honor more recording and industry professionals. Over the years, as the event has become more televised, the elements that have built the Grammys have been pushed to “during a ceremony earlier this evening” and the “hit” Grammy Awards are the only thing on television, with performances ranging from “amazing, full-on tears” to answering 30 text messages all asking the same “for the ‘biggest night in music,’ why does it sound so terrible?” But I digress.

As the world has changed dramatically over last few months, I find myself wondering, “is this spectacle all worth it?” An awards show that doesn’t even announce most of its’ winners on its’ own show surrounded by consistent flaws in what it should be excelling at, audio. Now, one thing that I speak with pride about being a member of The Recording Academy is it’s own “Grammys in the Schools.” Music education is something I strongly believe in, and I’m so happy with what the Academy does to make sure students have what they need to learn.

Education in general seems to be up in the air right now. Our new Education Secretary is questionable at best, and one of my biggest fears is losing arts in the schools. Currently I’m seeing Oscar parties being cancelled and that money going to organizations like the ACLU, and as a member of The Recording Academy, I wonder if there’s a better use of our money. I still believe my peers should be honored, and it should be an event, but maybe we can be a little more economical in how we do this.

Maybe it’s as simple as having one big event, record and film it all, spend a week or two editing and mixing the performances, and airing it on a station like HBO. Hire the people that are winning these awards to work on their own artists’ personal performance. Get a network to air it that’s not worried about commercial air-time. Maybe calm the performances down a bit, getting back to the musicians doing what the musicians do instead of fireballs and flying. Allow the winners to make the speeches they want to make, thank the people they want to thank.

I don’t know what the answer is. I just hope a dialog will be started about it. Because honestly, I’m scared. I’m scared of what’s going to happen to the arts. But I do know that if we don’t stick-up for the musical side of education, no one else will. And if we lose music education, we will lose music as a form of expression. And trust me, at times like these, it’s the artists we look towards to empathize, because we NEED to know that we are genuinely not alone. We need anthems to rally to. We need to all be able to sing them at the top of our lungs. And together, maybe, just maybe, our voices will be heard.

And things will change.

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To Avoid Fainting Top 6 Horror Soundtracks

I added my top 6 favorite horror soundtracks to the “To Avoid Fainting” horror movie blog, check it out!!!

 

http://toavoidfainting.blogspot.com/2016/10/10-nights-of-halloween-watchlists-from.html?spref=tw

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an open letter from a songwriter

Dear ASCAP, BMI, and any other organization this may concern,

This Saturday evening, as I fired up the grill with some family members for the holiday weekend, I found myself answering questions about “this songwriting mumbo-jumbo and the Department of Justice.”  Already knowing that outside of us in the small community I love and live for called “music,” most people do not understand how the business side of this art form works, and even fewer understand the business side of songwriting.  As I started to search for the best analogies to describe what was going on, a thought struck my mind.

Who is looking out for us?

The Department of Justice has not only decided to keep with laws dated back to WWII-era America, but also adding to it restrictions that would affect the way money is handled to people that co-write songs.  Affect it in an extremely large way.  Past music.  Future music.  The songs on your phone, on your favorite tv show, in your favorite movies, playing at your favorite coffee shop, what you dance to in your favorite bar.  All of it.

ASCAP and BMI, you are the main two companies we as songwriters in America hire and use to take care of our songs.  Already you two are on top of it, trying to find a response to the Department of Justice, to find a way to not enforce these new law changes, but to also make them better.  And whole-heartedly, I, as I’m sure many other songwriters, applaud you.  Again though I must ask, who is looking out for us, right now?

This law is currently, meaning “right now,” hurting us.  And as you two fight to change things, isn’t it also your responsibility to protect us?  Isn’t this the time you need to sit down and negotiate what you are going to do to make sure everyone gets their fair and just share until the proper laws are changed?  Isn’t this the time you decide between yourselves how to make sure we are all taken care of?  If someone is attacking my family, yes I eventually want the perpetrators brought to justice, but first and foremost I want to get them out of harm’s way.

Tonight I’m cleaning up the leftovers of steaks, sausages, chicken fajitas, pork chops, and corn on the cob.  It’s my last weekend off for a while;  this time next week I’ll be in a van going across the southern part of Texas with three other guys I write songs with playing Saints Analogue rock-n-roll.  Some of us are BMI.  Some of us are ASCAP.  Some are SESAC.  We trust you have our backs, because what we’re concerned with is what we’re creating and sharing with everyone around us.

So, ASCAP and BMI, if you believe in us as songwriters, then you believe in the power of collaboration.  That’s cooperation between multiple entities for a common goal.  We do it to make the best possible songs we can.  Can’t you do it, too?

Aren’t you looking out for us?

Sincerely,

Adam J. Odor

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Open Doors

I spent most of my childhood at my grandparent’s house in eastern Pennsylvania. It was my adventure-world; my friends all lived extremely close, we had a big yard to play baseball/football/soccer in and acres upon acres of State Game Lands to explore. Our imaginations ran wild, playing GI Joe, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, all in the same day. Their house was three stories tall with a basement; Pop built it when he returned from the Pacific and my dad and uncle grew up there like years later I would. Inside, the basement held epic Transformer v GI Joe battles, the living and dining rooms would be Construx and Lego building zones, and upstairs would be for reading and daydreaming. The third story though, that was some place different….

The attic had a door in my Grandparent’s bedroom, it was taller than any other door I had seen before and there was usually stuff in front of it. All of that to me meant: MONSTERS. There was some sort of unknown creature living up there, probably plotting an elaborate scheme to take me in my sleep, maybe roast me over a fire and eat me or maybe make me work some crazy Monster Mining Camp (I had a pretty detailed imagination). I was so scared to even walk by the door, I’d hear the creature howling on some days (especially when it was really windy outside) and it seemed like it was always 10 degrees colder standing by it. The attic and it’s demon, don’t walk, RUN past it as fast as you can.

One summer day, Pop had the worst proposition of all time: Help me grab a few things from inside the Gates of Hell (attic) and we’ll go get ice cream after. WHAT?!? WHY TOY WITH ME AND MY LOVE OF ICE CREAM THIS WAY?!? After brief hesitation, my want of chocolate and peanut butter overcame my fear of the giant door and I went up with him. And my world turned upside down.

There were paintings and clothes and books and photographs and treasure chests!!! Why had no one told me about this?!? It was brand new adventures with things from the past!! Stories I never knew, some Pop told me, some just came to me as I started playing with things. Whenever I would get bored, I now had a new place to explore! Thank you Pop, this is the gift that keeps on giving!!

Lets jump ahead 30 years. I’ve been working hard at making albums with my friends, getting to travel to places I thought I’d never see, spreading my love of music with everyone I could. It’s been the most amazing adventure I could ever imagine, but off in the corner has always been this giant door. Creepy noises come from it and I run past it any time I’m close. My own personal Large-Attic-Monster-Door.

Two months ago, out of the ashes of another musical endeavor, Dave Percefull and I came to the realization that maybe it was time to do something that was deep inside of us. Coincidently, my old roommate/singer-songwriter Phil Marshall was moving back to the area, and Dave and Phil used to play together with one of our main session drummers, Josh Center. It seemed like it was time to open up that attic door and face the monster.

Saints Analogue. That’s what I found up there. Three of my closest musical compadres and I writing and recording the songs that come to us. We wanted to make recordings that were what we could pull off live, be the band that you’re hearing on the records. We’re excited, we’re pissed off, we want to play. Two months. In two months we sat down, wrote 6 songs, recorded, mixed and mastered them, released it online (Ace), started putting vinyl together, wrote 6 more, finished recording them this past weekend, started rehearsing and booking shows, about to go into mixing and mastering of these six (Two) for a December release, starting full shows in January, and hitting the studio again in February (we’ve already started writing “Three”). We’ve got a lot to say. And we’re not doing this alone, Jon at Austin Signal is our outlet for vinyl (and cassettes), Raquel at Merch Gal designed our Spade and is doing all our merch, and Coby at 4190 Design is starting to join us in artwork.

We’ve opened that attic door. Come on inside. It’s loud in here.

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